Thursday, March 30, 2006

All sewing, all the time...

It seems like it's been nothing but sewing around here for a while. This *was* a knitting blog you know! But I guess that's what happens when you get a new machine and join a bunch of sew-alongs and then your wrists starts hurting anytime you pick up the needles. So sorry if you were looking for something knitting related. It's not here now... I am kind of sad about that, because I really wanted to finish Clapotis before it becomes too warm to wear it here, but it's not looking good.
So, I did some sewing last night, imagine that! I started working on the blocks for the "BlockSwap" and got six done.

The ones on the bottom were done first, and I like them ok, but the ones on the top kind of just came out of nowhere! I hadn't even sketched ideas for those! This one's my favorite:
Well, I have four or more to do, so we'll see where the machine takes me, but we're getting there! I'm finding that the size 10.5" is a hard one. I'd like to try some different ideas, but the cutting and measuring which would be required is scaring me! I was surprised to see how far my fabric stash is going on this one too, which will be good when I want to put together the other blocks into some kind of a quilt, I'll be able to fill in with some fun stuff!

Oh, by the way, this is my 100th post! How cool is that? The week after my Blogiversary!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Blue and Cream Bag

Ok, so the new "Sew? I Knit!" project was announced last week and they've decided to make purses/bags. Of course I've made many, of my own design, and I was thinking I would branch out and actually use a pattern. That is until I found that there aren't any patterns out there that I like! So I was sketching out some ideas on Friday night and said what the heck, I'm just going to go for it! And here it is! It turned out just like I wanted it.

I've been taking the bus for the last 6 months and I keep changing bags, they are either too big, too small, not "professional" enough, or not the right color. Basically not perfect. I love bags, and I change them often, but lately I've just wanted something I can use everyday, that will hold my purse contents, iPod, cell phone, PDA, whatever book I'm reading at the time, my camera when I need it, and some lunch! That's a large order, but I didn't want it to be too big. So I started sketching and decided I wanted it to look good too. I'd just got some great fabric at Wal-Mart of all places, for $2 a yard, and I knew it would be great with any coat, especially my jean jacket. I really am so happy with the result, I put a zipper in (my first on a purse) with pockets inside for all my stuff, and it's got a shape I love, with a little pleat on the top. The dimensions are around 14"x10"x3". Not too big and not too small. It's funny, but I used an old belt for the handles. I can wear it over my shoulder, or it still looks good as a "handbag" type as well. I was having issues for a while on what to do for handles, whether to do them out of the same fabric, but when I went looking through my old belts this one was too perfect. After completing everything else on the bag, it just finished it off, so I sewed them on the next morning. (I was amazed that my machine actually sewed through it with relatively little problems!) Ok, enough already, here's another look!

Chic, roomy, with a place for everything! And I've been using it ever since I finished. I've gotten so many compliments too, it really is the perfect bag and I'm so pleased!

Friday, March 24, 2006

1 Year Old

Wow, I almost forgot that today is my 1 year Blogiversary! I can't believe I've been blogging a whole year. When I stumbled onto the world of craft/knit blogging last year, I was amazed at all the many talented people I found. I started my blog as a place where I could write my ramdom musings and basically keep my family up to date on what I was doing.
I still feel like I'm trying to find my voice in the blog world, but I do it for me. Not becuase I think someone might read it, becuase really, who does other than my Mom? But I'm really grateful for the motivation and drive it's given the crafting I do. I think about it everyday now, and I think it's changed me because of it. I've become more creative and it's influenced my "eye". I see things differently now.
With the start of 2006 I've tried to post more often and sometimes I get down about finding things to show or write about. I'm not witty and funny like so many out there, but I try to make my voice come through. I've done so many great things this last year becuase of blogging. I participated in the Knitting Olympics, which was such a great push for me. I feel a conection to so many others out there, although they may not know it, since I'm more of a lurker than commentor. Anyway, I guess I just want to say I'm really glad I started this thing and I hope that someone can get something out of it. I know I have!
And just becuase I hate posts without pictures here's something I did a while ago that pretty much sums my blog up!

Wives and Fathers, Daughters and Sons

One of my favorite period movies ever is Elizabeth Gaskells' "Wives and Daughters". It's just a long lovely movie, with beautiful costumes and of course the beautiful face of Roger Hamley... *sigh*. The book is great too, but I love seeing it come to life in such a faithful rendition. I joined a book club recently and this month we're reading "Fathers and Sons" by Ivan Turgenev. The title of course made me imediently thing of Gaskells book. I'm enjoying it imensley so far, the story line is subtly unfolding and sucking me in. That usually doesn't happen with a lot of classics until about 100 pages into it, but I'm only on about page 25 now! Since it's an older book I thought I'd look online for cheap versions first (before running out to Borders and just buying it). I found a free version online, translated from Russian of course, that had entered into the public domain and so an idea struck me! Why not cut and paste the whole thing into Word and print and bind it myself. So I did just that! It's not the most perfect binding job ever, but it works for me!
Yesterday I came home to a package from the Chicago Public Library that I've been waiting for and I'm so excited! I am entering an exhibit they are having later this year to celebrate 5 years of their "One Book, One City" program. They want submissions for the 10 different books they've done over the years so you had to request the one you wanted and guess what? I get to bind "Pride and Prejudice"!! The top 5 books for each title will be exhibited and there will be monetary prizes for the best of each title as well! I'm just so excited that I get to do Jane Austen. I was planning on binding this book anyway so now I have the chance to have it exhibited! They also sent me a reading copy of it, since I was one of the first to get my entry in, and it's a very nice hardbound copy. I'm not sure if I'm going to rebind that, or do my own, it depends on what I decide to do. It's not due until this summer but I've already started planning what I'm going to do. I'll be sure to share my progress as I go.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More Fun...

Here's a look at the other bracelet I made this weekend. These are the Amy Butler fabrics from my quilt and pillow. I love the pink button I used on this one. I'm wearing it today too! These little things are going to make such great "last minute" gifts! So quick and easy to make, plus the high "cute factor". At least on my scale!

What with the Easter holiday fast approaching and all the "new-born" chicks and bunnies running around the grocery stores, I'm always reminded of this fun little web site: Peep Research. Be sure to check out the Medical Miracle: Quintuplets Separated! I always get a laugh out of those. It makes me as happy as actually eating the cute little things, which I happen to be doing at this very moment.

Sign Me Up!

Well, I find I've been joining a lot of swaps and "alongs" lately. I used to do a lot more, but I think I got kind of burned out with them after a while, and after having partners flake on me. But I'm feeling the need to give myself some deadlines for my crafting lately. So I signed up for the Music Swap that Lisa has set up. I love new music, and it's fun putting together a mix and sending it out in the world. I have some fun ideas for CD cases that I've been wanting to try out too, so now I have an excuse!

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Little Fun

This weekend I finally really got down and dirty with my craft room. I cleaned and organized the whole thing, so it's finally a place that's more conducive to creative thinking. I have so much craft *stuff* that it was getting pretty out of hand. But it's all organized and put away now, I even hung some artwork on the walls! Anyway, it inspired me to do a little sewing and knitting and general crafting. The knitting project isn't done yet, but hopefully I'll find some time this week to finish it up. I did finish some cute little bracelets based on this tutorial and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.

I didn't have a copy of the tutorial with me, I just kind of made it up from the general ideas I remembered. And instead of attaching something to wrap around the button, I used the button hole feature on my sewing machine and made it button up! I even sewed the buttons on with the machine! How handy! I didn't add any other embellishments onto these as I thought the fabrics were enough. I made another batch with left over Amy Butler fabrics later last night, but didn't have a chance to get a good picture so I'll share more later.

I got together with my sister last night for dinner and so "wrapped" one up for her with a little impromptu wrapping job. I just folded a piece of scrapbook cardstock, placed the bracelet inside and sewed it shut on the machine. I think it turned out pretty cute, although she was kind of confused about how to open it! It's just wrapping paper, you're supposed to rip it!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bridget Goes to Paris

Bridget the Bunny loves Paris. Here she is admiring "la Tour Eiffel" in Paris. Bridget is a true romantic at heart and loves the atmosphere of the "City of Love". Being the sentimental bunny she is, she enjoys strolling down the boulevards and watching "les Parisiens" from a table at a Cafe, making up stories for the interesting people she sees.

"Bridge", as she's known to her close friends, also likes to make time to stop and smell the roses in the "Jardin des Tuileries". She hopes to buy a beret by the end of her trip.

Here she is admiring the new "stash enhancement" that came in the mail yesterday. It's actually thanks to that (and a pattern at Wee Wonderfuls) that Bridget is even here today! Of course, she not quite so cosmopolitain as many other bunnies out there, but she's a small town kind of girl, who's drawn to the idea of sophistication. There may be the chance of love for her in the future, as I have plans for a boy bunny too, but you can't put a time table on love. She may soon be finding a new home with a sweet little one this weekend, but only if her "bunny boy" comes along before then, to go to another "little one".

She was fun to make (although a little tricky at times, especially the bottom) and I think turned out pretty cute. This is my first ever softie and I'm pretty addicted. It was fast and fun! Here's another look at the new stash fabric.

These are my favorites.

Bridget was made from the yellow of this group, and will her new bunny friend be from the blue? You never know!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Look what came in the mail on Monday! My first shipment of fabric that I ordered for the "Block Swap"! It's a little hard to tell what you're going to get from just a picture online, but I'm really pleased with most of these, plus it's always great stash enhancement! These are my favorites so far:

Of course, Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett designs in there. I think the Mint solid is going to look great with the two on the left as well.

This "Buds and Blossoms" is by Kaufman, which I love with the Nova solids... so perfect.
I can't wait to get going on these blocks, but I think I'll wait to see what the next shipment brings.
I saw a really great idea the other day (can't remember where) about using a fleece blanket tacked up to the wall as a design board, which I can't wait to try out! It's going to be really fun experimenting with lost of different colors, patterns and shapes. And it'd be so much easier if they were hanging where I could see them!
Oh yeah, these fabrics were all purchased from

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Knitting = Pain

I haven't been knitting very much at all lately, but my right wrist started really hurting last night, so I decided not to pick up the needles, but do some sewing instead. Maybe my "knitting muscles" are just out of shape from the Olympics, I'm not sure, but I knew "working through the pain" wasn't going to help last night. I've been planning and drawing what I want to do for my quilting, and thinking about the block-swap, so I figured I experiment a bit with the machine.

I did a bit of machine embroidery first, which was fun. I'm not super good right now, but a couple things turned out well, so I'm excited to try some more. After that I moved onto practicing quilting with the walking foot and by the end of the night I had this:

You might be able to see little dots where I marked with disappearing ink my stitching lines. I used invisible thread, and I like the look of it, but I'm thinking I might even like to try some white, or off white, for the quilt itself. My original plan before last night was to do a plain brown fabric on the back, with pink thread, so it showed up more and created a nice design, and with invisible thread on top so that it wasn't too busy with the patterns. But now I might do a neutral thread on top and keep the pink on brown for the underside. I guess I'll just have to keep thinking about it some more. For now, I'm pleased with my results for the pillow, and it's motivated me to keep going! Hopefully my wrist will let me get back to some knitting soon too, I have to finish Clapotis!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Book Meme

I got this from fellow "Sew-Along-er" Jenni and thought I'd give it a go!

1) Name five of your favourite books. Pride & Prejudice, The House of Mirth, The Marble Faun, The Betsy-Tacy Series, The Harry Potter Series (I can't pick just one!)
2) What was the last book you bought? The Chronicles of Narnia
3) What was the last book you finished? from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy
4) List five books that have been particularly meaningful to you (in no particular order). The House of Mirth, The Marble Faun, Cheaper By The Dozen (as a child), Girl of the Limberlost, Lord of Rings Trilogy (because of memories of reading it while on study abroad in London).
5) Name three books you've been dying to read but just haven't gotten around to it? Vanity Fair, Mill on the Floss, Woman in White, The River Why, The Virgin Blue (ok, more than 3 but there's a huge list!)
I am tagging all who read this!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sew Much Fun!

I finished my skirt this Sat. for the "Sew? I Knit!" sew-along, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out! This is a bad self portrait, but I had to hurry and take it on my way out the door. (Please ignore all the junk in the background.) It took me about 4 hours in total, so not too bad.

Project Specs

Pattern: Simplicity 5503, size 14 so it would sit lower on my waist.
Materials: Light Medium Weight Denim, Cotton Thread, 7" zipper (lapped zipper), hook & eye
Notes: I used the blind hem function on my machine for the first time and am so excited to have this feature! I didn't want an obvious hem line on it, plus I didn't have a lot of extra to turn up since I have a super high waist and wanted it to be below my knees still. The blind hem function was easy to use and worked well. I just hope it will be strong enough for the heaviness of the fabric. I don't think it would hold up in washing very well. I washed the fabric before cutting to compensate for shrinkage, but since I will probably only wear this once a month, unless I spill something I don't think I'll need to wash it very much at all. The zipper was a little tricky to install, and I wish I would have done an invisible zipper, but I got it in and it looks good, all on the first try.
I like the fit of the skirt and might try it again in a lighter weight cotton for summer. It's full but not too full.

They were having a fabric sale at my Wal-Mart this Sat. so I added to the stash. There are a couple more skirts in my future now, a brown corduroy and some great large prints. I'm thinking a simple a-line or pencil skirt with the corduroy and pleats with the prints.

Also, I got into the Block-Swap and so I'll be working on that this month, and I have a goal to finish quilting "Charm School". After looking through the quilt book, I've been playing around sketching what designs I want to do for the top. I think it'd be fun to use a colored thread on the back and invisible thread on the top. I'm going to play around and see what works best. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Unfogging the Future (and my randomness)

No, this isn't Madame Trelawney's Divination Classroom, but thanks to Crazy Aunt Purl's post yesterday on March's Hor-O-Scopes, I now know how to proced through the month of March:

PISCES (Feb. 19 - March 20)
While we're on the dance metaphors, I noticed we had a little internal hokey-pokey in Pisces this month. Ya'll are playing mental and emotional hopscotch: One foot left, one foot right, cross your fingers and hope everything works out. But why? Why are you doing this? Sing it with me: It's your birthday! It's your birthday! Go Pisces! Go Pisces! You have to take the lead this month, both pragmatically and romantically. I can't imagine you stalking your goals zealously, but I can envision you with treats in your pocket to attract some puppy love. I don't mind if you use stealthy and secretive ways to get what you want, as long as you finally start closing in on the prize. Life is short, nights are long, take a chance. Put your right foot in and shake it all around, that's what it's all about.

Thanks, I think I'll do just that! Funny how that relates dirrectly to what I was just thinking and feeling. I've been feeling more introspective lately, and this weekend I took a personality test that interestingly was spot on. It was a Meyer-Brigg's Type Test and I was dubbed an ENFJ, a "Teacher" or "Giver". Very interesting. It's fun reading something by someone who doesn't know you at all, let alone know of your existence, and having it be a perfect match, and after just a short little test (well if about 75 short questions is short). I'm interested in finding out more now. I think it's made me more aware of how my personality affects my interaction with others and the decisions I make everyday. I think self-awareness is important and I need to make an effort in pursuing it more.

Other Randomness:

This is a picture I took using the Macros button on my camera of the beautiful glass vase and flower my sister gave me for my birthday. It's actually a set and it matches my room perfectly.

I just found out about this great quilt block swap today. Hopefully I'll be able to join. I think it sounds like such a fun idea. Not only will we be helping make a quilt (or multiple quilts) for charity, but we'll also get 9 blocks from different people too, so we can create our own! And the colors are so pretty too! I'm excited to try out some of my new ideas from the last post.

I'll leave you with a fun little meme that Bronxie is passing on to anyone with an iPod:
Open up your MP 3 player, set it to “shuffle”/random play, and list the first 10 songs that come up. No matter what they are. Ready?
  1. I Woke Up In A Car - Something Corporate
  2. Meet You There - Simple Plan
  3. Cure for the Itch - Linkin Park
  4. Distance - Evan & Jaron
  5. This Will Be My Year - Semisonic
  6. Simonize - Pete Yorn
  7. Dry Country Girl - Rascal Flats
  8. I Want to Save You - Something Corporate (LOVE this one!)
  9. 3 AM - Matchbox Twenty
  10. Backyard - Guster

Well, there you have it! I just added a bunch of music (around 700 songs) to my iPod this week, so there's some new and old stuff on there. I used to be able to fit everything on my iTunes on my iPod, but now I have to be picky... I'm up to around 1,700 songs on iTunes and I think I can fit about 900-950 on my iPod. I'll also pass this on to anyone with an iPod!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Wow. That's all I have to say about my new quilting book, which came in the mail on Monday. I spent last night going through the first half of the book, which covers every kind of quilt you could think of. These heirloom quilts are just too gorgeous! Here are some of my favorites:

When I first turned the page and saw this quilt I literatlly exclaimed out loud! The optical illusion it creats is just amazing!

The pastels and curved lines of this one really caught my eye. The way the colors are aranged created fun intersecting lines too.

The dots and waves on these two quilts make a big impact as well. The colors are so simple, but they are just gorgeous and fun at the same time.

I'm kind of partial to this purple Hawaiian quilt just becuase of the colors, but the forms and movement of the quilt is just beautiful too. So modern, and yet there were made in the early 20th century!

Another Hawaiian quilt, although this is the most contemporary of any of these quilts, it was made in 80's but I love the color and the modern graphics.

Also impressive were the Thousand Piece quilts, made up of thousands of tiny squares and shapes! These women were amazing! To think that most of these were hand quilted too. I can't wait to try some of these ideas out, if I could ever make something half this impressive, I'd be happy.