Friday, October 26, 2012

Something WICKED This Way Comes

Hello friends! Thank you for visiting me today.

I'm happy to be a part of day five of the Wicked blog hop, brought to you by Mdm Samm & Wendy.
I had a few more blocks planned but as the saying goes "the best laid plans...."
Here is my scrappy hexagon spider web.

I got carried away an lost track of measurements, ended up being about 14". Oops!

I found a scaredy cat image I liked and appliqued it to the web. Though now I think a spider would have made more sense. This has since been made into a pillow cover. I don't really decorate for Halloween so I'm not sure exactly what I'll do with it. Maybe send it away to a friend? ;)

Now go visit the other fabulous blogs on the hop schedule today, I know I will be!
Frightful Friday,
October 26th
Searching Out Simple (you are here)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Just Three: September

traceyjay quilts

Hello friends! I didn't post my Just Three last month so I'm glad to have made it in time this month. I tend to do a better job at getting projects completed when I have a list to check off. I draw a line through my tasks, it's so satisfying. Like saying "booyah!".

My July three were:

Bowls & Borders Blog Hop, finished!

2. Lydia's diamond quilt/duvet, no real progress to speak of. I did purchase more fabric but haven't laid it out or decided on a few thoughts I've been mulling over. Her birthday is next month so I really want to have it finished by then. I can't believe I started cutting this months ago and still have cut diamonds in a bag. Sad face.
3. "A little quilted something. I can't be too specific about this because the recipient may be reading. ;) But I promised the person who helped choose the name of my etsy shop a prize and well, some months and 200 fb fans later....I still haven't done that. I've thought about it and then well, you know how it goes."  Happy to say that this is also finished! No pictures until she receives the item though.

My list for September!

1. Super Mario Quilt Along. I'm only making the Mario block to turn into a pillow but can't wait to see it come together. I hope to make the whole quilt someday, it's so fun.

Cut To Pieces

2. A secret quilt project, I have half of one of my parts done and will be working on the rest throughout the month. It's totally top secret but I am looking forward to sharing pictures and the story behind it with you as soon as I can.

3. My block for the Wicked blog hop.

I feel like my goals this month are reasonable and that I'll meet them. I also want to get serious work done on Lydia's quilt but this is Just Three so maybe I'll have a surprie next month. ;)

Thanks for visiting! Go visit Tracey and her Just Three AND her new quilt pattern, it's so much fun.

PS - If you have a blog with those little social buttons did you use a tutorial to install them? I don't speak HTML but can copy & paste if I know where to do so and what to put inside the brackets. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Mustache You a Question

So I have a thing for mustaches.

On my espresso cups.
I put some on a bunting in my shop.
We had some in our family pictures two years ago. {photo by Overson Photography}

 And recently I made these two mustache quilt blocks. They are for Danielle's Can't Grow a Mo' Sew a Mo' flickr group. I first heard about this while reading Lily's Quilts.
I'll let Danielle tell you her story and more about the quilt blocks.

Hi I'm Danielle Coolbear Jenkins from D J Coolbear, thank you to Rebecca for asking me to guest post about I project that I have started – Can't Grow a Mo' Sew a Mo'. I am collecting moustache blocks to make into at least 1 quilt to be raffled off at the end of November to raise funds to donate to 2 very worthy charities; Movember and Mary Potter Hospice (Wellington, NZ).

At the end of February this year – 3 months to the day after turning 60 my birth father died, after battling Prostate cancer which had spread to his bones. For more about why I started the project take a look at the Can't Grow a Mo' Sew a Mo' page.

I was discussing the need to do something with my mum – and came up with the idea of a charity quilt, well actually 2 charity quilts; one made by me in the UK and one by her in NZ. I am very passionate about splitting the money raised by the quilts equally between the 2 charities donating to Movember means research into cancers and supporting Mary Potter Hospice means supporting the Palliative care that is provided when the cancer can't be removed or treated and becomes terminal as it did with my father.

After writing a guest post on Lily's Quilts last week the request for blocks to be contributed has spread through out the ether of the Internet – as far as I know from the blocks I have received and seen photos of in the Flickr group there have been 15 blocks made in just a week - I have already received 5 of them and there are more in the post winging their way to me from Canada and Australia. Bringing the total with the 5 that I have made to 20 – already!

In NZ no blocks have been received yet – but I'm sure they will be pouring in soon enough as the word has also spread like wildfire throughout patchwork, quilting and knitting groups all over the country.

