Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Friends who Stitch Together...

My friend and I took a class at a local quilt shop last week. She just had a birthday recently, and I wanted to do give her something unique and fun as a birthday present. When I saw the class information in my inbox, a light bulb went "!!!", I had to book our spot for the class.

I have been sewing for a long time, but I hardly ever take classes. I am a self taught sewer through books and trial and error. To tell you the truth, it is a bit of a hassle to go to another location to sew and I become a bit anxious when I don't know what to expect. Though, I must say the class was so fun and relaxing and I learned quit a bit of things that I didn't know about.

Pine Needle is my most favorite shop around here and the class was taught by the talented Sandra Walkman. We learned how to make English paper pieced coaster and it was such a delightful class! My friend loves to learn new things and taking classes, I knew she would enjoy a gift like this.

This friend of mine is special to me. We have been friends for more than 16 years. I feel like she came into my life when I really needed a friend; I mean a true friend.

I had a great set of friends in Japan, where I was born and raised. Even though my parents moved a lot, I made many great friends in my high school years and I still keep in touch with them. When I went back a couple years ago, they did a mini-reunion for me and got together to catch up a few times within the two weeks I was there.

For a few years after I moved to United States, I really struggled... I missed my family and friends, and I didn't speak English at all. I used to be a very chatty person and love to tell jokes and make others laugh, but I couldn't do that in English. I felt like my true self was locked up somewhere inside of me and I had a very hard time getting to know people and making friends. Usually, well, at least from my own experiences, people aren't that patient with you when you don't speak their language.

My friend and I met, when I was at the point that I could understand most of what people were saying and I could kind of speak English, but I wasn't very confident, also, I was a little afraid to even give it a try. Who would like to make yourself look silly or feel dumb, right? At the time, I was twenty something, but when I speak I felt like I sounded like a toddler.

Because of her kindness I slowly opened up. Eventually, I didn't care if I sounded dumb, English became a tool to communicate with her. She was very patient with me, and if I made mistakes or mispronounced some thing she would teach me in a way that it was very natural. I didn't feel belittled or judged by her at all. Mr. TRH did that for me too, but we girls need friends, don't you think?

She is a pretty private person (no blog) so I won't tell you too much about her, but she has been such a blessing to me. She has been there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on, or to share great news with. I learned so much from her and have tremendous respect for who she is and her values. I hope she feels the same way about me too.

Over the years our lives have changed quite a bit, so we don't see each other as often as we would like to. I feel like we are different in many areas, yet we have so much in common. One of the common threads is "quilt making". I think the saying "Friends who stitch together stick together" is so true. When we sit and chat, while our hands are busy working, I feel like we can start from where we left off.

I think, well at least for me, it is hard to come by such a good friend... I want to make sure that I nourish our friendship so it will last for a long time.

Do you have such a friend? What do you do to nourish that friendship? Let me know if you have special ways of doing so, I think we can all benefit from your experiences. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fabric Blooms Giveaway Winner!

Are you all anxious to find out if you are the lucky winner? Here we go!!

The winner is (drum roll...)

Sailboats and Circle Skirts

Congratulations!! I am so excited for you and I am sure you can create many pretty flowers for your creative adventure. Please email me and let me know your shipping info, so I can pass it along to the publisher. :)

Thank you everyone for entering. Have a nice weekend!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Fabric Blooms ~ Book Review and Giveaway!

Oh I so am excited about today's post! Not only was I given an opportunity to review this new book by Megan Hunt, I can do a giveaway for my readers as well. Before I get to the giveaway details, let me share something about this book with you...

Megan is the voice and creativity behind the popular blog Princess Lasertron. She is a wedding designer (and much more!) and her beautiful works have been featured in leading magazines several times. She has a keen eye for combining colors and I love how all of the flowers in the book are made from common materials.

There are 42 flower projects in the book. That is a lot of different styles of flowers you can learn to make! If you have been reading my blog you know how I love incorporating flowers in to my projects to add character and flair. The book is not just pretty to look at, it is a very useful reference book that you will enjoy for years to come. I totally recommend this book for someone who has been wanting to get their creative juices flowing.

Here is one of my most favorite project Prom Nosegay...

It has a really nice assembly diagram.

