10 April 2018

#2018FALQ2 Mindy

It's time for another round of Finish-a-Long!  
I did this for the last round of 2017 and finished 3 of 5 projects.

1. Sheepy Shirt Remake
The lamb fabric used to be part of a dress that tore.
I was able to keep the bodice and Cupcake loves sheep, 
so I wanted to remake it, and I finally will.

2. Baby Toys (three)
Lots of new babies (especially boys) so time to make gifts!
They will look similar to this one.

3. My Little Pony - Alder skirt 
I actually won a gift certificate from the FAL I did before,
and with it I got the Alder skirt pattern. 
I've made two already and adore them.  This will be one too!

4. My Little Pony - Maggie Mae
The pattern from #1 (Maggie Mae)
and the MLP fabric from #3.

5.  My Little Pony - Mckenzie
I love the McKenzie Tunic pattern.
It's my favorite and I've made it many many many times.
Cupcake has now outgrown the pattern, so time to grade up!

6. Abbey Jacket for Cupcake
This is the repeat from the first FAL that never got done.
(The fifth FAL did get finished, just not in conjunction with FAL.)

7. Doll Quilt
A UFO I started for Christmas, and realized she was getting enough stuff.
Low priority, but it's always nice to clear out the project box.

8. Christmas Quilt
Not likely to get done, but just in case I get motivated.
I've got about half of the squares sewn together, I think.

08 April 2018

V is for Valentine

We went a little crazy with Valentine's Day this year. We made:

- hearts out of plastic canvas and yarn. We ended up with more than 20 of these, and we looped ribbon and hung them up in windows. TA and JK kept saying they wanted to "knit" and I had to keep correcting them to "sew" or "embroider." They had found some random sheets of plastic canvas that have been kicking around for forever, and I cut every last bit of it into hearts. It was a lot of handstitching. My little girls thought it was awesome.

- cards with cardstock, foam stickers from Target, and ink/stamps. We didn't mail any out this year, just made them for each other.

- envelopes to hold all those cards along with some treats. I trimmed the tabs off manila folders and closed the sides with packing tape. Easy. Even SM, a big middle schooler now, loves our family Valentine party every year.

- "suncatchers" (although obviously without the SUN) with contact paper, tissue paper, and a Sharpie.

I'm in a bit of a craft-like-crazy mode this year, just to clear out a lot of old supplies that have been sitting around for forever. This was helpful with the plastic canvas and the contact paper.

And even though we moved into March and now April, I was still in heart mode when I made my little quilt for A Doll Like Me. I was trying to get it done for Project Quilting, but I got just the top done. Finally did some light quilting and the binding today. I outlined the hearts with stitch-in-the-ditch to make them stand out more, and then the loops down the side. I didn't want it too dense because I'm learning that dense quilting makes things stiff. This is for a child so it needs to be soft. The back is the same flannel that I used on the doll quilt TA made.

06 April 2018

Ishi Dress

Remember the finish-a-long from October?  It is hosted on many blogs, but it was Marci who contacted me to let me know I was one of the winners!  I think Trina hates me for all the things I've won (the fat quarters for the Woven Star, a jelly roll for the Jelly Dot, and more recently some Christmas layer cakes), so I decided to share my gift certificate to Imagine Gnats.  She got fabric, and I got more patterns: Alder skirt for me and Ishi dress for the girls.

I had seen the Ishi dress pattern long before I bought it, and thought it looked like a lot of fun.  I was happy to have the opportunity to use it to make some as Easter dresses for my girls.  As I sewed though, I was happier that I didn't have to pay for the pattern because there were some tricky parts.

-The weight of fabric is important.  The blue is a lighter weight, so I feel like Cupcake's dress loses a bit of the shape.  And the pockets (plus lining) are heavier, so hemming that was ridiculous and didn't go well at all. 

-Those princess seams are a bugger.

-Set-in sleeves are not my favorite.  I did manage to do two of them without puckers though.

-Zippers. Yuck. This was my first time actually following a pattern to put zippers in an article of clothing.  Add the lining in there, and it was a bit finicky.  I did Cupcake's dress first, and sewed too close to the zipper so the fabric keeps getting caught.  At least I learned from my mistake so Snowflake's zipper runs smooth.

