Thursday, July 23, 2009


The Old Red Barn Flickr group is now doing a zigzag quilt. I didn't join in on this one, as I've already got too many projects started or clamoring to get out of my head and into fabric. But it gave me an idea.

I was going to make a reusable lunchbag for someone, hoping to make him smile every day. This person is not easy to buy for, or craft for, has been there for me my entire life, and has a birthday coming up. If he's reading this, I've just spoiled the surprise, but oh well. Hi Dad. :)

Anyway, my dad likes the ocean, so I decided to try my hand at more complicated piecing, for a sea and sailboat effect. This is what I made from a charm pack of Moda's "Neptune" by Tula Pink. Not bad for my first shot, eh? Now I'm wondering if I want to turn it into a lunch bag or make it into a more decorative wall hanging. Thoughts? Impressions? Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shoppers for Raffle

Wow... has it really been since Friday that I posted? I've been busy! Here's what I created this last weekend:

Shopper 1: Blue Floral with ribbon and lace.

The company I work for will be raffling off items at our company picnic on Sunday to raise money for WomenSpace. It's a cause that's important to me, so I made a few bags to throw into the prize box. Plus, this way, I also honor the cause of reuse/reduce/recycle!

I used a pattern I bought from Deidre Wicks. I was a bit skeptical at first about one of the construction methods (ironing under the curved seam allowances on the side top), because of the time it took to do it right, but after thinking it through, I conceded that it was the best method considering the cut and construction. It turned out great! Congrats on a great pattern, Deidre! I would recommend it to anyone wanting to sew a bag like this.

The blue floral print I found at S.A.R.A.'s Treasures, and turned out to be the bottom 1/4 of a queen flat sheet. Red & white gingham was a re-purposed pillowcase. The ribbon and lace were things that I've had for years.

I had a lot of fun making this, and discovered that even though I'm a good part tomboy, there's a bit of frilly girly-girl in me as well.

Here is Shopper #2, the Pasta Bag, which I made so the men could feel good about using one of my bags, too! Of course, it didn't hurt that I already had the fabric.

This fabric was another recent S.A.R.A.'s Treasures find...

as was the button, which I found on a dress in the $.50 bin that I grabbed for -you guessed it- fabric repurposing!

The gingham was from a second pillowcase, and I grabbed an unused hair tie out of my make-up box for the closure. Seeing as how I cut off all my hair again, I won't be using it any time soon. :)

To finish it all off, I created a cute little instruction card for each and printed each out on a piece of 4x6 photo paper.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Giveaway Alert! Pretty Ditty Apron Pattern + 3 Yards Fabric

The Fabric Shopper blog is hosting a giveaway, and I wanted to make sure you all knew about it!

Here's the dish: Jamie Christina, owner of Phat Fabrics, is giving away one of her Pretty Ditty Apron pattern and 3 yards of fabric from either the Michael Miller category or the Alexander Henry category from her store. She's having Melanie at Fabric Shopper host it, so click on this linky here to go suss out the details!

Psst: the hardest part is singling out only 3 fabrics from her fabulous selection!

Do it quick, because the giveaway ends Sunday, July 17 at midnight CDT.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Zippy Case inspired by Jan

My day job's ISO consultant, Jan, visits us every few months and helps me to ensure our ISO system is running smoothly. It's a GINORMOUS job, especially after adding our largest manufacturing department to our certificate, and I’m still learning all the nuances of it.

Side 1

When she was here in June I noticed her digging in a pencil pouch for her thumb drive. At that moment, the inspiration struck to use some of my Moda "Pack Your Bags" jelly roll to create a cord and electronics pouch for her. It was so apropos; this lady travels a TON. I give props to her, because even though I like to travel, I don't think I could handle doing it all the time. I hope this bag makes her smile a lot. :)

Side 2

I decided I wanted to try my hand at a different type of free-motion quilting. Patsy Thompson Designs has some great templates and ideas on her free downloads page. She does some incredible work with her sewing machine. I'm in awe.

Incidentally, the back of this pouch is what is shown in my “New used Machine and weekend projects” post.

I'll have one similar to this up in my Etsy shop soon. I needed to finish hers first, though, since she was only here on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We've been published!


My photo of our campsite in Yosemite's Housekeeping Camp was chosen for inclusion in the newly released eighth edition of Schmap's Yosemite Guide. Yep, that's Richie standing there.

Some of you here might not have heard about our trip, as we did it before I started this blog. You can see more photos on my Flickr page.

Unfortunately, I didn't get better pictures of the interior because it was already getting towards dark, and we didn't find our hidden light switch until late. :P

See what looks like a covered outlet under the mirror? Yeah... the top cover hides a switch for the light above the mirror. We felt like silly monkeys for not figuring it out sooner.

We didn't pull into camp and start setting up until around 7 p.m. because we were exploring Hwy. 41 and Mariposa Grove.

Here is a little rill I couldn't help but snap at the grove. It just seemed so refreshing.

We kept seeing these everywhere, but never figured out what they are- plants or fungi? Still scratching our heads. Leave a comment if you know what they are!

Our feet and legs were killing us due to our 14 mile hike two days prior, but I just had to go see the tunnel tree. It wasn't all that spectacular, but stretching our legs was good for us. The best part was what we found on the little side-trail we took back to the parking lot:

Richie's shot of these deer.
They were standing on the trail, browsing. They didn't seem at all concerned that we were there.

Some Lupine in a meadow. We stopped on the way back to the valley from Wawona so I could capture some of these.

