I’m Baaack!

So I haven’t posted in what seems like forever. I’ve been away taking care of some legal stuff, some medical tests and figuring out health insurance. That’s the small stuff. The big thing is that I moved. Thanks to all the people who helped me, I actually survived through the transition. I couldn’t have done it without all of the people who helped me. Life is finally starting to settle down. Most of my boxes are unpacked, and I’m working on finding a place for everything. Decreasing your living space by 50% has its challenges. I am so ready to get back to crafting on a regular basis and sharing my creations with you.

About 6 months ago, I said I was going to make some changes with the blog. Well, I have changed my mind again. The fact is, I like writing tutorials. Yes, they do take quite a bit of time to write, but I feel like I’m writing something worth reading when I post the tutorials for you to use. I didn’t feel that posting a photo and a few lines saying, “Look what I made,” was quite my style. I think Pinterest or Instagram serves as a better place to post those pictures. Quite frankly, I need to write down the instructions for myself if I ever want to make the same project again sometime in the future.  So I’ll be back to writing tutorials for most of my posts.

As I said before, my life seems to be settling down. I hope it continues to go that way. I still don’t want to commit to a regular posting schedule. My brother-in-law made a good point about the frequency of posting to a blog. He said that if the content was of good quality, the readers are willing to wait for the next post. Not sticking to a schedule will allow some freedom to write my tutorials without feeling the pressure of a deadline. I do, however, plan to post fairly frequently. In the next year, I also want to add some product reviews and some book reviews. I think you will enjoy the things I have planned.

So, welcome back to my blog. I’m glad to be back. I will see you here again very soon with…? Here’s a hint: molasses and architecture.

 

 

 

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Card in a Box: A Birthday Bouquet

card in a box happy birthday bouquets

Card in a Box Happy Birthday bouquets

I noticed that I have been posting quite a few sewing projects lately. Here’s some paper crafting for you, to change things up a bit.

Making the Cards

I made these cards based on a YouTube video by Chic ‘n Scratch. (Find the video by searching “ChicnScratch Card in a box video” on YouTube). I like how she cuts off some of the flap to show more of the box underneath. I changed how I score my cardstock for the flaps. When I score my cardstock at the 2 3/4″ mark, I don’t score the last section next to the 1/2″ score line–that would be the section between the 6 3/8″ and 8 1/2″ score lines. That way, the back of my card isn’t creased at all.

I think you need to use at least an 80 lb. cardstock to make the box so it will be sturdy enough to stand. I like the idea that you can use patterned paper, stamps or any sort of embellishment to decorate the flaps. The diorama part of the card can be decorated any way you like as well. I like decorating with flowers because it’s like sending a bouquet through the mail. And the flowers last forever. I also have some ideas to make a nature scene–more on that in a future post. I have also seen the cards decorated with balloons or cupcakes to make a very cute birthday card.

The box part of the card is really easy to put together, especially if you use a scoring board and a paper trimmer. Making the bouquet of flowers isn’t as hard as it looks, but it does take time. I find that when I make the diorama this full, I like to start placing the pieces from the front to the back. It’s harder to get your fingers in behind the flowers to place the next row, but I can see where I need to fill in the gaps and make the bouquet fuller. I used 1/4″ strips of acetate to elevate the flowers and give them a little bounce. I also used dimensional foam dots to add depth to the bouquet in addition to the dimension that comes from the underlying structure of the card box.

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Top view showing the dimension in the Card in a Box.

Mailing in a Regular Envelope

This card is sized to fit into a regular A2 envelope. The thing to remember when building the bouquet is to keep it within the parameters of the 4 1/4″ by 5 1/2″ card size. I do this by occasionally folding the card as I’m working on it to see if I am going out of bounds. I use the measuring grid on my glass or self-healing cutting mats to make sure I stay within the size limits.

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Card in a Box folded to fit into an envelope.

When I make my box cards into bouquets, they usually require extra postage because the card is extra thick. Sometimes, this also requires changing my envelope to an A6 envelope so the bulk will fit nicely into the envelope without anything getting squashed.

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The first card I put together.

Supplies and Tools Used for the First Card:

  • Flower Shop stamp set from Stampin’ Up!
  • Versamark ink
  • White embossing powder
  • Embossing heat tool
  • Stampin’ Up! cardstock: Real red, Daffodil delight, Bermuda bay (flowers and card base), Tempting turquoise, Pear pizzazz, Wild wasabi, Whisper white
  • Stampin’ Up! Real red ink
  • Pansy punch from Stampin’ Up!
  • Patterned paper from the 6″ x 6″ Crate Paper “Pretty Party” pad
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The second card I made.

