Monday, December 31, 2007

Quilted Postcards Part Two - Quilting the Collage

All right, I get to finish part two before the end of 2007! My previous batches I went directly to quilting the collage, but this time I wanted to add some Angelina Fiber embellishment. I chose a blue and pink Angelina to coordinate with my theme - "Fire and Ice". I simply cut pieces out of a square of pressed fibers and tossed them onto my collage whever I liked.

I then pinned them all down.

Then I used my sewing machine with quilting foot to stitch them down around the edges. I did this because I wanted to just quilt over them, putting them in the background rather than making them pop off the top of the completed design.

When they were all stitched down I started quilting my piece. I used a pretty Madeira thread in the colors of my fabrics on the top and for the back I simply used up different bobbins that don't have a lot of thread on them. As long as its not going to show this works very well, though you do have to deal with changing bobbins more often!

As far as quilting designs go its all just doodling on the fabric. Right now I am really into using spirals so I've done a lot of those, some sunbursts, practice feathers, circles, clamshells. It really doesn't matter, and it makes the finished postcards a lot of fun because you never know what you are going to have on each card. It's a terrific way to just practice free motion, and let your imagination run wild.

After quilting I press the collage flat - on this one I had to press from the backside so I wouldn't mess up my Angelina embellishments. The next step is cutting. I put the quilted piece on the cutting board and measure it top to bottom and side to side, using this measurement to guide my choice on how to cut. This one was a little shorter than 18 inches across on one side, so I decided to start by cutting a 4 inch strip off the other side, and divided that into three six inch sections.
Then I rotated my piece and cut off another 4 inch strip and divided that into three more pieces:

Then another strip with three:

Coming up to the shorter side, I cut a 6 inch strip and divided that into four 4 inch pieces, and the last section is a 4 inch strip with only two cuts possible.

I got fifteen 4 x 6 inch postcards, plus a couple of smaller scraps out of this piece.

I then cut fifteen 4 x 6 pieces of fusible web, and fifteen pieces of 4 x 6 card stock. I had purchased a bad batch of fusible web, if you iron it on to fabric, it sticks to the paper and doesn't release. It works well, however, if you peel it from the paper first, then sandwich it between the postcard top and the card stock. It really is a bit of a pain, but at least it allows me to use this fusible web.

After cutting, the card stock is fused to the back of the quilts. I pressed these from the card stock side to avoid ruining the Angelina and to insure a good bond.

Next step, finishing the edges!

A very Blessed and Happy New Year to one and all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

As usual, I can have all the good intentions in the world, but not the time! I will finish up the post cards next week, but did want to pop in to say Merry Christmas. I have two of my daughters home this weekend, and am looking forward to a fun week of family, but probably no quilting or blogging.

As you exchange gifts with your loved ones this week, don't forget the greatest gift of all, and the reason for Christmas - Jesus Christ.

God Bless us every one!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How I make fabric collage postcards - part one:

Finally I get to get this going! I'm not finished yet, but here is part one - making the fabric collage. I think it's a lot of fun. For this set I am using leftovers from a strips and curves quilt I made. I saved all the bits and pieces because they are so pretty! First I find a piece of leftover batting that is about 19 x 21 inches. This size will make 15 postcards.

Then I start layering my scraps - I just lay them out however I think they look good!

I rearrange a lot as I sort through all of my bits. I like to limit the bigger pieces because I like each card to have some piecing in it. The strip pieces are nice because they are already pieced, so I can use the bigger pieces of those with no worries. I love the way the curves look in the postcards, so put in plenty of those, even freehand cutting them with my rotary cutter when needed.
After everything is arranged I pin the edges down, double checking to make sure all the batting is covered up.

I then pull out my pretty threads and pick something that goes with the quilt. I start stitching the raw edges down in no particular order, just picking different stitches, and changing threads every 3 or 4 seams. I lay my piece out flat every once in a while to make sure nothing has shifted position.

Now it's finished! Here is what the back looks like:

And this is the top:

Next step is the quilting, I'll talk about that tomorrow. I don't usually back my piece for postcards, but if you will be using this to make something that needs backing you can back it with something that enhances the top and pin baste it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My lucky night at quilt guild!

Last night was our Coos Sand & Sea Christmas Party. It was quite a lot of fun - pot luck, gift exchange and show and tell. One of the things our guild does is our raffle table. It started out as a way to pump some much needed cash into our show fund, but has continued as a fun and profitable tradition. Everyone brings stuff to donate that they no longer want: patterns magazines, books, fabric.... The wonderful ladies who are now in charge of our raffle table take all the donations from the current month, bring them home and package them up into attractive and organized bundles. Last night they were all beautifully gift wrapped for Christmas. I hardly ever buy raffle tickets, but last night I was in a charitable mood because I sold a book from my stash on, so I bought four tickets. My 13 year old came with me, so she gave me the two even numbered tickets and she kept the odd ones. Well both of my tickets were called, and one of hers! So I came out with a stack of goodies a foot high - lots of magazines, some old, and some from this year, a couple of books, and some lovely green and yellow fabrics for me, and my daughter is keeping her stack of blue fabric. I'm going to bundle up the magazines I already have to pass through my thursday afternoon sewing circle.

Totally changing the topic, but I sure hope the weather clears up this afternoon so the satellite guy can put up our hd dish. We've been washed out twice due to the weather. It is supposed to be sunny this afternoon, but I hear rain outside right now. Of course we always say if you don't like the weather here wait 5 minutes, it could be totally different!

