Sunday, December 30, 2012

We Three Kings

Over Thanksgiving weekend (doesn't that seem like 100 years ago?), I decided to finally open the package on the Three Kings paper piecing project. I bought this kit with the pattern at least 10 years ago. Since then I have been graced with two more daughters. This meant that my passion for sewing and quilting was put on the back burner.
Fast forward 10 years. The little people are big enough to play independently for longer periods of time, which means that I am able to dig through all of the projects I bought with the intention of completing. As I scoured the drawer of potential sewing endeavors, this one caught my attention.
After opening the bag, I dared myself to complete it by Christmas. I spent several nights sewing fabric to paper in blissful denial of all the shopping that I needed to do. Paper foundation piecing makes so many things possible that otherwise would be impossible.
When I completed the wall hanging, I decided to quilt it with metallic silver thread to match the silver stars in the background. This was a fun project that demanded attention to detail and a sense where the fabric would end up when it was folded out. Some nights this proved more than my brain could handle, so I enlisted the geometrical mind of my husband. Boy, he sure comes in handy!
We Three Kings was the most requested carol this Christmas season. Maybe by next year we can get the hardware hung up to hang this beautiful piece.
Happy Sewing

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

This year I thought it would be great to make placemats for the Christmas season. I also found some super cute placemats at my local quilt store, The Quilt Patch. I worked diligently on these placemats while my 9 year old was awake, in order to hide the awesome American Girl Doll outfit I was making for her.


I was almost finished, but was blessed with the opportunity to spend some time with my sister, brother-in-law, brother, sister-in-law, parents and niece and nephew. Both my brother and sister live far away, so I put the placemats away and enjoyed the limited time I was able to share with them.


After all of the great visits with family, I spent the day after Christmas finishing my placemats. All eight are completed and ready to use.


For this pattern, called Mix It Up by QP Quilts&Co., The striped units were sewn together first. Then the units are sewn down with the sashing to the batting and the backing. These quilt as you go placemat patterns are addictive! There are so many options and they come together so quickly!


One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is not like the rest. My 17 year old daughter accompanied me to the quilt store to spend my Birthday money. While I was getting fabric cut, she insisted she wanted to have "The Grinch" in her placemat. Well, I thought, why not? So she has her own placemat, complete with "Grinch" fabric.


Today I went and spent my Christmas gift certificate at The Quilt Patch. Amazingly, I was a little more than a dollar short on the total. Good thing I saved my allowance before I went in. Wonder if I will start any of these projects over break, or will they have to wait, like all the rest?


Happy Sewing



Friday, December 28, 2012

American Girl Outfit

This outfit for an American Girl Doll started back in November. My husband and I escaped the children for the weekend in Chicago. Since we were there right before Thanksgiving, I thought this would be a great time to get the Christmas shopping started. We bought my 9 year old a pair of cowboy boots at the American Girl Store.

When we returned home, I thought the doll needed something to wear with her boots. I had already made some PJ pants for her doll from this same pattern, so just switched the fabric with some scrap denim I had laying around in a drawer. So the pants were born.

Well, you know the doll would need to have a shirt to wear with her pants, so I decided to make the shirt as well. I dug through my scraps, which is so much fun, to find something to make a shirt out of. My 9 year old's favorite color is purple, so I decided to make it purple. The only trouble I had with this shirt was that the casing for the elastic in the neckline was too narrow to allow the smallest safety pin to pass through. This meant that I had to rip out the stitches at the seams and then sew them back together after I pushed the elastic through.

After the shirt and the jeans, I thought what the heck, why not make the jacket too? I mean the jean was just a scrap, what did I have to lose? This jacket came out so well that my husband thought I might not let my daughter have it until she was 30. There were a few things that I was unsure about while making, but after repeatedly reading the directions figured out.

This project was easier than expected, but I don't think I will make another one for a few years.

Happy Sewing,



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vintage Coin Purse

This Christmas season has been filled with programs, family get togethers and other wonderful activities. After many nights spent sewing gifts for my family, I have finally been able to finish some of my own sewing projects. The first thing I wanted to make was one of the fabulous coin purses that have been circulating blog land for the last several months.

The last weekend before school was out for break, I was racking my brain for something cool to make for my children's teachers. They are such great people, I wanted to make them something special. After much searching and a little panicking, remembered the coin purse blog hop I looked at a little while back.

My favorite pattern was found on the Sew We Quilt blog. The pattern was purchased at Craftsy. These coin puses were easy to put together and turned out super cute. Don't you think?

All teachers have to carry their keys at all times, so I thought they could use a key fob too.

Back to today. For Christmas, my awesome 9 year old bought me a cute fat quarter from one of the local quilt stores. When I opened this gift, I decided it would be perfect for my very own change purse. So today I finally put my own together.

It turned out just as cool as the rest!

All of the hardware was purchased at Joann Fabrics. The fabric (other than for mine) was left over from other quilting projects.

Hmm... What to sew next?



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Have You Ever Been Short of Fabric

I had so much fun putting together the Halloween placemats that I thought I could use the Christmas fabric I have in my stash to make another set. So out came my small pile of Christmas fabrics to audition for the part. I found the perfect pieces for the top, then had to scrounge for a piece large enough to make the backings of the placemats. The large piece was left over from a rug that I made several years ago.

First, I cut the backing, just to make sure I had the right amount. I was hoping to make six, since that is how many are in the family, but there was only enough for four. Now, onto the fabrics for the top. I had measured each piece carefully to make sure there was enough yardage to make the project. When I opened each piece, I quickly remembered that I had used these to back stockings, since there was a piece missing in the shape of a stocking. Oh My!! Strategically cutting and careful measuring, allowed me to get enough of the fabric for the centers and thin border. I was hoping to have enough to get the outer border since I had the right number of strips.

As you can see, there was only enough red wreath fabric to complete three of the placemats. Fortunately, there was a small piece of cream fabric with the same wreaths on it in my stash. This will become the placemat of honor. I am positive my children will fight over this one!

So, there was not quite enough fabric to make all of them exactly the same. So what! They are great and will be used often.

What will I sew this week? Not sure yet. Oh, my prep areas are mostly clean, which is a huge improvement over last week!

Happy Sewing


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tackling My Gremlins

There are gremlins in my sewing spaces. I know it couldn't have been me that made this gigantic mess! Maybe I could blame my children. So this is how my work surfaces get when I am spending almost all of my free time sewing. Who wants to spend time picking up, when creating the projects is so much more fun?

This is my cutting table. There is an overfull bin of fabrics that I have used on recent projects, perhaps I should sort out those scraps and put them away. The bin is so full the fabrics have seeped across the table to create several more piles of recently used scraps. If I put all of these away, it might be easier to cut projects out and lay them out when I am ready.

This is my staging area. There are new purchases that are waiting to be put away, projects in progress and other things that find their home here. Do you like my phone? My little one likes to sit with me, play with me or talk to me while I sew.

Even though this is a part of the creative process, I think we all know what I will be working on this week. This will get picked up this week or I may lose my sanity.

Happy Sewing


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Midi Bag

Tonight is probably the slowest my week gets. The rest of the week is packed full of musical practice, conferences and a football game. So, I thought I would finish up the Midi bag I started this weekend.

This bag is so easy to put together. I think that is what makes it so fun for a busy mama, like myself to make during the week. After working all day and doing the necessary chores at home, my mind is not always at it's sharpest. That might explain me forgetting to leave an opening for turning in the lining. At least I caught it before I had assembled the whole bag!


Don't you just love the purple, gray, turquoise and black together?

The lining is my favorite fabric in this bag. It makes a nice light colored lining, which makes it easier to see inside the bag when digging for keys or chapstick.

Now to go dig through some more of my fabrics to find things to go with the other fabrics I purchased. Who am I kidding, it is time to go pack the lunches.

Happy Sewing


Monday, October 1, 2012

Super Simple Placemats

After work this evening, I decided to cut out the placemats that I wanted to make. They are quilt as you go, so I thought it might be possible to finish one in the time I had to spare.

