Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Just couldn't leave well enough alone...

Remember when I shared my sewing room earlier this month and mentioned how I was thinking about redoing things? Well, I couldn't leave well enough alone...that process has gotten started, but thanks to my husband's work schedule, it is so exactly done at the moment. Still a work in progress.

Initially, I wanted a Horn sewing cabinet. Something with a custom insert for my machine, a big surface, drawers for storage, etc. After nearly fainting over the cost of those bad boys, I started dreaming of an Ikea hack of some kind. I'd seen several on Flickr and Instagram. After scoping out the build-a-desk area at Ikea, measuring things a zillion times at home, I wound up trekking to Ikea with the family on Saturday after I saw Amy's post about her Ikea sewing table. I usually buy furniture without much thought about what my husband thinks about it, but for this, I needed help and advice. I wasn't sure what would be sturdy and what wouldn't. Turns out he doesn't really either, but that's another story.

Lots of paper in the Build a Desk section plus cute little pencils meant lots of drawing for the kiddo while the grown-ups talked about furniture
The other thing I was really hoping to accomplish was to create an L-shaped workspace, where I could not only rest the bulk of a quilt that I'm quilting, but where I could maybe do my cutting and have my computer for blogging and pattern writing and such.

On my first trip (yes, there are more) to Ikea, I wound up with:
one 59" x 29" table top to put my sewing machine one
one 78" x 24" table top to set up perpendicular to the machine table
one set of drawers to use as a table base
six table legs

During the assembly, we discovered that we needed an extra table leg for the center of the super long table, and that one of the pieces of the drawer unit was broken, so back to Ikea my husband went.

On the second trip to Ikea, we wound up with:
one table leg
a new piece to replace the broken drawer piece

After lots of assembly on Saturday night, I was really excited to start to get things put away. I didn't even think about how the tables would behave when I turned on and used my machine. When I finally did turn it on some time on Sunday, it was bad. The table bowed and shook like there was a huge earthquake. I cried. A lot. I cried because my husband was getting ready to leave for the week so I was going to be stuck with a table I couldn't actually use, I cried because we'd bought all this stuff from Ikea and it just wasn't working the way  I needed it to and I was terribly frustrated. And I think more than anything, I cried because I wanted my dad. It's been nearly ten years since he died, and it's still painful. He was the fixer in my family. Cars, furniture, you name it, he made it work. Somehow. And in that moment, I felt like no one was going to be able to make all of this better but him.

I pulled it together, dried my tears, and sent my husband off for work, but being the good man he is, he called his parents (who have a much bigger car), and they came over to let me borrow their car to return the legs and top for the sewing table. I talked with the Ikea staff, and they recommended using a fully wooden table top as well as drawers for the bottom, to provide the most stability. My father-in-law, though, thought that these wooden trestles would be more secure. In the end, I compromised and did one of each, feeling completely unsure what would work.

On my third trip to Ikea, I wound up with:
a pine 59" x 29" table top for my machine
a wooden trestle table base
another set of drawers to use as a table base

I put the trestle and drawers together, and lifted the big wooden table top on top. It looked nice, but that didn't mean much of anything until I turned the machine on. So I did. And the table still shook. Nowhere near as violently as it did before, mind you, but it still shook. Argh. The husband suggested that I swap out the trestle with the other drawer unit that I had with the other top, so I lugged that bad boy over to the sewing table. That helped. But again, there's still some vibration.

IMG_9934rt

The way things stand right now, the set up works, physically speaking. It's big, it's roomy, I've got drawers to store things in, but the darned machine table still seems to vibrate a lot when I sew. Part of me is thinking about putting my machine in my old table to try to compare the amount of vibration, because I seem to recall that it vibrated, too, I just can't remember how much. Does the surface you sew on vibrate??  Ultimately, we were planning on cutting a whole into the table to create a custom drop-in for my sewing machine, but I'm worried that will make things even less stable. So for now, things are staying as is. The husband will be home for the weekend and will hopefully have some ideas how to further stabilize the table.

