Thursday, May 31, 2012

Better (25 years) late than never

I'm guessing it was 25 years ago that my mom made this "puppet theater" for my little sister. 


 It hangs in a doorway with a tension rod and that white curtain lifts up so the puppets can poke through.


Not only did my sister and her friends play with this, but it was saved and passed on to my daughters.  

This is my little one giving us a "puppet show" (with a dog made from a styrofoam cup) about 1 year ago.  (You can see his brothers and sisters waiting for their turn down on the floor.  She made a LOT of dog puppets!)


Did you notice in the photo above that there is a green window box under the window?

Notice anything missing?


25 years and no flowers ever grew here.  I know my mom intended to sew on buttons to make flowers, but somehow it never got done.  I'm guessing as soon as it was "ready enough" it was snatched away for playing and the flowers fell by the wayside.

Last week, Ida posted about some puppets and a theater she was planning to make for her grandson.  She and I traded emails and I shared pictures of my theater with her.  She managed to get multiple awesome puppets done within a few days, plus the theater.  (You can see hers here.)  Ida also makes the most beautiful hexagon flowers, using a Wizard of Oz theme.  (You can see them on her blog every Wednesday.)  These two things inspired me to finally --- 25 years later but not too late --- add some flowers to our little theater.

I made my hexagons in PowerPoint and printed them on cardstock.  (I only had 1" templates and those were too big.  These are about 1/2".)  Unfortunately, I did not take a ton of care in cutting them out so they are a little wonky, but they went together OK.  (Please do not look too closely, as you can really see where the hexies don't line up... but I figured wonky flowers were better than no flowers at all!)

There was a lot of fabric wrapped to the back of my hexies, so I ironed a piece of fusible to the back to keep it all in place.


I actually forgot to take out the template in the yellow hexie before I ironed on the fusible, so had to peel it off and do it again.  Pretend you don't see that in the photo below, OK?


Here's one of my little flowers before I appliqued it on to the theater:


And how the three of them look once attached:


I'm not sure that pink and purple are the best colors to go with the red gingham curtains, but I have little girls who think pink and purple match everything.  Did I mention clashing flowers are better than no flowers at all?


Of course, now I'm thinking these little flowers could use some leaves... and the flower box is pretty dark and maybe I could find a way to make it "pop" more without covering it completely.... because 3 little hexie flower to fix a 25-year old non-problem couldn't possibly be enough on its own!

I wish I'd had my camera ready when my kids saw this hanging in the doorway of their playroom WITH flowers.  That squealing you heard?  It was my kids :-)



~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Friday, May 25, 2012

GIANT apology and a little progress

Happy Friday, Everyone!


I wanted to start this post with a GIANT apology to all the wonderful people who have ever left a comment on one of my posts.  As you know, the comments show up on the post itself and also as an email in my inbox.  Instead of replying to the emails, I usually come back and "reply" to the actual comment on my blog.  I just realized this week that when I do it that way, the person who commented doesn't get an email back from me.... and might think I ignored (or worse yet, didn't appreciate!) their comment.  This makes me very sad, because comments MAKE MY DAY and I appreciate every single one of them!!!  From now on, I'll reply to the emails (instead of the comments on the blog) to make sure you get a response.  I'll be a good bloggy friend from now on, I promise!!


Now on to the progress I made on my May Small Project Sew Along list this week.... 


I was able to cross a few things off this week.  Woo hoo!


I made this messenger bag for my kindergartener's BFF's birthday (say that 3 times fast!):
Full post about the messenger bag it is here




I also got some embroidery and applique done for The Forever Project:


Full post about The Forever Project is here


Made some goodies for my running buddies:
Full post about these zippered pouches is here




My current projects are these 3 items on my list:
15. Make or find a simple pattern for a tote / beach bag
16. Make a year-end gift for my kindergartener's teacher
17. Make a year-end gift for my 3rd grader's teacher
I have come up with a pattern (item #15) and I'm using it to make #16 and #17 (year-end teacher gifts).  I'm working on the first one now but it is not finished yet (as you can see from the photo below).  I'm hoping determined to complete this one and make one more this weekend.


