This clever idea of how to strengthen and 'makeover' existing cloth grocery bags came to us from a member of our own creative sample-sewing team: Julia Chapman. Julia developed this idea during the recent holiday season and made a few as gifts for friends. She now has folks clamoring for more, and she generously shared the idea with us so we could share it with you. The idea is to double up bags, resulting in a new bag strong enough to carry very heavy loads. Pretty accent panels and handy pockets (wallet and keys on the inside, shopping list on the outside) are icing on the functional and fashionable cakes. I bought new bags, but you could certainly up-cycle your existing bags to give them a needed boost of capacity and cuteness.
THIS CONTEST ENDED 03/02/12. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!
I was first introduced to Angela Walters at Spring Quilt Market last year, but not before the person I was with started pointing wildly in all directions to quilts Angela had done. Her amazing free-motion quilting work seemed to be proudly on display in every booth in the near vicinity. I was bowled over. In fact, I think my mouth literally dropped open. Then, up walked Angela. How did this cute young woman standing in front of me finish all these different quilts?! She shrugged and smiled, as if not understanding that the speed, skill and style of her free-motion work was keeping my mouth hanging open. Once I regained my composure, we stayed in touch, and I was thrilled to hear she has a book coming out soon, Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. It was the perfect time to introduce our Sew4Home friends to her, so you can learn a little more about that signature speed, skill and style, pick up a few tips in a free-motion mini-tutorial from Angela herself and enter to win a fun Kona Cotton giveaway from Angela and her pals at Robert Kaufman (Angela does all the quilting for Kaufman's quilt samples and used their beautiful solids for many of the samples in her book).
It's time for another installment in one of our favorite series: ScrapBusters! This time, the scraps you need are a bit larger, but I'm bettin' you still have lots of fun fabrics from which to choose to create this cute clutch. We are normally very diligent about telling you exactly which fabrics we used for our samples, however, this time around, we found our pieces in what we fondly call our 'UFO' bin: Unidentified Fabric Options. My only direction for your choosing is to use a décor weight or better for both layers in order to get an appropriate crispness. And, a print for the outside with a coordinating solid for the inside is a classy combo. The finishing touch is a little bit of bling on the front as an accent over the magnetic clasp. Ours is a broken rhinestone earring, but a fancy button or rescued broach would also work well. You just need a couple open points on it to allow you to sew the bauble in place.
One of my favorite "new baby traditions" is the practice of bringing the siblings of a new baby little gifts to also make them feel special. That is the idea behind our adorable Big Sister Dolly Quilt. We used the scraps from yesterday's Beautiful Baby Quilt to create a matching 14" x 18" blanket the perfect size for a doll bed. The center patchwork is made up of 2" x 2" squares, which were sized to be a perfect showcase for the pretty little motifs of our Cloud9 Maman fabric.
Organic cottons have come a long way over the last several years, and one of the companies leading the pack has been Cloud9. We discovered them a couple years ago, and have watched with delight as their new designs emerged. If you believe organic fabric means dull, drab or coarse... meet Cloud9 co-founders Michelle Engel Bencsko and Gina Pantastico. They have infused their lines with happy colors and delightful patterns from the rich tones of Nature Walk to the forthy fun of My Happy Nursery. And they've done it all using 100% certified organic cotton in the manufacturing of their base cloths and eco-responsible low impact dyes. Two of their newest collections are featured today in our Beautiful Baby Quilt: Maman and Nursery Basics. This fabric was an absolute delight to work with. The base fabric is a premium 200 count organic cotton sheeting with an amazing feel that is both crisp and silky soft.
This handy little fella is modeled after the lanyards you often get at conferences or other events, in fact, you could certainly use it for that or to hold travel documents and ID. But it's also a perfect size to hold credit cards, cash, even your keys... all on a removable lanyard. The secret back pocket is held together with Velcro so nothing will tumble out. This is a great ScrapBusters project; you can mix and match the three fabrics needed to create just the right look. Choose a fabric combo that highlights the recipient's hobby or just his/her favorite colors. If you have an embroidery machine, add a special design or a monogram on the outside. Quick, easy and fun!
We took the idea of a traditional closet/drawer sachet and super-sized it as a Great-4-Guys Valentine's Day gift idea. You can make a simple pillow design or add a ribbon loop or ties so it can stash in the closet on the rod or a hanger. Our Valentine's love letter fabric is another one of the great Japanese Kokka designs, courtesy of Callie at CityCraft. It would be so sweet if you typed up an actual love letter and tucked it in with a box of these sachets! We filled ours with aromatic cedar shavings, which is another reason for the larger size. Plus... cedar is a better choice for most guys over the more common rose or lavender sachet scents.
Sweets for your sweets look even more delicious in these beautiful baskets. Yes, I realize our photos do not feature homemade goodies, but I don't want to hear any grief about that... no one says sewing and culinary creativity must go hand-in-hand. Extra wide and just the right depth for cookies and candy (and more!); they are not too thick, not too thin... deep dish, like a good Chicago pizza. Our design ties with a big, pretty bow so there's no need for separate gift wrap.
Jazz up your jammie-time with these adorable sleep shorts. There's one pair for Him with a drawcord and pocket, and one pair for Her with kicky ruffles and a satin bow. We show you how to make a pattern using an existing pair of your favorite shorts. Super easy, super comfy and a super cute idea for Valentine's Day, especially in pretty pinks (remember... real guys can wear pink) and grays. We used a combination of fabrics from both Dena Designs and Robert Kaufman, courtesy of Fat Quarter Shop.