Winter Bouquet

I love having crafty friends, especially when those friends go all DIY wedding.

In December, an amazingly talented seamstress friend married one of the nicest guys ever. It was a small affair but the bride was determined to craft as many of the decorations as possible and even made most of the food for her cake-and-punch reception.

And did I mention she designed and sewed the most unbelievably stunning vintage-style wedding dress ever?

She was still working on that dress a few days before the wedding and mentioned that she’d probably just pick up some flowers for her bouquet since it was unlikely she’d have time to craft the posies she’d planned. I asked if I could make one for her and she said, “yes.”

bouquet

I’ve made a lot of things in my life but this kissing ball is probably one of the loveliest. I used my Clover Kanzashi Flower tools and some dupioni silk from stash, along with a mix of vintage and new buttons. Some of the covered buttons were made with my iTop button maker and others from one of the Prym/Dritz packaged button covers.

bouquet2

All told there are about 50 silk flowers attached to a smooth foam ball form with low-temp hot glue. I cut up small pieces of beaded bridal fabric to fit in some of the spaces between flowers.

I made my way through the first season of Hart of Dixie on Netflix while making the bouquet, my living room floor littered with bits of silk fabric and thread tails. That’s what friends are for. 🙂

A #ssswap Christmas

Earlier this fall, I jumped at the chance to join the Twitter #ssswap (Secret Santa Swap) organized by the lovely @sukie80 (be sure to check out her fab blog, too). I was excited but a little nervous because I knew several of the folks involved and, well, it’s a little intimidating to think about sewing stuff for some of these folks since they might rethink our friendship upon closer inspection of my handiwork.

And then I got the email with my swap partner. And my heart was filled with joy.

IMG_1497 Me with Jana at Quilt Market in Houston

I love this girl. And her family. Immediately the wheels were churning. Stalking her Pinterest only further honed my instincts. So early in December, I sent her a box containing this:

#ssswap gifts wrapped

Three little packages all wrapped up in kraft (craft?) paper and lace ribbon. Inside the packages …

#ssswap gift

A scarf made with ruffle fabric in a pretty pink to add a little pop of color to her day (based on a tutorial from V&Co. because she’d already made what I had in my head). A footstool pincushion (modified version of a pattern by the oh-so-awesome Penny) because Jana needs a safe place to keep her pins. And a Fluevog all her own to love and fondle.

fluevog mini quilt

I’m not a quilter but I have been known to try my hand at the odd quilt pattern every now and then. There is no pattern for this, however, so I pretty much made it up as I went along. I was in the middle of working on my first Don’t Look Now! pattern (more on this tomorrow) so I decided to use that appliquĂ© technique for this one.

I started out by photographing one of my shoes, then importing it into Photoshop and printing it out at the desired size to trace off for the appliquĂ© pieces. It is a raw-edge technique with lots of free-motion stitching around each part of the appliquĂ© (which I’m not very good at doing) but I think that just adds to the funky quality. I used embroidery floss for the running stitches detailing the shoe and some vintage buttons to replicate the leather-covered buttons on the strap.

fluevog mini quilt detail

I finished it off by quilting in a geometric sort of ray pattern radiating out from the shoe. There’s a small line of echo quilting around the shoe and I used that and the inner border as my guide for moving between each line of quilting. I finished it off with an embroidered label on the back (backing is from Sandi Henderson’s Farmer’s Market line):

fluevog mini quilt label

It’s not a very big quilt (the background started life as a fat quarter) but it was stitched with a lot of love.

LAX Love

We interrupt the belated Quilt Market blog posts to share something else entirely.

So, part of the reason I am so tardy in getting around the Market blogging is because I came home from SLC and had a slew of end-of-the-year gifts to finish, including this lacrosse quilt. (I also had to create and burn the end-of-season DVD for the lacrosse teams — 103 discs, to be exact — at the same time I was finishing the binding on this quilt.)

This is only the second year our high school has had a lacrosse team and much of the credit for getting it off the ground goes to one family. A family whose son just graduated and will be moving back to SLC this month. Lacrosse has been such a great thing for my son and I wanted to show this family how much I appreciated it, so I decided to turn the logo they designed into a quilted wall hanging for them.

About three-fourths of the way through making this, I realized it was so big that it was better as a team/booster club gift to the family. Folks, it’s big. The white is one full yard of fabric. I think the center shield and panther are about 24 inches. This is a level of applique I’ve never tried before and I’m not sure it’ll be repeated any time soon.

