Monday, February 28, 2011

Nesting = Sewing

I can't stop sewing. I would say it's an addiction, one I'm not likely to seek help for, but from previous experience I can feel the nesting hormones kicking in. I'm just using a needle and thread this time instead of a vacuum cleaner, mop and rag. Did I ever mention that I went around cleaning the baseboard in my entire house last time I was pregnant? No? It's certainly something my mother will never forget to remind me about.

Well the binding is on the black and white tree quilt. I just have to hand sew it onto the back.

And the custom order for a quilt/art piece is done!!!!!

I had originally planned on quilting large gold thread circles on the top, but after just one the fabric became bunched and wouldn't lie flat. So this design will have to do. With my limited resources and tools (i.e. no quilting frame or fancy long arm sewing machine) there are just some things I can't do. At least not for now. But I still like the outcome a lot. I hope the customer does too!
And I fit in one more sewing project into the weekend. I actually got around to some of the personal sewing projects I've had on my mind. More about those tomorrow!

Friday, February 25, 2011

My First Stamp!

I finally finished my first handmade stamp!

 I love the final outcome (the print), but I hated making it. Can't I just think of a design and appears? No? Maybe I should work on inventing teleportation first.

I ended up stabbing my fingers at least twice with the carving tool. Not cool. Minimal blood loss, but those suckers hurt for weeks afterwards.

I have so many other doodles I want to transform into stamps, but I've got to tell you, carving the linoblock sucked. That's a pretty harsh word for me, but it did suck. I'm going to try a softer material next time. Perhaps the lines will be less crisp (not that you can tell from my first attempts at carving the lino), but I'm going for a more natural look anyways, not precision.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Custom Order

I received my first custom order awhile ago. This is very exciting and nerve wracking for me. I'm so afraid that what I create will not be exactly what the customer had in mind. But it's a friend of my sister's so they have been very reassuring that they are flexible and also understanding of my schedule (trying to finish up my nesting/sewing list). Anyways....I am tasked with making a large 3 x 4 foot piece of fabric art. I'm new at this, so bear with me, but I'm basically making a quilt top and the customer will mount it on a frame in their home.

Here are the inspirational photos the customer sent me.

Here are the fabrics I bought.

And here is the basic design I have in mind.

What do you think?

Did I mention this custom order is for a man!?! Also intimidating. I've never sewing anything for the masculine point of view. But I am extremely excited to get paid to try new things with my sewing machine. Here we go!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Almost Done!

I finally made some progress on the black and white tree quilt. Everything is basted/pinned and ready for quilting now.

I even learned a few lessons along the way:

1. Taping the quilt backing to the floor is not an optional step, even on small quilts. It helps eliminate wrinkles that later require taking out and putting back in pins. Ugh.

2. Some fabric is better than others for raw edge applique. I'm still figuring that one out.

3. I tried sewing on leaves in groups so that I wouldn't have hundreds of tiny pins poking my belly while I sewed. This worked. Unfortunately it also led to some uneven grouping of leaves and not my best layout ever. Perhaps the poking of pins in my belly will not be a problem in a little while.

4. I want to find a different width for my binding. Cutting strips at 2.5 inches, then folding it in half makes for too narrow of a binding for my tastes. I'll work on this one.

5. Not so much a lesson, but I need to figure out why my permanent fabric marking pens died on my so quickly. Not cool.

Wish me luck as I finish up the quilting and binding this week/weekend! I'd love to have this quilt done and move onto a special custom order I've received. More on that tomorrow!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saving a Birthday Party

I have not made any progress on the black and white tree quilt, but it seems I can't go a day without sewing!

So instead of doing something productive I made a pretty little crown for Whirlwind's 3rd birthday!
Whirlwind had requested:
ice cream
party hat

We were visiting my parents in a small town with a very small general store and I had not brought anything with me. So Whirlwind and I made a trip to the general store the morning of her party. We found abosolutely no appropriate balloons or party hats! Unless we wanted to celebrate her being "over the hill" I had to think of something else. 

