Monday, February 28, 2011

Time to share YOUR Reversible Everyday Shopper!

It's time to link up to share your Reversible Everyday Shopper for your chance to win this month's prize - a half yard each of FreeSpirit Olive Rose by Valori Wells, in emerald & pink.

Olive Rose Emerald

Olive Rose Pink

The linky party will be open until midnight on Friday, March 4 and the winner will be announced on Monday, March 7.

Only links entered below will be considered for the giveaway drawing, not links entered as comments. You may enter more than once ONLY if you completed more than one bag, and each bag must be in its own blog post & its own link above. If you blogged multiple times for the same bag, please do not enter multiple links above, but link to them in your own blog post. We do want to see your process! If you are linking to a blog, please link up to the specific post, not your main page. That will make it easier to find later, when it's no longer your most recent post. If you are not blogging about your bag (which is perfectly okay!), please link up to your Flickr picture instead of a blog with no post about the bag.

Let's see those Reversibly Everyday Shoppers!

Until next time...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

String Me Along - March

No, you didn't miss anything, and I didn't get lazy - there was no block for February in the String Me Along quilting bee. Unfortunately the woman who's month was February got sick, so we didn't get a chance to make her block. It's too bad too, she had chosen a Flying Over Fields block. Something I was nervous, but anxious, to try.

For March, we are making a slightly wonky & improve log cabin block for Beth. Since I'm new to quilting, this is my first log cabin of any kind, so I was happy it was going to be a wonky version so I didn't have to worry about it being perfect. The funny thing is, I actually had a pretty hard time making this thing wonky! I guess my mild OCD kicked in because I found myself self having to go almost to an extreme just to get things to not look quite straight.

Beth requested it not be too wonky, and not have too many extreme angles, so I hope she likes it.

String Me Along - March 2011

Beth sent along all the fabric except the solid brown & black. Technically they aren't solid, there's just a tiny bit of a texture-looking pattern, but not too out there, and kind of difficult to see in the picture. Beth said we could add fabric of our own if it went along with the fabrics she sent, and specifically mentioned black & white, otherwise I wouldn't have added the black. I do like how it turned out though, & I'm glad I went with it. I just hope she's happy with it. The brown I wasn't so worried about since it's practically the same color as the brown fabric she sent.

Overall I'm really happy with this block, and really wish I could keep it for myself. I think it turned out great, especially for my first try. I love that we got to make this block a little more personal, and it'll be a lot of fun to see what the others in the group make.

And yes, I realize it's not even March yet, and I'm already done with the block. But Beth did such a great job getting the fabrics out on time & I was excited to get started on it. I figured I would take my time making it, but once I sat down with it last night I just couldn't stop until it was finished.

Oh, and it's a pretty big block, about 15" by 17". I won't be trimming it down to make it square, I figure Beth can do that if she likes when she gets it.

Until next time...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Google Analytics

If you blog, do you use Google Analytics? It's a fun way to see how many people visit your blog each day, where they are in the world, how they find you, and what pages they're visiting, among other things.

I'm sure there are productive ways to use it to better target your audience, but for the most part I use it to make myself feel good (I'm not just talking to myself anymore, woo-hoo!), and I enjoy the map feature that shows the cities where people are visiting from.


Hey there Mt. Pleasant! Somebody (or somebodies) there sure like me. :)

Another fun feature is that you can see what search terms people are entering into Google (and maybe other search engines too, I guess I'm not entirely certain) that land them on your page. Most of mine, as you would probably suspect, are crafting related.


The are quite a few further down that have to do with the Sew Along, but I was pretty excited that my top ten now looks to be people searching for me directly. A pretty good sign!

But what really cracked up up today was #19. Now, mind you, below the top ten above, the rest all only have one visit, so thankfully I'm not getting a whole slew of people searching for #19 and landing here. So what is #19?

search 2

"Complete utter frustration with spouse." This completely cracked me up when I saw it this morning. I guess they didn't find what they were looking for since they didn't stick around for long.

Personally, I don't put a lot of stock into the all the information, and like I said, I'm sure some people use it more to their advantage. I just enjoy looking at it from time to see & being able to see how many people are visiting, and what my most popular topics are. I also really enjoy seeing what other blogs are sending traffic my way, some of them surprise me (in a good way)!

It's really easy to sign up & get started. When you sign up, you'll get a code that you need to paste into your blog html. It doesn't matter where you put it, it isn't seen in any way, but they do recommend you put it somewhere near the top of the code so if someone doesn't let your page load fully, it will still track the visit. One thing to keep in mind, if you change your blog template, you'll need to re-add your code. I didn't after I did my redesign last year & couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting any data. Once I figured it out & got my code added back, everything has been smooth sailing since.

