Children at Play Airplane Quilt

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A little over a year ago, I fell in love with Sarah Jane’s “Children at Play” fabric for Michael Miller.  I bought a few fat quarters without a real plan for what to do with it.  Later I decided to make a crib quilt for Damon (my oldest) for when we turned his crib into a daybed.  The blanket that came with his crib set is too small to use in anything other than a crib.

I started the quilt but didn’t finish it.  Fast forward to finding out I was pregnant—we now have different plans for that crib, and my oldest will be in a twin bed.  So, I was left with a half-finished quilt.  Instead of leaving it on the shelf, I’ve decided to make it up for my new little boy and use it as a car quilt.  Damon has a Dr. Seuss quilt that we keep in the car, and I’ve loved having one there to throw over him during the cold months.

I took out a few pieces to make the quilt more square instead of long, as I had planned it for the daybed.  This quilt is loosely based off this quilt designed for a quilt market when the fabric line was first introduced:

Original photo found on Michael Miller’s Blog

Isn’t it adorable?  There is actually a tutorial and downloadable template on the website for the airplane.  Unfortunately, I found the picture of this quilt on another blog and didn’t find the template until after I had already made my own—so, if you decide to make this, you’ll have a much easier time of it than I did!

I actually like this quilt better than my own, but I thought so much white space wasn’t very practical for an often-used baby quilt, so I incorporated more prints in mine, and I’m quite happy with mine as well.  The one thing I did do differently on this quilt was to give the airplane applique a trapunto effect so that it stands out more.  You can find the tutorial here.

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I have several fabric scraps leftover, so I might make the version above as a baby gift in the future.  I love the colors and the fabric design.

I quilted this with loop-de-loops just like in the picture.  It echoes the airplane trails nicely.  I did not quilt over the applique because I didn’t want to flatten out the trapunto effect.  I also used the airplane print on the back—it was one of my favorites in the line, and I think it coordinates nicely with the front since I used the airplane as the main focus of the quilt top.

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August Bee Blocks

I’m early this month (to make up for last month, I guess).  I basically did August and July blocks at the same time.  It’s nice to have that commitment out of the way early this month, though.  Here’s what I made:

We Bee Learning

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I actually like this block, even though it’s very simple.  She wanted more modern prints/colors, and I thought I’d never have a reason to use this fabric, but there it is.  She also wanted gray cornerstones, and I was limited on the grays in my stash, so this isn’t what I would have normally chosen, but I think it will be fine once she gets everything sewn together.   It’s supposed to be scrappy, so it should fit in well.

Stash Bee

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This is not one of my favorite blocks, simply  because the prints make it so busy.  The tutorial used solids, and I liked that better, but her example used prints, so I went with that.  You can move the blocks around to create different designs, which is why she had us leave them apart instead of sewing them all together.  She wants to play around with them first.  This block was paper pieced, which always gives me a bit of a headache.  Maybe someday I’ll get better at it.

The 99 Bee

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I really had a great time making these blocks.  When I first saw what she had requested, I was about ready to bang my head on the table.  It’s paper pieced, of course, and I thought that all the little seams would kill me.  Actually, though, I had a great time making them.  They went together quickly and easily.  In fact, these were easier for me than the paper pieced blocks for Stash Bee above.  I think this will make a really cute quilt, too.  I like this myself, but I’ve never really been into the British flag thing, so I probably won’t ask for this when it’s my turn.  It was nice, though, to make a paper pieced block this detailed and come out of it still feeling pretty good about everything.  Maybe there’s hope for me yet with paper piecing.

July Bee Blocks

I’m quite a bit late this month with the bee blocks.  My husband had a two week vacation, and while I love having him home, it definitely throws me off my routine, so I didn’t get much sewing done this month at all.

We Bee Learning

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She wanted black, white, and purple.  This isn’t my favorite style of block, but hopefully she likes it.

Stash Bee

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I absolutely love this block.  I think the quilt will be beautiful when it’s done.  She wanted a couple of selvages in each block, and for some reason I’m really a fan of selvage pieces that people are making.  I’m sure selvage sewing is probably just a fad, but I find it really fun.  I’m saving up all of mine for a quilt myself.  This block took quite a while to make, so I doubt I’d do one like this all by myself, but I think it will be really unique when she sews everything together.

