Thursday, February 5, 2015

a bag for the library

We love the library around here. All fall we went every other week to pick out some new books for the kiddo to read and she loves it! We haven't gone yet this year since we've been reading all the new books she got for the holidays, but we are about to start going again. We had been using a tote bag I made a while back, but once she gets all her books into it, it's a bit small. 

Weeks ago now, the little one was playing around while I was sewing and started making her own pile of fabric. She just kept collecting and asked if we could make another quilt. I told her I wasn't sure we could do another quilt just now, but maybe it would be perfect for a library bag. She was very happy with this idea, so last week when I told her to have at the scrap drawer and finalize her choices, she spend an hour and a half debating fabric and making her final selection. I asked her what she would like to use for the bottom/straps and gave her a couple of choices too, and after I cut everything out, she went to work laying it out just so. It was so cute and I love her sense of color.

The outside is made up of 28 different fabrics, and some leftover black faux suede, made into a 15.5" square with 2" corners cut out for the boxing. She chose the lining too and the pocket fabric, and I kind of love it. I didn't interface the outside at all, but I did use some shapflex on the lining since the polyester has a habit of being shifty and we needed a bit more sturdiness. I am really happy with it and hopefully this weekend it will serve its purpose well.

So that's that. I am still trying to decide what to tackle next. I started my sweater so I will be slowly working on that, and I am torn between clothes and scrapbooks...perhaps I will be jumping back and forth and eventually they will be done. Ultimately, the goal is to clean out all the things in my way so I can work on a couple of quilts. I sure hope I can get it cleared out soon!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

a quilt for snuggles

Considering the fact that I only made half a dozen quilts last year, I am as surprised as anyone that I am here now to share my first quilt finish of the year before January is even over! I am pretty impressed myself and I am hoping it is the beginning of a good year of makes.

I have had this quilt on my list ever since it was published. I mean, I went over a year ago when it came out and bought the magazine just for this quilt, and it just sat at the bottom of the list. Then weeks ago, as I was sitting down freezing my butt off, I kept thinking how much I needed to make myself a quilt with a nice, warm, snuggly back. This quilt immediately popped into my head and I could not rest until I got to work.

It was back in December I made the first block, and had decided to go with a scrappy black background. I went out and got some more black and then holidays and travel happened so it sat. When I came back to it I realized that I definitely did not have enough black for all the blocks (even only doing 12 instead of all 20) and since I didn't feel like buying more, I did what I do best and made it work. Somehow I got it into my head to do sort of a gradient background of black, dark gray, light gray, and white. It was not an exact science and I am not entirely sure it worked right, but I love it anyway. I was happy to be able to use a fair number of scraps for this one, so that was good. These blocks are no joke though. So.many.pieces! I even went with the strip piecing instructions and it was still nuts! I was not sad to finish these blocks, that's for sure. The quilt ended up being roughly 57" x 75" I think although I forgot to measure after quilting/washing and I am certainly not climbing out from under it now to check :)

The back ended up being some perfect fleece that I have been saving for years. I think it was part of one of those tie blanket kits that I got super cheap intending to make something else with it, but there it was and oh so perfect! I had to do a strip of the coordinating teal along the bottom to make it long enough. I decided to go ahead and still put batting in, partly to make it warmer and partly so you couldn't see the black through the lighter fabrics. It is so thick and soft! I quilted it following the chains through the quilt and then went back and did another double set of lines halfway(ish) between those. I love it and it went surprisingly well. After I quilted, trimmed and rounded the corners (I don't know why I was so set on doing that but I am certain it was the right decision), I serged the entire edge to keep it nice and flat for binding and it helped so.much. I went with solid blue for the binding because for some reason that was stuck in my head. Since I am not totally crazy, I did decide to machine bind this time since, let's be real, I had no desire to hand sew through the fleece.

