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Job Chart, DONE!

20 Aug

All my friends made cute job charts this summer. here and here. Everyone else in blogland made one too. I was very jealous and wanted my own. I dreamed of it all summer. What would be best for our family? What system would work?

But think of all the time and brain power to figure out jobs for the kids and me.

Then I had a GENIUS epiphany! I already had a whole system of chores written down from that one time when I got really excited about FlyLady. (I’m still going to get back on track with that, I mean it…)

So I just whipped out (searched under piles of things for a whole day to find) my handy control journal. In it I had already mapped out a system of weekly chores, and assigned them a day. I also had the whole house divided into 5 zones (one zone for each week of the month) and a list of chores that needed to happen monthly in each zone.

Brilliant! I really do love FlyLady.

I just transfered the weekly chores to cards and put them in the pockets. One pocket for each day. Lest you freak out, the Sunday pocket lists ideas for Sunday appropriate activities, not chores. I did not make out lists for each zone of the house. I just wrote “Spend 15 minutes cleaning in the zone.” We can check the control journal for what zone to be in and what to do specifically. Now the kids and I can divy up the jobs each morning/after school and voila! clean house, happy Mom. The kids are excited about getting to choose their jobs. They are excited about working with me instead of alone. AND…They are also excited about getting treats out of the treasure box for a week of completing all their tasks. (Oh yes, I do believe in bribery.)

To make this job chart, I used a cork board that I found at the thrift store for $3. I covered it with a yard of fabric that I bought 2 years ago. I love this fabric, but could never find a sewing project that seemed right for it. Now I get to see it every day 🙂 By covering, I mean that I cut the fabric the right size and tacked it down with thumb tacks all around the edge. The pockets are 3×5 note cards that I stapled onto the cork. high tech, I know.

Maybe sometime I’ll get into a scrapbooking store and find some 3×5 cards that match my fabric. But it isn’t high on the priority list.

I also made a quilt medallion square this week. Isn’t it lovely? I wish I was keeping it, but it goes on to someone else now. Part of a fun challenge that my quilting guild is doing.


In which I post too many pictures of my apple pie small quilt

1 Dec

because I finished it and I’m proud.

"I like to eat pie" small quilt

27 Nov

My quilt group is doing a mini quilt exchange with a sewing group in Japan. (I know, awesome!) We are each supposed to make a small quilt that is something American and of ourselves.

Here is the sketch I made of what I want to do. I love pie and what is more American than Apple Pie?

The fabric I am using is a Moda charm pack called Astor Manor. It is very pretty reds, pinks, creams and browns. Less contrast than I usually choose for my quilting, but I think my partner will like it–and it made getting started a little easier, since I didn’t have to dither about fabric.

I found the idea for a pie applique here It’s been ruminatin’ round in my head for about 6 months and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get it out of my head and onto some fabric.

If you think I’m brilliant and want pie quilts for yourselves, I’ll go over my pattern with a dark pen and make it into a PDF file and then everyone can make a pie quilt. Because really, I can’t think of a reason not to have a pie quilt. Then you can eat pie, and put pie on your walls too. Then if you made a pie apron, you could wear pie. This just keeps getting better!

Speaking of eating pie, I found the most amazing site ever for printables. She is Lolly Chops. She has printable name tags that say “Hello my name is _____ and I like to eat pie.” Can you not think of many occasions when just such a name tag would be perfect? Even more amazing is her single serving of pie in a jar gift labels. And here at Our Best Bites is the directions. Man o man, I’m so excited for christmas!!

Paper Piecing Tutorial

15 Jul

Introducing Miss Kitty and her sister. I drew this kitty quilt block and my very talented friend Vea turned it into a paper pieced pattern for me.

I am going to attempt a tutorial on my favorite way to paper piece. I’m sorry about the bad pictures. I really need to read my cousin’s blog more. In this tutorial, the picture will come first, and then a description of what is happening will come second.

Some of you may be familiar with traditional paper piecing, in which you sew through your paper pattern. I don’t like that way.

(insert picture of Ramona the Pest in the flesh)

I like my way. Here’s why:

1. You won’t sew through the paper, thus you won’t have to make more than one copy of the pattern (saves paper)
And, You won’t have to tear the paper off the fabric when you are done. (I think the tearing distorts the blocks.)

