Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Gadget Guard :: Pattern by Dog Under My Desk

We had given the granddaughter a MacBook Air for high school graduation and as she started college last week, I realized she needed a carrying case for it. I purchased Erin Gilbey's pattern for a Gadget Guard from her store at Dog Under My Desk. The true beauty of this pattern is that you measure your device -- any device -- for a custom fit. 

Used solid black drill cloth for the entire back, the top front above the zipper pocket and the handles. She had requested short handles on it and these I added myself using another case we had as a pattern.

There is a pleated, expandable zipper pocket on the front.

The case fits her laptop like a glove. It's an amazing pattern. My MacBook is larger and I think I need to make one of these for myself ... something else to add to the never-ending To Make list!

So many projects, never enough time ...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Monogrammed Coffee Cuff

Needed a quick gift this morning and this little project is amazingly fast and easy. Plus it's a great gift for guys, which is always a bonus. This link will take you to my original post with step-by-step instructions.

Monogrammed his initials onto the shirt cuff with my embroidery machine ...

Here's what the lined inside looks like ...

Along with a handwritten tag tied on with ribbon, I'm going to include a Starbucks gift card. Fast, easy and personalized!

So many projects, never enough time

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sewing a Super Hero Cape

Recently, a quilt went out to a new baby girl and I wanted to include something for her Super Big Brother. A personalized super hero cape seemed like a fun idea for an energetic 2-year-old.

I made an embroidered patch featuring his initial and appliquéd it onto the outside of the cape before stitching right sides together, turning, pressing, top stitching and adding the hook & loop closure. It was well received, as you can tell by the action shots ...

And then a co-worker ordered one for her 3-year-old nephew. When I was trimming the appliqué patch this time, I realized I had the ideal tool in a ruler -- the OmniArc by Omnigrid. The ruler has slots that allow you to draw the perfect curve with degree markings. The funny thing is, I've had this ruler for years but can't remember why I bought it. It made the process so much easier ... last time I winged it. 

With less than a yard of fabric, you can make your mini super hero's play time so much more fun.

Finished size: 
31-1/2" from top of strap to hem
25-3/4" from neck to hem
11-1/2" from outside edge of one strap to outside edge of the other
17" at widest point across bottom edge
1-1/4" wide straps
Appliqué patch: 3-1/2" center top to bottom and side to side at widest point
Embroidered gold shield: 2-5/8" high by 2-3/4" wide
Embroidered initial: 1-1/8" high
Appliqué placed approximately 4" from neck edge
Used the edge of a clear 8" glass plate to round the corners on the bottom of the cape and cut the neck hole.
Used a pill bottle to round the ends of the straps.

So many projects, never enough time ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Boating Potholders :: 3 Sisters Style

Playing games was a rite of passage in our home growing up. We had a great wood paneled rec room with a built-in bench full of board and card games. Scrabble, Mouse Trap, Uno -- and we always had a card table set up in the corner with an ongoing jigsaw puzzle. So it's no surprise that we all still love to play games whenever we get the chance.

A few years back, my sisters came to Arizona to visit and my middle sister brought a new-to-us game that was so much fun ... Like It or Lump It. If you can find it, definitely buy it. Basically, you try to earn points by giving another player a card with a subject on it you think they'll like (baking bread, roller coasters, Julia Roberts movies, trick-or-treating). You hope they'll like your card more than anyone else's. 

The sisters, my husband and I were playing and it was his turn to rate the cards we'd given him from Like It all the way down to Lump It. I had given him a McDonald's Egg McMuffin card and was absolutely sure that it would beat out the others for high score. One of the sisters had given him a Boating card and he rated that the highest. WHAT? I was so outraged -- and, yes, it could have been fueled by the lovely glass(es) of wine I had consumed -- that I shouted, "BOATING! BOATING? REALLY??? Right, because we go BOATING so often!" This was probably one of those you-had-to-be-there moments, but we laughed until we cried, at least one of us fell off our chair and at least one of us had to run to the bathroom from laughing so hard.

So all we have to say now is BOATING and hilarity ensues. The other family members think we're nuts and just shake their heads at us, but that never stops the hysteria from happening. The funny thing is, both sisters own or have owned boats and do go boating. Me 'n the hubs? No! No boats, no boating ... we live in the desert. Seriously, the closest he gets is bobbing a toy boat in the swimming pool.

I saw this cute Sailboat quilting block last month and just had to make the sisters some potholders that will remind them of BOATING at our house. I made the 6" block and added some borders, embroidered BOATING on one and 3 SISTERS on the other so they'd each have a pair. There is a layer of Insul-Bright batting inside to provide insulation from high temperatures. And I used my Handiworking labels for hang tags (custom-made by Lilla Lotta).

We love being "3 Sisters" so much that we we share a Pinterest board by the same name that we all pin to. It includes things we all have a fanatic love for like reading; things we know each other enjoy like teacups, photography, dogs, crafting; and, of course, many references to BOATING!

