Saturday, July 12, 2014

Christmas In July Blog Hop

Today is my stop on Deby's Christmas in July Blog Hop. She has quite a line up of bloggers sharing felt Christmas ornament tutorials so if you are in need of some inspiration you should check out  the different tutorials. I know Christmas may seem like a long ways off but it always comes so quickly! Once November comes there are parties and Christmas concerts to attend, presents to wrap, baking. and shopping to be done that there is not a lot of time left for crafting so now is a great time to make for Christmas!
When I first thought about what ornament to make for a tutorial I thought about one of my favorite books, Santa Mouse, or that maybe I would make a felt gingerbread house ornament. The longer I thought about the Christmas ornament I thought about recreating an ornament I made when I was 11 years old. My Grandma loved to sew and she taught my sister and I how to make the birds. We had planned to make a few birds each year to add to our Christmas tree but i think we stopped after making a dozen. I have no idea what pattern we used or where my Grandma got it. She passed away a long time ago so I can not ask her :( A few years back my mom gave me and my sister each a few birds to enjoy on our own Christmas trees. Our Christmas tree is always a mix of old and new, handmade, and store bought. I have a few ornaments that I made as a kid and I love these reminders of my childhood and the memories attached to the ornaments.
In the end I decided on a less ornate looking bird that suits my style more but was influenced by my childhood design. This is a great project to do on your own or to create with your kids. On to the tutorial.

  • First gather your supplies. You will need some felt and linen scraps as well as scissors, needle, thread, poly fill, and a bird template. I used this template. If you would like a different shaped bird you could sketch one yourself or Google bird template. There are so many templates out there. Feel free to use cotton fabric instead of felt or linen if that is what you have on hand. Let your creativity run wild and use what you have on hand to decorate the birds. I used beads, sequins, ribbon scraps, and embroidery thread. You could use doilies, lace or a bit of pom pom trim. These birds would be fun to decorate for any season or holiday. They could be used as a garland, placed on a gift, or tucked in a wreath, as well as an ornament.
For each bird cut out 2 bodies (a front and a back) and 2 wings. Stitch one wing to the front and one  to the mirror image (back) body. I made one bird from linen. I wanted a rustic look so I stitched the front and back together with the raw edges showing. {If you use cotton or linen and want to have finished seams sew right sides together leaving a two inch gap open. Turn the bird right side out through the opening. Stuff then sew the gap closed by hand}.

Next, decorate to your heart's desire. Make it as simple or as intricate as you like. I lightly stuffed my birds. You can use the amount of stuffing you desire before closing the bird. Use a 5" ribbon scrap and fold in half. Tuck the raw edges into the bird in the neck/upper back area. Stitch through the ribbon as you close the bird.

Voila!!! You are done and the ornament is ready to hang on your tree.

I made a few to give you some different ideas. For the bottom bird I cut a scrap of embroidered fabric, put a little poly fill behind it and stitched it to the birds body. For the top bird I stitched a poinsettia in place of a wing. You can sew the front of the bird to the back of the bird with a running stitch, a blanket stitch, or any stitch of your choice. These birds are highly customizable. 
Thank you Deby for including me in your Blog Hop! It was a lot of fun!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Breeze Top: A Pattern Tour

Today I am happy to be a part of the Breeze Top Pattern Tour. When Shannon sent me an email to see if I wanted to be a part of the pattern tour for her Breeze Top I did not have to think twice. On the graphic above you can see the other blogs that are participating. Shannon's pattern is stylish yet classic, fun, and not only did I love it but my girls loved it too! It is perfect for our hot summers here in Northern California. Shannon has 7 kids and I think she has a good handle on styles kids like! I had never sewn a razorback design before and looked forward to learning a new to me sewing technique as well. Shannon has her pattern on sale for 25% off this week and is having a give away for 3 patterns and 3 Ribbon Retreat certificates. You can enter the give away through the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.
Since both of my twins liked the Breeze top I had to make two.

When I first saw the pattern I was thinking of making it in eyelet but Nicole found a white cotton with  small flowers kind of appliqued/embroidered on it. I had bought the fabric when my now 4 year old was a newborn to make her a dress. That dress never came to be but now my tween has a new top. Jess chose a pink cotton that I bought a long time ago thinking it would make a cute, fun doll quilt. A great feature of the Breeze Top pattern is it comes with a pattern and instructions for making it with a woven or with a knit, whichever you prefer to sew. 

