W.I.P.W. (block crazy), Winner, Hexie Love, Singer 66-16 Project continues...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday it is!! Linking up today to Freshly Pieced W.I.P. Wednesday :)

Bunch of stuff on the cutting mat at the moment; here we go:

1. Winner of the Sew at Home Mummy giveaway (Denise Schmidt Chiccopee charm pack) for the March Classic meets Modern block, by Random.org, #4:
Drunkards Path
Sandy @ Upstairs Hobby Room, I've contacted you by email, check your inbox!

2. Block crazy - 
a) I pulled my fabrics for the April blocks for {Faith} Circle of do.Good Stitches; now I just need to make them...I hope to get them done today and off to her tonight; here are Melissa's blocks from her tutorial for us - the blocks are called "Shape Shifters" {her tutorial is here} 
b) I made my first block for the "For Pink Sakes!" charity hop:
...if you're interested in making a pink block, any size over 4", square, for an awesome cause, click {here} for more info :)

3. My Ombre Hexie quilt top is DONE! Twenty-four hand-pieced hexagon triangles all appliqued in place. Now I just need to get the back all pieced and send it off to the long armer!

4. The Singer 66-16 Project:
A few weeks ago, I picked up a 1941 Singer 66-16 on eBay for $20, local pick-up, cabinet included. The machine looked to be in great shape other than needing a new light, rear plate, and a foot pedal wired (it's currently wired with a knee bar I don't want to use). I've never owned an old machine like this, and I bought it for the challenge of fixing one up. I wanted to start out easy, with a machine that didn't need much work.

After doing a bunch of research about these older machines, I realized I should check the wiring out before really using it. 

And since I'd need to rewire the light and wire a pedal, why not check the motor wires?

Good thing I did.

... when I got the cover plate off of the motor, look what I found inside - bare wires and crumbled jacketing/insulating material strewn all over...
see the wire far right? it's lost all of its insulation over the years. EEP!
 Problem is, if a bare wire touches the metal of the motor casing or machine, it electrifies the entire machine (since they're cast iron) - which could shock the user if they touched the machine.

I've got everything dismantled, all ready to clean up and re-wire. I ordered some replacement wire, soldering supplies, wire terminals and heat shrink tubing...everything I need for my first re-wiring job!
 The 73-year old wires are just falling apart to the touch...
 ...the power cord needs to be rewired too (bottom zip-loc below).

The light (top ziploc bag below) I thought was a write-off since the Bakelite base is cracked and broken; I removed all of the (medical!) tape that was holding the pieces together, took a better look at it, and I think once it's Gorilla-glued back together, tape gunk removed, and rewired, it'll be just fine. And doing it this way will cost about $1, vs. $16.

And this way I get to keep the light original, with the gorgeous "SINGER" decal on it.
So now I wait until I get all of my wiring supplies - in the meantime I'll get to cleaning the inside of the motor and the light.

An update on this again next Wednesday!

5. Eye candy.
Fat Quarter Shop is having a spring cleaning sale, have you heard?
tee hee! a lot of their sale stuff is 50% off. Less than $6/yard!

I had an hour last night to peek through their sale section and YUM! I was playing around a bit and came up with a few bundles that I thought would look awesome together...

some springy greens - 

top row: Out N' About Olive Green Highway Signs  | Michael Miller Loden Cotton Couture SolidKimba Tan and Green Bubble Dots 

bottom row: In My Room Green Shade Tree  |  Sweet Things Lime Large Tonal Dots  |   Green Large Chevron

... or how about a bundle with some Kaffe thrown in, inspired by a Pantone color report?
Pantone image courtesy of aboveallbetrue.blogspot.com
from top left:
Sweet Things Lime Blossom  |  Kaffe Fassett Collective Green Kim  |  Sweet Things Melon Teeny Tiny Donuts  |  Paint Box Red Wicker  |  Kaffe Fassett Collective Blue Crackle  |  Sweet Things Lavender Large Tonal Dots
... I love that Kaffe in there...

Gorgeous eye candy!

Happy Wednesday everyone!
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Beautify your Blog: week 3 - Beautiful Blog Headers: PART 1

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hi all, and welcome back to the third installment of the Sew at Home Mummy "Beautify your Blog" series!

This week we'll be going over some simple ways to create a pretty blog header.

If you're just coming across this series for the first time today, please see 
Week 1: this post for the series disclosure and the first few lessons 
Each of these lessons build on the previous week's. In the first lesson I suggested you create a test blog - at the end of the series we'll copy the template you have built and created over to your 'real' blog.

Sew at Home Mummy

Let's get to it.

This week we'll be looking at making custom blog headers. A blog header is the title image at the top of a blog.

I thought I'd cruise the quilty bloggosphere to find some really pretty inspiration among our peers.

