Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review: Signature Styles by Jenny Doh

Astoundingly just in time for my birthday, I won a giveaway from the ultra-talented and amazing Melissa Crowe.  Seriously . . . I almost spit my Pepsi Max onto my keyboard when I saw that I had won.  My prize arrived in the mail this morning, and I couldn't wait to tear into it like a wild monkey.


The book is called Signature Styles: 20 Stitchers Craft Their Look by Jenny Doh.  As someone who wishes that her outer appearance matched her inner creativity, I found this book absolutely gorgeous and inspiring.  It's filled with some of my most favorite bloggers, artists, crafters, and sewists . . . from Meg McElwee (who wrote one of my favorite sewing books) and Elsie Flanagan (my Indie Biz teacher) to HEATHER BAILEY (you know, my fabric designer icon) and Betz White (enough name-dropping yet?)

As if these ladies didn't already exude crafty talent, they are also profiled for their unique personal styles.  After each profile (there are 20 in all), each stitcher shares a project . . . everything from handbags to skirts to accessories.  There are so many lovely and funky projects I can't wait to try (Amy Tangerine's Crafty Applique top immediately jumped out to me).

While I haven't read every single word yet, you can bet this one will be living out on my table for a long time so I can continue to leaf through it for more and more inspiration.  The added shots of each artist's studio space add plenty of eye candy on their own!

So yes . . . thank you so much, Melissa! must have wanted me to have an extra special birthday this year.  :)


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tools of the Trade: Wonder Tape

I realize it's been eons since I've done any of these "notion review" posts, but as I've been toiling away on the toddler backpack, I've been employing Wonder Tape like it's my job.

I never even knew this stuff existed until 5 days ago. I was actually looking for a similar product (Double Face Basting Tape), when I happened upon the Wonder Tape.  Essentially, they're both the same product . . . double sided sticky tape you can use as a basting agent instead of actually using a basting stitch on your machine (or basting by hand if you're really old school).

There are 2 notable differences, however:
  1. The Basting Tape is only 1/8" wide, which makes it really perfect for positioning zippers.  The Wonder Tape is 1/4" wide (though I just used it today to position zippers, so I guess they're both perfect for it).
  2. The Wonder Tape does not need to be removed.  EVER!  It won't gunk up your machine either with its stickabilities.
That's right!  You just stick it where you need to baste and you can sew right through it with no worries.  (You are NOT supposed to sew through the Basting Tape, and when you've actually finished your stitching you are supposed to remove it.)

In my opinion, both of these are GREAT products (and no, I'm not being paid to say that).  If you don't need that skinny 1/8" allowance though, I really think the Wonder Tape is the way to go.  I'm generally not big on pinning stuff (it does happen, but I try to get away with not pinning most of the time), but certain things really need to be anchored in place before you sew them down (I'm talking about you, zippers). 

Anyway . . . I hope this helps someone who is anti-pinning like me.  I wish I had found this stuff WAY earlier on in my sewing days.  You know, when I used to pin every single inch of my fabric so that nothing could possibly shift. 

No wonder it used to take 5 hours to sew a simple seam.  You think I'm kidding.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Where X = A Sweet Toddler Backpack

Little Miss is growing up SO fast. Yes . . . I know . . . all moms say that.

But seriously . . . tomorrow my sweet baby girl turns 4! 

This will definitely not be done in time for her actual birthday, but I'm going to push myself a bit this week to get this one *little* project done in time for her birthday party on Saturday.  (She knows I'm doing this by the way . . . we spent the afternoon on Saturday perusing our favorite quilt shop, and she made the final selection on fabrics.)

Ready for a little algebra?

The Mason Backpack Pattern from TheDrizzledApple on Etsy

Selected prints from It's a Hoot by Momo for Moda Fabrics

*Not too good at algebra?  Check that post title one more time.  In the meantime I'll check back in when I actually finish it up.

Hope everyone had a terrific Easter weekend!  We blew off confetti-filled party popper firecrackers in church on Sunday and, quite literally, had a blast.  ;)


Friday, April 22, 2011

Master Bedroom Dreaming . . . On Such a Rainy Day

While I'm not really anywhere near close to a full out bedroom makeover (no budget or supplies to speak of), thoughts about how I want to change the space keep coming to mind.  We've been living in our home for almost a year now and the most we've done is hang a few photos on the wall and make the bed.  Mr. Skooks and I have been married for nearly 5 years now and though I still like our bedding, I'm ready for a change.

Speaking of change . . . recently, and kind of on a whim, Mr. Skooks and I decided to switch our "sides" on the bed.  Anyone else done this?  It was weird at first, but I'm kind of liking it more every day. 

. . . anyway . . .

Furniture-wise, here's what we're working with:

From where else . . . Ikea.

Previously I shared my delight with this color combo.  I'm toying with the idea of making a simple white duvet and punching up the boring factor with some pops of color in the form of pillows, throws, and artwork.  The idea of rescuing and recovering a chair has also crossed my mind.

I also want to paint the room which is nicely painted, but beige.  Like every other room in my house currently with the exception of my yellow kitchen and my blue, brown, and ivory bathroom.

But I digress.  Here are a few fabric collections that I have in mind for the space:

Aviary 2 by Joel Dewberry

Chrysalis by Sanae
I've been digging these fabrics for awhile, but haven't pulled the trigger on ordering them yet.  I've got to admit though . . . especially in the last few days my finger has been getting a little itchy on the BUY.IT.NOW. button.

