Aurifloss Quick Review

April 29, 2016

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I have been getting some questions about the floss I have been using so here are my quick thoughts on Aurifil thread’s Aurifloss compared against various flosses found in my local craft stores.

These are floss spools of six strands each so you can cut your length and separate the strands into the thickness you like. With my local craft store brands I always have trouble separating my threads and end up with quite a mess. With Aurifloss my threads have been separating smoothly. I have next to no knotting and the few knots I have had I was able to undo pretty easily where as before I’ve had to actually cut out knots and start over with new floss. I haven’t had any fraying issues but I find it helps to use a shorter length when stitching, under 20 inches. I also like the hint of sheen they have.

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Now I am sure most of you keep your floss neatly wound around cute little cards filed away in tidy boxes in rainbow order but for me that almost never happens. I have a few on cards but the rest are in zip-locks and stuffed in drawers. This here is just one of the tangled messes of embroidery floss and it’s one of the less tangled too. So for me, having them on cute little wooden spools is HUGE! Not only do they look nice but they STAY looking nice, the tail of the thread tucks in at the bottom of the spool!

For me the one draw back is the price, $4 vs maybe 40 cents. It’s also not something that can be grabbed at most local shops (but honestly I rarely make it to the craft stores anymore and ordering online is much more doable for me). So my plan for now is to have my go-to colors in Aurifloss for when I do embroidery they are tidy, ready and extra nice to use. I’m sure I will still grab a random floss at the store when I go but also how much am I really saving if I run to the store for a few cheap flosses and come away with a pile of fabric too? (Insert hysterical laughter imoji here: don’t even pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about!)

So if your cheap embroidery floss has you tied up in knots,  give Aurifloss a try and let me know what you think of it!

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Swivel Hook Tote

April 27, 2016

I am so excited to share today’s finish with you! About a month ago Zakka Workshop posted on Instagram looking for sample makers for their booth at Quilt Market. In a burst of excitement I responded and was surprised when they actually wanted me! I was sent some beautiful fabrics and pattern for the Swivel Hook Tote and I went straight to work on it.

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It’s not perfect by any means but I am pretty proud of it! This is definitely the biggest sewing project I have done so far and at times it was pretty frustration and I wanted to quit. So glad I stuck with it and thankful for the support of Zakka Workshop as they helped me though.

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This bag has a lot of details, from the patchwork and quilting to the binding and leather hook and straps, there was never a dull moment making this one! And that’s just how I like my sewing to be, exciting!

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This bit of blue binding in the bottom was the result of my getting ahead of the final instructions but it ended up being so pretty! Lots of machine quilting on the body of the bag and tiny hand stitching along the sides. I like variety, can you tell? Never a dull moment.

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Here is the bag with hook undone to open up nice and wide for all my junk. It’s a pretty large bag measuring roughly 11×18 with a six inch wide bottom, Perfect for travel or as an everyday go-to bag. I’ll be adding an inside pocket to the next one I make to give it even more space.

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Tiny patchwork with Lecien fabrics and some others from my personal stash. I added the square to the front by applique and I think it gives a nice pop of color. The body of the bag is made using Lecien Yarn Dyed Cloth which has a great weave to it and soft feel. I used Aurifil thread for the machine and hand quilting, both in 28 weight. Love that hint of blue the quilting added!

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I have plans to make a second Swivel Hook Bag when the book is released in June. Look for it from Zakka Workshop, titled Quilted Bags and Gifts by Akemi Shibata. And if you happen to be at Quilt Market this year stop on by the Zakka Workshop booth and check out my bag in person along with all the other beautiful bags made by some of my friends from Instagram. I can’t wait to see them all together!

Thanks for stopping by! I’ve got a couple more things in the works for the next few weeks along with a giveaway coming up so make sure to follow me here for much more fun!

 

Ruffle Zipper Tutorial

March 13, 2016

The other week I got an idea for making a ruffle zipper to use on pouches to be kind of the focal point. Though I’m sure I am not the inventor of this idea, I couldn’t seem to find any tutorials or even pictures of this. So here we go, bear with me as I am new to instructions.

