WIP: Sew Along Table Runner

We love Halloween! So this past weekend we decided to start a Halloween craft together!

Using our Haunted Mansion charm pack by Moda, we planned it out together! You can check out our post here to see our layout and applique plans.

I had a good start this weekend due to some free time. Plus I knew that if I didn’t get a jump on it, my week would fill up fast with work. While my mom and I were able to work together a bit on our runners, we spent most of our time apart working separately.

This is my mom’s layout as she had it on her design wall. Pretty cute thus far! 

Later on she sent me a picture of her finished top! How quickly she worked!

Great job, mom! Our next step will begin this weekend when we design and layout our appliqué pumpkins!

Now for my runner….with a story.

My runner top was completed yesterday. I put a lot of the work in earlier in the week due to my hectic schedule of work and mom duties. I really wanted my runner to come out well so I took the time to square things up, press my seams open, and spray the snot out of it with fabric starch. It was looking great and I was super pleased with my finished product.

Then my son happened…

I told him to grab my runner so we could snap some shots for the blog today. He happily ran upstairs to get the runner and model like the goofball he is.

Then this happened.

Poor guy is prone to nose bleeds. He has them at night, in the morning, at school, while walking, talking, hell even when swimming. You name it, he’ll bleed.

While he was holding my runner, all perfectly pressed and immaculate, he suddenly exclaimed, “MOM! Bloody nose!” Of course this would happen right at the moment I have him hold my project I worked so hard on! Gah!!!

Lucky for me I have some Oxiclean handy for his nosebleeds.

I sprayed this stuff on all the spots and worked quickly to scratch out the blood spots on the runner. Oddly, it didn’t make a HUGE mess, it just happened to have dripped ALL THE WAY DOWN. Just a drop every couple of blocks down the whole way.

Sigh….

It’s now drying out on our patio. I just had to laugh. It’s been a rough week. We’ve had plumbing issues and I’ve had to deal with tension at work so my sewing was one of my joys that helped me get away from the bad things happening. So for it to get dirty with blood was just comical, in a Murphy’s Law kinda way.

I’m still proud of my work. It looks great and I’m ready to start the road to appliquéing my pumpkin on!

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WIP: Sewing Together Wonky Blocks

My son has always been interested in my sewing hobby. He’ll stand next to me and watch the machine whirl away, laying down neat little stitches. When he was younger he liked to push the pedal down and “help”. As he got older, the mechanics of the machine interested him more and he would ask questions and open up my old machine, Shelby, just to see how she ticked.

Then he took an interest in fabric and colors and patterns. He’s very creative and loves to put things together, Legos being his favorite medium. Using the colorful blocks to build ships and rockets and towns helped him see how fabrics could be used in a similar fashion to build using color and texture. So he’d help me arrange blocks and pick out fabrics to finish off my projects.

One day I bought a cheap fat quarter set of some bright chevron patterns and gave it to him to do with it however he wanted. It was his project and I would only sit by to help.

Jake calls these

Jake calls these “zebra stripes!

I gave him some tips on how to cut with a rotary cutter (a little tough for my southpaw) and then let him sit at the machine himself to sew.

Let's sew!

Let’s sew!

He enjoyed the time together and really got a kick out of creating something himself.

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Ahhh, look at how little he was! This was back in May of 2014. He’s now grown so much, cut his hair, and he doesn’t look like a little boy any more. He’s more grown and looking more… adult. Sigh…

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So grown! He started 4th grade this past week and it’s amazing how time has flown. He’s still super creative and loves to build. This past weekend, while we had some downtime, we brought out his project again and this time he got to sew on the big Elna!

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This time he was fascinated not only with the mechanics of the new machine but also the technology on Elna. His favorite: the button that allows him to cut the thread with one push! He even had a few suggestions for improvements!

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Taking off from his starting point over a year ago, he sewed together strips and then paired them together to make groupings of four. With some help from me, we cut the strips on an angle and made Wonky Blocks. After, we put our heads together to create a block using what we had cut.

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TADA! A diamond Wonky Block made from four smaller blocks. He was very proud of all his work, including his ironing. The end result is a bit crazy and colorful but he loves it!

We don’t quite know what the end game is yet for his first project but there are a lot of options: placemat, table runner, mug rug even.

Check out our vlog as we put our heads together and work on his Wonky Blocks.

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Hobbies Up To Here Episode #12

It’s hard to believe but summer is officially over. The kids are going back to school and homework is now an evening activity instead of swimming until bedtime.

While it’s depressing to think that beach days are over and sleeping in is a thing of the past, now we have the holidays to look forward to!

So listen in and join us as we start talking about holiday crafting ideas, especially for Halloween, my personal favorite!

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Can you tell we’re excited about starting a project together? I think we’ve decided definitely on a table runner and going with a Halloween theme first. If we’re lucky and we like the process, then maybe we’ll do the same for Christmas and Thanksgiving!

If you haven’t had the chance to check out our vlog on opening and going through our stash, be sure to watch our Youtube video on it.

Any holiday projects on the books for you??

 

Shop My Fabric Stash!

The holidays are around the corner and I’m gearing up with some holiday projects in mind. But instead of buying something new, I went through what I already own to see what I could put together!

Found some cute stuff in that box and now I’m excited to get started on something fresh like a table runner or some placemats!

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Hobbies Up To Here Episode #8

Crafters, we’re back!! And we’ve got another episode of Hobbies Up To Here!

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This week we talk about FITNESS!!

Both of us have agreed that we want to be healthier! The plan is to be accountable to ourselves but also to check in with each other and discuss any ups or downs that come along with a change in lifestyle.

We also talk about some other hobbies we have like my love for makeup and Dori’s passion for photography. Below are some photos she took as a gig photographer.

The Silent Comedy at the Viper Room Pictured: Timothy Graves, Joshua Zimmerman, Jeremiah Zimmerman Full res

The Silent Comedy at the Viper Room
Pictured: Timothy Graves, Joshua Zimmerman, Jeremiah Zimmerman


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Dave Plesh of Run Devil Run at the Roxy ’11


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David Rosales of Silent Treatment at the House of Blues in Anaheim


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Jake playing soccer!


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Dellacoma Rio of Australia’s Sunset Riot


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Jackie Joyride, Nikki Sixx, Jeremy Aric and Dave Plesh at the Viper Room Media Lounge during the Sunset Strip Music Festival in 2010


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John Baumgartner of Xyzyx at the Roxy


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The Count of Monte Cristo performance at the Maverick Theater in Fullerton


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Promo shoot with David Rosales 4-8-15


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Even though we discuss our other hobbies in this episode, we do have a finished project to share! My table runner is done! And was gifted this weekend to my in-laws. You can check out the post from Friday here.

My mom took these pictures for me to showcase her photography.

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Hope you enjoyed listening!

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TGIFF: 4th of July Table Runner

Last week I started a table runner for my in-laws to celebrate their annual 4th of July BBQ. I’ve been going to these BBQ’s for five years now so I wanted to thank them for inviting and including me for so many years.

It was apart of the Southern California Quilter’s Run we participated in last week. I picked up this kit to go along with the block pattern we received for free. I really like how it turned out, all these different blues and reds and whites. Very patriotic without being overdone.
I learned a lot with this project. I hand stitched the binding and it comes out SO CLEAN and neat! I’ll be doing that again!

I also used starch to help with my fabrics. They lay so nicely and are so much easier to sew with, it’s a step worth taking from now on.  
My corners need some work. They came out too loose and that because I didn’t sew down from the edge when I turned to attach the binding to the other side. I started down about a quarter of an inch and that left a gap. Not how I wanted it but I’ve learned for the next one.

This is my first free motion quilted project. I’ve never had a machine that allowed me to do this and I loved it!! And I feel in love with multicolored thread. It really ties the colors of the runner together in both the fabric and colors.

 

  

I can’t wait to make my next runner!

