Not again!

You might remember my vent a little while ago about how the timing on my sewing machine made a turn for the worse. $99 repair..more than half of the cost of another machine. I thought my machine would be all better, but I was terribly wrong.

Last week, I started noticing that it would hesitate when I tried to turn the hand wheel. Then, when making holiday Nifty Woofs, the machine stopped reverse stitching altogether. I need reverse stitching for the bandannas to keep the seams secure, but now I have to do that manually. Pain in the you know what.

I can’t believe my machine broke so quickly again. Let’s just say that this crafter will never buy a Singer again. EVER. This is my machine.

Image source

I’ve been sewing on it for about a year now, and it’s already having major problems. Boo on you Singer. Never again.

Maybe in a couple of months, I’ll splurge on a new machine. I’m totally NOT paying another $99 to get this machine fixed, only to have it break on me again. No way.

Block Swap ::gulp:: Quilt?

Once upon a time, I helped to host a quilt block swap.

Soon after…way too soon after, since time flies and all, I had a bunch of ::awesome:: squares in my hands. I knew/hoped all of the participants would be happy, because I sure was!

Then, a little idea popped into my head.

I printed grid paper, used most of my mechanical pencil’s eraser, but my little idea ended up on paper.

I started sewing up part of a charm pack that I bought months ago to start making my little idea a reality.

Charm Pack

My little idea is starting to look good.

My little idea isn’t a quilt, though.

Tree Skirt Idea

As you can see in the bottom left corner, I did the math wrong, but I fixed it in Picnik.

Surprised? ;)

I hope you don’t mind. :)

Because I don’t have enough to do…

I have a problem. My personal craft to-do list. Can I admit to you that I have a cross-stitch sampler that I owe to a good friend for her baby. I’ve been working on it since she got pregnant….and uh, the baby is now 1. (Worst crafter EVER, right? I’m working on finishing this one though, I swear.) I also sort of wanted to make a college scrapbook for myself. Well, I graduated college over 3 years ago…fantastic.

At random times, though, I’ll finish a project I’ve had my sights set on.

Finished Baby Quilt

Pajama Pants

Turkey Cake Pops

Well, now I have ANOTHER project I want to do, because I’m so competitive. This contest. Chances are solid that I won’t win, unless no one enters or anything. The prizes are drool-worthy though, and maybe no one will enter? Heh.. Also, I think I’m going to attempt free motion quilting with this one. Eep!

I bought my fabrics at Jo-Ann Fabrics yesterday, which are LSU colors. I tend to lean towards the blues/greens with my quilts, so I wanted to do something different color-wise.

I chose to do this pattern from Oh, Fransson!. It’s a wonky quilt…another first for me, but the tutorial looks simple enough. I just hope I don’t end up with a heap of fabric on the cutting board, and me drowning my sorrows in a pint of ice cream. Ha!

I can do this in a month, right? LOL…not like I have other quilts to do. (sarcasm)

So…here goes. I might be attached to my sewing machine by the time this is over…Christmas Quilt Block Swap Quilt, this quilt, my Etsy projects and my handmade Christmas gifts to family/friends. Oy..I’m a little cah-ray-zee.

Blocks of Christmas Cheer!

I found myself at Target today to get a couple of things for lunch. I was absolutely stunned to see that the store was completely decorated for Christmas! It’s that time of the year again, for sure!

The decor reminded me SO much of the quilt block swap. :-) I’ve been so excited to assemble these block packages for the swap. It was sort of like a little bit of Christmas to me, opening those packages of blocks.

Sadly, a few participants decided against sending blocks, which sort of stinks. :-(. Good news though…there are some seriously adorable blocks that were mailed, great quilts to be made and I cannot wait to see them all! Can you?!?

I got this super cute card in one of the packages. Just adorable.

Quilting Card

I really loved the fabrics that were mailed in. Everyone’s were different…some traditional, some modern, some whimsical. Just awesome. :)

Quilt Blocks 4

I’m just posting slight previews, because I don’t want to giveaway how the quilts will come out! :-)

Quilt Blocks 3

And I’m not going to give it away, but….

