Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Meet Betsy the Kitty

Last year, my kids and I were walking though a high-end boutique in the city with home goods and also the cutest little kids/baby section full of cute little clothes, toys, and decor. My middle kitty-loving gal found a little knit cat that was both adorable and very expensive. She begged and begged to let me let her use her hard earned money to buy it, but I just couldn't justify the price for what it was. She quietly put the kitty away and we moved on to another store. 
Fast forward several months... Her birthday was approaching and I was trying to come up with ideas of what to get her and I remembered the cat. I found a link online of where I could purchase the cat, but again- the price tag was too high for me to justify buying it for her. I was talking to my mom about it and showed her the cat and she said "That's cute, but I bet you could make one even cuter." I wasn't so sure I could pull it off, but I decided to try. (She plays the role of a mom well and always has faith in my abilities- even if I don't have faith in myself ;)

Like I said, the original cat was knit, so it was all one piece. I wanted mine to be similar but with my flair- and obviously made with fabric instead of yarn since I don't know how to knit! ;)
I used freezer paper to draft my pattern. I like using it because it's large paper on a roll, but also because once I draw a pattern on it, I can iron it to the fabric and cut the pattern out effortlessly. All in all, the pattern I drafted worked out pretty nicely- only a few moments in the construction that I was scratching my head with the design. ;)
(If I were to make the cat again, I wouldn't make her head so wide, or her neck so long. The peter pan collar was an afterthought to cover up the long necked awkwardness! Is this a giraffe or a cat?!? haha)

I used linen fabric (found at Joanns) for the body of the cat and embroidered the face with DMC floss. For the bow and collar, I used Liberty of London Betsy floral in gray. Robert Kaufmann Chambray for the dress, and some scraps for the placket and dress detail. 

I didn't calculate exactly what the project cost since I had a lot of the supplies on hand, but I can tell you it cost roughly less than 1/4 of the price of the cat in the boutique- plus it was made by momma so it's extra special. ;) 
I named her Betsy because of the Liberty of London Betsy floral  that I used to accent her outfit, but my daughter named her Buttons- which I think is very fitting as well. She's already a very loved little kitty!

Hope you're having a wonderful day!
Thanks for stopping by!
xoxo, Ashley 

Friday, August 3, 2018

How to Attach a Quilt Label to a Quilt

Quilt labels are the perfect touch to personalize a quilt.... But....
I'm usually so excited to just finish the quilt that I am working on, that I normally skip this step. I've come to realize that a label is important for many reasons though. 
#1- if you are giving the quilt as a gift, it really adds personalization because you can add a name, or a date, or an occasion for the quilt being gifted
#2- if you are keeping the quilt for yourself, you can add any details that you (or posterity) would like to remember for years to come. (for instance, back in 2012, I made Scrappy Trip Along quilt as part of a quilt along on instagram, so for that quilt I made a label that said "Scrappy Trip Along 2012". Original- I know! haha)

I personally love to make quilt labels that are embroidered. I usually stitch my words and then add fabric scraps from the quilt around the edges in some way- just to tie everything in.

I recently discovered Sulky printable sticky fabric-solve stabilizer for embroidery. It's pretty cool stuff. You can print right onto it, so you don't have to trace any patterns, you peel the back off, and stick it to the fabric. Then after you stitch, you soak it in water for a minute and the stabilizer disintegrates. Initially I was kinda skeptical about soaking my newly stitched label in water, but it totally worked. A word of cation though- The first time I tried it, I used a calligraphy sort of font that printed a lot of thick dark ink to for the letters, and then didn't follow directions to use the "draft" setting on the printer so that the ink would print lighter. BIG MISTAKE! Unfortunately some of the ink from the paper stained my fabric while I was soaking and resulted in the label looking slightly blotchy in spots. So make sure that you don't do that. The second time I tried it, I used a font that was thin and printed in the "draft" setting and had no issues.

So once my label is stitched, I trim the fabric down to the size I want and sew strips of fabric around the edges- in this case, a log cabin sort of design.
*side note: I did add a little fabric appliqué detail to the label- for the "8". I printed an 8 on reynolds freezer paper, ironed it to my fabric, cut out the 8 and then applied Pellon 805 Wonder-Under Fusible Web to iron/stick the appliqué to the fabric.

After the label block is finished, I iron the top and left side edge under 1/4" inch to give it a finished edge for stitching. The right and bottom raw edge will be covered by the quilt binding so you don't need to do those sides. 
Next, I pin the label on the back side of the quilt on the bottom right corner. I used a basting stitch and 1/8" seam allowance and baste the right and bottom edge of the label to the quilts edge. 

