Saturday, June 27, 2009

Water Bottle Holders

In preparation for our vacation a couple of weeks ago, I made water bottle holders for the girls and my husband. My oldest asked for a Cars holder, so that is what I made!

Here is a not so good angle of the water bottle holders:

A little better shot.

My little girl modeling her water bottle holder.

My husband's bottle holder before the handle was added.

My water bottle holder. I made it several months back.

I used a tutorial I found to make these and they were quite easy to do!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Possibly a Tutorial

I have been going through a Bible study with some friends and Tuesday was the last official day. One of the things that Elizabeth George said near the end was to have cards, pen, stamps, and addresses stored altogether so that you can write notes to different people who need encouragement during down time, like waiting in a doctor's office (something I do a lot). So yesterday, I sat down, planned, drew, then sewed a case to keep all these things together. It turned out really cute! I have a couple of tweaks to the pattern, but I will make it into a tutorial soon. (I hope to get a picture of it up later today.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Baby Quilt Blanket

I seem to be surrounded by pregnant women these days. I guess it is just that my friends and I are at that age where we want children. I have started making what I call modified quilts or quilt blankets for a few of these little babies. Basically I just quilt a cheater fabric with a bamboo batting, then sew that wrong sides with some minky or furry fleece or other super soft backing. When that is finished, flip the quilt blanket right side out and topstitch all the way around (I have to be really careful on this part as it can look really bad). I made one for a friend in a red, white, and blue fabric that was backed with white minky dot. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of that one. Here is the quilt blanket I made for my sister who's little girl is due in August.

I LOVE this quilt! It is sooo soft and comfy that I almost wish I could keep it! I guess I have said that out loud because my sister offered to give it back when her little girl isn't so little any more. Isn't that sweet?! I couldn't do that to my sister or her sweet little girl.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bleach Discharging

Based on some inspiration from my favorite blog (I should just tell you to go read her stuff and be satisfied with that!) ohfransson, I attempted some bleach discharging of commercial fabric. I had an odd time of it.
I started out with 5 fat quarters. I cut them in half to make fat 8ths. Then I put 5 fat 8ths (one from each fabric) into a mix of bleach and water. I started out with a low concentration of bleach to water. After about 7 minutes (stirring every minute or two), it looked as if nothing had happened. I added more bleach and try for another 7 minutes. During that time, I think I added even more bleach! Can you tell that I am not patient in many thing!?! One of the fabrics (the green peppermint fabric) bleached out more quickly than the rest, but I didn't take it out of the bleach bath as I should have. The rest of the fabrics seemed to take forever to bleach. After another 5 minutes or so, I decided that I needed to be satisfied. I took the fabrics out of their bleach bath and rinsed them off as much as I could. Then threw all the fat 8ths (the bleach and unbleached) into the washing machine. When they came out of the dryer, here is what they looked like.

It turned out that my adding bleach to the bucket was not such a bright idea as there are several splotches on a couple of the fabrics, particularly the brown and the blue with brown flowers. Here is several of the fabrics cut for the square in square blocks that I intent to make with this fabric. I really like this layout of stair steps. I hope to make a quilt with that design one day.

Here is the first two square in square blocks that I made with the bleach discharged fabrics.

What do you think? If you are interested in this idea, there is a whole flickr group devoted to bleach discharging and over-dying commercial fabric. Check it out here. All this was inspired by Malka Dubrawsky, check out her blog A Stitch in Dye. Neat idea isn't it, but I am not sure that I will do any more with this as I have so many projects that I want to try as well. One more idea that I wanted to try off the list.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Disappearing Nine Patch

A while back, I found a large package of fabric at Goodwill. It was all what I considered to be old fashioned fabrics. You know the kind that are odd shades of familiar colors with tiny little flowers all over them. I was really excited to have this collection as it gave me some fabrics that I could play with without being scared of cutting my nice stuff.
I decided to try a combination of tutorials that I had read about. I modified the crazy nine patch tutorial to be straight lines instead of crazy. I found this method really fun as it was quick piecing! It is great to see so much accomplishment so quickly. Next I applied this disappearing nine patch tutorial. I love this look! This quilt is my husband's favorite that I have made so far. The quilt looks very old fashioned. It measures approximately 40 inches square.
Here is the main part of the quilt:

This is a closer view of one of the blocks:

The back is one large disappearing nine patch:

The binding is pieced from strips of the fabrics used in the quilt. I really like it.

I quilted the disappearing nine patch with a pretty yellow thread, but I had a fair amount of problems with the tension. In the end, I don't think it is right, but it is useable. I'm not going to take it all out, now! I have learned my lesson about buy cheaper quality thread.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

First Big Quilt

When I decide to do something, I usually go all out. Jump in with both feet. So when my oldest daughter (then 3) asked if I could make her a Cars (Pixar) quilt for her birthday, I decided I could make her one for her twin size bed. The quilt turned out to be so big that it covered the top of my queen size bed, though it didn't drape much. I used this pattern from my favorite website OhFrannson. I changed it to make a bit bigger blocks, and it turned out nicely.
I am not sure how to best photograph something so big, so this isn't the best picture, but you get the idea!

