Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In over my head

I can't be stopped! AmandaJean of Crazy Mom Quilts is doing another quilt along...this one is all star blocks. AND I SIGNED UP FOR IT. I'm going to change my blog name to "Crazy Jen Quilts"...or "Crazy Jen Starts Quilts But Never Finishes Them."

Way back here I mentioned this quilt that I started way back when. Nine Patch blocks with lots of pink and green fabrics. Someday this will look really pretty on my bed.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Skull Pants

Kinda big. They had really nice cuffs at the bottom with red trim but the pants were so long I had to hem the cuffs to smithereens. Sean approves though...very comfy. And skully.

And ANOTHER Built By Wendy top for myself! ('Scuze the crummy mirror photo.)

Thank you to everyone who voiced their opinion on the sashing debate. With each comment I changed my mind again and again. So anyone who hasn't spoken up, please do so! We are not ready to declare a winner.

And Jacquie came the closest on the vacation guessing game. Even though her final answer was Tahiti (!) she did mention Florida. We are going to Orlando! Disney and sun is not our usual cup of tea but I got a super deal on a hotel...and lounging around poolside sounds pretty good to me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Dear Jane B-12

Reverse appliqu├ęd "Starflower" B-12 block.

I'm two blocks behind on my Dear Jane quilt. And another block is being assigned today. I was feeling a little anxious about it but then I realized, "Hey, it's a quilt." And I relaxed. I'll get farther behind before I catch up because we are going on vacation next week. But I will eventually get ahead again. No worries.

Here's where I am so far:

Over on the Dear Baby Jane blog and flickr group, there's been some discussions about adding the sashing (fabric between all the blocks) as we go. I would like to start adding it now but that means I need to decide on colors. That's where you all come in. Here's two options I'm thinking about. Take a look, ponder it a while and then leave a comment with your honest opinion.

Light version (darker than my block background but not too dark):

Dark version (helps the blocks stand out more but is it too much?):

PS: My mother called this weekend and asked me if I bought a bathing suit. She had read on my blog that I needed to get one but I hadn't followed up. Rest assured, a swimsuit has been purchased. As well as a cover-up, some flip flops and loads of sunscreen with an SPF of +5,000. Anyone want to guess where we're going next week?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mini Post: Another Quilt Giveaway!

This time from Camille from Simplify. She is GIVING AWAY a quilt she made. All you need to do is go comment on her giveaway post here. Mention me and I'll get another entry...hint, hint.

(Thanks Jaquie for the link.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


There have been a bunch of great sewing books released over the past year and I've been perusing them online and in book stores trying to decide which ones to buy. When I saw In Stitches and counted three, four, five projects in it I wanted to make, I bought it.

One of the projects I counted was this cool kimono bath robe:

And when I spied this fantastic Japanese print at the fabric store, I knew what I would make with it...a short summery skirt. Duh! Then I remembered the kimono. Yes!

I'd love to have this made for our vacation in early May but I also promised Sean (husband) that I'd have his pajama pants done by then and April is flying by! And I wanted some more Built By Wendy tops by then too! I think I need a prioritized list of projects to complete by then. Buying a new bathing suit is number one though.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The things you do

I was at a certain large craft store this weekend to pick up some gingham for another Built By Wendy top when I spied this crazy skull fabric and remembered a request from my husband: to make him a pair of pajama pants with skulls. I don't get it, but I'll do it. Cuz I'm a good wife.

I made my shirt first though.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mini Ironing Board

When my mother gave me this mini ironing board this weekend I don't think she figured it would appear as the star of a blog post. It's perfect for doing patchwork projects -- a small piece of particle board with short legs to use on a table top. Just needs a replacement cover and some batting since it's a bit stinky from living in the basement.

I wasn't able to finish last week's Dear Jane blocks. It was a rough week and a busy weekend. Both blocks are started so hopefully it won't take much to get caught up again.

It's Monday already?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stop It!

Now, I am really starting to get suspicious about something. It appears that bloggers are able to read my mind. It's freaky. I want to try English Paper Piecing and Anina posts a tutorial, I want to try the Dear Jane Quilt but am too intimidated and Anina starts up a group and makes it so easy...OK, maybe it's just Anina who can glean my desires before even I can. Well, I just found out that the next themed month (May) from Sew, Mama, Sew! is Women's Clothing. Crazy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Built by Jen

From a pile of fabric to a fancy new shirt in one afternoon.

