An Afternoon With Aurifil

July 4, 2016

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to an Aurifil thread lecture with my friends Mollie and Becca. Now, I don’t get out of the house all too often and it’s even more rare that I get to go to something as fun as this. SO if I look a little over excited, you know why. Here we are with the CBDO of Aurifil, Alex Veronelli.

The first part of the lecture was a video of each step of the thread making process that takes place in Italy at the Aurifil factory. I enjoy documentaries so this was a lot of fun for me. As Alex explained the different steps you could just hear the passion he has for his product. The fine attention to detail in the making process only confirmed my belief that this thread is definitely a cut above the rest. Really the attention to detail and extra steps in the process is incredible.

I have been using Aurifil threads and floss for only a couple months now and have become a rather big fan of theirs. The floss on spool concept is just plain brilliant! And I also love the different weights for both hand stitching and a bold statement when machine quilting. I’ll be honest I did’t notice a difference when I started using the 50 weight thread in my every day sewing on the machine. HOWEVER I noticed a big difference when I switched back to my regular thread after working with the Aurifi. I guess I was getting spoiled by the smoothness and high quality of without even realizing it!

I have found that Aurifil can be found at most local quilt shops (at least in my area) in the 50 wt and sometimes 40wt. My favorite weight to work with though is 12 and 28 and I love the selection that Hawthorne Threads offers. Also quick shipping and the way they have the spool colors set up don’t hurt either.

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Becca, Mollie and I were like the paparazzi in the very front row with the more traditional quilters filling up the rest of the room. The last half of the lecture was more like a show and tell of threads and products that were made using them. A lot of beautiful quilting that I was too busy admiring to take pictures of. Here is Alex with a color card (which I really want, by the way!) showing all the gorgeous colors making it easy to order exactly the right shade to match your fabrics.

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Here is just a small example of the items that were passed around. I took a picture to use as inspiration for using the six strand floss.

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And what event would be complete without goodies to take home? This set has all six weights and types offered in one color. The red spool on the left is the 12wt, next is the orange spool of 50wt, green 40wt, gray 28wt, wooden spool for floss and lastly a wool thread. I had planned to show all the different weights in one project but instead used just the floss.

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So here is my own little example of the variety the floss offers in one spool. I used a template from the book A Spoonful of Sugar (which just happens to be in the middle of a great sew along on Instagram) and printed it at half the size. The top row is stitched in Sashiko style but only uses one strand of floss. The second row has two strands of floss and so on down to the last row which uses all six strands of floss. Also, bonus points for no tangling or knotting during the separating process and all through stitching!

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Close up of the stitching. This is a little mug rug measuring 6×9 inches and will make a nice little gift for a friend and was also a relaxing and fun way to spend some down time this weekend. I have a couple other colors I want to try this same idea with. Top stitching was done with 50wt in white and hand quilting on the patchwork used 28wt also in white.

SO all in all my afternoon with Aurifil was a lot of fun. Becca and Mollie have both written up about our time out and the threads too (see, we really were the paparazzi!).

This post is in no way sponsored by anyone, (haha, I only wish I was sponsored!) these are my own thoughts and opinions. If you have yet to try Aurifil, I would recommend trying it! If you hate it, you’ve only wasted $5, but if you like it you may LOVE it and be glad you took a chance.

 

Playdate Bag by Minki Kim

June 26, 2016

A while back my friend Minki Kim (aka: Zeriano) asked if I would like to make her Playdate Bag and of course I said yes. Though it seems to have taken me forever to actually get around to making this bag, the process was fun and I absolutely LOVE it. The real hold up (besides my mothering duties) was choosing which fabrics to go with. Once I nailed that part down the rest came together smoothly.

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I went with my Milk Sugar and Flower fabric by Elea Lutz that was gifted to me by two sweet Instagram friends which to me, makes this bag all the more special.

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Here’s the “B” side, or maybe this is side “A”? Not quite sure on that. If you know Minki, you know her incredible talent for sewing illustration which is basically drawing using your sewing machine! It’s pretty crazy! This bag has just a bit of that sewing illustration in the form of cursive lettering and mine turned out a little messy, much like my cursive handwriting does.

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The original pattern calls for an adjustable strap which is really fun but I changed it up and added two handles made from my favorite leftover gingham bias tape and ribbon, sewn on with Aurifil thread in 40 weight.

