22 November 2013

updated scripture bag

In September, my nephew earnestly explained to me that his scripture bag was 'babyish' and he would like a new one. (Yup, he's 7.) I started searching for boy fabric that wasn't 'babyish' and did not have pictures of skulls and crossbones. [Not that I have anything against that fabric ... I just don't think it should be used for a church bag.]  I first thought of camouflage, but when I fell across this Star Wars fabric at JoAnns (Camelot fabrics: Star Wars Schematics), I immediately called his Mom to get his approval.

The patten is my 'basic scripture bag' pattern blogged about here.  Navy blue duck cloth, Star Wars fabric, and orange Kona cotton.  As an added bonus, the font is 'Star Jedi'.  The lining is the Star Wars fabric with a pocket.

It was a quick project until I realized I sewed the lining in upside down.  I had already trimmed the corners, so I ended up cutting a new lining.  

I had left over fabric, so I made a pillow case.  I thought he'd enjoy examining the fabric in great detail.  It made for a pretty happy 7 year old and I'm enjoying 'favorite Aunt' status again.

19 November 2013

bucket bags

Two of my favorite people turned 12 this month and I decided they needed a bag.  (Everyone needs a bag!)

This is a new-to-me pattern - 'Bucket bag' by michellepatterns.com.  I snagged it on one of her '$5 Friday' sales.  The pattern calls for 3/4 yard of exterior fabric and 1/2 yard of interior fabric.   I found both exterior fabrics at JoAnns (thanks to Dad for helping me pick them out).  The linings are Kona cotton that I had for other projects.   

The bottom is an oval and I really like the darts in the outside front pocket.  I changed just a couple of things.  I added fleece interfacing to the lining.  I really like the firmness and body it adds to bags.  I added an interior pocket - I used the outside pocket piece without the contrasting top piece and without the darts.  Then I added magnetic snaps to the top.  I wasn't sure if the magnetic snap would be able to be used ... but I love the look of them in the top of bags, so I added it.

It took an evening to cut out the two bags (cut out the bags, cut out 1 layer of Decor Bond interfacing for all pieces, cut out 1 layer of fusible fleece interfacing for the lining.).  They sewed up really quickly - I figure most bags take more time to cut out than it does to sew them.  Both bags were complete with two short evenings of sewing.

I really like these bags.  They were quick to sew, didn't take that much fabric, and my 12 year old friends looked really cute with their bags on Sunday.

Stats:  Fabric from JoAnns + Kona Cotton
size: 12" wide x 14" high x 5" deep

08 November 2013


A niece of mine, M. loves to play school.  Her favorite accessory while playing is Grandma's scissors on a lanyard.  For her birthday, I thought she needed her own.

I glanced at a few tutorials on Pinterest ... and did my own thing. 

These were super fast.  Cut 1.5" x ~36" of two fabrics.  Sew them together along the long edge.  Iron.  Fold the outside edges in so that they touch the seam allowance in the center.  Iron.  Topstitch down both sizes. 

She is just turning 6, so I wanted to make sure this was safe for her to wear around her neck, so I put Velcro at the ends (1.5").  As a bonus, the Velcro hides the raw ends of the fabric.

As a final touch, I made some name tags for her and then found some spare keys (that I have no idea what they go to) to attach to the clips.  Quick and easy birthday present that I hope she enjoys.

one fish, two fish, pink fish, aqua fish

I finished this quilt the end of January 213.  But for some reason, I never got pictures of the final quilt.  [hmm, procrastination followed by a broken camera.]

This quilt pattern is called 'kissy fish' by Freshly Pieced out of 3 charm packs of 'Bliss' by Bonnie and Camille.  I re-worked the pattern to make it charm pack friendly.

It looks like I finished piecing the 'fishies' around February 26, 2012 and couldn't decide on a layout.  I remember it taking multiple tries to use all of the squares I had.

Every time I tried to work on it, it just screamed 'PINK'. Which is a perfectly good color - and I do like it at times - but not in this quilt. My sister recommended a aqua boarder to bring out the aqua fishies. 

It still looked really busy to me, so I started matching up 'like' fishies  and I liked it again.  On went the aqua boarder (Kona cotton aqua) at the end of March and I snapped a few pictures on the fence.

Why yes, there is a boarder missing.  I ran out of fabric.  Evidently I used that excuse for a very long while.  The next pictures I have are of the quilting in January 2013.

I sewed along each side of the fishy squares and then did a wavy stitch in the boarders.

I though it looked a little like water.  As a bonus it was pretty easy to do.  Here's a snapshot of the back.

