Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Travel Checkers

Today's project is my absolute favorite. I've wanted to make a fabric checker board for a while but I was put off by the idea of needing a separate bag to put everything in for travel.

ch5

This board is double sided and one of the edges is left open, creating a generous pocket to store the game pieces, magazines, coloring books, etc.

ch9

Just stash everything inside and roll up for travel.

ch4

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bronte-Along: Dresses

You all know I like dresses, right? Like, really like them. Dresses are so important to me that if a movie has bad dresses, I don't like that movie (To Catch a Thief, I'm looking at you!)

I also really love hats...not newfangled hats but old timey hats. The more ribbons/feathers/veils, the better!

So, where am I going with this? Well, I thought making some Jane Eyre-inspired clothes for the Bronte-Along would be fun. You know, maybe a spring jacket or something? Unfortunately, after doing some research, I remembered that I'm not really a fan of 1840's fashion.

It's true that these dresses are beautiful in their simplicity but I find that the enormous amount of brown and the scant amount of ornamentation prevents our love from blooming. To be honest, I find them dull and boring...sometimes even ugly.

Sorry.

But! There are always exceptions to the rule, like Jane Eyre herself:

Cotton Dress, 1840
Cotton Dress ca. 1840


Cotton Dress, 1841-1844
Cotton Dress, 1841-1844


Bonnet, 1840-1850
Bonnet, 1840-1850


Nice, right?

If I end up making any clothes, it'll be during the Austen-Along. I've wanted to make a Regency dress for a long time...and a Spencer is on my list for sure. So, we'll see...

Friday, March 26, 2010

More hexagons

I've been raiding my scrap bin to make more hexagons:

more hexagon fabric

I think I'm going to love this quilt! My goal is to finish making hexes by May 1. That's only 3 per day which is a reasonable goal. Especially since I usually feel like making more than that in one sitting.


159 / 264 hexagons. (60% done)

In other news, I have tons of work to do this weekend including Mod projects, fixing the mistake I made on Monday night and working up some Jane Eyre-inspired artwork. Oh, and hanging out with Ian and making some hexes and planting some morning glories and washing some clothes for work (v. important!). It should be a nice (and busy) weekend. Hope yours is nice (and busy?) too!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jane Eyre

Do you guys read the Yummygoods blog? If you don't, you really should. Melissa Averinos is such a neat person who writes such a neat blog. She's a designer, an artist, a lover of rust and unicorns, an organizer of colors and a hater of stars.

And my favorite thing about Melissa: she rivals even me in her obsessions. It's endearing to the max! And the reason I'm telling you all this is because I'm joining in on Melissa's latest obsession: Jane Eyre.

Well, to be honest, I think hers is more a Mr. Rochester obsession. And Melissa and her gal-pal Beth Dunn are hosting a Bronte-along and you can join too!

reading Jane Eyre

My own history with Jane Eyre is simple: I started to read it a few years ago, got about 20 pages in and quit. After Melissa's glowing recommendation, though, I had to pick it up again. And while I can't say I'm obsessed, I can say that I'm enjoying the story and, mostly, the characters. Unlike Austen, Bronte's characters have substance, they actually talk to each other. In Jane Eyre, one's character is not determined by their preference for or aversion to dancing.

The character I like the most so far is Rochester. Not because he's swoon-worthy (which I've heard is true but haven't yet seen) but because he's so contrary and particular.

"Ah! well, come forward; be seated here." He drew a chair near his own. "I am not fond of the prattle of children," he continued; "for, old bachelor as I am, I have no pleasant associations connected with their lisp. It would be intolerable to me to pass a whole evening tête-à-tête with a brat. Don't draw that chair farther off, Miss Eyre; sit down exactly where I placed it - if you please, that is. Confound these civilities! I continually forget them."

And so, my contribution to the Bronte-along is this little tea towel embroidery I worked up last night.

Jane Eyre embroidery

And this is going to be my last Jane Eyre embroidery because I remembered that I don't actually like to embroider. But! I'd love to work up something else if inspiration strikes. A painting or a sketch maybe?

I'm waiting until I finish the book to watch the movie. A book is a huge time investment compared to a movie and as such, I prefer to be surprised at the turn of events. I know I'm missing out on all the cravats and wolverine-style haircuts but I'll watch it soon enough.

