Friday, December 30, 2011

A Brooklyn Christmas - Part Two

I hope all of you are enjoying your New Year's holiday! I've decided to start 2012 with some good old work around the house. I know it probably doesn't sound like much fun, but I think there's nothing better than freshly painted walls and new curtains to make a fresh start in the new year. And as it happens, I actually enjoy painting, seeing how color can completely transform a space.

Anyhow, to continue my New York saga, Christmas day itself included a trip into Manhattan. First up, lunch at one of New York's famous delis, where meals begin with a plate of pickles and cole slaw, and end with a shot of chocolate soda... yumm!

The bright green pickles were my favorite, they had a milder, garlic flavor.

Too bad my mile-high pastrami sandwhich didn't last long enough to snap a picture, but take my word for it, it was divine! (As were the potato cakes and apple sauce). Once fortified, we continued our trek through the city to find a bit of ice skating, along the way snapping pics of well known landmarks.

The Empire State Building (my personal favorite), Grand Central Station
and Rockefeller Center. 

As you can see, Rockefeller was jam packed like sardines in a can, so we decided to check out the rink in Central Park. It was also busy, but a much prettier setting nestled amongst trees and greenery with the New York skyline all around.

Ice skating in Central Park.

And of course, the views at night were breathtaking...

Central Park at dusk.

And then it was back to Brooklyn for another big meal, our vacations always seem to revolve around food!

Roasted turkey, homemade stuffing, green beans with toasted pinenuts,
raspberry jell-o salad and limpa bread.

And here's a shot of all of us chowing down... all of use except dad who is almost
always the one behind the camera.

I just have one more post I want to share from this trip. I think the High Line and the Garment District warrant their own space, both of them being such amazing and inspiring places. And, to take advantage of this long weekend off from work, I'm also busy sewing up some softie kits I bought on Spoonflower last month... look for that soon!

A Brooklyn Christmas

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! One word and one word only sums up my holiday this year.... magical. And it was a first for my husband and I to spend it in New York, though we've often dreamed of how wonderful it would be.

We usually gather in Maryland where the majority of my family lives, but this year my brother and his wife invited us all up to celebrate in Brooklyn, and to say we jumped at the chance is an uderstatement. This was the first time they could accommodate so many people, and while their previous one bedroom apt was charming, their almost renovated brownstone is a bit more practical for all 11 of us to stay in!

My brother and his wife's amazing place... I really should post pics of the "before".

On Christmas Eve we spent a delightful afternoon wandering the Brooklyn Botanic Garden which was within walking distance of the house. The grounds were magnificent and I can only imagine how splendid they are in the spring.

Looking through the Osborne Garden toward the main entrance, an inside view of the
white trellis and arbors in the Rose Garden and a lovely twisty tree. 

Patrick Dougherty's sculpture "Natural History".

Outside in the lily pool terrace I was surprised and delighted to find the following plaque honoring a local business right here in Katy, Texas where I live:

Nelson's Water Garden.


After walking the grounds, it was a nice respite to explore the indoor Pavillions, which housed plants in different temperate environments. 

Bonsai Museum

Desert Pavilion

We returned home to a big Christmas Eve meal consisting largely of Swedish dishes... homemade potato sausage and lutefisk with white sauce (for those of you not familiar with the latter, I don't know what to say except google it). No herring this year, but it was sorely missed by most. My sister-in-law's family was also in attendance, I think 18 people is a proper house-warming party!

I can see I'm obviously going to have to break this holiday post up into sections so I don't drown you in pictures! I haven't even gotten to our time spent in Manhattan, (including the garment District where I bought lots of fabric), the amazing view from the High Line, or wandering around the Brooklyn Library and Park Slope neighborhood.

To be continued... 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Holly Gift Tags

I designed and printed up these oversized festive gift tags for my family and thought I'd share them with all of you. For an extra touch, you can round the corners like in the photo, but they look nice either way.

Hope you all have a festive and joyous Christmas season!

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

(Tags are 4-up and sized to print on 8.5 x 11 paper/cardstock
set to landscape orientation at 100%.
Download the pdf here.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pattern Review - New Look 6067

I'm so excited, I finished my first dress! It's New Look #6067 and I've been drooling over this pattern since I first saw it. I originally intended to use some of my "Soft Ikat" sateen fabric from Spoonflower, but decided I'd better make a test one first. Instead of muslin, I chose to use some of my sample fabric (Snake Skin Gray) from my Backyard Baby collection and I'm so glad I did b/c I just love the way it looks on this dress.

