Sunday, October 31, 2010

a happy treat to share . . .

I am living in the land of candy corn goodness.

I did it!! I was so enchanted by the thought of a candy corn table topper using the same process that I used for the Leaves & Acorn Table Runner, that I just did it!

I think it's really cute -- but then I have a thing for candy corn!
Do you remember that it started here, with me playing with my food?

I went to Microsoft Publisher, found a clip art that suited me best, and turned it into a template.
I printed it out, measured it, and figured out what fabric I needed (including 1/4" seam allowances).

Then I traced my candy corn onto my template material and cut it out, making sure the horizontal lines were in place.
Those horizontal lines are important for lining up the template to the fabric.

Next, I cut six strips of three different colors . . . yellow, orange, and white. I suppose if you wanted to make Autumn Corn, you could substitute brown for the yellow. It tastes better, but it's not as pretty. LOL!
The yellow rectangles were 3-3/4" by 7-1/2"; the orange rectangles were 3" by 7"; and the white rectangles were 4" by 6".

Then, I lined up a yellow and orange rectangle, right sides together, with the orange base centered on the yellow base.
Pin and stitch with a 1/4" seam.

I pressed the seam towards the yellow. I know, normally, you want to press your seam toward the darker color, but in this case, press it towards the yellow.
It helps give the appearance of fullness. You'll see!

Next, line up a white rectangle to the base of your orange rectangle, centered. Again, right sides together.
And pin and stitch, with a 1/4" seam.

This time you'll press your seam up to the orange fabric.
Flip it over . . .
Are you starting to see candy corn?!?

Now you're ready for your candy corn template.
On the back or seam side of the piece, line the top horizontal line of your template with the thread line of the yellow/orange seam. Make sure it's even all the way across. The bottom line on your template should be close to the orange/white seam. It may not be exactly on it -- this is OKAY!

Holding the template still, trace your candy corn onto the fabric. Make sure your line is visible -- this is your sewing line.
Remove your template and make sure your line is sewable.

Next, you'll need six pieces of fabric for backing, cut into approximately 8" by 10" rectangles. You'll need the same number of rectangles in of batting, the same size.
I chose an autumn corn fabric for the backing, and used a really light weight batting. I had scraps I'd saved from an larger project. Use whatever batting scraps you have on hand!

Next, you're going to layer your candy corn piece; on top will be your pieced fabrics. Make sure your sew line is facing up. Then your backing fabric (right sides together).
Last, your batting goes on the bottom. Pin into place
I know it's sandwiched a little oddly, but trust me, this is the way to do it!

Now, starting on a straight line on the side of the candy corn, straight stitch along your sew-line.
Leave an opening large enough for you to turn the candy corn inside-out. I left openings approximately 1-1/4" long. It's very important that you back stitch both at the beginning and the end. This will help keep your opening from not pulling wider.

When you've finish stitching, cut away the excess fabric from your stitch line.
I cut down to just over 1/16" of an inch, leaving a little extra fabric at the opening (see the left hand side of the orange).

Now you're ready to pull your candy corn shape inside out!
I used blunt-nosed scissors to push out the curves and the point of my candy corn. Once it's all turned out, press down the open seam. Iron your candy corn flat, and hand stitch the opening, closed (I used tiny stitches, almost like I was appliqueing).

Then, repeat the process five more times!
Note: with six candy corns you can make the topper as I have. Add a seventh and you can make your circle a little bigger, with your candy corns touching all the way down the sides, instead of just at the base.

Next, you'll want to quilt your candy corn pieces.
I simply stitched-in-the-ditch along my two seams. Again, this helped give dimension to my little candies!

Finally, from the back side, lay out your candy corn pieces and arrange them in the manner you want. The points need to be touching the pieces on either side of them.
Pin them together, then hand stitch them, using tiny stitches.

Now flip and showoff and enjoy your darling candy corn without the worry of addiction or calories!
Mine is already on display, of course!

Candy corn makes me smile almost as much as . . .
. . . my Sawyer-boo! 'Cept he's definitely cuter!
More on his first trip to the Pumpkin Patch tomorrow.

For now, enjoy the candy corn goodness. And since this is the first time I've ever tried to tutorialize something I created, please feel free to comment or e-mail me if instructions aren't clear. Also, I'd be happy to share the .pdf of the candy corn for the template!


Friday, October 29, 2010

blogger's quilt festival . . .

So. I stumbled across this, thought it was an awesome idea, saw lots of blogs participating, and decided to join in the fun!! For the details to the Blogger's Quilt Festival 2010, head on over to Amy's Creative Side!

I chose this quilt, aptly named My 2006 Starter Quilt, because this was the quilt that started my interest in quilting! I learned lots . . . and boy I do mean LOTS . . . about quilting with this project. In fact, it is the quilt that almost never happened. (And I am the quilter that almost never was!)

It was a block of the month, quilt-as-you-go quilt, where you had to show your pieced block from the month prior, to get the new block (without having to pay a fee). A woman at church had been doing the year prior's BOM and got a lot of us gals enthusiastic about quilting. She let us know when it was time to sign up for the 2006 BOM and I dutifully headed to the shop for my kit and whatever supplies I needed (which was *everything*).

