Monkey See, Monkey Quilt! (Binding & Done!)

So last weekend, Mom did as promised and showed me how to hand sew a binding. I did the machine work and even cut my own binding for this one – the same brown dots from the quilt. The doll quilt, I cut 2″ for double fold binding and got very nervous about how close it was to the edge. I’m not to 1/4″ binding yet! So I cut 2.5″ for double fold for the quilt. Mom showed me the basic stitch (and a blanket stitch, but let’s not get too far advanced!) and did about half the quilt before handing it over. See if you can tell where she stops and I start:

Ha, trick question! It’s actually where I stop and she starts – look, my stitches are more hidden than hers! OK, OK, her’s are way more even. And her corner was way better than mine – though I was getting pretty good by the third corner!

So I spent most of the afternoon stitching the binding and refreshing Facebook. Fun fun! I quickly broke out the new leather thimble to protect my middle finger – and here I thought it was to protect thumbs! After about three hours of work – I was getting faster by the end – I had the whole quilt bound. Woohoo!

And now I need to bind the doll quilt and everything will be in the mail! Before the third trimester, even!

Published in: on August 31, 2009 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stash Project – Stroller Bag (Part 1)

This is the ultimate stash project – a pair of old jean shorts and no pattern. I couldn’t find anything on the internet to go by! So I dragged the stroller into the bedroom (good thing the husband is off doing some training) and started cutting.

BTW, credit goes to my little sister. I mentioned that I wanted to make a stroller bag for our water bottles in Disney World, and also that I wanted to try my hand at making a purse and an apron out of old jeans. We were debating what to do with my Lucky jeans (will probably be the purse – lucky them!) when suddenly we realized, duh, jeans, stroller bag!

So I started with a pair of old, ripped jean shorts. I can’t fit them and probably won’t ever again. Not that they can be used for anything but gardening.

Sliced off about 6-8″ to get above the rip in the side. I made sure to stay below the pockets, though, so they can still be used from the outside. And then stitched a seam along the bottom.

Used some ribbon to hold it to the stroller. Conveniently, there’s holes at the belt loops in just the right places! I decided I wanted a little more curve on the bottom sides, so pinned those up and stitched them across. Inside is my 32-ounce Rubbermaid bottle – see, it fits perfectly! And see, it matches the stroller! Which is completely unintentional – heck, I don’t even like the color of the stroller. No, I did not get lime green because of the DIS! I got the lime green because that was the one that could be shipped fastest!

OK, so I had the outside of the bag down.

Well, mostly – I’m still considering embellishment with a Mickey ribbon through the belt loop or something. (Hobby Lobby has Disney Princess ribbon. No Mickey ribbon. Princesses suck.)

Oh, and I saved the bottom of the shorts – I’ll attach the nice wide hem to the bottom of the bag and use velcro on the ends to attach it to the stroller. This probably should have been done BEFORE sewing the sides up, but eh, c’est la vie. It’s the backside, anyway.

Also, I need to figure out what I’m going to use to attach the top to the stroller, as well. Probably with velcro, so we can pull it off and take it in line if need be. Ooh, and maybe it needs a strap for when we take it in line, too! Wait, this is getting a little complicated for a little pouch to hold water bottles and baby wipes. OK, the most important thing is that the straps be strong enough to hold 60+ ounces of water.

So now that I’m totally undecided on the details of the outside, it’s time to think of the inside! Since the bag is primarily for Disney World (the Wee One walks everywhere else), I pretty quickly settled on this.

Bought it for bathroom curtains three houses and one apartment ago. (You’d think would be a long time ago, but yet it was…last summer…) Never made them for the house with a bathroom window, and the last two houses and apartment haven’t had a window in the Mickey bathroom. So the fabric was just begging to be used in a WDW stroller bag! And, when folded over and attached just under the hem of the pants, is the perfect size. With more than plenty left over for some dividing inside pockets, and trim (I think it need a Mickey patch on the outside, right?), and…

So now I’ve got to decide what I want in the inside, and cut and sew. Off to research purse linings! And hunt for Mickey ribbon! And…!

