Sunday, January 26, 2014

Just for the Yin & the Yang of It...A Mug Rug Set

I Almost Forgot to Post These!

Earlier last year, I started taking Yoga at a wonderful studio in Vancouver, WA. Walking into Shanti (peace) was like coming home to myself, for not only is its staff warm and welcoming, they also provide opportunities to explore your soul purpose, in addition to teaching you how to use your breath to support, understand, and move your body in ways that support you physically and emotionally. I started Yoga on my Dr.'s recommendation to help with chronic low back pain, and it has been immensely helpful.

My experiences at Shanti were a good reminder of Yin and Yang. As I've known and accepted for a long time, life is a field of opposites, both light and dark, and they complement each other. "They are essential to life," as my meditation teacher says and "Life is a dance of light and dark." From darkness comes illumination if we are willing to look for it. The ancient Yin and Yang are symbols for this, and are typically drawn with a circle of the opposite color in the "head" of the paisley motif, showing that light and dark are within each other. Because the two are identically shaped, they nestle into each other, completing the circle of life. For me they are a symbol of learning to be at peace with all that life offers up.
The Yin and the Yang of It Quilted Mug Rugs

For Valentine's day, I substituted a heart in each one, signifying the importance of learning to love all of life--the light and the dark! Then your soul finds peace. As quilted mug rugs, they made the perfect gift for my Yoga instructor, who at the tender age of 35 is one of the wisest women I know! She has blessed me with her powerful presence, her love, and her compassion and continues to do so every week. Blessings to you, dear Heather!

The mug rugs are super easy to sew since there are only two simple shapes to applique with fusible web. I did simple rows of quilting around the shapes, letting them run off the edge as necessary. Sized at just 6" x 9" each, the mug rugs take minimal fabric. You can use them as small wall hangings, too. I'm happy that others like my design--in the past two days, I've sold two of the PDF downloadable patterns for this design in my Craftsy pattern store: http://www.craftsy.com/user/153303/pattern-store

Be sure to check out the other PDF patterns in my Craftsy store. There are mug rugs for many seasons and reasons, plus placemats, table runners, quilts, and tote bags--over 75 in all! Have fun shopping!

Until next time,
Keep on sewing and smiling!
Barbara

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Oh My Stars...A Wonderful Quilt to Sew for Baby

If you are looking for a special design to sew for a baby, consider Oh My Stars! It makes a lovely wall quilt for baby's nursery, stitched up in pastels or in brighter colors. The quilt pattern is available as a downloadable PDF at my Craftsy pattern store: http://www.craftsy.com/user/153303/pattern-store
Oh My Stars Sampler Quilt by Barbara Weiland Talbert

My original design features nine different star blocks--great for a beginner to make as a sampler quilt while learning basic quiltmaking techniques.

Each block is surrounded by sashing strips and then assembled to make the center of the quilt top.




The fun and finishing touch is the piano key border with small star blocks at each corner.













 Last year, I received an email from a customer who had purchased my pattern and was making it for her new granddaughter, due in January 2014. Chris needed help because she wanted to change the design by adding a fourth row of star blocks and wondered about how much more fabric she might need. We had several lovely e-mail exchanges and I asked Chris to share photos of the quilt when she had finished it. Yesterday, she sent me photos of her beautiful quilt and said I could share them here with you! I love this first "atmospheric shot" she took outdoors. She did an outstanding job of choosing bright cheery colors and her workmanship is beautiful. I am sure her granddaughter will treasure this bit of stitched-up love!
Oh My Stars Sampler by Chris Wenzel 
This view more clearly shows all of the colorful fabrics Chris combined, plus the three extra (and different blocks she added, which are all in the bottom row (if my eyes are not tricking me). Star blocks are similar but different, so it's difficult sometimes to tell "which to which" as my cousin said when he was young! Kudos to Chris for this beautiful quilted keepsake! Lucky baby!


If you love applique quilts, you might want to consider this design. Barnyard Babies been a popular pattern with quilters looking for a baby quilt to stitch. The sashed setting is fun and fusible applique makes the blocks easy to stitch up. Of course, you can do hand applique if you prefer! As with all of my patterns, this one is also available at my Craftsy pattern store: http://www.craftsy.com/user/153303/pattern-store

Barnyard Babies by Barbara Weiland Talbert

As always, I would love to see any quilts you make using my patterns! My email address is featured in all of them!

Until next time, keep sewing and smiling!
Barbara

A Valentine's Mug Rug for Friends and Lovers

Here's my latest pattern offering--just in time to sew for Valentine's Day. What fun it would be to use these for a special Valentin'es Day Tea with your best friends! The design is so simple that stitching it up in batches takes no time at all! 

