"Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
The days pass quickly when I am sewing"
~Author Unknown

Friday, August 28, 2009

Patchwork wreath tutorial

I had a number of people ask exactly how I made my patchwork charm wreath for my quilt group's Christmas in July celebrations. I thought it would be fun to do a tutorial for you since I wanted to make another wreath with an autumn theme.

You can use any fabrics for this to create a fun seasonal decoration. To see my Christmas wreath again, click here. This wreath is going to be used to hang on my mirror for the autumn season. I created the Christmas version to use for a hurricane lamp on my table. They can be hung or laid on a table either of which creates a beautiful effect. You will need around 60 5-inch squares for a 12-inch diameter straw wreath. you could use fabrics from your stash or look at the charm packs from this shop. They are already cut to the right size which means you avoid having to cut the fabric squares yourself. This is not a difficult project so even a beginning sewer can make this with ease. So lets get started...

You will need the following items to create your own patchwork wreath:
One straw wreath with approximately 12-inch diameter
Fabrics for around 60 5-inch squares
Filling material
Rope or raffia
Decorative items like berries or miniature ornaments

Fold your squares in half with right sides together. Sew one short side and long side. The seam will have an L shape. Clip the corner and turn the pillow right sides out. Fill the pillow but not all too stiffly. They should be able to bend up as you attach them to the wreath. Sew the ends shut by hand.

Begin attaching the pillows to the wreath with either rope or raffia. I find it easiest to being with a row of them along the bottom. You can simply knot them on or make a tiny bow.

Now start adding more pillows above the bottom but be sure to change directions of the pillows as you work. One nice thing is the pillows can be slightly maneuvered even after they are attached to the wreath.

Once you are satisfied that your wreath is filled with enough pillows (be careful to check that no straw is showing except underneath), you are now ready to add any embellishments you choose. This is optional. The wreath is also beautiful with only the fabric pillows. I just wanted to make mine look a little more festive by adding some extras touches.

Have fun making these match a room or give you a seasonal touch to your home!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Have a creative weekend!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How to break a stash diet!

Oh my! I broke my stash diet in style too. Just take a look...

Fabric from Barneveld that was marked down to only 3 euro a meter. We normally pay from 15 to 22 euro for quilt fabrics in quilt shops. Friends from the quilt group told us about this junk shop that was selling the fabric so one of my quilt friends and I decided we had to go investigate. Boy did we ever have a fun day out too!

Then I needed to start looking for unique yarn for a new lacemaking project. I have to find out if this is enough variation or perhaps I need one or two more. I would really like a brown yarn with it yet. The worse thing is that I only need a couple of meters of each skein but have to buy the entire ball of yarn.

Did I need new charts to add more WIPs to my basket??? Well the answer would be a resounding yes when you visit Annemiek's wonderful shop in Roden!!!

So I can blame Annemiek for this part. *wink*

I mean what is a girl to do when you suddenly are standing in a shop that reminds you of the shops you visited on Saturdays when you had time off work back home in America???

There were so many wonderful things to tempt me so I actually think I was quite restrained in my haul. *grins*

But most important was being able to meet Annemiek! I loved being able to talk with her and hope to go back and visit again soon. She was so nice and welcoming.

Anyone here in Holland who has not been to De Handwerk Boetiek really should not think it is too far since it is up north. Take a day out and go see the shop. You will not be sorry.

Enough choices to break the willpower of any stitcher!

Edit ~ My stash diet lasted 1 year and almost 8 full months...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Ahhhh.....I'm melting away..."

Remember that scene from the Wizard of Oz? I grew up being a witch most Halloween's. I even won a costume competition one year when my brother painted my face green and gave me a wart to go with my witch's costume. My prize? A huge pink and white teddy bear. An obvious prize for a witch right? *grins*

This weekend, I found two fabulous Halloween charts from The Primitive Needle and started the first one as part of my HarmAn marathon this week. I just loved this Witch's Checkers game board. I have an idea already about the finishing which I hope will work but you will have to wait a little while for that.

I am using things I had in my stash for this project. I am stitching it on 28 count tea dye evenweave I bought at a stitching shop up in Elburg. I am working this one over one. The threads are Carrie's Threads Double Shot and Crescent Colours Fallen Leaves. I have enough for this chart but will need to order some more pronto to start the second chart. I would love to finish both in time for Halloween!

For anyone who wants to take a look at that famous scene of Dorothy throwing water on the Wicked Witch of the West...enjoy the video. Turn off the Halloween music on my sidebar to hear the video. It makes me think of my sister who loved imitating the Wicked Witch and Halloween was her favorite holiday. Each year, Halloween becomes more of a fun holiday to me as a way to remember her.

Stitching is the best thing to do today and tomorrow in Holland as we are having above 30C temperatures. I am seriously melting away.............

Monday, August 17, 2009

Patchwork and stitching are friends

Since the 1st and 15th of each month are HarmAn Days (start a new project), I took a miniature sampler up to Cranberry Cottage to work on. It happened again... I started the sampler but also finished it. *grins* I just cannot get the hang of this startitis thing right now.

The sampler measures 2 inches by 4-1/4 inches which I decided to turn into a little pillow for an autumn decoration.

