Lindsay

Book Review: Everyday Handmade + Giveaway!

Today, we are happy to have a guest post from Elizabeth at Inspire Me Grey. She is here to review a new sewing book and show off her projects, plus we also have a giveaway courtesy of the book’s publisher, Martingale & Co. (Enter with your comment at the end of this post.) Take it away, Elizabeth!

Everyday Handmade: 22 Practical Projects for the Modern Sewist by Cassie Barden and Adrienne Smitke (Martingale) is a promising addition to any modern sewist’s craft library. Whether you’re looking for a small, simple project to give you a break from that quilt you’ve been slaving over or you’re in the mood to create something featuring some favorite fabrics from your stash, Everyday Handmade is likely to please.

Everyday Handmade book contents

Beginner-level projects include a simple tote bag decorated with fabric-covered buttons, pieced coasters and potholders, and a sewing set that includes a pincushion and needle book.

Everyday Handmade book - Collector's Item Tote Bag
The instructions and illustrations are clear enough, though, that even projects that seem more intimidating, like the full-fledged messenger bag with pockets and a laptop compartment, are easy to follow.

In contrast to many sewing craft books that focus on one material (felt, scraps of quilting cottons, upcycled fabrics), authors Barden and Smitke challenge sewists to explore working with a variety of materials. Projects make the most of selvages, wool felt, linen, canvas, interfacing, fusible fleece, and zippers.

Everyday Handmade book - e-Reader cover

 

My Projects

When I was studying the 22 projects in Everyday Handmade and trying to decide which one to make, the Literary Genius e-Reader Cover caught my attention. I received a Kindle as a birthday gift only a week after I won this book at a quilting retreat, so the timing was perfect.

Before I started, I noticed that the finished size (5 1/2” by 8 1/2″) was going to be bigger than my Kindle and therefore wouldn’t provide the intended protection. The authors note in the project instructions that they have included measurements for two e-readers, but unfortunately both were bigger than mine, so I decided to reduce the cutting measurements and make a practice cover first to check the sizing.

Fast forward through recalculations and two practice covers and I was finally ready to proceed with my final fabric choices. I used interfacing on all my quilting cottons to give them a bit more heft, and at the last minute I decided to also supplement the outer layer of the cover with fusible fleece to better protect my Kindle.

I’m happy with how the final product turned out. Although there are slight changes I would make if I were to make this again, it holds my Kindle snugly and provides sufficient protection.

One other project that I tried from Everyday Handmade is the Petunia Hedgehog Pincushion. Petunia is part of a three-piece sewing set, along with a stump-shaped needle book and notions pouch. To satisfy a Woodlands theme for an ornament challenge that’s happening on my blog, I turned Petunia into a soft ornament by simple eliminating the base and sewing both sides of the body together all the way around.

April ornament: Hedgehog

Templates are included for the tree stump parts as well as all Petunia’s parts, and I found it very easy to trace them using freezer paper and then transfer and cut the shapes out of craft felt. At the back of the book Barden and Smitke include simple instructions for techniques used in the projects, including the French knots and blanket stitch on Petunia. Even when you know how to execute simple embroidery like this, if your memory is anything like mine you know it’s helpful to have a refresher on hand.

I’m pleased with the range of projects in Everyday Handmade, and I like the look and feel of Barden’s and Smitke’s designs. Whether you’re making a little something for yourself or sewing up a personalized gift for a friend, you’ll find something to try in this book.


Giveaway!

Martingale & Co. is giving one lucky Craft Buds reader the chance to win a $30 gift certificate to their shop, good for books, e-books or patterns. Enter to win by:

  1. Leave a comment on this post. You can tell us if you use an e-reader or if you prefer paper books. (one entry)
  2. Subscribe to Martingale’s Stitch This! newsletter (for free patterns, sale offers, tips and tricks) and leave a second comment telling us you did! (one entry)

This giveaway is open worldwide and we’ll choose one lucky winner via Random.org on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

Out of 158 comments, the winner is #6 Jeanne, who said:

“I do have a Kindle and I love it for casual reading but it isn’t color so I like my quilt and craft books in pulp. I do love that Kindle cover and the tote with all the covered buttons.  If I win, I know what will be first to make! Thanks for the chance.”

