Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Almost here!

Just a quick post to announce that my trunk with my beloved fabric has reached Tel Aviv! It still has to go through customs with the rest of our belongings from Bogota, but at least it has reached the country. Now, out to buy a sewing machine. Looks like it's going to be a Bernina. I'l be sure to let you know.

Take care,


Monday, February 27, 2012

Calm cool water

After making quilts for the kids in the family, I proposed making a quilt for my parents-in-law. Below is a king-size (98,5"x98,5" or 2,5m x 2,5m) quilt using the hidden nine-patch technique. The color palette requested was blue and white, though I added some turquoise to spice it up a little.

The quilt back was with solid light blue cotton with leftover strips of fabrics from the top sewn together in a vertical line a little off-center. The binding was merely an extension of the back that I folded and machine sewed onto the front.

Pre-basted - I love the stained glassed window effect. I sometimes wish the quilt can remain this way.

A close-up of the pre-basted quilt top before ironing. Looks all nice and puffy.

Once again, I did not get my hands on cotton batting, and had to settle on a synthetic product. Because of the size and batting quality, I knew the sewing machine would frown upon any machine quilting, so I did circular hand quilting with different shades of corresponding blue DMC embroidery thread number 5.

It was my first attempt at hand quilting. My preference was for a simple pattern, since the quilt itself was rather busy. The circles were an attempt to tone it down a bit and tie it all together.

 Quite of mix of different fabrics, and all from my stash. My mother-in-law favors light colors, but I am glad I added some darker tones. The quilt is also for my father-in-law after all!

In the end it looked like a pool of water with drops hitting the surface; rather soothing for a bedroom don't you think?

All the best,


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bob the builder, let's go fix it!

With all the hammering and repairing my son was doing on his car, his bike, his bed, the sofa, our bed, the cupboards, doors, etc. etc., it was about time for a proper tool belt. I used a robust fabric for the back and the inside, and added a construction truck print to decorate the front. Four pockets were made by sewing through all layers three times from the front. A little loop was added on the side so that his hammer could dangle and provide some authenticity.

To attach the tool belt, the straps are wrapped around the waist and tied in the back. If I were to do this again, I would probably try to find a system that was easier for the kiddies to take the tool belt on and off without adult assistance - either velcro or a super large elastic.

Apologies for the poor picture quality, but most of my projects, including this one, are still in the trunks we are awaiting from Bogota. I can't wait for them to arrive, so I can get to my fabrics. I have to laugh, but I do miss them so!

All the best!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Something for the bigger girls or women

I got so caught up with little kiddy stuff that it was fun to diversify and sew something for my nieces who are of school age. A couple of months before Christmas I came across the very explicit clutch purse tutorial on Noodlehead from Keyka-loo. Many have tried it out and revealed their interpretations on the net. Here is my take on it.

For three sisters, I made clutches with the same base fabric (once again butterflies) but with different accent colors that can be found in the outside print.

 In the clutches matching tissue holders were included.  A nice way to use up scraps.

 The clutches were a nice size to fit in their school bags, where they can keep their "nécessaires". It can also be used by an adult - it is big enough for a small wallet, a cell phone, keys and a tissue cozy of course.

Lovely clear close-up!

To be honest, I am pretty blown away by the lovely pictures my sister-in-law took. I love how the angles, close-ups and the cheeky turquoise background adds so much vivacity. It really makes a difference when a gifted photographer takes the photos. Such a shame that my sister-in-law lives on another continent and can't help me with my other projects!

Have a wonderful day!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First shopping trip to the old city

So, I finally made a purchase in charming Jerusalem Old Town; a labyrinth of bazaars that can easily get you lost, but that does not matter because there is just so much to see, smell and touch.

We have a very white and sterile living room, which desperately needed some color. I wanted to buy local items that would last our stay here and which we could feel comfortable having in our future home once we settle down.

The local Palestinian Beduin tradition uses dark vibrant colors. The same tones are used in the ladies' traditional dresses, where cross stitches are in abundance.

I was informed that it takes one person a full week to complete such a pillow.

Surely there is at least one quilt idea to be had from this trio!

I also bought a woven Bedouin carpet - actually saddle carpets, if I have understood correctly. Again the same color combination.

Here you can see one of the tassels from where the two carpets were joined together. There are also tassels on the outer corners. So far the kids are not tripping too much over them!

I like how the lines in the carpet provide a change to all the cross stitches in the cushions, but still keeping with the color scheme.

There's probably a quilt or two to be had in this rug as well...

Take care,

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Woolen baby boy log cabin blanket

As we were leaving most of our belongings in our trunks that would take around 6-12 weeks to arrive, I thought I would knit a woolen blanket for my son, as I did not knowhow warm that blankets in our new apartment would be.

