Jelly Roll Quilt

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This quilt has been sitting in my craft queue for, like, forever. I don’t remember exactly when I started it but it must be almost a year ago because the receipt from Missouri Quilt Company where I got this Birch Farm Design Roll from shows that it was purchased in May 2015.  eek

One thing I really want to improve about myself is my craft follow thru skills. I get so excited to start something new but I quickly lose interest and I too often let the unfinished projects rot away in the corner of the closet. And the unfortunate thing is that these projects are usually about 85% complete. All I need to do is, say for knitting, just seam the pieces together, or, for sewing, bind the edges, etc.

For this particular Jelly Roll quilt, all I need to do is hand quilt the pieces together and just sew the bias tapes around the entire thing … and Bob’s your uncle! … or voila! … or ta da! … or insert whatever expression that tickles your fancy!  The hard part is already done and I just have, maybe, 4 hours of work left.

So yeah, my goal for this month is to complete this project once and for all! I hope to post the photos of the finished project here soon!

Another Lunch Bag from Pink Penguin

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I admit it – I’m cheap. I refuse to trade in my money for junk that are neither practical nor useful.

Gifts are the worst. It’s a death trap for our wallet because we’re usually confused and often pressed for time when selecting them. If we’re not very careful, we’ll end up throwing away our precious money on stupid tchotchkes that are usually overpriced, cheaply made, and overall lame. I know this because I was once a victim of it all. I would make a mad dash into a store on the way to a party and pay a pretty penny just so that I don’t show up empty handed. The gifts usually screamed out “I put absolutely no thought into your want or need” inside a colorful tissue paper. Where’s the spirit of gift giving in that?

Now, I make stuff. Sure, it takes more time and effort, but it’s more personal.  And it saves me money. And since I’m a cheapo, that’s what matters. And it satisfies my crafting addiction so it’s a triple-win. So no, no store-bought gift for you!

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This is Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag I made for a lovely three-year-old on her birthday (I’ve made the same bag before, here). Her mother and I often discuss that we want our daughters to grow up smart and sassy, so I purposely avoided bubblegum pink and used two bold colors in orange and turquoise. I love these two color combinations.

Project Note Logo 3

Project: Lunch Bag
Pattern: Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag
Recipient: Scarlet for her 3rd birthday
Materials:
All fabrics purchased at Fabricworm.com

(Click to view the fabrics used on the project)

Bento box 3

Tutorial: Baby Salmon Sushi Costume

salmon sushiI’m about a month late, but I thought I’ll post some pictures from this year’s Halloween!

I dressed Pon Pon up as salmon sushi. Yes, sushi!  lol Does this depict Asian stereotype? Perhaps. But I’ve been wanting to dress her up in this costume ever since I came across a random picture of a sushi baby a few years ago (even before she was born)! This is Pon Pon with her dad, at the Mom Expo in Calabasas.

We were there with our friends Kerry and Carmela, fellow new parents, and their four months old, Baby E! Pon Pon and Baby E both dressed up as salmon sushi (because sushi always come in two pieces), and we called them the Wild (salmon) Pair! They were a hit at the Expo, and they received mini pumpkins for having the cutest costumes!

Making the costume was pretty easy, even though it took couple attempts to perfect it.I made a boxed, rectangle cushion and stitched on twill tapes evenly on the front to make it look like a delicious piece of fresh salmon.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make the salmon sushi costume, if anyone is interested in making this for next year’s Halloween. You can change the fabric color and turn it into any kind of sushi, like red for tuna and yellow for egg. You can even dress up your pet dog with this!

pink lineCut the Fabric
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Cut out the following panel pieces from your favorite orange cotton fabric:

Sushi panels

  • Panel A (make two): 9” (width) x 15” (length)
  • Panel B (make two): 9” x 3”
  • Panel C (make two): 3” x 15”

You can adjust boxed cushion size based on your baby’s body size. I recommend making it slightly bigger, for the gag effect.

pink lineSew the Panels Together
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Sew on all the panel pieces together, right sides together, except for the back panel (the second Panel A), leaving a three-inch opening on one side between Panel A and Panel C.  This allows you to turn the pillow inside out when you sew on the back panel.  I used a quarter inch sewing allowance.

Salmon figure

pink lineSew on the Twill Tapes
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I used twill tapes to create the white lines on the salmon sushi.  I picked it up at a local JoAnn’s but you can purchased it online too.  I used Wright’s Wide Twill Tape (4 yards, 0.25 in wide).

Mark the center of the sushi with a erasable fabric chalk or pen and sew on the tapes, on an angle, on one side.  I used a zig zag stitch and sewed on both top and bottom of the tape for security.

salmon figure 1

I found that gluing the tape first before sewing it on the fabric was extremely helpful.  I tried using pins but that was too much of a hassle and the tape never stayed on straight.  I used a regular glue stick because I don’t own the one made specially for fabrics and it worked well.

