Sunday
Sep252011

Mr. Martha?

Ok.  Has this ever happened to you where you walk into the kitchen on a Sunday morning only to find your husband doing something he's NEVER IN HIS LIFE EVER DONE before ...

 

 

... making homemade vanilla of all things?  Since when was I married to Martha Stewart??!!  (Although note HIS idea of a "decorative bottle" - LOL!)

Disturbing, hilarious and endearing, all at the same time ...  ;)

Friday
Sep232011

Daisychain Alphabet Sampler

This past Spring, I was visiting one of my very favorite blogs and nearly fell over when I saw this beautiful sampler (pattern available as a PDF)!

I HAD TO MAKE IT!  I just HAD to.  I mean come ON people! 

Now you may or may not know that I like little.  Remember my obnoxious decision to make my FWQAL blocks 5" instead of 6 1/2"?  And the Mini-Series I started this week?  Well, I'm doing it again. 

But lemme 'splain .. there is a method to my madness.

See, Alicia's sampler is stitched with crewel wool which is thicker than embroidery floss.  I'm a flosser.  However, if I use the original pattern size with floss, the letters will look a little too "skinny" for me.  Plus, I want my sampler to fit easily in an 8 1/2" x 11" pre-made frame.

So I reduced the size of the pattern to about 70%.

Now I love Alicia's sense of style, but the colors she used for her version just wouldn't work in my house.  So I picked these little pretties. 

Have you tried COSMO embroidery floss yet?  I was a hard-core DMC girl until I tried these ... now I'm a Cosmo girl!  (Tee hee!)  But seriously, this stuff is awesome.  Super Buzzy is one online store that carries the entire collection of solids. 

I based the colors on my all.time.FAVORITE fabric lines - Paris Flea Market by Moda (2004?). 

You guys, if I could be reincarneted as fabric, THIS is what I would look like. 

So for the next little while I'll be sharing my progress with you here and there in amongst my Mini-Series & FQWAL and other silly things.  Not quite as big an undertaking as Project Simplify, but I hope it will entertain you a little.  And maybe inspire you to get the pattern and start stitching up one for yourself.  ;)

Thursday
Sep222011

More About Me

I've been blogging for a little while now, talking mostly quilting & motherhood ... and being an occasional bad driver

I should qualify that last thing by saying I've never hurt myself or any one else with a vehicle.  I've just damaged my vehicle(s).  And my husband's.  And maybe my dad's. 

And maybe my neighbor's truck.  (Dude, he shoulda KNOWN better than to park at the bottom of an icy hill in the winter in Canada ... just sayin'.)

Oh yeah, and maybe my sister's brand new car.  Word to the wise ... if you're driving through the mountains, go AROUND big rocks that have fallen onto the highway - not OVER them.  Boulder vs. oil pan ... guess who's gonna win.  That might seem obvious now, but it wasn't so much when I was going like 90kph (55mph) very early one morning ... maybe ... (sorry, Sister!)

But there's more to me than just quilts and insurance claims.  I embroider.  Yep, I do.

So why haven't I mentioned this before?  Well, last summer (2010) I kinda messed up my hand by embroidering WAAAAAY too much.  (One WOULD think embroidery is safer than driving ... unless you've met me.)

I ended up looking like this for a few months ...

I know.  Super attractive, right?  I felt sorta like this ...

... just without the cool.  (But it does get you out of doing dishes and stuff for a little while!)

And then after a cortizone injection (for De Quervain tendonitis if you're curious), I looked like this for a few more months.

Only slightly less ridiculous. 

After months and months (and months) of physio ... and by the way, I was my physiotherapist's very first embroidery injury - an honor I mention with great pride ... my hand is almost back to normal. 

But I have to be very careful.  No more sitting on my butt for 10 hours straight with a needle & thread in hand.  I'm having to employ things like "balance" and "moderation" in my daily activities.  (Yuck.  Hate those words.  Have I ever mentioned that I'm also sometimes a little immature?)

So back to being careful, I still get into trouble if I spend a few evenings in a row watching an entire season of "Weeds" on DVD (for example) while doing this ...

My hand was very cranky for a few day's after all that cutting. 

(And my mouth needed a bar of soap!  Sheesh.  "Showtime" (not HBO, my bad!) tends to bring out the sailor in me ...)

