Category: Serious Quilt Fun

Is It December 1st Yet?

1qocrgCouldn’t be more excited for Christmas this year as I’m planning to decorate the Whimzie Quiltz sewing room for the holidays, too.  One of the first decorations is this sewing themed Countdown Calendar.

The impetus for this piece came from a Nancy Zieman blog post from 2015.  Instead of a quilted wallhanging, though, I decided I wanted fabric-covered canvas.  Luckily, there was just enough of the grey snowflake fabric in my stash!

I loved-loved-loved how she used a measuring tape for the numbers, but wanted mine to be one piece.  Which meant my version ended up using a 15″ x 30″ canvas from JoAnn’s.

The tree is felt, trimmed with mini pompom ribbon, and the base is machine appliquéd fabric from my stash.  Most of the buttons came from LittleRedCottage on Etsy (her button selection is AMAZING) and they are attached with those stick-on velcro dots. The loop dots are next to the measuring tape; by using the hook side on the back of the buttons they stick to the felt without any thing else needed.

The wooden spools were left over from another project years ago, but had to be cut in half in order to lay flat.  This did not go as well as expected – so glad I had safety goggles on when cutting! – but eventually I got 4 semi-identical halves.  I painted them orange and wound pink embroidery floss  around each before attaching.

I finished it off with a little white ric-rac around the edges and the sequin star – all easily glued down.

I am just super thrilled with the way it turned out!  It’s going to be the highlight of my holiday sewing room decor.  But stay tuned to see what other fun things turn up before December arrives!

A Quilter’s Christmas Carol Pillows

Let me tell you a story…

As the holidays approached way back in 2011, an idea began percolating in my head. What if the ghosts from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol didn’t visit a miserly old man; instead, what if they sought to change the heart of a overworked and very tired quilter trying to get all her quilted gifts done before December 25th? (No, nope, wasn’t projecting at all…)

The result was a little story called A Quilter’s Christmas Carol ~ With Thanks to Charles Dickens for the Holiday Inspiration.  One year later (after I, wink, wink, got caught back up) the little story got turned into a book.

As part of the book writing process, I decided to add directions for a related quilting project, the Quilter’s Christmas Carol block.

Pieced from traditional holiday colors, the Quilter’s Christmas Carol block features three flying geese moving out from the center (embodying the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future) while stylized “C”s in each corner represent the first letters of the classic holiday tale’s title.

christmascarolpillows

Much like Dicken’s classic, today’s story has a happy ending – six years later, I finally finished making a set of Quilter’s Christmas Carol pillows!

I want to make it very clear, I didn’t create such a difficult design that it would take the average quilter six years to make these.  Pretty sure these could be knocked out in a day with the no distractions.  But what average quilter has NO distractions? Let’s just say, being overworked and very tired is not an uncommon thing around Whimzie Quiltz and leave it at that, shall we?

Still, it’s nice to have these off my to-do list.  One less chain for poor Marley, I mean, me, to wear as quilt-y penance when the time comes!

***

PS – Copies of my book are still available online. They make great stocking stuffers or Secret Santa gifts for quilters.  Want to make them even more special? I’m happy to autograph copies!

Merry Mermaid Stockings

Can’t tell you how much we love having our nieces and nephews visit!  We see them mostly during spring breaks or summer vacations, but, because we live in Southern California, sometimes they’ll swing by during Thanksgiving and Christmas just to get a break from the cold.mural

The room the kids stay in while visiting is beach-themed, with this giant tropical mural on one wall. I’ve been mulling over Christmas decorations to go with the theme – so they can enjoy their visit to warmer climes and celebrate the holiday at the same time.

All of which led to these quilted mermaid stockings…mermaidstockings

That is sequin stretch fabric, folks.  Or should I say sequin s – t – r – e – t – c – h fabric. Not the easiest fabric to work with if you are used to 100% quilter’s cotton.  But, hey, I’ve been saying I need to s – t – r – e – t – c – h my quilting skills! 🙂

I bought a special scalloped ruler to do the quilting on my long arm, though the lines on the tails are freehanded.  That was a lot of work, so I kind of cheated on the backs – they are un-quilted fleece.  I bound everything with additional sequin stretch – extremely carefully cut – and the trim is a mix of white feathers and green gathered mesh.

I’m really looking forward to decorating the kid’s room during the holidays this year.  I’m thinking a Christmas tree with beach ball ornaments, some twinkly lights, maybe a garland in the blues and greens of the sea.  But the highlight is sure to be these merry mermaid stockings!

Tote-ally Awesome Quilting

DeVon D.’s email read,

“I am a runner.  I would really like some type of tote made from [all these race shirts and race bibs that are just sitting around.] Any thoughts? Feel like tackling this?”

13 years of custom quilting and I’d never made a quilted tote bag! But, hey, I love a challenge, so I said, “Sure!”

While waiting for her marathon shirts to arrive, I decided to do a trial bag.  That’s how I ended up with this ENORMOUS beach tote.  I mean, it’s big.  REALLY big.  Like “hide the pregnant actress’ belly because it’ll ruin her character’s storyline” big.

bigbeachbag

With a few adjustments, though, I felt ready to take on DeVon’s projects. She sent me enough shirts that I ended up quilting her both a beach tote and a book tote.

And, I threw in a quilted backpack, just for the fun of it.

backpack

These were definitely a fun little digression from regular quilting.  I liked having to figure out the math as I went along to get to a normal size on the bags and the instant gratification of finishing a small project is always nice.

And DeVon seems pretty happy with them, too.  She posted yesterday on the Whimzie Quiltz Facebook page,

“I knew you were the right person to hand that project over to. The totes are all great and I just adore the fun Jingle Bell Run back pack. Such creativity!”

Shrink Ray?!? No Way!

You say there’s an evil super villain with a shrink ray taking over the world? I’m not worried – I’ll just move into my new Altoid tin Whimzie Quiltz studio and keep right on quilting…

miniwqstudio

As you can see from the photos below, I tried to recreate my actual sewing studio as faithfully as possible.

Starting with the lid on the left, there’s the felt wall that I use to audition blocks and photograph quilts, a “sew fun” inspirational message and a teeny tiny copy of my book, A Quilter’s Christmas Carol (life-size versions still available in my Etsy store.)

On the right side, I used leftover pink wall paint for the background and hung a mini blind and three decorative “oversized” buttons, topping it off with miniaturized fabric banner just like the one hanging in my room.

In real life, I have a planter/vase shaped like a giant thimble where I keep scissors and pens – in the mini version, I included a Monopoly thimble (RIP). The tiny spools of thread came pre-wound with pink so they fit in nicely with no alterations and I used scraps of pink and orange fabrics from my stash for the bolts of fabric.

My real sewing machine is white – I painted the mini sewing machine white; my everyday scissors are orange – I painted two mini scissors orange.  The sewing cabinet in my room is finished in cherry wood grain laminate; it was easy to stain a small piece of balsa wood to represent that color finish in the tin.

One final tip if you want to create your own –  I cut the prongs off of 4 tiny brads (the kind you use for scrapbooking) and glued the heads on the right side of Altoid tin as feet. Without these, since the lid side is bigger, the tin leaned to the right when open for display.  Brad feet keep everything nice and level.

I found part of the fun of this project was making the Altoid tin match my actual sewing studio as closely as possible, but I could totally see creating the sewing room you’ve always wanted as a mini version, too.

If you do decide to make one, please share a photo with me as I’d love to “visit”… and that way we can all thumb our noses at shrink ray-wielding super villains!