Monday, August 29, 2011

August's "Moon" Bag

This month in the Amy Butler challenge, we were supposed to make a Fringed Hobo bag.  I opted out of the fringe and used some piping instead.  I made the large version of the bag.  I'm not entirely happy with the bag.  As is typical with many of Amy Butler's patterns, the bag is huge.  I don't mind the biggness of the bag.  However, the straps for the large bag end up being really short.  And I feel like the opening is a bit too small for the size of the bag.  I mean, this is a big bag.  You should be able to fit some big things in there.  But, nope.  The opening is too darn small. 

Because of the overall roundness of the bag, I call it my "Moon Bag."  I'm sure I'll find a use for it, even given its flaws of the small opening.  I like the fabric selection and I think the piping is cute.  I think next month's bag might be a little more useful to me, though.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Key Keeper Coin Purse

Okay, I've had this key keeper coin purse thing done since June, but I've put off posting about it.  Mostly because I was not really happy with the way it came out.  I'm fairly new to zippers and had a tough time making this look neat. 

Look, it's all crooked.  Sigh...  Not my best work.

I did like my choice of fabrics, but am just not proud of how it came out.  And I thought this month would actually be easy, given the size of the little thing.

But it does look cute with my teardrop bag from last month, which I get lots of compliments on, by the way!  Maybe I'll do better with the big giant fringed hobo bag for next month.  Sigh...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No tears over the Teardrop Bag

When I first saw June's pattern for the Teardrop Bag in Amy Butler's Style Stitches book, I wasn't that thrilled.  I'm not sure why, but I just didn't really like the bag all that much.  However, now that I've made it, I quite like it.  I love the fabric I picked out.  And I thought it was fairly simple to make.  I hit a few snags with the pattern, but overall, it wasn't too bad.

 The fabric was Moda's Fandango, designed by Kate Spain.  I will say, the most difficult part of this bag was probably turning the handles inside out.  I think it took me longer to get those handles the right way than it did to sew the whole thing.  The handle is quite long, so it was an effort.  And Amy's suggestion to put a safety pin at one end of the handle did absolutely nothing for me. 

Can't wait to make the coordinating coin purse to match my cute new bag!

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Not-So-Perfectly Pleated Clutch

I had been dreading making the May bag from Amy Butler's Style Stitches since I started this challenge.  I had been quite scared of making the pleats.  Well, it's done.  Not quite as perfect, but good enough, in my opinion!  The pleats are not straight in certain spots, but I'm not terribly disappointed.

The fabric was a cotton voile that I bought at Fat Quarter Shop.  The flower was from Ann Taylor Loft.  It's probably a little bit for the bag, but I still like it.  My only regret is making the small bag instead of the medium size.  I think the flower is a slight bit big for the small size.

I've been doing lots of other crafts lately, but haven't been taking many pictures...  I'll catch up one of these days! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No procrastinating around here!

I'm quite proud of myself that I have already finished my April bag in the Amy Butler Style Stitches Challenges.  Ahem...what is the date?  Why, it's only April 5!  And I actually finished it on April 3, but just needed to take pictures and upload them.  Very proud, I must say.

So, this month was a checkbook cover.  I had the same reactions of other people in that I wondered, "what on earth am I going to do with a checkbook cover?"  I write about 1-2 checks per month and haven't had a checkbook cover in years.  I admit, I don't balance my checkbook as I rely heavily on online banking.  So, what will I do with it?  I think I will pass it along to my mom, who hasn't quite yet adapted to the ATM era.

 The finished checkbook cover

A slightly pathetic picture where I am trying to show all three fabrics at once.

The inside of the check cover.  It includes a pen holder!

And here's the outside, just so that you can get a better glimpse of the fabric choice.

I already had the fabric in my stash.  I purchased it at a cute quilting shop in Connecticut called TheYankee Quilter.  I don't remember what the fabric brands were.  I used regular quilting fabric, not home decor fabric as the pattern suggested.  I think that home decor might have worked a little better, as I feel that I can see the outline of the snap through the olive green quilting fabric.  But overall, I still think it came out cute.

The pattern was the first in the book labeled as being "intermediate."  I thought it was fairly easy.  The hardest part was sewing around the curve of the flap, but I just took things slow and the stitches came out pretty good.  I think it also feels pretty easy because I'm getting used to Amy's directions.  Although this is the first time I used magnetic snaps, I still think they're easier than zippers!

I'm really excited about next month's bag and already have all the fabric selected.  It's going to be really gorgeous, provided I can get the pleats to work!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Signs of spring!

Spring is in the air!  I am not a cold-weather fan.  So, the fact that it is officially spring and that warm weather is on it's way makes me very, very happy.  There are definite signs of spring around our yard, including this gorgeous bunch of crocuses that seemed to pop up out of nowhere.

Although the warm weather is starting to come outside, I've still been busy inside doing various crafting projects.  I did have one big accomplishment today.  I picked up a framed cross-stitch project that I started over a year ago! I didn't quite have this finished by Easter last year, but I did finish it...and put off framing it until this year. 

I bought the pattern at this wonderful little store in Mifflinburg, Pa, called The Village Stitchery.  I bought it because I liked the little "jelly bean" beads that were sewn onto each corner.  I also liked the yellow bunny's tail, although that had to be sewn on several times after my son got a hold of it!  I got the framing done at Michael's.  The frame is supposedly intended to be a chalkboard, but I don't think I'll use it for that purpose.  I just wanted something bright and cheerful.

I'll admit it...I still have another Easter cross-stitch pattern that was supposed to be done last year.  I have a feeling it won't be done for this year's Easter either.  But you never know!!! more picture to celebrate that spring is here.  Yippee!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Special projects

My mom and I started a new tradition this past year.  We've decided that every time she comes to visit me from Connecticut, we'd try to do a special craft project together.  Last time, we made fabric wreaths (which I should post pictures of!).  This time, we started a little embroidery project of a girl on a swing under a cherry tree.  I've done a lot of cross-stitch in my life, but haven't done that much embroidery.  I liked this project because it was simple and only took a week to complete. 

The pattern was purchased from "comfortstitching" at etsy.  I made a few changes to the pattern.  I didn't do a mirror image, as suggested.  I also changed some of the colors slightly.  Cherry's hair is a little bigger than the pattern, which did not allow me to add many facial features.  I like to think that she's being a little thoughtful and is looking down, which is why we can't see her eyes.  In reality, I think I just got a little carried away with her hair. 

Comfortstitching is owned by Aneela Hoey, the very talented designer of the upcoming, coordinating fabric by Moda called, "Sherbert Pips."  I actually originally found the embroidery at Anella's blog.  I love the Sherbert Pips fabric a lot and am considering buying some for a future project. 

Today, I spent my son Ethan's naptime cutting fabric for Blocks 9 and 10 of my block of the month club.  I need to get caught up!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March Origami Bags...Completed!

Yet another month has now been completed in JemJam's challenge to create all the bags in Amy Butler's Style StitchesMy six Origami bags are now done.  As I mentioned in my previous posting, I did not especially enjoy making the gussets, but I think I got a lot better as I worked through them.  I also had never put in a zipper before.  I'll admit that I was quite confused on the first one, but then it all just clicked, and I realized it was quite easy. 

So, the question now is what will I do with all of these bags?  Every month, as I start the challenge, my husband asks me, "who is that bag for?" or "what will you do with that bag?"  I often don't have an answer for him, which seemed especially true this year.  Although I originally thought I wanted a whole set of these bags in the same print, I think I may give a few away.  My mom said she needed a new make-up bag, so she'll probably get one of the smaller ones.  I have a friend who is having a baby soon, so she may get the large one (which I think came out the best) filled with baby toys and diapers.  I think I want to keep the extra-large one.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it...I just like it! 

What to do with the rest?  We'll see...

I already can't wait to work on the challenge for April!  It's been a lot of fun.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

156 blocks later!

Well, our group did it!  We sewed 156 blocks to create thirteen 12-block quilts over the past year.  During our reveal party yesterday, we got to see all the blocks which are all going to make gorgeous quilts!  I was amazed by the talent and dedication in that room.  I took lots of pictures and am highlighting a few below.  Excuse the wrinkles!  Some of these squares have been in their paper bags for an entire year!

Cheryl's beautiful squares in yellow, red, gold, and white.

Leann's lovely blocks in sage, rust, and beige

Lindsey's cheerful quilt in purple, turquoise, and orange

Jeannine's contemporary quilt in white, red, blue, and brown. 
Check out the mannequin dress square!  Adorable!

Jeanne's delightful quilt in shades of brown, beige, rose, and sage

Diane's cheery squares in beige, brown, orange, and blue. 
Love the basket of flowers (upside-down in my picture)!

Jackie's pastel fabrics in 1930s reproduction fabrics.  So lovely...

Allison's gorgeous squares in primitive plaids and checks.

Jane's festive holiday quilt in red and green!

Maria's soothing colors of turquoise and green.  I love it!

Pam's splendid quilt of purple and green, including some batiques!

Bobbie's stunning quilt of pastel blue, green, yellow, and green. 
I think I see another dress in there! 

And here's mine in lovely yellows and blues.  Look at the adorable embroidered heart, sewn by Maria, who added a special touch to everyone's quilt.

This quilting experience was an absolute joy for me.  I had such a wonderful time during our party yesterday and am so impressed by the quilts.  I hope the group will attempt to do this again?  Maybe with a little break for a while?  I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Big day tomorrow!

