Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas, Madeline!

Somehow it's two days after Christmas...was it just me or did December fly by abnormally fast? Hope you all had a wonderful weekend - we sure did!

My homemade Christmas didn't go exactly according to plan, but I did manage to make a lot of my gifts this year. I have more to share, but I'll start with the homemade goodies I made for my own little girl.

First, a softie doll. This was SO much fun to make. This was my first attempt at making an actually toy - and it's a whole new sewing experience. Not a super fast project, but worth it. Especially when she gave more attention to her little homemade doll than she did her store bought one. Mommy was just a *little* happy about that. :)
See? Love at first sight. Right now she's still nameless, Madeline has just been calling her "bonnet baby".

There was something so satisfying about watching my little girl open a doll that I had made especially for her on Christmas morning. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :)

Maddie is calling this her "house purse". She does like the house, but she was more excited about the little peg people family that I painted.

She's at the age where she does a lot of pretend play, so I think these little guys will get lots of love.

This was the first thing I made for her in early December - a floor pillow to match her new quilt.

I have so much more to share! But I need to track down the recipients of a couple gifts I forgot to take pictures of (whoops!) and edit some more pictures. But I'll share it all at some point before next Christmas. Joking, joking...I think. Pregnant people shouldn't make promises, they'll just forget them the next day (or minute.) Seriously, this little munchkin is sucking what little bit of brain power I had left completely out of my head. 8 weeks and counting.


The tutorial for the softie doll can be found here. I ordered the felt for the face and limbs from Praire Point Junction. Fabric is Hunky Dory by Chez Moi.

The tutorial for the floor pillow can be found here. This is one of EIGHT of these suckers that I made this Christmas - pictures of the others to come. Fun project! But...I'd really be happy to never sew another piece of piping...

The dollhouse tutorial can be found here. It was really pretty simple to make. I found the peg people from this awesome Etsy seller. Less than $5! Can't beat that. I used regular acrylic craft paint that I had on hand and a small detail brush (and a toothpick for the eyes and buttons!).


Linking up at the following parties:

Skip to my Lou

Sugar Bee

Tip Junkie

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas specials...

We interrupt your reguarly scheduled programming for some shameless self-promotion.

I've listed some new stuff in the shop this black newsgirl (isn't my sister the cutest model?),

and this blue newsgirl (that's my adorable niece!).

I'm only guaranteeing Christmas delivery on custom orders until December 6th (you know, because I haven't started in on my *own* Christmas crafting), and until that date you can get 10% your entire order by using the coupon code CHRISTMAS2010 at checkout.

I also started a new section called "Ready to Ship" and everything in that section is pre-made and can be mailed immediately. I'll guarantee Christmas delivery on anything ordered in that section between now and the 16th. Use the coupon code READYTOSHIPDEC for 20% off any ready to ship items. Seriously, folks - they are just sitting here waiting for a new home!

To sweeten the pot just a bit more - I'm issuing a special coupon code to customers that order anytime in the month of December that will give you 20% off a future order anytime in the year 2011! The code will be emailed after your order has been recieved.

I will say that I've finally had a chance to at least prep a few projects for my (uh, semi) homemade Christmas and I'm so excited to actually start sewing!

Can you guess what I'm making? The one on the right is kind of obvious, I think. :)

Okay, over and out! Happy shopping!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

My first quilt

I finally finished it up a couple weeks ago. Oh, I love it so much! I've been holding off posting about it until I got some decent pictures, but I still haven't brought it outside for proper photos, so these will have to do.
I pieced a log cabin/pinwheel strip in the backing so it would be reversible and I love that side too! No pictures of that yet.

I swear I didn't pose her like that, she likes to sleep with her hands tucked under her cheek like a little angel. It's the only time she tries to impersonate one, so I have to document it for proof.

Overall, quilting was a whole lot easier than I anticipated. Honestly, the hardest part was just sitting down with a calculator, ruler and graph paper to figure out the dimensions and factor in seam allowances, etc. And the cutting process was tedious. After that, it came together very quickly. I spray basted, which left and interesting film on my kitchen floor, but was quick and easy. Free motion quilting the stippling (is that want it's called? I feel like a fraud using quilting terminology, I'm such a newbie!) was challenging, but I felt like I hit a groove about halfway through. Handling a generously sized twin quilt on my small machine wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be.


The fabric is "hunky dory" by Chez Moi and the sashing and cornerstones are Kona cotton. I purchased them all from, but the Hunky Dory is not available anymore - I believe you can still get select prints here and there if you are a savvy internet searcher.

I shamelessly stole the pattern from this gorgeous baby quilt. Like I mentioned before, I just sat down with a ruler and graph paper and figured out how large I wanted it to be and went for it.

The squares are 7" finished and the sashing and cornerstones are 2". I used a 1/4" seam allowance on everything. I started with a 2 layer cakes and just picked my favorite prints and trimmed them down to 7 1/2" squares. The scraps were used for the pieced backing strip.

