Thursday, December 31, 2009

Brown Paper Packages: Swaptastic

I love that the crafty blogosphere gives us all the opportunity to share our projects and our thoughts and inspiration and missteps and our favorite things.  I also love the awesome bloggers that host swaps that allow us to exchange actual THINGS.  Things that you can feel and use and get for free can share with other lovely ladies who craft.

I've done three swaps this year, two for supplies and one for handmade gifts.  In my supply exchanges I've received tons of awesome buttons, so really pretty trims and ribbons, fat quarters that I never would have bought for myself but loved as soon as I had them in my hands, vintage bias tapes and scraps that I've done my best to make into lovely finished items. 

My handmade gift exchange I sent off (in a huge rush) about a week before Christmas as soon as I realized that mail delivery was going to start slowing down and I needed to get my butt in gear.  The rules of the exchange were one gift to spoil the person, one gift for the home and one gift to eat.  (Don't worry, for the gift to eat my roommate offered to give me some outrageously tasty Holiday pastry balls (heh) to send so that my giftee was spared my baking.)  I wish I had bothered to take better pictures, but I was flying to get them into the box.

The "for the person" gift was this granny bag.  The handles are a brown suede lace and the fabric is a Kaffe Fassett print from my local quilt shop.  I love a granny bag because they're so easy to throw a bunch of things in and tote around, but they're cute enough so you don't feel like your schlubbing a junk bag. 

I ended up making two "for the home" gifts.  I first made this fabric basket out of a creamy linen and (vintage, maybe?) floral print that I just LOVE, but I had such a small amount of scrap left over from the granny bag that I wanted to give the pillow a try.  The envelope flaps on the back are the same print as the bag and the criss-cross on the front.  It ended up matching so nicely and looked so pretty with the linen that I included it in the package.  

I hope my recipient has as much fun opening these treats as I had making them.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Last gift of 2009. And dinner.

I hope that everyone has been able to celebrate a fantastic Holiday season so far.  Less than a week to go until 2010!

My last holiday project was thought up, stitched up and given away all in under an hour.  When I was in San Francisco a few months ago my friend was searching in all of the jewelry shops for a leather bracelet.  She was on her way over this weekend for a girls night and I happened to be in the basement and spotted some suede lace that I had gotten to make straps.  I didn't have anything to properly fasten a bracelet with, despite a box full of jewlery making supplies in the basement, so I just folded in the edges sewed on a snap. 

It's a bit of a rush job, and I'm not sure it perfectly fits the vision, but I like the way it looks.  I'm pretty sure that I'll be applying my usual one-for-me-one-for-you rule and making another one in the near future.

Today, though, all I made for myself was this.

It was delicious.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And the piggy goes oink oink

So, you've got this cousin who likes purple and likes pigs and just moved to a new house.  Plus, there's a pretty big holiday coming up where the tradition of gift giving is pretty prominent. 

If only there was something that seemed made for a situation like this.  Enter Pig Let by Echino.

Then, add some sand colored sueduecloth and two 16"x16" pillow forms bought on a super sale at Jo-Ann, and you've got these!

These were actually some of the first Christmas gifts that I made, they'll be the last to get wrapped, and one of the first to be given away.  I think that's about fitting.

I've got one more last minute gift to make in a hurry tomorrow evening, and then I'm calling it off. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Many fine things can be done in a day

This is not one of them.

I've made tote bags similar to this before, including the one that I carry almost everyday, but this one was causing me so much stress that I kept putting it to the side to finish other projects instead.  Even so, I'm really psyched about the way this turned out.  I'm having such a problem letting it go that I see a olive green linen and brown gingham sibling in my future.  I love the way it looks, I love that it's really roomy but doesn't look like a massive suitcase and I love the way the pleats make it look a little bit more interesting than just a plain tote.  I've got to say, though, making a bag this big and this pleated with slippery, wrinkle prone linen made me say bad words more than I'd like to admit.

