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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!


Friday, February 17, 2017

Sewing for #babyschep: Belle Baby Bag

As promised, another WIP update.  This time, it's a bag project.  After all, shouldn't a brand-new baby call for a brand-new diaper bag?

I bought the Belle Baby Bag pattern from Swoon Patterns:


Doesn't it look smart?  I just had to have it.  I knew, though, that to get that polished look from the pattern photo that I'd need to venture into the world of vinyl.  So I did!

Not too shabby for a first timer!
Now, I learned to make bags under the tutelage of Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness.  She's been offering glitter vinyl and cork fabric in her shop for a little while now, so I figured I'd take the plunge and give it a shot.  I used a denim needle, regular 50wt thread (though I wish I'd used a thicker thread), and a walking foot.  The glitter vinyl was surprisingly easy to sew. 


Now I've been hoarding this yard of "germy" looking fabric (isn't that what it reminds you of?) for quite some time now, and thought it would look nice in this bag. 


 What ended up happening, though, is that I improperly joined the pattern pieces together and wasted the yard of fabric!  So, lesson learned.  If you don't understand a step in the pattern, just suck it up and ask for help.  It just might save you a yard or two of fabric! 
As I write this post, I'm all but done with this project (I know, I know), so the big reveal will come (including the alternate fabric!) as soon as I can get some pictures uploaded.  Linking to Let's Bee Social and Finished or Not Friday.  Until then, God Bless!


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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Soft Book Finish!



 
Ever since I found out I was expecting baby number 1, I have had an obsession with purchasing soft book panels.  I've actually finished a handful of them (it's my goal to actually round these bad boys up and photograph them later), but here's my most recent finish:

 
 
This particular book is a tad smaller than what you usually find, so it came together even faster than usual.  I picked up this panel on a little vacay shop-hop my husband put together for me when we were in Fort Meyers, Florida last year.  I thoroughly enjoyed all of the shops in the area--I wish I had more money to spend when I was there!





My stitching isn't perfect--you can see the page numbers on this one, when they are supposed to be hidden in the seam.  This particular panel required me to measure the seam allowances, then to construct the books using a 1/4" seam--typically these panels call for a 1/2" seam, so I'm fairly certain it's my fault.  As for the interfacing, I used fleece, rather than batting, and it worked just fine.  Shout out to my hubby for cutting the fleece for me (that's true love, y'all)! 

Ultimately, my son has enjoyed this particular soft book more than the others I've stitched for him so far.  I'm sure part of his affinity for this book is his familiarity with the characters (I've spotted some Thomas books at grandma's house), coupled with the smaller size, which is easier for his little hands to manipulate.  My heart leaps with joy whenever I watch him "read" his book! 

In other news, I've started the process of cutting out the pieces for my new diaper bag (so exciting!), so expect an update on that soon.  Linking up here, here and here.  Until next time, God Bless!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Progress: Lil' Schep's Soft Alphabet

Woohoo!  I've posted three times already this year, and it's only January!  It might not seem like a big deal to y'all, but this is huge for me.  Life can be taxing, especially right now with the whole I'm-growing-a-human-being thing going on.  Anyways, I'm writing to fill y'all in on my work in progress (gasp!):





This will eventually become a full alphabet set for Lil' Schep.  He's already begun exploring the few letters I have finished, and so far, so good. 




If you remember a year or two ago, I made this soft alphabet for our best friends' daughter's birthday, and boy, was it a pain!  I thought of reusing the same method, but increasing the size of the letters for ease of turning.  Then I came across some felt softies, and thought I'd give it a try.  I do have mounds of embroidery floss laying around to stitch them up with!

I purchased an assortment of 9" x 12" felt sheets from Amazon.  I'm still torn about this.  I shied away from wool because of allergy concerns (my mother-in-law is allergic, and I was planning on sending these over to her house), and frankly, the higher cost.  Having used felt purchased off the bolt at Wal-Mart in the past, I felt (hehe) that even the cheap stuff would hold up well.  When I received my felt assortment, I was disappointed to find that it was stiff, not soft and pliable like the felt they sell at the store.  In the end, I kept going with it for two reasons: (1) I didn't spend very much on the felt to begin with, and (2) it came with a giant assortment of colors that I felt would make the entire project more colorful for my little guy. 


What do y'all think?  Maybe in a few weeks I'll post an update with the newest letters I've managed to finish.  It's good to have a non-intimidating hand sewing project to work on again!  Linking up to Let's Bee Social!  Until next time, God Bless!



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Friday, January 20, 2017

Windy Hill Farm Quilt


Hey y'all!  It's been a while--Happy New Year!  I've been busy and not really sewing much, with having a baby and working full time and all that jazz.  I did sneak in a good bit of hand sewing in between hearings and on lunch breaks, which is how I whipped up this gem:



This is the Windy Hill Farm Quilt designed by Antonie Alexander, which is available in her book, Happy Quilts!



This quilt was a blast, especially since it was finished just in time to be the central decoration at my son's first birthday party.  Lil' Schep is totally digging animals right now, so I thought the farm theme would be perfect.  Having opted to do the blanket stitching by hand, it was a labor of love.  Alexander's book comes with a CD with PDF patterns for the applique pieces.  These have to be traced onto fusible web, which then has to be cut out, fused to the wrong side of the fabric, and then cut out again, only to have peel off the paper backing, to then fuse the fabric to the background.  Whew!  And then I thought it would be brilliant if I did a hand blanket stitch.

The pattern calls for a border made of small windmill blocks--this is the part I fretted the most over.  Piecing is NOT my strong suit, but my hubby and I tackled it head-on and I cranked out the border blocks in no time at all, even sewing in the early morning hours before work. 

I can't believe my little guy is one! 



And as the good Lord would have it, I found out that baby #2 is on the way right before I finished this quilt:


Move over lil' Schep, the new BabySchep is due in July!
 
 
But enough about me--you came for the pictures.  Without further ado:
 
 
Totes ma goats!

Farmer Girl

Farmer Boy

Brown Chicken, Brown Cow!

Baby photobomb.


Applause!

Hand stitched label.  Dad gets credit for being my helper in the sewing room!
Just a few more details about the quilt: I used a Michael Miller Luxe extra wide backing fabric for the back, which made free motion quilting this a breeze on my Singer Quantum Stylist 9960.  I used Aurifil 50wt thread to piece and quilt the entire quilt.  I used Sulky 12wt thread for the blanket stitching around the applique, and used an 80/20 cotton/poly blend batting in the middle. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about this quilt as much as I enjoyed making it!  Linking up to Finished or Not Friday, which is also doubling as TGIFF, and Finish it Up Friday

Until next time, God bless!