Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Designing a Wooly Block





So...Wooly Block Adventure...What's that?  Well, If you're familiar with the Row By Row Experience, the Wooly Block program is a "spin off" .. ha ha... do you get what I'm saying?  Basically, It's a great way to get you back into the fabric store in a new and different way!  I love it!  There are participants all over the US and other countries that participate in these events!  This particular year, we were the ONLY store representing Kansas.  I was just thrilled at the idea of that!  I'm a PROUD Kansas born and raised girl!

Anyone who came into the store during the specified time frame could receive ONE free pattern, or choose to purchase the kit with the fabric shown.  All wool pieces are to be cut so that customers can follow directions and make the block just as shown.  I measured and cut many pieces of wool in preparation for the big event!  Baggies were filled with all the papers, fabrics and embellishments.

Before this big project I'd not really done much with wool, but love the concept of it.  So many fun and cute things out there!  A really neat material when you think about it!  And not just at fabric stores either!  But.... I need to stay focused and tell you about the Fabric part of wool, and how I was involved in creating this cute little Wooly Block!  

At the time of this project I was managing a really fun little store, and we had just wrapped up our RxR program and were wanting to keep the momentum and excitement of the newly added fabric section going.  So, I said I'd be happy to venture out and make this one on my own!  And I did!  You'll hear more about the Row By Row co-design and great travel adventure at later time!  Today it's a drizzly day, and winter is wrapping up, so I want to share this cute little sledding sheep story with you while the winter/sledding season is still here!


The rules are stated as far as what size the Wooly Block can be, so my imagination must stay within these specific dimensions!  This was a good thing.  I can sometimes get a little more creative than time will realistically allow me to complete my project!  I do like to craft!  Another rule was that the entire block needed to be made from wool!  No other fabrics were to be used!  Embellishments are ok, but NO other fabric than wool!   

So I needed to come up with a design and started drawing something out on paper.  Wool makes me think winter, and it also makes me think of Sheep!  So...I combined the two and designed a winter scene with an adorable sheep in it!  Don't you think he's a cutie?  I tried to think of different ways to add something to the block.  It looked a bit plain.  The idea of sunflowers sounded perfect for a Kansas scene, but it just didn't look on paper what I had in my head.  Mittens looked better!

I am not the artist that my mother and sister are, but I was able to come up with a child-like idea for this project, and I really like it!  We got the mittens from a die-cut machine and were able to provide them already cut in the kit!  That was nice!  The remainder of the pieces were to be cut and appliquéd according to the crafters liking.  Once I started putting it all together, I decided that two mittens in the corner with a string looked best, so that's how I ended the final design!  Also included in the kit were two sizes of buttons for the mittens.  Sometimes it's the little extras that really make the difference!  I decided to embroider the sled to make it really "POP".  Knots for the eyes and this little guy is ready to go on his great sledding adventure around the world!  And he did!  We sold kits through the mail after the program ended, and he got to travel to many neat places!



I chose to do a simple whip stitch to add the pieces to my block.  This was something I could do between helping customers!  Not my best work, but when rushed to meet a deadline sometimes you just get the job done!  I spent more of my time making sure the wording and directions were of good quality!  There is more to proper wording and explanation on paper than one would think!  I've read some crazy patterns and now understand just why I maybe don't understand them.  It's difficult to teach and express yourself directionally on paper!

I did feel that the finished block needed a little something extra to display.  So for the sample I machine layered it onto another piece of wool that was available at the store.  I used a stitch that would keep the block from fraying.  This also added some thickness and depth to the material.  It really does need that if you're going to be handling it much.    Next came a border.  Not only did it give a nice edge to the piece, but it gave something thick to hold onto when hanging for display!  

And now you've heard the story of the time I became Inquisitive about working with wool in a new and exciting way, designing a pattern on my own, and creating and selling the kits.  Start to finish ... the project was mine!  I did it folks.... I did it!  Another adventure in the books!



You're question to me today might be ... "Do you have any sheep on your homestead?"  And my answer to you today would be ... "Not YET."  Ha ha ha, but don't tell the Farmer! 😉






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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Encouraging Hearts & Home 2/15/18

Welcome to Encouraging Hearts & Home

Hello Friends and Followers!  Another week has passed and winter is still here.  Kansas is starting to see warmer days, but cold days are still around us.  This can be a bit of a bummer if you're as excited as I am to get back outside and do some Work and Play!  Even though we are getting a bit more sunlight, evening can be boring inside.  Hopefully you'll find a few new things to try in the great blog hop hosted this week!  Don't let winter get you down, get busy... get excited, and get encouraged!


The Encouraging Hearts & Home Bloggers

Join your Encouraging Hearts & Home hosts each week for encouragement and support for your heart & your home. We hope to provide a space that builds each other up and lends a helping hand along the way. With all the negativity in the world, let's shine a positive light!

Anne at Learning TableLinda at Apron Strings & Other Things
Amy at A Nest in the Rocks



***Each week, our co-hosts will each choose 10 of our favorite links, along with the most clicked link, and pin them to our Encouraging Hearts & Home Pinterest board. 

