Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last one (for now)

Last pincushion for awhile. I promise! But who can resist the combo of linen and cherries?

Super simple raw edge piecing of the prints onto the linen. Lined with fusible fleece batting and then filled with rice.

Love the little black gingham tag.

So I went from having zero pincushions to having four and I love them all! Of the nine that I made, this is the only one I've kept for myself. The others were either given away, swapped or are in the shop. (I'll be adding some more items in the coming weeks so be sure to check back as we approach the holidays.)

Now, just a few little details on the Halloween costumes. Can't wait!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Roasty goodness

Mmmmmm...I love a good roasted beet. So yummy on a salad with goat cheese.

Although my kitchen looks more like the site of a terrible massacre.

And if anyone looks at my hands for evidence they'll have no trouble identifying me as the guilty party.

The Roast Beet Bandit.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall has fallen

We had a very autumnal day over the weekend. The rain poured outside sending leaves all around the yard. The kitties scampered to the windows to check out all the action.

We had fires going in both fireplaces.

Indoor picnic lunches while the pumpkin cranberry bread baked.

Leaf garlands in the entryway light (and the dining area light and up the stairway).

And a basket full of these little thingys, which everyone else seems to think are apples but I think of as pumpkins.
Happy Fall!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stuff Happens

My glasses are history. Super tired from a long night with the kiddos. We had all returned home after a long morning of preschool and errands. Went to shut the back of the car and whacked the door down on my own head, sent the glasses flying (and breaking) and gave myself a nice lump on my temple.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's that time of year.

When I spend a LOT more time in my kitchen. I love holiday baking. It's become both trickier and more fulfilling now that there are kiddos on the scene. They love to "help" but my kitchen often qualifies as a disaster zone when we're through.

In an effort to class the place up a bit, I decided to make covers for my blender and mixer so that they a) don't collect dust when they aren't being used and b) look way cuter.

Blender before (and keep reading if you're curious about those cookies on the cooling rack):

And blender after:

Why, you may ask, is the blender covered in mixer fabric? That would be because I made this very very late at night and realized too late that I was following the blender measurements instead of the mixer ones. Nice, huh?

But have no fear, there's more of that fabric lying around and I have a pretty green kona that matches the green in the print so the mixer will have a matching cover soon.

Check out the yumma-numma cookies we made the other day:

Found the recipe over here. The cookies themselves are pretty awesome, almost like a shortbread but easier (I think) but it didn't hurt to add the cream cheese icing.

'Nuff said.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tricks and Tips with Zips

As promised: some tips and tricks for getting nice pointy (or at least pointier) corners on your zipper pouches.

There is really only one major goal here and there are lots of little things you can do to reach that goal. The goal is: reduce bulk. Seriously, that's it. Logical, right? If there wasn't so much stuff in those corners, they would pop out as nicely as the ones at the bottom of the pouch, right? Right.

***Note: There are about 43 gazillion tutorials for zipper pouches out there. Really. Google it. It's crazy! I'm not really attempting a full-blown pouch tutorial and am assuming that you've made (or tried to make) a few already. I didn't take pictures of every little step along the way but concentrated mostly on getting those elusive pointy corners.***

Okay! Let's gather our materials:
Oh, one last thing: it's probably helpful to read through the entire post before cutting anything because some of the tips and tricks involve the size you make your various panels/pieces. You can make your pouch any size but I would definitely recommend starting out lager rather than smaller because teeny tiny pouches can be a total pain in the ahem.

*fabric for main/outside panels
*fabric for lining
* small fabric pieces for zipper end tabs
* a zipper
* fusible interfacing or fusible fleece, if desired

You will also need your sewing machine with regular and zipper foot and thread.

A few things about cutting and preparing your materials: Remember that your goal is to reduce bulk, especially at the zipper ends. This is why I make little fabric tags at the ends of my zipper. First, you trim the little tails off the ends of the zipper so you're left with just the zippy part of the zipper. Cut right to the little metal stoppers at each end. Then it's like making a thin binding tape and sewing it onto the ends, overlapping so that each end of the zipper is tucked nicely into the tabs.

