Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - Weekender Bag Review

It was a tough battle, but I won.  This bag was definitely the most difficult bag I'm made yet.  But I kind of compare it to childbirth - tough to get through, but so worth it in the end!  It's been a few days now, and I've already almost forgotten how difficult it was - I repeat - almost!
I'm happy with the structure of the bag, since I used the QAYG technique instead of the Peltex on every panel.  It's definitely stable enough and stands up well on it's own.  What really made this bag difficult to sew was the piping in the seams.  But the bag wouldn't look as good without it, so it was worth suffering through the process.

One success though - I didn't break any needles!  The instructions actually suggest that you have a package of new needles on hand, and from the reviews I read, most people go through several.  My Bernina's a tough old gal...

Lots of reviews I read mentioned that the bottom lining panel seemed too big, and I have to agree.  When I realized it, I could have stopped and altered it to fit, but I took the easy way out, like everyone else, and just put some little pleats in the bottom corners to take up the extra fullness.  Afterall, it's on the inside of the bag and will never be noticed, so I'm fine with that.

I also increased the strap length by 9 inches (also recommended on a review) so it can be carried as a shoulder bag, and that length worked out great.

So all-in-all, I'm very happy with how this bag turned out, but I won't be making another one anytime soon.
It's for my granddaughter for Christmas.  Her mom wanted an overnight bag just for her, and I think this will be just perfect.  Oh, the things we do for love...


Friday, December 7, 2012

Giveaway Day Winner

Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the post to find out who won the Eyeglass Pouch in my Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My luck is changing!

I've never considered myself a lucky winner.  Door prizes, raffles, you name it - I seldom win...  (except for the time I won a 2-ton hydraulic car jack - twice! - but that's another story...)

Anyway, I finally won something!  Remember this hat I showed you a few days ago?

It was made entirely with Jo Morton fabrics from Andover, and Andover gives a weekly prize for projects made with their fabrics.  I thought - what the heck - I'll never win if I don't submit it, so I did - and I won this week!  Here's a link...
My Andover

Now maybe I should buy a lottery ticket...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - Weekender Bag

I finally took the plunge...  I've admired Amy Butler's Weekender Bag pattern for quite some time now, but was hesitant to try making one.  The pattern calls for tons and tons of interfacing and Peltex, and if you buy everything on the material list it becomes VERY expensive to make - and probably pretty difficult as well.  But then I read about an alternative construction method on Elizabeth Hartman's blog, Oh, Frannson, that eliminates all that Peltex.  Count me in!!!  That's all the encouragement I needed to give this bag a try.

Elizabeth uses only cotton duck, thin batting, and quilting cotton.  She used a "quilt-as-you-go" patchwork technique that looks amazing.  I opted to just use one piece of fabric, instead of the patchwork, but still used the same quilting technique to secure all the layers together, stitching vertical rows every half inch.
I think this is probably the most challenging bag I've tried so far, but I haven't run into any problems - yet...  It's been years since I've made piping - let alone applied it to a bag - and I love the extra detail it provides.
So wish me luck in completing this monster.  I think I'm going to love it when it's done, but I don't think this is something I'll want to make dozens of, that's for sure!

And if you're looking for my Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day post, just click here.  Good luck!!!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Giveaway Day

Welcome to Giveaway Day, hosted by Sew, Mama, Sew.  Up for grabs is this 6" Eyeglass Case, handmade by me, of course!  I've used a Flex-Frame in the top, so you just have to squeeze the sides of the pouch top and it pops open, then snaps shut again when you release it. I have added a split key ring on the back of the pouch so it can be attached to a belt loop, purse or backpack. So handy when you're hiking or biking! Just clip it on and off you go!

The outer fabric is a quilting weight cotton that is the color of milk chocolate, with bright yellow graphics. The lining is a solid yellow cotton. The pouch and the sleeve that covers the flex-frame are entirely backed with fusible fleece for extra padding to protect your glasses.
The main pouch measures 3 1/2" wide and 6" long. The overall length, including the flex frame at the top, measures 7".

