Friday, November 30, 2012


Here are a few random projects I've finished lately that I keep forgetting to post...

Another iPad Case... see how dirty the screen is!? KIDS! This was made using leftover fabrics from my Craftsy BOM Quilt.
Here are some jeans I patched up for my 4-year-old.... with corduroy fabric. Can you believe this girl is SO HARD on her clothes that already even the patches need to be replaced!? She is so ridiculous She ruins her sneakers within days of buying them too... lol
Here is a set of mug rugs I made {which I had taken a ton of photos for to make a tutorial but the photos are forever stuck on a broken SD card}. These are going to be Christmas gifts {you'll notice the wrapping paper. Yeah I was about to wrap them without taking new photos... sorry for the crappy picture, figured I better snap a picture real quick so I at least have one}.
Here are the solid backs. Well not solid, but not patch worked.
I didn't hand out candy for Halloween {BAD I KNOW}. The thing is, I have three kids I have to take out and I don't trust leaving a bucket of candy out. I know how teenagers can be, so I just don't trust the "take one" sign route. So instead of handing out candy to neighborhood kids I make a few things to hand out to my neighbor's kids, kids I KNOW. Here is some apple cider and a lollipop wrapped in tissue to look like a ghost:
I think that's all my random - from around the house, I forgot to post these projects in a timely fashion - projects.

** SIDENOTE: I have entered my Waving Flag (seen below) into the Quilting Gallery Star Quilt Contest. If you'd like to vote for my project, I would really appreciate that, you can vote here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dumbledore? Maybe. It's definitely a wizard!

My son is about to be 9 years old (crazy how time flies) and he is totally into the Harry Potter series. He owns every movie and even owns a light up wand that looks just like Harry's.

Because boys are so hard for me to sew for, poor Matthew often gets overlooked when I'm in the sewing room. I've made him only a felt pick axe (he's joined the Minecraft craze unfortunately) and now this wall hanging:
This was paper pieced and it is about 13" x 13" square with hanging pockets on the back. This is, so far, the only thing I have actually free-motion quilted. Yes, it could be better, but considering this is my very first time I am quite pleased with how it came out. The swirls are supposed to be "magic"... or at least that is the effect I was going for.

Here is a close up of the quilting:
And the back is just scrappy paper pieced wonky log cabin type deal, nothing fancy at all. Binding is store bought double fold which I machine stitched on the front and hand stitched to the back (I'm getting much better at it I think).
I am making each of my kids a gift for Christmas and this is my son's. My youngest, of course, is getting the tangram book and I have yet to decide what to make my {almost} teenage daughter.

In other news, I have added several things to my Christmas to-do list,  but no worries because I have finished them already. I suppose I ought to share those here on the blog (I will, I'm just slow at posting!). How is your Christmas gifting going?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Craftsy Block of the Month - Finished Quilt!

Well... it seems my hard work has paid off! I have finished my Craftsy Block of the Month quilt. I am so happy with how it came out. I think it's beautiful... I know that's probably biased, since I am the one who made it, but I do... think it's beautiful.
I used a solid blue on the back... I quilted this using my walking foot. I had to do 2-3 blocks at a time then get up and clean or do dishes or something for a break to give my hands, wrists and neck/shoulder/back a break. But it only took me two days to quilt the entire thing, so that's not bad at all.
I used the stripe fabric for the binding, which was always my plan. I machine stitched the binding to the front and hand stitched it to the back. I seriously need to get a magnifying glass to use for stitching bindings because it gave me a headache... all that squinting. But it was worth it in the end because it looks great.
My quilt is only 12 blocks but the class teaches you 20 blocks. I used three of my blocks on a table runner. I have three more blocks on a shelf and there are two blocks I did not complete.

The Craftsy class is FREE, and always available for you to watch at your own pace. What is really amazing about it is to look at all the finished projects and you can see how different all the finished quilts are. Some people add extra blocks, some people (like me) remove blocks, and there are projects (like my table runner) where people have used a few blocks on other items. It is really versatile.

