Category: Things to make

The 100 Day Project 2018 – Thoughts on the Completed Project

It’s over three months since I made my final heart on fabric for this years 100 Day Project! Where does the time go?

I did really well at sewing the squares together and finished that part of the quilt a few weeks after the end of the project. The time lapse is partly to do with me, the well known fact that crafts go in seasons with me, and partly that I have struggled to get a good photo of the quilt top.

I had it in my head that I wanted to hold up the quilt top not lay it down as I had all through the 100 days. After my second ‘photo shoot’ I should have given up and just laid it on the floor but I was stubborn and tried again.

Argh…… still blurry and with shadows but here it is.

Back at day eighty four I promised to return here and share what I learned from doing this project. I’ve just gone back and read my roundup post for last year to see what I thought about that project (I’ve linked all past post’s below).

What I mentioned in that post was that I’d surprised myself by completing the 100 days and that I was happy to have carved 15-30 minutes out of my day to craft.

Both of those thoughts are true this time around. I had set a more challenging project but still completed it and I made the time to do it.

I also simply love what I have made. I love that I tried new techniques, learnt about fabric paint (grr) and stamping with ink on fabric. That I used a well loved blouse, a sheet my sister gave me and mostly materials I had on hand for the squares. That I carved my own heart stamps, used a colour palette and fell in love with applique.

I think my biggest takeaway should be that I can do it. I may tweak and make it work for me but I can do it.

What I would really like to do then is believe this of myself day in and day out. I have a dream to sell things that I make. But I do not believe I can. I don’t really try to do it. There are a dozen reasons why I don’t. Excuses I should say, not reasons. There are too many folk already doing it, it will cost more that it makes, I don’t have people skills to sell things, nothing I make will be good enough………..

Perhaps I need to look long and hard at those 100 quilt squares and realise that I can do it if I want to and stop all the excuses? Maybe I will. We will see.

In the meantime I am already looking forward to 100 days 2019 and planning to finish the quilt obviously!

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Here is my intro post to the 2018 project and my thoughts on 25 days down and at 80 days. And here is the post I wrote at the beginning of the 2017 project with this one summing up my thoughts at the end of those 100 days last year.

Click Tick List – Sew an Item of Clothing

At some point in my teenage years I made a top and trousers for a school class. As far as I can remember that was the first and last time I made clothes.

I’ve been following Elise’s sewing exploits with interest for a while now and decided that I could add another hobby to my ever growing list!

Adding this onto my list was one way to make sure I did it.

I signed up for a free trail over at the Creative Bug a few months ago and one of the classes was to make Shirt No 1 by 100 Acts of Sewing. This was the top that I’d seen Elise make so I downloaded the pattern and slowly, step by step began.

I have to say that this is a great pattern for a beginner. Only two pieces to cut and the neck, hem and sleeves to finish. I complicated it by following one of the variations show in the class as I really wanted to use that orange material with the linen.

I was perhaps half way through making the shirt above when I saw this grey spotty fabric and had to buy it for another shirt.

Unfortunately, however beautiful that grey spot is the material was way too thick. It doesn’t drape as you really need a shape like this to do. But I still love it and I’m sure it will after some washing it will soften up.

I think that I have always steered clear of sewing clothes because I know it isn’t easy. I know that often it is trial and error because a pattern you buy will not fit you exactly and it can be very frustrating not to understand where you went wrong, or rather where you need to adjust the paper pattern in order to get a better fit. Google is always a good friend in these circumstances although another class that I watched at Creative Bug was a pattern drafting class and this gave a wealth of information and was full of tips and tricks for getting a better fit.

In the spirit of practice and trying to weave making clothes into my normal life I have made a list of what I think I’ve learned from these two sewing projects –

  • I need to develop more patience and accept that I’ll have to rip out seams to get something right.
  • Read the instructions about types of fabric best suited to the pattern.
  • I need to actually make more stuff! It’s no good just watching videos. To improve and get better I need to make clothes.
  • When I make this top again add a couple of inches to the length.
  • Watch the neckline on the top too. They are both fine but I think I’d prefer it less wide at the tops of my shoulders.
  • Remember the tip about turning up a hem to avoid ‘bubbles’.

Here’s to slow fashion, practice and general creativeness.

The 100 Day Project 2018 – Thoughts on 25 Days Down

Where did those 25 days go? I have be messing about with fabric pens, dimensional paint, scraps of material and embroidery floss and created a quarter of the squares. I’ve been sharing a photo everyday over here on Instagram along with a few words. I am smiling all over my face as I write because I absolutely adore this project.

