Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Vintage Pouch...

When I was in California my sister and I helped my mother go through some of her things in anticipation of her move in the next few months. Downsizing is an interesting process. On the one hand it feels good to de-stash, but on the other hand it feels like you are giving away memories. As we were going through the items every once and awhile my sister or I would put something aside. Four vintage napkins got placed in my little pile...

I didn't know what I would use them for, but I love fabric so I hoped something would come to mind. Today I broke out my sewing machine and whipped these napkins into little pouches...

This pouch is big enough to house a Kindle or to use as a little travel pouch for cosmetics or jewelry.

The one below will be making its way to a niece who is about ready to deliver her fifth child. I filled it with goodies that she can take to the hospital. I think it's kind of neat that she will have something from her grandmother to take with her to the hospital. {I'm humming the "The Circle of Life" as I type.} The most important item I stuffed inside the pouch is buried at the bottom -- Peanut M&M's -- a food group in and of itself and one of life's staples. They may be as important to me as the air I breathe. Just sayin'.

Monday, February 25, 2013


My imagination is beginning to fire back up. It's taken awhile, but today I awoke with an excitement for creating that I haven't felt in a long time. Maybe it's because I saw this when I looked out the window...

The blue skies of Colorado can't be beat. And did you notice that snow in the upper right corner of that picture? Yesterday we got our first real snow of the year -- boy did we need the moisture. All that snow makes me giddy.

I found out last week that our bathroom redo will have to be postponed. Our handyman has been hospitalized and won't be able to start this week, so we've put it off for a couple of months till he recovers. Kind of a disappointment, but with everything else going on it was also a relief. In the meantime, I will break out my sewing machine and start stitching away. This weekend I bought some adorable fabric that I'll show you when it arrives. Can't wait to work on that!

Yup, the creative juices are flowing. I'm thinking a little fox is in the works and possibly a penguin. We'll have to see where those thoughts lead me.

I'm off to the gym for a little workout. I haven't been there for a week, so I hope I survive. ;o) This week I should have a creative thing or two to post about. Till then!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thankful Thoughts...

What inspired me this week?

I flew to California this last week to visit family. Our family has been traveling a rough road lately. My brother, who sustained terrible injuries in a fall 2 1/2 weeks ago, is finally showing some signs of improvement, but I was at a low ebb when I reached out to a friend of mine in the middle of the week. She sent back an encouraging email that soothed me and calmed my anxieties. In it she quoted some scriptures that helped me remember my faith and beliefs. Faith can be a fragile thing when you're in the thick of it. Sometimes fear replaces faith, and you start to despair. Chris reminded me of the beliefs that I hold dear by pointing me toward the scriptures. They inspired me and gave me hope. I'm so grateful for sacred writings and faith-filled friends. 

For those interested, here's the list of the scriptures that Chris sent: 

What surprised me this week?

I have found that when difficult situations surround us they are often balanced by obvious blessings. This heavenly assistance is referred to as a "tender mercy" in the scriptures. The challenge is to recognize this aid and relief for what it is, rather than discard it as a mere coincidence. For me, tender mercies are evidence that the Savior is mindful of me and my family and that He loves us. This week I was surprised by the number of those sweet assurances and blessings. Here are a few examples of the tender mercies that our family experienced this week:
  • I made my plane reservations a couple of months ago to fly to California -- never realizing that my brother would be involved in an accident. I was so grateful to be able to be there to {hopefully} lift and support my family.
  • Several of our family members received the good news of a wonderful summer internship, a sought-after residency, and a well-deserved promotion this week. 
  • My husband and I were asked to attend a Young Single Adult Ward (congregation) as "ward missionaries." So excited!  
  • My mother's helper was ill this week. Fortunately, her illness coincided with my visit, which was a blessing because she didn't feel pressed to come to work and my mother still had the help she desired.
  • Today our part of Colorado received a much needed snowstorm! 
  • The announcement that a new little one is expected in our family. ;o) {Time to start sewing again!}

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thankful Thoughts...

