Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Moments

Have I ever mentioned that my son loves my sewing machine? Just from watching me (and his sister) he lifted the foot on his own, put the fabric down and lowered the foot again. He likes to adjust the speed control and occasionally I will turn it down as low as it can go and let him operate the foot pedal. He also knows what a bobbin is, though not what it's for. Maybe in the future I will have two sewing children in my house.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Puppy Love

She looks so cute and sad, doesn't she?

In the event that the purple polka dots weren't enough to jog your memories this is the Valentine's gift (with cupcake applique) that I posted a preview pic of last week.

I have used this pattern a few times before, so you may recognize it. I first made one as a baby gift for my nephew, then his big sister got jealous and had to have her own. Now their baby sister needs one too.

I thought the puppy initially made the perfect baby gift because my sister had decided on a puppy themed shower. I made decorations and cookies in the shape of dog bones and had to order custom birthday invitations with all of the wording changed to fit a baby shower because nothing was available.

Of course, today I got this e-mail advertising all new puppy themed baby shower decor and favors. Thanks! Too late!

Seriously though, I love Simply Baby Stuff. We ordered the Who Smells the Stinky Doo? game for my oldest niece's baby shower five years ago and it was hilarious to watch people sniffing their cards. They really are a fun site, and would have saved me so much work if they had only come up with the puppy idea sooner!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sewing school

Two weeks ago I started my step-daughter on the basics of sewing. She's really eager to learn and just like the me she has ideas about her next two projects before she's done with the current one.

Her first finished project was supposed to be a blanket for her current favorite stuffed animal. She had told me she wanted patches, so I grabbed a piece of notebook paper and drew a basic 9 patch and said, "Like this?"

I was far off. She drew her own blanket with five patches randomly strewn throughout it. Without teaching her applique (she's not quite ready for stitching that shows yet!) I cobbled together a rough pattern based on her drawing.

She finished sewing it together and decided it looked more like a pillow. So I got out my bag of stuffing and she got to work.

Look at how well these matched up! She's still learning though, and some lessons are coming harder than others. I pinned something for her and she got tired of fiddling with all of the pins so she took them out all at once. She wasn't too pleased with her "shortcut" when she had to redo half of her sewing because her two pieces weren't even together.

She's really enthusiastic about making things and I'm loving that she's learning some life lessons right along with her new skill.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday Moments: Tuesday Edition

This is the only picture with a child in it I have taken in the last week. It has been bitter cold here so no playing outside and no sledding. There have been moments, but not many photo ops.

I have another photo taken this same night where you can see my entire unmade bed and just out of reach are the pajama pants we laid him down in. He took them off, trying to convince us that we should put him back in the bath to play, then fell asleep waiting on someone to follow through with his idea.

Monday, January 24, 2011

More baskets

Amy's Creative Side

It's the end of Challenge week! I finished my goal of completing my 12 basket blocks, plus made two more!

I got my 12 baskets done and needed one more to fill out the layout, but the only prints I hadn't used were the laurel dots. I wasn't sure which one, if any, would work well so I made one of each.

This did not make the cut. However, when I showed my progress to my husband he suggested I make it bed sized since I had so much fabric left. I'm a lot nervous about farming out my I haven't decided yet what to do.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sweet giveaway

This is just a tiny little peek at a Valentine's gift I've been asked to make. I am loving how it is turning out! And look at that cute loopy stitch my new machine can do. Too bad I still had to do the French knots by hand.

Speaking of gifts, if you'd like to enter to win your own $50 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop, Suzannah at Adventures in Dressmaking is holding a giveaway right now! Who can resist the chance at free fabric?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Can you believe I'd never made a yo-yo until last week? It seems like such a sewing and quilting staple, and they're so easy!

My mother-in-law bought nearly every Clover yo-yo maker there is for my step-daughter for Christmas along with a few Indygo Junction patterns because she knew it would be a simple place to start. Victoria sewed one of these, I did the rest. I had to do at least one to explain how to make them to her, but the pattern called for so many! I picked up the needle and thread and made a few more just to help her out.

Of course, I'm working on my own projects this week (these are not for the basket blocks, but they do look kind of cute there), but I'm thinking about working a yo-yo into my next project.

Monday, January 17, 2011

This week...baskets

Amy's Creative Side

Amy is holding another challenge! I have yet to win one of these, but the beauty of Amy's challenges are that even if you don't win the prize, you still get a finished project out of it.

My goal for this week is going to be to finish the 12 blocks I have cut out for my latest quilt project. I have one done right now and a bunch more in progress.

I am chain piecing (here is a really great explanation of what that is), but I ran out of both thread, and white on white prints for the backgrounds this week. Add to those a few misdirected half square triangles and I have a few blocks almost done, a few just cut out and a couple that are half finished. I can't wait to be done with them all! I have been wanting to make basket blocks out of large floral prints for a long time. I initially planned on buying some Kaffe Fassett, but I'm glad I waited because the Amy Butler fat quarters I got for Christmas are perfect!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Almost two years ago I posted my patchwork bag tutorial. Back when I made those bags, I accidentally cut enough fabric for two of the second one. I have had the front and back panel of that bag unfinished in my basement since April, 2009. Yikes!

I went on the hunt through my stash to find some baby girl appropriate fabrics to make a gift out of and stumbled across those panels. I decided that, realistically, I probably wasn't going to make them into another patchwork bag, and brought them out to make one of my favorite patterns.

Mrs. Perkins by Melly and Me! I cannot sing the praises of this pattern enough. It has never failed to turn out adorable, no matter what fabrics I make it in and kids just love the 19" tall giraffe, especially babies!

I like her better with buttons, but I hate the thought of her sitting on a shelf because the baby's mom is too afraid to let her play with it. I stuffed a cat toy deep inside this one, a trick I cannot remember where I picked up. Just a little bell in a plastic ball so she rattles very quietly. And not a choking hazard because the bell and ball are surrounded by layers of stuffing and fabric.

While I'm sharing tips and tricks, let me show you one of my favorite ways to make stuffed animal eyes.

Polka-dot print felt! The irises are already printed on for you to just cut out little ovals or circles. I bought every square of this blue that I could find when it went on clearance at a local craft store. If I ever find more colors (maybe I should Google that?) I will buy them for sure! It's nice to have the option of a shortcut sometimes.

P.S. Some other Mrs. Perkins I have made since the blog can be found here and here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

So far...

2011 is not going well.

My son has been sick since Sunday. I didn't mention it Monday because I thought it was a 24 hour bug, but then last night my entire bed was doused in regurgitated hot dog at 10:30 PM. I'll spare you the amount of bodily fluids I've cleaned up today.

This is on top of my sewing machine not being repaired when I picked it up.

Then I bought a new sewing machine, because I got a decent amount of money for Christmas and I really felt my machine was lacking after completing my Christmas projects on my mother-in-law's. I didn't get one anywhere near as nice as hers, but I found a decent machine in my price range.

It shipped to my house missing four feet. I'm supposed to be getting them mailed to me for free.

So today I picked up my finally fixed old machine. I dropped it off in the case, and the shop neglected to close both latches on it. I neglected to notice until the one latch holding it closed finally gave out on the steps leading into the house. A piece of it broke off. Not an important piece, and as far as I can tell the rest of the machine wasn't damaged, but I'm annoyed at the senselessness of the whole thing.

I told my husband I think the universe is telling me not to sew right now.

But I have projects to complete. Laugh at that would you? The above picture is actually these pieces from last January finally sewed into blocks. I didn't touch this quilt for an entire year!

Every time I scrolled through my photos to find one to put on the blog I'd come across some of the blocks from this set and I'd wish it was complete and on my bed.

I'm thinking if I can finish it, it will knock two things off my crafty resolutions list. Something for myself, and something larger than a lap quilt. Plus, I think the scraps from my Amy Butler will all fit in perfectly with my color scheme! I'm excited to get to work on it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Moments

My mother-in-law, who just so happens to live three hours away, was actually brought into town for business this weekend. We got to meet her for a quick lunch at a local restaurant, but nothing more since she was on the clock. Still, the kids loved the double treat of eating at a restaurant and seeing their grandma.

We came home from lunch and got everyone dressed and ready to go sledding. I don't even know how long we were out, but everyone was beet red and ready for cocoa when we got home. I had my camera in my pocket the whole trip, but didn't snap any photos. Sometimes it's nice to just slide down the hill and be a part of the action...instead of sitting at the bottom trying to catch it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sad face

I finally broke down and used the sewing machine today. I was trying to finish up my embroidery first, but it was taking forever and I really wanted to finish at least one thing I could put on the blog.

