Friday, December 26, 2008


Remember my indecision regarding a new sewing machine? I finally made a decision. Or rather, this machine made the decision for me. Seriously. I wasn't even considering the Aurora 440 as it was way out of my price range. After calling a few dealers however, I found a great deal on a gently used 440 that I just could not pass up. She was delivered on Christmas Eve.

We've been slowly getting to know each other. Here's my first attempt at free motion sewing using the BSR foot. In case you're starting to think that I'm a natural at free motion sewing, the smaller letters were made using the built in alphabet stitches.

I still can't believe I own this beautiful machine. I'm very much looking forward to sewing with her and learning everything she can do.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008


Today I turn 28. I think it's going to be a good year. I was thinking of a list of 28 things I'd like to do while I'm 28, but really it all came down to this one thing: enjoy life more.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Folks, it's time I bought myself a new machine. I've been saving up for one, it's my birthday soon, my current machine isn't cutting it anymore - I have a ton of reasons. The problem is, I can't decide which one to buy! After several trips to a local sewing machine dealer, I'm now torn between these two options:

The Bernina 1008. This mechanical machine is supposed to be a real workhorse. When I tested it out in the store, it sewed so smoothly. But, will I miss all the bells and whistles of a computerized sewing machine?

Another option I've looked at is the Activa 230 PE. It's at the top of my price range but has everything I want/need. Though, I'm not sure I could quilt a full size quilt on this easily.

I just can't decide - and I'm sure there are even more options out there that I haven't even looked at. Does anyone out there have any suggestions on the machines above or other options? I appreciate your help!

ETA: Both the Activa 230 and 1008 are about the same price when I throw in the extra feet I'll need. So really my decision boils down to whether I want a longer throat plate for easier quilting and more of a workhorse (the 1008 is supposed to be pretty indestructible), or do I want more stitches, buttonholes, bells and whistles. Have I ever mentioned how indecisive I am???

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Yesterday was so much fun. I am completely amazed at how many people played along with Sew Mama Sew's giveaway day, how many people commented here, and the great suggestions you all gave for getting into the Holiday spirit. I read through each one and I so wish I could thank each one of you for leaving your comment. Just reading your comments made me joyful for the season. Thank you!

Without further ado, it's time time to announce the winner of the holiday scarf. Drum roll please... I used the random number generator and entered in the number of comments (204!). The winner is commenter number 12! So, Maggie, will you please send me your snail mail address so I can send you your prize?

I hope you all have a great weekend. I'm off to New York for a winter wedding.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Holiday Scarf Giveaway!

Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays. But, I just don't feel the magic of the holidays quite like I used to. Is it still possible to get all fluttery with holiday joy? What do you do to get yourself in the holiday spirit? Is there a special decoration you like to make, a certain holiday soundtrack you listen to, a favorite hot chocolate recipe you sip? Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Comment on this post for the chance to win this holiday scarf made of oh so soft olive fabric with some festive sparkle. I'll randomly pick a winner tomorrow. I look forward to all of your holiday spirit suggestions.

Be sure to check out all the other giveaways going on today via Sew Mama Sew!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I just couldn't buy her another Vera Bradley

When I knew I could make one myself. Not that there's anything wrong with Vera B...

This was a much belated birthday present for my Mom. That zipper was so much more fun than I thought it would be (but I still need to perfect it). Seriously!

Now it's time to work on Christmas presents! Be sure to stop by tomorrow, December 3rd, as I am participating in Sew Mama Sew's give-way day.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I am so thankful

For family, friends, love, silly pets, the readers of this blog who are so motivating and encouraging, inspiring crafters/sewers/makers of things, curiosity, celebrating good times, getting through bad times, the power to be happy, a great year. I am so thankful.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Raesha sent me this beautiful doll quilt way back in the summer. I keep it above my sewing machine.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Well it's about time!

I have a finished object too show you, finally! This is New Look 6729 in a knit I bought from Fashion Mart last year. I bought a little over two yards intending to make it into a dress. I decided it would be better as a shirt afterall.

