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Category Archives: Sewin’

Party Pouches

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Check out the making-of the change purses we custom-created for a 7-year-old’s birthday party. The party theme was “Girls Night In” and featured a movie and snack bar from which the guests had to purchase their refreshments (with play money provided by the host). Enter the personalized change purses complete with wristlet feature to meet the needs of the modern 7-year-old about town. They were given to each guest as party favors and were, I’m told, a big hit.

The friend of a friend who ordered the pouches had the idea for them but was super flexible about the particulars – she just told me she wanted them to be girly, have a secure closure, and preferably be personalized with a wristlet. Colors, patterns, shape, and construction methods were left up to me. This is the kind of project I LOVE – I’m not really great with precision, as I think I’ve mentioned before. So I fiddled around with ideas and made a couple of prototypes to figure out the way they worked best for me, and then I went to town- one-woman-assembly style.



I got so into making these change purses that I cut out fabric for extras to sell on my (yet to be fully launched) Etsy shop. Have I done a thing with them? NO (but I’m blaming two weeks of helping run Girl Scout camp). Anyway – loved making these and loved working with my friend’s friend. And some glorious someday, when I finally launch the Etsy shop, maybe it will feature some pouches like this!

Window Pane Aviary

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Kim (from Surviving Motherhood) and I share more than our name – we are both struggling with infertility and have found a common bond in that experience, though she is dealing with secondary infertility. (Did you know that people who already have children can still experience infertility? It happens more often than you’d think – I have four long-time friends currently caught in its clutches.)

Kim’s infertility struggle brought her to my little corner of the interwebz and she decided to order a baby quilt for her cousin. She wanted something in shades of purple with the baby’s name added somewhere on the quilt. Not being a huge purple fan myself, I was worried I would have trouble finding fabric we both liked – and then I stumbled upon the Aviary 2 collection in lilac and kinda fell in love. With purple fabric. Who knew? And Kim loved it too. The purples are deep and and complex and paired with spring greens and sky blues. After I ordered it I kept seeing the same color palate in the early spring foliage everywhere I went.

I loved working with the fabric and the quilt top came together in no time. I LOVED using an asymmetrical pattern in the lay-out because 1) I like asymmetrical things and 2) NO SEAMS TO LINE UP! And yes – that sentiment DOES deserve all caps – especially from a quilter (like me) for whom precision does not come naturally.

Once I pieced the top together, Randy and I made a trek up to The Fabric Shack in Waynesville, OH – kind of a fabric Mecca – to find backing and binding fabric. I didn’t order any from the same line because I thought: “I’ll get that stuff at JoAnn’s – it will be cheaper than ordering and simple to match up.” FAIL. I didn’t realize how difficult it is to match up shades of purple and how few aesthetically pleasing purple fabrics there are to be had. Hence the trip to The Fabric Shack – where we did find suitable options – but even there they were few and far between.

After I had the quilt front, batting, and backing sandwiched together and safety-pin basted I was feeling so in the zone that I thought it would be a great idea to try out hand quilting it. You know, for the experience. I’d sit on the couch next to Randy and watch my favorite shows and feel so connected to the quilt.

This lasted for about 20  minutes until I realized that my hand quilting looks like it was done by a blind 6-year-old.

I’ll need a lot more practice before rolling out any hand quilted beauties. So out came the seam ripper and we went back to our regularly scheduled machine-stitched programming. Since the piecing on this quilt is so asymmetrical it didn’t make sense to quilt along the all the seams, so I decided to stitch series of horizontal lines about 1/2 inch apart. I really like the effect and the added smoothness that comes from having no intersecting lines.

And so, with no further ado…presenting the Window Pane Aviary Quilt!

And NO Kara from My Other Car is A Crane – this is not for you! Stop asking!

I can’t wait to start working on the next quilt! Anyone interested?

The Elephant’s Progress Report

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Now that the Christmas rush is over, the Elephant has a bit of a break. Kind of. Actually, he has more work coming in than he expected – which is awesome!

  • Hats – we’ve shipped off 6 sock monkey hats  and one cupcake hat so far this year, are working on 2 more monkeys, and a cozy, brown ear-flap hat for my friend Emily. And we just got an order  from my friend Tricia that I’m super excited about: a cookie monster hat! We plan to start working on that this weekend – I actually can’t wait.
  • Quilts – we have a couple of custom quilts for coworkers waiting in the wings: a photo keepsake quilt for a Father’s Day gift and a t-shirt memory quit for a graduation present.
  • On February 1, Crafty Supermarket begins accepting applications – we’re goin’ for it!
  • Etsy – our goal is to get some of our remaining inventory into our Etsy shop – I think a photo-shoot is necessary first, though.
  • Development – we also want to keep creating new products and try new ideas!

