A Quickie Halloween Decorating Upgrade

I looked at my blog and noticed that I’ve posted about 8 times since last Halloween! And I have about 4 Halloween posts for this year… That goes to show you how much I love Halloween! And how much I miss blogging more often! Anyway, here we go with more Halloween fun!

My sister in law also likes to do it up for Halloween and she posted a a picture of her mantle with these fanastic mirrored skulls! They were beautiful. They totally inspired this project!

 

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When I went to Value Village I found these pumpkins that I thought would be fantastic nice and shiny silver! They are a little too ‘country chic’ for my décor, but a little paint can change that in about ten minutes. So I grabbed them! Not only does Value Village have a ton of costumes, but there’s also a lot of fun décor to be found there.

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And I just happened to have this mirror spray paint at home. So I decided to use it for this project. Notice the bottle says ‘Looking Glass’…  Well, it’s meant for painting on glass…  But whatever, right? Why not give it a try. These aren’t fine heirlooms that I’m dealing with. Just some nice secondhand decorations that need a new life, so let’s give it a try!

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The first coat had the look of old glass that the spray paint is supposed to give, so I was having some high hopes that it would work. The second coat covered it and gave it a just a nice flat silver color. Not exactly the look I was going for, but I love them none the less!

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The experiment did not get me the fabulous mirror look that my sister in law’s décor has, but I do love my new pumpkins! And the more matte finish may even be just the right finish for my décor!

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I love them! What do you think? How many projects have you updated with a quick bit of spray paint? You check out others I’ve done, like Christmas reindeer and more reindeer, sea shells and Easter bunnies!

 

I have been compensated with either payment or product for this post. All opinions are my own, honest opinions!

 

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Halloween Decorating with Value Village

My husband always decorates the front porch for Halloween. For years we had this paper mache alien head that he would use for our ‘scary front porch friend.’ The last couple of years the head was getting damaged, and then it got so beat up that he went away…

So this year we needed new pieces to make our ‘scary front porch friend.’ Then I was contacted by Value Village to post about using the resources at their store for Halloween costumes or decorations. So I said, ‘yes,’ of course!

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So the whole family headed to Value Village to see what we could find! It’s always fun to try on masks! We love it! The store had a huge selection of new masks, but some of our favorites were the used ones!

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Tons of costumes! They have so many new costumes, but I wanted used. It took me a little while to figure out the difference between the new and used. Tons of everything else you need to make a scarecrow from just the normal everyday selection. And tons of heads! Mannequin heads. Why I wonder! Are they for Halloween? Or do they always have such a huge bin of Styrofoam heads?

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We came home with more than we needed, actually!

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We got the skeleton costume for $4. I thought it was going to great on the ‘scary front porch guy.’ I thought it would be cool to see the inside of our friend. Then we thought he’s wear the flannel. When we actually started stuffing him, we ended up going a little bit different route. But we did use the knife, the mannequin head and the creepy mask! Everything here is used except the knife. I almost didn’t get the knife because I thought I could find it cheaper somewhere else. I got it anyway and I’m glad I did. I haven’t seen another one at all and especially not one cheaper!

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We were going to use the flannel shirt for our friend, but thought the kiddos might get a kick out of seeing him in their school sweatshirt!

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Another new purchase we made was this skeleton guy! We love him! He’s fully articulated and posable! He and ‘scary front porch friend’ are going to be great friends for years to come!!

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Do you love to decorate for Halloween? Halloween and Christmas are my favorites for decorating!  What’s your favorite holiday to decorate for?

 

I have been compensated with either payment or product for this post. All opinions are my own, honest opinions!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

This year was a bust… First off, I didn’t get to make a costume. The kiddo decided to be Harry Potter and we had already purchased most of the pieces. He’d been planning this for months! And then tonight he came home from school with 102 degree fever. So, while the other kids were getting dressed and heading out for some haunting, we hunkered down and watched a movie. The worst Halloween he said. Poor Kid!

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But I made another Halloween pillow! I’m so excited to trade it with a friend for a piece of art!

