Thursday, June 28, 2012

Odds and Ends

 Summer is in full swing around these parts which leaves little time for much crafting. I find that I usually do most of my crafting in the fall/winter/spring - you know when it is cold enough that you want a lap full of wooly yarn or an entire quilt piled on you while you finish the binding. I have been eeking out a few things.

My mom tends to save and collect things; lots of things. I don't fall far from the tree on that account, which is a good and bad thing. Although when it's good, it's good.

Take this for example -
It's a vintage set of pillow cases with a sweet little flower embroidery pattern on it. It even still had a hand printed price tag pinned on it. That's right it was pinned with a real, silver, sharp pin adhering the paper with the price, not one of those plastic "T" shaped things. I love them. You might not be able to tell since she sent them to me probably three years ago and here they are with just the edging done. But that's how some projects go, relegated to the bottom of a basket and forgotten about. With warmer (read: sweltering) weather upon us I think that it's high time I make some progress on these so they can rightfully take up some space in our bedroom.

Another project that has been sitting, glaringly so, on my ironing board is N's late birthday quilt. Can you call it a quilt if it isn't quilted? There in lies the problem. I haven't really quilted. Sure I've used the walking foot on my machine to do some simple straight line quilts but in my book that's not the same as those beautiful swirly designs that someone hes created magically with their machines. I do realized that a lot of quilts are done at a store on a long arm machine, which although they get the job done aren't really as labor intensive as a person doing it themselves - nor should they have bragging rights about their quilting skills really.

Learning a new skill as an adult is scary. We tend to be hard on ourselves and want it to be perfect right out of the gate. Often we don't bother at all. We stick to what we know and rarely branch out into learning or doing new things. That's me and quilting. It's the newest thing that I've taken up and it's easy to be hard on yourself, especially when there are so many talented modern quilters who's work is all over the web. So after at least a month of ignoring the ironing board and coming up with pretty valid reasons;  N doesn't need a quilt right now it's 90 degrees, most of the time she is running around with just a diaper! I've dived right in.

These are my practice swatches and my tension checks after changing a bobbin. I'm doing just messy simple circles in a peach thread over the entire quilt. I'm about a quarter of the way done. Biggest thing I've learned thus far - free motion quilting takes up an amazing amount of thread. I've already been back to Joann's once and I'll need to go again for more.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Babies, babies, everywhere

It seems like we are in a new wave, the baby wave. You know what I'm talking about - you graduate from college and one of your friends does the "grown up" thing and gets married. Then suddenly your inundated with wedding invites and even you might join in at some point. Here we are a few years later and a new wave is starting. One that, in my opinion, has much cuter crafting possibilities; the baby wave.

Some friends had their baby shower this past weekend so I quickly whipped them up something that I thought would be handy for their nursery since N's are proving to be quite useful in hers. There are a few non-handmade presents inside for them as well, but I'm hoping that they like the bucket too. It's the same pattern that I used for the patchwork ones for N's room but a little simpler with just a single panel for the outside.

We also celebrated N's birthday earlier this weekend, although I'm not quite celebrating yet as I have no quilt to show for it yet. Soon birthday girl, soon.

However I did finish another birthday present for N's friend who is also turning one this week. It's another Lotta Jansdotter dress from Simple Sewing for Baby. Overall the dress always comes together pretty quickly. The bias tape trim is a bit of pain, mostly because the curves are so little. I choose to do them in a solid color again because I like how it breaks up the pattern a little bit and adds just a little finishing touch. I also didn't add a pocket to this one. The main print in a Henry Alexander from a couple of years ago.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nursery - new and old

We were in a bit of a state of flux when N joined our family last summer. We thought that we would only be renting a house in central NY for a semester before going back to our home in northern NY, yet here we remain, split between central and northern. In theory it's a great idea, summers in the Adirondacks and the academic school year in central NY. It will be great, but we're just still getting settled after being here for almost a year. Shortly after N was born I wanted to make her room look a little more homey. After scouring Flickr it seemed like the quick, homemade, fix would be to make her a bunting. Her room already had lavender walls when we moved in but I didn't want to go overboard on the pink and purple so I went for purple and yellow. The bunting worked great, except I still have yet to find a way to hang it so it doesn't fall down when it gets muggy. I made the triangles double sided since it hangs in the middle of the room rather than against a wall.

As N gets older she has started to collect things. I anticipated that she would, all kids and babies have toys, but even after years of babysitting I guess I never realized just how cluttered small toys make everything. Luckily a crafty mama can come up with a fix. 

Buckets. You've seen them, they're everywhere right now in the crafty world. They are wonderful, soft, flexible and completely baby proof. Meaning that both the baby can play with them without getting hurt and up to this point hasn't seemed to be able to hurt them. The largest size in the pattern (that my mother-in-law so wonderfully got me for my birthday) fits perfectly in the cube cubby that N has in her room for toys and books.

The pattern is here, and I can't say enough good things about it. I love that you can make nesting ones, which are next on my list. I love that she gives different options, the stripe of patchwork or just a regular color/pattern. There are a ton of pictures, almost one for each direction which I think is so lovely. You can get ambitious and make sizes that aren't listed with additional directions she provides.

I decided to make the patchwork striped ones since I had left over purple and yellow scraps from N's bunting. I did end up buying some more yardage for the inside material. Three of the buckets have yellow stitching with yellow inside, two have purple.

So far N has found all sorts of uses for them, including putting them over her head for peak-a-boo and carrying them around the house to collect things that she shouldn't have. It might have taken almost a year but the "nursery" is starting to come together to look like someone little lives there.