Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Lunchbag for My Husband.

On December 23rd, I had a bit of time to myself to sew, and I ran through my Q4 FAL list to see what was unfinished. Dare I try to finish anything on the list? THEN, near the bottom of the list, it called to me. A companion bag for my husband's messenger bag, and I could totally finish it before the end of the year, PLUS, have it done in time for Christmas, right? Right.

So I did. I used Pink Penguin's lunchbag tutorial, which I've used once before for another lunchbag last year.

Fabrics are the brown duck cloth from my husband's messenger bag (which I still have oodles of) and the blue and cream cross-hatch home dec print. I couldn't find any cording or twill tape in my stash that I had in sufficient quantity, so I used the selvedge ends from the pillowcase I made for my husband, also for Christmas.

He was pretty excited about it, which made me pretty excited. This is my fourth finish from my Q4 FAL list, though I have one more really exciting one to share with you, hopefully tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2015

FF: Two Stockings.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. It's not even a contest. For as much as I hate snow, and as much as I once loathed Christmas music--I worked several years in a bookstore, so I think I get a pass on that one--I love Christmas trees and decorating with my family and eating a big meal and family traditions and doing special things with my kids.

A couple of years ago, I decided to make stockings for my family. Each family member got to pick a color, and I perused tutorial after tutorial, but never landed on anything I loved, so I drafted my own. The green and pink were my first two, and I made them before I realized I needed to cut the cuff slightly smaller than the body of the stocking. It made for a much cleaner line.

And then I had another kid, so he needed a stocking. My older kids suggested his be yellow.

This year, my younger sister mentioned she hated her kids' stockings, and I was listening and not thinking much about it until I realized--wait. I make stockings. What was stopping me from making more for her kids? When I proposed the idea, she loved it.

She requested red, so I pulled all of my red fabric and crossed my fingers that she'd be okay with a whimsical stocking. I really really wanted to use the ninjas for my nephew, and thankfully she was all on board. My husband saw this one and asked if I could trade it for his red one, but I said no. I had already sent my sister a pic, and she was thrilled.

And one for my niece too. I really like the FMF and Juliana Horner roses together.

I'll be putting these in the mail this weekend. My sister is moving to a new house this weekend too, so they'll arrive just in time for her to get her decorating on. (She insists the first thing she's unpacking is her Christmas tree.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Some Holiday Handmade.

Friends. It's December 9th, EEK! Is your December flying by as quickly as mine seems to be? Between sick kiddos--we were healthy for a week, and now we're back down with yet another cold, grumble--and holiday preparations, life has been uber busy. But somehow, and I think it must be magic because I have no other explanation, I've been able to get quite a few things crossed off my holiday to-sew list. I thought I'd show you what I'm up to and throw out some links, just in case you're looking for some fun projects to conquer.

My husband is a lover of bow ties. He would wear one every day if he could. It's earned him the nickname "bow tie guy" at one particular affair. Since I think he's a hottie with this particular fashion accessory, I am all about making him more. This is one of two that I've made for him for Christmas. I need to get a photo of the second. If you'd like to make one for your very own hottie, Sew Like My Mom has a great tutorial. I think I've made four at this point? Five? For this one, I used an old school blue and white polka dot from my Grandma's stash. This fabric is probably older than I am.

This Noodlehead Divided Basket is a gift. It's actually the second I made--I had intended to send a pair of them, not just one--but the first turned out looking like yuck, so I tried a different kind of interfacing and crossed my fingers. This one, while not perfect, is sooooo much better. I'm using the first one in my own bedroom, even though brown and tan are a little on the safe side for me. It does serve the awesome purpose of keeping my books out of the hands of an inquisitive baby/toddler.

I am obsessed with Anna's 241 tote pattern, but I'm also excited to try her new Gatherer Crossbody bag that is a free tutorial! 

