Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Storytelling Pillow



Once there was a little ballerina dancing on an elephant. . .   

A teenage girl went to ballet class and she danced her heart out . . .

One day a big group of elephants were walking and then a big group of monsters (well - monsterz) came along. . .

Have you heard the story of the turtle that floated into the birdhouse. . .



 This is our storytelling floor pillow which will someday be accompanied by a storytelling quilt.


The storytelling possibilities are endless - especially when you have two storytellers ages 9 and 7 and a 11 month old captivated by everything they do!


And we plan on making some storytelling journal covers so the girls can record all their fun stories.(since I'm sewing machine-less right now, I thought I would just hand stitch the whole cover but . . . )


Linking up to the Festival of Hexagons at a.squared.w.

And since I used more of my precious fabric, I'm linking up to the My Precious QAL.

Also linking to TGIFF and The Handmade Parade.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Blog Hop News 15 and Nursery Versery Contest News


I am so excited that the activity mini quilt I wrote about yesterday was chosen by Rachel at Stitched in Color as one of the finalists in her Nursery Versery Contest!  Click here to see the other finalists and to vote for your favorite (voting is open until midnight EDT tomorrow, Tuesday August 28th.)  

What I am not so excited about is that my sewing machine broke while I was making this - literally at the last step.  I was sewing the front and back together and when I was just about to the third side, my machine stopped (luckily, I was so close to done, I was easily able to hand stitch the rest!)  I gave it the night to rest but it is still not working!  If you read my blog, you probably know that I've been talking about needing a new machine for awhile and the one I've been using is worth less than it would cost to even get a repair estimate.  So, I guess I'll be doing a bit of shopping this week (good thing I have a small backlog of finished sewing projects that I haven't written about here yet!)  If you have any sewing machine suggestions, let me know!

And on to the blog hop:


Plum and June
Bloggers to visit this week:

Aug 28
        Lucy from Charm About You
        Ella from throw a wench in the works
Aug 30
       Elaine from Dashasel Sews
       Jess from The Elven Garden




The winner of last week's giveaway from Skye Reve Fabrics is Nat at Made in HomeAugust 20, 2012 5:41 AM.  Yay!  I'll be contacting you soon.



Plum and June

This week's complicated rules:
1.  Anyone who is participating or following along with the hop can add a link that is quilting or sewing-related.
2. Link up any sewing/quilting post you want from your blog.  When the link tool asks for your name, type in your favorite back to school supply.
3. If you have any current blog events, link them here as well - just put the name of the event when the link tool asks for your name.
4.  Please consider linking to this page from your blog (either a text link or the button) so others can join in as well.
5.  Please visit (at least) the person who links up before you and leave a comment to say hello!






Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School 3: Baby Edition?!?


It is almost here!  First day of school is tomorrow morning - I really don't know where the summer went!  My sewing room is going to be so quiet!!!

So, why the baby edition?  Well, we walk to and from school everyday (we live in a city and the school is about 3 blocks away) so I made this activity mini quilt for the little one and me to play with while we are at the school waiting for the older girls to come out the door.

Can you guess what this side is?  A straw house, a stick house, a brick house, and a wolf?  


I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo but the houses are a pocket and the little Nursery Versery piggies are attached inside the pocket so she can take them in and out.  I didn't realize until the end that they are upside down when pulled out of the pocket - I'll fix that eventually but I doubt the little one will mind right now.



Here is the other side:


Because my little one loves the flaps on this quilt, I added a lift the flap to this one as well.

This time revealing the word:


I used the Nursery Versery again for the back (I don't usually splurge on fabric but this is just so cute so I made an exception!)  I also used a cute little Sarah Jane print for the other side of the flap which I thought added an I spy element to the mini.


I mean, really, look at these mice!!!  And that little piggie with the glasses - seriously!

