Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Memories Made into a Quilt

Grandpa was the first person I lost that made my heart ache.  I was 13 years old and I can still remember that day.  It was sudden and unexpected.

We were fortunate enough to live next door to my Mother's parents.  I loved them both and often found myself wandering over to their home to listen to some stories and sip on a 'coke a cola' (what I called it and still do).  Grandpa could tell stories about the wild west and gun slingers and murders and all kinds of fascinating tales.   Of course, Grandma would raise her eyebrow and say "Gordon! Tell a nice story" and he would.  :)

When he passed, I claimed one of his flannel shirts.  I wore it and hugged it and cried into the sleeves.  When Grandma passed years later, I claimed one of her shirts/jackets.  I often think of them and pull my memories close to my heart.  They were magic.

I've worn Grandpa's shirt for so long that it has become frail.  I stopped wearing it a decade or so ago, but i still pull it out every so often.  Grandma's shirt is made of a heavy synthetic material and so I still wear her jacket in the fall and winter months.  However, now that I've begun quilting, I'm trying to bring myself to cut up the shirts so that I can make a quilt.  I know that it will prolong the life of the material, but it will be hard to separate the fibers.  So, here they lie until I can find the perfect pattern that will blend the two shirts into one beautiful quilt.

Dresden Charity

I've also been working on my Dresden Charity quilt.  I only need to add sashing  and then quilt it and it will be ready to send to a Charity.   I still don't know which Charity yet?  Do you have any favorites?  I have to admit, I think the Dresden pattern is my favorite.  Dresdens take me a long time to make, but I LOVE each step and they always turn out so pretty.

My daughter picked purple for the sashing!  I love it.  :)

I'm going over to Freshly Pieced for some weekly inspiration.  I'm also linky up to Quilts are for Giving.  If you haven't checked out this charity website, do take a look.  It's a great place to post your charity efforts and find some new charities to donate to.
Also sharing over at Patchwork Times

 I love being inspired! :)  happy sewing -Little Mama Hen.   

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer Tote Tutorial

Yesterday, I posted about our busy week and mentioned that I had made some Summer Tote bags for the kids and that I still needed to finish Ladybug's bag (Summer Tote post).  Since her bag stilled needed sewing up, I thought I'd take some pictures during the process and share how I sewed them together.

 First, the following fabrics are needed:
2 - 16" x 16" Duck cloth fabric
2 - 16" x 16" Cotton fabric for lining
1 - 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangle from lining fabric (for the pocket)
2 - 2 1/2" x 24" strips from the Duck cloth fabric (for straps)
2 - 1 3/4" x 24" strips from the lining fabric (for straps)

I did not have 24" of the lining fabric that I needed for my straps.  So, I sewed two smaller strips together.  First, lay one strip horizontal and one strip perpendicular at the corners.  Make sure that right sides are facing.  You will need to sew from the top left corner of one strip to the bottom right corner of the other strip.  I used a disappearing pen to mark my line. Cut off the corner, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Open the strip and press seam open.

Fold in the raw edges of the strips about 1/4" or so and press.  To help guide your fabric you can use a straight pin or a safety pin.
Fold the raw edges of the Duck cloth.  Allow the raw edges to slightly kiss in the middle.  Don't overlap.  Press.

Lay the cotton fabric on top of the Duck cloth fabric.  Make sure raw edged seams are together.  Pin and then sew along the edge of each cotton fabric side.

Now for the pocket.
Take the pocket fabric and fold and press each side 3/8" or so.  Then tuck in the raw edge and press again; there are no raw edges showing.  Now your corners will be kind of bulky so unfold each corner and cut off the tip.  Refold and press.  

Sew the fold at the top of the pocket before you pin it to the lining. Sew the pocket about 3" or 4" down from the top of the lining fabric.  Sew both sides and the bottom.   Leave the top unsewn or it won't be much of a pocket. :) I sewed another vertical line in the middle of the pocket, now it's two pockets!

 Sew your two lining fabrics together.  With right sides facing sew both sides and the bottom of the lining fabric.  Repeat this step with the Duck cloth fabric too.

You want to box your corners or make gussets at each corner.  I learned to do this at TinkerFrog.  Line up the bottom seam with the side seam so that a corner forms.  Take a ruler and measure 2" down and 4" across.  Mark a line and sew along that line.  Then cut off the corner making sure to leave a 1/4" seam allowance.  Repeat this step with the Duck cloth fabric too.

Now turn your Duck cloth right side out and pin on your straps; make sure to line up raw edges.  You can place your straps wherever seems comfortable to you.  I placed them about 4" from side seams.  Sew the straps to the Duck cloth about 1/8" in from the raw edges.  I sewed over the straps 2-3 times.

