What started out as a hand sewing project to take with me when I have to wait – kids getting out of school or at their dental appointments or at the car dealership – has turned into this throw pillow. I honestly think it looks better in person, but I think it’s pretty here too. Lots and lots of English paper pieced hexagons in five different London of Liberty prints set on top of Essex yarn dyed linen in chambray blue and bound with pink Liberty. Simple but fun straight line quilting as always in white thread. It measures 20 x 20 and is filled with a down insert. This one is being gifted to my friend who is moving to Atlanta. I hope she finds the perfect place for it in her new home.
If I’m not making quilts, I’m usually sewing bags – mostly as gifts. Anna Graham from Noodlehead has written many great bag patterns, one of which is called the Gingham Tote from her book, Handmade Style. It’s a simple, cross body bag with instructions for two styles, however, I’ve only made the rounded pocket version. This bag features an open and zip pocket on the front, deep inside space and two open, inside pockets. It calls for a magnetic closure for easy access and has an adjustable strap. I first made this black and cream dot tote for my aunt a couple years ago.I enjoyed making it so much that I almost immediately made this black and white geometric designed bag for my sister-in-law.My mother-in-law borrowed my sister-in-law’s bag this summer when she traveled to Iceland and Greece and thought it was the perfect bag for her travels. When she arrived home, she asked if I would make one for her so that she can take it on her upcoming trip to Italy. I recently finished this black chambray version for her.This most recent finish means I met my January sewing goal, even though it was a very short list. Anything that I work on now is just a bonus for the month. I’m going to get started working on my February sewing goals.
Yesterday, I shared with you the handmade projects I made for the Swapaholics Retreat. So today I will share the projects I received. I couldn’t be happier with these swap gifts. The makers really put a lot of time and effort into each project and made items that truly reflect my style. First, was the Hexi Bag Swap. Teri made this beautiful drawstring pouch featuring Flower Sugar florals and linen. Along with gifting these hexies so that I can make something of my own, she hand appliquéd a pretty layered hexi flower on top of the pouch. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to use the pouch, but for now, I just like staring at it.Lisa made me this pretty patchwork fabric basket for the the Basket Swap. I love the combination of all the sweet floral prints and soft colors. I hadn’t even seen most of these fabrics before so that makes it extra fun. She filled the basket with lots of fun kitchen items like a spatula and cookie cutters as well as some pretty fabric.I love that she added some fine hand quilted details like a stitched pink heart. If you look closely, you can see it below.For the Embroidery Hoop Swap, Jen cross stitched this sweet work of art. She did a fantastic job and I was intrigued by the scalloped edge hoop since I hadn’t seen a hoop like that before. I was super duper spoiled by Galia (she flew all the way from Spain!) who made so many incredible things for me for the Secret Sister Swap. Her attention to detail is spot on and certainly the quote, “do small things with great love” is reflective of how she creates. I have always admired her work and she was such a sweetheart too! First, she secretly surprised me with THE most adorable little zippy pouch!Tiny low volume patchwork paired with linen, hand quilting and a cute label – my heart melted with the first gift!Next, she gave me this adorable glasses case made from one of my all time favorite prints – aqua florals and berries by Bonnie and Camille. The beautiful embroidery patch adds the perfect detail.She knows my love of reproduction fabrics and made me a patchwork mug rug and small placemat set featuring more hand quilting, lace and ribbon details, and a cute label.I’m in love with this beautiful handmade tag and the gorgeous stack of fabric she gifted me…
…and I’m in awe over the amazing embroidery stitches and details.I about died when I received this Sew Together Bag! First of all, I’ve been wanting one of these for like three years but look at the beautiful stitched details on the outside. And you can’t go wrong with linen and Paperie fabric by Amy Sinibaldi.This pouch has three different zipper compartments and holds so much stuff! I can’t wait to put it to good use.Look at this adorable patchwork tote she made with some of my favorite ditzy floral prints! I just love this color combination of pinks, aquas and yellows as well.And that handmade tag! I mean, SO cute!Yes, there’s even more! This sweet mini quilt using Tilda fabrics, which I adore. I’ll take all the tiny florals I can get. There are so many great details in this piece but I especially love the embroidered flowers under the windows. So pretty!These are just the handmade items I received. This post doesn’t even cover all the little extras that these ladies and the retreat hosts provided. I am seriously so grateful for everything made or gifted to me, but I am also grateful for the new friendships I made. It was all such a wonderful experience.
