Wild Wild West

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The quilt was the western quilt I mentioned in the Just Keep Swimming post a few weeks ago (https://catherinecureton.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/just-keep-swimming/). It is my first applique quilt and the beginning of a new obsession! I didn’t really have to learn applique for a western quilt (because there are about a million western quilts floating around on the internet), but I came across one with an image similar to this and I fell in love! The image needed some tweaking up and the original was way too small to really see much, so I enlisted my artist in residence (Spencer) to help redraw/fix the scene into something more workable for me. Then I followed the usual steps for tracing out pieces onto Wonder under, ironing the scene together and sewing the pieces down. I had some fun with texture by doing the horse and the chaps out of a suede-like fabric and leaving a loose fringe on the chaps. I used free motion quilting to sew the quilt together and get all of the fun texture in the background.

Tada!

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And Bonus! Baby onesies! I think I like these as much as I like the quilt (especially the one with the butt pockets)!

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Baby Stuff

My friend Lori  is about to pop! And I wanted to sew her something that would be both cute and useful when the baby comes. They’re waiting to be surprised, so I had the extra challenge of making something gender neutral.

The first thing I made was a baby swaddle. I’ve heard that they’re very useful for bundling babies up when they’re really little, and I’d seen them used at the hospital before. The free downloadable PDF can be found here (yes in MAKE magazine of all places!) http://blog.makezine.com/craft/craft_pattern_podcast_snuggler/

I lined it with a soft knit instead of fleece because it will be Texas summer during the months the baby can use it.

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The next project was for when the baby gets a bit older. I’ve heard several moms mention how great grocery cart covers are for babies (especially while teething), but couldn’t find a pattern I liked anywhere. They were either over complicated or called for waaay too much fabric (like 5yds). So, I improvised. I went the HEB to measured their seats (the biggest in town) and made sure that 1 yd would cover the entire hole (remembering that the fabric has to go down the sides and back up). It did, so I took my yard of cotton and my yard of fleece (2 yards total), laid them together, rounded the corners and sewed them together so that I could run elastic around the entire outside of the circle. Then I went back to HEB and used pins to mark where the leg holes needed to be and added those. Sorry if that sounds confusing, but feel free to message me if you’d like it explained more in depth or with photos). I also added toy clips and pockets to keep the pacifier and other toys off the floor.

The only thing I wasn’t happy with was that you couldn’t see very much of the pretty yellow fabric when I put it in the buggy, but technically it is reversible and I put toy clips on both sides.

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Barnyard Birthday Bash!

It had been a while since I’d done a big cake, so I jumped at the chance to help my friend Emily by making her son’s first birthday cake! Since it was a barnyard theme, I got to try something new and sculpt all of these adorable little animal babies! For his smash cake (cake all of his own that he could baby drool on) I made a little hay bale with his name and a baby cow. IMG_9706 IMG_9702

To continue the barnyard theme I appliqued these adorable overalls for him to wear! IMG_9630 IMG_9638 IMG_9632

Stuffed Love!

Ok…I know….What happened to Mondays? Doesn’t it seem like all my posts start this way? To be fair though, I do have another good excuse! Spencer stripped and rebuilt my computer (at least that’s my understanding of whatever he did). Also…I got a job! It is wonderful! Honey Bee Quilt Shop needed another girl to help out and I needed to get out more, so I started working there part time and I love it!

This last weekend was the Blue Bonnet Shop Hop and Grandma came up to go with me. If you’ve never been on a shop hop (and you love fabric), I highly recommend it. Basically, a group of shops sets aside a special week or weekend to stay open late and offer special prizes and snacks and people come from all over to go from one shop to the next. You get special prizes for making it to all the shops and they have challenges for designing quilt blocks. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I absolutely loved it! I got to finish collecting fabric lines that were hard to find and I learned a lot more about the fabric stores available in my area. Now I know where to go for a certain style of fabric if I’m having a hard time finding it!

At the last shop I found this adorable stuffed owl pattern and decided that it needed to come home with me. There is just something extra special about homemade stuffed animals. The designer is Jennifer Jangles and he is the Okey Dokey Owl (but I call him Hooty). Normally patterns and I don’t get along because I change them too much, but this guy was pretty close to perfect and the pattern was VERY easy to follow (photos and diagrams for every step)!

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This next creature was commissioned by a friend at church to be a door prize for family movie night. They were watching the Princess Bride and wanted an ROUS. This ROUS isn’t quite as terrifying as the real deal, but he does look like one of the Muppets from the season when budget cuts forced them to give up their dental plans (hahaha…bad joke).

I used this pattern http://sewingstars.com/mousepattern.htm blown up in photoshop about 10,000 X and added a mouth (you can’t have a blood thirsty rat without teeth).

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Embroidered Bookmark

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Hand embroidery is something new I picked up to occupy my hands during long holiday car rides. This is my first project, a Christmas gift for Spencer’s grandmother. Hand sewing felt like it allowed for more freedom and creativity than traditional sewing. This was probably because of how easy it was to adjust as I went along.

The book I got from JoAnn’s had an arsenal of stitches and patterns to start with. First, I had to trace the pattern onto the fabric using one of several methods. Then, the fabric went in the hoop. From there it was like a paint by numbers. Fairly simple and very therapeutic. I’m excited to try more complicated patterns.

If anyone wants to know what book I used, just ask!