*Updates!*

Bronte-along: Dresses! You know, where I talk about 1840's dresses and how much I do/don't like them.

Bronte-along: Emotion A sketch and why I like Jane Eyre.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Such Things Happen

Sometimes when you're having a bad day you just need to focus on something nice. So, maybe when you're waiting for the plumber to tell you why there is water leaking through your kitchen ceiling, you might spy these vintage sheets and think "I should make some pillowcases."

vintage sheets

And then maybe you make them and maybe nothing goes wrong and maybe you feel a bit better.

vintage sheet pillowcases

And then the plumber might say he doesn't know what's wrong and you have to wait for another plumber to come out. And while you're waiting, maybe you decide to make a matching throw pillow.

pinked pillow

And maybe nothing goes wrong there either, maybe it only takes you two hours from start to finish. And maybe the second plumber fixes the problem and maybe you have a minute or two to enjoy your new pillows before you have to leave for your dentist appointment.

reading nook

And maybe you don't have any cavities and maybe you're thankful that you had nice things to get you through your bad day. And maybe tomorrow will be better.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sigh...

This is how you know it's time to call it a night.

Oops...

Goodnight everyone.

"Raqua" Table Runner

Most of you have already seen this but for those who haven't: I made a table runner! A red/aqua table runner. It was my first time using the red/aqua combo and I love how it turned out. I'm tempted to make another raqua something even though I felt like a poser while making this. But it's pretty and who knows what I'll feel like making in the future.

Table Runner


Click below for the tutorial.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pinked Pillow

So, as I said in my last post, I got distracted by a bin of truly tiny fabric scraps. Maybe inspired by is a better way to put it. So, here's the project that took most of the day but was way more fun than organizing craft stuff:

pinked pillow

After seeing Crazy Mom's Ticker Tape quilt and then Jen's version, I'd been thinking about trying the technique for myself.

Scraps = Distraction

So, there I was, dutifully organizing my craft supplies when I found my bins of tiny fabric scraps. These are the strips I cut when squaring up fabric or whatever. My justification for keeping these wonky, skinny, too-small-for-quilting strips is "I'll sew them to blank cards and send them to all my friends!" Yeah right...I've made exactly one fabric card and I don't know what happened to it. But I still save the pieces, just in case.

So, anyway, back to the story...I took the strips from several small boxes and put them all in one larger box. See? I organized something!

But then I got distracted. By the fabric strips. And I just bought a new pinking shears after my last one went missing. I think you can see where I'm going here.

pink scraps

Several hours later I had an actual finished thing which you'll see in my next post. Go me, right? Of course, that one box is all the organizing I did all day which was disappointing. But wait till you see what I made. It was worth it!

Oh, also, I know everyone is into green and grey now...and I can't blame them. I'm so in love with green and grey that I want to take it out to dinner...you know, to one of those fancy places that makes me have an anxiety attack. I'd do it for you, green and grey.

green and grey scraps

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pillow Cover with Pockets

A new week, a new tutorial: I know it's been done many times before but I just couldn't resist making a pillow cover.

quilted pillow

And the best thing (in my opinion anyway) is the back of the pillow. It's made with a men's button up shirt with pockets!

quilted pillow back

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sunny Hexagons

It felt like spring this weekend...the sun was out and the birds were chirping. It's the confusing time of year where I'm tempted to go outside...but it's still too cold and wet and there's dirty snow everywhere and also, everyone else is outside eating at the places I like to eat, shopping where I like to shop, parking in all the spaces I want to park...so I prefer to sit inside next to an open window. And that's what I did on Saturday...and I sewed some hexes...ones not destined for my big hex quilt project.

hexagons

I used to whip stitch my hexes together and I hated it! I hated every second and I especially hated how you could see the stitches. This is the real reason why I lost interest last year...I couldn't stand the thought of spending all that time sewing hexes together only to hate the finished product.

hexagons

Then I found out that the ladder stitch is allowed in the world of hexes so I gave it a try. And I loved it! It was fun and easy and the best part is that it looks really nice and flat on the finished side. I'm officially hooked!

hexagons

I wish I could be stitching hexagons all the time! As it turned out, I didn't get this little patch finished because Ian just had to leave the house to go to lunch...so we sat in an overcrowded restaurant and then went to an overcrowded grocery store with an overcrowded parking lot. Never again! Only hexes and windows and birds for me from here on out.

