Sunday, January 01, 2012

Please visit my new location

I have stopped posting to this blog. Please visit me in my new location, where I continue to post quilts when I sew them, but where I also keep track of my other adventures as a former career-gal turned stay at home mom who loves to write, set goals, run life experiments, capture memories, quilt, garden, and lots of other fun stuff.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My first zippered pouch!

I am pretty proud of myself! My first seeing project with a zipper. I gave it to Andrew. He was happy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Re-using old T-Shirts to make a skirt

I am an avid follower of maya*made, a blog about crafting with sustainable and recycled materials. I purchased her pattern for the Reinvention Skirt on Etsy, and tried it out today with an old pink T-Shirt.

I created a "lettuce edging" on the hem using a ziz zag stitch, stretching as I went, and letting the stitch fall just off the edge of the fabric. Simple, and cute! Here is a close up:

I learned a lot this first time around, but all things considered, I think it turned out quite well! My daughter likes it, and even seems to like the matching headband I made from the T-Shirt's sleeve.

Thank you Maya!

Drawstring treasure bag for Eloise

My dear friend Cristina's third baby, Eloise, came this year. I just love the name Eloise, and I embroidered her name and a little cat on a piece of burlap shortly after the birth. The scrap was tacked up in my kitchen for months before I decided to sew it onto a simple lined drawstring bag. I got the tutorial here, and adapted from there. I forgot to take a picture of it before giving it to Eloise today at the very special baby blessing ceremony. But Cristina tied it to the door to help welcome guests, and I snapped a picture of it there. The lining is a white and red large floral, a nice surprise when you open the bag. Julia tucked one of her little soft fairy dolls inside for another special surprise. I love how it turned out! I hope Eloise finds it useful to store her little treasures.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Golf Bag

By special request, and using a design requested by the Golfer Himself, I made this custom drawstring bag with special golfing features. It was a Birthday Gift for my Dad, but I forgot to photograph it for this blog and he just kindly sent me this picture.

The bag is lined and padded, with a dividing panel inside to separate the inside of the bag into two sides, for two different types of golfing accessories (those pointly little ball rests that poke into the ground -- but don't poke out of the bag because of the lined and padded sides.) And there's an exterior pocket too to hold those little extras. I found a golf fabric and coordinated the black with that. My Dad seems to love it!

It is a great feeling to make something for a specific and useful purpose, and then see it used for that purpose. A success all around!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sustainable Wrapping

I got busy today wrapping presents. That is, making drawstring bags that can be used over and over again at Christmas. I'm so pleased with how they turned out!
Posted by Picasa

Handmade Holiday: Matching Aprons

These matching aprons came together in a snap. Cute cupcake fabric, eyelet edging, and a pink ribbon added up to lots of squeals and excitement from these cousins!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Handmade holiday

In our quest to make this holiday as homemade as possible, we decided to try making wrapping paper. White paint and a couple of snowflake stamps -- and fingers and hands -- were all we needed to adorn these paper grocery bags (cut open and flattened.) Wrapped around a gift with a red bow and I think we're onto something here! Plus it was a fun project for the first day of Holiday Break.

This little handmade heart ornament was quick and fun. I think a few more of these may need to be made and turned into some last minute gifts or gift toppers. They'd look great on the snowflake bag wrapping paper too!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 07, 2009

Big Bear Quilt and Bag

I've been sewing again! Over the past few months I've been getting my sewing machine out and really making progress. It feels so good after a long absence. I've been working on a variety of little projects, some for Christmas. The in-laws left for a long vacation, so I gave them their gifts early. So, I can post pictures here even though Christmas hasn't arrived yet. I picked up some coordinating fabrics from the Big Bear fabric shop last year, and used it to make this lined bag, inside of which is the quilt. I'm pleased with how they both turned out!

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 11, 2009

You know you're a beginner when...

I decided to try to make a bookmark with some ribbon and scraps of fabric. Sounds incredibly simple, but I managed to produce something that can only be described as a great learning experience! My fabric was too thin, and the ribbon melted under the heat of the iron (see the hole in the yellow ribbon?). And my corners on the top weren't crisp.
Next time I will try denim, I think. I'll also put the ribbon closer to the top so that it peeks out of the top of the book without having to have more of the bookmark out of the book than in it. Stay tuned for my Try #2.

P.S. Ender's Game is a great book!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Feeling Crafty: Homemade Birthday Gift

I have been feeling crafty lately, and decided to try my hand at a simple drawstring bag. I made this with materials I had on hand as a birthday gift for a friend of my daughters. It took me about one hour start to finish.

The bag couldn't have been simpler. I cut out a long rectangle, and sewed a sleeve for the twine by folding the edges down twice and sewing across. Then I folded the fabric wrong sides together and sewed up the sides (taking care not to close up the drawstring channel). Turned it right side out, threaded the twine with a safety pin, and hand sewed on the name badge, which I made by tracing his name onto the white fabric with a pigment pen, then sewing on borders and folding the edges under. I slipped a little book inside, and voila! A mostly homemade birthday gift for a special little boy. I hope he saves the bag and uses it to store some boyish treasure.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Maggie's Quilt is Done

The Pacific International Quilt Show last week was so inspiring, I got out all my quilting things and finished up Maggie's baby quilt. Yay! I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. I had some fun with the quilting, trying squiggly lines for the first time, and I put some freehand hearts in the border.

