Archive for July, 2014

Play Date #10 Strip Pieced Christmas Star

July 25, 2014

 

I love everything that’s old: old friends, old times, old manners, old homes, old linens, and old traditions such as family and Christmas. As soon as school starts in the fall, I start thinking about finally having all our family together under one roof to celebrate a couple of days of Christmas.

Since the first year we were  married, I have made decorations for our home. It’s hard not to get them all out, but over the years I’ve been able to part with some of the more ragged things. However, each year Tommy and I put our very first tree top Angel in the tree somewhere. Even though she is too tattered and small for the top of the tree now, she still celebrates Christmas with us every year in the month of December.

Merry Christmas in July from Our House to Yours

Merry Christmas in July from Our Home to Yours

When it gets close to Christmas and we are in the Christmas spirit, it’s too late to start making holiday decorations. I like to start those projects in July. I call it Christmas in July. It’s so much more exciting to sew and to create when the stress of shopping, entertaining, and cooking is not nagging at our conscience.

So I decided to show you what I’m making right now for my etsy shop. Following are the directions if you also want to celebrate Christmas in July and sew along.

Strip Pieced Star

Strip Pieced Star

Strip Pieced Christmas Star

The supplies you need are simple, and you probably have them in your sewing room.

You will need fabric scraps, a cotton batting scrap, approximately 16″ square of backing fabric, scraps of trims and laces, 2/3 yard of ribbon for back tie and tab, a five-pointed star pattern, 4″ square fusible web, buttons, trinkets, and stuffing.

Gather scraps of fabric that compliment each other. I’ve made the stars in fabrics that lend themselves to subtle colors and also the traditional Christmas red and green.

Coordinating Fabric Scraps

Coordinating Fabric Scraps

Bits  of lace and trims in small pieces and quantity are all you need for embellishment.

Lace and Trims Assortment

Lace and Trims Assortment

The directions are simple to follow. If you have done any strip piecing, a Log Cabin block or crazy quilt piecing you will catch-on quickly. If you haven’t, but know how to sew on a machine, you will also do fine. Just follow my directions and study the pictures.

You can use any size star that suits you. My choice for a tree topper or a decorative pillow is 15″ across from point to point. This includes 1/4″ seam allowance. Trace star pattern on cotton batting and cut out.

Star Pattern Traced on Batting

Star Pattern Traced on Batting

Make a pattern for the center of the star starting with a 4 1/2″ square of paper. Cut the square slightly, so you have five sides rather than four. Using this pattern, cut a center from a photo transfer, embroidery fabric, cross-stitch piece, chenille, lace, decorative fabric or something to your liking. Iron fusible web to the back of your center fabric. Place it in the center of the batting star with each side facing one of the star points.  Using a pressing cloth, iron it to the center of your star batting. You will stitch strips of scraps out from this center piece in rounds the same way you would piece a Log Cabin block. The batting is your foundation. You will stitch through it, the previous fabric, and a new strip to create rows leading out to the star points. Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Begin by positioning a fabric scrap right sides together on one side of the center piece. Stitch through both fabrics and the foundation. Turn the strip right side up. Trim it even with the width of the side to which it was stitched. Finger press and pin. This is called “Stitch and Flip.” Rotate the star and repeat the process on the next straight side of center extending the strip to cover the side of the previous strip. Stitch and Flip. Continue around the center, going the same direction, until each side has a strip of fabric covering the raw edge. Trim strips even with the foundation, if they extend, cutting from the wrong side.  You may add pieces of lace or trim to the finished seams as shown.

First Row of Strip Piecing

First Row of Strip Piecing

Continue the rotation making a second row of stitch and flip strips and then a third row. Follow the same process as instructed above.

Rotation of Stitch and Flip

Rotation of Stitch and Flip

As you go around, you will eventually be stitching each of the five points until the foundation is covered. When star is covered, stitch 1/4″ from edge. Trim even with star foundation. Remove pins. You may embellish further with yo-yos, trinkets, appliques, and more trims.

Strip Piece Points

Strip Piece Points

Place completed Strip Pieced star right sides together with lining fabric. Pin and cut out lining same size as foundation. Determine what is the top of the star, and make a 5″ slit across in the lining fabric two-thirds from the bottom of the star. This will be where you turn the star right side out, stuff it, and stitch tying ribbons. Stitch 1/4″ from raw edge on all sides. Clip off star points above stitching. Clip into point intersections to the stitching.

Cut Slit in Lining

Cut Slit in Lining

Turn right side out and make sure points are out and smooth. I use a chop stick to push the points out and get stuffing firmly into the points. Stuff star full. Cut ribbon in half so you have two pieces. Insert one end of each ribbon into the lining opening. Turn under seam allowance of the slit and pin opening closed with ribbon end pinned inside. Stitch opening by hand with small stitches and double thread. Add a loop of ribbon to the top of the star for hanging on the top tree branch.

Ribbon Hanging

Ribbon Hanging

 

Once you make one of these stars, you will want to make more. Here’s a sample in red and green. You can see more in my etsy shop.

Red and Green Star

Red and Green Star

MERRY CHRISTMAS IN JULY FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS.