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WIP: July 4th Table Runner

During the Southern California Quilter’s Run, I picked up a little kit to make a table runner. At first I pretty much thought I was nuts. Not only would I have to follow a pattern to make the blocks in it but I would also have to measure and follow the instructions to make this thing come together.

BLACH!

I hate following directions when it comes to crafts! Mostly because it makes me feel like I’m not free to be creative and that is what I love most about making things, the freedom I feel to create anything I dream up.

So I was tentative to pick this up but it was really cute and I knew someone who would enjoy a 4th of July table runner. In the end the cute colors and the simplicity of the runner called to me so I bought it and set out to make it before the 4th.

My in-laws host a HUGE 4th BBQ every year and I’ve been going for 5 years now so I wanted to surprise them with a little decorative gift for their big parties.


My first two blocks came together super easy but my third one decided to be a pain in the butt. I couldn’t get things to line up and I was working on being as exact as I could be. I measured and pressed and even used some fabric starch made JUST for quilting.

In the end the three came together nicely and it was time to cut the rest of the fabric. 

And then I blew it! I somehow mis-cut my gingham fabric. The pattern called for two large swatches to be placed in between so that there was a block at each end and one in the middle. I swear I was paying attention but cut it about 1/2 an in short making the fabric unusable in that state. So, I improvised.

Or went “rogue” as I told my mom by text message. I left the fabric as it was but instead made smaller swatches at the ends and then made two bigger swatches between the blocks.

I think it came out handsomely!   
Picking the backing fabric was tougher than expected and I went back and forth over what to use. The border fabric, while adorable, turned out to be my black sheep fabric. It stuck out and made matching anything to it super rough.

So I went with a white fabric dotted with blue and red stars. It fits in and was only the back so the top and back won’t be seen together regularly.

Then came the quilting!!! DUH DUH DUUUUNNNNNN!!!

I’ve been waiting for a project to finish for awhile now so I could jump in and so my first free-motion project. I picked a multicolored thread that had a red/white/blue theme to it and set to make a swirly pattern just for simplicity.

I took off with confidence and quickly found it to be HARDER than I expected. I had practiced on smaller pieces and was able to make a systematic swirl I was happy with but suddenly, with knowing this would be given as a gift, my nerves got the better of me and I realized I need more practice!

In the end the product I came out with was satisfactory. My stitches are nearly uniform enough but good enough to give the overall appearance of  something made with love.

For my first attempt I’d say this is pretty decent!!!

Now to bind! I haven’t decided how I want to do this, whether entirely by machine or by both machine/hand. With three days left I can do either, especially with my son being gone and having some time to myself.

  
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Fabric Shopping Day with Mom and Doctor Who

The other day I went fabric shopping with my mom. We stopped by The Quilt Cupboard near us and I exposed her to the wonderfulness of charm packs and layer cakes and jelly rolls. She’d heard of them before but she kept asking “Can you make something with this?” At first I rolled my head back and laughed. OF COURSE!! But she wasn’t convinced.

As we looked around more and more, the ladies there got into the discussion and before we knew it, my mom was purchasing a few items to add to her stash for a future attempt at a five and dime quilt. Below is a video from the Missouri Start Quilt Co. demonstrating a five and dime using a layer cake and a charm pack.

After we said our goodbyes, we headed over to the new JoAnn’s in my city. It’s big and glossy and still smells of freshly painted walls. As we walked around, my mom got hooked into a conversation with a gentleman at the sewing machine counter and I was left to my own devices.

I hadn’t gone in there to shop for anything. I have enough on my plate as it is. But I couldn’t help poking around my favorite section where they keep all the geeky selections like Star Wars and Marvel. In between my favorites, I found a few bolts of another favorite, Doctor Who!!


 Then it hit me! I should make some pajama pants for my growing son out of these prints! He loves Doctor Who also (even though he’s not seen too many episodes. We just show him the fun clips without the scary stuff).

