Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Santa Postal Pouch {Tutorial}

Can you believe it? Tomorrow is December 1st!! I've got my Christmas decorations up, were getting our {fresh} tree this weekend, advent calendars are ready to go and Bing Crosby is singing as I type. I'm just bursting with Christmas Spirit this year and I wanted to share a fun tutorial just in time for you little ones to send Santa their wish lists! I am calling it: Santa Postal Pouch. It is so cute. Have your kids write their letters and end them via North Pole Postal Pouch Mail. I can't wait to see my kids faces when Santa sends a letter back and leaves it in the pouch. Oh, the magic of Santa!

Here's the easy tutorial. 

Step 1: Cut Fabric. 
Cut 2 squares measuring 10 1/2 x 10 1/2 {outer fabric} and then cut 2 square measuring 10 1/2 x 9 1/2 { 9 1/2 measurement needs to be the bottom of the square. inside fabric}
Cut 1 square measuring 11 1/2 x 11 1/2 and cut in half to make a triangle. {pouch flap} 5 total pieces of fabric.

Step 2: Pouch Flap
Fold your triangle right sides together {I realize this picture isn't right sides together, sorry!} in half. Iron. to mine I added a little bit of dingle ball fringe, but do whatever you prefer. Sew right sides together sewing  shorter side of triangle with 1/4" seam allowance. Turn right side out and iron. Leave long side of triangle unsewn.

Step 3: Making Pouch
Match your outside fabric with your inside fabric {x2} right sides together and sew top of fabric. Add your flap pouch to one of the squares sandwiched in between the fabrics. {note: bottom of inside fabric is 1" shorter} Iron. Match like fabrics right sides together and sew 1/4" around entire pouch. On inside fabric leav a 4" opening to turn fabric  Flip pouch right side out, iron and sew pouch opening closed.
Step 4: Finishing Up
Iron and lay flat. Making sure your corners are pointed. Tuck inside fabric into pouch and flip your flap!
Step 5: North Pole Tag
I added a little hand stitched North Pole Tag with NearSea Naturals organic embroidery floss {fire red}and wool felt . I also thought of a few other tag lines: "Polar Express", "Express Delivery to Santa", "Santa's Mail", "For Santa" ~ you decided. I am making a few of these for family and friends and will probably change up each tag to say something different.

Have your kids tuck their wish lists into the pouch for Santa. I thought it would be cute to leave it by the fireplace, have it disappear for a few days and then re-appear with a message from Santa or one of his elves with a treat.

Linking up: Blue Cricket Designs

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Dresden Plates

Before the Thanksgiving holiday, I set a goal for myself to work on  my Dresden blades every night while my family was away. I set up my table and sewing machine in front of the T.V. and happily sewed into the wee hours of the morning (2 a.m in fact!) I was able to make 5 blades during the Retreat and need to make 15 more. My plan for my Dresden quilt is 4 across and 5 down.
The two nights I worked, I actually timed myself to see how long from start to finish it took me to make each plate. I quickest I got it down to was 13 mins. Whew! I watched alot of old movies while I made the plates: 3:10 to Yuma, Forest Gump, Shawhank Redemption.
 I've completed 15 so I only 5 more to go. I loved my "Fall/Thanksgiving" theme this quilt is so scrappy. I have about 45 fabrics different fabrics. For the borders I have this amazing Alexander Henry "plymouth" fabric I am going to use for the borders. It is perfect. 

Now that Thanksgiving is over I am planning to put this quilt away for a while and work on Christmas project/presents. I mean...I technically have a year to finish this quilt if I want it ready for next Thanksgiving.  

 WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Emily Herrick {Crazy Old Ladies} Trunk Show

It's been a week since the quilt Retreat and I am still daydreaming about the beautiful quilts we saw over the weekend. I was able to take some pictures of the quilts Emily showed at her Trunk Show, she did a lovely job of showing her quilts, patterns and fabric. There were so many ooohs and ahhhs, ee were spoiled rotten! Thanks Emily.
This was my favorite quilt of all. I love the white with the "waves" machine quilting. The fabric is from her Going Coast Line she designed for Michael Miller.
I can't wait for her "Hall of Fame" line of fabric to come out early next year. I want to make matching quilts for my boys bed with her Pep Rally pattern. (Far right quilt)
Handmade Hexagons with Hand Appliqué. Her machine quilting is amazing...she is so talented.
Emily's pile of quilts! The one on top is "Urban Life". Check out Emily's Etsy Shop to buy patterns and quilts.

For more posts about the Retreat check out these blogs:
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Growing up I remember traveling to Idaho to my grandparents farm to spend Thanksgiving with my cousins. I remember pies and rolls and lots of laughing. When everyone's families got too big we spent Thanksgiving at home. In junior high and  high school I would run in the ORRC Turkey Trot Race on Thanksgiving morning.  It was a good way to start the day off healthy even if the day didn't end that way. 