It's a good thing I had over two yards because the long sleeve version of this top really requires it! As you can see, I sewed the ties as the pattern calls for by just hemming the strips. Several reviewers recommended cutting two extra ties and just sewing them together so the wrong side doesn't show. Unfortunately I didn't have enough fabric so I made do with what I had. I actually don't mind the wrong side showing on this knit since it's not too much of a contrast with the right side. The front middle, right below my bust line, is sagging a bit too much. I'm not sure if this is a pattern flaw or if I sewed something incorrectly. It's nothing that a little hand sewing can't fix.

Overall I am very pleased with this pattern. I might just wear it to my high school reunion this weekend...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Event planning

I'm trying to come up with a reason (excuse) why I've been so absent from this blog recently. First it was Bali, then it was the move, and well, now it's this:

Who knew how much time it would take to plan a wedding? Not I! Though I'm sure many of you are nodding your head in the affirmative. I've been very busy trying to find a place for our outdoor ceremony and reception that has everything we want within our budget. We looked at a place that looks promising and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will all work out. Then I can start with the fun stuff: dresses, decorations, favors, oh my! I'm not a very good planner, so the thought of planning a wedding was a little overwhelming at first. Fortunately, this is all turning out to be so much more fun than I thought (though still a little overwhelming I must admit). The downside is that I feel like one of those people who always talks about weddings now.

If you know of any diy wedding sites, please pass them along. In the meantime, I promise that my next couple of posts will be crafting related (this is a sewing/craft blog afterall) which will help me take my mind away from wedding stuff, for a little while at least.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Top inspiration

A little bit of inspiration from Anthropologie goes a long way. All I want to do this weekend is sew, sew , sew!

Monday, November 03, 2008

The short list

I'm trying to get my sewing mojo back. I finally had some time to myself after several weeks devoted to unpacking and settling into the new place and what did I do? I stared at my fabric and blanked. I'm just not that excited about sewing winter clothes. So I closed the door and came back after a few hours. Instead of looking at my fabric the next time I entered my sewing room, I pulled out all my patterns for a little sewing inspiration. I then pulled up sewing reviews on Pattern Review and created a short list based on interest, need, and fabric on hand. Here's what made the short list:

Simplicity 4076 in a black, yellow and white knit,

New Look 6729 in a pink multi-stripe knit,

New Look 6807 in a black and grey knit,

and finally Vogue 8420 in a purple cotton knit.

Can you tell I need tops? And that I have a lot of knits in my stash? I'm looking forward to my new winter top wardrobe. I just hope I finish them before winter is over!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pet Bed Tutorial!

It's here! I might add that although it's a little later than I intended to share with you, it's just in time for the Holidays. Make it for your pet or your friend's!

Download the Pet Bed Tutorial!

Please let me know if you find any problems in the instructions. Also, please share what you've created using this tutorial. I can't wait to see what you all make!

ETA: The link should be working now!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm waving a white flag of surrender

Remember this pet bed? Remember my promise to share it? Well guess what? The tutorial is done. It's actually been done for quite a while. The problem? I cannot figure out how to freakin' share it with you. Do any of you know how I can share a pdf file on blogger? Pretty please? Anyone?

ETA: Thanks for all of your suggestions. In the end, Peter figured it out for me. The tutorial is on it's way...!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thank you thank you

Thank you all so much for the warm wishes on our engagement. You all are too sweet. I was definitely taken by surprise when Peter popped the question. We're both very excited! Now the fun begins: planning a wedding. I'll keep you in the loop. Ideally I'd like to make some of the decorations. I've gotten a lot of questions about whether or not I'm going to make my own dress. Well, the jury is really out on that one. On the one hand, how great would it be to say, "I made my wedding dress!" and get a look that is exactly as you pictured. On the other hand, I'm not really sure I want the stress. We'll see.

Completely unrelated, here is an apron I made for my friend Ali. I used JCaroline's apron tutorial for the basic pattern, with a few modifications. This weekend I'm hoping to sew a lot for the house, as decorating for our new place continues. We're hoping to have most of the place finished this weekend. Maybe I'll have pictures to share next week. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I said yes

A little souvenir from Bali!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


My sewing machine has been waiting a while to come back into my life.