Pattern is Built By Wendy (Simplicity 3835)...only THE MOST POPULAR PATTERN IN ALL OF BLOGLAND. I finally made one for myself.

Because of the heavier weight fabric I chose (basically a quilters-cotton weight), I lengthened it and added side slits. I thought it would be more like a tunic this way and the fabric wouldn't end up being such a bad choice. I may still add darts.

I'll make the top again...maybe with the 3/4 length sleeves with the cute ties...but I'll try a different type of fabric. Some thing a bit drapier.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mini Post: Giveaways

Two giveaways to report:

Quite Quilted is giving away a set of pretty quilt photo note cards.

Incy Wincy is having a giveaway of her adorable fabric buttons.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Whew...Up to Date

The rubber match of the Red Sox/Yankee series is on right now so no time to blab on and on. Just needed to post that I am 100% UP TO DATE on my Dear Jane blocks. The way I was going I really didn't think having all 12 blocks done for today would be an issue but I got stuck on "Rose of Sharing" (bottom center). It wasn't difficult, I just kept putting it off.

Now I'm eligible for the giveaway! Yay!

(From this mosaic, it's really obvious that these have been taken in different light. I may have a Dear Jane photo shoot some sunny day and see if I can't get the color truer.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I blame MTV

I started this quilt top over five years ago. I've worked on it off and on for a while but then it went missing. I found it in the attic this weekend. It's a basic nine patch so it should really be finished by now! I plan on completing it someday but now I have too many other things that I'd prefer to work on.

I tend to have a lot of projects going but nothing completed. I'm pretty sure that too much MTV as a teenager warped my brain. My mind can't stay focused on anything for too long. I get distracted by something else or just plain bored. I think that's why I like doing the Dear Jane quilt along with the online group. Every block is different and the pace of two blocks a week keeps it moving but I don't feel at all overwhelmed.

And here is something else to distract me... launched this week! I can't wait for the upgrade that will allow users to post their own projects, have a journal, and I think there will be a forum as well.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dear Jane B-4, C-3

Anina (Dear Baby Jane Leader) threated us with our lives if we didn't finish our Dear Jane blocks this weekend...just kidding, actually she offered a chance at a giveaway to all who were caught up. Which is really a much nicer option.

I did Friday's block already (Simple Simon M-10) so I only had to catch up with Monday's block, Chris's Soccer Field B-4. I saved it for the weekend because it is paper pieced and I had never tried that before. It came out really well. All thanks to the method and not the skill of the sewer, I promise:

And I even did an extra block, Rayelle's Fence C-3. I have to rip out the bottom third so the lines radiate outward like the top portion. I apparently was not paying attention when I sewed this one up:

That was about all I accomplished this weekend. Except for more hexagons sewn up during Red Sox games. (I don't even want to talk about this weekend's series. A travesty. I am looking foreward to tomorrow's home opener. I have the day off from work and plan on eating nachos at a local bar with my husband. Oh ya, while watching the ring ceremony and game...but I'm really most looking forward to the nachos.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Clothes Sewing Projects

I am in a wedding a year from now and will have a few events to attend where I will need dresses. I fell in love with this pattern (Simplicity 3867, view A) when it was featured on the cover of a Sew Stylish issue. I attempted the blouse version but gave up after realizing that the fabric I had was a bit heavy for all that gathering and I sewed the "skirt" portion on inside-out. It's still hanging like that in a closet.

I recently saw a beautiful dark blue eyelet version on flickr and am totally inspired to try it again. I have all the pattern pieces traced out already (I like to do that so, if I end up liking a pattern, the pattern lasts longer since it's on heavier paper. I'm also not afraid to alter the pattern this way since I know I can always start over again with the intact original. More work but worth it.) All I need is some fabric.

I bought this pattern last weekend (Simplicity 3835) and some pretty purple fabric for a new shirt. I found time to trace out the pattern but didn't get to cutting or sewing yet. I stalled once I realized I had forgotten to buy the elastic! Maybe this weekend I'll get to it.

