Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stop Talking, Start Doing

It happened innocently enough. I was folding laundry and caught 10 minutes of Nate Burkus' show during a segment called House Proud. A woman walked show cameras through her house decorated with make-do vintage-inspired furniture and decorations. Everything was so nice and pretty. And she seemed so satisfied by her design accomplishments. Suddenly, I felt ashamed of my drab home and completely inspired to tackle some spruce-up projects I've been meaning to get around to.

My house is pretty neat and tidy, but it's not decorated how I dream it could be. I envision a cozy cottage decor - rooms filled with thoughtfully placed nicknacks and cleverly repurposed thrift finds. Instead, I've let the kids and their stuff take over. I stopped shopping for my home and put all those funds toward the girls and their activities. And I gave up on home improvement projects and instead focused my energy on my business and family. All noble - but somewhere I lost the love of my home.

Though it might sound snobbish, I thought, "I'm better than this. I'm better than the procrastinating. I'm better than what I settle have settled for in my home decor." That set the tone of the holiday weekend, and we knocked out a few projects. And, you know, it didn't take that long!

In under one hour, my husband and I recovered the bench seat and made two fresh pillow covers. The "before" was pretty horrible - mismatched and dark. While this is simple, it feels so much cleaner and cheerful.

I like my view at the bottom of the stairs much better these days. No longer do I see a project I haven't gotten to. Now I see a reminder that it really doesn't take that long to make one thing nicer in my home.

We finished some other things this weekend too: Canned strawberries that were fresh picked from the field, re-organized our home office, and cleaned out a closet. Check, check, check! I hope to keep up this momentum and tackle the living room next - fresh pillow covers, some new decorations, and possibly new hardwood floors!

What's on your summer home-improvement list?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How Does Your Garden (Applique) Grow?

The Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild held a Robert Kaufman Kona Challenge this spring. Those participating received a charm pack of solids in varying shades of the rainbow. I decided to make an applique pillow with mine using this tutorial by Kellie of Don't Look Now.

I used light-weight fusible interfacing to apply the pieces to the background. I chose Bella Solid in Lilac as the background, as opposed to the white in the tutorial, to use up something from my stash. We were allowed to use other materials as long as it was a solid, so I stayed within the rules using the Bella! :)

My machine only has a straight stitch. So, I was a bit of a rebel and used my darning foot to do the applique stitching. I like the organic effect and it seems to fit the design theme.

Choosing the different colored thread to applique with was fun. Although changing out the thread was time consuming!

The birdie is probably my favorite feature. I made mine a blue bird with a yellow beak and thread-drawn legs.

Being resourceful, I made my binding out of the left-over charm squares. This took a little more time, but I'm happy with the effect.

This pillow resides on our couch now, but it will likely end up in one of our girl's rooms. Olivia will probably claim it as her own before poor little Ellie has a chance to fight for it. Ah, sisterhood. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Little Birdie Told Me

I made this little bird pincushion for the Fab Little Pincushion Swap.

The pattern Bird Pincushion pattern is by Joel Dewberry and can be found on The DIY Dish site. There is also a great video interview you can watch there too!

While I gather some extra goodies to send to my swap partner, the birdie will enjoy some time looking out my studio window. :)

Hope your week is getting off to a great start!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sweet Success

What is better than crossing a sewing project off a UFO list? When that project actually fits! Oh, and looks cute too. :)

The pattern is called the Bubble Romper Pattern by Tie Dye Diva, who has an awesome Etsy shop filled with adorable children's patterns. I made size 6-12 months from the newborn to 24 months pattern. There is also a size 2-6 pattern version available.

The pattern directions are super-easy to follow, even for a garment-making novice like me, and include options for serger and non-serger fabric cuts and techniques. For the fabric, I opted to use one print for the whole piece - Floral Zest in Fashionista from Hello Luscious. But the pattern shows how to mix and match different fabrics too.

What I love best about it is the ample-sized bottom that covers Ellie's cloth-diaper, which is bulkier than disposables. Finding pants that fit her cloth-diapered rear has been a challenge. Of course, we have disposables as back up (you can see the box of Huggies in the background of the second photo), but 95% of the time, she's in her bumGenius.

I may be on a garment-sewing kick like Tanesha from Crafty Garden Mom was talking about on her last podcast. Sun dresses, rompers, bloomers, and tunics are in my future!

What are some of your favorite children's sewing patterns? I started a Pinterest board - please help me fill it up!

Monday, May 7, 2012

It Didn't Take Long...

... for me to cut into this gorgeous fabric!

I made yet another Amy Butler Spice Market Tote using Bee in My Bonnet's Millie's Closet. The patchwork "cheater" print on the exterior makes it look like I worked WAY harder on this Mothers Day gift than I really did (sorry mom!).

And the sweet, cheerful flower print on the interior sets off the busy outer print nicely, if I don't say so myself. :) I love this bag and pattern so much that I am making one for the moms in my life for Mothers Day - and probably one or two for myself... someday. You know how that goes. :)

In other news, have you been following Project Run and Play? Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild's very own Jessica is in the running! Check out all the amazing designers' works and don't forget to vote weekly for your favorite. Voting opens again on Friday.

I'm busy in the sewing room this week working on this little pattern - a summer look for Ellie. So far so good - even after dragging the serger out today. Looking forward to reporting that it fits (fingers crossed!) in an upcoming blog post.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Little Wine-ing

I made a hostess gift for my great-aunt and uncle, whom I took my girls to visit Monday and Tuesday of this week. They live outside of Chicago, which is about a 6-hour drive from our house in Ohio. The girls traveled like pros - minimal fussing and meltdowns. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, and I ended up driving in torrential downpours the whole way home yesterday. It rained so hard it was leaking into our car and soaked the passenger-side floor! Crazy... and super-scary at times. But, we made it!

Anyway, my mom (who came with us) and I put together a goodie bag of mostly local foods to take as a hostess gift. In addition to the honey, home-made jam, Esther Price candy, and tea from a little British shop nearby, we gave them a bottle of wine in a holder I made from  Strawberry Fields.

Sorry for the fuzzy, iPhone shots. I finished it late at night, so this was the best I could do.

I used a fantastic tutorial from the Craftsy Blog. The directions were clear with a lot of photos. The construction is clever - though there are a lot of steps. The end result is quite sturdy and nicely shaped for many kinds of "spirit" bottles. Highly recommend this tutorial!

Hope everyone is having a lovely week! Now, I'm off to unpack our suitcase and dig into the laundry... The unfortunate part of travel, right?