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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Embroidered Jeans

Finished embroidery
     I am doing a fall style challenge with GYPO.  One of the items on the list was embroidered jeans. I really didn't need more jeans so I decided to do my own.

     Two of the tops that were going to be worn with the jeans were a solid burgundy one and a print top.  The burgundy one I already had in my closet but I bought a new print blouse.  I had a brown and orangey print one but it didn't really go well with denim or grey so I got a new one.  

Thread choices
     Since I was knew what I was going to wear with the jeans, I chose colors for the embroidery based  on these two tops.  I also have other tops in similar colors so I knew the jeans could have lots of options for wearing.

Embroidering on the deconstructed jeans
    I chose a couple of designs from Momo-Dini.  I liked the openness of the designs and only a few colors.  I did have to take apart the jeans at the inseam.  I split them from about six inches above the hem on both sides so I wouldn't have to redo the hems.  I hooped sticky paper and then placed the jeans on it.  I added a couple of pins to help hold the fabric.

All finished and put back together

     After I finished the embroidery, I stitched the jeans back together.  This wasn't hard as they did not have a flat fell seam.  
Embroidered jeans and print blouse #GYPO

     Here I am, wearing my new embroidered jeans and my new print blouse.  I do like how they turned out.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Tale of Two Contractors

Our new front 

     We recently had some work done around our house.  The outside of the house needed to be painted and we wanted to update our patio with a built in grill.

Our new built in grill

     We had had a Weber grill in a cart for years.  The cart was starting to fall apart and we also realized that when we had the family over with the three small grandchildren, it posed a bit of a hazard sitting in the middle of the patio.  I contacted three different builders to get estimates.  I got the recommendations from the neighbors.

     All three did show up but only two sent final estimates.  We chose Lester's as we liked their design slightly better.  We reviewed the plan and signed of on it along with a deposit.  We were told it would be a month or so before they got to our project.  No big deal, we weren't in a hurry, as long it was done before fall.

     We didn't hear any more from them until they showed up one Monday morning just as my husband was leaving for work.  I was out at a meeting and there were painters working on the house.  My husband chose to work from home that day to be sure everything got off to a good start.

     The work they did was okay but I was not happy at all with the process.  They didn't have enough building materials so work stopped early a couple of days.  We were not kept up to date on the progress so we never knew when they would be showing up.  The dirt they dug out to make the foundation for the grill, I found on top of my flowers in another part of the yard.  I had to unbury several plants so they wouldn't die.

     When they power washed the patio to put in new sand, they nearly uprooted my marigolds and the mulch from the edges was all blown back for about a foot.  After the sand was applied, I had to wash down all the plants around the patio to get the sand off.  We are still waiting for them to put on the door to hide the charcoal bin.  Once again they showed up one morning without calling.  I was in the shower and didn't hear them so they left.  I got a call later in the day saying they had been there.  They advised me to put the door on the back porch and they would be by later to install it.  Almost a week later and it is still sitting there.

     They also buried the outlet for the downspout when they regraded the back, even after we pointed it out as something to be watched for.  Add to that, on at least two occasions I could overhear the supervisor yelling at his employees.  Not very professional.  I would not recommend them to do any work.  When it comes time to do our side yard, I will definitely be using someone else.

Going from grey to blue

     Now contrast that with Scott Franzen of Franzen Painting.  We got our estimate from him and sent him a deposit.  Again it would be a bit before he got to us, a lot depended on the weather of course.  One Friday evening he called to say his guys would be by the next morning to do the power washing and that they would start the painting on  Monday.  When the grill guys showed up unexpectedly, he arranged to work around them.

Red geraniums pop against the blue in the back

     Almost every day after work was finished, I would get a call or text, or he would stop by to let me know the plan for the next day.  I would hear him talking with his guys, asking their opinion sometimes and always keeping them informed also.  Yes the day lilies in the side yard were smashed by their ladders and such they stored on the side of the house but they were already done blooming so no harm.  I'm sure they will come back next spring.

Pink flowers to match the door in the front

     Everything was cleaned up, no stray bits or pieces and the extra paint was nicely left on the front porch.  I think Scott has painted almost every room in our house and now the outside a couple of times.  I did use a different painter once but never again.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Denim Quilt

Boxes of jeans

     My cousin contacted me and wondered if I could make him a quilt out of old jeans that he had saved.  He wanted something heavy to lay under.  I send sure, I could do that.  One Saturday afternoon he stopped by with six boxes of old jeans.  Well I would have plenty to work with.

Cut squares

     I started by cutting apart the jeans and then pressing them so I could cut from flat pieces of fabric. I opted to do alternating 12.5 inch squares with four patch squares of the same size.  For the blocks with the pockets I needed to add some fabric so I could get a 12.5" square.

Four patch square

     I chose two lights and two darks for each four patch block.  After putting them together I top-stitched the seams open.  I felt this would help tame the bulky fabric.

Top-stitching detail

     Then it was time to start putting it together.  I laid out the pieces on the floor and played around until I got a pleasing pattern.  After stitching them all together, I again top-stitched open all of the seams.  That was a workout wrestling it through the machine.

Detail of block layout

     Before deciding on how I would finish the quilt, I talked with my quilter about if and how she could do this unusual quilt.  I did make sure that there were no metal rivets included in the pieces so that I wouldn't have a problem getting it quilted.  We agreed on an opened up simple quilting pattern and a lightweight batting so that her machine would not get hung up on the thickness.

