Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Meet my new friends.....

Aren't these guys cute? I just love knitted stuffed toys. My daughter is permanently attached to her blabla kitty. I am certainly not proficient (or patient) enough for a knitting project of that caliber, so when I saw this tutorial I was so excited- you "cheat" and get the knit look by using gloves! Brilliant! I stocked up on gloves at the local dollar store (2 pairs for a buck) and away I went. Since my kids are all about frogs, I used the principles from the dog pattern and modified it to make froggies. Too cute!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fabric Flower tutorial

These fabric flowers are a great addition to your Twirly Girl skirt, a handbag, or place some felt and a pin on the back to add a little something-something to a shirt or coat!

To make a fabric flower:

Cut a long strip of fabric that is 2 inches wide. The length can vary depending on how big of a flower you want; the one shown in the photo measured about 2 feet long. I joined 2 shorter pieces together to get this length, so feel free to use scraps or even a bunch of different fabrics. This part is more art than science, so be creative and have fun!

Take your piece of flower fabric and fold length wise. Press.

Sew a straight stitch starting at the edge on one side; slowly start wandering towards the middle (as shown below) so that one end becomes narrower than the other. Leave both ends open. Trim excess.

Using a safety pin, pin one edge of the narrow end, then insert the pin into the hole and use your fingers to work it down the length of this “tube” you have created until it emerges on the other side. Pull to make fabric right side out again. You will have a long tube with one end narrower than the other. Press. Invert raw end pieces ¼ inch inside, then sew ends closed.
Start with narrow end of strip to form centre of flower. Wrap fabric around itself, gathering at bottom (seam side) with your fingers to form a flower. Use a needle and thread to secure together by sewing in base of flower. If desired, insert button at centre. Again, this is the creative part- there is no right or wrong, so play with it and have fun to make your own one-of-a-kind flower! When you are happy, hand sew onto skirt or other item.
Congratulations! You did it! If you missed my Twirly Girl ruffle skirt tutorial, you can find it here. I hope you enjoy your Fabric Flower, but please remember that this tutorial is intended for home enjoyment only and not for commercial use. Feel free to blog about your creations; a link back to this page would be appreciated. I would love to see your finished skirts, so please shoot me an e-mail with your pictures or blog links to me so I can admire them! I also have a Flickr group and would love to see your photos there. Have fun!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Twirly Girl ruffle skirt tutorial

According to my daughters, life is best experienced on your tip toes spinning in circles! And to do that, of course you need something twirly! This adorable ruffle skirt is sure to inspire the little ladies in your life. Simple yet elegant, this skirt can be adorned with a fabric flower and buttons, and this is sure to be your little princess’s new favourite!

You will need:

About 1/3 to 1/2 yard of fabric of your choice (or double that if creating double layer skirt)
Coordinating thread
¾ inch elastic
Scissors, pins, safety pin, iron and ironing board
Decorative button (optional, if you would like one on your flower)- tutorial to follow!


All of the dimensions for cutting pieces for your skirt are included in the table below. Please cut 2 band pieces and 2 ruffle pieces to the dimensions stated. Keep in mind the direction of your pattern if you are using a patterned fabric. Only cut one piece of elastic. Elastic size here is generous- it is best if elastic size is cut to fit your little one- more on that later. All seam allowances are 1/2 inch except where specified.

Size 18 mo/2T : Band (cut 2) 5” by 9”, Ruffle (cut 2) 7” by 18”, elastic (cut 1) 15”
Size 3T/4T: Band (cut 2) 5.5” by 11”, Ruffle (cut 2) 8.5” by 22”, elastic (cut 1) 18”
Size 5T/6T: Band (cut 2) 6” by 14”, Ruffle (cut 2) 9.5” by 26”, elastic (cut 1) 21”

Start Sewing!

I suggest you read the entire document through before starting. E-mail me any questions before you start so you don’t get stuck!

Get your fabric ready: (2 pieces band shown above, 2 ruffle below)
Begin by placing the right sides (the side with the pattern) of the fabric of the Band pieces facing together. Sew a straight stitch along the 2 short ends to join, backstitching at both ends.

