Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The "Cover Your Assets" Skirt - It's Skirt Week!

I have a slight obsession with running clothes. It helps that there are some really cute, functional styles out there - even some of the C9 from Target has made it's way into my running wardrobe! But not only do I love these pieces for running, some of them are cute enough to wear around town. The only problem with  pulling on a pair of running capris for a trip to the post office is that, well, I'm wearing running capris. They are cute and comfy, but I'm not crazy about flashing my assets - especially the less than perfect assets that get me running in the first place.
While I was window shopping at one of my favorite stores recently, I found this cute skirt. It looked adorable on the mannequin, but $50 is a hefty price for a knit skirt that has no technical properties (i.e. wicking fabric, or pockets for storing an ipod). I left the store empty handed, and haven't stopped dreaming of that skirt since!
I finally attempted to sew a knock-off skirt and while it's different from the original, I love it! I used some super soft pink burn out knit that I had in my stash, left the hems unfinished, and used some 1" elastic for the waist.
"Cover your assets" skirt back
The burn out effect in the knit leaves it sheer in some areas, which was just a good excuse for using 2 tiers of knit! I also cut the back slightly longer, a trick I learned after studying my running skirts. Such a simple detail, and it makes a big difference!
"Cover your assets" skirt front
I'm really excited about this simple skirt, because now all of my black running capris have double the use!
Be sure to check out Skirt Week over at Crafterhours! To enter a skirt, use the buttons at the top right side of their blog.
And hop over here to enter a giveaway on my blog!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Big Blocks II

Two years ago I made this quilt for my college roomie, Melissa. I sent it off to her as a birthday/thanks-for-being-an-awesome-friend gift, and she was so excited to receive it! Then last year she took a trip to Ethiopia with her parents, and while she was gone her car was stolen. Just before she returned the police found her car, but all of her possessions in the car were gone. In their place she had "inherited" a pair of neon-colored Nikes. Among the things she lost in the car was her quilt. I knew about her car, but I didn't realize her quilt was involved until last fall when I met up with her and she told me the whole story. She was so upset about the quilt, and I wanted to try to replace it.
At the time that I made her first quilt, the fabrics were pretty hard to find. I stumbled upon them in a shop in Chicagoland when I was visiting my family, and felt lucky to happen upon them then. I wasn't sure if I could find the same prints again, but I wanted to try! So in January when we were visiting family, I asked my mom to take me over to the quilt shop. With fingers crossed, I ventured into the shop, and found the fabric!! It was in the same spot that I first found it, with plenty of yardage left to buy. I bought enough to recreate Melissa's quilt, and a little extra for me, of course.
Thanks to my blog pictures and description, I was able to recreate the quilt pretty close to the original - including the pieced back!
The front:
Big Blocks II Big Blocks II 
The back:
Big Blocks II Big Blocks II 
 I was so excited to send this off, and by some miracle the quilt made it all the way from NY to CA in TWO days! Melissa texted me as soon as she received it to say a huge thanks-which was the very best part, for me.
Quilt Details:
Finished size 60"x80"
Blocks finished at 20" square
Fabric is Rainbow Garden by Prints Charming and kona in ash
Free motion quilted in a meandering design
Big Blocks II 
Don't forget to hop over here to enter the giveaway on my blog!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Memories Suite Review and GIVEAWAY!

A few weeks ago, My Memories contacted me to offer a copy of their digital scrapbooking software, My Memories Suite III, in return for a review. The timing couldn't have been better, because I am in the middle of planning my sister's wedding shower and I need an invitation! I also have gobs of pictures on my computer, patiently waiting for me to finish every last sewing project on the docket so that I can sort, print, and scrapbook them. Ehem.

I have no graphic design experience (or software!), and I'm somewhere between how-do-you-turn-this-computer-on and I-created-facebook-in-a-weekend. I'm probably closer to the former than the latter. I also have not scrapbooked in years, and had more or less resigned myself to sticking photos into cheesy photo albums for lack of time, space, supplies, etc.

To begin, I needed to download the software! I made it through the process without a hitch, and then I waited for everything to download and install. It did take awhile to download, so I did a bit of multi-tasking while I waited.

As soon as I opened the software, I started poking around at the different design elements and options. I wanted to create a few things from scratch for a few reasons. To begin with, I wanted to use this software to its maximum potential. And to be totally honest, I wasn't sure that I would like any of the premade scrapbooks. My first creation was this bridal shower invite:
We are having a picnic-themed shower, so I wanted a light, whimsical invite. Printed on textured, off-white paper, this design could work! To design this invite, I simply used basic shapes and one font. I did get hung up a bit on the pennant "string", because I couldn't find a way to arch my line. I ended up layering a small circle in the same color as the background over a slightly larger circle in the grey color. Once I had the idea, it took a few simple clicks to create what I wanted.

