Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Finish

Please come over to my new blog, Solar Threads to see what I've been working on!  Thanks!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Postcard, awards, and thanks!

Please click HERE to find out a little known fact about me!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Come see what I'm up to over at my new blog, Solar Threads!  Thanks!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sew Out Loud Entry

Come see what I put together over at my new blog, "Solar Threads"!  Thanks!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Fever

Pleas join me over at my new blog, Solar Threads, to see what I've been up to!  Thanks!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WIP Wed: Postcards and Kindle Covers

Don't forget to come over and see me at my new blog, Solar Threads

Yep, I'm still working on postcards.  Those above are for this month's "May Flowers" postcard swap.  It's the first time I have worked with rhinestones.  I used a simple sheet of heat-fix rhinestones that I got in the craft section of a local store.  Unfortunately, when I went to use my iron next, I noticed that despite the fact that I used a press cloth, it left a yucky film on my (very new) iron.

I tried a few different spray cleaners, with no avail, then remembered a post that I'd read on a blog about using a "Mr Clean Magic Eraser" sponge to remove iron-on adhesive from an iron.  I just happened to have one under my sick.
AMAZING!!  I just had to re-share this tip here!!

I'm thinking about buying one of those rhinestone applicator "wands".  Has anyone else used one of these?  Are they better than an iron?

I also recently was made aware of a postcard fund-raiser that I decided to participate in.  Sisters Quilt Show, in Central Oregon, is "the largest outdoor quilt show in the world".  I was lucky enough to be able to go a few years ago.  It's spectacular!  They hold a fundraiser every year selling postcards that anyone can make and donate to raise money for cancer patients in Central Oregon.  You can find more details here, at Sisters Quilt Show Website's Wish Upon a Card details.  The deadline has just passed to be considered for the silent auction cards, but they're still taking cards to sell to raise money up until July 1st.  So I decided to make up a few cards for them too.
I still need to finish the edges of all of these cards, and get them in the mail.

Speaking of mail, look at the 2 cards I recently pulled out of our mailbox from Monika and Darcy!  Aren't they beautiful?!

I also got all of my latest batch of Kindle Covers all sewn up this week.  I quilt each one, and often, the backs are just as pretty as the fronts!
As usual, I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wed.  Come see what others have been up to!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rhinestones, Grannies, Hell's Canyon and more...

Please join me at my new blog, Solar Threads!!!


First of all, THANK YOU for all of you who have already followed me over to my new blog  from this one!  I appreciate it so much!!  I'm trying to "sync" my Etsy store with a new blog, and Facebook page to keep things easier to recognize, if that makes sense.  I started "Becky's Blabber" as a way to keep in touch with friends and family when we moved from Michigan to Oregon, and over the last year or 2, it has evolved more and more into a sewing, quilting, and fiber arts blog.  The new blog is meant to reflect that :-).

While I was experimenting with heat set rhinestones this week-end, setting up my new blog, and trying to get a new Facebook page set up, here's where my husband and 2 boys were:
That's Hell's Canyon, on the border of NE Oregon and Idaho.  It's the deepest river gorge in North America.  That's the Snake River below, with Idaho on one said, Oregon on the other.

I love to camp, love to hike, but I'm kind-of a wimp when it comes to cold weather camping (something they also do without me), and backpacking (that's my son in the bottom right below).  But after seeing these pictures, I now wish I'd given it a try.  I told them that next time I'll go if they pick a flat, short, hike-in.  The boys said they were kind-of glad I wasn't there, because I would have been freaking out as they stood on all sorts of rock precipices and steep cliffs the whole week-end, uncorrected by their dad, and the other dads and boys who were with them.  I'm glad they got some important male-bonding in too :-).
Over the week-end, other than enjoying my rare solitude, watching a chic flick, and going out with some girl-friends, I made up a few granny squares (I LOVE that black center fabric),
and dusted off supplies for the Kindle cases that I make for my Etsy shop.  I've been neglecting it for a while now, and need to get my store back in shape.  I hope to start listing things there soon!
I'm linking up with "Sew Happy Geek's" Manic Monday Link party!  Be sure and hop over there to see what others have created over the week-end!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Introducing my new blog, "Solar Threads"

I finally decided, to create a new blog for myself, "Solar Threads", which will tie into my Etsy "brand name" / shop.  I've been wanting to do this for a while now, and finally took the plunge.

