Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Recap

All in all, 2012 has been a great year. We've had so many wonderful things happen this year, which was quite the change from last year. Here's a recap of all the things I made over the year. I hope I don't miss any!!

January: With a new baby on the way, a changing pad was first on my list of projects for the new year.

February: Nothing completed, but this is the month I started my very first quilt-- a play quilt for my then-baby on the way.

March: My very first quilt, and boy was I hooked!

April: Diva's 3rd birthday cake. Cinderella of course.

May: I finished this one just in the nick of time! My second quilt. I even designed it myself.

Here is the other thing I made in May-- the most important thing to make the list. Little Loo.

June: In June I started my first quilt along. Although I haven't finished the top yet, all but one of the blocks are done and it should be relatively quick to put it together. My plan is to donate it once I finish it. Here are my finished blocks thus far-- minus one that was completed after I took the picture.

 July: My menu calendar. Can I just say that I love this thing. It works so great.

 August: This quilt and pillow set was for Diva's nap box at school.

September: Little Loo's Christening Cake. 100% made by me.

October: We may not have been able to use them until November, but I finished them in October! My Rapunzel and Pascal.

 November: Between Sandy and my machine issues I wasn't able to complete anything in the month of November... :(

December: This is the paper doll lap quilt I did for my bff's daughter's birthday in early January. I had hoped to completer her son's gift( they are twins) by the end of this month, but seeing how his fabric hasn't even arrived yet, I don't think that will be happening!! I just hope I can get it done by the first weekend in January! Yikes.

Looking back on the list I am actually really impressed with all that I was able to get done-- especially with a preschooler and a newborn! I am so excited for what 2013 will hold. Already on the list is that lap play quilt for my bff's son (once the fabric arrives!!), at least three cakes (for my mother in January, Diva in April and for Little Loo's 1st in May), a new nap quilt for September, Halloween costumes for October, maybe a couple of other homemade gifts for little ones I know, a crinkle quilt for a new baby, the quilt for Diva's school auction (I promise more is coming on that soon-- it's very exciting!), and I hope to check out and try the Free motion quilt along too.

Thanks for joining me this year. I hope you come back and visit often, and please leave some love... I love to know that someone is out there! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

I'm Back!

After some serious Halloween burnout and disappointment I am back to sewing and am very happy to announce that I have finished a play quilt for an absolutely adorable soon to be 4 year old. When I saw this paper doll fabric months ago I knew I had to have it! I decided it was perfect for my BFF's daughter's birthday. Incidentally, my BFF has twins, so for her son I'll be making something along the same lines... as soon as the fabric arrives! Pictures to follow for that project.

I decided to make a play quilt for the floor. It's small enough for travel and has a handy dandy matching bag so all of the pieces stay together. The outfits are backing with fusible interfacing so the clothes stick to the dolls even when you pick up the quilt to show mom and dad.

Here are the dolls all dressed up in some of their many outfits.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy Halloween!!! (pic heavy)

I know, I know... it's November 17th. But today we finally celebrated Halloween. Diva never seemed to let go of the holiday. She kept talking about the parade and trick or treating... so I (very last minute) threw together a Halloween party with just a couple of kids. The good news was that Diva FINALLY wore her Rapunzel costume and I was able to get some photos of her and Little Loo! And  as a bonus I got Halloween decorations and treats for 75% off!!!

As per Diva's demands our party had to include Halloween music, trick-or-treating, fun food, and a parade.

The menu consisted of the following: pumpkin vomit (otherwise known as guacamole) and chips, Dead Man's ribs and intestines (BBQ ribs and little hot dogs), bones and blood (breadsticks and marinara sauce), Spider Cider (apple juice), and for dessert Ogre toes(sugar cookies).

The kids even got to go trick or treating. Two adults stayed out with the kids while the rest of us hid behind the doors waiting to distribute the loot. First I decked them out with glow stick wands and axes (that I picked up on sale for 25 cents each!) and sent them upstairs. The lights were off and all the doors were shut so it was just dark enough for the glow sticks to set the mood. The kids came upstairs, knocked on each of the bedroom doors and the hall bathroom door and shouted trick or treat to us as we plunked candy and goodies in their bags. They had such a great time!

Here are some photos from the big party.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Matching Feathered Friend

It seems that Diva's peacock costume is always the show stopper on this blog. I have to be honest it's one of my favorites too. The year I made that costume, in the >hours< before Halloween, I decided to make myself an adult version for a party that we decided to go to last minute. Since so many people seem love Diva's I thought I would share the grown-up version as well. It's not nearly as adorable, but it does the job and was super easy to make! Please note the feather eyelashes... they were my favorite part!

For the top, I bought a corset. I made the skirt with scraps of fabric leftover from Diva's costume, and a black tutu I found, and the tail was done using leftover feathers and a fan, in the same way that I made Diva's.
From the front.

