Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Sewing

Update from the last post:  A few hours after I blogged about the pillow cases for Sandy Hook, the CT quilt shop sponsoring the drive announced that they had already exceeded their goal of 4000 pillowcases and are encouraging people to donate pillowcases to other worthy causes.  They are going to do the same with their extra pillowcases.  It's so promising that so many participated!
On another note, this post is about sewn Christmas gifts I couldn't blog about till now.  The main project I had to keep secret was this little mini quilt I made for my husband.  The pattern is called Lil' Fox and you can buy it here.  I decided to do this project for my husband after I had had so much fun making the little paper pieced matryoshka.  Oddly, I really had a hard time making the orange fox - I had to keep coming back to it over a period of three days.  For the yellow one, the stars aligned and my children took 1.5 hour naps at the same time one day and I got it done right then!  Go figure.  It was not easy to get this done without my husband seeing any part of it given that lately I get most of my sewing done when he's home and watching the kids!

The last two projects weren't super secret- they just got completed at the last minute.  I used some oddly but aptly titled "pale flesh" Kona for her skin and other things I had on hand.  The free pattern is "Black Apple Doll" and can be found here.  I gave it to my daughter.
 I also used a large cut of some cute owl fabric to make a pair of pj pants for my sister.  I added an extra detail by putting cuffs around the bottom hems. 
 I am pretty happy with all of the handmade gifts I was able to make this year.  Last year, I didn't even try because I was quite pregnant and downright exhausted.  Everything I made was well received and it gave me a lot of satisfaction to use things I already had to create custom gifts for friends and family.  I still ran out of time to make everything I wanted to - I was almost going to make more on Christmas Eve- but I quickly realized that would make that special family day somewhat unpleasant if I was so focused on sewing, sewing, sewing....  Instead, I made a quick trip to Target - it was well worth it. 
Gregory loves the rocket pillow!
Santa was good to me in the fabric/sewing department.  Here are some of my favorite Field Study prints that I am so happy to have:
 These are some random and fun prints that I directed my husband to during all those great Black Friday sales. 
 My mom was very generous in getting me several sewing books - I love these!
I hope everyone else has had enjoyable holidays! Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Pillowcases for Sandy Hook Elementary

I recently learned of a pillowcase drive for the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School.  It is a small thing to do.  I made 10 over the weekend and they will be mailed out today.  To make these pillowcases I used this method - the only difference is that my "accent strip" was three inches.  

These school shootings have been nothing short of horrific.  I was in high school when Columbine happened, in graduate school when Virginia Tech was attacked, and now I am mother of young children at the time of Sandy Hook.  I feel completely helpless and at a loss for words when I think about these tragedies. 

If you are interested in sending pillowcases to the cause - please mail them to: 

Quilter's Corner:  312 Danbury Rd. ( Rt. 7), New Milford, CT 06776

Add pictures and let them know how many you are sending here.  They are trying to have them in time for when the children return to school after Christmas break. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Holiday Craft Bash Projects

Over the weekend, I decided to tackle some more "Holiday Craft Bash" tutorials.  I made a table runner, using this tutorial by Meredith at Olivia Jane Handcraft.  It was an easy project- it honestly felt like it took longer to buy matching quilting thread at Joann's than it did to make the table runner!  (Sorry for the poor picture quality of today's post - it's so gray around here lately and I rely on bright sunlight to achieve the best photographs!)
 The runner became double-sided when I decided to use some of my Jingle leftovers for the back.
 I also made this little mini wall hanging, tutorial from Esch House Quilts, found here.  This project was quilt and easy - probably took me longer to download the triangle templates than to make the whole thing.  I added more trees than prescribed in the tutorial, I definitely had fun with the quilting. 
 I made a few more Pocket Clutches, pattern found here.  These are kind of addictive to make - it's fun to rifle through the stash to find pretty fabric combinations and they don't take too long.  The pattern gives instructions that really make for a polished, finished end product.
 For this one shown below, I told my husband it was a "Christmas miracle" because the fabric totally lined up without me even trying. 
Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Scrappy Stocking

Last night I became obssessed with the idea of making this scrappy stocking from this tutorial by Jaceycraft.  It's part of the Holiday Craft Bash.  Originally, I was going to cut up a bunch of scraps of my leftover Jingle fabrics - but I decided using real scraps that I didn't have to cut would be quicker.  It also satisfied my desire to finally make something Christmas-ey without using strictly Christmas fabrics.

