Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun Mail

Don't you just LOVE getting fun stuff in the mail.  These little goodies arrived in my mailbox today and I can't wait to play with them during my Staycation next week.....
Dollhouse cupcake and glitter house kits
Oh yes....on the left is a teeny, tiny kit for making itty, bitty cupcakes out of modeling clay.  I think they're going to be about the size of chocolate chips!  And the kit on the right....well....that's a kit to make itty, bitty glitter houses WITH LIGHTS inside that will go on the top of my dollhouse mantle.  My own house doesn't have light up glitter houses.....but my dollhouse will have them!

And these are some of the goodies that I bought at Michaels earlier this week......
dollhouse christmas tree ornaments
I'll cut up the bead garland and use the individual balls as ornaments for the dollhouse Christmas tree.  And I'll attach little threads to the stickers and those will also become ornaments.

And the greens on the right are from the dollhouse Christmas tree kit that I bought on etsy a few days ago.

Now, if I could just get my super huge, super secret project done I'll actually get to play with these very soon!


P.S.  I bought the cupcake kit and the glitter house kits from True2Scale and the Christmas tree kit is from HartsDesireMinis.  Both are shops on etsy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Random Acts Of Kindness

Tis the season for random acts of kindness!  I did a very small favor for my neighbor and this is how she thanked me......
Random Act Of Kindness
It's a giant box full of organic fruits and vegetables.  I'll be feasting on heirloom cherry tomatoes, avocados, peppers, cilantro, portobello mushrooms, carrots, chard, butter lettuce, green onions, sunburst squash (I had to look that one up because I had NO IDEA what they were!), apples, pears and grapefruit.  And yes, the herbs are nicely wrapped in tissue paper.  Absolutely heavenly!

And as for the rest of my's what's happening.....
thanksgiving at sew fabulous quilt shop
-Thanksgiving was wonderful.  The dogs all miss Col. Sew Fab's family as they showered them with bites of turkey and homemade bread and potatoes and basically anything that was on the table!  Can you say spoiled rotten???!!!

-I haven't touched a needle and thread in about two weeks.  Oh the horror!

-I have a naked Christmas tree that's been in my living room for a week now.  It looks so sad!  It's time to get her "dressed" and ready for the holidays......just as soon as I find the beginning of this tangled mess!
christmas at Sew fabulous quilt shop
-I've spent more time on the Christmas tree for my dollhouse than on my "real" tree!  I bought a tiny Christmas tree kit on etsy and I found some beads and scrapbook doo-dads at Michaels to use as ornaments and some Sculpey to make even more ornaments and I even ordered little lights for my witty bitty tree!  It's going to be sooooo cute!

-I'm working on a huge and secret project that I can't tell you about just yet!  Actually, there are a few secret projects I'm working on but one of them should be complete in about a week or two.  And it's a HUGE project and I wish I could tell you but we'll just have to wait a little while longer, o.k?

-And.....I'm planning a Staycation for next week!  I haven't "taken" one in soooo long and I'm overdue for a bit of "Jenny Time."  Col. Sew Fab will be on a Mancation doing guy things next week (he seemed genuinely surprised that I didn't want to go mountain biking in Chile) and I'll be hanging out "playing" with my dollhouse and my sewing projects and baking and eating and sipping wine in the middle of the day and sitting in my hot tub and watching "girly" t.v. shows and movies.

And now I better get back to the HUGE and secret project because Staycation can't start until I get it done.  Eeek!  I've got a lot of work to do!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Merry Little Christmas House

Christmas dollhouse
So, I had one of those light bulb going off above the head moments (after spending hours on Pinterest) and I realized it would be soooooo flippin' cute if I got my dollhouse built (or mostly built) and electrified in time for Christmas.  I could put little wreaths on all the windows and doors and get a few little bottle brush trees from Michaels for the "yard" and maybe get some fake snow and it would be the cutest little Christmas house EVER!

