Sewing with friends

What’s better than sewing on a day off? Sewing with friends on a day off!

Since we all had the day off for Labor Day, my friends Joe and Chris came over today for a little sewing party.

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This isn’t the first time we’ve had a sewing party. I taught them the basics many years ago, when Joe sewed a fall themed tissue box cover for his classroom, and Chris sewed a pumpkin. I think this was seven, maybe eight years ago? Hard to believe it’s been that long since we last sewed together!

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Joe and Chris recently got a dog – an adorable corgi named Ellie. As a dog-warming gift, I sewed Ellie a reversible bandana with a pocket that slips over her collar. I recently started sewing these for my roommate Katie‘s dog, Winnie, too. I really like the way they slide over the collar for the bandana “look” without actually having to tie anything around the dog’s neck.

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Last weekend, Joe and Chris saw that someone at the local farmer’s market was selling these bandanas for $12/each. They decided they’d rather pick the fabric on their own and learn to sew the bandanas themselves. So today they stopped at the store to pick up some fabric, and then came over to sew a few more for Ellie.

Winnie must have known that today’s project was all about dogs because she was happy to stick by Joe’s side as he sewed.

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First I taught Joe how to make a reversible bandana, while Chris played with my Perler beads… because no craft room is completely without a bucket of Perler beads, right? Chris stuck with the corgi theme of the day by making a corgi-butt out of the beads! LOL.

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Then Joe showed Chris his bandana-making skills, and they teamed up to make a few more. I am so proud of them! They didn’t require very much supervision and did a great job whipping these up.

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When they finished sewing for Ellie, they decided to make an extra bandana for their neighbor’s dog. I hope their neighbor is impressed by their sewing skills!

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I wish we had gotten a photo of the “reverse” side of these bandanas. The fabric combos were lovely!

Once Joe and Chris got home, I got a “virtual” fashion show of Ellie modeling her new bandanas via text. I love the way this one matches the coloring in her fur. Ellie is ready for fall!

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There are a lot of dog bandana tutorials out there, but I like this one best, the Reversible Over The Collar Dog Bandana by Cut Out and Keep. Not only does it have the features that I like best in a dog bandana (reversible, slips over the collar) but the post also includes measurements for five different sizes – Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. I make the medium size for Winnie, because I like them to be a little bigger. Joe and Chris made small, since they like them to be a little smaller.

If you have a four-legged friend in your life, I would highly recommend this cute and simple little project! Your dog will love you for it. 🙂

Happy sewing!

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Life on the rocks: Colorado Springs 2017

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Colorado Springs with my friends Joe and Chris – just for fun. A vacation for the sake of vacation! And let me tell you… we had the time of our lives.

We climbed rocks!

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And mountains!

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We took a train to the summit of Pikes Peak – 14,000+ feet…

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Our heads were truly in the clouds!

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We braved a cave!

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We walked in the footsteps of Olympic athletes at the Olympic Training Center!

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And – the highlight of the trip – WE FED WOLVES (Disclaimer: We did this at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. Do not try this at home).

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Sooooo… where does sewing fit into this story, you ask? Well, there are two sewing stories.

It’s rare that I take the time to sew for myself, but the deeper I get into this sewing journey, the more I realize how useful this skill really is. And this time, it played a part in my vacation prep!

Colorado Trip – Sewing Project #1

I really wanted to have a simple travel purse/bag for all of our adventures. I wanted it to be small so that I would only need to bring the bare minimum with me on each outing – cash, ID, credit card, phone, lip balm, car keys.

I really, really, really love the Zip and Go bag from Dog Under My Desk that I made a few years ago using a pair of Mickey Mouse boxer shorts. It’s my go-to bag every time I visit a Disney Park! But, while the Mickey Mouse fabric is perfect for a Disney Park, I thought it might be a little out of place out there in the real world. Plus, I thought the red/black combo might look a little “loud” in our photos, so I was looking for something a little more subtle.

