Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WIP Wednesday #?

Finally working on some new things after a little hiatus! Celebrating [no bemoaning this week] my WIPs over at Lee's today hurray!

I'm going to pick favorites this week...this guy...

-Savvy Season Swap: I am loving how this is shaping up. I had wanted to finish the top on Tuesday night, but I ended up having to cut out more pieces. I really want to finish this up so that I can mail it, and some other things, on Thursday.

-Pillow covers for my parents: 2 simple Christmas pillow covers. The designs are drawn, and are very simple. I asked my parents if they wanted modern or traditional covers, and they said "what?" haha. So I don't want to scare them with anything crazy. These need to be done by the end of the week though.

-Advent calendar: This literally just needs the buttons sewn on it. I don't think I have time to finish before December 1st, but I'd be happy to get it done over the weekend. I think it's adorable, so I can't wait to share with you guys! 

And that's it! Just a few little projects, and no finishes. I have a huge paper due next week, which is why I haven't started any of my larger projects, but starting next week it's game on!

Be sure to go check out the other projects! :)

I mentioned I love Christmas, right?

Yes. Yes I did. But to reiterate. I LOVE Christmas. 

The tree shopping, the food, the sneaking around with other family members to get presents, the parties, and the festivity in the air. 

I thought I'd use my little corner of the Internet to share some of the things that I do each holiday season. 

Today's topic:


My family has always had a live tree, so the first year that I didn't live in the dorms in college, I took myself out and got a teeny tiny 2 ft live tree. It was adorable and came in a stand already, and I was pleased as punch. The year after that I lived with a few Jewish girls [who are some of my most dear friends still] and they loved getting to experience a Christmas. So we decorated the tree and made stockings and had a whole Christmas celebration before we all left for winter break. First, we had to light the menorah and sing prayers for them. It was beautiful! Last year is the first year my boyfriend and I lived together, and my rule was that the tree had to be big enough that it didn't look silly when he stood next to it [he's 6'4!]. We ended up with a tree that was a little under 6 feet. We're getting this year's tree tonight and I can't wait! I'm very particular about which tree we get.

So that it properly showcases the ornaments of course!

I've gathered a pretty good collection over the years, ranging from regular glass balls to a hand-painted ornament that I was gifted while in Hawaii to ornaments I've made myself.

And that brings us to these!

These are made from clear glass ornaments found at your local craft store. Get a bunch of the ornaments and some craft paint in colors you want for your ornaments. You want paint that is in little bottles, like Folk Art or Plaid or DecoArt, etc. Sparkly paint is fun too! 

Pull the hanger out by loosening that little silver part at the top and then squeezing the hanger together slightly. If you're doing this with younger kids you probably want to do this step yourself. Also, be careful because the top of the ornament can break and these are glass. If it does chip a bit, don't worry because the hanger and decorative covering will go back on to cover it.

Squirt one of the colors in the ornament in several places as you wish, and then turn the ornament upside down and sideways and any direction to get the paint to roll where you like. Less is more in this case, because you don't want excess paint pooling at the bottom, so you can turn the ornament upside down to let it drain. Then add another color! I would recommend not exceeding 3 different colors, because they start to muddy up at that point.

By adding additional colors when the paint is still wet the colors will mix a bit and create new colors. This is particularly nice if you use two different shades of the same color, such as a lilac and a dark purple. If you don't want that effect, you can certainly wait for the first color to dry, and then add additional colors.

I added glitter paint to the outside of this one - We're Orlando Magic fans!
To dry, just turn them upside down on an egg carton or the ornament box they came in and let dry overnight. Carefully replace the hanger and metal covering.

These look great in clear vases for decoration and make great gifts! The best part is that they are very simple for kids to do, but they look very elegant :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gratuitous fabric photo!

Yum yum yum. I love getting new fabric. My brain is whirring away at uses for it.

The sewing machine will be going strong tonight and tomorrow :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pillows make for a quick finish!

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Celebrating finishes with Megan today at Canoe Ridge Creations!

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me, and as such, I haven't been sewing quite as much.

I did just finish a quick little pillow though, in perfect form for my Florida surroundings [which is still in 80+ degree weather, unfortunately!]

 Just something very simple. I am always very aware that so many things I make do not necessarily appeal to the males out there, and I think that's a shame. So I try to make some "masculine" things every now and then. I think the "Going Coastal" line is perfect to appeal to a boy/man, but also perfect for a beach-y theme, and something that a woman would not mind having in her house. Cuz ya know, it's all about us ;)

 Straight quilting following the seams continues the clean and simple look.

