Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Leopard Print Spinning Stars | Tessa Basket

Seems like every couple months the new "IT" pattern pops up on Instagram. The Tessa Basket seems to be just that right now! I've seen so many fun versions of it popping up in my feed and I put it on my to-do list a few weeks ago. I knew it would be perfect for carrying around my hand stitching WIPs, so when @greenletterday had a sale on her patterns last weekend, I took advantage!
 I wanted to make my version slightly different than the ones I have seen, so I went with a different approach to my patchwork. I made half of a Spinning Star block (scaled the size down a bit) and appliqued it onto the ruler fabric and trimmed off the bottom with some  kona charcoal. I really love the way it turned out! That leopard print is so fun!
I would definitely recommend this pattern! It is so fun and super easy! 
Hope you are all having a wonderful week!
Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mini Patchwork Purse | Scripture Case

My girls love taking their scriptures to church every Sunday. 
3 years ago, I made a little pleated purse for my oldest to carry her scriptures in. At the time, my youngest was just a toddler so I didn't bother making one for her. Since she has gotten older and started taking hers to church too, she has just been using random oversized bags to carry them in. Poor thing begs me every Sunday morning to make her scripture bag when we get home from church, but somehow that project always got shoved to the back burner and forgotten.
This week I decided it was time to just buckle down and do it. It only took about 2 hours to make, and that's just because I just kinda made it up as I went along. Now that I've made it once, I think I could whip one in no time. (Why didn't I do this sooner?!;) 

I started by making a "Mama Block" (a mini version of a granny square block) that was inspired by these blocks I saw on NanaCompany. I used 2x2" squares of fabric to make the block. After I trimmed the points off and squared up the block, I added the strips of fabric to the side of the block to make the panel more rectangle. Once I had my front panel completed (6x8"), I cut one for the back and then cut two 1.5x6" strips for the side panels and one 1.5x8" strip for the bottom panel and applied fusible fleece to each of those. Then I assembled them to create the exterior of the bag. Then I cut coordinating sized pieces for the lining and assembled those. I made some straps for the handles to tie at the top and then put it all together. As an afterthought, I added a button and strap to the top to keep the purse from gapping open once she had it all filled up.
(this purse was constructed pretty similarly to the pleated purse I made my oldest {minus the pleated part}- so you can check out the tutorial for that here and make any necessary changes to create your purse how you would like.)
My girls just use the regular sized, paperback version of the Book of Mormon- so this purse fits the book with a little extra room for lipgloss or whatever tidbit they are bringing along to church.
When I gave my daughter the purse, she said sweetly, that it was the "best thing I've ever given her". Of course that melted my heart and I am kicking myself I didn't just do it sooner! haha!
At least she will have it just in time for this Sunday though, right? :)

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!
xoxo, Ashley

PS: If you would like to learn more about what I believe, click here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mini Quilt | Kaffe Fassett Pickle Dish

Do you ever get an idea in your head, and even though you have a million other things you should/need to be doing instead, you just can't seem to shake it? THAT was totally me for the last couple weeks! I have been wanting to make a pickle dish quilt ever since I saw one in my local quilt shop {Sew to Speak} by the amazing Mary Dugan of Molly Flanders
My photos are courtesy of my phone and instagram... sorry they aren't the greatest! 
 Then my friend Rachel started making one. She would bring it to work on when we would get together and I fell in love with the idea of making one myself! Obviously I couldn't add another WIP {work in progress} to my growing pile, so I decided to make one block and turn it into a mini. I had package to send Rach that I had been putting together for her and figured that a pickle dish mini was the perfect thing to finish off the package. 
 There are 3 patterns for a pickle dish quilt that I am aware of. There is a fabulous {and free} tutorial with step by step pictures and templates by Aneela Hoey. Then there is one called Gypsy Kisses by Sarah Fielke in the Material Obsession 2 book. And the last one is by Kaffe Fassett in the Quilt Romance book 
The Sarah Fielke and Kaffe Fassett pickle dish look very similar to my eye. I am sure if you had one of each quilt side by side, you would see that there are definitely differences in them, as they are assembled using different techniques, but at a glance they look the similar.
The one that I have seen by Mary, and that my friend Rachel is making is the Sarah Fielke Gypsy Kisses version. I haven't read the pattern, but I am pretty sure it involves hand applique and machine piecing. I have never done applique before so that kinda scared me! So I did a little research and found that the Kaffe Fassett one is all machine pieced. That seemed a little safer for me to try, but I have to admit- the curved piecing was kinda freaking me out! I have never sewed with curves when it comes to patchwork! So I tried to muster up the confidence needed and ordered the Kaffe Fassett book.
 I started working as soon as the book arrived. The pattern is great and very straight forward. The only changes that I made to it was I didn't add the final piece to the outside of the block to make it "square". I liked it curved around the edges since it is just a mini quilt. I also made my own center template by taping 4 of the "template B" pieces together to create one center piece of fabric instead of 4 separate pieces. 
(I cut the seam allowance off of the 2 straight edges, but left the seam allowance on the curved edge and then taped them to create one template.)
I was super excited to cut into my Liberty Bloomsbury Gardens stash and I knew they would pair perfectly with some of my Cotton + Steel and Anna Maria Horner stash. I used Kona Charcoal as the background, backing, and binding of the quilt. Then I hand quilted it with Valdani pearl cotton. I pin basted the layers together for quilting but I didn't use a hoop to stretch it out as I quilted it. I just wanted it to have a loose, soft, puckery feel to it and I really loved the result! 
(I definitely wouldn't use this method for a whole quilt, but since it's a mini and is just hanging on the wall, I figured it was ok.)

Now that I have made one block, I feel like I can go on with my other WIP's and I don't have a pickle dish quilt in the back of my mind....ok... ok... who am I kidding?! Now I want to make another pickle dish more than ever! 
I definitely need to make a mini for myself to hang on my mini wall and I'm totally adding a full pickle dish to my bucket list for sure!! I'm afraid I've awakened a pickle dish monster inside me! ha ha ;)
I hope y'all have a wonderful week!
Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 in a glance

2014 was a good year... We made a lot of changes as a family- hubby graduating school (from THE Ohio State University), leaving best friends and moving from the Midwest to the South, bootcamp for the hubby + a new job, oldest starting kindergarten, plus just getting adjusted to the South and settled in our home! Somehow through it all I managed to squeeze in quite a bit of sewing! ;) 

Here are a few of the projects that I worked on over the year!

 I just want to say thank you for following my sewing journey and for taking the time to leave comments, tagging me in your posts of projects you are making with my tutorials (I love to see what YOU are making!), and for just being so supportive! I can't tell you what it means to me! You are all so sweet and I am grateful for each and every one of you! You inspire me to keep creating!

I can already tell that 2015 is going to be a great year! I am looking forward to lots of sewing and hanging out with y'all on the blog and Instagram along the way! 

Happy Sewing!! 
xoxo, Ashley

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."


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

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.