The 99 Bee

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I really love these blocks, too, as well as the fabric.  I still haven’t decided what fabrics I want to use when it’s my month (January).  I do love the Amy Butler as well as this design, though.  I haven’t bought much Amy Butler ever, but I may decide to go with that for my bee quilt.  The nice thing about this bee is that people began sending enough fabric for two blocks with the option of only making one and sending the leftover fabric back.  I always make the two for people, and I hope they’ll do it for me, too.  If so, that means I’ll have 24 blocks—definitely enough for a queen size, which means I could make a bed quilt—like I need another one of those!

County Fair Results

This was my first year of entering some craft/quilting projects in the adult section of our county fair.  I had a great experience and plan to do this again next year.  I even won a couple of prizes!

Here’s what I entered:

img_5007Zig-Zag Quilt.  This won me $25 and a silver plate for being quilted by hand.  I don’t think I had much competition in this category since most people don’t do much hand-work anymore.  Still, I was thrilled to win $25.

We were also really happy to get this baby back on our bed.  I used Hobb’s Heirloom batting in this quilt, and although it’s a cotton batting, it’s very light and fluffy, so it’s perfect for a summer quilt.  We were using a heavier one while this one was at the fair, and we were constantly kicking it off in the night.  This will probably be our go-to summer quilt from now on.

IMG_4702This Vintage Baby Quilt was also entered in the hand-quilted category.  It won the reserve grand and a $20 prize.  Again, not much competition in this category, but there were a couple of other entries.  This category was for smaller quilts, and people are much more likely to take on a hand-quilting job for a smaller project.  I do like this quilt, but I think it’s destined to be sold.  I would give it away as a baby gift, but I would have to be sure to find the right recipient as many of my friends aren’t really into vintage stuff and would prefer something a lot more modern.

 

118I entered my Ruby Mosaic Quilt in the machine stitched category, and it won 3rd place.  I’m actually pretty proud of that because there were a lot more quilts in the machine-quilted category, and some of them were absolutely gorgeous, and their makers have machine skills far beyond my own.  I still can’t follow a pattern and keep even stitches, and some of the quilts had very intricate quilting designs on them.  This quilt was stippled with flowers added in, and while I do love that quilting pattern, it takes so little skill compared to some of the others I saw at the fair.  This is a quilt I’m keeping because I love the fabric and the design of the quilt, and it matches our parlor/guest bedroom very well.

 

 

 

115My Central Park Quilt was my only entry that didn’t place, but I definitely understand why—it was a simple stipple design, and other quilts with more difficult/elaborate designs were far and above this quilt.  Still, I was happy with the way it turned out, and it’s currently for sale in a local shop.

 

IMG_4992This was a cross-stitch project I entered.  It received first place in its category, but all needle art projects are lumped together for the sweepstakes prize, and a beautiful handmade lace project won.  I have never seen such beautiful and tiny lace work before, so she definitely deserved the prize.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_5025This is a tablecloth and napkins set made by my great great aunt Tressy.  It’s really pretty in person, and I keep it out on a buffet in my dining room all the time.  I’ve always loved this set, so my mom just gave it to me a few years ago when we moved in to our house.  It won first place in its category, but all collectibles are judged together, and a set of china dishes won the prize.  Next year I plan to enter some china that my grandmother got from the White House (she took care of an elderly neighbor who used to be a White House secretary around the Hayes administration, and they gave away the old china to the employees when a new administration came in and ordered  a different pattern).

 

Anyhow, I have lots of ideas for next year’s entries, and I really had fun entering things this year.  While we usually go look through the home ec. building anyway, it increased the fun to see some of my own things there.

Laundry Basket Dressers

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For a while now I’ve been struggling with a laundry room that is perpetually a mess.  Although I only have one child for now, another one will be along shortly, and I do about three times as much laundry for my husband as I do for myself.  He has a work uniform, casual clothes he wears at home, and work clothes he wears while doing dirty remodeling jobs.  Sometimes he goes through three sets of clothes in a day, and he doesn’t like to re-wear stuff often.  All that adds up to a big pile of laundry.

While I’m pretty good at staying on top of actually washing the clothes, I’m not so good at putting them away, and there was really no place to stack stuff in my laundry room, so piles would end up being toppled, undoing all of my folding work.  Recently on pinterest I found plans for these laundry basket dressers, and they seemed like the perfect solution.  You can find the plans at ana-white.com, which is another discovery I made in the process.  She has plans for all kinds of DIY furniture, and I definitely have a few more pieces on the list to make.  There are a couple of different configurations for these dressers, so you can choose which makes the best use of your space, but I chose the taller ones that hold four baskets each.  Each unit uses one sheet of 3/4” plywood.

