Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Dressings

Caitlyn Easter

This year I decided it was the year to make Caitlyn's Easter Dress.  If I'm remembering correctly (and who really knows at this point) I haven't made her a dress for a holiday yet.  I tend to make her random dresses when I feel like sewing.  But I had my heart set on an eyelet dress with lavender and figured the only way to get that would be to make it.  

After lots of pattern looking, switching back and forth, debating learning pattern construction, and then thinking of scrapping the whole thing, I finally decided on a sweet little McCalls pattern.  I just found something suitable in the patterns that were on sale that week at Joanns. ;)

Easter Dress 2014

I really wanted to put a bit of me and a bit of Caitlyn in this dress...so that means some finer details and some pretty fluff.  Enter the triple layer skirt: finished edge eyelet, tulle, and broadcloth in lavender.  It required some extra measuring, gathering, and such because the pattern was written for a single layer skirt...but it was worth it. 

Easter Dress 2014

 I knew the neckline would need something special added to it.  A little something raw that would contrast with the pretty details of the eyelet.  I ended up scouring the internet for tutorials on how to make raw edge flowers and had a tough time finding anything that didn't use hot glue.  So I just ended up sort of winging it with a needle and thread, some torn strips of fabric and finally a few seed beads.  I loved the result. 

Bodice Flowers

Easter Dress 2014

I had Caitlyn try on the dress for sizing before I added the flowers at the neckline.  And my little America's Next Top Model pulled out dozens of different poses for me.  I was cracking up...enjoy this selection of her goofiness and numerous views of the dress and the pretty ribbon tie I added to the back.


Spring has been slow to arrive around here in Northern Indiana.  I was happy to see the flowers start to bloom and a couple were snatched up by little hands.  

Easter Flowers

A very Happy Easter Season from my little family to yours!

Easter Family 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Quilt Journey - the beginning

Well the best laid plans always seem to change don't they?  I wanted to do a quilt along but it looks like I'll need to hold off for another month at least on that since all of the sudden I have three quilts to make in the next few weeks. lol  So much for being slow! I'm thinking that I will do the Quiet Cabin quilt when I am able to finally do a quilt along because I want to have one of my own and it's a quilt that lends itself so well to anyone's tastes in fabric etc.  But more on that later.

I wanted to share with you the start of my #QuiltJourney quilt.  If you recall, a group of friends and I are doing a Round Robin style bee, each with our theme and ideas.  I was supposed to have sent mine off already but I just could not decide what I wanted to do.  I was really in love with the idea of a fairy tale quilt and even drafted up a large castle that would require some intense paper piecing on my part... but I'm not quite feeling that for this group anymore.

After going through numerous ideas, I finally settled on this:

Quilt Journey

These are two starts of quilts that I've had around for a while...and yes, I intend to someday make that pattern on the left available...but for now I'm just going to use it for this quilt.  And the stars are made from charms and done wonky style.

Quilt Journey

I was excited when I put these two up on the wall and saw how great they looked together.  It was already looking like a joint quilt with my own pieces!

So my concept is something like "bright tonal fabrics with a pop of white".  And they can take it from there.  I'm kind of open to whatever.  That's the beauty/pain of this experience.  I'm giving up control from here on out.  The girls can do whatever they want.  And I want them to use whatever feels right to them.  So I've used pretty geometric patterns so far but that's not completely necessary for them to do.

Quilt Journey

Along with each of our quilts, we are also sending a Journal.  We are each beginning our own, again doing whatever we want.  I started mine with some simple ideas for my own quilt and what I am basically thinking.  We can do doodles, notes to each other, fabrics, fun pictures, or anything else that inspires us!

Quilt Journey

I specifically included some sample fabrics of color ideas and designers that I enjoy that will hopefully lead each person to find the right fabrics for me in their own stash.  I loved making the little stack of rainbow squares each individually glued down along the top edge.  The start of many cute things to come in the journal I hope!

Quilt Journey

So I send mine off to friend Cara, MeaMom, next for her to work her own magic on.  She has a fabulous fabric stash so I'm excited to see what she pulls and adds to this concept.  And somewhere along the 7 person line someone may feel inspired to start sewing it together!  And that's really fun too! *Pats myself on the back* Look how good I'm being about giving up control! ;)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Working my Way back to you

I've been going slow with projects lately...taking my time and not getting over committed.  And that's been good.  But I have this craving to work on a quilt...and I feel like another quilt along might be in order soon.  So...decisions decisions.

I have a book coming out soon...wait and see if anyone wants to quilt along with one of the patterns? But then I can't share dimensions and such and you would all have to order the book (but of course you were going to do that anyway right? lol )

The super Mario Brothers Quilt is hugely popular and gets a lot of interest from people...so do we tackle another iconic image?  In which case, what?!

