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Inspiration

For my birthday, my family gave me some time away from the kids and free reign at my favorite fabric shops. It was such an awesome gift, as I often feel like our busy life leaves me without much time to scratch that creative itch. I spent the week leading up to my birthday trying to find inspiration for a new project. Let me tell you, I found some gorgeous styles, and am so motivated by what is possible. Let me share:

 

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“Funky Junk” by Rene Tallman

This one is literally called “Funky Junk,” and it was made by Rene Tallman. I found it at the Modern Quilt Guild website. It’s a take on a drunkard’s path block (which I obviously love). This block is so versatile and the triangular pattern within the circles is so eye catching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Elements-Air” by Ursula Kern

Then I found an artist that I just adore. Her quilts have beautiful color and motion. I can’t stop looking at them! Her name is Ursula Kern, and her website is linked right here. I’ll just post my favorite here, but I strongly recommend you look through all of her work, it is absolutely breathtaking. While I found much more that inspired me, her work has so captivated me that I keep returning to it. I hope at some point I am able to see color and pattern so well that I can emulate what she is accomplishing.

 

So now with inspiration in my mind, I……

 

Got really sick, hahahaha. In fact, the whole family got sick, and then I stayed sick. It’s been a month and I’m still sick. I have learned a very valuable lesson. I should not sit down to sew when I am not feeling well.  The combination of being stuck in the house, out of energy, and a lil short on patience, has made me want to escape into quilting. Yet, every single time I have found some time/energy to sit down and sew, things have gone catastrophically wrong.

First there was brainstorming, where I picked out several designs for a new throw blanket. I actually mustered the energy to make it to the fabric shop, then confused the design I was trying to accomplish and purchased incorrect yardage and not enough coordinating fabrics. Yay for my fabric stash, not so thrilling for starting something new. Then, once I 14408068_10154523298397930_148426335_ohad the design and yardage correct (and completely changed my mind on where I was going with my color scheme)… I cut out every single template piece incorrectly. I realized this once I started sewing, and of course all of my pieces were cut out at that point. Thankfully, I had enough left over to cut out almost all of my pieces correctly, so that didn’t result in needing even more fabric. Then, once sewing, my points on my blocks weren’t lining up and my seam ripper and I got to become besties over the course of an afternoon. I finally got the hint and gave up for now.

That being said, I was introduced to digital prints during this whole process. Oh my gosh I
am in love! There is so much color and detail, and the fabric is still so soft. I picked up this butterfly print and just want to cover everything with it. Honestly, it was finding this print that got the gears turning in a specific direction, instead of just kinda turning all over the place.

So the plan is to try a new skill (paper piecing) and at some point in the near future take a class in machine quilting. Here’s the first quarter block and a picture of my son learning how to cut paper while I cut quilt pieces. Happy Friday and enjoy creating!

 

Girl Problems

 

I’ve always said that if I ever had a girl, you’d be able to see her from space because of all the glitter, tutus and bows she’d have. Our family is cursed with incredibly bald babies, and I was sure Ellie would follow the tradition. Turns out she has hair, but not enough that bows aren’t still adorable, and not enough to wear hair clips.

As always, short on time and really wanting to diversify my headband options, I learned how to make them myself! Allow me to share this project that took me no more than half an hour for four headbands!

Newborn headbands 

Materials

  • 5/8″ fold over elastic 1 yard pack
  • hot glue gun
  • hot glue
  • decorative fabric flowers for hair accessories (available in most craft stores)
  • felt that matches your chosen flowers

Cut a circle of felt that is the same size as the area on the bottom of your flower you would like attached to the headband. For most flowers, one to two inches across is plenty.

Cut a strip of elastic 14″ long.

To glue it all together, lay the ends of the elastic onto the felt circle, so that your elastic strip makes a circle with the ends touching. Put hot glue all over the felt circle/elastic ends, then press your flower onto it. Hold it all together while the glue dries. It is seriously that easy.

 

Elastic lace works really well too, and there are so many patterns for fabric and ribbon flowers out there, this will work for attaching those to headbands. They are quick, adorable, and I have a great model for them!

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A Drunkard’s Path

When my Grandfather passed away years ago, I did what I do, I threw myself into a project. In this case I spent the 48 hours following his passing whipping up a queen sized quilt. Sewing is a way for me to partition out whatever is going on, and allow me to feel productive when there is nothing I can do. While at his funeral, Grandma and I got to talk about the blanket I had made and projects we both had done. I love that this is something we can bond over, and at least this time it was a little respite from grieving. During that visit, Grandma gave me a whole bunch of quilting books she had collected along the way.

