Sunday, April 10, 2016

April Showers

So March passed quickly, and completely unproductively considering I spent all of it being sick. But April finally came, bringing with it lots of rain, a healing body and a very special baby shower. I got to help host a shower for my soon-to-arrive nephew. Since he is due in May and our shower was in April we decided to go with the "April Showers Bring May Flowers" theme. I did a ton of crafting for the shower as well as some quilting. I will share as much as I can but the personalized items I will save because I know the parents-to-be are not sharing the name with all yet. 

Of course, I had to make a diaper cake. This one was actually a lot of fun since my husband and kids actually helped with the rolling and assembling!

Since I already had the paper out, I ended up creating some raindrop garland for hanging around the shower. Who knew sewing through paper could create such cool decorations! The instructions for this project can be found over at Martha Stewart's website.

And then I did the craziest thing yet. I decided to take care of the baking of the cake. Of course it couldn't be a plain sheet cake, so I attempted a shaped belly cake decorated with homemade marshmallow fondant. I did a practice cake following some great directions along with the recipe at Peace, Love & Cake. In the end I was quite happy with the result, the final cake wasn't too terribly shabby for a second time.

One of my final projects for the shower was the gift. I made 2 quilts for the baby boy but can only share one as the other was personalized. 

To go along with the quilt were some quilted burp cloths!

I can only hope that the parents-to-be were happy with their shower and their gifts. I quite enjoyed preparing it all for them!

Until next time . . . happy sewing!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Quilting the Winter Away

I am still here . .  I promise. I know it has been a long while since my last post. No, I did not drop off the face of the earth. But my computer did. Unfortunately, a fried laptop makes it nearly impossible to keep up with blogging and photographing one's quilt work. But I am finally back up and running and I have some goodies from the last few weeks to share. 

My latest quilt project is going to take a long while. I thought I would be done with it by now but I realize some other obligations are going to keep me from finishing until mid-summer so I will share some progress pics now. 

I have wanted to make a Christmas wall hanging for quite a while now. I even started a pre-printed panel 2 years ago but never got around to finishing it. But this year, just after Christmas, my inspiration struck. I began sketching an idea for an art quilt and really didn't think it would work out. Especially as I got started. 

It really wasn't looking too impressive. 

But I just kept trucking along, playing with fabric. I am not even sure if this counts as quilting as I just did a ton of fabric manipulating. 

Most of these pieces have been appliqued but the window details were hand sewn in. 

When I started the snow, I quickly realized that little specks just weren't doing it for me. It didn't look the way the snow on our lawn would look. 

So I decided to play with thin, wavy pieces of fabric.

I am still not sure how realistic this is turning out but I am hoping once it is all laid out it will look like snow.

And unfortunately, this is as far as I have gotten. I have so many more details to add and I cannot wait to add some very special touches. But there are a few projects that I must finish first before I can continue. 

For one, and the greatest project of all, I am finally getting a sewing studio. My father and my husband have collaborated to create me the room of my dreams in what was our very poorly refinished attic that we had not touched since moving in. The first, and largest task was building adequate storage for my fabric.

They began utilizing one of the very awkward walls that sat in a 10 foot long area. The ceiling was so angled that if you walked too close to the wall you would bump your head, every time! Therefore, this solved two big problems; head injuries and fabric storage! 

Oh that beautiful storage space!

Thanks to the super deep shelves that they designed, it actually looks like I don't have too much fabric! I am already in love with my space and only a small portion is done! We will be spending the next weeks building a closet and adding some beautiful details to the walls and ceiling! 

And finally, I have been working on a personal project/experiment. Specifically, a 1950's Housewife Experiment. You can read more about my adventures with it over on a sister blog that I started called, Seams Sew Retro. This is more of a lifestyle experiment which is why I decided to create a separate space for documenting it. But I will share any sewing tied to it here when I think of it. 

For example, 2 dress to apron refashions that I did. 

