Sunday, November 24, 2013

As the co-chair of our annual PTL Dinner Auction fundraiser, the fall is a whirlwind frenzy couple of months as we prepare for a wonderful night of fellowship, food, and fun.  We raised a lot of money for our kids thanks to the endeavors of 13 fantastic ladies who have true servant hearts.  As a thank you for all the months of organizing to put on this fundraiser I just finished a mini sewing marathon making 13 thank you tote bags for all the dedicated, talented ladies on my auction committee.  God blessed our evening and we give Him all the glory for the success. 

I just love sewing up gifts from my favorite fabrics. Each creation I make I think I just love this and want to keep it for myself.  Each bag has a pocket, snap closure, and key leash.  It took 2 bolts of heavy interface for these.  My mother always says the best gifts are the ones you love the most.  I used several of my favorite Amy Butler fabrics~ and almost every bag I wanted to keep for myself!

The pile of bags....
Just of few of the ladies at our wrap up party...


And then a couple I made for the silent auction... This is my go to pattern for a multipurpose bag~ the Ann Marie Horner Multi-Tasker Tote.  It is the perfect medium size with four external deep pockets, internal zipper pocket, key leash, and snap closure.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Garden Party Fun with fabric decorating...

I had a bunch of girls over for a girls night. It was so much fun to eat, drink, and have silly girl fun.  The problem I sometimes have when I go to a  restaurant for GNO is you end up only visiting with two of three people around you.. So I decided to throw a Midsummer Garden Party! It was a last minute throw together idea with my girlfriend, Angie...  but we had a blast!

I decided to do a shabby chic theme because I am a trash to treasure girl.. I love to upcycle old pieces to keep them out of the landfill... have some fun with them and pass them on...  So I started with a little seating area in the corner of the yard. 

I threw unfinished sewing objects on some yard sale finds.. a quilt top on a comfy vintage $4 chair from an estate sale, a little place mat on a table I spray painted, and another in process quilt on a padded bench.... I did make the floral pillow on the white chair (from my neighbor's trash)...
The coffee table chest is a find from a cute shop my friend, Kari, owns... as well as the silver tray with the candle, and the candelabra on the end table.  And the flowers were from Kari's garden in a vintage blue ball jar. I lucked into a whole box of those jars with original tin lids at an estate sale for super cheap!

Borrowed a wicker chair from my fantastic neighbor, Amy's sun room.  She has the super cute yellow house across the way.  Her yard make a great backdrop for my garden party! The chandelier with tea lights is a vacation find from last summer that I added a little pink bead bling..
Another pillow cover I made for the matching Adirondack chair from my neighbor's trash.. See the cute candelabra?  Just love that thing~ from my friend, Kari's shop of course!  (Ignore the peeling paint on the fence... it is on the schedule to be painted soon)
I could have gone even more crazy with gauze drapes, more bling but I held my self back! (Ignore the missing slats in the fence- baseball causalties...)

The drink station...
A little easy bunting decoration from some binding and some fabric flags.  The bar station is a trash to treasure dresser I gave a quick coat of paint with some paint I scored at a yard sale for $1 for a nearly full gallon... Then I added some fabric scrap drawer pulls.  The runner is just a piece of fabric folded up and the glasses on trays in a little rolling cart my neighbor scored at a yard sale and gave me earlier this spring. 
Borrowed this little side table from my neighbor's patio and two wicker sofa tables from her shed.  I just threw two pieces of fabric right over the top for the mojito station...
Wine on ice and the party is in full swing... Sangria iced and ready to go..
Next time I will cover up the utility boxes... Old metal tub for beer, more wine, and ginger ale for the sangria..
Mojito station and other cold drinks... just threw fabric over a couple of sofa tables...
Another old tub for soda bottles, Fruit for the mojitos on vintage trays, and cucumber water and ice tea cold beverages.  I used garden stakes with dry erase marker labels tied on with ribbon to label the beverages.  Another DIY~ took an old wooden bulletin board painted a board with chalk paint and added the mojito drink instructions. 
More fabric folded for a runner on the silverware station.. Used these cute rust flower urns for my vintage silver that I scored at an estate sale last spring.  The paper rolled wreath was a lopsided pinterest failed attempt but after all that work I decided to hang it up anyway!
Linen mismatched napkins in the wire basket with glass plates from a yard sale and some pretty china I found at my fav thrift store down the street... flowers from my friend Kari's yard.. her gorgeous, gorgeous yard filled with beautiful flowers everywhere!
Food Station~ whoops I should have taken a pic before everyone started in.. it was all delicious!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sewing Room Clean Up and Makeover

Here are some pics of my recent sewing room make over and clean up. I would like to paint the walls but I have been stymied choosing a color~ so they remain white. I did re-organize, clean up, and I have a new machine table that lets me sew my project without bumping into the wall.  It was a heavy wooden table I found in Craigslist that my boys and DH sanded down and painted for me. I love it!  So here is my attempt at being organized and having an inspiring space to work...

Machine Table, Ottobres and manuals on the wall in a wire magazine rack, and my fav pictures finally hung up.

Machine Table with lots of room to manuever. Ottobres and machine manuals on the wall in a wire magazine rack

Using mason jars and other glass jars for storage... all my Guttermann thread (the only kind I use) separated by color, scissors and rotary cutters on a scissor stand (aka as a tabletop toliet paper stand) and extra thread, needles, size tags, etc in smaller mason jars on a cupcake stand, marking tools in medium size mason jars.

