domingo, 28 de novembro de 2010

Project Secret Santa

Amazing things are hapening throughout the blogosphere. Heres one of my favorite. Heard about it at Bird's Party.It's called Project Secret Santa:

"Project Secret Santa has a twist - instead of buying gifts for other guests, you're invited buy gifts to benefit Jack's Toy Drive, in memory of Jackson Malia.
Jack was a triplet, born on October 11, 2007 at St. Barnabas Hospital in New Jersey. He and his sisters Charlotte and Katie all weighed three pounds at birth, but while his sisters were released from the NICU after 4 weeks, Jack struggled. On November 13, 2007, he was airlifted to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, one of the leading children's hospitals in the country, and his family had high hopes they would be able to help him. Unfortunately, Jack continued to deteriorate, and on January 2, 2008 he passed away.

Jack spent Christmas 2007 in the hospital and his family was so touched by the fact that Santa came to visit their sweet boy and brought him some small gifts. In his memory, they started Jack's Toy Drive so they can do the same for other children who will wake up in hospitals this Christmas morning.

Last year's toy drive gathered more than 200 toys and this year, through Project Secret Santa, AFOMFT would like to help Jack's Toy Drive top that number and we'd love to have you be a part of it!"

So there you have it! If you wish to do some good for some inocent lovely children, as well as getting some free tutorials, join in on this wonderfull iniciative!

TAG! You're it!

Hello everybody. Hope all of our American friends had a lovely Thanksgiving. I think it's a great idea to have a day to be thankful for everything and everyone we have in our lives, we should do it more often!

I need your help on deciding something. I've been thinking for a while that I should start adding a tag to my work. Also, I'm thinking of opening up an Etsy shop and I think it makes sense having a brand of my own.

The name I chose was SandyOwn, so that will be the shop's name. Also, if I'm going to have a shop dedicated to what I love, I might as well add another big passion of mine to the mix. So it's down to these two versions:

The question is, of course, which one do you like? I love them both. The first one is closer to the heart, seeing as I have two cats. But the second one looks cleaner I supose and makes the name pop out.

So please help me, tell me if you like the first, the second, or neither of these. You know how much I value your opinion. Thank You!

sábado, 27 de novembro de 2010

Yet another Christmas Project. Yes, I have a HUGEE familiy!

And just because I don't have enough on my plate, I've added a new project for a Christmas gift. Not a quilt, something much more simple, but a first for me: a Christmas pillow.

I do hope that once it's finished it wont just look like a triangle as the whole point is for it to look like a Christmas Tree. This pillow is for a young teenager, so I'm thinking of doing a frame with this Ikea fabric. It's got such lovely warm and cheerful colors, even though there's nothing christmassy about it. I'm hoping it will work out!

quarta-feira, 24 de novembro de 2010

The Upholstered Headboard: The Making Of

Good morning!

For those of you who have been following my blog, you've probably read something on this subject. Well, yesterday was the day for this little DIY project.
The reason for wanting a headboard in the first place has mostly to do with the fact that the bed is bellow a window, which made it really cold in the Winter. Also, the mattress is considerably smaller than the bed frame, which created a huge gap between the frame and the mattress that my cats particularly loved, specially because it allowed them to go under the bed ans into the huge storage drawers and scratch. Preferably during the night.
So I needed a headboard that was 60cm tall, 140cm wide and 15cm thick. For this I got a 60cmx120cmx1,5cm pvc board. I figured the lack of width wouldn't be a problem. I was wrong. I got a 60cmx140x12xm foam block and I got about 200cmx150cmx1,5cm batting. I also got some spray glue and a stapler gun. I must confess I was eager to try the stapler out. I also got 300x150cm of faux leather. I chose the most easy to work with, in white since the room is all white and light grey.

First I spray glued the foam and the board. Please be careful to do this in a ventilated area and keep all small children and pets out of that room. It should dry really fast.
Then is was time to attach the batting. What I did was laying the batting on the floor and the foam with the pvc on top. I tried pulling as hard as I could without damaging the batting.

As you can see, I missed a crease. This is very easily resolved, as you just need to tug the fabric a bit more and staple the excess fabric. You'll notice that regarding the corners I did a sort of envelope close but you wont get very good results without trimming some of the batting.

It was then time for the fabric. I decided I wanted a bit of a twist with my headboard. You can of course make it simple and straight, it will save you a lot of extra work. But I decided to make a few straight horizontal lines. I used my sewing machine for that, it was amazing to see how well it did with such a hard fabric. It didn't even hesitate. I marked the lines I wanted to fold with a pencil and then clamped it before sewing. It was the only way I thought of doing this without leaving a mark on the fabric.