But I’ve never followed a pattern let alone made some clothing so I was a little hesitant to jump into it. While my mom continued to talk I jumped over to the pattern drawers and looked up a Simplicity package for men’s and boy’s pajama outfits. Hey, this looks simple enough! So I grabbed it, some elastic for the waist band and two Doctor Who fabrics for my little man.

I got myself all set up and washed the fabrics. Then I got out the pattern and instantly regretted my decision. Ugh. I forgot how annoying patterns are. They are so fussy!

But I powered through and cut them out, pinned them as the instructions said and cut out the front and back to the shorts for boys.

Then I got to the sewing instructions…

Ugh… What fresh hell is this? I was surprised at how minimal the instructions were and felt instantly dumb. They were so simple I didn’t understand them. I felt like I was reading a book with a chapter or two missing. But I went ahead and gave it a try. I did as the instructions said but found myself stuck at step number two.

Yup… I didn’t even make it to number two before I was lost. I had sewn the inner thigh seam closed. Then, looking at the instructions, I couldn’t tell how I was supposed to sew the inner thigh seams together. Did I just line up the seams and run my machine down them? That didn’t make sense so I had to go back and rip out those seams and leave it be for a while.

Then  got smart and got some help. I took it to the machine shop where my mom bought my Elna and asked the lovely folks there what did I miss and how should I proceed. Cricket, a wonderful creative soul I totally felt a connection to within the first 5 minutes of meeting her, pointed out that I needed to open the fabric and press the seams down THEN join the front and back together by sewing the seams in a U shape.

THAT made more sense! So I took pen to the instructions and made some notes so that I would better understand it in the future.

Now I don’t know if I screwed things up from the get go, if my cutting is really THAT BAD or if the pattern  just stinks but nothing was lining up like the instructions said and I was about to chuck the whole project.

Instead I sat it down for a bit to come back to later. It wasn’t worth all the stress it was causing me.

I intend to finish it no matter how it comes out. There is something in me that needs to complete a pattern and learn the skills that go along with making a piece of clothing. I NEED to do it.

So I will. Maybe…

TGIFF: Go Star Destroyers!

Last weekend was our opening ceremonies for my son’s soccer season. We’re lucky, he’s got the same coach as he had his first season playing so we know it’ll be a good experience. He’s really gifted with the coaching.

This year I’ve signed up to be the co-team mom. A part of my job was to help build the team banner. We had to have it all done by September 6th so that we could parade it on opening day and enter it to be judged. I got lucky and my partner in crime was my perfect match. We worked really well together and made a great little banner that we’re both proud of!

Together we picked a design then delegated out the jobs. She set to cutting all the small items like the flaming soccer balls and stars.

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I worked on sewing together the banner background. It’s the same material I used on my Peaceful Planet quilt. She saw it when during a visit to my place and instantly thought that would make a GREAT background. I did a simple zig zag stitch around the edge to make the pocket where the frame would slide into.

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After a week of working separately, we came together at practice one night and decided on the layout. Once we had in mind what we wanted, we set to tacky gluing down all the bits and pieces. We got lucky, the day wasn’t very windy so we didn’t have to race against the weather to get everything laid out.IMG_5142.JPG

After practice, I took it home to do all the writing. Using puffy paint (Yay puffy paint!!) I wrote the coaches names and all the players numbers. My only disappointment here was that the numbers don’t stand out very clearly against the soccer balls. They are done in red but my lines weren’t thick enough. Had I thought about it, I would have drawn or traced some block numbers to make them a little thicker. I also added some sparkle to the flames.

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At the next practice I brought the banner with me and we worked together to position the lettering for the team name. To balance it out, we framed the name with two soccer balls. Also, because lining things up would have taken more time than we had, we decided to scatter the letter in different directions. I think this worked out perfectly! With the wonky spacing and organization of the letters, you can’t tell if one is too high or too low. Instead it looks planned and kinda cooky! We liked it!

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Opening day came and we were pretty proud to parade our banner out there in front of all the other coaches, players, and parents. Our parents couldn’t say enough nice things about the outcome. I think everyone was happily impressed with the overall look and feel. It was handmade but not messy and it came together so easily for us. Working together was awesome and definitely made the whole process easier and super enjoyable.

