Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lark Quilt

Hey everyone! I have a very long overdue project to share with you all.

As you may know, I'm on kind of a house decorating kick right now and so I thought, what makes a living room homier than a quilt? The only quilt I've kept for myself thus far is my first quilt, because really, you just can't give that way. I figured it was time a splurge a bit and do something nice for myself. So I made myself this lovely...

Lark Quilt

About this Quilt:
Fabric: Amy Butler's Lark and Kona Cotton Solids in Slate and Medium Gray
Binding: Amy Butler's Ivy Bloom in Cinder
Size: approx. 50" x 60"
Pattern: 5" squares
Quilting: Linear quilting following lines in white

I fell for Amy Butler's Lark when I first laid eyes on it. The prints are so diverse that they almost don't look like an actual collection, but rather a well-chosen selection from the scrap pile. That's what I love most; the way that the fabrics work amazing well together but almost look haphazard. It's a mix of sophisticated, funky, and, though I hate to repeat my husband's words, a bit "flower power" seventies retro. Okay, so I'm hoping not too many people think "flower power" when they look at my quilt, but I see color, design, and love. Love! It's simply a gorgeous collection that can't be overlooked.

Lark Quilt Detail
Are you thinking "flower power"?

I really tried to keep the design simple since the fabrics say enough on their own so I stuck with simple  five inch squares. I'm glad I didn't do anything more complicated because this design really shows off the large scale prints without making you dizzy.

Lark Quilt back

Some days I'm even almost adore the back of the quilt more than the front. I love how the Kona Cotton Slate and Medium Gray solids really cool and calm things down. And as usual with solids, they really let the quilting add something to the conversation. 

This is one of those quilts that I really wish you could see in person. Right now, it's bringing some much needed color and cheer to my living room. I can't wait to pull in more of these fun colors to my decorating. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Anniversary & Double Hourglass Quilt

It was just one year ago yesterday that I finished my very first quilt.

My First Quilt

I really can't believe that it's been such a short time! I am so thankful for the joy that quilting has brought me this year and for the support of my family and friends. I have officially finished 11 quilts throughout the year and it's been fun to learn from each one of them. I'm thankful that I've finally landed on a hobby that I've stuck to for awhile (unlike knitting, playing guitar, or running (that lasted about 15 minutes)). Thanks for journeying along with me in my first year of quilting!

Here's my eleventh quilt, which was finished a few weeks ago.

Double Hourglass Quilt

 This fun quilt was made for my friend’s niece. I love making quilts for babies and kids, because it means you get to use bright colors and fun patterns. I mean, I wouldn’t complain about putting something like this on my bed either, but kids just require cheerful quilts. I used Allison’s tutorial for the Easy Double Hourglass over at Cluck Cluck Sew.  I’ve never made double hourglasses the traditional way, but I can promise that this block construction is quite simple and the blocks come together quickly. This was my first time using a template for cutting my blocks. It was fun to try something new. By the way, Allison offers some amazing free tutorials! I think Sprocket Pillows are in my future.

About this Quilt:
Fabric: Cotton solids (Kona, P&B Textiles, and one I don’t remember) and Kona Cotton White
Binding: Carolyn Gavin’s Spring Street, Spring Stripe Red
Size: approx. 40" x 50"
Pattern: Double Hourglass
Quilting: Horizontal linear quilting in white

Double Hourglass Quilt

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Diapers Can be Cool

Fall has escaped me, at least in the blogging sense. One day it’s September and the next it’s November.  There wasn’t much to report on the sewing front at first, but once I started sewing again, I was out of the habit of blogging. Funny how that happens so quickly. But I’m back and I have a few things to share that I’ve been working on, so stay tuned. I will even attempt my first tutorial (no promises!)

To ease me back into blogging, I thought I’d share a quick project that I whipped up this week for my friend’s baby shower. Who knew that carrying diapers could actually be cool? Well, apparently Anna at Noodlehead because she came up with this stylish diaper pouch and then was kind enough to share it (for free!) Thank you, Anna!

