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Friday, January 23, 2015

Sewing in Grandmaville - a quick tutorial on old fashioned buttonhole and few other bits...


Hi everyone,

Slowly I will get back into my blogging groove, I promise.  :)
It is mid- winter time here in Buffalo and dog walks can be a bit nippy sometimes... Not that Marley minds at all, ha ha! Can you see icicles on his beard?

Also, sometimes I watch his footprints in the snow and the other day I noticed the size comparison:

Yeah... My sweet little Bigfoot.
Most of the time after our evening walks I plan to sit and sew a little, but sometimes it just doesn't happen - I crash, with hope to get extra early next day and make it up... But sometimes that doesn't happen either!  I guess I just don't have as much energy or strength as I think I do, or as I want to have. Something to work on. Any good suggestions or ideas?
How do you get everything done?
Do we EVER get everything done or is that just a dream? :)

But when my little granddaughter needs something, it must be done! This time, we needed a CAR SEAT PONCHO. I didn't even know what these are and why they are needed - and in case you are in the dark too, it is considered NOT safe now to place your  baby in a "poofy" winter jacket in the car seat - the thickness of the jacket makes for the straps to be actually too loose in case of collision! Yup, lots of research out there and I found THIS ARTICLE in case you want to read more.

So what is one to do? MAKE A CAR SEAT PONCHO!
It is a simple poncho, made from double layer of fleece, so your baby is warm getting out of the house but you can lift up the back side and strap her/him in the car seat directly. These are not in your regular retail just yet...so if you search the all-mighty Pinterest, you will find a tutorial or two on how to make it! That is what I did and found THIS ONE, as my starting point.

Tutorial is very nice but I wanted to add a few things - some kind of open-and-close system rather than just over the head (our little Juliana really hates over-the-head part of dressing up!) and the opening for her hands, so that she can play or hold something during the car rides.

And that brings me to the old fashion type buttonhole.
I used that method to make the arm openings for this poncho! Not sure if anyone even uses these for actual buttonholes any more? But when I was growing up, my seamstress, step-mother always did these for coats or any heavier fabric, so I learned.
Here is what I did:

1. Just to show you the finished project...


2. And the arm opening from up close

3. TO START, cut a piece of fabric (fleece in this case)  at least 1/2" larger on all sides than the opening you need and stitch it on the RIGHT side of the garment, just around the actual opening (narrow rectangle of stitching). Cut through as shown below:


4. Turn the stitched rectangle to the wrong side of garment by pushing it through the cut opening:


5. Here is how it will look on the wrong side. Make sure to pull it all out straight.

6. Now you just need to stitch it down, either by hand (so nothing is visible on the right side) or by machine of you like. With fleece one really doesn't even have to turn the edges under, but with any other fabric you would want to. I did it here anyway.

7. And here it is all done!

I really lobe this finished look!


Hope my little sweetheart will like it too! :)



I did some quilting too you know...  :)

For one of them I can't quite share the full photo(s) until recipient gets it, but will as soon as I can! Here is just a sneak preview - I used, for the first time, that yummy Recollection fabric, designed by my friend Katarina Roccella.

Ooh how I love these!!!


I can't wait to play more!!

But I can show you the fun play I had with my Modern Quilting Round Robin group! This was the latest round that I got and the colors and shapes are just sparkly, don't you think? 
Here is what arrived in the mail - my starting point.

Lots of color and I felt the need for some more black and white "break", so I first made some free-hand curvy borders. Tried this orientation first:


And then turned the top and right one the other way:


Yup, liked that better! So next I added few bits of color with some improv-pieced, log cabin style squares in the opposite corners and some diagonal  "stripes" also made with improv-piecing:


What do you think?


Here is a bit more detail...



Would you do something different? What comes to mind when you see something not created by YOU from the start? I am always a bit hesitant and hope the owner will like it at the end....

Other than some of the fun in my sewing room, time files when we are having fun with our little granddaughter - she is growing so fast and is an absolute joy, joy, joy! For me - the added delight is to see my husband, otherwise a quiet and fairly serious guy, light up and giggle when he is with her - I just LOVE it so, so much.


And who says winter is colorless and blah - look at the amazing sunset we caught one evening driving back home! (not a good photo from a moving car, but colors are just stunning)


I hope you are having fun and enjoying winter any way you can,
love,
Marija

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy 2015 - let's start fresh!!

Hi everyone,

and wishing you

HEALTHY, HAPPY, CREATIVE AND LOVELY NEW YEAR!!!

Let's not even waste more than a line or two on me being MIA again, but start fresh and positive! Yeah.

Today's post will be a quick catch-up with some holiday fun and yes, even one quilt finished.
Yup, you read that right. ONE QUILT FINISHED!

It made me happy to start this year with one finish, but let's go in some order:

- After my last post a flurry of Thanksgiving preps and lots of family time took me away from here but filled my heart with joy (so I already forgive myself and hope you do too, he he) - all our grown up kids and even their loves were home!!
Can you say - HAPPY!?!
And it was the first time I figured out how to use the time delay feature for photos on my iPhone! (well, thanks to these smart young adults you see in the photo, of course)

-Then right after that was another flurry of getting ready for my annual Artists in Buffalo Holiday Open House - I feel so honored to participate and it is always, always such a lovely and uplifting weekend! People are somewhat surprised to see quilts that are not just "blankets" for beds and also quilts AT ALL and I take pleasure in educating them how this art form is alive and well and so much fun.
Here is few photos of my set-up this year:


Specially proud of this photo below - these are all quilts my daughter made!!! I only showed her some basics and look at her talent!!Her free-motion quilting is amazing and I will have a separate post just for that - so proud!! :)


- and all the days and weeks in between and in general these past 8 moths or so are filled with this joy of course - our lovely, cutest, sweetest little granddaughter Juliana! This is such a typical Monday for me - watching two of them, Juliana and Oliver, taking them for a walk, watching them play, take naps...I really, really don't think there is a bigger joy!

