Sunday, October 30, 2011

Birdie Stitches BOM - October

This one is one of my favorite ones so far!  I'm geeked I had it stitched in time for Halloween!

Again - white background but overcast day

I'm thinking I might not join these 12 into a larger quilt, after all.  I just finished something very similar for Christmas, and I can't bring myself to use my embroidered quilts.  Instead, I have one of those fabulous wire quilt frames that holds a 12" quilt.  I may finish each of these as their own mini quilt and have a different one for display each month.  What do you think?

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Birdie Stitches BOM - June

Ok, I know it's well past June, but I've had a lot on my plate this summer.  

Finished June's block - woot! woot!  Haven't decided if I'm going to use it for June or for the label.

Background is white, but today is very overcast.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bits 'N Pieces (Wayne, MI)

I can't believe I haven't shared Bits 'n Pieces in Wayne, Michigan yet!  LOVE - LOVE - LOVE this shop!

I still chuckle over the first time I visited.  I was driving along Michigan Avenue.  I looked over and saw all these people staring at me from grandstands, balloons attached to the railings, food carts along the route.  Why were they staring at me in my little Ford Taurus?  Because I had inadvertently driven into their annual "Wayne Cruise" and, amongst the classic cars that engulfed me as I drove, my car was a tad bit conspicuous!

Located in a 10-sided building, this shop is within driving distance from Detroit Metro airport (in the quaint little town of Wayne, MI).  It was featured in the 2009 edition of B&H Quilt Sampler.

Many affordable blocks of the months. Huge selections of Modas and Benartex.  Lots of pre-cuts and many, many, many samples.  They have a class room and a full line of sewing machines and notions.

My favorite room - holds reproductions and batiks.

Did you know they are known for creating their own patterns?  This one is my absolute favorite and versions of it have made the appearance at several local quilt shows.  Stop and ask the owner - she will tell you the trick for easy machine-appliqueing of all those little leaves.
I really love this shop because the staff is so friendly and so helpful.  It seems like every time I'm in there they have a new trick to share.  The owner, in particular, takes an interest in all her visitors.

Let me know if you go!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Snagging a Label

I've said that I don't applique.  I really don't - except for quilt labels.  However, I have a little trick.  This method: 
  1. Secures the label in the binding (so no nefarious persons can remove it) 
  2. Hides the seam allowance of the label so you don't see its shadow from the front
  3. You only have to hand stitch 2 sides.

Here's my label - love it!  Notice I added sashing, pressing the seams to the outside.  If you applique the label down without sashing, then you will see the shadow of the seam allowance through the light fabric.

Since I'm adding my label to the lower right corner, I pressed back my 1/4" seam allowance on the upper and left sides of the label.

Align label to lower right of quilt back.  Pin in place, and then sew on the binding.  Notice the stitching on the right and bottom - the label has been "caught" in the binding and is secure.

Applique the top and left side down.  Fold the binding back, and stitch binding down on all 4 sides of the quilt.
Easy trick but very effective.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Waymarking Edition

Museums Without Walls

My family has simple pleasures: history, travel, art and photography.  You can understand our love of waymarking
Waymarking is an activity where people locate and log interesting locations around the world, usually with a GPS receiver and a digital camera. ~ Wikipedia
One of our favorite categories is cemeteries.  Now, we aren't morbid.  Instead, we appreciate the original purpose of the cemetery: a peaceful park, away from the bustle of the city, to perambulate, to visit with family, and honor the deceased. 

Cemeteries were once considered "museums without walls" with some of the most beautiful monuments and parks created during America's Golden Age.   Cemeteries were also the foundation for our National Park System.

As a former military wife, we have explored Civil War battle & burial grounds, New England parks filled with patriots and poets, and Old West burial grounds with their fabulous epitaphs.

In celebration of Halloween, I thought I'd share some of my favorite local cemeteries and headstones from Southeastern Michigan.