Two weeks ago, I attended my second Swapaholics Retreat. I had so much fun at my first one in September 2015 in North Carolina, I was elated that the hosts were holding another one within driving distance the second time around. I met so many fabulous friends at the first one and was so grateful that some of them could attend the second. And of course, I made some new friends at this latest retreat too! This sewing community is just the best! Swapaholics is not just your typical sewing retreat where you free yourself of obligations at home for a weekend and sew what you want. I mean yes, that’s part of it, but this retreat is all about sewing and swapping projects with other attendees. With this post, I wanted to share with you all the projects I made for my swap partners. In a separate post, I’ll share with you what I received. The first swap happened before the retreat. This project was to make a unique lanyard and name tag holder for another attendee. This happened months ago before the retreat occurred. Here is the one I made for one of the hosts, Amber from @simplelovemade, and one of the sweetest people on this planet. She likes rich jewel tones and english paper piecing so I thought this would be a good fit.There was an embroidery hoop swap and my partner asked for something woodland themed. I am not the World’s greatest embroiderer so when I found this deer pattern by Flamingo Toes, I was so happy! Not only is it so adorable, but it was manageable for me (with a little help from my dear friend Melissa). I was thrilled to give it to my partner Jen because she expressed so much excitement over it even before she knew it was hers. I would love to make one for myself someday (that is going to be a recurring comment, just so you know).The hexie swap consisted of making a drawstring bag (tutorial by s.o.t.a.k handmade) for your partner and 25 hexies for English paper piecing (EPP). There was a citrus theme but my partner said it didn’t matter if I gave here something different. I decided to bust into my Old New 30’s collection and make a cute hexi bag with hand embroidery and a sweet label from Amy Sinibaldi’s book, Sweetly Stitched Handmades. The basket swap was so fun because I got to create something special for my dear friend Sarah (she’s a great long arm quilter by the way)! She was my secret sister at the last retreat and she spoiled me rotten so I wanted to do the same for her. This swap consisted of a handmade fabric basket and adding in fat quarters of your partner’s liking along with a kitchen item. I knew she liked vintage feed sack fabrics like me so I used the red, white and blue floral feed sack pictured below on the basket and paired it with a red gingham. I then decided to make the contents of the basket Fourth of July themed. I started with a star cookie cutter and festive sprinkles and added letter press recipe cards and a stack of blue and red fat quarters of Lecien’s Flower Sugar fabric.I also thought it would be fun to make her a country style apron for her cookie baking. I used a lightweight denim with wide red gingham for the waist band, ties and pockets then added in a cute lace detail.The Secret Sister swap is the biggest of the retreat. For this swap, you are paired with another attendee and you secretly shower her with gifts throughout the three days you’re there. Many of the items are purchased according to your partner’s liking such as treats, sewing notions or fabric, but you are required to make your secret sister at least three handmade gifts. I was so thrilled that I would be sewing for one of my dearest friends, Melissa. While it was easy to make her beautiful things because we have similar tastes and styles, it was certainly a challenge to keep her gifts a secret since we talk regularly and she was sitting right next to me at the retreat. On day three, she was surely onto me and the gig was up. I loved everything I made her and threatened to steal them all back when she wasn’t looking, ha! First, I made her this small embroidery hoop with appliquéd hearts in all Bonnie and Camille scraps.Then there is this little boxy pouch made out of a Bonnie and Camille fabric and a white lace zipper. I included a few “essentials” like hand lotion, gum and lip balm for her to use during the retreat.I made this cute fabric button bracelet made all out of Liberty of London prints.I simply adore this Tall Trees pillow in the soft and pretty color scheme. I machine quilted the top and then hand quilted around the trees using a mint colored Perle 8 cotton floss. I think it’s suitable to use all year round instead of just during the winter holidays. I’m definitely making one of these for myself.I had so much fun choosing some of my favorite sweet, soft prints to make this scrappy log cabin mini quilt. I love the simple hand quilting around each square. Yep, I’m going to make a big one for me some day.Lastly, I made her this Poolside Tote using Essex yarn dyed linen and a navy calico print from Bonnie and Camille. It’s such a great bag to carry lots of stuff. I wanted to keep this one too, but I have another one in the works for myself.So that’s everything I made for Swapaholics. Tomorrow, I’ll share with you all the sweet handmade gifts I received.
