Super Boots!

We’re gearing up for Halloween around here. Instead of sewing a big costume this year, I decided to make a bunch of pieces. My kid loves costumes every day of the year, so better to have a little mix and match. Up first is super boots! They’re a little big, but I figure over pants and shoes, they’ll be fine. The Simplicity 5520 pattern was super easy to follow – we’re making the helmet and armor next. The shiny red fabric is something from the halloween shelf at Joann’s. It’s super silky and shiny. We got a bunch of colors (red, black, silver, gold) for the costume parts.

simplicity 5520

pattern pieces

super boots

supery

arghh

Jane Market Bag

I got to do a little sewing recently. I’ve been dragging around my Purl Soho tote bag for months and months and it is sorely in need of a wash, but I hate all my other bags. So I thought I’d make something similar, but less NPR-free-tote. (Not that I don’t totally love a free tote).

So, anywho, I started checking around the interwebs for some inspiration and found about a zillion people had made this lovley Jane Market Bag. As evidenced by the very numerous search results on flickr here and the fact that it has it’s own group here. I should note that this pattern is actually supposed to be used as a fun grocery bag. Most of the changes I made (that I’m about to talk about) came about because I wanted to turn it into more of a big catch-all purse.

I bought the pattern for the bargain price of $6. It took me longer to pick out some fabrics than to do the cutting for this VERY easy and user friendly pattern. (Kudos to Alicia at rosylittlethings.com for such an easy to use pattern.) Recommended for beginning sewists. (sewers? I always think that reads like sewers where rats live…not sowers.)

So first – here was my initial fabric selection:

planning a new bag

I really needed a neutral bag that I could carry anytime. So that eliminated most of my prints for the outside. I love linen, and although I’m not sure it’s really sturdy enough for a bag, I went with it. Sadly, I didn’t have enough of this brown linen to do a front and back pocket, so I just did a front pocket.

I deviated from the pattern a little by adding some piping strips to the front, back and handles. I also added pockets inside and a little key hook inside so I wouldn’t have to dig around for my forever-missing keys.

Front:
jane market bag front

Inside:
jane market bag inside

Back:
here's the back!

I really liked the piping, but it was a little too fat. I used a one inch strip, folded in half and sewn into the seams between the panels on the front and back. I should have just done a half inch. So it looked more like this piping (the super skinning piping on the left and right of the pocket):

vanessa prototype-1

For the straps, the pattern calls for 4″ x something (21″ I think?) strips. But that seemed like it would be too short for me (I measured my Kroger .99 cent grocery bags as a baseline because they never fall off my shoulder), so I went with 4″x 26.5″. But to get the print on the edges that I wanted, I did 1″ of brown and 3″ of pop garden – sewed them together along the long edge, and then closed the loop by sewing the other long edge of brown to the long edge of pop garden. Make sense? It gave me a tube – inside out. I used my crochet hook to flip it right side out, and pressed it centering the brown linen. Then I top stitched it inside and outside the brown.

strap detail

Finally, instead of sewing the straps to the outside of the bag like in the pattern, I sewed them in at the same time that I sewed the lining to the outside of the bag. I’m not spatially smart enough to explain how this works, but you sew them in before you pull everything out through the bottom hole. You can see a great video of this ‘birthing’ method here: birth of a bag video by sugar sugar bags. She’s got the straps sewn inside also.

I’ve been carrying my new bag around for a few days now, and overall, I like it a lot. I’m planning a 2nd one, and next time, I’ll sew a bottom seam at the bottom of all pockets so my cell phone doesn’t slide down UNDERNEATH the bag. I just hate that. Also, I may consider interfacing. I was too lazy to put it in this time, and the pattern certainly doesn’t call for it. But even cotton batting would make this bag a lot more stable.