I let myself get distracted by a lot of other projects in the middle of making these, but I forced myself to get them finished in time for Easter.  After trying the size 10 on Cupcake I worried it looked too big (but not too long), she loved it anyway and didn't want to take it off.  And I'm glad I made the size 2T for Snowflake, because it fit her perfectly. The longer they wore them, the more I liked them.

-Cupcake loves sheep, and I had just picked up some fat quarters with sheep on them.  I was just barely able to eek out the pockets from that fat quarter!  Yay!

-It was fun to pick out a variety of fabrics - that sunshiney yellow! - even if I would pair things up differently in the future.  (I like less contrast between the side and the pocket.)

-Can we talk about those pockets?  Although Cupcake said it was too hard to reach them, she certainly loved having them.  Because it was EASTER!  She had a place to put all her eggs and candy!  I felt like such a genius when I noticed that.  

So in the end, I was happy I made them,  It was a pattern I had been wanting to try, and the girls got new dresses.  Will I make it again?  I'm not sure.  There are other patterns that I would repeat first, but this one may pop up again in the future.

05 April 2018

U is for UFO

A UFO in sewing-speak is UnFinished Object. This is different from WIP - Work In Progress. A UFO is something that is just sitting there unfinished. A WIP is actually progressing, even if it's suuuuuper slow.

Over a year ago, I finished the Pink Babies quilt for JE. I had some blocks left over, so I put them together into a rail-fence big block and bordered it with the same fabric as the quilt border. And it's just sat there ever since, moved around from this shelf to that shelf.

I finally made it into a pillow this week.

The swirly pink top edge of the quilt is also the fabric for the back of the pillow. I was going to make a matching pillow case with it, but I cut it wrong so now it won't work for that. So it's the pillow back, and the last of it is into the scrap bin.

03 April 2018

T is for travel

More zip bags! This makes 11. (I need a card on the wall to make tally marks - I'm going to lose track one of these days.) I made these as a set - they're reversed from each other with the inside/outside fabrics.

The larger tan/red one is identical to the one I made for RG's teacher at school - my sister-in-law saw it and wanted one too. She didn't have toiletry bags for traveling, and her birthday was coming up anyway ...

And here they are in her luggage ready for their spring break trip.

31 March 2018

March journal

Very few photos here, because these things are either already in their own posts, or will get them when they're all the way finished ... here we go again for my monthly review.

1. I bought new curtains for my bedroom from Ikea and they were WAY too long. I cut them almost in half to get the length where I wanted it, so now I have that extra fabric for the other small window and probably the bathroom. It almost seems like cheating to BUY curtains instead of making them from scratch, but hello - cheap Ikea fabric! The windows don't get to wear expensive fabric, my kids and I do.

2. SM's theater costume - I finished the peasant top in Feb, the skirt and apron this month. I also did an alteration job on a skirt for a friend, which took a lot longer than I thought it would.

Less than an hour after I finished SM's apron, I was cutting fabric for more zip bags because I never finished the batch on the list from right after Christmas. JK wants her treasure bag! And I sliced my index finger with my rotary blade ... so that ended all sewing for over a week, which was especially irritating because I was motivated to keep sewing! Who knows what I would have finished that day if I hadn't gashed my finger! It's still not fully healed but I could at least get back to work finally before the end of the month.

3. Doll quilt - Back to work with my own contribution for A Doll Like Me, which was going to be submitted to Project Quilting 9.6 as a scrap project ... but I ran out of time for that. I did get the pieced top entirely done but it still needs to be quilted and bound. This is where it sits now. It will have pink binding, which is also a leftover scrap! And I'm apparently cleaning out the baby-print flannel on the doll quilt project, because I haven't sewn anything for a baby for a really long time.

And I still need to get 4 more daughters to work on theirs. This is apparently an extremely long-term service project - I'm glad that ADLM has all the other contributions from the quilt drive to distribute first.

4. I made 2 more zip bags for gifts that will be given to their recipient tomorrow. Up to 11 now, and poor TA and JK still haven't gotten their's. If it weren't for that darn finger injury!! SM wants another one for summer camp, I want one for summer camp (I'm going with SM as a leader), and I'll probably make more at Christmas for the next bunch of school teachers. But those can wait awhile.

5. I worked on my DC map embroidered quilt off and on because I hauled it to two different book clubs and when I was chaperoning backstage during SM's play performance.

We needed to rearrange some curtain rods between the living room and one of the bedrooms, and FINALLY got that done. We took down the metal slatted blinds in the last bedroom when we put up the curtains, because I hate those blinds. (Too many years in apartments.) There is now only one set in my house, and they're in the basement next to the furnace. So we'll leave them. But the rest are GONE!!! Hooray!!!

Adam got another set of doors up on the kitchen cabinets, but doesn't like how they line up together, so he's probably going to take it all down and do it again. Where's the eye roll on Blogger ... just get the doors up!!! He keeps saying that he "sees every flaw." I'm really not sure what level of perfection he's going here but if he doesn't let some of those flaws go, we're going to die before the kitchen is done.

One of the garage doors has been sticking and not working properly. Conveniently, a former neighbor gave us a brand new door opener motor and pulley system, still in the box, when they moved 3 years ago. It's just been sitting there all this time, so Adam spent a Saturday swapping out the door opener system. (And it's one less thing taking up space! Yay!)

21 March 2018

Happy Scrappy Baby Toy

This is a busy week.  On Thursday (tomorrow!) we are leaving our cold Canadian home to visit the slightly-less-cold of Idaho for spring break.  Lots of cleaning and packing and maybe finishing the girls' Easter dresses.  So I shouldn't have looked up the latest Quilt Challenge on Persimon Dreams.  But I did.  I had really enjoyed veering off my planned path and making my little String Bean quilt last time, so why not see if I'm inspired again.  

Scraptastic.  Of course I'm inspired!  I love scraps.  I love working with them and turning them into something new.  How could I not want to do this??  With so little time, the only way I could allow myself to do it was to use it to check off something on my to-do list.  And I have a handful of baby presents I need to make.  Perfect.

Scanning over my Pinterest board of quilting ideas, I saw a lot of scrappy stars, so I quickly jumped on that idea (since I'm really bad at debating between everything) and got working.  I pulled out all my pinks and purples and cut 3" squares - I was impressed I found 16 different fabrics!  And I had just enough of the sunny floral for my background (leftover from Snowflake's Easter dress).

Lots of fun fabrics on the front.  Super soft pink fleece on the back.  A few ribbons for baby to play with.  And as a bonus, it crinkles too!  Finished at about 8" square and made in about three hours.  Another bonus, since I didn't repeat any fabrics, I have a second set of HST's to make another one.  And while I was at it I cut out squares to make a boy version (since this is for a set of twins!).

17 March 2018

T is for theater club

At our middle school, theater/drama is not a class. It's an after school activity that anyone can participate in if they sign up. I like this much better than when I was in middle school, because if you didn't make the cut in audition, i.e. the teacher didn't already know you, too bad. Here, you're automatically in the chorus if you don't get a major role, so you still get to participate. SM loves theater and has already taken 3 or 4 acting/improvisation classes plus summer theater, and was so excited to be in a bigger play at school. There are 85 kids in the cast this year!!!

I kinda wish they'd given me a bit more notice, because I had only about 10 days (including 5 when we were out of town) to put her costume together for approval by the teachers. I thought they had a costume shop/stash but obviously not. Next year ... I will talk to them sooner. I had to rush this.

The play is Into the Woods Junior so SM needed to be a "fairy tale peasant." How did I do?

The top is a peasant top from this tutorial on Things of Cloth. You're supposed to add elastic to the ends of the sleeves to make them poofy but I skipped it.

The skirt is the Anywhere Skirt from Made EveryDay. I really like it and want one for myself! The red is a linen-ish heavier cotton so it's awesome for colder weather. She can wear this to church for the rest of the winter. I have a strip left over so I can make her a longer waistband when she outgrows this waist but can still wear the length. Just need to adjust the gathering. So this item could conceivably last many winters for her. Adam says this is one of the more professional-looking things I've ever sewn ... don'r look too closely at the buttonholes ... I thought about using brown wooden buttons but went with the black because she always ends up with black shoes.

The apron is something I put together just winging it, modeled after the pioneer-ish aprons my mom made for my kids years ago, and are in the dress-up bin. SM requested the white ribbon for a bonus.

10 March 2018

A Stitch In Time

The Challenge: create a project that includes patchwork, applique or quilting using the theme: A Stitch In Time in one week. (via Persimon Dreams, Project Quilting 9.5)

Step 1: Decide on a project.  This is where I feel like I spend the most time.  Brainstorming ideas, picking fabrics, and debating options over and over.  My sewing project wish list is quite lengthy, so why not add one more!  OR, better yet, why not use this challenge to cross something off my list?  This challenge is all about making good use of time!

