excited

Here are some things I’m excited about:

  • On TV: Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D List, Flipping Out, So You Think You Can Dance and all the shows starting in July.
  • My new Nikon S550 camera!!!
  • My newly organized desk drawer and my new gel roller bic pens.
  • My increase in hours for my job.
  • The new authors I’ve been enjoying: Sherryl Woods and Robyn Carr. And speaking of books, Jennifer Weiner’s newest book “Certain Girls” – which was AWESOME.
  • Finding SuperBuzzy.com, an awesome Japanese fabric shop online.

I think that’s it for now :)

Applique and t-shirt surgery

BettyNinja left me a nice comment saying I should write a tutorial for my appliqué aprons. Betty, I’m afraid the only tutorial I’m qualified to write is to say that I think everyone should take an appliqué class at a local quilt shop. I took one class, and the teacher (Susan Prioleau) taught a great technique and answered all my questions. Now I feel like I can follow any pattern, and I’m even working on my own designs. I seem to see appliqué everywhere.book illustration

I was in a used book store the other day, and I saw this great book of stories with all these fun medieval illustrations. Here’s one – I think it would be a very cool appliqué design.

My other current love is t-shirt surgery. Indigo Girls are headed to Humphrey’s in San Diego next week, and I really wanted to wear one of my old concert t-shirts, but they’re all awful. They’re huge men’s shirts that look terrible. So, I took my favorite one (sorry for the inappropriate picture on the front), resized it, added better sleeves and a hood! It’s not perfect, but it fits great, and it’s much better than it was before. I read a lot of tutorials on craftster and on other blogs before I got started, but it was pretty straight forward.

(Pictures after the jump)

Step one: lay a shirt that fits you on top of one that doesn’t. Trace around it. Pin the shirt and cut away the excess.

Step two: cut out your pieces – sleeves, hood, extra pockets, whatever you’re adding.

Step three: sew your extra pieces (close up the sleeves, hem the hood).

Step four: attach new pieces to your old shirt.

Step five: sew up sides of your old shirt.

There was a lot of debate about the best stitch to use on stretchy fabric if you don’t have a serger. I just used a straight stitch to join things, and then topstitched the seams open with a straight stitch using a twin needle. It worked great, and allowed me to add in some contrasting thread. Let me know if you have questions.

tshirt surgery - complete!

for pictures, click here… Continue reading “Applique and t-shirt surgery”

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

gems on the web

Some new and excellent web finds for the crafty:

This month’s Real Simple had these cute little cocktail napkins that had fortunes on them. I went to the website, and it turns out it was an Etsy shop – Avril Loreti! How awesome is that. A national magazine – great press for all Etsy sellers because even though only one product was highlighted, how could a shopper turn away from all the rest of that handmade goodness?

By the way, her ideas on coctail napkins and heat transfers are super creative and wonderful. I will be copying them (for personal use, of course) very soon.

If you’re not shopping on Etsy yet, you’re missing out.

new sewing finds

Guess how I found that awesome neighborhood in Historic Riverside. I was looking for a Singer Sewing shop. And I found it – in a nice lady’s garage in my favorite new neighborhood. I guess she owned a Singer repair and sales shop for a long time and retired, but kept selling from her converted garage, where she has an awesome Gammill long arm machine. It’s a really nice setup. Anyway, she was super helpful. I got a walking foot (finally), extra needles, and the all-important little key to open my bobbin case for cleaning.

Her shop was a great find. The next closest Singer shop is over an hour away. They’re both pretty far, but this one is a little closer, and it a much more awesome neighborhood.

Then I headed over to Joann’s and found a bunch of cool fabric, fun notions (like denim rivets and fancy buttons) and a ton of good white and black cotton pieces in the remnant bins.

Which brings me to my real topic. Budgeting. David and I are going to follow the budgeting and planning advice of the money management lady on Oprah – we’re going to each get an allotment of cash each month and that’s all we can spend.

I guess I’m going to have to join a stash-busters group online, because I won’t be buying any fabric for a while. Unless it’s in the budget, of course ;)

Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains…

That’s right, I’ve been in Oklahoma. I took my little baby and we flew out to see Gramie and Papa. I know I’ve been absent for a little while, but I wasn’t in drug rehabilitation or detox or something. No, I was visiting my parents – and it was great! All except for the day we left. All our flights were cancelled, so we got rebooked on another airline leaving 7 hours later, only to have our second leg delayed 4 hours. We got lucky and caught an earlier flight, but it came into a different airport, so I still had to drive to the first airport and pick up my luggage at 1:30 am. LONG day, hauling around a 2 year old and all his accoutrements. Lucky for me he’s such a good boy.