Quilt Blocks 2

…take a wild guess at which of these pictures include the fabrics I submitted!

Quilt Blocks 1

I simply cannot wait to sew up these little blocks of Christmas cheer! I hope everyone loves their fabrics too. I tried to sort by giving everyone a variety of block colors. :-)

Shopping Cart Covers are the DEVIL, Bobby Boucher!

I really do enjoy sewing. I usually go in our guest room, where my craft room is as well, plug in the iron, sit down and just sort of ease into crafting.

I’m still pretty new to sewing, however, and occassionally, a project will make me more stressed than happy. This project was seriously the devil. I am probably never making this again, unless I have my own kid to make this for (not anytime soon).

Here’s the project: McCalls M5721. Do not ever buy this pattern…ever.

What was the big issue? Well, McCalls instructions made little to no sense for a good portion of the project, especially when it came to sewing the pockets on. Also, the pattern asks you to make your own bias tape. Uh, no. I hate that…ended up buying my own. Saved me an ironing headache.

Also, this project ended up really messing up the timing on my machine, due to sewing the nylon webbing. My machine was not a fan. A $99 repair. Not happy.

In the end, though, I finished this cover. The friend I made this for took pictures of her little girl in the cover. I think she likes it.

I am usually not a watermarker for my photos, but my friend requested that I mark these pictures to avoid this picture of her daughter getting stolen and posted without permission.

Cart Cover

A nifty thing about this ? The cover is reversible and folds into its own tote bag. That’s the only saving grace that this pattern has.
Cart Cover 2

Rating out of 10: 2. If a pattern causes me to break my machine and sort of make up instructions for a good part of it, I’m bitter and it won’t get a high rating. 2 points for the reversible coolness and the fact that it goes into it’s own tote bag. I do NOT recommend this pattern for a beginner if they want to refrain from cussing and pulling their hair out.

Happy Howl-O-Ween

I’m starting a new little series on the blog about sewing patterns with my reviews on them. I’ve been learning new techniques with these patterns, and I thought it’d be fun to blog about these!

Earlier this month, I visited family while the hubs was away on a business trip. I knew there were going to be major Columbus Day sales at the local JoAnn’s, so my Mom and I went there for the sole purpose of making Millie into a sea monster. The reason? Well, PetSmart was having a costume contest and I thought she’d have a great time with the other dogs. :)

To note: Millie is about 40 lbs. now. Not a super large dog, but to Simplicity patterns, she was too big to get a costume pattern for. So, I had to get creative and base it off of a dog coat pattern (Simplicity 9520).

After that, I started looking in the cottons for something green that screamed “sea monster”. I couldn’t find a thing. However, in the specialty Halloween fabrics, I came across a polyester mermaid print. It was perfect, but I was intimidated, because this was a very shiny, slippery fabric that I’m not familiar with sewing.

I also bought blue felt with plans to add some spikes…it ended up being a really cute touch! I also originally wanted to add wings, but I was promptly reminded that sea monsters swim. She would need fins instead. :P Thank goodness for leftover quilt batting!

There was a HUGE pitfall to this pattern. When I originally started cutting and piecing this together, I realized that this pattern was way too large for my dog. It was a one size fits all thing…sort of lame, no? So, I ended up tailoring it to size, using lots of Beggin Strips and saying “don’t eat that” repeatedly. Apparently, polyester looks appetizing to my dog..sheesh!

Also, when I started sewing the polyester, it started to fray…a lot. So, for the polyester, I ended up lining it with some muslin. It helped a lot with the sewing, and also probably felt better on the dog.

After a good bit of thought, I ended up nixing the hood, as well as the sleeves. I know Millie, and she isn’t a fan of being clothed. She’d try to rip those off for sure!

When I finally tried the finished product on her, it was a pretty good fit!  Thank goodness.

Happy Howl-o-ween!

