Monday, November 25, 2013

Want to learn to sew? I've got you covered!


One of the questions that I get asked again and again (and again!) from friends and blog readers alike is, "What is a good book for a beginning sewist?"  Well, I have finally found my favorite!


The sweet Katie Lewis, who blogs over at the red kitchen, has just published a fantastic book for anyone just starting out on their sewing adventure (Christmas wish alert!).  The beginning section covers all the basics you'll need to know from fabric and supplies, to stitches, and techniques.  I think I might even lend it to my husband for a bit, because I don't know how many times I've been sought out because he "just doesn't know how to sew on a button".  Yep, covers that too!


Katie takes you step by step through 30 projects that are just perfect for a beginner, but are versatile enough for a more advanced sewist to have fun with.  And for me, the thing that makes this book stand out above all the other "learn-to-sew" books is that each step and each direction for every project is accompanied by a photo.  She really ensures that anyone can become a confident sewist!  

So many of these projects are super kid-friendly, and combined with the step-by-step photos, this is really a great first sewing book for a child as well as an adult.  I know I'm going to be handing it over to Phoebe soon as she expresses more and more interest in using the machine herself.


Okay, so let's get to the projects!  I got straight to work on making a set of adorable bean bags.  I must of had a moment of crazy, because all of a sudden I found myself cutting into my precious japanese fairytale prints that I have been hoarding for years.  But they turned out super cute, and they are way more fun to play with and enjoy than just sitting on the shelf in my sewing room.


Phoebe claimed them immediately and has been playing toss, stacking them up, and carrying them around ever since.


Who wants an early Christmas present?!  Katie is playing Santa Claus and giving away a copy to one lucky reader!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And if you'd like to buy a copy for every one of your friends, Katie's book can be found here - 
Barnes & Noble
Books & Things

Thanks for the giveaway dear Katie, and congrats on the great book!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gaudy Kitty Quilt

Oh, gaudy kitty quilt.  I love you so so much.  I am 99.9% sure that this is my favorite quilt that I've ever made, beating this quilt by only 1/10 of a percentage.


Background - We moved Phoebe into a twin size at the beginning of summer;  hence, she needed a new big girl quilt for her big girl bed.


If you learned anything about Phoebe from her Rainbow Kitty Party, you know that this girl has a *bit* of an obsession with kitty cats.  So I decided to take all of my kitty fabric - including the super gaudy novelty prints that had been in my stash for forever - and combine them all in a quilt that any 4 year old, cat-lovin girl would go nuts over.  In turn, the Gaudy Kitty Quilt was born.


It took me quite awhile to figure out what kind of layout would be best for this crazy quilt.  I didn't want to cut the fabric pieces too small since a lot of these novelty prints have a larger scale.  Plus, I got into quilting because of all the amazing textile design, and I like to really showcase the prints in my quilts.


My good friend Rossie is the one who recommended this layout of equilateral triangles with the prints laid out in rows.  I had just finished working on this poor quilt that was never blogged about, which was also made up entirely of triangles, and the last thing that I wanted to look at was MORE TRIANGLES, but I knew that it would be the way to go.


This was my original fabric pull.  I have some other great cat prints in the stash, but once I started putting the majority of the fabrics together, the quilt's own color palette started developing, so I decided to remove the blues and most of the other darker toned prints.  Yes it was being made with novelty cat fabric - but I wanted to at least try and make the final product pretty!


I didn't have enough kitty fabric to complete the entire top, so I started mixing in other things Phoebe likes - butterflies, bugs, birds, bunnies (apparently anything that starts with B), and some blender floral prints that I thought made the color scheme a bit more interesting.  I'm proud of myself for even cutting into some of my preciously hoarded japanese fairytale prints.


After getting the top pieced, I made the decision to send out the quilt top to a professional long-armer to be quilted.  I've always quilted my own quilts on my machine at home - even some much larger than this, but my friend Brenda put the idea into my head to have a design of cats quilted all over the top - which was pretty much the best idea I'd ever heard in my life.

Luckily I know Kathy though our Modern Quilt Guild who owns Thread Bear Quilting.  Not only is she an amazing quilter, but she was able to quilt this design all over the gaudy kitty quilt.

I wish I would have remembered to get a detail picture of the quilting itself, but take my word that it's amazing.  If you look closely in the third picture in this post, you can make out the quilting the clearest. 


And that brings us to the end of this quilty journey.  Phoebe loves, and I mean LOVES her quilt, which makes this momma so darn happy.  But even if she didn't, that would still be okay - because then I'd get to keep it for myself!


