Wednesday, April 23, 2014

freshly stocked

Today I've added some fresh stock to my Etsy Shop.  Happily I do sell quilts here and there when I keep them on Etsy, so today I added some quilts I had been saving for a someday-craft-show.  Probably won't do a craft show again, if Etsy keeps working.  It's just more convenient this way!  I listed...

Shelburne Falls quilt

Improv in Shelburne Falls.  Which tempted me to start another improv quilt.  Temptation which I shall resist at present.

Nursery Versery mini quilt

Nursery Versery Mini.  Surely this level of cuteness belongs with some baby soon.

 27

Raindrops and Sunshine.  A happy, scrappy quilt made for Curves Class encore.

Jade Princess twin quilt

and Jade Princess.  This twin-sized quilt is a favorite of mine, but we don't need it and it's hogging cabinet space.  Off it goes (fingers crossed)!

I also re-posted some stock that didn't sell the first time, now at lower prices.  All of the above links are to posts on the blog about the projects, since I figured some of you may have missed the original posts and would like to learn more about the journey.

If shopping is more your thing, jump over to my Etsy Shop!  And thanks for looking.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

to make, to do

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and experience a moment of crystal clarity?  Suddenly your mind starts racing with a million ideas, all of which seem positively FANtastic at the time?  The other night I tossed and turned, but mostly in a good way, my mind churning with things I wanted to make or do.  Of course I could not go back to sleep until I jotted the ideas down.   So now I have a list!

to make.. nesting cubes
from Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner

***Make these fabric nesting cubes with my friend Heather.  She has some great fabric for the project and I'd love to help her get started sewing for her baby.

Lovely Liberty of London flag buntings
photo and bunting by Emily Moss

***Sew a mini scrappy bunting to soften up my photo collage in the dining room.  It really  needs something with soft edges.

to do... paint kitchen


***Paint the kitchen "spring linen" peach.  Quick, while my husband says it's OK!

photo and tutorial by SnowyBliss

***Make a bouquet or two or three of fabric roses.  Because somehow I've never yet made fabric flowers.  Do you think they'd be pretty or silly?


***See if a friend from Florida might be like to come up for a visit and paint a mural on that big blank wall behind my piano that looks quite a lot like this Anthropologie wallpaper.  (Yeah, that one's a little far fetched, but remember, it was 3 am.)

Sleeping Bag Tutorial


***Make Aria sleeping bag like Liam's in Heather Ross' soon-to-be-reprinted unicorns.  Fabric not expected until July though...

***Plan a homeschooling road trip for next spring.  Because, if I'm going to take so long getting pregnant, I may as well use the time wisely.

to sew... hexagons!


***Consider a new hexagon project.  Now that my dress is finished, I can start a new English Paper piecing project totally guilt-free!

Well then, time's a-wasting!  What's next on your list?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dressed at last

Easter, 2014

Once upon a time I threaded a needle and took the first stitches on a very long journey....

Anna's Garden stitching

Two years ago I started work on a DIY kit from Alabama Chanin.  I didn't let myself fret too often over how long it took.   This was the one project I would pick up and put down on a whim.  And now, just in time for Easter Sunday (and thanks to some prodding by some good friends), I'm finally wearing it!  I almost can't believe it myself.

in Alabama Chanin

and it fits!

Alabama Chanin DIY kit

Guess what... I love it!  Up until the very last moment I wasn't sure how I'd feel when I put it on.  But, I think it fits well and, most of all, I'm thrilled to know that I created it by hand, every. last. stitch.   Yes, this is handstitched garment, made of two layers of jersey.   The beautiful floral design is brought forth via reverse applique.  It's not hard.  But, time consuming?  Definitely.

Since my sewing journey, I've made several things Alabama Chanin style, but this is the first whole garment.  I really wouldn't have taken the plunge if I hadn't received the gift of a DIY kit that spring.   With the kit, you receive all the pattern pieces cut in your size and already stenciled, so you can get right down to the sewing.  I followed the measurement guide and ordered a large.  It needed taking in here and there in the bodice, but that was a cinch because it's jersey, not quilting cotton.  Mmmm.... I'm seeing the light on this jersey business. 

You can shop the Alabama Chanin site for DIY kits or consider one of the Alabama Chanin books authored by Natalie Chanin (this one is my favorite and comes with a stencil!).  Find my other posts on the project here, here and here.

