Monday
Jun022014

japanese hexagon flap bag

This isn't the first time I've made this Hexagon Flower Flap bag.  In fact, it's the fourth.  I made three versions of it as shop samples and taught a few classes on it.  But that was ... wow, like 8 years ago!  If I recall correctly (and that's a big if these days), this was the first "Japanese" bag I ever made.  It also started my love affair with Japanese bag-making techniques, patterns, craft books & magazines, and of course fabrics. 

It's a clever little design with the hexie flap and the little snaps inside so you pleat the opening or leave them undone.  I was inspired by the gorgeous Daiwabo acorn/stripe print I found last year (sorry, very hard to find) and I used old scraps from my precious Japanese fabric stash for the hexagons.

I wish I could have found silver or brass snaps in my cupboard, but I had to settle for black.  It makes me wince just a bit when I see it.  Maybe if I remember the next time I'm at the notions store I will get a better colour and replace it.

Tuesday
May272014

everything but the kitchen sink

I hope you don't mind me doing only little-ish sewing projects lately.  I've had a serious craving for a few months now to make a nice big quilt.  Nothing complicated.  Just a bunch of squares or triangles or something.  But I don't dare start because of our impending move (late-July ... ?). 

The last time we moved it was just me and him and a few pieces of secondhand furniture.  Seventeen years adds a lot of weight - two kids, more stuff, (too much fabric ... if there is such a thing).  We're only moving 2 kms (1.2 miles) away.  It will take longer to actually LOAD the moving van than it will to DRIVE to the new house.  I've been slowly packing a box here and a box there for months.  I even tempted fate and packed all the winter stuff last weekend.  I feel rather unsettled - almost displaced. 

So when it comes to starting a big quilting project, I'm afraid that it won't get finished.  And then it will get all disorganized and messed up and then I will shove it all into a bag and toss it into the box marked Sewing UFOs and then mayhem will ensue and life as I know it will turn into an endless state of chaos and then I will die and my tombstone will read, "Here lies a quilter who couldn't land her UFOs" or "She got carried away by her UFOs" or "May she rest in pieces" or "She snipped her last connecting thread" or ... I dunno ... something ridiculous.

So.  My point is that today's offering is yet another little thing.  I played around with pretty fabric, lace, a label, patchwork, fussy cutting, machine applique, felt, ribbons, novelty trim, sequins and beads ... and they all went into this diminutive 3.5" x 4" sewing case.  I guess you could say I used nearly everything but the kitchen sink for this project.  But the best thing was that it went together quickly.

Now.  If only moving a house was that quick.

(Strawberry fabric available here.)

*     *     *     *     *

Congratulations to Estee C. who says she is a "labeller wannabe"!  You won a copy of Lori Holt's Great Granny Squared book.  Thank you to all of you for playing along.  It seems I'm in good company when it comes to not quite getting around to labeling my quilts. :)

Friday
May232014

if at first you do not succeed ...

I made this music bag a little while ago for my daughter, but it was too small because I didn't use an actual music book to measure the size (I know ... sometimes I do the silliest things).

This time, I did use a music book. 

HOWEVER, apparently she also takes a 3-ring binder to her lessons, which - of course - does NOT fit.

Sooo, I guess the third time is the charm ... or at least I hope it will be.  Thank goodness this bag is really quick and easy.

(Floral fabric available here, and it's on sale too!)

Monday
May192014

great granny sew along & giveaway 

Hello and Happy Monday! 

Welcome to the final installment of the Great Granny Squared Sew Along with Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet and Fat Quarter Shop.  If you've been sewing along, you know the drill - I've got photos of this week's project, which is a ton of fun to make by the way - and a link to your homework PDF, as well as a copy of Lori's new book to give away to one of you. :)

The last thing you need to make for this quilt - but certainly not the least - is the Label Block

It's a whimsical change from the traditionally little label we so often associate with quilts - and it has a blank square in the middle of the block for you to customize with whatever embroidery design you like. 

Lori's book has lovely label ideas and embroidery templates.  I started my stitched square with Lori's floral motif and then did a little designing of my own.

Since I don't need a quilt label at present I took another idea from Lori's book - adding a border to my block - and turned it into a zippered cushion cover.

Not surprisingly, one of my girls requested it for her room in our new house.  So what about the other girl?  Well, this block is so quick and easy that I didn't need any arm-twisting whatsoever to whip up another one ...

For those of you who don't embroider - I know you're out there ;) - try adding a little ribbon to the center square as an alternative to stitching.

(A few extra details on the back of a cushion is never a bad thing.)

