Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday Sewing: My Very Favorite Story

Merry Christmas Eve! Just wanted to pop in and share my favorite Christmas sewing story from my holiday season:

For those who haven't caught on, I'm crazy about my cats. I'm a crazy cat lady in her mid 20's. It's bad. I had never had a cat before a little over a year ago, and now I have two fluffballs who are just the cutest. Last year I had taken a leftover stocking to hang for our only cat at the time, Ares. But now we have two cats! Who love to snuggle! And who needed matching stockings.

So, I had been going on and on ad nauseum about Lizzy House's upcoming line Catnap. I kept telling Stephen that it was perfect, but wasn't reaching stores until late December. I was just talking out loud one day when I said I should just email Lizzy House herself. 


I must have been feeling quite loony, because I felt a little ridiculous going to her website to her contact form and sending an email that basically read like this:

"Hi, I must have your fabric for my kitty stockings. Nothing else is acceptable. Please sell me some of your fabric before I can get it in stores. Please don't judge the things I'm willing to do for my cats to have Christmas stockings. Please don't notify the police that a crazy lady is begging for fabric. I promise to name my next kitty after you. Or my first born child. You're fantastic, k thanks bye."

[Some of those are direct sentences taken from the email. You can decide which.]

And wouldn't ya know, Lizzy House was tickled at my email and agreed to send me some Catnap. Seriously guys, she's nice. As far as I know, she didn't put an Internet restraining order on my craziness, but she might have told her friends that she's got a fangirl. And Catnap is so richly colored and the fabric feels great.

This IG photo isn't the best quality - my apologies!

And I have no shame. Because my baby fluffs are going to have matching stockings to tear into tomorrow morning. I do plan on adding their names to the cuffs for next year, but I just ran out of time.

I hope you have a very merry Christmas and open up lots of fabric tomorrow :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Giveaway winner and the holiday sewing never ends

Hi to all you new followers out there, and hi to all you followers-for-a-while! I updated my SMS Giveaway post with the winner, so please check back in. I do apologize for not replying to everyone's comments - there were a lot of you!

I totally meant to announce the winner over the weekend and then this happened:

So you know, I was a little preoccupied ;) That ornament accompanied the ring, as we swap ornaments with each other every year, so we can build up our stash of meaningful ornaments [see, I stash more than fabric]. I'd say this year became pretty meaningful!

In other less sparkly news, I still have a backlog of some Christmas projects to share, but I think I'll just let the photos do most of the talking:

Munki Munki Christmas pillow - a new FMQ trial - I'm not so much a fan of it. The FMQing, not the pillow. I love the pillow!

Some inspiring geometrics. That turned into this...

An almost-but-not-quite finished advent calendar. I've been sewing on the buttons as I hang the daily ornament. Because you know, sometimes you just lose your steam at the prospect of 24 buttons and making binding. It will all get done in the end :)

I have one Christmas project left to share, and it's probably my favorite story so far, so check back later in the week!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! - Giveaway Closed

**This giveaway is closed.**

Congrats to Kathy, from Aspiring Amerliorant, for being winner RNG #30! She's got some little boys of her own, and wouldn't an orange and blue quilt just be perfect for them to share! I have sent her an email, but if I do not hear back from her by Friday 12/20 then I will pick a new winner.

Thank you to all who entered, I had a great time reading everyone's comments.

Ah, the time when Christmas comes a little bit early for some lucky giveaway winners, thanks to Sew Mama Sew's biannual Giveaway Day! Welcome to my little space of the Internets, where I parade my cats, my sewing mistakes, snippets of my life, and occasionally have something finished to share ;)

I've participated in several of these since I've been blogging, and I thought this time around I'd do something a little different!

I'm giving away 150 HSTs in oranges and blues. The solid is Kona White. All the oranges and blues are designer, quilt-shop quality, with a couple Kona solids thrown in, and one Moda Crossweave. The images above are just some of the fabrics in the stack. The HSTs are 4.5" unfinished, and will require trimming. The seams are already pressed open. It's almost half and half between orange and blue, but there are maybe 10 more blue HSTs in the bunch. For those who would want to know, I piece with Gutterman polyester thread.

I'm also throwing in a length of Kona blue [not sure exactly what the shade is, but it's a medium blue] that is just a few inches shy of a full yard. So basically sew those HSTs together, cut up that Kona for some binding or backing, and you almost already have yourself a quilt! :)

The triangles are all left over from my X Marks the Spot quilt earlier this year, and I just don't want to make another quilt from them. They need a new home!