 

14 Cheap Ways to Organize Your Craft Space

Sure, it would be nice to buy new storage cabinets to house your craft supplies. But for many of us, there’s not room in the house (or in the budget!) for expensive craft storage solutions.

But with a few inexpensive items from around the house, you can give your craft space a spring cleaning! We love these craft storage ideas that use everyday, easy-to-find items like shower caddies and Altoid tins.

Clothespins and Embroidery Floss: A cute way to store floss from Mrs. Jones. At just $2 in cost, we love this way inexpensive and adorable solution for keeping your supplies organized.

Leethal Yarn Storage Cans

Upcycled Cans Yarn Storage: Who doesn’t love having craft supplies right at their fingertips? This cubby storage system for yarn is constructed of recycled Trader Joe’s cans. Get the tutorial for the wall-mounted craft storage at Leethal.

Fabric Folding Tutorial: Visit Turning*Turning to learn how to fold your fabric like a pro. You don’t need any cardboard sheets or extras–just a ruler to make neat and orderly folds.

Shower Caddy Craft Supplies Storage: Your shower caddy hasn’t gotten this much action since college. Get more clever craft storage tips at Better Homes & Gardens.

Hanging Fabric Solution: Store your fabric in a hanging file cabinet at Sew Many Ways. It’s pressed and ready to go, and way more fun than balancing your checkbook.

Spice Rack Paint Holder: A spice rack turned painting station makes a splash at Bird’s Party Blog. You might even get the kids to help you with this project.

Scrapbooking Turnstile: A lampshade with the cover removed becomes a perfect vertical storage solution for Susan’s scrapbooking stickers! Check out her project at Creatively Savvy.

Cheese Grater Earring Holder: How cute is this idea at Duitang? Paint it in your favorite color and store jewelry supplies or wearables in a pinch!

 

More Craft Storage Ideas

Craft room organization and storage ideas at Craft Passion

Altoid storage tins from Matthew Moss

An entire blog dedicated to craft organization at Crafty Storage

Store clear rubber stamps in baseball card sleeves at Scrapinxoxo

Fabric scrap basket tutorial at The Sometimes Crafter

Toilet paper roll scissors Holder at Rustic Crafts

 

Reader Tips

Do you have any favorite organization tips? How do you tame the mess of your creative space? We’d love to hear your tips (or links to your favorite storage ideas) in the comments!

 

How to Host a Sew-Along

Today, I’m excited to have Lindsey and Sukie here to chat about their Zakka Style Sew Along, which is happening right now and runs through September! It’s a leisurely sew along, with one project each week, and you can join in at any time.

I really wanted to know how they decided on this sew along, and asked them to share some tips with fellow bloggers interested in doing something similar.

Zakka Style Sew Along banner

Can you tell me a little bit about the Zakka Style Sew Along and how it got started?

Lindsey: Rashida visited the Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild in February of this year to talk about Washi and her book, Zakka Style (C&T Publishing). We meet at a quilt shop and I hadn’t seen a copy of the book until that day. After hearing her speak and getting a chance to quickly look through the book, I knew I had to have it. I bought an extra to give away since Rashida was autographing copies that day. The response when I gave away the copy on my blog was amazing. So many people either had the book already or had it on their wishlist. I knew that I wasn’t the only one who thought it was awesome. One of my readers Duff suggested a sew along. I had already planned to sew through the book and share each project on my blog, but the thought of doing it together with others sounded fantastic. A few weeks later Amy emailed me and said, hey, I think you need to make this sew along bigger! There wasn’t a blog/book tour for Zakka Style when it was first released so we decided to do a different version of a book tour with bloggers actually showing a finished project from the book and then the participants and I would sew along from project 1 through 24.