The most clicked post from last week's Blog Hop was:


Join us each Thursday! Link up your family-friendly blog posts and find encouragement for your heart & home!

How to Link Up

  • Use the form below to share your posts this week, and maybe you'll discover some new ideas from all the fabulous links!
  • Please share only your family friendly posts with us!
  • Please only link up images that you have the rights to use.
  • By linking up, you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts' blogs, we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post.

   

 

   

    An InLinkz Link-up

   

   

Other nice things you can do

  • Follow and/or subscribe to your host's blog.
  • Visit a few other bloggers and show them your support. We all love getting comments, and who knows what inspiration you may find? Be sure to share the love--that's what a blog hop is all about!
  • If you are interested in co-hosting, contact Anne at anne@mylearningtable.com


Come Join me on Social Media:

    String Art Snowman

    I just LOVE snowmen, don't you?  They are so cute, and fun!  I've decorated my home so many different ways with different styles of snowmen!  String Art has taken a comeback, so why not just combine the two?  It's a fun thing to do.  Not extremely difficult, and what a fun an creative way to decorate or gift something hand made!  Keep reading and I'll share my snowman making story with you!


    Now, you can go to a craft store and purchase an already prepared piece of wood.  They come both plain and painted.  What I have here is a scrap piece of wood leftover from a previous project that was cut and sanded down.  I liked the natural wood look but it needed something to make it POP!  So I took a small amount of light blue crafting paint and added water to it.  Thinning it out made it super easy to apply, allowed the wood to still shine through, and dried VERY quickly!

    I looked online for patterns and ideas.  Searched through coloring books and transfer patterns.  I just couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, so I went to the office and grabbed a piece of copy paper.  Then I just drew out what was in my mind.  Didn't turn out too bad if I don't say myself!  By then the paint was completely dry and I was able to make sure the masterpiece fit the wood.  I did make a few tweaks, and then it was ready! 


    From previous experience I found that if you keep the paper pattern ON the wood, you get a better feel for what you're making, and don't put the wrong colored string on all those nails!  An added tip might be to lightly color the hat, nose, and scarf to help keep your string where you want it! If you have a tiny hole punch, that really helps too!  You can fold your paper to reach all the middle spots, and add the punches at an even distance.  I wasn't perfect, and when it came time to nail, I did choose to dismiss a few of my punches and place wherever I wanted.  Only thing about nailing through the paper is the messy cleanup after!  Grab a pair of tweezers at that paper is in there tight!



    When it comes to nails, you will want to choose something with a sharp tip, and not extremely long.  On this project I thought the rounded ends looked nice, but a flat top works well too!  A tip to keep your fingers out of the way is to grab some needle nose pliers to hold the nails as you hammer them in.  Make sure you get them in good, you would be surprised at the pressure that string will put on the nail, and you DO NOT want those nails popping out after you've started!  You'll cry.... or at least I may have...  This part takes time and patience...so try and relax!



    So you've nailed them all in and you're ready to start stringing!  Great!  I used crochet thread, and embroidery thread!  No real rules here, just find what you like!  If you choose something thick, you won't have to go around the nails as much, but I personally like all the patterns that you can make by going back and forth in random directions over the nails!  Wherever you choose to start, make sure to tie a good knot to keep the string from slipping!

    You'll find a technique and style that works for you.  I like to place the string between my fingers like a pencil and wrap around the nail head twice to "lock it in" before moving to the next nail!  As you can see below, I did choose to follow a pattern, or row formation along the outside of the snowman.  This gave each snowball distinction and made it easier to move to the next snowball.  The inside was just random directions!  I started from the bottom and worked my way up!  Next I tackled the nose because it was so small!  It really doesn't matter, the project is yours, create it however you desire!  Just tie a knot off at the end and rest as needed!



    This was a great evening project for me to work on while the "boys" were watching some sports on TV.  It doesn't take up a lot of space and I was able to keep my hands busy stringing and secretly really enjoying the family time!  I think he's pretty cute!



    I hope that you will try some string art too!  It really is relaxing and good for keeping your mind and body alert!  Winter can bring out the lazy in us.... handwork is a good way to keep busy when the sun goes down!  Winter can bring on the blues, keeping creative is a way to avoid that!



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    Thursday, February 8, 2018

    Encouraging Hearts 2/8/18

    Welcome to Encouraging Hearts & Home


    I really look forward to our weekly Blog Hop.  Not only do I love networking with all these lovely bloggers, I just love all the wonderful stories and events that we get to read about.  So many new ideas to see and share and explore!  It also motivates me to share something about myself each week! Something that is or has been going on in my life.  For those of you who stay at home, have kids, a demanding job ...  you can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of everyday and forget to take time to reflect and enjoy the wonderful life you have!  And if you're feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, it's a great time to rethink how you want to do things in your life.  It's so wonderful to participate in these blog hops because we can understand and enjoy how different we all are with the same purpose.  To have a Happy Heart and Home!

    So ... go be Encouraged this week!


