Friday, August 31, 2012

Giving back - Sewing for Orphans at Tam Ky

You know how there are people who you start chatting with and you just immediately feel connected to them as if you've known them for a long time? Well I was fortunate enough to get to e-meet Teresa Coates recently and I was immediately just taken with her and her story. 

Several years ago, Teresa and her two kids packed up and went to Vietnam. During their time there, they spent some time volunteering at the Tam Ky orphanage. And now Teresa has launched a charity handmade clothing drive for that orphanage. So when she asked me if I could lend a hand with some sewing, I dove head first into my fabric stash and gleefully started sewing like a crazy person. But before I share what I made, here's a bit of back story from Teresa: 

When I volunteered, along with my two children, to spend a couple of months working with orphans in Vietnam, I had no idea just how much I would grow to love those children. Despite the language chasm between us, we developed friendships and an affection that is incomparable. As a mom, it was amazing to watch my kids with them--Audrey would hold the babies and feed them formula, while Stuart was the one the young boys flocked to for a game of chase. Six years and two return visits later, the situation at the orphanages has not improved. The state-run facilities are desperately in need of additional items that cannot be purchased with the limited funds provided by the government. International adoptions were shut down and children continue to be left at the orphanages. 

Along with efforts to publish our story about moving to Vietnam, I want to provide yet again for these kids. Each time we've returned we have been able to bring along clothes, food, shoes, and toys, as well as cash to pay for fruit, yogurt and milk (all are considered non-essential so not supplied by the government). 

As part of our Pho for Three fundraiser, I’m heading up a charity sewing drive to get quality, handmade items to these kids I love so much. There are five things, in particular, that I’m asking for: shorts, dresses, messenger bags, pencil pouches and simple diapers. Depending on your time, sewing abilities, spare fabric, etc. you can pick whichever one you want to make. With more than 100 kids ranging from newborn to 17 years old, there’s plenty of opportunity to help.

Here's a post that outlines the specifics of the Sewing for Orphans project
If you're unable to sew something you can also donate to her fundraiser here.  

Nearly the moment I finished chatting with Teresa about the project, I got to sewing and had such a great time making up a bunch of goodies for the kids at Tam Ky. 

I started with pencil cases. 
I used the boxy zippered pencil case tutorial by Annie Get Your Glue Gun here.

And then came the shorts from a tutorial by Dana Made It. (Although I'm convinced that I printed out the pattern incorrectly because the shorts are seriously tiny. I'm guessing 12 months max instead of the toddler sizes that I was anticipating. They're still adorable and I'm sure they can be used but if you make shorts, you might need to make something larger. Teresa can let you know what she's still lacking in terms of sizes.)

And then these flouncy skirts, also from a Dana Made it tutorial. (Ridiculously easy to make and I kinda wish I was a 5 year old girl so I could wear one too!)

And then of course tiny tank tops and t-shirts with matching appliques were a necessity. 

Final tally: 12 pencil cases, 7 shorts, 6 skirts, 16 t-shirts and tanks. All boxed up and winging their way to Teresa where she'll be collecting all the handmade treasures before they're sent over to the kiddos at Tam Ky in Vietnam.

If you can lend a hand in any way, again here's more info on the Tam Ky project here. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Fabric in my Shop!

Soooo excited to get the new fabric posted in the store today!

There are 2 new collections: The Flour Shop and Urban Circus 2. They're both limited release fabrics that I self produced and are digitally printed. I love the way the colors turned out and can't wait to start making things with the new prints as soon as possible!

The Flour Shop - 2 prints
Pies and Cakes (blue and red)
Cupcakes (parchment - which is a lovely grey-ish purple and yellow)

Urban Circus 2 - 4 prints
Giraffes (on a light blue ground)
Lions (on a navy blue ground)
Rhinos (on a white ground)

They're newly listed in my Etsy store here. Enjoy and have a great week!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Two more Olive the Ostrich giveaways!

