Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A tutorial on the "Bricks and Blocks" baby quilt

OK.... I just explained all of this to a friend, via messages on Facebook, and realized that it's high time I get this tutorial posted! I've wanted to do this for a long time.....and it would've been SO much easier to just point that friend to my blog! So, after this is done, I can do just that, with other friends.
First of all, here are the fabrics from April Cornell's "Spring Magic" jelly-roll. There are too many different prints for a baby quilt, so I usually choose ten to fifteen of them. I make this quilt with five rows across and sixteen down. So, you'll end up with eighty pieces. If you choose sixteen different fabrics, then you can have five of each of those. Jelly-rolls are SO nice because there are usually two of each print; their length is the width of the fabric (about 44" these days) and they are 2.5" wide. Perfect for this quilt! If you buy fabric off the bolt, then, using a rotary cutter, place the fold on a horizontal line and have the edge of your fabric just over one of the vertical lines on your cutting mat. Put your straight-edge so that one of the horizontal lines on it is even with that fold - and the lines on the cutting mat that are also even with it. The vertical lines should also be aligned with the vertical lines on the mat. Just a tiny bit of your fabric should be sticking out, to the right of your straight-edge. You are just squaring up your fabric. Cut that tiny bit that's sticking out, using your rotary cutter. Now, you're ready to start the real fun! Make sure that nice, straight edge of your fabric is at one of the "inch" measurements and that the fold is straight, along the bottom, even with another line. Lay your straight-edge 2.5" over to the left of the edge of fabric that you just cut. So, now you have 2.5" of fabric sticking out from that straight-edge. Make sure your fabric fold is straight at the bottom and that the straight-edge is aligned with the marks on your mat, all the way from the top to the bottom. Place your left hand flat out on the straight-edge; make sure your cutter blade is all the way up to the straight-edge. Place firm pressure on the cutter, but making sure to hold the straight-edge in place with your other hand... and starting at the bottom, just underneath the fabric, make your cut. If you are only going to use five pieces of each print, then you probably only need to cut one strip of each of the prints that you're using.
These pictures show the fabric, once it's cut into strips. Well, I didn't cut mine because I bought this beautiful jelly-roll! Jelly-rolls save you an incredible amount of time! However, if you don't like that vintagey look, ie; you don't want any "wrinkles" to be in your quilt once it's done, then you'll need to pre-wash your fabric. I wouldn't recommend pre-washing the jelly-roll strips because they are already the exact width that you need. If you wash them, they're going to fray some and then you'll have to cut that fraying off. Personally, I love the vintagey look....it makes a quilt look old-fashioned and well, I just love that!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Happy Spring!!

"Spring" has sprung here in northwest Oregon! But, oh, how we confuse Spring with Summer so quickly! (I'm as guilty as anyone about that!) Spring in this neck of the woods is generally still rather cool and definitely wet. We can get rain, hail, snow, wind and sun... all in one day!! In fact, my husband said it did all of those things out at his jobsite yesterday, just 15 minutes from home.
I can't start paying too much attention to the weather this time of year or I get rather impatient with it all. Spring is a season all its own.. and, yet, we tend to want to lump it together with Summer and not recognize or value what it has to offer, on its own. We think of it as just a precursor to Summer. Well, it is and it isn't. Summer does come afterwards, but, it's a very, very slow process. One must learn to appreciate the beautiful, emerald green fields, the Daffodils, Tulips, Azaleas, Tulip (and other) Magnolias, Hyacinths, Mountain/Grape/Woody Hyacinths, Camelias, the ornamental and fruit-bearing cherries, plums and apples and those wonderful, little Violets that some of us are lucky enough to have in our lawns!
I have a friend who has only been here for a little over a year and she and her family moved here from Arizona. So, I made her this Spring garland....hoping that it might help to bring some glittery flowers into her home, for her. (Although, she is *just now* getting tired of the rain! She's doing as well as I am with the weather, this year!) It was hard to get a good picture of the garland, because it's so long.... so, I might put up each image, separately. I'll see how it shows up.
In the meantime, have a Happy Spring!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy New Year and some Christmas things......

Happy New Year!!! I can't believe that the new year is already upon us and I never did a Christmas post!! Well, here are a few of the things that I was busy with at Christmas-time. I made this little birdhouse (above) and plan to do two more, for a birdhouse village, for next year. It was fun to do. I need some kind of tall box to put them in, so I can create their own little space, with trees, snow, etc.... I already have both the trees and the "snow"...now, I just need some kind of box.

Here is the shoulder bag that I made for Hannah, for Christmas. It has coordinated fabric inside, but I realize now that I didn't get a picture of that.

These are Frosty Brownies..... they're chocolate-minty, inside and out! I told my youngest son and my husband that I wanted to try them out, before I made them for New Year's Eve. When we each had one, I said that I wasn't sure if I'd make them the same way and my son said, "I wouldn't." So, there you go. He prefers regular chocolate brownies to mint ones. Me, too. But, I did like the look of the "frostiness" on top. So, with the regular ones, I frosted them and still put the little candies on them. That was better.
I also made some Chocolate Crinkles that were fabulous!! But, I didn't remember them until 11:30 New Year's Eve, so just kept them for later. They are scrumptious and, if I'm remembering correctly, they're dairy-free. :)

Here's our Christmas tree, Christmas morning, just before we started opening gifts. It was a very nice morning. We went out to Wayne's dad's for dinner, and that was very nice, too.
And, now, a new year is upon us. How did that happen so quickly? Each year truly does go faster than the last. It's really about perception, though. As you go through life, and start feeling your mortality, time seems to go more quickly. What's that line from Bonnie Raitt's, Nick of Time? "Life gets mighty precious when there's less of it to waste." So true.
I need to have some Sweet Dreams and go to bed....it was a l-o-o-o-ng night last night!
Happy New Year and sweet dreams to all of you!
~ Teri