Monday, May 16, 2011

New Kits=Playtime for Me!

What a GORGEOUS week we had! After over 90 days of NO RAIN in the San Antonio area, we had a gorgeous rainfall that lasted nearly all morning last Thursday! My grass and flowers look rejuvenated and I actually have some little green orbs hanging off my tomato plants! Super excited about that! Along with the rain comes the opportunity to sit at my sewing machine with my studio windows open and watch the beautiful downpour! And what better time! We've added a couple new kits to the shop and you know kits mean "must sew sample"!! I had so much fun sewing up a few Bond Street Handbags and Totes. AND, BONUS, I have some tips and a tweak I made in the pattern. First, some pictures for you:

This is Bond Street by Poppy Patterns. Poppy Patterns is a collaborative pattern company made up of Patti Pinkston and Laura Gunn. Their patterns are relatively new on the scene and are right up the new "modern" sewing trend alley. Laura Gunn is a fabric designer among other things and I've loved ooing and awing over her fabrics at Market. This pattern was introduced to me by my very dear friend Nora of Hands on Tradition.

It's the perfect pattern to really showcase your large scale prints.

This particular sample is the larger tote size.

All Poppy Patterns have a 4 tiered skill level system that is actually pretty cute. The easiest pattern is represented by a baby carriage. Next up is a tricycle, next a bicycle and the highest skill level is what looks like a 1972 Dodge hatchback or something. This particular pattern is a "Tricycle". I imagine the only reason for that is the peek-a-boo pleat but honestly, the directions are so clear and easy to understand that even the most beginning sewist isn't going to have trouble with it.

Now, I promised you a tweak to this pattern. In the first sample I made, the tote in Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush fabrics, I decided to use a fusible fleece called Thermolam by Pellon. Thermolam is a little "loftier" than your average fusible fleece. The pattern calls for "heavyweight interfacing". In my head, "heavyweight interfacing" is a Decor-Bond type fusible. I used the Decor Bond in the smaller handbags you see here. While it gave a beautiful product that photographed well, they were so stiff and inflexible that I couldn't see myself toting them around. My bag needs to be soft yet still keep its shape and Thermolam does that. Now, you'll deal with a little extra bulk at the straps when you sew the lining into the bag and topstitch around the outer top but go slow and easy and you'll have no issues at all. I've included Thermolam in all of the kits I am offering in the shop, NOT Decor Bond. I'm certain you'll be happier with the Thermolam!

A sample made from Erin McMorris' line, Weekends by Free Spirit.

Another cool aspect to this pattern is the little "ripped" flower. Not only because it's cute and adds an artistic flair to your bag, but because you get to tear the heck out of some fabric. I don't know what it is about tearing fabric...the noise it makes, the frustration you can diffuse...I don't know and I may not want to delve into why I like to rip fabric so much either. But look at the cute little flower you can make! The pattern calls for a 1.5" covered button which is adorable as well but I collect little antique pins and thought the flower would make a beautiful frame for my ever growing collection! Get creative! Just about anything can get attached to the center of this! How about running that ink jet printer fabric through your printer and putting a picture of your favorite child on there, at about a 2" size and centering that on a fabric button!? Ooo! I see Christmas presents coming! I'm going to have to try that next!

Another project actually finished this weekend was our new Brick Path kit made from MoMo, Just Wing It fabrics. Those of you who attend our shows know that the Amy Butler free pattern, Brick Path, has been a mainstay in our shop. It's the perfect pattern for absolutely ANY skill level. I am extremely dedicated to making sure our young people learn how to sew. Now that "home ec" type classes are no longer in our school systems, it's up to US to make sure this skill doesn't disappear with the mass production of items once sewn by hand. I'm not saying we need to learn how to sew a dress with a needle and thread, we'll leave that up to Cinderella's mice, but every person should know the beauty of creating something. This kit is the perfect project to teach a young or new sewist the skill of quilting. Easy rotary instructions, easy piecing and a perfect palette for showcasing the fabrics that inspire you! It can't get better than that!

