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National Sewing Month

  • How Quickly Can You Make a Quilt?

    Sometimes I check Pinterest to see how many pins this blog gets.  I'm curious, and a little vain.  It's always interesting to me to find out what people think is worthy of a spot on their boards and what sort fades away.  Lately, one of the most popular Leisure Arts-related pins are from this post about Quick Weekend Quilts.

    If it's good enough for all those Internetters, it's good enough for me.  Did you know about this? Because I don't think I did.  That's no real surprise, considering that I sew once every couple of NEVERS, but it's National Sewing Month and I'm making an effort to throw out some sewing-related posts this month.  Plus, I looked at this book and I was riveted.  Riveted I tell you!  I love these designs, and we're going to talk about them.  I can form an opinion about just about anything, and I'm really good at assuming things.  So I'm going to show you some of the lovely designs in Quick Weekend Quilts and talk about how much I would love to make them even though you and I both know I do not have the skills or material to try this.  Still, this seems like a fun trip down aspirational daydreaming lane and I think you need to see these patterns.  Let's go!

    Here is the Decorator Dot quilt.  I love it.  I love dots.

    What if you kept it in these stark colors?  Or what if you did really vibrant colors against the black backdrop like stained glass?  Or if you arranged your circles to reflect the color spectrum gradually?  Or, you know, you just made this look like a Twister mat?  Because I think any of those ideas would be amazing.  This is a really striking layout, and I think any fabric color combinations would look beautiful.  I pray my daughter never sees a picture of this because then she'll want me to make her a 'blanket' like this and I'm trying to perpetuate the myth that I can make anything.

    And this! This is the Floating Squares quilt.

    The crocheter in me wants to try this with granny squares.  I love these fall colors!  I love the off-center squares!  I love this!

    And look at the bags!

     

    I like these.   You can't beat a good reusable bag.  And these are quilted!  Your goods stay protected and insulated.  And this looks like a good use of scraps!

    The Vintage Bird Wall Art looks like another project that could use up some scraps.

    And it could be a wonderful decoration in a nursery!  Or anywhere, really.  I love these calming neutral tones.  I was going to add "but this could be lovely in some brighter colors" but you know what? No.  I think I just love this with these more muted colors.  This is wonderful!

    Okay, but these throw pillows?
     

     

    They're the Contemporary Classic Throw Pillows, and I would love to see what the one on the right looks like with fall leaves.  How great would that look?!  Danged great, that's how great.  I love how clean these lines are.  The simple layout of these pieces is fantastic.

    And lastly, the Modern Four Petal Flower Quilt.

     This looks like the perfect picnic quilt.  It's beautiful!  This could be a great use of scraps, especially if you wanted your flowers to be different colors.  Or you could keep it just like this.  These patterns are all so full of possibility!  And guess what?  There's a weekend coming up!  You could make one of these!! 

  • I'm Still Thinking About Quilts

    It's still National Sewing Month and I'm still thinking about quilts.  I love them.  I love everything about them.  There was an exhibit on quilts near my house this summer and I think I went to look at them every week.  Fine, sometimes twice a week.  Quilts are fascinating!  They're a multifaceted art project to treasure forever and keep people warm!  They blow my mind.  Did you know about Memory Quilts?  This sounds like an amazing resource!  Amazing!

    There's a log cabin-style quilt made with ties!

    And what about T-Shirt Quilts

     

    That's another amazing way to make memory quilts out of beloved objects. I love that there are quilt squares to sew and intersperse with the t-shirt squares.  It's beautiful.

    And I have to tell you about the Crazy Quilt Stitches Pocket Guide

     

    I love crazy quilts.  I don't know that I'll ever be gutsy enough to try to make one, but I love them.  They're the epitome of DIY and modifications and taking whatever you have and making it beautiful.  Not only do most crazy quilts feature different fabrics in all textures and colors, but they're usually pieced together with different stitches that just as eye-catching and different as the fabric selections. 

    While we're on the topic of pocket guides (dadgum, I love these pocket guides), I want to mention the Applique Basics Pocket Guide

     

    I'm almost certain that my mom made the pattern on the cover in a class once.  Seriously, that's the only reason I'm mentioning this.  I remember being really impressed at the time (in addition to being able to quilt little microscopic stitches, my mom has mad applique skills) with this great daffodil top she made for a wall hanging and I got really excited when I saw this guide. 

    Oh, and remember Christmas Sparkle?  You might not because I wrote about it nearly a year ago.

    I love that there are people who love holidays so much that they'll write whole pattern books revolving around them.  These designs were lovely, and didn't necessarily have to sparkle.  But I bet they're truly incredible when they do. I think a Christmas quilt is an amazing treasure to make. 