So there you have it. And now I am not sure what to do with this lap quilt of mine. Keep it? Sell it? Gift it? I don't know... still thinking about it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Scattered Squares - Christmas mini quilt

Do not laugh. So I watched the video, waited two days, went shopping from memory, came home and cut my squares from memory, sat down to scatter my squares only to realize that I was short one fabric. UGH

Scattered squares? Scattered brains is more like it.

So I got rid of the blue and red that I had purchased and kept the silver circles and cream.

I grabbed a reddish Christmas fabric and a Tealish Christmas fabric that my daughter had bought me last year for Christmas, threw in a light tealish scrap and cut those.
So this is not what I had planned but I have to say that I love it.
The quilt front and a close up of my quilting, which I did on my new machine with ... a walking foot!

(yes, I am now the proud owner of a walking foot... haha... what a difference it makes)
For the back I had run out of fabrics. Because I used fat quarters for the cream, silver and Christmas fabrics and scraps for the teal solid... I ran out. So I improvised and grabbed two more fabrics from my stash that I thought kind of coordinated with the front and used those on the back.

Here is my pieced back, which I thought was pretty clever.
Also, this quilt (which is going on my dining room table... or maybe coffee table... haven't decided yet) was a bunch of firsts for me. I used my 1/4" foot (the first time ever using one) to piece it, I used the walking foot to quilt it, it was a random design which I had a hard time with but felt I handled rather well (until my daughter pointed out where there is apparently a pattern, but I swear that was an accident)... and... drumroll people, this is exciting stuff... for me anyway.


Yes I did. First time ever. So thanks to Elizabeth Hartman's class I was able to get a little random, and thanks to Amy Gibson's class I was able to hand stitch my binding. Both excellent teachers.

I am so happy with this mini quilt that I don't know if I'm going to be able to put it away when Christmas is over. I guess I better make another one (maybe with my original fabrics!) that I can keep out the rest of the year?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday - Cyber Monday Sales

Online Sewing ClassToday thru Monday Craftsy is offering ALL CLASSES at just $19.99 or LESS! That is an awesome deal considering some of the classes are originally $49.99!

But if you want to try a class or two first, to see if you even like the way they are (you will), Craftsy offers the following classes free:

Creative Quilt Backs with Elizabeth Hartman (I have taken this class and love it)

Modern Buttercream (I have not taken this class but I have enrolled)

Know Your Wool

Knitting Short Rows 101

Sewing Machine 911

Block of the Month (a class you know I love, I even completed my quilt which you will see soon)

Bag Making Basics - Reversible Tote and Zipper Pouch

Bag Making Basics - Drawstring Bag and Bucket bag

That's not all!!! I have lowered the price of the patterns in my Craftsy Shop from today thru Monday, all patterns are $1.50 for the next 3 days (they will go back up sometime Monday). The patterns are Library Bookshelf Mug Rug, Fish Purse, and Fat Quarter Grocery Bag.

And that's still not all!!! I have lowered several prices in my Etsy shop, and with code BLACKSHIPFREE you can receive FREE SHIPPING on your order.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Happy ---- to Me!

Just a quick post to say Happy Thanksgiving to anyone who happens to be out and about on the blogosphere today!

Today isn't just Thanksgiving in this house... it is also my birthday!

So Happy Thanksgiving to you,

and Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An iPad Case

This pattern was in a magazine I had bought. I don't hate it, it's just not working for me because I have three kids who use my iPad and so my iPad needs a little bit more protection than this case can offer.

If I didn't have kids though...
It was actually right after I made this case that my sewing machine quit on me. I love those leaf stitches...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Notepad Portfolio

This is a notepad portfolio, different than the other two I made (here and here). This one does not have a flap, or buttons or elastic. It's simpler that way. The inner pockets are different as well. This one features a neat little pocket for business cards. This is made for the small notepads you can get at Walmart... I believe they are approximately 5" x 8".

This was supposed to be a tutorial. I wrote out the measurements and everything, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember if I used a 1/4" seam or a 1/2" seam! UGH. And I can't pull out the portfolio and measure it and cleverly figure out my seam allowance because it is a Christmas gift and I already wrapped it!!!

