Friday, December 17, 2010

My Crafty Christmas [9]

Originally I was going to make my nephy boxers because he needed underwear. I bought the pdf Louey pattern from Sis Boom, but I had no opportunity to purchase the necessary elastic (it requires 1.25 sport elastic or lingerie elastic, the place I went to buy it had neither on hand. Just empty pegs.). So I bought him some, but I didn't feel like that was enough. If I'd made him three pair, all the effort that goes into construction would make it a more substantial gift (at least in my opinion.). I finally decided to make him a fabric memory game (he's 5).

I made 8 fabric pairs, which is 16 tiles and a nice 4x4 grid. I originally made 18 pairs. The finishing just wasn't working out like I had envisioned ( basically I accidentally cut 2 pair too small! Yikes.) So 8 pairs it was ;D I'll use the rest for my Dulcie. I went with a ROYGBIV theme for the most part. Except I substituted the HR kelp for the Tula Pink snails.

And since I couldn't very well give them to him loose, I made a little lined zippered pouch. I made a patchwork detail on the back of the bag using a few of the fabrics that are actually in his set. I also painted the word 'memory' on the front with black Tulip fabric paint using the freezer paper method.
I hope he likes them. If he doesn't, maybe his 18 mo old sister will ;D

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Crafty Christmas [8]

The other day I was looking at the dress I made for my niece, and I decided it needed a little something extra. Something to accessorize with. A while back, my mom bought Dulcie some hair clips. You know the kind--it has like 12 to a card and cost around a dollar. My daughter, blessed as she is with a full luxe head of hair, hates to have anything in it. Even with light-to-no usage, some of the clips already had paint chipping off of them. And even though Dulcie doesn't like decoration in her hair, my niece does. So I thought I would pretty some up for her and make them match her dress (and this is something you can do, too!).

My Supplies:
1 (or a pair of) bendy type clip
fabric scraps
felt or batting (optional)
something to turn with
thread, needle, scissors (etc)
other decorative elements (ribbon, buttons, etc) optional

I took the clip and traced the general shape of the clip right-side down on the paper. After I had the general shape, I added a quarter inch seam allowance to my drawing. You'll want to make 3 copies of this shape.
You can kind of see this in the above image, but make a mark on two of the drawings where the bottom part of the clip meets with the body of the clip. One of the drawings with the line will be the underside of the clip cover, and the other will be to cover the rounded end underside. Before you cut, make sure you remember to add a quarter seam allowance (toward the rounded end for the body underside, and toward the point of the clip for the rounded end...if that makes sense.). Now cut out your pieces: 1 - whole body (label 1), 1 - 2/3rd body (cut off the rounded end including seam allowance and label as 2), and 1 - 1/3rd body (rounded end only including seam allowance and label 3)

Cut out 1 (or 2 in the case of making a pair) of all pieces. Press seam allowance of piece 2 and 3 toward the wrong side of the fabric. Top stitch down.
Sew(machine or hand) piece 1 to piece 2 right sides together. Trim carefully and notch fabric seam allowance being careful not to cut too close to your stitches to reduce bulk. Sew piece 3 to piece 1 right sides together. I found that it's easier not to stitch all the way to the end of the fabric on one end. Like go around from one side, but stop a little shy of the end, maybe about a quarter inch. Back stitch and notch fabric where needed. You may not what to trim the seam on the sides since you will need some of it to close up the unfinished end later. Carefully turn body and rounded end with tool of your choice. I used a narrow rounded-point chopstick--pretty much my go-to turning tool.

If you are adorning your clip with added elements, now is the time to do it. Also, if you are using batting or felt (I used felt just to give the fabric a little bit more body), cut a piece in the shape of the whole body with no seam allowance. Tack it to the top of your clip at a few key places at top, middle, and bottom. I used thread, but I imagine you could try hot glue. I haven't tried it, so I don't know how successful it would be. Trim edges to shape if necessary.

Insert opened clip into the new sleeve you've created. Inserting the rounded end can be a little tricky, which is why I didn't sew all the way to the end of the 3rd piece. If your clip has batting/felt attached, you may find it useful to use your turning tool (or something else) to help guide the clip body into the sleeve since the felt/batting may bunch during insertion. Once you have the end in, fold under the seam allowance of the unfinshed seam and hand stitch closed with your preferred stitch. I used whipstitch.Voila! And you have a new covered clip that matches whatever you wanted it to ;D

Monday, December 13, 2010

SMS - Giveaway Day (Week)

For the longest time I didn't participate in giveaways. I don't know why. Just a mental block. I think I just figured that if I wanted something enough...I'd just buy it. That was until I got deep into fabric and started drowning in it like any other addict LOL (can I get a fix, plsthnx)

I just started recently entering into giveaways, and Sew, Mama, Sew! is having a HUGE one. Apparently, they do this twice a year where they coordinate a huge event. This time around, I am taking part. It's so exciting! LOL.

One of the blogs I came across in my frenzied-giveaway-entering is Renovating Our Foursquare and they are giving away 2 yards of AMH fabric. 2 yards! That's an excellent amount to make a garment out a dress for Dulcie :D Or to horde under my bed like I do with my other Preciouses (I do feel like Golem of LotR fame when I talk about fabric.)

Another is the blog for Sweet Pea Fabrics on Etsy. I actually have purchased fabric from them before, and it was a great experience. I never noticed that they had a blog, though. I was tickled to see that they are participating in the giveaway as well! They're giving away 2 - 25 dollar gift certificates! Truly an exciting thing to try and win.

