Monday, December 31, 2012

how about a stitchalong?

So I've been thinking about something fun we can do together in 2013. I've really been enjoying creating new embroidery patterns lately. Then we received a challenge at our last Bring 'n Brag meeting, to do a project each month based on an assigned theme. Bingo! I will create a simple embroidery pattern for each theme to meet the challenge. Then I thought, wait! I could share them on my blog and we could all stitch together. When we're all finished, I'll give you instructions to turn the 12 squares into a wall hanging for your sewing space.

The designs will be simple to do. You will need to know some basic embroidery stitches (backstitch, chain stitch, french knots, running stitch, lazy daisies). If you google these you can find lots of tutorials and videos online. I won't bore you with more here, since so many others have done a great job already. You might want to use the next few days to practice!

Also, you can gather your supplies. You will need:

A 6 inch embroidery hoop
embroidery needles
a needle threader if you're blind as a bat like me!
3/4 yard of good quality white cotton fabric cut into 12 8 inch squares
1 1/2 yards of pellon shape flex (a woven fusible interfacing)
12 5 inch squares of print fabric. I am using squares from a charm pack of Sew Stitchy if you want your finished project to look just like mine. Otherwise, choose fabrics that you like.
several colors of embroidery floss to coordinate with your fabric (again, if you want to do what I do, my colors are DMC 225, 318, 666, 747, 3806 and 3846)

Iron a 7 inch square of the shape flex to the back of each square of white fabric. This will give you a good base for your embroidery. The shape flex adds stability and helps to hide those wandering knots and threads on the back of your pieces. 

I would suggest getting a gallon zip loc bag to store your stack of fabrics and supplies. You're going to need to find them every month people! DON'T LOSE THEM! (can this happen, you ask? I assure you, it can.)

Ok, now you're ready! So here's the deal. On the first Friday of every month I will provide you with the pattern for the month. Each square will be only 4 inches finished. You can do this! So check back here on Friday, January 4 and we'll get started!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

learning to sew... pajama pants

My teenage friends came to sew again yesterday. They have been wanting to make pajama pants, so we decided to do it over Christmas break when we could spend a full day together. It was their first time sewing with a commercial pattern. Learning to measure, pin, cut and follow pattern instructions....

 It was a huge success! Look how happy they are in their new PJs.....
Thanks to moms who provided lunch for us. We had a fun day!

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 in review.... additional projects

I didn't just make quilts in 2012! Here are a few of the other things I made this year, bags, aprons, mug rugs, stockings, pillows and a dress! I didn't crochet a lot this year, but I did finish up some dishcloths and my fusion blanket. I love variety! It's fun for me to make lots of different things each year.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012

We had a lovely Christmas at the Z house. Doctor Ally received her first real stethoscope (which she promptly tested on the dog! Good news. Lexi has a heartbeat) and Steve was happy with lots of movie posters for his apartment...
I was completely spoiled by Santa and everyone else. Two beautiful necklaces to wear. The first sweet hubby ordered from The Rusted Chain, love their stuff! And the second, the adorable sewing machine, came from Leigh Anne in Arizona...

 There were other goodies too... more charms for my pandora bracelet, gift cards, books to read, calendars. Mom and Dad sent me this beautiful sewing basket that Mom and I found on a shopping adventure in Prescott last month. Dad fixed the little foot on the bottom so it doesn't rock anymore....
 They also sent the scrumptious box of Gutterman threads. Santa filled my stocking with sewing goodies too, so I tucked those into the basket.

I got some quilting/sewing books....
The first two from Santa (I WILL figure out how to free motion quilt this year!) the Liberty book from my sewing/shopping buddy Joellen and the beautiful Australia wildflower calendar and stitching book from blogging buddy Maria.

We had a little Texas surprise in the afternoon as our rain showers turned to snow. A white Christmas! I was glad I didn't need to leave the house, it's pretty from the windows but I have no desire to go out in it.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas too!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 in review... mini quilts

I made quite a few minis this year. Many were for friends.... the believe quilt for my secret sister at church, several with embroidery for bloggy friends and my quilt guild secret pal. Some were to learn new techniques.... 2 twister minis, a double disappearing nine patch and my london quilt with twilling. I love to make minis because they are quick! I see more mini quilts in my future...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of my wonderful friends in blogland. God bless you and your families as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 review... large quilts

I think it's safe to say I won't be cranking out any more big quilts in 2012! Here are most of the ones I completed this year. A very productive year if I may say so myself! AND I actually kept some of these for myself, which is rare. 

I learned some new techniques this year (like making crumb blocks in the last quilt on the top row), participated in some fun block swaps (Kaffe 9 patches in the second row, red and cream and lime and gray, in the bottom row), and completed some blocks of the month and challenge quilts (Birdie stitches in the top row and ticker tape blocks on the bottom).

It's always fun to look back at the end of the year and see what I have accomplished! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

learning to sew, the ongoing story

My young friends came to sew yesterday. I didn't get any action shots but I did get some pictures of their lovely pincushions.
 I let them dig through my scrap drawer and choose 2 1/2 inch squares for the top and big squares for the bottom. And then, of course, they got into my buttons! They also enjoyed "posing" their pincushions for the photo shoot....

 while they were digging in the scrap drawer, I did a little digging of my own. I had seen this pillow online and decided my house needed a similar one. It would have been so much easier to strip piece it, but I began with 2 1/2 inch squares so mine took a little while but I am really happy with it. I was able to feature some bigger squares of my Australian Christmas fabric too. I kinda-sorta straight line quilted the pillow topper. It's a little wonky but I like it. So there.
It's great to have all of my Christmas gifts done and mailed so I can just take a day out and sew something fun for me!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


You might notice some changes here on the blog. I've had a little help redecorating! And even better... I have a new logo and a website! That's right... ellyn's place is up and running. Go ahead, check it out. I'll wait right here until you get back....

