Handmade Holidays underway

Got a little sewing done this weekend. I’m finishing up the binding on baby Erik’s (my gorgeous new nephew) quilt – finished pictures coming soon on that – but here’s a little preview.

Baby Erik's quilt progress

Also made some ornaments for family members. I used the awesome pattern and tutorial by Elsie Marley posted here. Super cute and simple. The best part about her pattern is that she sews the gingerbread man down to a felt rectangle and THEN cuts him out! So much easier that cutting two gingerbread men and sewing them together around the bite marks. Very smart!

Oh no!

And finally, I got to work on a zipper pouch – I needed a gift for a man…hope it’s manly enough! I used this super simple tutorial by terrabytefarm.com posted here. I’ve made quite a few box pouches, and they were all kind of a pain. This tutorial was super easy. The key is that the inside is unfinished. But since I’m not crazy about all those little threads and stuff, I think next time, I’ll add a 1/2 inch to the length on one side when cutting the fabric and do french seams. I also added a handle by jamming a little rectangle of fabric into my corners before I squared them off. I’ll definitely use that tutorial again!

Zipper pouch

Zipper pouch

I also made these pillow cases a few weeks ago for some ugly leather pillows we have. It’s funny, now we use those pillows all the time – it seems like someone is always putting one behind their back. I swear no one ever used them before. So that makes me happy!

Some new pillows for the tv room

Stitch Craft

One more new design. I plan to play with the colors and layout on this one a lot more. But this is the first version. I was aiming for a design that I could do in a lot of colorways…I doodled these little icons.  I figure I can do just sewing, just embroidery and just knitting or combos, with and without the background circles, etc. And, of course I need to add a crochet hook, since I don’t even knit. Anyway, pretty versatile!

Stitch Craft by Moxywares

They’re actually really small – more like polka dots. Here’s the Spoonflower 8×8 swatch:

Stitch Craft

Field Trip!

wedding wheel quilt by jen hoverson
wedding wheel quilt by jen hoverson

I love PurlSoho. I dream of taking a class there. I am a frequent reader of their blog, the purl bee, and often find inspiration there in the beautifully photographed and carefully described projects. So, I’m reading this blog post where Purl owner Jennifer Hoverson has taken her lovely hand-sewn wedding napkins and turned them into a wedding quilt. The whole thing is a fab idea…the backing fabric for the quilt is the personalized cake table cloth they had ordered from spoonflower.com. I LOVE these ideas.

Anyway, so I’m drinking in the pictures, and I see that the wedding (which was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings!) happened at Dana Point, which is not far from here. And I’m thinking, “why would a New York city fabric shop owner have a wedding in Southern California?” Well, turns out, the warehouse for Purl is in Costa Mesa…also not far from here. Warehouse. That’s not that exciting, right? WRONG! You can shop there!

After a little googling, I found out that you can shop there from Tue-Fri from 9-4. So, you can figure out what you want by looking around the website, and then go buy direct at the warehouse!!! I can’t tell you how exciting this is.

Now, if they’d just offer a west coast Heather Ross workshop every now and then, I’d be in heaven.

Free Embroidery BOM

Super cute and FREE Shabby Roses embroidery BOM project over at Jenny of ELEFANTZ…first three blocks are posted now (May ’09), and she’ll take them down as she adds new ones. Check it out. Thanks, Jenny!

Aunt Millie’s Garden

I just finished glue-basting this first block from Aunt Millie’s Garden by Piece O’ Cake Designs. I’m super excited about it, and instead of being exhausted, I can’t wait to start the next one! I’ve been collecting Denyse Schmidt fabrics for about six months in preparation for this project.

aunt millies garden-1

I also found a few new gems on the web – these are some super awesome embroidery sites:
First I found PimpStitch (don’t miss their blog), thanks to a photo on Flickr. From there, I found Stitchy Stitcherson’s blog (I really love that name), which lead me to AnnieOakLeaves (awesome – free patterns!) which lead me back to Floresita, whose blog I already love (and is chocked full of free patterns), which lead me to Stitchy Britches (another great name), where I ended up at Exceedingly Curious’ scans of an 1886 pattern book! What a cool find! Thanks to John Governale for all that hard work!

So that’s it for the black hole of productivity (a.k.a., the internet) for today.

I’m stoked about Joe Biden. Excellent choice. I sad the Olympics are over, but glad I may actually get some sleep this week. I’m excited that my husband has a job interview this week and things may be changing soon.

Now, it’s 7 am, so it’s time to head to the park before it’s 100 degrees outside!

applique complete!