So the guidelines for the blocks are: Moustaches - any size, shape, style - as long as they are moustaches only - finished with a frame - ie the quilt will be a rouges gallery. The moustaches can be anything you want - cotton, felt, faux fur, embroidered – as long as they are firmly attached to the block. A block rectangular or square - including a frame - up to 12 inches (plus seam allowance). Have fun with the moustaches and the frames. If you need some inspiration take a look at the Flickr group.

• Blocks are to be square or rectangular - as it will make it easier to fit all the blocks together whilst maintaining a rogues gallery look.
• The finished block sizes - anything up to 12 inches, so 12.5 inches with seam allowance.
• The finished block must have a frame, of any design - as simple or fancy as you like. Pieced, appliquéd or even embroidered or painted is great as long as the fabric used for the block is 100% cotton.
• Any colours you like.
• Draw inspiration from the Mo's of the men in your life or from famous Mo's - If stuck for inspiration I have drawn up a few (can you guess the Mo's - some are a bit obscure).
• Mo's can be made of which ever fabric you want to use - blocks and frames however to be 100% cotton as it will make it easier to piece the top.
• Machine appliqué with topstitch is probably easiest - especially with some of the fancier moustaches.
• Blocks are to be back to me (in the UK) by the end of the first week of October at the latest. So I have time to piece the tops and get the tops to the quilters in time for launching the raffle at the start of November.

Thanks to Amy for suggesting the Sublime Stitching free embroidery pattern.

If you would like to contribute a block to the project either my quilt in the UK or my mum's in NZ email me at: and I will send you the mailing address/es. Also please join the Flickr group and post your blocks. And here's a button to spread the word even more.

Thank you for sharing Danielle!

Here are some more mustaches that have been made so far.
Will you sew a mo', grab a button or help spread the word?
Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Upcycled Baby Hat Tutorial

In case you missed it last month {July} here is my latest contributer post at Honeybear Lane.

Today I’m going to show you how to make a simple baby hat from a shirt. It can be your shirt, a child’s shirt, even a sweater would work. Just be sure to check for holes or stains when cutting fabric so your hat doesn’t end up with a hole or stain.

Gather your supplies.

upcycled hat supplies
I’ve used the hat that my youngetst had at the hospital to ensure my hat would be appropriate size for a newborn. Though, you can use any size hat you’d like, as long as your shirt is large enough. This hat is lined so we’ll be making two hats and putting them together at the end. Lay your hat at the bottom of the t-shirt, using the hem already there. Cut around the hat leaving about 1/4″ for seam allowance. You’ll do this twice so be sure to place your hat leaving space for another.
Make sure your pieces are right sides together then using a zig zag stitch about 1/4″ from the edge sew both sets of pieces together. Double check that you’re using a ball point needle when working with knit fabrics.

outer & lining

This is what you should have now. You’ll want to insert one into the other, making sure that you turn the outer piece right side out. Then I used a wide zig zag around the bottom to sew the two pieces together. The hat folds up and because it is lined there are no seams exposed. Here you can add a button, ribbon or trim of your choice. I chose to leave this one as is before sending it away to his mama.

So there you have it, simple baby hat at virtually no cost and very little time.
Thanks for visiting!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bowls with Borders Blog Hop

Hello friends! I am SO excited to be a part of this blog hop. It's my first time participating in a quilt blog hop and my first time paper piecing. I won't lie it took me some time, ripping seams, asking another quilter friend for help {aaand I may have banged m head on my ironing board a few times}. BUT I absolutely love it. Once I 'got it' it was much easier and fun and while I'm not an expert I will be doing more paper piecing. I have more ideas in mind already and some things pinned. {btw, it was the actual process of paper piecing that I struggled with, not the pattern. It would have been faster for me to learn seeing someone do in person but I there is a helpful video HERE if you want to paper piece and haven't before}

Before I show you my bowls I want to thank Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt for organizing this blog hop, Carol from Just Let Me Quilt for hosting and of course Regina for her lovely pattern you can purchase HERE. It was well written, includes additional applique options (I didn't use this time) and there are so many ways you can stack the bowls. Many short stacks, long stacks. They can be made into wall hangings like mine are or I've seen table runners and snack mats, you could make a full size quilts and with adding borders any size you'd like.
Finally! Here are my Tipsy Bowls. You do have to be careful the bowls don't fall over. At one point they were ready to crash to the floor. I'm still not sure exactly where I went wrong but tipsy feels fitting for my kitchen where this will hang. If only piled up dirty dishes were so attractive. ;) I mostly used greens and oranges with pops of aqua, reds and browns. The colors go with my kitchen accessories.

Here are some close up shots. :) Some of the prints remind me of pyrex bowls. I love vintage pyrex and hope to have my own set one day. You can also see a tiny peek of what I pictured to be a 'tablecloth' on the bottom of the bowls buuut I forgot to add a border to the bottom and my binding covered mostof it. Sad face.