Maggie is my neice, and is about 4 months old already. I hope she likes this quilt!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 17, 2008

International Quilt Show in San Jose

I was very lucky today, to have a chance to go see the quilting show at the Santa Clara Convention Center. My aunt is a wonderful and prolific quliter and she flew out from Chicago to combine a trip to visit her daughters with a visit to the show, and she knows I dabble in quilting and asked me if I'd like to go. I am so glad, as it was really great to see her, and I never would have probably gone to the show without her suggestion.

I created a pictobrowser to show the pictures I took of some of my favorite quilts from the show. Wow, I don't think I really understood what quilting could be until today. I think of quilting as a homey, fun hobby. But clearly there is much much more to it. These artists rank up there with the top artists in any other field. I am wowed and inspired.

Click on the thumbnails below the main picture to see more, and click on the numbers below that to navigate through the whole lot.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Finally finished it - Katie's quilt

Well, it was supposed to be a shower gift, and little Katie turned two last weekend. Better late than never, as they say.

My goodness did I learn a lot on this one. I almost didn't give it to her, it was pretty bad. While I do like applique, I learned that I don't like this much of it, and this tiny. All of those leaves, hearts and letters were cut out and fused on. And because the pieces were so small, I didn't feel like I could do my usual machine blanket stitch around every one, so I tried a simple straight stitch around them, which I'd seen someone else do, but I must not have the trick because it came out awful. After a few shaky and clumsy attempts, I decided it was making things worse and I'd be better off just leaving them plain, no stitching. But I'm not pleased with that look either, and convinced that they'll all come right off with the first washing. I also feel that the colors are too jarring. So, this is definitely not my proudest moment nor my best work. But a good learning experience.

I decided to give it to Katie despite it's embarrassing details, because what else could I do with it? But I made it clear to the parents that this was no display piece. At best it's a doll quilt. Hopefully they will take it in that spirit.

After all that buildup, here it is:

This was also my first experience with this kind of label. I wrote it with a pigment pen, then ironed the edges under and used a hand blanket stitch to attach it. I hate doing labels and am still working on finding a reasonably painless way to do it. Haven't found it yet, although hand writing was way better than using my machine to stitch the letters, which is painstaking.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Katie's quilt

I'm finally getting something done on Katie's quilt, which I have owed her since the shower (she's now nearly 2!) I have been busy with my own nearly two year old, but finally gained some inspiration and motivation. This quilt is completely different from the one I originally envisioned and purchased fabrics for, but I like it. It still needs to be steam-a-seamed down, and stitched, but here is the work-in-progress picture:
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fabric purchase

Here is a picture of the fabric I purchased the other day, referenced in my last post. I just love the two patterns (green with orange leaves, and the funky mushroom-y looking green and orange pattern), and I purchased the accompanying colors to coordinate with them. Now if only I can start actually producing an output and blogging about that instead of purchases and plans...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Shopping provides inspiration

I went shopping today for fabrics and came home with nothing like what I went shopping for, but love what I found. I'll post a picture shortly.

I also saw a beautiful sample from an upcoming class and signed up immediately. We will be making this pattern (click here.)

The raw edge applique technique should be fast and easy, so I am hoping it will come together fast. Another pattern caught my eye, which I bought as well (click here to see.)

And a little browsing online showed there are lots more in this genere. If the first project goes well, perhaps I'll make this trio (scroll down.) And this couldn't be cuter for October... And then there are all of the baby quilts I expect to want to make in the coming months for the flood of pregnant friends and relatives I have, such as this one... And then there are these patterns with a sense of humor...

What am I doing??? I am way behind on plenty of other projects... I shouldn't be adding more, especially since I quilt only once every few months. Perhaps I'll have to start spending more time on this after the kids go to bed...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Wonky snow covered tree

I was inspired to pull out my sewing stuff by the snow covered tree tutorial I found on J's Quilting Blog (here). Decided to try it, with the following results. Mine don't look as cute as hers do, but its a start. Next time I need to start with a much wider strip of green. And much longer pieces so that my green triangles can be bigger. And offset them more I think. Thank you Joyce, for inspiring me to sew. This came together in a precious afternoon quiet moment in the house while the kids were occupied by my hubby. I rarely get quiet moments, and when I do I'm usually too exhausted to pull out all my quilting stuff. It takes so much effort just to get things out and put them away again. It's a huge demotivator and makes me determined to find space for a permanent sewing nook in our someday-to-be-remodeled house.

I am going to try some hand quilting on this little sample, something I've never tried before. Perhaps I will try putting in some words, such as is done commonly by Tonya (see example in the 3rd picture in this post on Lazy Gal Quilting.)