Supplies and Tools Used for the Second Card:

  • Nature’s Perfection stamp set from Stampin’ Up!
  • Stampin’ Up! cardstock: Whisper white, Pacific point (card base), Wild wasabi, Pear pizzazz
  • Yellow citrus, Lime Pastel, Lipstick Red, Blue Lagoon and Lavender from Colorbox Chalk Ink Queue–Primary Elements
  • Stampin’ Up! Elegant Eggplant ink
  • Elegant Butterfly punch from Stampin’ Up!
  • Patterned paper from the 6″ x 6″ Pebbles “Front Porch” pad

Supplies and Tools Used for Both Cards

  • Grafix acetate
  • Foam dimensional adhesive from Stampin’ Up! and Studio G
  • Aleene’s Acid-Free Tacky Glue
  • Fiskars paper trimmer
  • Bird Builder, Word Window and Modern Label (retired) punches from Stampin’ Up!
  • Martha Stewart scoring board with Stampin’ Up! stylus
  • Stampin’ Up! Bone Folder
  • Stampin’ Up! Paper Snips
  • Ruler

Turban Style Costume Hat

My mom needed a hat for a costume for Vacation Bible School. I had a pattern that I had modified to make a Hindu wedding hat for a friend’s son. One of the hats in that pattern set had the definite look of a turban. So I suggested that pattern to my mom. I also said that I would make it for her if she wanted me to. She bought some material and brought it to me to sew. After measuring her head, I was ready to go.

The Pattern

Simplicity pattern 2494

Simplicity pattern 2494

The pattern is Simplicity 2494, Size A. The pattern includes small, medium and large sizes to fit heads with the circumference of 21, 22 or 23 inches. It comes with patterns for six different styles of hats. I used the purple hat shown in the upper left corner on the pattern cover.

Sewing the Hat

Making the crown part of the hat is really easy. Attaching the brim is another matter. I had to repin twice and ended up ripping out my first stitches. Now that I’ve practiced sewing this pattern a couple of times for other people, I think it’s time for me to buy some fleece and make myself a nice winter hat. Since all the patterns are so cute, maybe I’ll have to make more than one.

The hat being modeled by my pressing ham.

The hat being modeled by my pressing ham.

Quick Tip

You know how it’s so hard to fold a pattern and get it back into the package once you’ve opened and unfolded it? Instead of trying to stuff the delicate pattern paper back into the envelope, fold the pattern neatly and store it with the envelope in a gallon zip-top bag. I’m pretty sure I found that tip in Threads magazine. It sure has saved me a lot of frustration and keeps my patterns neat and dust-free.

Crazy About Crazy Quilting

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My unembellished crazy quilt square.

My mom and I recently went to a class at The Quilter’s Garden in Fenton, Michigan, to learn how to sew a crazy quilt square. Crazy quilts are traditionally made from scraps of fabric sewn in a random pattern. Embroidery and other embellishments are then used to decorate the fabric. Wow, talk about fun!

What I Like Best About Crazy Quilting

I found several things to like about this method of quilting. First of all, you can use scraps of fabric. You can get your fabric from just about any source. You can use fabric from scrap pieces left over from quilting projects or other sewing you have done, pieces cut from clothing worn to a special event or made for a special person, or from clothes or bedding you have bought at a yard sale or the second-hand shop.

You don’t have to worry about what type the fabric is and if it is washable, because you don’t usually wash a crazy quilt. Silk, satin, lace, corduroy, denim, cotton, wool, synthetic–anything goes. I had gone through my fabric before the class and actually chose colors that wouldn’t clash, but basically you can sit down with your bag of scraps, pull out some pieces of fabric and go to work.

Secondly, you don’t really have to be an experienced quilter to make one of these quilts. (It does help if you know how to embroider, but I’ll get to that later.) All of the seams are straight, so no complicated curves.  You will get a decent product by just slapping down some fabric and sewing it together. You do want to avoid spaces in the design where there are gaps between fabric pieces (referred to as “holes”). I admit, I had to fix a couple of holes on my square. Because the fabric has a random placement and will be embroidered later, the “mistakes” are easy to fix and won’t really show at all. Other than that, there is no wrong way to place your pieces.

Thirdly, the sewing goes quickly. You don’t have to cut any intricate pieces of fabric. You don’t have to worry about getting that perfect seam allowance. You overlap fabric as you sew, so getting your points to line up perfectly doesn’t matter. I finished sewing the fabric pieces onto my 12″ by 12″ muslin foundation piece during the two-hour class. That was with a lot of talking going on and sharing an iron with the other quilters.  Crazy quilting is just a fabulous and fun way to make a quilt.