In fact, I think the subtler, tone-on-tone is nicer than the busier Ikat would've been b/c it allows you to see all the lovely pleating and details. Unfortunately, it's a bit small on me, I had to let out the side seams just to be able to get the zipper up! In fact, it's so tight it's starting to pull the pleat stitches apart as you might be able to tell in the closeup shot, maybe I should've used a shorter stitch length?

I also like that this dress has a separate belt. I plan to make some more of these to use with other outfits. The pleating on the bodice does seem to pucker a bit, but when I'm wearing it and moving around I don't think it's that noticeable. I'm pretty sure I'll be making more dresses with this pattern, and using the next size up.

I  have a second dress in the works using the Ikat fabric, a pattern with a simpler shape that I think works better with it. All it needs is a zipper and a bottom hem and it too will be finished. I had no idea sewing my own clothes would be so addictive!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pattern Review - Simplicity 4243 Baby Dress/Romper

Bug Jars Romper
So, I thought it would be fun to share some of the patterns I used for the samples in my Quilt Market booth. The little girl's dresses were super easy and quick, but the boy's romper was definitely a bit more challenging!

I used Simplicity Pattern #4243, which is labeled "easy-to-sew", but as a beginner, I did hit a few snags (again, probably due to my novice-ness). I found the hidden zipper a bit of a challenge to sew in after the back seam was already sewn together, and the instructions for the turned up sleeves were a bit hard to follow. But in the end, after a day's worth of work, I think it turned out rather cute and I love, love, love the pleating details on the front.

I had a much easier time with the dresses. I used a Pink Poodle Bows Pattern with and without the bottom ruffle, I could make these all day! I have three more Pink Poodle Bow Patterns just waiting to be made up into sweet dresses when I get a spare moment. Definitely check out her etsy shop, it's chocked full of great patterns!

Peasant Dresses

Friday, November 18, 2011

2012 Wildflowers Calendar

With the new year quickly approaching it's time to roll out some new calendar designs! First up my Wildflowers Calendar in two colorways, shown here framed and available in my Society6 shop.

Cornflower Colorway

Fresh Picked Colorway

There's a fabric version in my Spoonflower shop, which should be be available by middle of next week, just in time for Spoonflower's annual BOGO FQ Promotion. More on that here, you won't want to miss it!

I've also had some requests for a 2012 version of last year's Tandem Calendar, so it's available on Society6 and Spoonflower as well.

...and (there's more) I'm working on a brand spankin' new Tandem calendar design to continue the series. Look for that in a couple of weeks! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FQ Bundle Giveaway on SF of my Backyard Baby Collection

Backyard Baby Collection

Check out this link to Spoonflower's blog where they're hosting a giveaway of a Fat Quarter bundle of each design in my Backyard Baby fabric collection for Michael Miller, plus 6 more fat quarters of designs hand picked from my Spoonflower shop. If you're counting, that's 21 fat quarters! Get on over there.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Spoonflower Cut & Sew Giveaway - Softies for Mirabel

I just got in the fabric I won from Spoonflower's cut & sew pattern give-a-way to benefit Softies for Mirabel and look what I got... Samarra Khaja's "Toothy"! I've loved these little guys from the moment I saw them on Spoonflower and am ecstatic to sew them up. They're even funnier and awesomer in person.

Best part is each one fits on a fat quarter and I got a whole yard of them. That means I can sew a bunch to donate to Softies for Mirabel and still keep one for myself. And they're printed on one of my favorite fabrics, linen-cotton canvas. Happy day indeed! 

I'll post finished pics for you to drool over soon.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

More on Quilt Market 2011

Okay, so I got some sleep and am ready to spill! Yes, it was total sensory overload, but in an exhaustingly good way. It was such a whirlwind I didn't really take a lot of photos or Market itself, so I'm including lots of links and other images to fill in the big picture. And you can see the pics I previously posted here.

Here's a pic of my mom and I, she was a huge help preparing my
samples for market, and setting up. (Big thanks to you too, dad!)

It was a crazy wonderful feeling to see my very own little space come to life in Michael Miller's booth. Up to this point, my experience has been from in front of a computer screen so getting to see people's reactions firsthand was pretty rewarding. Not to mention finally getting to meet a lot of people I've only known through the internet.

And what a treat to meet some of the other Michael Miller designers: Mark Hordyszynski, Sandi Henderson, Patty Young, Emily Herrick of Crazy Old Ladies, Sarah Jane, the ladies from Pillow & Maxfield, the ladies from Swirly Girls and Laura Gunn (who's watercolory style I adore)... what a fun-loving, hard working, creative group of folks. It's going to be hard to not use an exclamation point at the end of every sentence!

