Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Trying something new

The weather this past weekend was sweltering, so the family and I decided to take it pretty easy. We slept late, went to the pool at the Y*, and watched movies in the air conditioning.

Saturday afternoon turned out to the perfect time to use some sale fabric I'd bought at Walmart. My local one is closing their craft department and all the fabric was 75% off. By the time I got there, the racks had been totally ransacked, but I found some really cute character fabric that will be perfect for quilts. Pi asked for Camp Rock fabric that she'd been eyeing. She'd asked me for it before, but at $5 a yard, I wasn't ready to put the money down for something that is clearly a passing fad. But for $1.25 a yard, I was game. I bought 3 yards of the stuff and she promptly asked me to make a dress.

Uhhh, a dress? My forays into clothing have pretty much been skirts and two easy shirts for Piper last summer. I tried making one for myself and it was epic fail all the way. After some major googling (easy dress, haha), I came across a bunch of shirring tutorials and thought that didn't look too hard.
I settled on this tutorial by Prudent Baby because it focused on drop-in bobbins like the one I have. It was just as easy as she said... no mishaps, no screw-ups, no stress! I had both the back and front shirred in less than two hours and the rest of the dress came together in about an hour. If I had known shirring was this easy, I would have done it ages ago!

12 lines of shirring, about 1/2 inch apart.

Pi loved the dress. Usually, she's pretty lukewarm about my handmades, but this time she was all over it. I know for sure because she asked me to make some to sell at a garage sale. Always chasing a buck, that one. When I said no to that idea, she said it was ok because I could just make a bunch more for her instead. There's still over a yard of the fabric left that will probably turn into PJ shorts.

Now I wonder if I'd looked good in shirring, ha!
Speaking of trying something new, Pi and I went to a Zumba class for the first time tonight. So. Much. Fun! I hate to exercise, but I have to say this class didn't even feel like exercising. If you haven't tried one, I'd highly recommend it!
Hope everyone is having a good (and cooler) week!
*We got free 7 day guest passes to the Y and we're loving it so far. We're thinking about joining when the trial is over.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quilt for a Minature Greek Goddess

My very good friend and co-worker, Kiki, is due to have her second baby girl in just a few weeks. Kiki is 100% Greek so we call her the Greek Goddess and naturally, her girls have been dubbed miniature Greek Goddesses.

I wanted to make something a little extra special and when I saw the Candy Hearts Quilt at Moda Bake Shop, I had to try it. I made mine a bit smaller by omitting one row of hearts and left off the ruffle.

I bribed Pi into being my quilt holder.

The hearts are mostly made with scraps that I got from Keyka Lou awhile back. The navy blue strips are also scraps sent to me by my quilter friend back when I bought my sewing machine. The white is Kona cotton in snow and the ric-rac is "giant." I don't know why, but the giant ric rac makes me happy, haha.

The purple binding is also from scraps sent to me by Lesa years ago! See, I'm really attacking that scrap stash.

There was lots of free motion quilting practice. Lots and lots and I still stink at it, but that won't stop me from trying again.

Here it is after a run through the washer and dryer. I love the crinkly texture!

The hearts are raw edge applique, so they frayed nicely and it gives the quilt a comfy feel.

The backing is flannel (thanks for the idea Cami!) that was left over from pajama pants I made for Piper this past winter.

Kiki loved the quilt and it made learning all of these new techniques totally worth it. I hope her baby girl enjoys it for years!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Celebrate good times, c'mon!

If you're an old head like me, you probably have that song stuck in your head now. Ha!
Piper's birthday was great and we had a such a fun time celebrating! I took a vacation day from work, but kept it secret from Piper. She thought I had to go to work and was clearly disappointed that I couldn't be home. After she fell asleep, hubby and I stayed up late to decorate. When she woke up in the morning, she was shocked to see me home and decorations already put up.

The banner was printed on card stock and hung with ribbon.
The birthday girl requested pancakes and I couldn't resist making them into a "10."

Then came Piper's favorite part of any birthday... presents!

In addition to some store bought stuff she wanted, I made her a little something something handmade.

