Thursday, May 18, 2017

MOPS Gifts: Perfect Zip Bags, Celestial Style

I've said before that this move to Colorado from my beloved New England has been H.A.R.D.  But thank goodness there is one community I'm a part of here that has become quite meaningful and integral to my emotional survival: my MOPS group.  I found them by enrolling my oldest son in Holy Apostles preschool and a mom invited me to their "mom's group"... and the rest is history!

One way I learned quickly to enhance my experience in the group is to always volunteer to be in leadership of the MOPs group.  It just helps you get to know others better and in a more meaningful way; when the group roster changes dramatically every fall (hello military town!), you still maintain a sense of continuity.  

Last year I was in charge of Membership and that was a BIG job!  This year I decided to give myself an easier time and agreed to be a "Discussion Group Leader" (DGL).  My role was to lead an assigned table and help those ladies know about upcoming events, any responsibilities we had, and help everyone feel involved and included.  

ANYWAY- I decided to make them all parting gifts as our 2016-2017 year came to a close.  The MOPS theme was "We are the Starry Eyed"- so I finally broke out a bunch of my moon and star fabrics to make Bag C from Perfect Zip Bags, an Elizabeth Hartman pattern (if you don't have this pattern, you NEED it.  It enables you to have that clean finish by each end of the zipper that is very elusive in other bag patterns!  She is also very clever with an interfacing approach that makes these bags super sturdy).  

The bag was made out of Yarn Dyed Essex Linen in Flax, my stash patchwork, thrifted zippers, and some handmade "celestial themed" custom zipper pulls.  My friend Leslie, who has experience in jewelry making, helped me make them and they were the perfect accent to the project:

The ladies were very appreciative of my gift and it was a little sad to say goodbye to such a fun year we had together.  

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dresden Lane Designs Etsy Shop

After months of hard work, I am finally launching my Etsy store.  Photography and graphic design are not strong talents of mine but I've done my best to create a nice space on Etsy to showcase my handmade items.  Right now, it's all kind of a mix of things for sale: patchwork dish towels, coasters, crayon wallets, chalkboard roll ups, and all of those pillows and mini quilt made with reclaimed needlework.  Hopefully within the next 1-2 weeks, I can reveal my new and improved marker totes too.  

I will continue to make quilts and clothing for my family and share them here, I am definitely not ready to give up all of my "personal" sewing.  

Here's a sampling of what I have to offer in my Etsy store:

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 15, 2017

May Scraptastic Tuesday Link Up

The Front Range Modern Guild is hosting an outdoor quilt show on June 17 in Monument at Limbach Park (151 Front Street) from 10-4.  The leaders are organizing a guild quilt that will be displayed there (I think it will be donated to a charitable organization afterwards).  Guild members were given a few solid fat quarters and were asked to make a 12.5" block.  Here's what I came up with:

I used the Kona blue/green fat quarter I was given and bright orange scraps.  I had so much fun making this.  Wonky stars are definitely not new, but I am still proud that I figured out the math on this on my own and got it to be precisely 12.5" as requested.  It wasn't until I finished the block that I realized I could've avoided four seams if I had did rectangles on the interior of the block instead of the squares but that's okay.  Maybe I'll do a tutorial of this soon- wouldn't this be so cute repeated over and over to make a big quilt?!

Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Finish it up Friday: My Donation to International Institute of New England

Last week I got to work on my donation quilt for the International Institute of New England.  I've had two charm packs of Thomas Knauer's Asbury fabric line in my stash for ages.  It's so bright and fun and even gender neutral.  I also had a yard of this crazy-bright yellow that helped the colors pop even more.  I used a very simple pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, found here, on Sew Mama Sew.  The only change I made was to add borders on the side.

I used coordinating stash fabrics for the back and scraps of binding from previous quilts- something I've always wanted to try out.  The quilt measures 40 x 43.

Please see my previous post if you are interested in donating a baby quilt/blanket/afghan etc. to help refugees in the New England area.  Soon after I published that post, someone commented on it and asked where to send the quilts but the comment disappeared for some reason.  If you'd like the address for sending quilts, please directly email me at LaurieEMatthews @ gmail dot com

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

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

This and That: Gifts and Thrifting Treasures

 I've been busy with setting up my Etsy shop and making gifts for friends.

A sweet gal at church just had her first child and she loves elephants.  I made a few bibs for her and a few for the shop:

This year at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers group) I've been a "Discussion Group Leader."  An optional aspect of this role is to give small gifts to those who sit at my table.  I'll admit I've slacked off with this duty this semester, so I wanted to make something special for everyone for our last meeting.  I'm using Elizabeth Hartman's "Perfect Zip Pouches" and I chose a "celestial" theme because the national MOPS theme this year has been, "We Are the Starry Eyed."

I decided I wanted to have a little something "extra" for the bags and decided to make custom zipper pulls.  Lots of help from a local friend and a few inexpensive supplies at Hobby Lobby and Joann's yielded these cuties:

I am pretty psyched about how this project is coming along!

I had to share some of the amazing thrifted sewing goodies I bought this past weekend.  This bundle of vintage fabric was at a company-run estate sale.  I don't often enjoy these "professionally run" sales because they are usually characterized by super high prices.  I thought I would probably leave empty handed, but I couldn't resist grabbing these goodies.  There were no price tags on fabric and I braced myself for an astronomical sum, but the guy asked me if $2 was okay.  Um.. yes, that would be great!

