Friday, February 14, 2014

A Hot Mess

Valentine Confession: I have started a sewing project that I am completely out of love with now.

It started off well. Good intentions. Using up scraps. Trying a new technique. I have seen so many other quilters turn scraps into improv quilt blocks (ala Denise Schmidt) into gorgeous works of art. They always say, "don't edit" and "just pick a piece of fabric and sew." Well, my friends, I am here to tell you I stink at it and can't stand to look at what I have sewn together. 

I even got together with a sewing friend recently and she helped me sew up a few more blocks. Loved the time we had together, but when I got home and spread all the blocks on the floor my husband's response just confirmed my fears. He just stared at the haphazard arrangement on the floor and asked if I intentionally made this because (in his words) it looked like a "crafting disaster." 

And it does. 

So now I have 20 or so 12x12" blocks and I don't even want to keep them. Can you help me see the beauty in this mess? What would you do with them? Would you just sewing them together and be done with it? Maybe hack the blocks apart and pair them with a solid?

Can this be saved? Can I fall back in love with this project? 

Love is a fickle thing. And I am ready to call it quits!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Selfish sewing- travel garment bag

Next week I leave for a business trip to GA. (Please, no bad weather on the east coast going to or from!) 

Every time I travel I wish I had a garment bag. Either to place an extra pair of shoes or to bring dirty laundry home in. Every time I travel I usually end up swiping the dry cleaning bag from the hotel closet for these purposes. They work, but they are not as cute as this (excuse the iPad photos): 

It is fairly large (17x20''-ish) with a zipper top. Lined with an ivory poly lining found at a thrift store ages ago. The exterior fabric is called Wash Day Washing Line Blue designed by The Henley Studio for Andover fabrics. (Find it onsale here- 

I used a half yard for the exterior. For a more spacious interior and to keep that slippery poly lining in place, I boxed the corners and tacked the flap to the exterior with little yellow buttons. I probably have thousands of buttons, but do you know how hard it was to find two yellow buttons the same size?! Remarkably so. 

Reorganizing my fabric stash definitely has had a positive effect on my creative output. Next on the sewing to-do list are some clothing makeovers. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 quilt top and back done!

This week I finished the quilt top AND finished the pieced backing for a small quilt. 

Fabrics included in quilt top: border print from Kate Spain's Terrain collection. Kona 'snow' used as the white sashing. And the prints are a mix of Bonnie and Camille's 'Bliss' fabric and Olive Tree Textiles 'Fandango'. 

The back is pieced because my math skills failed me, but I still am a fan. I knew I was going to have a hard time locally sourcing either a Fandango or Bliss print for the back. But I have to give a high five to Bonnie and Camille for coordinating their fabric lines because the large floral print is from their 'Scrumptious' line and it works really well! I know the background color of this print reads blue on screen but in person it is on the green side of aqua but too blue to call a mint. I wonder what they call this color?  The red polka dot is from their 'Bliss' line and the small print on the end is also a 'Scrumptious' print. 

I love shopping for fabric online, but I am really proud to say all the fabrics for this quilt I found at my Local Quilt Store. I hope to get this sandwiched together with some batting this weekend. I may attempt to quilt this myself in something other than straight lines. I am not much of a football fan. More of a "I'm just here for the food" kind of fan. So hopefully I can tackle this while the game is on instead. :) 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Show and Tell

Hello January! Where did you come from? I think the snowy weather we have been getting in Pennsylvania has put me in the sewing mood. Over Christmas I attacked my sewing room. Sewing old WIPs, sorting, donating, installing shelves in closets, and folding fabric neatly. All that fabric sorting made me fall back in love with some of my stash. Maybe two years ago, my local sewing store started stocking Moda fabric and during a sale they has precuts available. I purchased what I think they call a candy bar? It had little 2x4 inch rectangles of 4 different fabric lines. Cute, but I never could figure out what to do with with them. That is until this week. I pulled them out and in an instant two little packs turned into the photo above. I don't sew too many blankets but this one is coming along nicely. 

Over Christmas I accomplished some selfish sewing. I finally got around to sewing the Emily bag from Amy Butler used this pattern to highlight her laminate fabrics last year. That is where I saw it first. I used some older Ikea fabric and made leather handles. It is huge! The directions are pretty good. I constructed the handles slightly differently that printed and if I make the bag again I would add 2'' to the handle length. As they are right now, it is a tight fit to wear this bag over the shoulder. 

A couple of old WIPs were all cut out and interfaced. Just needed some sewing time! I made a couple of leather fold over clutches. This one is my favorite. I also did some painting over Christmas. I now have a black wall in my home. I'm really liking it. 

