Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mini Tree Quilt

I made a little Christmas tree quilt... with enough time left to actually enjoy it a bit before Christmas. It's a holiday miracle!

mini tree quilt 1

Back in November, I mentioned that I saw this plate at Target:

target xmas plate

And thought it was the perfect inspiration for a quilt. I'm so proud of myself for actually getting it done! So many times, I see non-quilty objects and say to myself, "That would make a great quilt design!", but that's as far as it goes. Nice to follow through for once!

mini tree quilt 2

This quilt was a nice distraction from all the holiday gift sewing I've been doing. Too many late nights, and a bit of rushing, has made for some frustrating work. The seam ripper has been working overtime lately. Luckily, this was a problem-free, relaxing project. But now it's back to my elf-ly duties as I desperately try to finish all my half-finished gifts!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday - 11/28/12

A cozy little flannel & minky quilt I posted about yesterday.

Boy Minky Quilt 2

In Progress:
It's Christmas Gift Crunch Time! I'm going to have to be more selective about what I share here, but I think I won't spoil any surprises by sharing these two gifts I'm working:

hummingbird pp block

This hummingbird paper pieced block was inspired by a post I saw on the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog a while back. I downloaded the free origami font mentioned in the post and used it to trace my pattern in EQ7.

hummingbird in EQ7

The SMS post uses a freezer paper method of paper piecing, which I've never done. I just printed out my pattern and used the regular ol' sew-on-the-lines, through-the-paper, method (that's the official name of the technique, right?).

red & white cross stitch

And here's a little cross stitch gift I started this past weekend. I always underestimate the time it will take to finish a cross stitch project. I look at a pattern and say to myself "that looks fast and simple!" and then about halfway through, I'm all "Why am I only half finished?!?".

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Flannel & Minky Baby Quilt

Last week I finished a quilt for one of my closest friends who just had a baby. Baby #4 to be specific! When you have 4 kids, you pretty much have all the baby stuff you need, so I think it's nice to make something special and one-of-a-kind for the newest member of the family. This quilt is flannel on one side and minky on the other—perfect for cuddling a little one!

Boy Minky Quilt 1

I started two other baby quilts before finally settling on this one (you can see the other two in-progress here). I'm glad I choose this one to finish because I just love how it turned out. I had bits and pieces of two different flannel collections from Hoffman- To the Rescue and Beep! Beep!. I think the biggest piece I had to work with was about 10" x 15". So it was just a matter of putting up pieces on the design wall and seeing how it could all fit together.

Boy Minky Quilt 2

I left out the batting, because I didn't want to make it to heavy which I think can happen when you're using minky. I also kept the quilting fairly light (just large diamonds) and it has a wonderful drapey feel. My only regret is that I didn't take better photos of this quilt, but I was in a bit of a hurry to give it to this little guy!

Boy Minky Quilt 3

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekends Tumbler Quilt

weekends tumbler 1

I finished my tumbler quilt about a week ago and I love the way it turned out!

weekends tumbler 3

While blogging has helped me get a bit more motivation to finish projects, it's also made it possible for me to look back and see exactly how long ago I started something. I first cut out those tumblers way back in February.

This quilt came together slowly. At first I was just using the the green colorway of this fabric collection, but all the patches just blended together. It needed more contrast so I added the solid aqua. Better, but not quite enough. So I cut some more tumblers from the violet colorway and it worked! Adding the violet colorway also allowed me to get in some more of those little bike prints. Squee!

weekends tumbler detail 1

I tried a finishing technique with this quilt that I've never done before. Rather than binding the quilt, I finished it with a facing (using this tutorial). I had wanted to bind it with the solid aqua, but I didn't have enough left. And this fabric had been sitting in my stash for ages, so I didn't have a color name/number, and I couldn't find a good match in any of my local fabric shops. So facing, with no fabric showing on the front, was the perfect solution.

weekends tumbler detail 2

I quilted it with simple straight lines, about 1/4" from the seams. The solid aqua tumblers got an extra outline stitch on the inside. You can see the quilting really well on the back. I like the back almost as much as the front!

weekends tumbler 5

And, just for fun, a peek at one of my little helpers:

weekends tumbler 4

Fresh Poppy Design

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday - 11/14/12

My Weekends tumbler quilt! I'll be writing about it soon.

weekends tumbler detail 1

And to celebrate corduroy day, I made a sunglasses case.

sunglass case 2

In Progress:
I've had battling baby quilts up on my design wall for a couple of weeks.

baby quilts

I couldn't decide which one I wanted to finish for an expecting friend. She ended up having her baby a week early, so the pressure was on. This weekend I started a brand new baby quilt, and I'm almost done quilting it!

boy flannel quilt

It has minky on the back and feels soooo cozy. It's gonna be hard to give this one up. But it is baby-sized so if I used this quilt, it would only keep a third of me cozy.

Future Projects?
I was at Target last night and saw this cute plate:

target xmas plate

And now I want to make a quilt inspired by it. Will this actually materialize? Odds aren't good, as the number of things I want to make and the actual time I have to make all these things don't match up. But here's hoping!


