Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One Block Wonder

The additional material arrived so I've been working on my One Block Wonder - with a twist. The material is very beachy (Tropical Vacation) so it will go on the guest bed in Ocala. At least that's the plan - always subject to change.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Easy Market Bags

I've been waiting for some material to arrive from England so I can finish up my beachy OBW quilt so have been making market bags to keep out of trouble. They are very easy to make and go pretty quickly. The finished bag measures 20" X 20" - but sometimes if I am a little short of material I adjust the finished size accordingly. I usually use scrap material, but in honor of my sister, Beth's birthday, I decided to use some of her fabulous hand painted/dyed material.  This bag uses 3 different materials: focus material for the center outside, handles & inside pockets; green for the top & bottom outside and yellow for the lining. I also use fusable batting that I buy at Joanns when it goes on sale.

Center outside 10" X 20" (2 pieces)
Top outside 3" X 20" (2 pieces)
Bottom outside 8" X 20" (2 pieces)
Handles 5" X LOF or, if using scraps, about 5" X 28" long (2 pieces)
Lining 20" X 20" (2 pieces).
Fusable batting 19 1/2" X 19 1/2 inches (2 pieces).  If the main fabric is quilting cotton, I also cut batting for the handles (2 1/2" X 28") and for the pocket (8" X 8").
Pockets: I use whatever matches. Sometimes I add pockets to both inside and outside, sometimes not. It all depends on what I have & how it looks. I like at least one inside pocket and cut a piece 8" X 16".

Step 1: Outside. Sew the top, middle and bottom outside pieces together so you have 2 squares measuring 20" X 20"

Step 2: Lining. Fuse batting to the wrong side of the lining pieces.

Step 3: Pockets. (OPTIONAL) Fuse batting to half of wrong side of fabric.

Fold the 8" X 16" pocket fabric in half with right sides together. Sew the sides only and turn right side out. It should measure 8" X 8". The opening will be the bottom of the pocket. Make as many or as few as you want - any size you want. I like to include one for my cell phone. Decide where they will go - but stay towards the middle - not too high or too low. Measure in from the sides so they are symmetrical. I usually put the inside pockets about 2" down from the top and the outside pockets (if any) on the center piece only. Stay at least 5" from the bottom.

Mark with a horizontal line where the bottom of the pocket will go.

Sew the bottom of the pocket on the line with the opening facing the top of the bag and the top of the pocket hanging down towards the bottom of the bag.

 Flip the pocket up, center and sew sides and bottom.

The stitching will show so pick your thread color accordingly. I use a walking foot since you are sewing through several layers.

Step 4: Handles. Fold your fabric in half longways with wrong sides together and iron a crease.

Open. Fold the outer edges in to the center line and iron.


 Fuse batting down the center using the ironed lines as a guide.

Fold the outside edges in again (over the batting and meeting in the center where your first ironed line was).

Fold in half and top-stitch along both sides.

Decide how long you want your handles. I like 28" long so I can put them over my shoulder, but my hubby likes them shorter.

The handles are sewn to the top of the right side of the lining. I place them about 5" from the sides as shown in the pictures.

Sew 1/4 inch from the edge. I go forward and backward several times.

Step 5. Once the pockets and handles have been attached, sew the outside panels together on 2 sides and the bottom - right sides together. Set aside.

Sew the 2 lining panels together except leave a 5" gap in the middle of the bottom seam.

Step 6. The Bottom. Lay the lining panel flat and draw a 3" square on both sides of each corner.

Line up the bottom seam and the side seam as shown. Sew along the line. Cut off the corner about 1/2" from the line. This squares the bottom. The line will be about 4" from the corner. If you like a smaller bottom for your bag, reduce your square to 2.5".

Repeat step 6 on the outside panels.

 Step 7. Stand up the lining with the right side in. Put the outside panels inside the lining with right sides together. Make sure the handles are inside. Pin the raw tops together - matching side seams.

Sew the lining to the outside panels. I use a 1/2" seam to hide where the handles were sewn on. Once they have been sewn together - turn it right side out by pulling everything through the opening left in the bottom seam of the lining.

If your bag is a gift or if you are expecting the quilt police to inspect it, the opening can be hand sewn closed. Since it's on the bottom of the inside, I usually just machine stitch it closed with a zig-zag stitch. Finally, tuck the lining inside.

Iron the top seam and, if you like, you can top-stitch around 1/4" from the top. There, it's done!

I especially like the colors in this bag. Since I had very little of the center fabric, I made the handles with the blue fabric. The lining is yellow. I usually select a light fabric for the lining and use a darker fabric for the handles.

On this bag I combined the center strip and the bottom strips and cut 2 pieces measuring 17 1/2" X 20". The lining matches the top strip, the handles and the 2 inside pockets match the chili fabric. If I make the bag for a child, I make all the measurements smaller. The most important part is to enjoy the process, make it your own, and USE the bag!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Four Different Kinds of Hummingbirds

 We usually have lots of hummingbirds this time of year as they prepare for their long journey south. They have completed their parenting duties and are fattening up before their epic flight. The most common type around here is the Broad-tailed Hummingbird. (Please note: some of these pictures have either been taken on dark days in the rain or directly into the sun and are not very good)

The Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are the ones with the distinctive whistle or buzz that you hear as they fly around. The buzz is actually caused by their feathers and is loudest when they do their courtship dive.

The males have dark throats which appear bright red when the sun hits it just right.

We have lots of flowers in the yard - which they love.

I never noticed the speckles under his tail before.

This is the plainer female Broad-tailed Hummingbird.

The smallest bird in North America is the Calliope Hummingbird. The male also has a red throat - but it appears in streaks instead of solid red. This one was less than 3" long. This is the first year we have identified Calliope Hummingbirds in our yard and we have several.

This is a Black-chinned Hummingbird with black and a beautiful purple throat.

It's really difficult to get a decent picture showing the purple.

Another view of the small Calliope Hummingbird.

This is the bully of the hummingbirds - the Rufous Hummingbird, named for the color on his back. He will guard "his" food source and drive away anyone else who tries to have a drink. It makes for a delightful time watching the hummingbird circus. Did you see his drinking buddy?

The bees are becoming a problem!

I'm beginning to wonder if my camera is having a problem. I just can't seem to get the quality I want.

Why is it that the plainer females pose so nicely when the light is just right - but the prettier males refuse???