Sunday, February 28, 2010

logan's birthday quilt :: sneak peek

I started Logan's lap quilt today.  He will be 4 next week, so his lap is pretty small (good news for me because I don't have much time left).  I used the same Historic Highway fabric that I used in his messenger bag.  I wasn't going for a "theme" for his birthday; I just had so much of this fabric that I have to use it somehow.  I actually purchased this fabric with a quilt in mind.

After a few minutes planning the thing and then several more minutes changing the plan in my head, I ended up with rows of Highway and solid squares in between.  At the last minute, I decided to change some of the squares by cutting them on a diagonal and piecing different colors together.  I like the colors; I'm just not sure I like how I put everything together.

But this is for a 4-year-old boy and he will probably love it.  I do think it is very little boyish.  I'm sure I will get used to the same design used over and over again; I just wanted this quilt to be simple, fun, and definitely cause excitement on the big day.

And, of course, I had a buddy tag along to help me with the photos . . .

Saturday, February 27, 2010

a boyish messenger bag

I finished another gift for Logan for his 4th birthday.  I wanted him to have a bag to carry around all of his goodies when we go out so I can stop carrying them in the diaper bag.  Not that I mind, but it gets a little crowded in there sometimes.  And, of course, he needs a way to transport his new wallet!

So I decided to make him a smaller messenger bag like the one I just made for a friend because, aside from a backpack, I can't think of any other type of bag that would be even semi-masculine, or boyish as I like to call it.

The oldtime cars fabric is called Historic Highway and I bought it at JoAnn's with a lap quilt in mind for Logan.  But for some reason I bought 2 yards when 1 will do for the size I plan to make him.  So I decided to use some of it for the bag.  I had the camel-color canvas fabric in my stash.

I had something else in mind for the flap, but then I realized that it didn't really go with the bag (I was going to use one of Logan's old t-shirts, but I picked one with a skull...that doesn't exactly mesh with historic cars).  I cut out two designs from the fabric and ironed interfacing on the back to make them stronger.  Then I just stitched them on using a regular straight stitch (I think my machine has only one zigzag stitch length and it's kind of long for any type of applique, and I like the look of the straight stitch anyway).

I included a pocket on the inside made from one of Logan's old onesies that Trenton never wore.  I kept the little pocket on the front because I think it's really cute.  Functional?  Probably not.  But cute nonetheless.

I also added a couple of twill ribbon loops.  I meant to add these in the side seams, but I forgot so I added them on top. 

These aren't just decorative, though.  Oh no, these loops will serve a purpose.  These loops will be perfect for attaching these neat trinket keepers to better organize the bag.  If there is one thing I can't stand, it's disorganization inside of a bag.  So I thought I would make a trinket keeper big enough to hold a bottle (or sippy cup) of water since we always have some of those with us.  He can also attach a trinket holder filled with couple of small toys or even snacks (since we always have those with us, too, to curb meltdowns).

Here is the back.

Again, I thought that the camel canvas was too plain to be on its own for a boy's bag, so I added this fabric patch to the back and I'm glad I did.  It pulls the bag together. 

I thought about going with the traditional camel canvas strap, but once again, way too boring for this active kid.  So I decided to use the Historic Highway fabric on one side and dark brown, so soft minkee on the other.  Minkee was a little more difficult to sew (I didn't know it would stretch a little), but I figured it out and it turned out fabulous (don't tell the hub that I use words like "fabulous" to describe projects for the boys).

Here is one last thing I would like to share.  This is my label: bad alligator.  I will share the story of the name another time.

I think that every self-respecting sewer should have a label to claim all that she has created.  Although the list of sewing projects is short for me right now, I do plan to attach this little thing to everything!  For now, I am just ironing on the image that I print from my computer and the quality isn't great.  Maybe someday I will have some real labels to give my project a more professional touch . . . I use the term "professional" very loosely.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

zipper wallet

I started working on the stack of birthday ideas that I have for Logan.  My little man is going to be 4 in a couple of weeks, and this year I've decided to make him a few things.  I am probably going overboard with the handmade gifts, but since the creative bug bit me several months ago and the juices are still flowing, I better just take advantage.

I've never really made anything for the kids as birthday gifts.  At only 17 months, Trenton barely wants to unwrap gifts let alone show excitement over what's inside.  But at 4 years, Logan should be able to appreciate them.  After finishing my dad's quilt last weekend, I wanted to start with something small and quick.  So I chose to make him a wallet.

The idea came to me last week when the boys received $20 each for Valentine's Day from doating relatives (seriously, I don't remember ever getting more than a 2x3 inch Care Bear card for Valentine's Day when I was little--inflation I guess).  We told Logan that he had to save half of it but that he could use the other half to buy whatever he wanted to begin introducing him to the concept of money.  It occurred to me that there would be many more of these deals in the future, so I decided to make him something in which to carry his winnings (when he opened the first card with $5, he cheerfully announced "Oh my gosh, I won $20!").

This is the front.  Kinda plain for a kid accessory, so I might have to do something about that before the big day.

It's a tri-fold (my favorite) so it opens up a little big.  I included a place for a few plastic cards.  No one has ever given him a gift card before, but I imagine someone will someday.  And if not, I'll get another copy of our library card.

I was originally going to put a little change pouch on the outside or in the middle of the open space.  But I couldn't get the idea to solidify, so I decided to separate the large inner opening into two pockets: one for bills and one for coins.  I attached a zipper at the top to keep all of the money safely inside. 

