Thursday, July 5, 2012

Market Tote for Mom

I love giving handmade items to loved ones.  It's one of the things that got me back into sewing in the first place!  Unfortunately, I'm rarely on time with gifts!  This year, I asked my mom what she wanted me to sew her and she mentioned a tote bag, "denim with some colorful accents".

I looked around my pinterest sewing board and found a pin that was perfect!  Bijou Lovely's Market Tote tote is just great!  The instructions are very clear and simple.  I referred to another pin, by Sew La Vie and her Market Tote, where she used heavier fabrics and made some alterations.

Market Tote

Market Tote

Market Tote

Market Tote

I used a 'duck' canvas from Jo-Ann's (with the upholstery/outdoor fabrics) and a print I've had my eye on for some time ~ I love the pairing.  I turned the handles in 1/4 inch and pressed them, topstitching along each side, instead of turning them inside out.   I added a key clip and inside pocket.  I didn't have enough colorful fabric to have a layer of it under the canvas, so I sewed the two pieces together (the canvas measuring 9.5" x 21" and the flower print measuring 10.5" x 21").  I used the flowered fabric for both the outside and the lining.

This is a great size for lugging things around and it fits nicely over your shoulder.  I can't wait to send it off to my mom, although I hope I can pack it so that it doesn't get all wrinkly..!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Chincoteague ~ Why I Love Virginia!

We met my sister and her kids, as well as my parents for part of a week in Chincoteague.  Although I've been birding there long ago, I've never gone in the summer.  We rented a lovely house on Little Oyster Bay, about 4 miles from the beach.  Our weather started out cool, but got REALLY hot by Friday.  The cousins crabbed, took rides in kayaks and canoes, and boogie boarded like nobody's business!   

  6:26:366

Chincoteague June 2012

6:27:366

Untitled

Untitled


Chincoteague June 2012


Chincoteague June 2012

Chincoteague June 2012

A beautiful, beautiful place to go.  Although the beaches got somewhat crowded later in the week and in the day, we had some great beach time.  This little place really has the feel of a small town that remains almost pristine.  There is some good local food - including ice cream, and a very local grocery.  The beach itself is within the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, which keeps it from being built on and which protects the land around it.  There are miles of beach.  Phil and Nate were even able to surf.  I think we'll be going back!

There is nothing like time with family ~ I cherish time together and wish we lived closer!! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wonky String Star Quilt


wonky again

After seeing Sew Katie Did's Quilt last week and her reference to Denyse Schmidt's string star quilt, I couldn't get it out of my head.  I have a tendency to collect ideas and become paralyzed by their execution, so this time, I just jumped in and started collecting reds, yellows, and oranges, with a little bit of purple.

I cut strips thinking my blocks would be smaller.... maybe 6 inches, but they turned into 10 inch blocks, so that the center block was about 19 inches square.  I used left over pieces from the center blocks for the star points.  (Instead of paper or muslin piecing, I made long slabs with strips that were 14 inches tall, and then cut them into squares on the diagonal - using the center square on my cutting mat.)

I had a time piecing the star points, until I finally realized I could trace the shape with a water soluble marker.  I traced the line having the triangle hanging off about 1/4 inch, then I flipped it over and sewed a seam using the line for placement.

marking triangles

This took much longer than I planned... there was a lot of seam ripping.  The neutral I used for outside the star was really thin and hard to work with.  I won't use something like it again.


wonky star6


wonky back

This quilt had a mixture of washed and unwashed fabrics, but after a wash and dry came out perfectly fine.  I threw in a Shout color catcher because none of the reds had been washed (except the binding) and that worked great!  There was absolutely no color running.

This will go to a lovely young couple in our church expecting their first baby in the next few weeks!

And just to remind myself and anyone else who may also have serious trouble EVERY TIME they attach the binding.  (I usually do this part several times.... ) Here's what it should look like:

binding

Stats:  finished size 48 X 48
Blocks:  9 patch-ish, middle block 19" square, middle blocks 19 X 15, corner blocks, 15 X 15

Linking up with {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

241 Tote

I've made this tote before for my sister.  It's the fabulous Noodlehead's 241 Tote.  This year, she requested one for a dear friend, who loved the one I made for her.  I am always so happy to make something for someone else... I love thinking about who they are as I make fabric selections.  Actually, that part takes more time and mental energy than cutting and sewing!!

This pattern is so fantastic and easy to whip up!  I love the finished look and the size.  The outside pockets are great for little things.  The only change I made was to add interfacing to the strap sew five lines of stitching along it.

The yellow fabric is a "Sew Classic Linen" from Jo-Ann's - it's a great mustardy yellow that is an exact match to the yellow in Cloud 9's Cut out and Keep.


Joy's Bag


Joy's Bag


Joy's Bag


Friday, June 8, 2012

Why I Love Virginia ~ Levering Orchard

Yesterday we loaded up some friends and headed out to Ararat, Virginia to the Levering Orchard.  (I just realized that long ago I read the owner's book about their return to the farm in Simple Living:  One Couple's Search for A Better Life - the couple meet at Harvard, move to Los Angeles, and come 'home' to the farm to live more simply and get away from consumer driven culture.  A GREAT read!)

Their sweet cherries were ripe and the picking easy.  Ladders are posted around the trees and the kids had great fun climbing and picking (and eating).  Some were better pickers than others.  We had a great day, although interstate traffic backups had us driving backroads.  The weather was beautiful, cool and bright.  The scenery was amazing... confirming my love of the countryside of Virginia ~ rolling hills, blue ridge in the background, puffy clouds, and haybales.

Levering Orchard


Levering Orchard

Levering Orchard

Levering Orchard

Levering Orchard

Levering Orchard

Together we picked over 60 pounds!!  Cherries will continue to ripen over the next weeks and it looks like early summer apples will too, and peaches starting in mid-July!  Might be worth another trip!

So far, I've pitted about 15 cups worth and put them into ziplock bags (5 cups or so in each ~ perfect for a pie or cobbler).  I expect we'll eat a ton camping this weekend with our college friends! Have a great weekend folks!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Periodic New Series ~ Here's Why I Love Virginia! ~ New River Trail

See?  I am ALL over the place!  Throughout the summer I thought it would be fun to share my love of this great state of Virginia.  There are so many things to do around us and my kids are old enough to do so many of them!

Today the kids and I loaded up our bikes and headed to the New River Trail State Park.  Just down the interstate, we biked a section from Draper to Hiwassii.  To me, this trail and the surrounding views are quintessential Virginia.  Green countryside, a few ramshackle old homes and barns, the green river, ferns and daisies growing along the path.  The path itself is an old railroad bed - there is a bit of a grade, but for the most part it is flat.


this is why i love virginia

this is why i love virginia

this is why i love virginia

this is why i love virginia


Along the way we rustled up this Barred Owl.  The kids and I got an amazing view as it kept hopping from branch to branch in the trees right in front of us, before flying away.


this is why i love virginia


The trail itself is over 55 miles, so there are many sections that you can ride for just a day trip.  My kids would love to do the whole thing.... not sure about that just yet.

Apparently the Draper Mercantile (right next to the parking lot in Draper) is a great place to go for ice cream, etc.  But they are closed on Mondays in season.  This trip:  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!  We will be doing it again!


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Upcycled Skirt and Improv Sewing!

Some time ago on Sew Mama Sew, I came across Nicole Blum and her work with knits.  Upon further reading, I discovered she and her friend Debra Immergut were writing a book about sewing with knits!  (Sewing with knits has been something I've really wanted to learn more about.) I started following their blog, Improv Diary because I could see that their projects were simple and gorgeous!  When their new book came out, I bought it immediately and I've been wanting to get a project done ever since.  (My best friend Alice borrowed it for one night and made two skirts in that amount of time!!  They are just darling!)

Improv Sewing!


Improv Sewing!

The skirt pictured is cotton with side panels of knit.  GUH!!!  So cute, right??? I started thinking about trying the opposite - a knit skirt with woven side panels.  So, I got some t-shirts at the thrift store and I picked out some cotton for contrast.  Voila!


Improv Sewing!

Improv Sewing!


Improv Sewing!

I used FOE (fold over elastic) for the waistband in a different way.  I love FOE, but don't like the way 5/8 inch, folded in half sits around my waist.  I'd like to see 2 inch FOE so that when you folded over your fabric it was nice and wide. Here I used a piece on the inside and another on the outside, zigzagging them onto the edge of the fabric.  (I know her purple shirt doesn't really match... but she already had it on.)

How quick and easy and cute!!!  If I was a few pounds lighter it might fit me too, it's very forgiving!!  I'll be doing more of these!  (Like maybe today!)

(looks like there are other etsy sellers who sell 1inch FOE.)

My favorite FOE how to video:  
If you know the chicken, you know this is a funny little video!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dumplings!

Day 4 of summer vacation for our family and it was a dreary kind of day.... threatening rain and high humidity with cooler temperatures....  I started the day with a TON of mending for the kids - making pants into shorts and repairing holes in shorts...

Finally, I had some time to sew and I had just one of my kids.  So Emma and I sat down to make a dumpling using Michelle's free tutorial.  I am not the most patient of teachers but Emma persevered with me and my sighs and ended up with a great little pouch.  Not to be outdone I made my own.  It really is quick and easy.  Notes to self:  iron out the zipper's fold from the packaging and slow down when sewing ....  Although I had Emma do some of the basting Michelle recommends, I didn't do it myself and it turned out fine.  Also, I didn't use binding to finish the edges inside the bag.  This is a PERFECT bag for lipsticks/chapsticks in my purse.  I love it and can see making many more!  Patchwork, maybe???


Dumpling bag

Dumpling bag

Dumpling bag

Also, folks, it's voting time in the Trimmings Competition.  Here is the link for repinning your favorite!  There are so many interesting entries, it's worth taking a look.  One of the winners will be picked by a panel of judges, the other will be based on the number of repins!  


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition 2012

Do you know Umbrella Prints? Umbrella Prints is a little Australian textile house run by Amy Prior & Carly Schwerdt. They hand screen print their designs on natural organic hemp/cotton.  I love the look of so many of their designs and their color palettes are just luscious.

For the last two years, I've followed the Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition.  Last year I may or may not have been squealing when I saw Nova's entry or this entry by pop-i-cok.  (Go, look at them, you won't regret it!!)  I'm not sure there is any way to top these, but after seeing this bag from LRstitched using a pattern from Michelle Patterns, I thought it would be a perfect way to showcase the Trimmings prints.  I ordered right away and started trying to figure out what neutral to use with the prints.

2012 umbrella prints - trimmings competition


I settled on Tobacco Chambray from the Lisette collection at my Joann's - when it was on sale for more than half off.  I love it ~ it's almost tweedy.

A week ago I made the bag to be sure I understood how the pattern worked.  It's a great pattern, very thorough and just perfect with loads of exterior and interior pockets.  Details on the logistics of bag making are on that post.


Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition 2012


Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition 2012


Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition 2012


Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition 2012


Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition 2012


My favorite part is that it came together the way I imagined it would in my head - I adore simple patchwork and it's ability to show a variety of prints and/or solids.  I did some random/improvisational piecing with leftover scraps that worked out being on the front of the front pocket.



Stats:
Patchwork Front:  Umbrella Prints Trimmings, 2 1/2 inch blocks
Pattern:  Messenger Bag Pattern, Michelle Patterns
Exterior Body:  Tobacco Chambray, Lisette collection for Joann's
Interior lining:  Coffee Buzz for Andover fabrics
Nickel hardware:  Michelle Patterns

Monday, May 21, 2012

SewMamaSew's Giveaway Day! 2012


It's GIVEAWAY DAY (and my mother's birthday)!!!  I'm so excited to participate this year - I've entered plenty of these in the past....  I love the idea of giving something back!

I have three half yard cuts of Anna Maria Horner's Loulouthi.  

Giveaway Day



To enter, tell me where you are writing from and one thing you are grateful for today.  This morning in Blacksburg, VA the sun is already shining, the kids are slowly waking up.  I have no milk, but I think I can whip together some french toast for breakfast!!  This is our last week of school!

I will ship worldwide, please make sure your profile is linked up and you are not a no-reply blogger so I can email the winner on Sunday, May 27.  (Hope I can figure out the Random Number Generator thing...)  Comments close Friday, May 25 at 5 PST (which is 8 pm EST where I am).

Don't forgot to check out all the other folks participating in Giveaway Day (which really lasts all week)!


Edited to add the winner!!!  Wow - over 500 entries on my little bitty blog!!  I'm amazed!!

The random number generator picked #75:
Sunny California and grateful for chili in the crockpot already - no cooking dinner tonight!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side



My entry to Amy's Creative Side's Blogger's Quilt Festival is the quilt my sister and I pieced more than 400 miles apart from each other.  We wanted to create something together for two major events going on in our Dad's life.  He retired from the Presbyterian ministry after 38 years and just before retirement he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

He retired officially in February, preaching his last sermon just days away from surgery to remove his prostate.  I'm happy to report he underwent surgery, has recovered quickly and is well.


Opa's Wonky Blocks Quilt

We decided on a pattern and a color scheme and we each made 15 blocks.  The front is made up of 25 of them and I used 5 in the back.  The pattern is from Block Party and is Oh, Fransson's Wonky Stripe Block.  Her's is here and she made another version here.  This was such a great and fun quilt to make - the blocks came together easily and nothing else really mattered!  It was a great quilt to do "long distance".  I was actually shocked at  how well our colors worked together. Finished size is roughly 60 X 60.


Opa's Wonky Blocks


Opa's Wonky Blocks


Entering for the first time this year!