The point is, I love this quilt and it is already hanging out on my bed, keeping me warm while I snuggle and watch movies and read and knit. Good stuff. It really is quite a bit warmer with the fleece, and I am very very pleased. I am also pretty thrilled that I got it done so quickly; it just feels like a good start to the year. Of course, I am not entirely sure what I am going to tackle next.....clothes? another quilt? scrapbooks? any number of other things on the list? Oh the difficult decisions in life haha!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hello again!

Well, this has been one heck of a year already. Thankfully there is a lot of time for a comeback :)

I turned 30 this past weekend. It was strange to say goodbye to the decade that made me a college grad, a wife, a mother x2, and brought me to call 3 very different states home. I got to start building my own life with the one I love and knowing myself better. I am looking forward to a somewhat calmer decade ahead of me, although I am sure it will still be crazy. I find myself in a pretty good place though, one where I recognize the importance of focusing on myself and I think that will be reflected in my crafting. I am aiming to work more on things that just make me happy and that I will be proud of, and I am pretty excited about that.

Believe it or not, I have been working on a quilt for a while now, it has just turned out to be a much more ambitious undertaking than I realized. I am making progress though and I think I am past the worst of it! Hopefully it will turn out as nice as it is in my head, and most importantly, will be soft and warm and snuggly (I will be trying out a fleece backing on this one and I am hoping it is awesome). I am also trying to decide whether to suck it up and knit my other fingerless mitt, which I hate making but love the product, or ignore it and start a sweater. Oh the hard decisions in life!

And because posts are sad without pictures, and because I am obviously never going to give these sweet gifts their own post, here is a dark picture of the stuffed animals I made my girlies for the holidays, because that's what you end up with when you snap a picture real quick just to have it before it is wrapped :) I think I like making stuffed animals up until the point where I have to stuff and close them up and add details, so I guess I like making animal skins? weird. and creepy.  Both are purl bee patterns, the cat is a free one, the dog is not, both are adorable. I should really try to steal them away for a photo shoot, but I know myself and it is pretty unlikely I will actually get around to it.

Let's hope that I can get back in this space a bit more now!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Goodbye to the old year!

Happy New Year! Better late than never :) 2014 was....unexpectedly hard. I suppose any year where you spend 10 months not sleeping through the night (no matter how cute the cause is) is bound to be a tough one, and it was. I didn't make nearly as much as I might have wanted to, but I crossed a few big things off my list and got finished a bunch of things that has just been waiting around.

I only made a handful of quilts, but I did make a lot of clothes, both for me and the small ones, so I'm pretty proud of that. But really, I think the thing I am most impressed with is the amount of knitting I did and the fact that I finally tackled that first sweater! Also, in case you were wondering (which you obviously were) I have been wearing my shawls so much and I love them! I decided to just round up some of my very favorite makes of the year. Clearly this is not even all my favorites, but it is a good representation.

This year, my only true goal is to stop feeling like I am constantly drowning. We'll see if/how I can make that happen, but I am certainly going to try. To be honest, 2015 is looking to be another tough year, but I think we are moving in the right direction. We have to figure out in the next couple months whether we want to stay where we are or whether we will be moving before the little starts school in the fall, so that makes this year an awfully big question mark right from the beginning. I don't know if I will end up sewing a lot or knitting a lot or what, but one thing is certain: one way or another, things will get made :) I have a bunch of things to share and some other things I need to get back to working on so hopefully I will get back to it next week.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season!

Monday, December 15, 2014

the fancy dress

Do all 4 year old girls love fancy dresses? Because even my decidedly not fancy child really does! Since I had some fabric left over after making the tiny ones jacket, I decided I could make a dress for the bigger little. A little bit of spin, a little bit of sparkle, and we are good to go.

The dress is the caroline party dress by Mouse House Creations. The style is perfect and the pattern is simple and comes together great! It has a huge range of sizes so I know I will get to use it again and the fit is lovely. I made a 3T bodice with 4T length for my tall skinny girl and it fits quite well.

