Friday, May 30, 2008

Awwwww ....

When I sat down at my desk Wednesday morning, this is what I saw ...

Apparently, my dad snuck into my office while I was working out and left this sweet message. Gotta love it! Thanks dad! I love you!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fabric Makes Me Happy.

A while ago, I posted some pictures of my studio, but I didn't include photos of my fabric stash. I never thought I'd be someone who has a "fabric stash" but I have definitely caught the sewing bug, and I definitely am working on a nice little stash now. To be fair, I inherited a large portion of it from my dear mother, but I have to take responsibility for continuing to buy fabric for no reason other than that it's fun and it makes me smile!

To be honest, I try to avoid showing my stash to people, because I'm afraid they'll get the wrong idea about me ... like that I'm super-picky, controlling, or OCD. Really, I'm not (well, ok ... maybe just a little bit OCD - ha!) ... but honestly, it's just that I need things to be organized so that I am free to be creative in my studio. I cannot work in chaos. Plus, I have a very small studio space, so I am forced to use my storage areas efficiently.

Anyway ... I've gotten a few requests for pictures, and I finally am giving in.

Basically, I have my fabric separated into 4 groups :

Yardage (cuts of at least 1 yard)
These pieces are wrapped around a 6x24 inch rotary ruler to get them to the same width, and then folded in half lengthwise to fit on the shelf. Then, they are stacked according to color. Most of my yardage is cotton for quilting and other sewing projects (below), but I do have a separate shelf of flannel & fleece yardage.

Fat Quarters (I also lump 1/2 yard cuts in here, because they are small)
These pieces are wrapped around a 4 inch rotary ruler, and then folded in half lengthwise to fit on the shelf. Then, they are stacked according to color or theme (ex : dots, stripes, florals, novelties, hand-dyed, etc...)

Large Scraps (anything less than 1/8 of a yard, and in large enough pieces to use for a small project)
These pieces are folded roughly by hand and placed in rubbermaid bins according to color. This helps me find things easily when I am looking for something specific.

Small Scraps (basically anything that is truly a scrap, and could only be used for the smallest of projects ... usually applique)
These get dumped all together in a big (19 gallons!) bin ... never sorted. I thought about sorting them into darks and lights at some point, but it's such a huge task that I can't even imagine how I could get it all done! For now, I just rummage through the bin whenever I need something.

I also have a number of bins stored up high with fabrics that I don't use very often at all ... shiny fabrics, sheers, denim pieces, upholstery fabric, etc... My mom had them organized that way, and I'm not sure I've touched them since she died.

Anyway ... that's it. Any ideas for some projects that I could work on to get rid of some of this fabric??

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Wedding Gift for Kerri

I made this apron & matching hand towels for my friend Kerri who is getting married next month. (yay! She will make a beautiful bride and a fantastic wife!) Her bridal shower was themed "monograms & mimosas" ... fun idea! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend, so I didn't get to partake of the yummy mimosas, but I did send along this gift with a friend anyway. This was my attempt at giving her a gift I thought she would use without picking something off her registry.

I didn't use a pattern for the apron ... just made it up as I went along. The fabric is from a group that I found at Hobby Lobby (We don't have one where I live, but my sister in law and I took a road trip recently and found some fun stuff there!) Anyway ... I like that the apron fabric is fun & young (like Kerri!) without being obnoxious. And did you notice the fun pleated pocket that I added? My sister in law taught me how to do that. Also, I've discovered that I'm a fan of mixing prints within the same project. Normally, I wouldn't have tried it, but I guess I felt like living on the edge. ha!

Also ... I decided that I'm diggin' the big-initial-on-the-handtowel idea. MUCH easier than teeny tiny letters that spell out the days of the week.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My new favorite sweater

I was out shopping last weekend with my sister in law, and found this cutie red sweater at our local Ann Taylor outlet store. I couldn't resist buying it. It is exactly like a blue sweater that I purchased at Banana Republic last year (on a side note ... who knew both stores are owned by the same company? not me!). Anyway ... I swore to myself that I would buy another one if I ever found the same style. And besides ... this one was RED! How could I resist?

But do you want to know the BEST thing about this new favorite sweater of mine??

That's right ... it's 100% cotton. Which means that it won't shrink in the wash like the first one I bought!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

New coasters!

