February 24, 2014
My sister and brother-in-law are expecting their first baby in just a few weeks. When they thought about decorating the baby's room, they decided on a gender-neutral woodland theme and started with dark teal walls and a bright orange rug. Then they chose the fabrics pictured above, and my mom and I volunteered/were recruited to make loads of fabric items for the room. When we were all together in early November, we sorted through this fabric and decided what would be used for the various handmade items. Many of the fabrics are from the Michael Miller collections Norwegian Woods and Norwegian Woods Too; you can find links at the end of this post. (The colors in the photo above are the most accurate - the others are a little bright thanks to the limitations of cellphone photography.)
On my mom's list were crib sheets, changing pad covers, and a crib skirt. My list included a couple of accent pillows, the crib bumper, and a quilt for the twin-size daybed that my brother-in-law would create in his woodshop. My mom started by making crib sheets and covers for the changing pad. Then she sent me her scraps to include in the quilt. After she finished the crib skirt, she sent her leftover fabric and I got to work on the bumper.
The accent pillows are from a panel print that had 4 panels -- foxes, birds, leaves, and squirrels. I forgot to take better pictures of the pillows because I was in a rush to finish them up in time for the baby shower, which was also woodland-themed (more on that in another post to come soon).
Here's a peek at the finished quilt. I'll share more about it soon too.
Some of the fabrics used in the room:
February 23, 2014
I'm always on the lookout for a good knit or crochet infinity scarf/circle scarf/cowl/whatever you want to call them. I'm a little picky about the bulk -- too much and it looks like it's consuming your head, but not enough and it looks deflated and sad. Last fall I found a promising pattern from Purllin at http://purllin.blogspot.com/2012/12/december-seed-stitch-infinity-circle.html. I made a second one for another friend's birthday gift. Then I made one for myself, followed by one for my first friend's sister. Then it was my sister, my sister-in-law, me again, and a third friend. Then a third one for myself. It's pretty clear -- I'm in love with this scarf.
|Can you tell that I hate how I look in selfies??|
|Me crouched by window seat for light + curious cat|
I've now made 9 of these scarves, and I'm not making any promises that I won't add more to the list. It's a great pattern, with soft yarn, and it only takes a few evenings on the couch catching up on the DVR to finish. If you're looking for an easy project for yourself or for a gift, I encourage you to give it a try.
January 14, 2014
I made this little house thanks to Sew Can She, which offers free daily tutorials delivered via email. This one comes from Retro Mama and originally appeared here. (That's where you can find the instructions, too.)
I made this first little house to send along with some fabric mail to my friend Kelly at Stitchy Quilt Stuff. It turned out so cute that I just had to make, um, five more.
They were a lifesaver for all the ornament exchanges I found myself involved in for Christmas, but they'd also be cute decorations to have out all year long. It was fun to dig through fabric scraps - even those tiny scraps that are good for pretty much nothing but that I can't seem to toss in the trash - and create the different combinations.
January 12, 2014
After a few recent quilt finishes, I've been enjoying the freedom that comes with small projects.
Puppy dog embroidery -- I found this embroidery on Pinterest, but I have no idea of the original source. Luckily, it's simple enough to do without any instructions, so I just started stitching. I tried the bottom two pups first.
I printed out the photo, taped it to my living room window, and traced each design onto a scrap of fabric using a water-soluble marking pen. I stitched each one in a 4-inch hoop. I'm not especially skilled at embroidery, but I can handle the basics -- backstitch to outline the dogs, (messy) satin stitch for the eyes and noses, and a split stitch to make the bottom line stand out a bit. (Wild Olive has a great series of tutorial posts on embroidery basics here.)
After I finished stitching, I took the pieces out of the hoops and spritzed them with water to erase the marking pen lines. I used some inexpensive craft paint to paint the hoops navy blue, and I sealed that with a matte spray sealant (next time I'll use a glossy version). I cut white wool felt to glue to the back of each hoop to cover the unsightly knots and stitches (and forgot to take a picture). A little piece of ribbon made the hoops easy to hang. I sent these to my friend Anne along with the quilt I made for her new baby boy.
Baby bibs -- I've lost count of how many baby bibs I've made over the last few years, but it's a lot. It was time to replenish my stash, and I found this great rocketship flannel (Joann's) that pairs so well with some lime green terry I had on hand. (Check out more bibs here, here, and here.)
Memory game -- Last up is another memory game for my little friend Anna who recently turned 4. I think this is my 4th game, but again, I've lost track. This one definitely comes in my favorite drawstring bag, though. It's fabric from Sarah Jane's Out to Sea collection. Each time I start one of these games, I'm reminded of how many pieces are required and how tedious it really is to put together. But by the time it's done, I've remembered how cute it is when it's finished, and how much my little friends enjoy playing with it.
Time to catch up on sharing some projects I finished late last year. First up is this pillow made for my niece's 4th birthday. The great pink shell fabric is from Patty Young's ModKid collection at Joann's. The squares on the sides are scraps from other projects.