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I used my bat pattern that I have on Craftsy! It was fun to break out the pattern again! It’s pretty quick and easy!

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I through is a little piece of with one of my favorite Halloween fabrics! I used this same fabric on my Halloween quilt from a few years back.

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I always say I’m going to add a zipper back, but then I never have one when I need one. So I always resort back to the envelope style back. And I’m fine with that! At least until I buy a stash of zippers…

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According to this guy, it’s pretty comfy too!

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If you decide to make a bat pillow, be sure to tag me! I’d love to see what everyone else makes with them! I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! I can’t wait until next year!

Left and Right Quilt Tutorial

Remember my do Good Stitches Left and Right quilt that I wrote about last month?

Honestly, It’s pretty easy…. I’ll show you how we did it. You’ll need 3 colors of fabric for the flying geese, white and a pile of grey scraps. Unfortunately, I don’t have a quantity of how much of each fabric you’ll need. You’ll need to do the math on that based on how large of a quilt your looking for.

image via A Quilters Table

First, we’re making a big batch HST. Have you tried my friend Debbie’s tutorial for big batch HST’s? It’s awesome! You can find it here.

To make your big batch HST’s you’ll need (1) 9×9 square of white for every color 9×9 square. (1) set of 9×9 squares will give you 18 HSTs.

You’ll also need to cut:

(9) 2.5×3.5 white rectangles- (1) for each set of HST (which will make 1 flying geese).
And grey scraps

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Once you’ve got your HST’s, we need to add the grey bits! Then line up the ruler so that you are cutting off the tip of the colored edge of the HST, 1.25″ away from the center.

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Add small scraps of grey to each corner. I suggest chain piecing at this point. I also didn’t trim the grey scraps. I just made sure they were big enough that once they are folded over, they cover the corner.

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Trim each HST block to 2.5 inch squares.

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Next, let’s make some flying geese! Sew together 2 HST’s to make your flying geese blocks. Chain piece again.

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Sew the 2.5×3.5 rectangles on to the left side of each HST block. Make sure they are all pointing in the right direction.

Then do it again and again and again for each of the three colors.

OK, from here on out, I don’t have very good pictures!

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Sew the blocks together along line 1, shown above, first. Do this with all the flying geese blocks.

Next take the double flying geese blocks and sew them together along line 2, shown above. Be sure to backstitch at the top and bottom of each!

And do that until you get length you want of the each of the rows of each color. Add strips of white between and you’re done!

There are a lot of little blocks, but they go pretty fast, especially if you chain piece them!

What do you think? Will you make it? If you do, please let me know! Can’t wait to see it!

Easter Cupcakes

Have you started planning for Easter? Easter baskets, snacks? Family meals? Egg decorating?

I admit that I am not a great cake decorator, but we had fun with these cupcakes! I came up with three different ones! It was just one of those days where you weren’t planning on making something, but the idea came and you had everything you need. I love those days!

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So, I am trying to come to terms with my cake decorating limitations, but I have another kitchen flaw… I’m also not good at boiling eggs! It seems like one of those things that everyone can do. You put eggs in water and boil the water, right… Well, I still have not made a batch of hard boiled eggs without cracking at least a few.

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So I had an idea of what to do with those broken ones! I carefully cracked them and removed the eggs. Then cleaned out the shells and dyed them just like the hardboiled eggs. In the nice little old fashioned Paas dye kits!

For these I just filled the eggs with robin’s egg candy and secured the egg shell in the icing!

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Here’s the OMG moment when I realized I had a whole bag of pompoms down stairs! A bag of different sized pompoms, a bit of red paper and some hot glue and you’ve got some chicks!  Oh, yea! You know that crafty feeling I’m talking about, don’t you? I was running back and forth with this big cheesy grin, decorating cupcakes and making pompom chicks!

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And for my third idea…

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I wanted to make a birds nest! The kiddo says it looks like a birds nest…  With jelly bean birds eggs. I think they turned out cute, too!

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But I’m pretty sure the pompom chicks are everyone’s favorite!

