Skirting the Issue

After last year’s holiday season, I put everything away (of the very little I had out) but kept my Christmas tree skirt to add to my sewing room.  It was beginning to fall apart and become uneven and not very cute anymore.  I have kept it under my ironing board for the entire year as I knew that I wanted to make myself a new one. 

For the last two years or so I have barely decorated for the holidays or not at all.  I knew that I would fill up my days with other projects and never get it done if I did not do it soon so I have now guilted my mother into coming over for Thanksgiving and helping me decorate. 

The first thing I needed to do to prepare is to make that Christmas tree skirt that I promised myself to make.  I pulled out 3 Christmas Charm Packs – 2 Ho! Ho! Ho! by Deb Strain and 1 Holly’s Tree Farm by Sweetwater and sewed 100 of the charms randomly together in a 10×10 grid.  The colors and patterns in both of these lines worked really well together.  The size was based on the size of my old tree skirt (48×48).  I then basted and quilted it on both sides of the seams and then diagonally in each direction.  I felt the sturdiness of quilting would make it easier to cut.  After the quilting, I cut out the center hole and the slit in the back.  I also trimmed the corners to create something that resembled a circle.  (This will probably be Jasper’s main pose during the holidays as he loves to be under everything.) After the cat test I went and grabbed the perfect fabric from my stash for the binding.  A little peppermint candy to add to the whimsy of this piece with some green and red accents. The curved binding was easier than I had anticipated and it turned out really cute.  I added ribbons in red and green to the slit to tie the skirt together around the tree truck.   I attached them when I attached the binding and caught them under then needle while sewing the binding to the skirt on the back and then again after flipping the binding to the front in order to secure them for use. I love how this turned out!     

  It’s going to be so cute under my tree.  Now I have to go back to making more gifts for my Handmade Holiday.  A Cargo Duffle may be in my future if I can find the right fabric for the exterior.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my US readers.  I give thanks everyday to this quilting community that I throughly enjoy being a part of. 

Handmade with a Cause

I’ve been busily creating gifts for friends and family but I’ve also been making for those close to those I love. Cancer took one of my old friends earlier this year and left his family without their bread-winner and lots of medical debt.  To help ease a small bit of the burden I reached out to his widow and asked if she needed anything for the holidays.  I also asked if she needed anything for the kids.  She replied with different things that the kids were interested in so that gave me a good starting point.

But first I had to make something just for her.  I’m sure her daughter will end up with it but it’s the thought that counts, right? I chose the ever popular Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented.  I went with a butterfly theme in cerise and grey.  That crosshatch is from the Reel Time line by Zen Chic and I think I need tons of it in my stash.  I used a butterfly print inside the pockets with grey and cerise for the bag linings.  For her son, a Batman loving soul, I chose the Lego Batman pattern by Kristy of Quiet Play.  I also downloaded Robin.  Both are free patterns on Craftsy.  Just Batman by himself looks awesome.  Then I added Robin and a free Batman symbol from Fandom in Stitches to make a long pillow.   It looks wonderful with the Batman sleeping bag that I got at a super good price at a local Pottery Barn outlet store.  For her daughter I am thinking along the lines of fairies and dragonflies.  It’s all still brewing in my head.

In the meantime, I have this fabulousness that will become another Sew Together Bag. 

Peanuts!!!    I found it all at an Etsy shop called Warm Kitty Quilts.  Delivery was super fast so I was able to make this sweet key fob after I finished the Batman pillow.  

More Handmade Holiday

Handmade Holiday continues around here in so many different forms.

Birds and the Bees Placemats:

As I mentioned in my last post, my step-mom fell in love with my Birds & the Bees quilt. It’s a yellow, grey, and black beauty that she gravitates toward each time they stay over.  I had some triangles left over from making that quilt and decided that she needed some placemats to brighten up her table.  I had 47 triangles remaining (I think I over-cut just a little bit) but I still had to cut one additional triangle in order to split those evenly into 4 placemats.

Once sewn into 2 rows they did not quite fit a standard placemat size so I just added side and bottom strips as needed to get it up to size (14×18).  I completed one and then took the same design to the other three.  Wavy quilting for the win!  The density really helps them lay flat on the table.  I backed them in the same fabric I used to back the quilt.  It’s a bird print from JoAnn’s. 

 She’s going to love them!  Now I am on the search for some awesome napkin rings to go with them.

