15 Minutes of Play – Pin Cushion Experiment

Ever spend 15 minutes to work on a new idea (or an old idea), try a new technique, or just mess around with your fabrics or scraps? I set aside 15 minutes a few weeks ago, and ended up with the start of some cute pinwheels from a pile of scrap squares (still in progress).

Lately, I wanted to use an old orphan quilt block to make a travel size pin cushion. I also wanted to try making a mosaic-looking pin cushion (inspired by this one) using extra-small scraps. It was like making a tiny version of a ticker-tape quilt.

It was quite fun to spend 15 minutes playing with these scraps, and especially freeing since these were sort “improv” for me.

15 Minutes of Play – Pinwheels

Got 15 minutes to work on a new idea (or an old idea), try a new technique, or just mess around with your fabrics or scraps? I don’t take time to do this, so I am going to try it.

I am starting to notice my scraps more these days! So when I have pieces left over from a quilting or bag project, I cut some of those pieces into manageable sizes, such as these 2-1/2 inch squares. I have noticed lots of the cool pinwheel projects being made this year, so I spent 15 minutes making a stack of half-square triangles to be arranged into pinwheels.

I love the tone-on-tone colors of these fabrics, so I think I’m going to keep going with this pinwheel play.

I’m not sure where this will end up, but for now, I don’t care. Just playing.

Book Review – Small Stash Sewing

If you’re here to see the zig-zag quilt I entered into the Bloggers Quilt Festival, please stop by this link.

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I preordered Melissa‘s new book Small Stash Sewing, which I received in the mail last week.

In my last book review, I mentioned a couple things I like to look for in a book or magazine: high quality pictures and illustrations (eye candy!), useful tips, intermediate to advanced techniques, and a variety of fresh, modern projects. This book has at least 3-4 projects I want to make, so it was worth buying.

The back cover offers this description of the contents,” From a belt to a handbag, from childrens’ gifts to a faux pillowcase dress… Small Stash Sewing gives you 24 sewing projects to make unique pieces that showcase your favorite… fabrics.”

Amy Butler wrote the most amazing, heartwarming foreword for this book. You can tell Amy admires Melissa’s creativity and creative soul, which just made me smile. Melissa seems like such an open, humble shining star!

This book includes such categories as To Wear, At Home and For Kids. The variety of projects offer challenges for beginners and more veteran sewists, making it a well-rounded book.

The To Wear section includes projects like a ruched patchwork belt, a spiced up tee for guys (Melissa’s sweety is the model), even custom shoelaces, which would really liven up my gray Converse. I am excited to make this adorable necklace with the pretty ribbon closure.

I love Melissa’s strapping bag because it looks like just my size. (I’m not big on large purses, or leather purses, or designer purses with initials on them.) I love the way she combined the light blue wale corduroy for the sides with the quilting cotton gusset and straps, which would also look cool as a pieced strap. The decorative stitching on the corduroy is just icing on the cake, and who doesn’t love icing on cake!

The At Home section includes a very hip argyle embellished pillow, a fabric-covered magnetic frame for your fridge, a gorgeous apron, and this cool bath mat, which is a couple fat quarters pieced over an old bath towel to spice up that old towel.

I do love this daydreamer lap quilt, which is a clever way to embellish a strip-pieced quilt top.

This Cute-as-a -Button-Clock is a fun way to show off a favorite fat quarter and coordinating buttons from your stash.

The For Kids section offers a precious pillowcase dress, a great jester crown for the boys, a yo-yo tiara for the girls, a magic cape, and the prettiest wrap skirt that is reversible. This little ladybug softie is adorable and could be used as a big pincushion. Ah, the imagination in this book is so fun!

Of course the unicorn and moon, which represent her famous Unicorn stories, are priceless.

The pattern pieces are printed in the back, and only a couple of them need enlarging, another bonus since I don’t know how to make enlargements on my home copier.

I would have to say the best part of this book is the ability of the reader to actually feel like you are with Melissa as she experiments with these creative projects, using just the treasured fat quarters in your stash. If you’re looking for cheerful sewing projects to fill an afternoon, this book offers loads of potential for challenge and satisfaction.

