Just a quick hello to say I hope you and yours have a sweet day.
These are the pinterest-inspired and much-too-elborate valentines my kiddos are handing out.
Theo wanted juice box robots. It's all about the fruit punch.
Just a quick hello to say I hope you and yours have a sweet day.
These are the pinterest-inspired and much-too-elborate valentines my kiddos are handing out.
Theo wanted juice box robots. It's all about the fruit punch.
My Modern Quilt Guild had a gift exchange this holiday season. We made it in January so as to not add to anyone's handmade gift stress. :)
The idea was a swap of a smallish handmade gift. We had members fill out a little survey about their style and favorite colors and fabric etc. We chose names randomly so you knew who you were making it for but not who was making yours (you know... secret santa style).
In the end, one person dropped out but I had already given their name out so I made 2 and got 2 gifts because it was really my goof up. Plus, more fun for me!
I actually got 2 members that I at least know a little bit so I had fun making the gifts to their tastes.
First, for Kristina I made small bag. I forgot to mention that I had everyone bring the gifts wrapped and kept them secret so everyone could try to guess who they were fun as we each opened them. We might skip the guessing part next year, because it was pretty tough. Anyway, the bag I made for Kristina was from my book which should have been a dead giveaway. (Pardon the pix but I forgot to take any so I snapped some at the meeting.)
Next I had Robin, who was our sectretary this past year. I know Robin loves all things Parisian and she asked for any kind of craft sewing so I went for a notebook cover. I pretty much made up the pattern myself and it was a tight fit but it worked out great.
In return I got 2 fab gifts. Turned out Kristina also got me. :) She made this awesome zippered wallet with lots of pockets and even place for a pen. Aren't the fabrics so cheerful?
Then, the other Jess, as I affectionately call her, got my name. Actually she did, then we had to re-pick because I messed up and she didn't, and then when I let everyone know one member dropped out and they should make something for me, that was who she had so she had me again. She tells it better than me.
Anyway, Jess knew I was hoping (OK expecting) an ipad for Xmas so she made me this awesome zippered pouch for it. I love the scraps with the linen and how she quilted it with random lines. Jess is my VP of the guild this year as well as maintaining our blog, so the Jesses rule!
I mentioned that I didn't sew much in the way of holiday gifts this year, but in the past I've always tried to make some. True, it did elminate a lot of stress this time around, but look at the cute results when I do make them...
These pictures actually show my gifts for both Aurora and Theo from last Christmas. Aurora got the cute Harry, Ron, and Hermione dolls. Theo got a set of branch blocks that I made from fallen branches from that year's storm. They are cut in increments of 1 inch so they stack nicely together. There are a ton more than shown here. Those were actually complete on Christmas. ;)
The dolls, however, were partially naked. They all had robes, but Ron and Harry were shirtless and poor Herminone had nothing on under there! Thankfully they're now ready to make their internet debut fully clothed.
The dolls were made from the Pocket Pixies pattern by Ginger Melon. Hers are not Harry Potter themed, that was my own addition. I wish I could say I highly recommend the pattern, but I was pretty unimpressed. Yes, the design is just darling, but I felt the pattern really lacked detail and instruction that I expected especially because I paid $15 for it (I think it's less now). It was mostly the outline of the dolls that you were paying for. I did learn how she attached the arms which was useful information. Some stiches etc were included but if I remember correctly it didn't tell you what stitch to use for every step and it certainly didn't tell you the number of strands to use etc. Shelly herself was very helpful and responded to my question I emailed her about which color felt to use. Her style is so great, but I just felt the pattern was too basic for what I paid.
They did have shoes, but they didn't last long. Probably should have sewn them right on. And Harry's glasses are a little bent in these pictures but I'm too lazy to retake them. Picture him just a touch cuter.
I'd say it's about time for us to start reading the 6th book.
I hope your holidays were full of joy and peace.