Here’s the fabric selection for the 2nd one – natural linen body, green red riding hood fabric for the pockets, green solid for the inside and piping. Should be cute!

in the works - another jane market bag

sew deer pt. 2

Well, I got this quilt all sandwiched and half quilted before I realized the bottom was bunching up. Such a bummer. That’s what I get for using discount basting spray that’s at least 2 years old. I spent two hours with a seam ripper removing half of the stippling I’ve done, and I just don’t feel like taking a picture of it. So instead, I’ll just share my finished quilt top before it was marred with a zillion needle holes.

sew deer quilt 1

I’d love to be doing more sewing. Let’s hope that now that school has started, there will be more time. Hope everyone had a great summer!

Rosanne’s Nuts

Is anyone watching this new show on Lifetime? I have to say, I truly love Rosanne. I loved her show when I was a kid and I felt like Darlene was my kindred/sarcastic/deadpan spirit. Dan and Rosanne reminded me of my funny, dysfunctional parents. I’m so happy to see her nuttiness – literally (because she has a nut farm!) back on TV. On the first episode, she sang the National Anthem at a softball game. Her kids were like, “please don’t do this again.” And you could tell she was afraid, but she did it because she wanted to wipe the slate clean. It made me cry, it was so good. I mean, not Carrie Underwood good or anything, but still – it was good. She redeemed herself, if she even needed redeeming. Anyway, if you get the chance, check it out. She’s the funny, down to earth mom (and now grandma) that I remember, and I am happy to see her.

My favorite part of the show is the three Hawaiian guys that are like a Shakesperian chorus…or the mariachi owls in Rango.

And since this is my first non-sewing post in a while, I may as well go whole hog. In TV land, I want Ashley to choose Ben, not JP. I’m totally enjoying Switched at Birth on ABC Family – heartwarming and sweet. I’m so glad The Closer started back up – it’s been great, as usual. I don’t want Brenda to get in trouble because of this lawsuit, but it would seem she’s going to have to…it doesn’t seem that her decision to leave that boy behind can stand. I’m also enjoying True Blood, Haven, Camelot, Eureka, The Outcasts, Warehouse 13, Falling Skies, Alphas, In Plain Sight, The Protector, Royal Pains, Burn Notice, Melissa and Joey, Franklin and Bash, Memphis Beat, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, American Restoration…the list goes on and on. I’m so glad there are summer shows and fall shows. And I’m looking forward to Project Runway, which I think started tonight!

Oh! By far, my favorite show right now is called Misfits. It’s a British show – Hulu is running one episode a week. Very funny. Nathan is my favorite. I think you can watch all the episodes on e4.com, but I like it so much, I’m trying to be patient and not watch it all at once. I’m making it last.

For some reason, SYTYCD has seemed boring to me this season. I just want to watch Jess and Melanie and Marco. Let’s just move right to them as the final three. (Shoot, I hope one of them didn’t get voted off this week while it’s sitting in my DVR!)

I try not to talk about TV on here because my crazy TV mania really starts to show. You should know I’m well rounded, though. I also watch too many movies and read too many books. I’m currently reading any Scottish Highlander romance I can find. So far my favorite authors are Karen Marie Moning, Mary Wine, Margaret Mallory and Michelle Sinclair. Got any recommendations?

Hope everyone is having a great summer!

quilts are sew deer to me!

My parents’ super nice neighbor is helping them screen in their second floor porch. My dad has been ‘building that porch’ for about six year. And now, thanks to his neighbor, the porch is almost done after one week of work! So I’m making the neighbor a quilt for his trouble. Him and his wife are marathoners, but I couldn’t think of a good quilt idea that had to do with running. But then my dad told me he’s a hunter! And then I was looking through Boo Davis’s awesome book Dare to be Square Quilting, and found this awesome pattern.

So I picked out my fabric – a mix of kona solids, some of the new yellow print from the DS Quilts line at Joanne’s, and some random blue prints and a brown woven.

deer quilt-05

deer quilt-07

My favorite part of Boo’s quilt is the bits of red and yellow, and they’re not included in the cutting instructions – so I went through her pattern and wrote them in just like she has in the photo and subtracted out the blue pieces they would replace.

deer quilt-09

It only took about 3.5 hrs to do all the cutting – super easy pattern!

deer quilt-01

And then in an hour, I knocked out 4 blocks – the top row of the quilt. But it was so late at night, the color of this photo stinks.

deer quilt-03

More (better) pictures to come! I can’t wait to finish it up. I highly recommend this book.

