Labeling your work

I’ve always toyed with the idea of putting labels on my quilts. Being a fan of antique and vintage items, I wonder about the history associated with such things. Who had it first? When was it made? Why did they buy it? Or was it a gift? How long did they have it? Why did they get rid of it? WHO made it? It’s endlessly fascinating to me. Most of the time my questions go unanswered.

I want to put the year I made a quilt on the quilt. I’m hoping they’ll be around long after I’m gone and it would be neat for the owner to at least know how old it is. One day one of my quilts could be vintage! Is that wishful thinking or what?

I have this old, patchwork quilt top. Please excuse the picture, it’s the only one I could find. I’ve packed the quilt top in a bin somewhere and couldn’t locate it for a new photo.

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I discovered this quilt top in my grandmother’s stuff after she passed away and that was in 2004. I can only guess that her sister, Gertie, made it because my sister and I both have patchwork quilts also made by her. I LOVE this quilt top! It has the most hideous, wonderful fabrics. They’re so ugly, it makes them fantastic. It was probably fashioned from scraps and simply as something to cover up with because the pattern has no rhyme or reason. Way back when my grandmother was young, that’s what people did. They made what they needed. Oh, how I wish I knew the details surrounding this piece.

Why was it never completed? Was Gertie a procrastinator like me? Did a “better” quilt divert her attention? Maybe her sewing machine broke down and she couldn’t get it fixed? Sadly, there’s no one I can ask. This quilt top could be anywhere from 50 to 70 years old!

Labels are so necessary!

A couple years ago, I looked into pre-made options. Alas, I would’ve had to order too many to make it worth it. And with the year being on them, it wasn’t logical. So the idea of labels was put on a back burner. Until recently, when I began to actually FINISH my quilts.

I follow a few different blogs and one of them covered labels just today. Jodie (she spells her name the same as I do! Rare, I know 🙂 ). http://homesweetdreaming.com/about/

Now that I’m beginning to complete quilts and would like to attempt selling them, the matter of labels is upon me once again. I’ve considered iron-on Canadian flags since I’m Canadian and am always so thrilled when I find something Made in Canada 🙂 002

But I think the year is important too. My initials, not so much. No one will know what they stand for. JLH Quilts. . . . I like it. However, I’m never going to be a huge corporation, pumping out hundreds or thousands of quilts.

So despite my impressive collection of embroidery floss (picked up at a garage sale!), it may be pointless to do so much hand stitching.

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Althoughhhhh, there’s a product out there, printable fabric sheets. I’ve only just begun researching them, so I can’t recommend brands or even comment on how well (or not) they work. I may give them a try, it would be faster than hand stitching, which I could save for special quilts because I do enjoy the idea of coordinating threads to the quilt.

046. . . . I know why I have so much trouble focusing! Too many ideas!

I also Googled ‘make your own fabric labels’ and found this handy video. Of course, it’s not the only one and I thought I was simply putting a link in my post. Imagine my surprise when it showed up as the video! (Am I even allowed to do this? If someone knows that I’m NOT, please tell me).

 

My head is swirling now with label ideas. On something as large as a quilt, it wouldn’t be awful to have more information than just a date and initials. But would a printed label fade after so many washings and end up useless? Stitching might be the best?

Decisions, decisions! Whatever will I do? 🙂

 

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Another quilt completed

For me (a life long procrastinator), it’s odd to finish things! I’ve been trying very hard to turn over a new leaf (like every year) and complete my projects from beginning to end. Of course, I have a mountain of work to tackle. My sewing room (and my mind!) is cluttered with half accomplished items.

But if I’m ever going to make money at my craft, I need to get my act together. Passion for what I do isn’t enough. Organization and follow-through are also vital. Don’t misunderstand me, I have finished stuff in the past, it’s just more common not to. I get stuck on how to attach handles, or how to bind an edge, or I simply get bored and move on.

However, just this morning, I finished a second, experimental quilt. And when I was done, I had to stop and think, “Am I REALLY done? Or is there something I’m forgetting?”. It felt weird because I’m so accustomed to abandoning items mid-way in favor of newer, “more exciting” ideas.

