Inspiration: Nov 2009, saw completed quilt using this pattern posted on the interwebs.  (Sorry, this was pre-Pinterest and I don't have the link).

Delay: I purchased a copy of the out-of-print quilt book “Quick and Easy Scrap Quilts” (which is full of great scrappy patterns and tips) and discovered I would need 336 squares of various shades of blue fabric for the night sky portion of the quilt.  I didn’t have many blues in my stash. It took a while to gather blues, plus  I had a full life and lots of other projects in my queue.

Sewlution: After 3 + years of stockpiling blues, I felt like I finally had enough to take the quilt.  Did you Make that?’s New Year’s Sewlution was the perfect final push for me to finally get it done! For me this sewlution had 3 main parts:

1. Finish piecing the quilt I had promised my daughter- based on one of her drawings (in the frame in the background of the photo below.)  Check!  Completed in the Spring.  I followed this popular tutorial for the borders.

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2. Watch Free Motion Quilting a Sample with Leah Day Craftsy class and master the art of Machine Quilting.  I wanted to do some fancy quilting on my daughter’s quilt so this would be perfect practice. (Partial Credit.  I watched the class, but was not able to master the technique on my practice scraps.  I grew impatient and just quilted my daughter’s quilt using a walking foot and regular sewing foot turning the quilt frequently.  I used very thin batting so I could get away with it.  I would still like to revisit and master proper free motion quilting though).Image

3. Cut, piece and quilt the Starry Night Quilt!  (Completed August of 2013!)

I modified the quilt to full size by using 5″ squares instead of 3.5″ and eliminating the borders.

I also deviated from the recommended strip piecing technique and switched to piecing in blocks of 16 squares about halfway through.   I found this method much more manageable for keeping the color gradations and stars aligning correctly.  I used leftovers to piece the back of the quilt and am thrilled with the end result.

The only part I’m not completely satisfied with is the quilting. I want to go back in and fill in some more quilting between the current quilting lines in the background as I like the look of denser wonky quilting in my daughters quilt better than the wide wonky quilting on this one.  In retrospect, I should have just chosen one star to create an overall spiral covering the quilt as the constant turning was a bear and resulted in a creasing on the back.

But for now: I’m considering it done!

Quilt Back

Quilt Back

Quilt Front

Quilt Front

I like swaps.  I like getting surprises in the mail, and an excuse to work on little fun projects just because, and making something for someone I’ve never met, and knowing they will appreciate the effort that went into it because they are a crafter too.  I also happened to be in need of a pincushion as I currently use the  the leftover felt doughnuts from my not-so-little-one’s birthday party a couple of years back, which are fine, except that I also use them as pattern weights and then I have to pull all the pins out.  So I happily signed up for the pincushion swap 2012 hosted by the lovely ladies at House of Pinheiro and Sew Far So Good.

This was also a great excuse to spend some more time on Pinterest (my pin cushion pin-board is here).  I got teamed up with Melizza at Pincushion Treats (she also has an etsy shop of the same name), so of course, not any pincushion would do!

Here is the awesome pincushion I got from Melizza.  Besides being fun to look at, it turns out to be really practical for my small sewing table. It doesn’t get burried by piles of stuff as work.  Yay!  No more searching for where I burried the pins!

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I forgot to take a picture of mine so I’m stealing Melizza’s picture from the flickr group.

You can see a bigger picture  here. My pincushion from a fellow blogger. So so pretty. #pincushionswap

I was inspired by this pattern on ravelry, but because my gauge was bigger I used this free hexagon motif by the same designer instead (except for the central hexy where I improvised a rosette).

I was so inspired by hexagonal pincushions that I had to have one too.  This one was made using Penny’s Hexy Caddy Tutorial.  I love how it let’s me showcase snippets of some of my favorite fabrics.  I’ve been using this one for needles and supplies.  So that’s where all my needles went!  They were hiding among the pins.  Look at how nice it looks with Melizzas.  I love the contrast of tall and thin with short and stout.

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My first completed project for the Spring palette challenge.  This was actually supposed to be my Easter dress but I didn’t have time to start it before then, let alone finish.  I fell in love with this vintage pattern the moment I saw it at the New Vintage Lady’s etsy shop and imagined it in a bold summer solid color to show off the details.  Then I stumbled across this – sheet with butterflies and the vision changed entirely.  Because both my main and contrast fabric are a little sheer I fully lined the bodice (in the yellow dot fabric) and sewed in loose lining to the skirt  in the butterfly fabric.  I added in-seam pockets and contrasting scallop hem on the underskirt (petticoat? not sure what the right term is), using Colette Pattern’s Meringue hem facing piece as a guide.  I love the way it turned out!  

