Paper piecing time machine

This fall/winter, I haven’t been that great about updating the blog – yikes. But just because my blog has been stagnant doesn’t mean my crafting has. I’ve been doing lots of things behind the scenes, just haven’t taken the time to write about them. Or I can’t, because I’m in Christmas elf mode and everything is a secret!

So hang in there while I jump in my sewing time machine and show you a project I tackled that has a Jack O Lantern on it. Yes, a Jack O Lantern. I told you I was jumping in a time machine, stop judging! ;)

Even though Halloween is over, I want to rewind a little bit and highlight this little experimental project I tackled earlier in the fall. I took my first shot at foundation paper piecing a quilt block! In my quest to follow crafty social media accounts, I’ve found a lot of quilt-y friends who frequently post about paper piecing. Needless to say, their constant paper piecing posts (can you say “paper piecing posts” ten times fast?) piqued my curiosity and I decided to give it a try around Halloween with this pumpkin paper piecing (free PDF pattern available here).

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I watched a few YouTube videos to learn the basics and then gave it a whirl. Once I wrapped my brain around the concept, I was able to do it pretty mindlessly. My technique still needs a little work, but overall, I’m satisfied with this experimental block and plan to paper piece a lot more in the future – there are some really cool patterns out there I can’t wait to try.

My cute pumpkin is still just sitting there as a lonely little block – he has yet to be turned into a pillow, a wall hanging, a tote bag, etc. And now that Halloween is over (waaaaay over), let’s be honest, I probably won’t be motivated to do anything special with him until next fall. I’m sure it will be a pleasant surprise to re-discover this guy and turn him into something festive and fun!

I have a fun paper piecing related project in mind for a Christmas gift, but I have no idea if I’ll get around to it in time. The clock is ticking! So much crafting to do, so little time…

Did I mention that paper piecing a quilt block was one of the items on my list of 100 No Pressure Projects? One more project done. Check!

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How to build a (magical) wreath

It’s Christmastime, which means I can’t talk about any of my sewing projects because they’re all a secret. But even though I have to keep my projects under wraps until the holidays are over, I still have a fun Christmas craft to share!

One of my favorite Christmas decorations to pull out of storage each year is the Mickey wreath I crafted over five years ago. Come December, I swear I have more interaction with my neighbors than I do all year long… all because they are asking about the wreath!

Mickey Mouse Wreath Tutorial on SewLindsaySew.com

Last year, I decided to replace the lights on the wreath with twinkle lights – turned out they were the “cool white” lights and are a little more blinding than I had anticipated. I’m pretty sure planes have thought about landing on my house. But I love the twinkle!

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Here’s a quick little guide for how to make your own Mickey wreath!

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  • Start with three plain wreaths – one should be slightly larger than the other two.
  • Use craft or floral wire to attach the “ears” to the larger wreath. Floral wire can be a little flimsy, but has the benefit of blending in with the wreath. You may want use a hearty amount of wire to make sure the ears stay secure!
  • Wrap the entire wreath in lights. I used two boxes of 60-count twinkle lights for mine. Start with one ear, work through the larger wreath, and then end on the third ear. Make sure the  end of the strand ends up in a place on the wreath that makes it easy to connect it to a power cord — which could be the top, bottom, or side, depending on where you plan to hang the final product.
  • Add optional accessories! I added red ornaments to my wreath. The floral section at the craft store has little ornaments with wires on the back so they’re easy to secure.
  • You can also add a big, festive bow! I had a bow on my wreath but it fell off last year, so I need to go get a new one (sad face). Add the bow to the bottom of the wreath to look like Mickey’s bow tie, or between the ears to look like Minnie’s bow. Either way, your wreath will be magical!

Happy holiday crafting, magical friends!

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Friday Favorites // First Edition

I am so thrilled it’s Friday! TGIF!

Have I ever mentioned that I am the biggest Full House fan on the planet? Well, I am, and I can never say “TGIF” without thinking of one of these classic intros.

Come on America, hug your TV set!

