Thursday, July 28, 2011

Odds & Sods

Over the last little while I’ve been branching out and trying a couple of new things.
First up – I needed wanted a bench for our foyer. Something with a little storage would be nice. After scoping out Kijiji for weeks on end I finally saw someone selling a piano bench for $25. Sold! The very refined, very elderly, gentleman I bought it from told me it was his mother-in-laws. Well, who knew I was picking up an antique for such a great price!
The top of the bench has a little bit of random spray paint on it when I got it. As I didn’t want to go through the chore of stripping it down and refinishing it (until we’re living somewhere a little more permanent). I decided to get some foam cushioning and a piece of home dec fabric and staple gun it to the top. Now, the only marks left will be staple holes on the inside of the lid. And who doesn’t love a little Amy Butler fabric??

(Please try to ignore the state of our floors - previous residents put carpet on top of the hardwood and they look like that permanently now!)

The next item I put myself into was baking a cake for my mother’s birthday. We were celebrating on Canada Day and I decided it was a perfect time to try out a Red Velvet Cake. Over the last couple of years I have consistently visited the Joy Of Baking website for any goodies I’m making. They give you background information on the recipe, variations, substitutions – and my favourite part is they will explain why some recipes are made with an ingredient and others aren’t – you can make informed baking decisions.  And as an added bonus, every recipe I’ve made from their site has been DELICIOUS.

As I’m not much for decorating cakes (there have been some unfortunate attempts in the past), I saw this tutorial at i am baker and loved it. Too bad I didn’t have the right icing nib, but I used a smaller, kind of similar one, and ended up with this instead. I quite like it, actually! You can find the Red Velvet recipe here and the icing recipe here (I didn't want anything that required cooking or egg whites...and it was yummy).


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mini Beach Towel Quilt

When I finished all three of the Beach Towel Quilts, I had this lovely little pile of jelly roll ends just begging to be used.
So, I squared them all up to 2 1/2" (that's 33 little squares) and then stared at them for a while. Finally, I decided that I wanted something that would reflect the three quilts I'd finished.
I sewed them into three strips that reflected the Beach Blanket Quilts exactly (ignore my toes peeking through in the pic!). Then I gave them a good ironing.
Then I cut four strips of white fabric 6" x 22 1/2" each. Beginning white a white strip, I sewed them together alternating between white and the colour strips, keeping the orange/red one in the middle as that seemed to balance better. I ironed all seams towards the colour strips.

Simple, quick and certainly complements the big quilts! I put together a backing that alternated white and very dark purple and layered, basted and quilted it (straight lines only!).
I'm pretty happy with the final product. It measures out at 22 1/2" x 28 1/2" - a great doll sized quilt, and a wonderful way to use up those pretty little pieces. Below is a couple of pics of the doll quilt along with two of the larger quilts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Farmer's Market Bags

I came across this post, care of Design*Sponge (love them!) to make Farmer’s Market Bags and just loved them! I nearly went out to buy tea towels and the single letter stamps, but managed to restrain myself. For now. But as I thought these were just fabulous, I decided to make a few from what I already had on hand.
Going through the stash I found some really simple, natural cotton, that I had picked up at Ikea ($1.99/metre) and knew this was perfect. All I did was fold the material in half, cut out three different size squares (about 16”x16”, 12”x12”, and 7”x7”), sew the squares right sides together with a simple seam, then fold over the open top twice 1” and stitch at the bottom of the fold to create a channel. I cut some lengths of leftover twill tape and ran them through the channel, tying them off at the ends. So easy.

To make them a little less plain, and to close off the seams inside, I decided to kill two birds and used some of the fancier stitches on my machine to sew around the three seam sides. And because I couldn’t resist their stamping idea, I pulled out the one stamp I could find and went for it. I quite like them and have already used them a bunch of times…especially the smaller ones for herbs – awesome idea!!

This post is also available on Craftsy - go on over and take a look around, what a great new community!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Quick I-Spy Quilt

It has become my summer-time goal to work my way through my fabric stash as much as possible. I know (sigh), but it really needs to be done. I can’t possibly buy any more fabric right now as I’ve completely run out of excuses (“but it’s such a good price!” just isn’t going to cut it). So, with that in mind, I’ve begun the stash-busting process. I've nicknamed it the Summer Stash-Buster. Of course, I do need some resources to help me with the stash-busting…but more on that later...(books, books, books, yum).

The first project in my Summer Stash-Buster is a really quick little I-Spy quilt. I’ve been meaning to do this one for a while now. I had a set of 5” I-Spy squares (60 total) that I got from a lovely seller on Etsy - ages ago. If I can think of her shop name, I’ll let you know. I did a simple square patchwork quilt, put together just like this one. Then, in the spirit of stash-busting, I used two materials that I don’t really like all that much and wouldn’t really use otherwise (yes, they were on sale…). But this is a kid’s I-Spy quilt and if there was ever a project to not care about colour combinations in a quilt, this is it. I added a 2” purple border, used bright green for the backing, and used some leftover red bias tape for the binding. It's truly shocking to see in person. I was able to put this one together, completed, in one naptime. Not too shabby.

And, of course, angel loves it and chooses this quilt at bedtime almost always. Go figure, eh?


Monday, July 11, 2011

Simple Stars Quilt And Pillows To Match

Do you remember my foray into some more traditional quilt blocks that I was working on a while back, my Simple Stars Quilt

I had been putting off quilting it as I had found my last try at quilting anything larger than a lap quilt a bit frustrating. And, to be perfectly frank, my quilting on a couple of the Beach Blanket Quilts didn’t go so well either (they’re going to be living in the basement, methinks). Anyhow, I finally summoned up a little courage and went at it. And guess what…it went perfectly! Thank heavens too, I was more than a little discouraged, to put it mildly. Anyhow, here’s a pic of the finished product, barely covering our bed.

It finished out at about 72”x72” and this is officially my favourite quilt so far – I love the colours, and the crinkliness after it was washed and dried. And I don’t share it with the Lumberjack, it’s my personal cocoon.

I also had two FQ's leftover from the bundle that I had bought, so I used those, some plain dark brown material from my stash (stash-busting strikes again!), two pillow forms from Ikea that were waiting to be used ($2.99 each, seriously), and made simple sleeve pillowcase covers from them. 

Admittedly, the actual size of the finished case is 17.5" square and it's on a 20" pillow form, but I think that's why they're so...stuffy. I love them. And Ikea. Always. Logo