I used cheapo machine quilting thread and it worked fine. I used "Warm & Natural" 100% cotton batting. It's pretty thin, but the quilt has a beautiful drape and it was much more manageable on my machine than I imagine a thicker poly batting would have been.

Here are some links that I found particularly helpful when working through the nuts and bolts of quilting:

Basting: Distant Pickles

Free-motion Quilting: Oh Fransson!

Binding: Jaybird Quilts

Thanks for letting me show off my very first quilt! It's the biggest project I've ever started (and completed!) and so I'm just a *little* proud of it. ;) My next quilting project(s) will be my "if it's a boy" quilt and my "if it's a girl" quilt. 11 weeks and counting until baby #2 makes his or her debut!


Someday Crafts

Show & Tell @ Blue Cricket Design

Friday, November 12, 2010

Homemade Christmas Ideas - Bags!

When I first started sewing, there were so many projects that seemed "hard" to me. Bags were one of them. Just like anything else, there are beginner bags and more advanced bags, but for the most part, it's just sewing a series of straight lines - and anybody can do that! If you've never tried a bag (or one with - gasp! - a zipper) you should just bite the bullet. They're easy, they're fun and they make GREAT gifts.

So, as you know, I have seven sisters. Handbags, clutches and little pouches are always a safe bet for gifts - and there are so many amazing tutorials to chose from! Here are a few of my favorites:

Row 1:
Ruffled Messenger Bag
Reversible Tie-Top Bag
The Everything Pocket Bag
Kids Messenger Bag

Row 2:
Gathered Clutch
Simple Zippered Pouch
Hobo Bag
Foldover Bag

Row 3:
Pleated Pouch
Striped Teacher Bag
Pleated Big Bag
On the Go Diaper Bag

I've made a few of Noodlehead's gathered clutches for birthdays recently (and if I can ever get around to uploading photos, I'll share them!) and they work up so quickly and are a big hit! For Christmas, I've got my eye on the Pleated Bag in Row 3 and the Foldover bag (Noodlehead again! Man, she's talented) in Row 2. And how amazing is that diaper bag? Once we get through December, I'm actually going to make that for me.

Signing off for now - Guess what I finished last night? The quilt is done! As in, pieced, basted, quilted AND bound. Just needs to be washed and dried. Me and Madeline are headed out to get some sheets (uh, we need a plastic one!) and pillows for the big bed switcheroo that's happening this weekend. I'll be sharing pictures soon, I'm SO pleased with the way it turned out!

I'll be back with more homemade Christmas ideas - next up, stocking stuffers! Here's the link to the other posts in this series:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Homemade Christmas Ideas - Kids

I'm working on several of my Christmas gifts now (I'm not sure why I always feel the need to work on multiple projects at the same time) and I'm starting to feel like maybe, just maybe I can actually get all my projects done in time for Christmas. Did I mention there are exactly 24 people on my Christmas list? Eeek!

I have a couple original ideas for gifts, but most of the items on my list are from tutorials and free patterns on the web. There are some seriously crafty people out there, ya'll! Here are some of my favorite ideas for gifts for the little ones on your list.

Personally, I'm madly in love with the little softie doll in the 3rd row. That, along with the fabric dollhouse and the floor cushion (one of my works in progress!) are on Madeline's Christmas list.

Next up: Bags, bags, bags!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Quilt and Plans for a Homemade Christmas

Last year we had a semi-homemade Christmas. This year I'm committed to making the majority of my gifts. *insert nervous laugh* I'm a little freaked out that it's almost November and I've barely started, but I'm trying to just ignore the calendar and just get down to business. My gift to-do list is almost complete and I've assembled most of the materials that I'll need to make this happen (I'm hoping that will motivate me to actually DO it.)

Over the last year I've been bookmarking and saving tutorials and ideas like a crazy person. Seriously, it's a problem. I'm working on sorting through all my saved projects and putting together some Christmas gift idea posts based on recipient.

Oh! Guess what I finally started? *Squeal*

Somewhere inbetween all this Christmas crafting, I need to squeeze in finishing this quilt and making matching curtains and bed linens for the big bed switcheroo. It needs to happen soon, people. We're ready, she's ready. Anyway.

I'm almost finished piecing the top and simultaneously working on a pretty awesome pieced strip for the backing. I'm still terrified to actually *quilt* something this size, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Work in progress...

Although I've taking a bit of a bloggy break over the summer, I haven't been completely idle in the crafting department.

Have I ever mentioned that I have a (very) short attention span? Projects that require more than a nap or two's worth of time, which in our house amounts to about 5 hours, start to bore me. So I end up with a bunch of unfinished projects. These are ones that I actually *do* plan on completing. The last project, and consequently the one I'm the most proud of, is requiring a LOT more effort and time than I normally put into things I make, but I think it'll be worth it. ;)

A sweater for my nephew for Christmas...

Some new hats for the shop...

Madeline's big girl quilt - still in the cutting phase...

My big sister's birthday gift (only a month late!)...
And my biggest work in progress....

This one won't be done until the end of February... :)


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My new baby

No, not *that* kind of baby.

This kind.

