Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Secrets Revealed

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you enjoyed your Christmas Holiday as much as I did. We had four generations here on Christmas Eve and it was wonderful. Our little house was filled to the brim with laughter, good conversation, plenty of food & wine and the most wonderful memories. And lots of wrapping paper and boxes, of course!
In previous posts, I referred to the secret Christmas projects I was working on, so I thought I'd share some pictures of them now that they've all been delivered.
This first one is a runner made of Dupioni Silk for my mother. I was inspired by this pattern for a knitted "Modern Quilt Wrap", but I'm a beginner knitter and have to admit that I was a little intimidated by the number of color changes and was afraid that if I started it, I would never finish. So I traded the knitting needles for a rotary cutter and sewed it in silk. But it ended up too stiff for a wrap, so it morphed into a runner instead. I think it would look great as a bed runner on a plain white bedspread! But wherever Mom ends up using it, I think the colors are just plain glorious. Next are some crocheted neck warmers. I don't have a lot of crocheting experience either, but this pattern was super easy and I love how they turned out. All four of these were gifts, and since then I've also made one for myself, and I have a list of requests for next Christmas! So it's certainly a "do-again" project.

I finished piecing this quilt quite a while ago, but it took me some time to get around to adding the coral applique (pattern from Oh,Frannson! at Sew,Mama,Sew but doubled in size) then quilt it and bind it. My daughter loved it, since she loves anything beach/ocean related. Link back here to see what I'm planning on doing with the scraps left over from this quilt. The fabrics are from the Neptune collection by Tula Pink for Moda.

There were lots of other hand-made things for my new grandbabies, but in the rush of the holidays, I didn't get pictures of them all.

Now it's time to get my thoughts together and start planning my on-line store... purses & bags, quilts, and more!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gift from a Friend

A sweet friend of mine gave me a beautiful pin cushion today. Diane is a multi-talented artist. She paints, quilts, sews, and does the most gorgeous victorian-style embroidery. Her pin cushions look like this, and this, and this one is mine (before it was finished). Her embroidery designs are available for purchase as well, so head over to Diane's blog and tell her Kathy sent you! Thanks again Diane - my pin keeper will assume a special place next to my stitching chair as soon as the Christmas clutter is gone.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gift Idea for Quilters

Just a quick note for you last-minute Christmas shoppers - here's a fantastic gift idea any quilter would love! Check out Poppyprint's blog and follow the link to her guest post where she talks about this great gift idea!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two Turtle Pouches

I've been very busy sewing Christmas projects, so there hasn't been much that I could share with you lately, but I'm almost caught up now, so I took a day off and made two more Flex-Frame Gadget/iPhone Pouches. The last one I made with the turtle stitching was so popular, that I was asked to make another one. If I'm going to make one, then I might as well make two, so here you go - Two Turtle Pouches. One is reserved, but the other will go on sale at Needles Quilt Shop tomorrow. Now, how can I make one with a Partridge In A Pear Tree... hmm...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Childhood Memories - "Corking"

As the crowds of customers started to thin out during Saturday's Dickens of a Christmas (see previous post), we noticed a teenage girl following her mother through the quilt shop while working on a yarn-craft project. Ann was busy chatting with them about her craft and asked me if I knew what it was. My childhood memories came flooding back to me as I looked over and saw the familiar wooden spool in her hand. "That's CORKING!!!" They all looked at me like I had two heads, but no one knew what else it might be called, so they didn't argue. But then, I grew up in Canada and I've gotten used to being teased for using different words than the locals, so it's no big deal, eh???

I remember spending many hours as a young girl making these tubes of knitted yarn, and although the point was to coil and sew the finished corking into things like hotpads, I don't seem to remember any finished projects... (hmmm, sounds too familiar...)

So anyway, I just had to look it up on the internet and I found this website that backs up the name, and lists some others as well (I thought Knitting Nancy was particularly cute!), and also shows how to make the tool yourself. And here's a YouTube video that shows the process very clearly. (sorry - haven't figured out how to embed a video yet, so hope this link works ok).

