Category Archives: Projects

From My Sketchbook: April Monthly Doodles

In order to fill up more sketchbooks, which is on my bucket list for 2015, I’m having fun coming up with new drawing prompts, so I’ve been trying to sketch A LOT more lately. One thing I’m doing is a monthly calendar. But instead of using it like a diary, I’m using it to do a daily doodle.

For the month of April I took inspiration from what I saw outside in my part of the world, which was early spring flowers – crocus, daffodils, forsythia buds opening, vinca vines and tulips.

sketchbook page of april doodlesAnd I’m already into May with new sketches!

sketchbook page for may doodles

Time just slips away when I’m working in my sketchbook, especially when I have a techno / electronic beat going in the background! I’m on a roll so I’m just going to keep going.

Terri

Click here to see my January doodles

Click here to see my February doodles

Click here to see my March doodles

Summer Art – Postcards and A Map

I got a little behind in my creative summer challenges, so I’m happy to report I’m all caught up for now.

For assignment #5 we agreed to illustrate a postcard or series of postcards. I choose to use the words in my blog banner for inspiration. To illustrate these words, I dug through my pile of photographs from our adventures over the years, from living in the mountains to playing in the sea.

Explore.


Dream.

Discover.

For assignment #6 we agreed to illustrate a map. I was inspired by this site, which has the coolest variety of illustrated maps. I had all sorts of ideas for this one, but I decided to keep it relatively simple for my first attempt by doing a map of my favorite places in our downtown. I love the idea of illustrating maps to highlight favorite shops and restaurants, so I am hoping to practice this technique more.

At the end of last semester, we came up with a list of about 20 creative projects to work on over the summer to continue our creative learning. I’m not sure what we’re going to do for our next art project, but I’m hoping to keep these illustration experiments going. I’m thinking about working on a digital art project next, since I learned so much with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to getting back to my drawing practice.

Personalized Patchwork

My good friend Vicki, also known as Dotty Jane, was sneaky and sent me a little birthday/Christmas care package which contained this gorgeous personalized mug rug!

How wonderful it was to see my name sewn in fabric with beautiful prints and fabulous quilting. Be sure to look closer at the amazing pebble quilting she did in between the letters. I know she has been practicing with the quilt-along.

She also included this adorable patchwork Santa ornament, perfectly pieced and stitched.

Thank you, Vicki, for being such a great friend and for brightening my day!

A Preview

I haven’t had time to sit at my sewing machine for two weeks, yet I have been holding back on you! I finally finished adding some new one-of-a-kind bags to my shop, so now they can all be found in the New Products section.

Some are meant to be functional and practical, like these Artist Totes below. (my sister has already claimed the one with the blue lining)

Others are fun because they are impractical, like these patchwork party clutches below! (Update: I sold the one in the middle at my craft show, but I can always make another if someone has a custom request.)

Some of these new patchwork handbags could be carried for daytime running around (pink and grey version listed here and maroon and grey version listed here) or

They could complement a trendier look for a girls’ night out. (Update: I sold the middle wristlet below at my craft show, but I plan to make another since I really love that city scape print.)

I have been wanting to try a new messenger bag/laptop bag with a flap in a more modern romance look. Check out the link to that laptop bag – it has the coolest newsprint fabric inside the flap! (Note: I also made myself a funky new handbag, shown below, out of plaid suiting with lace, sequin and stud accents.)

I am happy to offer all of these styles as custom designs, in addition to what I patch and piece together based on my own inspirations. I provided more details in the descriptions in my shop, if you’re interested in more specifics.

Sorry for the bag overload today! I’m super excited about all these one-of-a-kind designs. I’m hoping to develop most of these patterns into a collection, so this is a preview of a regular series of goodies to come. Thanks for hanging out with me today!

Simple Coffee Cozy Tutorial

I have always wanted to know how to make a coffee cozy, especially after receiving a coffee to-go recently with this dreadful styrofoam cozy!

I thought it would be fun to have a cozy in my own little signature patchwork style, so I documented the steps in case you want to make one for yourself or as a stocking-stuffer gift.

