Handmade Christmas Decoration Blog Hop

Happy Tuesday! I was invited by Rosie over at Stitch, Craft, Create to do a blog post about Christmas making! I’m a complete Christmas fanatic, so it didn’t take a minute for me to jump on board.

I chose to make a project from Handmade Scandinavian Christmas, which is an awesome book packed with every kind of Christmas project you can think of from, crafts to sewing to recipes!

Scan christmas

I was really drawn to the natural aspects of this book, so I wanted to do a project that involved “repurposing nature” so to speak. I think it went splendidly considering I live in a place where the leaves never change and there’s no semblance of Fall or Winter whatsoever. It did, however, mean I improvised a bit.

20141118-DSC_0004

20141118-DSC_0010

I chose to do a project inspired by the Larch Garland, and really all of the pine cone projects. I needed to replace my wreath and my pine cones were a bit difficult to source, so they seemed to be a bit more suited for this project than to be seen from all sides as with the garland. Working with the wreath I already had, I took everything off of it leaving only the foam base. It looks pretty beaten up, so I used some spray adhesive to cover the foam wreath in newspaper. (I had purchased some basting spray years ago, and I don’t spray baste, so it ended up working perfectly for this project). I then took the few pine cones I managed to find, and use a gold glitter spray paint to glam them up a bit. It only took a few minutes for the dusting of paint to dry, and I got to work with my hot glue gun, scattering the pine cones I had around the wreath. I didn’t have enough to cover the entire wreath, so to fill in the extra space, I purchased some fake berries from Michael’s and hot glued them to the wreath.

20141118-DSC_0013 20141118-DSC_0008

The great think about Handmade Scandinavian Christmas is that it shows you that you can make decor out of what you have. Look what I managed to make in a winterless place! There have been so many amazing projects on this blog tour, and I encourage you to check them all out and give them a try. There are a number of books being represented, and they are all wonderful tools of inspiration. I have a list of the other stops on the tour below.

If you’d like your own copy of Handmade Scandinavian Christmas, you can purchase the hard copy or the ebook through Stitch, Craft, Create.

Be sure to check out Stitch, Craft, Create for loads more inspiration. They have such a fantastic site. Check out their ‘Handmade Christmas’ page and ‘Craft eBooks and Downloads’ page for tons of projects.

scan christmas 2

Share a picture of your own handmade Christmas decoration with the lovely people at Stitch Craft Create and you could win £100! Just add your photo to their share board or use the hashtag #SCCXmas on Twitter or Instagram.

Sat 1st – Crafts from the Cwtch (knitted candle holders)

Sun 2nd – Patchwork Posse (ribbon baubles)

Mon 3rd – Moogsmum (paper bird garland)

Tue 4th – Yarn Demon (crochet snowflakes)

Wed 5th – From the Blue Chair (Washi tape cards & baubles)

Thur 6th Straight Grain (fabric Washi treat bags)

Fri 7th A Quilt Is Nice (wooden stars & paper baubles)

Sat 8th Haak & Smaak (crochet gingerbread men)

Mon 10th – Knits and Crosses (Scandinavian bakes)

Tue 11th A Bright Corner (Washi tape tea lights & gift tag)

Wed 12th Imagine Gnats (fabric gift tags)

Thu 13th – Thimbleanna (knitted hot pad)

Fri 14th – The Creations of Crazy Dazy (knitted bobble hat baubles)

Sat 15th – Ric Rac (pine cone birds)

Sun 16th – Chickpea Sewing Studio (Handmade Scandinavian Christmas review)

Mon 17th – Ellison Lane (Washi tape candles)

Tue 18th Olivia Jane Handcrafted

Wed 19th Boolah Baguette

Thu 20th Made Peachy

Fri 21st – Pieced Brain

Sat 22nd Rose Hip

Sun 23rd Sewing Is for Girls

Mon 24th – Miss Print

Tue 25th Feather’s Flights

Wed 26th Follow the White Bunny

Thu 27th – Dotty Doily

Fri 28th – Guthrie & Ghani

Sat 29th – Cut to Pieces

Sun 30th – Molly Flanders Makerie

6 Months

I’m still stitching away on my current craft, but I can’t resist popping in to show you some of the pictures Emilee took of Wallace on his six month birthday!! How has it been half a year already?