Sew on the other side of the pillow with twill tapes.

salmon figure

Here’s what mine looked like after I sewed on the tapes.

salmon

pink lineSew on the Back Panel
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When you’re done with sewing on the tapes, sew on the back panel all the way around Panels B and C, right sides together.  Snip off each corners (careful not to cut off the sewed on parts) and turn the pillow inside out.  Iron the pillow and get rid of any wrinkles.

Fill the pillow with your favorite cotton plush filling, and hand stitch the opening closed.  You’re done with sushi!  Yippeee!

pink lineMake the Nori Belt
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Now, it’s time for you to make the Nori (seaweed) belt.  Measure your baby’s girth using a measuring tape.  Make sure to place the finished sushi pillow gently on his / her back before you wrap the tape around so you can get the accurate measurement.  Pon Pon was 32 inches, and I made the width five inches.

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Fold each end of the fabric twice and sew on the fold, to eliminate any annoying loose threads coming out of the fabric.

pink lineSew on the Velcro
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Cut the long velcro strips into three, three-inch pieces.  velcro

Sew the “hook” pieces on the right side of the fabric, placing each strip evenly.  Sew on the “loop” pieces on the wrong side of the fabric, also placing each strip evenly.

That’s it!  Dress up your baby in a white outfit and you got yourself a little sushi baby!

sushi halloween

I regret not taking pictures along with way to provide better instruction but I hope you found this to be helpful.  I think there are other wonderful tutorials on the web so definitely check them out by searching, “baby salmon costume,” or something along the line.

Happy sewing!

On the Green Smoothie Bandwagon

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I did it! I finally hopped on the fast-moving green smoothie bandwagon and purchased a super powerful Vitamix blender!  biggrin

I felt extremely guilty spending so much money on a blender (it was definitely a case of the “want” overcoming logic) but I figured if this can help me get in the habit of eating breakfast daily, it’s worth the investment!

I own a juicer and I really enjoy the freshly-extracted veggie and fruit concoction, but blending might suite me better since I can take in all the fibers and other wonderful nutrients that go to waste with juicing. And I absolutely love that there’s significantly less clean up with the blender!  Woot woot!

My goal is to drink a glass of green smoothie for breakfast for the next 30 days (and hopefully longer)  – or at least enough time to get my money’s worth.

green smoothie

Here’s what I drank today. The recipe was inspired by Peach Coconut Dream by Simple Green Smoothies. I meant to use the frozen peach but grabbed a bag of pineapple instead and was too lazy to swap.

Pineapple Green Smoothie

(Serves about 24 oz, I think)

2 cups spinach, fresh
1 kale leaf
1 cup coconut water
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
½ cup fresh grapes

Blend the greens first with coconut water. Mix the rest of the ingredients in high, until smooth.

I went with mostly spinach this time but I think I can up the amount of kale next time.  Maybe some frozen bananas would be nice too.

Since we’re on the topic of green — I made a green top and a matching bloomers for Pon Pon, with the same cotton gauze fabric I used for the other pair of bloomers but in green.

green dress

Patchwork Bags from Leftover Fabrics

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On my last post, I wrote about my first attempt at a large-scale quilt and shared my excitement for the Color Wheel Quilt pattern and the fabric bundle I purchased that is cut specifically for the project from Purl Soho. (Check out these beautiful, mouth-watering photos of the shop, from a blog, Diary of a Quilter by Amy Smart.)

In addition to the wonderful variety of colors and designs included in the bundle, I was blown away by how generous these fabrics were cut (they are in fat quarter measurements at 9″ x 22″). Each piece is large enough to make at least two color wheel wedges, with at last 8″ x 8″ of leftover fabrics that can be used for smaller (or as part of a larger) projects.

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While cutting the Color Wheel wedges, I cut an extra set, with a plan to maybe make a second quilt. But I had an idea to turn these fabrics into patchwork bags that I often encounter on the blogosphere.

These crescent-shaped bags seem to be a staple in the crafting community (a similar pattern is available in a Japanese book, 「ミシンだから楽しいの。」(“Mishin Dakara Tanoshiino”), now translated into English, Patchwork Style) and I’ve been dying to make them myself for years. These wedges were perfect!

I had 52 wedges and each bag panel requires eight, so I was able to make six panels (total three bags) and use up 48 of the 52 panels!  Here are the bags I made!

Bag #1: Pink and Blue

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This is my favorite among the three bags I made. I wasn’t 100% sure about combining pink and blue fabrics at first, without adding some greens or yellows to balance them out, but I really like how it came out. I think the dark polka dots and the hummingbird designs helped marry the colors together.

I made several bag straps but settled on this brown polka dots fabric by Echino (one of my favorites). The other ones came out a bit frumpy but this one is sturdy and makes the bag look a little more refined.