Inspired by the log cabin quilting method, I used up some spare soft baby yarn I had lying around. The idea was taken from Peacock Modern. I could have made more out of it color-wise, but since I had so many blues to get rid of I kept it monotone.

The middle part was actually from my son's first baby sleeping bag, which he didn't use much so I did not feel too guilty unraveling it. The rest is straight-forward knitting. I added some extra baby blue in the end, since I did not have as much dark blue yarn in the end. It didn't concern me too much, as it is a patchwork but in yarn after all.

Because there is so much dark blue, it is unfortunately difficult to see the change in knitting direction in the corners. I still like it though, because this gives an abstract feel. It measures appr. 29,5"x39"(75cmx100cm). It is an easy blanket to knit, does not take much time, and can give fabulous results with bright colors.

This blanket has been used daily, because it has indeed been chillier than anticipated in our new home during this winter season. Luckily I had the foresight to make it before we left (during my rush to pack) those last couple of weeks in Bogota.

Have a nice one!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Diaper clutch with changing mat

After scouring the internet for different tutorials and ideas for diaper changing accessories, I put something simple together inspired by what was online. A useful tutorial would be this one from Violet Craft found on Sew Mama Sew. Using sturdy fabric on the inside and out, I made two sets of changing pouches with changing pad: one for my son and one for my daughter.

The bag closes with an elastic that wraps around the clutch allowing the bag to expand when it is full but still keep the items in place when it is less full. It fits nicely in my purse and comes along with us everywhere.

In addition to the changing pad, there was room enough for a ziploc bag of wipes, a rag, ointment, an extra underwear or onesy and 2-4 diapers depending upon their size.

The changing pad is made with a soft and insulating fleece on top and a stiff fabric on the bottom. Dimensions of the changing mat are appr. 16"x21,5" (appr. 40cmX55cm) and the bag while closed appr. 11"x7" (28cmx17cm).

The changing mat can be folded or rolled up, whatever is preferable.

I must say, these clutches have really served their purpose. They have traveled with us far and wide and have been washed frequently without any sign of wear and tear. I had initially made two changing pads per set, but since they air dry so quickly after being washed, the reserves have been mostly lying in the drawer untouched.

Enjoy your day!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kiddie house slippers

This is not entirely my own sewing project, but rather a repair. These are actually homemade house slippers I bought for my son from the internet, but unfortunately the cute monkey print top part quickly frayed. Using some old denim cut-ups, I took the old tops of the slippers as a pattern and cut them out. After having quickly appliqued a cow on each, the pieces were re-sewn.

My son insisted that the picture be taken while standing on his books... I had to act fast before he changed his mind!

In any case, the cows were a big hit with my son and he gets a bit more wear out of this pair before he grows out of them. The denim fabric makes the slippers much sturdier than normal cotton print, and if I were to make slippers from scratch I would definitely use such fabric again.



Monday, February 13, 2012

Farewell quilt for our lovely "niñera"

We arrived in Bogota when my eldest was only six weeks old. When he turned nine months, I thought it was about time to get some help. Through my Spanish teacher, we got to know of this wonderful young lady who was simply amazing with my son. She took care of both my children until we left for Jerusalem. 
As a parting gift, I decided to  sew her a quilt. Funnily enough I was going to make her a rainbow plus quilt, but when she caught me in the act of arranging the squares (though not knowing it was for her), she expressed how much she liked the reds, oranges, yellows and greens, not caring much for the cooler colors. I should have known this latin lady would like warmer tones. With a couple of weeks left before our move, I hastily had to re-think this quilt. Luckily I could revert to one of my favorite quilting sites, Red Pepper Quilts, for well-needed inspiration in a time of need as this pallet was way out of my comfort zone.

My version of the citrus quilt. 

I added some kiddie motifs, hoping it would not get too childish, as she was surrounded by some of them while playing with the children in their room. Something to remember the kids by. The back was made with beige linen and with some leftover squares making two horizontal lines. Among the squares on the lower line, I incorporated a quilt label with a picture of the kids on a rocking horse and some words of sentiment. I quilted vertical lines on each side of these seems. Batting was white fleece, in order to provide some warmth in rainy Bogota. The quilt fits a queen sized bed.
As we were all getting a bit emotional before we left, I chose not to give her the quilt personally. Instead I put it among some things that we left behind for her. During our first skype call together since our arrival to our new city, she expressed her joy over the present. Quilts are not common in Colombia, so it was quite the hit among her friends and family. It would seem she prefers the back because of the picture of the little-ones, though!
Enjoy your day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Doll bassinet with blanket

When my daughter was born my mother-in-law kindly sent a soft dolly that my baby could cuddle with in the crib. I assembled a little sleeping bag from scraps of a quilt I made for her cousin as the colors went well with the doll.

The sleeping bag measures appr. 8"x16" (appr. 21cmx40cm).