IMG_9929rt

In the meantime, I'm trying to get things settled and put away. I wrapped up a little block yesterday for Amy/Sukie to send off, and I'm getting ready to work on a lone starburst bee block for Brioni. I'm hoping using some super fun happy fabric will take my mind off all this desk drama. Thank goodness for fabric!
Thursday, July 26, 2012

Christmas in July: Felicity Quilts

Today is the last day of the Christmas in July blog hop. I do hope you've enjoyed all of the fabulous tutorials that have been shared over these weeks, I know I feel energized to get some holiday sewing done! Our blogger today is the fabulous Felicity of Felicity Quilts. Felicity is a Canadian quilter, who just recently taught her first workshop with the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild, and I absolutely love the stacked strips quilt she's had in the works for a while.

Felicity is sharing with us a lovely Holly Berries pillow cover, complete with a zipper closure! Such a sweet holiday pillow, and Felicity's tutorial makes it quite easy to make as well.

Holly Berries pillow cover

Be sure to stop by Felicity's blog to check out her tutorial and to enter to win a gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop!
FatQuarterShop-175

Thanks again to everyone for following along with the Christmas in July festivities. I sure hope these tutorials will give you a head start on your holiday sewing. And thanks very much to all of the fabulous bloggers who have shared wonderful tutorials! You guys rock!
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Christmas in July: Diary of a Quilter

I'm so happy that Amy of Diary of a Quilter is joining the Christmas in July festivities today! I got the opportunity to meet Amy last year at Sewing Summit, and I have to say she is just as sweet in person as she seems on her blog. Amy's blog features loads of quilty tutorials as well as a pattern shopI think that her Rainbow Connection quilt might just be my favorite...in part thanks to its nod to Kermit the Frog's famous "Rainbow Connection" song from one of my personal favorite movies, "The Muppet Movie."


Today, Amy's sharing with us an easy fat quarter bag tutorial, perfect to gift to the women in your life! Everyone's got a few fat quarters lying about, why not use them to make a great bag to give as a gift for the holidays?



Make sure to stop by to say hello to Amy today, check out her tutorial, and to enter to win a gift certificate to Pink Chalk Fabrics!

logo-pinkchalk
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christmas in July: Comfortstitching

I'm really excited to introduce you to today's blogger for the Christmas in July party: it's Aneela Hoey, the fabulous fabric designer for Moda Fabrics and blogger behind the Comfortstitching blog. Her fourth collection, Cherry Christmas, is hitting stores soon, so keep your eyes peeled for it! She's been working up a boatload of lovely holiday projects to celebrate the release of Cherry Christmas, so you'll certainly find plenty of holiday inspiration at her blog. Aneela also has a book of embroidery patterns coming out in the fall, called "Little Stitches", so she certainly has been busy!


Today, Aneela's sharing with us a wonderful tutorial for patchwork holiday stockings. She's used her now-shipping and in-stock at Intrepid Thread Cherry Christmas collection, which I just love. Love, love, love the colors in the collection, and the prints are just darling in these stockings!

Make sure to stop by to say hello to Aneela, and enter to win a fabulous bundle of holiday fabrics from The Intrepid Thread!

intrepid thread ad
Monday, July 23, 2012

Christmas in July: Happy Quilting

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend :)

The second week of Christmas in July festivities kick off today. Have you met Melissa? She's the blogger behind the aptly titled Happy Quilting blog and a momma to five kids, and somehow she still finds time to sew! Today, she's sharing a fabulous tutorial for holiday strip quilt called Ribbons with us, full of bright holiday colors, not to mention quick and easy to put together!


Melissa's also hosting a super fun Tetris quilt-along right now that I'm having a hard time resisting at the moment. Such a fun idea! She also hosts a weekly link-up called T.N.T. Thursdays, encouraging all of us to Try New Things every week in our crafting. 



Today, along with her great tutorial, Melissa giving away a gift certificate to I Don't Do Dishes, so pop on over to check out her quilt and enter for a chance to win! Have a great day :)

idontdodishes
Saturday, July 21, 2012

Packing up

Today is my first Sew Day with my new local guild, the Tampa Modern Quilt Guild. It looks like we're going to have a pretty good turnout today, which is really exciting...and nerve-wracking! I'm packing up my machine, along with a zillion half-square triangles and coordinating squares for my Patchwork Wheel scrap quilt to work on today, and I'm really looking forward to spending the day sewing.


