Tuesday, April 26, 2011

30 hexie bag

30th bday bag front 2

I've already blogged about my birthday party, but haven't said anything about how I spent my birthday day. It was pretty typical KJo, really. I slept in a little, lazed about all morning with the cat and the TV. Rob had to teach plus had office hours, so I was alone for most of the afternoon. Instead of chipping away at my to-do list (which is full of some doozies), I decided to set it all aside and do something for ME. I'd been needing a new bag for ages. I have some Modern Meadow fabrics set aside for the perfect bag, except I haven't figured it out yet. In the meantime, though, I decided to make a stop-gap bag.

30th bday bag back

So I started pulling fabrics from my stash, and when I had a bunch that looked good together, I counted. I had something like 26, so I added more to bring it to a full 30 (a little cheesy, I know, but you only turn 30 once). I really liked a bag I'd seen in an issue of Stitch magazine a while back--I can't remember which issue, but it's red, suede, has hardware on the straps, and has a large outer pocket with floral 3D appliqué. Clearly, I made a lot of changes, but I did keep the shape. I should note here that I cut at least 2 of each fabric, so the bag is made up of more than 60 hexagons total.

30th bday bag inside

The hexies I cut to the pattern in Natural Patchwork, then I laid them out and stitched them together, by machine, into the shape required for the pattern. I then ironed on fusible fleece and quilted through the top layer. I added an interfaced lining with a pocket and that was that. Almost. By the time I got there, I wasn't really loving the bag, and couldn't figure out what to do with the handle--patchwork? Solid? ?? So instead of rushing to finish and risking being late to my own party, I stopped, set it aside, and took it into my LQS the next day. Maureen, the owner and a great friend of mine, pointed out that the Lantern Bloom print would make a great not-so-solid-but-not-patchworked-either strap, and she was right. I'm not in LOVE with this bag, but I'm very much in like. Which is fine by me.

30th bday bag

Unrelated, I happened to see this Two Hippos post in my reader today and thought it was very interesting. I am lucky in that I have a fantastic LQS that is a great resource--and that is run by a kind and supportive woman. I can't imagine what it would feel like to be put down before you even buy fabric for your creative endeavors. Even though I don't get all of my fabric from my LQS, I will happily pay a bit more per yard to buy locally as opposed to paying less to buy online. I think it's really important to support your community, and the extra customer service I get in person really can't be beat!

So, inspired by Ronit and also by this post, which started it all, here are some things that I think but don't say out loud:

  • I am also not a Pips fan (I think it's the colors)

  • I was not in love with Innocent Crush, except for this voile, but I did buy some prints because I'd hoped they would grow on me; I am ridiculously excited about her next line, though

  • I'm not a fan of the Single Girl quilt (and, in general, not a fan of anything template-cut)

  • I hate Denyse Schmidt's Greenfield Hill line, too

  • I'm not really big on Heather Ross, though the rest of blogland still seems to be

  • I spend way too much money on craft books I look through a couple of times but don't make anything from. Hmm. Maybe that's grounds for a giveaway?

I will just continue to make what I'm inspired to make when I feel like making it, buy fabrics I'm drawn to whether they're trendy or not, and plug along at my Dear Jane at a pace I feel comfortable with. It works for me, and I don't feel any pressure to change anything to make it work for anyone else. Ahh, the fabulousness of 30!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gifted: birthday wall-hanging

mom bday wallhanging
I just had a birthday, but so did my mom! Hers was yesterday. Ever since I made her this for Christmas, I've been wanting to do a coordinating wall hanging to go above the French doors in her sunroom. (I made this as her Christmas present in 2007, but the last time I was home and saw it hanging I absolutely hated it, so really wanted to make a better replacement.) This finishes around 12" x 60".

mom bday wallhanging quilting
As before, I was inspired by this bit of amazingness. All of the fabric used was Kona white, and I dyed the tan bits myself using the same technique of coffee and tea bags and vinegar. I really like the final shade, but do still wish I could achieve more of a textured, uneven look to the dyed fabric. I guess if there is a next time, I'll have to switch up my technique a bit.

*ETA: I machine-applied my binding by cutting double-fold binding and then stitching it to the wrong side first, then folding over to the right side and sewing down. I think it turned out okay, but I think there are probably other, better ways to go about this for future projects...

And unrelated... My to-sew list has just increased exponentially, it seems, and instead of diligently working away to cross things off my list (I'm now 2+ blocks behind in my Dear Jane sewing), I find myself dreaming (pulling fabrics, buying patterns) of starting new things, like for this. Hmm. Maybe I'm getting my super-crafty mojo back so I can be really productive? NBA finals = Rob watching games a lot of nights, which = more evening work time for me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Now I'm 30

It's true: I'm now 30. My birthday was on Friday. This year I continued my tradition of making a new dress for my birthday, but I also threw myself a big party (because, hey, why not? 30 only comes once, and the fact that it was also a Friday...well...it's just too good to pass up)! I rented the screening room at my local cinema (LOVE them!) and showed Fantastic Mr. Fox. Then we went to the amazing loft apartment of my lovely friend Vanessa for after-party appetizers and drinks! I called the entire thing "Thirty, Flirty, and Foxy like a Crafter!" It was fan-tabulous! There were about a dozen people at the party at any given time, and it was so wonderful to spend such a special day with my friends!

One of the specialty items I crafted for my party (other than the dress and the garland) was a cocktail. I named it "The Janiac", on honor of another special lady who shares my birthday. It's made with tequila and a fancy ginger liqueur and got my friends all pleasantly liquored up! Delightful!

bday dress!
Okay, so, more about the dress, right?? It's the Colette Patterns Chantilly dress. This was my first time making a Colette pattern and it was fantastic! I think this is the only time--ever--that I've made a muslin and not made ANY adjustments! Even the hem length was pretty much right on.

bday dress 3
I used some cotton lawn I got on mega sale at fabric.com because this is my "practice" dress--my brother is getting married in October and I'm planning on making another version, but in this and with pockets. I'm pretty excited.

bday dress swirl
The dress was super comfortable to wear, and the skirt is full and swishy, perfect for dancing around in! Doing all that gathering is a pain in the butt, but is so worth it in the end. More pictures on my flickr page.

Also, semi-related: I am a-squee with excitement over this sneak peek!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hemmed, bound, tied, begun



After wasting away the first part of my weekend on a wicked hangover (will I ever learn??), I spent yesterday in a fit of productivity: hemming, binding, tying... It always feels good to finish something and cross it off the list. Finishing multiple things feels exponentially better.

...Though of course, there's always something new to be started...

(Full reveals to come, but the "tied" is a baby gift, one of these, for an expecting coworker.)