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Over-night Bag

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This over-night bag was a really fun project. I used Simplicity pattern 2600 for quilted travel accessories.

http://www.simplicity.com/p-1558-accessories.aspx

Almost all of the pieces were simple squares (except for the ends) so it was really easy to cut out. Next time I’ll probably just measure the pattern pieces and cut them with my straight edge and rotary cutter, instead of trying to cut around the pattern paper.

The most difficult and time consuming part of the whole project was quilting the exterior to the lining. But, you can buy pre-quilted fabric and save your self a good bit of time.

I can see myself making more of these in the future to give as gifts. They’re also great for clearing out single yards of fabric that need homes.

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Margie’s Quilt

These photos have been hanging out in my computer for a while now, just waiting for Margie’s birthday! And now that she has turned another year older I finally get to share.

This quilt was created several months before Margie’s birthday, when I found a jelly roll of fabrics in her favorite colors on sale at JoAnn’s. I discretely asked for design advice on a quilt for “somebody else” to make sure she would like the pattern I picked, but never showed her the fabric because it would have been a dead give away …sometimes it’s fun to be devious!

I can’t remember exactly which tutorial I finally went with, but it might have been this on:

http://beesquarefabrics.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-make-zig-zag-quilt-without.html

It was great because I didn’t have to cut or sew any odd angles which meant less fabric waste!

Dog Beds

So, since we moved into the new house, I decided it was time for Rocky to have a bed of his own! And then Maggie needed a new one because I have no idea where hers went. We looked around in stores and couldn’t find what we were looking for. Everything was either too expensive or not nearly sturdy enough. Then, I looked at JoAnn’s and found that to buy fabric and filling would be at least as much as buying a bed! So, the search continued…! I know this seems like a lot of trouble over a dog bed, but it was a lot less eventful than it sounds. I was just being indecisive/ cheap.

In the end I bought the fabric when it went on sale and used a coupon for a double whammy. Each bed took 1 yard of print and one yard of solid. The filling was going to be the most expensive part, but I slaughtered some old pillows (very easy to find at garage sales or thrift shops, if you don’t have any already). Each bed cost under $15 and the most difficult part was getting the dogs to hold still for a photo!

Just make it like a giant pillow. I didn’t even have to cut anything out! If you have smaller dogs you may have to cut it down some, but it is just a rectangle. When you stuff it, make sure you fluff the stuffing good before you put it in (especially if it’s older). This will make the stuffing go a lot further and the pillow will not look lumpy!

Here are some pictures of my goofy dogs and their beds!

Scalloped Edge Button Up Skirt

I don’t usually like to make clothes for adults, but lately I’m changing my mind! This was a project I started yesterday because I really wanted to use this fabric I got at JoAnn’s. It took me more time to scroll through photos and pick the pattern than it did to actually make the skirt! I started out thinking I would do a full circle skirt… then changed to half circle skirt… then looked at some other patterns…and then decided I wanted to do something I had never done.

Eventually, I used this pattern I found on Pinterest:

http://nettevivante.blogspot.com/2011/05/diy-scallop-button-up-skirt-pattern-how.html

The blogger who made it mentioned that is was her first attempt at a pattern, and you could tell. Overall the pattern pieces were good, but the instructions were confusing. She didn’t leave any seam allowances, but I added them by taping two pens together and drawing a double line elementary school style.  Also, there isn’t a good way to re-size. You have to make your own new waist band and add scallops one at a time. Basically, I wouldn’t try this unless you know how to sew already and can puzzle piece things together on your own. But I am looking forward to seeing what she comes up with as she matures as a pattern maker. I like he style!

I was excited because I got to do pockets, buttons, belt loops (not part of the pattern), and a scalloped edge. And I got to use my surger to finish the pockets. Threading a surger takes some rocket science, but this morning Spencer and I watched the instructional VHS together and finally got it going! (yes I said VHS).

Most likely, I won’t start selling any adult skirts in my Etsy store because fitting adults can be such a pain, but if  you like this skirt and think it would sell let me know. Maybe with a little more practice I will be able to make clothes for other people! And test dummies get a good price 🙂

 

Heart Back Dress

Last weekend we traveled to Houston for Spencer’s birthday. It was a very eventful weekend that included a family dinner, an Aesop Rock concert, a trip to the Museum to see the Titanic exhibit, the Terra Cotta Warriors and the new dinosaurs, another family dinner, and a cousin’s birthday party! In the end we came home with one extra person. Carrie, my 7 year old cousin and one of my flower girls from the wedding, managed to convince us that “kidnapping” her would be a good idea (though I’m not sure who kidnapped who). We decided that keeping a kid would be good birth control, but I think we should have picked a more difficult kid.

Carrie, Gentry, and I went on lots of adventures during the first part the days, then came home to swim and sew (not at the same time) when it got hot. Gentry got a sewing machine for Christmas and has been sewing for a while now, but this was Carrie’s first go at it, so we did some teamwork. We took turns sewing and pushing the pedal for her dress and she did some little projects on her own. She also made me show her how to hand sew so she could “sew on the go”- her words.

Carrie loved sewing and she especially loved wearing what she helped make. She wore it two days in a row because she wanted to wear it immediately and she wanted to wear it to show her mom. I loved having another little girl around who wanted to learn how to sew! It’s like growing my own craft buddies!

I made the pattern from a dress I had seen online and a trace from a dress she brought with her (for sizing). I couldn’t believe how tiny her clothes were (and she kept wiggling when I tried to measure) so I ended up making the pattern too large and having to cut it down a lot after I did it, but I still think it turned out very well. If you like it, you can order one custom for your child’s measurements here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/107145578/open-heart-back-childs-dress

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