Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Quilting on a Home Machine Part 1

I don't have a long arm so any machine quilting I do is done on my little Elna.  I thought I would share a few tips I have learned over the years.  I am no professional but hopefully you will learn from my trials and errors! 
 First, preparation is everything.  Press and iron your pieced quilt top and backing.  Get it all as flat as possible!  I don't starch the fabric because I have found that it causes it to shrink a bit.  Then it starts to un-shrink when I handle it causing puckering issues.
 Next lay out you backing right side down.  I do this on the carpet.  Using T pins I stretch the backing til it is very taunt.  These pins can take the tension while lighter weight ones won't.  Now place your batting on top on the backing, smoothly it from the center out.  Next comes the top.  Smooth it out on top of the batting.   The backing needs to be tighter than the top!  If you don't get this right you will get tucks on the back of your quilt that will make you cry!
Notice that the back is much larger than the top.  I will trim it down later.  Now is not the time to worry about wasting fabric.  You can use the left overs for making blocks or hexies!
 Now that everything looks smooth and tidy I begin pinning.  
I use large flower straight pins and pinmores (how to make your own here) about every 2 to 4 inches.  I really don't want the layers to shift so the more pins the better.  These are easy to remove as you quilt so don't be stingy!  Now you can trim your edges.  I still leave a couple inches of batting and backing beyond the edge of the top just to give me a little wiggle room.  Next time I will show you some gadgets I use to make the quilting process easier.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

New Little Red Hens

It was a tough winter here in the Midwest.  Our little flock suffered several losses from old age and the freezing temp.  So sad!  We had prepared well with new insulation and water heating elements but a few of the old girls just weren't strong enough to last til spring.  We supply eggs to a number of families so I needed to add more girls to keep up production.  Here they are fresh from the feed store.  They were very cute (the pic is a few weeks old) but now have hit that awkward teenage stage.  All fluff and feathers sticking out every which way.  Not at all attractive.......  Other news.  I am trying to cure an "egg eater" to save her from being culled.  Right now she is in isolation to keep the others from learning her bad habit.  She is being real stubborn so far but I haven't given up on her yet......  The drama continues.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Secret Passageway.......

It is no secret that I love a good mystery.  As a young girl I obsessed over Nancy Drew and the game Clue.  As an adult I gobble up English cozy mystery books by the dozens!  I don't know why I love all things mysterious but I do.  And now I have my very own secret passageway in my library (really it's our TV room but that doesn't sound as good) that leads to a secret room!
This beautiful new bookcase holds a secret........ 

We took our ideas for a hidden door to a local shop.  The Amish furniture maker came up with a clever way to make the door work and we all loved how it turned out.  He wants to sell these to install yourself.....all over the country!  If you send me your email I will pass it on to him and he will contact you for the details.  These are beautifully made in a traditional Amish workshop on his farm!  Soooooo cool!  Look out Nancy Drew. there's a new mystery to solve!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Pot of Gold.......

As a child I was just a wee bit superstitious.  Always looking for 4 leaf clovers and wishing on stars......that's why this project really appealed to me.  The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
I made it with my silhouette and stuffed them full of chocolate coins.  But not the icky ones from the drugstore.  No these came from Sees Candies.  Delicious!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Update on Sewing Room

It is not done yet but I thought it would be fun to show some of the progress in the sewing/guest room!

 I made this bulletin board to hold up pattern instruction and pictures of inspiration.
 I am still working on the quilt that will go on the bed.
 The dresser in the corner was my husband's growing up.  He refinished it a number of years ago.  And that little rocking chair has been in our family for a long time.

 Antique baby's gown and wooden shoes from one of our trips.
  Here is my cutting table before......
 and after.  Just a temporary cover till I figure out something better.  I t does the job for now though.  I still have curtains to make and more wall decorations to come up with.  Plus all the little things that will make the room special.  Can you see the snow out the window?  Can't wait for spring to finally get here.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tuffet Redo

One more project from the sewing room redo.  This is the third time I have reupholstered this little stool.
We have always used it to make getting onto the bed just a little easier.  Below was the last redo about 12 years ago.
 I should have more pictures of the sewing room tomorrow so be sure and check back.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Plain to Pretty in 5 Minutes

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.  I mentioned I was changing the color scheme in my sewing room in a previous post.  Getting rid of all the red just felt right.  This white lamp had a very serviceable lampshade but it was definitely red.  I thought of all kinds of fixes for that shade.  Fabric paint, wrapping with burlap, etc, etc, but none of then seemed feasible.  Sometimes you just have to give up, so to Walmart I went. Well actually I started at Pottery Barn but the prices were outrageous!  Hence the trip to Walmart.
I found this cute pink shade for about $7 and these little flowers for about $10 for the three packages.

 A little hot glue and I have a beautiful shade for less than 1/2 the cost of ones I had been looking at.

Anybody need a red shade?