Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sewing 102

My friend Kristen was my first friend here in Chicago. I moved here for a job without knowing anyone but the people who hired me. Kristen was a Notre Dame grad my same age and her cubicle was right next to mine. Before too long she decided that she needed to take me under her wing and bring me into her circle of friends. Well I was so flattered, and in desperate need of some company, and it wasn't too long before we discovered our joint love for baking, traveling, and judging ;). So here we are more than three years later, she is no longer my coworker but a best friend nonetheless, and I can generally count on her to go on adventures with me.
About 2 months ago I convinced her to take a trip to the burbs with me to go to Ikea. A staycation as my friend Anna pointed out. I have this extreme obsession with Ikea, largely because I am mostly Swedish and adore modern design. Anyway, after Ikea we stopped by Joann's in the burbs, and Kristen found this bolt of home dec fabric in the red tag section. It was awesome, and somewhere in between the fleece, and zippers, and buttons she decided she needed curtains. So we dug through the patterns and found a great one as a guide for tab top curtains. She went up to get it all cut and it turned out that the red tag fabric she wanted was only $1 a yard. $1 are you kidding?! I wanted to rip it from her hands and steal it.

The next weekend she came over and we started to put together the drapes. Just like a good teacher I had her cut and iron and cut, etc. The fabric was silky and slippery and the drapes were long, 6 YARDS!!! We didn't finish them that first day so she came over the next Friday night. She made me some homemade pizza, perhaps to bribe me to help her finish the drape project, but then we got to work. From 8 to 10 things were going well. Then it was that time we all experience, where you know you should stop. Your concentration and patience is GONE and you're mussing up everything and the seam ripper is on hand always. Well, we pushed through until FINALLY at about 12:00AM she finished. And I have to say that they are AWESOME. I mean they really are people, some might think they are "loud" or "busy" but they are gold and fuchsia and flowery and amazing. Trust me. So ended my first sewing lesson. And another reason Kristen is a BFF. I'm so lucky to have such creative and goodnatured people in my life!!!

This is the process, see Kristen working hard to get things straight? She was very careful about her seams and ironing!! I taught her well HA!

And here is the final product, 100% by Kristen:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spoiler Alert...

If your name is Jackie Canty, do NOT go to my flickr page.

Tonight I finished the baby quilt for my BFFL Jackie and her baby boy. He hasn't arrived yet, but I am pretty sure he will be here any day!! (Editors Note: Just found out I was off on the due date by 2 months, NO I am not a bad friend I swears). I have been working on this quilt for almost 3 months now and the first time around I started with a pattern I drew up. I was inspired by Jenny's quilt which I think is a version of a Denyse Schmidt pattern. It was a pretty great idea I thought, but using a fabric with directional images didn't work how I wanted it to.

So after I put it away for a few weeks I decided to scrap that idea and go with another Denyse Schmidt inspired pattern, the chinese coin quilt. I used the dimensions for the blocks based off of Handmade by Alissa's coin quilts (ps don't you just love her quilts?). I used what I had left of the David Walker Robots, picked up some basic colored prints from Joanns, and some sashing fabric there too. I have been hearing about the wonderful benefits of using linen for quilting, and I was very skeptical. I didn't like cutting it, and you should know that I am an iron, cut, iron, sew, iron, iron girl, and obviously linen isn't as conducive to that. But once I cut it, and sewed everything together, I began to appreciate how soft and cozy the linen is. I can't wait to see how it gets after washing again. The top came together really fast and then it was off to Joann's for some backing and batting. I decided to go with the coziness theme and found the perfect flannel for the back. Heather was worried it was a little busy and might make the baby sick (I could see what she meant, but it may have been the overtired state I was in at the time), but I thought it was too perfect color wise to pass up. I pieced a strip of fabrics from the front and sewed it off center with the flannel, and I might like the back just as much as the front!! I am definitely making myself a flannel quilt for next winter. Anyway, used some David Walker planets and the yellow stripes from Jo's for the binding (love using pieced and striped binding!) and slapped it all together. I did very little quilting to put it all together because I just didn't want to detract from the linen and the simplicity of the pattern. I hope it works out in the long run. I am still a newbie at machine quilting. So that is the basics.
Here is a sneak peek...
Front with back
I can't wait for Jackie and her hubby Brian to get it, I really think and hope that they love it as much as me. I think all children should be taught to aim high and follow their dreams, and I think a planet and space robot quilt is perfect for that.