So I got out a scrap piece of fabric, threaded the machine and sewed a few lines. Everything looked wonderful. I ironed and got out the rotary cutter. I put my Amy Butler in the machine and this happened...

Ugh! I grabbed a piece of navy blue fabric from my scrap bin for contrast and sewed some more lines until I got a similar result, then I packed the whole thing up and headed back to the repair shop.

I don't blame them at all for sending it back to me. Even I was convinced things were prefect (or else I never would have got out the good fabric). It was kind of rewarding to have the owner of the shop looking at my machine and saying, "Weird!" repeatedly. He explained, though I already knew, that I had one of the most simple machines on the market and there isn't really anything to go wrong on it. I thought that maybe it wasn't holding the adjustments to the tension, but he thinks it's the timing.

Bottom line: I lost my baby again for at least one more night.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Number six

I finally got the call that my sewing machine was ready for pick up last night (all of nine minutes before they closed, so it is still not in my eager hands!), and thank God, because this is the last of my Christmas projects to show you. Quilt number six of 2010.

I did the same type of backing that I did for the Making New Friends quilt. (This one was a Spumoni Bali Pop that I found on clearance somewhere, not sure if I ever mentioned that.) Only this time I actually took a photo of the full back. The batik I used was maybe a little too coordinated here. It looks really nice in person, but in the photos and from far away there isn't much distinction between the colors.

Did you notice that I said this was the last of my Christmas projects? I was not able to finish my super secret surprise one. So it isn't a surprise anymore and I'm still working on it. It is very close to being finished and I took photos along the way to show you, so there will be a big post on that soon (I hope!).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Monday Moments

I went to bed last night with just a touch of a headache that grew into a terrible migraine overnight. It's one of the worst ones I have had in years, complete with nausea. Then I ran out of something pretty important that couldn't wait for my husband to get home from work, so in the middle of this terrible headache accompanied by an overwhelming urge to purge, I got to run to the grocery store, with my three year old.

All I want to do is curl up on the couch, and maybe buy a little something off of ebay with my Christmas money. Only, I never shop ebay anymore and I can't remember my ID or my password for the account I set up ten years ago. It's just the way my day is going. I hope the rest of my family is faring better.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

So excited!

Are you kidding me? I won?!

I have to say that I am beyond excited, because my little story was mostly true. I did ask for a layer cake for Christmas, and the lovely family member who was going to get me one as a gift decided to wait until she was at the winter cottage where we always celebrate holidays to buy my fabric. She trudged down to the local quilt shop only to be told that they didn't carry Moda. Seriously? What kind of quilt shop doesn't carry Moda?

So I got the fat quarters above instead. And I love them! Don't get me wrong, they are bright and beautiful and Amy Butler! They are also completely wrong for the project I had in mind when I asked for the layer cake. I have other plans for these lovelies, but I am really excited that I won't have to shelve my plans to make Welcome to the Neighborhood from Pat Sloan's Fast Forward Quilts. Layer cake, here I come!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Last year I posted three resolutions on the blog, and I thought it would make a fun post to go back and see how well I did.

1. Get Gabe off of the binky. I honestly don't even remember when we finally did this one. It seemed like it took forever, but I know that it was long enough ago that he doesn't even think twice about it when he's around the babies anymore.

2. Have more blog posts than the year before. Let's see, I did 97 in 2009 and 118 in 2010. Awesome! Accomplished that goal too!

3. Make at least three quilts. I think this shows how daunting quilting seemed to me only one year ago, because although they were small I completed six quilts this year. Yay! Another resolution met!

I went three for three last year, let's see what I can accomplish this year.

1. Let's throw another parenting resolution in there. I'm tired of changing diapers. I have had the potty chair and training pants (and real underwear) for months with little to no results. I will have him potty trained, God willing before his fourth birthday. So stubborn, that child is.

2. Make a quilt for myself. I still have yet to finish anything I start that isn't meant for someone other than me. The shoemaker's children and all that...

3. Make something larger than a lap quilt. I have really been afraid to do this, because it would either mean quilting as I go or farming the quilting out to someone else and paying for it. Ideally, this would be finishing the blocks for the queen sized blanket I started piecing

4. I increased blogging by about 22% last year, so I think maybe I'll try to do that again. That would be about 144 posts. That's a little less than three times a week. Man, I better hope that my sewing machine gets fixed this week!