I'm realistic about this giveaway thing. I don't really expect to win anything, but if I did--that would be super sweet; wouldn't it?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Crafty Christmas [7]

My nephy is 13 going on 14 next month. There aren't many things I can make a boy in that age group. Not anything he'd really want, anyway, LOL! When he's older, like going off to college, he might appreciate a quilt, but not at 13. So I bought him a gift card, but I didn't want his gift to be impersonal. Everyone else is getting something made with my two hands, he deserves something, too. So I decided to make him a Christmas gift monster (for lack of anything better to call it, and since I don't actually [and never have] shopped at Anthropologie) by loosely following this tutorial from White Waxflower
My teeth are felt, and didn't really turn out like hers. But she didn't really say how she made her monster teeth (or what material they were made from). As I was sewing, my teeth shifted downward which left only the tiptops visible. I decided to leave it as is. Since I machine sewed this monster, I didn't really follow her directions. Since I used a machine, all I had to do was make/stuff the arms and layer it all together with the arms in against the belly and voila! It was done ;D Only one pass around the machine with a space left for turning at the bottom. I then top stitched that opening closed, but then used floss to make the bottom look more...homey (so that element is purely decorative). Oh, yeah, I did stuff and add the eyes before I closed it up ;D

I thought this was fun, and I wouldn't have thought to do this sort of project on my own. I used scraps from various projects that felt more boy-ish. This also brought to the front that I have very few gender neutral or masculine fabric selections in my stash. The arm backs are more of that red/brown/green Andalucia fabric that you see in the head/main body. When I was making this, I rediscovered how much I like that snail print by Tula Pink :D I will have to buy more before it's all gone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Crafty Christmas [6]

The quest to finish Christmas continues! The last 3 days I've been working on my MIL's present. She recently expressed to me that she needed new potholders. She didn't ask me to make her some. More she asked me if I thought her existing holders smelt like rancid oil and food, even after she just washed them. Then she expressed that she needed to replace them since they were obviously getting on in age. I took the initiative and made her a few to replace her old ones.
I used Fig & Plum designed by Fig tree Quilts for Moda. This is the same line I used to make a table runner for my mother last Christmas. I started with a layer cake, and I still have more than half of it left. I really do love the colorways in this particular range. It's very versatile and quietly elegant, but I find that to be true for many of Fig Tree's lines. I didn't take a picture of the backs, but I made sure that each backing was a color that was not really used in the front to pull the collection of potholders together (like the log cabin backing is blue).

The pot holders finished at 7" square. I used two layers of warm and natural cotton batting with 2 layers of white muslin for the sandwich (so it went front-muslin-batting-batting-muslin-backing). That was after I made one potholder that I decidedly HATED with only 1 layer of batting. It was way too thin, and the fabric didn't have enough contrast (The 3 fabrics I used were all of the same value and tone so the design was completely indistinct.). Like I've said before, I've been trying to use what I have, and I'm not particularly fond of the insul-stuff that people usually put in this kind of project. I don't like the crinkly-ness. So I used what I had ;D

In hindsight, I might have added another layer of batting. I'm really on the fence about that. I would also have swapped the fabric in the house block and used the green for the roof and the brown/stone color for the doorway/window. This was my first time making a house block or a log cabin. I liked making both.

Also, if I could do this over again, I would have bought a heavier duty needle. I was using a 90/14, but I managed to snap it in half when I stitched over the mitered corner of the binding. Oopsy. Thank goodness I had another needle handy ;D

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Crafty Christmas [5]

I've been trying to decide what *else* I should make for my sister and BIL. I decided on another home element, since that can be a combo gift. They LOVE Christmas. It's a huge thing for them. They both adore everything about Christmas, and having 3 children of varying ages (18 mo, 5, and 13) I'm sure adds to the excitement. After much thought and exploration, I decided on an advent calender. I'm using a tutorial/pattern from AllSorts, but with minor variations (as is to be expected, I'm sure, lol).
I've been trying to make things with what I have. Though I think the all white and red version of this is gorgeous, I only had red and green wool/acrylic-blend felt available to me (I had a fat quarter of each color, which was just enough to make 24 pockets!). I've been working on constructing these pockets at night when my daughter is asleep. I took these pictures yesterday morning, but last night I was able to number the first 8 pockets. I'm hoping to be done with these by Wednesday.

Even though I own felt, this is the first time I actually *made* something with it. I bought a bunch of fat quarters on sale with the idea I might use them one day. My stitching isn't the best for a couple of them. It took a few before I got into a rhythm with them. I still like how they look. There is something charming about something that looks a little rustic (*cough* read as homemade looking*cough*). I'm thinking of using some red gingham fabric as the sash the pockets hang from, but I'm not sure. I might end up using some plain white muslin, instead. I think it will depend on how busy these pockets look next to each other alternating in color. I want it to look fun and Christmas-y, not make people want to scratch their eyes out when they look at them ;D

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Crafty Christmas [4]

Oi, I have been busy. I decided to make my niece an art smock. I used this tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew! and one of my daughter's old shirts. I used my daughter as a model for the overall fit (except she refused to model for the camera!). I had issue with the arm holes. I'm a novice/beginner sewist. I don't really see why the arm holes have the added half inch to the pattern when the edge is covered by bias tape, not sewn (such as to a lining where you might need a seam allowance). I ended up cutting the arm hole back that half inch to give it a better fit after I cut all the panels out and tested it against my daughter.
The size I made is roughly 24 months/2 years old. I used nearly the whole pack of a 4 yard package of coral pink double fold bias tape. I also made a minor addition in adding a pocket for my niece to carry...I don't know, anything! I just thought a pocket would look nice and add some interest to the front. Oh, and for those who are wondering, the fabric selection is "County Fair" home decor weight fabric designed by Denyse Schmidt.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Parisville Giveaway (not by me)

OMG, I was so excited when I saw this! Jaybird Quilts is doing a giveaway sponsored by Wondrous Woodland Wovens for a half yard collection of Parisville by Tula Pink. I urge anyone who is a fan of Tula to run on over there :D And don't forget to check out the sponsors shop--they have some really cool prints available (some I haven't seen before, and I really dig that!)

Friday, November 19, 2010

And Now For Something Else

I finished my mother's Christmas gift. I thought it turned out fantastic. I misjudged a few things about it (namely that the cardboard that I tacked the fabric to with loads of hot glue was too small and I had to use the glass for the frame to keep it inside) but it's still nice. My daughter has A LOT of hair, and I think this captured that, LOL (it comes midback and she's not even 2). I tried to photograph it, but it's hard to see the detail (I backstitched around the silhouette with a dark olive thread).
like I said, you can't really see the detail ;D I couldn't think of anything else I could make (immediately) for Christmas, so I finished up a project I had been working on for a swap. The them was 'green' and part of the swap was a tote exchange. I decided to follow this tutorial from Made. I don't really shop at Target, so that left me with the golden off-brownish color from my local grocery store. I only wanted to make one bag, so I made 3 plastic sheets.
You can see where I started--that big melted spot where I tried to figure out the magic setting for my iron (it ended up being 4, cotton blend). I used 9 sheets. I think that was just one too many. I read a few tutes and they said 6-8, but the bags seemed so flimsy that I tried 9. It was too hard to get all the layers to fuse together without scorching the material. I HIGHLY recommend making a practice sandwich with the parts of the bag you don't use (in this case, the front of the bag that had the store logo on it). I wish I had thought to do that. Another thing, you end up having to trim (or I did, at least) to make straight edges. That eats into your available material. I was, however, able to make 1 bag out of my 2.5 sheets of usable plastic.
I used some scraps to make the design on the front (and handles) and used ecofelt for the eyes. It was pretty easy to sew (I used a 90/14 needle). The plastic was a little harder to control than fabric since it was so slippery. I messed up on the front (I forgot that the seam was supposed to show, and I turned it, but on the front only. The seam allowance is exposed everywhere else.). I was very tempted to keep this bag! I really liked it. It felt nice in my hand, too (I made the handle only 1.5 wide, though.). I will definitely make more :D But I will only use 8 layers (I learned my lesson ;D).

And another little something else: RetroMummy is having a FQ giveaway! (I love these ;D). The fabric range for Sweet Broderie is just so sweet and fun. It's perfect for my little darling. It includes a playful mix of yellow, lime, aqua and two shades of pink with flowers. Totally yay :D

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Crafty Christmas [3]

I've had a pretty lazy couple of days. I managed to read 3 books and start a fourth. It felt great :D But reality started to set in (especially when I looked at the explosion that is my craft table) and I went to the craft store yesterday to start on another Christmas project. I finished Lyra's dress the same day that I hoped to (the 11th) and I need to buy a new thimble before I finish up the mug rugs (or apply the binding to Car and Tom's quilt). That left me with my Mom's present: A silhouette of my baby girl.
As you can see, I started yesterday. I sanded and painted the frame last night as well as made the stencil for the silhouette. I didn't want to use plain white fabric, so I used a FQ of Sultry by Basic Grey for Moda that I had lying around. I can't finish this project today. I want to add some stitchery elements (outline the silhouette and add her name and age) before framing.

The craft store was pretty wiped out when it came to colors for fabric paint. I wanted a green to coordinate with the frame color choice (my mom uses a lot of olive green and jewel tones), but they only had browns, yellows, black, and a blue. I guess I could have purchased several colors and tried to custom mix the colors, but I didn't. Christmas is on a budget this year, and unfortunately I didn't fit several bottles into the budget, so black it was. The frame is something I picked up for a few dollars at a tag sale two months ago.

I used two tutes for reference for this project: the one at Ucreate and another one that I can't find for the life of me. If I ever find it, I'll edit to add it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Crafty Christmas [2]

The last few days (except yesterday, I was just lazy) I've been working on my niece's Christmas present. I decided to make her something for the spring, the Analise dress by Sandi Henderson/Portabellopixie. I am nearly finished. I just need to gather the skirt and attach it to the bodice. Hopefully, I will be able to do that today.
The thing about this dress is this: I completely LOVED the fabric before I started cutting it. As it came together as a dress I don't know how I feel. I used a fabric I had enough yardage in (one I had originally planned to use for my own DD), but I am now beginning to realize that it needed a solid to break up the pattern. I used the same fabric but in yellow for my DD's dress, and it was fine. I think maybe the purple is just too strong? I don't know. I'll figure it out.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Crafty Christmas [1]

It's that time of year again--time to take out the project list and try to make it all in time for Christmas. I got a nice jump start during NaSewMo with my Lawn Chair quilt. The last two days brought a new jolt of life into the project.

See, I've been trying desperately to decide what to make for my sister. She's getting ready to move into a new house, and I know she's already accumulated a good bit of Fiestaware in anticipation of having a new kitchen. Out with the old and in with the new, ya know? I also know that she likes the Mexicana Cocina look (omgosh, my sister and BIL are much better latinos than I am ;x).

I decided to make her something for the kitchen. They both drink coffee and tea which led me to making mug rugs! This is a first for me. I had a time with the applying binding (still in progress though. I've only attached it, not like sewn it on-on), but it worked out. I also had a time with some wonkiness, but I thought that lent a certain element of charm and homeyness to it. And since my sister is going with the Fiestaware, I figured that I could go with some brightness. Originally, I had pulled Urban Chiks' Blossom from Moda. It looked great against the Kona Stone, but I wasn't sold that my sister would like it--or that it would match her decor.
I made my own judgment that my sister wouldn't have more than 4 people drinking coffee or tea at one time. Her eldest is 13, and I guess he *could* drink hot cocoa, but I doubt it. I also wanted it to be a cohesive set, so I used the same fabric in all four pieces. And I hope the design elements flow. I think they do, but that's my opinion ;D The background color is Kona Stone, and I think I am IN LOVE with it.

I ended up doing A LOT of trimming. The finished squares are mostly 1 inch. Mostly. Sewing with small squares is tricky. A little off and WOW. Sometimes I went back and tore out my stitches, but (obviously) sometimes I didn't. I like the wonkyness in the very basic quilting. And with most things, it looks much better in person ;D

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I thought we would NEVER find the cord that connects the camera to the computer, LOL. We've been searching for it for DAYS. Weeks, even. I'm so happy :D

As a little update, the fabrics I bought came! (not all of them though, I'm waiting on one more). I can't wait to share! I bought a bunch on sale. I love sales, but then who doesn't?

The top group came from Above All Fabric during their fall clearance sale. The bottom came from Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe & Mercantile's blowout section (they still have some of the primrose in ice on sale for 4.99 a yard! It's such a hard-to-find print! I only bought 1.5 yards. They have a 1 yard min. cut on the blowout sale merchandise. The FQs are on sale for 1.78 each, which isn't too shabby if you ask me.) I then headed over to Thriftbooks for my next purchase:
I love Urban Fantasy genre books, so I bought a few of them. The price isn't too shabby and shipping is included. The books are in very good condition. I've bought from here a few times before. I've only had issues with one book I was sent in the past, the book at completely separated from the binding and that wasn't reflected in the price and/or the classification when I purchased it.

All-in-all, I'm majorly excited about my new 'booty'! Can't wait to do some cutting and reading (hopefully not both at the same time ;D)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Interesting Stuff!

It's been a slow week for me (well, over a week, but you get the drift). I have some fabric coming in, and when it arrives, I will post pics. I haven't been sewing, but I should. Christmas is creeping up and I need to be ready for it ;D

I found a great giveaway today while just clicking around the internet (I actually can't recall how I found this giveaway. I follow a lot of tutorial links, and there you go ;D). It's from Sheree's Alchemy and it's for some awesome looking scraps! I love scrappy things, so this immediately got my attention. If you like scraps, you should think about joining in, too! The giveaway lasts on her blog until November 10th, and there are several ways to enter. I know I've got my fingers crossed ;D

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I'm home :D Well, I've been home. I returned late Sunday night, but I've been playing catch-up on all the things that piled up while I was gone.

I broke my fabric fast this morning. It felt really strange to do. I found that I was more careful about my fabric choices, and really weighed my impulses against what I *really* needed. I even--for the first time in nearly a year--used part of my monthly 'allowance' to buy something that wasn't fabric. Shocking, I know ;D

I ended up buying the backing (Kona Stone for 3.50 a yard) for my gift quilt to Car and Tom and a little West Hill that was on clearance for 4.50 a yard (the floral stripe coordinate in that dusky pink/peach background). Amazingly, I still have 20 to spend, but I'm not sure what I should get. I have so many collections going right now, that I'm not sure what I need. I think I'm going to go through the stash this weekend and make a swap folder on my Flickr. Maybe that way I'll get more bang for my buck, so to speak.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I've been here in Alabama for the last week and Temptation abounds. My mom has taken me to THREE quiltshops plus JoAnn's and Hancock's. It's not enough that I'm eating like I'm on vacation, but ZOMG I've been so tempted to break my fabric diet! ;D I've seen so many nice prints. I don't know how I will survive, LOL!

The funny thing is that when I go home, the very next day is the end of my fabric diet. I can't wait. Gluttony has always been my favorite sin ;D

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Entertaining Children 2

Yes, we are still in make-believe land with these pictures :P

Lace-Up CardsMaterials:
Yarn (assorted colors)
hole punch (single works best)
heavy card stock or other rigid paper
glue stick
thin cardboard (like cereal box or insert cardboard)
rolling pin or something else to burnish the images

I thought Dulcie would enjoy this since she's always up in my fabric and sewing work space. I went online and found some basic shape coloring pages (I used a star, butterfly, apple, and flower from here). I copied them and put them into Word to make a printing template. I set the page orientation to landscape, and sized the images to what I felt would be a good size for Dulcie's hands. I didn't use colored images because I wanted to give her a chance to color these images herself on the plane. If you want them to last longer, you could use a colored illustration and laminate them before you attack it with the hole punch. Anyway, I then printed the images onto the cardstock (and allowed the ink to dry). I then cut a rough shape around the images leaving a good margin before gluing them down to the thin cardboard and rolled over them a couple of times to get good contact between the cardstock and the cardboard. After everything was all set, I then cut out the images along the picture lines. I then attacked my images with the hole punch at either key points in the image (in the case of the star) or at even intervals (about 1-2 inches depending on image size or what feels comfortable).

If you are taking this on an airplane like I am, I recommend carding some yarn on some cardstock scraps. You can either put tape around one end or lace it through a needle. I am using a large-eye plastic needle that I use to sew up ends when I knit.

Other Suggestions for Entertainment:

make your own coloring book - I did a modification of this to match the pad I made to insert into the crayon/coloring pencil book thing I made during NaSewMo.

Anyhow, I hope these inspire/help other parents traveling with little ones :D I'll be off on my trip tomorrow until the 24th of October. Bye everyone!

Entertaining Children 1

Okay, child since Dulcie is just one person, but I'm sure multiple children might enjoy these things ;D I had a bunch of awesome pictures but my camera is not cooperating. You will all have to suspend reality with me.

Colored Pasta (good for color sorting or stringing)

Pasta (e.g. penne, macaroni, ditalini--it just needs a hole if you want to string it)
Empty clean yogurt cup
plastic wrap
food coloring
1 scant tsp vinegar
stirring stick
baking sheet
paper towels
news print (to control messes, hopefully!)

notes: I've seen this done with rubbing alcohol, but I didn't trust that with such a little baby. I also recommend pre-measuring how much pasta you want to use for each color (this would be neat with a variety of types like ditalini=red penne=purple for color and shape sorting) because then it goes faster and you don't end up making a whole bunch of one color on accident. If you want little fingers to help you, I recommend ziploc bags. If you are going to string the pasta, check to make sure that your needle (if you are using one, I'm using a plastic one I use for knitting) fits easily through the hole.

First, spread out your newspaper in case you have spills or splatters. Then to a clean yogurt cup add the vinegar and food coloring, mix well with stirring stick (I used wooden coffee stirring things). Add your pasta, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and shake vigorously for a minute or so until well coated or color has developed. Using fork, rake the damp pasta onto the paper towel and roll around to remove excess moisture. In my experience, don't let the pasta dry on the towels, since it can stick to the paper. Instead, with the fork, roll the pasta on to the baking sheet and allow to dry completely.

More Notes: I don't recommend drying the pasta in the oven, even a cooling one (tried this with one batch). My noodles got real funky in color and texture.