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Related Post:

Book Review – Sewing Bits and Pieces

Book Review – Sewing Bits and Pieces

Have you seen Sandi Henderson‘s new sewing book, Sewing Bits & Pieces yet? It’s fabulous!

As I mentioned in my most recent Best Practice post about Resources, a couple things I like to look for in a book or magazine: high quality pictures and illustrations (eye candy!), useful tips, intermediate to advanced techniques, and a variety of fresh, modern projects. My aunt Marcy has a general rule – if a book has at least 2-3 projects she wants to make, she buys it. Knowing the high quality and charm of Sandi Henderson‘s fabrics and patterns, I knew this one would be a winner when I pre-ordered it. Whew.

The description on the back cover says “Turn your favorite fabric scraps into fresh and fun handcrafted treasures.” It offers 32  projects using fabric scraps. We are all looking for new ways to use up our scraps, and this book offers plenty of ideas and inspiration.

I think the skill level for the clothing, home goods and craft projects is probably intermediate. There are some applique projects and gathering steps that would have been challenging when I was first learning to sew. One thing I really like about this book is the different approach Sandi took by offering a quick section on sewing terms and a quick section on commonly used tools, instead of providing a comprehensive section on teaching readers how to sew. The patterns in the back section DO NOT need to be enlarged – I love that!

Here are a couple of my favorite projects Sandi offers in her selected categories:

Kitchen – appliqued tablecloth and towels, adorable fruit-shaped magnets, and snack bags.

Bed & bath – a patchwork pillow, organizer, sachet, appliqued pillows, appliqued shower curtain.

Children – includes the coolest looking growth chart in the form of a 3D-looking tree, adorable Mary Jane Slippers, and the cutest library tote using a strategically placed piece of Heather Ross’ princess and the pea fabric.

Party – I can’t wait to make these party lanterns for my patio, but the party bags and invitations will be a must for me too.

Crafts – a pretty butterfly pin that could embellish a jean jacket or a shopping tote, gift tags, and these innovative fabric silhouettes!

Adults – my favorite in this category is the patchwork scarf, which will be the very first project I plan to make.

I’ve had this stack of Ginger Blossom fabrics for awhile, just waiting for the right project to hit me.

I think these fabrics are going to make an adorable patchwork scarf! So much cuter than the old-school cowboy bandanas to hold my hair back while working in the garden or bike riding down the trail. The pattern actually makes two adult scarves so I might have an extra one for a giveaway. (wink wink!)

I love all the original and modern ideas Sandi presented in this book. I also appreciate the stylish photos and illustrations provided for reference. This book is full of cheerful projects that I can quickly whip up in an afternoon and use over and over again.

I preordered Melissa‘s new book Small Stash Sewing, which I can’t wait to find on my doorstep around the end of May. I will definitely offer a book review of that treasure when it arrives.

Patchwork Swap

I recently participated in Linda’s patchwork swap with Jessica, who sent me the most fabulous package!  She really knew the colors of fabric I love because I oohed and aahed over every single piece. She even included a selection of sweet handmade notecards in the package.

patchwork swap from Jessica

Here is the adorable fabric basket she made – with one of my all-time favorites, Bohemian from Anna Maria Horner.

patchwork basket

Here is the selection of fabulous scraps she shared with me.

fabric scrapsThese are just a few of my favorites:

favorites from scrap swap

I’m thinking about using these scraps to make a strip pieced quilt inspired this or this tutorial. Thank you so much, Jessica, for your generosity! And thank you, Linda, for hooking me up with such a great patchwork swap partner!

Patchwork Projects

After participating in a recent scrap swap and creating a couple projects from scrap fabrics, I was motivated to use more pieces from my growing stash.

I still adore the Chocolate Lollipop fabrics by Anna Maria Horner, so I decided to combine several pink and brown scraps from my stash with some Chocolate Lollipop scraps for good measure. I love how girly this patchwork project turned out – a drawstring bag using the tutorial from Pink Penguin. What a fabulous tutorial! I would highly recommend trying it.