Then I used straight pins to hold the top and left side edge  in place and used a whip stitch by hand to attach the remaining two edges to the back of the quilt. I do this because I don't like to see where the quilt label is attached when looking at the front side, but if you don't mind you can totally use your machine and sew around all of the edges and be finished. The hand stitching those two edges doesn't take long, and I like the look of it better, so I don't mind the extra step.

 After the label is attached to your quilt, just attach your binding and bind as you normally would.

Voilà! You are done! A finished quilt with a cute little quilt label.

Hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by!
xoxo, Ashley

Friday, July 6, 2018

Seaside Oliver + S Messenger Bag

When it comes to darling fabric, Tasha Noel knocks it out of the park every time. Her newest line, Seaside, is no different. It just tugs at my nautical loving heart! I've been anticipating this collection since I saw it debut at quilt market! So, when Riley Blake asked me if I wanted to play with the collection and make something, I jumped at the chance.

If you've followed my blog for a while, you've probably noticed that I love to make bags.... and when I find a pattern that I like, I make it over and over again. I've made the Oliver + S Messenger Bag over 10 times now.  The pattern can be found in the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew book. I definitely recommend the book- even if its just for this pattern alone- but I've also made the Little Red Riding Hood and Tutu, and the Explorer Vest from the book as well.

I have two girls, so of course I had to make two bags. In the past, I made the small version of the pattern (for when they were 3 & 4 years old), so this time I opted to make the large size. One of the things I love most about this pattern is the gusseted pockets on the front of the bag when you lift the main flap up. Another unique thing is that the bag is edged in bias tape, so its just as cute as can be and very well constructed.

I used the Seaside Border print in Red for the exterior of the first bag. I love using panels for this pattern, because it really just gives the bag a custom look. I had planned to use one of the coordinating prints from the collection for the bias tape that edges the bag, but I had some navy floral from Tasha's previous collection A Little Sweetness, and I just couldn't resist from using the dainty floral to compliment the Seaside fabrics.

For the second bag, my oldest daughter wanted to have a little more say in the design of the bag. She picked out her favorite prints from the collection and asked for "patches" on the front of her bag. I used a quilt as you method (like I did for my weekender bags) for the main flap panel. She loved how it turned out and almost snatched the bag to use before I could snap a picture of it. (Big no no! ahhh... life of a blogger's kid. haha)

I think one of the cutest little details on the bags are the darling woven handmade tags on the strap of the bag that Tasha designed. I mean... come on! These little labels are just too cute to not sew them onto EVERYTHING I make now. ;)

PS- Be sure to hop over to my friend Amy's blog (Diary of a Quilter) and check out the darling Seaside Star Spangled Banner Quilt that she made.  I am so in love with anything Amy makes, and this patriotic + nautical beauty is just the cutest!

Thanks for stopping by!
xoxo, Ashley

Monday, June 25, 2018

Costco Playground Makeover

After returning home from deployment, my husband was able to take a couple weeks off. It was so much fun to spend all of that time together after being apart for so long. One of the things we did during his time off, was a playground makeover.

I had seen a couple ideas on IG of playground makeovers by Kirsten Krason and Jan Scarpino that are so amazing and had me totally wanting to make a custom playground for my kiddos. I thought for sure that I would pitch the idea to my husband and he would roll his eyes and say no way, but he was the exact opposite- SUPER EXCITED about it.
We headed to Costco and picked up the Cedar Summit Lookout Lodge playground set. It wasn't everything that I wanted in a playground set, and I really hated the green canopy, but my husband thought he may be able to make it into something I would love, so we bought it. (Plus it was $999 which was considerably less than the $1400 one that I had my eye on.) 
 We got it home and started making plans. We had leftover paint from when we built our home 3 years ago in our basement so that was covered. After a stop to Lowes for some extra wood to create the pergola instead of the canopy, we were good to go. 

We started by building the main "house part" that would be gray. Next, we primed it with Kilz primer. I am not gonna lie, about midway through painting the primer by hand I was second guessing myself and our decision to paint the playhouse. Holy Moly! It was a lot of work just to build the playhouse- plus painting it all was so much work. After we primed the main part, we got wise and used a paint sprayer for the rest of the main playhouse. 

Like I said, we used our leftover  Sherwin Williams Outdoor paint that our builder used on our home. 
(Gray: SW Dovetail Gray, White: SW Snowbound, Blue Door: SW Delicate Delia, Black Roof: Tricorn Black)
After we got the main part of the playhouse painted, we figured out which pieces would be the "deck and pergola" pieces and primed and painted each piece separated in our garage since the weather turned bad. There were a handful of  random pieces that needed to be painted gray as well. Then we primed and pained the roof black, and primed and painted the door blue.  All in all, we used one coat of primer and then two coats of exterior paint on every bit of the playground. I also used black spray paint to paint the door hinges and handle.
My husband made some adjustments to the construction of the "deck and canopy" portion of the playhouse and added the pergola he designed instead. It turned out even better than I thought it would. I was a little nervous that we would get it built and it would look like the pergola didn't mesh well with the overall playground design, but I totally think it looks like it was meant to be that way all along. He did such a great job!
I opted to leave off the clock and telescope, just because I wanted a more clean, fresh look. I didn't want to put on the plastic grill/sink but my husband and kiddos made an executive decision when I was out running errands one day.... haha! After some rain storms and the sink constantly full of yucky water, I may sneak out there and remove it when they aren't looking. 

