Waggons West Etsy Shop

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Cutting Question

So here is a question for you....

When you are going to cut a smallish piece of fabric (for applique or a small project) out of piece of fabric from your stash where do you start?  I am talking about regular cuts of fabric, anywhere from 1/4 yard on up.  My issue is preserving the 'best' piece for future projects.

  • Do you cut all the way across one selvage end at your largest measurement?  This preserves a large section but reduces the length of any strips you cut in the future.
  • Do you work your way across one edge?  Keeping the longer strip sections intact but making the whole thing narrower.
  • Do you whack away and worry about the scraps later? 
I really want to know because figuring out the initial cuts is one of the biggest things that slows me down on any project.  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Graphics Fairy

Looking for Steampunk inspiration I re-discovered The Graphics Fairy.  I pulled out my inkjet printer and my printable fabric.  I have no idea what I might do with this fish picture but I love him!  I'm going to have some fun with this.  Just thought I'd share!  If you haven't been to the site you should check it out. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Freeze Frame Annie has posted more of her great postcard quilts.    One of them is steampunk-ish.  (I love the image of raiding the tool room for flower centers!)  I have been fascinated by steampunk projects for several years now.  I haven't done much with it in quilting.  My first, and only, attempt was  a whole-cloth project to practice my free motion quilting.  I did some clock faces and gears in the FMQ, although they 'need some practice'.  I am going to have to revisit this theme.  Perhaps in the mug rug format...  hmmmm.... 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Whimsey Box Review

A few months ago, I read about Whimsey Box.  It is a sort of subscription club for craft supplies.  Each month you get a new box full of different types of craft supplies.  The boxes looked intriguing.  The supplies described looked fun.  I figured this would be a way to jumpstart my crafting mojo. I was stuck in a rut and needed some new inspiration. 

The subscription rate was $15/month.  It is a bit steep, but I really thought it would be worth it to get to experiment with new and different things each month.  I wanted easy access to the new and latest things for crafting.  So I signed up and eagerly awaited the first shipment. 

Over 4 months I received 4 boxes.  They did not arrive consistently, but only one took so long after the payment was added to my account that I had to inquire.  They politely explained they were overwhelmed.  It arrived shortly thereafter. 

The first box was a quality box.  The cardboard is substantial.  The label bracket is securely attached.  If I recall correctly, it came in a priority mail box.  The box has a magnetic closure.

Once opened, the box was beautifully packaged.  The satin ribbon bow and the tissue were perfectly coordinated.  This has been true of every box. 
The first thing you find is a printed art card. 

The reverse of that card lists the contents supplied and provides some suggestions for how to use them,

Everything is securely packed in a shredded paper bedding. 

The first box contained nice stack of coordinating printed papers.  They are small, but that is understandable given the size of the box.  There is a length of vinyl trim probably sufficient for the handles on a bag, a goodly amount of braided trim, two sharpies and a gluestick.   I was underwhelmed by the sharpies and glue stick.  I was anticipating things that would not be traditionally found in a basic set of supplies.  The colors of the sharpies are different.  The glue stick is standard grade school issue. 

While not really excited by the package, I was willing to keep on the list.  The box is super and I would be happy to have an excuse to collect the boxes to store my craft supplies.

Box two arrived in an envelope instead of a box (as did all the rest).  It is slightly larger than box one.  It is however, of a lesser cardboard, has folded construction and closes with velcro rather than a magnet.  It does still have the label frame although it is not as securely attached due to the nature of the cardboard.  Generally a flimsier box, but still workable. 

Another art card with contents listed on the reverse.  More pretty packaging.  These boxes are beautifully presented. 

The contents of this box are pretty basic as well.  There are two plastic stencils.  The shapes are interesting but I probably won't find a good use for them anytime soon.  There is a tiny sample bottle of acrylic paint in a gorgeous turquoise.  (Yes, I expect sample sizes and am perfectly fine with that.)  There is a tiny canvas which I have targeted for a test collage project.  There is a packet of lovely natural buttons.  It is a generous amount and they are beautiful.  There are a  two very unimpressive stencil brushes. 

So, box 2 had some interesting things in it.  Some things were again of the basic supply kit nature and thus not as inspiring as I anticipated.  I was still willing to try another month and see what showed up even though I was very disappointed by the change in box style.

The story on boxes 3 and 4 gets a bit sadder.  They arrived in bags.  And they arrived in poor shape.  One was smashed in and the label holder was torn off, it was nowhere to be found in the packing material.  The other was also damaged.  The label holder was crooked and poorly attached.  If you recall, one of the reasons I kept with the program was because I really liked the initial box.  It was not clear from the condition of these boxes that I would be able to re-use them at all. 

As with the other boxes, box 3 was beautifully packed.

The contents were again protected by shredded paper. and nicely arranged in the box.  The art card has descriptions of the materials and suggestions for projects.

The supplies included 2 cork coaster blanks, 1 slightly damaged fabric covered notebook, googley eyes, 2 fabric pens and 2 skeins of embroidery floss.  At this point, I truly was underwhelmed with the Whimseyboxes.  I did not feel that the contents warranted the cost.  I felt I could go to the local craft or art supply store, spend the same amount of money, get the quality box I wanted and still have plenty left to buy a nice selection of the interesting, new supplies I always look at and never buy. 

I decided to cancel my subscription.  Box 3 was the one that was late to arrive.  It was so late that the payment for box 4 had already been charged to my card before box 3 arrived.  Response to my inquiries was prompt and polite.  The service was very good. 

Since I still had one box coming, I had hopes that it would inspire me to re-activate my subscription.  I really did look forward to getting these surprise boxes each month.  It came packed with my favorite color in the ribbon an tissue.  The art card was cute.

The box contained a reasonable sized piece of quality leather. It is sufficient to make both sides of a fold over wallet.  And a packet of metal studs. 

Leather and studs.  Yes, I know how expensive leather is.  Yes, this is high quality leather.  Yes, neither of these can be considered basic crafting supplies.  Yet I was again underwhelmed; completely uninspired. 

So this is my collection for four months and $60.  I count the tissue, ribbon and shredded paper because they are all useful and beautiful.  I will probably throw out boxes 3 and 4.  I will probably gift some of the other supplies or use them for a give away.

All together, less the tissue and shredded paper, it fits into one of the boxes with room to spare. 

Don't get me wrong.  I really like the Whimsey Box concept.  I really enjoyed the anticipation and the mystery.  I just don't think the value of the supplies warrants the expense, particularly in these times of very tight budgets.  I will keep watching their progress and I might try again some day but for now, I think I'll take my $15 and blow it on the supplies on sale at the local craft store.  

Edited for minor typographical errors12/12  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pizza on the Grill

It has been a bit warm around here.  Too warm to turn on the oven or even the stovetop.  So we are gilling everything.  Spud 3 wanted do-it-yourself pizza for his birthday party.  We did it ourselves, on the grill.

What follows is technically not a recipe.  You have to make your own pizza dough following whatever recipe you prefer.  The one I use is here.  Pick your favorite sauce, or spice up a can of tomatoes or tomato sauce.  Gather meats, cheese and other toppings and heat up the grill. 

Since you are using your grill to bake, you want to get it pretty hot and minimize the amount of time you have the lid open.  You need to balance that with having space on the grill where the burners are no hotter than low/medium so the dough doesn't burn.

Once your grill is hot (probably about 400 degrees F) start rolling out your pizza dough.  Keep it pretty thin.  I like to put it on a plate (in the case of making pizzas for a house full of ravenous teenagers, I used paper plates).  Oil one side. 

Flip the plate over so the dough lands oilded side down onto the grill.  Close the lid quickly and let it bake.  You are going to have to test the baking time on your own grill.  There are too many variables for me to even guess your timing.  We were running a slow grill and probably did the pre-bake for about 7 - 10 minutes.  Do NOT flip the dough over.  You want it to be almost entirely baked through but not burnt on the bottom. 

Your dough will have lovely grill marks on one side and be slightly bubbled but done on the other. 

Oil the side without the grill marks.  Put that side face down on your plate.  Add sauce and toppings as you desire.  Keep the toppings and cheese to minimum.  This is not the time for a deep dish pizza.  Remember you are still balancing keeping the grill hot with not burning the crust. 

Carefully slide the pizza onto the grill.  Close the lid and continue to grill until the cheese is melted and the toppings are bubbly.  When I am the one doing the cooking, I put the topped pizzas on the upper shelf in the grill.  That keeps them removed a bit from the flame and allows the cheese longer to get a nice bubbly crust.   Spud 2 who was manning the grill put them on the normal rack

And there you have it.  Perfectly grilled pizza. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

And One More

I had two swap partners for the prayer flag swap.  Here is the one I made for my second partner.  She talked more about nature and one of her words was harmony.  This flag is muslin.  It was sunpainted.  Things are so hot and dry around here I had a difficult time finding leaves that were supple enough to print.  The rest is machine stitching.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Prayer Flags: The Rest of the Story

I posted this teaser picture a few days ago.  The flags have been received so I can show you the rest of the story.  This on is for the sister of the recipient who is battling serious health issues.

Prayer flags are made to hang outside and slowly decay.  The idea is that they will waft the prayers they represent across the land as they flutter in the breeze.  I did what I could to make this one extra fluttery because I really want these prayers to be heard. 

The strings and tassles are number 12 perle cotton.  the flag itself is made of muslin and the words are stamped. 

This flag was made for my swap partner.  She spoke a lot about angels.  I used the opportunity to try and digitize a new image.  For the first time, I was able to add stitches to the file.  That was a learning experience. 

This flag is also made of muslin.  The designs are machine embroidery and the lace is a piece of vintage tatting that I have been saving in my stash for just the right purpose. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Pleasant Way to Address Trademark/Copyright Issues

There has been conversation in the fabric world about trademark/copyright disputes, fair use and permissions.  Some of the examples of abuse are egregious.  Some of the corporate responses have been terrifying is too strong a word but off-putting is probably too weak.  I have certainly expressed my own concerns about how to follow the rules when the selvage might be missing.  So it is very nice to be able to share an example of a pleasant cease and desist letter sent by the Jack Daniels company and a nice resolution to one such dispute.   Thanks guys. I  might just have to have some Lynchburg Lemonade this evening and offer up a toast to Gentleman Jack. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I'm having internet and other computer issues.  I'll be back when the connection is more reliable.  Guess that means I will be spending more time on my other projects. 

Friday, July 20, 2012


There have been a lot of bad storms this year.  One of the spring tornadoes destroyed the house of one of SpudDad's co-workers.  He and his family lost everything.  SD wanted to help out.  We had a put this quilt top together a  couple years ago out of scraps.  Most of them are from my brother's quilt

We pulled it out and finished it up.  It was delivered this week.  I got the impression he liked it.

 Here you can see a little bit of the fabrics and get an idea of the quilting.  I was experimenting with using the embroidery function on my machine to do quilting.  I set up a pattern of a couple rectangles and then randomly stitched them all over the quilt.  I was also using my new Snap Hoop which has a flat surface and uses strong magnets to hold the quilt sandwich.  While there was still a bit of slippage, it was much easier to use than the Magna Hoop.  The flat bed of the hoop makes all the difference.  The Magna Hoop works, but moving the quilt is more difficult.  I still need a lot of practice positioning the sandwich in the hoop and figuring out which parts of the quilt to hold at what angle to avoid slipping before I will want to try something that requires precision placement. 

You can also see a bit of the binding which SD hand sewed. 

You can completely ignore this picture!  I was taking last minute pictures, indoors and didn't do so well.  I'm only posting this one because I am trying to keep a record of my quilts and this is the only shot I have of the backing.  It is a flannel with lots of colorful frogs.

The Details"  This is a lap quilt.  I don't have precise measurements.  It is a bit out of square on one corner.  The top is pieced from stash strips of quilter's cotton.  The backing is flannel.  It is machine pieced and machine quilted using the embroidery function and built in machine patterns.  There is a thick-ish polyester batting.  The binding is quilter's cotton and is hand stitched.  Mr SD cut the fabrics and hand stitched the binding.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Teaser

I really hadn't oughta....

But I can't resist posting just a twee bit of one of the prayer flags I've made for the Prayer Flag Swap. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Big Canoes

Yay!  We have big canoes at our festival this year. Plus the team has arranged for some fabulous local media attention!  You won't see much of me around here until I get all those details worked out. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm Still Here

Lots of things to post.  No time to do it right now.  Look for some swappy goodness, a finally finish on a quilt and some new stitching. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Buster and Belle

Some little friends came to visit yesterday.  I thought we were going to get out the dollies but she found her way to basement where the big boys were playing xbox.  The look on Spud 3's face when he realized I wasn't going to rescue him from the line up of toddlers patiently watching him was priceless.  It did remind me that I never posted my dollies here. 

When Spuds 1 and 2 were toddlers, I made them dollies.  They were named Alec and Andy.  They actually did like them and play with them quite a bit.  When I asked about them a couple years ago, they both knew exactly where the dolls were.  I never got around to making one for Spud 3.  That is until a couple years ago when I found the pattern and all the materials in my stash. 

I immediately made one for Spud 3.  I called him Buster because he was a stash buster.  I still had plenty of fabric so I made Buster a friend, Belle.  I was doing this around the time I got my new sewing machine so I spent a couple days making clothing and blankets for them, testing out the stitches and things. 

I have to say a tweenage boy is not exactly excited to get a dolly! Particularly one that comes complete with diaper!

It did bring back happy memories for dad though. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012


 Update:  I added this to the handmade parade because of the second quilt down.  I am getting in to hand quilting with big stitches and perle cotton. 

<http://kateyz.blogspot.com/%E2%80%9Dhttp://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l285/kateyz5/thehandmadeparade.jpg%E2%80%9Da href="http://www.kateyz.blogspot.com/" target="_blank"><img alt="There and Back"

Well,  these are the fabrics I've chosen from the audition.  Pretty crazy.  I cut more blocks than I need so I don't know if it will stay this table topper size or if it will grow.

 My intention is to make a table topper/baby quilt similar to this one.  I am having a great deal of difficulty getting any pictures worth posting from my camera today.  The colors on this one are intense, but not as neon as they look.  It is made from a set of Kaffe Fassett charm squares.  I had decided I was going to make a quilt using a complete collection.  There weren't enough squares in the pack to make anything of reasonable size, so I went to the wall of KF fabrics in the shop.  I couldn't find any of the prints from the set  but there was a fabulous orange and pink sand dollar print that fit perfectly.  I brought it home, confident that I was going to be making a designer fabric quilt.  Of course I then discovered that my sand dollars were from a different manufacturer and designer.  Oh well,  I can't jump on the band wagon even when I try!

The think I like the most about this little quilt is the hand quilting.  I used pearl cotton in several of the colors in the fabrics and did a large stitch in a box pattern.  I like the way it turned out.  I'll hand sew the binding when I am traveling later on this summer.

I've also managed to finish several custom orders this week.  This is a set of badges for group that does an annual peeps competition.  Not sure what the competition is.

 I also did a set of badges fora homeschool mom getting ready for a summer adventure.  Each one of these will be given for completing a set of activities.  I was able to digitize the submarine (make a periscope) and the book (read).  The Morse code and the spy decoder were done using machine fonts.  The constellation and paper airplane were modifications.  The rest are commercial designs. 

The mom also requested a sash to display the badges.  This was my first attempt.  Hopefully it will work.  If not, I will work with her to make something that fits better.