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Monday, March 28, 2011

Crazy Button Quilt

If you've been following my blog for a few years, you may remember the button Crazy Quilt that I was working on before I got sick.  Each of the 25 6 inch blocks featured button clusters and some of my fancier buttons.  When I got sick, I couldn't do much of anything much less put a quilt together so the blocks have been sitting in my closet for over 2 years now.

I thought about them the other day and even mentioned the button quilt in my blog post yesterday.  The quilt kept popping into my mind and I finally realized why!

I'm teaching a Crazy Quilt class in May on how to work with my Elegant Crazy Quilt Seam Treatments.  It occurred to me that I should take that quilt with me since most of the seams are worked with the charted borders from my Ebook.

When I got back from town this morning, I pulled those blocks out and squared them up:

I probably won't get around to the assembly process until this coming weekend but it feels good to have taken the first step with it.  I have everything I need to finish it and it will indeed be a good example to take with me when I teach my class!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Marie Antoinette Crazyquilt Block #8 Done!

I finished up on Block #8 of my Marie Antoinette Crazyquilt this morning:
I'm very pleased with how this block came out.  I have one more block to stitch up and then I can start the assembly process.  I still have my Button Quilt blocks to put together as well.

I know it looks like like I accomplish a lot and I do.  But when it comes to bigger projects, like finishing a quilt, yes, my ADD gets in the way.  I know how to break things down into manageable sections but sometimes getting started is a challenge for me.  I think once I get the last block for the Marie quilt stitched, I'll be able to focus on getting both this one and the Button quilt put together.  Stayed tuned for those everyone!

In other news, I'm almost up to 400 Followers!  Yay!!!!  I'm going to have a drawing for one of my cat dolls when we hit that 400 mark.  Feel free to pass the news around!  I'll stitch up the cat doll next before I move on to the final block of Marie.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Marie Block #8 Almost Done!

I've been stitching on this block, adding beads and flowers:
The next thing I'll do is embellish that lace piece on top right.  I want to do some sequins and some silk ribbon embroidery on it.

It's almost done!  I have a hummingbird that I want to add to this block and I think a fancy button.  Can't remember at the moment.  Anyway, I'll post another update when it's complete!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marie Antoinette Block #8 Continued

I've started the beading on Block #8 of my Marie Antoinette Crazy Quilt:

I'm really getting excited about this quilt now.  I think it'll be so pretty hanging in my Living Room.  As much as I love my Crazy Garden quilt from last year, I think I love this one more! 

I'm off to do some more beading before I have to go toWalMart. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Marie Antoinette Crazy Quilt Block #8

Being that today is the first full day of Spring, I thought I'd better get a move on with my Marie Antoinette Crazy Quilt!
After running into town this morning and doing some paperwork, I took several hours for myself and started stitching.  This is the block with the lace & trims:
And here it is with the seams embroidered:
Can you find the borders that are from my Elegant Crazy Quilt Seam Treatment book?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Boutique Items

Just a quickie post for today ladies!  My "to do" list is a mile long!  Thought I'd share our new Boutique items.  First, mom's new Easter Tussy Mussy's:


I just love mom's tussie mussies!  Next are my little Wedding Bells:

I took vintage bell ornaments, added some tulle, pink ribbon and vintage millinery flowers.  I thought these would be pretty as a Wedding Gift decoration!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cats & Quilts Counted Cross Stitch Series

No, I'm not coming out of retirement!  But I've had a lot of requests lately for my Cats & Quilts Counted Cross Stitch series so I've made them available again for a limited time:

These are only available as set which includes all 12 of the Cats & Quilts designs.  One for each month of the year.  They can be found in my Cottage Boutique.

Guest Blog Post at Scarf It Up!

Good Morning Everyone!  And Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I am thrilled and honored today to have been asked by my sweet friend Louise Giordono to be a guest blogger on her Scarf It Up blog today.  Please hop over and read my post on Crazy Quilting!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Boutique Items

I thought for today, I would share photos of our newest Boutique additions.  First, are mom's new Embroidered Door Pillows:
Are these little birdies on the teacup too cute or what?!!!

And then mom's Purple Heart Shaped Door Pillow:
This one reminds me of an old sampler! 

My newest creations are these sweet little vintage crocheted Easter Eggs which I I of course had to embellish with flowers, chicks and glitter:

So that's what new in our Cottage Boutique!

In other news, I'm working on a few more I Phone pouches.  I spent some time this morning in my craft storage room.  Geez, I can't believe I let it get so messy!  I spent some time refolding my lace pieces, organizing my ribbons and trims and I still have a lot more neatening up that I want to do!  But I'll do a little at a time and in a couple of weeks, it'll be nice and organized again!

For now, I'm making Homemade Beef Soup!  Click the link for the recipe!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Recipe - Creme Brulee

My mom's birthday was last week and my sister made the most wonderful Creme Brulee!  I asked her for the recipe so I could share it here on my blog.


