Once upon a time…..

I used to blog here. Really, I did. Just look over there on the left side bar, and you’ll see the proof with all my archived posts. Granted, I didn’t post here every day, and most times not every week, but it was certainly more than, say… once a month. Or even skipping a whole month. *sigh* Yet, sometimes life happens and thing have to be re-categorized in your lists of priorities. So here I am, in mid September and I haven’t posted since July. But that’s okay, right?

It occurred to me today that I never posted about some quilts that I had made and then decided to donate to a very worthy cause. At least one that jumped out at me and I knew that I could help with. I was reading the blog of one of my favorite fabric on-line stores, The Intrepid Thread, and Julie was talking about a quilt auction to help families raise enough money to complete their international adoptions. These families have been trying to adopt those children for 6 years, due to political problems with in the country. According to the countries policy, or something like that, each family had to stay about 4 – 6 weeks within the country while they awaited to final authorization. Well, as you can imagine, that can be quite expensive, on top of all the fees and what not’s each family has already had to pay.

So an auction was set up to help. For each $25 a person/people donated, they received 1 raffle ticket for the drawing of a quilt of their choice. I knew that I wasn’t able to donate any money, but I could donate some quilts! I donated 4 of them.

May Flowers

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Quilt size: 47 x 53   Pattern: May Flowers from the Moda Bake Shop. Fabrics: from my stash   Quilted: by me, with inspiration from Angela Walters. And yes, the strait horizontal lines were marked but not the details with the lines.

Gracie’s Garden

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Quilt size: 40” square  Pattern: a whole cloth quilt  Fabrics: from my stash  Quilted: by me, with 3 or 4 small to large mums random placed and a small vine with hearts for the filler.

Catch a Wave

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Quilt size: 45×58  Pattern: my own spin on a simple strip quilt  Fabrics: from my stash  Quilting: by me. I thought the pattern of the quilt was a bit boring, so I wanted to jazz it up some, while also working on my quilting skills. I decided to do interconnecting “waves” in a colored-thread pattern. By the time I was half way done with this thing, I was kicking myself for such a stupid idea! LOL But, not one to give up easily, I persevered and I’m quite happy with the outcome. Not the most perfect of quilting, but that’s okay.

Fractured Elements

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Quilt size: 65×80  Pattern:  Improve Herringbone tutorial from 13 Spools.  Fabrics: I had some amazing help with the making of the blocks! They were made by my (previous) bee mates in the INSPIRE do.Good stitches (which has since been closed). I was the quilter for that month, so I picked this block and the color scheme. We each made 2 blocks, using fabrics from our own stash. The block were sent to me and I put them together.  Quilted: by me. Since there were so many seams, and the funky-ness of the fabrics was enough, I did simple strait lines for the quilting in the gray only. (I am now a member of the BELIEVE circle.)

So there you go! I don’t blog for 2 months then inundate you with quilt pictures!

In other news, I’m starting to feel back to my old self (whatever that means). I some respects, time is moving slowly. But in others, it’s not. And if you look closely, you’ll find a new little “ticker” under Samuel’s name. Be right back

I am linking up with 13 Spools Pin it Monday.

Summer dresses

Have you heard or seen the cute little “pillowcase” dresses? They seem to be quite popular and they have been on my bucket list to do for some time now. Enter Damaris’s need for some new Summer dresses.  In full disclosure, I have plenty of material to make something for her.  Enough for, like, 6 years… or something like that. However, I don’t have the time. Even though the dress patterns I have are simple and have been made time and time again, they still require a bit more than an hours worth of work (maybe 2 hours). So…. I was looking for something faster.

That’s where the pillowcase dresses come in. They are apply named, for the original version is made from a pillowcase. There are many tutorials out there on blog land that make use of yardage, but still maintain the look of a pillowcase dress. While I was in Goodwill last week, I saw some pillowcases that I thought would look adorable made up into some dresses for her. And so they found their way into my cart. Does your husband hate it when that happens, too?

I didn’t follow any tutorials, per say, just because that’s how I am (here is a site with several different tutorials for these kinds of dresses, although I think most of them use yardage instead of actual pillowcases).There really isn’t a wrong way to make one. For Damaris, since she is so petite, yet tall, the total length is 27”. From the top of the casing (where the seam of the pillowcase is), I measured 6” down on each side and 2” in for the arm hole, making a “half u” shape. For all but 1 dress, I kept the finished band as the hem. I sewed biased tape around the arm holes, to give them a finished look.

