Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tote Bag Tuesday

Another bag! 

This is the tote bag I was telling you that I finished the other day when I was so productive. I'm very happy with how it turned out, and am totally surprised that I didn't have to use my seam ripper. Like not even once. That's not to say that I didn't have any issues, but usually on a project like this I have to keep the ripper pretty close. 

Really, the only mistake I made was when I cut out the main panels for the bag. They were supposed to be 18" by 18", but apparently I cut them 18" by 17".  Only I didn't realize that until I had already put on the trim. On the first one, I put it on the 18" side but on the second I sewed it to the shorter side. You would have thought that extra inch of fabric hanging off the side would have tipped me off, but I just snipped it off, thinking I must have cut that a little too generously. So when I went to sew them together I finally figured it out and had to trim everything down to 17". Not a big deal really. Much better than ripping. 

For the most part, I used this tutorial from Sutton Grace, but I also got a little help from another tutorial at Make It and Love It. The main fabric of the bag is duck cloth so it is very sturdy and has a good shape. The contrasting trim and lining are two Denyse Schmidt prints.

On another note, last night I had to go to a meeting and afterwards I stopped to get gas and locked myself out of the car. So I spent 45 minutes sitting on the sidewalk outside the gas station waiting for my husband to come bring the spare key. I was sure I was going to get picked up for loitering because every cop in town must have needed a drink from the Jiffy Mart last night. Apparently they weren't too worried about it, because not one of them even spoke to me as they walked by. I haven't decided yet if that's a good thing or not.

Happy to be linking up to:

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Couple Pouches

You know how I was hoping to get some pouches made before our trip? Done and done! Both were so easy and I can't wait to use them. I definitely see more of these being made. 

First up is a little zippy pouch that I made using the Lil Cutie Pouches tutorial from Noodlehead. As with all of Anna's tutorials I've used, this one is well-written and easy to follow. 

Little zippered pouches like these are simple to make and everyone can use one. I plan to make a few of these and slip a gift card in them for little thank-you gifts for a couple of my friends.

I have been wanting to make a boxy pouch for a while now, and our upcoming trip was a good reason to get it done. It's a little pathetic really, but right now when we travel, our shampoos and other toiletries reside in ziplock bags. They get the job done, but I think I can do better.

I used this tutorial from It's a Pretty Modern Life. There are many tutorials out there for this type of bag, but this one was very thorough, and I had the right sized zipper. Many of the other tutorials I looked at needed a 14" zipper and all I had were 12". Since this was my first attempt at this kind of bag I really didn't want to modify the pattern. Now that I have made one and see how easy it was, I wouldn't hesitate to alter the size. In fact, I will probably be making one for my husband and make it just a little larger.

I love the fabrics I used for this. The outside of the bag is Blockprint Blossom in Amber from Joel Dewberry's Heirloom line, and the lining and little handles are made from one of the Denyse Schmidt prints available at JoAnn's.

I can't wait to free my suitcase from the clutter of ziplocs!

Happy to be linking up to 

Thanks, Megan!
Thanks, Jenna!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sewing for the Kitchen

I love sewing things for my kitchen. Fun little things to brighten up the place and make cooking a little more fun and colorful. I love cooking and baking, but having little handmade things around in there just helps a little. You know, like the dishmat...

When I read about the Blogger's Dinner Party, I thought it sounded like such a fun idea. Sew something for your kitchen and blog about it. Easy, right? I immediately started thinking of all the kitchen things that are on my list of to-dos. We recently bought a new dining room table and every day I think about how much it needs a wardrobe of table runners. And place mats. And new napkins...

Sadly, it's going to have to wait a while as I've just got too much going on right now. But one day, pretty table, one day I will make you some snazzy things to wear. Pinky swear.

I really wanted to join in the fun, though, so I'm going to show you some of the little things I have made in the past. 

Oh, look! It's a reversible toaster cover!  I like the main fabrics, but I hate the binding. I haven't decided yet if I want to just switch the binding or make a new one. I used this tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew. Very easy and has stood up well to several months of my kids yanking it off every morning to make their toast. 

 Next up we have the potholders. We received so many potholders when we got married that I really won't need any new ones until the year 2030, but I needed an excuse to practice my quilt making skills. 
They've been used many times in the last 6 months, so they're a little wonky.
I practiced my free-motion skills on that Suburbia one. I've got a long way to go. I loved making these, and chances are good that if any of my friends move to a new place, I will make some potholders as housewarming gifts. Along with fresh bread and some of that homemade jam.

I can't believe I'm even showing you these, but my kids like them, so here they are. 

Last summer I decided to make some place mats for my kids. Keep in mind that I hadn't really sewn too much then, so look past the amateur nature of this project. Super simple, but my kids love naming all the veggies and tools while they are eating. I had bought some canvas drop cloth for another project but had some left over and decided to use it as the back for these placemats. I really like how sturdy they are, but I forgot to pre-wash the top fabric so they shrank differently and won't lay completely flat.