I also cut my lining fabric a little bit shorter than my outside panels. Like this:

The lining and outside/main panels need to be wider than your zipper (about half an inch) like this:

Make a sandwich of your lining, zipper and main fabric and stitch together using your zipper foot. Flip so that everything is wrong side to wrong side, iron and topstitch. Please reference one of the 43 gazillion other tutorials mentioned above if you need to see how this is all done in more detail. Do it again on the other side and you'll have something like this:

Oh! I completely forgot to talk about interfacing/fusible fleece! Good thing I have these pictures to remind me.

Okay, what's our main goal? Yes! Reduce bulk! So, if you've decided to just use a nice lightweight interfacing than you can iron that on your main fabric panels before you start sewing everything together. (See, this is why I said to read everything through ~ I'm not doing a very good job of keeping things linear.)

If, however, you have decided to use fusible fleece (which I did here) you will want to be sure to cut it smaller than the fabric panel. You can even iron it on after sewing in the zipper so that you can be sure to avoid the zipper area altogether. For the example, the fleece is flush with the sides and bottom of the main fabric panels but it stops short right at the stitching line for the zipper. You could even reduce bulk all around by cutting off the seam allowances on the sides and bottom!

So this is how things should be looking when the zipper is finished:

Next line up the main panels right sides together and sew all the way around from zipper stitching to zipper stitching. It is very important that you do not sew beyond the zipper stitch line! I use a half inch seam allowance for this part.

Make sure your zipper is at least halfway open or you will say some very bad things later. Then line up your lining panels right sides together. Again, sew from zipper stitching to zipper stitching leaving an opening at the bottom for turning. For the lining, I use a 5/8" seam allowance. When you cut your lining a little bit shorter and use a slightly larger seam allowance your lining won't be quite so bunchy when it's finished and all tucked into the pouch.

Now, even with everything we've done to reduce bulk, things are still kind of tight at those zipper ends. Don't be too worried if your stitches don't quite make it to the line of zipper stitching. You can see in the photo that mine are a few stitches short.

You know what else you can see in the photo? A lot of seam allowance trimming! I trim waaay into those areas near the zipper and use pinking shears along the other seams. Trim all four corners as well.

For the lining I trim the corners but leave the full seam allowance at the bottom because it makes turning it under to close up easier.

Okay, the moment of truth! Turn everything right side out through the opening. Leaving the lining out of the pouch (as below) get your favorite pointy tool (mine is an old knitting needle) and gently poke out those corners.

You should end up with something like this!

Sew up the opening in the lining either by hand or machine and tuck it inside the pouch and you are done!

Admire your handiwork!

I made a pencil pouch and even included a little surprise on the inside.

Check out those corners!

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if anything wasn't clear, just let me know.

I know it's hard to weed through all 43 gazillion of those zipper pouch tutorials so here are a couple of my favorites:

Have fun!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Winner!

Thanks everyone for your sweet comments about my little "bar of soap" pincushion. It has kind of grown on me but now I need to send it on to it's new home.

Congratulations Heather!

Heather said...

I love how you approach things - keeping at them until your satisfied, then move on (like the zippers!) Great job on the pinnie - really cute, but not so precious that you don't want to use it.

Hmmm...funny you should mention the zippers. I've been working on a post about my zippiphany. Stay tuned for some tips and tricks to making zipper pouches with nice pointy corners!

Monday, October 11, 2010

More (again) and a GIVEAWAY!

Seriously. Is there like, a JOB where I can make pincushions for a living? Here are my two most recent ones.

I really like the pointy-cornered one but I'm having some trouble with the one where I rounded the corners. Is it just me or does it sort of resemble a bar of soap?

I still like it, just not as much as the other one. Do YOU like it? Do you want it?

The little pointy-cornered one is off to this week's PMQG meeting, destined for someone in our blind swap.

I sure hope they like it.

But if YOU want the one with the rounded corners lemme know! I'll leave this giveaway open until Thursday, October 14, noon Pacific time. I'll post a winner on Friday.

Here's how to enter:
*Leave a comment. (I love your comments!)