But never mind that.

The reason I'm bringing up the embroidery thing is because if you happen to stop by tomorrow, I don't want you to think you came to the wrong blog when you see this ...

Wednesday
Sep212011

Across the Pond Pouch

As I promised last week, here is the first mini-charm square project.  I picked the new "Butterscotch & Roses" by Fig Tree to start. 

She was pretty easy, quick and fun to make!

Here's how it went.

First, the squares sewn together and quilted.  The pattern doesn't say to quilt the patchwork, but I did anyways because ... well ... because that's just the way I roll.  ;)

Found an older Fig Tree FQ my stash for the lining - perfect!

I didn't feel like going all the way to the store just for a zipper so I used the best color match I had on hand.  Not bad!

And I always trace templates so I can preserve the original.  (Learned that one the hard way ...)

Here are the 2 body pieces & the lining cut out.

(Sorry, I got so into my sewing I TOTALLY forgot to take zipper installation photos!)

The outside ...

And the lining ...

There just so happened to be two cream squares in the pack so I deviated from the pattern again (call me a rebel!) and added these little fabric tabs to the zipper ends - just makes for a little nicer finish, I think. 

They aren't necessary ...

But see how they look?

And one more leftover square - cut diagonally - makes the perfect little zipper pull.

Just as pretty on the inside. ;)

 

Not bad for 39 - 2 1/2" squares, half a FQ, batting scraps, a zipper and a few hours.

Super cute, eh?  If you're interested in me making another one of these as a tutorial, please leave me a comment.  If there's enough interest, I'd be happy to do one up. :)

Tuesday
Sep202011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 17

Red, White & Pink

#54 - Kitchen Woodbox

I'm trying very hard to resist the urge to put a fussy cut flower in the middle of every "square-in-the-middle" block.  But right now I'm kinda thinking this one might need a little "su'mm su'mm". 

(That was my totally lame attempt at saying "something something" gangsta style.  When am I going to learn that I should just stick to my middle-aged haus frau vocabulary?  Hmmmm ... NEVER!  Being silly is too much fun. 

My husband says I'm the funniest person I know.  Well, I wouldn't go THAT far.  There are plenty of people who are WAY funnier than me.  But I do make myself laugh. :)

#17 - Cats & Mice

Kinda white.  But I like it.

 

Monday
Sep192011

Project Simplify - THE MINI SERIES!

Howdy y'all!

I'm very excited because today is the first of nine "Mini-Series Mondays" here at Pretty by Hand!

That's right, you heard me.  But not the same kind of mini-series I watched on tv during my babysitting days in the 80s like "Shogun" & "Thorn Birds".  This mini-series doesn't include forbidden love with a priest or anything like that.

My love of little things inspired me to come up with this Project Simplify encore ... a series of mini quilts!  (Get it?  Mini Quilts = Mini Series?  I know, I'm witty beyond belief.)

This lil' cutie is 2-3/4".

Back in April when I was making the first quilt, I had some scraps that were just BEGGING to be made into something.  And when I wasn't allowed to do any work on the quilt while my helper was in school, I HAD to find SOMETHING to do with my time ... because, you know, housework is over-rated.

And plus I started thinking that since I didn't know which quilts I'd be donating, it would be nice to have a little souvenier of each project. 

Ok, that sounds TOTALLY lame right now as I'm typing this - souvenier quilt of a quilt?  For real??  That's just taking fabric hoarding to a whole other level.  But it seemed like a good idea at the time ...

I wasn't confident enough with my FMQing back then so I chickened out and did simple straight lines.

This miniature version of Square One measures 13 1/2" x 16 1/2".   (Don't even THINK about calling it a placemat!  You can ask my husband what will happen if you do ... )

So for the next 8 weeks, I'll be bringing you Mini-Series Mondays - all the quilts from Camille's book  Simplify miniaturzed.  Nothing like milking a good idea 'til it's dead, right?

FWQAL is temporarily rescheduled for Tuesdays because let's face it ... we all love a good alliteration, don't we?  Mini-Series Mondays just sounds way better than Mini-Series Tuesdays.  :)

And what would a Mini-Series be without a teaser for the next episode?