Sukie: As Lindsey mentioned above, I read about her idea of the sew along on her blog and thought of making it bigger. Bigger meaning, “Let’s showcase different bloggers and how they would make the project.” It’s a slight twist on a book blog hop, the ones where they give you sneak peeks of the book. This way, folks get to see the finished projects while working on theirs at their own pace.

Book Review: Zakka Style, cover

That sounds fantastic! Have you participated in any sew alongs in the past? What are some things you like about being in a sew along?

Lindsey: This is actually my first sew along, and I can’t believe I haven’t done it before. I really like the camaraderie of sewing with other people. Everyone is really encouraging and it’s a good chance to interact and learn new tips and tricks or get advice on fabric choices, etc. Plus you have a kind of accountability. Not that you would be in trouble if you didn’t keep up, but you’re more motivated knowing that you have others to share the process with.

Sukie: I’ve participate in a couple sew alongs. I love seeing everyone’s style come out of their project or even seeing a different way of doing something, especially something that I wouldn’t have thought of. The community feel of being in a sew along is the best. If you have issues or run into problems, just ask the group. That’s one thing I’ve grown to love about the sewing community – we’re all really supportive of each other and there’s no wrong way of doing something.

Zakka Style book, sweet sugar cookie sack

You have some great prizes for your sew along! Can you tell us a little bit about how to approach a company about sponsoring a blogging event?

Lindsey: Amy handled the sponsorship for this event, but my experience in previous sponsorships is to reach out to those shops/businesses that you’re loyal to. Most of the shops I’ve dealt with really love to support the sewing and quilting community but they don’t know about opportunities unless you ask. Tell the business how the event can benefit them, you kind of need to sell yourself! It can be intimidating, but with anything, the worst they can say is no.

Zakka Style book, quilt block magnets

So, there’s a new project each week of the Zakka Style Sew Along, with different bloggers featured each Monday. Do you have any tips for deciding on the timing or format for an online sew along?

Lindsey: For this sew along, timing felt a bit challenging. I knew I wanted to sew through the entire book, so with 24 projects the event would be a long one. I wanted participants to have enough time to get the projects done, but not so much time that you began to lose interest. I also needed to coordinate 24 different bloggers to make sure we were all on the same page. Weekly seemed like the best fit and so once the start date was chosen, we just went from there. I had to decide early on not to stress about other events that might come along or whether anyone would signup. There truly is room for everyone, so don’t allow yourself to be discouraged. As long as you’re hosting a sew along that you’re passionate about, it doesn’t matter if it’s just you and one other person! Doing something you love is the important part!

Sukie: An important aspect of a sew along is first seeing the finished product. You want to show readers, “Hey, it’s worth it to do this, and here’s what you’ll get after all your hard work.” I agree with what Lindsey. We looked at each project and they all seem fairly simple and decided that a week’s timeframe wasn’t asking too much. So if reader sees on Monday how the project looks when it’s done, then they’ll have the whole week to motivate them to finish. But also, if you can’t finish in the week time frame, don’t worry! Finish at your own pace. We have prizes at the end of each week but we also have a big prize pack at the end of each 6 weeks that we’re doing a random prize drawing for. The most important thing about planning a sew along is not to rush it or make it too long. You’ll lose readers because they can’t follow along or they’re anxious to move on the next step.

Zakka Style book, happy garland message board

I’m sure it’s a challenge to stay organized through a big project like this, and I bet teaming up helps! Any advice for how you stay organized as a blogger, or how to balance creative projects with the other parts of life?

Lindsey: My best advice is to plan in advance. A well organized event takes time to coordinate so you need to give yourself time to work out all of the details. I try to write and schedule blog posts in advance so that I can stay ahead. That way if life happens, I’m not stressing out. Teaming up absolutely helps, too! Along with sharing the work load, you have someone to be your cheerleader on bad days and to bounce ideas off of. We also created a Flickr group for the contributing bloggers as a place to discuss plans and to ask/answer questions easily. This was really helpful in helping us all stay connected.

Sukie: Once you have your sew along idea, start planning! Give yourself plenty of time to organize. The more help you ask for – especially from friends that you trust – the easier it is on you. Make sure to keep a list and tick items off as they’re handled, or when issues come up, write them down. I would say one of the most important things to remember is: Don’t kill yourself with stress over a sew along.

