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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

#babyschep's nursery progress: Rocket Ship Play Mat

Okay, so I finished this project well in advance of BabySchep's arrival, and even managed to photograph it, but when I went to upload the "finished" photos, they were all gone!  Fast forward several months, and now I'm ready to write about it. 

Remember Lil'Schep's baseball play mat?  I retired it right around his first birthday, because he never seemed to spend any time on the floor.  I recycled the foam insert, and simply made a new cover for BabySchep to match his nursery's space theme. 

So soft!

I found this super cute fleece at the fabric store.  I was just about to turn around and go back to another bolt I had in mind when I spotted these sweet little stars.  Simply perfect!

Rockets everywhere!

I purchased this rocket ship cutting file for my Cricut Explore Air 2, and I'll say that I've gotten my money's worth out of this cutting file.  I cut the rocket ship out of felt.  For those curious, I used that stiffer craft felt that comes in letter-sized sheets, and used a green, standard grip mat.  I cut this on the "light cardstock" setting on the Explore Air 2, because I felt (hehe) that the felt setting cut with too much pressure.  I did not use any backings or interfacings, because the craft felt is pretty stiff on its own, and didn't have any issue with it sticking securely to the cutting mat. 

I have to say that I've really enjoyed using my Cricut for some of these sewing projects, because it saves a lot of time.  After all, the reason you use felt in sewing projects is to ensure a quick, non-fraying finish, right?  As you can see, I secured the ship to the mat with a small zig zag stitch in gray thread.   One thing I love about fleece it that the felt seems to almost melt into it when appliqued. 

Little guy is two months old here.

He seems to enjoy it alright, don't you think?
In hindsight, I would have taken more care to sew the cover to fit more snugly.  In the end, it's okay--it's on the floor of the nursery where my one-year old and two-month old take turns making messes on it, and that's the most important thing--that it gets used.  Now that my one-year old is almost two, he loves laying on his little brother's mat--go figure! 

There's still more to show as I put the finishing touches on BabySchep's nursery.  Stay tuned--God Bless!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

#babyschep's nursery progress: Saturn V rocket

Father's Day was several months ago now, but I thought I'd kill two stones with one bird by buying a LEGO set for my husband:

Hubby with Lil' Schep

The nerd that I am, I read about the upcoming release of the Saturn V LEGO set far in advance, so I preordered a set that was due to release at the beginning of June.  Boy, do I know my hubby--he was super stoked to receive the set, and had it assembled two nights later:

No, I didn't plan those PJs at all ;)
At over 3 feet tall, this floating shelf was the only spot that would accommodate the rocket, but I think it's perfect!

Those little pieces next to the rocket are to-scale models of the landing module and the splash-down capsule.  There are even itsy-bitsy to-scale astronauts! 

So many pieces!

The itsy bitsy astronaut went on a rocket ride...
Of course I found a pop up book about the moon to display next to it!
The rocket stages separate, and those little guys fit inside, just like the real thing!  I saw these rockets in person as a kid, and now I'm super stoked about taking my boys to see them at the Kennedy Center one day.  I love how this rocket fits into the theme.  Fast forward a few months later, and the nursery is all but complete.  Sharing on Linky Tuesday today.  More pics soon.  Until then, God Bless!

Friday, July 28, 2017

#babyschep's nursery progress: Quick Mobile Makeover

It's been a few weeks since my last update, so I'll start by sharing the biggest news:

BabySchep is here!

We had a planned repeat Cesarean delivery and had to return to the hospital for some phototherapy, so I haven't been quite up to the task of finishing the posts about this little guy's nursery.  We are both doing much better now, so here goes nothing:

A few weeks ago I whipped up a quick mobile makeover.  Lil' Schep had a jungle themed nursery, and I just happened to still have his crib mobile: 

Planets in the background!  More on those later.

We handed down most of Lil' Schep's baby stuff, so I was surprised to find a box of things we forgot to give to some friends who were expecting.  I think that was God's way of making sure we didn't spend too much on baby number 2!

 Sneak peek of BabySchep's quilt...

First, I liberated the jungle buddies by snipping the strings as close to their bodies as possible.  I gave these little guys to Lil' Schep for him to play with.  He thinks they're cute, and there isn't anything cuter than a cute little guy thinking something else is cute.  Does that make sense?

Bump photobomb, lol. 

My wonderful husband used our Cricut machine to cut out some felt stars.  I opted for felt because I wanted to be able to leave the edges raw.  As much as I usually enjoy hand stitching, I was just too tired to have to stitch anything shut by hand at this point.

I reused the strings from the original mobile and stitched them right into the tips of the stars.  I used a narrow (approximately 1/8") seam allowance, and left a small space open for stuffing, then simply finished sewing the hole by machine.  Easy peasy.