I posted a little giveaway yesterday to celebrate my 100th post, so please hop over and leave a comment to enter!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

100th Post (and a little Giveaway!)

I've reached a little milestone here on my blog- 100 posts! I started writing not knowing if I would even stick with this blogging thing, as I'm sure many people do. It's been a fun side project that has kept me motivated to keep making. I know I'm happier with myself when I'm sewing/crafting something, rather than spending my kid-free time staring at the tv. Although I do have to confess I enjoy watching Downton Abbey on my laptop while I'm sewing. Seriously, Season 3 can't get here soon enough.

I have an exciting bit of news to share here in my 100th post- I have a quilt in the new issue of Quilts and More! It's the Picture This quilt and I just love how they photographed it:

The little cutie featured on this quilt is my friend Sarah's daughter. I had been playing around with the idea of a photo as the center of a dresden plate block for a while. When I saw this photo at Sarah's desk I just knew that adorable face was perfect for this design! This quilt may be one of my all-time favorite things I've ever made. Now I just need to make one with my own kids' photos!
(For any EQ7 users out there, you can download the project file for this quilt here.)

To celebrate both my 100th and post and having a quilt in a magazine, I'm having a little giveaway! Just leave a comment on this post by Friday, Nov. 16th and you'll be entered to win a copy of Quilts and More-Winter 2012 and a handful of surprise goodies! (Make sure I have a way to contact you if you win!)
The giveaway winner is ♥Duff!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Celebrating Corduroy Again

Last year, for the first time ever, I learned of Corduroy Appreciation Day. It got extra special attention last year because it was 11-11-11, an extra high holy day of corduroy.

Still, I was surprised I hadn't heard of it before, especially since 11-11 is also my birthday so, ya know, I pay attention to the date. Last year, in observance of the day, I made K a corduroy dress.

brown cord dress 1

This year, I didn't think of it soon enough to make something big (the holidays always sneak up on you, don't they?). But I still wanted to celebrate in some way, so I dug through my small stash of corduroy and made this sunglasses case.

sunglass case 1

The pattern is from Sue Kim's book, Bags: The Modern Classics, which I highly recommend. I've made the Elegance Pleated Clutch from the book, and I have many more of these patterns on my sewing wish list.

sunglass case 2

The main fabric is Mod Blooms by Patty Young for Michael Miller and the flap fabric is from the Happy Together collection by Timeless Treasures, a leftover from the Music Class Skirt I made a while back. I love the variety of fabrics available these days.

sunglass case 3

Sadly, when I googled Corduroy Day today, I found that The Corduroy Appreciation Club has disbanded. I believe I shall continue to appreciate this fabric, even if there is no longer official club dedicated to it. Vive le corduroy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival: 40th Anniversary Quilt

This is my first time participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, and I'd like to share with you the 40th Anniversary Quilt I made for my parents!

40th anniversary quilt 1

I have three other quilts I'm working on right now, and I had considered trying to quickly finish one so I could show off a new quilt for the festival. But I decided I'd rather just take my time with them. I like to keep my sewing/crafting on the fun side, and rushing for a deadline kind of takes the joy out of it. Just ask me how much fun I'm having 2 days before Christmas when I'm trying to finish up all my handmade gifts. ;)

So instead I'm showing off the 40th Anniversary Quilt I made in celebration of my parents' wedding anniversary. I spent a lot of time finding and/or drawing blocks that are meaningful to them and their life together. Designing this quilt gave me the opportunity (or maybe the motivation?) to really think about my parents' marriage and what it means to be together for 40 years. And I think that's a wonderful way to honor an anniversary!

4 blocks

Pansy: Mom enjoys gardening • House: they built their house together • O: they met at the Ohio State University • Pig: they were hog farmers when I was a kid

more anny blocks

Heart: for love! • Truck: my dad's job • Boat: boating is an activity they like doing together (this isn't the right kind of boat, but after several failed attempts at drawing a motor boat, I went with this easy-to-sew sailboat!) • Fish: fishing is another hobby they both enjoy

Not only did choosing the blocks take a lot of time, but finding just the right layout for those blocks was a big part of my design process. I wanted something more creative than a straight horizontal set. You can see some of my rejected layout ideas back in the original post.

40th anniversary quilt 2

I just love this quilt! And so did my parents, which makes all the time and effort well worth it. I even like the back:

40th anniversary quilt 3

Amy's Creative Side

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats
Finished quilt measures: 40″ x 40″
Special techniques used: paper piecing
Quilted by: Me!
Best Category: Wallhanging

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween 2012: My Little Mermaid

mermaid costume 1

Our first dress up event of Halloween was this afternoon and I actually finished K's costume a couple days ago. I could have kept going with accessories, but I decided more accessories = more things I end up carrying. Example: The wig only lasted long enough for the photos and the bracelets fell off shortly after.

mermaid costume 2

I used an exposed elastic waistband on the skirt/tail (which is what I was practicing with this circle skirt). I like the way it looks, plus it's so much easier than trying to make an elastic casing with this slippy, stretchy fabric.