Just in case I ever want to do it again, here's the snapshot from my sewing machine.  Stitch 9, width 5.0, length 2.5

Here it is - finished and finally photographed.  This quilt took way too long to finish.  Can you tell I'm no longer in love with it?  :)  I thought I'd really like the fabric - but the red and pink are just too overwhelming for me.  I do love the aqua prints.  The green is one of my favorite shades.  Adore the polk-a-dots.  But it just didn't turn out like I was envisioning.  I think some projects are just that way.  Someday it will find it's way to someone who loves it.

Pattern: Kissy Fish
Fabric: Bliss by Bonnie and Camille, Kona cotton aqua
Finished pieced ~March 2012, quilted January 2013.

Here's a picture of  the quilt out of 'Good Fortune' fabric by Kate Spain done by my sister that she finished piecing over Christmas 2012.  I love her version. :)

14 August 2013

dresses for a princess

One of the blogs I read, Cut To Pieces started a 'pretty princess sew along' in January.  
Cut To Pieces
She used a simple peasant style dress - Simplicity 2377 and with fabric and trim made princess dresses. One pattern, lots of dresses.  But every day princess dresses that little girls could pull on all by themselves.  That were washable!  I loved them.  She did Alice in Wonderland, Rapunzel, and Minnie Mouse.   

I have a niece turning 3 this summer, so I decided she needed a few dresses.  I made Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Rapunzel, and Cinderella.

They went together really fast. The hardest part was choosing the fabrics. To do that, I took my 'little people princesses' to the fabric store and used them to decide on fabric and trim.  I do love that Hobby Lobby has their ribbon on sale for1/2 off every other week.

The ribbon on the bottom of  Aurora's dress is made from the sleeve fabric and my bias tape maker.  The sleeves on Rapunzel's dress are two different fabrics sewn in stripes.  Cinerella's hip-poof things are a half circle that took 3 tries to get right.  I did put a ribbon in the back neckline so that K could tell front from back - but I really don't think she cares. :)  They sew up really fast - 1-2 evenings of sewing will finish a dress including all of the trim..  

They don't scream 'I'm a princess dress' ... but K knew what each one was.  I brought them with me in June when I went to visit my sister and her kids.  (C. got origami paper and a book, A got to make a skirt all by herself - so they weren't left out.)  K wore the 3 dresses in rotation (one dress in the morning, another after quiet time), so we decided she needed a couple more.  Off to the fabric store and we had fabric for Belle (Beauty and the Beast) and Minne Mouse.

I think Minne Mouse and Rapunzel are my favorites ... but I really like them all.    

I made one more for K for her birthday - Snow White.  The sleeves took two attempts and the ribbon took 3 ... but it still sewed up reasonably fast.  But with a broken camera ... I'll have to wait and get a picture of it later.

Update: K was kind enough to pose for 'first day of school' pictures with her siblings.  Isn't it cute!

pattern: Simplicity 2377
fabric: various from JoAnn's and stash with ribbon from Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's.
Thanks to 'Cut to Pieces' for coming up with the idea and writing the tutorials!

23 June 2013

Quilt for G

In March, my sister had her forth baby - G. She's adorable and she needed a quilt. My sister didn't peak, so G. being a girl was a surprise and I was unprepared with a pattern. I love pinwheel patterns, so my sister and I spent some time on Pinterest trying to find what we were looking for.  We found several we liked, but I decided that I liked the 'dilly dally' pattern by Thimble Blossom with sashing between the squares the best. 

Off to the fabric store to figure out what colors.  I wanted it girly - but not too girly - with lots of colors.  I found this fabric - 'diddly dot' by Michael Miller in orchid.  It's got bright colors, girl colors, and I liked the green in it. 

The hard part was now finding fabric that matched the dots.  Armed with my 'Kona cotton color card', I sat in the driveway and tried to find matches.  Then I hit up the local quilt shops that had 'Moda Bella solids' to see what they had.  I decided on:

Peony (Bella)
Petal (Kona)
Peacock (Bella)
Aqua (Bella)
Amethyst (Kona)
Thistle  (Kona)
Cactus (Kona Solid)
Key Lime (yet a different brand of quilt fabric that I can't remember)
with Coal (Kona) for sashing.

I was a little worried about the Key Lime - but my idea was to have the colors in the 'diddly dot' fabric plus a lighter version (like the pink in the fabric).  (Note: when your gut tells you it's not right, don't keep on going.   But I generally don't listen to that voice until later.)

I drew up the pattern with Google Sketch-up.  My first time using it and it was a bit of a learning curve.  I'll definitely use it again.