    And lastly, I want to mention 50 States Quilt Blocks again. 

    I maybe mentioned it in a post last week and then didn't link to it.  Whoops.  Sorry, 50 States Quilt Blocks. I love this. Enough to mention it twice and actually link to it.  The product description states that there are four quilt projects, one of which calls for a mix of states/blocks that show a family's history.  Oh, my heart.  I don't know about you, but quilts get me right in the heart. 

    And they capture my imagination.  I'm getting all kinds of ideas from just looking through some of the titles on Leisure Arts.  God help me if I ever make another attempt at making one!  My heart and head could just explode from all the feelings and possibilities.

  • Tips for Making Your First Sewing Kit: A Video Tutorial

    September is National Sewing Month!  Hooray!

    I don't sew as much as I used to, mostly because I like to keep all of my tools out until I finish a project.  There's a lot of ironing, cutting, pinning, sewing, ironing, cutting some more, pinning again...you get the idea.  With a small apartment, a busy schedule, and a very curious daughter, I just don't think this is my season for big quilt projects.  That doesn't stop me from lusting after books like 50 States Quilt Blocks, though.  GO LOOK AT THOSE BLOCKS RIGHT NOW! READ THAT DESCRIPTION!!!  OH MAN! I'm sorry for the caps but OH MAN! So awesome.

    Ahem.

    But anyway!  Whether you're one of those super involved quilters with a whole room of the house devoted to your craft, someone who can replace a button or re-hem some pants, or one of those somewhere-in-between sewers, you're going to need a sewing kit.

    Enter Martha with her Tip-See Tuesday videos!  Have you subscribed to the Leisure Arts YouTube channel?  You should do that!  There are tutorials and friendly people giving bits of advice just like this one:

      

    Please note: Martha is not drunk, or even a little tipsy, in these videos.  I just wanted to mention that in case you have objections to that sort of thing.  But she has lots of tips!  And I thought her recommendations for putting together a sewing kit were spot on.  I especially loved the idea of using a travel soap dish to hold together some of your smaller items.

    I've had a sewing kit for forever, and I've been using this box since sometime before college. 

    A lot of my sewing supplies have gotten a little scattered over time, and I usually wind up tearing up the house looking for a simple tool here or there.  After I thought about the essentials listed in this video, I realized I really need to get my stuff together.  This was a great reminder!

    If I could add anything to my kit not mentioned in the video I would have to include a magnet.  They're essential.  You should definitely always keep your pins in a container or a pin cushion, but something's going to fall out sooner or later.  And when it does, you do not want to find something sharp and pointy with your bare hands--or worse, with your bare feet a few hours later.  Drag a magnet over your workspace after you've done a quick sewing project and you'll pull up any pins or needles that might have rolled away from you.

    People are commenting on the video with their own sewing kit essentials and it's great!  Feel free to chime in with your own ideas about what a sewing kit does or doesn't need.  I'll just be over here thinking about quilts.

    Happy sewing!  (This month and always.)

  • The Start of a Sewing Library

    I carried two sewing books home from Leisure Arts with me to look at over the weekend: The Best of Sew Simple Magazine and Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Sewing. These books may very well be the beginning of my sewing library (right beside Pat Sloan’s I Can’t Believe I’m Sewing, of course).

    Along with great info about sewing techniques and supplies, The Best of Sew Simple Magazine is packed with a treasury of over 50 of Sew Simple magazine’s projects! You’ll find quick and wonderfully basic accessories to make for your home, kitchen, wardrobe, and more! Here’s a peek at some of my favorites:

    Patchwork Potholders (I love potholders! There can never be too many potholders in my kitchen!)

    Flange Accent Pillow

    Zipper Tote

    Broomstick Skirt

    Bangle Bag (How neat is this little bag that just hangs from your wrist, leaving your hands free?)

    Perky Pocket

    Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Sewing is the perfect resource for both the beginner and the sewing master! Featuring sections on the history of sewing, sewing basics, hand sewing, machine sewing, construction essentials, custom elements, and specialty sewing, this 240-page book also includes twelve projects! Take a look at the ones I wish I had enough sewing savvy to make:

    Singing Canary Pillow (I’m also coveting that cool lavender chair!)

    Scrappy Cottage Quilt

    Berry Pie Pincushion

    Let It Rain Yellow Slicker (It never even occurred to me that I could sew my own raincoat! What fun!)
    Do you have these books in your sewing library yet? You might want to think about it!

  • Celebrate National Sewing Month!