Although it goes against the creative aspirations of this blog, my goal this year was to NOT make any gifts, thus eliminating much of the stress. And I'm happy to say it mostly worked. I had my shopping completed a full week before and had even wrapped about 3/4 of them before Xmas eve. It might not seem a lot to you all, but for me, it was quite shocking. Did it mean I went to bed before 3am Christmas eve? Not a chance. But still.
I did relax my rule a bit to make some cute fabric star ornaments.
There were more, but I sent them away. They are from this tutorial and are pretty easy. You could easily be make some from magazines/papers as well. They reminded me of those gum wrapper chains we made as kids.
And these cuties were for Aurora's class party. It's so fun to have time to decorate cookies all fancy. I always run out of time for our parties...
Anyway, now that the new year is upon us, it's time for me to try to get stuff done. Last year by this time I had already completed a new quilt top. This year, not so much. But, hey, there's plenty of time... :)
As many of you know, halloween is one of my favorite holidays. The costumes the kids chose this year, may not have been my favorite, but still lots of love went into making them. And then halloween just didn't happen. Overshadowed by a little thing called Hurricane Sandy.
First I was stuck in Houston after Quilt Market for the storm and some of the aftermath. Couldn't get back until late Halloween night and there was no trick-or-treating. We went without power for 10 days and went to a hotel and then family's to keep warm. There were some rescheduled Halloween activities, but we couldn't make any. :(
The good news is the kids' school had a Halloween party the friday before, so they did can a chance to wear their costumes at least once. And I took pictures before I left.
Here she is happy:
Theo's choice was no surprise. He's crazy for Angry Birds. I don't really get it. It's cute and all, but how does it have that much appeal? It's just everywhere! And from the first time he tried it, he was hooked.
His costume was a hoot because he loved bouncing around and bumping into things in his own protective pillow. I knew if was going to be hot and unwieldy at the party so he had a t-shirt underneath for when he had to take it off.
Of course he changed his mind about which color he wanted to be after I bought all the materials... but he had to stick with the classic red.
Hope you Halloweens were more enjoyable and frankly safer than ours here in NJ. And have a great Thanksgiving!
A little behind as usual, I'm finally sharing our Easter portraits.
I did make Aurora's dress this year (actually I made it for a wedding before easter), but I tried to just follow a pattern. Honestly, I really tried.
The pattern is Kyoko by Patti Young. I've had it for quite some time and been meaning to make one. Aurora actually picked the main fabric herself about a year ago. I think she like how it looked golden. It's Innocent Crush by Anna Maria Horner.
I'll start by saying I love the look of this dress. It's darling. The only significant change I made was I didn't make the skirt in alternating panels. I put one contrast panel in the front and then two sides of the main fabric. The biggest challenge was cutting because I didn't have a lot of excess and I wanted to match up the pattern and make it symmetrical. I was a little disappointed in the list of fabric requirements because it just said 1 1/6 yard of fabric, but since it is shown sewn out of 2 different fabrics, it should have said how much for each. But I think she's fixed it on later versions and it now seems to call for a lot more fabric so I don't feel bad that I definitely needed more than I originally bought. However, it did claim that you needed 1 yard of fabric to make your own bias tape which was way, way, too much.
Once I got over these minor issues, the sewing was quite easy. Diagrams and photos are very clear and really, because I have experience in garment sewing, I didn't have to more than glance at them.
I think it turned out great. I had to do the hair in two buns cause it's just so stinkin' cute with the dress. I do wish it was about 3-4" longer. Aurora is barely a size 7 and that's what I made, but I think it being shorter makes it less formal. I was going to add length but I didn't have enough fabric anyway.
For Theo I made a tie from my Kingdom fabric that matches the bow on her dress. He was clear he wanted blue even though I wanted something golden like her dress.
And here is the whole happy family. My husband gets frustrated that I make everyone stand through the portraits, but I'm always so glad I did when I have one like this where we all look our best. Are they better than spontaneous fun pictures? No, but nice nonetheless.
Just a few more little christmas gifts that I hadn't got around to posting.
