Monday, July 21, 2014

What's This Decision: Blocks 17-20

There is a mosquito in my living room and it just bit my face. Fun times. Thought you'd like to know. There's a random intro for a random group of quilt blocks, eh? I'll keep this quick as I'm almost finished joining the squares for a crocheted baby blanket and I'm so over it that I just need to get it finished so I can make more of these quilt blocks. So here they are.

I'm calling this block "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." Hehehe...

"Mother, this pea soup is divine."
Crickets chirping...
"It's chicken noodle."

This one is called 'The Sound of Music.' Do you need a moment to ponder? If you have the same look my mother and sister did when I showed them you might need a few, and then a couple seconds for a massive eye roll. When Maria is teaching the children to sing and the song goes "When you read you begin with ABC..." And then you have "Tiiiii----a drink with jam and bread!"... And then the music notes because they're singing. Soooo.....yeeeaaahhhhh....

This block here represents my dream kitchen. Vintage and colorful and adorable. If I could marry this block I would, and I'm not even going to apologize for how strange that sounds.

I can't wait to get back to working on these. A bunch of stuff cropped up that has made it near impossible to work on these, but I see the pile of fabric every day, and can almost hear it calling to me. Ta for now!

Friday, July 18, 2014


Binge watching TV shows leads to hand-sewing projects zipping along, that's for sure. I do feel like that I spend more time staring at the screen, fabric in one hand, needle poised in the other, waiting for a less intense scene so I can take a stitch, but apparently I get more done than I thought. I've got almost all my main parts finished, and just need to think of how I'm going to fill in the final bits.

I have that one final flower to finish off in yellow, and then I'll have to decide what I'm going to do to square it off. I was thinking I would use more yellow, but now I'm thinking I might put some more color in there as my eyes would "expect" something to be in that space, if that makes sense. We shall see. If you've got a thought on the matter please share.

Here are the flowers I made--I love that they're all from the same piece of fabric but cut from different bits so they don't look exactly the same.

The center block is from a random orange fat quarter I found at Joann's.

I wanted to grab more of this fabric but when I went back for more of it of course they didn't have it. If I don't use yellow I was thinking this might be good to fill in what would be the corners, but I don't know. Good thing I've still got a ways to go before I have to make decisions.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pins and Needles

It comes as a bit of a surprise to me that I enjoy hand sewing. I used to absolutely hate to do it, but now I look forward to it. I'm not marvelous at it, but I have gotten better. I look forward to shutting off the sewing machine, and then curling up on the couch with my paper piecing projects. I'm still not at the level of my grandma who hand pieces and hand quilts all of her huge quilts, but there's something therapeutic about joining together all those colorful little shapes, that's for sure.

As I've mentioned before, this time around I decided to buy needles and thread recommended for paper piecing. Retro Bee has hung her head in shame at being so stubborn and thinking needles and thread are just needles and thread, because they're really not. I bought some milliner's needles as they're long and thin, but they came in this little plastic tube that makes me cringe every time I open it as I feel like they're all just going to pop out and go everywhere, and then the dog's paw will find one and everyone will yell at me but the vet who will be pleased to receive payment for what would probably be a hefty needle-removal bill...

You know what's funny? At work my boss will tell my co-workers to give me their documents to edit as I make everything more clear and concise, apparently. But he obviously doesn't know how I go on for three paragraphs here to say that I made myself a needle book. Theeeere it is, there's the point you were waiting for me to arrive at. I made a needle book.

I used the alphabet function on my machine to sew up this cute little label to pop on that cute little composition book fabric, to make a cute

The stitching is by no means perfect on any part of this but I don't care. It's so teeny and cute that it cancels out all the hiccups. If I had thought ahead for two seconds I'd have put a little strip of black fabric where the spine of the book is. This fabric is from a few years ago, and I think I may have gotten one of the last pieces in existence on Etsy.

I used some of my large text fabric for the inside to finish off that school vibe--

I only put in one layer of felt as it's real wool felt and a bit thicker and stiffer than the regular acrylic stuff. I originally had two layers, but I couldn't get the book to close no matter how much I pressed the fold (think sitting on a stuffed suitcase). I eyeballed the size of this as I went along, but I did use some bits from this tutorial for the inside layer so I wouldn't have to tuck in any raw edges anywhere. There's also some thin cardboard in there to give it more of a bookish feel.