I can't believe I did that. Kicking myself right now. I will have to make another one and write down my seam allowances as I go along.

Sorry about that.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Inspired Modern Quilts.

I recently enrolled in Inspired Modern Quilts on Craftsy. I'm not gonna lie... I skipped ahead... I've watched almost all of the lessons already!

I want to blog my experience along the way. So first I'm going to start with "Scattered Squares". I've picked out my fabrics for this project already. I am not sure what I was thinking when I grabbed these fabrics... I just know that I am going to tweak the project a bit so that I come out of this with a table runner that will fit my dining room table. I guess in my head I was thinking about Christmas and the blue flowers kind of look like snowflakes but now I am second guessing myself. We shall see when I am finished!

So... here are my fabrics:

The white in the middle is sort of bright white on light grey and the white on the end isn't actually white... it's more eggshell. Again... what was I thinking!? Gah! I don't know. I hope it looks good when I'm finished.

Online Quilting ClassI really like the look of this finished mini quilt and I'm excited to be making it (even if my fabric choices are a little iffy). I did watch all the way thru the scattered squares lesson and the instructor, Elizabeth Hartman, is so adorable. Not just that but she explains things so well, and says "well this is how I've done it, but you may choose to do this or this instead". And I love hearing that!

Also before the scattered squares lesson (there are SEVEN mini quilt projects), she explains choosing fabric, she explains and shows us how to build a design wall and how to use it. So it's not just a class of quilt projects, it's some other quilting info thrown in there too. (Well not thrown in, it's thoughtfully planned! LOL)

You can view other people's finished class projects here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fabric Wallets. For him.

My husband is all like "I would never use a fabric wallet like that".

Great. That's fine because I didn't make one for him anyway! Haha.

I have made two of these so far.... there are FOUR on my Christmas To-Do List so I still have two more to go.

I am not a man and I carry a much bigger wallet with zippers and clips and all that, but if I were a man and used small wallets that I tucked into my back pocket, I would like one of these:
Although the pattern suggested using an old wool suit I just went out and bought two fat quarters of cotton and used that with some fusible... um... the name escapes me right now... I can never think of the name.
The pattern was from the MAKE IT magazine that just came out recently. I think it's a Better Homes & Gardens publication??

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pretty purple potholders.

Try saying that five times fast!

I know these weren't originally on my Christmas To-Do List, but they did get added to the list. I keep doing that... adding things. If I keep adding things I'll never finish and yet knowing this, I still keep adding things.

Anyway, these are sort of recycled. The inner layers is an old towel, so it's layered: cotton, towel, polyester batting, towel, cotton.

A lot of layers. I had to be sure that they would work though because my last set of potholders were an epic fail! (they were pretty, but not practical, ha)

The front is wonky log cabin style:
The backs are just one print:
The hangers are tucked under the binding in the back.

They do work, I tested them. I think next time I can do without the polyester batting in the middle and just use the two layers of towels. These were actually quilted on my old Brother sewing machine, as some of you on Facebook will know that my new Brother machine is broken.

I have been looking around and I think I want this machine. It comes with the extension table, walking foot, quilting foot, quilting guide and has 70 stitches. The one I had that broke (which for the record could have been fixed if Mr. Fix-It hadn't decided to "fix" it himself) was the limited edition project runway machine.

Anyway... we'll see. For now the old basic machine is working just fine....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Children's Fabric Tangrams Book

I got the pattern for the book from Sew Mama Sew. I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to make it. My youngest likes to play with her brother's tangrams, and that always causes a fight between them (not that they ever actually get along...) So when I saw it on the site I thought "This will be the perfect Christmas gift for Hannah... and myself".
Well here is where I strayed.... The pattern on Sew Mama Sew uses squares and triangles. The set my son brought home from school (I love how teachers send students home with all this stuff at the end of the year)... had triangles, hexagons... and other shapes. So what I did was to trace those shapes.

And now that I have Googled it, you can find printable Tangram shapes, seriously... just Google it. Or do the square/triangle method. Now with my googling I have come to think that maybe I did not make a Tangram book?? I see none of the shapes I have cut are in any of my search results. So what are my shapes? I am guessing they're from math class and used to teach children how to make patterns!?? That is my best guess.

