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Archive for January, 2008

I needed another baby gift and enjoyed making the last one so much that I decided to do it again… this time it is a Noah’s Ark themed quilt, a kit from JoAnn’s. The “kit” concept is cool because everything is already there and I don’t have to consider challenges like color value, fabric weight or design. Here’s the kit, which consists of fabric and the pattern. This design can be used for a little boy or girl but I will be adding pink ribbons for accent since our gift is for a girl.

When you open the bundle, you find an assortment of fabrics that you will cut from. The pattern is easy enough to follow and after cutting everything out, the first one I made took about 4 hours. I think this one might go faster since I’ve already done one before. At least I hope it does!

I’ll post pictures during sewing and when completed. If anyone is interested, I found these cute little blankets at the store, not online. The only one online was a red firetruck themed quilt that has sold out. Call your local JoAnns for info. To check out the red one, log on to: http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog.jsp?CATID=cat463846&PRODID=prd62090&source=search

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Fluffy Baby Blanket

I needed a gift for my niece, who is expecting a baby girl in February. When I saw this kit at JoAnn’s I just knew this would be something she would like. Not only so the expressions on the bunny’s faces (see below) make this quilt special, but also the puffy heart border fabric, satins and of course the sweet little pink checks. I put little “X’s” at the intersection of each block because Mr. Empty Nester said to. I like to do what he says on occasion, just to let him think he is in charge. It works pretty well that way.

The kit came with lengths of fabric and I had to cut the exact sizes required on the pattern. Doesn’t sound hard, but for me, it was a challenge and the squares are just a half inch off on the sides, so I had to rip out one section as I put 8″ square side where I should have put the 7 1/2″ square side.

The pattern did not require batting but she lives in Ohio, so I put some in it so baby would be super duper warm and cozy. Today it is off in the mail to my niece, who hopefully will enjoy the blanket as much as I enjoyed making it for her!

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My daughter Aubern asked if I could make her a travel wallet. She needed one that would hold her passport and foreign currency. The key here is “foreign” currency. She had several bills from other countries for me to measure, and there are huge differences in size between bills from the U.S. and Italy, France and England. All of the coins she had were much thicker than ours (and much more ornate, I might add) so she needed places in the wallet to accommodate these things. I went on a search for a pattern and could find nothing suitable. Her requirements, besides the accommodation of over sized currency, were:

A long strap

A folding design that would lie as flat as possible

Cute fabric

She found fabric in the Amy Butler line that is just gorgeous. I, however, couldn’t find a pattern suitable for her needs. Everything I found was designed to hold a checkbook or was large enough to be a small purse, so I custom made this for her:

I machine quilted the fabric and fussy cut the design so when she unfolded it, the back would feature the large design.

The magnetic clasp inside is covered with two pound British coin on the outside. I used E-6000, a very strong glue, to adhere it to the fabric. Here’s the back:

And here’s the inside:Both sides function as bill carriers, so she can carry large bills on one side, small on the other, or foreign on one side and American on the other. The change purse (below the green pocket) is over sized and right now has all of her foreign change in it. I’m surprised that it holds all of it. I put a zipper closure on it so the coins wouldn’t fall out when folding and unfolding the wallet. The green pocket is for her passport and made from my stash of free upholstery samples of quilted Duponi silk.

The strap is adjustable with D rings, so she could even wear it around her waist if she chose to. If I were to make a second one, I think I would make the body just a bit longer so the coin pocket and the passport pocket would be just a bit further apart. Other than that, I think it will work just fine.

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Travel Totes

This pattern must have been a class assignment because honestly, with all due respect to the appliqued flowers on front, as we say down south, “It ain’t pretty”. It is such a challenge for me when I see a pattern like this, to picture it in fabrics and accents that I like. I don’t sell this pattern, but you can probably find it by calling Timber Lane Press at 208-765-3353. Here’s the pattern:
I made this bag in 2006 as a Christmas gift for my daughter Aubern, who travels frequently. The fabric is from Laurel Burch, a textile artist who uses whimsical designs that often feature cats, horses and birds. I purchased this fabric from a local quilt shop and it was a limited edition. You can find great Laurel Burch fabrics at http://www.fabric.com/ The last time they were visiting us, Aubern commented that her husband needed a bag too. Between the two of them, they have enough magazines and stuff to carry that it would be helpful if he had one. Mr. Empty Nester and I shopped for some manly fabric, conferred with Aubern for the steel gray monogram, and here’s the result.
By the way, the wall you are seeing behind the chair is a faux finishing that Aubern and her husband Ian did in my kitchen. They are professional artists and they made my plain old wall look like authentic old Savannah brick, complete with aged posters. It is undoubtedly my favorite part of the house! (to see more of this wall and to check our their website, log on to http://www.flyingcatstudio.com/ ) Anyway, as featured in an earlier blog entry, Ian was excited to receive his bag for Christmas though I actually finished it this past weekend when he brought it with him for their visit. I had forgotten the inside binding!
This is a great bag because of all the compartments. It has two wide ones inside (I sewed one up the middle to provide two map pockets), two on each end that have elastic at the top, a small zipper pouch with a pocket behind it, and an outside pocket. It has hefty wide straps to help with the frequent overload of weight a bag like this might have to bear. This is the kind of bag you fill up, then add more!
So that’s how an otherwise boring pattern became two cool bags. I’ll make one for myself this year, but not for a while… I have a lot of other things to sew just now!

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I saw this cool pattern while in one of my favorite quilt stores, Heritage Quilts and Fabrics in Newnan, Ga. It really is a great store. It is well organized, the staff is friendly and the selection of fabrics are great. They have cool little kits they’ve put together, which brews inspiration like a fine cup of tea!While browsing in the shop this past November, I saw this table runner pattern that allows you to sew the front and back of the runner at the same time. How cool is that! Of course, I had to try it out, so I purchased a stack of various but coordinating fat quarters, cranked up my Pfaff, and pulled out the pattern.I decided to use a tropical print on one side to herald those hot Savannah summers, and a rich print to use the rest of the year on the other side. Really, the darker print is a bit Christmas oriented but it goes so well with the colors in my home that I plan to enjoy it for the majority of the year. Here, you can see the two sides and a bit of detail at the tip, with a vintage-look button and beaded tassel. (click on image to view larger) This is how I plan to use it throughout most of the year: Calling all Jimmy Buffet fans! Here’s the summer splash of color, perfect for a cheerful tropical flair: I’ll be shopping for coral and teal candles this summer to complement this vibrant design, and those glass coasters you see in the other image will go well with it too. Chloe the cat (upper left corner) is not amused at my camera flash!The project requires strip and triangle cutting and is something an experienced sewer can complete on a weekend. You can make it shorter or longer, depending on your needs. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of assembling it while learning how to quilt two sides at once!Of course, my fabrics are Moda, and if it weren’t 3 a.m., I’d let you know what patterns they are! Soon as I look it up, I’ll edit this posting and share those details.

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Remember way back when a desktop actually meant the top of your desk, not the screen of your computer? Me too, and I will never, ever get accustomed to clicking on that little clock in the bottom corner of my screen to find out what day it is. I want to glance, not click for a date, so a-hunting-I-did-go for a small, functional calendar that would give me the day and month at a glance. This one does none of that, but oh, how I love it!

To be fair, it DOES give the day at a glance, plus a nifty quilt pattern! For $8.47 at Sam’s Club, I found something to inspire my sewing, take my mind off of newspaper deadlines AND give me the correct date. Though I really needed to see the month all at once, I figure I can put up with the absence of that little tidbit in lieu of a bunch of really cool patterns.
Every few days or so, you get an image of a quilt like the one above.

The following days feature individual blocks within the quilt, some with applique and others in traditional patterns.

Accord Publishing produces this delightful gem, and my only regrets are that A) it doesn’t “stand” very well with it’s little box that folds back to convert to a desktop holder, B) it is the “Best of” calendar, which means I’ve missed a few before and C) that little bugger of no month at a glance. Still, I am delighted with it and cannot wait to turn the next day to see what lies ahead!

Of course, if my editor calls to find out why I missed a deadline, you can find me at the sewing machine!

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When we made The Boy’s quilt, Mr. Empty Nester suggested we use a different stitch in each Log Cabin square. I pushed for something faster, since Christmas was just around the corner and we were stitching things like we’d lost our minds…”we’re just a little sweatshop”, I told him, seam ripper clenched in my teeth. But he pressed on, literally, as the iron was hot and each 1/4″ seam was folded neatly, and the result I must admit, was worth every stitch.

Here’s a fancy zigzag, one of the basic built in stitches on the Pfaff we use.
This curvy stitch was one of my favorites, and one of the first ones The Boy noticed. “Wow, they’re all different!” he exclaimed, with the appropriate enthusiasm after his little sweatshop parents had labored into many a wee hour.

My favorite fabric on the entire quilt is that on the bottom left section of the 2nd image. We used the same fabric on the back, and it is just scrumptious.

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