Here's the rules:
This giveaway is open worldwide (U.S. as well as international entries welcome) and will close on December 13th at 5 p.m. PST. I will announce who the random winner is by Sunday, December 15th.

Here's how to enter:
* leave a comment on this post
* to get a second bonus entry let me know that you are my follower, or become one and then let me know

**Please make sure that you have an email address attached to your comment, or I will have to pick a new winner!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Sewing - Small Projects for Gifting

Whoa. I totally meant to be back here and post more last week. However, I just woke up from my too-much-turkey-and-stuffing-and-shopping coma. 

But I digress.

I finished up my sister's gingerbread pillow before she had to head back home last weekend. I did not finish my own pillow and I didn't make my other sister a pillow. Nor did I take pictures of this finished pillow. Because of that coma. [Don't worry, my older sister got lots of Santa gnomas to make up for her pillow loss.]

Then I decorated for Christmas! I have one sweet and sour fluffmuff kitty who was all up in our Christmas tree jam last year, and then we got another kitten earlier this year. So I wasn't playing any games with those guys. But I LOVE ornaments and decorating, and I wasn't willing to give that up. Enter: our living room ledge. This is the weirdest space and previously held no regular decorations. It's just so...big...

Now it holds awesome paper stars from IKEA, a double garland wrapped in lights by yours truly, a giant empty box wrapped as a present, and a light-up glass present. Plus, ornaments! I have a 2.5 ft real tree that has no ornaments on it as well. Take that cats!

As far as sewing goes, in addition to the decorations that I was making last weekend, I whipped up some quick sachets to send in all the care packages to friends I was mailing out. Because who doesn't need their underoos and socks to smell like a field of lavender?!

All you need is some orphan charm squares, the filling of your choice, and a funnel. And really, the funnel is just optional for your convenience! 

My charm squares are from Seaside by October Afternoon. I looove the line, but I've had the charm pack for quite some time and hadn't used it, so I figured I might as well hop to it. Plus it's a great collection that is cohesive, yet has prints that are masculine-friendly and prints that are very feminine. The back of the sachets are navy Essex linen, which I thought might breathe better to release the scents. My fillings are lavender and cedar shavings. Feminine and masculine ;) I bought both from an Etsy shop, which had excellent service. However, I was so offended by the terrible service I received at the first shop that I approached to purchase the items. Let me just say, the fact that it's online and your customer isn't directly in front of you does not mean you can treat them badly!

Anyways, you sew the charm squares up with a normal 1/4" seam, leaving an opening about an inch, or large enough to put your funnel into. I realized throughout this process that if you're filling your sachets with cedar shavings you might want a larger hole. Clip the corners, turn right-side out and press.

Fill them as much as desired. Hand-stitch the opening closed. My hand-stitching isn't invisible, but hopefully the recipients don't notice.

Gift wrap as desired! [My mom makes those cute little tags, aren't they adorable?!]

Sachets go so quickly assembly line style and are a fantastic item to just have on hand for a last-minute thoughtful gift.

Happy sewing :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Sewing: Pillows for All, and to All a Good Night!

Happy Wednesday! For most of us, this is the last work day of the week [can I get a WOO!]. Also for most of us, it's WIP Wednesday ;)

I'm currently working on a pillow for myself and my two sisters.

For me: a present block in green, because I needed a pop of green on my couch. I'm very traditional when it comes to Christmas decorations, so you won't find any aqua or pink at my house as a main color. Not that I don't think it can look nice, but I like more traditional color schemes and motifs because it reminds me of my family.

I didn't use a pattern, I just made it up based on what size I wanted my pillow cover to be [18"]. Fabrics are a Cotton Couture solid that was on sale at Fat Quarter Shop for like $4/yd [!!!], Riley Blake La Creme red dots, and a Children at Play gingham. I started quilting last night, remembering my promise to myself to try new quilting designs.

For my younger sister Robyn: a gingerbread man! This was on her request. I used one man from the block from last year's Fat Quarter Shop Deck-ade the Halls quilt. This top is 16" once I added some borders. Fabrics are another Cotton Couture solid, two light green prints from the Basic Grey charm pack from yesterday's projects, and a light aqua snowflake print from Basic Grey's Jovial line. I've quilted the background of this guy with swirls.

My older sister Rachel is getting a snowflake-inspired pillow that hasn't been started yet. I really really hope I'll be able to pass these pillows out tomorrow, so I guess I better get to it!

