Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Weekend Shopping

Over the weekend, both JoAnn Fabrics and Hancock Fabrics were having big sales, and I loaded up on notions and some fabrics.

While at JoAnn's, I discovered Burda patterns. I know the name from magazines and
nikkishell on the Burda Style site, but I've never noticed them here. So, it was fun to pop through the Burda pattern books and see the more European styles out there. I chose a couple of baby patterns for gift ideas. If Camille had been with me, I'm sure we would have picked up some of the clothing patterns in her style.

I like to buy the Waverly home dec fabrics at JoAnn's. I think they have a great weight to them, and they wash really well - even though it says dry clean only. My philosophy is: If I can't wash it, I don't want to sew it up. So, as soon as I walk in the back door at home, I generally just empty my new fabrics into the laundry and get them washed. I thought these fabrics (above) will make a great Mail Sack. The dark purple and green are home dec fabrics, and the softer purple is a cotton from the Absolutely Cotton line at Hancock Fabrics.

I did pick up this dress pattern with the hope that Camille would like it (she did). I chose the brown floral with the coordinating green for the tie. And that chicken fabric - Boy, talk about buy it now or lose out! I bought a yard of the chicken fabric a couple of weeks ago at JoAnn's. I don't really like cartoony fabric, but I thought this would be okay for some potholders trimmed with the black and white polka-dot fabric I already have. I think it was $5 or $6 dollars a yard at the time. The girl at the counter asked me if I wanted to buy the rest on the bolt for a discount to finish it off, and I said, "Oh, no. I'm not even sure I like it that much!" So, a week later some friends came over on different days to pick out fabrics from my stash for projects they want me to sew up and embroider. Wouldn't you know, there was a run on the chicken fabric! Two different sets of gals were wanting aprons, potholders, etc. Who knew? Well, I guess the salesgirl did. Anyway, I go back this weekend to buy more. Lucky, I see a whole bolt. Stunned, it is now $8.99 a yard! Why? Who does JoAnn's think they are - a quilt shop? If so, they need to have designer fabrics. Anyway, you know I bought some - just a couple of yards. It was 30% off, so that made it easier.

On that note, I was visiting my quilt shop lady, and she was bemoaning the fact that due to shipping costs, all fabrics were going to increase in price anyway. She showed me her shipping bill for some bolts that came in, and it was crazy high! Oh, for the old days of $1.25/gallon of gas. Remember those prices? I can barely stand it anymore to look at the price signs at the gas stations as I pass by. Our income just hasn't risen along with those prices, and it hurts to put $70.00 in the tank every 5-7 days. It changes everything! I'm glad we have lots of talent in our family and among our friends, because we can entertain ourselves at home and be creative if we must, though we do love to run around. Sewing, wood crafts, gardening, cooking, cake decorating, music, home schooling, etc. At this point with DIY supplies so available and popular right now, we really can be homesteaders if necessary! However, I hope it doesn't come to that. I'm itching to travel!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Embroidered Button Swap - May 2008

Personally, I think I might have cheated. Technically, maybe not. Michelle did say "whatever you want" in terms of how to embroider our buttons. You should know, though, that since March I did try a number of times to draw out and embroider tiny sweet animals, and I spent a teeny fortune on cards, scrapbook paper, fabric, wrapping paper, etc., trying to draw something cute, but I was never satisfied, and then the due date was upon me. So, I used what I had - my embroidery machine and sweet, sweet inch-tall animals for Michelle's Embroidered Button Swap.

I've already shown I can hand embroider okay - these were my last entry, so, hopefully, the clarity and darlingness of these button designs will pass this entry. Next time, I'll get a friend to draw out my designs if I can't do it…

If you go to Michelle's blog and look on the left column, you'll see all the participants. I haven't seen everyone else's yet, but check out Elizabeth's whale buttons; they'll make you crazy. I put in a request for one of those!

And these buttons magnets (above) are from Jack and Jane's etsy shop. They weren't in the swap, but I happened to see them on etsy when viewing other South Carolina vendors. They are so darling. I love that fabric.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Shower Time

It's that season again - wedding and baby showers! Well, they go year round, but it seems that there is a concentration in the spring and summertime. Here are some items I have put together over the last couple of years.

Monogrammed Pillows

Dish Towels

Cozy Fleece Blankets

Monogrammed Baby Bibs

pretty with piping and a flannel backside

Burp Cloth Towels

My favorite; they are useful beyond burping baby and wash up very well!

The baby carriage embroidery is one of my favorites. See it in vintage colors above.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mail Sack Pattern From Pink Chalk Studio

A while ago, Kathy from Pink Chalk Studio asked me to test out one of her upcoming patterns, the Mail Sack. I was thrilled. I love to sew but don't always stretch myself unless I have an important project requiring me to do so. Thus, I was happy to be asked and to have a deadline. Didn't it turn out great?

I love this design and pattern! Here's why:

* Easy to understand instructions. Really. It's not like other independent patterns from artists who have a great idea but complicated instructions. Kathy probably did a great job initially on her instructions but took advice from her first set of testers, made adjustments, and then did a second round of testing in which I participated, and it was smooth sailing for me - even the inside zipper pocket instructions got me there on my first try. She has good illustrations, too.

* Great design. I'm not as thin as Kathy, and I'm all about proportions. Generally, that keeps me from thinking anything looks good on me! However, this bag is nicely sized, lies flat against my side, and the shoulder strap is shaped such that in lies smooth on the shoulder area and doesn't feel like a rope yanking into your neck! I can move about easily, and it doesn't even feel like I have anything extra on. I traveled all around Washington, DC, last month on a field trip, and I never had to worry about my purse or tire of carrying it, as this bag was my fashionable but silent friend -- and it covers up the tummy nicely as well! (I have a number of pictures of me with my bag in DC, however, they are on the laptop, a virus arrived earlier in the week, and we are working on recovering those photos! Drats! I'll have to get the kids to take another of me over the weekend.)

* Versatile. Okay, Kathy said she could drive with hers on. Well, I found another great advantage to the size and wear of the purse. Should you go into a ladies' room that doesn't have an appropriate spot to hang your bag, this one doesn't get in the way, if you know what I mean!

So, take a click over to Kathy's
Pink Chalk Studio and read her version of the bag. She has also set up a new web shop, which I haven't explored yet, but it looks like a place where I can get into trouble.

Welcome to all the visitors who have jumped over here from the Pink Chalk Studio to see my completed bag. You can see the marvelous looks you can achieve by playing with all sorts of fabrics. I used decorator fabrics on the outside and quilt-quality fabrics on the inside. The next time I make this, I am going to monogram it.

Hope to see you all here again, and I hope to test another round for Kathy one day!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Going Green At The Grocery? Claim Your Bag!

Carrying the "green" grocery bags is one recycling habit I think I can keep. I've got several in the car and have been relatively good about having them with me in and out of the stores - even Wal-Mart. I'm not extremely green, but I do get frustrated and worried with the number of plastic bags we collect and think about the landfills. However, I could just be frustrated and worried because the more bags we have really equals the more money I have spent!

Anyway, I always wonder when walking into the grocery with several bags and then going to the checkout that the checker and bagger know the bag is already mine and that I didn't just pick it up off the stand and begin using it without paying for it. I thought about embroidering my name on the bag, but then I would have to get it straight and find the perfect spot for it, and eventually the thing will rip and it would be a waste of time. So, designing a patch came to mind and ironing it on to the bag. Actually, the bags made from recycled materials don't like to be ironed. They are kind of slippery. I just sewed this one on the red Target bag. If the bag tears after multiple uses, I can just rip out the threads and put it on the next one. However, I'm pretty impressed with the sturdiness of those recycled "recycled" bags.

A patch with a name and petite design next to it would be sweet on one of those pretty fabric grocery bags we're all liking on the blogs and on etsy.

Want one? Go over to clubbmish and read all about it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

clubbmish studio

Over at the clubbmish studio blog, I started featuring some items coming out of my shop. First up are some easy things, like the wristlet and makeup kit. They are coming out very nicely, and I'm having fun coordinating the outer fabrics and linings.

My daughter, Camille, went on a Habitat for Humanity service trip to Louisiana over the Christmas holidays 2007 with a group of kids from school led by her science teacher. She learned so much and was so inspired by the project that she plans to go again this summer for a longer stay. Since she was not quite old enough for a part-time job this year and studies quite a bit for school, she hasn't been able to work to save up the funds needed. So, we thought we would sew up the makeup bags and wristlets and sell them as a fundraiser for her trip.
Look at this pretty wristlet below with a framed monogram. We made this one as a birthday gift for her friend this morning.

