Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quilty Travel Stuff

In honor of my upcoming travel plans, I quilted up a little luggage tag for my suitcase. 

For some reason, my little luggage tag makes me feel very 1940s travel chic, like I should be wearing a sensible cloche and white gloves as I board my plane and order my martini from the stewardess. However, I am sure I'll be jerked back to reality when I board my 2010 super-secure, non-peanut serving, no free beverage, no leg room, non-stewardess (PC= flight attendant) flight. Hopefully my super-snazzy luggage tag will help me hang on to the illusion a little longer.

I am aware that this luggage tag may not stand up well to the beating it will take in the bowels of various planes, cars and boats. It may even encourage villains to rob me—I mean, if the luggage tag is this awesome, one can only imagine the treasures inside! 

BUT YOU ASK . . . . 
What if the ribbon snags on some super-sized airplane bolt and rips right off, leaving my suitcase contact-informationless?

I don't care! I will risk it! I flirt with danger like . .  . (see potential fill-in options below—VOTE NOW through the comments section!)

  1. Ross Gellar flirted with the short-haired pizza girl.
  2. a person who buys a ticket for a Caribbean cruise during hurricane season.
  3. the Sharks flirted with the Jets for control of their "turf" during a totes fierce dance number in Act 1 of an American musical classic.

(There's a chance I may have had too much coffee.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

I might be a dork . . .

I might be a dork, but I don't care. I just absolutely love this little cloth lunch bag I made and embroidered for myself. I used this tutorial from Purl Bee to make the bag itself, and then I just draw on the apple and stitched it on with embroidery floss.

(It probably would have been more realistic if I had embroidered a bunch of pizza rolls on it, but an apple's much easier to backstitch . . .)

Carrying this lunch bag into my office in the morning makes me feel adorkable.  In a good way.  I decided my sister also needed to feel adorkable, so I made her one, too. The sis is a vegetarian, so her bag looks like this:

(That symbol literally means "No chicken legs", but figuratively should be understood to include meats of all kinds. FYI.)

Join me in geekery! Embroider a reusable lunchbag for yourself! Be adorkable!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Swaps = Cool

I'm kind of in love with swapping handmade things these days. It's more fun for me to make things and give them away . . . but it's awesome getting something in return, too!  Thus, swapping.

I've been coordinating a monthly swap for the Cincinnati branch of the Modern Quilt Guild. We've done two block swaps and a potholder swap already, with a doll quilt swap planned for next month.

Our first swap was a really simple 9-patch block using only citron, black, grey and white. This was my  block. Six people participated, so everyone kept one of their own blocks and got one of everyone else's. Once I had all six of my blocks, I cut each 9-patch in half twice, once top to bottom through the center, and again side to side through the center. Then I put them all back together. It still needs to be quilted, but here's the top and the pieced back.

Our second swap was a "wonky log cabin" block. The colors for the "logs" were supposed to be in the blue/green/aqua family, but the center piece could be any color or fussy-cut the maker wanted. I used a fussy cut piece from Heather Ross's "Underwater Sisters" print. This was my block ---> and this is the top. Pretty simple, all sashed together with a white-on-white paisley print. 

Our most recent swap was a potholder swap. This one was really fun - there were no rules or restrictions, so everyone's potholder really reflected what styles and fabrics they like.

I made this one using the Oh Fransson! Potholder Tutorial:


And I got this little quilty beauty from Amy T.  I totally LOVE the curved quilting she did - you can really see it on the back.
Back corner


So, long story short, Swaps = Totally Sweet.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A slight bag obsession

I don't know if you've checked out Amy Butler's new book yet, but it's TOTALLY awesome. I've always liked Amy's bag patterns and have made a few of them, and this is just a big awesome book full of them! The book features a range of skill levels, sizes, etc., and all of the bags are made with various Amy Butler prints.



Check it out.

That said, ever since I bought it, I've been a little obsessed with making bags. They're enough of a challenge for me to be interesting, but they don't take a TON of time to make. One of my first attempts was this pleated bag, which I kind of love. (Bags are also another great excuse to use awesome buttons and trims!)

pleating detail

I made this little bag for a gift, and I totally love how simple it is. It's just a plain and simple rectangular bag with a top zipper, but the fabric makes this super-simple bag really cute (I think!).

You can kind of see the inside lining -
black and white toille.


I leave you with one last picture. I want to keep him.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A little tour . . .

Oh happy day! My sewing room is officially up-and-running!!!!!!!  

These are the things that musicals are based on! That angel choirs sing about! That teenagers write extensive diary entries on! 

Have you ever seen that Cosby Show episode where Claire gets her own room, and she just lays on the floor making "snow" angels and giggling? Yeah, that was me most of the weekend. 