Anyway here are my shapes:
And because I know how much my daughter loves to use my son's shapes to make flowers, I made sure I cut SEVEN hexagrams so she can still make flowers:
I did not read the directions and I'm not sure how the shapes were done on the tangram book. I basically used the idea and the size of the book and that's about it. It's really a great idea!

For my shapes I traced the pieces onto the non-stick side of fusible web then ironed those onto the wrong side of scrap pieces of fabric.
After it cools, cut your shapes on the line. Get another strip of fabric big enough to hold all your shapes (I used the same fabric for front and back but you can definitely mix and match) and cut a piece of fusible web the same size. Iron the fusible web to the wrong side of that fabric.

Next you're going to use a dab of a child's glue stick (I used Elmer's purple that dries clear) to stick your cut shapes to your fabric strip. Glue all of them on there in a row, fusible web to fusible web:
Take this to our machine and top stitch around your shapes. Just like applique. When you're done it should look like these:
Next cut around your shapes! And that's it. So simple... but time consuming. I think it's totally worth it though... or it will be when Hannah gets hers and can make her flowers!

What is extra perfect about this is that I used leftover flannel that I had used to make Hannah a pillowcase and quilt for her room, as well as a matching bag. And now she has a matching toy!

One more thing crossed off my Christmas to-do list.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Handmade Gifts for MEN. (19 gifts to SEW)

Oh man... I have been having the HARDEST time coming up with things to make for my two fathers-in-law. And my brother-in-law and my cousin.

Very tough to come up with handmade things for guys. So I have compiled this list for the rest of you, to save you the time it took me to find these things!
Bi-fold Wallet - I used a pattern from the MAKE IT magazine, but here is another bi-fold pattern.

Paperback Wallet - For business cards, and you're recycling. Even better, make one using the cover of the recipient's favorite author.

Leather Sketchbook - These look easy and fun.

BBQ Apron - For the BBQer in the family!

Fabric Portfolio & Notepad Holder - Just make sure you choose the right manly fabrics!

Sofa Remote Caddy - Something every man needs!

Bow Ties! - via Martha Stewart. When I think bow tie, I think Jesse Tyler Ferguson

From this site:

Sew a Mug Rug or two using either the stripes tutorial or the hexi tutorial.

Reuseable snack bags - we know they are always snacking on something!

Messenger Bag - but make it manly! Add some batting and quilting and change the size a bit and this could also be a laptop carrying bag

Water Bottle Sling - for the HIKER in the family

I just thought of this:

A pillow with a DEER applique for the hunter!

A potholder with a DEER applique. OR... how's this!? The BBQ apron above with a deer applique (I'm stuck on the deer applique, I know).

Suggestions via Facebook:

A golf bag towel - Betty L-P

Patchwork throw, foot rest, bath mat - Angela L.
Anybody have anything to add to this list!?? Pleeeease!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Christmas "to-do" list.


I know it doesn't look like a lot, but there is not a lot of time left before Christmas. And most of these have to be done at least two weeks in advance because they need to be mailed out in time for Christmas.

On the bright side, when I sat down to write this list I realized just how much I've already finished:

(6) Fat Quarter grocery bags, (1) Fat Quarter produce bag, (3) Mini clutches, (2) Zip pouches, (3) Quilted magnets, (1) Embroidered magnet, (6) Mug rugs, (2) Notepad holders, (1) Table runner, (3) Table toppers, (2) Make-up bags, (2) Pot holders

Wait! I added one thing... I want to make my youngest a tanagrams book!

What's on your homemade Christmas to-do list?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sewing Spools Wall Quilt

Today I have a mini tutorial, a link to a great free pattern and a link to a great free tutorial for you.

I made this sewing spools mini quilt wall hanging using this pattern. I changed the order of the blocks because for me it didn't make sense to have a "lighter" block (as opposed to the heavier spool blocks) down on the bottom, so I moved it up a row.