My friendship group is making an applique apron quilt for the auction at our annual quilt show. We all made two blocks. I finally finished the embellishments on mine – I kept them pretty simple, but I’m happy with the results. The apron patterns are from Lori Holt’s Apron Club pattern. I don’t think she has a website, but I’ve seen her patterns in a few online shops. The cup and cupcake were embroidery patterns in Sublime Stitching. I decided to applique them first, then embroider over them. I had a few problems because I doubled the white fabric so my print fabric wouldn’t show through – made it hard to stitch, but I think it’s alright. Once the whole thing is assembled and it’s been washed, I know they’ll be great.

apron 1

apron 2

Lynette Anderson Designs

As you all (all four of my faithful readers :)) know, I have been bitten by the embroidery bug. Pauline sent me this awesome link…Lynette Anderson Designs. A lot of her stuff leans towards primative – as in the style, not as in primative peoples or something – anyway, that’s not my thing. BUT, she’s got the cutest Noah’s Ark Block of the month patterns – she’s offering the PDFs for free, putting one out every month or so. I love the cows with the rainbow.

Here’s the link. Thanks for sharing, Pauline!

http://lynetteandersondesigns.typepad.com/ – just scroll down, the Noah’s Ark BOM link is on the bottom of the left column.

If you do like primative designs, check out the rest of her stuff. I love some of the samplers! I’m always excited to see people taking their passion and turning it into a growing, profitiable business. Good luck, Lynette!

weekly events

moo package

My Moo cards arrived this week! I really love the packaging. I think that sleeve around the box would make an excellent quilt design. Here’s a sampling of my cards…I got the pack of 100, with 10 different photos from my flickr.

moo cards

On the back, they have my name, number, email and website. Pretty cool. I also got a fun little carrier for them, but the picture is blurry. Trust me, it’s cool.

watercolors

William has been doing lots of painting lately. He’s really getting more imaginitive. I mean, all the paintings kind of look the same to me – masterpieces, of course – but he says things like, “Look, Mommy, waves! A bird! A whale! A road!”

haircut

Today, we took him to a cool little barber shop on Main Street and got all of his sweet messy hair cut off. I was a little sad to see it go, but he does look pretty great with shorter hair too. He didn’t cry at all – probably because of the orange lollipop he had a death grip on throughout the entire process. His second lollipop ever.

wee wonderfuls!

And I’ve been hard at work stitching up some Wee Wonderfuls stitchettes. For Pauline: I’m using 3 strands of floss for most of them – sometimes less strands on their eyes or mouths. My backgrounds are 10-inch squares of mostly white cotton. I plan to copy dontcallmebecky’s awesome quilt eventually.

hexes

And finally, my hexes are pinned, and I’ve already appliquéd the big one and three little ones down. Not in this picture. But they’re coming along great. I’m excited that the whole project will be done by hand. Hand pieced, hand appliquéd, and eventually, hand quilted.

So that’s it for me. What’s happening with you?

The joy of work

For my part-time job, I make calls. I call about 75 companies a week with different purposes. Sometimes offering market research, sometimes scheduling appointments. But all the time, I have to wade through ridiculous voice mail systems.

The worst are the companies that put the prompts for “personnel directory” at the very end. Say it first, people! I don’t have all day. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time on the phone, listening to all the prompts I don’t want, waiting for the one I need. This is hard for me. I hate my hands being idle.

When I watch TV, I crochet or hand-piece or surf the net on my laptop. But until recently, I haven’t done any of these things when I’m calling because if I don’t pay very close attention, I miss my prompt and have to wait through the whole message again.

Good news! I found a new activity that I can do while I’m making my calls. Embroidery! I’ve already completed two stichettes (from WeeWonderfuls.com)! I’ll include some pictures soon!

Embroidery really is perfect. I don’t have to count or follow a pattern or concentrate. The image is already on my fabric, my colors are already selected (because I’ve done these things in advance), and I just stitch. When I need to type or dial the phone, I stab my needle into the fabric, set the hoop in my lap, take my notes or whatever, and then pick it back up.

I’m very excited about this. Not only am I burning through this embroidery, my calling list seems to go by faster! A true accomplishment!

self-improvement…

Here’s what I’m working on…I finished a quilt, but it’s in the wash. I’ll post pictures when it’s dry and snuggly. Cross your fingers for me that all the batiks don’t bleed into the white parts! One day I’ll learn my lesson and stop being so lazy about pre-washing.

Anyway, I’m working on some new skills…trying to advance myself or something. Namely, embroidery, paper-piecing and hopefully applique. I haven’t started applique yet, but I got some supplies (steam-a-seam 2 and a pressing sheet.)

embroidery book paper piecingpaper pieced birds

I got this pattern at Road 2 California from ABC Patterns. I’m really enjoying how easily the little birds come together. I wish I had gotten other patterns! They gave us a crazy patch for free…I’m excited to try that one with different types of fabrics (old ties, silks, corduroy…).

Also, I’m working on this…my absentee ballot.

ballotI guess I better get my booty off the fence!