Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bow-ties for New Year's

Now that I've finished up my holiday sewing, I sat down this morning to work on these cute mini bow-tie blocks for Sharon over at Motherdragon's Musings as part of our Compass Quilter's bee. After all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, it was the perfect project to ease me back into the sewing routine.

I'll be honest, I tend to shy away from snowball corner blocks (I think that's what they're called) because they always end up being too small after I add that tiny little square in the corner. But this block forced me to take my time and really focus on my accuracy and a scant seam to make sure everything measured up correctly. Now to get them in the mail to sunny Australia!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Holiday in Review

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I know we did. Probably the best we've had in many years. Very low-key but with so many great memories, many because our 4 year old finally understood the whole Santa and presents concepts. It made things very fun for all of us.

We try to focus on experiences and making memories rather than a lot of gift giving. Most times those experiences happen throughout the year, not necessarily during the holiday season, but this year we wanted to experience the special magic that Disney offers on their holiday cruises. Sprinkles, our elf on the shelf, even got into the spirit.

Sprinkles, ready to set sail with his pals Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto

The Grand Lobby of the Disney Dream

I didn't do as much holiday sewing this year and I'm okay with that. I gave a glimpse of the commissioned Christmas stocking that I was working on and here is the finished project. Mine is the one on the left.

I also made some potholders for my parents and mother-in-law. They're a really quick project and works well with scraps. I used this tutorial, if you're interested. I made the set for my mother-in-law on Christmas morning so I didn't have a chance to photograph them but here are the ones I made for my parents. They've also requested some holiday and spring themed ones that I'll have done for them when they come for a visit in February.

We'll be hosting a laid-back New Year's eve get-together with some of the families in our neighborhood so that's the next big thing on my calendar but I'm hoping to get a bit more sewing done before then. I still need to finish up my November blocks for the Compass Quilter's Bee and get them in the mail to Sharon!

I leave you with a family selfie that we took on the Disney Dream. It's a little bit out of focus but it reflects the happiness of our holidays. I'm wishing all of you that same happiness now and into the new year.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Stash Splurge

Over the last few weeks I've scored some good online deals and as a result have increased my stash. I know of others that have gone on fabric diets but I like to think that I'm cautious enough that I won't ever have to resort to those measures. But I'm really excited about what I've picked up.

Couldn't pass up a charm pack of Into the Woods - I just love the mix of pinks, reds, and aquas. Next up are 3 layer cakes.

My favorite purchase of the lot is Somerset by Fig Tree & Company. I have so many ideas on what I want to do with this that it will be hard to choose a specific pattern. The layer cake in the middle is The Cottage Garden by the Quilted Fish. What drew me to that fabric line was the triangle prints and the text prints. The last layer cake was a true impulse buy. It's Flirt by Dear Stella. I don't have a lot of pinks in my stash but I really liked the combination of the pinks and reds with the varying shades of gray. There are also polka dots and I'm a pushover for those!

The other 2 fabrics are for my pinwheel quilt.

The green fabric is for a 5 inch border all the way around. It's the Lady Edith small branches fabric from the Downton Abbey line. The floral paisley is Rosemont Malabar Ivory and is a wide back fabric for the back of the quilt. I was on the fence about this particular fabric but I know that the recipient for this quilt will love it.

Now I just need to finish up my holiday sewing so I can get to using these. Nothing like the lure of new fabrics to motivate me!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Holiday Mayhem & A Sewing Challenge

Wow, it's been almost a month since I've posted. How did that happen? Well, I know exactly how it happened. It's called the holiday season and it's in full swing in our house. The few weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving break were filled with crafting, holiday sewing, volunteering, and easing my way into the workforce.

In the next week or so, I'll be posting some of the other projects that I've been working on but first I wanted to share with you the challenge that I've undertaken. A friend of my husband reached out to me a few weeks ago wondering if I could make a Christmas stocking. She had a special one for her daughter but couldn't seem to find one that matched for her younger son. Here's the picture that she sent me.

Basically 2 pockets and a large stocking. Should be easy, right? Famous last words. In theory it should have been pretty easy but let's be honest - it's me. But I was still up for the challenge.

My first hurdle - finding piping to match. You'd think that with it being the holidays that red and white satin twisted cording should be available somewhere. Ahh, sadly no but after 3 days of searching I was able find a suitable substitute online. I've never worked with cording before and for this particular one I learned (the hard way) that when you cut it, it starts to unravel! Oops.

Next hurdle was the lettering. It's funny really, that when I was shopping for a sewing machine when I decided to start quilting, I was convinced that I didn't want an embroidery machine because I'd never use it. Let's see, this is now the 4th project that I've done with intricate lettering. Still not sure I could justify the added cost, but it sure would make lettering a LOT easier. The letters seemed simple in the original photo. It wasn't until I received the original stocking that I saw they were done in a teeny-tiny satin stitch. It took a lot of time - almost 4 hours if you include my first failed attempt that needed to be ripped out. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the pockets.  My pockets are the ones on the left.

All I have left to do now is put the stocking together once more cording arrives which will hopefully be by this weekend so I can get it finished and shipped to the recipient. I think the hardest thing now will be to figure out what to charge. It's always hard putting a price on your time.