20141113-DSC_0022

Wallace is sitting up on his own without any wobbles.

20141113-DSC_0127

He still hates tummy time, and I doubt he’ll ever crawl because he doesn’t stay down enough to practice.

20141113-DSC_0073

He does, however, love pulling himself to a standing position by grabbing onto anything above him. He has us busy walking him around the house. I’m thinking he’s trying to trim down those yummy thighs?

20141113-DSC_0092

And what do you think of those little teeth?! They popped through about two weeks ago, and they hurt! As in, they hurt your fingers or whatever he decides to chomp down on!

20141113-DSC_0113

We’ve slowly started food. He’s only gotten breast milk, and will not take a bottle for anyone. Not even fresh pumped milk. But he reaches for everything in sight to put in his mouth. I eat with my plate in the middle of the table just to keep the contents there and avoid broken dishes. But he’s not at all psyched about a spoon of oatmeal (though he has done extremely well keeping it down), and any attempt at fruit has been met with immediate projectile vomiting. SO we’re working through that. His doctor says he has an extremely tiny air hole which means anything can cause spit up. This has certainly been the case thus far, but I didn’t expect it with food. So now you know what I’m working on this month. :) I need it (his eating) to work out so I can get out of the house with my husband for the first time since Wallace has been on the outside. Cross those fingers for me!

20141113-DSC_0047

Getting to know Wallace has been an adventure indeed. He is the polar opposite of Layla which has meant lots of challenges, but also many rewards. He is all about me, which I love, but even that comes with a challenge (like constantly having to carry around is 21lb body, while doing everything else I need to do). He has a bubbly little personality, and almost always has a big grin on his face. We love him to pieces, and I’m so happy I now have a son and Layla has the brother she’s always wanted. They just adore one another in such a special way. He’s held my heart since I saw that positive sign, and I’m practically gushing now. Thanks for letting me share my big baby boy with you. :)

-Meredith

Current Craft

Do you go through crafty phases? I know I do. I dabble in so many aspects of sewing, but I’m rarely doing everything at once. Generally I’ll have some machine project going and a hand stitched project at the same time that keeps me busy in the evenings. Right now I have a few machine projects going, but my current hand stitched project has me distracted. I’m swooning with every stitch, because the project is so me. Its so easy to take time on things you love!

FullSizeRender (7)

 

I’m working on this all AMH quilt, and the only rule is that there are no rules! I’m not ready to reveal the whole project, but I’m gushing with excitement over here, so I had to show you some peeks at the stitching.

IMG_5114 IMG_5113 IMG_5116

Do you have a project going that you just can’t stay away from? Any project current or past that has you neglecting all your housework? There’s nothing like the feeling of working on something you absolutely love.

IMG_5112

If you’d like to read about another one of my crafty adventures, I’m over at the Cabinet for the Curious (the Jones and Vandermeer blog) today doing a guest post about Atelier Brunette’s gorgeous fabric.

20141105-DSC_0045

Have a great day!

-Meredith

Bold and Beautiful

That’s the theme of my latest custom quilt. I was so excited to work with this rich palette of colors to make a quilt for a newborn baby girl.

20141105-DSC_0015

I pulled all Anna Maria Horner fabrics, an obvious choice since she wrote the book on bold and beautiful fabrics. Not really, but she could have. Most of these fabrics are from her Dowry collection, and it was such a treat to finally use some of them! I mixed in some coordinating prints from other collections as well.

20141105-DSC_0020

I quilted this beauty with my favorite 28wt Aurifil. I need more colors, but this dark maroon color, was just right for this quilt. 20141105-DSC_0058

My client wanted the recipients name and birthdate to be monogrammed, and just for the sake of privacy I won’t share a close up of that. I’ll just tell you the Janome did a killer job on the embroidery. No surprise there!