Bright Turquoise, Tomato Reds and Grassy Greens give a beautiful backdrop to the floral and butterfly prints. (With a little bumblebee thrown in here and there! Think I Spy!)

At 72 inches square, it is the perfect large lap size or yard quilt for anyone who wants to lounge in the sun!

Look at the little bonus doll quilt I made from the scraps! I hate leftovers and whenever possible, I will immediately sew them up! If you don't have a little doll to sew for, quilt this up into a quilted pillow sham, baby quilt (we all need baby gifts waiting in the wings!) or a decorative pillow. Bottom line, USE YOUR SCRAPS!

Thought I would throw this in so you can see what challenges I have during my photography sessions! He almost took off with the My Twinn doll. Even though she's twice his size.

If you are interested in checking out these new kits in the shop, here are some links for you:

Just Wing It Brick Path

Thanks for spending some time with me today! Now I'm off to find a quilter who can get this thing finished for me before our next show! We'll be in Kerrville, Texas next over Memorial Day weekend at Schreiner University in Edington Gym. If you're near the Hill Country, come check us out! This is a new show for us so I know nothing about it but I have really enjoyed working with the organizing quilt guild. Texas is chock full of really great peeps!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Moment For Myself

I'm sitting at my desk right now staring at the tropical island pic that is May on my "Places You'll Never Get To See In Your Whole Entire Life" 2011 Calendar. I'm not being a Negative Nelly. Just a Realist Reba. I don't even know where Nuku'alofa, Tonga is, but there is a patch of warm sand that my rear would really like to come into contact with! This has me realizing that I am in desperate need of a moment to myself. Just a moment, nothing big. I came close to it last night while watching my guilty pleasure (Vampire Diaries) but even that was spent helping my daughter crochet wool necklaces for the poor dogs who have about 20 of these things hanging from their necks. (They are such good sports!) Perhaps with Mother's Day fast approaching, I'll have a little time. I know I'm not alone!

I don't make it easy on myself with everything I aspire to get done in a 24 hour window. Let's see, there's the crochet bug (taught myself in about a week and promptly got bored), the embroidery bug (bought $100 in supplies and have lofty goals in place), the quilting bug (bought myself a kit at the last show we were at, like I NEEDED more fabric), the handbag bug (just cut a new one out yesterday) and the garment sewing (have a top that has been within minutes of finishing for about a month now). Now I've been asked to design and create some unique children's clothing and do you know, I'm actually considering this! I've always wanted to design and have done some designing for myself. Kid's clothes have to be easier!

We've just returned from The Heart of Texas Quilt Show in Brownwood, Texas. It was so wonderful seeing our Brownwood friends again! We weren't able to attend last year with our military move but we were lucky enough to get stationed in Texas again and only 3.5 hours away from this show! Wanna meet some pretty terrific people? Go to Brownwood! We have such fun, I'm always amazed when we go to these little towns that most of the ladies "get" me. I'm kinda kooky. But they like me anyway! So cool! (Some of them think I'm totally nuts and they would be right!) Our next show is in Kerrville, Texas on Memorial Day Weekend. This will be a first for us but I'm so happy to be getting into some shows that are close to home. No doubt, the people of Kerrville will be just as nice! I know I have some followers in Kerrville! SHOUT OUT! I'll be there at the Edington Gym at Schreiner University May 27-29.

Now for some business.

So, we've started a couple clubs in the shop. A Fat Quarter Club and Strip Club. Yes, I HAD to join my own club. I decided on the Strip Club. This is my first fabric shipment, Bazaar Style by Art Gallery Fabrics. The pattern for this is called Bling Thing and is from the book of patterns that is included in the Strip Club. Our strip club will give you 40 2.5" strips from a line of fabric every month for 6 months at $30 a month (a $5.00 savings). With the membership fee, you'll get a pattern book with 5 patterns utilizing fat quarters or strips, whatever you sign up for. If you'd like more info on how to sign up, go here:

I haven't blogged in so long that I have a backlog of things to tell you about but I better stop here and save it for another day. Have a wonderful Mother's Day! And take a moment for yourself!!