Sunday, 29 April 2012

QCA Bee #2 May Block

Mock Needle-turn Applique

This month we are giving you a choice of completing a simple applique technique or a more involved block using the same technique.

Please have a look  at SewCalGal's web site for the technique we are learning this month.

Block One

I will be sending you the pre-cut hearts, stems and interfacing for block one. You will need to supply backing material in a white or patterned white cut to the size of a 12.5 inch square.

To complete block one you will need:

3x mock needle turned green hearts (refer to tutorial for mock needle turn method) 1x 1" green strip
12.5" square white background fabric (patterned/solid)

1. Take the 1" green strip and fold/press in half lengthwise. 
2. Fold background fabric in half and then half again, finger-pressing to mark the centre of the block. Open out. 
3. Pin one end to a corner of the background. Pin strip towards the centre point, while adding a gentle curve (similar to the way a plant's stem blows in the wind!).

4. Sew a scant 1/4" (from the raw edge) seam. Fold the fabric over to cover the raw edge and press flat. Top stitch (using a dark thread) along the folded edge to secure to the background material. Your stem is now complete.

5. Place one heart at the top end of the stem so that it covers the raw edges. Press so that interfacing adheres heart to the background fabric. Place the remaining two hearts to either side of the stem below the top heart, approx 1/4" apart. Press to adhere. Top stitch the hearts in a dark thread. 

Your block is now complete!

For those who are keen to step up the applique challenge, there are two card templates included in your little package. For block two you will need to cut:

4x large hearts in a mid/dark pink
4x large hearts in a fusible interfacing
4x medium hearts in a light/mid pink
4x medium hearts in green
8x medium hearts in a fusible interfacingFold
4x 1" strips (approx 6" long) in green
1x 1" circle in yellow (for centre of flower)
12.5" square of white background fabric (tone on tone textured ok)

Using the same method as block 1, use the mock needle turn applique technique with all heart shapes.

1. Follow steps 1-4 as per block 1, repeating for all corners so that there are a total of 4 stems meeting in the middle.

2. Using the picture as a guide, lay out the hearts, with the dark green at the bottom with points facing out (you can use the finger-pressed lines to centre the tips of the heart). DO NOT PRESS YET! Place the large pink hearts so that the tips meet in at the centre point. Adjust the green hearts as required. 

3. According to personal preference you can either layer all the hearts and then press, or you can press them in layers. I pressed them all together, Tracey pressed each layer of hearts individually.

4a. In complementary threads, top stitch the leaves and then the hearts. OR
4b. You can hand stitch the edges of the applique, as desired.

5. Place the 1" yellow circle in the centre of the flower. Applique or free motion "thread paint" as desired.

(Trace kindly let me steal her picture)
Block two is now complete!

I hope you enjoy this block and technique. There is alot of potential to use this applique method for range a designs or ideas.  Enjoy!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Tuesday catch-up

Phillipa's disappearing 9-patch Christmas placemats (basted, ready for quilting) - Christmas present for her sister

Look how beautifully Belinda's Kookaburra is coming along!

My 2nd beaded wineglass cover complete! 

So I started the 3rd..

And by the end of the morning, I was "half way" (as far as rows go, not as far as 'stitches' do...)

Gingernut Banoffee Tarts - yum!

Tuesday craft @ my house!

Phillipa's gorgeous disappearing 9 patch bedrunner (not complete)

Friday, 18 November 2011

Funky Christmas Stockings

Only 37 days until Christmas so thought I had better get organised and start making some of the Christmas projects I had on my 'to do list'. The patterns I downloaded from or I can drop them off if anyone wants to make any.

All you need is some green material, red material, ribbon, glitter felt and cotton to sew them together. I make six of them in a couple of nights so for those of you who are more adept with the sewing machine it won't take you long at all. They are just a little bit different, while still being Christmasy.

I hope my neices and nephews love them. I hope my ratbags love them too. If you see them please don't tell them!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Christmas Tree tea pots

After a trip to the Guildford Heritage Markets I was inspired to make these cute little Christmas Tree garlands for the school P&C. Two pieces of felt cost me $3, the material was left over Christmas material I had at home, the tea bags were still in the cupboard from Tracey's Kitchen Tea and the crochet cotton was kindly donated by Tracey.

Cut the tea pots out, sew a little square of material on, glue the little message on, add the string to the top, pop a tea bag in, I used one's that came in their own individual sachets and you're done.

Message reads 'On Christmas Day, At half past three, Make yourself a cup of tea, I'll think of you, You think of me, Sitting around the Christmas Tree.' Forgot to take individual photo on camera. Have one on the phone but if you know me you will know I have done well to make this post let alone get a photo from my phone to the computer. That is a whole other tuturial with Tracey.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Stitchin' sisters

Now that school holidays are over, it's back to routine (thank goodness!).. which means we're back to our Tuesday "Stitch n Bitch" craft mornings, yay! 
I spent the morning pressing seams, because my MIL broke her ironing board and I had all my Harry Potter quilt tumbler strips to press as well as my Christmas table runner squares.

