Jelly Roll Quilt

IMG_5260

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!

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
pink line

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
pink line

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
pink line

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
pink line

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
pink line

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.

nori figure 1

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
pink line

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

IMG_6960

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

fabric stack

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.

leftover

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

IMG_6852

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.

IMG_6854

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

IMG_6868

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.

IMG_6873

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

IMG_6876

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.

IMG_6879

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.)

fabric stack 2

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!

Baby Bloomers

I love big butts and I cannot lie … redface

Babies’ butts, that is. I just love those little, diapered bottoms so much that I became obsessed with making these little baby bloomers to dress up Pon Pon’s tush!

pink bloomers

I used the pattern from a Japanese craft book (「いちばんよくわかる赤ちゃんとちいさな子の服」)that my mother brought back from her recent trip there. They feature many projects suited for beginner seamstress, with plethora of pictures and visual instruction. I’ve been making hand-sewn bags and other accessories for a few years, but this was actually my first garment attempt … but thanks to the book, I was able to made these with no tears!

I used Kokka Trefle Cotton Gauze for this pink version that I got from Fabric.com when I was pregnant with Pon Pon. I suspect that this fabric has been discontinued, as I cannot find it anywhere now. It’s such a bummer because I adore these little cute bears! cry

blue bloomers

For this pair and a matching top (also from the same book), I used Denyse Schmidt’s Posie in Turquoise I purchased from Form and Fabric (great customer service). I love this design and the feel of the fabric so much that I snatched up all the different color variations for other projects.

dress and bloomers

It’s been months since I sewed up a new project and it feel wonderful to get back on the sewing machine saddle!

Randon Thoughts on Sewing …

books

One of the best gifts we received this holiday season was Roku, a device that allows streaming movies and shows to be viewed on television (thank you so much, Kristina and Joe!). I’ve been absolutely hooked on watching the old seasons of Project Runway from Amazon Prime. Luckily, many of those seasons are still “in” since I’m so behind. I’m absolutely head over heels for designer Mondo Guerra from Season 8, as well as Project Runway All Star, and his usage of outrageously bold prints and colors!

I’m not into fashion at all when it comes to my own clothes (I can live on same black sweater and a pair of jeans for years … and I have) but I’m absolutely fascinated with the process of putting together a look — from the fabric selection, to detailed construction, to styling the overall look. Watching the show makes me want to learn more about it!

I read somewhere that if a person studies one topic every day for one hour for eight straight years, he / she will have obtained the knowledge of a PhD (or something like that). I’m not aspiring to be a fashion designer (being a good seamstress is more than enough) but I’m going to make it my goal for 2013 to make fun and wearable garments for me and Pon Pon, using my favorite fabrics.