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I wanted to keep with the theme and incorporate pink and blue hues on the back as well.  You can’t see here but each bag has a lining with a coordinating fabric, small pocket to hold keys and little knick knacks, and a magnetic closure to snap the bags closed. For this bag, I used a gray linen by Robert Kaufman for the lining and I love it!

Bag #2: Christmas in August

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This bag is so not me, but in a wonderful way. Red is my least favorite color in the color spectrum but I loved the designs of these fabrics so much that I had to not only use them up but showcase them in a bold way. I even surprised myself with the selection of a moss green fabric for the strap. I wasn’t sure what to think of this panel at first, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. Strange, I know! Red and green – maybe I already have Christmas on my mind, in the middle of hot August.

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I played it safe and used green and yellow fabrics for the back panel. I used Amy Butler Lotus Geisha Fan Clay cotton for the lining, and Echino for the straps.

Bag #3: Sweet Pastel

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I really like this pastel blue and yellow combination!  (I didn’t even finish top-stitching the bag but had to take pictures before it got too dark!  redface)  I wish I had a list of all the fabric designers and names so I can get more of them.

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The back panel is orange and yellow combination.  The lining is Amy Butler Coriander in pink, and the straps are Echino.

I’m thinking about posting these bags on Etsy in the next days or so.  Please stay tuned!

In Progress: Color Wheel Quilt

My current obsession: Patchwork quilts!

I spent an afternoon at my parent’s house over the weekend and got inspired by seeing and touching the lovely patchwork quilts my mother has made over the years. I think she has more than 30 completed large scale projects, some hung proudly on the living room walls while many slept in her closet.

I had no interest in anything needles and fabrics while living under my parent’s roof but I have a deeper appreciation for her mad skills, now that my sewing and patchwork antennas are way, way up.  It took me thirty-some years but I’ve finally arrived at the door of the quilting world, and I’m now ready to open up the door and walk right in!

(I hope the world will be kind to this newbie.)

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After looking through patchwork books and blogs for inspiration, I decided on the Color-Wheel Quilt from the book, Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Purl Soho’s Joelle Hoverson to be my first project. It was a perfect time to give the fabric bundle that I picked up from my favorite yarn / fabric store in New York City a go after a few years of being completely ignored and forgotten.

I was incredibly pleased to find that putting the color wheel together was a piece of rainbow-colored cake. I think the most time-consuming part was actually washing, drying, and ironing each of the 52 fabric pieces! I was able to cut and sew together all the pieces in just a few of hours. I think the more difficult part will come in a little later when I put the whole thing together (which I’ll do, as soon as I order a white fabric and a batting) but until then, I’m going to enjoy the fact that my first quilt project is finally in the works.

color wheel photoshop copy

By the way, the fabric bundle cut specifically for this project is a real steal! Each fabric piece is large enough to make at least two of the color wheel wedges, and still have a plenty of stash left for other smaller projects. I cut out an extra set of wedges and am currently using them to make patchwork bags. I’ll post some pictures once they’re done!

I’m so happy that tomorrow is Fridaaaaay!

Mottainai

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I’m still not very skilled at cutting fabrics, so I’m usually left with wasteful scraps when I’m done with a project. A clean and organized part of me thinks I should throw them away to eliminate clutter, while the other, more thrifty hoarder side of me thinks these little scraps should be reincarnated into something new. I think the Japanese “mottainai” (「もったいない」, translates roughly to “don’t waste it”) philosophy is so deeply embedded in my nature that it’s very difficult for me to part with things. Case in point, I finally got rid of yeeeeeeeeeears’ worth of plastic utensils just the other day.

Thus the predicament …

Now that Pon Pon is rolling around and is almost ready to crawl, it’s time for some serious overhaul at the Lavender and Olive household. This means getting rid of pretty much everything in the house (including fabric stashes) to ensure the baby’s safety and make room for her to play around.

Keep or not to keep the stash, that is the question …

Then I remembered the patchwork drawstring bag tutorial that my favorite craft blog, Pink Penguin, posted a few years back and decided to turn the scraps into these little cute bags …

… and here they are! biggrin

drawsting bags

I’m definitely going to use one to put Pon Pon’s change of clothes in her diaper bag, and others to wrap small gift for friends!

drawstring bag blue

My current fabric obsessions are Liberty of London and Kokka but you can tell by looking at these patches that I was incredible smitten by Amy Butler and Joel Dewberry’s nature-inspired designs!

drawstring bag 1

I love these Midwest Martini designs by Amy Butler!

bag 2

Look, even the cord casing is a patchwork!

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I still have lots more of the fabric stashes that’ll soon turn into lovely bags. It’s no joke – someone’s trash can be someone’s treasure! I think my “mottainai” goddess is really happy.