Thursday, May 3, 2012

Abby or Lena... that is the question.

Some of you know that John and I have settled on naming the baby girl Abilene and I had just assumed we were going to call her Abby for short. Well as I was slouching on the couch the other evening John says to me "what about calling her Lena for short?" I had several thoughts run through my head within seconds. "no, were calling her Abby" " where did you get Lena from oh abiLENE" "huh, I never thought of that...what do I think of that" "well it's sooo different from Abby" "I kind of like it". All that came out of my mouth was "I don't know". Some things come with the baby and nicknames are definitely one of them. But I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Maybe it's my tendency to plan things in advance or maybe it's just because my brain is on baby stuff. Either way I'd like to know what you think. So share your thoughts...Abby or Lena???

I did put together some things last week for said girl. I made two coordinating sheets for her crib. I use Dana"s pattern from MADE, which you can find here. I love making crib sheets and only wish i had know how simple it was sooner. Buying boring or baby looking sheets is just no fun and so for the same price (or way cheaper if you've got a coupon) you can make you own out of cotton, flannel or knit.

Both of these are cotton and I found the fabric at Joann's. They came together real simply. Just a little udder 2 yds of fabric and 80 inch of 1/4 inch elastic.

I also whipped out (..up...out..??) this gauze blanket, mentioned here. I had gotten some really cute gauze fabric from in order to make some gauze swaddle blankets. Here is one of the fabrics I got.

I also love how easy and cost effective this was. It only takes a yard and 1/4, or a 45 inch square to be exact. So at $3.99 a yd it only cost about $5 bucks.

To finish off the edges I just did a double fold hem and straight stitched it. When I got to the corners I just folded one down onto the other so I didn't have to worry about being too fancy.

After I washed it up and was so soft and wrinkly I just love it!!! Can't wait to swaddle the little cutie in this cute blanket... 13 (to 15) weeks left and counting down.

Until next time...


Monday, April 30, 2012

30 days has september, APRIL...

Well, it is the last day of April, and I can't figure out where the entire month went!

I have been doing everything BUT sewing!  The bloggy girls (plus one) all got together to sew last Monday night and it had been awhile...there was much talking, much laughing...and a little bit of sewing.

I'm working on a fun primary colors quilt, with some airplane fabric you may remember...

I think when it is finished it's gonna end up on this cute guy's new bunk bed!

I'm using a "pattern" from my favorite quilter/blogger, Allison, at Cluck Cluck Sew.  It's based on a quilt she did for her son...basic stack and whack blocks...check it's pretty easy.  I'll let you know if/when I make any progress on it!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tutorial Fail

Well.. you win some, you lose some... right?! Last time I posted I wrote about this awesome Weekender bag, here, and decided I could make the instructions way easier and have an inspired tutorial. Turns out, it was basically a glorified tote bag. When I was done I decided if I was ever going to make this again I would do it way differently and cut down the time involved by 4 hours. Therefore, no tutorial as was previously promised.

Reviewing the original tutorial did not give me any insights as to why I am so unhappy with the results, other than I think my expectations were too high. I did use the bag on my vacation to Oregon to hold fabric and sewing stuff... I will not let my time go to waste :) But alas, no pictures.

I did however find a backing for my Cal King quilt, sneak peeked here. I was looking for something that could be all one fabric but I would like looking at if I wanted to reverse it on my bed. I like change and rearranging furniture occurs frequently in my house. Since there aren't a lot of options for how to arrange my bedroom the ability to change the look of the bed is very appealing. I settled on Valori Wells' Wrenly Wren in Gypsy, pictured below:

It picks up all the colors on the flip side of my quilt but is also very different (which is good for the changing of the bed). I first saw it at the Stichin' Post in Sisters, OR while on vacation but found it on for a way better price plus free shipping (bonus). I only feel slightly bad because the Stichin Post is owned by Valori Wells' mom, Jean Wells. But not bad enough to dish out the extra cash. I have decided to get it quilted by a local quilter so that it looks extra awesome. I will definitely show you when it's done.

While at I also found some super cute patterned gauze which I plan on turning into swaddling blankets inspired by MADE. Check back next week for the finished project!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fat Tuesday's busy Tuesday

Sorry folks, this has been a crazy week leading up to an even crazier week, (i.e. mostly stay at home mom suddenly begins working three full days a week without giving up any of her normal "stay-at-home mom" busyness), so I'm so sorry to say it, but this post is not in the cards for me this week. You'll have to make due with a slightly blurry photo of the Easter skirt in full bounce down the hallway. Ta-ta for now!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

little (huge, actually) drummer boy

This is the closest I will come to a tutorial in the near future.  Get ready!

