Saturday, April 26, 2008

Kids Around The World

One of the very best things about owning my own business is having the freedom to make business decisions from the heart. I believe the more I can use my gifts and resources to help others the more happy I find myself. It is really that simple.

I am approached a few times a year to make donations of handmade goods for worthy causes. I consider it a privilege to say yes, and usually like to design something original for auction or charitable give away.

This "Kids Around The World" Mommy and Me set are for Families Thru International Adoption's Fall 2008 Gala Night. They raise thousands of dollars each year to support programs in countries like China, Guatemala and India for children who are not adopted. These are often the kids without families who don't get to come to Western countries and find forever families. Sometimes the money is used to pay for sick children's medical care and sometimes it is used for training purposes for the people who care for children in orphanages. On a personal note, I am also eternally grateful to FTIA for helping the Muffin Man and me to adopt the amazing Ava Jing and over the top adorable Olivia Xi Ge Ge. As it turns out they are now the better 1/2 of the family.

I hope someone sees the Mommy and Me "Kids Around The World" purse set at the auction this fall and digs deep into their pockets to help a worthy cause.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Summer Brown

This little bag is for my mom. She is an earth girl with lovely taste in simple lines and colors found in nature. She asked for a summer bag in neutrals. I hope this is neutral enough. I struggle with what is neutral...since her version of neutral and my version of neutral might be a bit different. (I was always the one more likely to find myself blinged out, of the two of us.)

The bag has a mix of brown batik and black celestial material and a dash of fern green leaves dancing over subtle pink hued background.

I love the way it turned out, and hope she does too.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ginger Blossom

Remember the little girl doll quilts? Oh, how I love those colors and the materials. I've been coveting the small amount of fabric that I had left over from the doll quilt project trying to decide what to do with the material.

There were only little bits of each fabric, barely enough even for a lining of 1 bag. I stretched it though...the idea, not the actual fabric and made this stripey little one.

Ginger Blossom is 14" wide x 9" tall with generous 24" straps. She's a perfect little summer bag, that is plenty big enough to carry real woman stuff. She has a large internal pocket and a magnetic snap closure.


I ended up with even smaller bits of material leftover. I just can't bring myself to toss even one inch.

So, headbands. Reversible headbands. More later about the headbands.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ted's Totes

Ava, my 6 year old has been invited to a bowling alley birthday party this weekend. I'm always a wee bit flummoxed at the grandeur of birthday parties in my daughter's circle of pals these days. When I was little I always had a cake that my mom baked and since my birthday is very close to the 4th of July I felt as if I got fireworks each and every year. Oh, and a bathing suit usually followed as well since it was early enough in the summer to still enjoy a new bathing suit.

But, times have changed and so have birthday parties. In the last year Ava has attended parties at bounce houses, swimming pools closed down for private parties, princess for a day events and what looked like an Olympic ready gymnasium. Lots of guests, lots of gifts.

At today's party I think her entire Kindergarten class has been invited for an afternoon of bowling strikes and pizza with cake and ice cream. How many spider man action figures can only little 6 year old really need? Or want?

So here it is, my tribute to simplicity and practicality for Ted's birthday. May he have many more.

They are little toy totes for all those spider man action figures he will no doubt be enjoying later today.

Ava asked if I would eventually make all of her friends toy toes while rolling her gorgeous eyes at me. As you may have guessed, this is not the first time she has had to arrive at a birthday party with a toy tote in hand as obligatory trade for entertainment and ice cream.

Why, yes I answered. As long as I have material left over from the last project dear, you will have a toy tote to give.

She acted as if she did not appreciate my glib reply.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Doll Quilt, Yes Again

It's done. One little boy friendly doll/stuffed animal/snuggle up in front of the television quilt. Very easy pattern if you could even call it a pattern. 5"squares galore and then piece them together. I made that up...can you tell?

It has been so much fun doing this little project, not to mention that I learned quite a bit, that I really want to take a class now that teaches free hand quilting. All I could muster this time was stitching in the ditch to create square blocks. But it has given me the confidence to take a class where I don't have to start completely stupid, only mildly uninformed. Hooray.

Now that I am done it is ready to go to my partner. Last night I realized I had quite a bit of extra fabric left over. I know I sew quite a bit but I don't use juvenille prints all that much so I wondered what else I could do to use up those scraps.

From reading my partner's blog, I know she has little ones. One can always use another diaper caddy when living with little people who wear diapers right? It's just big enough for 2 diapers and a slim wipey case. I have three of them and use them all the time. They are great for the car and the bottom of the stroller. There is nothing worse than being caught without a diaper when you really need one. Enough said.

