Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat!

For today, HALLOWEEN! I want to share one of the projects I worked on on Saturday.

Originally I had printed this free paper piecing pattern to make as a small wall hanging. Then life and other projects got in the way and I just figured it would have to wait until next year. So it hung on my clipboard, tossed aside. Poor Sue.

Then Saturday my four-year-old daughter, Hannah, begged me to make Trick or Treat Sue for her. How could I possibly say no?

So I cut out the pieces and Hannah picked the fabric for Sue's costume (making quite a mess in the process!), a fabric for the inside of the bucket, and I used whatever semi-decent scraps I had around.

When she was pieced and squared I decided to find another fabric and add a border. Then I used some orange binding I had purchased for another project (which I never ended up using).

So here is Sue... even though the colors aren't ideal I still think she's cute for a last minute project that a four-year-old helped design.



The wall hanging, which is hanging on the front door, is about 13 1/2 inches square.

If you'd like to make one the pattern is from SewHooked. If you make your way to her Craftsy site there is also a Christmas tree-topping Sue for free, I'm making that one next.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sneak Peek - Autumn Table Runner.

MELISSA DON'T READ OR LOOK AT THIS POST! Ha.

I have been DYING to share this project because I love the way it came out. But a stubborn cousin of mine doesn't want to see it until she opens it on Christmas.

So I thought I could share a small sneak peak of the table runner.
And maybe a sneak peek of the table mats?
I'm pretty excited for her to receive this. She knows she's getting it, and even knows the fabric I picked, but doesn't know how it's laid out.
It's not her only gift, she also knows she's getting grocery bags, but doesn't know what fabric. Also a few more things that she doesn't know about!

A little label on the back. Her name is on them so now she can never get rid of 'em without feeling major guilt! Hahah.

Anyway, a little sneak peek ought to hold me over for a while. Thanks for looking!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Did somebody say "squares"?

When I saw this magazine on the rack I could not walk past it without buying it. Something about that quilt. I have to make one.
I've already started!
That's 150 squares up there. Scrap squares. Super scrappy squares. On the magazine the fabrics seem to go together pretty well but my scraps are so randomly random that I'm not too sure how it's going to look at the end.

I'm not sure what size quilt I'm going to make {there are several sizes listed} but I'm going to make this quilt. I have to. I can't explain it.

So I've been going thru my scrap bins and cutting squares. Just enough from each fabric for one plus sign {five squares}. Part of the thing on the cover quilt is that no two plus signs are the same... how cool is that!?

It'll be a long time, I'm sure, before I'm anywhere near done with this thing but I'm doing it. It will be one of those long-term projects.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Block of the Month Quilt Top

I finished the Craftsy Block of the Month Quilt Top. I know, I know... it's supposed to be TWENTY blocks and I only actually sewed 18 blocks and now you're about to see I'm only using 12 blocks in my lap quilt.
I am liking it so far. I still have to add the batting and quilt it, of course.

Oh! Somebody wanna tell me the easiest way to photograph larger quilts? I had the hardest time trying to figure out how to photograph this and it's only a lap quilt. How do you manage to photograph full and queen quilts? Even twins?
If you're wondering why I only used 12 blocks here's the deal. I am an extremely impatient person. I quickly caught up to October's classes (which really had nothing to do with me skipping September's blocks) and you know... the next class isn't up yet. I have no idea how Amy plans to sash her quilt for the class and like I said... I'm very impatient. I didn't want to wait on this... so I went forward and did my own thing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I have to apologize.

My whole thing was that I was going to write a tutorial for you every Tuesday. And since it's been a few weeks since I WROTE a tutorial I sat and made some things and took enough photos along the way to write a tutorial.

Then when I was finished I sat down at the computer, put my memory card into the slot and....

Nothing happened.

No "What do you want to do with this?" pop-up window. No ding-dong sound.

So I open Computer --> and nothing. My card is not listed.

I ran system restore to a few days before when I knew the card reader was working. Nope. That didn't fix it. System restore farther back. Still not working.

Wait a day and try again. Still nothing.

Visit dell.com and chat with an associate. Then I let this associate remotely control my computer and for almost an hour I sit and watch the mouse move over the screen, downloading and installing drivers for the system.

Reboot the system. Insert memory card. Still nothing.

Now I'm waiting on a Dell box to arrive from FedEx so I can ship my computer off to be fixed. (Edited to add: the laptop was picked up on Saturday, hoping they get it fixed and back to me ASAP!)

At the time of writing this (today is actually October 16th!) I'm sitting here going thru what photos I DO have on my computer and trying to get those up on the blog into scheduled posts so my blog doesn't sit empty for three weeks while I'm waiting on my computer.

I can blog from my iPad but for some reason I cannot upload or add photos to posts from the iPad, whether I'm using the Wordpress app or actually visit my site on Safari... no picture uploading. (Edited to add: Turns out after updating to iOS6 I can now upload from my iPad. Grainy iPad photos, but still photos! won't be blogging any tutorials though because blogging on the iPad is sloooow...)

So please bear with me and stick around... posts might be light for the next three weeks but hey! During those three weeks with no computer to distract me I ought to be able to get plenty of sewing done. And more photos for more tutorials too. So at least there's that.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Library Bookshelf Mug Rugs - gifted

First, here is a better picture of those bookshelf mug rugs I wrote a pattern for, which you can purchase here:
The librarians at the school loved them. It was pretty genuine I think. I'm so glad they liked them. To gift them I attached a printed tag that reads:
What is a Mug Rug anyway?
A mug rug, also called a snack mat, is a mini-quilt that is larger than a coaster but smaller than a placemat. A mug rug is just the right size for a cup of whatever you're drinking, a spoon, and perhaps a little treat beside it. Enjoy!

Kudos to whoever wrote that because it wasn't me. I found it online a million years ago and saved it.

I folded the mug rugs in half and wrapped them in tissue paper and a ribbon.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Scrappy Mug Rug - made for ...

MYSELF! I know! Can you believe it?

I made this using a few scraps from the Craftsy Blocks I have been working on. These are truly scrappy, not only are the front pieces scraps from the blocks, the binding is leftover binding from my Waving Flag.
I love it though. I'm always looking for a place to set my coffee so I don't ruin our end tables. Usually I just use a napkin or whatever stack of papers or magazine happens to be close by.

Friday, October 19, 2012

August and October Blocks of the Month

Yes, you read that right, I skipped a month! The September blocks don't appeal to me at all. Here are my versions of the August Craftsy Blocks of the Month:
On this one I accidentally put the outer layer on upside down. Whoops. That's okay though, still looks good, I think.
The October Blocks of the Month were difficult... only slightly difficult. My first time paper-piecing and I think I did pretty good with them.
And this bottom block is another "scant" 1/4" that came out too small. I have learned in this Craftsy course not to trust patterns that call for a "scant" 1/4". Again, like my February Block of the Month, I am not the only quilter who had this block come out too small. *sigh* That's only a little comforting.
But the paper piecing was cool, interesting and I'm glad I tried this course. I learned a lot of new things and I can't wait to finish this quilt.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

July Blocks of the Month

I had SO MUCH fun with these blocks. Isn't that gorgeous! I have always wanted to learn how to make dresden plates... now I know and I will be making more. Maybe some pillows for the living room? I don't know, but definitely more. I love them!
I really always thought they must be incredibly difficult but the truth is they were pretty darn easy and I wish I had tried them sooner.
I like the first flowery one better than the second circular windmill type one. But I like them both in the end.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tip & Tutorial Tuesday: Get it Done

Still no tutorial guys, but I did sit and do some research recently because I've been feeling so overwhelmed lately. Both with life things that need to get done and with sewing projects that I want and need to get done.

I don't work so luckily it's not so bad. (Well I work but I get work so sporadically that I might as well not work)

I am a Girl Scout Leader and I don't have any meetings planned. I guess I'm just not feeling it this year. The last three years I was into it but this year, not so much. I don't know why.

I'm also the Service Unit Manager this year which is super overwhelming. So far I've only gotten a few emails and calls but it's candy sales now and I expect more calls. A lot of local leaders with a lot of questions for me to answer and problems for me to fix. We're supposed to have meetings and I haven't even planned any of those.

I volunteer at the school library which I love, I really do. I wish I could spend entire days there but I can't. I can only volunteer  when my youngest is in class.

I decided to give the Hexie Table Mat to my husband's grandmother for Christmas instead of my Mother in Law so now I have to make her a new gift. I already know what I want to make I just need to do it.

