Friday, December 13, 2013

Sew Sweetness Bag Contest Entry #2

So Bag #1 was made for my three year old, but Bag #2 was made for my seven year old.  (She just turned seven, so that's still really odd to type...  aww...)

This year is her first year dancing in the Nutcracker - tonight is her dress rehearsal and she has three shows this weekend.  I cannot tell you how palpable the excitement in our house is at the moment!  She came home (crazy late) last night from rehearsal and her eyes were almost completely dilated from the adrenalin / excitement... she was still shaking, even after a half-hour car ride home from the THEATER.  With a Real Stage.

This bag was sewn for her to keep her tights, shoes, leotards, makeup and hair supplies in backstage - she needed something big enough to carry everything, but small enough that she can carry it easily.  She made every design decision - and was adamant that it had to have a magnetic closure and a interior zipper pocket - so the Kennedy Bag it was!  I wanted to make it a touch simpler, since she is after all just seven, so I left some of the additional hardware off.  I did put a bow on each side where the buckles were supposed to go, to soften and girly it up a bit.  I made the strap long, and brought up the end to fasten it to itself - the pictures will show you - so that I can unpick it and lengthen the strap later.  I like the adjustable straps, but find that my girls like to play with the buckles which means that the straps are usually too long - this will last for a while at this length, and it can be extended to an adult-sized strap.  Not that I think she'll still be wanting a space-themed bag when she's as tall as I am, but it's wishful thinking!

There is an interior zippered pocket, which holds her costume bits - tights, backup tights, leotard and buttondown shirt (for her role as a page).  The rest of it is big enough for her water bottle, overshoes, makeup bag, etc.

The bow turned out exactly as I'd hoped!  There's two shades of purple and teal as the accent colors...  I thought it helped "girly" up the space fabric.

I blurred out the sewn-in tag with her name and my phone number...  There's a large zippered pocked in the interior.

Here's a shot of the whole thing - you can see how the strap doubles back on itself for future lengthening.

Here's a detail shot - I added even more stiffness to the flap edge piece by doing some organic matchstick quilting on it...  it really is easy to grab.

Sew Sweetness Bag Contest Entry #1

Here it is the last day left to enter this contest - at least I sewed up two bags... Now I just need to blog about them! These bags were such fun to sew up - a little more complicated than a simple tote, and already they are so beloved. I'm blogging during quiet time because this is the only time I could pry the bags away long enough to get a couple pictures!

 For Bag #1, you must keep in mind that this was entirely designed for a three year old little girl. What does that mean? Sparkles, pom-poms, butterflies, pink, purple, etc. This is made from the Fylerion Bag pattern. The only tweaks I made were the appliqued "e," the pom pom trim, a shorter strap and I changed the interior pockets - there's one zippered pocket (I used the tutorial from the Kennedy Bag to walk me through it) and then three large pockets on the other side.

Exterior - the flap has such a great shape, and I opted to use the strap color to carry around as the sides & bottom.
It's currently housing three mini Build-a-Bears in the pockets.  I blurred out her name and my phone number...

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes

So I've never done this linkup, but here's a great September WIP that needs to get finished!

I have had "The Laura" quilt quilted for MONTHS now, and it just needs the binding on it.  Such a simple task, but one that has just not happened.  Think I can finish it by the end of the month?  I'd better, since I'm bringing it to her wedding on Oct 5!

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Piece O Cake!!

So I've been eyeing the Zaaka Along 2.0 for a while - reading everyone else's posts about it, etc., and thinking to myself "oh gosh, I can't make every project out of the whole book - I don't have time!"

Then I thought to myself, "Self, that's silly! You don't HAVE to do all of them - just do some!" So, without further ado, here's the Piece O Cake Shopping Bag!
I'd recently made three of the Lunch Bags from Ayumi's blog, so I thought the construction would be pretty similiar. I was surprised to find out that this was even easier! Significantly easier, in my opinion. I was thrilled!

Having three children and a husband with a substantial appetite, I can't remember the last time I shopped using a basket at a store, so I altered the pattern slightly, as I desired slightly different functionality. (Who am I kidding, I can never leave a pattern or recipe alone; I'm always tweaking! Not twerking, tweaking. That's a whole 'nother can of worms.)