This design features the age-old folk-art symbol--the heart-in- the-hand. 
The "hand" is actually a pretty ruffled glove, trimmed with ruffled lace and ribbon. Fusible appliqué makes this little mug rug a cinch to sew in minutes! Make a set for yourself and several to send as sweetly stitched valentines to show your love for special friends--your love--your family.
Here's My Heart Valentine Mug Rugs
As with all of my patterns, this one is a downloadable PDF, which you can purchase from my Craftsy pattern store at: 
http://www.craftsy.com/user/153303/pattern-store
Happy stitching and Happy Valentine's Day!


Until next time,
Keep sewing and smiling!
Barbara

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Better Skater's Waltz Holiday Wreath

The more I looked at it, the Skater's Wreath I showed you in the previous post, the less I liked it. Back to the store for more greens plus a $10 wreath (originally $25). Now I'm truly happy with the results.
I call these "Good, Better, and Best."

Good

Here's the one I showed you in the tutorial posted a few days. Scroll down to the previous post for the how-tos and a different version of this idea.

Better

Here's the second version with more greens and another spray of poinsettia. Now it has better balance! I just tucked the pieces in behind the ones already "tied" to the skate and anchored the new ones to the old with a green twist tie. Much better!

Best

And finally, I added the wreath behind the skate,  "tying" the skate to the wreath with another twist tie. I used another long twist tie to fashion a hanging loop on the back. I think this is the best--with lots more presence on our front door!

What do you think? Actually, I'm happy with either Better or Best!

Hope you're not too cold--it is frigid here in Washington state--unusually so. BRRR. Reminds me of living in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Maine. I'll take rain over this, to be sure!

Wishing you happy holiday preparations!
Barbara

Friday, December 6, 2013

Skater's Waltz Holiday "Wreath"


Inspired by Pinterest

I've been collecting photos on Pinterest featuring wreaths and other door decorations for Christmas. Of all the ones I pinned, I most loved those featuring a vintage skate as the container for a winter "floral" arrangement. I pinned several and my Skater's Waltz combined ideas from several. I found a pair of skates in an antique mall in the summer, snatched them up, and tucked them away for Christmas crafting. I'm thinking about placing a green wreath behind it as a backdrop—but maybe I'll do that next year. Time is running out! I was surprised at how little time it took to complete not one, but two—one to give as gift. Directions below are for one skate. Have fun—there's still time to make one and enjoy it for the months of December and January!


Materials for One Skate

  • 1 vintage ice skate
  • 2-1/2 yards 3/8"-wide patterned Christmas ribbon for the "shoestrings"
  • Assorted floral or novelty sprays—you will need several so buy more than you think you will need; I used a spray of poinsettia, a large spray of greens and a smaller one, plus pieces from a second spray of poinsettia
  • Narrow ribbon for the hidden hanger

 Other Supplies and Tools


  • Tissue paper
  • Florist ties or green "twist ties"
  • Craft glue
  • Seam sealant such as Fray Check (not shown in photo below)
  • Scissors with sharp points; also an awl if you have one
  • Wire snips
  • Tapestry needle or other needle with a large eye
  • A piece of Styrofoam or heavy cardboard to hold the skates upright while you work is helpful, but I didn't have a piece and managed without. 


Assembly

1. Cut the narrow ribbon for the ties into four even lengths. To create points that will be easier to insert through the eyelets, apply craft glue to the ends and roll to a point. Allow to dry.  

2. Remove the original shoestrings and stuff the toe of each skate with tissue paper.  

3. When the ribbon points are dry, lace the skates until you reach the eyelets. Add more tissue paper to fill in the heel area partially.




4. Arrange floral stems as you like them and test them in the skate. They will probably be too long and you will need to cut away the excess with wire cutters (or an old pair of scissors). You can also bend pieces of the spray to create a pleasing and balanced look. This step is very experimental. Play with stem placement until you are happy with it and how it looks in the skate.




5. Use a green twist tie to hold the pieces in place. Don't just wrap the tie around and around; weave it in and around the stems to secure it in the desired position. Tie off.





6. Tuck the floral arrangement into the skate, along with additional tissue paper to hold it in place. You will secure the spray to the skate in step 9.

7. Support the skate in your lap or in a piece of Styrofoam or heavy cardboard and complete the lacing, adding more tissue paper if needed. Tie in a bow. Treat the cut ends with seam sealant, saturating about 1/2" of each end. Allow to dry thoroughly.
 When the ribbon ends are dry, cut the ends at an angle, through the "sealed" area.

8. To attach a ribbon hanger, use the points of a sharp scissors (or an awl if you have one) to make a hole in the back of the skate at about the center.

9. Cut an 18" length of the narrow red ribbon and use the tapestry needle to thread it though the hole. Wrap one end around the floral stems to secure it and tie a square knot, snugging it to the skate. Depending on the position of the twist tie, you might be able to pull the ribbon through it too--experiment!


