March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

March 30, 2010

Using my Brother LB 6770 embroidery machine

As you know, my mom and I received a Brother LB 6770 embroidery and sewing machine for Christmas this past year.   It was a little bit intimidating to learn, given that the manual is over 150 pages. Plus neither of us had ever used a computerized sewing machine so that adds a whole new skill set to the mix.  I am thrilled to announce that this weekend I successfully used it to complete my first multi-colored embroidery! And it was so easy, I feel a little bit silly for waiting this long to do it.  The machine comes with 70 built in embroidery designs and the one I chose to try out was an Easter egg design in pastel colors.  The following is a photo series that shows what the design looked like as the colors were added.

One thing I learned for next time is to trim all the excess threads as you go so they don't get stuck under another color.  I had let some of the thread tails hang around when the manual specifically states to trim them after the first 10 stitches. I will listen to the manual next time!

This is a shot of the final product and all the spools of thread I used to create it. Isn't it cute?

I was so pleased with how it turned out, I can't wait to try more designs and also purchase some additional cartridges with other fun designs on them.

Happy Almost Easter everybody!

March 28, 2010

Sunday Stash

My stash is looking very Eastery today :)
My mom and I picked up some Gutermann embroidery thread yesterday in a bunch of yummy colors. Seriously, I think I could eat them. :)  The pink fabric that the spools are sitting on is "Verna" by Kate Spain for Moda.  And the light blue fabric with trees and birds is by Heidi Grace Designs for JoAnn  and is called "We are Family". 

We also got 4 large spools of Coats and Clark embroidery thread.  We are still learning our new Brother embroidery machine and needed some new colors to experiment with. :)

Happy Sunday everybody!

March 26, 2010

How to wrap gifts with fabric

Do you have a large stash of quilting fabric sitting in your closet?  I've recently discovered a wonderful way to use some of it!   I think part of the fun of giving a gift, is presenting it to the person in a beautiful way. And what better way to wrap a gift for a crafty sewing person, than with fabric!  *Note: Non crafting sewing people will also appreciate the beauty of a gift wrapped in fabric.

First, cut out a circle of fabric that will fit your item. I recommend cutting the circle so that the diameter is about 4 times the height of the item you're wrapping. (diameter = width of the circle) The reasoning behind this is that the fabric needs to cover the sides of the item, the top of the item and then leave you with enough pretty fabric on top to tie the ribbon. It doesn't have to be a perfect circle. In fact, it turns out prettier when there is some variation in the curve.

Next, fold the fabric in half to cover the item.

Pull the remaining edges up with your other hand and gather all the fabric in a bunch.

Tie it with a pretty ribbon that coordinates with your fabric, 
and *smile in amazement* at how cute it turned out!

March 23, 2010

How to decorate your dinner table like Martha Stewart when you're on a budget

I don't know about you, but I am always looking for quick ways to spice up my dinner table when I'm entertaining.  Being on a budget, I don't like to go out and spend a ton of money for something I may never use again.  So one way that I've found to decorate that is very effective yet completely affordable is with flowers from the supermarket with an added twist.  If you have a farmer's market near you, that would be an even more affordable place to shop for flowers.  You're probably asking yourself, "What's so special about decorating with flowers?" The trick to this technique is to use another item like fresh produce that either matches or contrasts beautifully with the flowers you have chosen to use.

In this tutorial, I chose to use some pretty yellow flowers I found at Ralphs.

 The items I chose to spice up the overall look this time were baby lemons. They are bright and sunny and complement the flowers really well.  If you can't find baby lemons, then you could even cut regular  lemons in half or buy some little yellow squash in an interesting shape.

Pick a vase that you have already but make sure that it's clear so everybody can see the fun items you've added.  If you have a crystal vase stashed away somewhere that you received from your wedding,  or something that's been passed down in your family, by all means use it! You don't have to wait for a fancy occasion to use these nice pieces.  Using them for a casual get together livens up your table in a fun and cost effective way.  

Make sure you strip the leaves off of the bottom of the flowers so they don't rot in the water and to make your decorative centerpiece look clean and professionally done.

Add water to the vase and then place the fruit in the vase.  It took a little squeezing to get the lemons into this vase. I would probably use a slightly larger vase the next time. Add the flowers, and voila! You have a finished product that everyone will think you bought from a florist.
The great thing about this technique, is that there are endless possibilities and you can have fun being creative. During the holidays I had white flowers on my table and floated pretty red cranberries in the water.  Changing up the colors you use and the fun objects you place in the water can change the feel of your table in an instant. Since spring "sprung" this weekend I wanted to go with a bright and cheery look for my table.  Happy decorating!

March 22, 2010

And the giveaway goes to...

PhiPhi from the blog Chez ViesCongratulations!!! And thanks to everybody for participating.  I hope you all had an enjoyable National Quilting Day!

March 20, 2010

Fun Giveaway!

Happy National Quilting Day Everybody! 
 In honor of National Quilting Day, I am hosting a fun giveaway.  It will be open for entries all weekend and I will pick a winner on Monday,  March 22nd, using a random number generator. Before I get into the rest of the details, let me show you what items I'm giving away!

Two spools of YLI variegated machine quilting thread. (500 yards each)  The colors are "Kyoto Garden" and "Napa Valley Wine".  Don't they sound fantastic? I love this thread as it adds so much visual interest to your quilt.

Five beautiful Fat Quarters
with varying shades of turquoise and white, pink, and gold accents

And last but not least, the "Micro Stitch" basting gun!  
This is a $25 value and has multiple handy uses.
From basting a quilt to hemming some pants, you will find many uses for this great tool. 

Here's the back of the package in case you want to read about it further. :)

So now that you know what you can get, here's how you can enter:

* Leave a comment on this blog and tell me what you are doing for  National Quilting Day. (be sure to include an e-mail where I can reach you if you win)

*To get a second entry, follow my blog.  Leave another comment to let me know you follow, and if you already follow leave a comment reminding me that you are following already. 

* To get a third entry, follow me on Twitter. Again, leave a separate comment on this blog to let me know that you are a Twitter follower. 

So the more you do, the more chances you have to get these fun giveaways! 
*Remember* that you need to leave a comment for each separate entry to get all three possible chances. 

Thanks so much for participating! Isn't National Quilting Day great? :)

*entries are now closed as of 9am pacific time Monday 3/22/10

March 19, 2010

National Quilting Day Giveaway Tomorrow

In honor of National Quilting day tomorrow, I will be doing a giveaway! I'll be giving away the "Micro Stitch" tool shown in the photos below (a $25 value), plus some other fun quilting goodies. So come back tomorrow to find out the details and get in on the fun!

March 12, 2010

Baby Quilt Finished

I finished my latest quilt project that I've decided to call the "Girly girl" baby quilt. The front was pieced with small squares with varying dotted and flower patterns and the backing is "Reagan's Closet" by Heidi Grace Designs. I must admit I like the back as much as the front with the cute butterflies and lady bugs and the fun writing. Words such as "sing", "imagine", and "create" are interspersed throughout the flowery design. I tried something new this time with the quilting and instead of my typical meandering design, I sewed individual flowers on each square and also on the border. I am very happy with how this technique looks and it was worth all the thread trimming I had to do when I was finished. :) If you are interested in this quilt I've listed it in my Artfire Store. It measures 32"x35" and is made with all natural 100 percent cotton materials. The binding is done with pink fabric with large white polka dots.