Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sew the Library: Quilt-opedia

One of my goals this year is to Sew the Library. I have so many fabulous books on the shelf in my sewing room that aren't getting the attention they deserve, and that just shouldn't be. My plan is to make a project from one of my sewing books at least once a month, hopefully twice. This month I made a quick laptop sleeve from Laura Jane Taylor's lovely book, Quilt-opedia.

Quilt-opedia is a book that I've had my eye on for a long time. I really love Laura's talent for mixing colors and prints to produce a look that's sort of vintage modern. This is a nice book for beginners, since it goes into great detail on quilting techniques and finishing, but I also think it works well as a quick reference for gift projects during the holidays. There are tons of photos and illustrations, as well as a useful quilt block directory in the back of the book. I desperately want to make the Obsession Quilt featured on the cover!

My dear friend Becca snagged some new Cotton + Steel for me at Fall Quilt Market, and I've been torn between wanting to sew with it and being afraid to touch it. Last night I finally decided it was now or never, so I pulled out my favorite linen pieces from Playful and Mesa. This fabric...what else is there to say that hasn't been said by everyone else? It's so beautiful, so fun... I kind of want to upholster my entire sewing room in prints by Melody Miller, but for now I'm contenting myself with making a sleeve for my laptop. I followed Laura's great directions which gave me the perfect fit for my machine -- a victory that has sometimes eluded me with previous tech projects!

The pouch is lined in one of my favorite text prints, a dictionary design by Tim Holtz. I added a pink and white striped hair fastener (love that touch of whimsy!) and a vintage style leather button to make an easy closure so that I can keep the laptop secure when in transit. All the top stitching is done using gold Aurifil thread.

It always amazes me how truly painful it can be to sew with a treasured piece of fabric. The pressure is huge. Holding that finished project, though, and knowing that I'll be able to see this fabric every day on my desk...well, it feels pretty great.

Sew with a print from your special stash today, even if you just use a tiny piece of it. You'll be so glad you did.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Introducing...My Book

 Image 1

Oh, you guys...I can't believe the day has finally come when I can write this post! I've been working on this project officially since summer 2013, but it's been on my mental radar since the end of 2012. It's an absolute joy to present you with my book: Sew Organized for the Busy Girl, due out in March of next year. It's already available for pre-order on Amazon and C&T Publishing (where you can see some project pictures too!)..and yes, I'll admit that I check those sites once in a while to remind myself that this is all actually happening!

I've always tried to be real with you here, and I want to keep it that way. I wouldn't have written this book if I didn't hope that someone would read it, so I'll be sharing some projects and ideas from it in the coming year. However, I am not going to beat you over the head with my book from morning till night. It's really important to me that I keep this a place where I chat with you about what I'm sewing and how it all fits into daily life...and honestly, Sew Organized is just an extension of that. I wrote it for all of you out there who, like me, are struggling to fit sewing time into your busy schedule. If there's anything special you'd like to know about it or would like to see in a book tour, feel free to let me know in the comments below, and I'll do my best to work it in. I really want this to be actually helpful to you!

But the details will keep for now. I'm off to celebrate with a little happy time at the sewing table...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Mochi Pot Holders

I had piles of dishes and laundry to finish on Wednesday, definitely two things at the top of my "no, thank you" list. For some reason, even the prospect of a fresh, clean house just wasn't motivating me this time, so I decided to set up a little rewards system for myself: clean for twenty minutes, play with new Cotton + Steel fabric for ten minutes. Wow, did I get motivated pretty quickly after that...

I've been meaning to make some more pot holders, and Rashida Coleman-Hale's adorable new Mochi line has just the right colors for brightening up my kitchen. I kept things as minimal as possible -- no piecing and very simple quilting. Pink and white twill tape made perfect loops for hanging, and I bound them in a grey canvas print from the collection. These finish at about 7" square. Now everybody's happy: my kitchen, my pot holders, and definitely me.

It's been a ridiculously long time since I've linked up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, so I'm joining in on the fun today. Time to head over and see what everyone else is making...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ever After Quilt

It feels like the Revenge of the Machines at my house today. My Singer has been fighting with me for a few weeks now, skipping stitches for no apparent reason. I finally had to admit defeat and take it in for a tune-up this morning, getting the sad news that I won't see it again for three weeks due to the holiday rush. Thankfully my sister still has the original Brother machine which first enticed me into the world of quilting three years ago. She brought it over this morning, and I felt downright nostalgic to be sewing with my Old Faithful again. I was able to finish binding the Ever After Quilt which I've been working on all week for my niece as a belated birthday gift. I grabbed my camera to take a few pictures before sending the quilt off with my sister, but of course, the battery was dead since someone (yes, me) had forgotten to turn the camera off the last time it was used. So we'll have to make do with cell phone photos today...