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So, a week before the trip, I whipped up a gray, polka dot Zip and Go using fabric and hardware I already had on hand. I only had to purchase the zippers! The bag is lined with a solid teal fabric… which is not pictured, but I know it’s there! 😉 I had to add a little bit of color to the bag, even if it’s hidden on the inside!

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The bag was PERFECT for the trip! I am so glad I took the time to make it happen. I really adore the simple utility of the Zip & Go. Here’s a pic of it in action! We were hiking Helen Hunt Falls and I was giving a stern pose in front of a stern sign. You can see that I’m wearing the bag in a cross-body fashion for the hike.

Colorado Trip – Sewing Project #2

While I was packing for the trip, I revisited the rules on the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife web site. We had signed up for the special “Alpha Tour” because we really wanted to have one-on-one interaction with the wolves, but for obvious reasons, there are some pretty unique safety rules in place for those participating in the experience. For example, while interacting with the wolves, you cannot wear fur (even faux fur) or sheepskin. You also cannot have fringe, tassels, etc. on your clothes.

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These are the exact wolves we met! Raksha and Isha – they are Arctic wolves and only 10 months old.

While revisiting the rules, I realized that even skinny jeans were banned. Well, ever since I identified the need for skinny jeans in my life a few years ago, I have pretty much only worn skinny jeans. I’d outgrown or worn out all of my non-skinny options.

So, just a day prior to our departure, I headed over to Old Navy to grab some boot cut jeans for my wolf adventure. And of course… they needed to be hemmed. Once again, I experienced the magic of hemming jeans and maintaining the original hem. It’s one of my favorite sewing techniques. So useful and impressive!

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And honestly, I’m glad that I had two pairs of jeans on the trip. I ended up wearing the new jeans quite a bit, and I realized that the skinny jeans would not have been the best option for hiking, etc.

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So there you have it. Another vacation, a slew of life experiences, a million photos – and two more sewing projects for the books! 

Till next time!


 

Welcome, Baby Finn!

First comes the love, then comes the marriage, then comes… my very first nephew in a baby carriage! At around 4 a.m. on September 24, I was overjoyed to receive a message that Finn Joseph had finally arrived. Isn’t this the most precious baby you’ve ever seen? I know I’m biased, but… BEST. NEPHEW. EVER. Look at that baby burrito bundle. LOOK AT HIM. (It’s my job, as the auntie, to tell you to LOOK AT HIM in all caps. Because that’s what aunties do, and also, BECAUSE HE IS AMAZING.)

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Given my brother Jason’s love of planes, while most babies are delivered by a stork, I’m fairly certain Finn arrived via whimsical airplane, although my sister-in-law Sarah may have a different perspective. 😉 My brother is a recreational pilot, so him and Sarah like to go on lots of little adventures in their plane. Jason even asked Sarah to marry him while they were flying. And both of the baby’s grandfathers – mine and Jason’s dad, and Sarah’s dad – also have a special interest in airplanes. So needless to say, this baby has no choice but to love airplanes.

In fact, at just 6 weeks old, Finn experienced his first flight!

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When I heard a baby was on the way, I knew an airplane-inspired gift was in order.

I researched some airplane-inspired quilt patterns, and while there were many miscellaneous features that I liked with each pattern, there wasn’t one pattern that stood out as The One, so I decided to do my own thing.

I don’t know why I always choose to go down this road of doing “my own thing.” It’s mentally exhausting, I experience a ton of decision fatigue and I spend most days convinced that I’m just messing the whole thing up. But at the same time, I refuse to settle for what’s out there … and that’s why I love making things! Ahh, the beauty (and the pain) of DIY.

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I decided to take a risk and do something I’ve never done before, combining two skills from my sewing/quilting experience toolbox: foundation paper piecing and rag quilts. While I’ve done quite a bit of each of those things separately, I’ve never rolled the two skills together. But I’m most comfortable making rag quilts for baby gifts, and I was equally passionate about wanting to include paper-pieced airplanes.

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Other than substituting the airplane blocks for some solid blocks, the process was really no different than the typical raq quilts I’ve made. A few adjustments:

  • I added some additional fabric around the border of each of the airplane blocks to for extra seam allowance. Since the seam allowance gets cut up on a rag quilt, I didn’t want the planes to be cut up.
  • While I typically just quilt an “X” on each block for rag quilts, on the airplane blocks, I quilted around the border of the airplanes.
  • I made 12 airplane blocks total, and in order to best showcase them, I came up with a new, square layout versus the rectangular layouts I’ve used in the past.

I love the way this quilt turned out, and I was especially pleased with the fabric combination, the square layout and the inclusion of the paper-pieced blocks. I wouldn’t hesitate to make a quilt like this again, replacing the airplanes with any other fun paper-pieced shape.

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But the true test was introducing Finn to his quilt a few weeks ago when I met him for the very first time. Actually, it wasn’t really Finn’s first time seeing his quilt. He was already a month old by the time I got to fly across the country to meet him, and he had spent a lot of quality time in his nursery by the time I met him. But he was polite enough to act surprised for the photo anyway. What a nice boy!

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I think it’s safe to say – this quilt is Finn-tested, Finn-approved!

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Wreath-a-palooza

It was a year ago last April that I closed on my house, but it was a year ago this Memorial Day weekend that I moved in! And what a glorious year it has been.

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I love living in a house that I’m proud to call home and I love my neighborhood (in other words, I love amusing myself by reading the ridiculous complaints the residents have on the neighborhood Facebook group). Woot woot.

I’m a little slow when it comes to decorating decisions, but things have been creep-creep-creeping along throughout the year. There are still a lot of blank walls to fill (but at least they’re not boring white walls!)… and I still have a number of small furniture pieces and throw rugs on my wish list. But in my defense, the list of accomplishments is long, too: I’ve built about a billion pieces of furniture, power washed the back porch, replaced my ancient hand-me-down Christmas tree, installed new hooks above the garage for my legendary Mickey Mouse wreath, conquered dry wall anchors and, a few weeks ago, even installed a new toilet fill valve all by myself. Bam.

But, back to the decorating (or lack thereof). One decorating decision that has been incredibly easy and fun is creating seasonal wreaths to hang on the front door. My front door faces the street and is in full view of anyone walking down the sidewalk, so I thought it would be fun to make it clear that someone lovely lives here! Wreaths are also non-commital (therefore non-scary) decor, so I had no problem jumping right in. 😉

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I looked at lots of ideas on Pinterest before making my first wreath, and decided I liked the look of a simple grapevine wreath the best. I liked it so much, in fact, that all of my wreaths have ended up being simple grapevine wreaths with similar one-sided layouts. What can I say, I’m a girl who knows what she likes!

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If you’ve never made a wreath before, I’d recommend the grapevine wreath for a lot of reasons. One, it’s really inexpensive, so if you mess up, no big deal. The wreath forms I pick up at the craft store are usually in the $3-6 range. And two, they’re really easy to work with – you can wedge your flowers (or whatever) in between the branches and play around with the overall layout before gluing anything down. And when it does come time to glue (I use hot glue) – there’s a lot of twisty surface area for the glue to drip down and cling to.

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You really don’t need many flowers for these projects – just two or three small bundles would be more than enough, or, in the case of my patriotic wreath, just one large, pre-mixed bunch.

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I made the pennants using fabric scraps!

The part that I find to be the most fun is looking for the accessories – aka, the little stuff-on-sticks (like that adorable scarecrow) that easily sticks down in between the branches to mix it up. Make sure to circle the entire craft store for these items – sometimes the best accessories aren’t necessarily found in the floral department. You never know where you’ll fine something that might work!

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I love that scarecrow so much!

I now have these four wreaths ready to go for upcoming fall/winter/spring/patriotic seasons, but I’m not going to stop there. I definitely need to add a Valentine’s Day wreath to the bunch, at the very least! And maybe a birthday wreath. But monthly wreaths would be pretty magical, too. ❤ ❤ ❤

Happy Wreath-ing!

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Mother’s Day: I passed with flying colors

My mom knows the drill: Mother’s Day is the “homemade” holiday, and therefore, Mother’s Day gifts come from my craft room (whereas her birthday, one month later, is the “Amazon” holiday… LOL). Previous Mother’s Day gifts included a jewelry roll and a nail polish tote.

How do you thank the woman who taught you the invaluable life skill of using a photo booth?

This past year, my mom has really embraced the “adult coloring” craze – aka, the trend where adults get high-quality coloring books with really intricate designs, using colored pencils or gel pens to meticulously fill the page with color. Her coloring book collection has grown exponentially throughout the year and I’ve had fun sitting at her kitchen table coloring with her whenever I visit my parents. My mom even started a coloring group where a bunch of ladies get together and color and talk about life a few times a month.

But I’ve got to hand it to my mom – her coloring skills are top-notch, and she has much more patience for the intricate designs that I do (I usually abandon my coloring page a quarter of the way into it). Even though my mom claims not to be creative, crafty or artsy – she’s always been a rock star when it comes to coloring. Whether it was a school project or a children’s menu in a restaurant, I remember watching her and thinking, “WOW. Moms are so good at coloring.” Turns out, it’s not all moms that are good at coloring. Just my mom!

Here are a few of her finished works of art…

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Given my mom’s love of coloring, this year’s Mother’s Day gift was a tote bag (possibly for toting her coloring books!) made with coloring-book-esque fabric… and of course, paired with fabric markers so the bag can be COLORED!

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The “coloring book” fabric is My Little Garden by Olivia Henry on Spoonflower (fun fact, this fabric is also available as WALLPAPER you guys – how rad is that!?) and the tote bag pattern is the Outta Time Tote by Dog Under My Desk. I have written about Dog Under My Desk patterns many times in the past and I really can’t gush about them enough. They’re the best bag patterns I’ve ever worked with and worth every penny.

I used black zippers (which killed me, because you know how much I love bright-colored zippers – but it was the right decision) and lined the bag with a generic black and white leafy print.

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I anticipated my mom would open the gift and immediately say, “I can’t color this bag! It’s too nice! I’ll ruin it!” Therefore, I also made this zipper pouch with leftover fabric so she could “test” the fabric markers and her coloring skills.

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Turns out, my mom’s reaction went exactly as planned, so the add-on was a good call. Plus, she really loves having the extra zipper pouch for carrying her colored pencils to her coloring group.

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Another Mother’s Day, aka Homemade Holiday, on the books! Till next year…

LindsaySignatureP.S. – For other completed Dog Under My Desk projects, check out my previous posts:

 

 

 

Simplicity 2685 (aka, the six-year-project)

Let’s take a moment and go back in time, to the beginning of my sewing journey back in 2010.

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When I first decided to start this sewing adventure, I was enthralled with the idea of choosing my first pattern. I scoured all the patterns available from the “Big Four” (Simplicity, Vogue, Butterick, McCalls) trying to decide which pattern would make the cut.

It’s important to note that this was before I learned how many freebies and tutorials the internet had to offer – nowadays, my advice to beginners is always DON’T USE COMMERCIAL PATTERNS when you’re a complete newbie – but alas, I chose a Big Four pattern because I just didn’t know any better.

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After much deliberation, Simplicity 2685 won me over – an accessories pattern that included four different purses. I had seen the pattern listed on a review web site, described as, “easy for beginners.” Awesome! Continue reading

In hot pursuit of an adventure: our experience at International Hot Glass

If there’s one thing I love more than sewing, it’s mini-adventures. I call them mini-adventures because I’m not talking about climbing Mount Everest, here. I’m talking about one-day experiences that typically include one or more of the following elements (mix and match as you please):

  • Close to home (no more than a day trip away)
  • A “hidden gem” activity that most people have never heard of (something more interesting than eating out or going to a movie)
  • An activity with local flair (I love being a tourist in my own zip code)
  • Trying something new (even if it’s just new to me or my friends)
  • And of course, as someone who writes a sewing blog… bonus points if it’s a crafty activity!

