Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Displaying Quilts

I love quilting, but have a hard time letting go of quilts after I make them. But tucking quilts away in closets doesn't let me enjoy my labors of love. The dilemma, therefore, is how can one display multiple quilts for maximum enjoyment? Here are a few of my personal quilt displays....

My favorite display is this ladder display in my entryway. The quilt on the wall is hung from a decorative curtain rod with clips - easy to change out for the seasons.


My collection of antique quilts fit neatly in an antique ice box. A scrappy table runner layered with a doily adorns the top, while another quilt hangs over the ice box door.

This quilt chest was purchased at a craft show. To keep the quilts uniform in the chest, I cut a piece of foam core board to fold the quilts around, then slipped the board out.

Group similar quilts together. Here, brighter quilts with white backgrounds compliment the white furnishings.

A baby crib tucked under my cutting table holds another array of quilts.

How do you display your quilts?

~Sharla

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Upcycled & Recycled

The fall season ushers in a host of craft and antique fairs around the country. And upcycling and recycling junk is all the rage at the fairs. This morning, I spied this old Singer recycled into yard art. I guess Singers have more purposes than just sewing!

So how have you seen old sewing machines recycled?

~Sharla

Friday, September 26, 2014

Almond Joy Cookies

As the weather turns cooler, and fall turns into winter, there are two things I love to do - quilt and bake. There's nothing better than a day of quilting with an occasional hot chocolate and cookie break. So I'm always on the search for yummy cookie recipes. One of the latest that's been showing up on my Facebook feed is "Almond Joy Cookies". I thought I'd share my version of the recipe - and yup, I've taste tested them and they have my 'sew good' stamp of approval!

Almond Joy Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 - 11 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup chopped  or sliced almonds

Instructions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F Lightly grease cookie sheets.
  2. Combine dry ingredients, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stir in the vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients until well mixed then stir in the chocolate chips, coconut and almonds. Drop by rounded tablespoon-full onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
 
 
Enjoy!
 
~Sharla

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chalkboard Quilt Tutorial

I just love chalkboards! They can serve so many purposes and are fun in any d├ęcor. So imagine my excitement when they came out with chalkboard fabric! So, of course, I had to make a Chalkboard Quilt!

This little quilt usually hangs on the side of my refrigerator greeting friends and family as they come into the kitchen.

This quilt is great for scraps! And I embellished the pinwheels with buttons!

For a 'First Day of Fall' treat (a couple of days late), I'm sharing my pattern for this Chalkboard Quilt. Click here for the pattern. This would make great Christmas gifts - you better get started though, only 92 more days left!

~Sharla

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Upcycle: Button & Ruler Jewelry

I love junking and my favorite finds are sewing related - old buttons, plastic thimbles, trims, measuring tapes and rulers. Upcycling these treasures into jewelry is one of the latest fads. Pinterest and Etsy are great places to get ideas. And with a few jewelry making supplies from the local craft store - jewelry glue, jewelry pliers and cutters, chains, clasps, and rings - you, too, can make your own fun and funky jewelry with a vintage flair.

Stacking buttons of varying sizes is an easy way to create a necklace to coordinate with any outfit.

Measuring tape bracelets adorned with buttons! Of course they are in my favorite color - jadite green!

Crosses are another hot accessory item. These are made from folding wooden rulers and dressed up with buttons and watch faces. The watch faces were a fun find at the Texas Antiques Week in Round Top, Texas.

My personal favorite - a cross necklace made from my dad's folding ruler and my mom's antique filigree button.

Wouldn't these make great Christmas gifts?

~Sharla

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's On Your Cutting Table? A Curvy Log Cabin Tutorial

One of the projects I'm currently working on is a scrappy curvy log cabin. It is a challenge issued by my quilt guild. I've completed about one-fourth of my blocks. YIKES! I need to kick it into high gear as the year is coming to a close and the quilts have to be completed in time to show at our December meeting.

The curve in the block is created by cutting strips on one side that finish at half the width of the other side of the log cabin.

I played with several layouts, and finally decided upon this one. What do you think?

