There's nothing quite like handmade gifts

Quilty people are really the best people - not only do they spoil you rotten, but they truly appreciate it when you make things for them! I brought a few handmade gifts this past weekend with me to The Stash Bash that I wanted to share today, now that the cat's out of the bag :)

A little something handmade for Chris

Chris of Frecklemama is the mama of The Stash Bash. She puts it together each year, and puts in loads of work to make it the amazing, inspiring, awesome event that it is. I'm also lucky to call her my friend. She's so hilarious - if you don't follow her on Instagram @frecklemama then you are absolutely missing out on her crazy pets, fantastic one liners, and her epic morning hair. I wanted to say thank you to her in a way she could see every day, so I decided to make her something she could put in her sewing room. I chose to make the fantastic embroidery pattern on the cover of the Studio Stitches pattern from Empty Bobbin. It was the perfect way for me to try out some stitching with Aurifloss.

Stitching away

I'm not a super experienced embroider-er, but I've found it to be a lot of fun. And the Aurifloss was a dream to work with. Why on Earth doesn't every single kind of embroidery floss come on a wooden spool?? Oh my, that made embroidering even more enjoyable. No thread snarls with this adorable little spool, and did I mention how cute the spools are?? Chris's favorite colors are these kinds of soft pastels, so I had the perfect palette to work from, the Vintage Linens Aurifloss collection. 

I used some painter's tape and card stock to mount it in this vintage-y frame I found at Michael's. It may be the worst mounting job in the history of embroidery, but it works and it fit into the frame, so I think it looks pretty good. I was really excited to give it to Chris when I arrived. Don't you love giving a gift that's just beyond appreciated? That's what it was like to give this to Chris. Doesn't she look tickled?

Me and Chris at the Stash Bash

The other handmade gift I made went to Jacey of Jaceycraft. Jacey and I have met a couple of times in the past, but for The Stash Bash I was her Sew Secret Agent, the secret person giving her some fun secret gifts throughout the weekend, including this pouch.

A bunch of the Sew Secret Agent goodies I gave at the Stash Bash

I used another one of the embroidery patterns in the Studio Stitches bundle to make the embroidered part of this little pouch. I just love this little Featherweight style machine! I again used my Aurifloss stash, mostly using colors from the Color Threads bundle. I also gave Jacey some other fun little items to sweeten the pot, like a fun cat t-shirt and a pack of my favorite colored pencils. I had a terrible time trying to keep my poker face as Jacey opened her goodies! But it was awesome to get to tell her that I was her secret agent, and Amy of Needled Fig helped capture that awesome moment for us. 

Surprise! Sew Secret Agent reveal at the Stash Bash

Just thinking about all this makes me want to pick up a new embroidery project right now! Hmm, I better check my stock of Aurifloss, because I think I might be hooked!

Digging into my zipper stash

In just two short weeks, my road trip to the Stash Bash retreat will begin, and I'm definitely not heading there empty-handed. We're planning to do a little pouch swap, and there's a few people that I want to bring a special something to as well, so I decided to dig into my zipper stash and make a pile of pouches. I just finished my last pouch yesterday, so that's one more thing I can check off my to do list, yay!

A pile of pouches for Stash Bash!

The first pouch I worked on is for the pouch swap. I wanted to do some teeny tiny piecing, and I wanted to use one of my Lucky Stars blocks, so I decided to use the new April block, which will be arriving to club members' inboxes first thing Monday morning. This teeny tiny version of the block finished at 3 1/2" - throughout the piecing, I felt like I needed smaller hands to work with these tiny pieces of fabric!

Lucky Stars pouch exterior

I sashed the block with some Essex linen in Steel, and decided to add a pinstripe effect with some simple quilting on the pouch. I wanted a bright, fun color for the zipper, so I picked out a fun green zipper, Washi triangles for the lining. On this pouch, I wanted a softer look, so I used Pellon fusible fleece. It's still definitely durable, but would be good for holding a Kindle or a camera, since it's a bit more padded.

Lucky Stars pouch interior

For the second pouch, I wanted to try to use some of my Anna Maria Horner scraps. I've destashed a lot of my Anna Maria Horner fabric, and used a lot of it, too, so all that's left is scraps. I decided to use an Anna Maria Horner to go with my bits and strings of fabric, her feather pattern, but there was no way that I had enough to make the full-size feather, so I shrunk it. I used the copier function of my printer to shrink the pattern by 50%, and I was able to put together enough strings to make a darling little feather. I used Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Black for the stem of the feather, and paired it with a mostly low-volume print from Art Gallery's new Urban Mod collection called Triangularity. Isn't that a fun word??? I added a bit more of the Triangularity print around the feather to create a nice rectangular size, and turned it into a pouch.