But it doesn't have to wait much longer. Kathy is currently on her way over and we have a full day of sewing ahead of us. I can't wait!

Here's a little pincushion I whipped up for her birthday. I love that little blue button. It's from a stash of vintage buttons I found before vacation. I'll have to show you the other little lovelies from that stash another time.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Birthday girls

Before I left for Bali I made my niece this dress for her fourth birthday. I used the Oliver and S tea party sundress pattern and some denim and Ginger Blossom fabric I had in my stash. Other than adding length (note to self: add length to the pattern before you cut the fabric!), the dress fits Corinne wonderfully. The Oliver and S fall patterns are adorable too. I wish they came in my size!

You can see a picture of Corinne wearing the dress on her first day of school over on her mommy's site. Today happens to be Kathy's birthday, so be sure to leave a birthday wish for her while you're there! Happy Birthday big sis!!! (Kathy, you're going go have to wait until next week to see your present - no sneak peeks here!)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I'm back!

Well, kind of. I'm writing this post with one hand and keeping my fingers crossed with the other hoping that our internet is really on for good now. Oh how I've missed having an internet connection! Yes, this is probably a sign of addiction but I've accepted it and moved on. Moving on.

I still don't have pictures to share. We actually were productive during our weeks of no internet and no cable, but it was more productive in the unpacking boxes sort of way rather than the uploading our vacation pictures way. Apparently we have no use for the computer unless it's connected to the internet. Who knew? So the house is mostly unpacked (including the sewing room!), Flair is currently drying after being wet blocked, a new scarf is almost off the needles, and several sewing projects should be in the works soon.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Big Move

This should be the last pictureless post I make for a while. We're moving to a new house today and have been busy packing and getting over jet lag. Goodness, my body doesn't adjust well to time changes! I'm ready for the moving process to be over already so I can get on with life and sewing and knitting and all those fun things. My head is dizzy with decorating ideas for the new place. Or maybe that's still the jet lag...

I hope to be back soon with pictures of our trip and new place and new projects!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hello from Bali!

Our trip is almost over which makes me feel sad but slightly relieved. Bali is an amazing and beautiful place filled with the friendliest people. However, one of the reasons I love traveling is the nostalgia and appreciation it makes me feel for home. I miss my apartment, friends, and kitties. I'm also ready to jump into Fall! Especially so since Flair (see previous post) is almost done. Oh yeah, I've been taking full opportunity if of the sit and knit time I've had here on vacation. Though it is hard to knit by the pool for obvious reasons.

I'll share pictures when I return. Until then, be well!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Since I can't bring my sewing machine to Bali

I'm taking the next best thing: knitting needles and yarn and big plans. Those plans being:

Flair by Knit and Tonic

I'm thinking that with the 26 hours of travel time each way, I'll finish at least one of these patterns.

Be well friends!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wrapping up summer

I can't believe it's the end of August already. Like most people, I've been busy wrapping up the end of summer and preparing for the changes of the season ahead. My summer isn't quite over yet though. Peter and I are jetting off to Bali in a few days for a vacation/post-bar trip. Yahoo! Soon after we get back we're moving to a new apartment. And you thought my blogging over the past two weeks has been sparse! So it's been little crafting over here - just packing and preparing. I finally forced myself to pack my fabric (four boxes worth) so I can stop kidding myself that I have time to sew. I'm looking forward to opening up those boxes in a few weeks in a new place in a new room dedicated to sewing alone.

The tea towels and coasters above are a little gift I whipped up in some few spare moments.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Log cabin pillow

Remember my patchwork obsession from a few weeks ago? I finally satiated it, for the time being that is. This is my first log cabin using scraps from my brick path quilt. This project was very fast and easy and so satisfying!

For all of you that are waiting on a tutorial for the cat bed, I'm going to try to have it up in the next week. Thanks for all of your patience!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stacked coins quilt

It's finished! I think it turned out beautiful. I'm quite surprised at how quickly this all came together.