Marshall practicing his paradiddles

So, music has been on my mind lately, and even more in my day to day schedule.  I love playing for musicals, and I got the opportunity to play for the upcoming show at Hilltop High School.  Come to think of it, I'm not just playing piano for it, I'm the musical director (oooh! aaaah!) for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  That's the name of the show...I'm not playing the piano during an actual spelling bee.
As the musical director, I get to assemble a pit orchestra, and luckily for me, this show only has parts for about six other players.  I was able to find them all, and we have a really great sounding orchestra.  A key component to that group is our drummer, none other than the...(drumroll please....) Chris Holz - my lovely husband! read that right.  He's our drummer, and he's great!
For his world premier debut as a professional drummer, he had to get some gear (check!) and he also needed me to sew him a little somethinsomethin.  What did I make for him?  An animal print spandex onesie for all his 80's rock gigs?  A grunge rock headband with hair extensions?

A stick bag.  To keep all of his drum sticks, mallets, music, and (as every good musician knows) pencils.

This is what I started with:

 The grey material was the bottom of a set of Ikea curtains that came wayyyyyy too long that I chopped off.  It's a canvas material.  Very masculine.
Some airplane fabric that I wanted to use as an accent.  Didn't use it.
A package of red bias tape.
Extra bonus: the curtain tie backs, which I turned into the straps for the bag!

 one of the tie backs, cut in half
one edge was finished (hemmed) and
one edge was not.

ENTER: bias tape!  
(below, you can see both edges.  I wanted to get rid of that raw edge on top)

 Ironing the bias tape around the edge you want to use it on is a must!
The only other time I tried bias tape I was frustrated because it was very wiley and didn't like staying in one place.  I don't think I  ironed it.  I was impatient and just wanted to finish good.  It didn't want to stay under my presser foot when it was time to sew.  
THIS time, the iron made everything different.  I didn't even have to pin it!

 bias tape sewed onto raw edge = no more raw edge
this was a breakthrough for me, folks.

Construction: I basically made a big flat bag with one big pocket all across the middle, which I then separated into different sized pockets.  Not rocket science here.  Then the "bag" really just folds up the middle and ties to close.  He's not traveling great distances with it.  It's basically going from gig to gig, and he also wanted it to hang on one of the drums (the floor tom) so he could access different sticks mid-song(common occurrence in musicals).

I made the bag a bit too big, as all his sticks fit on one side of the bag, but then I realized I could make the other side just for music and pencils!  Isn't it lovely?

The pencil slots were just a ribbon sewn into a loop, then sewn down to the bag through the middle of the loop, making two slots for a pencil.  And to make sure they won't fall out, I made them semi-tight, and with two anchor points, they're not going to just slide out.  Kind of an after thought, but a darn good one!

left side

 right side

cute little drummer boy 
(phone picture = blurry)

All in all, the project took about an hour, and I didn't have to go to the store AT ALL, from conception to completion.  So I was quite impressed with myself.  Chris likes it too.  But he did tell me he wants me to find a pattern for a leopard print unitard. :)  I'll keep everyone posted on that.

p.s. if you made it this far, you deserve a round of applause!
p.p.s. come see the show!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fat Tuesday's T-Shirt Quilt

I used to like the idea of a t-shirt quilt. I've been saving these t-shirts since I was little....I have shirts in here that I've had since I was nine ( I won't say how long that is, but it's over twenty years by a decent bit...).  They've moved around with me from place to place; quite honestly by the time I got around to it I was kind of over it. 

I cut them into pieces about two years ago, right when I started to sew and got all excited about quilting. Then other projects got in the way and my little rectangles fell by the wayside.  I almost didn't continue on it but it seemed a waste to go thru dragging those t-shirts around for all this time and then do nothing with them. So sew them together I did, and look how fun it turned out! The top of course, it's not done. I need to sew on the ironed on patches and then  quilt and bind it- I'm procrastinating, I'll admit it. Actually I'm hoping that posting the top here will inspire me to finish it by next week to show y'all. It's certainly not a work of art, but it's memories and it's mine and I'm so glad I went ahead with it. Here's to being back next week to show it off!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fat Tuesday's Easter 2012!