I keep a drawer with scraps I cut while working on a quilt in various shapes. These rectangles have come in handy for other stitching projects in the past. I love Chinese coins as they are called by quilters and want to make a mini quilt with them one day. But I used some of them to sew two rows of 'coins' for each side of the pillow. They measure 1-1/4 inch by 3/4 inch each here on the pillow.

I added a pretty ribbon which brought out the color of thread. I used Weeks Dye Works Indian Summer for this sampler. It gave a subtle effect for this autumn sampler which includes a little squirrel, leaves and toadstool. I had so much fun making this for my favorite season that I finished it in two days.

But in the hope that I still get the hang of startitis...I am starting another project today. I am going to start one of two new Halloween projects. I came home last night and got my fabric ready along with my threads. I do have a confession to make...my stash diet was severely broken last week. I will tell you all about it in my next post. But in the meantime, is anyone thinking about Halloween projects out there in blogging land? You still have time to make something so won't you join me? I would love to hear all about what you are working on and promise to show my starts too.

Before I leave you on this Monday morning, there were many questions about the patchwork charm wreath I made with my quilt group. I am starting to pull fabrics to make one for autumn so I will be preparing a tutorial for you all to make your own next week.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Primitive ornaments SAL - The Holly and The Ivy

While considering what to use as a subject for this month's ornament, I was thinking about Christmas carols. I love traditional carols. One of my very favorites is The Holly and The Ivy. I have put the name of this carol on our next ornament with trails of holly and ivy. I used French knots for the little berries by the holly leaves but you could also use small beads if you wish.

Copy the handwritten chart to Word or an email to print it out...

Here are a couple of photos sent to me. The first is from Hetty who lives here in Holland. She does not have a blog but we keep in contact with one another as she regularly reads both my blogs. I enjoy our online friendship and she just sent me this photo of one of the ornaments that she made. I am glad my ornaments give you something in hand while getting over the sadness of loosing your precious dog Joey! Sending cyber hugs your way Hetty!

Letty has made the ornaments each month adding sweet touches with extras like the little buttons on Warm Hearts and Hands...

...and sequins, beads and tiny jingle bells to Joy to the World.

Today is HarmAn Day once again. Margaret and I will both be starting a new project. Since I am at Cranberry Cottage today working on it, I will share the project in my next post. Perhaps you would also like to join Margaret and I by starting something new today?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

For the love of blueberries...

It's blueberry season!

"Blueberry fingers, blueberry face--
Blueberries, blueberries every place
Into my mouth, one, two, three,
Blueberries taste so good ..."

~ From Humpty Dumpty's Magazine

Many have been asking how I have been. I am slowly improving as the dosage of my thyroid medicine is increased. I had to go to the hospital for my second biopsy this week. The technician did the ultrasound and went to get the doctor. To my surprise, the doctor that administered the radioactive therapy in March came in the room. He works in this department too he told me. He redid the ultrasound and another doctor also came in to look and he also redid it. They decided that they would wait to do the biopsy. They told me that my gland is very irregular and asymmetrical at the moment. There is still a nodule they are keeping an eye on but they are convinced that the radioactive material should take care of it with time. This kind of treatment takes a good year to show results. The doctor told me he could not see the point of putting me through the discomfort of the biopsy as he believes it will be okay. He does want to repeat it in three months at which time, if it is not improving, the biopsy could then be done. Needless to say, he did not have to convince me and I was ready to jump off the table. Next week, I see my other specialist and hope she will be in agreement since she was the one who wanted the biopsy done.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Practice makes perfect...

Well, that is the old saying and I think I need more practice at this HarmAn Day.

It was supposed to be a day of starting a new project. It is creating another WIP. I sat outside on Saturday at Cranberry Cottage in the evening to start this little sampler.

I was very distracted by the butterflies fluttering all about me. Our Buddleia or butterfly bush is right beside my chair on the terrace. I was enjoying 5 species of butterflies drinking happily among the flowers and landing frequently on our table.

But stitch I did and before I knew it, I was addicted to this little sampler and could not put it down.

I bought a frame in a shop in the village of Staphorst where we stopped on the way to the cottage. I always have luck finding frames there and did once again. So it is not only stitched but framed and ready for Jos to hang it for me on my sampler wall in our bedroom.

So it is back to another of my previous WIPs to hopefully create another finish before the summer is over...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

HarmAn Day!

What is HarmAn Day you ask??? Let me tell you a fun story...

Last week at our Sip 'N Stitch, Annemarie was starting to show us her WIPs. We ooohed and aaahed everything until Margaret and I realized that Annemarie's drawers seemed to be a bottomless pit of started projects. Both she and Harmien start all the wonderful charts they love never being bogged down by the guilt of those already started. They even joked about setting two stitches just to start a project.

So Margaret and I are having our very first HarmAn (combined their names to mark this day) Day on the first of the month which is a day that she and I are allowed to start a new project.

Now at this moment, I am up at Cranberry Cottage starting the first stitches on Practice Makes Perfect. With the magic of predating blog entries, I can share this with you today. It is a little chart which my mother gave me for my birthday. It will measure a little over three inches square as I am using 40-count linen. She also sent me the Gentle Arts Sampler threads to go with it. So this weekend I am celebrating HarmAn Day sitting out in the garden (if there is no rain) stitching on this sweet little sampler.

Wishing you all a creatively inspired weekend!