Home My Etsy Shop

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Latest Vintage Listings

I added two new listings to my new Etsy shop, Prized Possessions Take 2. More finds from the thrift shop. First, this cute jam jar. Jam Jar
And second, this pair of purple cabbage dishes from Portugal. Purple Cabbage Plates
Tomorrow I'll be heading for Tampa to go watch my Northwestern Wildcats play in the Outback Bowl on Friday, so let me wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best in 2010! Talk to you all again next year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My New Etsy Shop

I've been showing you photos of some of my estate sale finds and relating how much I've enjoyed shopping for my vintage ornaments and, well, one thing led to another and now I am announcing my second Etsy shop!

Prized Possessions Take 2 is officially open! I still have a lot of work to do, but as of this blog post, I have four items in my shop. The first items in my shop are thrift store finds that I am now selling. I have other items, such as the 29-cent wall shelf I bought, that I would like to refinish and sell. And I'm hoping this might be an outlet for some of my vintage ornament wreaths eventually, also.

A little about the name. My Etsy jewelry shop is Prized Possessions. Prized Possessions Take 2 has a double meaning. It's my second effort at opening an Etsy shop. Plus it's the chance to offer vintage items a new second life - take two! I've been thinking about this a while and just had to find out for myself if I could make a go of a vintage shop. Please check it out here!

Here are the first items I have for sale in my shop.

I love this little Los Angeles trinket box.
Los Angeles Trinket Box
And I was very tempted to keep this cute green vase. I have a perfect place for it in my craft room. But I'll see if it finds another home.Green Glass Vase
This Delft dish really caught my attention. I love the heart-shaped cutouts.Delft Red Tulip Dish
And, finally, this last dish has a bit of an Oriental look to it. I think the floral design is very pretty.
Blue and Pink Floral Dish
Click on any of the photos for a more complete description of the item. Please visit my new shop when you have a chance. And if you have any suggestions for the types of items I should sell in my shop, please leave a comment and let me know your ideas!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Vintage Ornament Wreath Number 8

Here is the last wreath I made before Christmas. This one went to a friend for her Christmas gift. Vintage ornament wreath #8

In a previous post, I wrote about the Saturday in November when I came home with a trunkful of ornaments that I got from a couple sources found on Craigslist. Here is a picture of the 300+ ornaments that I came home with that day. Some of them went into wreaths number 7 and 8. In the foreground are also the beaded garland and foil garland that I got along with the ornaments. Vintage ornaments I found through Craigslist

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Estate Sale Finds

Merry Christmas, a little late! I hope everyone had a very happy Christmas and got to spend time with family and friends. I did and I enjoyed every minute of it!

I haven't been a very good blogger lately. Too much overtime at work caused me to extend my cookie baking and gift wrapping to the last minute. I took Christmas Eve off from work, and just haven't had or made the time to post much to my blog lately. But here's a post concerning my latest interest.

I've made eight vintage ornament wreaths now and have ornaments for more. I've had a great time looking for ornaments, at flea markets and estate sales. While looking at these sales, I have really taken an interest in some of the vintage items I have seen. Here are a few of my recent finds.

I've started looking at Craigslist a lot lately and found a cool free application for my Android phone that will alert me when certain types of items are listed, such as vintage Christmas ornaments. I've also started looking for estate sales. I went to one sale in early December because it said they had a lot of beads. Well, I had to go to that one, didn't I? As it turned out, they were wooden beads, which don't interest me, but I found some other items that I ended up buying. One of them was this cute wooden cabinet for ten dollars. My husband hung it on my craft room wall today for me. Someday I might paint it, but it's in great shape as it is. Cabinet with heart cutout on door - now in my craft room
I also got these two cute snowmen at this same sale, made from fence posts. Both of these were only one dollar! The eye of one of them had come off. They had the button eye to give to me. All I had to do was use my glue gun to put it back on. I offered to pay more for these, but they only wanted a dollar. I have them in the basement next to my fireplace. I think they are quite cute!
Fence post snowmen

