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 appliqué 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 appliqué pieces. It is a raw-edge technique with lots of free-motion stitching around each part of the appliqué (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.

This is Post

Whooooooooooo! And the crowd goes wild!

OK, well maybe not “wild.” How about “smiles enthusiastically”? LOL!

I’d really expected to do this post earlier in the week but life got away from me. Again.  I swear, this summer is just flying by — and dragging me behind it. I have not done any sewing in about a week, which is a nice break; I miss sewing and am ready to get back to it

In the interim, I have been working on a couple of other projects. One is about half done and requires yet another trip to The Home Depot. I swear, I’d be done with it already if I could ever manage to have everything I need with me when I go. Maybe I’ll dash over after lunch and get the last of the hardware so I can show off a finished project after the weekend.

While that one’s still in lumber limbo, I have managed to get another non-sewing project knocked out: the yummy ice cream sundae pincushion shown here. I’ve had this one in my head for months, ever since I did my first felting projects earlier this year. The only hold up was finding some white/cream wool roving — which I found on clearance at Michael’s this week. Score! The first cherry was about three times the size of this one. Oops! Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to make them and the replacement was ready and attached in no time. I used some of the Clover felting needles for the “chocolate syrup” and also to attach the cherry to the top. The sundae glass came from Goodwill. Fifteen cents!

I really have to thank everyone who suggested crafts for my blogiversary Try It! challenge. It gave me the nudge to try some new things (like felting), as well as some things I have not done for years. I’m slowly but surely working my way through the list and continuing to send out goodies to the winners from the related giveaway.

That doesn’t mean I can’t do another giveaway, though! It’s probably one of my favorite things about blogging. I’ve been lucky enough to win a few, so I think it’s especially important to give back to the blogging community with some goodies of my own. Originally, I was going to give away two things. But I like matchy numbers and had some things in mind, so this time around there are THREE prizes to win. Maybe that’s deserving of a cheer! hee!

First up is … a swag bag from the recent Indie Craft Experience held here in Atlanta. (Oh, hey look – it’s my stairs again!) The bag is printed with the ICE logo and event info, as well as that of major sponsor Craft magazine. (And we all love Craft, don’t we?) Inside are all the wonderful things that came with the bag. Pins and business cards and sample-y things and pens. Plus, I’ve added a couple of small things I picked up from vendors and sponsors. It’s kind of like being there without having to suffer through the near-record-setting high temps that day. (For real — I thought I was going to melt! I felt awful for the folks who’d come in from up north and weren’t acclimated. It was rough for me, and I live here.) And the tote is so handy; you’ll want to carry it everywhere. Or maybe just use it as a reusable shopping tote. A huge, huge thanks to my wonderful husband, who picked up this bag so I would have one to giveaway. xoxo!

One lucky winner will be receiving this crafty prize: A copy of Ottobre and two Aunt Martha’s embroidery/paint patterns. The unused Ottobre is the Fall 2006 issue, and full of great clothes you can sew for the little one in your life. If you haven’t sewn from Ottobre before, you are in for a treat! The patterns do have to be traced (just like Farbenmix, Burda and Kwik Sew) but they yield some of the most fun clothes I’ve ever made. Very stylish and different.

I’m totally digging the Aunt Martha’s patterns. I’d say they are retro, but I’m pretty sure these are the same designs the company has been putting out for the past 70 years. I actually remember my mother having some of these same patterns. Isn’t that cool? These patterns feature a package of floral motifs plus a separate package of Kitten Chores. No kidding — they were tough to decide to give away, but I hope the recipient will :heart: them as much as I do.

Prize No. 3 is a bit more personal, because *you* get to work with me on a little sewing project. I will work with the winner to draft and sew a skirt especially for her, similar to the one shown here. It can be a little shorter or longer; a bit more straight or a more pronounced A-line. Add some trim or maybe a contrasting band. The skirt has an elastic waist, so it’s nice and comfortable for you to wear. This one will take a little more time to send out, so just be aware of that going into it. (After all, I’m going to draft a pattern based on *your* measurements.)

Now, in order to win one of these fab-u-lous prizes, you will need to leave a comment on this post.

But wait just one tiny second.

Not only will you need to leave a comment, but you’ll need to do two things in that comment:

1. Tell me which prize you’d like. After all, it’s no fun to win a prize if you really don’t like it.

2. Write “Mary is the coolest crafty chick ever!” Just kidding. (Or am I?) No, I don’t want you to write that. But I do want you to submit a question for me that I can use on my “About Me” page.

Do this by Wednesday, June 23. On Thursday, June 24, I will separate all the comments by prizes and draw names from each of those three hats. Sound good? Good luck!