Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A wreath to welcome my baby.

A while ago a made a wreath to welcome spring.  I still love my bright colorful wreath, but I've been feeling like I needed to either go wreathless on the front door for awhile, or make a new wreath.  Then I got the great idea to make a wreath to welcome my little boy.  And a new wreath was born.

I'm calling it my "It's a boy" wreath.  After two ultrasounds confirming that I'm having a boy, I thought it was safe to make a gender specific wreath.

I used a straw wreath, wrapped almost a whole skien of yarn around it, 

made several yo-yos for embellishments, 

and then added a small bunting stamped with scrapbook stamps and fabric paint.

I think this will be a nice way to welcome all our guests who will come and see our new little bundle of joy, and maybe it will deter some people from ringing the doorbell and waking up my sleeping baby.  (I'm assuming my baby will be a good sleeper.  George still hasn't figured out how to be a good sleeper, so I'm crossing my fingers and praying this little boy will get it all figured out quickly!!)

I think this finishes up my sewing to do list for my baby.  I'm sure there are several other things I could dream up to sew for him, but for now I'm considering myself done.

Next on my list is a dress or two for Grace.  You know because she can't go into summer without a couple of handmade dresses.  Here's to hoping I can find the energy to stay up late and sew her a few.  If not, luckily I live down the street from a Target.  Thank you Target for always having my back!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sand, sun and water.

I got the amazing idea that with our beach vacation on the horizon, that I NEEDED a beach quilt to spread out on the sand, for tanning and reading.  You know how you spread your towel out, but then your feet fall of the ends of it.  Or the sand starts pouring in on the sides?!  I hate that.  I figured with the generous size of a beach quilt I would be like a sand-free island atop my quilt.  Wishful thinking?  Maybe.  But the quilt got made!!

*Annee is posting this from the beach and her internet is slow, so I logged in to help enlarge the photos.  This quilt turned out beautifully.  I know she used some of Heather Ross' Far Far Away fabric as her inspiration for the quilt.

I could probably save this for a comment, but I'm loving Annee's mix of FMQ on the border of the quilt with diagonal lines in the center.  Gorgeous!

Annee's enjoying the beach for a couple of days, and, well, I'm 37 weeks pregnant, so posting might be sparse this week.  I do have a little something to share tomorrow, and we'll see how the rest of the week goes.  Thank you for being understanding!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Madras Shorts

I'm officially down to three weeks before my baby comes.  Scary and exciting at the exact same time!  I've got a couple more things I'd like to make or sew before my baby comes, and these shorts have been on my list for a couple of weeks.

I love the preppy look for boys.  My husband, the Italian, grew up in LA and wore neon and overalls (in high school), so we can sometimes differ on how to dress a little boy.  However, I'm the one who dresses George 95% of the time, so I win out most of the time (or the Italian would say all the time).

I love the madras short look on boys, and George has some from Gymboree, so I took a pair that George owns and made a pattern piece for the front and back piece, and sewed them together just like pants.

I also added a lined pocket.  You can't really see the pockets, but boys clothes need to be more subtle than girls if you ask me, so I think it's a good thing they don't stand out.  Pockets are also very important to little boys who need to carry cars, action figures, or trains with them wherever they go.

I bought this patchwork plaid fabric at JoAnn's, and it should be noted that the fabric is made up of small squares sewn together and serged.  That's a lot of work if you ask me!  It's not the cheapest fabric, but with a 50% off coupon it wasn't too bad.

In the end I really like how these shorts turned out, and I'll for sure make George another pair.  I'm thinking a pair or seersucker shorts would be cute.  The Italian might disagree, but remember who dresses George most of the time?  Me!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

From smallest to biggest...

I started with the baby quilt.  Since it was going to be for a new baby girl, the pinks gathered together in the center, and then I just went from there.  I love it.  I think I'll make more.

I was able to back it with about a yard of this fun rainbowy, zig-zaggy fabric that's been in the stash for years.  Isn't it great when a favorite piece of fabric finally finds it's purpose?!  Isn't it also great when an entire heirloom of a quilt is formed out of mere scraps?  I love that metaphor.

Of course, the best part of all is when I remember to include a "Made on Maple" tag.  Why is that so hard to remember?  

Simple and loose machine stippling.  Since it's so loose, it really feels more like meandering to me.  It was such a relief to be doing this on the new Bernina as opposed to the old EuroPro.  Night and day difference.  Now I'm encouraged to keep practicing.  With the new machine, I might actually be able to get good at the FMQ, maybe.

And that's it.  I set out to finish at least one quilt last week, and I did it!  I have one more that is just moments away from being done.  Fingers crossed that it will be completed sometime tomorrow!

Monday, May 23, 2011

KCWC wrap-up post, one week later.

Thanks to Liz for giving me the week off of blogging!  After the epic week of sewing for KCWC, I really was in the mood for  a break.  But of course, it didn't last very long.  I had a pile of quilts awaiting my attention, remember?  Stay tuned throughout the rest of the week to see what I was able to get done.  The pile is shrinking!!

