Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Handmade holiday presents 2014: shopping totes and more

Alisa's shopping tote

Here are the rest of my handmade holiday gifts for 2014.

I started out with the aprons featured in my Dec. 2 post "Handmade holiday presents 2014: Hot Cider apron panel" . For one of my favorite gifts, I used that same apron panel to make a shopping tote for Alisa using the Metro Shopping Bag pattern from Bags: the Modern Classics by Sue Kim (Stash Books, 2011) p. 81. I used a coordinating fabric from Wilmington Fabrics "Hot Cider" line, and for a touch that I really love, I added piping to the seams of the front and back panels. If you add piping to your project, don't forget to strip the cording out of the last one inch of both ends of the piping to make the top seams easier to stitch. The tote handles are made of webbed belting available at JoAnne Fabrics.

Tote in cotton twill by Project by Cotton, made in Japan

I also made this tote in a cotton twill with a multi-colored, stylized cat design by Project by Cotton, made in Japan. This tote also has webbed belting for the handles. I used iron-on batting for the front and back panel interlining and DecorBond for the side and bottom panel. Those cats are the cutest!

Harper Rose's Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas pillows

Harper Rose's Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas pillows

I made two pillows for Brandi's one-month-old niece, Harper Rose, from Andover's "Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas" panel, copyright by Eric Carle. The ruffle is made from "Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas Scribble Red" yardage and the pillow backing is "Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas" allover print (below). I hand-quilted the design on both pillows, inserted a zipper in the bottom seam of each pillow, and used 20-inch pillow forms from JoAnne Fabrics for the filler.

Andover's Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas detail

12 Days of Christmas panel crib quilt

And for Kaden's first Christmas I made a hand-quilted crib quilt from the "12 Days of Christmas" panel by Gingerbread Angel Fabric for Benartex.

"12 Days of Christmas" panel detail 

That was a lot of fun!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Handmade holiday presents 2014: Photo book of Zoar Ohio

Baumeler/Bimeler cabin built 1817, oldest building in Zoar, Ohio. Photo copyright Linda Theil

This handmade holiday present is a gift to you. If you like, you may download a free iBook version of my architectural photo study titled Zoar Ohio from my Blurb bookstore at http://www.blurb.com/b/5792171-zoar-ohio 

I love making personal books using the Blurb software and website to create unique publications that I can print on demand. Since Blurb announced their iBook option a few years ago, every book I publish can be digitally shared using Apple's iBook application. All my books can be downloaded as iBooks at no cost and viewed on any computer or mobile device equipped with the free iBook app.

This year, a chance conversation reminded me of a series of architectural photographs that I took in Zoar, Ohio in the spring of 2007. I had printed the photos and put them in an album, but thought it would be great to use those photos to create a coffee-table book for my son and daughter-in-law as a Christmas gift this year. They are both interested in architecture so I thought the Zoar book would make a great handmade gift for them. I loaded my Zoar photos into Blurb's Booksmart software, added information about each photo, uploaded the book to Blurb and got a hardcover delivered within 10 days. You can also use Blurb's online service, Bookify, or their ebook/print book designer BookWright. I only just learned about BookWright, and I think I will try it for my next project because it is created especially for books that will be used in both print and ebook form.

For my Zoar Ohio book, I chose to publish an 80-page, 12-inch by 12-inch hardcover on upgraded paper at a cost of aproximately $75, but most books are not that expensive. Once you have ordered at least one copy of your book, your place in the Blurb catalog is secure and you can reorder any time. 

My new Zoar Ohio book can be previewed on the Blurb site, and the iBook may be download free from my Blurb bookstore at http://www.blurb.com/b/5792171-zoar-ohio. A free PDF version is also available. Or click on the video link at the bottom of this page for a preview of Zoar Ohio.