Repeat for 2 ruffle pieces, again sewing short ends together. Reinforce seams by sewing a zigzag stitch to the outside of the straight stitch, backstitching at both ends. Trim excess fabric and threads to tidy. You are ready to make the ruffle. Return your sewing machine to a straight stitch, and set the length setting as large as possible. Open up your joined ruffle pieces, and sew along the long side at ¼ inch from the side. Do not backstitch this time!

To make your ruffle, grab a piece of the free thread at the end of the long stitch and begin to pull gently. You will notice that the fabric starts to gather.
Push the bunched up fabric down the thread towards the bottom, and continue to pull the thread end. Be sure to evenly distribute the ruffle along the length. Stop once the new gathered length of the ruffle pieces matches the length of the band pieces.

With right sides together, pin the ruffle piece to the band piece along the length. Make sure your middle seams are aligned with even ruffle on either side.
Place fabric in machine with ruffle piece on top. Make a straight stitch at ½ inch, which should place this seam inside of the loose gathering stitch that you made in the last step (see below). This is important in order to conceal that hem. Before starting, remember to return your machine to your regular stitch length setting and to backstitch. Once finished, repeat with a zigzag stitch and trim excess as above. Turn the fabric to inspect the right sides. The junction should look like this:

Fold your fabric to align the open ends with right sides facing. Stitch together with a straight stitch, then finish with a zigzag stitch and trim. Turn it right side out. It is starting to look like a Twirly Skirt!
Turn the bottom hem over ¼ inch and use your iron to press. Turn again 1/3 to ½ inch to make a nice clean hem. Press again.

Return to your machine and sew a straight stitch along the top edge of the hem as shown: To make your waist band, turn the edges over ¼ inch as with the hem and press with the iron. Now turn it over 1 inch and press. We need this space for the elastic. Sew a straight stitch at the edge as you did with the hem, but leave an opening of an inch or so to feed your elastic through. Attach the safety pin to one end of the elastic. Insert in the hole. With your fingers, work the pin along the length of the waist band until it comes out the hole again on the other side.

If possible, fit is best if your try the skirt on your little one now. Use safety pin to mark best length of elastic to fit- cut elastic 1” beyond this point to allow room to sew together.
Zigzag stitch the ends together. Place inside the waist band and sew the insertion hole closed.
Congratulations! You have completed the skirt!

You can leave it as is or add a flower. I will be posting my fabric flower tutorial later this week- come back and check it out!

I hope you enjoy your Twirly Girl ruffle skirt, but please remember that this tutorial is intended for home enjoyment only and not for commercial use. Feel free to blog about your creations; a link back to this page would be appreciated. I would love to see your finished skirts, so please send me an email with your pictures or blog links to me so I can admire them, or add them to my Flickr pool! Have fun!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I ran out of fabric. Seriously. I am working on the red, white and black quilt, and wasn't happy with how it was coming along so changed design midway through. I was sure I had enough for "Plan B", but apparently not! I am short the outer frames on 6 blocks. It is "local" fabric, so I may be able to try my luck to get more....or should I get creative? Hmmmmm.....
Very frustrating! I love quilting, but hate the cutting part, and this happened 156 squares into the job. Time to quit for the night and enjoy a glass of wine, don't you think?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sam's Skills

I need to introduce you to my other very special BFF, Samantha. She is a Crafty Goddess in my eyes, she has such a keen eye for detail and is always coming up with the most beautiful stuff! She is good at EVERYTHING- sewing, jewelry, stamping, graphics- and even has an online store for her printed paper products, which are so decadent! Plus, she is always there to cheer me on in my crafting adventures. Unfortunately, she lives half way across the country, but, thanks to her wonderful mom, who we affectionately refer to as the "gift mule" for toting our latest crafty gifts back and forth all year, we still manage to exchange many-o-crafts, followed by phone calls squealing over all the assembly details...ahh, I miss you, Sam!
Sam actually gets credit for sparking my interest in sewing, when she made this doll as a birthday gift for Last But Not Least:
I was amazed, and adored the fabrics. Sam got me started- with the all-important shopping side. "Go to etsy, that's e-t-s-y, look up Amy Butler, Michael Miller, Heather Ross, Moda...and call me back." The rest is history!