Crazy Quilt Decoration

Crazy quilts are often heavily embellished with fancy stitches. This is where a little bit of embroidery practice beforehand pays off. However, don’t be discouraged if you haven’t done much embroidery. If you start with a small project like something that would fit into a small frame, you can practice on a piece that is not so large as to be overwhelming. Then make your next project bigger, and the next one even bigger than that to build your confidence.

Sometimes crazy quilts don’t have much embroidery on them, instead using the color and placement of the fabric to set the design of the finished project. You can also use ribbon, buttons and charms on your quilt in addition to the embroidery.

Most of the quilts are used as wall hangings or as decorative fabric for 3-D projects like pincushions, pillows or other stuffed decor items. Some projects are framed just like any other piece of art. Many of the projects are small-scale, so finishing your embellishing isn’t such a daunting task. Although piecing the square together goes quickly, embellishing it can take a while to finish.

Read More

There are several versions of how to assemble a crazy quilt square. The one we learned was developed by Barbara Blankenship, if I remember correctly. She wrote an article called “Piecing a Crazy Quilt Block” about how to use her version of assembling a crazy quilt square. I also found a really good book by Allie Aller called Allie Aller’s Crazy Quilting. The book is a great source to have on your shelf because it gives five methods of putting together a crazy quilt square, ideas on how to embroider and embellish your quilt squares and several projects to get you started.

Another good book to have on hand is one that shows a variety of embroidery stitches. I have a book I picked up at a used book sale. It is called An Encyclopedia of Crazy Quilt Stitches and Motifs by Linda Causee. Any book like this that shows how to make the stitches would be helpful even if it isn’t necessarily geared toward crazy quilting. (Used book sales are great places to find books about embroidery because the stitches don’t change over time as other styles change.)

More to Come

I’ll show you my square when I finish embroidering it. It might take me a while though, since I can embroider about 15 minutes at a time without my hands hurting. Gotta remember to take care of the old body but have fun in the meantime. Right? I also am working on a stitch sampler to practice and preview stitches before I use them to finish my square. More on that later, too.

Making a Few Changes

You probably have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. Trying to write a tutorial for every post was a fast-track to burn out, especially when I was trying to post every week. I feel the need to try a few changes with my blog. Nothing too big–my subject matter will still be everything craft-related.

One of the things I would like to change is how often I post to my blog. I am going to try posting on a random basis. For some reason, I don’t do well being creative on a schedule. Also, if I wait to post projects, I lose some of that creative spark I had while working on the project. I am going to try to write “as the creative spirit moves.”  I think this will allow me to not only have more fun with my blog but to post more frequently without making it feel like a chore.

I would like to make the blog more like a craft journal where I share the things I am working on. I tend to do a small amount of crafting almost every day instead of finishing a project in a day or two. I want to write about the little bits and pieces I have worked on as I go through the project. I do try to finish all the projects I start so you will still be seeing the completed projects as well.  If that doesn’t work, I can try something else. That’s the fun thing about writing a blog. It is always evolving.

You can still ask me to make certain projects. You can ask for tutorials for any project I have posted. I will gladly write a complete tutorial for any project you request. Just leave a comment and ask!

I have a few questions for you:

1. Do you want me to write about my process as I am am working on large projects or just post when I have finished the project?

2. Do you like to see posts come out on a certain day of the week? or Do you prefer to have a nice surprise when I randomly post? Does it matter either way? Let me know what you think about having (or not having) a set posting schedule.

Here’s a special question for family members and other people on my Birthday and Christmas card lists:

3. Do you mind seeing projects posted that are being made as cards or gifts that might be coming your way or would you rather I post things after they have been given to you? For example, if I make Christmas cards and show them on the blog before Christmas, you might see them before you receive them in person. Do you consider that a fun sneak peek or does it spoil the surprise?

Thanks for your feedback. I do enjoy writing about my crafts, but I really enjoy when people read and are inspired by the projects I am creating. With this change in my posting schedule, the best way for you to keep track of when I post is to sign up for email notification. Go to the menu and put in your email address where it says ” Follow the blog by email” and click the follow button. No one but me sees your email address. Your email address will only be used to automatically send you my blog posts. You don’t have to worry about someone else getting your email or getting too many emails from me–blog posts only.

P.S. I do screen my comments before they go live on the blog, so if you want to send me a comment but don’t want it posted on the blog, just say so. I will make sure that your comment is only between you and me.