Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Vintage Quilt Progress

I'm excited to share some progress on my Vintage quilt! Six of the 12 blocks are completed, and I'm really liking the way it's looking.
Blocks all laid out on my design... floor. :)
Thanks for all of the encouragement when I mentioned I wasn't sure that I would like the solids. It's been fun so far.

 Two blocks are finished in Kona Caribbean...

 ...two in Kona Aqua....

 ...and two in Kona Pool.

My favorite color keeps changing to whichever block I just finished. :)

Oh - and I recently joined Instagram! I'd love for you to join me over there, or subscribe to Homemade Engineer with Bloglovin' or Feedly (or see the other options on the sidebar). Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up at WIP Wednesday, Let's Bee SocialNeedle & Thread Thursday, and Pretty Bobbins.

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 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.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Christmas in... August

So excited to share a finish with you! It may be August, but I finally finished my Christmas quilt!!

This Christmas quilt has been in the works for a ridiculously long time... I don't actually remember how long. Two years? Three? I decided last Christmas that I wanted to finish it in the middle of the year sometime... not even remotely close to Christmas. There's always enough going on at Christmas without trying to squeeze in one more project.

The fabric came from Connecting Threads several years ago, and the pattern is Small Plates from Elizabeth Hartman's book The Practical Guide to Patchwork.

This was my first "big" quilt finish. I've only completed baby quilts thus far... although I have a couple other big quilts in progress. Finishing this has definitely motivated me to work on the others, though! I was a little intimidated by a bigger-than-baby quilt, but it was fine.

I quilted it with straight lines 1/4" on either side of the main seams. I'm pretty partial to straight line quilting - I just really like how it looks. Also, I spray basted it (with Mom's help). It was the first time either of us had ever spray basted (and Mom has made TONS of quilts), and I'm a big fan now. I thought the spray basting was much easier than pin basting, plus it was SOO nice to quilt it without worrying about removing all those pins. And, I'm super pleased with how it turned out - there are a few small puckers after quilting, but I think it would have been worse with pin basting (for me, at least).

One quick note about the backing - when I ordered this fabric from Connecting Threads, it was on clearance. I couldn't find coordinating fabrics with enough yardage to make the backing, so I just got two completely different Christmas fabrics. Soo, when I picked this project back up this summer I was no longer thrilled with my backing choice, but I decided to go with it anyway since I already had the fabric. I ended up being okay with it once it was quilted, though. My tastes in fabric have changed quite a bit, and I'm learning so much about sewing and quilting that I'm content to consider this just another learning experience.

Oh, and a name...I'm {obviously} new to this naming-your-quilt thing, but for now I believe I'll call it A Square Christmas. Feel free to leave more creative ideas in the comments!

Looking forward to snuggling with this quilt in December!

Linking up with Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation and Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quick Hello

I'm finally getting into a bit of a routine with baby girl and have had lots of ideas floating around lately. This cutie is a huge part of the reason I've been absent - you can't blame me, can you?

I'm looking forward to sharing some of what I've been up to with you! And since I have more ideas than I'd ever have time to actually complete myself, I may see if I can convince any of you to try them instead! I've come to realize that I enjoy dreaming up projects, even when I don't complete them myself. (Mom, you know this better than anyone. Glad you let me share ideas with you!)

So, stay tuned... a good many crafty posts coming soon, along with some other topics, like some books I've enjoyed lately and perhaps a few recipes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Beginnings of an Hourglass Pillow

With baby #2 on the way, I've been working on several projects to make the nursery a little more girly. We're not changing anything big - like the paint color (currently grey) or curtains, but I have a few small things to make it more hers. Big brother is also moving rooms, so I'll share a few things we're doing for his new room at some point.

Project #1 for baby girl's room is a pillow made of hourglass blocks. It's getting close, but for now here's a peek at some of the blocks.

I used this tutorial from Red Pepper Quilts for the blocks, only started with slightly smaller squares. I started with 4" squares and will end up with 3" square hourglass blocks. After joining them together, each little hourglass will finish at 2.5" square. 

Looking forward to seeing this fun little pillow finished - I'll be sure to share a picture!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sewing with Kids: L-O-V-E Banner

Hello there! Thought I'd pop in and actually post something new for you to enjoy. :) One thing after another has kept me away from this blog for way too long, and as always, I'm making no promises as to how often I'll post. Baby girl is due less than 6 short weeks from now (yes, she's one of the reasons I've been hiding), and I'm sure that once she's here I'll be right back in hiding for a while.

For now, though, I have been sewing away with K every week and we're having a blast. She got a sewing machine for Christmas so we've had a chance to try a few new things from Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing. For Valentine's day (yes, this was a while ago...) she had the idea to make a banner.

K picked out all the fabrics & cut the pennants out. Then, the letters were perhaps the trickiest part. We found a computer font she liked & printed them, then cut them out. We traced the letters backwards onto Heat'n Bond Ultra, then ironed it onto her letter fabric. Then we cut out the letters, peeled off the Heat'n Bond backing, and ironed the letters onto the pennants.

Finally, K zigzag stitched the ribbon onto the pennants to make the banner. She did a fabulous job! I love seeing her creativity and style in designing her projects & selecting the fabric.

I also love how much my little guy enjoys K coming over! They got some fun reading time in this particular day, even with all the sewing.