And, if my information is correct, we may have come in second place!!! We don’t have a confirmation on that yet but I should know by tomorrow after our first game!

Go Star Destroyers!!!

And while this isn’t a crafty finish or a physically tangible finish, today is my last day of work at my job. Seven years ago I took on a position at my family business to support my son and to help out my dad. This summer I made the decision to look into teaching in my district even though I hadn’t been in a classroom these past seven years.

Low and behold, I was offered a position and I start September 22nd. I’m excited, nervous, anxious and a little sad to see the end of my job with my family. Not everyone gets the chance to see their dad, siblings, a few uncles, and some cousins everyday, Monday through Friday. The notion that I won’t get to say good morning to my dad is heartbreaking but I’m so excited to teach again.

So today I finished my time at Nowell Steel to move on to bigger dreams.


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WIP: So Close!!!

First I want to apologize for the HORRIBLE picture quality! My Canon broke the other day and I’m stuck with using either my old Canon (which I gave to my son to play with so it’s not in great shape) or using my phone. My phone’s camera isn’t bad but it’s not how I want to get my pictures done. BOOOO!! And I’m not really ready to drop a lot of moola on a new one. But I will have to soon because I use it not only for the blog but also when we do trips and we have a camping trip coming up in a week. Ugh…
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Anywho, I got down to business last night and started wrapping up my Peaceful Planet quilt. I had to take over my son’s room because he has the most floor space and this thing feels HUGE! It’s only a twin sized quilt but this is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on so I’m a bit amazed and a teeny bit overwhelmed with the size of it all. Using his floor I laid out the back, the batting, and the top. I tried to lay it out as smoothly as possible but my sewing leaves something to be desired. I’m crossing my fingers that over time my sewing will improve and my quilt tops will be better for it!

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Snip snip!

After everything was lined up as best I could, I took the whole shebang back to my room and spread it out on the bed. We’ve got a Cal-King in there so it was a bit easier on my back to lean over that instead of kneeling on the floor. My husband is such a sweetheart. He could tell I was struggling with it lining up so he jumped in and took over the other end of the quilt and helped me out. That little extra tug from him totally made a difference. Now things were all ready for my machine!

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I swear my lighting is MUCH better than this!

I set out to stitch in the ditch around the border with a nice dark blue thread to seal the layers together. I’m kinda on a time crunch. This is a gift and the receiver is arriving tomorrow from Washington State so I’m hoping to be able to gift it in person rather than ship it via the USPS! So I kept it simple and just ran my little Kenmore around the edges. I swear, poor ol’ Shelby was smokin’ by the time I was done!

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Stupid flash!

After it was all sewn together I went back to my bed and laid it out flat again. It didn’t come out too bad! But I did have one corner where the material had shifted so it puckered up. I could have left it but I knew it would bug me forever if I did so I ripped out an entire seam (luckily along one of the shorter sides) and stitched it back up. Once again I trekked to the bed to lay it out and I saw an area where I could make another improvement. When I picked up the seam ripper to fix it, my husband implored that I held off and went to bed. He was right. I could pick the whole thing apart if I allowed myself to think on it so instead I went to bed to sleep on it, promising to fix everything tomorrow. All I have left to do today is fix that one seam and then attach the binding! In preparation for that step, I bought extra yellow material in case my binding turns out to be too short.
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On the side I pulled one of my UFO/WIPs from last week’s post and got some work done on it, too. This Forgotten Project would have been finished if I hadn’t lost the instructions. BOOOO!!! But I got two squares ripped apart and then sewn back together nicely and attached to the nice dark chocolate brown solid squares where the pears are meant to go. And I say “meant to go” because the instructions are no longer on the internet either. The site hosting it is long gone so I have no template for my pears. Grrr…

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Also, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get my other squares to line up right and ended up with smaller dimensions than my originals. These things just won’t cut it! So I’m debating just chucking it all in, layering and binding what I have done and calling it a night! I’m good with that!

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