I'm linking up to Rachel's Nursery Versery contest at Stitched in Color.  I almost didn't make it but my fabric arrived just in time - literally!  And I was fortunate that my oldest daughter was happy to spend extra time playing with the baby today so that I could finish (um, yes, I told her I'd write that!)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What I'm Working On Wednesday: Back to School 2

Five more days until school starts and we are about half way done with our sewing list.

New this week - my oldest made this pencil case:



Ms. Middle Daughter and I finished her messenger bag:


She has a plan for that requested gray patch in the middle but she hasn't told me what it is yet!

We added lots of pockets to this one as well:


Other projects I/we have been working on:





And I also have been wanting to show you this:


I tested this cute pattern for Rebecca from Sew Festive Handmade.  Click here to see all her patterns and to visit her etsy shop.

Linking to WIP Wednesday and TGIFF.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Paper Pieced Snack Bag

 Practically Paper Piecing

At the beginning of July, I wrote that one of my quilting plans for the month was to finally try paper piecing.  Bethany from Make Me a Quilt commented on my post that she was interested in trying it as well and we decided to make a pact!  Less than a week later, we both had paper pieced our first block!  

A few weeks later and a few paper pieced projects later, I was talking to Kristy who was organizing this paper piecing blog hop and I was very excited to join in on the fun (clearly, I'm a fan of blog hops!)  Actually, Kristy's tutorial for the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop was about paper piecing - that post plus seeing all the fun blocks she has created also inspired me to try it!



As I wrote last week, my daughters and I are in the midst of crazy back to school sewing.  One of the items on their list was a snack bag and so my middle daughter and I searched the web to find a fun paper pieced pattern to use.  One of the first we came upon was this juice glass block on Sew Mama Sew from Ayumi of Pink Penguin.  My daughter loved this block and wanted to use it (even though she never even brings juice with her snack!?!)  I also decided to add in the companion sprout block by Penny of sewtakeahike.  



For the reverse side, I really wanted to paper piece the word "snack."  I looked around the web for a pattern to use but since I needed a specific size, I decided to try to make my own.  I'm happy I tried it - it actually wasn't nearly as complicated as I had thought and I was able to make the letters the exact size I wanted them.  Once the girls are back to school, I'll write something up about how I made the letters but for now here is a pic:



The "S" needs some work and I didn't intend for the "C" to be so much larger than the rest of the letters but overall I'm happy with it.  And, more importantly, the recipient LOVES it!

To make the snack bag, I basically followed the same process I use for my quilted totes which you can find here.  But I wanted to make the opening a little smaller so after I was finished with the bag, I sewed up the top between the sides and the handles.  Oh, and can you tell that purple was a requested color???  Unfortunately, I didn't have any purple thread but I did have a very pretty blue Aurifil that I used for quilting the snack side.


The girls usually just make a knot with the handles to close the middle opening so I just left it like that.

There have been lots of great posts along the Practically Paper Pieced Blog Hop - I very much recommend visiting some or all!  The hop runs for the month of August and culminates with a link party from August 29-31 with lots of great prizes.  Visit Kristy's blog for all the information.  And here is this week's schedule:

20 Fiona from Finding Fifth  
21 Beth from Plum and June
22 Megan from Jaffa quilts
23 Juliet from Tartan Kiwi
24 Katy from The Littlest Thistle
25 Sat Tracey from the Peony Teacup


And if you are also a fan of blog hops OR if you are a new blogger OR if you like fabric giveaways, click here for more information on all of that (and a current giveaway!)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blog Hop News/Link Up 14 plus Giveaway and Advice

Plum and June

The blogs to visit this week:

Aug 21
        Marta from From Marta with Love
        Marion from My Quilt Diet

Aug 23
       Ginny from Fish Creek Studio
       May from Confessions of a Fabraholic


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This week's Advice for New Blogger's post comes from the fun and talented Rachael from Imagine Gnats.  Last month, I asked you all what questions you have for our guest bloggers and thanks to those who replied, I had a brand new set of questions for Rachael. 

1.  What part about blogging most surprised you?  Is there anything you wish you would have done differently starting out?

The people I've met, for sure! When I started out, I'm not really sure what I thought would happen, as I didn't really expect that just people I already knew would read my blog. I guess I thought that people just read blogs and then moved on. I wasn't a big blog reader, so I didn't know much about the relationships that could develop with readers and other bloggers. Starting out, I had about zero idea what I was doing. Oddly, I think that I worried more about what I shared than I do now and I think it was much less interesting! But I definitely had to start somewhere and I'm glad that I just started, even if some of those early blog posts are pretty embarrassing.

2.  Do you ever experience blog envy? If yes, how do you deal with it?

There are about a zillion blogs that I wish mine was as cool as! I'm not sure I really have blog envy, though. When I find an awesome blog, I tend to think more along the lines of, "wow, that person must be super cool. I wonder how I can get them to think they want to be friends with me?" Also, I have a ridiculously skewed sense of celebrity which makes me super excited when I actually get to talk to crafty cool bloggers :)

              image from Imagine Gnats

3.  How do you handle negative comments or feedback (if you have ever received any?)

Um, yeah. I have, although they've usually been more back-handed compliments, like coming across a pin of a tutorial I wrote that says something like, "decent how-to, but I could so do better." Eek, that was a rough one. Usually I whine to a friend (or two) until they're sick of me, and then whine a little bit more to my husband, and then let it go. I mean, there's really no point in anything else. I do try to stay positive in my blog and in my blogging relationships because I really view the crafting blog community as a place where we all get to be supportive of and supported by each other. We all have a bad day now and then, and I'm certainly a fan of sharing our difficulties and challenges and helping each other through them... but I don't think there is a place in my blog for spending time on being negative. It's just not what I'm there for.

4.  What inspires your blog posts?

My blog posts are usually inspired by what I'm making, which is most always something. When I'm not making, I do love to share links of what other things are being made, what events are happening, and just things I'd want to know about in general. Sometimes I write about family; mostly my girls, sometimes the pets, and I try to keep up on my husband's garden (though I'm way behind on that at the moment).

5.  Do you ever lose your blog mojo?  If yes, how do you get that back?

That's one of those things I hear about and I think, "huh"? I guess maybe I don't have blogging mojo to begin with? ;) Well, I hope not, but I do think that my approach to blogging is pretty laid back. If I have lots of stuff to post about (and time to do it), I'll post two things in one day. If i'm busy or I don't have things to post about, I won't and I don't worry too much about it. I've never been a huge fan of the "I have to take a break from blogging for a week" posts because I feel like if I want to take a few days off, I just will. Inevitably, as my blog has grown, I have taken on certain obligations for some posts, but as far as my "what's going on" posts, I try not to worry too much about a rigid schedule or saying certain things. I do currently have a list of about a dozen things I need to post about that I'd like to find the time to write up. So I suppose what I'd like back is time. because I'm not quite sure where that went!

                                     Image from Imagine Gnats

6.  With so many blogs in blogland, what makes a blog stand out to you?

There are SO many great blogs out there! I find that I mostly read blogs where there is a personal connection to the subject matter or the person writing it, which can be kind of hard to define. It's kind of the same feeling that lets you know whether that person you stand next to in the lunch line is going to be your friend that school year or when you feel like a blind date will lead to a second... there's a chemistry and you want to know what's going to happen. I need that to really be into a blog. With my blog reader currently over 400 subscriptions, I think I might need to reassess, but for now that's my answer ;)

Thanks Rachael!


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This week's giveaway is from the lovely SkyeReve Fabrics.    Natasha has lots of fun new fabrics in her shop including Sarah Jane's Out to Sea and Lecien's Antique Flower.  For today's giveaway, SkyeReve is offering one lucky person the chance to win a half-yard bundle of Apple of My Eye by Riley Blake.


You have four chances to win:

1.  Leave a comment on this post (any comment but since I always love suggesting a topic - how about letting us know what surprised YOU most about blogging.)

