Saturday, January 31, 2009

Scrappy Quilt Tutorial

Here are some instructions on how to make these great 8 point stars that you often see in quilting. My whole quilt top was made with scraps from my stash (note: I have an obsession of trying to use up scraps!) But this would be really cute using coordinating fabrics as well. And, it's a nice pattern because you can make as many blocks as you want to increase or decrease the size of your quilt. It's a great quilt for beginners. I had a lot of fun making it and would do it over and over again in lots of different color combinations.
Here's the finished product (so you know what you're getting into.)

For each block, cut:
(8) 3 1/2" squares out of light fabrics
(8) 3 1/2" squares out of dark fabrics
(4) 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles out of light fabrics
(1) 6 1/2" square out of a dark fabric
(8) 1 1/2" x 17" strips of assorted colors

Step 1: Using a ball point pen or led pencil, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of 4 of your light squares and all 8 of your dark squares. Like so:

Step 2: Match up a dark square onto one end of a light rectangle. Pin in place and sew on the line. Repeat using 3 other dark squares & the other 3 light rectangles.

Cut a 1/4" seam allowance on the outside of your line.

Press seams towards dark fabric.

Repeat step 2 on the other end of the rectangles.

That is how you make a "Flying Geese" block. Now, sew 2 light squares (the ones without diagonal lines drawn on them) onto both ends of 2 of your Flying Geese blocks. You should have two units that look like this:

Step 3: Follow the same method with your 6 1/2" dark square and 4 light squares (the ones with the diagonal line drawn on.) Sew, trim and press squares on 2 opposite corners. Then do the other 2 opposite corners. You will have a unit that looks like this:

Step 4: Sew 2 Flying Geese units onto either side of this "Square in a Square" block. Following the picture below, sew all 3 strips together to form the scrappy star block.

This block should measure 12 1/2" square (unfinished.)

Step 5: Sew a strip of fabric onto opposite sides of your star block. Trim excess. Press seams towards strips. Repeat with the two remaining sides of your star.

Repeat step 5 so that you have two strips of fabric on each side of your star. Sorry, no picture of that! That entire unit should measure 16 1/2" (unfinished) after all 8 strips are sewn on.

Layout your 16 1/2" star blocks to your liking. Sew the blocks together to make rows, press seams in one direction. Sew the rows together and press seams. You can get creative with the borders. Hopefully I'll get mine done soon!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Be creative!

So, I am kind of sad that I don't have any "quilting" friends around here. I mean I have friends that I talk to about quilting (and you are always so nice to engage in this conversation with me) but it dawned on me the other night that the art is dying! I went to a really fabulous Alpine Quilt Guild Meeting on Tuesday night and there were about 50 people there. All but about 3 of us were probably between the ages of 40 -60 years old (I'm guessing. Most were probably in their 40's or 50's.) The quilts were amazing and beautiful. So I thought, I need to be better about inviting my friends along or else there will be nothing like this when I'm 40 - 60 years old! It will just be me and those other two girls there! So two of my dear friends are going to come with me in February to check it out, but I just want to make a shout out for fabric lovers, ladies who appreciate art and beauty and ladies who just plain need a night out with a friend. If you want to look at darling, inspiring, unique pieces of art (made out of fabric) that can be passed down from generation to generation, then come to the Alpine Quilt Guild! I know it's not for everyone. But, it's really fun and it's not just for old ladies anymore:)! The fabrics these days are amazing! I'm just putting out a call for anyone that is in the slightest bit interested in quilts or fabric to come with me (even if it's just once) to this new quilt guild I've found. It's like a free art show in textiles. It was really fun and I know you will go away from it feeling creatively inspired. Maybe you will decide you want to learn a new skill. Or, maybe you wont. But, at the least it will still be fun. So let me know if you are ever interested in coming - I would always love more quilting friends.
Also, below are some words from President Uchdorf on Creativity. Check it out.

The Work of Creation
The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.
You might say, “I’m not the creative type. When I sing, I’m always half a tone above or below the note. I cannot draw a line without a ruler. And the only practical use for my homemade bread is as a paperweight or as a doorstop.”
If that is how you feel, think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.
But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fullness of joy.4 Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things.
If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.
You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us.5 The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.
What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.
If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it.
Nearly a century and a half ago, President Brigham Young spoke to the Saints of his day. “There is a great work for the Saints to do,” he said. “Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations. In the mean time continually seek to adorn your minds with all the graces of the Spirit of Christ.”6
The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

White pitchers

I am often inspired when cruising around Blog Land by all of the beautiful decorating, craft projects and quilting ideas that I see. I've seen a couple pictures with white pitchers and dishes lately that I have loved. I too am drawn to these kinds of monochromatic displays. I have been collecting white pitchers and dishes for about 10 years now (as long as I've been married.) I think I was inspired by a magazine subscription that I had to Country Living back then. RJ got me many of them back in the day when he was traveling internationally quite a bit. I got a few from my mom and I also purchased a few that I just had to have. After a while, with any sort of collection, you have to pull back the reigns though so I don't really buy them any more. Although my heart does skip a beat when I see some sort of pitcher, especially those that look like they just came off a potter's wheel. I decided to post a few pictures from my collections.


First wedding proposal

I just heard a funny story about my son. Apparently a little friend of his (a girl) was sitting by him on the bus the other day and leaned over to him and whispered, "Will you marry me?" B replied, "I'll think about it." Ha Ha. He's a smooth one, yes he is.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Spy

Look at this cutie. RJ found her with this elaborate drawing on her new easel. She explained that it was a picture of B (sad) because she had taken his toy. Can you "spy" the word TOY that she wrote all by herself? The person that she drew was B, but then she added the cute arches of "hair" so that it could be her instead. RJ and I were kind of amazed that the word TOY really was on there! I said, "M, how did you get to be so smart?" and she said, "Because I know my language!"

Skating

Last night we went to Classic Skate for Family Skate Night. I use to LOVE to skate. But it's a completely different story when your trying to hold up a child the whole time to keep them from falling. M (surprisingly) picked it up fairly well, but B had a harder time. He finally switched to a scooter. It was fun, but I can tell I am definitely getting old! Here's some pictures from the night...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Years Day

I swear you take your eyes off them for a second...
RJ found M outside the other day like this:
On New Year's Day, we finally got together with RJ's siblings and their families and his Mom. We went sledding. This hill is my new favorite sledding spot. It was a perfect hill, long (but not too long), steep (but not too steep) and it just went right into a park - no busy streets around. My brother-in-law Patrick had the idea of using their blowup mattress for a sled. It was fun, but a little slow. The kids liked it though.

Kurt (wearing his Napoleon Dynamite boots:) and Owen visiting from New York.

RJ & M

The fam.


Wishing you a safe & happy New Year!
Love, The Johnsons