I took a too small dress:

And turned it into this:

I was so pleased that I made a second attempt with this damaged dress:

Which I turned into this:

My next sewing journey in the 50's will be attempting to sew my very first dress for myself. And my next quilting journey will be a very special baby quilt, though I will have to wait until after the shower to share. Speaking of which, I will also be crafting away and baking away as I help host this very special occasion. Stay tuned, later this spring I will be able to share those projects! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Escape From the Cold

Cold air has crept into our area this week . . . the kind of cold air that makes you want to stay inside in a cozy sweater while sipping hot cocoa and stitching up some colorful goodies. And while I did have to run errands the last few days, I spent the time I was home in a cozy sweater stitching at the machine. And what better to stitch on a bitterly cold day then a bright and colorful beach wall hanging. 

I found the instructions for this beautiful wall hanging in the book, Skinny Quilts and Table Runners by Eleanor Levie. The quilt pattern is called, "By the Sea" and was created by Karen Eckmeier. I couldn't wait to tackle a landscape quilt that would take me out of my comfort zone. Picking the fabrics is always my favorite part of a project and was especially fun for this one as I got to go buy some beautiful batiks. I hope to work with more again soon but I need to find more first!

Look at all those beautiful blues! Laying the project out was also a lot of fun. It was great to have a pattern that was more of a guideline and let you just go with the flow. 

Once everything was sewn in place I added some quilting and then got to have some fun experimenting as I added details. I wasn't too pleased with my sky fabric so I added some tulle in bunches to create clouds. 

I also used the designer's idea of creating seagulls out of cut lace. 

The sand was fun to add detail to as well. I had never thought to sew things within tulle until seeing the author's idea for adding the sea shells. I also had so much fun adding hand stitched beads and rhinestones as rocks along the shore line. 

I absolutely loved making this quilt. It was so fun to stitch and I enjoyed trying so many new techniques. And the book itself had a bunch of really great quilt patterns in it so I may have to try some more in the future. But for now, my husband has requested a second one of these wall hangings as this one was made as a thank you for my grandfather who made my beautiful sewing table for me. 

Can you believe how beautiful that work space is?! I will cherish this table forever and ever. I am so happy I was able to sit at it and create something to send to my grandfather to show my appreciation! 

Well, I guess I am off to sew a second one of these! Until next time . . . happy sewing!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Christmas Creations

Holiday madness certainly kept me from catching up on the blog. Well, some of it was the madness but most of it was the fact that all my makes in November and December couldn't be shared since they were gifts! But I can finally share some of my big surprises. I decided to make a very special quilt for my father based on his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs! Not only did I create their logo but I also included the iconic ivy covered brick wall from Wrigley Field. 

The ivy was the hardest part of the quilt. It took quite a while to cut the hundreds of leaves! 

I also quilted the words "Chicago Cubs" into the top of the quit. 

The backing was made of Chicago Cubs fleece to keep my dad warm and cozy. I think it is safe to say he was quite pleased with the gift.

I also worked on a special gift for my husband's grandmother using ties from her late husband, a project I have wanted to tackle for quite a while now. 

I was so happy with the turn out! But I was more happy to see how happy our grandmother was!

I also had some fun working on a few different versions of the "Feather Your Nest" wall hanging that was available for purchase from Sew News. One was for my mother. In hers I made the eggs out of fabrics that matched mine and my brothers' birth stone colors. Another was for our Aunt using the remainder of the ties from the earlier quilt. And the final version was for a dear friend of mine in California. I made hers using as many bright and sunny colors as I could in the nest! 

My final projects at Christmas time were two dresses for my baby girl using the fabulous Georgia Vintage pattern from The Cottage Mama

I love how versatile Lindsay's patterns are. I especially love the Grinch one. I took endless pictures of my little one wearing it on Christmas . . . she looked just like a little Who! 

I hope all of you out there had a wonderful holiday and very happy new year! Until next time . . . happy sewing!