Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New List for the Girl with the Procrastination Problem

Hello Wednesday. Hello friends.

I am not sure you have noticed, but time has sped up. Now, I know everyone says that... but this time it is true. I know this.

Seriously. I have not even been traveling for work (Yay!), but somehow time is zooming. It is all I can do to grip on and hope I don't get dizzy.

Some non-quilty things (in no particular order):

  • My bestie returned home from Germany! 
  • We made soft-shelled crab.
  • I spilled a glass of wine on about two yards of Kona Snow (well, I guess that is quilty)
  • I laughed harder than I thought was possible with my friends in the group we are now calling SSU (mountain sewing weekend before last).
  • My cat vomited 4 times. 
  • My peer reviews came in from my journal article [spoiler alert: they recommended it for publication]
My list makes me sane. 

The list is, however, prone to fluctuations. Things move on, things get finished, things stop getting care and attention. 

This is where it stands as of July 31st, 2013.

1. Label, photograph and mail Confetti Stars quilt. This quilt is boss. it is pretty much done. I am actually laying on it right now. I know my cousin is going to love it. FYI, this is a pattern I have been testing for Elizabeth Dackson. I am going to photo bomb you with the quilt soon. For now, know you too can make this quilt when the pattern is released soon. 

2. Fix binding, label, and photograph scrappy baby quilt. This is heading to another cousin. It is also pretty ridiculous.

3. Finish rainbow houses baby quilt. This one needs a bit of work. Enough with the babies. 

4. Make backing and quilt my star quilt. This is a wedding present and it could be done soon, but I am not feeling it and it is HUGE, so we will see.

5. Make myself a super tote. 'Cause I want one. 

6. August bee block. Just a churn dash, easy enough. 

7. August Hop, Skip, Jump block and Lucky Star block. Can you believe I am all caught up with my blocks of the month? Exciting, right!

8. Finish my Mother-in-Law's Saint Louis 16 patch. This is fun. I predict a fast conclusion, but then again, I could get distracted. What's that a shiny object?

9. Coworker quit. A friend/coworker asked me to make her a quilt and I could not resist. I got particularly excited when she went onto Design Seed (at my request) and chose some color schemes right at the edge of my comfort zone. I think she is going to get a crazy star quilt with some awesome colors. More on this later.

10. Guild Challenge. More on this later too, it exhausts me to even think about what I am going to do with this. We randomly chose one color fabric from a bag and we have to stay in that color family. I picked brown! Can you imagine someone who is less of a brown person? I have an idea, but I am not sure if I want to waste it on BROWN. Le sigh. 

11. Center of another medallion. I just love traveling quilts. I think the theme for this medallion is going to be summer and winter. Is that crazy sounding?

That's all folks. This list may seem insane, but it is not a firm deadline thing. It fluctuates with the moods and the seasons. I am certainly not trying to do this all in a month (hey, maybe not even a year).

Love you. I love your hair. 

Sarah out.

Posting this to WIP Wednesday.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This is what 28 looks like for me.

I turned 28 yesterday. It was pretty good. I feel like as I get older birthdays simultaneously start to mean less and more. Less because I don't care as much about presents and big parties. More because I recognize the significance of each year as an accomplishment and a mile marker on my journey.

I decided to write a letter to my future self this year, just to check in. I promise I will get back to regularly scheduled sewing updates next week.

Dear Self,

Hi, how are you? I am imagining a version of myself reading this letter in 10 years. I am wearing reading glasses, this year the eye doctor told you that you would need reading glasses in 10 years. Did that happen? Do you have a bunch of gray hairs? Last Christmas I found my first gray hair and I decided to just leave it there. Proudly I go on with one gray hair right in front of my head. I would not blame myself if I started dying it though.

Otherwise, my 28 year old body feels pretty good. Recently, I realized that my back pain was a real problem and I needed to shape up. Pilates has been good for me and I actually grew an inch this year, probably based entirely on stretching and correct posture. This is the year I was diagnosed with my meat allergy. It is also the year I had to get over my fear of needles.

I think 28 years on this planet have really made me realize how little I know and how much I am still learning about myself. I spent a lot of time in the past year learning about me. I am strong. I am independent. I cherish my solitude and value opportunities to use creativity. I am happiest reading a book, sewing, and cooking (or eating). My friends are my family. I never grow tired of snuggling with my love and my fuzzy cat. I learned to lean a little bit more on Derek this year and act as more of a rock for him when he needs me. Every year our relationship amazes me a little bit more. I love that man.

This has been the year of quilting and sewing. I found a community both on the internet and in person that gives me such strength. This has made me realize that we find our own neighborhoods in this world and that this is okay. There is a world where I BELONG.