And seriously, those starfish? I had only gotten that print in the orange, but I clearly should order it in all the other colors too!
This pillow is big and fluffy at 20" [which is the optimal size pillow for pillow fights. I'm an expert].

On another note, I've decided to put my "A Very Merry Grinchmas" quilt up for sale in my Etsy shop. I love it so much, and you can read my posts about it here and here. It's probably my favorite quilt to date. I would love for it to go to a home with kids who can sit under it while they read the book with their parents. My dad read my sisters and I "The Night Before Christmas" every Christmas Eve until I was in college, and it's a very special memory. This Grinchmas quilt needs some memories too :)
And hey, I'm offering free domestic shipping for Cyber Monday [those shipping costs are within the US; international shipping is also listed]

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Homemade Holidays To-Do List

Source: This lovely website has cool holiday ideas too!
  1. Scarf for my little sister [that I had already planned on making her, and fortuitously she put scarves on her Christmas list...the Heirloom voile is in the mail as we speak!]
  2. Scarf for my boyfriend's grandmother [she likes to wear these Bose headphones that block out sound...in public...like at Panera...she's lots of fun!]
  3. Nook case for my dad...if he gets a Nook...I'm trying to wrangle that information out of my mother.
  4. Kindle case for my boyfriend's grandfather [he actually already has the Kindle so this is a definite. and because I am full of the Christmas spirit, I am even willing to make it in his alma mater's colors, despite the fact that it is my alma mater's huge rival. that's love]
  5. Tree skirt for myself - do I want a SuperSwoon or a Kansas City Star or something else? I plan on getting my tree on Monday, so um, it might be a little breezy down south for a bit.
  6. Stockings for my sister - I promised her a set of stockings months ago, and while she might have forgotten, I haven't, so I guess that means I still have to make them, right?
  7. Two Christmas pillows - my parents requested some pillow covers for these oddly-shaped autumn pillows that they have. Ok, actually my dad told my mom that he didn't want to have to buy Christmas pillows when they have me around to repurpose these autumn pillows. I know, right, you can feel the love huh?
  8. Christmas quilt - I want to take all the quilting out and make it bigger, so that it can actually be useful. That's not really on a deadline, but it would be nice if it happened.
  9. Tunic - I think I want to make a tunic for my mom. She's extremely difficult to shop for, and that should totally scare me away from wanting to make a shirt for her, but I guess I've lost my marbles. She likes the tunic look with leggings or skinny jeans, but hasn't quite mastered it yet, so being able to make a shirt would allow me to make it so she would feel more comfortable in that style. We shall see.
  10. Baking - Obviously not sewing related, but just as handmade. I am known for an extravaganza of baked goods and candies, and package them with most of my gifts. I have old favorites, but always try a few new recipes each year; must get to choosing!
There we have it. Not long at all. And there are some things I might make for extras to have on hand for parties I might attend and have to bring a hostess gift. I feel like this list is very manageable. Go me.
Of course, talk to me after Christmas and see if it all really happened. I'm going to try though!

...famous last words...

Eeee! Help me!

I'm having a bit of a difficulty with my swap item for the Savvy Seasons swap over on Flickr. As I'm 99.9% certain my partner will not be reading this, I'll reveal a bit of info in the hope that someone on the Interwebz can help me.

My partner did not ask for a Christmas item [as we were allowed to pick a season/holiday]. First, that makes it a little more obvious which item might be for her, as the majority of people chose Christmas/winter. Also, she chose a very specific shade in the color scheme that she provided. I tried to get as close as I could in the possible fabric choices that I posted.

I drew out this set of designs and posted it in the group and asked for input. The colors are not representative of what I'll be using; it was more of whatever markers I could find...

Then I posted this picture of some fabric I pulled, not necessarily to all go together, but as options within the color group. Luckily, all of these could potentially be used for people who asked for Christmas stuff, so that should throw everyone off the scent a little haha.

Ok, so here's the dilemma.
I went to a sale at my LQS yesterday and happened to pick up some Kona in the EXACT shade that my partner mentioned in her sign-up form. Or rather, Robert Kaufman thinks its the exact shade, as they named it that particular color. And it is not the same color in the slightest as the reds pictured here. So, do I use the Kona solid I got, which would make it absolutely not Christmas-y and more obvious that it was for her, or do I use some of the fabrics in the picture, which she commented on and picked out the options that she liked?