I considered using plain white for the center, but then I found the red dots in my stash. They add interest but don't distract from the embroidery. I stitched around each letter -- very slowly and carefully -- and then added large hand stitches with white perle cotton.
The back is a simple envelope closure in more of the great pink print.
January 1, 2014
This project for my niece Hannah began with a photo I found on Pinterest. My "Pinspiration" (as my sister calls it) had a dead link and no original source. Pinterest has plenty of fabric alphabet photos, and the quality of craftsmanship....well, it varies.
Using this tutorial as my starting point, here's how I made my fabric alphabet -- and how you can make one too.
Tools and materials:
Printed letter templates (see Step 1)
Paper-backed fusible interfacing (I prefer Heat 'n Bond)
26 assorted fabrics
1. Print letter templates. I used font Arial Black 500 point on regular printer paper. Cut out each letter and set aside.
2. Cut two 7-inch squares from almost every fabric. Cut two 8-inch squares from one of your fabrics, to accommodate the wider "W." (Tip: After you cut out your first 7-inch square, test your paper templates on it to make sure it will be big enough for each letter. Increase the size of the square as needed.)
3. Cut fifty 6.75-inch squares from the fusible interfacing. Cut two 7.75-inch squares of interfacing for the wide "W." (Adjust the size of your interfacing squares to match any adjustments you made to the fabric squares.)
4. Cut 52 squares of batting, larger than the letters. This is a great opportunity to use batting scraps, particularly strips left over when sandwiching and trimming a quilt prior to quilting. If you use strips, you don't need to cut them into 52 squares first (see Step 7).
5. Trace each paper letter template onto a square of interfacing using a pencil. Flip the letters over and trace them again, so that you have two squares of interfacing for each letter -- one oriented correctly and one reversed.
7. Fuse each letter to a square of batting, and cut it out. I used batting squares in the first picture, and scrap strip of batting in the second picture. If you use strips of batting, you can fuse a bunch of letters to one piece and then cut them out with less waste.
|Use precut batting squares|
|Or arrange multiple letters on a strip|
9. Stitch around each letter with a straight stitch and 1/4-inch seam allowance. I used my 1/4-inch foot and switched to my applique foot to handle the internal cutouts on some letters (the A, O, and so on).
10. Use pinking shears to finish the raw edges, cutting close to but not into your stitching line.
|Pinking in progress...|
December 5, 2013
Recently I posted instructions for a 5-minute infinity scarf that I whipped up for a "Favorite Things" party, but I realized that this type of party was new to me so it may also be new to you. Here's the rundown on one of the best party ideas ever.
Ingredients for a Favorite Things Exchange:
1. A hostess (or hostesses) willing to have a clean house and set up everything.
2. Snacks and drinks, either provided by the hostess or brought by guests to share
3. Loot bags*
4. Vase or bowl to pull names from, pens, and paper*
5. Door prizes*
6. Party guests: In my opinion, the guest list should be limited to 12 or fewer.
* responsibility of the hostess
Steps for a Favorite Things Exchange:
1. Send out invites. This is a great mixer for people who don't know one another. Our hostess had old friends and new friends and neighbors all mixed together, and it was great!
Suggestion for wording your invite:
Think of something you love that costs under $10, and bring 3 of that item to the party. We will draw names and everyone will go home with 3 amazing new finds.
Now, you can decide to do 6 things under $5 or whatever combo that might be interesting (maybe 10 items under a $1) -- just do whatever sounds fun and appropriate for your group.
2. If you're a hostess, you'll need to supply loot bags for guests to take home their collected gifties.
3. You'll also need a stack of scrap paper for people to write their names down and a vase or bowl to collect them in. If your exchange involves 3 items from each person, then each name is written on 3 slips of paper. If you're doing 6 items, then names go on 6 slips of paper to ensure everyone goes home with the right number of gifts.
4. No party is complete without food and drink. Our hostesses put out quite a spread. Appetizers are perfect for this kind of party because you can try a little of everything and not feel stuffed at the end of the night.
5. Now for the Favorite Thing portion of the evening. Each guest stands in front of the group and shares why their favorite thing is their favorite thing. Then that guest draws 3 names (or 6 or however many gifts you're distributing), and those 3 people get to take home that particular favorite thing. I shared that my sister Elizabeth had made me an infinity scarf that I wore when traveling internationally. I loved it because it was soft and it kept me cozy on drafty planes. Then I drew 3 names and passed out scarves to those 3 guests.
Here are a few of the favorite things from our party. I ended up taking home the eye makeup remover and hair corkscrew, an EOS lip balm, and a pack of basil-scented Meyer cleaners for the kitchen (which I LOVE).
|The best eye makeup remover and hair corkscrew|
|The best dry shampoo and Sharpie brushes|
|A favorite Essie nail polish and foundation base|
|A wire angel from a favorite store|
|"Party in your mouth" toothpaste and a cute cosmetics bag|
|The best thing post-pedicure to keep your feet soft|
|The best thing to end a cold day|
|The 5-minute infinity scarf (instructions here)|
I would love to hear about similar Favorite Thing parties. Please share and check out our Pinterest board we're building for Favorite Thing gift ideas!