Mandala Dotted Journals

Picked up some blank journals at the craft store a few weeks ago, and had a gorgeous day this weekend so sat outside and did some painting in the shade.

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I painted some journals for gifts last Christmas and everyone really loved them. A bunch of women at work take them with them everywhere. So I picked up a stack of them thinking I’d paint a few now and then and have some ready for gifts.

It’s hard to find these blank journals that aren’t really pricey. So when I saw these at Michael’s for a decent price, I picked up a stack.

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Got three done. Planning on doing a few more this week.

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Dog Competition Awards… Zipper Pouches

A friend of mine is hosting a friendly dog agility competition later this summer and has asked me to make zipper pouches for the main prizes for winners. It was a great chance to go through all my dog fabrics and put together some fun combos.

I’ll be making 15 pouches overall — 5 each of large, medium and small. I finished the five large over the weekend.

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I have way too much dog themed fabric! i have larger pieces of the black and white paw prints and bone prints. I have smaller amounts of the other dog prints. So this is a good opportunity to clean out some of those fabrics.

The small and medium pouches will have some brighter colors in them. I’ll put some work into them this weekend. I want to make sure I have them done and don’t have to scramble at the last minute to get them done.

There are some really fun dog themed fabrics out there. I’m guessing I’ll buy more in the future!

No Gray Walls For Me!

We’ve got building renovations going on at work and we’ve been in a construction zone for many months. My office has been pretty much unscathed with the exception of new carpet, new lights and paint.

Each office got an accent wall… bright blue, darker blue, green, yellow or gray. Guess which color I got. Of course, I got gray. Me who loves vibrant color more than anyone I know.

So I pulled out this unfinished paper pieced wall hanging that I had planned on making for my sewing room, which will now adorn my gray walls at work. I started it nearly two years ago. It’s been sitting unfinished because I needed to make seven more blocks to get it to the size I wanted. It’s made from Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics and some batiks.

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This was my first ever paper piecing project. My very generous friend Karin had me up to her place a couple of years ago to give me a lesson on how to paper piece. I learned a lot in that day that will serve me very well in my future paper piecing endeavors. She taught me how to do the actual piecing, how to use the “add a quarter” ruler, and how to manage my fabrics to be as efficient as possible.

I don’t know why, but I always dread sewing circles. But once I sit down and do it, it always works out well and the blocks go together so nicely. I have ambitions to do more circles in the future.

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I played with A LOT of different layouts for this wall hanging. The small size really limited what I could do. I typically prefer a less symmetrical arrangement of New York Beauty type blocks, but there weren’t enough blocks in this wall hanging to make a nice random arrangement. It just felt too chaotic.

Here’s some of the many variations I tried. This is a good representation of my obsession with this process!

 

It’s really overkill. But it took a good deal of time to come up with the right arrangement. And when I would move one block to make an area feel right, it would create four other issues I’d have to deal with.

My friend Karin helped me with this process too. I’d make changes, message her a photo, she’d respond, I’d rearrange and take another photo, send her that photo, and on and on.

I got distracted and was snapped back to reality when my smoke alarm went off! I was boiling sugar water for my humming bird feeder and it boiled dry and smoked up the entire house! It’s going to take me a year to clean that pan!

I’ve been playing with some ideas for the border for this wall hanging, but haven’t yet landed on what I’m going to do. So it hangs on my design wall and I’ve been working on some smaller projects as I mull this over.  I’m thinking I’ll go simple with the border to let the blocks shine.

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As I was pressing this piece, I held it up to the light and the effect of stained glass was so amazing!

Flying Geese Circle Pouch

I’ve had this flying geese circle template set for awhile now and wanted to put it in a pouch. The original pattern finished up at 12 inches, which is way too big for a pouch. So I shrunk the templates down to make an 8×8 block.

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And it’s still to big for the pouch! I have a smaller version that will finish up as a 6 inch block, which will have much better proportions in a pouch. I’ll work on that some time later this week.

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I wasn’t as careful with the quilting as I wish I’d been. Amazing how you can put a lot of work into something and decrease it’s beauty because of a little impatience toward the end. Most people probably wouldn’t see it, but it stands out like a sore thumb to me!

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I used Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics for the goose points, and a white on white that I’ve had for a couple years for the background. I like the texture the white on white gives this. And of course, I just LOVE the blue chambray that I used for the body of the bag.

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Rather than doing a pieced panel for both sides of the bag, I put a zipper pocket on the back. it should be a really functional little pouch.

I just love how the details on the pouches come out in the chambray. It feels so tailored and structured. I just love it!

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Scrappy Mountains Pouch

Finally finished up this paper piecing project that I started back in April, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

After I made and posted the first panel, a friend of mine told me that she wanted the pouch I was making for her mother… who in her 80s continues to buy season ski passes each winter and dearly loves the mountains.

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I let my friend pick out the fabric for the body of the pouch. I really wasn’t sure I liked the light blue, but now that it’s done I’m really happy with it. It feels like a really cold winter afternoon. . . almost dark. It feels crisp and clean to me, and I can almost smell the mountains that I miss so much.

The mountains are based of off the Scrappy Mountains paper piecing templates that I purchased a few months ago. They include a lot of variations of mountain designs, with several different sizes. I’ve seen some really fun fabric combos used on these by different people.

I made each pouch panel from two different templates. I put them together with more of the darker blue sky fabric, and did some improv piecing at the bottom with a dark green batik to give the effect of foot hills.

One of the things I love about this pouch is that all four mountains are different. There are a lot of options with these templates.