Here's some things I learned: Don't over-iron tiny bits of fabric adhered with fusible web. The glue can sort of start to melt away and they won't stick too well. Also, use a round-tipped needle when embroidering on knit. You'd think that one would have been obvious to me since I know to do that for machine sewing, but it took me a bit to figure it out.
I also made these coat hook plaques for my sister's apartment. They're inexpensive wood plaques from Michaels that I painted and mod podged fabric onto. When I use mod podge on fabric I find it best to paint a layer on the the back of the fabric before cutting it and let it dry. This makes the fabric stiff and allows you to cut without frayed edges and it seems to prevent so many bubbles.
Phew! Nice little "blog breather" there. Wish I had something more monumental to share on this, my 200th post, but alas, just a bit of catch-up.
In my usual delayed fashion I haven't really talked about the holidays. Of course they were busy, busy, busy over here. I made a bunch of gifts, but I'll have to share most of them at a later date.
But to start with, this is an awesome project I did for my sister. She just moved into her very very own city apartment and of course I had to help with the decor.
This is a large canvas that I painted and then mod podged on some fabric. The inspiration is actually from a bedding set, but it was totally different colors, in a different scale, and had no print fabric. So it's not a copy at all.
But I did make it to coordinate with this bedding set I got her. I'm not going to put a link because I'm sure by the time anyone cares, it will be long gone, but it was from Macy's.
It was fun to do. I normally sew stuff so painting was a departure. Actually if I could have found a background fabric that coordinated well, I probably would have sew this too, and then stretched it on canvas, but time was limited. Painting is always a bit more difficult than I think it will be, but I'm quite pleased with how it came out.
Our holidays were mostly spent at home. I enjoyed my newly converted wood burning fireplace and spent lots of time just hanging out with the kids. I've even completed an entire quilt since the new year! (More on that later).
Here are a few of the basic holiday holiday portraits. Aurora chose her own dress this year which she was just dying for, so I went with it.
This was a Christmas gift I made last year for my then 3-year-old son. Bean bag checkers! So simple, and yet I knew he would love them.
I didn't take a ton of pictures as I went along so this is a more basic tutorial intended for those who already sew/quilt. If you're a total newbie, it's really not an advanced project at all, but you may need to look up instructions for things like binding etc.
The fabric I used was from the Hooty Hoot collection, designed by Shari Butler of Doohickey Designs for Riley Blake. As far as I know it's no longer available. But you can use any fabric (doesn't all have to be from the same collection) that has small creatures or motifs on it. Check out some of Shari's other collections for cute animals.
1/4 yd each of two contrasting board fabrics (also used for the back of the pieces)
16x 16 piece of backing fabric (or 1 fat quarter)
1/4 yd of binding fabric
1/4 yd of pocket fabric
Enough of the fabric for pieces to cut out 12 of each motif (you need two different motifs that are about 1 1/2"-1 3/4" square)
12 1/2" piece of Velcro
Grain for the "bean" bag pieces
The basic rundown of the project is as follows:
1. Make a mini patchwork quilt board.
2. Add pocket on back and then bind the whole thing.
3. Sew little beanbag pieces.
Use 1/4" seams unless otherwise noted.
2 strips , 2 3/8" x WOF, of each of the board fabrics
Sew the 4 strips, right sides together, alternating colors, along their long edges. Press seams in one direction. Crosscut this strip set in half perpendicular to the seams. Sew the 2 smaller sets together so that you have 8 alternating stripes. Press the seam in the direction of the others.
Crosscut this strip set into 8 rows 2 3/8" tall. Sew these rows together along their long edge, flipping every other row to create the checkerboard pattern. Press seams to one side. You will have a board top 8 squares x 8 squares that is about 15 1/2" x 15 1/2"
Sandwich the backing, batting and front and quilt through the layers. I simply used a straight line on the diagonal through the darker blocks. Baste around the edges, 1/8" from the edges on the front. Trim the batting and backing close to the edge of the front.
2 rectangles 5 1/2" x 15 1/2" (you might want to measure your board top and cut these pieces a little wider if needed) (for the pocket pieces I used 2 different fabrics, but you can use just 1)
2 rectangles 2 3/4" x 14 1/2" (for pocket flap)
Sew the pocket pieces with right sides together along the top and bottom long edges. Leave the sides open. Turn right side out through a side opening and press.