Successful Colors: Since pasta is naturally a kind of yellow color to begin with, warm colors are more successful.
  • Red - Very successful as long as enough red coloring is added to the vinegar. Even though color deepens over time, if you start with a weak looking red you shouldn't have high hopes for a rich crimson.
  • Orange - Since it's a secondary color of yellow, this is also successful. Start with a yellow base and add a little red (only 1-2 drops). I used a 4:1 ratio for a nice medium orange when dry. My first attempt was a red base with yellow added. The end color was a dark orange but too close to red for my taste (Dulcie also called it red, so a definite no go).
  • Yellow - Complete win for obvious reasons.
  • Green - Secondary color of yellow, so bright yellow based greens work great. I had a nice kelley green that edged on christmas green.
  • Blue - Not so good. Blue + Yellow = Green, so it takes a lot of blue coloring to overpower the yellow pasta base. End color for me was a cross between royal and navy.
  • Purple - Not so good, either. It takes a while for the color to develop and has similar problems to blue. End color for me was dark purple.
In the end, what mattered most to me was that Dulcie could identify the color with little effort. She called the purple pasta purple, so I was happy. :D She loves the colored pasta and has been playing with them since they finished drying. Right now I am storing the pasta in a small plastic container with a lid.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ohh, Lookie!

It's a Fandango giveaway! Not by me, but from Talk About Fabric. This is totally cool. Admittedly, I joined the site for a different give away, but I've been lurking around on the boards. I've been enjoying it so far :D I'm always interested in a place where I can talk about fabric ;D Even if I can't buy any of my own just yet (just three more weeks and the fast is over!).

I know I was going to post about my trip but my camera died. Tomorrow :D Promise.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

3-2-1 Lift Off!

My trip to Alabama is rapidly approaching. Wednesday will be here before I know it, and I still have so much to do. Yesterday, I cleaned my work table/station because it is in a common area, and I didn't think it would be polite to leave a disaster for my guy to live with for almost three weeks. Hopefully, it will encourage him to keep the rest of the common areas clean while I'm gone ;D Today, I started with laundry (which reminds me, it needs to go into the dryer). Today I also need to pack a box for my sister so it can be mailed tomorrow (hand-me-downs for Lyra). Which reminds me that I need to get our clothing donations ready for their Wednesday pick-up (benefits big brother big sister).

Monday, I need to pack. This way I know what I still need to buy before we leave. I think I should also make a skirt for Dulcie to wear. All the ones she has have an attached diaper cover, and I want to be able to change her diaper without undressing her. I have fabric I can use for this. I think.

Tuesday, I need to buy everything I'm lacking PLUS a wreath form and spray paint. I found a fun tutorial the other day for an acorn wreath. We have oak trees out front that have been rather abundant this season. I baked them for 45 minutes at 275 because I was afraid of them exploding (they have a lot of moisture inside them). They still split open, and I had one...casualty. The lil guy was like the turkey thermometer, and I decided all the critters were probably dead after that.

I did a few crafts to occupy her on the plane. I'll post about those tomorrow. Right now, Dulcie calls!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reflection On NaSewMo

Now that it's over, I thought I'd take a moment to think about my accomplishments (kind of vain, I know ;D). I was pretty disappointed that I got so little done--until I thought about what I did. I made:

Week One: A Dora the Explorer tote
Week Two: A quilt top plus a needle book
Week Three: A fabric map plus and a tissue pack cover
Week Four: A money wallet, a tea/coffee wallet, and a DS pouch
Week Five: Binding plus a Crayon/Colored pencil book thing

That's actually not too shabby (even if they were all pretty much small projects)! I think that might be my *most* productive month. Ever. So I am actually proud of myself. The only thing that makes me feel like I failed is this:

I didn't finish any UFOs nor did I finish any Christmas presents (outside of the quilt top/binding for my sis-in-law).

I will have a better plan for next year. I know now that I can do it. I know that I *can* find the time in my hectic mommy schedule. I think to be totally G.I.Joe about it--knowing is half the battle ;D

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wrapping Up Week 5 (and NaSewMo!)

I have been terribly busy this last week! I went to a few faires and the beach, and spent time with my family. I really did believe that I wouldn't get a single thing sewn this week. I just couldn't fail this close to the end! So I managed to whip together a crayon/pad book for my upcoming flight next week.
I really super messed up the seam on the bottom. I mean YIKES. But by the time I'd realized it I'd already closed my seam and had top-stitched like almost all the way around. I wish I'd bothered to put some fuse in this project. I *thought* I didn't need it, but I did. Live and learn. really, this project was a disaster from the moment I started it. My head just wasn't in the right place to be sewing. I stitched my pocket for the note pad completely closed TWICE, and made a dozen other silly errors.

I did make the notebook to fit this project (I used some thin cardboard for a backer from a movie-theater sized box of m&ms). I used staples because I'm not brave enough to try to sew through cardboard and 30 sheets of paper yet. Besides, it's just a little something to distract Dulcie. I had wanted to make a full quiet book for her, but maybe next time. Oh! I also managed to make the binding for my Lawn Chair quilt! Yay for me :D
I'm glad to have it done, but this has made me seriously reconsider how I feel about jelly rolls. They aren't that precise. I've found through this project that I am more consistent when I cut my strips than the dies are, LOL! More than half of my jelly roll had 'v'd strips, which is really disappointing when you consider the cost of JR is anywhere from 40 to 20 dollars depending on the age (and desirability) of the range. For a while, I was switching from charm packs and layer cakes to jelly rolls because a lot of the patterns I like are made with strips. If I can do a better job cutting than Moda's stamps can, I might as well just buy a bunch of quarter yard cuts and do it myself. Sure I might not have the pattern diversity, but at least I'll have some consistency and precision.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wrapping Up Week 4 - NSM

I don't know how I managed it, but I squeezed in one last project for the week! I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm going out of town for a spell. I usually take my Nintendo DSLite to entertain me and the girl when we fly (the Lite is backwards compatible to GBA games and movies). I thought this time it would be nice to have a little pouch for it. Again, I started with some fabrics I've been longing to use. In this case, Sandi Henderson's Farmer's Market and a little bit of Kona cotton in Olive.
I wasn't sure how I wanted to use the fabric (body, lining, and flap arrangement), and I know this is a pretty safe assortment, so it was kind of hard to go terribly wrong in that department. I decided to wing it on the design and ended up with this:
I have some wobbly seams in this piece, too. And OMGosh, I totally sewed the cartridge pocket on *slightly* crooked. The last seam (the body-to-lining joining one) had to be sewn by hand because the case was too small for my machine. I accidentally made my allowance too large (and had a wild stitch or two) so it turned out shorter than I had originally planned. The fit is also quite snug. It's satisfactory (and attractive) enough for my use, but if I ever wanted to write all the steps down; I'd make it a little larger. Not much, maybe a half inch. I didn't make a space for the charge cable because I pack that in my luggage, and the DS comes with me on the airplane. I just really wanted something that would keep my games and player all together instead of rolling around in the bottom of my baby bag (like it usually does).

