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!

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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)

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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.

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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!

Handmade Receiving Blanket

I once knew a friend in college who would buy an entire outfit when he went shopping. He would never walk out of a store with, say, one shirt. Instead, he would buy a patching pair of pants, and maybe a tie, to go with the shirt. He told me that this way, he would never have an unmatched shirt that would remain untouched in the closet with a tag still attached. The shirt will always have a place to go, as part of a complete ensemble.

I thought his shopping method was crazy at first. Seriously, why would anyone want to spend money buying an entire ensemble every time they shopped? Where’s the creativity in mixing and matching? Then I started thinking about his strategy some more and realized that it was actually very efficient!

While examining my growing fabric inventory the other day, I was saddened by the amount of fabrics I had stashed away completely untouched, simply because these orphan fabrics had nowhere to go, with no other designs to match.

Now when I shop, I try to incorporate the friend’s shopping strategy and have a solid game plan before I click “proceed to checkout.” I’m now committed to only buying fabrics that I have the intention of using, along with other matching fabrics that I would need to make a project. I won’t pick up a fabric, however pretty it may be, if I don’t have a specific plan on how to use it.

I’m happy to report that this plan worked on my last fabric purchases. I was able to use up all the materials that I purchased (made burp cloths and now, this receiving /swaddling blanket), without having any leftovers!

Burp Cloths: $2.50 / each

  • Michael Miller Flannel Dumb Dot Sea ($7.00  / yard)
  • Michael Miller Flannel Dumb Dot Blush ($7.00 / yard)
  • Terry cloth baby blue ($8.00 / yard)
  • Terry cloth pink ($8.00 / yard)

Receiving Blanket: $9.00

  • Wildflower and Sweet Treat Flowers Green ($4.50 / yard)
  • Comfy Double Nappy Flannel Lime ($4.50 / yard)

Total spent on the baby stuff: $39.00 (no tax included).  All fabrics purchased at Fabric.com.

Now, time to shop some more!

Happy Birthday, Shannon!

Kevin, Raf, Shannon and I got together for a shabu shabu dinner at home, to celebrate Shannon’s birthday. We ate, laughed, and talked the night away, over good food and Shannon’s favorite wine, Beaujolais! It was a blast!

I love that the at-home shabu shabu dinner is quickly becoming one of the rituals for us. It’s so much more economical than eating this Japanese hot pot dish out at a restaurant, which can easily go up to $25 a plate. I also love that we can collapse onto a couch after eating just a little too much!

I sewed up a handmade bag using the lovely Etsuko Furuya’s Eshino collections for the b-day gift. It has an adjustable strap (so it can be used as a messenger bag or a tote), with easy-to-open magnetic snaps inside. I wanted to make something in her favorite color but this was the closest to red I can find in my fabric inventory.

You know you had fun when you see an aftermath like this! Happy birthday, Shannon!

Fabric Pencil Case

Happy July, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day celebration. For those of you who followed my No Dining Out adventure last month, I am happy to report that I only cheated … twice!  lol Okay, I wasn’t able to be perfect but I definitely reduced the monthly food spending significantly. I ended up spending about $150 altogether on food (including the dining out) so I know that I can go down to $100 with better planning next time. I wish I took pictures on all the homemade dishes … but I certainly will next time.

Now, with my weekend craft adventure. I’m super excited about my latest sewing project. I finally learned how to sew on a zipper using this wonderful tutorial by Twelve22, and made a fabric pencil case using the Liberty of London fabric.

My favorite part about this pencil case is the clip I attached inside, to keep my tiny VNP fob in place. I have been so afraid to play around with zippers for some reason but I’m glad that I decided to go for it. I can’t be happier with the case. I also like that it’s big enough that a pocket mirror and a lip gloss fit right in, along with pens and small post-its. I know I’m going to be carrying it around with me everywhere.

I think I’m now officially addicted to zippers. I have a feeling that I’m going to be sewing up all things zippers soon.  By the way, if you’re looking for great quality zippers, try K and C Supplies on Etsy.  I got mine here and I can’t be happier with the service and the products!