Monday, December 14, 2009


Izzy & Ivy is having a fabulous giveaway!  Head over there to check it out. :)

They also have some cute ornament ideas. Great for last minute gifts!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Black and white and yellow all over!

We are all moved in, and now I'm in home dec mode!  I should be doing some Christmas sewing, but working on the house is just more fun.  My bathroom was the first room on my list to work on, probably because it needed the least amount of work!

Here's what I used:
1 twin bedsheet, $4 at WalMart
2 yards of a main print
1/2 yard of a coordinating print

Standard shower curtains are 72" x 72".  The bedsheet was about 66" x 90", or something like that.  I cut off 3 edges of the sheet, leaving the bottom edge intact (less to hem!).  I cut the sheet to about 60" tall and 72" wide.

Next I cut my 2 yards of fabric into 2 pieces 20" tall x WOF.  Piece these together along the 20" side and trim down to 72" long.

Lay the sheet down, lay the print fabric down, RST, with raw edges facing.  Pin.

Flip over the pinned piece and roll the bedsheet fabric up from the hemmed edge to the pinned edge.  Once it's rolled up, take the printed fabric and wrap it around the roll so that the other 72" long raw edge of the print is aligned with the pinned raw edges.  Repin.

Sew along the pinned edge.  Be sure to backstitch at the ends.

Here's where there's a little sewing magic ;)  Pull the bedsheet piece out of the tube that you just sewed.  Turn the tube right side out.  As my two year old would say, Ta-Da!

I pressed the seam and also topstitched, but the topstitching isn't necessary.

To finish the edges, I serged them and then turned them twice to enclose the stitching.  Sttich down to secure.

To create the holes at the top so that the curtain can be hung, I made buttonholes evenly across the top.  I did place the button holes so that the shower curtain entirely covered the plastic curtain, plus a little bit of extra along the top and sides.

I added a bow on the one side of the shower curtain, because I just love that coordinating print!  I think the bow was made from a 6.5" x WOF piece.


For the curtain, I measured exactly how long and deep I needed to cover the entire rod.

I backed it with some broadcloth and added a ruffle along the bottom edge.  Because of the prints that I used, I felt that I needed a bit of separation between the main print and the ruffle, so I stitched down a black ribbon after the valance was complete.

I'm not quite done in this room.  I'm hoping to buy a cute vinyl cutout for the wall above the towel rack.  Probably something like this:  But I'm still enjoying it, even in it's "not quite done" state. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Twin quilts!

Some good friends of ours were blessed with twins!  They didn't want to know the babies' sexes until the birth, so that gave me a good reason to procrastinate on the quilts that I wanted to make for them.  Initially I had some gender neutral fabric picked out, but never got the motivation to start on them.  The babies arrived a few weeks early, a boy and a girl!  At that point, I tossed aside the idea of gender neutral.

I took a day trip to this shop and found some cute fabric for the quilts.  I used the same fabric line for both quilts-Vivian's quilt included mostly chocolate brown, pinks, and oranges, and Carson's quilts included mostly chocolate brown, greens, and blues.

I did some simple strip piecing, cut the strips to form square blocks, and twisted and turned the blocks until I found a layout that I liked.  I didn't want to go overboard on the twin theme, so I used a different layout for each quilt.  I intended for the quilts to be 36" by 42", but my half yard cuts were a little bit short.  They turned out to be 36" square, which I think is a just fine size for itty bitty babies to snuggle in!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Where have I been?

Wow, it's been forever since I've blogged.  Unfortunately that's not likely to change any time soon.  We finally sold our house, after nearly 11 months on the market, so we are rushing to pack and move!  I also have a ton of customs to (start and) finish up.

Here's the listing for our new house.  I'm so excited to get in there and start decorating that I might forgo (some) handcrafted Christmas gifts to work on house stuff ;)

I'm still working on decorating ideas....Ad's room will be Heather Ross' Mendocino line, as will be her playroom.  I think I'll do different color themes for the two rooms, though.

Our bedroom will be Moda Twiggy, still debating wall colors.  I think I need some confirmation that I picked the right quilt pattern for our bed, though.  A queen-sized quilt fail is not my idea of a good time :P

OK, enough dreaming about the new house.  I need to get moving on some customs!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lila Tueller Giveaway!!

Lila Tueller is graciously giving away some precuts of her newest fabric line (not even available in stores yet!!), Eden.

Use the link below to enter your name :)

lila tueller designs: I was just thinking...It's time for a giveaway!

Thanks, Lila!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Checkin' the mail, my favorite time of day!