Want another entry?
* Become a follower ~ no need for a separate comment, I'll count you twice :-)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

September Bee Block

Better late than never . Here are the blocks I made for September in Bee Vintage. A nice little churn dash (which I had never made before).

I really like how this one turned out. It doesn't hurt that the yellow floral is one of my all-time favorite vintage sheet prints. Jennifer wanted two blocks and said straight or wonky was fine so I made one of each.

So, I really liked the first one. The straight one. But the wonkified one....not so much.

There's not enough contrast between the background and the feature fabric. And I think it would have looked better if there were more contrast in size between the half square triangles and the straight side pieces. So....not so thrilled with the result but I learned a lot and thankfully, Jennifer loves both of them!

This month we're doing liberated stars, another one I've been wanting to try!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Day

I promise this will be the last post about Miss B's birthday quilt.

Here it is in all it's glory:

The sashing/border is a kona pink (I have no idea which exact one) from the stash. The center squares are 2 inches finished and the larger squares are 4 inches finished. All made with scraps from Owen's I Spy quilt (yay! two for one!).

Look at me, all free-motion quilting like I know what I'm doing!

I lovelovelove the back! An awesome kite print purchased on sale at Bolt.

Cute red and white polka dot binding. I heart binding.

And I adore this sweet girl!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wanna wand?

You get what you pay for, I suppose.

We went to our local Goodwill thrift store and scored some fantastic vintage linens and then the kids saw some fairy wings and wands with the Halloween display. The wings have held up just fine, but the wands...not so much. A set of fairy wings and wand cost a whopping $1.37 so it's hard to complain when something like this happens:

So, after assuring the kiddos that the world was not coming to an immediate end we decided to replace our plastic wands with homemade wooden ones!

We glued some wooden circles to the end of wooden dowling and then painted them. Add some ribbons, pipe cleaners, and sparkley gem stickers and we had some pretty awesome new creations. Some pretty awesome hard-to-photograph-because-the-kids-wouldn't-stop-playing-with-them-long-enough creations!

The kiddos love them because they got to make them all by themselves (pretty much). At first, my son kept asking why his wand didn't work and did it need new batteries. Now he can tell you that the thing that makes wands work best is imagination. And he can also explain that the sparkley heart gems make it so the wands can only do good magic. These lessons were learned immediately after the lesson that wands are not weapons (especially when one is doing "magic" on the kitties). Sigh.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Miss B's Big Birthday Bash

Did you know that when you turn three you get a big homemade pink and white cake with chocolate frosting that looks like this:

And presents like a tea set, new jungle jammies, a book, some rad balloons, a momma-made I Spy quilt, AND a Snow White princess doll? This girl does:

She was spoiled beyond belief all day and I am one tired momma. Tired but happy. And completely smitten with my big girl.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fabric Fast

Oh man, this isn't even all of it.

No diet for me. I need to fast.

I actually began my fabric fast a little while back (after an entire afternoon of fabric shopping in anticipation of the withdrawal). But I didn't want to say anything out loud in case I couldn't quite bring myself to actually do it.

So far, so good.

No one is enforcing this fast but me and I've given myself some guidelines:

*I'm going to try to make it to the end of the year! That would be over three months of no fabric purchases. (I'm a little faint as I write this.)

*I CAN acquire new (or new to me) fabric as long as I don't spend any money on it. Swaps are totally acceptable as are gifts. Note that this time period encompasses Christmas so if Santa wants to drop a bundle of Kate Spain's Fandango or some fabulous Japanese prints down my chimney, that's fine with me.

* I am permitting myself to purchase staples like interfacing and thread (not fabric) on an as-NEEDED basis. That is, no "stocking up" or impulse purchases. I can only buy it if I need it for a project I am actually working on, right now.

I think that's about it. I feel a little bit like I'm crazy but I'm also kind of excited! I want to push myself to be more creative with what I have. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the collecting aspect of fabric buying and it's wonderful to walk into my sewing space and see a pretty stack of beautiful, fun fabric just sitting there waiting for me. But I really want to get in there and USE what I have, not just stare at the pretty folded stacks. I want to spend more time focused on the act of creating rather than acquiring.

Anyone care to join me? C'mon, I dare ya!