As I mentioned in my very first post, I am part of an informal quilting group with some women I work with at Penn State.  Since last February, we've been working on a monthly block swap.  At the start of the swap, we put together a bag filled with several different fabrics.  Every month, each person receives a different person's bag and makes a 12" block using the fabric and whatever design she chooses.  Well, tomorrow is the big day in which we get our bags back.  I cannot wait! 

When this quilting group started, I must admit that I didn't want to do it.  I felt intimidated by the expert quilters and also felt rusty, as I had not quilted in years.  Well, in the past year since starting this swap, I have created my first quilt top, created numerous handbags (and zipper pouches!), and am working on Block 9 of my Kate Spain 12 Days of Christmas Block-of-the Month program.  And, of course, I bought my wonderful Bernina Aurora to replace my 10-year old inexpensive Singer, an investment that has really paid off.

I can't wait to see the beautiful quilts revealed tomorrow.  I will take a lot of pictures and share these on the blog.  In the meantime, I'm posting two of the blocks that I created for my fellow quilters' blocks.  I'm kicking myself that I didn't take a picture of all twelve that I made.  But at least I took pictures of the last couple!

This is a picture of my first attempt at pinwheels.  I am considering an all-pinwheel quilt for my next project.

The square above was inspired by Jen's recent post (at Miss Punkie Pie ) on the layer cake blocks.  I really liked her selection of fabrics and found the pattern at Moose on the Porch Quilts' "Layer Cake Quilt Along."  I did make a slight change to the order of the fabric in the squares with the rectangles.  I'd like to say it was intentional, but really, I just made a mistake and thought it looked pretty even if it doesn't exactly follow the pattern.  I'm curious to see if the recipient will like it! 

Tomorrow is going to be a lot of fun...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gussets and Zippers...Ugh...

I've been working diligently on my 6 (yes, 6!!!) Origami Bags from Amy Butler's Style Stitches book.  I guess I would say they're coming along.  Here's the fabric that I've been using:
And another one just because the fabric is so pretty:

I really like dandelions, so this fabric really called to me.  It was purchased quite inexpensively from  I bought the lining fabric a little later, so it didn't make it into my picture.  It's pink with white polka dots. 

Anyhow, on this soul-searching Amy Butler purse journey, I've found that I've learned quite a bit about myself and my sewing likes and dislikes. 

I really enjoy the following:
  • Making handles
  • Top-stitching
  • The big "reveal"
I do not like the following:
  • Having to try to open a zipper when a bag is inside out as I missed the step where it says, "Leave the zipper half-way open in order to turn the bag right-side out. 
  • Sewing gussets.  Before this experience.  I didn't even know what a gusset was.
  • Sewing gussets on 6 bags because I am crazy enough to sew 6 bags at once.  (That includes 12 gussets on the exterior fabric and 12 on the lining for a grand total of 24 gussets!!!!  Ugh!)
  • Having the use the seam ripper on 6 different bags because I sewed the tab onto both the exterior fabric and the lining, instead of just to the exterior (once again, as indicated in the instructions).
  • Sewing gussets.  Really.  They're not a favorite of mine. 
So, my 6 bags are almost complete.  I have 5 done, with the 6th in progress.  They're coming out rather nice, in spite of my difficulties listed above.  I will say, zipper pouches are not the most exciting thing I've created.  I think I like sewing bags a bit more. 

Will post pictures soon!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reversible Shopper - FINISHED!

I made it my goal to finish the Reversible Shopper from Amy Butler's Style Stitches this weekend.  I had already cut the fabric last weekend and ironed the fusible interfacing on last night.  So, all that was left was the sewing - my favorite part! 

After making the Cosmo bag, I was worried about the difficulty of the remaining bags.  Well, the Reversible Shopper was MUCH easier than the Cosmo bag.  Fewer curves, fewer pieces, and an easier method of turning the bag inside out.  It came together really quickly.  I think it's cute, although I must say, it is HUGE.  Much bigger than I thought it would be. 

Here are a few pictures!

Some topstitches on the pocket.

I find creating handles to be very satisfying!

The big reveal!

Here's one side of the reversible shopper.

And here's the other side.  So cute...

And so, you can get a perspective on size, here's me with the new bag!

The only thing I changed was to opt not to create the narrow portion of the handle.  I tried, but my sewing machine (which is a very good machine!) just did not want to go through that many layers.  Actually, it was the thickness of the fabric, which would barely fit under the foot.  Unless I did something wrong with creating the handles, I'm not sure what type of sewing machine would have been able to sew through that thickness. 

So, next month is the Origami Bags.  I already have some fabric lined up and am excited about it.  I'm not sure what size(s) I will make yet, but will figure it out.  One caveat...I've never done a zipper before...and I'm scared!