Next I made a scrapbook page, again "from scratch". I pulled a few pictures from a beach day last summer, and came up with this:

This page again uses simple shapes, this time with the addition of photos. I chose to frame the photos in simple white and greys to set them off from the bright yellow background. The "note" in the top right corner is attached with grey brads.
Now that I had a few pages under my belt, I decided to try out a premade scrapbook. A Christmas album seemed like the best bet, because I knew that I could locate some Christmas pics on my computer relatively easily. I was shocked by the adorable album that I found!
To create this page, I simply selected the photo to insert in the page and added some personalized text. I can create a 10-page album quicker than I can find my car keys for a trip to the scrapbook shop! Not only do the premade albums come together very quickly, but they are also completely customizable. Keep the elements that you like, remove the ones you done, tweak the size of your photo, change the color of the background, add another embellishment....the list goes on! 

With a few projects done, I started to wonder what was available in the My Memories shop. When I downloaded my software, I received a $10 coupon for a future purchase. Everyone who purchases the software (or receives a complimentary copy, as was my case) receives this coupon! So I headed over to the website to see what I could find. The first thing I did was browse the free kits section. I found quite a few kits that I liked - some had just one or two elements that I thought I would use, and others piqued my interest a bit more.
After I perused the free section, I headed over to the new kits and I also used the product search function. I found some great design elements for another bridal shower invite idea that I had, and I headed to the checkout with my coupon code in hand. Again check out was painless! And did I mention that all of the free and purchased kits can be used over and over, with no limit? No more running out of 1/2" teal grosgrain ribbon at 2am!

With some purchased design elements I created this invite:

I simply used two different fonts and lots of embellishments for this one.

For my last project, I created another scrapbook page of a recent park trip:
I like to keep my albums pretty clean, so I stuck with simple shapes and layering. Do you see the orange washi tape over my picture? That's simply a rectangle that I shrunk to fit my layout, rotated, filled with the orange pattern seen, and then.......I turned down the opacity of the design element. Ta-da, I have adorable, customized washi tape in a matter of minutes!

This is just some of what the My Memories Suite III software has to offer:

  • Premade albums - just add your photos and a bit of journaling, or begin with a premade album and customize it how you'd like!
  • Premade page layouts with design elements - photo arrangement is done for you, and you customize the rest from the ground up
  • Endless use and reuse of papers, embellishments, etc.
  • Ability to customize the color, size, shape, opacity, etc. of the design elements
  • Export pages in JPEG format (this is also great for bloggers! I saved my saves as JPEG to insert here!)
  • Create a printed and bound album
  • Use album pages to create a printed calendar
  • Insert links, videos and music to be accessed when the album is viewed as an "Interactive Album"

The My Memories website also has:

And now for the giveaway!
This giveaway is open to anyone over the age of 18 worldwide. To enter, browse the My Memories website for a few minutes. Then come back here and tell me what you like, what you were surprised to find there, etc. I'd love to hear what you think, even if it is to say that you only found 1 design element that remotely appealed to you. Easy as that!

Also, be sure to leave me a way of contacting you! If you are a no reply blogger, please leave your email in your comment. Or better yet, go change your email settings. ;)

This giveaway will end on Tuesday, May 29th at 11:59pm EST. I will announce the winner on Wednesday, May 30th!

And don't forget, all readers receive $10 off their software purchase (plus a $10 coupon after purchasing the software, good towards kits!). Use the following code to receive your discount:

Friday, May 18, 2012

For Oliver with Love - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side
Last year at this time we were just settling into our house in Seattle, and I blogged about my What Lies Ahead quilt for Blogger's Quilt Festival. That quilt was a wedding gift for my step brother and his wife, who are now expecting a baby! So it only seems appropriate that I would show For Oliver With Love, the baby quilt that I made for them, this year!
When I first started thinking about a baby quilt for Oliver, I asked my SIL to send me some pics of the nursery. She sent along this image:
The very first thing that I noticed was the Aviary 2 print in the pillows. I was surprised to see a fabric that I recognized, especially a fabric from the exact same line that I used for their wedding quilt! I ordered some Aviary 2 and started thinking more about a design for the quilt. The wire baskets hung on the wall really stuck out in my mind, so using that idea I came up with what I'm calling the "Orange Crates" design for the quilt front. Just as I did in the wedding quilt, I added in some solids with the prints.
For Oliver with Love
(This is what happens when you ask your 4-year old to tightly grip the edges of a quilt as it dangles precariously above water:)
For Oliver with Love
As I was piecing the top, I started to think about the quilt back. I wanted something personal, so I started with the idea of improv piecing "Oliver". That soon evolved into "For Oliver with Love".
For Oliver with Love
Some closer shots of the front:
For Oliver with Love
And back:
For Oliver with Love
I had to use double batting in this quilt, because the dark letters were showing through to the front. I was a bit worried about the quilt looking too poofy with the extra batting, so I did some simple, dense, organic line quilting. A quick trip through the washer and dryer, and it still looks great! The quilting does shrink the quilt up a bit width-wise, which I think will relax with use.
For Oliver with Love
I machine stitched the binding on with the help of fusible thread (thanks for the tip, Felicity!), and added a label.
For Oliver with Love
The quilt is now on it's way to my step brother and SIL, hopefully it will arrive before Oliver makes his appearance!
For Oliver with Love
Prints are Aviary 2 by Joel Dewberry
Solids are Kona in meringue, curry, coal, and charcoal. Quilter's Linen in stone.
Binding is Quilter's Linen in stone.
Organic line quilting
Finished size: 40" x 57"
For Oliver with Love
Now all there is to do is anxiously wait to hear that Oliver has arrived!