I am a firm believer that Christmas doesn't start until the day after Thanksgiving. Alas, I feel like I am in the minority, Thanksgiving is such a great holiday...why do we have to treat it like an ugly stepchild to Christmas. Even though no one agrees with me (commercial and half my neighbors already have their Christmas lights up!) N.O. tinsel and trimmings until after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving night, my husband is taking our 2 older boys and spending the weekend in So. Utah. AHHHH, a weekend to myself (well, I'll still have Mr. H) to get some much needed things done.  On my to-do list:
  • Baste and machine quilt this quilt and this quilt.
  • Decorate for Christmas.
  • Organize the downstairs pantry. It is in desperate need of some TLC.
  • Get caught up on some blog post tutorials I have been meaning to write.
  • See Breaking Dawn.
  • Work on Dresdans
I'll slowly add to this list if I can start getting things crossed off. Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels. Gobble Gobble!

Peppermint Dessert ~ Mid Week Munchies

I couldn't have been more pleased with how the meals turned out during the Retreat. I have to admit I was really stressing over what to make, how to prepare it and if everyone would like it. I had a beautiful kitchen to use during the retreat at Ivory Ridge but it lacked a oven and stove top. So I had to be creative. I relied heavily on my crockpots and my best arsenal in my kitchen: my Mom! She is an amazing cook and was an even better sous chef last weekend. I couldn't have done it without her!!

With the encouragement of the attendees I am sharing all the recipes from the Quilt Retreat. First up: Peppermint Dessert. This has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember. My mom would make it around the Christmas holiday and because it is a no bake, it is a great make ahead dessert.


Peppermint Dessert:

I make this recipe using two kitchen appliances: my Kitchenaid and Cuisinart. I loved the layer look and I also love that this dessert is no bake. Just out of the freezer and into your mouth. Yum!!

Crust: 2 cups crushed Nilla Wafers
1 cube of Butter (melted)

Don't skimp on the butter. The wafers need to be really moist and soak up all the butter in order to make the layers work. Also, I crush my wafers in my Cuisinart. Place wafers in the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan. Spread and pat with a fork evenly across pan. Place in fridge to start freezing while you make the chocolate.

1 cup butter or two cubes (softened)
2 cups powdered sugar
6 egg yolks
2 oz. semisweet chocolate (melted)
1/2 cup crushed walnuts

Beat softened butter and powdered sugar until creamy. Add egg yolks and beat again. Because you don't cook this dessert, make sure you don't have any lumps of butter. Melt chocolate in microwave and add, beat again. Fold in walnuts by hand. Layer on top of wafers. Place in fridge to start freezing while you make the peppermint.

2 cups heavy whipping cream (whipped)
3 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup crushed walnuts
1/2 cup crushed peppermint

Beat cream until cream holds shape, dot not over beat cream because you will do some stirring by hand, so just watch your cream while mixing. I use my Cuisinart to crush the peppermint. I mix the peppermint to a very fine texture, almost like powder. Then fold in marshmallows, nuts and peppermint. Stir until just mixed. Layer on top of chocolate. Place in fridge until hard. About 6 hours, if freezing overnight cover with tin foil.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quilting Retreat Recap

(Maggie's sewing machine)

Now that I've come up for air...and the Quilting Retreat is finished (sigh*) I have lots of photos to share over the two day retreat. The Quilting Retreat in a nutshell was phenomenal and it was all possible because of the ah-mazing ladies who quilted and the inspiring projects they worked on. I am already planning next years Retreat, so stay tuned for dates!

I wish I had taken more photos and "caught on camera" ever special moment. Here are just a few of my favorites:  
Kristen working on her bed quilt. (I know this picture is out of focus!) But I loved it anyway. She worked on a denim jean and upholstery quilt from scraps. Once it was all put together the pinwheels were amazing. 
Maggie working on her table runner swap. This quilt's new home will be all the way in the Shetland Islands. The houses and trees are paper pieced and with such great modern fabrics it will surely become an heirloom.
Christmas projects were everywhere! This one has been six years in the making!
April's scrap bag... I so need one of these. So handy and cute. The ladies had such fun tools, I am adding this bag to the top of  my to-do list of projects. Maybe if I had this bag, my scraps wouldn't make such a mess on the floor!
I even worked a little on my Dresden blades. With cooking, CHATTING and admiring everyone else's projects it is a complete wonder I got anything done. Note to self: need to learn how to quilt at my own Retreat.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

A little peak....

I've got a million things to get done today for the Quilt Retreat tomorrow. I am so excited it is almost here!! It is going to be an ultra inspiring weekend. Here is just a little peak into a couple "surprises" I have been working on for the attendees. Too fabulous!!