I actually whipped out the instruction booklet for electrifying the dollhouse yesterday and it kind of made me want to cry.  Thirty five pages of directions on how to wire a dollhouse!!!  Thirty five pages!!!  Mind.  Officially.  Boggled.  So, I handed the booklet to Col. Sew Fab and he browsed through it for a few minutes and said "I totally understand this."  Maybe he shouldn't have said that because guess who just "volunteered" himself as "Official Dollhouse Electrifier."  I'm sure that's exactly what he wants to be doing over his Thanksgiving holiday, right?  What man wouldn't want to spend his time wiring a dollhouse for electricity???

So, what do you think?  Do you have any bright ideas for holiday decor for the dollhouse?  Christmas cookies made from Fimo?  Presents wrapped in cute scrapbook paper?  What else can I do to make this the cutest little Christmas house EVER???



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday - Quilt Fort Cat

I can't believe I'm about to say this but this quilt might actually be in the DONE column by this time next week. 
Sandi Henderson Meadowsweet Quilt
I'm sewing the binding to the front today and things were going great until someone thought the quilt would make a great Kitty Fort.....
Bailey the Sew Fabulous Cat in his quilt fort
I'm sure he'll eventually get bored.....or hungry......or too hot in there.....or feel the need to create havoc and mayhem and abandon his post and then I'll be able to get back to work

I was hoping to get the binding sewn on last night but someone was throwing a going away party for one of my neighbors and I had to abandon my sewing machine for the evening.  At the party I had a very interesting conversation with a new neighbor who I'd never met before.....

Neighbor:  I see you out running every morning.

Me:  I hope I'm motivating you to get out and run too!

Neighbor:  I don't think you understand......I SEE you out there running every morning.....then I sit back down on my sofa with my cup of coffee.

Seriously.  Made.  My.  Night.

Happy Sewing,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bailey The Sour Puss

Cat on quilt made with Meadowsweet by Sandi Henderson for Michael Miller Fabrics
Over the weekend I FINALLY finished all the ties on my giant living room quilt that I have been working on FOREVER.  Yay - Go me!  And I have guestimated that there are about 1600 ties in that quilt.  1600!!!  I don't know about you but that seems like a lot of ties to me.  And the moment after I finished doing the ties the quilt was promptly claimed by Bailey the Sour Puss.  He looks all pretty and soft and fluffy but that little guy has some serious cattitude!

And thank you so much to everyone for your opinions on the binding color.  I decided to go with the chocolate brown fabric.  I would like to say it was a purely artistic decision because I like the idea that the brown would "frame" the quilt and make it really pop.  But there's also the fact that the pets all love this pouffy, squishy quilt and dark brown will obviously hide stains much better than light green or soft buttery orange.  So practicality won out over looks this time!

And now I need to go distract Bailey with kitty treats so I can steal the quilt back and attach the binding.  It's a dangerous mission but somebodies gotta do it!

Happy Sewing,

Friday, November 9, 2012

30 Days Of Gratitude in November

So, I've seen a lot of people are doing some sort of 30 Days Of Gratitude in November thing and writing down something they're grateful for every day this month.  Sounds nice, doesn't it?!  I only started on Wednesday, November 7 but better late than never, right?!  And I'm listing three things per day instead of one to make up for the missed days.  Kind of like interest on a missed payment.  I started doing my gratitude posts on Facebook but here's a "Weekly Gratitude Roundup" for all of my bloggy friends.

 Wednesday, November 7.....
-An 18.5 year old cat who's still spunky enough to play with a tennis ball.
-Dogs who think ice cubes are the greatest treat ever.
-Clean sheet day. there anything better?!

Cassi cat

Thursday, November 8......
-Heated seats in my car.
-Adorable and affordable Christmas ornaments from Target (those were all $2 or $3).
-The fact that I GET to go grocery shopping.  Not that I HAVE to do it.  I'm lucky that I GET to do it because so many people can't.

