Tuesday, December 21, 2010

visiting Santa

My husband's workplace always has Santa night every Christmas and all the kids of the employees can come and visit Santa. It is always the same man, and he is so sweet to the kids. One year we stayed a little later in my husband's office and when we went out to leave he was in his truck right next to our van getting ready to leave. He had obviously forgotten his sleigh that night or else he was just preparing it for the big trip and had to use his truck that night. Anyway, when he saw us coming, he laid down in the front seat of his truck so that the kids couldn't see him and stayed that way until we left. So sweet. It was funny because my son's list this year was 6 pages long. He shortened it before going to see Santa by going through it and highlighting the things that he *really* wanted. He had things on there like "my very own cruise ship", "my very own mansion", "a water slide running through our house and out into the back yard", "bringing Abby back to life" (our little Westie dog that died almost 2 years ago), "bringing Grandpa Gene back to life". It was very sweet but a little self indulgent at the same time. Gotta love him. My daughter for the first time wrote out some of her list. She is able to make all of her letters this year and wrote out 4 items in addition to pictures she cut out of magazine ads and pasted on to paper. So cute. So, here are pictures from this year...
**Oh, and I did not make her dress. It is from Patsy Aiken Chez Ami, a direct sales kids clothing company based here in Raleigh. They have their factory here and have an outlet sale for one week every month with great deals on their clothes. A perk of living here!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Christmas Dress 2010

Ok, I finished this dress on Tuesday and made the headband on Wednesday while the kids were at their PE/Art class (we're homeschooling now - more to come on that later). I'm very happy with how it turned out if I do say so myself. Fabrics used for the dress were all from Anna Maria Horner. The dress fabrics were from her new collection, Innocent Crush; and the sash was made from some of her first line of luxurious voiles, Little Folks collection. Can you tell I'm a fan of hers?! The pattern used was one that I have created myself. I've posted several variations of it in the past here, here, and here. New features of the pattern used on this dress were the 3/4 length sleeve (embellished with lace), and of course, the sash. I used a tutorial that I just happened to come across online to make the headband, and I can't remember where it was, but basically you just wrap fabric around a pipe cleaner and twist it to your desired size, then sew to a flower cut from felt and attach to your headband. If I can find the tutorial again, I will edit to give credit to that person. Hope you like. I'm thinking of listing it in my shop for a limited time! ***Rosette Headband Tutorial by Sew Hip Mama

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Above All Fabric Wish List

Ah. Create a wish list from an online fabric store for a chance to win $100 to shop at said fabric store? Why, yes. I'll play! Actually, I've mentioned Melanie before from Above All Fabric. She is top notch when it comes to customer service, she runs great sales, and I get a ton of my fabric from her. I think the greatest thing about Melanie is that she makes you feel like you are very special to her, and we all know that life is about the relationships you make with people. Not only does she help me supply my fabric addiction, but she has chatted with me through email or on twitter about personal things like my decision to homeschool my kids, holiday plans, and many other things. She even knows my favorite fabric designer! Anyway, without further ado.... here is my Above All Fabric wish list:

1. Anything from Anna Maria Horner, but I especially love her new voiles and velveteens, which Melanie is stocking in her store just for me!:) Also, I would love any or all of her new patterns.

2. Anything in any form of Tula Pink's new line, Parisville. Oh be still my beating heart. Have you seen this?

And that's it. No big shock, right?!! Of course there are tons of other things I would love to have from the shop, but these are the tops on my list right now! Now, go make your wish list too so that you can have a chance to win! Instructions for contest are here.

**Edited to add to my wish list....
-this, the schoolhouse tunic, a pattern I have wanted forever to make for myself. I have seen others that have made this and it looks so cute on!
-and this, the hoot-n-nanny tote, a pattern I have adored ever since Trish (of Two Peas in a Pod Designs) first posted a picture of it on her blog. I was so excited when I saw that she was going to make it into a pattern! I love it! The cuteness can't be described. You must see it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

pink fig holiday giveaway

Head over to Chelsea's blog at Pink Fig and enter her fabulous Holiday giveaway! She's giving away 2 quilts made from her beautiful new fabric line, Miss Modd! Can you believe that?! She has all the details over at her blog. You can enter the giveaway from now through December 1!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the notting hill hobo by Bari J

Towards the end of summer, Bari J Ackerman asked me to test this pattern for her and send her the sample so that she could use it in her booth at Quilt Market. I quickly said yes, as I was so excited and flattered on top of that. I have been following Bari since I found her blog a couple of years ago and she was about to debut her first fabric line for Windham, Full Bloom. She has been a constant source of inspiration to me since that time, and she has been so willing to reach out with encouragement. This was my second bag to test for her. I'll have to blog that first one. I still haven't done that. Actually Bari gave me a choice of patterns this time, and I chose the notting hill hobo. The funny thing is that I consider myself to be an awful bag maker. I get so confused with lining and the fusible fleece and interfacing and magnetic snaps.... But I really liked the style of the bag and I wanted to challenge myself. So, after a couple of times of ripping the bag apart and some help from a friend, (thanks Carrie!), I finished it and off it went to live my dream, a trip to Quilt Market! I am thankful that Bari asked me to do it, and also that she was patient with me as I literally got it to her at the last minute. The pattern is great and actually very easy. (I think I just got caught up in the whole 'I think bags are hard' thing.) There are a couple of different options and sizes so you can personalize it to your style. Mine is the large, patchwork version and I used her special technique (which is outlined in the pattern) to applique the flower and butterfly to the front of the bag. Fabrics used were from Bari's newest line, Country Lane.

Friday, November 5, 2010

costume juggling

I thought I'd better get this picture up before the end of the week! Up until a couple of days before Halloween, the kids were planning to dress up as Snow White or Ariel and Ulysses S. Grant. (Yeah, Samuel had to do a report on U.S. Grant last year for school in which he had to dress up for the presentation, and so we had bought him a U.S. Grant costume in the spring. We worked hard to convince him that this would be a very cool trick or treat costume, and I thought I had pulled over one of the best scams of the year when he told me that he indeed wanted to dress as U.S. Grant for Halloween, but alas, the mass produced, Target skeleton costume won out in the end. And since we had to go buy him the skeleton costume at Target, and the little princess was along, we also had to purchase a new costume for her to wear. The good thing was that since it was so last minute, the costumes were all 40% off.) So, I give you, the scary Skeleton, and Barbie Thumbelina. And no, I have never sewn Halloween costumes. I just don't have it in me. Truthfully, Halloween is just a 'holiday' (and I use that term loosely) that I barely tolerate.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Carving Party at Country Lane

This past week I made a dress for my daughter out of Bari J's newest line, Country Lane. She got the chance to wear it yesterday to church and then to a pumpkin carving party at our friends' house. It was the perfect choice for a beautiful fall day if you ask me....

Friday, October 22, 2010

favorite. project. ever.

This has to be my most favorite project I've ever done. It's from Anna Maria Horner's latest book, Handmade Beginnings. First of all, I LOVE this book. It has so many great projects in it, and I have neither a baby nor am I expecting one, so don't be fooled by the title. It's truly for anyone. When I saw this project, I knew I HAD to do it! I knew my little girl would love it, and she does. The pattern is for the quilt, the baby, and diapers to fit the baby. I must say that I loved making the diapers. I loved doing the hand stitching for the baby's face and hair. But most of all I loved making the quilt. The 4 blocks were foundation pieced, a technique I had not tried before, but found to be very easy and satisfying. I love color and it was so fun to put so much color into each block. All fabric I used was from Anna Maria's collections. I even mixed in some voiles with the cotton, and a tiny bit of her home decor. Do I even have to say how much I love her fabric? Just got in some of her newest line, Innocent Crush. Sigh. Can't wait to get started sewing with it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wow. I know, it's been a long time. I've been out of the loop for quite a while. I have a good excuse, though. We started homeschooling our kids this year. It was a very difficult decision that we put off until the last minute, but we are in week 9 now and although we have hard days (just like with anything else), it is going really well. More on that later though. I just wanted to peek my head up out of my 'cave' and let you know that I am still out here and slowly but surely, I am carving out little bits of time in my new schedule to sew.