I hope everybody has a great weekend! We're digging out from another snow storm here, but hopefully it'll all be gone by the end of the weekend. Come on Spring!

Until next time...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reversible Everyday Shopper: Completed!

I was less of a slacker this month & have had this bag completed for a couple weeks now. It felt so much better than scrambling the last weekend to get it finished up! It's amazing how much more time I seem to have now that we're not still recovering from the holidays. Of course, it sure doesn't hurt that this bag was just a smidge (okay, okay, a TON) easier than the Cosmo Bag.

From what I've seen so far from those of you who have completed it, I think you'd have to agree with me that this should have been the first pattern in the book. I guess I must have assumed that not only did I expect the book to advance through the sewing levels (easy, intermediate, advanced, & experienced) in order, but I also assumed the patterns within those levels would be in order of difficulty. Boy was I wrong!

I enjoyed making this bag, it was a nice break after working so hard on the Cosmo Bag. Cutting out the pieces & interfacing didn't take me two days, and sewing would have only taken me an afternoon if I'd had the time do work on it in one sitting.

As I mentioned before, I chose to use four different fabrics for my bag - all red & navy gingham, in three different pattern sizes.

Reversible Everyday Shopper fabric

Let me tell you, sewing with tiny gingham is a chore & hard on the eyes! I was pretty much cross-eyed by the time I was done, and even now it kind of hurts to look at it! I do like the final look of the bag, but I don't think I'll work with that small of a gingham pattern again.

My finished bag reminds me of summer picnics, and a blanket we always brought to sit on while watching fireworks for the fourth of July.


Reversible Everyday Shopper

I think I like the red side with the blue pocket the best, mostly because the blue handles add some extra contrast. I also like the way the smallest & largest ginghams look next to each other when they're the same color, rather than the largest & medium on the blue side. Again, it adds extra contrast.

I did split my pockets in half, although mine doesn't look as cute as Chrissy's. It's difficult to see here, but I just did a plain line of stitching up the center of the pocket. Try not to hurt your eyes looking too close! :)

Reversible Everyday Shopper - pocket

I really didn't make many changes to the pattern when I was working on this one. I used a fairly lightweight interfacing so it would be easier to turn inside out, and used a lightweight cotton instead of home dec fabric. I also chose not to fold in the straps since I did use decor bond interfacing on them, and I liked them better laying flat. Like I mentioned earlier, I did split my pockets in half. They just gapped too much for me. I haven't done it yet, but I plan on doing at least a few stitches in the seams to attach the two layers together so it'll be easier to turn inside out.

Remember you can check out another pattern review from Sara at Sew Sweetness, and there's a ton of great inspiration in the Flickr Group. I'll have a linky party on Monday for you to share your completed bags for your chance to win this month's giveaway - a half yard each of FreeSpirit Olive Rose by Valori Wells, in emerald & pink.

Olive Rose Emerald

Olive Rose Pink

Get sewing this weekend (if you haven't already!) and I can't wait to see what every has to share next week!

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday #2

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'm linking up again this week over at Freshly Pieced for the weekly Work In Progress party.

Started this week: I'm trying to work a bit ahead on the Sew Along so that I can answer questions, and maybe keep up this summer when things get crazy. I picked out fabric & got the pieces cut out for March's pattern - the Origami Bags. I've decided to make three of the extra small pattern (there are six sizes to choose from!).

Fabric for AB Origami Bags

Each of these is actually a pair that will be a separate bag. I'm using all scraps I bought from Keyka Lou, and even though some of them are pretty good size, none were big enough for the lining pieces. Instead of doing a pieced interior, I've decided to just use muslin & will be sure to use interfacing (not called for in the pattern) since it's thin.

In progress: Yes, I'm still working on the postage stamp quilt & no, I haven't made any progress from last week. I really need a few uninterrupted hours to just sit down and go on it, but I always manage to find a better use of my time. It'll get done, I promise. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

postage stamp quilt

Completed this week: The Heidi Bag from Vibrant Designs. I love how quick & easy this went together, even though I had minimal sewing time. A looming deadline will really get my butt in gear though. :)

Heidi Bag

Non-sewing related accomplishments this week: I'm really too excited about this not to share - thanks to some help (and lots of hard work) from my mom, we got all the wallpaper stripped from the baby's room! There is still a lot of work to do in the room, but this is a huge step. Next up is patching the walls so I can actually paint. No, we still don't know what we're having (and haven't decided yet if we'll find out), but either way I'm painting the walls Pistachio Ice Cream.

