Monday, July 25, 2011

So Why Do I Never Remember to Take Pictures?

My dear friend Bonnie has kindly offered to give BD#2 a bridal shower, so yesterday she came over to make invitations.  She has a Cricut with a paper doll cartridge.  I haven't ever used a Cricut before, and it was a blast (I really think I have to have one of these gizmos!)  And of course, I have enough stamps, ink, embossing powders, paper and ribbon  to start a store.  Truly a match made in heaven!

We had the best time making little bride paper dolls, embossing and stamping.  It was very fussy, and a ton of work (we commented several times that we hope BD#2 knows how much we love her - we wouldn't go to all that trouble for just anyone!) but we laughed and joked and carried on, and basically had a wonderful time.  She made little brides until her fingers stuck together (glad it wasn't super glue).   I stamped and embossed and printed until I had writer's cramp.  The afternoon was over all too soon.  Bonnie took them home so her girls, who are 9 and 11, could help glue the little brides onto the invitations.  I sent the ribbon home with her, since we didn't quite get to that part.

These little invites are going to be so cute!

We had such a great time!  Why didn't I think to take pictures?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Make Mine Modern

One of the only swaps I am involved in right now is the Make Mine Modern swap.  I love this swap.  The creativity of the participants just amazes me!  I really can't hold a candle to the other folks who participate in this swap, but I love seeing what everyone comes up with.  Each participant creates one sewing item, one "other" item, and gives their partner 1-1/2 yards of fabric.

This is the second time I've participated, and I always have a hard time deciding what to do.  This time, I only had one of the fabrics on my partner's "list" - Tula Pink's Prince Charming.  I bought a charm pack from Westwood Acres on etsy,  It's nice to be able to purchase just a little bit of these yummy fabrics to play with, especially when funds - and time - are limited right now.

Since I started with a charm pack, my options were limited as far as fussy cutting the center image, but overall, I like it. I used 9 charm squares for this pillow top.  I used a whole charm for the center and 1-1/2 inch pieces for the center motif.  The Kona green was a scrap from another project, but actually matches the green in the center.  The outer square was the rest of the charm squares I used for the center cut in 1-3/4 strips and random lengths.  I'm not really a fan of gray, but I actually like the gray in this.  There isn't much of it, but it really makes the other colors pop.  And I think the white gives it a clean, crisp look.

So, dear partner, I hope you like my creation.  I'm still thinking about what to do for your sewing item.   Hints?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fun Mail and Other Mail - OR How I Spent My Weekend

I received my Mug Rug in the Mug Rug Swap Adventure from Wendy (how ironic that I've had 3 Wendy partners this spring!)  Isn't it adorable?  I love the 3-D kite and the cute "tail" with the button streamers.  So darling.  Wendy has had a terrible battle with carpal tunnel syndrome this summer, and as a sufferer myself, I know how painful that can be.  I really appreciate that she took the time to make me something so wonderful through all that.

And in case you're wondering how I spent my weekend, well, here's the thing....  I picked up the invitations from the printer on Saturday morning.  Creating these custom invitations was such a struggle, I thought I would share some of the resources to perhaps make it easier for someone else.  Think of it as a custom wedding invitation tutorial?

The printer did a great job.  We got custom invitations for wayyyy less than anything I found on the internet - HUNDREDS of dollars less.  We even had to have the background page printed ourselves because we couldn't find paper we liked.  I spent literally hours on the internet and running to our local scrapbook stores looking for aqua and white print paper.    As popular as aqua is in fabric, I was surprised that I couldn't find anything similar in paper.

I found a great resource at  They have literally hundreds of images (luckily they're sort-able) for amazingly reasonable prices.  They come in vector and jpeg formats, and their site was really easy to use.  I found a few other sites, but most were vector images only or required a subscription....  No matter how reasonably priced the subscription might be, I only wanted ONE image, folks!

Ok, I feel better now.

So the printer printed the orange invitation and the aqua and white background as separate pieces.  (He offered to print it as one page, but we opted not to do that - but know that it was an option.)  So, the first task was to put them together.  I stressed about this for days and nearly drove the poor printer nuts, but he was (thankfully) very patient with me, answered all my questions, made great suggestions, and I was so pleased with the results.

