Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Few for Friday - #9

I am kind of in disbelief that it's March. Please give me a moment while I collect myself....OK, I think I'll be all right now. I've still got my fingers crossed for snow, but as the weather warms I get more motivated to do things. Which is good, because I've got a lot of things I've been asked for. I'm hoping to kick that list's butt this weekend! But first, here are a few bits from my week.

I'm never awake early enough on Saturday to snag the paper before my dad gets it, but last Saturday I was. A cup of hot coffee and a puzzle are a fabulous combo on a rainy Saturday morning.

 When my mom was prego with moi she couldn't decide between the names Meredith and Bethany. On the way to the hospital for the old heave-ho they passed this church and that decided it for her. I used to wish she had named me Meredith, but then every Meredith I've ever been met had the nickname of Merry, which sounds jolly but to hear that over and over again would have made me think of elderly retirees in Florida with socks and sandals. No offense if that's your name/nickname. Let's rewind and stick with "Hey, my name is on that church wall!"

 'Tis the season.

It took me a few to realize that wasn't any old happy face, but Mr. Happy!! Remember those books? Ohhhh how I loved them. Aren't they the cutest shoes ever? Even cuter with wee tootsies in white ankle socks stuck in there, but the tootsies were connected to a wee napper.

 This week's project--happy happy pillows.

I guess someone knows when I'm on the couch with my computer I'm usually dog.

I hope you have a delightful Friday! I'm off to play some Candy Crush. I'm stinkin' addicted to that stupid game!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shop Update

Hello! Happy Tuesday to you! I just wanted to pop in and let you all know that I did a wee shop update. I put the Christmas things away :) and plopped in about a half dozen note takers in their place. I had to force myself to stop making them - they are so much fun to make, and the fabric combos are endless. But I've got orders to get crackin' on so I figured it's best I stop before I suddenly had enough to build a structurally unsound house out of.

The fact that I have SEVEN and not an even number like six is totally bugging me, so if someone wants to buy one to appease my anal retentiveness go for it :) Here's a better look at what's for sale:

I've got a few simple patchwork covers ready to go. I'm still in love with purple and gray of my handbag, and I had enough fabric left to make one of these. And I can't decide which of the other two I like more. I've been wanting to do orange and aqua for a long time and finally found a project to showcase it. And the soft gray dots paired with the bright red and green makes me think of spring.

These fabrics lasted about two hours once I got them home before I cut into them. I LOVE that bright, crisp, tattoo-inspired print. The colors are so vibrant and cheerful. And the washi tape print makes me think of those days when you used to put stickers all over your notebooks. That was a nice print to find--it's hard to locate online, but I looked straight ahead at just the right moment and it was sitting on the store shelf waiting for me to notice it.

And of course I had to make a few text prints and typewriters--the one on the left is the Madrona Road collection, and on the right is Odds and Ends. The typewriters are Melody Miller and are quite difficult to find. I had to pay more than I wanted to for a couple fat quarters, but once I get a bug in my brain that I need something I'm not happy until I have it or have exhausted myself in the search.

So if you need a quick handmade gift or would like to treat yourself take a look. The insides are fun, too--I didn't show you those on purpose so you might feel motivated to click over. I'm such an imp, I know. Ta for now!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stitchy Saturday

Hi kids! How was the old weekend? Mine was pretty stinkin' good! Nothing outstanding, just a series of small moments that added up to a good weekend. Honestly the only negatives are that it rained, and I forgot to tell the takeout place to leave the hot peppers out of my grilled veggie wrap, and enjoyed my dinner Saturday night a wee bit less for it. But melted cheese makes everything better so I was able to cope :)

I decided months ago that it was a brilliant idea to make a doctor's appointment (check-up) for nine o' clock on a Saturday morning. Usually I sleep waaaay in, then hang out in my pajamas a while, drinking coffee and playing around online. But because I was up and ready and moving, I felt like doing something. I hit all my usual haunts last weekend, so I needed somewhere else to trot off to. And then I remembered...Granny's Sewing Den.

This little sewing/quilting shop is directly across the street from where my brother works. I know it's there, I like it there, it's just that it's quite out of the way. I make it there about once a year, and I usually pick a beautiful sunny day so I can enjoy the drive. But yesterday, it felt like it was calling to me. So off I went.

The thing that I like about this shop is that the stock varies. I've gone to other quilt shops and a lot of times it seems like everything is in darker primitive/country colors that are just not my thing (but look nice in homes where they are that person's thing). This shop has a little bit of everything so you're sure to be able to find something.

