I mentioned this project last week in one of my Sewing with Certainty link ups. It didn't turn out quite like the pattern's cover suggested it would; despite following the directions and tracing the applique images directly, the example looks more full to the frame than mine does. At first I was disappointed, but then I did the photo shoot and realized it looks much better with a little something filled in around it, so now I'm proud to gift it. My embroidery and applique came out wonderfully and I love how the colors I chose turned out together. The light blue borders coordinate with my MIL's decor since it was a gift for her (don't worry, we exchanged gifts yesterday so I'm not giving away any secrets here ; )
And here's a little side project...
This is only our second year having a tree and staying home for Christmas, and the first where we'll have company instead of driving off moments after the Santa reveal! Since we're so new at this "home for the holidays" thing, we didn't have a tree topper yet, but then the other night the girls' elves whipped up this rocket ship. I thought for sure this would be a big hit as my kids both love anything outer space, but my oldest was quick to inform me that "trees should ONLY have stars or angels" and that she hopes her elves "get it right" next year! Jeepers. Try to be creative and your four year old tells you to get right back inside the box : P
So what do you have atop your tree?? Something tried and true or more unique? Is it something you made or purchased?
I'm off to finish up doll quilts (I put a sneak peak up over here) but I promise lots of pics after the beds arrive in a few days with the grandparents : ) In the meantime, Merry Christmas and best wishes for lots of crafting goodness under your tree if you're celebrating!
This was a fun project! I saw the inspiration for these over on Squares and Triangles a few months ago, and since our youngest is always looking for new ways "I hep you, Mama!" I thought the placemats would be a perfect way for her to learn to set the table. I have a set cut out to make for our home right after Christmas, but this set will be going to her cousin who is the same age and just as interested in helping out at my brother's house.
I have to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of chevron, but I fell in love with the bright napkin print, which I used as the reverse for when grown ups set the table ; ) and this tone on tone grey worked really well as a neutral to contrast the rainbow of silverware colors. I'm hoping to have a tutorial for the placemats up right after the first of the year, so check back if you have any littles in your life who might enjoy helping out at mealtime!
I'm so excited about how this first finished Santa project of mine turned out! In the search for a way to better organize the doll clothes making an appearance under the tree next week, I found this handy doll clothing rack designed by Doug Heacock and decided it met my criteria: 1. cute, but also simple enough to construct by myself, and 2. small, but functional enough for storing and toting everything, including shoes and accessories. Doug was nice enough to send me his SketchUp file with all the numbers so it was easy to create my own pattern using his as a guide. My dad was a huge help in gathering the wood so the DH and I could quickly get it all cut and assembled in the singlee day we had to use my dad's workshop while we were visiting a few weeks ago. (We also cut everything for the Ana White Farmhouse Doll Beds that my parents are gifting, but you and I both have to wait till they arrive next weekend to see the finished product... I can't wait! The bedding is started and now I just need beds to put it on!)
Anyway, two cans of spray paint and four glass knobs later, voila! Look how nicely the clothes fit, and the knobs I added will be perfect for hanging necklaces and other small accessories. Not a particularly challenging brag, but now my girls will finally have one woodworking project I completed for them start to finish (since I only did the paint job on last year's beds and dress up storage), and I'm proud of that. As much as I love sewing and quilting, boy do I miss the good old days of middle school shop class : )
The dolls had a great time at our photo shoot showing off their new clothes! A quick shout out again for my friend, Crystal, of Oh, Juniper! who handcrafted the gorgeous Waldorf-inspired dolls that will be under the tree come Christmas morning. Four of the outfits in the picture leading the post came with the dolls, and the middle floral outfit is from The Dolly Trunk.
Above are shoes and camisoles/panties (which are standing in for a leotard with the tutus I made : ) from Dollys Favorite 1. The felt shoes are for the girls' 10" dolls (who have been fighting over the one pair of pink they already have - hence matching sets of knit pink shoes right out of the gate for the bigger dolls!); this is my second custom order from the shop and both times I've been very impressed with the quality and very fast delivery.
All three of these gorgeous dresses are from Molly's Playground - absolutely adorable and beautifully made! The shop has a huge selection of outfits and costumes, all with great details. (The doll clothes' hangers are from here.)
I have a few more Santa finishes to share over the next week, but in the meantime, back to the sewing machine. Hope you're all planning a great weekend of quilting and crafting! We're getting more precipitation (it's snowed three times already this week! yippee!) so I'm looking forward to staying warm and cozy in my studio. What are you planning? A little last minute holiday prep or fun festivities?
First of all, congratulations to Kristen of Milo and Molly who is the winner of my SMS Giveaway Day prize: a set of nine fat quarters of Angela Walters' Textures fabrics. Hope she enjoys the early Christmas present! On a side note, I peaked around her shop - tell me this little heart is not SO adorable! And she has lots of colorful infinity scarfs to covet, too....