Well – I think we have plenty of goals for now. Plus we need to get the craft room in order. I need a nap.


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The first of the stroller blankets are done! These are double layer flannel with stitching detail and twill ties at the top. They are $25 each and can be used not only as stroller blankets but also as receiving blankets and playtime floor mats. Let us know if you want to order one!

Sweet Pea Quilt: Photo #307

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This may be my favorite quilt I’ve made to date.  It goes to a very dear, long-time  friend and her new little sweet pea.

Hand Sewn: Photo #301

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Bad News: I was sick today and spent most of the day in bed.

Good News: My bed rest gave me time to finally take the leap and try hand sewing a quilt binding.  I am tickled and amazed at the results.  It will take me like four times as long  as machine binding but its SO worth it.  I can’t stop staring at it.

Blanketed: Photo #299

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My mommy finished my quilt and brought it to me.  I feel extra warm and extra loved now.  🙂

A Week of Healthy Living: Photo #255

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Today is Day Nine of The Month of Living Healthfully.

End of Week Report: I lost 5.2 pounds, and ½ inch around my waist!  I am on a healthy living high.  My biggest problem as of week one seems to be eating enough calories.  I never thought I’d write those words.  Turns out, when you eat wholesome foods, you fill up much better.  I’d heard the rumors, but hadn’t believed them.  I thought that was just something people said to make themselves feel better because they couldn’t eat the really yummy food.  Sometimes it seems like all I do is eat- this is a pleasant surprise.  I had set out to eat no more than 1500 calories per day but now I’ve had to make a rule for myself that I will eat at least 1200, as there were many days when I could have easily, accidentally eaten fewer.

Reflections from Week 1:

  • Randy and I have actually enjoyed cooking this week.  Maybe it’s the thrill of having new recipes to try, maybe its because we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that we need to cook in order to make this work.  Either way, it’s a nice change to the evenings when I would have rather eaten fruit rollups and sun chips than have to cook dinner.
  • This isn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  When I would have near melt-downs during our planning sessions about the impending lack of pizza and carbs Randy always said the month would fly by, but I was sure it would creep along.  Now it is already 22% over and it has felt like a breeze.
  • I’ve already become a little snobbish about food.  At the grocery store this week I saw a girl carrying  a box of fried chicken fingers, macaroni, and French fries from the deli and  a Mountain Dew – and I thought: “How can people eat like that?”  As if only a week ago I wasn’t stuffing buttery breadsticks, pepperoni pizza, and caramel cookies down my throat.

As a little reward to myself for a successful first week, I made a bag for my new yoga mat, using this tutorial.  I love the fabric and was thinking of using it to make myself a skirt, but it practically screamed yoga to me.  Well, more accurately, it whispered yoga, since screaming yoga would be very un-Zen-like.  I had a couple issues deciphering some of the pattern instructions and would definitely make some adjustments next time, but overall it went well.  I think I will be the hit of Easy Yoga class next Saturday – hopefully people will be waiting in line to ask me to make them their very own yoga mat bags.  One can dream….

Cold Babies: Photo #218

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I hope there are some cold babies out there – because I made another baby quilt to sell.  It’s a very simple but reversible whole-cloth quilt with argyle print on one side and happy polka dots on the other.  Tell your friends who are looking for handmade baby gifts! 

Freestyle: Photo #205

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I think I like deadlines a little too much.  There is nothing like a deadline to motivate me and get me energized.  So for better or worse, I decided yesterday to start a baby quilt to have in time to take to the opening of Fabricate tonight.  It was down to the wire, but I managed to finish it up this afternoon with time to shower before I had to leave!  I like this style of quilting because its kind of like scribbling and doesn’t care about being too precise (kind of like me).  The front is unbleached muslin, the back is chocolate-brown cotton, the stitching is done with variegated thread called “Over the Rainbow”, and the binding is pieced together from different fabrics that all reminded me of a sunset.  If you like it, you can pick it up for your favorite baby (born or unborn) for $40 at Fabricate at 4012 Hamilton Ave. (Enter through Red Polly at 4016) Cincinnati, OH, 45223.  Or if you would like a small quilt but have something else in mind, I do custom pieces on commission – just leave a comment here or e-mail me.  You really should stop by Fabricate – the opening went well (around 300 people!) and there was so much there I wanted to buy.  And to top it off, one of my baby hats sold- a good start to a side craft business for me!