Monday, December 14, 2009

Congratulations Time for Tea and Cake! She is the winner of the Laraine Bag! I used and her comment, number 61 was drawn!

Here's what she commented:
This is so chic! I'd love to win this kit - just in time for a RED Christmas present for me!

I agree, this purse is SO chic. I've really enjoyed using mine. Thanks everyone for commenting and be sure and check out Marie Madeline, the purse kit sponsor, next time you need some fun fabric or a purse pattern!


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Laraine Shoulder Bag Kit Giveaway

4:22 pm, December 14th, Comments are now closed. A winner has been drawn!

Good morning friends!
Today I'm excited to show off my new Laraine Shoulder Bag designed by the lovely ladies at Marie Madeline Studios, and offer you a chance to win a kit to make this fun bag!

Marie Madeline sent me one of their Laraine Kits to sew up. With the exception of interfacings, the kit included everything I needed to make this bag: black upholstery outer fabric, coordinating lining fabric, buttons, a snap set, and the pattern.

I was really pleased with how well this bag sewed up. The pattern was very well done, the directions and pictures were easy to understand and all the pieces matched up with no issues. (Don't you hate it when you go to all the work to buy fabric and cut a project out and then you spend half of your sewing time re-working the pattern just to get it to go together properly??)

The only thing that wasn't clear to me in the pattern was that the gussets at the end of the bag need to be sewn NOT at 3 1/2 inches down from the bottom corners, but placed so that the length of the gusset seam is 3 1/2 inches long. I didn't realize this until I was finished and trying to figure out why the finished dimensions of my bag were different then the pattern states. The only difference is that the base of my bag is a several inches shorter and wider then intended. Oh, well, I love it anyway. =)

Marie Madeline is offering a kit to one of our readers. I will draw a winner next week on Monday the 14th, and the winner will have a choice of this kit in either black or cranberry red.

Simply leave a comment to enter!

For an additional entry you can become a facebook fan of my etsy shop
HERE or of Marie Madeline, HERE. Leave an extra comment letting me know you are a facebook fan.

For a 3'rd entry you can promote (blog, facebook, or twitter) this giveaway. Leave a 3'rd comment once you've done that!

Good luck and we'll post the winner on Monday!


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Giveaway Sneak Peek!

Be sure and stop back by here on Monday because I'm going to be reviewing a pattern and hosting a giveaway sponsored by Marie Madeline Fabrics. Here's a sneak peek!!

See you on Monday!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Handel and my red jacket

I think my all-time favorite Christmas music is Handel's Messiah. It is probably also the most listened to album on my iPod, and not just at Christmas but all year round. The music thrills me, and I never tire of it.

This evening my family and I drove an hour to a performance of The Messiah. Initially, I was disappointed when I realized that the accompaniment was not played by an orchestra, but by an organ. No need for disappointment however, because the choir, the soloists, and the organ were all magnificent! The message of the Gospel is so beautifully portrayed through this music, and I don't think I could ever get enough of it. Tonight was absolutely wonderful.


Here I am wearing the jacket that I posted about a few days ago. I am still undecided, but I think I like it; it does feel somewhat big on me. At the least, I do have a number of skirts that coordinate well with the jacket. :)

Simplicity 2701

The welt pocket for another jacket I'm making came out okay. Not perfect, but okay. I think this is only the second welt pocket that I have ever sewn, so really, I'm fine with the slight crookedness of the welt. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, and leaving this pocket alone without redoing it is hard for me to handle. : )

The pattern is Simplicity 2701, and I had intended to make the view on the right that has a v-neck collar. However, I mistakenly cut out the high round collar, and now I don't have enough fabric to cut out the collar I really want. I'm so bummed about this. I'm going to check at Joann's to see if the fabric is still in stock before I go ahead and finish the jacket with the wrong collar. I'll keep you posted.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Simplicity 2474

Life is busy. Preparing for the two classes I teach once a week at a home school co-op and practicing my oboe take up much of my time. Add that to normal life, home schooling, household duties, kids' activities, being a wife and mother...and there's little time left for sewing. I love my life, my family, and the things we do that keep us busy. But I do miss the relaxation and enjoyment that comes from sewing.

Yes, my sewing time has been sporadic for the past several months. I almost feel like I don't remember how to sew anymore. So with that in mind, I chose this simple pattern to mark my hopeful return to more-frequent sewing.

