Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dubious + a Dozen Blocks

It's August. Preschool has not quite begun, the weather has been odd (cold,) and the twins still take two naps a day so I felt the call to make lots and lots of blocks!  A dozen to be exact. 
Rather pretty all together, aren't they? 

I'll give you a brief synopsis on each set of blocks… because apparently I can't make just one of ANY kind of block now that I look at the above picture.  Hmmm…

These little cuties are called Braided Star Blocks, and come in at 6.5" square. Adorable!
Paper pieced, quick, and great for using up scraps!  The pattern can be found at Wombat Quilts - in the long list of star blocks!  
For the month of August in our little CMQG Bee, Joanna M. asked for each one of us to make our favorite star block.  Well, I don't really have a favorite so searched the web until one struck my fancy.  This little block did just that, and since its so small I made two. I hope they do the trick, Joanna!

Our Guild is also doing a fun little Block Raffle this month, and we can enter up to two blocks.  The winning person will win ALL the blocks… so entering two just seemed like a good idea.  If you can't tell - blocks must be wonky log cabin, in blue and/or green.  Well I just happen to have loads of blue and green scraps - so they were easy!

Modern Maples how I love you.  These will also be heading to our Guild meeting to pay a debt to a kind soul who gave me a stack of small floral prints that I had been searching for.  Her fabric choices for me were perfect so I wanted to do something kind and helpful for her.  She's working on a Modern Maples quilt and I know for a fact she needed more browns and fuchsias… so I made these up - and I love how they look!  
Thanks again Nicole! 

Last but not least, are my Vice Versa BOM blocks! 
July AND August are done! The bottom blocks are called "Fox and Geese" while the top two are called "Arkansas Snowflake" blocks. I'll be honest, these were tricky blocks, and I know they're not perfect but you know what? Once its quilted and washed, ain't nobody gonna notice.  Therefore I choose to be happy and move on.  Again, the colors just do not translate from real life to digital.  They are much more jewel-toned, really.

So there you have it!  I would like to dedicate these dozen blocks to my YouTube App, who carries a large assortment of AudioBooks, and makes my sewing time twice as enjoyable.  I'm creating something with my hands all the while escaping to other worlds/times/places via a book.  My new favorite word from said stories: "Dubious" 
Thank you, Diana Gabaldon!

And thank you for stopping by!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

DIY Buffet Refinish - From Wood to White

Welcome! I know I haven't been around much lately in terms of blogging, but well, three small kiddos always seem to get dibs on my time.  Hmmm.
Must. Remedy. Soon!  I rather miss my little Pear Tree Stitching world!

Today I'd like to share my little furniture upgrade!  
I snatched this gorgeous Dixon-Powdermaker buffet from Craigslist for $160.  I know I know, seems high for a old piece of furniture, but it is big, SOLID, heavy, and oh so useful!  I'm glad I bought it - and even more so now that its repainted!

Here she is in all her original glory.  Chipped, tape-marked, scratched, filthy, and generally grimy.  Gorgeous brass handles too.  

{Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a DIY furniture guru, nor have all the correct/proper answers in refinishing old furniture.  I'll tell you what I did, and it worked for me… but there are probably numerous other ways/methods out there as well. Pinterest and Google are your friend, when doing something like this.  Remember that.}

White and modernized!  I love the lines of her; the fancy trim at the bottom, the scroll feet, the carved doors and sides - and the wavy drawers.  Now, that makes for a much more intricate cleaning and painting process, but its worth it in the end to do a proper job and not try to do the whole project in one day.  This project, start to finish, took me over a month.  Keep in mind I only got to work on it if all these factors aligned:
- Twins were napping
- Big brother doing quiet time or playing well outside 
-Not too humid or raining (I worked on it in our garage.)

