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A while ago I got this great idea to match my son’s bear’s quilt and make a bigger version for my son using the same bright, sassy material that I did when I made this favorite bear a small lap quilt.

Little man!

Ahhh…look how little he was! Well, he’s not so little any more. He’s in first grade and learning to read. He runs races and loves to play air drums. He’s now lost 3 teeth and is pretty darn tall.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Still silly…

Yea….he’s a ham alright.

He’s been patiently waiting for me to get off my duff and get this quilt finished. In April of 2011, I got the rest of the material needed to finish the project but you know how life is. You promise yourself to finish something and then POOF! You have a million and one things to do that take priority.

Since then my boyfriend and elementary school best friend moved in with us. The addition of his things to our already busy household meant that my sewing machine was unplugged and covered up for storage. I haven’t sat down to quilt in ages.

But last month we decided to take a trip up to our family cabin and spend some time in the simplistic, slow pace of Big Bear . I took up my sewing machine, determined to get some more work done on that damn quilt top.

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Low and behold, the machine came out and I got down to sewing.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

But that didn’t last long. As I was settling into my routine and sewing down the quilt top to the batting and the backing, I heard The Guy call to me. He wanted me to join him. Of course, just when I am on a roll!

And then this happened…

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Ok so I can’t complain about being interrupted from my sewing when I get surprised with an engagement! The Guy had been super sneaky and jumpy that morning. Little did I know he was planning to propose to me that weekend. He did a fine job and we’re happily trudging through the beginning steps of the planning a wedding for June.

This also means that the quilt has gone back into storage to be finished another time. Maybe when we have more space or when I have a craft room all to myself I’ll be able to pull my machine back out to finish this darn thing. Or maybe when I’m so stressed out over invitations and seating charts for the Big Day, I’ll just whip out the machine and sew away my frustrations.

But I plan to finish this quilt in 2013. My son deserves it and I want him to have it before it’s too cool to have a quilt that matches one his teddy bear has.

Bear's Quilt

Bear’s Quilt

On Friday while I was whittling away my time before the end of the work day, I was directed to a blog called ReFashionista. Within a few posts, I was hooked! I couldn’t stop reading along with the adventures of this young, creative woman and her journey to recreate fashion one piece at a time.

Her bravery to chop and take-in clothing to not only improve but to fit her own personal style was really addicting to read about. So addicting I decided to take it a step further and try my hand at refashioning some of my own clothing.

This dress has a past. I bought it at a Gap outlet some years ago. I loved the layering and the gradient change in color from a light pinkish off-white to a deep magenta.

What I didn’t pay attention to was the straps. The damn things were twisted and torn. So I decided I couldn’t let a good piece go unused and attached some elastic straps to make due. Sadly, the tank-top had very little to attach new straps to (as this picture so badly demonstrates). It made the dress look like I had done a half-assed attempt to poorly fix something.

Bad straps, bad!

But wore it I did. Loved the flow of this dress and the fact that it was casual enough for a day by the pool but dressy enough that with a sweater and jewelry, I could wear it out to dinner on a date night.

Pre-cut dress

But after awhile I just hated those straps and my bad attempt at fixing them. So away went the dress.

That was until I read the ReFashionista blog and realized this dress had potential as a skirt! A nice longish flowy one! And I’m all about simple pieces I can slip into and top with a solid shirt or tank-top.

Snip, snip.

I had a little time in between my race Saturday morning and a playdate for my son to make some quick changes to this dress so that I could wear it out and about. With my sewing shears, I snipped away the top right at the elastic that made up the empire waist line.

All done cutting!

I left a smidge of material right along the elastic so that nothing would fray. I literally had minutes to do this so I consider this project only half way done. My intention is to come back and adjust the size and add a proper elastic waistband.

And voila! A skirt was born! Not too shabby for a simple snip! No more horrid straps and now I can wear it around with whatever color top I choose. Again, it’s not complete, I wanna go back and adjust the size. It’s a bit baggy on me and I don’t plan to get bigger so I bet the size will become an issue the more I run.

And with the addition of a proper waistband, I’ll lose a little length which doesn’t bother me. I kinda like the length on this one.

My first attempt at taking something I already own and repurposing it into something new to wear was successful. And by successful I mean that not only could I wear it out and about comfortably but I got compliments on it left and right. And I couldn’t help but blurt out that it was once a dress! Ha! Take that!

 

While I may not be sewing much these days, I am still working on adding to my fabric stash so lovingly stored in the corner of my craft room. I’m always keeping an eye out for new bundles and sets to fill those color gaps here and there.