The pattern is Simplicity 2474, and I made view A, the simple cardigan pictured in the center of the envelope front. I wish I could remember what type of knit fabric I used. I don't, but it has a soft drape and hand, and it came from Joann's. It is a double knit, but not as stiff or heavy as a ponte double knit. It may be Joann's "sew classic" line, but I'm not sure. Can anybody help me out here? :)

I lengthened the sleeves on the jacket, but kept the cuffs. I haven't decided if I like the cuffs on the full-length sleeves, and I may take them off. No other changes were made to the pattern. I sewed a size 10 (the smallest size the pattern comes) with no alterations. I'll post another picture of the cardigan after I wear it for the first time.

Sewing this easy jacket makes me want to sew more. Yay! Yesterday I also finished a little pleated skirt for Emily, and I cut out the pattern pieces for another jacket for me (Simplicity 2701). Did I practice my oboe? No. Did I do the laundry (2 hampers full!)? No. Did I prepare my lesson plans for next Monday? No. But, yes, I sewed! Happy day.

Ruth : )

Friday, November 27, 2009

Free Hot Patterns Slinky Shrug Pattern

Free to download from Slinky Shrug by Hot Patterns. Wouldn't this be great for the holidays??

There are a few more free downloads from HotPatterns HERE as well.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Funny Enny

Have you ever had a time when you saw some fabric on a bolt at the store and thought it was just gorgeous, but then when you got it home you wondered what in the world were you thinking?! Unfortunately, this happens to me, too.

When I saw these coordinating prints, I thought the fabric would make the perfect fall dress for Emily. After I cut out the dress, I had second thoughts. My 19 year old daughter didn't help matters when she said that the fabric looked like Thanksgiving and fall, all rolled together and then barfed up. :[

Due to lack of motivation, it took several weeks to finish the dress. When I showed the dress to Emily, she said, "I'm going to look ugly in this dress." I had to practically beg her to put on the dress so I could take pictures.

So..... I took the pictures, and you know, something happened. I decided that the dress really isn't that bad. Yes, it's busy. It's almost too "hippie" in style. But it started to grow on me as I took the pictures, and now I almost like it! I plan to make or buy a solid brown turtleneck top to be worn underneath the dress.

The pattern is design #20 from the 06/2009 issue of Ottobre, and is called the "Funny Enny" Tunic. (Such a funny name!) I lengthened the pattern to dress length and shortened the sleeves. I also added a ribbon tie to the dress to pull in the fullness, and I used elastic loops for the buttons instead of ribbon loops.

Hopefully this will get me in the mood to sew again. It's just not been happening....


Buttons Loops

Back of Dress

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A reader needs feedback for sewing organization design project:

Hey guys, can you take a moment and help out another reader with her design project?

Here's what she writes:

"My name is Yasmine R. Currently an Industrial Design senior at Columbus College of Art & Design, I am working on designing a product that will organize sewing accessories for those with very limited space such as room mate situations, small apartments, or just no sewing room. I want the product to be portable, ergonomic, and easily store.

I am trying to get information from a variety of sources, have set up my first survey, and was wondering if anyone could distribute the link or give me contacts for interviews. Because I am a college student, most of the people who sew are in the fashion department of our school and would give me skewed results. I need info from all age groups, incomes, and so on."

You can click right HERE to access her survey. I'm sure Yasmine would appreciate any comments or feedback in the comments as well. I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with!

Thanks for your help here!!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

One-Yard Wonders Book Review

A couple weeks ago I shared that Storey Publishing sent me the advance pages of their newest (and coolest!) sewing book, One-Yard Wonders, by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins, to review for you guys.

Most of the time, with these type of crafty project books I'm content to flip through them in the bookstore, not needing to buy, because seriously, most of the time the patterns either aren't things I will make, or are for simple crafts that I really don't need a pattern for (really, how hard is it to make a potholder!). I have to really, really like a book and KNOW that I will use more then one or two of the patterns before I will spend the money.

First off, this is a big book, 101 sewing patterns and projects in all...and each uses
just 1 yard of fabric. Sure a few of them might seem a bit cheesy, but there really is not a lot of fluff with these patterns. With projects to decorate your home, organize your crafts, give as baby gifts, update your wardrobe from head to toe, accessorize your little ones and entertain your kids, the list goes on and on. There is even a chapter with projects you can make for your pets!

Things I love about this book:

*Lots of fun gift ideas to sew up (101 to be exact!).

*Each project uses just 1 yard of fabric...what a great way to use up all those fun fabrics I hoard!

*The projects seem fairly fast and easy without being too simple. There is a range of sewing levels.

*This book would be great for projects to sew together with a friend.

*Finally, I really, really love how the publishers showcased lots of fun, modern fabrics in the projects and book design. Lots of gorgeous photos and lots of fabrics and designers that I recognize and love....Amy Butler, Denyse Schmidt, Joel Dewberry, Erin McMorris, etc.

