Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween


Ben was a bat, and I was a pregnant witch. A witch who should have worn sneakers instead of really tight dress shoes. And extra points for my husband Jay who dressed up as Shrek……….he’s a brave soul. Its tough to be green. Especially when we realized very few parents dress up. We are dorks.


We got through the night with no tantrums and no jawbreakers in the treat bag….so I’d call it a success. Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

P.S. Thanks to all who voted for my fall pillow tutorial over at the Sew Mama Sew blog... you guys are awesome!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More orange and black…

Made from my Halloween quilt scraps.  I cut squares 2.5", and the whole thing measures about 17"x 21".    It’ll be cute on a wall.


Or on a side table with a creepy pumpkin head man.


  Did I mention I’m really sick of orange and black?  Yes…I am.  Luckily I’m out of orange and black scraps so I don’t feel guilty throwing them away.  Now I’m off to finish picking the airheads out of our candy and hoard them.  :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Finished: Halloween Quilt

Finished with one  week left to enjoy it before Halloween!  As you could probably tell from my last post I decided to quilt this in fat horizontal stripes.  I had the idea mainly out of quilting laziness, but then after I saw this quilt I was sold on the idea…and the fact it took about half an hour helped too.

I had no quilt-holder-uppers ( they all hide when they see a quilt+camera in my hand) so I taped the quilt to the dirty garage door.  I really like the way the black strips stand out when you skim over the quilt with your eyes. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

My favorite dirty quilting secret..


Is literally these dirty, holey, smelly garden gloves I found in the garage.  The kind with the rubber grip & that are way too big for me so they’re easy to slip on and off.    They make a world of difference when I’m quilting, especially when stippling.   They’re perfect….except for the dirty rubber smell.  What’s your favorite quilting gadget?

PS. Thanks for all the fall pillow love. And if you make one I’d LOVE to see what you came up with!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tutorial: Scrap Buster Fall Pillow

This is my favorite thing to do with my little scraps, and since its Scrap Buster month over at Sew, Mama, Sew, I made a quick tutorial so you can make your own. This pillow cover is 16" square with an envelope back & the design possibilities are endless! I added some pillows I’ve previously made with this same method at the end of this post. Happy Sewing!
You’ll Need:
1. Scraps, enough for the tree trunk and the leaves. Cutting your scraps into rectangles will make it easier to adhere them to the appliqué material.
2. Appliqué material: I use Heat' n Bond. You’ll need about 1/2 yard or more depending on how many leaves you want to make.
3. Material for the pillow front, cut to 17" x 17" square. I used lightweight canvas and prefer home weight material, but you could use anything.
4. Material for the back. Cut 1 rectangle 17"x 14" and cut 1 rectangle 17"x 10".

Iron your fabric scraps onto your appliqué material according to the directions on the appliqué material. (press & hold the iron over each scrap for a few seconds, I use a very hot iron and find the appliqué material sticks better)

Now with scissors cut out your trunk and leaf shapes. For the trunk I first draw the shape of the trunk on the back of the appliqué material so I get a nice shape, but for the leaves I just free cut as I go. And for reference the trunk on mine is 8" tall, and my leaves are all about 2.5" long and are 1.5" or so wide.
When you get all your leaves cut out, tear the backing appliqué paper off the leaves and trunk. I prefer to do this while plopped down in front of the TV cause it takes awhile. :) Or better yet enlist some help.

Then you can arrange them how you want on your pillow front. Don’t place any within an 1.5" of the edges to leave room for sewing.
Once your design is how you like it, press with an iron over each spot for a few seconds making sure not to bump anything out of place. This will keep everything in place while you sew them on.

Now you can sew either along the inside edges of your leaves, or you can do a zig zag stitch or blanket stitch around the edges if you prefer. I move my foot from leaf to leaf without cutting my strings so it goes faster, then go back and cut my strings at the end.

To prepare your pillow back, fold one of the short edges of each pillow backing piece in 1/2" and press, then again 1/2" and press and sew to hide any raw edges. These will be the edges of the envelope back.

Lay the backing pieces right sides down onto the pillow front over lapping the centers. I placed the smaller backing piece ( 10" x 17") down first on the pillow front, but I actually prefer to lay the larger pieces down first since it makes the cover easier to slip on. Either way, make sure your right sides are facing towards the right sides of your pillow front and your outer edges match.

Pin around the edges well. Sew with a 1/4" inseam around the edges, backstitch over the envelope openings for extra strength. After the initial sewing I go around the edges with a serger, pinking shears or a quick zig zag stitch. Its especially important if you are using home weight fabric which tends to fray easily. Then clip your extra corner fabric off so the corners will turn nicely.

Then turn it inside out and stuff a 16" pillow form in it.
Here are some pillow covers I previously made if you want more ideas and to see how it looks with the zig zag stitch around the pieces.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


The thought occurred to me a few nights ago that next year I will have 2 kids.  Which means that I have to sew as much as possible this year since next year I will be twice as busy.   At least that’s the conclusion I came to at 3:30 in the morning when my son climbed in bed with us and I couldn’t fall back asleep.  Thus….the Halloween quilt. 


Orange and black stripes, meant to be good and wonky like Denyse Schmidt’s Hop, Skip & Jump Quilt.  Wonky is hard for me, it took some playing to figure out how to make wonky strips that still ironed flat, but once that was figured out it went together really quickly.  I like the wonkiness now that its all together, it makes it very Halloween-ish. 


