Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crafty Traveler Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Crafty Traveler Blog Hop!!

I'm reviewing an awesome Noodlehead pattern: The Sidekick Tote. I love the way Anna writes all of her patterns. They are well illustrated, easy to understand, and the construction process makes sense (to me at least). If you haven't tried any of her patterns, you are missing out. There is a reason why they are so very popular.

The Sidekick Tote is an excellent size for everyday use, and I love the front pocket for quick phone access. There is also a pocket on the inside.

This pattern taught me how to do that wonderful recessed zipper closure at the top that doesn't have any holes on the side. I love this closure!! Does anyone else have that fear of dropping your bag and watching 15 tubes of lipgloss, approximately 8 bucks worth of loose change and other ladies' unmentionables tumbling out onto the floor at the grocery store? …maybe it's just me.
Anyway, this awesome zipper closure relieves my fear - and it's not as intimidating to install as it looks.

Anna's pattern includes instructions for an adjustable strap, but I opted not to do that. Now I'm regretting it of course, so I suggest taking the time to make that cool strap.

I used fabrics from the Boho line by Urban Chiks for Moda (except for the solid lining). The interfacing that Anna suggests in her pattern provides a really nice stability for this bag, but it is still soft and comfy.

Thanks for stopping by to see my Sidekick Tote! Click here to get the pattern at Don't forget to link up your own handmade travel accessory for a chance to win an awesome prize from Jennifer's Crafty Traveler Contest. And check out all the other cool pattern reviews along the Hop. See details below.

Crafty Traveler Blog Hop: Feb 3- March 12

Link-up your travel handmade project March 6-12 for a chance to win one of three great prizes! (US only) 


#1: Free Spirit Fabric, Crafty Traveler Tote supplies and Dritz rotary cutter. 

#2: Box of 50 Coats Threads

#3: Pellon Prize Pack (Interfacing & Batting) 

To enter to win simply link up your project at on March 6. Please link from a new blog post but your project can be anything you've made to travel handmade within the last 6 months. 

You may also link from Flickr or Threadbias. 

Blog Hop Schedule
3/13: Winner's announced! 

Thank you Jennifer at Ellison Lane for hosting this fabulous series!
Thank you to the generous Crafty Traveler sponsors!!

The Dark Side

This week's Project Quilting Challenge was "Across the Universe". Well I don't know much about space…and anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a Beatles fan…because that would be like…sacrilegious…according to any true Stones fan.

So round about Friday morning I was struggling for an idea for this week's challenge. Then I connected the dots: Sexy Pants is a Floyd fan. Dark Side of the Moon!! I thought improv piecing this album cover would be fairly simple and quick.


I think I finished hand-stitching the binding at 3:30 am this morning, so please excuse the hurried post and photos. The up-side is…I finished the new season of House of Cards and got through the first 3 seasons of Downton Abbey for the 5,689th time while making this quilt.  :)

The Dark Side

As you can tell from the multiple shades of black, I used solids from my scrap bin for the top. I actually had everything I needed for the quilt down in my shop - which was lucky since I worked on it for 2.5 days straight. There wasn't much time to go out in search of supplies. And I pieced the top and back entirely on my Featherweight.
Pieced with Scraps
I used my new Grace Frame and trusty Juki 2010Q to quilt wavy lines.
That part was super fun! I LOVE my Grace Frame.
Pieced Back

Quilt Label
This is my first pieced back! Usually by the time I finish a quilt top, I just want to get to quilting and finishing. Piecing a back seems like such a monumental task to fit somewhere in between. However, they always look fun when other people do them…and I thought Sexy Pants was worth the extra effort…so Voila! I had to throw in a few hearts to make sure S.P. knows he's loved.
Project Quilting Challenge #4

Finally Sexy Pants has a quilt of his very own, and he can stop stealing mine. But now I feel that a Stones Quilt is in order, because I'm slightly jealous.

Quilt Name: The Dark Side
Finished Size: 53" x 72"
I create in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Epic Fail

This is a story about a gal who thought it would be nice to make a new quilt for she and her husband using the oh-so-adorable fabric line: Oh Deer by MoMo for Moda.

She started out with a layer cake, some Kona solids, the Alter Ego Quilt Tutorial by the Missouri Star Quilt Company, and a dream of making a great new bed quilt.

After the layer cake and solids were stitched up, the quilt was not big enough, so she added a border around the entire quilt by making some strip blocks with an Oh Deer Jelly Roll. "That will make it right," she thought.

When the quilt top was finished, she admired her work and immediately set to basting, quilting, and adding the binding. After the binding was applied, she bounded the stairs, arms full of her new quilt, and laid it out on the bed to surprise her husband.

…except…it barely came over the sides of the bed. There was no way they would both stay covered at night with this too-narrow quilt (especially since she tends to do what her husband refers to as "the burrito" in her sleep).

The new quilt shall be called "Cute Creatures" and will be henceforth and forever more too big for the couch and too small for the bed.

Perhaps it should be used as a picnic blanket - except the gal doesn't take many picnics since she doesn't like bugs and bees.

Maybe it would best serve as a beach blanket for sun-bathing - except the gal lives in the Midwest where beaches are scarce. After growing up on the coast of Maine as well as spending six years on the coast of Maryland and Virginia, lake shores do not classify as "beaches" as far as this gal is concerned.

Since it's mid-February in Wisconsin where this gal resides, and since she is determined to find a use for her new quilt, she decides to take advantage of the lack of bugs and use her new quilt to become "one with the snow".
Making the best of it.
Oh Deer by MoMo
Cute Creatures
The moral of this story is: double check the size of your glorious new quilt before basting, quilting, and binding. It will save you from an Epic Fail like the one experienced by the gal in this story.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Halloween Hanger Paper Piecing Pattern

I'm pretty excited about getting my Project Quilting Challenge #3 done early this week! The theme for this challenge is candy. I suppose the logical thing to do given the time of year would have been to make something Valentine-related. I'm not much of a Hallmark Holiday kind of gal, however, so my thoughts on candy geared me to Halloween! I love Halloween. Although I haven't been to any costume parties in the last couple years, it's still my favorite holiday. Maybe I should convince Sexy Pants to throw a party this year. :)

I woke up with a Halloween-inspired idea yesterday morning and immediately set to work with my graph paper, trusty MacBook, and a pot of coffee. A little while later I had three new paper piecing patterns, so I headed down to the shop to stitch them up. I thought these would make a cute hanger for the door during Halloween season, so I just put them together into a column, added a border, and proceeded to finish a mini quilt hanger. I was so excited about the result that I decided to write the pattern. This project is so fast and fun! You can get the pattern (which includes the paper-piecing templates and quilt assembly instructions) on my Craftsy Pattern Page or in my Etsy shop by clicking either of those links. The pattern does not include instructions on how to paper piece; you must already know how to do that or refer to a tutorial.

All in a day - from idea to reality.

Happy Halloween!!….in 8 months. :)

There's no time like the present to prepare!