My tweaks included:
- I made the straps out of microsuede instead of using webbing.
- I had a stash of three coordinating home dec fabrics (two prints and a solid) leftover from a diaper bag long ago, so I didn't do the patchwork pocket, but rather used a stripe.
- I rolled the top of the pocket over to show the solid interior - I thought it needed a punch to stand out.
- I made the lining 1 1/2" shorter, as Krista recommended, and it worked out perfectly. (So did her tip of making the dots on the bottom piece!)
- I also made each lining piece a 1/2" narrower - to help the lining sit a bit easier.  It worked!  I think I'll do that one again!
- The top cover and the sides of the interior are made out of an old sheet that actually coordinated really well!
- I wanted the base to have a bit more substance, so I added fusible fleece to a piece of home dec fabric and used that for the lining base. I'm thrilled with the way this turned out - it's exactly the "heft" to the fabric I wanted.
- I didn't need the gigantically poofy sides, so I just made them 9" wide and didn't pleat them.
- Before I sewed the lining and outside together, I sewed the seam allowances of their bases together to make the lining stay put. I'd never done this before. I will never skip this step again - it makes a HUGE difference.
I've gotten so used to using interfacing and cotton fabric on bags that I'd forgotten what a lovely feel home dec fabric has. The bag is slouchy but not shapeless - it's perfect - so comfortable! And the microsuede straps? Oh my gosh, they're a dream - so easy on the shoulder and in the hand! I sewed this all from my stash so I wouldn't care too much if I didn't like the bag, but now I'm dreaming up opportunities to use it!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Doctor Who Stitch Along

So...  I had these brilliant plans to stitch along for the whole Doctor Who Stitch Along...  but it just didn't happen.  Oh well.

But then... then I saw a post about the Design Invitational.  Design your own!?  Awesome.  I thought I could make enough time to do one pattern - I'm not really an embroiderer yet, so please pardon my amateur stitching.

So, without further ado, please allow me to introduce to you.....


Here's the pattern...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Quarter 3: Finish -A- Long

Well I have been woefully absent on the whole "finish-a-long" thing...  Life's just gotten in the way of sewing lately, but I'm starting to get back in the swing of things.

Here's my list for Quarter Three:

1. Modern Scrappy Bits Swap (mail by 8/1)
I'll be making a set of coasters for my partner!

2. Triple Zip Swap (mail by 8/17)
Make a triple zip - my partner gave me no direction, so I get to be really creative!

3. Simple Sweet Scrappy Swap (mail by 8/26)
I have to make a wristlet pouch for my partner.

4. Sewing Room Swap (mail by 9/1)
This one involves two finishes - a small project and a big project.  Haven't decided yet what to do!

5. Laura's Quilt (wedding on 10/5)
This quilt just needs to be bound.

6. Wendy's Quilt
It's still a stack of fat quarters right now - dreaming big here, but I'd love to have it done by the end of September!

7. Set of placemats
This isn't critical, but I'd love to have a set or two of placemats for our table.

8. Schoolroom Quilt #1
This needs to be basted, quilted and bound.

9. Schoolroom Quilt #2
I need to finish the top, then baste, quilt and bind.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Absent much?

Sorry.  Life's been busy.

I finally got downstairs to do a bit of sewing just for me today, and it felt GREAT.  I didn't do much, but it was something that had been intimidating me for ages, and I finally got it done.  I'm making two quilts for the schoolroom, because a layer cake cut into 4 HSTs makes a LOT of squares...  :)  They're 6 3/4" square, which would result in a 12.5" finished square, which is an odd size.  I wanted to do a square-in-square block with my Cuzco accent fabric to be the same size as a finished square, but I couldn't quite squeak out the center squares out of the two fat quarters that I have.  How I was going to figure this out just took months for me to settle on the final decision.  But it got made!  I'm off the fence!

I decided to trim the HSTs down to 6 1/2" which would put me at a 12" square, and then I was able to get the 9" squares out of the fat quarter that would end up being the center of the square-on-square accent blocks.

Totally confusing to anyone who's not a quilter, but I hope that made sense to someone!

I had just been dreading cutting into my hoarded Cuzco fat quarters until I got this figured out - but I just did it.  Not only did I get the Cuzco cut, I actually got all six square-in-squares sewn and pressed.  The way naptimes have gone lately, this basically constitues a minor miracle!  Isn't that Cuzco just so incredibly vibrant?

I need to post later about all the FABULOUS swaps I've been in, and the ones that are coming up!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Library Bags

My brother and sister-in-law live about 15 minutes away, and since we have three little girls and they have five little girls, I will pause for a moment to allow you to imagine the good times, giggles and shrieking that occurs on a very regular basis.


There - if that didn't bring a smile to your face, I don't know what would.

Every year for my nieces' birthdays, I pick a theme for presents for them all.  The oldest will turn 9 this summer (9!? How is that possible?), so they're still at the stage where fair is more important than customized.  Therefore, they all get the same thing.  Last year, it was stuffed horses...  This year, it's a custom library bag with a book and some trinkets inside.

I bought a couple yards of the main fabric as a backing for the schoolroom quilt - but the colors are much too subdued to stand up to the ROYGBIV-ness.  It was just sitting there in my craft room, when suddenly, one day, the Fat Quarter Shop put the entire line of fabric (Homeschool) on 50% off.  Well then.  That made it easy!  My girls and I picked out a 1/2 yd of fabric in five of the coordinating prints, and planned out library tote bags!  I think these girls are at the library even more than mine, if that's even possible.

R, the March girl, already has hers, and I heard today that C, the April girl, was expressing great angst over her lack of a personalized library bag.  Hold tight, C, you'll get yours on Saturday!

On the other hand, M has to wait until July, B has to wait until August and S has to wait until October! At least she's the baby, so she won't care.

I'm also excited about the book that's in C's bag - Crafty Chloe!  This will be absolutely perfect for C.  And no, her name's not Chloe.  That would be even more perfect, I suppose, but it's still pretty darn awesome.

Random funny story: the library actually called me between the taking of those two photos.  Turned out I returned a movie today without the disc.  Oops.

(P.S.  This constitutes a FINISH for the 2013 Finish-A-Long second quarter!  That's a link to my list of hopeful finishes...)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dressed Up Bricks

My beautiful little six-month-old daughter prompted me to snatch up some Dress Up Days by Riley Blake before she was born.  I made this brick quilt, and made three of the dolls - one in each color.  The three dolls were sitting on the pile of presents under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning... so much fun!  We named them Faith, Hope and Charity.  The other two are well-loved, but the baby, absolutely loves hers.  It's such an easy toy to grab and suck...  it's the only one that she won't drop in order to eat.

The quilt is backed with mostly Hello Luscious Succulent Grunge (I really love that fabric!) but has some improv piecing of celery and purple.  It's bound in purple.  Huh.  I should get a pic of the back - it was my first improv work, and I really love it!

Here's a couple pictures of her enjoying Charity on her quilt...

Finish-A-Long, 2nd Quarter

she can quilt

Ok - I didn't join in the first quarter, but I have a pile of WIPs that need to get cranked out this quarter...  More than I like to have sitting around!  I was going to post a list in my craft room, just so I can see them all in one spot, but I thought that was too old-school.  And I am, well, a technology addict...  so here they are, blogged:

1. The Laura
The other two quilts turned out so nicely - the top is finished, I just need to baste, quilt and bind...  Here's the binding, top, backing.

2. The First Schoolroom Quilt
This top is finished - again, "just" baste, quilt and bind.

3. The Second Schoolroom Quilt
I don't know if we'll really use both in the schoolroom - maybe one will be given away, who knows, but this one is in pieces.  Finish the top, baste, quilt and bind.

4. The Birthday Bags
Each year, for my nieces on my side, I pick a birthday present theme and give them all the same thing.  Last year, it was stuffed horses.  This year, it's a customized library bag (complete with a new book inside and some little trinkets).  The March girly already has hers, but the April, July, August and October girls are in pieces...  that will be so lovely to have those in the gift closet, ready to go.

5. Catch up on the Sugar Block Club
Okay, I admit it.  I am so stinking intimidated by paper piecing.  I know that tons of people just love it, and that if I just try it, it probably won't be too bad.  But I allowed myself to get derailed in February because of the paper piecing.  I have to say, though, opening this box and getting a look at all those completely gorgeous fabrics made me itch to jump back in.

Other projects to do this quarter, but that haven't actually been started so they don't count towards the FAL:

6. Friendship Bag Swap
This swap on Flickr looked so cool the first round that I jumped in to join the second round.  Everyone makes a version of the exact same bag and fills it with goodies for their partner.  That's due by May 6th (if I'm shipping internationally).

7. Fabric Basket Swap
This one's similar - make a fabric basket and include some goodies.  That's due May 15th.

The Pretty Little Pouch Swap just opened after I signed up for these two - and since it's due May 13th, I just can't imagine trying to get quality work done and racing to finish three swaps simultaneously, especially with a wedding and whatnot in the first week of May.  Bummer!  Guess I'll have to wait for Round 8 on that one.

8. Sort charms for girls' bed quilts
I won a contest at Southern Fabric recently which allowed me to go ahead and get the remaining charms I needed for the girls' quilts!  As I'm making three quilts, each of which needs 280 charms, I need 840.  Do you know how many that is!  Sheesh!  But with the 231 I just got from them, I'm done.  Phew.  But now comes the "oh but I want that one" debate...  I have to make sure that my "the universe revolves around me because I'm the oldest" six year old doesn't win every debate.

9. Cut and prep my Noteworthy quilt
This one's just for me.  I absolutely adore Noteworthy, and used my Christmas money to get as much of it as I possibly could.  LOL.  I'm planning an hourglass quilt, where each square is a charm and a solid (one of three solids: blue, mustard and gray).  The red stripe is for the binding, and there's two blue prints in there just for me.  There's an orange print at the bottom for backing.

10.  Plan two different projects
I've won both these stacks lately - I've been on a lucky streak! - and need to figure out what to do with them.  Doesn't that second stack just glow?  I thought that was a great photo to end this pic-heavy post with!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Getting Careless

So I was so excited that these quilts were coming along so well... The Kelly is quilted, I made all the binding and started sewing it on... And then I got careless. I think I am done for the day!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A good nap's work

Sundays seem to be my best working days. The house is quiet... Everyone else is napping. The Alyssa is quilted! Just needs binding and a label, then a trip through the washer and it's done. That feels GOOD!

On to basting The Kelly.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sweet Pouch Swap: Wrap Up

The other day, the girls and I found a package on our doorstep, opened it up and discovered this:

 It is all handsewn - can you imagine? I don't mind doing a bit of handsewing for embellishment, but the thought of tackling a whole project without my beloved sewing machine? Wouldn't happen! The girls have commandeered it, so I think I caught a glimpse of it today, but in a house with three little girls, anything with flowers and purple is gone! LOL! But Mama got the chocolate. I do share, but it's mine! Thank you Nancy in New Jersey... I don't think you have a flickr account or a blog, so I can't link to you, but I will email this post to you!  I am so happy to have it, and my girls are just loving it.  I think it was a princess-holder when I saw it this morning.  And the chocolate is delicious!

I needed a bit of chocolate today...  I came to the craft room and found my desk and sewing machine lovingly decorated in pink, purple and red sharpie.  I had left the almost-3 year old unattended while I was dealing with a situation that the 6 year old had gotten herself into...  Oh.  GOOF-OFF does wonders for cleaning, but my sewing machine is vaguely pink.  And stinky right now.   I have to wait to quilt later tonight when my room isn't so stinky.  I did take a picture, but if I look at it again, I might need some more chocolate.

Here's some pictures of the pouch I sent off - sorry if this is picture-heavy, but I couldn't resist "just one more picture" before I sent it off to Melanie Dramatic.  She's an extremely proficient sew-er / quilter / blogger, so I was distinctly intimidated, but I think that pouch was one of the nicest things I've ever made, so I'm proud of rising to the occasion!  It has a D-ring inside to clip a key fob on, so it can even be used as a purse.

It's a Noodlehead Open Wide pouch, with the Busy Bean's handle attached.  I thought it was a great size, and would love to make one for myself someday.  The handle and the key fob have lots of organic stitching on them to add stability, strength, and make them sit a bit easier in the hand.  There's a couple interior pockets.

Now I'm thinking about and planning my project for the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap.  I can't wait to see what I come up with for that!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Laura: The Top

Since Laura's not going to be at the bridal shower in *less than two weeks,* I might not finish basting, quilting and binding by the March 4th deadline...  so here's a picture of the whole top.  See in the corner?  That's the other two tops.  I finished three tops in one afternoon.  That feels SO GOOD.

Alyssa's and Kelly's will have the same back, while Laura's back will be totally different - it will fit her personality, according to her maid-of-honor, yet another cousin.   So up next?  Piecing the backs!

The Alyssa: The Top!

It feels so good to see the top done! Here's just a hint...

The Kelly: The TOP!!

I am pretty behind; just finishing this today, but the top is finished! Here's a sneak peek...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Alyssa - Week 4

So I think of all the blocks so far, the one on the right here is my favorite.  It's Kona Expresso, Coal and Celery.  If there's a Starburst quilt in my future, and if it's solid, it might just have these colors in it.  I do have those little HSTs that were leftover from the geese in the corner blocks, so I was planning a mini for my craft room - so even if it takes me a while to get around to a Starburst for me, I'll still have a reminder of these three quilts and these three cousins in my craft room!

Linking up to Happy Quilting!

The Laura - Week 4

Well, here it is Sunday night at bedtime yet again, and I'm racing upstairs from the craft room, with my camera-phone in hand, ready to share with you what I've been doing this evening.  Nothing like making a deadline, eh?

Here's Laura's.  I had hoped to get all twelve blocks finished this week, but a couple of days of not feeling well and a big project that my Mister and I needed to do together...  and I'm pretty darn pleased that I got eight out of the twelve finished!  All four of Kelly's, two of Alyssa's and these two of Laura's.

Linking up to Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Kelly - Week 4

I'm assembling the blocks one-quilt-at-a-time, so here's the Kelly!  I am completely in love with these blocks, and definitely see myself making one for me sometime!  Possibly with a dark background - I am completely captivated by the ones I see in flickr with black or navy backgrounds.

Linking up!

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 2013 - Just Three

So.  January's resolutions got sidetracked by the "oh gosh, let's make three quilts for my cousins' showers" thing.  And that's okay by me!

Let's see how I did:

1. Finish top of schoolroom quilt - Hey.  I actually did that!  Of course, there were enough HSTs to make two tops, and I only made one, but I did finish a top!  How did I not post a picture?

2. Make Sugar Block Club block - Again, I did that.  I'm so thrilled with how it turned out - this is the year for growing in my quilting abilities.  This would have scared me to death a year ago.  I can't wait to see where I am at the end of the year!  The February block has me breaking out into cold sweats, but one of these days, I'll have my Mister pick out some fabrics and then I'll tackle it.  Here's a recycled picture of January's to show you:

3. Blog five to six finished quilts - Well, I fell down on that one.  Didn't do a single one!  I think I spent my blogging time highlighting the Alyssa, the Kelly and the Laura.

How about some goals for February?

1. I only have until March 1 to get the three quilts done...  so that is my main goal for February.  I have to finish two of them (the Alyssa and the Kelly), but I would love to get the third done as well (the Laura) so I can link it up and have another chance at one of the grand prizes for the quilt-a-long.

2. Make Sugar Block Club block.  A recycled goal to be sure, but hey, I am intimidated by paper piecing!  This will be my first attempt.

3. I'm shelving the "blog finished quilts" goal for a bit - there'll be plenty of blogging going on with just the works in progress!  So for my third goal, it'll be to finish a project for the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap on flickr.  I should get my assignment this week, so I don't know what I'll be making yet (how fun is that?).  I thoroughly enjoyed the swap I did in January, and can't wait to see what I get in return.  I think doing swaps will really help push me out of my "that's good enough" rut and really help me get better.  I really dislike giving away handmade things that, well, look handmade.  (Sorry Mom and Dad! Your quilts immediately come to mind.)

Linking up to traceyjay!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Kelly - Week 3

I finally found a place in my craft room where I can get pretty close to the right colors in photos.  When my husband and I designed the space, we put in a "wrapping station," which is basically a cabinet with a small counter on top.  He did a lovely job finishing a butcher block top... isn't it beautiful?  But it has a direct light above it - so if I put my project on the cabinet and stand on a chair to take a picture from above, I have tons of light on my project...  this is as close as I'm going to get to replicating the colors, I think.

That doesn't mean they won't occasionally be blurry, though.  Oops.

The Alyssa - Week 3

Now that I've seen each block in its pieces, I can't wait to get started assembling them!  This weekend brings a birthday and a Big Football Game, so I'm not sure how much sewing I'll get done - but even a little will be wildly exciting.

The Laura - Week 3

Oh my gosh.  I am so excited about this week's assignment!  I've never really done traditional blocks before, so flying geese fit into the category of "intimidating simply because I've never tried them."

This method was so easy!  Thank you so much, Melissa, for your clear instructions...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Laura: Week 2

Laura's not actually going to be part of the what-I-thought-was-a-triple-shower.  Oh well.  She's an accountant who can't get away in March, so we'll have her shower later.  I'm still going to persevere and see if I can't get all three quilts done before the deadline.  In case something has to slide, though, the quilting and binding of her quilt might just wait until AFTER the shower for the other girls.

The Alyssa: Week 2

Alyssa is one of the sweetest girls I know...  I'm so happy for her!  I was twelve when she was born, and babysat for her as a newborn - it's kind of hard to imagine that she's going to be a Mrs. in a few short months, but she's grown into a lovely woman.  Her color palette expands a bit, but it's still fairly muted.

The Kelly: Week 2

Phew.  Not much to say...  but it's finished.  I am loving the muted neutrals that Kelly's palette called for!  There's just a touch of lavender, teal and celery (not nearly as bright as the iPhone photo in fake light makes it appear!)