March 5, 2012

Heirloom Cut Chenille Baby Blanket

I spent last week working on a gift for a very dear friend who is having a baby boy in April.    I saw this tutotial for a chenille blanket and thought it would be absolutely perfect.    It took me a bit longer than  I thought it would, but the effort was worth it.   It was a huge hit at the baby shower.

Here’s a close up of the Chenille on the back.

I layered my flannel this way – chocolate brown on top, blue in the middle, and beige/light tan on bottom.   So if you do this blanket and one of your layers is a lot darker than the others, you’ll want to think about how much impact you want it to have.   If I had wanted the back less brown, I would have wanted to put the brown on the bottom or in the middle.    The brown seemed to overpower the blue for this blanket.  In person you can see more of the blue, but not a lot.

The tutorial calls for  topstitching to attach the binding.  I didn’t like how the topstitching was looking on my binding, so I pulled it out and attached the binding my normal way (sew the front, handstitch the back).   It was really  difficult to hand stitch the binding onto the chenille side.  I should have treated it like the front.   Then,  I restitched in the ditch on the front(which was through the binding on the back) with invisible thread.   I liked that look much better, it’s still not a straight seem on the back but it’s much less noticeable and it gives the binding  more security.

I also made a few burp cloths using this tutorial to go with it.  These were so fast.  I think I had 3 done in a half hour or so.  It’s a wonderfully easy, cute little pattern.   For the back of these I used some Minky I had in my stash.

I’m really happy with how it turned out and I think I would make this blanket again.  Next time, however, I’ll buy the chenille cutter.

 

February 22, 2012

Simply Silly Baby Quilt and Play Mat

I started this quilt over a year ago using the Simply Silly pattern on Moda Bake Shop.  I had thought I might give it to a friend having a baby, but I never got around to quilting it.   I was a little hesitant to do FMQ.   Since I joined the FMQ challenge this year, I thought I’d put this quilt on the list of ones to practice on.

Of course, now that I decided I need this quilt done ASAP that meant it would be straight line quilting instead of Free-Motion.  I just didn’t have the time to practice, pull out stitches and quilt it multiple times.   I’m really pleased with how it turned out anyway.   I think this is a great little gender neutral quilt.

Here’s a close up.  The circles were left raw edge to give them that fun fuzzy raggy feel.   I quilted some of the blocks with diagonal lines and some with nested squares.

 

February 16, 2012

Baby / Toddler quilt

I’ve been working on another quilt for baby.   I’ve just got the top done but I’m excited about how it’s turning out.  The fabric is from the Froggin’ line by Sue Zipkin.    I’ve been wanting to do the Oh My Stars! quilt along but just haven’t had the time, so I used 2 of the stars from that quilt along for this quilt.   In each of the 4 corners is a Nested star and the rest are the basic sawtooth star.

My Star quilt with lovely quilt model, Cora

The pieced border is 4 inch squares.  On the long sides I had to trim a couple of blocks to make the border fit the way I wanted.  Next up I need to actually quilt this one.   I’m not sure if I’ll get that done before or after Jr gets here.

 

 

February 6, 2012

More Baby Stuff

After finishing the diaper bag,  I kept looking at my scraps and thinking “I need to use those!”  I’ve wanted to make a matching changing pad but I didn’t want to buy more fabric and I didn’t think I had enough of the Dr. Seuss fabric to make any of the ones I’d looked at.  I was catching up on some blog reading and I stumbled across this lovely little quilt at Quokka Quilts using the same Lorax panels.  It’s so cute and love how she offset the panels so they are a little wonky.  But, I only had 6 panels left, not really enough for a whole quilt, and I didn’t think I had enough contrast fabric and definitely didn’t have any backing.    As I looked at it,  I thought I could do that on a changing pad!

I started looking for a pattern.   I really liked this one at Cluck Cluck Sew with the pocket for the wipes and diapers but I’d have to buy some fabric for it.      I really liked the idea of using the vinyl like in this one at Homemade by Jill.  I had some red polka dot laminated cotton in my stash that would match the Dr. Seuss fabric really well, but Jill’s pattern didn’t have the pocket.

Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone, and I can’t just use one pattern.  That would never do!   So I combined them, sort of.    I put my panels together like in Quokka’s quilt.

The outside

I added some additional contrast fabric and some extra length to Cluck Cluck Sew’s because I didn’t want the panels to be part of the pocket.

The wipes/diaper pocket

I used 2 pieces of fusible flannel like in Jill’s.   Also from Jill’s I used the laminated cotton and the double fold bias tape.     I didn’t fold the pocket over until after adding the bias tape to the entire piece.

The Inside for changing baby

At the very end, I added some velcro so that it would be easy to close quickly.   I think it turned out really cute!

Rolled up and closed like a clutch

 

I’m so excited to be all coordinating now!

January 27, 2012

It’s done!

In preparation for hopefully being able to adopt a baby this year, I’ve been trying to make some of the things I’ll need. This week, I made the diaper bag!

I’m really excited about how it turned out. I started with the pattern for the Miranda day bag by Lazy Girl Designs.    I wanted to use the Lorax panel by Dr. Seuss as a starting point and I was concerned that the Miranda was going to be too small.   So I made a few adjustments to the pattern.   It turned out 17″ x 13″ x 5″.  I think it’ll be a nice size.

Front of the bag

 

Back of the bag

 

The panels were taller and narrower than  the space allowed in the original pattern, so I added a section to the outer edge of each panel for the sides of the bag.   I also added a small strip of the same fabric between the panels so that the panels wouldn’t be blocked by the flap. I made the bottom long enough to cover the length of the panels but didn’t change the width of that piece.

 

On the pockets, I added trim that matched the bottom of the bag.

 

Here’s what the inside of the  bag looks like.

 

I’m really excited  about how it turned out.  I added really long leather shoulder straps to make it easier to carry.  I can’t wait to have a reason to use it.

 

 

Linking up with TGIFF over at What a hoot!  Hop on over to see everyone’s finishes!  Also linking up with can I get a Whoop Whoop!  Check it out for even more finishes to inspire you!


 

January 19, 2012

Weigh in Wednesday on Thursday

Weigh In Wednesday

Wow, another week has flown by. There’s been so many things going on that I can talk about yet except to say I’ve been completely distracted from my healthy eating. I did actually weigh yesterday, just didn’t get to posting.

Here’s a recap of this week’s progress:

Weight Loss Goal: 65 lbs
Week’s Loss: 1 lbs
Intermediate goal: 20 lbs by May
Total Loss: 7 lbs
Distance to Goal: 58 lbs, 13 lbs to intermediate goal

The most exciting thing about this post is that I crossed one of those big number lines. I wasn’t going to be honest about what I actually weigh, but I just have to celebrate this one.

I just dropped below the 200lb mark! It was confirmed by an independent scale in my dr’s office too, so it’s not just my scale! It’s so exciting to be back to numbers that start with a 1.

January 11, 2012

Weigh in Wednesday #2!

Weigh In Wednesday
Here we are, back at the scale again.  And the results are a mixed bag this week.   I’ve made great progress on my attitude.   I’m not dieting.   I’m changing how I eat.   So that means, I’m not going to eat like a rabbit unless I want to eat that way forever.  I’m still using the Sonoma diet food lists as a guideline for healthy eating, but I’m not going to be rigid about it.  I’m going to focus more on how many calories I’m consuming because ultimately it comes down to consuming less calories than you burn in a day.  This week I found a new blog Can you Stay  for Dinner?  She’s lost 135 lbs and kept it off for 5 years.  Her blog is a combination of encouragement, tips, recipes and some fun thrown in for good measure.  It’s helped me change my perspective on this diet.  I really need to be lighter, but not on a diet.  I need to lose weight in a way that I can maintain.

So here’s a recap of this week’s progress:

Weight Loss Goal:  65 lbs
Week’s Loss:  2 lbs
Intermediate goal: 20 lbs by May
Total Loss: 6 lbs
Distance to Goal:  59 lbs, 10 lbs to intermediate goal
Week’s Exercise: none
Total Time Exercising:  0 (my sinus’s kicked up and I spent a lot of time miserable, so no official exercising.   We did walk Sam’s club over this weekend)
Eating Healthy:  I ate good meals during the week.   We only ate out 3 times in the last 7 days, and all 3 were on the weekend and none were fast food.   I made reasonable choices when we ate out (except for Cracker Barrel, but hey, everyone needs a treat).
Sodas:  I did horrible with this goal last week because we still had too many sodas around and I hate to see anything go to waste.   The Sodas are down to my lone diet cokes that I only have 1 a day of.   I’ve got my unsweet tea made and ready and a new filter in the water dispenser.   This week looks much better.

Overall,  not a bad week. I got off of tracking my food at the weekend, so I need to keep that up as it really helps me stay on track.   And I’m happy with a 2 lb loss.   That’s a good long term steady kind of loss.

Here’s to kicking butt next week!

January 10, 2012

My first Free Motion Quilting!

One of my goals for 2012 is to learn how to Free-Motion Quilt.  It’s January and the first challenge has been posted, so it’s time for me to get off my duff and actually try this out.  Right?

Honestly, I had never even put my FMQ foot on my machine, let alone used it.   So first I took an online class.  Then I watched the video for this months tutorial.   I realized that before I tried that design, I needed to practice getting used to my machine.

I sandwiched a couple of fat quarters together,  put on the FMQ foot, dropped my feed dogs, adjusted my stitch length, lowered my presser foot, laid my hands on the fabric, took a deep breath and stepped on the pedal.

Lesson # 1:   This is not NASCAR.   I don’t need to drive my machine like a race car driver.