Below are three of my favorite projects from the book. Photos are by John Gruen and used with permission of Storey Publishing, LLC.

You can see a few more of the items from this book on facebook, HERE and HERE.

The Flouncy Bag blew me away. Seriously, my jaw dropped when I turned the page and saw this one. I have to make one!! There is quite a nice selection of different bags and purses, even a few kid sized ones. I wish I could show off them all!

Next, I thought this child's firefighter hat was too cute, and so original! I can see making these for birthday favors for a fireman-themed birthday party.

Finally, the Pleated Girly Skirt, made me smile. I can definitely see one of these in my little girl's wardrobe future. I love how it's got the tailored pleats, but still has the ease of an elastic waistband.
One-Yard Wonders was just released at the end of October and should be available in bookstores and online. It's only $14.07 on

Thanks for letting me share!

Play dates and sewing projects

About a year ago a special friend of mine moved to another state, and at that point I really had a hard time with her leaving...One of the reasons this girlfriend was so much fun was that she was a kindred crafty spirit...we'd gotten together and done some craft and sewing projects, and it was just so much fun.

I've missed's been somewhat hard to keep in touch when you can't just hit your favorite consignment stores together or get together to whip up cookies on a whim.

Anyway, the Lord is so good and I'm so thankful that in this last year He has brought another crafty friend into my life...someone I can talk about fabric with!! (among other things!)

Anyway, my friend Becca has Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross, and we've been working through a few of the projects together on our semi-regular play dates. I love this book...another one for my wish list!

First off, we made the baby bloomers pattern, Rudy's Bloomers. This was my first time to use elastic thread in the bobbin to make the leg gathers, and it was so easy. I can't wait to do something with elastic thread again. So simple!

Next we made the Everything Tote. These took 2 sessions...we can only sew so long with the kiddos!

We both plan to use them as library book bags. I go to the library almost every week and this bag is perfectly sized for bunches of books!
Note to anyone thinking about making this pattern. The instructions state that you need 1/2 yard of each fabric, outer and lining...WRONG! I am so glad we both had plenty of fabric because these babies took a lot more then 1/2 yard. The tote by itself is wider then 18 inches, the width of a 1/2 yard cut, and then you have to cut out the long handle pieces on the bias and that takes quite a bit of fabric. Just a warning on this one...otherwise, it is really cute!!

The kids always have lots of fun playing, fighting, sharing, eating and even crafting together too!


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Yesterday afternoon I had a bit of fun down time fooling around on Polyvore, a fashion website where you can mix and match items to get just the look you want. I created my first style board below.
A little bit glizy and a little bit cozy

I'd love this look for this holiday season...unfortunately it would cost me an arm and a leg to buy the entire outfit! I may just have to make do with what I have in my closet! Or sew something new up. =)

I did enter the outfit in a contest over at Sensibly Styled, a fun, modest fashion blog. If you get a chance, hop on over there and cast your vote! I'm number 13. (hint, hint!)


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Baby Pink Stuff

Mom, here's a picture of Marie wearing the "pink stuff" shirt you made...

I love her red hair. It's getting so long and messy now...


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Today I am going to sew. I am determined. I haven't been up to my sewing room since the end of September; it's been over a month and I've missed it. Too much going on. Sigh. Maybe sewing something--anything--will help bring me out of this melancholy state that I'm in.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall Quilt Festival, 2009

Amy, at Park City Girl is hosting another online quilt show. Lots of beautiful quilts to enjoy on a rainy day like today! There is a whole lineup of fun prizes for those who enter too! Last year I won a gift certificate to Pink Chalk Fabrics...I used some of my new fabric to make pj pants...and well, I still have the other pieces waiting to use someday!

Regular readers will recognize this quilt from a few weeks ago, but it was my favorite one that I made this year, so here are the pictures again for my entry in the Quilt Festival!

Wild Critter Quilt, made for my special friend who is having her first baby!
Thanks for letting me share these again!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pink Stuff

Every year during the Christmas holidays I make a simple salad-dessert that we call "Pink Stuff." Basically, I just mix a container of cottage cheese with a container of Cool Whip and then add 1/4 of a small package of cherry Jello powder. Sometimes I also add halved maraschino cherries or a handful of small marshmallows. Chill, serve, and enjoy!

This past month I've been sewing Pink Stuff for Emily. I thought I should get more mileage out of the pink thread still on my sewing machine, serger, and coverstitch machine from when I sewed the pink hooded jacket and matching pants, so I just kept sewing more pink stuff. I even sewed a little top for Jessica's baby, and I still hope to make coordinating pink pants.