One of the delightful things about a small shop like this is the immediate sense of community found within. At Joann's I frequently get asked what I'm making, but I feel like it's a requirement, like saying 'My pleasure' in Chick-fil-a. In a place like this you can be quickly on your way or stay and chat. I stayed and chatted. I learned who had a kidney transplant, who was expecting a grandchild, who was going to teach who how to hand quilt, and so on. It's one of those places where you feel like you know people right away.

The ladies were talking about something called a puzzle quilt, which I had never heard of before. They were more than happy to show me a finished product and a few in progress. A puzzle quilt can be made of however many blocks you want, but they're done in pairs using different fabrics. Someone may have two blocks of small squares set on point, or two snail trails, or two stars, but the fabric layout varies so that they look like entirely different patterns. I had to stare and stare and go back and forth between them to try and decide which were which. The magic is all in the cutting.

So get this: the blue and green twirly block at the top and the two below it, as well as the orangey one up there--the same block pattern. Two of them you can tell (made by two different people) but the others you really have to try and see. The orange one looks like strips and triangles all sewn together--but it's a snail trail. The green on the bottom right and the one sitting on it are the same block too! It all comes down to some insane fussy cutting and fabric placement. It kind of really blew my mind.

The black star at the bottom is the same pattern as the one sitting on top of it. I know!!!! Right?! And the black star block with that awesome center that looks like one piece of fabric? It's not--it's a lot of pieces sewn just so to give it that look. It was one of those times where you see something and your mind is blown. These are all simple shapes sewn together. BUT the vision and the fabric placement and design are at a level I am nowhere near. I'm pleased when I fussy cut something and it comes out centered. This is pretty amazing. I almost needed to take a seat :)

Of course I came away with a few goodies and plans for all of them, so I am mightily glad that I took the trip. I wasn't thrilled about the detours I had to take as I'm not familiar with the area, but I paid attention and only had to turn around once or twice (but because I missed a turn and not because I was lost). I rewarded myself with a doughnut (yeah, I totally reward myself with food :) . I cut and stitched the rest of the afternoon, and stopped for some movie watching with my bro and sis (Silver Linings Playbook). 

The top left has already been cut and stitched. The handles and bottom left are to be a bag. The measuring tapes are being stashed for the moment, and the stripes are going to be bias tape. See? Plans. I behaved.

I've now got a little stack of these to put in the shop. Which I'll be getting to hopefully tomorrow. I've got lots of ideas swimming around my brain right now, so I'm going to crochet and watch the Oscars so I can get off my creative high and hopefully get to sleep tonight :)

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Few for Friday - #8

I can't believe it's Friday already! The days are getting longer (but not necessarily warmer--but you know what? If we're not going to get a decent snowfall then winter can just go kick rocks), and I finally found my long-lost motivation. Ideas are swimming, my fingers are itching to do-do-do!, and I'm very excited about that. So let's move on to a few snapshots that made up my week, shall we?

Saw these in Michael's last week. Cute, right? Sweet little chicky candles in a half shell? How cute do you think they'll be when a flame is burning them down to a blob of amorphous goo? I would feel like the biggest sadist. Of course...they could be just decorative...that would be cute.

I went to Barnes and Noble on Saturday for some me time. WHY do parents let their kids run and scream and act like fools in the book store? I wanted to tell them they needed to pretend they were in a library because SOME people consider this one of their happy places and would like to enjoy perusing the fine literature, thank you very much. I settled my nerves with a lot of calories.

 One night we were watching TV when my mom says "All right, who posed Charlie's toys like that?" Charlie did that one all by himself.

 I went looking for red tulips but came away with these roses instead. They were soooo pretty while they lasted. 

 Doing a little shop sewing this week. I'm having fun working with scraps to pick out cute combos.

 "Before you drink that you might want to get a cream doughnut to go with it...."
Oh yes I did--these came from a bakery near one of the guys I work with. Tremendous guilt followed but this was absolutely delicious. It's evident the diet was not adhered to this week.

 I had big plans to work that doughnut off at aerobics tonight, but Z-man requested help in writing up the steps for how to make a paper airplane. I told him I write sewing tutorials so I could totally help him. Turns out writing directions without the aid of pictures isn't easy. We tested it on a few different people to see if it made sense and it seems to. Of course, we had to first learn how to make a paper airplane.