Crème Brulee

Ingredients
• 1 quart heavy cream
• 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
• 1 cup sugar, divided (use vanilla sugar if you have any-To make vanilla sugar place a vanilla bean in your sugar jar stirring occasionally)
• 6 large egg yolks
• 2 quarts hot water
• 1 tsp vanilla

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp and 1 tsp vanilla into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use once rinsed off an dried can be added to your sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. 


This is absolutely incredible!!!  Enjoy!  And be sure to see my other Sweet Treat Recipes!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Flea Market Treasures and Some Finishes

Scott and I picked mom up this morning and headed out to the Flea Market in Grayslake, Illinois.  The Flea Market & Antique show in Grayslake is the 2nd Sunday of every month and it's indoors so we didn't have to worry about the cold March air this morning!

There were a lot of new vendors this month and it was a bit larger than last time.  I found some nice little treasures for my crazy quilting.  First, were some pretty trims:
Next, I found a pretty doily with a cross stitched rose motif in the center:
Some vintage buttons:
 And some pink vintage velvet leaves:
Definitely some nice do-dads today!

When we got home, I sewed up my custom order Crazy Quilt Cat Doll:
And I did the finishing on my Crazy Quilt I Phone Pouches:
I did spend a little time sitting out in my backyard which felt so good!  Bubba started a fire in our firepit so I just sat for a few minutes.

So that was my day everyone!  Bubba is making dinner now.  Scrambled eggs with ham and pancakes.  Don't you just love breakfast for dinner!




Saturday, March 12, 2011

Book Review - Crazy Quilting by Allison Aller

It's very difficult for me to post an unbiased review of Allie's new Crazy Quilting book.  I've known Allison Aller online for many years now and have always been in awe of her CQ work.  Allison has this fearless use of color which has always intrigued me.  That fearless use of color is the basis for her beautiful and unique Crazy Quilt compositions.

Crazy Quilting by Allie Aller is a modern twist on the Victorian art of Crazy Quilt embroidery.  Yes, you can see the usual abstract crazy quilt piecing beneath the contemporary techniques and embellishments.  However, Allie's unmistakable style shines through like a breath of fresh air!  Her skills in sane quilting have given her the gift of color and composition.  Her love of flowers and nature inspire embellishment techniques never seen before and her finishing is absolutely exquisite!

Covering every aspect of the crazy quilt process, you'll find sources for crazy quilt supplies, including inexpensive ways of stash building, several techniques for piecing crazy quilt blocks, embroidery stitches and unique embellishments, as well as projects with clear, step by step directions and so much eye candy you won't be able to put this book down and get any of your own crazy quilt projects under way!  Allie also includes the directions for her famous "false back" finishing.

One of the most beautiful books on crazy quilting in my collection and sure to be a treasure your crazy quilt library as well!  If you love the beautiful art of crazy quilting, if you're looking for the most up to date, modern techniques or if you're just into gorgeous embroidery or textile art, I highly recommend this lovely book by my dear friend, Allison Aller.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Crazy Quilt I Phone Pouches

I mentioned the other day that Bubba & I had to breakdown and get us some new cellphones.  The old ones were on their last legs.  It was a little hard for me to give up my pink Razor.  I mean, I loved my pink cellphone!  And I hate having to learn how to work new cellphones! 

We decided this time around, we would splurge just a bit and get I Phones.  I must admit, it's nice to be able to check my email without turning on the big computer or the laptop!  But after having it for 4 weeks, I still haven't set up my voicemail! 

Anyway, because of the glass touch screen, I decided it would be best to keep it in a pouch, esp. when it's in my purse.  Heaven only knows when my keys might get a bee in their bonnet and decide to have a wild party the expense of my cellphone!  LOL!

So far, I've stitched 2 pouches:
 The pink one is mine and the purple one will go in the boutique.  I'd like to get these sewn up over the weekend.  I have some more pouches to stitch.  No, I never do one of anything!  But first, I have a custom order for one of my crazy quilt Cat Dolls so I'll start on that now.  Then I'll stitch up some more pouches!

Fractal Art Wallpaper

I have always loved Digital Art, especially Fractals.  Fractals are mathematical equations and when converted to images, they can be some of the most gorgeous abstract images you will ever see!

I've been playing with Fractals for years and have created some really beautiful Digital Art Desktop Wallpapers with it:
See all of my Digital Art Fractal Wallpapers and download them for your desktop!  Feel free to send them as postcards or use them in your fabric art, mixed media art, scrapbooking and so on.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I Phone Pouches

Recently, Bubba & I had to break down and go get new cellphones.  We decided to go with I Phones this time.  Anyway, I'm a bit concerned about the glass getting scratched up when it's in my purse so I thought I'd make myself a new cellphone pouch:
I actually sewed up 3 or 4 of these.  I thought I'd make some for the boutique.  In the meantime, this one is mine!  And mine had to be pink!  I also pieced some cat dolls.