So, without further ado, welcome to my brand spankin' new sewing room!

Coming in the door to the room—my sewing machine on the left, and my wall of fabric straight ahead.

Cutting table and storage for rulers and other supplies.

This is the best machine ever - a Singer 301. I love the cabinet, too - very art deco with a curved front panel. The whole machine can flip down into the cabinet and tuck away.

Built in bobbin/thread rack in the top drawer of the cabinet.

Curved door to the sewing cabinet. Super cool.

The best part = fabric stash.

If you need me, you know where to look!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Aprons, mysteries and my own personal disaster

I met one of my best friends, Jess, in college. That first week of class freshman year we just kept crossing paths—same dorm, same program, same major—clearly, we were meant to be friends! I vividly remember skipping my first class of college with Jess. We met up to walk to history together, walked all the way across campus, traipsed up the steps of the Humanities Building . . . and then both hit a dead stop, turned and looked at each other, and practically wordlessly, turned and walked to the union for breakfast instead. Jess is one of the reasons I am so happy to be back in Cincinnati after six years! She's now married with three beautiful little boys, all of whom I am determined to spoil silly.

Anyway, being the incredible mom she is, Jess has been wanting to learn to sew aprons for the boys so they can "help" her in the kitchen. I told her I'd help . . . and then I got excited and decided to make a "practice" apron last night.

The top is a blue and green seersucker, and the backing is brown Kona cotton. I made one long side strap that will wrap all the way around and velcro on the right side, so the boys can put them on by themselves.

I raw-edge appliqued a green star on the front. This way, each of the boys can have a different symbol on their aprons to tell them apart—but not so different that one will be "better" than another. I don't have kids, but I still want stuff of my sister's, and we're in our late twenties, so I'm sure it pertains to boys ages 2-6, too.

I made a little something for Jess, too—hey, kids shouldn't get ALL the attention, just because they're occasionally adorable!

It's a surprise so I can't tell you what it is just yet, but hopefully the picture-teaser is enough for now.

In other news, I am going to show you these pictures despite my shame and disorganization. This is my very own personal craft disaster.

I am not proud. I have a whole room that I am paying additional rent on to currently be a storage room for a mound of fabric. Then, to make matters worse, I go root around in the disaster, find what I want, and go sew in my dining room. So, not only is my spare bedroom a disaster, so is my dining room. This cannot go on.

Therefore, you should officially consider these the "before" pictures. "After" pictures will hopefully be coming down the pike in about two weeks!!!!!!!!!!

Be still, my beating heart—a place to put my fabric (sigh)!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Birthday look-back

I guess everyone gets a little contemplative on their birthday. This year, I've been trying to remember where I've been and who I've spent my last several birthdays with . . .

  • 2010: Cincinnati (aka HOME!) with two of the college roomies and my parents
  • 2009: New York City with my bestie, Mark, and the company of "Little House on the Prairie: the Musical".
  • 2008: Northern Ohio with my Mom visiting one quilt shop after another!
  • 2007: Atlantic City with the company of "Movin' Out".
  • 2006: New York City with Mark at Chelsea Piers.
  • 2005: Brunswick, Maine in summer stock with some of the best friends ever
  • 2004: Cincinnati with the fam and some friends from college.
  • 2003: Auburn, New York partying down with the company of "Footloose"

I've gotta say, it was nice being settled and home this year!

My favorite present was a crafty one (the best presents always are, in my opinion)! This bee-yoo-tee-ful afghan, made by my sister. I could NOT love anything more!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mini Mosaic Quilt

Like all of you, I am the proud owner of a million teeny tiny little scraps which I just can't throw away. Part of it, I think, is that I don't want to waste a good piece of fabric. But even more than that, I can't get rid of the last little pieces of my favorite fabrics! I mean, what if I can never find it again! And my last memory of my favorite fabric will be that I THREW OUT the last bit of it!

(I'm a little short of breath and sweaty just thinking about it. . . . )

As a result, I have bags of scraps everywhere!
Last weekend, I suddenly got inspired to make a scrappy mini-quilt for my cube at work. I love the Ticker Tape Quilt from the blog, Crazy Mom Quilts, so I decided to play around with that concept.

I have to say, I really love the result! Plus, it was super-fast, it looks modern, and I finally have a home for some of my favorite scraps.

I was extremely un-fussy with my scraps - I basically left the scraps the same shape they were when I pulled them out of my scrap-bin. I used a basting spray (more about that in a later post) which I totally lurvvvvv for small quilts. Anyway, I layered my backing, batting and the white background fabric and basted them together with basting spray. I also basted down the little scraps. Then, I stuck 'er under the machine, and stitched a perimeter around each of the little pieces (about a 1/4" in from the edges. ish.).

