Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Friday Five

Now that Lent has begun I'm going to move the Friday Five post to a quick Sunday post. :) The first photo in the line up was taken on Ash Wednesday down at the marina. I was on my way home from visiting with a friend. While I was sitting at the traffic light I looked up and saw the flag flying and realized it would be a good pic for the week 7 challenge -- the challenge can be found here. 

Week 7 -- Outdoor Photography --Wind

After library on Thursday we noticed the extremely low tide and couldn't help but stop down by the bay and take a look at all the goodies left on the shore...

...feeling inspired by the bay, once back at home a search through my scrap bags yielded a little mermaid scrap and a quick log cabin was stitched up for her to live in.

Yesterday was the Project Linus Make A Blanket Day. Rosemary wasn't able to go so I picked up her  cheerful and darling little froggy quilt on my way there and dropped it off for her.

It was great meeting my local Project Linus coordinator Marianne Britton and her predecessor Nancy Reeves. Two very sweet ladies who I look forward to seeing more often at the quarterly meetings. They showed me lots of other sweet blankets and quilts that were donated as well as give me some insight as to what to expect from the quarterly meetings. They loved Julie's pattern "The Happy Camper" and want to show it at the next meeting as another project idea for donations. The pattern is sew much fun to make and can be customized for girls or boys. The pattern can be purchased in Julie's Etsy shop KnitpickinChicken. 

 I've really been enjoying writing in my journal since Lent began. I've found it to be a great help in keeping track of my thoughts and especially helping me be more mindful and honest about what I've chosen to let go of during this lenten season. The book "Fire Within" has been just what I've needed to get my prayer life in order, I'm devouring it! I'm really looking forward to this time of renewal. May you all have a blessed week.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Scrappy Inspiration

You have scraps, I have scraps, we all have scraps!

In preparing for Lent to begin tomorrow with Ash Wednesday, I've decided to start a journal as a sort of long letter to my daughters, who are discerning with the Poor Clares, that I'll send to them for an Easter gift. My goal is to write my daily reflections on the readings as well as my thoughts as I read the book I've chosen for this Lent, as well as other daily musings.

So, what does this have to do with scraps, you ask? Well, as I was looking for the journal, while simultaneously trying to make a decision about what wip to work on next, it hit me--pull out the scrap bags and start tackling those scraps! Right about then is when I spotted the journal, which had been tucked away just above the cabinet where the scraps are. Upon seeing the journal I was inspired to grab the pink and orange--just the pop of color I needed on this otherwise gloomy and rainy day!

The inspiration piece is the pink and orange journal. The block is an improv on a log cabin. It's 13 inches square. I didn't make much of a dent in the two bags though. It's amazing just how much can be made from scraps! Lots more to go!

The book I'll be reading and reflecting on. 

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name. If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear. You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort.

You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord's own house shall I dwell for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Happy Camper Kinda Day

For Valentine's Day I treated myself to a sweet quilty finish on the "Happy Camper Quilt". This is such a fun quilt to create and customize! It's a great quilt for beginning and seasoned quilters alike! My friend Julie created the pattern for last year's National Project Linus Conference and can be purchased in her Etsy shop KnitpickinChicken. The pattern is well written and super easy to follow. It utilizes a raw edge applique technique. It's sew easy--just cut, glue and stick in place before sewing. After I put it together I sent it to her for quilting. She used a MonoPoly thread and quilted it on her longarm named Agnes, they're a great team! It'll be donated at the Project Linus Make A Blanket Day next Saturday. I can only imagine all the places this little Happy Camper will go!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Friday Five

Five photos from this week begins with a beautiful sunrise shot taken by Sofie on our way to morning Mass yesterday. Before we got out of the neighborhood and to the bridge that passes over one of the larger bayous, I could see through the trees that we were going to be treated to a magnificent sunrise. I quickly handed my phone to Sofie so she could capture a shot. The water was so perfectly still it really was breathtaking! If we had more time I would've pulled over to take a hundred more shots!

On Wednesday evening our parish family prayed the Rosary outside at the grotto in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes for her feast day. It was one of the most beautiful rosaries...we sang after each decade and before the fifth decade we all lit candles before processing into the church for Mass and anointing of the sick. I used my favorite rosary made for me by a dear friend. 

Today was the first time to go to a quilt show! I'm so happy these two cuties could tag-a-long. They've had to go with me to all the quilty things here of late because of Dear 'ol Dad having to travel a lot these past few weeks. They didn't seem to mind though once they saw more amazing quilty works like this patchwork dolphin just outside the doors! Inside there were over a hundred quilts to look at and be inspired by. Such a pool of talent and artistry! 

