Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fourth Christmas Reveal: All the Rest!

Now that I have dragged you through all the cat and dog projects (I mean, really, what could be more important?) I will speed things up a little with this post!  This is still a long post...get a beverage of your choice and enjoy!

The Recycled Bag
This is what happens when my son decides that his favorite pair of jeans that he wore through four years of college and beyond have crossed over into the realm of unwearable:

Can you see where the knee was worn out?

Lovely script fabric inside for my son the writer.  I was a little apprehensive about taking the rotary cutter to the jeans without his approval (despite the fact he had abandoned the pants some time ago) but he seemed very pleased with the gift!  Here is my #1 Man modeling to ensure the strap length would work:
Daughter-in-law's Bag
Ever since I saw this pattern for the 241 Tote, I wanted to make one.  I am so impressed with all the different fabric combinations for this bag that I see on Flickr.  Finding just the right fabric for our B's bag took some time.  I had almost given in to a "not quite right but good enough selection" the week before Christmas, when I found what I thought was the perfect fabric for her!

The Sweetwater city print reminded me of my world traveling DIL!  This was another great project for learning new techniques.  The pattern is very clear and I pretty much followed it step by step.  I did make the straps a little longer and padded them with batting.   I am looking forward to making something with the scraps from this project!

Almost-Daughter-in-law's Bag
You might recall this special group of fabric we purchased on our last trip to Chicago:
 Well, those lovely ladies in the back reminded me of my lovely (and stylish!) future daughter in law!  The pattern is Amy Butler's Charm Clutch.    I am working up my confidence to tackle her Weekend Bag someday.


Pouches for the Nieces
For my two fave teenage nieces, I made my first zippered pouches:

Wow!  So much fun...and fast, even with the quilt-as-you-go patched bag!  I used the tutorial from Noodlehead for open wide zipper pouches.

OK if you are still reading...we are getting close to the end....

Kitchen Sets

Remember the fabric I was given on my birthday by my son and his wife?  Time to re-gift!  An oven mitt and towel for them:

Lesson learned:  do NOT trace your hand as a template for oven mitts when you have a son who is 6'4" tall...he will lose circulation in his thumb when he uses the oven mitts!  They fit his wife perfectly!  I promise to use a pattern next time!

And a set for his brother and fiance:

The pot holder pattern is from In Color Order and is a great technique and fast to assemble.

And last...the Yankee Swap Gift!
Last year we started what will certainly be annual tradition based on how much fun we have had with it.  After the younger ones have opened their gifts and after the main dinner, the adults participate in a Yankee Swap.  From fabric that I picked up on my husband's birthday weekend Maine Shop Hop, I contributed this to the swap:

It was perfect that my older brother selected this gift as we all grew up watching the Stooges (and, despite that,  I think we turned out (almost) normal!).  The apron pattern came from Purl Bee and the oven mitt pattern (yeah!) I found on Raechel Myers site.  Whew!  Finished this Christmas Eve!

Thank you for reading all the way down to here.  And just in case you haven't had enough, here are the previous posts with the cats and dogs!  First, the Cat Quilt, Second, the Cat Bag and Third, the Dog Pillows!  If I can answer any questions about any of these projects, please leave me a comment!  Linking up with Amanda Jean's Finish It Up Friday!

PS  All sewing aside, it was another wonderful Christmas shared with many of those I love.  I feel so blessed to have so many friends and family nearby to share the season (and my sewing addiction!) with.

Third Christmas Reveal: The Dog Pillows

In our household, there is no doubt who is the mistress in control...Miss Kasey, our beautiful, almost 13 year old Bernese Mountain Dog.

While on a weekend birthday get-away for my husband (that turned into a Maine quilt shop hop...another story for another post) with Kasey, of course, we found some very special fabric.   The result are my first for each of My Men.   The first is a simple log cabin pillow to accompany the quilt above:

With the smaller project size, I decided to practice new FMQ'ing techniques on these pillows.  Some worked out better than others.  The Angela Walters book provided inspiration and easy to follow instructions.   The next is the Checkers block by Monika Wintermantel that was included in this book.