The only down side is that the fabric does have a pretty high poly content so it does get quite hot for such a light and breezy design.   This is something I am trying to pay more attention to in my fabric purchases going forward.   For my first year of sewing I felt like everything was essentially going to be a wearable muslin so didn’t feel justified in investing a lot of money in fabric, but most pieces have turned out pretty well and I’ve found that a nice fabric really does make the difference between clothes I reach for all the time and the ones I wear once in a while.

Colette Patterns is hosting another seasonal sewing challenge inspired by a certain palette.  I love seeing everyone’s mood boards and how people bring them to life through their sewing.    One look at the tip of  the stash revealed some strong color preferences and the mood board come together pretty quickly from there

Here are some patterns I am thinking about:

As you can see I’m going for a tropical paradise sort of vibe and have far more fabric/ideas/patterns than I can possibly execute (no, not all are pictured!).  I would love to complete a pair of shorts, a couple of tops that could dress up or down and a dress or two.

 

The sew weekly challenge last week was embellish, which got me thinking about my own use of embellishment in recent projects.

 

 

From the top left to right:

bunny buttons for little Mr’s easter shirt

Some lace for Mother’s day blouse (for my Mama)

Crocheted flower and subtly contrasting sash for the not-so-little-one’s easter dress.

Patches for the international chef of the house

Moved the tabs to the cuff of my “portfolio” shorts

More lace for sorbetto (yes from the leftover fabric from Mama’s day blouse)

oops not enough fabric for the back!  Quick act like it’s part of the design! (You might also have noticed I didn’t have quite enough for the front either and had to let out the pleat).

Orange Pjs:  Embellishment gone awry!  The little picture in the middle is my attempt at creating some fabric flowers to cover the wonky stitching at the yoke as my machine was giving me fits during sewing for some reason.   They looked messy, could barely be seen against the ground fabric and didn’t do anything to cover the wonky stitches so these ended up coming off.

Artemis costume: thank the goddess for Grecian ribbon!

A couple of online challenges and a great new sewing closet from Goodwill have helped reunite me and my sewing machine this Spring.  I’m still trying to keep my computer time down and my sewing/knitting time up but here’s a quick recap:

1. Dana and Rae’s Celebrate the Boy month got me to finally make the I-spy quilt I’ve been planning for my boy for some time.   So many great boy ideas!  Makes me really look forward to more crafting for my boy! 

I bought the vintage I-spy charm pack from Amy Smart on etsy, last year.  They really made the quilt.  The ecosystem boarders were a Walmart sale find of all places.  Hopefully that fabric will hold up as well as the rest of the quilt. 

2. Collette Patterns:  Spring Palette Challenge

This was a 10 week challenge to create a mini Spring wardrobe around favorite color palette.  The first couple of weeks people shared mood boards and sewing plans and the rest of the time people shared their amazing progress.  And I do mean amazing, you can go check it out here.  Not having ever really sewn my own garments I was not expecting to get much done, but I was so inspired by these ladies.. now I’m totally hooked!

Here’s my mood board, inspired more by textures than colors per se (ie. pink dresses aren’t really a part of the plan):

Here’s what I actually made:

Collette Patterns: Macaron

Simplicity 2211

 

Andrea's Shawl

 

Lady Kina

 

Yes, I know, a couple of knit items snuck in mainly because I can’t sew while Little Mr. is awake, so knitting fills that time nicely.

3. The challenge is over now, but I am definitely going to keep sewing.  As luck would have it, the last item I made post-challenge was this ruffle dress, which fits in rather nicely with the upcoming theme on another site that has provided me much sewing inspiration: The Sew Weekly.  Next week’s theme is: clothes inspired by a childhood outfit.  When I saw this theme and thought about it for a few minutes I realized this most recent dress has a lot in common with the first dress I ever made, helped along by my aunt who taught me how to use a sewing machine  and draft a simple pattern in the process of making the dress for my 10th birthday.   It’s a bit hard to tell from the photo but both feature ruffles, fabric sashes and small purplish floral paisley prints.  I’ll let you all draw what conclusions you may from that …

Simplicity 236010th Birthday Dress

10th Birthday Dress

I’ve decided to retire the blog for this year, or at least for the time being.  Increasingly, in the past couple of years (ie. now that I have two children instead of just 1) I find time to blog competing with time to actually make something.  Given the choice, I would rather be making than writing about making. 