So even though my son’s quilt is still hanging out in the middle of my room, undone and about 85% of the way finished, I’m buying new bits and babbles to build up my stash. Maybe it’s some subconscious way to get me into my craft room where I’ll be reminded that “HEY!! You have some projects that need to be finished!!!”

Or maybe it’s my way of continuing to avoid all these half-done quilts and side projects lying around.

Either way, I pulled together some nice little additions to my growing collection of unused fabric waiting their turn to become something bigger. This here is a layer cake for Moda called Circa 1934 by Cosmo Cricket. I like the vintage feel and the neutral colors with that punch of red.

Then I went ahead and picked up these bundles by Robert Kaufman to fill in any neutral or solid gaps in my rather expanding collection. I love these bundles of gradient colors and find it really hard to pull them apart. But I have and I will once I get in mind what I want to do with them.

I have a book in my collection my mom passed on to me years ago called It’s Okay If You Sit On My Quilt. It’s by Mary Ellen Hopkins and I have used it before. Now I felt that while the book made the steps simple to sew together two fat quarter cuts of fabric and create little squares in an easy manner, the squares were too small for me to work with in my beginner stages. But I’m starting to feel the pull with these bundles to pair the individual pieces up and sew them together so that I can make a quilt using her patterns.

We’ll see… I have so many works in progress that I feel slightly stupid to even consider a new one.

But it can’t hurt, right?

 

Crafty Corner: After

This past weekend was gorgeous. The sun was out and the sky was clear. It honestly felt like summer had come early. My son and I even got a little sun kissed from being outside while he rode his bike.

While my son rode his bike back and forth along the hot pavement, I took some me-time to work on my crafty corner. Yeah, that old thing was still a mess even though I had made some small improvements by moving out the wire shelves. But that was it. I had actually done very little.

But the day was warm and the neighbors were working on the clutter in their garage. Their energy must have been contagious because I quickly began to work on my room and soon I had all my stamping and papercraft buckets lined along the wall and my sewing table had been mostly cleared. With this little change the room opened up and seemed a little more manageable.

Then I went to work on the sewing table and the corner where I hold all my material. I cleared away the things that didn’t belong on my machine table and picked up some scraps and trash. Soon it was starting to look more usable and not just a storage corner for all things crafty.

While I was working, I found some small strips of material cut for a project I had long forgotten. They were from a Moda pack I had pulled apart for a disaster of a project for my son’s teachers last year.

Well now, aren’t these colors great together? I thought so too. After the table was de-cluttered, I sat down with some blue thread and quickly stitched the strips together. Once I was done, I put them to the side and wondered what else I could sew together while I sat here.

That’s when I saw the remaining Lollipop Moda stack sitting there unused. These were meant to be mug rugs but that project went nowhere and I officially stopped sewing because of the frustration over those guys not coming together.

So I grabbed two and sewed them together.

Just like that, I was quietly grabbing two squares at a time without much thought to the combinations or any pattern and I was sewing little pairs of fabric.

What will I do with this? No clue. But I felt like I was taking back a little of what I had lost. A sense of forward motion, some creativity, and that feeling of togetherness. Maybe of completion? Not sure yet but there is something positive about taking things that are just sitting around and putting them together and working toward a final destination.

I did a few pairs and then was called outside to witness a “Bike Parade”. My son and his friends were all set up with chairs for the audience and players were chosen to ride for the crowd in a procession fit for a king. They were giggling and being silly, wearing cookie costumes and wildly yelling as they rode by.

It was a good weekend.

Ok, let’s be honest here, I have an extremely wild case of sewing ADD. I start things and never finish them. I have a list a mile long of projects I’ve started but haven’t completed or projects I’d like to start. Most of them are in a corner, collecting dust as we speak.

Maybe I just need to create a wish list! A list of things I wish to do when I get around to having the time.

I’m currently in the process of re-purposing my crafty corner. My son was taken down by a flu bug for a weekend and I took advantage of that time off to clean and weed out unnecessary items in my house. I’m not done yet but it was a good start.

So to add to my never ending list of things I’d wish to start, finish or consider doing in my future clean crafty corner, I’m adding an apron project.

My son loves to pretend. He’s been a dragon, a pirate, a firefighter, and a karate kid. You name it, he’s dressed up as it just to go grocery shopping. Recently, he informed me he would like to grow up and be a chef.