After it was all said and done for KCWC, I have to admit that the ruffled tank dress was simply my favorite.  Since I had purchased two tank tops at the same time, I knew there would be one more tank-dress on my horizon, though the official sewing challenge was over.  I had a single cherished fat quarter of the Heather Ross's Princess and the Pea fabric, and it has been waiting to be highlighted.  I looked at that fat quarter and realized I could get three, 6 inch wide stripes that would be 18 inches long.  That was the perfect length and width for a tank dress.  The rest is now dress making history:

The ruffle down the front matches two of the stripes that are on the back of the dress.  Once again, I cut the ruffle on the bias.  This is a close-up to show what it looks like after coming out of the washer AND the dryer.  I am really enjoying this little trick.  No more need for the tiny hem, or serging the sides for ruffle adornments.

The ruffle tank dress is the easiest summer sewing project.  The next time I can turn it into a tutorial, though I feel kind of silly doing so, since it's so darn easy to make.  And now that I know I can use a fat quarter of fabric, my horizons just expanded, exponentially!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Crazy Daisy Apron

Happy Friday!  I'm so glad the weekend is here.  The last thing I have to share with you this week is the Crazy Daisy Apron I made last week.  I actually can't take all the credit for this one.  I work with the Young Women at church, and we had a huge fundraising event last weekend for Girl's Camp.  One of my Young Women helped me pick out this pattern and sew the apron to be raffled off at our event.  She is a 12 year old, and she's got mad sewing skills.  She told me she went to sewing camp a summer or two ago.  I can't wait to sign Grace up for sewing camp.  Doesn't that sound like fun?!  I kind of wish I could sign myself up for sewing camp.

Happy weekend to you all!  Maybe you'll get some sewing done.  I'm hoping to get a little extra sleep!  All I wanted to do all day yesterday was crawl into my bed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Cosmetic Pouch

I don't care make up around with me.  I always have lip gloss on hand because I hate dry lips, but if my make up doesn't get put on before I leave the house, then it's not getting put on!  However, I do love pouches.  I've made several Gathered Clutches, and I carry one in my purse wherever I go.

When I saw that Rachel on Stitched in Color make the Cosmetic Pouch from I *Heart* Patchwork, I thought it would be the perfect pouch to put in my purse or diaper bag when my new baby arrives.  This pouch will not being holding make up, but the ever important butt paste, lotion, and hand sanitizer.  The things you never want to be stuck without when you leave your house with a little baby.

I again used my Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush fabric plus some linen to make the outside shell.

As for the inside, it's still Anna Maria, but it's from her Good Folks line.

This was a very simple and perfect little project in all aspects.  It took very little material, it came together very quickly, and the pattern was well written and easy to follow.  My only criticism would be that I had to hand sew the lining to the pouch.  It looks lovely, but I find hand sewing tedious.  I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out if there was a way to avoid the hand sewing.  If I would have spent some more time on the matter, I'm sure I could have figured it out, but in the end it only took me 20 minutes to hand sew the lining so it was no big deal. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Some baby essentials.

One of the other items on my things to sew before my baby arrives was a nursing cover.  With my other two kids, I used blankets or changed locations for privacy.  With this baby I might not have the luxury of always being able to nurse at home like I could do for the most part with my first two.  So I made myself a nursing cover.

There are several tutorials out there on how to make a nursing cover, but I think this one from TaDa! Creations caught my eye because it used two different fabrics and rick rack.  I love rick rack.  Maybe I'm too old to have rick rack on my clothing??  But rick rack on a nursing cover is totally fine, right?

I used two of Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush to make my cover.  There have been some interesting comments and blog post on sewing blogs about the Innocent Crush line.  Some don't really care for it.  Call me crazy, but I really love it.  Having my nursing cover made out of beautiful fabric gets me all excited about sitting somewhere in public nursing.  Okay, maybe excited isn't the word, but at least I'll be nursing in style.

And with nursing a baby comes the need for burp cloths.  Having donated all of my old burp cloths away I needed to buy or make some.  I chose to use Homemade By Jill's burp cloth template, but I didn't want lots of snipping to do to make the fraying edges, so I chose to just stack my layers right side together, sew around them, and then turn them right side out and then top stitch.

I also used some different minky fabric on one side instead of just using flannel.

I'm almost ready for my little one to arrive.  Almost, because you can NEVER really be ready for an addition to your family.  But, I'm so looking forward to holding my little baby boy and admiring how little he is in every way.  And the smells of newborns.  I love the way babies smell.  And I won't be so sad when I rolling over in bed at night isn't so painful!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Baby Quilt Tutorial

Several months ago I blog surfing and somewhere along the links I saw a quilt.  It was a darling baby quilt, but the website I found it on didn't have a tutorial or pattern for me to bookmark.  Sadly, I'm not sure I could even find my way back to the first quilt I saw, but the idea stuck with me.

