Friday, December 19, 2014

Teacher Gifts | The Jane Market Bag

 With my daughter being in kindergarten, this was my first official year to come up with teacher gifts for Christmas. She has a kindergarten teacher and an assistant teacher who are simply amazing! They have made her start to school a very positive experience and I love them both so much!
 I thought it would be fun to sew something for them. Handmade gifts are the best- in my book, at least. I love them because they are personalized and heartfelt, so the recipient of the gift can tell that you cared enough to put time and effort into making something just for them.
I've been collecting "school" themed fabric over the past few years- just for the sole purpose of projects like this for teachers. It was fun to finally cut into my stash for the first time. 
I decided to make a Jane Market Bag for each teacher. It was my first time using the pattern and I really liked it. I would definitely recommend it! The tote is roughly the size of a reusable shopping bag, so it is not too big- but not too small. The thing I love most about this tote are the pin tucks along the sides that give the bag shape. 
After reading some feedback on the pattern, I followed one persons advise and used a light to mid weight fusible interfacing for my exterior fabric. I'm so glad that I did that because my fabric is quilting cotton weight so it would have been pretty flimsy without it. The only other modification that I did was added pin tucks along all 4 bottom edges. With the way the pattern works, the pocket panels goes all the way to the bottom seam (which is positioned in the middle of the bottom of the bag) so I wanted it to cut off at where the bottom of the bag "should be"- that way the odds and ends put into the pocket don't end up slipping too far down to create a lumpy base- (this will probably make more sense if you have made or own the pattern). I also love the stability and shape that pin tucking the base of the bag created. The bag can totally stand on it's own. 
I opted to not add the optional cardboard base it was a gift to someone- I didn't want them to wonder why I put the cardboard in there and knew my kindergartener likely couldn't explain it's purpose when giving it to them. If I were making this pattern for myself, I would probably add cardboard to the bottom- possibly even make a fabric sleeve to put the cardboard in to make it look more finished. Then I could take the cardboard/fabric sleeve out for washing. 

I really love the way they turned out, but more importantly, my daughter was really proud to give the bags to her teachers this morning. I let her choose which bag to give each teacher and then we put them into gift bags with my daughters favorite Christmas candy and a handmade Christmas card. 

Well, can you believe that Christmas is less than a week away?!? December has flown by for me! This will probably be my last post here on my blog in 2014 as I plan to spend every last minute with my family over the Winter Break- 16 days of no school for my oldest means it's party time for little sis. I can't wait to just sit and watch them play with new Christmas toys while relaxing on the couch with some EPP! I hope to make a lot of progress on my La Passacaglia over the break! :) So... If you wanna see what I'm up to for the rest of 2014, be sure to follow over on Instagram for the behind the scenes and progress on my sewing pictures- @crafterbynight

I wish you all the Merriest of Christmases, and a wonderful New Year! 
xoxo, Ashley

Friday, December 12, 2014

AMH Little Folks Voile Quilt

 Remember when I went fabric crazy 2 years ago and bought a half yard of every AMH print in voile that I could get my hands on?  It was a brief, break of insanity... But- in my defense- they were on a $6 sale! I couldn't help myself!!  They are the softest, yummiest, amazing fabrics ever! I am obsessed! 
Shortly afterwards, I joined a Fabric-aholics Anonymous program.
"Hi- My name is Ashley and it has been 1 day since I made a fabric purchase."

JUST KIDDING! 

That's only for people that can't control their fabric purchases.  I don't have a problem... Do I? ;) Mwahahahahaha!!

 Ok... In all reality- it was one of the best fabric purchases I've ever made! No regrets here! Just come snuggle this quilt, and you'll see why!

I decided to make a square patchwork quilt first. I didn't dare slice and dice those gorgeous fabrics too much! I went with a 6 inch squares to create my quilt top- 14 squares across, 14 squares down- which makes it roughly 6.5' squared. Perfect for two to snuggle on the couch with! 
Once I pieced the quilt, I decided to hand quilt it to make it extra soft and give it a good drape. I used Valdani pearl cotton in varying colors and opted for orange peel quilting. (I seriously cut a piece of cardboard and used it as my template and traced the design with a washable fabric marker- MacGuyver moment people!) 
Its backed with voile and I used Soft and Warm batting, which is pretty thin, so this quilt is super lightweight and thin. I can use it year round!
 I worked at a tortoise pace while hand quilting it, so it took forever (over a year start to finish on this quilt- which is so unlike me! ha ha) I would just pick it up every month or so and work on it while sitting on the couch in the evenings, but it was always there in the back of my mind- that looming UFO (un-finished object) project begging me to finish it. So when our family recently moved, I unpacked this beauty and worked on it for a couple weeks straight until it was complete! 
It's been in use for a few months now, and everyone in our family fights over getting to use it! If all four of us squeeze onto the love seat, we can just fit underneath it (if nobody moves! ha ha)
I love that they all love it as much as I do! :)

 Well, I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend! Mine is full of stuffing and addressing our family Christmas cards, the ward Christmas party, and a day trip to one of my new favorite cities- Charlotte! Hope I can squeeze in some sewing time too! ;)

xoxo, Ashley

P.S.- The winner of the Cotton + Steel Splash Bundle is: 
Amy Harvard
Love your mini! Thanks for the chance to win :). 