When I returned home, I had with me hundreds of sampler blocks and traditional quilt patterns. It gave me so much inspiration and helped me find my “style” when it comes to quilting. I love to take traditional blocks and patterns and use them in new and inventive ways. While I am a long way from designing my own patterns, I enjoy books and patterns that use blocks I’m familiar with from years of thumbing through Grandmas books for inspiration. It’s a way to connect the past to the present, and a reminder to me that this craft has deep roots that can be always be made relevant. It also reminds of family, and the way in which the lessons we give our children can take on new life and meaning in their hands.

For me, when I am looking at a quilt I see generations of passed down knowledge, mostly from woman to woman. I see the product of dozens of hours, guided by the hands of women who live on in the contributions they made to the art of quilting, and that is about as close to a soul as anything I believe in. That the end result also keeps someone you love warm and cozy and safe, is just life coming full circle for me.

Which is where this new project came from. Sometimes family isn’t related to you by blood, and there was a special little girl on her way to make a gift for.

Modern Drunkard’s Path

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The quilt was taken from a book called A Quilters Mixology by Angela Pingel.

20160907-img_2759In it, Angela has some really great ideas for Drunkard’s Path blocks, which are great for learning curved piecing. I promise that if you (like me) have no idea how to do curved piecing, you will be able to check that off of your list of things to be afraid of by the time you are done. I loved being able to play with lots of different neutrals, and I felt the design lent itself to being a little looser with color matching. I love the result. When it came time to quilt it, I decided to trust one of our local stores to tackle the job for me. The Creation Station in Buelton, CA gave me great advice on quilting style and recommended using a different color thread, which turned out so perfect. I love their store because it never feels like ye old quilt shop, it’s fun and vibrant and I always find tons of new things I want to do there. 14248006_10154479348482930_1989132338_o

Once the quilt top was back in my hands, I tried machine sewing the top of the binding and hand sewing the back. That was also something new for me, and I think from now on that’s how I’ll do things. I gained a ton of experience, and I can only hope someday my quilting looks this good!

 

Here’s the final blanket! Happy sewing, and I strongly recommend A Quilter’s Mixology, there are least three more projects in that book I’m looking forward to.

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New Year (Late to the party)

Wow! It’s been awhile. The holidays have come and gone, and how the heck is it almost March? I had all these great plans for projects through the holidays, including my triumphant return to machine quilting nonsense. Best laid plans, right? Insert list of excuses…. here:

  • I was too pregnant to fit under my kitchen table making machine sewing a hilarious feat of stubbornness.
  • I realized there was a chance my daughter would be here for Christmas, and thus needed a stocking made.
  • I am NOT one of those women who basks in the glow of being pregnant. I love my babies, don’t get me wrong, but getting them here is by far one of my least favorite processes. I think I spent most of my December on my couch daydreaming of sleeping on my stomach and being able to eat food without getting heartburn.

That being said, Christmas was awesome. My son received a dinosaur from Santa that mosey’s around the house on his own and explores/plays with my son. Jude is deathly afraid of it, and looks kind of like a cat trying to climb the curtains any time we go near the power switch. It. Is. HILARIOUS. Does that make me a mean mom? Maybe. He was otherwise spoiled rotten, so thankfully he loved all the rest of his toys and spent most of January telling me “good Christmas, buddy!”

The new year came with a glass of sparkling cider, my husband and son and I all cuddled on the couch in the dark watching fireworks outside. I love those moments with your family where you get a chance to just breathe and enjoy being in each other’s company. I knew our family of three would soon be four, and it was sort of magic to me to stop and enjoy my son and husband.

Sure enough, a month early and just after the new year, Ellie joined us. We were completely unprepared. My son came at 41 weeks and 2 days, so my water breaking at 36 weeks was a shock. She had to stay in the hospital a little bit longer than I did. Since she came home our life has become a version of organized chaos. Lots of people told me two kids would be much harder than one. It’s definitely true.      IMG_0028

There is so little time right now that crafting has almost been completely pushed to the side, with the exception of things Ellie “needs.” Like a car seat cover!

Allow me to attempt another tutorial and tell you how to make this super easy project!

