An eclectic mix of handmade gifts, sewing inspiration, reviews, books, needlework, crafts, homeschooling, baking, and recipes

Far Far Away Quilt Blocks February 28, 2010

Love that man of mine!  He took R. out running errands for a couple of hours yesterday so I could work on R.’s “Far Far Away Charm School” birthday quilt.  I actually got all of the blocks sewn together!

To be perfectly honest, I have been procrastinating making these blocks because I was afraid of screwing it up (it cost a small fortune!)  Probably not the wisest choice for my first quilt because the Heather Ross “Far Far Away” double gauze cotton fabric is a tad difficult to work with.  It stretches quite a bit while cutting and sewing, and it easily gets stuck and shreds in the sewing machine when you start to sew it if you are not super careful.  After much frustration with this, I finally figured out that it was best to manually lower my needle in to the fabric a good distance from the edge of the fabric.  This did the trick and I was able to sew up the rest of the blocks pretty effortlessly.

My squares are supposed to be 6″, but they are a bit smaller and kind of wonky (I think maybe it was my cutting because the fabric was so stretchy?)  I probably should have waited until after my “Turning Twenty” virtual quilting class to have made this, but what’s done is done.  At this point I think I will just attempt to sew the blocks together as best as I can…fortunately R. is very forgiving when it comes to handmade and I know will love it despite all of its imperfections!

Now if I can just finish it by April…

PS- head over to the Frontier Dreams blog here for a chance to win some lovely play silks!  I have always wanted to gift R. with a set of these…maybe for her birthday???

Happy sewing,



Fairy Tale Fridays! February 26, 2010

Princess complete!, originally uploaded by sew’nquilt.

Fridays around here are also known as homeschooling “Fairy Tale Fridays”. While perusing the classics section at our favorite local bookstore, I came across the Calla Editions of “Stories from Hans Christian Andersen” with illustrations by Edmund Dulac (here) and “East of the Sun and West of the Moon Old Tales from the North” illustrated by Kay Neilsen (here) and just had to own them!

I can’t describe in words how enchanting they are to pick up and read with R…we really do get lost in fairy tale land.

The illustrations are so beautiful that I would love to buy another set and frame some of them up in her reading nook.

I also came across these beautiful embroidery patterns (The Princess and the Pea pictured above) over at the Follow the White Bunny blog (here) and instantly fell in love!  Nicole Vos van Avezathe designs are available here in her Etsy shop Kloin (although it is closed until next week) or on Magpie Patterns here. As soon as I finish my Mother’s cross stitch I am going to start on this to go with R.’s Far Far Away Charm School quilt from Alewives Fabrics (here)…I am thinking it would make a beautiful pillow if I do some patchwork around it.

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

Happy sewing,


One Small Change February February 1, 2010

I am happy to report that I got all of the pieces for R.’s “Far Far Away Charm School” quilt cut and the blocks somewhat laid out yesterday.  It was tedious work, but I actually kind of enjoyed fussy cutting the blocks as I felt like an artist capturing the exact images desired.  I tend to be a follow the rules — follow the pattern exactly — kind of gal, and am quite proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone and using my own artistic talents (I have to have some in there somewhere, right?) to create the different blocks.  Now if only that quilting thread would hurry on its merry way to my house a bit quicker I could start sewing it together…

I am thrilled to share my February One Small Change commitment with you!  We consume tons of yogurt around here, and I do mean tons (R. may be wiry, but she eats more than me!), we also go through a lot of bread and I can’t help feeling bad about all of that wasted packaging.  For February, I am committing to make all of my own yogurt and all of our bread for the entire month.  I purchased the Cuisipro Donvier Yogurt Maker and I can’t wait to see the reduction in non-recyclable plastic yogurt cups around here this month.  Not to mention how much healthier it is to make your own.  Pictured above is my first batch of yogurt and the homemade French Chocolate Granola from Orangette drizzled with honey.  I can’t tell you how divine this is (and I saved on the packaging of the granola too)!

R. and I also had fun baking this loaf of Carrot Papaya bread from the “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day” cookbook.  The Waldorf tradition is very big into baking bread with children so this will be a regular part of our weekly homeschool schedule.  Between the Healthy Bread cookbook and their other “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” we have hundreds of recipes to experiment with.  It really is so easy and the reward is wonderful healthy bread (minus the plastic packaging and all of the chemicals and preservatives).  The idea is that you whip up a big batch of dough and keep it in the refrigerator (or freeze it) to use over the next 5-7 days.  We also made the Challah bread from Artisan Bread but changed out half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat and it was very yummy (we made some of it into french toast and some of it into cinnamon raisin bread they were incredible!) and moist.

We also whipped up a honey cream cheese spread (also from Healthy Bread) for the carrot bread to make it into a little desert.  Not as good as my pineapple carrot cake…but unlike the carrot cake that is loaded with fat and sugar, this bread has no oil or butter added to it so you can enjoy it guilt free.