Jackie is my oldest friend, from back in the third grade, and we had some great times growing up. One time, in 3rd grade, we wore the same clothes and no one could tell us apart. Well, she quickly grew several inches and the most beautiful hair and we didn't look anything alike anymore but we still LOVED watching Goonies, and singing along to Newsies, playing capture the flag, snowboarding, and of course playing soccer together. She was a soccer stud all the way through college and I don't know if she knows how much I admire her work ethic and dedication, as well as her compassion and love. I wish I knew Brian better, but I know that she is happy and they have the most beautiful daughter, Tillie, and I can't wait to see her all grown up.
Love, Jenny

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Smooth as Silk

First off, after taking these pictures, I realize that I apparently still have my swimmer legs. oh and I am pale. Please ignore everything BUT the skirt.
grey houndstooth silk!
see those buttons?
This is the skirt I made based on a skirt I bought in LA last month. I had been thinking about this project ever since then. I realized that it couldn't be THAT hard to come up with my own pattern. Well, to be honest it really wasn't. I made up a muslin trial skirt one night in about an hour and a half then tried it the next night in the silk. As you may be aware, sewing with silk is like jumping up to skiing a black diamond after your first run on a blue. Just as you are feeling confident, you step a little too far out of the comfort zone and have to side step a few of the steepest slopes. And that is what happened to me.

Enough ski analogy, the cutting was hard, the fraying was unbelievable, and I was deathly afraid of snagging something. Plus I momentarily blacked out and sewed the waistband wrong and had to take out stitches (EEEK) and do it again. I also used this project to make my first buttonholes. Who does that? Obviously me, like I always say...Go big or go home.

Well, I am hooked, I loved when people complimented my skirt and I said "I MADE IT!! and its REAL silk, and its Ferragamo, and I got it for 6 dollars a yarddd!!" While that was more than 99% of the people wanted to hear, I loved the feeling. So hopefully there will be more skirts and hopefully a dress or too before summer!! :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quick Mid-week Update

I was all ready for bed, but I've been having some scary dreams lately and just wasn't ready to turn things off around here. Then I realized I hadn't shared the pictures of my amazing St. Patrick's Day purse. It was made from the pattern available on the MadebyRae website. It is really the most amazing pattern, perfectly put together and so easy to make. I wish all patterns were like this!!! Thanks sooo much Rae for posting the free tutorial and pattern. I will definitely be making many more of these bags. Perhaps in clutch form as well...

Made out of that Echino fabric I love SO much!! (ps please forgive the icky pics and shots taken on the radiator)

I also made a skirt out of a pattern I came up with myself. Its silk, and let me tell you that I can't believe it turned out. It was my first experience with sewing silk, making a pattern, AND making buttonholes. Phew. I will take some pics soon so y'all can see it. Did I mention it was FERRAGAMO silk. woot.

Here are some pictures in closing. One from a recent trip to Joann's. I was being an enabler and tried to talk Heather into buying this fabric. Because she really needed to make a MUUMUU for the summer (I mean who doesn't)..............thank goodness she didn't buy it. But hysterical at the time.

And finally, the maid in my hotel in Lansing, MI had left this little towel creature in my bathroom. It was too adorable to use. Can you tell what it is?????

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Final FQ

My last FQ came in the mail!! Such a sweet surprise yesterday. Its from Rebecca in Kansas City, MO, she insists there aren't many fabric stores there, but I think she did a great job finding some. Well, anyway, you can decide, but I cant wait to use this and the goodies that came along with it!! Thanks Rebecca!!

Ok I'm off to celebrate St. Patricks Day with the rest of Chicago!! Slainte!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Monday

Why is it that Mondays seem so much worse than any other day?

Anyway, just a quick post before I'm off to bed.

The "missing" FQ from my swap sister in Germany. The truth was it was "missing" in the package it was sent in. Yes, this is the second time this has happened to me. They apparently make their padded envelopes with more than one pouch (probably not intentionally to hide things). On to the goods!!

