Thursday, March 31, 2011

For the market, the park, and anywhere in between!

I love bags. Having everything neatly organized in it's own bag is just so satisfying! So I cut into my Macaroni Love Story and made these little zip-top bags. I think they will be great for when I want to travel with my projects!
 I made the purple bag to hold my current knitting project. I tend to only knit 1 thing at a time, and I've been using a ziplock bag. I hand embroidered "KNIT" on a scrap, then cut the scrap using pinking shears before machine appliquing it to the bag front. The main print is from Macaroni Love Story by Heather Ross (through Spoonflower, no longer available) and the coordinates are Sunkissed by Sweetwater. Lined with a grey kona. Finished bag is 11" wide x 13" high.
The second bag is for my hand sewing supplies. My mom made me a carrying case several years ago, which I used for a really long time. The only thing that I didn't like about it was that it had a flap closure, and I occasionally found that some of my supplies had fallen out of the case.
Again I hand embroidered on a fabric scrap, pinked the edges, and machine appliqued it on the bag front. The main print is from Macaroni Love Story by Heather Ross (through Spoonflower, no longer available). The bag handle is from the same line, and the lining plus the scrap on the front is from Sunkissed by Sweetwater Finished size: 8.5" square.

The other bags that I sewed up are market bags! I was getting tired of the ugly grocery store brand bags, and these turned out so cute that they make me want to go out and shop!
(Colors are actually more muted, as shown in the first picture.)
I just love these prints, and I've already used my bags a few times. The pattern was very easy to follow, and had a neat trick for creating a flat bottom that didn't involve boxing the corners out (I don't know why, but I *hate* boxing corners. Weird, I know.)

Ahh, it feels good to be organized. :)
And now I'm off to tackle that to do list! We found renters for our house in IL, so I need to finish a bunch of projects and get packing! We need to be out by the end of April, and then it's on to Seattle! If it's quieter than usual around here, that's why. And hopefully by mid-May I will have some new stuff to share.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Someone thinks I'm cool!

Have you seen the fun awards floating around blogland lately? Awhile back I received the Liebster Award, and now Kristen at K*D Quilts has given me the Stylish Blogger Award! (Don't forget to check out Kristen's blog, she even has a Blythe doll which I'm totally jealous of!)


Now, that award's what I'm supposed to do:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Award 6 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact the bloggers and tell them about the award.

I'm not sure that I can think of 7 things about myself that I haven't already blabbered about on here, but I'll try:

1. In my previous life, I worked in a microbiology/molecular biology lab. I also have experience culturing human kidney cells (different job). Creepy, huh?
2. I love junk food. 
3. I run. I don't love it as much as junk food, but I've found that if I love junk food I need to moderately like running. Cute running clothes help, too.
4. I have an almost 4-year old daughter. She likes to pretend that she has sisters and brothers, and any time I ask their names, she makes something up. Like Dillawie. That's her brother, apparently.
5. I started quilting in 2002 when my mom wanted to learn. I thought I'd make one quilt with her, and then slowly back away while she kept sewing along.
6. I'm not psychic (see #5 above).
7. I like math, and I hate history. Math makes sense, and it works the brain. History is boring.

And here are the 6 blogs that I would like to award:

I hope you take a few minutes to check out all of the fun blogs above! There's lots of inspiration to be had. ;)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Some fun gifts!

At the beginning of the year I committed to making handmade gifts for the first 5 facebook friends who commented on my status. They in turn posted a similar message!
Even though it's only March, I wanted to finish these gifts up before I forgot. And it's nice to have something crossed off my list!

I'm working away at a quilt with Tufted Tweets right now. When I needed a break from the quilt, I worked with some of the scraps. I came up with this table runner:
 I tried out the squarish meandering fmq pattern that I ran across on Oh Fransson!. I think I like it! Next time I will try to quilt more densely, though. It seems to look better that way.
I also decided to try a table topper in ticker tape fashion. To add my own signature to the idea, I fussy cut the pieces with perfectly square corners. Who's surprised?
Lastly, I whipped up a few market bags using this tutorial. I feel sort of silly for not making these for everyone, since they seem very useful. Oh well, table runners are useful, too. Right?
I love these bags, and I think I see a few more in my future. If I wasn't so anxious to fulfill my commitment, I might keep them for myself. ;)

I still have 1 project to go. I have the idea planned out, now I just need to find a chunk of time to work on it! I hope everyone enjoys their goodies!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thank you, Mo Willems

I have a horrible secret that I'm about to share with all of you. Are you ready?
I used to sort of hate reading to my daughter.