Each of these dresses took me 30 minutes to make. Now that’s what I’m talking about!!

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This is the one dress where the band of the pillowcase is on the top. I bought 2 of these pillowcases, so I wanted to make the dresses a bit differently (the other dress was in the wash when we took these pictures) and the other dress has the pink band at the bottom.

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These pillowcases were a bit different due to the fact that they each had 6 ties at the opening of the case (to keep he pillow in, I’m guessing). I simple snipped them off and sewed them back on at the desired place. They were already finished and they matched perfectly. I made a casing on the front and back, between the arm holes, and inserted elastic.

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This next one has funky, non-strait lines that make for a nice little change.

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For the straps, I made a long ribbon on purple and white polka-dot and inserted that into the casing on both the front and the back, tying together on one shoulder. The bow can be on either shoulder and in the front or the back.

 

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This pillowcase I have had in my stash for some time and happened upon it while cleaning up the other day. I was still in the “pillowcase dress” mode, so I snatched it for a dress too!

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The twill ribbon was done the same way as the striped dress above. And the piping with the lace was already part of the pillowcase. Score!

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This dress was from and extra long pillowcase, so I cute off more then from the other ones.

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The straps for this one were made from 2 blue ribbons, threaded through the casting and tied at the shoulders. I tacked the ribbons down in the middle of the dress, for both front and back, so the ribbons don’t move around and come out.

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She had to pet the bunny!

As you can see, these dresses can be made with tons of variations! If you have a little girl in your life, I’m sure she needs a new Summer dress and what could be easier then these?!

I just wish I could get away with one my size…..

I am linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, Can I get a whoop! whoop!, and A Wise Woman Builds Her Home.  Have a great weekend everyone!

In the water

I am entering this quilt into the fabulous Bloggers Quilt Festival, over at Amy’s Creative Side. Seriously, this is a wonderful place to find beautiful quilts, all in one place! I have entered this quilt into the category “Home Machine Quilted” and the voting starts May 23. Be sure to visit all the ones you can and vote for your favorite. There are some sweet prizes up for grabs!!

Last week, I showed you the quilt that I made for an adorable little girl. Now it’s her big brother’s turn.

When my friend contacted me about a quilt for her son, she asked for a sophisticated nautical theme, with his room having that decor. My first thought was to have both an under the sea view, as well as some sky, but not at a strait angle, for I thought that was boring.

Here is the rough draft I came up with. Not all creatures made the cut, though.

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Like his sister’s quilt, the creatures needed to be sturdy and I didn’t feel that applique would hold up over time. So I opted to paper piece the sea creatures.  I used the free program Quilt Assistant again and this time, I had a better understanding of what I was doing!

The first creature I did was the sea horse, which came from a paper pieced picture off of Pinterest (I tried to find the source of the pattern, but was unable to). The tail was… something else, but in the end it turned out fine.

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Next up, was the shark. This pattern was drafted from a clip art picture and went more smoothly.  Once the quilt was half way quilted, I saw the fin not quite match up. I’m not sure how that escaped my attention….

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Then came the birds, for a sunny ocean sky must have seagulls! I positioned one to give the idea that it was diving for fish, but my husband said it looks like it’s falling out of the sky, dead. What do you think?

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Nemo The clown fish were next, the pattern being drafted from a picture found on Google. I wanted to incorporate creatures from both the top and bottom of the sea, and what fun fish the clown fish are! (and yes, my children never called them “clown fish”. It was always Nemo and his dad.) They are a much brighter orange than the picture shows. These fish were puzzles that were quite mind bending to figure out! The program usually prints them out grouped together, in the way that I number them. But with these guys, the program printed them out however it wanted, in 20 different, small pieces for each fish! I’m not going to admit how long I sat there and stared at all those pieces, trying to figure out which went where. Suffice to say, it was too long!

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The jelly fish were fun and simple to do, as well. I was trying to decide between these or the large, plump looking ones, both being clip art pictures. I took a vote with my family, and these ones won. The picture doesn’t show it, but the teal one has a darker teal swirl printed on it.

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My favorite creature of the whole bunch is the sea turtle. We found this pattern via Pinterest, as well, found on Sewhooked ( the turtle pattern is found just under the “Animal” heading). I did him in a green and gold fabric that I had gotten from the Traveling Stash Box(es), which reminded me of a turtle’s shell. I tried to keep the small arches going in the same direction, and even though it’s not perfect, I am quite happy with it!