Even though K insisted she needed a REAL tail and we would just have to carry her for trick-or-treating, I designed the fins at the base of the skirt for easy walking. I found lots of cute mermaid skirts with really flowing tulle fins at the bottom, but I knew she'd be tripping on them all night. So I purposely left a space between the two fins in the front. And rather than leave the tulle loose at the ends, I folded it in half and sewed both edges to the base of the skirt.

Glitter is the herpes of the craft world and my sewing room is badly infected. Thanks to this glittery tulle, myself and all my sewing projects will have at least a few bits of glitter stuck to them for the next 6 months. Maybe I'll just embrace it and say it's my attempt to make everything look fancier.

mermaid costume 3

I wasn't planning to do the seashell bra thing, but when I told my husband about my costume plan he said the seashell thing was a required accessory of the mermaid. So I guess I had to do it (and it is pretty cute).

halloween 2012

I ended up letting A pick his own costume at the store. Crafting FAIL. That's two years in a row he's had a store-bought costume. I think I owe him big time next year.

Friday, October 12, 2012

BBSA: Block 1

Over on the EQ Blog, I'm hosting the BlockBase Sew Along and today is the link up for the first block in the sew along. I really like this first block, so after making one at work (which you can see here), I decided to come home and make another one!

BB Block 1

I love how different the same block can look, just by changing the fabric placement. And this one is much smaller than the one I made at work- only 4". If you have BlockBase, come over and join in the fun!

BlockBase Sew Along Blog Badge

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Seersucker Circle Skirt

It's a tongue twister! Now say it 5 times fast!

seersucker circle skirt 1

I whipped up a little circle skirt today for K. I used this tutorial from MADE and boy does it come together fast! I'll definitely be making more of these skirts. Fast. Easy. Fun! I wish I had a grown-up sized one for twirling.

seersucker circle skirt 2

This skirt is really more for practice than anything else. I tried making a skirt like this once before and I didn't stretch the elastic enough while sewing and all the stitches popped the first time K pulled it on. Lesson learned. Much better results this time.

seersucker circle skirt 3

I know seersucker is not the first fabric you'd grab for making a fall time skirt. But as I mentioned before, the purpose of this skirt was practice, not function. I bought this seersucker more than a year ago, all ready to make some summery frocks. But when I unfolded it at home, I saw that it had some pretty significant flaws in the weave. Like a thread away from being out-right holey in a couple of places. Do not buy the seersucker at Hobby Lobby-- it's so cheap for a reason! But now I've got a successful circle skirt under my belt, and no good fabric was harmed in the process.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wee Wonderfuls: Mermaiden

I've had this little mermaiden on my "to sew" list for quite a while. It's the third project I've made from the Wee Wonderfuls book (previous projects here and here).


There's been some waffling on Halloween costumes, so I hope getting to snuggle with this little stuffie helps cement the idea of being a mermaid in K's head. For a long time she wanted to be a ballerina, then she switched to tiger, then "a lizard! that eats flies!" And now we're on to mermaid. And it better stick, because costume fabric has been purchased!


How perfect is that green scale fabric for a mermaid tail?! And I suppose I could still pull off a lizard costume... if I really have to...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Practicing My Curves

Confession: Curves scare me.

No, not the women-only gym (although that's kinda scary in a whole different way). I'm referring to curved piecing. There are so many beautiful blocks and quilts out there using curves, and I usually avoid them because I'm not confident in my ability to piece them.

Well I've decided that's silly and I just need to jump in there and do some curved piecing. Face your fear!

piecing curves 1

So here's the start of my quilt chock full o' curves. I figure baby quilts are the best place to try out new skills. Babies don't notice puckered seams, right? I'm pretty fussy with each of these little curves, and I'm definitely not breaking any sewing speed records, but I think they're turning out pretty good!

And I've got lots of patches cut for practice. By the time this quilt is finished, curves will fear ME!

piecing curves 2

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Music Class Skirt

It's starting to feel a bit like fall here, and I love it! Definitely my favorite time of year. And the perfect time for a new corduroy skirt!

music class skirt 1

Way back on Mother's Day the kids & husband gave me the Oliver + S Music Class Skirt pattern and I just now got the chance to sew one up. As always, love those Oliver + S patterns! So many times I come across pattern directions that aren't clear, so I muddle through a step hoping it all works out in the end. But I never have that problem with Oliver + S patterns. Is there an O + S fan club? I would totally join.

music class skirt 2

The fabrics are two prints from the Happy Together corduroy collection by Timeless Treasures. And I actually remembered to check which way the corduroy felt smooth and rough before I cut out the pattern. The last time I worked with corduroy, I ended up having to re-cut a dress panel because I didn't think about the fabric nap. Look at me, learning from my past mistakes!

music class skirt 3

The best part of this skirt is the pleats on the side panels. And cute pockets!

music class skirt 4

It's great for running too!