Cross-Front Top, design #9 from Ottobre 03/2004,
sewn in cotton stretch velour, size 104 for 4-year-old Emily

raglan-sleeve T-shirt from Ottobre 01/2006, design #17, size 110, sewn in thin jersey knit from Hobby Lobby

This top has a wide neckline band, hem band, and sleeve cuffs. The only change I made to the pattern was to lengthen the top by 2 inches.
Size 110, Ottobre 03/2004 design #26.

This top is for almost-1-year-old Marie, sewn in the same interlock knit
as Emily's knit top. Cross-Front Top, design #9 from Ottobre 03/2004,
size 80 (18 months)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Yard-Of-The-Month Sweepstakes

A publicist from Storey Publishing recently contacted me about a new book that is getting ready to be released, One Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yanker and Patricia Hoskins. I'm going to be reviewing the book here and previewing some of the best projects from it very soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to be sure and pass on the info about an awesome yard-of-the-moth sweepstakes Storey Publishing is holding right now. Who wouldn't love to receive a yard of fabric, every month, for an entire year?? Check it out HERE.

I'll be back soon with more pictures and projects from this fun new book!

Monday, October 05, 2009

McCalls 5470 Blouse

McCalls 5470
This was a fun, somewhat trendy, fairly fast blouse to sew up. I made it out of a checked homespun type shirting material that I got from

This pattern definitely runs big. I made the size 6 and still took out 2 inches total from the circumference of the top (1/2inch out of each side front and side back pieces), and after all that, it was still a bit blousey. There definitely isn't a lot of fitting in the design of this one.

The pictures are from a little trip my honey and I took last month. We stayed one night in a beautiful Victorian bed and breakfast for a special treat.

Time alone at Alexander Bed and Breakfast was just the thing to renew our relationship and bring some rest into our busy lives. The front porch was so lovely. We spent part of the morning on the porch watching the light rain, just sitting and chatting with eachother. Mmm...I wish I could go back right now!


What to do with empty spools?

Do you save your empty thread spools? I don't throw them away because they just seem like they should be useful for something, don't you think? Plus they are kind of fun to collect...they almost seem like some sort of sewing badge of's fun to think "I sewed through 10 spools of thread this year".

I don't think Mom ever threw hers out either, because I remember playing with her box of empty spools as a kid. We would pretend they were people, and the little ones were babies and the tallest ones were daddies. Maybe that's why I can't throw them would almost be like murdering little spool people.

Do you still save your empty spools, Mom?

My kids seem to think they are wonderful, so maybe that's the best use for empty spools afterall, something that entertains toddlers while Mama sews!

I'd love to hear your thread spool thoughts!!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Marie Madeline Giveaway Correction

I just realized my link to Marie Madeline Studios in the previous post was a completely different link. Sorry for the confusion! Lesson learned: always check links before publishing!

Here's the correct link to Marie Madeline's fabric store. Check out their beautiful fabrics! I have such a soft spot for anything girly and rosy, and they specialize in girlyness!

Here's the link to the $35 gift certificate giveaway on Melinda's blog. Be sure and mention that I send you...that gives me another entry in the giveaway too. =)

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, October 02, 2009

A reader giveaway!

One of our lovely readers, Melinda, just e-mailed me about a fun fabric giveaway she is doing...the winner receives $35 worth of fabric from Marie Madeline Studios!! I've not ordered yet from Marie Madeline, but their website is lovely and the have the most beautiful selection of fabrics.

Head over HERE to check it out and enter to win. Per the rules, you are supposed to give the name of the person who sent you, so be sure and mention my name (Jessica) in your comment!

Hurry! This giveaway goes through Tuesday the 6th.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wild Critter Baby Quilt

Today I finished this quilt for a good friend who is having her first baby...just in time, as the shower is tomorrow!

This was my first time to do a stripe quilt like this. Has anyone else here done one of these? I would love any tips...I had trouble with my stripes stretching or something and the whole thing wasn't square when I was done. I cut all my selvages even on one end of each strip and then sewed them all together starting at the top and all starting at the same end. I think it might have been better to start in the middle and sew each one on from the opposite end. I had to do major trimming afterward to get the quilt top somewhat rectangular. Any thoughts??

I did the binding on this one by machine with a blanket stitch and really liked how that came out. It was much nicer looking then the zig-zag stitch. Not as nice as sewing it down by hand, but I was running out of time.

I think my machine stippling is getting better...overall, I was very pleased. I hope my friend likes it!!

Have a great weekend!