Sunday, January 31, 2010

Simple Cat Toys

This disgusting looking thing is a cat toy that was given to the kittens and they love it - that is why it looks like it has been chased through every dust bunny in my house!  Well, I was visiting Heaven Can Wait, an animal rescue foundation in a nearby town last week to take them a coupon I received in the mail for a free bag of cat food.  (Much as I love free I won't upset the applecart by changing food on my kitties - a sudden change in food can be a recipe for disaster!)  While I was there I asked what else they could use that I could possibly make for them, thinking along the lines of blankets, dog beds, etc.  Well, they had enough of those but did come up with a list for me that included cat toys. I immediately thought of this one and decided to replicate it.

The toy is made of fleece fabric and I had a largish scrap of burgundy fleece in my stash.  I started by cutting it into strips, about five inches in width.

I used my rotary cutter to cut fringe on each end of the strip of fleece.  I cut them half an inch in width and about seven inches into the fabric strip.

I tied a knot in each end of the fleece close to the start of the fringe and pulled it nice and tight.  I forgot about the stretchiness of fleece so ended up with some waste in the center.  Cut the fleece close to the knots and there are your two cat toys!


Mine are a bit longer than the original but they could always be trimmed or made shorter to begin with.

As you can see, Seven gave it her seal of approval!

There you have it!  In little over half an hour and using only a scrap of fleece I made over a dozen cat toys which I will drop off at Heaven Can Wait on my next trip to town. 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Organizational Skills?

Now, I vowed to clean up my sewing room.  It was one of my new year resolutions, right?  Now, I ask you, why should a little job like that be so difficult?  Could one reason be because I have a serious addiction to books and magazines?
Take the photo above for example.  I took this today after sorting these quilting magazines into piles according to publication name.  Now you might think this is a good start towards the aforementioned sewing room cleanup and reorganization but you would be wrong.  These are the magazines that I bought last weekend!  I came across a used book sale at my library and here were all these boxes of quilting magazines.  Interesting...  I thought I might as well find out how much they were and once the woman told me she would make me a deal and give me them ALL for $15.00 my fate was sealed.  It took a very kind gentleman two trips to get them to my truck, using an industrial dolly each trip.  Oh yes, and there is a big cardboard box of quilting books from the same buy that isn't even in the picture.  To give you a bit of perspective, this dining room table is huge - seats eight adults very comfortably and can seat 10 without much trouble.  Now quilting is just one of my interests, right?  Up in the sewing room I have instructions and supplies for everything from soapmaking to moose hair tufting! 
Oh dear, oh dear...  I have to run now - I think I hear the film crew from "The Hoarders" at the door!  lol

Postcards complete

A little while ago I posted these postcards after I had them pieced.  Now they are complete and ready to head to the post office.  These are going to be part of a Happy New Years/Valentines Postcard Swap at Crazy Quilting International.  Obviously, I decided to go with the Valentines theme!  lol  They were fun to make and I'm looking forward to more postcard swaps coming up.  I think these would be fun little items to collect.  My swap partners requested they be sent in envelopes rather than through the mail as is, so I didn't have to worry about bling getting caught in the postal machines so was able to use beads, buttons, etc. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pincushion for Swap


I made this pincushion for a swap on one of the yahoo groups - I hope it will be well received by it's new owner.  The inspiration for this one came from this Partylite candleholder I discovered at the thrift store and, as always, the wonderful Victorian pincushions by my friend, Gerry.




I started out by piecing a crazy quilted circle and doing the seam treatments, all in Gloriana Petite Perle silk threads.  When I finished that I used a double strand of Fireline fishing line to baste around the edge, gather and secure. 


I stuffed my circle firmly and then used E-6000 glue to secure the cq`d pincushion to the candlestick base.  Lastly I used the same glue to secure on three trims.  The first trim was a fringe, and over that a beaded fringe and lastly a matching braid trim to hide all the mechanics of the assembly. 

I love making these crazy quilted pincushions - they are relatively fast and easy projects!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week 46 - Laced Straight Stitches



This week`s BAS seam starts with groups of three little straight stitches staggered evenly above and below the seam line.


After you have your straight stitches in place, lace a pretty thread up and down through them, leaving it slack enough that they curve nicely.  Sorry about the picture quality - I was working on white with light colours and the photos turned out very faded.  Anyway, I hope you have fun with this.  I think the spaces between the loops of laced threads call out for more in there - can`t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hoar Frost


You know those mornings when you look out and the whole world looks like a Christmas card?  We`ve been having a few foggy days lately and so the hoar frost has been spectacular.  It doesn`t show up too well but had to take some pictures anyway.


