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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Winner Winner!

WoW!! Thank you for all the fun comments about your favorite fabric lines, new and old! It was really fun to read all your comments and to look up the new to me lines. In case your curious, Doe from Carolyn Friedlander appears to be the most anticipated line along with the new Cotton and Steel and Elizabeth from Tula Pink. You all have great taste, I'm excited about all of those too!

And the winner chosen by the random rafflecopter was Mary D! I've sent you an email Mary and thanks to everyone for stopping by, see you all next year!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

It's that time again...time for Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! I was trying to decide what to do for my giveaway as this year has been all about new types of creating for me. I've learned lots of new tricks and met some great new quilty friends as well. I started swapping and using Flickr and Instagram, I'm quilting and making things other than bags (really?!?!) Yea, really...although bags are still my favorite, hands down.

But what really stuck in my head this year, is the fabric selections! I had never really followed designers prior to 2013. I usually just shopped at JoAnns or Hobby Lobby and assumed that was all there was in the fabric world. My local quilt shop is geared more towards the traditional quilter, so it's rare that I find any fabric there that I like. But, once I jumped on the IG wagon, I really saw how amazing and beautiful the fabric world can be! I quickly became obsessed with Alison Glass, Katrina Roccella, and Jeni Baker to name just a few. I'm pretty much in love with all the Art Gallery Fabrics designers. My husband came across this meme the other day and it is totally fitting...

There is always new fabric and it's all amazing! I have definitely splurged a bit this year, and I'm really going to have to tone it down after Christmas...I mean, the house can only hold so much fabric and I can only sew so I figured I could share some of my goodies with my online friends. International entries welcome too.

I have a fat quarter bundle of fun up for grabs today, it includes prints from Arizona, Gleeful, and Dreamin' Vintage plus some texty scraps from my previous projects.  To win, just leave a comment telling me what fabric line was your favorite this year or which line you are most excited about that is coming soon. 

I'll start, and it was an easy choice for me. By far, my favorite line this year was Utopia by Frances Newcome. It is so gorgeous, my favorite colors, and bright and cheery. I really love it!

Priory Square by Katy Jones was a very close second. I'm hoping Santa has some of this stashed in his bag for me :) 

As for next year, I might just pass out from excitement when Melody Miller's Playful releases. The viewfinders are returning! If you don't know about the viewfinders,  go Google them. Then get a box of tissue, because they are almost impossible to find, and you will want them. I discovered them late and paid an unreal amount for just 1/2 yard that is going into a super special swap project. Thankfully we can all get some when this line releases in January.

I'll look forward to reading your responses and I'm guessing I'll probably be wanting more fabric when it's all over. Rafflecopter will be running through Saturday night. Please leave your email address or Instagram name so I can contact you if you're the winner.
Good Luck!

A pair of matching bags

Last weekend my mom visited and was kind enough to watch ours boys for a while. I think that deserves a new bag! I don't know what we would do without her, she is so helpful in our lives. I had made her a bag for mother's day and she requested something similar, with a light lining so she could see inside easily. I let her browse my stash a bit and she picked a great floral print with a navy background.

I dug through the patterns and thought I might give Date Night a try. I have loved this pattern ever since Erin from Dog Under My Desk started prototyping it, but I hadn't had a chance to make one. Overall it is a great pattern! The zipper installation is very different from what I'm used to, but it's not difficult and makes a nice smooth top. Erin's patterns tend to be flawless. It's no surprise to me that the pockets are perfect in this bag. They are just the right size and placed in just the right spots. The handle is a great length so you can carry on the shoulder or not. I really love the bag!


Inside, full of my stuff!

Only problem -it's a bit smaller that I had anticipated. I didn't think my mom would care for the littleness of it. I decided to keep it for myself. I'm using it now and it really is fabulous. I'm pretty excited to make another one...but I still needed a gift for mom.

So I decided to give The Steph in the City bag a try from Emmaline Bags. Janelle is another flawless designer and her bags are always spectacular. I bought this pattern ages ago, but felt is was a little too advanced for me at the time. I've progressed enough now that I had no trouble with it.  And it's awesome! This bag has an adjustable strap and an optional zip top or magnetic closure. I went with the zipper for the extra security. There is a divided patch pocket inside plus an inside zippered pocket, I do love me some pockets! It's big without being too big and has really fun pleats on the bottom for character. It also has a "belt" that wraps around the bag and connects to a shiny o-ring. I also love shiny things on my bags. This really is another great pattern that will be repeated by yours truly when the holiday sewing slows down! And we finally saw the sun for a snippet of time this morning, so I got some semi-decent pictures! Hope mom loves it.

Such a fun print!

