Monday, December 31, 2012


Last year I made my mom a pair of slippers for Christmas.  I'm not sure why I decided to make her another pair for this year, but I had an idea rattling around in my head about a different type.  On an earlier trip to the mid-west we had visited some shops.  One in particular featured wool slippers hand-made by the shop owner.  They were so lovely.  I really should have bought a pair, but that thrifty side of me said ... "This would be so easy to make with felted wool!"  Have you ever said anything like that before?  ...the "this would be so easy" part?  It should be a clear sign to buy the product then and there and forget about the making it yourself part, but... if you are like me, these kinds of things nag at you until you just have to try it yourself.  All that to say -- here's to making it yourself!  The one and only of it's kind, designed and created by me for mom!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

More Christmas sewing...

As I sit here ready to share another Christmas project, I'm thinking about the "blog year" ahead.  Writing this blog has really been a way for me to journal my creative projects, and hopefully to encourage someone out there to be creative in whatever way they can.  Several years ago, at the funeral of a friend who was an accomplished quilter, her daughter-in-law told me that for years her mother-in-law had kept a log of all the quilts she had completed.  I don't remember what that number was, but I was impressed.  I started keeping a similar log of projects completed.  It has been fun to look back and be able to see evidence of having engaged in creative endeavors!  In 2011 I completed 44 projects.  In 2012 the number of completed projects went up to 62!  What will 2013 bring?

Enough about that...and on to the horse lap quilt!
The pieced front, using the Zakka Block Quilt design by Leslie Good, from the book,  Zakka Style.

The recipient of this quilt loves horses and blue!  I had wanted to do a long stitch by hand, but ran out of time.  Instead I used a basic stitch by machine.

Sewing on the binding.  
Once the binding is stitched to the front, burn it and hand stitch with a blind stitch.

The finished front.

The pieced back ... or maybe this is the front?? :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas sewing

Christmas sewing began early this year, but somehow I was still stitching away the day before Christmas Eve.  Four little girls went home on Christmas evening with "nap pillows" in hand.
Four little bears ready to snuggle into their pillows!

I tried a different pocket design on the last two --- this one a  pieced pocket...

...and this one (a much simpler version) using two fabric pieces for the pocket and pillow hem.

Pillow cases and bears ready to wrap!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

On the 5th day before Christmas...

... Christmas break begins!  The day started with rising early enough to make a Cinnamon Bun Cake to take for an early staff breakfast at school.   Check out the Mennonite Girls Can Cook website for the recipe. It is delicious!  Besides the class parties, whole-school sing-along and sharing of gifts, we got a bit of reading in as well.  I was actually surprised when one of my students came to my room and asked if he could read his list of 100 sight words!  Early dismissal time came with children clutching their bags of goodies, ready to experience Christmas.  I felt about as excited as the kids.  With a few batches of cookies to make, a house to clean,  sewing projects to finish up, grocery shopping to do and gifts to wrap, it's time to go "full-steam ahead!"  I love this time of year.  As each task if completed, I get closer to the time of resting, reflecting and enjoying the warmth of visiting together with friends and family.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Sewing

I have a few Christmas projects in the works -- one of which is a lap quilt.  The recipient does not use a computer so no fears of a sneak preview!
I'm using the same pattern I used for a quilt project in the Zakka Sew-Along.  It was fairly quick and easy.  I'm always amazed when I look at a quilt top at this stage and compare it to pictures of the finished product.  It will be fun to see how the stitching brings dimension to this one.  Some projects I won't be able to show here until after Christmas.  Sorry, Mom.  No sneak previews for you! : )

Saturday, December 15, 2012


The carefree, happy feeling of a personal day yesterday was interrupted by the horrific news of the shooting at Sandy Brook Elementary.  My heart is breaking for the families, the school, the community.     I pause to think of the interruption in life for those who dropped their children off at school, perhaps off to a fun day of Christmas shopping, only to be interrupted by a overwhelming feeling of panic, loss of control, sadness, and fear.  May God bring healing, and somehow -- some day -- restore joy and peace to this hurting community.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Let the fun begin!

