Little things

I’ve been on a “useful items only” kick lately, meaning I’ve been sewing things I need rather than creating things I *want* — but not anymore! Take that, practical me!

Ok..so first, with the practical: Ayumi over at Pink Penguin posted a tutorial for a bento box lunch bag — I just had to make one! I’ve been taking my lunch to work in a plastic grocery bag. Not so cute. I thought using the Bento Box tutorial would be the perfect chance to get back some environmentally friendly karma (ha). Anyway, here it is:

Also, I made a few coasters this weekend. I don’t have a coffee table to use them with…yet! But I thought, better to have the coasters all ready for our move next month, when we may just buy a coffee table, right? (OK, so I am waaay ahead of myself and just wanted to use bits of the adorable Far Far Away Line!):

And lastly…my “frivolous” creation for the weekend. First, though, a bit of backstory: Tripp, my boyfriend, loves video games. So much so that he initially purchased his PS3 in 2008 because he was so excited about a single game. That game was Little Big Planet.

If you are familiar at all with LBP, you know it is the Cutest Game Ever and is filled will little Knitted Sack Persons Who Like Stickers and Costumes — it’s the equivalent of a character you can play dress up with. Additionally, you can build your own levels, which other people can play. (For the record, Tripp loves the make-your-own-levels part, while I am in the Let’s-See-How-Cute-These-Already-Adorable-Sack-People-Can-Be-By-Dressing-Them-Up-and-OOOOOH-Stickers! camp.

I have been meaning to make a Sack Person for Tripp for quite a while (since 2008!) and finally found an (unofficial) pattern online. Here’s my rendition:

Awww, isn’t he cute?

What did you make this weekend?

-K

Wordless Wednesday


August already?

Well, ok…not quite August. I genuinely cannot believe July is almost over, though! It’s been almost a month since I posted my little pouch tutorial. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the mean time:

Work. Lots of work.

Oh! Also important and new:

Mad Men season 4 premiered on Sunday! I’ve started a tradition with Lara from Lara and the Reel Boy — we’re going to watch together every Monday. Do you watch Mad Men? If not, you should. My friend Kathryn bought season one for my birthday last November, and I’ve been catching up frantically ever since. It has fantastic story lines, and even better clothes! Is it geeky to admit that part of the reason I love it is due purely to the styling of that era? I’m gonna go with no, and also show you a little something I was inspired to create thanks to Joan Holloway et al

I refer to this formally as the Pond Pillow…


But secretly, in my head (and now in writing on my blog, so I suppose it’s not-so-secret) I refer to that lovely grey quilter’s linen as Sterling Cooper grey. Doesn’t it remind you of Don’s suits? Or the in-office couches? I’m planning on buying more ASAP!


And I love this macro shot. Such lovely colors!

Moving on from my Mad Men obsession, my older sister Whitney and my mom both had birthdays this month, July 13 and 14 respectively. I asked them to choose a sewing pattern they liked, and fabric for me to use. They chose Amy Butler’s Sophia bag pattern, and some Anna Maria Horner prints. Here’s what I’ve finished so far:

…and it has bright yellow lining! This bag is Whitney’s. My mom’s will be blues and greens.

The Sophia bag is definitely more time-consuming than I bargained for — a LOT of cutting and ironing and basting and sewing in zippers and lining and hand stitching and blood and sweat goes into these babies. I think I spent about 10-15 hours on Whitney’s. I’ve cut out all the pieces for my mom’s, and I’ve bonded all the interfacing — just need to get sewing!

Yesterday, one of my friends left town to move to South Korea (Lance, if you are reading this, I miss you already!). He had an amazing sewing that he’d been asking me about for a year or so, and we’d talked about how to get it running again, but with both of us being so busy we never got together with the sewing machine to see if we could clean it up and “Make it work!” (yes, that was a Tim Gunn quote). Well, Tripp went to see Lance one last time yesterday, before he left.. and brought me back a little surprise!

Isn’t it lovely? I have no idea how old it is, but it was made by the Jones Sewing Machine Company who were (are?) based outside of Manchester, England. Tripp said “Lance wanted me to give you this — and I thought, even if it doesn’t work, we can clean it up and display it when we move!” (don’t you love him already?). I heartily agreed with that sentiment, and I am VERY excited that I was chosen as the lucky recipient of such a gorgeous machine. Oh, in case you were wondering — it *does* work! Between amazing and giving friends and such a fantastic boyfriend, I am one lucky lady!