In other news, I'm only 25 followers away from 400 so there's a drawing in the near future!  Haven't decided on the prize yet.  Maybe a cat doll, maybe a cellphone pouch, maybe a teddy bear.  What would you like to see for a prize this time?

I'm open to ideas so share them with me!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Crazy Quilt Teddy Bear Dolls in Cottage Boutique

I was finally able to get these Crazy Quilt Teddy Bears added to our Cottage Boutique:







I haven't run my sewing machine in awhile so I think for today, I'll get my fancy fabrics out and sew up some more teddy bears, some cat dolls and some IPhone pouches.  I have another idea for a cool Crazy Quilt project too so I'll try to do that as well!

There are so many wonderful things to do and never enough hours in the day!!!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Sources For Silk Ribbon

I should have included these links in my post on Dyeing Silk Ribbon but my ADD brain forgot!  Or maybe it was a menopause moment!  Not sure but here are some online sources for white dyeable Silk Ribbon:

Threadart 
Dharma Trading Company
Silk Ribbon.com

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Marie Antoinette Crazy Quilt Block #7

Block #7 of my Marie Antoinette themed Crazy Quilt is complete:

Those leaves are not purple, they're pink. 

I'm so eager to work on the last 2 blocks!  I picked up what I need to finish this quilt when I was at Hobby Lobby yesterday.  And if you remember the Button Crazy Quilt that I stitched before I got sick, I bought what I needed to put that one together too.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Tutorial - Dyeing Silk Ribbons with RIT Dye

I've had several requests for a tutorial on how I dye my Silk Ribbons for my Crazyquilting.  It's much easier than you might think!  Get ready to make a mess and have a lot of fun!  It's like dyeing Easter Eggs! 

NOTE:  I'm using RIT brand powdered dye because it's budget friendly and it does do a nice job.

Supplies

RIT Dye Powder in a variety of colors
Clear Plastic Cups (available in the Dollar Tree Store)
1/2 inch wide brush
Scissors
Silk Ribbon (I mostly use 4 MM and 7MM white ribbon)
Hot Water
Paper Plates
Paper Towels
Gloves (if you don't want your hands to turn purple)

You'll want to cover your workspace with plastic.  I didn't do that for the photos because I didn't want the flash reflecting back.  You'll also want to wear an apron, preferably a black apron.

NOTE:  if you get dye on your counter top, table or wall, a little bit of bleach water will take it out but it's better to cover your surface.

To start, fill your cups 1/2 full with hot water.  It doesn't have to be boiling.  You don't want to burn yourself.  Just hot water.  Add about 1/4 teaspoon of powdered dye to each cup.

You'll want to start with your lightest shades first so 1/4 teaspoon is all you need to start with with.  Mix well to make sure your dye powder is disolved.

Next, cut a 2 yard length of your white silk ribbon and fold in 1/2 and then in 1/2 again and then in 1/2 again.

Next, put your ribbon in one of the dye colors to about 1/2 way.

After a few seconds, take the ribbon out of Dye color #1, turn it around and dip the other end into another color.

The choice is yours but think about what colors you'll want to stitch with.  Purple and blue blend well, blue and green blend well, pink and red blend well and so on.  Try one end in a light green and the other end in a different shade of green.  The choice is yours but once the colors are set, that's what you have to stitch with.

When you're happy with your colors, put a paper towel on top of a paper plate and lay your ribbon bundles on that.  Keep in mind that colors will dry lighter than they look when they're wet.

Another thing you can do is to dye your ribbon as described above.  Lay your ribbon bundle out on your paper plate and then take a brush, dip it in one of the dye colors and drip it onto your ribbon bundle:

This was shaded green and I dripped some purple onto it.  That gives a really nice touch of added color.

Once you have some light colors dyed, you can add a little more dye to the cups or you can add a bit of brown dye powder to each of the colors.  That will give them a muted tone.  Just try a little bit at a time.  You can always add more but you can't take any out until you dump it down the drain and start from scratch.

Here's another tip.  Dye your entire ribbon bundle in one color and then, while it's still wet, dip one end in another color.  A whole different effect!  In the above photo, I dyed the ribbon purple and then dipped an end in brown.

Once you have your ribbons all dyed, lay a sheet of paper towels over a hanger and then lay your ribbon bundles on the hanger and hang to dry.

I have a heat vent right next to my bathtub so I hang my hangers on the shower curtain rod.  That's when it's Winter.  In the Summer, I dye my ribbons outside on the deck.

Once dry, you'll need to iron your ribbons.  This will get out the wrinkles and will also heat set the colors.  I always put an old pressing cloth over my ironing board just in case!

Iron your ribbons on a silk setting and then they're ready to stitch with!

I don't bother with recipes or formulas.  I really just stitch with whatever I come up with.  You're welcome to play and mix colors and write down your formulas as you go if you want to. I don't like to get so technical with this.  For me, it's playing and I try to just enjoy the process of that.  When I'm done, I have gorgeous hand-dyed ribbons to use on my crazy quilts and other embroidery projects.







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