She chose the red lining with gold dots and the black sparkly tulle. I hate that tulle, but she loves it so I deal. I installed my first invisible zipper and it is not quite invisible, but it works. She wants a green ribbon for a belt so we are on the hunt for that and she plans to alternate her red tights and her silver tights with hearts. She looks so darn cute in it I can't stand it and happily, she has at least 4 chances to wear it this year! Maybe one of those times I'll even get a good picture!

So that was a fun make and I am already plotting one for a birthday perhaps? We'll see when the time gets nearer I suppose. But anyway, we are in the home stretch here before we leave so I am a bit crazed. I am looking forward to sharing a few gifts eventually too, once they are all given.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

yet another travel bag

Alright, I really have to stop making a new bag for my child every time we are about to travel. It's getting ridiculous! And yes, I am well aware that I made her a suitcase last year, but it has since become the spot for doll clothes, so this year I felt we needed a new bag. A duffle style bag that could be thrown around and squished in the car without fear of its demise.

Initally, the entire thing was going to be a surprise. But as it turns out, I like surprises a lot more than she does and usually she is pretty unimpressed, so I decided to let her pick out the fabrics. She got to pick out all the fabrics and the zipper and then I put it all together. The one piece that remained a surprise was the sparkly ribbon used for the handles, and that part was such a good surprise that I got an "I love mom" song, which I subsequently recorded and then whipped out the next time she hated me (roughly an hour later ha!). Oh parenting....

Anyway, I used the make your getaway pattern from gingercakes in the childrens size, which I have used a couple of times before in the larger adult size. The lining is a home decor fabric that I happened to have enough of and I added a gathered and elasticized pocket, split in half, on the inside. I considered more pockets, but at this point they are just a place for her to hide things and me to have to clean out, so this will be perfect for socks and underwear, and the outfits will go in the middle. I will say that I should have added piping, which might be always true, but oh well. I didn't have any and a run to the store was not in the cards.

So next year I imagine I will make some sort of travel bag for the smaller one. Or me. Or anyone that I might imagine needs one :)  Believe it or not, I still have some things to share so I will hopefully get around to that and also get everything done before we leave. The race is on!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

mama jammies

It is time to start sharing some of the things that I have been making lately. I am going to start with some jammies that I made for myself. I am still really working on making clothes for myself and getting my wardrobe to a better place, and this round of things was primarily to test out some patterns before I make the good version.  I used 3 patterns, the easy t-shirt, julia cardigan, and hudson pants, the last two of which are from one of the perfect pattern parcels. Please excuse the crappy pictures.

The t-shirt fits pretty well. It's a free one drafted only in a Large. My test version has some pretty serious problems. As in, the neckband went so badly that I didn't bother finishing the sleeves or hem since I was just making it to sleep in. That said, it's still comfy. I don't know if it is my perfect tee or not, I have a couple more to try, but it was simple and I like it.

Next up were the hudson pants. I went with the cropped length and a size...12 maybe? I forget, but it ended up bigger than I expected and I might have to size down if I make another pair. I have another lounge pant pattern to try, so we'll see, but they came together pretty well and look pretty nice. What I really need is a pattern I can use to make a pair of non-stretch sweatpants, and this is one I may try.  Made out of an old sheet, these are so comfortable!

The Julia cardigan came about because I wanted something to throw on for colder nights or in the mornings that would be comfy with no buttons or zippers or anything. It is perfect. I made a large and used more of that same old modal sheet that had a hole in it and it is comfy and wonderful. I have plans for another couple, a short sleeve and another long sleeve I think.

So there they are. I have another shirt that I need to find time to take some pictures of while wearing it, and eventually I am going to make some things with the nicer fabric I have. Still to come, a bag, and a dress. I also started another quilt although who knows when I will get around to having that finished. In the meantime, happy week, friends!