For more inspiration, check out my labelling partners over at Pink Penguin and Lily's Quilts.  And remember to add your photos to the Great Granny Squared Flickr Page to be entered for the weekly prize.

Without further ado, I'd like to give away a copy of this beautiful book, which is page after page of gorgeous photography, inspiring designs and easy-to-follow patterns.  If you'd like a chance to win, leave a comment on this post (not an email) telling me if you are a labeller, a non-labeller, or - like me - a labeller with good intentions who doesn't always get around to it. 

This giveaway is open to all and closes Sunday May 26th.  I'll announce the winner soon after.   Good luck to you!

Monday
May122014

it all started with tiny pink flowers

I'm referring to this sweet new Tilda print that just so happens to be the perfect scale for 1/2" hexagons ...

... which just so happen to be the perfect size for a little hexagon pincushion.  (I made this one last year and finally got around to making another one ... for me this time.)

I added some linen, a hint of pink gingham & embroidery, and a mother-of-pearl button and then called it a day.

I filled it with ground walnut shells - as I do with all my pincushions because I love the weightiness and form you get with them - very different from toy stuffing.  (I get my shells in the reptile bedding department at a local pet supply shop.)

I even have the perfect pintoppers.  (You can find them here.)

Happy Monday, y'all!

Friday
May092014

these things are like popcorn ...

Bet you can't make just one.  I couldn't.  I think this is my ... ... 6th or 7th?  It is so my "go-to-quick-handmade" gift these days.  I hope you're not annoyed with me for making/showing too many of them.  I know they say variety is the spice of life, but sometimes life requires quick and easy - hold the cayenne please!

When I was told the birthday girl's favourite color is blue, I surveyed my stash for a few minutes.  Nothing really jumped out at me until I spied my PamKittyPicnic bundle. :)  She makes the best coordinates.  And I thought I'd see what my "ruler" cotton ribbon would look like as the handle this time.  Kinda fun, no?  Love how it pairs up with the "handmade" label.

Happy weekend!  (No snow in the forecast for us this time, thank goodness.)

Monday
May052014

when life gives you snow in may ...

Make a little drawstring bag and watch a movie that's been on your list for a while.  That's what I did this weekend. 

My daughter does NOT like the little bee/wasp tag.  I didn't like bugs at her age either.  But I thought it would be fun to have a bee buzzing around the cherry and strawberry blossoms on the print.

I also added a little lace trim and a fine taupe gingham ribbon for the string ... and then I watched this on Netflix. 

Thank you for all your snow empathy, by the way ... it turned out to be not so very bad after all.  The temperature was only just below freezing and there was no wind.  And it was pretty.  I saw a neighbour shoveling his sidewalk while wearing a winter jacket, shorts and flip flops.  That was funny.

Saturday
May032014

rendered speechless

What would you say?  I've run out of ways to express my feelings about this winter that just won't quit.

Thursday
May012014

"heeeey, macaron-a"

Sorry, couldn't resist ... every time I say macaron that song starts playing in my head.

This is my third little zippered macarona (#1 here and #2 with tutorial here).  Gosh are they ever fun to make.  And cute as a button too.  Kits are available here.

HAPPY FIRST DAY OF MAY!!! 

Monday
Apr282014

mushrooms, taupe & pink

On a scale of 1-10, how corny would it be for me to say I'm "tickled pink" with this pincushion?  Probably a 10, right?  I'm ok with that.  Me and corny - we go way back.

A rectangular pincushion has been on my to-do list for quite a while.  Started thinking about this idea with my Pretty Pairings Bundle and zoomed right in on the mushroom print.  I couldn't decide if I liked the pink or taupe better, so I found a way to not make that decision and used both.

I was going to embroider a little mushroom on the left side until it occurred to me that fussy cutting the fabric into a stamp would be faster ... and cuter too.

And those adorable pintoppers?  I know. :)  Got 'em from a good friend of mine here.  She even makes little mushrooms!  (So wishing I had one in my collection right now.)

Thursday
Apr242014

pretty pairs

Pink Castle Fabrics asked me to put together another FQ Blogger Bundle for them.  I said yes as fast as I could before they changed their mind. ;)

Lately I've been making lots of quick, little projects with only 2 fabrics.  Hence the inspiration behind this bundle I'm calling "Pretty Pairings" because that's exactly what they are - six FQ pairs, an adorable print and a coordinating solid.  Simple.

Like this fabulous mixing bowl print - by my bloggie friend Lori Holt - with a nice clear aqua.  I can see it as pot holders or oven mitts ... something kitcheny.

And then these macarons by Yuwa with a pale linen ... I can't stop coming up with ideas for this print.  I think I'm going to make a round case of some sort.  (If I'm allowed to pick a favourite, this may be the one.)

And these Atsuko Matsuyama strawberries and cherries with red?  I have a little project I've been meaning to try.  I'll just have to add a bit of trim ... probably lace.

And these cute cute cute mushrooms on pink by Tasha Noel?! 

I am super excited to finally get my hands on this adorable little mushroom print by my another bloggie friend Tasha.  I know it came out quite a while ago, I just never got around to getting some.  Don't know what to make with it yet, but I'll have fun with it I can tell you that much.

And then my always lovely and rosy Flower Sugar by Lecien with a soft green. 

Sigh.  This just has Spring Garden written all over it, doesn't it?  Because of the larger scale print (I mean compared to the other ones) I'm thinking of something like a cute fabric box or basket.

So if you want to get yourself this bundle of pretty FQ pairs, click here ... I hope it sparks your imagination and creativity. :)

Saturday
Apr192014

lost and found easter eggs

As I s.l.o.w.l.y pack up our house for that ever elusive moving date (please don't ask, it will make me cry) I find long forgotten treasures, like this Martha Stewart decoration I made a few years before I became a mom.

I was quite a Martha disciple.  I used to record - and catalog - her show on VHS before she had a studio audience, subscribed to her magazine and made something from almost every issue.  I kept a stack of them on my coffee table and had so much fun decorating my home with Martha Stewart projects.  She even got me into cooking and gardening.  I remember embroidering a few burp cloths when I was pregnant.  I know.  How unpractical can you get?!  LOL!  But I had a dozen white flannel diapers that we used as burp cloths and I always looked for the ones with a little decoration on the corner first.  If I come across them I'll show you.  I know I would NOT have thrown them out.

Anyhow.

I made this pretty hanging egg decoration about 15 years ago.  I blew, dyed, ribboned and tied.  And then somehow it ended up way under the staircase in the basement, forgotten.  I can't believe it survived all these years intact, albeit a little faded.  I must have hung it in a window one year because all the eggs are almost white on one side.

It was fun to find and display.   Again.  I'm so looking forward to finding a good spot for it next year.  In the new house.

Happy Easter!

*     *     *     *     *

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that fabric in yesterday's post that so many of you asked about ... I can't find it.  I got it from this Etsy shop several months ago and it is sold out.  I looked on Etsy and did a Google search but came up empty.  All I have for identification is "Yuwa Live Life Collection" on the selvage ... no print name.  So sorry.  If I come across it again I'll let you know.  I showed it to you as an alternative to cotton tape labels because you can fussy cut fabric to achieve the same look.  I admit this fabric is particuairly fabulous for fussy cutting, but I bet if you take a closer look at the fabrics in your stash, you'll find small details that can become sweet little labels.  Plus there are always new, cute prints coming out.  Now that you know what to look for, I'm sure you'll find that perfect fabric sooner than later. :)

UPDATE:  HILDY FOUND IT HERE - in PINK!!!! 

UPDATE:  Sold out.  Again.  Sorry!

UPDATE:  FOUND AGAIN HERE!

Friday
Apr182014

pink dogwood needlebook

Because my last needlebook turned into an iPod case, I decided to try again. 

This one gave me a run for my money, I tell ya.  You can't tell from looking at it, but I hemmed and hawed over this simple cover design for longer than I care to admit.  I kept trying to embellish it - more embroidery, maybe some beads, or a few buttons ... an endless parade of bits and bobs from my cupbard.  Boy can I make a mess in a hurry when I get into these sorts of moods.

But I couldn't find anything that made it look b.e.t.t.er.  So I forced myself to just sit on my hands for a while and pretend it was perfect the way it was.  Sometimes I can play mind games with myself. 

Funny thing about playing mind games with yourself ... you always win. ;)

Monday
Apr142014

it's not what you think

And it's not at all what I first thought either. 

My latest project started when I found this adorable cross stitch pattern on Pinterest.  Thought it might look nice stitched up in white on osnaburg ... 

... and then turned into an Eastery needlebook with a pretty little Japanese Liberty print and a bit of pink ruffle.

'Cause ... you know ... who doesn't need an Eastery needlebook, right?  ;)

But when the cover was assembled, the whole thing seemed a little too big for a needlebook.

However.

A few days earlier I had a big fight with my earbuds - again - after they decided to entangle themselves around literally every single object in my purse.  So annoying.

I'd been meaning to make myself an iPod case for a while so I guess it's true what they say about necessity being the mother of invention.

(I may have done a little happy dance when the cover turned out to be the e.x.a.c.t right size for an iPod.)

