Monday, December 11, 2017

Secret Santa Gifts

Every year I look forward to our guilds Holiday Party!  It's always been a blast of an event full of food, chatter and gifts.  This year was no exception either!

One of the highlights of our party is the Secret Santa gifts.  We get our partner assigned to us a couple months ahead of time with a list of their likes and dislikes, and what they might love to receive.  And like every year last minute sewing happens...even with the lengthy heads up!

My partner requested some sort of bag...and my heart sunk!  I don't make bags, I'm no good at it and given the choice I run the other way!!  After thinking long and hard I decided I could never do a 'bag' justice and opted for a wall hanging instead.  Because...who doesn't love a wall hanging full of fun and rainbows?!  

This was my opportunity to do some paper piecing, use rainbow fabric and make a pattern I've had on my list.  And secretly I was thinking it would make up for not making a bag!  The pattern is from Quiet Play.  I love her patterns just a lot!

19" x 19"
Wreath of Feathers
The Wreath of Feathers was an amazing adventure!  I added the border above and beyond the pattern for a little more fun.

Each feather has 24 pieces and took me nearly half an hour for each one.


This was a very tedious process, but one I really did enjoy!  Once I finished a feather I was so excited to figure out the next one...twelve times!

Hows that for a pretty little wreath?  This pattern requires a tad bit of curve piecing AKA Drunkards Path.  After all the paper piecing, that was a breeze!  It all came together and I was pretty pleased with it.  

I quilted pebbles in the center using Aurifil # 2021 Natural White.  The four corners have 1/4" straight lines and the rest is 1/2" straight lines.  I wanted the quilting to radiate out like rays of sunshine.  

And I like it!  The front is Kona White and the back is Alison Glass 'Artifact'.  

Adding my usual hanging method on the back (hanging a mini quilt) finished it off and let me move on to a couple other gifts to add to the booty!

My partner also suggested a scissor pouch.  That I can make.  This would be my second one and I knew it was in my realm of expertise!  This pattern is by S.O.T.A.K Handmade and is a free pattern!  If I can!

I personalized it with my partners initial using another Quiet Play pattern.  I did have to reduce the letter to 75% in order for it to fit on the pouch. 

Cute lining, perfect zipper construction, amazing 'K' and it fits a big pair of scissors too!

And lastly, I made a mason jar pincushion.  Also a free pattern and simply simple to make.  I did switch out the candy in the picture for red and green M&M's just to make it a bit more holiday-ish!


All in all it was a successful bunch of goodies!  However...I felt a little concerned early on when I was making these things for my partner.  I had the feeling she wasn't going to show up.  My intuition was right.  What it meant was I no longer had a partner to give my gift to and someone else wasn't going to receive a gift from her.  It was a let down and I felt terrible.  Life happens and we sometimes cannot follow through with some commitments. I hope my partner is doing well and I wish her the best.  Mostly I felt bad for Janet.  She didn't get a Secret Santa gift.  In the end, I gave her the gifts I made.  They weren't specifically made for her and the 'K' is not a 'J', but I made the with love and hope that she will enjoy them none-the-less.  

I was the lucky partner of Jenny! (@tennjenny on IG)  I've been in awe of her skills for as long as I've known her.  

I couldn't believe it when she handed the gift to me...I knew it would be amazing even before I opened it!

Gorgeous!  My favorite colors!  This basket is going to be perfect for my hand sewing.  It has three sections, one of which is outfitted with a big pin cushion.

It was filled with pretty purple fabric.  I'm ready for the Pantone Color of the Year 2018 - Ultra Violet now! And lovely geometric Washi tape too!

Jenny also made this amazing tray for me.  It was filled with candy...I did not eat it all...yet!  I'm not sure if it'll be my treasure box, candy box or filled with tools of the trade.  What ever it's used for it'll be used.

Thank you Jenny for the beautiful gifts!  I have always wanted a TennJenny creation!  Also...thanks for sneaking behind my back and getting feedback from my daughter!  I couldn't believe all the amazing gifts that were exchanged.  Talk about talent! 

Are you having special Secret Santa gift giving this year?!  Do you feel pressure when deciding what to make? 


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pinwheel Bow/Ornament :: Tutorial

My family moved to Tennessee 22 years ago in hopes of making a better life.  We loaded up a truck with the basics...children, furniture, beds, clothes.  Necessities.  We left our family for what felt like a move to a foreign country.  Nashville.  It was a culture shock and I often wondered what had we gotten ourselves into!

