February 25, 2013

Japanese x & + Block

Have you seen this cool tutorial by Badskirt Amy? It is for the Japanese x & + Block, which was inspired by Setsuko Inawaga's submission to the Tokyo Quilt Festival. 

I am thinking of using some of these cute blocks for a swap item in the near future so I decided to make a practice block tonight. I like how it turned out... even tho it was a little smaller than hers when I squared it up because I can't sew straight to save my life ;-)

I am thinking of making this one into a mug rug with a grey border around it. We'll see tho... for now it is just a happy practice block hanging out on my cutting board. 

I really should be packing because we are heading to Germany for a quick trip to visit the in-laws and I haven't cleaned nor packed at all.... but that is what tomorrow night is for right?? :) 

Wishing everyone a lovely week and I'll catch you when we get back later on! Happy Sewing! 

February 21, 2013

Locked & Loaded Bag ~ A SewSweetness Pattern

My friend Sara of SewSweetness has been on fire lately creating awesome new bag patterns! She released another one today ~ The Locked & Loaded Bag. For more information about the pattern and to check out the loveliness here from all of her testers, click here.

I was lucky enough to get to be one of her testers and I will tell you - I LOVE this bag! It was a lot easier and faster to put together than the Dot Dot Dash, as there are no external zippers or top zipper panel to wrestle. The interfacing is the same in both bags, Annie's Soft and Stable, and I really like how it gives the bags such great form and stability without being stiff or crunchy.

If the Dot Dot Dash makes you a little nervous, I would definitely suggest trying out the Locked & Loaded bag first ~ there are a lot of similarities as far as construction and interfacing, but I think this one is more intermediate level and less complicated to tackle... as well as being good practice for moving up to the dot dot dash next if you so desire.

I was a little nervous about the twist lock on the front but it is super easy to put in following Sara's instructions and looks super fancy when finished! I also really like the little flap at the top because it gives you the chance to add in a second fun fabric ~ like I did with the hedgies... love those hedgies!

I've been using this bag for the past 2 weeks and upsetting all my Vera Bradley bags :) It is just so cute and holds so much! For reference, here is a picture of it open in front of my sewing machine... it is a big bag!

If you are looking for an intermediate level pattern to make a lovely large bag  and try out some new things like an adjustable strap, inner zipper pocket, and twist lock closure... this is the pattern for you! And for me... I will definitely be making another one of these in the future :)

Stay tuned for more reviews of Sara's bags in the future ~ I love this girl's style and can't wait to see what she will come out with next!

February 10, 2013

Please excuse the mess ~ Blog Under Construction

Dear Readers,

I am doing a little rearranging of my blog today so please excuse the multiple changes you may see as I try out a few new backgrounds, layouts, etc. I like the dynamic view but it doesn't show my buttons or other information from the right scroll bar, which I miss, and have been asked about by a few viewers.

I am also working on a new tab for an upcoming retreat I am sponsoring in the Fall ~ as well as updating my project tabs.

Stay tuned and hopefully I'll have a cute new blog face to show you soon!

Thanks for your patience!

February 4, 2013

Patterns, swaps, and bees - o my!

January was a super busy month for me! Felt like it was a tornado most of the way with a hurricane at the end! I was able to get everything accomplished, with a little leniency from a friend on one deadline, and I'm glad to start February with a new slate. 

First up was a pattern I helped a friend test from her new line of bag patterns - I ADORE her creativity and style and am so happy to be a tester for Miss Sara of Sew Sweetness. The pattern I tested was Dot Dot Dash - you can find the complete information as well as lots of fabulous tester photos of bags using this pattern HERE.

I always wanted to make a cross body bag with an adjustable strap and I jumped at the chance to test this pattern for Sara when I saw her announcement about it on facebook. The top zipper panel also intrigued and scared me, and I was interested to try out this new interfacing - Annie's Soft and Stable. While the interfacing is a little pricey and not super easy to get offline, I trusted Sara's judgement and gave it a try. Boy I am sure glad I did because this stuff is GREAT - it provides a sturdy shape without being stiff or crunchy and also provides a bit of padding to the bag which is nice in this technology age where most of us have some kind of e-reader/tablet device to lug around. 