And now, how about some of the girly in her Easter dress?  She was feeling mighty feisty...

me and the girly on Easter

twirling

clearly feeling fiesty

free spirit

Aria in Marissa dress

love those freckles

full of life

my beautiful girl

Just before we went in, I let her take over the camera and snap a giggling montage.  Because I don't much like having my picture taken, so best get in a few more while I'm already putting myself out there (and she's making me smile).

photos by Aria, haha!

Thanks for your love and support!

xo,

Rachel

Friday, April 18, 2014

{Flourish} a Marissa dress

the Marissa dress, pattern by Sis Boom

for Aria

Voila, my third Marissa dress!  This excellent pattern by Sis Boom was my very first handsewn dress and remains my favorite.  It has some special style details and really smart construction.  I absolutely recommend it!

fabric from Pink Chalk!

You can find the pattern (sizes 6 months to 12 years) and the fabric I used at Pink Chalk Fabrics.  Or you could find the fabric...  With Anna Maria Horner's Dowry collection on sale for $8.95, the Flourish print is now out of stock.  Bummer.  Dowry Dresden Bulbs would be a nice substitute or browse fabrics by Amy Butler for another large scale floral print or choose something more springy by Cori Dantini.  I'm sure you can manage (wink!).

tulle for fluff, lining for comfort

The Marissa dress pattern includes a lined bodice, but not a lined skirt. Each time I've made this dress, I've wanted a really full finish, so I add tulle and a muslin skirt lining to keep the tulle off her legs.

modified Marissa dress

The dress finishes with a smooth lining if you follow the assembly order for attaching the skirt to the bodice that I detailed here.  And I always use an invisible zipper too.  It's what I'm used to!

in Flourish Cherry by Anna Maria Horner

My favorite thing about this version is the way the linear floral pattern gathers up into the skirt.  It definitely emphasizes the twirly, girly skirt and pretty waist.  Looking forward to seeing Aria in it on Sunday!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

a Scrappy Finish

Simple Strings finished

Are there many things as satisfying as using your own two hands to turn something unwanted or leftover into an object with function and form?  Scraptacularity is exactly that - when scrappy potential reveals itself. 

zigzag quilting

This quilt is composed of blue and green strip scraps, plus a generous helping of neutrals.  It's destined for a nephew's twin bed.  I cut all my scraps into straight strips ranging from 1" to 3.5" wide, in even 1/4" increments.  The 1" and 1.25" strings I sewed together side-by-side to make wider strips.  Then, all the strips were pieced randomly until they were wide enough for this bed quilt.  Lastly I joined the rows together.  Very user-friendly.  Really the cutting part was the most work.

repurposed backing

For the backing I was excited to use a large piece of fabric that's been sitting around since I made Liam's bed quilt.   This soft blue/green stripe fabric was his duvet cover.  There was nothing wrong with it and it was such a huge piece of fabric, that I hoped it'd come in handy eventually.  So perfect with this quilt!

zigzag scrappy binding

Did you notice the quilting?  Zigzags!   To keep things easy I followed the row seams.  So simple and so durable this way.  Do you know how forgiving zigzags are?  Zigzag quilting should get more love, me thinks.  And for the binding... more scraps!  Detecting a theme?  But really, I do like low volume geometrics for binding.  Those pezzy prints are especially great.

A scrappy twin quilt

I'm quite happy with this finish and with the timing.   Tomorrow I plan to start Aria's Easter dress... and hopefully to finish it too.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

on this land

Blogging offers such an eensy teensy window into a person's life.  Every blogger has his or her sharing criteria (ex. this is a sewing blog), plus so much control as to when and how she shares.  Mostly that's all fine and dandy and makes the blogosphere a comfortable place to be!  But other times I gasp, they don't even know about X, Y, Z!  And then I want to invite you in to a few more nooks and crannies of my life.

Quick Change Trousers

So it happened again yesterday.  I was photographing those baby pants on the side of our barn and was struck by how lovely it is outside is at this time of year.

behind our barn

In fact, just around the corner is this beautiful blooming dogwood tree.  My favorite trees!

Three sides of this old barn have that dark wood siding and the back is like so.  All three sides make good pictures.  I'm darn lucky to have it!   That barn has charmed me since we bought this property and its wreck of a house 6 years ago.   We've fixed up the house, but the barn still desperately needs attention.  Maybe someday...

on our farm

Now, you need to know that I am not a gardener.  Ironically, we live on 8 acres and prefer to eat local produce whenever possible.  Which means I should be a gardener.