Glidden Pistachio Ice Cream

Until next time...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Heidi Bag from Vibrant Designs

Remember the "top secret" project I mentioned earlier this week? Well, it really wasn't too much of a secret, I just wasn't sure if I could blog about it yet. I was lucky enough to be chosen as a pattern tester by Julie of Vibrant Designs for her new Heidi Bag pattern.

This is a really cute little bag (9 1/2" wide x 9" high x 4" bottom), that goes together super quick & easy. I really like the nice, wide bottom (and it's a boxed bottom, my favorite kind to make! No extra pieces or darts!) that makes this bag really roomy for it's otherwise smaller size.

Heidi Bag

Like I mentioned before, I went ahead & used the same fabric I used for my Cosmo Bag, I just can't get over the combo. I ended up not using the striped fabric for the inside this time, instead did some fussy cutting to get different colors on the inside.

Heidi Bag

The exterior, pocket, & strap pieces are all just rectangle cuts, and the interior pattern piece is made by tracing the exterior after sewing on the top band. I traced mine onto freezer paper so I only have to do it once, but you could save a step by tracing it directly onto your fabric (as the patterns calls for). I think I'm going to trim my piece down by just a smidge though, it was a bit baggy on the inside.

Heidi Bag - Interior

There are two slip pockets on the inside, one wider one that is split in half. Next time I will make the narrower pocket just a bit wider, my phone only barely fits.

Heidi Bag pockets

Overall, I really love this bag & will definitely be making it again!

Head over to Vibrant Designs to see the Heidi Bags the other pattern testers have made.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Just gotta share!

I can't not share the most recent bag added to the Flickr Group!

This Everyday Shopper was made by Nellie's Niceties with some great Melody Miller Ruby Star Rising fabric. I've mentioned before how much I love the ViewFinder fabric, so this is pretty hard to resist.

Side 1 of the Reversible Everyday Shopper

Let this be your inspiration for the weekend! You've still got a little over a week left to get your bag finished up if you haven't already. Although, I can't blame anybody else who would like to be out enjoying the weather if it's anything like it is around here after this winter.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Until next time...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to add more hours to your day: a quick tutorial

Seriously, this is so easy I can't believe I'm the first one to come up with it.

Step One: Get pregnant.

Step Two: Spend your entire first trimester either in bed, or at the very least unable to function, after 7:00 PM.

Step Three: Enter your second trimester & magically be able to stay up until 9:00 or 10:00 some evenings.

WA-LA! Instant addition of two to three hours of time to actually get something done. It's really amazing, I promise you.

Of course, you know everything comes with a price, and this little gem happens to come with a life sentence, but hey, it's worth it, right? :)

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday #1

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I've seen this over at Freshly Pieced for a while now & keep meaning to join in, it's a great way to keep track of what I'm working on. I also want to try to share more projects in process rather than just the finished projects, so this should help with that. :)

Completed this week: Nothing, actually. Boo.

Started this week: A super secret project. At least for another week or so, but I'm enjoying working on it. I'm using the same fabric as my Cosmo Bag. I'm really loving the combo of this Ikea fabric (I really need to check what it actually is!) and the denim. It was a happy accident then, but nothing else seems like a better pairing now.

Top Secret project

In progress: Still working on my postage stamp quilt. I've got five & a half stips sets done, 11 1/2 more to go. I'm a procrastinator, so having an August deadline isn't pushing me too much! :)

postage stamp quilt

Make sure you head over to Freshly Pieced to see what everybody else is working on!

Until next time...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

So, apparently there's this holiday to be celebrated today...and it involves a lot of pink...and I'm pretty much pink-ed out.

Not that hubby & I don't celebrate, but we never really do much for it. Gone are the days of romantic candlelit dinners & such, which is just fine with me. We went for dinner at Red Robin Saturday night, more because I didn't feel like cooking after a day spent walking around the Home, Remodeling, & Gardening Show. I got flowers at work today (direct quote from the UPS guy, "Um...I've got a delivery here for Bree...whatever." Our last name looks intimidating, Nick says I should be used to it by now.) and Nick got a bag of Smokehouse Almonds this morning. We're easy to please. :)

To those of you who celebrate, I hope you're having a wonderful day.

To those of you who don't, I still hope you're having a wonderful day.

Honestly, I'll be happy when the Easter stuff comes out at Wal-Mart because I think I've seen enough pink to last me a year.

Until next time...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quick question for you

A question has come up about this month's project:

If you are participating in the Sew Along & will be making this month's Reversible Everyday Shopper, are you planning to use Home Decor weight fabric, or something else? The pattern does call for home dec fabric, but I know I personally used something much lighter, and I've seen many others use quilting cotton. What's your plan, or what did you use if you've already made the bag?