A little Alison Glass on the inside (be still my heart!)

Zip top
I've been busy with some other goodies, but can't share until the holiday gifting is all done. Expect one giant post about holiday sewing in January!

Saturday, December 6, 2014


A few months ago I came across a post on Instagram for a miniquilt swap. It was right around the time that I had just started joining swaps, so of course I had to jump right in! There was almost a 3 month window of creating time, so I had no worries that this swap would be easy and fun. Well, as the deadline loomed closer and closer and my creative spark grew smaller and smaller, I started to panic just a bit.

I had no ideas for my partner, who is pretty awesome by the way. I had assumed they would pair people up with similar experience, so I was a bit intimidated because I am more of a wannabe quilter then anything else. My partner appears to be pretty the tears commenced.

I had no ideas, I had no confidence, I had very little I did what so many of us do. I shopped my stash of books and fabrics...and I finally remembered this tutorial from Jeni Baker. HSTs! I can do those! With a plan and some fun fabric choices, I finally got to work and this was the final product...I named the quilt "A Trip to OZ" It seems appropriate because my partner lives in Australia, so the mini is literally taking a trip to Oz, plus it reminded me of a whirlwind...spinning out of control like poor Dorothy in the tornado to Oz. I would have loved to quilt spirals on it, but that is a lesson for another day. I just did simple straight lines in a longer stitch length, following the diamond shapes.

And for the back I used one of my favorite polka dot prints ever. I have no idea what it's called, and I'm pretty sure it's from Hobby Lobby years ago, but it's very soft and pretty and I had just enough to back this mini.
And one very ugly name tag as well. I've seen some really pretty ones on IG and I must learn how to make a nicer one. This is just scrap fabric and a laundry proof sharpie. I had never labeled a quilt before, so I was again clueless...always more to learn!

As part of the swap package I also sent my partner my Rainbow Roadtrip case She had posted a very sad looking travel sewing case that was "on it's last leg", so I felt the Roadtrip case was a nice extra. Plus, it was really meant for a quilter with that fab text fabric. She should be receiving the package next week hopefully, and I'm hoping she loves it! I was happy with the end result, and I learned quite a bit from the whole process. Will I be joining another quilt swap anytime soon? Yes, I will...a rainbow quilt swap is starting up on Monday and I'm pretty psyched. Sometimes I need a deadline to get something exciting started in the craft room...until then it will be all Christmas gifts, which I will show off here if Indiana ever sees another sunny day so I can get some pretty pictures!

Stupid gray skies all day everyday....blah! At least I have pretty fabrics to brighten things up. Be sure to stop by next week It's Sew Mama Sew giveaway day on the 8th  and I should have a nice bundle of happiness for someone to win!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Handmade Gnome Ornaments and Basket

In an effort to calm my "grinchiness" as the Christmas season approaches, I joined an Instagram swap for handmade ornaments. Our mission was to make 3 handmade ornaments for a secret partner based on her likes/dislikes. Any crafting medium could be used and my partner mentioned liking gnomes. I didn't realize gnomes were a Christmasy thing. I didn't know how much gnome related goodness there is in the fabric world either! I was surprised once I started looking online for ideas. I tried to make a felt gnome, but he was scary looking. I decided I could use some cute fabric and make some "mushrooms" instead. Gnomes live in mushrooms, I think. I drafted the little pattern myself and tried to make them somewhat "wonky". 

I ended up with 3 gnomes, Sleepy, Hungry, and Clark. Each one is quilted differently. Clark is the one with the green dotted 'shroom. His top is quilted with metallic variegated thread, so he's the Clark Griswald of the gnome village. I also made a fabric basket to gift to my partner, since I had already bought the fabric and she is primarily a knitter. I know nothing about knitting, but I'm thinking everyone can use a fabric basket. Overall I think it all looks cute together and hopefully she will like them. 

3 little gnomes

with a basket




Gnome Basket 

Gnome basket inside view

These little guys are off to there new home this week. I hope they make someone smile. :)

A Rainbow Roadtrip Case

I've been drooling over the Roadtrip Case pattern from Noodle-Head for quite some time, but I just hadn't taken the time to put it on my never-ending "to do" list. When Purse Palooza rolled around this year and the Roadtrip Case was the first pattern to be reviewed, I decided it was a sign from the crafting spirits that I needed to make one! I purchased the pattern and got straight to work.

I kinda had a vision in my mind of adding some rainbow patchwork to a black and white background pallet. I made these quilted coasters for a Flickr swap and I wanted to play on this idea some more.