I challenge you to make a scrappy curvy log cabin - a great way to use up your stash! Click here for instructions on how to make my curvy log cabin.

~Sharla

Sunday, September 14, 2014

One-of-a-Kind Keepsake Quilts

I have two grandkids, and like every Nana, I want to give them everything. But I especially wanted to give them a one-of-a-kind keepsake when they were born. What could be more special than a photo quilt of their family at the time of their birth? There are several photo printing fabrics available on the market that make it 'sew' easy to do (I used June Taylor's Sew-In Colorfast Fabric Sheets for Ink Jet Printers). There is even a pattern or two out there to help you make that special quilt if you wish.

My first grandson's room was all decked out in a green and brown monkey theme. All excited for the new challenge, I decided to design my own quilt. The "Monkey See, Monkey Do" quilt features photos of each family member on the tummy of a monkey. To blend in with the color scheme, all of the pictures were printed in sepia tone. The monkeys sit on 3-D leaves or swing from 3-D vines and have floppy legs:


The "Monkey See, Monkey Do" quilt was made to be displayed on a wall, so those 3-D vines were never a danger to the baby.

Yellow and gray chevrons was the theme for my second grandson's room. The modern geometrics called for a simpler quilt, so I opted to use Amy Bradley's "The Hoots" pattern for this one-of-a-kind quilt. This time, the photos are featured on the tummies of owls; and to coordinate with the color scheme, the photos were printed in black and white.

So, whether it's for a new arrival, a special anniversary or a milestone birthday, consider making a photo quilt for that one-of-a-kind keepsake gift.

~Sharla

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Quilting Tip....Add Interest To Big Block Quilts With SnW Blocks

My latest quilting obsession has been Stack 'n Whack and One Block Wonder quilts. Both quilts involve layering four, six or eight repeats of fabric exactly one on top of the other, then cutting the fabric into strips and then into squares or triangles. Those squares or triangles are then arranged in a kaleidoscope-effect and sewn together.

There are some great books out there that explain how to make these blocks, plus there are tutorials on the web too.

Here's my tip - those four-patch Stack 'n Whack blocks can add some additional pizazz to quilt patterns that feature big squares, such as the BQ pattern by Maple Island Quilts!

I inserted SnW blocks into my version of the BQ quilt pattern (for my version, I reduced the overall block size from an 18" block to a 12" block) and then added sashing between the blocks.

I just loved how it turned out!

This quilt is currently at the quilters, but it's destined to show up here again when it's completed!

And since I mentioned that I also have been obsessed with the One Block Wonder quilt, here's my first completed quilt top (also at the quilters). I'm calling it "Dance of the Water Lilies".

 So what's your latest quilting obsession?

~Sharla

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Piece of Heaven....a.k.a. Thistle Thicket Studio

As promised, I'm back with a little tour of my studio. First you should know that I love jadite green and love to collect vintage sewing notions, old buttons, toy sewing machines, 50's plastic thimbles, and anything jadite green (not to mention fabric and UFO's)! Here's a little tour.....

I store my scraps in cubbies by color.

 Canning jars filled with some of my favorite things....buttons, wooden thread spools, and thimbles.

My jar of plastic advertising thimbles.
Love my toy washing machine and sewing machine.
 My cutting table.
 The green baby crib was a junking find - perfect for displaying quilts.
 Jadite green notions.
 Vintage green hankies and pattern.
My sewing machine....And a hint at my current design project.

 More collections of vintage sewing notions and jadite green 'things'.
 A friendship quilt.
 My toy sewing machine collection.
More jadite green :)
Thanks for stopping by to visit my studio! I enjoyed sharing a piece of my heaven with you, but it's time to get back to that secret design project I mentioned.
~Sharla

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Piece of Heaven

I thought it would be appropriate that my first post would introduce you to my "design" studio. It's really just a bedroom that I converted into my little piece of heaven after my kids left the nest. It's where I enjoy dreaming and creating. But dreaming and creating can be messy, so before I can give you a tour of my studio, I need to tidy up! I'll be back soon:)

~Sharla