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August 31, 2012

Castles 'n' Things

 
Well I'm off to Disney World this morning, but speaking of castles, here's another fun tidbit for you (in addition to the giveaway I posted last night)!


My friend Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics is offering 20% off your entire purchase in her shop with this coupon: LABOR20 (good through Monday 9/3).

She has a TON of new stuff like Bella by Lotta Jansdotter, Out to Sea by Sarah Jane, Field Study, Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt, Nursery Versery by Heather Ross, Fox Hollow, AND she just started selling Yuwa fabrics and got her first shipment from them (yay for adorable Japanese fabric!).


My personal favorite is this Fox Hollow print (Foxy Too in Blue) from Monaluna Designs. Monaluna used to sell this as a single print in her Etsy shop a year or two ago, but I dragged my feet and didn't buy it while it was still available, and then it disappeared from the face of the Earth, so believe you me I'm going to stock up now! And is it just me, or does it remind anyone else of the little fox in Mary Poppins? (hoo baloo!)

I'll be back next Sunday to announce the giveaway winner and post ridiculous amounts of photos from my vacation :) See you soon!


August 30, 2012

Desert Island Fabric (and a giveaway!)



We are alive and unharmed, as is most of New Orleans and the levee system, which did not fail despite national media reports (the media does love to sensationalize/scare the piss out of people)

Our house (and my veggie patch - yay!) is completely unscathed.

And no fabric was harmed in the making of this hurricane.

*giant sigh of relief*

SO. Now that I have power again (seriously, I don't know how people lived before electricity. I was ready to blow my head off after being trapped in my house in the dark for two days while a hurricane raged outside...although I did stage the greatest comeback of all time to destroy Ray at Trivial Pursuit), it's time to get back to blogging, and down to that giveaway I promised you guys. So let's play a little game...

On road trips, my husband and I like to play hypothetical games to pass the time. One of our favorites is the "Desert Island" game, where you have to list 5 items from a particular category that you'd have to live with on a desert island for the rest of your life....like movies, books, foods, etc. Now normally this game is purely hypothetical, but I quickly found out that "Desert Island Fabrics" was becoming a reality as a Category 1 Hurricane headed our way with only two days notice.

  (sorry for the murky photos, but it's been raining all day, our windows are still boarded up, and I needed to get these photos taken before we leave for Disney World tomorrow!)

After about 12 panic attacks and a stop at Home Depot to purchase 8 twenty gallon tupperware bins (which were nowhere near enough to hold all my fabric, by the way *sheepish grin*), I packed up my sewing room, and then was faced with the agonizing decision of which fabric to place in a very small tupperware container to carry on my person in the event of worst-case-scenario (our house is elevated and the area we live in hasn't flooded since the 60's). Yes, I'm that crazy. I literally did not give a flying crap about losing anything else in my house. Didn't pack up any clothes, shoes, photos (they're all backed up on Flickr anyway) or houseware items aside from one change of clothes, the jewelry Ray's given me, my Bible, my bin of fabric, and our important papers. I had everything cinched up in an Orla Kiely laundry sack, ready to roll. And after we boarded up our windows with plywood, we sat around eating perishables and watching TV until the power went out around 2 am on Wednesday.

My desert island fabrics were my Far Far Away bundle, a large cut of my favorite Bohemian print, some Katie Jump Rope prints, small stash of Neptune, Echino bee prints, Henna Garden in Pumpkin, Garden Party Social Climber in Ice, a small piece of vintage fabric from my friend Heather, and all the Japanese fabrics Ayumi has sent me.


Oh...and did I mention my Mendocino layer cake and giant stack of Heather Ross scraps? Yes, I managed to fit all the fabric in both those pictures into a tiny plastic bin. It might have involved lots of muttering, cursing, and eventually me sitting on the lid so the clamps would fit over the ends.

