Monday, September 27, 2010

Wood Block Stamps

Ever since the day I read this post about wood block stamps on Design*Sponge, I have wanted to buy some and try it.  Yesterday, I was in Santa Fe with my husband and my in-laws, and I found these amazing wood block stamps.  I like to imagine that they were used for years in some exotic land to make beautiful and elaborate textiles.  I didn't get the story behind them, but maybe I'll ask the next time I go back.
I have a lot of projects going on right now, so I don't know when I'll find time to experiment with my wood blocks.  I am really excited to see what I can make with them.  Do you have any ideas or suggestions?

Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


This week, there is a great contest going on at Spoonflower.  The theme is Kawaii, or Japanese cuteness.  There are so many great designs to choose from, and you can vote for as many designs as you'd like.  Here's my entry:

Cute Mice by mandyd

I'd love your vote if you've got the time! :)  

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Checking In

I'm here!  I haven't blogged in a while because I just haven't had anything to say.  My sewing room has been relatively quiet these past few weeks.  I've stitched up a few things here and there, but no quilts.  I did make a "Binding Book," as I like to call it.  It is just a nice way to hold all the pieces I need for the hand work that I do to bind my quilts.  

Now I just need to make a quilt...

*Let me know if you'd like to know how to make your own binding book.  It's super easy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reverse Applique- Take One

So, I am slowly but surely conquering (okay, just visiting) the world of applique.  This project was a simple one, although looking back, I should have done several things differently.  You live and learn, right?  
These placemats measure approximately 14" x 18."
I pieced three 4" squares to make a strip and reverse appliqued it to the back of a piece of linen.  This is how I did the reverse applique:

1.  Mark the shape you want to leave open in the top fabric so that the bottom fabric shows through.
2.  Mark cutting lines in the center. Cut, clipping any curved edges that might need it.
3.  Fold the flaps under, and pin.
Right side
Wrong side
{and my nasty ironing board...I need to make a new cover for it!}
Put the wrong side of the top fabric up (as shown above).
I put a little Fray Check in the corners to keep them from fraying during this step.

4.  Using fusible web, fuse the bottom fabric to the wrong side of the opening, right side down.
5. Turn your fabric over and blind stitch the two layers together.  You can also top stitch around the opening if you want.
That's it!

There are several variations to this technique.  You can leave the edges raw instead of turning them under, especially if you are using a fabric that doesn't fray, like this one on a t-shirt from That Darn Cat.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today I Feel...

...for the many blessings I have been given that I don't deserve.
...for my country and the ones who have died to protect my freedom.
...for the chance to see my family this weekend.
...for my wonderful husband.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fresh and Funky September

I finished my September blocks for our Fresh and Funky Bee today!  They are spiderweb blocks (tutorial from Quilt It) in the most lovely colors for Crystal.  
I had a lot of fun making the blocks, but I can't imagine the time it must take to make enough for a full quilt!  It makes me tired just thinking about it...  
This one is going to be a really beautiful quilt when she puts it all together, don't you think?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tote Bag Review

My mom recently asked me to make a tote bag for her that would stand up on its own.  Now, I call myself a quilter in the strictest sense of the word, i.e. I don't really sew items that aren't quilts.  I knew that I was going to have to find a pattern to winging this project or designing it as I go. 

Here's the result:
This bag's pattern comes from Amy Butler's book Little Stitches for Little Ones.  The book is really beautiful, and I just love flipping through the pages to see the lovely projects she has in there.
However, there are lots of words in the instructions and not nearly enough pictures, which made it a difficult project for me.  I had to learn a lot of things as I went along...things I would have known if I had been an experienced seamstress, no doubt.  Before two years ago, I don't think I had ever even touched a sewing machine.
It took several days for me to complete, but I have finally done it!  It feels good to know that I can successfully follow a pattern.  My last attempt to follow a pattern for something other than a quilt resulted in a pile of fabric in my trash can, and I don't throw away fabric; that's just how mad it made me!

It doesn't stand up as well as the photographs in the book indicate, but it's not totally floppy either.  I think I'll go ahead and call it a success.  I think...

Thursday, September 2, 2010


My husband came home the other day, took one look at what I was doing and said, "I love you, but you're such a nerd."  We had a good laugh, because, well...he's right.  I can't deny it.  This was part of the scene that prompted his comment...
My "set"
See, I was trying to photograph some fabric I recently had printed, and I just couldn't get the right exposure.  So, I had to pull out the good old gray card.  I took a photography class about a year ago, and I just barely scratched the surface of the vast expanse of photography.  Gray cards help you to get a proper exposure on items that do not average out to "middle gray," like white fabric {Imagine me pushing my huge taped glasses up on my nose here}.  If you're interested, I can explain it to you a little better.  My husband was not interested.  It's okay.  I know I'm a nerd!

I've got some great pictures of all of my new fabric, though.  You can see them in my Etsy store if you're interested.
At least I'm a happy nerd!  Happy Thursday!