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The sun was another New York Beauty block from Sew Sweetness’s New York Beauty quilt-along. This one was presented by Lee of Freshly Pieced.

Last of the creatures was the sea dragon. Now, if you know what a sea dragon is, you know how incredible it looks! Those “leafy” appendages, the tiny face, the skinny body… so cool! However, God does a much better job at forming those little guys than I do and I just couldn’t figure out how to paper piece it. Applique? No way!! I couldn’t stand the thought of appliqueing on such small, tiny pieces. So I did the only thing I could think of: I embroidered it. While I don’t enjoy hand work (I machine quilt and bind my quilts), I do enjoy embroidering. Some of you might remember my MIL’s quilt that I made for her 2012 Christmas. That was my first dip into embroidery and I really enjoyed it. ( Am I the only one who see’s a pattern here? Let see: I don’t really know how to do something, but let’s jump off into a large quilt anyway. Go big or go home, right? Yeah, that’s me.)

I printed off a fairly simple picture of a sea dragon, traced it onto my fabric and got to work. It took me longer than I had thought, filling in all those areas, which lead me to leave out a few details I was planning on doing. But I think it turned out quite nicely. This was also the specific creature that my friend asked for, so it was a pleasure to do that for her. You can’t tell by the picture, but his body is a yellow and his “leaves” are a yellowy-green.

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Once the quilt was together, I got the chance to play! I wanted to incorporate more creatures into the quilt, but not with paper pieceing. From the very beginning of this quilt, I wanted to quilt in some sea life and I designed this quilt to let me do that.

My sea dragon, sea horse, and clown fish all needed homes to keep them safe, so kelp and coral was first up. In the pictures and information I found online, the sea dragon is in one type of kelp, while the sea horse is in another. I ended that problem by quilting in both kinds.

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The clown fish lives in coral, so I chose a type that was a bit easier to quilt, but mostly easy for the viewer to understand what it is: fan coral.

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I love dolphins, and was quite happy to put two of those lovely creatures into this quilt!

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I thought a Manta Ray was another well know creature of the sea, so he went in on the other side of our playful dolphins. Unfortunatly, it was too late when I realized that his under side should be a lighter color, not his top side. * sigh *

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Last, but certainly not least, we can’t forget our hungry shark (and bird!). A school of fish is in order, but they need not be fancy or anything. I don’t believe our shark is that picky, do you?

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The top of the water always has fast, agitated movement, with the lower levels being more gentle and slow. I attempted to imitate this with the quilting. Near the top is the agitated bubbles and swirls, moving downwards to more gentle tides, with an occasional swirl of water. At the bottom, we have even more gentle movement, with the easy sway of the kelp.

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I asked my friend if there was any saying that she wanted me to incorporate into the quilt. The one she sent me was perfect and I quilted it right into the center of the quilt.

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Here is the full view of the top.

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The back is pieced in a pleasing, yet simple way. I wanted the back to be very different from the top, to give my friend’s son options as he gets older, for he may not always want an ocean theme quilt on his bed.

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Quilt Stats:

Size: 72” x 98”

Design: by me

Quilted: by me

Quilt fabrics: the fabric for the water is Batik Dreamscape Mystic; the sky fabric is Sky; the backing is (center) Boxing Plaid, (skinny border) Intertwining Chevron crimson, ( the outer border is no longer carried); the sand is Mirage carmel;  binding is Intertwining Chevron charcoal. All of these fabrics were bought from Connecting Threads.

All of the creatures and the sun were from my stash.

A starry night

I am entering this quilt into the fabulous Bloggers Quilt Festival, over at Amy’s Creative Side. Seriously, this is a wonderful place to find beautiful quilts, all in one place! I have entered this quilt into the category “Original Design” and the voting starts May 23. Be sure to visit all the ones you can an vote for your favorite. There are some sweet prizes up for grabs!!

Last fall, a friend of mine contacted me about making a quilt for her son and her daughter (which are also commissioned quilts). Each of them picked out the theme, with Mom adding her 2 cents, and I came up with the design. It took me quite a bit longer than I had first expected them to.