Finished these zipper pouches using scraps. The strip fabric is a beautiful linen cut on the bias. I bought the whole bolt. I want to use it in everything. 

I still have some sewing organizing to finish. When I am done EVERYTHING needs to fit in the closet. Nice and tidy. That is the plan anyways.

Friday, September 20, 2013

2013 Garden

This years garden was almost non-existent. We have the garden project which has been slow going and is just going to take more time than originally planned. I did pick up a fig tree this year and I was rewarded with a handful of fresh figs!

I threw a couple of 2012 zinnia seeds in the ground later in the spring and have been rewarded with a few blooms this fall.  

In the 2013 Parks Seed catalogue, one plant caught my attention. It was a grass called Bunny Tails. Now I am not a crazy gardener. There was no way I was going to plant an unknown grass in my perennial bed and have it become an invasive species. So it was planted in a pot. It is a very common looking grass and at first I wasn't sure it wasn't a "weed". And my cat loved to chew on its leaves. It was mowed down most of the summer. Which when I think about it, is he does have an affinity for baby bunnies (sadly) so eating a planted named Bunny Tails seemed appropriate. It just started producing these super soft and fluffy seed heads. 

My holly hocks are in there second wind. New fall blooms!

The ever present Garden project. Hey, it takes me five years to finish a quilt. I hope this doesn't follow suit. 

Lime light hydrangeas planted Dec 2012. Purchased these beauties for $2 each.

Before I know it the frost will be here again. This summer seemed to fly by faster than any other summer in recent memory. Next week I plan on slowing down and enjoy an extended weekend away with my husband to celebrate 7 years of marriage! Can't wait!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


My real job has been keeping me busy. But some days I can use my lunch break to see some great local events as I travel around a seven county area. The other week I caught a local dahlia show. 

It was held in a public library and was quite the pick me up to walk into a room lined with these beautiful plants. Last year I had over 30 planted. With the ongoing garden project this year, I planted 7 and they haven't been doing great. Bugs are eating them up and I typically do not care to spray. My biggest reason is to protect the bumble bees that visit. One of my favorite things to do on a summers evening is to walk my garden and see a few bees taking up residency in the petals for the night. They will burrow in between the ruffly petals to make a bed. Can you imagine waking up in between the petals of these beautiful flowers in the morning light? Amazing, I bet. 

This flower was my favorite of the show. It didn't win a big award, but to me it was perfect. 

I'm lucky most days that I don't run into traffic while driving. Wildlife is probably a more common road hazard. However, last week I had to yield to a gander of geese that were protecting their spot of the road. 
 And tonight I enjoyed a lovely 65 degree evening. This is a view from my side porch about 20 min after sunset. Perfect night to eat a dinner of a rosemary artichoke polenta goat cheese tart and a wilted spinach salad. Mmmm. 

Next time, sewing projects!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Whoa. Long time no blogging. I'm still kicking!  I was taking some time cleaning off photos from the digital camera and realized I needed to document a few things here.

My latest sewing adventures have included sewing with leather! I also discovered that I do not need a special Teflon sewing foot to be able to sew leather. My Pfaff 2038 with its IDT feature gets the job done nicely. A leather sewing needle is a must though.

I recently started visiting one of the locations for the PA Fabric Outlet in Lemoyne, PA. Here I can sort through a bin of leather remnants and pay by the pound.  I have been experimenting with all different kinds of leathers and weights. I am really enjoying it!  Adding leather to totes was a no brainer.
I occasionally like to go purse-free, especially while exploring new urban areas. I have made fabric wallets in the past but decided to experiment with a leather version. Super simple, but effective. The leather is super buttery too.
I'm also still best friends with my seam ripper. I had to purchase a new one recently. I had no idea how dull my old one had gotten until I misplaced it and got a new one. Big difference!
 Some time ago, I ordered a stamp from Etsy seller: ModernArtStamps. I picked some fabric safe ink up at Michaels and have been experimenting with labels.  I don't like stamping on twill tape. It's not as crisp as I would like it to be, but I do like stamping the wrong side of a quilting cotton print. I like the washed-out subtle design and the stamped image results are much clearer.
This is my most recent bag favorite. I scored this delicious taupe/ivory striped linen at a local Mennonite fabric store. I cut it on the bias to make the pattern. It's lined with a purple vintage feedsack and leather corners!

And some other projects not quite finished. 

I really miss writing on here.  I just haven't make photography a priority lately.  I need to get back into the habit because this blog has been such a great record of fun things for me. 

Thanks for stopping by!