My 2nd option was to make something of each color set, so she gets something she likes regardless? But I'm more of a single "wow" piece and other little things, so I want to make the big item something that she will love.

I didn't have this problem with my last swap, so now I just do not know what to do...
If anyone out there is listening to my babble, I'd love to hear some input!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pretty Little Pleats


First let me say, it was a whirlwind of a weekend in Atlanta. But more on that later!

For now we must talk about that cute little pillow up there :) I've mentioned before that I have a love of Essex linen. Once I realized I enjoyed working with it so much I was on the prowl for some good deals on it. So when I came across a shop on Etsy that was having a moving sale, I jumped at the chance and bought 4 yards of the Natural color. But I really wanted to branch out a little, so I got a yard of this fantastic Periwinkle color as well.

And then that fabric in the middle that I believe is a Valori Wells print? That's from a scrap pack that I picked up at some point. Clearly, the two were made for each other.

So I decided to rock out some pleats to dress this pillow up a bit. I wanted the fabric to shine, so I didn't really want to do any quilting.

I started with the scrap I had, and added enough Essex linen on each side to make it the width of the pillow form I had, and then added tons of length. Probably 3 times the length of my finished pillow.

To make the pleats I marked the pillow every 1/2 inch. I ended up enlarging the pleats to 1 inch each, because I liked the larger look. So at every other line that was marked, I folded on the line and and pinned it down to the next line. I don't think that actually made sense when typing it out, but I don't know any other way to explain it, unfortunately. And I didn't get to take any pictures because it took both my hands, and sometimes nearby objects, to fold and hold fabric down and then pin. And really, use lots and lots and lots of pins. And then use some more. I then flipped it over to the back and pressed with an iron, very carefully because of all those pins, in order to give the pleats a more crisp look.

To hold down the pleats I simply stitched with dark blue thread down the pillow, using the sides of my flower scrap as reference. And then another line of stitching down the middle. Because I wanted the middle pleats of the print to look different, texture-wise, from the rest of the pillow I stitched additional lines in that part of the pillow in white thread.

And a simple envelope closure to finish it up!

I think this is a pillow that has a lot of impact considering it's only 2 fabrics and minimal stitching. I also really love that the print stayed essentially the same, even when pleated, because of the shape and repeat of the pattern!

Yay for pillows :) Now go make your own Pretty Little Pleats pillow! Or this pillow is available in my shop if you want the look without the work.

A little bit of life & some embroidered stockings

It's almost the weekend! Thank goodness! It has been an extremely hectic week for me involving 2 papers, a presentation, a job interview at one of the largest defense contracting companies in the world, and preparing for a road trip!

In another hour or so, I'm heading off to Gainesville to spend the evening and night with my former roommate. Then it's on to Atlanta for the weekend to stay with a fantastic friend of mine. We went to high school together but actually didn't become friends until college. We have been planning this weekend together for about a month now, and then last weekend she got engaged! I love the man she is with, and actually helped her pick out clothes for their first date. She also recently found out she's allergic to gluten, so I have been baking her some gluten and peanut free yummies so we can celebrate.

So anyways, tomorrow I plan on going to Whipstitch! I am so stoked because I read Deborah's blog, and I've never been to a fabric store that was all modern. Yay! I'll let you know how it goes, and um, how much lighter my wallet is... :)

Ok, so on to my stockings! I needed another pair of stockings for my booth, and I whipped these guys up at the last minute.

I love Scandinavian inspired work, as I think it is so classic and understated. I don't want any of my decorations to compete with each other, but rather to all enhance each other. 

I used Essex linen in Natural, which has got to be my favorite neutral to use. The snowflakes are designed by me and stitched using Perle cotton size 8. There's some French knots in there, too, which always requires me to practice like 5 times before I get it right, and then it's smooth sailing for the rest of the project.

The insides are each a different green fabric, with the seams pinked. For some of the other stockings I did French seams, but it makes the finished product a lot smaller, and I was not in the mood to have to hand stitch the lining shut. I kind of like the pinked edges, and since stockings don't get washed it will be fine. The backs are just plain, with more Essex linen.They are hanging by an evergreen grosgrain ribbon that has been reinforced with stitching several times.

So this stocking pair actually did not get purchased at my craft fair, so they are listed in my Etsy shop :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday #4 - The Sadly-Not-All-About-Fabric Edition

First off, earlier today I read on a blog that there's only 37 days until Christmas?

Um, what?!