Be sure to hop over to the Blogger's Quilt Festival to check out all of the great quilts people are sharing!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Twin Babies "Get Together"

One of my cousins just had twin baby boys. It's actually a really incredible story - her AUNT carried the babies for her! My cousin has always known that she wouldn't be able to carry a baby, so as soon as she and her husband married, they started their search for a surrogate. I don't really know the details, but I do know that it is a tough, expensive process, and they were still without a surrogate after about two years of searching. The aunt didn't think she could be considered as a surrogate candidate, because she was already in her 40's. After talking with my cousin's mom and realizing that she COULD be a surrogate, she immediately talked it over with her family. Her husband and their two kids fully supported her, and the rest, as they say, is history!
For these quilts I started with a few prints from the Get Together line by David Walker. I knew that I wanted the quilts to be the same, but not identical. I was also in a time crunch with the move and the auction quilt, so I went with simple strip quilts-one in blue, and one in green!
Twin boys "Get Together" Quilts - front
Here is the green quilt:
Green Bears
And the blue quilt:
Blue Bears
The bears on blue background were printed parallel to the selvedges, while everything else was printed perpendicular. So my 1/3 yard cut of that print was nearly deemed useless, until I decided to do a sort of "film strip" piecing with the print. I actually really like how it breaks up the strips in the quilts!
Green Bears
Both quilts were quilted with a variegated green thread in an organic straight line style. I finished the green quilt with a blue binding:
Green Bears
And the blue quilt was finished with green binding:
Blue Bears
I like the little bit of pink that these pigs add to the quilts:
Green Bears
And for the backings I used prints that coordinated with the bindings:
Twin boys "Get Together" Quilts - back
Both binding fabrics are Painter's Canvas by Laura Gunn. Such a great alternative to a solid! The blue backing is from Echo and the green is from Impressions.
Twin boys "Get Together" Quilts - back
I'm so happy for my cousin, and I can't wait to see the boys. I was supposed to visit them when I was in Chicago in March, but then I got really sick. It's a good thing I didn't visit them the first week I was in town, because I would have felt horrible if I had passed my nasty virus on to them! And in lieu of hand-delivering the quilts, I had my mom pass them along to my cousin's dad. I received the babies' birth announcement and a thank you card in the mail today, so I can say with confidence that the quilts are being used and loved!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The curiously strong......rodent?

Around Easter, Larissa at MmmCrafts released this adorable pattern for the Wee Mouse Tin House. Addy had a birthday party to attend for twin girls in her class, and I wanted to give this pattern a try. Two birds, one stone. Plus 3 Wee Mouse Tin Houses. :)
Of course I swore that we had tons of Altoids tins around the house, and then when I wanted to get started I couldn't find a single one. (Even the unopened one that Matt swore was around. Ends up it was the mini tin, and it was in the car. Whoops.) So I ran to the store, bought 3 tins of mints, and hurried home to dump all of the mints into baggies.
These took several hours to sew, the tiny pieces don't go together quite as quickly as they should! But they are well worth it, so tiny and cute. Plus they use up some scraps! (To clarify, I mentioned a twin birthday and then 3 mouse houses. I, of course, made a set for Addy. It's not pictured, though, as it is buried somewhere in all of her toys...)
All tucked in:
Rise and shine!
Although these took quite awhile to sew up, I wanted to do a bit more for the birthday girls. A quick chat with a crafty friend, and I decided to sew up some quick little bags with special pockets for the Mouse Houses:
The chocolate brown mouse:
And his mattress:
The light brown mouse:
And his mattress:
The mouse house all tucked away in the special pocket:
The bags:
I used the very versatile lunch bag pattern by Ayumi for this bag. I just left out the drawstring panel and closure, and I added a strip on velcro to hold the bag closed.