Monday, July 28, 2014

winner winner!


I owe you a winner this morning!  The winner of the Mustang Fat Quarter Bundle is entry #148, Amy!  Congrats Amy!  Look for an email from me later today to get your shipping information.  In case you aren't Amy who won, don't fret!  The Fat Quarter Shop has all 5 of the Cotton and Steel lines and blenders both available in bundles and yardage that are ready to ship.  Thanks everyone for entering, and thanks Fat Quarter Shop for a great giveaway!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cotton + Steel Mustang Giveaway


As promised, I'm back today with a giveaway sponsored by The Fat Quarter Shop for a fat quarter bundle of Melody Miller's Mustang line for Cotton + Steel!  In case you missed my raving about this fabric yesterday when I shared my Sidekick tote there is not one thing that I don't love about this fabric line.  

If I had to pick my favorite thing, I'd have to say the fun metallic accents that are featured in a few of the prints throughout the line.  Just a fun little surprise in an already outstanding group of fabrics.  I also love that a few of the prints are border prints.  I used the Mint Sparkle flower print in my tote yesterday, and featured the floral border in the pocket, but then used the metallic polka dot for the recessed zipper.  I already am imagining a dress in this fabric for Nora, with the fun metallic dots and floral border at the bottom of the dress!  

Here are a few of my favorite prints from the line:

Mustang Coral Arrows Yardage <br/>SKU# 0006-01

Mustang Mint Sparkle Flower Yardage <br/>SKU# 0002-01

Mustang Teal Mustang Yardage <br/>SKU# 0003-02

The other great thing about all of the C + S fabric lines is that the colors coordinate, so it makes it incredibly easy to mix lines and use the Cotton + Steel Basics with each of the separate lines or mix and match them all together!  You can bet I've already purchased yardage of a few of my favorites across all the lines!

You can find all 5 of the Cotton and Steel fabric lines as well as the Basics in stock in bundles as well as yardage at The Fat Quarter Shop.

Now for the part you've been waiting for, The Fat Quarter Shop has generously given me an entire fat quarter bundle of the Mustang line to give away to one lucky reader!  Lets all say "Thank you Fat Quarter Shop!"  For a chance to win, please enter the giveaway below! (Giveaway ends Monday, July 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM)


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mustang Sidekick tote

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If you were to ask my husband, he would be the first to tell you that I need a new bag like a need a hole in my head.  But what does he know about purses and bags anyways, because it's true, I really did need a new every day bag.  I had been on the look out for a purse/bag small enough that I could use it for every day things that a gal needs a purse for, but big enough that I could stash an extra diaper, travel wipes and spare binky for emergencies (you know, the important "keep baby from fussing" things) when Nora and I were out on a quick errand.  While I love my diaper bag, its a giant pain in the patoot to lug around.

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Enter the Sidekick Tote.  I'm a big fan of Anna's patterns, the directions are easy to follow along, include lots of pictures and often include techniques that make me go "why didn't I think of that??".  I've made her Divided Basket and it gets used daily as it holds diapers and baby essentials that we use constantly.

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My absolute favorite part of this bag is the pocket.  Yes I love it because it is HUGE, easily accessible and super functional for things that would get lost in the bottom of my bag, like my keys, but can we talk for a minute about the fabric??  Yes that is definitely what makes the pocket my favorite thing about this bag.

I sort of missed out on all the buzz back at fall Quilt Market when Cotton + Steel was revealed, you know with having a baby and all at the same time.  And not to trudge off topic here, but can we talk about how I missed out on fall Quilt Market in my hometown of Pittsburgh last fall??  Oh that Nora, its a good thing shes so darn cute :-)  I suppose I'll have to catch it on the next visit to the Burgh.

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Now that Cotton + Steel is available for purchase, I immediately ordered a fat quarter bundle of Melody Miller's Mustang line.  Once it arrived and I was finished petting all that beautiful fabric, I decided the only way to make my Sidekick Tote even better, would be to use a few prints as accent fabrics.  I didn't even realize that alot of the Cotton + Steel prints had fun metallic accents, but that is by far my favorite part.  I used the Mint Sparkle Flower border print on the top flap and the Coral Arrows as the main pocket fabric, and made sure to get lots of that metallic goodness in each print.  (Bag main print is Essex yarn dyed linen in black).

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Aside from the awesome pocket, my second favorite part of this bag is the recessed zipper.  I had never made a bag with a recessed zipper and I'm 100% a fan.  I used more of that Mint Sparkle Flower print, and just used the "sparkle" part of the yardage for a fun recessed zipper surprise.  I think the only thing I would do differently next time would add a little interfacing to that inner top band fabric for added reinforcement.

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The inside is extra roomy and perfect for daily essentials plus "extras" when necessary.  I made the pocket larger than Anna called for and added a zipper pocket on the other side of the lining.  If you can't tell, I like pockets.

