September 29, 2014

back to school...

Our four little people are back-to-school, and that means my kids are all a year older, again. My oldest is just a year away from middle school now, and we've already had talks about what comes after school and trying to influence the importance of getting secondary education.

I was asked by MomCentral to write a post for RBC about the importance of RESP's and how they can have a huge impact on post-secondary education costs. With government grants, investment income, and little monthly contributions, it's easy to save. I was fortunate that the college I went to was local, and my parents helped out by offering free room and board and free car insurance while I went. But this might not be possible for our kids, and post-secondary education costs are rising every year, so RESP's will most likely be a big help down the road.

RBC would like to invite you to a twitter party on October 1st - find them with the hashtag #RESPwithRBC, they will be giving away 6 $100 gift cards. They are also running a contest, Grow Your RESP with RBC, where you can win 1 of 4 prizes of $500 towards an RESP.

Disclosure: I am part of the RBC RESP blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

September 26, 2014

sewing for the boy...

Sometimes when I'm working in my craft room, my little guy walks in and starts looking through my scraps and asking for things to be made for him. And sometimes I give in...

These superhero fabrics were made into a new pillow case.

And a whole bunch of scraps were turned into a wallet, complete with coin pouch on the back, a clear ID spot, a place for bills, and cards.
Now I just need to get through a big fundraiser next week, year-end for my bookkeeping job, and a king size quilt I'm quilting for a friend, and then hopefully back to some new quilting projects.

September 19, 2014

easy HST quilt tutorial...

One of my blog sponsors, Bear Creek Quilting Company, sent me some of their solids and I turned them into a quick baby quilt for a new nephew. This is just a simple half square triangle (HST) quilt, arranged in this layout. I wanted the quilt to fit a piece of 60" wide minky quilt backing so I went with 7.5" finished blocks to make the finished quilt approx 42" x 56". But the math is simple if you want larger/smaller blocks or a different finished quilt.

I also recommend working with good quality cottons, because thinner ones tend to stretch and warp even after squaring them up. For this project, Bear Creek Quilting has a nice selection of Robert Kaufman solids to choose from, and they are fantastic quality.

For this project, you will need 2 yards of your main fabric for each HST (I chose chestnut brown to coordinate with my nephew's room). Cut twenty-four 8.5" squares, you will have enough left over for binding. Then decide on how many coordinating solids you'd like and cut twenty-four more 8.5" squares. Each HST will be made with one main fabric square, and one coordinating fabric.

When making HST blocks, I prefer to start with a full inch to spare when cutting them. So for 7.5" finished blocks, I cut two 8.5" blocks. Then draw a line on the diagonal between opposite corners on the back of one of them, put them right sides together, and sew 1/4" on either side of the line. Then slice down that line, press open, and using a ruler and rotary cutter square them up to 7.5".

Then just lay them out in the design you like, sew the rows all together, and your quilt top is complete. There are many HST layouts out there, this is just one idea.

September 12, 2014

Mod Owl Stuffies

This past week, I got the chance to review the Mod Owl Stuffie pattern from MODKID. This is a PDF pattern from their Etsy shop, so you get it instantly, and just need to print the pattern pieces on your printer.

This was a quick project, and it came together with absolutely no problems or seam-ripping. It's also a great pattern for fabric scraps, and I used a piece of minky for the owl backs to make them extra huggable.

I've made several MODKID patterns now, and they definitely don't disappoint. They have clear instructions, computer-drawn pictures which are easy to decipher, and lots of inspiration photos. In fact, I even dived into this pattern by making three at once since there's a double birthday party coming up for my daughter, and she of course wanted one for herself too.

My other three children have all asked for their Mod Owl's next, and I'm thinking that a superhero version complete with mask and cape for my little guy would be a big hit.

ModKid is gearing up for a sew-along of their popular Avery Dress pattern, and are offering a 20% off coupon code, good for anything in their shop (including the Mod Owl pattern). Just use coupon code AVERYSAL2014 at checkout. The coupon code expires on 9/24/14 at midnight EST.

September 09, 2014

Catching up with Joy Circle...

For the past couple years, I've been a member of the JOY circle for Do Good Stitches. Each month we make one or two quilt blocks for the host quilter who sews them all up into a quilt for a hospital or charity.  Here are my blocks for July (Greek Crosses above) and August (large HST below).

While I've loved being a part of this group, I'm finding it hard to keep up with the commitment lately. The last two quilts that I hosted are unfinished in my craft room. Hopefully once I've settled back into the school routine, I'll find time to catch up on the quilts that I need to finish and make a decision from there. But first, I have to catch up on bookkeeping work, get our GEMS group kicked off for the year, and work on a school fundraiser. And I thought life would get less busy with all my kids in school...

September 05, 2014

Making necklaces with my GEMS...

This is a project I did awhile ago with my GEMS girls for their moms for mothers day. They were given their choice of a pre-printed charm, and then had to add jumprings, attach to a chain, attach a clasp, and add beads and a charm of their choice. There was a lot of concentration around the table as they worked on them, and I think they all did a fantastic job.

A new year of GEMS is about to start, and I'm looking foward to working with a younger group this year. Time to start searching pinterest for new crafting ideas!

August 27, 2014

Another Sun and Surf Tote...

My sister-in-law had a birthday, so I sewed her up a Sun and Surf Tote for all the beach days we've been having.

She told she she liked teal and hot pink - and teal won by far in my fabric stash. I added in some black and gray, and a favorite Pat Bravo print that I've been holding onto for the strap.

August 26, 2014

enjoying our Summer...

Our Summer has been filled with beach days, time in the pool, waterslides, and camping. We just got back from a 10 day trip and it was fantastic having my husband off of work and lots of family time. We discovered a great little campground with a big sand pit, nearby lake, covered eating areas, TV, and bikes for the kids to borrow - which broke our 12 hour drive into two days. Then we spent a few relaxing nights at my grandmother's hotel-style basement, and then joined all my in-laws at a campground for 5 nights. We usually try out one new campground each Summer, and we camp in a little tent trailer with the littles while the big girls tent right next to us.

Now that the Summer is coming to an end, I'm looking forward to getting back into the routine of school, and the kids are super-excited to be seeing all their friends again. It will also give me a chance to get some uninterrupted time in the office to get ahead on some of my bookkeeping work, and get some sewing done for the kids. Today we packed all the school supplies into their backpacks, so we are officially ready. And yes, I have four kids going this year for the first time! But thankfully, my little man only gets part-time kindergarten so I'll still have a little helper running around some days.

Disclosure: I’m part of theKinder® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

August 05, 2014

MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes

MODKID is a brand created by Patty Young. Her fabrics are bright and her patterns are fun. She has been hosting a sewalong on her blog for her Sun and Surf Tote, and since I love making bags, and could use a new beach tote - I jumped right in.  I ended up making two totes, and just cut out a third one today. This was a quick pattern, and I'm loving the results.

For my first tote, I used up two orphan herringbone quilt blocks. I sashed and quilted them, and made them into the main panels.  The little floral fabric for the sides, trim, and lining is from The ribbon on the strap is from MODKID.

The second tote used up some flowers from a panel I had in my craft room. I sashed it with one of Patty's fabrics, quilted it, and found some other coordinating prints in my stash. This tote is being donated to a local charity auction.

The grommets were super-easy to install (they just snap together), and the buttons are fun. Both can be purchased from the MODKID Etsy shop.

August 01, 2014

Tara Tank top . . .

This is my second time sewing Kay Whitt's Tara Tank pattern; this time I did a tunic length. I love how light and Summery this one turned out, and have been getting lots of wear out of it.

You can see my knee-length version here. And the pattern can be found here.

July 30, 2014

Pinwheel Baby Quilt...

A close friend asked for a baby quilt for when she has family come to visit.

I had a stack of pinwheel blocks that had been given to me a couple years ago, added some sashing, and the quickest baby quilt ever was made.

The backing and sashing are a print from a fabric line called Paintbox.

I'm loving the fun and bright prints in the blocks, and happy to have put those pinwheel blocks into a quilt that will get used.

July 25, 2014

Seamingly Smitten pattern tour...

Seamingly Smitten is an Etsy shop with simple modern patterns for women. This past week, I sewed up a couple of their Magazine Maxi Dress pattern. And I'm LOVING how easy these came together, and how comfortable they are to wear!

 For a limited time, get 50% off any pattern in their shop with the coupon code below:

July 23, 2014

Town Square dress/top pattern...

Last week, I was in the testing group for Terra's Treasures new pattern and sewed up a couple dresses for my girls. These were a super-quick sew, and use knit fabrics.

For my oldest daughter, I used a thinner knit that drapes really nicely - purchased at my local fabric store. The polka dot print was a scrap in my stash.

For my youngest daughter, the fabrics are mostly from Patty Young, and were left over pieces from other tops I had made for my girls.

Hoping to sew up a couple more of these in tunic length - perfect for back-to-school with leggings for my youngest daughter that doesn't like to wear jeans.

The Town Square Dress/Top Pattern was just released and is on sale for a limited time.