Let the fun begin!  This morning I woke at 5:00 -- even before the alarm went off.  How unusual, I thought to myself.  It's usually way too easy to push that snooze button and doze just a few minutes (20 minutes?  30 minutes?) longer.  It's Friday -- one of my favorite days of the week.  But today, this Friday, I've taken a personal day off!  Oh, the things I can accomplish ... baking, shopping, sewing, hair appointment, wrapping.  Sounds a bit ambitious, I know, but even if I accomplish a few of those things, I'll be happy.  So -- with the scent of cookies already wafting through the rooms, and the Christmas music playing -- I'm ready for the fun!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Making a hat -- a new project.

Today I finished making a hat.  This one already has a "home", but I had to try it on, of course!

Here it is in its true color.  This one is made with fleece, but I'm thinking it would be fun to make one with felted wool and a few variations on the brim.  The search begins for some old 100% wool sweaters!

Monday, November 12, 2012

A different kind of organizer...

How do you organize your bed sheets?  Folded neatly and stacked by size?  Stuffed into a pillowcase?  Put in pretty bins, or a drawer?  Somewhere -- and I can't find where it was from -- I saw a tutorial for making a drawstring bag with the letters "q" for queen, "k" for king, and "s" for single, etc. appliqued on the outside for easy sheet identification.  What a great idea!  No more searching for the sheet tag to see the size.  Here's the start of my own "sheet organization!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weather Day Sewing

On days like this ...
This was actually Sunday, but it's still cloudy today!'s fun to SEW!  Today's project was a few fun lanyards and ID tag holders.  My current one was in quite sad shape, so I used some of my "Little Apples" and "Walk in the Woods" fabric by Aneela Hoey to stitch up a few.  I will be using the one of the left.  The "foxy" one on the right -- hmmm...I have an idea for that one!

The back.

The front.  It's hard to see but this side has a vinyl top to slip an ID card into.

Pattern sources:
ID Badge holder tutorial was found at Skip to my Lou.
Lanyard tutorial at Two Peas in a Pod

Thursday, October 25, 2012

One bear, two bears...

Since the Zakka sewing marathon, my daily sewing routine has gone way down!  I'm slowly getting back into working on some projects.  I had made a bear pillow as part of the Zakka sew-along, and just recently finished a second one to add to my stash of gifts.  I have one more to go, and three little gifts will be ready for the holidays!

I've also had some fun recently with a "build a bundle" project/contest by Fat Quarter Shop.  One of their staff member chooses a fabric and you are invited to put together a coordinating bundle of fabric.  If your bundle is chosen, you receive one yard of each of the fabrics in your bundle.  Sound like fun?  I spent quite a bit of time coming up with my bundle, which I've named "Jungle Bundle", but it was an enjoyable way to check out some fabric.
My "Jungle Bundle"

You can see the fabric names on my flickr page at
I used Mosaic Makers to create the bundle grouping.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

New fabric in the mail...

The shop at had a great sale this week, and I picked up a few pieces of fabric I have long admired.  I'm not completely sure what I'll use them for yet, but in the meantime I'm enjoying looking at them.  They are so cute!  

From the Little Apples collection, designed by Aneele Hoey for Moda.

From A Walk in the Woods, also desinged by Aneele Hoey.  Can't wait to see what these little foxes will show up on!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tea anyone?

Several months ago I made an apron and had fabric left over.  Fabric scraps + a need for new coasters = a quick Sunday project!  Now to get outside and enjoy a beautiful evening!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Finished the "house pouch"

Ok... just one more Zakka project to show!  This is the completion of the House Pouch.
Open the zipper...

Put in the "food"...  Will it all fit?

Yes, indeed!

Zip it up, and here it is -- a house full of "food" just waiting in the toy box for little visitors!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The LAST Zakka Sew-along entry!

Has it really been 24 weeks of Zakka sewing?  I'm actually amazed that I've made every project -- well...the first one in the book is just about finished.  The sew-along project was to make a project from the book a week.  I managed to make twenty-two of them within the weekly deadline for entering at LRStitched; one of them was completed several weeks late (the zig-zag bag), and the very first project in the book is just about finished!  It has been great fun!

Now -- for the last project -- a set of nesting fabric boxes.  I waited until the last minute to get started on mine, and then today woke up sick.  Therefore... my nesting boxes are at this point A BOX.  I love how it turned out, so will likely finish off the two larger ones when I'm feeling better.  I decided to go with the blue fabrics again to keep that nautical look going.

I did not add the quilting embellishments suggested in the book, but decided to ...

keep it simple!

The bottom is hand-sewn onto the side pieces.  I enjoy hand sewing and enjoyed the process.

For the inside I used a pre-quilted fabric.  This, along with the suggested batting really helps the box sides to keep their shape.

Perfect for holding a few other Zakka projects!
  Here is the ALMOST finished project #1 -- the house clutch.  All I need to do is add the lining and zipper.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy Garland Message Board

This week's Zakka project -- the next to last one -- was the quickest one to make, and quite fun.  Last evening, while supper was baking in the oven, I was in my sewing nook (right next to the kitchen) cutting triangles and stitching them down.  The results?  A very cute message board.
As I planned this project, I thought I would make something that would fit in my sewing nook area.  How useful this will be as a message board I'm not sure, but I decided it would be a nice way to remember the past 6 months of Zakka sewing!  My sewing nook has yellow walls with blue and white features, so after looking through my fabric stash, decided to go with some leftover blue linen as the background. The yellow-painted hoop adds a bit of pizzaz to the project.  The tiny clothes pins are so cute -- maybe I will post notes after all!   I'm posting this project at LRStitched.

If you look really close you will notice some stitching that just did not stop!  Literally!! My machine is having an wiring problem (??) -- it keeps sewing even after lifting my foot off of the foot pedal!  Yikes...  I'm hoping to make it through the last project before taking it in for service.
 I actually did a bit of non-Zakka sewing this week as well.  I found a pattern on pinterest for a tote by I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar.  It was a fairly quick sew, and I love how it turned out.  This one went to a friend at school who had also admired it on Pinterest.  I will definitely be using this pattern again, using a blue and white fabric from my stash.  Yep!  Blue and white seems to be a favorite right now.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Zakka Pleated Coin Purse

After 22 weeks of Zakka-style sewing projects, the end is in sight.  I say that with a bit of regret because this sew-along has been fun, challenging, and a great motivation to keep me sewing!  This week's project, the Pleated Coin Purse, is something I have wanted to try for a long time.  The frame I bought was a different size and shape than the one shown in the book, so I needed to adjust my pattern to make it fit.  I'm pretty pleased for my first attempt -- enough to want to make more, though perhaps using a different pattern.  The fabric I used for the outside was from the Robert Kaufman La Femme line.  It's from the collection I won several months ago.  For the inside I used some scraps of Amy Butler fabric I had on hand.  The color scheme was very similar.  I will be linking my project to I ordered my frame and glue from a great source.  

This coin purse was fairly simple and I was able to finish it much earlier than I anticipated.  That is always a nice bonus!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Zakka Picture Frame

When I first looked through the Zakka Style Sewing book, I was not particularly drawn to this project.  I was tempted not to make it, but as I've kept up with all the others, I just couldn't let it pass without giving it a try.  And, as it turns out -- I kind of like it!
The Zakka frame uses linen on the side pieces and the backing.

The book instructions for the frame suggested piecing different fabrics to make a patchwork strip.  I preferred something a bit different this time.  This frame will hold a family picture of some kind, but for here I've put in a picture of the beautiful mountains!

No, I will not be putting a picture in the wreath on the door! :)  But I do like the way the berries frame the frame!
This was the first week with students back at school, so I'm glad the Zakka project was a quick and easy one.  For my Zakka friends -- I did put this together the "easy" way by using spray glue, rather than doing the ladder stitch on the back to secure the fabric.  I think the adhesive gave it a smoother look, which I am pleased with.  I'm posting at LRStitched and would love to be drawn for the prize this week (as I'm sure about 25 or 30 others would!)  It's a $75 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop!  Sounds like a fun give-away.