21 Jan

A Little Sewing Detour

It’s been non-stop sight-seeing and beach-bumming here since mid-December. I’ve actually got a bit of a tan now! But, alas, there’s not much actual quilting or art making going on. I took today to work on one of my in-progress pieces though.

I was on a roll with sewing tiny bits together and my bin of red scraps didn’t look too daunting after using what I needed for the “real” project, so I took a bit of a detour and sewed ALL my red scraps together.

I cut brick shapes that will eventually be a sibling to this quilt top which I made from neutral scraps about nine moths ago. The photo above shows today’s work in the center red pile, plus the few neutral bricks left over from the Achromatic quilt top, and purple and blue bricks previously sewn at a Saturday Bee. The crazy thing is that both the blue bin and the black and white bin have refilled with scraps enough to make as many bricks as the red pile! I think they must multiply in the dark. My green and my yellow bins are almost overflowing. I may need to take a big detour soon and whip them into tidy piles of bricks. For now though, the red scrap bin is empty of scraps. Ahhhhhh.

21 Jan

It’s Crafturday (6)

This project has been sitting on my sewing table for probably two years, and for no good reason either!

Julie Tasche

It’s the Julie Tasche and it called to me as a sister to my beloved Multi Tasker Tote. I had some fabric on hand that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with when I bought it, but looked perfect for the Julie.

My first stumbling block though was the elastic and stopper thingies for the pockets. I found a source for the elastic cord, but I would have to buy it by the bajillion foot spool. The local retailer only carried black and white, and was out of white. I waited several months for it to come in. While waiting, I searched for stoppers and came up, again, with boring black or white. At least those were in stock, so I settled and bought white.

I wasn’t sure about the base of the bag, so I mulled over some pink leather I had and mulled having the base continue up the sides and inch. The mulling lasted a few months.

Meanwhile, I went to Quilt Hawaii and learned about Texture Magic in my Threadology class. So, I came back and Texture Magic-ed two pockets. Then I started assembling the parts. But, I didn’t like all the different fabrics for the pockets and I didn’t like the orientation of the handles, so I set the project aside until I could take them off and rearrange. Being a low-priority project, that added more moths.

Luckily, I did some traveling off-island and not only found while elastic cord, but many colored stopper thingies. I stocked up (thank you Mood)! But I was still too busy with other projects to get back to the Julie Tasche.

Julie Tasche

Finally, a few weeks ago, I decided I just needed to finish the bag. It’s not like it was hard to sew or anything, and at least now I had all the supplies. The pink leather base looked wrong, so I switched to denim from an old pair of jeans. I opted not to alter the pattern, and hey, it looks great. I left my contrasty Texture Magic pockets as-is but flopped the striped center pockets so the stripes became the lining (ah, much better!). I changed the straps so that instead of each one starting on one side of the bag and ending on the other, each strap stays on it’s own side of the bag. This makes it hang “right” for me when I put the straps over my shoulder. I love the turquoise stopper thingies on the elastic cord. Now, I just need an outfit to coordinate with my bag so I can start wearing it.

07 Jan

It’s Crafturday (4)

Our beloved exchange student leaves today. She’ll be returning to Germany well equipped for the new school year though. In addition to well honed English skills and a suitcase full of American clothes, I’ve sent her off with a Multi-Tasker Tote bag much like mine which she’s been coveting.

ACU Multi Tasker Tote

This side has a big velcro-topped pocket in addition to the floral lined ones that are part of the original pattern.

ACU Multi Tasker Tote

I love this side in which I kept the integrity of the uniform blouse front. On my tote the button front is purely decorative. On this tote, I lined it so that the zipper can open to an actual pocket!

ACU Multi Tasker Tote

There are so many pockets on this tote it’s crazy! My hubby’s favorite is the pen pocket that normally lives on the uniform sleeve. I moved it to the tote interior along with a patch pocket and a flap pocket from the blouse front. And there’s a little loop to clip things on to too.

ACU Multi Tasker Tote

And, here’s the bag in situ as a fabulous beach tote.

31 Dec

It’s Crafturday (3)

Look what Santa brought for the kids!

I love this silly Hawaii themed fabric and decided it would be perfect for little bags for the kids.

Circle Zip Earbud Pouches

Everyone got Circle Zip Earbud Pouches. The tutorial from Dog Under My Desk was easy to follow and I think the pouches are cute and practical. I’m putting a few on my list to make for myself (excellent use for mushroomy fabric methinks) in a few sizes perhaps.

Pleated Zip Pouches

The girls got Pleated Pouches made from the Skip to My Lou tutorial. Again, this was a very nice, easy to follow tutorial. I’d definitely use it again as I think the pouch is quite handsome. One change I would make would be to add a little interfacing to the top band fabric for a little more structure. I also added wooden beads to the zipper pulls.