I'm looking forward to seeing what you've worked on this week!



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Linking up with: 

Confessions of a Fabric Addict for "Whoop Whoop Friday"
Sew Many Ways for "Find a Friend Friday"
AmyLouWho for "Sew and Tell" (no link up today)
Pieceful Life for "Show Off Friday" 

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~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Appliqued Ragnar Zippered Pouches



You probably know what applique is... and what a zippered pouch is... but what the heck is a Ragnar?  I'm so glad you asked!  :-)

Ragnars are 200 mile running relays which take place all across the United States.  Teams of 12 people (or 6, if you're particularly crazy) start at Point A on Friday morning and take turns running legs between 2-10 miles each for a total of about 200 consecutive miles.  Each runner takes 3 turns and teams run continuously (day and night) until they cross the finish line sometime on Saturday afternoon / evening.

I took part in my first Ragnar (from Miami to Key West, Florida) in January (it took us about 32 hours) and will run in my second Ragnar in New York (from Saratoga Springs to Lake Placid, site of the 1980 Winter Olympic games, though the Adirondack Mountains) in September.  

I'm the team captain for my Ragnar Adirondack Relay team and thought it would be nice to make a little "something" for the 11 other ladies on my team.  (Did I mention we're an all girls team?  Fun!!)  It would have been great to make everyone a full size bag but alas, that might have taken forever, so a zippered pouch it was!

I started with these little piles of denim.


I found out everyone's favorite color and thanks to the miracles of (1) the internet and (2) Heat 'n Bond, I was able to make a little Ragnar logo in everyone's favorite color.  I paired these with my new (gluttonous) stash of zippers and was ready to roll.


I began by ironing a logo to the bottom front piece of denim.


Satin stitched around the edges of each one in matching thread.  These logos are small so those points were hard to make "pointy."


Even though the denim was heavy, I used some non-woven stabilizer on the back.


I removed the stabilizer from the outside of each logo (on the back) but not from the middle. Sheer laziness, really, but it's washable (not paper) so I think it will be fine.


I just love this stack of FINISHED little bags!  If you count, you'll see there are only 11.  One of our original team members just found out she needs hip surgery and won't be able to run with us, so bag #12 will get made as soon as we find someone to take the last open spot.







These bags are 5" wide and 5.5" tall.  Perfect size for all my "essentials" when I go to the gym... phone, energy bar, license, cash, keys.

My zippered pouch is filled and ready to go.  A perfect match to the Rag Bag I made myself back in March.

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I'm now happily moving project #19 to the "Completed Items" section of my May Small Project Sew Along list!


Completed items:

1. Complete H2H quilt - link here
2. Complete Laura's quilt - link here
3. Make pillow to match Laura's quilt - link here
5. Make 3 small memory (t-shirt) wall hangings (1 done, 2 not started) - link here
6. Make 3 small memory (t-shirt) Mickey pillows - link here
7. Make a green mug rug in time for Mother's Day  - link here
9. Finish April Seasonal Skinny (flimsy is complete) - link here
10. Complete 2 ladybug Seasonal Skinnies for May - link here
12. Make a portable sewing kit / bag / holder / something-or-other link here
13. Start (and finish) embroidery for "The Forever Project" - link here
14. Complete "Om" block for "The Forever Project" - link here
18. Make a birthday gift for kindergartener's BFF - link here
19. Make a "surprise" for my 11 running partners + myself - DONE!

Not started or in progress:
4. Finish quilt for Sujay (flimsy is complete)
8. Make a pink mug rug just because I want to
11. Cut fabric for summer hexie project
15. Make or find a simple pattern for a tote / beach bag
16. Make a year-end gift for my kindergartener's teacher
17. Make a year-end gift for my 3rd grader's teacher
20. Make an Unruly letters pillow for Kim
21. Update my running scrapbook (no sewing involved!)
22. Figure out a plan of attack for the "Unless" quilt

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Linking up with Applique Thursday over at A Quilting Reader's Garden.  Be sure to hop over there and take a look at some of the amazing work the other ladies have done!  (And so much by hand... I aspire to that someday!!)

