Monday, December 31, 2012

Gifts for my Nieces

My nieces enjoy baking and going shopping.  I often feel that gift cards are a bit of cop out...but sometimes they are the best gifts.

A gift card needs a holder though.  There are many great tutorials out there for gift card holders.  I chose to follow Valerie's tutorial, but I made it a touch smaller and used a 1/4" seam allowance.  These are fast and easy and don't require much fabric.  I considered making a scrappy back, but then abandoned that idea when it was taking longer than I wanted to spend.  I intended to use interfacing, but forgot that step.  They seem to hold their shape pretty well without it.

The mitt idea I had long ago and actually had the fabric purchased and cut out, but never finished.  I sewed the mitt parts on, then added the thermal batting and with right sides together stitched the front to the back.  I left an opening for turning on one end curve.  After turning, I sewed the curve together with my machine, then flipped that raw seam inside the mitt.  After top stitching, the seam is totally hidden.  Now they are in their new home.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday & Birthday Table Runner

2012 has been a big year for birthdays!  I, along with most of my high school class, have turned 40 this year.  A friend I've known since elementary school was celebrating her 40th today along with husband and it's close to her son's birthday too!  I hadn't realized that they all have birthdays around Christmas and Hanukkah.  Their family celebrates both holidays as well.  

I thought it would be fun to whip up a table runner with symbols of Christmas, Hanukkah and birthdays.  It went together pretty quickly in terms of cutting out the shapes and the idea.  Because I started this project the morning before the afternoon party, I did not complete it.  

The unfinished project went along to the party with me and I explained that I just need to finish it up and would get it to her soon.  All the images were ironed on and I had the border done, I still needed to add batting and a backing.  Details on the shapes and free motion quilting were still to be done also.

It was nice to bring the project back home and have extra time to work on it.  I wasn't certain what details I wanted to add to the table runner, but when I found myself alone in my sewing room, I knew I could tackle swirls again.  They certainly take some time and I haven't yet figured out a way to have comfortable posture and be able to see at the same time.  A quilting only machine has been on my mind for a couple months and I am coming to see the benefits of owning one.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hand Print Wall Hanging

While researching this project, I saw a lot of different things I liked.  I considered doing prints with paint on a canvas.  My concerns with this project was that I'd need all participants to be present at least at some point.  Another concern was that I was using the handprints of young children and I worried that it would be challenging to get a clear print.  Though I was a little encouraged when I worked with my 2.5 year old making the handprint tree, she was very patient and we worked together to get clear prints.

Hand Print Mini QuiltMy vision of a grandparent gift was to include my three children's prints along with my sister's two children's.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought using fabric would be the best medium for me.  In addition, my sister could just trace her kids' hands and send them via email to me.  It was a win, win situation!

Choosing colors for the prints was another part of the project that required careful consideration.  At first I chose grey prints which would match my parents' house.  When I made the hands out of the darker fabrics, the contrast was too much and rather dull.  My family and sister encouraged me to find brighter fabrics.  At JoAnns I was considering different fabrics for each child according to their favorites.  I went back and forth with solids and prints.  Another fabric would be needed for the hearts and borders.  A multicolored print seemed to be the best choice.  When I found this circle print, I fell in love!  Then it became much easier to fulfill the hand print colors and I opted for all solids.

Close up of FMQ spirals
The assembly was pretty straightforward.  I used a heat and bond to adhere each handprint and the hearts, used a interfacing before stitching around hand and heart, added borders and layered my quilt sandwich.  The boring white background was perfect for spiral free motion quilting.  In the hearts, I made some squiggle free motion quilting.

The next step was the binding, though I knew I wanted to add a wall hanging sleeve to it.  Some methods recommended adding it to the binding, while others added it afterwards.  Adding the sleeve to the binding made the most sense to me.  I got a craft board for hanging and regularly put it into the sleeve to check for size and also for where I should stitch the sleeve down.  I'm looking forward to giving it on Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reindeer Shoe Covers

My daughter dances and is encouraged to dress up for her dance class this week.  We already had a Santa hat, Santa skirt, and red and white striped long socks.  My nieces dance and I saw some of their themed classes.  Some of the girls had made their hair buns into reindeer faces.  Such a creative idea.  I considered this for my daughter, but she will have her hair under a Santa hat.