Diaper Pouch
Fabric: Joel Dewberry, Heirloom, Ornate Floral in Gold

I don’t have any little ones so I can’t rave about how much I love carrying diapers in this, but I can imagine it would be nice to have something quick to grab and throw in the stroller or in the car if you don’t want to lug around your whole whale of a diaper bag. You could easily stick this in your oversized purse and be on your way. And as Anna points out, you can quickly take stock of the number of diapers that are in there before leaving home and getting stranded with two wet kids and one diaper between them. Yikes!

Diaper Pouch Inside

Add to Anna’s sleek and simple design anything that fabric designer, Joel Dewberry, has had his hands on, and you’ve got a classy, colorful, and hip little bag that might tempt you to empty the diapers and tote it along as a cute clutch next time the baby sitter relieves you for a night out with hubby. Maybe that’s just me.

Diaper Pouch Gift

If you’re stumped on a baby shower gift and can sew a straight line, I encourage you to give this a try, especially if you stuff it with some diapers, wipes and maybe some diaper cream as Anna suggests.  It’s a fun unique gift that you can customize to fit any style. 

P.S. Was just over at Anna’s blog…please pray for her and her family or send her some words of encouragement.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Paint Colors

Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve been kind of MIA lately. There isn’t much sewing going on in my house right now, though I do have a custom quilt that I’m collecting fabric for so I’ll be posting about that soon. But more than sewing, what’s really been going through my head is decorating. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m ready to finally settle into my house and call it home, instead of just my temporary resting place. And that means that I should start resolving some of those places in my house that I look at and say, “I can live with that for now,” and make them a little more to my liking for the long haul. It’s funny, I can live with pretty much anything for a short time, even when it turns into a long time, as long I tell myself that it will only be temporary. No more! It’s time to get serious about settling in.

I have to admit, I’m both very excited and a bit nervous. Picking paint colors is hard work and since we’ve already painted our dining room three times since we moved in four years ago, my husband is really adamant that I pick the right color the “first time”. So I’m going to shell out a bit more cash and get those little samplers, just to make sure. But before I do that, I wanted to share a bit of my plan with you because I know that there are tons of you out there who really do have an eye for decorating. I’ve seen your blogs. I would appreciate any input you are willing to offer.  

So first off is my living room. I’m a bright-color girl, but decided to go with this warm gray so that I could have fun pops of yellow and blue, but can also change my accent colors a bit if I get bored with them over the next few years. This color will also go up my stairs and in my upstairs hallway. This is the big one!

Color: Benjamin Moore "Coastal Fog", Fabric: Joel Dewberry's Rose Bouquet in Jade from his Heirloom line (I just bought some for some roman shades so I'm stuck.)

Then off my living room is my dining room. I wanted it to be this soft yellow because my house doesn’t have many windows and I wanted a little brightness. Plus, I hope it will go well with the yellow accents in my living room. I did actually paint my dining room yellow once, but it was too bright. It was kind of like standing in a room full of highlighters. I’m hoping this one will be more subdued. What do you think? I think I will buy a table first though because yellow and some wood colors can look pretty unappetizing together.

Color: Benjamin Moore "Lemon Grass" with my dream table from Old Barn Star.

As for my kitchen, I’m thinking this creamy white. Who wouldn’t want to cook in a kitchen painted with Vanilla Ice Cream? I love a white on white kitchen with fun pops of color in dishes, towels, canisters, etc.

Color: Benjamin Moore "Vanilla Ice Cream", Le Creuset Au Gratin dish (which I just found at a yard sale), and two cute dish towels from Crate and Barrel, Anjou and Tomato.

The plan is to take things kind of slowly. I’ll probably start painting the living room and dining room first. Our kitchen needs a major overhaul so that will probably be next summer, and then the bedrooms and bathrooms can come as they will.

Isn’t it fun to change things up a bit? I just want to make sure I won’t have to change them again any time soon; much better to think hard, Pinterest like crazy, and know that I have a clear vision before I start anything.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

241 Tote

I have been happily putting this tote to good use since Sunday, and I’m in love. It’s such a light weight, casual tote which can literally go anywhere! I took it dressed up to a classy restaurant over the weekend and it’s also cute dressed down with a pair of jeans. It fits all the necessities, plus easily fits a paperback book, point-and-shoot camera, sunglasses, or whatever else you might need to bring along. It’s the prefect size for an all day outing!

