Sunday, May 29, 2011

Three Kyoko's and a Shower Curtain

When the Mezzanine fabric collection came out by Patty Young a few years ago, I was part of an active co-op that pre-ordered the fabric. I got a little carried away and ended up with 14 yards of fabric (two yards each of 7 different prints!). I had plans though. First to do with the fabric: Make Kyoko Dresses for my daughters and my niece. My nieces' dress came first.

My only "complaint" with the dress pattern is that the skirt is a little shorter than I would prefer. It's just at the knees. I like the girls' dresses to last more than one year if possible, so I lengthened the skirt on my daughters' dresses. My niece got the first dress, so hers is shorter. I would have altered hers if I had known. Three Kyoko dresses, wow! That was alot of work! But I still had plenty of left-over fabric! What to do next...?

Our bathroom was in desperate need of a shower curtain. The vintage one that had been hanging, had water spots on it that didn't want to come out. I took it down to wash it (again), and this time refused to put it back up. Instead, I decided to use my left-over Mezzanine fabric to make a new curtain!

This curtain took a LOT of hours to create. Getting the lay-out just right was difficult (and stressful!). Then each seam is stitched and then serged for strength and durability. The hems are double folded and there is a hidden layer of canvas along the top where the grommets are to help the fabric lay nicely. I have no idea how many hours actually went into making this, but I'm sure glad I like it in the end! Did I mention I already have ideas for another curtain? (and it involves natural colored linen!)
That's all for now! Thanks for letting me share!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Little Leather Books

There's something about leather that has always entranced me. Perhaps it's the smell of it, or maybe the smoothness of it under my fingers. Or could it be the fact that it only gets better with age? Whatever it is, I truly do love leather.

One day a few years ago, my husband brought me home some scrap leather. I salivated at the mere sight of those gorgeous leathers! I was brainstorming ideas of all the wonderful things I could do with them before I even breathlessly said "thank you" to my dear sweet hubby! Brainstorm, yes. Cut into, no. It was a few years before I would muster up enough courage to cut into them. Finally, I did. And I'm so thankful too, because I found another "fabric" to love...leather.

One of the first projects I did was out of necessity. Being the old-fashioned girl that I am, I still carry around a notebook and pencil for all my to-do-lists, shopping lists, exchanging phone numbers and emails with friends, ect (you know, all the things that most people use their iPhones or Blackberry's for these days!) One tragic day this winter, I lost my little notebook with it's fabric cover. If I ever find a picture of it, I'll post it, but it was a gorgeous print from Anna Maria Horner's Little Folk's line (Buttoned Up, Sea), and it even had a little pencil holder on the spine, perfect for a mini mechanical pencil. I believe I lost it in the wintery slush in the Whole Foods parking lot, but that is beside the point, really. After a few weeks with no notebook, I could take it no longer. Quickly, I whipped up another one. This time using leather and fabric. While I loved the old cover, it was starting to show some wear and tear. This new leather one I'm quite certain will last a lot longer (provided of course I don't lose it again!) This little leather book is pictured on the left.

The new cover also sports a lovely hand-dyed silk bookmark ribbon sewn in, so I no longer need to search for my current page. The fabric used for the pencil holder is yes, more from Anna Maria Horner (I told you I love her fabrics!). This is just a scrap I had on hand. (yes, I have lots of scraps too!) The stitching is in a contrasting pink and I used the same scrap fabric to create the "flaps" for the notebook to slip into. The whole thing measures in at about 3 3/4" x 5". The perfect size to slip into a front pocket of a purse for easy finding.
The next little leather notebook is actually feeding my Sudoku obsession. I blame my older sister, Rachel. See, she has the gift for math and numbers, while I, quite frankly, don't. But I DO like a good challenge. She told me a few years ago that she really liked doing Sudoku puzzles. Once I figured out what they were, I decided to give it a try. Failure. But I don't necessarily give up easily. So, last summer, I bought a book right before our vacation and tried again. Success!! I was also addicted! Since then I've been known to stay up late doing puzzle after puzzle after puzzle. I also found it to be a good way to spend the time while I wait for my girls to get out of school. But I was tired of always searching the house for a good book, carrying them around, and trying to keep the pencil from falling out,  So, I decided to make my own smaller, more portable version. This little book was the result. Modeled after a plastic, hard-cased notebook I saw in the dollar store, the pencil keeps it closed when not in use. Here's some more pictures of it opened up:

So, the puzzles are cut out from a huge book of Sudoku that I have (there's 4 puzzles on each page). I cut the puzzles out individually and simply clip them together with a binder clip. The clip then slips into a slit I cut in the leather flap. Under the flaps on both sides is some cut up cardboard (from a cereal box) to make the book stiff. Once I finish a puzzle, I put it under the left flap. I keep planning to put the answer sheet folded up under the right flap, but I have't actually done that yet:).
But I think my favorite part of this book is the owl on the front. 

It is from Amy Schimler's On A Whim II fabric. It is actually stitched onto another piece of leather, which is then cut and stitched on to the front of this book. The reason for this is because my first attempt at making this book did not turn out so well, but the applique was adorable and I couldn't stand to just throw away that cute little owl! I think I actually like it this way gives it more "texture". 

So, those are my little leather books. If there is any interest, I can try my hand at making a tutorial on how to make the sudoku book, and post the PDF pattern piece that I used to make it. It's sinfully simple to make and while I use it for Sudoku, the puzzles could also be swapped out for scrap paper to make a great list-making book. What a way to use up paper before sending it to the recycling center!
So, if anyone is interested in a free PDF pattern of this book, please leave a comment and I'll try to get one done! Thanks! (This might also include a little give-away!) Oh, and don't be intimidated by leather. It's actually quite simple to work with. I'll give all my tips in the tutorial. Also, I think these could be made from other materials, like wool felt, laminated fabric, see-through vinyl, brown paper (from grocery store bags) and even Tyvek envelopes. This just adds to the cool-ness of this project I think! I love options, don't you?! 