Making Mud Cake

So, I've tried.  Put in a huge garden 4 years ago, while little Aria and Liam made mud pies.  Then a smaller one, then a smaller one and last year.... nothing.   To our credit, we have bought our veggies through a local CSA (community supported agriculture - you pay up front and get a box of produce weekly) the last three years. 

CSA at home!

You won't believe what's happening now!  Last fall we became friends with a family who has a background in running a CSA.   Unfortunately, they had to move and leave their lovely CSA behind.  Their goal this year was to find land to grow produce for their own needs.  Guess who has land?  We do!  We're providing the space and the irrigation and they're doing the work.  In exchange, we get a share of the produce.  What a complete blessing all around!

across the meadow

Across from the meadow and garden plot is our house, the tree house and these gardens.  I am forever grateful to whomever planted so many hearty plants.  At this moment it seems like everything is blooming:  dogwoods, azalea, irises, roses, pinks, camellias, yellow jasmine and a bunch of things I don't know by name!

in bloom

This weekend I transplanted a slew of violets from the meadow to this bed by our front porch.  You can see a few to the bottom left, quite overshadowed by this blazing pink azalea.

about to bloom too!

The rest of the azalea are coming into bloom, just in time for Easter.  The original owners planted large leaf azalea bushes all around this house.  Most of the time they do bloom for Easter, and we egg hunt in fairy land.  A messy, not-at-all-manicured fairy land.  But those are probably the best kind.

small leaf azalea

And the bees are out!  And the grass is greening!  I may not be a gardener, but I am forever an admirer of all this beauty.  It is worth a few days away from the sewing machine, hedging, weeding or raking. 

But, just a few (wink).


Monday, April 14, 2014

Quick Change Trousers

Hello!  Did you have a good weekend?  Ours was a treat with gorgeous weather, plenty of quality family time and lo and behold some sewing as well.  This morning things are looking up aaaaand, I have a finish to share.  Yay.

Quick Change Trousers

The Quick Change Trousers is a reversible baby pants pattern from Anna Maria Horner's book, Handmade Beginnings.  I made a boy and a girl version in size 9-12 months.

Official announcement:  As a reminder, my book links on this blog are Amazon affiliate links.  That means I will earn a little something if you buy from Amazon after clicking through.   I'm supposed to make sure you're fully aware of that at all times.  No funny business allowed.

elastic issues

Although there are quite a few pattern pieces to this design (as far as pants go) they did come together quicker than I thought.  The only sticking point was inserting the elastic.  I didn't make my casing quite big enough so I had a real struggle getting that in.  Somehow both times.  Er...

good ole Kenmore

I've had a few emails lately inquiring if still like my Juki sewing machine.  Yes, I do. I do, I do!  I was actually just thinking the other day how very reliable it's been.  But, I do still use my first sewing machine, this non-computerized Kenmore, all the time.  It came in handy for  stitching around these teeny pant legs, since it has a removable free arm.  I also use it to put in buttons and, most frequently, to zigzag binding.  The Juki is an awesome machine for any quilter.  But, you'll also want a machine with multiple stitch functions.  How can you survive without zigzag?  Fortunately, a low end machine will do for that kind of thing!  And, that way you'll have a backup whenever either machine needs servicing (something I never would have thought I'd find important, ha!). 

Quick Change Trousers

Back to the trousers.  This girly pair is made with True Colors Going Up in Smoothie.  If you don't cuff them, they'll just read "pink" which makes them pretty versatile for a baby girl.

Quick Change Trousers

The little boy version is a pale green stripe by Denyse Schmidt

Quick Change Trousers

Mostly I wanted something that would match that adorable Nursery Versery fabric by Heather Ross.  Of course, that's the fun part about this pattern - putting something cute on the rear!

Quick Change Trousers

On the reverse, we have two Flea Market Fancy prints for the girly and a favorite Ed Emberley Lions and Tigers print combined with a simple orange sketch texture for the boy.   Fabrics all from my stash!

Well there's an itch scratched.  That pattern's been on my radar for years.  I've made quite a few patterns from Handmade Beginnings, probably more than from any other sewing book.  I wonder, do you have any sewing books that you return to again and again?

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