Supplies:

Strips of fabric

Fabric for lining

Fusible interfacing or batting (depending on how puffy you want your cozy)

Velcro and a cute button

Paper, pencil, ruler

Usual sewing tools (ruler, rotary, thread)

Making the pattern:

1. Trace your coffee cozy template, using a sample from your favorite coffee shop.

2. Add 1/2 inch all the way around and connect the dots or dashes.

3. Cut out your new pattern.

Piecing Instructions:

1. Lay out your strips and sew them together in a patchwork fashion like this. Press seams flat, either to one side or open, whatever your preference. (It’s just a cozy, so it doesn’t matter which direction you press the seams.)

2. Using your new pattern, lay over your interfacing or batting and cut out. Lay it on the wrong side of your patchwork, fuse or pin, and cut out. (save that scrap patchwork for a future project.)

3. Quilt your patchwork. I just stitched 1/4 inch in from each seam allowance.

4. Using your new pattern piece again, cut out your lining fabric the same size as your patchwork piece.

5. Lay these two layers right sides together, pin, and stitch using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Leave an opening for turning.

6. Turn right side out through the opening.

7. Tuck in the opening, press layers so seams are flat, and top stitch about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in from the edge.

Closure:

1. I used a couple of these velcro tabs for the closure because they were easy, inexpensive and forgiving as far as perfect alignment.

NOTE: before stitching the velcro tabs, you might want to make the marks on both the right side and lining pieces and then try on the cozy to test the placement.

2. Lay your patchwork cozy flat with the lining facing up. Measure in about 3/4 inch from the edge and make a dot with a pencil. Center one tab of the velcro over this dot and stitch.

3. Lay your patchwork cozy flat with the right side facing up. Measure in about 3/4 inch from the edge and make a dot with a pencil. Center the other half of the velcro tab over that dot and stitch all the way around.

Select a decorative button to sew on the right side of the patchwork from the velcro tab.

Try on your new coffee cozy!

Enjoy your coffee to-go in style!

List of Gifts To Make

Have you started making gifts yet for the holiday season? I admire you if you started back in July, like I should have! I just recently started making a list of the gifts I want to make. I have gifts completed for just a couple people, but I sure would love to be able to give more handmade gifts this year.

Here’s my list so far, of the projects I want to make for gifts:

-Charm square table runner

Storage cubes

Little Forest Quilt (in progress!)

More bird ornaments

Advent House ornaments

Scrappy tree mug mats

Makeup bags

Makeup brush roll

-Travel jewelry pouch from the Fall 2010 issue of Stitch magazine

-Travel sewing kit from the Fall 2010 issue of Stitch magazine

I used to tell myself that if I didn’t have to work, I would have time to make all those things I want to make. I’m not working now, but I feel like I have less time than before!

I am taking two classes, which means I’m gone about five hours a day. Then I have homework to do. I try to cook and bake a little more, and clean parts of the house once a week (not just before guests stop by). That just tells me that life is busy, no matter what you are doing.

I put a new list on my sidebar called Quilts I Want To Make. Maybe I will get to those projects next year, as long as I finish the five or so quilt tops I have piled in the closet, waiting to be quilted.

These days, I have started telling myself, “if I had all the time in the world, I would make this!” And then I add it to my list.

Pushing Myself With Pinwheels

I finally finished piecing this quilt top of pinwheels with lots of inner borders and sashing!

I used a pattern I got from Anina last summer. I cut the fabrics right away, and started piecing it at a quilt retreat earlier this summer. Then I grew a little tired of it, and I got distracted with other inspiration. I pushed myself to finish the piecing recently – yippee! Now that makes three finished quilt tops in my pile that need quilting.

More pinwheels? Yes, remember these? Since I was playing with scraps, these 48 blocks were much smaller than I realized (5 inches each), so they make for a small quilt (about 22 inches wide by 31 inches tall) that could be used as a wallhanging, table runner, play mat or doll quilt.

Here is my current layout, organized with same-color pinwheels arranged to make a 4-patch. I like this layout, but it didn’t feel quite right yet to me, so I am pushing myself to take it farther.

I thought each colored 4-patch section could use sashing around it, which would enlarge each block and hence the entire quilt. I didn’t want to use white sashing, so I dug deep into my stash to come up with something bright and cheerful.

