Monday, January 30, 2012

my weekend was spent with my sewing machine, 
with a new-to-this-world and very dear friend, 
and with a few nesting motivated chores. 

i have really been enjoying sewing up these little baby pants - my boy has a few pairs in super soft flannel waiting for him, and now the sweetest little arlo (that new-to-this-world tiny friend) has a reversible pair! it took a bit of scheming and planning to make these pants happen, but seeing them put together i now realize that they could have been so much easier! hand to forehead and notes for the next pair. 

how was your weekend spent?
see you on wednesday with block number 3 of the sampler.

Friday, January 27, 2012

for the homestead :: easiest bunting

despite the wet and cold weather outside and despite my ever increasing pregnancy discomfort, today is a great day. i am snuggled up next to my baby girl who is quietly munching away on animal crackers, waiting for her waffles to be done, while i write away. the light in our house is very dark and misleading - i feel as though i woke up in the wee-est hours of the morning and have gained precious winter hours.

and i get to admire this in all of the changing shades of day:

i did some thing very unlike me this week - i began and finished a project that involved no sewing whatsoever. it started like this: i wanted a quick and gratifying project to work on before heading to my bed. the catch with my new sewing space is that it sits awfully close to frankie's little room. if she's not asleep she can spy me through the crack where the curtain doesn't quite cover the glass-paned door. this leaves me with an hour or so of time for doing nothing (or chores, if i'm feeling super motivated) as i wait for baby girl to grow quiet and for the night to get darker. and since i am typically not a night owl, the motivation to do any sewing before heading to my cozy bed with a good book is sometimes lacking.

and so i schemed up some no-sew, super easy bunting for our little homestead. 
the process goes something like this:
step 1:
cut your flags.
you can choose to make rectangles, triangles, any shape really
as long as the fabric has been folded and pressed.
by folding all of your fabric you ensure that your bunting is completely reversible.
helpful hint: when i unfold my triangle flags, they are a perfect diamond.

step 2:
cut your fabric adhesive.
i like to use double stick fusible web, 
which is easy to find at most fabric stores. i found mine at joann fabrics.
you only need to cut your adhesive as big as the final flag size will be. 
there is no need to fold or double it.
helpful hint: for a flag that (folded) measures 2" x 5",
i will cut a single piece of adhesive that measures the same.

step 3:
with your iron on the steam setting,
set your bunting string (i like to use plain ol' twine) in the fold of your flag.
place fusible adhesive on one side of flag and fold the other side 
over your string, matching up all of your edges. 
your string should be nestled into the fold of your flag.
press and fuse and...

step 4:
you have your first flag on your bunting!
i like to make a little notch in the bottom of my rectangular shapes
once they have been fused to create more of a flag shape.
spacing and color variation are all up to you,
as well as bunting length and flag style.

this particular banner will hang above our new baby's nook: a corner of our bedroom that i will slowly be filling with his moses basket, beautiful art, tiny diapers and flannel plants, and of course, strings and strings of this bunting! i have quite a few projects on my list for this little space and for the rest of our new home in maine that we are slowly settling in to - projects that i am hoping to be able to share with you weekly here

and now i will settle back into our rainy day - a few dishes in the sink that need cleaning, some laundry to be done, but mostly lots of lego-building and snuggling under handmade quilts for me and mine today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

starry skies sampler :: block no. 2

it is time for block no. 2 and i am already looking forward to making more and more and more stars! i am having so much fun choosing fabric that will compliment the miscellany line and choosing star blocks that are interesting, challenging, and fresh.

block no. 2 is a little more on the traditional side of things - while i have found the single wedding star in the farmer's wife, i have also seen it used with great effect in this quilt (lieblingsdecke has written a great tutorial if you are so inclined to use the metric system), and with a twist. for this block i decided to do a little bit of simple math and scale up the 6" templates from farmer's wife that i already had to make a 9" block. it was surprisingly easy and gratifying to see all of my pieces line up by the end.

in addition to using the antique flower print from julia rothman's miscellany, i pulled some kaffe fassett dots from my stash and one of my favorite joann fabrics prints that i try to buy in bulk whenever i find it in store. after a little bit of light cutting and some simple piecing, my single wedding star quickly came together and is now sitting next to my sunrise star. it should be mentioned that seeing them together is cheering me on to make multiple blocks for next week!

make sure to come back in a week and i will have more stars to show you! in the meantime, feel free to sew up your own single wedding star - whether it be one block, a mini quilt, or a quilt big enough to snuggle up underneath, i would love to see it. also, make sure to check out the entire 'starry skies' sampler series here to catch up on what you might have missed, and be sure to pick up a badge for your own blog!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

our weekend was spent:

baking chocolate chip cookies - good ol' nestle toll house classic
is still my favorite. chewy in the middle and golden brown on the bottom.

finishing up some knitting projects.
the pattern for my springtime bandit 
can be found at kelbourne woolens
a great collection of patterns (a lot of them free)and beautiful yarns. 
i especially like the acadia line of yarn in blackberry, granite, and asparagus.

how was your weekend spent?