Sew the flap pieces with right sides together along each side and the long bottom edge, leaving the top long edges open. Clip corners, turn right side out and press.
Center the Velcro strips on the top outside edge of the pocket piece and the bottom inside edge of the flap piece. Sew them in place about 1/4" from each edge.
Place the pocket piece on the back of the board so it's top edge (with the Velcro) is about 1 1/4" from one of the board's raw edges. The pocket's raw side edge should align with the board on 2 sides. Pin in place and baste 1/8" from the raw edge. Flip the board and align so the pocket it at the top. Stitch-in-the-ditch along the bottom of the 3rd row of squares (this should catch the bottom of the pocket all the way across. If it doesn't work out right, you should move your pocket to make sure this seam will sew it on.
Place the pocket flap so the raw edge is centered on the top raw edge of the board. Baste 1/8" from that edge.
Next, bind the edges of the board using your preferred method of binding.
Fussy-cut 12 squares 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" of each of the motif fabrics
12 squares 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" of each of the board fabrics
With right sides together, sew the pieces fronts and backs together (one color of the board fabrics should got with all the same motif … like my white/blue owls have a blue backing and the green brown ones have a brown back). Sew around all sides, leaving a 1" opening in the center of one side for turning. Trim the corners. Turn them right side out through the hole.
Make yourself a small paper funnel and use that to stuff the squares with some kind of grain. I think I used barley because I had it and beans seemed too big. You could also use rice or really any kind of grain. I guess in theory this could become a snack for mice depending on where you store it, so keep that in mind…
Sliptstich the openings closed.
You can now store the pieces in the pocket and you're ready to play at any time!
I originally thought of including a ribbon or a button elastic closure so it could be stored rolled up. But in the end I like to simply fold it in half because it's flatter.
Enjoy! And please do share picture in my flickr pool if you make one...
It's time for this year's Halloween creations... a continuation of our Harry Potter mania.
In reality he first wanted to be a Chihuahua, but really? How exactly does one make that? I mean I can do pointy ears, but he'd just look like a cat. So with some mild suggestion he went with owl. Yay! So much cute potential.
The body is made of fleece. It's lined and stuffed with polyfill and batting. The tail does stick out a bit and has more stuffing. Then I added the "feathers". They are flannels, fleeces, and wools and because I didn't want some to fray more than others I fray checked all the edges. Yes, I'm psycho like that.
The body is velcroed (is that a word?) at the shoulders, as are the removable wings. There were even little pockets to keep his hands warm (which was a good idea considering that, indeed, that is snow on the ground).
Aurora was an adorable Herminone. I had attempted to make the cloak accurate to the movie, but really did you know they change from movie-to-movie? So I went with my best interpretation. The patch was bought. The tie was made (I even made the striped fabric by sewing on ribbons) because the color of the commercial ones was all wrong. The sweater was from a thrift store with ribbons sewn at the collar.
The funnest (don't care that that's not a word) accessory was the book. It was an old book, and we didn't bother to change the title or anything. But what we did do was make it scream when you opened it. I bought one of those recordable greeting cards and we all yelled really loud and told you to "shut the book, would ya!". The idea was like it was one of the magical books from the restricted section of the library. She loved it and enjoyed showing it to all her classmates. Plus, who is Hermione without a book?
First off, thanx for all your praise of Kingdom. I'm so excited to see what many of you will sew with it, so promise you'll share, OK? And I promise there will be more posts to come with my projects etc., when I get the fabric.
So, I feel like I have a ton to post about and just no time to get to it. I will be a tease and tell you I have big, giant, HUGE news coming this month!
One project I haven't shared yet is this banner I made for Aurora's Daisy Scout Troop. They marched in the a local St. Patrick's day parade with it, but sadly I was in Hawaii and missed it. However, they are supposed to use this for many years to come, so I'm sure I'll get to see it in action.