Anyway, I’m so thrilled it’s Friday that I want to share the happiness by sharing some fun stuff that’s made me happy lately… aka, Friday Favorites! Continue reading

DIY Halloween Costume: Remy from Ratatouille

October is a great month for lots of reasons, but one reason I really love October is that it’s Halloween costume season! I have great memories of flipping through the pattern catalogs in the fabric store and looking at all of the costume options throughout my youth. I don’t dress up every year, but I really enjoy pulling costume ideas together whenever I do.

The great thing about living in Central Florida is there’s always a Halloween party in town, given the number of Halloween themed events in the surrounding theme parks. Over the years, I’ve had a bunch of magical Halloween costumes:  Wendy Darling from Peter Pan, Boo from Monsters, Inc, a Mouseketeer and Tinker Bell. But one of the most fun costumes I put together was Remy from the movie Ratatouille!

The Ratatouille costume was a lot of fun and incredibly simple to put together at the last minute. It also forced me to learn how to spell “Ratatouille” from all the Googling I did while putting the costume together. ;)

Here’s a breakdown of my quick and easy DIY Remy if you’re looking for a last-minute costume!Remy

What you need:

  • Gray clothing items of your choice
  • Pink shoes
  • Pink gloves
  • Pink craft foam cut into a teardrop shape + chef’s hat (I used hair clips to secure the ears to the hat)

Optional:

  • Eiffel Tower on a Stick – print on computer paper, glue to poster board and attach a ruler or wooden dowel to the back. Instant Eiffel Tower on a Stick! I have to say — this was the most fun part of the costume. It made a great photo prop.
  • Recipe cards with a recipe for Ratatouille printed on them — these were fun to hand out to anyone who recognized us.
  • Linguini: No, not the pasta, the gangly chef from the movie! Find a friend who is willing to complete your Pixar duo, throw in some red hairspray, a chef’s hat and chef’s jacket (we got ours from eBay) and you’ve got yourself a Linguini.
  • A replica of the cookbook, “Anyone Can Cook!” I recreated one using a paper mache book from Joann Fabrics, craft paint and some graphics I printed from the internet. The book/box was a great place to store the recipe cards.
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The cookbook from the movie alongside my paper mache version!

So there you have it… DIY Remy and Linguini!

Remy & Linguine Ratatouille costumes

My Linguini looks a lot like Nick Lachey.

What’s on your costume agenda this year? I’d love to hear your quick and easy DIY ideas!

Fun Fact… today they were serving ratatouille in my company cafeteria. I wrote this blog post some time ago, but had scheduled it to post today. And then… ratatouille for lunch. I wish I had taken a photo. I can’t make this stuff up. It’s magic!

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SEW ALL THE GIFTS! (Happy Birthday, Morgan)

Another friend, another birthday gift, another blog post! I know, this is starting to get a little predictable. But I can’t help it – my friends are awesome and they all deserve handmade goods.

The other day, I was working on a project that wasn’t going well, so I gave myself a pep talk — “Lindsay, if this doesn’t work out, it’s okay. You can just buy a gift instead.” But my own brain immediately argued with itself. “No you can’t! ALL THE GIFTS MUST BE HANDMADE! ALL OF THEM!” Thats when I realized I had a problem. A gift-making problem.

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But hey… there are worse problems to be had. And my friends sure aren’t complaining. ;)

Now on to the birthday gift post — today, we’re celebrating Morgan! Continue reading

Dot Com

For your convenience, and in order to make me feel like a big deal, Sew Lindsay Sew is now a real life DOT COM. No more wonky blog address that has “wordpress dot whatever” mixed in there. Honestly guys, I didn’t even have my own blog address memorized – how bad is that? Now, to visit my blog, simply type SewLindsaySew.com. Woot!DotComThis is something I had intended to do in honor of my 100th blog post, but the idea was overshadowed by the excitement surrounding my 100 No Pressure Projects list.  It doesn’t cost very much for a web site domain, but I had always resisted on principle, wanting to “earn” the privilege by proving to myself that I could keep up with the blog. So here it is. Another blog milestone! Celebrate! LindsaySignature

Just airing some dirty laundry. Shhh!

Meet Winnie.

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Winnie likes to “help” me sew…

I love Winnie more than any other little pup in the universe. She’s lived with us for just over three years and she could not be more perfect. Despite her precocious ways.