From the back.

For the peacock feather tail:
I bought a fan from the dollar store (you know those feather fans you use for a flapper costume) and hot glue gunned the peacock feathers onto it layer by layer. It was super easy, and kept the feathers perfectly fanned out. Then I just laced the fan into my corset and used a safety pin on each side (hidden of course) to keep it upright. A store bought peacock headband finished the look.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The latest epic fail... oh and hi, nice to meet you.

I have no idea if this will be included in the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop, but if it is thank you for stopping by and please excuse this post.

For those who don't know me, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jaime. I'm a happily married (barely) twenty-something with two adorable girls, Diva and Little Loo. I live in Jersey which is why this post is an epic fail. Let me explain.

For my Let's Get Acquainted debut I was planning on doing a big reveal, complete with before and after photos, of my sewing space. Unfortunately some things went wrong.

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I got a Babylock Tiara. I was so excited when I got her home, and I unpacked her that very night. Unfortunately, once I got her all up and going, I learned that the stitch regulator that I bought along with it wasn't working properly. After several phone calls and a shipment of a new stitch regulator, things still were not working. We're thinking the machine is shorting them out... ugh. So it was determined that I needed to bring the whole machine, plus the two stitch regulators back to the shop-- which is over an hour away. Oh, and did I tell you the lady wanted me to bring it in on Thursday Nov. 1st? Well, I was smart enough, seeing as Sandy was headed our way at the time, to push off the appointment until the following Tuesday, November 6th. But Sandy was far worse than I ever could have imagined. Although the store had never lost power, we had only just gotten ours back. And between the road conditions and gas rationing there was just no way I could justify the trip.

So no big reveal. Sorry. Instead I'll just show you some my favorite projects, in no particular order. Click on the caption for the related blog post.

This was one of my first cakes. I'm also self taught in this hobby. I don't have a post for this cake but I made it for my cousin's 18th birthday almost 4 years ago. This is when I surprised everyone with my mad skills. Now they aren't surprised when I do anything creative anymore...

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about me. Here is a list of the others participating in the hop this week. Don't forget to leave some love!

Cynthia from A Quilter by Night 
Stephanie from Smalltown Dreamz

Cynthia from Quilt Doodle Doodles
Diane from From Blank Pages
Laura from Waffle Kisses
Mary Ann from Rocknquilts
Angela from Angela B
Jaime from Stitches to Sprinkles (that's me!)
Allegory from {sew} Allegorical
Lynne from Bouts Choisis 

Nat from Made in Home 
Francine from Mocha Wild Child

Lyanna from Purple Panda Quilts
Stacey from The Tilted Quilt

Edited 11/13/12: I seem to get a lot of comments about Diva's peacock costume, so I went ahead and posted the adult version here. Enjoy!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Oh, Sandy

Let me preface this post by saying that where I live had no way near the devastation of other parts of New Jersey. That being said, however, allow me to tell you about how the rest of us fared...

This storm was like nothing I have ever seen before. We lost power on Monday, before Halloween.  (My last post was a scheduled post, and in fact, with the exception of that quick picture we took, the girls have not been in the costumes I made. More on that later.) We had a generator and made out fairly well until Wednesday when our generator broke and we were forced over to my brother's house, who was also running off a generator... four adults, five kids age 7 and under. Fortunately our house was spared, and our family was safe, which is more than I can say for others in and around our town.

The trip over was not easy. Most roads were closed, cars were few and far between, and we had  to pack hefty supplies of food, clothes, formula, baby gear, gas cans, etc., since we didn't know how long we would be staying. The doors of our car barely closed, but at least we had someplace relatively warm to go.

On Wednesday, once power started getting restored (not to us though), and roads started getting cleared, people began the hunt for gas. Even by then some gas stations had already been drained of gas, and many of those that were fully stocked were out of power and unable to pump. By Thursday morning at 9:30 am gas lines in our town and the town next door were over a mile long. Being relatively close to the PA boarder (about 30 minutes), we went west for black gold. By Saturday the gas rationing started, and our town instituted a 15 gallon max, which meant you either filled your car or heated your home... not both.

Luckily we got power back Saturday night around 7 pm  but my parents (who live in the same town) and my brother (in the next town over) are still without. I spent the day yesterday throwing everything out of our fridge/freezer and our garage deep freeze which, might I add, was filled to the brim.

Diva's school, which is about 3 towns away (and the schools in this town and other nearby towns) is still closed and without power, and (their words not mine) tomorrow is doubtful. Poor Diva is still talking about how Halloween is coming at the end of the month... she has no idea. Halloween has been postponed not once, not twice, but three times (now scheduled for Nov. 10!), making this the second year in a row that Halloween has essentially been cancelled. Soooo glad I busted my butt on those costumes!

