Thursday, July 6, 2017

Geranium top

Here's a little bit of sewing I finished about 3 weeks ago but couldn't show you until now because it was for a gift, and I didn't want to take the chance of ruining the surprise. It's a Geranium top, made from the Geranium Dress pattern by Rae Hoekstra of Made by Rae.

The fabric is babywale corduroy from Jess's Spring Quartet line designed for Cloud9 Fabrics. I'm happy to say that these corduroys are finally scheduled to be released THIS MONTH!

The back of the top has three pearl-like snaps for closure (although the pearl-ness doesn't show up in the photo).

The top was a gift for Jess's friend's baby. Unfortunately, it's a size 6-12 months, and the baby is only 3 months or so, so she couldn't model it for us. :) But here are a couple more photos that Jess took before she sent it to her friend.

She put these cute leggings with it as part of the gift.

The pattern was easy to sew (although you'd have thought I was a sewing novice, because I made every conceivable mistake in the process and ended up giving my seam ripper a workout - I forgot how to sew after our Cincinnati trip, I guess ;-Þ), and I certainly recommend it. Plus now there is an Expansion Pack you can purchase so that you can add a collar, a zipper, long sleeves and/or a number of other things to change up the look of the dress - awesome!

I have a number of other sewing projects in the works. Plus Courtney has one of her 4-H projects finished, but I won't be showing you until closer to county fair time next month. Sorry about that, but it will have to wait until after the "fashion review" (there's a clue for you). I can tell you this much, she did a fabulous job on it! I am so proud of her!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Diagonal Flat Bottom Pouch

I've returned to the sewing machine after our trip to Jess and Alex's, but it's been a little slow getting back into the groove. Summertime gets busy with other things. However, I've completed a couple of projects, the first of which I can't show you for a bit. It's a gift, so I don't want to take a chance of spoiling the surprise before it is received. I'll show you as soon as it's safe.

I just finished the second project yesterday. Cloud9 Fabrics asked me last week if I would test a new pattern for them. I said I would, so they emailed me the PDF pattern and shipped me the fabrics and supplies they wanted me to use.

Here are the fabrics I received. The print is a canvas from the Lines and Shapes collection by Leah Duncan. The solids are Cirrus Solids by Cloud9.

Included in the supplies was a beautiful gold metal zipper. It looked so lovely with the fabrics. I couldn't resist taking a picture of it installed.

The fun and unique thing about this pattern is the diagonal design....

.... and it has a method for getting that diagonal angled just right from corner to corner.

Here's the pretty zipper again in the completed pouch.

The dark blue cirrus solid became the lining.

So there you have it. A new twist on a basic pouch. It also has a flat bottom created by boxed corners, which are very easy to do. Thus the pattern is called the Diagonal Flat Bottom Pouch. It will be a free pattern, and you'll be able to find it soon on Cloud9's Make it Sew projects page. Take a look at that page - there are lots of free cool patterns there!

Another sewing project awaits me (ha - more than one... my list is long!), plus Miss Crafty Courtney has just bought fabrics (well, her mom did) for a couple of 4-H projects that yours truly will be helping her with. Lots of fun stuff coming up, and Grandma G will be busy!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Where I've been

* Updated... see below...

If there happens to be anybody still following the ol' blog, you might think I've disappeared into thin air... or given up on the blog completely. Nope! Neither is true. I have a good excuse for my absence. We made another trip to visit Jess & Alex in Newport, Kentucky, and we were gone a week. We had a great time and enjoyed pleasant weather while everybody back home was enduring abnormally cold and wet weather. Good "planning" on our part! ;)

This post is photo-heavy, so I'll  try to be brief with the narration. 

Of course there were 'projects' to work on while we were there. This time most of them were outdoor ones. Grandpa and Alex were into a building project... look at the lumber.

There were consultations with Jess as to how to get it 'just right'.

There were more consultations.

Jess's and my part of the project was to plant plants of many kinds.

When the project was completed (almost), it looked like this, a huge planter box that served a dual purpose of hiding the not-so-attractive wall behind it.

It was deemed a success! The 'almost' part that hadn't been finished when we left was to stain the boards. They needed a couple days drying time, and the weather wasn't cooperating, with off-and-on showers while we were there. I'm looking forward to seeing photos of the staining done and the plants huge and trailing over the edge of the planter box! (Hint, hint, Jess!)

Update: I don't know if Jess saw this post or not yet, but here's the photo she sent of the newly-stained planter box! I think it looks great! What a place to lounge, eh?

