Monday, August 13, 2012

8 month catch-up: Summer projects

I had all kinds of ideas about what I was going to make this summer, and I guess I did start a few things that never got finished (I'll get around to it, I promise!).  The one thing that I did complete is something I am really, really proud of though. I saw this pattern for a beach bag and loved it right away, and when I discovered the Reunion line of fabrics by Moda, I knew it was the perfect fabric to use for this project.

Again, I've somehow only managed to take a picture with my phone and these pictures do not do the fabric or the bag itself justice. It is so cute! This was a pretty big project for me, and it took me 4 or 5 nights to finish.

The first mistake I made was that I washed the charm pack. I didn't know that most people don't wash precuts (this was my first time buying and using a charm pack), but now I know why. The squares don't shrink evenly, so they don't piece together evenly either. Oh well. I figured it was just quirkier that way. Then I had trouble picking the fabrics to use for the rest of the bag. I'm still not thrilled with the orange for the pocket, but I had limited choices at Hancock's, and limited funds in my wallet. I still love the bag, but that is one thing I might change. I also made two sets of straps, because I ended up really disliking the first ones I made. I love these though!

Making my own bias tape and binding the whole bag was time-consuming, but I'm glad I did it. It was a good learning experience, and I actually really like the fabric I used. My favorite part of the bag is definitely the kite applique on the side. I had an extra charm square left, and decided to add that detail on a whim...I think it really adds something special and kind of whimsical to the bag.

This bag is really quite large, and so far it has come in handy for trips to the pool and for times when I've just needed to grab a few things for the day. Can't wait to take it to the actual beach someday!

8 month catch-up: Joseph's Birthday

Of course, if Felton and Addie had birthdays, that meant that Joseph had one too! I was cruising around on one night a couple of weeks before his birthday and happened across some Yo Gabba Gabba! fabric that I knew he would love. I poked around on the internet some more and found a great pattern for a Yo Gabba Gabba! quilt that looked pretty easy. And a crazy idea was born. I couldn't find (and probably couldn't afford) all of the fabrics that were originally used in the quilt, but luckily, has a "design wall" feature that makes it really easy to select coordinating fabrics (sometimes a problem with online fabric shopping). I chose my fabrics and hoped they'd arrive in time for me to make the quilt for his birthday.

Luckily, they arrived two weeks before his birthday, which coincided with a weekend my husband was going out of town. I washed the fabric and cut the pieces on Friday night, sewed the quilt top on Saturday night, and finished the quilting and binding on Sunday before Ryan got home (and all while Joseph slept). Again I did a fold-over binding, but this time it was complicated by the fact that the entire back was a red minky. It was a little trickier, but I am so glad I chose the red minky for this quilt - it looks just like Muno!
Made May 6, 2012

The only picture I've managed to get is this one from my phone - it is not so great, but you get the idea. The flannel and the minky make it a pretty heavy quilt, but Joseph loves it and it will be especially nice when the weather turns cool. When Joseph pulled it out of the bag at his birthday party, the first thing he did was lay down on it and put his thumb in his mouth - a ringing endorsement. I was thrilled.

8 month catch-up: March to May

In March, my Grandmother Bugg celebrated her 90th birthday. Just before her birthday, we found out that she was pretty much going to need a wheelchair to get around and at the last minute, I decided to make her a quilted lap throw that she could use at home or when she was out and about in her wheelchair. I only had a couple of nights, so I didn't want to attempt a pieced quilt. Luckily, I had been eyeing this fabric since before Christmas, and knew I wanted to use it to make a project for her (it just made me think of her for some reason and I love the birds). It was the perfect choice for the quilted throw, because the fabric itself kind of looks like pieced squares.

Made March 11, 2012

I don't have a picture of the back, but it was a coordinating fabric. I just quilted around each of the squares and once again, I did a fold-over binding. Grandmother loves it - she says that the only problem she has is that my Grandaddy wants to use it too.

I feel certain that I didn't go for the entire month of April without sewing anything, but I don't have any pictures to show and I honestly can't remember. In May, I had several important birthdays to prepare for, so I did make a few things.

First came this car caddy for Joseph's little friend in our neighborhood (he is the one who got the pillow at Christmas). This little guy is only three days older than Joseph, and loves, loves, loves cars! When we go out to dinner with his family, his mom is always pulling matchbox cars out of her purse for him. I thought this travel carrier by Homemade by Jill was the perfect gift for him!

I once again amazed myself by getting most of this project completed during one (very long) naptime, including picking out the fabrics from my stash! This was my first time doing applique and I thought it was really fun. I decided to use one of my handy snaps leftover from the backpacks, which I like even better than a velcro closure. By the time Joseph woke up, I had completed everything except for adding the snap and doing the freezer paper stenciling for the road and the numbers. This was also my first time with freezer paper stenciling, but I know I will do it again - it's awesome!

After this, I decided that I wanted to make something cute for my niece who is just 10 days older than Joseph. I already had a coloring book for her, so I decided to make her a little crayon carrier to go along with it.

I didn't really use a pattern for this one...just looked at a bunch of different tutorials and went for it with my own measurements. I like this style where the crayons point inwards the best - there is less of a chance of losing crayons in your bag. This was a good chance to use some of the fabric leftover from the aprons I made at Christmas.

8 month catch-up - December to February

So my good friend Anne finally got inspired enough to buy a sewing machine for herself last week, and now she is going through the beginning sewer excitement and growing pains that I went through about 10 short months ago.  We have been on the phone quite a bit lately as I share her excitement and encourage her new endeavors.  It is so fun to have another friend interested in sewing!

Tonight I directed her here to see one of the projects that I worked on last year, and it made me realize that I have just done a terrible job of logging my projects here.  The whole purpose of this blog was to keep a record for myself, and now I will have to piece together the last, oh, 8 months or so.  Oh well.  I'll do my best! I think I'll try to split this into months to help break it up a bit.

After Christmas, I did indeed finish my mom's casserole carrier, and it was received with much excitement.  Of course, I did not take a photo. =)  Then I got excited about making a tiny toddler back-pack for Joseph.  This was actually a really fun and fulfilling project.  I poked around and found a lot of different patterns and tutorials, but none of them were exactly what I was looking for, so I used what I had found, and then pieced together my own pattern.  I amaze(d) myself!

It is really hard to take a picture of a toddler wearing a backpack.

Made December 30, 2011

I know it's a pretty simple design, but it was fun and I did learn how to do a gusset on a bag and I also had my first chance to install snaps. Snaps are awesome!  I ended up making another one of these in February for my co-workers daughter and that one turned out even better. Sarah loves "Cars" so the outside was brown corduroy and the inside was Cars flannel.  I also added a pocket on the front from the same Cars fabric and a velcro closure on the top. No picture of course.

In January, I sewed my mom a pouch to replace the original pouch I sewed her and then gave my Grandma for Christmas. =)  I'm actually really glad it went down that way, because the replacement pouch is about a thousand times cuter than the original.

Made January 23, 2012

This is the same fabric that I made my sister-in-law's purse and my step-mom's casserole carrier with (as well as the kitchen curtains, coming up). I used this tutorial from Noodle-head:
You can see the detail so well in my photos, but it looks pretty much like the pouches she made.  The gathers are really cute and just add a little extra something.  My mom loved it.

In February, I finally sewed the new curtains for my kitchen window.  Unfortunately, the lighting in my kitchen is REALLY awful, but you can at least get an idea and see the fabric.

They are very cheery.  I need to get a ribbon or make a tie to tie them back with, but having them down like this is nice to hide the mess in the window from the people in our house, and also to hide my amazing dishwashing dance moves from the neighbors.  I did not really use a tutorial or a pattern for these...just measured and sewed.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Handmade Christmas

This Christmas was one of the most fun I have had in terms of gift giving since I made so many of the gifts.  I just don't think there is much better than the excitement that comes from giving someone something that you put time and love into, something that you created specifically with them in mind. Not to mention, there is something especially gratifying about hearing someone say, "Cool!" and then, "You made this?!"  What fun!

The only bad thing is that in my excitement about giving all of these gifts, I managed to forget to take pictures of some of them.  The good things is, a lot of them were repeats, so I already have pictures of similar items.  So just to recap:

my mom: Fabric. It was supposed to be a casserole carrier just like the one I posted pictures of (except green on the inside) but when she heard how stressed I was about getting all my presents done, she quickly set me at ease by asking me to please not worry about getting hers done by Christmas...she knew what it was going to be and wouldn't be able to use it right away anyway.  Wasn't that just so "mom" of her? I admit, it DID relieve a lot of my pressure and so I agreed.  I wrapped up the fabric that I bought weeks ago to make it, and I plan to finish it this week. =)

my stepdad: a quilted stocking, made of UGA fabric and the same Christmas fabric from the tree skirt I made.  I was actually really proud of this stocking, as I didn't follow any tutorial, just used his current stocking as a pattern and the knowledge I have gained about sewing.  I made the top with varying widths of the fabrics (placed horizontally) and the back was just solid.  It turned out really well, and it is one of the things I am kind of sad I don't have a picture of.  I think I will ask my mom to snap a photo of it and I will post it later.