My quilt is slightly larger than the stacked coins quilt in Last Minute Patchwork. I added an additional row of "stacked coins" and added some length so the total size is about 60 inches by 71 inches.

I completely winged the back with leftover fabric from the front. I'm finding that making a quilt back is just as exciting as making the quilt top. I love throwing the fabrics together and making up the design as I go along. It also gives my math skills a review lesson. Peter said the back looked very organic. I like that description. (Do you see his flip flops at the bottom of the quilt?)

This quilt is a much belated wedding present for a good friend who got married last June. I'm hoping she'll love it so much she forgets how late it is.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I've made a lot of progress on the Stacked Coins quilt. I originally marked four inch diagonal rows but only stitched every other one. I thought I might go back and stitch the remaining rows, but I like the look of the wider diamonds. Plus, it's less work!

Friday, August 01, 2008




Isn't it amazing what some pretty paper and glue will do? Here's hoping a relaxing weekend in the North Carolina mountains will have the same effect on me. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stacking Coins

One of the reasons why I was so eager to finish the mini wardrobe challenge was so that I could start on my next quilt project. I hemmed and hawed over the design and fabrics of this quilt for quite a while. Fortunately, with a little help from my sister, Kathy, I finally made up my mind.

I had some Bleeker Street (Marcus Brothers) fabric in my stash for a while, but not enough to make a quilt. Kathy, mom and I visited Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Va a few weeks ago where I found some more fabric from this line as well as some coordinating fabrics from the Full Moon forest line. By the way, if you're in the Richmond area, go visit that store. They had such great fabrics and they were so friendly!

On Saturday I started cutting out the fabrics. On Sunday, I started sewing. I didn't stop until I was done.

Whoa! I bet you weren't expecting that! I definitely wasn't. I mean, a quilt top in one day!?! Yes, friends. It's true. The pattern, Stacked Coins Quilt from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, was so easy and quick to put together. I love it! I highly recommend this book for this pattern and all the other great projects it has. We'll just see how long it takes for me to complete the back and quilting. I won't make any promises, though I do need to finish it before the end of the month.

This quilt is a gift for a friend. I can't say who, or for what occasion, or how late it is exactly (let's just say, very late) because I don't want to spoil any surprises.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mini Wardrobe Challenge: Outfit 4 (well, sorta)

If you've been paying attention to my mini wardrobe challenge, then you might be confused by this outfit. You'd be confused for good reason. 'Cause I'm cheating. Sort of. I should be wearing the white shirt I made with this skirt. Originally I wanted a relaxed challenge in that there would be not strict deadline. Then, when I realized that a full shirt does not go well with a full skirt after I sewed everything, I decided to relax the rules even more. The white shirt only goes with the khaki skirt...but the brown shirt goes with not one, not two, but three skirts! That has to count for something, right? I'm very tempted to make another white shirt, but at this point in the summer I'm thinking about fall sewing and moving and my trip and so it's very low on my priority list. It might happen before the summer is over, but until then, this will have to do. Oh it's fun to make up the rules!

Top: Simplicity 4076
Skirt: McCalls 5431

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mini Wardrobe Challenge: Outfit 3

Top: Simplicity 3777
Skirt: Simplicity 4036

I've already reviewed these items so I don't have much to add. I'll be back tomorrow to wrap up my mini wardrobe challenge. I hope you all had a great weekend.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mini wardrobe challenge: Outfit 2

It's been one of those weeks: long days at the office, not a whole lot of time for blogging or sewing at night. Hurray for weekends! I'm really excited to show you my second outfit. It's my favorite of the bunch.

Top: Simplicity 4076
Skirt: McCalls 5430 (Have you made this skirt yet?)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mini wardrobe challenge: Outfit 1

Here are the last two pieces for my mini wardrobe challenge. Let's start with the skirt: Simplicity 4036. This has been my go to a-line skirt pattern. I've made about five skirts from this pattern. I used a stretchy textured twill I've had in my stash since last year. I really needed a basic khaki skirt in my wardrobe. This skirt will get a lot of wear.