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Fabric!

Since it's been so long since I've ordered fabric, my most recent order feels like a special treat! I've been doing quite well in my "use up my stash" goal but I needed some yardage for a Modify Tradition project. I got some Amy Butler Love flannel and some Nicey Jane:

fabric

And since I was already placing an order, I picked up some fabrics I've had my eye on for some near-future projects.

I wanted these for pillowcases and summery quilts:

dolce fabric
Dolce


nicey jane fabric
Nicey Jane


And I needed some grey and pink for my possible quilt-along quilt. I couldn't pass up these wonderful prints:

dolce fabric
Dolce


flora and fauna fabric
Mostly Flora and Fauna


And these greens and teals will work well with my other fabrics so I know I'll use them. I'm thinking a new picnic quilt? I was good and only got 1/2 yard of each.

flora and fauna fabric
Flora and Fauna again!


flora and fauna fabric

I'm back on my fabric diet for as long as I can stand. I've spent a lot of time staring at my stash because of the Modify Tradition project...and consequently, I know that with the addition of these new fabrics, I'll be set for a good long while. Now, back to work!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Perennial Obsessions

I'm crushing on hexagons again. And unsurprisingly, one year ago, nearly to the day, I was crushing on hexagons too (among other things).

hexagons

Does this happen to you? I feel like I'm in a yearly version of Groundhog Day. Every year at the same time as the year before, I get these strange longings...like how I get the overwhelming urge to read The Three Musketeers every fall...or how every summer I get obsessed with making a Renaissance dress, even though I don't actually want to make one.

hexagons

Some years I even want to re-read books I didn't like very much, or worse, disliked enough to stop reading halfway through. Suddenly, that's the only book I want to read...until I get halfway through and remember why I stopped reading it the last time.

hexagons

It's very odd...and sort of disturbing. I mean, I didn't decide to become obsessed with hexagons again...it's just hardwired in my brain. On the other hand, it's nice because I can be obsessed with a project for a while and then come back to it a year later with renewed verve!

So, last year I thought I'd make a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt but the thought of making all those white hexagons is really turning me off. Instead, I've worked up a plan to use my hexes without any white space. And no flower pattern.

hexagons

My current stash of hexes is 122 and I'll need 142 more. I'd love to work up a couple of hexes a day and have them ready to stitch together by June 1. If I'm still obsessed with this new quilt idea it'll be my summer "sitting in the shade on the patio sipping lemonade and listening to the birds sing" project.

Of course, by then I'm sure I'll be obsessed with something else and I'll forget all about my hexes until next year. -sigh-

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Red and Aqua

I feel like I'm ignoring my blog these days. But I'm very busy in the studio and I want to share everything with you. The problem is that I'm working on projects for the Modify Tradition blog...and I can't show you those projects until I post them there. Frustrating!

Anyway, here's a sneak peek of an upcoming project...just fabric for now but I'm looking at the nearly finished product and I realy like it.

red and aqua

I love the look of red and aqua together but it doesn't really feel like "me". Maybe I feel like only the "cool girls" deserve to use red/aqua. Maybe it just doesn't feel like a very original color combination anymore, even though it continues to look good.

Who knows. All I really want to say is that I'm looking forward to blogging more when I'm finished with my Mod projects. I've been very good at sticking to my to-do list and I'm even a day ahead of schedule!

In other news, I'm cooking up a new quilt! I'm working on the design and waiting for the fabric to arrive and planning a possible quilt along. Not that I think anyone will actually quilt along...I just like the feeling I get from putting my ideas out there for people to use if they want.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I'm busy and happy and I wish I could talk about it. I'll have some more sneak peeks soon!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tote Bag Tutorial

It's Tuesday which means it's time for another project tutorial. This time it's a tiny tote bag...an "I'm going to read books under a shady tree" bag or, if you're like me, an "I can't fit all this stuff in my purse but I need to bring everything with me wherever I go" bag. Either way, I hope you enjoy making this quick little tote.

bag