What I am sharing today is the Madison Bag, a pattern I tested for Trish Preston. It's a great bag and I love how it turned out. Trish is actually about to debut her first line of patterns, which includes the Madison Bag, at the upcoming quilt market in Houston, last weekend of October. She has a sneak peak of them here, on her blog. I must say that ALL 14 of them look fantastic. I'm really impressed with how professional they look and the photography for the covers is amazing and makes you want to buy all of them! I'm so glad I had the honor to test 2 of them for her. Please, go check them out!

Friday, July 23, 2010

patsy ann apron top

Yes. I am still alive. Wow, time has been flying by and I have been so busy. Did May and June even really exist? It all happened so fast. Now, we are at the end of July and I am still extremely busy, but have gotten really sick, so I have been forced to slow down, thus the blog post.

This is one of the patterns I tested back in April. It turned out really cute. The pattern is the Patsy Ann Apron Top by Trish Preston. You can read her blog here. Trish is a really sweet, talented woman who will be debuting her new pattern line in her very own booth at quilt market this fall in Houston! So exciting! I know great things await her!

my thoughts on the pattern:

First off, it's totally adorable! I love how it turned out. And it's practical too! I actually made a mistake on the length of the fabric when I cut it and instead of re-doing it, I just decided to go with the length I had. It should be a few inched longer, but I actually like how it turned out. The straps go over the shoulders and cross in the back and then tie, as you can see in the first picture. This could totally dress up an outfit and give your little diva's jeans and tee a new look. Love it! You can order the pattern here, in Trish's etsy shop.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

guest posting

Hey! I'm a guest blogger for Melissa over at the Polkadot Chair today! Go check it out!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lily's birthday present

This is a quick outfit I whipped up for my daughter's friend Lily. It was her 5th birthday party and her Mom is always so sweet to comment on how cute the clothes are that I make for Nora Kate, so I really wanted to do this for her. And of course, Lily is just a doll! The shirt was purchased from Target and I appliqued a flower from the fabric. Quick. Easy. Great gift.

This skirt was so easy and fast because of the fabric design. Using Patty Young's double border daisy design from her latest line of fabric, flora & fauna, this skirt was a breeze. I literally just cut a main panel from each edge of the fabric, showing the daisy border, sewed them together on the sides, hemmed the bottom & gathered the top. I then cut 2 ~5" x 19" strips from the middle of the piece of fabric (light green dots), sewed together on the sides, attached to the main skirt at the gather, turned in to make waist band, added elastic waist & tag, & voila. easy, cute, skirt. I think the double border daisy design comes in 4 colorways. You can buy them here from Melanie at Above All Fabrics, one of my favorite places to buy!

Another use of the daisy border design was in a quilt pattern I tested for Patty Young back in December. I blogged about it here. I used a solid piece of the daisy border design in the mustard colorway for the background of the quilt as her pattern directed. It was a great way to have a quilt background with a lot of interest, but was so easy because it was not pieced. Great fabric, and great pattern, especially for beginning quilters.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter 2010

Easter Sunday was great. A day to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for us and the glorious gift of the Resurrection! We celebrated by going to church, then coming home for a quiet family lunch, just the 4 of us. Later we went to a neighbor's house for a cookout. It was a nice day.

This year, for the first time, I made Nora Kate's Easter dress! It was truly a labor of love. I enjoyed every minute of picking out the fabrics, adjusting my pattern to fit what I had in mind, sewing it together, etc... I made this pattern back in the fall, drew it out on paper, cut it out, the whole 9 yards... I made a dress with it that she wore for our family pictures that we had done in November, then I used it to make a 'princess dress' for her for Christmas. I have to say that I LOVE this pattern. It is very simple, and there are so many variations that can be done. I also want to use it to make a top. Would like to 'go' somewhere with this pattern, hopefully in the future....?!!