Let’s glide like pterosaurs!

My kid is dino crazy. They had a special Dinosaur Train deal at the Houston Zoo a few weeks back, and if you wore a costume, you got a prize. Well, we only have superhero costumes around here, so I whipped up some pterodactyl wings real quick.

For inspiration, we used this shirt…now a little too small, but it worked for one more day.

glider-03

First I sketched out what I was aiming for – just the webbing that hangs down from their arms.

glider-01

I started with a rectangle folded over to give me the double sided wing that I was aiming for:

glider-02

Then I used some fancy stitches that kind of look like fangs to make casings for my bendy straws – these are the ‘veins’ in the glider wing, so they hold their shape. After sliding the straws in, I cut away some arches in the bottom and then sewed the bottom closed with some top-stiching. I sewed right over the straws so they wouldn’t fall out.

glider-04

After making two ‘wings’, I connected them with some binding with a backpack clip in the middle (because pterodactyls grow so quickly!). On each end of the binding, I sewed a smaller double fold bias strip with a little snap, so I could attach the wings to his wrists.

glider-05

And to keep the glider up in the center of his shoulders, I just safety-pinned it to his shirt.

glider-10

Ta Daaaa!

glider-07

And some action shots:

glider-06

with claws:
glider-09

Yahoo! All Done!

Finished up my last 3 months’ worth of Bee Happy projects. I’m sad to say my LA Neighborgood blocks for Libby were kind of lame, but the others came about pretty good. I’m torn between being thrilled to have this monkey off my back and being sad I won’t be participating in the next round. I’m looking forward to their projects, though. Here are some pics of my final months’ worth:

Yolanda's blocks 03

yolanda's blocks-1

Liberty's blocks-1

Liberty's blocks-2

These were my favorites to work on – I may have to make myself a wonky log cabin quilt!
Janice's blocks-2_edited

Janice's blocks-1_edited

Only 3 months to go!

Is it sad for me to celebrate the fact that I’m only 3 months behind on my virtual bee? I finished up two blocks this weekend, so now, I only have Jan, Feb and March to finish! Here are Oct and Nov’s blocks…those girls were so patient! (Thanks, Rosanna and Natalie!)

For Nov, Rosanna had us do a big Single Girl block. I’ve owned this pattern since Denyse published it, but as soon as I opened it up, I knew I would never make it. Denyse uses templates in a lot of her patterns where I don’t feel like templates are so necessary. Look at me – questioning the methods of Denyse Schmidt! But really, I love her quilts so much, I’m just too lazy to put the effort into them that the patterns call for. I guess that’s why they sell for so much money!

So anywhoo…Rosanna cut ALL THE PIECES! She sent us these nice little packages of all the little shapes that make one ring. I can’t imagine the time she  spent preparing those packages. All I know is that I got to do the fairly simple sewing on this awesome block without doing any of the mundane or tedious pattern tracing and cutting. So thanks, Rosanna! Taking this pattern out for a spin showed me that it’s not the big, awful pain I thought it would be. And if I cut multiple pieces (stacked fabric, cut four or five at a time), I could almost see making a quilt with it. The finished block was huge, so six would make a great baby quilt.

Rosanna's Single Girl block-2

And then for Nov., Natalie wanted porthole blocks. This was a fun new technique for me. Although, I never could get my seams as smooth as I wanted. We used Ric Rac’s tutorial – which is super easy. I’m sure I’ll use this technique again – and really, you could do any shape.

Natalie's Porthole blocks-3

In other sewing news, I finished up the Here We Go bag for my aunt Jamie. Using the pattern in Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings – Jamie picked her own fabrics, and I put together this GIANT diaper bag. Pretty easy pattern, and the technique used for closing up the top and sewing the inside and outside together was suprisingly easy. I normally make bags using the ‘birthing’ method – where you flip the whole bag right-side-out through a small hole in the bottom. This bag uses a bias strip sewn around the whole top like quilt binding. I ended up hand-stitching it down, just like I would do a quilt. Not bad at all.

