Friday, April 29, 2011

Time to share YOUR Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover

I hope everybody who completed this project enjoyed it as much as I did. I have to tell you, I think this one was much easier than the Cosmo Bag, and this one is considered "Intermediate" while the Cosmo Bag was supposed to be "Easy." What's your opinion on that?

Now's the time to link up to your Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover. From the looks of the Flickr group this month, not quite as many people completed it, so you'll have an even better chance of winning your choice of earrings from the Flamingo Toes Etsy shop as well as the Rachel Bag pattern.

April giveaway - Rebecca bag

Which earrings will you choose:

April giveaway
April giveaway
April giveaway

Or something else? Be ready to make a decision if you're the lucky winner this month!

Entries will be open until midnight on Friday, May 6, and I'll announce the winner Monday, May 9. Please remember to link to your specific blog post or Flickr photo, not the main page on your blog or your Flickr profile.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday #11

First of all, thanks for all your sweet comments & advice last week. I didn't mean to be such a downer, but I really appreciate you all. Thankfully, this week has been much better!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Need to start: Two Keyka Lou basic wallets & a Christmas present (for last year).

Started: April's block for String Me Along and the Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover. I'm not even going to complain about starting two new projects this week. It felt great to work on something new, especially the last two things I absolutely wanted to get done by the end of this week.

In progress: I hardly feel like I can call the Origami Bags "in progress" when I'm not working on them at all. Maybe I should add an "on hold" category. Seems appropriate.

No new progress on the Postage Stamp quilt either, but I've been thinking about it a lot. Does that count for something? :)

Completed: Ahhh....finally, something completed! I finished up my Sis Boom Jamie Dress late last week, but just in time. Sadly, I was less-than-pleased with it, mostly because of my fabric, I think, so I'm already making plans to make another. But to make it all even more worth-while, I actually won one of the sew along prizes. Woo-hoo!

Sis Boom Jamie Dress

Not only did I start the April block for String Me Along, but I also got it done!

String Me Along - April

The kids (Raven and Goose!) woke me up & kept me up early Monday morning. Really early. Raven woke me up at 3:30 because she was hot & wanted out of the bedroom, I couldn't get comfortable to get back to sleep, then Goose decided it was time to party, so I was up for good at 4:00. No better time to get sewing! Fran asked for this Modified Bento Box (uncut), which I really enjoyed making. I can't figure out why I put off working on it for so long! This is also the first time I've worked with Batiks, I'm not usually a fan, but I really like what she chose.

I also got the Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover finished up!

Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover

Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover

And, I got Goose's room painted! We finally figured out how to match the texture on the walls, so the paint looks great.


So, I'd have to say that all-in-all, it was a pretty darn good week! Looking at it this way, it sure was a busy week too!

Head over to Freshly Pieced to see what everybody else has been up to.

Until time time...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover: Completed!

I've got to say, it feels great to have finished this up. Granted, it always feels good to finish a project, but with the rut I'm in, and since this came together so much easier than I expected, this feels especially good.

Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly it was to sew this up. I got the pieces cut out & fused (tons of interfacing, as usual) in about an hour this weekend. I wasn't looking forward to putting everything together. Not because of the project itself, I've actually been waiting to make this one since last winter, but because I figured it would be much more complicated than it needed to be. What can I say, Amy's track record isn't the best. :)

Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover

I really like the way this was constructed. I think I only did a couple things differently - no fusible fleece, I didn't baste the pockets before basting them to the lining (seriously, why?!), and I did the opening just slightly different. I have to say, I love that the pattern calls for the opening to be between the flap & lining piece rather than leaving an opening when sewing the front & back together. I was a little confused at first when it came to sewing the flap to the lining just an inch at each end, but once I figured it out, it was easy. The only thing I did differently was my favorite tip from Michelle at Keyka Lou - lengthen the stitch for the opening & backstitch at each end, then iron the seam open & take out the stitches across the opening once it cools. That way, when it comes time to sew the opening closed, the seam allowance is already pressed & much easier to slipstitch.

Since I used a directional fabric, I took extra care to pay attention to how I was cutting my pieces. Thankfully, I got all my outside pieces exactly the way I wanted.

Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover

I did screw up on the pocket pieces though, they're technically going sideways & I wish I had read exactly how they were going in before cutting them out. They don't look terrible though, so oh well. Also, looking at it now, I wish I had used the lining fabric for the inside of the flap. It doesn't look terrible, but I think it would have looked better if I'd used the black rather than red.

Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover

All in all, I think this was actually a great pattern. As I was finishing it up, I wish I had thought to add a pocket to the back of the outside, so I'll keep that in mind for next time. Otherwise, I don't think I'd make any patterns & I think this is definitely a pattern I'll be using again!

Remember to check back later this week to link up your Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover for your chance at the fantastic prizes from Bev at Flamingo Toes! I'm still jealous of whoever is going to get their choice of earrings from her Etsy shop. I like these ones best, if you'd like to get a little something for your favorite blogger. ;)

April giveaway

If you win, you'll also get the awesome Rebecca Bag.

April giveaway - Rebecca bag

Until next time...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sis Boom Jamie Dress: Completed!

Sis Boom Jamie Dress Sew Along!

It's finally done! Woo-hoo! I got the final touches finished up & boy am I glad to be done with this thing. :)

Sis Boom Jamie Dress

First of all, most of my troubles were my own stupid mistakes, so listen to everybody else when they tell you how easy this dress is to sew. Theoretically, it is, if you haven't got major baby brain going on. I'm definitely glad I decided to make this more plain "muslin" before cutting into my good fabric. Unfortunately, I'm not certain I'll be making another dress with the fabric I had originally planned.

jamie dress fabric

Honestly, I'm torn. I love, love the idea of having a dress made with these fabrics, but the fact is, this dress makes me look like a house. I think part of it is the general poofiness of the skirt (a well-documented complaint in the Flickr group), and partly the fabric I chose. I think if I made it out of something that laid down more instead of poofing out, it would probably look much better. I'm thinking about looking for a cheap knit this weekend to try next. Overall, I'm really happy with how it fits my preggo body, just not how this particular version looks on me.

Sis Boom Jamie Dress

I'm sorely tempted to cut my face out of this picture, I look horrible! I was feeling especially crappy when I took the picture & was in no mood to make myself look decent. Sorry. I'll compensate you for the bleach you may need for your eyes. :)

And also, sorry for the constant "surface of the sun" bathroom pictures. I don't have anywhere better to take pictures of myself! And I tried my best to recreate the bathtub shots to get a full-length shot of this one, but my camera wouldn't focus correctly for anything. It falls just above my knee, which is just about perfect. I was worried it was going to be too short since I didn't have quite enough fabric to make it as long as I had originally planned, and I had a nightmare (not even joking!) that it was super short & I was wearing it anyways. Scary!

As far as my issues making this, like I said, all my own fault. I decided to have the waistband continue around the back of the dress (which is hard to see here since the back of the dress is all wrinkly), which meant some slight alterations to the back pattern piece.

Sis Boom Jamie Dress

Sara share some great instructions for doing this, but per my usual self, I skimmed her tips & then didn't bother looking back while I was actually doing it. My first try, I accidentally cut the back pieces too short, so when I sewed on the waistband, it didn't match up at all with the front. I didn't take any pictures, but basically if the spot at the bottom of the arms lined up, the waistband was about an inch off & if the waistband lined up, the arms were an inch away from each other. And of course I didn't realize this until after I had fully zigzagged my seam & everything. It's a good thing my seam ripper & I are such good friends. For my second attempt, I cut out the full back pieces & didn't trim them down at all. Then I laid my front piece on top to see where the seam for the waistband needed to line up. I sewed it to only the main part of the back pieces (still leaving them the full length) & double-checked it before I did my zigzags. Since I only sewed it to one side of the back piece (not the lining), I was still able to attach the front & back pieces the way it's done in the pattern. And because I didn't cut the lining piece at all, the seam for the waistband is fully enclosed. I really should have taken pictures of this. Sorry!

A lot of the others mentioned cutting about ten inches from each skirt piece to make it less full. I thought about doing that, but decided to keep the full skirt since it needed to go around my belly. The first time I tried to do my basting stitches to gather the skirt, I forgot to change my stitch length before sewing about a quarter of the width of the skirt. Crap. It took forever to rip the stitches out, and afterwards I decided to pleat the skirt instead of gathering. It took a while, and a ton of pins, but I like how it turned out & was much easier than gathering all that material.


I like how the pin heads look like sprinkles or confetti, it's a little pin party!