Reindeer Shoe covers came to mind.  The idea reminded me of the little leather shoes my little ones wore.  We never had any reindeer ones though.  It seemed like a very quick and straight forward project.  

The first step was to cut reindeer shapes out of felt.  Then I found some vinyl scraps for the backside of the felt.  I figured this would keep the felt in place better on the shoe.  Finally, I added a little fluff in between the two layers, stitched them together, and added a thin elastic strap.  

While designing the reindeer cover, I was using the tap shoe as a model.  The elastic fit nicely in the groove underneath the shoe near the metal plate.  My daughter also tried them on her jazz shoes and they work well too!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Snickerdoodles for the Redcoat Cafe

My seventh grader has been studying about the Colonies during the time of the French and Indian War and the Boston Tea Party.  As a end of unit project they are having a Redcoat Cafe.  Originally my son thought that his teacher was supplying food typical of the time period, but then yesterday the teacher said the kids could bring things too.  Of course my son mentioned this at 8:30 at night.

I'm not one to shy away from a potential baking project though.  I looked at some recipes and read about typical food.  Corn and Pumpkin seemed obvious choices, but I didn't have the right ingredients and I wasn't sure if the kids would enjoy a strange new dish.

I found one list of Colonial Day foods that had Snickerdoodles.  After confirming with another website that a similar recipe has been around for some time, I decided to make them.  Even though the recipes on the site show late 1800's, I did find references that this cookie, in some form, was made in the 1700's and even earlier.

After reading through the recipe a few times, I was sure I had everything I needed.  The Cream of Tarter I had only used in playdough before.  I figured it was an ingredient in some foods, I just hadn't come across them yet.  Then I realized I was missing eggs!  I tried a few neighbors before I finally found some.  Thank you, Neighbor!

It was interesting to note that I had never made Snickerdoodles before and my family was not familiar with them either.  My mother has made them before, I'm sure.  Hopefully this simple sweet cookie is a big hit with the kids at school. We may even whip up another batch to have at Christmastime.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sewing Machine Broken!

While sewing my last couple projects, I spent a decent amount of time screwing and unscrewing the sewing machine feet. I've been toggling between regular straight sewing and free motion quilting.  With the free motion quilting, I use a different foot.  The last time I was unscrewing, the top of the screw fell off in my hand!  The last thing I was going to do today was to sew across the little tree ornament in silver.  Instead of waiting for my new screw, I sewed it by hand.  I will be contacting my local Viking store and getting a replacement soon.

Quilted Ornaments

For my next Modern Quilt Guild meeting, it was suggested to do an ornament swap.  I looked around at quilted ornaments and considered some of my own ideas.

I settled on a mini quilt on a sewing machine.  First I sewed together red and green strips in a wonky style.  Then I cut them up for a mini quilt and also a tree design.  Each sewing machine was just cut free hand out of vinyl making each one unique.

After assembling the pieces, I sewed down the machine, then free motion quilted on the mini quilt.  With right sides together I sewed the blue pieces together.  The last step was more free motion quilting in mini spirals around the blue.  My first attempt came out a little big, it is better as a mini wall hanging.  I decided to make another one smaller and keep one for myself.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Modern Quilt Guild Block

I recently joined some lovely ladies for a Modern Quilt Guild meeting.  There are some seriously talented women there!  The December meeting is quickly approaching and it was suggested that we could each bring a 12" block and they would all be assembled as a table cover for our future meetings.

I've been working a bit on floating squares and it's tricky.  I figured working on a smaller scale would be easier and good practice.  It was both!  I used my 12.5" square ruler as my "design wall" and it really made a difference.  With this practice, I see the benefit of having a grid on a design wall.  Redoing my wall will be a new priority.

