Friday, September 28, 2012

Stretchy fabric pouch


Here's a brief Public Service Announcement: if you have a significant other who asks you for a zipper pouch from from an event shirt made of stretchy fabric (like a polo shirt) don't break out in hives like I did. Or hem and have and put if off for oh, several months. You need this flat, unlined zipper pouch tutorial from Cinderberry Stitches and...

...this amazing product called Wonder Tape. I found it at JoAnn's on the notions wall with the other seam tapes. It's double sided tape that you can sew through and that dissolves in water! A very sweet grandma-type lady working at JoAnn's took pity on my plight and told me about this miracle product. I used it instead of pins and it held the fabric together (and to the zipper) and kept it from stretching as I sewed. I used a regular needle (not ball point) and it worked out just fine.

So three months and 20 minutes later my husband had his new pouch (insert sheepish look here). It is unlined and I'm curious how it will wear being such a stretchy fabric but he was thrilled and therefore so was I. Just wanted to share in case you might be able to put this to use (holiday gift planning anyone?).

September cupboard

 Happy Friday everyone! Can you believe we're at the end of September already? Me either. I swear it was just January. It was pointed out to me by one of my favorite readers that I hadn't shown my September cupboard yet. Gah! Called out! I'd love to tell I forgot but the truth is, it wasn't quite done.
 This month's display was put together a little here and a little there. I made a new mini quilt that I LOVE. I think I've loved probably 7 of the 9 I've made so far this year - pretty good if you ask me!
 Harper's contribution - from the story I think much feather blowing happened at school the day these were made, it cracks me up just thinking about 8 three-year-olds chasing a rooms full of feathers.
 Owl from Target (Patch collection I think - I toyed with painting it black, I think I'd like the contrast, but for now I'm leaving it gold). New oak leaf and acorn hoop.
 Just a couple tiny bits of fall happiness - oh it's still supposed to be 88 here today but I can dream.
 New tiny pumpkin hoop - wool felt and embroidery. Took way longer than it should have.
 Oak leaves found on one of our nature walks - I traced and cut them out of wool felt, added some acorns (because we LOVE acorns around here) and a month of sewing here and there later, voila!
 Every time I picked this up to sew a few stitches on my child suddenly zeroed in on me and wanted to "help" which is why it took approximately 100 times longer to finish than I anticipated. Said with love.
 These mini quilts have been awesome for trying out new quilt blocks. I used some of the amazing wood grain fabric from Aviary 2 - seriously one of my all time favorites.
 This was the RiverBank block from the Modern Blocks book (99 blocks by different designers, compiled by Susanne Wood). It came together easily and I love the impact of the center stripe. I did make mine offset - I just thought it added a little interest.
And finally one gratuitous cute kid shot - new haircut just about killed me. It made her look way too grown-up even though it's adorable.

Hope you have a good weekend - see you back here next week with an update on all I've been sewing for Sewing Summit! (No pressure from all the other weekender bags and amazing clothes I see being whipped together all over blogland and Instgram - HA).

Oh and I am completely in love with Instagram - you can find me as darcychildress if you're hooked too :-)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Apron Love


Check out these cuties! I don't know about you but I love a good apron, especially ones that are cute and functional. I'm planning on using one (or all) of these at Sewing Summit but they are made with craft vendors in mind by Tiffin Mills over at Linwood Avenue and I think they'd be perfect for any vendor/teacher/crafter/room mom volunteer. Plus you won't believe how affordable they are! You can find more in Tiffin's etsy shop.

 Remember the bird painting I made at the Paint Something Workshop with Jenni Horne back in August? Well I found Jenni after seeing Tiffin's lovely blog Linwood Avenue in Artful Blogging and then I was lucky enough to get to spend the day sitting right next to her painting and chatting! These girls are SO talented and lovely - and I don't know about you, but I love to support local artists when I can.

 The best part? These guys have dreamed up an art retreat that's happening right here in Atlanta at the lovely Serenbe in January - Southern Circle...a creative retreat. I feel like so often I read about all these fun things going on all over the country and think "why isn't any of that going on here?!". We have so many amazing artists, crafters, sew-ers and bloggers here in the Atlanta area, it's high time we started hanging out together and having fun! I think this will be an amazing weekend of creativity, friendship and fun and I'm not getting any kick-backs from them for saying this ;-) Just want more cool stuff like this happening in our city so I'm trying to be supportive.