I hear it was cold, but they had a good time. And the troop just loved the banner. The girls each added a little decoration to a leaf with their name on it. Is it bad that I didn't actually want them to contribute? I knew they needed to do something to make it their own, but I wanted to keep it with the fabric leaves. But I was a good mom and let go of the control (a little anyway). :)
I'm back with a couple more little projects.
This first project was a hannukah gift for my brother-in-law's family. It's a challah cover. Basically it's a mini quilt the size of a large napkin. I didn't put batting in the middle because I wanted it to have more drape so I just used a a layer of muslin instead. And as you can see I didn't bind it...I did the sew-around-the-edges-and-flip-right-side-out method.
I quilted it with double straight lines inside the linen. The characters are raw-edge applique.
This one, I didn't make. My sister did. Isn't it the cutest? She gave it to my Aurora for christmas. It's a bag, and I think the pattern was in Crochet Today.
Did I tell you I finally started a craft night? I mean, really. Finally. So now once a month I get to get together with some lovely ladies and chat and craft. Fun! and hopefully productive too...
Well, I had good intentions to get back onto the blogging bandwagon. Then life happened.
OK, maybe not life so much as my obsessive tendencies. See, I started to crochet a bit over the holiday. At first I was working on my blanket. But that's going nowhere fast. So I decided I need a more achievable goal. And I started this amazing shrug from Rowan's Summer Crochet book. My plan is to wear it when I go to Hawaii. Once I started, I could not stop...
Until sickness hit. Not that I ever really enjoy reading about people's illnesses, but Oy! I've been totally out of commission for over a week now. Bronchitis with a side of not being able to sleep at all. So, an entire week of my life is gone with nothing to show for it but a very lived-in bed. I'm going a little bonkers (little might be the understatement of the year). And until the last day or so I wasn't even well enough to crochet or check my email for that matter. It occurs to me that I'm making light of this, but for my future self's reference, it was really quite devastating. I was totally reliant on others and couldn't really even be a mom for the week.
So, here's hoping things turn around quickly. I'm almost done with the shrug and I'll share pix soon.
But for now here are some shots of a few gifts I made for Xmas. These darling mermaids are from the amazing Wee Wonderfuls book by Hillary Lang. I wish I had more time to make gifts from it...
And finally a little look at my own two cuties at Christmas. We did a whole matching family thing this year with purple and grey as the colors.
...but I freaking love Christmas! I literally haven't touched my computer in three days. Only happens this time of year.
I do need to post the winner of the Little Girls, Big Style giveaway though.
The winner is Sara B, and she has been contacted.
I did get my own copy and now I just need to get motivated to start sewing.
But for now, back to my blissful Christmas cocoon. I do have some goodies I made to share with you, so I promise some pictures next time!
Yes, I know Halloween is over. I shall not apologize for being approximately one holiday behind, especially since I still haven't blogged Aurora's September birthday pictures.
Anyway, these are just a few little halloween loose ends. First the yummy cookies I made for Theo's class. I tried to reduce my work by only using two icing colors, but, yes, they still took more time than 3-year-olds could possibly care about. My problem is I freaking love sugar cookies. Yum! So I'll make for any ol' reason ...
Next, this is a halloween wall quilt my mom made for me. Gorgeous, right? It's from a kit from Keepsake Quilting a few years ago. I think it's a brilliant use of batiks. I kinda don't want to put it away now.
And finally, a peek at my little costume. I've got no pix of me in it, so you'll have to deal. I made the top with my new serger. :) If you're wondering, the words are Aurora's "word wall words", so that makes me... yes, a spelling bee. It's pretty lame that I feel the need to explain that, but no one really got it, which is mostly a reflection of the limited creativity I put into it. But it was quick, cute, and totally appropriate for an elementary school party.
I have intentions to be back before Thanksgiving, but just in case...
I am thankful for all my awesome readers!
I hope you're all having a fun day. I love Halloween. I don't often get to dress up anymore but I miss it. Maybe next year I'll have a party? I did actually dress up for Aurora's school party this year, but nothing too elaborate. I didn't take pictures. Maybe I'll snap a few soon.