It sometimes makes you wonder how the tiny shrubs can hold all that frost.  So pretty!

Lyn's Summer DYB Block



I recently had the pleasure of working on one of Lyn's Summer DYB blocks in a round robin at CQI.  Cobi did the wonderful work on this block, the beautiful crochet fan, the sun umbrella, the lovely beaded line, etc.  I was fortunate to have the chance to see the block in person and to add a few bits and pieces to it.  I added a beaded tassel to the fan and a couple of  simple seam treatments.  I kept the seams very simple as I did not want to distract from Cobi's lovely stitching.

These were such wonderful fun beach blocks.  Each of the six blocks has one of these wonderful silkies made from old photos of "bathing beauties".  How fun is that!?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BAS - Week 45 - Rhodes Stitch





This week's BAS (Build a Seam) Challenge stitch is the Rhodes Stitch.  I would have used tiger tape for spacing on this if Duke the Dog hadn't eaten it earlier in the week.  So, I used waste canvas instead.  If you are talented you can likely just eyeball it. 


You can find instructions for Rhodes Stitch online at About.com:  Cross Stitch or  Kreinik.  This stitch was named for its creator, British Needlework designer, Mary Rhodes.  It looks wonderful on point and there are many other variations of the stitch.  I hope you give it a try - have fun!

Saturday, January 16, 2010



Here is my seam sample for last week's BAS - nothing spectacular but I like it!  I used silk perle throughout and added some silver beads.


So what else did I do today?  Cookies!  Dozens and dozens of sugar cookies, a few dozen for each kind of sprinkle I could find in my baking cupboard.  Why?  No good reason except it felt like a cookie baking day!  lol


And yes, you get to see the cookies from two different views - one straight on and one profile.  After all, I don't bake that often!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Duke ate my Tiger Tape!!


Look at Duke - looking all innocent cuddled up with one of the kittens.  He is not as sweet as he looks!  He is in big trouble with me for eating my tiger tape this week.  How am I supposed to have even stitches now?  Without my trusty tiger tape all my seams go uphill....

Postcards Pieced



We are having a seasonal postcard swap at CQI - hopefully the first in a series!  The first swap has a choice of a New Year or Valentine theme and I chose Valentines.  So far all I have done is piece my little postcards but thought I would share before I start embellishing.  I think this will be great fun!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More Motivation!


Well, I need all the motivation I can get if I am going to meet my goals this year - so I have just signed up for OPAM (One Project a Month) for 2010.  This will be my first year.  I read about it on Wendy's blog and followed the link there to Kris's blog where I found all the details I needed.  The idea is to challenge yourself to finish at least one project a month.  Well, that certainly sounds reasonable, doesn't it?  I should be able to do that, right?  Well, hopefully this motivation will help!

Friday, January 8, 2010

BAS - Week 44 - Buttonhole variation


I am back at last after the Christmas season with another stitch variation for the Build a Seam Challenge.  I fell in love with this variation of the buttonhole stitch when I saw it on a pillow by Suzie.  Her seam is much better than this first attempt of mine and you can take a look at it on the home page of CQI.


This variation is made by working half circles of buttonhole stitch both above and below your seam, offsetting them as shown above. 




You can find a tutorial for buttonhole stitch, or blanket stitch as it also known, in Sharon B's Dictionary of Stitches or Rissa's Pretty Impressive Stuff.  You can see a good diagram of a buttonhole stitch wheel in the Stitch Dictionary at Needlecrafter.com - all you need to is adapt this to do half wheels.

At the end of the seam I made compensation stitches by working the bottonhole up to the seam line and then using additional straight stitches to fill in the remainder of the wheel up to the adjacent seam.

I apologize for my sample seam - without my tiger tape I am lost when it comes to making the stitches even!

