a special geranium

E had a big day recently - her baptism!! And there was food (BBQ), family, friends and of course, a very special handmade dress.

geranium
I had thought about making a dress for her baptism after looking at the polyester dresses online that cost a small fortune. None were really her my style and just soo...poofy. So I ordered up some voile in white that was embroidered with white flowers. It seemed pretty and delicate and still simple and understated - perfect for such an occasion.

Abaptism-11
photo by PSJ photography
I had already selected the pattern of course - the tried and true and oh so perfect geranium dress by made by rae, I had sewn it before with success and with a few alterations, it would be easy to make more formal. I went with the capped sleeve and gathered skirt option, but lengthened the skirt about 12" (for a 3-6 month size). I also added a satin ribbon on the bodice to tie into a bow at the back to make it a little dressier. Pearl snaps instead of buttons made this a snap (ha!) to change into at the church. I also added a lining on the skirt to add more fullness and to compensate for the sheer voile fabric used.

Abaptism-15
photo by PSJ photography
I wanted to take the time to hand stitch the inside bodice but with guests arriving, machine stitching won out, so the inside is a bit more sloppy than I would like.

All in all, this went together quickly and easily (as geraniums always do!) and I must say, although I'm biased, that she was just a total doll baby! 

fabric fast: check-in

Hello fellow fasters!

How are you all doing with the whole 'no buying fabric' business. Tricky, eh? I, myself, have been having such a rough time. E is going through a clingy period where when I try and put her down for naps, she immediately wakes to full alertness, crying until she's picked up again. So, at least once a day, I try and allow her to have a good nap by holding her for the duration of one naptime. This of course leads to lots of free time to fart around on the internet. I suppose I could also read a book....

Anyway, I managed to stick to just two purchases so far - and it was (mostly) solids, so within the "rules!" I ended up getting some more Essex linen as I am on a geranium dress making kick and have some gorgeous fabric that would be perfect as a little dress but needed some solid to balance it out. I also snagged a corduroy for her Halloween costume. But I did break the rules (!) and got a Briar Rose print and a wool plaid for some fall clothing for E. Oops.

How did you fare so far?

fabric trim down

Lately, I've been toying with the idea of a fabric diet. I'm at the point where my stash and projects I've purchased fabrics for are far exceeding my available sewing time. And my stash is starting to get a bit too big for it's britches (aka the 4 dedicated shelves I have allotted for it). I don't want it to start overflowing and taking up even more space just so I can keep buying and owning more, more, more. While I love the fabrics in my stash, I would love to see them more in finished items here and there around the house! (And I still have a decently large order of fabric coming my way not shown in these photos - full of shot cottons, Leah Duncan's Meadow and Wee Wander....but that's it, I swear it!)

stash 2
So, I am putting myself on a self imposed fabric diet. And I'm writing about it, so you guys can hold me accountable!

For the next six months (my husband has challenged me to a year, silly husband), I'll be sewing from my stashed fabrics only - with 3 exceptions:
  • Solids - I dont have a huge stash of basics like Kona white, snow, black, etc. These can be purchased if required to effectively use stashed fabrics.
  • Backings - I have a few backings purchased for WIPs, but for the most part, I don't have the yardage required for backings in my stash. Of course pieced backs are an option, but even then, I don't have too many cuts over a half yard stashed.
  • Swaps - I can swap my fabric for something else that I want/need but no purchases! 
I'll re-evaluate at the six month mark and see how my stash looks and decide from there what to do.stash 1
Anyone interested in joining me? I'll be hosting a monthly check in so we can all cheer each other on and see the projects we're working on with our stashed fabrics. To join:
  • Start by writing a post outlining your goals - it could be 3 months, 6 months, etc. or just finishing up your current WIPs before buying anything new. Just make them specific.
  • Create and list your own rules - can you buy backings? bindings? solids? Only you know your stash.
  • Come back here and add link to your post!

DIY flannel burp cloths

Just before E arrived, I was gifted a brand new Juki serger. I was excited to get it since I knew that it would be an easy way to make things for E. One of the first things on my list was blankets and burp cloths.

DIY double sided burp cloths
They were honestly super easy to do. I bought a yard and a half of flannels (on sale!) and cut out a 40" square for a nice size swaddle blanket and then cut down the remaining portion into rectangles to use as burp cloths. A quick run of the edges through the serger and they were finished!

