Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Star Ornament Tutorial - Translated

(This initially appeared on a blog in Spanish and Catalans. I translated it using Google Translate so I could use the tutorial, and then thought I would share it with my readers in case anyone else wants to make them. Here is the link to the original post:  Tutorial Estrella. Enjoy!)

Star Ornament Tutorial

Hello Everyone! 

This tutorial will explain how to make Christmas stars of any size. The technique we will use is English Paper Piecing, which is the same used for “Grandmother’s Flower Garden.”

Cut ten 60ยบ diamond shapes of equal size for each star or select 10 of the desired size from a package of die cut diamonds. (The die cut diamond shapes are readily available online, or you can enlarge and print the image above)

Choose 5 coordinating fabrics. Pin 2 diamonds on the back side of each fabric.

Cut around the paper, leaving a margin just big enough to neatly fold over the paper – approximately ¼” works well.

Fold and press the fabric around the paper, making sure to keep the fabric snug.  Once the fabric is folded and pressed, baste each diamond approximately ¼’ inside the outer edge through both layers of fabric and the paper.

Next, turn half the fabric diamonds upside down. Arrange both stars in the same order to determine what they will look like when assembled.

Stitch the diamonds together from the center to the edge, using a ¼” seam.

It is important to keep the pieces in order while assembling each side so that the pieces line up when sewing the two sides together.

Once the two pieces are sewn into a star shape, choose one side and baste a loop of ribbon to the top, facing down, to use as a hanger for the ornament. Make sure it stays inside the star while you are sewing the outside edges together.

Sew the stars together, right sides facing. Allow a space for turning the ornament right side out between one tip and the lower angle of one arm of the star.

Once all the inside sewing is done, it is time to cut and pull out the basting stitches that hold the paper in place and remove the paper supports. Next you can turn the star right side out and it’s ready for stuffing!

Hint: Stuff the tips of the stars first in order to have an evenly-filled star. If you wait, it will be difficult to get the stuffing into them and they will not be pointed. Use your favorite tool (even the rounded end of a small to medium crochet hook will work for this) to help get the stuffing into the star; this will help avoid ripping stitches and damaging the star.

Use an invisible slip stitch to close the opening where you turned the star right side out. Attach a matching or coordinating button to the center of both sides of the ornament.

The three stars below are connected, going from the largest one to the smallest.

This next one is large and oh so elegant!

You can make as many stars as you like by printing extra diamonds, copying the diamond shapes from the first step, using more diamonds from your paper piecing kit, or enlarging the shapes with your graphics program. You can have any size stars you wish from small to large.The original author has a PDF file of the diamonds available; she will gladly send it if you email her and ask!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Getting to Know The Ladies

We have 3 cats. The first one, Princess, a mostly white calico with black eyeliner, had gone away with my oldest daughter when I got the second, Misha (mee-shuh), a tortie with equal amounts of all her colors, and then the third, Sassy, another tortie but with primarily black fur. Well, Sassy is a Siamese hybrid (mutt from the same shelter as her housemates) and she is quite vocal. Misha cat doesn't care; she loves everyone. 

After my daughter had been away with Princess for almost a year, they moved into subsidized housing and couldn't have cats. Since I had adopted her, I either had to keep her, take her back to the shelter, or do what lots of folks out here do and dump her. No way!!!!! So she came home.

Well, Princess has the same personality under all the mellowness that Sassy does. Those two have been at each other for 9 years now. I'm serious. Sassy was the dominant cat of the two I got while Princess was gone. Misha is a typical middle child.....always compliant, keeping the peace unless she wants to play....but Sassy reminds Princess every chance she gets that She has been here in this building longer (tornado ripped roof off old manufactured home and this is a replacement). Of course, Princess has to remind Sassy that *she* has been our pet longer than Sassy and thereby has seniority. It's a never-ending discussion that comes to blows at least once a day.

That said, and probably totally unnecessarily, my kitties are my life on the days, and there are far too many, when I don't get to see an adult child or a grandchild. Hubby works from 3pm to midnight or longer, 5 days a week, and I'm disabled and can't work. They are my family when I am here alone. I get distinct loving styles from each cat. Princess is quiet, likes bananas, and likes to kiss my nose but prefers to sleep under hubby's blanket when he's on the couch. Misha just wants to be pet and held. She doesn't care who is on the giving end as long as they're over 12 and she knows them. Sassy....well, typical Siamese heritage....snooty, very very picky about who pets her, doesn't want to be picked up except by me maybe once a day and I'd better not move once I do so, and she *never*stops*talking* unless she's asleep. She's also involuntarily the class clown. She gets startled by anything and jumps two feet high when she does. Hubby likes to startle her for fun. I try not to laugh but it doesn't work well because it's really funny.

Sassy will jump up on my lap when it suits her, but she's not one to be cuddled. She tolerates petting from hubby and I but that's it. She'll hide if she feels she's getting too much attention. She is fussy about people touching her. She hates having her nails clipped, she hates the hairball gel I put on all the girls' paws once a week to keep down the puking, and she absolutely detests to the point of violence having a bath. Shots also make her puke. She was returned by her first owners and it apparently did some emotional wrecking to her personality; she was here for over 5 years before anyone but me heard her purr.

Misha is up on the couch and sniffing everyone who comes in the house as long as they aren't under the age of 5. She's really friendly and purrs so loudly it sounds like a pigeon or a far-off propeller plane. It's loud and once she starts she can go for an hour if she's happy. I begin to wonder sometimes if she's got something going on with her purring besides contentment. She's also my only pudgy kitty. I don't know why. They all get fed the same food. To top it all off, she sheds like she's not been brushed for a year even if it's only been a day or two. 

If it's a man, Princess meows until they say hello to her. She really, really has a thing for guys. She knows when my son and my son in law are coming up the walk to the house and she's at their feet before they get their shoes off, begging for attention. She's also the only kitty cat who will allow the younger children - once they hit the age of 1 or so and understand not to pull hair or tails - to pet or carry her. She's extremely gentle and patient with them, where the other two will just take off and hide. It's like she knows they don't mean to be rough and she's just going to tolerate it in order for me to have an example for teaching them appropriate behavior toward cats.

My kitties have done well in helping me deal with empty nest syndrome. They need some care -- feeding, water, litter box maintenance, brushing; they snuggle and communicate with hubby and I in 3 separate and unique ways; and they are endlessly entertaining, providing great company for me as well as the opportunity to laugh several times a day.

That's why I love them so much.