My mini tutorial: I also did not piece the sewing machine. I knew the finished blocks were to be 6" square, so I drew a 6" square on graph paper, found a sewing machine silhouette on Google and sketched it free hand on the paper with a pen. Then I cut around my template and with right sides together (using my main fabric and my non-seen background fabric) I stitched directly on the lines of my drawing, all the way around. I then trimmed around the seams, clipping rounded edges. Then I pulled the fabrics apart and cut a slit in the background fabric, turned right side out, ironed and top stitched to a solid block. Whew... that was winded.
For hanging (I made this to hang on the wall above my sewing desk), I used this tutorial. I still need to go get a dowel for hanging.
Here is the quilting (my first attempt was just down the center lines and that looked HORRIBLE, so I ripped out all my stitches and started over, still not perfect but I like it better):
I used the rose pattern for the back because honestly I am not a huge fan of ROSES. Don't get me wrong, this Riley Blake fabric is GORGEOUS, but the roses... not for me.

You know... it's not perfect, the binding isn't perfect, the quilting isn't perfect, but nothing I make is. But I love it just the same. I'm really happy with the way this came out.

Finished size: 17 1/2" Square
(smaller than it's supposed to be because I did make a cutting mistake... LOL)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Top Posts on SewSimpleLife for October.

I saw where someone else had summarized their top posts for the previous month and I thought that was such a great idea and thought I would try it out here too.

For the month of October the most popular page on the site was the tutorial page. That is really no surprise.

As for top posts! The top ten posts for the month of October were:

Zip Pouch Keychain .:. Tutorial  --> this has been a super popular post lately. I think a big part of that is because Threading my Way has shared a link to this tutorial twice. She's had nothing but nice things to say both times.
TUTORIAL: Re-useable grocery bag, unlined.  --> Yeah... people like tutorials!

Upcycled jeans to maxi skirt.  --> a skirt which I am totally happy with but have yet to actually WEAR it! (it's kind of  heavy)

Stripes Quilted Mug Rug tutorial  --> I do love that mug rug.

WIP Wednesday.  --> my first WIP Wednesday post, also mug rugs.
TUTORIAL: Messenger Bag! --> my longest tutorial ever.

Fat Quarter Grocery Bag – PDF Sewing Pattern --> I think this the post where I introduced my sewing pattern
TUTORIAL: How to “take in” the waist of cotton pants that are too big!  --> most of the traffic here came from Pinterest

What can you make with a jelly roll? Project two. Reversible tote.  --> I have an entire series of posts for that jelly roll!

Block of the Month Quilt Top --> a fairly recent post so I am surprised to see it here!

Did any of those most viewed posts happen to make your favorites list for the blog in October? What would you have expected to see up here!?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jelly Roll Series - Table Runner!

** Etsy shop update - use coupon code XMASTIME15 for a 15% discount in my Etsy Shop, now thru Thanksgiving! **

With nineteen 8" strips sewn down the center and a few randomly cut strips sewn to the edges, and more random strips as binding, with one random strip over the back with some solid fabric thrown in.... you get this:
Finished size: 12" wide by 34 3/4" long
I did some straight random quilting, I thought straight quilting evenly spaced would be kind of boring for this since it's already so many straight lines. When I say random I really mean random... (FMQ foot update: I may have to wait on that since I went and bought myself a Keurig for my birthday.)

I really love this except... the flowery fabric on it isn't really "me". I'm not a "flower" person (except lilacs). So... I am still trying to decide if I'm going to keep this, sell this, or gift it. And if I sell it... do I wash it first (since it was made without washing first), that way a person buying it knows they're getting the crinkly look? (I personally LOVE the crinkly look) Decisions, decisions.

This is part of a series I started a while ago called "What can you make with a jelly roll?" using a jelly roll called "Reunion" by Sweetwater for Moda, which you can buy at the Fat Quarter Shop. (minus the yellow solid with white flowers, that was from my stash)
PS If you wanna pop over here and vote for me (Trick or Treat Wall Hanging ie: Trick or Treat Sue) that'd be great and I'd really appreciate it. If not, that's cool too.