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Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday snapshot from the sewing room

Hi everyone,
Hope this Friday funds you smiling! 
Like my big boy here...


Although his age is showing a bit... We had to go to the vet and see if arthritis is coming up since he gets really stiff and slow after a longer period of inactivity. Solution - keep him active and moving! (Not a bad one for us humans too, right?)

My sewing room is a bit of a mess these days - but a good mess!! Lots going on! Wedding dress is on hold for a bit until we decide on actual fabrics (swatches flying over to the bride-to-be so she can ponder over them) and some lace lovelies arrived in the mail too...
Aren't these gorgeous?
What do yo think?  :)

Of course quilting is alive and well too - so much happy mail recently! I am so thrilled to be invited to participate in not one but TWO blog hops soon - I can barely stand the excitement!! (much more about this to come soon!!)

You know by now that I am a big fan of Art Gallery Fabric and love just about anything they produce,  but Pat Bravo's new collection #Etno (already in stores) and Katarina Roccella's up and coming new collection #Skopelos are really, really up on the top of my list and pulling on my heart strings!! 

Just look at this gorgeous array of colors and patterns of  #EtnoFabrics !!


I look at them, I pet them, I arrange them in different groups and ideas just keep coming...

The Nightfall...


The Sunrise...


Or together, with some brilliant sunshine in the middle? :)


Or how about this array on gray?


I was doodling something like this instantly...


But just this morning a new idea popped into my head... 


Hmmm...what do you think?

More doodling to come! :)

And the #Skopelos... OOOH how instantly I dream of gorgeous summer day, some beautiful Mediterranean riviera (pulling memories from my childhood here...) and a gorgeous twirly dresses for my little baby granddaughter! 

Dress #1...


Dress #2...


Maybe even #3?


I think I want one for myself too. And a quilt perhaps... Or a beautiful wall hanging to remind me of Mediterranean always... 

Speaking of dresses - our little Juliana is really, truly the sweetest little girl in a whole wide world and I love her sooooo much!!!  I constantly dream of stuff to make for her... 

Few current projects:


How cute is this Baby Sadie's Sweet peasant dress (by Create Kids Couture - so many fabulous, well written patterns!) in Katarina's gorgeous #Recollection fabric? Other prints in the collection kinda get much more attention, but I love this one so much!! (it is RCL-706 Remembrose Doilies Light ). Isn't it just perfect for little girl's dress?? And yes, perfect colors of my favorite 50wt Aurifil are there to make it all just right. :) I did deviate from the pattern a bit - I cut the dress part on a bias, to get it to be more flouncy.
By the way, that little doily will somehow find its way into a sash or a headband... It just HAS TO, right?

Then I tried to do another variation - I cut dress part short and added a bias-cut "skirt" part. I really, really like this one!! Used absolutely heavenly soft Art Gallery Knit fabric (I am seriously getting addicted to this stuff!!) - this adorable, sunny yellow is part of AGF Limited Edition collection, Gleeful by Caroline Hulse of SewCaroline . Instantly ordered more of this beautiful fabric - our girlie looks so cute in yellow and I know I will make so much more from this...


Both dresses now need some fun embellishments, like daisy buttons, few different sash options, maybe a cute head band or two...? Don't you think?? :) 

Oh the other day I spotted this cute little basket in the store and just knew it has to come home with me and be filled with something Easter Bunny-cute for my little bunny...


So little more search in the store produced some cute Easter kitchen dish towels and....VOILA!
Mammy and baby matching, quick aprons, with a message from grandma!



These are super easy and quick to make! Not my invention and there is plenty of  tutorials out there for them, here is ONE with famous Jenny from Missouri Quilt Company. I make these all the time!

I can't wait to see these on my little sweetie and her wonderful mommy!

You might noticed that this "snapshot" does not include any messy-ness from my sewing room - hey, who needs to see that? Besides - messy is a constant state in there, so I am sure there will be plenty of opportunity in the future... ha ha!

Wishing you a wonderful last weekend of March,

Marija





Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Remember me? (and The story of the wedding dress - Part 1)

Hi everyone,

Lately I feel like every other post of mine is something "I am back..." Or the other. 
But it is what it is, and things have been piling up - both in my life and in my head, to share with you all, so I better get back to my neglected blog... :)

Still no big signs of spring here, still mounds of snow, but it's coming down slowly. 
Birds are singing. Yay! 