 It was an easy and quick projects - it especially helped that I had a stocking pattern already made among my supplies.  I backed the stocking in an older Marden's find.  This is going to be a gift for a friend who's deployed - she also quilts - so I plan to stuff it with some handmade goodies and maybe a quilt magazine or something. 
 I really, really love this photo I snapped of my daughter when I was feeding her this morning.  It perfectly captures her sweet spirit and I love the quilt block in the background.  It's a good representation of what my life is all about these days - the kids/family is my central focus - but the sewing thing is really unavoidable and it's a happy component to my routine.  I wish I had more time to sew, but I squeeze it in whenever I can!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

What I have been up to

It has been difficult to find the time to blog lately.  My son hit the AWESOME milestone of being potty trained very recently, only to skip naps for the past week.  If his napping habit is truly extinguished - my sewing time is going to be even more limited than it already is. 

I have been sewing a bit, here and there.  I made Charlotte's Christmas stocking in July, so I figured I would do things out of order again and make her trick-or-treat bag in December.  (Real reason: I just wanted to make something simple one evening and I had bought some Guising from a Black Friday sale.)

 Despite still having some Christmas sewing to do, I couldn't help but start another huge quilt: a 36 patch block quilt - an ode to Denyse Schmidt.  I had originally planned to make a Hope Valley Swoon quilt - but I don't even have the pattern or the large amount of background fabric - so I figured I just needed to dive in and finally use some of those fabrics!  This is for the BMQG "Precious" challenge.
 A bunch of Madrona Road arrived last week that I needed to distribute to guild members for a quilt challenge.  Some time had to be found to cut, package, and mail little bundles to our members.  I can't wait to see what everyone makes in time for our February meeting. 
 I made Charlotte a little stuffed elephant for Christmas.  The pattern is from One Yard Wonders, the fabric is Joel Dewberry Heirloom.
 I made a pocket clutch to match the larger clutch - both wrapped and brought to a Christmas party for a gift exchange/yankee swap.
 I also made another clutch as a Christmas gift for my sister (who assures me she doesn't read my blog).
Like a cat, my baby had to get on top of this quilt when I was trying to take a picture of it.  Anyway - this quilt was a $10 thrift store find that I am seam ripping little by little (usually on long car rides).  The hand-pieced hexagons are so sweet, but the whole quilt was constructed very oddly and in a way that made laundering quite difficult. 
 I look forward to transforming these blocks into something lovely when I am finally done taking the whole top apart. 
Thanks for reading! 

Monday, December 03, 2012

Rocket to Dreamland

This past weekend, I had a ton of time to myself to sew.  On Friday night, I joined a small group of girlfriends to sew.  The hostess provided an amazing cranberry salad and banana bread - what is better than food, friends, and sewing?  Not much!  I started this "Rocket to Dreamland" pillow, a pattern from the One Yard Wonders Book.  On Saturday, we had a 6 hour sew-in/meeting for the BMQG - also a ton of fun.  I just can't believe that this darn pillow is the only thing that I finished with having had all that time!

For some reason, I seem to have this weird idea in my head that softies are easier to sew than quilts.  But let's face it, stuffed animals and the like are not easy sometimes.  They are three dimensional, often have curves, and manuevering all that stuffing is often a feat in and of itself!  I can honestly say that this is the most difficult softie I have ever made.
 Last week I finished the embroidered pillow cover.  So happy that I finally used some of my precious Girl Friday fabric!  I need to get another embroidery project going - it's so relaxing!
 Here they are together!  So cute!  I am pretty happy with the little ensemble.  I had to sneak pictures of these pillows upstairs in the kids' bedroom - Gregory will have to wait till Christmas to get these!
Speaking of Gregory and Christmas, I am excited to be able to use the "Christmas Trees" quilt that I made in the spring.  My tutorial was recently featured on the Sew Mama Sew blog here.  There are other nice Christmas tutorials featured as well - check them out!
I received a lot of positive feedback regarding my last post about fabric shopping around Boston.  I will go ahead and do a post about my favorite online fabric sources soon.  These posts are unbiased - I don't receive any sponsorships!