For these bad boys, I only gave the gift of labor. Some of y'all might remember when my bestie came to visit, and I did a bad thing and introduced her to fabric and the In Color Order lined drawstring pattern. We had to make a second trip to my LQS for her to pick out *more* fabric, but when she went home, life happened in the way of a doctoral program, and she was never able to finish them. I ordered her to send me the fabric, and I slapped them together in an afternoon. She has them now, just in time to gift for Christmas!

Y'all know I'm a Tula fan, and when I was ogling the Eden line, my husband happened to see the Tiger print, which he admitted was super cool. So of course I capitalized on that brief moment and opted to make him a pillowcase. The cuff is C+S Sprinkles in some sort of green, and the mini-cuff is Essex linen. I love this tutorial from Lovely Little Handmades.

These ornaments were made from a tutorial from Fireflies and Mudpies. not look like the picture. And we went wild and used all sorts of ribbon colors, not just green. But I will say that my kiddos loved making them. I let them pick out the ribbons and plan the order, and I did the tying. I didn't have twine, so I used gold ribbon, and my ribbons went all wonky. I did try pressing them with starch, and that helped, but one of the kids got a hold of one of the ornaments, and it was a hot mess pretty quickly.

In the last couple of weeks, I've also made nine hot/cold rice packs, two stockings which I'll share with you soon, and I've got pieces cut for another 241 tote. (I'm a 241 tote junkie, and I freely admit it.) This 241 will have a zipper, which I've never tried before. Wish me luck!

OH! And if you have an awesome go-to handmade holiday gift, TELL ME ABOUT IT. Send me a link. I'm always on the prowl for new gift ideas.

Monday, November 23, 2015

An Army of 241 Totes.

I feel like I'm building an army of 241 totes. Slowly, the count rises, and each addition is near and dear to my heart. Then I send them off into the world, and...that's where this analogy crashes and burns.

(But I like the idea of a 241 army, so I'm sticking with it.)

This is the latest version, made for one of my favorite quilty bloggy people, Michelle. (Isn't she just fabulous?) She sent me a lovely zippy bag a while back--I honestly can't remember the name of the bag, but it has four total zippers and is apparently a pain in the tuhkis to assemble?--and I knew I wanted to make her a 241, but then I arrived upon the conundrum. What fabric was good enough to use for my friend?

The problem bothered me for weeks, until I pulled this print (Edelweiss by Juliana Horner) to use as backing for a baby quilt. After that was decided, it took me about thirty seconds to pull the other fabrics. The pink and white print on the outside pockets is by Sarah Watt for Blend Fabrics, and the charcoal is either Kona or Bella, I didn't mark it. The inside pink and white is Bonnie and Camille--maybe from their Ruby line? (I'm not really in the know on B&C lines.)

I used plain ol' white Aurifil thread for my topstitching, but I liked the contrast. I made this one similarly to my other 241 totes, but I lengthened the handle a bit and didn't make an adjustable strap. I wasn't pleased with the way my hardware worked on the last one, and I need to find some better hardware before attempting another.

I did finally find a magnetic snap with which I was pleased. On my first 241, I used a magnetic snap that was too large and too aggressive--if an inanimate object can be aggressive--that has managed to tear the fabric because it put too much stress on the fabric. I made a few without the closure, then found some snaps randomly on amazon. They are smaller and work much, much better.

I also used flusible fleece instead of a thick interfacing on this one, and man, I LOVE the result. I will definitely be doing that again, because yes! That's right! I have another 241 in the works.

In other news, THIS is my current view, and let me tell you, I'm none too pleased. I LOATHE snow with all of my being, and while I will admit it can be kinda pretty to view from a window, at the end of the day, I still hate that white stuff with a serious passion. Whine whine whine. I'm done. (For now.)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

FF: A Peach and Blue Quilt.

So, the plan around here at HPQ is to quilt my way through a book. Now, I have waaaaay too many other projects going on right now to just focus on this undertaking, but I love the book Modern Rainbow so much that I pretty much want to make every quilt in there when I can.