Hey future Sarah be cool. Don't lose your sense of wonder, don't forget to find the adventure, don't stop being goofy, and don't forget to wait for the right idea. It will come. Remember home is with your family, not a place.

Love yourself. Always.


Cheers if you made it this far! I am off to the mountains for a little (majorly exciting) Sew South reunion. It is going to be a weekend full of awesome people, wine, sewing, and, maybe, productivity. I am going to try to take pictures. Follow me on Instagram (stitchingandbacon) for the play by play.

PS - This post was inspired by this post and surely some other birthday letters I have read on the great internets.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tree Trivet Tutorial [Christmas in July Sewing Challenge]

Happy Christmas in July!

For my tutorial in the Christmas in July Challenge, Chrissy from Sew Lux Fabrics sent me these gorgeous new prints from the Aspen Frost Line by Basic Grey (this exact fat quarter pack is on sale for 10% off right now, no coupon code needed). I LOVE this line. It is the perfect mix of scales and those low volume stripes, musical notes, and snowmen...

For my tutorial, I decided to go with something I wanted to use and give this Christmas. It has to be fast, because (real talk) no matter how much I plan ahead, I will forget someone and I need a go to present I can whip up in 20 minutes. Also, I live in a tiny little house. Teeny tiny (like 900 square feet tiny). In my teeny tiny house, we have this tiny little dining room table. I do not let that stop me from making huge dinners and inviting people over to share them! My table can't really hold a table runner and all of the food and plates.

So, how to get decorative without a huge table runner?

Some sweet little Christmas Tree Trivets.

I imagine using these all Christmas season. When they are on the table, they look so cute waiting for your warm dishes. After dinner,  you hang them up and they are beautiful seasonal decor!

A set of trivets would make great hostess gifts or would look fantastic along with a plate of cookies as a Christmas gift for a neighbor or friend. They come together really quickly and are a great way to show off adorable Christmas fabrics.

There is some really simple paper piecing for this pattern. Don't worry if you have never done paper piecing, because this project would be great for getting your feet wet. I will walk you through it.

Christmas Tree Trivet Tutorial
(This tutorial makes 1 tree trivet. I made a bunch to give out this Christmas quickly by cutting out the materials for a couple at a time)

Use 1/4" seams, unless otherwise noted

Pattern Pieces (download HERE)
Rotary Cutter/Mat/Ruler
Fabric Scissors and Paper Scissors
Coordinating Thread
Marking Tool (I like the Frixxon pen)
Washable Glue stick (optional, but useful)
Turning/Pointing Tool (optional, but useful)
Walking Foot (optional, but useful)
Add-a-Quarter Ruler (really, really optional)

I started with an eight pack of Fat Quarters of Apen Frost by Basic Grey for Moda from Sew Lux. Each trivet takes about a fat quarter of fabric total (so you could make at least 8 trivets with this fat quarter pack, but I bet you could squeeze out more).

Cut - 
1 - 7.5" x 9.5" piece of Insul-bright (regular cotton batting would work too, but be a little less insulating for your table)
1 - 7.5" x 9.5" piece of fabric for back (I would hold off cutting this until you have your pattern pieces for less waste)
1 - 1.5"x 4" rectangle for hanging loop (optional, could also use a 4" long piece of ribbon for a couple of these I used the fabric selvedge)
1 - 5" x 2" rectangle for trunk
1 - 9" x 4" piece of fabric for bottom of tree body (labeled 2 on tree pattern)
1 - 6" x 3.5" piece of fabric for middle of tree body (labeled 1 on tree pattern)
1 - 3.5" x 4" piece of fabric for top of tree body (labeled 3 on tree pattern)

Download and print the pattern pieces. There will be two sheets. Make sure to set your printer to scale 100%. Cut out the pattern pieces. You should have three pieces (Tree Body, Trunk, and Tree Back). You will need one copy of the tree body for each trivet, but you can reuse the pieces to cut the trunk and back multiple times.

Hanging Loop (Optional)

2. Using 1.5" x 4" rectangle, fold long (4" side) raw edges in 1/4" and press.

3. Fold these edges in to meet each other and press in half.

4. Topstitch along folded in edges, as close to the edge as you can comfortably. Then, topstitch along fold. This will be your hanging loop.

Tree Back and Insulation

1. Using your Tree Back pattern piece, cut one tree back from your chosen backing fabric and one from  Insul-bright. I like to use my marking pen to trace the pattern on the fabric and batting and then cut on my marked lines (I use a combination of rotary cutter and fabric scissors for this step).