Past adventures that I’ve participated in, that I feel meet some of the criteria I’ve outlined above:

Well shoot, look at that long list of adventures! And to think there’s still so many more on my list that I have yet to conquer. For that reason, I try to plan a mini-adventure every year for my birthday. In years past, I’ve gone camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (hence the archery lessons!) or dragged all of my friends to one of those “make a fancy canvas painting while drinking wine” type places.

Archery lessons for my 25th birthday with my previous roomie, Elizabeth.

Archery lessons for my 25th birthday with my previous roomie, Elizabeth.

This year, I decided to go crafty with a glass art workshop!

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Hippy-Dippy Birthday

Hey y’all – today is my birthday!

Celebrating my first birthday with a Hostess cupcake... back in the day before "smash cakes" were a thing.

Celebrating my first birthday with a Hostess cupcake… back in the day before “smash cakes” were a thing.

Today’s (self-serving) blog post is all about meeeeeeeeee! And more specifically, my personality as determined by my birth date and Disney character pairing, outlined in the book Disneystrology — which “combines astrology, numerology and the magic of movies to help readers understand their own personalities.” I was introduced to the book and this concept some years ago in a team building event at work where we all learned which Disney character was matched up with our birth date, and therefore, was supposed to be a reflection of our personality.

<i>Disneystrology</i> by Lisa Finander

Disneystrology by Lisa Finander

I had to laugh when I was told my birthday, February 7, had been paired with Fillmore – the hippy-dippy Volkswagen bus from the movie Cars. My first reaction was, “Ummmmm what?” I mean, there are definitely more awkward characters out there to be associated with (Stinky Pete? Did anyone out there actually get paired with him? LOL…) but I failed to see the connection to this one at a glance.

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Then I read the description for Fillmore a little closer, and the connection actually makes a lot of sense give my love of creativity and crazy ideas. Since then, I’ve been emotionally attached to this hippy-dippy bus!

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And the nominees are…

Recently, someone at work heard about my sewing blog and asked me which project was my number one pride and joy. A simple question that should have had an easy answer, but… I was baffled that I really didn’t have an answer.

The first pathetic thought that came to mind was, “my most recent project.” Whatever my most recent project is – I consider that the “new, shiny toy” that I am currently taking the most pride in. But that’s a kind of lame answer. How could I not have one standout project that is my favorite?

The second, less pathetic thought that came to mind: my favorite projects are the ones that I have made as gifts that are actually being used out in the real world. Remember the the Mustaches and Elephants quilt I made for baby Liam some time ago? Well, Mr. and Mrs. Liam recently sold their house, and I got to see the quilt displayed on Liam’s crib in the photos on the real estate listing. That was pretty fun! It’s one thing for people to tell me they like the gift – it’s another to see proof that they like the gift.

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I also regularly see my friend Joe’s “man bag” / toiletry kit in photos. Every time he travels, he sends me a pic of his bag in action!

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Yes, this was a Snapchat, and yes, I took a screenshot – blasphemous.

More gifts in action –  Maggie’s birthday countdown wall hanging and Sophia’s quilt!

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Another Snapchat screenshot on the left!

I continued to ponder this question, determined that there should still be a clearer answer – which project is my pride and joy? I eventually decided that I have a bunch of favorites – but each a favorite for different reasons. So I decided to break my favorites down into ten different categories of favorites. Because I can never do things the easy way…

Favorite fabric combo: Brittany’s shoe-themed jewelry pouch. The shoes are already so cute, and the fact that pink polka dot lining matches the polka dots on the pink shoes? Perfection. Throw in the minty zippers and ribbon with glittery chevrons? Stop it. I’m in love.

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I made a hat

I know the title of this blog post gives away the grand reveal, but… hey guys. I made a hat. A hunting cap, to be more specific.

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I’m not into selfies, so let’s just take advantage of this Snapchat…

Why? Just because. I had a pattern and wanted to try it. Also, making a hat or some sort of headwear was a bucket list item on my list of 100 No Pressure Projects.

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