Please note: These are just examples, not meant to be 'copied' but to be used as inspiration :)

Things to consider when you're looking at these examples (and my blog, if you so like):

  • Size. The header should be nice and long, to the edges of your posting space (or thereabouts). If you adjusted your blog width in Week 1 to about 1200px wide, your header size will probably be around 1000px wide. Note in all of the examples below the headers are long and narrow; in general, you're going to want to keep the height of the header to about 1/3 or even 1/4 the length in order to avoid it impeding on your posting space. 
    • So, if the width is 1000px, your height should be around 300px or so.
    • I'll show you how to size your images optimally below.
  • Color. Remember last week we went over color schemes, and I said to remember the acronym K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple, Sewist! Try to stick to 2-3 dominant colors in your header at most. 
  • Font. Font = text type.
    • Pick a commonly occurring color in your header images for your font (text) or, go with a color which matches the background you chose. Something that makes 'sense'.
    • Pick a font which is easy to read, but, this is where you can add a bit of personality. You want to avoid using 'fancy' fonts in your posts and post titles, but, with your header, you can definitely get creative. Fancy fonts in your posts are difficult to read and take longer to load on the webpage.
    • Stick to a maximum of two fonts in your header.
image courtesy of Quilt Matters
A close-up of one of M-R's quilts and a simple title head her blog.
Notice her simple background, and dark purple color scheme.
single font.
Notice: long and skinny header.
image courtesy of Cut to Pieces
Angela's clip art collage in the header is totally awesome
two fonts.
Notice: long and skinny header.

image courtesy of Diary of a Quilter
Amy's gorgeous collage of quilty goodness is really eye-catching.
two fonts.
Notice: long and skinny header.

image courtesy of Pretty Bobbins.
Gemma goes with a simple collage of work, with a pretty blue title.
single font.
Notice: long and skinny header.

Image courtesy of Stitched in Color
Rachel goes for a simple look here with a gorgeous shot of one of her quilts and a custom font title.
single font, two colors.
Notice: long and skinny header.

Image courtesy of Canoe Ridge Creations
Megan goes for really simple, but very stunning.
single font - and I would consider this two colors - grey and rainbow.
It works because the header is so simple - no graphics to compete with.
Notice: long and skinny header.
I'm going to show you two ways to make a custom header today.

1.0 Simple Single Image Custom Header:
If you have a photo of a quilt or an image you'd like to use as a background for your header, here's how to do it.

1.1. First we need to find out how wide we need to make our header image. Go to
Blogger.com Homepage
 - - - - click "Layout" in the dropdown menu beside your Test Blog title
 1.2. on the Layout page, select "edit" in the "Header" box

1.3. A pop-up window appears. At the bottom of the window, you'll notice the following phrase:
"Image will be shrunk to _____ px wide"

Take note of this number - we'll need it later.

Close out that window.

1.4. Now, we need to crop and resize our image we'll use for our header background. Since any picture you will have taken of one of your quilts won't be in the correct proportions, we'll need to both re-size and crop your pic.

Again, I'm going to use Pixlr.com/express

1.5. On Pixlr's website, select "Browse". Select your image to upload.
This screen appears:
Now we need to crop it.

1.6. Select the "Adjustment" tab. Select "Crop".
Now. We need to crop the image to be about 1/3 (one-third) the height for the width. So long and narrow.
Click "Apply".

1.7. This window appears:
Now we need to resize the image.

Select the "Resize" button.
This window appears:
Circled in orange above are the parameters we are going to need to change.

Note the width number - mine says 1600px - I need to change this number to the number we determined in Step 3. For me, that was 1020px.

Note that when you change the width, the height automatically changes because the "Keep proportions" tab is selected.

My height automatically changes to 351. Remember how I said we wanted the image about 300px tall? So I'm happy with this. I'm going to go with this - but if your pic was 250px+, that would be okay too! Once you're happy, click "Apply".

If your height is still too big, go back and re-crop your image, or, adjust the height manually by de-selecting the "Keep proportions" tab (but be wary here - it'll distort your image doing it this way).

1.8. Once you're happy with the size of your image, you can play with the editing functions in Pixlr. For me, I'm going to lighten this image up a bit.

1.9. Now let's add some text.

Select the Type button, and pop-ups of different type choices pop up. Choose the style you'd like to go with; type your blog title in the text box (circled in red below). Use the little white dots on the pop-up to change the size of your font, and grab the box frame your text is in to float it around. If you want two different fonts in the image, repeat this process twice.

you can edit the color using the color-chart (circled in orange) change the justification (circled in green )

1.10. When you're happy, click "Save". When saving, save at highest quality image (slide the bar all the way to the right):

Here's what I came up with:

2.0 Collage Custom Header:
2.1. In Windows, open Paint program.
See these little blue dots on the edges of your paintboard?

grab them and drag the paintboard out nice and wide and nice and low, like this:
then, save the blank canvas to your desktop. (Click File - Save and save as a .jpeg)

2.2. Head over to Pixlr.com/express.
Select "Collage".

This screen appears:

Now, we can select our layout and proportions for the blog header and adjust them accordingly to fit our needs. Remember: We want the collage to be long and narrow, so maybe something like this:
I changed the layout (circled red), spacing, roundess and proportions (circled orange) and the color (circled blue). Have fun with it, play with modifying multiple collage layouts, but keep it long and narrow.