Feather pouch exterior

I found a red zipper in my stash that had a cute pull already attached to it, and installed that for the pouch. The lining of this one is from my biggest AMH leftover scrap, a print from her Innocent Crush line, and I used Pellon Craft Fuse for the interfacing on this one - I've used Craft Fuse on several pouches, and I like the crisp look it gives.

Feather pouch interior

You're going to get to see much more of the third pouch on Tuesday, when I will be sharing a quick tutorial for it. For now, I'll give you a quick tease :)

3rd pouch - sneak peek! Stay tuned for the tutorial next week

Stay tuned on Monday for my first update on my duffle progress, and have a great weekend!

A little feather for Friday

I'm working on a few projects I can't share at the moment, which is both exciting and infuriating all at the same time. My To Sew list seems to multiply every time I have these kinds of projects that I can't show on my blog, so yesterday I sat down and decided to sew for fun. I pulled together some of my favorite Anna Maria Horner scraps, and put together a little feather, AMH style, using her feather bed pattern.

A fun feather

I paired the AMH scraps with a nice mostly low-volume print from Art Gallery's new Urban Mod collection, and I think I'm going to turn it into a little zipper pouch. It's a good size for keeping one of my English paper piecing projects in, with room for scissors and all of those other necessary goodies.

I'm off to teach my Beginning Free Motion Quilting class this morning at Inspire Quilting & Sewing this morning. How are you spending your Friday? Have a great weekend!

Santa's Sweatshop: The Zip Pouches

I love zip pouches, just love them, can't get enough of them, and I'm hoping some of my friends feel the same way this year. I had a dream a few weeks ago about some doing a foundation paper pieced star block-of-the-month club on my blog next year, and the next morning, I sketched out five stars to get started with. I drafted them in Illustrator, and liked them so much that I wanted to make them right I decided to make some them into 6" blocks and put them on the front of some zip pouches for holiday gifts.


Pouch #1
Fabrics from: Carolyn Friedlander's Architextures, various gold and aqua prints, RK Quilter's Linen in Straw


Pouch #2
Fabrics from: Cosmo Cricket's Tailor Made, Alexander Henry's Heath, Ellen Luckett Baker's Quilt Blocks, Free Spirit Designer Houndstooth, Jenean Morrison Silent Cinema, RK Quilter's Linen in Gray


Pouch #3
Fabrics: Alison Glass's Lucky Penny, various fuschia, purple, green, and blue prints, mystery black print from stash, Essex Linen in Lime


Pouch #4
Fabrics: Carolyn Friedlander's Architextures, Alison Glass's Lucky Penny, various aqua, teal, and gold prints, Essex Yarn Dyed in Black


Pouch #5
Fabrics: Carolyn Friedlander's Architextures, Joel Dewberry's Heirloom, various aqua and orange prints, RK Quilter's Linen in Azure


For the actual pouches themselves, I used Elizabeth Hartman's super detailed Perfect Zip Pouches pattern, and I highly recommend it - especially if you've had zipper troubles in the past or if you're frightened of trying zippers out. Elizabeth truly makes it easy, and I was able to learn another way to install zippers than the way I typically do for a zip pouch, so the pattern was well worth the purchase. I made pouch style C, in the large size for all of these pouches.


I hope the recipients enjoy these pouches as much as I enjoyed making them. It still surprises me how much I enjoy paper piecing these days, when it used to infuriate me so much when I first started it! Speaking of paper piecing, you be interested in a paper pieced BOM? Or am I just crazy (as usual)? I hope your holiday sewing is going well, and that you're having a great day!


A little walk down Pouch Memory Lane...

Today is my stop on the Happy Little Pouch Hop, hosted by Emily of Mommy's Nap Time and Elaine of Dashasel Sews. Welcome! I'm sharing some of my favorite pouches that I've made, in the hopes of inspiring you to make one of your own. Don't forget to add your pouch to the Flickr group for a chance to win one of this week's wonderful prizes! And now, time for a little walk down Pouch Memory Lane...

Amy's pouch

This pouch was a gift for my friend Amy recently, and oh, it was so hard to part with this adorable little pouch, adorned with honeycomb EPP shapes in rainbow colors. I totally need to make another for me.


This Orchard Path zippy pouch was made as a part of the Zakka Sew Along. It was my first time doing any English paper piecing, so I guess you could say this is where my current EPP addiction stems from!