Christmas ornaments from Target

Friday, November 9.......
-Getting to wear pajamas to work because I have a home based business
-My new schedule.  I seriously love that thing!  It has completely changed my life for the better!!!
-The seriously fun part of Illustrator class starts today.  We begin making patterns!!!  Polka dots, stripes and I come!

I should probably start trying to dig a little deeper and be grateful for more meaningful things.....but some days it's nice to just remember and be grateful for the little things in life!

So.....what are you grateful for today?


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday - Vote For Binding!

Quilt made from orange, brown and green Michael Miller quilting fabric
Just a few more squares to be tied and then it's binding time!  But I'm not quite sure which color to use for the binding - orange, brown or green.  And I flipped over that top left corner of the quilt so you can see the backing with the possible binding options.  Soooo.......what do you think? 

And as for the rest of my Works In Progress.......I hate to say it but I haven't sewn anything in weeks.  But that should all start to change now that I'm on my new schedule that has sewing time built into it!

So, here are my current stats.....

Finished Projects: NONE!
Active WIPs:  4  - That number is unchanged from last week!
-Living Room Quilt:  Just a few more ties to do!
-Hooterville:  Top is pieced.  Owls just need French knot eyes.  Then it's off to the quilter!

-Dollhouse:  No Progress.  Just sitting there all alone and unfinished.
-Zelda's Fancy Witch Hat :  Moving to the Back Burner Projects since I didn't work on it before Halloween

Next In Line:  Vintage Valentine!  I sooooo want to start on this one ASAP.

Back Burner WIPs:  4
Ready To Go:  22 - That number is unchanged from last week!
Must Make:  10 - That number is unchanged from last week!
New Projects:  ZERO!  Does my Illustrator Class count as a new project?  Then maybe it's one new project
Forgotten/Abandoned Projects:  Didn't find any last week - Yay!

Looking forward to see which binding color you "vote" for!

Happy Sewing,

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Next Work In Progress?

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  I wish I could say I got lots of sewing done this weekend but I didn't.  I don't really know what I accomplished this weekend......I didn't really do much.....I guess that means it was a good weekend, right?!  But I did have one little creative spark this weekend while I was playing in the fabric room.  How cute would this Avignon fabric be......
Avignon quilting fabric by Emily Taylor for Riley Blake Designs
Made into this City Market Tote?
City Market Tote by Kati Cupcake
Sigh.....I think I just added another project to my "Must Make" list.

And is anyone else totally confused by the time change?  I woke up an hour early today at 4:00 a.m. instead of 5:00 a.m. but I thought I had woken up an hour too late!  And the kitterses and pupperses who were licking my face and chewing on my hair and walking on top of me would not allow me to get that extra hour of sleep we're all promised with "Fall Back."  Hopefully I'll have better luck with this tomorrow!

Happy Sewing,

P.S.  The fabrics shown above are Avignon Green Main, Fly A Kite Green Dots and Avignon Green Damask.  All of the fabrics are by Riley Blake so the greens match perfectly.  The bag is the City Market Tote by Kati Cupcake.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jenny's Top 10 Sewing and Quilting Tips

Sewing tips, quilting tips, sewing advice
I have been sewing since I was about five years old and in that time I've learned that I like to ignore a lot of "sewing laws" but there are just some rules that you shouldn't break.  These would be my top 10 bits of advice that I would give to any new or experienced quilting or sewing friends.....

#1 - Always, always, ALWAYS press your seams.  ALWAYS!  First I press my seams flat to "set" the threads into the fabric and then I press them open or to the side depending on what the pattern recommends.  If you don't press your seams your pieces won't line up correctly and your work will look messy and unprofessional.  And it's usually best to press your seams without steam.  Steam can distort the shape of the fabric.  And remember you are supposed to PRESS, not IRON.  Don't slide the iron up and down along your seam like you would if you were ironing a shirt.....that could distort the fabric.  Pick the iron up and MOVE IT to the next spot!