I've always loved getting the mail each day.  Even now, as an adult, with bills and junk mail being the only things to greet me from the box.

Addy doesn't have quite my fascination with mail, but she does have a mail box of her own!  I found this cute Little Tikes garden, which I was able to buy used from a friend.  It comes with an attached mailbox and 1 plastic letter.  But what fun is just 1 letter?  So I set off to create something more....and ended up with this:

The photo above isn't actually Addy's mail set, but it's very similar.  The set pictured was my second attempt at it.  I'm sewing for a fundraiser for the parenting group that I'm involved in, and there was some interest in these mail sets.  Since Addy's set was my first attempt, and was only meant to be played with at home, I changed things up a bit for the sale.  The bag above is lined and the label was machine embroidered.  Also, the letters are post card style, and can be personalized!
Addy's mail set included a bag that was not lined, and a label that Matt drew.  It's an adorable label :)  Her mail is also more of an envelope style, although the flaps don't open.  We personalized them with cute little stamps, To: and From:, and a short message to the recipient (which included our dogs and some of Addy's favorite baby dolls!).

I'm trying to take the time to blog a bit more.  Especially now that I'm doing more work without patterns.  But the next few months are going to be crazy around here...I have 2 fundraisers to sew for, a pair of longies begging to be cast off the knitting needles, a few knit hats to make for a friend, and Christmas gifts!  I'm not sure how many gifts I will be able to make this year, but I hope I have time for a few :)


The overflowing scrap bins are gone!  Yay!

When I first started quilting, I organized my scraps by color in large ziplock bags.  I read a tip that said to cut 1 corner of the bag so the fabric could breathe.  For a long time, I was satisfied with this system.
And then the bags became harder to zip closed.  So I took Matt with me to the dollar store, and we bought 20-some-odd plastic bins (about the size of a shoe box).  I dumped the scraps into the bins (separated by color still), closed the lids, and stacked them in the closet.  And again, this system worked for quite awhile.
Recently I read that an online sewing friend cuts her scraps into 5" charm squares, and I decided I NEEDED to do the same.  I was tired of the disorganized scrap bins, and I have a soft spot for patterns that call for charm squares.  So I started out on the adventure of cutting lots and lots of 5" squares.  I had tons of really tiny scraps from my paper piecing days, so there was a lot of sorting, measuring, ironing, measuring some more, and cutting.  Anything smaller than about 3.5" x 4" was tossed aside.  Pieces that were larger than 3.5" x 4" but smaller than 5" square were cut into tumbler shapes.  The larger scraps were cut into 5" squares.  I gave all of the tiny scraps to a friend for her daughter to play with.  I toyed with the idea of saving them to stuff toys with, but I already save batting scraps for that!
I cut up the last of my scraps today, and I'm so glad that I did!  Everything is neatly organized and easy to find-and I'm feeling inspired to do more with charm squares :)

So here's my current fabric organization system:
1/2 yard or larger: folded and stored in medium size plastic bins (without lids).  I organize by collection and designer, but not by color.
Approximately fat eighth to 1/2 yard: folded and stored in smaller (shoe box-size) plastic bins without lids.  Most of these fabrics are organized by color.  If I buy a few fat quarters for the same collection and want to use them together, I store them together.  (My bins are organized like this: red, orange/brown, yellow, green, blue, violet, black and black prints, white/cream and white/cream prints, multi-colored, and an additional bin with some fabrics bundled by collection.)
And my scraps: cut into 5" squares and tumblers, and sorted by color.  I have a few exceptions to the color rule: Amy Butler fabrics stay together, Heather Ross fabrics stay together, and I also sort out batiks and wovens.

Here's a pic of my red scrap bin:

For now, I have 1 bin for each color, and then a few extras for the fabrics that are sorted by designer or style.    I sure hope that I continue to like this system, because it took me a long time to get everything cut!

Another tip: batting.  I buy my batting by the bolt, because I have a quilting machine.  Usually I by the 100" wide bolt, because I will make the occasional queen-size quilt.  For smaller quilts, I will either try to get 2 side-by-side or lay the longest edge of the quilt along the 100" long edge of the batting.
Inevitably, there are batting scraps, though.
For the really tiny scraps, I save them to be used as stuffing.  I find that it works best to chop them up pretty small for stuffing (this is Matt's job, usually).
All of my other batting scraps are stored uncut.  The long, thin pieces can be used in straps for bags, and small squares or rectangles can be used for place mats, bag panels, etc.
To store the scraps, I write the size of the piece and the fiber content on a post-it note, and staple the post it to the scrap.  The staple slides out really easily when I want to use the batting!  This system has saved me a lot of time, because I no longer have to pull out all of my scraps and measure until I find a piece that's big enough!