Gartenhaus, Zoar Ohio. Photo copyright Linda Theil

Zoar Ohio by Photographed May 5, 2007 by Linda Theil | Make Your Own Book

Blurb, http://www.blurb.com/
Zoar Ohio iBook, http://www.blurb.com/b/5792171-zoar-ohio
BookWright, http://www.blurb.com/bookwright
Historic Zoar Village, http://historiczoarvillage.com/
The Communistic Societies of the United States by Charles Nordhoff (New York, 1875) Project Gutenberg, http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/8116
Linda Theil's Blurb Bookstore,

For more examples of Blurb published books by Linda Theil, see the book badges in the sidebar and bottom of this web log or visit her Blurb bookstore at http://www.blurb.com/user/store/LindaTheil

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Handmade holiday presents 2014: Hot Cider apron panel

"Hot Cider" apron panel by Nancy Mink for Wilmington Fabrics

I bought the "Hot Cider" apron panel by Nancy Mink for Wilmington Fabrics at the American Quilter's Society expo in Grand Rapids this summer. I thought it was pretty so I bought a coordinating stripe and a "Hot Cider" panel in the same line. When I pulled all my Christmas panels and fabric out of my stash in preparation for making some handmade holiday gifts, I thought the apron would make a great Thanksgiving gift to send to my faraway friends Virginia and Janet and Cindy to use during their holiday preparations. I ordered more apron panels and some other coordinating fabrics from Hancocks of Paducah  and got busy when they arrived in mid-November. 

Instead of using the ties that came on the apron panel, I used a 28-inch length of cotton belting for the neck ties and cut 3-1/2 inch wide by 32 inch long strips from coordinating fabric for the waist ties. To line and make the apron reversable, I picked fabric from my stash for the reverse side of the apron, and used the apron cut from the panel as a pattern for the reverse. 

I made patch pockets for either/or the front or lining of the aprons. One apron had a pocket made from squares printed on the apron panel, another had a pocket on the reverse side that matched the lining fabric (directly below), another had a piece from a panel that matched the reverse/lining fabric (next picture down).

"Sounds of the Season" coordinate from Bonnie Sullivan for Maywood Studio

The reverse, or lining, for one apron was made of a pink and green holly print from Bonnie Sullivan's "Sounds of the Season" collection for Maywood Studio. 

"Winter Wonderland" coordinate by Bunny Hill Fabrics for Moda

The second apron featured a redwork design of snowmen in pickup trucks from the "Winter Wonderland" collection by Bunny Hill Fabrics for Moda on the reverse.
Decorative topstitching along apron edge

The third apron featured a candy-cane stripe from the "Nancy's Holiday Favorites" collection by Nancy Halvorsen for Benartexon the reverse side. (not pictured)

To make an apron panel reversible:
  • Make apron ties by cutting 3.5-inch by 32 inch pieces of coordinating fabric, press in half lengthwise with right sides together. Stitch along raw edges making a point at one end and leaving the other end open. Turn using a bodkin. Press and topstitch. Use 28 inches of cotton belting for the neck loop or make another tie 28 inches long, leaving both ends open. Wide, grosgrain ribbon is another option for ties, sometimes with two pieces of grosgrain topstitched together with wrong sides facing each other.
  • Baste or pin neck strap/or ties and waist ties in place on apron front with raw edges of ties matching raw edge of panel and ties (or loop) pointing toward the inside of the panel.
  • With right sides together and ties sandwiched between apron panel and lining, hand-baste the lining to the front of the apron, all around the edges of the apron.
  • Machine stitch over basting with 3/8-inch seam allowance, leaving a six-inch gap in the stitching along the bottom edge of the apron.
  • Turn right-side-out through the gap in the stitching.
  • Press.
  • Topstitch the edge with a decorative stitch, using a topstitching needle and a quilting foot that feeds the top as well as the bottom fabric.
Hot Cider Recipes
I transcribed the hot cider recipes featured on the "Hot Cider" panels and included a copy with each apron gift, suggesting spirits may be added to the ciders as desired.

Cranberry Spiced Apple Cider
2 quarts apple cider
6 cups cranberry juice
¼ cup brown sugar
Nine cinnamon sticks
One teashpoon cloves
One lemon sliced thin
Combine cider, juice, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon slices. Bring ot a boil . Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove clove, cinnamon and lemon and serve hot.