What do you think? I'm happy to have all of my sites linked up in one spot. Much thanks to Jordan Johnson, my new webmaster. If anyone would like her contact info just leave me a message here or pop me an email and I will put you in touch with her.

I have big plans for ellyn's place in 2013. I hope you'll all come along for the ride!

Friday, December 14, 2012

a bag for me

 I bought this awesome pattern while I was in Phoenix last month, and some fabric to make it for me. Finally, I got to make it yesterday and today...
I have made some of Penny Sturges patterns before and they are very well written. This bag is aptly named, the Pocket Parade Tote.... it has tons of pockets! eight pockets on the inside, pockets on the front and back...
 and even 2 pockets on the sides. What a great bag...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


We've finally had some chilly days in Texas. I wasn't sure winter was ever going to arrive this year. While I'm not a big fan of cold weather, I am happy to drag out my long sleeved shirts & sweaters. Also, I made myself a fun scarf a few weeks ago and I've been waiting and waiting to wear it. I did some simple patchwork piecing, backed it in flannel and crocheted an edging on it....

I snuck some pieces of my Liberty of London fabrics in there. I'm hoarding every scrap of that fabric. I will be very sad when I use the last piece.

I am thinking about writing up a tutorial for this scarf..... would you be interested in that? It would be a fun project to work on on a cold winter night.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

giveaway winner

It's time to announce the Sew Mama Sew giveaway winner! chose #46...

PippaP said...
was having the fire brigade out to sort out our asian hornets nest in our field

Congratulations Pippa! I have emailed her and will get the basket of goodies in the mail in the next few days. Thanks to all of you who entered my giveaway and left such nice comments. And a big thank you to all of my new followers! I hope you'll stick around and have even more fun with us here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

festive treats

so, I saw this pin on Pinterest a while back and thought these would be so cute for the holidays. And thanks to these...
 I was able to make them gluten free! Yay! Mine aren't quite as fancy as the ones on Pinterest but I think they came out pretty cute. I decided to put sprinkles on them while the white chocolate was still soft...
 And here they are in my cute little IKEA bow on my cute little IKEA tray. Just because.
The church ladies are coming for tea on Sunday. I think these will go over big.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

this and that Thursday

Looking for the Sew Mama Sew giveaway post? Here it is!

It's been a busy week here! I am getting the house ready for some Christmas entertaining this weekend. Still need to get to the grocery store.... yikes! I'm running out of week! Meanwhile I had some things to share. This package arrived this week all the way from Australia...
 Maria is so on the ball! Her Christmas gift is still sitting here in my sewing studio. It's time to get my act together and get to the post office! Hope it's not too late to get it to her by Christmas! This gift is tucked under the tree for happy opening on Christmas day.

A couple of weeks ago I won a gift card to The Rusted Chain on Facebook! They have so many wonderful choices on their website and many of them were on my Christmas list. It was hard to choose! I finally settled on this beauty which says "dream God sized dreams". A wonderful reminder! I love it.
 And yes, I have been crafting. I had a candy pack of Marmalade that I won at Bring n Brag and I made it into a little stitched wall hanging. It's for my guild secret pal.... she'll receive it at our holiday brunch on Saturday.
What have you been working on?

Monday, December 3, 2012

giveaway day!

comments have been closed on this post. Thanks everyone for entering.

Today is giveaway day at Sew Mama Sew! I love to join in the fun. If you got here through a link on their blog, welcome to ellyn's place! I hope you'll come back often. If you're one of my regular readers and you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, you'll want to hop on over to Sew Mama Sew and check out all of the awesome giveaways happening this week! Prizes galore. So, I know what you're thinking. Quit babbling, Ellyn, and get on with it! What can we win?
Here's a fabric basket filled with goodies for a winner to enjoy. What's that you say? You can't see what's inside the basket? Sigh. Ok, I'll show you...
 Some fall colored treasures to help you hang onto the last days of the season! Some are handmade items by me (the basket, a colorful pot holder, a crocheted dish cloth and a little pear pincushion.) Others are supplies for you to make your own crafty items (a bundle of fall colored fabric squares tied with fancy fabric ribbon and some ellyn's place buttons with fall leaves on them). I'm sure some other treasures will find their way into the package too.... surprises as it were!

So, how do you win? Simple! Leave me a comment on this post telling me the most fun thing you did this fall! Or the coolest thing you made this fall. For a second chance to win, become a follower of my blog. Just leave a second comment telling me that you're a follower. Make sure I have an email to reach you by. No-reply-bloggers who don't give me their email will be disqualified. Boo. You do not want that to happen to you!

I will close the comments on Friday evening and announce a winner on Saturday.... and I will ship anywhere so overseas comments are most welcome.

What are you waiting for? Come on! Leave me a comment. You know you want to! And enjoy visiting new blogs this week and checking out their giveaways. I know I will!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

learning to sew... the ongoing story

The girls came over for another lesson today. One drawstring bag needed to be finished up...
 And then we played with Shrinky Dinks! They had seen buttons and pins I made with shrinky dinks and they wanted to do it too. So we did...
 Wait, what is that she's making?
 ah, it's Justin Beiber! Of course! I'd know him anywhere!
 Somewhere on Pinterest I saw someone suggesting you stick straight pins in a potato when you put them in the oven to shrink. Genius! It worked like a charm. The girls straight pins were so creative and cool!
Next time they come, we're going to make pretty patchwork pincushions so they can display their awesome pins. Stay tuned!

Also, did you hear? Monday is Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! I'll be playing along for sure. Check this space on Monday for goodies you can win!