Have a safe, delicious, and happy Thanksgiving!

*Linked with WIP Wednesday

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holiday Sewing: Carepackages for Friends

Hi all!

This week I've got lots of holiday sewing to share. I just made a quilt that I can't share, which always bums me out, but I've been spending some time making some small holiday projects. that I CAN show off!

I have some really amazing friends who live scattered around the country. We really enjoy sending each other care packages throughout the year. I've recently fallen down on the job of just sending little cards and gifts. One of my friends, Kadi, just sent me this fantastic Halloween package that had candy, a Starbucks gift card, festive socks, Target coups, and some other little things. It was just so thoughtful and full of things that are absolutely me.

So my first order of business was a return package for her!

I had a Basic Grey charm pack [I cannot for the life of me remember the fabric line] from last year laying around. I cut it up into 2.5" squares and sewed 25 together into a hot pad. I normally make them with Insul-Brite, but I didn't have any, so I quilted the top onto a layer of batting, and then quilted the entire thing to another layer of batting and the backing fabric.

I rounded the corners and added some red pinstriped binding. The loop is a piece of the selvage!

Throw in a kitchen towel with some matching squares sewed onto it....

...and load a basket full of goodies.

I'm going to be sending this out on Friday so that it will arrive at the start of the Christmas season! I hope it will bring a smile to my sweet friend's face :)

Stay tuned for some upcoming posts of holiday pillows, advent calendars, and handmade Christmas presents!

*Linked with Fabric Tuesday

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bowtie bonanza

Don't bonanzas sound like so much fun?!

I've spent all my free sewing time recently making these bowties.

I'm on course to finish this weekend, so I'll hopefully be able to share soon :)

*linked with WIP Wednesday

Monday, November 4, 2013

Holiday Sewing: It begins

You guys, I had the most productive weekend. I took several naps, I watched The Conjuring [zomg scariest movie ever, and I hate scary movies], ate Chinese food with a friend, went to see Ender's Game [great!], and...took down my Halloween decorations.

Which meant I had a naked pillow! Eep!

Fabric: literally the perfect weird orange shade from Kitschy Kitchen and the perfect rusty shot cotton, plus Lush Uptown of course

What's a girl to do but make a new pillow cover for the month of November?

This pillow cover conveniently coincides with the Sewing with Certainty series over at Quilty Habit! Ah, serendipity. As I was making this simple cover, I thought about how I really want to expand my FMQ skills. I'm brave every now and then and try a new design, but once I become comfortable with it I forget to continue on to a different design. So designs that I'm comfortable with [stippling, swirls, pebbles, back and forth lines] become the norm.

And if we don't push ourselves, how will we ever improve? [Ps, you can link up your goals over at Quilty Habit right here]

But baby steps, folks, which is why on this pillow, I went with a design that I feel comfortable with on the inner border, and instead just tackled how to transition through the corners. It's not perfect, but I'll take it. And I've made a promise to myself to continue the trend when I make my Christmas pillows in a few weeks. Because 24" pillow covers are the perfect practice size!

And then once I finished sewing the pillow, I thought to myself, "November is just a few short weeks away from December, so I better get my holiday sewing started," which led to a small army of these guys:

These are from the Santa gnoma panel from last year's Winterkist line. I still have a little more than a yard of the black print, not including the 20 gnomas that I cut out on Saturday. Plus 1/2 yard of the pink gnomas. They're backed in a red pin dot and stuffed with polyfill, then hand-stitched closed at the bottom. Sometimes I add a pocket on the back for an alternative to Elf on a Shelf -- which I love the concept, but find the actual elf to be really creepy.

Gnomas for all!

Happy Fabric Tuesday everyone :)

*Linked with Quilt Story

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I wasn't at Quilt Market but...

...I do already have a wish list of fabrics that were debuted!

The entire weekend I kept up on Instagram [I'm sewfestive on IG, although I use it for personal and sewing] and I kept telling anyone I was with when I saw a great fabric line. Except um, they didn't care.

But I know you guys care, so here is my Quilt Market drool-worthy fabric list:

Photo courtesy of The Little Red Hen
Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander

Oh.my.GAWD. I have been literally craving this fabric for over a month, since I first stumbled on a pre-order on some shop's website. AND GUYS. This collection also has some of the sketchy prints in 108"wide...backing my quilts in some of the best fabric ever? Um, yes please. I will be buying all of this. All that I can get my hands on.

