Monday, December 27, 2010

Monthly Bag Challenge!

Have you seen this?  Jemellia over at JemJam has such a cool idea.  She's hosting a Monthly Bag Challenge where we'll make a bag every month from Amy Butler's Style Stitches.  You can challenge yourself to make just one, or play every month and have a great stock of gifts ready to go throughout the year!  She'll have giveaways and there's a Flickr group.  Sounds like fun, right?   Why not join in?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! And a City Quilts Quilt.

I hope everyone had an absolutely wonderful day today.  I had a great day with family.  I got to watch my girls enjoy the day, and they are nestled all snug in their beds with their new favorite toys.  Now I get to head down to the sewing area and put away all my new goodies!  I got a thread organizer (the BIG wooden one, I've long since outgrown the smaller one!), some purse hardware, some interfacing, a ribbon organizer, and an adorable button bracelet from Glitter Workshop... Someone who knows me VERY well must've shopped for me!*

*That would be me.  But my hubby did a very good job keeping it away from me for the month since I bought it all, so it was like new!

In gifting news, I think I've mentioned before that I planned to make the City Harbor quilt from City Quilts for my husband.  He was out of town from Monday through Thursday, and I told him before he left that there was no way the quilt would be done for Christmas, but I'd aim for his birthday in March.  He looked like he didn't believe me, so I showed him the purchased but uncut fabric.  Then he looked sad.  What was I to do?

I cut it out Monday morning, sewed the strips Monday night, sewed the strips together Tuesday morning, made the quilt sandwich Tuesday night, quilted it Wednesday, ALL day, started binding it Wednesday night and finished Thursday morning, just in time to get it washed, dried, and under the tree before hubby's flight got in!

Here it is modeled by my two five-year-old helpers standing on the coffee table.

The backing is a nice charcoal grey flannel, you can sort of see it at the top corner there. Someday I hope to get a decent picture of this, since it's the first quilt I've made from a pattern, the biggest quilt I've ever made, and certainly by far the FASTEST I have ever made a quilt!  And I certainly hope to never have to make one that quickly again.  I owe it all to my wonderful mother in law who always stays with me when hubby travels and who kept the girls away as much as humanly possible so I could work like a maniac on this thing!

My awesome sister in law got me Elizabeth Harman's Practical Guide to Patchwork for Christmas, and my giveaway prize from Sweet Pea Fabrics arrived, so as soon as the holiday hubbub dies down, I'll be putting those two together to make something for me!  A nice girly quilt to curl up under while my hubby is cozy with his manly blue quilt.

Happy Holidays!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ho Ho Holy Cow, I Won!

What a great Christmas gift to me!  I won a $25 gift certificate to Sweet Pea Fabrics!!!  I could've spent days browsing and not made a decision, so I ripped off the band-aid and made a fast decision and I am thrilled with it!  Can't wait to see this fabric in person and make something beautiful!  So what did I choose?

A layer cake of Central Park by Kate Spain for Moda.  Just look at some of these gorgeous, fun prints.

And there are so many amazing layer cake patterns on the Moda Bake Shop.  Like this, or this, or this!  I can't wait!

Friday, December 17, 2010

And the winners are...

Congratulations to...

#128:  Kate of Needle and Spatula

#29: Duff of Bacon Then Eggs

#334: Wendy D.P.

If you see this before I email you, feel free to email me and let me know your first and second choice! As soon as I hear from you all with addresses, I'll get these in the mail! We're off to see Santa, and I'll send emails as soon as I get home!

I saw this on the Moda Bake Shop today and had to share- Another great use for Christmas charm packs!

Extra Giveaway Prize and Procraftination Conquered!

To enter my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, click HERE!

I said if I hit 100 followers before the giveaway ended, I'd add a third prize... So here it is!  Thank you all so much for following, it's so nice to know my little blog is of interest to people!  Since I got so many comments about the button fabrics, I decided to make the third prize a 1/2 yard cut of each of them.  They are from Alexander Henry's "Sew Christmas" line, and it comes in a few other colors as well!  You can find some of them here, here or here.  I think I need to add some of those pink and red buttons to the stash.  Be sure to click on the link above to enter if you haven't already!

