Reflecting on My First Year of Sewing!

31 December 2011

It all started last year when one of the teachers I work with brought some of her creations to show me.   I had never touched a sewing machine until last Christmas but her projects had inspired me.  I asked my mom if I could borrow her sewing machine and it was all over!  I had found my "thing"!  Over the past twelve months,  I have tried a variety of projects trying to develop new skills.  I still feel like I know next to nothing about sewing but I have loved every minute of the discovery.  Here's a look at my past year of adventures in fabric.
From left to right:

1. My Mom's birthday quilt.
2. A queen sized pinwheel quilt.  It was the third quilt I have ever done and I decided to wing it without a pattern. (Looking back that probably wasn't the best idea, the process was very slow, but it all turned out great)
3. A Synchronized Squares Quilt  from the ps i quilt sew along.
4. A wedding quilt for my sister-in-law.
5. A Block Keeper to keep my finished Farmer's Wife Blocks
6. My first swap!  "Pretty Little Pouch Swap Round 2"
7. Teacher Tote
8. My first attempts at embroidery.
9. A quilt for my husband.  He will fight to be able to use that quilt in the evenings!  He has warmed up to my hobby. :)
10. The beginning of my Farmer's Wife Blocks.
11. Mini Design Boards to help organize intricate blocks.  So useful!
12. My second swap.  Pillow Cover for "For the Love of Solids Swap"
13. Mug Rug to go with the pillow cover
14. My third swap.  A pincushion for the "Sewn Spaces Swap"
15. Random Tote
16.  My first commissioned project!  An x-large tote for a new bride!
17. Traveling Sewing Kit.  My own pattern, I was pleased with how it turned out!
18. My fourth swap.  "Pretty Little Pouch Swap Round 3"
19. A birthday gift for my dad.  He was a military guy who loves Jesus and his country. 
20. Mug rug for my desk at work.  My first attempt at a wonky block.

These are just a few of the projects that I was able to attempt over the past 12 months.  I have gained so much from trying each and every one of these.  There are so many more things I would like to learn but I think I have a good start.  Instead of making a New Year's resolution maybe I will make a list of all the new things I want to learn next year!  Sounds like another post to me. :)

Blogger's Choice Fat Quarter Bundle Picks

28 December 2011

Quokka Quilts has put together a great opportunity for bloggers.  I have scoured the fabrics at Fat Quarter Shop and have come up with a group of fabrics that I would love working with!  Hopefully my collection will be well received!  I would love to have a bundle of these! Here's hoping!

Scrabble Coaster Tutorial

27 December 2011

What you will need:
1 fat quarter (or 1/4 yd) of main fabric for the coaster
3" x 7" of fabric for the letters and numbers
Heat 'N' Bond
black thread
cream thread

*For the fabric, I used a cream and black denim.  I like the feel of the coaster after they are finished with a more dense fabric.

Out of the main fabric cut 8 - 5" squares
5" squares of the main fabric.

Out of the batting cut 4 - 6" squares
6" squares of batting.

Create the templates that you will use for the letters and numbers.
To create my templates, I created a word document and found the font that matches the look that I am going for.  For this project I used Arial Black.  The letters are quite a bit larger than the numbers.  After I printed out the letters and numbers that I would need, I glued an index card to the back of the letters and numbers to make the templates more stable.  I then cut out each letter and number individually.

Here you can see that the letters are backed with an index card to make them more durable.

Now is when you prepare the black fabric!  I am a big fan of Heat 'n' Bond.  I use it for all of my applique needs!

I cut a piece of Heat 'n' Bond and ironed it to the back of my black fabric.

Then I traced the templates onto the Heat 'n' Bond.  *Make sure you trace the templates the correct way!  The right side of the template needs to be facing down when you trace!

When you are finished tracing, cut out each piece and peel off the paper back.  Center the letter on the front of the cream denim and iron until the letter is secure.  Iron the number to the bottom right of the letter.

Now it's time to applique!  I pinned a piece of Pellon Stitch-N-Tear stabilizer to the back of each square.

Applique around the edges of the letters and numbers with black thread.  
You can see the stitching from the back of the square.
Tear off the excess stabilizer.

Next you will stack your blocks together to get ready for sewing! 
Step One:  Lay down one piece of batting.
Step Two: Add one 5" square good side facing up.
Step Three:  Add one Letter appliqued square good side facing down.