my step-mom: casserole carrier.  I don't have a picture of this one either and the only reason I wish I did is that I LOVE the fabric I made it with.  No worries; I will be able to post a picture of the kitchen curtains I plan to make with the same fabric. =)

my grandma: a zipper pouch and a matching portable tissue holder.  No pictures of these either, but the pouch was the same one I made my mom and the tissue holder was very basic.  I was kind of proud of that one too though, as I just whipped it up in a few minutes, and even managed to square off the sides.

my sister-in-law: a purse.  No pictures of this one either; used the same kitchen curtain fabric (have I mentioned that I love this fabric?).

my friend Wendy: luckily, I made her the same purse (in a different fabric) and I DID take a picture of it:

This is the "Phoebe purse" by Rebeka Lambert.  This is a free pattern she offers - it is so cute and the pattern was easy to follow.  I like it so much that I will probably purchase a couple more of her patterns to make. After making the first one (and having my cardboard pattern pieces already made), I was able to knock this one out fairly quickly and it even turned out a little better than the first one. I've already thought of a few little modifications I will make to the next one.

Wendy's son, Felton (Joseph's buddy in our neighborhood who is only three days older!): a cowboy/minky pillow just like Joseph's. 
As an aside, I was especially excited to give Wendy my gifts after I opened hers...a handmade cowl scarf for me and a cross-stitch for Joseph:

I love that we were on the same page as far as gift-giving goes (not to mention, the husbands got fancy beer from the same store in our town - great minds think alike!).  Although we are all too busy to spend much time together right now, I really hope we will get to be closer friends as our boys grow up.

For my niece: another pillow.  This one was minky and a knit fabric with a pattern of pink and brown owls. This was my first experience working with knits, and it was definitely my last for awhile.  It was a huge pain and I'm just not ready for all of that.  I think I'll stick with my easy cottons for now.

I mentioned in my last post about some other gifts that I made for friends and they were all well-received.  I gave baby Bear his dinosaur taggie and he spent the next little while chewing on his head, which I call success. =)

My biggest gift, in terms of both time and heart-felt effort, was for my husband.  He is always complaining about the throw we have on our is not big enough to cover up his whole body and he hates it.  He also complains because I have a throw that I keep on my side of the bed (only big enough for one person). So I wanted to make him his own throw that would be big enough to cover him on the couch and that he could keep on HIS side of the bed.  For this one I got really brave and decided to make him a quilt. 

Since I have a tendency to over-reach my abilities and patience sometimes, I decided to keep it really simple, just large squares, quilted with plain straight lines. This quilt is nothing special in terms of true quilting, but it really means something to me, as this is something I never would have thought I could attempt.  Now I'm excited to try another one!  I was also pretty stoked about how quickly I got it done while still keeping it a secret.  I decided what I was going to make on a Saturday morning, bought the fabric during Joseph's nap that afternoon, and cut all the squares Saturday evening while Ryan was at work. I sewed the top and back on Sunday and Monday, bought the batting and pinned it together on Tuesday between the end of the school day and an evening event (our workroom floor was the perfect workspace for this!).  Then I quilted it on Wednesday while Ryan was at work, and finished it Friday night (when he luckily worked an extra-long shift). He never saw it or knew what I was making, though he did know I was making him something; I made him call me each night before he left work so I could clean up before he got home.

I'm too scared to try to make my own binding yet, so I just did a foldover binding.  It turned out really well.

I really like the finished product, but now I am excited to make something with prettier fabric. This fabric was chosen especially to go with the red Marvel fabric that I had previously purchased, knowing I would make something with it for my husband, the comic book nerd. It's very busy, but it was the right choice for him (and for my limited time). I am VERY proud of this quilt, and Ryan really loves it.

Now that Christmas is over, I'm excited to actually make something for myself. So far I have kitchen curtains and a quilt of some sort on the list. I'm vaguely considering creating my own purse pattern as well. Looking forward to a new year of fun projects ahead!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Time to catch-up

Here is the post where I get up-to-date on the things I have sewed over the last couple of months.

These are little pajama pants that I sewed for Joseph.  He looks adorable in them and they fit just right.  Next time I'll use a little longer piece of elastic in the waistband.  When I went to cut it, I couldn't find the string that I had used to measure his waist (which I used because I couldn't find my measuring tape).  No one ever accused me of being organized!  I used this tutorial:  (minus the pockets, because I just don't see a need for my 18 month old to have pockets in his pajamas).


Next I made this apron. (I'm really loving projects that I can finish in just one night). This is possibly the worst picture of an apron ever taken (and I even cleaned the mirror before I took it!), but I promise, it's actually really cute in person!  I made this as a Christmas gift for one of my co-workers.  I really love the fabrics and when I gave it to her she exclaimed, "It matches my kitchen!  I'm going to wear it just because it matches!"  I'm so glad because I tried to pick out colors that made me think of her and it worked!