My grand-daughter is only 10 months old, but now I know what to do with those old wooden thread spools that were passed down to me from my great-grandmother and you can bet that Rory will surely get a "corking" lesson when she gets a little older. Did you ever try "corking" when you were young? What did you call it?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dickens of a Christmas in Wellsboro PA

Yesterday Wellsboro hosted their annual Dickens of a Christmas festival, where Main Street is closed to traffic and goes back in time to celebrate an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas. People come from far and wide, dressed in period costume, to join in the festivities. You'll find street vendors selling crafts and foods of all kinds, carolers singing, actors performing, and lots of visitors. Of course, these visitors spill over into the shops, creating the busiest day of the year for our local quilt shop. There are a few of us that volunteer our time each year to help out in the shop. This year I had hoped to take pictures throughout the day to post here, but discovered early on that the camera battery I thought was fully charged, was actually almost dead. So the only pics I got were first thing in the day before things really got busy. But at least I got a few, and you can get a peek at this wonderful shop. If you're ever in the Wellsboro area, be sure to stop in and visit Mary & Katie at Needles Quilt Shop. It's such a fun place to shop, and you'll have a wonderful time - I promise!

Here Mary is ringing up a sale (sorry Mary, but the sun was pouring in the front window and it's hard to see you there) and Katie is in red, on the right (eating popcorn, not yawning... gotta keep our strength up!)

Their shop is overflowing with gorgeous fabrics, and the wall are lined with sample quilts all around. (that's Katie on the left this time)And here is a fellow volunteer, Ann - at the cutting table. (sorry I missed pics of Dori & Pat - blame my battery again...)

And this is a view outside the front door of Needles, looking north. Still early in the day and the crowds are just getting started. Within another half hour the streets were overflowing!

And here's a view looking south. Still wish I could have gotten more shots of the crowds and some of the Victorian Costumes they wore. I'll make sure I have a fresh battery next year.

Hope you enjoyed your tour! Here's to a happy start to the 2011 Holiday Season!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

High Chair Cushion

This was a fun project! Now that I have grandchildren, I decided that Gramie needs to have a high chair for them. I found this Antilop Highchair from IKEA, which is both cute and affordable ($19.99 + $5 for the tray) and just happened across this tutorial for a cushion designed specifically for this chair. Perfect! The tutorial is a little difficult to follow because it's been translated into English from some other language, but there are enough pictures that I was able to figure it out without much trouble. If you do any sewing at all, you shouldn't have any problems either. My granddaughter was here yesterday to visit, and got to try it out. We all loved it (although she kept reaching for the bugs on the cushion instead of eating, so her mom got a little frustrated trying to get the spoon in her mouth instead of her ear...)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Zippered Bags Done!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving as much as I did. We traveled this year and enjoyed a fabulous dinner with family. Still have a couple of pieces of pumpkin pie to finish up for dessert tonight, but that's it for the leftovers.

Today I completed a set of four zippered bags that I cut out last week. I used Nicole Mallalieu's Make-Up Purse pattern, but modified the height & width. I've done this for several different sizes of bags, based on whatever length zipper I happen to have in my stash, and it works really well. Nikki's instructions for inserting the zipper are the best I've found yet!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. The most important is that we were blessed with our first two grandchildren this year - a girl and a boy - life couldn't be better! We are truly thankful.
Now, for the crafty-stuff... Two dear friends knew that I was looking for a dress form to use that would work as a model for my purse photos. They found this one for me at a nearby shop and she works great! Thanks girls!!! I bought a new outfit for her at my local Goodwill shop, so the price was perfect. I hope to photograph her modeling some pretty new purses soon. Just can't think of the perfect name for her though... Any suggestions?
And just as I thought I was getting caught up on my Christmas projects, new orders came in. First, a batch of zippered bags - these are all pretty pastel colors with dolphins leaping through the waves - so serene...
And I've had requests for some more flex-frame pouches. The black one on the left is for an iPhone. The customer requested plain black (for a man), but I had to add a smidgen of style with the grey stitching. Black on black is just too boring... The one on the right is for eyeglasses - just love that ladybug fabric!
I've also been asked to come up with some unique cases for iPhones and iPads, based on the customer's specific requirements. Don't know exactly how this will turn out, but I've got my thinking cap on and I'll see what I can come up with. I love challenges, and I'm sure I'll come up with something that he'll be happy with.
In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Neptune & Kona Ash – a new blend is fermenting…