But ANYWHO.....on to the good stuff! First off, I'm going to give one lucky winner some fabric from my stash. Here's how this will work. To enter, leave a comment listing your Top 5 Desert Island fabrics (just because I'm curious). I'll draw a winner, and I'll email said person to find out your likes, dislikes, and which fabrics you most desire in the world but don't yet have. And then I'll put together a custom fat quarter bundle of at least 5 prints, hopefully containing at least one of your ISO ("in search of") fabrics :)

The second giveaway item is this frame purse I made.


You have until midnight on Saturday, September 8th to enter. I will draw a winner when I get back from a well-earned vacation on Sunday the 9th!

Happy commenting :)

August 26, 2012

Three Things

#1 - My scrap bins are overflowing, so I put together 6 scrap packs for my Etsy shop and was pretty liberal with them - there's a ton of fabric in each pack! I made a red, yellow, green, blue, pink/purple, and a rainbow solids scrap pack. All are $10 + FRE (flat rate envelope) shipping - click here to get to my shop. Oh! (almost forgot) you can use the coupon 'PLAIDSCOTTIE10' for 10% off anything in my shop.

#2 -  I just realized it's been FOREVER since I've had a giveaway, so I'll be remedying that later this week before I go on vacay (and I'll announce the winner when I get back). Haven't decided what I'm going to give away yet, but it will definitely include a bundle of fabric from my stash and a handmade item (leaning toward a metal frame pouch).

#3 - This photo is hilarious.

August 24, 2012

Man v. Beast

I don't know if anyone else has this problem, but my dog is basically a stalker. He follows me around like my personal furry black shadow, and I'm constantly stepping over him, narrowly avoiding tripping over him, and finding him laying on things I need (like the clothes I lay out for work or fabric I'm attempting to cut).

Since he spends most of his time blogging right alongside me, here's a POV post of me vs. Whiskers.



Me: I hate you chair. I've hated you for two years, and looking at your ugly black vinyl covering makes me furrow my brow and scowl. Especially when my sweaty thighs stick to you while I'm sewing and they make that gross skin-peeling-away sound that makes me feel like Fatty McFatterson whenever I have to get up. Also, aforementioned scowling is probably leading to premature wrinkles, which makes me hate you more.  After hating you for two years, I'm finally going to recover you and dance upon your vinyl carcas.



Sir Whiskers: This new covering is nice mom, but it could use more of my fur. *Commence aggressive beard rubbing on the edge of new upholstery.*


Birds & Bees fat quarter bundle from Amanda

Me: New fabric!!!! EXCITEMENT EXCITEMENT EXCITEMENT (little bit of pants peeing) EXCITEMENT UNBRIDLED ACCESS TO HEATHER ROSS PRINTS (definite pants peeing) EXCITEMENT PASS OUT


 Out to Sea fat eighth bundle from Amanda




 Field Study fat quarter bundle




Simpatico half yards from Whipstitch and HEATHER ROSS PRINTS BOOK !!!

Discovered Simpatico looks AWESOME with various DS Quilts prints from Joann's

 Sneaky peek at the designs included on the disk in Heather Ross' new book.


Page 2 of designs. Y'all seriously need to buy this book. I wouldn't steer you wrong!




Begrudgingly confirm Angela's "I told you so" when I lay bundles out and see Field Study and Birds & Bees really do play well together.





Whiskers: How dare you strew your things upon my backyard throne. I shall survey my kingdom, and then muddy your crisp white paper with my paws for your impudence.






Me: Since I'm in the backyard, might as well check up on the veggie garden. WTF IS THAT?!?!?! DIE DEVIL SPAWN!!! *Beat caterpillar with stick while it mocks me and hangs on tighter while smoking a hookah and asking "whooooo are youuuuu?". Give up on stick beating after seeing that caterpillar is PURE EVIL and has BLACK BLOOD! Snip off entire branch, and hurl caterpillar over fence like a shotput and into the road. Open fence, and inspect road to make sure devil-spawn caterpillar is good and runned-over.*





Whiskers:  This grass sure smells lovely. Why is she screaming violently and flailing a stick around? Sure is ruining the ambiance.