Suggestion to self: look at the fabric yardages to try and remember which fabric is for each piece. This would allow me to avoid a panic attack over lack of fabric to finish the project. Lucky for me, I had some solid black left over from the binding of the t-shirt quilt I made this spring. Pretty sure these black fabrics are from the same bolt. I know they are from the same store. If you have ever tried to match solid black fabric, you know what I am talking about.

This placemat is so cute that I can't wait to put the other 3 together. The pattern I used is called Framed Seasons and is made by QP Quilts & Co. There is also a video tutorial here.

Happy Sewing


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Midi Bag Finish

The Midi bag is finished! The bag is bright and ready to carry anyones daily needs. The Midi would make a great purse or just a tote bag. The colors I chose for this bag are some of my favorite bright colors.

I made the fabrics in this bag line up all the way around the bag. It only took me a few minutes of hard thinking and one quick search on google images to figure out how I needed to place the squares to make it happen.

After yesterday's post, I left off with having my fabric fused to the interfacing. After you have your fabrics placed wherever you would like them, you fuse down the squares. Once your fabrics are fused, you simply fold the squares over on the first short dotted line. You will sew 1/4" from this line on the solid line.

I chain sew my panels, so I can save a little thread. The Quilt Smart Company has made a great project for both a beginner and advanced quilter to use. This method was a great time saver that created very accurate piecing. I love this new bag and believe there will be many more in my future!

Happy Sewing


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fabric Play

Today I spent the day looking through my fabric scraps. For me this is a great time to reminisce about projects from the past. I don't know about you, but I can remember where each and every fabric was used. When I am making a project that uses some of my scraps I get to remember all of the baby quilts, big girl quilts and bags that I have made before.

These are two different piles to use in different projects. These piles of scraps were left over from a quilt, 2 bags, and a table topper. They are going to now find a home in new midi bags, a pattern by Quilt Smart.

Step one for this pattern is to cut squares from several different fabrics and fuse them to a light weight interfacing, with the squares marked on it. This is super simple and the next step is a super time saver! I will show you that step tomorrow, but look at the fused squares for one of the bags.

All of my squares are cut and fused to the interfacing. You may notice that some of the squares are slightly askew. No worries, once they are sewn together, no one will ever know. I think I am already in love with this bag. For me that doesn't take much since I do LOVE bags!

Happy Sewing



Friday, September 28, 2012

Finally Finished Happy Holidays Table Topper

This year for Mother's Day I gave homemade gifts, surprising I know. May was a zoo around here, with one daughter graduating, a party to give, a fourth birthday, a party to give. That was just one weekend! So one gift was ALMOST finished. I am slightly ashamed that it took me this long, but feel great to have one of my "owed" projects finished.

I found the pattern Happy Holidays Tree Topper by Atkinson Designs through a You Tube video the owner of my local quilt store, The Quilt Patch made. The video was great and I knew I needed to get into the store soon to get my supplies.


Pattern and fabric in hand, I returned home and put mine together within a day! The second, using the same fabrics, was finished except for the binding the next day. It has taken me almost 5 months, but the gift is finished. I am sure my Mother-in-law will love it.

The owner of The Quilt Patch, Kathy, has made several How to videos on You Tube. The videos are very helpful with the basics of how to make certain projects. You can find her videos on The Quilt Patch Channel on You Tube.

This project appealed to me because it used a "new to me" technique to create the pieced triangles. I sewed two strips of fabric together on both long edges. Then, I cut these strips into smaller rectangles, cut them in half diagonally to create triangles with two different fabrics! It was fun and easy to put together.

For my next trick, I think I may put together some holiday placemats.

Happy Sewing



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Do I Find the Time?

Well, I wave my magic wand and the rest of the world falls away. It's just my fabric, my machine and me. O.K., back to reality! There is no magic answer. What works for me will not work for everyone. How do I manage 4 children (one in college), a full time job, a husband, cooking every night, a multitude of sporting events, the list goes on and on? Every day is different, but unfortunately there is no magic wand. Time for the things I like to do is not found, it is made. 