Sorry ladies, no Richard Chamberlain ... I asked ... he doesn't do quilt blogs ;)

Thursday
Sep152011

My Kind of (Buried) Treasure

When I was tidying up my stash on the weekend, I found these three mini-charm packs (they were buried ... under more fabric). 

2 1/2" squares ... pretty small.  And until today, I really didn't know what to do with them.

I already used a fourth mini charm pack - Bonnie & Camille's "Ruby" - for one of the Project Simplify pillows.

It turned out so beautifully (if I do say so myself).  But I don't want to make cushion covers or baby quilts or placemats.  Not that there's anything WRONG with those things.  Its just that the colors in these remaining mini packs don't coordinate with any room in my home.  So I was wanting to make something "non-home-decor" with them.

Well what do you know ... also during my clean-up, I unearthed this cute pattern that came with a mini charm pack .  Don't judge.  Being a little disorganized can make for the best treasure finds ... my kind of booty!  ;).  

It's for a little patchwork pouch.  If you're interested, you can download this MODA pattern for free.

Remember that fairsies math rules in my house.  There are 3 charm packs for 3 girls, including me (somehow I think my husband isn't really all that interested in a pretty patchwork pouch ...)  How perfect is that?

I'm intriqued by the idea of making a little pouch like this with darts.  And with making something I'll actually use with the mini squares.

I'll let you know how I make out.

Wednesday
Sep142011

Project Simplify - Finish Line!

Ok.  Deep breath.  Got a lot to cover today so I'll just start.  (If you're new here, you may enjoy reading the "Starting Line" post here.)

My main objectives for this Project were:

  • reduce my fabric stash
  • learn how to free-motion quilt
  • make every quilt/pillow in Simplify with my daughters
  • donate quilts & pillows to help raise money for non-profit organizations

Let's see how I did.

1) Stash Redux - CHECK!

My "before" stash ...

In terms of yardage & weight my stash lost:

75yds / 69m (holy crap!) and 27lbs / 12kg (wish I'D lost 27 lbs ...)

Here's what that looks like ...

empty shelf space!!!

I know I wasn't supposed to buy any fabric (who was I trying to kid?).  I should have qualified that with "to use for the quilts & pillows in the book".  I was successful by that standard.  However,  ...

Now this TOTALLY surprises me.  I had no idea there was this much space left!  That should give you an idea of how messy my sewing room is most of the time ... told ya I had to clean up to take these pictures! ;)

I really thought I'd bought at least as much as I'd used up and maybe even more.  I'm very happy to still have some space.  It would be really nice to hang on to that "breathing room" and fill it with things like pictures and other pretty dust collecters.  But knowing me, that empty space will be filled with junk in about 30 seconds ... ;)   (Girl's gotta have SOME secrets!)

I also finished 14 full or partial spools so my thread drawer is a little tidier.

I went through 85 bobbins (yes, I kept track).

I broke 5 needles.

Mostly from doing this ...

'cause I'm a career refuse-to-pull-pins-out-before-I-sew-over-them kinda quilter and am not likely to ever change (despite an emergency trip to the sewing repair guy a few years ago). 

But a few from doing this ...

2) Learn FMQing - CHECK!

From this,

and this,

and this,

to this,

this,

and this!  It still freaks me out that I can actually DO this now!  :)

A word about FMQing.  I'm not going to be obnoxious here and tell you that if I can do it, ANYONE can do it.  I'm just going to say that I started this project with a strong desire to learn, and I practiced until I got it.  Sounds hokey, I know.  But I forced myself to work at it - and shamed myself into sticking with it by blogging about it!

3) Make every quilt & pillow in the book with my daughters - CHECK!

I made 9 quilts and 4 pillows and my girls helped me with 8 quilts (fairsies math ...)  We had so much fun and I'm super proud of them for humoring their mama ;).

4) Donate quilts & pillows to help raise money for non-profit organizations - CHECK!

I donated these two quilts to my friend's literacy fundraiser.  Together they raised $125.

Next I donated this quilt top to "Quilts for Quake Survivors".

I missed the deadline by like a day and didn't really know what happened to it until "Happy Zombie" Monica surprised the heck out of me with this post!  How weird is THAT.  I was blown away by that coincidence. :) 

Still don't know what's going to happen with the quilt.  But it will be used to make money for someone ... somehow ... I'll keep you posted.