It came with a pretty springy fat quarter, some German chocolate and a great postcard. I'm not sure what I will do with the FQ yet, I need some suggestions for a good easy project. Especially after the Weekender Bag fiasco!!
Thanks so much Karin!! PS I'm So glad you like the package I sent!! :-)

Also, here is a peek at the fabric box I made about a month ago for my linens, I had had it stored up in the high reaches of my closet on the precarious shelf my management company installed. But once I put together my new Ikea bookcase and it sat in my closet for a week, I realized it was the perfect size to fit!! How smart am I ;) ? haha.
Well everyone have a great week, one down, four to go!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Weekend, originally uploaded by Carson.J.

Just wanted to send a shout out to my FQ swap partners. The two FQs on the left are from my partner for the Spring FQ swap, she sent two perfect fabrics for me!! We should all know by now how much I love that AB martini and also grey, wink!! The one on the right of that shot is from my Sew Mama Sew! FQ quarter swap, she even sent it along with some Winnie The Pooh stickers (I love Eeyore!). The one on the right is a package I got all the way from Germany, awesome red vintage reproduction fabric, even the selvedge is in German!! I got another package from Germany, but I admit that its currently missing in my little apartment. I will find it and post it ASAP!! Still missing one FQ from the SMS Swap, so that's strange...
Then the bottom four pics are the FINISHED product of the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag pattern. I'm sure we are all sick of seeing this bag on my blog!! Like everyone has said this bag is a bleeeeep to sew. But whatever, its done, I'm just hoping it doesn't fall apart when i use it the first time. There are alot of seams on this thing! Also made a label for the inside, I really like it. I used a download from A Print A Day, I lovvveee her work. Cheers everyone. Have a Great week!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

words of wisdom

Sometimes a few words of wisdom puts things into perspective, that and a cup of tension tamer:

"when I have a really messy place and it's stressing me out, I set my time for 15 or 20 minutes and just clean clean clean for that time and it's amazing how much you can accomplish in that little time plus it's like a mental vacation from whatever else you were doing. A little psycho sounding, I realize, but it works for me!"

-from my fab friend Heather. I can't stress enough what a great friend she is. Thanks buddy!!

Monday, March 2, 2009


A picture is worth a thousand words. Spent tonight with my thimble, needle, and thread to reinforce the corners. I LOVE it. How awesome is that grey and hot pink combo?? Ikea and Kona Solid fabrics. Just need to add the lining now!! That probably won't happen until the weekend. No hurry though, no trips planned in the immediate future! xoxo

PS this is going to need a few more hours with the needle and thimble, I didn't get any of the layers sewn all together apparently!!! ARGH.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm Pooped.

This weekend was so busy!! Yesterday Heather and I made an impromptu trip to Ikea following another trip to Vogue fabrics. I further dug myself into a hole by buying more fabric for dresses. Honestly, who am I kidding?? I don't have a good track record with making clothes. Mainly because I know myself and my inability to follow directions. Ask my mom to dig out my old report cards, there are comments on almost every single one that say "very bright (hehe), but has a difficult time following directions". But on the bright side, the exterior of my

Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag is pretty much done. There is some hand sewing around the corners that needs to be done, but besides that it looks FABULOUS!! Well you can decide for yourself:

I guess these pictures aren't very good, but I hope you get the idea. Once it is all done I will be sure to add to the tips and tricks of lots of fellow crafters out there. I just hope it stays together........

Spent time with my cousin last night then made some cookies today as well. OH and I had to assemble my new Ikea bookshelf. I am hoping it will help to rein in my mess. HA only a miracle could do that. Or maybe my mom. Mom, can you please visit and help me clean/organize!? Oh messed up putting the bookcase together too, see those darn directions again!!! Happy week everyone!!

DB's Sister's Cookies

Got this recipe from one of my bosses, they are AMAZING. This recipe makes alot.

Do NOT use a mixer, just mix together by hand otherwise it gets too watery!!

2 Sticks of butter (room temp)
1 Cup Oil
1 Egg
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix Above Together then add:

3.5 Cups Flour
1 tsp baking soda (I prefer using 3 tsp of baking powder)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cream of Tartar

Mix in then add:

1 Cup Rice Krispies
1 Cup Oatmeal
1 Cup Chocolate Chips

Take a teaspoon size of dough and make into a ball, coat the bottom of a glass with sugar and flatten the ball. Bake at 350 Degrees for 12 Min.

Yummy. Its also good to freeze some of the dough for later (or as I did, leave in fridge for a couple weeks, hope its still good, figure I would take the risk, then bake it up).