First, I watch very little TV. I like TV, but in order to have time to do the things I love, like sew, read and write, I don't use the little time I have watching TV. Sometimes I do watch Netflix, while I am at my sewing machine, that way I can get some sewing done at the same time.


Second, I have learned to let some things go. This means that my house does not have floors that we can eat off of. Who wants to do that anyway? My house is clean most of the time, but it has that lived in feeling. There are piles of things around the house that don't always get put away like they should. A question I always ask myself is will my kids remember that their clothes were always put away immediately or that I spent the evening making them a dress while they helped me pull out the pins? Usually I believe that they will remember making something with me, like a dress or some cookies.


Third, I don't always win the time battle, sometimes I lose. There are always a million things to be done and often they seem more important than the time I spend doing the things that I like to do. After a little while, I remember that I am a much nicer, calmer, and peaceful person when I take the time to do the things, like sewing, that I enjoy.


However you find make the time to do the things you love, whether it is golfing, baking or sewing. I hope you are able to do something that you love. It brings so much peace to be able to sew and craft!


Happy Sewing (or whatever floats your boat)


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bandana Skirt

My 9 year old saw another pair of girls at church wearing a matching bandana dress and skirt. She has been wanting an outfit to match with her little sister. When I discovered who made the outfit, I immediately sent her a message asking her for the pattern/tutorial. She was kind enough to send me a link to the blog here:

I was going to put the skirts together for church this Sunday, but that didn't work out, so here is the one I finished. I just love the sassy pose, mostly because I know that she is not a sassy girl, just silly!

She is so creative that it is hard for the two of us to work together sometimes. I get a picture of what I want a project to look like and she gets a completely different picture in her head, let the head butting begin. I wanted to make the skirt from two of the same bandanas. She wanted 4 different ones. For once we compromised, it is made from 2 different bandanas.

One cool little trick that I learned from this project was that when using the bottom of a t-shirt for the top of the skirt, there is no need to create an elastic casing, it was already made for me!! Note: the bottom of the t-shirt was left over from my oldest daughter's t-shirt quilt.

The next item on my sewing agenda is to convince the 4 year old that I need to use her bandanas for a skirt. She is insistent that I am not going to use them to make a skirt. These are the kinds of obstacles that I have to overcome to get my sewing supplies and use them.

I had fun putting this together and I do love the smile it puts on my girl's face.

Happy Sewing


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Lorax Pillowcase

Tonight I put together the other pillowcase kit that I bought on my shopping spree at The Quilt Patch. Pillowcases are such quick and fun projects, I had this one all finished before dinner needed to be started. When my nephew was born, I made him a Dr. Seuss quilt with all of the wonderful characters from the master rhymer's book. When I saw the kit for this project, I thought it would be a perfect gift to match the quilt.


I made this case with a combination of 3 pillowcase patterns I have used in the past and a little of my own inspiration. The seams are all enclosed, so there will be no raveling on the inside! The two major seams were made with a french seam. A nifty trick I learned at a 4H workshop!

In spite of my scissor happy helper (the 4 year old), the project is together and ready for Christmas. My little one has really taken a liking to my squeeze scissors. She was snipping my threads before I was able to get the seams sewn. I love it when she helps me out, but am starting to get a wee bit nervous about her new found obsession. Maybe it is just part of becoming a little quilter, I can only hope!

Two gifts down, only a few more to go! Christmas here I come.

Happy Sewing


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Productive Weekend

I know that Christmas is a few months away, but when planning homemade gifts, it is never too early to start. My big plan this year was to start in January and make one gift a month so that they would almost all be ready by now. O.K. Try not to laugh so hard. I did make one for my mom, but gave it to her for Mother's day. Leaving me at 0 gifts made until this weekend.


My favorite local quilt store The Quilt Patch had a special sale this week for their frequent shoppers (called bag ladies). I was able to score fabric for 4 of my planned gifts at half off! While I was there, I found the cutest pillowcase kits for a few of my nieces and nephews. This is great since I was starting to worry I wouldn't be able to even think of gifts to make for them. Now that my gifts are planned, it is time to escape to my favorite place, my sewing table mmm...I mean put my nose to the grindstone.