Here We Go bag-3

The bag has a center divider with pockets on both sides and pockets around the inside lining. There’s also a little elastic loop that holds the changing pad.

Here We Go bag-4

And I found a great laminated herringbone fabric on fabric.com – perfect for the changing pad. Although, I really need to get one of those slippery feet for sewing on vinyl and stuff…what a pain in the neck!

Here We Go bag-6

what’s the word?

It’s the last month of my virtual bee, Bee Happy. Well, the last month for me, anyway. I’m still 4 months behind in my sewing! Talk about guilt! So I’m opting out of next year’s festivities. Kind of a bummer. But who knew I’d go full time at my job, move across the country, buy a house, etc. When we started our bee, it was all local LA Modern Quilt Guild members. Then HALF of us moved to different states, so everyone ended up having to ship their blocks, fabric, etc. each month. Even though that’s how most of the virtual bees operate, that’s not really what everyone signed up for. Anyway, once I get these last few blocks done, I’ll feel a big weight lifted off my shoulders.

Still – the bee has been awesome. Make sure to check out our work. Lots of fun ideas! I’m especially in love with Libby’s urban city block idea and her use of the grey herringbone print to be LA’s smoggy skyline.

In other sewing news, I’m making my way through a diaper bag. I using Anna Maria Horner’s pattern for the Here We Go Bag from her Handmade Beginnings book. Super cute. So far so easy – pictures coming soon. My sweet aunt and her hubby adopted a perfect little baby boy, and I’m putting together a little package for them: diaper bag, burp cloths, onsies, one of those cute little ribbon tag blankies. I’m saving the quilt for his 1st birthday – I just want to get this package in the mail! One more thing off my plate.

I joined a local crafter meet up. It’s been fun getting to know a few new girls in the neighborhood. We’ve all go different skills – knitting, sewing, alterations, repurposing, crochet…very fun mix. We all have different tastes too. It’s a nice mix of fun personalities. I especially like the group leader – she’s a laugh a minute. I’m working on getting a little bit of a life in our new town. Here’s to new friends!

In TV news – are you watching American Idol? When Stefano did his sing-off to get into the final 13, I cried. I thought it was just awesome. I am so glad they picked him. I just love this whole season so far. Seriously. Here it is in case you missed it.

Stefano Langone, I Need You Now Wild Card Performance

It makes me want to go to church!

TGIF!

I think Friday is my favorite day of the week. The feeling of joy I get at about 6 pm on a Friday is unmatched by anything else these days.

That was a little bleak.

So anyway, it’s blood donor month. Did you know that? One donation can help up to 3 people! I’ve got my appointment tomorrow morning at 9:45 am. I love having a donor center right around the corner!

I got two new sewing books burning a hole in my metaphorical sewing pocket. Did I blog about these already? My blogging has been so intermittent…anyway, I’m super excited about them. First off is Elizabeth Hartman’s Practical Guild to Patchwork. Of course, there’s already a big Oh

Fransson group on Flickr – check out some of the projects! Besides the great quilts in her book, I also want to give mod mosaic a try. How cute is that? And everyone posting their pictures say it’s really easy.

My other new book is Dare to Be Square by Boo Davis. Super cute projects – especially the robot. And the weiner dog. Her patterns are totally unique. I love straight lines – she’s got such a fun mix of quilts in this book. AND, she’s a totally awesome illustrator. Check it.

So that’s what I’ll be working on in the near future. That and my outstanding bee blocks and some sweet baby gifts for my new cousin Jackson due in Feb.

Oh! And I almost forgot! I’m going to do Project Modern Challenge #2. I’ve been doing some sketches, but I’m not quite to the sharing stage. Thanks to the awesome Modern Quilt Guild for setting it up! Look at all the super awesome entries from Project Modern: Challenge #1!

Have a great weekend!