Car seat cover tutorial

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Materials

1 Yard of front fabric

1 Yard of back fabric

2 x velcro strips, 2-3 inches long

matching thread

rotary cutter

Instructions

  • Cut front and back piece, 35×42.5 inches. Fold so that all four corners are together.
  • Use rotary cutter to cut a curved edge on all four corners at once so that they all match. If you are  concerned your curve will not be perfect, use card stock to mock up the curve you want to use, and lay that onto your folded fabric to use a template.
  • Pin front and back together with the right side of the fabric on the inside.  and sew 1/2″ from the edge, leaving a 4-6in gap on one side.
  • Use the gap to turn the car seat cover right side out. Be sure to reach into the inside to push corner curves out completely.
  • Pin the gap closed, then top stitch around the entire car seat cover, about 1/4″ from the edge.
  • For the fasteners, cut four strips, 2 from your front fabric and 2 from your back fabric that measure 6″ by 3 1/2″. 12736109_10153927125567930_433741193_n
  • Take one strip of back fabric and place it face down on one strip of front fabric, sew along the edge with 1/4″ seam, leaving a 1-2″ opening. Trim the corners, then turn the fabric right side out. 12736148_10153927125627930_2094529519_n
  • Pin the opening closed and top stitch around the outside as close to the edge as you are comfortable.
  • Measure and cut a piece of velcro that fits just inside of your top stitching on the fasteners. There is a soft and rough side to your velcro. Pin the rough side along the edge of your top stitching on the fabric side you want to see on your fasteners. 12736201_10153927125547930_1687064638_n
  • Sew the velcro onto the fastener strip, as close to the edge of the velcro as you are comfortable.
  • Turn the strip over, and on the bottom of the fastener (on the fabric side for the inside of the fastener) attach the soft side of the velcro. 12746350_10153927125447930_1739377411_n
  • Repeat for the second fastener. You should be able to velcro them into a loop.
  • On the large cover piece, find the center of the top edge, then measure 19 inches down from there. Once you have found that spot, measure 5-6″ in either direction to find the center of where the fasteners will attach. Untitled
  • Attach your fasteners by sewing a rectangle the width of your fasteners and 3/4″ tall on the center of the fastener. Sew an “X” across your rectangle to further anchor the fastener. See the blue lines in the picture below. 2.jpg
  • Ta-da! Your car seat cover is complete!

I hope this tutorial is helpful to you, please leave any suggestions or edits in comments! I’m still new to this whole tutorial thing, so I’d love some feedback!

A Tree to Save Your Tree

Mr. Destruct-o finally understands things. Like trick-or-treating (although at first he did the trick-or-treat thing and then ran into a strangers house to chase their dog) and Santa. He will also no doubt be more interested in decorating our tree when we put it up. Or as most young children do, decorate, undecorate, redecorate, destroy. See the dilemma?

Enter my most brilliant friend, who asked me about making these felt trees that allow our young children to have control over their OWN tree. Absolutely brilliant! Also, it can’t be too hard, right? This project is great for gettin you girls together, and isn’t too expensive if you have paints on hand.  This is also my first tutorial, so bear with me and please comment if you think I should add or change anything!

S.O.T. (Save Our Tree) 

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Materials:

1 yard of green felt

5 8×10 felt sheets of various colors for ornaments

1 8×10 felt sheet for the star

1 8×10 felt sheet for a trunk (optional)

5 pieces of card stock

Assorted puff paints

Wall safe double sided adhesive strips

Hot glue or felt glue

Sharp scissors

Thin tipped permanent marker or other marking tool

3M command poster strips

Ornament Templates Download Here

Procedure:

  1. Fold your green felt in half length-wise, draw half a pine tree shape, using the fold as your center so your final product is symmetrical. Cut through both layers to get your tree.IMG_9709
  2. Print ornament templates onto card stock (or design your own) and cut them out.IMG_9728
  3. Trace ornaments on your ornament felt sheets using the card stock templates, then cut them out
  4. Trace and cut your star
  5. *Optional* Draw and cut your trunk, you may want to cut a felt sheet in half and just use that.
  6. Glue your trunk to the back of the tree and star to the top of the tree.IMG_9725
  7. Paint your star and your ornaments. Remember that felt sticks to felt, and you shouldn’t need additional adhesive. If you pile the paint on, the ornaments will get too heavy and fall off. If you want to be super decorative and find your ornaments fall off easily, you can always get some velcro strips and glue them to the ornaments to give them extra hold. Also, the scraps you have left make great decorations on your ornaments as well. Stripes, polka dots, candy canes, initials, you could use scraps to make felt decorations to glue directly onto your ornaments.
  8. Place an adhesive strip on the tip of each tree “branch,” one on the star, and one at bottom center of your tree. When adhering it to the wall, start at the top with your star and work your way down to the bottom. I didn’t need to do any adhesive strips in the center of the tree, just along the edges worked just fine.
  9. Once your ornaments are dry, let your kids put them on the tree!IMG_9716IMG_9729

These are seriously adorable and not a whole lot of work. A super easy afternoon craft you can get your littles involved in! Hope you all had a happy holiday!