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~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Forever Project - Part 1

I am a very bad friend.  Well, not usually, but in this specific instance.  I am a bad friend to Shaun.

Over a year ago (yeesh, a year?!?), I offered to make him a t-shirt quilt.  He is a huge music fan and over the years has amassed a huge collection of band and concert t-shirts.  Some were too small, some were getting too worn out, but all were special and deserved a place of honor.  

He sent me his box of t-shirts (I'd guess 25+ of them) in April 2011.  Yes, FOREVER ago.  I promptly ironed fusible onto the back of each design and cut it out.  Some are big, some are small, and no two are the same size.  His one request was that this didn't end up looking like a giant checkerboard, so I cut the blocks according to the size of the design.  You'll see the giant pile of blocks at the bottom of this photo.


I'm afraid to count how many there are, but when I lay them all out next to each other, they completely cover the top of my king size bed.


After cutting the blocks, I realized I had absolutely *no* assembly plan in place.  I put the blocks in a bag and moved on to the next project.  Then the next.  Then the next.  Then.... well, you get the point.


How long will it take me to finish this quilt?  Quite possibly FOREVER.  I want to.  I *really* want to.  And I have some ideas... I'm just afraid to dive in.


To show Shaun that I haven't forgotten about him completely, I did add two smaller projects (related to this quilt) to my May Small Project Sew Along list, and I'm happy to say that I have finally completed them.  Woo Hoo!!!


First, I embroidered a few quotes he asked me to include in the quilt


I don't know what that black mark is before the "S" but I need to get rid of it!



Should have cropped this picture.  Whoops!
:


Second, I made an appliqued Buddhist "Om" symbol that will go into the mix:



Next?  Not a clue.  I think it's time to put on my big girl pants, dive in a little deeper, come up with a plan and actually DO something with this.  Sometime before FOREVER actually arrives.


Any ideas???  



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here's my current list for the May Small Project Sew Along:


Completed items:
1. Complete H2H quilt - link here
2. Complete Laura's quilt - link here

3. Make pillow to match Laura's quilt - link here
5. Make 3 small memory (t-shirt) wall hangings (1 done, 2 not started) - link here
6. Make 3 small memory (t-shirt) Mickey pillows - link here
7. Make a green mug rug in time for Mother's Day  - link here
9. Finish April Seasonal Skinny (flimsy is complete) - link here
10. Complete 2 ladybug Seasonal Skinnies for May - link here
12. Make a portable sewing kit / bag / holder / something-or-other link here
13. Start (and finish) embroidery for "The Forever Project" - DONE!
14. Complete "Om" block for "The Forever Project" - DONE!
18. Make a birthday gift for kindergartener's BFF - link here

Not started or in progress:
4. Finish quilt for Sujay (flimsy is complete)
8. Make a pink mug rug just because I want to
11. Cut fabric for summer hexie project
15. Make or find a simple pattern for a tote / beach bag
16. Make a year-end gift for my kindergartener's teacher
17. Make a year-end gift for my 3rd grader's teacher
19. Make a "surprise" for my 11 running partners + myself
20. Make an Unruly letters pillow for Kim
21. Update my running scrapbook (no sewing involved!)
22. Figure out a plan of attack for the "Unless" quilt


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Edit: Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.




~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pink Messenger Bag


Small project #18 on my May Small Project Sew Along list was to make a birthday gift for my kindergartener's BFF.  I saw a cute messenger bag / zip pouch tutorial over at Plum and June and decided this would fit the bill. I used all of Beth's measurements but did make a few minor modifications.  

Beth assembled her outside bag pieces and attached them to flannel or batting.  Instead, I foundation pieced my outside bag fabric directly on to pre-quilted fabric - which I'm sure has a name, I just don't know what it is.  Maybe you can tell from these pictures?  It has fabric on both sides, batting in the center, and it's already quilted with diagonal lines in both directions, which make diamond shapes.