For her daughter, she wanted a hunting owl, a sleeping animal, orange and yellow stars in the sky, leaves blowing in the wind, and a boat in a distant lake. Here is the rough draft I cam up with :

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Owls hunt in the evening/night, but instead of having a boring sky of just one color, I decided to have a gradient of blue to give the illusion of an evening sky.  To give more depth and interest to the quilt, I wanted to add hills to the landscape. They had gentle slopes, so I was sure they wouldn’t be difficult to piece. Hehehe, famous last words, right?

I wanted this quilt to be the most durable it could be and I didn’t feel that applique would offer that. The only other option was paper piecing the critters. Trouble was, there wasn’t much in the way of patterns for the critters I wanted. So I turned to 2 sources: Quilt Assistant (a free downloadable program) and my computer-savvy husband. With the Quilt Assistant program, you can open any picture of your choice, make the needed sections for paper piecing, then print them out (that is a bit simplified, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy). I was a bit nervous, as you might imagine, never drafting my own pattern before and it was quite a learning curve! By the 4th pattern or so, I could look at a picture and know the best way to segment it and label it.  (Some of these pieces, however, were images from Pinterest by other people and they were paper pieced already. So I just had to follow the seams to make my lines. Try as I may, I couldn’t find the original source for these patterns. If anyone knows of those sources, please tell me! I want to give credit where credit is due!!)

Here is the moon that we found (this is the 2nd moon. The first just did not pass any kind of test what-so-ever!).

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The stars are blocks, pieced the traditional way. I found the tutorial here.

The owl was interesting to piece. This was one of the first pattern I printed out and….well, I didn’t know what I was doing! I figured it out, though, and most likely did things very unconventionally. His eyes are 2 little black buttons.

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The deer was the 2nd critter to make an appearance.  I’m happy with how she turned out. Her “skin” is from a suede skirt, so it’s nice and soft.

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Next up, we have our adorable sleeping fox. This one was fairly easy to do, since it had big pieces to it. The hardest part was coming up good looking oranges from my stash for his fur (orange is a color sorely lacking on my shelves). The green looks quite gray in this picture, not sure why. The green with our little deer turned out just fine.

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Of course, our owl needs to have something to hunt. This cute little mouse fills that role nicely! I found a large wiggly eye button in my stash for her eye.

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The sun is one of the patterns from The New York Beauty block-along, done with Sarah from Sew Sweetness. I believe my sun came from The Littlest Thistle. I wanted this to be a setting sun, so only half of the block was made.

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For the boat, I decided on a little house boat, complete with a little girl peeking out of the window. I found this pattern here.

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After the top was complete, but before it was quilted, my friend contacted me and told me that she wanted more of a burgundy/merlot color instead of the pink. Definitely not what any quilter wants to hear! I was so amazed at how difficult it was to find a burgundy/merlot colored fabrics that’s not a solid! Here is what it looked before the change.

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While looking around for a good burgundy/merlot print, I wasn’t liking how the colors were going to mesh. The trees and green flowers (seen best with the boat photo above) would be fine, but I wasn’t liking how the multi print (seen best in the sun photo above) would look with such a dark color. I decided to change both the pink and the multi print fabrics at the same time.

I was apprehensive about how the burgundy/merlot print would look, but once it was here, I loved it! As you can see, I put the darker burgundy/merlot print in the back, for I was concerned that such a dark color would overwhelm the quilt. I bought a sweet warm yellow print to replace the multi print. Here is the after picture.

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Now for the quilting.

I did it all on my machine, a Sewstrong 8700, and had So. Much. Fun!

In the green, I did a simple meander with echo-type flowers.

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In the hills, I quilted dragon flies and daisies.

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I quilted simple peaked waves for the water. And in the sky, I quilted around each star, quilted more stars, quilted the wind, and added in fluffy clouds.

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For the back, I wanted to create a more neutral palette and my friend wanted some leaves in fall colors.  I appliqued them on in  a wind-blown look.

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I am glad to report that the whole family loves what I did. I’m quite proud of it myself. Winking smile In fact, there were a few times through out the designing and piecing and quilting stage, that I thought to myself, “Perhaps I do have some skill after all.” We are always far more critical of our own work, aren’t we?