just a reminder that things are starting to get busy around here. i will be back on wednesday with a new block for my 'starry skies' sampler quilt. if you want to see all of the posts about my new sampler quilt just click here and you can start your starry sewing, too! i will also be writing the first post in another new series here at the homestead on friday featuring a quick and fun project for your home. hint: it involves minimal sewing, string, and you can hang it anywhere! see you on wednesday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

starry skies sampler :: block no. 1

and here we go! with the first starry skies block pieced and pressed, sitting pretty on my sewing room table, i can feel the sampler excitement starting. i have chosen to use julia rothman's collection miscellany by cloud9 fabrics as my main focus - i am hoping that such a strong common thread between all of the stars will lead to a quilt that i feel is cohesive and not muddled. 
(if you didn't already know my enthusiasm for this fabric, see here and here.)

i found the tutorial for this 'sunshine star' from my fabric obsession and felt pretty confident that it would be easy enough to execute while still being something fresh and new to me. this is after a few failed attempts at scaling up a block from farmer's wife. psst, have you seen this awesome quilt along hosted by amanda and angela? i especially like this color scheme, these blocks, this and this and especially this.

i digress:

since this would be my first star on a long list of others, i chose to cut into my two favorite prints: 'petal pusher', a delicate pink and blue print, and 'nethercote' which turns out to be a dream for fussy-cutting! i added to that a dark grey solid from my stash (i honestly have no idea where that grey came from as i am its 'second home') and a solid white remnant from a sheet. cutting and piecing all of those little triangles turned out to be an easier task than i first thought it might be.

and now i have my first block of 'starry skies' completed! i'll be excited to see how this star looks accompanied with the other, sometimes bolder prints that are also part of this collection. 

and a note on blocks coming together, so to speak: i plan on making stars in various sizes. for instance, this star measures 12.5", but i will be making some stars from farmer's wife that only measure 6". i am hoping to find a way to make different size blocks work together - this is my challenge to myself.

see you next wednesday for block no. 2 - in the mean time, go make a sunrise star!

Monday, January 16, 2012

starry skies sampler quilt

i am making myself an on-going list of goals for this year - i started shortly after new years with a list of basics. now, i would like to add a goal no. 5:

add more projects, ideas and inspiration to this space. 
join (and potentially host?) one or two sew-alongs, 
feature a project for the home or babes weekly, 
share a variety of projects in all most of their coming-together-stages.

i have plans ladies and gents, plans i tell you. and i fully intend to come through for you, but also for myself. this will be the year that i prove to myself that i've got it. what that 'it' is, i haven't figured out, but when i get closer to figuring that out in 2012, i'll be sure to let you in on what i find.

and so in keeping with goal no. 5, i'll start a new feature today!

i figure i better start this out with a bang, what with creating a new fixture for the blog being one of the primary plans for my newest goal. so here goes: i have a confession to make. i have never been a fan of sampler quilts. i usually find them a bit stuffy, a bit country, a bit traditional for my taste. but lately i have seen quilt-alongs, sewing bees, and tutorials that add a bit more of a modern twist to the idea of a sampler. so i guess you can easily say that they're growing on me, slowly but surely.

and in keeping with the theme of challenging myself, i've decided to feature a new 'starry sky' quilt block every week. these quilt blocks will eventually come together to form a sampler of some sort - what that means i haven't quite decided, but maybe we can decide together! i won't be posting tutorials on how to make the blocks (for now) - instead i will write about my inspiration, my process, and the sources that helped me put together each block.

it is not my intention for this to be a structured sew-along, although please feel free to follow along if you like! i am hoping that this little series will serve as an inspiration source for you, as well as a resource of sorts for all kinds of star quilt blocks. so grab a button for your blog and sew away with me!

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and just a little sneak-peak of the block i'll be posting about tomorrow:

she's a beauty, huh?

Monday, January 9, 2012

our weekend was spent: 
getting and getting over sniffly, stuffy noses - collecting and sorting eggs - pounding on the piano that has lived in our new house for a long time - reaping the benefits of a rooster who lived a happy life but was not meant to have neighbors - sewing black and white, green, and blue triangles into stars for a certain baby boy - enjoying our first dusting of snow back in maine - knitting and knitting and knitting some more.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

since i'm a little late for the 2011 recap and farewell (oops, christmas and a big move across states will do that to you), i thought i might start this new year off with some goals instead. but just for the sake of a little reminiscing, why not share a few polaroids from last year - a year full of new beginnings, exciting family news, struggle and triumph.

goal one is fairly obvious: take time to write in this space more often. share new projects of both the fabric and knitting variety. share gardening experiences as well as family goings on.

goal two is to branch out. begin (and finish) new projects. write more. challenge myself.

goal three could be to keep a clean house, cook a well rounded dinner every night, don't sneak any chocolate, blah-di-blah...instead i will make a goal to adventure. if showing frankie something exciting and new means leaving the dishes in the sink, well, i am just fine with that. if i don't get around to it today, it will still be waiting for me tomorrow, but that quilting inspiration might fly out the window. embrace and adventure.

and now some pictures from the new year - from a new house that is full of light and life, from our very favorite state in the union where we will prepare to grow and flourish in 2012.