It's been a really great week. I'm so glad to see how excited people have been about the great tutorials shared this week as a part of the Christmas in July festivities! In case you missed one, here's a recap of this week's tutorials:

Mariner Star pillow - full frontal




Christmas in July tree skirt


It's been a great week, and there's still four more great handmade holiday tutorials coming your way next week from Melissa of Happy Quilting, Aneela of ComfortStitching, Amy of Diary of a Quilter, and Felicity of Felicity Quilts.

Have a great weekend!
Friday, July 20, 2012

Christmas in July: Sew Sweetness

Happy Friday! Are you ready for another dose of holiday cheer? Today's blogger is Sara, from Sew Sweetness. Sara is an extremely talented sewist - she's one of those triple threats who can quilt, sew amazing garments, and sew beautiful bags.


Today, Sara is serving up a beautiful, detailed tutorial for making a gorgeous handmade bag called the Conversation Bag, which is a fabulous gift for any of the women in your life. Click on over to check out Sara's tutorial and to enter to win a gift certificate from Pink Chalk Fabrics.

Have you seen Sara's latest quilt top finish? I absolutely love her take on Tula Pink's new Space Dust pattern, I just love all those solids!!

Tula Pink 'Space Dust'

Also, I owe you all a winner for my giveaway from Monday's Pink Castle Fabrics Quiltmas fabric bundle. Drumroll, please! And the winner is:
#72, Bree of Distant Pickles! Congratulations, Bree! You should be receiving an email from me shortly!

Stay tuned for the rest of the Christmas in July posts, running through next Thursday!
Monday 7/16 - Don't Call Me Betsy
Tuesday 7/17 - Sew Crafty Jess
Wednesday 7/18 - Pink Penguin
Thursday 7/19 - Freshly Pieced
Friday 7/20 - Sew Sweetness
Monday 7/23 - Happy Quilting
Tuesday 7/24 - Comfort Stitching
Wednesday 7/25 - Diary of a Quilter
Thursday 7/26 - Felicity Quilts

Happy Friday to you all! Have a great weekend!
Thursday, July 19, 2012

Christmas in July: Freshly Pieced

Welcome to day four of the Christmas in July blog hop!  Today's blogger is the fabulous Lee from Freshly Pieced. Lee is an unbelievably talented quilter, who has an incredible knack for writing tutorials and giving traditional blocks a modern spin. She recently stitched up this gorgeous NY Beauty pillow for a swap. I just love the use of solids with varying values, it's so pretty!

NY Beauty swap pillow
source: Freshly Pieced on Flickr

Today, Lee's sharing with us a gorgeous Christmas tree skirt tutorial, which I'm super excited about, because I sure could use a gorgeous tree skirt like this! Pop on over to say hello and see Lee's wonderful tutorial, and to enter to win a beautiful holiday bundle of fabrics from The Intrepid Thread!

Christmas in July

Stay tuned for the rest of the Christmas in July posts, running through next Thursday!
Monday 7/16 - Don't Call Me Betsy
Tuesday 7/17 - Sew Crafty Jess
Wednesday 7/18 - Pink Penguin
Thursday 7/19 - Freshly Pieced
Friday 7/20 - Sew Sweetness
Monday 7/23 - Happy Quilting
Tuesday 7/24 - Comfort Stitching
Wednesday 7/25 - Diary of a Quilter
Thursday 7/26 - Felicity Quilts
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Christmas in July: Pink Penguin

Oh my, I'm so excited to introduce today's blogger for the Christmas in July festivities! Ayumi, of Pink Penguin, is one of my favorite bloggers, I just love to see what she's up to!  Have you seen her adorable popsicle paper piecing pattern, available now at Superbuzzy! Ayumi has partnered with Superbuzzy for a year-long paper-piecing-along, and the popsicle pattern is the first in the series.

photo: http://ayumills.blogspot.com/

Today, Ayumi is sharing a wonderful fabric tape tutorial with us, perfect for dressing up your holiday packages and using up your scraps. Pop on over to say hello and check out Ayumi's wonderful tutorial, and for a chance to win a gift certificate to Pink Chalk Fabrics!


Stay tuned for the rest of the Christmas in July posts, running through next Thursday!
Monday 7/16 - Don't Call Me Betsy
Tuesday 7/17 - Sew Crafty Jess
Wednesday 7/18 - Pink Penguin
Thursday 7/19 - Freshly Pieced
Friday 7/20 - Sew Sweetness
Monday 7/23 - Happy Quilting
Tuesday 7/24 - Comfort Stitching
Wednesday 7/25 - Diary of a Quilter
Thursday 7/26 - Felicity Quilts
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Christmas in July: Sew Crafty Jess

I hope you're ready for some more holiday inspiration! Today's Christmas in July tutorial comes from Jessica of Sew Crafty Jess.


Jessica loves color, and uses it so confidently throughout her quilty projects. Have you seen her most recent quilt top? Love, love, love the soft, sherbert-y colors!

DSC_0111
photo: Sew Crafty Jess on Flickr
Today, Jessica is sharing a tutorial for an E-Reader Sleeve with us. Stop by to check out her tutorial and to enter another awesome Christmas in July giveaway! Happy Tuesday, all!



Stay tuned for the rest of the Christmas in July posts, running through next Thursday!
Monday 7/16 - Don't Call Me Betsy
Tuesday 7/17 - Sew Crafty Jess
Wednesday 7/18 - Pink Penguin
Thursday 7/19 - Freshly Pieced
Friday 7/20 - Sew Sweetness
Monday 7/23 - Happy Quilting
Tuesday 7/24 - Comfort Stitching
Wednesday 7/25 - Diary of a Quilter
Thursday 7/26 - Felicity Quilts
Monday, July 16, 2012

Christmas in July: Mariner's Star Pillow

Ready to get a head start on your holiday sewing? I know I am! Last Christmas, I remember feeling so frustrated at how little I was able to sew for the holidays, given how hairy and crazy things were around the holidays. This year, I've gathered together some good friends to help us all kick-start our holiday sewing way early, with some fun tutorials for both decorating your home and for handmade holiday gifts. Welcome to Christmas in July!!


Today, I'm sharing with you a fun holiday pillow that you can use to add that festive feeling to your living room or even to give as a gift over the holidays. This pillow uses four paper pieced units to create a center block as well as colorful strips around the center block, much like a traditional log cabin quilt block. I love making holiday pillows, they're a fun and quick way to decorate! Let's get started, shall we?

Mariner Star pillow - full frontal

Mariner's Star Pillow

Makes one 20" pillow
note: center block is 12.5" unfinished, makes a great quilt block, too!

You'll need:
23" square piece of batting for pillow front
2 pillow back pieces, 14" x 21"

various pieces of red and green fabric, see chart below


colorsizequantity
red
5” x 7”8
red
2 ¾” x 16 ½”1
red
2 ¾”  x 18 ¾”2
red
2 ¾” x 21”1
light green
2 ½” x 5”8
dark green
2” x 6 ½”8
green
2 ½” x 12 ½”1
green
2 ½” x 14 ½”2
green
2 ½” x 16 ½”1
white
2” x 6 ½” 8
white
1 1/2” x 4”8




Pillow Assembly:

1. First, print four copies of the template PDF. Double-check to make sure that the 1" line on the template measures 1", and if it does not, make sure that your printer scaling options are set to "Print at actual size." Trim off some of the excess paper, but be sure to leave some white paper around the gray rim of the block template.

2. Start by placing your white center piece in the center of the back, unprinted side of your template paper, with the wrong side of the fabric touching the paper. Align your fabric in the center of the #1 area of the block, making sure your white fabric overlaps over the edges of area #1. Pin in place.

IMG_9476

3. Next, line up your first light green piece, for area #2. Align your light green fabric approximately 1/4" beyond the line between areas #1 and #2 on the template, right sides together with your pinned white fabric.

IMG_9477

Stitch along the line, and be sure to shorten your machine's stitch length to approxiamtely 1.5 mm. This will perforate the paper, making it easier to remove when we're all done.

IMG_9479

Flip your paper piece over, and make sure to open your light green strip to ensure it covers the entire #2 section. Then, you can trim the excess remaining white fabric, trimming down to a 1/4" seam allowance. Finger press the seam, then set the seam with a hot, dry iron.

IMG_9488

4. Repeat Step 3 for the adding piece #3, an additional green piece that borders the opposite side of the white fabric you began with.

IMG_9486

5. Next, let's add some holiday red. Align a 5" x 6" piece of red fabric along the line between area #3 and #4, right sides together. Pin in place, if needed. Stitch along the line between area #3 and #4, and trim excess seam allowance, as needed. Press seam to set your work.

IMG_9492

6. Repeat for Step 6 to cover area #5 of your template, making sure to stitch into the gray seam allowance border.

IMG_9493

7. To finish area 6 on the template, align a strip of dark green fabric with the fabrics you've sewn in place so far, rights sides together, with approximately a 1/4" overlapping the seam, as shown. Stitch along the seam line, making sure to stitch into the gray seam allowance that surrounds the template. Clip your threads and flip your template piece over. Trim your excess fabric to approximately a 1/4" seam allowance, and press to set your work.

IMG_9548


IMG_9551

8. Repeat step 7 to cover area #8 on your template, using your other strip of dark green fabric.

IMG_9553

9. To finish piecing the template, we'll use two strips of white fabric. This will become the center of the mariner's star. Align your white strip, right sides together the fabric side of your template, approximately a 1/4" beyond the seam line for area #8 on your template. Pin, as needed. Stitch along the seam line, making sure to stitch into the gray seam allowance border. Trim excess fabric to create a 1/4" seam allowance and press to set your piecing. Repeat for area #9.

IMG_9558

10. After you've finished piecing each template piece, trim it down, trimming along the gray edges of the template. Do not cut off the gray seam allowance border!

IMG_9495


11. Repeat steps 2-10 to make a total of four paper pieced units.  Lay out your four finished template pieces in an order that you like. Feel free to swap them around as needed until you're happy with your layout. At this point, you can remove the paper from your templates; or you can choose to remove the paper after seaming your four template pieces together, it's just a matter of personal taste.

IMG_9563

12. Sew all four finished template pieces together. Press seams open to reduce bulk.

IMG_9566


IMG_9572

13. Add the log pieces, in size order, around the edges of the center block, pressing seams open as you go to reduce bulk, starting with the four green logs, then the red logs.

14. The pillow top finishes at 21". If yours turns out larger, don't trim it down just yet. First, layer your finished pillow top on a piece of batting and baste as desired. Then, quilt your pillow top however you'd like. Once you've quilted the pillow top, trim down to 21" square, as needed.

IMG_9601

15. To finish the pillow back, fold 1/4" down on the top long side of a back piece. I'm terrible at this, so I use a seam guide as shown above to make sure my fold is consistent across the length of my fabric. Use a hot, dry iron to press in place. Repeat, folding down a total of 1/2", and topstitch along the edge. Repeat for both back pieces.

IMG_9595

16. Lay your finished pillow top face up on a flat surface. Align the raw edges of a back piece with the top of your pillow front, right sides together, with the seam you just finished in the center of the pillow top. Repeat with the other back piece, aligning with the opposite side of the pillow, so that finished seams overlap. Pin in place, all the way around the pillow.

17. Stitch 1/2" seam all the way around the pillow, backstitching to secure your threads.

18. Remove the pins and reach in through the envelope opening you've created to pull your pillow front through. Make sure to use a pencil eraser or other turning tool to push the corners out all the way. And voila, a lovely finished pillow!

Mariner Star pillow - side view


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you use this tutorial to make a pillow or just the center block, I'd love to see it in the Stitching with Don't Call Me Betsy Flickr group!

The wonderful Brenda of Pink Castle Fabrics is sharing in the Christmas in July fun today, giving away a wonderful bundle from her shop, full of gorgeous reds and greens. I especially love how these fabrics aren't necessarily holiday fabrics, they don't use typical holiday graphics or designs, but the colors still evoke that holiday feeling.

quiltmas_in_july

To enter in the giveaway, tell me about your favorite holiday decor item at your house. Is it a family heirloom, something you've made, a favorite item you've purchased? I'd love to hear about it! This giveaway will be open through the end of the day Thursday, and a winner will be announced on Friday.  
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU!

Stay tuned for the rest of the Christmas in July posts, running through next Thursday!
Monday 7/16 - Don't Call Me Betsy
Tuesday 7/17 - Sew Crafty Jess
Wednesday 7/18 - Pink Penguin
Thursday 7/19 - Freshly Pieced
Friday 7/20 - Sew Sweetness
Monday 7/23 - Happy Quilting
Tuesday 7/24 - Comfort Stitching
Wednesday 7/25 - Diary of a Quilter
Thursday 7/26 - Felicity Quilts
 hello

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy six year old boy and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?

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