And you know that project I've been whining about and procraftinating on?  I finally tackled it last night and it was easy-peasy!  I was so excited!  I'm awaiting confirmation/measurements that I made it wide enough, and then I will make two or three more during tonight's Friday Night Sew-In.  I'm not sure how well this thing will translate to pictures, but here goes!

This is a cover for my dad's fishing reels, to protect them during transport to the beach.

The inside is lined with heavy duty canvas, and there is some (spectacularly ugly) fleece sandwiched in between for padding.  There's an elasticized hole for the bottom part of the pole, and the top has a drawstring so it can get up and over the reel before cinching closed.

The wide part of the sword  represents the reel.  What?  I didn't have a fishing pole handy!  Use your imagination.

Pull the cover up over the reel, cinch the cord closed, et voila! Padded, protected reel, ready to travel!

 I made this up entirely and I am really pleased with how it turned out!  And my Dad will be happy to know that I didn't spend any money (OK, well, maybe $1 on the cinches for the drawstring), the fabric was all from stash (So, I guess I spent money on it at some point, but not for THIS in particular).  The canvas was a slipcover that my cats had destroyed, but I cut it into big pieces because it was so much good canvas.  Yay for recycling!

And lastly, here's my Dad's sketch of what he thought would work for these.  Now that I've looked at it several dozen times, I think I might kind of get what he was going for... but a pattern designer he will never be!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Procraftination and a Pillow

I have one more Christmas gift to make, and it really needs to be finished soon so I can get it in the mail if I want to have any hope of it reaching its destination in time for Christmas.  Last night I headed down to the sewing room fully intending to at least start making a plan.  My Dad wants some fabric covers for his fishing reels when he puts them in the back of his truck- They need to be slightly padded, wide enough to fit around the large reel but skinny at the ends to go around the reel without letting sand in.  I have a pretty good picture in my mind of how they'll look, all that's left to do is start experimenting.  I spent a little more than an hour in the sewing room and came out of there with this:

Am I the only one who always finds some other project to do when something difficult is staring me down?  I even came up with a word for it- Procraftination!  (I just googled that and clearly I'm not the first to come up with it, but I was pretty amused with myself!)  I did need a Christmas pillow, and now you have another idea for what to do with that charm pack if you win!  I was inspired by this pillow in the Pillow Talk Swap Flickr pool.  I've always wanted to try zig zags but the idea of a whole quilt was too intimidating, so this was perfect.  Of course most of my points don't line up and the layout of the prints leaves something to be desired, but for a late night quickie project, I'm happy with it!  When my daughter saw it this morning she was very excited and asked if we got to keep this one, so I think she likes it.  Yay!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Here for Giveaway Day?  It's just over here.

As of this writing I have 122 followers!  Thank you SO much, you guys are aces!  I will head down to the sewing cave and come up with a third prize to add to the pot- I'll still use the original pool of comments from the Giveaway Day post to choose the third winner.  

I finished another bag but I'm not quite sure what to do with it.  It was originally for a friend but after making it I realized it's just not quite her.  I think I might give it to my mother in law, but I used this same fabric as an accent on the bag I made her last Christmas! (Pat, if by some chance you see this, Surprise!) 

It's the Sweet Pea Hobo Bag and it was so much fun to put together- and FAST!  I love the size, it's a perfect not-too-big, not-too-small bag when you don't need to bring the kitchen sink with you, but you need more than just your wallet and keys.  There are two pockets inside and the pattern comes with instructions to make the strap adjustable- I didn't do that because I couldn't get to Joann this weekend and I wanted to finish!  But it's perfectly lovely with this shoulder strap length, in my humble opinion!  I'm excited to try the adjustable strap on the next one though, I've never done that before.