However, there was another pitfall. Those fins were her newest toy. She was literally trying to rip them off, unless I held up a treat (as I did to snap this picture. In the end, I pinned them back a bit, and it ended up being OK. After 5 minutes, she barely noticed her costume!!

Unfortunately, she didn’t win the contest at PetSmart. Dracula, a wagon full of yorkies dressed as Playgirls and Hannah Montana beat her out. I guess next year, I’ll try to go more trendy. :)

By the way, if you can take a second to vote for Millie in Blue Buffalo’s Halloween Costume Contest, I’d totally appreciate it. Just go to this site, search for “Millie”, click her picture and vote! No log-in needed!

Rating out of 10: 4. Dear Simplicity, dogs are NOT one size fits all, and the pattern writing/diagrams left me fairly confused. :

Bouncing Around

A couple of weeks ago, my dear sewing machine broke. I was working on a shopping cart cover (avoid this pattern for dear life…it’s written TERRIBLY and the steps just made no sense), and in the finishing steps, the nylon webbing decided that it didn’t like my needle and took it out on my beloved machine. According to the repair guy, the timing was off and some needle hook thing broke. Erg…never working with nylon webbing on a machine again….

This lovely repair costs $99. $99?! Totally not cool, but since I’ve been trying to open my Etsy shop a while, I really had no choice but to get this taken care of ASAP. :( Good news: My machine will be back on the table tonight, sewing Etsy things like it’s nobody’s business.

Anyway, the past couple of weeks involved no sewing. It kind of blows, but stupid me realized that while my machine is out, I can still cut fabric, which is SO not fun, but needs to get done. :)

So, I cut patterns and fabrics for Christmas gifts.

Laptop Pattern/Fabric
Don’t you just LOVE this? It’s going to be made into a laptop bag (this pattern/this fabric). Delightful.

I also decided that my dog should dress up for Halloween. I’m that puppy mom, and I think she’d have a blast at the costume contest that Petsmart is hosting. She loves that store! So, she’s going to be a sea monster…check out the fabric to the left. It’s a shimmery looking fabric with fish scale print. :) I’m sort of winging it with a simple dog jacket pattern, because they don’t make costume patterns for 40 lbs. dogs. Go figure.

Costume and Handbag fabric

To the right is a handbag that will be made with this fabric. The pattern looks simple enough, but we’ll see how this one goes. :) My first lined handbag…whoa!

Oh, and packages have started to come in for the quilt block swap! From what I’ve looked at so far, the fabrics are awesome, but I’ve only received 2 packages. I’m hoping the other 3 come in soon! ::hint hint to the participants:: I can’t wait to bundle these up and send them out. Since my sewing machine broke, I didn’t get to finish all of my blocks, but I’m pretty sure I can hammer those out this weekend too. :)

Quilt Block Packages

And, new project, of course. Instead of trashing the pillows we have in the house, I’m pretty sure Millie is getting a new dog bed and our sofas will be adequately decorated as well. I want to reuse this crazy amount of pillow fluff…I’d feel terrible trashing it all now, and the gears in my head would never forgive me :). I think I have about 10 pillows total to tear into….whoa.

Pillows

I’m sure most of you are thinking that I’m just plainly wacky for all of these projects looming around, but I told myself that I really need to use up some fabric. I really have too much in my basket, and don’t really have room to sprawl out with a huge stash, sadly.

Christmas Quilt Block Swap (Update)

I can’t believe it’s already October. I walked outside of my Louisiana home and was greeted with weather in the 40s! I had to dig out my sweater and have finally surrendered (happily) to the fact that it is now Fall. Whew!

Being that it’s October, I just wanted to give a little update on the Christmas Quilt Block Swap! For those of you participating, you should have received an email a little over a month ago with details and an address to send your blocks to! I already received one package of blocks…super cute! I’m so excited to see what everyone comes up with.