Now that feels much better to me! I love how the block really glows, and I love a bigger size of 11 inches. So I’m off to continuing framing each pinwheel block. I hope to have another update for you next week, or maybe even a finished quilt top.

For both of these quilt projects, I have been utilizing my design wall quite a bit lately. It’s very high-tech: start with a laminated table cloth with flannel on the back and add three evenly-spaced grommets to one end. Put three equally evenly-spaced nails high up on the wall to hang the design wall when you need it. Since those nails are high up, they won’t be noticed when the design wall is tucked away in the linen closet. Use the flannel side to stick fabrics and blocks to play with your design.

Having these projects in-the-works hanging on the wall has kept me focused and pushing myself forward before getting sidetracked with another. When inspiration strikes, I try to capture it in a sketchbook until the design wall is free again.

Simple Makeup Bag Tutorial

What girl wouldn’t want to carry such a pretty makeup bag? Would you like to learn how to make this so you can carry one yourself or give it to your bestest friend for a gift?

This particular bag has a little secret – fusible vinyl on the inside! That is my little twist on this common bag, so I will show you how to do it.

Supplies:

Fat quarter for outside – I used a cute toile print by Jennifer Paganelli.

Fat quarter for lining

Batting or interfacing

Fusible Vinyl – I used Therm-O-Web Iron-On Vinyl (from Joann’s)

7-inch zipper

Usual sewing tools (ruler, rotary, thread, iron)

Note: use a 1/4 inch seam allowance throughout this project.

Cutting:

1. Cut out your outside and lining fabric 9-1/2 inches wide x 5-1/2 inches tall.

Cut out your batting or interfacing 9-1/2 inches wide x 5-1/2 inches tall.

Cut out two pieces of fusible vinyl 9-1/2 inches wide x 5-1/2 inches tall.

Cut two pieces of either fabric 2.5 inches wide x 2.5 inches long or 2.5 inches x 3 inches long. (Feel free to use scraps for this step because the ends are going to get trimmed and buried in the seam allowance.)

Preparing the Pieces:

1. Position your outside fabric over the batting (or interfacing) and quilt. I did a grid of diagonal lines for this sample. My grid lines were a little over 1 inch apart. I also used a guide bar, which you can see in the photo below (positioned behind the needle and foot), to help keep the lines straight and even.

2. Make the same grid on the back piece.

3. To fuse the vinyl to the right side of the lining fabric, peel off the paper backing of the vinyl. Position the vinyl sticky-side down over the RIGHT side of the lining fabric and press with your hand to smooth it out. Place that paper backing shiny side down on the vinyl and hold  your iron over the area for a few second. Continue until the entire area is laminated. Turn fabric right side up and press each area again, just for good measure. (you can also follow the directions that come with the fusible vinyl)

4. Take one fabric tab and fold the short end over about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. (use your judgment here in the amount you fold over, depending on the size of scrap you’re using.)

Now, fold in half the long way to create a sort of pocket.

Insert one zipper end into tab so the fold meets with the end of the zipper teeth. Top stitch close to fold to attach to end of zipper. Repeat for other side of zipper. (At this point, don’t worry about any long excess fabric on these tabs. They will get buried in the seam allowance and trimmed to reduce bulk.)

Bag Assembly Instructions:

1. Fold outside front piece in half to find the center. Fold the zipper in half to find the center. With zipper pull on left side and face down, position zipper over right side of front fabric, using those fold creases to center it, and pin.

Put a zipper foot in your sewing machine and stitch zipper onto front fabric.

2. Position this piece-in-progress face down over one of a fused lining piece, which should be right side up. Pin in the seam allowance (so your pin holes are hidden in the seam allowance), and sew along that stitching line. At this point, everything will feel quite slippery because of that vinyl. Just hold the pieces together and go slowly to keep an even stitching line and keep the raw edges lined up.

3. Snip off the excess fabric from the tabs. At this point, here is what your piece-in-progress looks like when you open it up.

4. Position your piece-in-progress over the back fabric with the outside fabrics facing each other. (zipper will be face down) Pin and stitch.