I ditched my little not-so-trusty Singer for an upgrade. It's not a huge upgrade, but enough of one that it's making a huge difference in my sewing time. A local sewing shop is going out of business and I got it for a song.

It's first night home I pulled out some of my new fabric and made a little dress for Madeline. I think this one might be one of my favorites to date. It was fast and easy, but still super cute. If there is any interest, I may do a tutorial.

I love this fabric. It's "Fresh" by Deb Strain.

I know I've been a little scarce, but this new machine is just the kick in the pants I needed to get back to sewing. I just finished up a doll quilt that I'll share soon, I'm slowing honing those quilting skills!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Just call me the bag lady...

Through a series of events too complex and detailed to list, I ended up at a flea market this past Saturday. I brought a handful of bags and hats that I had made and sat in the drizzle for about 4 hours. I sold one item and finally called it a day.

I'm going to call it a learning experience, since I'd rather not admit that I wasted a Saturday.

I did have fun making the bags, though! Most of the bags were made with Premier Prints outer fabric and some fun cotton interior prints.

This one has a Joel Dewberry lining that I adore.

See the deer?
This one is my favorite. Since it didn't sell, it's now my new library bag.
Isn't this little clutch just the cutest? It's from this tutorial. Don't let the size fool you, though. It took me twice as long as the full size bags!

Same fabric as my currect favorite bag. I love it so much. Mmmmm, green!

Another shoulder bag. Lined with Nicey Jane. Another fabric line I can't ever get enough of.

I bought this material ages ago at Hancock to make draperies for my living room. Then I changed my mind. (What? You can't change your mind when after you buy 4 yards of expensive Waverly fabic? Shut up.) I think it works pretty well as a bag though - this one would be perfect for fall.

This one went to the beach with me on Memorial Day. Yes Siree. Lined in Nicey Jane...again.

There's a couple more that I forgot to take pictures of, but you can sort of see them in the first picture of my table, I really, really love the orange one too.

Just call me the bag lady.

Up next...a doll quilt and pillow for Madeline's baby. Got to get some practice in before I get started on the real deal!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


After my mother's day post, a few people have asked to see close ups of the filmstrip I posted of my sisters and I.

So, since I love you, I love my sisters and I love these photos...

Here we are. All eight of us.

I pretty much have the best sisters ever.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

My new favorite bag

I figured I'd better get this post up quick, I've been on a bag kick lately and I'm perfecting a pattern that is threatening my *current* favorite bag. Which is this one:

It's probably not not a totally fair assessment, because I love the fabric so, so much, I can't NOT love it. It's chartreuse. Green. I love green. LOVE green. I tried to pick a shade of green for every room when we were painting our new house last year but hubby put his foot down. I did get guacamole in the living room, though.

Wait, where was I?

The chartreuse bag, right.

The lining and pocket is in Nicey Jane. Because if I could only pick one line of fabric to use for the rest of my life, that would probably be it. I'm sort of addicted. Exhibit A, B, and C.

It's big enough to hold all my stuff , but shallow enough that I can still see everything when I open it up. I love it. Wait, did I say that already? I sort of followed this pattern. Uber easy, you guys.

The only thing I'd probably do differently is add some interfacing to make it a little more structured. It's pretty soft and floppy. Which is actually kind of perfect for a summer-time bag.

I'm on a bag kick now. I have three different bags cut out, and a bunch of ideas rattling around in my head, so you'll be seeing some more posts dedicated to bags pretty soon.

Okay, I'm signing off. It's a gorgeous Saturday here on the East Coast and I'm heading to the playground with my munchkin.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day Gifts

I finished my mother's day gifts at the eleventh hour last Saturday. Although, that's not entirely accurate. Two of my grandmothers are out of town, so I *still* haven't finished their gifts. But I will. I will.

I spray painted a bunch of frames....

Then I made a mat and covered it in fabric for an interesting photo presentation. This one was for my Mother in law. I made smaller versions of this for Madeline's three great-grandmothers.

I spray painted 8 of these watermelon frames...

And then my sister and I took pictures of ourselves and our sisters (yup, there's 8 of us!) for my mom. We're all holding up a number for our birth order. Mom loved it! I still need to get a picture of them hanging on her wall. It looks pretty awesome.

(click to enlarge)

This tote bag was for my mother in law, super easy bag and very practical, I think.

I loaded it with pockets.

And did a simple button closure.

A ruffled clutch for my sister, who is quite possibly the best mother in the world:

This clutch was a pain in the butt to make. At one point I ripped out every single stitch and started over. The finished product is pretty cute, but I have no idea how I got there, my design process was totally flawed. I do love the lining and card pockets, though!

I also made another bag that was intended as a gift, but I loved the fabric too much to part with it, so it became a mothers day present to myself. I've been using it for a week, and it might be too early in our relationship to make these kinds of statements, but I think I'm in love. At the very least, I'm smitten. It deserves it's own post, so I'll introduce you guys later.

A big thanks to everyone who voted for my top in Made By Rae's Spring Top Week. I think I ended up in 4th place out of that group - not to shabby, right?