Not only do I love the finish product, I learned a lot of great skills along the way. Sara's instructions are easy to follow and she provides lots of photos to go along with the descriptions which helped me a lot. I believe in the future she may even have some video clips on her blog of the more tricky parts of making her bags, which I think is a great idea. I fully recommend this pattern to an advanced sewer, or an intermediate sewer like myself who wants to take on a new challenge! 

I was not paid to test nor advertise this pattern ~ I am a follower of Sara's blog as well as a friend, but I am also a critical sewer who is happy to recommend this professionally put together pattern after trying it out myself. 

Next on my list of January finishes was the Sew Sew Modern swap. This was a fun swap with a great group of talented ladies! I was the first to receive my swap items and I was blessed with a fabulous package from Natalie. She spoiled me with a bright cheerful pillow, a squishy pillow form to go inside, and this awesome monster friend to snuggle up with! I received it after a rather terrible day at work which made it all the more wonderful and just what I needed to cheer me up! 

Not only did Natalie send me those wonderful gifts, she even included some yummy treats for my dog! He has stomach issues and has to take a daily antibiotic so I am really picky about what he eats but these were natural dog treats and he did really well with them. Such a sweet and thoughtful swap partner!!

I didn't take a picture of my swap package all together but I sent the below items to Patrice of Pink Patrice and she received them today - yay! She seems pretty happy with them which makes me happy, especially because they were hard to part with! I love having partners with similar taste because it is easier to make things that I love ~ but so hard to send them away. haha Glad she enjoyed her package and glad I have a little break from swaps for the moment. 

My last January finish was my Bee Blocks for "The Modern Stash Bee" for my friend Whitney. I am a bad swapper because I am sending them off late this week, but she has been an absolute dear about it. These blocks were made with this Spiderweb tutorial which I fully recommend ~ super easy to follow and makes some great 12.5" quilt blocks: http://sewingbymoonlight.com/2012/11/spider-web-block-tutorial/

I expected to have a full week to finish them up at the end of the month but my Grandma ended up in the hospital and passed away suddenly last week. Needless to say... that was the hurricane that hit this tornado of a month and we still haven't recovered yet. My grandfather passed away less than a year ago and I wasn't able to attend his funeral so I am glad my husband and I made the trip to Kansas this past week. It was hard to be there but good to get some closure and say goodbye, as well as support and be supported by my extended family. I'm still not processing it all yet and I'm sure it will take a while to realize I won't be calling her at holidays, going out to Kansas to visit, nor making that Sunflower dresden quilt I'd planned for her this year. She was a beautiful and wonderful woman who made me proud to be a Rogers and set a great example of being a good mother and supportive wife that I will definitely try to emulate in her honor. She will be missed but I know goodbye is really "til we meet again" and hopefully that knowledge will see me through the sad times ahead. She is with my grandfather now and as someone has to keep that feisty man in line up in heaven, I guess we can let her go and look forward to seeing them both again. 

... Sorry to get so personal but sometimes I just need to let it out without the sad faces and hugs to make me tear up, so ... there it is. 

February is a new month with some fun projects ahead so stay tuned. I may be a little quiet for the next week or so as I try to process and get back into my daily routine but I look forward to sharing with you later in the month and seeing what you all are up to as well! 

A lovely year of finishes - February Project

I joined up with A lovely year of finishes ~ my UFOs from the last couple of years are out of control!

For January - my plan WAS to finish quilting this top and bind it - it is only a lap size and I'm half way done with the quilting... figured I should start off easy ;-)

Well... January felt like a tornado ending with a hurricane so I'm recycling this project and post for February. Hopefully I will have more luck this month and actually get this quilt finished!!