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I added the little side tabs in case I make a strap down the road it will easily attach and also they are pretty cute. It’s all in the details. Actually this cute ribbon was a gift from another sweet friend which seems fitting since this bag will be headed off as a little gift for one of my friends. Have I mentioned how much I love the sewing community?

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As the patchwork pieces were coming together I thought they were a bit wild and crazy and needed to be blended with more low volume fabrics. That may well be the case but I decided to leave it and let this side of the bag be a bold floral statement while the rest of the bag has a more fresh, clean look to it. Hopefully this balance came across in my finished product.

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Here is the inside of the bag with adorable binding on the seams to finish things off. This pattern is very well written with loads of step by step pictures. I had absolutely no problems making this bag which doesn’t happen all that often for me (seriously, I have trouble following patterns and instructions in general!).

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So there you have it! My Playdate Bag with a tiny strawberry button to finish it off. Makes me “totally happy”! Finished size is 8×11.

Check out #playdatebag for more ideas on making your own Playdate Bag and find the pattern HERE. As always, feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Quilted Bags and Gifts

June 17, 2016

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Remember the Swivel Hook Tote I made a while back from Quilted Bags and Gifts? Well Zakka Workshop has sent me two copies of this just released book and I am giving one of them away over on my Instagram account! This book has so many (36!) cute bags and sweet little gifts made in traditional Japanese style. I have just finished my second bag using bolder colors and I have a few tips to help you make your own.
The first time making anything can be a little overwhelming, especially when trying new techniques. The templates for the Swivel Hook Tote bag require you to add your own seam allowance into the dimensions which for me ended up with two panels that were just too small. I recommend cutting your text print strips of fabric extra long and then trimming down to size after.

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See how much excess I have on the long strips and at each corner? This will help it to square up without leaving any gaps when you trim to size. My panels did end up being smaller than what the pattern called for but this time around, instead of stressing about it being off by roughly a half inch, I decided to just go with it and make any adjustments as I went. In the end I have a slightly smaller bag over all but it was well worth not freaking out over a half inch difference.

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One of the techniques I learned in this book is wrapping the inside seams so you have a nice clean looking inside of the bag. Here you see I am clipping the edge where I will be sewing and then using the excess fabric as a sort of “cheater” binding to cover up the seams. You should have extra fabric on each side like this. There SHOULD also be extra fabric at the bottom of each inside panel but I managed to trim my excess off the bottom both times I made this bag. Seriously, BOTH times!

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At least I have cute contrast binding on the inside of both my bags, so that’s fun! I guess the lesson here is, don’t worry if you trim your excess fabric, you can always fix it with some cute binding.

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So here is my second Swivel Hook Tote bag and I just love it! I used Art Gallery Denim in Indigo Shadow paired with Paperie fabrics, some Sevenberry florals and Liberty of London for a fresh modern look.

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I decided to not quilt this bag at all and instead did two stitch lines on each side using Aurifil 12 weight in a navy.

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These handles can be found at Zakka Workshop and are easy to stitch on by hand since the holes are already there. Just a note about the binding, I used 2 1/4 inch binding strips which is wider than what was called for but worked well to cover the thickness of the bag.

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I love how this side looks with just the addition of a simple layered tag. If you have not yet worked with the AGF denim it really is so nice. This is the smooth denim and it is lightweight and easy to work with.

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I wanted to add a leather patch to go with the handles and I think it came out nicely. OK, maybe a bit wonky, but still a fun addition.

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More leather details from Zakka Workshop that add so much to this bag.

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I think I will be trading out my ratty old diaper bag for this one. Especially since all I really need these days is an extra diaper and a pack of wipes for my “baby”.

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The two patchwork panels are the perfect way to use up your favorite scraps or to fussy cut some really cute prints. Either way, you will have your fabrics with you wherever you go!

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Now to what you really came here for! I am giving away a copy of Quilted Bags and Gifts along with a half yard of Lecien’s beautiful Yarn Dyed Cloth in blue, all thanks to Zakka Workshop. Giveaway is open worldwide with winner announced on Monday June 20. To enter, comment on my giveaway post on Instagram and follow me.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope my tips were helpful and as always, if you have any questions just ask!

My Catching Colors Diary

June 8, 2016

Today my package for the NanaCompany Swap came all the way from Spain. There were SO many beautiful hand made items that I wanted to show them off in better detail here on my blog.