One reason I put it off is that I didn't want to loose my wonderful followers.  I'll keep posting on here for a little bit of a transition period, but invite you all to "follow" my new blog, as I transition over to it!  The content will be the same, just a new name :-).

I hope to start up a new Facebook page soon as well!

Thank you so much for all of your encouragement and friendship.  I'm excited to continue under my new name!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Vintage QR Code Quilt

I finally decided what to do with my vintage sheets!  I decided to make a "QR code" quilt out of them!  I've been wanting to make one for a while now, but the process seemed quite daunting.  It seemed daunting that is until I realized that I really didn't have to make a "real" one.  The lines/pixels on this quilt didn't exactly turn out as "crisp" as I'd hoped, but I just love it.  It's made from "recycled" fabric, is geeky, AND pink, plus I love the old/new thing going on!

I had a totally different design all planned out and drawn up for this vintage sheet quilt, but a math error, and subsequent cutting error (as in I cut up the whole entire sheet before realizing the error, error), left me with a block that was way too big.  I realized this after I sewed up the first 3.  I also had a smaller "test" block that I'd made, all from the striped fabric.

Being the frugal person that I am, I decided to come up with another plan, instead of cutting them down to size.  I must admit that I've come to my own personal conclusion that when it comes to vintage sheets, it's a lot more fun to buy them than to sew with them, so I decided I wanted to make something small... crib or lap sized.  Don't ask me how I decided to do a QR code.  Maybe it was because of the 3 big "bullseyes", and one little one that I had, maybe it just jumped into my head while I was surfing the internet looking at other quilts made from vintage sheets.  I certainly haven't seen any other QR code quilts made from vintage sheets, but must have come across both in a search somehow.  Don't you love the internet?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Other Hobby, Beading and Jewelry Making

This post from Grandma Coco's blog led to a really interesting email conversation between us, that inspired this blog post!  She's a wonderful designer, and fellow postcard swapper, and it turns out that we both use solar power, in different ways, in our homes and lives.  She's also a jewelry artist, and just started making her own beads.  Our conversation got me thinking about my other hobby (which has kind-of been put on a back-burner), and thought I'd share a bit of it with you!

Many years ago, WAY before kids (when we were "DINK's"... double income, no kids), I decided to start making my own jewelry, mainly because I have a horrible skin allergy to Nickle, and got tired of far too many ring-around-my-neck rashes caused by mislabeled necklaces or earnings that were supposedly 100% silver or gold, or hypo-allergenic.  Learning to make my own jewelry gave me control over what it was made out of.

I started with simple stringing beads.
Don't you love this little FIMO turtle bead that I bought from a PNW artist?
 That led to wire-wrapping with silver wire and chain, and a deep love of natural stones and gems.

Like Cheryl, I even made a few polymer clay beads.
 And you quilters know how you you can have fabric that's too pretty to cut?  Same thing in the bead world.  Here's my "too pretty" (polymer clay) beads that are still in my stash.  Wouldn't that design make a great quilt?  I wish I knew the name of the artist who made them.

 After my boys were born, though, I quickly realized that I could no longer easily go to bead stores, and after their tiny hands spilled a few too many expensive silver, gemstone, and Swarovski crystal beads onto shag carpet, I decided it was time to put away this hobby for a while.  I also had to temporarily stop wearing the dangly earrings that I was fond of, as they also proved to be irresistible to their little hands.  I started wearing necklaces made out of stronger (and cheaper) leather and simple glass beads, and just plain had much less time to pursue any hobby.

