Monday, November 23, 2009

Quilt Guild Projects

Here are the birthday themed fabric postcards that I made yesterday for my quilt guild. I've never made one before. One goes into the guild's shop to sell and raise money for the guild. The other is for swapping. I cut out some cupcakes from printed fabric. The rest are cut from die-cuts.

I'm apart of the box exchange this year. You are to come up with a block, give directions, and you can only include one fabric to use. Then your box gets passed around to other guild members anonymously, and they make one or two of your blocks and place them in the box. In April you get back your box full of scrappy blocks ready to piece and turn into a quilt. This is the 1st box that I have received this season. The off white fabric was included and the orange and brown fabric is from my stash. It's funny that I got this block to make. I've had maple leaves on my mind. I even bought a blue cloud printed fabric to use as a background for when I make these blocks for myself.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Crafty News

It feels like there is a never ending list of things to do and to make these days. Not a bad thing, but it can be overwhelming. I just have to follow the order that things need to be done by.

Last Friday was a big night for me. We taped 2 tv shows that night. Getting ready for them, both with supplies and with performance, is a lot. It is totally worth it though. The shows went really well. I need to loose some weight, but thats a different matter.

Then last Tuesday I was in a performers' showcase at an elementary school's library. The theme was going green. It was to showcase different performers in the area to librarians in the area so that hopefully we might get hired to preform at their libraries in the summer. In my case it would mean teaching classes. Last year I was able to teach 2 library classes in my town. It was a lot of fun. A friend of mine joined my toddler and I on the hour and half drive there. We had a great time. The other performers were wonderful. There was a storyteller, a magician, a balloon guy, and an animal guy. I had never even heard of some of the animals that he had brought with him before. I think that my eco-craft demo went really well. There were 2 classrooms of kids there during it. I walked away feeling really good about it, and feeling like I passed on some eco-crafty goodness.

Wednesday I met with one person from my raffle quilt comity to talk about designs and such. This person has worked on several raffle quilts in the past and is a wealth of knowledge. I really view her as a great adviser. She has helped with both the designing of the quilt and with my personal designing confidence a great deal.

Wednesday night I had another meeting. It was a green comity meeting for my church. I now have some homework / craft work to do to help put together a green themed raffle basket for the holiday fair in December. I am also signed up to talk in front of the church in December.

Tonight I met with 3 of the other 5 raffle quilt comity members. They really liked a quilt sketch that I made this week. Its the design that we are going with. I have a new burst of confidence in myself now. Different original designs that I have come up with (from the heart / gut) have been the ones that people really like. I'm also very excited because this is a very bold and modern feeling quilt. It will stand out among other quilts at a show. We are trying to get people to buy tickets to win the quilt so that we can raise money for our guild. That means making a quilt that draws people in and stands out from the other quilts. I'm also very excited to have picked out a basic design that we can now tweak and work with before having the guild vote on it. We will be presenting 3 different versions of this design to the guild for them to vote on. Then the winning one will be the one that will be made for the show in 2 years from now. I have some homework to do now for it. I'm just so happy that a design was chosen.

Monday night is the quilt guild meeting. I need to make the box exchange blocks and 2 quilt postcards this weekend. I'll also be able to announce that the raffle comity has made some great progress, and we most likely will have some designs ready to show and to vote on at the December meeting.

I also need to get on the ball this weekend with helping my son make a game for a school project. I love making game boards. Its a fun craft project that will give years of enjoyment for the whole family.

Thanksgiving is coming up as well as Christmas. Two birthdays just pasted and one more is approaching. I need to finish making some presents and get others started. However the ones that need to be started with be easy. I can't do hard things this late in the game.

I can relax on December 26th for a while. Then later the craziness of April - June can come at me. The Earth Day Fair, other events like that that I am helping with, and then the constant birthdays and birthday parties. Right now I just need to concentrate on what needs to be done by Monday.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eco Friendly Crafty Links - Part 1

The following is a list of some fun eco craft links.
You can really get some great ideas on what you can make for the holiday season.

"Its Easy Being Green" Episode 9: Chelmsford Recycling Comity

Last night we taped 2 new episodes of "Its Easy Being Green." The first taping was with 4 members of the Chelmsford Recycling Comity. They were nice enough to come on the show and talk about recycling in Chelmsford. We had a live studio audience there as well. In the beginning of the show the winners of the K-4th grade recycling poster and essay contest were announced. They were awarded a juice pouch item of their choice (made by me). Two of them picked a large 40 page juice pouch notebook, and two of them picked a small juice pouch purse. All of the audience members received a ticket when they walked through the door. At the end of the show 2 tickets were drawn, and 2 lucky people won a larger juice pouch purse.

