Saturday, November 14, 2009

I've been a bad blogger...

I so wish there was more hours in the day. Between running the kids to school and preschool, their extra-curricular activities: dance (2xweek), gymnastics, martial arts (4xweek), playdates, their reading assignments, and downtime...not to mention throwing a 7-year old birthday party last night, and planning a dinner for our birthday boy tomorrow...I seem to be at a loss for my own time. The thing is, I am taking my 'Toot Sweet Designs' to it's first craft fair as a vendor! And well, the craft fair is in *gulp* 7 days! I've got lots of half finished projects that need to finished, everything still needs to be priced, I have no idea what my display will look like, I have no idea if I have enough of yeah, basically going in a little blind. I have so much to show on my blog, but right now don't have the time to do any photo editing or making things on my blog look pretty. So please 'scuse the mess for the next week. I will, however, leave a few pics...minus all the descriptive details...TTFN!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lazy Days Skirt Sew-Along

So last week I signed up with One Crafty Mumma's Lazy Days Skirt Sew-Along! This is my first sew-along, and I was so excited to participate! I've only managed to crank off one skirt so far,

and I absolutely adore it (more than the intended recipient) -- I love the Chocolate Lollipop fabric from Anna Maria many colour possibilities!

A few months back, I had stumbled on the pattern for the Lazy Days Skirt, and made my first one. My darling daughter has already outgrown sad.

But on a happy note, these skirts are so quick to sew, and a whole new skirt wardrobe could be whipped up in an afternoon! I do have plans to sew up a few more, but have a few too many irons in the fire at the moment...they may have to wait for the weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eden Giveaway

I have tons of favourite sites I visit on a regular basis, but today this one, Lila Tueller Designs, is having an amazing giveaway! Her new fabric line, Eden, isn't due out until Spring 2010, and she's giving us all a sneak peak at the amazing colours of spring! Lila Tueller's Eden Giveaway includes fabrics and patterns, oh my! Be sure to check out all her fabulous patterns and other fabrics -- tons of inspiration!! I'm already a Soiree, Santorini, and Woodland Bloom fabric lover, and I think Eden will be so hot for spring! I can't wait to add it to my stash! So enter the giveaway, and get your hands on some Eden!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stylish Skirt Hand-Me-Down

As we bask in the last few warm days of summer, er fall rather; I'm starting to think about putting all the tank tops and shorts away until next year. *sigh* The long, hot days of summer are behind us here in Vancouver, the cool mornings and evenings are upon us, and the denim is returning to our wardrobes. Both my kids have grown like weeds over the summer, and my son's Levi's no longer look stylish above is ankles! My daughter, being the little fashionista diva that she is (at the tender age of 4) will not be caught dead wearing her big brother's Levi's, no matter how cute a top she may be wearing!

The thought of wearing "boy jeans" sends her into a girly rage, that only a 4-year old could pull off!! It always brings a tear to my eye when my kids outgrow their favourite clothes...they should stay small forever! In an effort to keep my son's jeans (and to get more mileage out of them!), I thought I'd convert them into a stylish denim skirt. I've seen those really cute denim skirts that had a previous life as jeans, and I thought, what the heck, let's go for it!! I cut the jeans off at the knee, took out the inseam, and started playing around with skirt configuration. I got my daughter/model to try the skirt on for length, and realized that the top of the inseam would actually be the right length (I was forgetting she had much shorter legs that my 'little big man'). As I was cutting the denim at the top of the inseam, that's when I had my skirt epiphany! I totally knew what that skirt needed!! The skirt SO needed a little Farmers Market by Sandi Henderson!

I was absolutely thrilled with how this quick and easy transformation turned out! And my daughter just LOVED her new skirt!! Here's a couple more pics showing off the great fabric detail on the Stylish Skirt Hand-Me-Down! The front is too cute! Are you loving the hand on the hip?

And the back is even cuter!! Nothing beats a cutie pie in little Levi's! And again, the hand on the hip! LOL

I just had to share this absolutely cute transformation! And so easy!! Oh, and by the way, my little fashionista threw this outfit together for preschool yesterday! How cute is that?! LOL

Friday, September 18, 2009

City Blooms Hot Pad Tutorial

My hot pad tutorial uses the Log Cabin piecing method, something I've wanted to try for quite some time, but was admittedly intimidated to attempt on a large-scale quilt. That being said, I really didn't refer to any published quilting documents for assembly instructions, rather I thought I'd attempt the "trial and error" method. These were fun and easy to assemble, and completely manageable for a novice quilter! If there is an easier or better way to construct the 'log cabin', I would love to receive feedback!!

The finished size for these hot pads is about 8" square.

Using precut 6.5" quilt squares, select 9 different coordinating fabric squares for one hot pad. (The fabric is City Blooms by Kitty Yoshida from Benartex). Arrange your 9 squares in a pleasing order, as this will be the order to which the "logs" will be added to your hot pad.