I make Flex-Frame Pouches in three sizes, as follows:  (the one in this giveaway is the 6" size)

Size Chart for Flex-Frame Gadget Pouches:
Note – Flex-Frame closure adds an addition 1” to the height of each pouch.
5” Pouch: 3 ½” x 5” [88.9mm x 127mm] fits iPhone4 or smaller, maximum phone/gadget size is 4.5” x 2.31” x .37” [115.2mm x 58.6mm x 9.3mm]
5.5” Pouch: 3 ½” x 5 ½” [88.9mm x 139.7mm] fits iPhone5 or smaller, maximum phone/gadget size is 5” x 2.31” x .37” [127mm x 58.6mm x 9.3mm]
6” Pouch: 3 ½” x 6” [88.9mm x 152.4mm] with rounded bottom corners, designed for eyeglasses.

To see the other sizes (and more) feel free to visit my Etsy Shop, Cotton Cellar, by clicking here.

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment telling me what make/model cell phone you have.  Simple!  The deadline for comments is Dec. 7th at 8pm EST.  Then I will use the Random Number Generator widget to pick a winner and announce it here.  Remember - if you're a No Reply Blogger, then please make sure you include your email address in your comment so I can reach you if you win!
International entries welcome!

And don't forget - pop on over to Sew, Mama, Sew to see all the other fantastic giveaways!

Comments are now closed.  Thanks for participating!
Mr. Random Number Generator has drawn a number....

And the person who left lucky Comment #53 is....
Congratulations Principeta!  I will email you right away and I'll ship this out to you as soon as I get your mailing address.
A big "THANK YOU" to everyone who left a comment.  Now I will tally up the results of my cell phone survey and see which phone is the most popular.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Giveaway Day

This is coming up next week.  Hmmmm.....
what should I give away this time????
Check back on Monday for more details!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Gifts

Warning - the following post contains pictures of Christmas gifts, so my family members should stop here - don't read any further unless you want to ruin the surprise at Christmas.  Proceed at your own risk.  :)
OK - hopefully we've scrolled down far enough to not ruin the surprises for anyone.  So here we go...
I just finished making a couple of presents, and thought you might enjoy seeing them.  Remember the old "Memory" or "I Spy" card games we used to play as kids?  This is a fabric version.
I've made 2 sets - one for my grandson, and one for my granddaughter.  There are 25 pairs of matching squares in each (that's 100 squares total - I think I can make them in my sleep now!)  I made them using this tutorial from Cottage Mama.
Then I made a matching fabric box to store them in, using this tutorial from Pink Penguin, only I adjusted the size to fit my project.
The finishing touch was an extra square with the child's initial printed on one side, and the game rules printed on the other (thanks to Cottage Mama for providing the rules with the tutorial).  I printed them out on fabric from my computer, then cut them down to size and made them to match the other squares in the set.

All in all, I'm thrilled with how these turned out and can't wait to see the little ones playing with them.  And Christmas is creeping right up on me, so I'd better get back down to my Cotton Cellar and get to work!  Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - Selvages

I finally made a selvage project!  I've seen so many of them floating around the internet, and started saving them long ago, but have never made anything with them, until now.  (This is actually my second attempt to make a selvage hat - you don't want to see the first one - trust me!)

I have a friend who will be starting chemo soon, so I wanted to make her a special hat to wear as she looses her hair.  She is a huge fan of Jo Morton fabrics, and also loves paisley.  So I used a Jo Morton paisley for five of the six hat panels, and pieced some Jo Morton selvages for the front panel and the brim.

To be honest, I started out making a beret-style hat that was made totally from pieced together selvages.  It turned out so small that it just perched on the top of my head, and the selvages didn't allow the fabric to drape properly, so it just sat there like a pancake on the top of my head - it looked so ridiculous that I burst out laughing before I took my seam ripper to it, and salvaged what I could of the selvages (try saying that six times fast!).  I think this newsboy cap is a much better pattern for this project, so that's what she's getting...  It would have looked good with selvages all around, but by the time I cut apart the first hat, I was all out of Jo Morton ones.  So the paisley worked, and I hope she likes it...

(I realize this picture's not the best, but I was in a hurry so just dropped the hat on top of a candle hurricane centerpiece on my table - not the best background, but works in a pinch.)


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - where's my wine...?

Is anyone else getting stressed out over the upcoming holidays?  Seems like there are still so many things on my "to do" list and fewer and fewer days to get them done.  I'm so pleased that I finished my husband's quilt though - that one was a priority this year - it seems like his quilt always got bumped to the bottom of the list so this year I decided to knock that one off early.  All that's left is the hand-stitching on the binding and I'll have to do that when he's not around so he won't see it.  Once that's done, I'll post pictures - I promise!  I'm so happy with the quilting on this one - can't wait to show it to you!

Now I'm working on two of these for my grandchildren, but I've made some little changes.  I'll share them soon too...  almost done...

Then there's the hours I've spent tweaking my Etsy listings in preparation for a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale.  That's right - a SALE!  10% off your entire purchase 11/23 through 11/26.  So if you've got any Christmas shopping left to do, check it out.  Many Etsy shops are taking advantage of this promotion.  Just type "Black Friday Etsy" or "Cyber Monday Etsy" in Etsy's search bar and see how many matches pop up.  It's amazing!

Speaking of Etsy - I finally sold my first quilt on Etsy today - in fact, not just one quilt, but TWO!  Everyone told me to be patient, and maybe that patience is starting to pay off.  I've sold lots of smaller items, but not the quilts - until now...  Woo Hoo!!!

Well, gotta get back to work (or maybe that glass of wine I've been craving).  I'm putting in a lot of extra hours volunteering at my local quilt shop these days, so I have to make good use of the little time I have at home and get some more things knocked off that list...


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - What's Behind Curtain #1?

I'm almost finished quilting my husband's quilt and I've had to do a little "creative engineering" to keep it out of sight.  My quilting machine is the first thing you see when you come down the stairs, and while I trust him to not look, it's a little hard to avert your eyes when the quilt is right under your nose!  So I hung an old shower curtain as a temporary screen.  He knows I'm working on a quilt for him, but I really want to surprise him on Christmas, so I don't want him to see the finished result until then.  It might not be pretty, but it works in a pinch!  I should have pictures of the finished quilt in time for next week's Tasting Table Tuesday post...
By the way, my Juki is behaving VERY nicely!  I'm so glad I decided to keep her :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wristlet Roundup at Dog Under My Desk

Erin, at Dog Under My Desk, is doing a Round-Up of items people have made using her patterns, and she has featured some of my Essential Wristlets on her blog post.
Thanks Erin!  And if you want to see what everyone else is making, visit Erin's blog and prepare to be inspired!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - Bullseye!

Yesterday I finished piecing my husband's Target quilt.  It's his Christmas present this year, but I can show it to you here because he never reads my blog.  Not really a computer kinda guy...

My original plan was to add sashing between the blocks, but after I laid it all out, I decided I liked the blocks better without sashing.  So I just added a narrow inner border in a muted earthy green, playing off of the bullseye centers, then an outer border of black with narrow brown sketched lines.  I think it's just the right finishing touch.

Now I just have to decide how I want to quilt this...

  1. Straight lines on either side of every seam?
  2. Concentric circles in each bullseye, and at the intersection of each block (where the brown points all come together)?
  3. One big series of concentric circles starting in the very center of the quilt and radiating outwards to the very outer edge of the quilt?
  4. Some sort of traditional feather design in each block?

What's your suggestion???

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm in LOVE!

I knew this would happen...  I've been dreaming about the new Bernina 710 ever since I saw a YouTube video about the 7 Series a few months ago.  The two sides of my brain have been arguing about it ever since.  "I want it - No, I don't need it - But I want it! - The one you have is fine - But the new one is amazing! - Yes, but it's too much money... "

I'm sure you get the picture.  And to make things even tougher, my hubby keeps telling me he'll buy it for me for Christmas if I want it.  How's that for a sweetheart!!!  He knows how much my sewing means to me, and he's SO good to me.  But I also know that I won't sleep at night if we spend that much money before the holidays.  So I'm sleeping on it till after the first of the year, and see how I feel then.

But in the meantime, I stopped at a Bernina dealer this week and "test drove" one.  That was a big mistake.  I never should have done it.  Now I REALLYYYYY want one!  It's the most amazing machine, and the biggest plus is the ginormous 10" of throat space on this baby!!!!
There are so many great features on this machine that I'm not even going to try to list them all.  Stop at your local shop and check it out for yourself.  Or you can see it here if you don't want to make the trip.