A Quilting Christmas Present

My hubby bought me a quilting-related Christmas present this year! He actually took the time to go down to the quilting store to pick it out for me. I was so pleased. I had mentioned wanting a sewing box/basket of some sort to store my tools, thread, etc. The one he picked is not what I'd pictured at all, but it turns out the picture in my head is outdated. This works great, and now I'm totally organized, compact, and portable. My previous organizational method was to store all of these things in a set of 6 tiny little boxes. Now everything is together making it much easier for me to get my quilting things out and put away (since I don't have a dedicated sewing space in my house.) Thank you hubby!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Andrew's quilt

I started this quilt while I was pregnant with Andrew, intending it to be a baby quilt for him. Perhaps not surprisingly, I didn't finish it (contrast this to my first baby, for whom I completed 3 quilts before she was born.) I finally picked it up again a few days ago (Andrew is 19 months old.)

I picked up several fabrics from a coordinating set, featuring fanciful animals. Back when I was pregnant, I fussy cut several cute animal scenes and surrounded them with colored strips. I had 6 blocks like this one when I got distracted and put the project aside.
I'm not sure I had a clear vision for the quilt when I started it, and if I did I have since forgotten that vision, so I've been trying to figure out what to do with these 6 blocks. Here is another fabric from the collection that I purchased, an adorable border fabric.

I think I had envisioned oritinally using this border fabric on all sides, but looking at it now it seemed too wide. So, I ended up deciding to try putting just a panel along the bottom of the 6 blocks, which I matched up and sewed together using filler strips to even things out. Here is where it stands today. (Oops, I'm not sure why it came out sideways... you'll have to turn your head to get a good look at it.)

I don't know where I will go from here, but hopefully I'll come up with something. Probably not the best approach to quiltmaking, but at least it is coming together, and heck, with bright colors and silly animals how can you go wrong for a little guy?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Wonky house first try

I am crazy busy at work, and facing a work event tomorrow that starts at 7am and goes through dinner, which means I won't see the kids on either end. Thinking about it has me in a bad mood, so I've been stalking around the house restlessly trying to figure out what to do with myself. I don't seem to be hooked on much TV these days, and I'm too restless to settle down and read. And another tulip block seems boring. (I have only finished one so far, and I have many to go, so it's not a good sign that block two seems boring...) So, I decided to try Tonya's house tutorial. Somehow that seemed like just the thing. It is my first try at freehand piecing. I messed up the roof -- it's offset terribly. Looks pretty funny, but it was a good first try. There is a cat in the doorway, and a mouse in the window, in case you can't tell what those are. Hee hee hee! I have no idea what I will use this for if anything, but it was sure fun!

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Tulip blocks coming together

In an earlier post I showed 1/4 of this block, and now I have one complete block done. I am using one of the quilts in "At Home with Patrick Lose" for inspiration, but I am kind of choosing fabrics as I go. I found a great green in my stash for the sashing inbetween the four segments of the flower. Now I have to decide what color to use for the sashing inbetween blocks. I am amazed to see the difference sashing makes. In this first photo, I took a picture of the block against a white fabric:
Next I laid down my inspiration fabric (planned for the wide border) and then a sheet of the same dark green I used inbetween. Wow does it jump out so much better!

And then just for kicks I laid it on top of a sheet of purple. The purple also coordinates with the border fabric, so this is another possibility. I can't decide which I like.

The center square, by the way, is cut from the border fabric. I thought it would look interesting if each square looked slightly different. I'm cutting the squares carefully so that I get mainly the pink/orange/red shades, not the greens.

By the way, I like this digital camera. Somehow seeing the pictures seems like it gives me a different perspective than looking at it live.

Well, my progress is painfully slow (remember I have a one year old and a three year old in the house!) but at least I am quilting again!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dianne's Quilt Finished

I have finished the quilt for Dianne, the wife of Jeff's dying partner, Ken. I had the hardest time trying to decide what to do for her, and finally decided to go for this sampler quilt, inspired by Alex Anderson's beginning quilting book. I have actually never done a sampler before, and ordinarily wouldn't think to give one as a gift, but something about the variety appealed to me for this particular quilt. This sounds sappy, I suppose, but I feel like the variety is appropriate in a quilt that celebrates a life, and is intended as a comfort to someone who shared that life. I showed it to my mom and she pointed to the single Friendship Star block (middle of the 2nd row from the top) and said "that's Ken." Made me cry. Anyway, I hope Dianne likes it, and derives some comfort from it somehow.

I try to make sure that I try something new with every quilt I make, and while none of these blocks are difficult by any means, most of them were new to me. I am also particularly proud of the fact that I found quite a few fabrics in my stash to round out this quilt. As mentioned in a previous post, I purchased several fabrics just a few weeks ago in Big Bear, envisioning that the whole quilt would come from these fabrics. But it quickly became apparent that I needed more variety, and was thrilled to find that my gradually growing stash had some gems in it that matched with the overall tone of this quilt.

It's finished now except for the label on the back. I haven't labeled most of my quilts, because I don't have a very good system worked out for labeling yet. (Any suggestions?) But I feel like I should probably label this one. But other than that, it's done. Here it is:

As I mentioned in my last post, inspiration and momentum continue to strike, and I am beginning work on my next quilt. Here is a sample of one quarter of one block I am working on for baby Katie.