Once the outside fabric was all attached to the pre-quilted stuff, I did a little FMQ over top.  I did a giant swirl on the front and some meandering on the back.  Since all the layers were so nicely attached and the back of the pre-quilted stuff looked OK as is, I decided not to add a lining to this bag.  This is what the inside looks like: 


When I was sewing the layers (right sides together), I found it helpful to pull the handle pieces out through the zipper opening.  That way, I could keep an eye on them and wouldn't sew them into a side seam by mistake. I also went around all the edges with a zig-zag stitch once they were attached, to finishes the inside edges a bit.  (Funny, I actually own a serger, but we have not been on speaking terms for quite a few years... so zig-zag stitching with my regular machine works just fine!)

The other thing I did a little differently was to make the strap adjustable using two half circle rings (which I'm sure also have a name.... terminology is not by forte!).

My kindergartener - Jessica - could not *wait* to pose with this bag before school this morning.  She is so excited to get her picture on my blog.  Now she's *FAMOUS* !!!!  ;-)

For the front of the bag, Beth's tutorial called for a 9x3 piece above the zipper and a 9x9 piece below the zipper.  I made one big 9x12 piece, then cut it into the two sections.




Though very simple to use the pre-quilted stuff and skip the lining (huge time saver!), the bag is a little "stiff."  I like that it has structure to it but it's not very soft.  Next time, I will definitely use flannel or batting, as the tutorial suggests.


Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you have a productive week!



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Here's my current list for the May Small Project Sew Along:

Completed items:
1. Complete H2H quilt - link here
2. Complete Laura's quilt - link here
3. Make pillow to match Laura's quilt - link here
5. Make 3 small memory (t-shirt) wall hangings (1 done, 2 not started) - link here
6. Make 3 small memory (t-shirt) Mickey pillows - link here
7. Make a green mug rug in time for Mother's Day  - link here
9. Finish April Seasonal Skinny (flimsy is complete) - link here
10. Complete 2 ladybug Seasonal Skinnies for May - link here
12. Make a portable sewing kit / bag / holder / something-or-other link here
18. Make a birthday gift for kindergartener's BFF - DONE!

Not started or in progress:
4. Finish quilt for Sujay (flimsy is complete)
8. Make a pink mug rug just because I want to
11. Cut fabric for summer hexie project
13. Start (and finish) embroidery for "The Forever Project"
14. Complete "Om" block for "The Forever Project"
15. Make or find a simple pattern for a tote / beach bag
16. Make a year-end gift for my kindergartener's teacher
17. Make a year-end gift for my 3rd grader's teacher
19. Make a "surprise" for my 11 running partners + myself
20. Make an Unruly letters pillow for Kim
21. Update my running scrapbook (no sewing involved!)
22. Figure out a plan of attack for the "Unless" quilt





~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ladybug Skinnies

I have a goal this year to make one Seasonal Skinny per month.  I started in March (shamrocks) and made one for April (Easter egg).  I am a little late in finishing up May, but this is my favorite one so far!

These skinnies would probably make great table runners, but I hang mine on the wall.


Start with a few scraps of fabric, sew them together and cut out the shape.


A little Heat 'n Bond, some zig-zag stitching around the edges and voila!


Ladybugs make me smile!  :-)


In addition to the one I made for myself (on the right, red binding), I'm making a 2nd skinny every month, too.  I'm planning to give those (once I have a whole year's worth complete) to a good friend of mine as a gift.

This is (clearly) not a ladybug.  This was my 2nd Easter Egg skinny from April.  The top was done but it needed a backing and a binding.  Finally finished it!

I have 3 months done so far for each set of skinnies.  Ice cream cones are on tap for June!

