“Summersville In Color” Pillow

It’s always fun to see what fabric different people are looking forward to before it’s released, and Summersville was on my sister’s short list of must-haves.

I saw this on Lu Summer’s blog
and decided to try it for her birthday.

After several weeks of two minutes here and five minutes there (mostly in the car) I’d filled in enough of the print to try my idea.

So here it is, my “Summersville in Color” pillow.

I haven’t done a project like this in a long time, and when I finished it I was giddy!  The embroidery, the yellow fabric, the aqua pom pom trim, all of it makes me smile.

For the back I decided on a simple envelope closure so I could leave the selvage on the fabric.  I thought Kristen would like seeing that.

If there is a place like  Summersville for my family, I think we would all say Newport Beach, California.  It’s where we vacationed when I was a child because my Grandpa lived there, and we’ve taken our children there as well.  There’s a house in the embroidery that’s similar in color to my Grandpa’s house, and all the bright colors remind me of the colorful old beach houses we love to look at when we’re on walks.

This was a really fun project to work on, made more fun by anticipating my sister’s happiness when she saw it.

I wasn’t disappointed.  As cute as the pillow looks on my front porch, it will look even better in her living room, where she has yellow stripes on her curtains and an aqua ceiling in the kitchen.  Happy (late) birthday, Kris!


Fabric, Paper and Strings

I wasn’t supposed to buy any new fabric this year.  Well, I did really well for a while and then I guess I quit doing really well because I just bought this pretty little stack of fabric.  It’s called Vintage Summer by Little Yellow Bicycle for Blend Fabrics.  It’s kind of my style and yet it’s not, but I like it.  I’ve learned that I like a lot of large scale prints but then I struggle to cut into them and actually use them because I feel like I need to do the perfect thing with that large print.  I don’t know if I’m just getting smarter or if more fabric designs are getting smaller, but I’m trying to avoid the larger prints (because I still have plenty of them) and watch for the smaller ones that look great when they’re cut into small pieces.

I also shouldn’t start another quilt top until I’ve dealt with all my projects that need finishing, but for some reason I started reading about string quilts the other day and I got the idea in my head that I NEED to try it.  If I’m ever going to make that selvage quilt I’ve been saving strips for then I’ll have to learn paper piecing anyway.  Then I poked around and found this one over at Film In the Fridge and I was sold.  Just enough order in that quilt for me to jump in.

So in the only quiet 30 minutes of my Mother’s Day, I went to my sewing machine and made my first ever paper pieced string quilt block.  My kids were shocked that I was sewing fabric to a piece of paper, but I was excited.  Learning something new beats a nap any day!

So the Vintage Summer prints were immediately cut into (big deal for me!) instead of waiting around for the “perfect project” and here’s my first block:

The fabric is the perfect scale for a quilt like this and I’m happy with my decision.  Paper piecing has always sounded tedious but I quite enjoyed this experiment.    I love the white with the prints, and I’m following Ashley’s pdf  chart for it.

I really love those little strips of white in there.  They look so cool and they’re something I’ve always been intimidated by.

Honestly, I might not touch my sewing machine again until June, but it sure was fun to experiment for a little while!


A Crown and Scalloped Bunting

I believe I mentioned that my sister and I are taking an online sewing class to learn how to sew curves.  Well, it’s underway and has been for two weeks.  So far six projects have been taught and I’ve managed to find time for one of them (the fastest, easiest one).  Yup, I’m running behind.  Again.

Still, this first project was a lot of fun and really easy, and is something I’m sure I’ll make again.  One thing I learned that I wouldn’t have thought of in advance is that using a pinking blade on my rotary cutter saves me the need to notch the curved seam before turning it.  I like saving time, so I bought a pinking blade and I think I’ll be really glad I have it.  Another interesting thing is learning to use my rotary cutter without a ruler.  I’m getting the feel of cutting freehand with it.

I used a couple of coordinating fabrics from my stash for these two projects and think they make a cheery bunting.  I also added some little pink pom pom trim when I finished it.  It adds a touch of whimsy and texture to the bunting.

The second project I made is a fabric crown.  I’ve had this pattern sitting on my table for a few months but have been intimidated by it.  It just looked tedious, I guess, but while I had these two prints out I decided to make a birthday crown for my niece.  (Incidentally, if you’re interested in the pattern, there are a few of them in stock here at a discounted price.)

Honestly, it was simpler than I anticipated and didn’t take me as long as I worried it might.  I think it turned out great, especially for my first try!  My girls were certainly excited about it.  I didn’t have much time for embellishments, so I opted for a simple felt flower.  Next time I’ll try something different.  There are several options in the pattern and instructions for making them.

Honestly, the crown is bigger than I pictured.  Next time I make it I might adjust the size a little.  The pattern says it will fit anyone because you use ribbons to adjust the size, but at it’s smallest it was still a bit big on my girls, who are the ones who want crowns anyway.  Here is what the crown looks like from the back:

The pattern tells you to sew the ruffle to the front, then later fold the back up over the ruffle, iron the heat’n’bond in place, and use glue to secure any spots that need it.  Instead of using glue I opted to carefully go back over my stitch line from the ruffle and sew the back to the front.  I like that the whole thing is sewn together, and I think my seam looks fine because I was very careful with it.

The crown was a step out of my comfort zone and I’m so happy to discover that I can do it.  I plan to make several of these throughout the year for little girls I know.

Although my silly little model would have liked to keep it, we sent the crown and bunting to Denver for my niece.  I hope that she enjoys playing with them.  I enjoyed sewing them for her.

My list of sewing goals for 2012 includes sewing smaller items other than quilts.  I hope to complete one small project each month.  I didn’t get that done in January, but these two projects satisfy February’s goal.  Now let’s see if I can find time for some quilting!


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