Lesson #2:  When panicking, don’t let go of the fabric as you step off the pedal.  The fabric will jump.   Just let your foot off the pedal, KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE FABRIC!!

This is what my practice piece looked like after an hour.

The Front

 

I don’t think it’s too bad for my first time ever.  You can see some straight lines at the top that I did first as I was trying to just get used to the process of moving the fabric.  Man, that’s a different sensation when you’re used to the machine moving it for you.  After that I just started playing around trying to  get a consistent stitch length.  Here’s a pic of one of the later sections.

 

I still need to work on stitch length.  There’s some long stitches, some short ones, but again, not too shabby for a first practice session.

Lesson #3:   Slow down the feet, speed up the hands.   (may not be right for everyone, but I’ve got a lead foot and at this point, my hands can’t keep up!)

On to the nitty gritty, I know you’re wondering, okay but what does the back look like.   Of course, you’d ask that.

The back

 

Not too bad, but there’s a couple of problem areas.  Really, I think they’re all the same issue.  My guess is that it’s either my machine’s tension or it’s the way I’m pulling and pushing the fabric.    Here’s a close up.

I’m seeing this in multiple places.   I really don’t think it’s my tension because the straight lines I did are fine and don’t have this problem.  My guess is that it’s how I’m moving my hands.  Can anyone confirm this?  Tips?

I’m going to take a break now, but either this afternoon or tomorrow I’m going to do another piece just like this one and hopefully see some improvement.   Once I feel more comfortable with this design that I’m calling “childhood scribbles,” then I’ll start working on January’s design.   I think I’ll be happier with my progress if I take the time to get my stitch length more consistent before I move on.

 

January 6, 2012

TGIFF!

Joy of Joys I finally finished it!  It was about time, I mean it’s not like it was supposed to be my dh’s birthday gift in Oct of 2010.  Oh wait, maybe it was supposed to be that.  Anyway, it’s done and dh is happy with it.   I really should have gotten him to do the promised happy dance while I video taped it but  I think the video camera would stop any happy dance. LOL.

So here it is, in all it’s glory, quilted, bound, washed and ready to snuggle.

It really is soft.   I quilted “straight” lines about a 1/2 inch inside each seam.  I thought stippling would compete with the designs on the shirts.  I backed it with flannel.  I read a post on Quilt Story that suggested Fusi-Knit for the interfacing.  I’m so glad I read that post as the Fusi-knit was wonderful to work with.  I like it so much better for t-shirt quilts than the other interfacings I had tried.

I also finished these receiving blankets and burp cloths for my mom to give as a gift.

and this set

While I was on a roll, I went ahead and made some burp cloths for us to have whenever we get a little one to live with us.  I’m hoping to still get to a couple of receiving blankets for us today, but  those will be in another post.

I think they’re all so cute.  The fabric really makes me smile.

Well that’s all my finishes for this week!   Hop on over to Quokka Quilts to see what everyone else has done this week!

 

January 4, 2012

Weigh In Wednesday!

Weigh In Wednesday
So back in August, I set myself the goal of losing 65 lbs. I originally intended to lose 20 by the first of the year. I was right on track, 12 lbs down, when asthma hit. Yep, that means steroids. Somehow I can never stay motivated to be healthy when I’m on steroids. I got off the steroids and just a few weeks later, yep, right back on them again.

I had decided that I needed to get back on the band wagon.  I was absolutely sure that I had gained every bit of that 12 lbs back.  Yesterday, I tentatively stepped on the scale.  Guess what?   I’m still 4 lbs below what I was!!!!   Yeah!  I didn’t gain back the whole 12 lbs!!!!.  I’ve decided to rejoice in the 4 that are still lost and move forward without guilt.

I just saw Weigh in Wednesday and thought, that’s perfect.   I could use some accountability to help keep me on track.

My goals are:

1) Lose a total of 65 lbs, the first 20 by the end of May.   That equates to roughly 1 lb per week and hopefully allows for some minor set backs when the steroids come calling.

2)  Stay motivated and not give up just because the doc puts me on steroids.  This one is hard!  I get so ravenous when this happens but I also give up before I’ve taken the first pill.   I want to keep focused on my goals through these times.

3)  Eat more healthy – use the Sonoma Diet as a guide

4) Control my portion size and calories – shoot for 1600 calories per day. Use Livestrong.com to track my calories and fitness goals.

5) Begin exercising again – start with walking and work my way back up to being fit!

6)  Limit my sodas to 1 a day.  Drink more water instead.

 

Weight Loss Goal:  65 lbs
Week’s Loss:  0 lbs
Intermediate goal: 20 lbs by May
Total Loss: 4 lbs
Distance to Goal:  61 lbs, 16 lbs to intermediate goal
Week’s Exercise: none
Total Time Exercising:  0
Eating Healthy: Started with lunch yesterday.   2 healthy meals this week!
Sodas:  Starting this week

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