I took Sara's advice & tried this on a lot while working on it. It was a pain, but definitely worth it. Thankfully I didn't have to make many adjustments, but it was nice to have the reassurance that this would actually fit once I got it done. I've got to say though, changing in & out of this thing a half dozen times at various stages while five months pregnant is not the easiest thing in the world! :)

Sis Boom Jamie Dress

I showed hubby when I got it done & he just said it looked nice. I told him I know I look like a house & just got kind of a smirk from him. When I told him it would be a perfect time to say "No, honey, you look beautiful!" he said he didn't think I liked it when I lied to him. Nice. He's such a man...

Overall, I'm definitely happy I made this, but not 100% sure I'll make another. Like I said, if I can find some cheap knit or other more forgiving fabric, I'll probably give it another try, but I don't think I'll be cutting into my houndstooth for it any time soon. We'll see.

Huge thanks to Sara for organizing the Sew Along & all your great help. I know I wouldn't have stuck with this (or even started!) if not for you. :)

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover: Inspiration

Time for our monthly project inspiration! I'm not sure if it's the project this month, the fact that the days are getting nicer, or something else, but I know I'm not feeling overly inspired to do much sewing lately! I hope you are all having better luck than I am.

From patriciabstudio. I love the stitching details on this one! And she added a fun clip for keys, etc.


From sarahbethe. I absolutely adore the exterior fabric on this one.
Completed checkbook cover

From Langes Fädchen, Faules Mädchen. I like the almost leathery-looking flap.
Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover

Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover

From knason4. Beautiful spring colors!
Amy Butler Checkbook Holder

These two from Fried Okra are just adorable!
Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover - April

There are only a couple currently uploaded to the Flickr group, so make sure you share yours if you've completed it! April will be over before we know it, so get sewing! :)

Until next time...

WIP Wednesday #10

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Is it cheating if I tell you to go look at last week's post & pretend I wrote it this week? :) I really feel like April is totally & completely getting away from me. How in the world is it already April 20 already? How?! much to still get done (started!) this month, and unfortunately I know every month from here on out is only going to be more of the same.

Let's start where I ended last week, since it makes more sense to put that stuff up here at the top.

Need to start: Two Keyka Lou basic wallets, a Christmas present (from last year, ugh), the Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover, April's String Me Along bee block. Sadly, none of this has changed from last week. I especially feel like a slacker for not even having started the project for my own sew along. Sorry all! I know I need to do the inspiration post too. Do you know how hard it is to do that when I'm not very inspired this month? I'll save that discussion for another time.

Started: Thankfully, nothing new. I don't think. It's getting really hard to keep track of things these days. I feel soooo scatterbrained lately (more than normal!) and it's really starting to get to me.

In progress: Currently, I feel like the last two Origami Bags are never going to leave this list. I need some major sit-down time to work on stuff without any distractions so I get get some stuff crossed off the list!

The postage stamp pieces are still in a giant pile on my sewing desk. I did have to pick up the strips I have yet to sew because I needed my cutting mat, but unfortunately that's the only movement on this project. I think it's the one I'm the most excited to work on, but am working on the least lately. Go figure.


My Sis Boom Jamie Dress. Well, technically the muslin, but it's nice enough fabric that I'll wear it when it's done (and it'll be the only one done in time for Easter, sadly), so I'm counting it as a full project. I am excited about it, but had some frustrating issues with it this weekend. More on that when I actually get it finished, which had better be soon since the linky party is tomorrow. I did get quite a bit done on it last night, so now all I have left to do is hem it. Can anybody guess what I'll be working on tonight? :)

Completed: Not a darn thing. Boo. :(

In other news - I'm in a rut, craft-wise, and working hard to dig out of it. Please bear with me. :)

Head over to Freshly Pieced to see what everybody else has been up to.

Until next time...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

TWT - 22 weeks


I realized the other day my feet are totally & completely gone while standing normal.


Yes, unfortunately Goose likes to lay in odd positions, so sometimes I really am that lopsided looking!

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WIP Wednesday #9

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I feel a bit more prepared this week & like I actually got something done for the first time in a few weeks. That's always a good thing!

Started: I think I mentioned starting the Sis Boom Jamie dress last week, but I didn't actually get any work done until this Sunday. Not a whole lot yet, but I've gotten the waistbands (I'm adding one to the back as well) put together, and everything except the skirt cut out.


Right now I'm working with some cheaper fabric I picked up so I can make sure I get all my sizing & fitting worked out before using the good fabric I originally picked out.

In progress: The last two origami bags are still waiting to be made. I keep thinking that having to keep them on this list will make me more likely to finish them, but that just doesn't seem to be working!