Onward and upward. I have this blouse that makes me look rotund. Now, I like my fried chicken and M&Ms as much as the next gal but I'm not exactly rotund. Blouse must be altered if it goes off the cul-de-sac. I have to figure out how to take it in a bit. If it works I will report back. If it doesn't I will distract you with more spring bags.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Doll Quilt But Now With A Y Chromosome

Obviously the pink quilt simply would not work for the quilt swap since there seems to be a plethora of little boys over at my swap partner's house. We'll just have to make good use of the completed pink quilts over here...and since we don't seem to be short of stuffed bears or dolls I don't see a problem. And neither will they.

So, it's been big fun to come up with a plan for a doll quilt for a little boy.

Here is what I have so far...bright colors with one whimsical helicopter and plane print added in for fun. Notice my Heather Bailey quilt binding instructions? They rock. And once I really read them for the 8th time AND marked where the final stitch would go with a pen on the end of the worked.

I'm thinking little squares again...since honestly I'm just not sure if I'm quite capable of anything else yet that is more complicated. Math+rotary cutter+perfectly measured pieces = not me!

But I'm trying. And that's what counts right? Just tell me yes to humor me.

More later as I pull this heap of material into something like a little quilt for teddy bears.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Doll Quilt Swap where I can't Swap....yet

I've joined a doll quilt swap. I saw this post here and did not hesitate to join. Even though I knew not one thing about making quilts. I did attempt a doll quilt at one point in my dubious career as crafter extrordinaire but it was well, moderately lame at best. Although my sweet Livi never complains and sometimes uses it to cover herself up at night in her little toddler bed. (Sweet redemption.)

This doll quilt swap seemed like the perfect time to learn something new. Little things like, what should you really use in the middle of a quilt? How to you keep all the layers from binding and scrunching up when you quilt them together? How do you make that cool edge binding? Oh, so many questions. So little time.

We headed off to my parents home this week for spring break and since they are always more than gracious about keeping my kids occupied, I thought oh, perfect time to whip up a doll quilt.
My mom even steered me to the most amazing quilt shop called Quiltguilders in Beverly, MI. I just about peed my pants walking into the store to choose material. Even my mom, who has never been interested in quilting kept saying "Oh wow, the color choices nowadays, Now I get why this might interest you." I bought the prettiest Amy Butler pinks and greens you have ever seen. After pumping the lady at the store for free information about requisit "how to's", I practically skipped all the way back to my parents house armed with a rotary cutter.

Turns out I had enough material to make 2 pink doll quilts. I simply used the easiest pattern of 5" blocks I could think of. Presto...mostly everything worked and within 2 days I had 2 doll quilts, one for the swap and one for my little girls. I had some extra material and thought, oooh, perhaps I will make the little girl I get matched with a matching pretty handbag!

Then I got an email saying doll quilt matching assignments would be out in a day or two. I checked out the flickr group of members who had joined.

Ugh, oh. Seemed like, by reading a few of the members blogs that they had little boys, not little girls. It never occurred to me I might want to make a unisex doll quilt! Or a baby blue doll quilt. Oh crap, I told my mom I bet that I would be matched with a woman with little boys, I just knew it. They would hate a pink quilt!

Skip ahead one day...doll quilt swap assignments. Just like I knew in the pit of my gut....I was assigned what looks like the nicest lady with a very cool blog. Sorry I can't link her since I don't really know her and she might not appreciate unasked for traffic. And guess what? She had the two most adorable little BOYS you've ever seen.

I knew it! A pink Amy Butler doll quilt might be just a little too inappropriate even for the most confident in his masculinity little boy.

So, in the end....perhaps my two little girls will get matching pink Amy Butler doll quilts and I will get one more chance to improve my less than perfect quilting skills whilst I practice on something unisex...or red...or blue...or with trains...or snips and snails and puppy dog tails.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Whimsy Floral With a Belt

Nothing says spring time like a little tote purse with a belt to match in bright springy pinks and browns.

This little tote with magnetic snap closure measures 11"x 11" and has 22" straps. It has a nice sized pocket inside as well. The straps will sit on your arm or go over your shoulder. The 44" matching belt is made of 8" strips of coordinating material in a repeating pattern of flowers and stripes. The best part of the whole pair is the pink rhinestone belt buckle! The belt is adjustable and is made to fit easily into a standard pair of jeans belt loop.

The set is $60.00. Email me if you'd like the belt to be longer or shorter, made to order is no problem at all.

Oh, I can't wait to see someone wear them together!