Saturday, December 26, 2015

Handmade Christmas Gifts for Sister Missionaries

 Again this year, we decided to have the LDS Sister Missionaries over for Christmas.  Being away from my family during holidays is difficult for me, so I seek opportunities to invite others to our home and simply have more company to enjoy.  These young women who choose to serve for 18 months of their young lives don't have it easy, so I decided to do something nice and make them a few things.

I contacted the Sisters to ask them what their favorite colors were.  Sister Copling said she liked purple and green and Sister Sema gave me a unique combination: coral, navy, and gold.  I did my best with what I had in my stash. I made them both 241 totes (pattern by Anna Graham of Noodlehead) and pillowcases.

Here's what I made for Sister Copling:

Sister Sema:

I will admit it was a bit difficult to use some of my favorite Echino fabrics from my stash for the totes but I am really proud of the fabric combinations and had a lot of fun with this pattern.  I went the extra mile with making adjustable straps- I had no idea if they'd prefer to wear the bags across their body or on their shoulder.  Now they have a choice.  I used this YouTube video by Sara Lawson to help me understand how to correctly install the purse hardware.

I have now surpassed using 100 yards from my stash in 2015.  Special blog post coming on that topic.

Total stash fabric used in this post: 5.5 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 98.25 yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  103.75 yards

Monday, December 21, 2015

Owen's Stocking

 Yesterday afternoon I finished Owen's Christmas stocking.  When I started English paper piecing the hexagons a few weeks ago, I told myself, "There is no pressure to get this done in time for Christmas."  Truly.  We literally bought him a beanie baby and that's all he's getting from us for Christmas.  He doesn't need a thing.  He's 7 months old and doesn't know the difference between Christmas and any other day.  Maybe I sound like Scrooge but I am chalking it up to experience as a parent (we spoiled Gregory on Christmas when he was just a few months old and in hindsight, it seems a bit silly) and trying to be frugal.

 Anyway, I am really pleased the stocking is done and I love how it came out.

I accidentally ordered a full yard of the fox fabric (Festive Forest collection, designed by Tamara Kate) - so I put a bunch on the back:

I had a lot of trepidation about the non-traditional color pallet of Owen's stocking but I wanted it to be a bit different than the other kids stockings.  I think they all go together pretty well without being too different or matchy-matchy.

I've been meaning to blog this for years, but Nick's paternal Grandma has a tradition of making her grandchildren and great grandchildren Christmas stockings out of older family quilts.  She is so talented and well into her 90's but still churning out amazing projects like this:

On the back of each stocking, she has a family genealogy on the back, starting with the quilt's maker.

Here's all four of the stockings:

We do have a fireplace in our home but no mantel.  Any good ideas for hanging stockings as decorations?  Thanks for reading!

Total stash fabric used in this post: .5 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 94.75 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 98.25  yards

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Gifts: Tote Bags

More finishes to share.  I made three tote bags using a pattern in Sandi Henderson's book Sewing Bits and Pieces.  I had a lot of fun choosing fabric combinations and aiming to use pieces that are fun and pretty as well as difficult to use in quilts.  These are Christmas gifts.

Now my last project I would like to finish up before Christmas is Owen's Christmas stocking.  Here's what I have so far:

Total stash fabric used in this post: 3 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 94.75 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 97.75  yards

Friday, December 18, 2015

Finish it up Friday: Several Finishes

 It's time to play catch-up on this blog.  I have several finishes to share.  I have lots of pictures and less time for words.

I revisited the Oliver and S Library dress pattern with some Amy Butler Hapi fabric.  I love how it came out and am continuing to feel pleased that my daughter is consenting to wearing florals despite her penchant for novelty prints:

 I love how happy she is here:

My love for making dresses isn't slowing down and she can only wear so many....  I am seriously considering making these to sell at some point.  They're such a gratifying sew!

A friend here in Colorado is having a baby boy tomorrow (due on Christmas, getting induced tomorrow!  Eeek!  Exciting!).  Even though I've known Kelly was pregnant for quite a while - she came to me early for an OB recommendation - I really waited till the last minute to make the baby a quilt.  I pulled out one of my favorite boy prints (Ready, Set, Go! by Robert Kaufman) and got to work.  The bike theme is deliberate as the dad in the family works for a company marketing special mountain bikes.

This quilt came together fast and I am quite pleased with it!  I backed it with a stash dwelling blue/white polka dot and machine bound it with the same:

Finally, I attended a Christmas party with a gift exchange and brought this pouch to give as my gift.  I only finished it an hour before the party started and had to settle for a quick iphone photo:

I have one more major sewing deadline before I can really relax and focus on some of my own projects.  I'm trying not to go too crazy with handmade gifts, so it shouldn't be too hectic.  Thanks for reading!  Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.

Total stash fabric used in this post: 5.5 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 89.25 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 94.75  yards

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

SMS Giveaway Day: Embroidery Hoop Ornament

For the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, I am offering this festive foxy ornament to one lucky visitor to this blog.  Simply leave a comment telling me your favorite color.  This giveaway is open to anyone in the world.  I will keep this giveaway open through Sunday, December 13 and they will be chosen via the Random Number Generator.*

The "2015" label is not adhered to this yet- the winner can choose to keep or omit this feature.

A little about me: I am a sewist who focuses primarily on quilting and making dresses for my daughter.  I've also been known to make bags, softies, and gifts for friends.  This year I had a goal to use fifty yards of fabric from my stash and I am nearing one hundred.  I love using thrifted materials from yard sales to complete my creations- making something out of "nothing" is a thrill!

Being or becoming a blog follower is not required but I'd love it if you'd stay.  Here's a mosaic of some of my favorite projects I've completed in 2015.  You can also find me on IG @dresdenlane


Please make sure you are a not a no-reply blogger and that you check the accounts you are using to enter giveaways.  Last time I participated in SMS Giveaway day, I contacted at least five different people before someone finally got back to me.

Update: #71 Harriet Toothfighter is the winner!  Yay!  Heather is a personal friend of mine whom I love - so this is pretty exciting for me.  I promise it was Mr. Random Number Generator that picked her.

Scraptastic Tuesday: Embroidery Hoop Ornaments

When I work with my scraps, this is what my sewing room floor looks like:

I had a great time making 10 wooden hoop ornaments over the past few days.  The idea came from this tutorial by Elea Lutz.  I had these cute 4" wooden embroidery hoops purchased from a yard sale (thrifting for the win!) and dug deep to find any Christmas/winter scraps and just had fun with it.  I used wool felt for a backing to the hoops (to make the backside look neat), vintage rick rack for the hanging loops, and red pom poms for the berries.  I busted out the glue gun, pinking shears, and fabric paint/stamps too- I felt so crafty.

Here's a closeup of a few of my favorites.

I will be keeping a few for our family and giving a few to friends and family.  It was definitely a fun project and I hope to revisit it again.

Linking up to She Can Quilt for the December Scraptastic Tuesday Link up.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Le Challenge Entry: Space Quilt for Max

Handmade Style by Anna Graham is a great book with lots of drool-worthy projects.  I've checked it out of the library a few times and now it has a spot on my Christmas list.  I chose to utilize the pattern "picnic plaid quilt" for making a quilt for my friend's baby boy, Max.  Max's mom, Laurel, is a friend I met through the Front Range Modern Guild.

I decided to go with a "space" theme for the focus fabrics and worked really hard to follow the pattern instructions to use dark, medium, and light value fabrics. 

I did all of the cutting for this quilt when we were snowed in by a snowstorm that closed school and the Air Force base where my husband works (it was heaven to have everyone home!).  I have zero white/cream in my stash but soon settled on a navy pin dot - I think the print was a better option in the end - which makes me happy.  It took a little courage to use some of my Lizzy House Constellations but it's so perfect for this project.  (The other fabrics are from Rocket Age by October Afternoon, Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets, and the light blue star is a find from Marden's ages ago).  