My guy came in while I was making it. Bless him, he asked me if I was depressed because I was sewing so much. As he put it, I was making a bag for this and a pouch for that, and that surely, my soul must be hurting to do *that* much sewing. I had to laugh and let him know I was actually quite happy. How can I not be happy--it's National Sewing Month! But I didn't tell him that last part. Or that I'm using it (now) as therapy to stay on my Fabric Fast (which he hasn't realized I'm on yet. I can't believe he hasn't noticed the lack of packages in the mail!). I'm fine with him thinking I'm just feeling particularly crafty lately ;D

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nearing the End [Week 4] - NSM

I've been on a fabric fast/diet since September 11th (ending the last week of October). I can't believe it has been almost 2 weeks since I've bought fabric. My favorite past time was searching the internet until this point for some of my more elusive ISOs or great sales. In order to keep myself on track, I've stayed away from the computer and spent more time creating (and spending time with my family--oh yeah, them ;D).

My newest addition to my NaSewMo project is my tea/coffee wallet. After I learned the basic principles behind wallet construction, it was easy. And I managed to stay true to my desire to make only functional items. When I had my daughter, I switch to decaf because I was nursing. I still only drink decaf. Most people I find, only have decaf in their homes if they A) drink it (naturally) or B) entertain frequently. So I end up having herbal tea when I'd like coffee instead (like after dinner). Now I'll have one cup of coffee (sure it's instant) on hand! And some tea, too, in case my host isn't a tea drinker--or I don't like the kind they have (like Earl Grey).
I lost about 1/8th"all around, and have a wabbly bottom seam, but otherwise it turned out great! the tea bags have room to either stand up or lie down. I prefer them lying down because it's snugger (more snug?). The finished size is ~4.25 inches tall x ~7 inches wide (open) or ~3.5 inches wide (closed).

When I was making the wallet, I couldn't decide on my fabrics. I went through several before I settled on these. After I started cutting it, I decided I HATED it. I thought for sure that this was a prototype and not my *real* coffee/tea wallet. That was until I finished and turned it right side out. Then I could appreciate it as a single piece and not as it's various elements (the dot fabric is also the exterior fabric). I really do like it. It's already at home in my purse next to my new wallet :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 4 [con] - NSM

I could have easily sat on the laurels from finishing my tissue pack cover, but that's just not my style (at least this week ;D). It seemed an awful shame that I have so many yards of delicious fabric that I never get to see since it's in storage containers under my bed. I decided to do something about that! So last night I pulled some fabrics--some Sandi Henderson (Meadowsweet & Farmer's Market), Michael Miller, and Kona cotton. Oh, yeah, and some Tula Pink ladybugs.
I decided I wanted a new wallet, something small for my upcoming trip to Alabama. With that in mind, I sorted through various tutorials, but eventually settled on this one from Lola Nova, the Summer Wallet. I made a few changes to suit my own tastes (and the size of fabric I had available).
All-in-all, this was an easy to put together project. I made it this morning while my daughter watched Handy Manny and Jungle Junction. This project also reminded me that my weakness when it comes to construction is 'attention to detail'. I change measurements and elements mid-way through and forget to go back and make the REST of the project match. I'm sure I'm not the only one with that flaw. I need to make a big sign (or maybe a sampler ;D) to hang by the sewing machine to remind me, lol. Maybe that will even be my New Year's resolution!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 4 - NSM

After I finished making the Lawn Chair quilt top, I was mildly surprised at the amount of scraps it produced. Some sections were large, and worthy of being saved--in fact most were.
I wanted to find a project to utilize the above pictured. I think I will eventually make a postage stamp quilt (or something similar). A few pieces, however, were destined this morning to become a tissue package cover. You know, those purse-sized ones? I thought it would be cute to look a little patchwork-ish, and I was totally right, lol ;D
I took 3 of my larger scraps (they measured close to 6.5 inch square, but had selvage on one edge or had uneven length edges with selvage) and orientated them so that the Bella snow strips were on the top and bottom. I trimmed a half inch from the top and bottom to make the snow-colored sections equal in length and so that the finished size would be 5.5 inches. I then cut the width to be 3.5 inches wide, discarding the selvage edge. I selected two rectangles for the top, and folded the fabric under a little less than half the width (x2) and over lapped the folded edge a little (so that it became the same width as the remaining rectangle) and pinned together. I then put the right side of the remaining rectangle and the pinned top together and sewed together--voila! Easy and fast. I totally luff it.

Wrapping Up Week 3 - NSM

I think when a person blogs they need to have a sense-of-humor about themselves--like when I say I have a fabric addiction, and my next post includes a fabric shopping list. Things like that make me laugh at myself. Anyway, my MIL took my girl yesterday to see her Grand-Aunt and Uncle, so I had a few hours to myself. It's amazing what one can accomplish when that person has uninterrupted time! Like finish a NaSewMo project!
I gave her the 'map' when she came home, and she loved it. We spent the rest of the evening identifying everything on the map (she especially likes HR's mermaid and unicorn, but that was only to be expected! A close third are the butterflies).

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I haven't finished my week 3 project yet. I need to hand sew a few elements, and that has held me back. We had guests all day yesterday. By the time I had the opportunity to sew, I was plum tuckered out and went to sleep. I haven't started my binding yet, either, but I know that's because I don't have my backing fabric yet--so no pressing interest in completing it. In effort to control my wild fabric frenzy, I've tried to narrow my next month's shopping list to needs with only a few wants. I'm putting my foot down (so to speak). If it's not somewhere on this list, I am not buying it in October (yes, have to be firm with myself!)

