Paying it forward: An EPP pouch

Thanks for all the well wishes for my broken fridge last week - they worked! The fridge is now back up and running, which is a wonderful thing. And the other big news from the last week is that my munchkin is now a preschool graduate, ready to start kindergarten in the fall. Oh my goodness.

Today is the first official day of summer for us, and one of my big goals this summer, other than big family fun, is to work through my Pay-It-Forward list, slowly but surely. Back in January, there was a little meme floating around on Instagram and Facebook, where people asked for 5 volunteers to sign up and agree to receive a small gift sometime during the year, in exchange for offering the same opportunity to 5 people of their own. I've got five great people to craft for, and so far, I've made some pouches and some divided baskets, and today I'm wrapping up another gift, a pouch with some EPP applique.

PIF EPP Pouch - front view

I really enjoy doing English Paper Piecing these days, and this pouch is actually an EPP starter kit for one of my pay-it-forward peeps. I made a simple pouch, using some black yarn dyed Essex and some beautiful charms of Laura Gunn's newest collection, Edges, for Michael Miller. I used an EPP block pattern I picked up a while back, Octagon Variation #2, and appliqued it using clear thread to the front of the pouch.

PIF EPP Pouch - top view

Inside the pouch, there's some needles, thread, Wonder Clips , and of course some EPP paper pieces to get started with. I sure hope that the recipient will enjoy some EPP thanks to these goodies!

PIF EPP Pouch - side view

A little bit of honey

Honeycombs, actually, to be more exact. I've been working on a little English paper piecing project over the last week or so, without any real plans, just to have some fun and use one of my favorite fabric lines ever, It's a Hoot by MoMo. I've got some scraps and a charm pack, so I expect that I'll wind up with a pillow or perhaps a mini-quilt when all is said and done.

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I'm using 3/4" sized honeycombs from the lovely folks at Paper Pieces and plan to sew them together into a shape like this, which I first spotted on Flickr by Emily of Sew With a View. I love the concept, and definitely plan to applique them to a background, but I want to stick some squares and a rectangle of another fabric in the center first, just need to get some more papers and decide on an awesome fabric to use for the centers.

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This is the perfect kind of project to take on the go, when I'm waiting outside of the munchkin's gymnastics class or in the car line at school. I think I've missed having a little hand project ever since I finished my Starflower pillow. It's so funny to me that I actually enjoy these little hand projects these days! I used to positively despise all forms of hand sewing, but lately, I've found that I really do enjoy English paper piecing, in spite of the fact that it's done by hand. What are you sewing up this week? Have a great day!

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Fourteen days and counting

Just fourteen more days to go until Christmas! How on Earth did that happen?!?! I spent a good bit of quality time with my sewing machine this weekend, trying to gear up for some serious handmade holiday gift-making. It was really quite fun to crank up the holiday music and just sew, in between trekking out to holiday parades and birthday parties. The best part so far about this holiday season is hearing my munchkin singing along to the Christmas tunes, that positively puts a smile on my face.

This weekend, I focused on finishing two pillows and getting my pouches started. Admittedly, one of the pillows is for me, but I figured while I was finishing off a gift pillow, it wouldn't take long to finish off the pillow for me. Let's start with my pillow...

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The dog apparently thinks I made the pillow for him. He's sorely mistaken ;)
I've been working off and on since some time in September on a little English paper pieced (EPP) project that I've enjoyed more than I could have ever imagined. Inspired by Terri's gorgeous pillow from the PTS swap round over the summer, I bought some paper pieces (Diamonds and Jewels, in the 3/4" size) from the aptly named Paper Pieces shop and got to it. It took a while, and a lot of templates, but I actually turned them into a pillow, and I absolutely love it.

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All of the fabrics are from my scrap bin, save for the Sweetwater print I used for the background. I even used a stash print for the backing, from Flea Market Fancy. The pillow is quilted in simple straight lines, using 50 wt Aurifil thread in white. This pillow cover fits perfectly on a 20" pillow form.