My process was as follows:
Remove all hardware, remove doors, scrape old glued down felt from top three drawers, Sand inside of drawers, remove two shelves, remove drawers, CLEAN all surfaces to be painted, use Liquid Sandpaper on all surfaces to be painted (easier than using actual sandpaper due to all the curves and grooves,) spray paint drawer handles dark grey (4 coats over about a weeks time,) use wood filler to fill in all scrapes, nicks, gouges, dings. 

Sand the top with a belt sander, wipe every surface with a tack cloth to remove dust and debris, apply primer to all drawer fronts, doors, and the buffet Itself, purchase four new pulls from Anthropologie, sand all surfaces again lightly, clean all surfaces with tack cloth.

For the actual white paint I used Sherwin Williams brand CABINET and DOOR paint, which we had left over from our old Condo.  I figured it would be a good strong finish to withstand everyday use.  And so far I'm very pleased with it!

After priming etc… PAINT.  I used a thin low loft roller on the top and sides, and a smaller roller everywhere else I could.  A foam brush helped with all the grooves.  I didn't care for how a bristle brush stroke looked, so I stayed away from brushes.
Let dry for a few days and paint EVERYTHING again.

Install newly painted drawer pulls and new pulls.  Install drawers, and doors.
Lug into house and ENJOY!

A few more tidbits...

Mod Podge is my new fav crafty item!  I added fabric to the top drawers to cover the yucky previous glue-covered wood.  After reading a few different methods of permanently lining drawers, I decided on the following method, which I cannot find the original source to:

Measure inside of drawer.
Get a piece of fabric about an inch taller and wider than said drawer measurement.
Cover your kitchen table with Wax Paper and tape to your table to protect the table and so the fabric pulls up easily once dry.
Lay out fabric and apply a GENEROUS amount of Decoupage (aka ModPodge) with a wide foam brush.  Seriously, go crazy here - use a heavy hand.
I went thru 1.5 jars of the stuff.
Let dry over night and wake up to a laminated looking piece of fabric that is stiff, sealed, and perfect to line a drawer!
Draw the exact dimension of drawer onto the sealed fabric and cut with scissors. Test size by placing in drawer, trim again as needed so it lays nice and flat.
Apply another thick coat of ModPodge to the actual inside of drawer, then lay sealed fabric on top - smooth with hand, DVD case, Tupperware Lid, or anything to get the bubbles out.
Apply one final coat of ModPodge being especially careful to get the edges and corners thoroughly.
Let dry another night and they're done!  I'm really happy with my fabric choices and how they turned out!

So our lovely new buffet sits in our living room and acts as changing table, kid book storage, clothes dresser for the twins, and craft storage as well. Ain't nobody got time to run upstairs to the nursery every time a new onesie or a pair of socks are needed.  
For now, I need handy, uncluttered, and sturdy.  Mission Accomplished, I'd say.

In all my ModPodge hysteria, I also covered the two shelves on either side of the buffet - they were just plain ol' wood - but now look super cute!

A fresh Hydrangea bloom from the backyard and my precious Poinsettia mini quilt finished the space and makes me smile every time I'm changing a diaper or looking for a fresh pair of baby pants.  Seriously.

As projects go - this took forever - but I'm so happy with the results, I will overlook the MONTH it took me to finish it.  Remember, I'm a quilter and sewist… not a furniture guru.  
I will not be attempting to revamp another piece of furniture for… well… forever, if I can help it.  Unless all it involves is a can of spray paint.  THAT I could handle.  Truly.

And here she is in real life.  Changing pad with a bin of diapering essentials for quick access.  If the girls can be potty-trained by next summer, the vase of Hydrangea will be returning for good.  

If you have further questions, I'll try to answer them via the comments section so everyone can benefit, if possible.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Circle of Geese - July's Bee Block!

If you follow me on Instagram (I go by, er, PearTreeStitching,) you will have noticed I am a fan of a block called "Circle of Geese."  Its a great little paper pieced block created by Christina over at The Sometimes Crafter.  My month for the Columbus MQG Bee is July - and you guessed it - I'll be requesting this gorgeous block from my fellow bee participants!