2. You don’t have to think in reverse the entire time.
3. You will always be able to tell if you are sewing your fabric piece on at the correct angle, saving endless seam ripper time.
4. You can be exact about the size you need (less wasted fabric)

Without further ado, Let us begin

(“I haven’t tested it yet, but it should be perfectly safe. Just a bit of harmless brain alteration, that’s all.”)

Pins- flat head pins are best
Tracing wheel or seam ripper
Ruler- a smaller one, like a 6” square is more manageable.
If you have a ruler with a ¼” lip on it, bring it!!
Cutting wheel and mat
Iron & ironing board
Sewing machine and Pencil

As you can see, my Miss Kitty is yellow with an orange background. Your pattern has numbers on each piece. You must go in order of number or disaster beyond your imagination will occur.

We are starting with Miss Kitty’s head.

1. Take your Paper Piecing Pattern and Ruler and score all the lines with a tracing wheel or the blunt edge of your seam ripper. This is because you will be folding back the paper instead of sewing through it.

2. Measure each piece of the paper pattern. Find the longest horizontal and vertical measurement for piece #1 . Cut 1 orange piece of fabric 1 inch to 1 ½ inches larger than the pattern. As you get practiced up, you can use the smaller measurement.


3. Place piece #1 face down (right side down) on the table.

4. Place the pattern face down (print side down) on top of piece #1. Make sure they are lined up and pin the fabric to the pattern. Make sure as you pin that the pin is not extending over into piece #2 (because that is where you are sewing next)

5. Fold back the corner of the pattern that has piece #2. You are folding exactly on the line between piece #1 and piece #2. (The scoring you did in step 1 makes this accurate and easy.)

6. Measure ¼” away from the fold and trim off the excess fabric. (The ¼” is seam allowance.) Pretend this picture was taken at this step and not several pieces later.

7. Place fabric piece #2 face up ( right side up) under the fabric #1. You have now created a “sandwich” with the paper on top (right side down) Piece #1 next (right side down), and Piece #2 (Right side up).

8. Line up Piece #2 with the seam allowance or Piece #1 and sew along the fold line of the pattern, but not on the paper.

9. Flip the whole thing over and press open with an iron, or finger press. Pin as necessary. (again, you have to pretend I remembered to take a picture at the actual pressing of piece 1 and 2 and not after the pressing of the entire head section.)

10. When you are done, trim the edges REMEMBERING SEAM ALLOWANCE.

11. Repeat steps 2-9 for piece #3. Sometimes you may have to move pins- it depends on how small the pieces of the block are.

Now, I want to tell you about a special circumstance:

!!!!! If you fold the pattern and the next piece is cock-eyed or at an odd angle, line up the fabric piece under the corresponding folded over portion of the pattern. When you are done sewing and unfold, it will line up perfectly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More Explanation: (We are doing Miss Kitty’s tail now…yes I skipped the body…it is just like the head, but bigger)

Here you see the background piece cut 1 inch bigger than the paper pattern.

Then I realized that I left the seam allowance on my pattern, so I trimmed the background to fit exactly.

Now I am creating that sandwich with piece #2 of Miss Kitty’s tail face up on the bottom of the stack.

I fold along the line between piece #1 and piece #2. Woa! Is this going to come out right? Remember the rule:

Line up the fabric piece #2 under the corresponding folded over portion of the pattern. When you are done sewing and unfold, it will be right.

You may not be able to see it in the picture, but in real life, I could see the fold lines showing the outlines of piece #2 on the paper. There was yellow fabric under the outline and extending at least a quarter inch past the fold lines on all sides, so I knew I was safe.

You Doubt me?

Ta Da! Happy Day 🙂 Now, trim it to quarter inch seam allowance and go on to piece #3.

It is a weird angle too, but again, see how to line up the fabric under the folded over paper #3

Three sections of Miss Kitty, now ready to be put together.

p.s. to get Miss Kitty’s sister, flip the pattern over and work from the back.

A Finished Project!

17 Jun

This was supposed to be my mother-in-law’s Christmas Present. I thought, well, I’ll get it done by her birthday in March. I finished it last weekend and finally gave it to her so she could hang it on her front door. I forgot to take a picture before I gave it to her, so this is the only one, and the lighting is bad.

I could go on for paragraphs on all the mistakes and imperfections in this project. But I will not. I will just say that they are very pretty and I drew the flying bird myself.

Also, when quilting something by machine, always alternate the direction you are sewing, sew one line from right-to-left, sew the next from left-to-right, etc. If you sew all the rows in the same direction, you can actually shrink your quilt (Which is what happened to the hanging on the far right. It is a whole half-inch shorter than the other two, so it looks funny hanging in the middle, though that is where I planned for it to hang. It looks even shorter than it is in this picture because the rod it is hanging on is temporarily higher than the other rods.) Doh! I’m going on about the mistakes aren’t I?

The recievers seem to love my gift, despite it’s imperfections and though they have a house full of beautiful art done by professionals. My husband’s parents really are good good people.

Noah’s Ark Quilt

15 Sep

I finished putting the top of my Missouri Noah’s Ark Quilt!!! Yay!

All last year, I was the Project Chair for my quilt guild, the Newtonia Battlefield Quilters. Part of my job was to choose the Block-of-the-month. I wanted to have a theme and I love quilts that tell a story, so I decided to pick all animal blocks and that way they could be Noah’s Ark at the end.

I got the idea from a pattern book “Country Threads” by the very cool ladies Mary Etherington & Connie Tesene, who run a quilting shop in their chicken coop. Here is their website. One of the little quilted wallhangings in their book is an Iowa Noah’s Ark, complete with a scarecrow, Old Mac-Noah.

I love their folk art quilt patterns. However, I usually modify the cutting and piecing directions for simplicity. They call for so many tiny pieces!! And they never use the fast piecing techniques for half-square triangles and flying geese–which I just won’t do without. I don’t DO bias triangles, okay!

Enough about them. Back to MY quilt.

I had fun searching all over to find just the right animals- to be for Missouri’s Ark. As you can see we have cardinals and raccooons and cows and chickens and even a mule. I am really proud of this quilt because I actually designed 3 or 4 of the blocks myself, as well as the layout. I drew the raccoon and turned it into a pattern. (The only raccoon pattern I could was by Debbie Mum, and it looked like a really depressed bear. The pigs in the quilt are from a pattern she designed, just so you know, I am not anti-Debbi Mum at all.) I also designed the Mule block. I did feel a little blasphemous putting a sterile animal on Noah’s ark, but you can’t have Missouri without a mule. The other block I drew was the yellow kitty-cat block. My very talented friend Vea turned it into a paper-pieced pattern for me.

The chickens, cows, sheep, and barn-ark came from Country threads–though I enlarged the chicken block to 6″ finished and uber-simplified the barn. I was pretty sure the guild ladies would murder me in my bed if I asked them to make a block with 38 pieces to cut, most of them hardly bigger than 1 inch square. My simplified version had only 12 pieces.

We also do a fabric exchange each month. We were exchanging 6″ squares last year, and I chose the colors to go with the blocks and the folk-art theme. Nearly all of the flying geese and the 4 little 9 patches are made with 6″ blocks that I got in the fabric exchange. I had lots leftover for another project as well.

It was tons of fun to put in some symbolism, like the 4 suns and 4 moons to represent 40 days and 40 nights, and the rainbow in the flying geese. I put in a few white geese to be doves.

At the last minute, I drew that little Noah and appliqued him onto my barn ark. Heat-n-Bond!!!

Here I am auditioning the green fabric, trying to decide if it is good for a border or if it is too busy. I decided in the end that the border was good, and it is now sewed on. The green is called “Elephant Walk” and is by Moda. It has elephants hiding in all those jungle leaves, and they look very worried that they are not going to be let on the ark.

After a year of animal blocks, I was very tired of sewing them! I was so glad to turn over the job of choosing the block to our new chair this year. I am enjoying sewing blocks chosen by someone else.

A few final details about my quilt: It is about 36″ by 48″ plus about 5 1/2″ of borders, so it is now approaching 4 feet by 5 feet. I usually end up giving away quilts when I finish them. This one is actually intended to be a wall-hanging because of all the buttons that I put on for eyes. I am telling myself that I get to keep it, but someone’s birthday will come up, or something and I will panic and send it off, hoping that they love it as much as I do.

New marvelous things! Part 2

7 Feb

I try to refrain from adding too many links to my link list. It could get really overwhelming. But I found a new blog today that was just beautiful–if you like free quilting and applique, you will enjoy visiting it