24 Dec

It’s Crafturday (2)

Our stockings are hung by the chimney with care. Well, except that we don’t HAVE a chimney. And, we have additional kids here this year who don’t have Christmas stockings.

In Germany, St. Nikolaus comes on his Catholic feast day, the 6th or December. And while often brings candy or a gift, he leaves them in a shoe by the door, not a stocking by the fire. So, I thought our German guests would enjoy getting a stocking from American Santa Claus. And, as long as I was making new stockings, why not update my kids too?

Simple Embroidered Stockings

I started with the simple embroidered stockings from Purl Bee, but I sped up the process a bit by using grosgrain ribbon for the loops and sewing it into the lining seam. I used the fancy schmancy embroidery module on my sewing machine instead of hand embroidery for the names. Also, no good linen at the fabric store closest to me so I went with muslin from my stash for the lining.

Simple Embroidered Stockings

I probably should have taken the time and effort to go to the fancier fabric store (Kaimuki Dry Goods, home to the full color range of Kona cottons) and get a different color green for each kids. I do have one more green, but it’s a secret for now. These were so easy to make though, so maybe I’ll get lucky and there will be a sale after Christmas and I will get two more greens so Art and I can have new stockings too next year.

17 Dec

It’s Crafturday! (1)

Longtime readers know that I am kind of schizophrenic when it comes to my making. I create (what I hope to be) deep thinking art quilts and textiles. But I am also enamored of all things cute and crafty and have a hard time resisting a handbag pattern or fabric with mushrooms on it. I’ve tried to separate these two sides online, and for a brief moment determined to reserve this blog for the art stuff and keep the craft side on Flickr. Yeah, that didn’t last. I had a brainstorm this week though, and decided that I will devote Saturday posts to my crafty side. It doesn’t  re-define me or what I do, it just organizes it a bit. I’m not sure there’s any benefit to designated “Crafturday” posts, but it seems like a fine idea to me right now.

So, on to the craftiness!

Though I’d hardly qualify as an environmentalist or one with a small footprint, I try to incorporate small earth friendly things into my life when possible. Right now, that’s re-usable wrapping for gifts. I thought cloth wraps would be classier than the newspaper I used last year.

Reusable Gift Wrap

Thanks to the Thanksgiving weekend sale at Pink Chalk Fabrics, I stocked up on festive fabric and set to making bags and furoshiki style wraps. These are just the first wave. I’ve made more since last week. And then I realized the problems inherent in this kind of wrapping.

The first, and relatively minor, issue is that I wrap things up and send them off to their recipients and, duh, the wrap is gone. I have to start fresh the next year. However, given the pretty embellishments on the tops of presents that have been circulating between family members for a decade, I fully suspect that sooner or later a wrap or bag will find it’s way back to me. This last summer I also had the pleasure of seeing a fabric envelope pouch from last year’s Christmas gift being used to carry my niece and nephew’s portable DVD player and headphones on our road trip.

No, the real issue is the re-usableness of reusable wrapping and it’s relationship to kids. I realized (after making about a dozen bags and filling them with lovely gifts) that it would be VERY easy for curious eyes and fingers to simply open up a bag, check inside, and tie it (or button, or velcro, or whatever!) back up. And my kids are exactly the age that would do that. Now I can’t put the pretty pressies under the tree to admire and intrigue as we wait for the special day. I guess we’ll have to start a new tradition at our house — presents don’t appear until Christmas Eve. Or, it’s back to newspaper and tape for next year.

BTW, the lovely gift tags are downloadable from Paperseed, here. The wraps above are hemmed squares of fabric and the bags were just made up on the spot.

05 Oct

Halloween Craft, cont.

Vampire drawing and haiku

I completely forgot yesterday to include a photo of the drawing and poem that inspired the adorable (and not very scary) Halloween pillowcase. The drawing is outlined in glue, which made it really easy to make a rubbing of, which I used as my template.

Halloween Banner from scraps

I put the banner in the window right away, so please excuse the crappy picture (I must still be in Honey Badger mode). It’s not very amazing, but it used up scraps and I did go so far as to free-piece the word Boo after watching Tonya on The Quilt Show. I also quilted the banner with a green spiderweb pattern. That turned out pretty cool.

Spiderweb Quilting

04 Oct

To See Vampires

Halloween pillowcase

Two years ago my daughter wrote this cute poem about vampires and drew an equally cute picture in class. This year, I found owl fabric that I absolutely loved and decided to put it all together. I started with a fun pillowcase she can use every October.

Vampire Girl Pillowcase and Treat Bag

Yes, I know the owls are sideways to the poem, and the vamp girl is sideways on the pillow, but we don’t care (kinda like Honey Badgers). The shapes all work for me.

I made a trick or treat bag with the leftover fabric too. That’s a dragon inside — watch your fingers!

Tote bag for Trick or Treating

I still have a few scraps left. I may make a banner for our front window and call that seasonal decorations.