These little pouches were given as teacher gifts at the end of the school year earlier this year. I was working on my Zakka Style pouch, and fouled up the enlargement instructions from the book for the hexagons, so they turned out just a bit oversize. No matter, I think they're still awfully cute :)

Two birthday pouches

Pouches with fussy cut fabrics always make me smile. The Little Apples pouch was a gift for my niece's birthday earlier this year, chock full of garish nail polish, and the red, blue, and gray pouch was a gift for my mother's birthday. I can't help but smile when I see her using it when she visits.

Amy's pouch

This fab pouch, using MoMo It's a Hoot collection, was a gift for Amy last year at Sewing Summit. I keep meaning to make another pouch using this super simple rail fence design for myself, but just haven't gotten to it yet! I'm sensing a theme here...seeing all these pouches I've made for other people is making me want to make some for me!!!

Lee's pouch - back

Leftover quilt blocks (or in this case quilt blocks made specifically for a pouch) are a great way to make a front or back for a pouch. I love this simple x and + block that I made last year for Lee.

Lee's pouch - front

A little hand-quilting can definitely make a patchwork pouch even more fun. This is the other side of the pouch I gave Lee at Sewing Summit last year.

Megan's pouch - front

I made this little pouch for Megan last year, using a simple embroidered message as the focal point of the pouch. I think this was my third embroidery project ever, so it was probably a bit ambitious, but I think it's perfect for a crafty pouch, for your hand sewing tools.

AnneMarie's pouch - front

This little pouch was given to AnneMarie last year at Sewing Summit, using Bonnie & Camille's Ruby. Again, the use of a simple patchwork block, repeated in a tiny size, makes for a super cute pouch!

PLP - Done!!

This travel pouch was made for Darci in the Pretty Little Pouch swap last year. I got the pleasure of handing Darci this pouch in person, which made the swap all the more fun! I love the spring-y colors in the patchwork on this pouch.

Pretty {little} Pouch - finished! #1

And last but not least, this little pouch, using teeny tiny bits of the original release of Flea Market Fancy and some other additional fabrics, was made in the first round of the Pretty Little Pouch swap. I love how the postage-stamp-inspired patchwork just pops right off the Essex linen!

Do you feel inspired to go create something wonderful? I hope so! I feel like I've just added a few more pouches to my Santa's Sweatshop Handmade Holiday list, for myself! Have a great day :)


Getting on the plane to Salt Lake City on Friday, I felt an awful lot like Santa Claus.  My Weekender bag was filled to brim not only with some hand-sewing projects to keep me busy on the plane, but also with some various handmade goodies for some special swaps I set up before I left.  I wound up making zippered pouches for all of my swappees, and after all of those zips, I'm feeling pretty good about how to install zippers, finally!  Afraid of zippers, no more :)

The first person I had a pouch for was Megan, my co-mama in the For the Love of Solids swap.  I chose to use colors to match her lovely Weekender bag, grays and yellows, and I opted to make her a large pouch to carry her hand-sewing tools.  On one side, I went with a simple frame block, and embroidered it to jazz it up.  On the other side, I had intended to make a kaleidoscope block, but I used the wrong template - perhaps that will teach me to label my darned templates.  I decided to try to make what I did work, and I really like the end result.  It's got an improv feel to it, and I think Megan's a fan, too.



Lee was next up in pouch-a-palooza.  It's no secret that Lee and I are great bloggy pals, but after finally meeting in person at the Sewing Summit, I'm happy to call her a good friend, too.  I adore Lee's work, especially the way she uses color, and knowing she's a fan of Treasures and Tidbits, I chose to use some of the super fun, bright fabrics from that collection for her pouch.  For one side, I did an x and + block, much like the one I did for my embroidery pouch a while back, but on the other side, I went with a pieced hexagon.  For some reason, when I think of Lee in quilting shapes, I think of a hexagon.  Why?  I have no idea, really, but I knew she would appreciate a pieced hexagon like this one.



The next pouch I tackled was for AnneMarie.  AnneMarie was one of my roommates at the Sewing Summit, and she was one of my earliest blog followers and supporters.  I'm so glad to call her my friend.  Since AnneMarie is in love with Bonnie & Camille's Ruby, and I happened to have a charm pack lying about, I decided to use that for her.  I also decided to do two very different sides for her pouch - one with a super traditional shoo fly block in miniature, and the other with a more improv, modern feel.  I added a little bit of hand quilting for good measure, too.