 

 

 

 

 

Double Fun, Love, and Laughter

July 6, 2014

 

Our oldest grandchildren, Madison (17) and Tyler (14) Murrah, have come for a visit from Dallas every year since they were little.  In years past, they each had their own week so each day was filled with exactly what they wanted to do. As they have grown older, their interests are very much the same. Their free summer days are limited so they have spent their week with us together. It makes for double fun, love and laughter. Tommy and I are amazed and delighted they still want to spend a week at Camp Grammy and Granddaddy.

Fun

Fun

Love You Granddaddy

Love You Granddaddy

Laughter

Laughter

This summer it was a little hectic getting them out of Dallas Love Field and to Houston Hobby Airport because of bad weather. So a flight that was supposed to arrive at 6:30 PM was closer to 12:30 AM the next day. They were tired little puppies when they got to our house. They went straight to bed, but not before Tyler showed us his list of things they wanted to do.

Tyler's List

Tyler’s List

We accomplished most of the things on his list and added a few others such as comic book store, Cheesecake Factory, Hogs ‘n Chicks, Sunday school and church. It’s hard to know if Monopoly Marathon or Bluebell ice cream every night is the number one thing on his list. We certainly did them both this year.

Most often Tyler wins at Monopoly. Our marathon this trip lasted three nights. At one point Madison was in the lead. She took out Granddaddy and enjoyed counting her money and property much to Tyler’s dismay.

Madison is Winning

Madison is Winning

Unfortunately Tyler was able to take me down and take all my money and property. He then put hotels on most of his property. Sad day for Madison as she lost to Tyler in the end. He’s such a good sport about winning. Don’t you think?

Tyler Wins

Tyler Wins

Most days started with Grammy’s French Toast. This is a simple recipe that came from my childhood Olafson home. Our boys loved it, and each of our five grandchildren expect French Toast most mornings when they wake-up at our house. Here’s the recipe.

Grammy’s French Toast

Ingredients (Makes 8 Pieces)

White bread, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, dash of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla (secret ingredient), butter, white sugar

Instructions

You must have an electric skillet! You know the kind that was given as a wedding gift to all those who married in the ’60’s. You can still buy one. I’ve probably had 3-4 in our 48 years of marriage.

Beat together egg and milk in pie tin. Stir in salt and vanilla.

Melt butter in heated skillet set on high. Quickly coat bread in batter on both sides. Place in skillet. When slightly brown on one side, turn and brown on other side. Add more butter to skillet. Remove to plate when brown on both sides. Butter one side and top with white sugar.

Yes, I know it’s not the most healthy breakfast to offer our kids, but it’s what happens at Grammy’s house. I know Madison and Tyler are back on their gluten-free, sugar-free diet now that they are home. Their mommy has always said it’s OK at Grammy’s, but we’ll eat differently at home.

So after being fortified with this healthy breakfast, on our first full day they went on to play laser tag, bake cookies, and eat Granddaddy’s superb bar-b-q ribs with all the extras.

Tyler Licks the Beater

Tyler Licks the Cookie Beater

Madison sleeps a little later than Tyler, so he entertained himself by occupying my new chaise lounge while playing a few games on Wii.

Playing on Wii

Playing on Wii

He also kept physically active each day. Catch anyone, or a little basketball on the sport court or a run on Grammy’s treadmill? A guy has to stay in shape if he’s going to play baseball in high school in the fall.

Catch with Granddaddy

Catch with Granddaddy

Shooting Baskets

Shooting Baskets

Running on Treadmill

Running on Treadmill

The second morning was spent at home in Grammy’s studio. Madison made a small tote like one she had when she was a little girl before it was lost.

In Grammy's Studio

In Grammy’s Studio

She also modeled a few tote bags I’ve made for my etsy shop.

My Personal Model

My Personal Model

In the afternoon, we went to the movie theater to see “Godzilla,” played laser tag at a different place, and then ate pizza. Madison and Tyler agreed they may have over-done it with rich food on this day.

The third day was spent at home with various activities including watching super hero movies on TV, drawing, and making tacos for dinner outside. The fun, love, and laughter continued with lots of singing, talking,  and ice cream before bed.

Taco Dinner for Outside

Taco Dinner for Outside

Day four, Granddaddy and Tyler went to an Astros game. The Astros didn’t win, but they enjoyed the game any way. Looks like a lot of people missed this game.

At Astros Game

At Astros Game

Madison opted out of going to the game and declared it a stay-at-home in jammies day. She drew and painted all day long while watching past episodes of “The Office.” The guys called at the end of the day and suggested eating chicken fried steak at a near-by restaurant. Madison quickly got herself into clothes and off we went, but she and I chose chicken salad.

The fifth day everyone was up early to go to First United Methodist Church in Missouri City. Granddaddy taught the Sunday school lesson, and then we went to church. The kids thought Granddaddy did a good job at teaching and liked our new preacher, Marty Vershel. Then it was off to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch and then to the Comic book store  near my office.

This was our last night together. Granddaddy, our kitties and I will miss them.

Bye Tiger

Bye Tiger

It was off to the airport early the next afternoon. Madison and Tyler checked-in like pros.  I got lots of hugs and kisses before they went through the security line. What a great time we had with these sweet, intelligent children. Soon Madison will start her senior year at Ursuline Academy and Tyler his freshman year at Jesuit in Dallas. I’m sure we will see him on the baseball field and her on the stage. It’s one of the best things in life being able to enjoy grandchildren. Thanks, Todd and Julie, for sharing your super kids with us. We were filled with fun, love, and laughter.

 

 


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