Always Watching

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I was so excited for cooler weather that I started scanning Pinterest for fall decorating ideas in September.  When it was still in the upper 80’s around here.  Like way hot.

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In fact, I got to it and bought pumpkins at the state farmers market and started decorating inside the house.  I knew it was a bad idea to put them outside, but I figured they’d be good for a while inside.

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Well, as of this week I am down to just a handful of pumpkins as they have all started to rot.  I am sure I was supposed to do something like wax them or whatever, but really, I’m not worried.  It just means an excuse to decorate again.

Anyway, in the midst of my prowling on Pinterest, I found a cute tutorial about making an eyeball quilt block from Happy Sew Lucky.  You can click here to see the tutorial and the inspiration for my Always Watching pillows.

When I saw the blocks and tutorials I started to wonder if I could do something similar using the Creative Grids Log Cabin and Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tools.  I didn’t want a whole quilt, but I thought it would be kind of fun to have a few sets of eyes looking at you from the couch when you came in the front door.  Or greeting you at bedtime.

I cut strips from black and white fabrics, and for this particular pillow I used the 6″ Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool and followed the instructions for strip size and for cutting the center block, or the pupils.

Usually when making Log Cabin blocks I make sure that as I add strips I rotate the blocks in the same direction, but in this case I wanted the eyes to be a mirror image of each other, so I rotated one clockwise and the other clockwise.  Following the directions on the tool, I trimed to Round 1.

Continuing on to Round 2, I added black, as I wanted my eyes to be very simple- just an eyeball with a pupil.  I’m thinking I might do it again and add an iris, but that may be a project for another day.

I like crazy eyes, so I just turned them around a bit and added just enough black all the way around to make a 12 1/2″ pillow cover.  I played with the idea a little more and made some not-so-scary eyes, which were also fun.

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Again, the goal was to keep it pretty simple, so I layered the block with a piece of batting and just quilted around the pupil and the inside of the eyeball.  I then threaded my loose threads to the back and tied them off.

I wanted to make these as pillow covers because I like the idea of being able to change out the pillows around the house, but don’t like the idea of storing actual pillows that aren’t in use.  Aint nobody got space for dat.

I made my own pillow forms as I have plenty of materials around to do it.  I just have to remember what size I am supposed to make the pillow covers.  Hence a blog post.

I picked up this super cute Halloween fabric at Intown Quilters when I was in Atlanta recently.  I didn’t want the back of my pillows to be boring, and this was perfect!  I originally thought I wanted to do an inset zipper like you would do for a pocket in the lining of a bag, but in the end decided that it would be easier to get the cover on and off of the pillow if the zip went from edge to edge.  I had already cut the fabric into 12 1/2″ when I decided to do this, so it wasn’t exactly right after the zipper was installed, but it was good enough.  Next time I would cut the back to be 12 1/2″ wide and 13″ long for seam allowance in the zipper.  I cut the back fabric straight across at 3 1/2″ down from the top in order to install the zipper.  I used a 14″ nylon zipper that was easily sewn through and cut to fit.  I then used 2″ binding to finish it off, sewing the binding to the back of the pillow cover by machine and to the front by hand.  It took an afternoon to make all three pillows covers and the pillow forms, so I feel like I could knock out a few more pretty easily.  I think I need at least two more, but I really think I will end up going for seven in the end.  Maybe next year!

 

A Banner Halloween

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I’ve always loved Halloween, although I think the reason I like it so much mostly has to do with the weather!  I also like funny costumes and fall festivals complete with trunk-or-treating and donuts on a string.  But I really love Halloween decorations.  Not really the kind that try to be seriously scary or gory or whatever.  Just the fun stuff.

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I especially like Halloween decorations that have a vintage flair, and was drawn to some fun fabric I found on clearance at a shop called Stitching It Up in Cedar City, Utah.  I have  been to this shop a few times over the years, and I follow Kim on Instagram.  The shop is lovely and covers lots of stitching joy- quilting as well as needlework.

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I was really excited about the fabrics you can’t actually see very well in the photo.  They are printed Halloween banners with a gothic text style, and when I saw them inspiration struck.

While I love holidays for a lot of reasons, the biggest one is that it gives me an excuse to make stuff for our kids and grandkids.  First of all, I don’t think we celebrate enough in life.  There is so much good in this world.  So many things to enjoy and be happy about.  And secondly, let’s be real, as much as there is to be happy about, life can be hard.  Maybe things are tight financially.  Maybe work or school hasn’t been going as well as one had hoped.  Maybe there are unexpected physical challenges.  And maybe everything is just fine.  In any case, I am grateful for little opportunities to do things for our kids to try to let them know that I love them.  That I am thinking of them.  That I want them to have a little something extra to smile about.

So, why not some Halloween goodies?  Just for fun.  There were just enough banners on the fabrics to accomplish my goal, so when I got back from Utah I started plotting.

The first set of banners weren’t quite big enough for what I wanted to do, so I added a striped fabric to the bottom of each strip of lettering before loading them onto Juan.  I plotted out the desired shape on the computer and stitched around each letter.  It took a little longer than I expected because I wasn’t sure how to plot it such that it didn’t stop between each letter.

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The other banner had the shape I wanted, and it was just a matter of stitching the layers together.  I was glad to have strips of batting left from other projects that were just the right size.  It is always good to me to find a use for leftover batting, although I usually cut it into smaller bits and use it to dust and clean.

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After they were stitched out on the longarm, I used pinking shears to cut around each shape.  I didn’t want to make a double-fold bias tape to connect the letters because I felt like it was just too much work.  So I cut a strip of fabric using a pinking blade on my rotary cutter and then using a glue stick, glued the letters into place.  I was really worried I was going to accidentally put them in the wrong order and spell something wrong!  Then I took the banners to the sewing machine and just stitched through the top strip to hold everything in place more permanently.

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Once these were finished, I packed up a few other things- some paper banners and little bit of candy, along with some Halloween themed books for the littles.  It’s quite the stack of boxes when I put these things together, and it does my heart good to know what that stack represents.  I love my peeps more than I can tell them, so I try to show them instead.

Years ago when I was a young mother, I was at a friend’s house when she received a package from her mom.  It was nothing special- just a small box of candy with a silly note.  I asked my friend about it and she said that it was from her mom, and that she sent things like that all of the time. It stuck with me, probably more than it stuck with her.  I knew it was something I wanted to do for my kids when they grew up and moved away from home.  I don’t do it as often as I would like, but I try to do it from time to time, and holidays give me a good excuse.

These pics from our son and his wife that were taken in their little college apartment made me smile.  I love holidays.