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I made these with my dad, but they are really very simple, so if you have some basic tools and have someone cut your boards for you if you don’t have a saw (the store will sometimes do this for free or for a small fee), then you should have no problem doing them by yourself.  The only change I made to the plans was to add some decorative molding to the front edges so the rougher plywood edge wouldn’t show.

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I’m super happy with how these turned out, and they’ve been just as helpful at containing the laundry mess as I had hoped.  Now I just fill up the baskets as I do laundry, and once they’re full, I put them away.  The idea is for my kids to put their own clothes away once they get old enough, but that’s a few years off.  I also decided to make two dressers instead of one because as a family, we already fill up the one.  Add in another possible future child, and I would need another one anyhow.  This way, I have a couple of extra baskets.  My husband has two—one for work clothes and one for regular clothes, and I use another for items to go downstairs (kitchen linens, tablecloths, downstairs towels, etc.).  I’ve also overtaken a couple for ongoing craft projects…but hopefully those will empty out soon.

I painted the dressers red to add some color to the room, and I just love the way they turned out.  I primed with a brush first, and it took me about six hours for both.  I wasn’t about to do that again, so I had my husband use spray paint, and it was a really good choice.  It took about three coats and several cans, but it gave a very smooth finish, took less time, and cost about half what a gallon of paint would have cost.  The rungs are difficult to paint around, which is why it took so long with a brush.  I suppose it also would have been easier to paint the insides before they were assembled, but I didn’t think of that at the time.

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Honestly, one of the parts I love the most about these dressers are the cute little tags I made to label them.  I’m quite proud of them because I designed them in Photoshop with my seriously limited skills.  I installed a new font and for the background I used a picture of the fabric from fabric.com, where I bought my curtain fabric.  I then laminated the tags and tied them on with red ribbon—it must match, of course!  Anyhow, they’re very functional and sturdy as well.  I’ve been carrying the baskets around the house, and they are quite secure.

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The finishing touch for the project was making an organizer (I’ll post more on that soon) in coordinating fabric to go over the top and down each side.  I wanted a mat of some sort for the top since I planned to set things up there and possibly slide things around like laundry detergent.  It also helps tie the two units together and prevents anything from falling in the little crack between the two.  I could have made it all one unit, but I like having them separate in case I decide to move them or change my configuration at some point.  The sides were pretty much wasted space, but with the organizer, I have pockets on both sides now.  On the laundry side it holds a bleach pen, lingerie bag, etc. and on the sewing desk side, I’ve filled it up with scissors, rulers, pencils, and other sewing notions.

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One of these days I hope to make some basket liners out of the fabric I have left….it’s going on the list, but for now I’m very happy with the way things have turned out.  The room is much more functional, feels more spacious, and the bright happy colors make me smile when I go in, even if it is to do laundry.

a 10th birthday tie-dye cake

Recently a friend of ours asked me to make a birthday cake for their little girl’s tie-dye themed birthday party.  The father has been so helpful to us with our home remodel (he’s a contractor) and so generous with tools, etc. that I decided to do it for free.  I’m definitely glad someone didn’t pay me for this cake.  It’s passable, but it’s just not one that I finished and was really happy with.  It’s just kind of “okay.”

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I used the Wilton Color Mist Spray   to get the look, but they just aren’t as rich of a color as the airbrush system I used when I worked at the bakery.  I had never used the Wilton sprays before, and while they aren’t as good as the several hundred dollar system, they are a good alternative for home bakers.  I was happy with all the colors except for the red, but red is a difficult color to achieve in icing coloring alone.

To give it a more authentic tie-dyed look, I made an asterisk pattern out of yarn to make sure there were some white spots.  It worked fairly well, but the yarn blew around some from the force of the spray, so it didn’t give me as stark of a white as I was hoping for.  Also, by the time I got the message and a few flowers on a 10-inch cake, it pretty much covered up the design part of the tie dye.

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Still, it could be much worse, and I think the birthday girl will be happy with it, which is what really counts.  I did add some edible glitter to the top of the cake over the message and flowers, and I’ve always thought that sparks a cake up like nothing else will.  I never used it until I worked at the bakery, and they used it on top of every message and flower cluster.  It gives it an extra special touch (and helps distract from anything that may or may not be a bit unsightly!).

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