Second of all, thank you so much to everyone who visited my site this week! I'm pretty new to blogging, so it was a wonderful boost to pull up my site and see hundreds of comments, and also to welcome new followers! I only had time to respond to a few of the great responses that were left, but I most certainly read them all. It was neat to hear what you were all looking forward to this holiday season - from kicking your feet up to flying halfway around the world to be with family. I hope everyone enjoys the downtime and delights they have in store : )
And finally, I gotta brag just a teensy bit - I'm thrilled to say I won something myself! Hopping all over Blog Land checking out the gorgeous selection of prizes and seeing so many wonderful websites that were new to me was exciting, but somewhat of a part-time job this past week - there were over 400 participants in the giveaway! I paced myself and I'm glad I did because one of the last blogs I visited yielded a great quilt I immediately pinned (I love color!) and as it turns out, I won that giveaway! I'm the proud new owner of a copy of the Polka Dot Bikini pattern by Sharon of Color Girl Quilts. I love the bright bold colors she's used and since I want to try my hand at piecing curves (the description boasts "it's much easier to piece than it looks!"), this is a great chance for me to get my feet wet. Sharon mentioned a quilt along for it next year, so look for me to post when I join up! In the meantime, if you'd like a new bikini for yourself ; ) you can find it right here on Craftsy.
Ok, now back to my machine... so many Christmas gifts underway and the clock is ticking! Here's a peak at what I'm finishing up today - training placemats for my niece. I'll post a few more shots when they're all done! (Hmm, only now that I have this pic uploaded next to the pattern above am I seeing the shape and color echoes - no wonder I love that bikini quilt, and what a weird coincidence - I picked out the placemat fabrics months ago!)
First off, if you haven't yet, jump over to my post from yesterday and enter to win my Angela Walters Textures FQs giveaway that's linked up with Sew Mama Sew's [GIANT] Giveaway Day! Hundreds of bloggers all over the web are offering up handmade items and supplies, and you have until December 13th to enter : )
<--- You could win this! Go comment to enter : )
Now for trying new things... as I've mentioned in my SWC series goals and recent post on perfection, I tend to shy away from attempting something I think I might fail at, but I also do so love taking on a challenge and experiencing something new. (Hmm, that might explain me whining all through our first year in Maine about wanting to stay put and never move again only to hit the twelve month mark and get the itch to pack, even suggesting at least moving across town since we're "stuck" here two more years. My husband was not amused, but boy did it underscore that I'm really cut out for this mobile Army wife life!)
So I'd say my approach is a bit of a dichotomy, falling somewhere from "easy peasy avoid failure" to "directions look easy enough" to "gotta get my feet wet sometime!" Some examples from my approach spectrum:
Easy Peasy Avoid Failure: You may be aware from my last SWC post that I'm afraid of zippers. Well, not using them, but sewing them. When I wanted a new skirt for summer, I scoured the internet for a wrap pattern, stumbled upon Tilly and the Buttons' Miette Skirt through an image search online, and tried my hand at my first PDF tape-it-together pattern from across the pond. It turned out gorgeous (Alexander Henry fabric <3 <3 <3), but I did learn something: I hate cutting and taping pages of PDFs, so good old fashioned paper patterns will continue to dominate my collection. (Anyone need a stocking stuffer for me?? I love these adorable pattern weights 0: )
Directions Look Easy Enough: I also recently finished my first foray into cute appliqued Christmas decorations, following Bareroots' pattern for a triptych of holiday hangers that mount on a cute little metal stand. I followed the directions to a tee only to find the finished product, while looking exactly like the cover image in regard to placement/fit of each applique on its background, is actually smaller on the metal stand than the example picture. Apparently whoever wrote the pattern made the original slightly larger and then wrote the pattern directions differently : \ It's cute, the details came out adorably, but I'm disappointed that this gift will be missing the oomph I was hoping for and will definitely need some filling in with greens when it's displayed. Again, lesson learned: hold up the measurements to the display piece (even if they're sold as a set!) before I start the project. Five minutes of enlarging on my copier and some simple math could've saved the day. (But double points for me embracing imperfection on this project!)
Gotta Get My Feet Wet Sometime!: Ironically, I've chosen the set of zipper pouches below as my project for the secret swap our quilting guild is working on, so let's hope when I dive in head first (working with someone else's fabric no less!) that I can find a great set of online tutorials to get those closures neatly inserted.
So it seems that sometimes I hunt down what I envision and find a pattern or tutorial to make it happen (hurray, Pinterest & Ana White's brag posts!), sometimes I just give it a whirl if it looks interesting and not too daunting, and sometimes I'll seek out a class to tackle a new technique instead. I remember that my first big full size quilt was made at a quilt-in-a-day class fifteen years ago. I don't have any pictures because I wasn't that fond of it complete (I used too much green!) and donated it, but I learned a lot about cutting and working efficiently that has stayed with me through the years. I tried my hand at a FMQ and paper piecing in classes taught at Quilt & Sew at Golden Threads last year, learning the basics (and that I hate paper piecing! lol). More recently I took a longarm quilting class at Cotton Weeds, and have taken a few online classes through Craftsy (they've been running some great sales and holiday specials this month if you're looking for gift ideas for a cook or crafter in your life).