All in all, I am just so happy with how it turned out. I love that it matches our house perfectly and that it isn't an eyesore in our backyard. In my little fantasy world, I would totally string lights on it and add a wreath and flower box to the window, but for now, I'm restraining myself and realizing that after all- it is just a playground. Maybe one day though. ;)

Thanks for stopping by! Hope this little project sparks some fun ideas. It's amazing what a little elbow grease and paint can do!

Have a great day!
xoxo, Ashley

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hello Again...

Long time- I know! It's been over a year and a half since I posted, so I thought that now that the dust has settled a little, it was time to come back and say hi and let you know where I've been. (I don't even know if "blogging" is still a thing anymore?? It seems as though most people just enjoy snippets posted on IG.)

Four days after my last post, our third baby, and first boy was born. Y'all know I'm pretty private when it comes to my kids and the information I share about them, and I never post pictures of them- so you'll have to take my word for it- He's a handsome little guy and has my heart. There was an un-planned 6 year gap between our 2nd and 3rd child, so in a lot of ways it felt like I was having my first all over again. With both of my older girls in school, I've been able to enjoy a lot of one on one time with him. It's been so much fun. 

As expected, when a new baby comes, life gets turned upside down and there really isn't much time for hobbies, so sewing took a back burner and I focused my attention to my family and new baby. Life was perfect, I felt happier than ever before, and almost pinched myself at times to make sure it was real. ;)

When my baby was about 4 months old, we found out that my husband would be deploying for 10 months but that he wouldn't be leaving for another 6 months (he is a dentist for the Army). Those 6 months leading up to him leaving were torture for me. It was all I could think about. Every time a cute, sweet, or happy moment happened between my kids and husband, it brought tears to my eyes, just realizing the sacrifice my kids were going to make not having their daddy with them. The milestones that every parent looks forward to with their new baby- first words, first steps, etc- my hubby would miss out on being there for most of those.

I can remember that while I tried to process things in my mind, I'd sit down to sew- which has always been such a great creative outlet, stress reliever and fun time for me- and I would stare at the fabric for an hour, my mind felt blank. It was just so all consuming and I had no desire to create.

By the time he finally did deploy, I felt like it had plagued me for so long already that 10 months of having to be apart was just unfathomable. He left in June of 2016 and I spent most of that summer in Utah with family- just passing the time and getting that extra support. About a week before my kids started school, I came back to KC. In September and then again in December, my hubby and I were so blessed to be able to meet each other in Germany for 4 days each time (so quick, but so worth it). Those trips were the cherry on top of the curveball pie we were eating. I will forever be thankful for them!

I can tell you that this experience was one of the hardest things I've had to go through to date, but there were also priceless moments that we would have never had if we hadn't gone through it. I can also say that it's been very character building. We grew so much as a family, as a couple, and individually. It's one of those experiences that I hope I never have to go through again, but also am deeply grateful that I was forced to go through because of what it taught me and the ways that it opened my heart and eyes. Funny how trials do that for you, huh?

Before he left, I had always had such a great appreciation for the for the men and women of the military and their families and friends that sacrifice on a daily basis so that we can have the freedoms that we have. But it wasn't until I was in the position, to make the sacrifice myself, that I realized just how huge the sacrifice is and what those families got through. I'm thankful that so many are willing to serve and let their loved ones serve. I know there are so many that deploy over and over again, and many others that go through so much more than anything than we went through with having my husband deployed and it's just hard to wrap my mind around it. Again- I just feel so thankful for every sacrifice that is made for our country and freedom.

 My husband just returned home 3 weeks ago. He was gone 289 days, but weirdly enough it already feels like a distant memory. Life is so good, and we are so thankful to be together again!

