May 26, 2010

Featured on Tip Junkie

 I am thrilled to report that my blog is featured on Tip Junkie Today!  Tip Junkie is a wonderful site that "promotes creative women through their ideas and projects."  There are lots of fun craft ideas and tutorials and tips for decorating and entertaining.  My blog is listed under a post about interior design with a link to my tutorial about framing fabric.  If you want to check out Tip Junkie, click the button at the top of this post or click here to see the post where my blog is featured. Many thanks to Laurie Turk of Tip Junkie for featuring my blog!

May 21, 2010

My Entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival

The Blogger's Quilt Festival at "Amy's Creative Side" starts today and goes through the 28th of May. This is my first time participating and I think it's a really fun way to get to know other quilters in the blogging community!   Each person is supposed to write about a quilt you've made and share it's story, why you made it, what you learned, etc.
    The quilt that I am choosing to talk about is one I made a couple years ago for my Dad's birthday.  He was born on the 4th of July so of course I made him a patriotic quilt. I was relatively new to quilting at the time and was slightly naive about which patterns are "easy" and which ones are "hard." The one I chose wasn't that hard, but it had a lot of little pieces so it was a bit overwhelming.  I learned that I didn't excel at star points and was surprised by their trickiness. The only star that I have made since this one was a wonky star for a charity quilt that amanda jean of "crazymomquilts" made.  I will probably try more stars in the future because I love the way they look.  

This photo illustrates just how many little pieces I had to cut out. It was such a large number, that I decided to host a contest for people to guess how many red squares there were in this pile. That was a fun turning point for me because I felt like I was becoming more connected with the quilting bloggers community.

I wasn't as experienced in quilting photography at that time so this picture is a little dark, but you can get a pretty good idea of how the finished product looked. I learned a lot about choosing fabrics and working with contrast while making this quilt.  I had gathered a lot of patriotic fabrics but quickly realized which ones just wouldn't make the cut.   
*pun intended*  hehe :)

I really liked the contrast that the backing added to the overall look

This was the first time I had used variegated thread for the free-motion quilting. I found that it's a nice way to add another design dimension to the quilt.  I also had fun making stars while doing the free-motion quilting.  I wanted to accentuate the quilt's "patriotic-ness".

All the quilts that I make for a specific person are special to me because I think of them while I am making the quilt.  I felt like this quilt really fit my dad's personality because he is very patriotic and served in the Air Force for many years.

Here he is, happily holding the finished product. I love you dad!

May 18, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

There's a fun Blogger's Quilt Festival going on starting May 21st at "Amy's Creative Side". Click the button below to check it out and join in the fun!

May 14, 2010

A finished gift

I have this week off from work so I've been getting some things done around the house and also doing some much needed relaxing. I also made a little coin purse for my sweet sister-in-law and I hope she likes it!  I'm giving it to her this weekend when I visit for my brother's college graduation.

Of course I added some *bling*! I know she likes sparkly things as much as I do. :)

One of my favorite features is that the inside is a different color. 
I think it adds a fun little surprise to the purse and who doesn't enjoy pink and white polka dots

May 8, 2010

Tips For Adding Crystals To Your Craft Projects

Who doesn't like a little sparkle? Recently I wrote about the joy of adding hot fix crystals to a quilt or other sewing project and since then I've learned a few tips that I wanted to share with you. Sometimes it's hard to get the guts to try a new technique, and this one is so fun, I can't help but tell you all about it because I want you to be able to take part in the fun!

The first thing I do is experiment with layout and colors. It's hard to tell how something is going to look until you try it on the fabric you are using. Sometimes the fabric has a detail that provides a natural place to put a crystal, and other times it's better to make up a design on your own. 

Tweezers like these are an absolute must.  The crystals are so small, even the most nimble of fingers will have trouble picking them up and putting them into place. A quick warning- tweezers like these are pretty sharp so be careful while you are using them. Keep them out of reach of little hands as well. 

While you are experimenting with colors, it's good to have a place to hold the crystals you are using.  They have a tendency to fly across the room without any  notice so keeping them in one place is highly recommended. I speak from experience- crawling around on the floor trying to pick crystals out of the carpet is not an amazing way to spend your afternoon. ;)

This photo's purpose is to illustrate just how small these little guys are.
Don't let that deter you- they are highly sparkly for their size! 

When I am working on a project where I'm going to be using a lot of crystals, I always make sure I have enough to complete the project by placing them in their layout before I start attaching them. Since I was working on three zipper pouches at once, I needed to make sure they would all be spaced in a similar way. 

This is what they look like before you apply the heating tool. As you can see they are a bit roly poly because the glue is on the back.  Once you use the heating tool, they will lie completely flat on the fabric. 

I let the heating tool heat up for about 5-10 minutes before I start using it to make sure it's heated to a high enough temperature to melt the glue on the crystals.

Then, one at a time I attach the crystals by holding the heating tool on the crystal for about 10-12 seconds. The tool I have comes with other attachments that let you attach a cluster of crystals at once if the crystals are very close together.

In this photo the crystal on the left hasn't been attached but the others have.

After you're done you end up with something fun like this zipper pouch set! My mom made these and I attached the crystals.  Isn't she talented?
 ( Happy Mother's Day Mom I love you! )

She also made this one and I attached the crystals in a heart shape. There are stencils you can buy if you want to make really fancy designs or lettering. This is the first time I've tried a shape and I think it adds a really fun touch. 

  If you are interested in these fun pouches, they are listed in my etsy store

May 4, 2010

Our Patio Garden is Growing

Spring has definitely sprung in Southern California and things are blooming everywhere you look.  My husband and I got motivated to add some new life to our patio garden so on Sunday we made a little shopping trip to Lowes.  We've made some mistakes in the past with our plant buying so this time we were very careful to make sure we had the right conditions to sustain the things we wanted to buy. I thought I would share our little plant world with you. It always inspires me to see what other people are growing in their gardens.

This is our new dwarf peach tree named "Harry Larry".  Yes, I name my plants. :) Isn't he adorable? We can't wait to eat the bounty that we hope this tree will bring.

This is our dwarf mandarin orange tree that we planted last fall. There are so many buds on it, we hope that bodes well for a good crop of oranges this year. His name is Bob. :)

We also planted some cherry tomato seeds in this planter and we're hoping they produce a lot of yummy tomatoes for our salads in a couple months. 

This is a huge shoot from our rose bush near our front door. Doesn't it look like something from "Jack and the Bean Stalk" ? We are thrilled that the plant is hearty and thriving.