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.