Eeee!!!! I have two more Olive the Ostrich projects (and two more giveaways!) to share with you. 

The first is this stunning Insignia Quilt from Sarah at Bluprint Textiles. It simply makes me swoon. I really love the range of fabric she paired with the Olive fabrics. The yellow gives a little extra sass to balance out the sweetness of the Olive prints. And you know I love a little sass!

I've always been a bit perplexed by how to get my points to look neat and tidy when working with triangles and Sarah's explanation finally got the light to go on for me. And I'll definitely be picking up one of those Tri-tool templates soon. Thank you Sarah!! 

For giveaway #1 (a FQ set of Olive the Ostrich fabric), scoot over to Sarah's blog before Monday, September 3 to put your name into the hat in order to be able to win. 

And the second project is from Sara at Sew Sweetness, who seems to be able to create a never ending stream of simply adorable bags and other goodies. I spied this Frou Frou bag Sara made using Tufted Tweets and just fell in love with her patterns. And I just stumbled across her pattern for a chair cushion that I must make. 

And now she's created this Pixie Wallet. I know! So cute, right?! Sara has written a great tutorial for her hexie wallet and its available here on her blog. I can't wait to try it out myself. 

And for giveaway #2 for a FQ set of Olive the Ostrich, head over to say hello to Sara before Friday August 31st at 7pm CT. 

And if you aren't one of the winners of the FQ sets, don't fret. Olive the Ostrich will start shipping in November 2012, so you'll be able to get some on your sewing table before you know it :)

Everyone have a wonderful weekend! I'll be back early next week to share NEW fabric that will be available in my Etsy store. Some brand new animal prints and a pair of kitchen inspired prints that I am super excited about. Can't wait to get the pictures snapped and get everything listed in the store. Yay fabric!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Olive the Ostrich Placemats

I have another fun Olive the Ostrich project (and another giveaway!) to share with you today!!

Darci at Stitches and Scissors whipped up these sweet placemats for her girls. I'm especially taken with wonky stars these days, aren't you?  I change my mind a lot, but for today at least, of the 4 hearts prints in the collection, the grey ones are my favorite. Tomorrow it could be the red though. :)

Head on over to Darci's blog (before Tuesday August 28) where she's giving away a FQ set of Olive the Ostrich fabric! The fabric starts shipping in November 2012, so here's a great chance to get a hold of some of your own Olive before she's widely available. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Olive the Ostrich bags

Squeee! How cute are these adorable little bags that Melanie over at the Crafty Cupboard made using my Olive the Ostrich fabric?!

Robert Kaufman and I sent her some fabric from my Olive the Ostrich collection (shipping in November 2012) to play with and some to give away! I initially fell completely in love with this uber-amazing Tufted Tweets quilt (sigh...isn't it phenomenal!?) Melanie made. And recently she posted about her her adorable pink and green nursery awning, which is simply brilliant. So needless to say, I knew she'd create something wonderful with the Olive fabric. And of course she did! :)

Using the Ostrich fabric, she whipped up these adorable little bags and I'm so smitten with the way they turned out. Her sweet girls use them to hold their Pixie Dust. And who doesn't need a sassy bag to hold their Pixie Dust I ask you? :) I love this shot with their own Ostrich friend. 

Melanie is hosting a giveaway for a FQ set of Olive + she's also included a link to the tutorial for the bag (by In Color Order), so hop on over there before Sunday August 26 and enter to win!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Scrappy wall hanging

In my last post I mentioned that I followed this great tutorial to learn about the quilt as you go method. I was completely hooked after making a single block, so I decided I needed a bigger project to work on using the technique and opted to make a wall hanging. Rachel at Stitched in Color has made a lovely one a few weeks ago which inspired me to give my own version a go. And to top it off,  I had the perfect blank spot on a wall that had been waiting patiently for me to find something 'big' to live there.