I cut 5 inch squares and paired them up with white Kona cotton and sewed around the edges to create half square triangles

Those turned into 5" pinwheels.

I used a 2" square of white and sewed it diagonally across each corner.  I loved the way they turned out, but this step was a lot of work.  Sew, open seams, fold back fabric out of the way, trim _just_ the right layers, and iron.  But they turned out great.

I saw a paper pieced alphabet pattern on Pinterest by 'from blank pages ...' and decided this quilt was a great excuse to buy it.  I enlarged the pattern so that the letters were about 4" tall.  The piecing was a bit fiddly, but it wasn't bad.  It helps that I adore how they turned out.

I laid it out one Thursday night with 1" sashing - after playing 'sodoku' to determine that every row and column only had all 8 colors - and took pictures.  I loved it.  But looking down from the balcony, I realized that they 'Key Lime' fabric blended way too much into the background.

I wanted to take this quilt - finished - with me when I was visiting my sister in June and I was running out of time.  I had exactly 1 week and it still needed to be put together and quilted.  But I really didn't like the 'key lime' color in this quilt.  I decided to sleep on it.

(Like my 'design wall'.  Its a vinyl-ish table cloth from Walmart on the floor.  The fabric sticks to the backing!)

I didn't like it any better in the morning.  The 'Cactus' color is a left over from C's quilt, so I dug through the fabric left overs to see if there was another color that would work.  I found 'Lime' (Kona cotton) and laid it out.  I had to get over the fact that I wasn't using the colors from the back of the quilt plus a lighter shade (I'm an engineer, I like patterns.)  But it worked.  I liked the contrast and it still worked great with the 'Cactus'.  It worked really well.  Friday night I made 9 more blocks and laid them out.  It made a huge difference.

I pieced the top together over a long Saturday of sewing.  I'm always amazed at how long it takes to sew the top together once blocks are done.  I suppose that sashing doesn't speed up the process. :)

I made the quilt sandwich Sunday and started quilting Monday night.  (The day job occasionally gets in the way!).  I quilted the sashing in one night and then had to figure out what to do with the pinwheel flowers.  I tried several ideas before I decided on sewing 1/8" inside around them.   Two nights and the pinwheels were done.   Thursday was binding and it went into the wash by 10:30pm.  I pulled it of the dryer the next morning and stuffed it in the top of my suitcase and dashed to the airport.

It's the only niece/nephew quilt that isn't hand quilted ... and I'm okay with that.  I think it turned out pretty darn great.

Plus my sister was surprised that I had it finished!  G. looks pretty darn cute on her quilt.  I hope she enjoys it.

Finished size: 45 x 45
Pattern inspired by 'Dilly Dally' by Thimble Blossom
Colors: Peony, Peacock, Aqua (Moda Bella Solids); Petal, Amethyst, Thistle, Lime, Cactus, White, and Coal (Kona Cotton Solid).  Backing: Diddly Dots by Michael Miller.
Quilted with a light grey thread and 2 layers of cotton Pellon batting.

20 May 2013

Hearts for T.

Earlier this year, a friend from church asked if I could piece together a quilt top for her daughter T.  T graduated from high school in December and headed off to college with her older sister's quilt.  She thought T needed her own. :)  This is the same pattern as her older daughter's quilt - with different fabrics.  (I completely forgot to write the name of the pattern down ... but I know who it was borrowed from if anyone local wants to try it.)  

This pattern is definitely not to my taste - but it was a good pattern.  The directions were clear, it made sense, and it came together really fast.

I stacked 6 squares of 12" fabric in purple  and 6 of cream.  I traced the pattern on to freezer paper, ironed it on the top fabric, and carefully cut along the lines.  Then just swapped the 6 'heart' pieces with each pile.  Each piece is numbered, and on #1, move the top fabric to the bottom of the stack, on #2 move the top 2 fabrics to the bottom, and continue on.  Now each 'block' has 12 different pieces of fabric.

The pattern does require that you keep track of the pattern piece (easy due to the freezer paper or just looking at the master pattern) and the layers on several pieces.  They recommended stickers for this, but I didn't want to deal with sticky residue on the fabric.  I grabbed my 3/4" circle punch and freezer paper and made freezer paper "stickers".

It took a little over 1 week of only sewing in the evenings to make 40 blocks.

One Saturday to sew the blocks together and add boarders (with mitered corners!).

I had one panicked trip to the fabric store to get a bit more fabric for the back ... but they still had it in stock.  Yea!  (non-quilters buying fabric don't think of pesky details like it taking more than 1 width of fabric for the backing.)