The bags are priced at $18.00 each, including shipping for U.S. addresses (a little more for outside the U.S.), and $5.00 extra for monogramming. I think if we sell 30 bags, we should come out to just what her budget requires.
If you would be interested in ordering one, please leave a comment here or pop over to clubbmish studio and leave one there with your e-mail address - or you could just e-mail me at calicodaisy (at) gmail (dot) com. I'll get back to you regarding color choices, whether you would like monogramming, and shipping info. I will send a PayPal invoice for payment by e-mail.
Thanks in advance for your interest and support.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Four Seasons Quilt Swap - Spring 2008 - My Prize!

The postman brought me something beautiful last week - A mini quilt from Paula as part of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap - Spring 2008. She paper pieced this and machine quilted it. The strips are so tiny! Isn't it unbelievable that someone could part with such an intricate pattern to send to a "stranger?" One can only hope that such work would land in an appreciative home. Well, this baby sure did. I told Paula that I couldn't believe how she could pick the perfect colors and theme for me, and the back was my absolute favorite style of fabric, so it's like I received a whole cloth quilt, too. I might have to hang it on something that I can turn this way and that so both sides can get their due viewing.

I so appreciate her hard work and willingness to choose a pattern requiring such time and effort. She told me her quilter friends and husband didn't want her to give it away. However, I think I convinced them that this gift has a good home and will be well cared for!

You'll have to visit Paula's blog - A Latte Quilts. She has great little stories of her daily life and a vast log of all her work.

Paula sent some extra treats to me, including this fabulous Moda charm stack. I think these intermingled with creamy-white Kona fabric charms would make a darling patchwork throw. Will I or won't I? I hope I will! Thanks Paula.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Four Seasons Quilt Swap - Spring 2008 - My Flower Quilt

Boy, this one was a hard one to send off! I love it. I participated in the Four Seasons Quilt Swap - Spring 2008, and this was my quilt design. It is a little off: It's a bit bigger than it is supposed to be, I was afraid to tackle the quilting, so it is a combination of machine quilting and hand quilting, and I didn't learn how to hide the knots before doing this. However, hanging, it will look perfect! Oh, I did include the casing at the top back of the quilt for a rod to go through.

Check out the label on the back. I can't figure out printing on fabric through my jet printer, so, thankfully, I have an embroidery machine and can do this instead.

This is a round robin swap. I sent my quilt to Cleary who will send her design to the next person. Funny how things work out, though. If you look at the quilt she sent to her round robin person, you'll see that it is appliqu├ęd daisies. So, I do believe she will enjoy my design, too.

I've already sent a photo of the top section of the quilt to a graphic artist girl to see if she can design another banner for my blog with it and an avatar with one of the flowers. That will be just the icing on this blog cupcake.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

All Fabric, All The Time - Just What I (Don't) Need!

A week or so ago someone blogged about True Up, a blog just about fabric. There is a swatch of the day and links to find it. On-line fabric shops are featured. The About section tells us that "it's about fabric for fabric's sake." I've really enjoyed it - enjoyed it enough so far that I made the purchases above. This Pink Buffet by Alexander Henry was featured, said to be on sale at jcaroline creative, and so I went over. I fell for the pink buffet right away and while looking around saw the "small flowers on gold." I thought the gold with turquoise will be a good addition to my studio office, pillows or something. At $6.00 a yard, both were a great deal.

Actually, I've been reading jcaroline's blog for a few weeks. She has very fun ideas, and her fabric designs are so bold and bright. Check out the $3.00 chair she reupholstered. I wish I had the courage to try reupholstering myself like she does- at least slip covering. I have a wing chair and matching ottoman just waiting to be covered, but I haven't been able to decide what to do. There is an affordable upholstery guy in my town whom my friends have used. Maybe I can get some of her fabrics and show the photos so he will know the look I'm going for.
Message to my lovely visitor, Jean C. Since your comments come across without a link, I can't respond to you. Please send me an e-mail sometime at the link above. I always love to read your notes. -- Michele