This second, denim quilt began as another one for my dog, Charlotte. It quickly became too large so I changed it into a quilt for myself, with the intention of her being allowed to lay on it also. Normally she’s restricted to her own blanket(s). For those of you who have indoor dogs, you’re probably well aware of how many you can go through. I’ve always had blankets (or sheets) on my couch to keep the dogs off the actual upholstery. Certain fabrics and dog hair do NOT mix!

It’s one reason why I love denim. Dog hair can easily be shaken off of it. And it’s durable, also good for dogs.

I purposely designed this quilt to be long and narrow, for use on a couch. . . . it’s why I named my WordPress blog CouchQuilts. I don’t want my quilts to be stored away in a closet and most people have a couch. And most people lay on their couch from time to time. . . . do you see where I’m going with this? Simply put, I’d like for my quilts to be out and enjoyed.

Rather than posting pictures here, I’m going to do something insanely clever (ha ha! just kidding) and include a link to my Facebook page. It’s strictly for my denim, no other topics like I have on this blog. If you’re feeling adventurous, please go and have a look 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/delightfuldenimdesigns/timeline

If I’m not mistaken (and I very well may be!), you would go into ‘Photos’ and then ‘Albums’. Or my last post is ‘Dog Blanket Number 2’ and it will be right there at the top of my timeline? I haven’t had this FB page for long (hence the 9 likes :)) and I have plenty to learn!

 

 

Pictures are important

Having at least decent pictures of a product is very important. Of course, awesome would be the aim but I’ll never reach that level with an old, cheap camera. And that’s okay. I can STILL take pictures!

My other biggest challenge is WHERE to take my pictures. A quilt can be a difficult item to show. Fortunately for me, my brother bought a new home last year and I’ve discovered how wonderful a king size bed and huge, comfy couch are. For picture taking 🙂

Recently, I folded up some of my quilts and hauled them into town for a photo shoot. I can’t say I’m fond of his stark white, BORING walls. Oh, how I wish he’d let me paint. I have an eye for that. As for photography though, I definitely need to learn about daylight, shadows and all the stuff that can interfere with a positive end result.

One day, way down the road, I’ll invest in a better camera. For now, I’m satisfied with a place I can take “better” pictures. And rather than updating the various pages I have on here, I’ll just include new photos in this post. Easier for you and me!

It seems fitting I begin with the Montreal Canadiens quilt I’m making for my brother. I presented it to him for Christmas, UNFINISHED. He’s tall and I needed to know how much larger to make it. It’s on my very soon, to-do list!

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It’s meant to be long and narrow, to fit well on a couch, because I’d like for it to be out and used, not folded away in a closet. My brother is 43 and a dedicated lifetime fan of the Montreal Canadiens. It wasn’t easy finding Montreal Canadiens t-shirts and this quilt will always be one-of-a-kind.

This next quilt was started with my ex-mother-in-law in mind. It has an old pajama top of her granddaughter’s incorporated into it. The butterflies glow in the dark and the saying “Dream a Little Dream” couldn’t be more perfect!

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Quilt number three was one I began for my mom. Only, it got too big and I had nowhere to lay it out flat! So I abandoned it. I have plans for building a custom sewing table this year and will finally be able to finish it. I was happy at least to lay it over a king size bed for pictures, the quilt itself is only meant to be queen size.

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Fourth in line is my Polar Bear quilt, named so for obvious reasons. It’s on the small side and might just stay there. I’d like to make child size items as well.

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And here we have what I call my Placemat Quilt. The four, small rectangles in the center were once headed toward being the backs of reversible placemats. And then I decided I didn’t like them. Not wanting to waste (I HATE waste!) the denim however, I opted for making a quilt. I can’t say I’m crazy about the pattern but it’s growing on me AND it’s an actual completed quilt! I’m going to use it and launder it (repeatedly) to see how it holds up.

One of my largest concerns is a quilt falling apart after it’s left my home. I don’t want that to happen, ever. I double stitch when I can 🙂

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I also made a small, dog quilt recently. It was purely experimental and was always intended for Charlotte, my Boston Terrier mix who simply must be under a blanket when she’s snoozing. I needed to remind myself why I dislike stretch denim. I wanted to try a different edge. AND I finished it! I really can get things done!

Keep in mind, this was experimental and for a dog, so it’s nothing special. I did learn the size would also be appropriate for a baby or as a lap quilt for someone in a wheelchair. It was a win, win, win situation.

