Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas is coming

advent calendar

Most of the doors of my advent calendar are opened now and Christmas is only a couple of days away. Time really has been flying ...

wrapped present

For the most part, the preparations are at a good stage, most of the presents are wrapped and I even managed some last-minute sewing. More drawstring bags ... They are just so cute and fun to make!

DVD drawstring bag, Just Darling

First, I made this DVD-sized one. The main fabrics are Just Dandy and the strings Painter's Canvas from Magnolia Lane.

DVD drawstring bag

The lining is a fabric I bought years ago and which I love, the colours are just so nice.

tiny drawstring bag bear

Then I made three little bags for my friend's kids. For the girly ones I used Megumi Sakakibara prints as main fabrics.

tiny drawstring bag apple

The boyish one is using a cute car print from Michael Miller.

tiny drawstring bag cars

This is probably the last sewing for me this year. The time between Christmas and the New Year is quite busy for me this year, so this will probably also be the last post for 2011. Thank you so much for reading and see you next year! I wish you Happy Holidays and a good start into 2012!!!

Christmas window display

Christmas window display

Aleksanterinkatu Christmas lights

Aleksanterinkatu Christmas lights

(pictures taken in Helsinki city centre)

Monday, December 12, 2011

christmassy drawstring bags

christmassy drawstring bags

Yesterday, I used the about 3 minutes of sunlight we had around here to take pictures of the drawstring bags I made last week. I used the great pattern by Jeni at In Color Order. I chose to make the Project Bag size, which I think is quite versatile. The cutting and sewing were all very quick. Jeni's instructions are great and I made the bags in a kind of assembly-line style, which helped to further speed along the process.

heart bag

The first bag is using a glittery Lecien fabric (Lovely Punch Collection) as the main and Little Mittens by Michael Miller as the accent fabric. The strings are a fabric I bought locally that had no info on the selvedge.

drawstring top

The second bag uses Deck the Halls as main and the Lovely Punch as an accent. The strings are Painter's Canvas.

mitten bag

The third bag is Little Mittens with an accent of Westfalenstoffe's Doppeltes Lottchen (Two Lotties). I lined all the bags with solid white fabric, since some of the fabrics are quite light and other colours were showing through. I definitely will make more of these and I want to try out the DVD Bag size next! They are so cute, useful, fun to make and also make cool presents (and great stashbusters)!

I wish you all a lovely week! Only less than two weeks till Christmas!!! :-)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

in the Christmas kitchen

WARNING: This post contains a lot of christmassy stuff and even more images edited in Picnik! Two of my current obsessions combined! :-D

Christmas kitchen collage

Last year, I made some gifts from the kitchen following Nigella Lawson's instructions. The recipients really liked them, so this year I wanted to make something else from Nigella Christmas. I decided on the Christmas Chutney and the Chili Jam, because I thought they sounded yummy and relatively simple to make.

making Christmas Chutney

The preparation of the chutney really was quite straightforward, but it took some time to make, since it has to simmer on the stove for about an hour. Our place smelled like vinegar for a day, but I somehow quite liked that. I put the chutney in nice jars and wrapped them in paper with some red and white twine and a label.

Christmas Chutney

Pretty! The Chili Jam was even easier to make and I got three and a half big jars out of the amount. If I feel like it, I'll make a second batch using smaller jars which might be more practical.

chili jam

Of course the half-jar had to be tasted right away. The jam is really good with blue cheese and on a sandwich with ham, as my tests have yielded so far.

erster Advent

Since Sunday was the first of advent, we are now again slowly unpacking our Christmas decorations. This year, I made this candle "arrangement", using some bottles I made useless for storing liquids in by melting the caps in the oven while trying to sterilize them. Clever me! Ahem ... I love that there's a J with a little heart on that runner. I know it probably stands for "Jul", meaning Christmas in Swedish, but I like to think otherwise. :-)

Amaryllis

What about you? Are you in the mood for Christmas, yet? Have you started decorating?

Christmas Inspiration

Have a good week!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Makeup Roll

makeup roll

Finally, I finished this Stitched In Color Makeup Roll for a friend of mine! (You can buy the pattern here.) I had the pieces cut for some time now, but just now got around to assemble it. Thanks to the clear instructions, this actually came together much more easily than I thought! I'll definitely make some more, including one for myself. (By the way, it's so gloomy here at the moment, that the only place where I can get a half-decent picture is on the windowsill ...)

makeup roll detail

It was really fun to choose the fabrics for this project. I tried to find something in my stash that my friend would like and I hope I'm right. On the other hand, that big floral Loulouthi print is so gorgeous, I can't imagine anybody NOT liking it ... The stripey fabric is Loulouthi as well and the dot fabric is from Beach Mod by Monaluna for Birch Fabrics.

makeup roll, closed

I crammed the roll full with some of my own makeup for the pictures. Also, it was recommended in the pattern to determine the placing of the button when the roll is filled. I really think this is such a cute project. It's really satisfying to make something as well thought out as this and when it was finished, I thought that this is like a little quilt for your makeup. :-D

makeup roll, button detail

I think I'll get some small surprise to put into this and then send it on it's way to it's recipient!

I wish you all a great weekend! :-)

Monday, November 14, 2011

fall colour pillow

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So, after some more trial and error, I finished the pillow I was working on last week. I am actually quite happy with my free motion skills now, although there is some room for improvement. I will definitely use this technique again in the future!

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After quilting the leaf shapes, I quilted some straight lines with my walking foot, following the orientation of the fabric pieces.

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I shadow-quilted the yellow border, but then decided to stop there and leave the outer border as it is. I wanted it to complement the "bounciness" of the leaves and I think it works well like this.

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I used the Hydrangea print for the back and added a zipper to the bottom of the pillow.

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This is actually the first pillow cover I made I'm happy with in terms of fit to pillow form. I used a 50x50cm pillow form from Ikea and I cut the squares 48x48cm, including 1cm seam allowance throughout, so it's 46x46cm finished size. I think the batting also adds some nice bounciness.

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The back is actually really pretty in itself and if the recipients don't like the front, they always can turn it around, I guess. But I actually like the pillow now as it is. So much, actually, that I decided to enter it into the cool Celebrate Color contest over at Stitched in Color.

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The contest is all about celebrating fall colour and using inspiration from nature in sewing and other crafts. I usually prefer cooler colours, but I love autumn and the sight of leaves turning all kinds of beautiful shades from golden to burgundy. Autumn means long walks, apple pie and cozy evenings at home for me, so I think the pillow really fits in well with the theme. I made a little collage to show you what I mean:




I hope you have a beautiful autumnal week and maybe you'll be inspired to make something as well by the things you see around you. :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

just trying something ...

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During the last week, I didn't have much time for sewing and the sewing I did get done was very much trial and even more error ... I wanted to make a pillow cover as a present and had the idea of free-motion quilting the front. Since I'm really new to that technique, that idea probably wasn't that smart. Of course, I haven't finished the pillow, yet, but I'll show you what I did.

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Above you can see the layout of the pillow front and also the areas where things went very wrong. Also, I'm not so sure about that border. Everything seems quite "blah" to me, although I really love those fabrics together. (That's fabric from Cut out and Keep by Heather Moore for Cloud9 and the mustard fabric is from Laura Gunn's Magnolia.)

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So, this is where I started with the quilting and then realized two things: a) I should have practised on some scraps first and b) using your regular sewing machine foot for free motion quilting is just not working ...

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Here I exchanged the foot for the appropriate machine embroidery one, but since I'm stubborn didn't move on to scraps but kept trying on the cushion cover. I was attempting to quilt the centre squares in this pattern that I saw on the Oh, Fransson! blog. This second attempt is actually not all that bad, considering, but still not making me happy ...

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And this is the 3rd attempt that yielded the best result and also the one where I ran out of time ... I think I'll rip out the first two and quilt them anew, and then I'll quilt in straight lines around the centre squares with the walking foot ... I hope that once the quilting is finished and the back added, I'll like that pillow a bit better!

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Here it's really autumnal and actually quite pretty and warm for this time of year! I hope all of you have a nice day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

fall magazine inspiration

cup

Now that it's getting colder again, I'm drawn more than usual to beautiful books and magazines for lots of eye-candy and inspiration. It is so much fun and relaxing to read a nice magazine and drink a cup of tea on your day off, which is just what I did today. I bought the October issue of Elle Interiör, one of my favourite magazines.

elle interiör october 2011

This issue has a lot of great decorating ideas and the homes shown are beautiful and inspiring, as usual. I wish I spoke Swedish to learn more about the creative people living in those homes. Since Swedish is related to German, I can guess at some of the written content, though. But even without the text, the pictures really speak for themselves.

elle interiör bookshelf

I love this little bookshelf by David Design! This would be so cute next to our bed or even above the sofa. And I think it is so beautifully styled here, with the pretty book covers and the bird so fittingly perched on top of them! Since I own a couple of these Penguin Hardcover Classics, with cover design by Coralie Bickford-Smith, I was inspired to set up a little display on our bedroom dresser.

display

At the moment I feel that I want to change the look of our home a bit, but don't really know exactly what and how, so it is really fun and satisfying to play around with a display from things I already have and that I can change around whenever I want.

display close

There are two of my favourite things in this pic: my favourite pin, a Coco Chanel Medal of General Valour by Katariina Guthwert and my favourite book, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Also, the postcard is of one of my favourite paintings, A Satyr mourning over a Nymph by Piero di Cosimo. I am so happy that I was able to see it at The National Gallery during our visit in London this summer!

palette

Fabric obsessed as I am, I used the beautiful colour palette spread in the magazine as a guideline to build a stack of coordinating fabrics. I had a match to every colour that was featured. So this either means that a): this magazine really is perfect for me and caters REALLY well to my tastes or b): I have too much fabric.

fabric pile, inspired by elle interiör

I think I'll go with a) ...

Friday, October 21, 2011

hoodie

Baby in the Hood hoodie

Since it now safely arrived at its destination, I can show you the little hoodie I made for Kirsty's little boy. It's made from the Baby in the Hood pattern in Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings. It was really fun to make and to choose the fabrics to go together in this item. For the lining I chose flannel, because it's getting colder now and also because it's so cute for babies, I think. Also, it is what Anna Maria Horner used for the jacket in the book. Fortunately, I had enough of this Folksy Flannel print to make the lining. I think it's such a nice detail and flash of colour in this garment.

hood

The main fabric is Cloud9 Flannel, which is relatively stiff and brushed on the wrong side, so I thought it is a good weight for this kind of jacket. For the contrast fabric of the hood stripe and button placket I wanted something REALLY boyish, so I chose this Caleb Gray Suburbia tools print. To avoid that the jacket exteriour should become too uniform or boring, I decided to topstitch the seams in a contrasting thread. I used buttonhole thread, which is a big stronger, to further give the jacket an "utility" vibe.

hoodie buttons

The metal buttons also underline that boyish feel and the aqua button loops tie everything together really nicely. It took me some time to decide on a fabric here, but then I ended up choosing this Innocent Crush Bubble Burst print.

This was really a fun and very clear pattern to work with. I'd like to make a girly version for our niece some time and see how different fabric choices affect the design!