Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011
I know I've been pretty MIA this month.  I hope you all are having a wonderful Holiday season.  Amidst the craziness of the season- I hope you are also filled with love and hope and peace.
I won't be posting again until the new year- I'm going to take some time to just focus on and enjoy my family and the holidays.  Thank you so much for an amazing year- and looking forward to another incredible year to come!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jolly Holiday Pillow

Thursday, December 8, 2011
Haul Out the Holly,Gwenny Penny,Christmas tutorials 
It's my turn to post as part of Gwen's Haul Out The Holly event.  There have been some amazing projects done already, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it again this year.  If you are visiting from Gwenny Penny- Welcome!  I am delighted to have you. :)
It's probably no surprise to any of you who come here often, that the project I chose was a pillow. :)  I love pillows because they are fast, inexpensive and fun to try new techniques on.
Initially I planned to create a grid using buttons with a cute Christmas fabric border.  In the search for the right fabric, I found this fat quarter I had purchased and suddenly a new plan was hatched.  I decided to make my grid using felt embellishments pulled from the fabric itself. (the fabric is Ornaments in White in the Sleigh Ride collection by Caleb Gray)  Since your fabric is likely different from the one I chose, I'm not going to go into specifics about how I created each embellishment, but I will show you close ups of a few of them:
I did a lot of hand stitching on them, but you could easily use glue instead. (It would be MUCH faster)
Once your embellishments are made, we're ready to start creating the pillow.  For this 16" pillow I used 3 fat quarters and a scrap of muslin that was 10 1/2" square.  You will also need some quilt batting cut 16 1/2" if you want the quilted look I created.
First off let's cut the fabric:
10 1/2"X10 1/2" square of muslin, Red fabric border: (2) 1"X10 1/2", (2) 1" X 11 1/2"; Main fabric: (2) 3"X 11 1/2", (2) 3" X 16 1/2"
Now let's get sewing:
Take the two short red border strips and sew them on opposite sides of the muslin square.  (through the whole project we will be using a 1/4" seam allowance)
Press the seams toward the red border.  (this fabric strip is thin so you will want to make sure you don't stretch the fabric)
Take the longer red strips and pin to the remaining two sides.  Sew down.
Repeat with the accent fabric.  Again press the seam allowance toward the red border.  Add remaining sides and you have a finished front.  Well, almost.  Now we need to add the accents.  Typically I just eyeball spacing on things, but I figured you  might not be that laid back. ;)  The center square measures 10" so I measured the center point and went out from there.  I knew I wanted to hand quilt the border around the embellishments, so I wanted to go ahead and draw my circles for that before I added the embellishments (I used a water soluble marker).
You can see the arrow pointing to the center dot where an embellishment will be placed.  To make sure the traced circle was centered, I took a paper circle the size I wanted, folded it in quarters and punched a hole in the center.
I used that to find the center dot and traced around the template.
Here's the front all ready for embellishments.  I wanted the embellishments to have a quilted look to them so I put the batting behind the front panel before I added them.  I used embroidery floss and stitched them down around the border using 2 strands.  For the hand quilting border I used 4 strands of floss.  
I didn't have a large embroidery hoop (note to self, BUY ONE!) so I just basted the dickens out of the front panel before I did the stitching.  Once the embellishments and quilting are done- we need RUFFLES!
Take your ruffle fabric and cut it into 3" strips. (I used a fat quarter so I ended up with 6 strips)
Sew all the ends of the strips together forming one large circle, press the seams open and press the whole strip in half along the length.  Fold in quarters and finger press each fold- mark with a pin.
(make sure that there aren't seams at the folds, if there are, adjust the folds a bit so the seams fall along the edges)  At this point you can sew a running stitch along the raw edges and ruffle the fabric, but I decided I wanted the look of more of a pleat than a ruffle so I just chose to fold under pleats as I sewed the fabric down along the edges. (use a scant 1/4" seam to do this)
All that's left is the back.  I chose to use the left over pieces of my remaining fat quarters, so I have two different panels.  Cut each panel to 16 1/2" long.  Finish one long side of both panels with a 1/2" hem.  
Place the panel you want on the OUTSIDE - right side down on the front panel, line up the un-hemmed side.
Place the remaining panel down, lining up all the edges.  Sew around all four sides using a generous 1/4" seam allowance.  All that's left is clipping the corners and turning right side out.  At some point you will need to spray the front with water to dissolve the pen markings (don't soak the fabric, just a light spritz will do). Stuff with a pillow form and step back and enjoy.

And now you're set to have a Jolly Holiday!
Thanks again, Gwen, for having me in this year's event.  I can't wait to see what the rest of the celebration holds.
Linked up to Friday Flair Link Party at Whipperberry

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas goings on {a Mom-day post}

Monday, December 5, 2011
I am still in the thick of it, friends.  7 Nativity sets of figurines need legs, one set of elves is missing theirs, and 9 sets of blocks are waiting for paper, letters and topcoats.  I was hoping Saturday would be the end of it, but alas, it was not to be.  Above you will see a sneak peek of the skirt tutorial I am finishing up (it will be posted on Friday- so watch for it!) and this week it's my turn to participate in Gwen's Haul out the Holly event (if you haven't seen what she has going on over there, you should really check it out.  There have been some FANTASTIC projects submitted already- like these love where you live ornaments from Chris and Andi's fabulous sparkly bowl filler ornaments)  There is a list of gifts I need to make, one last custom order of figurines and blocks for my Aunt, and then just keeping everyone happy and staying on top of our family countdown (you can read about here).  Plus housework- oh wait, I haven't done housework in weeks- well there's the guilt from NOT doing housework. 
I am so grateful to be busy.  Grateful for the slew of orders that makes it possible for us to make at least one wish for each of our children come true without severely damaging out budget.  But I'm also grateful for reminders this past week that Christmas is about celebrating Christ and that simplifying or eliminating some of our traditions to enable us to slow down and really think about and worship Him, well, it just isn't the tragedy I might at times make it out to be.
I hope you and your families are enjoying a wonderful holiday season, full of love, hope and peace.
I'll see you soon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Guest Posting at Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Friday, December 2, 2011
Hi friends!  Today I'm over at Sumo's Sweet Stuff sharing one of my family's favorite Christmas traditions.  It's our version of an advent and it's lots of fun, I hope you'll hop over and take a peek!
See you soon!
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