Large Trail Tote:

I, once again, pulled out the pattern for the Trail Tote.  But this time I decided to make the large size.  My mom loved the two small totes I made for my step-sisters but mentioned that she would like something that her iPad would fit in.  She was not a fan of the 241 tote that I shared last week so I hope she’ll like this one.  The fabric is from JoAnn’s but it shimmers really prettily.  I used a paw print fabric as the accent pocket inside the bag.  She’ll love that little bit of whimsy for the dogs that she adores. And I just love this Tim Holtz music fabric. 

 Stash for Holiday projects:
The placemats I made earlier were not the plan when I entered my sewing space.  I was planning on making some for my brother. But I could not decide on a good base fabric.  I found one I thought would work but didn’t have enough.  So I popped over to Etsy to see if I could find some more.  At a shop called Stitches ‘n Giggles, I found the fabric and wonderful prices.

The fabric is Reel Time – Lenses in Slate by Zen Chic.  While there I also found the Sports Column Concrete print from the Varsity line by Sweetwater.  My brother is a sports analyst so it is perfect.  It will probably be used in a pouch of some sort rather than the placemats.  I would use this together with the Reel Time fabric for the placemats but the greys don’t play well together. I couldn’t pass up this Graph Paper fabric.  So simple but so fabulous!  I believe it is from the Modern Minis line by Lori Holt.  Holly’s Tree Farm – The Forest….no explanation needed.  It was a must-buy.  I’m having a ball making all these gifts.  There is so much enjoyment in creating that I’m basically giving myself a gift as well.  Still more to come….I’m on a roll….

Handmade Holiday

Handmade Holiday continues around here with a 241 Tote for my stepmother.

She loves all things black and yellow.  She adores and covets the Birds and the Bees quilt that I made last year.  She snuggles into it every time they stay over.  She also loves the Baroque Vera Bradley pattern and has a ton of bags in that pattern.  Based on that, I knew I had to use some sort of black/yellow/grey combination for anything for her.

Last month I picked up a fat quarter of this fabulous yellow and grey fabric by Jenean Morrison at a local arts festival.  It is from a line called Silent Cinema from a number of years back.  I mixed that with a great greyish print from my stash and it looks wonderful together on the exterior of the bag.  I used a Michael Miller daisy print called Daisy Flowers for the interior accent piece.  The other interior piece is from Holly’s Tree Farm.  It is called Gum Drops in Graphite.  The bag was pretty simple to put togther and only took me about 1/2 a day.   I think I would like a little more stiffness in this bag so I would use a thicker/sturdier interfacing for the next run.  Maybe some Fusible Fleece just to give it a little more ummph (you know what I mean).

That’s one more gift ready to go.  I am seriously loving Handmade Holiday.  It’s so much fun!  

I do need some suggestions for adult male-themed sewn gifts.  The women and girls are easy – pouches, bags, wall hangings, etc.  It’s the men that will end up with Tervis Tumblers and key chains if I don’t think of anything cooler.  So, throw some suggestions my way……

In other areas of my sewing Realm:

I was selected as a pattern tester for the glitterific Molli Sparkles.  The first test was for his Tidal Pool block and variation.  I chose to make the variation block with the ‘drain’ pieces.  I chose this fabulous rainbow bundle of dots.  I needed twelve colors to get the effect I wanted.  (Hello – cat toy photobomb…) Anyway, I wanted a rainbow theme with gold dripping off the rainbow from the drains.  I needed to use a solid gold to really get the effect I was wanting but you get the idea.  He’s published the completed free tutorial on his blog for everyone to enjoy.

This lovely will probably be made into a pillow or cushion of some sort to add to the Handmade Holiday gift selection.  I may trim it with that more solid gold color fabric to really make it sparkle!

Strike When the Iron is Hot

I had every intention of making up more scrap improv blocks for my new quilt when my mind decided that I needed to make another Trail Tote as it would make a fabulous gift for my eldest stepsister for Christmas.

 Last week I posted about some fabric I received.  One of those purchases was from the Lucky Strike line by Cotton + Steel.  My stepsister still bowls in a weekly league and this fabric just had to make it into some sort of gift for her. This pile, which was taunting me on top of the stack every time I walked into my sewing room, is what inspired the newest Trail Tote assembly.  The small size bag is the perfect size for her and the theme is there but not totally overstated.  This was my third time making this bag and I think this one is my favorite!   (You can see the other two here and here.)  The grey strike fabric on the outside is perfect!  I just had to make a key fob to coordinate with the bag and this scrap had the perfect orientation of a few bowling pins.  I used the scorecard fabric on the inside.  It made a fabulous lining and I kept it straight so that looks like a win-win to me. I think she’ll love it but for now it is residing in the gift closet with another Trail Tote that I made for her sister.