Ick, it seems even more horrible when I type it out. Well, the good news is that I said "used to", as in past tense. I have Mo Willems, the literary genius, largely to thank for this!
In the past, I bought books on sale. I don't want to say that they were bad books, but they weren't fun to read. Then this last year Addy started preschool, and with that came the infamous Scholastic order forms. I could finally buy all of the fun books that I saw in the book stores at great prices! For Christmas I ordered a huge stack of new books, including a few of the pigeon books by Mo Willems. These books are *so* fun to read, and Addy really seems to like them too!
Then a few weeks ago I was wandering through the local Barnes and Noble, and I ran across the Elephant and Piggie series, also by Mo Willems. I picked one to bring home, and!!!! These two characters are even more fun to read than the pigeon! I later went back for another book, which is going in Addy's Easter basket. :)

Ok, so there's the back story. And now for my tribute to Mo. I decided that I wanted to make a pillow featuring the pigeon. Then I remembered the Elephant and Piggie, and decided to try for a group shot. Not wanting to leave anyone out, I started researching the other series by Mo, and came across Knuffle Bunny and Cat the cat.

And the back, nice and simple:

The quilty details:
Traced the characters onto pattern paper and then reversed the images when I traced them onto lightweight fusible web.
Fused the pieces onto fabric and cut on my tracing lines.
Pieced each character together separately by ironing them onto an Applique Pressing Sheet. I had to clip pieces and maneuver things just right to line up my pieces.
Once they cooled on the applique sheet, I peeled them off and played with them on the pillow front.
Then I fused the whole group* down on the pillow front.
When everything was fused well, I basted the pillow top, batting and a thin muslin backing.
To hold the applique pieces down, I free motion quilted around them with black thread. This was the first time I tried this (usually I would use my walking foot and painstakingly sew the pieces v.e.r.y. slowly). I like the effect, especially since the drawings in the book are sketchy. Plus it was fast!
I didn't quilt in the background at all, because I didn't want to distract from the characters. It also gives them a more poofy look.

For the pillow back, I used a regular zipper and simply offset it running vertically. This was mostly done out of 1. laziness and 2. desire to finish the pillow without another run to the store. In the end, I really love the back though! Finished size is about 12.5" x 16.5".

Addy squealed when I showed her the pillow, and promptly announced that she wanted to put it on her bed. This is probably one of my favorite projects of all time. And I'm happy to say that we read a lot more now. Thank you, Mo Willems.

*I apologize to those characters who were left out. I tried to include as many as I could.

I'm linking this pillow up to the Blogger's Pillow Party!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Little Birdie Catch Up

February got the better of me, and I didn't have my block finished until the first week of March. I was excited to see that the March block was considerably quicker to hand embroider, so I started on it right away. Now it's mid month and I'm done until April!



For more details, check out Little Miss Shabby. All of the Little Birdie Stitches info is available on the righthand side. You can jump in at any time! There's also a flickr group where you can check out all of the cool fabric and floss combos that others have come up with! I love sunkissed, so I'm excited for this quilt, but I'm also drooling over the other ideas that people have had. :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A match made in heaven!

I love Heather Ross fabric and Oliver + S patterns, and it turns out that they are the perfect combination! Addy loved the Rapunzel print from Heather Ross's Far Far Away 2 collection from the first time that she saw it. So I pulled out my Oliver + S patterns and had her choose one. I had the Bubble Dress in mind already, and that's just what she picked!
 It turned out a bit shorter than I expected, so I might lengthen it if I make another dress from this pattern.
 The bubble skirt

 The back, with a 3-button closure

Back bodice and cap sleeve details.
I sewed this dress up in the size 4.
Fabric is a linen print
Lining is a very lightweight woven (it's actually the lining from a set of IKEA curtains!)
I was really happy with this pattern. It sewed up quickly and I like the techniques for the cap sleeve and bubble skirt.
Next time I will probably add a bit of length to the skirt and also change the back closure a bit. As you can see in the picture above, there's a short slit in the skirt beneath the button closure. The dress fits loose enough that the slit isn't necessary, and it tends to gape open a bit.
I'm slightly disappointed in my button choice. I went through my button stash and found 2 vintage buttons that were my grandma's that would have been perfect for this dress. But I wasn't happy with how the closure looked with just 2 buttons, so I chose these instead. These compliment the green well, though, and I do love the orange-red color. :)
I'm excited for the weather to get warmer, and I think Addy will even wear this for my step brother's wedding rehearsal!

Monday, March 14, 2011

March Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered! The winner is:

True Random Number Generator  3Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Emily! I will be contacting you by email shortly.

Fuzzy Monsters

I was in the middle of my postage stamp quilt, and I was itching for a quick finish project. So I picked up this cute monster print and a roll of chenille tape. In just 1 night I had this little quilt finished!

I put the chenille tape down in a quilt-as-you-go style, sewed the binding by machine, threw this little guy through the wash, and soon had a snuggly little quilt. I'm going to stash it away for a last-minute baby gift.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Goldfinch

Yippee, I've finished another Angry Bird for Matt's collection!

I haven't decided if I'll make him the bluebird and the bomb bird. I was asked to make 3 more sets of these guys, and I'm already feeling all crocheted out!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New York, NY 10022

Welcome to Central Park!

 1,200 2" squares! I followed the postage stamp quilt along.

Straight line quilting 
 The back!

Finished size: 60" x 80"
Top: Central Park by Kate Spain jelly roll and Kona in canary
Binding: Reservoir Linden print from the Central Park line, cut on the bias
Backing: Kona in stone and white, Central Park charm squares and a few layer cake slices
Quilting: Straight line quilting

The Math:
1,200 2" squares in the top
97 pieces on the back
70 lines of quilting

I have this weird obsession with math. When I'm running, I'm constantly calculating what % of my run I have finished, what I have left, etc. And when I'm piecing and quilting I do the same thing. Crazy, huh?

I'm really excited to have this quilt all washed up and in my living room. It feels like forever since I've finished a quilt for my house!

Don't forget to hop over here to enter the March giveaway!

PS I'm linking up to Fabric Tuesday at Quiltstory.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March Pay It Forward: Organizing!

I can't believe I'm about to show you this pic:
 That's the bulk of my fabric stash. Right now I store most of my things in our old tv cabinet. Our current tv doesn't fit in the cabinet, and it looks really nice when the doors are closed up. ;)
I've been reading about fabric mini bolts for awhile now, and I finally decided to take the plunge. The idea of "shopping" in my own stash was my motivation, b/c I find it easier to sew from my stash when I know what is in my stash. I was pleasantly surprised to find that we have a local comic book store, and I gave the guys quite a laugh when I admitted to knowing nothing about comic book sizes and just wanting the boards for fabric!
 I put all 1/2 yard and larger cuts on bolts. For my fat quarters, I wrapped them on bolts if I had several coordinates from a collection and wanted to store them together. Other fat quarters are stacked in a CD rack.
 Ahhh, so organized.
After we move I'm hoping to buy a bookcase with glass doors to store my fabric better. For now, I'll settle for a well-organized tv cabinet, though!
 Here are the 7" x 10.5" comic book boards that I used. I bought 200, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn't need to use all of them! (They are acid-free and archival safe!)
For the March giveaway, I will send 1 lucky winner 10 comic book boards to try out, and 10 for the winner to pass on to a friend. Organization is sort of like potato chips: once you start, you can't stop!

To enter the giveaway, just leave me a comment. Give me an organizing tip. If you can't think of one to share, tell me what kinds of tips you're looking for!
Giveaway is open to everyone. :)
I'll randomly select a winner on Friday, March 11.
Good luck!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A pillow for ME!

My friend Steph made me this pillow for my birthday/Christmas. She used some of the selvedges that I'd been giving her, and some from her own stash.
 I love the hand embroidery. ;)
The border and back are an AMH print. And in the borders, she fmq-ed "you should just google it" and "so I just need to vent for a minute". Those are 2 common phrases we seem to use when talking to each other. (I do most of the googling, b/c I'm not at all in touch with pop culture. I just figured out who Justin Beiber is!)
I love the pillow and right now it's in my sewing room. She made it big (25" wide x 20" high) so that it could be used as a floor pillow, since I only have 1 chair in my sewing room. And when we move, it will look great on the futon that I'm hoping to add to my sewing room!

Thanks, Steph!