Thanks for letting me share!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More Projects...Part 3

This post has to be short and sweet, as I don't have much time. But it's been a while and I don't want to loose steam in posting, so here it goes! 

Baby Carrier! A Half-buckle, padded waist, wrap Mei Tai, to be exact! Yes, no story of my sewing life would be complete without referencing some of the wonderful baby carriers that helped me keep my children close to me:) I think a full post (or two!) could be devoted to the many carriers I've made, but for now, this one will do. It's a lovely Didymos Hemp Indio that I dyed, then sewed into this carrier. I loved it! Since the resale on these kind of DIY carriers is low, I've kept it, though my babywearing days are mostly over.

Here's Little Man and Myself. Oh, he was so much smaller then! What a big boy he is now! Can you see the chunk on his legs?! I LOVE fat baby legs!

I told you this had to be short, and it is. Sorry! I'll be back again soon!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Playing "Catch Up" on Projects! Part 2

Ok, so again, in no particular order...some more past, completed projects! This is fun for me!

These skirts for my girls are more than 2 years old, but I still love them! C. is still wearing her big sister's skirt, so I still get to enjoy seeing it from time to time:)
 My, how they've grown since then! H. is SO tall now!

This bag, I made from a blank from Dharma Trading. There's two things I really love about this's roomy front pocket (my addition) and the adjustable strap (also my addition). The size is nice, but not overly huge. This was made 3 years ago. Last year, I made another one ( I had ordered two blanks, but had saved the second one for a while). I'll get to posting about that bag too. I did it a little differently, but I love it too! This bag still gets pulled out sometimes...not bad for a little cotton blank that's been in use for 3 years!

 I added a little stencil to the pocket. It says "LOVE" in Chinese. At least I hope that's what it says/}

For a while, I was in the "swing" of making Amy Butler's Swing Bag pattern:) This one was for my sister. She likes owls, and this print was super popular. 

 Just in case the Amy Schimler  owls were too kid-ish for her (I was nervous!) I decided to pair it with a very gorgeous Amy Butler print. I still love this fabric and some of it remains in my stash to this day. I always envisioned it as a skirt...
 Six years ago when my niece was born, I made her this hand-tied quilt. I loved it, my sister loved it. All was well. Until it started to fray at the seams. My sister gave it back to me to fix and shamefully, I let it sit for a very long time before I decided what to do with it.
 This was the result. The fraying was not really "fix-able", so the only thing to do was to reinforce all the seams. I chose some coordinating fabric, cut it into strips, pressed it all and stitched over the seams. I think I like it better this way:)
  These were gifts for my niece and a dear friends little boy. They are fold-up blankets with handles, paired with matching travel pillows. These blankets have been my go-to gift for kids for a while now. These were among my first, and since then, I've only made minor changes to them. Someday I'll make a tutorial on how to make them. They are so easy and beautiful! Not to mention practical! (In this picture, the blankets are folded up, hanging from the chair back. Opened up, they measure 25"x25")
 Another Amy Butler Swing Bag. This time for my little sister. This doubled as a going-away gift when she and her husband moved out-of-state...much to my dismay.
 The reverse: I added pockets on one side, with grosgrain ribbon at the top of the pockets
 The other side was left flat. I still love this print. Too bad I don't think I have any more of it left:(
And that's it for tonight! Stay tuned...more will be coming!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Playing "Catch Up" on Projects! Part 1

This is supposed to be a place to chronicle my sewing projects and adventures. However, I've been terrible about posting pictures for my completed projects. So now, in no particular order, I'm going to begin adding pics of my completed projects. This is over a time span of more than 2 years, so there's quite a bit to show. It won't be all in one post, but I'll keep adding more. And this time, I'll try to keep up with my current projects more diligently...I promise:)

To start with...anniversary present for my little sister and her husband. Hand Embroidered, hand sewn (of course!) travel size pillow covers. My sis, like me, is enamored with vintage style and classic hollywood romance...hence the choice of the art deco monogramming.

These were gifts for a friend of mine, Lisa (If you are from TBW, you'll know her as "beachgirl3495"! This was for the arrival of her 4th baby...who is now 2 years old!

This is a bag for her (then 2 year old) son to carry his cars in. It has a detachable play-mat for making sure he always had a "road".

Every baby deserves fresh burp-cloths, so here's some brand-spankin' new ones. They are embellished cloth diapers. The fabric choices were a combination of mine and hers (she has really good taste in fabrics!)
 Individual sized wet-bags....perfect for cloth diapering! She picked beautiful fabrics from Heather Ross. See, I told you she had good taste!

 And a bag to hold all the goodies in. (There were goodies for her older daughters as well, but I don't have any good pics of them. Book covers and beaded badge card necklaces is what they got). This bag was just supposed to be a "gift bag", but Lisa ended up using it as a diaper bag for a while! I was flattered as well as happy that it held up as well as it did, considering it wasn't made for it!

So, I'll add more projects in another post...stay tuned! I have a LOT to catch up on!
xoxo, Ruth

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sneak Peek...

So there you have it, a sneak peek at my skirt which IS being published (with a few minor adjustments)!! I am very excited about it all! This skirt makes me want to tour Italy in it! The perfect summer skirt! Thanks for looking!