This kind of pattern means you'll have to watch very closely how the fabric lays on the board, as you'll want the lines to be really straight. What I did to try and keep the fabric still was to pin on the ditch of the lines as much as I could as a way to try and make sure the fabric sit still. However, if you pull it too hard it will shift. There was a lot of cursing at this stage of the project, I must admit.
This was the semi final result. As I told you before, the pvc board was a bit smaller than the foam and the intended frame. This meant that staples did not work on the corners, which means I'm going to have to sew them. However, since I hd no more time left yesterday, I placed the frame on the bed just to give you a preview. So please, disregard the corners.

And that was pretty much it.

Edit: since I was really really unhappy with the pictures, I decided to add one during day time.

terça-feira, 23 de novembro de 2010

The Hexies are back!

Since they were such a hit with one my previous quilt, I decided to incorporate some hexie action into this quilt as well. More on that later.

I must apologise for the bad quality of the latest photos I've been posting. However I can only find time to take photos at night and I seem to have misplaced the battery charger for my camera and so I've been taking pictures with my mobile in order to keep you up to speed, hence the bad quality / lighting of my latest developments.

Also, I'd like to share with you what has become a usual scene from my evenings. As the cold nights become colder, particularly where I live (well, not that cold, it doesn't snow or anything, but we are used to warm weather), there always seems to be a cat under a quilt or on top of it and most times I only notice it as they tend to leave some part sticking out. In this case Nico is sleeping, under the quilt I'm sewing, streched across my lap with his little white mittens sticking out.
Mushi seems to prefer the batting pile lately. She looks like she's sleeping on a cloud. It's just hard taking her picture while she's sleeping because as soon as I come close she'll want to see what I'm doing...

It's great to see they love my new hobbie/obssession as much as I do and take part in their own little ways :)

segunda-feira, 22 de novembro de 2010

A brand new Christmas Twinkle

Sunday was my day off and I made sure it was free to make peace with my lovely sewing machine. And I must say we really made up for lost time!
As you might remember, I had a quilt sandwich ready for quilting. It is now quilted and now has an almost finished binding.
 I decided to do some straight line quilting, as I had never tried my walking foot before and was quite pleased with it. I quilted close to the ditch and it made for a nice squared back.

Regarding the binding I decided to go big with the colors and chose this lovely orange flowery fabric. It will be the first time I use patterned fabric for the binding and I must say I am very pleased with the results.
I managed to machine sew the binding to the quilt yesterday, but I also chose to finish it by hand, I prefer the clean look of a hand sewn binding.
Of course this part of the process might have been faster if this didn't keep hapening:

I guess cats really do love quilts! But I also think there was an element of "You've neglected me long enough. Stop paying attention to this thing and look at me please" going on. And so I did, of course... :)

Today I should finish this quilt, I've already bound most of it. I think It's looking great!
This is also the last quilt I'll be making with this backing, I can't wait to try the new one out, I hope i'll be as pleased as I have been with this one.
Also, I don't know if this happens to you but I think with every quilt I finish I learn something new and I'm always really regreteful that I can't take the previous ones back and redo them in order to make them look better with the knowledge I now have. Does that make sense?

I think you could probably put them all next to each other and notice the evolution from one to the other, which makes me real nervous, as I wished they would all be just perfect!

I'm baaacckkk :)

Turns out this weekend was exactly what I needed! If was chaotic, intense, really busy but also really really fun!

Also, finally I discovered the kids fabric section on Ikea. I was used to going to the big fabric section, but somehow I woke up one of these nights thinking "there's got to be a kid section" and so the next time I visited I went straight to the kids general section, thinking if I didn't find fabric I might at least find some cute bed sheets and, sure enough, there were the kids fabrics :) For you this is probably not very news worthy, but for me this is all somewhat of a novelty, so bare with me please. Also, cute fabrics at a great price in Portugal is always a good reason for celebration.

I also bought a brand new backing for the remaining quilts from the collection. I love the pink stripes but I must confess I was getting really tired of looking at it daily. Also, I think this one has a bit more edge and will be perfect for the recipients of the next quilts I'm making, but on the other hand it's kind of within the same concept of the former fabric.
Oh, and that staple gun if for the headboard I intend to start on today. Remember when I told you about the bedroom makeover I did back in September. Well, it's still going and now it's time for the headboard for this bed:

I already have the board, the foam and the stapler gun which I'm really really excited to try by the way. Today i'll get the fabric and I guess we'll be finding out what I'm made of! Pictures soon.

sábado, 20 de novembro de 2010

Hello everybody.

