Monday, July 30, 2012

Hand Quilting Tiny Japanese Squares

I was itching to do some hand sewing, and my stashes of tiny 2"x2" Japanese Daiwabo Fabrics were the perfect fix. I had no idea what I was going to make with these pieces, but just started piecing them away by hand. It was pretty hard for me to manage the storage all these little pieces, but I came across this French inspired wooden box at a local store nearby. This box is a perfect way to store all these pieces.

Love this little wooden box. 

I referred to Yoko Saito's Patchwork Lesson on how best to piece these pieces together. This is a wonderful book with so many tips on quilting. If you don't have a copy of it, I highly recommend it.

Loving piecing these little 2"x2" squares by hand. 

I decided to combine all these triangles into a mat that measures approximately 9"x9". This color palette goes very well with my hard hardwood floor and furniture. My orchids are resting comfortablely on it.

The texture of hand quilted pieces is amazing.

By the way, I splurged and finally purchased a Hinterberg Quilting Hoop and Floor Stand. The hoop I purchased is 18", and I also ordered a half hoop adapter. I can't wait to try that out. I see more hand quilting in my near future.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sourvenir from Provence, France

My good friend recently returned from her trip to Provence, France. I have heard her talk so much about Provence---the beautiful scenery, fresh raspberry bushes nearby, and all things lavender. I was completely blown away when she came back with these fabrics for me from her trip to Provence.

 Do you see the lavender one? I think that may be my favorite!

Yes, you can say she knows me well! The green one on the left has olives!

I am so thankful for her friendship and especially appreciate her thinking of me on her trip and carrying these fabrics all the way to the US. I love every single piece she selected. These fabrics must have taken up a good amount of her very precious luggage space!

See this huge stack!? No joke!

I already know what I am going to make with them. I think it will be perfect. 

Hope you are having a great weekend wherever you are in the world. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jewelry Making

It was love at first sight with these gigantic in-your-face roses, and I just had to turn them into rings. The store carried these roses in three different colors, so of course, I got all three. The blue one is slighter smaller, which is great.

Probably shouldn't wear them all at once, huh!? LOL

Here is a side view of the ring. 

I made these rings with sterling wires. That was one very expensive spool of wire. I am in love with the process of making these rings. As soon as I can afford to purchase another spool, I will definitely  make more of them with different types of beads and stones.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Handsewn Bunny Pouch

My new book shelf inspired me to clean out my sewing area. It was sort of a inventory check to see how much stuff I own. As I was reorganizing everything, I came across a pouch kit I  purchased last year from Taiwan. Taiwan is only a one-hour flight from Japan, that's how adorable Japanese quilting stuff find their way to Taiwan. I always search for Japanese quilting materials and books when I visit Taiwan because everything I do find is translated to Chinese, which I can read 100%. S-C-O-R-E! I get so much more out of these quilting books. Although pictures do help, nothing beats those "tips" and "notes" written in the margin or next to the photos by the author. I love reading everything the author has to say.

Introducing this cute bunny pouch... 

Front and back of the pouch: love the ears and the labels. Must find more of these labels. 

I sewed the zipper by hand and covered it pretty well with a Sunbonnet Sue lining fabric.

Given this pouch is quite small, I sewed most of it by hand. I really enjoy hand quilting for different reasons, but the way it feels is the biggest reason. 

I modified this pouch and turned it into a wristlet. I am sure there are many ways to do it, but I decided to use a "D" ring with a simple strap attached using leftover matching fabrics. It came out perfect!

This kit was purchased from: 
Taipei, Taiwan 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Quilt Tuesday

I am featured on Quilt Tuesday this week! Go check it out!

Quilt Story

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Homemade Banana Bread

Is it banana bread or is it banana cake!? Either way, I turned rotten bananas into delicious banana bread this weekend. I love the warm aroma that lingers in the kitchen for hours after. I love my banana bread with tons of walnuts as if they are free! I only use those mini loafs when I make banana bread. The temperature and baking time work well with the smaller pans, and the bread comes out moist and crunchy at the same time.

Every bite is full of walnuts!

I plan to work on this sewing project I got awhile back this weekend. It has been sitting on my sewing table all of last week, and I barely touched it.

Can you guess what this is?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Sewing Area

My white book shelf from Pottery Barn arrived. My husband assembled it for me as soon as the package got here! I love having it in my sewing corner displaying some of my favorite things.

It fits perfectly! Those small jars on the top shelf store all my buttons and small notions.

The husband is pleased that Jane no longer has to sit next to his TV.

It makes my sewing so easy to have these scrap jars available right in front of me. I have these scrap fabrics organized by colors. Sitting next to these jars on the right is George. Sorry, George! Only your nose is in the picture! I also love having my yarn balls displayed in a simple glass bowl. It's decorative and useful. I can grab these leftover yarn balls whenever the pattern calls for them. I have more yarn than what's in those baskets. I think I need to stop buying yarn for awhile.

Do you have an area like this in your sewing center where you showcase your favorite things!?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Painting My Own Bird Houses

One of the many things I love about our house are the hummingbirds who love our yard. They love these gorgeous red flowers we have all over the house. These birds fly from one bud to another in joy. We absolutely welcome them and totally let them be. We don't even go near them! I am convinced there is a nest somewhere because the entire family of hummingbirds flies together. It's an amazing thing to open my front door every day to three or four hummingbirds singing and just having a great time. They inspired me to paint these bird houses. I doubt they will actually nest in them, but what the heck! I just like having them hung around my house!

Small enough for these small birds. 

A bird house for the fake birds -- brilliant!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Double Point Needle Case

I have always known that I have many double point knitting needles, but I didn't know exactly how many. I finally got around to organizing my knitting needles, and that was when I realized I own 10 sets of double point needles (DPN)! I have every size starting from size 00! I seriously needed a better way to organize these DPNs. There are many online tutorials on how to make roll-up cases to store them, but honestly, I am just not a "roll-up" kind of person. Check out what I eventually landed on.

I like how this folds up and closes with a magnetic snap.

The beauty of sewing this myself is I get to customize the dimensions and the number of pockets. Given I have ten sets, I decided to make ten slots. I will never be able to buy another set because no additional slots are available!

Lined with matching fabric; also my favorite!

You see the white lace printed on the linen lining? That's Lecien's signature.

Although this case looks simple to make, I struggled a bit. It was hard managing all the layers, and the flap for the closure with the magnetic snap was not easy either. But the hard work paid off, and I am so glad I risked using my favorite fabrics!