 

A Werewolf Halloween 2016

I’m back!!!! Thanks to my good friend Debbie and her family, my computer is back and all my data is saved! I know Halloween was a whole week ago, but I can’t NOT share our Halloween costume!

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It’s not just a werewolf. It’s just any ‘teen wolf’.

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image via

It’s the werewolf from Goosebumps!

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I was a little surprised and didn’t take the Goosebumps werewolf seriously at first. But he stuck with it and of, course, I had to oblige! This was my first attempt at sewing with fur. The trick I learned was to use a knitting needle and part the fur. Then I cut down the part. I know there are tons of tutorials for fur, so I won’t go into those details. But the parting of the fur worked great for me!

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I made a bunch of pieces and kinda made it up as I went along. I made a hoodie, leggings, fingerless gloves, paws, and a mask. For the hoodie and leggings, I used Peek a boo Pattern Shop Patterns. I actually made another hoodie and another pair of leggings to make sure I had the right size. I’ll have to share those soon. It was fun sewing for the kiddo again! So, the hoodie is the Boardwalk Hoodie and the leggings are the Winter PJ Bottoms. I almost used the Skinny Jeans Pattern, but decided I didn’t need all that! Especially not out of fur!

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As you might know, I’ve made a few masks on my own over the years… A lion, an arctic fox, a fox, a tiger, and a few superhero masks! But I’ve never made one with a snout… So I bought this pattern from EbonyShaeDesigns. She has some amazing masks!

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ok. The shoes were my favorite part! Love them!

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Technically, he wears hightops, but these were free and my son hates Converse…. So I wasn’t going to buy new to cut open. So we went with free low tops! So then I made little socks, kinda! Kinda mittens. With a little stuffing and elastic to hold them on his foot. Then stuffed them through the hole in the toe of the shoe!

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He loved it! He wore it to school. Since he really was a book character, Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character, instead of dress up for Halloween at school went nice and smooth. I was nervous the costume might come all stuffed in his backpack, but nope! He liked it! He even wanted to sleep in it!

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Our dog, who dressed up like a wolf, was very confused about why his boy was so furry! Almost every day, someone asks us if our husky is a wolf! And the week before Halloween a kid at school told her mom to look at the wolf, I responded with, ‘Well, no, he’s not a wolf, but he’s going to dress up like one for Halloween.’ The family didn’t think it was as funny as I did! ha!

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I even started to feel a transformation coming on while I was sewing and I looked down and it looked like I was turning into a wolf too! Or a hobbit, as someone on IG pointed out!

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For a few years, I tried to coordinate family costumes, but… It didn’t happen this year! I had a good time making myself a Perler bead mask!

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I hope everyone had a great Halloween! I’m glad to be back online, too!

 

Zeus on the Loose with Me!

It’s my turn!! Yeah!! Have you ever played Zeus on the Loose?? We love it! It’s basically a counting strategy game. That description doesn’t do much for it, but take my word for it. It’s fun!

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Originally I wanted to make a notebook cover for my son, but my Improv Lightening Bolts kept being too big, so it turned into a pillow! It was really hard to get it as small as I wanted it to be!

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I went through a few plans of projects to make this year. Usually I know exactly what I want to make. Not this year. Then I remembered our new favorite game. But what to make?? At first I got my Greek Gods confused and for a minute I was designing something with a trident… Um, hello, my to ‘I minored in Ancient History’ self…. Zeus and tridents do not go together. Lightening Bolt my friend!!!  Then I was all over it!

I’ll give you a super quick idea of how I made it! Since it’s improv, there are no dimensions or anything to go with! To make the Improv Lightening bolt is simple!

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First, cut out a ‘leaning’ triangle, then sew on a thin layer of the ‘bright light’ fabric and then a thicker layer of the background fabric. So that you end up with two ‘leaning’ triangles. And you want them to both be leaning in the same direction!

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Next, I folded over the top of the triangle to get an overlap. Once I liked where the overlap was, I ironed it flat. This ironed line is where I sew-ed it together.

