Rainbows and Unicorns Travel Quilt

It seems like ever since Gracie learned to talk, she’s been asking me for a rainbow quilt. With unicorns. That covers her toes. She’s extremely specific! Thankfully, she considers anything with stripes of various colors to be a rainbow, so choosing the pattern was easy – the Travel Quilt from Little Things to Sew.

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Finding the just-right unicorns took much longer. Do you know how many ugly unicorn fabrics there are available? Lots. I finally found it though from Michael Miller – Magic Unicorns in the Sorbet color way. I pulled the colors for the front of the quilt from the novelty print. Matching colors isn’t my strongest point; I simply picked my favorite unicorns from the back and did stripes in those color pairs (with a couple exceptions to make my eyes happy).

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I love piecing quilt tops. I love the puzzle of making it all fit together; starting with tiny sections and building and building all the way to a completed top. I love the math involved. Piecing quilts definitely appeals to my inner nerd.

Quilting them, however, isn’t my favorite. I guess the repetition gets to me. Plus the bulk of working a giant quilt around the bed of my regular home machine is nothing if not awkward. That’s probably why I’ve only completed 3 quilts in my life. I have a double top down in my stash with its batting and back that may wait until I’m 60 to actually get quilted… if then. [Hey Mom, if you get that long arm frame I'll keep you busy!] So I kept the quilting pretty simple – I traced the colored bars 1/4″ inside and outside, then filled the white sections with straight lines at a 45 degree angle to the colored bars, each 4″ apart. Simple and striking – the diagonal lines really make the bars pop.

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My only modification to the pattern was to skip the overlap section – instead of cutting a little piece, I simply cut the 2nd bar to match the 1st. Clear as mud? You can see it in the pictures better than I can explain it with words.

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This project is part of the Little Things to Sew Cover to Cover Challenge (Flickr pool). I didn’t get as far as I would like, but this quilt was my #1 Must Do. Since it’s done, and I probably never would have completed it without the challenge, I’m counting it as a success! I’ll probably do a couple more but it may not be by the Aug 31 deadline. Want to see my completed projects? The list is here.

Everything is Cuter with a Face

I love to embroider – it’s a quick pick up and go project that doesn’t require a lot of supplies or planning. In the midst of a busy life schedule and a never ending pile of sewing projects, I appreciate the nearly instant gratification embroidery provides. So this summer I’ve found myself grabbing a needle and floss again and again. I just need something *done* as I wade through a quilt and a fancy dress (organza. satin. circle skirts. It may never be finished). Introducing: my new kitchen buddies!

For a while now, I’ve been obsessed with the embroidery work of Mollie Johanson of Wild Olive. She draws the cutest sketches, then puts faces on them! Everything is cuter with a face. I’ve stalked her blog for a while and finally decided what I needed – new towels decorated with the “Baker’s Best Friends” sets.

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Coffee. My kitchen runs on coffee. Let’s be honest, some weeks my life runs on coffee.

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Timer. Equally adorable; equally necessary. I’m known for baking “by smell” – meaning, I run to the kitchen when I realize that wonderful smell floating through the house is food just nearly over cooked. Timers help, when I remember to set them. Don’t you love how ambivalent this little guy looks?!

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Mmmm eggs. I could go on and on about eggs. The eggs in the picture are from our sweet pet hens; we have 2 younger hens about to start laying in the next couple weeks. Yummy!

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Last for now – a hot pink mixer! A pink mixer is on my wish list for some day. Probably a long long time from now as my white one works perfectly well. She stitched up so happy! She must be making cookie dough or cake or something equally yummy.

I have a couple more dish towels and a couple more cute little designs traced off. But they’re heading to the “to do” pile for now until I get a couple of the bigger projects accomplished. Unless you know, I get bored and need a sweet little smile to get through the day.

Details

Plain white bar mop towels from wal-mart

Coffee pot: http://wildolive.blogspot.com/2011/09/coffee-week-embroidery-patterns.html

Mixer and Timer: https://www.etsy.com/listing/62234839/bakers-best-tool-friends-kitchen?ref=listing-2

Eggs: Baker’s Best Ingredient Friends, not currently listed for sale

Fireworks Fourth Dress

Posting only 2 weeks after the holiday! Our life has just been too busy lately. With what? If you’re interested, you can visit our family blog here.

I’ve never been a big one for holiday clothing. I like looking at it, I just don’t tend to make things for one specific day.

Except when my sweet 3 year old begs me and I happen to have all the supplies already in the house and 3 free hours before we have to be at a party. Then I’ll make an exception!

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It’s a fireworks dress! This is PERFECT for the fourth! Which is good, because it was completely NOT perfect for what it used to be – a shirtwaist dress for me that I’d tried and tried and tried to make perfect but just couldn’t make work. In the words of Project Runway, it looked “tortured.” It was technically finished except for buttons but it was never going to be worn anyway so I saved myself the trouble and made something for Grace.

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As soon as I saw this little flutter sleeve sundress pop up during 30 Days of Sundresses, I knew I would be making it. Probably a dozen times! It’s a simple peasant style dress with elastic at the waist. I added lace on the sleeves and hem to at a little detail. The red bow is safety pinned in place so I can remove it for washing.

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She’s a little ambivalent on this dress, mostly because it doesn’t have butterflies OR flowers on it. That’s basically a crime in her universe. This girl… she has an opinion! She’s currently in a 4T so I was able to use the PDF pattern available in the post instead of drafting a pattern myself (adding 3″ of length). Next time I’ll need to lower the armhole a little; she was tugging at it telling me “it BOTHERS!”