A long time ago, I made some cute Christmas counted cross stitch designs and thought they would look cute in little frames. Well, that was years ago and they have never been framed yet! I found a bag of little metal frames for a dollar. I'm hoping some of my cross stitch will fit in these. Metal frames

I've always been fascinated by cigar boxes, just because they don't make them any more. I remember covering cigar boxes with contact paper in grade school to hold pencils and things. When I found this one at the same sale, I couldn't resist. I'll find something to store in it in my craft room.Cigar box
These cute little Avon bottles also found their way home with me.
Avon bottles
I found this broken bracelet at an estate sale very close to my house. Since I like to make pink bracelets and donate a portion of the proceeds to Susan G. Komen, my plans for this bracelet are to take it apart and use the pieces in other bracelets.Broken breast cancer awareness bracelet
And my last item to show you tonight is this washboard I got for five dollars when I bought my trunkful of ornaments a few weeks ago from the lady who was closing her shop. My plans for this are to string wire across the front and use it as an earring display. I just love finding things to turn into jewelry displays!Washboard
Unfortunately, I've gotten kind of hooked on estate sales. I've enjoyed giving a second life to old ornaments that I have been using in my wreaths, and I'm now seeing so many other items at these sales that can also get a new life. I've been thinking about trying to sell my wreaths, either locally or on Etsy, and those thoughts have been spreading a little wider than just wreaths lately. Who knows what I'll end up doing with some of this stuff!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More on Giveaway Winner

When I notified Michelle, the winner of my giveaway, on the 9th, not only did she reply to the email I sent to her right away, but she also selected the earrings she wanted as her prize. Michelle chose my Nature's Own earrings, shown here. The earrings are on their way to Michelle. Nature's Own Earrings

Take a look at Michelle's blog and some of the great photographs she has taken! They're very nice! Congratulations again, Michelle, on being the winner of my earring giveaway!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Earring Giveaway Winner!

I didn't do a very good job of publicizing my giveaway this time around, so I didn't have a lot of entries, only eight. But that made the odds for each person who entered that much better! I numbered the comments from top to bottom of the comment list and used a random number generator at random.org to select the winner. And the winner is...

lucky number 8! Michelle is the winner! She can select any pair of earrings from my Etsy shop, Prized Possessions. Hopefully she will see this blog post, but I will also notify her by email to let her know she is the winner. If she doesn't get back to me within seven days, I will select a different winner.

Thank you to all who entered! I always enjoy learning more about the kinds of jewelry gifts that people give. And if you didn't win this time, please keep watching my blog. I will probably be doing another giveaway sometime in the spring, or maybe for Valentine's Day like I did last year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New wreaths

I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving! I had a wonderful day with 90 family members on my mom's side! Once a year her family gets together and it's always a lot of fun.

The cousins have a gift exchange each year. I wasn't terribly original as far as gift ideas went this year. Since I had just bought all those wonderful vintage ornaments the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I decided to make another wreath, even though that was the gift I took last year. Here's a photo of wreath #6 that I took to the gift exchange. Wreath number 6 for my cousin gift exchange

Yesterday I went to a couple local antique malls/flea markets to look for some striped ornaments and other ornaments that were not just plain round glass balls. I always include a dozen or so fancier ornaments in the top layer of my wreaths and I wanted to find more to add to my stash. I walked into the Waldo Flea Market in Kansas City and the man who greeted me at the door asked me if I was looking for anything in particular. When I told him I was looking for vintage ornaments, he said he had been unpacking a box and found a bag of ornaments that he would give me. He had larger things in his booth and said he would probably just break these ornaments anyway. I offered to pay him and he told me no, just take the ornaments and remember his booth. It was a bag of 15 blue ornaments. That was a nice surprise to be given these ornaments! I found my other "fancy" ornaments that I was looking for and I also found some plain ones for a good price in some different colors, such as a deep copper color, a pearly white and a deep wine color. Boxes of six ornament for $2.25 - a great price!