 I'm calling these my "envelope bags" so easy! Next week I'll have a tutorial to make some yourself.
Half Dresden zipper pouch. This beauty measures 14" by 8" perfect for a small sewing or knitting project.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Quilt Retreat Giveaway

I am so excited for this weekend!! The Quilt Retreat is this Friday and Saturday. I can't wait for all the fun, food and quilting goodness. I am thrilled to be meeting new quilt friends, seeing 2 amazing trunks shows from Amy and Emily and working on projects for the Holidays.

So really what would be better than attending the Quilt Retreat? I can only think of one thing: attending for free. That's right! I am giving away ONE FREE TICKET TO THE QUILT RETREAT.

How to Enter: 1)Leaving me a comment, on this post, telling me what you would work on during the Retreat. 2) Become a Follower of Frenchknots.

**If you have already purchased a ticket and are the winner, you will be reimbursed the ticket price.

Comment by Midnight on Wednesday, November 16th to enter. Winner will be announced Thursday Morning and notified via email. So make sure and  leave your email address.

It's not to late, want to attend, bring a friend!! Email me and we will work it out. Email:
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Quilt Retreat ~ Appliqué Class and Trunk Shows

Last bit of news about the Quilt Retreat. This weekend: November 13th is the last day to sign up for the Quilt Retreat. Don't miss out! Make sure and SIGN-UP for the all fun! Really all the fun! If you want more information about the Retreat: click on "Retreat" on the far right of the menu bar.

Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side will be hosting the Trunk Show on Friday, November 18th. She is the co-creator of the Sewing Summit, which I attended last month and is the author of: Modern Basics. I am thrilled to have her sharing her amazing quilts. The Saturday Trunk Show will be hosted by Emily Herrick of Crazy Old Ladies. 

Also, Jeanette Hartvigsen is teaching our Hand Appliqué Class. If you've been wanting to learn hand appliqué or get some help improving your skills ~ sign up for her class. She is an incredible teacher. Here is a sampling of her lovely work.

 Happy Veterans Day!
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dresdan Plate

After the Sewing Summit I signed up to participate in my first Swap. I've never done anything like this before and wasn't quite sure what to expect. My partner is Amanda from My Sewcial Hour (which is such a cute blog name) and she gave me this description:

"I am currently in a Fall/Autumn kind of mood so pieces with oranges, reds, greens, and gold like the leaves changing color are drawing me in. My Fall Inspiration Pinterest board has a lot of images that are inspiring me these days. I really like new takes on traditional things, for example, I love when people make things like dresden plates in modern fabrics with a little bit of hand quilting. I am not much into intentionally wonky/improv pieces, I usually like symmetry in pieces whether it be a mini-quilt or a bag."
You can tell she's participated in swaps before. I loved her clear cut description. (I feel bad for my partner! I really can't remember what I said, but I am sure it was vague ~ something like "Oh, I like pink and cutesy stuff".) When I read Dresdan, I was immediately excited because I have been wanted to try my hand at a Dresdan plate for sometime. I think the best tutorial is from Amy at Stickory Dickory Dock. This is the tutorial I referred to while making my dresdan.

I have been collecting Fall/Thanksgiving/Yellow/Gold/Brown fabrics for about 5 years to make an unbelievably amazing Thanksgiving Quilt. So I had about 60 fabrics to choose from to make her Dresdan plate. I choose a 6 1/2" blade size and searched my stash for modern, fresh, fall-ish fabric to make my dresdan.

Isn't this back perfect? I picked up it at the most modern quilt store in Utah: Whimsy on sale a few years back. It's Japanese from Quilt Gate. I did some very simple machine quilting on the blades (stitch in the ditch) and quilted/traced the dresdan plate in the round.

I am soooo in love with this Dresdan I am going to scrap my original plan of a Log Cabin for my Thanksgiving quilt and change it to Dresdan Plates. I think I'll be very busy during the Quilt Retreat working on this pattern.

Amanda, I hope you love this Dresdan Mini Quilt as much as I loved making it. I hope it brings a little bit of fall to your home and brightens your day.

Linking up with Amylouwho for her Mini Quilt Challenge.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Improv Quilt Finished

I've got some mixed emotions about this quilt. Once I had my 4 improv blocks I started going through my stash for borders. I came across this pink and green gem (it is from way back in 2004 from P & B Textiles) I only had a single solitary yard, and sometimes I think "I've only got a yard, I can make it work" WRONG! I pieced this whole quilt knowing I only had 1 yard to work with for my final border. Note: see the bottom right corner, AHH YES, that is me piecing the final 6" with scraps.

Plus, I forgot that to make my left border thinner than the other three. Long story.... I won't go into but, it should be smaller than the other 3 sides. I still need to fix that, but I think I'll wait until I'm not so emotionally attached. So, long story short, I thought this quilt was going to turn out one way and and thru the frustrating process of thinking 1 yard can magically stretch itself into 1 1/2 yards its finished.

All that funny business aside...I love this quilt. It turned out new and fresh and not like anything else I've done other than its pink!  I currently have three quilts tops all finished. I don't think I've ever had that many done at one time!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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