I was able to get one of the pillowcases finished this weekend. Isn't it adorable for a little girl who loves horses and princesses? I think she will love it!


This weekend I also made glitter play-doh with my 4 year old for her pre-school class and some hand scrub for gifts. All in all, I am pretty impressed with our accomplishments!

Happy Sewing



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hair Elastics with Duct Tape Hair Bows

Last night my 9 year old was attempting to make a hair bow out of duct tape. After I figured out what she was trying to accomplish, I gently suggested we look it up on google to see if we could find a better way, so it would look like she wanted. Ten seconds later we found a great You Tube video to watch telling us exactly how to make these adorable hair bows. We immediately put one together, which she wore to the game. Lucky for us we have a bunch of duct tape laying around from the bag we are working on.


This project took us about 5 minutes from start to finish. Good thing to because we had about 10 minutes before we had to leave for parents night at the game and a benefit taco dinner.

Today, while out doing our errands we stopped at the Dollar Tree to pick up some more hair bands. We also needed to get new Halloween themed duct tape. It took my 9 year old about 10 minutes to put these two hair accessories together for her and her friend! Love this craft for girls to make on their own.

Tutorial to come soon, I see many of these in our future.

Happy Crafting!



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reusable Sandwich Bags

Tonight I decided to finally make the reusable sandwich bags that I have wanted to make for the last year. Just over a year ago my husband and I decided to take a class at our church called Financial Peace. This is a course in managing your money by Dave Ramsey. After beginning the class I decided to pack lunches in order to save money. A few months into my lunch making frugality, the number of plastic baggies I was using started to bother me. At the time I was only packing for my 9 year old and myself. Between the two of us I was using about 6 baggies a day, not too bad. Over the course of a week that is 30 baggies, a month 120, a year 1200. That is a lot of garbage over the course of our lives.

This year my youngest is going to preschool. To make the lunch lady's job easier I try to open all of her food and put it in easy to open bags. The number of baggies has jumped astronomically! Time to finally use the tutorial I dug up last year and the special fabric I bought for the project this spring.

One evening from start to finish - eight reusable lunch baggies. There are only 6 in the picture because 2 of them are already in lunch boxes, holding our cookies for tomorrow. If you would like to make some of these for yourself you can find the tutorial here
Happy Sewing


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Finished Placemat

After all of my griping and moaning, the placemat is finished and all I am scrounging for is 2- inch and 1/4 by 12 inch strips to border the block in the second placemat. This project was super easy and will create homes for some of the block of the month squares that would otherwise continue to live in a drawer as UFOs.


Now that this project is finished and I am waiting for two small strips to finish the partner, I think I need to make up some of the reusable lunch bags that I have been wanting to make.
Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Placemat Using a Lonely Quilt Block

As I said yesterday, there is a whole drawer full of unfinished block of the month projects. When I saw the kit for this placemat, a light came on and I thought about this heaping drawer of unused quilt squares. Now that I have finished this placemat, maybe these unloved beauties will find a home in a placemat.

O.K. As I am sewing this placemat, I am learning or relearning a valuable lesson. Sometimes a deal isn't a deal! Luckily, I bought the last two kits they had since there wasn't enough fabric to make the solid green border around the block. Then while assembling, I discovered the measurements were not correct in the pattern. It would have been handy if I had figured this out before I cut, but no. After cutting I discovered all the pieces to set the block were 1/2" short. My first thought was "Could I have stretched it that much?". After checking the math, the answer was no. Again, very grateful I bought 2. While ironing the second setting fabric, much to my dismay I discovered a lovely pen mark on the fabric.

Ugh......I know I shouldn't ask, but what now? After all my grumbling, I had just enough fabric to make all of the setting pieces. Now to dig out some green from my scrap bins for the border on the second placemat.

Maybe tomorrow I will be able to get it quilted and bound with a little more success:)