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While she’s grown out of many of her “sneak attack” tendencies, she still has an affinity for baskets of (dirty) laundry. For years, I’ve used one of those pop-up baskets, but one of Winnie’s favorite hobbies is tipping it over and running amok with its contents.

Continue reading

Let’s go to the hop

Hey friends, it’s time for a blog hop!

Ummm… what’s a blog hop? That’s the first question I asked when I was invited to participate.

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Of course, my mind went right to this awesome Disney poster I had hanging in my bedroom growing up.

A blog hop is a way for bloggers to connect, get to know each other and share each other’s blogs. All I have to do is answer a few questions about my blog and writing process, and then nominate two other bloggers to do the same!

I was nominated by Jaime Johnson with Jaime Sews. Jaime has heaps of “real life” sewing experience so garments are a breeze for her… honestly, I don’t know her “in real life” but I’m pretty sure she could whip up a perfect, wearable item with her eyes closed. I’m so envious! She makes some really adorable clothes for her little ones and  has etsy shops for both handmade items and fabric. Check her out!

And now, onto the hoppy questions.

Why do I write?

I’ve always been a writer, although I didn’t label myself as one in the early years. When I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, my closest friend and I used to play a game called “mail” where we’d write little letters, magazines and even “junk mail” ads for our stuffed animals and dolls. We’d distribute said collateral accordingly and then spend time reading each other’s notes to our inanimate audience.

In those days, I also brought home stacks of books from the library and read incessantly, which led to quite a bit of story writing. I think I was the only one in my class who got really psyched about the annual story writing competition we had in my elementary school.

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Getting my Karen Brewer fix.

I studied communication and public relations in my undergraduate years and my career choices have led me to roles that largely focus on writing.

But WHY do I write? It basically comes down to this: I’m not a smooth talker. I’d be a terrible salesperson, lawyer or motivational speaker – but I bet I’d be pretty awesome at those things if I had 20 minutes to write out a thorough response each time it was my turn to talk.

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Words don’t fall out of my mouth as nicely as they come though my hands onto paper. I spend more time than I should in my head, regretting things I’ve just stupidly said out loud and wishing I could reword them. That isn’t the case with writing. I can make sure everything is just so before hitting the “publish” button.

I chose to blog about sewing and crafts for a few reasons.

  1. I don’t have a lot of people in my “real” life who want to talk about these things. Blogging = built-in community!
  2. This blog serves as a neat archive to look at all of the projects I’ve completed (and also gives me the ability to quickly share these accomplishments with friends and family around the world).
  3. I don’t think I’d have learned nearly as much about sewing had it not been for all of the resources available on the internet — especially from bloggers.

What am I working on?

As far as the crafts go — I recently shared my One Hundred No Pressure Projects idea, so lots of my upcoming projects will likely be from that list – but not all! With fall upon us, I really want to get started on Christmas gifts so I’m not blindsided when I realize Christmas is just days away. Making gifts is so hard because I have to keep everything a secret during the creation process!

Tina Fey understands.

Tina Fey understands.

How does this blog differ from others of its genre?

I’m new(ish) to sewing and new(ish) to public blogging. Sometimes I feel intimidated by the greatness of other craft blogs, or I feel dumb asking questions about the blogosphere as a whole (e.g., the cluelessness that ensued when I was initially invited to this blog hop). I hope my blog doesn’t intimidate other beginners because for the most part, I consider myself a beginner too. One of my (unofficial) long term blog goals is to write tutorials for beginners so I can help them have stress-free sewing experiences.

How does my writing process work?

I’ll often keep blog drafts in the queue for a long time before I publish them. Right now, I have 30 drafts just floating around in there. I sort of jump around between blog posts, developing the actual content until one starts to stand out above the rest.

Then I revise like a CRAZY PERSON. Right now this particular post is on version 20! Lately I’ve been trying to be less of a perfectionist when it comes to my writing. I have no choice but to be a perfectionist when I write in the professional world, so it’s hard to write in a more relaxed fashion here – even when I make a conscious effort to do so.