I took lots and lots of pictures of incredible quilts, dragons and horses and mermaids, oh my--but as I was reading in the show program it was stated that photos were allowed but should be for personal use unless permission was granted from quilt maker for publication. My sweet Ladybug friend, Rosemary, made this quilt and granted permission for me to share it here. The main blocks are embroidered seasonal blocks and then hand quilted. She so inspires me with her beautiful handwork!!

This week's photo challenge over at the PhotoChallenge blog is on numbers again, but this week it's prime numbers. We discussed what prime numbers are as a little home school math assignment on Monday and then started looking. We found lots of them! Inspired by all of today's quilty goodness and with the realization that today is the 13th and this is my 13th post, (maybe I should by a lotto ticket?) after we got home from the quilt show we staged a fabric and prime number photo shoot of 13 of my favorite Tula Pink fat eighth fabrics from my stash with a couple of 13's.

Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Matching Prints Process

Last summer I made a quilt for my God-daughter that featured a fabric print of the Blessed Mother (the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe) on the back of the quilt. The yardage was long enough but not wide enough and therefore needed to be pieced. It was the first time I attempted my hand at matching up a fabric print along a seam. I had gone back and forth with how to approach tackling this task, at one point I even considered just piecing together other pieces of fabric just so I wouldn't have to do it--enter Lazy Kim trying to avoid the possible use of stitch ripper! Let me tell you, I do try at almost all costs to avoid the stitch ripper. Ultimately, the vision I had in my head of the result I desired wouldn't allow for laziness to undermine my idea so I figured out a way to match it all up. After some careful pressing and pinning, and more importantly--some slow sewing, I managed to successfully match up the print and achieve my goal. The end result wasn't precisely exact but was pretty close--close enough that the seam for the match isn't immediately, jump in your face, noticeable. Good enough! And no ripping of stitches!

Recently I acquired some more beautiful fabric with a similar image of the Blessed Mother print that I used for my God-daughter's quilt. A sweet Ladybug generously shared some of her fabric scraps as well as some yardage. Thank you, thank you sweet Ladybug! ;) One of the fabrics didn't have a full image from where it had been cut so if I wanted a full image I'd need to match up the print. I thought I'd share with you the process I use for doing this in case you are confronted with the same task or in case you steer away from using directional prints that need matching up in your projects. It does take extra time to do but once you do it a few times you'll get the hang of it.

Below is a picture of the quilt back for my God-daughter...

You can see in this closer view that the Blessed Mother looks a bit thinner in the matched piece.

The piece of my newly acquired fabric was cut right across the top of her head. Fortunately there was another part of the fabric that could be used to match the piece and have a full image to use.

The first thing to do is to find an area of the print that can be matched. 
I start by finger pressing the match at the same edge where the other piece is cut to make 
sure there will be enough fabric to allow for a seam allowance after stitching.

Those are stars not seeds, silly bird! 

Anyhow, once you decide where you'd like to stitch your seam to match the print 
go ahead and give a good press with the iron. 
You may have to maneuver fabric a bit afterwards to get it to line up, 
keeping in mind the nature of fabric--it isn't rigid so there will be some play to it.

Now, carefully fold the top piece down towards you, right sides together, and pin in place.

You can carefully peek to make sure it's lined up by folding that top piece towards you. 
Adjust your pins if necessary.

Now you're ready to sew. Position your pieces under your presser foot. Line up your crease in the center and then move your needle position to the right until it is just outside the crease. If you would like you can set your stitch length to baste to make sure it lines up and then go back and use a piecing stitch to secure the match.

My eyes are getting old and even with glasses I sometimes have difficulty seeing the crease on lighter fabrics so I use a pin as a guide to help stay out of the crease while stitching. Also, take note of how the fabrics don't line up along the raw edge to the right. The cut on this piece was slightly curved across the print.

Again, if you want to make sure your fabric matches once it's sewn you could use a basting stitch first and then secure. Because this was a small piece to match I didn't baste and took my chances! With a large piece like a quilt back, I would definitely baste to make sure the print matches or have your stitch ripper at the ready just in case.

Fold open and inspect.

If you used a basting stitch and are pleased with your result then go back and secure. 
If no basting was used then give a nice press with the iron. 