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This isn’t a look of pain, I promise! She’s singing some song and twirling in a circle, which is how she spends most days lately. It’s the best way to spend summer <3

Details

Pattern: Girl’s flutter sleeve sundress from It’s Always Autumn

Fabric: navy print quilter’s cotton from Joann’s (in 2009); white cotton lace trim from Fabric.com

So Tweet Rain Cape

Rain on the green grass,
And rain on the sea,
Rain on the house-tops,
But not on me!

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Slip on your raincoat,
Pull on your galoshes;
Wading in puddles
Makes splishes and sploshes.

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Sometimes when you see a pattern, you know exactly what you want to do with it. Such is the case with the Red Riding Hood Cape from Little Things to sew – the moment I saw it, I knew it would be a rain coat. My only hold up was deciding on fabric and committing to purchase it. Laminate is more than double what I am most comfortable paying for fabric; I kept waffling back and forth between different prints. I finally came back to the very first one I looked at.

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Why a cape? Two reasons – 1) Car seats. Love them, have to have them, hate having to plan outfits around a 5 point harness. A cape can pop on and off without drama. 2) Have you followed for any length of time? This kid grows like a weed. She’s a size 3 around and 5-6 in length. I’m not going to wrestle with laminate only for her to outgrow what I made her in a day. With a rain cape we’ll get our use out of it, no matter how quickly she grows.

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Bring on the rain!

Details

Pattern: Red Riding Hood Cape, Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson, size M. No pattern alterations except to add topstitching all the way around to keep lining in place.

Fabric: Urban Zoologie Birds in Spring (here); lined with plain white polyester

This is my 9th project in the Little Things to Sew Cover-To-Cover Challenge. See them all!

Alley Explorer Vest and Hat

There’s a secret place behind our house, the most exciting place ever (if you’re 3).

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Full of rocks, and “goody mud”, and trees, and scampering critters.

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Much to find. Much to learn. Much to see. Much to hear.

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 So many different treasures to collect.

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An every day adventure in the alley (when you’re 3)

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Details

Patterns: Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson; reversible bucket hat and explorer vest

Fabric: Khaki twill and ladybug quilter’s cotton Joann’s. Navy vest lining, upcycled cotton pillowcase

2 more projects completed for the Sewing Through LTTS challenge! 8 out of 21 done, I’m up to 38% with 3 months to go (and fabric for 2 more in the house already)

Spring Herbs Play Dough

Last week the girls were begging for new play dough. Having recently seen some beautiful invitations to play on Imagination Tree, it didn’t take long to gather supplies to let them explore the abundance of herbs blooming in our garden.

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Snip some fresh herbs from the garden (peppermint, spearmint, oregano, and chive blossoms. There might be some sage on the tray, too).

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Fresh batch of green play dough, plus tools to explore.

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Lots of time to freely explore the scents, colors, tastes (herbs only!), and textures.

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They quickly transitioned into their favorite game – Princess in a Castle.

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Play dough is excellent for fine motor practice.

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It’s all kinds of beautiful! Especially the purple chive blossoms against the green dough.

I kept this play dough for a week after our activity. The girls love it and have been using it to play ice cream stand. It was still in great shape and would have lasted longer, but I can’t handle the smell of the oregano anymore… so to the trash it goes, replaced with normal grape kool-aid glitter dough.

Original inspiration credit: Natural Mint Play Dough; Natural Herbal Play Dough. Except I use my basic cooked dough recipe as follows:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 T cooking oil
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
Food coloring or 1 Kool-Aid mix

Stir together and cook over low heat until dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the pot.

Me Made May Wrap-Up

 

Victory! I made it all the way through Me Made May 2014! I have only one more garment to show you, then some reflections.

May 27

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Striped sundress, self drafted, blogged here. It doesn’t come out much because the shoulders are too wide and like to slide off.

There was one other me-made garment that didn’t get photographed – a purple quilter’s cotton wrap skirt. I don’t wear it out much because well… it’s a quilter’s cotton wrap skirt. Nothing fancy. I also paired my white woven tee (May 3rd) with a couple different purchased skirts which didn’t get photographed. Pretty much everything else was repeats from earlier in the month. May 1-5; May 6-12; May 13-21. I think I took a total of 5 cheat days – less than I’d allowed myself! Next year I’ll aim for something me-made every day of the month.

Reflections

I successfully wore every me-made item in my closet at least once during the month. Some only got one wear; some were worn sooo much! The pink Liesl + Co tee was worn on at least 8 separate days – it’s the clear winner for MMM2014. This is probably my favorite styling of it:

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Things I learned because of MMM2014:

  • While I love to sew garments, I don’t like my outfits to look homemade.
  • I’ve sewn a lot with quilter’s cotton, and those garments were each only worn once. I hate quilter’s cotton – probably because it looks homemade.
  • I wear lots of knit; this means I need to sew more knit.
  • My life is pretty casual. I need more separates – especially tops.
  • A little denim jacket and a wide belt can pull nearly any outfit together.
  • My favorite outfits balance softness and structure. I can’t do head- to- toe floaty or knit.

Which all lead to a resolution:

  • Be braver about apparel fabric!

It’s time to learn the different weights and blends of knit fabric. I also want to explore the world of woven apparel fabric – lawn, gauze, shirting, poplin… so many choices. I bought myself a couple patterns during Memorial Day sales and got new fabric in the mail on Friday. It’s time to build the wardrobe I’ll actually WANT to wear, not random garments on a whim that then sit in the closet forever.

I’m grateful for this challenge! It definitely helped my sewing for myself thought process!

You can see how everyone else wrapped up in the Flikr group.