I left the trim piece off of my chicken bowl so the chickens and eggs could be seen. I really really love this print.

I also used some unconventional fabrics for quilting. Do you see the eyelet? I love eyelet so I had to include some. I backed it with a piece of white cotton so the batting wouldn't peek through. And the chevron? It's more of a home decor weight than quilting weight. But I loove chevron. Please ignore the blunder on my ric rac print. It was late and I couldn't bring myself to rip a seam or start over.

This veggie print is also one of my favorites, that along with the green border print and the print used for the bottom bowl were fabrics I bought with my kitchen in mind. I look forward to making other items with them soon.

This top print reminds me of Pyrex also and the reverse of it would be similar to the pattern on my dishes. I would have continued piling up these bowls but ran out of prints to use. It was a lot of fun and I'm thinking of bowls to make for others.

Here you can see the quilting more. I did a freestyle zig zag on both borders (uneven on purpose), then did approx 1/4" lines. I outlined the bowls and stitched the ditch between each bowl.

Thank you so so much for visiting! I hope you'll come back and see me again.

Here is a list of everyone else participating in the blog hop today! I can't wait to see more bowls. You can find the full schedule of participants HERE {runs August 13-28} as well as the pinterest board HERE.
August 17th

Also linking up to:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bella Pouch Winner

Good morning friends! I am enjoying a cup of coffee {maybe my third} and hoping to sew some today. But first I have a winner to announce! Congratulations....Sarah Norman!

I will be contacting you via e-mail as well and giving Bonne from Pink Stitches so she can send you the pattern.

Thank you to everyone who entered! If you'd still like the pattern you can purchase it in Bonnie's Etsy Shop. She has also added some darling pouches to her shop. My favorite is the deer head with glasses, check them all out here.

Bonnie, thank you again for letting me review your pattern and give one away to my readers. xoxo

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bella Pouch Pattern Review & GIVEAWAY

Hello friends!

I haven't been around much, busy with the kids and life. I'm so happy to be here today with a pattern review & giveaway for you. Bonnie from Pink Stitches was so kind to send me her pattern for the Bella Pouch to review & giveaway one to a lucky reader!

Ever since I saw this pouch I pictured it in this chicken & rooster fabric I had. I think it's fun and cute. It holds my camera perfectly with room to spare for other items, if I had a second camera I would have taken a picture to show you.

I paired it with this ric rac fabric because it had the green, aqua, red and brown. Don't you love those roosters? I had to fussy cut to get the rooster on in the corner and didn't realize his head would be covered. Oops!

For the interior fabric I used a brown & white dot fabric. And the rooster fabric for the pocket {optional}. There are so many ways you can change this pouch up. You can do all the same fabric, two fabrics or three like I did. Really, you could throw in a couple more if you wanted. The inside pocket is optional. And you can add a D ring & wrist strap, but I coudn't find the lobster clip that would be used on the strap.

This pattern was well written, included great pictures of the steps and it's very easy to make. Plus, it only requires 2 or 3 fat quarters, some interfacing & batting. If you haven't used a magnetic snap they are really easy to install and don't require a special tool.

Do you want to make your own? Enter using rafflecopter below, the first entry is mandatory - simply leave a comment telling me which fabrics you think you would use for your own pouch. Everything after that is extra. The giveaway will run from today {7/30/12} through Thursday {8/2/12} and I will announce a winner on Friday!

If you don't want to wait for the giveaway or you don't win {sad face} you can click HERE to purchase the pattern from Bonnie's Etsy shop, Pink Stitches. You can also find Bonnie and what she's up to at her blog Pink Stitches.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Downton Abbey & Flawed Perfection Jewelry

Hello friends! I am so excited about today's post have have been looking forward to it since being in touch with Megan from Flawed Perfection Jewelry. If you like Downton Abbey or beautifully hand crafted jewelry this post is for you. And there's a special promotion code at the end. :)

Have you seen Downton Abbey? If not, get to your nearest Netflix or Hulu and go watch now. As with many things, I was late discovering it but quickly fell in love. I love the simpler time. My favorite character is Anna. I love the story between her and Mr. Bates. I suppose I picture myself as one of the downstairs characters. Must be all that cooking and cleaning I relate to. ;) If I were a woman of privelege I would be like Sybil. I love her independent, rebellious spirit. Even if it does get her into trouble sometimes. And that is why I chose the Sybil colorway when ordering my necklace. {Mine is the marquise one pictured} It took me some time to decide as they are all so pretty but I loved the pop of color.

Let's welcome Megan to tell us more about her new jewelry line.

Hi, I'm Megan from Flawed Perfection Jewelry. I design sterling silver and gemstone, pearl, and/or Swarovski crystal jewelry. I'm so happy to be on here today to share a really fun line! Welcome to...
Dinner at Downton Banner
I've come up with 7 colorways inspired by the characters and activities of the beloved BBC/PBS series. Each colorway is comprised of 3 colors of Swarovski Crystals. Even if you haven't watched yet (first off, why haven't you?!), I hope you enjoy these fun color combos! Let's meet one of them, the fun and colorful Sybil colorway:
Sybil Color Swatch
Lady Sybil's colorway has the most obvious inspiration. Her "surprise" pants look was the perfect inspiration, as it shows her spunky spirit and fun personality. This colorway also seems modern, just like Sybil's forward-thinking ideas for the time. These colors fit perfectly with her bold personality.
Here are 2 designs shown in the Sybil colorway. 7 designs are available in all colorways.
Sybil Row of Sparkle Listing
Sybil Marquise Listing
I hope that these colorways capture a bit of the colorful fashion of Downton Abbey! My favorite thing about these colorways is that they are a subtle nod to Downton without being dated. As beautiful as vintage jewelry is, a chic, modern piece of jewelry in a special colorway can be fabulous too. I'm also offering FREE shipping on your Dinner at Downton order for the next week. Just use code DOWNTON at checkout.
So, what's your favorite thing about Downton Abbey? Are you as obsessed as I am?
Thanks for having me today! Remember to stop by my blog for a full explanation of all 7 colorways.

Thanks to Megan for letting me participate in her promotion! I can't wait to {finally} start on season two of Downton Abbey now that it's available on

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Happy Fourth! {a few days late}

It's not often that I have projects done ahead of time so a late 4th of July post really isn't very surprising. ;) Our plans for the holiday changed so many times I can't remember them all now. The day before it turned out that we would be home and I decided to make the kids something patriotic to wear. That night I started on the baby's romper, and had a short list of things to get from the store in the morning. The kids told me what they wanted their flag shirts to look like, I had a different idea in mind for my son but he's old enough to have input and veto my ideas in these situations. Next year I might just surprise him instead of asking. ;)

After shopping, cutting & ironing freezer paper and painting {my oldest did her shirt} I finished up the romper. Then I sent the kids outside to torture them capture the moment with pictures. We spent the day at the carnival. It was a really fun time full of rides, fresh lemonade, cotton candy and funnel cake. There were only a handful of rides that the baby could go on with me so we spent most of the day watching the big kids. It was a hot & humid day and by the end we were all ready to go home to cool down and have a quick dinner before going out to watch fireworks.

I hope you had a fun & festive fourth! It's one of my favorite holidays.

It's hard to tell but my daughter wanted hearts & stars instead of just hearts. My son wanted the flag to wrap around the shirt but I ran out of time. My favorite was the romper that my youngest wore, the pattern is a free download on called Hannah's Pillowcase Romper by Create Kids Couture. {click the name to go to the pattern}.  The skirt that my oldest daughter is wearing is from last year, I made it using a $1 handkerchief and white cotton for the band. We all had matching patriotic flip flops and the girls had hairbows as well.

Just for fun here are some more pictures I got of her in the romper. I can't wait to make more of these, I think it would make a sweet gift. This is the second CKC pattern I have used and both I used the same size as what I would buy in the store.

Thanks for visiting!

Linking to:

sew many ways
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Just Three {July}

traceyjay quilts

Popping in real quick with a list! I love lists. This is one list linky I've been meaning to participate in for a while but this month I anticipate much busy-ness getting ready to kiss the Army life goodbye and move back into the civillian world. It will be a strange and exciting transition I'm sure.

Meanwhile, I have this sewing machine and piles of fabric calling my name. So to keep me in check and on task I'm making a list of just three things to do this month. You can do more but just three will be plenty for me.

1. Bowls & Borders Blog Hop Did you know that I quilt? I'm still very much a beginner and this quilt will be my first time paper piecing. Why did I sign up for a project with a deadline on something I've never done before? Because I'm crazy. And I love this stacked bowl quilt. I think it would look really cute hanging up in my kitchen. Wherever that kitchen is I'll find a wall space or cupboard front to hang it from. I'm really glad I signed up too because they filled up quickly and had to close sign ups early.

2. Lydia's diamond quilt/duvet. I don't have pictures to share yet but some months back I started cutting diamonds using Riley Blake's Fly a Kite fabrics {so cute!} and then I stopped. I need to lay the diamonds out, figure out how many more I need {quilt math makes me shudder} and order fabric before it disappears forever. That's all the progress I expect on this quilt this month, but it's important to get the fabric while it's still available.

3. A little quilted something. I can't be too specific about this because the recipient may be reading. ;) But I promised the person who helped choose the name of my etsy shop a prize and well, some months and 200 fb fans later....I still haven't done that. I've thought about it and then well, you know how it goes.

Thanks for visiting! Do you have Just Three this month? Click the button above to visit Tracey. She has some pretty incentive to link up this month!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Happy Saturday morning to you! I'm normally not so chipper in the mornings but I had a fun evening with my kids, half decent night of sleep and the baby is still sleeping so I'm enjoying my coffee in some peace. PLUS I just chose the winners for my giveaway and am excited to announce them. I love giving things and if I could I would host giveaways more often.

Thank you to everyone that entered! There were 64 total entries and using rafflecopter you just click a button to choose a winner. Easy peasy. I've had some issues with coding on the back end so I took a screen shot of the winners.

Congratulations to Jennifer & Karri!

I will be e-mailing you shortly! Jennifer wins a custom bunting from my shop and Karri can choose from ready to ship options.

As a thank you to everyone who entered and has supported my shop I have a promotion code for a 20% discount - use code FB200 during check out. The code will be good through July 7th.

Have a great day! The baby is up now and I have some things to get done before joining the rest of the family on the boat this afternoon.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pretty as a Picture Creations Giveaway

Good morning! I haven't posted in a while and still have that eyeglasses tutorial to get to but first, we're having a giveaway! My etsy shop Pretty as a Picture Creations has a facebook page and that page has over 200 likes! I've been meaning to do a giveaway since 100 fans so I've decided to have two winners. Using this post as a guide to stay in the rules of facebook the giveaway will be hosted here. The giveaway will run from today {Monday June 25} through Friday {June 29}.  Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter and check back next Saturday {by afternoon} to see who the two winners are!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Make Over a Onsie

I don't have the chevron glasses case ready yet but if you missed me at Honeybear Lane last week, you can see my onsie dress here today.

I wanted to make a gift for a cute little girl I know and this is what I came up with. Dressing up a onesie is a quick & easy way to make a custom dress for a gift or your own baby girl. I used a knit fabric but you can also use woven, though knit doesn’t require hems and won’t fray in the wash so it goes faster without a knit. If you use a woven cotton be sure to hem it.

Here is what you’ll need:

First I measured the width of the onsie, for this 6-9 mos size it was 8.5″. I multiplied that by four to get the width so I would have about twice the ruffle on both front and back and decided to make the skirt 8 inches long. Measuring it out, it looked about right. If you have a baby around to measure that would be more accurate.

Next, I ruffled the long side of the skirt. If you have a ruffler foot, use that. Otherwise you can use this nifty trick I learned when I started sewing again. Set your tension to the highest setting and stitch length to the longest. On my machine that is a 9 & a 5. Then without using a basting stitch, sew down the side and watch the ruffles come. I leave a bit of thread on both ends to make adjusting the ruffles easier.

Lastly, you’ll attach the skirt to the onsie. I apologize for not having a picture of this step. Be sure to line the skirt up evenly on both sides, pins help keep everything in place. I used an elastic stitch (looks like a zig zag stitch with dashed lines) and stretched the onsie back toward me a bit while sewing to help ensure mama can easily put this on baby. You can attach the skirt one of two ways, put the skirt & onsie right sides together (with skirt upside down) or put the wrong side of skirt on right side of onsie with the skirt right side up as it will be worn. I chose the second option and this gave a paperbag style to the skirt.

This was cute but still missing something. I cut a long 1.5″ strip of the fabric and ruffled it with about 1/4″ edge and pinned it to the neckline, cutting to size as I pinned. I sewed the ruffle on the same way as I attached the skirt and repeated this step twice more. Again, I apologize for not having a picture of this step. I just eyeballed it and made sure the ruffle above would cover the edge of the ruffle below. It worked out.

Then to complete the outfit I ruffled a 1 inch strip of fabric and attatched it to some FOE (fold over elastic) that I cut to 16″ and tied a knot at the ends. I think this will make a cute matching headband.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my dressed up onsie today, thanks for visiting!


Linking Here:

sew many ways

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Come to See Me!

Thursday {5/31} I will be at Honeybear Lane. If you haven't 'met' Heidi yet, you really should. I was chosen to be a contributor on her blog, along with some other fabulous ladies, and tomorrow is my first post there. My contributions will be baby related, so fun. Hope to see you over there!

In other news, I hope to have a tutorial for these chevron glasses cases up in the next few days.

Thanks for visiting!
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