Finally, I gave this quilt & pillow set to a fundraiser for Orchestra Iowa

The silent auction event is in a few months.  I'll let you know about that one too.

Well.  I guess that's it ...

... or is it?  Awh, come on.  I wouldn't just end it like that, would I?  ;)

I've actually been keeping a "little" surprise for you.  I had a "little" flash of inspiration waaay back when I was making the very first quilt for Project Simplify so I have a "little" encore of sorts for you. 

I'll fill you in on Monday. 

But it just might have something to do with these ...

Need a size reference?

tee hee!

Tuesday
Sep132011

Note to Self #5

Never use misguided optimism when parking a minivan. 

For example, "I probably won't fit, but maybe I'm wrong!" can end up looking like this ...

Apparently, the laws of physics don't care if you're late picking up someone from the airport.

(Again, reeeeeeeeeally sorry Honey!)

Notice the super awesome job I did getting TWO body parts instead of just one? 

Even the police officer who filled out the damage report was impressed.

"Go big or go home," right?

How about, "Just go early you nimrod so you can take your time finding a bigger parking spot ... "

Monday
Sep122011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 16

Pink & Yellow

Still catching up with yellow this week. 

How do YOU make your FQWAL blocks?  Me?  Well, I usually decide on colors first. 

When I was going through all the color combinations I've used so far, I realized I hadn't done pink & yellow together yet.  So I went searching for a good block.  And when I turned to this page and THE WORLD CAME TO A SCREECHING HALT.

See, I bought this magazine a little while ago.

And this lovely block by the Happy Zombie just so happens to be in it. 

In fact, it was reading about it on her blog that made me go buy the issue!

Now, you all know how much I love pink, right?  And in case you didn't know, the very first quilt I ever made was a Grandmother's Flower Garden hexagon quilt.  So when Monica - the ordained minister of all things quilty- married two of my all-time favorite elements together in a block (pink PLUS hexies) ... well ... to continue with the analogy, honeymoon!

Or should I say ...

#49 - HoneyCOMB

I messed around a bit with the layout.  I wanted it to look more Happy Zombie-ish.  :)

 

# 14 - Butterfly at the Crossroads

I.LOVE.THIS.BLOCK.  It makes me feel very happy.  I even like the little accidental paisley bubble in the top right corner.  ( I SWEAR I didn't fussy cut it!)

(And yes, that's a nasty little scorch mark on the bottom left butterfly ... I have a love/hate relationship with my iron.  Every once in a while it likes to remind me who's boss.  Clearly, not me.)

Thursday
Sep082011

Project Simplify - Day 58

Sorry I made you wait for this reveal, but I'm really not wanting to let go of Project Simplify.  Guess I'm dragging it out as long as possible.  I hate good byes.  :(

Here she is ... "Crossroads", as christened by my helper.

Wow.  I absolutely love this quilt.  (Have I said that before?)

You know, I don't usually go for peachy, coraly, browny, mossy colors.  But there is just something about "Buttercup" that tugs at my heartstrings.  I think the attraction might be sentimental because my Grandma Irma was a redhead and these were DEFINITELY her colors.

So remember I used a Fat Eighth bundle instead of the required pre-cut strips for this quilt?  And I was going to just cut as many blocks as I could with the fabric I had and build the quilt as big as I could - without a border?  Well, it ended up being square - the same width as the one in the book, but about 8" shorter.  Not bad!

It's perfect for a dash of color on a sofa, cuddling or a little extra warmth folded at the foot of a bed.  Cozy, anyway you slice it.

And about going borderless (again) here - I think it makes this quilt look more "old-fashioned" for some reason.

When my helper and I were laying out the quilt, I organized all the "blocks" on the floor and then we'd slide them into place.  She came up with the idea of us taking turns like you would playing a game.  She placed a block, then I did. 

I loved watching her because she's dyslexic and some things are a little tricky for her.  I will say, however, that the layout of this quilt required some mental gymnastics for me too!  It's not difficult, but it does take a little concentration.  I think the exercise of laying out this quilt was a good activity for her.  (Ugh, that totally makes me sound like a mom, doesn't it?!!!)

I'm really happy about the backing, too.  I had a small stack of leftover Fig Tree "Allspice Tapestry" fat quarters from a few years ago so I pieced them together for the back.  The colors work great with "Buttercup".