It's been a couple of days since I've picked up a needle. This is mostly due to lack of time, but also due to me needing a break. Lately I've been feeling like part of an assembly line, worse even since I am the entire line I suppose.

When I thought of creating the Christmas Twinkle Collection I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn, to evolve my skills and also to have fun. While this is all still very true, I do feel very happy when I'm crafting, I'm also feeling like I haven't done anything else lately.
So I decided to take a little breather.

Ok, if I am to be completely honest, the breather MIGHT have something to do with the fact that I have been visiting new fabric shop and can't really do them both as shops close and I can't use the sewing machine past 9 p.m. Decisions decisions :)

I promise I will have updates and pictures up very soon! Enjoy your weekend!

quinta-feira, 18 de novembro de 2010

100th Post!!!


How did that happen?? Ladies and Gentleman, behold my 100th post. I thought I needed something special to mark this ocasion, but unfortunately I was caught off guard so no, it won't be a Giveaway... but I have my mind set on arranging one until the end of the year.

So what I decided to do instead is to take the Process Pledge!

I think I've done it ever since the begining, though maybe not for every project. So now it's oficial! and just in time for the next couple hundred posts ;)

quarta-feira, 17 de novembro de 2010

Christmas Twinkle Collection Update

This is where it stands. Two tops done and ready to move on.
The "blue" one

The "green" one
Can you tell the diference??;) The one I made for my sister was the "red" one! I'm hoping to start quilting one of these babies today!

segunda-feira, 15 de novembro de 2010

Oh, and Mädchen...

Yours is done too, and I'm ready to show you!!! Here it goes!

Are you ready??

I'm sure you wont mind seeing it ahead of time...

Surprises are highly overrated....


Like it?

All packed up and ready to go :)

It's my friend Joana's birthday today, so another one of my babies is going to her forever home. I hope she loves it as much as I loved making it for her... And I hope Maria loves it too. My cats always love my quilts, so I'm hoping for the same efect. But just in case she doesn't, I'll also be prepared to make her happy ;)

Bought the same ones for my cats and Mushi actually climbed up my legs to get one. Good idea, I supose :)

Much Love Monday

Can you believe that it's Monday again? Time does fly when you're having fun. I love many things today. After a very stressfull weekend, I love that I feel positive and hopefull. I particularly love this weekly reminder of feeling gratefull and loving your life from across the globe. Thank you  Anna, from Much Love ;)

I love that I'm almost off work so I can go home and see my cats, which I love, and do all sorts of fun, non work-related stuff.
I love that I'm excited for the new adventures ahead.
I love that I feel confident and gratefull for my life, even for the stressfull bits.
I love that friends have made me feel this way after a bit of a rough patch. I particularly love that this boost came from a friendship I no longer counted on.

I'm all greatefull and loved up today. How are you? :)

domingo, 14 de novembro de 2010

I've just picked up this great idea Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew had of creating a Quilting Tutorials page.

Since I have that Tutorial and Patterns page, I'll make sure I include this one in. Already you can find a lot of great and inspirational stuff, which is what the Tutorials and Patterns page is for me. I keep gathering the stuff I like the most so that when I'm considering a new project, I can just pop by and get inspired! And this will do it for me...

quinta-feira, 11 de novembro de 2010

Quilts and Helping out all together as one

Once again, quilters are doing some good, while enjoying themselves in the process. Kate from Swim, Bike, Quilt and Aunt Spicy are teaming up to gather 100 quilts for those in need. They describe it perfeclty by saying: "Do you have any quilt WIPs, orphan blocks, flannel for receiving blankets, scraps, quilts you have made already that don’t have a home, a new technique or pattern you have been meaning to try, some great fabric in your stash that can be made into a quilt, or need an excuse to buy some new fabric?

Please join us in making and donating a baby or toddler sized handmade blanket or quilt (or two) to a child in need. The (largely online) charity quilt drive will officially run from November 15-December 15, 2010--Give a gift of love to a child in need in your community this holiday season!"

Anybody interested?