So now my needles have a home. This dinky little thing that took me maybe half an hour to make is one of my favorite little makes. I think it's because I love things in miniature...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Foldover Clutch for My Leetle Seester

So my sister asked me to make her a clutch. A foldover clutch, to be precise. She showed me exactly what she wanted, and gave me the measurements and everything. Then we went to Joann's. The word to describe my sister Alicia would be...particular. Yes, that's what it is. Once the vision is in her head that's it. No one gets out alive until the vision is in tangible form in her hot little hands. After pulling maybe...all?...the bolts out and deciding that they weren't quite right we were getting discouraged. I walked away for two seconds to look at something else and clear my brain (OK it was longer than two seconds because it was a gnome I was looking at in the seasonal aisle and I was trying to decide if I wanted to spend the money, which I didn't, but it was probably about three minutes if you need total accuracy), and when I walked back to where she was she had a completely different bolt of fabric from anything we had looked at already and had a different plan in mind. My big contribution to the adventure was adding a funky trim to the plain fabric she had decided on (after pairing all kinds of colors with all kinds of laces that would function as an overlay but weren't working she 180'd). The time to put the bits together from that point on was maybe five minutes. The time beforehand? Trust me, you don't want to know.

I got stitching on Saturday, and in a reasonable amount of time had her bag finished.

I say 'reasonable' amount of time because this is the trim I had to sew down. I used a smidgen of fabric glue to hold it all right where I wanted it, turned the speed on my machine down to snail, and carefully pivoted my way down the curvy path of this velvety trim.

A metal zipper was also part of this project. We didn't have time to order anything online (she wanted this for a function she's got in the very near future), so we went with a white zipper tape with white metal teeth. We bought a long zipper, which I then performed major surgery on to shorten (as you can't just sew right over them as you do with normal zippers). I felt like quite the hero with that one. I may have strutted around the room a little.

This shot is the closest to the actual colors, bee-tee-dubs. The not-yellow-not-green trim did not want to cooperate with the camera.

After the trim was down and the zipper in place I had to get the magnetic snap in. I'm not a fan of putting mag snaps into bags with flaps as I feel like I never get the placement perfect, but I'm an engineer's daughter and close enough is good enough sometimes.

The inside is a kicky lime green that is a really fun contrast to the marine blue.

Ready for the whole thing?

It is so simple, really--just a giant change purse, technically speaking. The trim was easier than I thought and gives such a simple but big impact to this bag. I keep trying to think of what it reminds me of, and I just can't place it. It's one of those things where you see it, the thought flits through and is gone before you can grasp exactly what it is. It will be driving me crazy until I think of it (it took me three nights to try and place something from a TV show that my brain was grasping at, and when it finally did you would have thought I cured a major disease. How crazy--a non-amnesiac remembering something unimportant. Woo-hoo. Pick up your trophy on the way out, Bee).

In other stitchy news--I sewed myself an adorbs needle book as the teeny tube the teeny needles came in is going to result in a needles-lost-on-the-sofa sort of situation. You may have seen it on Instagram, but if you haven't I'll be sharing that soon. And I've made good progress on my hexie project. You know what helps with that? Binge-watching TV shows. If you're looking for an excellent show to watch try Copper. It's from the BBC America, and is available on Amazon Prime and Netflix (I'm pretty sure). It's not a family show, so check it out after the tots are in bed.

Sooo....I guess that's it for now. See you soon!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Giveaway Winner!

Well, I dang near forgot to select a winner for the giveaway!

So who is the winner of this little lot?

Well, that would be this number:

Which lines up with this comment:

Congrats! I've sent an email, but in case you see this before you see that please send me your address so I can get these goodies sent your way.

Side note: I have a few sewing kits left in my shop if anyone is interested :)

See you soon!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What's This Decision: Blocks 13-16

I've had such a busy weekend, and with a few days off from work thrown in I plumb forgot to write! I have, however, been very much enjoying reading the comments you've been leaving on the giveaway post. Some of you are quite the busy folks! You've got a few days left to enter if you haven't already.

I haven't had time to work on any more economy blocks (which is irking me, as I don't like having WIPs that I don't get to work on), but hopefully by the time I finish showing you the ones I've already made I'll be back in the swing of making them. So here are a few more for your viewing pleasure :)

This young boy was sent to the market with his wagon to load it with goodies. That wood grain fabric is supposed to be his wagon :)  Remember when grocers wore aprons and there were local stores like this? Yeah, me neither...other than a corner store my existence has largely been privy to the offerings at the supermarket.