So there you go. Hopefully in the next month or two I'll have time to make some pretty new things for the table so I can link up again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Could Get Used to This...

I started and finished 3 sewing projects today!

I have been wanting to make some random little things before we leave on our trip. Just little stuff, camera case, phone case, little pouches...Well Roger was off work today so he had the older boys with him most of the morning doing Big Man Backhoe Work so other than doing laundry, all I did was sew. My main project of the day ended up not even being on my list of to-dos, but I made a new tote bag. I don't really think I can have too many of those. They always get filled up with something, so why not? I didn't get any pictures of it yet, so here are my two smaller projects:

Up first is a tiny step towards keeping my Suburban clean. I was looking for a certain tote tutorial at Make It and Love It and happened upon a tutorial for a little Car Trash Bag. I definitely need eight one, and I had everything I needed, so I whipped it out in no time. Seriously easy project. 

Roger was changing my brakes when I went to take pictures, so I just hung it up in the laundry room instead.  Just imagine those straps going around the headrest and that bag laying against the back of the passenger seat. The tutorial calls for ribbon to be used as the straps, but I just made them out of fabric instead. They attach to each other with velcro, and there is boning in the front to make it stay open.

Up next we have my camera case. I totally made this one up as I went, so it's a little, um, rustic.

I forgot to sew on the velcro before I made it into the pouch shape, so it took a little wrangling to get the bottom part under the needle. After doing this I found a tutorial where they put a buttonhole in the pouch for your camera strap to go through. If I get ambitious I may try that and practice my button hole skills on my machine.
If I do this again, I will make the pouch flap shaped differently so it is more of a trapezoid shape and doesn't stick out from the sides so much. It looks better when my camera is in it. A little.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get to work on those pouches...

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I made a trip to my LQS today. It's actually about 65 miles away, so I suppose it's not that local, but it's the closest one around. How close is your "local" quilt shop? I went there in hopes of finding some Christmas fabrics for my Across the Sea quilt, and maybe some other fun fabrics. They don't really have too much modern fabric, but it's still fun to look.

I was very excited to see that they had gotten in some of Sweetwater's "Hometown" line. Unfortunately, not the ones I'm drawn to the most. I really like their designs and this line has colors in it that actually kind of go with the decor in our house. I'm always drawn to brighter, richer colors for my quilts, but my decorating tends to stay pretty neutral. Pretty brown actually. I really need to liven this place up. I was thinking about making a few pillows or a wall hanging. We've lived in this house for a year and a half, but our walls are still pretty bare.

Anyway, I went there for Christmas fabric but couldn't find much I wanted. So I think I may just change the plan for that quilt. I bought a layer cake of Hometown, so I'll probably use that instead. I generally don't buy precuts, but it will be convenient for this quilt.

I bought these fabrics to make a table runner. I'm not sure what else I'll add in there, but I saw some cute Halloween fabrics at Fabricworm.

It was nice outside when we got home, so I took Max for a little stroll around the yard looking for fun places to take quilt pictures. Sadly, I didn't come up with much. At least for large quilts. I've been wanting to get some better pictures of Roger's quilt, but everywhere I find to hang it is too short to really show the whole thing. I need to get Rog to rig up something in all his spare time. I really thought that with all our buildings around here I would find someplace cool. Not yet. I almost climbed into the hayloft to hang it out there, but that part of the barn has tin on it instead of wood and just isn't as scenic. Plus, I'm sure there is probably a raccoon family living up there, and who wants to mess with that? I did throw it over the door of the chicken house:
Not bad, but I'm still on the lookout. Maybe I'll take it on vacation with me and scout for scenic locales. Would that be odd?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WIP Wednesday, vol. 4

Lots of sewing going on around here this week!  

First let's start with the finish:
Roger's quilt is done, done, done! I still haven't gotten a chance to get better pictures, but if you want more details on this quilt, go here.

Still chugging along:
I'm making some definite progress on my Kaleidoscope quilt. I just need to finish 5 more blocks then I can get the top all sewn. I'm really excited about seeing this one come together.

New Projects:
I started a few new projects this week. First, I joined the Across-the-Sea Quilt Along.
Organized by Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts and Sarah of FairyFace Designs, this is the first QAL I have actually joined before it was finished. I'm very excited about this, I just wish I could decide on some fabric! I originally thought I would use this as an opportunity to make my Christmas quilt. I have a few Christmas-y fabrics,
but I need several more. The only problem is that I am oddly picky about green Christmas fabrics. If not the Christmas theme, I may make the baby size for some friends of ours who are expecting. They find out the gender this week, so hopefully I can get this thing finalized before everyone else has their tops pieced!

I made these two blocks for my friend Sarah who has started a new group, Quilting for Kids. She is making two quilts for a pair of sisters in the foster care system. I think there is still room to join, so if you would like to help make a few blocks, visit Sarah's blog and leave her a comment.