I decided to start with Bubbles, especially when I realized I could use scrap strings that I had waiting around for a purpose. I also needed a new baby quilt, so everyone was happy! Mine is a little--okay a LOT--different from the book, but I totally used Bubbles as my inspiration. This little number is smaller and peachier than its inspiration. I also didn't use strips cut to the same width. I used what I had on hand and trimmed the blocks as I went along to get them up to the proper size.

I bound it in this navy print, which made a few sneak appearances in the log cabin blocks. This is actually a print from a friend's stash that I inherited and is definitely vintage. Kinda fun. Something old in a brand new baby's quilt. There are also prints from so many other quilt projects, including a lot of baby quilts that I've made over the past three years.

That pic also gives you an idea of the quilting. I did a cross grid in the peach sections and straight lines down the center of the log cabins. Nothing in the white "hearths". I should have probably done something there. They're a little poofy. I thought about doing hand quilted hearts. But that would have been too much contrast. Except...what if I had used WHITE thread. Oy. I totally should have done that. Well, too late now! It's been gifted! But next time....

And a shot of the backing. I used two different prints, including that gorgeous blue Juliana Horner print. YUM. I wish I had bought a lot more of that. When I bought it, I was like, I'll only buy a yard because I don't want it to linger in my stash, and now I've already used up most of it! Seriously, I have a couple of small scraps left. That's it. But it was used well, so I can't complain, right?

This was a fun quilt to make. I really enjoyed the improv-y nature of the log cabins. Improv tends to make me nervous and tense, but in this sense, it was completely okay. Controlled improv might be more my game? Or maybe I'm just growing as a quilter? Hmmm. Something to consider.

This is finish #3 from my Q4 FAL list.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November is done.

And by November is done, I certainly don't mean the month is done. Just my block commitments. No, no. That bad boy seems to just be getting started! (Is anyone else having a superbly crummy month? UGH. I pretty much hate this November. But maybe this means all of the junk of the month is finished and the rest will be a breeze? Fingers crossed.)

These are my November offerings for the Midnight Mystery Quilt. I am really excited about the way these are turning out, even if I'm not entirely in love with the way my scrappy greens are behaving. I know it's still early, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to love this quilt when it's finished. November blocks for Stash Bee. Jacqueline pretty much gave us free reign to use whatever fabrics we wanted, and I obviously took her up on it, which made these blocks so much fun! My favorite is the one on the bottom. I'm done with Stash Bee blocks for 2015! (As a Hive Mama, I have a *few* more responsibilities to tackle, but honestly, my hive this year was full of super awesome wonderful ladies who made my job extremely easy.)

And now, I'm off to take care of my clients, and by clients, I mean my three kiddos. Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Friday, November 6, 2015

FF: EPP Table Topper.

I've been slowly plugging away at this epp table topper for a few months now. When I saw Rachel's star blossom tutorial, I fell in love with her table runner and knew I wanted one for myself, and I opted to make one to fit my small kitchen table. Of course I used hot pink and navy as my jumping off point, expanding to additional shades of pink as necessary.

As a pretty recent EPP convert, I found the blocks enjoyable to piece. I made my blossoms first, then added the navy diamonds before putting them all together. I like (not love, but like) the finished product, but when I put it on my table, it just looked...weird. The wrong size or something. So, I walked around my house putting it on a bunch of other surfaces. My table topper does not have a home yet. But I trust I'll find one soon! (Or I'll rip off the binding and make a pillow cover out of it.)

I used a navy print from my grandmother's stash, and I hand-tied it, which was a new thing for me! I have no idea how you're actually supposed to do it--I just went for it and did my own thing and it was probably terribly wrong or inefficient, but I got the job done.

This is my second finish for the Q4 FAL. You can see my original list here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

392 pieces.

When making a quilt, I really enjoy tallying up the number of pieces I will be working with. I know it's not necessarily the best indicator of complexity or anything like that, but there's just something concrete and fun about saying, "My current project uses 392 pieces."