I picked an oyster linen out for this one because it's a Christmas gift for my pickiest cousin and even though I've got a stash full of some really proper fabrics, I just know I'd never pick the right print.  I really like the simplicity of the linen though, and it makes it look a lot more sophisticated (snort) BUT! I did sneak these orange polka dots in as the lining, because there had to be just a little bit of livelihood. 

Before this one gets wrapped up it's definitely due for a short wash and steam to get rid of the wrinkles.  I was just so excited that it was finally done that I had to get it up right away! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dear Santa

I like this game over at Fat Quarter Shop

Dear Santa,

For Christmas I would very much like anything in the whole wide world by Anna Maria Horner, because I think her fabric is just the knees of a bee.  Mostly, though, I want these two things because this here Folksy Flannels line looks super soft and super colorful and just...super.

For some odd reason, I think because between my skin and my hair I look like a pile of snot when actually wearing this color, I've been really craving mustard yellow lately.  I think that I might be able to pull it off as a scarf.  Also, I saw a purse at Marshall Field's a few weeks ago that was this color and I really fell in love but it was $96.00 so I think it's best I try and make something myself.

But, if I can't have that I for sure want some of this Fortune because not only is it one of my hands down favorite prints of all time, but, again, soft.  Wouldn't this make nice pillows for my bed, Santa?  (It would.)

Thanks, Santa.  Milk and cookies are promised.  Don't worry, I didn't make the cookies.


Monday, December 14, 2009


Internet, Christmas is (technically) eleven days away.
(Even though it is approaching 11:00PM, so I clearly only say eleven to make myself feel better because let's face it Christmas is ten days away.)

(And Christmas Eve is pretty much out of the question, because really, that's when Christmas actually begins, right.  Let's just call it what it is.  Christmas is nine days away.)

Before that day I need to finish three pillows, three towels, one purse and another mystery project.  Today, save for the minutes it will take me to type this, I have been flat in bed like this,

Yes, that is a Gal Pal and it is a miracle device.

Not quite migraine, but enough to make sewing straight lines with a noisy machine under the yellow light of the basement fixtures pretty much impossible. 


Friday, December 11, 2009

More kitchen linens

I've been sewing quite a bit for Christmas, but not much to be shown until after the Holiday is over.  I'm trying to fight off a itchy ear stuff nose type thing, which is putting a bit of a crimp in my plans.  I also can't seem to tear myself away from The Secret Life of Tiger Woods long enough to get everything done. 

Now for a project I can show, because it is a Christmas gift, I'm just not sure who for (me?  maybe?  my kitchen isn't blue and this doesn't match in the least?). 

Turns out that I do NOT think that poms are too much on dishtowels, because in the past week I've gotten white, orange and yellow poms and all are destined for kitchen towels and napkins.  The white was originally for a Holiday towel, and I picked up some Figgy Pudding at my local quilt shop but once I washed it I noticed hot pink spots all over it.  No longer fit for toweldom, I'll need to see what I've got left after I cut the pink out and work from there. 

Whoa.  Anyway.  Since I needed something to do with the white poms, I googled for this tutorial from Film In The Fridge (via Sew, Mama, Sew!), lengthened it and, duh, added poms. 

The blue is Quilter's Solid in nearly navy, the white is a plain linen and the scraps are...scrappy. 

I've got three (and a half) more must finish projects to complete by Christmas.   

Monday, December 7, 2009

Giveaway Winners!

I cannot even believe there were over 200 comments on the giveaway post!  I'm so happy that so many people participated.  I wish that everyone single person could win, but I'm not so much there with fundage and all, so...two winners. 

And, they are:

For the Buttercup bag...#42, EmileeHope!   (If this isn't you, a Buttercup is still totally in the cards.  They are such fun to make, and come together quickly.  Try to make your own using Rae Hoekstra's pattern)

For the cubed pouch kit...#115, Jennifer (Jennifer1318)!  (I'd sure love if you could send me a photo of your finished pouch.  Hint, hint!)