Thanks for the tips, ladies! Week one’s project was a cute zig-zag tote, and here are some of the entries from participants:

Zakka Style Zig Zag Totes

1. Zakka style tote, 2. Zakka sew-along Zig-Zag-Tote 1, 3. ZigzagZakkaTote10, 4. Zakka tote – outside 2, 5. Zig Zag Tote – Zakka Style, 6. zigzag tote, 7. Zakka Style Zigzag Tote, 8. zigzag tote bag, 9. Zakka Style Zig Zag with Streptocarpus

As you can see below, there’s still plenty of time to grab a copy of the book and join in! Also, Lindsey is hosting link parties for each project on her blog, so follow along to see the latest projects, sew along and enter to win fantastic prizes.

Zakka Style Sew Along

Felt Flowers Button Snake

Button Snake Stack

This is a quick tutorial for a “button snake” toy to help kits with their buttoning skills. In case the word “snake” sets fear in the heart of your child or yourself, try calling it a button caterpillar!

For supplies, you’ll need felt scraps in a variety of colors, two buttons (1-inch and 1.5-inch across), about 18 inches of grosgrain or thick ribbon, scissors, a needle and thread. I used a die cutter to cut the felt flower shapes and some nail polish to secure the buttons and thread. I also created this project entirely with supplies from my stash, so it can be very inexpensive.

Button Snake Supplies

First, cut out several squares of felt in a rainbow of colors. I used 16 colors, but you can adapt this pattern to use whatever you have on hand. Use scissors and a circular template (like a drinking glass) to trace and cut circles out of felt. Instead of cutting circles, I used my Accuquilt GO! Baby and the Rose of Sharon die to cut out the largest size of felt flowers, which are about 3-inches in diameter.

Felt Flowers

Use your scissors to cut a slit in the middle of each felt shape, large enough for the smaller button to go through easily (but not the larger button). I cut my slits about one inch wide.

Button Hole

Next, hand sew the smaller button onto the top side of your ribbon end, repeating on the other end with the larger button. Secure button several times with your needle and thread, so the buttons don’t pop off with frequent use.

Hand-sew buttons to ribbon

I used a bit of nail polish (you can use clear if you’ve got it) to paint the thread to the back of each button as an extra measure of security. Make sure to keep a close eye on your kids when using this toy, so they don’t put anything harmful in their mouths.

Nail Polish

Note: If you are worried about buttons being unsafe for your children, you can leave off the buttons entirely and just sew a circle of felt perpendicular the bottom of the ribbon (example here) to use as a stopper for all of the other felt shapes.

Button Snake

Once the buttons are secure, use the smaller button to guide each flower onto the ribbon. The larger button will act as your stopper. Young kids can be engaged for hours with this simple toy, as they practice putting on and taking off the felt flowers.

Button Snake Finished

It’s also small enough to stash with you in your toddler’s “busy bag” to take in the car, the waiting room or anywhere they need to be entertained!

Dahlia and the Ribbon SnakeDahlia and the Button Snake (Thanks Suzy!)

If you make this or any of our tutorials, we’d love to see them! Just comment with the link or add the photos to the Craft Buds Flickr group.

Book Review: Modern Basics

The Sewing SummitDid you sign up for The Sewing Summit before it sold out? I am excited to attend in October, and feel lucky to have gotten a ticket!

The first Sewing Summit was founded by sewing bloggers Amy Ellis and Erin Singleton. Although Amy will be teaching and not organizing this year’s event, the Sewing Summit’s return to Salt Lake City is highly anticipated as shown by the event selling out in just 10 hours!

Book Review: Modern Basics

In case you haven’t read it, I wanted to share a bit of Amy’s book Modern Basics: Easy Quilts to Fit Your Budget, Space and Style (Martingale & Co). The book has 14 quilt patterns that major on squares, strips and rectangles. Even the triangles on the cover quilt are approachable for beginners.