Richie at Tunnel View. El Capitan on the left, then Cloud's Rest & Half Dome in the back there. One can see Sentinel Dome and the Fissures on the right, then there's Taft point (I believe), and Bridal Veil Falls. This is a great place to be awed by the beauty of the valley. That is, if you aren't being elbowed out of the way by other camera-happy tourists. :P

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Real-World Princesses: not your Disney endings

This gives new meaning to the seven dwarves.

I like this collection, Fallen Princesses by Dina Goldstein, published in JPG magazine, and also found on her website. Her collection addresses the things that can happen when a fairy-tale princess ends up with a real-world ending.

Go check it out!

Monday, July 13, 2009

New used Machine and weekend projects

Last week I finally took my poor little Betsy into the repair shop. I got the prognosis on Friday: Betsy's nearing the end of her usefulness. The doc didn't say how long she has to live, but that she's got some parts that were manufactured cheaply and that are worn out. He said it's really not worth the labor to try and fix this type of machine, as they're basically built to be disposable (i.e. the labor and parts would cost more than a new machine).

Because of this built-in obsolescence, she's skipping more and more stitches lately when I'm trying to do free-motion quilting, and I'm cursing at her more and more. You can see the evidence of her unruliness if you look closely at the stitching in the photo above.

Soooo.... My dear, sweet husband started looking for machines on E-bay and Craigslist this weekend, and decided to pick up this little beauty for $50.

I don't know what to call her yet, but I've positively fallen in love. This one's a Singer Stylist 834. I love the older machines. They just seem sturdier- better built. And she just HUMS. Even before Betsy started doing the "chunka-chunka-chunka" routine, she never hummed.

At first I was a bit wary- I'd never used a machine with a drop-in bobbin before. But she came with a manual and the purchase paperwork. Someone bought her new in 1980 and took great care of her.

Anyway, I read through the manual and got her going. The threading was a bit complicated at first, but I figured it out. She runs SO SMOOTHLY. I know I'm going on and on about this, but this is the first machine I've had that just... PURRS! *Insert Happy Dance Here*

I also LOVE the little envelope that all the information came in. Isn't it just darned cute?!

Another really cool thing about this machine: I found the repair manual online. So if she starts acting up on a Sunday, I'll be a bit more confident about tearing her apart and tinkering with her.

Not that the lack of a repair manual stopped me from doing the same to Betsy when she started to seize up a few weeks ago. But hey, after I oiled her innards (had to tape an oil bottle to a chopstick) she ran fine. Except for the chunka-chunka. Which is due to the badly-stamped plastic parts.

However, I wouldn't have been able to use her at all had I not taken off the bottom cover and dove right in. Just sayin'.

Here's the new machine next to Betsy. Richie says we can put Betsy in the living room and I can delegate straight seams and easy stuff to him to sew on her if I want. How on earth did I get so lucky to find this man? Oh yeah. I chose him and laid in wait for him. Heheheh.

This last photo below just shows a bit of the projects I was working on this weekend. If you're wondering about the stippling, I found a great site with some great free-motion quilting ideas and templates: Patsy Thompson Designs Ltd. I took the idea from the Revolving Axis free motion quilting designs in her free downloads section, then I free-handed it. I drew it on paper first, just to get the feel of it, then free-handed it with the machine. You can print it out and pin the paper to your quilt sandwich as well. I found her Pre-Flight Checklist for Newbies helpful as well.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Purse Feedback

My sister-in-law loves her purse! She commented on my Facebook page:
"Megan... this is the most awesome purse ever!!! I have totally given up my grungy book bag! This looks like a small purse but it has to be magic! I took it on our trip to the midwest and it held everything I could put in it! It was the perfect carry on for the plane! I LOVE it!!!"
Yays! *happy dance* I love it when others love what I make for them. *grins*

This was the purse that I made for her. Read more about it here and see more pics here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

First Quilt Finished & Crinkly!

Here it is, all crinkly and soft. I'm very pleased with it, even though it is as flawed as I am. :)

I think I have to take my machine in for a tune-up now. Stay tuned for more purse goodness soon!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Big list of Sewing blogs - I'm in, are you?

I just joined The Big List of Sewing Blogs. If you sew and want to join it, kindly clicky on the button above!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Quilt Pics!

As promised, here are pics of my quilt in process. Above you see it trimmed up. Later that night, my hubby helped me to lay it out on the floor so I could square it up.

I feel like a freaking new parent here, with all the pics, but hey, it's my first quilt. *grins*

Above is a pic of the binding sewn onto the front. Below is a photo of my very first quilt with the binding pinned for finishing. I did some research and have come to the conclusion that while blind stitching (by hand) gives it a bit more of a finished look and charm, I'd rather machine stitch it.

I'm going to "stitch in the ditch" on the front, catching the back in the stitching. I don't plan to enter it into any contests, and frankly, it's too hot to sit and hand-sew with a quilt on my lap. Just sayin'.

I hope you like the pics folks, and have a great night!

Scrap Giveaway on Sheree's Alchemy

Hi folks-

I thought I'd let you know about a giveaway going down over at Sheree's Alchemy. She's got some beautiful scraps to give, and they're mostly of Amy Butler fabrics. There are even some out of print fabrics from when Ms. Butler was designing fabrics for Free Spirit Fabrics!

Oh! I almost forgot about the purse pattern that Sheree will be including.

Don't miss out on this great giveaway. Head on over to Sheree's Alchemy and post a comment. Or three.

On a separate note, I'm almost done with my quilt. I had a setback in the form of a migraine for the last two days, but hope to get it finished up tonight or tomorrow. I'll post pics soon!