Monday, March 30, 2015

My recent secret project - my custom Girl Scout Tablecloth

So you may or may not have guessed that my life right now has been consumed by tons of these Girl Scout cookies.  Being the troop Cookie Mom (as well as the troop leader) is a lot of work and takes a ton of time but it is so worth it.
Most of Sunshine's deliveries are done, we only have a couple of people to meet up with, so this pile is down to almost nothing. My troop has also already had 2 cookie booths, at a local business and at a mall, and we have one more to go this Saturday.  They are rocking the sales and we've already far succeeded our troop goal but I'm also ready to be done with it for this year. 

There is one project that has been worked on and finished recently and I wanted to write this post Friday but me coming down with a really nasty cold prevented that.  Now that I'm feeling semi-human it is time to show it off.

Do you remember me showing you this pile of fabrics a couple of weeks ago?  Do you happen to notice that they look very similar to the colors of the boxes above? Might these fabrics have a Girl Scout theme going?
Why Yes they do.  That stack of solid turned into this. What did I hear you saying?  You can't tell what it is?
Well.....that big 9 yard piece of Fern Green got cut and hemmed on all 4 sides.  First a single fold hem.
And then a double fold hem.
Nice and neat. Then the other solids were sliced into strips and attached together (sorry no picture was taken).
After that, I made this with a big paper template (thanks to hubby) and a bit of simple machine applique.

You see...for our cookie booths I wanted a very cool and unique tablecloth for our troop.  This is the one that I could have bought from our local Girl Scout council.
It is just ok but my biggest issue with it is that it wouldn't be usable for any other event we take part in.  We already have a Pancake Breakfast/Food Panty collection/Bake Sale scheduled for the fall plus some other events are in the works. So a custom design was in order.  My table that we are using at the local business cookie booth is 6 foot long but the one at the mall that they provide is 8 foot long so that added a little bit more calculating to the design.
I solved that little problem fairly easily.  Do you see those faint Green stitch lines on the sides?  I didn't think so.  That was the point.
You see....I added velcro to the extra length on the underside of the ends.
When attached to each other, the length is instantly the shorter size needed for the 6 foot table.
This is what it looks like from underneath.
The large 24" high trefoil was attached to the front panel of solid color strips as such.
Ta Da! Here is the finished custom table cloth for my troop. My girls are Daisies now, represented by the Blue at the bottom, but we will continue to use this as they advance through the levels...Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and finally Ambassadors.
The front panel attaches to the top/side piece with velcro.


The back panel attaches the same way.
So now you're probably wondering why I didn't just sew the panels to the top/side piece.
Our troop will also be participating in upcoming local parades such as the one for the 4th of July so we'd also need a parade banner.
The front panel and back panel can be velcro-ed to each other and we'll just add a pole inside and viola...instant parade banner.
To deal with the extra length on the front panel when it is on a 6 foot table I added a clear snap and folded it around to the sides. I didn't need to do that to the back panel since that isn't as visible plus we'd need to access the stock stored underneath.
I also added clear snaps to the corners so that one can't see the cookie stash hiding underneath (plus the council has a strict rule about extra boxes and empty boxes not being visible under the table.
Here is a simulated 8 foot table view.
I'm super proud of how this idea turned out and it has already gotten a lot of praise at our 2 cookie booths held so far.
At the mall cookie booth Friday night the couple of other Girl Scout leaders that saw it wanted to know where I got it.  You should have seen the shocked look I got when I told them that I made it.  It really was an easy project to construct and it will serve my troop well for many years to come.

And so you can see the tablecloth in action, here is a picture from out 1st booth at the local business.
And here is a picture from our mall cookie booth this past Friday.
Who can resist buying cookies from those cute faces?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Boxes galore

This is what I spent my day with yesterday....a whole lot of cases of Girl Scout cookies.
No this is not what Sunshine sold, these are the cookies for my entire troop.
My mud room is now temporarily home to the cookies for our 1st cookie booth that is on Sunday.
Here are the cookies that Sunshine sold.  Tonight we'll start sorting them by order and then the delivery fun begins.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tiny Tote Bags

 This week I did a bit of sewing for a project for my Daisy scout troop.

Instead of earning patches this first year of scouting, my Daisies are earning petals for their Daisy patch, each petal representing one part of the Girl Scout Law. Each petal has a flower and fun story associated with it. This week's lesson was about Mari the Marigold who represents being "Responsible for what I say and do". 

While researching ideas for each of the petals, I came across the Zinkie Project idea. Basically they have a small item that they are responsible for and they have to bring it back to the next meeting.  These are our Zinkies.
 I wanted to make something that the girls could keep their Zinkies in so I hunted around in my stash and found this half yard of adorable fabric that I didn't remember that I had.  Perfect!
 Since the petals all have a flower friend associated with it, this ties in well with the whole garden theme.
I sewed together a basic unlined tote bag. Without the handle, they finished at 3 3/4 inches square.
Here are all 12 done.  I didn't have enough of the 1st rainbow fabric for the handles so I found another one that worked just as well.
The little Zinkie fit inside perfectly.
They are all filled with their charges and were ready for our meeting.
They look so cute peaking out of the totes in this photo.
I held off bringing these out at the meeting until the end. My troop is very curious about what we are doing next and I didn't want to spoil the surprise.  Because I wasn't able to have them all one color and I knew there would be a little drama with those that wanted Pink (practically all of them did), I laid the totes out on the table so they couldn't see inside and they took turns picking a tote.  Yes there were a few girls not quite happy with the color Zinkie that they got but I think it was a also a good lesson on learning to be happy with what you receive. 