We had very little money and lived in a two bedroom apartment, but we made do.  Our first Christmas was approaching and I realized we didn't have any Holiday goodies to decorate the tree.  I bought a few boxes of cheap ornaments, we strung popcorn and made ornaments to fill the tree.  Christmas on a budget.  

I was finishing up my Secret Santa gift for our Guild Holiday party on Saturday, when I remembered about that Christmas.  The kids and I made little pinwheel ornaments using fabric and I tried to remember how I made them back then.  Which I couldn't!  But I did come up with a version just like what I remembered.  

I thought it's the Holidays!  I should do a tutorial!  They could be ornaments, bows on a package, gift tags or a bow for your hair...and they are so simple to make!  I hope you like them!

3", 2" and 1 1/4"
The pinwheels come in three sizes: 3", 2" and 1 1/4".  You can embellish anyway you choose!  Glitter, jewels, buttons or beads!  Be creative and enjoy!

Steam-A-Seam or lightweight double sided fusible interfacing
scrap fabric 
small button

Below is the cutting chart for each pinwheel size.  I've also included center measurements and the corner cuts. 

I'm using Steam-A-Seam and it works great.  You can also use a lightweight double sided fusible interfacing as well. 

For this tutorial, I'll be making the 3" pinwheel. 


Step 1:  
Cut your fusible web and two (2) fabrics to 3 1/4".  I have allowed an extra 1/4" for trimming and fusing.  

Step 2:
Layer your squares.  Fabric 1 is wrong side up, interfacing and fabric 2 right side up.  Fuse together and set with your iron.

Trim to 3" square.  


Step 3:
Mark the center of the square at 1 1/2" with a dot, and 1 1/4" diagonal lines from the corner towards the center.

Step 4: 
Using sharp scissors, cut each corner along the line.

Step 4:
At this point you need to decide which fabric will be the back and the front.  I used the green for the back so it showed when folded over.  

Make a knot at the end of your needle and thread.  Going through the front, poke your needle through to the back and come back up to the front.  This way when the corners are sewn the knot will be hidden.  

Step 5:
Push your needle through the point and draw it through.  


Continue around the block until you have all four (4) points done.  

Step 6:

Add your button and secure it tightly.  

Step 7:
Add a hanging string and you are finished!  I used floss for my pinwheels.  You could also use tiny ribbon or a pin.  I even thought double sided tape or foam dots would be great if you wanted to put it directly on a package.

*Because of the raw edges, there will be a bit of fraying.   

If your looking for something quick and easy to make with a handmade touch,  these pinwheels may be the perfect project!  

I'd love to see what you come up with...please tag me on Instagram: @twiggyandopal, or email me: jaynebug{at}comcast{dot}net, #pinwheelbowtutorial


Sunday, December 3, 2017

'Super' Star Thistle

This quilt has been in the works since May!  I was shocked when I realized that, but not to surprised considering what the last half of the year has been like.  

The block may look familiar to some of you.  I designed it over a year ago and have fiddled around with it on many other projects since then.  'Star Thistle' is a paper pieced block that is available in my Craftsy Shop:  Star Thistle.  

Because I love the block so much...I had this idea to super size the block to 18" and play with the background by using different shades of gray.  I used Moda Zen Gray, Kona Slate and Kona Graphite.  

52" x 70"
There were many different ways I could have taken this design and and even now I see what I wished I had done or could have done.  I'll save those ideas for the next one!  

I've always love magenta and orange together and when I came across the print with the exact colors I knew it was a match made in heaven and where I'd start.  They were all in my stash and pretty much scraps.  Therefore...I haven't a clue what the colors are let alone the manufacturer.  (the print is Art Gallery)


I had the quilt pinned and collecting dust for a long time before I decided it was time to do something about it!  It seemed like it needed something special, something I could handle on my domestic machine.  And I'll admit, I knew it would be geometric!  

Auriful provided me with the thread as part of their Aurifil Artisan program.  I'm so thankful to be a part of the group and thankful for the opportunity.  

The star thread is Aurifil 50wt #2530 Blossom Pink and #2535 Magenta.  Thanks to my thread card I was able to match the colors exactly.  

The background received a combination of grays.  #2630 Dark Pewter, 2610 Light Blue Gray and #2600 Dove.  

The first areas quilted were the star and from there I echoed around the points, marking with my Hera marker along the way.  