Last, but not least, of course, I made a pouch for my co-mama in the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee, Amy.  Like a zillion other people, Amy loved the rail fence quilt Rita made a while back, and I used that for my inspiration, making some mini blocks to create the stair-step effect, and using some of my prized It's a Hoot scraps.   I had a hard time handing this one over, it's so darned cute.


And now, I think I can officially say that I am probably done with zippers for a while...unless I decide to make some zippered pouches for the holidays, that is...

I'm still working on decompressing from the Sewing Summit, and I totally plan to share about all that fun really soon, after I unpack and jog my memory!  So many wonderful people and so much fun, definitely an awesome weekend :)

Pretty {little} Pouch swap - round 3

Somehow, with the munchkin back at school yesterday, I managed to not only find the inspiration for my pouch for the third round of Pretty {little} Pouch swap, but I also managed to finish it!  I'm really happy with how it turned out and super excited to get it to my partner, who I'm pretty sure is going to adore it.

I was on a bit of pouch roll yesterday morning, wrapping up the pouches I'm making for The Sewing Summit, and I decided on a long rectangle pouch with a half dresden on each side of the pouch.  I pulled some aqua, yellow, green, and pink scraps from my stash for the petals and a green polka for the dresden center, but I was unsure what kind of background fabric I wanted.

Do you like where this is going, partner?

I initially wanted to use natural linen, but I couldn't find mine (more on that later), so I used a gray quilter's linen, which created a nice contrast that I wasn't expecting.  I think I even like it better than had I used the natural linen!  I decided I wanted to box the corners for the pouch, to make it able to stand on its own, which worked out really nicely.

PLP - Done!!

I really love how this pouch turned out, and I have to say, I'm a bit jealous!  I kind of love it too much!!  But I will give it to my partner, no worries.  I just might find myself making another pouch for me at some point :)

Three overflowing scrap bins

So that's one thing checked off the To Sew list before The Sewing Summit next up is quilting the munchkin's guy quilt, which is all basted and ready to quilt!  The other thing I really need to tackle is the mess that is my sewing room - remember how I couldn't find my natural linen?  I found it this morning, when I was looking for my stack of fat quarters for the swap at The Sewing Summit - which I still haven't found, by the way. I don't like being messy in my sewing room, but the messes seem to be a byproduct of getting stuff done these days. My scrap bins are positively overflowing, so I see some kind of scrap project coming soon, otherwise I'm going to have to make a sign for my sewing room - Scraplandia, population 7 billion scraps!!!  Maybe I'll try to sort through the bins tonight while watching some "Grey's Anatomy."  What are you working on today?

Holy mess, Batman!

I'm definitely traveling handmade

I really, really love pouches.  I get so many compliments on this gorgeous one that I use every day - Michelle made it for me in the first round of the Pretty Little Pouch swap earlier this summer.

Thank you, Michelle, you rock!!!

I've been kicking myself over not joining the second round of the Pretty Little Pouch swap, which is in the midst of wrapping up, so I decided to make myself a pouch for my hand-sewing tools.  I totally intend to use this pouch to tote my embroidery things around the house and to the Sewing Summit in less than two months (eek!).  Have you seen the awesome Travel Handmade series that they're hosting?  Jeni reviewed a great Simplicity duffel bag pattern and Megan reviewed a great tote bag pattern.  Megan and I are toying with the idea of an AB Weekender Bag sew-along for the two of us, because we both really want to make one for our big trip, and figure we can use all of the moral support we can get!

So, after drooling over all of the gorgeous pouches in this round of the Pretty Little Pouch swap, I decided to make one for myself, to tote all of my hand-sewing and embroidery do-dads around.  I picked out a fabulous stack of aquas (Riley Blake Wishing Flowers, Joel Dewberry Herringbone, It's a Hoot Aqua Check and Michael Miller Aqua Ta Dot, respectively), grays (both Ty Pennington), and a fun orange Katie Jump Rope print and got to work.

My huge embroidery pouch!

I made my current favorite quilt block for the front side, and then for the back side, I stitched up a simple 9-patch and bordered it with some Kona Coal and Kona Medium Grey.  I am loving this not-so-little pouch!  It finished up at 12" square, so it will be plenty big for my embroidery hoop and various other hand-sewing goodies.


I also stitched up a pouch for my For the Love of Solids swap partner, using the same color scheme that I used for the miniquilt I'm also finishing, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I've stuffed it chock full of solids scraps, and I'm hoping this lovely package I'm putting together is going to really make my partner's day, when shipping opens up next month.

