Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Steampunk or Vintage? A Sewing-Themed Bracelet

The latest craze in the world of jewelry design is steampunk. But what is it? Steampunk started in the literary & film world, and it typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century - think Victorian and gears. It could be described by the slogan "What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner." Of course, what is in the movies spills over into fashion. In fashion, it's the art of combining antique components and brand new items, creating modern pieces with a vintage flair.

With my jewelry, I combine antique components (usually sewing related) with brand new items to create a vintage flair, but I'm not sure you would call it steampunk. I just call it fun!



~Sharla

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bye-Bye Birdies

I took a little time out today to sketch an embroidery design to work on while traveling. I've had these scrappy blocks for awhile and decided to make an embroidered pillow to go with one of the quilts I made from this fabric. I think these little birdies will be so cute all decked out in these colors, don't you?


~Sharla

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Big, Bold & Beautiful


I love the trend of big block quilts. They're big, they're bold and they are beautiful. My first foray into making big block quilts was a few years ago, and I've always wanted to do more. On several of the 'sew-cial' media sites I follow, Sundays are share days, so I thought I'd share too. Click here for my Big, Bold & Beautiful pattern. Happy sewing!
~Sharla

Sunday, October 19, 2014

QuiltingHub

It's October, and the hubby and I are itching to hit the road once the fall crops are harvested on the farm. One of my favorite things to do on road trips is to find new quilt shops to visit (and antique stores too)! I discovered a new website the other day that will be the perfect trip planning tool for our next road trip. It's called QuiltingHub (www.quiltinghub.com) and I think it will grow to be the most comprehensive quilting site on the internet. 


It has a number of features any quilter would find handy - including lists of quilt shops, services, groups and events; internet stores; quilt blogs; maps and a trip planner. It also has resources, such as quilt articles, and forums to chat about quilting. New information is constantly being added and is maintained by the quilting community (meaning people like you and me). The site is free to access the information; however, to 'like', manage favorites and post in the forums, you can register with an email and user name. 

The trip planning tool, though, is my favorite. Just type in your current location (or starting point) and your destination and a list of quilt shops along with an interactive map provides you names and addresses of shops along your route. It's a good thing my hubby is a good sport when it comes to my quilting addiction!


Another tool I like is the events search feature. You can select a location and a calendar of quilting events for the area is displayed.


Switch the calendar over to map mode, and now those events show on a map with event details displayed on the left.


I'm anxious to test out the trip planner for our next road trip - although with all the shops listed, we may never make it to our destination!

~Sharla

P.S. This blog is listed under "Blogs" at QuiltingHub, so please go and 'like' my information page.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Design Boards

Ugh? I can't believe it - no, really I can - but so disappointed at the moment. I was on my last set of blocks for the sample of my new cutting & sewing technique and I miss-cut the block! No way to salvage it & no extra fabric, so now I'm waiting on more fabric. In the meantime, I needed to store the parts I will be able to use once the new fabric arrives, so I decided to make one of Lori Holt's (A Bee In My Bonnet) design boards.

This quick & easy project uses a foam core board of your desired size, a piece of batting (I prefer white) large enough to cover one side of the foam core board, enough 2 1/2" strips of fabric to bind the edges of the board, spray glue & a hot glue gun/glue. The end result is a portable design board that will hold block pieces until you are ready to sew them.

My board is 15" x 20" which is big enough to store the parts to my 11" block, but I think a whole stack of different sizes is in my sewing room's future. These will be great to stack & store my quilting projects, since I seem to have several in progress at any one time.

There's no sense in reinventing the wheel, so click here to head on over to Lori's design board tutorial. Note: the only thing I did differently than Lori is I used spray glue to adhere my batting to my board. Have fun!

~Sharla

P.S. After that, I made Oatmeal Scotchies. I'm sure sugar will make it all better:)

Leaders & Enders

I've heard them called 'starties & stoppies', 'leaders & enders', 'thread bunnies' and even 'hairy spiders'. They're those little scraps of fabric that you use to sew onto and off of your blocks. I use them because my machine seems to like to eat the fabric when I try to sew directly onto a block. Some people think that it is more efficient to use them when chain piecing.

Bonnie K. Hunter of Quiltville has opened my eyes to a whole new concept of efficiency with leaders & enders! She uses her scrap 2" squares as her leaders & enders, sewing two together to form four-patches, nine-patches and more that eventually end up in scrappy quilts!

Well, I too, have stacks of squares cut from my scrap fabric, and making them into a quilt is on my to-do list. Now, I can work on sewing those scrap squares together while I'm working on my other quilting projects - kind of a two-for-one!

