More Tiny Houses & a Poem

tiny houseI haven’t been making little houses everyday but I make a couple here and there when I think of it.

Little housesI have 25 of them done and since it’s January 29th, that’s almost one a day!

village of tiny housesIt’s fun to watch this little village grow and the good thing is I keep finding more little scraps of fabric to use.  It would be great not to make the same house twice but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do that.

These houses reminded me of a poem that I found recently that I wanted to share.  I had a part of it for years and loved it and then when I found the whole poem, I loved it even more.  It’s by American poet Edgar Guest who was popular in the early 20th century.

tiny houseThe Home

Write it down that here I labored,
Here I sang and laughed and neighbored;
Here’s the sum of all my story,
Here’s my fortune and my glory;
These four walls and friendly door
Mark the goal I struggled for.
Never mind its present worth,
Here’s one hundred feet of earth
Where the passerby can see
Every dream which came to me.

Write it down: my life uncloses
Here among these budding roses;
In this patch of lawn I’ve tended,
Here is all I’ve counted splendid;
Here’s the goal that’s held me true
To the tasks I’ve had to do.
Here for all the world to scan
Is my secret thought and plan;
Through the long years gone before,
This is what I struggled for.

Write it down, when I have perished:
Here is everything I’ve cherished;
That these walls should glow with beauty
Spurred my lagging soul to duty;
That there should be gladness here
Kept my toiling year by year.
Here in phlox and marigold
Is my every purposed told;
Every thought and every act
Were to keep this home intact.

                                                                                                       Edgar A. Guest

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Fabric Field Trip

We’ve been having some very nice weather here in central Missouri – for January that is.  So with the sun shining, I really wanted to get out and take advantage of it.  I thought it would be the perfect day for a fabric field trip.  I heard about Homestead Hearth Quilt Shop in Mexico, MO a few years ago from a Quilt Sampler magazine Shop Hop article.  I was like, hey, I know Mexico, Missouri!  I planned to visit there in 2011 when I brought my son to college but I had problems with my rental car on the day I wanted to go.  Then we moved to the western part of the state and it was just too much out of my way.  Well guess what?  Now I’m only 45 minutes away!

fabric at Homestead HearthThis store goes on and on and on.  It has about any kind of quilting fabric you could want, patterns, books, kits, thread, candles, you name it.  And for those of you not within driving distance, they do a booming mail order business from their website.  Sign up for their emails and you can hear about their sales and all their ongoing block of the month programs.  If you are within driving distance, it’s worth it.

20150121_131814

(Sorry about the poor photos but I was carrying a lot of fabric and gawking.)

I actually went to look for fabric for a new mystery quilt that the quilt guild here in Moberly is doing.  I’ve stayed away from mystery quilts in the past I guess because I don’t like surprises.  I’m having a hard time even picking out fabrics when I don’t know what the end result will look like.  We decided we won’t even share our blocks each month so I’m a little terrified that I’ll put this whole quilt together and it will be totally wrong.  Maybe I’ll share them on here and if they’re wrong, someone will kindly tell me!

Kansas City Star 2015 Quilt – The January Block

KC Star 2015 Jan

The new quilt project  for 2015 came out last weekend in the Kansas City Star.  It’s called “Hazel’s Diary” and it’s a ’50’s themed quilt based on the diary of Hazel Hyde.  It was designed and made by her daughter, Shelly Pagliai.

I like the summer-y look of it and all the flowers, although I cringed when I saw all that applique.  I really liked last year’s quilt but didn’t do it because of all the applique and my lack of time.  Maybe you haven’t heard how much I hate doing applique?  But this year is gonna be different.  This is the year I conquer the applique mountain!  If this first block is any indication though, it’s gonna be hard.  I tried at least 3 different applique methods on this one.

First, I tried to hand turn the little flower pieces, thinking I would hand sew them.  Then I tried the freezer paper method with my iron.  Also I tried to sew one sided fusible interfacing and turn inside out.  What!!!?  My fingers are too fat or my iron is too big or I am completely clueless.  Finally, I cut the pieces the exact size, stuck them to some double sided fusible stuff (Steam-a-Seam 2), positioned them and stuck them down with the iron and machine appliqued with a fancy applique stitch.  Whew.  That’s why I hate applique – there’s too many steps.  The reason I didn’t just do fusible stuff first is that I don’t like all that stiffness.  I made a quilt with it many years ago and had a terrible time quilting it.