The Red Sox are playing a game at a normal time tonight! After the trip to Japan and then the west coast -- where the games were 6AM, 10PM or in the middle of the day -- I can finally go home and watch a game at 7:05 ET. I'll be sitting on the couch hand sewing my hexagons while it's on.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Sewing Room


I did it! I moved my sewing room from our spare bedroom to the sun room this past Saturday.

There is much less floor space in the sun room and it's difficult to place furniture because of all the windows. But being downstairs and right off of the living room does encourage more sewing. It's easy to 'drop by' the sun room.

I had an old kitchen table as a desk before. Lots of table top space, yes, but it took up too much floor space. So I moved my current sewing table and grabbed it's twin from my husband's office (he has inherited the old kitchen table). I have my old drafting table from art school set up as a cutting table. And I was able to fit a small book case underneath just made it too.

I originally forgot that I had to include an ironing board in there as well. But it also just made it in. There is enough room for me to turn around in here and not much more.

I was able to get all of my notions into that little wooden box on the floor. And some of my fabric is on the book case but most of it is still upstairs. A problem for another day.

I forgot to take a picture of the other side of the room but it is the same as it was. I did throw a blanket over that old green chair though.

Now I just need to make some pretty things for my one blank wall.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dear Jane B-3

Not much to say about this one. It was the first time I have ever sewed curves for a block. Came out a bit wonky.

I was trying to do something fun with the circle pattern of this fabric but I'm not sure it translated as I had anticipated. I might, maybe, most likely will do this one over. I'm just not feeling this one.

In honor of the Dear Baby Jane Project (sounds like a 70s band name, no?) I will be giving a shout out to the Twiddletails blog today. Authored by the mega-talented Anina, her blog has beautiful pictures and lots of projects. I don't know how she does it all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Even More Miscellany

More things I love about my house...This dining room window is pretty high up the wall and long and narrow. I think that's iron between the panes of glass. And the metal and glass is very wonky...flat in some places, leaning forward in others. This photo angle really exaggerates that. Looking at it head on you wouldn't notice as much. Oh, and ignore that chipped paint on the trim outside...we're working on it.

A sick day off from work yesterday equaled lots of blog reading. And it must be that everyone is excited about spring or something because there is a lot going on...

1. Stefani at The Blue Yonder blog is having a contest with lots of nifty prizes. To enter, just visit this post and comment on your most creative re-purposed project. On the first of every month she's going to have a new contest with a new theme.

2. Michelle of Cicada Daydream Studio and blog is having a giveaway for her birthday. Just add a comment to this post by April 6th to win a tea light embellished with one of her beautiful fabric prints. It's battery operated so no open flame to fear.

3. Sew, Mama, Sew! is also having a contest. A little more challenging though...Submit a new tutorial (must be posted on a blog or on flickr after April 1) for the chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Sew, Mama, Sew! online store.

4. is a new craft website that will be starting up soon. In the meantime, you can sign up for their email newsletter here. The new site is from the publishers of Threads and SewStylish so I am going to bet that the projects will be fun, include great instructions and have lots of design ideas for personalizing your creations.

Everything Patchwork

(Just so there is no confusion, the projects above are not mine. They are from a flickr group called Everything Patchwork. If one of these pictures is yours and you would like me to remove it, please send me an email at sewandsox [at] earthlink [dot] net.)

Patchwork and quilting have a bad wrap. Be honest, quilts + patchwork = grandma. And I'm not talking about your new young, hip kinda grandma (hi mom!) but the smelling-of-mothballs kinda grandma. Time for patchwork to get hip with the kids. Hang out at the mall and Txt Msg BFF.*

So here's some fun and modern projects that incorporate patchwork. Did you ever think you would see a women's skirt that looked so cool while featuring patchwork? Or how about those wristlets and note cards? Love 'um.

Click over to see larger images and lots more inspiring patchwork projects:

1. Curtains
2. Coffee Cosies
3. Little Girl Dresses
4. Pillows
5. Skirts
6. Coasters
7. Bath Mat
8. Photo Album Covers
9. Pincushions
10. Bracelets/Wristlets
11. Pot holders
12. Notecards

* "Text message best friends forever" -- I had to write this in or my mom, the hip grandma, would email me to ask "What does 'Txt Msg BFF' mean?"