I'll confess, I used my 'hairy spider' to sew onto that first pair of scrap squares, then chain pieced my blocks of my current project (only six blocks to go on my super secret sample of my new cut & sew technique - yea!).

At the end of my chain piecing, I sewed onto another pair of scrap blocks. Those blocks are now sitting under my needle waiting for the next time I start to sew. I have my scrap squares tucked under my sewing machine table, in easy reach at any time. For a more detailed discussion on Bonnie's leaders & enders concept, click here.

And now I can say good-bye to my 'hairy spiders' for good!

~Sharla


Friday, October 10, 2014

Top Secret!

I'm making progress on my sample using my new cut and sew technique using layer cakes. Can't wait until I can reveal it!

~Sharla

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Chenille Pumpkins

I love vintage chenille bedspreads! They just have a cozy feel and are so fun to recycle into other things.

I found this green chenille bedspread on my latest treasure hunt. Of course, I had to snatch it up since it was green :)

With the crisp fall feel in the air today, I decided I needed some fall decorations....and my green chenille bedspread was perfect to make a few pumpkins to tuck among my jadite green glass collection.

Pumpkins are really easy and quick to make. First, cut a circle from your fabric. I cut 13" and 10" circles for my pumpkins.

Next, run a gathering stitch around the circle, approximately 1/4" from the edge.
Pull your gathering threads up and stuff the inside of your pumpkin with fiber fill.

On the larger pumpkin, I sewed a shank button on the top and bottom of my pumpkin like you would sew a button on a tufted cushion, pulling the thread between the two buttons to create a squattier shape. (Is 'squattier' a word?) Then you are ready to decorate your pumpkins. I hot glued ribbon on wooden spools and glued them on the top button of the pumpkins for stems, then tied raffia. The top buttons hide where the fabric was gathered.

A cute - and quick - fall d├ęcor project! Wouldn't you like your own pumpkin patch of chenille pumpkins to enjoy this fall?

~Sharla

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Wordle is the Word!

I was so excited with the Wordle word clouds I made yesterday for Thistle Thicket Studio that I had to make one into a mini quilt today. I just think these things are so fun, and I love how my little quilt turned out.


It now proudly hangs in my studio, aka sewing room. Now if I could just get those big red buttons hung.....

~Sharla

P.S. Has anyone caught the movie references in my last two blog titles? "Wordle Me This" is from the Riddler's catch-phrase in the Batman movies - "Riddle Me This"; and today's title "Wordle is the Word" is from the movie "Grease". OK, maybe a little lame :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wordle Me This?

What is Wordle? Wordle is a word cloud generating website. What's a word cloud? A group of words randomly placed in a grouping. So what does that have to do with quilting? The things you can do with word clouds is only limited by your imagination - customized quilt blocks, quilt labels and mini quilts are just a few of ideas.

Let me give you a quick walk through. Go to www.wordle.net and click on 'create your own'. Type words that you want to appear in your Wordle in the text box. The more often the word is repeated, the larger the word will appear in the Wordle. To keep two or more words together, either type the words with no spaces between the words or use a tilde (~) between the words. After you have your words typed, click go. It will ask to allow Wordle to run, click yes or allow and Wordle will generate your word cloud. Now you can select different fonts, layouts and colors for your Wordle. Here are a few examples to give you an idea.....





To save your Wordle, select 'open in window' and enlarge to full screen. Save by taking a screen shot and pasting to Microsoft Publisher. Crop the screen shot to your liking, then save the image as a picture. Now you can print your Wordle on colorfast fabric sheets that are made for ink jet printers.

I think I'll make the last Wordle into a mini quilt to hang in my 'studio'. I'll share the finished product soon!

~Sharla

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Magnetic Chalkboard Tray

I found this dirty old tray hidden in a stack of galvanized tubs and buckets while cleaning out our barn the other day and decided it was destined to be recycled.

After a good washing, I spray painted the tray with chalkboard paint, drilled a couple of holes at the top and laced a hanger through them (absolutely love this multi-colored tape measure fabric by American Jane), then decorated it with an array of old buttons, spools, and thimbles. It'll be a great place to stick reminders, jot down shopping lists, etc.


I made magnets out of empty wooden spools decorated with yellow measuring tape and a button.

A close up of the buttons, spools and thimbles decorating the bottom of the tray.


Right now, I have it hanging over one of my cabinet doors until I decide on a permanent home in my sewing room. I think it's a great way to display some of my notions!

~Sharla