Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Working Quilts

I hardly ever used to use any of my quilts in our house.  With two teens (now young adults), two or more dogs at any one time, and lots of  the 'outside' coming 'inside' our country house (and not in the Martha Stewart 'bring the outdoors inside' sort of way), we were just too hard on nice things around here.  I didn't want to have to fuss at anyone for eating gooey PB&J while curled on the couch in the Bear Paw quilt, or have one of the guys flop on our bed after mucking out the pig pen, so I stashed my quilts away in closets and cupboards.  But then, in the last couple of years, my quilt 'output' outpaced our home's storage space.  Except for my bestest, most pain-in-the-butt applique-all-the-way quilt, my quilts became working quilts.

I gotta tell you . . . although there has been a certain amount of destruction--a few stains, buttons eaten off here and there (by the dogs, not us)--it's been well worth it.  I love having quilts laying around the house.  And with more quilts in circulation and out of the linen closet, there's more space for the new quilts I'm making.

Here's to working quilts!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cats and Mice

I dug my cookie decorating paraphernalia out from the very back of the kitchen cabinet last month so I could make Christmas cookies with my daughter.  It was so much fun, I decided to make room in the front of the cabinet for my cookie cutters and such.  I'm glad I did, because on a whim I decided to make cat and mouse cookie.  I have a cousin nearby who loves cats.  These will fun to take to her house.

These are fairly easy to make.  I use Wilton's roll out cookie recipe but I add quite a bit of extra flour and I use salted butter. (I like a particularly salty cookie taste to balance out the sweet icing.)   Then I make Wilton's color flow icing recipe.  The only thing I change on the icing is I add a tsp. of clear vanilla.  Load the icing in a decorating bag with a No. 3 round tip and outline the shapes.  Add a little water to the remaining icing to make the 'float' icing.  Brush it into the outlines shape with cheap plastic 'craft' paintbrushes.  While the icing is very wet, I add detail icing.  For example, I filled the 'pouncing' cat with grey icing, then immediately added large blobs of white flow icing for the paws, tail tip and cheeks.  Use a toothpick to 'draw out' the sides of the cat's cheeks.  For the yellow cats, I added white streaks and then 'marbled' with a toothpick.  After the cookies are fairly dry, I add the noses and eyes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Table Runner Pattern

Look what I made today!

It's been a rainy day here in Austin so I've pretty much stayed indoors and sewed.  I'd been wanting to try a raw edge applique method my mom sometimes uses and I had a charm pack of Aneela Hoey's Posey fabric I've been wanting to do something with, so here's what I came up with.   

I really like the applique technique.  Just fuse your applique shapes down, thread your machine with a contrasting colored thread, lower the feed dogs and sew 'outline' stitching around the pieces.  --Oh yes, you might also want to put a darning foot on your machine.  An 'open toed' darning foot is even better.  Now that I've got this beginner project under my belt, I'll be doing more applique this way.

If you have a couple of hours to sew and think you'd like to make one of these too, I've got a link to the free pattern on  Look for the Springtime Runner link on the bottom left side bar.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bout Time

Well it's about time I get back to the blog.  In fact I've been away so long I had to get the nice folks at Blogger to help me reset my password.  Anyway, it's good to be back.  And this time I'll keep my password handy so I have no excuse not to keep in touch.

I hope y'all have all had a great holiday and are enjoying the new year.  While I enjoy Christmas--and I do--it's AFTER Christmas that I especially look forward to.  After the business of December, I'm more than ready for the slower pace of January.  If there's a better time to sew than on a cloudy, chilly January afternoon, then I haven't found it.  For the last week I've been finishing up a couple of projects that I really meant to have done by . . let's see . . . last November . . . and as a reward for finally finishing those projects, I've treated myself to a couple of new projects with  fresh new fabrics.

Bo is sitting on one of my new pattern quilts in the picture above.  I used one Layer Cake and a couple yards of a Bella Solid.  The twin sized quilt went together so quickly I decided to make another one.  The bright colored quilt is from Marmalade by Bonnie & Camille (Moda) and the blue and white version is from Spa by Deb Strain (also Moda).  These are so simple, you can seriously make one in a weekend.  I even got brave and machine quilted one of them on my home sewing machine.  It was great to try something new.  Note however that you can not see quilting on the photo--I'm not quite ready for 'close ups'.  The good news is that no body at my house cares one bit.  --More posts later on learning to quilt a small quilt on a home machine. 

One more pic of things to come.  This was one of my 'reward' projects--a nifty messenger bag for my daughter, just in time for Spring semester.  Luckily I can get two of these from a Layer Cake, so I can have one too!  (Pattern coming soon.)

Fabric line is Spring House by Stephanie Ryan (Moda).