Photo courtest of The Long Thread

Garden by Ellen Luckett Baker

Now this is a collection that I'm just really interested in some of the prints. Top left, top right, bottom right, and the raindrop print and the print under it. But I'm loving the mustard, cerise, gray, turquoise. I can totally see myself making some new pillow covers out of these prints, which are a canvas blend from Kokka.

Photo courtesy of Simplify
April Showers by Bonnie and Camille

I want all the great basics/blenders that this line has. Stripes, dots, ginghams...those are the fabrics that I use constantly.

Photo courtesy of Hawthorne Threads

Chromatics by AGF Studio

There are several prints in this line from past lines, but they're reproduced in multiple colorways. I, for one, want the above print in every single color. Yum.

Photo courtesy of Hawthorne Threads

Palos Verde Voile by A Creative Mint

I've been patiently waiting for that print to be released for several months. I'm not a patient person by nature. Also, note to self, must make a quilt in these colors!

Fabric that I want but can't find good enough pictures of:

-Wee Wander by Sarah Jane Studios
-Meadow by Leah Duncan [zomg the greens in this line look SO GOOD]
-Botanique by Joel Dewberry

And um, don't judge me, but I also want some prints from Lizzy House's Catnap, to make my kittyfluffs a pillow/bed.

So now that you know my deepest fabric desires...what about you?!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Who me? A quilter?

Oh, this is a quilting blog where I love to show off finished quilts?

Look, I finished a quilt! Finally!

But wait, it's a quilt I can't show off for 6 months...

The irony.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Precision by Sew Festive
Precision, a photo by Sew Festive on Flickr.

Ah, I love when I see personal growth. And that beautiful point up there, that's growth. Not paper pieced or anything!
I wish this were true all the way around in my life. September and October have been an exercise in patience. Sewing patience. I'm one of those people that moves in my head like a zillion miles per hour faster than I actually move...which leads to metaphorical and physical tripping. I had to ask for an extension on a deadline, which I HATE to do, on a personal level. The most amusing part? I set the deadline myself! I just always think and expect that people are wanting me to sew faster than I know I can. Le sigh.
But hey, I have beautiful points in my project. And I have salted caramel brownies. So life isn't all bad ;)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

WIP Wednesday!

This is the story of how sometimes things don't need to be perfect.

You see, more than a year ago I bought a cute Halloween panel of Riley Blake fabric. I had grand plans, as we all do. I'd cute the scenes up and make wonky log cabins, etc etc. Unsurprisingly, I didn't get there last Halloween.

I was determined to have a Halloween pillow this year though. And I had a new 24" pillow form laying all naked on my couch. But I just had zero ideas. None. I now know from buying two panels that have sat unused, that I'm just not a panel gal.

So I sewed some of the scenes back together, slightly wonky, with some polka dot sashing. Very very veeerryy simple quilting to frame each square. And then I hit the binding stage and I said ew. I hate binding. I hate making it and doing it. So I knew that if I had to make binding out of that polka dot fabric like I planned, I'd never finish this pillow.

So I used a Kona cream color that was leftover binding from something else. And I made an envelope back because I just didn't want to fiddle with a zipper. Can I sound like any more of a lazy sewer than I was with this project?

So, moral of the story. This may not have all been the perfect use of this panel, or the perfect pillow cover, but I think it's adorable, it's actually on my couch, and not a single person who comes over is going to wonder why it's not more intricate than it is.

In the same spirit, I took some leftover AMH Field Study velveteen that I had and made a 16" pillow cover. It's simple, but it does the trick. And I love it too. I love the feeling and the color with my couch. I love that it will be on my couch all season to bring a little festivity. Oh, and that selvage on the back...perfect!

And isn't that the beauty of being able to make these things ourselves? That we can just make something else up if we decide we need a change? Yes, yes it is.

And because this is a hodge-podge of a post, why not throw in some Modern Maples progress:

This is already too big to be a pillow, so I guess it will be a quilt. Ha. I've decided I will just make up the other 6 leaf blocks without paying attention to size, just overall shape [I want a mixture of tall and wide] and then go back and make 3/4 log cabins without any leaves.

Just from making these 3 up I can tell you that this is pretty difficult for me. I like order, and not having a particular size or shape to go for is a little disconcerting. And I'm going to need to balance my color over the course of the blocks, so that the saturation is evenly spread out.

But I like it so far! :)

Happy Wednesday!

**Linked with WIP Wednesday