2. Position backing fabric on top of batting, align edges. Set this aside.

Tree Front

1. Cut 1 trunk using the trunk pattern piece and 5"x 2" rectangle.

2. Position the 6"x 3.5" rectangle on the tree body pattern piece so the fabric overlaps at least 1/4" on all sides of the paper and the section labeled "1" on the tree. Using your glue stick, attach the fabric to the pattern piece with just a dab of glue. Make sure the right side of the fabric is facing away from the printed side of the pattern piece and the fabric hangs over the lines.

3. I trim my seams at this stage. Between the sections labeled "1" and "2" fold the paper along the line (not the fabric, just the paper).

4. Using the add a quarter ruler or a regular acrylic ruler trim the fabric to 1/4" away from the fold. Unfold the paper.

5. Position the 9" x 4" rectangle of fabric centered along the raw edge you just trimmed, right sides together. Make sure that when the fabric flips down it will cover the bottom of the paper.

6. Adjust your sewing machines stitch length to slightly shorter (on my machine the stitch length is 1). Sew through the paper attaching the two fabric pieces, following the line.

7. Unfold the fabric and press seam open, either with your finger or a dry iron.

8. Follow steps 3-7 to attach the top of the tree (section labeled "3" on the pattern piece). This time you are folding the line between sections 1 and 3 and trimming that side of the fabric. Use the remaining rectangle (3.5" x 4") for this section.

9. Using a hot iron, press the tree body (I turn the steam back on at this point).

10. Trim the tree along the pattern edges. You now have a triangle shape.

11. Remove the papers carefully. The narrow stitch length should keep you from ripping out your seams.

12. Fold tree body in half and finger press and fold trunk in half and finger press (see photos here).

13. Align the two center folds and pin right sides together.

14. Lengthen your stitch back to normal. Sew the trunk onto the tree (using 1/4" seam is very important here).

15. Press this seam down towards the trunk. This is important!

Making the Trivet

1. Line up up front of trivet and back of trivet/batting, right sides of fabric together. Batting facing outwards.

2. Position loop so both raw edges of tab are aligned, facing the seam and the loop is facing the inside of the tree. I leave the loop placement up to you. I like it towards the top of the tree. Pin loop in place.

3. Using your walking foot (optional, I forgot in this picture and it was fine) stitch around the tree using a 1/4" seam leaving an approximately 3" opening in the trunk for turning.

4. Trim all of the corners, be careful to not clip into the seam.

5. At the right angles between the tree and the trunk clip, trimming out tiny triangles if you can.

6. Turn the tree right sides out. Use your pointy turning tool if you have one, to push those corners out.

7. Press the tree well. At the opening in the trunk fold the raw edges in 1/4" and pin.

8. Using walking foot, top stitch all around the tree as close to the edge as you are comfortable. This should close up the opening at the bottom.

9. At this point, I like to add some quilting to the trivet. This is really just decorative. My favorite is the garland quilting, which I just do with my walking foot and some improvised curves. Quilting along the seams looks super cute too.

10. You have a Tree Trivet. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you make something for the contest, there are some terrific prizes up for grabs, just for starting your Christmas sewing early. It has been my pleasure to share with you today!

Don't miss these terrific tutorials.

Christmas In July Challenge Schedule

July 8 – Christen, Love by Hand

July 10 – Sarah, Stitching & Bacon

July 15 – Kelly, Kelby Sews

July 17 – Lyanna, Purple Panda Quilts

July 22 – Tessa, The Sewing Chick

July 24 – Kristen, KD Quilts

Don't forget to start and finish your own holiday sewing project to link up July 26-30 for a chance to win one of three amazing prize packs from these amazing sponsors!

Grand Prize

$40 gift certificate to Sew Lux Fabric
Pearle Cotton Sampler from Sew Lux Fabric
3 Sewing Prints from Pen & Paint
Paloma FQ bundle from Dear Stella
1 pattern from LBG Studio

Second Prize

FQ Bundle from Michael Miller
2 sewing prints from Pen & Paint
Pearle Cotton Sampler from Sew Lux Fabric
1 pattern from LBG Studio

Third Prize

Havana FQ Bundle from Monaluna
1 sewing print from Pen & Paint
Pearle Cotton Sampler from Sew Lux Fabric

Winners will be selected by the judges, which will consist of all of the bloggers plus Chrissy from Sew Lux Fabric. Entries will close on Tuesday, July 30 and winners will be announced on Friday, August 1. 

Check out this post at  Love By Hand for more details, but you do not need a blog and your sewing can be anything you have made in the month of July to get ahead on Christmas sewing.