Friday, January 30, 2009

Red & White table runner

I finished my little red & white table runner yesterday. The whole thing was made from scraps -even the binding! - with the exception of the back and 2 of the front strips. It's a bit wonky, but wonky is in right now, so I should just say I did it on purpose.
I love that little bird print.

I'm so pleased with how it turned out! It was a quick and satisfying project so that I think I'll make some more soon. This is one of those projects where you piece the strips right to the batting and back. I then quilted a few more lines before binding while I watched American Idol.
So easy!

I also like this back. I've had this for a few years now. Happy to finally put it to use.
While I was taking pictures I also discovered this new addition to my table. I think this is thanks to the 2 1/2-year-old boy who lives in our house. Scrubbed it a bunch, but it's not showing any signs of fading anytime soon. It's moments like this that I remind myself, "This is why I didn't buy my table from the Pottery Barn." We'll be sticking with this cheap beauty for a few more years at least.
I've been surprisingly bloggy this week. I guess that's possible when you don't have a child with a birthday, class report/project, or major illness that week. And you pretend the pile of socks that desperately needs to be sorted doesn't exist.

Update: Here is a cute quilted bag giveaway at a new-to-me blog: GreenFairyQuilts. Plus more Shangri-La fabric. (I love that collection!) Check it out!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nanette's Bag

I finished my bag made with pattern created by Nanette of Freda's Hive. I'm so happy with it! I've had these fabrics sitting around in a pile for a while and was so excited to finally do something with them.

Here is Side B. In didn't have any of the covered buttons that are so cute on Nanette's bags, so I used some of my velvet ribbon and I love the way it looks.
[I'm very into orange right now.]
The pockets.
We carry these patterns at the store where I work and they are a hot item. In fact, I think we're out and need more! Nanette also sells her patterns at her etsy site. I just checked and she's out at the moment, but I'm sure she'd be happy to get one to you if you request it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This is a big deal.

Have you heard about this? Remember when we were all scared by the lead found in toys imported from China in 2007? Well, in response Congress passed this act that will go into effect February 10 that will require third-party testing of all children's products: clothes, books, toys, hair-clips, you name it, for lead and harmful chemicals. Sounds like a good idea, until you look at the details. For companies like Wal-mart who sell in massive quantities, this will not be as devastating. But for that mom next-door who sells her great stuff on etsy? Impossible. This will basically put all small business and cottage industry crafters out of business. This will also mean higher-priced children's products, fewer choices, and more waste. (May even affect the ability to buy second-hand children's products from the library or good will.) All of this seems especially ill-timed in light of the current economic downturn.

Sarah Jane does a much more thorough job of explaining at her blog today. Read there for more details and background.

The important thing to do is to contact your Congress Representative and Senator. There are even sample letters you can use. The more people who do this the better! It will only take you a few minutes to complete this process online. And pass this message on!

These cute pony-tail holders by nettiepete are the very kind of thing that could be affected. Crazy.
So do something. Whenever there is a heated debate of some kind, I always like to look at both sides and you can soon cut through the rhetoric on either side and see things a little more clearly. After doing that, this is one of those issues that definitely needs a little more review and refining by Congress before it is put into action.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A fun little Valentine's project

Monday nights at our house we have a family night with a little lesson, activity, and a treat. The lessons are always as short as the attention spans around here. Last night we talked about how families need to work together. [This is a concept that we seem to discuss A. LOT.]

So anyway, here is a fun, easy project we did afterward. I'd done this about 6 years ago when my daughter was in a pre-school co-op and I was amazed how easy it was and how well it turned out: wax-paper hearts made with crayon shavings. Our old ones were looking a bit beat-up, so it was time to make some new ones. Martha Stewart's image is much prettier than mine. (Of course.) And her instructions are also much better than mine would be as well.
I think I'm going to make some more without my little 'helpers.'

Monday, January 26, 2009

Works in Progress

A few new works-in-progress. First, binding the Recess quilt. It is turning out very cute. I will post finished pictures after it's washed and cozy. That's my favorite part of quilting - pulling that finished quilt out of the dryer. Well, one of my favorite parts.

