Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I did it!

Remember me complaining about a camo diaper bag I had to make?  Well, I finished it and it looks great.  I made it like a messenger bag as that appears to be more "manly" than my standard diaper bag.  (My son wholeheartedly agreed!)  The front flap is secured with hidden magnetic snaps.

There is a large pocket on the back (not pictured) and I made elasticized pockets on one side (interior) for bottles and such and the opposite side has a pocket for diapers. 

It really looks more like an ammo bag or one of those bags that hunters put birds in after they shoot them.  (I know - gross!)  The important thing is that the customer loved it.  She now wants a messenger bag to use at school so it all worked out pretty well in the end.

Granddaughter Emily is with me this week so I am not doing a lot of sewing though I just received a new quilting book from my sister and there are several fat quarter friendly quilts that are calling my name.  I also have a bug in my ear and am giving some serious thought to making a "modern" quilt with lots of open spaces for quilting.  I am still waking up at 3am so I will be cutting something tomorrow morning.  It will be a surprise to all of us!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wrap it up

Like everyone else, I have been busy for the past several weeks and most especially this week.  I did sew on Friday night, made a beautiful overnight tote and didn't take one picture!  In the past week I also made two quilted table runners, another black & white bag (with fabric flower) and finished another check book/sun glass case set.  I am exhausted and feel like I haven't slept in days.

Our office Christmas party is today.  We do a crazy gift auction in the morning and then everyone starts eating and that lasts all day.  My contribution this year is a huge casserole of macaroni and cheese that I made last night.  Because the refrigerator is so full, it spent the night on the front porch!

Tonight I am going into reflective mode.  My youngest son and his family arrive late this afternoon.  I assembled the lasagna last night so all I need to do tonight is pop it in the oven.  My Christmas tree still isn't up but I am OK with that because my family is going to help decorate it tonight.  I have the stereo loaded with my favorite Christmas music and I am ready to just take a long, deep breath.  The most important thing right now is to be with family and celebrate the birth of our Savior.

I know my postings have been sporadic (at best) and there may not be another one for a while.  I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Blessings and peace,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This time - really!

OK - I am signing up again for the Friday Night Sew-In.  I am going to do it.  No hanging out with my friends.  No wine drinking.  (Well, maybe just a little!)  The balance of my Hazelnut Deux orders are due to be delivered by the 19th and I have 4 more big bags to do...and some Christmas gifts that I need to make...and a crib quilt.  My mom is coming over on Saturday to sew.  If I have the quilting done, she can start putting pieces together for me and that will be a huge help.  I am so thankful that my mama is such a good seamstress and taught me how to sew!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I have a whole lot of nothing!

I had such good intentions. I was going to sew all night for the "Friday Night Sew-In". Instead, I went out for dinner at Boca di Beppo, had two of these

Photo credit
and you can guess the rest. I would feel badly about it except that the food was terrific, the conversation was outstanding and the wine was...well, the wine was pretty darned tasty!

It is 6:45am in my little corner of the world. I already have the sewing machine turned on, the iron is heating up and there are lots of strips of fabric on my cutting board. I just made a pot of coffee and put a load of laundry in the washer and one in the dryer. There are no other distractions. I am ready to sew!!

I hope you have a wonderful and productive day!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Making my head hurt

Have you ever been asked to make something that so goes against the grain that it makes you absolutely dread doing it?  Someone has asked me to make a diaper bag out of camo fabric (and wants the inside "girly"). Can you imagine? Is there such a thing as pretty camo fabric? If there is, I haven't found any. I picked up some at Joann's yesterday but I can barely stand it!  I choose a sage green fabric with a tiny chocolate dot to use for the changing pad. I decided to line it in a very neutral beige because I simply could not put anything remotely "girl" for the lining. I think they will like the finished product. I won't! This is the most hideous thing I have ever made. I will share photos when it is completed.

Christmas decorating has begun at my house. It will be a really long process this year as I am "keeping" Advent and the tree will not go up until December 19th. I have started putting out my Christmas houses and some of my Holy Family collection. I am also waiting to put out my nativity collection until the 4th Sunday in Advent.  I keep my Christmas decor up until Epiphany so I will have plenty of time to enjoy it.