First of all, a huge “Thank You” for the warm welcome you’ve all given me in blog-land! Word is getting out and I’m starting to meet people from all over – what fun this will be!
I promised a quilt in my next post, so here goes.
This one has been rolling around in my mind (a little fermenting going on here in my Cotton Cellar!) for several months now, and with the end of my Christmas project list in sight, I’m getting anxious to start working on this one – hopefully soon! Last year I made a quilt using fabrics from Moda’s Neptune collection by Tula Pink that called for really large flying geese. I used the “squares-in-the-corners” construction method, which normally creates a lot of wasted fabric. So before I trimmed off the excess triangles, I sewed a second diagonal seam a half-inch away from the first one, then cut between the seams, creating a half-square triangle that’s all ready to use in another quilt.
Then I sewed the HST’s together in pairs to create hourglass blocks. Voila – instant quilt blocks and I only had to cut for one quilt!
I’ve drawn the layout on my computer and done all the math, so now I just need to cut all the solid Kona Ash that I’ve chosen for my background. I’m really excited about the layout! If it turns out the way I hope, it should look awesome. I even have enough blocks to make two quilts about 48” square (twins anyone?) but I’ll start with one and see how it looks… It might be a while before I get to this, but I’ll keep you posted on my progress…

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Six Weeks till Christmas!

Two more Christmas projects finished today! Wish I could show them to you but they're secret for now - maybe after the holidays.

So for now, here's a peek at some more purses I've made. Some of these are still available, in case you want to put a bug in Santa's ear...
These are all clutches made with Keyka Lou patterns. The tiny one on the upper left is a Keychain Clutch that fits my Jitterbug phone perfectly. The upper right is the small Curvy Clutch, the two on the bottom left are mediums, and the bottom right is the large. The tiny one has a split key ring, and the others all have detachable wrist straps.
These are two more Nicole Mallalieu designs. I just love her patterns and use them often. The Day Bag pattern I posted yesterday is probably my favorite - very basic, and just the right size. But these two are dressy little numbers, just perfect for the holiday season. The top one is her Clutch pattern, done in a simple, contemporary fabric, with a beaded embellishment in the center. The wrist strap is detachable if you prefer a plain clutch. The bottom one is her Evening Bag pattern, done in a pastel batik fabric, with a lavender dupioni silk lining and handles. The handles have boning inside so they keep their shape. I've embellished the outside of this one with tiny seed beads, all hand sewn in place.

Maybe I'll post about some quilts next time... Hope you're enjoying today's sunshine as much as I am! Cheers!

Friday, November 11, 2011

My First Post!

Welcome to my Cotton Cellar Blog! I've been reading everyone else's blogs for so long now that I decided to join in the fun. My plan is to post about the things I'm working on in my Cotton Cellar workshop, but unfortunately everything I'm working on right now is Christmas related and I don't want to spoil any surprises, so for now I'll post about things I've made in the past, so you can learn more about what I do. As soon as I start working on non-Christmas things, you'll be the first to know, so please stop by often and see what I'm up to!

Top Left & Top Right: "Day Bags" - one with a zippered closure and the other with a magnetic snap closure. Pattern by Nicole Mallalieu of You Sew Girl!

Bottom Left: "Black & Tan" quilt, using tan linen for the background and assorted black & browns for the rectangles. Pattern is "My Guy" by Funquilts.

Bottom Right: "La Petite Ecole". Fabric collection and pattern by French General for Moda. Made as a shop sample for Needles Quilt Shop.