#2 - Measure twice, cut once.  I guess this one is pretty self explanatory.  We've all heard it a million times before and that's because it's great advice.  You don't want to mess up and waste all that pretty fabric that you just bought, right?  So cut it carefully!

#3 - Get good scissors and rotary cutters and don't use them for ANYTHING but cutting fabric and thread.  Hide them from your family, put a threatening note on them or put an alarm system on them.  Do whatever you have to do to protect them.  Good scissors are worth the investment but will be easily damaged if they're abused.   And please, please, PLEASE be very careful with your new sharp toys.  This is what happened to me when I was in a hurry cutting with a dull rotary blade (My Very Unfortunate Rotary Cutter Accident).....
rotary cutter accident while quilting
Add caption
#4 - Proper setup.  Put your sewing machine on a table.  Sit at a chair that's a comfortable height for that table.  Make sure you have good lighting.  Don't put the sewing machine on the floor and sit hunched over for hours on end because there's more room on the floor.  I could get away with that when I was younger but if I tried that now I'm pretty sure I'd be hobbling around for days whining about my sore neck and my bleary eyes!

#5 - If the directions say to baste something, DO IT.   I know it's boring but it's so important.  If your pieces are slipping around, nothing is going to line up properly and you'll hate the end result.  

#6 - Read through your pattern once before you start sewing.  Again, I know this is kind of boring but I find it really helpful to read through the pattern and visualize the steps in my head before I start sewing.  And if you mess it up in your head instead of on your fabric you don't have to get out the dreaded seam ripper!

#7 - We're not supposed to sew over pins.  They can break and pieces of needle will come flying at your eyes.  It can mess up the alignment and timing of your sewing machine needle.  It can cause a "wiggle" in your seam.  But I must confess I sew over my pins all the time.  But I do it verrryyyyyy sloooowwwlllly.  So, if you're going to sew over your pins please go SLOW.

#8 - Make sure that your sewing machine is threaded properly, the bobbin is installed properly and that the tension is correct.  Most of the time when I want to swear at my machine for not behaving properly the "problem" is fixed if I just re-thread it or adjust the tension. User error is the most common cause of a malfunctioning sewing machine.

#9 - To Pre-Wash or Not To Pre-Wash:  I Pre-wash fabric that's going to be used in a project that will be washed frequently after it's made such as clothes or baby blankets.  Most quilting fabric is 100% cotton and we all know what happens to 100% cotton in the washing machine.  I  don't pre-wash fabric that's going to go in things that will not be washed on a regular basis (or ever) such as purses or applique quilts and most pieced quilts.  I find it easier to work with fabric that hasn't been pre-washed because it seems to get a little "flimsy" after washing.  And I NEVER pre-wash Charm Packs or Jelly Rolls or Layer Cakes.  Your perfectly cut pack of pre-cut strips or squares will no longer be the same size or shape if you wash them. 

#10 - Take Breaks!  This one seems so simple but it's so important.  I try to set an alarm to go off every 30 minutes and I get up and stretch and drink some water and just give my mind a little break.  I find that I make the most mistakes if I'm in the middle of a marathon sewing session and don't take any breaks.  And I also end up with a really stiff and sore neck if I don't move for hours on end!

So, there you have it.  It only took me three decades to learn all of this through lots of trial and error.  I'd love to hear if you have any tips to add to this list!

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Oink, Snort, Moo

Happy Day After Halloween (aka Candy Hangover Day)!  We celebrated Halloween by committing random acts of Dog Shaming at casa de la Sew Fab!

Emma was so happy to celebrate Halloween as a pig......
And Sammy was thrilled beyond words to be a holstein cow.......
And I am now trapped.....home a house full of chocolate because all of the trick or treaters seemed to skip our street and go to the street where someone had basically set up a haunted house in their front yard.  They even hired "zombies" to roam around their front yard scaring people. It was seriously cool!

Now, I just need to summon all of my strength and will power so I can ignore the candy bowl.  If "Eating Massive Amounts of Chocolate" isn't on the schedule I can't do it, right?!