The pieced parts of the block were super easy and I just pulled pieces out of my stash.  It called for a white with green polka dots that I didn’t have so I used something similar.  I thought to simplify the outer frame but it just didn’t look right and I think that splash of color looks nice in the quilt so I did it according to the directions.

I hope you join me on this one to share my pain and give me any tips you have.

UFO’s

I resolved this year to work a little every week on my UFO’s or, for those of you unfamiliar with quilting terminology, my “unfinished objects”.  This week I pulled out my spiderweb string quilt.

spiderweb quilt

You might remember this one.  It’s a string quilt using my fabric selvages and other scraps.  I’ve also been using any Halloween type fabrics and any fabrics with words on them.  I call it “Charlotte’s Web”.

My scrap bin is overflowing so I need to use those up.  I got this block made this week which brings my total to 9 blocks.

spiderweb blocks

That’s a little sad since I started making these almost 2 years ago.  The pattern calls for 20 blocks although I would be happy with 15 or 16.  They’re a little tedious with all the small strips sewn onto tracing paper which then has to be ripped off sometime after the block is sewn together.  I made 2 blocks last fall and they turned out and inch or more too big which baffled and frustrated me.  I think I accidentally added a seam allowance when the pattern already included it.  That’s one of the hazards of putting a project away for awhile – you forget how it goes together.

One good thing about putting a project away for awhile is that you find more cool fabrics to add to it.  I was picking something up at Joann’s last week and came across this fabric:

dictonary fabricDictionary fabric

It looked like newspaper to me at first so I thought it would be perfect for my Charlotte’s web blocks.  It’s called “Dictionary” and looks like pages from a dictionary which is still perfect for the quilt.  I only bought 1/8 of a yard of it because it was a little pricey but it motivated me to pull out my blocks and use my new fabric.

I just found out that Bonnie Hunter will be doing a couple of workshops for the Marshall, MO quilt guild in September.  One of the workshops is for her Smith Mountain Morning quilt which is another one of my UFO’s.  I’m wondering if I should take the workshop to motivate myself to finish it.  I’m sure she’ll give tips and shortcuts.  Honestly, for the past year, I’ve just been cutting fabric out for that quilt so it might take until September to finish cutting all the pieces!

On a different note, the 2015 Kansas City Star block of the month starts this weekend!  I think the quilt is called “Hazel’s Diary” and I’m excited to see what it looks like.  If you can pick up a Kansas City Star newspaper on Sunday, it’ll be in the House & Home section.  The blocks will come out every month on the 3rd Sunday.  If you can’t get the newspaper, the blocks are usually on their website (www.kansascity.com) for a few weeks and then you can find them at http://www.pickledishstore.com.

 

Tiny Houses

I wanted to show you how I’m doing with the tiny houses.  I have to admit that I haven’t been doing them everyday; more like every couple of days.

tiny houses

Not sure if I can make 365 of these.  But like I said, maybe 56 – one for each week.

I’m really excited about my new design board that these are pinned to.  I bought a large felt sheet for a design wall several years ago but I’ve been sewing in my dining room in the last 2 houses so I didn’t really have anyplace to put it.  Now I’ve taken over half of my basement family room and wanted to have someplace to put my works in progress.  The only problem is that we have those weird basement walls where the bottom half sticks out and I had large furniture on the inside walls and windows to work around.  But there was one 6 foot section of wall that I had my eye on.

 I got one of these insulation boards from Lowe’s:
 Extruded Polystyrene Foam Board Insulation (Common: .5-in x 8-ft x 4-ft; Actual: 0.437-in x 7.937-ft x 3.875-ft)

Item #: 15348 |  Model #: 201549

$11.98
It was a little challenging getting it into the car but the guys at Lowe’s were nice to cut it down to 6 foot for me.  Then I just pushed and wedged and somehow got that thing home.  I stapled my felt sheet around it and set it up on the half wall and now I at least have a small design wall.
design wall from insulation board
It’s nice to be able to move things around and stand back and see how they look.
Now my next step is to find some cubbies or shelves where I can put my fabric out and organize by color to see what I have.

Little Christmas Quilt

I guess it’s never too late to make your Christmas crafts!  A lady in the German quilt guild I used to belong to shared this Christmas sampler on their Facebook page back in December and I fell in love with the Dala horse block.

dala horse

I love these little Swedish horses so I was excited to make the block from the Christmas sampler on Julianna’s Sewing Under Rainbow blog.  One of the winners of the Christmas sampler contest made just the Dala horse block into a pillow.  I thought I would also make just this block and not do the whole Christmas sampler.