The back of this quilt is oh-so-scrumptious! Its the gorgeous red echinacea flannel print from Anna Maria’s Pretty Potent collection. I think it coordinates perfectly with the rest of the quilt!

20141105-DSC_0032

20141105-DSC_0060

I’m really getting in my dose of Anna Maria Horner here lately, and I’m thrilled to death about it. I’ve been so busy with this project and that, that its been positively wonderful to get to spend time with my first love (fabric designer love, that is). I’m hoping to show you my latest quilt which is all AMH next week sometime. Its a very special quilt that I’ve been showing little teasers of on Instagram, but I’m not showing the whole thing until its done!

What have you been working on this week?

-Meredith

Custom Liberty Quilt

First, let me start off by saying, yes, I do still blog here. I’ve been crazy busy with custom orders, and I’m showing you one of those today.

One of my very best customers asked me to make her a quilt with the same zoo fabric featured in this quilt. She loved that print, but definitely wanted something unique- something that is very her. Well, thank goodness we were able to track down more of that print!

20141029-DSC_0004

She wanted purple to be the main color, followed by pink, with some pops of other colors here and there. She also wanted a random layout of squares and rectangles.

20141029-DSC_0017

Well when you put a small scale print into a random layout it can be difficult to make it really pop. The perfect opportunity to try to bring it into focus is in the quilting. I decided I wanted to make this quilt really special, so I hand stitched around every zoo print.

20141029-DSC_0010

I also added bits of embroidery like these around the quilt.

20141029-DSC_0008 20141029-DSC_0005

Next I machine quilted in a diagonal grid on the whole quilt except for the zoo prints. To really bring those out, I went back and quilted squares in each of those prints to draw the eye there.

One of my very favorite parts of this quilt is the label. She really wanted me to label my work, so I wanted to make the label awesome. I machine appliqued some of the animals from the zoo print onto voile and embroidered “Handmade for Karen”. I just love that part!

20141029-DSC_0011

The backing is a scrumptious velveteen from Anna Maria Horner. It feels absolutely divine. Between the voile/lawn front and the velveteen backing, it will be the perfect quilt year round.

20141029-DSC_0014

She loved the Dear Stella metallic dot I used to frame the zoo print in my other quilt, so I used that for binding. I just adore white binding! It really makes the quilt pop, and the gold dots are just icing on the cake.

20141029-DSC_0018

Well this quilt is already en route to its destination. I cannot wait for her to receive it! I just love doing custom work!

I hope you are having a wonderful week!

-Meredith

Around the World Blog Hop

I was tagged by Ashley over at Mommy by Day, Crafter by Night to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop. Today I get to answer some questions and tell you a little about myself.

What are you working on?

I’m working on a few things at the moment, but I’ll show you a quilt top I finished this week that I’ll hopefully get to quilt up this weekend.

20141023-DSC_0213

I’m also making up some Liberty bags for an Instagram sale!

IMG_4706 IMG_4709

A dress is also in the works, but I’m saving it for the big reveal day!

How does my work differ from others?

I think this is a difficult question to answer, but I’ll take a whack at it. I do what I love. Nothing more, nothing less. I’m not influenced by this brand or that sponsor. I purchase only what I LOVE and do with it only what I want to. I think that freedom is one thing that differentiates me from others in the crafting community.

20141001-DSC_0024 20141019-DSC_0036 20140711-DSC_0027

Also, I dabble in a little of everything sewing-wise. I have a passion for garment sewing, but I also love quilting and hand work. They’re all essential pieces in the making up of me as a crafty creature.

20141005-DSC_0031 20140306-DSC_0150 20140225-DSC_0068 20140127-DSC_0004 20140709-DSC_0034 20140729-DSC_0009

Why do I create? 

I think the answer to this really ties into my last answer. Because I love it! I love the fulfillment I get when I complete a project. I love the process, the colors, the feeling of everything I make. Each project is its own adventure, and I get such joy making things whether they are for myself or others. I love to think that they will become heirloom pieces treasured by future generations. Its so important to me to have the things that my grandmother made. She died when I was 13, and even though I don’t have her around, when I see things of hers, I feel like I’m still getting to know her or that we can at least relate in our love of crafting.

20120614-DSC_0372 20120513-DSC_0059

How does my creative process work?

Oh, goodness! I think I’m influenced both by creative ideas (like what I want to make), and by fabric. Fabric is really just a work of art on cloth. Some of that art is better than others, but I like to think I get the good stuff. :)

20140907-DSC_0026 20140903-DSC_0035 20141019-DSC_0008

I’ll often find some pattern I want to make, or perhaps find a need that I can meet through sewing. When an idea begins with a project, I often put a lot of thought into what fabric I’ll use and order only what is needed and go from there. When a project begins with fabric, however, I’ll often buy an estimated amount for whatever I think I’ll most likely use it for. For instance, I have a Liberty addiction and I know I love to making clothing with it. So when some print comes out that’s utterly irresistible, I’ll buy 1.5-3 yards and hold onto it until I find the perfect project that will justify using such exquisite fabric.

20141019-DSC_0066 20140506-DSC_0004

And I do like for my projects and fabric to be on an equal playing field. I’m very much a perfectionist in this aspect. If I’m buying and using Liberty, it will be used on a top notch project, and I will do everything possible to ensure that it is perfect from the cutting, to pressing, so finishing every seam that could possibly need finishing. I suppose that’s another part of my creative process. I will take forever on something to make sure its awesome, and I rarely, if ever take a short cut like machine binding. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, I just don’t do it. I appreciate clean finishes, so I’ll prolong the project to make sure I have that.

20141013-DSC_0021

Thank you for stopping by. It was fun to share a little about myself and my creative process. Have a great weekend!

-Meredith

Opposites Attract + Handcrafted (and a little sale)

IMG_4716

I wanted to show you my finished Opposites Attract Quilt in Alison Glass’s Handcrafted line, which will be at Market this weekend in her booth!

IMG_4656

I hand quilted this beauty pretty densely with Perle cotton in the same color order as the quilt was pieced. I love that the colors pop without being overwhelming or stealing from the actual design of the quilt.

Quilting was a labor of love, to put it lightly. I think I stitched a little bit of my soul into this quilt! It took weeks to complete, and many nights of not going to bed until 2am.

IMG_4714

It was worth every last second of stitching. I mean, I really love this quilt. the labor was not easy, but it was like having a child. The second it was over I was so in love, I’d do it all over again without another thought. That’s why I love what I do. Its terribly fulfilling.

IMG_4652

I backed this quilt with a favorite print from Alison’s Field Day collection, which beautifully incorporates all those colors featured in her Handcrafted line (which has just hit stores, by the way).

IMG_4715

Anyway, I finished this quilt, took a couple of pictures and ran to the post office without one spot of makeup on my face. It was desperation, so please overlook the fact that these are pictures taken by me and not my uber talented sister. :)

Now I want to share the love. Through this weekend, you can purchase my Opposites Attract Quilt pattern for 25% off in my Etsy shop. Discount has already been taken, so you don’t need a code. A quilt along is coming, so go ahead and pick up your pattern on sale!

Thank you so much for your support.

-Meredith

Sewing with Liberty

I’ve had several requests to do a post about sewing with Liberty of London fabric, so today I’m giving you a rundown of tools and techniques that will make the process easy peasy, and you won’t need to feel nervous about cutting into your precious lawn!

20141019-DSC_0066

What is lawn anyway?

20141019-DSC_0008

Liberty tana lawn is a lightweight, tightly woven cotton fabric that often features very detailed and colorful floral motifs. The threads are very fine, and the material is quite supple and flowy. Liberty tana lawn is best friends with Free Spirit solid voile, which makes for a great lining for garments or pairing for a quilt.

20141019-DSC_0017

You may also combine Liberty with something like double gauze, like I did here with this quilt I made for Layla. While the materials are quite different, they are both lightweight and together they made a beautiful pair! I simply prewashed the double gauze which has a very loose weave in order to avoid any uneven shrinkage between the two.

