Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Post Christmas Sewing and Organizing

I spent the whole day after Christmas finishing up these darling little ornament bags. Now they're all ready to be put away with all my Christmas things for next year. I added a few beads on all but the kitty to jazz them up a bit. The kit came with gold string so they could hang on the tree but I skipped that part, preferring instead to prop them in the branches. Now I'd like to make something similar but in the shape of an angel, to match my angel tree ornaments.

However, it's time to move on and start on some of my UFO's. I mentioned that I had bought some comic book boards to fold all my fabric into mini-bolts. Well, I used up the whole package of 100 and had to order more! Luckily, there's not much fabric left to fold. I've just about cleared my main workspace and hope to continue working my Persian Peony Tile, then move on to the Golden Pomegranate, two goldwork projects started recently. Then there is the Floral Glove, which hasn't even been started!

I don't anticipate getting too much done today as I have visitors for lunch, then my DH is insisting we go out to a movie. Maybe tonight, so at least I'll have the afternoon to stitch. We'll see.

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Some Exciting News!

I have just a few things to share with you today, the first day after Christmas. If you're interested in Historical Embroidery and Goldwork, then the exciting news is that Ruth O'Leary's St. Cuthbert's Banner is finished!  It is embroidered on beautiful red velvet with lots of appliquéd flowers around the border. The center cross is also appliquéd with lots of gold, some leather and more velvet. She has a link on the side bar of her blog that will take you to all of the posts related to the banner. Many are just fascinating, but there are lots of posts about embroidering all those flowers and leaves. I can't imagine how tedious that must have been. But Ruth stuck to it, and the result is absolutely stunning. Please stop by Ruth's site, take a look at the gorgeous banner, and leave a comment telling her how lovely it is.

The other exciting news is that Mary Corbet of Needle n' Thread is having a Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway and so far the first day's offering is pretty spectacular! Go over and see it, leave a comment and maybe you'll get lucky. I hope I will!

I am on my Christmas Holiday from work, so I plan on some serious sewing and stitching related activities. First of all, I'm organizing some of my fabric into mini-bolts using the comic book boards I purchased from Amazon. Follow the link and read some of the reviews. Most are from sewists, not comic book enthusiasts, which I thought pretty funny. Then I have some projects to work on and I'll share them with you this week as I progress.

Have a great stitching week!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Walker Bag Completed

I made a walker bag for my mom yesterday from Kwik Sew 3927, and true to its name, it was very quick to sew. Here it's shown over a chair as I haven't presented it to her yet.

The backside is the same as the front. It has a double pocket on each side, ties to the walker with fabric ties, and has velcro on the facing so it doesn't flop around when mom is racing down the walkway at her home.

I made it exactly as shown in the pattern, and will have mom use it for awhile before I decide what modifications for the next time. With these gorgeous fabrics, I have a feeling I may get requests to make more from the other ladies at the home. I used fusible fleece to give some firmness to the body of the bag, but I'm a bit concerned that the pockets are too flimsy. I may stabilize them with fleece as well, and maybe add a zippered pocket to one side of the bag in the next go-round. I'd also like to make View B, which has a front closure and looks more purse-like.

Today is Christmas, and I hope all of you have a wonderful day with family and friends. Since two of our children are not here, it's a pretty quiet day. My youngest went to Istanbul with his office mate and will be here on New Year's Day. My daughter and her family decided not to travel as it's so nerve wracking. I don't blame her, and encouraged her to stay home even though I miss the little darling GD. I'll bring the bag to mom today, then come home and cook a lovely dinner with my son.

Friday, December 23, 2011

At Least One is Finished, and a New Project

The Gift Bag Ornaments took quite a bit longer than expected, but I managed to finish one of them. Of course, I started with the simplest one first. Four of the others are completely appliqued to the felt body, but I haven't started on the embroidery.

The back of the bag closes with floss wrapped around felt circles, just like an inter-office envelope. Maybe I'll get one or two more embroidered, but only after I finish this next project:

I decided to make my mother a walker bag using this Kwik Sew pattern I bought online from Clotilde.  It looks pretty simple, and given the brand name, I figure I can get at least one of these done by Christmas, only two days away now. I'll make the one in front, with all the pockets.

As it was our last day of work for the year, my carpooler and I left a bit early yesterday and stopped at Quilter's Paradise in Escondido, California so I could pick up these lovely Japanese-style fabrics. I should have enough for four bags, in various color combinations.  Don't you just love the pink/purple colors? I'm a real sucker for any fabric that has gold in it, and three of these have just enough to satisfy my need for glitter.