  • Swell: assorted prints
  • Hushabye: lime owls
  • Hello Betty: backing fabric (3 yards)
  • Whimsy: assorted prints, maybe a charm pack (I really do love this range)
  • Pop Garden: assorted prints
  • Meadowsweet 1&2: assorted prints
  • Nest: branches in assorted colors
  • Sweet: Jelly Roll

I can't believe September is nearly over. Time has truly flown for me. Wednesday my nephew has surgery and his throat. I hope everything goes well. He's only 5 and so it might be more traumatic for him. I know I'll be on pins until he's home and in recovery.

I decided to revisit another neglected hobby--stitchery/needlework. I embroider my quilt tags, but that's the most I've done with this medium in AGES. My swap partner sent me a book that completely rekindled my interest. I think I'll try my hand at it again and see how it goes.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I am in need of some craft self-discovery. I am drawn to many crafts, and have worked with my hands for years. I am forever trying to find the craft that really makes my heart sing. The one my creativity can pour through like a lightning rod, and become grounded in reality and not just the amoebic make believe in my mind. I can feel it right at the surface, and it's really fighting for realization. I just got kind of distracted and wandered down a path of entropy in which I became obsessed with OOP fabrics. I mean, really, I would never cut into some of these. They are swapping investments, and that's no real way to pursue a creative outlet. The money I spent on acquiring these antiquities could have been invested in fabric I would feel confident using (and not be eaten alive by guilt doing so).

Is quilting my *thing*? I've wanted to do it for nearly 10 years before I made my first block. I never had opportunity (or the resources) until now. I've only made 4 quilts in the year and 4 months I've been sewing on my borrowed machine--does that a quilter make? I see some of my peers who are churning out projects like they are possessed by rabid muses.

Heck, it took almost this whole year for me to not balk at fabric that cost 10 dollars a yard. The very first time I went fabric shopping with my Mother and she gave me cart blanche, I bought THREE fat quarters at 1.85 each and I thought that was an ungodly amount at the time (and I passed on so many things that I would give my front teeth for now). I would only shop online at shops that sold .25 or less cuts. I still have the bare essentials in the way of notions because the cost of some of these things boggle my mind.

So, is quilting really my thing?

I don't know.

But I know that I have an addiction to fabric. One that may need a serious intervention.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Week 3 - NSM

NaSewMo continues and so do I :D My newest project was inspired by my darling daughter. The last few days she has asked me to draw her several maps. She loves Dora the Explorer and runs around with the map singing the map song. Yesterday, I thought it would be nice to give her something more durable than a sheet of printer paper, and decided to sew her a map. At first, I was going to make it a treasure map, but I wanted it to be more flexible. It's just a generic not-at-all-to-scale 'world' or region map. I made a good bit of progress yesterday.
I started with two fat quarters (one for the background and the other for the backing). They are each in fabric styles that I don't really like any more (civil war, I believe), and I sincerely doubted I'd ever find a way to use them. And then I raided my scrap bag. After I started pinning on elements, I decided it should be a map of a magical place. You know, a world of wonder and majesty? So I added one of Heather Ross's Mermaids (I guess the fresh water variety since it's a river ;D). But then the flower field looked awful lonely this morning, and unicorn moved in from Far Far Away.

I decided against using any batting only because I didn't want the finished product to be too bulky. In the end, I want this to be able to fold easily in half and roll-up (going to add a tie ribbon) for easy portability.

I can tell she likes it already because she keeps coming to to the table and showing me the butterflies (like I don't know they're there. So cute!). I can't wait to see her play with it! Hopefully, it will be done before the weekend...which would give me time to work on my quilt binding.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wrapping Up Week 2 - NSM

I really didn't think I'd manage to complete a project this week, especially with the time I devoted to my Lawn Chair quilt top. To make matters worse (well not worse, just lazier, I guess.) my binding didn't get finished either. But, I was determined. Mostly, leading up to today, I couldn't think of a small project for something I needed. You know, something not frivolous? I would think of something, and almost immediately cross it off the list once I challenged myself to find a purpose for the item. I just couldn't let it end that way! No, there had to be something--and there was!

I have a ton of loose needles. They are pinned here and there on folded bits of scrap fabric. I don't have a pin cushion (been meaning to make one), and I had been fancying a needle book. I did a little search this evening, and found a darling one called The Little Letter Needle Book that I found on the blog, Em ay kay ee {make}. OMG so undeniably cute AND practical. Not to mention incredibly easy and quick, too. Just the kind of project I needed since I was down to the wire.

Now that I had a pattern, I had to wrestle with the next most difficult task--deciding on fabric. After a few false starts, I ended up with some West Hill designed by Heather Ross and some white yardage (either muslin or kona cotton. I can't tell. I want to say Kona.) For my contrasting color I selected medium pink thread and felt (English Rose from National Nonwoven).
Admittedly, it is not my neatest work. I had the rest of my wisdom teeth pulled today. Pain killers + Sewing= Interesting experience. Regardless of those little handmade quirks, I am completely in love with this needle book. I'm glad I made it, and I can see making one for a swap partner in the future :D

Friday, September 10, 2010

Double Yay

I finished my quilt top this morning (photo in my Flickr), and I started my binding! I should finish the latter today, too! Hurrah. I am so pleased with myself. I rediscovered that photographing quilts is difficult. I have no fence, clothes lines, or other means to suspend one. I'm thinking about buying some quilt hangers or maybe some padded clippies. I don't know. I wonder what other people do who have my problem?

I also received my swap today! I was just gaga over it. So many delicious prints. I am beyond excited. I can't wait to cut into them--except I still need a replacement blade for my cutter! Boo. I need to do something about that fast!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Plodding Along

Okay, so Tuesday was a complete wash. I just didn't feel up to starting the assembly on my quilt top. Yesterday was better. I assembled all but two columns. The pattern comes together very quickly. I really like that. It's a real simple configuration but has the minimalist sophistication of a modern arrangement. Today, I finished the last two columns and sewed them all together (mostly). I made two 4-column blocks. I just need to marry the two together (one seam!) and my top is done! Yay :D I still, however, need to buy backing AND I need to sew the binding. Since I actually have fabric for the binding, I think I'll do that next ;D Probably after I finish the quilt top tomorrow morning.