 Go check out the fun things they have going on at their blog: Southern Circle Retreats and think about attending! If my PSW experience is an indication it will be relaxing, fun and productive. And you can leave those little (or big) darlings at home for a couple of nights - the prefect escape weekend, close enough to drive to. Go look!

Hope everyone has a lovely First Day of Fall, no matter how warm the weather ;-)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Craft Buds Craft Book Month Mini Quilt

 Happy Friday everyone! I know you've probably been wondering if I was ever going to post a sewing project again and so here you go! Do you guys know the Craft Buds blog? I just recently discovered it and it's pretty awesome. Then Lindsay started her annual Craft Book Month and I was completely hooked. The only thing I have more than fabric of is BOOKS! Seriously, as a voracious reader and crafter from way back (think birth) this was completely my bag baby. After finishing my last huge quilt project I wanted something quick and relatively easy. I've loved the Pretty In Patchwork Doll Quilts book by Cathy Gaubert since the moment I touched it and after reading all the great posts all month over at Craft Buds I was inspired to pull it out and make this mini quilt.
 This is the Maverick Star mini quilt from the book made with Farmyard by Sentimental Studios for Moda (I think I bought this fabric 2009? not sure if there is any more floating around out there). As soon as the calendar turns to September I start to yearn for cooler weather (ha!), colorful leaves and pumpkin displays. It seemed like the perfect time to use some of this great fall fabric from my stash and at least make the sewing room look a little more fall-ish.
I followed Cathy's pattern exactly as it was written, just changing the initial block sizes from 8" to 7" and it some together very quickly. Like one afternoon quick, which was exactly what I needed. If you're new to making wonky stars the larger size of this and Cathy's clear illustrations make it a great project to start with.

I fussy cut the center square since it ended up being 7' I just sized the rest of the squares down to match. Also, since my squares were 7" and I wanted all the sides of my star to be from the same fabric I cut just FOUR squares and then trimmed them in half, so I got them all from one fat quarter. I used an olive green shot cotton for the background and it finished up just shy of 20" square. I love it! Even though the weather still feels way more summer than fall around here, I'm doing what I can to get ready for fall indoors ;-)

If you haven't checked out all the amazing projects that bloggers have been sharing for the Craft Buds Craft Book Month 2012, spend a little time this weekend treating yourself to a look. You'll be inspired!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sprinkle Cookies



Since Harper's birthday was on a school day I wanted to take a little something to celebrate with at the end of the day and Harper's teacher told me that cupcakes were fine but that what usually happened was that the icing got eaten and the cakes thrown away. Bummer.


But these cookies seemed like a great alternative! They fit right in with our summer of sprinkles and are festive enough for a birthday party. Oh and they taste great. Like shockingly great for what they are. Like they might have been dinner the night we made them. Daddy was out of town, what can I say?

Sprinkle Cookies (adapted from Mom's Big Book of Baking by Lauren Chattman):
2 1/2 C flour (I ended up adding an extra 1/4 C because of high humidity)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C (sticks) butter, softened
1 C sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C sprinkles

Combine dry ingredients and whick to mix. In separate large bowl, cream butter and sugar, then add eggs and vanilla - mix till smooth. Then add dry ingredients till just combined.

Place sprinkles in a bowl and drop teaspoons of dough in and roll to coat. We tried to leave a little empty spot on the bottom. A cookie scoop (like a mini ice cream scoop) made it a bit easier to work with the dough which was a little sticky - you could also refrigerate the dough for a bit.

 Bake about 10 minutes at 375 degrees (cookies should be pale on top but a bit golden on the edges). Let cool on rack 5 minutes then finish cooling on wire racks. The original recipe says ungreased sheets but I used my silpats like always.

Also, we used Target brand ice cream sprinkles and they worked great but I'm pretty sure you could use any sprinkles! These were so tasty I'm sure we'll be making them again - Halloween sprinkles? Christmas sprinkles? Bring it on!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Birthday Girl!