    September's flying by, and National Sewing Month is almost over. Have you celebrated sewing yet this month? Indulge yourself by adding the ultimate sewing guide to your inspiration library — Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Sewing!
    Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Sewing is a must for everyone who sews, no matter what your skill level. In the elegant style of Kooler Design Studio's previous encyclopedias, these 240 pages are wonderfully filled with the history of sewing, basic techniques, custom details, quilting, home decor, and embellishments. Also included are garment techniques with small-scale practice patterns, and 12 projects by top designers, with something for every skill level. Projects include a retro apron, mixed-media purse, simple skirt, embroidered quilt, and casual jacket, among others. Beautiful photography and easy-to-follow techniques make this a required addition to any sewing library.
    Take a look at some of my favorites from the pretty projects you’ll find in this fabulous sewing guide:

    Bohemian Bag (Fun! I'm such a bag lady...)
    Singing Canary Pillow (Sew, so cute!)
    Scrappy Cottage Quilt
    Aprons! (I love aprons…)
    Tropical Table Runner
    Berry Pie Pincushion (I’m sort of obsessed with pincushions…)
    Let It Rain Yellow Slicker (Loving the idea of sewing your own raincoat!)
    Are you inspired yet? Get your copy of Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Sewing today! Rather have it in digital download form? Check out our Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Sewing eBook
    Happy stitching!
  • National Sewing Month!

    I just found out that September is National Sewing Month! You folks out there need to tell me these things. We almost missed it! Wanna celebrate National Sewing Month by looking at a few of the projects I’d definitely sew—if I wasn’t frightened of my sewing machine? Maybe you’ll get inspired to sew up some of them yourself!

    I think The Fancy Dress from Laurie Malm’s Quick and Easy Dresses to Sew is simply adorable…part of that could be the Cat in the Hat-themed fabric! There an eBook, too!

    Loving the apron on the front cover of Mary Engelbreit: Sew, So Cute! And this pretty, hardcover book’s on sale!
    What a sweet an colorful blankie! It’s from Gooseberry Patch Sweetly Stitched For Kids! (eBook available!)
    Think The Cat at my house would stop napping on my vintage quilts if he had his own Kitty Blanket?
    These Three’s Company fleece blocks are adorable!
    Ohhh, another apron…from Erin Gilday’s Stripped Down Patchwork. (The book’s on sale!) There an eBook, too!
    The bird-embellished pillow case from Linda Lum DeBono’s Modern Crafter - Home Stuff! (On sale now!)
    Does your pooch need a Pet Pocket?
    Coveting the stuffed ducks in Laura Lee Burch’s Sew Magical For Baby!
    Ok, the bag lady’s coming out in me…
    The Big Summer Bag from The Best of Sew Simple Magazine!
    A whole book of bag patterns from Kristine Poor—Sew & Go Totes! There an eBook, too!
    Pat Sloan’s tote bags from I Can’t Believe I’m Sewing!
    The Star Partly Crazy bag from Quilt Blocks Go Wild! by Eleanor Levie! (eBook available!
    And…Are you inspired yet? It’s National Sewing Month! Get busy an sew something to celebrate!
  • Autumn, Elephants, & Sewing...

    We’re all about celebrating all kinds of special occasions here on Everyday Life at Leisure, so today’s a special treat! It’s the first day of Autumn, it’s Elephant Appreciation Day, and it’s National Sewing Month! To get in the spirit, check out some of my favorite fall-, elephant-, and sewing-themed designs!
    Quilting & Sewing:
    Elephant Pajama Bag from Gooseberry Patch: Sweetly Stitched For Kids — also in eBook!
    Crochet:
    Amigurumi Elephant from Giggles and Grins
    A Zoo For You by Cindy Harris — also in eBook!
    Cute Little Animals by Amy Gaines — also in eBook!
    Plastic Canvas:
    Craft:
    Embroidery:
    Unforgettable Elephant from Stitch This!
    Hope you’re having a happy first day of Fall, appreciating elephants, and sewing up a storm! And it’s even Saturday! How great is that?

  • Sewing Aprons

    Do you wear an apron when you cook or clean? An apron saves your clothes and looks sort of fun retro-y…which sort of appeals to me for some strange reason, but I don’t actually own an apron. The closest I’ve ever come is a dishtowel tied around my waist. In fact, though, as I examine our Leisure Arts sewing books, I’m finding myself oddly compelled to make an apron. Check out the inspiration…I’m…

    Loving this Belted Apron from Linda Lum DeBono’s Home Stuff:

    Adoring the nostalgic, whimsical designs from Mary Engelbreit’s Sew, So Cute!:

    Petals Apron (This may be my absolute favorite!)

