Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Holiday catch up!

Gosh.... It's been several weeks since my last post! I needed a little hiatus during the busy holiday season .
December was a CRAZY month for me. The first 2 1/2 weeks was solid packed with work travel, all the last minute end of year meetings to try and squeeze in before the holidays. 

Then my daughter, Melissa, and I were off to the Netherlands for a long weekend just before Christmas. It was a GREAT time!!! I got to meet my new niece and she is the most adorable tiny 5 week old ever. I was immediately smitten by her alert steel blue eyes just watching you. I did not want to leave without her :) we also got to celebrate my brother and his wife's wedding. They had a civil wedding back in September but had the wedding celebration the weekend before Christmas. We enjoyed spending the weekend in Leiden, Netherlands. 

I wore my new dress that I finished up after thanksgiving for the wedding. It was comfortable, looked quite nice and wore very well! Since I knew we would be walking to and from the wedding celebration I wore the dress with black leggings and black ankle boots. 

Once back home for the Christmas I have just been enjoying the time with the family and friends! Lots of relaxing, playing games, movies and just good old fashioned family time!

Now it is New Years Eve and I got one last project done for 2013! A new super hero apron for my hubby. It's the small things in life that make him happy and I am more than happy to oblige! 

I lined the entire apron in muslin to give it a little more body to it. The straps were made on my serger using the triple cover stitch and the 1 1/2" belt loop maker. I  made buttonholes to thread the straps through. The big front multi pocket has a light interfacing and is matched perfectly to the main fabric that you can't even make it out in the big overall picture. A fun project to finish up the new year! 

I'm wishing everyone a Happy New year!! I'm looking forward to 2014 :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Catching up after a very nice Thanksgiving break!

Last week, Thanksgiving week, I did not do any traveling!!! It was so lovely to just work for home for 3 days and then spend 4 days off with my husband :) we both truly enjoyed the time together.

Thanksgiving day we went out for a very nice brunch, just the 2 of us! We celebrated our actual Thanksgiving meal on Sunday with a big meal and family and friends. It was nice to end the holiday weekend that way.

On the sewing front of things, I got a bunch done!! (Although, still haven't touched that darn skirt!!)

I sewed up several Christmas gifts, which I will wait to do a full share. Here is a sneak peak of one I made for myself ;)

I also finished the baby quilt for my new niece!!! I can't wait to give it to my brother and his wife. I had fun making this. The backing is a super cuddly lavender fabric that for some reason was very hard to photograph the actual color! It is super soft. To keep the quilting looking neat I just did 1 1/2 inch apart channel quilting using a walking foot. This was a great technique to use with this backing. That label I designed on my embroidery machine and used a leftover block piece.

A other completed project was another McCall's 6796 easy knit top. This was a refashion form 2 short sleeve polo shirts that were in the donate/recycle pile. I used one red and one black. I cut the back pieces off and traced my pattern front and backs on them. The sleeves were then traced onto the front pieces below the button placket. I placed the hems and used them as the hems a for my new shirt.

As you can see, I also embroidered them! I wanted a Holiday shirt that wasn't too in your face holiday. This design is part of Floriani's Lu-Lu Christmas. So there are little holiday embellishments in the embroidery. Like candy canes, little x-mas trees, snowmen and poinsetta. It is fun!

The last project I am almost done with is a new dress for trip to Netherlands in two weeks. I also plan on wearing it this Saturday evening to a holiday dance party. No pics yet!

I'm currently on a crazy week of travel :( 
Newport News, VA Monday night:

Winchester VA Tuesday night: very pretty here! So close to the Shenendoah mountains.

Tonight I'm in Newburgh NY and Thursday night in Syracuse, NY.

Can't wait to be home on Friday afternoon!!! The weather better co-operate!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A little bit of this and that! And quilt labels...

This weekend was another productive one! Although, the weather here in Chicagoland was quite scary on Sunday. Luckily we were out of the direct path of the line of tornados that hit the area, even so we had lots of wind and hail and sheets of rain. Many people were not so lucky.... My prayers go out to them.

This past weekend was the Sewing and Quilt Expo in Tinley Park. This year I did not really take any time off to go attend any seminars or classes. A couple reasons for that, I'm on a hobby spending diet (I had to buy a ticket to the Netherlands and that was expensive!), I pursued the class offerings and there was not really anything that I just HAD to attend and I felt that I still had so much my head from seminars that I have already attended this year. You know, I didn't want to push out the knowledge and ideas that I haven't even fully processed yet! 

