Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hello, All!! Remember how in my last post I said something about not working on any projects this week?? Seriously, I have a problem. I have finished TWO (count 'em) quilts since posting that last little tidbit. In my first ever post I mentioned that quilting and sewing in general is my therapy. Well, I guess I needed some time on the proverbial couch because I got right to work and enjoyed every second. The bad part? I am moving tomorrow and there is So-HO much to do that I really can't even justify posting about this- but I will :D
Here is quilt #1- for my dear friend who just adopted a little baby boy after three failed placements (the birthmommies changed their minds). She has two adopted girls and wanted a boy so badly and one day she randomly got a call saying that there was a birth mother in labor in Vegas and she didn't know what the gender was. Well, my friends were the only ones who had not specified a gender preference so they went immediately to the top of the list! Seriously- are adoptive couples really that picky? We didn't care about color or gender, but I guess some people feel that if they have to adopt, it is their prerogative to pick out that stuff. In my opinion, not only should beggars not be choosers, but whatever child is meant for you will come to you no matter what. Kay, ***steps off soapbox***Now on to the QUILT!

So, I based this quilt entirely on THIS quilt featured on Moda Bake Shop by Sarah B Designs. I loved the pattern and I already had the Kona Coal on hand as well as a bunch of blue scraps. Thus this little beauty was born.
I did my first ever attempt at straight line quilting and was pretty happy with how it turned out for my first try. **Gets back on soapbox**I have decided that the imperfections in quilting are what makes it special (provided there aren't too many !! ) If I wanted something perfect, I could purchase it from a mass producer. I love the imperfections in anything hand made. Mr. Polka Dot Apron made our gorgeous bed as well as our sons' cribs and some other various furniture. He showed me where every ding and dent and mess-up is, and I cherish each one because it is what makes that piece unique. But, I digress...back to the issue at hand! (I really have to get a handle on my rantings...)
The binding (gasp) was not hand sewn but zig-zagged. I am moving folks, and that extra touch of perfection was just not gonna happen. All in all, I love how this turned out and I am actually going to start on one with more of the Kona Coal and some green scraps to make for another friend who has two girls (biological, not adopted) and is expecting her first boy! Ironically, she and the gal I made the other quilt for are thick as thieves so I am happy to provide them with semi-identical quilts for their boys!
I will post more about the second quilt a bit later. I am off to finish packing. Heaven help me, I can't WAIT to get into my house again. Remember how I said it was a long story? I'll try to sum it up. We own a house in Northern Utah. My hubby worked right around the corner from said house reading meters for the power company. They automated the meters and he lost his job and had to transfer within the company to a little (understatement) town called Montpelier, Idaho. We were blessed to find renters within a week of us having to move. Hubby applied for a job closer to our house and got it **cheers** so now that their lease is up we get to move back home!
And in Sam update news, he is going in for surgery on Thursday to have the skin grafted on his little hands. Please, if you are the praying type- say a little prayer for my little guy. I will let y'all know how it goes. Happy sewing, y'all!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

When it rains, it pours around here

Well, all quilting and sewing projects have been a bit on hold this week due to my poor little Sam burning his hands on the fireplace on Sunday. It was like a bad dream all in slow motion watching him toddle toward the gas fireplace (which had just BARELY been turned on by Kolton, my three-year-old) with his hands outstretched and I knew I couldn't make it across the room in time. His little fat hands were on there for about three seconds and they were grey/white when we rushed him to the ER. Between them and the Burn Clinic at U of U, we have been very blessed to have worked with such an amazing group of doctors and nurses. Anyway, so if you don't hear much from me on the project front for a week or so, I hope you will understand! Between Sam's needs and us moving next week, I'm pretty sure I have my hands full. :D
~Happy Sewing (without me)!~

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I've been contemplating joining in with Freshly Pieced and their Work In Progress (W.I.P.) Wednesdays because this would include an actual amount of commitment from me *blush*. However, this is the kick in the pants I need to get some of my unfinished projects done, so here goes!
I started a new project this week. I have been dying to try out the stash buster block from Little Miss Shabby and I finally started cutting out my stash which looked like this:

Then like this (again, my camera is old and crappy- please excuse the less than perfect pictures)

And now a bit more like THIS~
I have actually started the construction of this little beauty, but I will save that for later date. For now, I am happy with my little stacks of perfectly cut squares and the beautiful picnic quilt they will help create.

In further news: We are moving back into our house ( I swear it's a long story) over the next couple of weeks, so the work on these projects will be rather slow, but they are my sanity for when the packing is getting overwhelming! I hope everyone else is working on their W.I.P's today- let me know if you are and what you are doing!
~Happy Sewing~

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thread Catcher Tutorial

Welcome, one and all, to my very first tutorial! May I just give a shout out to all you bloggers I love but don't know personally who make posting a tutorial seem so effortless? I applaud you, bloggers. **clap clap clap**

Okay, moving on! What is a thread catcher, you say?? Why, it is an essential for any sewer, scrapbooker, or lover of a place to put stuff. I bought one at a Farmer's Market in Logan many years ago before I truly became a sew-aholic. I thought it would be a good garbage bin for my paper scraps when I scrap booked. Later I threw it on the arm of my couch and placed my remotes in it. When I was commissioned to sew a thousand (okay, 16) skirts for our production of "Crazy For You" in 2005 I pulled out my thread catcher and a love affair ensued. It is a weighted pin cushion and garbage bin in one and it is one of my favorite sidekicks when I am sewing up a storm and I am going to teach you how to make one!!
I can't help it- I feel it's the best way to explain the steps and, besides, the fabric was sooo pretty I needed to see it over and over (and over) again!
Readers, meet, the thread catcher:

Beautiful, eh??

Kay, what you will need is one 16 1/2 X 8 1/2" (A), two 6 1/2" squares (A1), and two 3 1/2" squares (B) of your main fabric. Then cut two 6 1/2" squares of junk fabric (C) ( you won't see these- they are to line the pin cushion). Finally, you will need another 16 1/2 X 8 1/2" (D) piece of your lining fabric. You will also need wheat, rice, or Polly Fill, as well as 17" of Belting. Now, get your basic sewing supplies (scissors, machine, matching thread etc) together and let's get crackin'!!

First, please allow me to introduce Susan. She's my Brother XL-3750. She's a good girl (mostly) and has served me well. She's no Bernina or Janome, but for the most part she gets the job done!
Your starting lineup of fabric cuts. (My fabric all came from "JoAnn Fabrics")

Start by sewing together your two 3 1/2" (B) squares right sides together down the sides.

Turn and press.

Fold (A) and (D) pieces in half with right sides together and short ends touching and sew down to make side seam. You will now have a stitched 8 1/2 X 8"-ish piece.
Press seam open.
Now sew a bottom seam.
This part is the trickiest part, but it's easy once you've done it. Press the bottom seam open by laying on your ironing board and flattening out the corners. This is how you will make the bag open up on the bottom.

Pin corner and mark a line 1 1/4" from bottom of corner.

Sew Along marked line and cut.

Now you have a lovely bottom!! (he he he- yes, I'm 10). Repeat this process for both A and D sections.
Place (A1) squares right sides together and lay Junk (C) squares on top and bottom. This will line your pin cushion and make it more durable.
In between the four layers center your finished (B) section and leave the end poking out (can you see it in the picture? It turned out a bit fuzzy)

Sew 1/4" around all edges, leaving a gap for turning out.
Turn and press and VOILA! There's your pin cushion!

Now, laying your (A) piece flat with seam on the side and right sides still together, Mark the center (it should be around the 4" mark). Lay remaining edge of (B) strap centered over your mark. so the (A1) pin cushion is on the bottom (as in above picture). Place (A1 and B) unit inside your (A) bin (seen in below picture), matching center dots.

Now turn lining (D) fabric right-side-out and place in your Bin (A) so (A) and (D) are right sides together. Sew around entire opening, leaving about three inches for turning.
Turn and Press.

Holy Cow!! Did we just do THAT??

Now it's time to add your 'Belting'- (Just ask for it at JoAnn's- it's about $2.45/yard)
It is a stiff yet flexible band that you will insert into the top of your thread catcher to hold that puppy open. You will need about 17" for one catcher.

Stitch around the entire cylinder about 1 1/2" from the top

Insert the belting and loop it around. It is stiff enough that it should go all the way around with very little coaxing.

Now sew the two ends overlapping an inch so the belting is a 16" circle.

I know it's hard to imagine what a 'great' seamstress I am when you see that amazing stitch job, but please believe me- my son changed the settings on my machine while I was changing my other son's diaper! LOL
TADA! You now have a nice opening for your bin!

Now, stitch the top closed and run the stitch all around the top about 1/4" from the top.

Do you have much of this in your storage? If so, pull it out now! If not, you may purchase Polly Pellets or use rice.

I put my wheat or whatever I'm using in a 1 liter cleaned out water bottle so it is an easy funnel to use for the small opening in my pin cushion. Fill your cushion with approx. 1 - 1 1/2 cups of your filler and sew the opening closed. (I use my machine because I am lazy, but you can hand sew if you don't want your stitches showing!)
HOORAY!!! Look at the nifty sewing tool you have made. Give yourself a hand!

Please leave a comment and let me know how you find this tutorial. I am relatively new to this and would truly appreciate any constructive feedback. And when you have finished one, please send me a picture so I can see all your beautiful work. Happy Sewing!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Welcome One and All!!

Well, this post has been a long time coming. I have been going back and forth for months trying to decide on whether or not starting a business like this will be worth it- not to mention coming up with products and ideas and a name, etc. I truly have respect for those bloggers who just rock out daily posts and always have something great to teach! I hope to be right up there some day, but for now, I am starting with the basics. I love to sew. It is my therapy and my outlet. I went through eight years of infertility before finally realizing the miracle of adoption and through the many years of heartache and suffering, I found that sewing gave me the chance to create something beautiful and feel like I wasn't a failure in life, after all! I am now the proud mommy to two amazing boys; Kolton, who is three, and Sam, who is 18 months. They are biological half-brothers and that story is just too long to share here but let's just say that there is a birthmommy out there who will always have my heart in her pocket. A while ago, I decided I needed an apron specifically for sewing in. I have made hundreds of aprons and I truly do live in them, but I wanted this one to be special- like Superman's cape or Samson's hair- just something that when I wore it- the creative juices would flow and I could be invincible. Thus came about the polka dot apron. Everything I create, whether it is scrapbooking, sewing, quilting, or some other random project, I do so while wearing my polka dot apron. So, here I am, ready to start my journey by sharing my adventures in sewing and creating while wearing my polka dot apron. I don't pretend to know it all. I don't have a fancy expensive sewing machine nor can I afford designer fabric (YET!), but I know what I love and what makes me smile inside and I hope to share that with you. I am launching an Etsy site on Monday, May 16th 2011 and I hope you will swing by and let me know what you think. I look forward to each and every step on this adventure. Thanks for taking the time to stop by!