Now let me rave about the top: Simplicity 4076. Why I haven't tried this pattern until now I cannot say. I don't think I really liked the twist look, until I happened to flip on the Food Network one day and there was Rachel Ray wearing the cutest green twist top. Yes, inspiration comes from the funniest places sometimes. I added two inches to the pattern and I'm glad I did. It's the perfect length on me. I used a rayon/lycra jersey from Fashion Fabrics Club this time around. It was easy to work with and is incredibly soft. Thank you, Christina, for the suggestion to use this material! The only drawback is that it's hand wash only, but I can live with that.

I'll show you the rest of the outfits throughout the week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pampered pets

I wanted to make Bo a cat bed to replace the old towel he liked to sleep on. Bo had input in the fabric selection. I put down a couple of options and he immediately sat down on the Amy Butler wallflower fabric. Apparently I'm not the only Amy Butler fan in the house. (Actually, I think that one just happened to be in the sunniest spot in the room but I prefer the other conclusion.)

I originally just made the pillow on the inside with no walls. I should have known that he wouldn't like it. I even tried stuffing it with catnip but he still wouldn't sit on it. Peter made the suggestion that I add walls to the pillow. He loves sitting in boxes, even if they're too small for him. So back to the drawing board I went. I had an idea, but I wasn't sure I could make it work.

Luckily it worked. And he likes it. I didn't even have to tempt him with catnip.

It was really simple to put together. This would be great for small dogs too. Anyone care for a tutorial?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Patchwork Inspiration

1. doll quilt, 2. Big circles pillow cover, 3. patchwork pocket, 4. Patchwork Pillows 2, 5. cora's second quilt, 67/365, 6. Aug. Doll Quilt Challenge, 7. my version, 8. Nate Pillow , 9. log cabin pillow by Ashley

I've got patchwork on the brain. Thank goodness I have a whole weekend ahead of me to give in to it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fourth of July Dress

I whipped up this dress just in time to wear to Fourth of July festivities. I bought one of those pre-shirred knit fabric pieces at Joann on sale a few weeks ago. After sewing up the side seam (the only seam really required for this dress - cay you say EASY!), it was way too long for my liking. I cut off at least a foot of fabric. I used the extra fabric to make a ruffle at the bottom to match the ruffle at the top. I also added some halter ties so I wouldn't have to worry about slippage. Joann still had some on sale for less than $7 this past weekend, in case you want one of your own. I bought another one in pink to whip up later. I'm going on vacation at the end of the summer and these will be perfect to throw in the suitcase.

Monday, July 07, 2008

One more time then I'll let it rest

Remember my lamenting about the brown t-shirt that wasn't. Here are some admittedly-bad-but-I-hope-you-get-my-point-about-me-wearing-this-just-around-the-house shots (my photographer was sleeping).

I present to you the bad-gaping-back-neckline shot. This was 100% my fault. The pattern has a back seam, but how many RTW garments do you know of that have back seams? Unfortunately I forgot (embarrassed laugh) to take out the seam allowance. What was it Homer Simpson was always saying?

Next I present to you the bad-gaping-neckline shot. And yes, that mirror is actually clean. It's just old, and impossible to make look clean no matter how much I try. However, the mirror hides the flaws in the shirt. That neckline is all wiggly crazy, and no I'm not just being hard on myself. Trust me here. I used clear elastic and everything. Apparently I don't know how to use clear elastic in necklines.

Really I blame the fabric. I got it at the clearance bin at G Street, which has worked out great before, but not so much this time. I think the problem is that this fabric has bad recovery (ie, no wonderful lycra/spandex properties). Hey, I've learned my lesson! Some rayon jersey with lycra is on it's way to me right now.

By the way, I just want to thank you all for your recent comments. You all are awesome, and I hope you know that. I wish I could respond to each of your comments individually, but blogger makes that almost impossible. So please let me thank you here. I always love and appreciate everyone who stops by here and I try to answer specific questions either here or through e-mail. Seriously though, thank you. The comments on here keep this (and sometimes me) going, and that means so much to me.