Jess has flowers on the fence, and there is a little garden below.

After her hoeing job, she got fancied up as she usually does to water her plants.

Okay... truthfully, she was headed to a funeral visitation, but needed to water in the new plants first. Here's a closer look at that pot.

They'd had their backyard redone, with the old deck torn out and pavers put down, and arbor vitae planted along the fence.

Here's the table and chairs (note the lights hung on the fence)...

... and this is the lounge area. It's very comfy, as Grandpa is demonstrating!

More lights were strung on the opposite fence, for a little ambiance when sitting out there after dark.

Did you notice what was planted in the garden below those lights? There was lots of kale (Alex likes to juice it)... AND Jess bought and planted a rhubarb plant while we were there. We don't know if it'll do well down there in that warmer climate or not. Time will tell.

We ate lots of good food, much of it cooked right there in the backyard. YUM!

Speaking of rhubarb, we brought some along from home. Part of it went into this creme brulee, which turned out just perfect!

Another portion of it went into rhubarb mojitos! Very tasty!

We also ate out a few times, for some more new taste experiences.

Last but not least (well, it really wasn't even last), we went canoeing for a couple of hours. It was very fun and produced a lot of laughter.

So that's the gist of it. Projects, food, relaxing, fun and laughter. Couldn't ask for a better time than that!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunrise Saddle Bag

I was fortunate to be able to test another bag pattern for Dog Under My Desk this past week. As is always the case, Erin did a superb job of writing the pattern, with attention to every detail and lots of photos to demonstrate the instructions. I can never recommend her patterns enough - they are simply the BEST! This bag went together very well. I love that it has princess seams instead of darts, so even if you don't carry a lot of stuff in it, it still keeps its shape and looks great.

Here is the bag I made for the pattern test. 

It's called the Sunrise Saddle Bag, and the pattern can be purchased here. It was just released this morning, and to celebrate Erin's "30-something" birthday on the 8th, it and all the other patterns are on sale at 30% off through this Wednesday. So now's the time to get this pattern and any others you may have had your eye on!

Here's the back of the bag, which has a zippered pocket.

The inside has a pocket identical to the one on the front that hides under the flap.

There is even extra padding in strategic places to protect your cell phone from the twistlock hardware, should you choose to carry your phone in that front pocket.

Finally, here's my usual silly selfie to give you an idea of the size of the bag. As you can see, it has an adjustable strap so you can use it as a cross-body or shoulder bag.

The pears fabric I used is babywale corduroy from Jess's Spring Quartet collection for Cloud9 Fabrics, which will be available in July. The other is linen.

Check out Erin's blog post here for more details and read about the process she went through in developing this pattern. She really works hard to make sure it's 'just right'!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A challenge

I was challenged on Instagram by Renaissance Ribbons to see if I could make the "cutest project" out of one of their preview ribbon samples that Jess had designed for them. I wracked my brain for a while trying to come up with an idea for something super cute that I could put this ribbon on. Finally I had an idea, so I accepted the challenge and said they could send me the ribbon.

If you've been following me for long, you might remember the Pixie Basket I made just over a year ago. I thought those tiny 4½"-long baskets might be just right for showing off ribbons, and they certainly are. Here's the basket I made, sporting the super-cute husky puppy ribbon, designed by How About Orange (a.k.a. Jessica Jones, a.k.a. Jess, my daughter), which will be available sometime in the future.

Doesn't that just make you want to get a puppy? Er... I mean... buy the ribbon? Or lots of ribbons to make all kinds of baskets?

While I was waiting for the ribbon to arrive (which for some reason took 5 days via Priority Mail from California - I don't think the P.O. gave it much priority), I might  have gotten a little carried away using other Jess-designed ribbons I had on hand.

All those animals on tiny baskets - eeeeeek! So fun!

Then Jess made me take fancy photos...

... which she edited for me so they'd look even fancier!

Whaddya think? A prize-winner for a challenge? Renaissance Ribbons thought so, even though there was no prize involved. It was just for fun. And now I have all these cute baskets that I can gift or something - yay!

Guess what? I have one more, too! Along with some fabric, Jess also sent me another sample of a new ribbon she designed. How's this for fun cuteness?

Which is your favorite? Jess likes the popsicles. They're a close second for me, but I just love the skunks (I never thought I'd say that about skunks - not my favorite animal - ha).

The tutorial for the Pixie Baskets is by Heidi Staples of the Fabric Mutt and can be found here. Instead of cutting and seaming two pieces for each side of the outside, I just cut it the same size as the lining and then sewed on the ribbon after fusing the batting. I once again used the tip found here for closing up the turning hole in the lining.