I'm surprised when I realize I've never made a back entirely out of FQs before.  And if it weren't for my mission of using what I have instead of buying more fabric, I prob'ly wouldn't have used them up here. 

See, I have this thing ... (here she goes again with a thing!)  I've made backings using up "leftovers" in the past, thinking I was being all smart & frugal.  But a few times I've regretted it soooo much because later I'd be making something else and I'd NEED THAT SCRAP RIGHT THERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT BACKING for this new quilt.  I've even seriously contemplated UNcross-hatching a quilt to get to a scrap!  (Am I the only one with this thing?)

So whenever I piece a backing now - which I almost always do - a little part of me is nervous that I'll regret using that last scrap of fabric.  And using up 12 perfectly good FQs is really going out on a limb for me.

But in the end, this FQ backing was super easy.  And they make the quilt reversible, too ... 'specially with all my fancy schmancy fmqed flowers!  tee hee ;)

Stash Redux:

  • Yardage - 5.8 yds / 5.3 m
  • Weight - 2.8 lbs / 1.2 kg

Alright folks.  Give me the weekend to put together a "Project Simplify - Stick a Fork In Me I'm Done" post ... my fabric stash is in desperate need of tidying up (ugh, I could hyperventilate just thinking about it) so I can determine how well I did with my "simplifying". 

(I gotta bad feeling I didn't do so good ... )

Wednesday
Sep072011

Same As Last Year, But Different

I borrowed the pattern for big sister's lunch bag from someone a long time ago and have since memorized the pattern from making it several times.  I'm sorry I can't name the designer or pattern.  If you know who it is, PLEASE tell me so I can give them proper credit.  This pattern really is a nifty use for charm squares.

I made this same bag for my daughter last year and she loved it so much she insisted I make it again to match her messenger bag. 

I had so few gray "Ruby" scraps left that she had to pick another color to go with.  She went for the pinks.  (I had NOTHING to do with her choice, by the way.)

And all you Tupperware lovers, yes, that IS a gray lid from the "Miami Vice" pastel color set I bought in the '80s ... tee hee ... I NEVER in a million years thought I'd be so happy to have that gray lid!!

The placemat made with 2 leftovers from the strips cut for the bag ...

She and I both LOVE this super yummy Susan Branch print from ... 2007. 

It WOULD be in a forbidden pile if it weren't for the fact that I have like 10 metres (yds) of the stuff.  Can you say "impulse buy"?  I think I was fantasizing about kitchen curtains or something ...

She wanted it for both the inside of the bag,

and the reverse side of the placemat.

Ok.  I'm done with the back to school sewing projects ... for another year ... I think.

Tuesday
Sep062011

The Girl's Gotta Eat!

Well, I didn't quite get all the back-to-school sewing done before the first day ... but I had a productive weekend.

Here's Little Miss Grade 3er's new lunch bag.  Again, no pattern.  I've had this design in my head for a while.  It was nice to finally get it out. :)

We're both really happy with how it turned out. :)

She picked the same fabric as her pencil case, 'cept in pink

(brought to you by Queen of the Obvious ...)

I didn't know if 2 Fat Quarters were enough to make this lunch bag so I asked her to pick another fabric for the lining, just in case.

She went for this little cutie.

This fabric WAS in (another) forbidden pile ... there are several in my stash.  Turns out I didn't need it for the bag, but I did need something for her placemat and thought what could POSSIBLY be a better use of this sweet print than for a little girl's placemat? 

Uh, nothing?!

I designed the bag to fit her lunch containers:  thermos, tupperware & space for granola bar, etc.

Perfect!

Now.  The question is, how long is it going to stay white?  Oh well, at least there are these pictures to remember it fondly. ;)

Monday
Sep052011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 15

Green, Yellow & White

I was going through my blocks and realized I'm a little shy on yellow, prob'ly because I've never been a huge fan of that color.  Not sure why.  Maybe it's because I don't look good in yellow.  I don't think I have a speck of it in my wardrobe and I don't have anything decor-wise that's yellow, except for a few quilts that happen to have a little bit in them. 

Plus it reminds me of things like jaundice.

When I'm sewing, I tend to use yellow for literal applications.  Like when I make a quilt with a house in the design, I want it to look like someone's home, so I'll use yellow to make it look like the lights are on ...  