I initially was planning to gift this case to one of my other swap partners, and I may still do that--- but I might just keep it for myself! What a fantastic and functional pattern! It comes together very quickly, and you basically have a blank canvas to add any special quilting or piecing features that tickle your fancy on the main exterior. I love that! I was a little nervous about sewing with the vinyl that is used to make a zippered inside pocket, but it was very smooth and easy. I used a denim needle and the Juki had no complaints.

Across from the vinyl pocket, you also have some long pockets with flaps. They are separated down the middle and then divided vertically, however you would like. I put magnetic snaps on my flaps, but you could also use hem tape, velcro, or a button and loop closure. It's very customizable to your wishes. The only real modification I made was to use quilt binding around the outside rather than bias tape as suggested by the pattern. If you've followed me at all, you know how I feel about bias tape. The quilt binding worked perfect. The only modification I might make on my next Roadtrip Case would be to omit the button and loop closure on the front. It just seems a little cumbersome to me. I might try magnetic snaps or velcro instead. Overall though, this pattern is a new favorite and I see more Roadtrip cases in my future! Think gifts for crafting friends, kids, artists, who couldn't use a little more organization in their life??

So here are some pics of the finished product. I think my vision played out pretty well. The black and white print is "Quilter's News" and it is hilarious. Since this was made with a quilter friend in mind, I thought it was fitting. Now I just need to decide if I can stand to gift it away!

Front of Bag hanging

Close-up of patchwork

Backside, such a fun print!

Inside view, clear vinyl pocket and 4 patch pockets with flaps and pleats, so they can hold a lot!

Trying to give an inside view of the pockets. Polka dot lining, I can't resist dots!!!

This bag will be my last entry for Purse Palooza 2014 too. It's been fun and I'm already excited about what the next year of crafting holds!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rachel's Birthday Bag

My sweet niece Rachel will be a teenager next month, and deserves a new bag! I asked her what kind she might like, and she told me that she liked the Convertible Bag from Sewing Patterns by Mrs. H. I had made one of these bags last year for her sister's birthday as well. Rachel also said, "I like pink." So, I got to work and came up with this little number....and might I mention that it is ready almost a month early! Wo-hooo!!! I do relish in the small victories whenever possible.

This bag is really cool because it can be worn cross body, or converted into a backpack. It's actually pretty simple to put together also. Rachel liked this polka dot print, but I had only a small amount of it leftover from another project, so I improvised with a fun HST panel and some solid pink on the front pocket and strap. This bag is little, but has great features. It has 2 zippered pockets, a slip pocket on the front and on the inside. I also quilted a 2 inch grid on the main pieces with a contrasting pink thread. I've been really into contrasting thread lately, and I like how the quilting adds some more detail.

I really love this pattern and this is the third bag I've made from it. The one thing I've learned is to reinforce all the various tabs extensively. Lots of tension on those if used regularly. Here are some more pics...

backpack version back
Cross body version back

Backpack version front. 
Cross body version front

Inside view, more dots, of course. 
Linking up to Purse Palooza 2014 at Sew Sweetness  Lots of great handmade bags to look at over there. I'm always impressed by the craftiness in this world!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A year long Journey Bag

I had a pretty exciting finish today and it has a little back story.

I have been sewing on and off for years. I was really into my sewing of clothing during my teens and 20s, then pretty much abandoned my machine while I was working through pharmacy school. I started sewing again after my first son was born, as a way to relax and get my creative juices going again. I got frustrated with clothing as it never seemed to fit right and I had such limited time to sew - I really wanted finished items that I I thought I might try making some bags....HELLO, light bulb moment!!! I really loved it, A LOT. One day, I stumbled across Craftsy and a little bag pattern from Emmaline Bags called Steph in the City. I had no idea PDF patterns even existed! Can you imagine a world without PDF patterns??? I purchased that pattern and a few days later, I got an email with a link to info about Purse Palooza 2013 on the Sew Sweetness blog. I followed that link and the rest is really Bubblegum history.

Purse Palooza and the various blogs that I began to follow from that event have taught me so much. I look back at where I was last year and I can't believe how much I have learned, friendships I have developed, and fantastic bags I have made!! I knew very little about interfacing, zippers, and even fabric choices a year ago.

My revelations:

1.) I thought all fusible interfacing was the same! I had never even heard of Soft and Stable or Shape-Flex.

2.) I thought all fabrics would sew up the same for any pattern! I thought cotton, canvas, and denim were pretty much equal and I had never heard of Tula Pink, Art Gallery Fabrics, or Pink Castle Fabrics. I don't care to admit how often I visit these sites now.

3.) And I had never made a zippered pocket (the horror!)! I had never installed a zipper closure of any kind! The world of bags really changed when I got over my fear of zippers! Wo-hoo for zippers!!