Now it's time for sewing.  I used a 1/2" seam allowance for this part of the process.  Sew around the edge of the blocks, making sure to leave a section open in order to be able to turn right-side out.

 Cut excess batting and trim corners.

Turn right-side out.  Press.  Sew around edge of completed block!

Finish with the remaining letters and voila!  You have a completed coaster set that will look amazing in your home or work wonderfully as a gift!  Hope you enjoy!  I would love to see pics of your completed project!

Quick Project!

17 December 2011

I needed a quick White Elephant gift for a church Christmas Party so I whipped up a coaster set.  I added some hot chocolate mix and a mug in with the gift.  The party is tomorrow so hopefully none of my church peeps see this today.

My husband and I each have to bring a separate gift and he definitely didn't go the practical route!  He has an amazing sense of humor, so this is what he picked up during our shopping adventures.

Yes, he actually bought a white elephant for a white elephant gift.  I'm sure it will be a hit!  There is never a dull moment with this guy!  I am linking this up with Quilt Story Fabric Tuesday.  It's such a wonderful way to connect with others!

Christmas Projects!

16 December 2011

I have some good friends at work that I wanted to do a little something for.  I decided on some mug rugs, their favorite beverage, and a snack item.  They aren't anything big but at least it's another project done off my list!  I hope they like them!

Holy Moly! Two Giveaway wins in one week!

14 December 2011

Laurie Wisbrun from the Scarlet Fig held a giveaway for some wonderful fabric and guess who won?!  Me!  I was so surprised to win two giveaways in one week.  I actually contemplated buying a lottery ticket, but I thought I shouldn't press my luck.  How cute are these fabrics?  I definitely am a fan.  Thanks Laurie!

I love Giveaways!

13 December 2011

Look at the loot I won from Sherri at A Quilting Life!  I won a Chemistry charm pack and jelly roll!  Thank you so much Sherri, this giveaway was way too generous.  I'm not sure what I will be doing with it quite yet but I'm leaning towards a baby quilt.  Only time will tell!  Thanks again Sherri!

The Secret is Out!

23 November 2011

For the past few months, I have been working on a top secret project.  I had the idea last summer to make a quilt for my Dad's birthday.  But knowing that he is a guy who is not necessarily into the whole crafty vibe, I was stumped on how to make this extra special for him.  Then I thought about the three things that he loves most: Jesus, his family, and his country.  So I decided to try and incorporate all three of those things into his gift.  I came up with this ......

There are two pictures at the bottom of the quilt.  Those would be pictures of my Dad, who served in the ARMY and a picture of my Grandpa (his Dad) who served in the Navy.  Dad received the quilt last week and was very touched by his birthday gift, so now I can let the cat out of the bag!

Pretty Little Pouch Swap 3

02 November 2011

I just received the most amazing pouch today.  I joined round 3 of the Pretty Little Pouch Swap and I received my pouch from Tiffany!  It couldn't be any more perfect.  It has all of my favorite things: linen, green, blue, orange, embroidery.  What more could a girl want!?  Thanks Tiffany!

Sewing Travel Kit!!!

09 October 2011

I have been thinking about this project for months!!!  Every morning I have early morning duty at school and I supervise about 150 kids in the morning before their homeroom teachers come and pick them up for the day. Well, basically it's me and 150 kids staring at each other for about 30 minutes.  The kids are great in the mornings, everybody sits in their rows waiting for their teachers.  They might read a book or draw some pictures while they are waiting but I am super bored!!!  So, I started taking some small projects in and working on them.  Well my scissors fall on the floor constantly, my thread rolls across the gym, it's a total mess.  I decided to make a sewing travel kit to organize all of my little sewing gadgets.  :)  Plus it helps sooth my spouse diagnosed, OCD organizational tendencies.  :)  And here it is ....

The front.  My students were so entranced watching my hand sew these little things. 

The back of the sewing kit.

The inside!
There is a place for everything!  I absolutely love how it turned out!  There are three different pockets.  A place for thread and embroidery floss.  A special home for my scissors!  And an area for my needles, pens, and a hoop.  I'm super thrilled and can't wait to use it!

Totes Galore!