Might be cool to incorporate my fabric choices in this way over my bed:
by Emily Shares
Or I could DIY one of these burlap pinboards for over the bed.  Anyone . . . for cute love notes?
By Jones Design Company
And maybe lay this rug by the side of the bed . . . (I realize it's a bathroom rug, but we've got a small bedroom and I think this would fit nicely):
by Anthropologie
I've also been pinning things like CRAZY on my bedroom inspiration board on Pinterest.  Crikey that site is addicting.  Especially if my "make my own duvet cover" becomes more of an animal of an idea than it's worth.
I spied this little treasure that would be lovely on my dresser:
By Ten Thousand Villages
Here are a few lovelies I can imagine mingling together nicely in a sort of gallery effect on my wall:
From Top Left to Bottom Right: Mirrored Bird Cage Jewelry Display, White Love Birds, Doily Clock, La La Love Ya Print, Little City Hoop Bluebird, Love Linoprint, Henri Found Love Print, Home is With You Print, Paper Poster by Julene Harrison    
I'm majorly crushing on these curtains to bring a little more of a natural tone and texture back into the space:
by Urban Outfitters
But they might be a bit short.  Haven't measured yet.  That would however, free up the possibility of using this coverlet on the bed (since I would do either/or, but not both):
by Urban Outfitters
It would be practical to hang some hooks over the door since we always seem to have bath towels hanging on the bed posts:
by Urban Outfitters
And can you imagine . . . in dream land of course . . . getting this guy to sit in the corner?

by Jonathan Adler
Do you think Mr. Skooks will mind all the changes to the space?  We've only vaguely discussed the color combos up to this point.  

And obviously I've only vaguely thought about the rest.



Sunday, April 17, 2011

A New Woodland Friend

I love making stuffed friends. I really do.

So I knew as soon as I heard that one of my closest friends of all time was having her first baby, that I had to make her (baby) one.  But which?

I have amassed a nice little collection of stuffie patterns over the years . . . so many cute ones to choose from.  Are you at all surprised that I went rogue and got a new one? :)

I had become acquainted with Sarah's work when I discovered her Dolly Donations site awhile back. It was one of the first ones I bookmarked as I pondered putting together a Craft for a Cause post (something I'd like to revisit more and more this year as time allows). Her adorable Etsy shop Dolls and Daydreams is filled with patterns for some absolutely darling dolls. And based on my experience with this pattern, I'll definitely be a customer of hers again (likely in the near future).

Stag Softie

My friend is doing kind of a woodland themed nursery for her baby boy (from what I can tell by checking out her registry), so I thought this little deer would fit the bill.

Stag - frontStag Softie - back

I love the little tail . . . SO CUTE.
Stag Tail - detail
While I was making breakfast the morning after I completed it, Little Miss was helping Molly Monkey and the Stag get better acquainted.
Molly Monkey and the Stag Softie
She (and Molly) were both sad to learn he's destined to live with another family.

I'm so glad to do it though.  Though I am positive, based on my experience with the baby's parents, that he won't have a hard time making good friends . . . I thought it couldn't hurt to start him off with one.

Love you, Baby P!

Linking up with some awesome parties RIGHT HERE.

In case you're curious about the fabrics used:
-Brown body: Brown Brushstroke by Eric Carle for Andover
-Green polka dots: Frolic by Sandy Gervais for Moda
-Antlers: Dwell Studio for Target (I used part of a cloth napkin I bought just because I liked the fabric.  LOL.)
P.S.  Thanks for the shoutout!:



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Glow Happy Update

I'm aware that it's been awhile since I've posted anything of real substance.  Or anything for that matter.

I just want you to know, it's not because I haven't been working.  :)

When I mentioned awhile back that I picked up some Kona to work on my Glow Happy quilt, I got to it right away . . . cutting out all those what-felt-like-MILLIONS-of-tiny-pieces so I could actually start assembling my quilt blocks.  (I had been sitting on the cut up pieces of Holiday Happy for months.)

It may not seem terribly exciting, or timely, to be posting about a Christmas quilt right before Easter . . . but let me assure you that the longer I wait to tackle this guy the less likely it will actually be done for Christmas this year.

Besides, once all the pieces were cut out it started coming together pretty quickly.  Mr. Skooks broke his toe a few weeks ago (youch!) so he's stayed home a few days from work here and there to help with recuperating which ended up giving me some extra time for sewing.

Glow Happy - So Far . . .

I took a break from the machine sewing to work on those cute little tassels on the bottom of the lantern chains. The 4th Season of Mad Men arriving in my mailbox via Netflix didn't hurt my embroidering mojo either. ;)

Embroidery Detail

I've worked up the last two rows for the most part (sorry - no picture of those yet) . . . I just need to embroider the loops and tassels so I can finish sewing em up.

Not sure when I'll get to that (and the borders) though.  I'm dangerously close to that super busy spring time of the year . . . first it's Easter, then Little Miss' 4th birthday, my birthday, our anniversary, and Mother's Day.  It's quite a crazy 2 weeks every year for us.  In a good way . . . but still.

What's everybody else working on these days?


Friday, April 1, 2011

Bottled Rainbows 'Cross the Sky

Remember how I said you shouldn't start saving itty bitty bits of fabric if you haven't already started doing so?

Scrap that.  Literally.

I found another cute use for those pieces parts.  Check out this at-your-own-pace ticker tape quilt-along for the very fun (and very colorful) Bottled Rainbows over at Stitched in Color:

Bottled Rainbows {the button}

The inspiring Flickr group that accompanies the quilt along can be found here.

Love it!

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