Monday, December 31, 2012

Future Quilt?

I have been eyeballing these summer picnic blankets over at Stitched in Color.  They are so pretty.

While I was cleaning up my craft room after the crazed sewing frenzy of these past few weeks, I started matching up some fabrics and came across this collection:
I think this could work as some sort of quilt...perhaps a picnic/beach blanket?  But does it need more color, like splashes of pink or something?  I threw in another fabric with a bit of pink in it to help me visualize it...
I don't know.  Maybe I chose the wrong fabric.  I'll need more stuff for the quilt anyway, because there's only a smidge of a few of them...enough for three or four 8-9" squares, but no more than that.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Still in the Box

That's my serger and it's still nestled in the styrofoam packing.  I bought this a year ago and haven't touched it.  I finally opened the box the other morning.   I will learn to serge.  Soon.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Grandmother's Couch #2

I did not make this bag.  My friend made it as part of her Grandmother's Couch Series.  I love it!  How awesome would it have been to have a couch made out of this fabric back in the day?  And look at the fun little gift tag/ornament.  Thank you!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Stop! Don't Throw that Away!

I make gift tags out of old Christmas cards.  There.  I've said it.  If you've sent me a Christmas card over the last five years or so, chances are that is has ended up as a gift tag.  Unless you sent me a homemade card or a family photo card.  In that case, then, no I did not chop up your kids to make gift tags.  Those cards are saved.  But all those others are fair game.  And to be honest, I don't chop them up as soon as I get them.  They get tucked away for a year or two and then I find them and chop them up.  One of the cards I cut up today was from 2006.

And this is how I do it...

I collect some cards....

I identify the key components of the card that will make good gift tags.  Like that card on the far right, with the wreath and the creepy dog.  Just the wreath works as a gift tag, so I cropped that and then I pasted it on some decorative paper.  You don't always have to use decorative paper, but I thought this one needed a bit more pizazz.

And then I crop it again and punch a hole in it and then I have a gift tag!

For some cards, you can really get a lot of tags out of them.  Like this one...

I got at least eleven tags out of this one card, because I also used some of the internal images that were not marred by handwriting.  Speaking of handwriting, when you do use the back page, you have to watch out for that.
And that's where decorative paper comes in handy.

Anyway, check out all those tags from this one card.
And I used a fun foil decorative paper for these...

And here are a bunch of tags with the holes punched out:
So, yeah, keep this in mind the next time you send me a many gift tags will I get out of it?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lady Apron

This was for my sister-in-law this Christmas.  She'd indicated that she could use a new apron, so I put this one together for her.  Her last apron was made up of sock monkey fabric and I wanted something a little bit more feminine and mature for her, plus I am tired of having so much novelty fabric sitting around.  Her daughter received the quilt with the green calico, so I accented this apron with that same fabric, which pays tribute to the vintage nature of this apron.  On a side note, I should remember to make a little girl's apron to match before there's no more of this fabric left.
Don't pay any attention to the gouges in the wall.
The back is a bit different.  This pattern is drafted from a vintage apron -- perhaps from the 30's -- and this was the style of that particular apron.  

Here's a close up of the loops for the ties...for some reason one of them got inverted, but that's okay, I suppose.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kid Apron

I made this little apron for my next door neighbor's five-year-old daughter.  I used Simplicity 4692, which does not seem to be in print anymore.  Here's a picture of the pattern cover:
Why do pattern companies always pick the homeliest of fabrics for their examples?  Anyway, I did the child-size pattern for View A (the first one).  It was easy, as aprons usually are.

I had a yard of the main fabric, which I purchased at Crafty Planet's booth at last year's No Coast Craft-o-rama.  The contrasting blue fabric was a thrift find.  I used snaps instead of the recommended velcro, which was probably a bad idea, but still a cuter one.  The peach bias tape is from my mom.  I think she sent me like 30 packages of skinny and fat bias tape in this color.  It's not a perfect match to the orange in the main fabric, but I think it works just fine.  And then I whipped up that little pot holder on a whim.

The recipient seemed to like it.  She put it on and announced that it was the perfect item to help her sell her flowers.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Quilts...the Big Reveal

So here are the four "I Spy" quilts that I sent to my nieces and nephews for Christmas.

I seem to have made them in the order that the kids were born, so here's the quilt for my three-year-old nephew:
And for the reverse, I chose some Goodwill fabric from this outing.  I had just enough of it.  This was also one of the first quilts that I made, so I was not yet very good at binding the damn thing, though the binding for his sister's quilt turned out much worse.

And then Quilt #2 was made for my two-year-old-niece...
This backing was also from that same Goodwill excursion and I still have plenty of this purple basketweave fabric for another three of these quilts probably.  Yikes.  And also note the binding disaster...Sorry, Gaia!  Also, the sashing on these first two quilts has a very slight print to it, which added just a little extra time when sewing, because I could never figure out the right from the wrong side with just one glance. 
Quilt #3 was made for my two-year-old nephew, who, by chance, was born the day after my two different mothers, of course.
The backing was done with some thrifted fabric from Artscraps.  I love how the striped binding turned out on this one and the sashing is just plain white with no fanciness.
Also, I love the wonkiness of his name.  Actually, I think this third quilt is my overall favorite.  Plus, look how neatly it folded up for easy mailing!

