Monday, November 7, 2016

Water Storage on a Whole New Level

Living in a desert area I am always looking for ways to use my natural resources wisely. But I also like my house to look nice as well. I found this product that I am very excited about.
It is a rain water collection system that can have additions made to the system as well as be stored vertically or horizontally. 

It is called the Rain Water Hog! There are so many applications for this system. Schools, cabins, homes, office buildings, the list goes on.

Food grade plastic with UV protection (a must where I live) along with filters and a vent system. This can be installed almost anywhere!! Mr. Crafty Camper has one more item on his "honey do list" for this year!!! Check out their videos, instructions and photo gallery. (And no I am not being paid for this post) Happy conserving!!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Camo Rag Quilt #6 (A quilt for the Crafty Camper Girl!!)

This should come as no surprise to many of you quilters, but I have never made a quilt for myself. Sure I have made some clothing for myself but most of what I create I give away as heart felt gifts to others for birthdays, Christmas, baby showers, weddings, etc.

 After finishing my last Military Memory Quilt (#5) my friend encouraged me keep the remaining uniforms to make a quilt for myself. I was a little unsure about doing this as they were not my (or my husbands) uniforms and not my memories to keep but I had an epiphany of trying to make a strip quilt so I decided to take him up on his offer.

 Not having much fabric left from the previous quilt and losing a lot of fabric to waste in making the long strips I needed more fabric to complete this quilt. (You know I did not waste the remaining fabric... I cut circles to make fabric yo-yo's out of them!) So if you are a follower of this blog you know a couple of things about me...... #1 I love to upcycle almost anything I can get my hands on, and.......#2 I use a lot of my husbands dress pants (and jeans) to make quilts! So of course this quilt was no different. I found an olive and tan color pair of pants in my magic tubby of upcycle prospects that were a perfect match for this quilt.

 CCG Update: This is Jordan, he is the Crafty Camper Family's new dog!!! He thinks he needs to sleep very close to me while I am sewing (or anything else I am doing).  He is currently snoring behind my chair as I type this post. He is learning that when he sees fabric on the floor in the front room he is not allowed anywhere near it. Although he did break this rule when he heard me utter a huge gasp and then start to cry the other day when I shook out a quilt top piece that sent air waves across the floor and caused the remaining pieces to become scattered all over the front room. He was very concerned, as was the rest of my family, as to why those sounds were coming out of my mouth! (I was just super excited those were the only things coming out of my mouth, ha!)

 I cut 4 inch wide strips from all three fabrics and then placed three rows of camo, one row of tan, three rows of camo and one row of olive fabric alternating down the quilt. It has such a modern look to it, I love it!!! It reminds me of subway tiles. I tried to make sure that the vertical seams did not match up at least three to four rows down (which made it a little tricky but was well worth the extra work!).  It was also a lot less work when it came to the seam clipping phase as there were not as many vertical seams to clip. (I still haven't gotten my scissors to the sharpener guy yet, ugh!)

I backed the quilt with the same Lux fabric in brown, I think it turned out great!!! I have kept it on my couch in the family room and use it almost daily. Now that I have an idea of how long the quilts take to construct I will soon be making these quilts as a special order item. So if you know of someone who is interested please leave me a comment and I will get contact information to you.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Camo Rag Quilt # 5 (Military Memory Quilt)

My last test quilt for timing purposes. This one I made for a friend of mine who I have known for almost 20 years. This was my most difficult quilt emotionally. All of the other quilts I have made so far have been for people I have not known as long and knew them after they had retired from active military service.

 This friend I have known before, during, and after military service. As I started to deconstruct the uniforms I got a little teary realizing where the uniforms had been, why he had worn them, and what sacrifices he and  his family had made while he was deployed overseas. (See what made me smile during this project on the last picture of this post.)
 He brought me two different types of uniforms. The digital camo I had worked with before but the tan camo I had not. It was the most difficult fabric I have ever worked with!!! Extremely difficult to cut, I will be making a trip to see the scissor sharpener in the very near future. Later, I would learn that those uniforms were made from a fire retardant material...well that explained a lot!!!
 I originally cut the uniforms into squares and tried different design ideas. Two fabrics in the same shape proved to be a design dilemma for me. I had an epiphany late one night and cut all the tan camo squares in half to form rectangles. Viola!! I loved the new look (which later inspired another quilt!).
 I found an amazing new fleece sold at Joann's,  Lux. It is the softest, thickest, most luxurious fleece I have ever sewn with. (Ha! Hence the name I guess) I backed the quilt with his choice of color and made the bed roll straps like I had from previous quilts. I initially had a hard time convincing him this would be something he would enjoy having. But the more pics I sent of the design phase the more he got excited. The night I delivered it to him he was sooo excited!!! He couldn't wait for the temperatures to get cooler so he could use it!!!

So now for the part of this quilt that made me smile. Every quilt I have made out of military uniforms I have found surprises in the pockets. Medication, money (bo-nus!), badges, wasps nests (ok that was on the back of the shirt, but still a surprise!). This quilt was no different. As I opened up the pants I noticed a patch on the inside of the pants around the back pocket seam. As I looked closer I noticed that the stitching around the hole was in the shape of a heart! I smiled as the mental picture of him patching his pants while sitting in a dusty, remote area of a foreign country came to my mind. I could just see his huge hands trying to use the needle to patch the pants so that they would last longer. He didn't even realize the patch was in the shape of a heart until I sent him a text with a picture of the patch and mentioned it to him. (This made him smile) I carefully cut around the patch to preserve it and later took some leftover fabric, mounted and framed it. This is my favorite memento so far of all the quilts I have ever made!

This quilt was around 30-40 hours. I did not brush the seams on this quilt but feel that it still turned out nicely and will get a more frayed look as it is washed and dried.

Now on to my next project, can't wait to share it with you!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Camo Rag Quilt #4 (Military Memory Quilt)

So after my last quilt I wanted to find out exactly how long it takes me to make one of these quilts.
I hunted down some retired service members and asked them to donate a few uniforms to help me with my task and in return they would receive a quilt.

This quilt turned out to be fun as it contained three different uniforms combined into one quilt.

 I experimented with different techniques to make construction more efficient and came up with a few good ideas. #1 Use adhesive spray to attach name, rank and unit badges before stitching them onto the quilt. I got a more precise placement as well as saved a few of my expensive quilting pins from being bend beyond repair.
 #2 Recycle children's chop sticks to hold the badges so your fingers don't wind up sticky!!!
This was great for applying the adhesive as well as applying the badge to the quilt!
 I used all three uniforms and put them in a stair step pattern, using pockets, patches, buttons and seams to add character to the quilt.
 Blizzard fleece was added to the back for warm and batting all in one!!!

 #3 Because I do not have an agitating washer and military uniforms are designed to resists fraying I tried another new technique, a wire brush. I brushed each seam to break it down into a delightful fuzzy softness. Only one problem.... my fingers were not delightful and soft after using the wire brush and needing to remove the fuzz from the brush. So that prompted #4 (not pictured) leather gloves.
(I am not sure every quilter has leather gloves and a wire brush in their quilting supplies but leave it to me to add them.) Also I want you to know I did apologize to the wire brush when I purchased it and explained that I was buying it solely for the purpose of quilting, but that I would not ask for it's man card as there are plenty of male quilters in this world. (Sorry, yes I know I have a weird sense of humor!!!)
So this is the final result.....Both the retired military member and the spouse were very pleased with the quilt. I learned that I put about 30 to 40 hours into the deconstruction, cutting, designing, assembling, brushing and finishing of the quilt. I can't wait to get started on my next one!!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Camo Rag Quilt #3 (Military Memory Quilt)

Another fun adventure in my new hobby, military memory quilts. This one has a great back story.
So a few years ago one of my neighbors who has been retired from the military for a decade or so decided it was time to clean out all his old military stuff from the shed (with a little prodding from his wife ;) ). It just so happened that all of the kiddos on the street were outside having an airsoft gun war. Like Santa emerging from his workshop he came out of his back yard laden with fun items for all the kiddos to enjoy.

Every kiddo got a lot of fun items and they all ran home and put them on and continued the epic airsoft gun war in style. The following weeks our street looked as though it was participating in tactical exercises with all the kiddos dressed in camo running around with airsoft guns.

 Fast forward a few years. My kiddo has outgrown the uniform he was given and brought it to me to donate. That is when inspiration hit!!! To repay his generosity and kindness toward all the neighborhood kiddos and to say thank you for all his years of service I decided to make him a military memory quilt for Christmas. Only one problem..... I only had one shirt and one pair of pants, I knew that this would not be enough to make a quilt. Luckily (or unluckily) Mr. Crafty Camper had just put a hole in a olive drab pair of dress pants!!!! I upcycled the dress pants and uniforms into a great quilt.
After a quick wash to fluff the seams I wrapped it up in a Christmas bow and delivered it to my unsuspecting neighbor. The look of shock, surprise and gratitude were so overwhelming that there were tears all around. He absolutely loved it as did his wife. He later took the quilt to a family holiday party, it was a huge hit. His father loved it so much he almost did not get it back!
A few days later I received a hand written note from him expressing his gratitude and  how much he loved the quilt. I have cherished that hand written note for many months now and will never forget the joy one simple quilt has brought to all our lives.