I lucked out when we found a pile of felt instead. My daughter chose blue (but I bought a sheet of purple too because part of me couldn't fathom my little princess-y girl not wanting purple or pink) and I had an idea in the back of my head how to make it into a crown. I've always wanted to try it anyways.

Was she excited to pick out the color? Yes!
Was she delighted to help me finish it when she woke up from her nap? Yes!
Did she immediately put it on with pride? Yes!
Did she then proceed to have a hissy fit about how it didn't sit on her head correctly...........yes

So there you go. You can create all you want for a small child, but only they determine if they are happy or not! I for one think it is ridicously cute and want to make a dozen more.

And of course she had also requested balloons, but there were none at the general store. So my mom's cupboards came to the rescue with some ancient and small water balloons. My fabulous mother and sister helped me create this impromptu garland and voila! Balloons! I was able to give Whirlwind everything she had asked for (patting self on back).

But no birthday is complete without some cake.
Note to self: apply sprinkles immediately after frosting so they stick and do not tumble everywhere, including off the cake.

2nd note to self: do not leave a three year old alone with a pretty candle. It obviously looks like candy.

But from the look on her face, I'd say the overall day was a success!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Beautiful Containers

Have I mentioned how much I love some of my containers? Well I do. I love them to bits and pieces and I'm so glad I snagged them when I saw them. The darling peter rabbit tin came from a second hand store nearby and the wodden cigar box came from my mother. I stole it when she wasn't looking. Well actually she was looking and she was shoving it in my hands. She just loves to give things away!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One Down, Two to Go

It must've been all of your positive thoughts because I buckled down and in two nights I finished the binding for Whirlwind's quilt. And look at that! It fits her toddler bed perfectly. I have left over fabric from the binding so I plan on making her some matching (or at least coordinating) pillow cases.

I have a whole post planned on showing you her whole bedroom soon. We've done a lot of work to get it ready for baby # 2. I'm just waiting on the curtains to arrive and to hang the frames on the walls. I'm getting excited about the impending family addition!

And just because I'm obviously throwing valuable nesting energy into sewing instead of cleaning the house I finished the top for another quilt. I've had 3 quilts on my to do list for at least 6 months. They are all getting done now! Whirlwind's quilt (done), a black and white tree quilt and a baby blanket for baby # 2.

The black and white tree quilt top is done! I'm really into this raw edge applique look. Look for it in upcoming Seamingly Sarah products.

Now I'm off to iron, cut, baste, quilt and bind this quilt.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

These lovely paper hearts finally made their way to my sewing machine after I finished the white quilt that was starting to haunt me.

I love to use up some of the old thread my mother gave me when it comes to temporary projects such as this. The thread is so old that you can break it with a few strong tugs. So if I'm making something that Whirlwind will inevitably break, I might as well use thread that I can't use for anything else.

Whirlwind will use this darling little garland as a jungle gym for her many stuffed animals. They are particularly rambunctious toys.

Happy Valentines Day to you all. I hope you're feeling the love!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Black & White Tree Quilt

I've got a binding to hand sew at night while handsome husband and I watch horrible television.

But I've also got a nifty little tree quilt waiting for me at the sewing machine.

I can't wait to see this quilt finished. It has a very special purpose!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine Cookies

Don't you just love dropping pins on the floor with an almost 3 year old running rampant in the house.
I know I do.

After it was confirmed that no toddlers were hurt in this incident we made some cookies!
These are a one time annual cookie I make for handsome husband just for Valentine's Day.
Apparently I did not make them last year, so he made sure to ask me if these were coming his way soon.
So Whirlwind and I got out our aprons and had a pretty good time. She didn't lose her patience and interest in the project until it was time to pull the cookies out of the oven. Not bad for a toddler.

I even made a few mini cookies just for her.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Doe It Ever Get Any Easier?

I had the best of intentions of finishing this quilt last weekend, but it felt more like I took one step forward and two steps back.

I had the whole quilt top put together, then I decided I didn't like the borders, too many mistakes. So I went to JoAnn's and bought the right fabric. I ripped seams and sewed on the new borders lickety-split. I was even impressed with myself.