I ended up making the burp cloths double sided (the backs are solid color flannels) which really has helped with the absorption. I like that these are also a bit thinner than regular cloth diapers or heavy burp cloths while still being quite absorbent. They are also soft enough that E doesn't even complain when I wipe off her face! 

rockin' robin: a finished top

My round robin quilt is all finished, with the final border (black frame and final HSTs) added by yours truly. I can't wait to get this one quilted, but that's where I'm stuck. I usually am a simple quilting kind of gal (I prefer piecing to quilting) but I just can't decide which direction to go on this one. Thoughts?

robin quilt
It's quite hard to get good pics of a 72" square quilt when your quilt holder is less than 72" tall....
I bought the lovely AMH Field Study poppy print for the backing material. I usually do a pieced backing but felt that the front of this quilt really required a solid back (even if it is in a fun print!).

robin quilt

a tag blanket for e

The last few weeks of my pregnancy really seemed to drag on...and on...and on. I tried staying busy but never knowing exactly when she'd make her arrival, I hesitated to take on any large or involved projects. This project, based on a pattern from Lotta's Simple Sewing for Baby book, was a nice and easy one - started and finished in 20 minutes flat.

taggie for e
I got gifted several little "taggies" by friends and relatives so I'm sure that this will also be a hit when the time comes. And I loved that I was able to use my Sarah Jane Children at Play balloon print. I hoard Sarah Jane fabric like it's my job. (And I did this prior to having a child, so that's a real committed addict right there. )

taggie for e
I made one for my cousin, who's baby is a bit older than E, and so far it was very well received by her little one. Since these are so quick and easy, I think that these might get added to the "new baby gift" repertoire as well! 

a quilt from grandma

My mom recently came out to spend some time with us and E. While she was here, she brought two quilts that she made for E. They are such fun colors and the perfect size for tummy time! This is one of them:

baby + quilt
I love how the colors coordinate so well with Miss E's ruffle butt.

a ::little:: stashing

This stash post is brought to you by, in no particular order: take out sushi, a quarter tank of gas, 4 hours, Billy Joel and lots and LOTS of "shhhh"-ing.

Let me back track....my friend just got into sewing and quilting. Being the selfless, good friend I am, I offered to take her to the best quilting shop here in Vegas. It's on the opposite side of town so even childless it is quite the trip. We decided didn't have a choice to take our littles - her 1 year old son and my 2 month old daughter. We loaded them up into one car and drove (and drove and drove) to the fabric store.

All was really going well. Both babies did a good job staying quiet on the drive. We browsed (with the expected interruption, of course) the stacks of fabric. E kissed up to the sales folks with some baby smiles. Her baby put himself in a shopping basket and tried to grab the glass statues - possibly the only breakable thing there - that were right at kid level. Eventually, we checked out.

new AMH stashings
Before heading back, she walked her son to tire him out a bit while I fed E. We then loaded both kids back into their seats and proceed to drive home. Not more than 10 miles (and lots of screaming) later, we pull over so I can feed E (again). My friend decides to try this take out sushi place...because we are stuck there in a parking lot off some exit we'd never been to before. She runs in, her baby wakes up and starts crying. She returns from the sushi place, bag in hand. Not surprisingly, both babies end up in the front seat, eating and snuggling. A half an hour later, both seem to be pretty happy and content so we decide to try again.

new AMH stashings
Click. Click. Highway. Screaming. Wailing. Bloody murder I tell ya.

So we frantically toss in a lullaby CD - baby lullabies to the tunes of Billy Joel. It's actually pretty good. But it does nothing for the babies. So we "SHHHhhhhHHHhhh" over and over. Loudly, so it is louder than the road noise and their combined crying. I don't recommend this technique for the obvious reason - it makes you light headed like you blew up 400 balloons. But it did quiet the babies.

Then we turned up Billy Joel and enjoyed the last 15 minutes of the drive, talking who knows what in the quietest of whispers while munching on take out sushi.

Oh, and I bought some on sale AMH Field Study fat quarters.

Also, thank God for online shopping. 

wip: a quilt for e

I've been working on an easy quilt for E's room. You've seen bits a pieces of her nursery and this will be the matching quilt - made from Sarah Jane's Out to Sea and coordinating solids (Kona) and a touch of Essex Linen.

an out to sea WIP
I wanted a pattern that could highlight some of the fun prints and allow for some fussy cutting. But of course, it needed to be a simple pattern that was quick to work up as time these days is pretty limited. I settled on a disappearing 9 patch as it satisfied both requirements. I like that it's such an easy pattern to make but looks a bit more complicated than it is.

an out to sea WIP
an out to sea WIP
I cut all the squares to 5" and began to piece the strips. I got half done in one evening!