For Christmas my mother-in-law rightly thought it was about time for my daughter to get her first real dolly. I thought that the dolly needed somewhere to sleep. She indicated the size and I set to work making a little basket with a blanket for it.

There are quite a few tutorials out there, but I thought that the top of the bassinet should not cover the doll too much, so that my little girl would not have to struggle to take the dolly in and out of the basket.

Nothing Fancy had a nice tutorial and it was done in a few hours of uninterrupted work. 

The blanket is actually a Dresden quilt block taken from a tutorial found on Oh Fransson! It was very easy to follow and I could use a series of scraps which colors coordinated with the butterfly print. The batting is polyester and I did not bother to quilt but just stitched around the edges.

My daughter was taking a nap during the picture session, so big brother (almost 3 years) agreed to model for a quick shot. As you can see, the size and straps are appropriate for a toddler to carry around or ...

... put in a baby carriage to be driven around. 

Have a nice day!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Doll house for toddler or older

Our little girl's first birthday was coming up and I was trying to figure out what to make for her. She had yet to discover dolls, so I thought I would balance out all the cars in our playroom with something a bit more feminine. So I made a doll house that was small enough for the little one to carry around on her own. 

This wonderful tutorial from UK Lass in US for a doll house (but can also be for a barn or perhaps even a garage, as my little boy suggested), was easy to follow. So much so, that I made another one with some scraps I had for another little girl's birthday in one morning. 
All the best! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On the road again...

As mentioned earlier, my little boy loves cars and since we were taking some cross-atlantic plane trips I was happy to come across the different small travel car mats that were on the net, especially this one: From Blank Pages. With this nifty little mat he could store his cars in his bag without losing them, and then fold it out to play with them on his plane or train tray.
I made a large circular car mat that my son uses in his room (to be posted in the future), and I used the same green base fabric for these mini versions. The roads are made with a simple grey fabric which are zig-zag stitched onto the base fabric. The storage end (or garage) and the velcro were added to the top part, before sewing on the back. 
There are many variations seen on the internet, and I went with four matchbox size car storage version as it seemed less bulky and less cars to keep track of when traveling. One tutorial from From Blank Pages gives a good description, though I made some minor alterations. I felt lucky to have found this traffic sign fabric. A nice touch, don't you think?
Below you can see the fabric used on the back and how the car mat can be folded nicely together held with velcro. 
Of course his little sister had to have one too, so I chose another fabric for the back of the second one to distinguish the two from each other. Both are well-used by both kiddies.
Have a great one! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Silent book for toddler

As I was preparing for the big move from Bogota to Jerusalem, I had to try to cut down on my stash and my scraps. I had a great deal of animal prints that I decided to use for silent books for my toddler and her boy-cousin of the same age.    
The process was as follows: two pages were sewn together first, then the two with another pair - fronts facing each other, but not all the way around leaving enough room to turn it right side out. Once this is done the pages are grouped to be sewn together. Ideally all pages are sewn together in one go down the middle, but I had too many pages for my little sewing machine to handle so I had to sew three seems in the end.
If my fabric pieces were too small to complete one page, I just sewed on bits from other prints. 
And in some cases I appliqued animal prints cut-outs on a background fabric. 
This is a good book to keep in bed, as the babies will not hurt their heads on it like they can with some cardboard books. It also keeps them entertained for awhile, before waking the house up in the morning. 
I diversified with farm animals, insects, birds, jungle beasts and sea creatures. However, I think I like this last page the best. The penguin seems so happy and carefree.

It was easy to sew, though it took a bit of time as I totally overdid the number of pages I included. It is a question of what one has in one's stash or particular preference. As mentioned above, when there are many pages, it is rather difficult to sew them all together without making the book look too clumpy. However, I was really keen to cut down on the stash that was to go in my travel trunk. In the end I had to give away quite a lot of my stash anyway, because the kids' stuff had to be prioritized in our boxes. Oh well...
Have a nice one! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tyrone the mailman, Tyrone the mailman...

My little boy is a huge fan of the Backyardigans, and one of his favorite songs from this pre-school TV show is "Tyrone the mailman". So for Christmas I made him a mailman bag. The pattern I used was from this tutorial of a messenger bag on Fabricworm.

For the outside I used the same canvas fabric as I used for the inside of my son's fishing bag (see earlier post). The inside is lined with a cotton fabric with monkey print.
The bag closes with velcro. I did not have rings to adjust the shoulder strap as suggested in the tutorial, so I just sewed the strap straight on and did a little knot on the shoulder. He will surely use it for a few years to come. 
I wanted to make some postcards made out of fabric with velcro attachable stamps, but at my kids young age I thought the stamps would just get lost. Therefore I bought some normal postcards with pictures of animals and then glued pictures of friends and relatives on them so my son would know from whom the card came or who it should be delivered to. 
My son rides around on his bike, his bag over his shoulder and delivers the mail to his baby sister, who observes with delight.
All the best,