Nothing planned.  I would figure out what I wanted in certain sections, mark it around the quilt, quilt it and move on to another section.  Over and section at a time.  It all happened over the course of weeks!  

You all know I love geometric quilting!  For the most part turning and twisting the quilt to accommodate the quilting wasn't as bad as it looks.  Although there were a few tough spots here and there.

The top picture is the front of the quilt with So many converging lines!  It did get interesting and super dense but worked.  The bottom picture is from the back where you can see the Magenta thread.

More quilting detail!  I just kept going and going and going!  

Until every single space was filled.  Dense, geometric, symmetrical.  I have to admit I thought I would never get it done!  Over the course of weeks and with determination it was over!  Except the back...

Pieced together using each gray from the front and of course, the extra block I had.  I finished off the quilt with a binding of Kona Graphite.  

If you'd like to see other projects I made using the Star Thistle Block, here's a list of the blog posts I've done about it:

Star Thistle Blog Hop
A Pattern Comes to Life
Christmas Party Fun
The Stars are Shining Brightly
Finishing Mini Mini WIP's
Get The Point

Hmmm...I guess I do love this block!

Do you have a favorite block you use over and over?  Maybe one that you change up depending on the project?  

It's exciting to see what can become...the magical wonders of quilting!


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Refreshed :: Invigorated :: Ready

I'm back!  I've missed blogging, missed quilting, missed sharing these past couple of weeks!  My little world has been in a state of chaos for the past month and I'm ready to get back on track and get back to normal again!

This post will be not be about quilting.  I don't have anything to show for myself right now, but with a promise there are a lot of things in the works!  I have so many things I want to do, many things I need to do and a several things I have to stay tuned!  

I had a wonderful time at the beach!  My daughter Britt whisked me away to Fort Lauderdale by the Sea and it was gorgeous!  It happened at the perfect time and while I was not thrilled when it was first presented to me (because of remodeling chaos), I was chomping at the bit when the time came to leave.

We had four days of gorgeous weather and plenty of beach time.  Ice cream for lunch, delicious dinners and touristy shopping!  For me, the best part was spending time with my daughter.  That alone would have been enough for me.  I love the person she has grown into and enjoy all my time spent with her!  This will be remembered and cherished for the rest of my life.

If I could live anywhere it would be somewhere just like this!  

Britt is a quirky kid!  In a very good way.  She has always been that way and I'm sure always will be.  Case in point:  she love collecting rocks and shells.  She would scour the beach for 'treasures' braving the waves crashing around her feet.  I had to laugh by the end of our trip at the pile of shells she wanted to bring home!

This is only a fraction of them!  She also had to bring home a bag of sand.  Her intention was to share with her 'kidlet' friends!  I was the lucky one who had to carry them in my suitcase when we headed for home.  No problem!  Well, unless you go through security and they pull you aside to check whats inside.  It didn't dawn on me that a baggie full of sand could be an issue when going through the x-ray!  It had to be pulled out and a drug test was performed on it.  I know...why would I mix drugs with sand?!  It was quite funny!

Heading home was bitter sweet.  Neither of us wanted to leave.  But we had to.  We had Thanksgiving to do and a house to get back in order!

Anyone who has gone through remodeling knows what a mess you have to go through before its finished.  Construction guys are not the least bit concerned with cleanliness.  They are there to do a job.  I spent weeks following behind them wiping crud off of wall and door frames.  Touching up paint, sweeping up muck and cringing at every turn! was worth it to have beautiful new wood floors!  When I got back from Florida, I started cleaning.  Washing down walls, washing everything in sight, touching up paint and moving things back where they belonged.  There is still a lot of touch up work to be done, but that can happen later.

My beautiful new floor!  I was so excited to get back everything back in my sewing room!!  I missed having my space!


I'm back...and the funny thing is...I didn't know what to do first!  I told my husband that I've been so excited to get back in to sewing, but I didn't know where to start.  My list was to long and I couldn't make a decision on what was first!

It didn't last long and I'm officially working on 'something'!  My double design wall is working great.  I even added my old design wall which you can see rolled up in the first picture.  A spare will come in handy.

I rearranged my shelf full of fabric, framed my sewing machine print and finally got the machine humming!  My room is small, it isn't anything other than a spare bedroom...but it is my 'sanctuary'.  And now it's my 'Sanctuary By The Sea'!  

Thank you for indulging me with today!!  I'm anxious and ready to start sharing quilting projects!  Stay tuned!