 With the Duck cloth fabric still right side out, place it inside of the wrong side out lining fabric.  Pin the raw edges together, making sure to match seams.  Sew 1/4" - 1/2" joining the lining to the Duck cloth.  Make sure that you leave at least a 4" opening for birthing.  I left an opening between the straps on one side.  You will be pull a bit, so make sure you back stitch at each opening edge.

 Birth the bag.  Pull everything threw the opening.  MaoMao was sure to 'help' Mama. 

 Top stitch around the top edge, making sure to close the opening used for birthing.  I pressed it before I top stitched.   TADA!!!  You have an easy and oh so cute summer tote!
 Have a great weekend! - Little Mama Hen. ;)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Totes

Little Man's Lobster!
  What a busy week!! We've been having so much fun: swimming, painting, nature walks, gardening, chalk murals, and summer totes!!!  I've been wanting to make totes and summer seemed a perfect time.   Of course, it is very important to include the kids in my summer craft activities.  So, Little Man, Ladybug, and my sister's grandbaby, Little Queen, picked out an animal hand-print that they wanted on their totes.  

I should have videoed the process of painting the kids feet and hands and then printing them onto the Fabric!  Utter Chaos!  It was so funny!  I couldn't have done it without my sister. After they hand/foot printed their fabric, I let them dry overnight.  Then I painted over the prints with Mod Podge and let them dry again.  Then I sewed them up into totes (Tutorial Here)!!  It is super easy and oh so cute.  I've finished Little Man's and Little Queen's and I MUST finish Ladybug's this weekend!!  Little Man isn't really "into" painting so he only did one side of his tote and on the back I sewed a little scrap fabric sailboat.

The Back of Little Man's tote.  MaoMao almost made this picture impossible!  He wouldn't leave the staps alone!!
Ladybug's Flamingo and she did a lobster on the back.

Little Queen's fishies

We live in a townhome, but are blessed to have several acres to wonder around on.

Lima Beans!
Nature Walk - hunting for spiderwebs!  -7:30am!!!  I was toting my coffee with me. lol
Tiny Spider.  :)
Dew Drops
See their tracks. dew on the grass.  Our feet were soaked by the time we got home.

Chalk Murals - Flying superhero
Ladybug drew the buildings and I drew the cape! so cute!

Still working on my charity quilt!

And of course, MaoMao says 'Hello'.  He's gotta get kitty shots tomorrow.  :(

So, I'm exhausted and happy all at the same time!  I think I'll go sip on a Margarita and start the weekend!  -Little Mama Hen

Going over to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Quilting by the River

Friday, July 6, 2012


We had a very delightful and relaxing 4th of July!  We grilled a few hamburgers and watched fireworks from our bay window.  It is so fun watching little ones and listening to their excitement.  There were thrills and shrills and oooooos and aaaaahhhhs at every beautiful burst of light.  Even Mao Mao had fun.  He wasn't so interested in the festivities; however, since we had the blinds open he was able to attack and swat at the blinds' cord that was dangling down.  

This week I can't work on the Dresden Challenge quilt, I'm waiting for some fabric.  I can't work on Scott's Hudson Bay Point quilt because I need to go to the fabric store and pick up some more ivory fabric.  There are several other WIP that I 'Could' work on; however, I decided to start a new project.  That shouldn't really be a suprise!  I have lots of very small fabric scraps; I can't seem to throw scraps away.  I think if I knew a way to use slivers of fabric, I would.  

A great way to turn tiny scraps into something beautiful is the Dresden pattern.  I just have to adjust the size of the Dresden flower according to my scrap size.  In this case, my petals are 2.5 inches (perfect for those extra jelly roll strips). I really love making Dresden petals; of course, so does Mao Mao.  He seems to think the petals are small 'live' critters that need attacking and pawing and scattering all over my sewing room floor.  I will sew these pretty little ditties to some unbleached muslin and add a scrappy border and then quilt it up for a charity; I'm not sure which one yet.  What do you do with scraps?  Any favorite patterns?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gone with June

June!  and yes MaoMao is in the middle of it all!

It's so amazing that June is over and July has begun!  My Little Ladybug is already keeping track of the calendar.  She is on a count down until her 6th birthday (sniff sniff, wiping my eyes with a tissue-wasn't I just pregnant with her?).  Her birthday isn't until August; however, this is the first year that she is old enough to anticipate it!  And she's EXCITED!  Who can blame her, birthday's are the best!

I'm pretty sure that I started more projects than I finished this month, but that's ok.  There are so many sewing/quilting ideas that I want to 'try-out', it' so hard to concentrate on one task at a time.  Of course, for me creating is part of the fun.  What did you get started on/finish this month?  I'm going over to Lily's Quilts to see what everyone else is up to.  It's a great place to be inspired and share.  She has a darling little purse that I just must try to make...sometime. :)   But for now, I think I'll go drink some chocolate milk with my Little Ladybug; you're never to old for chocolate milk!  -Little Mama Hen.