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Here is what you will need to start:

-Two strips of fabric 18 x 2 1/4 inches

-8 inch zipper

-Clover clips

-Fabric glue

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Start out by ironing your long strips in half length wise. Next, leaving a little “tail” at the end make a small fold (pictured top left). Your ruffle will vary depending on how big of a fold you make and how close together you place the folds. Also keep in mind this is a hand made ruffle, it doesn’t need to be exact or perfect to look great. Clip the first ruffle fold to hold in place. In the bottom left picture you can see how I pinch the fabric to make the fold. Continue making ruffle folds and clipping in this method until you reach the end leaving a bit of a tail.

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Next, use a little fabric glue and align the ruffles raw edge with the zippers edge. I used the clips to hold it in place while the glue sets. After the glue has set, use a very scant 1/4 inch seam to sew it down. As you can see, I still have yet to use an actual zipper foot. Instead I just hold on tight and take it slow. Now you can see the one side is done and ready to be top stitched onto your project. Repeat for the next side.

Tips:

-Use Clover clips to hold the first ruffle back as you sew the next side on to keep it out of the way.

-Before you sew the second ruffle side down check to make sure your ruffle folds are going in the same direction.

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Now you have a ruffle zipper ready to make any project extra special! There are lots of tutorials for sewing with lace zippers which should help with any questions (I am no pro when it comes to sewing with zippers but if I can figure it out then so can you!). I will quickly show you how I added this one to my little boxy pouch.

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Place your outer fabric right side up on top of the edge of the zipper with the ruffle part standing up (top left picture), use a glue stick to hold it in place. Turn it over and place the lining fabric face down aligned to the edge of the zipper (top right picture). Hold carefully in place and sew along the edge using a 1/4 inch seam. The bottom left picture shows how it will look after both sides are attached. The next step is top stitching the ruffle down. Once again I am using my normal sewing foot here so I just take it slow. I went with about a 1/8 inch seam for the top stitch and tried to keep the ruffle close to the zipper teeth instead of a more exposed zipper look.

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Here is my finished ruffle zipper pouch!

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I just love how the ruffle zipper is the focal point of this bag.

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Find the tutorial I used for the bag part here. And of course I couldn’t stop with just one, here are the others I started out with.

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Denim and Liberty ruffle zipper pouch with ruffle wristlet.

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This one placed along the top of my bag was applique stitched down so the ruffle didn’t stick out. Looks cute but I prefer the zipper to lay flat on the bag.

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And my favorite one so far!

I hope this was helpful for you, please let me know if you have any questions. I would love to see your own ruffle zippers!

 

 

 

 

Liberty and Denim Zippy Pouch

March 8, 2016

A few weeks ago I made a zippy pouch using a pattern from the book Sweetly Stitched Handmades and I just had to show you all the details.

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This was made for a friend who’s favorite colors are shades of violet. These Liberty of London scraps were saved over a few months especially with this project in mind. Each square measures one inch finished.

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I wanted to contrast the sweet floral prints with something a bit more bold and modern, so… What better pairing than Art Gallery’s new smooth denim in Indigo Shadow. I bought a 1/4 yard and it’s down to small unusable scraps now, time to get more. Think of  this denim as linen’s black sheep sister and use it in projects for added edge and a stylish update.

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I just love the lining in this one! It makes for a sweet surprise on the inside. That zipper pull is actually a necklace charm that I got as a gift when I was a teen. I loved it then as well as now but hadn’t worn it in years. It now has a whole new life as part of this pouch.

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This is the “B” side of the pouch, equally as pretty! I know many of you have Liberty you don’t want to cut into or some scraps of special fabrics you are saving for something, this is the perfect project to showcase your favorites and I’m pretty sure the world won’t end if you go ahead and cut into your hoarded Liberty stash😉

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And since this was a birthday gift I just had to stuff it full of goodies! Ruler and wooden buttons found on Etsy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Starburst Dresden Pillow

February 17, 2016

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Where to start? First off lets not call this a “tutorial” but just think of me as your friend showing you what I did (that’ll take the pressure off me a bit). As I have said before, I made my first Starburst Dresden pillow from Amy Sinibaldi’s book Sweetly Stitched Handmades last year when I was VERY new to sewing. So if I can do it, so can you! For sure!

