Friday, December 20, 2013

Cardinal Pillow

The cardinal is such a beautiful bird!  I love to look out the kitchen window and see the vibrant red of a cardinal as it perches in a tree.  It also happens to be the "mascot" of my school, so I often see cardinals in one form or another around the school.   This one has "flown and landed" in the home of a dear friend and co-worker.

The pattern came from a magazine, I believe, years and years ago.  (Sorry, but I'm not sure who to credit it to.)  The fabric has become a favorite of mine, and is called "Esprit De Noel" by French General for Moda.

The backing and hidden zipper is one of my favorite features of the pillow construction!  Thanks to Amy for the tutorial!
Cardinal pillow with Topiary Tree Pillow

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hooray for a Snow Day!

A Snow Day is just what I needed to get back to my sewing machine!  Today I sewed a pocket scarf and hat set using Sherpa Suede, and all I have to say about that process is ... Grrrrrr!  It was not an easy task, and before I try again I will try to figure out how to sew with this stuff without breaking my threads!  But... the end product is one I like.  One gift down ... the recipient does not use a computer so no chance of a "spoiler!" :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October sewing...

It's hard to believe October is almost gone.  How does time go so fast??  In September, according to my sewing journal, I completed five sewing projects.  October, however, only shows two!  I do think the cuteness of the October projects will make up for any lack of others, though.  And here they are -- burp pads and baby booties!  The gender of the coming little one is unknown, but baby's mom said she's pretty sure it's going to be either a girl or a boy! :)  I think these little elephant shoes will work for either one!

Add caption

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Christmas pillow project

In January I started sewing with the Across the Pond Sew-Along.  Around the same time I started sewing a quilt with the Sisters' Ten Block of The Month project.  Over the past several months both of these sew-alongs have taken the back seat to the Patchwork, Please! Zakka sew-along.  One of the projects I had put aside was the Topiary Tree Pillow, designed by Amy of eamylove.  I'm so happy to say I've finally finished it!
 It's been awhile since I've sewn a pillow, and quite honestly, I've never been very pleased with my end product.  The design and instructions for this one, though, had great results!  I used a lovely fabric collection by Moda called "Espirit de Noel."
 One of the best features of this pillow is the hidden zipper on the pillow back.  I'm sure this will be my "go to" pattern for pillow backs!
 It is easy to get the pillow form in and out.  Thank you, Amy, for such a great pattern!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Handy Market Tote

Can one ever have too many market totes, grocery bags, book totes, etc.?  In my opinion, "No!"  The Handy Market Tote was my project this week for the Patchwork, Please! Sew-along.  It is a great tote.
 It features two large pockets on the outside (one on each side) ...
and a small one on the inside.
This bag is fully lined, and very roomy. Although there are a lot of pieces to the bag, it went together easily.  I love a project like that!
This sew-along is winding down, with only two weeks left to go.  I'm posting my project at A Quilter'sTable.  Check out the many other great market totes posted there.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A walk in the Meadow kind of day... and Patchwork, Please!

Today was one of those days ... cooler air, beautiful sunshine, and the call of the mountains!  A walk in the meadows is always a favorite!  Every season has a different look.  I love the colors in this picture of the golds and greens ... maybe a future project inspiration.

 So ... this week's project was a Vintage Pencil Case.  I started working on this at 6:24 this evening, and estimated it would take about 2 hours.  Despite the tiny paper piecing involved in making the pencil tips, I finished in just over 2 hours!

There are just 4 projects left to go in the Patchwork, Please! Sew-along.  It has been a fun sewing "journey", and to date I've only skipped one project, but I'm ready to bring this to a close and move on to some of my other sewing.

Here's a quick look at last week's project, too.  Somehow I missed posting it here...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A BIG bag!

How about this for a big bag?
 This thing is really BIG.  I think I will be able to fit all my groceries for the week in it!  As usual, I made a few adjustments to the pattern.  Adjustments made for the most part due to not having certain things on hand, and -- yes -- once again waiting until the last minute to start.
 Sadly, my last minute this time was not soon enough for entering my bag in the give-away drawing.  I DID finish it, though, and it's ready to go. Ok -- the changes.   I did not have cotton straps with which to make the handles, so I used a cotton fabric instead.  For the body of the bag I used a painter's drip cloth --unused! (Hmmm...a used paint drip cloth would make an interesting bag!)  I also did not line the bag with laminate fabric or a plastic table cloth as suggested.
I will use it, and see what I think about the size.  I'm still not sure... :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Happy Hexagon Trivet ... The REAL project #12

Fall is one of my favorite seasons.  Although we are not officially there, the unwinding of summer is already falling into the steady routine of autumn.  Ahhh....  It is the kind of order and routine I like.  The break from the ordinary pace is appreciated, and needed, but getting back into a regular schedule always feels good to me.

 This little project was a fun one to make.  There was repetition and order in the piecing of the trivet.  It was done using the paper piecing patchwork technique, which I am happy to say, is getting easier for me to do.  Some time ago I had found a printed linen fabric with great illustrations of old advertisements.  The chickens seemed perfect for this project (maybe because it was the one that fit best in this space!).  I paired it with fabrics from the Dear Stella fabric collection left over from my Sister's Ten Modern Block of the Month project.
The project is quilted with machine stitching with following the hexagon shape around each layer.  I'm posting this project here (A Quilter's Table).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Week #12...

My Zakka project for this week is MUCH smaller than the project in the book!  The envelope/pencil wall hanging caught my eye the first time I looked through the book, but I simply did not have the time or energy this week to complete it. stick with at least a little bit of the project, and to recognize the start-up of the new school year -- I settled on making a pencil mug rug using the pencil blocks from the bottom left corner of the project.
The pencil blocks were fun to make...and I feel certain I'll eventually give those envelopes a try as well.

Fun polka-dots!

Pencils are sharpened for school.  Ready, set, go!  Looking forward to the joys and challenges of teaching in the year ahead.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Patchwork, Please! Project #10 -- My Scrappy Box

Today was a "rest-up-from-vacation" day.  You know how that goes!  I had already decided I was going to skip this week's Zakka project.  Well ... around 8:00 I thought I would just LOOK at the pattern.  Two hours later my Scrappy Box if complete!  
So much for not making this week's project! :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Zakka 2.0 Books-for-Baby Quilt

This week's Zakka project is a baby quilt.   I loved the book theme of the quilt, but simply did not have time right now to piece 16 blocks.  Pictured below is my version -- the "Learn to Read, Read to Learn" wall hanging.
 Reading instruction is an essential part of my teaching -- both teaching students to read, and at the same time teaching them how to learn from their reading.  It is an exciting process!
 This book wall hanging will join my other quilted pieces in my classroom.  After some difficulty with the apron paper piecing pattern, I was a bit hesitant to try this one.  The open book portion gave me a bit of trouble on the first few (and sadly meant pulling out that seam ripper!), but by the third one I was getting it.  I'm pleased with the results, and am excited to hang this in my classroom.

I love the backing on this.  I've been holding on to it to make a tote, but it just seemed perfect for this project.  I think I still have enough for that tote, too!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The joy of teaching...

As an elementary school special education teacher, I enjoy the art of teaching.  I love everything about it, with a possible exception of numerous meetings!  Even these are not so bad when the topic is something I am passionate about.  But the greatest joy, by far, are the students!  The challenge of meeting them where they are at and moving them forward is a task that is never the same from day to day, includes hours of pondering and planning, trying strategies, changing strategies because a certain one did not work, and most of all seeing and feeling the joy a student (and the teacher!) has when they make progress.  TODAY, however, my blog really is not intended to be about the joy of teaching at school, but rather, the joy of teaching a rising second grader to sew!  (Sewing?? Does everything have to come back to sewing??  No, but in this blog is usually does!)

This summer I've had the privilege of teaching my grand-niece to sew.... much like I gave her mama sewing lessons some 20-some years ago!  During the first lesson she decided that she wanted to make a quilt for her doll -- appropriately named "Big Dolly!"  Out came the box of scrap fabrics.  We spent much of our time that day with "H" picking out the fabrics she wanted to use.  After talking about ideas, and cutting out squares, I put out an old doll blanket of mine on the table, and told her to play around with square placement.  She knew exactly what she wanted to do and laid out this lovely design.

To add an additional design feature, she chose a flower from another fabric, and fused it to each corner piece.  She had such a great design, and as I looked at it, I could hear myself thinking ... great design, but we are going to need to get these squares sewn together side by side...could get a bit complicated for this project... So, in my nice teacher voice, I began telling "H" that usually in a quilt we sew the squares to each other to make a design.  "Well," she began, "I was thinking we could sew them to a fabric just like this."  Oh -- how brilliant!  How simple!!  I helped with ironing the edges under and after watching me sew one edge of a square, "H" did ALL the rest of the sewing on the quilt!
The look of delight on her face was priceless...and the joy of teaching once again was realized!