What moved me this week?

I expect family to pull together in emergencies, but it warms my heart all the same. My favorite expression of this is when loved ones unite in prayer for a common blessing. The last couple of years our family has become more and more acquainted with this experience. Collectively we've petitioned the Lord much on behalf of different family members in need. I've grown to appreciate -- even more -- the power of prayer and the strength and positive influence one can feel through the Spirit from the prayers of others. I'm grateful that members of our family understand this gospel principle and take advantage of this blessing daily.

This week I was moved by the prayers of strangers. When my mother's LDS bishop (leader of their congregation) heard the news that my brother had been in an accident, he called my mother and asked permission to go visit him in the hospital. My brother doesn't live within the boundaries of this bishop's congregation, however, this good man took it upon himself to travel some distance to visit and bestow a priesthood blessing on my brother. I'm grateful. In another instance a good friend of my mother's, who had never met my brother, felt prompted to visit him in the hospital. While there she prayed for him, his family and all those attending him. It was obvious to those present that her prayer calmed and comforted my brother. Again, I'm grateful. 

What surprised me this week? 

We got the surprising news this week that my daughter and her husband sold their current home and bought a new home. All this was great news, except for the fact that they will be homeless for about 2 1/2 months between the time they move out of their current dwelling and close on their new one. What will they do during that two month period? Move in with us of course! Never mind that they live 500 miles away. They will have the opportunity to have an extended vacation in the Rocky Mountains, and we'll have the opportunity to be around our grandkids 24/7! It's a win/win situation. They even worked it out so that my son-in-law will be able to work from our home every other week. My husband and I are busy plotting and planning all the fun we'll have while they're here!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

...and a bib to boot!

I decided to put one more item in the package for my niece's little one she is expecting next month. This is a bib made from the "Ruffled Bib" pattern that I created and sell in my Etsy store. Go here if you're interested...

This bib goes well with the things that I already made from this fun fabric line called "Pinfeathers" by Carina Gardner.

Clockwise, starting top left: 

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dwipe, Maggie the Taggie & a Ric-Rac Receiving Blanket

We have a new little one joining our extended family next month. I surprised myself last week and made some items for her well ahead of her scheduled due date. Usually I'm scrambling at the last minute, so I'm pretty proud of myself.

I began by choosing an adorable little birdie print {purchased from "Quiltable Fabrics"} called "Bird on a Wire" from the Pinfeathers Collection by Carina Gardner. I also added some splashes of "Baby Peacock" and "Tossed Peacock" from the same collection. This birdie collection is perfect for a new arrival.

First I made a Dwipe from the pattern that I sell in my Etsy shop. For those of you who aren't aware, this mini-tote is a "Diaper and Wet-Wipe" fabric case. Parents can store essentials -- a travel case of wet wipes, a thin changing pad, and a few diapers -- in the Dwipe.

I particularly love this version with the soft, muslin flower adorning the front flap...

Then I decided to make a double-sided receiving blanket. To find out how to make this ric-rac receiving blanket, go to my tutorial here. I used "Bird on a Wire" on the top and a soft flannel on the underside...

Then I used my "Maggie the Taggie" pattern and created an aqua tag blanket for the little one...

Although this pattern takes a little more time than the other two, it is a favorite of mine. The end result is adorable...

I particularly love all the textures and tags on this cute taggie toy.

There's nothing better than a new baby in the family.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thankful Thoughts...

What inspired me this week?

Since Christmas I've been in a little creative slump. I've been busy and preoccupied by a number of typical life situations. This happens and it isn't anything I've worried about. I knew the inspiration would come when things settled down a bit. 

A couple of weeks ago I joined a gym, and I've been working out in the mornings ever since. I love this particular gym because it has a long row of big screen TVs, and one TV is always tuned to HGTV. I love the remake shows that take a room from a dilapidated, outdated space into a beautifully fresh and functional room. This week as I {huffing and puffing} glided away on the elliptical, I felt my creative inspiration fire up. Often, other people's work inspires my creativity. I can see a project created by someone else and visualize how to change it to apply to our needs or wants. I now have a list of several to do projects that I'm excited about.