A doll quilt for her American Girl dolls.
No one was able to beat out the gift she got from her great grandpa... a brand new bike! I didn't manage to get a pic of her riding it yet, but it's a sweet little bike and she's thrilled with it.
In the afternoon, we took Pi and one of her friends to see Toy Store 3 in 3D. Such a cute movie and I highly recommend it!
Later in the evening, we had a small party with our family, a few neighbors, and some of Piper's friends. There were cupcakes AND ice cream cake. I swear I gained 5 pounds on Wednesday.
There were actually two doll quilts. The hearts quilt was made with scraps left over from a baby quilt I made for yesterday's baby shower (I'll post that soon) using THIS pattern at Moda Bake Shop. Pi fell in love with the baby quilt, so I thought a miniature version would make her happy.
The cupcakes doll quilt was made using THIS pattern from the Quilted Cupcake.

Making these teeny tiny quilts helped me try some new skills, like applique and free motion quilting.

You can see my stitches are far from perfect and I've got a lot of practicing to do when it comes to free motion quilting. But, I find it really enjoyable and it's not nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be. THIS tutorial from Oh Fransson! was a huge help!

Both quilts are backed with this crinkly fabric (no clue what it is), that I found at Goodwill for $2. 2 yards for $2 can't be beat.

Overall, it was a great day and Piper was as happy and excited as I've ever seen her. Thanks to my family for driving way out to Jersey on a weeknight to celebrate with us.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Piper!

My baby is ten today!

Sweet Pi, I can't believe how quickly you went from this:
To this!

You are the most amazing daughter I could have ever asked for. Thank you for blessing my life with your love, intelligence, sweet demeanor, and awesomely sarcastic sense of humor. It's amazing to see how you've grown as a person in the last ten years. You've developed your own opinions, likes, and dislikes, no matter how much I try to sway you. ;) It's been ad adventure so far and I can't wait to see what the next ten years brings.

I love you with all my heart kiddo. Happy 10th Birthday!
(I'll be back with the birthday festivity recap in a few days).

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fabric Blocks, how I love thee.

Back in May, I made a bunch of bibs, burpcloths, and baby pants for my friend Joyce, whose sister was having twin boys. Well, the twins were born (like a month ago, but remember I mentioned I'm s-l-o-w)! They were a few weeks early, but were a great weight and are doing well.

Joyce's happy announcement reminded me that there was some fleece leftover and in my quest to bust stash, I started looking for a pattern to use. I wanted something that the boys could actually play with. I came upon THIS tutorial and knew it was the one.

These blocks worked up so quickly in just an afternoon. They're soft and squishy and just awesome. They're also perfect for throwing at people's heads, but I won't tell you how I know that, heehee.

I love them and hope the boys will too!

By the way, some of you asked me about the Principal's quilt. Pi's teacher gave the quilt to the principal on the day of her goodbye party. Unfortunately, I wasn't there to see it, but I did get to go to the party after work and she hugged and thanked me. Turns out she is a sewer too and she said she knew how much work went into it. She was really sweet to send Piper a personal thank you note in the mail too. She will be sorely missed!

So what are you guys doing this weekend? Me, I'm just going to kick my feet up and relax!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Spring Tote, a season late.

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! We relaxed, went to a BBQ at a neighbor's house, and played some mini golf in this insane heat. It was fun and I wish we could have had one more day off. Although, the heat is so bad out, I was grateful for the freezing air conditioning at work.

Anyhoo, my sister graduated from college in May and I promised her a sturdy tote bag as her gift. She's heading to grad school this summer and needed something new to lug her books in.

Fast forward two months (yeah, I stink) and I finally finished it. THIS tutorial by Homemade by Jill was extremely clear and easy to follow. The only major difference is that I used batting and quilted the outside of the bag, instead if using interfacing.

The outside of the bag is pieced with the maroon and a paisley print. Both are scraps that were leftover from other projects (yay scrap busting!). The handle is belting that I found at a local craft store. It's cheap and very sturdy.

The top is trimmed with piping that was leftover from a pillow I made a few months ago. There was just enough by about an inch to make it around. I love piping. It makes the finished product so much nicer.

I added inside pockets for her school ID and metrocard. The pleated pocket on the right was made using THIS tutorial from Made by Rae.

My sister is lucky I love her so much, otherwise I would have kept this bag for myself! ;)

You probably noticed the look of the blog changed a bit. I was going to work on it more this past weekend, but life took over and it didn't get done. I want to mess with the tab pages, banner, and hope to get my freebie patterns up as PDF files, so it's easier for people to save and print them. Just be patient with me. I'm slow as molasses.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Oops, I pressed something!

I saw that little button in the corner of blogger that said 'new template' and clicked on it. After playing around for a bit, I pressed "apply" instead of "preview." Oops! I lost my old template, so I'm going to be temporarily under construction while I fix things around here.

P.S. - Happy 4th of July weekend!