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I debated about how to quilt this pouch. I wanted to quilt it because I feared that once washed, the paper piecing would be a mess. I wanted quilting to keep it all in place and manage all those seam allowances. I finally landed on straight line quilting, and I’m really glad I decided to go that way.

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Someone recently was surprised that one of my pouches had a pieced panel on both sides of the pouch. I was so surprised by this! I just assumed that everyone did the same thing. I love having both sides complete with the design. It just makes it a nicer product.

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I’m having so much fun with the little paper piecing I’ve done. There are some really amazing things out there that far exceed my skill level. But I’m getting better. I have plans to incorporate more paper pieced panels in future pouches.

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Wonky Star Pouch

I’ve been making this pouch in my head for a couple of weeks now… wondering how to go about making the star block. I’ve been looking at lots of pictures of star blocks, but didn’t actually look at any patterns or tutorials. I love looking at things and figuring out how to make them — that’s the really fun part for me.

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I’ve wanted to make some wonky star blocks for a long time. I just like the crooked, freelance look to them.  So I dug into my batik scraps and selected some fabrics. I just LOVE that yellow fabric in the center. I chose the aqua and purple to go with the color of the leaves in the yellow batik.

I free motion quilted a simple stipple design across the star panel. I used a light gray thread to blend in a little.

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I just bought a selection of 25 different colors of micro fiber lacing for my zipper pulls. I auditioned several different colors with this pouch, but the purple was the obvious choice. I bought 300 wooden beads for the pulls. I’m wondering how long they’ll last.

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I totally made up the measurements for the block elements. I drew it all out on paper before I started cutting fabric. here’s how it all went together.

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I started by determining the approximate size I wanted the block to be — about 8 inches square finished. So taking seam allowances into account, I started with a 4 inch block in the center. The aqua star point rectangles were cut to 4 x 2.5 inches and the light colored corners were cut 2.5 inches square.

I want to make more of these. I’m looking forward to playing with different combinations and arrangements for color!

 

 

In the Pouch Groove

I’m chunking along getting all my unfinished pouches done. One more set to go. And now I want to cut some more — I want to take some on vacation with me later in the summer.

Here are the latest few to be completed.

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I’m itching to do something different for awhile. I might do some paper piecing to put in pouches. Or I’m thinking of some wonky stars.

I have more ideas than I have time!

Reducing the Pile

I’ve been working on finishing up the seven batik zipper pouch sets that have been cut out for months.

Two down, five to go.

I just LOVE this yellow set! The fabrics are so pretty. So cheerful. I love the pops of purple and aqua at the top. I just love this!

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This set is much prettier in person. I took the photo late at night, so the colors didn’t come out well. IMG_2322

Here’s some detail from the pink set… (click for a bigger photo)

I’ll make another set tonight. Better get up and get started before I lose my umph.

Hand Embroidered Pouch

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I’ve been wanting to try embroidering a panel for a zipper pouch, so sat down today with a piece of canvas that I washed and added some stabilizer to the back.

I’m well aware that I don’t have the patience to do a lot of hand work, so I started by doing some free motion embroidery of the flower stems on my sewing machine. Then I sat down and hand embroidered the flowers and leaves.

I just LOVE this blue chambray — I love the way it looks, I love sewing on it, and I love how the piece turns out… it looks so structured and tailored.

I used the same pocket method as in the other pouches I’ve recently made. it’s a really quick and easy way to put in a zipper pocket.

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I used a simple yellow batik for the pouch lining and for the lining of the pocket. It’s really cheerful and pretty. And it’s just lovely with the blue chambray.

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Look at how amazing the zipper installation looks on this chambray. So crisp and precise. I just love it!

 

This picture gives you an idea of how the pocket goes together.

First, sew the zipper to the top of the panel and pocket lining. Then fold up the lining (the pocket lining is essentially twice tie size of the panel) and sew it to the top edge of the zipper. Then sew on the side pieces and top stitch. Then sew on the bottom piece and top stitch. Then sew on the top strip and top stitch. That’s it. The sewing and top stitching on the sides seals the zipper pocket in place. Now you’re ready to put the pouch zipper in and finish the pouch.

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I just love the little zipper pulls. I made them from some micro fibre swede and little wooden beads. I just love them!

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UFO Zipper Pouches

I’m going to do it! I’m going to finish these seven batik zipper pouch sets that have been all cut out and ready for assembly, sitting in my sewing room for literally months.

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I sat down for a couple evenings last week and sewed the front and backs of all seven sets and selected the zippers for each set. The sewing went really fast because I did production line sewing and chain pieced each set.

Next step is to add the zippers.

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The zippers are the most time consuming part. But it’s worth taking the time to get them sewn in well. The details make all the difference!

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I just love working with these batiks. Picking out the fabric combos for each set is my favorite part of making them. I have probably made more than fifty of these batik pouch sets over the last few years, in addition to all of the sets I’ve made from border collie/batiks and from other fabrics.

These assemble basically like the pouches in my zipper pouch tutorial. It’s just that the front and back of the bag have three sections of fabric, finished with top stitching on the narrow center piece.

I start out with three third yard pieces of fabric and have enough to do the pouch fronts and linings, with some small scraps left over plus one piece about 12×12.

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Here’s the dimensions of the pieces for the pouch fronts and linings. Don’t forget the six pieces at 1×4 inches for the zipper tabs. These can be cut from the smaller scraps.

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The dimensions next to the pouch size are the measurements for the lining and the finished size of the pouch fronts.

Here’s a good representation of the batik pouch sets I’ve made. But it’s not all of them!

(click on each photo to get a bigger view)