I’ve been playing with fabric, but didn’t sew it. I decided the nursery needed a little pizazz, so I cut some fabric circles (using plates and my circle cutter for the various sizes), dipped the pieces in undiluted starch and slapped them on the wall. Viola! Instant, easy wall decor! Based on what I’ve read, it should peel right off without any mess. As an added bonus, the Daisy Jane Shades of Gray fabrics have nice contrast, which is good for young eyes.
Ooh, it is nice to have crafty bloggy friends! Generally speaking, I’m known as the crafty one among my friends, and am the giver of handmade gifts. However, I generally don’t receive many handmade gifts. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to get a fun package for little Kit in the mail last week from Ronit (she has been a friend for a while, and we met in real life last November when she was in LA for a visit before going to New Zealand…lucky girl!).
Inside was a lovely little quilt! Ronit’s quilting style is much more improvisational than mine, but the paper pieced star (which is done excellently, BTW) is a nod to my love of more traditional blocks. Not to mention, a nice acknowledgement that the quilt is more for me to enjoy at this point.
You can read more from Ronit over at her blog. You should definitely go check out the photos of the super cute quilt back. I wasn’t able to get a photo of the back with the little missy this morning, because shortly after I took the photo below, she lost head control and bonked her little face into the quilt and had a mini-meltdown. Thankfully, she recovered nicely after I hustled her back inside and distracted her with Jacques the Peacock. The Mother of the Year prize does not belong to me!
Thanks again Ronit for a beautiful little quilt!
PS – I was SO that crazy chick in the neighborhood today, taking these photos by the HOA pool, sprawled on the sidewalk with my rear in the air. Hopefully someone had a good laugh at my expense.
The little miss is becoming a bit more demanding of my attention during the day (aka, she’s actually staying awake – sometimes because she has some awful gassiness going on), so I haven’t been doing much sewing the past couple of weeks unless Steve is around to give me a break. She likes the car seat though, so we’ve been venturing out more, so we both can have some peace (more on that in a separate post).
Anywho, I’ve never lived in a 2-story house until we bought our townhouse (I’m not counting the basement in the house I grew up in as a story, even though I lived down there for several months while my bedroom transitioned from little girl to teenager). So the stairs are a complete novelty for me…that is, until Kit came along and we quickly realized trekking up & down for diaper changes is a pain the arse! So we’ve been using the portable changing pad that goes in her diaper bag downstairs. Well, I decided it was too much effort to keep packing that thing up every time we went out, so I decided to make a changing mat for downstairs.
I had some Parisville laminate that Steve had vetoed as the option for covering the ugly 70s country fabric on my grandma’s cedar chest. Actually, I just realized I never blogged a photo of the cedar chest – I used some of the Ruby Star Rising viewfinders. The fabric wasn’t quite wide enough to cover the top, so I did some very careful & clever piecing and managed to keep the pattern continuous. I’m pretty proud of my efforts!
Ok, back to the changing pad. I had some laminate and some extra of the eyedrop print. I used a layer of batting (plus an extra layer for the head), and fused the whole thing to the eyedrop print with fusible fleece. I sewed the 2 pieces right sides together & turned out & top-stitched around the edges. It is impossible to sew laminate without some extra assistance to help the fabric glide under the presser foot. Luckily, I remembered reading somewhere that you can add a piece of scotch tape to the bottom of a normal foot, and that would be enough to make the fabric slide. Sure enough, worked like a dream (and was certainly cheaper than buying a rolling foot)! The size is approximately 12” x 24”.
left: diaper station; right: folded up
I also FINALLY got the top put together for the Parisville Trolls string quilt I had the gals in the One Block Over bee work on for me. Sadly, this is actually only the second completed bee top I’ve managed to put together, even though I have much older bee blocks awaiting my attention. Anyway, because the strings are pieced on a muslin foundation, the top is pretty heavy. I decided to skip the batting for the quilt, and back with a Valerie Wells Del Hi fleece instead. Keeping with my lazy quilter work ethic as of late, I sewed right sides together & turned out, avoiding binding. I’ve top-stitched the edges, and am in a quandary about what to do for quilting. I tried quilting around one of the Cameo girls, and don’t like how it looks on the back. I also tried tying some of the X intersections where the strings meet up. But it’s difficult getting the embroidery floss through all those layers of fabric! So maybe I should just stitch in the ditch around each 18” block?? Will that provide enough structure that the quilt won’t come apart when I wash it?? This quilt is for me, so any weirdness after washing will really only be noticed by me and I can live with that!
So that’s what I’m working on these days. And trying to finish hand-stitching the binding on the Flutterby quilt (ya know, the one that’s been quilted since last November…). Wish me luck, I’m going to be easing back into work this week, with a full day on Friday – so I’m going to try to squeeze in some sewing time if I can!