I have been a member of choirs since I was a child. I had an illness about 10 years ago that took a toll on my vocal chords and I lost a lot of range at that time so I no longer am able to sing in a choir. I do, however, appreciate the music so much and this time of year, I miss singing more than you can imagine. My DIL sent me the link for this wonderful celebration of song and season.  Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday Shopping

I don't "do" Black Friday shopping any longer.  As I have gotten older, the long lines to get in, long lines to check out, crazy parking lot, etc. just isn't worth the time and effort.  If I am going to shop on Black Friday it is very selectively.  This year it was Joann's at 6am when the doors opened.  Here was the lure

The Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter Machine - Retail (on the Cricut site) $179.  Price at Joann's - $59.99.  I could NOT buy it.  I don't even know when I am going to find the time to use it but I HAD TO HAVE IT!  While I was there I also bought some other goodies that were sale items

The fabric stack on the right is for a quilt for Drew.  I am going to use flannels for the quilt top and back it with Minkee.  (Pray for me.)  In the stack of fabric on the left there is a piece of home dec for an order, lining fabric for Christmas bags and the fuzzy stuff on top that looks like Elmo's fur is to make scarves.  Karen had a tutorial on her blog last year and I made them for my nieces.  (So soft, fluffy and EASY to make!)  I bought the crayons because I am a crayon freak.  The thread was BOGO and you can never have enough thread!

These are my favorite pins

They are sharp as the dickens, go through fabric like butter and the heads don't melt.

I needed buttons for bags and these were also BOGO

Aren't those glass buttons gorgeous?  I like using the recycled plastic buttons on the batik cell phone cases and I love the texture of the "Organic Elements" buttons.

This morning I am picking up my sister at 6:30 since Joann's opens at 7 and we are going to do a little more shopping.  I want a "ribbon ladder" and the fusible interfacing that is a door buster.  Julie needs tulle and that is also a door buster this morning.  When we get back I am helping her get ready for the annual children's Christmas tea party at her house.  I will be cutting more tulle.  I have already cut 280 strips for tutus.  I think we need another 100 or so.  The theme this year is "Nutcracker Suite".  The little girls will be making waltz length tutus for their craft (with mommy and grandmother's help) and then making up a dance to perform.  I love these tea parties.  My sister has the best ideas!  I won't be staying  this year since I don't have any grandchildren with me this year and it would be too depressing but I am sure everyone will have a wonderful time.

Hope your weekend is happy and productive!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful heart

The open house for "Hazelnut Deux" was a huge success and I am thankful and tired and happy and over whelmed all at the same time!  In the madness the ensued about 15 minutes before folks started arriving I completely forgot to bring down my camera from the studio.  My mother is usually the first one to think about taking photos but she was in charge of food and beverages and I had her hopping!  My sister, Julie, organized, dragged fabric from the studio and displayed it beautifully, put labels on everything and wrote out invoices for me.  She also made 8 different kinds of cookies, ran the vacuum for me and kept me to task when I was running around like a mad woman.  My momma made two appetizers, kept the mulled cider flowing and the food hot.  My daddy hung the banner, greeted folks and provided jokes.  I could never have done the open house without their help and support.  On days like yesterday, I remember why I came back to Pennsylvania and I am thankful beyond words.

I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my sister and her family so I am going to be one busy woman in the next few days.  I am setting up the guest room to display bags and accessories before I take my show "on the road".  I have a couple of orders that need to be filled by the end of the week.  I also promised my sister that I would help load a quilt on the long arm this week.  (It goes so much faster with 2 people!) Next Saturday is the children's tea party and I told Julie I would help her.

Just thinking about it...I may need to go back to bed!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In Accomplishments

I wish I had accomplished more but I went out to dinner, had two glasses of wine and then came home to sew.  Needless to say, my eyes were slapping shut long before I finished everything on my list!  (And that is also the reason why I am posting this on SATURDAY morning instead of Friday night.)

I am loving the free motion quilting on the batik strip bag.  I think I will look for a pretty button today to finish the front though I am also thinking about a small tassel.  The bag is only about 7" square and roughly an inch deep so it is perfect for a quick shopping trip.  The closure is a simple dot of Velcro.  The cording is long enough to cross over the shoulder.  This was the first time I have put in a small grommet.  I love banging stuff with a hammer so that was fun!

The Christmas theme bag is just a simple tote.  I have one that I made for myself last year that I use all during the Christmas holiday.  I have a couple of inside pockets in it but there is no closure.  I like it for toting my lunch or books.

The baby quilt is curve line quilted and then free motion loops in the border.  I still have to bind it but that will happen tonight while I watch TV.

I have so much to do today and still have to manage a shopping trip to pick up more fusible batting.  The open house is tomorrow afternoon.  Thankfully I have the support of my mom and quilty sister who are coming to help today and tomorrow.  My mom is getting to be an expert in making bag bottoms!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Name Change

So, it turns out that "Hazelnut Hill" is a registered trade name or trademark or something of that nature.  This means I had to change the name of my company so my handbag/tote/accessory/quilt business is now Hazelnut  Deux.  It would take hours to find all of the references to it under the old name and strike through so please disregard the other name.  (By the way, if you were somehow confused before, I never sold nuts.)

You know, if it isn't one thing, it's another!