Hmmm, maybe I SHOULD wear more yellow!  tee hee

#41 - Friendship Star

Ok, WHOA!  The yellow seems a bit TOO yellow here.  (Although my amateur photoshopping may have something to do with the exaggerated flouresence here.)

I'm hoping it'll look ok when mixed in with all the other blocks.

#50 - Honey's Choice

This turned out to be such a sweet little block!  I love the little pinwheels.

I'm just wondering if maybe I shoulda used a color for the middle square - like red or pink ...

Friday
Sep022011

Dear Thy Beloveide ...

No, this isn't an impromptu lesson in Ye Olde English.My daughters were playing "Wedding" with their stuffed animals the other day. 

Here's the script they wrote out.

This kind of stuff has got to be (one of) my all time favorite things about being a mom. 

They crack me UP!

Happy & safe Labour Day long weekend.

Thursday
Sep012011

Pretty Pencil Case

Today is the first day of school for us and I'm happy knowing both my girls will have a little something made with love from me in their desks ...

You see, fairsies math rules in my house.  So just because I bought little sister's backpack doesn't mean I can't make her a pretty pencil case too.

Lecien's Flower Sugar fabric.  I know.  You're totally shocked. ;)  She picked them.  She wanted polka dots to go with her backpack.   She was sooooo happy when I told her she could have it because it was in the "forbidden" pile with my FWQAL fabrics.

FYI, the polka dot/floral/stripe is one print ... no piecing required!  I love using unusual stripes like this.  Can you say "cheater panel" at its finest? :)

I LOVE this print.  However, I can't use it for my FWQAL blocks because the print is too big. 

But it's absolutely PERFECT for a sweet little Grade 3er's pencil case!

Did you notice my boo boo with the lining?  When I was cutting out a piece of batting, somehow the lining got stuck to the batting underneath and I didn't notice it until it was too late.  So I had to piece it ...

I still have a few more back to school projects to show you next week.

Wednesday
Aug312011

Scrap Pencil Case

Ok.  First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the Messenger Bag love yesterday!  Wow.  You guys made me blush & tear up ... all at the same time.  A girl could get used to that kind of affirmation!  I'll try to not let it go to my head. ;) 

And I've heard the hue & cry for a pattern/tutorial.  Gee whiz!  I'm totally blown away.  This feels so nice to have people not only like what I made, but want to make one too.  I think I should wait and let my daughter "test drive" the bag for a bit ... see if any fatal design flaws show up.  I'll keep you posted.

Now I'm afraid that Messenger Bag is a hard act to follow.  Today's project isn't quite a spectacular, but I think just as cute. ;)

               *          *          *          *          *          *          *

I'm always surprised by what can be done with scraps. 

Explains why my scrap bin is overflowing ...

Here's what I managed to eke out from the Messenger Bag leftovers.

A coordinating pencil case!

Cute, eh?  She said she wanted to sleep with it. ;)  I think that means she likes it.

Even the zipper pull is a fabric scrap ... 3/8" x 6".  Little fingers really appreciate them.  FYI, 1/4" is just a bit too narrow.  It will rip apart.  Just sayin'.

I'll show you little sister's pencil case tomorrow.

 

PS:  Thank you :)

Tuesday
Aug302011

Back to School Messenger Bag

Here it is ... the messenger bag.

Happily I didn't have to resort to implicating an imaginary dog ...  ;). 

What do you think?

My daughter loves it.  I'm sorta impressed with it myself.

One fabric change and few additions were required since my last post. 

First, I talked her into going with the polka dot instead of the red tonal - I thought the dots would look just a bit softer.  Plus, dots are happy ... and little sister's backpack has them.  I like doing things like that. 

I needed more fabrics because the pocket on the back was an afterthought and I made the flap bigger than originally planned (better too big than too small) so we added the pretty scallop and flowers to the mix. 

She resisted the flowers a bit because she was trying so hard to achieve her idea of grown-up, but it was the last gray print in the bundle and she reeeeeeeally wanted to stick with the one color.  She's quite happy with it on the inside. ;)

And I forgot to show you the fabrics she chose for the inside lining ...

Aqua!

When I started making all the different components of the bag, I asked her how she wanted me to top-stitch each piece.  She asked what her choices were. 