06 October 2011

I have been on a tote making spree lately.  I had my first commissioned project, which was super exciting.  I was asked to make two totes for a bride and her maid of honor.  The mother picked out the fabric and gave a brief description of what she wanted and I went to town!  I made two, very large totes for her and she loved them!!!  The fabrics match the brides wedding colors and I was able to quilt the fabric for a Vera Bradley type of look!  It's awesome to see something that you have made bring joy to another person!

And since I was making totes, I figured I might as well make one for myself, right?  So I found a charm pack lying around and out popped this simple, but cute, tote!
I was acting like I had all the time in the world, while I have about 20 million other projects that I should be working on!  But sometimes it's nice to have a quick project every once in a while.  Sometimes I need a little instant gratification.  At least that's what I'm telling myself to justify it! :)

Another Swap ... or two

03 October 2011

I think I might be addicted to swaps!  I joined two more in the past two weeks, the Sewn Spaces Swap and the Pretty little Pouch Swap.

Pincushions are the theme for the Sewn Spaces Swap this round, and I have been checking out my partners info.  I made a pincushion that isn't necessarily what I would make for myself, but I think she will love it!

I am still doing a little research for my partner for the Pretty little Pouch Swap.  I think I know what pattern I am planning on using but fabric choices aren't made yet.  I am planning on going to my LQS this weekend and hopefully I will be starting her pouch sometime next week!

I have so many other projects that I should be doing right now but I can't say "no" to a good swap! :)

September, where have you gone?

02 October 2011

It has been forever since my last post.  The beginning of the school year is always crazy but this year has been even more nuts than normal.  My husband, who is also a teacher, started coaching football this year.  Let me modify that last statement ..... my husband is coaching Texas football this year.  To some here in the great state of Texas, football is a religion.  So needless to say, my wonderful hubby hasn't been home as much as he used to be.  So, trying to be a good wife, I am now taking care of everything around the house, while maintaining my full-time job.  I don't know how you ladies with little ones do it!  It's hard enough just managing everything for us two, I can't imagine having a child to take care of too!  So all you moms out there .... I give you props!

Well, in my absence, there is sooo much to catch you all up on!

1.  I realized I never posted about the Pretty Little Pouch Swap.  It is my absolute favorite swap ever!!!      The talent that comes out of that group is amazing!  It definitely has stretched my skills!!  I made this pouch for the swap ....
And I received this amazing pouch from Diane, from from blank pages.

2.  I entered my second swap, For the Love of Solids.  This was an amazing swap as well!  I made a pillow cover and mug rug for my partner.  I had to cover my partner's name to keep it a surprise.  It totally slipped my mind to take a pic without her name covered.  Ooops!

And I received the most fantastic sewing machine cover from Nicole!  And yes it is reversible!!

I did a few other small project in September but time was limited.  I have realized how much I love the summer time.  I found myself walking by my sewing machine every morning on my way out the door, thinking, "I wish I could stay home with you, and sew all day!"  Please tell me I'm not the only person out there that talks to her sewing machine. :)

Thanks Madame Samm!!

02 September 2011

I was lucky enough to win one of Madame Samm's giveaways last week and look what showed up in the mail today!!!  It all is absolutely amazing.  I can't say thank you enough!!  Make sure you all check out her blog. 

Check out this giveaway!

13 August 2011

There is a giveaway happening over at "This Crafty Fox".  Go check it out!  She made such a cute tote which I would absolutely love to win. 

Another quilt finished!

29 July 2011

I finished my last project for Meg's "Finish It Up" challenge!  Well, I had a sewing cover on my list that I didn't do but I have a good reason!  I just joined For the Love of Solids Swap and I might have mentioned to my partner that I am wanting a sewing machine cover!  So, I decided to hold out and see what amazing item my partner sends my way.  But other than that, all my WIP's have been finished!  Thanks so much Meg for putting this together, it was a fantastic idea!  Now that my WIP's are finished it's time to start a new list of projects to do, I'm sure it won't take long for it to become a mile long!

New skills!

29 July 2011

Well, this was my first attempt at embroidery.  I have a few more elaborate patterns that I wanted to try but I thought I should probably start with something easy.  I have found something new to add to my arsenal!  

School starts in 2 1/2 weeks and I am not ready to go back!  I have too many projects left to do!  Well, I must get back to my sewing machine, my quilt's binding is calling my name! :)
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