I did great for the first four months, considering I'd never quilted before in my life -- I even had those first four blocks quilted. Each block was different, so I was learning new skills each month. I asked questions and referred to a LOT of books! Mostly I was self-taught, and I made loads of mistakes!

But block five included flying geese. The instructions were for machine sewing; but I had resolved to hand piece the whole quilt. And I screwed up those flying geese BUT GOOD!!

So I used the seam ripper, pulled out all my stitches, and placed it back in the baggie it came in. And then I set it aside, completely discouraged. Oh don't worry -- each month I faithfully went to the shop and handed over $5 to pick up the month's block, but I didn't sew another STITCH.

That is, until December of that year. Midway through the month, I met with another first-time quilter, who was trying to figure out how she should place her blocks. Two other long-time quilters (one of whom was the quilter who started the whole mess) were also there, and I was struck again by the beauty of quilting. I wanted to be laying out my quilt squares and figuring out how they looked best! I didn't want quilting to beat me!

So, after a trip to the quilt store, I went home and determined that I would not only FINISH this block of the month quilt, I'd finish it by January 2nd, and be able to claim the $5 off coupon the store handed out to anyone who finished the prior year's BOM by January 2nd!

(It took me days to figure out why this block looked funny!)

I also decided at that point that I didn't really need to be a purist, and that I *could* use a machine to sew my squares together and even to quilt -- although I admit to preferring hand quilting. And I did it. I pieced and quilted the remaining 8 blocks, attached them, and then bound the thing in two weeks. Luckily for me, it was over the Christmas holiday, and I had a lot of time off!

I'm not a *great* quilter, by any means, but I do love the whole process -- from design to binding -- of quilting. And I absolutely love my first quilt, with all its [many] faults, dearly. In fact, it holds a place of honor on my bed (and I made a matching throw pillow from my favorite block to go with it). I cherish the lessons I learned from that quilt; not just about the mechanics of quilting, but in persevering, learning from my mistakes, and in finishing a job started.

And because it was my first.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

playing with food = creative process . . .

I was sitting at work, playing with my food-- which I'm apt to do--and I arranged my candy corn like thus . . .
I don't know why; I just do things like that. It's worse with M&M's, because I have to arrange them in lines (and pyramid shapes) by color. Anyway, I digress. I was playing with my candy corn and for some reason, thought about the little leaf table topper I'd just finished.

If leaves and acorns made a cute, quilted table topper, how much more fun would a quilted candy corn table topper be, especially if your secret pal *loves* candy corn?!?

So I opened up Publisher and found a fun candy corn clip art, and created a concept picture.

Folks, I have the fabric. I can create the template. I do believe I know what I'm going to be working on this Saturday, at our stitch group's stitch-in!

And finally, because my day isn't complete without a new photo of my precious grandbaby . . .


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

a wall cloud and a finish . . .

Yesterday was an exciting weather day! We were on tornado watch/warning for the better part of daylight. At one point, late in the afternoon, a particularly nasty storm passed through our county. From work, we were able to watch the wall cloud move past us, and I caught a pretty good shot of it . . .

I don't know that I've ever seen a wall cloud so clearly as yesterday. You could actually see lightning and rotation up in it.

All the storms were moving fast -- this one was going along at about 55 miles per hour. While it's reported that it did sport tornado touch downs a couple of times, there wasn't any extended damage in our county. I understand, however, that there were other areas in North Alabama that did get hit hard.

On a happier note, I did finish my Leaf & Acorn Table Topper last night!

This was such a fun little project. I'll give this one to my SP, but I believe I will go ahead and make a second for me. When I was cutting fabric for the leaf tops, I went ahead and cut the fabric for a second!

Instead of making it the same on both sides, I gave it a definite back by using a single fabric, the mossy green.

So there's the back, and following is the picture from the Art to Heart book that I used for the pattern.

This was the Easy Does It For Autumn book. There are *several* projects in here that I'd love to make -- such cute things!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

almost . . .

Lots of rain, wind, and storms here overnight Sunday and yesterday morning. This means lots of trees falling . . . almost.

The water at the big creek was up, moving fast and muddy! Todd had cleared the path so he could take me down in the golf cart. Yay!

It was really loud. And not the pretty, sparkling clear water I remembered from the last time I saw it!

I also almost finished my cute (says me) little leaf & acorn table topper.

The individual pieces are finished and pinned together -- I've just got to finish attaching them all together. It's so cute -- it makes me smile!

I did get to spend some time with Sawyer last night. He's so very ticklish now, and laughs such wonderful belly laughs!

Remember these trees from the other day? Good thing I caught those photos when I did . . . as you can see, after yesterday's storms, the leaves are almost gone!


Monday, October 25, 2010

design wall monday; autumn style . . .

Today's design wall [table] Monday is inspired by the beautiful colors all over the place out here at Camp MACOBA!

Leaves and acorns -- and all in fun fall prints!

I'm not quite finished . . . I was easily distracted with views like this:

It's hard to stay inside when the crisp autumn air beckons!

Three more leaves to stitch, cut out, and turn right-side-out, then I can quilt the leaf veins and figure out how to put the pieces together.

Hopefully the little table runner will be a finish this afternoon or tomorrow. And hopefully the brilliant fall foliage will give us a couple more weeks of eye candy!

To see what other inspired projects are going on in the quilting world, head on over to Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times and check out her Design Wall Monday posting!

Happy Monday, happy fall!