Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Quilt Shop

So bummed! One of my favorite destination quilt shops is in Historic Lewes, Delaware. It is close to my Mom and Dad's home in Delaware, it's super cute, has nice people and I absolutely love all the variety of 'ocean' themed fabric. Living in the Midwest we really don't get that variety of sea shore themes. PLUS... No taxes....

Being here this week between Christmas and New Years I headed over to Mare's Bears Quilt Shop to pursue the goods and see if there was anything that had to come home with me to Chicagoland.

We pulled up and.... CLOSED. Not just for the day but for THE ENTIRE WEEK that I am here. Such a total bummer. I stared longingly through the window and turned away with a pouty lower lip.

I am determined! tomorrow we head to Dagsboro, DE to check out a brand new to me quilt shop plus several antique shops. keeping my fingers crossed to find another gem of a quilt shop with lots of ocean themed fabrics to play with.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Lewis, DE

Friday, December 23, 2011

Reusable shopping totes for Christmas gifts

This year I made several reusable shopping totes for Christmas. I figured since 'green ' is the way to go and I had tons of the extra durable thick ripstop fabric leftover from old saddle bag projects. I would use it to make some gifts. This way not only do the recipients get the gifts inside they also get a super nice bag to go with it.

These were inspired by a project in the book One Yard Wonders. I did make some changes for durability and long term use, specifically in regards to the handles. I made 6 bags. Each is constructed like an old fashioned grocery bag. They are lined and I added labels inside.

Happy Holidays!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Driving across country

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My brand new Babylock Evolution Serger

To excited not to share!!!

My Christmas/ Birthday gift to myself was a new serger.

I am in need of it. My good old 18 year old MyLock 634D has just hit a wall. I never knew if she was going to run correctly or give me a giant headache. It was getting to the point where I was afraid to use her for fear that she would eat my fabric and make a mess. The timing goes wonky after only and hour or two of use, I can only use the three thread mode or rolled hem.

Well, no more worry for me!

I have been doing my homework and did several test drives. I figured my last serger lasted 18 years because I chose top of the line. Well, that was my plan again. I tested out the Huskylock s25 and looked at the top of the line Pfaff but in the end the Babylock won hands down. My old serger is traded in and I am ready to create!

I wish I could just set it up right now and play all day! But, I can't. I am in the middle of getting ready to leave for the holidays as well as in the middle of moving my sewing room to a larger space. So my beautiful new machine will safely sit in her box all protected by her styrofoam until January.

In the mean time I'm sure to be daydreaming of all the cool things she has to offer.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


My last project of 2011

Here are some pics of a lap quilt and matching 18" doll quilt that I made for my friends daughter for Christmas. This lucky little girl is getting a slew of American Girl dolls and accessories for Christmas and I thought every little girl needs a special blanket to play on with a matching one for her favorite doll.

I really had no plan in place when I bought the fabric. I just purchased 8 fat quarters in fun fabrics and some yardage of matching colors. I ended up going with half square triangles with blues and greens as the solids. I played with different layouts and finally settled on this one. I used leftover squares to piece a strip down the back. A little extra fun.

It was a fun project to make!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fabric Bowls

I needed a gift for a Christmas party with our friends. I decided to make something for it this year. The spending limit is $15. My thought was to search through my stash for some Christmas fabric and make a fabric bowl.

Only problem is that I have not bought any Christmas fabric in years! At least 8 years... I went on a Christmas fabric spree about 10 years ago and had plenty. Well now I am just down to a woefully few scraps and the one bigger piece was just plain old ugly and outdated. My plan just changed to using non Christmas fabric from my stash... I have plenty of that.

However, yesterday when I was at the quilt shop geting fabric for another Christmas gift this wonderful bolt of fabric was sitting on the cutting table and I just HAD to have a yard of it!

It is Christmassy without being over the top and I just loved the colors.

I got home and got to work and by the end of the night I had 2 new fabric bowls. One will be for the Christmas grab bag and one is for my mother-in-law. I think I will pair each with a bag of yummy wrapped chocolates for a lovely little gift.

The fabric is from the Snow Queen line from Northcott. I used timtex as a stiffener, some fusible web and aqua/teal batik from my stash and a bit if green batik from my stash as accompanying fabrics.

The 2 bowls use the same fabrics and same basic shape (round) but they are 2 different styles. The first one is more structured. Straight line darts and precise quilting the second one is more free form and random. Both were lots if fun!

The thread is YLI Machine Quilting 100% cotton 40/3 ply variegated called Danube Blues. I did use just under 500 yards of thread just for these 2 bowls!