I'm making good progress on my bag using Nanette's pattern. Maybe I will finish tonight. And then I'm going to make some more!
This is a new pile I pulled out last week. I'm loving all the pink, red, and aqua/blueish quilts I'm seeing all over the blogosphere, so I decided to jump on that band-wagon. This is for a baby quilt. I had hoped it would be for my wonderful next-door neighbor, but she just found out she is having her fourth boy, so we're going to come-up with something else for her!
This little pile of scraps is for a Valentine's table runner. I have a little kitchen table. It has a butterfly-leaf in it to make it expand into a bigger-square size table, but most of the time we keep it small. So regular table runners don't work. If I do try to use them they encroach onto the eating space and end up with mashed potatoes and yogurt and all kinds of other food squished on them. I'm hoping a smaller size will still look cute, but reduce the spill-overs. I am realistic, however, and don't expect it to ever make it through completely unscathed.If you want your own little pile of Valentine scraps, go check out Kim's 100th post! I know Kim through my job at the quilt store in Orem. She is an amazing quilter. She has a very fun blog where she shares all kinds of tutorials and ideas. Go check it out!

Look at all those goodies!
Also a work-in-progress: my healing finger. The pointer finger on my left hand had a head-on collision with the rotary-cutter last week. (Actually, the cutter ran into the side of my finger, next to the finger nail.) So stupid. I haven't had a major rotary-cutter injury that I can remember. Of course it happened as I was trimming the batting from the Recess quilt and in the middle of pulling out piles of the above stuff and feeling so productive! I also had a bunch of kids at my house and couldn't run to the doctor to see if I needed stitches. So I just band-aided and taped it really tight. The bleeding stopped and so far I'm doing okay. I had my dad check it last night and it appears to not be infected. Lame.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More American Jane and vintage childhood

A few more American Jane quilts using fabric designed by Sandy Klop for Moda. I love that I get to keep making something out of each new collection. Yay!
Here's a similar variation for kits sold at the store made with fabric from her Look & Learn collection. I loved that colorful ruler fabric that we used for the binding.
This is a baby quilt made for a friend last year with some of the scraps. I like that these collections all coordinate, and as I keep collecting bits and pieces, they all go together.
(I'm sorry the quality of these pictures is not the greatest. I took them only as a record for myself, long before I ever thought I'd add them to the blogosphere.)

Look at this cool one from Sandy's own pattern collection. I love the bright colors contrasted with the plain triangles. I want to try something like this. . .As I said before, the thing I love most about Sandy's collections are her reproductions of vintage childhood art. (Same reason I'm drawn to Sarah Jane's work.) For a couple of great examples of authentic vintage childhood art, check out these recent posts by Sarah Jane and Kelly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Recess time

Finished the quilt for the store using Sandy Klop's (aka American Jane) Recess collection for Moda. Fun to work on something so colorful when everything outside seems so monochromatic. I'm liking the finished product much better that some of the earlier trials.
I love Sandy's vintage childhood illustrations. She also did the Peas and Carrots collection that I love. I've got a few more quilts out of her collections I'll post tomorrow. And a few more I'd still like to do!

I'm excited to see it quilted. The nice part of making something for the store is that I get to just drop it off there and someone else takes care of the quilting. I still get to bind it though.
On a totally different note: Do you ever have those experiences when you think to yourself one afternoon, "Hey we've been pretty healthy for a little bit" and then one of your kids walks into your room at 4:30 the next morning and throws-up? I had that happen to me today. Oh well, it was a good day to stay home with the TV on. We built a lot of lego towers and cannons and pyramids so I could get away with watching the Inaguration. Proud of America.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The January purge

This first picture is for those of you who really only care about the quilts. (Its okay! I know how you feel. Sometimes my brain can't handle a long narrative, it just wants a quick hit of pretty color and fabrics. I totally get it and I'm not offended at all!) This is a little something I'm working on for the store. More American Jane fabric by Sandy Klop for Moda. I love her stuff. It's finally coming together and I think it's going to be really cute. I'm hoping to finish tonight and I'll post more pictures soon.

This January I have felt so motivated to purge unnecessary stuff from my household. When I put away the Christmas decorations I got rid of two boxes of Christmas stuff I either didn't want, use, or need. Felt great! I'm slowly going through other areas of the house. Next I hit the kids' books. Then I decided to tackle our closet. My husband had already made a good start on his half and I felt motivated to do mine. I knew this would entail having my boys around during the process. That morning they had already maxed their TV time while I exercised and showered, so I tried to entice them to come play on my bed while I worked. Usually this is a pretty good offer because they like to play life raft or bear cave with all the covers and then throw them onto the floor in a pile and jump on them. I figured this would give me at least a good 20 minutes.