After I left my job, I didn't have as much reason to wear my jewelry, but did have a lot of occasions to start making quilts (nieces, nephews, my own boys).  This new hobby kind-of took over.

Once my boys got older, I did break out the beads from time to time, and my husband even gave me a glass lamp working class at Delphi Glass, in Lansing, MI.  If you EVER get a chance to go to this place, please don't pass it up.  It's incredible!  I've always loved glass, and really enjoyed the class.  I even made a bunch of beads, but since moving to Oregon, I no longer have a good place to work.  Here's a picture of me in Michigan, a few years ago.
Here's the beads I made before I put this hobby on hiatus.  My science nerdiness even is present in this, as my attempt to make a glass blood "yellow-top" vial LOL (bottom center).
As with anything, making beads is much harder than you'd think. If nothing else, I have a new appreciation of glass bead making.

This last necklace is my most recent creation, and my most favorite, and special.  I made it a year or so after my dad passed away, from beads that he brought back for me from a trip he and my mom took to Italy, a few years previously. 

Just as in quilting, many of my necklaces have stories behind them.  I think of people and places and stories each time I wear them.  I think that's probably the thing I like most about making things myself with my own hands.  They each contain personal stories and memories, which make them so special.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WIP Wed: Upcycled Quilts

I started sewing together my "upcycled" quilts in the last few days.  The photo above gives you the gist of my blue jeans quilt.  Plaid flannel and jeans are a perfect combination, don't you think?  Even with 4-5 pairs of old kid jeans, though it's only going to be a lap quilt size at the most.  I'm really surprised again, at how much fabric goes into a quilt...

I've been playing around with ideas for my vintage sheets, and made up a spool block.  I like it, but I'm not sure if I'll go with this or not.

As usual, it's Wednesday, so I'm linking up with Lee's WIP Wed at Freshly Pieced!  Come see what we're all up to!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Plant (cell) and Easter Egg Postcards

I am involved in 2 postcard swap groups right now, one with the Postcard Cottage, and another with a group that my blogger friend, Beth, of Notes... organized.  She lives in South Africa, so many of the swappers in that group are also from there.  It's been really fun to get postcards like these, that are made from South African "Shweshwe" fabric.

I just mailed off 7 of the 8 postcards above yesterday.  The theme was "plant", and I decided to make mine microscopic plant cells, complete with nucleus, chloroplasts, and mitochondria.  I have been using us a bunch of batik "strips" that I got on a local blog hop last fall.  Each store I visited gave us 5 strips.  I went to 6 of them.  I've also found that these strips make an excellent "accent" fabric for the pillowcases that I make... sewn between the main fabric and the "cuff".  I'm totally looking at those "bail pops" in a different way now!

Here's the 3 postcards that I received most recently, including 2 of the 3 Easter Egg swap cards.  The shiny one is from a swapper in Ireland!!
I tried out a few new things on my latest batch of postcards.  I didn't want to change colors of thread several times to sew on my little applique "organelles", so I used "invisible thread" for the first time.  It's basically very fine fishing mono-filament line that you can buy in most fabric stores.  I had a hard time finding out any information about how to sew with this, and even the person who owned the fabric store had never used it, so here's what I did that worked quite well.

I put the spool on my "side spool feeder", so that it would come off the spool cleanly.