Beautifully Rainy day

IMG_9703We don’t get rainy, gloomy days all that often around here. I love cool rainy weather so much. We broke out the blankets, made some hot chocolate, and have been enjoying some serious chill time today. Haven’t gotten a whole lot of sewing done, I am working on finishing a couple of hand sewing projects for Christmas that I needed a break from. So today was devoted to inspiration and learning.

Here are some simple projects to try, and some of these might work for great Christmas gifts!

  1. Seriously, a stuffed Loch Ness monster from Hannah at We Lived Happily Ever After. What an awesome movie night cuddle pillow/adorable mythical creature.

 

2.  Quick and easy pillow cases at Life is Sew Daily. I imagine these without the bunny, and instead snowflakes (I know there’s got to be a good template somewhere… Here!) Or how about a free hand Christmas tree with some fun thrift store buttons? Beaded garland? This would be an easy hour project, and will give you some great accents for the holidays.

 

 

3.  Nerdy and useful? Check. I really need one of THESE in my house for my loose socks. May as well save them to help out any house elves we come across.

4. As long as I’m keepin it nerdy, I’ll have to post mine when I make these comic book coasters from What’s Ur Home Story. You could use album covers, sheet music, book pages, there are so many good ideas to do with these. 

Which is your favorite? Did you decide to try one of these? I’d love to see your work! Have a great night!

Best Laid Plans

Alright! Let’s get down to business! I am currently in the middle of a whole mess of projects, and I’m trying to get through them by the end of December. It’s good to have goals, right? Right. At the very least I’ve been banned from starting any more projects.

The goal is to attempt machine quilting for the first time. I am deathly afraid of machine quilting. My machine has 5.5″ of throat space and gets a lil testy when I throw a walking foot on it. Having always hand quilted, and in many cases hand pieced my quilting projects, machine quilting is supposed to be a way to help actually get things DONE. As a SAHM of a three-nager, there just isn’t any time for hand quilting these days.87322a94dfae2c55e7abf4b3e472b313 After much research (procrastination), tutorials (procrastination), and trips to the craft store to make sure I have all the tools I need (procrastination and finding new inspiration), I decided on a pattern that would be conducive to stitch in the ditch quilting. I also wanted a pattern that would be good for both a boy and a girl quilt, so I could match patterns without matching colors.

My two quilt fronts are a herringbone pattern using half-square triangles:

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I may or may not have made the second quilt top to avoid basting and quilting the first. Quilt fronts are just so much easier in my opinion. When the fronts were completed, I pin-based the blue quilt with curved safety pins. It didn’t take long to discover my first mistake. IMG_2577-2 Do you see what I see?

This is the first time I have used pieces so large, I was not prepared for a difference in stretch between the two fabrics used, especially because I believed I was buying them from the same location and section of solids that they were the same line. I need to be more careful. Fabric quality is a huge deal, and sometimes getting 50% off a cut doesn’t end up being a good deal. Just like everyone else, I see all my errors, and am constantly learning new things.

Once basted, I rolled my quilt, held my breath and took the leap. I wanted to show how much I’m not kidding when I say once you are out of baby sized blankets, throat space matters. IMG_2586-2Nonetheless, when stitching in the ditch, I don’t need perfect, I need to learn. I need to work out all the little kinks. This is still a work in progress, after all. So here’s where I leave you, with a few tips thus far.

  1. Quilter’s Clamps make any kitchen table a basting space. I love them.
  2. Kwik Klips will save your hands if you pin baste. Imagine sticking yourself with pins a bazillion times in a single day without it.
  3. Local shops are your friends. Cheap fabric has unintentional side effects, and when it comes to making blankets or garments you intend to use a lot, an extra $10-$20 is worth not having to remake your project.
  4. People who free motion quilt full sized blankets on a small machine are a type of superhuman. I would love to just sit and watch and learn.
  5. This is a process. Your first attempt is not going to be show worthy, but that doesn’t make it less useful or beautiful when it’s done. Thankfully I love learning!

For now, I’m about 60% done with the first set of lines on this quilt, I’ll post an update soon with lessons from my first machine quilting attempt, with pictures.

Under Construction!

Hi! Welcome to sewnerdy! I’m Sara, and in the very near future I will begin posting content on some really fun sewing projects for beginners and seasoned vets. I’m new to blogging, so I’m taking a bit to orient myself before we launch. Stay tuned!