I just need to spend an hour or so piecing the other half and cutting them up again. Then it will be time to lay them out and make the quilt top. Hopefully, provided she keeps up with her current sleep schedule, we'll have some more progress to show (and maybe even a pieced top) by the end of the month! 

ISO: a new iron

iron
Anyone have good recommendations for an iron? I think mine might be on it's last leg....poor iron. It's been so overused since I started quilting, nothing like those lazy days when it ironed a stray shirt every now and then. 

wip: rockin' robin

Over this past year-ish, I organized and participated in a Round Robin. I really, truly loved the challenge that each quilt presented and absolutely love what everyone added to mine. It's amazing what happens when 5 ladies get together and swap quilts - the creativity was really remarkable. I know I'd never have come up with this quilt on  my own, but I totally love it!

round robin starter
I started with this little unassuming star block for my center. I had no preconceived ideas about what it might become so I knew I'd be happy with whatever came my way. I think that's the best rule of thumb for these types of things. Had I selected a block or fabrics that I had envisioned as something already, I was bound for disappointment. Having no expectations besides a beautiful quilt in whatever form it took made me excited each time I saw a new round added.

And my humble center star grew and grew and grew some more into this gorgeous quilt I could never have imagined alone. Each round just added more interest. And I love the bold, vibrant colors everyone used.

final travelling round
This was mostly a stash robin. Everyone sent along a few scraps with their quilts but really, most of these fabrics were from the ladies personal stashes, so it was so cool to see all the new materials and patterns that were incorporated.

my final addintion
I am adding on another round just to finish it up. It should be a nice 72" square when finished. I just felt the arrows were too light for a final round, but think that duplicating the second round (HSTs) that it will make the quilt feel complete.

e's nautical nursery {a pillow}

Catching up with the nursery projects, today I'm showing off a pillow I made for E's room.

swoon + out to sea pillow for e
Originally, I bought this Out to Sea fabric thinking I would make a quilt for myself (not prego at the time!) and thought that the Swoon block would be a nice compliment to the nautical prints. I love linen and thought that it went well with the fabrics and so decided to use it when I created this pillow. The Swoon block is 16" - a little smaller than the full size Swoon.

The back has a small HST border. They finish at 1" - ridiculous I know, but they were leftover from the Swoon trimmings and I thought why not?

pillow back
pillow back
The quilting was mostly outlining the Swoon diamonds, except in the floral print where I added even more.

swoon pillow quilting
I was thinking of doing a Swoon baby quilt for E, but after making this pillow, I thought it seemed a bit "mature" for a nursery, although I still have plenty of Out to Sea left, so maybe for me? I really do love how the linen compliments the Out to Sea prints and I think Swoon is just a very pretty block on it's own, so maybe someday...

I did end up making some other, more "fun" pillows for E though, so stay tuned for those!

last weekend

Last weekend, the hubs, E and I went with the stroller brigade some friends of ours to Spring's Preserve. We had gone before, but not with a baby, and especially not with 3 babies! It was definitely an adventure! 
springs + strollers
We love visiting as they really showcase a lot of beautiful plants that grow well in our desert climate and since we have a bit of landscaping left to do, it's a great source of inspiration.

There were a few more stops (for feedings, diaper changes, cuddles and crying) than in visits past, but we definitely enjoyed ourselves and even ventured to parts of the preserve that we hadn't gone to previously. Nothing like having a kid as an excuse to scurry into a little cave and pop up in a glass ball to view a bunny habitat up close...

springs

springs

springs

springs
'Til next time Springs...

a *little* stashing

In addition to my Liberty, I got some fun new fabrics recently. I haven't done much in the way of fabric shopping in a while except for the necessary backing print or stashed neutral so it was fun to splurge a little and get something I'd been eyeing for a while now.

From Purl Soho, I got this beautiful stack of solids in their "Sunrise" colorway. I'm thinking they will become a lovely ombre HST quilt.

sunrise bundle
I also got some more of those necessary fabrics - a backing for my Round Robin quilt (AMH Poppies) and some Essex Linen and Kona snow. Gotta love fabric mail!

(And being totally honest, this was way more fun than shopping for new, larger pants)

Linking up with Molli at Sunday Stash!

my first pillow

Late last year (yes, I have some catching up to do), I participated in my local guild's swap. I hemmed and hawed about what to make and eventually decided on a pillow.

first pillow
I hadn't made a pillow before (silly me!) and doubted my abilities. But I had this reverse applique leftover from when I took my handstitched class and it just really wanted to be a pillow. I thought of putting a solid behind it as I had done in my quilt, but being a pillow I felt it needed some more color. Patchwork seemed perfect.

