Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Felt Valentine's Garland

Last night over dinner Allen and I decided we'd like to host a Valentine's party this year. It seemed like a good excuse for a celebration, so we messaged 5 of our closest couple friends and asked them if they would be up for dinner at our place Friday night. Two of them had prior obligations, but it appears (at least at this point) the other 3 will be attending. That's 8 adults and 6 kids! We couldn't be more excited!

I decided to tackle two projects for the occasion. The first, Felt Valentine's Garland, which is quite a popular project this season. I've seen it on several blogs, many of which have much more interesting designs than the one I decided to make. Click HERE, HERE, and HERE to see a few of the bloggers that inspired me. This is a quick and easy way to evoke a feeling of love in the air! ;)

Begin by cutting hearts in all shapes and sizes from felt and line them up in the order you'd like them to hang.

Next, sew each row together, trailing the tread after each heart.
It should look similar to this. . .
Then tie them from a chandelier or hang them from the ceiling. It really is that easy! Took me about 3o minutes in all. :)
And here's a sneak peek of the second project I decided to take on for our Valentine's dinner. This is an original design, though the technique was inspired by other bloggers. I actually had a dream about making this last night. . . I'm hoping to finish it during Jonah's nap tomorrow. I'll post a how-to and lots of pictures when I do. . . Any idea what it is?? ;)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

More Moda Fever

As you can see by todays multiple Moda posts, I'm prone to obsessions! :) (ask my husband, he'll gladly attest). . . One of my favorite blogs is Moda Bake Shop. It is in my opinion the ultimate modern quilting site, full of creative ideas and complete how-to "recipes" for each quilt!! Here are a few of my favorite quilts, designs I'd like to try. . .

Spun Sugar
Sugar Pop N Change
Random Reflections
Welcome Spring
Geese in the Park
Vintage Dreams
In a Jiffy
Pinwheels in the House

Moda Fever

I woke up this morning with charm packs and jelly rolls on my mind and an overwhelming urge to quilt. I am HEAD OVER HEELS for Moda fabric! I have been for MONTHS! I'm not sure the obsession will leave me any time soon. I wanted to show case a few of my favorite collections. . . mostly so I can reference them later, but also so I can pass the fever on to you. I haven't found a brand of fabric with more creativity and variety. . .

Moda Bliss . . . LOVE, LOVE THIS!!
Moda Lovely
Moda It's a Hoot . . . I'm SERIOUSLY making this quilt! Owl and all! LOVE IT!

Moda Dream On . . . It's SO Eve! Gotta have it!
Moda Lily and Will
Moda Sunkissed
Moda Central Park . . . Perfect for the quilt I plan to make for family picnics and movie nights at Centennial Park!
And what about this Moda Central Park toss pillow?!! Also a MUST MAKE!!
Moda Fandango
Moda Fresh Flowers. . . Great for Spring and Summer!
And of course, Moda Verna, my first love.
What do you think?! Do you have a favorite fabric line? What about these collections? Which stand out to you??

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Lesson in Crochet

I've been admiring the floral crochet diaper cover and headband above at CrochetMyLove for several months. It's a set I would have purchased, but the shop sells only patterns, not the finished product and with my complete lack of exposure to the world of crochet I knew it was a project far beyond my capability. . .

Well, last night my mom-in-law surprised me with this: (!!!!!!!)

She purchased the pattern and hired a friend to make it. . . Not sure why she hired someone else as she's quite the crochet expert herself. Of course seeing the set in person sparked an overwhelming desire to learn how to crochet. Crochet evokes the same timeless, heirloom feel as a quilt, I believe, and seems like a great skill to attain . . .

All that to say, my mom-in-law gave me a lesson in crochet!!! It was AMAZING!! She's an EXCELLENT teacher! I am SO blessed!