And I would be amiss if I didn't mention that the forecasters are predicting a Nor'easter to hit on Wednesday and continue on slowly through Friday, which may only mean more power outages, gas shortages, and a prolonged state of general chaos for us here, never mind along the coastal regions.

All in all though, we've nothing to really complain about. There are those who have lost so much, and I have spent my morning putting boxes of clothes and diapers together to send along to those who are in desperate need. I urge anyone who can help to do so in whatever way possible.

PS- The big reveal scheduled for Nov. 12 probably won't happen since I haven't been able to get my sewing space together and my Tiara seems to be slightly malfunctioning. More on that later.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Finally. I've been talking about this post, and I am actually writing it! Mark your calendars!! So earlier I mentioned that I was up-cycling a dress for Diva's Halloween costume (Rapunzel from the movie Tangled). And my plan was to take all these pictures and show you step-by-step how I did it, but...

wait. I know what you are thinking... more empty promises.

Not exactly. You see, I did start with every intention of up-cycling. I took pictures of Diva in the original dress, and started to disassemble it (is that even a word?), and put it on Shirley (or as Diva likes to call her, Charlene), my mother-in-law's slightly scary 3 foot tall replica doll of Shirley Temple. And then I took a look at it and decided with the amount of work I was about to do, I might as well just start from scratch. Please remember these words as you read further:

I've never sewn clothing before in my life.

So here was my plan. I was going to take my fabric, look at a picture, and create. (READ: I had no pattern.) Let me preface by saying that I watch a lot of Project Runway... a lot.

I started with these fabrics-- a chiffon (light pink), a crepe (light purple), and a glitter satin (light purple)-- two of which were the most heinous fabrics I have ever worked with. I also started out with the basic idea that I would make a circle skirt and a country wench style top.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I've never been so grateful to Shirley in my life. She is almost the same size as Diva... slightly chunkier, and a bit shorter... but certainly within the ballpark which was good enough for me. She stood up tall, and never complained about my constantly putting things on her, taking them off, and sticking her with pins. Diva is not nearly as accommodating. 

I wish I could go through and tell you step-by-step what I did, but to be honest, I'm not sure I could replicate it even if I tried. I made bunches of mistakes and pulled out tons of seams. I wanted to use the glue gun a few times but my husband told me to suck it up, so I did. I sewed my first zipper into Diva's costume... slightly crooked, but there. I depended heavily on online tutorials like this one for the sleeve

My plan was to do a circle skirt sewn onto elastic, which I did, but it didn't turn out quite right so I ripped it out, added a waist band and made my attempt at a zipper. It works, but Diva is so skinny that I am going to have to resort to using suspenders (hidden under her top) to keep it up properly. Then for the top, I made a quick template using one of her shirts, as well as the aforementioned tutorial for her sleeves. I'm actually stupified at how well it all came together. I added eyelets for the lacing, lace around the edges, and iron-on flower embroidered appliques for the detail on the overlay skirt.

I decided that for Halloween Little Loo would be Rapunzel's best bud, Pascal, a very small, very green chameleon. I was smart though... I bought a pattern, and only made some slight adjustments. I used green fleece and this crappy metallic fabric for accents-- never again. I added a detachable tail, swapped the ears for giant eyes, added some spines or whatever they are called on her back. 

Here they are together.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oh man. Talk about neglect. I keep saying to myself, I have soooo much to write about, but I just don't seen to have the time. Tonight Hurricane Sandy is on her way and we are trying to prepare for what could be days without power. Fortunately we have a generator so we'll be good, but we may be housing family and friends who don't which always makes for some added stress. Not to mention that some of the surrounding towns have already cancelled Halloween! Ugh. The thought of another postponed Halloween makes me want to cry considering the work I put into the costumes this year. More on that on Wednesday, Oct. 31, when I post the photos.

Also, I recently got my Babylock Tiara which just makes me giggle to think about. Between getting the machine and realizing that I need to make my sewing area safer now that I will have a crawler within the next couple of months I have redone my "sewing room." I plan to have a reveal on my Let's Get Acquainted blog hop stop on Nov. 12. Before and after photos will be included, so please stop by. I'm even planning on throwing in a giveaway if I can get to the store in time!

And in the Halloween spirit, I thought I would include a photo of this fruit platter I did for my nephew's birthday party this past weekend. It must have been really scary, because no one even touched it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I think I can breathe again... maybe

We will soon be returning to our regularly scheduled posting.

September was an especially crazy month for me. With Diva heading off to school for 5 full days (a first for this family), dealing with Little Loo's own crazy changing schedule, and the annual Oktoberfest our Lions Club does (of which I am a member) I have been overwhelmed-- to put it mildly.