I could write so many posts about the things that I learned and the ways that I grew, but I'll spare you. ;) I just wanted to let y'all know I was still here, and that I am easing back into projects and sewing. Just putting out feelers to see if Y'ALL are still here and if its worth posting every now and then? So let me know!

xoxo, Ashley

P.S. We are in the middle of a really fun makeover on a new cedar playground we got at Costco that I plan to share here. (we are painting it and making some easy upgrades to it to make it a little more "us".) I have also been doing some decorating in my house to pass the time while he was gone, so that could be fun to share too. Let me know if you're interested in that side of things or if you're just here for the sewing. ;)

P.P.S. While I didn't do a ton of sewing these past 10 months, I did share anything that I did do while he was gone over on my Instagram @crafterbynight

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Vintage Inspired Baby Quilt

This week is an exciting week for our family... It's finally time for our baby to arrive!! I am due this Friday and scheduled to be induced that morning I haven't already gone into labor. Hallelujah! I am beyond ready to have this little guy. My pregnancy has been fairly easy, but I've definitely reached the "get this baby outta me" stage!! If you've ever been pregnant, I am sure you know the feeling well! We pretty much have the house in order and everything set for him to arrive, so it's just time to hurry up and wait for Friday to get here. 

I started sewing about 5 1/2 years ago, which was means that I've never sewn anything for any of my babies since my current youngest is 6. I thought when I found out that I was pregnant that I would want to be sewing up a storm and making all kinds of things for this little guy... but.... are y'all ready for a shocker? I haven't made a single thing for my baby yet. Can you believe that?? I don't know if it's just that he's a boy and I've never made boy things, or if it's because I just haven't had the desire to sew as much since I've been pregnant, but my time before baby comes is officially running out and there is not a single handmade item (from me) in the nursery yet. It seriously shocks me when I think about it, but to be honest, my "nesting phase" seems to be lost and I'm simply in survival mode and have been for the entire summer. I've done a bit of hand stitching here and there since coming home from Quilt Market, but most of my time has just been spent enjoying my family and simply in "survival mode". ha ha Maybe with these last couple of days, I will have a burst of energy and make him a quilt... or I might just lay on the couch and watch Netflix. ;)

I did manage to sew a little baby quilt for my best friend Rach (of Family Ever After), who is due exactly a week after me. She's having a girl and I think I've decided that we should probably begin the proceedings for our babies arranged marriage since they are going to be so close in age. Then we can really be family! ;)
She and her family recently moved back "home" to South Dakota and bought the coolest property in the Black Hills with a darling log cabin home. She calls it their "little house on the prairie". I always love seeing pictures of the fun adventures that their family has in on their land and their new slower more relaxed way of life seems so appealing. It totally suits their family so well. 

I knew that I wanted to make something for her sweet baby, and I decided to go a little out of my normal design esthetic and make something with a vintage/old fashioned feel to go along with their new home and way of living. 

I started digging through my stash and found a Chloe's Closet 30's Playtime mini charm pack. It was exactly the feel I was going for, but since it was a mini charm pack, it definitely wasn't enough fabric to make a quilt with. I decided to make little four square patches and alternate with solid white blocks in a checker pattern. Once I got that put together, I realized that the quilt was still feeling a bit small- even for a baby quilt, so I added the yellow and white square border. The yellow and white remind me of a vintage quilt I used to snuggle up with as a young girl at my grandma's house. 

I did really simple quilting but added a bit of detail by quilting a sweet scallop on the yellow and white border. I really love how it came out. I feel like it is definitely a quilt that could be found on a "little house on the prairie"- which is what I was going for. 

Well friends, wish me luck!! The next time I blog, I will have a little bundle of blue in my home! 

I hope that you all have a wonderful week!
Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

P.S.- Today is the last day of the Christmas in July sale going on over at Lady Belle Fabrics... RUN, do not walk, and snatch up some of the amazing deals going on over there!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pixie Noel Blog Hop

Happy Monday y'all! Hope that you had a wonderful weekend! 

I am so happy to be a part of the Pixie Noel Blog Tour today! Since I am 2 1/2 weeks away from my due date, I haven't been doing a whole lot of anything- including sewing... Just bits of hand sewing here and there between nesting and trying to finish up the nursery and a few other house projects before baby comes. So my La Passacaglia was the perfect place for Pixie Noel to make an appearance. 

If you have been following me on IG, you know that I did some sewing for Tasha Noel for quilt market for her debut of her darling new fabric line Pixie Noel as well. It is seriously the cutest line! I made a few stockings and a quilt for her booth. They turned out darling and her booth was seriously the cutest booth at market (in my opinion). 

I just snapped a couple photos on my phone so they aren't the greatest, but when I have my projects back from market, I will be sure to take some better photos and share more details with y'all here on the blog.

The great news is that Pixie Noel is finally available in shops so y'all can get a head start on your Christmas sewing too! I am the first stop on the Pixie Noel Blog Tour, but there are so many other fun projects that will be shared this week as well, so be sure to follow along on IG (#pixienoelfabric and @tashanoel1) to get the creative juices flowing! 

Thanks for stopping by! Hope that you have a wonderful week! 
Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley