Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review: The Secret Keeper

I recently finished The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. Historical fiction is my favorite, and I'm especially partial to WWII books. So, I was pretty sure I'd enjoy this book before I ever started!


The Secret Keeper switches between present-day, seen through the eyes of Laurel Nicolson, and the 1940's, as experienced by her mother, Dorothy. Books that switch time periods are hit-or-miss for me. I usually find myself enjoying one half of the story more than the other half, but not so with this one. The characters are vivid, and the story lines twist together in a really engaging manner. As Dorothy is gravely ill, Laurel is determined to uncover pieces of the past that will lay to rest questions she has regarding her mother.

The Secret Keeper did not disappoint - there were surprising turns in the plot throughout the book, and Kate Morton's writing had me really believing that I knew the characters. I listened to this one as an audiobook, and it was rather long, but the narrator was fantastic.

Verdict: Highly recommended!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Some Crafting Motivation

As a stay-at-home mom, I really enjoy the blog community. I get to interact with other adults, get to share tidbits of life, and get some great motivation & ideas from other blogs.

I've run across a couple blog events lately that have me motivated! I'm not sure if I'll be able to participate in them, but if not this year, then definitely next! I wanted to pass them on in case any of you are interested.

100 Quilts for Kids is being hosted this year by Quilts in the Queue. This is a charity quilt drive for kids. It's pretty straightforward - make a quilt, donate it to an organization that will give it to a child, then link your quilt up at Quilts in the Queue. There are some great prizes with this, but more than that, what a special way to bless a child!

100 Quilts for Kids

Craft Book Month is being hosted by Craftbuds. This is another opportunity to win some great prizes. Link up a picture of a project made from a craft book this year, and you're eligible to win!

Both 100 Quilts for Kids and Craft Book Month end on September 30.

I'd love to finish up my Vintage quilt from Simply Retro for Craft Book Month, but I need to be realistic! My current motivation is coming from the fact that Christmas is 114 days away! I'd love to share those projects here... but those will have to wait until after Christmas. :)

Are you participating in any kind of online sewing party? What's keeping you motivated with your sewing these days?


Monday, August 25, 2014

How To Recover an IKEA Poang Chair

Before our first baby was born, we purchased an IKEA Poang chair for the nursery. You've probably seen these chairs - definitely a little plain. At first glance I thought they were pretty strange looking, but they are surprisingly comfortable and come with a really great price tag!

The nursery is grey, so we opted for a black frame with the off-whiteish cushion.
Well, after 2 years and baby #2 was born, I decided that I was tired of the plain chair. Not to mention that it really didn't look that great in the nursery, especially with the monogrammed pillow given to Anna by some sweet friends! 
I found some pink & grey twill zigzag fabric on Fabric.com that I thought would work. The fabric was on sale at the time, so it was a really cheap way to update the nursery. 
Since the fabric is 56" wide, I only needed 2 yards to cover the chair. I loosely based my project on this tutorial found on Stickelberry, but since my fabric was a different width I modified it slightly.

First, I laid out the whole piece, marked the middle, and cut it in half. Then, I put one piece face up, laid the cushion on top, then put the other piece of fabric face down. I marked the top piece of fabric near the velcro on the cushion and cut that. 
So, I then had 3 pieces of fabric: one really long piece on the front, and two smaller pieces for the back. I folded the two back pieces down twice and hemmed. (I know this isn't very detailed, but really, the tutorial I referenced is very thorough on these steps.
Next, I pinned & sewed the longer of the back fabrics to the front fabric. Then, I laid it on the floor again, laid the cushion inside, and pinned the top of the back fabrics to the front fabric. I wanted the seams to be at the ends of the cushion. I also sewed the velcro strip at this time.

Once I had a big piece of fabric, I just needed to sew up the side seams. I like things to be pretty exact, so I measured the cushion width to be 24.5" wide. This would provide a snug fit for the cushion. I pinned, measured, and marked the fabric to be 24.5" wide on the bottom half of the cover. After sewing that, I stuffed the cushion inside just to verify the width. (It would have been much easier to rip it then if I had to - but I didn't - it was a great fit!) I then pinned, measured, and marked the top part.



I sewed diagonally across the corners since they're rounded, trimmed the edges down to a smaller seam allowance, flipped it, then stuffed the cushion inside. And - TA-DA! A brand new looking chair with a removable cover!


{Note: I'm not claiming this to be a tutorial since the one at Stickelberry is already excellent. I realize that pictures and my description are not as thorough as they could be. However, if you have any questions at all please contact me & I'll do my best to help!}

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Grannies Galore

Hello and happy Wednesday!

My Christmas quilt finish has really motivated me to work on some old works-in-progress. This week I managed to finish two more blocks for my scrappy granny square quilt, bringing the total block count up to 7! Woohoo - only two more to go!


And I finished the first block of my Vintage quilt from Simply Retro. Guess I wasn't really thinking that I was already in the middle of one granny square quilt when I decided to start this one... oh well! 

First block out of Kona Pool
I'm having a few doubts about this quilt already and I've barely started out. First off, this is one HUGE block! It finishes at 20" square, which I know is big, but it looks so much bigger actually sewn up. I'm also questioning my plan to make it out of all solids. I think I'll like it - it's just a little different for me!

What have you been working on this week? Head on over to Freshly Pieced to see some more works-in-progress!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Next Up

These lovely solids arrived in the mail last week & I can't wait to cut into them! I'm planning to make the Vintage quilt from Camille Roskelley's book, Simply Retro. (I LOVE this book, by the way!) Guess I can't get enough of granny squares


In order from left to right, these are Kona colors: Oasis, Sage, Caribbean, Aqua, Turquoise, Pomegranate, and Pool. I don't have a Kona color card, so I was scanning different websites, trying to find good shades of blue-green, and unfortunately ended up with three that look awfully similar:


The finished quilt has 12 blocks, so my plan is to make 11 of the blocks in the blues, with one block of Pomegranate. Right now I'm thinking I'll pull out the Oasis and hunt down one more shade of blue - maybe a really dark turquoise. So, the colors I *think* I'm using are these: 


Excited to start this next project - I'll keep you posted on progress! Oh, and if you want to see some lovely examples of finished Vintage quilts, check out this link party hosted by Jana.