Tonight I made wreath number 7 that I will be giving as a Christmas present. Here's a picture. Wreath number 7

It's been a busy weekend. I sold all my calendars on Thanksgiving very quickly and need ten more. I've never sold that many. Thirty-five is usually enough. Yesterday I ordered ten more. I'll post more of my calendar pages soon.

Today I went to see Wicked in downtown KC. I had never seen it before and really enjoyed. And I needed to adjust the size of a bracelet that I sold on Thanksgiving. I took my jewelry with me on Thanksgiving and sold almost as much to my cousins as I did at my open house last week! There just always seems to be something to do!

I've said this before, but I do hope to post to my blog more often. Now that my family calendar is complete and Thanksgiving is over, I don't have deadlines looming over me. Well, not unless you count Christmas shopping!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Open House and Vintage Ornaments

I had a nice day today at my holiday open house. I took some pictures that I will try to post very soon. Unfortunately, the flash on my camera stopped working. I just got a new Droid phone that has a great camera. I took pictures with that but still need to learn what to do with them! We had a smaller turnout than last year, but Jana and I still both made some sales. And we had a very nice time visting with all who came. This gets me into the Christmas spirit, having put up Christmas decorations and playing Christmas music all afternoon.

And I'll have to show some pictures of the vintage ornaments I got yesterday. I got about 300 more ornaments! I found someone on craigslist who was selling 45 ornaments for $20. I thought that was a great price after what I've seen them for in flea markets and antiques shops. I was able to contact the seller and go get the ornaments Saturday. I was very pleased with them...most were not just plain balls, but ones with multiple colors, some sort of design on them, different shapes, etc. Definitely worth the price! But then I went by a garage sale not too far from my ornament seller's house. I also found this on craiglist. It was a woman who had a shop and was closing it. She had a lot of great items for sale, much vintage stuff. I would have liked to look around more but I was on a mission to find ornaments! She had many boxes with 10 to 12 ornaments per box for one dollar a box. I bought all of them. And she had three big baskets of individual ornaments, 15 for one dollar. I asked how much if I bought them all and she said she would give them to me for five dollars! It was a great deal! My trunk was practically full of ornaments. Now I have plenty of ornaments to make some wreaths for gifts this year and I think I'll make some to try to sell. Now I just have to figure out where to store all these ornaments! But at least I have them!

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Jewelry Giveaway!

Well, I’m a little late. It’s not exactly afternoon anymore. I had some technical difficulties creating my calendar files to take to the printer and spent way longer on it than I had anticipated. But finally, here are the details!

I will be giving away a pair of earrings, your choice, from my Prized Possessions Etsy shop. Here are photos of some of my favorites to give you a sampling of the earrings I sell.
Summer Garden EarringsPurple Velvet EarringsSea Foam Floral EarringsColor Me Blue Earrings

The entry period begins at the time of this posting. The winner will be selected at 9 PM central time on December 9th, my son’s 18th birthday. Someone gets a gift on his birthday! To enter, all you have to do is give me a little feedback in a comment. Gift giving time is approaching and I’m interested in knowing what types of things you give as gifts.

Here are the details of the giveaway.

1. Contest starts at the time of this post and ends at 9 PM central time on Wednesday December 9th, 2009. The winner will be notified shortly after 9 PM on the 9th.

2. I’d like to know this: If you could give any item in my Etsy shop to someone as a gift, which item would you give, who would you give it to and why? Leave a comment at the end of this post containing those three things.

3. Everyone submitting a comment will be entered in a random drawing to be held at 9 PM December 9, 2009.

4. PLEASE make sure when you leave your comment you include your email address, the URL of your blog that has your contact information or some way that you can be reached if you are the winner. I have had more than one person enter previous giveaways that left no contact information, including one person who would have been the winner if I had known how to get in touch.

5. I will announce the winner in a blog post and I will also contact the winner directly. There is no time limit for the winner to choose their earrings, but I do ask that the winner confirm they got the winning notification. If I don’t hear back from the winner within 7 days after the winner is announced, I will select a different winner.