Friday Night Sew-In

I just signed up to do the Friday Night Sew-In (link is on my sidebar) on November 19th! I have so much to do before next Sunday's open house so I will have lots to show for my efforts this time. It will probably be a "2 Diet Dew" night!

There is something special this time. Go ahead, sign know you wanna do it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

I am in love...again!!  Have you seen the new quilt up on the Moda Bake Shop page?

  "I Dance in Circles" just jumped out at me and I have got to make it!!  I am not going to use a layer cake.  I am going to use batiks cut into 9" squares.  Batiks!  It will be gorgeous.  Have I mentioned that I have a basket full of batik fat quarters and I have been looking for ideas?  Kismet.  Ooohhh...can you see it in "Happy" by Me & My Sister from Moda and made as a baby quilt?

I know I have so much to do before the 21st but there is a "bad" Suzan telling me to just go ahead.  I dare not listen to her.  She has gotten me into so much trouble in the past!  Well, maybe if I just cut a few to see how it will look...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

An adventure

I have a holiday open house for Hazelnut Hill Deux in 3 weeks.  I have been sewing day and night for about the last month.  I have, at the very least, another 40 things to make.  So, what did I do yesterday?  I went shopping with my sister!  I needed fabric so there was good reason to shop but did we really need to take 6 hours?!?

We went out into Lancaster County which has some of the best fabric shopping imaginable.  Specifically, my sister wanted me to "experience" Obie's Country Store.  I am guessing it was a general store dating back to the late 1800s.  There is an enormous gas lamp chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the shop and a second floor with random width planked floor boards.  Those are the only real architectural details I can give you because of this
 and this

and this

Heading up to the second floor...

where I found this

and in one of the small rooms

The fabric on the first floor is literally stacked from floor to ceiling.  If you are looking for fabric to finish something you started several years ago, I bet they have it!  They have PB Textiles, Red Rooster, Marcus Brothers and Maywood Studios.  Just about everything else I saw was manufactured by generic fabric companies.  The prices for the more recent fabrics were just a little bit less expensive than most shops in the area.  Fabric that had been around longer was priced accordingly.  I did find a couple pieces that I will use for Hazelnut Hill Hazelnut Deux.  Do not go into this shop if you are claustrophobic because you will come out screaming!  I was a little creeped out.  Two people cannot be in the aisle at the same time.  You have to kind of weave your way around a maze of fabric.  This place could not pass a fire inspection so they must not do them out in the county.  I am really glad I went because it made me laugh...a lot!...and now I can say that I have been there!

We also went to a huge fabric outlet, the Hayloft quilt shop in Morgantown and the Waverly fabric outlet.  My sister found gorgeous home dec fabric (she is re-doing the master bath) at just 12.99 a yard with an additional 20% discount store special.  If you are in the area and are looking for upholstery or drapery/curtain fabric, it is worth the trip.

Here's what I added to my stash

I also picked up some Metro Blue Goes Black but apparently I left it in my sister's car since I can't find it.  Good thing we are going shopping again today!!

Friday, November 5, 2010


I tend to post to my blog in the early morning...sometimes in the wee hours since I usually am out of bed around 3am.  I tend to take photos when it is the crack of dawn so lighting is an issue.  (I don't like to use flash since it washes out everything.)  I also blog spur of the moment.

So...some questions.  When do you write your posts?  Do you shoot your photos in advance or around the same time you post?  Do you use a "point & shoot" camera or a snazzy SLR?  Do you use photo editing software and if you do, which one?

I am such a "Ms. Nosey Pants"!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The quilt

About 2 weeks ago I showed you a batik quilt that I was making for which I had no recipient. I asked for opinions about whether it would be appropriate for a man.  I was pondering giving it as a gift to my brother.  I related that the quilt was designed by a quilting biker (male).  One of my followers told me about the man who designed the quilt and that he had died a few years ago very soon after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The Wednesday following that post I received some news about the COO of our company.  As I was processing that news, suddenly it "clicked".  I knew EXACTLY who the quilt is for.  I added 2 borders and quilted it on Friday and Saturday.  I finished the binding today.  As I was hand stitching the binding I was praying for my friend and his family.  I attached a note relating the symbolism of the colors of the quilt and my hopes that he would not only be made warm by the quilt but also would recognize it as a prayer/healing quilt.  I told him to wrap it around him and know he was surrounded by prayers, hope and love.

Here's how the quilt looks finished.

This portion of the quilt was quilted on the long arm.  I used a variegated thread from Superior Thread.

