Posted on Leave a comment

Love Stamp Quilt Block

Love Stamp Quilt Block by Elizabeth Ruffing, based on 2002 Love Stamp by Michael Osborne from the US Post OfficeI was looking at Facebook this morning and I saw a familiar postage stamp go by on my feed. Erika, of Miss Sews-It-All, had featured Michael Osborne’s 2002 Love Stamp from the U.S. Post Office, on her blog, suggesting it would make a great quilt block. I immediately remembered that I had thought the same thing, and had made one, back in 2003. I went rummaging and found it. I thought it would be nice to share for Valentine’s Day.

2002 Love Stamp by Michael Osborne from the US Post OfficeMy original pattern was more difficult to find, but at last it reappeared. I can’t even remember where now, but there were a bunch of quilt patterns I had drawn up with it. I put them all together for safe keeping. I will have to check the rest of them out another time. I saw a cute kitty quilt block in there too, which was based on a quilt my parents had.

Love Stamp Quilt Block Pattern by Elizabeth Ruffing, based on 2002 Love Stamp by Michael Osborne from the US Post OfficeMichael Osborne’s Love Stamp design was more oblong than perfectly square, as I recall, and so I fiddled to make quilt blocks that would imitate the look of the stamp “letters”. This afternoon, I traced my pattern onto 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheets of paper, with one “letter” on each page, and made a PDF of my Love Stamp Quilt Block pattern that you can find and download here. Obviously, this pattern, or set of four patterns, is based on Michael Osborne’s copyrighted design, and so it is for personal, home use only. No selling it or anything made from it. Just open it, save it, and print it on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper. You’ll need four sheets of paper. The final quilt block is 12 by 12 inches square, once it is in a quilt.

2002 Love Stamp by Michael Osborne from the US Post OfficeThe measurements listed in my instructions include a 1/4 inch seam allowance for all the square and rectangular pieces you’ll need to cut.

I used freezer paper for the appliqué shapes, the heart and the circle. I cut those two shapes to size, out of the freezer paper. I used an iron to temporarily attach the freezer paper shapes to the back of my fabric, and then cut them out adding a 1/4 of fabric all the way around, to turn under. Then I turned under the edges, and sewed them to my backgrounds by hand. Marcia from Quilter’s Cache, a wonderful resource for quilt blocks and directions, has a tutorial here on hand appliqué.

Alternately, you can cut the appliqué shapes to size, if you’d rather use machine raw-edge appliqué, fuse them to your background with WonderUnder, and then machine zig zag, blanket stitch, or satin stitch around the shapes. There are a lot of options for appliqué techniques out there. I have a tutorial for machine, raw-edge appliqué on fleece here. With cotton quilting fabric, you can use the cotton setting on your iron, and you don’t need a press cloth. No matter which technique you use, I find it is best to cut those background squares a little larger than necessary, and then trim them down to size after sewing the appliqués.

The rest is pretty standard piecing, which can be done by hand or by machine, and goes together easily.

Posted on Leave a comment

Christmas Angel

Christmas Angel Quilt Block by Elizabeth RuffingMerry Christmas, everyone! I was thinking about angels this morning and I remembered a quilt block that I had never finished. I think I began it on my birthday, a few years ago. All I remember was that I had it in my mind, at the time, that I would only work on it on a holiday. So here it is, several holidays later! I just finished the central part of the design.

Christmas Tree Quilt Block by Elizabeth RuffingI also found a Christmas tree quilt block, which may have been from one of the quilt classes I used to go to. It was in with a pile of other quilt blocks, which I should probably photograph as well. They never seemed to fit together in any logical way. I could see the angel placing her star on the tree though.

Christmas Angel Quilt Block Sketch by Elizabeth RuffingThe angel was meant to be part of a larger design, judging from my sketch that I stored with it. At first, I couldn’t remember if it was my own original design or one from a magazine. It didn’t look entirely like my work.

Fons & PorterI found a copy of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine, from September/October 2005, on my book shelf, and sure enough, my reinterpretation of a design by Lori Smith was inside. The original design was a witch, and I drew an alternate head, added wings, and and extra arm and leg.

Fons & PorterI prefer angels to witches, and you may have already guessed from my paintings, such as the one below, which is a detail of Angels’ Kiss.

