Saturday, June 30, 2012

Whatever happened to...June!

Lordy, it's been a while! First of all, a big (belated) thankyou to everyone who stopped by and left a lovely comment on my post/tutorial for the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop. You guys were so sweet!

Life has been pretty full here, we're mostly busy getting ready to move in a couple of weeks, so, lots of this:

In addition, we are getting ready to fly out east a couple of days after the move, where the little littles will be spending a couple of weeks with their grandparents, while number one son and I go to the UK to visit some long-lost relatives, and probably do some super-touristy things like visiting Stonehenge (that's at the top of my son's list!) and hopefully visit the beaches and castles of Cornwall and Devon. If anyone has any tips or suggestions on where we should go, feel free to speak up!

Contrary to what the radio silence on the blog might suggest, I have actually been doing quite a bit of sewing ... when I start to feel stressed out, that is when I start to procrastinate big time -- this time, the sewing room is where I go to pretend the whole moving mess doesn't exist. Plus, I will no longer have a sewing room after we move, so I want to make the most of it while I have it! (Truthfully, what I will miss most about not having a sewing room is not having to clean up after myself!)

I started with a stack of Ed Emberley's Happy Drawing fabrics to make some clothes for the boys, and this gem from the 80s:

First some shorts for number one, and capris for number two (although he is little, so they just look like floods!):

Followed by some Sketchbook shirts from Oliver + S:

 I'm sure y'all will note the great job I did matching fabric on the pockets! Yay for little details :) This is a fantastic pattern with all the professional looking details that you expect from Oliver + S. The boys wore these shirts for their year-end assembly. This will be their last year at the little K-3 annex school, as number one has "graduated" from grade 3, so it was a bitter-sweet day (made a little bit sweeter to see them wearing their shirts because they knew that would make me happy!).

I also cranked out these red-hot shorts from the same 80s pattern - my boys liked it because it had good sized pockets to bring home treasures from the park, but it is a bit poufy in the waistband area.

There were also a couple of items for myself (selfish sewing makes me feel so good!):

Another Shearwater Kaftan, again in Valorie Wells voile -- Wrenly this time. (Last time it was Nest.)

These shearwaters have become summer wardrobe staples - so lightweight and lovely to wear.

And a little zippy earbud case made with some favourite scraps, from this tutorial:

I'm hoping to have time to whip up a passport holder, and maybe a camera bag, but unfortunately the boys quilts are on hold until we get back to town in late summer...Sadly, this month produced zero quilting (sad face) even though I have tons of fabric put together ready to go, and a long list of quilts that I am hoping to make.

I hope to have time to post again before we leave town. I have been making time to follow the posts in the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop, there's some awesome stuff going down there, like Beth's School Rules mini quilt and Svetlana's Art Backpack from last week:

June 26

    Svetlana from Sotak Handmade
    Beth from Plum and June

June 28
    Julie from Jolie Maxtin
    Lori from Adventures in Fabric

And coming up this week:

July 3
    Di from Willowbeck Designs
    Jennifer from Knotted Thread  

July 5
    Sarah from Sarah Lou
    Catherine from Knotted Cotton

Not to mention the fantastic weekly posts from Beth about finding your way around places like Twitter and Flickr.

I hope all you Canucks have a great Canada Day weekend, and all the Americans have a wonderful Independence Day next week!

Thanks for visiting! Over and out :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Let's Get Acquainted & The Tea Squared Tea Cozy Tutorial

Hey folks! Today is my day for the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop. If you haven't been here before, Welcome! My name is Yzo and I am a stay-at-home mother to three young, very active {crazy} children. I also help my partner run our business. My partner works out of town a lot, which means that I am working-from-home-and-full-time-parenting all by myself for long periods of time. To avoid going totally (more than I already am) bonkers, I started knitting again about seven years ago. My Nana taught me to knit and (hand) sew when I was little, and thank goodness! Because living my current life without crafting would be inconceivable. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, productivity and creative freedom that I don't get otherwise (dishes & laundry, I'm looking at you).

Sewing really wasn't my main obsession until I discovered modern quilting and all the related bloggy inspiration about three years ago. I also love to make kids clothes, bags, etc. However, I make stuff at a snail's pace. Seriously. It takes me forever to commit to a pattern, to choose fabric and commit to cutting it up, and then to find the time to actually start sewing it. It's kind of amazing anything ever gets finished.

Here are some of my favourite quilting projects:

And here are some non-quilty projects:

For the blog hop, Beth asked us to share a project featuring either novelty fabric or colour, and she also provided us a with a little Q & A:

Favourite quilting tip: Don't be afraid to try something new. It's just fabric. If it doesn't work out, maybe you can repurpose it into something you'll like even more!
Favourite fabric: Kind of in love with Melody Miller.
Favourite craft book: I love Elizabeth Hartman's The Practical Guide to Patchwork and Joelle Hoverson's Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts, but there are a dozen others that I also love.
Favourite book: One book that has stayed with me, though it's been decades since I first read it, is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I once even persuaded some random guy in a bookstore that he had to buy it (he did).
Favourite children's book: I love Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I am so thrilled that my son is old enough now (he's eight) that we are reading it together (yes, I'm a sci-fi geek).
Favourite quilting tool: Rotary cutter. Did people actually make quilts before rotary cutters were invented? Incredible. Oh, and those Clover glass headed quilting pins - they are long and extra fine, and it's weird, but I really do like them more.
Favourite music to listen to while quilting: I like to listen to audiobooks (since I always fall asleep if I try to actually read a book these days). Henning Mankell is a current favourite.
Favourite TV show while handstitching: I just started watching Breaking Bad a few months ago on Netflix, and now I'm all out of episodes. I need more meth episodes!
Binding - hand or machine? Both. Usually by machine for anything I have a big time crunch on, but by hand for baby quilts or anything "special".
If I'd only known... I don't know! I'm still learning :)

On to the main attraction...

Now, I'm so excited you're all here so that I can share my Father's Day project with you! My partner is seriously into tea time. He especially loves High Tea, you know, with scones and jam and Devonshire cream and itty bitty sandwiches, and since that is part of my heritage I am happy to bake scones and make tea and cut the crusts off cucumber sandwiches for him. (Plus, I love him.) Last year for Father's Day, we bought him a variety of vintage teacups and saucers, and this lovely (modern) teapot:

We needed a pot that was big enough for our family of five to all be able to have a cup and a refill, and one that wasn't too frilly. When I found this pot-bellied yet elegant teapot, I thought, "Perfect! I'll make him a tea cozy!" So that was last year. Father's Day 2012 project = tea cozy. This project was inspired by many of the Zakka projects that have been floating around, as well as verykerryberry's gorgeous paper pieced tea cozy, and Amber's signature raw edge applique projects. In a flash of genius, I decided to be super original and make my tea cozy with a teapot shaped appliqué, cut out of - gasp - teapot themed novelty fabric! Hence:

The Tea Squared Tea Cozy Tutorial
{Note: This is a great Fat Quarter project!}

Materials List:

1 FQ outer fabric (or 2 pieces measuring approx 15" x 9" each) *I used a different fabric for the front and back, and then used the back (Melody Miller teacup) fabric for the appliqué shape
1 FQ lining fabric (or 2 pieces measuring approx 15" x 9" each)
1 6" x 8" piece of fabric for appliqué shape (or 2 pieces if you'd like both sides of your cozy to be appliquéd)
16" x 20" batting. I used some Insul-Brite leftover from making oven mitts.
Basting spray or pins
Embroidery thread (not pictured)
Heat n Bond Lite (or other iron-on, fusible-on-both-sides) appliqué paper
Small appliqué or embroidery scissors
Teapot graphic. Download here.

To determine the shape that you will cut out, start by measuring your teapot. Mine is super fat. Or superphat. Either way, it's awesome. Now take the circumference and divide that in two, and add 1" for ease and seam allowances. Divide that number in two, and that is the bottom width of your pattern piece. Mine was 28" around (including the spout), so 14" wide plus 1" ease, divided by 2 = 7.5". Add 1" to the measured height of your teapot, and that is the height of your pattern piece. Mine was 8" + 1", so I needed fabric pieces 15" x 9". Draw a gentle curve at the top corner of your pattern. My pot's spout and handle are higher than a traditional pot, so I drew my curve a little higher.

You will need to cut (on the fold) 2 pieces of outer fabric, 2 pieces of lining fabric, and 2 pieces of batting. In addition, you need to cut a 2" x 4" piece of the outer fabric for the tab and a 6" x 8" piece of fabric for the appliqué shape (or two pieces if you want to put the shape on both sides of the cozy).

For the raw edge appliqué, download and print the teapot graphic and trace onto the paper side of the Heat n Bond. Give your daughter the teapot printout to keep her busy for 3.5 seconds while you try to make this.

If you want to fussy cut the appliqué shape, place it over your fabric shiny side up (remember that the shape will be reversed on the final appliqué so you want to reverse it here while fussy cutting). Mark the top, bottom and sides with pins so that you can see where to place it on the wrong side of the fabric. Position the shape on the wrong side of the fabric and press with a hot, dry iron to adhere the Heat n Bond paper. With appliqué or embroidery scissors, cut out the shape along the edge of the paper, and then peel the paper off.

Position your fabric appliqué on the right side of the outer fabric and press it again with the hot iron to attach.

Baste the outer fabric with the appliqué to the batting. Sew the edges of the appliqué down using either zig zag, straight stitch, or free motion.

One thing that I like about this technique is that even my amateurish, can't-stay-inside-the-lines stitching ends up looking good after going over it a few times. Okay. It's cute, but kind of blah....

Out comes the embroidery thread. That's better. I used six strands of varying colours of grey embroidery thread and just eyeballed it. I realized after the fact that I totally stole this idea from was inspired by verykerryberry's tea cozy.

Now, baste the back fabric to the batting. I also added a little embroidery to the back to quilt the fabric and batting together. Quilt however you like, but with a project like this that is pretty small and won't be washed often, quilting isn't strictly necessary.