Caramel Hot Cider
2 quarts apple cider
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 cup whipped cream
Combine cider, sugar, and caramel in pan and heat. Serve with whipped cream.

2 quarts apple cider
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
12 whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks
Pinch ground ginger
Pinch ground nutmeg
Combine and simmer six hours. Serve hot.

Spiced Orange Cider
2 quarts apple cider
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
5 whole cloves 
8 slices orange
Combine all ingredients. Simmer 20 minutes. Strain. Garnish with orange slices. Serve warm.

Hot Gingerbread Apple Cider
6 cups apple cider
2 heaping tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon thinly sliced ginger
7 cinnamon sticks
9 cloves
Combine, simmer. Serve warm.

Warm Vanilla Apple Cider
6 cups apple cider
2 heaping tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 whole nutmeg
Vanilla bean, split and scraped
Whipped cream
Combine, simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and serve hot. Garnish with whipped cream.

Note! Are you looking for a quick and easy holiday gifts? Check out the complete directions for a purse-sized, facial-tissue cover and a set of folded patchwork coasters in the Appleton Dance archives.

Nancy Mink, http://nancyminkart.com/
Wilmington Fabrics, http://wilmingtonprints. com
AQS, http://www.americanquilter.com/
Hot Cider apron panel, http://www.hancocks-paducah.com/SHOP-BY-BRAND/Hot-Cider-by-Nancy-Mink/Wilmington-Hot-Cider-by-Nancy-Mink-Apron-Panel-24-x-44
Hot Cider panel, http://www.hancocks-paducah.com/SHOP-BY-BRAND/Hot-Cider-by-Nancy-Mink/Wilmington-Hot-Cider-by-Nancy-Mink-Large-Panel-24-x-44
Maywood Studio, http://www.maywoodstudio.com/
Moda, http://blog.modafabrics.com/
Benartex, http://www.benartex.com

Monday, November 3, 2014

Anita Solomon's tessellating tees quilt block design

My tessellating tees quilt, prepared for hand-sewing the flanged binding. Borders and binding from Henry Glass & Company's "Sunny Side Up" collection.

I have been a fan of Anita Grossman Soloman ever since making the "arrowhead" quilt from her Rotary Cutting Revolution (C&T, 2010) book in August 2011. (You can see the arrowhead quilt I made in my August 2011 post "Arrowhead quilt block from Solomon's Rotary Cutting Revolution".) When I saw that Soloman had a tessellating-tee block in the Mar/April 2014 edition of Quiltmaker Magazine, No. 156 this spring, I bought the magazine right away and got busy searching for fabrics.

I decided to use only fabrics from my stash. I needed about two yards of a solid for the background and about 1/3 yard each of six different prints. The majority of my prints came from patterns and colors from the "Sunny Side Up" collection by the Buggy Barn for Henry Glass & Co. that I bought a decade ago. I also used pieces of an old sheet my daughter gave me, and small cuts of a red stripe and yellow dot that brightened my palette.  I chose a 40-year-old cream fabric with green, pink and blue ducks for the background.
Soloman's tessellating tee six-piece block shown above, on point in center of photo. 

I love Solomon's fascinating stitching and cutting tricks that make creating her quilts like solving a really intricate puzzle. These tessellating-tee blocks were made by stitching two squares twice on either side of a diagonal line drawn through the middle of the squares, then making three cuts to create six pieces that are then sewn back together to make the block shown on point above. Soloman set her blocks square to make diagonal rows of tees across her quilt. I set my blocks on point to make straight rows of tees. Either way, getting those tees to match up across the top of the tee was not easy given my meager patchwork skills. But, I still had a lot of fun putting this puzzle together!
First block!
I finished piecing in a couple weeks and then added two borders:
A narrow green border.
And a wide blue border.

Then I put the top away for a couple months until my sister-in-law, Susan, came to visit in August when we began our annual shop hop and she helped me look for batting and backing for the quilted top.

We didn't find a backing, but I bought batting at JoAnn's for $8 with a coupon, and I explored my old-sheet stash for my backing. I found a well-worn, dusty-green sheet that I cut to size and I layered the quilt using large safety pins to hold the layers together. I wish I had used some spray adhesive to adhere the backing to the batting because my backing had quite a few wrinkles in it between the safety pins.