AngelsI hope you are all enjoying your holiday. I am still debating over whether or not to make cookies. In spite of all the sewing I’ve been doing for the holiday rush, that’s what I most felt like doing as soon as I decided to relax. I suppose I should take that as a sign that I am working at something I really like to do. I hope you are spending time on things that you like to do too. Don’t let anyone intimidate you out of doing that. I know I’ve had my share of nay-sayers come along. Don’t listen to them. Surround yourself with supportive people who appreciate you for who you are and what you do. I think I’ve had one of the best years I’ve had in a long time, and I believe a lot of that has to do with taking that advice.

I am thinking about those cookies now, and the snow we might get. Snow would be lovely, in moderation, of course! Have a happy Christmas, one and all.

Posted on Leave a comment

First harvest

I have a zucchiniThis is my very first harvest from our little vegetable garden…a big zucchini. I watched it grow, debating over whether or not it would amount to two cups of shredded zucchini for zucchini bread.

Zucchini breadIt did indeed, with a third left to spare. A friend suggested that someday, they will develop vegetables with a variety of easy-to-read measurements on them, or vegetables that grow to a programable size. Until then, I will have to hone my eye-balling-it skills.

Viking Platinum 775 off for repair againAs much as I didn’t even want to face doing this again, I packed up my Viking Platinum 775, and we hauled all twenty-two plus pounds of it to the Post Office. All week, I’ve been going through my usual, but completely pointless, “Why can’t people just be decent? Why can’t people just be honest?” ruminations, while looking back on the whole ordeal, along with any and all related ordeals that seem to bring up the same questions. I wish I could just accept one short answer and be done with this, and all related conflicts, forever: “Because that’s who they are.”

Kitty makes friends with an anoleIn contrast, here is a continuing display of devotion. Mr Anole has come to visit Mr Kitty almost every sunny day we’ve had. The two continue to stare at each other, while the anole does his tricks. He ‘s quite amusing.

Kitty makes friends with an anoleAt one point, our kitty got so excited, he tried to paw his way through the windowpane. He purrs when I look over his shoulder at the anole. The anole is no where near as excited to see me though. His show is intended for an audience of one.

Kitty relaxingSome of us have been taking the weekends to relax. This is my model for relaxation. He’s mastered the subject. I have much to learn from him. I’m still heading to Apple class too, and learning a lot there too, only about computers and programs.

Material ObsessionI picked up some non-software-non-computer-related reading material, for fun and inspiration too. Material Obsession, Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Feilke seemed like the perfect book for me. I read the whole book when I got it home, over last weekend. I loved the combinations of fabrics and the quilt patterns. The authors own a fabric shop, and, as the title implies, they’ve used traditional quilts to inspire some modern designs. I really enjoyed it. It gave me ideas for combining fabrics for my toys too.

Fiber Arts MagazineI picked up a couple of magazines too, Fiber Arts and Quilting Arts. I was taken with these hand-stitched animals like the “Fennec Fox” on the cover of Fiber Arts, and Quilting Arts had a good article on stabilizing art quilts and another on branding, I wanted to reread. As usual, I have more I want to learn, and more I want to do than I probably will be able to get to.

Quilting Arts MagazineI’ve been wanting to explore art quilting much more, combining painting and fabric and sewing. I have so many ideas for projects. Of course, right now, my biggest project is redoing our Ruffing’s site. I think that will be an all-summer project. I’m still excited about it, even though I don’t want to relaunch it until it is organized enough to navigate. I’d also like to start adding more original art to the site, paintings and art quilts.

Elizabeth RuffingI’ve been fiddling with my hair again too. Even though this photo was taken just the other day, it has turned out to be a “before” photo, because I’ve just cut my hair again, in more of a Jean Seberg style, even shorter. It’s been in the 90’s this week, which is always good inspiration for a new haircut.

Elizabeth RuffingI’ve got to get some toys finished up and mailed off. I might even add a couple to my Etsy shop this week. If you haven’t already, be sure to find us on Facebook, where I’ll post the available art dolls and figurines as I continue to get their photos edited.

Posted on Leave a comment

Butterfly doll quilt

I felt my new kitten needed an accessory. My mom had the idea to make her her own baby quilt that matched her dress. First I picked out the dress materials I wanted to use, and then I rummaged through my stash for complimentary calico squares.

I came up with a 10 inch square quilt design and a little butterfly drawing to hand embroider in the center. I used a satin stitch to fill in the butterfly. I hand quilted the doll quilt too, with cotton batting sandwiched between the quilt top and a square of one of the dress materials.

I used my second dress fabric for the binding, which I slip stitched by hand to the back of the quilt. It all got a bit labor-intensive, but I like to quilt. So, I got carried away. It’s the cutest thing in person. It’s so tiny. I’m still fussing over it, but I should leave it be to make her dress.