August 17, 2012

Scottie Watch

Scottie Watch

1. How fabulous is this rainbow hexie floor mat tutorial from Sew Fantastic? I need to talk my friend Angela into making one for Favorite Baby immediately.

Photo by Terri @ Sew Fantastic

2. My friend Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics is having an awesome clearance sale on her website right now. She has almost 12 pages of fabric and most of them (e.g. Summerville, Hope Valley, Walk in the Woods, Flea Market Fancy, Hello Pilgrim) are only $5/yard!! I scored some Innocent Crush voile for $8/yard, some Japanese linen blends, and a Midwest Modern dot that I love (but ran out of a while ago).

She also just got in a bunch of new lines like Chicopee, Field Study and Nursery Versery.

3. Here are some great coupon codes: Whipstitch is currently offering 30% off their entire store with the coupon code LIQUID, and QuiltHome just got the Out to Sea line in and is offering 15% off on all Sarah Jane fabrics (including Children at Play) with the code QHSJFP (good through Monday 8/20).

4. If you're looking for cool handmade holiday gift ideas, my friend Ali has an adorable pattern in the new issue of Stitch. I usually bake mini cakes in mason jars and decorate them with twine and tags made from scrapbook paper, because they're great as inexpensive (yet nice) holiday gifts for acquaintances and coworkers. But thanks to Ali, I'm gonna be switching it up this year and putting homemade cocoa mix inside, paired with her canning jar sleeves (aka mason jar koozies)!

Side note: how cute would it be to tote these to a football game and sip them in the cold? *sigh* I miss watching football games in the cold, freezing your butt off on the aluminum bleachers while eating Walking Tacos.

 Photo by Ali at a(squared)w


5. I love the Lavender scented Best Press, but I go through it like crazy and it's always hit or miss whether my local shop has it in stock or not. If you want to try making your own, here's a good recipe for it:

2 cups distilled water
2 ounces vodka
20 drops lavender essential oil

Pour into a spray bottle and shake. Good to go! (p.s. if you're thinking about pouring it directly in your iron, check the instructions first because some irons don't handle distilled water very well).

6. Sir Whiskers demanded I include a blurb on what he has dubbed "the greatest fabric line of all time" (thanks for the tip Tracey). I might just have to agree with him since it involves houndstooth Scotties. Freaking HOUNDSTOOTH SCOTTIES!!! Be still my heart. It's called Great Scotts and you can purchase a FQ bundle here if you want to be cool like me and Whiskers. I already ordered mine and he's going to have his own quilt come Christmas ;)



AND....*drumroll*...I got a fun surprise in the mail from Laura Gunn yesterday! She sent me a charm pack of her new line Cosmos, as well as charms of the coordinating Painter's Canvas solids. LOVE!


These two little guys have to be my favs. I'm picturing little girl dresses, seersucker, and pigtails *sigh*


Gonna have fun playing with these this weekend :)

August 16, 2012

No. 186 Bag

Remember those Riley Blake Ombre Dots I got from Caitlin at I Don't Do Dishes?

Well I used ithinksew's pattern (No. 186 "The Rachel" bag) and put together a happy little purse. Originally I was going to pair it with some Echino, but I decided to go the sweet & innocent Shabby Chic route instead. The print you see at the top (and inside for the lining) is the Green Bouquet print from Denyse Schmidt's Sugar Creek line for Joann's.


Caitlin has tons of other cute stuff in her shop right now besides those dots, like some new Riley Blake Tonal Chevrons and Denyse Schmidt's new Chicopee line! She also just got in a batch of my favorite brand of batting, Quilter's Dream...that stuff is so soft I seriously wanna rub my face on it like a cat whenever I pull it out of the packaging.

