Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry and Bright

I have some Christmas sewing I'd like to share with you!
I made a Christmas 'stamps' mini quilt. These little fabric stamps are sweet as can be, and very easy to make--you just need some scraps, plain white fabric and a bit of fusible web. The tutorial by nanaCompany is here.
Rather than quilt the whole thing in an all-over design, I used the stitching around the image and the white pinked edge as my quilting. The two rows of stitches around all the stamps hold the layers together just fine. It lets the stamp images stand out more...and truth is, I just couldn't bear to sew through Santa's cute little face :)
It didn't turn out too badly for a first try. I'd like to do another, with pretty feedsack fabrics, to have out all year.

I pulled out all my happy red and green and Christmas-y scraps and pieced a pair of pillow covers for the couch. They're hand-quilted with red embroidery floss, and have a simple envelope-style back, in solid red.
 They're so bright and cheerful!
 More cute retro Santas.
And some more sweet little cottages (like these I made for fall; a link to the free tutorial is in that post).
"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house..."
"The children were nestled all snug in their beds..."
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
I so enjoy Christmas sewing, but I'm done...and ready to move on to some quilts!

And now if I may, a couple cute holiday kitty photos:
This one from two years ago shows the typical Christmas shenanigans around here. All those ribbons and bows were in the bag when I left the room.
You better not pout, Gracie...

Thank you, friends, for reading and for leaving your comments, I have appreciated each and every one! I wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a 
happy and healthy New Year!


Linked up to Finish it up Friday

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Houses

I made a bunch of little houses for Halloween, so how could I resist making some for Christmas?
 Some. *rueful laugh* I use that word loosely.
I made 33 of them. Because I am clearly some kind of crazy.
I just pulled out all my Christmas-y green fabrics, and all the reds...
...then started cutting out houses and roofs, and putting them all together in pretty combinations...and ended up with enough for 33 houses. Oh, boy.
Sometimes I don't plan my sewing very well...I just go with it.
For these I used osnaburg, a soft unbleached nubby cotton. I like the texture it adds.
 And how could I not make a couple with little sock monkeys peeking out of a window?! Remember the line of sock monkey fabrics by Moda a while back? I have some, and they are adorable.

I so enjoyed designing them all, applique'ing every door and window, and hand-sewing every tiny button doorknob...but 33 was a bit much to do at once.
Actually, 'at once'= many many many days.
Yeah, I won't do that again.
But it's all good, After all, Santa's elves have to live somewhere.
One was given as a gift, the rest of these are for sale. They went to my stylist's hair salon, where they will hopefully find many new homes and Christmas trees to decorate.
Want to make your own? I changed some details for mine, but you can find instructions in Scandinavian Stitches by Kajsa Wikman.

Enjoy all your holiday sewing!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Harvest Home

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
The little houses are made from this tutorial. Since I intended for them to sit on a shelf, I made them bigger and without a hanger. All the prints and colors make them a bit busy, but I had so many pretty fall fabrics, I didn't want to leave any out. Besides, I wanted them to be bright and cheerful for this often gloomy time of year.
The tutorial for the set of pumpkins is here. For the leaves, I used pieces of a thrifted ladies wool jacket that I bought at Goodwill and dyed green. Dying (I used RIT) can be such a crapshoot, but that green on cream-colored wool turned out so nice. I have gotten A LOT of mileage out of that one blazer!
Reflect on all you have to be grateful for, share your blessings, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Linked up to Finish It Up Friday.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Counting Cards

Twenty-two, to be exact. I like their random scraps, fraying edges and crazy 'quilting'.
(Not all are shown above, some had already gone to good homes.)
I sewed the scraps to thin white cardstock, trimmed the piece, then glued it to heavy textured cardstock.
If you want to make some of your own, you can find specifics in the book Denyse Schmidt Quilts.
 Many of them were made with certain recipients in mind.
Making these was a lot of fun, and as you can see, it was hard to know when to stop! I'm set for cards for a long time...but that doesn't mean I won't be tempted to make more soon. Christmas is coming ;)

Thanks for reading, friends!


