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!