The show went well. Jenifer, who works at the recycling office, talked about the recycling system in the town. She also talked about different types of events, like fall brush drop off. Mark talked about recycling champions, rain barrels, and composting. Marc and Norman chimed in as well. Mark also talked about the website and how to use. The Chelmsford recycling website is The website has all of the information that you need for recycling in our town. You can click on the link on the right hand side of my blog to go to my you tube page. In one week I will have 3 videos of this show posted on there.

Recently pizza boxes are no longer recycled. This is because of the oil and grease on the box. You can tear up the box and put it in your compost bin instead.

A question at the end of the show, which was cut off, was "where do you keep your food scraps in the kitchen before taking them to the compost bin?" I bought a $5 plastic tub with a lid and a handle from the town. The town was not able to buy any this past year though. I also will keep a large bowl on my counter for the food scraps. Then I take them to the compost in the morning. You can also put them in a paper bag. Since the paper bag is compostable, you can throw the whole thing into the compost bin. Jennifer uses a small stainless steel trash can with a lid for her kitchen scraps. I have seen these for sale at Bed Bath & Beyond before. My parents were able to buy a set of 3 (in 3 different sizes) before.

Another audience member brought up how you can also compost your paper napkins and paper towels. These are other items that can't go in the recycle bin, but they don't need to go in the trash.

If you live in an apartment and don't have the space for a large compost bin, try a small one with red wiggler worms. I have done this before. They don't take up much room.

You can purchase a rain barrel and a compost bin from the town, via the town office or the recycling office. Both are under $100. Others can be more expensive, but may work better for your household. I look at it as a good investment. You will be saving money in the long run, and you will be helping the town to save money as well. The town gets charged for the weight of the trash that gets disposed of. The less you throw away, the more the town can save. The more the town can save, the more money there is to go towards things like schools, libraries, the police and fire department, etc.

Please remember the 3 Rs, reduce, reuse, and recycle. Try to think about them when you are shopping. How much packaging is in the product that you are buying? How much of that can be recycled? Is it a useful product? Is it a disposable or a reusable product? Also think about what you are putting in the trash. Can it go in the recycle bin? Can it be composted? Is there a place or a person who can recycle it (like cell phones, ink cartridges, plastic bags, ect.)?

I highly recommend that everyone watched a 20 minute video called "The Story of Stuff."

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm dreaming of a greener Christmas

Yesterday I made another eco-friendly garland. This one is made out of soda tabs and vhs tape. You can also see how this would make a nice necklace, bracelet, or belt.

Here is a little tree that I made using fun fur yarn, glue, and a foam cone. You could also use a cardboard cone or make your own cardboard cone. This also works with scrap fabric, garland, buttons, etc.

If you remember a while back I had collected some pine cones. Well today I used some of them to make this wreath. I used a pressed wood wreath frame for this and a hot glue gun. I first attached a twist tie to the back for easy hanging. Then I glued on the pine cones. I glued the dried leaves (found at my door step) in between the pine cones. I then sprinkled some copper glitter on the wreath. There was still some sticky sap on the pine cones, so I did not need to use any glue for the glitter.

This wreath I started in April. It has 2 different types of bottle caps glued on it. The big ones have inspirational quotes written in them. Today I wrapped a fake flower garland around it.

I'm getting ready to tape 2 of my tv shows tonight. The first one is about recycling in my town. Four members of my town's recycling comity will be my guests. Also the prize winners for the K-4th grade recycling poster and essay contest will come on to accept their prizes (my juice pouch items). There will also be an audience who can ask questions. There will be a door prize given at the end - one of my juice pouch purses.

The second show taped tonight will be about having a greener holiday. I did a dry run through of it today. I have enough stuff to fill up 2 episodes. So the most important stuff comes first. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bottle Cap Garland & Jean Repair

My collection of clear & white bottle caps.

Punch a hole on 2 sides of the bottle caps.

String the bottle caps together & you have garland for your yard.

My blue jeans go through a lot. This pair not only is all ragged at the bottoms from stepping on them, but they were tearing up the back. I decided to go with it. I tore them both a bit more up the back middle. Each leg having the same length tear. I found this fabric in my stash. It looks like denim and it is woven on a twill like denim. I sewed two triangle pieces so that the raw edges were hidden. Then I sewed it to the jeans making sure that it made a triangle shape. It is very subtle. Hopefully this will help them last longer.

Wordless Wednesday - Halloween in Salem, MA

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eco Holiday Garland

I've been doing some research into ideas for a greener holiday season. One item that I came across was garland made from old magazines. In the pictures that I saw the paper was painted or stamped on. I wanted to make a quick garland for the tv show taping this Friday, so I did not paint mine first. I have a die cut machine. I used my Christmas light die cut and my 3 stars die cut to make these shapes from a penny saver newspaper.

I set my machine on the longest straight stitch. Then I slowly stitched across the top of one of the shapes. Holding the paper carefully, I gently pulled as the machine made a few stitches onto nothing, thus creating a gap in between the paper shapes. Then I would stitch over another shape and repeat.

I created a pattern of Christmas light, large star, Christmas light, small star, repeat. While laying them out like this, I discovered that they tangle easily. It would look nicer if they has been painted first. However they are fine like this as well.

I carefully wound the garland around a toilet paper tube so that it wouldn't tangle while I stored it. A few pages of recycled paper made a pretty long garland. This would also be nice made from used wrapping paper or old greeting cards. For fun you could add a few family pictures in the mix.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Juice pouch prizes

I was asked by the recycling office to make prizes for the K - 4th grade recycling poster and essay contest winners. This will be my second year making juice pouch prizes for them. Today I made most of the items. I wanted to give the kids an option to choose from. The recycling office gave me a price limit for what they were willing to pay per item. With that in mind, I came up with 4 different items for them to choose from. I made 3 small purses, 2 pouches or containers, 2 large notebooks, and 5 small notebooks. A small notebook and a container combined fit into that price limit. I have a few more containers to make.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sewing Class & Quilting

As you may know I recently bought a new sewing machine when my other one broke. The store that I bought it from offers 2 free classes on how to use your machine. I signed up for the only 2 Saturday classes that they had. It's easier to get out of the house on the weekend, because my husband is normally home. Today was the "meat and potatoes" class. The next one will be the "just dessert" class. I learned how to do a proper hem and how to make a button hole stitch. I had never done either before. I also learned a few other things that I never knew about.

The classroom area had all these wonderful quilts and purses on the wall. All of which were classes that the store offered. The one that really caught my eye was a maple leaf quilt. I've had maple leaves on my mind lately. This one however involved applique. A scary thing indeed. I asked about the class when buying some thread after the sewing machine class. It was the only weekend class that I could take this year. However it was a little to pricey for me right now. She gave me a nice discount, because she wanted people who really wanted to be in the class to be there. Yeah!!! This will be my first ever quilting class. I'm very excited. I believe it is next weekend.

Tonight was movie night. While we all watched a very PG movie, I finished hand quilting the blocks on my grandma's quilt. Yeah! Now I just need to quilt the border and add a binding. I'm so happy that it will be finished by Christmas. That will make 3 quilts that will be given as christmas presents this year. I also worked on the cloth napkins and the cowboy quilt this morning.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cloth napkins & Cowboy quilt

Tonight I am doing the finishing touches on some cloth napkins. I'm folding in the one open side, and then sewing around all 4 sides. We have been using the turkey cloth napkins that I made this week. They are so cute.

This is my souvenir fabric from my trip to Missouri this summer. One fabric is all cowboys and the other is all cowgirls. I am making a simple quilt out of these. I cut all of the squares to be 10". There are 9 cowboy squares, 8 cowgirl squares, and 18 patchwork squares. The patchwork squares will be sewn in a checkerboard layout. The other 2 fabrics will alternate. Then I'll put a boarder around it. I'm not sure what the border will be just yet. I'll figure that out when the middle is done. This will be a twin size quilt for my toddler.

Hand Quilting

I've been trying to hand quilt a block a night. This quilt is about queen size. It's the "Steps to the Stars" quilt for my grandma. This quilt was 90% from my stash. I had to buy one fat quarter, because I ran out of the orange fabric and needed more. I also had to buy the batting.

I also made a matchbook notebook from a Coke 12 pack box. I went to my town's recycling comity meeting tonight. One of the comity members was collecting items made from recycled materials. They will be made into a prize basket for a lucky person in the the town who has made an environmental pledge. I'm not sure when the drawing for the basket will take place. I also brought in a small juice pouch purse for the basket.

I'll also be donating another juice pouch purse soon. A local church here is having a winter sale to raise money. I'm donating a Christmas theme purse. I used red and green juice pouches and a red, green, and white ribbon with snowflakes on it for the handle. I might also hold a workshop there on how to make plastic bag wreaths. The wreaths made in the workshop will be sold to raise money for the church.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thanksgiving Napkins

Today I gathered all the fabric that I bought last month and washed it. I like to prewash my fabric so that it won't shrink and mess up a project. Then I ironed most of it. While ironing I got inspired to make napkins out of some of them (the left side).

The corn fabric was stash fabric. You might recognize it from the fused produce bag tote that I made in August. The turkey fabric I bought 2 days ago from the remnants bin. It was about 1 yard, marked down from the original price, and it was on sale. I'm going to be shopping in the remnant bin more often. Its a lot cheaper than getting fabric off of the bolt. I made these napkins (21 of them) the same way that I made the other ones in September. The link also has a link to my you tube video on how to make these napkins.