Thread storage and button storage in glass dessert parfait cups

Wooden china cabinet that I plan to refinish shabby chic and add new hardware when it warms up.  Lots of storage for my woven fabrics and tons of hideaway storage for zippers, corduroy, flannel, purse hardware, snap press and snaps, and much much more. Lots of room on top shelf for all my ric rac that I am sorting into mason jars also.

Dinosaur CRT television I someday hope to replace with a flatscreen and my Amy Butler collection below...

Out of control knit shelf that still needs some attention...

Cutting table cleared off and ready to go...

Favorite picture from my sister-in-law of Upik women picking out fabric to sew their traditional Kuspiks...

Scraps neatly stowed in green containers by size, patterns and tracings in metal bins on bottom shelf.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My new Singer 401K~ inherited from my Gramma Jane

My new Singer 401K from my Gramma Jane's estate~ love, love, love , love....
My new baby~ I am so honored to have inherited her from my wonderful 92 year old Gramma Jane who passed away this spring.  I feel like my Gramma is right here with me in my house and especially in all my sewing room.  Now I just need to decide on the perfect name for her.  She is my first truly vintage machine.  All my sewing friends rave about vintage machines especially the Singer Featherweight, 401K, and the 500 Rockateers.  I am so happy to have this 401K in my collection!

My wonderful Aunt Mary Jane had the daunting task of heading up the sorting out my Grandmother's household with my other aunts and my Gramma's sister, Jo.  Gramma Jane had eight children, 24 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.  Thanks Aunt Mary Jane for thinking of me for this wonderful treasure! I can't wait to get her oiled up and running~ she is is great shape. 

She also came with this awesome mid-century modern sewing stool with thread storage and the original manual, cams, and my favorite~ the :Made Especially for you by Jane" sew in labels that my Gramma used on all her handcrafted creations! I am so happy!

The original sewing table and stool with storage filled with thread!

Original manual, Cams, Feet and the tags my Gramma put on all her handcrafted goodies! See the ruffler???
Pin cushion I made for my Gramma long, long ago....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Memory Quilts for Charley's boys..

The Memory Quilts
I always tell my husband sewing is therapy for me. It calms me down, it helps me focus, it gives me joy, it lets me be creative, it frustrates me and it also soothes me. I had a big dose of therapy as I made these quilts for a dear friend's children from their father's clothes. This was probably one of the hardest, yet most therapeutic sewing projects of my entire life.

I was so honored when my very good friend, Carrie, asked me to make a memory quilt from her husband's clothes when he unexpectedly passed last fall. The quilts are for their two wonderful, spirited boys. Carrie is an amazing woman. She is strong, generous, witty, and has a great sense of humor. She is gentle, loving and kind, and most of all she is courageous. She has spent very little~ if any time wallowing in self pity since Charley passed. She has kept strong and carried on like no one can imagine. When Charley passed she talked to her kids about the upcoming "stormy days and sunny days" that they would face together. One of the many things I admire about Carrie is her strength- to keep chugging, but also her strength to be raw and human~ to cry, to laugh, to be angry, to be in denial, and to do it all over again the next day with her beautiful boys in tow as they push through and live life without their beloved Charley.

Carrie has reminded me to live in the now, to love and be loved.  Her journey has shown me that relationships are so important- not just family, but good friends who can play parts in your life that family members, sometimes for one reason or another, just cannot.

Being with Carrie in those early months as she lovingly chose each article of Charley's clothing so carefully with a heartfelt story and a deep sniff of each item was so brutally painful. Charley was a husband, a father, a best friend, a sailor, a bicyclist, and a darn good person. So I took on the project with gusto at first... and nearly 9 months later I was able to finish it. It is weird how one's reptilian brain, as my mother calls it, protects you. I was finally able to move through my sadness about Charley, my grief for Carrie and the boys, and my own personal grief/loss issues while creating these quilts.

The journey I took while making this quilt was a good one. I faced my own mortality, the fragility of life itself~ for my husband, my children, and of all those I love and care. I really had some great conversations with God the entire way. I measured, cut, sewed, and cried while remembering the painful grief of my childhood when my older brother, Jamie, died, as well as all those other people I have lost. I celebrated the lives of Jamie and Charley with each stitch. 

Memory quilts are hard. Emotionally as you can imagine, but they are hard to make from a construction standpoint because they are different types of fabrics in different shapes and conditions. You have to stabilize some fabrics so you can quilt them. So I did a lot of research online and decided~ well~ not to follow one bit of it. I just winged it and let the Holy Spirit guide me on this project.

I ended up doing a crazy quilt style so I could incorporate different parts of Charley's work and play shirts, well worn and carried daily handkerchiefs, chino pants, dress pants, swimsuit, sweaters, bicycling shirts, vests and oxfords... In the quilts for the boys I tried to include the tags from Charley's clothes in one square or a pocket from his swimsuit because he had such interesting clothing choices... He loved good quality fabrics and so it was really a joy to sew them. Each material represented a facet of his life~ work, play, family... I hope William and George will see that little glimpse of their father in this quilt. I also included some favorite phrases and nicknames that Carrie wanted in a square around each of the boy's initial.

I loved doing this for Carrie and the boys. Amazingly ~ I had just enough scraps for a throw for Carrie too. I hope it brings them joy, comfort, courage, and they feel part of Charley's legacy when they wrap themselves up in the blankets (backed in super soft swirl Minky) on the sofa with a hot cup of cocoa as they read a favorite book or watch movies of Charley. Thank you Carrie- for letting me be part of your journey!