Quilt stats: 

Size: 83” x 85”

Designed: by me

Quilted: by me

Quilt fabrics: (from top to bottom of sky):  rich navy, Persian blue, patriot blue, blue, bluebird, sky from Connecting Threads; the hills are: Dreaming in Pearle in Merlot, Bed of Daisies in Golden, Whispering Trees in Poppy, (I can’t remember what that green floral is); the water is a Batik Dreamscape Mystic from Connecting Threads; the green is Mirage Clover from Connecting Threads; the binding is Little Stars is Navy from Connecting Threads; and the back fabrics are a very soft  flannels (from top to bottom) cream, fawn,  and pioneer and the leaves are a Batik Aurora Heatwave all from Connecting Threads.

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

My Weekender bag tips (and bag #5!)

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I have made 5 of these wonderful bags ( #1, #4, #5. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of #2 {but it is made similar to this one, only with purple, green, and white} and I haven’t gotten around to getting a picture of #3)  so far and so I thought I’d write some tips and tricks that I have found to make this bag easier to conquer.

Before we start, there is something you should know about me: I’m cheap frugal.  I don’t have much to spend in the way of supplies (and if I had the income to dispose of, I’m not so sure I’d spend it on myself, anyway. Unless it’s to go out to eat. I LOVE eating out!). In light of my frugality, I did as much research about this pattern as I could. I found a Flickr forum that talked about how much supplies would cost to make on of these bags. That sum just blew my mind: $120! Are you serious?? On a bag??!

I knew there had to be a cheaper way and still make something beautiful. I’ve been sewing for a long time, and I’m not afraid to find different materials and ways to make something. Plus, I look at it as a challenge and I love me a challenge! Winking smile Once I had the pattern, I was able to lay it out, read it, and come up with a plan. By the way, I have yet to use all of the called-for supplies, too.

1. The patter calls for upholstery fabric, of medium weight. I have used quilting cotton in all of my bags, and they come out just fine. Believe it or not, 5 fat quarters are enough for the outside of the bag (not including the bottom) as seen in this bag:

As you can see in this picture, the red fabric starts just below the top of the pocket so the red is not seen. This is how you can get that front panel out of 1 fat quarter.

2. Heavy, sturdy interfacing works very well. I use Pellon 926W1 sew ins stabilizer with great results. Doing the quilt-as-you-go method also works very well, as seen in this bag:

3. If you are of average height or taller, you’ll want to add some length to your handles. If you are wanting to add a shoulder strap as well or instead, attach the strap below the zipper at the side pockets.

4. Using a zipper foot or a piping foot to attach the front panel to the zippered panel makes things a whole lot easier! But if you don’t have on of those, it can be done with a walking foot.

5. The pattern piece for the bottom I have found is 2” too short. Cutting it 8.5” x 18” took care of this problem. Also, I have found the side pockets to be too narrow, so I have added 1.5” to make it line up with the zippered panel.

6. Some people have used purse feet for the bottom, but that isn’t something I have wanted to invest it (yet). I do, however, have quite a bit of Cordura fabric (the material that is used in backpacks, semi-trailer tarps, and the like), so I have used that on the bottom of all my bags to help with waterproofing. You just never know where those bags are going to land!

7. The pattern says to make your own piping. There is only Walmart that has any type of craft supplies near us and they don’t carry piping cord. That leaves me with the pre-done stuff and 2 packages of that works fine. You can always cover it if you want a particular color or print to match your bag, like I did with these two bags:

Of course, you can always skip the piping, which looks fine too.

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8. Add your own flair to your bag! There are many different things you could do. Use twill tape for the handles,

or quilt them.

If you’d like a shoulder strap, try covering an one from an old bag (like the one with black piping, seen above) or make one of your own using whatever hardware you have laying around.

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You can make the lining match the bag perfectly or have it coordinate but not match.

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I have made these bags with both the plastic teeth zippers and the metal teeth ones (as seen 2 pictures up). It just depends on the look that you’re going for.

Sometimes, things happen that makes you look really good. Open-mouthed smile

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So there you have it, my tips and tricks. Don’t be afraid of this pattern. It can be done with a very modest budget (you might have everything you need already!) and you, too, can have a wonderful, huge bag! This grey bag was made as a diaper bag for a friend. The teal and red bag is my diaper bag and it makes a fabulous diaper bag!!

Did I mention it was huge?

I am linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a fabric addict!

A fun “little” bag

Ellison lane is having a fun linky party showcasing our crafty items we have made to travel with. I thought this is an excellent time to show you a bag that I made my mother (but I secretly wanted to keep this for myself!).