Things are a little different today. I wish I could thank every blogger out there that has ever posted a tutorial, created a pattern, worked through a problem openly,  or linked to a great crafty notion. My crafting has improved so much over just one year because of the goodness in the online crafting community. Truly, you folks are amazing!

Ok, back to today's post. Part of Purse Palooza is a contest that lets you link up handmade bags for the chance at great prizes. Last year, I entered some very simple bags, as that was all I was really making at the time. I also cut this "Journey" bag out. I didn't finish it then because it had a zippered top (scary!) and binding (also scary and new to me at the time). So it sat in a drawer for a year waiting for it's day in the sun. Well, Purse Palooza 2014 is here and I felt it was time to give this bag a life! It's pretty fabulous too and I am thrilled with the final result.

This pattern is a commercial McCall's pattern, but was designed by Kay Whitt.. Kay is a bit of a genius. She writes patterns for bags and clothing and has awesome style! It's simply called "tote bag" in 3 sad that it doesn't have a clever name like most PDF patterns do. I'm calling it the Journey Bag, because of my journey and because it's huge! It would be great for a long day out with all the things I always need to carry along.

I only made a few modifications. I interfaced with Soft and Stable because it's really the best stuff ever for making a bag with structure. Kay recommends fusible interfacing with "buckram". I honestly don't know what buckram is, but the Soft and Stable worked perfect. I used Shape-Flex for the lining where I also added a zippered pocket. I can't live without a zippered pocket somewhere in my bag anymore. Then I made a 2 3/4" binding for the top of the bag. The pattern has a piece that is to be used for the binding, but I didn't care for it.. It's only a single layer with folding over 1/4" for the finish.  I also wanted to show off the print a little more, so I wanted something wider. I added it the same way you would bind a quilt or mug rug, etc. It's double layer and I love how it all came together. This bag looks a little more suited for spring, but I'm going to bust it out now. I think it will be my new favorite! And appropriately, I'll be linking up to Purse Palooze 2014, a year in the making of a great bag!

Inside view, lined with Domino Dots!

Zip Top Closure

Front View, shows off the contrast on the straps
See the great shape! LOVE!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

An Envelope Clutch and more Handmade Autumn

Today I am showing off some goodies I made for a Handmade Autumn swap that was organized over on Flickr. This swap was a little unique in that we knew who our partner was and discussed what would be created together. It was tons of fun! My partner had asked for something to decorate her home and she mentioned liking the modern maple quilt block. So I started by making a mini quilt using some gorgeous peppered cottons. It turned out fairly well, although I did have to redo the binding. I used a crazy flowered corduroy print that I have been hoarding forever and it got a little wonky on me the first time around.

I also wanted to make her a pillow that simply said "HOME" in a fall display. I knew I was going to have to paper piece the letters (scary!!!!) so I ventured online and found this pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. The result was exactly what I had hoped for!! I also now love paper piecing. It is not scary or intimidating, just make sure you cut your fabric scraps big enough! I had to make the "M" a couple times, but I feel great about the end product. I was going to use the corduroy again for the background, but felt it may be a little too much. Not sure how much retro 70s my partner wants, and this pillow was a total surprise for her. The fall fruit motif worked out perfect and I quilted some straight lines so it reminds me of an apple basket. I really hope she loves this!

As a last minute surprise gift, I decided to make a Noodle-head Envelope Clutch using some fun pear printed fabric from Robert Kauffman. I hadn't tried this pattern before, but it was excellent. Anna Graham from Noodle-head never lets me down. Her patterns are straight forward and well written with spot-on measurements. The only modification I made was to install my magnetic snaps before starting the construction. I'm not sure why she has you install the snap after sewing some main components together, seems unnecessarily challenging to me. I installed them while my lining was still free and had no difficulties. I love how it turned out and I will definitely be using this pattern again. I used soft and stable for my interfacing and it gave great shape and structure to the clutch. It would be good with batting or fusible fleece too if you want it a little "smooshier" I'm a bit of a Soft and Stable addict myself, so I have trouble using anything else.
front view laying on the backside of the Modern Maples mini

Another front view
Back view

Handmade label purchased from Joanns (I adore these things!)

Hanging clutch

Inside view, has a zippered pocket and credit card slips on a patch pocket (clever!)
And here are all the goods together. I also made a fabric basket using the fun corduroy print. I sent some Debrands chocolates and fat-eighths of the peppered cottons to wrap up the swap, handmade autumn style!

I will also be linking this post up to Purse Palooza over at Sew Sweetness If you're interested in bag making you really need to check Sara Lawson's blog out. I was first introduced to PDFs patterns by this event last year and it seriously has changed my life!

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