The girls also received a small journal notebook where they could write about their adventures with their Zinkies. It will be interesting to see at our next meeting if they all come back and find out just what sort of fun these little Zinkies had.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

1000 Quilt Inspirations - a book review

I recently had the opportunity to review a book being released soon, April 1st according to Amazon.
I didn't know what to expect when I received this book so I had no preconceived notions of what it might contain between its covers other than it would be inspiring.
This book is a compilation of pictures of a vast variety of quilters' works. For those looking for patterns/instructions for making your own version of the quilts featured, this book doesn't provide any of that.  It is simply pictures with the makers names listed.
The pictures are divided up into general sections based on overall theme.  Here are a few examples from the Traditional Designs chapter.
(All pictures are shared with the permission from the publisher, Quarry Books)
 by Mark Markworth, USA
by Robbie Payne, USA

These are a couple of examples from the Modern Designs chapter.
 by Geri deGruy, USA
by B J Adams, USA

The Pictorial Art Quilt Designs chapter has some fun quilts featured including this one.
by Tonya A Brown, USA
by Martha Ressler, USA

And lastly the final chapter is Abstract and Conceptual Art Quilt Designs.
by Marianne R Williamson, USA
by Carolyn McMillan, Canada

In conclusion, if you are looking for a lot of inspiration, both on block or overall quilt layout and creative color groupings, this book certainly has a boatload of that.  There are some color combinations I want to explore myself inspired by the quilts in this book.
This books is available for pre-order so if it is one that you just must have on your bookshelf, you can place your order and it will soon arrive in your hands.
Thank you to Quarry Books for the chance to view and review this book.  It definitely has opened my eyes to some very interesting and out-of-the-box ideas that I look forward to testing out on my own.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Stunning Stitchin Sunday - the Tuesday edition

Life is busy. Just too busy.
Girl Scout cookie season has me swamped. This weekend I will be picking up a couple of hundred CASES from my local council and get them distributed to my girl's parents.  Then Sunshine and I have the task of delivering to her customers. We also have 3 upcoming booth sales events that I have to finish prepping for.  Thankfully a lot of that work will be a one time thing and I'll be able to reuse the items for future years. 
I wanted to actually post this on Sunday but I just ran out of time.  I certainly didn't want you to miss out on all this quilty goodness so you get to enjoy it today instead.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Four patches and a non quilty project

The four patches are done.
Unfortunately I have to put them aside for a few days while I complete a different project with a deadline looming sooner.

I bet you are wondering what I'm going to do with these fabrics.
All I will say at the moment is No they aren't going to be made into a quilt.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The next 100 Good Wishes Quilt

There hasn't been a huge ton of sewing going on here lately, it has been a really busy week, but I was able to get all of the blocks cut for the next 100 Good Wishes Quilt that I'm making for a friend's daughter.
I always sort the pieces by color to see what I have to work with.  It really helps when figuring out what to use for sashings. 
The pattern she picked is an easy one so this will go together quickly.  Yesterday I was able to sew together all of the pairs and I should be able to turn all of those into 4 patches before the day is over.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Test blocks and Stunning Stitchin Sunday

I've had an idea for a new block swirling around in my head for a while and I finally needed to test it out to see if it would work.
It will be a layer cake friendly quilt pattern.
While the kids were home from school a few days on winter break, I pulled out some leftover bits of Kate Spain's Terrain, cut some pieces and set to work stitching them together.
My first attempts didn't quite turn out the way I had envisioned.
The math didn't equate into a cool new block the way I thought it would.
So I revised my original plan and yesterday I spent a  few hours trying again, this time using some prints Kate Spain's Fangando line.  These test blocks came out much better and although I only had 7 fabrics to use this go around, I can see how great it will look using all the fabrics in an entire layer cake.
I made 25 blocks for a test quilt and figured out the layout so now I'm going to get them sewn together into a quilt top.  

Since I know that my vision will work, I now want to make the real pattern sample and am trying to decide what fabric line to use.  
Do I use a layer cake that I already have from a line released a year and a half ago?
 It has just the right feel that I'm going for.
Or should I really use a new fabric line?
If so I'll have to hunt down the perfect one. 

Once I get that decision made, I'll be onto writing up the official pattern.  
I've decided that it is going to my first pattern release for sale
I've got the pattern cover design underway and am anxious to see how it will turn out.

I don't expect that finding a few quilt bloggers to test the pattern for me will be too hard. :)
If one of those testers might be you, just let me know and I'll put you on the list.
I'm not sure how many testers I'll have yet.
Maybe I'll have a blog hop once those are made.

Up next will be deciding how to get it into the hands of those that want to make it too.
Do I list it on Craftsy? Etsy? Both?
Do I have it hosted by Bigcartel?
And how do I get it into actual quilt shops or into the hands of the big distributors, if I want to go that route?

It is a lot to research and figure out but I want to do this right so I am willing to take my time, find all the answers and then make the decision that is best for me and my future customers.
I'd certainly love to hear where you look for and purchase most of your patterns from.
Of course there is also some very pretty stitching to share with you today.  There isn't as much available on the blogs to showcase in part I think because of QuiltCon happening the week but that is ok too. I'm betting that with the continued cold and snowy weather, there will be lots more quilting happening.

Enjoy!