Lastly, I got 6 packages in the mail today (the postman probably thinks I’m crazy). I’ve been looking for dishes since we moved here, looking everywhere I can think of, and finally it hit me like a ton of bricks: The reason I didn’t like any of the dishes I saw was because they were all way too complicated. Floral patterns, stripes, polka dots, square dishes — I tend to like much more simple, classic designs. While cruising Amazon, I rediscovered Fiesta ware, which both my grandma and mom use. Hello, bright colors, strong ceramic, and durability? What’s not to love?

Since I love color, I bought a variety.

Look how pretty my dishwasher is now! (Such a weird sentence, I know, but anything that can make me happy to do dishes is ok in my book).

I’m still awaiting the arrival of shamrock (a grassy green) and cobalt blue sets. I think this dishware will provide LOTS of inspiration for color combinations in quilts and the like, which makes me extra happy!

Alright, it’s way past my bedtime. I’m off!
-K

Pouches!

Today I decided to make a quick project to test out my new Janome 6260. After a quick survey of my supplies, I went with the Perfect Box Pouch by Indie House, since I was in dire need of a new makeup bag.

I wanted to use something fairly sturdy, which made me think of the Far Far Away II line — it’s such an amazing cotton/linen blend, perfect for bags. I altered the pattern a bit, because I had a rather long zipper and I needed a fairly large bag. The final project measures 12″ long x 4″ wide x 4″ deep; I chose to make it bigger so I can use it for a travel toiletry bag. I used Heather Ross’ Moon and Stars in Tangerine, and lined the bag with Kona Cotton in Coal. Take a look!:

After whipping this up, I wanted to make a smaller pouch to hold makeup brushes. I found a few examples, but no tutorials that fit exactly what I wanted — so I made one myself! This project is super simple, but I figured I’d put it out there for any sewing newbies to enjoy 🙂

–Unlined Zipper Pouch tutorial–

For this project, you’ll need:
-1 fat quarter of fabric
-1 8-inch-long coordinating zipper
-zipper foot
-coordinating thread
-iron
-seam ripper (just in case!)
-fabric marking pencil
-clear ruler
-rotary mat/cutter
-your handy dandy sewing machine

Step 1:

Cut out 2 9×9″ squares. I chose Sleeping Beauty in Dusk from Heather Ross’ newest line, Far Far Away II.

Step 2:

Finger press a crease roughly 1/2″ away from the fabric’s edge. Make sure the crease is at the “top” of the fabric, so that the design is upright. For this design, I wanted to make sure Sleeping Beauty wasn’t sleeping upside down. Iron the crease.

Step 3:

Grab your zipper and pin it carefully along the creased edge.

For this part of the project, you’ll want a zipper foot. If you have never used one before, they look like this:

and are made to allow you to sew your fabric as close as possible to the zipper, in order to make it nearly invisible (although this is *not* considered an invisible zipper)

Step 4:

Sew your zipper to your creased edge. It helps to move the zipper pull away from your sewing. I begin with the zipper closed, then open it completely about halfway through attaching the zipper. If you try to sew alongside the zipper pull, your seam will not be straight — you’ll end up with an odd little curve, so make sure you move that pull!

Now pin and sew the other piece of fabric as in steps 3 and 4:

This is what you will end up with after sewing in the zipper:

Step 5:

True up the sides and bottom of the pouch,

Switch back to the standard zigzag foot

…then pin and sew a tidy seam around each of the 3 sides. I used a 1/2″ seam, which gave me room to sew a second seam 1/8″ away, for extra sturdiness. Make sure your zipper is partially open for this step, in order to turn your pouch right side out!

Step 6:

Trim the bottom two corners to reduce bulk.

Step 7:

Press open your seams

Step 8: Turn right side out, and voila! You have a little zippered pouch!

Now go make one! They’re super quick — I think mine only took about 20 minutes from start to finish, including each step. Visit Indie House and check out her tutorial to make a boxy little pouch of your own!