I'm kind of in love with how the strap turned out - you cut the strap the full width of the fabric (44"), so you're able to see the full ombre effect with it. And I thought it was a bit nuts to have a strap that long and NOT make it adjustable, so I added a 2" metal slider.


I keep supplies like that on hand, especially since the larger sizes (bigger than 1") can be hard to find at Joann's, Hobby Lobby, etc. And a lot of the time all they have are plastic ones, and I hate plastic hardware. If I go to the trouble of making a bag, I want it to last as long as possible, and I don't want to worry about plastic hardware breaking.

And in case you're curious, I order a lot of my hardware from LoraLee on Etsy. She's not paying me to say this (promise), but her prices are good and she always ships same or next day - I usually have my order within 2-3 days of checkout. I just know that I prefer shopping with Etsy sellers that come recommended, because there are SO many vendors out there and it's hard to choose sometimes.
Anywho...on to the pictures! Here's the back...


...and a better shot of that slider I inserted.




Did I tell you all that I finally ordered custom labels? If not, here's proof. I ordered a batch of these twill tape labels, and also some sew-in side tags that just have a black and white outline of my Scottie logo on them, with my shop name below it. I'll have to remember to snap a picture when I get home.



And I hope this isn't misconstrued as me "attacking" anyone, because my intent is to be helpful and offer constructive information (rather than being a nitpicky a-hole), but I want to give you all an honest opinion of the pattern in case you're considering buying it.

CONS:
  • The directions can be hard to follow and are vague in places. Even though the bag construction is beginner/intermediate, I wouldn't recommend this pattern for a beginner because the directions assume you have a working knowledge of bag-making and leave a lot of helpful details out. I didn't have a problem reading in between the lines because I've made a ton of bags, but you might want to try another pattern if this is your first or second attempt.
  • There are no dimensions or cutting instructions if you want to add a pocket. The cutting list at the top of the pattern mentions cutting 1 Pocket Panel, but there's no pattern piece attached, and after scouring the pattern no dimensions are included and no other mention is made of pockets except for an Appendix at the back. The appendix contains a few photos that generically demonstrate how to sew on one small regular pocket or an inset zipper pocket, but nothing specific to this bag. So you're kind of on your own.
  • Strap is really long, which is fine if you're making the bag for yourself and can adjust exactly to your height. But if you're making it to sell or as a gift, it might be difficult to gauge. In those instances, it's probably better to make the strap adjustable like I did.
PROS:
  • Comes together very quickly. Including cutting, it maybe took me 2 hours to complete this bag, which is lightning fast compared to most bags.
  • I like that the style of the bag makes it look more complicated than it is. It looks cute and sophisticated, but really doesn't require much more work than a tote.
  • Easy introduction to pleats. There are only 2 pleats at the top and bottom of the bag, and they're fairly large, so it's a gentle introduction to them (since you don't have to do a million of them, and folding is easier since the pleats are big).

So there you have it :)

August 14, 2012

Bookmark Me

I regularly make a fool of myself, so the next time you're humilated, you can pull up this page and feel better about yourself (or at least know you're not alone).

Yesterday morning I was sitting at my desk, and just as an auditor from our corporate office in Chicago walked up to my desk to ask me a question, this photo chose to pop up on my 8x10 digital photo frame.

064_64

Cue awkward silence.

Don't ask me why that photo's even on there, because I don't have an answer either.

So the next time you feel like a fool, just remember that at least a corporate employee didn't see a photo of you grabbing a bronze bull's testicles with relish. First thing on a Monday morning.

It's going to be an interesting week.

(and in case you were wondering, of course Ray wasn't present when that photo was taken. He knows better than to allow me to do such things, let alone document it. I was spending a semester abroad in Philly, and me and some of my college buddies/roomies decided to take a day trip to NYC. That was 7 years ago. I haven't matured much since then, as you can tell.)