20141019-DSC_0023

Liberty also goes well with chambray and even standard quilting weight cotton. Lawn doesn’t have noticeable shrinkage, so if you are using something heavier or with a looser weave, I definitely recommend prewashing.

I use a fine needle when sewing with Liberty so as not to break any of the threads. I’ll often use a 70/10 universal needle, but I’ll move to something larger if I’m pairing my lawn with a heavier fabric. Thread wise, I’m quite particular. In my ordinary sewing, I just use a Coats and Clark mega roll of white all-purpose thread, which I believe is cotton. I do not use this with Lawn, because the thread is thicker than the threads that the lawn is made of and it often causes puckering. I’ve found that 40wt Aurifil is the perfect thread for Liberty. Its similar in weight, and causes zero puckering.

20141019-DSC_0069

20141019-DSC_0034

If I am machine quilting, 28wt Aurifil is the way to go. Though 40wt works well for quilting, I like my stitches to stand out a bit more, and the 28wt is heavier, but still will not cause puckering. (above picture is 28wt, and picture below is 40wt).

20141019-DSC_0019

Anyway, I’m not an “Aurisnob”, or anything like that, I just use Aurifil with Liberty because I think superior fabric calls for superior thread, and together they make for an exceptional combination.

20141019-DSC_0006

Liberty is the perfect woven fabric for garment sewing. Its my go to brand because of its quality, and the diversity of prints offered means I could have an all Liberty wardrobe and no one would be the wiser.

20141019-DSC_0036 20141019-DSC_0057

As I mentioned before (and a bajillion other times if you’re a regular reader here), Liberty’s perfect match is Free Spirit solid voile. I line every single garment I make with Liberty with Free Spirit solid voile, because they are nearly identical fabrics. When combined, they act as one fabric and there is no weird shifting due to differences in the cloth. Additionally, you still have a lightweight garment when pairing these two.

20141019-DSC_0058 20141019-DSC_0060

I also used Liberty with solid voile to make this quilt.

20140826-DSC_0004

When piecing tana lawn, I still use 40wt Aurifil. Just because no one sees those stitches doesn’t mean they won’t see puckers, so stick with the good thread throughout your sewing. I press seams to one side, and rotate between rows so that my seams “lock” together. I don’t always do that, but with such a lightweight fabric, you don’t notice extra thickness at the seams when doing this.

20141019-DSC_0027

Liberty is also very hand quilting friendly! I’ve hand quilted many a quilt with my go to Perle cotton (size 8) with great success.

I should also mention, if I’m sewing a garment or if I’ve made a quilt, I’ll overlock seams that will be exposed, even if they’re only exposed for a while. So if I’m attaching a bodice and skirt that will eventually be covered because I’m hand sewing the lining down, I’ll overlock that seam to avoid any amount of fraying. Liberty doesn’t have a terrible amount of fraying, but why let it unravel at all? Likewise, when I’ve finished a quilt and attached binding to the front but I’m still waiting to hand sew it down in the back, I’ll overlock all the way around the quilt to avoid useless fraying. Many people would say that is overkill, but I just look at it like this: I’m using a really high end, expensive fabric to make this and I very much want it to outlast me, therefore, I’m going to take any precaution I can to ensure the long life of this item.

20141019-DSC_0064

I’ll also throw in here that I don’t ever use scissors to cut fabric. Anything that needs to be cut can be done with a rotary cutter- even curved pieces. If you feel that you can cut with scissors with zero shifting and total accuracy, go for it. I know I’m not that talented, so I avoid uneven pieces by cutting swiftly with my rotary cutter.

Liberty tana lawn is not at all difficult to sew with. I honestly believe that with the right tools, and patience you can do anything you want to do with it. I think much of the fear and anxiety about sewing with Liberty is due to the cost of it (approx $36yd/mtr), and we just don’t want to mess it up. If you think through your project and come into it prepared, you’ll have great success and a beautiful item to boot! Liberty is so exquisite and refined, but don’t let that scare you away from owning it and adding bits of it to your wardrobe and home!