As I got into my project, I came out of the closet to discover this:

The four-year-old down to his underwear, cleaning his legos with his toothbrush.
And the two-year-old had somehow accessed the box of Cherrios
and taken them into the bathroom.
So, as is usual when I attempt a big project, there is always a lot of extra mess to clean-up, besides the one I just made on my own. But it feels good to ship a few garbage bags full of un-needed stuff off to good will. And the best part of this story? Friends of Multiple Schlerosis called last night to see if I had any donations. Oh yes I do. They are picking it all up Monday morning! Now I won't be tempted to look at vintage sheets if I were to drop it off myself!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Diaper Clutch Tutorial

It's finally here.

First: all the disclaimers. (My husband hates when I do this.)
Admittedly, this is my first ever attempt at a blog tutorial, so it's far from perfect. My camera is not stellar and some pictures look worse than I thought they did when I first took them. Hopefully they're good enough you'll at least get the general idea. I'll try to replace them eventually.

I would welcome any feedback - or questions if you need clarification - of any part of the process so that I can make this as helpful as possible to anyone in the future.

With that, here goes.
Quick recap: What is a diaper clutch?
(aka a fabric diaper case. Is" diaper clutch" trademarked?)

A handy (and stylish!) little pouch to compactly store a spare diaper or two and package of wipes, particularly when you're sick of carrying a diaper bag but you're still in need of these critical supplies. This serves a couple of purposes: to keep diapers from getting squashed and wadded-up at the bottom of your purse, and makes it more convenient to hand all the supplies over to your husband at once when you're out in public and a diaper needs changing! :)

Getting started:
(Before you start, I always suggest reading through the whole tutorial to get an idea of what you'll be doing. Cut's down on the mistakes. Also might not be a bad idea to make a practice clutch first before you cut-up your favorite Amy Butler fabric.)

Supplies: 8"x 23" piece of two coordinating fabrics
2" of velcro

From outer fabric cut: one piece 8"x 10" and one piece 8"x 13"
From lining fabric cut: one piece 8"x 10" and one piece 8"x 13" (same as outer fabric)

Pin the 'loop' side of the velcro to the front of the smaller outside fabric.
I measured 3" in and 2 1/2" down. [see picture]

Then pin the hook side of the velcro to the large piece of lining fabric - 3" in and 1" down.Sew on the velcro. (Sew it securely - don't forget to back stitch.)
To create the closure flap, I then stacked the two large coordinating fabrics back to back with the smaller front fabric on top, lining up the bottom edges. Line up your ruler at point *A -the top of the front of the clutch - and move the ruler in one inch on the diagonal to point *B.
Repeat on the other side. (Ignore my pinned velcro.)

(This part of the process is far less critical and there's room for lots of variation here, so feel free to be creative.)

Round of the bottom edges. I used a really high-tech tool called an upside-down-applesauce-cup.
Match-up fronts and backs of outside and lining fabrics, lining-up bottom edges. Sew together front and back of each group around the sides using a 3/8" seam allowance. Clip curves.
Trim the lining fabric closer to the seam.
Turn the lining fabric right-side-out and put it inside the outside fabric pouch so that right-sides are matched-up together.
Pin around the flap and inside edges. Starting from about 1.5" from the right seam stitch the lining and front fabrics together around the top of the front of the bag and around the flap edge.
(You are going to use the area left open for turning the bag right-side out and will later top-stitch it closed.)
This is the trickiest part. When sewing you're going to put the throat of the machine 'inside' the 'inside-out' bag. I used a 3/8" seam. [Sorry about the bad picture!]
This is what the stitching will look like when it's done.
Clip top corners.
Turn both bags right-side out through the opening and tuck the lining inside the outer bag.
Carefully press the top flap.
and top-stitch around the outer edge of the bag and flap, closing the opening used for turning right-side-out.
Voila. A lovely baby gift. Here is mine with a coordinating nursing cover. A long over-due gift for a friend. Finally done! And so is this tutorial.