Sunday, September 11, 2011

Double Irish Chain Quilt

I realize I have been on a bit of a craft binge lately. Previously I was all about recipes and food, so I guess I'm trying to make things even. I'm sure I'll have another tasty blog about food sometime soon. I'm bound to make my lasagna for one of these cold nights!

Anyway, I spent about 5 hours at the Wisconsin Quilt Expo with my mother yesterday. All of the quilts there were very well done. I suppose you don't make it to the judging wall/maze unless the preliminary jury thinks it's well done as well. So, I probably don't have a chance in getting mine in that show next year, but it has really inspired me to continue working on my quilt. Here are some pictures of my favorite quilts from the show:

This frog quilt was AMAZING! I'm pretty sure the tag said it was made out of recycled materials where the proceeds went to help save the rain forest. Regardless - even it if was made with un-ecofriendly material, it is sill GORGEOUS! I think this is made from all appliqued and pieced work - something I will probably never try, and definitely not on this scale! I can't believe this only won 3rd place!

Of course I loved the Badger quilt. There were many other Wisconsin themed quilts - from cities to sports, but this one was my favorite. I liked the song lyrics and football chants that were embroidered into it. Embroidery is probably something else I won't really do. I'd need a fancy-dancy sewing machine for that. Maybe someday...

This sunflower quilt was my pick for "Viewers Choice." I loved the detail work with the quilting patterns and also the diamond shapes on the border of the quilt. Apparently this technique is really easy and you just need a special ruler to cut the fabric - I think it's called the double diamond ruler? Sometime soon I'm going to make a tree skirt and a Christmas table runner that uses this technique. I would have bought the special ruler at the quilting show, but apparently every single booth sold out of it about mid-way through the second day. Oh well. That just gives me an excuse to go to a craft store later! :)

So, all of this talk about quilts means I've got to show you a sneak peak of the one I'm working on. Here's the pattern for the pieces and colors I'll be using. The quilt uses black, light and dark green, light and dark blue, and light and dark turquoise. I'm making this for our bed and hopefully I'll have it done for us to use by Christmas - top quilting included.

 Here is the pattern for the quilting that will be on top. I haven't decided if I'm going to hand quilt it or machine quilt it yet. For hand quilting I can at least do that here myself. For machine quilting I would have to find somewhere that would let me use their long arm machine or top quilt it for me. We'll see what actually ends up happening.

And, here's a sneak peak of the top left corner of my quilt. I've got most of the pieces cut out, but I just couldn't resist putting things together to see what it would really look like. I really like the combination of colors and I think it will work well with the dark brown tones we have in our house.

So, I'll keep you posted on how this long-term project goes and any other little things I come up with. Happy crafting!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fall Wreath Completed!

My orange slice wreath is finally done!!! I am actually very proud with how it turned out. Here's a picture of how the rest of the orange slices went on. Once all of the slices were on I took the wreath outside and sprayed it with clear, matte, acrylic paint. I'm hoping that will keep it sealed a little bit and deter any bugs from trying to eat it. The oranges slices aren't completely dried out (completely hard) so they are a little tacky. Hopefully this spray will make it last a little longer. I'm still giving this one to my mother-in-law. It will make a nice birthday present for her and give her front door a fall feel.

The paint only took a few minutes to dry since it was really windy outside. I'm glad I used the matte finish instead of glossy. I think if they were all shiny it would have looked like I used fake fruit, and these slices are definitely real! Once the paint was dry I wrapped an orange ribbon with a circle glitter pattern around the wreath. I used the ribbon to cover up any not-so-great-looking orange slices or places that had little white spots showing through. It's still not perfect, but I think it looks better with it wrapped around instead of just as a bow at the top.

Then, I found the spot that I thought looked the worst to put the flower and cinnamon sticks. That way I could really cover them up and instead of people looking at that place because it looked bad, now they'll look at it because that's where the detail is. I just hot-glued the flower and two cinnamon sticks onto the wreath. Then I tied the ribbon in a bow right next to the flower over/around the cinnamon sticks. I had a little more of a ribbon tail on one side that the other. I thought about cutting these to be the same length, but I like it looking a bit lopsided. The detail is off the to side/corner of the wreath anyway, so I kinda like it. You can do whatever you'd like with yours. I tried to put on two flowers, but I just couldn't get the other one to lay right on the wreath, so I canned it. I think it looks pretty good with just the one flower as well. The last thing I did was curl the ribbon tails around my finger so they had some structure instead of just hanging there.

So - my door decor projects are done. If you try this one, I hope you have a blast making it. Just remember to be patient while your orange slices are drying! Happy crafting!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Halloween Wreath

I know, I know... I am only 2/3 complete with my fall (orange slice) wreath. But, since it is taking me a little longer to complete that one (and since I'm not completely happy with it) I made a Halloween wreath today. I suppose you could keep it up for most of the fall season. I think I'll hang this one up tomorrow - once I get a nail on our front door - and keep it up through Halloween. Then I'll put up the orange slice wreath after that for the Thanksgiving season. I guess that means I'll have to make one for me and one for my mother-in-law after all, but now I'll have some extra time to get them both done!

So, here's what you'll need:
1 Styrofoam wreath form (I used one that was NOT rounded on the edges)
Black ribbon to wrap around the wreath form
Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
candy corn (I used 1 1/2 large bags but the extra you can always put out to munch on later!)
Ribbon to use to hang the wreath when it's done (or you can use the same black you used underneath)

First, wrap the ribbon around the wreath form in a spiral pattern. I glued the ribbon down each time it wrapped around to the back of the wreath. Since you'll be covering the ribbon with candy, it doesn't matter how well you wrap the ribbon, if it's a little bubbly, or if you can tell where you started and finished.

Once you have your wreath form completely wrapped, then you can start gluing on the candy corn. I started on the front of the wreath on the row that goes along the outer perimeter, or the top row for the front. Once you've gone all the way around, you're ready to start your second row. The candy corn should be pointed in the opposite direction from your first row. This allows you to fit on more candy and have less black ribbon showing through. Here's a picture of the pattern it makes.

Keep going around the wreath form until you've covered the front, outer edge and inner edge. Then flip it over and cover the back side. You'll still be able to see black ribbon in between your candy corn, but I think that makes it look even better. You could really use whatever color of ribbon you'd like. I think black makes it look nice and sharp. Here's a picture with the front and outer edge being completed:

When you're all finished gluing on the candy corn, you're ready to add your hanging ribbon. I just looped mine around once and then tied it off a few inches at the top. I haven't glued it on yet, but I'm not sure I like the purple bat ribbon. It definitely gives it more of a Halloween flair, but I think I might want to change it to use the same black ribbon I had underneath. I think that might make it look more cohesive, albeit it will make it much less "halloweeny."

Anyway, I had fun making this wreath. It only took a couple hours to make. I easily crafted this during the first regular-season Packer game. (They won - Yay, go Pack!) So, if you try this one out: Happy crafting! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fall Wreath Day 2

So, I'm still working on the fall, orange slice wreath. I initially started with 5 sliced oranges, but soon learned that I was going to need many, many, many more. Total count that I think I'll use is 15, but I'm drying a couple extra right now just to be safe. Currently my dehydrator is on it's third batch of oranges, so it's definitely getting a work out this weekend!

Here's a picture of the supplies I'm using:

Those were about half of my first batch of oranges - the thinner slices that dried faster. My second batch of oranges were a little thicker and took about 8.5 hours to dry. My third batch I'm trying to make a little thinner. They are larger oranges, but I think they'll give the wreath a nice finish.

Here's what it looked like after I had given the wreath form it's first "coat":

I decided not to use the ribbon to cover the form. Looking back, maybe I should have, but I only have one roll of ribbon and it wasn't going to cover the whole thing. I didn't want to run all the way out to Hobby Lobby to get another roll of the same type. So, I'm planning on winding it around the outside of the oranges (if I need to cover some bare white spots at all) once the whole thing is covered to my liking. Then I'll eventually wind it around to the place where I'll put the bow. 

Here's how the wreath looks right now:

I have the front and inside pretty well covered. The back and outside edge still need some work. Once the small white gaps are covered then I'll go back around the front and see where I should put some extra oranges just to make it look nicer. Hopefully my next set of oranges will be dried around 9:00 tonight and I'll be able to finish the wreath this evening. I know my original plan was to make two - one for me and one for my mother-in-law - but I'm not sure I'll want to do the whole thing again. Maybe I'll make myself a nice ribbon-covered wreath with some faux fruit, twigs and cinnamon sticks attached instead. Anyway - if you try this project, learn from my mistakes! :) Happy crafting!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fall Wreath

I saw this wreath in a holiday magazine last year and I've wanted to make it ever since. I guess it was hung at a little Chateau (You can see the blog for all the different wreaths featured at the Chateau here: Le Petit Chateau Blog Post).

I just got a new Nesco dehydrator specifically for this project. So far the orange slices have been in the machine for about a 1/2 hour and I can already see a difference in the top shelf. I used a mandolin to cut most of the slices to the same size. But, when I had 2 oranges left to slice, I couldn't get the mandolin to work properly any more. So, I had to cut the rest by hand which means they won't all be uniform. I guess this also means that they won't dry at the same rate as the other slices, but I think it will make my wreath look more unique since I'll have some thin slices and some thicker, more chunky ones too. I cut up 5 navel oranges - we'll see if that's enough or if I'll need more...

Once my orange slices are dried, I'm going to spray them with matte, clear acrylic paint to seal them. Then I'll be hot-gluing them around a Styrofoam wreath form I bought at Hobby Lobby. I'm not really sure the best way to cover the form, so I'm just going to wing it and I'll let you know how it turns out. I'm thinking I might cover it with the orange ribbon I bought and then glue the oranges to that. I don't have any evergreen boughs laying around, so I'm going to use some cinnamon sticks, a nylon flower and some pretty orange ribbon for the accent decoration at the top.

I'm really looking forward to hanging this on the front door of our apartment. I think it will be a nice, fall-themed wreath that will add a little color and a little fragrance to our building's hallway. Once I try it out, my mother-in-law would also like one for her door. Her birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, so this will make a great present. I am super excited to begin the project, so I'll post more once I get it all going! Happy crafting!
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