It was truly rewarding to be able to start and finish a project in one night.  I had purchased a battery operated mobile to replace the old wind-up one that came with Lil' Schep's original one, so this entire makeover was less than $15.00, and works like a dream.  Now that I'm on maternity leave, I should actually have some time to type up a few more blog posts.  This time, I'm linking up with Finished or Not Friday, TGIFF, and Finish It Up Friday.  Until then, God Bless.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#babyschep's nursery progress: Wall Art!

So, it's been forever again--pregnancy #2 is kicking my butt.  I came down with pneumonia the other day, which is not fun when you're this pregnant!  Don't worry, I'm doing much better now, just dealing with the regular aches, pains, and fatigue that come standard with being super pregnant and working until your due date.

Well, y'all know I've been blabbing about my new Cricut machine lately.  I don't mean to brag, and I'm certainly not getting paid to write about it--I'm simply excited to learn how to use it.  One of the main draws of the machine for me was its perceived ability to cut out detailed applique designs for my sewing. 

Now most non-sewers would use cardstock or fancy papers (which is a much cheaper alternative, btw!), but I happen to have over 100 bolts of fabric hanging around from my soon-to-be-closed online fabric shop. 

As I revealed earlier, I've selected a space theme for BabySchep's nursery, and we painted the nursery deep, dark blue.  I thought that this Michael Miller Glitz print would really pop against the dark blue background. 

I fused Heat n Bond Ultrahold to the back of a dark blue solid:

This is a no-sew fusible adhesive.  Given that this will hang on the wall, I figured no sewing would be necessary.  After fusing the adhesive, I peeled away the paper backing and stuck the bonded fabric to one of the purple strong grip Cricut mats.  I used the bonded fabric cut setting on the Cricut, and cut out the Bible verse I had chosen for this particular piece.

I find it mesmerizing to watch the machine in action!

And here's what it looked like after weeding away the unused parts.  It's obviously not in order, as the Cricut software organizes the cut to minimize waste. 

This was my first go-round trying fusible applique cut out by the Cricut.  What I learned: 

  • The grip on the purple mat is a tad too strong.  I struggled a little bit to remove the finer pieces without ripping or distortion.  I've since had success using the standard grip green mat, even with the paper still attached. 
  • I cut too deep.  I used the standard "bonded fabric" setting on the machine, and it ended up cutting into the mat as well.  It later cracked along one of these cuts when attempting to remove a different project.  Not a huge loss--you can use the mat from either end, so it's still in usable condition.  I've since learned that you can use the "cardstock" setting, even with the paper still attached. 
  • Designing takes time.  My laptop is fairly old as far as computers go, and it took quite a while to manipulate the design to a manageable state.  I think I'll download this font onto my newer desktop to see if it handles the editing quicker.  UPDATE: Since I first typed this post, Cricut has since updated their Design Space software, and my computer handles it much better now! 
In the end, I think the product turned out great:

Applied heat to both sides.

Pretty cool, huh?  I bought some inexpensive FISKBO frames from IKEA, and now I've got some personalized wall art! 

I'm still debating whether to hang this one on the wall, or to leave it on the floating shelf.  I'll wait until the rest of the verses are done (I've now trained my husband to use the Cricut!) before I decide. 
We've managed to get a few more projects finished/underway for BabySchep, so I'm sure I'll be sharing those soon.  Linking up with Finish it Up Friday (do no-sew projects count?). Until then, God Bless!  

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Blood Drop Quilt -- SCRAPPED!

Okay, the title of this post is a tad morbid, but I promise that it's not gross at all.  I actually designed this quilt myself (WHAAAAT??!) to be a visual representation of the transformation that happens in God's eyes when we decide to accept His free gift of salvation that was purchased through His Son's sacrifice on the cross so long ago. 

It's essentially a wholecloth quilt with a tad of applique.  I did a little collage applique by randomly fusing little pieces of red scraps into the shape of a drop of blood. 

As you can see, the rest of the top is simply white.  This will be would have been a smaller quilt--I simply cut yardage off of the bolt and didn't bother doing any piecing, so it'll only be 44" wide.

The thought occurred to me to piece a colorwash-type background that showed a progression of dark to white, but I thought that wouldn't accurately depict the transformation that occurs--it's all or nothing, there is nothing in between. 

I basted this using Dritz basting spray, which I'm not a huge fan of.  I think I'll ditch the spray altogether and just stick (hehe) to my usual method of safety pins next time. 

I meant to post this WIP update several weeks ago, but with my energy as sapped as it has been (read: I go to bed when Lil Schep goes down), there hasn't been much actual progress, and I've lost my will to finish this project.  The quilt top was finished back in October of 2016, and I only just recently got it out to quilt it out of guilt.  Earlier this week, I ripped it out from under the presser foot and tossed it in a heap on the sewing room floor.  Mind you, that did make me feel bad, given the significance of this quilt, so I think I'll just fold it up nicely and tuck it away and hide it until the urge to quilt it returns. 