I used my thin weight 30 Aurifil thread in the bobbin.  I tried it with a few different other white threads, and the thicker threads showed ups as white dots on the top, the thinner thread did not.  I used a needle designed for metallic thread.  There may even be a "monofillament" needle, I don't  know, but this is the closest "match" I could get locally.  Here's a close-up:
I also used my new rubber stamp for the back.  I finally figured out that I was putting too much ink on it, so I use it with a much lighter touch now, and it dries up nicely.  Finally, I bought a rubber stamp from our local Wal-Mart that you can personalize for the return address.  It's self-inking, and of course can be used for regular mail too.  I wish I'd done this years ago!
It's Tuesday, so I'm linking up with "Fabric Tuesday" at Quilt Story.  Come see what others have made!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Earth Day Quilt Challenge

With my New Orleans Quilt all done, and Earth Day right around the corner, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to dive into some of the "recycled" fabric that I've been collecting in the last few years.  A quilt made out of these fabrics is easier on our planet, and easy on the wallet too.  With "up-cycling" being so popular now, I hope you will join me in making something in the next few weeks out of used fabric.

Here's a few of my ideas.

With 2 (rapidly) growing boys/men, I have no shortage of blue jeans in our house.  I often buy them used to begin with, and after they get worn by both of my boys (who are just 23 months apart), there is seldom a decent pair of jeans left over to give back to charity.  Not only that, but we passed a big milestone in our house this week-end.  My oldest son is now in mens' size jeans :-O.  I swear it was just yesterday that I was buying his first pair of baby jeans.  The sheer amount of denim fabric has also increased as they have grown!  So over the week-end, I cut into a pile of old jeans and have started making squares to use.  I plan on making a simple quilt with flannel sashing, and jean squares so as not to have any thick denim seams.

I also plan to dive into this pile of silk mens' ties that I bought recently for 50 cents per tie.  I'm thinking these may be a perfect excuse to make a Mariner's Compass mini quilt.  Now I just need to find a pattern...

I fell in love with quilts made from vintage sheet as soon as I saw my first one in blog-land, and have been eager to get a big quilt made from these.  I may use a quilt pattern that I already own, such as Maple Island's "BQ" or Swirly Girl's "Focus Pocus" .  Maybe I'll make something new.  One thing that's really stalled me on these is that the sheets I have are mostly floral, and with my almost entirely male household, they just don't "fit in" well.  They'll make a great gift though.

I need to find more sheets like these...

I'd love to hear comments about up-cycled projects that you've done, or will be doing!  Maybe I'll even try to figure out how to do a link-up or start a Flickr group.  If you're interested in sharing this way, let me know. (If you know how to do it, let me know too LOL).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Finished New Orleans Quilt!

Fresh off my sewing machine is the finished queen-sized New Orleans Quilt!  I'm afraid that even with helpers, I don't have the best place for quilt pictures, plus we live in a very windy part of the world, which poses additional challenges.  Sorry about the shadow, and the wind.  It's in the wash now.  I'll see if I can get some better pictures later, but don't count on it.

Here's a picture of the back.  I had to order all of the fabric on line, so my strategy was to buy twice of every color so I had enough for mistakes, and for a pieced back.  Sure enough, I miss-cut a huge piece of the yellow, so when I planned out the back, the center yellow piece was the biggest yellow cut I had left.  I only realized after I got it all pieced together that I had inadvertently created a big fried egg in the center of the quilt back :-P.  Oh well.

Speaking of eggs, my kids are too old for the Easter Bunny, but I don't think you're ever too old for dyed Easter eggs.  I'm off to boil up some, and hope that you all have a nice Easter or Passover or nice Spring week-end!

Friday, April 6, 2012

New Orleans Queen Quilt almost done!

My big goal for the week has been to get this queen sized "New Orleans" Quilt all done so I can send it off to it's future home.  I just finished all of the quilting, but all of my helpers are at school or work, so here's a few smaller details of the quilt!  I used Isacord thread for almost the entire quilt, and I must say that this thread is amazing!  I love it!

As for the quilting, I used stippling for much of it, but added some fun "shutters, windows and doors" to the appropriate "blocks" to make it look more realistic.  I hope to do the same to my mini quilt after this is all done.  That'll be easy peasy after the upper body work-out of quilting a queen on my machine ;-).

Now all that's left is making the binding and sewing it onto the quilt!  My guys will be home over the week-end to help me get a good picture of it when it's all done!