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And then I trimmed a quarter inch seam. Repeat these last two steps over and over until you have each side of the lightening bolt how you like them. then sew the two halves together!

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Add in the rest of the background fabric for the shape you need for either a notebook cover, a pillow top or quilt blocks…. And quilt away!

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I thought it turned out pretty cool. And once I got my husbands seal of approval, I knew it was pretty cool! (yes, he’s very honest and has no qualms telling the truth about his feelings on my work! Usually he likes it, but not all the time!) I think it’s going to be loved, along with it’s inspiring game!

 

 

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Sept 9th- Liz and LiZ  from Simple Simon and Co

Sept 14th- Stacey from Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts

Sept 16th- Narelle from Threadistry

Sept 19th- Debbie from A Quilter’s Table

Sept 21st- Louise from I’m Feelin’ Crafty

Sept 23rd- Al from Shaffer Sisters

Sept 26th- Michelle from Factotum of Arts

Sept 28th- Ashley and Emily from Frances Suzanne

Sept 30th- The Recap!

 

 

 

Olympics Craft Flashback

We love watching the Olympics around here! Just last night the kiddo decided he needed to ‘sleep’ on the couch. That was code for ‘stay up way too late to watch the Olympics!’

As we’re watching I remembered this post of the Olympics crafts we did 4 years ago and one of my favorite pictures of the kiddo! I love the one above of him pretending to win Gold! And I still have the Olympic Rings Wind Chime hanging in my sewing room. (no, I don’t get much tinkling from them in my sewing room!)

So I’m reposting our cute little crafts!

Using the same technique we used to make the sun catchers, we made the Olympic Rings and medals. Put the beads in a muffin tin, cook at 400 degrees for 25 minutes (with the fan on) (be sure to read the post here for more information and also cook while the kids are out and about and away from the cooking source and in a well ventilated room. See disclaimer at end of original post), pop out of the tin and drill holes. Yep, easy as that!

The wind chimes make a great little tinkling sound as they bounce around in the wind. And trust me… I heard a lot of it as I tried to take these pictures on a beautiful, yet windy, day

And then the medals!!! What kid doesn’t want their own medal? And they are fun to make!!

The Gold, Silver and Bronze! Ok, so the silver is actually clear, but I didn’t have any clear grey or silver beads…

 

The medals are still a hit and he busts them out every now and then! OK, back to watching.  Go USA!

Skirting the Issue with a QAYG Row by Row Tutorial

I’m honored to have been invited by Simple Simon to participate in their yearly series, Skirting The Issue! Skirting the Issue is a  month long event every July where you are invited to sew along with us to make skirts (and quilts)  to donate to local Foster Care centers for the girls to receive just in time for back to school.

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Of course, I was excited that quilts are now included in their series. As most of you know that I also participate in a quilting bee that used to donate our quilts to a foster child organization. We no longer do, which is another reason I was excited to make another quilt for foster kids. Can you imagine not having anything? Not even a blanket? That’s what so many of these foster kids move from house to house with. Nothing. I’m hoping I can change that for at least one kiddo! And hoping I’ll inspire others to also participate and help another kiddo!

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This quilt started as a office meeting doodle. I doodle so that I don’t day dream in meetings! I think some people think I’m not paying attention, but really the doodling helps me focus on the meeting…. So I doodled this and a co-worker asked if it was going to be another quilt design. No…. I mean YES! That would make a cool quilt! I had grand plans of piecing each block with strips of fabric… Then I came to my senses and realized, they make striped fabric! Hello!

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I wanted to make an easy quilt for new quilters to be able to make and share with the kids! This quilt uses blocks cut from striped fabric using a modified Quilt As You Go method. There are many QAYG tutorials out there. But my biggest thing with QAYG is the bulk at the seam allowance. I found a way to get around that and I’ll show you how I do it. So here’s how I do QAYG….

