Sewing Room Clean Up Along

My husband came home from dorm duty (we live at a boarding school) at 11:30 last night. I was in my sewing room, up to my eyeballs (possibly deeper) in disaster.

What are you doing?” he asked me.

“Looking for something.”

Um … did you find it?”

“It’s my sewing mojo. It’s in here, somewhere,” I said. “If I dig deep enough, I know I will find it. I think it’s buried.”

My sew-jo disappeared somewhere around the beginning of the year. It has made a few brief reappearances, but it’s still a little lackluster. This bums me out because my sewing time is usually such a welcome respite for me. The kids are in bed, the house is quiet, it’s just me, some music, and the hum of my machine. I cherish those hours. Or I did. And the worst part is, I have some projects that I actually want to work on. I do. I’m just feeling rather uninspired.

When I first posted about my lack of sewing inspiration back in January, I suspected what I really needed to do was to clean and reorganize my sewing space. Yeah, that hasn’t happened yet.

But now it shall!

I want you to have a nice, clean, organized space to work in as well, so join me in a Sewing and Craft Space Clean Up!

 I might be a bit embarrassed about that first photo of my disaster of a creative space, but I know there are others like me out there. A few have shared your craft room disasters under the Instagram hashtag #honestcraftroom. And now, I want to see photos of your CLEAN #honestcraftroom!

So, this Friday, February 15, I will open a linky and we can all share those embarrassing “before” photos of our creative space. And then the clean-up begins. Maybe you can dive in and have your space all tidied up in one day. Perhaps you only have a few minutes each day. Regardless, before you sit down to sew next week, I encourage to take a few minutes and fold up a few of those fabrics from that project you finished last month, or put all your WiPs in one spot, or clean off your ironing board so you can actually use it!

If you are on Instagram or Twitter, we’ll share our progress with the hashtag that Amy first started using #sewingroomcleanupalong20122013. You will have 10 days to get your space in order! On Monday, February 25, there will be another link-up to share our “after” photos. Cleaning is really NOT a good time, but if we are all in it together, perhaps it won’t be such a daunting chore (misery loves company, right?)!

I’ve made a little bit of progress already … here’s that corner of my sewing room now (not yet “after”).

I’ve got a long way to go; will you join me? Okay, see you Friday!

What to do when your quilt is attacked by a toddler wielding a dry erase marker

I had just finished my mini quilt for the Bee a {Modern} Swapper swap.

Patchwork and birds mini quilt

I had solved my conundrum over what to do about quilting around the bird in the middle of the quilt.

IMG_5240

I had finished the quilting around the rest of the quilt.

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The only think I had left to do was to attach the binding and send the quilt off to its new home.  I was pleased to be finished, so I brought the quilt downstairs to take a photo.  Before I could return my pretty mini quilt to the sewing room to add the finishing touches, disaster struck in the form of a 2-year-old who had gotten her hands on a dry erase marker.

The horror!!

Here’s a tip: dry erase marker is more or less permanent on fabric.  Do not ever allow a child to unleash her “creative additions” on your quilting project with dry erase marker.  At least give her a washable marker or an ink pen.  I’m sure those would come out easier than this, which, did not come out at all!

In case you were curious, here is the list of various cleaners and chemicals I used on the marker in an attempt to remove it.  Oxiclean MaxForce laundry stain remover, Resolve carpet cleaner, extended soak in oxyclean, Mr. Clean magic eraser, extra concentrated oxyclean, nail polish remover, pure acetone, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, bleach pen, mineral spirits, and Greased Lightning cleaner.  Hmmm … I think that’s all.  I received several other suggestions that I did not try (Murphy’s oil soap, hairspray, rotten milk), but really, I think I covered the spectrum of chemical reaction that could have removed it.

When it became clear that I would not be able to remove the marker, I made a plan to cover it.  I traced the edges of the various sections of the quilt and marked where the damage was.  When I had finished that, I drew out an appliqué pattern to cover it.

Then it was just a matter of creating the actual fabric appliqué.  To keep with the style I had already started in the center of my quilt and have a piece large enough to cover all the damage, I ended doing raw edge appliqué on two dozen little leaves, a large tree, a bird, and three flowers.  Phew!

But we’ll call it a success.

IMG_5507 There is one bit of marker left that I could have covered with a different arrangement of the leaves, but I’m leaving it uncovered as a remind of what I went through with this project.

IMG_5509I finished it off with some aqua Ta Dots for the binding.

IMG_5511You can see on the back where I added the appliqué after the quilt was already together, but since this is a wall hanging, you’ll never even notice.

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Day of Twelve, Part 2

Yesterday was 12.12.12, and I decided to play along with Katy of No Big Dill and whole lot of others on Instagram.  The game was to post a photo on the :12 of every hour.  I actually had fun documenting my day and checking out hashtag #dayoftwelve to see what everyone else was up to that day.

I left you right after lunch; here’s what the rest of my day looked like:

2:12pm.  Kaia is napping, Sierra is in Quiet Time (aka Mama’s break, aka highlight of my afternoon) so I had a few minutes to sew.

3:12pm.  Kaia just up from her nap and needs some Mama snuggles.

4:12pm.  Play date with Sophia.  Dance party!

5:12pm.  Sunset on the way home from the play date.

6:12pm.  Feed the cats.

7:12pm.  Bath time!

8:12pm.  Bedtime story.

9:12pm.  Jason has the boys over for cigars by the campfire.  Brrr!  It’s cold outside.  I stepped out for a bit to say hello.

10:12pm.  In bed, Mama’s bedtime story.  A couple late nights this week means this is the end of my day.

It was actually a pretty typical Wednesday for me.  This one had more play dates than usual, and the campfire, which doesn’t usually occur.  Also, usually 10:12, and probably 11:12 would be my sewing time, but I was tired!!

Day of Twelve

Today is December 12, 2012; 12.12.12.  This is the last time the day, month and year will be the same until January 1st, 2101.  Crazy.

Anyway.  Last night, I read the Day of Twelve post on No Big Dill.  The challenge to post a photo on Instagram on the 12th minute of every waking hour through the day.  You can follow me on Instagram @moonlightsewing.

12:12 am.  Stayed up way too late.  Bed time.

This morning I had an Instagram malfunction on my iPod touch (horror of horrors!), so sadly, no photos of early in the day.  Here’s what you missed, though.

7:12 am.  Toddler snuggles before getting out of bed.

8:12 am.  Finishing up breakfast.

9:12 am.  Meeting with the Facilities Manager at Sierra’s preschool.  Fun, fun.

10:12 am.  End of Toddler Story Time at the library.

11:12 am.  Quilting book from library, last bit of coffee from this morning, blocks with Kaia.

12:12 pm.  Preschool carpool, locked and loaded.  Heading home!

1:12 pm.  Check the mail.

I’ll come back later and share the rest of the day.  Meanwhile, you can play along with the hashtag #dayoftwelve on Instagram, and you can see what I’m doing by visiting my stream @moonlightsewing.

All wrapped up

The mailing deadline for the Bee a {Modern} Swapper mini quilt/Secret Santa swap was yesterday.

After deciding that I was going to keep my original project and start over completely with less than a week to go before the deadline, I was happy to have shipped my package on time!  The original mini was the one that was attacked by my marker-weilding toddler.  I literally cried over that quilt.  And I probably spent as much time trying to remove the marker as I did making it in the first place.  After all we’d been through, I just couldn’t give her away.

But I was still in the swap, which meant: Quick!  Make a new mini quilt.  I can’t show the whole thing yet because the color scheme will give away my partner, but here’s what I came up with. 

I love the quilting in the sunset sky.  I used a variegated poly thread by Aurifil that my friend Kim gave me to try out.

More details on this mini quilt after my partner receives it!

I also included a little bit of fabric and some cute extras for my partner: A string block zippy pouch and a cute little pin cushion.

But I must admit, I’m almost as thrilled about the packaging as I am about the gifts inside.  One of group leaders, Katherine, issued the challenge to come up with some creative packaging for our swap gifts.

I wrapped the gifts in plain paper and tied them with some cute ribbon.

And then ….

(drumroll please … )

Oh, I amuse myself!  Happy holidays.

Just housing around

I’m in a Flickr group called Bee a {Modern} Swapper.  Every other month, one of our 6 group members get to request a block from the other 5 members.  We each make 2 quilt blocks, and the recipient receives 10 quilt blocks in the mail.  These are the ladies who made my lovely tree blocks when it was my turn at Queen Bee.

This month, Ann requested house blocks.  In our discussion, trying to get some clarification, I asked:

“Must it be a house, or could it be, say, an apartment building? A dog house? A teepee? A yurt?”

My friend Kim responded, “I would LOVE to see a yurt!!!!!!

I hadn’t heard back from Ann about whether she preferred a more traditional house, and with that many exclamation points, I just had to step up to Kim’s yurt challenge (even though it was my suggestion, I’m not sure I was serious until Kim responded).

So, I made a quilt block yurt!  I must say that this is definitely a first for me!

I cannot tell you how much this entire process has amused me.  I giggled while I was making it: “Hee hee, a quilt block yurt.”  Perhaps Likely, I’m just easily amused.

I also made a country house with a tree in the yard.

And some city houses in a row.

While I only had to make two blocks for Ann, she gets three: two house quilt blocks, and a bonus yurt block.

And now I’m thinking: wouldn’t be fun to make a quilt where each block is a different type of dwelling?  Tee-pee, camper, igloo, etc …

April Be Free Bees addition: finally inspired

With April quickly slipping away and the April 30th “mail date” looming on this project, I was beginning to think that I wouldn’t get this project finished in time.  This is Thea‘s quilt in my free form robin, the “Be Free Bees.”  Thea’s starter piece was the dresden in the middle, and after two additions, this is what arrived in my mailbox in early April.

It has a lovely, understated color palette and incorporates a lot of batik fabrics, but it is well outside what I would normally choose in terms of my personal style.  And that, I think, is why I struggled with it.  I wasn’t immediately inspired because ideas that would work well in this quilt don’t live at the forefront of my mind.  I had to dig deeper, to really think about what would make nice addition and balance well with what had already been put in to this project.

I liked the curved elements in the quilt and considered going that route.

At one point, I thought about piecing strips together like a ladder along one side and then incorporating it by cutting a serpentine along one edge, and cutting away some of the existing white in a matching serpentine for some curved seams.

The blank canvas of the white made me consider appliqué, and I thought about appliquéing circles of various sizes on those white spaces.

In the end, I decided to keep it simple and go back to basics.  I incorporated some solids into the design to balance out the movement of all the printed batiks.

On one side: two large log cabin blocks, built around fussy cut flowers, with opposing warm and cool colors, and alternating batik and solids.

Along another side: framed squares, also built as a log cabin block, with the small log cabins alternating warm and cool colors.  This side is still a touch short so I will have to add a couple more strips (probably solids) before I put it all together.

 

Social media icons: little thing, big deal

I am so excited!!  My site now has social media icons (those little symbols under the navigation bar that link to Facebook, twitter, flickr, etc.).

They are customized to my blog’s them colors (see how the first one is the same blue as the owl and there is a color gradient to the last one, which is the same purple as the accents?!)!  They actually link out to those social media sites!  And I did it myself!

Perhaps this does not seem like a big deal.  They are, after all, just one small row of five very small icons.  However, I am an infant when it comes to technical computer-y stuff, a helpless newborn, I tell you.  So the fact that I managed to figure out not only how to get those there, but that they actually work, is HUGE.

I modified the icons in Photoshop, adding the rounded corners and changing the background color, and saved them as a .png file.  As far as actually getting them on my site and getting them to work, I owe a HUGE thanks to the author of this post, who made it seem really quite simple and without whom I wouldn’t have had clue what to do.  I also read a great tip in a WordPress forum regarding the white space between images.  To make those little images sit next to each other so that they all fit on a single line, I set the horizontal space to a negative five (-5).

And one more fun, technical tidbit: if you click on the “Contact” tab in the navigation bar, you will go to a page with an invitation to email me and my email address.  Clicking on that image will open the email client on your computer so you can just type in your email and hit send!

Go ahead; send me an email!  And while you’re at it, you can connect with me in other ways on the ‘net as well!  See you there!!

FONTastic: font audition call-backs

Since my husband now audibly groans when I ask his opinion of my font auditions, I’m counting on you, Internet, to help me with the final selection.  I’ve narrowed down the field to my personal favorites in several categories, and you were all so helpful with the first couple rounds, I know you can give me some great things to think about here as well!  I know I’m obsessing over this; I do.  But I’m rationalizing that if I pick “the perfect font,” I will love it every time I look at it and I won’t have to go through this whole process again.

Here they are all together:

Serif Category:
1. serif 72 beta
2. serif 72 beta italic
(yes, they are 2 different versions of the very same font.  I love this one best of the bazillion serif fonts I looked at.)

San Serif Category:
3. legendum
4. linux biolinium italic

Handwriting Category:
5. bearer fond
6. jenna sue

Script Category
7. dancing script
(I considered a second in this category for the sake of uniformity, but this one is the best.)

Here’s what I’ve learned with all this font looking and trying and playing:  there is no right answer.  There are many, many opinions about the “right” way to pair fonts.  Some feel that similar fonts should be matched together and others feel that “opposites attract.”  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, right?  Ultimately, I just need to find something that *I* love, but I’m also of the opinion “knowledge is power” and thus, I am soaking in all the information that I can from you and considering all opinions before I finalize this logo of mine.  The end result will be just right and totally worth the wait and the hassle!

Do you know how many fonts I auditioned?  Thirty-two!  32!  And that’s just counting those that I actually bothered to save a copy of my logo with that font.  There were many others that I liked and downloaded and tried and didn’t even bother saving.  Sheesh.  I will be so thrilled when I make my final decision and order some damn business cards already!!

So … GO!  Click on that photo above and tell me which one jumps out at you.  Which is your favorite pairing?  Why?

{If you’d like to see all the fonts individually auditioned with my header tagline, “fabric and thread when the kids are in bed,” and my business card/product tagline, “handcrafted at nightfall, unique and delightful,” you can check out this Flickr set.}

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!