And on a completely unrelated note, how stinkin' cute are my girls decorating their Gingerbread House? Hmm, now that I look closer, the big one has sort of a Mr. Burns, "Eeeexcellent" thing going on.  And yes, that is a Mr. T Christmas card on the mantel.  Our friends are awesome.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

Giveaway is CLOSED!  Winners will be announced shortly!

I'm so excited that it's giveaway time again!  Giveaway Day is what got me started blogging in the first place-- Visiting all those blogs and getting so much inspiration made me want to have my own little corner of the internet to archive my projects.

I decided to spread a little holiday cheer with my giveaway this time around.  I have two red, white, and green self-assembled charm packs to share with two lucky winners (one each).  There are two 5" squares each of seventeen different fabrics from my stash, so 34 squares total.  Some are actual Christmas fabrics, most are simply red, green, or white.  I think they'd make a lovely table runner or a casserole carrier for holiday get-togethers.  Or maybe you could use the greens to make this adorable wall hanging.

Just leave a comment on this post to enter.  I'd love it if you'd follow this blog, but I'm  not offering extra entries- I know you've got LOTS of blogs to visit, so I'll keep it simple.  Just one entry per person, any comment you'd like!  If I do reach 100 followers by the end of the giveaway, I'll find something else to giveaway, making 3 winners!  I'll leave this open until December 17 and then the good old Random Number Generator will choose the winners. Make sure I have a way to reach you- if your account is blocked, include an email address in your comment! I'll get them in the mail right away when I get your address, so maybe it will arrive in time for Santa to put it in your stocking!  Thanks for stopping by!

UPDATE:  I've reached 100 followers!!! 137, actually!  Thank you thank you thank you!  I got so many comments on the Alexander Henry Sew Christmas button fabrics, so I've added a 1/2 yard cut of each print as the third prize.  I'll let the first name selected choose first, then contact the next winners!  I will close the contest this evening and contact the first winner right away!

Be sure to check out all the giveaways for Sewing/Knitting SuppliesHandcrafted Items, and Handcrafted items + Supplies!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In!

I had a productive Sew-In last night!  One gift was finished, I got as far as I could on two others, and nearly finished another that should be done today!

I am spending the day today at my sewing teacher's classroom for a holiday sewing open lab.  Last night I got started on these two name pennants for a friend's kiddos.  My sewing machine doesn't do a pretty satin stitch, so the letters are fused on but not edged yet.  I'll satin stitch around them, sew the backs on, then attach the flags to some bias tape!  I bought my older daughter one of these before I learned to sew and I love it- Now I just need to make one for my younger daughter.  But her name has nine letters in it!  What was I thinking???

I also finished this little tote for an eReader.  The print panels on the front and back are pockets and there's an elastic loop coming over the top to the fabric covered button.  It's lightly padded with fusible fleece.  It's meant to just be an easy way to tote the reader around, the recipient already has a more protective cover for the actual reader.  I've never seen the kind of reader she has in person, so I hope this will work!  I made this up as I went along, and I'm pretty happy with it!
I'm also trying to make iPhone cases for a few friends, but I'm having a hard time with the sizing.  I don't have an iPhone but my mother in law does so I've been stealing hers to test out my prototypes.  Trouble is, everyone has different protective cases so I'm having a hard time getting it just right.  The one on the left fits my mother in law's phone perfectly, but she has a very slim case on hers.  I think that one will end up in her stocking, she seemed to really like it!  That one has a wrist strap and a snap closure.  The other one just barely fit her phone, so I think it will become mine for my regular old non-smart phone. That's got velcro closure and no strap.

So, they're not perfect yet but it was good practice and I'll get it eventually!

Can't wait to check out what all you other Friday Night Sew-In folks accomplished!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A couple of Christmas gifts finished...

Clearly Blog Posting Month didn't do much for my consistency!  I posted every day for a month and then disappeared for a week and a half!  I've been doing lots of Christmas sewing, but much of what I've made is unfinished for lack of some simple little piece- A pillow needs filling, a skirt needs hemming...  I put together little bags for each to-be-made gift with all the supplies I need for that item so that when I'm ready to start something I have everything I need!  Tonight is Friday Night Sew-In so I'm hoping to get lots of those little finishes taken care of. 