2.  My followers -old and new- get a second entry.  Leave a comment that says "following."

3.  For a third entry, click over to Skye Reve and then write a comment about which of their fabric lines is your favorite.

4.  And for a fourth entry, promote this giveaway on your blog, twitter, or whatever social media you like and leave a comment that says "Promoted  . . ."

The giveaway will remain open until Friday, August 24, 2012 at 8pm EDT and a winner will be chosen at random and announced in next week's blog hop news on August 27, 2012.  And, please, unless you are sure that you are NOT a no-reply blogger, leave your email address in the comment.


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Plum and June

This week's complicated rules:
1.  Anyone who is participating or following along with the hop can add a link that is quilting or sewing-related.
2. Link up any sewing/quilting post you want from your blog.  When the link tool asks for your name, type in your favorite pizza topping.
3. If you have any current blog events, link them here as well - just put the name of the event when the link tool asks for your name.
4.  Please consider linking to this page from your blog (either a text link or the button) so others can join in as well.
5.  Please visit (at least) the person who links up before you and leave a comment to say hello!







Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday - getting ready for school!

Confession:  I have made absolutely no progress on any of the QALs.  Not even fabric selections.  I have been on the Flickr pages looking at how everyone else is doing so that counts, right?

But I have a good reason - we just got back from our summer visit/vacation and there are only two weeks left until school starts so the girls wanted to get right to it and gave me a list of everything they want to sew (with me) for school:

1.  They each want a messenger bag.  We finished the first one yesterday - this one has lots of pockets (including two zippered) and a custom flap drawn with fabric markers by my daughter.  We made up the pattern as we went along - when I make one with my other daughter, I'll take pictures of the process to post.



2.  Pencil cases - waiting for the zippers we ordered

3.  I can't tell you what the 3rd project is because I am using it for my stop on Kristy's Practically Paper Piecing Blog Hop .  My date is August 21st but I'll share a peek since we finished it a few minutes ago (yes, minutes - and I'm trying to get this post written before the baby wakes up from her nap!)


For this project, I had been on the lookout for foundation pieced letters but decided to try to make my own instead using paper and a pencil.  It really wasn't nearly as complicated as I would have imagined and it was great because I was able to make them the size I wanted.  I'll definitely be trying this again!


Their list also included lunch boxes, water bottle holders, journal covers, and new dresses!  Um, yeah - probably not going to happen!

And even though I haven't started on any of the QALs yet, they all look like a lot of fun and are being organized by super cool bloggers so you should check them out.  By the way, have I mentioned that I've never joined a QAL before so just decided to start by joining 4?!?  I think I'll be spacing these out throughout the next year - well, until another one of you decides to organize one!!!  

Vintage Holiday QAL at Fabric Mutt 
Totally Groovy QAL at Pile O' Fabric
How Far Will You Go QAL at The Elven Garden 
Sew Intertwined QAL at Sew Bittersweet Designs

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday which is being hosted by Cindy from Live a Colorful Life today and to TGIFF which is being hosted by Nicole from Mama Love Quilts on Friday.




Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blog Hop News 13

Plum and June

Who to visit this week:

Aug 14
      Sarah from Sarah Sews Quilting Blog
      January from Sew Sew Go

Aug 16
       Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
       Cathy from Blueberry Patch


Plum and June
This week's complicated rules:
1.  Anyone who is participating or following along with the hop can add a link that is quilting or sewing-related.
2. Link up any sewing/quilting post you want from your blog.  When the link tool asks for your name, type in what your favorite subject was when you were in school.  
3. If you have any current blog events, link them here as well - just put the name of the event when the link tool asks for your name.
4.  Please consider linking to this page from your blog (either a text link or the button) so others can join in as well.
5.  Please visit (at least) the person who links up before you and leave a comment to say hello!