Anyway, we had a great time with my parents and that’s what matters. I got to meet my new future step-sister in-law, William got to spend lots of time with Gramie Sandy and Papa Bob, get his face licked off by their little dog Chica, and I even got to go to a fabric store where the fabric was almost 1/2 the price as it is here! Pictures coming to flickr soon!

fabric junkie

This weekend I’m driving my brother-in-law’s truck up to San Fran for him, and I plan to make a few quilt shop stops along the way. And while I’m a big fan of the small, local quilt shop, I’ve been branching out lately. I saw the most gorgeous quilts at Road 2 CA that were made of all these non-cotton, non-standard materials. Velvet binding. Chintz and raw silk piecing. The result was beautiful textures and colors. I’ve been looking for shops like designdivafabrics.com, that sell discount velvet upholstery fabric and other non-quilty items. The upholstery-weight stuff makes great bags…I’ve got one in the works. I want to make some new grocery bags that I can throw in the wash after I buy chicken.

As I figure out what kind of quilter I want to be, I think it’s important to branch out of the local quilt shop.

Craft Book Reviews

(For my book count, these books are #59-#63. I wasn’t sure whether I should count them in my goal towards 100 books for the year, but since I’ve read them cover to cover more than once, I figured they should count.)

I love pattern books.The easier the pattern, the better the book! So here are a few of my favorites, if you’re interested in sewing and quilting, check them out.

Bending the Rules on AmazonThis first book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew
by Amy Karol, is awesome for the beginning seamstress. I’ve already made two of the purses in here. The directions are really easy to follow, the patterns are easy to cut out. There’s lots of room for personal interpretation, but Amy also provides everything you need if you want to create exactly what she’s made. Fun project, great gift ideas – I really really recommend this book. The author has a super cool blog called Angry Chicken, and she’s also set up a fun flickr group where people post the projects they’ve made from the book. These photos are great for inspiration, color options, ect. [rating:5]

Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted GiftsNext is Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts
by Joelle Hoverson (Author), Anna Williams (Photographer). Again, I seriously love this book. I’ve already made a bunch of those sweet birds on the cover filled with bells and catnip. I’ve also made the coasters and I’m working on a pin cushion. Super easy instructions, great patterns, GORGEOUS projects and photos. I love love love this book. The author also has a great blog called the PurlBee and an online shop called PurlSoho. Definitely check them out. I actually found this book through another blog, Wee Wonderfuls – written by the designer of the sweet little elephant, Wee Peanut, in the book. [rating:5]

In StichesNext is Amy Butler’s In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects
by Amy Butler (Author), Colin McGuire (Photographer). I won’t lie, I haven’t made anything from this book yet. Her patterns, instructions, and materials lists are more involved than the first two books. I feel like I’m not quite to this level. HOWEVER, I love the projects – the book is gorgeous, and I look forward to the day that I master the patterns. If you’re a seasoned quilter or sewer and you’re looking for some cool projects for your home, I highly recommend this book. I wouldn’t recommend it for brand new sewers – although I’m sure smarter people than me could handle the challenges just fine. [rating:4]

Denyse Schmidt QuiltsNext is Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects
by Denyse Schmidt (Author), Bethany Lyttle (Author). Again, I love love love this book. I’ve made one of the quilts (top left, orange and white pattern), and it was very simple. I even changed the pattern to fit a little better to the fabric I had on hand and it was no problem. I’ve seen a few of her quilts for sale in other places like Anthropologie and in the Sundance catalog and they were ridiculously expensive. I was excited because I already had the patterns, and I can make them myself! The projects really range from super-beginner to a little more seasoned, so I think this is a book for every level. Highly recommended! [rating:5]

amy butler's midwest modernFinally, Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern: A Fresh Design Spirit for the Modern Lifestyle
by Amy Butler (Author), David Butler (Photographer).

This one is really more of a coffee table book, although it does have one pattern in it. Still, it’s gorgeous. Her sense of style and her fabric designs are awesome. I was a little disappointed that the book only has one pattern, but it was nice to get a peek into her life, design mentality and creative process. It’s amazing how many talented, inspired people there are out there – and she’s definitely one of them. [rating:4]

Hope you found those reviews helpful – now stop reading and get sewing!