My "Rabbit on Scissors iPod case" makes me laugh.  It's not at all what I was planning to make, and no one would ever guess what was inside based on the cover. 

But it's super-dee-duper awesome now that my earbuds stay all nicely tucked inside their little pocket instead of trying to strangle my wallet with their rubbery, unyielding death grip.

*     *     *     *     *

And congratulations to Tina in Nevada who won the Simply Sweet Fabric giveaway. 

Friday
Apr112014

pink easter basket

Just felt like making something pink and pretty and rosy ... with a bow. 

Easter is the perfect excuse to do all of the above. :)

Thursday
Apr102014

polka dots 

They're just the best, aren't they?  I got mine from Sew Deerly Loved.  She still has a few colours available!

Monday
Apr072014

spring fabric giveaway

Ah, Spring!  The days are noticeably longer now and the sunshine makes such a difference, doesn't it?

So does pretty new fabric in Spring-inspired colours.

Simply Sweet Fabrics has done it again with these gorgeous new Atsuko Matsuyama fabrics.  I love love love this print with bouquets spilling out of hat boxes and little love letters. 

And these ... darling little wreaths. 

I decided to make a simple bag to show off the hat box print to it's best advantage.  Three fabrics (plus lining), a bit of lace and a label.  Done, done and done! 

I made this bag for my daughter's music books, but instead of walking the 10 steps from my sewing room to the piano to actually measure a book, I just used a craft book that was within arm's reach to make my template.  Unfortunately, this bag ended up just a smidgen too narrow for said music books.  Guess I'll have to keep this pink one for myself and make her another one.  It's just as well.  She prefers the blue.

Simply Sweet Fabrics would like to give one of you ALL SIX of these Atsuko Matsuyama fat quarters (these and these).  To enter for a chance to win, leave me a comment describing your most favourite/successful craft project ever.  This giveaway closes Sunday April 13th and I'll announce the winner shortly after.  Happy Spring!

Saturday
Apr052014

saturday morning sewing

I can be very productive on a Saturday morning when I only have until 11:00 am to make a birthday gift ... especially when I find a super addictive remake of a disco classic to keep me company. ;)

Tuesday
Apr012014

cotton tape label tutorial

I've been collecting these natural cotton tapes and leather labels from places like Etsy and my local quilt shop for a while now - ever since Miss Amy clued me in.  Can't seem to get enough of them.  They add such a nice, professional finish and a pretty little detail to just about any sewing project.

Here's how I like to use them.

First, just plain. 

  1. Cut the label.
  2. Fold and press the cut edges under.
  3. Apply a piece of fusible web to the back side of the label.
  4. Iron it in place onto your project.
  5. Sew around the edges with a straight or zigzag stitch.

Easy peasy.

To get a little fancier, I put a contrasting fabric underneath.  It frames the label and draws your eye right right to it.  I use the same fusible web process for both layers.

 

I also like using felt underneath instead of fabric.  And I like using my scalloped scissors (found them on eBay) for felt, although pinking shears or a straight edge look very nice.  (Again, same fusible web trick.)

Then there's this really cool stuff called Kraft-Tex.  Check your local quilt/craft shop or search online.  It comes in rolls in a few different colours (white, black, craft-paper brown ...).  It feels like a stiff paper but you can wash it - as in put it in the washing machine AND the dryer - iron it, cut it, fold it, paint it, stamp it, machine and hand stitch it ...  .  I use it to back/frame labels too. 

Take it a step further and fuse fabric to Kraft-Tex before trimming to keep the fabric from fraying.

And finally there are these leather labels.  I hand stitch them on with embroidery thread. 

So that's that.  Not much to it, really.  They take mere minutes to make.  And they're fun. :)

I found most of my cotton tapes and the leather labels here and here.

I've added this tutorial to my Tutorials link at the top of the page so you can find this post easily whenever you like. 

*     *     *     *     *

Congratulations to Dara, winner of the American Jane jelly roll from Green Fairy Quilts!  Thank you all for playing along.

Friday
Mar282014

tilda's fairytale wonderland

I've been a Tilda fan for a long time ... ever since a friend loaned me a copy of Sew Pretty Homestyle six years ago.  Do you know this book?  Do you own this book?  I love this book.  Tone Finnanger's newest publication, Fairytale Wonderland had me hooked the second I laid eyes on it.  This dreamy book is page after page of oh.so.beautiful eye candy. 

And I adore her fabric too, which I didn't have until very recently when a sweet angel sent me some (thank you H! xoxo).

Now all I need is our new house to be finished so I can decorate it with Tilda projects made from Tilda fabric. :)