What surprised me this week?

Last Sunday I was visiting some favorite blogs when I came upon this post at Somewhat Simple. Stephanie had created a lively free printable with the following words which John H. Groberg stated in his book, "The Other Side of Heaven."

Sometimes God calms the storm. 
Sometimes He lets the storm rage and He calms His child.

I loved the message {and graphics} of the printable, so I immediately printed it off and hung it up. 

A few days later I was surprised when I got some news that no one ever wants to receive. My brother had been in a terrible at-home accident involving a fall and, as a result, a "storm" was raging. Since then my mind has gone back to that beautiful quote many times, and it has brought comfort to my soul. I know those words to be true, because I've lived them many times. I'm grateful that in situations like this I can lean on Him, and He will bring me the peace and calm that I desire. My brother has stabilized, but the situation is still very serious, and he has a long road ahead of him. I imagine that quote will become a mantra in our lives for the next few months. Prayers are always appreciated.

my brother :: me :: my sister
This is one of my favorite pictures of the three of us.
It says more about our respective personalities than you can ever imagine. 

Friday, February 08, 2013

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Outlining with Stitches Tutorial...

I've seen a lot of posts on blogs, but I've never seen this technique of outlining with a sewing machine addressed in a tutorial. It's a simple skill that can be completed by a novice sewer or the more accomplished seamstress. All you need is a simple outline of something you love and a basic sewing machine with a straight stitch. The first time I used this technique was on my Bunting Cosmetic Bags, when I outlined the appliqued banners with stitches. 

Although this technique is cute when stitching appliques onto fabrics, it can be used as a "stand alone" technique as well. For this tutorial I've made a pillow to demonstrate this stand alone outlining technique, but one could use it on a variety of projects.

To begin I found an image similar to the one below on the internet, drew a small version, then enlarged my drawing on my copier. Coloring books are nice resources for outlined images too.

To transfer the design to fabric, simply tape the original drawing to a window or sliding glass door. Choose a window that is directly exposed to sunlight during that time of day, then hang a slightly larger piece of muslin over the original drawing. {Muslin is what I used, but any lightweight cotton fabric would suffice.}

The bright light through the window will help you easily see through the layer of fabric to the original drawing below. I used a permanent marker to lightly trace around the design onto the muslin.

I used a piece of gold-colored fleece for the front piece of my pillow. The thickness of the fleece gave a little "body" to the project. Cut a piece of fabric the size of the muslin for the front of your project...

Lay fabrics wrong side together, then hand-baste around the outside edge of the two fabrics. {Hand basting is sewing two fabrics together with long easily-removable stitches. Basting holds two fabrics stationary while sewing regular stitches, so the fabrics don't slip out of place.} Once you have the two fabrics basted together, place a few pins in and around your design. You're now ready to start stitching...

With a regular straight machine stitch, sew along the outline you have drawn on the muslin. When you have one layer of stitching, turn the fabric over and stitch two more rows close, but not on top of, the original lines of stitching. I didn't back-stitch. Instead I pulled the ends of the thread through to the backside and knotted the threads together {see below}...

With this technique, you are not trying to follow the original line of stitching exactly. I purposefully make the second and third rows of stitches a little catawampus. This wonky way of stitching, in my opinion, adds to the character of the piece...

To finish my project, I made him into a pillow...

I added a string of pom pom fringe inside the seam. 
Lately, I have a thing for pom poms. 
And owls.
And owls with pom poms.

The wonky lines of this little owl give this pillow a lot of character.

Can I hear a wHOOT wHOOT?

Linked to:
The Inspiration Board @ Homework
Show Me What Ya Got @ Not Just a Housewife

Monday, February 04, 2013

Sneak Peek...

Later this week I'll be demonstrating how to outline a design of your choice on a sewing machine. It's so simple, and it creates an adorable finished project. Here's a sneak peek...