A little pouch for my partner

For the weekend, I'm working on laying out the rest of my warm/cool quilt, which I've been working on in fits and starts all summer.  I'm hoping that perhaps over the next week, I might actually finish this quilt top up once and for all.  Fingers crossed!  What are you working on this weekend?


My first (and second) box pouches

I think my fear of zippers has officially passed.  I've used four in the last week!  I cannot thank Kelly enough for her amazingly simple zipper pouch tute, which I will now always refer people to if they're afraid of zippers.

I tackled some box pouches yesterday afternoon for Mother's Day, and to practice for the Pretty {little} Pouch swap.  I was thinking about maybe a boxy pouch for my partner, using some linen and either Echino or some other brightly colored patchwork.

Pretty {little} Pouch possibilities...

I used Kaelin's awesome box pouch tute to whip up these little beauties for my mother and my mother-in-law for Mother's Day.  Given that I've made a bunch of bags over the last year, I've done boxed corners before, but I still think this is a pouch a beginner could put together very easily.  


I only had one minor hiccup when making this bag, and it was when I managed to sew through a pin.  Literally.

One minor casualty

Whoops!  I kind of forgot the pin was there, it was holding the twill tape in place and was kind of hidden.  When I sewed over it, I had no idea that it was a pin - I just thought my machine was acting up for some strange reason.  I found the pin when I was pulling the finished pouch through the hole in the lining - ouch!

I'm super pleased with how these little guys turned out, and looking forward to getting started on my official swap pouch soon.  

Practice makes...presentable!

I'm not going to call this pouch perfect, but it came together so much more easily than my first zippered pouch!  I'm starting to feel, dare I say it, confident about zippers.  Fear, be gone!  Let me just say this - Kelly's tips in her tute about the zipper size versus the pouch size are super helpful and I will keep those in mind with all future pouches.

Another practice zippy pouch

Even the zipper ends look all cute! I'm so proud of this pouch, and I'm glad I decided to use some fabric I really love, some MoMo Freebird I've been hoarding since I started sewing last year.

Look at that!

This pouch is going to be perfect for carting around all of my coupons!  Right now, it's loaded up with Jo-Ann's coupons, crossing my fingers that today's delivery truck will hold some of the new DS Quilts fabrics.

All my Jo-Ann's coupons, ready to go

I'm still working on gathering some scraps to make a prototype large scrappy/linen make-up pouch for the Pretty {little} Pouch swap, but I'm feeling a lot better about zippers now.  Phew!

{Mis}Adventures with zippers

I decided that this weekend was going to finally be my showdown with zippers.  Naturally, that's when my mother called and announced that she planned to visit for the weekend.  She left around lunchtime yesterday, so I've spent the afternoon trying to tackle a zippered pouch.  I must say, I need practice.  Definitely.  I used Noodlehead's great Gathered Clutch tute, which is so super cute.  Mine is decidedly less cute, although I'm still proud of it.

I made some seriously amateur mistakes on this little pouch.  I think my sewing mojo was elsewhere, between the silly mistakes I made here and the ridiculous mistakes I made on a recent bee block this week.

In attempting to shorten my zipper, I didn't shorten it enough, not knowing quite how to measure the zipper, and rather than going back and shortening it further when I realized my error, I kept on trucking.  Mistake #1.  I've now done a little bit more homework, including reading a really great post on Sew Mama Sew about all things zippers which taught me about how to appropriately measure a zipper (from metal to metal).

I also managed to use my zipper foot backwards.  I didn't think of doing some zipper research on YouTube until just now; next time I tackle something new, I definitely will.  I found a few helpful videos about zipper feet that told me I was using mine all wrong.  I made it work, but it seems that my way was definitely not the right, easier way.

I got my partner for the Pretty Little Pouch swap this weekend, and thankfully, she doesn't have her heart set on a zippered pouch, but I really want to master these rather than shying away.  So, here's your warning - there's going to be more zippers around here!!  If you have a favorite zipper tute, pass it my way, I'd love to see it.  So...I now have my first zippered clutch completed...and though it's fraught with errors, I'm really excited that I have officially sewn a zipper.  Maybe after another two or ten, I won't be scared of them anymore...

And since I feel obligated to show you something beautiful, here's a little something - it's butterfly season around here, apparently.  We've got cocoons all around our house, and a few butterflies have started to emerge this weekend.  My son is absolutely fascinated with these little guys.  When I took my new pouch outside to photograph, I happened to stumble on one of our new little butterfly friends.  Such a pretty one!