    Pocket Apron

    Bib Apron

    Coveting these Retro in Ruffles aprons from Better Homes and Gardens Weekend Kitchen Décor to Sew:

    Enjoying the easy country-cottagey apron designs from Gooseberry Patch Sew Simple:

    Tablecloth Apron

    Tea Towel Apron

    Captivated by the Cupcake Apron from Erin Gilday’s Stripped Down Patchwork:

    Transported back in time by these aprons from The Best of Sew Simple Magazine:

    Retro Apron

    Gathered Apron

    Needing the wonderfully practicality of this Deep Pocket Chef’s Apron from Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Sewing.

    Dreading the holidays but yearning for the simplicity of Linda Lum DeBono’s Noel Apron from New Noel:

    These are my favs! What do you think? Would you actually make and use an apron?

  • Sewing for Christmas

    It feels a little early (to me anyway) for jingle bells to be ringing, but it is September, so if we’re going to sew for Christmas, I guess we’d better get started.

    I’m trying for some holiday inspiration from some of my favorite Leisure Arts books!

    Stockings are a Christmas tradition at our house. I wait up every Christmas Eve for the whole family to go to bed, so I can have a talk with Santa while he fills the stockings (which are never big enough!). I am finding some stocking designs (among the 30 possibilities) that I like in Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Stockings

    Blue Christmas (Who can resist a project with a kitten in the picture?)

    Red-and-White Delights (Love the idea of completely different stockings unified by a red-and-white color scheme.)

    Lots of Dots (My teenagers would love this polka dot stocking!)

    Some years, when I start to decorate, I want to stick with vintage style, but other years, I feel compelled to work in some fresh fabrics in contemporary colors, and that’s exactly what Jolly Stuff by Linda Lum DeBono offers up! From the 14 or so designs, these are the projects I’m thinking about adding to my holiday décor—

    Reindeer Pillow

    Tree Skirt

    Peace Quilt (Every year, my kids ask what I want for Christmas, and I say, “A little peace and quiet.” This quilt might work…)

    And since I’m always looking for something a little different, I’m also looking at Linda Lum DeBono’s New Noel—22 fun designs to deck the halls!

    Noel and HoHoHo Pillows

    Be Merry Cardholder

    Stocking and Joy Ornaments

    You just can’t beat Linda’s bright, colorful, and easy designs when it comes to welcoming in the holiday season.

  • Sewing: Purses, Bags, Totes, & More

    I’ve said it before, and I guess I might as well own up to it again and again—I’m kind of a bag lady…I love purses, bags, and totes, and I carry them everywhere with me. In fact, I often get confused about which bag I’m clutching at any given time. (The folks at my pharmacy don’t even look at me funny any more when I dig in the bag on my shoulder and then tell them that I have to go back out to the car ’cause the purse with money in it is out there while on my arm I have the tote containing my lunch leftovers, a crochet project, two books I’m reading, and a camera.)

    But I never get confused about my goal of acquiring new purses, bags, and totes. In fact, my real reason for wanting to learn to sew is so that I can make my own. Look at what Leisure Arts is tempting me with:

    In addition to nine other fresh and fun fashion accessories, Erin Gilday’s Stripped Down Patchwork offers up the Seminole patchwork inspired bags—

    Saturday Night Handbag

    Farmer’s Market Bag

    Clarissa Knapsack

    It’s hard for me to pick favorites from the nine quilted projects in Sew and Go Totes by Kristine Poor, but right this minute, I’m coveting—

    Shoulder Bag (The adjustable strap would let me put it around my neck for hands free estate sale shopping.)

    Bongo Bag (The four-patch design is fun, and the bag’s big enough for the whole family to stuff with stuff.)

    Weekender Duffle Bag (If the Bongo Bag isn’t big enough, this one surely will be.)

    The Best of Sew Simple Magazine is rapidly becoming one of my favorite books ever! I just keep discovering projects that I love. I mean, look at the Big Summer Bag on the cover plus these great designs—

    Reusable Grocery Bag

    Reversible Purse

    Messenger Bag

    Hawaiian Beach Tote

    I’m intrigued by the possibilities of Bohemian Bag in Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Sewing.

    On top of being a cool sewing project, this design uses oil paint sticks to embellish the fabric yourself!

    Better Homes and Gardens 1-2-3 Sew shares a fab go-everywhere Grab Bag.

    Created from a variety of fun prints and colors, it even has pockets! (It’s hard to find a good tote bag with pockets!)

    I’ve babbled about the wonders of Pat Sloan’s I Can’t Believe I’m Sewing before…

    …but have I mentioned her Grocery Sacks?

    And last, but not least, how wonderful would it be to sew your own matching Weekend Getaway Travel Set? Handsome Handbags & Creative Carry—Alls offers just such an opportunity!

    The sophisticated set includes a garment bag, a cosmetic bag, and a spacious carry-all. Just pick fabrics that suit your style, and you’re good to go!

    Have I tempted you into bag lady land yet?

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