Since Halloween is coming, I used up some scraps left over from my hubby’s Halloween quilt for this patchwork drawstring bag. It’s not big enough to collect many treats during trick-or-treating, but I don’t need that much candy anyway.

Another pile of scraps went well together so I thought a fabric basket was in order. I used another great tutorial from Pink Penguin. There are many ways to use these fabric baskets – makeup, office supplies, fabric scraps, jewelry, ribbons, buttons, threads, wrapped candy, iPod and cord storage, CDs, spare change, and on and on.

I am growing addicted to both of these projects so I loaded up on Christmas fabrics to make gift bags and gift baskets. I just need to make the rest less cute so I can part with them for gifts. In fact, I carry one of these bags to work to admire during the day. Seriously, I’ll do whatever it takes to get through some work days!

Scrap Challenge – Notebook Cover

Besides another deadline I wanted to finish a few days early tonight, I told myself I wanted to finish making my contribution today for the scrap challenge sponsored by JC handmade. When the package of scraps first arrived a couple weeks ago, I was a little stumped. The pieces were so much smaller than I anticipated.

For a few days I watched the photo pool on Flickr to see what other people were creating. Some scrappy projects were very cool, innovative, and artsy, like art you hang on the wall in your living room. I was so inspired! I knew I wanted to make a notebook cover, since I’m always carrying around a notebook to jot down ideas and inspirations (hence the name of my blog: terrisnotebook).

So last night I made my first log cabin block, sewed it to a piece of linen, and did some simple quilting in the ditch. I ran out of time, so today, I whizzed home on my lunch hour to finish it, which I did! I think it turned out quite cute. It was a last-minute project on the fly (meaning I didn’t measure and cut too precisely), so my notebook didn’t quite fit but I just trimmed the cardboard covers to make it work. Both the front and back have pockets to hold extra notes.

It was a good challenge for me to participate in because I have a growing stack of scraps I really want to use. I might keep going with the log cabin blocks. They are fun, aren’t they? Especially when you don’t have a deadline, real or self-imposed.

Craft Room Tour

I am a lucky person to have my own craft room. It’s in one of our spare bedrooms with a window facing south, offering lots of natural lighting and a great closet for storage.

Here’s my antique sewing desk, which I found at a local sewing store that is now out of business. It’s one of those desks where the sewing machine is supposed to fit right into the tabletop, which mine doesn’t, so I just put a board over that opening. My dad recovered the chair in a soft blue suede fabric, and he discovered a secret drawer underneath the seat that holds spools of thread!

Here’s my crafting resource library, full of quilting magazines, knitting books and writing references:

Here’s my supply closet:

Wasn’t it nice of the previous owner of our house to install these shelving organizers in all closets throughout the house? They work great for my crafting supplies!

Here are some closeups of my supply shelves:

That is more resource books that didn’t fit on the library shelves.

I have my fabric stash organized by collection, so above you may notice Bohemian on the left and Chocolate Lollipop on the right, with scrap bags in the middle. Below you may notice Garden Party on the left and Ginger Blossom on the right.

The rest of my stash is organized by color or by seasonal themes, all stored in plastic drawers in the basement. I have two drawers for supplies for Christmas projects, one for Christmas fabrics, one for flannel fabrics, one for scraps, and so on.

Here’s my set of notions drawers full of threads, zippers, ribbons and trims:

Here’s my scrap basket:

I do have more scraps than that. This is just the recent pile. The older scraps are probably in one of those drawers in the basement.

Other things like the iron and ironing board, the cutting table, and miscellaneous supplies have to stay in the basement because this room is actually pretty small. Besides, it’s good exercise for me to run up and down two flights of stairs several times a day while I’m working on a project!

Here’s my reading chair and some new decor:

Notice the artist canvases covered with Drawing Room fabrics, and the cute little padded footstool covered with more Drawing Room fabrics! New additions that I just adore. Let me also direct your attention to those two pairs of pants sitting on the chair that were waiting to be shortened. (I finished them!)

That concludes the tour of my space. It has become a work in progress itself where I love finding refuge after spending the day in a corporate office. Thanks for stopping by!