You can see here the curve in the cut and the irregular seam allowance. If necessary you may want to cut back any excess in the seam allowance if there was a large overlap in the printed area you were trying to match. In the photo I haven't trimmed the overlap.

As you can see, it's not absolutely perfect but it works
 and can now be used to make something pretty!

Here's a shot of the new piece on the wall. 

I'm thinking it could be used to make an apron...hmm??
What do you think?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Round and Round, Second Finish for 2015

I'm happy to report that I can count another wip as done and ready to donate to the Project Linus Make A Blanket Day on the 21st! Yesterday I finished the little Giant Star baby quilt that I started last year with leftovers from the first one I made. The star goes together quickly with half square triangles ( tutorial I used found here ) so it's not like it was some kind of complicated project that requires a lot of time, I just lost interest in finishing it after having already made one with the same fabrics, call it quilter ADD I don't know, but I'm sure I'm not the only person who experiences it! Am I right?? I mean with so many gorgeous fabrics out there and ideas that pop into your head when you see them, it's easy to get sidetracked!

For the quilting I thought I'd try an echo concentric circle. This isn't the first of my quilts to get this type of quilting but it's the first time I tried it for myself. I followed Blooming Poppies tutorial and after the first couple of passes it wasn't bad at all. My best advice, if you try it, is go slow in the beginning! I kept the spacing equal throughout but next time I might mix it up a bit. You'll see where some of my stitches are a bit irregular in the first few circles but they weren't bad enough to warrant pulling out the stitch ripper! Besides that, a trip through the quilt wash took care of that! I really like the effect of this concentric circle quilting and now that I've overcome a quilting fear of mine, and also a bit of laziness, I'll definitely be using it more often! Yeah, the "quilting" part of the quilt-making process is the scariest part for me...Anywho, onto the pics!

For the binding I prefer to hand finish, because I like the smooth clean look, but decided to try Pat Sloan's machine binding tutorial. The tutorial is great and is another technique I'll use again for little quilts that need to stand up to lots of washing. Also, after I finished I thought the added texture might give a teething baby some comfort--my youngest had a little teething towel that she loved. 


For the backing I used a super soft flannel. The finished quilt measures 40 inches square.

Now, I get to start something new!!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Happy Monastic Birthday

Today is the Feast of St. Colette and it was on this day one year ago our daughter Phoenix entered Bethlehem Monastery of the Poor Clares in Barhamsville, Virginia.

Happy Monastic Birthday Phoenix! We love you and are praying for you every day!

 Let us praise the Father in his mercy and the Son by his passion and the Holy Spirit the fountain of peace and sweetness and love. Amen, amen without recall!

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Friday Five

Last month I did a search for photo challenges. I was looking for something with specific prompts that could help stimulate more creative photographic pursuits. In my search I discovered the website.  The challenge was already at the end of the second week when I stumbled along, but that wasn't a problem--taking a picture in my kitchen could be done anytime, it's not like the forks were gonna run away with the spoons! I decided I'd catch up and follow along just for fun.

However, the challenge for numbers less than ten was a different story! I kept looking and looking and then one morning on a walk to the marina, I had a breakthrough--the numbers on the piers shouted at me! After that, I was seriously seeing numbers less than ten everywhere!

The most recent challenge had me laughing because my youngest daughter, when she noticed me taking a picture of the laptop, made the comment " she's even taking pictures of her computer now!" Well, once I explained why I was doing it, she decided she wants to play! It could be part of school, she says. :-)

So, if you like taking pictures, either just for fun or for professional purposes, and want to expand your creativity, skills and awareness then you'll want to check out the website. If you'd like to share with the photography community and gain some feedback there are guidelines for sharing on several sites at the end of each post.

The Friday Five this week includes a photo from each of the weekly challenges so far. Happy Friday!

Week 1; Macro - Kitchen

Week 2: Numbers Ten and Under

 Week 3; Outdoor Photography - Trees

Week 4: Outdoor Photography - Man Made In Nature

Week 5: Macro - Computer

Monday, February 2, 2015

Making Progress

Making progress on my wip list. I got a little sewing done on Saturday with the addition of borders on this little Giant Star block. I made a similar quilt last year in February and this is made from the leftovers. Presently it measures in at 34 inches square and I'd like to have it finished as another donation quilt for the Project Linus Make A Blanket Day on the 21st. It seems I've got a thing for stars and this is a fun and easy quilt to make. Because it's a smaller size it can easily be turned into a blanket rather than a bound quilt. The tutorial I followed can be found here.