Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Back at the machine: Suzuko Koseki pouch

Yes, I made another Open Wide Zippered Pouch ... what can I say, I always need bags for something! This has turned into my go-to pattern for bags. I'm familiar enough with it that I can wing it and make adjustments as I go based on how large I make my panels.

For this one, I paired a hoarded Suzuko Koseki print I've had in my stash for years with a black Robert Kaufmann linen. I am sticking to my rule of only sewing from my stash and I've been doing a pretty good job of it. Fortunately, my stash also includes a lot of zippers!

I again fused each of the panels to fusible fleece and then quilted them with 1/4-inch lines. I like this look and I like how it helps give the finished pouch some shape as well. I also made a small 3.5x3.5-inch zippered pouch to go inside!

This has to be my favorite Noodlehead pattern or tutorial, hands down. It's just so practical as you can use these bags for anything. I have one for my make-up, one for my colored art markers, one for Hannah's My Little Pony gang, her hair supplies and more!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wristlet project

One of my co-workers asked me if I could make her a wristlet that she could use for an upcoming wedding that she was standing up in. She told me her dress was plum and that I had free reign to make something that would work. So, I whipped her up this pouch with a detachable wrist strap. It measures a little under 9x7 inches and will just perfectly fit her cell phones, keys and a couple other little things.

I was very pleased that she liked it when I gave it to her this morning. Now I've got a list of people who all want bags from me ... so it looks like I'll have plenty of sewing to do in the future. I did already promise another one of the girls I work with that I'd make her a 241 Tote, so I think that will be my next project. I've already ordered the super strong invisible magnet snaps so I should be all set, now it's just a matter of finding fabrics she likes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Garden progress

My garden is growing like crazy as of late. While it's only 144 square feet, 12x12 feet, I've packed a lot into it! Above are my peppers, watermelon, mint, lemon tyme, and cilantro, which has already gone to seed once and had to be trimmed back. I'm looking at taking down the fence as my watermelon vines are going to want to have somewhere to go and it's making weeding the garden something of a challenge. I'm just hoping it's grown enough that the bunnies don't think it's still their personal snacking ground.

My basil is growing very well and I've been pinching off the leaves and saving them for a batch of pesto. Next to that is my spicy oregano and above the two of them are my green beans and tomatoes. My tomatoes seen to be growing slow in my opinion - my mom's are already bursting out the top of their cages - but they're getting bigger, little by little. What isn't shown are my cucumbers, cantaloupe, gourds and miniature pumpkins. I'll get a better shot once I take down the fence I think.

There is something satisfying about growing a garden - seeing something from it's very start grow into something that you can eat. I love that most of these plants started off as seeds and I look forward to watching them grow even more. Today I'm going to find some time to get in there and weed, as well as give it a good watering. If I'm even more motivated, I've got flower beds in the front of the house that need weeding too. In the meantime, I've been spending some time at the machine sewing!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New toys

Well, my iPhone 4s, which I'd had more than 2 1/2 years, finally decided with it's latest update that it didn't want to cooperate anymore. Once I updated the operating system, the following day the battery drained within a couple of hours. This happened even after I turned off all the location services, background apps, etc. I looked into replacing the battery (though I am not certain that's the issue) and cost wise it made more sense to upgrade to a new phone. I was thinking of trying to wait it out and hoping that a newer update would improve the battery life, but the bottom line is with little kids at home, I need to be able to be reached. So, I decided to upgrade to the iPhone 5s.

I purchased a fun case from Get Uncommon. I've bought two cases from them in the past and have been very pleased at their durability. My first lasted more than two years until dropped it for the hundredth time and the corner finally broke. I replaced that case with another one that is still holding up great on my 4s. This time around I decided to purchase the insurance that comes with my phone. While my 4s held up remarkably well, I did drop it one time and break the glass on the back. Having insurance this time around gives me some peace of mind.