Congrats Amy! I will be contacting you soon!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Cotton + Steel Basics Giveaway

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
A couple months ago, I ordered a couple Cotton+Steel basics bundles from The Fat Quarter Shop when they were having a great sale. I picked up the Splash bundle which is full of gorgeous blues and the Berry Box bundle which has corals, pinks, and purples. I had just seen them online so I was hoping that the colors would be as vibrant as the pictures. When they showed up on my doorstep, they didn't disappoint! They are gorgeous! I especially love that a handful of them have metallics printed on them! So fun!

I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with them, but I knew that they were the perfect basics to add to my stash since they pair well with a lot of the fabrics I already own. 

Last month, I signed up for the Schnitzel & Boo instagram mini  quilt swap. I've never done a swap before so I am excited and nervous! ha ha I really hope that my partner loves what I am making her. After perusing/stalking her instagram and pinterest board, I think (hope) I am making something that will catch her eye! 
Once I figured out the pattern that I wanted to do, I decided that it would be the perfect time to break into my Splash bundle since she loves blues! I am loving how its looking so far! If you follow me on instagram, you will see more progress along the way! If not, stay tuned in January when I am able to post final pictures of the mini quilt I make! :)
(here is a link to the "X" block pattern I am using.)

So since I love my Splash bundle so much, the Fat Quarter Shop decided it would be fun to give one of my readers a Splash bundle too! Lucky you!
To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment with your name and email address so I can contact you if you win! I will choose one winner at random Friday Dec. 12, 2014 and announce it on my blog. 

Dragonfly Fabric Promo Code

You guys know I love a good sale and am always in search of a promo code to use when I buy fabric... So I thought I would spread the wealth and let you know that Dragonfly Fabric is offering all of my readers 15% off your entire order right now! 

Just swing by Amy's darling shop and use the code: mommybyday15 at checkout!

She has a bunch of amazing collections and fabrics in right now! I am seriously crushing over this darling Riding Hood collection that she has right now!  
How darling are these grannies, riding hoods, and wolfies?!

And this granny square cheater print is seriously tooo cute!!!

Happy Shopping!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

La Passacaglia Quilt Pattern

A couple months ago, while I was looking at my instagram feed, I came across the most amazing/crazy/insane quilt pattern I have ever seen. I was so intrigued by it and put it onto my to-do list right away! I love how all of the "cogs" intersect and connect. Amazing!!

After looking into it a bit, I found out that the pattern was the La Passacaglia from the Millefiori Quilts book by Willyne Hammerstein
(featured on the cover of the book)
The book is written in both French and English and it is insanely amazing! I can not believe the 19 quilts in this book. They are machine pieced, but every pattern is adaptable for english paper piecing- which is my favorite! 

The book is super hard to find here in the U.S.- but last month PaperPieces.com remedied that and had 200 copies shipped from France. YAY! They also did all of the hard work for us and they sell pre-cut card stock paper pieces and acrylic templates to cut your fabric... and believe me- with a quilt that has approx 2900 pieces, they are a must! There is no way I could accurately cut out my own pattern pieces, so I am so happy to let them do the job! 
I am not quite done with my first cog yet, but I am loving making this quilt every step of the way... well maybe except for those tiny stars!! It is a lot of work, and a huge time commitment, but I just plan to work at my own pace and enjoy the process! As for my color scheme... I am not sure... I am thinking I may have a bit of every color of the rainbow. I gotta embrace the craziness of the quilt! 

If you are thinking about jumping on the 
"La Passacaglia crazy train", 
be sure to check out the gorgeous quilts and happenings on Instagram!
Just look up these hastags:
#lapassacaglia & #passacagliaquilt
And if you really want to be amazed- check out @alexouq... her Cotton + Steel La Pass is beyond amazing!! And I am pretty much obsessed with everything else she makes too! ;)

Happy Sewing!!
xoxo, Ashley

P.S. Thanks to everyone who entered thePolar Notion Board giveaway on my blog over the weekend.. One winner was chosen at random and the lucky lady is Dixie.
Wow - I have wanted to try out those babies on my stash!!! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Polar Notion Fabric Board Giveaway

When it comes to fabric storage, I love organization and neatness. Nothing worse than shoving your beautiful fabrics in a bin or closet where you have to dig through them every time you need something! Last year, after getting sick of doing just that- digging through bins, I decided to make a sewing shelf dedicated to storing my notions and patterns. 
 I knew that I wanted to have mini "fabric bolts" to store my fabric on and at the time, the only thing I could find that would work were cardboard comic book boards. They worked alright, but since they are made of cardboard, you can imagine that they aren't very sturdy and bend easily- especially if I have more than a yard of fabric on the board/bolt. 

A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by one of my favorite shops- PaperPieces.com and they wondered if I wanted to try out Polar Notion Boards
I was intrigued so I said "yes" and they sent me one 10 pack of the plastic boards to try out. I was skeptical at first because my boards were working fine, but once they arrived I was sold. They are made of a stiff plastic and the fabric wraps around them so nicely! Not only that, but they are acid free... so they aren't going to damage your fabrics over time. I got the original size and they are just the right size- about the same height as my favorite quilting magazine, so they fit perfectly on a book shelf. They do have smaller sizes though if you are looking for fat quarter size bolts. How cute is that!?! I just love them! I can't wait to order more to replace my bent up cardboard bolts. 
I love how you can go from a pile of unruly fabric to your own personal "fabric shop" of neatly organized fabric bolts. It really is the perfect answer to fabric organization! 

So if you are ready to get organized, right now is the perfect time- all Polar Notions are 20% off until Sunday Nov. 16th. So run over and take advantage of that! You won't be disappointed! :)

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

And SUPER BONUS- They are giving one lucky Mommy by day... Crafter by night reader a 10 pack of either size Polar Notion boards try out!! All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment with your email and I will choose a winner Tuesday November 18. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Little Red Riding Hood Costume

When I was asking my oldest what she wanted to be for Halloween this year, she replied with the answer that I am sure every other 5 year old girl replied when asked the same question: "Elsa". In the event that my youngest would have said she wanted to be Anna, we would have totally gone with the Frozen theme this year... especially since we already had the dress ups in our closet. (I honestly don't care what they choose to be for Halloween. I leave it totally up to them.) But, it wasn't meant to be... The youngest was set on Sheriff Callie. So if you read my last couple posts, you saw that I was forced into handmade Halloween costumes this Halloween. 
It really isn't a big deal. I know so many awesome moms make Halloween costumes every year... and who knows, maybe this was a first of many years of handmade Halloween costumes in our house. (never say never right?) But I was not super excited to do handmade in the beginning... just because it ends up being more expensive to buy the supplies and it takes way more time obviously. 

After I got over the initial feelings of not wanting to be making costumes, I started to enjoy it. My girls were so excited to take part in putting the costumes together. Since our playroom and my studio are in the very same room, they played and would come check on the progress and try on their costumes along the way. It was a lot of fun. 

So since I was making one costume already, I offered to make the other a costume for her to be whatever she wanted. She didn't really have any ideas of what I could make, so I showed her a couple things in the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew book(it really is the greatest book... I love it)

Once she saw the Little Red Riding Hood pattern, she was sold. Little Red is a favorite story in our home. 
I made the hood with red micro corduroy (picked up at hobby lobby) for the outside and a red and white gingham fabric for the inside, which was a poly-blend so it was super lightweight (also hobby lobby). This combo was a dream. I loved that the cord was slightly heavier than reg. quilting cotton and the gingham was so lightweight which made the drape of the cape perfect. Also- since I didn't use quilting cotton, it isn't as prone to wrinkles. I made the smaller version of the two cape patterns for my 5 year old and it works great, especially since she is pretty tiny and my 4 year old also likes to play with it, but I would opt for the large size for 5 years and older definitely. The only modification that I made to the hood was that I left off the button closure and used gingham ribbon (hobby lobby) to make ties.
I decided to pair it with the tutu pattern in the book to make it a bit more frilly. I got all of my tulle at Hobby Lobby. I used a combo of 2 layers dark cranberry red tulle on the bottom of the skirt, then 4 layers of cherry red tulle, and 1 layer of cream tulle. I also picked up my ribbon for the waistband at hobby lobby too. 
The last element for the costume was Little Red's basket. I found the perfect basket at Hobby Lobby and used leftovers of the fabrics and ribbon to make a quick liner and bow to dress things up a bit. It was perfect because she used this basket to hold the treats while trick or treating. I am all for functional props!

The cutest thing about the costume, was how much she loved it and how darling she looked once she was all dressed up. She even took 1st place at our wards trunk or treat. (Little sis was a bit miffed because last year in our old ward big sis also took 1st place for her store bought Doc McStuffins costume, so little sis thought that this was her year to take the prize. Luckily daddy won the award for best cornbread, so there were blue ribbons for both of them to pin to their costumes. ha ha) 

I hope y'all have a wonderful and very safe Halloween! 
xoxo, Ashley