Alternatively, you could add logs completely random, which ever you prefer!
Select one print as your "centre square" and cut at 1.75" x 1.75". Then cut 3 logs from all 9 fabrics at 1.25" width (and 6.5" length from the precut quilting squares).

Working with one stack of the 1.25" width logs, start assembling the log cabin block.

Take your centre (1.75"x1.75") and log #2 and sew with 1/4" seam allowance (SA) along the length of the centre block. Trim off excess log and square up.
Pressing seam away from centre block always.

Add next log in a clockwise position on second side of central square. The third log on the third side, etc. Continue to square-up block and pressing SA away from central block.

Continue adding logs from the first stack of 9 logs, then begin on the second stack of logs.

When logs are not long enough, sew 2 identical logs together on short ends (this is where I use up the cut off portions from stack #1). Continue sewing logs until the block is about 9"x9".

Press block and square-up to 9"x9". I used two different types of batting: the puffier polyester and the less-puffy cotton type. The puffier is sandwiched between the quilt block and the cotton-type.

Pin the three layers together to hold in place, and trim the battings to just beyond the edges of the block. I chose to use the "Stitch-in-the-ditch" quilting method, but feel free to use whatever you prefer! After you've completed all the quilting stitches, make sure to stitch all around the block in a very narrow SA to secure the edges. Trim batting edges to align with the fabric.
Find a coordinating ribbon scrap (about 5" long); fold in half and place edges on one of the corners diagonally. Pin in place and stitch in corner on diagonal close to the corner, backstitching for extra reinforcement.

Find a coordinating cotton fabric (for the backing) and cut to the same size as the quilted hot pad. Place good side of backing fabric on good side of quilted block and stitch a narrow seam (about ¼") leaving approximately 2" opening on a side to allow for turning right side out.

Trim corners and turn right side out. Finish by edge stitching around the hot pad; turning opening edges inward to enclose raw edges.

VOILA! Admire your finished project, and make a matching one!

I'd love to hear what you think as this is my first tutorial! And by all means, if there's a better and/or faster way to do the block piecing, I'd love to hear that too! Thanks for stopping by! Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thread Tension Stress

OK, so that's an hour out of my precious sewing time that I'm never going to get back! I've had a solid block of time to pudder in my studio/office, and thought I was making amazing headway! My plan of action was to whip up an autumny table runner using some Tina Givens Annabella Mink fabrics from my stash. I've assembled blocks for both sides (as this is a reversible table runner), and I've sewn my perimetre stitching leaving a 3 inch space for turning right sides out. The seams are perfectly pressed and all ready for edge stitching and top stitching!! So in my 'so-called-brilliance', I found the 'perfect' thread for the task at hand, the finishing details. I've had a flawless sewing day up to this point, and am quite pleased with how things are looking and going.

And things start to go sideways...

The runner and I are at the machine, we're all lined up perfectly, presser foot goes down, needle goes in, my foot on the gas, and WE'RE OFF!! I always like to check that my finishing stitches are looking perfect, and that's when I thread tension is horrific!!! But things have been going so well up to this point!! OK, no biggie, I'll just tighten up the tension dial...UGH same thing! DRAT! What's going on? Increase the tension dial some more...oh heck, all the way, what have I got to lose? Do a few stitches, and GRRR, the same thing, my bottom thread is crazy loose! Huh, ok then, let's try Plan B...perhaps it's time for a needle change! Well, how about trying 6 different needles!!!! Yup, you heard right!

OK, time to back away from the machine! All I want to do is get those finishing stitches on my new table runner! Is that too much to ask?! Didn't think so.

Time to try a new angle -- let's take the bobbin out and clean the hook race and feed dog! I've done this so many times, that I actually enjoy cleaning out all the lints! I have my handy dandy paint brush that is brilliant at grabbing those little lints! OK, so CHECK -- everything is nice and clean.

I didn't mention that the last needle I tried was a brand new patchwork/quilting needle. So here we go again -- presser foot down, needle in, foot on the gas,'ve got to be kidding me?! What the heck is going on here? I've done everything imaginable to fix the thread tension, what more can I do?!

Hmmm...for kicks, I'll change out the bobbin thread (and return the tension dial to normal)...presser foot down, needle in, foot on gas...AHHHH! Well that's an improvement! Let's try switching out my spool of thread (just for kicks!). AMAZING! We are nearing perfection, once again!!

So what valuable lesson did I learn from all this? What's the moral of the story?


Why did I not know this?

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Official Post!

OK, so here's me diving right in. Kinda feels like diving into the deep end for the first time -- nervous, anxious, exciting, and exhilarating. There's so much I can't wait to share, but so much I think I still need to do before I get going. I have photos to download, a few tutorials to write up, and some projects I'd like to finish! The inspiration and creative energy I have experienced through the crafting blog world has been amazing! Please stay tuned -- I can't wait to begin!