Friday, December 28, 2012

The Birthday Quilt for my little brother

My younger brother moved to the Netherlands with his girlfriend this year. She is from the Netherlands and all of her family is there, she got a University position in Gronigen and my brother was game to give it a go. He has always had such an adventurous spirit!

Anyway.... I've been working on this quilt on and off since July and his birthday was December 26. I gave myself plenty of time to get it done and not rush. I wanted to give something that would remind him of home, of the outdoors and bring together his new life with his past experiences. Quite a big job for one small quilt! Quilts made with love have a way of getting the job done. ( at least I think so!)

The quilting was all done free motion on my Symphony with 3 20" large flowers surrounded by stippling.

So here are the final pictures.



Mitered corner, back.

Mitered corner, front.

Quilt label, made on my new DreamMaker.

I took the quilt to the park for an outdoor photo shoot.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas pictures!

We found Santa on the train!

Family picture in the bean!

At the Chicago River.

All smiles, all weekend!

Papa Santa.

Piled on the giant hotel bed.

Me.... Playing Santa :)

Mel & Dorian opening their new luggage.

My beautiful tree! Makes me smile :)

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

So frustrated with blogger yesterday and today.... none of my pictures will upload. pooh. Pictures to follow once I can make them work!

This year my little family and I are spending the Holidays at home. While my hubby and I have both missed seeing our families we have certainly enjoyed our cozy time together.

On Friday, with the last of my gifts sewn and wrapped, I straightened up my sewing studio, covered my machines and shut the lights. It was time for a well earned holiday break. A perfect time to enjoy my loved ones and let my creative juices replenish themselves!

My Christmas present to my family was to surprise them with 2 nights at the historic Blackstone hotel on South Michigan Ave in Chicago. Ohhhhhhhh! What a great weekend we had. We took the train downtown and then walked everywhere. It was delightful to spend the time together and just do what we wished. I gave everyone some cash to spend for themselves in anyway they pleased. My hubby bought a vintage Miles Davis record album and a cool ornament from the Krsitkringle market. My daughter bought herself a bottle of wine from a Wine/Cheese/ Chocolate bar that we stopped in for an hour or two to sample a variety of goodies! My future son in law... Well he couldn't decide what to get! Between the vintage shops record shop, the awesome used bookstore, the Christmas market and the Architecture shop.... Too many choices!

At Chicago River and In The Bean, Walked almost 9 miles on Saturday!

We had a really great dinner with friends at the Marvelous Chicago Firehouse Steakhouse restaurant! I surprised my family with our good friends meeting up with us. It was great :)

And when we got tired.... Well we just all piled
in one room at the hotel and watched movies and ate pizza! Perfect, perfect perfect weekend away and a perfect time with the family!
Christmas Eve dinner we spent at our daughters long time best friends apartment for a great dinner and Christmas Movies! Lots of wine, friends and fun!

Fast forward to right now.... I am contentedly sitting in my chair next to the Christmas tree, scents of a very yummy Christmas dinner being cooked by my hubby filling my nose, my dogs at my feet, presents unwrapped, stockings enjoyed, Skype with my family, and a nice long afternoon nap! Life should always be this good!

I got to play Santa this year and hand out the gifts from under the beautiful tree.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Home for the Holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Busy! Busy playing with my new DreamMaker, Busy sewing, busy working!

Coming to you from 30,000 feet! Traveling for work and taking a few minutes to update my blog.

I've been a busy woman. This time of the year it seems if you don't stay on top of things then things can quickly spiral out of control! Nothing worse than mega-stress at the holidays.

I have a couple things to share:

1. I have finished ( well almost finished) my holiday table decor. I decided to go for something up beat, cheerful and fun for this holiday season! Placemats, a runner and red napkins for this holiday season. A nice and surprising departure from my usual serious holiday tablecloth and accessories.

This project had me using a good many techniques. I used my serger to chainstich candlelight thread onto my stocking fabrics prior to cutting them out. Adding a little bit of glitz to the fabric. I also used my new DreamMaker to embroider some big snowflakes in a transparent sparkly thread on the placemats left side. Not easy to see in the pictures but a nice touch in person.
I also tried a new binding technique that I read about on some blog. I apologize now for not bookmarking it so I could give credit to where I found it. However it was probably on a sleepless night and I did not even think about it! Anyway, this technique has you sew the binding like normal only to the reverse or back side of the sandwich, wrap it to the front, miter your corners and then machine sew. I cut my binding an 1/8 in wider than normal but still sewed it on at a 1/4 inch then when I wrapped to the front, I used my edge stitch foot to sew it down and with the slight bit extra fabric the edge stitch went right beside the binding on the back side. Quite a nice and neat treatment for machine sewing on a binding!

I must admit that the original inspiration for this stocking project came from my serger club at Linda Z's. November club was using the serger chain stitch and flatlocking to dress up Christmas stockings. I have Christmas stockings but thought the idea was a fun one and wanted to play.

2. The second project I have done is a Christmas gift for someone that I know does not read my blog, so I can share.
It is just a cute set of Christmas Kitchen towels that I embroidered using Urban Threads Christmas Revelry designs. These are for a young lady and her boyfriend. She is very into the decor in her apartment and I hope she enjoys these!!! 'Cause if they weren't for a gift I would be putting them in my kitchen!

So... What's sitting on my work table??? Several more gifts that need to be created and some things I'm playing with.

What do you think of this interesting steampunk Holiday design?

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Monday, December 3, 2012

A new addition to my sewing studio! Brother DreamMaker XE Embroidery machine

What a happy weekend for me! I have finally added an embroidery unit to my sewing studio arsenal. Welcome Brother DreamMaker XE!

The actual purchase happened back before Thanksgiving in mid- November when I was at the Tinley Park Quilt and Sewing Expo. Linda Z's had there usual Brother booth set up and I knew this new unit was going to be there.

It was very important for me to have a separate embroidery unit not a combined sewing/embroidery unit. It would have been nice to have a multi needle but who's kidding! Those things are super expensive and something that I don't have space for or need.

My girlfriend Lori and I made our purchases together. What fun it is to have someone else to learn with :)

The units took several weeks to arrive and I finally got the phone call this past Friday morning. By Friday afternoon the 2 of us were up at the store for several hours for a stabilizer class and a basic machine class to make sure we knew the basics of the machine. 4 hours later and a whole bunch of $$$$ lighter we headed home with our new toys.

The decision to go with a Brother DreamMaker vs the New Babylock Spirit; well, I have 2 Babylocks already (my Evolution serger and Symphony sewing only). I like that Brother has Disney embroidery license and I couldn't go wrong since Brother makes BabyLock! The machines are extremely similar.

So..... What have I made on my new DreamMaker this weekend? My very first project was a quilt label. :)super easy to design right on screen. The next 4 projects are Christmas ornaments made with water soluble dissolvable stabilizer. S basically I made lace ornaments! And can I say the BEST part of it.... My new embroidery unit was happily working away while I was happily sewing away on my Symphony. PERFECT!

What do you prefer? Separate sewing and embroidery units or a combined sewing/embroidery unit?

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL