Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WIP Quilted Patchwork Weekender Bag

A couple weeks ago, I came across a quilted patchwork Weekender Bag by Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson
I fell in love with it the minute I saw it and knew that I needed to finally take the plunge and make the notorious Weekender Bag by Amy Butler. This bag is kinda the Holy Grail of bags and definitely has a reputation for being hard to get along with due to all of the layers of peltex, interfacing, cording, etc that are involved when making it. 

I have always loved the look of this bag, but the reputation and horror stories had me pretty much sworn off making it, but when I saw Elizabeth's bag and the method that she used to make it by quilting as you go onto cotton duck cloth, I had a change of heart. 

Apparently I am not the only one either- from what I have heard of Sewing Summit and seen on a few blogs, it looks like Elizabeth sparked a quilted weekender craze and there is now a quilted weekender bandwagon! Check out these fabulous bags by  Laura and Amber!

Two weeks ago, I raided my scrap stash and even dug into a few fabric piles that I had been saving for a rainy day and came up with my color palette- red, aqua, and yellow. 

It hasn't been a fast process by any means, I just add a little each night and am finally finished creating my patchwork panels so now I am ready to start assembling my bag now...Duh, duh, duh... I am hoping to make it out in one piece! Wish me luck!

Here is a sneak peak of what the the main and pocket panel are looking like together! I am excited to see it finished! 

I plan to finish it over the weekend since I am headed to Nashville next week. This is the perfect bag to take along on my trip! :) 

Stay tuned for more pictures to come soon once I finish it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

i {heart} Jo Totes bags

For the longest time, I have been looking for the perfect solution to my "ugly camera bag" problem. Don't get me wrong, my "ugly camera bag" is nice and has it's own time and season for uses when I need to cart along all of my lenses/gear, but on a whole, I am usually just grabbing my camera with the lens on it and throwing it in a bag and running out the door... or... gasp... leaving the camera home because my purse feels too bulky with it in there. I know- terrible right? But with my fresh perspective on recording our family memories, leaving the camera behind is no longer an option.

While I was at SNAP, I noticed one thing that just about every blogger had- and I didn't... a darling Jo Totes camera bag. I have always wanted one, but after that conference and seeing how versatile each and every Jo Totes bag is... I knew I needed one! The thing I love most about them is that they are not just for carrying your camera. There is a spot for an iPad, a wallet, a phone, an extra lens, and any extra things you need on hand! I saw one lady that had one of the larger Jo Totes bags and I felt like I was watching Mary Poppins pulling things out of her carpet bag as I saw the things she was taking out of this bag. Who knew you could fit all of that in, with your camera and still have it safe and padded! I was impressed to say the least!

April from Jo Totes was so nice to send me my own camera bag to see how I liked it. And to be honest, I have taken it everywhere since. It has been so nice not having to worry about my camera being safe in my bag or forgetting my camera as I ran out the door. 

I picked out such a fun bag. It is their newest bag available called the Allison Bag.

With my love of anything mustard yellow, I was of course drawn to the mustard version... but, just to throw myself for a loop, I went with the teal to change it up a little. I am so glad I did. I love the color of it. It looks even better in real life that it does in the pictures.

I love the Allison bag because it is one of the smaller bags. I just wanted something that would fit the bare necessities and not be too heavy once I got it loaded. It has been so perfect for my needs! I wouldn't change a thing about it. I love that it doesn't look like a camera bag. I love that it has a zipper at the top and no flap covering it- easy access to my camera. I love the magnetic clasp pocket on the front to put my keys and phone in. But most of all, I love the adjustable velcro pads on the inside of the bag so I can adjust where my camera fits in and keep it nice and protected but also fit other things if needed too. 

There are so many to bags to choose from in all shapes, sizes, and colors... Some of my other favorites are the Betsy Bag

 and the Millie Bag... 

...but of course the Allison won me over. I had a tough time choosing between all three bags since they are each so cute and different. Just when I think they can't come out with a cuter bag, they do, so I love to follow along with their Facebook page to keep up to date with new arrivals and all of the giveaways that they have.

So if you are like me and in the market for a pretty camera bag- check these Jo Totes beauties out! You won't be disappointed! :) 

(Full Disclosure: I was provided with one Allison bag to review. I was not compensated with money to write this post. All opinions are my own.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ahoy Matey Quilt

With me having little girls, it's pretty rare to see me sewing for a little boy... but one of my friends just had her very first baby boy last week and I couldn't resist making the new little guy a quilt.

I can't even tell you how much I love this Ahoy Matey fabric by Michael Miller . When I saw that it had a panel and that it was so darling, I knew that I wanted to try making a quilt using a panel. Usually I am not a huge fan of panel quilts, but this one may have changed my mind. 

To make it, I used one panel (which is the main part of the quilt with the ship and waves on it), and then I used the Navy Stay the Course fabric for the side sashing, and Dumb Dot in Clementine for the prairie points, Clementine Ship Shape for the binding, and then Quarter Dot in Midnight for the backing. 