I used photo splits to attach the orange announcement to the blue background paper.  I searched for days for the perfect ribbon, and finally found just what we wanted at Paper Mart and the ribbon was so reasonably priced.  Some of the places I looked wanted $1 or $1.50 per yard.  Paper Mart offered a 25-yard spool for just $5-something.   Amazing, huh?  And the ribbon was surprisingly good quality for the price.  I don't think I would sew with it, but for paper crafting?  Oh yeah!  And they had an great collection of colors and styles.

I put the "packages" together assembly-line style.  The reception invitation, reply card, and return envelope were printed (oh-so-reasonably) by Printers of Pensacola.  Ray was wonderful to work with and I highly recommend him.  (Unfortunately, it appears that they don't have a website.)  I really like the fact that I was able to work with a local small business though.  If we don't support our local businesses, they will cease to exist, and it will be a Wal-Mart, Bank of America World...  But I digress...

Moving on...   Of course, addresses had to be obtained and envelopes addressed.  My address book hadn't been updated in awhile, mostly because I haven't sent Christmas Cards for the last two years (in 2009 we had a baby, but I'm not sure what my excuse was for 2010!)  My calligraphy was also a little rusty, not really having been used since BD#1 got married 7 years ago, so I muddled through.  The first 20 envelopes probably resulted in at least 10 wasted ones, but I finally got into the groove, and it was smooth sailing after that.  Glad I bought some extra envelopes!

The wax for the wax seals was another supply challenge.  Our local JoAnn's doesn't carry calligraphy supplies or sealing wax.  Michael's had silver, gold, black and red.  So back to the internet I went.  I finally found what I was looking for at Nostalgic Impressions.  They had a great selection of colors and options.  I chose a glue gun wax that said it was flexible and worked well in postal machines.  It was a bit different to use than traditional wax.  I liked that it worked in my glue gun and didn't leak out like glue sometimes does. I also didn't have to worry about a flame, like with traditional wax.   It was a bit trickier to use, though.  I found that I needed to hold the wax seal stamp into the wax until it cooled a bit, or the image wouldn't fully imprint, and the wax would stick to the seal.  Live and learn, I guess.

So, now these little guys go into the mail today.  Yesterday, I mailed a huge box to the groom and his mom so they can send them to their folks.  Looks like it's coming together.

Happy wedding, Mitch and Arielle!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Santa Sack TeAseR... Finally! It's in the Mail!

I finally (only 2 weeks late) got my Santa Sack Swap in the mail.  It is winging its way to jolly olde England even as we speak ~ uh ~ blog.

Once I got started, I really had a blast with this swap.  It was fun to raid my scrap bag and Christmas stash and create.  I had some really cool stuff in there, including pieces already cut.

And here is a picture of what is inside.  The idea with the Santa Sack Swap is to send 2 small gifts a month for  6 months, and then one larger item.  Well, since I'm already 2 weeks behind, and since I know August and September are going to be c-r-a-z-y, I decided to just do 3 months all at once.   I thought it might save on postage, but the postage was actually ridiculous.  Oh well.  It could have had something to do with the fact that the box weighed 3 lbs. 

And, in case you're wondering, here's a sneak peek at what's inside what's inside.

Can't wait for Christmas!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Scrap Happy

I've been thinking about scraps today.  Scraps make me happy.  I used to be unappreciative of scraps.  I used to throw them away.  They had very little value.  I told myself I was being tidy.  No one can keep all this stuff, I thought.

Then  I discovered designer fabrics and Flickr.  It is amazing what one can do with scraps.  Take this scrap vomit pillow, for example.  It is not entirely made of scraps - I had to buy the gray Kona because I don't really like gray and so I have no gray scraps.  And my partner had requested some specific things I didn't have, so BD#1 gave me 5 charm squares, and I used about half of the pieces I cut from those.  But the rest of this pillow is scraps.  Talk about getting something for nothing!

Or the Ugly Quilt. I bought nothing for this quilt,except the backing.  It was all scraps. I even did scrap binding.  It was fun!  Exhilarating even! 

It is fun to sew with new fabrics.  I'm as fond of shopping for yummy fabrics as anyone I know.  It can even be therapeutic.

But the delightful thing about scraps is that they cost nothing.  They are scraps, after all.  Leftovers from another project.  Byproducts if you will.  And so, creating beautiful things from these leftovers is truly like hitting the jackpot.  I always feel so jazzed when I make things from scraps.  Proud.  Thrifty.  Lucky.  And Happy too.

I have been making lots of progress on my Santa Swap surprises.  (And, I have to say, having a great time!)  I went through my scrap bag and I was amazed at what I found.  Jack Pot!!!  So I stitched up some practical, useful, fun, and beautiful stuff.  And I haven't bought the first thing.

I have made some - I think - lovely things, entirely from scraps.

Now isn't that gratifying?

I think I'm gonna go see what else is in that scrap bag!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Help Wanted

 Fact:  BD#2 is getting married in September.

Fact:  Her wedding dress is a size 12.

Fact:  She is a size 2.

Fact:  The dress is strapless with a low back and we plan to add to the top and back, and then add sleeves.

Fact:  The dress is ivory matte satin with some pretty spectacular silver metallic embroidery.

Fact:  While I remodeled BD#1's wedding gown, the changes weren't nearly so extreme.

So I need help.

Has anyone ever done this kind of dramatic alterations to a wedding gown or evening gown?  What did you learn in the process that you would be willing to share?  What works?

Next, has anyone ever done machine embroidery with metallic thread?  What are your secrets?  What's your favorite brand of thread?  Does the needle make a difference?  What do I need to know to make this process less frustrating?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fun Mail

Spicing Up the Kitchen 2 package from sewlikesue
Yesterday, WH started to go out to get the mail, opened the door and shouted, "You have Fun Mail!" and I thought, "What could that be?"  I had totally forgotten that I hadn't received my package from the SUTK2 swap.  What a fun surprise!  I opened it up, and look at the cool stuff that sewlikesue included.  I always need dish towels and pot holders, and these are awesome.  My potholders are old, burned, and worn out, so these gorgeous new ones are most welcome.  And I think WH must use my dish towels for paint rags, because aside from the ones my sister made me for my birthday a couple of years ago, they are few and far between.  The lovely decorative dish towel is also most welcome.

But would you check out that luscious table runner?  It's gorgeous!  And look how well it goes with my placemats from meanfish2 in the placemat swap!  I asked her if she planned it, and she said no, but if not planned then truly inspired.  Just look at this:

Won't they be great together?  Now, how cool is that?

I also received 6 more blocks for my Christmas village quilt in the CF Bee.  June was my month, and my blocks are trickling in, but it's ok, because I know I won't get to them til fall, anyway.  Every single block is just awesome!  Look -

CF Bee Blocks from domesticass

I was truly dying for a block like this! A flying Santa!  How perfect is that for the family of an airline pilot?

And I just love the stone foundation of this little house.  And the candy roof.  So cool!

CF Bee Blocks from CNSnow

Isn't this the perfect little house for a Christmas village?

And the snowy tree and presents are awesome too
CF Bee from breathe and sew

I just love these snowy hills - won't they look great in my village?

And this little house is soooo cute!  Love it!
So, I've received half of my blocks for my Christmas village quilt.  I'm sure the rest will be along shortly.  These are all so wonderful, I am sure my quilt will be gorgeous.  I actually have enough fabric, I could maybe make 2 or 3 quilts.  Hmmmm....  maybe that's an idea for some Christmas gifts.  Well, whatever - it will all need to wait until after September.

In other news, I am finally making progress on Pauline's gifts for the Santa Sack swap.  I had planned to do them last weekend, but with BD#2 home, I really didn't do any sewing.  (I did mend some stuff she had sent home with me months ago, though.  THAT's pretty amazing.)  Anyway, I did promise Pauline I would put her package in the mail on the 14th, which is the date she requested.  I'm going to include July, August, and September's gifts, since sewing time will be limited for the next little while.  More bang for the buck, you know.

Anyway, have a great week.  Happy sewing!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Block Party Saturday

First Time Bee Blocks for Saricx

It's been another Block Party Saturday, and I'm trying to finish all my bee sewing before next weekend when the wedding invitations are in.  There won't be much more sewing after that for awhile, I think. 

This is the last month for the First Time Bee, and I'm really going to miss it.  It has been such a fun bee to participate in.  Everyone has chosen something different, and each one has tested both my skills and my creativity.  I've learned a ton in this bee.  The ladies in this bee have been wonderful.  Every single one has followed through every month.  I understand that this isn't always the case, so I am very appreciative.  And the creativity these ladies exhibit is just awesome!

This is actually a copy of the inspiration block, but Sarah said she would particularly like a hexi block similar to this.  I hope she likes it.  It was a pretty fun block to make, but I had to really talk to myself to convince myself to cut the hexis so that I could attach the borders.  It was like chopping into an old friend.