Advice posts, figure it out posts, and the giveaways will be back soon!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday - By the Lake


With this view this past week and no sewing machine, I didn't get much sewing done.  I brought supplies for some EPP but it looks like that will have to wait for another day because somehow being by the lake inspired me to take out my dusty crochet hooks.


Back in May, I saw a post from Blair at Wise Craft that she was starting a Granny Square Sampler-Along and I was very excited to join in.  But I was so busy quilting that I never started - well, until last week.  Now, instead of completing the blocks one week at a time, I've been making them one day at a time!

 
I am now halfway through week 6.


And on the subject of "...alongs" - so many of my new friends have fun quilt alongs and other events going on their blogs right now that I've pretty much planned out all my projects for the next few months.



WIPs:

Vintage Holiday QAL at Fabric Mutt - colors selected but need to finalize fabrics
Totally Groovy QAL at Pile O' Fabric -  fabrics ordered
How Far Will You Go QAL at The Elven Garden - will be using my stash (patchwork)
Sew Intertwined QAL at Sew Bittersweet Designs - thought about fabric choices but haven't decided  
Practically Paper Piecing Blog Hop at Quiet Play - my date is August 21st
Quilt for my middle daughter - still waiting on her to make up her mind about fabrics and design


And speaking of friends - my good friend Bethany from make me a quilt is guest hosting WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced today so I will definitely be linking up there.



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Blog Hop News 12

Plum and June

Here are the links to the four bloggers to visit this week - and while you are there, leave a comment to say hello!

Aug 7
     Liz from What I Did on My Summer Vacation
     Susan from Canadian Abroad

Aug 9
     Kirsten from Gemini Stitches
     Stephanie from Sewing by Stephanie


The advice and let's figure it out series are still on a short summer hiatus.  In the meantime, how is everyone feeling about social media?  I know some of you are resistant to one or more of these but I still recommend trying at least one that is new to you.  Why?  Well, using social media is a great way to grow your blog but it is also a great way to (1) make and keep up with new blog friends, (2) to see and share WIPs and other projects that may or may not make the cut for a blog post, (3) to cheer each other on during the sewing process, (4) to ask questions about a project you are working on, (5) to find fabric sales and destashing sales, and (6) to post photo outtakes (oh, and Instagram filters are great for a quick photo edit!)  So, I know I've asked this question before but I'm putting it out there again for a conversation:  How do you use the various social media outlets available and what advice do you have about using them?  And how would you finish this sentence:  social media is a great way to . . .


If you want to like/follow/contact me, I use plumandjune for my username on all my social media sites and here is the link to find me on flickr, twitter, and facebook.
PhotobucketPhotobucket


Plum and June

This week's complicated rules:
1.  Anyone who is participating or following along with the hop can add a link that is quilting or sewing-related.
2. Link up any post you want - old or new from your blog.  When the link tool asks for your name, type in the name of your favorite family board game.  
3. If you have any current blog events, link them here as well - just put the name of the event when the link tool asks for your name.
4.  Please consider linking to this page from your blog (either in a post or from your sidebar) so others can join in as well.
5.  Please visit (at least) the person who links up before you and leave a comment to say hello!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Quilted Tote Tutorial and Fresh Sewing

I'm excited to let you all know that my tutorial on how I make my quilted tote bag is up today at Sew Mama Sew.  


I'm also working on a tutorial for a variation on the bag using a quilted pocket.  I'm going to try to get the tutorial written this weekend and I'll post it on my blog as soon as I do.

As for what I've been sewing during July:


I finally tried foundation paper piecing and love it!  Now I have to figure out what to do with these blocks.


I made more bags and pouches.


I finished a baby quilt for my littlest,  a quick picnic blanket for the whole family, and I just finished hand-quilting the quilt for my oldest.  My middle daughter and I have picked out the fabrics for her quilt  - we plan to make it together and hopefully, finish before school begins at the end of the month.

I'm excited to link up to Lily's Quilts for the July Fresh Sewing Day and see what everyone else has been up to for the month.








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