For quilting, I settled on simple stippling. alternating thread colors to match the fabrics of the quilt top.  When I use all prints in a quilt, I don't feel too guilty when I do a simple meander stitch, as the fabrics are so busy and intense quilting wouldn't show up very well.

I used random stuff from my stash to complete the backing and bound the quilt in a simple dot fabric.  I machine bound it entirely- mainly to save time but also in the interest of durability.

The link up is about 10 days away away but I wanted to post this early anyhow to really feel "done" with this project.  Le Challenge's theme is the word "space" and as you can see, I took it very literally.  Thanks for the inspiration as always!

Le Challenge

Total stash fabric used in the past three posts: 4.25 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 85 yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  89.25 yards

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

My New Normal

I miss this space.  My sewing room is not occupied by me often enough.  I get it now.  I get why people have been amazed at my "productivity" with sewing as I've raised little kids.  I wrote this post maybe, largely, because I felt a wee bit defensive.  (When people are so incredulous that you have a hobby that takes longer than five minutes and you have young babies- surely you must be neglecting something or someone crucial...)  But seriously- I get it.  Lately, when I look at a project I completed in years past, I feel a bit amazed that I made it and I wonder how I had the time...

When I had my first son, in the weeks of his newborn-ness, I literally thought I might sell all my sewing supplies because I couldn't imagine being able to get back to it.  Funny, right?  My hands are so much more full with three little ones.  Moving across the country has also thrown a wrench into my routine: I am still trying to make friends and be involved in the community and socially, I can't afford to not be a part of MOPS, a book club, the PTO, the local modern guild....  

Speaking of MOPS, some members had a craft/bake sale and ten quilted coffee cozy's were my contribution:

I had a fun time pulling scraps for these.  You might be able to tell I have a pink/green/yellow WIP going on right now.

I have a finished baby quilt to share tomorrow for a baby shower that's on Saturday.  I recently read an interesting book about habits: Gretchen Rubin's Better than Before.  She outlines four personality types when it comes to habits and within her framework, I quickly identified myself as an "obliger." I meet outer expectations and fail inner expectations.  This is why, lately, when time is so scarce, I am succeeding at getting gifts and projects with a timeline completed, while my personal projects with no due date are dormant.

It's all good!  I am not trying to whine- but I miss sewing and getting things done.  I hope to figure out ways to fit more of it in because it's SO good for my soul and mental health, particularly as my life has become so much busier.

Here's a quote from a great book I just read, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert:

I firmly believe that we all need to find something to do in our lives that stops us from eating the couch.  Whether we make a profession out of it or not, we all need an activity that is beyond the mundane and that takes us out of our established and limiting roles in society (mother, employee, neighbor, brother, boss, etc.).  We all need something that helps us forget ourselves for a while--to momentarily forget our age, our gender, our socioeconomic background, our duties, our failures, and all that we have lost and screwed up.  We need something that takes us so far out of ourselves that we forget to eat, forget to pee, forget to mow the lawn, forget to resent our enemies, forget to brood over our insecurities.  Prayer can do that for us, community service can do it, sex can do it, exercise can do it, and substance abuse can most certainly do it (albeit with god-awful consequences)--but creative living can do it, too.  Perhaps creativity's greatest mercy is this: By completely absorbing our attention for a short and magical spell, it can relieve us temporarily from the dreadful burden of being who we are.  Best of all, at the end of your creative adventure, you have a souvenir--something that you made, something to remind you forever of your brief but transformative encounter with inspiration.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Special Gift

 Isn't this quilt amazing?  My friend Sarah surprised me by sending it to me last week.  It is so perfect for Owen and our family.  I am overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and family with the birth of this baby.  We've been so blessed!