The applique is layered and done reverse style, for the most part. I actually sewed the shield together to meet in the center then cut out the shield shape. I used an X-acto knife to cut out the finer applique details and adhered it to the backing with Steam-A-Seam. And Heat n Bond. For the record, I don’t recommend mixing adhesives but I was in a time crunch and trying to use what I had on hand. (I also don’t recommend leaving paper in the middle of your applique design but YMMV.)

I did a tighter zig-zag stitch in gray around the shield and panther head to somewhat mimic the shadow effect of the logo. The remainder of the stitching is done with a straight stitch in thread to match each area. Finally, I quilted around the shapes  in a subtle echo effect.

I was so blown away with the finished product in sort of an “I made this? *I* made THIS!” kind of way. (It looked much better when it was ironed but I pulled it out of the gift bag to photograph on our way to the banquet.) The folks at the banquet thought it rocked and the recipients were just blown away, which definitely made the work worth it.

Embellished

Our niece celebrated her fifth birthday in the middle of July. And I was late getting her present in the mail. Embarrassingly late. Not just in mailing but in making — or, rather, deciding what to make.

I hate being struck by indecision, but especially when it means that I miss a birthday because I can’t making up my freaking mind. *sigh* And then it hit me: Why not make her something from … my book? As soon as I considered it, I knew exactly what I’d make: one of the skirts with a tee to match and maybe some kind of hair thingy.

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner, folks!

Seriously. Once I decided what I was going to do, I knew the perfect fabric (Patty Young‘s Flora & Fauna) for the skirt and trusted that the rest would just fall together. I thought I’d use a white T-shirt but happened upon the most perfect coordinating shirt at Target. I couldn’t believe how well it matches! It’s like it was meant to be. Meant. To. Be.

You may have noticed that the skirt isn’t visible in the above photo. That’s because I can’t show it to you yet. I did, however, take a full-length picture of Liesl modeling the entire outfit to share with you when I can. In the meantime, let me tell you a little more about the shirt and headband.

The skirt uses a border print fabric and I ended up with a nice chunk of polka dotted scrap after I cut out the pieces. It took no time at all to cut a few bias strips from it, sew them end to end and then finish the two ends (serged then turned under and topstitched). I left the edges unfinished — in theory, they shouldn’t fray — then sewed two parallel rows of gathering stitches so I could create the ruching detail. I just followed the curve of the neckline, then sewed it down with a zig-zag stitch.

I opted for the bias-cut ruching and zig-zag sewing because of the curved shape but also because that fabric needs to be able to stretch when the shirt is pulled over the head. Make sense?

The headband was another stroke of luck. It came in a three- or four-pack of headbands (Goody brand, also at Target) and was a great match for the aqua. I simply used my Clover Yo-Yo Maker to whip up a fabric yo-yo with some of the leftover scraps, then fussy cut one of the bees from another fabric to make the covered button for the center. A few hand stitches and voila! A fun, coordinating headband that completes the head-to-toe look.

Wedding Watercolor

With a blog name like “Confessions of a Craft Addict,” you’d think there’d be a little more diversity in the crafting. Alas, no, as I’ve been in full-tilt sewing mode for the past several years. I do more than just sew, though, despite all evidence to the contrary.

My sister-in-law and her husband will celebrate their anniversary next week, which led to thoughts of our wedding present to them. Shortly after they eloped, they came to visit us and I snapped some pictures, including the one that inspired this painting. I had not touched a paintbrush in maybe 15 years but decided  I had to paint this.

Sepia-toned watercolor seemed the best choice and I still think I was right on that. There are a few things I think I’d change but I’m pretty pleased with it, especially since I had not painted in such a long time.

Hands-On Quilting

Thank you all so, so much for your kind words about my big announcement. All the comments, emails and tweets gave me lots of warm fuzzies and mean more to me than you can know. If you’re on Facebook, feel free to “like” the book’s page.

The end of the school year is a lot like a mini-holiday season for the crafty, since there are so many gifts to make and give. This year was especially special, since it was Miss L’s final year in preschool. Yep, extra gifts to make.

I’d love to show them all to you — but I can’t. “Why?” you ask. Because a certain someone (that’d be me) had to go work out graduation morning, then run to the store to buy gift bags and tissue paper before dashing home to shower, dress and wrap everything so we could leave five minutes late.

So what you’re not seeing are the cute monogrammed travel mugs I made for the two pastors, Spanish teacher and music teacher. Or the embroidered tote bags I made for the preschool director and the other room mom (who is truly the best room mom in the entire world). Or the cute tote bag I made for the assistant teacher, which was based on the quilt pictured here.