I quilted the outside borders on my domestic machine using a sage colored thread.
I am amazed at how sometimes things just fall into place...and I am thankful.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Busy weekend

I have been a sewing fool for the last few days.  I had some Halloween fat quarters that were part of a bundle I picked up at Joann's a couple of years ago.  (They are ugly but were on clearance for practically no money so I HAD to buy them!)  I used the to throw together a couple of quick "boo!" bags for my great-nieces.  The following photo was taken spur of the moment when I dropped them off at their house on Friday evening.

I think they turned out cute and put together with the "boo!" fabric the ugly stuff doesn't look nearly as bad.  I did hate parting with the lining fabric.  It is also a Halloween themed stripe from a Moda collection.

On Saturday I made two baby quilts while watching movies from Netflix on my computer.  (I honestly think I am almost ready to give up cable tv!)

This one is made from a charm pack that I picked up at the quilt show in Hershey a couple of months ago.  I love the bright colors and this one definitely says "boy" to me.

I wanted to make a baby girl quilt and found these fabrics on my lunch break Friday.  I used 6 different fabrics and will find a pale lavender for the outside border.  I can't wait to quilt this using more of the wool batting.  (I love that stuff!!)

Yesterday I had a big time in the studio.  I made two purses and I am in love.  Seriously.  These were so much fun to make.  Once I figured out angles and the little details, they came together beautifully.  The bag made with "Metro" measures about 7" high and 16" long.  The smaller bag is 14" x 8".  The small bag is made from a couple of fat quarters I got in a basket of winnings from a quilt shop hop a couple of years ago.  I never thought I would use them as they are "not my colors" but love them in the purse.

I love weekends when I feel productive.  I even cleaned house and worked for a bit in the garden!

Now, I need some advice/information.  I have not made Drew a quilt since he was in the NICU.  That quilt was so tiny!  I need to make one for his crib and I picked up this piece of Minkee as a remnant.

I have never quilted with Minkee.  I have sewn it but no quilting.  I know I want to pre-wash my quilt top fabrics since the Minkee is made from polyester and won't shrink.  I was thinking about using flannel for the quilt top with just a single piece of flannel as the batting so the quilt won't be heavy.  Or, I could make the quilt top with cotton and use a regular batting.  I don't know what to do!  I am also thinking I should longarm it so the tension on the fabrics remains constant while I am quilting.  Does anyone have any advice?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nearly finished

A couple of years ago I found a pattern for a quilt in a Quick Quilts magazine.  It was designed by a "biker dude", was shown in batiks and since I am a batik freak, I had to make it.  I cut out all the pieces and started putting it together on a retreat.  I got home from the retreat and promptly forgot about the quilt ('cause I have quilter's ADD and I am easily distracted!).  I was delighted when I "found" it on Sunday so I finished putting it together.
I pinned it to the "design bunk bed" so you could see it....or at least a portion of it.  I love the colors.

I had it folded so you can see some crease marks but I think you get the idea.  I need to add at least one border (the original design had two) so I am trying to decide on the border color.  I don't want to use anything that is already in the quilt.  I just want it to blend with what I already have.  I am thinking something either blue or green.  I like the purples but want to down play them a bit.  I was hoping this would be masculine enough that I could gift it to a man but I am not sure.  Too much purple/lavender to be "man friendly"?  What do you think?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Little tip

Have you been following a blog and decided that you don't want to follow any longer?  Wanna know how to stop?

Sign in and go to your Dashboard.  Go all the way to the bottom of the page and you will see your Reading List.  See the tab marked "Blogs I'm Following"? Go to the bottom and click on "Manage".  The next screen will list all the blogs you are following.  Find the one you want to quit and all the way to the right choose "Settings".  The next screen will give you information about the blog you are following and printed out in blue is "Stop following this site".  Click on that and you will be given the option to stop following or cancel. 

There you go!

Another winner!

 Sandee said...

Now this is a give a way! How generous of you and what a beautiful tote! I am a follower and enjoy your blog so much.

Thanks everyone for reading and participating.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fusible thread

I finally got around to using the fusible thread.  Thanks to everyone for reminding me that I bought it to hold binding in place for machine binding.  In case you are curious as to how I used it, here is a mini-tutorial (or at least my version of one!)

First I attached the binding to the front of the quilt in the in usual manner

I loaded the fusible thread in my bobbin and, again from the top side of the quilt, did a wide zig-zag stitch all around the edge of the quilt.  Flipped onto the back side it looked like this

I flipped the binding from the front to the back and ironed it in place.

It fused down easily and then I turned it back over to the front side so that I could stitch in the ditch

After stitching all the way around, this is the back of the quilt

I would not use this finish if I were selling a quilted piece but for a personal table runner, quilt or charity quilt, it is a nice finish.  Because I didn't use any pins, the stitching on the back is even and straight.  One note, my machine did not like the fusible thread coming down through the thread path into the needle.  Loaded in the bobbin, it worked perfectly.

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