But I did finish a few things- First is an Amy Butler Birdie Sling Bag that I have fallen in LOVE with!  Maybe its intended recipient will just hate it and I'll have to keep it.  If not, I think I have enough of both fabrics left to make another!  The top is brushed canvas and the body is from Denyse Schmidt's County Fair line.

The other finish is a Buttercup Bag- I love making these for gifts.  Everyone needs a small bag sometimes, and I think the bright colorful fabric is perfect for the recipient. I have no idea what the fabric is, it was from the "free to good home" pile at my sewing class.  If you love it and must have some, let me know, I've got YARDS of it!  It's denim.

Hopefully more to post soon!  I hope your holiday crafting is going smoothly!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Advent Calendar

I made this Advent calendar just as I was beginning to learn to sew- For some reason I thought sewing all the little pockets on by machine would be really complicated, so it is all hand-stitched!  Even around the edges of the tree itself.  I embroidered or embellished each little pocket by hand.  It's inspired (read: blatantly copied) from the Telluride Advent Calendar from Pottery Barn (pictured here).  The girls LOVE it and can't wait to start checking the pockets tomorrow morning (after I iron it a bit and find a sturdier way to hang it)!

And today is November 30... That means I completed NaBloPoMo!!!  I can't believe I found something to say every. single. day!   Thanks for reading, and hopefully this will prompt me to continue posting more often... Just maybe not every day!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Just a little sampling of some of the fabric and patterns that have joined the stash in preparation for Christmas sewing!

Some pajamas, some stockings, some bags, a quilt (sorry hubby, that one's just REALLY unlikely to happen by Christmas!), a dress or two...  Ho ho ho!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Make Do and Mend!

One of my favorite things about learning to sew is that I can now easily fix things that might once have gone in the trash.  Last night I made a big list of all the things I need to sew before Christmas, and I decided that before I started I should tidy up the sewing room.  While I was doing that I unearthed a basket of "to be mended" clothes and decided to set to work.  I fixed a major tear in a pair of my husband's jeans, put an applique over a hole in my daughter's leggings, learned how to use a snap-setter to repair a bib, and made a new insert for a doll stroller!

I'm especially pleased with that last one, and annoyed that I waited so long to do it!  The insert that came with it tore within days and has been progressively getting worse.  My daughters' poor dolls frequently tumbled right out of the thing.

I salvaged the buckles from the original, used stash fabric, and used bias trim that belonged to my husband's Grandma.  The girls were thrilled and immediately put it to work!

Now that those distractions are taken care of and the sewing room is tidy (as tidy as it ever gets!), I can get to work on that Christmas list!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Small Business Saturday

Since I went on about Black Friday yesterday (and had a rough time this morning at a certain big box sewing store which shall remain nameless), I thought today in honor of Small Business Saturday I would share a bit about some of my favorite independent stores.

Happy Bambino was my home away from home when my oldest daughter was a baby.  The store's mission is "Happier families through parental empowerment and community support."  They offer parent support groups and classes as well as great locally made or small-business made products for babies, kids, and moms.  Cloth diapers, baby carriers, natural and sustainable toys, breastfeeding needs...  Truly anything you could need in the early years of parenting.  The store is in Madison, WI and online.  And hey, my daughter is right there on the front page, grinning in a blue fleece pouch!

 Bratsacks Baby is not local to me, but an amazing small business just the same.  Owned by a mom who started making kids' backpacks as birthday gifts, Bratsacks has grown into a big name!  She makes backpacks for toddlers and big kids as well as messenger style bags for grown-ups.  She uses reclaimed materials wherever possible and the work"mom"ship is impeccable.

KnitterKnots is another friend's shop.  She makes beautiful longies for babies and toddlers- For the uninitiated, longies are wool pants that can be used as part of a cloth diapering system or just worn as incredibly adorable and cozy pants.  If you get lucky you might also catch a custom slot for a tunic or dress!  Beautiful stuff.  How cute are these monster pants?

StarbrightBaby makes small stuffed giraffes that are hands-down the best teething toy we ever used.  And they last long beyond the teething stage!  At 3 and 5 my girls still love to play with their giraffes.  They are sturdy, beautiful, unique, and are stuffed with eco-friendly filling. She also does customs, so if you have a favorite fabric you can get a giraffe made just for you!

I have many other talented friends I want to share with you, but this post is getting long so I will save some for another day!  Remember to think handmade while you're holiday shopping, and support small businesses!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday!

So did you get any shopping done?  My husband, who has never "done" Black Friday before, was up and out at 4am to get some absolutely necessary piece of technological equipment at Target. He was stunned to realize that Black Friday is, in fact, a huge deal and people take it seriously!  I think he thought we were all lying when we said it would be a madhouse.  He learned that lesson quickly. 

I was out at a much more reasonable 8am to get some very necessary pillow forms, batting and $1.20/yard flannel!  The girls will be getting matching Christmas PJs after all!  We waited in line for 45 minutes to check out at Joann.  It wasn't my usual neighborhood Joann, because we're out of town for the holiday- This one only had TWO registers and while they were working as fast as they could, there were a LOT of shoppers.  But a wonderful perk I'm still adjusting to about life in the Midwest is that people are generally just so pleasant!  Lots of chatting in line and no grumpies!  Of course, there are exceptions to every rule...

What deals did you find?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your day be filled with family, friends and food!

I wish I'd had time to make something pretty for the table- like these!

Fall Table Runner by Knitty Bitties.
By Sewing Geek via Flickr

From Twiddletails

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Simplicity 2382- Walker Bag

After visiting my Grandmother this summer and seeing that all the cool 90-year-olds had nifty bags on their walkers, I promised to make her one.  It took me a few months but I've finally gotten around to it.  It's View D from Simplicity 2382 and it's made to go over the front bar on a wheeled walker.  I suppose it would work on a regular walker too!  The construction was very unusual, and I used duck canvas for the lining so it was tough to turn, but I really like the finished product. 

I don't have a walker, so a chair will have to suffice for pictures!  This one shows the inner pockets which are just about 4" deep.  Perfect for a phone, remote, little notepad, whatever!  In front of that is a larger pocket for books, magazines, etc.  Both sides are identical, so I stuck a magazine in the other side to show the depth.

Here's a straight-on view.
It opens up flat and has a handle to carry it when it's not on the walker.
There's velcro on the inside to hold the panels together when it's over the bar, and a patch of slipper-gripper to keep it from sliding.

I'm going to send this as an early Christmas gift since I promised it to her in July!  She turns 91 in December, too, so it will be a birthday gift as well.  Happy Birthday, Grandmom!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Indygo Junction Over the Top Tunic

Here's a slightly better picture of the Over the Top Tunic.  It's a little stiff, I'm hoping it will soften up in the wash.  And I think I might redo the hem.  And oops, I should have re-ironed it after carting it home last night!  But here it is!  And I think this might be the first picture of me on this blog!

Linked up at

Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thanksgiving Dress

Today I made myself a dress to wear to Thanksgiving dinner.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera when I was at the sewing lab, so all I have is a blurry camera picture.  But since I'm participating in NaBloPoMo, I'm posting it anyway!  It's Indygo Junction's Over the Top Tunic. I used a cotton sateen with just a tiny bit of stretch, accented with a blue asian floral I've had in the stash forever.  I had a love/hate affair with this dress as I was sewing it, but I think the final feeling I have toward it is affection.  I don't love it, but I think we will get along fine.