Most of the highlights, apart from the excitement of just being there, seemed to revolve around food (as is usually the case with me). The first night of Market, my husband and I enjoyed a Michael Miller family dinner at a hoppin' Houston hotspot... live music, divine food and great company! It was a good opportunity to get to know some more of the crew. Then the next day, my husband and I had the pleasure of eating lunch with Stephen Fraser, Mr. Spoonflower himself, and then getting to meet Darci Moyers, also from Spoonflower. I really can't tell you how much I love this company, if you've been living under a rock and haven't heard of them yet, you really must go right over and check out their custom, print-on-demand fabric site, you won't be disappointed!

One of the designers I'd been wanting to meet and actually slipped away from my booth long enough to do so was Jenean Morrison whose new fabric line "Power Pop" is being produced with Free Spirit. She's really on a roll as her fabulous booth won the Creativity award for the second time in a row!

You can see more photos on her blog.

I also stopped by the Timeless Treasures booth to see fellow Spoonflowerer, Samarra Khaja's debut fabrics! What a creative powerhouse, I wasn't able to take any of my own photos, but here's a pic that I borrowed from the Spoonflower blog that shows two designs from her Alphabet collection, Sign Language and Braille... how cool!

The creativity and talent at this show abounds and the enormity of it is eye-popping. I was pretty much focused on just taking it all in while trying to keep straight who everybody was. Now of course, after the fact, I can think of a million things I wanted to ask, and as many people that I wanted to meet... note to self: next time, ask more questions and definitely take more photos!

Thanks so much to everybody who stopped by my booth to say hi!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quilt Market Houston

Finally... photos from my Michael Miller booth space at Quilt Market! I truly am ready to drop into bed and catch up on about three weeks of sleep in one night before I head back to work and reality tomorrow, but here are some photos of my little corner of Market.

There's definitely lots more to post about when I'm more coherent and my brain's not mush!

Ta da!
Setting up

Itty bitty fish in a big, big sea 

and some close ups....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Busy Weekend

Well, another weekend is almost over and I made a lot of progress preparing for market (including 5 hours of just ironing fabric, no exaggeration). Thank goodness I have family coming into town next week when my boy's collection fabrics come in so they can help iron while I'm at work!

I had so much fun sewing up some cute little girl's dresses from a PinkPoodleBows pattern with ruffles, which totally inspired me to make a bunch of other stuff with ruffles including some sweet girly pillows.

I'm dying to show you more, but this will have to do for now... :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

So much to do, so little time...

With Quilt Market two weeks away and a brand new delivery of my first batch of fabrics just yesterday, I'm feeling very blessed, but oh so stressed! I can hardly contain my excitement as I prepare my samples for my booth space. A big thanks to Michael Miller for giving me the creative freedom to do so, and to Spoonflower for providing the initial inspiration and opportunity as well as behind the scenes support. I feel like a lucky girl indeed.

I had hoped to publish more posts on all the Halloween ideas rattling around in my head, but you will have to settle for me rambling about my preparations and experience leading up to and of Quilt Market. I hope it's half as interesting to you as it is exciting for me! :)

I'm exhausted tonight, but I leave you with one of the most rewarding parts of this experience so far... designing my very own selvage logos.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Halloween Part 2 - Fun Spoonflower Fabrics

I thought I would highlight some really great Halloween fabrics from Spoonflower, these are a few of my favorites!

Clock-wise from top left:

1. Halloween Mixer 2 by Heidi Kenney, the master of cut paper designs.
2. Spooky Balloons by Puncezilla, spooky but sweet
3. Mummy Fabric by Bora, queen of cuteness
4. Spidery Web - Halloween by Voodoorabbit, spiderwebs are a gotta' have
5. Lonely, I'm Mr. Lonely by Vo (Virginia Odien), one of my all time faves!
6. Vampies by Jadegordon, these little guys crack me up.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tutorial - Sweet Owlie Softie

I'd been getting requests for my owl pattern after posting pics on Flickr, and I thought, well why not? So after starting and then putting it aside for a few months, I finally finished this pattern & tutorial pdf. He really is a cutie, and not very difficult at all to make. I think he's best with a super soft cuddly belly and wings, but really, you can use any kind of fabric you prefer.... Enjoy!