My quilting mission today is to make some more pot holders! I've sold 4 of the coffee ones this week, and have a bunch more to make so I'd better get on it. I want to get at least 4 done this morning, but have to squeeze in a grocery store run also. I also plan on putting up a tutorial of how I've been making my fabric collage post cards. It's a lot of fun, and maybe someone else would be interested in how to make a whole batch at once (tried one at a time and quilting those little 4 x 6 squares is challenging - I need more room to maneuver!). Of course I need to clean up the studio first, all the flat surfaces are covered with stuff!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Shopping from my couch!

I love it! I am all cozily snuggled under my favorite blue and white quilt on my couch doing most of my Christmas shopping. I am truly addicted to Etsy! I did not have to drive to the mall and find a parking spot, walk through the rain, trudge through stores, stand in lines, and carry my stuff out to the car. I had hot chocolate, watched tv, and had a ball going through all the goodies I could find looking for that perfect gift! I found wonderful gifts for everybody, even the man of the house who is so hard to shop for. He is going to be thrilled with his gift! I even got myself a treat for doing such a good job with my shopping!

Now I get to look forward to having the mailman deliver all the goods to my front door so I can wrap them up and put them under the tree (that I need to get busy and put up!). I have my wrapping paper and tape all ready, I may go out to get some ribbon so I can make my neato handmade gifts even prettier! Can you tell I am giddy with happiness?

Another happy thing is that the four new windows for the upstairs were installed yesterday. I have been waiting forever it seems like to get this done. I'll bet we save enough on our electric bill to pay for them in just a few years. Little by little we are whipping this poor old house into shape. All in all a fine day, and I am looking forward to another good one tomorrow - it's quilting day, always fun. We'll see what the ladies are up to, and have a good afternoon!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Down One storm window, but still standing!

Well, it is bedtime, but we are still standing, and the lights are on! We did lose our electricity for a couple of hours, but we have lights, heat, and a roof with all the shingles still on it. Tomorrow is supposed to be a better day, but the wind is still raging tonight.

On the other hand, I finished quilting a collage of scraps and cut it into a set of post cards. Will take pictures tomorrow and show you all of the fun!

Windy afternoon

Not as rainy, but the wind is picking up now. The lights have flickered a couple of times, but I've got the dress hemmed, and just have to convert the gloves into gauntlets and I will be done. I got a call from the interior designer I sew for from time to time and she has a couple of jobs for me so I am happy about that! I like to keep busy, but not be overwhelmed and this last month has been perfect for that. Now that I've had my lunch I'll go back to the sewing room and get those gloves done, then on to some quilting!

Rain, rain and wind...

It's 9:00 am on Monday morning, and that promised storm is here. The winds aren't bad, but the rain is pouring down. We have flood watches, flood warnings, and wind warnings in effect. What a nice day to be cozy in my house. I don't think I need to go anywhere today, so I will hem the wedding dress, then do some quilting! As long as we have our power I'm a happy camper in the storm. Just hope everything goes ok for my hubby, he's out making sure the mail gets to where it needs to go (wish they could send him home, but you know the postal service!). I'll update later with more pictures, but for now, here is our soggy day:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

There's a Big Wind Coming!

Hopefully we won't all blow away - they've even cancelled school for tomorrow! Hopefully the electricity will stay on because I have just been goofing off today and have not even touched the wedding dress I am supposed to be hemming. I think it will be all right because I don't think the bride will want to come out to pick it up tomorrow anyway! I just wish my poor husband didn't have to go out in this mess tomorrow, but neither wind nor rain....

This is that lovely pastel quilt I was so happy with this week. It's really hard to take a good picture of a pastel quilt - they look really washed out. I just did a nice stipple on it, using a soft green thread, and it looks absolutely awesome. I plan to list it on Etsy this week. I am also having a special sale -25% off the featured items in my shop. Don't know if it will help, but I sure have a lot of quilts that I want to get re-homed before the end of the year!

I have been doing a lot of thinking about Etsy, and I think I have been spending way too much time trying to come up with lower priced items, and promoting, and just generally worrying over it. I have decided that I will just continue to put my finished quilts on there, but no more totes or bag tags or checkbook covers. It's not that much fun to work at making all this stuff just so I can have a variety of prices and new stuff to list all the time. Plus that I am having to store and take care of all of it. Not really what I want to do. I want to make quilts. I like making postcards, too. I may check out some other places for selling my quilts. I plan to spend some time promoting my patterns this month, and hopefully get some wholesale going on with quilt shops on the west coast here.

Hopefully I'll be checking in tomorrow evening and letting you know how the big storm goes!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Successful Souping

Hurrah! The soup was a grand success, had lots left over - but was able to give most of it away. The tea was wonderful - the decorations were fabulous, the gift bags went over well, and the food was great. Several ladies said it was the best ever (but they say that every year!). It's a lot of work, but very rewarding and even though there are always minor glitches things just manage to turn out just fine. It's a nice start to the Christmas season, and it always puts me in the holiday spirit!

Our theme was Winter Wonderland, we decorated with blue and white and snowmen. We had a very gifted lady named Valerie who cut out tons of snowflakes by hand for us and we hung those all over the dining room, and she also made a wonderful snowman cake that tasted just as good as it looked!

We had a harpist, sang Christmas Carols, and enjoyed my friend Brenda as our special speaker. A great time was had by all. Now we are settling in for a big storm tomorrow - hopefully our power won't go out and I can finish hemming up a wedding dress!