Then I basted all 3 layers together and quilted the top in a zig zag pattern. Bad news, it looked awful! I just had bad luck with this quilt and too many errors in the beginning that built up over the course of its completion.

Error 1 - I repurposed an old bed spread for the white squares on the quilt top. The fabric is slightly stretchy, not even a match for my walking foot. Plus it's thick and soft (why I chose it) so it was hard to quilt, causing pulling and stretching while I quilted. The stretchiness also let me get away with not squaring up the squares as much as possible, leading to the pattern not always lining up perfectly. I cannot emphasize enough that cutting the fabric correctly right away in the beginning is so important to a stress free project!!!

Example of the squares not lining up - I do love that white fabric though, look at the raised details!

And when everything doesn't line up and the mistakes start to accrue, it leads to even more wonkiness in the end

Error 2 - I picked a soft and cuddly fabric for the back. I think the feed dogs couldn't pick it up as much, causing more stretching and bulging.

post edit - here is the back after quilting from the middle first. Of course I miscalculated a row on the front and the middle rectangle isn't centered on the back! Oy a quilt of many mistakes, but I tried my best.

Error 3 - I didn't start quilting in the middle. I started on one end and worked my way to the end. Oy. I felt like an idiot when I realized what I had done. The stretching and pulling just magnified itself as I went.

So I spent the weekend pulling out stitches instead of putting the final touches on the binding and we're back to square one. I have a freshly basted quilt on my sewing table and I hope to find the time to finish it. Wish me luck!
post edit - I hunkered down and got all but the hand stitching of the border done yesterday

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine Mobile

I love sitting down and helping my daughter paint, draw, create...But I already have limited room in the house as it is, so keeping all of her creations is not always feasible. Yet somethings I can't let pass without trying to craft with first!

So when I had this mostly red finger painting sitting around for awhile I decided it wouldn't hurt to try and make another hanging mobile for Valentine's Day like we did last year. But this time I was going to smarten up and sew hearts together, no glue! It was so quick and easy, it made me love this project even more!

And just for full disclosure, this is what my kitchen really looked like when I took this photo:

I won't show you all the other nooks and crannies where I am stashing things. I need a bigger kitchen.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mommy Monday

The "Monday" part of Mommy Mondays is slightly relative. Let's just say this all took place on a day that's more along the lines of "Sunday."

But this is how Whirlwind and I passed some time before going to church on Sunday morning. Please note the tutu dress and wings. This is standard operating procedure most days. It's that or naked. I'll take what I can get.

But Whirlwind really does enjoy her watercolor paints. She'll even repeat the mantra I've drilled into her head: Water...Paint...then Paper! I'm so OCD.

I tried to take more pictures to capture the concentrated look on her face, but shortly thereafter she said "No Mommy, put that (camera) away." I have no idea where she gets these control issues from.

Later in the afternoon we moved along to a craft more for me. I lugged my box of paper supplies from the basement to the kitchen and made a few Valentine Day cards. I can't let this craft-tastic holiday get away without making something!

Whirlwind occupied her time with using random objects as stand ins for the characters on her favorite movie. I love to listen to her in the background repeating the key and sometimes random phrases she's memorized after watching a movie upteem times. (Don't worry, the cap on the glue bottle is closed.)

But I had all this pretty paper and not enough cards to make, so I couldn't stop there. I cut out quite a few hearts and I'll be turning these into a project soon enough. Right now the pile of paper hearts are sitting on our stairs and I'm just waiting for my handsome husband to get fed up with my multiplying piles!

I also used the last of the paper to cover this hot chocolate can (courtesy of modge podge). I covered the two containers on the left earlier this year, but I don't know what to do with them yet. I wish I had finally hunkered down to try these projects before Christmas, actually made Christmas cookies, and then delivered said cookies to friends and family in these containers. Oh well. There's always next year, when I'll have two kids trying to destroy the Christmas tree.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Items in the Shop

I've been experimenting with a new way to make flower hair and shoe clips. This is the end result!

I like them a lot and I hope you do too, or someone out there does. I was able to use up the last of these three fabric scraps (a goal of mine is to use up everything I have before I go buy more).

Check them out at Seamingly Sarah