Just a reminder, the deadline to get the blocks in is October 15th! That’s 11 days away! :D

I ended up being a cutting/ironing machine over the weekend. These pics are taken using the Hipstamatic app on the iPhone. It’s so fun!

Here’s a little sneak peek of the three fabrics that my blocks will be made of. The “ribbon” will be Kona Snow and a Kona cotton in some red color. Shows how much I pay attention to detail. :(

Aren’t those fabrics so fun? I tend to lean towards whimsy with Christmas. :)

A minor hiccup though…my machine is acting up. It needs to go to the shop to get looked at or something. I hope this doesn’t take too long, because I can’t WAIT to show y’all the final blocks! :) 

Are you guys super excited to see what everyone is coming up with? I know I am! :) For those of you who are participating, how are your blocks coming along?

Baby Quilt: Finished!

I can’t believe I’m typing this less than a year after forking out a sewing machine for the first time ever. I completely made a quilt. Yes, I made a quilt before, but that was yarn-tied and not properly binded (after doing some research), so I will call this one my first quilt also. :)

The idea sparked after my local quilt shop had a 50% off sale. I raided the store for Amy Butler fabrics, as well as the charm pack and backing for this quilt.

Baby Quilt Fabric

Fabric is: Lily and Will charm pack, backing fabric is Plume by Tula Pink

The quilt pattern is from Oh, Fransson’s blog. It’s fabulous for a first quilt, because charm packs are pre-cut, and all you need to do is cut some of these in half for the colored strips. Then, cut a few strips of Kona cotton and you’re good to go. Easy and quick!

Of course, I laid out all of the squares and arranged them around. I think this was the most fun of the project. :) I love the pastels and designs.

Baby Quilt Layout

I used Kona Cotton in Snow to put between the colored strips of fabric, and I think it just ended up looking fantastic!

Finished Baby Quilt

I used a walking foot to quilt this in (not so) straight lines. That foot is my new BFF. It looks so puffy and cute!

Finished Baby Quilt

Gosh, I hope the Mom and baby LOVE this quilt. This quilt was definitely a learning experience for me. My binding is not perfect in the least, but I will agree with the majority in saying that it’s fairly therapeutic to sit down and just finish off the binding by hand. :)

Finished Quilt folded

Next up? Time to work on my Christmas quilt block squares. There’s still time for you to join in the fun! We’re working on group 2. :)

Rounding some things up….

This morning I was greeted with beautiful Fall-like weather. I was wondering if I was dreaming for a second, because I’m just so used to going outside at 6am to hot, sticky nastiness. Yep, even at 6am. Man, I hope that weather comes back soon. I don’t know how much of the hot, sticky mess I can take anymore!

With that glimpse of the Fall, it reminded me that Fall always makes me think of a change, and well, some things are about to change around here. :)

A new venture...

Any guess as to what those fabric cuts will be used for? Nothing to do with quilts, that’s for sure. These fabric cuts are going to be made into dog bandanas. Ever since I brought my dog to the groomer and got her a bandana, I got inspired. I think she looks adorable in one, but paying almost $10 for one bandana was really crazy to pay. So, I figured there had to be a better, CHEAPER way to make this work!

These bandanas aren’t all for Millie, though. They are going to be in an ETSY SHOP! That’s right…The Nifty Foodie is opening an Etsy shop. :) I’m really excited about this, and I hope this little idea brings on at least one sale! :)

While I’m working on my little ol’ future shop, here’s the status of a couple of quilts I’ve been working on, which are actually both almost done!

This is the charm pack quilt that I mentioned a while back. It’s all sandwiched up and ready to be quilted. Wahoo! The quilt was done in this charm pack and has Kona cotton (in Snow) in between the rows.

Baby Quilt

This is an Amy Butler quilt (fabrics are here) that I made in a class. OMGosh…I absolutely LOVE this quilt. I quilted it by doing the “stitch in the ditch” technique, and can’t wait to bind it.

Amy Butler Quilt

I can’t wait to see all of these projects finished, and start working on some new ones too. Gosh, I love sewing!