**This quilt is part of the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Click here to be inspired by hundreds of beautiful quilts!

Friday, August 16, 2013

I'm back - let's party!

Phoebe's Birthday Party - 77

A certain someone turned 4 recently.  FOUR!  The last couple birthdays have been pretty tame (last year she specifically said that she didn't want a party), so I decided to go all out this year.  After deciding on a rainbow theme, ordering invitations, and buying party gear all to match, Phoebe exclaimed "I think I'd rather have a kitty party".  So hence, the Kitties and Rainbows party was born!


The decor was pretty simple, rainbow garlands that I made with paper punches and my sewing machine (I swear, my sewing machine is my number one tool when it comes to party planning!), and white, cloud-like pom poms.  Here's a nice shot of the room before anyone arrived.  I love Penelope's little "who me?" pose in the background.  I also went so far as to order my husband a sweet shirt that I specifically made forced him to wear for the party.  Thankfully he knew what he was getting into before he married me.


Aaaaaand, insane birthday craziness. 


I kept the dessert table pretty simple (at least when compared to Phoebe's first birthday and my sister's wedding).  It's pretty easy to find rainbow party inspiration a la Pinterest (more like inspiration overload), so I just picked a few of my favorite ideas and went with those.

Rainbow Kitty Cake

I.  Love.  This.  Cake.  Best part?  Craaaaazy easy.  Well, aside from the fondant cats and rainbow - those are equally easy to make, just a bit more time consuming.  For the cake, I made two batches of white cake batter and divided it into six pans (I think it comes out to about 1 1/4 cup of batter per 9" pan).  Mix in some food coloring and pop them in the oven.  I didn't assemble it until the morning of the party because I didn't want the cake drying out since the edges were going to be exposed, but it honestly took me about 15 minutes to frost and stack.  I did go ahead and trim around the edges of the cake - just to get a more vibrant color since they did brown a bit during baking.  The frosting is a swiss-meringue buttercream that I had whipped up the night before.


Unlike my 15 minute cake, these jello cups took forEVER.  They turned out beautiful and the kids loved them, but they definitely sucked up an entire day that I'll never get back.  If I ever did them again, I would leave out the white layers in between each color section.  It's a mixture of coolwhip and gelatin, and it doesn't spread very well, so you have to go back in with a spoon and even each layer out.  If you want to give them a shot, the diy can be found here.



I needed something to go with all of those cute paper straws, so I purchased two cases of the small sized bottled waters and refilled them with Kool-aid that I made in an array of rainbow colors.  Oh yeah!


We had a kitty dress-up station right when you walked in, so everyone could look the part.  The cat print is by Katie Daisy and usually resides in Phoebe's room (I know someone is going to ask!). 


I bought some cheap socks from the dollar store and hot glued pink felt paw pads onto the bottoms, and made kitty ears from headbands (found at Target) and more felt.  Whiskers were drawn on with eyeliner pencils. 


In lieu of party favors, we had an adopt a kitty station, which was an idea I found from this adorable kitty party here.  The stuffed cats were purchased from Oriental Trading, and were only $20 for 12 kitties.  Each child could personalize their kitty with a collar that I made with some ribbon, velcro, and a paper tag.  That way we would avoid any mixed-up kitty fights! 

Since I don't have nearly enough to do tonight, I decided to sew a dress. #gaudykittydress

And since I didn't have enough to do before the night of the party, I decided to whip up a new dress for Phoebe.  I saw this fabric when I was at QuiltCon and almost died from cuteness.  It's by Kokka and it's called Candy Party Cutie World.  I used the Smocked Sundress pattern by Heather Ross, that is also available online for free!  See the little kitties hiding in the flowers?

four year old phoebe kitty

I'm four!  Meow!

Phoebe's Birthday Party - 73


Phoebe's Birthday Party - 17
Thanks to Rae for capturing so many great party pics while I was running around like a crazy person!

I think all of these kitties had a great time!  Check out my IG feed for more detail photos of how this party actually came together!  IG name - Emmmylizzzy #kittiesandrainbowsparty   

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Parsley Pants over on KCW

Parsley Pants - pattern from Made by Rae

Hello my lovely readers!  Even though the blog has been quiet, I have been busy busy in my sewing studio.  Head on over to the new Kid's Clothes Week blog where I'm giving a review of Made by Rae's upcoming pattern - the Parsley Pants!

I hope to get back to regular blogging soon, but check me out on Instagram (Emmmylizzzy) for more of my thrifty and crafty going-ons.