I used the book Fun fast & easy Fabric Bowls by Linda Johansen as a guide for this project.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Haberman Fabrics in Detroit Metro Area

I finally made it to Haberman Fabrics over in the Detroit area. This store has been on my list for quite a few years. I have been to Detroit quite a few times but have never had the opportunity or time to make it to the store.

I had a quick work trip yesterday in Detroit and figured that if eveything went according to plan I would have 2 hours between the time my meeting ended and when I needed to be back to the airport. This gave me 30 mins each way for travel and a precious hour of shopping time.

Oh dear! A single hour of shopping time in what is touted to be Michigan's finest Fabric store... How would I ever make that work? Well, I decided that I would go in with a project in mind and spend time in only one section of the store. I have been wanting to make a new winter coat or two. I perused my patterns, picked out a couple jotted down the yardage requirements and then kept my fingers crossed that my work meeting would no run late!

I was not disappointed!! I got my hour to shop at Haberman's and it was a lovely hour. I could have spent the entire day in the store... but then I would have no more money in my checking account either.

I definitely recommend the store to any sewer or fabric lover that happens to travel through the area. I got to the store and was amazed by how it was set up. I easily found the wool section with in the Casual and Career section. They had an amazing selection of woolens. From menswear to fine wool crepe to heavy wool coatings and knits and everything in-between. The prices were also quite reasonable for the fine wools. The experience was very good. the store has tons of personality, the people working were helpful and nice, and did I mention the selection?

Honestly I was expecting more of the vibe of a Fishmans or Vogue Fabrics downtown in Chicago. tons of bolts and rolls just lain in the tables in a big boring store. Great fabrics but the stores have no personality. Habermans has personality! It is warm and inviting, fun to look at and set up very nicely.

I did end up using almost every second of my precious hour. The selection of wools were phenomenal and I had to really concentrate on what I wanted to keep from being distracted. I left with 2 fabric selections. the first is a deep red/wine colored Donna Karen wool with a herringbone pattern for a short coat/jacket. the second is a beautiful black and cream textured wool for a longer swing coat.

Now I wish I could magically stop real time so I can go play in sewing time :)

Habermans has a great website and they even have a blog called The Sewing Dish.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Party

We had so much fun! I failed at taking lots of good pictures... Must have had something to do with the 'Brain Wash' punch that I couldn't stop drinking.

Almost everyone that attended dressed up in the SteamPunk theme, The costumes were great!

- Steph


Saturday, October 29, 2011

A bit of Halloween Egg fun

I made these super fun hard boiled eggs for my deviled egg plate for the Halloween party tomorrow.

I would love to take all the credit for them.... But, my husband saw them in a magazine and I just copied them. Still super fun for Halloween.

Not hard to do. Just need to use some dark colored food coloring paste. Boil your eggs, knock the eggs with the back of a wooden spoon so they crack and crackle a bit them put them Ina bowl with the food colored water. Put the bowl in the fridge for a couple hours and then peel them. Wherever the cracks were the food color dyes the egg white and you get these spiderweb looking hard boiled peeled eggs! Just make sure to wear rubber gloves, it makes it harder to peel the eggs but much better than having violet fingers.

- Steph... From my iPad


Thursday, October 20, 2011


I had a quick one night trip up to Portland, Maine. I have been trying to stop into interesting fabric and/or quilt shops during my travels. (as time permits)

I finished up about an hour earlier than planned and had found a great looking quilt shop in Kennebunk, Maine. That would only take me a total of 20 mins out of my way plus browse time. I plugged the address into my trusty Garmin. And made the detour. Kennebunk Was a nice place to detour through! Too bad the weather was gray and wet.

I find this charming Inn and beside it is the quilt shop in an old refurbished barn. Ohhhh, I liked the looks of it. I park, grab my purse, check my time and walk to the entrance only to be greeted by one of those awful 'we will be back' clock looking signs with 2 pm on it. Maaaaaaan. I was bummed! I eagerly looked through the window and sighed. Too bad. No way I could wait 40 mins for them to come back.

So sad. I guess 'Mainely Quilts, quilt shop' will have to wait another day. If your ever in southern Maine make the stop, it looked intriguing.

- Steph... From my iPad

Location:Logan airport, Boston, MA

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The doggie leather jacket

So... I couldn't help myself and totally spoiled my grand-doggy, Holly.
I had the leather bin out doing some work for Halloween Costumes and had a perfect size piece to make a great leather jacket for Holly. All of my leather pieces are recycled from old garments. The soft leathers are cut from old leather coats and jackets and the thicker, heavier suede pieces are cut from old riding chaps.