It struck me several weeks ago that Dreamin' Vintage by Jeni Baker and Far, Far Away by Heather Ross have unbelievably similar color schemes. In fact, they look absolutely darling together. The colored patchwork in the middle of this quilt is surrounded by tiny pink La Creme dots by Riley Blake. It's backed in one of Jeni's florals, and I bound it with a great aqua and cream star print from Unicorns and Rainbows by Doohikey Designs.

It all works perfectly together for a little girl's bed, and I was so happy to give this to my niece at last. Since I have two nieces, there will be another one of these in the works as soon as I finish up a few other projects on my list.

A few weeks back I shared Mouse's new seat cushion with you as a part of Riley Blake's Flannel Showcase Blog Tour. If you'd like a chance to play with some flannel yourself, they're giving away some fat quarter bundles here on their Facebook page. You can catch up with the rest of the fabulous blog hop projects at the links below in case you missed them the first time around. My girls are still asking for pajama pants from my leftover Sidewalks flannel. I guess I'd better add those to my list...

9/5 Riley Blake Designs - Flannel Play Dress
11/4 Riley Blake Designs Final Post + Giveaway

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Here and There

You'll find me here and there on this glorious first day of November, my favorite month of the year. I have a project in Issue 2 of fabulous new Make Modern magazine: the Tagalong Pouch which you see above. It's a quick project and one of my favorites. Some of you may remember seeing an early version of this on the blog last year when I made one to hold an electronic Leapfrog toy for Bear's birthday. These pouches are perfect for carrying everything from tablets to library books. Mostly, though, I love picking out the squares for the patchwork on the the front.

Image courtesy of Two Peas & Their Pod

 Today I'm also thrilled to be kicking off Sew Mama Sew's annual Handmade Holidays series with Gifts for the Glamour Girl. There are some really fun ideas in here that will work for your daughter, your best friend, or even yourself, if you should need some spoiling this month. I've also included my favorite recipe for Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel frosting which is to die for. Every time I say that now, I can hear Marty Crane on Frasier saying, "Your country's to die for -- food is to eat." But seriously, these are almost that good...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quilt Market Sewing: Handcrafted

The Handcrafted collection by Alison Glass is really as beautiful as they say it is. As a rule, I admit that I'm not so into anything approaching the category of "batiks," but she makes it work by keeping the designs simple and the colors brilliantly saturated. The fabric weight is perfect for garments and quilts, but Alison (who is, by the way, just as lovely as her fabric) asked me to make a few bags for her market booth. I made a Malibu Satchel and two variations on my Nora Clutch. The prints are paired with pieces of chambray by Andover, and I love the way they work so well together. I bought a layer cake of the collection after sewing up these samples, and I'm hoping to make a quilt before the year is out.

I always have mixed emotions when Quilt Market ends. Following all the fun on Instagram is exciting and inspiring, but it's also a relief to wrap things up and settle back into the pleasure of everyday sewing again. After an insanely busy October, I feel a bit like a child who has finished her school work and is ready to play...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Quilt Market Sewing: Birch Fabrics

Birch Fabrics is still one of my favorite companies to sew for, always featuring clever designs, beautiful color schemes, and the nicest people. Most of my Market sewing for them this time was done with the new Charley Harper line, Nurture. This nine patch baby quilt would be perfect for a little boy's nursery.

Here's a close up of those great prints. I love that bottom right block the most. Those colors are just perfect!

I pieced together leftover fabrics and a cheater print for the backing.

There was one extra nine patch block leftover from my original planning stages. I decided that it would make a fun little pillow to go with the quilt.

This owl fabric on the back is adorable, isn't it?

The Nurture canvas is just right for bags. I had a lot of fun fussy cutting this giraffe print for my Malibu Satchel pattern.

The feather prints are fantastic basics. I even cut a little piece of canvas selvage for a makeshift label instead of a pocket on this version of the bag.

They asked me to make one more Malibu Satchel out of prints from the new Serengeti collection by Jay-Cyn Designs. All those colors look so happy together...

I've been absolutely delighted to see the stunning booth that the Birch crew is putting together. Be sure to stop by their Instagram account @birchfabrics to get a peek!
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