* Note: The images are posted with permission from Fabric Blooms © 2014 by Megan Hunt, Lark, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Lark Crafts

Hmm... Dreamy...

So ladies! Are you all dying to see the rest of the beautiful book? Here are the giveaway rules:

1. To enter for the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post. I would love to hear what you would like to use the flowers for!

2. For an extra entry, share this giveaway on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and leave the link in the comment section. (Sorry, without the link, I can't count it as an entry)

3. I will run the giveaway until April 9th and announce the winner on the morning of the 10th. If I don't hear from the winner over the weekend, I will choose a different winner on Monday the 14th. If you are the lucky winner, please send me an email with your shipping info. I will forward that to Lark and they will send you a copy of the book.

Spring is near and what an appropriate giveaway for the season. :) Good luck every one!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hello there!

Well hello there! The last couple of weeks has been really interesting for me... A mix of good and bad. I got sick and had to go to the emergency room a couple weekends ago, that completely threw me off schedule. After that my daughter became sick and missed school for a couple of days. Of course, life goes on even though times like that there were things needing to be taken care of and so forth.

I am ok now and the last couple of days I have been sewing. I am working on projects I won't be able to share for a while (yes, I think it's ok to keep some secrets from my readers every now and then... hehehe). Meanwhile, I wanted to check in to say hi and share a picture of what I found at a dollar store the other day.

Yup, they are ordinary hair clips. I think they are so colorful and fun! I am planning to use them when I am going to bind my quilts.

Where I live we have been having a weather roller coaster. A few days ago was really warm and sunny, and today it snowed! I don't mind rain and snow though, those days I love to cozy up in the house and work on my projects.

Have you been working on anything fun?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Embroidery Hoop Wall Decor

I was given the opportunity to be a part of Home Sewn at Living With Punks. This is the tutorial I am sharing for that. I have been racking my brain for a while on what to make... Then I decided to use one of my growing collections of embroidery hoops. I came up with this;

{You will need} --- this is for 14" diameter embroidery hoop

4 different White fabrics 5 to 7 1/2" x width of the fabric(usually it is 44")
1 - 6"x 6" red fabric
1 - 6"x 6" interfacing or heat and bond
1 - 20" x 20" thin cotton batting
charcoal, dark pink, white thread
14" embroidery hoop
3 different washi tapes

(How to}

1. Cut 9 - 2 1/2" x width of the fabric strips from 4 different white fabrics. Cut them in half in the middle. Now you have 2 groups of 9 fabric strips of 2 1/2" x 22".

2. Take one group of fabric strips and lay them out diagonally from right top to left down. The tip of the strips need to be 1/2" off from each other. Take the first two strips right sides together then sew. Press with an iron. Repeat the process until you are done with all 9 strips.

3. Cut strips. I used the 60 degree line on my sewing mat. Cut off the excess. Then cut 5 - 2 1/2" strips. Those will be your right side strips.

4. lay down the other group of strips from left top to right down. The tip of the strips need to be 1/2" off from each other. Sew the strips together and press with iron. Cut 5 strips with 60 degree angle. I laid down the fabric right side down and used the same 60 degree line. This part might be a little confusing, so make sure that you are not cutting the strips the same as step 3. These strips needs to be a mirror image of step 3. These will be the left side strips.

5. Sew the left and right strips together. Then sew all of them together.

5. Trace a circle with the embroidery hoop. This will be your guide line to design within the circle.

6. Print out the PDF I created for the heart and the words. Fuse the interfacing or heat and bond to the red fabric. Then trace the heart, cut it out.

7. Trace the words onto the white fabric. Pin the heart too.

8. Layer the fabric with thin cotton batting. If you prefer stabilizer instead of batting that is fine too. Pin them together so they won't move around while you are stitching. I was going to embroider by hand, but decided to do free motion stitching on my sewing machine. It goes fast and is actually really fun! Go back and forth a few times to have a thicker look. I also did extra stitches on the word "Happy" with pink thread. Working on the heart was really fun as well, don't worry about making it look perfect, a little bit of an "off" look gives it character.