When I started pairing partners up for this swap I had forgotten that I needed a partner too. At the last minute a few friends were kind enough to join in the swap and this left me paired with Galia of @mycatchingcolorsdiary. Galia is clearly the superior maker between the two of us and she spoiled me rotten! Lets just say I am glad I have her address to send some thank you gifts her way!

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First up there were THREE packs of cookies and treats from Spain (which are quickly dwindling down thanks to my little snack crew) that are delicious! Love trying foods from around the globe. This adorable snack mat/mug rug is the perfect patchwork and sweet Zakka combo.

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Classic NanaCompany style needle book and strawberry pin cushion each with adorable details. (Shhh, don’t tell but she even sent along a second set of these as a gift for my mom!! Seriously, how sweet is that!).

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The back of the needle book, I warned you there would be lots of pictures. Inspiration by the buckets full!

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The sweetest zipper pouch with stamp stickers. We both sent stamp stickers to each other and these are just so pretty.

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The back side of the pouch with the Anne of Green Gables label you may have seen on one of Galia’s sneak peak posts. Now I need to see that movie again!

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These adorable Zakka goodies were sent separately and actually came last week ahead of the main package. I am always asked where I get my cute little trims and buttons, well now you know- most of them are sweet gifts and swaps from friends the world over. Just one of the things I love about this Instagram sewing community. Always inspiring me to share and give more.

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Please squeal with me NOW! THE most adorable name plate ever!!! Made all the more perfect for me since someone has lovingly called me Bunny for the past 12 years! (You did NOT hear that from me though). I love that Galia took inspiration from so many classic NanaCompany ideas and the sweet tiny floral prints just put a smile on my face.

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Look at those tiny, PERFECT stitches! This is actually the sweetest shade of pale pink but since it’s not showing up here very well, you will just have to stop on over to see it in person😉 Also, I think this will be my new profile pic!

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More sweet extras! Beautiful Tilda fabrics, cute tiny felt balls and more Zakka trims. We could stop here and this would have been more than a perfect swap package!

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A beautiful mini for my wall with those tiny Galia hand stitches and sweet details. Perfect NanaCompany style, wouldn’t you agree? And you see that “hello friend” up there in the corner? Look familiar? I used that same greeting on my mini for her! Partners that were meant to be!

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Gorgeous hand quilting!

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Kindred Spirits.

Oh by the way I sent Galia a DM on Instagram when my box arrived and she happened to be on so we texted the whole time I was opening my gifts which was the cherry on top! Actually, these beautiful gifts have been the cherry on top of a friendship that has grown from this swap. OK, now I’m just getting sappy but that was my original hope for this NanaCompany swap a year ago… Friends meeting and making for each other in the sweet style we know and love. Cue the violins.

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And lastly, (this box went on forever! It was the Mary Poppins box of goodies!) the adorable Candy Shop House to hold all my sewing tools and notions! She wrote me that it might be too “cutesy” for my sewing space but I think it’s the perfect amount that my rather boring space needs.

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Isn’t this just the cutest?! I can already tell this is going to inspire many of us to make similar items.

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All the tiny pockets! Perfect little Zakka house with details and trims galore! This will go perfect next to my work desk.

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And with that, the box was empty and my heart (and table!) were full. If I wasn’t so shocked by the amount of gifts I would be in a puddle of tears! Galia spoiled me rotten and I feel “an embarrassment of riches” over here. On top of it all she sent a beautifully written card in both Spanish and English that spoke to my heart and filled me with joy… Again, cue the violins. But when you are a tired stay at home mom with not much time for getting out and socializing, it’s quite a blessing to find “kindred spirits” in crafting friends.

I hope you all feel inspired by Galia’s beautiful work! I have long been a fan of her posts on Instagram, each and every one is absolutely beautiful, as is the woman behind the posts. I know I am ready to sit down and make some sweet Zakka items with loads of hand stitching!

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With a full heart and now full eyes, have a beautiful week.

 

Postcard Mini Quilt

May 24, 2016

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With my NanaCompany Swap wrapping up and my partner having just received her package, I thought I would share more details and lots of pictures here. Seriously, LOTS of pictures! You’ve been warned!