Because this is a Modern Quilt Guild, I wanted to have a modern block.  Two of squares moved a bit from my original plan after adding the green, but it still works. My hula hoop fabric seemed like an obvious choice to have a block a bit about me.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Altered Santa Boxers

My eight year old was hoping for a Santa dress.  One place she wanted to wear it was to dance class for their holiday class.  I looked on-line and saw that my local K'Mart had cute Santa dresses.  When I checked out the store, there were none to be found.  I was told that I could order one, but I wasn't sure I wanted to do that.

As I shopped, I saw some cute Santa items made by Joe Boxer.  There were Santa boxers, long elf shorts, and Santa lounge pants.  Each set had a cute hat.  These were all in the Men's department.  I searched the girls department again and saw no Santa wear.  The Santa boxers were made out of a thin velour type material and had a flowing design.  They might be a bit big, but I could make them work.

My daughter's reaction surprised me.  She would not consider wearing boxers, as they are for boys of course.  After I tried to convince her otherwise, she wondered if I could change it into a skirt.  Why not!

It was pretty easy to remove stitches in the crotch of the boxers.  I did remove the seam through the fly of the boxers also.  Interestingly, this pair of boxers only had seams in the front and the back, not the sides.  After changing the seams, they now became the side seams. The waist band was a bit big for her and I took that in too.

With the transformation complete, my daughter tried the skirt on and was very pleased with it!  Now all the kids have Santa hats.  And clearly when I have my camera out, I should get pictures of my posed girls.

Hand Print Ideas

Google Images is always a source of inspiration for me.  I especially love stumbling upon someone else's blog and reading the story behind the completed project.

I know there are many neat crafts including children's hand prints.  There's just something about their little or even big hands that always melts my heart.  I wanted to try out a hand print tree.  My daughter was more than willing to have me paint her hand, though she questioned me a lot during the process.

We made one on card stock paper and then I found some mini poster board.  The poster board worked much better and was a nicer size too.  I used the non shiny size.  The paint was just whatever kids' paint I had on hand.  The star is cut from yellow card stock and glued on.  I added her name and the year at the bottom.  I love that I have a picture of her with her artwork to preserve the moment.

Another idea I thought of would be a fun way to preserve favorite baby and childhood outfits.  Why not cut out a hand print shape from a favorite outfit or shirt at different points along the way.  I think especially outfits where the child had been photographed.  Then collect the hand print cutouts and eventually put them all together in a memory quilt or wall hanging.  I think this is a great idea for a mom to be so she could have it in mind from the beginning!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Quilted Album for the Sister

I had a feeling that my younger daughter would be excited about her sister's photo album and enjoy looking at the pictures.

Another nice promotion came through and I ordered more prints.

We had an extra boring blue album. Together with my 2.5 year old, we chose fabrics and put them together. Then I quilted again with the spiral free motion quilting. For the other album, I had intended to add ribbon embellishments, but got too far before I remembered. Because I only made straight strips of fabric, it was easy to add some ribbon after the quilting.

The prints should arrive in a couple days. I'm sure the little sister will be thrilled with her very own album.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Another Birthday, Another Bag

Quilted Tote
We had another birthday party to attend and I remembered I had some fabric left over from a baby quilt for the same family. The fabric had been representative of the daughter and now it was her birthday. I had the perfect amount for a tote bag. I was looking forward to trying out spiral free motion quilting. I doodled a little making spirals on paper and then I was off. It actually worked quite well.

FMQ close up of Quilted Bag
The quilting went smoothly and also forming the bag. I had some blue heavier fabric that I wanted to use for the handles and the lining. Even though there was some blue on the white fabric, I thought adding some ribbon would tie it all together better.

I love how the thin batting and the quilting give the bag some extra body.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Small Potatoes

My youngest has taken a liking to a couple Disney Jr TV shows. I decided to record one of them for her. After the show, these sweet small potatoes came into view and started singing. Since then, we have become quite fond of the Small Potatoes segment and sometimes even go to YouTube to see our little potato friends.

Of course I wanted to make some Small Potatoes for us. I considered making them three dimensional and tried one like that. It seemed to have too many seams and not enough space for their cute little faces.