Love you my sisters. Use those potholders! They're washable, but if they get beat up, I can always make you more!!!

So many projects, never enough time!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dotty Disappearing 9-Patch Baby Quilt

A sweet new baby girl has arrived in the family -- welcome, Nova Jade -- and her special quilt has been completed. The pattern is a Disappearing 9-Patch made with 5" charm squares of Classic Dots from Connecting Threads. Each center square was plain white before cutting. 

This quilt was so much fun to make, I think the Disappearing 9-Patch is going to become a favorite of mine. I used 96 polka dot charms and 12 white charms to make a dozen 9-patches. After cutting each into fourths, the yield was 48 6-1/2" blocks. Used 45x60" crib sized Warm & Natural batting and finished size was approximately 40" by 53" with binding.

To honor baby Nova and personalize her quilt, I replaced one 6-1/2" block on the front with a variable star block. Her name, birth month and year were embroidered on it in light green thread. I made the star points with the colorful backing fabric to bring it to the front and make the star pop.

On the extra block, I embroidered label information and attached it to the lower back along with my Handiworking label made by Lilla Lotta.

I figured why stop the dottiness now and bound the quilt with mini dots white-on-black fabric. Since I prefer not to prewash my quilting fabrics, I did wash and dry the quilt to clean and crinkle it up before sending.

Congratulations and much love to Nova's momma, daddy and super big brother!

So many projects, never enough time!

Friday, June 12, 2015

No-Bake Chocolate Tart and Easy Corn on the Cob

I'm all for easy cooking, especially now that we've hit the hot summer temps in Phoenix, and this chocolate tart is one of the easiest, most impressive desserts ever. It goes together quickly and tastes incredible. We made this one while we were preparing dinner ...

We topped the ganache with strawberries and chopped pecans but I'm also planning to make it with raspberries soon.

This link will get you the recipe and even provides a quick step-by-step video.

The chocolate tart this evening follows hubby's BBQ'd T-bones covered in Montreal Steak Seasoning with pesto butter and corn on the cob. Here is the best trick ever for microwaving corn in the husk and shucking it like a boss ...

Hope these tips make your kitchen as happy as they do mine!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Farm Girl Vintage Potholders

Made a birthday gift for a chef friend recently and I was excited to have Lori Holt's new "Farm Girl Vintage" pattern book on hand to work from. I'm completely smitten by the blocks and projects in this beautiful book and plan to make a sampler quilt from it someday.

The "Baking Day" and "Canning Season" potholders turned out great ...

Used some cute kitchen print fabric for the backs ...

And my custom Lilla Lotta labels made wonderful hang tags ...

Check out the Bee in My Bonnet blog and the Farm Girl Vintage book. So Much Fun!

So many projects, never enough time ...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Hug is in the Mail :: On Brave Wings

I mailed a hug yesterday to an amazing family member, a woman I greatly admire who has been through some stuff and still manages to show up and do it all with grace! I believe that shawls are hugs and sometimes you just need a good hug to remind you that you can do it and people are thinking about you and cheering you on!

This is the "On Brave Wings" shawl, with my hand-drawn design first hand embroidered, then layered with batting and backing, quilted by hand, machine quilted and, finally, binding attached by machine and finished by hand. A lot of prayer for good health and happiness has gone into the making of this hug.

Although this was designed with breast cancer in mind, wouldn't it be lovely for a young woman going off to college -- maybe in school colors, or for someone starting a new business or career or moving to a new city or country?

I also got to use one of my new Lilla Lotta custom labels on it ...

I'll be putting a post together with the specifics on making On Brave Wings, along with the pattern for the embroidered design. Soon!

So many projects, never enough time ...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lilla Lotta Love :: Custom Labels for Handiworking

I was very fortunate to get in on a limited production run of custom labels by Lilla Lotta recently. After a few messages back and forth, my artwork and payment were sent and voilà...

Beautifully printed cotton tape with my logo was received ...

I love that I can use them flat or folded in half. Now I just need to get a quilt or bag or something made to put one on.

Thanks, Lilla Lotta, for my wonderful custom labels. I am so happy with them!

So many projects, never enough time ...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Baking Biscotti

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I'm finally in the mood for holiday baking, ahem, now that the holidays are over. The retail frenzy that is my day (and night and weekend) job is slowing to a mild roar as we roll into January. With a Saturday morning off and cool weather in Phoenix, I actually baked for no reason ... a pumpkin pie and biscotti.

One of the lovely ladies I work with gifted me with the "best biscotti I've ever had!" This is a direct quote from my hubby and I definitely agree with him. I was eager to find out if the recipe is a family secret or one she could share - yay - it's Giada's Holiday Biscotti. Here's the link.

Super easy to make, not too many ingredients, and just plain delicious. This is my idea of baking. And dunking. And eating!

Happy belated holidays and happy baking!