The inspiration for this mini was a postcard pillow that Amy Sinibaldi had made for her daughter years ago. It just happened to be the first thing my swap partner Galia (#mycatchingcolorsdiary) had seen on the NanacCompany blog and first drew her to this style of making, a feeling I could totally relate to. So of course I just HAD to go with the postcard theme.

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I drew up a rough sketch of my idea, lots of erasing and testing out ideas. Since there would be a lot of hand stitching and embroidery, Aurifil thread was kind enough to send me a variety of flosses and thread weights to work with. I was already a fan of theirs but working from start to finish on a project using only Aurifil was amazing and I really felt the difference.

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I went with an Essex Linen which is rather thick and I find impossible to trace on so I decided to draw directly onto the fabric using my trusty water erasable fine tip marker by Clover. Any mistakes or changes were cleared up with a simple wet q-tip. I can’t be the only one who thinks q-tips are an essential part to a sewing kit, am I?

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Keeping with the postcard theme, I decided to go with tiny one inch “postage stamp” patchwork. As you know, it’s all in the details and I couldn’t pass this tiny one up. Some hoarded Aneela Hoey fabric with the smallest envelope you’ve ever seen just had to be stitched on. And yes, ALL my most favorite bits of fabric went into this mini.

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More tiny details brought to life with a bit of hand stitching. I also added bits of hand quilting to some of the more basic squares using a white 28 weight which I absolutely love for hand quilting.

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So here she is! My version of the postcard pillow made up as a mini quilt, finishing at roughly 18×14 inches. Now for some close up detail shots:

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The postage stamp, which I drew about three times to get just right. For this one I used a 12 weight Aurifil in Navy color 2745, it seemed the perfect inky shade of blue.

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A mutual favorite print of ours is this “scrumptious” by Bonnie and Camille which I zig-zag stitched on and added a Zakka ribbon to. This corner may be my favorite part of the whole mini!

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Tiny yellow tulip flower was a last addition with a bit of crochet trim as a boarder to make it stand out a bit more. Oh and that mint hand stitching is number 2835 of Aufifloss and has quickly become my favorite little spool.

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My charming messy handwriting stitched over with two strands Aurifloss, it is pretty charming, right? And I believe it’s an unspoken rule that all postcards be finished off with “hugs and kisses” in the form of X’s and O’s.

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More tiny details! The “washi” trim, the almost to pale to see pink hand stitching on Paperie boarder, more favorite bits of fabric and a Zakka tag held down by tiny cross stitch. Actually, the mint washi tape bits are my favorite part and now I want to quilt washi onto everything!

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All the tiny bits of fabric from Bari J and Liberty of London to Sevenberry and Elea Lutz, even clearance Joann Fabrics- this mini has a it all! Now, I tend to pride myself on not being a fabric hoarder and cutting right into my favorite fabrics, but even I have my “out of print impossible to get more of” favorites and I’m not gunna lie- that adorable little pink Posy flower by Aneela Hoey was hard to fussy cut into… BUT, SO worth it now that I see it here bringing its charm hopefully putting a smile on someones face.

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That sweet bear stamp was a gift from one of my first Instagram friends Lisa Ann. I think he will live very happily in Spain, even if it happens to rain, he has his tiny gingham umbrella.

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And of course what swap package would be complete without some extras? A tag made using a NanaCompany tutorial, a ruffle zipper pouch and other items that were special requests and fun surprises.

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So there you have it, my postcard mini. It’s not perfect by any means, but I knew it might be good because I wanted to keep it for myself! Always a good rule of thumb for swapping and gift giving in general, if you want to keep it and have a hard time parting with it then you are good to go! Of course second opinions are always a good idea too! Many thanks to my friend Jenni who puts up with my countless questions and “which one looks better” texts.

If you would like to see my original inspiration and the postcard pillow that Galia fell in love with click HERE, hopefully mine turned out half as sweet as Amy’s did.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have been inspired.

 

 

A Spoonful Of Sugar Blog Tour

May 11, 2016

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Hi and welcome to my stop on the A Spoonful of Sugar Blog Tour! Let me just say what an honor it is to be sewing along with Lisa and all the incredible makers on the tour. I “met” Lisa last year on Instagram during a sew along and quickly fell in love with her fresh, clean Zakka style. So when she announced the release of her first book, I knew it would be on my “must buy” list. And of course she did not disappoint. Filled with sweet things to make, beautiful pictures and step by step instructions. Possibly my favorite features are the illustrations to show many of the steps, which are a life saver for this visual learner.

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With 20 projects in the book, I’m sure you can imagine how hard it was to choose just one to share with you… So I made two!

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First up, the Pretty Patchwork Jewelry Wrap using Liberty of London prints in blues and purples along with a bright white that I had on hand. The instructions for making and assembly were very clear and the only “problem” I had was from my own lack of experience with this type of binding. I ended up hand stitching it on which turned out to be a sweet extra detail in the end. Now since I almost never wear jewelry, I found another fun use for this wrap:

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An English Paper Piece Kit for on the go sewing! The three pockets are the perfect size for all your EPP supplies and it even folds up nicely with them all zipped away. Personally I think this Wrap would also make a great clutch for your cash and cards!

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A few adjustments I made were leaving out the lining (because I’m just too lazy to drive 20 minutes for sewing supplies) and I went with simple quilting to outline the patchwork, both the lining and dense quilting would have added more stability to the wrap had I intended to use it as a jewelry wrap.

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Tiny hand stitching with Aurifil 28 weight thread. I just love how this dark navy print plays with the softer blues and purples from my Liberty stash and contrasts against the bright white. Which leads me to my next item from A Spoonful of Sugar Book:

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The tiny Cathedral Window Pincushion! Now let me just say, this has been a quilt block that I have been terrified to try! I mean just look at how many bits and pieces need to line up! Pretty overwhelming for this new and somewhat inaccurate sewer. Having said all that, I still really wanted to try it and I figured if anyone had good instructions for this it would be Lisa. So I started with just the first step and figured if I didn’t understand it I could just stop there. 11 steps later, and I am amazed at how nicely it turned out! OK, so I know its not perfect but I am REALLY happy with it!

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So here’s a peek of what the instructions look like. I love all the detail and step by step illustrations. I only had to Google one step which is clearly shown here but my tired mom-brain just didn’t want to comprehend it. I used a very thin Bottom Line brand thread to stitch the tiny windows closed since I didn’t want even a tiny bit of thread showing against that beautiful dark navy print.

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I will definitely be making more of these! the steps were fun and the hand sewing was relaxing and so rewarding to watch it take shape. The back is also this beautiful Liberty print called Summer Blooms in navy which you can find here along with all the other beautiful colorways. How pretty would these look on your Christmas tree come December in reds and greens and perfect for handmade gifts! Really I can’t wait to make more, which brings me to my next point. I am SO excited about the A Spoonful Of Sugar Sew Along coming this summer!

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Please join us for an Instagram Sew Along from June 1 – August 9. We will be making projects from A Spoonful of Sugar: Sew 20 Simple Projects to Sweeten Your Surroundings Zakka Style. There will be five rounds, each lasting for two weeks which will give you plenty of time to complete a project or two from the book.  Our good friend, Amy Sinibaldi from Nana Company is the Guest Judge, with fantastic prizes for the winner of each round, plus a Grand Prize Winner, generously sponsored by Alisha from Ministry of Fabric. We really hope you join in the fun! #ASPOONFULOFSUGARSAL

It really is so much more fun to sew with friends (and prizes!) so get your copy ready and set aside a little time for yourself this summer!

If you haven’t already, check out all the other beautiful makes from the Blog Tour and get the inspiration going!

April 26            Jodie Carlton                           Ric Rac

April 27            Minki Kim                                 Minki’s Work Table

April 28            Melissa LeRay                         Oh How Sweet

April 29            Jemima Flendt                       Tied With a Ribbon

April 30            Beverley McCullough          Flamingo Toes

 

May 2              Sedef Imer                               Down Grapevine Lane

May 3              Nadra Ridgeway                     Ellis and Higgs

May 4              Amy Morinaka                        Chick Chick Sewing

May 5              Caroline Critchfield               Sew Can She

May 6              Kristyne Czepuryk                 Pretty By Hand

May 7              Bronwyn Hayes                      Red Brolly

 

May 9              Anorina Morris                       Samelia’s Mum

May 10            Peta Peace                               She Quilts A Lot

May 11            Faith Essenburg                     Sarana Ave

May 12            Angie Wilson                           Gnome Angel

May 13            Sharon Burgess                      Lilabelle Lane Creations

May 14            Stacy Olson                              Stacy Olson

 

May 16            Ayda Algin                                Cafenohut

May 17            Jennie Pickett                         Clover and Violet

May 18            Wynn Tan                                 Zakka Art

May 19            Lisa Cox                                     A Spoonful of Sugar

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Thank you for stopping by, feel free to look around and sign up to keep posted on more fun to come. Also thank you again to Lisa for letting me play along with the Pros on this blog tour, such an honor!