So that's that. Have a delightful Friday!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Couple Good Reads for Those Who Sew

I've got a couple links to share with you today that you might find to be of interest.
  • Nicole Mallalieu is a bag designer from Australia. Here on her blog she delves into the differences and similarities between various Pellon and Vilene interfacings. Pellon is widely available here in the US, but if you're in the UK or down under (or probably just not in the US in general) Vilene is the brand of interfacing available to you. However, when you're reading patterns/instructions/tutorials/etc. from Vilene country and you don't live there and vice versa), you might be confused as to what's being used and where. This link is pretty stinkin' helpful at breaking it down so if you see Pellon you can figure pretty closely what you'll need in Vilene. Note that it's geared towards bag-making, but if you're an interfacing nerd you might still want to give it a perusal.
  • Whipstitch used to be an online fabric shop, but Deborah sold off her stock to make room in her bricks-and-mortar shop in Atlanta to be a sewing school. It's also an online community where she blogs and offers sewing e-courses. She recently posted this little bit on the difference between sewing to learn and learning to sew. I found it to be quite interesting on how the art and the craft of sewing can be viewed. I lost my temper while sewing something last night and fully intended to trash the item and start over. And then a little voice in my head piped up with "Sewing to learn, remember?" And so I kept on and finished and it all worked out fine in the end.
I must now trot off to eat my Chinese food that just got delivered and find out what happens on The Brady Bunch. It is my recent obsession. I know, I'm weird. That's not news to me. Happy Wednesday!

See what I did there? I said happy Wednesday and it's Wednesday Addams? And she's not happy...and...whatever. You know it's witty. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Take Note

Hi, guys! I'm wrapping up my weekend with Z-Man, snuggled on the couch watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off. He's nodding off but hanging in there--I fear he's taking mental notes for when he's in high school. I'm not helping because I'm pointing out the success of Ferris' plan is due to the fact that he's very good at covering all the bases. He cracks me up--when Cameron's dad's car goes flying out of the garage in reverse he turns to me and says "Insurance should cover that, so it's not like it's a total loss." Where the hell is he learning about insurance?

Anyway, if he wanted to take real notes I've got just the thing for him (how's that for a segue?). I came home from some errands yesterday and raced upstairs to do a fabric pull. I finally had some inspiration and motivation! Sometimes I get tired of making bags--not totes, but more complicated bags. So many pieces, so many steps. Sometimes I need a break. So I sewed up something fairly quick and easy--a cute little note-taker. I have a few more tweaks to make and then I'm thinking of putting a few of these in the shop.

Isn't that typewriter too cute? And the lovely positive thoughts flowing from the keys? Sweet! I fused the typewriter to some Heat 'n Bond and trimmed the shape. I then fused that to my text print and top-stitched it down. 

The first version I made was a little large without much sturdiness. With this one I shrunk it up a bit and I'm pretty pleased with the size. I inserted some cardboard in between the layers so it's pretty rigid. It closes with an elastic strap and is lined with a delightful-to-work-with linen/cotton blend.

There are a few slight measurement and construction bits I want to fiddle with a bit, but overall I like it! In the larger version a Kindle would fit in the left pocket. BUT I decided to make it smaller and leave that out. I don't know that I'd feel secure putting mine in there (great marketing, Bee!) and my general feeling is that people already have cases for their e-readers and tablets (every time I hear someone talking about getting one someone ALWAYS chimes in "Make sure you get a case for it!"). So I made this smaller so it's a true note-taker. Book club, PTA meetings, shopping lists, party planning, gift lists, whatever--it's a cute little place to take a note, keep coupons, whatever.

I know that in this digital age something like this seems very 'what's the point?' But sometimes I (and I know I'm not alone here) just want to write something. I don't want to figure out something on my phone or fire up my laptop just to do something as simple and quick as writing a note. I feel a little sad that a lot of kids today don't learn handwriting in school (the nephew asked me what the point of cursive is). While technology is marvelous, sometimes I want to unplug and go analog. I don't want to write the next great American novel in cursive or anything, but a to-do list with all my coupons/notes/receipts whatever? Just perfect.

I'm keeping this one for moi as there are a few wee kinks that I want to iron out in the final version, but I already know what I'm doing with it. I'm taking it to work--for my daily notes and jottings and to-dos, and also to store notes that are currently in scrap form on my desk and pinned to the wall that I don't always use but still need.

I had so much fun making this one and pulled out a stack of fabrics that inspired me to make more. Hopefully I can have some up in my shop by next week.

Side note: I'm in LOVE with these text prints that have been coming out. I try to snag them as I see them, even if it's in little bits. They get to be pretty hard to find after a bit. They're the one thing I'll add to my stash without a reason. Everyone needs a fabric guilty pleasure.