Published in: on August 27, 2009 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Out of This World (Space Valance)

When we were out hunting for fabric for the airplane block quilt, the Wee One discovered space fabric and fell in love. He got the Matchbox Space Shuttle for Christmas last year and it’s consistently been a top toy. Plus we went to the Houston Space Center in April, which thrilled him to no end – he wanted to spend the entire vacation there. Woo, landing the Space Shuttle!

So when it came time to pick his bedroom theme, it was pretty much a given. Which sucks, since we have an airplane lamp and a Mickey airplane lamp and a Mickey airplane picture and an airplane shelf and airplane hooks and all those Disney lithographs and not to mention, the Perpetually-in-Progress Cars quilt. Oh well, the PIP Cars quilt can just not match and all that airplane stuff can go in the playroom/future nursery.

And so it was off to JoAnn’s to buy some space fabric. This fabric actually has a better “feel” than most JoAnn’s fabric – nice and soft. Too bad it’s only for a valance! Um, I think we bought a yard, knowing that it was 42-44″ fabric that we would be slicing in half to get two 20″ or so panels.

I super-generously let Mom hem the sides of the valance. (Hey, I pinned the hem for her!) Then I got to use my trusty little gauge again to pin the pocket at 4″. I would have turned over the bottom edge, but his window is really long and I was worried about it being too short. So I skimped.

The previous owners left a curtain rod with a 2″ rod, so we figured 4″ would give about a 1″ ruffle on top after all the seams.

Yep, right on the 1″ mark! BTW, I recommend picking which side you’re planning on sewing on and sticking with it. Also, it helps to remember to change the stitch length back from your quilting one. *roll eyes*

They slid easily onto the rod, not so easily around the corner. So I won’t be taking them off again!!

As you can see, we bought black panel curtains for behind the valance, which is why I didn’t use any backing on it.

Up next: the rest of the space themed bedroom! (OK, no sewing involved. But I did constellations on the ceiling and if I’m going to spend time messing up my neck to put up teeny stars, someone has to admire them!)

Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Monkey See, Monkey Quilt (Quilting)

I bought the world’s softest flannel for the backing of this quilt. Love it! Can’t stop touching it!

Decided to double my quilting time by going 1/2″ from the major seams – both the big blocks and the little four patch blocks. Which was a pain when going down the middle of the monkey blocks. Is there plumb-bob for the quilting world? Because I could really use one. But man, other than the crookedness, the back looks great to me! And as a bonus, I got very good at eyeballing 1/2″ – even though I made sure to check it just in case.

I tried pin-basting. Eh, not really impressed. It held it together enough that there was no major slippage, and was easy to get everything in place to trim off the excess flannel, but it was annoying to remove pins as I quilted (not to mention having to redo a section where I sewed over the bottom of the safety pin and couldn’t remove it!) So… Don’t really know how I’ll baste in the future.

On the doll quilt, I quilted a horizontal line, then switched and did a vertical line. Ended up with several bumps in the quilt top. The full quilt I quilted all the vertical lines, smoothing out the top as I went. I was afraid that the backing would end up bumpy, but it ended up fine. I only got a few very minor bumps on the quilt top when I added in the horizontal lines.

And of course, the obligatory cat shot. Tycho thought it was necessary to sleep on the back of my table, right where the quilt was going as I sewed.

After I kicked him off for the fifth time, he gave up and slept in a scrap box instead.

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 11:20 am  Leave a Comment  

30th Birthday Cupcakes

The sweet, angelic creature that I carried for nine months (two with unbearably itchy rash), gave birth to after 13 hours of induced labor and raised for the past four years, refused to say happy birthday to me without some concrete evidence of a birthday. That, to him, was cupcakes.

Nevermind that his dad is TDY (and has been for my last five birthdays, one of which the sweet, angelic creature gave me viral pinkeye) and this was my THIRTIETH BIRTHDAY, which according to all my friends, makes me really old.

The boy wanted cupcakes and he was prepared to withhold his love.

So I bought Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Butter Recipe Golden Cake Mix. I thought it sounded better than “yellow cake.” It actually turned out quite chiffony-cupcake-ish. Yum! Maybe because you beat it for four minutes? Thank goodness for Kitchenaids!