Scrappy Spools pillow top


The gift pillow I finished up this weekend is going a long way to a good friend, so I really needed to get it finished so I can ship it off. I started this pillow a while back, for the Pillow Talk Swap, but as I finished up the front, I started to feel like it wasn't quite something my partner would like, so I set it aside and made something else. Fortunately, I happen to know someone who will appreciate this pillow very much, so I decided to finish it up for her. I added some simple wiggle FMQ to the sashing, in white 50 wt Aurifil thread, and added a simple envelope backing to finish it off. This pillow cover will fit perfectly on a 22" pillow cover (which I can't seem to locate at my house at the moment!).

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Happy stitching :)

Building new habits

I got on a little English paper piecing kick after finishing AnneMarie's block the other day for our {Sew} Beautiful Bee. I happened to have some jewel shapes and hexagons lying about from a spurt of inspiration I experienced after falling head over heels for a superb pillow that Terri crafted in the last round of the Pillow Talk Swap. I desperately wanted a pillow of my own, so I picked up various paper pieces from Paper Pieces, a great resource for all different kinds of EPP shapes and sizes, but then left my package of paper pieces to collect dust, lacking the motivation to get started.

Admittedly, I've never been a huge fan of hand sewing. I've gotten a bit over my major aversion to it over the last year or so, and I've drooled over a lot of EPP projects I've seen on Instagram and Flickr, but never really took the plunge. Until now.

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The other night, after I made AnneMarie's hexagons, I dug out some scraps, the petal paper pieces, and started going to town. I now have six little flowers, using my 3/4" petal pieces and 3/4" hexagons, and I'm smitten. The results are just so gorgeous!! I'm enjoying how mindless the sewing is, how I can multitask while sewing scraps around the templates, and feeling like I'm making a dent (albeit a small one) in my scraps . I don't really have any specific plans for these little flowers - maybe a mini? Or a pillow? But for now, I'm enjoying the process :)

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I'm trying something else new this week: the Couch to 5K program. I did my second run of week one this morning, and I feel really great about it so far. My first attempt the other day didn't go so fantastically; I got a horrible side cramp halfway through and thought for a moment or two that I might have heatstroke, but today's workout was much, much better. I think I ran too hard too early in the workout the first time, but I'm pretty out of shape, so I'm sure that had something to do with it too. Getting through today's run really felt amazing. Almost as amazing as buying a boatload of new fabric ;)

I hope you have a great Friday, and happy sewing to you!

Mail call!

My mailbox has been a super happy place lately, with several wonderful goodies putting a big smile on my face.

The first wonderful thing that came to me was a super fabulous pillow from John of Quilt Dad. Amy put together a fun small NY Beauty swap a while back and I'm so glad she asked me to participate. I got to send my NY Beauty mini to Lee, and John sent me this gorgeous pillow! I feel so lucky! This pillow is just perfect for my sewing room, and nice and colorful, just the way I like it. Even the stitching is multicolored! This pillow totally made my day :)

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I also have gotten hooked on English Paper Piecing...at least the idea of it :) After finally tackling hexagons for my Zakka project last week, EPP doesn't seem anywhere near as daunting as I used to think it would be, and I ordered some new pieces to try out last week, after drooling over a wip that Terri has been working on for the Pillow Talk Swap. I love the idea of digging into my scrap bins and making something out of them for once, so I'm hoping that I will show some follow-through here and give these little guys a try soon!

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I finally caved and ordered a Michael Miller Cotton Couture card from Caitlin at I Don't Do Dishes, and boy I'm glad I did. I really love the crazy soft hand of the MM solids, and now the next time I order them, I will know exactly what color I'm getting. And the card is super cute to boot!

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And finally, did you see that the voting has opened up for Jennifer's Summer Sewing Contest? There are so many gorgeous projects featured there, and one of them just happens to be mine - my NY Beauty mini is the last entry in the Home Decor category, in case you want to vote for me - or your other favorite summer projects! Have a great day!

NY Beauty mini