Linking up here this week:

Under the Table and Dreaming*** Skip to My Lou *** Pinkapotamus *** Sew Can Do *** Craftomaniac *** Homemaker on a Dime *** C.R.A.F.T. *** Sarahndipities *** Today's Creative Blog***  Funky Polkadot Giraffe ***Chef in Training *** My Girlish Whims *** Sew Much Ado *** Free Pretty Things for You *** Tea Rose Home *** Someday Crafts*** Somewhat Simple *** Fireflies and Jellybeans *** Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom  *** The Shabby Nest *** While He Was Napping *** Tatertots and Jello *** Be Different Act Normal *** To Sew With Love *** Craftionary **

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Few for Friday - #7

Hi chickens!!! We're halfway through February--do you believe that? It seems like it was just Christmas. Oy. My week was very quiet and low-key--I thought I was coming down with something, but just needed tea and rest. I indulged in my couch-crafting, as I'm still low on motivation, and did a bit of reading. I ordered fabric for a few projects and have been obsessively watching an auction on eBay that I need to remember to swoop in at the last minute and win. And now here we are. The seventh Friday of 2013.

We've been getting lots of mini snowstorms. The news gets all "OH myyyyy Goood! Buy a shovel!!" and then they have to be all "Well, we DID say it might shift which is what it did do, sooooo....." Almost as soon as it falls it's gone. No fun.

I've got the edges on their way to being straightened up and then I'll see where it goes. I don't think I have it in me or my fingertips to hand quilt this.

The day after I took this photo it was so gloomy and foggy it looked like some end of the world kind of movie. We went from snow to sun to fog back to sun and now maybe some snow this weekend.

 Snuggled under one blanket while making another. While wearing cushy soft rainbow socks. They give me special powers.

 Your obligatory sunset shot. The skies are so beautiful right now and I love the silhouettes of the spidery'll probably see more of these. Sorry. No, I'm not really...

So that's that. Oh! Here's a fun fact. Other than me, my dog is the only being I know who likes vanilla meringue cookies (those things that taste like Lucky Charms) AND candy conversation hearts--not at the same time, just both. Oh! And I said something today that was 'really funny.' At work I did one of those stumbly trip things but it was one where I couldn't cover it up and pretend I didn't just trip a little. I looked behind me and mumbled "Stupid ninja." I mean, obviously not to myself but for the benefit of the person who saw me trip. Huzzah for laughing at out silly selves :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Day of Lurve!

Happy Singles Awareness Day! Happy Al Capone Massacre Anniversary Day! Ummm....Happy Valentine's Day! I'll just stick with that.... :)

A day devoted to love and things that are pink and red can't be all bad, can it? And candy hearts. I'd offer you some, but the bowl is almost empty and they're my favorite so I can't. Sorry. Love ya!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I used to keep a diary religiously. For a long time. I went through phases where I would just write whatever, then would write basically a list of my activities for the day, and then ended up with your usual teenage/young-adult banter about boys and bitches, hahahahaha. Then I stopped. I used to feel an absolute need to write, that one day simply evaporated. Other than this blog I don't really write much anymore (except for the notebook I keep of quotes I come across that I like when reading). So the need to buy this item is inexplicable to me, but it was such a deep, yearning need I felt it in my stomach.

A perfect little hard-backed journal from the stationery aisle at Target. They always have the cutest notebooks which I can pass up, usually. But this time I couldn't. I held it and sighed. And put it back with a lingering touch, as though saying goodbye to someone you love more than life itself. I got two aisles away and simply had to go back for it. My feet were not under my own power, and some unseen force put it in my hands and shoved me towards the cashier. There was really nothing for it.

This is what graces the back cover, and is absolutely the most perfectly sweet house ever, right on down (or up?) to the flower boxes. You just know it's a house full of happy times and cheer, just by looking at it.

Even the page where you write your name is completely endearing. That bike doesn't look all that comfortable, but we don't care--we're wearing a sweet little dress and our hair is blowing out behind us as we head out to the countryside for a drinking picnic, it looks like.

And the front and back inside covers make me swoon. Do you understand at all why I needed it? Do you?

Here's my question, then....what the hell do I write in it? I'm not kidding. I've been thinking and thinking of what kinds of things would be worthy to reside in such a delightful little book and haven't thought of a thing. I was thinking of going all 'Harriet the Spy' and just writing down whatever passing fancy flits through my head. But I'm taking suggestions. What would you write?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yes, It's the Long as Same Means Different

Often when I am faced with something I'm not in the mood for I find it's best to just start. Starting is often the most difficult part and once I'm in the swing of it I wonder what the big deal was. Such was the case with this bag. I thought if I did a little bit each day it would be easy to get through. But then, since I was going to do 'just a little bit' it was easy to put off. But on Saturday I went through it like gangbusters and now have the first bag of 2013.