Thanks to my awesome husband, combined with the fact that I’ve been pumping and he was able to feed the baby, I was able to finish up the baby quilt for Kit last night! It’s definitely not perfect, especially the machine binding, but I’m glad it’s done and I’m sure this is the first of many quilts that will be made for Kit.
Finished size 42” x 47”
Oh Fransson’s New Wave Quilt Pattern – pieces cut using the Fat Cats Dresden ruler
Tumbler pieces: various yellow & gray fabrics I’ve been collecting for approximately 2 years now (Heather Ross prints are probably the most prominent)
Sashing fabric: Annette Tatum Bohemian “Tic Tac Stripe” in Teal
Backing fabric: AMH Innocent Crush voile “Maybe” in Sixpence
Batting: Quilters Dream request loft cotton
Binding: American Jane print, can’t remember the collection off hand, it’s older and I bought on sale when a local fabric store closed down around 2 years ago
The combo of the batting + voile backing means this quilt is very lightweight. I also kept the quilting minimal, quilting circles around the narrow part of the waves (click the photo above to go to Flickr for a bigger photo).
Yay! Mom finished my quilt!
Life with Kit has been going well – she usually has at least one 3-4 hour stretch of sleep at night, which is fantastic. My teenage & early 20s self would have never dreamed that I would be excited to have 4 hours of sleep in a row, but that’s the new reality in the Fox house. Steve has been a champ, as the anointed CDO of the house (aka, Chief Diaper Officer). I’m the CBO (Chief Breastfeeding Officer), but am starting to pump so that Steve can get in on the feeding action (I’ve already changed more than a few diapers, so fair is fair).
Anyway, I was able to sneak in a couple of hours over the course of Friday to make the world’s simplest quilt. One of my high school friends, Abbie, is going to join the mom club in September. She is having a girl (SO MANY GIRLS being born to people I know), and is decorating her nursery in coral, aqua, and gray – LOVE that color scheme!
sorry for the wrinkles; I am too lazy to run upstairs & iron
And as it turns out, my favorite fabric designer Tula Pink’s Prince Charming collection easily brings in the coral & aqua. I also added in a coral print from Khristian Howell’s Woodland collection, plus a gray from Mark Cesarik’s Calypso Swing. I took straight 1/4 yard cuts of 5 prints and sewed them together.
My instruction: “Turn it around.” Steve heard “Turn around.” Ding dong!
For the quilting, I just stitched in the ditch of each seam, plus halfway through each print. I also cheated a bit, and didn’t do any binding – I don’t mind this on a baby quilt, since my intent is for it to get used & washed quite a bit. That’s also why I went with the super simple quilting, to keep the quilt soft and flexible.
I used one of my favorite fabrics from Prince Charming, the raindrops. The finished size is approximately 45” square, which is probably my preferred size to make for a baby quilt.
I was able to mail out the quilt today, along with a couple of re-gifts (*ahem* yeah, I’m bad…but Kit doesn’t need 2 copies of the Very Hungry Caterpillar board book…). Hopefully Abbie & baby enjoy the quilt!
Next up on the sewing list?? Some variant of a hooter hider so I can breastfeed modestly…and of course, Kit’s quilt needs to be finished!
First photos are over on her blog (guess who was right about gender?? lol). More details to follow, but let’s just say everything was fast & furious!
Remember this random (but awesome, in my humble opinion) purple star block I mentioned here?
Here’s where happened to the block I sent… I loved being able to give back a tiny bit to say thanks to someone who so faithfully worked on quilt blocks for us for so many months! Such a wonderful group of women!
Many thanks and kudos to Carla for coordinating the piecing of the top (so so lovely) and to Doris for coordinating the backing & quilting efforts. Great job, ladies!
And no baby yet – honestly, we’re hoping Kit stays put for a couple more weeks. But you are more than welcome to go & laugh at my complete ineptitude as a pregnant chick.
One of the bindings I sewed up a few weeks ago went onto a 30th Birthday quilt for my good friend Jöelle.
She’s such a good friend to me, especially these last few months in my crazy preggo woman state. We have a bunch of extra diapers her little sweetie pie grew out of too quickly, and some nice gender-neutral clothes hand-me-downs (and Kit will have a boatload of hand-me-downs if Kit happens to be a girl). We’ve been friends since college, and it’s been so nice to have someone land in the same place post-college. So I really had to do something special as a thank you for all that!
On to the quilt – the top is made from 10″ Echino squares that I acquired through a couple of swaps. The back is a Turning 12 made from Moda crossweaves (*sniff* those fabrics aren’t being made anymore, which sucks – I loved the slightly heavier texture). Margaret did the quilting (and really enjoyed the back) in a swirly pattern with purple thread. In the interest of actually getting something completed, the binding is machine sewn from a periwinkle Kaffe shot cotton – I’m fairly happy with my efforts here. The finished size is nearly 70″ x 80″. The quilt is actually pretty heavy, with the linen/cotton blend Echino + the Crossweaves.
