Friday, May 25, 2012


Simplicity 5914, pattern cover

I actually finished this skirt a couple of months ago. But I was rather optimistic measurement-wise at the time, and it ended up being little on the tight side at that point. Fortunately, it fits better now, so I can finally share it with you! The skirt is Simplicity 5914, view B.
Simplicity 5914, front view with shirt tucked in

I cut a size 16 and made no alterations. I think I would be a little happier if maybe I had used slightly narrower seams (1/2" instead of 5/8") to give myself a bit of extra room, as the fit is still a little snug-- but it is definitely wearable now (especially if I don't tuck in my shirt!). I wouldn't normally wear it with the top tucked in like this, but I thought it would be friendly to show the waist.

Simplicity 5914, back view

The fabric is a quilting cotton from Daiwabo. I just love this print! I actually used a different colorway of this same print as one of the block backgrounds in "The Bunny Quilt."

This is the third time I've made this skirt. A few years ago, I made views A and F. So I really love this pattern! (And I want to make it again-- another long one!) The only change I made in making this version is that I used an invisible zipper. I really love the clean look it provides. I used a friendly tutorial from to guide me. With every invisible zipper I do, I'm getting better at installing them... still not perfect, but I'm getting there! But I had a little boo-boo after I put in the zipper. I realized I hadn't finished the cut edges of the fabric. So I tried to finish the edges with my serger even though the zipper was already installed (so the outside edge was very narrow). This was an unwise decision. I serged a hole in my fabric. Gah!!!!

The zipper was in. I had no extra fabric. So I decided to machine darn over the hole and see if that would work. Lucky for me, the print is such that the repair barely shows. Phew!

Shirt untucked now. Ahhhh.... much better!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival: Handprint Quilt

Lately, nearly all of my crafty time has been focused on completing an end-of-year gift for my son's preschool teacher. As it was a surprise, I had to stay quiet about the project here until it was presented to her at preschool graduation. As graduation was yesterday, I'm excited that I can finally share this project here. And I'm just in time for Spring 2012 Bloggers' Quilt Festival! Woo!

Amy's Creative Side

A couple months ago, the families of the "graduating" preschoolers (those who are moving on to Kindergarten next year) started discussing various options for an end-of-year gift for our fabulous teacher. Someone suggested a quilt. I ran with that idea and came up with a simple design using Electric Quilt and volunteered to make it.

quilt mock up in Electric Quilt

After sharing the design, everyone agreed that it would be the perfect gift.

Handprint Quilt, quilting detail

We started by having each graduating kiddo made a block that included his/her handprint and name. Since there were only 17 graduates, I used the remaining three blocks to feature the school's name, the class info, and the school mascot (a cute little turtle which I hand appliqued and embroidered).

appliqued turtle mascot

Then I put together kits with instructions and asked for volunteers to help me sew the borders on the blocks. Once I got those back, I stitched the top together. As our school mascot is a turtle, the turtle print (from Anne Kelle's Urban Zoologie collection for Robert Kaufman) seemed perfect for the sashing and borders. Once the top and back were complete, I hosted a basting party. I invited everyone to come on over and baste (assuring them that no sewing experience was required). It was a Monday night, so there wasn't a huge response (or maybe they found out that it involved crawling around on the floor with safety pins?), but even with just four of us, we made quick work of the basting. And I discovered that basting is a LOT more fun with friends!

Handprint Quilt, back view

Next came the quilting. I just did an all-over stipple over it with some outline stitching around the handprints and applique. You can see the quilting really well (maybe too well!) from the back as the off-white thread shows up very strongly against the dark green print (so maybe that wasn't the best plan there-- but I was trying to use what I had).

Finally, I stitched the binding and added the label. It finished at about 54" x 68"-- a nice lap-sized quilt that she can snuggle with on the couch (but I added a hanging sleeve too, on the off chance she'd rather have it on the wall).

Handprint Quilt, label

I found the poem online (author unknown?) and tweaked it a tiny bit to make it work.

Handprint Quilt, front view

Yesterday, after the graduation ceremony, we presented the quilt to Teacher Dorothy. There were tears involved (hers and quite a few others, I think). She loved it. Yay!

Handprint Quilt, folded all pretty

This was such a fun and meaningful project for me. I loved making something so personal for a woman who has been such an important part of my son's life in our four years of preschool. I am also so glad I took the time to try and involve the other families in the process. It was tricky and there was some stress involved as there was not a lot of time to work with (from start to finish, we had about a month to get it done). But it was worth it. I really enjoyed working with the other moms (and grandmas!) and having the opportunity to get to know them better as we worked on this project. And I know some of them really appreciated being able to contribute to the process. It just made the project that much more special.

Handprint Quilt, my attempt at an artsy shot of it laying across a playground slide

Monday, May 7, 2012

More bunnies!

I've completed a couple more blocks in the happy "Adventures of Harrington & Hannah" BOM from The Raspberry Rabbits. This is such a fun project.


Harrington and Hannah completed February block


Harrington and Hannah completed March block

And I have April's all prepped and ready to go! Now I just need to find some time for a little bit of handwork.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Little Bear is TWO!

Last week Little Bear turned two. Crazy! How does it go by so fast? My goodness. We celebrated his special day with a family party. And there was, of course, some crafty goodness involved.


birthday cupcakes

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting to be specific (recipe from How Sweet it Is) decorated with dark chocolate M&Ms (because LB is a budding chocoholic). They tasted amazing! I especially LOVED the frosting. The cupcake itself was a little on the dry side, but had great flavor. Little Bear definitely enjoyed them!

cupcakes are yummy!

Like mama, he did seem partial to the frosting.

The festivities also included opening lots of presents, including a few made by mama.

First up was a quilted playmat.

front of quilted panel playmat

I found this canvas panel when I was on shop hop a few weeks ago. As both Big Bear and Little Bear are fanatics of things that go (particularly cars and trains), I had to pick it up. The panel is a Clothworks design by Richard Neuman called "Choo Choo You."

back of quilted playmat

I spent about four hours quilting it-- lots of stippling and outline stitching. This is the back, so you can maybe get a better idea of the amount of quilting on there. It was a simple project, but not quick. I am really happy with how it turned out, as were the Bears.

Big Bear and Little Bear play together on the new playmat.

They spend part of every day playing on it-- building lego houses, racing cars and trains, and creating elaborate adventure stories. It is so much fun to watch them play!

I also made a flannel pillowcase and a pair of comfy pajama bottoms.

A matching pajama bottom and pillowcase set

The pajama pants are Kwik Sew 3126 (which I have made before for Big Bear). I shortened them by 1-3/4" and also cut them to allow me to do a contrasting band at the bottom of the legs (I didn't have enough of either fabric to do a full pair, so I adapted it to allow me to use what I had left of each).

Little Bear, wearing his new pj pants, plays on his playmat.

Little Bear loves his new comfy pants and they fit perfectly (yay!). Unfortunately, he is not a fan of the pillowcase. Every night when we put him in the crib, the first thing he does is pull the edge of the flannel back to expose the pillow inside. Then he sleeps on the bare pillow. Doh! So, a non-flannel pillowcase for him has been added to the queue. But not to worry, Big Bear is perfectly happy with the flannel one-- so it is definitely getting used!

The day after his birthday, we went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

Mama and Little Bear at the Tulip Festival

I love this picture of us. Happy birthday, Little Bear!