I did go on Friday for 2 hours to pursue the vendors and the quilt exhibits. I saw a couple of art quilts that took my fancy. I had a small budget of spending money and I spent it all at Laura Murray's booth on Burmese silks. I have been coveting these for several years and thought why not! (Well, except that I have so much damn fabric at home that I have no where to even stuff it!!!) I do plan on making an light jacket from it. A little holiday gift for myself. 

On the sewing front... I did get to spend Sunday sewing :) and no, I still did not finish that darn skirt!!

I worked on some Christmas gifts and I worked a little more on my nieces baby quilt. I added a narrow border and have the quilt sandwich pin basted and ready to be quilted! I'm using a kinky cuddle fabric for the backing, my first time trying this so I also have a small 16x16 sample piece ready to be trial quilted. I do think the quilting will have to be fairly simple because of the kinky backing I will need to use a walking foot. This means no fancy free motion quilting. I'm not traveling next week so I'm hoping to get it all done in the evenings. 

I also worked on a gift for my daughter. She was supposed to have this before her wedding!!! Oops, better late than never :) if you remember back to the spring, I made each of the girls in her bridal party a set of Chic travel accesories from Anita Goodesign embroidery projects CD. These are a set of embroidered bags. One for dirty laundry, one for lingere and a set of shoe bags. Well, her and her husband leave for their honeymoon on Saturday and I wanted her to have them for their trip. So Sunday, I made her a set. I also made myself a dirty laundry bag. I have been wanting one forever! Since I travel every week it would be nice to have something nicer than a plastic grocery bag or just he corner of the suitcase to shove my dirty clothes in! Especially. Dirty socks, panties and exercise clothes!!! 

The black, gray and red set are for Melissa. Very 'chic' indeed!! The bags are slightly modified from the construction instructions. I use a grommet for the opening and I enlarged the shoe bags to fit a pair of shoes each instead of just one shoe per bag. (Unless they are big shoes!! Or ankle booties)  I picked up the printed fabric of the shoes and the lingerie on the laundry line at a quilt shop somewhere in CT on one of my work trips this spring. I actually purchased it for this project so it was nice to finally get it done!

The blue yellow and white bag is mine. It is hard to see (May be better if you click on the picture) but the printed fabric on the top is dresses on dress forms with different city names printed in between, like New York and Paris. Very fun! The ribbon is a woven ribbon that I bought a couple years ago in the garment district in NYC at a trim shop.

I am also trying out some new ideas for a quilt label for the Cats playmat quilt. I have seen people who write or stamp directly on the quilt, so I made a sample using fabric markers and ink stamps and will wash and dryit a couple times this weekend when I'm doing laundry to see how it fairs. If they fail the test I will use MU old standby of embroidering a label and appliquéing it the back. 

I'm interested to hear what others do for quilt labels? Anyone have any experience good or back with using ink?

I'm off to another busy week. Tuesday in NYC, Wednesday in Central PA and Thursday in Philadelphia. I sure am looking forward to NO travel next week!! It will be good to be at home :) 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Anita Goodesign Mix and match Quilt, Baby Play Mat

I did finish up a project this weekend, a quilt that I made on my embroidery machine using Anita Goodesign embroidery mix and Match quilting. The design was mostly from Cats and Dogs, although in this quilt I used only cats.

The weather is so dark and crappy out that my pictures are not the best... Even the skylights have snow on them so not much natural light! And apparently I even had a hard time taking straight pictures!

I am giving this gift as a 'Playmat' for my new niece that is due any moment now!! So exciting. Once I know her name I will add a label to it. This is going to be one spoiled little girl because I'm also in the midst of making her a quilt as well. I'm lucky to have a few more weeks yet to work on her gifts, I won't meet her until the holidays. 

I know, I know, aren't they both technically quilts? Yes, they are. However, the embroidery on this one makes it a little more stiff and not so soft and quilty like I think a baby quilt should be! Besides every little baby needs a playmat for the floor and this colorful quilt will be the perfect thing!

I had a lot of fun making this quilt, it was quite a departure from normal quilt making! All of the blocks are done in the hoop on the embroidery machine with a layer of batting and then you sew them together on your regular machine to complete the top. I added a second layer of batting and then the backing and binding. To 'quilt' the sandwich together I just stitched in the ditch of the blocks. Hence the squared quilted back.

This week I have only an overnight work trip! So I'm hoping all goes smoothly and I can have the bed/crib quilt done this week as well :) and hopefully my niece will make an appearance soon!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

A trip to Vermont and me in my simplicity 1653

This week was a busy one! I had meetings in Connecticut, Massachucets and Vermont. Of course my favorite was Vermont. Something about hitting the mountains, even if they are not the big giant Rockies  they are still mountains.

While up in Vermont I got to go the original Ben and Jerry's and take their production line tour and of course I had to have some ice cream! Never mind that it was only 11:30 am.... Who says you can't have ice cream for lunch!!!!!

For my Ben and Jerry's day I am wearing Stella top and Stockbridge skirt. The top is getting a little big as I slowly (very slowly as I eat ice cream for lunch!) weight. So I put a big belt on it and it really defined my waist and I think gave me a nice silhouette. 

That afternoon I found a GIANT quilt sculpture in the main lobby of the hospital I was visiting. It was pretty cool just due to the size of it! 

I also finally got some pictures of me in my Simplicity 1653 dress :) LOVE IT!! I wore the dress last night dancing and it is wonderful, it moves great, looks great and the overlap stayed closed even when doing the swing! 

I'm looking forward to a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

McCall's 6796 easy knit top and other stuff!

What a great weekend I had! It ended up being busy but in that fun sort of way.
Originally I was not even supposed to be home! I was supposed to go to Kentucky for photographing at a horse show but then I had to bow out of that because of real paying job commitments. Unfortunately, this caused some drama that I will not go in to! Sufficit to say that I learned a lot about who really matters to me and who was only using me. There really was a silver lining to the unnecessary drama.

Anyway last minute the work trip was rescheduled and I had a wonderful weekend at home!!! I spent every minute of it with my family. My daughter and son-in-law came and spent the weekend and it was perfect :) I really needed a weekend like that! It looks like even Blue enjoyed the family time!!

On Friday I was able to spend several hours in the sewing room and I was super productive and Sunday evening and then again I had some time this morning before having to go back to reality. It was  great to get such good time!

And with all that time, have I managed to finish my skirt yet???? NOPE! It is so close to being done, I just need to finish the vent, insert the lining and attach the waist band. I don't know what my issue is with not getting it done! I really like the fit and the fabric. Maybe subconsciously the vent is giving me problems.... So weird!!

So what did I do instead?

I cut out and completed McCall's 6796 an easy knit top. Really a very basic top. I wanted to have a mock turtleneck in my repertoire. They are great for layering. However, I did not make that view! Instead I had some sweater knit in my stash from JoAnn's that was bought last fall/winter. And I really wanted to use it up! 

I made view d with the interesting collar and long sleeves. For the collar I used the reverse side of the sweater knit. The color and print are so loud (festive according to my hubby!) that I needed to tone it down around my face. The pink buttons are from my extensive stash of vintage/antique/thrifted buttons. They work great! 

I used fusible stabilizer strips for the neckline, shoulder seams and the hems but I somehow stupidly forgot to use it on the armholes and YUCK I got some wavering across the sleeve head. I don't think it is hugely noticeable bit is is to me! 

Since my daughter was around all weekend she played photographer and directed me for some shots. I did also wear the top to a casual get together on Sunday afternoon and I am quite pleased with it. This is a perfect addition to my cold weather wardrobe.

So.... What else did I do with all my time? 
1, I cut out the second version of the Simplicity dress 1653. This time out of a red/black and white ponte knit. This time with a sway back correction and long sleeves, this will be for a winter wedding in the Netherlands in December.

2, I embroidered the Chicago Blackhawks logo on a polo shirt for my hubby! He loves it!!

3, I cut out all the pieces for a quilt for my new niece (she should be arriving any day now!) this will also be coming with me to the Netherlands in December, so I have some time to complete it.

4, I spent some thinking about what I want to make after all the above to-do's... I sometimes get in that quandary of should I make something that simply pleases me because I want to OR should I make something that I really need that doesn't necessarily inspire me???? Decisions, decisions!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Completed Simplicity 1653

Last night I finished Simplicity 1653 Amazing Fit Wrap Dress.

I made View C with a longer skirt length. My dress length ended up being halfway between the two pattern options.

Fabric Used: an ITY bought from JoAnn's clearance section. The lining pieces were from my stash.

I used the separate pattern pieces for the 'curvy fit' back and the 'C' cup front. I also omitted the 2 back darts. I don't need those darts accentuating my nice sized rear end. :) I really like the ties that go down the side.

The pattern doesn't call for a lining but this knit fabric was just slightly to sheer for my liking. Nothing like standing in front of a light or the sun and having everyone see your legs right through the fabric... No thanks! I lined the full back piece and the front skirt. Much better!

The weather has been grey and rainy and by the time anyone is around to take pictures of me in it it is already dark out. So these are on the dress form, I'll work on getting pics of me in it soon. I purchased a heavier ponte knit to make this dress again but I think with the long sleeve version.

The photos below are beautiful flowers that my hubby gave me!!! Love!
Next up on the sewing table:
Finishing my Cyntia Guffey skirt
And another new simplicity shirt pattern. 
And a baby quilt!
So much to do!!!