If anyone has any first-hand experience with this machine that might sway me one way or the other, I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - Target Quilt

I hope everyone is safe now that Hurricane Sandy has passed by.  We had lots of rain and wind here, but we're fine.  And our daughter and her family in NJ are fine as well - thankfully!  It was a scary night for all of us, but everyone is ok today.  I sure hope that's not an indication of what our winter weather will be like this year!
Now for today's Tasting Table.  I've started a new quilt!  A few months ago, I was awestruck when I first saw David Butler's Curious Nature quilt and his collection of Parson Gray fabrics.  (If you missed it, here's a link to his site.)  My husband is an avid trap and target shooter, and I thought this would make a perfect Christmas gift for him.  After all, everyone else has quilts I've made for them, but I've never made one for him.  I think it's time :)
I could have just ordered a kit and make the Curious Nature quilt, but then I'd be making the exact same quilt as everyone else, and I've never liked to do that.  I'm often inspired by quilts I see, but I prefer to make mine a little different than everyone elses.  Kits are fine - they're just not for me...
So here's my take on David's quilt - his pattern is on the left, and my interpretation is on the right.  I'm making nine smaller blocks instead of one big one, and I'm using Civil War Reproduction fabrics.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - Cotton Cellar Tour

My Tasting Table is pretty messy today.  I've been working hard to get some new items to list on Etsy.  Here's the mess I left last night - Essential Wristlets in various stages of completion...
As you can see, the black one and the teal one were finished, and since then I've finished the black and red one on the left.  There are still two more cut out and ready to sew - hopefully tomorrow.
Here's the stack of four that I just listed in my Etsy shop.  All ready for a Holiday Party!  You can see the listings here.

Now for the tour I promised you.  In case you didn't believe me when I said my Tasting Table was pretty messy today, I wasn't lying.  I DID NOT tidy up before I took these pictures.  I know - I should be embarrassed to let you see this mess, but I consider myself fortunate to have a dedicated sewing space - even if it is in the cellar!  I can make a serious mess (and I do!) and still be able to walk away and leave it, without it disrupting anything (or anyone, as the case may be...) else in the house.
Here's what you see as you come down the stairs to my Cotton Cellar...
Just off the right side of the picture is a partition wall.  I share the left side of the basement with the laundry, and my husband gets the right side of the basement (except for my drop-leaf basting table - hehe).

And here's another view of my main work space.  Both tables have machine lifts in them.  You can see my Bernina on one of them.  That's my everyday sewing machine.  My Juki that I use for quilting is in the other table, but I normally use that table for cutting fabric - so when I need to quilt, I just move the mat and raise my Juki up - so that table is dual purpose.

And here's a shot of my pressing station.  I really should have tidied this one up just a bit, but hey - I'm a busy gal - who has time to clean!  This was my parent's first kitchen table (early 1950's era) and I covered it with batting and canvas to make a pressing table that is firm and large enough to iron a full width of 45" fabric - great for quilt backs!  I put risers underneath the legs to raise it up to a more comfortable height, and put some shelves underneath to store my bolts of interfacing.
The ironing press you see to the left is such a time saver!  It works great when fusing interfacing to all those purse pieces!
It seems like I have boxes of fabrics and scraps stacked everywhere.  I dream about sorting all my scraps and organizing all my fabrics, but there never seems to be enough time - there's always something else I have to get done first.   Maybe someday...  In the meantime, I'll keep dreaming of the perfect system.

So there you have it - a peek into my Cotton Cellar.  I don't know about you, but I LOVE looking at other people's studios.  Who's going to post their pictures next???

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pattern Review - new Wristlet

Remember the wristlet pattern I mentioned in yesterday's post?  I just finished making my first one, and I'm really happy with the new zipper technique I learned.  That itty bitty tab on the end makes such a difference!
In fact, I'm happy with the whole thing!  I just love this fabric.  It's from Anna Griffin's Honoka Collection and it's a grayish plum color with ivory flowers and centers the color of goldenrod.  (The colors in the first picture are the most accurate.)

As usual, Erin's pattern is packed full of photos and detailed step-by-step instructions and I had no trouble following along.  Inside the wristlet, I stacked two pockets on top of each other.  The larger one for a passport and cell phone, and a smaller one on top for credit cards or ID.  With an overall size of 7.5" x 5", there's still plenty of room left over for other essentials.  This one will be listed in my Etsy shop shortly, along with a couple more next week, if all goes as planned.
So if you're looking for a good, basic wristlet pattern, this is the one.  Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - on Wednesday, again...