I had my pieces all cut out months ago, Amy has nice instructions for easy cutting of all the “starburst” bits that made it go quickly.  For this one I went with a combo of Paperie and Liberty of London fabrics.  If you are like me, step by step pictures are helpful for using with the written instructions so follow along in your book (these pictures are not meant to replace the actual instructions).

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First up! Fold, sew, flip, iron. Pretty straightforward.

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This is the part that stumped me the first time. My visual learner mind did not want to wrap around the instructions for the life of me so I ended up just following along and going “OHHHH” as soon as I had done what the instructions said. Once all your bits are ironed, here’s the basic assembly. The white “sunburst” is folded in half and sewn with it’s raw edges lined between two Dresden pieces. You will want to line up the corner bottom tips as shown in the above bottom left picture. I almost always use Clover clips instead of pins.

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You will keep sewing and adding this way until all your pieces are used up and you’ve created a circle. Here’s what you should have:

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Next gently iron your Dresden with the white starbursts all laying in the same direction. Press the seams from the back also to help everything lay nice and flat.

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I spray basted my Dresden centered on the backing fabric and machine stitched each “starburst” down. As far as the center of the “plate” I had quite the trouble this time around, firstly because I rushed and secondly, because I tried to fix my wonky center and ended up drawing more attention to it. Ha! Just have to laugh! Lesson learned (again!), slow and steady wins the race… Or in this case the pretty circular center. My only advice is to stitch the circle very slowly and don’t iron the center till after it is sewn to the rest of the Dresden.

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I chose to applique stitch the Dresden down but I have no doubt it would be just as beautiful hand or machine sewn too. Like English Paper Piecing, there are endless options and no wrong way to make it your own. I enjoyed doing a little of each sewing type in my first pillow and decided to do the same here. Lastly we have the hand stitching to outline the Dresden plate which really is the icing on the cake!

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I added a tiny bit of binding to the back of my pillow cover using a tutorial that you can see Here. I love how it came out and look forward to trying this method on some bigger binding projects. The finishing steps for making the pillow pockets are really simple.

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So here it is all finished! I’ll be honest, it kinda took my breath away. Sorry if that sounds like bragging but I don’t always like my finished projects this much, so let me just look at it a minute more before we move on… OK, I’m good now!

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I just love how Paperie and Liberty fabrics play together and look forward to making more with these two beauties down the road.

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It’s all in the “sweetly stitched” details, isn’t it?

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Some well placed fussy cut quotes to add a little extra charm.

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And just for another option, how about a wall hanging? Or you could quilt this up and use it as a beautiful table topper.

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OK, so the center is still a bit wonky but it’s mostly circular so I’m good with how it ended up. And since two of these Starburst Dresden pillows isn’t enough, I’m already planning a Summer one in all bright Liberty prints!

So, to sum up: When I saw this pillow at the end of Amy’s book (remember, the book I bought just to look at the pretty pictures?) I thought she had saved the best project for last. Turns out I still feel that way. I have seen many of these posted to Instagram and they are all equally stunning. I really hope you will give it a try and be as pleased with yours as I have been with mine. Really, this one is fun from start to finish and with such a lovely ending how can you not make at least one! I hope this was helpful for you. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I will do my best to walk you through your own make.

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Right at home with one of my other Paperie pillows on my worn out comfy old, I mean VINTAGE chair.

Lastly, WINNER of the Paperie Heartstring and charm set from Amy is: Hannah W         Please contact me so we can get those sent out to you.

Thank you all for your lovely comments from the blog tour, Made. My. Day!

 

 

 

 

 

Sewing Illustration inspired by Minki Kim

February 14, 2016

Have you ever heard of “sewing illustration”? I hadn’t until last year when I became Instagram friends with a woman named Minki Kim. She is so sweet and approachable that I had no idea who she really was until I started seeing her work in magazines at my local shops! The illustrations she creates are so detailed and intricate, they  look like a hybrid of hand stitching and pencil sketching when in reality it’s all done with a sewing machine, a sewing machine!  I had the honor of winning one of her Instagram giveaways last year which included some adorable handmade goodness and a set of her patterns. I was pretty intimidated to try this new sewing method until last week, when Minki mentioned she couldn’t wait to see what I made up. Well, that sure motivated me!