To bind, I trimmed the excess batting even with the edges of the top and then flipped the excess backing fabric over to the front and stitched it down. I left the binding edges raw, too, since the rest of the quilt is raw-edge. I figured it fit better with the overall look . . . and I didn't have to hand-stitch binding that way!   I feel justified. Don't judge me.

(That little green piece with the thread is one of my "startie-stoppies" (used to get your thread started when you start sewing so the thread doesn't jam up in the bobbin . . . know what I mean?). Anyway, it was sitting there, and it was the right color, so i just stitched that on, too!

Also, the white background piece is actually twill, which I used to give a little extra firmness to the quilt since I'm using it as a wall hanging. It helps it to hang flatter than quilter's cotton. It also holds its shape a little more: it doesn't get sucked into itself like quilter's cotton does when you applique onto it.

As if I needed to start buying something else obsessively, I'm now collecting antique and vintage buttons. They're so pretty! They look like candy and they're calorie free!!!! Yeah, I'm totally going to keep buying them. But, in my defense, I use them! I put three of my favorite ones on this little quilt.  :)

It's nice to do something that's a little more free-form and unplanned.

And now my cube is trés awesome!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lovin' Little Quilts

I don't know why—maybe it's the slightly-more-instant gratification—but I've completely fallen in love with making little quilts. When I first started quilting, I didn't understand why anyone would bother making a quilt that you couldn't wrap up in. I'm now older, wiser and have a shorter attention span than a full episode of Frasier, so it's becoming more and more fun to make small quilts that can brighten up my cube at work.

I shall come back to this topic.

This story occurs after I had just recently moved into my new apartment. My craft room wasn't (and still isn't) set up yet, but I got a total wild-hair one Saturday morning, and I suddenly NEEDED to make the New Wave Quilt (from Oh, Fransson!). I'm not really a pastel-y kind of girl, but I got inspired by the vase sitting next to my bed . . . .

So I ran around my apartment, tore through the moving boxes and started grabbing fat quarters from my stash. Next thing I knew, my dining room had been converted to a sewing room, and I was putting together my aqua/pink/white New Wave quilt.

Long story short, I loved making the quilt—it went together super-fast, and just looks really clean and breezy-cool. I also taped the columns on my wall with red electrical tape to keep the pieces organized.

I long for a design wall. . . .

But back to the love of the small quilts . . .

I liked the big version of this quilt so much, that I decided I needed a little version for my cube at work. I'm totally in love with the red/aqua color combination, so I dug back into the stash for my baby quilt. The quilt goes together the same way as in the big version, but just scale the template down until it's small enough for you. Just make sure to do it proportionally on all sides so the shape stays the same.

It's about the same size as the quilt in my last post that I gave to my sister. (I'd measure, but it's hanging by my desk at work right now.)

When giving these as gifts, I like to fold the quilt in half lengthwise, roll it up into a bundle, and tie closed with a piece of selvedge.  Sweet!

I think I see a mini hexi quilt in my future . . . .

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You found me!

Well, in spite of having been a quilt blog-stalker for years now, I'm just now getting around to starting my own. I'm so glad you found me!

To introduce myself, my name is Kelly.

(What I would have looked like in the '60s)

I'm in love with sewing and quilting, and I'm really excited to connect with others who share my fabric/craft/stash-collecting/etsy sickness. I frequently have the moment around midnight when I've finished up a project and am totally DYING to show it off to someone . . . but my neighbors are all asleep. And frankly, they don't "ooh" and "aahhh" the way I want them to anyway, so it's a wash. Ahhh, but NOW when that happens, I'll slam some pictures online and hopefully you'll tear yourself away from your favorite blogs to check in on me and see what's going on in the wee-smalls. And I will totally do the same for you!  We crafters need to stick together!!!

I usually end up giving the things I make away, often to my sis who lives way too far away. This is a mini-quilt I made from some scraps for her to hang in her cube. I really like the way the white space gives the traditional blocks a little bit of a modern vibe.

Karen's Quilt

I like other things, too!  

Things I like:
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Chandler from "Friends"
  • Mrs. Grass's chicken noodle soup
  • using pitchers as vases
  • stale popcorn
  • vintage buttons
  • flower boxes (even though I've killed all of my flowers)
  • both of the Portlands
  • my big, metal coffee thermos
  • my little sister
  • traveling to cities (like London)
  • the "shoes" books by Noel Streatfeild

Things I don't like:
  • picking up heavy things (like couches, or free-weights)
  • grabbing yesterday's coffee cup by mistake
  • wondering if I unplugged the iron as I'm driving away . . . 
  • the day I finished reading Harry Potter and knew there were no more books coming
  • traveling to the wilderness
  • running out of thread

How about you?