The first 16.

Since I’m plod, plodding along I wanted to get a few of my thoughts and feelings about the project so far down ‘on paper’ because I know I’ll hit a wall at some point so let’s celebrate these first 25 days with a little honesty.

Here’s quick list of things that have come into my head so far –

  1. I don’t love every square and have made some mistakes
  2. I’m not doing it over if I don’t like it (yet anyway!)
  3. I’m a little panicky about them all looking the same
  4. I’m getting too conscious about the designs/colours matching other days nearby in the layout
  5. I dislike dimensional paint!
  6. I love applique
  7. Play is good

Here’s a bit more of a ramble about point 4.

Seeing my ‘grid’ of squares grow over on Instagram makes me want them all to be cohesive. I will hold my hand up and admit that I’ve made a pile of squares all in order of how I want to use them for the next 15 days. Is that cheating?

First of all Mel, it’s your project so you can do what you like and second of all if it is then so what! Maybe I’ll loosen up on this as time goes on or maybe I won’t and I’ll keep planning the fabric choices based on the other growing rows of squares. It’s just one of those quirks in my personality that I’m very matchy matchy.

Play is good. Below is a great example of how I played with card and supplies and made a template so I could use it as a mask.

I went for the ‘negative’ look so used the cut out hearts as the mask.

I loved making that template. But unfortunately the stamp I picked to create the design over the masked hearts didn’t allow those ‘negative’ hearts show up enough. (Plus I seem to have some old blue paint on the stamp….)

So I grabbed a Mister Huey’s spray mist and covered the square in pink ink!

This is one of the ones I don’t like. The combination of slightly patterned background fabric with the swirls and then the pink is too much. But it’s staying in the mix of squares if only to make me remember that play is good but test things out first is also a necessary part of play.

The dimensional paint issue. So on day 2 and 10 I used Tulip dimensional fabric paint. I loved day 2 but when I came to use it on day 10 my test runs with the white matt paint just looked awful. I’d committed to using paint on that day so I just did it. You can see the result in the last photo below. It’s the grey square with three white hearts and that zig zag border. It turned out ok and I like the addition of a border, something I’d yet to try. My thought about the paint overall should have been a good thing as it was pushing me to different things. But really I just didn’t want to work with the paint again.

Then I looked at the three tubes of paint and knew there was no way I wasn’t going to use them on this project again so I googled dimensional paint and came up with the technique I used here.

I drew the hearts onto a sheet of card and smushed the fabric square onto the paint. It’s so messy and imperfect but I love it. I really like the ‘negative cream heart on the inside of the paint and think I’ll try this again but paint the hearts closer so I get hardly any space between smushed hearts on the finished square. We will see.

I found that I was panicking around day 15 when all I seem to have made were squares with a big heart in the middle or squares with random little hearts. I know that really that wasn’t the case because when you look at them all laid out they do vary but that’s how I felt. I tried to just ignore those feelings and make the next square.

Just pushing on is really all you can do in a project like this because if you don’t you end up not making anything and that day is suddenly gone.

Day 24 is perhaps my most fav square of all. You know how I love a spotty fabric…… And my new love of the applique technique.

Below are all 25 laid out as they will be when I put them together as a quilt. Day 1 is top left.

I think you can tell by the length of my ramblings that I’m loving this so much and that is the most important part. Bring on the next 75!

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Here is my intro post to the 2018 project. And here is the post I wrote at the beginning of the 2017 project with this one summing up my thoughts at the end of those 100 days last year.

Adventures in Quilt Making – The Purple One

Hooray! I’ve finished it and I think this is the fastest quilt I’ve made so far. Under a year, now that progress.

Little photo bomber……..

I mentioned it over here in January.

I bought the fabric last year at Jo-ann in Florida with the intention of making a quilt for our living room and even though I say so myself I think it goes perfectly.

I also feel like I employed some of my previously learnt skills on this one too. I measured correctly this time and I trimmed all the edges as I sewed. Being precise does not come naturally to me but I have learnt that it’s vital when piecing your quilt tops. I also used a technique I saw on one of the Creative Bug tutorials about how to secure your quilting stitches. By turning the size of the stitches down to very very very small you can start the line off, trim your threads and the quilted stitches stay secure. A great tip which saved so much time for me because previously I sewed all my loose threads into the quilt.