 We celebrated a big birthday around here recently (big because they're all big at this age :-) when a certain someone turned THREE! How can she be three already? I have a feeling I'm going to be asking myself that same question as every year passes. We started the big day out right with Chocolate Chip Muffins for the birthday girl, with candles of course. I told myself it was better than just letting her eat chocolate chip cookies for breakfast but that's debatable.What wasn't debatable was how yummy they were!
Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from Mom's Big Book of Baking by Lauren Chattman):
2 C flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Combine the above (dry ingredients)  in a medium size bowl and whisk to mix.

1/2 C (1stitck) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (should still be stir-able)
2/3 C packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 C milk

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the wet ingredients. Then with a spoon stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Then add 1 C semisweet chocolate chips. Fill paper lined cupcake pans about 3/4 full. Sprinkle each muffin with about for that nice crackly top. I also added a few chocolate sprinkles because it has been the summer of sprinkles around here.

Bake 22 - 25 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown and A toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes then finish cooling on wire rack.

Might last 2 days covered on the counter but ours didn't make it even that long ;-)


Friday, September 14, 2012

Holy Hamster in my Machine!

 In case you have this thought (I wonder if my machine might need to be cleaned out...) like I did, let me go ahead and tell you yes, Yes it probably DOES need to be cleaned out. I mean eeeww! And I feel like I've been sewing a fair amount lately but not a crazy amount, not even as much as I'd really like to be (Laundry, dinner, the kid - these things all cut into my sewing time. I know you know).
So Deborah did a great series on her blog back at the end of June about machine maintenance and cleaning and I thought I'll get around to it. Clearly I could have done it sooner but at least the hamster's worth of lint and lint-turned-into-felt is finally out of there. And I know you'll be shocked to hear this, but it sews like a new machine! Whee! And I didn't have to spend $100 for a cleaning and "tune-up". Sweet.

Oh and I am in NO WAY comfortable disassembling or reassembling ANYTHING. Ask my husband or best friend - the people I usually call on for help. But Deborah's videos are great and I was brave and you can be too!

Have a great weekend, see you back here next week :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Easy Peasy Charm Square Baby Quilt

We welcomed a new baby almost three weeks ago, she came about five weeks early but baby and mom and fine and home now and we are all so in LOVE with her already! Harper and I wanted to make her something special to welcome her home so "we" whipped up this baby quilt. I used two charm packs I had from the It's a Hoot line and Harper's job was mostly rearranging them :-)

Here's the world's shortest "tutorial":
- Take 2 charm packs and pull 56 squares out
- Arrange in a way that looks good to you, 7 squares across, 8 down
- Sew, Sandwich, Quilt, Bind
- HAhaha

I'm hilarious right? Seriously, this makes a great size for a stroller quilt or tummy time playmat and the best part? This layout fits perfectly on ONE yard of backing fabric! I let Harper pick out the backing and she choose a pink AMH flannel from the Good Folks line that I'd been hoarding, that kid has good taste!

I mean, come ON! Does it get any cuter than that?!
:-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quilt for market!

 Well hello there! Let's catch up this week, ok? I don't want to jinx it but it seems like life might be simmering back down from the full rolling boil it's been at the past few weeks.

So here's a quilt I'm quite proud of - I had the pleasure of making this sample quilt for Blend Fabrics to take for their booth at quilt market! This Hopscotch Quilt uses the Little Monkey line by Sharon Kropp and it's adorable. It's full of the cutest little monkeys that I can just see making into a sock monkey or felt softies and this awesome dark blue text fabric with 10 little monkeys jumping on the bed. This would be so perfect for a little boy's room.
The numbers are from a pre-printed panel that I fussy cut then re-joined to make the hopscotch pattern. For me this was a huge quilt - about 80x60 - larger than I normally work on and I was really proud of how it turned out. I did some straight line organic lines for the quilting - ok, almost organic, I did mark some small guidelines to use as I went across so my lines didn't all end up being diagonal! You know you're happy with how something turned out when you're sad to hand it over :-)

Even though I haven't made it to quilt market I'm pretty excited that something I made has!

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