Finally today, I just started cutting out shapes. One potato shape, then a second one. My daughter came up to see what I was doing and thought I should make all four potatoes. The potatoes aren't too detailed. The hand sewing of their faces went pretty quickly. I decided to just sew around the edges of them with my machine to speed up the final results.

Everyone in the family seems to agree that we have our own set of Small Potatoes now and that they are pretty cute.  Maybe the youngest will sing on video with her potatoes at some point soon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quilted Photo Album Cover

When my son was first born, we used film, had the pictures developed, and put them in albums. As we transitioned to a digital camera, we didn't print as many pictures.

When my daughter, Sydney, was born in 2004, we did print a few pictures from her first two weeks. And that is when her album ends. She recently noted that while there are four albums for her brother, she has but one. Also, she spent some time with a friend seeing all of her baby pictures.

Sydney requested we print some of the digital pictures and update her album. We spent one evening searching though old pictures and choosing which ones to print. She doesn't remember many of the pictures and was surprised by the number of pictures.

The Quilted Album
After selecting over a hundred and finding an awesome coupon, they were on their way. I considered finding her a new album that was more her style, then I realized I could simply cover the blue album. She had already found fabrics she liked when we were designing her friend's quilted bag.

Crazy quilting seemed to be the way to go. In a few tutorials, I noted that making the cover a couple inches larger than the album is a good rule of thumb. I cut a template out of white fabric and used that to check my size. Crazy quilting seems to take me longer than other quilt as you go methods.

After adding some thin batting, the backing, and pins, I was ready to quilt. I thought I would probably use decorative stitching along each seam, but then I thought free motion quilting would go more quickly. As I started free motion quilting, I started to form a circle and remembered I indented to try out some pebbling free motion quilting.
The Album Before

At first the pebbles seemed to be dimpling the fabric too much. I changed my tension and perhaps became more comfortable with the technique and it started to go more smoothly.  Pebbling certainly does not take less time, but it was fun to try something new.

The Whole Quilted Album Cover
Close up of Pebbling FMQ
After the quilting, I added unquilted flaps to each side after finishing one long edge on each. After testing out the sizing a few times, I was ready to baste on the flaps. The final step was to add binding to the edges. I used a 2.25" strip folded for the binding and it worked well with a 1/4" seam allowance. After sewing right sides together and tucking the first and last edges, I just folded it over and sewed closely along the folded edge.

Sydney is very happy with her new album and can't wait to fill the pages with cute pictures of herself.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Floating Blocks in Progress

Bottom left corner
My design wall is working well.  I used yarn to get ideas about where to make divisions.  Also the design wall and yarn are helping me decide which sides to border first and where to line up the blocks.

I was not sure where to start for floating the blocks, but it seems to be going well.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

One of a Kind Quilted Bag

After spending some time out shopping yesterday, I was in no hurry to return. Even though it's before Thanksgiving, the stores and traffic around them seems to be already in the pre-holiday frenzy.

My daughter is attending a birthday party tomorrow and we still needed a gift. She wanted to head out into the shopping frenzy, I suggested making something at home. After some encouraging, she was game.

My daughter is 8 and has some great ideas and a very good sense of color. She drew a purse/bag design and also picked out coordinating colors. The bag would have stripes, a flap with a snap, and a single strap. I suggested making the stripes wonky

It's always fun for me to see how others relate to color. My daughter had a great vision, I simply helped make it happen.

First we made the front and back stripes. Then came the flap. I did some free motion quilting on each piece with loops like the flying ladybugs.

I got out my snap press and added a snap to the flap. After stitching the front to the back and adding the flap, I installed the other side if the snap.

Next came the strap. I just cut a long piece and folded in onto itself.

Putting it all together was pretty easy after double checking the direction of things a few times. I sewed the lining and left a small opening for turning.

Now we have a cute one of a kind bag for a birthday gift. I hope the birthday girl likes it too!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving & Christmas Cookies

A day off from school seemed like the perfect day to do some baking.  My 8 year old daughter seems to really enjoy baking and especially decorating.  Her little sister likes to bake too, but she is more into the experience than actually getting much accomplished.

We now have 18 decorated turkeys for Thanksgiving and some cute Christmas cookies ready for the freezer.  I was looking forward to trying out some new cutters.  While we did get a few houses, snowflakes, trees, and a mitten...I was on oven duty when most of them were being cut out.  We have many more people than I expected.  We can certainly make more if necessary.

It's nice that the kids are at a point where we can bake a whole batch of cookies and at least start the decorating all at once.  We did all the turkeys and a few other things before the one wanted to head outside and the other broke down completely.  After a little break, I was able to finish the decorating. Now who'd like to come over and clean up?!  :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Design Wall for Me

It seems the best way to figure out the in between space for floating blocks is to lay out the blocks on a design wall. I had laid out the blocks on my bed, but leaving them there for long periods of time is not realistic.

I saw that some people use flannel and others use thin batting.

There was a decent sale going on for packaged batting and I found one that seemed pretty thin. I hoped that my blocks would stick well enough.

So far so good. Because the batting was thin and light, I used thumb tacks to tack it up. I did end up cutting the batting down a bit for my wall space. It's about 60" wide.

I've seen others who use a foam board and attach the batting to it. For the moment, my solution for a quick design wall is sufficient and I already can see another row of blocks would be a nice addition.

Two blogs I found have nice images for floating the blocks. One Little Imp has a nice image showing where all the seams ended up.
Oh Fransson has a tutorial for floating blocks and how to start dividing the quilt.

The next step will be to add some ribbon to split up the space into manageable blocks.  A grid showing through would be helpful too.  Perhaps someday I will add a foam board with a grid underneath.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Wheels on the Bus

Well these cookies are not for toddlers, nor are they to commemorate the song, but I can hardly think about buses without thinking of the Wheels on the Bus.

This year our schools changed up the schedules and added new bus routes.  There are kids going to and from the elementary school at least five times a day!  That is a lot of bus routes and bus drivers.

When my son started school, I wanted to drive him.  After some time, I no longer felt the need and began to really appreciate our bus drivers.  I especially appreciated the fact that our driver was always punctual and as far as I could tell never had a substitute.  We have new drivers this year due to the scheduling changes, but so far they are also quite punctual.  I appreciate that.

Bus Gingerbread Cookies
After a bus cookie cutter was purchased, a cookie making afternoon was scheduled.  My mom came to help out with cookies and the toddler.  We zipped through two batches of dough in no time!  I considered trying to make frosting and decorate all in one go.  It seemed possible, so I went for it.

Using my now familiar stand mixer for the dough and then the royal icing was great.  I colored the icing a yellow and orange mixture for the buses and black for details.  I thought I was thinning the icing enough for modified flooding, but after putting it in my squeeze bottles, it wasn't running everywhere.  I went ahead and just did outlining and then deciding to forgo flooding and just make some details with my squeeze bottle.  I never made claim to being an artist...but I think they are ok.  When I peruse images of professional cookies, I do believe they are in my reach, but not this time.  Maybe when I have a sleeping toddler or maybe I  just need to wait until she's a bit older.  I could just need more practice too.

The drivers will surely know what these are.  I hope to catch them before their afternoon runs, well and the morning driver too.  I've attached a note to each bagged cookie letting the drivers know how much we appreciate them and how they keep our kids safe.

A tip for getting the last of the molasses out of the jar:  use a rubber band around the mixer, give a twist, and then around the jar.  This worked great for the last few drops and I didn't have to hold it.  :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Start of Something Fun

Probably two years ago I found some fabric with bicycles and unicycles on it by Michael Miller. I thought it might be nice for a birthday shirt for my unicycle riding daughter. She was not interested, but I knew with now three unicyclists in the house I would use it someday.

Almost a year ago I had seen this hoop-like fabric and used some for a tablecloth at a hoop demo.

As the weather gets colder and we spend more time cuddling under blankets, I naturally thought about a quilt.

Googling quilt images is one thing I do from time to time. I get some neat ideas from what others are doing. Many "modern quilts" are making use of negative space.

Using the cycling fabric along with the hooping fabric seemed to be the perfect fabrics to try out some new quilting.

As I was seeking out coordinating fabrics, I remembered how unique the cycling fabric is. The only shade that finally seemed to match was in the fat quarter section. The hoop fabric is predominately pink, which isn't my favorite, but I decided I could bring out the orange and it would work. Both fabrics have white, so that was an easy choice. I didn't want the quilt to have too much white though and sought out a green. The green represents the outdoors for me and how my family enjoys being outdoors.

At first I wasn't sure how all the fabrics might go together. Then I decided to just keep each print separate and use the white to tie everything together.

This is another quilt as I go project which I have come to enjoy. I started fussy cutting the cycling fabric. I wanted to make sure I got at least a couple unicycles. Then I cut strips of the aqua and the white in varying widths. Each block went together quickly and I really liked the effect.

The hoop fabric came next. I found patterns within the fabric to cut around. And once again cut varying strips to border each square and rectangle.

After working on the blocks some of yesterday and today, I figured I had enough to lay them out. Laying the blocks on top of the green gave me a better idea of how it will look. I think I could even make some more blocks for a bigger quilt.
unicycle and hoop quilt
It will be interesting figuring out the in between measurements and deciding on final placements.

One thing I'd like to try soon is quilting on a long arm sewing machine. There is one shop in the area where one can rent time on the machine. Eventually I want to make a queen sized quilt for my bed and use the long arm machine for that. Working on something smaller first would be good practice.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Giant Chocolate Chips

I knew about mini chocolate chips and even have some on hand. I did not know giant chocolate chips existed. I purchased a large bag of chocolate chips thinking they were regular. When I was choosing them, I did read the "double" on the package and just wondered if they were extra chocolatey somehow.

It wasn't until it was time to add the chocolate chips to my banana muffins that I finally opened the bag. It was surprising to see such big chips! As I measured out the regular amount of chips, I wondered how the muffins would turn out. The mini muffins might only end up with a couple chips.

Everything seemed to work out and where the chips landed ended up tasting extra chocolately. It was a nice twist to our favorite muffins.

Gabby the Giraffe

felt giraffeMy young, sensitive preschooler was watching an episode of her favorite show, Doc McSutffins when she stopped it mid-show.  It was the episode called "Arcade Escape" and my daughter was upset that the giraffe was ripped.  She said it over and over.  I suggested we could make a little giraffe and stitch it up.

Together we found a template for a giraffe and then went back to the show to decide on the details for the felt giraffe.  We finished the show and saw that Gabby the Giraffe does indeed have a rip or an open seam and Doc McStuffins and Lambie are able to fix her right up.

It was neat creating felt details for the giraffe to match the tv character.  My daughter helped decide which colors to use for the body and spots.  We also agreed on orange stripes on the giraffe's legs.

Gabby has a lot of details, so we started sewing them on first.  For younger children, sewing the details on makes more sense than using glue.  Once we starting sewing around the edges and adding filling, I could demonstrate what had happened to Gabby in the show.

It was disappointing that it could not be completed in one sitting.  We went off to bed with a few safety pins holding Gabby together because done or not, she is already loved very much.  Then in the morning, I was able to complete Gabby the Giraffe.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Slender Man Mask

For Halloween this year my son wanted to dress up as Slender Man.  He said he would need a white hood-like mask, white gloves, a black tie, and a suit.  I looked around Ebay and found some white gloves and even the mask for not too much.  I felt quite prepared ordering everything weeks in advance.  When the mask finally arrived, it was clear that it was not quite transparent enough.

We thought about ways to fix the mask.  We could make eye holes, but that would ruin the effect.  Remaking the whole mask was another possibility.  Then after looking at the mask, I decided I could simply replace part of the mask on the front side.

At JoAnn's I checked out every white fabric for stretch and visibility.  Finally I found one that seemed better than the original mask.

Replacing part of the mask was a great idea for many reasons.  For one, after removing the stitches, I could use the panel I removed as a pattern.  Secondly, this fix was much quicker than making a whole new mask.  It gave my son better visibility and worked well. We had a Happy Halloween and hope you did too!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Quilted Totes

After making the little daisy mug rugs, I still had some pink daisy fabric left.  I wondered if I could put together another little something with the leftover pieces.  I decided on a quilted tote bag.  I found lots of different inspirations for them and liked parts of this one pattern.  I settled on a wonky log cabin pattern and quilted along as I went.  I love that kind of quilting.  

The finished size wasn't really a concern of mine while piecing.  I was thinking a rectangle might be good, but I also knew I could just add more strips.  The first one ended up at about 12.5" by 10.5".  The second was 13" by 9.25".

After making my fronts, I decided to just keep the back plain black.  I added batting to each part and quilted them using a hot pink free motion design.  Then I sewed front to back at the sides and bottom  edge, then formed the bottom.  

My surplus of bottom weight material came in handy for the straps and lining.   I also added an inside pocket and made it the length of the one long side.  The straps I sort of followed the quilted tote pattern in that it called for each strap to be 5" x 26".  It's a pretty long strap.  I also made a tab 6.5" by 2.5" for the top of the bag.

The two bags were constructed at pretty much the same time.  I was often two steps ahead on one, then the other.  The first bag was almost done and I showed it to my husband.  Right away he noticed the large black strips on the front of the wonky log cabins and how it stood out too much.  Somehow I had missed that.  I think part of it was the fact I was involved in the construction at that point.  In addition, much of my log cabin had been folded under for the bottom.  This made the top part more prominent.
After considering a few ways to potentially "fix" the big black strips, I decided to add a pink daisy.  I researched a few different options for constructing a fabric flower.  I found one out of ribbon that seemed to be nice.  The one video tutorial I found used hot glue and paper.  As I wanted to have it all washable, I opted to stitch everything down to a felt circle.  I enjoyed learning about this new construction.  Each pedal is shaped out of small 3" pieces of ribbon.  Then the base of the ribbon is scrunched together to give it the pedal shape.

wonky log cabin, ribbon flower button

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pink Daisies

I have been trying to organize my sewing room better, specifically my fabric stash. I purchased some smaller bins and sorted the smaller bits of fabric by color. Already I see the benefit from this change. Yesterday I continued sorting through larger bins that I hadn't looked inside for a while. I got everything sorted by type as well. I have a bin for knits, one for corduroys, another for flannel, a huge amount of fleece, bottom weights and denim, and of course cottons. Seeing all this fabric just makes me think of how much I should be getting out of my house!

As I was sorting, I found a very cute pink daisy fabric. Much of the time I am sorting, I remember what a fabric had been used for or my intention. This pink daisy fat quarter didn't ring any bells. I must have gotten it when fat quarters were on sale.

A friend of mine, Debbie, I met through the organization, the Young Survival Coalition, started a non-profit to help woman diagnosed with breast cancer. It is called the Pink Daisy Project. I thought a little mug rug to remind her that what she does is very much appreciated might be the perfect rainy day project.

Another friend, Melinda, lives miles away, but is a huge help to Debbie too. I thought she might also like to know she is appreciated.

Pink Ribbon fabric is also a part of my stash. I have used it in a number of projects for the Pink Ribbon Walk we participate in May, to a quilt, a baby carrier, and embroidered t-shirts. It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many of us feel that the pink ribbon and how it's often used gets to be too much. You can find cute pink items with ribbons on just about anything. When the pink ribbon became a symbol for breast cancer awareness, it was just the beginning of ribbons and awareness campaigns. I can't imagine one person living in our culture who isn't aware of breast cancer. While I do agree that cancer isn't cute and shouldn't be wrapped up in a cute package, the pink ribbon remains a symbol of breast cancer for me.

I also took advantage of my Viking Lily sewing machine's many decorative stitches.

I hope Melinda and Debbie like the little mug rugs and enjoy a nice hot beverage knowing that their efforts are appreciated by many. Thank you both!