Incidentally, 2010 was a great year for making things, for me personally, for my sirenita who mastered machine stitching and knitting this year, and for being inspired by so many talented crafters out there in the blogosphere.  We had a really wonderful handmade Christmas that could fill a couple of posts and the momentum has carried into 2011.    Thank you so much for stopping by.   Until we meet again, best of luck in your crafty endeavours!

I thought I’d share some links for those of you who like me are madly scrambling for a last minute hand-made gift to make.  I’m trying to do mostly homemade this year and got a fairly decent head start, but still  find myself with more fun ideas for worthy recipients than I can probably actually materialize in the next 18 days(actually only 10 days before we leave for the holidays (gulp).  At the risk of potentially ruining the element of surprise for some here are some items on my go-to-quick gift list (all from free patterns) for this year:

Knits  (all ravelry links): 

Hats:  Turn a Square, Cabled Chapaeu, All Day BeretGrace lace Beret, Cable Edge Hat by Carol Wood in 2008 Pattern a day calendar. 

Slippers: Side Cable slippers, Pocketbook slippers.

Miscellaneous Sewing:

buttercup bag

Retro Kitchen Apron

Reversible fleece hat with Reversible fleece mittens

Wee wonderful mermaids on a spiral leg warmer sea

Time to show you the fruits of my halloween sewing.                                                 I present to you: Trixie the Halloween Fairy and her cat Moonlight.  When I saw the Trixie drawing on the cover of the book I thought it would be a cinch.  A simple orange tunic, how hard could that be? I could probably find one at Target ready made.   But next thing I knew I was at the .99 cent pattern sale at the fabric store with a pattern requiring 5 yards of fabric and a little girl insistant that there had to be sparkles (Me: are you sure those aren’t polka dots?  Her: Yes, I’m sure).   So I got to experiment with sewing knit fabric, sparkly tule and black satin.  I used Simplicity pattern 3680, which is actually pretty cool because the front shows how pretty much with just a change in sleeve length and fabric selection this could be an equally great Witch/Pirate/Cowgirl or Hippie costume.  I used view A (witch) and made a few modifications including taking about 4 inches of fabric from the sleeves as Trixie wasn’t partial to the “poofyness”.  I also sewed the neck elastic closer to the neck edge (also to reduce poofyness) and omitted the extra “lining layer of fabric in the skirt.  Both the head band with bow (which you can’t really see in the picture)  and headband with cat ears (since the little Mr. doesn’t like hats) were made using the aflutter hairband tutorial by JCasa*Handmade on Sew Mama Sew.  This is a really nice basic fabric hairband pattern and I think I will be making more of these

Well I didn’t make the cut for Crafting with the Stars.   Which is a great thing because I’ve got a full plate as it is and now I get to just sit back enjoy the talent and be inspired.  Plus there are tutorials!  God bless all you nice people who take the time to write tutorials. There are so many great things out there I want to make I should really start compiling a list.   I am already daydreaming about my very own Somerset Dress from round 1(designer knock-offs) of Crafting with the Stars and awesomefied desk  from round 2 (paint).  Round 3 (fabric) started this week and I am so looking forward to seeing what these clever ladies put together.  Craft on! 

Since I mentioned it I think I’ll get started on my list now.  Other things I’m “hearting” by this talented group of ladies:

Teapot lamp by Mandi at Vintage Revivals (she also did the awesomefied desk)

Flirty Holiday Apron by Stacie at Sew Sassy (featured on Blue Cricket Design’s blog by Becca the “star” paired with Mandi..got that?  Good, moving on)

Ruffled Bonnet by Cottage Home also featured on Blue Cricket design is pretty awesome too, now just to think of someone in need of a bonnet.

Charlotte Russe inspired skirt by Sew Dang Cute is also definitely going on my list of things I want to make.  Don’t know when, but it looks like a lot of fun to wear and basic enough to wear just about anywhere. 

Hmm, I seem to be awfully attracted to ruffles all of a sudden.  Well, that’s enough of a list for now.  I won’t even get into all the good stuff over at Sew Mama Sew and elsewhere.  I’ll have to save that for another post.  Suffice it to say, I’m feeling pretty inspired.

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