Downloadable pdf here.   (This link will take you to Google Docs, simply click on the word "file" in the top left corner, then choose "download" from the drop down menu. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions! :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pattern Review - New Look 6913

This past weekend, instead of working on my new calendar designs and about a million other things I actually needed to do, I decided to try my hand at sewing something from an actual pattern. I've been collecting them for awhile now, but finally realized they were just going to continue to pile up until I just jumped in and made one... so I did!

I thought this shirt was a super cute pattern (I'm such a sucker for cap sleeves), and I had some silky fabric in my stash already, so I went for it.

It was a bit more difficult than I'd thought, what with the slippery fabric that pressing had no effect on whatsoever!! But I learned a lot of basic stuff, like the difference between easing and gathering, what stay stitching is and how important it is to cut out all the alignment notches. I also ended up bringing the side seams in a bit, it's quite empowering to stray from the pattern and still have it come out alright. And I must say, I'm quite proud of the finished neckline, that quarter inch binding caused me more than a few gray hairs, I honestly don't know how it came out so even!

I'd love to make this shirt again with fabric that isn't quite as shiny, and with a more subtle print. Or maybe a solid, I think the stitching and construction is interesting enough to hold it's own. But all in all, I'm not only happy with how it came out but ecstatic that I finished a project! That's one less "half-done" to feel guilty about not finishing, and totally gives me the confidence to start a new pattern! 

Like one of these three amazing dresses:

classy and sweet

edgy and cool

Macaron dress by Colette Patterns.
Sample shown here was sewn by persephassa.

It's a tough choice, which do you think?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Surface Design - Ditsy Prints

I recently learned what a "ditsy" print was when I designed one for Spoonflower's weekly fabric design contest. I hadn't previously given much thought to designing really small prints like these, but wouldn't they be sweet as a lining fabric for a purse?

I entered the dusty blue version, but couldn't stop at just one colorway!

Ditsy - Blue

Ditsy - Mustard

Ditsy - Natural

Voting is now open... click here to cast yours!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Halloween Part 1 - Spooky Damask Fabric / Free Cupcake Wrappers

Wow, I can't believe Halloween is just around the corner! I'm a little sad to see the summer pass, but happy to be moving toward the holiday season. Who doesn't love Halloween with all it's creative kookiness and imaginative imagery. I'm going to be doing a series of Halloween posts with all kinds of crafty goodness from fabrics and stationery to edible delights and decor, including lots of free patterns and downloads!

First up.... some sophisticatedly spooky Halloween fabrics, from my "Spooky Damask" series. These are a twisted take on a traditional theme. I think these would make fabulous table runners, place mats, bunting, napkins, gift bags, you name it!

Assorted colors of "Spooky Damask"

You can see how the fabric looks as a tablecloth in this photo I took of some funny little Monster Mash-mallows I made this past weekend (so easy).

The cupcake wrappers also have my Spooky Damask pattern on them and you can download a free pdf file of them (in all 5 colors) here.

Methinks maybe these Frankensteins might be a little lonely though... perhaps some mummy friends, or mini Count Draculas are in order?

Easy steps to make your own Frankenstein Monster Mashmallows:

To save even more time, you could buy your cupcakes already made from the local grocery store plain or with simple frosting. I bought my chocolate cupcakes with plain white frosting swirls and added orange and yellow sugar for a little pop.

1. Starting with ordinary large marshmallows from the grocery store, stick each one with a lollipop stick through the bottom, then stick them into a foam square to keep them upright.

2. Using green edible spray (I found it at Michael's), spray each one all the way around. (You'll want to protect your work area first, or just go in the garage like I did). Don't worry about coloring the tops or the bottoms as you won't see them.

3. For their tops, I melted some Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips in a small bowl and dipped just the tops of the marshmallows in. Chocolate candy melts work just the same, but I think the bittersweet chocolate is a better choice since the marshmallows are already super sweet. In either case, simply put the choc. chips/melts into a small bowl and zap in the microwave for a few seconds as directed on the packaging.

4. Add black sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet.

5. At this point, I go ahead and insert the unfinished monster heads into the cupcakes, b/c it will be harder to do it once you put their faces and bolts on. You can adjust the height of your monsters by cutting off the bottoms of the lollipop sticks until they sit where you want them.

6. Now, draw on his monobrow and garbled mouth with a black colored icing tube. You'll also use the tubed icing to attach pre-made eyes (found at Michael's as well) by putting a dab of icing on the back of each eye before sticking to the marshmallow. 

7. Lastly, Break off small pieces of pretzel sticks and stick in either side of the marshmallow, these are his "bolts". 

8. One thing I didn't get to add was his scar, as I ran out of time, but I think adding one would make him an even better Frankenstein!

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