The last quilt is for my nine-month-old niece.  I used a gray sashing and plain yellow binding, which I thought was a nice contrast.
Sorry, I guess you can't see the appliqued name very well in that photo, but in person it looks pretty good.  And for the backing, I went with some awesome green that I've had in my stash for years.  
As for the pattern, I went with Moda Bakeshop's Convertible Crib Quilt.  It was a pretty easy pattern for a first-time quilter.  I only quilted the horizontal lines, because sometimes the vertical lines did not match up very well.  I happened upon a quilting shop where a lady only does that giant arm quilting and she sold me some 80-20 wool batting in 120 inches, which was perfect for four quilts and a lot cheaper than buying four separate packets of it, I think.  

I probably have enough squares left over for my own kid's I Spy quilt, so then all the cousins will have matching quilts.  Though, I must say, if anyone adds any cousins to the mix, I think they'll get different blankets, because it was quite the hassle to round up enough individual squares.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Grocery Tote

My sister has been saving the rainforest (according to her t-shirts in high school) for many years now.  Last year I found her a purse made from recycled billboards from an etsy seller called Drive By Bags.  I gave her a bag this year, too, but I made it myself out of yardsale fabric.  That's recycling, right?  So that should appeal to her eco-conscious nature.

I used Simplicity 2806 and made the bag that's on that chair...the white one.  I wanted to make the red one with the side pockets, but I was running out of time to make the post office deadline, so I went with the simpler one.  

I don't know why I was surprised by the sheer size of the thing, but I was.  It's pretty giant.  Also, the handles go from the front to the back and I guess that's okay, but it wasn't what I was expecting.  Don't mind the criss-crossing on the neck of the mannequin -- that's just how I hung it.

I filled it with goodies from Trader Joe's, because she doesn't have one near where she lives.  

I love this red fabric and I think I have enough to make a small bag or two.  It's very vibrant.  Oh, and I forgot to take a picture of the lining, but I used some large red and white checked "picnic table" cotton.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Poochie Bag

I came across the Poochie Bag pattern from the Happy Zombie and decided to whip one up for a gift bag of sorts for my friend's ten-year-old daughter.  It turned out to be less gift bag-ish and more purse-ish (due to length of straps, I suppose), but here it is:
 It was really simple and quick (less than an hour) to make.  I used a bunch of purple fabric from my stash.  I almost put the lining to the outside, but thought that would be too's even too much for the lining.
 Also, the pattern did not suggest it, but I top stitched around the bag opening.  I find that always works best for things like this.

And the second part of her present is Little Women!  I loved that book when I was her age.   I loved it so much, that when I was asked in the Great Books club which author I wanted to write to, I said, "Louisa May Alcott!"  Well, little did I know that she was dead.  So I wrote to Jim Davis, instead, and got an autographed bit of Garfield stationery.

I came across this edition at Patina, a local store, and absolutely loved it.  I thought my friend's kid would like it, because I sent her an embroidery kit a few years back and she had enjoyed doing that.  
 The best part is the inside cover:
The dirty underside of embroidery!  So much fun.  My copy of Little Women is pretty stinkerish with a busted cover, so I may go get a copy for me and my little girl.  I think it's a Penguin Threads edition and they make a bunch of different books...I want them all (maybe not Black Beauty or Wind in the Willows)!  If I had a sewing store, I would definitely have these in stock.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Messy Binding

I was lazy and I felt rushed, so for the first two I Spy quilts I had some pretty sloppy seam binding. I feel bad for my sister's kids.  They get the bad, sloppily bound quilts.  
Look at that mess!  So ugly!  It's like binding smegma all over the place.  Gross!  The other one's a little better.
So then I took the time to actually hand sew the binding on the final two quilts.  The results are far superior and have made me a lifelong convert of this technique.
And how about another look at a nice corner...fancy!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Sewing frenzy has ended.  All packages are en route to their various destinations.  I have one more gift to sew for the neighbor girl, but I still have time for that one.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I am 100% done with two out of the four I Spy quilts.  Phew.  It seems to go pretty fast when I'm working on them, but then it also seems to take forever, especially considering that my mailing deadline is fast approaching.

I appliqued names onto them and that was a mess.  Why is it so hard to go around curves?
 Why can't all the letters be like "N" -- that was so nice and easy to stitch that one in place.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 year

Last year I made my brother-in-law a stocking out of one of those felt kits to match the ones I'd made for his kids the previous year.
We don't have any stockings and I haven't decided what style I want to do, but I have picked out next year's Christmas stocking project for one set of in-laws...
From Tried and True
Aren't they fabulous?  I think I want to add strands of sequins for a little twinkle twinkle.  But anyway, that's next year.  This year's gifts are already planned and I'm out of time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Square Malfunction

Argh.  What happened here?  Why didn't that line up?  Stinker.  I had a few strips that were way off and I had to seam rip to get them to line up a little better, but I didn't notice this wonkiness until the entire thing was spread out on the floor.  Grrrrr.  So I think I have to quilt the horizontal lines and not the vertical ones because of this hiccup.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Kid, the Artist

This is a little overdue, but here are some Halloween bits that my kid did in Baby School.
"Pumpkin Patch"
glue, paper
glue, ink, paper, cotton 
"Pinky's Pox"
paper, ink dots, googly eyes
paint, paper, googly eyes
"Ghost Toes"
ink, paper, googly eyes
Self portrait
paper, glitter
"Cat Scratch Fever"
chalk, paper

Monday, December 10, 2012


Here's the tree.  It was a stinker to carry in.  So heavy.  It's locked up in the sun room so that the cat doesn't climb it, because you know he wants to.
I am trying to replace the regular lights with LED lights.  I bought two strands and they're not enough, so there's not as much twinkle twinkle as I would like.

Otherwise, the tree is covered with Asian ladies...and pagodas.
And Spike.
And this one is my favorite: