Monday, December 31, 2012

Year In Review - 2012

At the beginning of the year my goals were pretty simple:

1. To participate in both the Colette Patterns Spring and Fall challenges.

 Accomplished - There was not a fall challenge this year, but I did participate in the spring challenge.

2. To make my first jacket and first coat.

Accomplished  50%!   I did finish my first jacket, but my coat is still a pile of muslin in my sewing basket.  The coat will need to carry over into 2013.

3. To make my first quilt.

Accomplished 50%!  I was able to complete the quilt top, but will now need to complete the final steps in 2013.

4. To knit my first cardigan.

This goal got completely lost in my memory!

I did finish 20 items ranging from Star Wars pajama pants for my husband, lots of pretty dresses, and a pretty polka dot jacket.  I figure considering I had a six month hiatus caused by overload at work that this isn't a bad haul.

I think I will keep my goals for 2013 simple as well, but aim to look back at them during certain points of the year to remind myself of what the goals are and why I set them in the first place.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fabric Friday

I am not much of a winter gal.  Maybe that is because I live in Southern California where it never really feels like winter.  As soon as fall is over, I am ready to put away the coats and long sleeves away and begin dreaming of spring. 

I am guessing that is why I am already dreaming of pastels and springy fabrics. 

The top print is a Nani Iro and would make such a pretty blouse!  I really need more separates in my wardrobe!

I am a big sucker for red and pink color combinations. The second print is something I would not normally gravitate towards, but wouldn't this make a gorgeous blouse or dress - maybe even for Valentine's day. 

I am determined to sew up some of my stash before I purchase anymore fabric, but if these are still around in the next few months they just may be calling my name.

What are your current fabric inspirations?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Craftsy Block of the Month - August

Yay! we are picking up steam again and rolling right along into the Craftsy Block of the Month for August!  I am so excited that I am nearly complete, as my goal was to finish this quilt in 2012.  While they are only a few days left, I should at least have the quilt top to show for my efforts.

By the way, since my return I know I have posted more on quilting than anything else but pending the weather holds up I should have some garment posts after this weekend!  I won't spoil the surprise, but after months of almost complete inactivity I am back at it again.

Back to the August blocks, the theme for this month instead of being focused on a skill was a type of block - the star.  The block pictured above is called and Ohio Star and it is pretty easy on the eye without much effort.

I don't have a whole lot to say about this one besides it would probably look best if you had something to "fussy cut" for the center block which I did not.  For non-quilters, fussy cut is to cut out a specific motif from your fabric like a large rose such as to showcase it in the block.  What a fun term right?

This second block is a just a star within a star, but the sharper angled triangles are called flying geese and are used in many blocks.  This block, and well flying geese in general take a lot of cutting work!  This block was much more time consuming then a lot of others I have made in this class.  The instructor also mentioned using highly contrasting colors for the three portions of the star and I broke the rules a little by using background fabric for the middle of the star, but with my fairly earthy/neutral pallet I felt it gave it a really nice look. 

That is also one of my favorite things about quilting so far, just because an instructor or pattern design tells you something would be a preferred method or give a more desirable affect there is lots of room for improvisation and changing it up so it is visually pleasing to you.

Lastly, sewing Helper has not been as enthusiastic on my return to sewing and was snoozing on the job (in the lining for my uncompleted Sew Colette Licorice dress).  This project runway contestant was clearly going to have to send her model down the runway in an unfinished garment!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fabric Friday

Awhile back when I was blogging more regularly I had just started Fabric Friday posts.  These posts were fabric that I had found in a store or online that caught my eye.  Maybe I decided to buy it or maybe it was on the wish list.

This Friday I am showing a pale blue lace from my local fabric store Baron's.  They are the place to go for fashion / designer fabrics.  I really need to take a picture next time I am there!

The Mr. allowed me as part of my Christmas gift to go to Baron's and buy myself some pretty fabrics.  He knew I was taking some much needed time of work between the two holidays and might find some time to sew. 

While there I noticed they had a table of these One of a Kind Sample cuts. These sample cuts are one of a kind pieces (usually about 3 yards) given to fashion designers from fabric companies to make up their samples.  My fabric store is able to get their hands on some and offer them at really nice prices.

So, even though I was there with a few specific things in mind (wool for making a pencil skirt, a nice silk for a portrait blouse and a double knit for the bow-tied blouse all from Gertie's book of course!), I saw a few of these that I just couldn't pass up.

I am thinking the blue lace would be great for making the Chantilly lace version of the Portrait blouse in Gertie's book.  Sadly, my fabric does not have a scallop edge, but I am thinking I might be able to gently cut around the scallops at the bottom.

Do you have a place that sells samples like these or a local fabric store you just love to go into?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Craftsy Block of the Month - July

We all know the old saying "Christmas in July" - what about July in Christmas?  It just doesn't have the same ring, but somehow that is where I am at currently.

One of my main goals for this year was to finish my very first quilt while participating in the Craftsy Block of the Month class with instructor Amy Gibson from Stitchery Dickory Dock.  The class is great and I have learned so much!

The July blocks used a Dresden template which is a pretty traditional quilting method. I am pretty sure most of us have seen this before whether we have quilted or not. 

I'll tell you a secret, for being such a beautiful block, it is easy!!  I did make a few mistakes along the way - in my rush to finish the block shown above was only supposed to have 20 petals.  I cut too many and planned to take out the ones that didn't look right, but forgot!  I ended up having to make a larger circle for the middle to compensate.

In the class the second block is a more modern Dresden which ends up being a large wheel shape.  I understood the concept but really wasn't so fond of the final product.  I ended up making another standard Dresden block but only used two alternating colors.  Since this block reminds me of a flower I have nicknamed this my "he loves me" - "he loves me not" block.

The instructor also encourages you to play around with your stitching types. So, while the top was hand appliqued the bottom block was put together (sorry picture is somewhat blurry) with a zig-zag stitch. 

Keep your fingers crossed for my success! I am currently halfway through the August blocks with September and October to go before I start stitching them all together and finish up the quilt.  Can I get this all done before January! - I guess time will tell.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Permanent Bandaids

When my husband and I purchased our home about 2 years ago we realized the lovely built-in shown above did not have doors and looked unfinished.  We searched the local hardware stores for "off the shelf" cabinet doors that could be purchased. 

We were unable to find any and had to turn to the Internet.  We did find a company that sold doors that you would need to paint and install yourself - no problem - right?  Well, one thing led to another and we put the doors on hold.  The first time we had company over I draped a large curtain over the area (not pictured here) so at least what was being stored in the cabinets wasn't showing.  This two years later was a somewhat permanent bandaid that had yet to go away for something nicer looking.  It is funny how life gets the best of you and find that something that seemed so easy - just didn't get done.

Well, we hosted our first ever Thanksgiving for the family and wanted to have the nice cabinet doors installed and ready to go.  No more procrastinating for us!  Well, being a buyer you think I have originally paid attention to the lead time for fabrication. It was eight weeks and I only had two weeks till Thanksgiving.

We still wanted something nicer than the old curtain.  So, what you see above is my "fix" - maybe another permanent bandaid- hahha! I went to Joann's and got some nice coordinating home decorator fabrics.  They match a wine rack and candle holder that we received as a gift when we got married.  It is sort of hard to make out in the photos but the middle fabric has all the colors.
To provide the desired sturdiness I cut two squares about an inch all around larger than the holes in the built and basically made double sided squares which then were applied with double sided sticky Velcro (extra strong - works like a charm).  This gives the cabinet and the room a much nicer appeal and still allows access to the hordes of video games we have collected!

This was so simple and my very happy with the results!  It is amazing what a little fabric and thread can do! 

PS.  I believe this post will officially mark my return to blogging and spending a bit more time doing the things I love.  This year I spend a lot of time at work and the rest of the time just being too tired.  I am determined to try to ensure a better work-life balance for 2013!  I have missed all of you - so I hope you have missed me too!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

I've been awarded a blog award by my friend Corina of Geminae. This is one of those chain awards that spread the word about other blogs.  I have really enjoyed and found several good blogs this way. 
Thank you Corina!  I urge any of you that have not already to check out her blog!  The things this lady can do with fabric or an old piece of clothing leave me amazed.  I am always eager to see what she is doing next.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link to them in your post.
  • Share seven unknown things about yourself.
  • Nominate other bloggers and blogs you like or admire.
  • Contact the bloggers you nominate to let them know and to link them back to your post so they can read “The Rules,” too.

7 Things about me
  1. I was in the United States Marine Corps for eight years.  This usually shocks people since I am pretty much a girly-girl!  I was even teased about being too much of a girl in bootcamp (by the other girls).
  2. I love Sci-Fi and Fantasy movies/books.  Anything from Star Wars to Game of Thrones.
  3. I play video Games most specifically online games such as World of Warcraft.
  4. I own 3 sewing machines including a Pfaff 260 Semi-Industrial sewing machine.  It is amazing, but I don't use it often enough.
  5. My music interests vary from popular music all the way to classical but absolutely favorite group is a Power Metal band named Kamelot.
  6. I own a zoo! Not really, but I have three dogs and two cats and some days that feels like zoo!
  7. Besides my pets, I have three favorite animals elephants, owls and bunnies. They are all three just so darn cute!
Now my nominations:
Rochelle from Lucky Lucille! Everything she makes is gorgeous and has the prettiest little details.  She also has one amazingly cute pooch!
Suzy from Suzy Sewing!  Not only does she make super cute garments, but she has also made her own patterns!
I hope you check these blogs out and enjoy them as much as I have!
PS I hope to be back full time within the next week or two!