Thursday, June 27, 2013

A purse and a skirt!

 At the beginning of the summer (around this time) I started feeling like I had too many projects and too much stuff and I made an intention to work through my UFO list and get some stuff finished.  My loose plan was that I should finish two projects for every one I started.  Since then, I have not finished a single thing on my UFO list, but I have started and finished the Lone Star baby quilt for my soon-to-be-niece, the Kindle case for Robert's birthday, this little purse, and the navy skirt at the bottom of this post.  I've also started a larger version of the purse because this one is too small.  As you can see in the picture below, it is overfull with my wallet, ipod, keys, chapstick, phone, and my university wallet/keychain.  With these things in it, it will not close, and I also need it to fit my sunglasses. 
 The purse is the Buttercup Bag from Made by Rae.  It's a free pattern, and very cute.  My plan is to use this one for going to the symphony and other date nights, when I don't want to carry a huge bag and don't need to have so many things with me.

I'm planning some significant enhancements on the larger version - a zipper closure, an inside zipped pocket, and one or two inside pockets with elastic on the top.  I'm not quite sure how to explain the elastic pockets, but I've seen in on some tote bag patterns, and I think it's just the thing to make 3-dimensional space inside the pockets and prevent things from falling out of them at the same time. 

Here's my navy skirt.  This has actually been on my future projects list for a while, and I used some really great coupons at Joann to get the fabric and elastic really inexpensively.  The whole skirt (including thread that I didn't have in the right color) was about $10.  I expected the skirt to go together in an hour or two, but as usual everything took longer than I expected.  I put in pockets and tried to use the rolled hem foot on my sewing machine to do the hem.  Even though I practiced on scraps, the hem just didn't turn out.  I need lots more practice before I can use that tool on a garment.  It took quite a while to pick out the rolled hem and re-do it with my usual "turned under twice and topstitched" hem. 
I couldn't get a picture of myself with the skirt on, but here it is.  The elastic is two inches wide and sits (pretty loosely) on my hips.  I probably should have cut the elastic for the waistband about two inches shorter, and I might go back later and do that, but for now I'm too lazy and it works fine the way it is, especially if I wear a longer top over it. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Wedding cake topper (& stand!)

When Robert and I got married in April, my mom and a family friend of ours made the cake topper for us - the night before the wedding!  I got the idea for this from one I saw on Etsy, and it turned out really well.  Robert and I decided to save it as a keepsake, and he made a stand for it out of bird's eye maple. 
He used a decorating technique called kolrosing to write our wedding date on it, and finished it with some combination of oils.  Here you can see the gorgeous patterning in the wood.
Here it is on our beautiful wedding cake on our wedding day.  This last photo was taken by our lovely and talented wedding photographer, Alyssa of Dandy As Lions Photography.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Kindle case

 Robert's birthday was just over a month ago, and I had a great idea for a birthday present for him, except that I didn't think of it until the weekend before his birthday, when I was gearing up to start teaching a three-week class and didn't have time to make it.  I finally had time to make it this week, and gave it to him a month late: a case for his Kindle. 

When Robert and I flew out for my mom's graduation last month, his Kindle was just floating around in my backpack with no case to protect it, so I decided that what he needed was a case for it.  I got this fabric in a scrap pack from Hawthorne Threads, and Robert had admired the boy going to outer space with his dog.  Since one of Robert's favorite genres is science fiction, I decided it was a perfect fit for his Kindle.  I mostly followed this tutorial at Live, love, quilt.  I made it to the Kindle's measurements (different from the iPad in the tutorial), decided not to quilt it, and used a hair-tie for the button loop.  I was worried about making the loop the right length, so I wanted to use something stretchy rather than fabric.  I'm mildly concerned about the elastic breaking or stretching out, but if that happens I can always pick apart the top-stitching and replace it. 
Robert seems happy with it, and I am also happy with how it turned out!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lone Star baby quilt

A Lone Star is one of those quilts that I've always sort of wanted to make but always thought that it would be too difficult and way beyond any skill level I could ever hope to attain.  Then I saw this tutorial at Better Off Thread.  It seemed doable, especially in the baby size, and my brother-in-law and his wife happen to be expecting a baby girl in September!  Since we all live in Texas, a lone star seemed like it would be a good quilt pattern for this particular baby, and the tutorial uses 2 1/2" strips - a perfect fit, since I had an extra Simply Color jelly roll lying around!  The baby's nursery is going to be purple and green, so I pulled some purple, green, and grey strips from the jelly roll and went to work.
It was way easier than I expected.  I followed the instructions in the tutorial for matching the diamond points, and it worked perfectly!  Not all of the points are as good as the ones in this photo, but most of them are very close.  I pressed the seams open, marked with a pen where the seams should intersect, pinned them a LOT, and watched very closely to make sure the seams actually went where they were supposed to.  I'm learning to love pinning - it gets such beautiful results!
I decided to use a moon and stars print for the background of the star and for most of the backing.  I initially wanted to use a solid, but I had a hard time finding a solid that I liked to match the colors in the star, so I went with this instead. 
The backing includes a little girl sailboat print.  I married into a sailing family, so I figure there's a good chance that my niece will grow up to love sailing just like her parents, grandmother, and great-grandfather.  I quilted the star and it's narrow border in the ditch and then did a loopy meander on the background.  The tension on the back of the free-motion sections isn't perfect, but it's not so bad and it did get a little bit better when I washed it, so I'm hopeful that it will continue to improve and even out over time as the quilt is loved and washed and dried.  Overall, I think it turned out great!
I hope that my niece and her parents enjoy the quilt as she grows up.  I certainly enjoyed making it, and it has convinced me that I can make a bed-sized lone star in the future!