If you're EmileeHope or Jennifer, shoot an email with your address so your goodies can get themselves in the mail. 

Thanks again to everyone who played alone, and a huge thank you to Sew, Mama, Sew! for hosting Giveaway Day!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kitchen Kaboodle

I decided to officially start my Christmas shopping today, far, far too late in the season if the traffic leading up to the mall was any indication.  There were security guards directing traffic into the various parking lots.  I nearly turned around right then.

While I was shopping for others, I decided to pop into Anthropologie for myself, not to buy anything (not that I wouldn't love to buy up the whole store, but alas...) but to just soak up all of the visual eye candy. 

I saw two kitchen towels and a napkin set that I just had to try as soon as I got home. 

I have an Anna Maria Horner print that I think this will look super neat with, but I wanted to try it out on another (read: cheaper) stash fabric before I cut into in.  Kind of like a kitchen muslin, yeah?  Plus I wanted to see if it was maybe just a bit...too much?  Is it?  I can take it?  Are the poms overkill? (I like them.)

I took a fat quarter, squared it up so the edges would be even and pressed a double 1/2" hem around the whole thing.  I used a small strip of macrame cord in the corner to hang the towel with. 

The napkins were pretty plain, with just little accents on each end.  I was pretty tired by the time I tried these out, so I just made a 12" square napkin and made the corner poms by wadding up some trashed fabric strips, folding 2" squares of the kitchen towel fabric around it and tying the middle to hold them together.  I attached them to the napkin with embroidery floss.  If I make a full napkin set I for sure want to attach and tie off with the same color thread. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Book It

First things first.  I am totally floored by the comments on the last post!  You all are far, far too kind.  If it's the Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day post you're looking for, head here.  You're more than welcome to stick around and read on, though.


The latest bag of the Holiday Season Of Non-stop Sewing is for my mom's book club gift swap.  Just a simple flat-bottomed tote, but with pockets in the front instead of on the inside.

Since this is meant for a book club member, I put the handles a bit further apart than standard to make sure a paperback could fit in the pockets.  The side pockets are smaller that way, but will still easily fit pens/pencils and a cell phone if it's thin enough (read: not mine). 

The pocket fabric is the oh-so-swoonable Authentic by Sweetwater.  The lining and bag body were supposed to be the Word Play print of the same line, but, it just didn't look right I cut it upside down.  Oops. 

Luckily!  I'm very stingy and will not throw away extra fabulous fabric just because I effed up.  So, I made this.

I have no idea where this scrap of green came from, but it matches my black and lime green bathroom pretty great.  I was going to make the outside of the basket green to show a little more color in an otherwise boring room, but like I said...STINGY! I wanted to show off the pretty.  I've got just enough of each left to make another basket, so maybe I'll do that one inverted?  Maybe.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giveaway Day!

It's the day we've all been waiting for!  Sew, Mama, Sew! is hosting Giveaway Day!

I've got two chances to win today, one for a finished Buttercup Bag (adapted from the design by Rae Hoekstra) in a creamy white linen/rayon blend with a simple sage green cotton print lining and band. 

Then!  Another reader will get a kit to follow my tutorial and make a complete cubed drawstring pouch.  5 charm squares (Michael Miller and... I forgot.  Cute, though), a linen/rayon blend for the lining, 16" of trim for the casings, 44" of ribbon for ties, and a scrap of decor bond to sturdy up the bottom.  You're totally covered, just add sewing machine and thread.

The Good Stuff:
1.  Comment on this post to enter.  Gain another entry by tweeting or blogging about this post, then come back and leave another comment with the link.
2.  The giveaway will close December 6, 2009, winners to be posted December 7, 2009.
3.  If your email address isn't public on your blog and/or blogger profile, please leave it in your comment.
4.  This giveaway is open to anyone is the whole wide world.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the blogs/shops participating in Giveaway Day.  I know I'll have some stiff competition for all of the neat swag out there!