Tag Archives: gift

Birthday Bag & Matching iPad Cover

birthday bag & matching ipad cover

A few weeks ago I attended a special birthday party for a friend of mine.  As adults, we don’t get parties and special gifts as much as we did when we were kids, and I always think that’s sad.  Enter: The Birthday Bag.

I bought this pattern several years ago in A.C.Moore – it is actually called the Serendipity Bag.  It’s meant to be used with a jelly roll and at the time, I had a jelly roll that I wasn’t sure what to do with.  Needless to say, I have made quite a few of these bags and I still have that jelly roll…

birthday bag

The pattern is simple to translate to a solid piece of fabric and makes such a great impact!  Plus it only takes a couple of hours to complete, if that.  You need just over a half yard of the outer fabric and just a half yard for the lining.  You could use a bit more and add a pocket to the inside if you like.  It’s large and deep, so if you wanted it as a purse, it would probably be a good idea to add a couple of pockets.  I like to use an upholstery/canvas remnant for the outer fabric so that it’s nice and strong and has a little body, and a coordinating cotton for the lining. I always fancied it as a shopping tote – but not for stinky, leaky groceries…the kind of shopping that you want to show off.  ;-)

At the last minute, I remembered that this friend was set to receive an iPad from as her ‘big’ gift this year and I thought, wouldn’t it be nifty to make her a matching iPad cover as well? After a quick search for a pattern, but found just the right one:

ipad cover

Even with the quilting, this took me just an hour to whip up.  I can’t remember the name of the blog where I found the pattern right now, but I will remember and I will post it!  It has double thickness batting for extra padding and extra room in case the iPad in question has a hard cover.  The flap secures with  hook & loop. Perfect!

Edit: I found it!  The awesome tutorial can be found at one shabby chick.

ipad cover

Work in Progress: Zakka Style Baby Quilt

Hey look, it’s my First. Ever. WIP Wednesday post!  I so rarely take pictures of items that I’m working on, usually reserving the “big reveal” for the finished product.  Over the long weekend I did a lot of sewing but didn’t fully finish anything, so I took pictures anyway.

Baby Girl Zakka Quilt

This is a baby quilt pattern from Zakka Style: 24 Projects Stitched with Ease to Give, Use & Enjoy by Rashida Coleman-Hale.  I know I’m way behind in this and everyone who wanted that book already has it and its old news, but I only just bought it for myself, so you’ll have to bear with me.

It took such a short time to whip out this quilt!  It was complete and ready to photograph before the sun went down on Sunday, and I didn’t even get started until Sunday morning.  I love, love, love the birdies on white, so I decided to build my fabrics around that one.

Baby Girl Zakka Quilt (close up)

The quilt is 45″ x 60″ and I didn’t have any real linen on hand, so I used a linen-colored solid that I had lying around.  Unfortunately, that means that my long strips came up a touch short.  Oops! I had to piece some scraps onto the ends, but I alternated them in the quilt so they wouldn’t make a solid line and break up the quilt design in an odd way.  You can hardly see it, I think!

I’m still deciding how I want to quilt this one.  I always like the idea of somehow echoing the patchwork design in the quilting, but the reality is that an all over free-motion design is so much simpler.

The quilt is larger than I expected.  60″ in reality is way more than the fantasy in my head.  I hope the baby that it is a gift for will love it for years to come!

Fascinating…a retirement gift

Mr. Spock

Way back in the Spring, I saw on Craft a post about a totally awesome Spock quilt. Event though there was a tutorial on how to design the quilt, I thought, gosh, I wouldn’t know where to start.  I showed it to some co-workers who thought it was awesome and that it would be a great gift for our boss, who is a Trekkie extraordinaire.  But ethics being what they are, it really wasn’t appropriate for me to make it for him.