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Another new to me feature of this bag is the adjustable strap.  I've always skipped this step on previous bags and just done a straight forward strap, but I'm definitely happy I took the extra time, as it makes it easy for use as an over the shoulder bag, or cross body, which I'm becoming a fan of because it leaves more hands for carrying baby, and all her associated "things."  Secondly I think it really adds that "this is not homemade" stamp onto the bag.

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If its not evident by my gushing, I'm a huge fan of this bag, and plan on using it religiously as my go to daily bag.  Not to mention I get to look at that pretty sparkly fabric every day, which is a total plus!

Speaking of that awesome Melody Miller Mustang fabric, stop back tomorrow where I will have a fat quarter bundle of Mustang to give away to one lucky reader, sponsored by The Fat Quarter Shop!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mixed Tape Side A quilt top

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I cannot believe how long it has taken me to actually turn these blocks into a quilt top.  I received all of these blocks as part of the 4x5 modern quilt bee, from various hives, and I'm embarrassed to say that these blocks started rolling in in October of 2011 that's almost 3 years ago!  Yikes, well I suppose better late than never, but I'm really kicking myself that  I didn't do it sooner, because I am LOVING this quilt top!  The colors are just so calm and serene.

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This quilt top came together completely on a whim.  I finally had the urge to sew something, and instead of pulling fabrics and starting something new, I just wanted to sew NOW.  Enter entire closet full of WIP projects in various stages of completeness.  I actually have about 6 bins of various bee blocks that are in need of sewing together, and these ones were speaking to me.  So I literally just threw them up on my design wall and started sewing the blocks together.

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If I wanted to be picky, I probably should have spent a little time nit picking over the layout, making sure the more dense color blocks were interspersed better with the blocks with more negative space, but I sort of love the randomness and how all the blocks really play nice with one another regardless.

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Nora totally gives this two thumbs up, or at least a quick wave hello while she's practicing her mad crawling skills.

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I have grand plans to turn this eventual quilt into a mad quilt bee block extravaganza, so we'll see how that turns out.  I dug into another bee block bin and started throwing blocks up on my design wall to get sewing for a quilt back (hint hint, for Side B).  Nothing better than a reversible quilt, and one made from more than 30 quilty friends?  Just awesome.

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Yes Nora, I agree that this quilt top rocks.  Girls got good taste at 9 months old, I tell you!






Monday, July 14, 2014

recharged.

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Well, that was an unexpected blogging hiatus!  When I published my most recent post back in May, I certainly did not expect to not post again for almost 2 months.  Yikes.  Can I blame it on that adorable little girl in the above picture?  Yes I think I will.  She is growing up entirely too quickly, I feel like I blink and she has somehow changed!  That's probably because she has, every day is a new adventure.  Just in the past month she has learned to crawl, will wave and anyone and everyone, and cut her very first tooth, and get this, it was her right eye tooth!  We've affectionately been referring to her as our vampire baby.

Nora will be 9 months old later this month, and I feel like I am just resurfacing and getting a handle on things.  Everyone had been telling me how much I'd regret wishing Nora could move once she was actually mobile, but I'm totally not.  Its like she can finally entertain herself for short periods of time.  Granted she has a new found love of electrical outlets and lamp cords and needs to be watched every millisecond of the day, but I feel like I can actually get things done while she is awake, as she is content to entertain herself with her toys kitchen utensils like wooden spoons and measuring cups.

She is however making me incredibly aware how much room for improvement there is when it comes to cleaning the house, in particularly the floors.  She will find any spec of anything lying on the floor, make a beeline for it and have it in her mouth in 2 seconds flat.  I've also been scouring pinterest  for a safe natural floor cleaner that actually gets the floor clean!  I had been using a Shark steam mop, and Nora's pant knees have been looking a little dingy from crawling even with regular mopping.  Just for the heck of it I ran a Swiffer Wet Jet over my just steam mopped floor, and the dirt I picked up was embarrassing!  I know our 2 oversized dogs don't help the situation, but still.  So if you have any recommendations, help a mama out and send them my way!

Anyways, enough with the reasons why I haven't been posting.  I think  I am finally finding a balance and finding time to sit behind my machine and sew here and there.  No, I can't spend marathon sessions completing entire quilt tops in a day, but I can spend an hour here and there and enjoy the time.  It definitely helps that I have 2 new nieces/nephews joining the world later this year in November/December, and they certainly need a quilt or five in their lives!

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I have a few posts to write up in the next week or two, but in the meantime, here is a post about my Sew Together Bag that is currently featured over at Ellison Lane as part of her Patchwork Summer Series.

I seriously love this bag.  I actually gave this particular bag to my sister in law as a birthday gift, and immediately had to make one for myself because I love it that much.  I'll be writing up a post for the second bag soon, so stay tuned!  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

baby Leon's baby quilt

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A friend of mine asked if I would make a baby quilt for a friend of hers who was expecting a little boy.  I've been quite picky with commissioned projects, as I'm pretty limited in sewing time these days, and only want to spend it working on projects I really love.  This friend is always pretty open to whatever design I pick and lets me do most of the choosing, so I rarely have an issue making quilts as gifts for her!