I’m still no expert and it isn’t perfect but I’m fine with that. Do a little, learn a little.

I wanted to get this finished before spring and before the 100 day project as I know I won’t be doing much crafty stuff other than making hearts on fabric till July.

Glad it’s finished and ready for the autumn, or right now as it’s been snowing again today!

The 100 Day Project 2018 – 100 Hearts on Fabric

Can you believe it is almost a year since I began writing 100 Brush Script Quotes? I can’t.

I loved the project so much last year that I have decided to jump on board again in 2018 and have shamelessly plagiarised the project that Elise Blaha Cripe  did last year. But instead of 100 Plants on Fabric I’m going with 100 Hearts on Fabric!

And let me tell you I am about as excited as I have ever been about this! The idea came to me about two months ago during a quilty phase when I found myself wondering how I could do something similar to Elise (because I thought her take on the idea was so cool) without being exactly the same. Then it hit me. I love hearts as a motif so why not do hearts on fabric.

I began by pinning over here to see if I could come up with enough ideas……..

Then I thought where is the challenge if you know you can do it? I was hooked on the idea anyway and now can’t wait to get going.

Although I’m all fired up, which is of course exactly how you need to be at the start of something that is going to last a long time, I’m also realistic and know that I’ll get fed up and stressed along the journey. To help combat those feelings I know I can consult my board over on Pinterest when I need inspiration.

As far as supplies I’ve purchased some fabric markers, fabric inks and dimensional fabric paint.

I’ve sorted out a pile of embroidery floss, sequins and beads and have a small stack of fabric. The salmon linen on the top of the pile is the only one I have purchased so far all the others are from my stash.

I intend to make squares (when I said I’d plagiarised her idea I wasn’t kidding!) and sew them into a quilt so my colour scheme is going to be white, pink, grey and some other neutrals. If I get to the end of the 100 days and manage to sew a quilt I’ll put it our bedroom to go with my very first quilt.

A week today is all begins again!

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Here is the post I wrote at the beginning of the 2017 project and here is a post summing up my thoughts at the end of the 100 days.

Adventures in Quilt Making

Back in August I shared the baby quilt my niece and I made for my great niece and I mentioned that it had re-inspired my love of patchwork and quilting. I dug out all of my previously started quilting projects…….

There were three of them back then. H thought this was dreadful and kept asking why I hadn’t finished them. My answer didn’t go down well as I admitted that I get bored and want to move on to other things. No point in sugar coating it. I can hold my head up high and admit, as I have many times before that my hobbies go in phases. Just because the buying, planning and cutting of fabric seems to come around more often that the sewing together of all the blocks shouldn’t stop me in my quilt adventures!

Here are two of them.

The denim and red has been in the works for longer than I dare admit. I love the idea of re-using denim from old jeans and thought the reds went really well with that faded blue. I added a neutral or two in as well.

I have a pile of jeans legs (that sounds funny!) tucked away and I’m determined to use them one day. It is a heavier material than all the other fabrics and I’m sure I shouldn’t have put lightweight and heavyweight materials together. But the beauty of not having much of a clue about quilting is that I just go with it and sometimes out works out fine. And other times I have to unpick for days…..

The orange triangles have also been around a while. I think I bought the material from Jo-Ann’s in 2015…. Here is another example as learning as I go. While I seem to have done quite a decent job of getting my pinwheel points matched up in the red and denim blocks I’ve managed to do a terrible job with those triangle points. Definitely a steep learning curve. Even my rows are wibbly wobbly!

And then we have the Christmas Tree Quilt which had been a work in progress for a few years too but finally got finished last December.

Inspired by this pin and this blog post. It is the most adorable thing I’ve ever made. I love it and from the remarks I got about it from family I better get cutting trees again and give a few away as Christmas gifts. In a few years of course…….

And as we are doing the full disclosure bit I hold my hand up and admit that while in the US last August I did drag my family to Jo-Ann and bought more fabric.

This time purple and grey to match our living room.

I decided to go more modern with this one and got the design inspiration somewhere online but cannot remember where!

As you can see from the photo at the beginning of the post this one is coming along great and I’ve finished piecing the top.

As of this point in time I have the orange and purple ready to sandwich together and baste.  The poor old red and denim is still in blocks but you never know by the end of the year they could all be finished. Stranger things have happened.

Take five gingerbread houses……

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For a couple of years I have had this pin on my Pinterest board. I mentioned the idea of doing something similar as a family gathering to my sister, next thing you know she’d bought a great cutter set. Looked like I was doing the crazy idea this year.