Fast forward to Octoberish when our boss announced his retirement in early December.  I immediately thought of the quilt and did a search to find the post again. Lo & behold, not only did I find the original post, but I found that Carol, the brains behind the blog Funthreads, had started a really amazing, simple to follow, quilt-a-long!  It made the whole project a lot less daunting.

Carol’s quit-a-long makes a twin-sized quilt in eleven parts. I thought a wall-hanging would be much more appealing to our recipient (and also easier for me to complete!), so I printed out each week of the quilt-a-long and wrote in new measurements for the pieces.  If you want to change the size of a quilt pattern, do not skip this step!  Have you ever tried to halve or double a recipe without re-writing the ingredient measurements? I ended up having to triple a batch of cupcakes just recently because I thought I could do the doubling math in my head as I went!  When halving quilt measurements, be sure to take into account the 1/2 inch for seam allowances. Remove the 1/2 inch from the original measurement, divide the resulting number in half, then add the half inch back in.  This will give you the correct (finished) measurement and your full 1/4 inch seam allowances all around.  Also remember that when you halve both the width and height you are essentially making a quilt a quarter of the size of the original.

I free-motion quilted my version of this pattern only in the black/dark parts to make Spock’s face stand out more.  I also stuck mainly with white/cream and black/grey for the darks and lights.  I have to say I am exceptionally proud of this project. Not only was my boss thrilled with his quilt, but I really enjoyed making it – always key.  I’m looking forward to designing my own quilt next, using the Funthreads tutorial – I’m thinking a Dr. Who quilt in TARDIS blue next?

Little baby blue

Check it out! Number and 1 and number 2 of my nanoSEWmo projects!

Quilt & Pillow

The pattern for this baby quilt and pillow is a Wonky Rail Fence, using the Stack-and-Whack method. The backing material is a solid light blue that I had on hand.  I also used a white/blue ombre rayon thread for quilting.  It adds some extra sparkle to the quilt, I think. The pillow has a simple ruffle around the edge and an envelope style back.

To be honest, I’ve had this quilt top on hand for a while waiting for the right time, the right baby and the right skill set. My free motion skills are definitely improving.  It’s tough to keep your loop-de-loops even, let me tell you. But it is so worth the effort. The look on the Mommy-to-be’s face made it so.

Free motion quilting

Congratulations Diana, Stephen & your little Rock Star Monkey! I can’t wait to meet him.

Holiday Gifts: Necktie

Pirate ship Necktie
Pirate ship Necktie
Originally uploaded by alyson_olander

Strictly speaking, this was not a holiday gift.  My dad’s birthday falls just a few days prior to Christmas and, because I understand how much it must suck to get a load of Christmas ‘n’ birthday combined gifts each year, I make a concerted effort to give him one gift for each. This year’s birthday gift was a pirate ship necktie.

Now, be honest, a necktie is kind of a lame gift. But a handmade necktie?  It kind of rocks. I used the Osman Tie pattern from burdastyle.com (http://www.burdastyle.com/patterns/osman-tie) – it is available in a PDF download for all of $2.  The most painful part of the whole process was taping the pattern together and then copying it out onto pattern paper. I do HIGHLY recommend this step, though. Pattern paper is much easier to deal with than taped together printer paper.

I used cotton, not tie silk; and to make matters “worse” it was quilter’s cotton – already relatively thick and stiff on its own. I also didn’t buy tie interlining, but used a piece of suiting that I had on hand  as suggested in the pattern instructions. The whole thing went together in the matter of an afternoon. I ended up leaving out the interlining all together – the quilter’s cotton was so thick it was unnecessary.

Just a couple lessons learned on this one: don’t just eyeball where the design is on the material. As you can see from my photo, I only ended up with one little pirate ship on the front of the tie because I thought I had it lined up correctly, but I didn’t check. Also, if and when I make this again, I’ll move the stay up a little — the skinny side of the tie is a little short to stay in my stay.

Necktie - back
Necktie – back
Originally uploaded by alyson_olander