Work in progress

So with two quilts all bundled up and ready to go, I am currenlty sorting out the next two.
The next one is a square-patterned lap quilt and currently looks like this:

The other is a bit further behind, Nico is keeping an eye on in :)

But, before I left the house, it was looking more like this:

The seventh one, to be honest is a mistery even to me. I will keep it within the two patterns I've used for this collection but since I haven't even cut any fabric for it and I'm not even sure I'll have the time to do it, we'll just have to take it one step at a time and find out is this collection will have 6 or 7 Twinkles.

Moving along quite nicely... My very first Sew&Tell Project :)

This is the first time I've entered Amy's Sew&Tell at Amylouwho: random thoughts from a multi-tasker
Four down, three to go...

The front

The back
For this one I used the same purple fabric for binding, except this one turned out a bit wider, which looks nice. I realise my work is getting cleaner and cleaner, apart from the free motion, which is a great feeling. This is the more Christmassy quilt of them all, I'm a bit sad to part from it. I must say if it weren't meant for who it's meant for, I'm not sure I would! Fabrics by Amy Butler, moda, Ikea and a couple of others mixed in, just like the previous ones. It's a 40"x56" lap quilt.

quarta-feira, 10 de novembro de 2010

I decided to just embrace it...

Yesterday was Free motion quilting day for me. I must admit I was stressed. Also, I broke two needles, still don't really know why, but i started experimenting with the tensions and apparently it all worked out.

I think the stress comes from wanting to do a good job, also quilting on the actual quilt is stressfull, I was so afraid to ruin it. At first there was a lot of frustration because what I was doing was not similar at all to some of the lovely work I see on all the blogs I visit daily. Also some arm ache.

But then I just decided to embrace the "free" aspect of it all, and decided to go with it.
The only thing I tried to do was keep it all round and even (not a complete sucess on either part). In the end, it was my very first free motion quilt, before that I had only tried doing this on scraps, it's completely diferent to manage a quilt, even if it is a lap quilt, it's still 40" by 60" or something similar to that.

I tried with gloves and without them (it's so much easier with them) I tried keeping my hands flat and I tried grabing the fabric and ended up with grabing on one end and straightening the quilt with the other so I can see where I was going, I find that if I grab on both sides I lose control.
I tried all speeds and even though a medium speed is more confortable for me, the top speed makes for a better result. Also I kept forgeting to push the presser foot down and so i had to redo the work loads of times. But I'm wiser for it. I hope ;)

The busy front

The back with the hexies
Originally I thought I would quilt around the hexies, but then I realised it would look weird on the front to have that inexplicable unquilted line. And this way, the hexies become much more a part of the quilt, not just apliqueed hexies. This was also an opportunity to enjoy the amazing abilities of my sewing machine. Even with all this fabric it didn't even slow down. Even when I got to the hexies, there were like 5 layers of fabric, because I decided not to trim the hexies because I like them to be bulky but in a good way.

Still, in my amazing ability to complicate the simple, I still thought I had ruined the machine on several ocasions. First, i've already mentioned the needles breaking, which is all very new to me.
Secondly, by the time I finished the quilting, I still had some energy in me to start on the binding, so I decided to sew the strips together. But when I did that the thread would get caught on the bobin holder., this hapened a couple of times. So decided to get "under the hood" also a very dangerous task for me. There was some lint, more than I thought there would be considering I've only had it for a week. Oh, and I also opened the top of the machine to clean the threads that had been left by the previous thread I tried quilting with, as I mentioned.
So anyway, after cleaning I was still geting the same results. So I tried taking the thread out and the fabric out and try a diferent thread on a diferent fabric and THEN I remembered the dog feet were down... And THEN I noticed my stich lenght was in zero... Also, since I changed everything I'm not sure what  exactly did that, but then it started working, and by the time I got back to the fabric and the thread I intended to use, everything was ok at last and so for today we have binding on the menu!
The purple worked so well on the last quilt, I'm going to use it again on this one. I just know she is going to love it :)

terça-feira, 9 de novembro de 2010

Baby steps...

So I've officially taken my first baby steps on free motion quilting. First attempt didn't go so well, wrong thread, had to change it, take out all the stipling I had already done (not easy!) and start all over. By that time I was a bit exasperated, also I had to come back to the shop, so I didn't do much of it. Here it is!

The free motion quilting only a true loved one could love ;)
Now I'm a bit worried, because I've noticed the first thread that kept breaking left some trails on my machine, up where the thread goes before arriving at the needle. I'm pretty sure that isn't ok, but although I can see it, I can't really reach it, so I have no idea how to get it of...And it's bumming me out!