That being said, I did manage to put a deposit on a Babylock Tiara, and am looking forward to getting back to my quilting. After this week I plan on finishing the quilt top from the Beginner's Quilt Along so that I will have something to quilt when my Tiara arrives.

I also have to start working on Halloween costumes for the girls, which I am super excited about. Diva's costume will be an up-cycle from a special occasion dress. I plan on taking pictures of the whole process so that I can share them with you. Little Loo will be a new construction of my own design. Let's hope they work out!

Until next week...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I must be crazy.

I can't believe how much the start of school has messed me up. It's the very first year, not to mention there's a new baby in town, and clearly I have a lot of adjusting to do. I have grossly underestimated the amount of quilting I hoped to get done. Well, that and the rush to start and finish the Cat in the Hat quilt (all in just 2 weeks) left me a bit exhausted by the process.

Anyway, before I give you a quick update on what will be coming up, I have to post a picture of me meeting Dave Mathews this weekend. Sorry. I know it is totally unrelated, but it was a major highlight of my weekend. He's really very funny. Anyway, onto my upcoming projects and some exciting news.

In a previous post I mentioned that I tried out the HQ Sweet Sixteen and fell in love. Well... I couldn't believe how hard I fell. I was having dreams about sitting there quilting with it. So I called my local sew and vac, who told me about their special show pricing for the Babylock Tiara, which I also tried (from what I understand, the Babylock is just a private label of the HQ SS).  Anyway, I must be crazy because I put a deposit on the machine, and will be picking one up as soon as it arrives at the store. It was a pretty sweet deal, and I just couldn't pass it up.

So with that news here are some UFOs and upcoming projects that I need to get moving on.

  • Finish the quilt top for the Beginners Quilt Along quilt- I hope to donate this one to charity once its completed.
  • Make a paper dolls quilt from the fabric I purchased at the show. I actually bought more of this fabric, so if it turns out, I plan to make another one for Diva's school auction.
  • I also recently bought some Thomas Kinkade fabric featuring Snow White. It is the fabric that made me start quilting, though I never actually bought it. I'll be doing something special with it for sure.

Also, I have been volunteered to be a quilter for the school quilt that gets auctioned off every year at Diva's school. I've seen this thing go for over $30k some years, and most years it gets donated back to be hung in the school halls. I am so excited that I'll get to be a part of it. Once I get some more information on the theme and what my part will be, exactly, I'll fill you all in. Here is a picture of last year's quilt.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Little Loo's Cake

And here it is. Finally! The cake I made for Little Loo's Christening. This cake was a yellow sponge cake with strawberry jam filling. All the decorations on it are edible and 100% hand-made, and the baby was even hand painted. I hope it was worth the wait!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Philadelphia National Quilt Extravaganza

Wow. I was totally unprepared for how much my schedule would get messed up from school starting, since this was Diva's first time ever at school. All the meetings and breakfasts, and then throw in Little Loo's Christening-- oh man.

Despite all of the uber exciting things that happened over the last week or so, I'm going to skip ahead to the quilt show I went to. Don't worry, I'm still planning on posting photos of the cake I made for Little Loo's Christening... just not today.

Anyway, yesterday The Tailor and I went to the Philadelphia National Quilt Extravaganza in Oaks, PA. It was a great show. They had some amazing display pieces, as well as some great products for sale.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera-- major fail-- and my phone batter was too low to use for photos too-- double fail-- which was truly unfortunate because they had some really beautiful quilts on display from countries all around the world.  I loved watching The Tailor examine every quilt she came upon to see if she gave it her nod of approval. I would show you some of the ones that passed the test, but again, I didn't have a camera.

After checking out all of the quilts we moved onto the vendor section of the show. I found this great fabric panel Today's Paper Doll by Sibling Arts Studio. Each doll is about 10" tall. I also picked up some of the fabric with the extra outfits on it so that the dolls will have a change of clothes!

I had seen this quilt a while back, and always wanted to make it, but I was told the fabric had been discontinued. So when I saw this, I GRABBED it! I may actually pick up another set to make an auction item for Diva's school auction in April.

Despite how happy I was with my fabric find, I was even more excited to be able to try out the HQ Sweet Sixteen while I was at the show. And let me tell you something... I'm in love. And mark my words, it will be mine. I'm giving it until the end of the year, but more likely much sooner. I love it and it is amazing. I tried it out with and without the stitch regulator and it worked wonderfully both ways. I love how compact it is, yet how accommodating it would be for a full size quilt. It was sooo smooth and every stitch came out perfect-- no pulling, no loops... perfect!

The Tailor wanted me to buy it on the spot, but seeing as how the machine costs a few grand, I thought it would be best to not just charge the plastic without a second thought... even though I wanted to. The Tailor is a terrible, wonderful influence. She is bound to get me into trouble and soon!