 One of the things I do not care for with PDF patterns is that some patterns have so many sizes going this way and that way making it difficult to find the size you need. This pattern was well organized and it was easy to find and cut the size I needed. The diagrams were very professional and easy to follow which I appreciate. The pattern includes size 8-16 making it perfect for tweens and teens. I think the style of the top suits a wide range of body types and would look great on all of them.

To customize the top N's got a vintage lace trim with some sequins that did not photograph very well.

The button closure can be put on either shoulder so I put one on the right...

...and one on the left. I also added a bit of lace at the buttons for a special touch on J's top

The girls both said their tops were very comfortable and I think they will see a lot of wear this summer!! The top is a fun sew and I will probably make a couple more before the summer is done. I would like to make the knit option next.

The razorback was fun to make and a little more special than an ordinary back. It is always fun to try something new!!! Thanks so much for including me in your tour Shannon!!  The Breeze Top pattern is 25% off this week with the code "BREEZETOUR" on Shannon's  Etsy site. (EXP. June 27th 11:59pm). Shannon is also having a Rafflecopter giveaway for 3 patterns and (3) $25 certificates to the Ribbon Retreat. Enter for your chance to win!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 20, 2014

Photo Friday: I am Back to the State of Piles in Progres

Back in the days when I had 2 little boys the summer was a welcome reprieve to a slower pace. These days the summer is just as busy as the school year and I have yet to have a day to not have to be somewhere. Sewing time has been scarce but I do have some piles in progress more than works in progress :)

I am the Queen this month in my Wombat Stew group. I asked for feathers, geese, or arrows  using coral, pale pink, aqua, and a splash of golden yellow with a low volume background. The girls have made some beautiful blocks and I am looking forward to putting this quilt together.

I finished up my Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap project which needs to be mailed the first week of June. I will blog more about this once the recipient receives it and I have received mine.

I have chosen quite a few blocks to make for my Unnamed quilt . I do not have an exact plan for putting it together but will figure it out as I go.

The ironing board is home to a half finished dress and a dress  that needs to be cut out. I need to get going on the dress that is not cut out as my four year old needs to wear it next Friday.

I made each of the twins a new summer blouse and will blog about them next week during a patern tour.

This bag is home to a little Christmas project (there's no other space for it) I need to have done in a week and a half. It is a mix of embroidery and hand stitching, and felt.

All of my brain cells this week are working towards engraining principles of photography, specifically, focusing, into my brain. My brain felt like it was tied in knots earlier this week.  I signed up to be in a group where we evaluate each others photos that are taken according to an assignment. I did not read the assignment before I signed up for the group thinking it would be a great learning experience. How hard could it be to take a few photos and evaluate photos for others?!?! While I read the assignment I was having heart palpitations and sweaty palms wondering why I didn't read the assignment before committing to a group. The assignment includes doing things like front and back focus testing your lens, back button focusing, learning how to magnify pictures to 100%, A1 Servo, and all kinds of vocabulary that sends my mind into a tail spin. After reading things over and over and over again and participating in the  forum that is part of the class things might be sinking in a little.  I shot some photos today to practice learning all the new stuff from the class and I think my focus was better than it has ever been in the past. Practice really does make perfect and I am learning all kinds of new stuff. Karen is an excellent teacher and I can not say enough good things about her classes. Have a great weekend!!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WIP Wednesday: SWap Project

I am participating in the Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap and it has been a lot of fun!! My partner was very vague and didn't give me much information to go on.

I pulled a couple of fabric stacks and ended up going with my Sandi Henderson collections: Ginger Blossom, Farmer's Market, Meadowsweet, Meadowsweet II, and Secret Garden. I threw in a few other bits to bring the count to 72 fabrics. I hope she likes scrappy.

I think she might like more traditional patterns so I went with a Dresden plate.

I stitched a light weight interfacing to the Dresden to turn the edges under and am using a linen background.

Next up is a little hand quilting and making a mini Dresden for the back.
I am going to also make her a pin cushion and needle book and have made a start on the pin cushion. Happy Wednesday! Linking up with Freshly Pieced. You should check out all the fun projects!!!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, May 30, 2014

New York Beauty Kitchen Mat

Another Friday, another finish! It's a New York Beauty Sunrise kitchen sink mat. Sadly, it was one of those projects that got lost in translation somewhere between my head and real life. This was actually my friends idea but I took it and tried to save her another WIP.