Anyhoo, this week, Sam's Amazing Mom dropped off yet another package for me and the kids (Squeal!). Here is (some of) what she sent-

Mommy calling cards- sooo cute, and in a hand made fabric snap packet to die for!
An Edward bookmark (bless her), that she hand stamped on silver herself, packaged in a faux leather case:Head bands, clips and decorative bobby pins for the girls, and a fabric Matryoshka doll holder to organize them made of twill tape.Plus adorable handmade monogram sacs to wrap them all in!


Thanks, Samantha, for being such a generous friend, for "getting" me, for always inspiring me...and for the helpful tips for how to hide the latest fabric purchase from the hubby. You make me a better crafter!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Quilt Story

Every quilt has a story...I wish I knew this one!We bought our cottage 2 years ago, and with it came a mish-mash of hand-me-downs, a wealth of both useful and interesting items (like a gorgeous antique dining set and a pile of vintage sheets!)...and plenty of garbage. We are still uncovering new things regularly. Enter The Quilt. It was wrapped in a sheet, folded into a pull-out couch that we opened for the first time when sleeping over this winter (and wanting to sleep as close as possible to the wood stove!). It is not a fancy quilt, the seams are not neat, it has a huge patch and many more areas that are worn through, yet I find this is what I choose to wrap around my shoulders when enjoying my morning tea by the water.
I wonder who made it? The previous cottage owners, or did they, too, "inherit" it and adopt it as their own? How old is it? There is no labeling of any kind, so I suppose I will never know. Just something for my imagination to ponder while enjoying those morning mugs of tea...... Which brings me to the topic of quilt labelling. This is something I am determined to do for all my quilts. There are so many ways to label, and my favorites are the hand stitched and the iron on transfer. For hand stitch, I like embroidery thread on a contrasting fabric, but have to say that it is best to keep it short and sweet, as the more wording, the more chance for it to get crooked and look sloppy- not good for my Type A self. If you want to have a longer message on the label, such as a birthday greeting or birth details, best to go with the iron on transfer. The brand I use is from Dharma Trading Co., which Kathy introduced me to, and it works like a dream. You design your label on the computer- this is where the computer scrapbooking types can really shine (not me at all!)- and type in all the details you want on the label. Print it on the transfer paper with an ink jet printer, then trim it closely and iron transfer it onto a scrap of quilt fabric or broadcloth. Fold over the edges and press, then hand stitch to the back of the quilt. Ta da! You have made your mark!

Father's Day Weekend at the Lake!

Finally. The sun. We missed you!
We celebrated with some family time at the cottage. Work and play and love. Here are some of our moments.
Floating without a care:

Sand angels:
Roasting marshmellows:

"Mommy, my hands are sticky!!!!!"

Oh those froggies!

A day for Dad:

Showered with presents....
I couldn't ask for a better Daddy for my kids! I am a lucky Mom and Wife. I also am a lucky daughter- love you, Dad! Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A shirred dress for my BFF

It was my best friend Michele's birthday yesterday. She just had a big birthday bash on the weekend for her two lovely daughters, and I had blogged how I made them an artist purse and some shirred summer dresses. Well, Michele not-so-subtly asked if I made them in adult size, and mentioned "it is my birthday next week, you know......" So, my brain started whirling, I went shopping and found some sweet summer weight purple fabric (her favorite color), and here is what I came up with: Now firstly, let me impress upon you that I am a girl who loves to balance her gym activities with nachos, wine and chocolate- I am no model! But, I am pleased with how this dress turned out. Firstly, it is SO COMFORTABLE. And I really like the arm hole modification I made, so you don't have a pile of fabric bunching up in your pits, but it still rises high enough in the front to cover up your ta-tas :-) Maybe I will make another for me, and post a tutorial?

I am also at work on my next quilt, for our long time babysitter who will finish up with us this summer. It will be in reds, whites and blacks, her favorite colors (though admittedly not mine....). I made a sample block:
I had originally wanted to do a modified Bento Box design, but with only 3 colors in the mix, I thought the effect would likely be lost. Instead, I plan to alternate white and black solid blocks, framing the patterns inside. Off to the cutting mat I go!