Organizing is a constant process for me.  I need organization in order to work smoothly.  I'm itching to move into our next house, because I have lots of ideas for my next sewing space!  For now, I'm tweaking things without having to buy more organizing systems.  But I dream of a bright space with lots of funky jars and containers to store my things in.  One day, one day.... :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Quilter's Braille

I love the feel of heavy quilting.  Something about how the fabric becomes sort of ridged....maybe it's because I *know* how much work went into all of the quilting!

I finished the sushi table runner with a lot of echo quilting, which is why I have the feel of densely quilted fabric on my mind!  Instead of echoing the applique pieces, I choose to echo the curves of the "platter".  I'm really happy with how it turned out!  I hope it does well in the sale!

I also started *and* finished a bag tonight!  I made this bag years ago, and I still love to use it because it's a great shape (and I used some really great fabrics in it!).  I'm not really happy with how the bag is finished, though.  So I took the eclectic messenger bag style and changed how the bag was finished off.  I'm really happy with the finished product, and hopefully I'll have time to alter my old bag soon!  I've already taken everything apart, so it should go pretty fast!  Here's the new bag, which will also be at the sale!

I don't have pics of my old bag, but the general construction is much different.  The original pattern involved 2 large main compartmentts and using binding on the edges of the bag.  It's a cute design, but the problem is with the strap.  I could never get the bag to sit right, because the strap was threaded under the bag, sort of.  I changed it up so that the bag was constructed like a typical messenger bag-except that it has a "flap" on both sides.  It still has much of the personality, and is a lot more user-friendly :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Knitting and Sewing and Make-Up, Oh My!

Matt was out of town last night, so as usual I stayed up way too late working on a few projects:

Itty Bitty Little Longies!
I actually started these when Matt was still in town.  I have no clue who they will end up belonging to.  I wanted to try a new longies pattern, and all I had was girlie wool.  I'm on hold now, because I need a new knitting needle to start on the legs.  I might drive to Bloomington tomorrow for the needle, since I can't find it closer to home.  I'm really itching to finish these!!

The left picture is a table runner that I sort of dreamed up.  I haven't finished it, but it will include trapunto work for the wasabi and some raw edge embellishing for the ginger!  I created the sushi rolls buy starting with a 3" square.  I then chopped one edge a bit crooked and took a bit off of each corner.  To add the rice, I simply sewed 1.5" strips starting at one straight edge and working my way around.  The seaweed wrap was cut to 1", but I turned the raw edges under so that about 3/8" are exposed.  I appliqued the rolls down onto white fabric - machine applique with the edges turned under gives a nice 3-D effect.  It's not really obvious in the picture, but I curved the edges of the table runner, much like the sushi plates in restaurants.
The right photo shows raw edge applique onto a cloth napkin.  I made 4 napkins to coordinate with the table runner.  Before I appliqued the squares down, I frayed the edges on all 4 side.
Hopefully I'll have this done in the next night or two, and it will be for sale at this event.  Stop on by!

Play make up!  I don't wear a lot of make up, but I do try to wear a little bit every day.  Addy loves to do exactly as I do, so usually I give her a little compact with some old powder in it.  Buying toy make up wouldn't work-it's gotta look real!  Then I found these really cute instructions for using old nailpolish and old makeup containers to make pretend make up.  I made these after Addy went to bed, so I'll have to report back later with her reaction.  I even dug out a little cosmetic bag for her!

And this is what's coming up next.  A few years ago I made this bag.  I love the fabrics that I choose, but the bag wasn't designed as well as I would have liked.  I'm going to take the elements that I liked from that pattern, and (hopefully) create a bag that I think is more convenient to use.  If all goes well, it will be at the sale!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Em's Birthday Quilt

Emily was one of my college roomies.  She is one of the kindest, more sincere people that I know.  And regardless of the last time I saw her (which happens to be last friday night!), if I called her up right now and needed something, she'd be there for me.

This year I wanted to do something super fabulous for her birthday.  I don't usually do gifts for my friends' birthdays, because I have this obsession with giving handmade, and not enough time to make all of the gifts :)  But this was gonna be the year.

I decided on this bright and funky quilt, because it just feels like Emily to me!  It is made of flannel, and all of the squares are raw-edge appliqued, which gives it a really soft and fuzzy feel :)  It will be perfect for the cold winter nights in Em's new apartment!

Em and Me

Matt and I went to dinner with Emily this weekend while we were up visiting my family, so I got to hand deliver her gift.  She absolutely loved it, which made me so happy!

(The pattern is Fuzzy Navel 2 by Sandy Brawner, but I added the blocks with the appliqued 4-patches to make the quilt larger.)

PS Emily is the fabulous graphic designer who created my logo and Etsy banner!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

The skirt - it's done!

This skirt came together really quickly.  I had the pieces already cut, so the sewing took about 1.5 hours.  And I sew extremely sloooooow.  So it could probably be a 1 hour job!  Especially with a knit, because you wouldn't have to serger any edges (but I still do....).
Anyway, enough chit-chat, here are the pics:

A better picture of the bottom ruffle.  I just bought a gathering foot, and this was my first time using it.  I'm in love!  The ruffle measures 6" by approximately 1.5x the width of the bottom of the skirt.  I didn't finish the raw edge of the ruffle top.  The bottom of the ruffle is a rolled hem on my serger.
And this is the waist detail.  I made 3 rows of sheering, using elastic thread in my bobbin and the longest stitch length that my machine would allow.  The waist band was sewn onto the skirt bottom and then topstitched.  I also added 2 button holes so that I could have a small tie at the waist.  Because of the sheering, though, a tie really isn't even necessary.
I'm in love with this skirt, and I can't wait to wear it this weekend!  I think I like it even more than the all back version that I purchased from Ann Taylor Loft.
I'm still working on this quilt.  I'm just about done with the binding.  And it's a good thing, because I'm running out of time! ;)
I also whipped up another leather journal for my brother's graduation gift.  I wrapped it before I remembered to take a picture.  I'll have to take a few at the party this weekend, I think it turned out really well!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Skirt and a Sneak Peak

The skirt.................As usual, I have several projects at various stages of completion.  My newest hobby is sewing clothing for my daughter and myself.  I find it really easy to sew for children-use the right hair ribbons and colorful sneakers, and a paper bag could make a fine dress!  For myself, sewing is much more difficult.  I'm very critical of how things fit, and I never want it to look homemade.  Usually I stick to what I know: quilter's cotton and sewing patterns.  But I'm starting to venture out of my comfort zone, and the more often that I do, the braver I become!
This summer I bought a simple black knit skirt from Ann Taylor Loft.  It has become a staple in my wardrobe!  With some leftover knit from a custom order, I am going to copy the skirt design.  This is the fabric, check back soon to see my progress!  My goal is to wear the skirt for my brother's college graduation party this Saturday.

And the sneak peak!  I can't give any details on this just yet, but I've got a really fun project on the quilt frame!

Copper, Wool, Brass, and Desk Sets

Matt and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary last week on August 17th.  Each year, I research the traditional gift ideas and attempt to make something that fits.  For our 1st anniversary (paper) I made him a calendar with photos on each month.  The 2nd year (cotton), I made him a quilt.  Sometimes I follow the traditional gift ideas, and other times I go with the modern ideas.
This year seemed pretty monumental in my mind, so it was important to me that I spend a few of my beloved free moments creating a gift for Matt.  So, copper, wool, brass, and desk sets?  Hmmm.
I had a fabulous vision (which is precisely how all of my projects begin-with a vision of something so beautifully crafted that it can only exist in my mind) of a leather notebook with a wool tweed spine.  Some friends of mine were just discussing the art of journaling, so I had handmade journals on the brain.
I combed through pages of google searches until I was satisfied with my knowledge in making a journal.  Next I took a trip to my local Tandy Leather Company with toddler in tow.  I made the mistake of telling her that we were buying daddy a present, and I was sure that would ruin the surprise.  Luck for me, she still occasionally exhibits the memory of a goldfish.
I dug through baskets of leather scraps until I found a few pieces that I liked.  I also bought some snaps, waxed thread and leather needles.  And as usual, I asked a boatload of questions.
I didn't end up finding the right tweed for the spine of the book, so I compromised and added some felted wool to the flap closure.  I also used engineering paper for the pages, because I have such fond memories of studying in college while Matt wrote one complicated equation after another on his funny green graph paper.  I'm pretty happy with how the journal turned out, and Matt seemed to appreciate the gift :)
(I haven't received my gift yet, but he ordered a customized copper necklace for me off of Etsy.  I am excited to see it-he is keeping the customized words a secret!)

That funny green paper.
Opps, I forgot to buy a card ;)  I had a lot of fun creating the card, and I'm thinking of making a handful of different cards for this event.
I had enough fun with Matt's journal that I made another for a friend's birthday.  I used a purple leather and added some hand embroidery and a tab closure.