This is my favorite piece:

At the same sale, I bought this hand embroidered table topper for $3.  I'm thinking of re-purposing this into a hoop:

The last sale I went to on Saturday was a little chaotic.  Stuff was just everywhere and the poor place just looked like it needed a giant dumpster.  But tucked in a back bedroom, I found a box of linens and this GORGEOUS tablecloth with four matching napkins.  All of the needlework is impeccably done and while there is one big hole and a few stains, I really think all 12 of the bouquets are salvageable!  I can't just put these into a pillow... I'm thinking I need to go BIG and make a whole quilt with these.  The cherry on top is that all of these were $1.

Thanks for reading!  I'll be back on Friday with a simple quilt finish.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Hey Mercedes Purse: Jackalope Style

For Christmas, my sister gave me Sara Lawson's newest book: Windy City Bags.  The "Hey Mercedes" pattern really appealed to me, so I went to work making it over the past few weeks.

Yes, it definitely took me more than a few days to make this bag.  Bag making is serious business, you almost spend more time cutting out fabric and interfacing, as well as locating hardware, than you do actually sewing.  

But the reward is pretty sweet when you're finished.  Here's the front:

Here's the back:

I just love a good fabric pairing outside the bounds of using fabrics from the same collection.  I used Tall Tales Jackalope in Dusk and Geometric Bliss Polygons in Yellow.  The red solid is a Cirrus solid from Cloud9.

I didn't put a magnetic snap in because I thought I had one and when I realized I didn't, I didn't want to waste a good half hour going to Joanns to get one.  I am fine with that choice- if it had really mattered to me, I would've gone to the store.  I found the metal rectangle rings at Hobby Lobby- they were a buckle style, but I just used pliers to remove the middle bar.  So much better than special ordering them!

I really like this purse and I am excited to carry around this whimsical fabric that I enjoy so much.  It's a bit bigger than the purse I've been carrying around for a while now: my 241 tote.  I am glad to have something a little bigger that will better accommodate the few things I like to carry around with me.

Linking up to Sew Sweetness Bag Contest 2017.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Quilt Donations Sought for International Institute of New England

Do you have any baby sized quilts or quilt tops lying around?  Do you have the desire to make a baby quilt for a worthy cause?  Please consider contributing to an important charitable effort:

I have been contacted by a good friend of mine, Kim Andreasan, regarding her efforts to collect 50 baby quilts to donate as part of a "diaper bag" initiative to help refugees in the New England area.  Kim and I attended the same LDS ward (congregation) in Billerica for the seven years I lived in Massachusetts and she has some responsibility for a big service project taking place on September 9, 2017.  The women of the LDS North Shore stake (larger organization of multiple LDS wards) is joining together to put together 50 diaper bags filled with infant essentials, including a handmade baby quilt.  These items are to be donated to the International Institute of New England, IINE, an organization with Lowell and Boston branches.  Their mission statement is:

The mission of the International Institute of New England is to invest in the future of our cities and towns by preparing refugees and immigrants for participation in the social, economic and political richness of American life through active citizenship.

Kim explained that most clients of IINE, ".....are women and children.  Two out of every ten women are pregnant when they arrive here or in the camps.  By providing bags/baby quilts, we hope to give them something to help them adjust to this society and know their babies are welcomed and cared about."
Kim thought I might think it was strange for her to contact me when I am all the way in Colorado. Of course I don't mind at all and I am confident that quilters tend to be generous and don't allow the "hassle" of sending a quilt in the mail when it comes to a worthy cause.  

I feel excited about this project because I still love New England and my friends back there and it combines two of my long-held interests: sewing and humanitarian outreach.  My educational background is social work and as a young adult, I spent quite a bit of time abroad doing international volunteer work.  I don't pretend to be an expert, but I have witnessed a lot of tragedy and suffering and I miss those days when I lost myself in serving wherever I was needed.  Assisting refugees stateside is definitely a great way to reach out and serve when it is no longer practical for me to be an international volunteer.

An advantageous aspect of this project is that there are no strict guidelines about size, colors, and materials for donating a quilt.  I can offer some of my own to help give some direction:

  • 40" square is a great sized baby quilt, it's been my preferred size for my own babies and it's small enough to quilt on your domestic machine without too much hassle.  Bigger or smaller is okay but don't go TOO big.
  • Gender neutral themes would be appreciated in interest of simplicity in giving out the quilts but it's not mandatory.  If you have something already made or nearly made- that's fine.
  • Machine binding would be helpful in prolonging the life of the quilts.  Machine quilting as opposed to tying would also prolong the life of the quilt.

If you'd like to donate a quilt, Kim has asked that you send it to her by late August.  She would like some time to inventory and organize the donations.  Please message me and I can give you her mailing address for sending the quilt. If paying for postage is an issue, it can be worked out, just contact me.

If you are local to me, I can collect the quilt from you and get it to Kim myself.  If you are really ready to donate, let me know as soon as possible, as my parents are visiting in June and they can take quilts back to Kim for me.

Thanks for reading this long post and for considering contributing to this cause.  I will admit that I don't do a lot of "charitable quilting" for a variety of reasons (mostly time!) but I will commit here to make at least one quilt to donate.  Will you join me?

(I didn't want to have a picture-less post, so the pictures in here show a gender neutral quilt-the rainbow log cabin- and 3 quilt tops I bought at a yard sale recently.  These tops are too big to be baby quilts but my intention in including them in this post was to help you think of what tops you might have lying around that could be used for this cause).