Last week, while cleaning out my closet, I found a bag of scraps I was planning (before I started quilting) on using to make a rag rug.  Not anymore!  You know what saves time?  Pre-cut pieces.  Those small strips would be perfect for string piecing, which is something I had been wanting to do again.

Step 2: Prepare the fabric.  Since my scraps were all ready, the only thing I needed to do for this was cut the foundation pieces.  I originally wanted 9x9 squares but none of my scraps were long enough, so I cut them in half for 9x4.5 rectangles. Perfect.

Step 3: Piece.  I loved this part.  I spent three days sewing and ironing, over and over.  I used my little TV-tray-turned-ironing-board set up right next to my desk so I just had to turn in my seat to switch from one step to the next.  It was so relaxing, and I had fun picking what strips would come next (my only rule was no pink).  Later they got squared up and then sewn together in a 9x9 grid to complete the top.

Step 4: Sandwich and quilt.  Problem: I ran out of batting!  All my small pieces were used for the doll quilts I made last month.  Solution: don't use it and use fleece for the backing instead.  It saved me a trip to the store and certainly made the sandwich come together quickly.  I just had to be a little extra careful while quilting since fleece is stretchy.  It made the quilt so much more cuddly, perfect for these cold Alberta winters.

Step 5: Bind.  I have been slowly getting better at this part.  This time I made my seam allowance on the front quite small (a little too small perhaps), so I had more binding on the back than the front.  Which made it much easier to do, but probably isn't how it should go.  I was happy I had the perfect geometric print to make it, and it went on smoothly.  (PS I totally cheat and sew on both front and back, because I don't have time for hand-sewing!)

Step 6: Pictures!  The final stitches were sewn well after the sun went down, so I planned to take pictures the next day.  But we went to the zoo and made cookie dough, and before I knew it the sun was setting again and I still didn't have pictures.  I wandered around my tiny, dark apartment trying various locations and lighting before stumbling across a place I never thought of before - behind the bathroom door.  Blank white wall, and bright lights?  Perfect for photographing my happy little quilt!

String Bean
24" x 24"

Maple Mission

I'm not a writer like Trina is.  The hardest part of blogging is trying to write all the words between the pictures.  I spend so much time typing and retyping everything, second guessing what people want to read and am I entertaining enough and do they really care about all the behind-the-scenes.  Blah.  

Anyway, I made a quilt!  Last summer my parents got their mission call to Nova Scotia, and immediately I knew I wanted to make them a quilt.  Within a few days I sketched out an idea on graph paper and later did all the math to convert that drawing to an actual quilt.  Trina wanted to help as well, and we decided she could do the border so we weren't having to mail a lot of stuff back and forth.

Pretty huh?  It took such a long time.  After all the planning and math there was cutting the fabric.  Thank you so very much to my friend Liz who gave it all to me!  She is an amazing quilter who doesn't quilt much anymore, but has rediscovered painting and art.  Which is funny since I am an artist who is now discovering quilting!  

After the cutting came the piecing and then the project was put on pause while Christmas sewing happened.  I also had to wait for Trina's contribution - I mailed her all of the leftover red scraps which she turned into the beautiful border and then mailed back to me.  I don't usually do a lot of borders or extras on my quilts, but I really like how this frames the leaf so nicely.

Okay, quilt top was done, so a quick sandwich (a quilt sandwich that is, with top, batting and backing), and time to do the actual quilting.  The leaf wasn't too bad, with the basic diagonals.  But then came the background.  This was the first time I had to quilt something that wasn't a grid.  I foolishly used the edge of my walking foot (about 5/8") and sewed straight lines.  100+ straight lines.  It took well over a week!  It did give it a really neat texture though.

After Christmas I gave myself a Valentine's deadline to get it finished, and it was on February 14th that I put it into the mail headed for Nova Scotia.  Ta da!  More pretty pictures.

A week later I got a phone message from my mother.  They were so surprised!  They have been showing it off to everyone and they are so thrilled to have this as a reminder of their mission and time spent in Eastern Canada.

It was quite a journey, from sketch to completion. The most time-consuming sewing project I've ever done, but so worth it to show my parents how much I love and respect them.  And it's official - I love quilting!

PS. Did you notice the heart?