Here is one of my favorite blocks!

Here it is on my daughter's bed. You can see how much it drapes on the twin bed!

I have been really interested in Tonya's (from Lazy Gal Quilting) tutorials on making letters. With that in mind, I decided to put my daughter's name on the back of her quilt in the form of pieced block letters. The letters where improvisationally pieced. I am quite proud of it!
The first letter:

And the full name!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Man's Shirt to Girl's Dress: Take 1

After seeing a couple of different tutorials for turning men's shirts into girls' dresses, I decided to try making a couple of them. The is actually the third dress I made. But since it is the only one I could get my camera at today, it will be the first I blog about. This one is following the tutorial by Made. I used all the same measurements that she did thinking that it should fit one of my thin little girls. I had originally thought it would fit my 32 lbs 4 years old, but as I got further into making it, I decided that it would be better suited for my younger daughter who is 26 lbs and 2.5 years old. When I finally went to try it on her, it was difficult to get on, so we passed the dress down to my 23 lbs 1.5 years old niece. It fits her really well!

The dress has very narrow white pin strips and the buttons are just for show on this dress. I want to try making another one, but I will try to take measurements of my girls first!

Sewing Machine Interview

One of my favorite blogs is Sew Mama Sew. They are having Sewing Machine month and as a part of that, they have asked people to "interview" their sewing machine. As I have been sewing for a little while, I thought I would join in!

So here is my sewing Machine:

What brand and model do you have?

Brother XR 7700 (this is the Costco version of the CS6000i)

How long have you had it?

I bought it in September or October 2008, so just under a year.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?

I think I paid $180 through (the price included shipping). It also included several accessories. In addition to the normal foot, it came with a walking foot, stippling foot, 1/4 in foot, a zipper foot, and several others that I don't remember at this time! It also came with an attachable table for quilting.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?

I have done quite a bit of quilting since getting my machine. I am starting to make some clothes for my children.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?

I try to sew a little bit each day, so I think that the the machine gets used about 5-7 hours a week.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?

I like my sewing machine. I don't love or hate it, but it has been good for me, a new sewist. I haven't named it, I am not that creative!

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

I really like the drop in bobbin, the reverse button, and all of the different stitches!

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

It is difficult to quilt big quilts as the arm is not very big. Sometimes the machine moves when I am trying to manipulate a large quilt as it only weighs about 18 lbs. Oh, I almost forgot that the machine sometimes skips stitches. These doesn't seem happen too often, but when you are quilting, it can happen more often than I like. Also I have had some problems with tention, but I think that is more my error than the sewing machine's!

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!

I saved up my money to buy it, my husband did the research to decide what was the best machine for the money that I had, and have been really pleased with it.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?

I would definately recommend it to beginners, or someone who isn't sure how much sewing they are going to do. It is a good little machine.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?

Next time I buy a sewing machine, I will look for a heavier machine and one that can accommodate larger quilts.

Do you have a dream machine?

I would love to buy a long arm one day, but I think I have to wait until the kids are grow!

I hope this helps someone get into sewing! It has been a lot of fun and I believe has helped me not go through as many mood swings and emotional problems after having my little boy last June.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I love thrifting! I have since high school. I got the most comfortable burnt orange chair for $5 at the thrift store back in those days, and I still have it today. I buy a lot of my clothese at different thrift stores (though it seems to be harder to find clothes that fit me well now that I am older!) Recently I have been buying men's shirts to make dresses for my kids and random fabric and vintage sheets (to make a quilt some day!). But last Saturday, I found the greatest thing ever. I found an antique sewing machine at GoodWill for $30!

I walked all around the sewing machine and tried to decide if I wanted to buy it and how I would use it, but the more I looked at it the more I was intrigued (completely captivated) by the amazing machanics of the machine. Check out the details!

The thread regulator is on the outside, left of the machine. It just looks so cool!

Aren't these wheels amazing! I love how shine they are! The person who owned these machine took great care of it.

Here is the desk that it is housed it.

I should have taken a picture of the electrical cord as we believe that it is made of real rubber and it is completely disintegrating. The sewing machine doesn't use a foot pedal (which completely threw me off when I was first looking it). It has a little side bar that folds up into the desk, that when folded down, you press with your right knee to make the machine work. I found that it still has the bobbin in the case along with some white thread. The top drawer of the dest has a groved section for holding thread. Isn't that neat! The sewing machine is a Domestic Rotary 153 series. After doing a bit of research, I believe that the machine was made in the 1940s and it is worth somewhere between $100 and $300.
Have you found anything really cool at a thrift store? I'd love to hear about it!