This one is pretty self-explanatory...I really loved the typewriter fabric, so why not 'type' what was written longhand? Remember that? Writing longhand, and then typing it out very carefully? I learned to type on a typewriter and still love that clickety-clack sound. I even remember what the ink ribbon smelled like...remember in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' when Audrey Hepburn gave George Peppard a typewriter ribbon as a gift? What would you do if someone gave you a ream of printer paper as a gift? Why doesn't that seem as romantic?

Take away that tiny waist and this could have been me this weekend--I baked a few things for our Fourth of July picnic and was quite pleased with the results (though the process was a bit harrowing at times). Note to self: you don't have to use all the berry preserves, unless you like that someone-was-murdered-here-and-the-blood-is-now-congealing look.

Pistachio cookies. That's what this block represents. Because what else is that color? Maybe key lime pie? Are pistachio cookies even a real thing? I think they're real...I don't think I just made that up (can you tell I'm tired?)

I had some projects crop up out of seemingly nowhere, and they've got deadlines, so I'm feeling that frenzy of needing to get all the things done. I realllly want to get back to these economy blocks, so I guess I better just buckle down and get to it. It's such a lovely feeling of relief when all the need-tos are done. 

Ta for now!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fussy Cutting and a Giveaway

Hi, kids! Since my previous EPP project went together quickly but was less than satisfactory to me, I decided I needed another one. This one is going together much more swimmingly. It's all hexies, so it's going together quite fast while my rear is plopped on the couch watching Ballykissangel (which reminds me of Northern Exposure except, y'know...Irish), and catching up on the most recent season of Downton Abbey. I don't know if any of you follow along with the sewing adventures of Flossie Teacakes, but she has been working on a massive EPP project that made my jaw hit the floor a few times as she posted progress shots on Instagram. I acknowledge that I do not yet have that practiced eye for selecting fabrics for paper piecing that will result in a kaleidoscopic effect, but one has to start somewhere, so I picked up a few things at Joann's to practice fussy cutting.

This is currently what's making up my EPP kit:

Cute little folding scissors that were too cute to pass up (because I have a scissors fetish as well as a ruler fetish), straw/milliner's needles which are crazy thin and a little bit flexible but poke through fabric like a hot knife through butter, super amazing nearly invisible thread that is also super strong, and Sewline by Moda fabric glue (I'd like to tell you it's the same as ordinary fabric glue but it really is much nicer for this kind of project).

I picked up a few fat quarters at Joann's, as well as about a half yard of this fabric.

I'd love to know why this fabric looks dirty in the photo--I assure you it is not :)

Armed with my paper pieces, I drew up a template so I could fussy-cut a la this tutorial

My original plan was to have essentially one giant hexie flower, but when I went to lay things out I realized they weren't going to line up just the way I wanted, so I went with a new plan (which I'm getting very good at). I've got a central 'hub' in one color, and then six fussy-cut 'flowers' that will surround it.

The fabric is a little more doodley than it looks, which I noticed once I started trying to match up my template on the same sections across the fabric. Some of the sections are not exactly the same, which I didn't pick up on right away and so tried to force things a little bit. As such, the matching is a little less precise than I'd like, but only close-up and if you're really looking for it. I'm considering this a practice piece anyway, and the point of practicing is working out the mistakes and the hiccups for when it's time to get serious (if one can consider gluing fabric to paper and sewing it together 'serious').

So what say we do a little bit of a giveaway? I've got a large pack of hexagons, and the template that goes with them, as well as one fun little miniature sewing kit to give to one of you.

I love the template as it's got the outline ready-made for fussy cutting and a generous seam allowance. The little sewing kit is actually a nice little kit inside--

Everything you need for a quick repair is in there (the needles are in that cute little case near the seam ripper) and those scissors are quality for something so teeny. I don't even need to point out how cute the outside is, do I? I will, but I don't need to, harharhar. If you're interested I've got some in my shop you can score for yourself (or for others--who doesn't need something like this for torn hems and popped buttons?).

To enter the drawing for the hexie papers, the template, and the sewing kit, simply leave a comment on this post telling me the most recent thing you've made. You've got until next Friday, July 11, at 11:59 EDT to enter. I'll pick a winner the next day-ish. I'll ship anywhere, so everyone is free to enter. Good luck!


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