Here is the tutorial:



Casserole Carrier!!  I really wanted to make this carrier when I saw it on Pinterest, and I was pretty sure I could do it since it is a very simple pattern.  When I showed it to my mom, she said, "I know what I want for Christmas!" and I thought, "Good thing, because that is exactly what I had in mind!" Hers has the same outer fabric with green innards.  I feel like I really get a lot of bang for my buck with this one. It was really easy to make, but it is super functional and people are impressed by it.  My friend Rachael liked it so much that the day after I showed it to her, she asked to come to the fabric store with me so she could make her own (and one for every female member of her family). 

I have never been so excited to bring a casserole to Thanksgiving dinner before!

Here is the tutorial I used:


Okay, this little dinosaur is really freakin' adorable.  I saw a picture of something like this on Etsy and thought I would make something similar as a Christmas gift for a sweet little baby I know.  I am excited to give it to him soon and I hope he and his mommy like it as much as I do.  I am proud to say that I have no tutorial to link to on this one, as I just drew out a little pattern on parchment paper and went for it.  I was nervous about stitching up the hole with a blind stitch, but luckily the fuzzy minky makes it pretty easy.  I'll definitely try this again!


This is a stocking I made for Joseph.  I have a cheap one that we used last year, but I just couldn't ever find a plain stocking that I liked enough for him.  I really like this one, but I've since made a different stocking for someone else that I like a lot better (at least, I like the size and the technique better), so we'll probably use this one for this year and then I'll make an even cooler one for next year later (when all the Christmas fabrics go on sale next week!).  I used this tutorial:


11/21/11-11/25/11 (Thanksgiving Break)

I am seriously in love with these little kid aprons.  I made these over the break as gifts for my co-workers and their children.  The aprons have an elastic neck and a velcro waiststrap so the kids can put them on themselves. Seriously, if Joseph was big enough to wear the sports apron, I might have seriously considered keeping it for myself. =)  Luckily, I know a little sports fanatic who is going to love it (and he'll love having his baby brother wear a matching bib - I figured a bib is just a baby-apron).  Also, I think my other co-worker's girls will love wearing matching aprons while they all "cook" together. 

The bib is the first "quilted" thing I made and I really liked how it turned out.  I found a pattern/tutorial online, but didn't really like the size and shape of that bib, so I made my own pattern from one of Joseph's bibs.  I'm really pleased with it and when we have another child I think I'll spend some time beforehand making a whole set of homemade bibs for him/her!


I really wish that I could take better pictures of these things, but the light in my house is really awful. So you just have to imagine the bright beautiful shades in this fabric.  I made this bag for our Counseling Clerk who is such a bright, bold person. This was my first time using any kind of interfacing and it was just okay.  I feel like the interfacing I used was a little too stiff, and it came off a bolt with no instructions, so I was sort of winging it.  At any rate, the little ruffle on the pocket made this bag completely worthwhile...I am in love with that little ruffle.

I used two tutorials for this one:


The art teacher at our school sponsored a Festival of Trees this year in support of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  I guess when I wasn't paying attention, the counseling office decided to sponsor and decorate one of the trees.  They decided it should be a college themed tree AND that I should make the tree skirt. So on Tuesday I found a pattern online and on Wednesday we went to Hobby Lobby at lunch and bought GT and UGA fabric. I ended up stopping at a different store on the way home after I did some calculations and realized that more fabric would be needed (and I thought we needed something Christmas-y too). 

I love, love, love the way this turned out.  The Christmas fabric really worked with the college fabrics and I had fun using bias tape for the first time. Luckily, I had decided to order a walking foot for my machine the weekend before, and it arrived THAT night!  I only did straight lines on it, but the foot made the quilting SO easy.  I honestly had to show it off to everyone.  My mom loved it so much she said she would like to pay me to make a UGA one for her and her sister-in-law (after Christmas when all other projects are done!).

I used this tutorial:

Our finished tree!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jeans that fit

The real excuse for buying my machine was to hem pants.  I figured if I hemmed just 8 pairs of pants over the life of the machine, it would have paid for itself (though I'm sure I overpaid for hemming and underpaid for the machine). =)  Luckily, at the end of October, my mom agreed to watch the little one for a few hours so I could buy some pants for work.  Also luckily, I managed to find a pair of jeans that I liked too.  However, even though they were marked "short," they were still 2.5 inches too long.  That night I pulled up some tutorials on hemming pants (there are a million of them and I don't know which one I used, so I won't link here) and the next day I tackled the jeans while Joseph napped.  And yes, I was so proud of my newly hemmed pants, I even took a picture.