There’s also a Quiltmaking Basics chapter that talks about tools, block construction, squaring up quilt blocks, adding borders, basting, machine quilting, and binding. If I would have had this book when I made my first quilt, the section on bindings would have been so helpful!

Modern Basics book: Basic Ease quilt

“Basic Ease” is the first pattern in the book, and it is constructed from just 30 basic quilt blocks, making it suitable for beginners. Patterns are accompanied by full-color illustrations to help with piecing blocks and strips. “Tumbling Cubes” is another beginner friendly quilt design with squares that seem to float randomly across the quilt top. But again, one simple block can be repeated for stunning results.

Modern Basics book: 1,2,3! quilt

“1, 2, 3!” shows a simple way to display great fabrics. Again, a single block design is flipped and pieced in alternating colors, and the resulting quilt is one of my favorites in the book. Plus, who can go wrong with Hope Valley?

Modern Basics book: Basic Puzzle quilt

“Basic Puzzle” offers another clean and modern design, with pieced rows of solid fabric making up the quilt top. Amy’s instructions paired with the illustrations are clear and easy to understand. If I make a quilt from this book (so many quilts, so little time!), I’m dying to try my hand at this one.

Amy also hosts the bi-annual Blogger’s Quilt Festival, which ramps back up on May 18, 2012. Make sure to check out Amy’s blog for updates on the free event for quilting bloggers, and the new button when it’s available.

Blogger's Quilt Festival

A question for quilters: Think back to your first quilt. What was the trickiest part of putting it together, that you wish you’d known more about?

Springtime Crafting: Fresh Picks for 4.1.12

It’s springtime again, and we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss these tutorials before Easter is here!

Tulip Petal Sun Hat Pattern and Tutorial

Flower Power: The Cottage Mama shares a tutorial for her adorable Tulip Petal Sun Hat. Download the free pattern, grab one yard of fabric, and you’ll be on your way to making this cute sun shield.

Peeps Bunny Bunting Tutorial

Army of Cuteness: Dana Made It shares her sugary sweet Peeps Bunny Bunting tutorial. How cute would this be cute for an Easter dinner or baby shower?

Here are some oldies but goodies from Craft Buds:

My Peeps Shirt with Free Printables

My Peeps Shirt with Free Printables

Easy Bunny No-Bakes

Easy Bunny No-Bakes

Dying Easter Eggs with Rubber Cement

Dying Easter Eggs with Rubber Cement

Book Review: Modern Blocks

99 Modern Blocks book cover

Over the last few months, I’ve had the chance to really dig into a modern quilt block compilation from C&T Publishing: Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favorite Designers compiled by Susanne Woods.

This book was at the top of my Christmas wishlist, and has moved with me from sewing room to every other room in the house while I figure out which block to make. After all, there are 99 blocks to choose from! The blocks represent a wide variety of styles, from patchwork to paper-pieced, appliqued and embroidered. Each block in the book is an original design or a fresh take on a traditional block.

Binary: Modern Blocks

Some of my favorite blocks in the book, including “Binary” (above) and “It’s a Stretch” (on the cover), were designed by the very talented Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces. Angela was the winner of the recent Moda Bake Shop SLICED competition, and you might have seen winning project, an adorable owl backpack.

Saturn's Rings: Modern Blocks

“Saturn’s Rings,” designed by Latifah Saafir of The Quilt Engineer,  uses bias-cut strips appliqued to a base block. The bold colors really pop and it’s easy to imagine a whole quilt made from this simple yet stunning block.

House on the Hill: Modern Blocks

“House on the Hill” pairs patchwork with applique and creative machine-embroidery. It’s designed by Monika Wintermantel. There are so many blocks in the book that I want to make when I find the time, and they range from beginner to advanced skill levels.

There is also a Flickr group dedicated to this book, so you can go there to add your blocks or see the blocks that others have sewn up in a variety of fabrics! Here are some recent blocks from that group (photos by Seamed Up).

My creation

As you can see, the book has a staggering variety of blocks! So how did I ever choose which one to make first?