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I have other quilts (Tigger, Frog, Cow, Cat) I won’t show again until they’re done and I can take decent pictures.

Today’s task is to complete the second, experimental dog quilt I began after doing the first one.

Sunday Sewing (No, it’s Monday. Long weekend)

It’s raining steadily. I can’t go outside. I’m too bored for Netflix. I have no plans for cooking or baking. I settled on sewing even though the daylight is rather dim.

And I REALLY am working on my Tigger quilt! 010See! I have proof.

It’s definitely turned out bigger than a baby quilt. It’s not exactly adult sized either.

I might keep it for myself.

I’m also being slightly sidetracked by this little piece of denim I have with 3 dragonflies on it. 007

It’s been hanging around for a long time without any specific destination. Until recently when I decided to make a table runner. And once the notion planted itself. . . . .well, I can’t get rid of it.

I almost got out of bed at 2 this morning to work on it!

The problem I’m having with it, and I might be the only person to even notice!, is the way the grain of the denim is running. I had to cut it at an angle to get a piece with straight edges.

I neglected to realize it would look “wrong” next to additional pieces with the grain running up and down. Now I have to cut all future pieces at an angle. Sounds easy but I already screwed up the first one and I just can’t figure out why! 🙂

So, back to Tigger momentarily. And then another Tigger. Or placemats made with some super, cool, navy blue camoflauge denim. What a perfect gift for a guy!

Or I could finish all the other quilts I have on the go. . . . . there’s five. Six. Maybe seven if I include Charlotte’s blankie, which she was covered by (it’s done except for binding) until the blanket on my love seat apparently became more appealing to her. 014

She IS under there. Snoozing. Lucky dog.

The tiggeriffic Tigger!

My Tigger quilt is currently 38″ x 45 1/2″. 018I don’t really want to make it much bigger. Sometimes, when I get an idea stuck in my head, there’s no dismissing it! And I envision this quilt on the smaller side.

So, I Googled the dimensions for various, smaller quilts and learned something. There’s no defined size, only general guidelines. For instance, a baby quilt can be anywhere from 36″ square to 52″ square. Honestly, the square aspect is lost on me. In my opinion, a quilt should be longer than it is wide. But that’s just me 🙂

This Tigger quilt, if I finish it off now, can be categorized 4 different ways; baby, crib, toddler and lap. This is according to the information I found online.

I have the perfect material to back it with.011

If I’m lucky, I can manage a second quilt because I do have another Tigger pillowcase 007to use again as the center. Although I am rather fond of the black and grey, I’d do the next one with blue denim, just to compare the two, and maybe keep some of the blue border from the pillowcase, which is double-sided. I have FOUR Tiggers!

** Okay, I drafted the first half of this post last night. And then I got to thinking. . . . . I may have seen another Winnie-the-Pooh sheet while I was rummaging around. . . . .and I was right!006 004

This one might be more appropriate although I’m leaning toward the other one. And both sheets are only twin size, so I will not be able to get 2 quilts from each (unless I make sure they’re small, baby quilts). . . . . shoot.

Now I must do more pondering and probably alter my plans.

Of course, I could always make the first quilt mine 🙂 and sell the second one! And the third. And the fourth.

There’s a definite dilemma with making one-of-a-kind anything. It’s easy to become attached.

But I REALLY don’t need anymore blankets. . . . . . . or do I?

Boring Bedroom Blues

My 18 year old niece is currently in Greece for a 2 week graduation gift from her maternal grandmother. But I was able to snag my 13 year old niece on Tuesday for an afternoon visit. I’m supposed to be painting, and decorating, her bedroom in the new place her dad (my brother) just purchased. We went out and grabbed some paint cards (4! wow!) and also took a stroll through a fabric store where she bypassed, I don’t know, 1,000 different fabrics, with nothing more than an occasional, careless, “Nope, not that one”.

Of course, the main reason I brought her to my home was to view my denim, my flannel, my quilts in progress and everything else. Sadly, any true enthusiasm was all mine as well.

Perhaps it’s just a teenager thing and looking at material is simply too boring (her phone is a definite, annoying addiction) or my niece just isn’t capable of vision. Either way, she didn’t do any sketches of quilt designs. She got hooked on beige and gray for paint colors! Can you say BLAH? And she nixed pretty much every suggestion (I explained repeatedly I was ONLY showing her to demonstrate how there ARE possibilities) except for Winnie the Pooh which earned a lilting “Ohhhhh”.

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I’m surprised actually because when I painted her bedroom 2 summers ago, she’d chosen 2 fabulous shades of purple. Her room was transformed from lifeless white to vibrant color. She picked an adorable, little chandelier and those decals that everyone was into.

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I was even allowed to make cube shelves for her.

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Her mom bought specific bedding to match the room. (no pic) It was a project I was happy to partake in (although I was directed on what I could and couldn’t do) and I was pleased with the outcome. This second bedroom at her dad’s? I’m having trouble getting excited about it. I realize now that my ex-sister-in-law was very likely very instrumental in what my niece “chose” because now that it’s entirely up to her, she has virtually no clue and she won’t let me guide her 😦 What do you do with someone who’s favorite word is no?

She doesn’t understand I HAVE VISION. I wish she would just say, “Do what you want, Auntie” and I guarantee she’d love it! I ain’t no dummy. I wouldn’t do cheap, tacky or childish. She’s 13, she needs fun and sophisticated.

I forgot, she did express interest in having a Montreal Canadiens quilt like the one I’m making for her dad010. . . . . . . .but that would have nothing to do with the design of her bedroom!

She has a trip to Home Depot and Michael’s on her mind. I guess I’ll indulge her and drive all the way to the other side of town the next time I snag her 🙂 Hopefully, matters will improve.

Back to the bags

For me, a vital part of caring about the environment is recycling, reducing and reusing as much as possible. Making reusable, denim shopping bags was a natural path to venture down.

And I did, once I realized how difficult it was to deal with large quilts.

Shopping bags are obviously smaller, and therefore, should be simpler. Not so! Not yet anyway. I ran into issues with them as well. But I’m learning from my mistakes!

In the meantime, I still have this bag . . . . . . .

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You’ll notice it’s missing something! Yep, handles!

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I have two handles (only one of which I could find for picture taking purposes). This bag is fashioned from an old t-shirt my dad bought for me when I was a teenager. I’m now in my (cough, cough) mid-40’s and my dad is no longer here, so this bag has sentimental value for me. I’d like to finish it.

When I decided to make it, I hadn’t actually made a reusable shopping bag before. . . . no. . . .no, hang on. . . . I suffer from a notoriously-horrible-memory and this was a while ago.

I’m having a vague recollection now that I’d made 2 bags in early 2014,

Planet Hollywood007 (2)

and Tweety022

I did so entirely from my head (no pattern searching on the internet) and have struggled with the handles as a result. My first attempts, I didn’t like, not strong enough.

I truly love the new and improved style of the Big Bad John’s handles. They’re super sturdy and you need that in a shopping bag. Don’t you?

It’s hard on my sewing machine though. At least it was when I attempted the same handle style on another bag (another failure valuable teaching experience)

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Because these handles are 4 layers of denim and the band around the top of the bag is an additional 4-6 layers. . . . . my sewing machine failed me. It’s why I have a handleless bag and bagless handles. I’m currently left to ponder the problem. I need to figure out how to lessen the layers while keeping the strength I’m looking for.

I take great pride in what I do and I want my bags to last a very long time. Otherwise, a person might as well go buy a cheap, made-in-China, piece of crap bag from a dollar store.

I’ll be back one day with photos of a finished product, or two I should say, because the owl bag needs completion as well. I think I have to disassemble the band and handles. . . . sigh. . . . . removing blue-on-blue stitching isn’t something I’m hurrying to do! I’ll have to sit outside with the mosquitoes because indoor lighting is never adequate enough for a job like that!

Good plan

The mosquitoes are much less active almost nonexistent early in the morning. I was out at 6 a.m. to see if I could achieve more than yesterday’s 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there. At one point I counted over a dozen mosquitoes on one forearm alone! Never mind the ones buzzing around, and landing on, my head and every other exposed inch of skin. It was maddening.