Think of the difference we can make if we all just commit to One Small Change?  Drop by Hip Mountain Mama’s blog for more inspiration and to sign up for the challenge!

Happy sewing,



Sew Long… January 31, 2010

My Husband doesn’t call me his “busy bee” for nothing.  I am forever working on a project (or four or five!)  Well now I know why…I never have everything I need to finish it!  I scrimp and save and buy a piece here and there and figure, “I’ll buy that later when I need it and buy this pattern or this great fabric instead!”  Ha, ha, well my willy-nilly ways have come to bite me in the back of my tush!

I had big plans to spend the weekend sewing that “Schoolhouse Tunic” and thought I would have it finished and posted bright and early come Monday morning…I thought wrong.  I was sure I had enough thread on a dark linen (ish color) Gutermann spool but on closer inspection it wasn’t much at all.  I thought, “I’ll just order it online and use what I have until it comes.”  Great idea, unfortunately I did not have the sticker with the color number on it and apparently the number CA 20776 does not correspond to the color in any way?  Am I wrong here?  Wouldn’t you think Gutermann would put the color number on that spool somewhere so that nubes like me could reorder the same thread?  Hunh, who knew you had to save that dumb sticker?  When I searched online with the “code” (obviously put there by disgruntled Gutermann employees out for a good laugh) I came up with a dark brown color and it was definitely not the color of my thread.  Don’t think I didn’t consider driving to JoAnn Fabric’s…I did…but for one it is over an hour away and for twoD.’s car is in the shop and he is using mine for work (kind of more important than thread in his world…but of course not in mine ha, ha).  Long story short (well shorter anyway) I blindly ordered thread online for this and a few other projects (crossing my fingers and toes they are close enough in color to what I need!) and must wait to work on all of those fabulous projects for now.

So instead of spending my weekend merrily sewing, I spent it cutting (not exactly my most favorite part of sewing).  My tunic is cut and ready to go, as are two baby birthday gifts (I’ll tell you about those later), and I have a dining room table filled with half-finished projects eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next day’s mail in hopes of getting worn or used.

On the upside, I started cutting out the pieces for R.’s “Far Far Away” quilt for her birthday present.  I spent the entire afternoon “fussy cutting on the point” (a fancy way to say “cut by hand”) each of 16 six-inch squares from a template I made and cutting my charm squares on the diagonal into four equal parts.  That took all of the patience I have for today, but I have high hopes of finishing the cutting tomorrow.

D. says all of this waiting is the universe’s way of teaching me patience…that the good things in life take time and that I shouldn’t be all about “instant gratification” and blah, blah, blah.  Point taken…but can’t a girl dream of a small shop (something along the lines of Alewives Fabrics would be nice!) moving right into my sleepy little town?

PS – Have you heard that Heather Ross is coming out with a “Far Far Away, Part 2“?

Happy sewing,



Is it that time already? January 23, 2010

It’s crazy to think that my beautiful little sweet pea will be nine in a few short months (April!!!) and that I have to start on her present right away.  Also on my mind is Valentine’s Day and Easter ~ time flies!  With that in mind I’ve picked out a few projects to start on.

For her birthday I am going to make her a “magical” lap quilt (4ftx4ft) using the Heather Ross Far Far Away “kit” from Alewives.  These days she is really getting into fairy tales and she wants to redo her bedroom to make it more grown up.  I figure she can put it on her bed with her purple duvet cover at the foot and then paint her walls soft green and I can sew up some matching curtains.  We’ll also have to find a new border for her walls…but I’ll let her pick that out herself…she is becoming quite opinionated these days (ha, ha whomever does she get that from?)

I found the cutest Valentine’s project on Sew Mama Sew ~ it is Jessica Casa’s “Something Special Card” tutorial.  She uses fabric to create a valentine (complete with a hand stitched message) with an envelope.  I will definitely make one for DH and R.   I love her blog JCasa*handmade she has some great crafty tutorials and free downloads.

As for Easter, I love putting together themed basket and this year I am inspired by the book “Fantastic Mr. Fox” by Roald Dahl.  I ordered the Semi-fantastic Mr. Fox Sewing pattern and Materials Kit in red from Bird and Little Birds’s Etsy shop.  The only bummer about this is that the Easter Bunny gets credit for making the doll.  Of course the book will be in the basket along with some other foxy goodies that I come across between now and then.

Oh and I can’t forget to mention that I finished my sweets mats yesterday!  It’s amazing how quickly the second batch whip up.  Note to self “Don’t pick a new project for each gift…make multiples to hand out as it is much quicker!”

Off to enjoy my weekend and the yummy pecan cinnamon rolls I have baking in the oven =0)  Hope yours is a great one!