9. For the hoop, you could leave it as is, or paint it. I decided to have fun with washi-tape.

10. Put the finished fabric in the hoop, and fold the excess fabric in the back and sew it down.

11. Done!

I love reading the positive quotes and signs. They up lift me instantly. Wouldn't it be nice to have a sign like this on your wall for your family to tell them how much they mean to you? Even though my 8 year old daughter pointed out that the sign is grammatically incorrect, she still liked the sign. :)

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial today, head over to Susan's blog Living with Punks. She is running an amazing giveaway until March 31st.

hs giveaway 700 copy

Also, check out her Facebook, twitter and pinterest. There is always something going on there!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tutorial ~ Radiant Orchid Meadow Necklace

I posted about the Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores National Craft Month Campaign in my last post. It is where you can find four types of trends for this Spring on Jo-Ann Spring Inspiration Website and I will choose one theme (or more) and create something fun. After I created the Geometric Two-Layered Skirt I rolled up my sleeves and started working on my second project. The rest of the themes were "Nautical", "Floral", and "Radiant Orchid". I came up with a floral necklace with radiant orchid, so,two birds in one stone? I didn't intended to, but it just happened that way. :)

Joann is offering a $5 off coupon for purchases totaling $25 or more during their National Craft Month, but hurry, it is ending soon!

Now, are you ready to see what I came up with for the themes "floral" & "Radiant Orchid"?

{You will need}* I ended up not using the lace flower on the left hand side, but I used the other items in the picture

Two types of silk flowers --- to have the look in the finished picture you need 1", 1 1/2" and 2" flowers each with dark color. Also you will need Hydrangea in a lighter shade.

One string of coordinated beads string --- it contains several different colors and sizes in one string, so you can create more interesting look without breaking the bank

One string of pearl beads in lilac

2 - buttons

2 - 4 1/2" of chains

2 - Jump rings (these will go to the back)

1 - Lobster (this is a parts that will open and close for you to be able to put the necklace on)

7 - Head pins

6 - Eye pins

Several large split rings (to attach the buttons to the chains). I used 2 but if you want to add more you can

1 - 4" X 8" fabric scrap that would go with

Matching thread, fabric glue, and basic tools for jewelry making

{How to }

1. Prepare the silk flowers. First, take the flowers off the stem. Then, separate all the parts and take the plastic pieces out from both type of flowers.

2. For the three larger flowers, sew a bead in the middle from the bead string. For the hydrangea, layer three flowers together and sew small pearls in the middle. make sure that the larger flower peddle will be at the bottom.

3. Open the Jump rings and add it to the chains. On one of them you need to add Lobster as well and close.

4. Put the eye pins through the beads you are going to attach to the chain. I linked three glass beads together on both sides, then attached them to the chains from step three. Now you have two chains with beads hanging from the bottom.

5. Put the head pins through the beads and pearls and prepare them to attach to the chain in the same way that you did in step 4. I also took one piece of hydrangea folded in 1/4 then sewed it to the chain on both sides.

6. Print out the PDF template to create the backing for the flowers. I sewed the edges with a zig-zag stitches to prevent fraying. you could also use fray check.

7. I used fabric glue to glue on the flowers. Lay them out first to see where exactly you want the flowers to go then start gluing them from larger petal to smaller. Then I started adding hydrangea petals. Set it aside and wait until it is dry.

8. Sew the end of the beads to the fabrics.

Now... it is done!

I am so happy how it turned out. I wore the necklace with an ivory blouse and a smoky lilac cardigan for the picture, but I also have a darker shade tunic that could go with the necklace. I think a blended look can also be nice. :)

How was my craft challenge? I love picking my brain and participating in challenges like this. Thank you Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store for letting me be a part of such an event!

* Disclosure: This review is part of the Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores National Craft Month campaign. I received compensation for this review; however, this is my personal honest opinion based on my experience.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tutorial ~ Geometric Two Layered Skirt

I was asked to participate in the Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores National Craft Month Campaign. "What it is that?", you might ask. It's where you can find four types of trends for this Spring on Jo-Ann Spring Inspiration Website and I will choose one theme (or more) and create something fun. I love doing stuff like that! Sound interesting? Joann makes spring crafting easy during National Craft Month with a $5 off coupon for purchases totaling $25 or more. You might wanna get your thinking cap on! Before you start getting busy, do you wanna check out what I came up with for the "Geometric" theme?