But, of course, I get to channel my costuming energies into the kids. I'll be so sad when (if?) they don't want homemade anymore. Did you know that Aurora's monster costume is kinda famous? Aside from the inquiries I get, my sister saw someone that doesn't know her printed the picture out as part of their decoration at Burning Man. It's so bizarre to think something spreads around like that.
She helped with the design. She wanted nothing to do with the tall crown from the movie. And she really like the bow on a lace-up corset. And it must be short-sleeved for the party, but have a jacket for trick-or-treating.
I used 2 patterns to refer to. The top is from Simplicity 3680. The little jacket is based on the dress pattern McCalls 5954. The corset I just made my own muslin for and the skirt is made up.
This year, for the first time she did a little trick-or-treating with some other kids in the neighborhood. The image of her running along holding up her skirt with a huge smile on her face is one I'll treasure forever. I wish I had video.
I based his on these firesuit costumes. I used McCalls 5952 as a reference, but changed it a little.
Sadly, he was sick today. In no shape to go out trick-or-treating. I was hoping I could get him into it for 1 or 2 houses, just to say he went out, but no go.
Oh well, at least he was happy in the pictures. Plenty of goofing around.
I hope you all had a great night. There's more chocolate calling my name right now.
P.S. Can I ask you guys for a favor? Can some of you click on a picture or two and tell me if the pop-up picture is more vibrant than the one in the post? I'm having some trouble with Typepad where my photos get desaturated when I resize them to anything but the full size in the post. It's bumming me out, but I want to see if it's only on my computer. Anyone else have this problem?
Yum, yum, yum!
The day before Valentine's Day we had a Cookies and Milk party for some friends and family. As I mentioned before, really it was for no other reason than I love to bake and I love to style parties. So, fun!
Ever since I saw this post, I've been wanting to have one of my own. One of my favorite details was the retro paper straws from Kikkerland. I baked probably more than 700 cookies so there was plenty for everyone to take some home with them.
The kids decorated their own heart sugar cookies.
And I made a matching hostess apron to wear. It was loosely based on the Flirty Skirty pattern.
The favorite of all the guests was Martha's Carrot Cake Sandwiches from the Cookies book.
But the infamous NY Times Chocolate Chip ones were also very popular (and really a meal in and of themselves).
Just dropping in to say a quick hello.
Thanks so much for all your kind words about my magazine ad. I'm anxious to see what you guys make with Timber once it's in stores. Speaking of which, it should be shipping soon and I promised to post a list of those of you shop owners carrying the whole line so people know where to go. So once you get your stock in, let me know and I'll link away.
It comes from the book Kanzashi in Bloom.
I think these flowers are gorgeous and so easy to make. The book gives basic techniques and then a bunch of sample projects. To be honest, I doubt I'd really do any of the actual projects, and the basic techniques are really very simple, but the book is still worth it as an easy reference and a good guide to which kinds of glue to use and stuff like that.
The holly leaves are made from wool felt.
Don't you hate it when you forget to photograph things? Especially stuff you've made?
Well, maybe that mostly applies to those of us who blog. Making gifts now serves a dual purpose for me...a thoughtful present for a loved one, and something to show y'all.
But then I forget to document them. oops.
Anyway, as I mentioned I didn't make that much this Christmas. As much as I love to, it was totally a good call and helped maintain my sanity.
But I did make this bag for my sister. It's the Abigail Bag from Serendipity Studio. I really love how this turned out. The pattern was great and easy to follow. Since it was a last minute idea, I was hesitant to do a bag with zippered pockets and all, but they were easy.
The one thing I'm thinking for next time around is bag feet. You know what I'm talking about? Those little metal bumps on the bottom of some bags? I've seen them in my local fabric store. I think they'd work well on this bag since it has a nice solid shape and stands up. Since I did it with regular quilting fabric (mostly my Timber collection) they would probably help it last longer.
I also made a super-cute apron for my other sister, but, you guessed it, no pictures.