It’s no secret that I have enjoyed making the infamous Amy Butler’s “The Weekender Bag”.  It is touted as the “holy grail” of bags. It has it’s challenges, sure, but it’s not as unattainable as many claim it to be. Yes, I’m a seasoned, experienced seamstress, but this bag is tamable.

I promise.

I have made four of these bags so far, with each one of them different. This one is no exception. I am a cheap frugal sewer, and my budget is very, very close to $0. So for me to buy the materials listed on the pattern, totaling over $150…. it wasn’t going to happen. So I scoured the internet (we have such a fabulous crafting/sewing/quilting community, don’t we?!) to find alternate ways to make this bag, before I bought the pattern. I wasn’t about to spend money for the pattern if I couldn’t make it for cheaper.

I give to you my Mother’s Scrappy Weekender.

I decided on a red, aqua, green, and yellow color story, for this is so my mom! The star is paper pieced and I was able to get the  outer pocket lined up with the top panel. The bottom part of the front panel (that you don’t see) is a large piece of material. It coordinates with the color story, but it’s not scrappy. I’m very happy with how it turned out!

I copied followed Elizabeth Hartman’s QAYG method, so I didn’t need the layers of interfacing called for in the making of the bag ( that’s code for “cheaper”).

I decided to use a strap instead of handles and, to continue my frugal theme, the strap and hardware were harvested from a free diaper bag we received from the hospital (the bag had seen better days, so I wasn’t sad about the loss). I covered it with this strip fabric that coordinates nicely.

These side pockets were “oops” blocks, that didn’t quite make the cut for the front. Not needing 2 more orphan blocks, I decided they should become the side pockets. I had just enough of this black/white polka dot binding from another project left over to use on this bag. I love how the black plays with the other colors! You can also see the lining on the outside pockets peeking through here, too

The inside lining is an aqua and green vintage sheet that my mother just loves (she picked it out)! This was a time consuming way, since I used fairly small pieces, but I sure do love the way it turned out!

Is there anything better in Grammy’s bag then a cute little boy?!

My W(orks) I(n) p(rogress)

When we moved into our house 10 years ago, I made my husband promise not to start any new home improvement projects until the old one before it was finished.

*Ahem* I suppose I should take my own advice! It’s been some time since I did a “WIPS” list…. and it shows. I have been working on things and items and been (slowly) crossed off my “to do” list. However, I have too many projects in various states of being worked on for it to show.

Okay. Let’s get this shameful honest exposure done with.

I am working on my second quilt for a client, who wants it for her son. His room has a nautical theme to it, so she wants his quilt to match. These are the creatures that will be “swimming” on his quilt. They are all paper pieced, printed from the (FREE!!) program Quilt Assistant.

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Here are the fun creatures that are adorning my design wall/board. Hopefully, the shark and the smaller seagull will get finished today. Which then leaves the turtle left to do. Oh, and there will be a sea dragon too, only he will be printed right onto the fabric. I’m daring and love a challenge, but not stupid enough to paper piece one of those bad boys!

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This is a quilt from the same client for her daughter.

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The pink and the multi colored fabric above it will be changed out for a warm yellow print and a burgundy (per the client’s request). It’s not quilted yet, only basted, so the change won’t be too bad. These critters are paper pieced, as well. Now that I understand it, I really love Quilt Assistant! Many of these critters/sea creatures were from regular pictures, which I opened in the program and made into a paper pieced pattern. So nice!!

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I am in need of new dresses and jumpers. And here they sit, ready to be done. Someday. I did get one jumper done, though!

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I have cut out my 5th Weekender Bag for a friend of mine, who just had her 3rd baby. These bags are so big and roomy, they make excellent diaper bags! My first bag I made into  a diaper bag for me, so I know!

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I am (very slowly!) working on a whole cloth quilt for my sister in law. I needed to put it away for now, so I can get these commissioned quilts done. But it will come back out someday! (sorry for the sad picture quality! These were taken with my phone and while we now have a new camera, I’m not dragging this out just to take newer, better photos. Not that you can tell, but the color is a bright teal.)

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These are the quilts in the queue, waiting to be quilted. On the top left side is the critter quilt from above. Next to that is my sister in law’s quilt. On the bottom left side are three LARGE floor pillows that are for my girls. Followed by our bed quilt, a Swoon pattern, that has been a WIP since February of 2012. Oi!! (For the quilt police: please do not look too closely at how I store my “waiting to be quilted” quilts. I know I need a better storage place/idea for them, I just haven’t worked it out yet. )

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Yes, I have a purple floor. And? Winking smile

I am linking up with Freshly Pieced and her awesome WIP Wednesday.