I have been interested in doing a project with fabric paint for a while, and this idea popped in my head. So, I headed to JoAnn to see what I could find for this project...

My daughter is 8 years old and on the smaller side. So you may need more or less depending on the size you are trying to make.

{You will need}

White cotton fabric 18" and 3 1/4" X 26 1/2" strip to create the waist band
Blue cotton fabric 20" (basically, the blue needs to be longer than white fabric)
* I washed both fabrics the day before without detergent and air dried them, then ironed them. You don't want to make the skirt and then wash it only to find out it shrank!

Craft foam mat 6 mm thick
6 different colors of fabric paint
Paper plates
Paper cups
Double sided tape
3/4" wide elastic
Ruler, x-acto knife, basic sewing notions

{How to}

1. To create my own homemade triangle stamp, I used craft foam mats. Those triangles are equilateral. I draw horizontal lines 2" a part, then I used my ruler for quilt making to draw the lines.

2. Cut them using the x-acto knife. You need six of them, one for each paint color.

3. I used double sided tape to attach the foam to the plastic cup. Clear cups are better, because you can see the triangle better when you are stamping.

4. At Joann, they had a variety of fabric paints and honestly, I didn't know which one to choose. I just decided to go with this brand and it worked nicely. Follow the instructions on the label.

Squeeze out the paint onto the paper plates. I felt like the paint was a bit too thick, so I added some water and mixed them. Put the felt pieces on the paint. That way it creates a "stamp pad" effect. You should test stamp on scraps to see what thickness you prefer. I also taped wax paper on my kitchen counter, so the clean up was easy afterwards.

5. Before you can start stamping, trim the top and bottom edges a little so the fabric has clean edges. Then, measure 1" from the bottom and lightly draw a line. That will be the guide for you to have a straight stamped bottom edge. I kind of had a pattern going, but I made some areas empty, or rotated the color wheel to have a more "random" look.

6. The next day, I started to sew. This is a very simple skirt, so you can make it in no time! Bring both sides of the fabric right sides together then sew with 1/2" seam. The side seams are already treated, so you don't even have to worry about fraying! That seam will be in the back of the skirt. Press the seam with an iron.

7. Fold the bottom edge of the stamped fabric twice (1/4", 1/4"), press with iron and sew. I used zig-zag stitch to imitate the triangles on the fabric.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 with blue fabric. Then, right side of the fabric facing outside, layer both skirts together. Make sure that the seams are lined up and the top edges matches too. Pin them together. Then, using the largest setting of stitches on your sewing machine, sew the top edge twice (1/8" from the edge, then, 1/2" from the first sewed line). Pull one thread from each sewed line to gather the fabric. I gathered it to 13" (well, front and back so it is 26" all around).

9. Sew waist band. Fold the strip of white fabric in half, and sew them together with 1/2" seam. I included the measurement in the picture, basically you leave some opening for you to put the elastic through later.

10. Pin the waist band on to the top edge of the skirt. fold 1/4" of the bottom edge and press with an iron.

11. Fold the waist band in half towards the inside of the skirt, pin and sew. To create a crisp finish, you want to do top stitch on that top and bottom of the waist band.

12. Before you put the elastic through, measure your little girl's waist. My daughter has an 18" waist, so I cut my elastic 20" long for some overlapping and to sew the ends together. This skirt is designed to have some flexibility in the waist measurement, so make sure the elastic you are cutting is not too short or too long.

Put elastic through and sew. ViolĂ ! You have the skirt!

My daughter was cooperating and being such a great model... but it didn't last too long.

She got bored and started doing her own posing... but it is part of a photo shoot with kids, right? We had fun!

Besides, she is so cute and funny, she is definitely a keeper. :)

She loved her new bright colored springy skirt, it is a bit different than her mom would normally choose. I bet this will be really cute with different color schemes too. Have you considered Radiant Orchid (that is the color of the year!) Mmm... that would be really pretty!

Head over to Joann fabric and craft store to see what you can find today (don't forget your coupon, my friend!) Happy sewing!

* Disclosure/ This review is part of the Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores National Craft Month campaign. I received compensation for this review; however, this is my personal honest opinion based on my experience.
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