Monday, July 26, 2010

Everybody Loves a Handmade Gift...I Hope!

Can you believe I made it back SO SOON?! I can't, but as promised here I am to show you some things I've made for gifts. One of my best friends while I was growing up was my cousin. She was one of my main inspirations for creativity at a young age. I can remember summer days when she, her twin sister, my older sister, and I would lounge around playing cards and taking turns working on a butterfly latch-hook design, which I still have and is currently hanging in my daughters' room. She also made cute little swans out of looped yarn, a bar of soap, and some chenille stems, or as we called them, pipe cleaners. She could crochet and tried without much luck to teach me...I guess I just didn't have it in me to learn, at that time! :D One of my best memories with her is spending a week with her at her GrandMa Pat's. This woman was amazing..I can't remember exactly how old she was at the time, but to my younger self she was probably ANCIENT!! HA! Anyway, she would get us up at 4 a.m. to slop hogs and feed chickens and horses, then would feed us eggs and fried pork chops with maple syrup for breakfast. I don't remember her having a TV, but she did have one of those antique record players with the BIG horn-shaped speaker that you had to hand crank in order for it to play records that were at least a half inch thick!! We would listen to music while she and my cousin crocheted and I cut out bowties from fabric scraps for a quilt she was working on. We hand stitched alot of those bowties, but then she showed me the most FABULOUS sewing machine ever and taught me how to use it! It was an old Singer with the iron trestle electricity used for this baby! I vaguely remember trying to sew the quilt blocks together..over and over because I messed up...ALOT!! Good times...and GREAT memories. So back to my gifts...

My cousin's daughter, her first out of FIVE children, got married last weekend in Mississippi. They have lived there, I'm not quite sure how long, but I regret that I have not kept in contact over these long years. All of her children are absolutely gorgeous and I enjoyed spending the limited amount of time we had talking with her and meeting her family. The wedding was simple and beautiful, very much like the bride! She has made everyone in our family so proud and is an extraordinary young lady. She graduated high school at 16, and at almost 21 has a degree in primary education, she just has to finish up her state exam to become a certified Teacher! So proud!
She had a set of placemats on her registry, and being the lazy, not-wanting-to-leave-the-house person that I am, I decided to make her some from my stash! She is using mostly browns and earth tones so I thought these would work ok! The paisley print is a home decor weight that I've used in many other projects, and is the backing for the place mats.
While we were in Mississippi, I got to meet my other cousin's new baby for the first time. She is sooooo cute with a head FULL of black hair...just gorgeous. I didn't make it to the baby shower, so I wanted to give her something.
I just did a cute applique on the front of a onesie...
And added a couple of ruffles on the back! This was my first time doing one of these...super simple with maximum cuteness!! I chose the cherry print because I had a cute grosgrain ribbon that matched it perfectly for a bow!
My friend Jane went to Houston to visit family and needed birthday gifts for her MUCH younger twin brothers...
They are into soccer, and having some fabric in my stash, I decided to do fabric letters again instead of embroidering their names.
Add some soccer grosgrain ribbon for a binding around the hood and you have some fabulous hooded towels!!
And lastly is an order for a family whose dad works with my awesome man.
First graders at their son's school need a book pocket that hangs from their desks.

I've never seen or made one of these before so I am hoping that it is what is needed. She gave me the dimensions, and what prints and colors she wanted. I just used some quilting cottons with a baseball grosgrain ribbon for fun, and used some pre-made bias for the ties. Hopefully it will hold up!

So that's all for now! I have a few more WIPs to finish, and some new things I want to start. The summer is winding down, and I've already started shopping for needed back-to-school things, but not nearly finished. Be well and until later....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer of Birthdays!

If it weren't for birthdays I probably wouldn't be sewing as much!! I have been busy and highly UNmotivated to get into my sewing room this Summer. I am not sure WHAT is going on with me lately! It could be because my sewing room gets pretty warm during the day, and having the iron on doesn't make it any cooler! So you would think I would get in there in the evening...but NOPE!! By then I am tired, the children are hungry and cranky, and my husband would like to see my face. :) It also could be because, once again, my sewing room is a complete and utter MESS! I'll spare you the down-right FRIGHTFUL photos this time...but I'm sure some of you will remember!! :D Anyway, whatever the reason I am not in there as much as I think I need to many items I want to make...SO MANY WIPs!! I keep counting on the fact that my motivation will come back when the children are off to school in August..let's hope that is the case! In the meantime, I will try to keep up my blog with things I DO manage to get accomplished!

My sweet niece turned 2! Here are a few things I made for her.

I know that it is hard to tell...but this is supposed to be an appliqued popsicle!! Can you see it? I've been told it looks like two tennis rackets...or my favorite, two CORNDOGS!! HA! I wasn't happy with the square shaped popsicle applique that I had, so I attempted to make my own..pitiful, I know! One day I'll learn my lesson and just PAY for designs!!
The little bloomers came out cute though! Instead of doing an elastic encased waist, I just shirred it. I love how easy it is and it tends to be more forgiving in the sizing...just in case I'm off a little!
Next, I did a guitar strap for her.
My sister got her a child-sized guitar, so I made a cute strap.
I put a super soft faux fur backing on it!
And put button holes in the ribbon on the ends to make it adjustable. See our cute little Sweetie? She and her brother, Tiger came to live with us this Summer...2 dogs....2 cats...5 kids....UGH!!!

And lastly, I decided to make her a halter top with matching bow.

This halter is based on the one I did for my sister. I combined a couple of different child patterns to cut out the fabric, then used the directions from the Weekend Sewing pattern to add the side sewn bottom straps. I decided to add the ruffle to make sure it was long enough and to crank up the cuteness!
I used Pique Cotton fabric for the front, and a solid white quilting cotton for the liner. I just wanted to make sure the embroidery didn't scratch her, since it is such a big design. It also helped to encase all of the seams. Sorry if this is all so vague...summer heat brain!

I did this beach towel for my sister.

She had a birthday party for a friend's daughter and wanted something quick and simple. I cut letters from fabric with pinking shears and used a big zigzag stitch to sew it on.

Hope you all had a happy 4th!

I really wanted to try the yoga skirt tutorial that was featured on Sew Mama Sew! LOVE IT!!
I did one for me, and one for my 4th of July Birthday girl...she turned 4!! But my oldest daughter wanted a dress, so it was just a quick pillowcase style. Instead of doing the armscyes in the normal "J cut", I decide to do a diagonal cut to make the top more narrow and less bulky. I also added a line of elastic thread stitching right under the arms to give it more of an empire waist.
So that's it....summer sewing, quick and easy. This was the only picture of me wearing the yoga time, I will add pockets!! Hope your Summer is going well! I've got some orders due soon, so I will be back hopefully by next week with some more things done. I also attended a wedding this past weekend and caught up with family in Mississippi..some things were made for that trip also. I feel this post is a little erratic, so I am sorry..I have one sleeping on me, while another is screaming and playing with the mouse..hope nothing gets lost!! Until later...