I've made this bag so many times I should be able to do it in my sleep, but I felt a bit out of practice so I had to consciously think of each step instead of going through the motions. I did a few things differently this time, though. First, I used a different interlining. I normally use fusible fleece for a soft, squishy bag. This time I was asked to try for something a bit stiffer. This is a curvy bag so I couldn't go ultra stuff. I used sew-in Peltex for this one. And jiminy! Did I have a time of it! Holy crap!!

It wasn't too thick to sew through or anything like that. It was just verrrrrry shifty. Even my handy Clover clips didn't do it - I had to use oodles of pins to keep everything straight for stitching. After it's all together you can't tell the difference until you touch it. If I were to go this route again I would do the sides with fleece, but give it a bit of stand-up structure by doing the gusset in the Peltex.

Another thing I did differently was how I sewed on the side pockets. I had the exact amount of fabric I needed so I didn't want to cut up the gusset and sew it into the seams in case I messed up. Usually I press a fold and then topstitch it down. This time I sewed it down first then folded it up so it looks like it's a separate seam but it's easier to do.

I also put some elastic on top of the inside pocket. Sometimes when I sew the pockets into the gusset instead of flat on to the lining piece I get a bit of a gap situation. This way the elastic tightens it up a little bit but doesn't restrict access to the pockets (I tried, and my fat hands fit in them :)  There's a regular zipper pocket on the other side.

Also, I changed how I tie on my zipper pull tie. Usually I work the ends through and make a big cumbersome knot that seems weird. This time I figured out how to make that loop (which for some reason has eluded me previously). I stitched it down to keep it from getting lost, but it's on there pretty secure anyway.

My new favorite thing to do with bag straps is to sew several rows of top-stitching. It makes for one very sturdy-feeling strap and adds a bit of a kick to it too. I enjoy little details like that.

My eternal favorite with this bag--the piping and the pleats. This is one quite roomy bag that has quite a few pockets to it. It's for a friend of mine--it's her Christmas present. I know, whaaaat? I gave her a bag "gift certificate" for Christmas, anything she wanted, and she picked the design she always goes with. I was quite shocked by her fabric choice--she's very neutral, so I was surprised when she showed me this one. It was such a nice fabric to work with--very soft, yet sturdy. So I'm not sure if this is the first bag of 2013 or the last one of 2012...but here it is.

Linking up here:

Under the Table and Dreaming*** Skip to My Lou *** Pinkapotamus *** Sew Can Do *** Craftomaniac *** Homemaker on a Dime *** C.R.A.F.T. *** Sarahndipities *** Today's Creative Blog***  Funky Polkadot Giraffe ***Chef in Training *** My Girlish Whims *** Sew Much Ado *** Free Pretty Things for You *** Tea Rose Home *** Someday Crafts*** Somewhat Simple *** Fireflies and Jellybeans *** Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom  *** The Shabby Nest *** While He Was Napping *** Tatertots and Jello *** Be Different Act Normal *** To Sew With Love *** Craftionary ***

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Few for Friday - #6

Mmmmmm, Friday. I'm quite pleased about that. Side note: right before I started typing 'I'm' I must have inadvertently moved my cursor to the search box. As I typed 'I'm' my options were: I'm shmacked, I'm sergio, I'm bored, I'm sexy and I know it, and I'm coming home. Shmacked was the number one choice. WHAT are people searching for? Also? My sister informed me that if you go to Google and type "where is" the first auto-guess is "Where is Chuck Norris?" Awesome.

Anyhoodle, here are this week's pictures.

My brother had us over for a combo Super Bowl/birthday party for Z-man. I bought him this candle as a gift--it's honey-scented  and made from beeswax--it smells sooooo good. I kind of didn't want to give it to him but he burns candles whereas I buy candles and forget about them. I got it at Target, so it's not like I can't go get one quite easily.

Everything's blurry here because it's quite the action shot of everyone sitting. Aiden is reaching for Zach's snacks, Zach is not finished with them so he's trying to protect his eats, and Alicia is trying to keep Aiden from eating anything that happens into his path.

 After a long break from sewing I'm easing back into it this week. The winter blahs have me low on motivation, so it's been a chore to cut and pin and fuse. I have a lengthy to-do list already, though, so I must snap out of it.

I kept trying to find a good spot to pull over and snap a pic of the setting sun, but this is the best I could do. A fiery sky, and a giant orange ball half-sunk behind the houses. I'm going to rig my car with a camera and a remote so I can take pictures while I'm driving without endangering everybody around me.

I'll see you folks soon! Hopefully with a finished handbag!


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