Well ... I figured that since every house should have some fun coasters, it was about time that I had some new ones at my own house! I actually made these a little while ago, but they sat in my last-minute gift stash (does everyone have one of those, or is it just me?) until I decided that I liked them too much to give them away!

And here is a view of the backs ... just some neutral fabrics I had in my scrap bucket. These went together so easily, and didn't take much time at all! IMaybe they would be a fun project for road trips ... just enough to keep my hands busy, but not too much so that I don't get carsick!

So, I'm thinking I want to try another set of these with some fun yarn & fabric colors ... more to come if they turn out cute!

Friday, May 16, 2008

My "Spice is Nice" Quilt

This is the "Spice is Nice" quilt that I just finished. (sorry for the poor lighting in the picture ... I had to hang it on the wall to take the photo because I don't have enough floor space to lay it out!) Anyway ... there's a funny story behind it...

So ... I've been wanting to make a new quilt for my living room wall for a while now. I mean ... don't get me wrong. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Southern Album quilt of my mom's that I recently finished. I have hung it proudly in my living room, and look at it with great joy every day. However, because it is an heirloom, I want to make sure I take care of it well ... and that means that I need to take it off the wall and let it rest occasionally. SO ... I decided to make another quilt to take its place for part of the year. A few months ago, I found a beautiful fabric line from Moda (Shangri-La) that I thought would work nicely with my living room decor. I figured that having the fabric picked out was half the battle ... but who knew that it would be so difficult to find a quilt pattern that I would like enough to make??!!?? I mean I spent tons 'o time looking through books and magazines searching for a pattern that would be easy enough to make quickly but also fit my style. FINALLY ... my sister in law bought a copy of the last issue of Quilts & More magazine, which had this beautiful quilt pattern in it called "Spice is Nice." As soon as I saw it, I knew that it was just what I was looking for. So, I set to work and finished the quilt top in no time flat. Really ... it was very easy. Great instructions and fun tricks for sewing those hour-glass units that I used to dread so much!

Here's the really funny part of the story ... A couple of weeks ago, I was reading on some of my favorite craft blogs, and I stumbled across one called Happy Zombie. As I was reading through it, I found myself really liking the author's style. Then, I came to this post about a quilt that she had designed for a magazine ... and wouldn't you know it - it was the very same quilt that I had searched the world over for and was in the middle of making!!! How fun is that?? I emailed her immediately and had so much fun making this connection across the country! So, now I have a new blogging friend and a beautiful new quilt for my house ... that is, at least, once I can get it quilted! Who knows how long that will take!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days ...

Yesterday was my wonderful sister in law Suzanne's birthday. To show her how much I love her, I made her these super-fun days of the week dish towels. I used some fabric from Moda's Wee Play line to spruce up some flour sack towels I found at good 'ole Wal Mart. The colorful binding and letters just make me happy!
I seriously think this is more effort than I have ever put into a birthday gift in my life! I managed to come just short of swearing off sewing completely by the time they were completed ... I had no idea sewing the letters on would prove to be such a difficult task!!! I made fabric cut-outs and fused them onto the flour sack material. Then, I satin stitched around them to keep them in place. They didn't look so small when I cut them out, but once I got to sewing, it was hard to maneuver around all the little curves and holes! I think next time (if there is a next time!) I'll up the font a bit and make it a little easier to sew.

Anyway, I think the end result was worth all that blood, sweat, and tears ... they came out just as cute as I had envisioned them in my head! Yay!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Every house should have some fun coasters ...

My friend Deb recently celebrated her 30th birthday. Woohoo! 30 is definitely the new 20, right? Deb also recently moved into a super-fun studio apartment that has been called "home" by a good number of my very closest friends over the last 9 years. (Only the coolest, most talented, amazing-est gals are allowed to live there!).

Anyway ... since it was her birthday and she was moving to a new home, I decided that the perfect gift for her would be a set of coasters ... inspired by these fun ones I saw on one of the craft blogs I read regularly. I searched high & low for the perfect fabric ... you have no idea how hard it was to find this Daydreams fabric by Moda. I ended up having to order it online, because nowhere in my city carried it!

I think they turned out pretty cute ... In fact, I think my house is feeling a little bit rejected that I haven't made any for it ... YET!