Monday Meals: the easiest pizza ever!

We are the same as most American families in that we love pizza! But that’s about where it stops. We have enough people who actually eat in our house that buying those frozen pizza’s really isn’t a cheap idea, not to mention they really aren’t that great. There is a place that will deliver pizza here in town, but it’s even more expensive for our size family than the frozen pizza idea.

So what is a mother to do? Make my own, I guess. When I first came to that realization, I got tired just thinking about it! For one thing, I usually don’t have enough fore-thought to start the dough a few hours before hand, not to mention the fact that the whole kneading process doesn’t interest me in the least. Truth be told, I’m a bit lazy and as much as I love to cook, there are often other things I’d rather be doing.

However, I couldn’t escape from the cold hard fact that the natives were calling for pizza, so I went on a quest to find a good (and quick!) dough recipe. But I couldn’t find it. Ugh! I then threw up my hands, rolled up my sleeves and concocted my own recipe. After several tries, and just as many changes to the recipe, I have perfected that sought after crust.

This dough takes 15 minutes to rise. Seriously! That’s it!

And now I will share it with you. (Please keep in mind that this recipe easily feeds my family of 9 eaters. Adjust the amounts for your family accordingly)

Easy Pizza Dough

3 cups warm water

3 Tbs sugar

7 tsp  dry, active yeast ( or 3 packages)

9 Tbs oil (1/2 cup + 1 Tbs), olive or veg. oil

3 tsp salt

7 1/2 cups all purpose flour

optional: dried oregano, basil, and/or garlic to taste

Directions:

1. (If you are using dry, active yeast then there is no need to proof it. Plus, there is enough in this recipe that it wouldn’t matter anyway.) Add you water, yeast, salt, and sugar into your mixer bowl. Turn it on medium speed and then add the oil (add the dried herbs/garlic at this point if using). Add the flour a bit at a time, until it is all well mixed.

2. There is no kneading required, so cover your mixer bowl (or scrap the dough into a larger one if your mixer bowl is a small one) with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for about 15 minutes, or until doubled in size.

3. At this point, you need to make a choice: do you want a pan of pizza or individual ones? If a pan of pizza is what you want, then pat out the dough into whatever well oiled pan of your choice (this size recipe will fit a 18 x 24 sheet pan). Sauce and top it.

OR

3. My children love to “make their own”, so we always go that route.* Once the dough is doubled in size, dump out of the bowl onto a well floured surface. Divide the dough into equal portions (this size recipe is yields 8 – 10 portions) and spread out to desired thickness and size. This dough will rise more in the oven, so keep that in mind when patting out you dough. Lay down parchment paper, then place each pizza disk onto a pan, sauce each individual pizza and top as desired. If you don’t have parchment paper, oil your pan first. (I place each pizza on parchment paper and label the paper who’s pizza is who’s.)

4. Bake your pizza( s ) in a 350 degree oven for about 10 – 15 minutes.

5. Cut and enjoy!

* If the weather is nice, we like to get the grill going and use it for baking our pizzas. The baking time is less than in the oven, so keep an eye on them, otherwise you’ll burn them. The pizza dough is firm enough that it doesn’t fall through the grill.

Weigh in Wednesday: week 3

My apologies for missing last week. By bed time on Tuesday, I had walked 9 miles and was all ready to post about my good week. Then I received a nightmare-ish fact and that through everything off.  Wednesday found me still reeling from the night before, and everything else that I knew, or guessed, that was coming along with it, so I was not in any frame of mind to post anything. Plus, I did weigh myself that morning and it read that I had gained! That was a horrible way to start an already fated bad day.

I was able to get back into things yesterday, but my mileage of 2 miles is still pitiful. However, last week is behind us and I’m going to keep walking in the direction that I am determined to go. I know that life will give us a few bumps, but it’s important that we keep going.

My weight this week is… sad. I’ve gained back all that I have lost +1, making me at 270. NOT what I wanted to see this morning. But really, what else did I expect? So I am determined to keep walking and do a better job at guarding what I put into my mouth.

I walked 4 miles today, so that’s a good start. I hope to have better numbers next week!