Applique Flip Flops

I’m still here, I’ve just been busy sewing.  A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a class I took.  The class meets monthly and is free to all Janome Memory Craft sewing machine owners.  In the May class, we learned how to do applique. 

We were asked to bring in a store-bought bag to applique on.  Our instructor told us we were going to applique either flip flops or a hat.  I could not bring myself to purchase a bag when that is my thing – making bags.  What I did do was start a bag.  I decided on a hot pink bottom and light yellow poke-a-dots for the body of the bag.  I added hot pink handles.  I also made my lining with pockets, but I did not sew it in. 

In class we were given a few options to applique.  I liked the flip-flop idea and went with it.  I had brought material, but I found the flower material in the stores remnant pile.  Along with my remnant of green and the colors of the bag, I thought everything went together beautifully.  When I got home I finished up the bag.  I attached the lining and top stitched it down.  For my first machine applique project, I think it turned out really cute.

Little Fabric Basket #4

 I just thought I’d share my last fabric basket with you.  This one was made with 2″ squares, like the original pattern.   These baskets are so cute and fun to make.  I’m gifting this one to another granddaughter for her birthday. 

The pattern can be found on Pink Penguin’s blog

Sorry this post is so short.  I’ve got a lot to do.  Busy week-end.  Happy Sewing!

Spray Starch ~ Buy or Make

Yesterday I was finishing up my Spring Basket Quilt Blocks by pressing and lightly starching all of the blocks, getting them ready for the next step –  connecting all the blocks together.  I had purchased a small bottle of Mary Ellen’s Best Press from my LQS.  I thought I would give it a try even though I felt it was very expensive.  It was what they recommended over other brands of spray starch.  I was told it didn’t flake or clog up and was a light, natural, acid free alternative to the heavy spray starch I grew up with.  Mary Ellen’s comes in a few difference scents.  I decided on the lavender fields scent.  I guess I picked that one just because it was purple and my sewing room is orange and purple.

As I was pressing and spraying each block with the spray starch I did notice a very light pleasant scent.  I also like the way the pressing was turning out, although I’m not sure it was very “starchy”.  120 blocks is a lot of blocks to press and starch.  The bottle was going down too quickly for the price I paid.  I knew I was going to need more starch soon.  I decided to take a break from pressing, check my email, and look up what other alternatives were out there that weren’t so expensive.

What I found was a few different homemade recipes for making your own natural spray starch.  I already knew I could use corn starch to make my own, but that is too much like the cheap stuff you can buy.  The other alternative I found was toted as the equivalent of Mary Ellen’s Best Press.  The recipe calls for Vodka, distilled water and lavender essential oil.  I guess Vodka is made from potatoes, which is a natural starch.  Who knew.   I thought why not give it a try.  I won’t have to leave my house and I can finish up pressing all of my blocks. 

O.K., maybe my homemade isn’t exactly like the recipe.  I didn’t have any distilled water, so I boiled a pot of water for 20 minutes to get all the sediments out of it.  I didn’t have any essential oil, but I did have a bottle of lavender potpourri.  Close enough.  I did have the Vodka.  It looks like it is the good stuff.  The bottle says premium.  I don’t drink Vodka and it has been in the cupboard quite a while.  It’s there for visitors I guess.  I decided to use it.  It’s probably stale anyway, right?

The recipes all called for 3 ounces Vodka, 24 ounces of distilled water and a few drops of essential oil.  I cut the recipe down to fit in a spray bottle I had on hand.  I used 2 ounces of Vodka, 16 ounces of boiled water and a few drops of lavender potpourri.  Shake well and use.  My homemade had a light scent, very light.  It sprayed out nicely and did leave my blocks lightly starched.  I’m not sure there is too much difference between the homemade and the store-bought.  I’m going to continue using both types and compare.  The homemade is definitely cheaper!  But, I just don’t know.  The jury is still out on it. 

I would love to hear from any of you that have tried both store-bought and homemade or any other alternative to the expensive Mary Ellen’s Best Press.  Happy Sewing.

More Pink Spring Basket Quilt Blocks

Yesterday I shared the remainder of the purple quilt blocks I am making for my Spring Basket Quilt.  I now have all 60 of the purple blocks completed.  Today’s post is the remainder of the pink quilt blocks.  I have all 60 of these blocks finished also.  My next step will be to press and starch each block, square it up and add my border around each square.  It’s a slow process, but I think it is coming along nicely.

I’ve also been working on other projects.  I hope to share more with you next week.  This week-end is my DH and my 40th wedding anniversary.  It’s hard to believe it has been that long.  So, as you can guess, I’m not going to be doing much sewing.  I will be too busy enjoying time with my family.  Happy sewing!

More Purple Spring Basket Quilt Blocks

My Spring Basket Quilt Blocks are coming along nicely.  The more blocks I put together, the better I get at having them come out lined up and lookin’ good!  I don’t find myself having to rip as much – which is a big plus!  I give a lot of the credit to the wonderful 1/4″ foot with guide that came with my new machine.  If your machine didn’t come with one, I highly recommend you purchasing one.  These are the last of the purple blocks.  There are six of them total.  The middle block is a lot like the 2nd purple quilt block only darker.   I know the blocks consist of both batik and prints.  I’m not really sure why I did it that way, I just hope they look good together when I piece the quilt together.  I am excited to see how this quilt will look with the sashings and borders.  But first, I’ve got to finish the pink blocks.  Happy Sewing!

Spring Basket Quilt – 3rd Purple Block

I hope everyone had a nice week-end and Mother’s Day.  We had really nice weather here, which is always a plus.  Saturday I enjoyed a day of applique with others in a class given at my LQS, then dinner out with my DH. That is my kind of day!  

I want to take a minute to update you on my Spring Basket Quilt Block progress.  I am really coming along nicely.  This is the 3rd of the purple quilt blocks, of which I have all ten done.  I will be busy stitching up more blocks today.  Happy sewing!

Spring Basket Quilt – 2nd Purple Block

 I’m so behind in blogging!  I’m just having too much fun sewing.  I am diligently working on my Spring Basket Quilt.  I’ve finished ten blocks of each of the three pink blocks and the one purple block I already posted about.  I’ve also got all ten of today’s block finished.  This block is a muted purple batik print.  I sure hope that all the prints will complement each other in the quilt.

Sewing the blocks on my new Janome is wonderful!  I can’t believe the difference sewing on a good machine makes.  It is so smooth and runs so quietly.  The bells and whistles are nice too. I am getting more proficient in piecing these blocks.  The 1/4″ foot with guide is so nice.  I don’t know how I did without it before.  I also like the fact that I can change the plate from the standard oval hole to a small round hole.  If you are asking why I would want to switch the plate, the smaller hole keeps the tiny ends of my triangles from getting pinched in.  If you are looking for a new machine yourself, I highly recommend this one.  I love the 11″ arm – so much room!  If you have any questions about it, please ask.   Happy Sewing.