Have a great week!

The Minis Blog Tour

May 4, 2016

Hi and welcome to my stop on Pat Bravos Blog Tour. A while back Pat posted an open call of sorts on Instagram and I jumped at the chance to work with some of her beautiful prints. I was chosen (much to my surprise!) along with 29 other makers to create a mini quilt featuring Dare  and Essentials II  from Art Gallery Fabrics. My bundle had mostly blues with a splash of striking magenta thrown in. I set to work planning, which included flipping through my little stash of quilting books, drawing up sketches and a lot of searching on Pintrest for inspiration.  

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I wanted to make something original of my own design, which is a real challenge for me. I am still trying to find my own creative style and voice in this community of incredibly talented makers. Each project seems to be full of trial, errors and growing opportunities which seldom leaves me fully happy with the end result. At the same time these less than perfect makes spur me on to try again and to try better the next time.

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So here it is, a bit of a hot mess! The “Dare” was a play with the fabric title but as it turned out this mini was  a much needed inspiration for myself. As I started seeing some of the other beautiful minis on the blog tour I began feeling pretty insecure of my own. It’s so busy and bright and totally different than what I am used to making. I asked several of my friends for their honest opinions, I still had time to make another more simple project if it really was as horrible as my mind was telling me but with some encouragement and taking a step back (OK, a few steps back) I began to like it just a little.

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There are many things I would change if I had it to do over again (story of my life!) but at the same time I kinda love it. The “diamond” boarder pattern would stand out more on a solid background but this way offers a lot of boldness and showcases more of the prints. Seriously gorgeous low volumes in this collection! I love the navy boarder I added to the edge and the mat style boarder around the words was a fun extra touch.

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I lightly quilted each diamond with a pale mint Aurifil thread and used a stitch in the ditch binding method that you can find here. It finishes at roughly 18×18 for a nice wall hanging. I can totally see this pattern being a beautiful table topper with a vase or fruit bowl setting in the center made with colors to match your dining room.

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The word applique was a fun challenge, printing, tracing, cutting, ironing, cutting again, more ironing, and finally stitching it on. I will definitely be adding more words to my projects down the road. And of course no work of mine feels complete without a little bit of hand stitching so I embroidered the “to be” on with a thick magenta floss. A little light accent quilting in the center for the finishing touch.

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I had intended to share more of a “how to” post about this mini but in an effort to keep it real, I felt a more personal post was needed. Not all projects come easily, not everything turns out the way I picture in my head and sometimes it takes a bit of bravery to share my less than perfect makes. This mini may not go down as one of my “all time favorite makes” but I can’t help feeling a little bit (a lot a bit) inspired by it. Dare to be BRAVE. It takes bravery to make something from scratch, it takes bravery to post our makes and even our mistakes as makers and sometimes it feels almost like a dare when I set out to create something all my own. But how boring would the creative world be if makers never dared to try new ideas and weren’t brave enough to work out of their comfort zones? Makes me sad just thinking about it! So here’s my small attempt at branching out, trying something new, working out of my comfort zone and daring myself to be brave.

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By the way, I think the names Dare and Essentials II are just so fitting! The Dare prints really are so bold and beautifully daring while the Essentials truly are essential for any sewing stash with their dots, stripes, rings and tiny flowers! Just beautiful! There is also a golden yellow color way which I *need*. Also if you have never worked with Art Gallery Fabrics, they truly are a cut above the rest and feel like nothing else.

One of my favorite parts of trying new fabrics is getting to share them with you! I have this bundle of Pat Bravo’s Dare and Essentials II fabrics, all fat 8th and smaller for one of you to add to your stash. You will love the bold designs and fresh prints, leave a comment on this post and I will pick a winner in the next week.

Thanks so much to Pat for including me in this fun blog tour and taking a chance on my creativity. To see all the beautiful minis click HERE for the full line up with lots more giveaways!

Thanks for stopping by!

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Nicole R!

 

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!

 

 

 

 


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