Here is the sample block I made up a few weeks ago - and have been staring at ever since:

I've had some time to consider parameters when asking ya'll to create this block so here goes nothing.

  1. If you've never paper pieced before, do NOT freak out.  Excellent tutorial here and here.  Also check out YouTube.  I repeat, DO NOT freak out and become overwhelmed before even starting.
  2. For the geese, choose your two favorite colors and go scrappy, if possible.  Each fabric should read as a single color.  Saturated colors are ideal - but not mandatory.
  3. Divide your two colors to each half of the circle of geese, as shown.
  4. For the background fabric, use a "mostly neutral" print… text, geometric, solid, floral - take your pick.  I do love Modern prints as I've been hoarding this MamaSaidSew newsprint for years… and finally chopped into it!  So use what you think will look good!
The completed block should measure 12.5" square (unfinished.)

Now for a few tips on paper piecing that are somewhat important, and will make your paper piecing experience hassle-free, hopefully.  The tutes will probably mention all of this, but I'll reiterate just in case:
  1. Plain old printer paper works fine, do NOT go out and buy a product that's specially made for paper piecing.  Seriously.
  2. I'll request the "Clockwise" circle of geese… but if you do the "Counter Clockwise" instead, I won't fuss.
  3. Check the 1" square on the printout to make sure it's EXACTLY 1".  Do it.
  4. Change your stitch length to itty bitty bitty, like on my Janome, the length of 1.0 is perfect for paper piecing. The only shorter line is 0, which is not moving.  Looks like a perforated line, as it should, and tearing it away will be easy.
  5. Start with a brand new needle.  
  6. Backstitch at beginning and end of each piece.
  7. Stitch about 1/8" into each seam allowance.  
  8.  Cut each piece of fabric LARGER than you think you'll need.  There will be a bit of waste, but it will save you from having to start over… since itty bitty bitty stitches cannot be ripped out (easily.)  Ahem - trust me.  ;)
If you love this block, check out more inspiration on Flickr

And because I am currently addicted to mini quilts - I blew up the pattern size to 125% and created this:

All of the prints are from various DS Quilts Collections (from Joanns.)  I am rather in love with how it turned out!  I chose some simple straight line quilting that echoes the two short sides of each, um, goose.  Twenty Four total lines make a pretty little geometric design, don't you think?

This mini measures about 15" square and the background is Essex Linen.  Yum.
Aurifil Cotton Mako Thread in 28 wt (thicker than the 50 I use for piecing) makes distinct quilting lines, as I wanted to show how geometric a circle of geese can be. 

Are you a fan of paper piecing?  If you've never tried it, why? 

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Vice Versa June blocks + a bee block

 Summertime is in full swing around here, which means fun with friends!  So I recruited my little guy plus his buddy who happens to live right across the street.  
These are my two June blocks for the Vice Versa BOM, and I Loooooove how they look!  They're called "Capital T" blocks and the usual layout (right) and its inverse (left) are just brilliant!  You can see my previous months blocks here, if you're so inclined.

 Why hello there, handsome boys!

 For the Columbus MQG bee Ann asked for an "X + Plus" block so here's a very scrappy version!  All out of my scrap bin - yippee!  A very easy tutorial can be found over at BadSkirt.  If you like a bigger block, like the one I made which is 12.5" unfinished, here are the fabric cutting adjustments.  Super easy - and I could see one huge block for a baby quilt... I'll have Ann get on that math for me!  hehe

 And for good measure - a glimpse into how we spend most of our summer afternoons and/or evenings.  A mob of babies consisting of my girls plus little sister of the above adorable neighbor boy.  We love our neighbors!  

A new bag and a freshly painted buffet are coming up soon for show and tell! 
What fun things (sewing or otherwise) do you plan for this summer?
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Vice Versa BOM update + a Bee Block

It's May which means I've completed TEN blocks for the Vice Versa Block of the Month (BOM) Club via GenXquilters.  Only six more to go then its time to put the quilt together!  I'm really enjoying the process and I rather adore these Kona colors together!  Not to mention the traditional blocks and their inverse!  AnneMarie did an amazing job designing these blocks and I seriously cannot wait to see them all come together.  You can see the final quilt layout here, just scroll down a bit.  Unique and modern, I love it!