I whipped it up and it turned out that making pillows is ridiculously fast and easy. The fun and creativity of quilting without the time or fabric commitment. It just so happens we're getting a new sofa soon so I think there will be many, many more pillows to come. I want a couch that looks like this

e's nautical nursery {curtains}

I just thought I'd share with you some of the nursery projects that I had made for E's room. I went with a nautical theme since I had planned to use my Sarah Jane Out to Sea hoard fabrics.

I knew that I wanted to make curtains for her room. Curtains are always so expensive and since her room gets quite a bit of light, I wanted to make sure that they were substantial so that she wouldn't be woken up by first morning light (if that's at all possible!).

nursery curtains
photographing curtains is really, really hard guys. 
I ended up fashioning these based on the similar curtains from Sarah Jane's quilt market booth. I lined each panel with a (very heavy) blackout fabric as well. This helped to hide the piecing lines (which I did on my serger) and also to block out the light from the window.

I made two panels, each 5' wide to cover the window (which also spans 5' wide, but doubling that in the fabric allows for drape). The blackout fabric is a little stiff, but in this case it was a fair trade off. I can always remove the blackout fabric and add a thinner lining once sleep isn't so fragile a commodity around these parts.

The rod and finial I got from Pottery Barn Kids. I really liked the nautical feel of the rope and plan to get some rope to fashion into coordinating tie backs to finish off the look.

Stay tuned for more from E's nautical nursery!

Linking up to Let's Bee Social!

a fancy, schmancy new camera

Guess what this (formerly) little lady got?

A brand new DSLR! My husband got it for me as a "push present" (or so he says) since I'd been wanting one forever.

new camera ;)
my E bump at 38 weeks

Up until this point, I had been using a little Canon Point and Shoot. I must say, it took decent photos and it did have some manual adjustment settings, so I was happy with it for the most part. I had learned how to get the best photos I could with that camera and so, while I'm excited to have a brand new camera, the learning curve seems pretty steep at this point. I'm hoping to learn a few tricks and take even better (manual) photos.

A photographer friend of mine wants to learn to sew - and I want to learn how to take nice photos of little miss E...yay for skill swapping!

For this blog, it means I might be including some more photography posts as I learn and lots of pictures as I try and fail and try and succeed. I find documenting the trial and error helps me learn. How about you? Any photography tips to share?!

give me liberty (a stash post)

Since having a newborn (especially one that doesn't like being anywhere but her mama's arms) doesn't leave much time for sewing, I've been doing lots of dreaming...dreaming about fabric, looking at fabric porn, filling up cart after virtual cart, thinking of all the projects I'd love to do...someday...when this baby decides she loves her baby swing.

liberty love
liberty quarter yards

Usually, the shopping spree ends there - in my virtual basket. But sometimes, nursing at 3 am just makes a girl do some crazy things. I blame the hormones. Like last week, I was doing some online window shopping at Purl Soho (where I could literally buy everything) and a bundle of Liberty of London prints found it's way into my cart. Then a few of my favorite prints in 1/4 yard cuts snuck their way in as well...

I've loved Liberty fabrics since I started quilting but I've never purchased them because I sort of gag at the price. I always stare at them longingly but end up hitting "remove" when it gets down to decision (aka credit card) time. But this time, I did it. I hit "purchase."

And the sky didn't fall. Lightening didn't strike.

liberty love
the liberty mini bundle

So I guess it's ok.

But let me tell you - these are lovely fabrics! Eek! So pretty! They are so soft and the patterns are so "me." I can't wait to cut into them. I have a couple projects that I dreamed up to start as soon as I get the chance but am hoping to stretch these pretties into as many projects as I can.

And yes, I feel like the little elf from the Hobbit with his "precious" just petting these and pulling them out and fanning them on the desk - it's kinda scary. Don't judge.

"place"

fleury on quilts
When Fleury was just a wee thing, we taught him a great command called "place." It's basically where you put a towel, bed, blanket, mat on the floor and it becomes a "place" that the dog will go to on command. What cracks me up is how well this mister learned it, so well that anything that gets laid on the ground becomes a place without us mentioning it.

My sewing room is not overly large, but certainly there are many places for a pup to lay that aren't directly on the particular quilt that's been laid out to be currently worked on. But apparently, none of those are his "place," as evidenced by these photos.

fleury on quilts
But seriously, can you really get angry with that face?

(And, um, sorry to all of you who's quilts he's made his place. Before mailing, I definitely tried to shake out all the dog hair!) 

9 months in the making

9 months in the making

Life has been good and full lately. These past few weeks have flown by, even with the sleepless nights and exhausting days dictated by our tiny baby girl.