I found a 40% coupon for Michael's and went and picked up a 30" x 40" canvas to use. I knew I wanted the piece to not feel to structured, so I cut 6 blocks out of batting. I cut 2 rows of blocks that were 20" wide by varying heights to add up to roughly 48" high. That gave me some wiggle room to make sure I had enough space to join the blocks together (which I did using the usual method for block joining...nothing fancy). Next was the fun step of digging through all of my fabric stash (and of course picking up a few new ones!) to pick out all my favorites to incorporate. Which of course Fiona helped with. Good cat.

And ta-da!

Dexter had to supervise the photo session. Dorky cat.

I did run into 2 spots on the piece where I ended up with batting showing (oops). And I didn't notice it until AFTER I had attached the whole piece together and staple-gunned it to the back of the canvas frame. Here's one right above the mattress ticking:

Out came the heat bond adhesive strips and I just used a little piece of printed twill tape to cover it right up. That wouldn't work as a solve for a quilt (I'd have to actually applique it...), but for a wall hanging that won't have to be washed or worn, I think it was the perfect little solve. And I actually really like the way it looks too. I see several of these pieces in my future. Loads of fun!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Olive the Ostrich Giveaway winners

Yea! Its time to give away fabric. I loved hearing about all of the new skills everyone is conquering.  As always, thanks for sharing with me. I smile every time a new comment pops up on my blog. The winners (via random number) of the Olive the Ostrich fat quarters are:

Beezus # 13 said...
Maybe it's a little silly, but I've been learning how to use the square in a square method to get me out of some intricate small triangle piecing. Thanks for sharing with us! :)

ritainalaska #57 said...
cute little oufit for a sweet little cutie! i'm going to do hexies, too; i've pulled the fabrics and have the stuff for epp, so i'm ready to cut and proceed. english paper piecing is my new technique to do. wouldn't 'olive the ostrich' make a pretty little hexie quilt for a little girl?

Enjoy and have fun sewing! And, yes Rita, I think a hexie quilt would be amazing!!

I've been mastering a new skill here too. Using this fabulous set of tutorials from Penny of Sew Take a Hike (Hi Penny!), I've been working on quilting as I go. I tried a single block and then was hooked. But I have two quilt tops in progress, so I'm trying to limit the number of giant projects I have under way. So I figured a wall hanging would be just the thing. I'm nearly done and am hoping to finish it up and up on the wall before the end of the week. Here's a little sneak peek where I've used a bit of Olive the Ostrich fabric and some of her pretty heart selvage.

I do warn you though, the quilt as you go method is addictive!  :)

Have a great week!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Olive the Ostrich and a giveaway!

Olive the Ostrich is back! A friend of mine just had a beautiful little baby girl and I knew that I wanted to make her a little dress and bloomers out of my Olive the Ostrich fabric. The line will start shipping with Robert Kaufman this November. At the rate that this summer is flying by, it will be here before you know it!

Making the dress and bloomers was my first go at ruffles and thanks to some great tips from ya'll, I was able to master them. (I used a piece of twine and a zig zag stitch and they came together without any more gnashing of teeth.) I used McCall's 6539 pattern which I had no trouble following once I figured out the ruffle situation. I adore the way the scale of the ostriches in the fabric and the little hearts are just so sweet.

And here's the lovely model, Ella! She's a petite little thing and I made everything waaaaaay to big, but she'll grow into it, right? :) She is absolutely swimming in her little ostrich suit :) How beautiful is she?

So...who wants some Olive the Ostrich? I have 2 FQ packs to give away to 2 of you! Just leave me a comment here and tell me what sewing skill you've recently conquered (or want to conquer!). I will draw the winners the morning of Wed 8/8/12.

My fun berry basket from Anthropologie. Have been waiting to fill it with FQs for a photo shoot. I suspect you will be seeing it again!

The selvage even has little hearts on it. They make me smile. :)

I'm working on a patchwork wall hanging right now and have incorporated a bit of Olive into it. Hoping to make some headway on it this weekend and can share it with you next week. Have a wonderful weekend and good luck everyone!

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