Not perfect, but..

I’ve been doing a lot (a LOT) of hand piecing while saving up for a proper sewing machine. The list is as follows

1)The beginnings of a Little Folks voile pillow, which will be completed when I receive my new machine (it shipped today!). These are 1″ hexies:

2) a Little Folks hexagon quilt, which will likely reside in my living room, draped over the couch so it can be appreciated regularly (2″ hexies):

3) an Echino pillow, to match another project (more 1″ hexies)…

4) a patchwork quilt! The plan is for it to be queen sized. It’s made of 7″ squares, and it’s about 15%-20% done so far, entirely sewn by hand. It’s a mixture of Anna Maria Horner’s Good Folks, Etsuko Furuya’s Echino line, a bit of Heather Ross’ Far Far Away I (and who knows, maybe I’ll throw a bit of FFA2 in there, as well); also in the mix are lots of Kona solids (Raisin, Pomegranate, Daffodil, and Candy Green, to name a few)

I’m interrupting this post to point out how beautiful Austin can be:

…and lastly, two actual finished projects. A complete, albeit extremely imperfect, potholder (inspired, of course, by Ashley from FilmintheFridge, though hers are considerably neater):

…and a Little Folks fabric rosette, sewn to a bobby pin so that I can 1) feel a bit retro and 2) force everyone around me to appreciate Little Folks, and bring a bit more fabric appreciation into the world 🙂

I realized last week in a few conversations with coworkers that I *never* discuss sewing at work. It doesn’t really relate at all to what I do, and I work mostly with men (not that men don’t sew, but these men don’t). I had a few people ask me recently “so what are your hobbies?” and they seemed genuinely surprised when I told them I spend each weekend sewing. It made me laugh a bit, because most people (myself included, before a year or two ago) seem completely unaware of the modern quilting movement. I also noticed that I address the issue in a self-deprecating way, for some reason — my response to the hobby question is usually something along the lines of “I like to sew and quilt…yes, I’m an old woman stuck in a 24-year-old’s body, apparently, haha” which I really need to stop doing. I’m proud of myself for learning how to create useful objects that could quite possibly become treasured items. What’s wrong with making something that is both useful and beautiful? Nothing at all! That’s my new goal: to address those who ask in an informative, non-self-deprecating way.

Do you ever find yourself dismissing sewing and quilting, even though you love it?
-K

I’ve been busy…

So. It’s been awhile since last posting. I can explain!

Tripp and I flew to NYC in mid January to film for an upcoming project. We were there for only 2 days but we got to see plenty of awesome sights! Here’s a photo we took at the American Museum of Natural History, which we loved, in case you can’t tell by those goofy grins.

After I got back from NYC, I spent a whole day in Austin before flying to CA to be with my family. My great aunt and great uncle were involved in a terrible accident on New Year’s Day, which was caused by a drunk driver. My great uncle died on the evening of the crash, but my great aunt has miraculously been recovering well. She’s actually beginning rehab right now. Her injuries were pretty extensive, lots of broken bones and various other issues. She’s definitely a tough cookie. If you could keep her in your thoughts and prayers, that would be much appreciated.

Anyway, I flew to CA to be with the family and to attend my great uncle’s memorial service. I was originally planning to stay for a week (I was flying standby) but I actually ended up staying in CA for closer to three weeks, due to issues with weather and snow and that sort of thing. While I was there I took up cross stitching again, as it’s a pretty portable and inexpensive craft. Something to take up my time, I suppose. Here’s one of the projects I recently finished, for Tripp:

My sewing machine (yes, the one I JUST bought) is on the fritz again, so I’ve been working on quilting Ezra’s quilt by hand. It’s time consuming, but I can do it.

This week I had a job interview, which I am really excited about. Keep those fingers crossed for me.

This weekend is also Valentine’s day. I think I may make a cake or some special heart-y cookies for Tripp and I, along with a special dinner of some sort. Do you have any big plans? Let me know in the comments.

-K

Crocheting & Knitting in the interim

The title says it all. While I’m waiting for my machine, I’m crocheting and knitting a few Christmas gifts.

I made a headband from this pattern by creativeyarn; here is my result:

Tell me what you think in the comments!

-K