10.  Decide how long you want the hanger and hold both ends of the ribbon together. Tie an overhand knot. Cut the ribbon ends at an angle and treat with seam sealant (Fray Check). You can use a bit of craft glue on the knot and around the hole here if you like. I did because my spray wanted to stray from its desired location in the skate.


11. You may decide at this time to add more floral items in the area below the floral spray to fill in and cover the upper edge for a more finished look. I glued leaves and ferns together and used a bull nose clip to secure them while they dried. Then I glued the pieces to leaves in the floral spray—just in case I want to change the sprays at a later date. The final touch was a pine cone that I removed from extra spray. I always buy extra sprays (at the dollar store if possible) so I have more material for fill-in.


Ta da! It's finished and ready to hang. If necessary, you can bend portions of the floral sprays for the look you want.


Lesson Learned

Now that the skate is hanging on the door, it "lists" to the right, and to me it looks a little off balance with the heavier spay to the right. It would be in better balance if I had located the large spray to the left in the finished skate. So, crafter beware. Work to keep your floral sprays positioned in the skate, with good balance to offset the toe down position of the skate when it's hanging. The one I made for a gift (shown below) does a better job of that.

Great for A Gift

Now you can make another one with the remaining skate to give a friend. For a less traditional look, try brightly colored whimsical "floral" stems, like the glitzy ones I found on sale. I gave my dear friend, Sheryl, the option to choose either skate as her Christmas gift—early—so she could use it. I made the glitzy one for her and that's exactly what she chose. When I told her that it was the one I made for her, she said, "You nailed it!" I loved it too and would have been fine with the glitzy one if she had chosen the one I made for me. 
Notice that I made a glitzy bow to fill in at the lower edge of the arrangement and glued it in place on the floral stems at the upper edge of the skate. I used wire-edged ribbon so I could shape the bow and tail pieces on the finished skate.


Hope you enjoyed this project tutorial.

Until next time,
Keep on sewing, quilting, and crafting!

And Happy Holidays!

Barbara







Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Holiday Apron for Mrs. Santa Claus


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house and the North Pole. Mrs. Santa is planning some great holiday entertaining so she can show off her new apron. You can too if you use my newest pattern to make your own holiday apron.  You can purchase "A Holiday Apron for Mrs. Santa Claus" in my craftsy pattern store. Click above or on the photo to get there.

The apron is trimmed with knit fleece at the neckline and ruffle. I took advantage of the stripe and cut the bib and ruffle with stripes running horizontally. However, you can cut it as one piece instead of two, using the pattern pieces provided in the pattern. You can use a stripe, a solid, or other holiday print of your choice. You can also eliminate the ruffle if frilly isn't your style. Directions are included for both versions with clear step-by-step illustrations and photos Pretty pearl buttons and buckle (or gold or silver if you prefer) add the final finishing touches. The one-size pattern will fit most. Why not make two while you're sewing--one for you and one to give away.


Use it for Holiday Decorating


 I posed the finished apron on my antique dress form and decided it made a  great holiday decoration for my sewing room. I don't use my project photo  samples, so I'll tuck the apron away with my holiday decorations when I  "untrim" my tree. I hope to finish decorating today. It's taking me longer due  to my back injuries, but it's a labor of love. I just have to pace myself!

This year I am looking at every ornament before hanging it and if I don't truly "love it," I am setting it aside to share with my grandbabies (now 3 and 5 and not really babies). They will be here in a few days to help decorate the small tree I bought when Kendall was a year old. It will be fun to watch them put the ornaments in their just right place!

In case I don't get back to blogging until after the holidays, I hope yours are cheery and bright, filled with laughter and love! The New Year is just around the corner and I have lots of ideas waiting to stitch and share!

Until next time,
Keep on sewing, quilting, and crafting!
Barbara

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Make a Jingle Trees Christmas Apron...

...just like this one my Grandma made! She made lots and lots of aprons in the 1950s for family and for her church bazaars. I can't remember ever seeing her without an apron. She loved to cook and she really loved sweets, so I could always count on cookies at her house. And when we moved a thousand miles away, we knew there would be a big box of grandma's sweet treats in the mail for Christmas! So, this pattern is a tribute to her. 

Not too long ago, my dear Mom called to ask if I wanted some of the linens from her hope chest. Of course I said yes, but I didn't know that Grandma's sweet Christmas apron would be in the box too. I just couldn't resist reviving the pattern for my readers at this special time of year. I don't have many of Grandma's things so it was a special surprise to receive it from Mom.

In tribute to Grandma's love for sweets, the pattern includes my favorite recipe for decorated sugar cookies. What fond memories this apron evokes of my loving and selfless Grandma!

There's still time to make one of these aprons for yourself to wear during the holidays. Like this and all of my patterns you'll find the PDF downloadable pattern in my pattern store at Craftsy.

Until next time,
Have fun stitching, quilting, and crafting!
Barbara