Still working on piecing the pairs for my Postage Stamp quilt. I've got quite the pile going now, but I didn't work on them at all this week.


Non-sewing related - we got a bit more work done on Goose's room this weekend. When I stripped the wallpaper a few weeks ago, we realized there was quite a bit of minor wall damage. Nothing terrible, but the walls do need to be patched. Unfortunately, our walls aren't perfectly smooth & we're having a hard time matching the texture. It's really not a noticeable texture, but it sure it noticeable when there are smooth patches all over! Right now it's a big mess since we've got test spots of all sorts of stuff on the walls. Not a pretty picture!


Completed: I finished up the Simple Skirt from Dana at Made. I promise you, this is a super simple project! I could have easily completed it in an hour, start to finish, if I'd had enough time to sit down & work on it the first night I started.

I'm really happy with how it turned out & it's nice & comfortable. It was even quicker since I used the selvedge rather than hemming it, but I like the look.


It was pretty hard to get pictures of this while I was wearing it since the only full-length mirror I have is pretty small, and shoved into the back of my closet behind my wedding dress. Great place for it, huh? My only option was to stand on the edge of the bathtub. I promise I was careful. :)


Need to start: Two Keyka Lou basic wallets, a Christmas present (from last year, ugh), the Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover, April's String Me Along bee block...seems like there are more, but that's all I can think of right now!

Head over to Freshly Pieced to see what everybody else has been up to.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Need a laugh?

I don't normally share this sort of thing, but I just couldn't pass this up.

If you need a laugh or a smile today, just watch this.

Around 1:50 is my favorite part. I just want to rub that belly!

Until next time...

I-Spy Squares

Last week I finally got around to cutting up my squares for the I-Spy Swap at Hendrixville. I'm not late yet, but feel a little behind the times. Judging from the fabrics she's gotten so far, I'm really excited to get my package back in the mail. And I'll be honest, I'm pretty excited about my own fabrics this time around too.

These little birds & flowers in the upper left are my absolute favorite in the group. I guess I still have a thing for bird fabrics!


You can't tell it from the picture, but the butterflies in the upper right have a silvery outline that's much prettier in person. Another of my favorites!


I actually pulled half the fabrics for these from my stash. Some of them I've had for quite a while (the green with yellow & brown birds was used for this purse) or were fabrics I just couldn't pass up at one point. I never got around to using some of them & they were perfect for this, so I decided it was time to let them go. At least I'll have my own 4" square (and the scraps!) to remember them by!

Oh, and if you're a part of the swap, I'm in group A, so if you are too, you can look forward to these!

Until next time...

Monday, April 11, 2011

I have a secret...

I've got a little secret for you. You may not have guessed this, but I absolutely love Keyka Lou patterns! What, you already knew that?! I can't get anything by you guys. :)

But seriously, if you've been around a while, you know that I couldn't say anything better about Keyka Lou patterns. Michelle has some of the best instructions (tutorial-style, my favorite!) with lots of great pictures. She also has some of the best "why didn't I think of that?!" sewing tips.

Unfortunately I haven't had much time (or made the time, is more like it) lately to work on any of the many Keyka Lou patterns I have but haven't had a chance to make yet. It's like I'm addicted to them, I have to get all the new ones as soon as they come out. I haven't picked up her newest pattern for the Ditty Bag yet, but you'd better believe it's on my list!

Stack of Ditty Bags
Photo from Keyka Lou

So what does any of this have to do with you? Well, if you're a fan of Keyka Lou patterns or would like to see what the fuss is all about, now is the time to stock up! Well, most of April, to be exact, since it's her Anniversary Sale! Now through April 20, all patterns are only $5. That's right, five bucks for some amazing patterns. Go now, check them out & stock up. You won't be sorry you did!

Some of my favorites?

Kokeshi Dolls
Photo from Keyka Lou

Water Lily Tote
Photo from Keyka Lou

Spring Preview
Photo from Keyka Lou

Until next time...

March Winner!

Thanks to everybody who linked up last month! It was great to see all your bags. I love how even when we're all using the same pattern, just by altering the size & fabric, all the bags turn out so unique!

There were a total of 33 bags made, for those of you who made more than one, I added your extra entries to the end (one entry for each extra bag) of the link list. And the winner is:


Congrats to Sarahbethe from A Few Moments to Spare! Sarahbethe made this beautiful set of Origami Bags.


Absolutely stunning!

Please send me an e-mail with your info so Julie can get your clutch sent to you!


Until next time...