Dala horse block

These paper pieced patterns can be downloaded for free on Craftsy.  You can find the link on Julianna’s blog or search them directly on the Craftsy website.  This block is 12 inches but there’s also a 16 inch version.  The block by itself isn’t too Christmas-y although I didn’t feel like making a pillow and this one horse seemed lonely by itself – so I made another one.

Dala horse 2

For this one, I used Christmas fabrics.  They looked so cute but I wasn’t sure what to do with them so I made the tree block from the sampler so that they would all form a little Christmas quilt.

Tree blocks(these would make a cute table runner by themselves)

Dala & tree blocks

Then I added some sashing to pull the whole thing together.

little christmas quilt

I thought it might be fun to bind this little quilt with prairie points to pull all the triangles together.  Prairie points are little triangles that are used to finish or bind the quilt top with the backing.  They are sewn right side towards the top, then flipped over and the backing is creased and hand sewn to the front.  I’ve only used this binding method once and it was many years ago.  My grandma used it on lots of her quilts.  I wish I could ask her why.  I looked up the history of this method and couldn’t find much except that it was most popular during the 1930’s and before.  I can only guess that it was used because you only needed little squares of fabric which might be all that quilters had instead of long strips that we go out and buy today.

(Here’s a picture so you can see what I’m talking about.)

prairie points on quilt

There’s quite a bit of math involved in this method.  You have to decide how high you want your triangles to be then multiply by 2 and add 1/2 inch.  Mine are 1.5 inches so I cut my squares of fabric at 3.5 inches.  Then to figure out how many triangles you need you measure one side (mine was 28″) and divide by the length of the base of the triangle (3″).  I got 9.33 so I rounded to 10 so I would need 10 triangles for each side.  There are many different ways to lay these out for different looks so just play around with them until you like the layout.

I made my triangles with a back opening:making prairie points

There are Youtube videos online that show how to make cheater continuous strings of prairie points but this was a small project with enough math for me.

You’re supposed to quilt the quilt before you add the points but I didn’t do that so we’ll see how it goes.  Did I mention it’s been a long time since I’ve made this type of binding?   You definitely have to leave enough unquilted space on the edges of the quilt to add these after.   I bought some grey thread and am planning to do some free motion quilting in the background and quilt around the shapes.  More practice!  I’ll try to remember to post the finished quilt (unless it looks horrible).

little christmas quilt

Projects and Resolutions for the New Year

Happy New Year to everyone out there in blog-land!

I’ve had a busy few weeks of holidays and family and thinking about what to make this year.  I didn’t get around to making any Christmas-y things this year, although I should have.  We desperately need a new tree skirt and stockings.  It’s just that when I decide we need these, I’m busy with Christmas stuff and don’t have time to make them.  I guess I need to put that on my agenda for July.

I’ve been over at Pinterest which I try hard not to do because it sucks up all my time.  Why is that place so addicting to look at?  It’s like a glossy magazine with new pages everyday.  Anyway, I saw this quilt on there that spoke to me.  It’s from a fellow quilt blogger in The Netherlands, Jeanneke, who has the blog; Buildinghousesfromscraps.com.

She actually started making little house blocks everyday and posting them on her blog.  They are so cute!

Little houses

The houses are 3.5 inches unfinished and the quilt pattern contains 365 little houses and one big house in the middle.  Apparently, in 2013, there was an exhibition of house quilts that people who followed her blog had made.  Some of the exhibition quilts can be seen on her blog.

I like that some house quilts were made with pastels, some with mostly reds and pinks, some with darker fabrics; they were all very different.  Some had all the houses and some had just a few houses.

So, I purchased the pattern on her Etsy shop and downloaded the directions.  I figure even if I make only one a week, that’s 56 blocks and a quilt that will be 21″ x 24″(without any sashing & borders).  I decided to use fabric colors that I’ve used in decorating my home so I could make it into a wall hanging for my hall or stairway.

Little houses

My houses are all going to have red doors apparently.  Not sure what that says about me.

I know what you’re thinking – “Kim, what about all those projects you haven’t finished yet?”  I know, I know!  I need to finish some of those but it’s a new year and everyone wants a fresh, new project.  This one takes only mere minutes a day and BAM- you got yourself a quilt at the end of the year.  However, I have resolved to set aside 2 hours a week to work on old, unfinished projects.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  I’m pretty sure that’s gonna cut into my Pinterest time and maybe even my working out time.