For fun, I purchased this 3-in-one lens for the iPhone, which was recommended by another blogger. You can find it here for $7.78, which is a small price to pay for a fun little toy. It fits remarkably well on my iPhone and doesn't interfere with the screen protector at all. I've been having fun playing with the macro lens. Here's a shot I took the first day with it.

Pretty good detail for an inexpensive toy, in my opinion. Hopefully you'll see more macro shots from me with my phone in the future (as I don't have a macro lens for my DSLR yet). My only complaint is that the case is so tight on the phone that it's difficult to get off to mount the lens, which I suppose is a good thing considering you want your phone protected. Now I'm looking for somewhere to sell back my 4s - apparently Best Buy and Apple offer gift cards for the value of your phone if you sell back your phone to them - or consider listing it on Ebay.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Meet Lenny, version #4

It's been quite some time since I made a stuffie and I had the perfect excuse - I'm hoping to meet a friend's little girl and I wanted something cute to give her. I thought back to the stuffies I've made in the past and this pattern seemed like a good fit. This is Lenny (or we're going to have to go by Lenora since she is clearly a girl) by Bit of Whimsy Dolls and you can find his pattern here on Etsy. She has a shop full of great patterns for stuffed animals and dolls, many of which I've made before with success. They're clear, well-written and perfect for a beginner sewer.

Many years ago, I'd made a special Lenny for my son Isaac while he was sleeping. You can see his here. I remember that my son's got thrown around quite a bit and took quite a beating before finally falling apart, and he was quite a bit older than this one's recipient. I also made two Lennys for a stuffie project in Queensland, Australia following the disaster there in 2011.

Embroidering the face is always the part I have the most problem with, probably because I've never really nailed down my embroidery skills. But I manage through it and it turns out well, so while it seems daunting at first, in the end it's nice. I'm happy to have amassed a large stash of embroidery floss, which I was pleased to find I'd sorted by color order the last time I used it, which made me smile upon opening it this time. (It's been a while since I've been in my floss - like a couple years now, I think!).

I'm not sure when I'll get to meet the little girl this Lenny is going to. Her mom and I had made tentative plans a couple weeks ago that fell apart, but hopefully we can figure something out soon when I have a day off from work. I haven't seen her in years, so I'm looking forward to reconnecting. I hope her little daughter enjoys her new guinea pig because she was fun to make for her!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday Favorites: Yellow

I'm sewing again (thank you Mom!)

A huge thank you goes out to my mom, who graciously offered to let me borrow her sewing machine while mine is in the shop getting repaired. The prospect of facing more than a month without the ability to sew was very depressing, so I was overjoyed when my mom offered up her machine - which is the exact same model I have - so that I could finish some of the projects I'd had hanging around.

These Wide Open Zipper Pouches were one of my unfinished projects. I started them back in May, making the patchwork panels, and had them almost completed aside from the top stitching and zipper tabs when the tension on my machine became messed up. So, this morning, I poured myself a cup of coffee and set about finishing them. About an hour later, I had all three done and photographed.

These are a gift for our daycare provider, who has been amazing to our family and who Hannah loves dearly. I wanted to do something nice to show her our gratitude for all she does and I know she loves handmade projects as I've made her a purse and some keychains in the past. So, using Noodlehead's tutorial - you can find it here - I made her one of each size Wide Open Zipper Pouch.

I used scraps out my color-coordinated scrap bins to make the patchwork panels and went with a neutral linen for the base. Purple is our daycare provider's favorite color, so I made sure the biggest pouch was purple for her. I definitely have more scraps in the blue and pink colorways than I do purple, so it was a bit of a challenge.

I cannot tell you how good it feels to sit down at the machine and sew again. There's just something about it that my soul needs - I don't know any other way to explain it. It's just become so much of who I am that I feel rather lost without it. I have one more project to work on that's a surprise for a little girl - a stuffie - so I'm going to tackle that this morning too.