It's true. The quilt I started cutting this morning for my quilting sensei's baby has 392 pieces. Normally I cut all in one go, but for this quilt, I'm breaking it up because a lot of those 392 pieces are tiny, and oh la la, I need a break from all of that intricate cutting. Maybe I should have waited to count up the pieces until after I'd cut them all? Probably so. (The above fabrics are not involved in this project, but aren't they fabulous? Y'all know I love a good polka dot and a good rainbow and a good ombre, and those FQs incorporate ALL THREE.)

Sadly, as my quilting sensei frequents this blog, I can't actually show you any fun pictures of work in progress. But the full reveal will be all kinds of fabulous. In the meantime, I *can* show you what else I've been working on.

I've basted the quilt for Baby H, and I was even responsible and picked up the thread I needed so I can start quilting. I have tossed around a couple of ideas on this one, so we'll see what I ultimately settle on. I hope to get this one quilted this week. I'm thinking of binding it in a navy print.

And I've worked more on my EPP tablerunner. I'm actually pretty close to finish up the top of this. I think I only have a few more solo diamonds to attach? Which is exciting. The plan has always been to put this on my kitchen table, but do I honestly want it anywhere near my children and their grubby hands? Maybe no...

On top of those three projects, I seriously need to baste my daddy's quilt and get moving on that one. I verified that my backing is large enough and I have the batting for it and even the quilting thread. Why am I stalling? Because I hate basting. I really really do.

So that's what's on the HPQ to-do quilty list this week. How about you?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

I Wrote a Book.

Hi Friends. I'm not gonna lie, this post has nothing to do with quilting. Or sewing. Or even anything crafty. It has everything to do with this book I wrote that I promised a few of you I would share upon publication.

I WROTE A BOOK. For realz. It took a very long time, mostly because I had to learn a lot a long the way. But it's done now, and if you're so inclined, you can read it! It's a YA (young adult) fantasy novel, and it's the first in the series. I recently finished the first draft of the second book, and I'm hard at work editing that bad boy, you know, when I'm not quilting. (Or being a mom.)

If you want to know more, book info is available at:
Amazon (for Kindle ebooks and paperbacks)
my website (for signed paperbacks)
eGenCo (for non-Kindle ebooks)

Mucho love, and thanks for reading this. Know that I am extremely grateful for all of the support that y'all have given me, even in my non-quilting endeavors!

Friday, October 30, 2015

FF: Gypsy Wife Quilt.

My Gypsy Wife Quilt is complete. It's been such a long-term project that it honestly feels odd to have it done! 

I thought I'd been working on it for over two years, but come to find out, it hasn't been quite that long. I bought the pattern in February of last year.

The first time I saw the pattern, I knew that I wanted to make it and that I wanted it in AMH fabrics with a handquilted finish. I don't always have such strong feelings, but this quilt definitely did that for me.

This pattern...wooboy. It was an effort of love, let me tell you. And since I handquilted it, it took about a kajillion years to finish. So now I have a new system for measuring my love: if I'm willing to make someone a Gypsy Wife quilt, it means I love them A TON. (That being said, I have absolutely no desire to repeat this pattern. Ever.)

The handquilting took forever, but it was totally worth it. I mostly straight line quilted it using perle cotton, but occasionally I got fancy and tried something else out.

When I got ready to back it, I pulled some of my favorite fabrics from stash that hadn't found the perfect project. Some AMH prints I hadn't wanted to cut into, some Kate Spain, Lizzy House, Alison Glass, and I can't remember who designed that yellow print, but that made it in there too. It's a total mish-mash, but I love it.

I had pieced some HRTs incorrectly for one of the blocks, so I used them to form a diamond and added it to the back. At some point I'll add a label. One of these days....

The binding is a fun stripe, also by AMH. While my original plan had been only AMH fabrics plus a few solids thrown in willy-nilly, I expanded that to include a large number of other designers, including a precious bit of Tula's Parisville line.

With that project finished, it's time to move on to clearing out some of the other WIPs I have waiting. (And maybe even start a new quilt or two??)