Here is the other block I made.  I've been wanting to try something like this for awhile, so I experimented on this block.  I kind of like it.  It was a very simple block.  I pieced strips of different widths in rows, cut it apart, and put it back together.  I kind of like the effect.  Kind of reminds me of mountains and valleys on a sunshiny day.

CF Bee block for Corley
Corley wanted improv fussy-cut blocks, and sent the fussy cuts already done.  I wasn't feeling very angular, so I just randomly sewed the pieces together.  I had a vague plan in mind,, and it turned out pretty much like I thought it would.  This was a fun block to do.  It's huge, too, at 16-1/2 inches.  Wow!

CF Bee Block for Marci
This is the final block I made.  I really love this star block.It's going to make a gorgeous quilt.  I had a little trouble following the directions.  It said something like add 1/4 inch for seam allowance, and I couldn't quite figure out how that was supposed to work, but after I got the block together the first time, I did figure out that it wasn't working, so I had to take it apart and re-do it.  It actually turned out a bit small, so I hope she can still use it.

So, I'm all caught up for now.  The CF Bee has one more month to run, I think, and then it's over too. Making bee blocks is just so relaxing, I think I'm going to have to find a new bee or two to participate in starting this fall. 

Happy sewing!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Girl's Night Out

This card uses one of the new triple layer doily punches to make the flower.  Easy peasy.

Tonight I was invited to my friend Charlotte's for a stamping workshop.  I really enjoy going to these, and we don't have them often enough.  It is a lot of fun to stamp with other people, and see how everyone interprets the same materials and sample card.

Tonight, though, I was pretty much exhausted, and stuck to the way Charolotte showed the card.  They were all fun.  Some great company, some yummy food, and some crafty goodness - what could be better than that?

This one uses one of the new triple punches.  Makes making these flowers so easy.  No cutting! 

This one uses designer series paper and the postage stamp punch.  A very simple, but beautiful card.  Oh and the texture is an embossing folder for the Big Shot/Big Kick. 

And this one uses DSP,  a corner punch, and these doily sheets that come with the DSP.  Too easy!

I was a Stampin Up! demonstrator for 5 years.  I really enjoyed it at the time.  We had a great group of friends that would get together about once a month and stamp together.  I kind of miss it.  I got an email from SU! the other day that said I could re-join for $99.  Do I miss it that much? 

I'll have to think about it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Blog Hopping

PTS5 pillow by BD#1 A Crafty Fox
As you might imagine, I haven't had a lot of time to sew or quilt lately.   Wedding plans - and altering the dress - have pretty much taken over my free time.  BD#2 was home this weekend, and we made some real progress on invitations, HIS ring, and the first fitting of the dress.  Of course it was July 4th weekend, so we had some yummy barbeque...  but I digress. 

I find that I am really missing the quilting process, and it's only been a few short days.  Hmmm, does that mean I'm addicted?  I've actually been dreaming quilt blocks, so I'm sure that's significant.

So, this morning, I decided to go blog hopping and check in with some of the blogs I haven't had a chance to follow in awhile.  I started by heading off to A Crafty Fox.  Of course, this one is my own daughter, so it is always fun to see what she has going on.   She participated in Pillow Talk 5, and there is her lovely creation.  She is just so talented.  Sure puts her mom to shame, but I'm awfully proud of her.  They've been at the beach for the week, so I have gotten some non-blog photos of a darling sweet little girl.

Then I visited some of my other friend's blogs:

Elizabeth is finishing up the blocks for her Kaleidoscope QAL.  So pretty.  I'm wishing I had time right now to play.  These blocks are awesome. 

And Allison has finished her Bizzy Kid quilt and published the pattern.  I love the bright colors in this quilt.  I am tempted to purchase the pattern, but I honestly don't know when I will have time to make it.  It would be a great crib quilt, don't you think?

Val has finished a gorgeous quilt she calls "The Road Less Traveled" for an off-to-college girl.  So pretty.


Rachel's husband is having surgery, so please keep her family in your prayers.

Terri has finished an awesome hourglass quilt from Kona solids.  So nice.  It's reversible too.


 And Leona has reached 700 followers.  Wow!

So, it's been fun visiting these great blogs and seeing what is going on with these wonderfully talented ladies.  I'm inspired, and what I really want to do is go sew.  What I am really going to do is go to work.  Oh well...