Much Love Monday

Heart-shaped reef
Yes, I know it's  Tuesday, but I really didn't make it this week, I do better on the next one. I just thought it was such a nice idea from Much Love and after the gratitude post, it just made sense! Unfortunately, my batery ended so i couldn't really post it... But I'm guessing it must still be Monday somewhere right?

So, things I'm loving...

My cats (always, you already know that)
Watching the rain fall down through the window while siting in my couch with a nice quilt on top
Planning for the future. It looks just perfect in my mind

segunda-feira, 8 de novembro de 2010

Gratitude Monday

Today I poped by artsy-crafty babe and she has a sort of tradition of holding a gratitude friday and I just loved that idea! I loved it so much, I think I will try to establish a Gratitude Monday on Happiest when Crafting. I hope It's not going to turn out to repetitive, but some things you just can't be too gratefull about.

I chose Monday because I think it's the toughest day of the week and sometimes you just need that uplifting view on your own life to remind yourself that your life is pretty great!

So here we go. I am most gratefull for:

My health (I know I'm very lucky as I really don't do much for it)

My family (disfunctional yes)

My cats (Part of my family, really, but I just needed to make it clear)

My friends (Some people say they are lucky to get one or two really good friends. I actually believe I have like four or five really great friends, friends that I can count on no mater what and regardless of where life takes us and how many weeks go by without catching up)

My ability to enjoy the simple pleasures in life (I actualy realised this yesterday, it doesn't really take much for me to have a blissfull moment, simple things really, like a really great sunset or watching my cats sleep, looking at a finished quilt 100% done by me, the trees in Autumn, you get the picture) I hope I never lose it, even though at times I may feel to stressed to notice it.

In general, I feel really gratefull for all the protection I feel around me. I'm not religious so I won't call it God, but I know it's not random, I don't believe in coincidences, and you might call it luck. Call it what you like, I believe I, as well as everybody, am protected and it is up to us to see that and embrace it, even when bad things happen, or things you may percieve as bad, for me, are opportunities to grow and I do truly believe that they happen to you for you benefit, even if you are unable to see it at the time. And that's ok too...

What are you gratefull for?

I wish I could tell you...

...that I've done this out of pure creative impulse. That I just looked at this particular piece of fabric and thought, "how can I possibly makes this unique?"
Sadly, that isn't the case. The case is me not measuring it as I should, not being concentrated enough to cut out the piece of fabric I needed for the backing. As such, the backing was much much smaler than it should and I had no more fabric left. So I had to just go with it I guess.
And I think it worked out great, apart from the increased workload. It looks like a hexie pearl necklace across the back of my quilt. Love it! Also, I've missed the hexies!
I actually wish I had thought of this in the previous ones. And that I have enough time to do this to the ones that follow...

sábado, 6 de novembro de 2010

4th Christmas Twinkle Collection lap quilt

So by now I'm half way through my project. I can't believe how diferent each top looks considering I keep using the exactly same fabrics! The pictures don't really show it as vividly as in person. I'm having a hard time letting go of these babies, fortunately I know they are going to loving homes.  

Finished Quilt

So here are the photos of the finished quilt. Unfortunately, it looks kind of crooked, I think it has to do with the qulting, because it pulls at the seams and it is kind of zig zag looking which makes it look not only uneven but larger at the top... Now that I think of it, it also may have a lot to do with my poor photographic skills...

It really does look better in person, I promise!!
I kept this one really simple, I quilted horizontal lines on the white strips. I think it's ideal because of all the busy colors. It's just missing the buttons and the final closing. The backing, of course, is the usual Ikea fabric. Hope you like it! Hope Joana likes it! I sure do!

quinta-feira, 4 de novembro de 2010

Another late night...

After another late night of this... (Thank goodness my Mushi always keeps me company)
I finally managed to finish the third lap quilt. Just needs to be washed and pressed and on to the next!!

quarta-feira, 3 de novembro de 2010

AAAAHHH!!! Why can't anything be simple??

The extended table does not fit!! I feel miserable! Also I think I broke the lever that holds the foot. That little black plastic thing on the back of the presser foot holder. Does anybody with a Janome know if I can buy one of those??? :((

My first feable attempt at free motion quilting

Scary! Though I must say the fabric selection didn't help... Or the batting :)

Edit: Woke up at 4a.m. and thought oh geez, I didn't drop the feed dogs... No wonder I had to pull so hard, but then again, how could I know? I had never tried it before! :)