August 13, 2012

Peep Culture Quilt



I got a bad case of tunnel vision this weekend, and managed to finish this quilt yesterday afternoon. I used Lynn's Hexagon Park pattern, and I'm incredibly happy with the way it turned out. First of all, I love that there's virtually no fabric waste with this pattern, and I also love that it gives you big shots of the prints you select. That last part was really important to me, since this quilt was fabric-centric - I chose the quilt pattern based on what I hoped would show off the fabric best, instead of vice versa.





The fabric is mostly from Lizzy House's 1001 Peeps line, with a few Pearl Bracelet prints mixed in from other lines of hers, a Riley Blake print (Cheery Circles in Red), and Mono Pez in Red. I also used the Riley Blake print for the binding, and the sashing is Essex Linen in Sand. The backing is a DS Quilts print from the first line she did for Joann's - Picnic & Fairgrounds.





True story: when I was sprawled on the floor of my sewing room trying to pick a fabric to use for the back, I randomly thought of the scene in Stepbrothers when Will Ferrell has the daydream of busting in his psychiatrist's living room dressed as a lumberjack and shouts "I've travelled 500 miles to give you my seed!". And I thought it would be hilarious to back my friend's quilt in a swarthy plaid because of that. I will be silently smirking to myself when she opens it up at her baby shower...originally I was going to mail it, but now it looks like I'll be able to smirk in person.


"I've travelled 500 miles to give you my seed!"


She has a pretty irreverent sense of humor like me, so I'll probably let her in on the inside joke sometime when we're not in a room full of her family members.

August 6, 2012

Fast Forward

Since Thursday...

1001 Peeps quilt top (1/3 finished)



Wee baby heirloom peppers! (California Wonder variety)


August 2, 2012

Juggling Act

I have about a million different projects I'm working on right now, and none of them are small, but hopefully I'll have some big things to show you in the next week or two!

Part of my problem is that as soon as I think I've got a handle on my side projects and I can get back to my main ones, somebody else gets preggers. My friends are breeding like rabbits right now! And to top it all off, none of them live remotely close to me, which means I have to finish their quilts at least a week ahead of the shower deadline so I have time to mail it off. Teleportation would make my life sooo much easier *sigh*

Hexagon Park WIP

I'm using Lynn's fab Hexagon Park pattern, minus the sashing.

And to those of you I've heard lament over the lack of cute 'boy' fabric over the years, I finally say "I get it". This is the first baby quilt I've made for a boy, and it was dang hard finding fabric I liked. I finally settled on using the blue section of the 1/2 yd bundle of 1001 Peeps I ordered from Brenda @Pink Castle Fabrics back in the day, with some Pez, Riley Blake, and stray Pearl Bracelets mixed in....don't know why, but I can never make myself commit to using only one fabric line in a quilt...just can't do it. I blame it on the non-conformist red hair. Side note: I wear it curly/wild 'n' free during the sweltering NOLA summers, and I've been told I look like Janis Joplin by no less than 3 people in the past month. Not quite sure what to think of that.


Hexagon Park WIP

Also, I've been busy with other domestic goodness (not to mention watching about 5 hours of Olympic coverage per day).  Remember my lowly container of seeds? Well they've now been transformed into the garden you see below, courtesy of one handy husband, 8 bags of dirt, and about 12 buckets of my sweat.

Being the genius that I am, I decided to transplant my veggies on a day with a heat index of 108. By the time I was done dumping sand, dirt, and plants into this thing, I was a sweaty beast and actually turned the hose on myself and just stood there cooling myself like a warthog at a watering hole - clothes, iPod and all. I have no regrets. You'll understand if you've ever been to the Gulf South during August.

New Raised Veggie Bed!

I still have 3 basil plants plus 3 Mortgage Lifter and 3 Golden Jubilee tomato plants, but sadly only one bell pepper plant made it off my front porch alive - he's majestic though, is he not? And he smells peppery and delicious, even though the blossoms haven't turned to baby peppers yet.

Mmm...fresh veggies soon...

New Raised Veggie Bed!
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