 This was my first time "handquilting" - I count it as a learning experience!

Make the tab by folding the fabric in half lengthwise and pressing. Now fold the long outer edges in to meet at the seam, like when making bias tape. Edge stitch the two sides together. Fold the tab into a loop and position at the centre top of one of the outer pieces of the cozy, with the loop facing in. Baste in place with 1/8" seam allowance.

Pin the basted outer layers of the tea cozy together and sew along the curved edge using a 1/4" seam allowance. Trim any excess bulk out of the seam allowance and clip the curves. Place the lining fabric right sides together and stitch with a 3/8" seam allowance - don't forget to leave a 4" gap in the centre top for turning. (I totally forgot and had to pull out the seam ripper. Don't be like me.)

Turn the lining right side out and place inside the outer layer so that the right sides are together. Pin around the edge matching the side seams, and stitch using a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn the cozy out through the hole in the lining, then, using your hands through the hole in the lining, smooth out the curves along the seam inside the outer layer of the cozy. Press the bottom edge of cozy and topstitch 1/4" from edge.

Slipstitch the lining closed, and, as you are finishing, push the lining into position inside the cozy and catch some of the seam allowance of the outer layer with your final few stitches to attach the lining to the inside so that it can't be pulled out of the cozy.

Now brew yourself up a cuppa and enjoy having hot tea for hours! And here is my favourite scone recipe, from the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, in case you want to be like the Queen. Note that this recipe is for 35 scones, so change the desired yield at the top of the page unless you want to be eating scones for the next three weeks. Of course, 35 scones would last about that many hours in my house.

Everybody loves teatime - especially this one!

Thanks so much for visiting. It has been a great experience putting together my first tutorial (and learning firsthand that tutorials take eleventy-two times longer than you think!) -- if you find any glaring mistakes, please let me know!

As part of the blog hop, yesterday Lynne from Lily's Quilts posted some great ideas on how to grow your blog. Check it out here. If you haven't already had a chance to do so, you can visit Kelly at Jeliquilts, she is also posting for the blog hop today. I am sure she is going to whip up something colourful and delicious! And on Thursday, Debbie from A Quilter's Table and Sarah from Silly Banana Sewing will be posting.

Plum and June

Friday, June 8, 2012

This week on Chez Roo...

What happened this week:

One trip to the ER involving punctured eardrum, small child and pokey object.

One pair of pants hemmed (not exciting enough to photograph).

One infinity scarf made using this pattern. Unfortunately our June weather more than justifies this. It is soft and warm and I wear it every day. If I were to make it again, which I totally will, I would make it at least 6-8" shorter.

  Nani Iro double gauze and Anna Maria Horner Little Folks voile

Oh, and one more trip to the ER involving potential appendicitis (sent home and told to monitor).

Never a dull moment!

And in other news, the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop is moving along at an amazing pace - four posts a week. This week, I was able to learn how to make a journal cover, a charm pack ruffle skirt, a paper pieced herringbone block, and met the lovely ladies from these blogs:

June 5   
    Cinzia from Deux Petites Souris
    Kristy from Quiet Play

June 7
    Taryn from From Pixels to Patchwork
    Em from Sewing by Moonlight

Hopefully, the appendix will stay intact, and I will be spending this weekend finishing up my little project and tutorial for the blog hop on Tuesday. Kelly from Jeliquilts will also be posting for the blog hop on Tuesday.

See you then and thanks for visiting!

Friday, June 1, 2012

What do May showers bring?

My kitchen is full of sweet cupcake aroma - and cupcakes don't last long in these parts, but fortunately these are not for us (or they would already be settling into their new home on my hips), but for the cakewalk at the Spring Fair. We are all hoping for a break in the rain for the kid's big day on Saturday!

I am so happy PicMonkey has their collage feature up and running - here is what I managed to get done this month.

The Kindergarten quilt (top left) was presented to the teacher today - it was much appreciated, and the kids were so excited to see their finished blocks. One boy asked if all the kids could have a chance to take it home and sleep with it - so cute! Top right is the lady's new Ice Cream Dress, that she still refuses to wear. I love the little shark that I made for my son's Pirate quilt, but I'm sad that I haven't made any significant progress on the quilt, and so is he! I managed to quickly crank out two skirts when the weather warmed up briefly. And last but not least, I finished three sackboys for the school fair - that photo is recycled from last month since I haven't had time to take new pics.

In June I am looking forward to making some headway on the Pirate quilt, and hopefully making a quilt for us - I have a jelly roll of Kate Spain's Terrain that I really want to stitch up! I also want to make a couple of small bags -- maybe something that I can enter in Purse Palooza. I have a bunch of knit fabric cut out just waiting to be sewn up into t-shirts for the kids (please tell me I'm not the only one who has half started projects all over the house!). And of course, I am working on a project for my day on the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop on June 12th.

I am linking up with Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet. Awesome blogs to be discovered in both these groups!

Lily's Quilts

Lily's Quilts

Thanks for visiting!