This seam was done in a silk perle.  Thank you to Gerry for reminding me that I wanted to mention this each time. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Progress on First AAQI Quilt


Well, I have just finished piecing what will be my first AAQI donation.  I found a framed petit point picture of roses at the thrift store and took it apart and used the stitching as the first patch.  I tried to pick up some of the colours in the petit point in the other fabrics I used in piecing.  The fabrics are pretty varied:  silk, moire, cotton batiks, poly and satin and I used a piece of vintage lace in the piecing.    The quilt is 9 X 12 inches, which is the maximum allowed for these little AAQI pieces.  I am quite pleased with the fan I made to add in the bottom corner.  In the photo, it is not sewn down yet but I think this will be the placement for it.  I paper pieced the fan with two irridescent silks.  Well, the work is done (the piecing) and now the fun begins (the seams and embellishments)!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Little Bit Crafty - Keepsake Ticket


Well, this was just a little crafty idea I had for my husband's Christmas stocking this year.  He and our son attended the Grey Cup this year (if you follow American football and not Canadian - think Superbowl) and the tickets were so pretty I asked them to bring them home for me.  I made a little remembrance of the big game for each of them by framing the tickets.  I scoured the thrift stores until I found a couple of nice deep frames of the appropriate size with good mats in them.  I dismantled the frames and cleaned them well.  Next I took the original picture backing and covered it with some of my gorgeous silk velvet (what I sacrifice I made for my guys - lol!).  Then I centered the ticket, glued them down and reassembled the frames.  Voila!  Going to the Grey Cup game could well be a once in a lifetime thing for these guys, and they were both really pleased with them.  Of course, having the eye of a carpenter my husband questioned my ability to center anything or make it level but we've worked through that, lol.

I thought I would pass this on as a little gift idea.  With the big bands now touring all over, even places like Alberta, I think this would be a good idea for concert tickets too.  Say, if you manage to see the Stones, or someone like that?

Friday, January 1, 2010

More About Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative


made by
Vicki Craig of Abilene, TX, USA


made by Betty J. Rogers,
Center Conway, NH, USA


made by Mary Lambert Matton of
Davidsonville, MD, USA

I mentioned the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative in my New Years goals - I want to talk about it a little more.  I hope you will check out the website and see the new quilts up for auction in January - the three above are just a sneak peek of what is up for bid.  

made by Madeline Hansen
of Dublin, OH, USA

made by Kristi Burt
of Lincoln, NE, USA


made by Rebekkah Tario
of Lapeer, MI, USA

In addition to the quilts up for auction in January, there are a large number of quilts such as those above for sale.  What's even better?  Right now many of them are on sale so you can save some money!  You can read more about AAQI while you are looking at the eye candy. They work to raise awareness about Altzeimers and raise money for research for the search for a cure. 

My decision to contribute small art quilts to the group this year came from my own raised awareness about Alzheimers, brought about by long conversations with my good friend, Debbie Q., at this year's CQI retreat.  Debbie's darling mom had been battling this awful disease for twelve years and I learned a lot by hearing about the journey she and Debbie  took together.  Debbie's mother passed away on Christmas Eve.
Once I had decided to make quilts for AAQI, I looked carefully at the $1,000 Promise but hesitated to take the step to make this commitment:  making enough quilts to raise $1,000 sounded a little daunting.  I have decided to take the plunge now after I learned yesterday that my wonderful aunt, Olive, has fallen victim and is already in Stage 4 of Alzheimers.   So, for Olive and for Debbie's mom, I'm going to do it!  I will make time for this by foregoing participation in round robins this year.  I'll still have crazy quilting to share though because the quilts I make will, of course, be cq!

I would like to challenge anyone interested to visit the website and to consider whether making a small art quilt (maximum size 9" X 12") to donate to the causeis something you could do.  If you decided to make the $1,000 Promise we could have a race!  If that doesn't work for you, consider these small art quilts as gift items or a treat for yourself - some are priced as low as $20.00! 

Lastly, I would like to thank Ami Simms, the founder of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, for granting me permission to feature photos of some of the quilts here in my blog.

Happy New Year!

I am wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year!  May this year bring all your hopes and dreams to fruition.  I am sure this is going to be a better year than last year - we will see the global economy pick up and folks return to work, perhaps with a new appreciation for those who do not have all the advantages we do. Lets make this year a year of caring for those who do without - both at home and away.  Think globally - act locally.


Well, I think I need to start as I intend to carry on this year so here is the first baby set for the hospital gift shop.  I actually have a few of these in various stages of completion, having been gifted with my sister-in-law's knitting basket after she passed away.  It seems like a good idea to get these made up and gone to a good cause so here is the first one done.  One tiny step closer to fulfilling my goals for 2010.