20140528-DSC_0001 20140409-DSC_0020 20130403-DSC_0007

If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment. I’ll answer it to the best of my abilities. I’d love to hear about your Liberty projects as well! I hope this has been helpful, and more than anything, I hope its given you the gumption to dig into your Liberty stash and make something beautiful.

If you don’t own any Liberty, I highly recommend checking out Jones and Vandermeer. I purchase most of my Liberty from them as they have a wonderful selection of prints, but they also have the best prices. They’re the only company I know of in the states that gives you a whole meter for $36! Go check them out and have fun! :)

-Meredith

Queue for the Zoo Quilt

I had the immense pleasure of working with one of my all time favorite Liberty prints once again over the past couple of weeks. A client requested a custom quilt with this Queue for the Zoo Liberty fabric as the “theme” print, and I went from there.

20141013-DSC_0014

I paired it with this metallic dot from Dear Stella, some Handcrafted and Sunprint from Alison Glass, some voiles from Anna Maria Horner, and of course, some other coordinating Liberty prints.

20141013-DSC_0010

I spent much of last week quilting it, and really trying to draw out that bright purple, which is her favorite color.

20141013-DSC_0011 20141013-DSC_0018

Alison Glass’ Bike Path print made for the perfect binding! The color is spot on, and I love that it really pops.

20141013-DSC_0021 20141013-DSC_0013

I’m finishing up another hand quilted quilt for Market next week. Its taking much longer than I initially thought it would because it turns out that I get very little accomplished when Wallace takes two naps a day totaling one hour. I’m praying that changes! I NEED that boy to rest. :)

Anyway, if all goes according to plan, I have lots to share with you this week, including a post on sewing with Liberty. It can be really intimidating to cut into such a beautiful (and expensive) fabric, but with the right notions and careful planning, you’ll do just fine! Then you’ll have to convince yourself to tone down all the Liberty sewing.

Did you have a great long weekend?

-Meredith

Pleated Lawn Dress

I’m beyond thrilled to show off today’s dress! I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited about a handmade finish.

My sister, Emilee, is my best friend. We understand one another on a level other people don’t want to go. :) We trade off on lunch, shopping, and other things, and I think that’s way more fun than splitting things right down the middle. She does most all of the photography for this here blog of mine, and I’m so grateful to her for that. Emilee has lent me some major talent. I like to get her back when I can, and this time I made her a new dress with some seriously gorgeous Cotton + Steel lawn from Sarah Watts.

20141005-DSC_0028

I dreamed up this dress months ago, but it was one of those things I wanted to turn out so perfectly, it just stayed in my head. I was afraid to pull the trigger for fear of failing, or at the very least, not meeting my own expectations. When I finally worked up the gumption to begin making the bodice, I was just tickled to see that my idea was working!

20141005-DSC_0008 20141005-DSC_0031

Do you love the pleated top?!

I’m completely obsessed with it! After completing the bodice, I was seriously considering “losing” this dress and making her another one. You can see that didn’t happen, but I would be lying if I told you it was for any reason other than her prodding me to be finished with it now.

20141005-DSC_0060 20141005-DSC_0056

The contrasting waistband gives the dress a nice pop. I love that this print came in two colors. The waistband is regular quilting weight cotton, while the rest of the dress is lawn. I lined it with Free Spirit solid voile. Big surprise!

20141005-DSC_0082

Because of the structure of the top, I thought the skirt really needed some bounce and movement. I decided to make an *almost* circle skirt like I did on this dress, and it seems to be a perfect fit!

20141005-DSC_0010 20141005-DSC_0030

But look at the hem. Mmhmm. Is that not delicious? What you’re seeing there is some gorgeous Aurifil stitched into a cross stitch by my Janome. My 1997 Janome. So glad they thought to include this beautiful stitch back then. I mean, its a really close race between the pleated top and the embroidered hem as to which one is my favorite feature of this dress.

20141005-DSC_0066

Isn’t she beautiful? I love my sister so much, and I’m glad she loves her new dress. She certainly deserves it. I’m glad something as special as this gets to live in her closet, which I get to raid from time to time. :)

-Meredith