Quilting detail

     She did need to occasionally stop the quilting pattern when it got to too many layers in some of the pocket areas.  I then applied the binding by machine, no hand sewing with the heavy denim.

Finished denim quilt

     The finished quilt is so big I couldn't get it to lay flat in my foyer.  It finished at 84" x 108".  I didn't even use half of the jeans he had brought me.  I wonder what he is going to do with the rest of them.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Purse Remake

Original purse

     I had a client that had a cloth purse she loved but it was getting a bit worn.  Also it was just a touch too small to fit her new phone.  She brought it to me so I could make a new one, slightly larger.

Zipper application

     As I deconstructed the purse, I took a lot of photos with my phone.  I also took notes as I was taking it apart and also remaking it.  Above is a photo showing how the zipper was attached to the lining as I was remaking it.

New purse inside

     The client chose some fabric from my scraps and she wanted to reuse the zippers and strap with its hardware.  This definitely saved some money and time trying to find the right items.

Finished purse

     The project took longer than I thought with all of the careful deconstructing, pattern making and note taking that had to be done.  The pocket on the front of the purse was a challenge as I had never done one like that before and I didn't find any instructions for something similar in all my purse patterns.

     This project certainly stretched my brain.  I also found out I would much rather start with a pattern and do some alterations than try to copy a ready made object.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Jungle Four Plus One Quilt

Finished quilt

      This is the last quilt I made for our family vacation.  This one is for our youngest grandson.  I bought a couple of collections of five one yard pieces of coordinating flannels.  When I bought them, they came with some directions for different quilts.  I chose the Four plus One pattern.

Block and border in more detail

     I was debating between the chevron or argyle pattern for the four patch block.  I'm not sure that I like how the border turned out with the colors switching so abruptly where the pieces were joined, maybe to argyle would have been a better choice.

Appliqué block, cute tiger

     Then it was choice between the orange or the green for the other large block.  I knew that the jungle print was one large block as it was my focal fabric.  I decided to use the green as it seemed to 'match' the jungle print and thus provided a flow with those blocks.

Label 1

     After putting it together, those green blocks looked lonely.  I used a couple of design sets from Designs by JuJu.  The appliqués were fun to work with.  I used scraps from my stash and also a couple from his cousin's quilt.

Label 2

      I then had it quilted with a fun jungle animals design.  Can you spot the lion, elephant and giraffe in the picture below?  I added two labels with all the info and did a binding from leftover fabric from the quilt.  

Quilting detail. Fnd the lion, giraffe and elephant

     His mom says he loves his quilt and seems to find something new each time he plays on it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cuddle Cakes Quilt

Finished quilt

     This summer we vacationed as a family in Fairfield Glade TN.  The group included our three children, two in-laws, one fiancee and three grandchildren plus my husband and I.  I had bought some quilt kits a year or two ago and decided that this vacation would be a fun time to give them to the grandchildren.

Applique block

     For our granddaughter, I bought a kit (from Mill House Quilts) that used Minky fabric and flannel.  The kit included the book with directions for the flower appliqué block.  The background was a white flannel with pink flannel flowers and green print cotton leaves.  The stem was a jumbo rick-rack and the center was cut from the Minky fabric.

Label with date

     The applique blocks went together fairly easily using the blanket stitch on my sewing machine and fusible web.  The rest of the quilt was a challenge though.  The Minky fabric was difficult to cut with the rotary cutter and it left a mess everywhere.  The fabric stretched when sewing it together and the blocks were not all even.

Label with piecer and quilter listed

     The kit was not very large so I added some fabric from my stash, lime green and hot pink flannels.  I then bought some flannel for the backing and was able to use the leftover flannels to make a multi color binding.  I'm kind of liking doing that, I wound up doing it on all three quilts for the grandkids.

Detail of quilting
     I had it quilted with a flower pattern and then made a couple of labels for the back.  She loved how soft it was.  The evening I gave the grandkids their quilts, we had a 'sleepover' in grandma and grandpa's room.  They used their new quilts like sleeping bags.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Another T-shirt Quilt July 2017

     Last month before heading out on vacation, I did this t-shirt quilt for a client.  These are her daughter's t-shirts and sweatshirts from college and her sorority.

     The first step is to cut the front and back apart.  A couple of her t-shirts, she wanted both the back and front used and some just the back.  After cutting apart the shirts, I cut the iron-on interfacing into 15" x 15" pieces.  I ironed these to the backs of the shirts and then cut my squares using my 12.5" x 12.5" ruler.  I then laid out the squares to get a pleasing layout and sewed them together.

     They chose this fun pineapple print fleece for the backing.  I pieced it to get a big enough piece for the back.  I laid it right side up on the floor and then placed the sewn together t-shirts on top with right side down.

     I placed the pins parallel to the edge and trimmed the backing to match the front.  I sewed all around with a 1/4" seam allowance and left an opening to turn.  After turning it right side out, I topstitched close to the edge, closing up the opening.

     To keep the layers together, I stitched in the ditch at the corners of the t-shirts.  You can see a little what it looks like on the back (see arrow).  From the front you usually don't see the stitches.  Next t-shirt quilt will be one for me, I hope.