Good luck to everyone who enters! And thanks for sharing your gift ideas with me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Giveaway Starts Tomorrow!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a giveaway from my Prized Possessions Etsy shop. Time to hold another! Check back tomorrow (my 9X80 day off – more time for posting) for details of my giveaway, which will start tomorrow and end between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ll publish a post sometime in the afternoon with the details. (I haven’t quite worked out the details yet and I’m going out to lunch with my mom tomorrow. ) So sometime after lunch, check back for the new post with the details.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To Do List and Beads!

Hello, everyone! I've been AWOL for a while. Just a little too busy, much of it due to once again taking on more than I really have time for. I was very busy getting ready for Halloween, making costumes and some new decorations. I still have some photos to post from some of those projects. And I have decided to host a 2nd Annual Mini-Holiday Mart the Sunday before Thanksgiving again this year. If anyone in the Kansas City area is interested in attending, please let me know and I will provide details to you. Here are the photos from my event last year.

Also on my list are

  • Getting my annual family calendar printed before Thanksgiving. I did it this year using digital scrapbooking and am very pleased with how it turned out. Now I need to get it printed. I'll show you some photos from it soon. (Here is last year's calendar.)

  • Deciding what my cousin gift will be for Thanksgiving and making it

  • Deciding on the food to take for Thanksgiving and making it (most likely a dessert)

  • Finishing my baseball tee shirt quilt before Thanksgiving so I can take it to show to my aunts and cousins

  • Getting ready for my open house and, hopefully, making more jewelry

Last Sunday I went to the local bead show. We have bead shows in the Kansas City area in the spring and fall. There are also some gem and mineral shows, which I enjoy. But Sunday, I went to the Bead Renaissance show. I LOVE bead shows! Here are some of the beads I bought and am anxious to start playing with!

Some of my new beads
The only thing I really need to figure out how to make next is more hours in the day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween Window Silhouette

Life just keeps on being busy! We've been taking care of senior portraits for my high school senior, I created a senior ad for the yearbook, I spent two evenings this last weekend with classmates at my high school reunion, the last fall baseball games of the season on Sunday, today is my husband's birthday...and I thought the blog posts would pick up in pace! Oh, well...I do have an update today.

Here are some pictures of the window decorations I made for Halloween. It started with this link to Martha Stewart silhouette curtains. I almost did the hanging body, but wanted something that would be more appropriate for little kids to see while trick-or-treating. I found a silhouette of a grim reaper going after someone and drew a picture from that.

I have two windows upstairs that are side-by-side. Each measures 22" wide by 50" high. I went to JoAnn's and looked for the least expensive fabric I could find. I bought bleached muslin for a couple dollars a yard. I also found some sheer white fabric on the Halloween sale rack for a couple dollars a yard or less. And then I followed the easy directions on the Martha Stewart web site. I added a couple inches to make a sleeve for a curtain rod and cut out my fabric. I first drew a small picture of my silhouette, then copied it to white craft paper using that grid method of enlarging. Once I got the actual size silhouette on the craft paper, I cut it out, then traced around the design on my fabric. I bought a quart of black paint at Home Depot then painted inside the lines with the black paint. I hung the fabric panels up to dry overnight.

Here are photos of my painted panels. Grim Reaper silhouette
Reaper's victim

Next I cut out my sheer panels the same size as the painted panels. I layered the sheer fabric over the painted design, turned under both layers two inches and sewed to make a pocket for a curtain rod. Since this will hang in a window and no one will see the edges outside, I didn't have to worry about any hems or finishing raw edges. Since my windows are only 22' wide, the first spring tension rods I found at Lowe's were too long. I later found some the right size at both K Mart and Hancock Fabrics, under $3 each.