I love sewing for new babies, but add pink in the mix and I’m giddy. This weekend I had so much fun sewing for a friend who recently had her first baby girl. First, I made this adorable diaper cover set. Who wouldn’t want to see a cute little baby’s bottom crawling around in these? You can find a free tutorial for them on the Made Everyday site. Dana also has a video that walks you how to assemble them. I also made a matching set of drool bibs made from cotton prints and backed with white terry cloth. You can find a template for the bibs here, but I altered mine a bit.I also made one of my go-to, quick, whole cloth cuddle blankets. The combination of a gray flannel print backed with white minky is so incredibly soft and cozy!One of my favorite things to do is create really great packaging. I bundled up all the items, tied them together with pretty ribbon and attached my signature tags. Instead of wrapping them in a box or using a gift bag where you can’t see the items, I found this really cute, shabby white crate which can be reused for diapers or books in the nursery. I love the finishing detail of a pink, silk hydrangea bud to fill out the basket.
I can’t wait to deliver this sweet gift box to my friend and sneak a peek at her new, precious baby girl.
Today is my stop on the A Spoonful of Sugar Blog Tour. I am honored to be amongst so many talented makers from across the world to bring to you projects from the new book A Spoonful of Sugar available now. Author Lisa Cox has designed 20 beautiful and simple projects to sweeten your surroundings zakka style and wrapped them up into one great book!There really are so many pretty and useful projects in this book so it was hard to nail down which item I wanted to make first. When I was initially paging through the book, the Pretty Patchwork Jewelry Wrap jumped out at me immediately so I figured that would be a good place to start. Pretty patchwork gets me every time.The wrap that I made combines prints in cool blues, aqua and lavender with dusty blue Essex linen/cotton blend. This is the third project that I’ve made using these prints. I just can’t seem to separate them.I love to pair fun jewelry with my outfits so I find this wrap to be essential when traveling.The inside has three separate pockets so there is room for several pieces of jewelry. Plus, the pockets are padded with fusible fleece to protect your gems.Why limit its use to just jewelry though? This wrap is useful for carrying anything really and it makes for a great little gift for someone special as well. I know I’ll be making more of these.
There are so many great projects in this book and I look forward to making more items. Go grab yourself a copy and join us for an Instagram Sew Along from June 1 – August 9. We will be making projects from A Spoonful of Sugar: Sew 20 Simple Projects to Sweeten Your Surroundings Zakka Style. There will be five rounds, each lasting for two weeks which will give you plenty of time to complete a project or two from the book. Our good friend, Amy Sinibaldi from Nana Company is the Guest Judge, with fantastic prizes for the winner of each round, plus a Grand Prize Winner, generously sponsored by Alisha from Ministry of Fabric. We really hope you join in the fun! #ASPOONFULOFSUGARSAL
April 26 Jodie Carlton Ric Rac
April 27 Minki Kim Minki’s Work Table
April 28 Melissa LeRay Oh How Sweet
April 29 Jemima Flendt Tied With a Ribbon
April 30 Beverley McCullough Flamingo Toes
May 2 Sedef Imer Down Grapevine Lane
May 3 Nadra Ridgeway Ellis and Higgs
May 4 Amy Morinaka Chick Chick Sewing
May 5 Caroline Critchfield Sew Can She
May 6 Kristyne Czepuryk Pretty By Hand
May 7 Bronwyn Hayes Red Brolly
May 9 Anorina Morris Samelia’s Mum
May 10 Peta Peace She Quilts A Lot
May 11 Faith Essenburg Sarana Ave
May 12 Angie Wilson Gnome Angel
May 13 Sharon Burgess Lilabelle Lane Creations
May 14 Stacy Olson Stacy Olson (you’re here)
May 16 Ayda Algin Cafenohut
May 17 Jennie Pickett Clover and Violet
May 18 Wynn Tan Zakka Art
May 19 Lisa Cox A Spoonful of Sugar
Have a great weekend!
