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!