I set about making the house’s – six in all – and used this recipe x 4. After baking the first batch and dragging Gav into the kitchen to help me we decided to cut the houses about a 1/4 inch smaller than the template. They spread so much during the baking process that the sides of the pieces were no longer straight so after baking and when the pieces had just come out of the oven we carefully, as the gingerbread was hot of course, cut the baked dough again with the template. That way we had uniform pieces to stick together. Gingerbread firms up quite quickly when it comes out of the oven so speed was key.

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We stored the pieces in airtight tins with some baking parchment in between each piece. When it came time to assemble them Gav helped again. It would have been impossible with just one person especially as we were doing so many. I used ‘royal icing’ icing sugar to which you added water and then piped the icing on the edges while Gav set the pieces together on the cake boards. It was quite the production line. As you can see we used a variety of tin cans, cups and anything we could to hold the pieces in place.

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The came the fun bit. We set out a variety of sweets and candy canes and chocolate fingers.

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And let them go……

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Gav and I were blown away by their creativity, focus and I guess a little competitiveness as there were prizes! But really who knew they had this in them?!

My Mum and Hannah’s creation. Cute Gingerbread man!

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My older niece Holly’s house – she was decorating on her own, everyone else was in two’s so go Hol!

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My nephew Josh and Sammy’s house –  they used a shimmer spray on those white chocolate buttons!

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My other nephew Adam and Natalie’s house. (Their’s is the top photo of this post too.)

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And finally my sister Bev and her husband David’s house.

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And this photo made my heart sing.

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I think they were kinda proud of themselves eh?

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Truly a magical afternoon of Christmas fun. Thanks you guys for joining in!

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Sketch and draw, paint and colour it in

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Earlier in the year I was inspired by an artist and her Instagram account. Lisa Congdon. She has a sketchbook on the go constantly and shares lots of great art both on insta and her blog. Remember last year I tried to do something arty every week and failed miserably? Well I put that behind me and was so driven on by the creativity of this woman I bought myself a new little watercolour book and a couple of fine tipped black pens.

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I was very conscientious throughout April and picked the book up at least twice a week. I’ve tried to be neat and careful which is a challenge. The doodle above is of my own design but the one below is from this pin.

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I love the idea of hand lettering.

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And was really pleased with my first alphabet, taken from this pin. The watercolour paper is quite bobbly so often I ended up with a wavy line.

Couldn’t resist doing a total copy of one of Lisa’s drawings.

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This is such a departure from what I’d usually doodle and I think I’d like to keep going so that I can develop my own style but with a greater degree of thought and care. And practice. If there is one thing that sings out from her work it is the daily routine of practice, of doing it and keeping doing it over and over. This is also something that does not come naturally but I can try.

What I need to do is to put down the laptop and pick up the sketchbook.

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Pipe cleaner Christmas tree garland

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It’s been a while since I shared a crafty project other than scrapbooking. This garland has been in the making for over a year but I finally finished and hung it.

I have no idea where this notion came from, maybe just that I had lots of green pipe cleaners….. Anyway it’s easy and fun.

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Take your pipe cleaner and start to fold into a triangle (tree) shape. Giving the folds a good strong angle helps the overall look of your tree.

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I tried to measure the long sides so they were more or less the same length.

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To make the tree stump I folded the longer edge over the bottom length of the triangle twice which helps to fix the two loose edges together.

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Fold up to form stump shape and then do the same twisting to tuck the final end in place.

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Voila, a forest of plush little trees.

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Attach to string, I tied each in place as I moved along the length, and hang it up.

Cute and simple and festive!

And…… arty

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This is a project I’ve wanted to make ever since I pinned it. Usually I am not a gold girl but gold was all the drawing pins they had so gold it was.

My younger niece and I made a similar one a few months ago with her initial. We just did an outline and I though I’d taken a photo of that canvas but couldn’t locate it. Anyway that was my trail run.

The canvas is 8 inches square not too big and not too small. I drew my ampersand in pencil to begin with and as you can see had a couple of attempts till I got it to look about right.

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Then I just started filling in the design. I did pay attention to each pin and worked methodically for the most part.

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I found that overlapping looked best so the drawing pins are really close together.

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The tricky part was pushing the pins into the edges where the wooden frame was behind. The pins tended to stick a little proud but you don’t notice that on the finished canvas.

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This was actually quite therapeutic and I love the end result, well worth a couple of hours of anyones time I think.