She started by teaching me the basic language . . . Ch(chain), DC (double crochet), Sl.St. (Slip Stitch), the skills to go with each, how to read a pattern, how to thread my fingers, and how get the right tension. And then she took me step-by-step through the crafting of my 1st flower!! It took me about an hour. . . It takes her 4 minutes! LOL! It was SO MUCH FUN! Definitely something I want to practice and master!
These little flowers are adorable when you add a button to the center! To see a video tutorial click HERE. :)
Here are a few examples of the crochet projects that catch my eye. . . and inspire me to perfect this skill. . .

These adorable booties at MaryJaneSlippers:
These diaper covers at AngelsChest'sShop:
This diaper cover at Karley's Kloset:
And this adorable set for Asher Liam (the next member of our family, or so we hope) ;) also from Karly's Kloset . . . If God doesn't give us an Asher I'll just make a really big one for my first monkey, Jonah! ;) (Lofty goals, I know. . . so far I've only made a flower and it took me an entire hour! LOL!)
I mean REALLY?! Is that not reason enough to learn to crochet?!! ;)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My First Quilt

As I've expressed before, I've had an overwhelming desire to make a quilt lately. It was an urge that my husband originally laughed at (assuming I didn't have the skill or patience required). He encouraged me to start small (as in learning to thread a sewing machine) and practice on projects that wouldn't be quite as overwhelming. And so I did. . . The previous posts on this blog are testimony to that. Finally, the day came (last Wednesday) when I felt confident it was time to tackle my first quilt!

My Mom has been quite sick for the past month and was placed in quarantine at the hospital last week. I couldn't see her during that time (which was extremely tough), so I decided it would be an ideal time to express my love through a quilt. . . For those of you unfamiliar with the quilting process, let me just tell you, if someone takes the time to make you a quilt they really, ReALLY, REALLY LOVE YOU! It's a LOT of work! I've decided it's one of the most definitive expressions of love there is! :)

I chose to make a rag quilt for two reasons. First, it's EXTREMELY FORGIVING! And second, it fits my free-spirited nature. I don't enjoy being bound by lots of hard and fast rules. . . as those of you closest to me can attest! It took about 2 1/2 days and 20 hours to complete. Here's how I did it:

First, I chose the fabric, 5 different patterns (about a yard and a half of each, not including the border).

I then ripped the fabric in 8 x 8 squares. For those of you who have never ripped fabric, I highly recommend it! It's quite therapeutic! :)
I then cut the batting in 6 x 6 squares, sandwiched it between two squares of like fabric and pinned them together.
I repeated the process 69 more times (there were around 70 blocks in all).
I then sewed each block from corner to corner, making an X.

Once each block was quilted with an X, I laid the squares out on the floor in the pattern I desired. I chose to lay them diagonally because I liked the diamond affect. You could just as easily lay them in rows and columns. As you can see, the blocks around the edges had to be cut in half (about 1 inch from the middle seam).
I then pinned the blocks in each row together and sewed them one-by-one.

Once the blocks in each row were sewn together, I pinned the rows and sewed those together. This part is quite tough because of the weight of the quilt at the machine.
This is the back of the quilt once all the blocks were sewn together. . .
And this is the front . . .
I decided to add a green border (which you don't have to do). I felt like it would be a nice place for the eyes to rest and it added a bit of length and width. I don't have pictures of the border process. . . It took several hours on it's own. . . Basically I purchased 3 yards of fabric, ripped it in 8 inch strips, folded each strip in half and ironed, then pinned and sewed around the edges. . . The corners were a challenge all their own. If you plan to tackle this project yourself and want more detailed instructions, just leave me a message and I'll gladly give you more info. . .

Once the border was on, I snipped around each block on the front side of the quilt. This enables the quilt to "rag" . . .
I then washed and dried it. . .
And there you have it. . . My first quilt. :)
I added tags on the back (something I learned from Allen's grandmother who so faithfully makes quilts for every couple and child in our family). I printed the lyrics of a song and a scripture that has inspired my Mom during her illness on one tag. . .
And a to/from label on the other tag. . .
I can't tell you how amazing it felt to FINALLY complete something as monumental as a quilt! I'll definitely do it again!! This isn't a project for the faint of heart, but if you have the desire GO FOR IT! You'll be glad you did!! :)