Here are May's blocks.  So purty!

A little behind-the-scenes of this photo shoot.  Our backyard.  The sun was absurdly bright so I chose a shaded grassy spot, just a stones throw from the sandbox.  I've had some problems really capturing the colors.  The colors, in real life are charcoal grey, raspberry pink, jade green, plumb, and mustard (or perhaps gold) yellow.  I cannot quite edit the colors to resemble the real thing… Maybe a cloudy day will produce better results.

If you follow me on InstaGram (PearTreeStitching) you've already seen this fun block.  Its a flying geese mash-up designed by Andrea for the month of May as a part of the Columbus MQG bee.  Everyone was to create this block using either warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows) or cool colors, as I did using blues, greens, and purples, with a dark center. This block measures 16.5" and contains sixty-six (66!) pieces.  Yes, thats 22 flying geese.  

Andrea, just wait until July, my month.  I will try to return the favor of an equally complicated block!  

Another sunny day, another difficult time capturing the colors.  But the blooming flowers make up for it.  This is our front walk way, looking out toward the street. The Irises by the mailbox are amazing - thanks to Jac for giving us the bulbs!  The tray of perennials on the right have been planted and mulch is being laid.   Yay for summer!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and Happy Memorial Day!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

12 Months Old. ONE YEAR!

{Mckenna  &  Summer}

Well we survived the first year with twins, and big brother Eli survived too, just barely.

The girls are *so close* to walking on their own.  Summer can stand by herself.  They love pizza, looking out windows, and swinging.  They do not care for sleeping through the night or growing out of size 9 month clothing.  

At their recent 12 month checkup Summer is finally the bigger of the two, at seventeen pounds and 28" tall.  Mckenna is sixteen and a half pounds and 27.5" tall.  Small, but healthy!  They're in the 7th-11th percentiles - as usual.

We experienced the "terrible threes" with Eli, instead of "terrible twos."  I think now that he's 4… we're on the upswing.  He's almost finished with his first year of preschool, can write his name, count to 25 (only skipping a number here and there) and can sing most of the Alphabet, with J and K swapped.  Yes, its adorable.  

I always get asked, "How do you manage so well?!" I presume they mean with twin babies and a preschooler.  
Here's how:

By the Grace of God.  
With extra helpings of patience.
With the help of local Family and Friends.
Lots of coffee.  Iced or otherwise.

And by knowing this too shall pass.  Whether its two crying babies while I help Eli do this or that.  Nursing one baby while the other screams because she wanted to go first. 
And then there's the Looooong process of getting everyone in the car for an outing which takes no less than 30 minutes of changing diapers, grabbing snacks, wiping faces, finding socks, finding shoes, going potty, coaxing Brother off his bike and into his carseat.  

I'm still in awe that I've been given charge over these adorable, loud, smiley, sometimes infuriating, kidlets.  

Here's to another year of surviving.  Maybe even thriving.

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, May 5, 2014

Vice Versa BOM - April

I love these blocks!  I finally figured out my exact perfect scant 1/4" seam thanks to GenX Quilters great little "how-to!" The blocks turned out to exactly 12.5" square! It's a miracle. Seriously. And don't even get me started on nesting seams. Takes a bit of planning when pressing, but man it makes sewing rows together a breeze - no pinning!  Google it, you won't be sorry. ��


This was the beginning of one of the blocks, adorable in itself, measuring in at just 6.5".

Once I finish May's blocks I'll be sure to lay them all out and take a group picture!  
I think this may become my favorite quilt ever!

Have you ever participated in a Block of the Month (BOM) Club?  Did you enjoy it?… were new skills learned?  This is my first ALL SOLIDS quilt.  Woah.

Thanks for stopping by!