I added two tablespoons of orange juice instead of some of the water, and some orange zest. Subtle flavor, but nice. For the icing, I made butter icing from the recipe in my Betty Crocker Cookbook, but split the milk into half milk, half orange juice. And added some more orange zest. Tried using my cookie press to pipe icing on, but it made a mess – I think it was a bit too soft.

And then I went all out with the design!

Published in: on August 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stash Project – Camo Crayon Belt

OK, this doesn’t really count as a stash project, not for me at least. I saw it, loved it, and bought fabric for it. But the fabric came from the remnants bin, so that should count for something, right?

I came across Grace Violet when searching for a ribbon blankie idea. She has a super cute ribbon football that I’ll probably make.  And the drawstring bag, and the fabric bucket, and the bandanna stuff, and… OK, I just love everything. But I started with the camo crayon belt because the Wee One wanted a crayon thing that was more boy-ish.

The camouflage fabric is 43″, which seemed about right, so I laid out a crayon and decided on 6″ for the belt width. Cut 7″ for 1/2″ seams.

Can I just mention how much I love this sewing gauge thingie? Never used it before but I use it all the time now!

Did a decorative stitch on the hems, but I don’t love it. Too girly. Next one, I’ll use a straight stitch or something more triangle-ish.

I thought about making this more like a sash, with a curved shoulder and hip, but I didn’t have a sash to pattern off of, so I went with a single piece of fabric, simply straight seamed at the bottom. If the seam at the bottom doesn’t look like it will hold up to the Wee One’s use, I’ll reinforce it on the next one. With a decorative stitch of course!

I bought 1.5″ ribbon for the crayon holding. Cut 16.5″ – 16 1″ crayon slots and 0.5″ for the seams. Since the belt is 6″ across, I put the ribbon 1.75″ from each edge. I started placing pins for the 1″ slots, but got bored by about the fifth.

So then I started just putting the gauge on the sewing machine. Oh, and on this crayon thing, I had to start and stop and backstitch and such since the crayons slide through. I’m not sure if I like it any better than the ups and downs of the continuous line crayon roll. Both are a pain!

And then you have all these threads to snip at the end!

Now that he’s tried it on, I think definitely next time I’ll cut in at the hip to make it sit better. As you can see, it fits regular crayons, big crayons, and big markers. Skinny markers fall out – I assume they’re too long. And if you want all markers, you might want to make it wider.

But in the end, it’s an hour-long project and a happy Wee One!

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 10:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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Monkey See, Monkey Quilt (Piecing Together the Top)

Even though it’s a plain design, I do love simple quilts. Probably because I’m not very good, so easy works best. Four-patch means all I have to do is sew the two colors together, slice ’em and sew ’em together the other way.

Of course, it helps if I’m not getting any “assistance” on the cutting table.


Then with everything laid out on the bed, I set up the assembly line!


Sew everything together piece by piece.


Then pressed and put back on the bed neatly so I can keep it in order.


And just like that, the top of both the quilt and doll quilt are done!

(Man I need to get better at taking pictures.)

And now since it’s pouring rain, the Wee One and I are going to watch a movie and baste-pin both quilts!

Published in: on August 18, 2009 at 11:25 am  Comments (1)  

Monkey See, Monkey Quilt! (Fabric & Pattern)

There’s a bit of a baby boom going in our former squadron. I think this is the last one I need to do before working on my sister’s, my cousins’ for Christmas, my two nieces and the Wee One’s. Woo! (Just by saying that, someone is getting pregnant somewhere.)

But thank goodness, it’s not another airplane quilt! E is having a boy and gave me the nice vague instructions of “monkeys, green and brown.” I already had a green fabric with bananas on it for the jungle themed quilt for my cousin, so I worked from there. I didn’t like the sock monkey fabric Moda has out right now. Didn’t want to use the same Patty Reed jungle babies I already have for my cousin’s.

Finally checked and found out the banana fabric is part of a collection. Unfortunately, the “local” Joann’s doesn’t carry it. And by local, I mean, 90 minutes away. Man, I love living in the middle of nowhere! Online, you have to order an entire yard. So I guess I’ll have a lot of extras.