241 tote

If nerves are all that’s keeping you from giving Noodlehead's 241 tote a try, just go for it! This was the third purse that I’ve made and while it was the most complicated, it wasn't difficult. I can’t say it didn’t go off without a hitch, but it still turned out to be really cute. I’m excited to make more so I can improve my construction skills. The part that I had the hardest time with was sewing on the side panels without catching the seam of the bottom of the bag in the stitching, which made a little unintended pleat. (Did anyone else have this issue? Any suggestions?) But, you really can’t tell since there is a seam there anyways.

In making this purse, my husband's voice once again became like that little cartoon angel that sits on your shoulder and tells you what you should or shouldn’t do. My husband expects a lot of himself and other people. He believes in always doing your best work. However, I’m usually okay with brushing things off as “oh well, I’m new to this thing." For example, when I sewed on my very first zipper, I sewed it on very crookedly, well, kind of in a wave actually. I took it proudly to my husband and said, “Look, I sewed on my first zipper. It’s a little crooked, but that’s okay.” I was expecting a standing ovation, but he said, “Why is it crooked?”

Let’s just say he wasn’t confused as to why I sewed it on crookedly, he was confused as to why I hadn’t taken it off and done it again until I got it straight. I did redo the zipper and with only a little time and effort, it was much straighter. I’m glad he said something instead of just patting me on the back; though I’m sure I gave him a begrudging look at the time. Otherwise, that zipper would have always bothered me and whenever anyone would have given me a compliment on my bag, I know I’d end up saying, “Thanks! I made it. The zipper’s a little crooked though.” Isn’t that weird how we point out our mistakes before someone else can? I’m assuming I’m not alone!

241 tote

So he’ll be proud to know that when I didn’t quite like the look of my top stitching, I just took out my seam ripper and started over. I’m trying to keep his voice in my head. It’s the voice that says (though these aren’t his actual words, thank goodness), don’t be lazy, do it right. Those are words that I need to hear often. I'm usually glad when I listen.

Friday, September 16, 2011

241 Tote - Work in Progress

I’ve been taking this 241 tote slowly. It actually took me awhile to get up the guts to start cutting because I don’t have much experience with bag construction and though the pattern is very clear, I was still just a little intimidated. And to make things worse, I really wanted to go the zippered-pocket route. After all, I live in the city and don’t want all my stuff hanging out in those open side pockets (through they are cute). I’ve never sewed a zipper on anything though and I was nervous! I ordered 10 zips from Zipit (at Anna’s recommendation) in 5 different colors to audition and landed on the lovely eggplant. Then there were no longer any excuses, I had to get started. I decided that I would use the interfacing since I’m doing all the work any ways and I might as well make it sturdy, right?

241 Tote in Progress

Everything was going along splendidly, except I didn’t really think through my marking tool. I used my brand new blue Crayola Washable Marker because I wanted to try their wash-ability on something small before I attack a whole quilt with them. So I made my bold blue marks, but slowly started being haunted by fears that they wouldn’t wash out, especially as I ironed the marks a few times and I know that can set some inks. So after I finished the center panel and got my pockets all in and, hooray, my zippers on without too much to-do, I took it to the sink and started rinsing.  Some of the ink came out, but not all of it. Then I started getting really nervous and threw it in the wash for a quick cold wash. Thankfully, the blue marker did come out beautifully, but my fabric was also bubbled away from the interfacing and sadly, my purple zippers had bled some pink dye onto my cute white elephants. Boohoo!

241 Tote - WIP

All that to say, I’ve learned three very important lessons already and have only finished the exterior! Important lessons learned: 1) use a marking tool which will come out either with a good steam, with a damp cloth, or use a hera marker; 2) only spot clean the tote (though most of the bubbles did smooth out when I ironed it); and 3.) pre-soak the zippers, especially if they are dark and are of the red family (silly red dye!) That’s my little bit of novice wisdom to pass on to you.

But despite the pink smudges and the wrinkly fabric, I'm still pretty in love with it. How could you resist those elephants? I'm excited about using my new tote, once it is officially a tote. If I get my rear in gear, I should have it done this weekend.

Thank goodness for first time mistakes that make second attempts all the more sweet.