Now it’s time for my favorite fall snack….I’m not going to tell you how much of this I’ve had, but I will tell you I’ve had more apples to eat in the past week than I’ve had in the past year.  Its worth every calorie.


Monday, October 12, 2009

(finally) Finished Hello Betty

Yay, I’m glad to have this one finished!

I added two borders since I had lots of scraps just the right size, and now its a perfect lap size, I think it ended up being about 63" by 75".   I wasn’t so sure about this one as I was making it, but now that its done I am in love with it.  The back is a solid yellow cotton to match the front.

This last picture is for my hubby….who kindly suggested that this blog would be way more exciting if I took “action” shots of my quilts instead of boring ones.  Good call Jay….it is way more exciting. :)
And for those of you that want to know, the tutorial for these blocks can be found here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In other news….


A. I need to cut back on the chewy molasses cookies.

B. I’m 17 weeks pregnant.  

C.  All of the above.


Definitely C. All of the above. 

I’m due March 15th.  After a year of trying to get (and stay) pregnant we are more than relieved and excited to finally be at this point.   This baby has made me unbelievably sick.  Lets just say the toilet and my face have become well acquainted.    I’ll find out what I’m having in 3 weeks….and then the sewing frenzy begins.  Literally.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Easy Treat/Tote Bag Tutorial

I love Halloween, it might just be my favorite holiday.  Probably because I have a sweet tooth like no other….thus the need for a treat bag for my 2 1/2 year old to fill full of candy for me to eat.  Anyways, this is a simple lined tote bag with a boxed bottom, it took me about 40 min. to complete and cost about 5 bucks.  It is toddler sized, about 11" by 13", but I’ll give you tips on how to easily make it bigger.  Simple totes like this are great for library bags and just about anything else you want to stuff in a bag, but in this case it will hopefully be full of candy….preferably Milky Ways.

You’ll need a 1/2 yard of exterior fabric (I used home weight fabric to make it stable)  and a 1/2 yard interior fabric.  If you’re making this larger than my toddler sized version you might need an 1/8 yard for the handle, but you’ll probably have enough left over to make it from your lining fabric. 
If your going to appliqué something on the outside you’ll need those supplies too, I used felt and was going to use embroidery floss….but didn’t. 

Cut 2 rectangles each of your exterior fabric and lining fabric.  For my small toddler size I cut my rectangles 12" by 15", if you want a bigger tote I would add four or five inches to both sides. 
For the straps you’ll cut 2 rectangles 5" by 16", (or 5" by 21" for a larger tote)  I cut my straps from my leftover lining fabric. 
**** If you want to appliqué something on the outside of your bag, now is a good time to do it.  See the bottom of the tutorial for more details. 

Sew around the sides and bottom of the exterior using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Press side seams open.

To box the corners, I put my hand in the bag at the corner and simply pinch the side and bottom seams together, its confusing to look at but once you try it you’ll see what I mean.  Try to line up your side and bottom seam making a nice triangle. 

Stick a pin about 2” in from the corner and repeat on the opposite corner. 

Now sew where you placed that pin, sewing a straight line perpendicular to the corner.  Then cut the extra off.  You now will have a nice boxed bottom to your bag, easy as pie.

Now do the same with your lining, EXCEPT when you are sewing around the sides and bottom of the rectangles, leave a 4-5" opening at the bottom.  This is how you will turn the bag right side out after the exterior and lining are sewn together.  Box the corners of your lining just like you did with the exterior.

Turn your lining right side out and place into your exterior that is wrong side out.  Right sides should be facing each other. 

Match up the top side seams and edges, pin, and sew with a 1/2" seam allowance around the top of the bag. 

Turn the bag right side out through the hole in the bottom of the lining.  It should look like the picture below.  Sew the hole closed at the bottom of the lining.

Place the lining down into the bag, iron your top edges, and topstitch about an 1/8" or so from the edge.

To make the straps take your 5" by 16" pieces (or 5" by 21" for larger bags) and follow pictures below. 
1. Iron edges 1/4" in on both ends.  Fold strap in half and iron a crease in the middle.
2. Iron both edges into the crease.
3.  Fold over creased edges to hide raw edges and sew around all sides of each strip as close to the edge as possible. 
4.  Attach to the bag with a pin about 2" from each side and 2" down.  You can eyeball the first side.

Sew the strap on to the bag along all sides and crossing in the middle for strength.

And there you have it, a perfectly sized tote bag for your little one to fill full of candy. 

*** Appliqué instructions***
For the appliqué on this bag I used felt (the cheap, iron friendly kind you buy in sheets), Heat’n Bond appliqué material, and my sewing machines blanket stitch.   I followed the instructions on the Heat’n Bond by attaching my felt to the appliqué material, then drawing my picture with a pencil on the felt (or back if you want) and cutting it out.  You then peel off the back and place it on the fabric where  you want.  Its easiest to do this at the very beginning when you’ve just cut your exterior fabric out, but make sure to steer clear of the edges at least 1".   The appliqué material doesn’t attach to the felt very well, but good enough so you can get it sewn on.  Then just sew around your appliqué with a blanket or zig zag stitch to make it permanent.