I have a few more guilt-laden WIPs that I simply need to scrap.  Anyone else with me?  Maybe I'll muster up the courage to ditch them all.  If I do, I'll share it with y'all.  Until next time, God Bless. 
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Monday, May 8, 2017

When I'm Not Sewing...

Well, as of late, I've been falling asleep as soon as I get Lil'Schep down for the night, but I've also got a few other things going on.  Right now, I've been focused on getting this little nerd educated:

We are blessed to have grandma providing his care during the day, and she agreed to follow a curriculum for him during these vital preschool years.  After some research and a bit of personal experience with it, we opted to purchase the A Beka Book curriculum for our son:

Lousy picture quality, but I was excited to get this special delivery!

There really aren't many books involved yet, so it's chock full of coloring/painting pages and arts and crafts aimed at teaching them letters, shapes, numbers, and vocabulary.  Overall, I'm really happy with it, and the customer service I received from them has been great. 

I spent a few evenings laminating smaller flash cards on my little Scotch thermal laminator. 

Once again, shoddy photo quality, but these are the Bible curriculum pages that I cut out and laminated.

If you want my opinion on this machine, it gets the job done.  Of course, I wish you could laminate something larger than an 8.5" x 11", but that's what the library is for!  A local library will laminate posters for $0.75/linear foot on their 24" laminator, so I'm saving my dollars to take a stack of roughly 100 posters to them sometime next month.  Before y'all ask, I have seen the YouTube videos of thrifty moms self-laminating posters at home, but given the investment that these posters represent, I'll stick with the professionals this time.  I obviously have no qualms about laminating stuff at home, but I'll save that for replaceable items. 

Along these lines, grandma has been going over the weather with our little guy everyday, so I made her some magnets they can use on their board:

I cut these out on my Cricut, and laminated them with the same Scotch machine I mentioned earlier. 

I spy my new Cricut in the background!

I stuck some Scotch magnetic tape on the back, and voila! 

Whaddya know?  A bolt of MM Glitz?  Perhaps I'm using it in BabySchep's nursery???

Durable magnets!  I'm looking forward to using this technique for other learning tools for our kids. 

As a working mom, I often feel guilt that I cannot be there for my little boy (soon to be two!), but finding the energy to use my God-given crafty abilities to enhance his education does warm my heart.  When the time comes, I think I will live for working on school projects with them!  I'm just starting to learn how all you crafty mommas out there feel!  Well, until next time, God Bless!

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

#babyschep's Nursery Progress: Theme Revealed!

Got the nursery moved along over the long weekend.  Inspired by this nursery, I set out to figure out how to make it my own. 

I recently acquired a Cricut Explore Air 2 machine--it was an open box deal I got at Amazon for over 50% off!  I got such a good deal on it, I just couldn't pass it up.  Plus, I spotted this solar system set on their website that would be free for me to access for two weeks after purchasing the machine. 

I dove in and purchased a vinyl assortment online, and with the help of my hubby, we had all 8???? (typing that is SO weird!) planets cut out. 

I painted some arcs on the wall:

They are far from perfect.  I marked the lines with a piece of chalk tied to a string that was tacked in the corner. 

Chalk only, pre-paint.
I followed along the chalk lines freehand with a foam brush and white primer.  In hindsight, I would have tried using a paint pen first to see how well it marked against the dark blue wall.  In the end, it looks fine from afar, and there is minimal touch-up that I'll insist on. 

Of course, I couldn't wait for all the touching up to be done before I adhered some planets to the wall:

Earth was first, of course, followed by Mercury.  This close up shows some of the touching up we need to do.  That first orbit was the first line I painted, and hence, the messiest.  Some of the smudges are actually chalk that wiped off after a secondary cleaning. 

After closer inspection of the inspiration photo, I realized that she used embroidery hoops for her planets!  Genius!  And how up-my-alley would that have been??  Well, I've jumped headfirst into the world of vinyl and cutting machines, which I think will serve me well for the years to come, both to enhance my quilting and crafting, and with items tailored for the boys' education.  Because this is a months-long project for my full-time lawyer, full-time mommy, preggo self, I think I'll keep feeding y'all updates, if you don't mind.  There isn't a whole lot of sewing going on these days, but I think I'll "cheat" a little bit and make BabySchep's baby quilt out of the same pattern.  Until then, God Bless!
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Friday, April 21, 2017

Chevron Circle Quilt

I feel like I'm constantly apologizing for these infrequent updates--here it is again: sorry it's been so long, but I have an actual finish to share! 