- And yes, big boy Marley is filling my days and my heart still - our walks together are my most peaceful times...I love him so much!

- Then came time for holiday parties with friends, Guilds... We had so much fun at our December meeting and party for Western NY Modern Quilt Guild! ( WNY MQG ) - we exchanged Secret Santa gifts!
And just look at this lovely pillow I got!!! I love it so, so much!!



- Before you know it, Christmas time was here too! We were kinda late this year with getting the tree (once it doesn't happen on Thanksgiving weekend or one right after - it's panic time, right?)
This year's Frasier's Fir was a beauty but quite big. It took me, with my special "wrap-almost-every-branch-with-lights" method, almost 3 hours and twelve strings of lights to do it!
Here was the start:


Some progress...


And DONE!! 


- Over the years we built this tradition that I do the lights, then all the kids would gather to put the ornaments  and my husband would be the last, to put on the top. Of course now with all the kids grown up and some away it is getting hard, but we still did it this year!! Waited 'till the 22nd when our daughter and her fiancee  arrived, but it was so much fun to have them all around to do it again!



(the photo above was a panoramic one but if anyone moves, it is hilarious! (strange head shapes? LOL!)

-Ooh and then there was some little drama when the whole, beautiful, trimmed tree FELL DOWN!! Right after we finished and set down for dinner, it decided to FAINT?? They say everyone's tree falls at least once - so this was our time?
But it was all good at the end - no precious ornaments lost (so lucky!!), all put back on and ready for Christmas morning! We had so much fun opening presents with our little girl crawling around and tearing paper!! Baby's first Christmas is such a special time! :)


And even managed a family picture again!!


My son's mother-in-law, Juliana's other grandma made this precious baby hand-print ornament for us - I love it soooo much!!


And two new chairs are a present for my husband and me from ALL kids (they always get together to give us one bigger gift) and they are just fabulous - a starting point for the living room makeover happening slowly.  I am very much drawn now to make it in a neutral palette so that I can add  and change color accents (and quilts!) more easily.


- After Christmas, fun continued with a very unusual but completely amazing and wonderful family hike - WITH LLAMAS!!! 

Yeah, you read that right - llamas! Aren't they cool? Our daughter's fiancee found this as a present to her last Christmas. She adores llamas for some reason and said how she would love to see one in person and he goes to find that there is a great llama farm in this area and they actually do these llama hikes!! 
So if you are in western NY, go visit Hemstreet Farm Llamas and go for a lovely hike (more a walk, really) with these wonderful, interesting animals! You will have fun and learn a lot about them too!
Kids had so much fun last year that they decided this year a whole family should go - it was simply wonderful!!! We think a new family tradition is born. :)

Each person was walking with one llama and one below (right) was mine - lovely new mama-llama Renee and her baby Sugar. Aren't they just so sweet?

- Holiday times also meant all the kids getting together for some fun and this grandma got extra times with grand babies - YAY!! Here is a rare shot I managed with all three in one spot - all of us hanging out in our bay window... My heart is in a constant melting state, you know.

-Christmas wasn't white but we did get some snow later - enough for these two to get happy!


- And then some extra special treat of all our amazing, beautiful kids and their loves making us, parents a lovely dinner that we came home to, after work. Oh my...there was salmon on a plank, encrusted in some loveliness, chicken in red roasted pepper marinade, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts with bacon and apple and few other goodies, topped with yummy creme-puffs (with melted chocolate tops!) that our daughter-in-law is an expert for. Honestly - how lucky are we??
This was one and only photo I snapped quick, I had way too much fun to get more. :)

Yeah...I am still smiling in my heart from all this wonderful time during holidays. I am truly blessed beyond measure and I can only vow to never take it for granted and to spread the joy to anyone and anything I can.

I find that whenever I am either uneasy a lot or happy a lot - I NEED to sew! I am sure you all can relate, right? So even in this busy time around holidays I was able to squeeze some of it - that is AFTER I had to clean a colosal mess I made while doing some last minute gift making. (how many times did I vow NOT to do that last minute stuff?? Too many...)

So here it is folks - a rare occasion of a clean sewing room!!

Well the shelf still need some work so that all those bins of christmas fabrics can get on it, but work area was usable again! And the Grand Quilter machine needs to be back on that frame...

Anyway - here is my first finish of 2015!! YAY!!
I know it is silly actually - but it felt SO GOOD to do that on the first day of the New Year! I'll take it as a symbol of things to come! (more about those in a next post...)
This one I call Waterfall - it is my first pattern done with Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful
and I blogged about using this ruler and patterns before - HERE . I really love this ruler and so many amazing patterns they have for it - definitely something I will be doing more this year!

For this one, I opted only for some straight line quilting, following the curvy seams - yes very, VERY unusual for me!!


So - what do you think, good choice? Does it need more?


I was wondering and questioning that and knew I will get stuck on it, so just decided to leave it as is - simple and plain! Hey, it feels good to change it up a bit! :)



OK - it feels good to catch up a bit!! 
I hope your holidays were joyful, busy and happy too and lets have some great creative, sewing and quilting fun this year!

Love,
Marija