More C+S love:

A few weekends back, Craftsy had one of their big blowout sales.  I always take a peek even when I shouldn’t be buying any fabric.  They had a Fat Quarter Box of Cotton + Steel for $44!!  Forty FQs for $44!  I absolutely could not resist that.  It was actually the best fat quarter box that I have ever received from Craftsy.  The selection of fabrics inside the box was just wonderful.

The teal grouping:  The yellow/brown grouping:  The blue/pink grouping:  This box was the best value I’ve ever gotten from Craftsy.  (It is on sale today 10-25-15 for that same price! Hurry – run….)

I have a few ideas brewing for plans for this lovely stash addition.  I think the Plus quilt by Jeli Quilts should definitely be in the mix.

Scrap or Stash

I was organizing my scraps the other day and started sorting them into medium and small pieces.  Medium being pieces I can fold once and small being anything smaller than that.  The small pieces I was putting into this nice big glass jar.  I thought they would look really cool in the jar. Then I needed a a day of mindless sewing.  Mindless – meaning that I was not going to put much thought into color placement or shape or size.  Scrap improvisational sewing was the answer.  I separated the small scraps into smaller sections of light and dark and that’s as planned as I got.  This was the end result.  I trimmed each slab into 6 1/2 inch squares. These are a few of the dark blocks.  I have a plan in my head for the next steps for these.

Prior to the mindless day of sewing, I was experiencing a bit of unacknowledged stress and did some online fabric shopping.  Carrie, from Gotcha Covered Quilting, was having a big sale prior to her going in for surgery.  She is also collecting Hexagon Flowers to put into a quilt of her own while she goes through chemotherapy after her surgery.  Be sure to follow her Instagram account (@gotchacoveredquilting) for more details on her battle and how she keeps a positive outlook on her future.  Anyway, I wanted to support this positivity and buy some awesome fabric during this sale.

I recently fell for the Lucky Strike line by Cotton + Steel and have decided I need it.  We have a history of bowling prowess in the family and I thought I could use this line to make some fabulous gifts.  That scorecard print is divine! I also picked up a Fat Quarter bundle of Tinsel (another wonderful Cotton + Steel line.)  The trees are so super cute!  One or two of the other pieces may end up in a Christmas Swap package.  Then a charm pack of the new Zen Chic line – For You – landed in my cart.  The prints are so wonderful.  I can’t wait to use this one.  This happy mail, which also included my very favorite Sees Candies Lollipop flavor, landed on my doorstep on that day of mindless sewing and it was perfect timing.  I’m happy that I placed this order with Carrie.  I also sent her a Hexie Flower to help support her during this journey.

The Pumpkin Chronicles

Last weekend I admitted Fall was here and started on a pumpkin table runner.  I grabbed all my oranges and cut some 2 1/2 inch squares.  I put those together into a random 16 patch and sewed some text print triangles on the corners.  I added a couple of rows of low volume texty goodness and a stump of brown and had myself a pumpkin.  I used the newspaper type prints as I thought it to be an accurate portrayal of what a pumpkin could be sitting on.  I made 3 of these pumpkins and put them in a row with the middle one facing the opposite direction so that it looks cute from both sides.Now came the fun part of making it bigger with borders and accent pieces. Green had to be the color of the next border to get those oranges to pop.  I made that one 2″.  I didn’t want to go directly into the final border print so I added a 1 1/2″ text border.  The final border print is from a 2010 line called California Dreamin’ by Jenean Morrison.  She is a local artist and was at a street festival last month selling her designs.  I picked up this fabulous print there and it had the perfect colors for this project.  I made a 3″ border with that print. It was looking a bit boxy so I put on some dottie orange triangles, before piecing the final border, to really frame those pumpkins.  I quilted it with horizontal matchstick quilting about 1/4 inch apart and bound it in a Riley Blake orange that I had on hand. 

 It looks so fabulous on my coffee table and really brightens the room. The final size is 37 1/2 by 19.  This is actually the extent of my fall decorating so I’m glad it makes such a great punch. Jasper seems to like it, too.