5. Align your piece-in-progress over the final lining piece with the lining fabrics facing each other, pin in the seam allowance, and stitch. This is what your piece-in-progress should look like now, with all four pieces sewn to the zipper.

Here’s the lining side. (I couldn’t resist adding one of my new labels printed by Spoonflower!)

6. Open your zipper all the way. This is very important so you can turn the bag right side out and through the zipper opening when you’re all done with the assembly.

7. Lay out your piece-in-progress so that the outside fabrics are right sides together, and your lining fabrics are right sides together. Pin in the seam allowances, leaving a space in the bottom center of the lining. That is where you’re going to leave a hole for turning the bag inside out.

8. Stitch all the way around the bag, starting at the bottom center of the lining, and ending about 3 inches from your starting point (so you have an opening in the bottom).

Making a Flat Bottom:

1. To prepare the corners for a flat bottom, pinch a corner so the seams line up, making the corner look like a triangle. Measure 3/4 inch from one side of the triangle, and draw a line all the way across. Stitch on that line, which will give you a 1.5 inch bottom.

2. Snip off the corner, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Repeat for the remaining three corners of your bag.

The Home Stretch!

Turn your bag right side out through the opening you left on the bottom of the lining and through the zipper you left open.

Hand stitch the opening closed. Fill with your goodies!

That’s it! Easy, right? I hope these instructions are helpful, and I hope you try making at least one of these fun little zipper bags! I would love to see a picture of your version.

If you’re interested in printing out this tutorial without using a lot of toner, I made a PDF with just the step-by-step instructions and one photo for reference.

Please don’t make this bag to resell, whether in your shop, at your local craft fair, or any other place.

Edit: Here’s a little plug for my shop to let you know I added this makeup bag and another pretty pink toile bag to the New Products section of my shop, in case you need a cute little gift but don’t have the time to make one yourself. I’m always happy to take a custom order too!

New Artist Tote

Remember this 15 minutes of play when I made this large crazy patch block? I had the idea of using it as the front of a big tote.

I am typically a small purse carrying kind of gal, yet I am always wishing I could find a purse big enough to carry my book or my sketch pad. My sister asked me if I could come up with a larger purse design. And many, many other women out there prefer to carry large purses. So I decided to do some sketching again. It’s always fun to get out the big paper and my curved rulers!

I am so proud of how this new design turned out! I am calling it the Artist Tote because it made me feel like an artist while I was creating it. And I feel like an artist carrying it.

(9″ x 12″ sketchbook fits inside vertically or horizontally)

Overall, it measures 12-15 inches wide by 10 inches tall (note, the patchwork block is 12 inches wide but the bag can be stretched to 15 inches with the 3-inch wide gusset), big enough to fit all your regular purse stuff, a book and a sketchpad. It has my signature large pockets inside, one with a zipper closure, and two pockets that are open for slipping in your cell phone or music player.

I used blue suiting fabric for the back and the handle to make it a more durable and professional looking bag.

I added more details, including zig-zag stitching at each seam on the front, a few random chains of color gems sprinkled on the front, and zig-zag stitching on the back, bottom and handle, just for good measure.

It’s not listed in my shop yet, but it will be soon. This is one of several new designs I have been busy making for a new collection to be showcased in my shop very soon. Can’t wait to show you more!

Clutch Experiment – Part 2

Remember last Friday when I revealed the clutch experiment I’ve been working on? This week, I tried out another one. I used a project from this book as my inspiration, and made this patchwork of fabrics from the Poppy collection.

Then I cut out the design I sketched, and assembled it. Check this out – piping, chain, et al!

I remembered a suggestion my mom told me recently about using lighter fabrics for the lining so you can see inside your bag in dim light. The outer patchwork pieces are lined with batting and interfacing, but I also used interfacing on the lining, which makes this clutch quite sturdy.

Isn’t that fun? I am still tweaking my design on this one. I want the corners of the flap to be rounder. I put a magnetic snap in the center of the flap, underneath that blue gem, but I also had to add a snap on both corners  to hold the flap down neatly. To fix that on the next one, I will put a magnetic snap on each corner.

Next up for my clutch experiment, those Sugar Snap fabrics I showed you earlier this week with a tweaked clutch design pattern!

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