This is my first finish off my Q4 FAL list. After sitting on that list for what feels like a year, I can finally cross it off, woo!

Friday, October 23, 2015

FF: A Blue? Baby Quilt Top.

These blue strings...

...transformed into blue log cabins...

...which transformed into this blue(?) log cabin quilt top.

Friends, blue log cabins on a white background seemed a So when my quilting sensei recommended a PEACH background, I didn't really know what to think about that. Except, the idea got under my skin in a good way, and I went for it.

Peach? Yes, please.

This quilt is a much smaller version of the Bubbles quilt from Modern Rainbow. (If y'all don't know, I'm hoping to make every single quilt from that book. It's admittedly going to take a while.) I already have a backing picked out for this one and a quilting idea in mind, so hopefully I'll get this wrinkly quilt top basted shortly.

And NEXT WEEK, I hope to have my favoritest quilty finish ever to share with you. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Q4 FAL List.

Let's dive right in! My stash and I are separated for the moment, but I'll post the missing pics when we are reunited in the next couple of days.

1. Gypsy Wife Quilt
OMG, I am so close to finishing the handquilting, it hurts. I'm maybe 90-95% done?

2. Baby H's Quilt

Blocks are done. Need to be set in with background fabric.

3. EPP Table Topper
This project is slowly coming together.

4. Dad's Quilt
Top is done. I'm hoping to have this one long-armed.

5. Project Linus Quilt
Top is done and quilted.

6. City Sampler Quilt
Blocks are finished--need to be set

7. Negroni Shirt for my husband
have fabric and pattern

8. Bag for husband
using scraps from his messenger bag to make a smaller version

9. Bags for my boys
using cargo pants and a noodle-head tutorial

10. Quilt for D & K's baby
secret project of awesome

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

I'm linking up with On the Windy Side for the Q4 FAL! 

Friday, October 2, 2015

FF: Another 241 Tote. (Yes, another.)

Yes. Another one. I've lost count of how many I've made. A bunch. I love this pattern, blahblahblah, this is old news. Do I sound unexcited about this? Because honestly, I'm thrilled with this latest one. It's just, how many new and creative blog post introductions can you write about a bag you can't stop making? I'm running out of material!

On a Friday night a few Fridays ago, I started with this fabric pull with the hopes of finishing up a 241 tote in two hours. Except, I forgot the thirty minutes it would take me to drop off and pick up my kid. Then my BFF called, and we had to chat. Then I didn't move so quickly because I was watching Star Trek and OMG, it was a stressful episode. (What if they all DIED??? They didn't, but WHAT IF???) So my two hours of child-freesewing time was more hour? Thank goodness I was able to sew more after he went to bed!

What was particularly fun about this Friday night sewing session was that my friend Linda was also sewing that evening on a 241 tote, and even though we live in different states, we were able to send progress shots back and forth to each other. My interfacing acted up because OF COURSE IT DID, and she suffered some thread issues. But we kept working because we are sewers, and we are tough stuff. I didn't finish my tote in the allotted two hours, nor did I finish it that evening after my youngest was asleep, but I did manage to get everything done except the final topstitching, which had to wait until the next morning because a thunderstorm woke the baby, and he required some mama love.

It's a fun bag. I bought an FQ of Bella by Lotta Jansdotter what feels like years ago...actually, it was a couple of years ago! I paired it with some Kona in white and a blue print I also bought a couple of years back. The recipient's favorite colors are indigo and white, so while white is maybe not the best call for a bag, it is striking, and hopefully this blue is close enough to indigo to please.

The inside is...wild. I used some batiks I had on hand, plus the same blue print from the outside. I had a quarter yard cut of the main panel batik, but I just cut the pieces out and included a little extra for seam allowance, then sewed them up the middle. Worked like a charm, and I kind of like the look, so don't be surprised if you see this again.

Because there will be another 241 tote. You know it, I know. I can't stay away!


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