Seems like this has happened before - I get sidetracked doing other things and suddenly realize it's Wednesday!  Hope you don't mind a late post.

I've spent the better part of the last 2 days catching up on my Etsy listings.  I've listed all the items that the NJ teacher's didn't buy, plus a few more things I've made since then.  Now I'm off to make some of these wristlets with another new pattern I just bought from Dog Under My Desk.
The wristlet isn't significantly different from some other ones I've made, but I'm very interested in her zipper installation instructions.  I really like the way her zippers look and I'm anxious to see how it's done.
I'm planning on putting 2 pockets inside each one - one for a cell phone, and a smaller one for ID/Credit Cards.  The perfect wristlet to grab and go when you're out and about after work this holiday season.
What's on your Tasting Table this Wednesday?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Productive Day!

I got two more things crossed off my list yesterday.  A fabric basket and a bucket hat.  My DIL wanted a new fabric basket and she picked out the fabric.  Gotta love these new chevrons that are showing up everywhere!  I used Pink Penguin's tutorial for the general directions, but changed the size considerably.

The hat is made with a really cute dog print outlined on gray (sorry I don't know the name - it was a fat quarter and the half that I got was the unmarked selvedge - don't you just hate it when that happens!).  The pattern is  from Little Things to Sew by Oliver + S.  My grandson's name is Grayson (nicknamed Gray) so the gray fabric is perfect, and what better print for little boys than puppy dogs :)
Now I'm on my way to the PO to get them mailed.  Hope you're enjoying today's sunshine!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday

I had so much fun babysitting my granddaughter yesterday that I totally forgot to get my camera out!  But this is what we had here to greet us when we got home today - blue sky, not a cloud in sight, and glorious fall colors.  Aren't these yellows and golds just spectacular?
My carload of stuff (laptop sleeves, wristlets, iPad sleeves, iPhone pouches, and key fobs) was a success with the New Jersey teachers.  There's not much left, but I'll post here when I have them listed on Etsy.  In the meantime, I plan on making more - plus work on a few more projects I added to my list in the last couple of days.  No rest for the weary, as they say :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bags are Packed

Bags are packed, I'm ready to go...  but not till Sunday.  After finishing the 15 laptops sleeves for the New Jersey teachers, I forged ahead with some new items for the Christmas shoppers on Etsy.  I've made three more Zip Pocket Pouches (pattern by Michelle's Patterns/KeykaLou).

These make great gifts for travelers, because the medium sized ones (the 2 on the right) hold everything you need when flying, with the convenience of a wristlet.  A passport and cellphone (including the new iPhone5's) fit easily in the slip pocket, and the zippered pocket holds your ID and cash and/or credit card to purchase that on-board snack.
The smaller one (black spirograph fabric on the left) doesn't quite hold the passport, but still works well for cellphones that are no taller than 4 1/2".
I made a test one for my daughter and everyone seemed to think it would function better with a wrist strap, so I've added that feature to these.

I bought another pattern from Michelle's Patterns last week (the day it was released, actually!) for her new Idea Pouch.  It's wonderful!  It holds a composition notebook or an iPad perfectly, and the optional pleated pocket on the front holds other accessories and has several pen and pencil slots.

I also made a plain one without the pleated pocket - just a plain sleeve.  (Don't ya just love my iPad mock-up? - It works if you don't have the real thing!)

I guess I've been on a roll, because next I decided to make some key fobs.  Nice to have on hand for those little gifts for friends and co-workers, and it's good to have something in every price range in my shop.  Everyone seems to be doing the key fobs with the little rectangular clampie thingie on the end, but I prefer to do mine this way.  I make my strap in a continuous loop so there's nothing to break or come loose, so the keys will always stay secure, then add both a D-ring and a split key ring.  The button is a decorative accent and holds the layers together.  There are several layers of fabric and interfacing, so it's firm, but not stiff.  Really feels comfortable on your wrist.

The New Jersey teachers that I'm delivering the laptop sleeves to next week will get a sneak peek at these items, then I'll list them on Etsy when I return.  Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  I haven't, but will have to get started soon!  Have a great weekend!