I used Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane fabric for the dress, all except for the line of pink polka dot on the front which was a remnant of another fabric I had. I also made her hair clip, my first (and oh so fun!)

The only thing I was disappointed about was that I had originally planned to make my son a coordinating tie out of the stripe, but didn't get to it. As it was I just finished the dress on Saturday night. He had told me that he didn't want to wear a tie and wouldn't wear it to church, but would wear it for pictures. So, I knew it was going to be a battle that I didn't want to fight anyway. I may still make it and take him up on the picture thing....

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

Oh, and if you want to win some of this beautiful Nicey Jane fabric of your own, go enter Ruth's Sew Love Fabrics giveaway on her blog! She's giving away a cool Heather Bailey pattern with fabrics to make it!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

some stuff I've been sewing lately...

These are 2 dresses I recently completed for 2 sisters. I really love how they came out, especially the knot dress. The peasant dress was a standard item in my shop, but the knot dress was a custom order.

The fabrics I used were from a line called Summer Soiree designed by Paula Prass for Michael Miller. The patterns I used were from Sandi Henderson's Portabellopixie Claire pattern. The knot dress was tweaked a little from her original design. By the way, Sandi has a new book coming out soon! It looks amazing and I have already pre-ordered it from Amazon! I can't wait to get it! She talks about it here on her blog.

Oh, a few more random things to share:
1. I've really been getting the itch to make another quilt.

2. I'm dying to make my daughter a dress, and my son a coordinating tie for Easter.
3. We successfully threw my son a football themed party this past Saturday for his 9th birthday. Ten 9-10 year old boys playing football and generally acting wild. And get this. I spent all this time and energy planning and executing the production of the theme colored cupcakes (with 3 different colors of icing and 'go team' flags in them I might add) only to have them pounced upon and devoured so quickly before my eyes that we were barely able to sing Happy Birthday (actually not 100% sure if we sang it or not....) and I did not even get a picture of their loveliness. Bummer. Boys are weird.

That is all!

Monday, March 8, 2010

did you see this?!

I have been busy pattern testing again!

Did you see this?! Megan of the Brassy Apple has come up with this new pattern, the Maddie Bee Apron Top, and she did a feature on her blog showing the different varieties her pattern testers came up with, one of them being mine. Check it out. It's a great pattern, and can be used for so many different occasions or themes. The possibilities are endless! I used Sandi Henderson's newest line, meadowsweet. Love it!

Friday, February 26, 2010

the first step is...

admitting you have a problem! Last week I received five packages of fabric that I had ordered, all pictured above (Denyse Schmidt, Jennifer Paganelli, and just a smidge of Amy Butler). It was a glorious occasion I must say. But, oops. I didn't realize that I had ordered quite that much. Ok, so I love fabric. What can I say?! I have big plans for all of this! What do you think I should do with it?!!

p.s. don't tell, but I ordered more this week.....

Monday, February 8, 2010

tutorial: bookmark this!

Hi! Welcome to my first tutorial! Forgive me if I leave anything out! Also, this is my first try with altering my photos with text, so forgive the differences in font sizes. I am trying to improve my tech-savviness so just bear with me.

This bookmark came about this morning while I was working on an order. I cut the ends off of a 2" strip I had cut to make ruffles and I was left with 2 2"x 6.5" pieces of fabric. I thought to myself, 'hey, this looks like a bookmark', and the idea just flowed from there.

I missed pictures of the very first steps, so here is how you get started:

1. Cut 2 2"x6.5" strips of your choice fabric.
2. Draw letters (inverted) on to the back side of your fabric with pen. (you can also use any shape that you want. I cut around a floral shape on one of my scraps to enhance my design a little bit).
3. (this is text on the picture below, but I wanted to type it again here as it turned out so small). Following manufacturer's instructions, iron your letters to fusible web (that you can sew on).

This is a little small too, so this one below says:
cut your letters/ shapes out.

Now you take your 2 pieces of fabric and sandwich a piece of felt between them. The felt should be just slightly larger than the edge of the fabric.