Annnd, done! Yay! No last minute Easter eve sewing for hurried stressing... Well, that last part is not true. I received one of those lovely Shutterfly coupons last week for ten free cards and I wanted to do Easter ones but those coupons only last for two days. Quite honestly there was quite a bit of hurried stressing. Trying to get the skirts done, shirts bought, pictures taken, and cards designed in the one day I had left by the time I noticed the coupon in my inbox- But didn't they turn out cute and summery?

(darling popsicle fabric from JoAnn Fabrics- Lisette by Liesl and Co)
 My middle child despises dressing up so I went for a little bit more toned down and casual summer in hopes that she might wear it more than once without being forced.

The patten is the Layered Skirt Tutorial by MADE- go check out her darling seersucker version on her cutie pie Lucy- ADORABLE. Super easy and fun. I will say that while you can totally do this without a serger, the serger made it so much faster/easier/bouncier. Let's hear it for sergers!

Can I just say I adore this photo and my sweet youngest trying to cram a pink plastic egg in her mouth? Good thing they have little holes in each end- she has a VERY large mouth. Look at that forehead wrinkled in concentration while she tries to get it in...
Happy Easter my readers. May it be full of remembrance, and joy, and God's love, and bouncy skirts on bouncy babies.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Anthems and Nonsense

Do you ever hear a song that sounds sort of like an anthem and even though the lyrics may be terrible it's catchy enough that the chorus kicks in and you shout it at the top of your lungs?? Well I do. There is something therapeutic about it. Almost like, no matter what it is I'm saying right now, it expresses a certain emotion, usually not at all related to the lyrics (at least for me). This week the song is We Are Young by Fun and of course they are playing it like every 5 minutes on the radio. Don't judge. If you are having trouble trying to conjure up a song you may have felt this way about a popular one is Here I Go Again on My Own by Whitesnake... although this whole tangent might apply more to those who secretly have always wanted to be a singer in a band and don't have the vocal abilities (me).

So that is not at all related to sewing but it was on my mind so I decided to share. In my sewing world this week I had some frustrations with my machine. I got all geared up to try and make this bag, The Weekender, that I pinned on Pinterest a while ago.

I got out my materials which included this brown and white decorator fabric, costume pleather, and some scraps for a possible liner which is not included in the original tutorial.

I started cutting and even though I read through the directions at least 4 times, of course I cut it wrong. 5 inches to short and not enough fabric left over to do it again :(

So I decided I would just modify it a bit. I usually count on my first try at any one pattern as being a prototype so this doesn't bother me too much. Then as I continued to read through the instructions I just felt really confused and there were no pictures to really show certain things and I like to see it not just read it, it's how I teach myself new techniques. So I just decided I would do it the best way I thought and take lots of pictures and make my own tutorial inspired by the bag.

Fast forward to me starting to sew and I can't get my tension right. ARGH! I fiddle with it for awhile, but I was also sewing at Miranda's and didn't have all of my stuff with me. So I decided the best thing for my sanity was to pack it in and finish it at home.

So tune in next week for my first ever (inspired) tutorial...


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fat Tuesday's sole other pattern...

This is it- Easter dresses (and pants) 2011 ! 
The way I got conned into doing another pattern was really quite good. It was a present. My birthday is in February and my (very brave) friend gave me two patterns and two bolts of fabric as a birthday gift. Crazy? Yes. You should never, ever, do this to someone- way too much pressure- and what if they hate the fabric? Or the pattern? UNLESS they are your very best friend and know you well enough to take raving mad risks like this. 
She was, (is,) and it was perfect.
(Mali's dress- reversible to the birds from Owen's dress on the other side)

This was for my littlest one. 
I added the little cinch up on the left because I just can't bear to
 leave well enough alone. It's outgrown now but I love the style because it can be a shirt with jeans or bloomers this summer for sure. The dots fabric is Heather Bailey's "Dream Dot" in Splash and the green pattern is from JoAnn Fabrics. I'm so sorry I don't have the name on it but it comes in a few colorways and I've used both the blue and green in various projects. The name of the bird print on the bodice of Owen's dress and inside of Mali's is Valori Wells "Nest"- BIRDS in Teal.
The patterns are both McCall's, M6058 and M6271 respectively.

(my favorite photo)
(or maybe this one- that was not posed, I swear)

Owen's skirt was a balloon skirt. SO much easier than I imagined it being. Honestly the only tricky part about sewing this was the pleats in the bodice had some very confusing directions.....  I will say that I have no idea how to make all of the wrinkles come out of the skirt and the balloon-ness of it poof up again after a can't exactly straighten it out...drycleaning? For kids clothes? Hmmm. Well thankfully I had the good sense to not wash them before Easter.