Our big boy turned 8 years old last week. He is definitely not a youngster any more, but I really, really feel strongly about doing everything I can to keep him happy, healthy and very active - for many more years!  His birthday was right on the day when he usually goes to doggy daycare for a day, to play with other dogs and be active and social - so he got a big, healthy doggy cake to share with all his pals. That tongue says it all, specially since Marley does not get too excited about food in general...


So what kept me busy and away - wedding dress stuff!! My daughter was in town and besides spending every minute I could with her (to soak in and store it, for the days when I miss her...), we also had some amazing time planning the wedding dress. Aaah how lovely, deeply emotional and just pure fun was to go watch her try all those lovely dresses and to share it all with Lauren, our daughter-in-law and Jelena's future MIL and Lauren's mom too. Those really are some of the memories I will cherish forever.

She tried many dresses, one lovelier than the other...


We all loved details and lace on this one:



The lace detail is just beautiful!!
And the back too... (but we all agreed that straps were a bit to thin..? What do you think?)


There were so many more, and they all look so gorgeous on her - hey, I know I am totally biased, but all the ladies in the wedding shops said exactly the same!! :)



And then there is this one - we call it a "million dollar dress", since my girl said she felt like million dollars in it.


The back is gorgeous too...


Just look at her face! {{{{{{{{ cue mom's heart fluttering and smiling!!}}}}}}}}
 I worked REALLY hard on not crying, you guys!! :)



It was just such a beautiful, fun day!! I will remember it forever.

And then...just the two of us, we sat down with a cup of coffee to try and sort it all out. So my amazing, beautiful girl says that, yes, all of those dresses were lovely, and there was at least 2-3 that she could get right now and be perfectly happy with them, but...what is it that she will cherish and remember the most? What is it that would make it extra special for her? You know what she said? Time and memories of us making it TOGETHER. The fact that I made her dress. The love it will be in every stitch.

Yeah. I am one incredibly lucky person, my friends.

We raised our kids with all our love and the best we knew how, but to have them be such amazing people now, people that love us and give back and most importantly - people that make us better every day now, by saying and doing things like this - that is a blessing above all.  A gift I am not sure how I deserved, but a gift I cherish every day.

So here we are - got some white fabric for a practice dress, to tweak the pattern, change it and all, until its perfect. Yes, you guessed it - I am a bit nervous...I am not sure I am good enough to do this...but I am going to give it my best!! And my wise girl is right of course - this is THE BEST, these are times and memories that fill my heart with so much joy.


First trials were OK, but some changes are in order, and we are waiting for some lace appliques and details to come in the mail... That is one thing that worries me only - where to get good quality fabric and lace?? In Buffalo, sadly we have nothing but JoAnn fabric any more, and that is just not good enough... So internet searches, ordering swatches... Any good ideas or suggestions? Send them my way, I would love to hear and appreciate it very much!!

I will keep you posted, of course.

In the meantime, spring is coming, our little granddaughter is growing, being cuter by the minute and I can't wait to make a whole flurry of little dresses for her too! I don't care if she can wear them only once - I just want to make, make make!
So here are some starts... I will post final photos in few days too.

This gorgeous print from Katarina Roccella's new fabric line named Recollection just called for some ruffles...cute little ruffles...


And then some sunshine too - this knit fabric comes from Art Gallery Fabric collection so properly named Gleeful - it just made be totally gleeful and smiling!! It was sunshine inside and outside my sewing room this past Sunday! ;)


I have my beginners Quilting class tonight but hope I will have enough energy after that to play some more with embellishing these little cuties. I want to make few different sashes and maybe even head bands to go with - stay tuned!

Wishing you  happy St. Patrick's day and a lovely week ahead,

Marija

Friday, February 13, 2015

My little Valentine...

Hi everyone,

And happy, happy Valentine's Day!!! 
Love truly is the essence of our lives and needs to be celebrated EVERY day in EVERY way! 

 I am sure by now you all know how much I love being grandma and having our Juliana's first Valentine is yet another opportunity to have fun, shower her with love and count my blessings. Of course, how do we quilters express all those emotions the best? - by making something! :)
Halt everything else, it is time to make sweet Valentine for my sweet little girl!


When I saw a mini-charm pack of Moda's Kiss, Kiss! collection in my local quilt shop it was just so cute and I had to have it... and I am not even a charm (or mini-charm!) kinda person!! So I just played with those perfectly cut (I can see how one can get used to this!), little squares until I had a HEART...

At first I picked only red and pink squares, but then I liked just a touch of that beautiful blue in there! Agree?

Now on to sew these 49 little gems together! 


Here is how I do these things to stay in order and somewhat organized. I sewed them in vertical pairs, using chain-piecing - so I flip the right most vertical column onto the next one and start sewing from the top:


Here are three columns of pairs and I had one leftover since it is a odd number.

I also take those "chained" pieces to my ironing board and, in order to have opposing seams later (to match the seams perfectly), I lay the chain on the board and flip every other one, like this:


That way, as I open each top fabric and press, my seams will be opposing. Does that make sense to you?
One gets opened up...

The next one down...

Uh, oh... that ironing board cover looks dirty, but honestly it is just some staining that happened once I pressed some fabric from Africa that my daughter brought for me...It is actually CLEAN. :)

OK, so here are my pairs all pressed and plus that one, odd row:

Now I flip the pair onto another pair (left part) and the odd row onto the third row of pairs. Here pins are necessary to keep everything in place...

So once I sewed that and joined two parts together, here is my chained piece!! At this point you can't make a mistake any more, since they are all connected! Now just to join the rows together:


And with those opposing seams, it was really a breeze, and NO PINS!!

Once I had that done, I wanted it turned "on-point" so choosing the fabric for that was the next order of fun!!

This print (Moda's "Flirt" collection) was my first thought:


Or beautiful print from AGF's Recollection line?


Or go with just solid, soft pink...lighter or darker?


I really liked how heart stands out on the solid, but liked BOTH shades of it, so here is a way to use both?


YUP - that was THE one!!
Now on to choosing thread colors for quilting - fun never ends for us quilters, does it??
Juts look at these Aurifil beauties!!


I went with the darker pink (kinda coral) color for the middle heart part and then switched to that whisper-light pink (I love that one so much!!), for the solid pink part...

Since prints hide quilting so well, here is the back. At this point it was after midnight and I was running out of steam...so stopped here for the day...


But, bright and early next day, the fun continues!! :)
In the corners I wanted a heart, a nice one - so I cut one out of paper and used it as a template to trace lightly and then go from there... Followed the traced line - that was HARD for me!! But every time there is a chance to try something new and challenge myself - I learn something new, yay!!




So this was the FIRST of the four corners done... definitely room for improvement!!


Next one - better!!


These guys were done free-hand but with little 1" marks on the edge of the strip (can you see them?) and that was really what helped to stay somewhat uniform!


Tried my hand in grand baby's initials too - not the best, but ok!


So here it is - ALL DONE!!



Binding time!!
That little touch of blue gave me the chance to use some blue in my faux piped binding and I just LOVE how colors work together!! Have you tried this kind of binding?? It is so much fun and not at all difficult! This is not my idea and there are many tutorials out there, just Google "faux piped binding"!

But basically, you choose tow colors and instead cutting one width for binding (usually 2 1/4" or 2 1/2" wide strips), you cut your main color strip at 1 1/2" wide (red one here) and your "piping" color strip at 1 3/4" wide (teal) and then join them together lengthwise to get your binding strip (you will have a 2 3/4" wide strip).

Once you press it as you would normally do, because one color is wider, it will "peek" from the fold!


And then you just go on to use it as you would normally do any binding!
What I love with this is also that once you are doing your final stitching of the binding, as long as you stay in the "ditch" between the two colors - your thread is almost invisible!!



ALL DONE!!



I made this into a pillow cover (it is 20" square), so here is the back:


OOOH but wait!!! The afterthought... I got the idea to have a little pocket on the back, so that I can stick in a little note, a Valentine card, a book I also got for her.... Oh my - what is one to do??
Well, even though I should have thought of this before, I wasn't giving up!! Made a pocket, pinned the living daylights out of it to the back (used my little cutting board under  that top layer for easy pinning)...


...and then there was some major wrangling of that pillow cover, with the free-arm on my machine...


...but I DID IT!!! hoorayyyy!!!!






I love, love, love my little Valentine!!!



And I can''t wait to kiss that little cutie and give her all of this!!

Wishing you all love and joy,
Marija

PS - Marley says - good job mom, now lets go for a walk!! :)