Super Mario Brothers QAL

I love the Quiet Log Cabin Quilt I did and I think there was interest in making a quilt like that.  It's timeless and anyone can use their stash to make it.

Quiet Cabin Quilt

And then there is this new quilt that a friend found on Pinterest that I want to draw up in EQ and come up with directions for.  I wouldn't ever publish that because it is not my design, but it could be a great quilt along if others are interested.

Thoughts? Too busy?  I need a reality check and no one is doing quilt alongs anymore? You want to do every idea and wish we had already started?

Oh and I finished up the O Holy Night Paper Piecing Project...well the main top at least.  And I love it!  And thanks to a suggestion here I'm most tempted to figure out how to turn it into an advent calendar.  I love adding extra function and I think that would keep it as an heirloom that we SEE and use every year.  (And can I just say that I am SO on top of Christmas this year! lol)

Now I get to smell the roses and decide what to do from here. Officially complete.  #epicnativity

Too many seams to count, but TOTALLY worth it! #epicnativity 

Monday, March 31, 2014

O Holy Night - Progress Report

We still like work in progress posts right?  Because trust me, I'm not always working at pace that allows me to show you all completed projects every week or multiple times a week.  Real life rears its head often enough to derail my progress (for instance I have to take a sick toddler to the doctor today and pray she doesn't have strep).  I had planned on working on this project more, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. ;)

O Holy Night - Paper Pieced Nativity

I'm working on a bit of a long term paper piecing project called O Holy Night.  I bought the pattern last year from Paper Panache and intended to have it done for this past Christmas.  With the best of intentions I pulled it out in November intending to finish it in the month of December.  Ha!  December is a hugely busy month for me and that was unrealistic.  So I'm working on it now and will be done VERY MUCH in time for Christmas of next year. ;) My current progress...

O Holy Night - Paper Pieced Nativity

It's pretty intense.  I only have four pieces left of out of about 20 sections that make this...but as you can see they are particularly tiny and complex.

O Holy Night - Paper Pieced Nativity

To get myself going again (I got stalled when I worked on some tiny sections and got overwhelmed) I started with some of the "larger" pieces. Here are some finished sections that I've been able to sew together already.

The star of Bethlehem

O Holy Night - Paper Pieced Nativity

The beautiful palm tree
O Holy Night - Paper Pieced Nativity

And here is the killer section of tiny pieces...Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  All my tiniest pieces are in here and have to be added here.  But it will all be worth it.

O Holy Night - Paper Pieced Nativity

One thing that I really love about this pattern is the guide that was provided to label what fabrics you used for what abbreviation...because trust me, that is harder to keep track of than you would think.  Especially if you set the project aside for even a few days, let alone a few months.  I need to remember to do this with all major paper pieced projects I do.

O Holy Night - Paper Pieced Nativity

So this is what I'm spending my time on right now.  I had hoped to have it finished by the end of last week, but I've extended my own personal deadline to the end of this week.  I'm still deciding how I want to finish it...a border?  Quilted? Framed?  Any suggestions out there?  Anyone else made this before?  Let me know!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sew Fun - Book Review and Giveaway!

*the giveaway is now closed*

March is officially "Craft Month" (though that's pretty much every month for me!) and I was honored to participate in my own little way by creating a project from Deborah Fisher's book Sew Fun.

By Deborah Fisher
Interweave/F+W Media; $26.99

The goal of this book is to give you projects and ideas for sewing with your children.  I was intrigued by the topic and thought I'd give it a whirl with my little gal.  I like that the book has tips for what the kids can do in the project that seem pretty reasonably age appropriate.  I will say that I think the book is geared towards middle school to teen kids for actual sewing.  I do a lot of crafts with my 4 year old but sewing with her is not something I've tackled. In fact, mama's sewing room is pretty much off limits because of tools and such.  So this was a bit of a gamble with us. ;)  I chose a project from the "wearable" section of the book because my girl is SUCH a dress up girly girl.

Insect Capes

Insect Capes....hmmm...four year old princess loving girl...how's that going to work?  Well, I started with some purple felt in a vain attempt to eliminate some pink from our lives.  (start laughing...it was a useless endeavor)

Pattern Altering

I used one of the pattern pieces and traced it on freezer paper.  Since my 4 year old is a bit smaller than the model shown I knew I would need to reduce the size of the pattern.  I simply folded the pattern to eliminate some of the length but not lose the basic shape of the wing. I had to adjust the lines of the pattern to meet in their new length but that is easy peasy!  And before you knew it I had two wings! 

Caitlyn Decorating Wings

I followed the directions and added a neckline to connect the wings and then searched my sewing room for embellishments for the wings.  I knew that my girly girl would want SPARKLE! But this mama was also determined to be frugal and wanted to use what I had on hand.  So that meant blue sparkly snowflakes and green sparkly stick on beads.

Hmm...after gleefully decorating the wings with all the joy in her heart, my little gal came to the realization as she looked at her final product that there was NOT ENOUGH PINK.  Sigh.  lol.  So back to the cupboards I went to search for more PINK things.  And so Mama sewed on sparkly pink trim around the edges of the wings.  And then in an attempt to tie all of these crazy colors together, I added lots of ribbons with all of the colors used.

Caitlyn wearing the wings

I'm not going to lie...these wings crack me up.  They are soooo Caitlyn now.  Over the top, sparkly and colorful.  This is how Caitlyn does insect wings. And she lit up when she saw them finished.

Finished Wings

It wasn't all fun and games for me to work with my daughter on this...she's a bit young for any sewing participation on my end (I know some people sew with their little ones at this age but I know my strengths and this isn't one of them. lol).  But a lot of this is about exposure and having ownership in participating in the creation of something you see as beautiful and usable.  And you can't put a price on that.

Caitlyn Running

If you want a chance to win a copy of the book, just leave a comment below. (US only again...so sorry about that folks!) Oh and people, please make sure I have a way to contact you.  There are a lot of no reply bloggers again and you can't win if I can't contact you! Good luck!!

Congratulations to the winner: krislovesfabric #13

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


So a few of my close friends and I are starting a round robin quilt bee.  I haven't done a bee in a LONG time at this point because the commitment level was too much.  I have too many UFOs now from blocks gathered through bees that are waiting for me to get to them.  But a round robin style bee is just a bit different...the quilt travels to each person and we are all working on a different person's quilt each month or so.

I've done this style of bee before...it was my very first bee actually.  And I love the concept in theory but I learned the hard way that you need to do this with people who are truly committed and who you know well enough to hound down if the quilt gets stuck somewhere.  Because the downfall of a member who is unreliable is that they will have the WHOLE quilt rather than just holding up a block or two.

But I know my friends well, we are are in constant communication, and they are not going anywhere.  All in all, this should be a great way to get a quilt made through the help of these friends and contribute to each of their quilts as well.  Plus it allows us to be flexible with the timeline...month or 90 days...whatever.  The point is to get the quilt back eventually and enjoy watching each person add their flavor to it.

We are calling our group #quiltjourney and will be tagging our quilts with that as we post pictures of our progress.  We will all have our theme or style.  Some people want medallion style, others want friendship bracelet style, others improv.

And then there's me.  I'm always making things tricky.  lol  No easy topics for me.  I've debated heavily over what I wanted for a quilt.  I want it to be a quilt that lets each person add a very personal touch.

Themes I considered were
  - night sky/constellations

 - ghastlies (a quilt designed around the ridiculously fanciful ghastlies fabric lines)

 - fairy tales

I threw all those themes out there at them and the unanimous choice from them was......drumroll.....still waiting?.....

Fairy Tales!

I think that's what I really wanted too because it was the only one that I had created a pinterest board for, collecting images and inspirations.

These are a sampling of the imagery that is currently inspiring me and I hope will inspire my friends.  But now I have to figure out what I want to do to kick start my own quilt.  What image?  What character?  What words?

Does anyone have any suggestion for me of patterns out there?  Favorite fabrics that evoke fairy tales? Let's get this quilt journey started!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tips & Tricks - Vac N Sew Shopping

Tips & Tricks - Vac n Sew shopping

Hello All!  I've been away on a little trip to visit New Orleans this last week, but my mind is never too far from here.  I'll share more fun pictures from my trip another day (because seriously my daughter is CUTE!) but I wanted to share another Tip & Trick with you all today.  Once again, my news may be old hat to you but perhaps it will help someone.  And as always feel free to add your own tips in the comment sections.  I know I read all the comments on everyone's blogs...so trust me, your comments never go unnoticed.

Today, I wanted to share with you a perhaps uncommon place for you to find fabric at some great prices, A Vac n Sew store.  You  know, those stores that are still managing to repair vacuums AND sell $20,000 embroidery machines.  You might not know that a lot of times these stores carry at least a small selection of fabric.  It's a particularly great place to find 54" width fabric because a lot of times they carry fabric that will work well with those fancy dancy embroidery machines they are selling (often geared towards garment sewers who work with that length more often).

Because not too many know about the fabric in these stores, sometimes it hangs around there for a while.  And while not good for them, that is good for US! because then we can score some major deals.  I got the two fabrics above for $3 a yard!  Woohoo!  And there was plenty of things to choose from...especially seasonal fabrics.  And there was a gorgeous fine wail corduroy that I'm thinking I may need to send my friend back to get because I'm still thinking about it days later...I just didn't have a project for it.  But it's too pretty not to have.  Oh! I could back a quilt with it!  How yummy would that be?  54" at $4 a yard?  I can do that!

Do you know any really unusual places to find good quality fabrics other than your local quilt store?  Or have a great one near you that you can suggest?   


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