    The Encouraging Hearts & Home Bloggers

    Join your Encouraging Hearts & Home hosts each week for encouragement and support for your heart & your home. We hope to provide a space that builds each other up and lends a helping hand along the way. With all the negativity in the world, let's shine a positive light!

    Anne at Learning TableLinda at Apron Strings & Other Things
    Amy at A Nest in the Rocks



    ***Each week, our co-hosts will each choose 10 of our favorite links, along with the most clicked link, and pin them to our Encouraging Hearts & Home Pinterest board. 

    The most clicked post from last week's Blog Hop was:



    Join us each Thursday! Link up your family-friendly blog posts and find encouragement for your heart & home!

    How to Link Up

    • Use the form below to share your posts this week, and maybe you'll discover some new ideas from all the fabulous links!
    • Please share only your family friendly posts with us!
    • Please only link up images that you have the rights to use.
    • By linking up, you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts' blogs, we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post.

       

        An InLinkz Link-up

       

    Other nice things you can do

    • Follow and/or subscribe to your host's blog.
    • Visit a few other bloggers and show them your support. We all love getting comments, and who knows what inspiration you may find? Be sure to share the love--that's what a blog hop is all about!
    • If you are interested in co-hosting, contact Anne at anne@mylearningtable.com


    Come Join me on Social Media:

      Tuesday, February 6, 2018

      Applique Pillow ... OR ... Placemat!


      This was such a fun project I did last winter!  If I remember correctly the pattern was for a pillow, and I decided that unstuffed it looked like a pretty neat placemat and the special star was perfect for a candle holder, but ... that was a year ago... so don't hold me to it!  


      First thing you want to pick out coordinating colors of fabric and thread!




      Now without actually sharing the pattern (respecting the original pattern maker/owner) I'll give a rough view of what I did, and hopefully you can find this very pattern at a quilting store near you! So no specific measurements here just a rough idea how to make a pillow, this specific design needs to be purchased from the correct resources!




      Choose your two main pieces of fabrics and cut a rectangle out of one, then measure and make border strips for the outside of your rectangle.  Once done it will look fabulous and you could leave it as is ... OR you can choose to embellish with the words "snow" like I did here.  Or you could make your own pattern pieces to personalize it in any way. 



      I would suggest that before cutting the material letters that you put sewable adhesive on the back!  It makes it so nice to iron on in the place you desire and then appliqué in the technique you prefer.  I like using the machine, as hand appliqué is a bit of a struggle for me to figure out!


      It's up to you, but I would choose the border material as your backing piece.  Measure the front, and cut a piece to match.




      You will also need to cut a piece of batting at that same size!




      Take scrap material and practice quilting.  You will want to quilt the top piece to the batting AFTER you have appliqué the lettering.


      Put the right sides together and sew all together leaving just enough room to turn it inside out!  

      Decision time.... 
      do you choose to make a  placemat?



      OR stuff it to become a pillow?


      The star is a sewing session of it's own.  Took me forever to figure that one out, but it was fun once I got the hang of it.  Totally NOT necessary for a cute end product!

      The pattern and material that I used came from www.facebook.com/SarahKathrynsgft  If you choose to contact them, make sure  you let them know Angie sent you! 😉


      Thursday, February 1, 2018

      Encouraging Hearts and Home 2/1/18


      Welcome to Encouraging Hearts & Home!

      Can you all believe that it's already February?  Yup February 1st 2018!  What are you all up to?   What great things are you doing in your home?  Today I am dehydrating bananas!  Learn more about that here: http://www.theinquisitivefarmwife.com/2018/02/bananas-on-sale-dehydrate.html

      I am also planing to host a sewing day tomorrow!  Cold weather is sneaking back into the forecast, so it's always great to find inside projects to do!  Look forward to some future blogs about sewing!  Until then, go check out all the wonderful things that others have posted to give you inspiration and encouragement from their hearts and homes!



      The Encouraging Hearts & Home Bloggers


      Join your Encouraging Hearts & Home Co-Hosts each week for encouragement and support for your heart & your home. We hope to provide a space that builds each other up and lends a helping hand along the way. With all the negativity in the world, let's shine a positive light!

      Anne at Learning TableLinda at Apron Strings & Other Things

      Amy at A Nest in the Rocks





      The most clicked post from last week's Blog Hop was:





      ***Each week, our co-hosts will each choose 10 of our favorite links, along with the most clicked link, and pin them to our Encouraging Hearts & Home Pinterest board. 



      Join us each Thursday! Link up your family-friendly blog posts and find encouragement for your heart & home!

      How to Link Up:








    • Use the form below to share your posts this week, and maybe you'll discover some new ideas from all the fabulous links!
















    • Please share only your family friendly posts with us!
















    • Please only link up images that you have the rights to use.
















    • By linking up, you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts' blogs, we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post.









    • Other nice things you can do:








    • Visit a few other bloggers and show them your support. We all love getting comments, and who knows what inspiration you may find? Be sure to share the love--that's what a blog hop is all about!
















    • If you are interested in co-hosting, contact Anne at anne@mylearningtable.com

















    • Come Join me on Social Media: