One Thing One Week Challenge

Amy's Creative Side
Yesterday, Amy challenged her readers to leave a comment about ONE THING we would finish this week.  Next Monday, we report back.  A success means that we are entered in a drawing for a fabric prize.
While a fabric prize would be lovely, my goal this week would be the same even without the challenge.  My comment says:

“This week, I WILL finish Leah’s mei tai. If things go really well, I will also finish Alisha’s!”

Since a mei tai takes me about five hours to complete from start to finish, finishing two would be a particularly productive week.  Though, I do think it’s possible since both of them are already cut out, including the straps.  Last night, I finished the sleeping hood for Leah’s.
That’s Leah’s, on the right.  She liked the animal fabric I used for the back of Amy‘s mei tai, and I had enough for one more carrier.  Since she has a little girl, I picked something just a touch more girly for the other side, so when she wants to change it up, she’s got the orange and aqua flowers on the reverse.  (side note: I know nothing about fashion, however, I read that the tangerine orange color in that print is the hot color for spring.  Bonus?)
Alisha, after much deliberation, decided she wanted the green and white owls print.  I am amused by this because Alisha lives in Japan and that is a Japanese fabric, manufactured in Japan, which I purchased as an import from an online shop in the US.  I had thought that this would be the mei tai I actually finished before the baby arrived, but alas, it was not to be.  Alisha and hubby Shimon welcomed their baby boy a week ago.
Back up the photo a little bit and you will find two more mei tais in queue on my sewing desk.  I need to confirm strap color on the blue one, and get the brown strap fabric for the green one in the dryer!

Skill Builder Sampler catch up: appliqué blocks

Since June, I’ve been sewing along with the We Can Do It!  Skill Builder Sampler at Sewn.  I managed to a great job keeping up through the half-way point, and even won the half way done giveaway!  Then, life happened other projects took priority and I just wasn’t making time to complete the block that Leila put up on her blog.

I missed two entire months of skill building: appliqué and curves.  Good news: I’m nearly caught up.  I have just one more curves block to complete.  Bad news: one of my curves blocks turned up short because the template didn’t print to scale, and I fixed it by adding a border, but miscalculated so the finished block is too small.  So really, I have two more to complete before I’m caught up because that one is going to have to be un-sewn (read: seam ripper!) and then re-sewn.

However!  My appliqué blocks are done, done, done!

First up, was orange windows, using raw edge appliqué.  I’m actually quite familiar with raw edge appliqué as I’ve used it a bit in several mei tais I’ve made, so completing this block was pretty straight forward to me and I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Next up: Circles.  The instructions were to complete the circles trying out the different methods of appliqué featured in the post.  Leila presented four methods; I tried out three (I wasn’t really interested in the “needle-turn appliqué” because it’s all hand sewing and I tend to avoid “all hand sewing” when I can.  You know, like rewriting an entire tutorial because there was too much hand sewing!).  So from smallest to largest, I used a piece of interfacing to back the circle, a freezer paper circle ironed on to the fabric, and the gathered circle method (which was my favorite and involved a teensy bit of hand sewing.  So, you see, I don’t avoid all hand sewing.  I just avoid “all hand sewing”.).  Then I repeated those methods again.  Larger circles are easier.

The third and final appliqué block was in-y and out-y.  We were to choose whatever block we wanted and whatever method of appliqué was wanted as long as the appliqué featured indentations and points.

I decided to design my own Window Box Block.  I started by piecing the window and the window box for the background and then appliquéd the tulips on top.  I chose raw edge appliqué because that’s what I’m most comfortable with and I really love how this turned out.

Here’s a close-up of a few of the tulip appliqués.

And the base of the flowers with the fabric I used as the dirt in the window box.  It’s pretty much perfect and I just happened to have it already in my fabric stash.  Why I ended up with (or purchased for some reason) a fat quarter of fabric that looks like dirt, I don’t know or can’t remember, but it seems it was just waiting for this project.

Appliqué blocks all together:

Change (will do you good?)

I changed the header on this blog again.  For the 7th time.

Last night I asked my dear husband if he liked this one better than the last one.  I think I may have exasperated him a tad.  “Em!” he said, “You are being completely neurotic.  Stop changing it!  I like them all.”  Well.  I’m glad he liked them all.  And maybe I am being just teensy bit neurotic.  But I do like this one better than the last one (and I liked that one better than the previous one.  And I will change it again.  And I will like that one better than this one.).

Let’s see how far we’ve come in the past four short weeks.

We started here.

I didn’t like that weird brightness at the top.  And the tagline “custom and handmade bags,” is good for the store I will soon have, but not so much for general writing about sewing and crafting stuff.

So, now the tagline is gone, and the brightness is reduced a bit.

I decided that I didn’t like how the texture in the background looked.  Too cluttered.  I took it out.

I was pretty happy with that last one, but then I thought of the perfect tagline for the blogging portion of this business: “Fabric and thread when the kids are in bed,” because that is just exactly what I do.

[At this point, there was another one with all the elements reduced and a tiny tagline.  I didn’t save it.]

I enlarged both the title of the site and the tagline.

After this point, my friend Suzanne connected me with a graphic designer friend of hers, with whom I am now working.  My initial correspondences with Nicole were insightful, and I realized that while I do love the purple, it didn’t give the vibe I wanted on my website.  While my company is “Sewing by Moonlight,” I still want my website to be bright and happy.  I also came to the realization that I really do love the more open look of a white back ground.  So, silver moon changed to harvest moon and I bumped up the color a bit.

We’re getting there, right?  I didn’t like that my little owl was kind of see-through against the moon.  My friend Maddie does web design and she has been helping me get this site functional.  She advised I lose the stars, and she also introduced me to this site for color inspiration, which I used when I recreated the header for the following result.

So, that’s where I am now.  Nicole is going to be helping refine the look of my logo and brand so I can have a cohesive internet presence and things like website, Etsy store, business cards and fabric labels will all tie together.  Maddie has offered her experience to make the actual design of the site look how I envision it will.  I’m excited.  Good things are coming.

So, am I being neurotic, as my darling husband claims, or is this actually getting better?