However, my plan to be out as soon as I woke up today worked. I was able to putter away for an entire 45 minutes bothered by perhaps a half dozen mosquitoes total. What a difference! Then it was time to wash the dog’s feet (dewy grass + dirt = filthy paws) and come in for breakfast. I’m a big believer in the first meal of the day. Are you? You should be 🙂

On the sewing front, I’m still finishing up the organization of all my denim. I need another clothing rack. Four years ago, when I developed this grand idea of making quilts, I bought 3 metal racks from Canadian Tire. They’re functional but will bow if I burden them too much. I realized I can build a better, stronger (very weird, I wanted italics but it made the word disappear unless I used bold also) rack out of 2 x 4’s! If only I’d thought of it 4 years ago! I would have saved over a hundred dollars! Ah, well, at least I will save now. I have all the supplies necessary except maybe for some screws. I have to place this project at the very top of my to-do list! Er, okay, right after completing the garden. . . . . 🙂 It’s so easy for me to get distracted. Haven’t I said it before? Focus, Jodie, focus.

And I have company arriving in 2 days. Yikes. Maybe I should write that to-do list on actual paper rather than having it in my head. I tend to forget what really needs to be done when I’d much prefer doing things I enjoy. Being a major procrastinator doesn’t help matters!

Alright, I’ll make that list as soon as I publish this post. Have a happy Tuesday everyone! Come back tomorrow for my very first product review. I know. I know. You can barely wait. It will be so riveting (ha ha).

Wonderful Wednesday! :)

I failed miserably yesterday with my attempt at NO computer. But if I try, try again, I’ll eventually have success. Maybe today will be Wi-fi Free. After I publish this post of course.

It will be a short post. I’ve updated two of my pages (Montreal Canadiens Denim Quilt and Organic Gardening) and don’t really have anything else to say. Some days are chatty. Some days not so much.

I have to work today and absolutely should be getting a move on before it’s hot. Whatever you’re up to, I hope you enjoy it! And NOW I really will turn my computer off for 24 hours! Yes. Yes I will. (that’s me talking myself into it)

** It’s now the end of my day and I obviously have not been successful at staying off the computer! I think the trick is to not even turn it on in the morning! So that will be my next plan of attack.

I was feeling slightly discouraged earlier when someone said to me I had better things to do than blogging. I said I enjoyed it, it’s very similar to making entries in a diary. Their retort was “You don’t write about anything!”. It bruised me a bit. I’ve had time to contemplate such a thoughtless comment and perhaps to them I don’t write about anything interesting. And that is A-okay. No one can please everyone. What I write about is of interest to me.

I’ve only been at this for 2 weeks. I’m sure I have plenty to learn! 3 new followers tonight was an unexpected boost to my spirits and I’d like to thank everyone who follows or likes “me” or even just stops by for a look-see.

Gooood morning!

Sun and mid 20 temperatures are forecasted for the next week. It would be nice if this truly happens because it will surely get my little seedlings going. I checked them this morning and the mustard greens have sprouted! In fact, they likely sprouted yesterday judging by the height of them. There’s no sign of life anywhere else but that will change in a hurry. Yay.

I’ve been outside already, did a bit of raking, freaked out slightly when I noticed a fence board down and thought Leroy was gone (he was a runner when he was a puppy so the paranoia is always present), fed my chickadees and nuthatches (no, they’re not in cages) some sunflower seeds and hung my hummingbird feeder. I fill it with boiled, sugar water, no need to buy that awful red dyed mix! Food coloring (unless it’s natural) isn’t good for us OR the animals we feed.

I’ll be home all day as Saturdays are generally when I avoid town, way too busy and I can’t stand the hustle and bustle. Along with working on my denim, cow, couch quilt and matching pillow cover, I’ve begun the Montreal Canadiens quilt for my brother. I didn’t find a 6th t-shirt. My aunt in Victoria, B.C., who’s a Montreal Canadiens fan also, sent me one. I’ve ironed a layer of cotton fabric onto the back of each t-shirt front and can play around with layout. Choosing the denims to go with will be the next step. I love seeing how an idea in my head turns into something tangible.

But now I’m off to give Charlotte’s legs a washing! Fooling around in the dewy back yard is a dirty business 🙂 I couldn’t deny her an early morning crazy run though. It gives me joy to see her having fun. Leroy’s feet are just as dirty but he’s content to stay outside. Charlotte needs a “bath” because she’ll be wanting to come in for a snooze. That dog would sleep 18 hours a day if she could!

And completely off topic, does a ‘tag’ have to be an actual word used within that specific post? Can anyone (like anyone is following me! lol) answer this for me?