Also, if you're using a lighter weight fabric, are you using a heavier interfacing?

Inquiring minds want to know! :)

Until next time...

Reversible Everyday Shopper: Inspiration

Time for our monthly project inspiration! I know quite a few of you are already done with this bag (myself included, but I'll wait to share mine) and Chrissy from Boerman Ramblings has already made two great versions! Here's a little inspiration for those of you who are still working on yours.

(All pictures link back to the original Flickr page)

First up, from Chrissy:

Love, love, love the animals & the camel appliqué on the pocket!

And check out her Cosmo Bag inspired side pocket!

Great idea with the stitching detail here to split the outer pocket in half. I did sew up the middle of mine as well, but her stitching is so much cuter!

I mentioned last time that Sara at Sew Sweetness used a variety of fabric on hers, and I really like the finished look. It's just so fun & unexpected.
Amy Butler's Style Stitches No. 2 - Reversible Everyday Shopper

Really digging this black & white version from SleepytimeSewing.
Amy Butler Reversible Everyday Shopper

You just can't go wrong with this denim version from sewbeeit!
Everyday Shopper

Perfect spring colors from sewfunbymonique!
reversible shopper

This is a perfect idea from Kiah Grey to use the bag as part of a baby shower gift.
Baby shower gift: "Diaper tote" using "Everyday Shopper" pattern from Amy Butler's "Style Stitches."

I hope this inspiration gets you going, but if not, you've still got plenty of sewing time left this month! The first week may have gotten away from me, but this week has been much better. :)

Don't forget you can upload your photos and ask any questions on the Flickr group.

Until next time...

Monday, February 7, 2011

January Winner!

First of all, huge thanks to Chrissy at Boerman Ramblings who pointed out to me that I never said how the monthly winner will be chosen! All monthly drawings will be done using I don't want to have to try to choose a "best" bag since they're all so great, and I don't want to discourage beginners, so random drawings are the best choice. :)

And now, this month's winner:


And who is number 3?


Congrats Venus de Hilo! I know a lot of us had a rough time with this bag, and her's was no exception. I like that she decided to shrink down the pattern, I think I will try to do the same if/when I attempt this bag again. I don't have an e-mail address for you, so please e-mail me by the end of the week with your shipping information.

Until next time...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

February: Reversible Everyday Shopper

Can anybody tell me where the first week of February went?! Yikes, this week just flew. I guess being snowed in for a few days didn't help much, but I did get quite a bit done around the house!

This month we'll be making the Reversible Everyday Shopper. And let me tell you, I sure wish this had been the first pattern in the book! It would have been a much better start than the Cosmo Bag, but at the very least I guess it can be a good break. :)


Like last month, Sara over at Sew Sweetness is really on a roll & has already shared her pattern review for this month's bag. It's a good place to start after you read through the pattern. I really like Sara's scrappy version, and this pattern certainly works well with various fabrics.

I'm using four different fabrics myself, all red or navy gingham, in three different sizes.


That smallest one on the right is rough on the eyes when cutting & sewing! I swear I was just about cross-eyed by the time I finished with it.

I've seen a few finished bags already in the Flickr album, so I know Sara & I aren't the only ones already hard at work. Be sure to share your pictures (fabric choices too!) and any questions you might have.

This month's giveaway will be a yard of FreeSpirit Olive Rose by Valori Wells, half yard each of these colors.

Olive Rose Turquoise

Olive Rose Salmon

I'll have a linky party again at the end of the month for the drawing.

If you haven't gotten started yet, it's time to read through the pattern & get your fabrics picked out. There is a lot less cutting & fusing this month than we had to deal with last month, so it shouldn't take you a day or two to get that done like it might have last month. :)

Good luck as you get started!

Until next time...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Quick reminder

Don't forget, today is your last day to share your Cosmo Bag to enter to win the January giveaway! There are only 16 entries so far, so your chances are looking pretty good right now!

I'll be posting details for the February bag sometime today or this weekend. This week has completely gotten away from me, and I'm so sorry I haven't had a chance before now! Please forgive me? :)

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Three down, 15 to go...

postage stamp quilt

I finally got around to starting on my strips for the Postage Stamp quilt along over at P.S. I Quilt. I had hoped to keep up with the quilt along, but it just didn't happen. Now that I'm getting started, thankfully it's going together very quickly, and I'm anxious to get it done. There are a ton of great quilt tops in the Flickr group, and it's good incentive to keep me going.

We've got a snow day today, so I'm hoping to get a decent amount done, but I probably still won't be quite ready by the time the giveaway date is announced on Thursday. I'm okay with that though, I'll just be happy when I've got a finished top!

Until next time...