So, time to get cracking! And I still have a bit of shopping to do, and don't forget baking. I don't want Santa to go away hungry!

I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Saturnalia (sorry, the Roman History buff in me sometimes comes out), or whatever else you celebrate!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gift Bag Ornaments

While rummaging through my stash of Christmas kits/fabrics/miscellaneous-items-in-the-sewing-room I came across this kit of Gift Bag Ornaments purchased last year (I think!). I decided to make some of them up, thinking they would come in handy for gift cards, which so many of us very lazy people tend to buy so we don't have to shop.  This delightful set of ornaments kit is from Rachel's of Greenfield (which refers to Greenfield Road in Lancaster, Pennsylvania). Please check out her website; she specializes in kits for embroidery, quilts and punchneedle.

The kit comes with all of the felt and embroidery floss needed to decorate as shown on the pattern illustration. It took me several hours to cut out the felt but just a few minutes to glue them onto the envelope pieces. I can't tell you how nice and relaxing it was to just sit in the sewing room and work on something, well, not creative, but at least sewing related. I may try to jazz some of the pieces with some of the many, many beads I have on hand. Now I need to sew the felt pieces on to the envelope pieces, then get to embroidering.  Don't you just love the little kitten in the stocking? The directions are extremely easy to follow, especially so if you read them first. I have a lot of blue lines on the white pieces, so I'll spritz them with a bit of water before I do much embellishment. 

It's only one week to Christmas, and I still have a bit of shopping to do, but not much. Today will be spent baking and stitching these little pieces. I'm sure I won't get nearly as far as I would like, but I'll try. I'm sure I'll be able to get some serious stitching done in the car this week while it's my turn to ride in the carpool. The exacting part of this project, the cutting, is over, and the sewing and embroidery can be less than precise, making it a good candidate for the car.

What are you stitching today? Or are you shopping, wrapping and/or baking? I'll be trying out a new Panettone recipe from the magazine La Cucina Italiana and hope to get some cookies made. Tonight starts the second season of Downton Abbey here in the US, so I'll be sure to watch and record that! In fact, I'm watching the first season on Netflix while working on the ornaments just to get ready for it.
Update:  Oops! Season Two doesn't start until Jan 8. Reruns of Season One are on tonight.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ladybug Charm Apron

I completed this apron for my granddaughter today, and will ship it off to them when I finish the Christmas shopping for them this week. Those red strips are the ties hanging at the bottom of the apron. She loves to help her mommy in the kitchen, so this will make it extra fun for her. The pattern, from The Apron Lady was very easy, but unfortunately left a few markings and instructions out, making it somewhat complicated for a beginner.  I rummaged through my extensive collection of unfinished and not-even-started projects and found two more patterns from the same company, and maybe I'll make them soon.  Unfortunately, with all that's happened lately, I don't have time to make a darling Christmas Dress for my granddaughter, so the nightgown and this apron will have to do.

If you notice on my sidebar, I've added the Pattern Review button to link to the reviews of the patterns I've made. I'm determined to do more garment construction, and will write a review of each pattern I make and post it on PR. I'm determined to do quite a few other things, such as getting back to embroidery, but that's another story. So please visit my reviews (only two so far), and let me know if they help you. 


Monday, December 12, 2011

Back to Sewing!

Slowly, slowly, I'm making my way back to the sewing room after the three strikes of the computer crashing, our Thanksgiving trip to Colorado, and my mother's heart attack and subsequent surgery. I have finished my Advent Calendar, but sadly, my granddaughter isn't around to enjoy it. So it's hanging on a post in the upstairs hallway for the time being. Someday, I hope and pray, I'll have enough grandchildren around to actually use it.

I'm also working on the Ladybug Apron, and hope to get it cut out and maybe start sewing on it tomorrow.

Another project is to install the new Adobe Photoshop Elements on the new computer. We found that we were using version 6, and decided to purchase the latest, version 10. This was true for almost all of our software. Since our old computer was five years old, virtually all of our software was positively ancient. It will take some time to get up to speed on all the new versions. One thing I really like about it is the Apple Magic Trackpad. It's four inches square, angled nicely and you can tap anywhere on it. It's pretty slick.

Off to the cutting table! Have a great week!