I have been wanting to try doing prairie points on a quilt and I felt like this was the perfect quilt for it. I found an awesome tutorial for continuous prairie points on Sew Take a Hike. It was such an easy tutorial to follow! Love how they turned out!

As soon as I saw the panel for this quilt, I knew that I wanted to hand stitch along the outlines of everything. I love the way it looks around the waves, clouds, and boat. Once I washed it and dried it, oh my goodness!! I was in love... it was a tad bit hard to part with this lovely quilt. ha ha

But lucky me... I happened to buy two panels and have just enough leftover fabric to make myself this exact quilt- should a little bundle of blue pop up into my future.... And if not, I am sure I can find a loving home for such a darling little quilt- don't ya think? :) 

Happy Sailing!
xoxo, Ashley

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My fresh start to archiving our family memories.... Plus a giveaway!


I have had a few people ask if there has ever been any regrets since starting this lovely little space that I like to call "home" in Blogland and I my answer has always been a big, fat, huge "YES!" 

I stopped posting on our family blog when I started this blog.

Up until starting my Mommy by day- Crafter by night, I was so diligent at posting a few times per week on our family blog, with big plans to have my blog printed into books to have for our family. 
To be honest, with all of the time that I put into this blog and time spent of the computer, the last thing I wanna do with any spare time is spend more time on the computer loading pictures and writing up more posts... so I just quit worrying about it. I know that I could have been doing other things to record memories like writing in my journal or scrapbooking, but once I got a little behind, it seemed too overwhelming to try and catch up. One thing led to another and I found myself over a year and a half behind and feeling guilty as heck that my "craft blog" had taken precedence over my duty as "Family Archivist". ;)
The guilt has eaten away at me little by little until I finally decided to do something about it. 

A few months ago I was telling my friend about my current situation and guilt at failing in the "recording my kids life" category. She listened to everything I had to say- excuses and all- and said "Hang on... I think I have the solution for you!" She left the room and came back a minute later holding a book/binder. She spent the next 30 minutes showing and telling me about her method of recording memories and storing family photos: PROJECT LIFEI was amazed at how easy it seemed and started feeling an inkling of HOPE at somehow being able to get back on top of everything.

I came home and started doing some of my own research on Project Life. I was so excited to find out that the woman behind the genius, was none other than THE Becky Higgins- someone who I have been a huge fan of ever since I started scrapbooking years ago. The more I read about Project Life, the more I was convinced that it was the perfect system for me and my needs. 

As you guys know, I try to keep my blog free of product reviews unless it is a product that I really feel passionate about. I had a feeling that Project Life was something that was manageable enough for me and that would also take away the guilt that I was feeling over memory keeping. So I contacted the Project Life team and begged them to let me review Project Life to see how I liked it. To my excitement they agreed and kindly sent me the three things I needed to get started on my own project life journey:

No more spending hundreds of dollars on paper, stickers, glue, etc... All you need to do this is are a few things.
And even better- these few things are what make up an entire year worth of memory keeping!

If you have never heard of Project Life or are not sure how it works- here is a little video that explains the system...

What is Project Life? from Becky Higgins LLC on Vimeo.

I ended up choosing the Amber Edition. Since getting the Amber edition, my mom in law gave me the Clementine Edition for my birthday- so now I have two albums. One to work of for the current year and one to start making up for last year.
Once I received my album and supplies, I headed over and checked out the "Getting Started" page on Becky's website... It was perfect and explained exactly what I needed to do to start my album...

Last weekend, I sat down for the very first time doing Project Life... I had 200 photos and whipped out over 4 months worth of memories in just a handful of hours. I can not tell you how awesome it felt to be able to get that much done in so little time. I used to spend countless hours perfecting one page at a time, and although it is fun looking back at all of the details and work I put into my scrapbooking, I no longer have that much spare time. So for me and my busy life, this is the perfect way for me to record memories quickly and even as memories are happening. 

I read a post by Becky on her blog a while ago, and she mentioned that she carries around a box of 3x4 inch cards in her purse and she pulls them out and writes on them while she was out and about and then later adds them to her album... Such a great idea! I ordered some cards and plan to do the same. So many times, my kids say things and I think to myself "I will write that down when I get home" and then I get home and can not remember what in the world it was that they had said! No more excuses now! 

Here are the things that I like to use in addition when putting together my book:
A Crop-A-Dile 3/8 corner punch (which is the same radius as the project life cards) and American Crafts Precision Pens.

I just crop the corners of the pictures, put them into the book, and then write on the cards and stick them in and I am done! So easy and so fast. And although my handwriting isn't always perfect, I kinda like that extra personal touch that it is my handwriting on the cards.

Recently, Becky announced some new editions editions of project life that are going to be coming out at the end of the year... There are baby editionschildhood editions, the Seafoam Edition, and brace yourselves fellow fabric lovers... Heather Bailey designed a core kit and it is called the Olive Edition... Oh my goodness! I love it! It will be released in late December... I think I may just have to buy myself a Christmas present! I can not wait to get my hands on that edition! So cute!!

So for anyone out there that is passionate about keeping track of pictures and family memories- check out Project Life... It is the perfect place to start if you are wanting to start recording life's happenings, need to get caught up on past life happenings, or whatever your circumstance may be. It is so user friendly- there is no wrong or right way to Project Life

Now for the exciting part....
 Becky Higgins is going to be giving away a Project Life Binder, the coordinating Core Kit, and a Big Pack of Design A Photo Pocket Pages to one lucky Mommy by day- Crafter by night reader!!!

The winner will get to choose which edition they receive- either the Turquoise, Clementine, Cherry, Amber, or Cobalt Edition.

All you have to do to enter is:
1. Be a follower of Mommy by day... Crafter by night. (via GFC, RSS, or by email)
2. Leave one comment with your name and email so I can contact you if you win.

This giveaway is open to US residents only. Winner will be selected at random via & notified by email. Winner will be announced on Oct. 23, 2012. You must be 18 years or older to enter this giveaway. The chances of winning depend on the number of entries. Good luck! 

(Full Disclosure: I was provided with one binder, one core kit, and one big pack of page protectors from Project Life to review. I was not compensated with any money to write this post. All opinions are my own.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Work In Progress Finished... well... almost!

Remember the WIP {work in progress} that I shared with you guys FOREVER ago?? I finally finished it. Well kinda- I have just a tiny bit more hand quilting to do on two blocks, but it has been bound and in use for the past month on my littlest's toddler bed (which is why it is so narrow and long). I am not sure why I can't make myself sit down and finish it. It would take all of 30 minutes or so, but you know how things go... other projects take priority and things get put on the back burner. So alas, this little gem has been a bit abandoned but perhaps an afternoon during nap time will be enough to get her finished...

But until that happens, I thought I would show her off to you guys. 
What do you think? It was my very first time paper piecing and my first time making dresdens and I kinda loved it. It was definitely the most time consuming and labor intensive quilt I have ever made, but I still really enjoyed it. I was inspired by Kerri's vintage nursery quilt and decided to add in the dresdens to make my quilt a little different.

Almost all of the fabrics I used were japanese import goodies (most from Lecien's Old new 30's line) that I found in Kerri's shop. She has the cutest fabric and I loved picking and choosing out fabrics in soft pinks, aquas, and a tiny bits of yellow for this quilt. It almost a bit monochromatic to my eyes since I stuck with just a few shades of colors, which isn't normally my style, but I love the way it is totally matchy matchy and shabby chic looking. 

For the center of my paper pieced blocks, I used prints from the Sweet Life fabric I picked out. Since it is a Japanese import, some of the sayings on the fabric is so funny and isn't always grammatically correct- for instance, there is a block that says "I'm now cleaning a living" and "Let me give you hand".
I think the saying on this block had to be my very favorite- "You look spruce. Are you going on a date today?" ha ha My family says it all the time now and it makes me laugh every time!

I started machine quilting the quilt initially and had machine quilted around the edged of each block, but I decided to hand quilt the rest of the quilt instead of finishing it on the machine... which added to the time and labor intensiveness, but I love the look of it and think it adds to the vintage look and feel of the quilt. I used a pale pink DMC pearl cotton 8 thread for the hand quilted part.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you are all having a fabulous week! 
Happy Sewing! 
xoxo, Ashley

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Mini Messenger

I know... I know... I have been a blogger M.I.A. for the past few weeks- but with good reason. Over the past month we have had 3 fun visitors come into town to spend a week each. It has been so fun! 

Our first special visitor was my little sis Heidi. We had such a great time together! She had been wanting me to teach her to sew something for over a year now, but we had never gotten around to it until this visit... And to our surprise this gal is a natural!

When deciding on a project to have be her very "first sewing project" we were back and forth between making a blanket, a skirt, or a bag... We ended up deciding to make a bag since she was in desperate need of a new one. 

We headed off to my favorite fabric shop and although it was a tough decision to decide on only one fabric with a shop full of awesome fabrics, she fell in love with this darling  print by Amy Butler. I knew that I had some matching fabric and trim at home to go with it so we headed home and got started. 

It was a lot of fun because we both worked together to come up with the pattern for the bag. Essentially it is the same as the Little Birdie told me Messenger bag so you could definitely follow that tutorial but just modify the measurements to make this bag. We wanted the bag to be tall and skinny instead of a wide bag so the width and height measurement flip flopped and we ended up making it approx. 12x15 inches.

She honestly sewed the whole bag except I put the zipper pocket in for her  (with the help of this awesome tutorial) and helped her a bit with the mini pom pom trim (tricky stuff to sew on! ha ha) but other than that- this was her deal... She was a total natural! She sewed a straight line immediately- something I had to practice! I was so impressed!! It was so fun helping her and seeing someone else enjoy sewing as much as I do. 

While at the fabric shop we found this cute Vallori Wells Little Wallet Pattern- so she used it to make this cute matching wallet to use inside her bag. I loved the pattern. It was so user friendly and would be the perfect beginner project for anyone- even kids. I can't wait to make one for myself and I think it is perfect for a little gift for someone.

Love spending time with my sister! We laughed more than I have laughed in a year. I am so glad to call her "my little sis". 

Watch out "Sewing World"- there is another awesome sew-er on the loose! ;)