Here are photos of the painted panels covered with the sheer fabric. The sheer fabric adds a more shadowy look to the silhouette.
Reaper with sheer fabricVictim with sheer fabric

And here are my finished products in my upstairs windows. It was hard to get a very good picture of these at night (they don't look like much during the day - you can barely see them), but hopefully you will get the idea of what they look like. I have another pair of upstairs windows. If I can come up with another good design I like, I will try to make another pair before Halloween.

Windows with silhouette curtains

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Halloween Floral Arrangement

Halloween floral arrangement
Oh, my! Too much overtime at work has taken a toll on my blogging! I thought I would have more time when summer baseball season ended, but I guess I was wrong. I'm going to have to make a real effort to change that!

I've temporarily put my quilt on hold so I can complete some Halloween projects. I listed some of my favorite Halloween links not too long ago and hopefully I will be showing other of my completed Halloween projects soon. Meanwhile, here is my first one - my Halloween floral arrangement.

I bought three floral stems of roses at Michael's. It's hard to see in the photo, but one of them is black and glittery, while the other two are plain black roses. I bought this little glass container at Michael's, too. I cut down a block of green floral foam to be somewhat smaller than the container, covered it with some spaghnum moss I had in my closet, back from when I used to do more floral arranging. I cut some green floral wire, bent it into U shapes and used those to keep the moss in place around the four sides of the foam. Then I put the moss-covered foam into the container. I cut down the floral stems to the right length since they were longer than I wanted. I poked them into the floral foam and bent the individual stems into an arrangement that I liked. I had some of that spider web stuff that I put on top of the foam and arranged to hang over the sides and also put some over the flowers themselves. I read somewhere online that this stuff looks better when you take the time to spread it out rather thinly - looks more realistic. I did that on the flowers, but I think I will problably go back and thin out the webs at the top of the container some.

This was quick to make and was kind of fun. A perfectly ghoulish arrangement for Halloween!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Quilt Update

I'm making progress on my quilt. During the week, I found a little time on a few evenings to finally finish up adding 'JOE' to one of the filler blocks - spelling JOE with trim I removed from old uniforms. J-O-E from trim
I also used some of the trim to outline the top and bottom of this lighter yellow block so it would show up better in the 'A'. More use of trim
Today was a gorgeous fall day but after some rain last night, Joe's two baseball games, about 1.5 hours away, were rained out. So I had a lot more time today to work on my quilt than I had thought. This morning, I added the green border. This afternoon, I pieced my denim backing. I have the quilt top, backing and batting all laid out now and am ready to pin it together so I can start quilting. It's getting there...
Backing, batting and top layered for pinning

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Getting Ready for Halloween

Well, once again I’ve managed to get behind in my blog posts. Last week was an incredibly busy week for me and I’m just getting caught up. Unfortunately, I spent a couple days flying to Dallas and back for the funeral of an aunt. Right after that, we went to a wedding in town for my cousin’s son. I spent some time with other relatives that were in town for the wedding, too. By the end of last weekend, I was ready just to rest! (But of course, I didn’t!)

Now I am gearing up for Halloween. I’m really looking forward to Halloween being on a weekend. Plenty of time to celebrate in style! My bat wreath got me in the Halloween mood. Now I’m planning other spooky decorations. I have bookmarked tons of web sites that contain food and decorating ideas. Martha Stewart has many great ideas for Halloween. I decided to share some of my favorite spooky finds with you today.

First, take this quiz to determine your Halloween decorating style. I learned that my style is Fright-Inducing. The perfect style for Halloween!

Some of my favorite decorating ideas:
Black paper mice templates
Clothespin bats
Ghosts of Halloween
Scary silhouette curtains

Entertaining ideas:
Party drinks
More drinks
Wine bottle labels
More labels
Even more labels
Eerie punch bowl - page all the way to the bottom
Sound effects
Music - click on the underlined track listings to hear samples

I hope you will check out these great Halloween ideas and that you will find some to help make your Halloween just a little scarier! If you know of any great Halloween ideas or web sites, please leave them in a comment for me!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Halloween Wreath

When I went to Michael's yesterday to get a couple things for my ornament wreaths, I had to pass through the Halloween section, of course. Since I've been kind of into wreaths this year (see Valentine's, St. Patrick's, Easter wreaths), I was looking for materials that would make a good Halloween wreath. I found some really interesting garland - black with purple holographic bats - that I thought would look pretty cool on a wreath. I looked around for the least expensive wreath form I could find. I didn't want to use the $1.99 straw one. The $1.99 grapevine wreath that was on sale was a good deal but was bigger than I wanted. So I settled on this wire form for $2 and some change.Wire wreath form
This has got to be the fastest wreath I've made yet. Just wrapped my 12-foot piece of garland around this 12-inch wreath form. I didn't even glue it down because I was thinking about reusing the form for a different wreath to save on storage space. (All these wreaths are starting to take up a lot of storage space!) I probably won't reuse it - I'll just keep this wreath as is and start a second storage container of wreaths.

Here is my wreath
Halloween wreath
and a closeup of the cute shiny bats!
Bats on Halloween wreath
I might think about adding a purple bow. The wreath is hanging on my craft room wall already. I'll live with it a bit then decide on the bow.

If you need a quick Halloween decoration, give this a try. Super fast and easy! And now I've got my eye on some pretty fall garland for the next seasonal wreath I make!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I've Finished my Vintage Ornament Wreaths

I finished my two vintage Christmas ornament wreaths tonight. I'll be giving them as gifts this week, one to my mom Tuesday for her birthday, and another one as an early Christmas gift on Thursday. It's good to have these off my list. Of course, while I was at Michael's today, getting some garland and bells for my wreaths, I bought things for a Halloween wreath. Very simple...I'll have it done in no time. Then back to my quilt!

Here are my two wreaths.

Vintage ornament wreath
Vintage ornament wreath

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Quick Wreath Update

I spent tonight working on my vintage ornament wreath. I got all the ornaments glued on my wreath, then decided since I have many other ornaments and they were all spread out and the glue gun was fired up, I might as well make a second one. So I started the second one, but ran out of time. I'm pleased with the progress I made and should have no trouble finishing both of them early next week.

Here are photos of my wreaths in progress.

First wreath with ornaments glued on
Second wreath with half of ornaments glued on

I have to get up early tomorrow to leave for some baseball games 4.5 hours away or else I'd still be working on them now! So many crafts, so little time...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Next Project - Another Vintage Ornament Wreath

Although I still need to finish my baseball tee shirt quilt, and I wanted to finish it before starting any new projects, I find myself needing to make another vintage Christmas ornament wreath. I have to finish it within the next week. I'll explain my reason for that later, but stay tuned for photos soon of my next wreath! (See this previous post and this one for my previous wreaths.)

And I've once again fallen behind in my posting. We were gone for four days over the Labor Day weekend to visit some colleges (Georgia Tech and Auburn). And my son participated in a baseball camp at Auburn. He would love to go there, but we need to see what happens with the baseball. And we now have another road trip planned for this weekend. A trip to Great Bend, KS, about four hours from home. The summer baseball team, which also plays in the fall, will be playing a couple games Saturday and a game on Sunday at Barton County Community College. So I need to get working on my wreath before we leave very early Saturday morning. And I need to figure out which portable project I will take with me to work on in the car and between games in Great Bend. If I can't work on my quilt, I'll just have to find something else to do. (Like maybe the beaded crochet sweater that I started in Omaha and have been working on off and on.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Crystal Jewelry, Quilt Update and Future Project

My latest Etsy sale was this crystal necklace.

Crystal Confetti Necklace
A while back, I decided to accept money orders as payment in my shop, but not checks. I was not aware that at checkout time, it appears to the buyer that if you accept money orders, you also accept checks. I sent her an email to make sure she realized I only accepted money orders, but she had already put a check in the mail to me. I think I have decided to accept both checks and money orders. She gave me some good feedback on the checkout process and buying online. To make up for the confusion at checkout and to thank her for her feedback, I made a pair of earrings to go with the necklace and sent them along with her order. I hope she likes them! I also made a couple other similar pairs that I will be listing in my shop soon.