(except that this one makes me laugh)

Keler's pants are some light green stripey twill from JoAnn Fabrics, I think they still carry it, the pattern is Dana's "Kid Pants" from Made. I love that pattern, use it for everything- especialy shorts. Thanks Dana! The shirt was two season's ago Gymboree.

(My three babes- Mali tearstained but smiling after some rather excellent brother snuggling)

All in all, quite the success, even if Mali's headband is too wide and makes her look balder than usual, (maybe that's why she was crying?). 

(If I did it again I would cut down the width and length of the ties, maybe even just use ribbon?)

Check back Tuesday for this year's skirts and a little bit more hair on everyone!
Happy Easter sewing out there....

Monday, March 26, 2012

Green Blue Yellow...tied

***CLARIFICATION***  If you love our blog, and keep reading into the post below mine, please note that I didn't write it!  We have 4 authors on this blog, and the author of the previous post ("Let's Hear It For The Girl") is Holly (see sidebar), who is pregnant with a girl.  I, Melody, may or may not be having a girl, but we won't find out the gender until our ultrasound in May.  Don't worry, I'll let you guys know when that happens...  :)
I got a few texts/messages today congratulating me on "the girl"...I will be passing those congrats on to Holly!
Ok, keep reading the real post...

***  ***

So, I've been a bad blogger lately.  I was absent last week, and for all intents and purposes, my sewing machine hasn't seen much of me either.  So...bad blogger, bad sewer.  Not sure what it is, but it could be just the ups and downs of having a hobby.  A hobby you can take and leave as you want, but when you have prescribed date to check in with the blogging world, then sometimes the rate at which you do your hobby and the rate at which you write about your hobby don't exactly match up.

Well... I did finish the blue/green/yellow quilt for my brother, and I'll show you!

tying the quilt -
i used yellow embroidery thread to match the center diamonds
whole quilt -
i wrapped the back around to the front for a 3 inch "binding".  (call me a cheater)
close up of the tying.
square knots.

All folded up and ready to deliver to Adrian!

Hope he likes this labor of love from my Grandma and me!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lets Hear it for the Girl!!

So last week I found out I was having a girl and I am oh so very excited!!! Besides all of the clothes I want to sew and freezer stencil for her I am also looking forward to sewing everything for her nursery/blanket needs. If you recall last October, Miranda and sold some of our handmade items at Oktoberfest. One of the things I had made on a whim one day was this precious baby "quilt". I put quotations around that because technically a quilt is fabric sandwiching padding and sewn together. Well I sewed my pieced top straight onto fleece with no padding. I wanted to give it a more comfy baby feeling. When I was done I had fallen in love with it and at the time (not pregnant) wanted to keep it for myself on the off chance I ever had another baby and it would be a girl. But that seemed silly. Well no one has purchased said quilt and now pregnant with a girl, it is all mine!!!

The lighting doesn't do the colors justice, but it is shades of green, turquoise and taupe with hints of yellow.
The design is a basic subway pattern but I added fours scattered square blocks throughout of bigger patterns to help break up the straight lines. Some of the fabric came from fat quarters from Joann's, but a few of the other scraps came from a scrap bag I purchased last summer at the Sisters out door quilt show and just to name drop the scrap bag was from Valori Wells' studio (so I was told). I also have some scraps that came from a shirt my mom made last summer and a blanket I made for a friend last year with fabric purchased from the Stitchin Post in Bend, OR. So there are many cool memories linked to this quilt and I think I was just meant to keep it.

Something else I did differently on this quilt, besides the fleece backing, was to use ribbon binding. I typically make my own binding and hand sew it on, but I wanted to try something new and knowing it was a baby blanket I have always like the texture and look of ribbon edging.

Lastly, this is a photo of some flannel from Joann's I randomly picked up several months ago. Flannel was on sale, I saw this, loved it and bought 2 yards...ha ha. Not only is it really cute and has birds... but the greens and blues and taupe match perfectly with the above blanket. I think my nursery is decorating itself. Now what to make with this.. a crib sheet? a self binding flannel blanket? Something else entirely?

What do you think??

See you next week!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fat Tuesday sewed a pattern

(and she kicked and screamed and only did it one more time ever)...