Mausoleum door ornamentation

Mausoleum Door

More doors

Dodge Brothers Mausoleums

Tree headstones are VERY popular in SE Michigan

Joyous Duck in Oakwood Cemetery, Farmington

Zinc headstones (also called "white bronze") were mass produced for about 40 years (1870-1910ish).  They glow light blue, have raised lettering, and the side panels could be installed at will.  They were produced in Detroit and Chicago.

Must visit the fallen heroes.

Another zinc stone

Someone added an ad to this zinc headstone!

Protected grave of Henry Ford.  The grill is called a "mortsafe".  His wife  (not pictured) is buried next to him in an identical grave).

You can see an additional mausoleum and monument, in the background, across Willow Lake.

Willow Lake in Woodlawn Cemetery

If you peek in the mausoleums in Woodlawn Cemetery, you can see some amazing stainglass.

Can't have Ford and Dodge without adding Buick, in the Motor City!
A tree stump normally signifies the person died young (or "in their prime").

Hope you found this interesting.  Happy Halloween!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

My First Appliqué Attempt

Here it is. I finally made my first appliqué attempt. Don't look too close but a pretty good beginning. For anyone not aware yet, my SAL group is doing an appliqué quilt, and I've decided this year I would finally learn the "A" word! I love piecing and embroidery but have successfully avoided appliqué all these years :) I figure by making a block a month I can really improve within the next year.

On this block I tried the "freezer paper on top" technique; already made notes of changes when I attempt my actual block for the quilt.

1. Need to be more patient and take smaller stitches
2. Need smaller seam allowances along the side - little more at the ends.
3. Making small "placement" pencil marks didn't work for me. Need to think that out.
4. Need to pin a little closer to each end - my pieces flopped around too much.

I'm hoping to make several butterfly blocks trying different techniques. Now, my question to you. When I sewed on the body, do I sew the body to the wings or sew all the way down to the background?

Hugs, Elisa

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Waymarking Edition

It's Wednesday again!  Time for more fabulous waymarks encountered in my wanderings.

The Detroit Institute of Arts has a Fall program Inside|Out where they have placed 80 reproductions of their more famous pieces around 10 Greater Detroit locations.  Not only does this bring art to the public, but also brings many visitors to some of the most fabulous historic districts in Southeastern Michigan.

So far, I have made it to 4 of the 10.  Here are quick highlights of my travels so far:

Milford - Woman in an Armchair

Milford - The Flat Iron Building

Franklin - A Woman

Franklin - Shop on Franklin Street

Belleville - Bude Sands at Sunset

Belleville - Boardwalk

Warren - Portrait of a Mughal Prince

Warren - Arch at Civic Center
This program combines so many of my loves: travel, history, Michigan, art, DIA and.... geocaching!  As well as erecting 80 pieces of art, the DIA (in association with the local MIGO group) has planted 1 "puzzle cache" at each location.   

More adventures coming!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Favorite Things

Ok, I took the plunge!  I've selected my fabrics for the next Some Kind of Wonderful SAL.

My Favorite Things - pattern by Anni Downs
I'm going with Nancy Halvorsen's Garden Song fabrics for the applique and color accents.  And I will use creams, tans and pale yellow fabrics from my stash for the borders and sashing.

Now, all I have to do is figure out how to applique!  Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions & applique tips.  Keep them coming!  If I get enough, I'll compile them and share them on this blog.

Happy Stitchin!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Big "A"

I'm so psyched! Finished my Tis The Season SAL and now can officially join the next round using Anni Down's Some Kind of Wonderful book.

This next project uses scrap piecing, embroidery, and APPLIQUÉ! I can machine appliqué and buttonhole, but have limited experience with actual hand appliqué.

So, my friends, any recommendations for an appliquéing newby? Any favorite appliqué authors? Blogs? YouTube videos? Tutorials? Any tips to share or "must knows"?

All help greatly appreciated!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Waymarking Edition

This was my weekend: Huron Meadows and Hudson Mills Metroparks!

Call me biased, but my home state Michigan is gorgeous!

Happy Fall!