I usually forget all about the time aspect of now until Christmas until it pops up on someone's blog and then it's like a little slap in the face.

Unfortunately for me, this year Christmas also comes hand-in-hand with the end of the school semester. Ok ok, that shouldn't surprise me because it's always like this. But as a grad student that also means in between sewing marathons I have papers. Boo, papers! But hey, in exactly one month from today, I walk across a stage. Again.

Does anyone else think graduations are actually really boring?

So today's big WIP is this: A paper on the effect of police officer race and education on police-citizen interactions [my degree is criminal justice]

Ok, that's the scariest thing I hope to ever have to put on my blog. Enough with academia, on to sewing!

In progress:
-Savvy Seasons swap - sooo excited for this one, but I was waiting to get through the craft fair before I started on anything. I want to make a block that sort of looks like the Century of Progress pillow below, but more points somehow. I plan to sit down tonight with a pencil and paper and see what happens!

-Birthday quilt - my friend's birthday is at the end of January, but I don't want to put it off. I'm thinking blue and white with a single pop of orange [we're Gator alumni here! :) ], so that it can be sophisticated fandom, and not in your face about our school spirit. Tumblers, 1000 pyramids, or a cross quilt. And I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy one of these guys to help me achieve this...


-My first ever quilt using Countdown to Christmas Charm Packs - this is when I decided to really start quilting and I was totally making it up as I went along. I haven't finished it because I started making stuff for other people, and I got much better at quilting/sewing, and now I realized that this has so many mistakes and it's so small. But still, I want to finish it! It just needs some more quilting and then binding :)

Tomorrow I'll be sharing some more finished projects that I haven't gotten around to sharing, but for today go check out other people's projects that are probably a lot more exciting than mine!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Craft fair recap

On Saturday night I went to bed at 8:30 pm. I slept for 14 hours. I woke up. And I was still tired.

With another night of sleep under my belt, and a little more perspective, I feel like I can talk about my craft fair.

First off, a little background. This was the 12th year of Great Day in the Country, which is a nonprofit organization that supports various groups within my community, including several food banks. So when I decided to take a chance and get a booth, I knew that even if I didn't make my money back for buying a booth, that money was going to a great cause.

Last year, the police estimate of people at Great Day was 65,000. That's right. If you just fell off your chair, you're not alone. I was amazed when I heard that number too. So, needless to say, it's scary for your first time at something like this. Heck, it was my first time selling any of my work.

The area I live in also tends to be fairly traditional. Our town mascot is a chicken, because we have a flock that live and roam our downtown area. In fact, the sewing category for registration for Great Day falls under the "Country Arts and Crafts" section. I also knew there would be several other quilt booths [none of which I got a chance to visit, boo]. So I was wondering if my stuff was not traditional enough to appeal to people when they had other options to visit.

Anyways, I sold both of my tree skirts, a quilt, some pillows, and some other little things. I made my money back from buying the booth, and all the money I spent on the fabric for the various items [but of course I bought other fabric too haha]. I would have liked to be more successful, but I don't consider my attempt a failure. And for my first try, having only taken less than 3 months to prepare, I feel satisfied.

I also had so many people take my card and speak with me about custom orders. As to whether that pans out, we will have to see. 

And now...the photos! I pulled my camera out to take pictures and it was completely dead, so these are all cell phone photos at like 7 am. We had to be there at 6! :( And the person in all the photos is my trusty helper and boyfriend :)

All in all, I'm glad I did it. If nothing else, I tried something new and put myself out there, and I won't have to look back and wonder "what if"!

My highlight of the day was the woman who bought SuperSwoon and my California Dreamin' quilt was the mother of a woman who had a booth at Great Day also. A quilt booth. I wonder if her daughter is mad?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Finished SuperSwoon!

Fresh Poppy Design

Edited to add: The ladies over at Quilt Story were so sweet and said I should link up to their Fabric Tuesdays, and I'm so easily persuaded to join in a good linky party, so now I'm linked up over there! Welcome all :)

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

I'm linking up with Megan again this week because sharing finishes is so much fun!

My modern finish this week is my SuperSwoon tree skirt/pants.

Everyone is swooning lately.

I am not immune.

I have plans to make myself a quilt using this pattern. But I actually think I might make another SuperSwoon and just add lots of borders instead of the 9 that make up the big quilt.

Anyways. SuperSwoon. The evolution of a giant Swoon from which all other Swoons are born!