I went out most of this afternoon on errands. I managed to stop by Jo-Ann's and actually found some yardage I like. I usually can't find anything there. The funny thing is I went there for a replacement rotary blade. They didn't have one, which was disappointing. Walking out with three quarter yard cuts certainly made up for it. One was Alexander Henry's all over lemon pattern, I can't remember the name. Another was some random dot pattern in bright cheerful colors. The last was from Happi by Dena (which is Dena Designs I'm taking since a few of the patterns Jo-Ann's had featured designs from Monaco). I would post pictures but dead camera battery. Maybe tomorrow if I remember to charge it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Keeping Pace

A belated Labor Day to all. I had tons of fun, myself. We went to a lobster bake and the weather was perfect for it. My girl had a great time running around and being generally silly. I was so stuffed I only ate the claws off my lobster, so I brought it home to turn into mac and cheese (not something I've tried before, but how often does a person have lobster just lying around?). I even managed to do a bit of sewing yesterday.

In fact, I finished sewing all the 3-strip sections! I decided to go with the original pattern directions, and removed the extra column. It turns out that I have a piece of batting that is the PERFECT dimensions to be used with the original specs. Now the only thing I actually have to buy for the whole project is the backing! This is a first. Usually I'm missing over half of the things I need, so this is very refreshing. Today I subcut all the fabric and worked on the lay out. It's amazing how much time just arranging the fabric takes up!
I usually lose my place when I sew the columns together, so I numbered them this time. Hopefully, this will help me keep my original placement. I mean it *should*, but I have to allow for me being ditzy ;D I hope to get a few of these sewn together this evening. If I keep going like I have been, I think I could finish the quilt top by Thursday, but since I have no backing; I need to think of another small project that I can actually finish before the week ends. I've been thinking of a zippered bag to match my messenger bag, which would be cool and functional. I don't want to sew something just for the sake of it. If I start doing that, I won't know where to store all the brickabrack when I'm done (omg, don't get me started on my lack of storage space!).

Overall, this pattern (lawn chair quilt) has been fast, easy, and fun! Just the sort of thing I look for in a project :D If any of you have the time, and inclination, you should try your hand at it, too.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Week Two - NSM

I spent the better part of today trying to figure out what my next NSM (or as my guy calls it "NaSewMo" [nah-soh-moe]) project would be. I spent hours pouring over the fabrics I own (and resisted the siren song of buying more) and the patterns available to me. Ultimately, I settled on one of the newer Moda Bake Shop recipes by Happy Zombie (the same that brought us the poochie bag): the Lawn Chair Quilt.

I already own several jelly rolls--one of which just happens to be a basic solid. That fact made this recipe very appealing (and not just because it's totally cute) since now I only need to buy backing fabric. The only thing is this: there is another recipe I want to make that also takes one patterned JR and one solid JR, and I was saving my solid JR for it. It took a long time for me to make a decision. Since the second recipe is for a quilt I want to keep, and this is a Christmas gift, my decision was pretty much made for me.So, the Lawn Chair quilt calls for 3 jelly rolls, but makes two quilts. I don't need to make two quilts, so it was okay that I only own one solid roll. To make one quilt you use 16 out of the 40 strips with the finished size being roughly 48x75. I decided to add one more column to bring the size to ~54x75. Since I'm not making two quilts, I am going to use some of the remaining strips to make a scrappy binding.

I've always liked the way a scrappy binding looks, but I've never tried it. Now I have an excuse, and it keeps me from buying fabric for the binding to boot! I went ahead and paired the strips I want to use with the solid strips and left them ready to sew on my work table. Now there's no excuse for me not to start ;)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Success :D

I went to a book faire today and managed to spend less than I usually do. Grabbed a few board books for my girl (even though I said I wouldn't, but they were only 50 cents each) and 4 books for me (a dollar each! such a steal). Hopefully, these books will distract me! I need to stop browsing for fabric, which is my number one hobby. I can't help but BUY. Especially when I run across rare finds. I wore my On the Go messenger bag to the faire and received many compliments! I can wear it across my chest, but I have to rotate it so that the body of the bag is behind me; which is actually pretty comfortable. It has a nice slouchy, informal presence. I really dig it. My guy asked me to make him one (but masculine, naturally). I am thinking of using Moda's cross weaves, but I'm not sure yet. I think the pieces that are cross-woven with the dark threads are guy-ish. I need to find a place that will swatch some for me, or at sell me a short cut (like quarter of a yard), so I can get his opinion. I want to pair it with some solid yardage (maybe chocolate? That's a nice, serviceable gender-neutral color). I'm thinking I'll make this sometime in October or November, if everything works out the way I want it to.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Week One - NSM

I'm taking my National Sewing Month ambitions seriously, and to prove it to myself, I finished my first project! Yay for me :D I decided to make a poochie bag for my daughter since she liked the first one I made so much (I made one for a swap). She really likes Dora the Explorer, so I went on the search for some yardage and found some at Wal-mart. Not my preferred place to buy fabric, but I take what I can get! I decided to purchase the coordinates there, too.
I really wish these fabrics were of higher quality, but to be fair, the whole project cost 4.47. That's not a lot. The fat quarters are like tissue, and practically dissolved when I cut them. Not to mention they were both a full inch short which made the project problematic once I removed the selvage. I had to rework it a little, but I managed to get something going--until I mis-cut my main fabric! I had to cobble something together as you can see.I made it a lining piece since the yellow wasn't going to be large enough, and I had a half yard of the Dora (the pattern called for 3 FQs - main body, lining, handles). The yellow became the handles and the bag pockets. The bag has the 2" pooch to make the bag a little roomer and shorter. I'm tickled that I finished it the same day I started, in just a few hours (my girl went out with her grandparents so I had uninterrupted sewing time).She was asleep when she came home, so she hasn't seen it yet. I can't wait for her to see it! She was running around with the fabric before she left chanting, "my Dora," so I'm taking that as a promising sign, but we'll see :D