 Belinda is doing an amazing job on her Kookaburra cross stitch - look at that birdie! She'll have it finished in no time, seriously.. she's only got his eye and the rest of the branch to go, I think (including some gum leaves?). Belinda did mention that next time she'll pick something that has more colours though! (as opposed to shades of the same colour)
 And Phillipa managed to get about 4 stitches done on *her* cross stitch in between making coffee, talking and feeding hungry children!
Sisters in matching aprons!
 Phillipa and I decided to catch up again on Wednesday so that we could get a little more done, and probably because we've been suffering craft day withdrawals and needed more than the hour or so we had on Tuesday. We were joined by Phillipa's sister Sandra, who needed to finish off her own Emmeline apron - having borrowed Phillipa's pattern (previously blogged about here). The girls looked so cute in their matching aprons! And I'd also like to give Phillipa's spinach pie an honourable mention - it was AMAZING! Because Phillipa can't have egg she added some sundried tomato and olive to the ricotta, feta and spinach (which she picked fresh from her garden!) and instead of filo pastry she used puff pastry. Total food win. I ate 2 pieces.
As for me, I laid out my HP tumbler strips in order, measured them and cut my horizontal sashing strips to size (with margin for error - I'll trim them up when I sash them all together) and laid out all my Christmas square pairs so that I could turn them into Christmas four patches. I'd been hoping to get back into my sewing room so that I could move on to the next phase, but the week conspired against me and I'm pinning all my hopes on tomorrow!

I also ironed my calico for the centre piece of the table runner (which needs to be embroidered) so hopefully when I make it into my sewing room tomorrow I can get it all sorted out to the point where I can be embroidering at next Tuesday's stitch n bitch! Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

At home soy candles

Inspired by the soy candle making day on Friday my sister in law and I made our own candles at home Friday night. We had rummaged through second hand stores finding tea cups and saucers, little parfait glasses, mini coffee sets etc for our candles and were really happy with the results. We purchased 3 kgs of the soy wax and had plenty left over for next time. The colours we used were honey and purple and we decided not to add any fragrance as they have their own lovely scent. From start to finish it took us about an hour. Unfortanately for my sister in law we had done so much shopping over the last two weeks she didn't have room in her bag to take them home. Lucky for me! Might give them to her for Christmas. Ha!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Soy Wax Candle Making

Yesterday Linda, her sister-in-law Tracey, Phillipa and I attended a soy wax candle making workshop at our local family community centre. Kym came along to play crèche nanny for us, which was super lovely of her. The course was run by another girl in our playgroup session, Kylie.
Jugs of wax waiting to be melted
The first thing we had to do was measure and melt our wax. This took AGES. Infact, the melting took probably as long as the rest of the process altogether.

Linda sticking her wick into her jar
The "first round" of candles we made were a gorgeous lidded jar and a maxi light (as opposed to a tea light.. it will apparently burn for around 12 hours).  While we waited for the wax to melt, Kylie showed us how to stick our wicks into our jars, and showed us our colour and fragrance options.
My prepared jars and my essential oil blend (from home)

Kylie demonstrating how to check the temperature
 There were two ways to add colour: liquid concentrate and solid colour blocks that you grate/shave in. Linda went with the liquid concentrate and boy was it concentrated! She used a single drop and she had the most gorgeous, vibrant magenta while Phillipa and I shaved a tiny amount of solid colour into ours and got lovely pastel shades. As for fragrance, Linda chose "Dragon's Blood", Phillipa used a combination of Citronella & Sweet Orange essential oils and I had brought an essential oil blend that my MIL makes called "Peace" which has Patchouli, Lime and Peru Balsam.
Phillipa's first candles

Linda's first candles (She had a bit of extra leftover wax and needed more containers!)

Phillipa shaving colour into her wax
The "second round" candle we made was a frosted square open topped jar. Linda went with a vibrant teal colour, and I think Egyptian Musk fragrance. Phillipa and I both used ultramarine solid colour, with Phillipa going with Grapefruit & Lime fragrance while I went with Sweet Orange essential oil. Funnily enough, all three of us had very similar coloured candles... completely unplanned I might add!
Waiting for my last lot of wax to melt, jar & essential oils prepped.
Some of the other girls (including Linda & Tracey) arranged to purchase supplies to take home so that they could reinforce what they'd learnt at the workshop, but I opted to make another candle at the workshop because we had some extra time. I used the rest of my "Peace" blend, topped up with some Sweet Orange essential oil, but no colour in a gorgeous square lidded jar.
Linda's completed candles

Phillipa's completed candles

My completed candles (minus one maxi light that I gave to Kym)

 As a special thank you for minding the kids I gave Kym one of the maxi lights I made. Overall, we had a great time.. so much so that we're thinking of getting Kylie to bring some supplies up to playgroup before the school holidays so that we can have a holiday playdate to make some more candles as Christmas presents (and some for us, of course!).

And as an added bonus, the soy wax candles made our hands, the car and our houses smell lovely! Now I just need to arrange a romantic, candle lit dinner with my husband as an excuse to light one.