Speaking of fabric Jess sent me, we have many projects planned for it, so I'd better get busy. Here's what she sent, the Spring Quartet line of babywale corduroy that she designed for Cloud9 Fabrics, which will be available in July. You've seen it before on the little Dumpling pouches I made earlier. I only had small samples at that time, but now I have yardage! So expect to see more of this in the near future. :)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

80 Pieces, part 2 - finished!

If you haven't read my previous post, you may want to do so before reading this one. This is a continuation of that, showing the completion of my 80-piece project. This post is photo-heavy, but I want to show you what kind of a process I went through. It was no little job, that's for sure!

I ended the previous post after the quilting and the 48 darts were sewn. All of these pieces below except the top one have the darts, 8 per piece. Next the ends were sewn together and that seam bound.

A top binding piece was added, and this is how one of them looked at that point. Do take note of how well that fabric matches my sewing room wall!

There were the 6 of those little pods plus a center pod. (You can see the bottoms of the pods and the handle off to the sides.)

With a few more seams in each one, their shapes became this.

Then the bottoms had to be added. Wonder Clips to the rescue!

That proved to be some challenging sewing, but I figured out if I used my forceps, it made the job considerably easier. Still challenging, but much more doable.

After the bottoms were added, they had to have bindings (like you can see sticking out at the edges of the seam above). Once again, Wonder Clips proved invaluable!

Those 3 pods above became these... completed. Whew!

The center pod was shaped a bit differently, and the handle was attached to its sides. It'd make a kind of cool Easter basket, don't you think? Quite appropriate for today. But that's not what it is.

Getting closer to the end, the outer pods were attached to the center. Here are the first 3 done. I did them in this order simply so I didn't have to change thread colors as often.

Voilà! All sewn together! And here we have the Honeycomb Basket.

I made it from the pattern written by Beth Studley of Love From Beth. It can be purchased here. I love it! I think it's adorable and worth all the time and effort that went into it.

The pattern calls for only 2 fabrics, but I chose to use 3, which made it a bit trickier, especially when cutting it out. I only had a fat quarter of the aqua fabric, which I wanted to use because it matches my walls so well. It was enough for 3 of the pods... barely! So I worked out the rest of it using the solid blue for the rest of the pods.

Here's what the bottom looks like, in case you're curious.

No, it wasn't Courtney's Easter basket. It was a bit labor-intensive for something like that. Yes, it's for me. What in the world am I going to use it for, you ask? It's a part of my sewing room organization process. It's going to make a better solution for this mess which sits next to my sewing machine.

It will hold these items and more.

I'm not sure what the final arrangement will be. I just tossed some things in there for photo purposes. But I think it will be very handy and certainly more attractive than the mess I showed you above.

Here's another shot, next to my iron, to give you a better idea of its size. It measures about 13" at its widest point, and the center pod is 5" high, not including the handle.

Would I recommend the pattern? Yes, if you don't mind spending all the hours it takes to put it together. There's a lot of quilting, but it's easy. The darts weren't hard to sew. The bottoms of the pods were challenging, as I said above, and they involved some wrangling, as did sewing all the pods together. It was recommended to sew them and the bindings by hand, but I didn't. Some of the bindings aren't the neatest, but they don't really show up that much. I'd do it that way again, because I don't like hand sewing very much (not to mention the extra time it would've taken), plus I think sewing the pods together by machine makes them stronger.

The one negative thing I have to say about the pattern is that the bindings turned out to be too narrow. I had a terrible time (and did lots of grumbling) trying to get them to fit over the seams, especially for the bottom ones which included 2 layers of foam. But it's a simple fix... were I to do it again, I'd just cut the bindings ¼" wider (except for the extended one on the center pod, which was fine).

Would I make another one? Yes, I would... but only if I had nothing else in the sewing queue. It took me about 2½ weeks to make it, sewing a little every day, so it was very time-consuming, but all in all, it was worth it. Just don't ask me to make you one, because I'd have to charge you a fortune! ;)

I had another idea when thinking about putting the scissors in there. I don't want the points to go poking into the fabric and wearing holes in it. It just so happens that a tuna can fits perfectly in the outer pods, so my plan is to take one and glue a couple layers of foam in the bottom (to protect the scissors' points), cover it with matching fabric, and use it in one of the pods. I just haven't done that yet because I was too anxious to show you the completed basket. :)

So there you have it! Will you be making one???