Then a week or so ago I was making a list of all the things I hope to make before my baby boy is born and on the top of my list was a quilt. 

Grace got this adorable quilt (above) from Annee when she was born, and we still use it today.  It's the perfect size to lay down on the ground and let my baby (and his siblings) roll around on.

I started searching all my favorite quilt sites for a fun quilt to try, and I spent plenty of time on Etsy trying to decide on what kind of fabric I needed to add to my stash to make the perfect quilt.  Nothing was inspiring me, and then I thought of the quilt I saw many months back, and then I decided I was going to figure it out.  I also decided that it was the perfect kind of quilt to just use scraps.  I have plenty of them, so why not use them.

And a little quilt was born.  I'm going to call it the Criss Cross Quilt.  

I used this quilt link as a reference, but honestly I'm not sure how I found it or how I figured out that I could make the quilt I wanted to by referencing it.

To make this quilt I used over 25 different fabrics and almost all of them came from my scrap bin.

To make a 38"X38" baby quilt you will need:

100 colorful fabric 4 1/2" squares
200 white fabric 2 1/2" squares
fabric for back
fabric for binding

Your first step is to sew 2 small white squares onto one of the larger colorful squares in opposite corners.  Like so.

After cutting all my fabric, this might have been one of the more tedious steps.  I sewed a white square to each colorful square without cutting my sewing machine thread.  After I sewed 100 white squares to the 100 colorful squares, I took my long link of squares and cut them apart, and then sewed the remaining 100 white squares on the opposite corners.

Keep them linked.  It makes this step go so much fasters!

Next step you need to cut the corners of each of your squares to look like the picture below.

Then iron the seam allowances.

The front side will now look like this:

Then I laid out all of my squares making sure all the fabrics worked together.  

Then I assembled each criss cross.  Using a 1/4" seam allowance, I sewed the top and bottom of the criss cross together first.  

Ironed the seam allowances, and then sewed both the top and bottom together with a 1/4" seam allowance.

I sewed all 40 criss cross blocks together first, then I sewed each row of criss cross blocks together using a 1/4" seam allowance.

And lastly I sewed all 5 rows together.  And my quilt top was born.

On the back I used some extra squares I accidentally made.  (I guess my stacks above were a little larger than 100 colorful squares and 200 white ones.  Those are big numbers so it's easy to lose track when counting.)

Then I finished up the quilt by stippling it and binding it.  Would you believe me if I told you it was easier to do the Free Motion Quilting on the twin quilts I made a month ago then it was to FMQ this little baby blanket??  It was.  The reason why is because I ran out of quilting adhesive spray.  I ended up having to unpick a LOT of my stipple, and then I drove all the way to JoAnn's for quilt spray.  Kind of tragic and lame to have to take an extra trip to JoAnn's for just one thing, but in the end it was so worth it.  I don't think I'll ever try to quilt a quilt without the handy spray.

I crossed off several other items on the list of things to sew before my baby arrives.  I have more to show and tell this week.  Get so excited!  Tootles for now!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Some Scrappy Ideas

I don't know about you, but I was sew impressed with all that Annee sewed last week for her little ladies.  And, not only did she sew like crazy all week long, but she blogged all week long giving me a week off.  It was dreamy.  The Italian also took my kids to his parents house for part of last week, so I had LOTS of sewing time.  This week you'll be hearing and seeing a lot from me!

To start off the week I'll take you back a week to my Mother's Day present for my mom.  In Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me: 24 Reasons to Loving Sewing, she shares a pattern for a Pin Cushion Caddy.  Annee bore her testimony of this pin cushion caddy to me a couple years back, and I, of course, made one and have loved it.  It's by my side through all my projects.

This is a little sneak peek of another project I'll be sharing later this week.  Notice my friendly Pin Cushion Caddy by my side.

I decided that my mom needed a Pin Cushion Caddy, so I made her one for Mother's Day.  I also added her favorite chocolates that they don't sell in the South.  The beauty of this project, besides the fact that you will not be able to live without it once you have one, is that you can make the who think out of scraps.  I love projects like that!

Once the Pin Cushion Caddy was ready to be sent off, I realized that I didn't have a card.  What to do??  Make one.

Again, I reached into my scrap bin and started pulling coordinating fabrics.  I then took one piece of 12 X 12 cardstock and divided it into 4 squares.  (I had to mail out the scraps to our two winners, and I needed to add a card their packages as well.)  So I had a couple cards to create.

I took a regular glue stick,

Put glue all over my card,

Placed my fabric and then sewed all around them.

I penned a little note on the back of each card, 

And put them in their assigned boxes.

Simple, quick, and cute if you ask me!

I made these cards more like postcards, but the sky's the limits with this idea.  You can use the same idea and steps to make an actual card.

Stay tuned this week because I have what I believe to be a gorgeous quilt idea all made out of scraps.  Get excited!  
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