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Happy to cross two more things (#9 and #10) off my project list for the May Small Project Sew Along:

Completed items:
1. Complete H2H quilt - link here
2. Complete Laura's quilt - link here

3. Make pillow to match Laura's quilt - link here
5. Make 3 small memory (t-shirt) wall hangings (1 done, 2 not started) - link here
6. Make 3 small memory (t-shirt) Mickey pillows - link here
7. Make a green mug rug in time for Mother's Day  - link here
9. Finish April Seasonal Skinny (flimsy is complete) - DONE!
10. Complete 2 ladybug Seasonal Skinnies for May - DONE!
12. Make a portable sewing kit / bag / holder / something-or-other link here

Not started or in progress:
4. Finish quilt for Sujay (flimsy is complete)
8. Make a pink mug rug just because I want to
11. Cut fabric for summer hexie project
13. Start (and finish) embroidery for "The Forever Project"
14. Complete "Om" block for "The Forever Project"
15. Make or find a simple pattern for a tote / beach bag
16. Make a year-end gift for my kindergartener's teacher
17. Make a year-end gift for my 3rd grader's teacher
18. Make a birthday gift for kindergartener's BFF
19. Make a "surprise" for my 11 running partners + myself
20. Make an Unruly letters pillow for Kim
21. Update my running scrapbook (no sewing involved!)
22. Figure out a plan of attack for the "Unless" quilt



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Linking up with: 

Confessions of a Fabric Addict for "Whoop Whoop Friday"
Sew Many Ways for "Find a Friend Friday"
AmyLouWho for "Sew and Tell" (no link up this week)
Pieceful Life for "Show Off Friday" 

I'm looking forward to seeing what you've worked on this week!



~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Made with Love for Bella

Last week I posted about a memory quilt I had made for the family of a little boy named Ryan, who passed away last year when he was only 8 years old.  That was actually the second memory quilt I had made.  Today I wanted to share the first one I made, back in June 2011.

Jon was one of my sister's best friends.  He was only 24 when he was killed in an automobile accident in August 2009.  His funeral was on my sister's birthday.

His younger sister had a baby girl (Bella) the following year, who would never have the chance to know her Uncle Jon.  Bella's mom asked if I could make a small quilt for Bella, using some of Jon's clothes.  

I started with 2 t-shirts and a pair of blue jeans.


Bella's mom also asked me to include this terrycloth sleeper, which belonged to a cousin of Bella's who passed away when he was still a young baby.


Here's what I put together.  I don't recall the exact measurement,
but I'd guess it to be about 35 x 50 or so.


I didn't have a clear plan in mind when I started making this quilt.  I found some fabric in my stash that matched the colors in the clothes but might help "girl them up" a bit.  I basically just made blocks from the clothes, then fit them together like a puzzle, filling in with strips of fabric.


One of Jon's t-shirts.


The hearts are made from the sleeves of a t-shirt.  The green letters are made from another shirt and are appliqued on to a piece of blue jeans.


I've mentioned before how important ladybugs are in my family and as a result, to many of our close friends.  This quilt wasn't going to be complete without one!  The red and green are from Jon's t-shirts, and they are appliqued to a piece of his denim.


Another t-shirt.


I made this appliqued teddy bear out of the terrycloth sleeper.  I started with one big shape and used satin stitching to define the features, arms, feet, etc.  Those blue hearts are appliqued to a piece of Jon's gray t-shirt.


This might be my favorite block.  Those flowers are 3-dimensional.  I made them from the arm bands of the t-shirts.  The green stems are from the waist band of the other t-shirt.



The flowers are in a "pot" made from the pocket of Jon's jeans.


Of course, ladybugs for the back.


I think the Beautiful Ms. Bella likes it!



Have you ever made a memory quilt, or a quilt using t-shirts or other clothing?  If so, please leave me a comment or a link, I'd love to see what you've done!  I've got one other one in progress... a GIANT t-shirt quilt for a friend of mine.  I've dubbed it "The Forever Project" because "forever" is about how long it might take me to finish it.  I am a little bit stuck on how to proceed with it, so any and all ideas are helpful!




~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~