Whenever I’m sending a package to a quilty friend, I like to include a little something handmade when I can. Yesterday, it was this mini version of my Little Granny mini quilt pattern. Instead of making it with nine blocks, I made it with four so the finished size ends up being 12″ square. I pulled petite floral fabrics from my bundle of Memoire a Paris lawn collection and paired it with Essex cotton/linen blend for the background.These prints are very similar to what you’ll find within Liberty of London’s fabric offering – tiny florals in a variety of soft and brighter tones.I kept the quilting super simple since it was such a small quilt. My favorite part is the binding. I just love the pretty floral pattern and the combination of teal green and citrus yellow. I’ve been on a Little Granny mini quilt streak lately, and to be honest, I have one more planned within the next couple of months. You can find this pattern in my Etsy shop and some links to previous posts about this mini quilt below. Plus, if you search the hashtag #littlegrannyminiquilt on Instagram you’ll find many other versions made by others. Go check it out!
After working with the beautiful pink, green, aqua and yellow fabrics I used to make the round pencil pouch recently, I just couldn’t put them back into my stash. I knew I wanted to make something else with them and this patchwork stationery kit seemed to be just the right project. This time, however, I wanted to sneak in some lavender and I am so thrilled with how all of these prints and colors play together.To make the kit, I used a tutorial by Fabric Mutt which you can find here. My kit has a few slight variations which include a strap closure, patchwork back cover and a separate pocket for a pen on the inside.The inside also has two slip pockets that can hold such things as a small notebook and notecards.I really love the cute little envelope pocket that can hold small items like paperclips, stamps or envelope seals.It’s so fun to make scrappy projects like this one because you can use so many different fabrics. This little stationery kit is on its way to a friend as a “just because” gift. I’m sure I will be making more in the future and maybe one for myself. What I’m not sure of is whether I can put these fabrics back into my stash. I love them all so much together and almost feel that if I don’t make something for myself with them I’ll be unsatisfied. I’ll ponder the possibilities while I move forward with my other projects.
I’ve always loved vintage feedsack fabric, but it was only within the last two years that I started a small collection. I’ve been able to find some really great scrap bags online and have been lucky enough to be gifted some by friends as well. Feedsack fabrics were used in the early 1900’s to hold grains and sugars within the home. There is a great history explanation of these fabrics here. Many feedsack prints are loud, using colors that aren’t popular in today’s world, so they aren’t for everyone. I like to say they are an acquired taste, but if you like antiques and vintage goods, you’re likely to have an appreciation for these unique prints.The other day I decided to make a simple patchwork mini for a friend. I settled on a 4-patch design so the feedsacks could be coupled together. Aren’t these so cute?!Some people might find these to be garish or gaudy, but when you put them all together they just sing. I broke up the feedsack prints with a vintage inspired solid color. This one happens to be Kona Sage Green.A simple and classic quilting pattern fit this design perfectly. I love how it turned out and I am so excited to gift it to my friend. I recently made this feedsack mini shown below for a friend as well. It’s similar in design and color, but equally as pretty. Are you into the vintage look of feedsack fabric or do you think they are too gaudy?
I love making handmade gifts for those special to me. So when I realized it was going to be my dear friend Melissa’s birthday, I ran to my fabric stash and picked out a big pile of some of my most treasured, pretty fabrics. Our love of sweet, feminine florals runs deep and she, like me, loves fabric, sewing and handmade goodness. I decided to make her a round pencil pouch, designed by my friend Kristyne of Pretty by Hand. This pouch is the perfect little gift – not only is it beautiful, but you can fill it with all sorts of small goodies like candy, pens, or sewing notions. There are three variations to the pattern, but I chose patchwork as I usually do. It’s a great way to show off a lot of different fabrics, plus I love a scrappy look.I quilted it with a classic diagonal stitch and adorned the top with the prettiest lace trim.I also added a sweet little thimble zipper charm for a finishing detail.This is the second round patchwork pencil pouch I have made and I love how much character they have. I’m positive this will not be the last one I make. Have you made one of these before or do you plan to?