Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fireplace Blanket

Last winter I identified three projects that I wanted to do to help with the temperature of my home. I accomplished two of these, replacing my dog door with a higher efficiency door and successfully weather stripling my back door. Both of these changes made a huge difference in the temperature of my dinning room and kitchen. The last project was to make a fire place blanket. I did quite a bit of searching on the internet for how people make these wholes in their houses efficient. In colder climates where the fire place is used for heat they have developed several options ranging from balloons inserted against the flue to covers for the outside to blankets. Considering most of these options I found begin in the $100 range I figured a blanket was something I could do!

Here is my fireplace a few weeks ago. Eventually I would like to replace the tile, fix the doors and change out the mantle but those are all larger projects for later.


Last year when I decided to do this project I was able to find a few people who had done something similar. A key piece seemed to be the insulation. There are several products out there but this one is a batting with a foil layer inside. The key is to build up the rh factor which is the level of cold it will keep out. This is based of what I ready about making window coverings which serve a similar function.


I also bought some black upholstery fabric but for some reason never got sewing, probably because of our lack of a real winter last year. A few weeks ago I decided I needed to finish before it started getting really cold. I quickly discovered I did not have enough fabric do ended up getting black duck cloth. 

I measured the fireplace then added an inch to each length. I cut the two fabrics into this size. I decided the duck cloth would go against the fireplace since it was heavy duty. I then cut small rectangles to hold the magnets in place. This was a great opportunity to use up old thread since it would never be seen!


I then build the layers like I first started making quilts. Facing the two outside layer together then stacking the reflective batting then a layer of quilt batting. I sewed around the edge with a half inch seam leaving an opening to flip it right side out. Once it was flipped I sewed again around the perimeter to finish it and close the seam. 

I bought some super strong rare earth magnets to attach the blanket, these are definitely interesting to work with and I advise caution. I left an opening on the rectangles to insert the magnets later, due to their strength I could not sew near them. They are also difficult to separate and break fairly easy. Once they break or chip they start just slicing your hands up so wear gloves!

The final step was inserting the magnets. I had planned to try to hand sew them in place but don't think that will be needed. Here is the blanket in place.


I just put it up today and was quite pleased with how it came out and the coverage. I know it is working because we decided to have our first fire of the season tonight and when I pulled it away from the fireplace the back of the blanket was really cold but the room was quite comfortable.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Mothers Day Bouquet Quilt

I cant believe I forgot to post this quilt! I finished this one early this summer and entered it in the AV Fair last August. The pattern was found in Sweet Celebrations with Moda and is the Mothers Day Bouquet Quilt. I used one of Moda's fabric lines but have to check on which one it was. The quilt looks like flowers.



The back is a blue floral and the binding is stripes.


Speaking of the Fair, here it is on display at the Fair.



Scrap Happy Purse

One of the blogs I follow is Crazy Mom Quilts and recently saw her post about making a Scrap Happy Purse. I loved the look of this bag and really wanted to try making it. Given my past lack of success in making any kind of bag I was hesitant but finally decided to go for it. I went though the basket of scraps that I keep for Katie to play with and found more than enough scraps at the right size. It is pretty awesome because I remember all of the quilts and projects that I used these fabrics for, this makes the bag that much more special. I began the bag and thought that I would finish it quickly, however my Grandmother encountered some health issues and passed away quickly which led to family coming to town. Things are beginning to return to normal and one of the first projects I wanted to get back to was this. Tonight I finished sewing on the last handle. Here is the finished purse.




Here is a close up, I quilted lines on every 1/4 inch which took some time but really looks good.


Inside there are two pockets and a snap.


This bag was a lot of fun to make and I am really happy with how it came out!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Easy As Pie

Earlier this year, around April my office mate (we share an office at the library, she is also our teen librarian) came to work then had horrible stomach pain which took her to urgent care then the ER. Long story short she had several cancerous ovarian tumors which were removed in subsequent surgeries. She is now in chemo and doing good so we are all awaiting her return to work this December! What can I do when something happens to someone and I feel helpless...well a quilt is one thing. Here is her Easy As Pie Layer Cake Quilt. I used a layer cake of Strawberry Fields fabric. 




The boarder is a pink floral fabric and the back is a yellow strawberry print.





Very happy with how this quilt came out and cant wait to send it to her!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Peaches for the summer

The peach crop this year has been short so getting good peaches has been a challenge. I was able to get one box from the CSA and put them to good use.

First we made Peach Raspberry Jam from Taste of Home Canning and Preserving 


Next was Blueberry Peach Chutney from The Complete Book of Pickling


Third was Peach BBQ Sauce from The Art of Preserving


Finally was Peach Butter from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving


Altogether a great way to to save the peaches from this summer. We are using the BBQ sauce on some chickens for dinner tonight!