Easter is coming y'all! Remembrance of the greatest gift ever given, the annual Smith egg hunt.....and new dresses! Well here is my first attempt, (two years ago), at an Easter dress to get you in the mood to sew something for the little one's in your life...
This was my second sewing project ever. It's a "See & Sew" pattern #B5198. It was a bear to sew. I'm not sure if it was the pattern or just that I was so new to sewing in general but it seemed excessively hard at the time.

(PS- check out that wrist chub- she slays me. I'm so in love)

 It's supposed to have a zipper but I fell for these buttons so I adjusted it a bit for elastic loops and buttons instead...
In retrospect I should have used a solid fabric, it turned out way too busy for my taste even with the seemingly simple pattern. I like the bright springiness of it, but it seems a bit overwhelming.

So there you have it- dress, bag, and headband (way too scrunchy- live and learn) all made by Mama for my first girl on her second easter. (And for the record the things she's double fisting are grapes and strawberries- a treat but not one to make a kid go crazy in church, just one to make Mama stress about the dress and strawberry juice...).

I'll be back next week with last years dresses for both my girls (and a pair of pants for the boy!), and the week after that with this years skirts.  Happy dress making folks- 

Monday, March 19, 2012


 Awhile back, I wrote a post about some different projects I had coming up, and I've made a bit of progress on a quilt for my brother.  Now, my grandma had made him a quilt that he has loved and cherished, so much so that it is worn to pieces, beyond repair.  He asked her to make him another, and she agreed (!), with the understanding that I would help her piece it together during her visit to our neck of the woods.  Well, she was out here for a month, and with all the visiting, cooking, baking, and lounging in the sun, we didn't quite get the quilt finished.  So as she left, she passed along the project to me.  I told my brother I'd finish it as my birthday present to him...I mean, he's my brother, I'm not going to be nice just BECAUSE. :) my sewing room (read: garage workshop that I share with my husbands tools and new drumset...story on that later), I've been piecing together the last of these blocks!

right sides together

the big block, comprised of four blocks
big block is 17" square
each small block began as a 9" block
diagonal scrappy strips sewn on to a backing piece (scrap)

picking out the fabric for the back.  
love it.  
and my brother approved it.  
and Bennett's hand is trying to touch it in the picture.  
Shopping in JoAnn's with two little ones can be challenging...

Today, I'm trying to sew all the rows together, with sashing in between, and then get it all pinned together tomorrow, so I can tie it (g'ma's preferred method of keeping the quilt sandwich together).  

A good netflix queue and a quilt to tie/bind can do wonders for the soul.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Darin' to be Squarish...

Last year I picked up this great book on modern quilts called Dare to be Square by Boo Davis. It is definitely a beginner's book, which was great, and after doing a few traditional quilts I was looking to do something different. Most of her stuff is pretty hard core and innappropriate (which I didn't know until after buying the book and googling her) so if you check out her website, fair warning it's crude. Her book, however, has more of a cute, fun approach to block-by-block quilting. Here are the couple that I made:

For my first two kids I had crocheted them baby blankets. Well... ever since stepping into the world of Quilting I have had very little desire to ever crochet a blanket again. I have picked up the hook for a couple beanies but even then I was itching to get back to my machine. So, I decided baby number 3 would get a quilt. I loved the wiener dog and it was so easy! Definitely had this done in a weekend. I decided to back it with flannel to give it a little extra coziness since quilts can take several washes before they have that wonderful worn-in soft, comfy feeling.

My 5 year old (then 4) had been asking me to make her a quilt and she really liked the Robot on page . So we headed to JoAnn's and I let her help pick out the fabric. Disregarding all my best efforts to sway her color choice she picked a green robot with a pink background and purple accents. She was even particular about the exact fabric and shade of color she chose.

I was actually surprised with how it came together and it wasn't as hideous as I imagined it would be. I added the piano key borders because I did want to make it big enough to fit on a full size bed. My daughter was very happy with it and when I finished she said "wow" and promptly asked when I was going to make her another one. HA! Got to love kids!!

I also made the bunnies from the end of the book, two of which coordinate with the blankets.

The greatest thing I learned from making these quilts was how easy it was to take a concept and make it into a design. It gave me some confidence in my ability to come up with something on my own. Since then I have made several quilts that I just sort of drew out what I wanted it to look like and took and block-by-block approach to piecing them. It's always fun to see how they turn out. I will still follow patterns when I see one I like but I definitely have gained some freedom from my desire to always follow a pattern.

Until next week....