2.3. Start adding images. Hover on each of the collage pieces so that a '+' sign appears, click, and add your quilty goodness to the frames. To the top frame, I'm going to add that blank white image I created in Paint (this'll be where my blog title will sit).

You'll notice that if you hover on your added images this little pop-up appears:
Select the paintbrush to edit your image, the arrows to rotate, and the 'x' to remove it.

You can also grab and drag your images from space to space.

To add my blog title to the image, I clicked on the paintbrush in the top frame and added text as we did above in step 1.9.

Here's where I'm at so far:

2.4. Re-size your collage:
Once you're happy with your collage, click "Finished".

In the screen that follows, click "Adjustment", then "Resize", and follow the instructions laid out above in 1.7, resizing your image to the pre-determined required width.

Click Save. Save image at maximum resolution.

Here are some collage headers I made up using this technique as some ideas for you (please excuse the image quality of the quilts - I was rushing and didn't edit each individual image like I would in real life, but you get the picture):

here, in Paint, I used the paint bucket tool to color the whole canvas black, then saved it as a .jpeg, then uploaded it as I would any other image.

3.0 Uploading your Custom Header: 

To upload your custom header:

3.1. In your Layout page, click Edit in the Header box. A pop-up appears:
Instead of Title and Description
Shrink to fit
From your computer (and upload your saved header image).

Click, "Save".

And here's what the all of my options would look like on my test blog:

I think I'm going to go with Option #3 for now :)

Next week:
Part 2 of the header series will be a bit more advanced. I personally use Microsoft Publisher and Adobe Photoshop Elements to do much of my work - next week I'll be talking about using Publisher to create a header using digital scrapbooking elements. I apologize in advance if you don't own Publisher or the like - it can be done in Word with the help of PowerPoint, but that is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

Today's tutorial should get you started though!
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For Pink Sakes! (wanna make a pink block for an awesome cause?)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hey all!
image courtesy of the

My dear friend Anna at Life Sew Crafty is having an awesome blog hop every two weeks on Saturdays May through July - with a very worthy cause in mind.

The history:
Anna's mother-in-law, Tina, was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2012. She’s been through radiation, chemo, and several surgeries since then. All of this has resulted in enormous amounts of medical bills, despite decent insurance. She’s such an amazing woman, smiling through all of the treatments and staying upbeat. She is a medical technician and gives back to her patients when her medical issues don’t keep her out of work.
The blog hop:
Anna is planning on hosting a blog hop called “For Pinks Sakes” every two weeks on Saturday from May through July. The participants will each make a pink block (specifications below). 
There are two ways to participate.
  1. If you have a blog, you can participate in Anna's Blog Hop by making a pink block (specifications below), posting about the block on your scheduled day, including a list of the other participants in the hop, a link to Anna's mother-in-law's donation page, and a link back to Anna's site. If you'd like to participate this way, please go to Anna's site {click HERE} to sign up to hop!
  2. Don't have a blog, or are too busy to participate in the hop? Okay! No problem! If you still want to support this amazing cause, you can!
    1. Send ME your pink block(s), and I'll send them on to Anna for you! Email me {here} with a pic of your finished block, and I'll give you my mailing address. I'll request that your block be sent to me by July 15, 2014.
    2. And/or you can donate to Tina's cause here (every penny helps!): www.gofundme.com/85ao94

Pink Block:

It can be any design (original or not), in pinks, from low volume to high, any size over 4” square. Anna will incorporate it into a quilt (or quilts!) that she plans to donate to the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion, in Grand Rapids, MI, where Tina has had all of her treatments.
Let's make a bunch of these pretty pink blocks for a fantastic cause, quilters! 
Let me know if you have any questions, and thank you so much for considering this worthy cause.
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Tempting Tangerines; TGIFF! The Beast is DONE!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I ask you:

Is there anything better than a squishy package waiting to be ripped open, just sitting there on your doorstep?


>insert cheesy grin here<

It feels like Christmas once a month when my Around the Color Wheel bundle from Marmalade Fabrics arrive; man, I love my mail lady (and Tammy!)!
YUMMY!! Makes me want an orange popsicle.
image courtesy of Marmalade Fabrics
I'm thinking of pairing them with some pinks with a Kona White background...what do you think? would make a pretty lap quilt...
image courtesy of Little House on the Valley
... man they look fresh together!

Speaking of fresh.

Fresh off the machine, that is. Look! My Beast is done:
I have been working on this quilt for over a year; I had my Gamboge Group mates in the Simply Solids Bee's help with 11 of the blocks.
(25) 21"x21" blocks
(6) Kona solids
105"x105" finished size
Pieced by myself and 11 of my Simply Solids mates
Machine quilted by Melissa @ Sew Shabby
Close-up: "Cool Beans" quilting pattern by Melissa @ Sew Shabby
... I didn't get a chance to photograph the backside today; I'll do that another day and post about it in the future. It's a simple pieced back with some gorgeous Joel Dewberry blocks :)

Today I'm (ecstatically!) linking up to TGIFF, being hosted by Blossom Hearts Quilts today!
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