I’ve been working here & there on some of the items for the nursery, but I’m waiting to update until it feels more complete. It’s getting there – Steve brought home the dresser he made in woodworking class he took. It’s not quite complete, he needs to figure out what he wants to do for the drawer fronts. But the thing is STURDY and awesome. He’s going to stain it this weekend and will pop it into the closet nook. Then I can load some clothes into it, and we’ll be able to use the top as a changing table. I do have some more sewing to do, but since I get crazy sweaty when I iron and my back rebels after a couple of hours at the sewing machine, my productivity is more limited than I would like.
According to Amazon, I purchased a copy of Photoshop Elements (PSE) 7 in September 2009. Since that point, I looked at the software exactly once. I have a Dummies book, and still haven’t really cracked it open. I really am a photo purist – if I can’t get it right out of the camera, then I feel I shouldn’t be doing a lot of manipulation to correct something. But I’m starting to realize that it might be OK to get a little help from software because it might be difficult to get great photos of little rugrats who move around so much!
And for whatever reason, I haven’t been able to force myself into learning PSE via online tutorials or the Dummies book. It was time for an intervention.
So I started a Photoshop class thru the Redondo Beach parks department in April. Technically, I was supposed to do the beginner class on Wednesday nights, but since my nose was a fountain of snot and my eyes were a watery, itchy mess for the first class, I just went home and sent Steve to check in to the class for me. Well, turns out there were only 2 people registered for the class, so the instructor suggested coming to the “advanced” class on Thursday to see if I could handle it because he was probably going to cancel the beginner class due to low attendance.
Original JPEG- straight out of the camera of my current favorite lil drooler
Um, yeah… I’m 30 and reasonably computer savvy, so it wasn’t a big deal to keep up with a fairly fast-paced “review” of what the advanced people had previously learned. I have to laugh a bit though – I’m most definitely the youngest person in the class, but I have the worst software (PSE is much more basic than Photoshop, and I’m running 4 versions behind PSE10) and probably have the oldest, clunkiest laptop (6 years old?? which has to be plugged in, the battery doesn’t hold a charge anymore) on top of that! I definitely have computer & software envy – wouldn’t mind a MacBook Air loaded with the latest & greatest Photoshop CS5 (MSRP of $700). Steve is waiting to pull the trigger on a new laptop to see if if there are any good graduation deals to be had.
RAW edit – could still use some work in the lower left corner so her dad’s shirt isn’t as prominent
So after about 3 weeks of class, I honestly felt like I wasn’t getting as much out of it as I probably could – my software isn’t capable of some of the fancier functions, not to mention having to wait for some of my classmates to stay caught up with the instructor. But I did pay for the class, and hung in there for 7 of the 8 classes (I’m missing the last class this week, as we have 4 people visiting this weekend). I do have a reasonable idea of how to do some basic things, including working with exposures on RAW images, and doing the whole cut & paste part of an image into a new image stuff, and working with HDR (I like the concept, but am not a huge fan of the execution – HDR often looks too fake to me).
My first “real world” application outside of class has been to create a cover image for the new (and apparently mandatory) Facebook timeline thing. PSE was helpful in that I was able to make my cover using exact pixel dimensions – not to mention the ease of putting together text, images, and gradient backgrounds.
Looks familiar, huh? Well, I’m not too original! But I feel armed & dangerous – I should be able to put together a pretty fun baby announcement coming up soon! (Seriously, 35 weeks, and OMG!) And maybe a blog header update is in my future too??
Hope y’all had a great Memorial Day weekend! We will catch up on quilty business soon.
EDIT: Comments are now closed! Sarah is the winner! Congrats!
Welcome to Sew Mama Sew’s Giveaway Day!
I’m on a “I’m preggo and don’t want to sew for anyone” hiatus, so I’m giving away my duplicate copy of Amy Butler’s Gum Drop Pillows pattern:
It’s also entirely possible the winner may get a couple of extra goodies stuffed into the envelope with the pattern!
Here’s how the giveaway will work…
The Mister and I are still debating baby names, and we also aren’t finding out the gender! So to enter the giveaway, go ahead and suggest a baby name (boy or girl) that meets our criteria:
- Must be unique in that it isn’t in the top 100 in recent years for the USA (you can check here)
- But not too funky – I’m an accountant, Steve is an engineer – we’re pretty straight-laced, so Apple isn’t going to work for us!
- Can’t start with S/M/ F (or have the Ph – no alliteration with Fox) – I don’t want to share initials
- Prefer to have at least 2 syllables
I’m really hoping someone will suggest a pure gem that will need to go on our list! Thanks for all of your help!
Winner will be drawn at random on May 25th. Be sure to leave me a valid email. Also, I moderate new comments so you don’t have to deal with word verifications, so don’t worry if yours doesn’t show up right away!
International entries welcome!