Here are my beginning efforts on my design wall. At this point I had run out of red Santa gnomes, and I hadn't done any of the flying geese pieces. I honestly though about leaving it like this [I'm glad I didn't though!]. When I decided I wanted a giant one for a tree skirt I just made the center square 12" and changed all the measurements from there.

I ordered more fabric and got this top completed. I was making the tree skirt for the craft fair that I had a booth at this past Saturday. I wasn't too sure that it would be popular, since I live in a pretty traditional area, and this might be a little modern for most folks. So I had made a traditional tree skirt already, and was willing to take a chance on it, thinking I'd just use it for my own tree if nobody wanted it.

Unfortunately, the only picture I have of the completed skirt is of it hanging in my booth. The back is a white polka dot on an evergreen background, with a solid kelly green piece in the middle to make it big enough. The binding, since you can't see it very well here, is just a red and white stripe. And I just echo quilted around the red star and its extension points.

Um. Also. This skirt sold within 15 minutes of the fair starting. Luckily the woman who bought it also bought a quilt, and let me display them for the rest of the day. But seriously. This was by far the most popular item in my booth. I probably had 10 people tell me they would have purchased it, and so many more who said "Oh, man" when they saw the "sold" sign on it. So while I'm bummed that I didn't have more for all the people who wanted one, I feel gratified that it was so well received.

Next up, a SuperSwoon tree skirt for myself :) :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Craft fair....


I am exhausted.

Must sleep.

For days.

Also a sewing sabbatical for a few days.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The one with the faux fireplace

I built this fake fireplace with my dad last week. I have had a vision of my booth at the craft fair since I submitted my example pieces and the fireplace was a really big part of that vision.

Living in Florida can make it really difficult sometimes at the holidays. I wore shorts today and its only 2 weeks until Thanksgiving, so it's hard to get into the holiday spirit without the right weather. Since about 1/3 of the things I'm selling at my craft fair are Christmas/winter, and it has historically been hot on the day of the fair [and its outside] I wanted something to set the mood. Add in the fact that I have several pairs of stockings that I've made and I knew it had to happen!

So I called up my dad and I know that he was tickled to still be needed for something. The decision of materials to use was the most elaborate part of the process, mainly because my dad is extremely detail-oriented, and I tend to just want to jump in and figure it all out as I go [to be honest, that method usually does not work out well for me haha].

The total cost of this was about $50. That includes the sheet of plywood that everything is mounted on, the linoleum tiles, paint, and the actual columns and mantle. Totally not bad for someone who might actually want to have one of these in their house.

And then this is a small sneak peek into the practice run that I did of the set up of my booth. I'll be taking pictures of the real deal on Saturday and put those up too :)

WIP Wednesday #3!

This is my last WIP Wednesday before the big day [of the craft fair] and I have a personal deadline of having all the sewing done [with the exception of coaster sets and coffee cozies] by Thursday.

That being said, and this being written Tuesday night, my Wednesday is going to be pretty busy.


-Merry Christmoose pillow [this took some thinking on my feet. But that's a story for another day!

-Century of Progress pillow

-A Very Merry Grinchmas quilt
-Embroidery hoop ornaments

In progress:

-SuperSwoon tree skirt [its 45" square!] - just got the additional fabric in the mail Monday, pieced the top and I hope to finish piecing a back here in the next hour or so and then quilt it and bind it this afternoon
-Retro Christmas table runner - this is really just because I've sort of lost interest in this [I forgot to put my middle blocks on point, so that kind of bugs me now]
-Linen tree skirt - I don't think this will get done in time for the craft fair, which I'm ok with, but if I do have extra time then I''ll see what I can do to finish it

So I'd best hop to it!

By the way, this is the 1st year anniversary of WIP Wednesday over at Lee's, so go check out the other links. Thanks for a year's worth of kicking our butts in gear!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A day for binding

I just finished up 2 pillows [which will be for show and tell on another day!] and am taking a much-needed five minute break to eat a giant marshmallow. Which, by the way, you should definitely check them out next time at the store. It doesn't seem like they're too much bigger than the regular ones, and then you realize you're holding it and chomping it just like you would an apple.


Today I made binding en masse. This is for a quilt and some potholders and some wall hangings. And actually, I just cut up the entire yard for the striped fabric, because I know it will definitely get used on various things, despite the fact that I did not measure how much binding I needed for that quilt.

Ah, yes, this quilt. That's my favorite panel of them all. He's so cute. The Grinch.

Is it Christmas yet?