The coin pocket is to the right of the bill pocket shown above (just behind the card holders).  It didn't turn out as well as I had hoped (smaller and the lining got screwed up somehow so it's a little bulky even without coins), but I don't imagine that he will carry around pounds of coins.  I do think that he needs to learn the value of coins, so I wanted to incorporate a coin compartment somewhere.

And here is the back of the wallet with the surfboard applique that adds interest to an otherwise boring kid wallet.  I cut this from one of my favorite onesies that I pulled out of storage just before Trenton was born.  There was a stain under the collar, so I wasn't going to hand it down to kid number two.  But the design was way too cute to throw away, so I folded it away in a drawer until I could come up with a new use for it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

accordian album {sisters}

I spent this past weekend digging through boxes of craft supplies that I stored away when we first moved here almost 4 years ago.  Let me tell you, it was like hitting the craft store jackpot (well, not quite as good because there was no fabric but I did find a few full spools of thread!).

In addition to finding all kinds of supplies, I also found some of my earlier crafts.  For a while before we moved here, I was really into scrapbooking and paper crafts of all kinds.  Someday I will get around to paper crafting again, but I thought I would share one of my favorite projects that I completed more than 4 years ago.

This project was inspired from a book called Creative Albums by Donna Downey.  Donna is the best I've ever seen at combining photos and journaling in unique ways.

I used one photo for this entire project, a photo of me and my sisters and niece (we really look nothin alike).  I simply cropped the photo to each of our faces for the tags and used the computer to print the chosen adjective (I very much dislike my handwriting).

This album folds up with a tie to store away, but once I have my dream craft room, there will be no need for that tie.  I think the inside is too pretty to hide away.

Monday, February 15, 2010

patriotic salute quilt :: complete

I finally finished this quilt for my dad for his 60th birthday, and only about 4 days later than I had planned.  I'm extremely happy with the completed project (so much so that I had to show everyone at work), but not every part came easily.  Although I did enjoy the process of quilting this quilt more than Trenton's baby quilt, I learned a few things that will probably make my next quilting experience even better:
  1. Having the right tools makes the quilting process much easier and more enjoyable.
  2. I don't have the right tools.
I debated for weeks on purchasing a darning foot for free-motion quilting, and I finally broke down and forked over the $7.  After staring at it for 2 days, I chickened out and decided to quilt in straight lines.  I thought quilting squares in each of the blocks would be easier.  I didn't have time to practice with my darning foot, so I thought sticking with straight lines using my embroidery foot would cut down on the mistakes and frustration.  Oh, how I was wrong.

The frustration came from not realizing all the stopping and starting I would have to do.  Once I got the hang of it, the process became faster, but the backstitching shows up quite well on the back of the quilt.  It's a really good thing I don't care about (and actually appreciate) those kinds of things that scream "handmade."

The binding and I are not speaking after the episode with this quilt.  I followed a very good tutorial on binding, but I just wasn't happy with the width of the binding.  The tutorial said to use a strip 2-1/4 inches wide, but I like mine much wider.  Not only is it easier to sew, but I just like the look of wider binding better. 

And (if you are a real quilter, you will want to cover your ears while reading this next part) I did not enjoy hand sewing the binding to the back of the quilt so I machine stitched it.  I know!  Shame on me.  I tried the hand sewing thing--I really did.  I got about a quarter of the way down one side and decided it was way too slow of a process for me.  And so, yes if you are wondering, I do have wonky stitch lines on the front side of my quilt that sometimes overlap the binding on the front and sometimes don't.  But I think it adds even more charm.

This is the back (sorry, it was overcast and snowy and a snowflake made a home on the lens, but I had to ship the quilt that morning).

Since this quilt is a salute to soldiers and patriotism, I added a small memory of my brother on the back.  The iron-on phrase says "Remembering Jimmy, US Army Specialist, 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division."  The dog tag is a copy of his that didn't turn out as well in the iron-on transfer as it printed on paper.  But I went with it anyway.  Just knowing it's a copy of his is enough for me.

I made the three stars out of a t-shirt I've never worn.  The color was just right and the shirt was way too big for me anyway.  I was originally going to add many more stars, but the hub suggested that I go with a modest three to reflect my brother's hockey number (the high school that my brother attended just retired his hockey jersey last Friday).  So three it was and it was perfect.

I also added this tag--that I really like by the way--to name the quilt.  I was going to put this in a patch at the bottom, but later decided on this and I like it much better.  Subtle.  Modest.

All in all, I would add quilting to my list of enjoyable things to do in my free time.  It was definitely worth all of the effort and headaches because I know my dad will love it.  I will have to practice my free-motion skills on some smaller projects because I really do think it would be fun to try on another quilt someday.
The Patriotic Salute Quilt measures 50 x 62 inches after washing.

ps. it wouldn't be one of my photo shoots without at least one tiny hand creeping into a photo . . .

Monday, February 1, 2010

patriotic salute quilt :: sneak peek

Here is a quick look at the Patriotic Salute quilt that I am making for my dad for his 60th birthday.  I sewed six 2-1/2" strips together to resemble flags.  I thought it would be easier to sew them together in 42"+ blocks before cutting them into smaller 12" x 12" blocks.  I will do that tomorrow as well as cut my sashing.

I also need to cut my star appliques, but I haven't thought that out yet.  My goal is have the top (minus applique) completed before Sunday.