I started with Janice's pattern and took it to the print shop and had them print it at 200%. The pattern was huge! I envisioned a sunrise where the first bit of light is almost a white-yellow that pops out of he darkness then spreads to pinks and oranges.

I used some AMH, Violet Kraft, Heather Ross, Sandi Henderson, a few others, and, of course, some Sunprint from Alison Glass. Every sun needs some Sunprint. I also had to include some clouds, birds, and bees to go along with the morning sun. The morning sun coming up over a mountain just like I see it every morning.

I debated with myself over the background for a long time about whether or not to use 1 solid. As you can see I decided to go with a dark background at the edges and to get lighter as it reaches the middle where the sun is coming up. If I were to do this again I would modify the pattern a bit so the background color transitions of the spokes matched up with the color transitions of the flying geese.

I am not sure if it was experience or the larger pieces but it was much easier to make the curves line up with this one than the first New York Beauty I made.

Then, there was my nemesis...the quilting! I think my quilting age is about 18 months so it looks like an 18 month olds "writing". I started by outlining the sun's rays and doing some straight line echo quilting. Next I followed the arc of the geese. Lastly I tried to get fancy and make some little flowers in the grass on the mountain. That didn't work out so well with very uneven stitches so I took those stitches out. I ended up doing a butterflies path pattern, at least that is what I am calling it. :)

I took Rachel's advice and used a towel in the middle instead of batting.  I think that  will soak up water more than batting would and make it more useful as a kitchen sink mat.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday. Have a great weekend!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Vintage May: Strawberry Fields Forever

May is a very busy month full of out of traveling to basketball tournaments for my younger son so going into the month I knew sewing wise, it would be smaller projects for me. One of my favorite sewing series during May is Vintage May hosted by Craftiness Is Not Optional and Skirt As Top. I love vintage clothing styles and it has been too long since I have made any kids clothes so I really wanted to sew up a vintage inspired outfit during the course of this series. Actually, I have 4 vintage patterns I would like to sew up but I am time poor and am happy for the one I made.

Known fact: if there is strawberry fabric, I will buy it, so I did not stand a chance  against this  this fabric made by Birch Fabrics called Every Day Party. I ordered the fabric before I had decided on a pattern and was barely able to squeeze out what I needed. I think the fabric has a vintage vibe to it and wanted to use it for my Vintage May make.

I usually prefer old vintage patterns because of their details and nice finish {and they are already cut out most of the time} but when I saw the Lotta dress pattern from Compagnie M I wanted to make it! I love the collar detail, the back closure options, and my favorite detail is...

...the different pocket options. We all know that the pockets are the kids' favorite detail in a piece of clothing.

There are a few strawberry fields open this time of year where we live and my Strawberry girl loves strawberries so that is where I decided to go and get some pictures of her new dress. I am sure the guy at the stand thought I was a little crazy but my girl and I had a fun together talking and laughing. 4 year olds ponder things like what would it be like if she got to fly into space and whether or not a rocket would be required or what would it be like if she had wings. I love the little peaks she gives me as to what she thinks about. She is always entertaining that is for sure!

I almost opted for the zipper closure in back but in the end chose the button placket to give the dress a more vintage feel. I had some vintage buttons in my stash but not 3 of one color so the buttons are a bit mismatched. I wanted the buttons on the front of the dress to contrast since they are a decorative element rather than functional and decided on navy blue.

I had never sewn a Compagnie M pattern before but it came together quickly and I like that the PDF came with a seam allowance or you could choose to print the pattern without the seam allowance if you wished. If I had blocks of time to sew it would probably take about 3 hours, but since I sew in 5 minute increments it took me about 5 days. I think choosing buttons was the toughest decision. I will be sewing this dress again as my daughter loves it and so do I.

I am not sure how many strawberries my girl ate while I took pictures but there were a lot of stems on the ground and her face and dress were covered with strawberry juice by the time we left. It rained on our way to the field and then on our way home so I was thankful we didn't get rained on while we were there.

After you take your daughter to the strawberry field you have to make strawberry jam, of course!

Both of my littles enjoyed mashing the berries.

We made a simple freezer jam recipe which does not require you to seal the jar. It  lasts up to a year in the freezer but we will eat it up long before then.

My last little finish for the week is a little needle book. I had a mini charm pack so I pieced some squares together then used a scrap of linen for the inside. A bit of wool felt for the page and this project was complete.

It was a good, busy week! If you live here in the U.S. I hope you enjoy the 3 day weekend!! Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday :)
......and linking up to Summer Sewing Linky Party at Project Run and Play :)