This was really easy and quick to do. It is great for a gift for a teacher or friend, or even do a manly one for your husband. You can personalize it with a name or monogram, a school logo, or any holiday or theme. Really, the possibilities are endless with this one.

This only took me 45 minutes, including the time it took me to locate my fusible web, and retrieve my camera and take photos, so you can do this one too!

**A little off subject, but something really cool of a personal nature. I had chosen in January for the word LOVE to be my 'one word' for this year. I chose it because I am always repeating the word LOVE in my head when I am feeling frustrated towards someone. It helps me remember this:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I didn't even realize when I was making this, that it was my 'word'. I was only thinking of Valentine's Day and trying to have something small to give my kids' teachers as a gesture. (remembering last year when I didn't and was left thinking 'teacher's gifts for Valentine's Day?! really??!)

But then it hit me.

This was my word.

So I'm keeping this one.

Friday, February 5, 2010

in the land of pattern testing...

Lately, I feel like I have been living in the land of pattern testing. In December I had the opportunity to test a quilt pattern for Patty Young - the Hummingbird Quilt. I was very happy to be chosen to test the pattern and overall it was a very rewarding experience. The best part was getting a big box of fabric from Patty's newest line in the mail! I actually used some of the scraps from this hummingbird quilt in the quilt I made for my daughter for Christmas. (see 2 posts back, quilt of love 2) Patty released her newest set of patterns towards the end of January and all of the patterns look great. I got my copies of the pattern from Patty last week and it was really neat to see the quilt I had created on the pattern.

The down-low on making the quilt.... aka pattern review:
The quilt was really easy to do, great for a beginner that wants to try quilting but hasn't had the confidence. Using Patty's new double border daisy design in her newest collection, Flora & Fauna, there is virtually no work at all for the background. Just simply cut it to the correct length. The backing is also just one piece of fabric. I love the back almost more than the front! The daisies are irresistible! All the flowers and the hummingbird are raw edge appliques and Patty explains each step in her pattern very simply. It did take some time, but not the kind of time some quilts take. All quilts take some time and that is why they are so lovely. *This quilt used the mustard colorway of Patty's new flora & fauna collection. And I have to mention that I love all of the polka dots in this collection!

There will be more to come from the land of pattern testing in the weeks to come. I just finished testing a pattern for another fabric/ pattern designer last weekend, and received another in the mail yesterday from yet another pattern designer. Keep watching for reveals on these but for right now I'm not allowed to say anything. Mums the word.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I must say that I cannot wait for this new fabric line from Laura Gunn to come out! It is beautiful! I have some projects already in mind for this collection!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

quilt of love 2

Here it is, the quilt I made my daughter for Christmas because I just didn't have enough to do. I made it completely from scraps and what I had in my (extensive) stash. I used only scraps for the inside part of each block which is made by doing a log cabin type block but without any measuring. I also did all the piecing using my serger, which I find to be much easier to use than my sewing machine. After putting the center of each block together, I then cut 4" strips of fabric for the outside of the block, then used my 12.5 x 12.5" square to square off each block and make them uniform. I loved doing this quilt. It was satisfying to use my scraps and I loved putting the fabrics together. They were all fabrics I love from my favorite designers, and I didn't just use the ones I wanted to use up, I used my favorites and was careful to put a LOT of pink! It was also great because it was kind of a free form thing, meaning that I was just making it up as I went along, which I enjoy. Following directions can really bring me down sometimes:). The backing and binding is done in a hot pink with white polka dots pincord cotton. It is also used on quite a few of the blocks, so you may be able to see it there. When I made my son a quilt a few years ago, I told him that it was full of love from Mommy because I had put LOTS of love into it while I was making it and when he put it over him, he could feel my love. So, he has always callled it his 'quilt of love'. He was very excited that I was (finally) making a 'quilt of love' for his sister because he had been telling me for quite a while that she needed one. Thus the name, quilt of love 2. And that's what makes it all worth while. And it really is full of Mom's love.