We're fortunate as quilters to live in the age of YouTube, Pinterest, and blog-mania because there are so many awesome ideas and tutorials out there for anything new we want to learn, and many really talented people who get joy out of sharing their skills with others. Plus of course, wonderful people like Jess at Quilty Habit who set up these great series as a forum for us to discuss and share! Do you have a current favorite tutorial you'd like to suggest (on zippers perhaps ; )? Link it below! What new technique are you hoping to conquer in 2014?
Hi, all! I heard about Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day at the last minute, so no homemade goodness from me, but I have a set of nine fat quarters of Angela Walters Textures fabric collection up for grabs. To be entered to win, leave a comment below and tell me what you're most looking forward to this holiday season - a favorite dish, time with family, or my personal favorite: waking up to my kids' excitedly announcing "it's snowing!"
HERE'S HOW TO ENTER:
1. Leave me a comment - that't it! Easy : ) One entry per person.
2. Be sure to visit some of the other bloggers participating in Giveaway Day - last I checked, there are over 200 other giveaways out there to enter - good luck!
The drawing is open through December 13th at 5 PM PST. I'll select a winner at random and notify them via email, plus announce the winner back here on this post. Open to international shipping. Please make sure I can contact you if you win - leave an email address in your comment if you're a no reply commenter : )
******************* EDIT 12/13/13 *******************
The giveaway is closed - thanks for participating!
Apparently the early bird does get the worm! Congratulations to #5 - Kristen! (Please check your email : )
Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by for the SMS Giveaway Day and entered to win. I am thrilled that so many of you chose to participate, and even if you weren't the winner here on Berry Barn Designs, I hope that some of you were big winners elsewhere! I look forward to connecting with those of you who are new followers on Facebook, Pinterest, and Bloglovin' and I can't wait till the next Giveaway Day - my sophomore effort will be bigger and better, I promise!
Last week I was behind on blogging because my laptop bit the dust, but I'm happy to report my new one has arrived, and I can finally upload pictures and type with ease again! Now if only I could wrap my head around Windows 8... if you can recommend any wonderful tutorials or apps that would give me a leg up on this operating system, please share!
First off, congratulations to Michelle & Sarah the #2 and #9 commenters on my last giveaway post! They each won a $10 gift certificate to Westwood Acres Fabric. Hopefully it was a nice surprise in their inbox during the big black-cyber holiday shopping weekend.
Next up: Perfection. This is such an apropos topic for me. I'm a perfectionist. Often I wish I wasn't - I've been working for months to reign it in as I delve back into sewing and quilting after a long break that's left my skills rusty. It's an arduous battle : P I'm such a perfectionist that it stops me from attempting things I know I won't get right, and when things I do start go sideways, it gets me really frustrated and makes me want to give up. Once when I was in middle school, I tried sewing a really cute skirt from this green, tone on tone, swirly print that I was absolutely in love with. Everything was going swimmingly until I reached the part of the pattern that required a zipper. I hadn't sewn one before, so I asked my mom to do it for me. She suggested I give it a try first myself and left to run a quick errand. I tried. I failed. And then I cut the skirt in half and threw it in the scrap pile! Needless to say my mom was surprised and quite annoyed when she came home. Not exactly the return on her fabric investment that she'd had in mind when I started. If I had just waited a few minutes, it easily could've been pulled out and repositioned, but my perfectionism pushed my patience right out the window!
Fast forward to now... one of my goals for the SWC series was to try longarm quilting, which I did a few weeks ago. While I think the experience was amazing and overall I'm quite pleased with my very first attempt, there are a few mistakes in the quilting. Old me would've ripped them out or been devastated and given up on the project, but new me only freaked out for a minute or two, then decided it was really not a calamity and kept on going (the thought of paying $20 an hour to stop and rip stitches definitely emboldend the new me ; ) In the end, the small mistakes aren't very obvious due to the busy fabrics, they don't affect the integrity of the quilt in any way, and they're just a few lines in my story of learning and growth as I improve my longarming skills. Plus they add character to the quilt - after all, handmade is not fundamentally about mass produced engineered perfection, right? It's about thought, effort, and in this case, getting better as I go forward. (Plus, it's for my parents, and I'm quite sure they'd rather have a lovingly crafted not-quite-perfect quilt than have seen this slashed in half in the scrap basket!)
This post is linking up with the Sewing with Certainty series hosted by Jess of Quilty Habit. Have you been following along? Lots of great contributors have been weighing in as we explore the craft and gain confidence! Join in!
And now the last bit of business... I have to admit I was secretly happy that Pile O'Fabric's Stash Share had skipped a week since I couldn't upload until today! Here's the latest color combo:
(l-r) unknown, Sketch by Timeless Treasures, unknown, Glimma by Lotta Jansdotter, 2wenty Thr3e Camera by Eric & Julie Comstock