I will, of course, wear a camisole underneath!  It hits just above the knee and went together very quickly, barring a few bonehead mistakes that were entirely my fault! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Beautiful bag

I got my gifts from that swap I've been secretly sewing for!  Yay!  My friend Jessi of Bratsacks Baby made me this absolutely beautiful bag.  I've had my eye on her bags for years, and my kids each have one of her adorable kids' backpacks.  I don't know for sure that she was my swap partner, but I do know she made this bag!

She uses a lot of reclaimed materials, which I love.  Seriously, LOOK at that bag!  Beautiful!  It's got oodles of pockets and those bright colors will be so cheery through the dreary Wisconsin winter.  I also got a pack of new blades for my rotary cutter!  That's something I always skimp on and it gets really annoying, so that was an absolutely perfect gift!  She ALSO sent a beautiful hair stick, some yummy chai, and some adorable fabric- the same print used on this bag.  This was such an awesome package to receive after a dreary week of wet weather and sick kids.  Thank you!!!!!

Friday Night Sew-In

My Friday Night Sew-In time was pretty limited.  I had to go see the new Harry Potter movie!  And then not long after I got home my three year old woke up and would not go back to sleep without Mommy.  She's got the sniffles and I couldn't refuse her, and of course I ended up falling asleep too!

So here's what I did manage to get done.  I'm making a Kwik Sew robe for my five year old out of this fun rainbow fleece.

I've got an old pattern, but it looks like it's basically the same as the current Kwik Sew 2705.  The mornings are getting really chilly and the poor kid has to get up before the sun to get ready for school!  This is not a household of morning people, so this has been a big adjustment for all of us!  She'll get the robe for Christmas to help make the cold mornings a little more cheerful!  I am very nearly finished, I just have to put the trim around the neck and down the front, around the sleeves, and then make the belt!  I'll share pictures when it's all finished.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Harry Potter Day!!!

I had big plans to make myself a nice new Harry Potter themed bag to take to the new movie tonight, but sick kids, cancelled flights for the hubby, and lots of swap sewing to do (some of which I can't post) leaves me with no bag and no sewing to post today.  I still have the little tote I made for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, but that was a long time and a few skill levels ago, so I'd really like to make a great new one, maybe with a freezer paper stencil of the Deathly Hallows symbol!  Maybe the stars will align and I'll be able to churn something out tomorrow morning.  But if not I know I will still enjoy the movie tremendously!

In the meantime, here are some adorable videos of the film's cast.   Sorry the edges are cut off, but they're really about the audio anyway!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Creative Space

My creative space is a MESS this week!  So many projects going on, so many starts and stops.  I can share this, a few auditions of fabric combinations for my Pillow Swap partner.  Fortunately, my partner has similar taste to me, so whichever pillow I end up deciding is just right for her, the other(s) will have a happy home here with me!

Check out some other creative space at  Kootoyoo.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Butterick 5125- Apron

This apron was part of a swap-- But not for my swap partner!  It's a "Pamper Our Mama Friends" type swap, so it doesn't have to be handmade, but lots of crafters and lovers of all things handmade are participating.  So I did a trade with a friend, she's making something for my partner and I made this for hers!  It's Amy Butler's Memento in Burgundy from Love.  The pattern is Butterick 5125, view A.  I left off the bow and added a pocket.  This is the third time I've made it and I really like it!  One of these days I'll have to make one for myself!

And just to clarify, that is not my machine in the background, nor is it my dress form.  They're in the sewing classroom I go to every week.  It's really hard to get a picture of an apron without a form, I think I'm going to have to keep an eye out for one, just for display purposes!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A dress becomes a skirt

This adorable t-shirt dress was a gift to Lizzie when she was about a year and a half old.  It includes some of my favorite-ever fabrics, and she has worn it way beyond what's reasonable- it had basically become a mini dress when I decided something needed to be done.

So last week I took action.  I cut off the top, leaving about two inches of the knit fabric.  I sewed it to the inside to make a casing, threaded in some 1/2" elastic and voila!  A skirt that will get at least another year or two of wear!
 I'm adding this to Fabric Tuesday over at Quilt Story!
Fresh Poppy Design