Crystal earrings

And an update on my tee shirt quilt...Today I planned my border, backing and binding. I went to JoAnn's and bought a denim for the backing and some gold and green small prints for the border and binding. I like to pre-wash my quilt fabrics, so I still need to do that. But then I will be all ready to move on!

And while at JoAnn's, I managed to purchase materials for a future project...a skirt. I love to sew but I don't do it very often any more. All this sewing on my quilt has reminded me how much I enjoy it. And since I haven't seen many skirts I like in the stores lately, every time I walk into JoAnn's, I always notice the display right by the door of some lovely floral sheer prints. They always make me think of a pretty lined skirt. And ever since I made this bracelet, I've been thinking I need something to wear with the bracelet. The display had many purply-mauvey colored prints. So I broke down and bought a skirt pattern (boy, have pattern prices gone up!), my favorite of the floral prints (30% off!) and a lining fabric. I won't let myself start this until the quilt is all the way done. I wish I didn't do this to myself...I have a long enough project list as it is without adding another thing to it. But I'm looking forward to having a skirt out of this pretty fabric!

My new skirt fabric

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tee Shirt Quilt

Yaayyy!!! I've finished my baseball tee shirt quilt top!! Well, almost. The only things I have left to do to the top is attach a couple little MLB logos that I got from some jerseys. And in one of the brown filler spaces, I'm going to use some of the trim from jerseys to spell JOE. (Joe approves of this addition). Tomorrow my goal is to go to JoAnn's to look for backing fabric (probably denim), fabric for binding (I want green and gold, but didn't see any last time I was at JoAnn's) and batting. The hard part is done. Now I just need to finish the quilt. I like it and more importantly, Joe says he likes it! (17-year-old boys don't give their approval to just anything, so I'm happy about this!) Stay tuned for later pictures of "the quilt"!

Baseball tee shirt quilt top

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Update on Tee Shirt Quilt

I spent quite a bit of time in the last week redrawing all my quilt pieces to cut down on the overall size of the quilt. I started over arranging all my little quilt pieces on graph paper, not leaving so much space between blocks this time. I finally got all the pieces rearranged so that I reduced the length by about a foot (previously it was over 7 feet long) and the width by a few inches. Here is my new arrangement of blocks. I first redid the "A" in the center and fit in all the pieces around it again.
New quilt layout
Once I had all my pieces nicely arranged on graph paper and knew exactly how big each quilt block had to be, I cut each block to its exact size, adding an inch to each dimension for seam allowances. (I had cut the blocks out very roughly after I had applied the interfacing.) Quilt square
Here's a picture with all the blocks cut to their exact size.
All blocks cut to size
This evening, I got to start the fun part...actually sewing the blocks togther. I sewed them with a half inch seam allowance, then trimmed to a quarter inch. I don't know why, it just seems a little easier to sew the half inch seam. I've done the easy sewing - the blocks that adjoin each other that are exactly the same size. Now it's kind of like doing a puzzle - trying to figure out what order to sew my pieces together to allow for the fact that I don't just have a bunch of squares lined up. But I'll get back to that tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Baseball Tee Shirt Quilt

About a week ago, I mentioned my tee shirt quilt. It’s my biggest project I have underway right now. I’ve been saving my son’s tee shirts for a very long time with the intention of making quilts out of them someday. When I was in Omaha this summer, a couple other moms and I were in a laundromat washing baseball uniforms. Both of them started talking about how they want to make or have made a quilt from their son’s baseball tee shirts. They wanted to have this done before the boys go off to college in a year. I realized that my “someday” quilt project should start soon.

Not long after we got home from Omaha, I got out all my old tee shirts. (I have all of them in a spare closet . I had already sorted them by subject – baseball, soccer and other themes.) I even went through my son’s closet to see what other baseball tee shirts I could find. I found one or two more that he hadn’t worn in a while and were from before high school. I rounded up all the shirts from when he played on his team, the A’s, up through 8th grade – uniforms and tee shirts from tournaments.