"Well, my dear child.  That is an EXCELLENT question.  Let me show you what your mama can do NOW!"

One problem:  we both became crippled with indecision.  Who knew an FMQ repertoire could cause a problem?  haha

So, she went with a few different ones ...

Front

Back (with a little heart in the top right corner ... because I love her.)

A small monogram for the flap embellishment was all she wanted with the FMQ flowers.  And for the first time ever I tried my hand a raw-edge applique.  Turned out great!  Thank you Miss Amy for the inspiration ;)

I added a large pocket to the back and a handle for hanging on a hook.

I installed an easy-to-use zipper on the inside ... TWICE.  (Yep ... I knew y'all were waiting for my screw-up confessional.)  The first time it went in upside down.  It was late and I was tired so I didn't take a picture of it.  But here's the evidence. 

Second time ...

She INSISTED on a red zipper ... to go with all the little red accents on the bag.  She's so cute. 

I used two different fabrics for the zipper to "make do".  They are the leftovers from the front and back panels.  A little scrappy ... but not TOO scrappy.

And check out the shoulder pad!  Thanks for the suggestion, Kate. 

I made the entire bag with 10 fat quarters - no yardage - and only scraps for leftovers ...

Check back tomorrow to see what I did with them.

Monday
Aug292011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 14

Pink & Green

I remember when I was growing up my aunt told me a "rule" about fashion in the '70s - "pink with green should never be seen" - meaning these two colors didn't go together.

Whoever made that up was a very, VERY bad person.  I think this color combination is not only perfect, it's essential to life as we know it. 

#61 - Northern Lights

#58 Mother's Dream

Turns out third time really IS the charm for this block. 

Attempt #1 was 1/4" too small. 

I'm making my blocks 5" instead of 6-1/2" ... ;) 

Attempt #2 was 1/8" too small. 

I do like things perfect and all, but I don't normally go to this much trouble to MAKE things perfect.  The older I get, the easier it is to say "oh well".

#3 - juuuuuuuuuuust right. ;) 

Apparently late night sewing isn't always the smartest use of one's time ...

Friday
Aug262011

Back To School Prep

Five years ago when my oldest daughter started Kindergarten, I made her a backpack for school.  (Sorry, no picture ... it was salvaged for parts a few years ago.)  It was the prettiest backpack ever.  I vowed to myself that my girls were going to have brand new handmade backpacks every September for the rest of their lives. ;) 

So far, I've kept that promise.  But I'm about to break it.

I had a weird moment of weakness this summer when we were shopping for school clothes and I saw this ...

I thought it was perfect for my little one! 

I dunno.  Something about the pink & happy polka dots.  And the navy.  I couldn't even believe the words coming out of my mouth as I asked her if she'd like it for school.  She said yes.  I wasn't sure how I felt about that.

So right now I'm sorta sad that I broke my informal promise to make two new backpacks every year (until they flat out refuse to take ANYTHING homemade to school because "that is SO NOT COOL ... no one ELSE does, MOM!")  (Ouch! Stick a knife in my heart already!)  But I'm also sorta relieved that I only have to make one this year.

So.  My Grade 5er decided she needs something more sophisticated this year ... because she's not a little kid anymore - she's TEN.  So she's requested a messenger bag. 

Ok.  I can do that.

I also gave her freedom to pick anything (well, ALMOST anything) from my stash.  She went straight for these ...

The grays from Bonnie & Camille's new "Ruby" line.  She thinks this is a very grown up color.  I agree.

(I know!  She isn't a pink girl like her mom.  I'm slowly coming to terms with that ... although sometimes I wonder if she was accidentally switched in the hospital.)

I don't have any yardage - just these FQs.  So it will look sorta patchy.  But not TOO patchy (so I've been directed).

She also wants just a little bit of decoration on the flap.  We're thinking about either applique or embroidery in red.  Perhaps a monogram.  Or a heart.  Or flowers.  Or a combination.  Or something else we haven't thought of yet.  I'm workin' without a net here ... or a pattern. 

I've actually never made a messenger bag before.  This is my rough sketch which has been approved by my client.

I can hardly wait to get sewing.  I hope it turns out!  I'll show it to you when it's done ... if it looks good.  If not, then I'll lie and tell you the dog ate it. 

'Cept we don't have a dog ...