The teacher and assistant teacher’s gifts were from the class. I knew I was going to make this small quilt since the teacher called me last summer to tell me she would be teaching the 4s. We’d had Ms. Kathy when L was in the 2s and just loved her. She really is one of those teachers who just gives it her all and I wanted her to have a one-of-a-kind gift.

One of the things she does with the class are color days. The kids are asked to wear that color to school and she structures the whole day around it. It’s really a fun thing and I wanted to reflect that with the quilt.

I chose six rainbow colors (1/3 yard cuts) from batik fabrics and cut them into 6″ strips x the width of the fabric. The strips were then sewn in ROYGB(I)V order along the long edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance. The handprints were made by tracing around each student’s hand, then tracing that outline onto some Steam a Seam. I ironed each one on to some of the leftover batik (two in five colors and three in the sixth, since there were 13 kids in the class). Each student used an extra-fine tipped black IdentiPen to write his/her name on the corresponding handprint.

The handprints were sort of randomly arranged on the quilt top. I say “sort of” because the truly random pattern I started with and then tried to refine for 30 minutes looked pitiful. I ended up arranging half of the hands on the diagonal across the middle of the quilt, then made two rows of three hands on either side of that. The “odd” hand was plopped in the lower left corner. Looking at it now, I realize I should have made the middle row from five hands so I could put a hand in the top right corner to balance it out. *sigh* Hindsight.

After appliquing the hands to the top, I made a tasty quilt sandwich before hooping the hands and echo quilting around each one by hand. By hand, I said! Be impressed. A lot. (See detail of the echo quilting here. Lots of ooohing and aaahhhing welcome.) Sarah actually suggested the quilting and I really like how it turned out, even though it’s probably all kinds of jacked up.

She also picked out the binding for me, a really fun stripe from the Maisy fabric line. It was just perfect with the colors and playfulness of it. It’s also the best job I’ve ever done on a binding — not that I’ve done all that many. You’ll just have to trust me that there was plenty of room for improvement.

Oh, and you can’t see it but the back is this super cool green ombre fabric. I used the pen to write the name of the quilt — “Ms. Kathy’s Handful — and the date and dedication along the bottom edge near the binding. I’ve never done anything like that before and wasn’t quite sure of the “right” way to do it, but I thought it was important to include it.

This is likely awful to admit but I really hoped the gift would make her cry. She is *so* not a girly girl but I thought I might drive her there.

I was right.

Dusting Off The Paperweight

I love my embroidery machine but I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t get nearly enough love. And by “love” I mean “use.” It’s just not something I necessarily think about when I’m planning a sewing or crafting project. I’m trying to be better about that and am really happy with a couple of recent projects that required my embroidery machine.

A friend asked if I could make her daughter’s first-birthday-photos dress. Of course I said yes! I actually made matching dresses, one for K and another for her older cousin E. The dresses are identical Miss Madelines (by The Handmade Dress) with the girls’ initials embroidered on the aprons.

As soon as I saw this cool #1 Teacher badge on the SWAK Embroidery newsletter, I knew it would be the perfect thing for Teacher Appreciation Week at Miss L’s preschool. I’ve never done an in-the-hoop project before, so I was a little nervous. But the badge stitched out perfectly on the first try! I’m so glad I have this file now, because I can definitely see using it again and again.

Sweet Goodbyes

I come by my craft addiction via my mother, who tried anything and everything under the sun. Back in the day (and by “the day” I mean the 1980s), she even experimented with molding chocolates and shared some of her supplies and expertise with me. OK, maybe “shared” isn’t quite the right word. More like “I snuck into her supplies and used them when she wasn’t home.”

Thanks to Bakerella, I’ve been making regular trips to the Cake Art Party Store. It is ridiculously close to my house. Maybe dangerously close, especially since I can never walk out of there with less than a dozen things. (Again glad that Honey does not read my blog!)

I stopped in this week to pick up something and stumbled upon the cutest chocolate sewing mold. Knew immediately it would be an awesome gift for my friend Clare, whose last day at the quilt shop was today. So, in spite of the fact that I had zero time to do it and a lack of supplies, I decided to make her an edible sewing box.

The results would have been a great deal better had I taken my time and used the right supplies. A small brush is really necessary to paint the mold with the colored chocolate, especially those tiny thread spools. I didn’t think it was too bad, given that the last time I played with chocolate was when I was a teenager (and, no, we are not going to talk about how long ago that was).

I took it to Clare at the shop today and totally blew her away. “It’s too cute to eat!” she said. And then popped a tiny spool of thread in her mouth. (Yes, it tastes as good as it looks!)

That’s the kind of goodbye I can handle. The sweet kind.