Thursday, January 24, 2008

Survival Tote

My mom requested a bag to hold her crochet projects a long time ago. We were a bit sidetracked by her illness. She didn't have the want or the energy to crochet, knit or paint - the things she usually passes her days with. After six chemo cycles, she has been deemed "cured". Cured from ovarian cancer. I couldn't be more relieved, happy and so so proud of her. I don't think she complained once to me over the phone or during any of my visits. She was herself, just a little more downshifted.

It's nice to have her back. She was overjoyed when she called to tell me the good news of not having to continue anymore treatments. Her body had had enough.

So, I remembered I promised her a project tote for her crafting and I thought the only appropriate color to incorporate would be the ovarian cancer blue. A nice soft turquoise. The bag is inspired by Purl Bee's The Un-Paper Bag.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Hand Made" Quilt

I think this is the first time I've finished a project and felt proud. I've felt accomplished, relieved, frustrated amongst other emotions, but I've never felt so proud. This was a big hurdle for me to overcome. I have always been slightly terrified of the needle and thread. Never knowing how something so simple worked.

More pics here. (Still having some issues with uploading photos on Blogger. Maybe not patient enough.)

No, it's not the most beautiful quilt in the whole world, but I handpieced it and handquilted it. I'm a proud mom. I took the Quiltmaking By Hand class at Purl Patchwork back in Nov/Dec and just finished this little 24"x24" guy tonight. I held it up and was so happy to see that I could actually do some (very mediocre) handquilting. It is definitely not a hard concept, but wow is it hard to perfect. As my teacher said, you just have to practice and quilt for miles to get it the way you want it.

You can see how it's completely unplanned. The four center squares are what I finished in class, and I was anxious to get started on the quilting. So, I just threw the corners in with some much-too-large tan pieces, basted and marked with a hera marker. That hera marker... now that's an awesome invention.

I started quilting with whatever it was I bought for the class. Some cheap stuff I bought at Joann's on sale. Well, I'm here to tell you it makes a difference. Get some good waxed cotton, because the thread will break. And get some good needles. I broke, more like snapped violently, 3 needles within the first two rows before getting online and doing some google searches on "best hand quilting needles". I found some Jean S. Lyle needles on Rose Rushbrooke's site and am still using the first one I pulled out. They are brilliant. I bought the size 10's and 11's with the big eye.

Then, after a little frustration with my basic quilting hoop, I decided to invest in a lap hoop from Hinterberg Design and it's been sitting on my lap every night since.

I highly recommend this whole process. It's like getting back to your roots.

The Diamond Life on a Rhinestone Budget

I caught a Martha Stewart Living show where she made Dog Diamond Necklaces for her cute little Frenchies, Francesca and Sharkey. I couldn't leave my Brigitte out of all the fun. I went to straight to the Martha Stewart site and checked out what I needed.

I was excited to see M&J Trimming as the source, so I hot-footed it over there and was SHOCKED at the prices on their rhinestone dangle trim. The first few boxes I picked up were around $60-$80 a yard. I love Brigitte, but seriously?

I quickly re-thought the supplies I would need and settled on half a yard of $10 rhinestone dangle trim, and some 1/2 inch pink grosgrain ribbon. I rummaged through my junk drawer and found some of those snaps... the Final Damage, only $22.

I followed Martha's instructions on folding the ends of the ribbon, and attaching the snaps. I sewed the rhinestone dangle trim to some soft cotton flannel, I already had, cut to the same size as the ribbon. I figured that's what would be touching her, so I wanted to make sure it would be soft and to also give the necklace a little body.

Then, I sewed that piece to the ribbon using a decorative stitch. I picked a doggy stitch since it would be showing on the outside of the ribbon. Skipping the whole rhinestone trim on the ribbon saved a lot of money.

More snapshots here.

Unfortunately, I went onto the M&J Trimming site and I couldn't find the exact trim I got. But, the beaded dangle trim would probably be just as glamorous.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Bernina, The Exhibitionist

My beautiful Bernina has been naked since I brought her home. She came with a carrying case, but no simple cover. She's been bare through this cold winter. So I thought I'd make her a nice little outfit.

Though Swiss, I thought something more simple in design... more Japanese would suit her best. She's not a complicated female; she does her one and only job very well.

My very first sewing original :) No pattern used. Just measured, cut, embroidered and sewed.

I used 100% cotton canvas, and wasn't planning on anything decorative. But after cutting out all the pieces it looked a bit plain. Simple, I like. Plain, not so much. So I thought about applique, then settled on embroidery since I didn't want anything too fussy.

After sifting through my jars of embroidery thread and crewel wool, my Habu jar peeked out from behind and beckoned me. I had forgotten I had all these goodies from their last year's sale! I used the peach 100% silk, the cement linen/wool, and grey 100% wool. I don't embroider very much, and enjoyed it even though it's a bit time consuming. Whipped out my compass, drew some circles randomly and voila.

After I had sewn the pieces together, I had forgotten about the raw edges that would be left at the bottom. I had some Nani Iro binding tucked away from a sale and sewed that onto the bottom.

Yay - she's fully clothed now.