I had the leather out to re-do the sides of my husbands leather vest and had this great piece of super supple leather sitting there right next to Holly's little winter coat and I just decided to whip one up. I lined it in a remnant piece of black parachute pant fabric that was in my scrap stash.

For Halloween I will attach the key to the coat via some carefully placed stitches to the lining. Then after just snip off the key and she is all set.

I promise to get pictures of her in it!

- Steph... From my iPad


Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween Quilt Shop Hop and Costume sewing

I participated in my first 'Shop Hop'!

It was seven shops in the Chicago Western Suburbs.

Pieceful Hearts Fabric, Lisle, IL (my usual quilt shop)
The Quilt Basket, Downers Grove, IL, Willowbrook, IL
Thimbles, Lockport, IL
Roberts Sewing Center, Joliet, IL
Prairie Stitches, Oswego, IL
Prairie Shop Quilts, Batavia, IL

At each shop you had to get a stamp in your passport and find the gift basket and write down the location. If you wore a mask or costume you also got a coupon for future use as well as a free quilt pattern.

I spent 2 days shop hopping, meeting lots of great people, and ohhhhhhhhhh, all the fabric! I LOVE fabric.

I have been working on lots of Halloween stuff in the sewing room and promise pictures soon. To hold you over here is a picture of part of Holly's (the mini doxies) costume.

Part of the costumes also have leather. My new machine is wonderful, every time I get used to it some other awesome thing presents itself. Like the ability to sew through 2 layers of thick leather without blinking an eye.

- Steph... From my iPad

Location:Western suburbs of Chicago

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Swimming with the fishes and Miami Beach

So, what a crazy day for me! Woke up early, took a 2.5 mile walk on the Miami Beach boardwalk followed by a 30 min swim in the ocean with my kick board and a school of fishes to accompany me. It was so cool! There I was about 25 yards of the beach, flat water, me with my trusty kick board and goggles and a small school of fish. They were about 5 inches long, silver with yellow tails and they just decided I needed company and encouragement on my swim. I certainly was not complaining!

The day just progressed from there. A seemingly endless number of hours in sales meetings, followed by a lovely company reception outside in the hot and humid air. Next an impressive thunder storm, drinks, dinner more drinks and holy cow it turned into 1:30 am! Not possible! Too many people out... A cab back to the hotel which happened to have the lobby turned into a giant night club with me wanting to run after all the girls and pull down the non-existent dresses and skirts! Holy moly!!! things so darn tight and short they could not possibly be considers clothes.

I must be getting old! 2am and I left the 'nightclub' lobby and called it a night. Thinking WOW, Miami Beach Is very much like Las Vegas!

- Steph... From my iPad

Location:Collins Ave,Miami Beach,United States

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New dress and Halloween

I have been working in my sewing rooms bit lately. I just have not posted because it has been Halloween stuff. Halloween is one of our favorite holidays and when possible we like to have a Halloween party with a costume contest. :) I know, we are like a couple of big kids!

So I have been working on a new dress using some interesting knit fabric. I must say that this dress tested my patience as well as my handiness with a seam ripper. There were 2 definite times where I was positive it was going to a wadder! I really wanted to just throw my hands up in frustration. However, I was not letting this adorable fabric go out the window nor was I going to let it get the better of me!

When you look closely at the fabric it resembles panty hose type knit with the colored loops added. It is also quite see though, so I added a lining of flesh colored swimsuit lining. It is actually a nice lining because it not only provides coverage it also acts like a very lite slimmer and feels good too.

Pattern is McCall's M6032 view A modified for no zipper or center back seam.

So after much perseverance and good thoughts the dress is done and it is super cute!!!! I am extremely happy with it.

I will be wearing it in Miami this Saturday night for a Cancer Charity Bash at the annual meeting of American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology.

The only downfall to the whole look is that I have to wear my lovely leg brace. Oh well. Because of the leg brace I also have to wear a pair of tights. The brace has Velcro on it and it shreds panty hose and makes a raw spot on my other leg. Seems to do Ok with thicker tights.

Dress with the shoes and an antique brooch at the bust line to fancy it up a bit.

Sleeve detail, I wanted to make it more interesting and piping was not really an option do to the busy knit so instead I finished the little cap sleeve and then applied it with a lapped seam finish.

The little loop Just below the center bust to gather the dress into the flowing front drapes. I left this as self fabric because the I can wear it plain or dress it up with a brooch.

The shoes. They are cute and fancy but with a low heel. Too bad I have to wear those darn tights!

- Steph... From my iPad