Her only request was that I take a look through the mommy-to-be's baby registry to make something that went with the colors in the nursery.  I do this anyways, so it certainly wasn't a problem.  When I peeked at her registry, everything was brown and cream and void of just about any color, let alone the bright saturated colors I tend to gravitate towards.  Hmm.  This certainly made me pause, as brown and cream are not colors I use often or have much of in my stash.

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After getting a sense of this mama-to-be's style, she seems to like things very classic, clean, simple and neutral.  I took a few days to think the quilt top over, both design and color wise, and decided to just head to Joann's and see what I came up with.  I picked out a few brown prints and a 3 Kona shades of cream, and ultimately decided to add in a few prints in a dusty baby blue, as I couldn't bear to make a quilt that consisted of only brown and cream.  After much debate, I went with my gut and pieced together a simple strip quilt consisting of strips of various widths.

  Even though this strip quilt fits the "classic, clean, simple and neutral" bill, after piecing the top I thought it was just too plain and needed "something".  Mom ended up going into labor and delivering the baby just as I was basting the quilt, so we were able to find out the brand new baby's name.  I applique'd baby Leon's name to his quilt and think it adds just the "something else" this rather straight forward strip quilt needed.

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As for the applique, I found a font I liked and typed out baby Leon's name in an absurdly large size in Word, and printed out each letter, then used light weight fusible web to adhere the text to the quilt.  I just used a straight stitch about 1/8" in from the letter edge, and applied fray check to the raw edges to prevent as much fraying as possible when washing.  I can happily report after the first washing, there was little to no fraying, so the applique should hold up to all the love and washings a baby quilt is bound to receive.

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I backed this quilt in a brown Minky dot I picked up at Joann's and I must say I think I'm a Minky convert. I don't know that I will ever back a baby quilt in anything other than Minky from this point forward.  I was a little scared off when I used a "furry" minky on the back on Nora's Raspberry Orange Chevron quilt, I had a really hard time quilting it, which I attributed to just using Minky, but I think it was more because the nap was so thick, not that it was Minky in general, as I had little to no problems quilting this quilt.

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As for the quilting, I stuck with my "classic, clean, simple and neutral" mantra and straight line quilted at about a 45 degree angle about 1 1/2" apart from one another.  I have to say even though this quilt is a beyond simple design, it really is one of my favorites.

We have a few close friends that are having babies, and I'm thinking they all need a quilt like this for their little ones.   Because it comes together so quickly, its an easy one to make once the baby is born and the name is known!  I'm even thinking of making of few of these without batting so it feels more just like a blanket, but is extra cuddly with the Minky.  Maybe I'll give it a try and make Nora one.  Because she definitely needs another quilt/blanket ;-)




Tuesday, May 13, 2014

a geranium or two

Ever since Nora was born, I have wanted to dip my feet back into clothing sewing and make a few dresses for her, but always hesitated and just worked on another baby quilt instead, you know, something a little more in my comfort zone.  My dear bloggy friend Ann is not only an amazing quilter, but sews oodles of dresses and clothes for her little girl, and sent me a great list of starter patterns and tutorials, and gave me just the necessary nudge to pick a pattern and just dive right in.  

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I decided I get my baby clothing toes wet with the Geranium dress by Made by Rae and could not be more pleased with how it came together!  I actually stitched up two Geranium dresses, one with a basic neckline and a pleated skirt, and one with a notched neckline and gathered skirt.  I also added piping where to bodice and skirt meet using this tutorial, and am equally smitten with how both dresses turned out.  I'd have to say by that smile, Nora's pretty happy with her handmade dresses too!

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For the first dress I used a print from the Croquet line by DS Quilts at Joanns.  From the moment I saw this purple plaid print, I knew I wanted to make some sort of clothing out of it for Nora, and the Geranium pattern was just the ticket!  I made the 6-12 month size, and while it fits to wear now, there is definitely room to grow, so it will get lots of wear this summer.  The pattern came together incredibly easy,  I think it took me just as long to trace and cut out the pattern pieces as it did to sew the dress together.  Very doable in one sewing session after Nora went to sleep.  I even got to try out the automatic button hole maker on my sewing machine for the first time!  Success!!

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I also made a matching diaper cover using this tutorial by Made and it is sort of the cutest little thing.  I'm a little bummed I forgot to snap a picture of it!

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For the second dress, I used an aqua Cloud 9 print also found at Joann's and paired it with a grey polyester blend suiting material I happened across while waiting at the cutting counter.  I love this version with ruched skirt and different print bodice and skirt, and with the skirt fabric being a polyester blend, it will definitely help keep wrinkles to a minimum!  While I love the purple plaid version, I'm not a fan of ironing my own clothes, let alone clothes for my 6 month old.  I definitely see more Geranium dresses in wrinkle resistant fabrics in Nora's future!!

I'm definitely planning much more baby clothes sewing, every thing is so itty-bitty, it certainly takes the intimidation factor away!  I'd love to hear your favorite baby/kids clothes sewing patterns and tutorials, what should I make next??