Final size: 61" x 88".

It was sent off to the long arm quilters and I put the binding on it this weekend.  It even has a sweet note from her Mom as the label on the back.

I think it turned out pretty great.  I hope T. loves it.

18 April 2013

divided basket

Noodlehead created the coolest pattern for a divided basket.  The divider helps the basket keep it's shape - it is sewed into the sides and bottom.

During one very long week where I watched jobs run on the computer at night, I stared at multiple pictures and blog entries on this basket - and made my own pattern.  This basket is big.  13.5" x 7.5" x 7.5".   But it's also the perfect size for a 'portable diaper changing station' gift. 

The left side is stuffed with diapers.  The right side has a blanket, outfit, Butt Paste, a couple of burp rags, and small package of wipes.   (I told you it's big!)  The outside fabric is a bottom weight fabric I found at JoAnns.  The lining is duck canvas.  Both layers are interfaced.  I love the orange canvas stripes on the handles.

I finished this bag just in time.  I cut it out on Thursday night.  My friend V. came over for sewing help on Friday night.  I was still fusing interfacing and just starting to sew it.  She commented several times that she thought it was really cute.  It was all I could do to make comments like 'I hope it turns out the way I expect'.  She was so excited when I showed up to her baby shower the next morning with this basket.  :) 

Then I had to make two more with some dinosaur fabric I have.

I'm not sure what I'm going to use these for, but they sure are cute.  I'd like to try it again with some quilting weight cotton.  Duck cloth + bottom weight + 2 layers of interfacing gets thick!. 

25 March 2013

more drawstring bags

I love these drawstring bags.  I made several back in April and I adore them.  They're the perfect size and I use them all the time.

In November, two of my favorite people had a birthday.  I decided that they needed a drawstring bag.  They are sisters - twins - but oh, so wonderfully different.  It was so hard picking out fabric.  I wanted them to have fabric that matched their beautiful personalities.  (Their Mom told me I got it right.  yea!)

Grey with pink flowers for one.  The lining is a coordinating print with little flowers.

A wild pink/turquoise/lime print for the other, lined with a Kona solid in blue and a hot pink tie.

I didn't quite get them finished in time for their birthday, but it was close!

Stats:  all fabric from JoAnns; 11.5" tall, 8.5" wide, and 4" deep; 1/2 yard of fabric for outer and lining work perfectly.

22 March 2013

The almost never finished quilt.

Hello, little blog of mine.  It's been a long time since I've updated.  Not because I stopped sewing - I was just too lazy to post.  :)

My latest finish is also my longest 'work-in-progress'.  I started this quilt a few years ago.  (uh, at least 7 years.  Quite possibly longer.)  I fell in love with it at a quilt store and bought a kit.  It was originally part of a 'mystery quilt'. 

The plan was that this would be the quilt for my bed.  But I would either need really big boarders or more fabric.  The fabric line is called 'gatherings' and in 2007, I was able to find a fat-quarter bundle of it on-line.  But then I needed to find cream fabric that matched.  I couldn't - so I finally settled for something that would work.  I cut enough fabric for 21 more blocks - and put it all in a Rubbermaid bin.

Fast forward to February, 2013.  I pulled out the bin and I'm seriously questioning my tastes.  Uck.  My fabric tastes have changed and my skills have definitely improved.  (Nope, no close-ups of those points are going on the blog.)   But, it's unfinished and I can't bring myself to throw out fabric.  My plan was to work on it for two weeks and see where I got to and evaluate how much more work I wanted to put into it.

At the end of the two weeks, I had 21 more squares finished to add to the existing 20.  I laid it out on the living room floor and had the realization that I needed twenty-two more blocks to add another row of blocks all the way around the quilt.  I was one short.

Nope.  Not doing it.  I'm not sewing one more block for this quilt.    Two throw size quilts would be perfect.

(But, I will be undoing it to fix the one block that has a piece sewn on backwards.)

I have enough fat quarters left over in cream/tan/yellow to piece backings.  Then these lovely quilt tops and backs will be donated.  I'm hoping there is someone out there who will still like these colors and use these quilts.

I'd like to think that I've learned my lesson about finishing my projects in a timely manner.   Let's get real here - it only took me 2 weeks to piece the blocks and then a Saturday afternoon to sew all 40 squares together.  Two weeks.   I could have found 2 weeks 6 years ago.   Or even 5 years ago.

Oh well.  At least I can say my longest work-in-progress quilt is done.  
fabric moda "gatherings"
size: 60" x 75"
pattern:'The Journey Home'