I have also joined a quilt-along that is being organized by Lynne of Lily's Quilts.

I am super excited about this. You are supposed to choose a palette using a tool like Design Seeds or Big Huge Labs and use that for your quilt. The concept with this QA is to make the color palette you select the focus of the quilt, not the piecing. It is designed to both build confidence in choosing color schemes, and to ease beginning quilters into the process. It is not just for beginners though, quilters of all experience levels are encouraged to join. I haven't had a chance to choose my palette, but I'm sure I will have fun trying!

So that's whats been going on around these parts. 

Before you go, I have a request....if you know of a fun quilt/fabric shop in the Chicago, Milwaukee, or Green Bay, Wisconsin area, could you let me know? We'll be doing a little traveling soon and I would love to find some fun places to shop!

Ok, now go check out everyone else's WIPs at 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Few Things...

Not much time today to write a coherent post, but there are a few things I want to get down in this space...

First, if you have a couple hours to spare along with some pink/purple fabric, would you please consider making a block or two for my friend Sarah's project? She is making two quilts for sisters who are in the foster care system and could use some handmade love. The blocks are easy and it would mean so much! You can read more on her blog, So Sarah Sews and through the flickr group Quilting for Kids. Here are a couple fabulous examples of the blocks, made by Jen Johnston:

If you think this is something you could do, please hop over to Sarah's blog and leave her a comment.

Second, if I don't write it down here I won't record it anywhere, so here is the extent of my canning so far this summer. 

Always label, people...always label!

I have been so lazy this year and  really haven't done much other than the fun stuff. But the way my kids are tearing through the groceries now, I'm gonna have to get back on the wagon next year! So far I've canned: Tomatillo Salsa, Peach Salsa, Raspberry Syrup, Blueberry Syrup, Black Forest Jam, Cherry Almond Jam, and Blueberry Lime Jam. In the freezer: Cherries, both plain and in syrup, blueberries, peaches, roasted tomatilloes, and freezer slaw.  
Most years I would have loads of tomato products and green beans canned, but I was more realistic than optimistic this year. Knowing that I have three kids under 5 and a husband who works basically two full-time jobs, I decided to scale back on the gardening and canning this summer in an effort to keep my sanity. I think we'll survive if we have to buy a can of beans from the store.

And finally,look at this!

Last week at the Iowa State Fair my family got an award for having a Heritage Farm. Basically it just means the farm has been in the same family for 150 years. I thought it was cool. We didn't get to go, but my brother and his cute family were up from Texas so there they are. That little baby my Mom is holding was the recipient of my first quilt!

Monday, August 22, 2011

{Sew} Modern Monday, vol. 3

It's Done!!

 I really had no intention of finishing Roger's quilt this weekend,  and was all set to work on another project, but Saturday afternoon Rog said he would take all 3 boys with him to haul equipment. Y'all, I don't think that has ever happened. Me home alone without even one kid? Not in the last 8 months anyway.

I realized this was probably the only opportunity I would have to get it quilted without interruptions, so I dove in. The original plan was to quilt in a zigzag across the quilt, but I quickly realized that was so not going to happen. It is about 76" by 64" and I knew it would only frustrate me and I would be trying to wrangle that thing for the next month, so I quilted in straight horizontal lines instead.

After a minor setback, I started hand-sewing the binding last night and after a marathon run of Flying Wild Alaska today, it is done.  I'm so happy to have it totally finished before our anniversary. 

Sorry for the less than stellar pictures. I didn't finish until about 8:00, so it was starting to get dark and the wind was blowing too much to hang it. Maybe tomorrow when it gets out of the dryer I can get a few better ones.  

Linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations. 

Can't wait to see what other beautiful modern creations everyone has been making!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Feeling Fall

I am really not a fan of wishing time away, but for some reason this morning I am really needing a little Autumn in my life. I have really enjoyed this summer and I'm not ready for it to be over, but I just love Fall so, so much! October could be 90 days long and I don't think I would get tired of it. 

One of my goals when Rog and I retire is to get in our RV and drive up to Canada, then follow Fall down through New England, into Maryland and Virginia, through the Carolinas and into Georgia. So looking forward to that!

So, with my coffee in hand, I went to my beloved Pinterest and just looked at my ever-growing collection of images that reminds me of everything I love about Fall. Here are just a couple:

 Don't you want to trick-or-treat at that house? I bet they give out the good stuff. No raisins there.

 I think I'm going to have to applique some pillows...

 So beautiful.

 I love word art. Think I may have to make one of my own.
I think I would wear this every day. Maybe not the shoes.

So there you go. A little smidgeon of all the fun things about Fall with your morning cup. Adios.

A note about my sources...Sometimes on Pinterest there are no credits given for pictures, or it leads to a Tumblr account that doesn't have the picture you're looking for so as to properly give credit. I have done my best to find the original sources, but if you know where a picture came from that I haven't sourced properly, please let me know so I can give the appropriate credit.