Linked up with Finish It Up Friday.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Have Needles, Will Travel

I wanted to make a small bag that closed, to hold a portable sewing project and supplies, that I could take along when I'd have a chance to sew away from home.
I used a small basic tote bag pattern I'd made some years ago (it's 10" tall--just right for a take-along project, or as a child's tote bag), then I added a drawstring cover like the one I made for this lunch bag (a link to the lunch bag tutorial is in the post). To adapt the size of the cover for this larger bag, I measured the width of the opening of the tote bag, then cut the width and height of the two cover pieces large enough to fit.
I sewed the cover into the top edge, between the exterior fabric and the lining. That was simpler than the technique for the lunch bag, and made the project bag as roomy as possible. When I hit the road, I can stuff the cover and ties into the bag, nice and tidy, and everything inside stays clean and all together.
(And thank you, JoAnn, for stocking so many lovely designer fabrics these days! This one is by Patty Young for Modkid. It's one of my favorites; I have it in pink-and-yellow, too. It makes me think of Art Deco peacock feathers.)
 I keep my traveling sewing supplies in this tea tin--a needle book, scissors, small tape measure, a thimble of my grandma's I never use, and a seam ripper which I unfortunately do use.
Those sleepy bears are so sweet. The little ones all tucked in under their bright patchwork quilt. I've treasured this tin a long time--it's around 30 years old now. *gasps to self*
 Let me show you the little needle books I made, a year or so ago. I followed this tutorial by nanaCompany. They are tiny patchwork front and back, a combination of machine and hand stitching, with white felt 'pages'. The one in feedsack fabrics lives in the tea tin; the one in the bright little prints stays home on a shelf.

 A happy weekend to you all, and Happy Halloween!


Linked up with Finish It Up Friday , NTT and MontagsMacher.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Haunted Houses

But haunted only by friendly, slightly mischievous spirits, of course.
I first saw cute little houses like this in the book Scandinavian Stitches by Kajsa Wikman. She makes such sweet, colorful, charming things (her blog is here).  I fiddled around with the design a bit--sizes, details--and made one just right for me. I love those little windows and rounded doors, button doorknobs and crooked chimneys.
I made some little houses last year for Christmas decorations, to keep and give away...but really, how could I resist making some for Halloween? And how could I not make a small neighborhood??
Applique'ing the windows and doors is so much fun, and so is picking out combinations of fabrics for each house---the wilder, the better. I like to make them with a high contrast of colors and fabrics, so they stand out and look more whimsical.

You never know what you might find in your neighbor's woodpile...

(Linked up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Took You Long Enough

After a little more than a year (!?), my Zephyr quilt top is finished! That's okay that it took so long, I was in no hurry. These improv-style log cabin blocks are so much fun to sew, but can be a little time consuming. They may look totally random, but I give a bit of thought to what fabric I'll add next; I like to have a good balance of patterns and colors. So I'd make a few here and there in between other projects, when I just wanted to play.
I'd originally planned to make smaller scrap blocks, shown above, and surround each with yellow, green and blue solids...but at some point I decided to go full-on scrappy. Sometimes when you're adding 'walls' to your improv log cabins, you just don't want to stop ;)
This was my work area (a.k.a. kitchen table). I was surrounded by lots and lots of (mostly) freehand-cut strips and scraps. And see that little ironing board? Handiest thing I've ever made! It's a wooden tv tray, padded and covered to make a portable ironing board (click here for the tutorial). For any kind of block that needs to be pressed after every seam...I just turn around and there it is.

It's taken so long (I even had a sewing machine upgrade in the meantime), but all those strips and scraps have turned into this queen-size quilt top:
Each finished block measured 12 1/2" x 12 1/2", 56 blocks with a scrap border. It's busy, but the palette is limited, so that keeps it from being too crazy. I wish I had taken a full picture of it, but it's turned way too gray and rainy here, so I'll show you the whole thing when it's all quilted and bound.

Along the way, I had a few roadblocks:
She's like a sweet, loving Godzilla, laying waste to my work area.
The destruction. There's one of the poor blocks, jammed up against my sewing machine.
Or I find someone taking a bath on it. Clearly she was as excited about the top being finished as I was. Normally these kinds of antics are not tolerated, but they're smart enough to know 1. Get into position quickly and 2. Look as adorable as possible.
Sometimes I just sigh and get the camera.

I'm going to machine quilt it. It'll be only the second quilt I'll have machine quilted, and the first full-size quilt...wish me luck! Now let's hope it doesn't take another year :/

Have a happy weekend!

Linked up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday