Thursday, February 20, 2014

Let's Get It Started

I don't know about you guys, but for me there is something thrilling about starting a new quilting project.  From choosing the pattern and fabric, to cutting said fabric and piecing it together, I love starting quilts . . . but I have a really bad habit of letting them sit unfinished so I can start something else "new". 
Right now I have three quilt tops finished that just need to be basted, quilted, and bound.  And yet, I still want to start something else!  I know, it's a sickness.  To cure myself, I have vowed that I will not cut another piece, let alone a scrap of fabric until I have these quilts completed. 
Here's my Spools quilt made with a jelly roll of beautiful "High Street" fabric by Lily Ashbury for Moda.  I tend to lean towards blues and pinks/reds so using the yellow, green, and orange was a stretch for me.  I love the way it turned out!  You can find the pattern by Camille Roskelley here.

Adorn by Camille Roskelley in her book Simply Retro.  It's a super easy strip quilt, so it's great for scraps.  It's going to hang over my sewing nook eventually!
This pattern is Dapper, also by Camille Roskelley (can you see a pattern here?) in her book Simply Retro.  If you are new or old to quilting, go get a copy of her book!  I promise you will not regret it!
You can get it from her shop, Thimble Blossoms, or on Amazon.  I am making this quilt for my new niece, Gemma, and am hoping to get it done next week.

Okay, back to the discussion on finishing projects . . . my problem is that I have tried several times to organize my projects so that I know what I need to do to get things finished BEFORE moving on, but I haven't found anything that works for me (mainly because I write it down on that one piece of paper that I am sure I put somewhere, but I can't remember, and now that I am trying to find it and it seems to have vanished into thin air. Hate that!)
And then I came across these Project Sheets from Pixels to Patchwork:
These are my new best friend! These project sheets help you keep a visual reminder of each project you are working on. You can track which stage of construction they are in, as well as the priority level then fall under. Taryn has created a master list for all your "to dos" as well as a detailed breakdown for each project.

I started by printing off several individual project sheets and then going through my WIP (work in progress) and UFO (unfinished object) bin to see what I really needed to do to finish each quilt I had already started. I filled out an Individual Project Sheet for each project in my bin, put each sheet in a page protector, and then organized them in a binder so that the highest priority ones are in the front and lower priority projects are in the back. Now I know exactly what I need to work on to get things

Since, I started using them a couple weeks ago, they have already helped me organize my time and project budget so I know exactly what I need when I visit my quilt shop next.
Hope this helps you stay more organized and keeps that quilty wandering eye in check!  What are some projects that you are working on and what do you need to do to finish them?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ruffled Heart Wreath

I have to admit, I really don't have many decorations around my house for most holidays.  So my goal this year is to make a few simple things that will bring the spirit of each holiday into my home!  This week, I want to share will you how to make this beautiful ruffled heart wreath for Valentine's Day!
There are other tutorials for this same wreath on the web, but it seems like to get all the instructions/tutorial you have to follow several links between webpages.  I like having all my instructions in one place, so here it is!
Materials Needed:
- 1 yard felt in the color of your choice
- a styrofoam heart or a rectangular styrofoam board measuring 18" x 12" x 1" (if using a board, here is the template I made for cutting out the top of the heart and bottom of the heart).
- 1 box foam connectors (at least 3)
- exacto knife or kitchen knife to cut styrofoam
- cutting mat
- circle cut template or a cup for tracing circles
- fabric scissors
- fabric marker or pencil for marking
- gluegun and several gluesticks (you can also use small housepins if you don't have a gluegun, but you will need a lot, like 160!)
- command strips or other adhesives to attach wreath to door
Just as a precursor to this project, I searched high and low and could not find a styrofoam heart that I liked.  I was looking for one that looked like this:
I liked the flat edges and the position that the curves met in the middle of the heart.  But all I could find were hearts that were like this:

I didn't really like the shape of this heart as much, but it is a much easier process to have a ready made styrofoam heart than cutter one out.  To each their own!  Choose whatever method works for you!
I bought my styrofoam board at Joann's and used my 50% off coupon found on the Joann's app.  Make sure you download it if you have a smartphone!  I use it a few times a month (at least) for all kinds of crafting/sewing items! 
I made my own heart template for the top and bottom of the heart.  You can open the file by clicking on the link in the "materials" section of this post.  I used the template to make a continuous cut for the top of the heart and then used the rest of the board to cut two bottom pieces.

I then attached the pieces of the heart by inserting a foam connector into the middle of one piece and then pushing the other piece upwards, making sure the edges lined up as much possible.





For extra security, you can also put some hot glue in these crevases to hold them closed until the glue dries.
Now it's time to draw a circle in the corner of your felt.  I used my circle cut template and a fabric marker to draw a 3" circle.  If you don't have a template like this, you can use the bottom of a cup and just trace around it. 



I folded my fabric in half twice so that each time I cut a circle out, I would be cutting four at a time.  This saves a TON of time.  I cut out the first four circles . . .

 . . . and then I used one of my circles as a template to cut out the rest of the circles.  I didn't draw on my fabric, just followed the circle's curves with my fabric scissors.

Cut out approximately 160 circles.  That sounds like a lot, but it goes by fast if you fold your fabric! The circles do not need to be perfect; they are going to be folded a couple times, so don't worry about perfection here.  Now fire up the gluegun!

Take one circle at a time and fold it in half.  Put a dab of melted glue in the middle of the folded circle, close to the folded edge.

Fold the circle in half again and pinch it closed so the glue will secure it in place.

Put a bit of glue on the tip of the folded circle and attach it to the styrofoam heart.
Sorry this picture is so blurry!  I was trying to move quickly before the glue hardened :)


I found as I went along that it was easier for me to retain the shape of the heart if I started placing the ruffles on the inside edge of the styrofoam before filling in the rest.

You'll have your ruffles done in no time at all!


To attach my wreath to my front door, I used 2 command strips so that when it came time to remove it, my door would not be damaged.  You can also tie a ribbon around your wreath and hang it that way, but I just happen to like the look of the wreath by itself!

Attach it to your door and voila!  You have a beautiful, sweet, ruffley way to spread Valentine's Day cheer!