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First, I cut all the pieces. This fabric has 1″ stripes. And a shout out to It’s Just Sewing for the awesome fabric! I want 8″ blocks for this quilt to really show off the stripes. So cute your blocks to be 8 3/4″ blocks. Here’s my biggest QAYG secret…. I don’t use 1/4″ seam allowances. I use 3/8″ seam allowances! Why? I’ll tell you… It’s hard to iron flat 1/4″ seams when you have both the fabric and the batting to be ironing open. And if it’s not ironed flat, it’s hard to catch the seam allowance when you’re quilting….

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Next I quilt the batting to the fabric, but not a full QAYG style! I chain pieced each row with just one row of quilting. Just enough to hold the fabric to the batting. I’ll tell you why later!

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Combine the blocks into rows. Are you wondering why I have quilted yet??? Hold on… Keep with me!

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Then combine the first two rows….

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NOW QUILT the top row only! I know it’s hard to see in this picture, but the top row is actually quilted.

Now here’s the thing. You could combine all the rows and then quilt the whole thing. But… For me, with all the quilting in this quilt and all the moving around of the quilt, it is easier to me to quilt a row, then another row, etc…. I’m avoiding stuffing my whole quilt through the machine over and over and over each time I change directions.

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I’m doing this same technique with my SMQG BOM quilt. So this may look familiar to you… (Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the backside of this blue and green quilt once I started quilting it!) So this is what the back will look like.

As you are quilting the lines, you will be stitching in the ditch between each quilt line and then quilting over the seam allowance as you continue quilting the stripes.

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Now we continue on. Top row is quilted and combined with the second row. Then add another row. Quilt the second row. And on and on.

This quilt has 8 rows. So again to eliminate a lot of quilt being moved around and stuffed through my sewing machine, I did four rows. Then started again with the bottom row and worked my way up. Then I combined the two pieces and quilted down the middle.

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And you end up with this! Yea!

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Add your back and quilt in the ditch. and you don’t have the bulk of the seam allowances!

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Another way to do it would be to quilt all the lines on your blocks. Combine them all and then not quilt in the ditch, but do your quilting over the seam allowances. Easy Peasy…

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So why didn’t I do it this way? The plain and simple reason…. Aesthetics. I didn’t want the straight lines at the seam allowance to be quilted over the quilting of each stripe. Make sense?

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My son asked why I take pictures of the labels… Because I do! ha!

Recap:

So the two things I do a little different with quilt as you go.

1. 3/8 seam allowances.

2. I don’t ‘quilt as you go’ prior to combining blocks. I quilt as I go, row by row. (or as with the SMQG BOM, block by block.) I don’t do the quilting until at least a couple of the blocks are joined  so that I can quilt over the seam allowance.

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Where is this quilt going? I haven’t figured that out yet. There’s a great organization, My Very Own Blanket, in Ohio that organizing matching quilts with foster kids. I’m looking for a local group here in Seattle that does the same thing.

Here’s another secret… I got the fabric for this quilt Friday night. Then I marathon quilted all weekend to get it done by Sunday night. I thought I had until August 26th to share my project with the Skirting the Issue series…. So I’m a bit behind on finding the right home for this quilt….

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And this is also a finish on my Quarter 3 Finish Along!

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My New Thread Catcher

Honestly, I usually just throw my threads on the floor and then sweep it up when I’m done….

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But the other day the kiddo and I went to the local paint your own pottery place, Emerald City Fired Arts, and I needed a project since he was making two….

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So I decided to paint this bowl. At first I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. Then, as I was painting, I realized the shape was perfect for throwing in threads!

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We’ve been going to this place for years! The kiddo LOVES it! We do have a growing collection… I used to help the kiddo here and there. But now, he doesn’t need any help. So I get to paint my own.

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I tried to do a gradation by making the paint into a wash. It didn’t come out exactly like I planned, but it looks pretty cool. The inside is a really deep teal color. Unfortunately, the inside doesn’t show up well in the pictures….

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Does it seem odd that I don’t have a sewn thread catcher? Does it seem risky to have a ceramic thread catcher? Mine sits just behind my machine, so I think I’m safe! Hope so!