I decided to hand quilt along the piecing seam lines. I started quilting in October and finished stitching on the binding yesterday, November 2, 2014.

For the binding, I used the Shortcut Binding Tool by Franklin Quilt Co. that we bought on our trip to the quilt festival in Shipshewana, Indiana last year. The tool makes a flanged binding that I really like, but I wouldn't call it a shortcut! 

Flanged binding process:

  • cut two contrasting strips of binding -- one 1-3/8" wide, one 1-3/4" wide,
  • sew them together along their long edges,
  • press the seams open,
  • fold the strip in-half and press,
  • machine sew the binding strip on the back of the quilt,
  • fold the binding over the edges of the quilt in preparation for securing the binding to the front of the quilt.

I used large safety pins to secure the binding.
Flanged binding prepared for hand-stitching.

The neat trick with this flanged binding is that you can then machine stitch-in-the-ditch of the flange to sew the binding on the front invisibly, but I stitched mine on by hand, anyway, because that 's what I like to do. The flange on the binding looks kind of cool.
Very comfy, stash quilt!

I really had a lot of fun making this quilt. Everything about it was an interesting challenge, and I have a really soft and comfy quilt to use this winter. Thanks, Anita! 

Rotary Cutting Revolution now in Kindle format, http://www.amazon.com/Rotary-Cutting-Revolution-One-Step-Blocks-ebook/dp/B00BF8M536
Anita Grossman Solomon, http://www.makeitsimpler.com/
My Arrowhead quilt, http://appletondance.blogspot.com/2011/08/arrowhead-quilt-block-from-solomons.html#.VFPpSfnF9bE
Anita's info on the TessellatingTee,
Quiltmakers info on ordering Quiltmaker Magazine, Mar/April 2014 No. 156
Binding tool, http://webstore.quiltropolis.net/stores_app/Browse_Item_Details.asp?Store_id=661&page_id=23&Item_ID=6712
www.thequiltingsquares.com, 615-794-4769

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pittsburghers inspire

Last weekend I returned to Dutilh United Methodist Church in Cranberry Township, north of Pittsburgh, PA where I was privileged to attend the memorial of beloved friend Francis Sutter, an advocate for peace and social justice who passed away last month at the age of 101. She was the founder of the Pittsburgh North People for Peace and Justice, and a supporter of the Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh's Peace and Social Justice Center.

Mrs. Sutter was honored and revered by many for her good works, and she was loved by everyone for her great and generous soul. She touched her friends with kindness, and like her Pittsburgh compatriot, Fred Rogers, made everyone she encountered happier for having known her.

Mrs. Sutter was memorialized July 1, 2014 by Mary Sheehan in The New People, Pittsburgh’s Peace and Justice Newspaper article, “In Memory of Francis Sutter”. 

* * *

On this trip to Pittsburgh, I was fortunate to spend time with fiber artist Louise Silk, my friend from long-ago when we were both members of the Pittsburgh Embroiderers’ Guild, now the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, Inc.

Fiber artist Louise Silk, blogger of Bubbe Wisdom

She is currently working on a retrospective of her work, and creating commissioned works of art for clients who wish to memorialize loved ones with the ephemeral fibers of daily life. We had a wonderful time talking about grandbabies, blogging, art, religion, politics, and Steinmart -- a retail spot neither one of us had ever visited, a lapse I corrected after lunch.

* * * 

Then I sped onward to Cranberry for a reunion and picnic dinner on the back porch of best friends Janet and Larry D. 

Janet D. at home in Cranberry Twp., PA

Larry barbecued pork over a wood fire, and we added fresh salad greens from his sumptuous garden and real Pittsburgh pierogi to our repast. 

The next morning Janet and I visited Cranberry’s Graham Park, the newest in a series of stellar parks brought to Cranberry citizens by their township government, unfazed by the cesspool of teabagger politics.

Along the Graham Park walking trail, we ran into CranberryTownship Board of Supervisors Chairman Bruce Mazzoni, his wife Conni, and his aunt Gloria Secchi --out for a morning stroll.
Gloria Secci, Janet D., Bruce Mazzoni and Conni Mazzoni at Graham Park, Cranberry Twp., PA 

Janet and I congratulated Mazzoni on the beautiful facility that includes 13 lighted ball fields and a handicapped accessible fishing pond. When asked, Mazzoni said that outstanding local government facilities including parks, library, and other amenities was a major reason that Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC chose Cranberry Twp. as the site of its new 1.2-million square-foot, global headquarters.

A Jan. 3, 2013 article titled "Cranberry Twp. named best for kids in PA" in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette quoted Mazzoni:
"There's no doubt that Cranberry is what it is because of a partnership between the township and the community itself,'' he said. He said an ongoing effort to build a new playground in the Route 19 community park - a partnership between Cranberry and at least two civic organizations - the Cranberry CUP and the Cranberry Township Community Chest - is an example of how people come together to give the township the attributes that would garner such a designation as the one the township has garnered from Bloomberg Businessweek [as best place to raise kids in Pennsylvania].

Janet and I enjoyed using the new work-out stations along the trail and on our way back to the parking lot, we stopped by the Miracle League Field, a baseball field created for the use of handicapped children. The Graham Park field, sponsored in part by the Pittsburgh Pirate Charities and Pirate Freddy Sanchez, is one of only two such facilities in the state. The field features a synthetic surface that allows children in wheelchairs and walkers to play the game safely.

Miracle League Field at Graham Park in Cranberry Twp., PA

Watching those young people enjoy the weather, the excitement, and the energy of playing together was the most inspiring gift of a wonderful weekend home.

Thomas Merton Center, http://thomasmertoncenter.org/
Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, Inc., http://fiberartspgh.org/guild/
Steinmart in Pine Creek Center, http://www.steinmart.com/
Pgh. Post Gazette “Cranberry named best for kids in PA”,
Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania, http://www.cranberrytownship.org/index.aspx?NID=1115

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Carrot mug rug

This jaunty carrot, mug rug measures 4.5-inches wide by 9.5-inches long. Make a set of two little rugs with one 10-inch square of backing fabric, a 10-inch square of batting, fourteen 10 x 1.25 inch scraps of orange fabrics, and a half yard of green ribbon. I was inspired to make these rugs by a quilt-as-you-go, carrot-shaped, table runner from Better Homes and Gardens. Their free pattern is available at quilt-as-you-go Carrot Table Runner.

The directions for creating my little carrot mug rugs are below.

Materials for one set of two carrot mug rugs:
One 10-inch square orange print fabric for backing
Seven 1-1/4” strips of orange prints and solids 22 inches long (or fourteen orange scrap strips 1-1/4 inch wide by 10.5 inches long) *
One yard (two 18-inch pieces) 1-inch or 1.5-inch wide, light green ribbon (chiffon or grosgrain)
Costume jewelry pin, or small pin to attach ribbon to carrot
10-inch square iron-on batting
Thread to coordinate with backing square
Paper to make one carrot pattern

* Eight 1.25-inch-wide pieces of orange fabric cut the width of the bolt (aprox. 42-inches) will make two sets of two mug rugs each set; 1/8 yard of eight fabrics will make eight sets of two mug rugs in each set.

Note: I used a quarter-inch foot to sew my seams, which makes sewing these strips evenly a little easier.

Iron the 10-inch square piece of iron-on batting to the wrong side of your 10-inch backing square.
Place one 10.5-inch long strip right-side-up on top of batting in center of square.

Put one coordinating strip wrong-side-up (right sides together) on top of first strip.
Pin and stitch through all layers using a 1/4 inch seam allowance along one edge of strips. 
Finger press strips open, and press with iron from backing side of square.

Place another strip wrong side up (or right sides together) along edge of pressed open strip. Stitch through all layers using 1/4-inch seam allowance along edge of both strips. Finger press open, and press with iron from backing side.
Continue adding strips to both sides of original strips until entire 10-inch square is covered. (Photo above shows square almost complete.)

Fold 5 x 10-inch piece of paper in half and round top to create carrot shape as shown above. Round bottom edges slightly.

Place carrot pattern on one side of pieced square either with pieced strips vertical or horizontal. 
Cut out.

Position pattern on remaining material and cut out. You now have a set of two carrot shapes. With a zig-zag or other decorative stitch, sew around edges of carrot. Trim close to stitching, if desired.

Tie ribbon in one-loop bow (Tie as if for a bow, but only make one loop instead of two.) Pin or stitch to top of carrot. You can use a small piece of costume jewelry to pin your carrot top to carrot, or purchase small pins at a jewelry supply store. Pin from front if using jewelry. Pin from rear if using non-decorative pin. (Remove bow to launder mug rug.)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

GAAQG meeting springs ahead

Lots of news, tips, and fun at the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild (GAAQG) bi-monthly meeting today!

Members of the General Henry Dearborn Quilting Society sold tickets for two quilts that will be raffled at their quilt show, "Piece by Piece" to be held April 25 and 26, 2014 at the Dearborn Historical Museum. They were also selling these adorable cupcake pincushions made from the ribbing of old sweaters. I couldn't resist picking one up! I found several Internet sites that show the construction process. Both of these look good: "Felt Cupcake Pincushions" at Tipjunkie and "How to make a no sew cupcake pincushion" at the brilliant UK site Red Ted Art.

During announcements, we got a hand-saving tip from a guild member who loves O'Keeffe's Working Hands hand cream, as recommended by her pharmacist.

We also got a recommendation for the Missouri Star Quilt Co. for its great collection of pre-cut fabrics, enormous Moda selection, and outstanding tutorials!

To top it off, members were treated to free mug rugs and fat quarters just for the fun of it. It occurred to me that doubling the size of my "Folded patchwork coasters" from May 2008 would make a nice mug rug.

Our guest speaker Carol Loessel presented a wonderful trunk show of her scrap quilts. I was intrigued by a symetrical design that she said was an example of a "four block quilt". Apparently this is an old-fashioned style quilt that I had never seen before. I also loved her playing-with-jacks quilt made with 2.5-inch squares. Loessel had this to say about her work, "When you work with scraps the results are not always predictable, but I guarantee the process is always enjoyable!" 

After the meeting, members could attend a short tutorial. This one by Liz showed us how to "Make a quilt from orphan blocks of different sizes". Liz used a quilt-as-you-go technique she learned at a workshop teaching the quilt-as-you-go pattern "World Music" by Sheila Murphy. You can download free instructions for "World Music" at http://www.quiltviews.com/free-world-music-pattern-by-sheila-murphy. Liz said she hopes to have her mini-workshop on orphan blocks posted to the GAAQG site soon.

July is a big! month for Ann Arbor area quilters!

The GAAQG guild will hold its third annual UFO Retreat during the week of July 11-17, 2014 at Creative Passions, LLC in Chesaning Michigan. The retreat is open to everyone, including non-GAAQG members. Retreaters may choose a three day weekend retreat for $130, a four day weekday retreat for $130, or a full week retreat for $260. To reserve a place, print out the online registration form and send with deposit to Sue Endreszi, 31506 Leona, Garden City, MI 48135. Email saendreszi@yahoo.com.

Lyric Kinard will lecture on the topic of "The Elements of Art" at the GAAQG meeting on July 19, 2014, and will hold two workshops: "Surface Design Sampler Platter" on July 18, and "Creative Collage & Collaboration" on July 19.

The GAAQG will host its biennial quilt show "Celebrating the Quilt" July 26 and 27, 2014 at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Curious George finds the badger prince

Curious George Finds the Badger Prince of Tenacity by Linda Theil | Make Your Own Book

Here is the birthday present book I made for my grandson using the Blurb BookSmart software and their online publishing company at Blurb.com. You can read the entire book from the preview or order a free eBook at http://blur.by/1eh291L.

We ordered the 36-inch Gund brand Curious George from Chesterton Manor on Amazon and I took the photos with my iPhone. It was a lot of fun posing George for his adventure!