Zakka Buckets.

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We installed a pulley for the boys loft area, the hold up has been the basket. I didn’t know what to choose. I wanted something lightweight but strong. It needs to hold a lot, but not hurt someone if it falls. Flipping through the book Zakka Handmades by Amy Morinaka I found just the thing, a fabric bucket. Big, sturdy, super lightweight and soft.

With pattern requirements in hand, I made a Hobby Lobby stop and found some fab prints on clearance! Then I sewed. Then the boys joined in. Then I noticed I was walking away and they were sewing the bucket themselves! They would call once in a while for reassurance, but by golly that arrow print bucket they did a lot of work on. I’m so proud.

The thing is, it’s really too big. Not to worry, I had two more prints to go. I made them both into medium size buckets, about 12″ tall. I made two more needing only one of course, but anyhow, that size will be perfect. (The bonus is the boys will use them for Valentine mailbox swapping too.)

Now we can finish the rope and hook and get that project finished.

Japanese Knot Bags.

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I fell in love with the Japanese knot bag. This morning I made three more and “donated” them to the boys. No matter what they hold, I think they are ingenious. No zippers, no buttons, just one long handle threaded through one smaller handle to seal. Fabulous, functional, fun.

Here is the wonderful pattern I used. Each bag only uses two fat quarters. They are totally easy and downright awesome. Hurry, go make some knot bags!

Dresden Table Topper.

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This was my first attempt at the dresden block, a small gift for my mother. My father has a flea market obsession (like parent, like child!) and small table love. My mother is usually a sucker and keeps most of them. I know there is a little table waiting for this topper easily.

I made a sturdy template by printing off a paper one and taping that to thick cardboard. (There are plastic rulers, but I’m working hard at not buying and using what I have on hand. Frankly, my cardboard one worked just fine.) It was exceptionally fun using such a variety of fabrics and it turned out downright springy. I think the dresden would lend to an adorable round pillow which shall be next on the list for me.

I’ve also seen the dresden used to form a line, instead of a circle, by inverting every other piece. That looks fabulous to me too. I think I could use up a huge amount of scraps this way. Either way, I’m a fan.

Finally, to make the inner circle I used this video by Missouri Star Quilt Company. Oh my, I could watch their videos and make for hours and hours!

Herringbone Christmas Quilt.

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I scored a few yards of vintage holly fabric for $2 this summer at a sale. When working on holiday gifts, I grabbed it out and thought I’d make a quick table runner for our kitchen table. Turns out I made a lap quilt instead! While searching for a pattern idea, I found this Herringbone Quilt tutorial and was hooked. In one quiet evening, the boys were playing with the neighbor and Dear Husband was on the computer, I pieced the entire top out of scraps I had on hand.

I tore apart an old quilt (a Kmart poly one, not some keepsake or something) for the batting. It has a high loft, not my usual preference, but it was free. I even hand sewed the binding on. All firsts for me.

With Christmas looming, the desire to finish this quilt was so huge. I would spend some minutes in the morning and evening quilting to get it done. And I did! In one swoop, I attacked this thing and made it.

Yet, all the while I was making this quilt, I kept shaking my head thinking how crazy I am. This quilt will only be relevant maybe 6 weeks a year? It’s so bizarre of me to do that, but so I did, and it was fun. I guess that’s my walk on the wild side…. I’m cool with that.

A Big Little Jacket.

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My younger son decided he’d like to be a pirate for Halloween this year. Before I made him this jacket (he’s since outgrown but wears anyways). I asked if he’d like a new one that fits. He said that would be great. I dug through my stash and used a grey/blue wool blend for the exterior as the weather could be downright cold. I lined the jacket with orange, his favorite color. He asked for a hooded variation this time around (pattern from Big Little Shop on Etsy) and I decided it would be more functional with pull ties. Remember the knitting fork? I made the string for this coat with that.

Hot off the machine, I had him try it on and told him I’d detail it like his last coat. Only, he said he likes it just as it is. He’ll be a scary pumpkin man instead. Okay, sounds good. We’ve got a stellar mask and now his costume is all wrapped up. I’m sure we’ll add some seriously scary details that day, but having the coat as is afterwards will be great.

Bird Patterns.

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I found Little Birds: 26 Handmade Projects to Sew, Stitch, Quilt & Love at the used book store and fell in love with the cover project. So much so, that I didn’t do much flipping through. The price was small enough to be worth it for just the one pattern. At home, I flipped through more, the boys too. That led to their requests and now I’m onto project three.

This book is a little odd, in that it is a collection of projects based just on one topic, but most definitely NOT style. So, while I love the cover picture, there are projects in there that aren’t even close to something I’d love. The patterns aren’t particularly cohesive. I’m not sure if just “birds” is enough to create a grouping. However, maybe the wild variety is the appeal? The owl is something I would never choose to make, but my younger son was all over it.