Ok, so, I might have gone a little too dense on the quilting on this one...four different styles on one little pillow!  But what fun!  I also struggled with the thread color selection for the main block on all these pillows....dark dog, light background.

The next pattern is Stepping Stones by Tacha Bruecher.

I went back to stippling for this one as I did not want to distract from the pattern.  And the fourth pillow may be my favorite, a wonky, scrappy log cabin:

More playing with FMQ'ing!  And here they all are together:

One exciting aspect of this project was that other than the dog fabric, all the other fabrics came from my stash!  Yeah!  I feel like being able to say those words somehow moves me into a "legit quilter" category of some kind!  I had lots of practice with invisible zippers and calculating the finish pillow sizes.

The pillows are not remotely as beautiful as the real thing, but were much appreciated by the men I love on Christmas.
PS  We are thankful everyday for the joy that this special old puppy has given to us.  I know you dog, cat, iguana, bird....animal lovers out there know just what I am talking about!

Second Christmas Reveal: Cat Bag!

So, remember the Cat Quilt and the story about getting all the cat fabric...well, I actually had two special cat-loving people in mind!  Immediately upon seeing this book tote pattern from City House Studio, I knew I had to make one for my wonderful, library going, cat-loving mother-in-law!  Yes, the same lady who was one of my inspirations for adventuring into this quilting thing!

Cat book titles...even some that we wish were books!

I had so much fun making this bag!  Great pattern, easy to follow.  This was my first attempt at paper piecing...slow but rewarding!  The cat fabric makes me smile...even for a dog person!  (More on this in my next post!)

PS  I have learned in my first year of quilting that a little fabric can go a LONG way.  I am thankful that I no longer have to worry about building a respectable fabric stash!  What should I do with the remaining adorable cat fabric?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Interrupt for a technical question...

So, I LOVE flipping through my many favorite blogs at the end of the day, on long car rides, well, just about any time!  My primary device for this is my iPad...beautiful resolution for viewing pictures!  All of a sudden yesterday a number of my bookmarked fave blogs appear in a mobile view (list of posts, simpler format) and not the web format you should get on the tablet.  Quite annoying to scroll to the bottom of the page and change to web view.  The only pattern appears to be blogs "powered by Blogger."  On my desktop, no problem with viewing blogs (but the quilt pictures just aren't are lovely as on the iPad!).  Any suggestions????


PS  I am trying to work this out via iPad and Blogger on-line support but so far no luck.  I am sure I am missing something obvious!

First Christmas Reveal! Cat Love!

This is the beginning of a series of Christmas gift reveals!  I made this quilt for my trainer and friend Gina!    She is one amazing woman!  Go back a few years and I was suffering from two bad hips, excess weight and overall lethargy.  Enter Gina who inspired me with her upbeat attitude and practical approach to improving my fitness given my crazy life as a working mom.  I can't believe how much better I feel even as I am getting chronologically older!  My hero!

But I the quilt!  Gina and her husband are cat people (they rescued an adorable little kitty Tobey...amazing people, right?).  So, I wanted to make them a cat themed quilt.  I found this pattern from April Rosenthal entitled Positively Perfect and I thought "perfect pattern for my perfectly positive pal!"  (I don't speak in alliterations for just anyone!)  The challenge with this quilt was the absence of any fabric stash, let alone CAT fabric!  I know, major league rookie issues!  That gave my husband and I a challenge as we visited fabric stores across the Northeast this summer (just ask my husband, he will confirm that we hit!) to find a good mix of cat themed fabric!  The result:

I found the fabric on the back in the discount bin at my LQS; it is called Cat Amore!  So cute!  I sewed lots of (almost) straight lines in the center of the quilt and had fun with FMQ'ing loops in the borders.  I hope Gina, Bryan and Tobey have lots of snuggling time with this little lap quilt!

So, I am taking advantage of Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday to share this first, of several, Christmas gift posts!  Stay tuned...there are a few more to follow!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

PS  As I am seriously addicted to spending time with my sewing machine, I have self-imposed rules about trying to do a little exercise before I get cozy in the sewing room.  How do you manage the magnetic pull that comes from the sewing space and keeps you from doing anything else???
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