I found a pattern in a magazine that I love and really want to make for myself, so I have a million little 2 1/2" squares to cut from scraps.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]My "To Do" List: Yay for functional tattoos! To Do List on Flickr[/caption]

My Craftsy BOM Quilt needs to be finished with batting, backing, quilting and binding. And that's only after I run to the store and buy everything.

I have four boxes that need to be shipped to family members that have been sitting for weeks.

My car windshield needs replacing but I need to actually sit and make the phone call.

My husband's truck needs to be towed and sold, but again, gotta actually remember to do it.

It's just about the time of year when I begin Christmas shopping for the kids and I haven't started that yet, haven't even started looking!

My baseboards are so filthy in the house and need to be cleaned. I keep thinking I need to make some kind of special tool that will allow me to clean them standing up! But then it slips my mind and never gets done.

The back patio is in desperate need of a cleaning. Toys everywhere, failed gardening attempts. Blah.

I have to cut some of my husband's old ACU uniforms and ship those off to Doris.

The post-wide yard sale is in three days and I haven't even begun to go thru anything I might want to get rid of.

I have to test a t-shirt pattern for a friend using one of the kids old t-shirts then get an adult sized t-shirt and make and ship that to her.

I have four pay-it-forward gifts to make and ship, though I have a year to do that.

I have to figure out what we're doing for Thanksgiving (which is also my birthday this year). Right now I'm thinking since my close friends moved away (Thanks for that Mr. Army) and no family can make it down I think we're alone this year :(

I really really want to make some stockings this year! That's five stockings. Oh! And a tree skirt.

I have to plan, order supplies for and make 86 wedding invitations for a family member.

I'm working on a website. A charity website and while I'm doing it for a friend and not being paid that is no excuse to take my sweet time doing it.  I need to add several photo albums to the site and figure out a way to add a few more forms.

I have been saying for months that I need to make a table runner for the dinner table (and place mats). Also a table runner for the living room table and mats for the end tables.

I still have not washed the car after our weekend trip to WV for my grandfather's 90th birthday in September. The front end of my car is disgusting, so many dead bugs.

And let's not forget the blog. I feel like I have to post at least four times a week.

I constantly walk around with this long, never-ending, always adding more list in my head. So I did some Googling and I found this link.

It's not about writing a list. It's about actually doing the things on your list. Here's an excerpt from the blog post:
Have you gotten good at organizing your tasks in a to-do list, but have trouble actually executing them? You’re not alone.

Getting things on your to-do list actually done is difficult because it’s really a collection of habits that most people don’t think about. Today, we’ll look at addressing those issues that stop you from doing things, and the habits needed to overcome those issues.

That blog post is being printed as I'm writing this. I feel like this will really help me out. It applies to both sewing and life in general. I hope that if you're having trouble that it helps you too.

Monday, October 15, 2012

May and June Blocks of the Month

Still working on the Craftsy Blocks of the Month and catching up quick. Here are my two MAY Blocks, which were quick and easy blocks:
Here are my June blocks:
Not gonna lie.... that last one is not one of my favorites. I don't know why but the block just really doesn't appeal to me at all... So I am moving right along. And thinking I'm going to skip September's blocks because they also do not appeal to me. We'll see though.

Are you on Craftsy? I'd love to see your projects, even if they aren't sewing or quilting projects. Look me up!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

April Blocks of the Month

The dreaded paper-pieced hexies. Craftsy's April Blocks of the Month are English paper pieced hexagon blocks.

We know I don't enjoy hand-sewing. But for the first block I did suck it up and paper-pieced the way they were supposed to be pieced... with hand basting and hand sewing.

I used cardstock that I had on-hand for the hexagons. In the class Amy says if you use cardstock you can re-use your pieces (great green idea). I guess you can use copy paper but after doing this with the cardstock I cannot imagine using copy paper.
Here is my first completed block... with hand-stitched hexagon rows, which were machine appliqued to the block:
For my second block I did what I did with my hexie table mat, I ironed my pieces around the cardstock, much faster, but hard on the fingers... HOT.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

March Blocks of the Month

Here are my Craftsy March Blocks of the Month, I really love the way these came out!
I like these blocks because the strips don't have to be perfectly... perfect.Even though these blocks are slightly time consuming they're still awesome. Here is my second block:
Love. Love. Love. I can't wait to finish this quilt. I don't know if it's because I'm learning all these new things, or because of the fabric I chose, but I am loving sewing this.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WIP Wednesday.

I follow Freshly Pieced in my blog reader and every Wednesday is a WORK-IN-PROGRESS post and I thought I would try to participate every week.

Here are my current works-in-progress:
This set of mug rugs hasn't been bind (bound... binded?) yet because I can't decide which fabric to use for the binding. I'm thinking probably the backing fabric also as the binding... but... undecided. Once I'm done this will be for sale.

And my only other unfinished work-in-progress is my Craftsy Quilt using the Blocks of the Month.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Patchwork Scotty Dog.

I was so busy last weekend with schoolwork (which I have finally finished by the way) and designing and sewing some Library Bookshelf Mug Rugs, that I really didn't have a whole lot of time to come up with my own tutorial for today.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Ralph the scrappy Scottie dog Photo Credit: Jenny P.
Photo used under the Creative Commons License[/caption]

So I'm sharing this with you, a cute little pillow patchwork scotty dog pattern that I found online. Scroll down the page a little and you'll find the photo and a downloadable PDF file.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]patchwork scottie dog Photo Credit: +Eva+
Photo used under the Creative Commons License[/caption]

Aren't those adorable! Super cute. I can't wait to make a couple for the kids. There is an entire group of photos on Flickr for these Scottie Dogs, too. If you've made one already, I'd love to see! Just add your link in the comments below :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

February Blocks of the Month

Here are my two completed blocks for the Craftsy Block of the Month for February:
Here is a quick process picture for block two and then block two:
I am a little upset... I did follow all the cutting directions as written and videoed, and yet my first block came out about 1/4" too small!!! It is not quite 12 1/2" square .... Next time I make this I'm going to have to cut larger pieces, as it was I already had followed someone else's advice on Craftsy and used a scant 1/4" seam, and it still came out too small:
In the photo above I have lined up the bottom and right edges, matching raw edges, so what you see is the difference between one block and the other. They are supposed to be the same size.

I am not sure what to do about this. I am not the only person who had this problem with this block... I don't know what everyone else is doing to fix it? Make a new block, trim all the other blocks, leave this block out of the final piece? I don't know and I haven't decided what I will do either. We'll see, I'll make that decision when I complete all the blocks.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Oh look! More mug rugs.

I finished these mug rugs last week. I told you I was addicted... I'm seriously not joking about that.
I have listed these for sale in my Etsy Shop.
These were made using four jelly roll strips and some solid white fabric for the back. I also used pre-made store bought white bias tape. I'll try to post a quick tutorial on Tuesday. I didn't take photos along the way with these so I'll make a couple more and use those in the tutorial.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Library Bookshelf Mug Rug PDF Pattern

I created this pattern because I've been searching for a while for a mug rug bookshelf pattern and couldn't find one. I found patterns for mini quilt sizes, but nothing mug rug size, and I Googled a lot, so much so that it was driving my husband crazy.
Now the pattern is for sale both on Craftsy and my Bonanza shop.

I blurred the book title on this photo because the mug rug is a gift for the librarians at the school, and the title of that book is the school name.
Here is a preview of the first two pages of the five page PDF file:
The finished mug rug is approximately 6" x 9". I especially love the apple with the little stem!

Copyright Information:
}} You CAN sell mug rugs you made using this pattern. {{
}} You CANNOT sell this pattern. You CANNOT share this pattern. {{
}} Any mug rugs sold using this pattern must state that the SewSimpleLife pattern was used. {{
}} For example in your item listing state: “This mug rug was made using a SewSimpleLife pattern.” {{
}} A link back to website, Etsy Shop or Craftsy Shop would be greatly appreciated but is not required. {{

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mug Rugs Addiction.

I LOVE making mug rugs! Also pretty much every one I make is a different size. I'd try a little harder to make them all the same size if I was making a matching "set"... But since these are just scrap mug rugs that I made just for the sake of sewing they are different. I love them all though.
This was made using jelly roll strips. Just random scraps stitched together. Then on the back I did the strips lined up. The quilting I just stitched inside the rectangles first then crossed them. Here is the back:
Here is another jelly roll strip mug rug I made, this one is longer.
I used green and grey's for the front and reds for the back:
For the quilting I drew the swirls on there with the quilting pen and because I don't have a free motion quilting foot I just used my regular sewing foot so some of my swirls are a little jerky...
These mug rugs are so addictive, no joke. I love making them. They are quick, they finish in a couple hours or less. I love projects where I get to see the finished product sooner rather than later.

These are for sale in my Etsy Shop.