He’s fascinated with owls at the moment. He’s told me, a lot recently, we need to own one. For now, this guy will have to do. The next project is for my older son. He likes the cover birdy, in his favorite color, yellow. Our little bird flock is growing.

Sewing Shorts.

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I’m onto pair number five and I have two more planned, including some for my niece and psuedo-nieces. These shorts are addicting! I stumbled into the pattern on The Purl Bee last week and haven’t looked back. They are eating through my fabric stash quite nicely. Each pair uses such a small section, so my vintage stash finally is dwindling. They can become usable jammy shorts.

I’m averaging a pair a day, and I hope to mail off the little pairs to the girls this week. But now I feel bad. My boys aren’t the type to wear such short shorts and I don’t want them left out. I’ve dug around for a pattern they’d like too. I settled on this vest. I have some excellent plaid vintage prints that will work so well for them.

Gotta a little sewing wind and I’m gonna ride it.

Fleece Pillow Case Pattern.

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Last Autumn my sister made the boys some fleece blankets. They have been well-loved. Just before Christmas my older son asked, “Mom, can you make me a fleece pillowcase? Like my blanket?”

I have never seen a fleece pillowcase before, but I thought it did sound pretty nice. He picked out some NASCAR fabric (he’s a big fan these days) and I set to work making him a soft place to sleep. When we were shopping for fabric, I asked my younger fella if he wanted one too. He passed, so I just made the one.

My older son really likes his pillowcase. In fact, I think he had a pretty good idea. Also, two weeks ago my younger fella asked, “Uh… Mom, can you make me a fleece pillowcase, too? I really like his and try to sleep on it when I can.” I smiled. Another trip to the fabric store, and now he’s got his very own fleece pillowcase in his very own style (loves those monsters.)

This little project was fun and the boys love them. If you’ve got some fleece on hand, give it a try. It fits a standard pillow and seriously makes a quick gift. The reversible style makes it so the kiddos won’t get bored with them too easily. If you have any questions about the pattern, definitely give me a holler.

Click below for the printable PDF pattern.

Fleece Pillow Case PDF Pattern

Home Sewn.

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When I saw a basket of large fabric chunks at the Nashville flea market, I dug. When I found this little print I thought it would make a cute skirt (or a tablecloth… which I don’t need… but then again, do I need another skirt….anyhow…). I like the fuzzy red lily of the valley type blooms and the faint square patterning. Anyhow, I used my reliable Simple Modern Sewing: 8 Basic Patterns to Create 25 Favorite Garments by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha book and just went for a basic skirt. In her book it is the Simple A-Line Skirt, project 6a.

I will be honest, her patterns are somewhat confusing for me sometimes. I made this wrap skirt, which turned out as basically a huge skirt you fold over and tie shut. That one gave me a headache, but I do love the result. I also made this shirt, but it turned out so wide I folded it over and altered it a bit. This time I altered the sizing on the waist because it was just oddly large. But, In the end I always walk away with a wearable item from this book, so I keep coming back to it.

And, at the moment I’m so addicted to this orange sweater, I wear it almost every day. It is like wearing a little blanket around me. When Dear Husband saw this on the rack at Cabela’s he said, “Well, you’re buying that, aren’t you?”

He knows me well.

Want to check out Simple Modern Sewing? Click on the Amazon link below.

Photos and Pillows.

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This summer I found a stack of five white (embroidered?) squares at a garage sale for $1. I immediately thought, pillows! I bought a chunk of taupe fabric for the backs and five zippers. I finished two straight away, but finally finished the last three this week. I’ve been in a sewing mood lately…more to come.

Also, this weekend I spent three hours at a photography class in Nashville, my very first formal photography class ever! They offered free sensor cleaning and to take advantage of that I had to bring my camera sans lens. So my first photo is of the hotel interior, via my iphone. I definitely learned more about my camera’s tools and abilities and truly that photography is about getting it wrong enough to get it right.

Anyhow, while photographing the pillow in my red chair (the best seat in the house, comfort and view wise) for this post, my older son started asking questions.

“Can I take a photo?”

“Can we use the self-timer?”

“How do I make it lighter?”

He took the bottom photo of our view out the window by my excellent red chair, analyzing the histogram. He then set up a few shots of us sitting together by the window using the self-timer. By the fourth shot he was satisfied with our “selfie.” My original intent for this post was to talk about handwork, the joy of looking out the window with my new soft pillow on my back, or other ramblings. Instead, my sweet fella turned it into a much more special moment. Pillows come and go. Decorations switch and window views change, but getting the chance to teach and talk with your kiddo about something you love and they might just like too, well heck, that’s a real blog post!