My Blocks

Four Acres Block: Modern Blocks

As part of an online quilting bee I participate in, I’m always looking for a good 12.5″ square block to make in a variety of colors. I whipped up these blocks (plus one more) from the “Four Acres” pattern above, designed by Solidia Hubbard. The book gives specific measurements for each cut, so there is no guesswork, and I was happy to be able to pre-cut all of my fabric one night, and sew the blocks the next day following the block assembly instructions.

4x5 Blocks, 1st Qtr

Although I’ve been known to spend as long as 6 hours designing blocks for this bee, I’m happy to report that this book helped me shave 2 hours off of my production time! Whether you are part of a quilting bee or just looking for a way to build your quilting skills, Modern Blocks is an excellent resource for your quilting library.

Have you checked out Modern Blocks yet? If so, what blocks really caught your eye?

Sew Along Winners!

Thank you to all of the participants in the Pleated Boxes Pillow Sew Along! I had so much fun seeing your lovely pillows, and I hope you had fun making them.

Of the 16 completed pillows entered here, the random winning numbers are 5, 13, 12, 11 and 9!

Flea Market Fancy fat quarters winner:
#5 Janelle @ Emmaline Bags & Sewing Patterns

pleatedpillow sew along by Janelle

Make It Sew Modern book winner:
#13 Tabitha – Klucking Bear

Pleated Box Pillow

$20 store credit to Lindsay Sews on Etsy winner:
#12 Ella @ throwawenchintheworks

Glass Half Full PDF pattern + pattern of your choice from Create Hope Designs winner:
#11 kimberlee

pillow #2

5 spools of Aurifil Thread winner:
#9 Kendra @ missknitta’s studio

Congrats to the winners, and I’ll be in touch shortly! If you didn’t get a chance to sew along with us, you may down the free pattern and follow along with the posts at any time. And when you do, we’d love to see your projects in the Craft Buds Flickr group!

Would you be interested in another Craft Buds sew along? If so, what would you be most interested in making (bag, shirt, accessory, home decor/quilt, etc.)?

Giveaways Roundup + Pillows Update

You still have three sewing days to get in on the Pleated Boxes Pillow Sew Along, and enter your pillow for a chance to win prizes. It takes about 2-3 hours to whip up this pillow, and you can customize using scraps, pre-cut fabric, or whatever you have on hand!

Check out these recent additions to the Craft Buds Flickr group. I love the variety of pillows and personal touches!

You can link up your pillow here by Friday, March 23, and we will announce five random winners on Saturday!

Speaking of Winners

Have you checked out our giveaways page? Lots of fabric and other lovely things you can enter to win this week! Also, you can promote your craft supplies or handmade giveaway any time at Craft Buds by adding the link.

Giveaways March 19-25

Link Up Your Work! Pleated Boxes Pillow Sew Along

Have you been following our Pleated Boxes Pillow Sew Along? I’ve seen several inspiring pillows pop up already, and today is the first day to link up your pillows for prizes! Let’s see what you can win:

Prizes

Update: Five random winners will each take home a prize for linking up their finished pillow to this blog post by next Friday, March 23.

1 winner: A stack of Flea Market Fancy fat quarters from my pre-order!

1 winner: Make it Sew Modern book by Vanessa Christenson
1 winner: $20 store credit to Lindsay Sews on Etsy

Make it Sew Modern book cover Lindsay Sews on Etsy

1 winner: Glass Half Full PDF pattern
+ pattern of your choice from Create Hope Designs
1 winner: Aurifil Thread Sample Pack (5 spools total)

Glass Half Full - Quilt Pattern Aurifil Thread

The downloadable pattern will tell you all you need to know to make this pillow, but we’ve also been covering each step on the blog!

Even if you’ve added to the Flickr group, you must add your pillow here to the InLinkz tool so you can be eligible for prizes. Please link directly to your blog post about the pillow or your Flickr photo URL.


Enjoy the free pattern and have fun finishing up those pillows through March 23rd! We’ll see you back on the 24th to announce the winners!


Grab a button!

Craft Buds Pleated Boxes Pillow Sew Along

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