Hey, I should make a doll quilt for E’s daughter!!

This is the first pattern I came up with, but I couldn’t figure out the dimensions to cut it (does Electric Quilt have this kind of stuff??) and I searched for online instructions, but the quilt block doesn’t exist under the name EQ gives it (right and left.)


It would have looked nice, though! Maybe someday. When I can do math without freaking out and calling my mom to find out the square root of the hypotenuse, or something.


Instead, we’re going for this very simple design. But it goes quite fast and looks nice laid out. And I decided I’m going to quilt about an inch from the seams instead of stitch-in-the-ditch so the quilting pattern is a little more interesting. It’ll give me a chance to see if either of the walking foots (feet?) that came with my new-old Singer work on my regular machine!

Published in: on August 14, 2009 at 6:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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My Singer Works!

I took my new-old Singer to a repairman at Prairie Quilt in Hennessey, OK last week. He said since there was a plate missing in the back and the bobbin winder had been removed, it was likely that the motor didn’t work and that’s why the parts had been taken. Boo! I decided to pay for an evaluation anyway – I just wanted to know if it would work.

Well…. It does! There’s nothing wrong with it whatsoever! (Except for the missing parts.) He’s going to order me a power cord and foot pedal, and for $55 (parts and labor) my baby will be up and running! Bobbin winder is no problem – my regular machine will wind a Class 66 bobbin as well as its own 15.

I have about a week to clean up the sewing table, clean out the drawers, and set it up in the bedroom. Or maybe leave it in the book nook – it matches all the bookcases and looks homey.

So exciting!

Published in: on August 12, 2009 at 1:50 pm  Comments (2)  

Another Airplane Baby Quilt – Basted, Quilted & Half-Bound


While I was living like a vagabond in Virginia, my mother taught me to baste a quilt. It works really well if you have a (clean) kitchen island and excellent hand sewing skills. Or, um, any hand sewing skills. I have neither.


Basting involves hand sewing red thread loosely throughout the quilt. Or threading needles for Mom while she hand sews red threads loosely throughout the quilt. She could do an entire line before I was a quarter of the way through mine. And being, um, like me, she gets impatient when you can’t keep a straight line or keep picking the quilt off the kitchen island. Eventully she sends you outside so she can work in peace.

Eventually, someone has sewn red thread about every five inches through the quilt, both vertical and horizontal.

Most of the quilt didn’t shift when I quilted it, except for the (evil) chenille. Since it was Mom’s old thread, it broke quite often while I pulled it out. That’s ok, I have great seam-ripping skills and it works most excellent on loose threads like basting.

Still, since I don’t have a table at the right height and the hand sewing skills, I’m going to skip this kind of basting. After we got to Oklahoma, I bought basting safety pins, which look just like safety pins, but cost more!


Binding was my least favorite part of quilting. I was really, REALLY bad at it. Sometime during Fat Quarter Month, I was perusing Sew Mama Sew and the FQ doll quilt-along, and I discovered that the reason I dreaded binding was because I was doing it absolutely, totally wrong. Couldn’t have been more wronger. I bought double fold binding and tried to sew across the top of it while trying to hold the quilt edges together. I figured using a decorative stitch would make up for the terribleness that was the binding. It was REALLY bad. And I dreaded it!

Well, yeah, binding’s actually pretty easy. UNFOLD the double fold binding, pin the edge to the edge of the quilt, and sew along the fold. So incredibly simple!


The corner stumped me at first, even when following pictures. Luckily, Youtube exists just to show me the technique! Thank you so much to my sister (who found the video) and Shelley Cordsen!


Look at that corner! Even the corners that are (evil) chenille turned out perfect. I suddenly love binding! I can’t wait to work with real fabric instead of double fold!

Except… It’s so perfect, I don’t know how to do the other side. I was going to do a decorative stitch to seal the whole thing together, but the yellow looks so nice and perfect that I don’t want to ruin it. And, as previously mentioned, I don’t hand sew.

Mom’s coming next week. Guess what Mom’s doing next week?

Published in: on August 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm  Leave a Comment