Now his past dream jobs have been (in no particular order) Bob The Builder, a zoologist, a veterinarian, a paleontologist,  and a dragon. While these are all still options in his opinion, chef has taken the top spot and he’s determined to learn to cook.

Tonight he’ll help me make Meatball and Spaghetti Soup from our favorite recipe site, Skinny Taste. We love this site and have a number of successful meals thanks to the simple and healthy recipes shared here.

And I figured why not re-purpose some of my material and make him a little apron? I was originally going to use this dragon material for a DIY lunch baggie project since he loved dragons and it seemed like a fun project. But that never was actualized and is still on my wish list of projects to-do.

So I went on the hunt today and found a simple apron pattern so I can consider using his dragon material for an apron if I actually turn on my machine and finish a damn project. And this Classic Apron pattern I found makes it seem like a piece of cake.

Some material I found for my little dragon

Will I end up doing this? Not sure but it’s another project on my To-Do Wish List. I’d like to think that I will one day accomplish one of my many side projects or even one of my larger quilting projects.

Either way I like to dream.

Add another one to my wish list and cross your fingers I get around to starting something crafty soon!

Crafty Corner: Before

It’s been a while since I’ve made good use of my crafting space. For months it’s waited for me to enter again and use it for sewing. As of late it’s been the catch-all corner for the clean laundry waiting to be folded and put away. It’s also become my stamping storage space. Yes storage because I’ve not been making cards or stamping lately. My son’s electronic piano sits unused and pillows rest beneath it.

It’s a mess…

The general splendor of the Crafty Corner

But since I’ve decided to buy a new machine with some of my tax refund, I’ve decided that cleaning up my corner is necessary. And sooner rather than later. The first to go will be this weird metal cubby holder. With the build in bookshelf currently holding my fabric stash in the corner, I’ll move my stamping equipment there and repurpose this metal shelf to the garage where we’ll store our shoes and rollerblades.

Stamping gear waiting for a place of their own

I plan to also repurpose a shoe cubby in my closet for my fabric stash. It’s the perfect size to fit under my cutting table and it’ll be a cheap fix. No need to buy anything new when I have storage options around the house. With the metal shelves in the garage and my stamping things on the shelves, using the shoe cubby as my fabric storage makes sense.

Or at least it does in my mind’s eye.

The hidden machine under a pile of bits and pieces

For now, this small sewing table will do just fine. Someday I’d very much like to have a proper set up for all my sewing needs. So far this is the plan for now and I’ll work on cleaning up and reorganizing the room this weekk. Crossing my fingers I can find the energy to get it done.

Time For A New Machine

Ladies and gents, it is time.

My Good Ol' Girl

Kenmore-Sears 6 stitch.

I never thought the time would come but it has. It’s time to get a new machine.

My ol’ girl is going to be shelved but never given away. Too much sentimental value to her. But I’ve realized a few things.

First, I received this machine when I was 9 years old. I’m now into my thirties and I’ve never learned how to properly use it. Because of that and 22 years of on-and-off sewing, I know I’m not using the machine to its full potential and I no longer have the guide to it. I think it would take some research to find out how to properly use this machine now that over 20 years have gone by.

Secondly, six stitches people. She has six stitches only and no walking foot. I can buy a walking foot for a model close to this one but I think it’s time to upgrade and get a machine with a little more room to grow. I mean, I’m looking at machines by Brother and Janome that have some 60, 90, over 100 stitches! And they come with the walking foot and have an additional extension board at an extra cost. I like the idea of having something with a little more space to spread my wings.

And thirdly, I’m getting a nice tax return and I’d like to buy something for myself. Why not a new sewing machine? I think a lot of my frustrations came from the lack of options with my good ol’ girl Kenmore and having the availability to do more than just 6 stitches will give me a wider range for my creativity.

So yeah, not that I need to justify my purchase but I like to see my reasons all laid out before. Funny thing is about a year or so ago I had this same thought. I wanted a new machine back in May 2011 and I just never got around to it. And about 2 months later I put away all my sewing projects and quilts for a small break. But now, almost a year later, I’m ready to pick back up again. Ready to put the needle to the fabric and sew.

Now if I could just settle on a machine. I’m leaning towards a Brother PC-420. Main reason: The ratings I’ve read on both blogs and Amazon have been good. Better than good, 5 out of 5 stars good. And while it may have more than I need, it’s within my price range and it gives me that room I’m looking for. You know, to grow and all that jazz.

Now to clean up my craft corner and get myself organized. Once that’s done and I’ve received my tax return, I hope to make the big leap from my good ol’ girl to a new machine.

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