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That said, when I deem my blog post “complete” and it’s ready to go – it’s READY TO GO. This site gives me the opportunity to schedule posts in advance, but I rarely use that feature. I have such a hard time holding onto completed posts and I want to publish them immediately. If I try to wait more than 24 hours, my brain is like…

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When a post is done, I just want to share, share, share. Partially because I’m excited and partially because I know I’ll continue to edit if I don’t! ;)

Okay, that’s enough questions for me. Now it’s my turn to pass the baton onto two more bloggers!

First up, Leasa, who writes for Project Leasa and also has an etsy shop, A Piece O’Lease. Leasa’s blog is a lifestyle blog covering “Parenting, Wife-ing, Working, Crafting…. Everything!” She will often showcase her incredible quilting projects or things she has made for her cute son, Levi. I also follow Leasa on instagram, where she recently shared photos of a skirt she sewed using licensed Simpsons fabric — I got totally giddy at the prospect of incorporating licensed character fabric into grown-up clothing.

Second baton goes to Heather, whom I happen to know “in real life” as we worked in the same department for many years. She writes for Designed to Thrive, and also has an etsy shop with a variety of artwork, including intricate zentangle designs and customizable prints. One important thing to note about Heather’s shop: half of the profits are donated to the Center for Children’s Cancer & Blood Disorders at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children! Heather’s blog and shop are fairly new, but are sure to gain a quick following with all of that good karma floating around.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, kudos to you! Be sure to check out my blog friends – can’t wait to read their posts in the coming week.

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My friend furoshiki

I initially thought this would be a really basic story: “Look at the cute gift I made for my friend Melanie’s birthday! The end.” But this story ended up having a cool, coincidental twist! Read on.

My lovely friend Melanie (who, by the way, was the ringleader for our 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon running group) lived in Tokyo for a few years and once told me she really loves cherry blossoms because they remind her of her time spent in Japan. I have always remembered this fact because I, too, love cherry blossoms — but I really have no reason for loving them, other than I like the way they look (sadly, I have not visited Japan) (yet) (hint hint, Tokyo Disneyland anybody?).

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I had a bit of cherry blossom fabric leftover from some other projects, so I put it to the side for Melanie and revisited it while working on her birthday project. And the zipper, which matched perfectly, came from my crazy bulk zipper stash – I’m slowly working through those and finally starting to make a dent!

In the spirit of trying new things, and also tackling my 100 No Pressure Projects List, I decided to make a bow pouch that I had seen on Pinterest some months ago. As I tend to do with all zipper pouch projects, I used a mashup of tutorials — the Little Bow Clutch Tutorial on This Big Oak Tree and my favorite zipper pouch tutorial on Make It Perfect.

And I love the way it turned out. Love, love, love.

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I lined the inside with a charcoal/black calico print I already had on hand because it seemed to flow with the floral theme. I never, ever line zipper pouches with the exact same  fabric I’ve used on the outside. Because that would be boring!

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But here’s the fun (and educational) coincidence. Do you know what furoshiki is? Yeah, neither did I… according to the trusty (ha) Wikipedia, “furoshiki is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth traditionally used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods.” Apparently when Melanie was living in Japan, she received a baby gift that was wrapped in furoshiki and looked just like this bow pouch – so not only the cherry blossoms, but even the design, is sentimental for Melanie.

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An example of furoshiki from the Wikipedia.

So how coincidental is that? I had no clue. I just picked the bow design because I wanted to try something new and I thought it looked cute – but Melanie was destined to receive this design. It was obviously fate!

But whether it’s a bow clutch or furoshiki – there will definitely be a lot more of these bow clutches in my future.

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PS – After I wrote this post, it sat in my blog queue for awhile because I wanted to make sure Melanie approved before I posted. Between the time I wrote this and the time I posted it, Melanie brought me the most wonderful book — Furoshiki Fabric Wraps by Pixeladies. The book has beautiful photos and detailed instructions for wrapping all sorts of gifts in fabric! I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK. You can bet I will be writing about some of these wraps when I try them out. And now I’m convinced I need to buy a serger so I can serge all of my fabric and use it for furoshiki!

Furoshiki Fabric Wraps Book