Baseball tee shirts
I looked for pictures of tee shirt quilts online and found quite a few. Although I’ve seen some nice ones, I didn’t want to make a quilt that had 12 or 15 tee shirt panels, all the same size, with sashing between each panel. I wanted my quilt to have all different sizes of blocks, depending on the size of the design on the shirt. So first I measured and recorded the size of the design portion on every shirt. Next I cut out each design piece to scale using quarter inch graph paper. I let each square equal one inch of tee shirt. I wrote a description on each cut out piece so I would know which shirt it came from.

Since I had many white tee shirts, some gray ones, and also green and gold uniforms, I wanted to spread the colors out throughout the quilt, so I then colored each graph paper piece with colored pencils to match the color of the shirt. I taped four pieces of graph paper together into a large rectangle and started playing around with ways to arrange my blocks on it. My first goal was to get all the different sized pieces to fit together somehow without a lot of extra space between blocks. Then I would move pieces around to distribute the colors evenly if I needed to.

My first quilt layout
When I found an arrangement that fit the pieces together fairly well, I noticed something that gave me an idea. A lot of my smaller blocks, many of which contained the player number from uniforms and were colored blocks, ended up stacked above each other. This arrangement was sort of a diagonal line. It reminded me of the leg of a capital A, so I wondered if I could put all those colored blocks together in an A shape (for Joe’s team, the A’s) and fill in the rest with the white and gray pieces.

Since I kind of liked the layout I had, I took a picture of how I had the graph paper blocks arranged in case I wanted to go back to it. Then, after all that work, I took all the pieces off and started over by making my A with the colored pieces. I filled in around the A with white pieces and ended up putting all my gray pieces along the top and bottom edges of the quilt. There were a few more gaps between pieces since I had to work around the jagged leg of the A, but I thought I could fill in those places with other fabric or maybe even some sort of pieced blocks.
A shape layout
A shape layout with lines crawn
I had extra space around each block, so I drew lines around the blocks on the big graph paper to start determining where the seams would go and how big I would need to cut the blocks. I wrote the finished dimension of each block on the large graph paper. I also numbered the back of each cut out block piece and wrote the number in the appropriate spot on the large graph paper so I would know which block went where.

My next task was to start cutting. I added one inch to each dimension when cutting to allow for half inch seams. For each block, I cut a piece of interfacing slightly larger than my cut size, fused it to the wrong side of the tee shirt and cut out the piece. I figured I would go back and square up each block to the exact size later. And since I had allowed some extra fabric in each block initially, after I laid them all out I could make small adjustments here and there after I laid all my blocks out if I wanted. So exact size blocks was not my goal yet. After I cut out a block, I taped its little cut out block to my large graph paper so I could keep track of which blocks had been cut out and which I had left to do.

Some of the uniforms were made of mesh. I did not want white interfacing to show through the little holes, so I bought matching solid fabric and attached it to the wrong side of the mesh using Stitch Witchery. I liked the way those blocks turned out.

Tonight I finished cutting out my blocks (except for the last one that will be from a baseball towel that could use one more washing. ) Since I had my paper quilt blocks taped to my large graph paper, I could easily carry it around. I laid all my blocks out on the floor to see how they looked together. Here’s what they look like. Blocks laid out on floor
Remember, they have not been cut to their final size yet and were cut very roughly and a little larger than needed. I like the way they look, but I’m going to see if I can cut down the overall size a bit. Currently, my design is 5’8” wide and 7’2” long, which fits the size of a larger twin quilt or smaller full size quilt. Since I have quite a bit of extra space around the design of every block, I want to see if I can cut out some of that space and reduce the overall quilt size. That will be my next task.

I’m happy to have all the interfacing and cutting out done. I’ve been working on that for over a week in my spare time. Stay tuned for my next report on my quilt progress. Now that I’m home more and that I’ve made this my top priority project at home, I intend to keep making good progress on it.