I love this quilt and what it means. I have made many meaningful friendships through guilds and sewing connections and they are so rewarding and precious to me.   I know Sarah won't be offended when I say that I hope Owen will use it frequently, nearly wearing it out!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Le Challenge Entry: Method

"Method" was the theme for Le Challenge this month.

When it comes to sewing apparel, there is definitely a specific "method" I adhere to.  I am very much a beginner when it comes to making clothes and I am reluctant to deviate from the method I have found to enjoy and used.  I almost exclusively use one pattern designer (Oliver and S), I stick to the instructions with exactness, I only use quilting cotton, and I only sew for my daughter.  I prewash my materials and almost always have to make a quick shopping trip for notions.

Quilting is a lot less "prescribed" for me.  I never prewash, sometimes I follow a pattern (and I am willing to try all sorts of different designers), shopping is rarely necessary since I have such a "healthy" stash, and I have made quilts for many people in my life.  I am willing to experiment, deviate from the instructions, and try new things.  I am sure that with more experience and practice, my approach to garment sewing will become more adventurous.

Thanks for sticking with me!  Here's the dress I made this weekend:

This fun print is a Clover Sunshine print designed by Alison Glass.  I've got the kids calling it the "eye spy" dress because there are so many fun little designs in the fabric: an octopus, paintbrush, jet, rainbow, etc.  The pattern I used is the Library dress by Oliver and S, in a 4T.

Sometimes I spend inordinate amounts of time in the button aisle at the store but not this time!  I am in love with the glitter-y buttons I found at Joanns.  They match the dress perfectly.

Even though this dress did not have cats on it, Charlotte loves it and I am so pleased.  She wore it all day today and had to be bribed to take it off for a few minutes for me to get a garment-only picture.  Success!

Linking up with Le Challenge and Finish it up Friday.

Le Challenge

I haven't caught up with my stash fabric tally in a few posts, so here's the catch-up:

Total stash fabric used in the past three posts: 3 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 82 yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  85 yards

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Purse Palooza Sew Together Bag

Last night, in just a few hours, I made a Sew Together bag from start to finish in just a few hours!  It was so fun for me-it's been a while since I've found the time and energy for any project.

One of the most fun parts of any sewing project is choosing the fabrics from my stash.  The far left floral print in the below picture is one of my all-time fabrics designed by Anna Maria Horner.  Matching fabrics to coordinate with it was somewhat difficult: it contains some very unique shades of green, orange, and blue that didn't find friends within my stash- so I chose fabrics that were "close enough."  This is a strategy that I have learned to use often.  Avoiding perfectly matched combinations is a style I like anyhow.  

I had three 9" mustard colored zippers set aside for this project, but I could not find them!  I finally settled on using some other zippers in my small zipper stash.

This cute bag is off to a dear friend who hopefully will love a little surprise in the mail.  I love this bag pattern SO much and I think every sewer needs to have one.  I use mine all of the time!

Lining up with Purse Palooza 2015 and Finish it up Friday.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Purse Palooza: Children's Library Tote

I have entered the world of children's birthday parties thanks to my son's recent entry into kindergarten.  My son had his birthday party last week- a rewarding but exhausting project that explains a lot of my absence on my blog lately.  Then, this past weekend, he was invited to a party for his classmate, Hailey.

I decided to make Hailey a child sized library tote.  I have made adult sized versions previously:

I scaled it all down for the birthday gift, using some of my treasured Anne Kelle girlfriends fabric:

I am not sure if I love the dimensions of this bag- it seems a little "off."  Are the handles too long?  Too wide?  Either way, I knew a six year old would probably like it and I think she did!

Linking up to Sew Sweetness for this year's Purse Palooza and Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

P.S. I received some questions via a blog comment from a person named Lindy in Australia but her google account is set to "no reply" - so I cannot respond.  Please email me Lindy and I will be happy to help you out.