Remember my Ten Degree Wedge ruler I've used to make baby quilts?  I'm pretty proud of the Ahoy Baby! quilt and the Big Top Baby Quilt I made with the same ruler.  Well, I was at it again:
This time, I followed a pattern that came with the ruler for making a circle quilt with chevrons.  It involves making strip sets, and cutting them at a particular angle to minimize fabric waste.  Boy, was that time consuming!  Shout out to my hubby for helping me keep it all organized. 

Here's what it looked like on the design wall, partially pieced.  Oh, how I'll miss you, purple craft room!  I've given up the sewing room to make room for Baby #2 due in July.
I recently acquired a new Cricut machine (more about that another day), so I decided to give it a go with their iron-on material.  I'm assuming it's some sort of heat-transfer vinyl, but it sure was fun to play with! 
Now, I originally started this quilt as a baby shower gift.  Ha!  That didn't happen, so this project sat on my UFO shelf for about a year.  I was inspired by Lee Heinrich to pull it out and repurpose it for a growing kiddo.  I busted out the Singer and just did a raw edge applique with a small zig zag stich to apply the monogram. 

My hubby went to town hammering grommets into the quilt, meaning I had it done just in time for this little gal's 1st birthday party.

I bought braided cord to lace in and out of the holes, but don't have a finished photo, due to the fact that I finished it on the way to the party!  I really dislike procrastination, but I do have a bit of an excuse, being 6 months preggo while chasing around a one-year old, right?  Linking up to Finished Or Not Friday, TGIFF, and Finish It Up Friday.  Until next time, God Bless!
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sewing for #babyschep: Belle Baby Bag complete!

So it's been a few weeks since my last update--I'm totally slacking on my goal, but I've sort of got an excuse.  My sewing room is on the move--we're making room for BabySchep #2, so the entire upstairs of my house is in shambles.  That's a topic for another day, though.  The reason for writing today is to share a fabulous finish that I alluded to a few weeks ago:

The Belle Baby Bag is complete, and I finally have the photographs to prove it!  This bag was both a challenge and a joy to make.  For me, the biggest challenge was that barely any of the pieces are rectangular, meaning lots of cutting out pattern pieces with scissors.  Keep in mind that for every piece you observe on the outside, there are corresponding interfacing and lining pieces, so all in all, lots and lots of cutting!

As you can see, there are piles of ShapeFlex underneath those pattern pieces!
I opted to use a Frixion pen to mark all of my cutting lines, and used a rotary cutter and ruler on as many of the straight lines as I could to ease the strain on my wrist.  Pregnancy really does a number on ALL of your joints!

If you remember, I shared a photo of me cutting these pieces out of a different print.  Due to my error, I had to scrap those pieces, and select a new fabric for the bag.  Interestingly enough, this blue and black batik is the fabric that I originally had in mind for the bag that my hubby vetoed.  After the bag was complete, he acknowledged what I saw in the print and agreed that it works fabulously in this bag!  This is only my second time sewing with batiks, and I'm starting to warm up to them. 

The pattern calls for ShapeFlex as one of the interfacings, which I hoard by the bolt in my little studio.  One thing I love about it is that you can write on it with a pen pretty easily.  Once I had all the pieces fused together, keeping track of them was a breeze.

I added some fun hardware I purchased from BagMakerSupply--including those rivets!  Now that was fun to figure out.  Props to my hubby for helping me rivet a few tester pieces of vinyl before going to town on the real thing.  This was also my first time installing an adjustable slider on a strap--it was a little counterintuitive, but the instructions were very clear. 

I even added a little "handmade" plate!

I opted to go straight black for the lining.  While not my ideal choice, I had a bolt and a half of Kona black lying around, and it was the most economical choice, rather than shop around for a print that wouldn't clash with the exterior of the bag.  I love the combination of the Kona cotton with the ShapeFlex--it feels very durable.

The pattern calls for optional stroller clips--they are these little straps that clip onto the sides of the bag that you wrap around the handlebar of the stroller before you attach them.  They hold the bag at just the right height, although if you're pregnant like me, your belly will bump into the bag from time to time!

I might end up making more of these so I can just leave them attached to the different strollers we use for the little one.

Speaking of little one...

We just found out that BabySchep #2 will be another boy!  We are beyond excited, and now I'm even more relieved that I ended up using the blue batik for the bag!

In the end, I learned a lot making this bag.  In the past, I've primarily used SewSweetness patterns and have become accustomed to her bag construction techniques.  It was very encouraging to be able to apply different techniques with success.  It really makes me feel like I've come a long way since I started sewing a few years ago, and there's nothing quite like the feeling of being able to use something you've made with your own hands.  Thanks for stopping by--I'll be linking up to several linkups this week (Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Finish It Up Friday, TGIFF, Finished or Not Friday), I'm just so darned proud of this finish! 

Until next time, God Bless!