Friday, August 14, 2015

Scrap Happy Sewing: Craft Tote Pattern

 This week my son started kindergarten and my husband began his first (of many) work weeks of forced overtime.  I've needed sewing as therapy desperately!

I turned to Scrap Happy Sewing (by Kim Kurzich) again and made this "Craft Tote."  I don't work with scraps as often as I'd like and I was curious what kind of "look" I could create with pinks, greens, yellows, and blues from my scrap bins.  I altered the pattern slightly in making the straps and bottom linen rectangles a bit wider than what the pattern called for.  This is my favorite side:

Somehow, this side (picture below) ended up with a lot more yellows and it's not as balanced.  Good to remember to watch that for next time.

Before I sewed up the lining, I took this picture to show this fun combination of prints inside the bag.  That bird/floral print was one of the first "modern" fabric prints I bought several years ago.  The house print isn't from the same fabric line but they go together so perfectly.  I love it when that happens.  Aren't bag linings a good way to use fun multi-colored fabrics that might be hard to use otherwise?

I love making bags so much and have decided to stash such projects for future birthday or Christmas gifts since I already have so many for myself.  It feels good to be ahead of schedule with gift giving!

Linking up with Finish it up Friday and Super Online Sewing Community Match at Sew Mama Sew.

Total stash fabric used in this post: 1 yard
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 76 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 77 yards

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Ongoing Projects

I have three pre-baby WIPS haunting me, one of them is the Weekender bag.  I recently completed this paper pieced section for one of the large outside pockets:

to be placed on the outside of this quilted main panel:

But when I put the two together, I didn't like how they looked at all.  The problem is that the deer fabric is printed on a very brown linen, and I chose bright white prints for the patchwork piece.  Normally I try not to fret too much about white and off-white going together, but this bugs me too much!

This whole Weekender debacle has made me feel like I am making a lot of creative mistakes and not catching a lot of simple problems that could be avoided with more care.  I have also been thinking that I am definitely motivated to sew, but I am having a hard time coming up with projects and fabric combinations that I am really excited about.  I think my mental block is definitely related to sleep deprivation/interruption and having so little time to sew lately.

I came across a blog post, from Gnome Angel, recently with this quote, "Life is too short to make things that make you unhappy. I would rather not deliver on something then take the time away from my family to make something that’s sub par. Life’s too short for bad quilts!"  

I completely agree with Angie.  I don't need to put so much pressure on myself.  I don't have to create a masterpiece with everything I make.  So I am going to give myself a break and just work on some simple projects.  Projects with patterns.  If I follow a designer's fabric print/color suggestions, it's okay, I don't always have to reinvent the wheel every time.  I almost always try to throw in my own twist on projects, but if I want to make an exact duplicate of something from a book or tutorial, so be it.

Over the weekend, I had a bunch of sewing friends over to work on projects together.  I only had the baby to look after, so it felt like a vacation!  I spent my time visiting and cutting up squares for the Color Dive quilt.  This is exactly the kind of "easy" "no brainer" project I need: charm squares and half square triangles made out of Anna Maria Horner fabrics.  It's simple and I know I will still be happy with it because I love her fabrics and the pattern.

I also finally cracked open my City Weekend bundle I've hoarded for years.  I usually don't love pastel fabrics but this collection has been one of my long time favorites.  I am pairing it with blenders from my stash to make 9" churn dash blocks.  It's another simple project that will hopefully result in a pleasing vintage style quilt.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Scraptastic Tuesday: A Few Projects in the Works

Like a lot of quilters, I have a lot of scraps.  I enjoy working with them but don't do so often enough.  Here's a few recent projects I've been working on:

Apple potholders, a pattern from the book Scrap Happy Sewing.  I love how they came out.  The insulated batting shifted a lot within the project, but that was the only trouble I had in making these:

I had the perfect backing fabric:

This is the last project I completed recently in completing the decorating of my sewing room.  The mat and frame came from a yard sale and I spray painted the mat bright pink.  The mat was originally a dark, dusty blue.  Sorry about the poor picture- it was difficult to photograph.

To fill in the letters, I simply glued scraps of my favorite sewing themed collection, Sew Yummy, to the back of the mat.

Over the weekend I started working on another scrappy project, more details (and hopefully a finish) coming later this week:

 Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday at She Can Quilt:

Scraptastic Tuesday

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Pajama Softie Bears: Scrap Happy Sewing

I have been eyeing the "Pajama Softie Bear" pattern for months and finally got my hands on a copy of Kim Kruzich's Scrap Happy Sewing for my birthday.  There are lots of cute patterns in the book (today I will finish up a second project from its pages) but I would've bought the book if only for the cute bears!  My regular readers all know I love peg bears and this is right up my alley.

So I made three bears, one for each of my kids.  I really just wanted one for the baby, but of course, I ended up making one for each of my older children.  They appreciate them, which is good, because I don't really love "assembly line sewing," aka, making several of the same thing over and over.  (If I had a dollar for every time someone encouraged me to do a "craft show" or "open an Etsy shop."  I know they mean well, but no, thank you).  But I'm getting off topic.....

This pattern is cute because it has several sweet details.  My oldest son insisted I didn't add a collar, buttons, or the adorable "butt flap."  But the other two bears got the full works:

Here's my crew with their softies.  Pretty sweet shot that was made in haste, as the baby was nearly overdue for his morning nap.  Got to love my daughter and her mismatched outfit and shoes.

Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Patchwork Tote Bag Part II

I made another Patchwork Tote Bag simply because it's a fun easy pattern and it was also an exercise in avoiding the WIP's waiting for me.  I dug into my vintage fabric stash and added some Denyse Schmidt fabrics for the exterior and handles:

The interior is a soft, lightweight fabric gifted to me from a friend of a friend, straight from India:

I think there's at least one more of these bags that needs to be made by me, I have been using the perfect thrifted packages of fusible fleece for these totes and I have one package left!

Linking up to Super Online Sewing Community Match at Sew Mama Sew.

Pattern for this bag is from the book: Make It, Take It: 16 Cute and Clever Projects to Sew with Friends by Krista Hennebury.  The pattern is by Ayumi of Pink Penguin. 

Total stash fabric used in this post: 1 yard
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 75 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 76  yards

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Decorating My Sewing Room: Using Thrifted Materials

Sew Organized for the Busy Girl has really inspired me to get my sewing room organized.  Time is so much more limited with a new baby and it's embarrassingly true that I waste far too much sewing time looking for things instead of sewing when I get the chance.

My habit of buying crafty items at yard sales has not kept pace with using such items and I am now trying to change that!  

First up, is a big thread wreath.  I used to buy any and all thread I came across at yard sales.  Sometimes I would use it for sewing but have since learned that very old thread is unreliable within one's projects.  It becomes brittle and often dusty, not something you need in your machine.   About two years ago, I made this thread wreath with autumn colors.  It was finally time to use the rest of my thread stash and make a rainbow one to decorate my sewing room.  This thing is heavy, many of the spools are wooden.  I love how it came out.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, four years ago (!), I went to Quilt Market and bought this Basic Grey Canvas Sampler at the Sample Spree.  I finally put it together over the weekend, adhering fabric scraps via "wonder-under."  Choosing the fabrics took an eternity, actually putting the whole thing together was very quick.  Once all of the fabrics were placed, I sewed some vintage glass buttons at most of the patchwork intersections.

Wooden embroidery hoops are always easy to find and cheap to buy at yard sales.  I've stashed these for years and tortured myself by tripping over them as they lay in the corner of my sewing room for months recently.  I finally selected a non-traditional rainbow of stash fabrics and put these together as hoop art.  I really like how this looks, this picture doesn't do it justice.  I will add to it as I find more wooden hoops at yard sales.

Eventually I will do a "final reveal" of my sewing room when everything is put together.  That may be a while, my next project is to organize my patterns- a mammoth task I'm still not sure how to approach.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts at Finish it up Friday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thrifted Sewing: Patchwork Tote Bag

Most people that know me know that I love yard sales.  It's a "hobby" that has enabled our family to enjoy a lot of things that we couldn't afford to buy new.  It also is a money-making endeavor that I can pursue pretty easily as a stay at home mom (I buy used books and movies and sell them online).  Attending yard sales after having had a new baby is happening now because the baby is taking a bottle: HALLELUJAH!  (My first two wouldn't, so this is a new freedom for me.)

So this past Saturday, I heard about a woman unloading tons of her fabric at a yard sale at $2 per yard.  This woman seriously had at least eight tables full of stacked fabric, all folded and measured neatly.  Apparently, she had worked at a fabric shop until she was 75 years old and decided she'd rather travel than sew when she finally stopped working.  Later I told my husband that I hope that my family will enjoy choosing my completed quilts to keep rather than having the burden of unloading a massive stash after I've died!  

In years past, I would buy any thrifted fabric I came across, but I've finally learned to be very selective.  I love vintage/retro- looking fabrics.  Their quality can often be questionable, which is why I try to avoid using them in quilts.  Most of the fabric at the yard sale was not my style but I found several gems and only ended up spending about $8.  

On Sunday afternoon I took a nap and therefore couldn't sleep that evening.  I stayed up late and made this tote from the book: Make It, Take It: 16 Cute and Clever Projects to Sew with Friends.  The tote pattern is by Ayumi of Pink Penguin.  Ayumi's style is impeccable!  I really like how this bag turned out, mixing black and white prints with colorful fabrics is one of my favorite things to do.  It's hard to let go, but I am giving this away on my personal facebook page.  I am sure I will make myself another.

I recently organized my vintage fabric stash and it really inspired me to use more of the thrifted finds I've acquired over the years.  It makes me pretty happy that I put some of the newest stash additions to use so swiftly!

Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Total stash fabric used in this post: .5 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 74.5 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 75  yards