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This little rain cloud was my first attempt, after those tiny raindrops I set my stitch length down to 1.0 instead of 1.2. *Tiny* stitches are the key here!

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I used this pattern set (available here for less than a dollar!) to make a Spring theme wall hanging. In case you wondered, I’ve decided to skipping right to Spring even if it is still freezing here in Illinois!

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What says Spring better than tiny flowers and for this I turned to my new collection of Sevenberry Floral fabrics from Ministry of Fabric and used a tiny bit of each print.

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Minki’s sweet little patterns really are perfect for using up all the precious scraps we can’t bear to throw away. (And I know you have a bag, box or drawer FULL of almost unusable tiny bits just like I do!).

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Just check out how tiny the details are! I used a navy thread by Aurifil in 50 weight and went very slowly. Even going slowly, these little pictures come together pretty quick and are SO fun to make from start to finish!

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So here’s what my tiny makes turned into, little Spring windows. That saying, “April showers bring May flowers” kept running through my mind as I stitched so it had to be included! The tiny flowers at the bottom were just hand drawn on and sewn over, pretty rough but not bad for a first attempt.

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And of course, tiny hand stitching to finish off each little window. My mom loved this so much as I showed her my rough in progress pictures so this will be heading off to live with her. It will make a sweet little wall hanging or small table topper. Each “window” measures 3 inches.

Make sure to check out all of Minki’s beautiful work! So much inspiration for adding illustration into your sewing projects and tips for how to use her patterns. She also has a book coming out later this year (I believe) that is sure to be filled with incredible makes and inspiration! I can’t wait!

Now off to work on my Dresden pillow😉

Paperie Blog Tour

February 10, 2016

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Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Paperie Blog Tour! I have so enjoyed each post along the way, a little treat every day loaded with inspiration to make ALL the things!

So lets get right to it! If you know Amy then you know she is all about the little details. This really shows through in her debut fabric line Paperie from Art Gallery Fabrics. I love how she paired sweet tiny details along with bolder colors and more modern prints. Makes it perfect for almost any project, don’t you think?

For my bit of the tour I decided to give my master bedroom a little Paperie makeover, sort of freshen things up for Spring. Paperie just happens to match my duvet cover perfectly😉

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First up we have the Merry and Bright pillow only this one is Paperie and Bright😉  I like how it showcases each of the prints so well together, lots of low volume fabric with pops of pink and blues. For the embroidery I went with one of the quotes found on the “quoted” fabric, “From this day on, I wish never to be parted from you”.  Also happens to be from one of my favorite books, Pride and Prejudice.

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You may remember this pillow from my Instagram posts, the one I scorched with an iron! Yup! And after I fixed most of that little problem I ran into a few more. At one point my husband said I could always do this post about what NOT to do. HA! I really could have. Just part of the fun that comes from learning as I go😉 But hey, now I know what to do for the next time I burn my beautiful fabric!!

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It’s all in the tiny hand stitched details that make this pillow so sweet. Don’t you just love these little hearts!? I used a pale blue solid fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics. This end of the top panel seemed a little bare so I added some stitching inspired by one of the prints. I discovered along the way that my hand stitching is pretty nice… when my kids are asleep in bed!! Otherwise its pretty wonky so I’m trying to embrace one of the things I have learned from Amy: perfection is boring. And if that’s the case then my work is VERY exciting!

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I also wanted a more masculine pillow to balance out the sweet look of the first one so I took all the fabrics that didn’t have pink or flowers, mixed in a few more AGF solids and just started cutting. The middle is one piece of fabric with pin tucks added to give it a different look and extra dimension.

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Lots of tiny hand stitching added here and there for a touch of handmade feel. The low volume prints in this line are a must for any fabric stash! I really should get more before it sells out! After all, Paperie is a limited edition line and I have a feeling it’s one of those things you should stock up on to use now and hoard for later.

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And just like that we have a beautiful set of “his and hers” pillows for our bed! (I see you eyeing my special edition Paperie Heartstrings, don’t worry… I’ll get to those in a moment.)

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For my next project I whipped up a simple little mug rug with one of my favorite quotes on it, I love the promise of adventure whether you have your tea now or later. Seriously, how perfect is this for a mug rug or place mat? “Would you like an adventure now or would you like to have your tea first?”. Perfect!

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In true NanaCompany style I added crochet trim and a sweet label, the rest is simply quilted using a few different thread colors to give it some contrast.

Lastly I just had to make a special edition Paperie Heartstring (if you are new here, you can check out my Instagram page to see more of my original Heartstrings).

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I will be giving this Heartstring away along with a Paperie charm pack from Amy! To enter the giveaway just leave a comment here and I will announce a winner next week when I post a short tutorial for another pillow I am working on: a special Paperie and Liberty of London Starburst Dresden pillow from Amy’s book Sweetly Stitched Handmades.

Thanks for dropping by! I hope you enjoyed my stop on the Paperie Blog Tour! For the full line up of incredible makers click HERE.

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*GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED*

 

 

 

 

#Sewprompted2016 Applique

January 28, 2016

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If you follow along on Instagram you may have seen the hashtag #sewprompted2016 it was started by Kerry from Kidgiddy and its a weekly challenge for sharing pictures. This week is Applique. So here is my best applique project to date😉 I have done a few others that aren’t my favorites, lets just say I’m still learning.

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This pillow is hands down my favorite make from the book Sweetly Stitched Handmades by Amy Sinibaldi. I was pretty intimidated by it, so of course I chose it as my first big make out of the book! After the first bit of assembly confusion it came together so smoothly. The applique part was my favorite… Along with the hand stitching, machine sewing and final assembly. Pretty much this is a fun make from start to finish! If you try it you wont be board and its just so pretty too!

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In fact, I love this pillow so much that I have a second one all cut out and ready to sew! I’ll have a whole post with pictures walking you through it, but really though if I could make this with minimal sewing knowledge ANYONE can!

But back to my #sewprompted word Applique! As I said, this was my first attempt at applique and with only a few tutorials and Youtube videos I wasn’t too sure I was doing it right. Well I am happy to say it has held up under a LOT with three boys using it as a shield,  head covering and of course, for pillow fights! So I guess all you need for applique is basic sewing knowledge and Youtube!

Applique is a lot of fun!  I hope you will stay tuned to see my second Starburst Dresden Plate Pillow next month (hopefully) and maybe even make one yourself!

Thanks for stopping buy! I will leave you with this cute little Prince Charming Heather Ross frog:

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The Three Little Piggies Zakka House

January 23, 2016

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Today was a day for making something cute and utterly useless (other than it’s cuteness of course, which I happen to think counts for a lot of use). I bought this cute fat quarter of three little piggies on linen and had no idea what I would use it for. I planned to make a little “soft book” out of it but then realized that might be more work than I wanted to take on in one afternoon and it would probably sit on the floor for most of its life.

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So I just started fussy cutting all the little scenes. Have I mentioned how much I hate to fussy cut!? The loss of beautiful fabric practically HURTS my cheap Dutch heart. But the sacrifice is sometimes a necessary evil for an adorable result.

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Before I knew it a little house was taking shape! The scenes are 2 inch finished squares with 1 inch sashing between. I took the time to iron the seams open on the back since linen is thicker and i didn’t want it to be so bumpy. Ric rac is always a good idea, don’t you think? I have found that if you mark a 1/4 line along the top (or wherever you plan to use trim) and then center your trim ON this line your trim will show better. Otherwise if you line your trim right up next to the edge it will get lost in that 1/4 inch seam allowance we all use. (I’m pretty sure this is common knowledge but I had NO idea so hopefully this is helpful to someone).

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For the roof I cut a 6×11 piece of red ticking cloth, folded it in half to find the center and then folded each side down and clipped into place. Then simply stitch along the top edge of the house. Your row of stitches should be exactly on top of the line you used to sew in the trim.

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This next step I’m pretty sure is the cheaters way of doing things but it was so quick! First lay your batting down then your backing fabric (the red and white dot print) facing up then place your front fabric on top facing down. I simply cut around it all using the outline of my house as a guide. Clip into place and sew around edges leaving a 4 inch opening at the bottom. (oh I also slipped in a length of twine at the tip of the roof for hanging and a piece of ribbon for a chimney). Turn right side out and top stitch around the whole thing.

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I went with hand stitching around each scene, some with red some in cream. Made for a relaxing Saturday afternoon. And how cute are these three little piggies?  I can just hear them “No, no, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin!”.

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I love this last one where they boil the wolf up! Clearly this is the classic version of the tale and not a modern sugar coated one. Too cute! Also don’t mind the wonky bits here and there in my work, these are the results of no walking foot for my machine and not being a perfectionist… Like at ALL. Its “Mommy made” and I don’t think the two year old is going to mind, he thinks the piggies are Winnie the Pooh!

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Lastly I added two little extra scenes that wanted in on the fun. I used a glue stick to keep them in place and simply stitched around them. The little red x’s were an afterthought. I had tried to top stitch with my machine along the edge of the roof but that made a mess even I was not OK with. Hand stitching the top layer of ticking fabric got the look I was hoping for anyway.

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OK, no making fun of my red walls! Once upon a time this was a beautiful red and white guest room that was pretty awesome. I still like the red but its hard to find things that work well in here with the baby stuff. So here is the final resting place of the three little piggies house, on the wall in my youngest room. He promptly asked for his Ikey Bear when I was done using it as a prop. (Bad angle on this picture, it’s not THAT wonky! haha!)

I hope this gave you some tips and ideas. I didn’t intend for this to be a tutorial as I really just whipped this together off the top of my head and am learning as I go. No professionals here😉

For the love of Liberty

January 15, 2016

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Taking a little break from heart making to share with you my heart for Liberty hearts. (Ok I promise that was the only cheesy pun!)

If you happened to stumble upon my little blog and don’t know me from Instagram then chances are you haven’t seen my Liberty “Heartstrings”. And if you do follow me then chances are you’re getting sick of seeing hearts, for that I am sorry and totally get it! I plan to take a heart making break after Valentines Day😉

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It all started when I needed a few thank you gifts and a swap extra. I wanted to make something that was a little more my own than a pin cushion or needle book may have been (and lets face it, the ladies I was making for pretty much wrote the book on cushions and needle books!). To be honest I prayed for a good idea and after going over many options in my head I decided to try whipping up a few sets.

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It went pretty good for making it up off the top of my head. The biggest “woops” was using a Frixion pen to mark my sewing lines and then having them reappear! Thanks to tips from a few good friends I found a Clover brand pen that works much better. I thought that maybe I could sell them on Instagram so I made two sets using some basic fabrics that I loved. Lets just say they didn’t fly off the shelf. My sweet friend bought one and I ended up gifting the other set to my sister. I decided to try again and go with what everyone loves, Liberty of London fabrics.

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I was so nervous listing those first sets (I still get nervous!) but my trick is to only make sets that I love. That way if worse comes to worse I am “stuck” with sets I like or am happy to gift to friends or use in swaps.

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Fabric selection is by far, one of my favorite parts. The combinations and options are almost endless! I mean come on! Who wouldn’t love to play with these every week!? I consider it a huge blessing to be able to work with what I love!

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A favorite custom orders last November was an extra long garland for someones Christmas tree. Yes, I do take custom orders and I have loved working with people to (hopefully) make them something they will love and cherish for a long time to come. Just another blessing of being a maker!

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Another custom order of TINY 1 1/2 inch hearts to be attached to packages and gifts. These little ones can be a hassle to work with but they are just SO stinking cute!

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Valentines prep has kept me working with lots of pinks. Pink and aqua, pink and kitties, pink and purple, you get the picture. Also I took a wild guess that Heather Ross  Heartstrings might go over well. I’m making more this week and my sister already requested some for her girls room.

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So who knows what the future holds, I would have never thought six months ago that a large portion of my time would be spent making HEARTS! I keep waiting for everyone to get sick of them! For now I am happily working away, enjoying the process, pouring love and care into each little heart and counting every sale a blessing. If you have “liked” or bought any of my makes, I truly appreciate it.

thanks for stopping by! I’ll leave you with a colorful heart that I made for a rainbow loving friend:

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