Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Quilts for Kayla Rose { #theyearofgiving}

The Falling Leaves Quilt top was completed in November 2011.  A stunning top made with Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley.  I remember this quilt top very well because it was my first lesson in measure twice cut once!  I cut all of the center blocks 1/4in too small!  The fabric was out of print, of course, but luckily enough, it was indeed found ( on Etsy) and I finished this beautiful top.  It was never quilted since I had no idea how to quilt such a beauty.

So the quilt top has been folded on my vintage ladder in my sewing room, looking rather sad and unloved until I read a post from my friend Penny Barnes.

If you do not know Penny, you should!  This lady rocked my little world last year by making a quilt for my son in Afghanistan.  She, her son and his class of second graders made the most wonderful  surprise quilt for Michael. She is honestly the most giving person of her time, her talent and, mostly, her love.

When I saw on Facebook that Penny was collecting quilt tops and quilts for Kayla Rose. Kayla's family lost her to cancer in November 2003.   These quilts in her memory to be delivered to Pittsburgh Children's Hospital on Feb 14, the day Kayla was born.  This is the photo of Kayla that her family shared.  I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to watch my children suffer through cancer treatments. I cannot imagine losing a child.  My heart goes out to this family and any family with children that are sick or have been lost.

When I saw Penny's post, I knew the quilt top was meant for her. I cannot imagine a more appropriate  place to give such a beautiful bright quilt. It is the very least I can do.

Penny quilted it up and brought it to life ( as talented longarmers seem to do) and here is the finished quilt that will be joining many others ( thank you everyone) to provide love to children in need.

Here is Penny with a stack of beauties of the quilts to be shipped!  Thank you Penny for organizing such a beautiful memorial to a swat girl and quilt drive!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Four is perfect for a weekend sew :o)

I was able to finish four little dresses this weekend.  The first took the longest since no matter how hard I try, I am not a pattern reader.  I like to see things done so it takes me a try or two ( sometimes three) to be able to *see* what I am reading.  After I figured out what I supposed to be doing I had an assembly like ready to go.  It only took a few hours not much more to make the three remaining dresses give or take 30 minutes since apparently people living here want to eat and still need laundry washed.  Hopefully there will be a playdate organized soon ( I am trying) to have many hands making these adorable dresses to send to some very deserving girls.

Alexander Henry Kleo is one of my all time favorites. I have a skirt in the black/red colorway.

Ginger Blossom Tiles by Sandy Henderson!  I can see a little girl feeling like a princess in this dress!

Amy Butler Love is one of the happiest fabric lines EVER and this one makes my heart sing!

The love for making these prompted a stash raid!  Everything has been properly washed and dried and is waiting to be ironed ( any volunteers?) It may be time to teach the kids to iron,LOL!

Friday, January 30, 2015

I am so excited!

The first dress is finished!  I used Riley Blake Fabrics.  I fell in love with this fabric and bought yardage to make something for my home but then I just did not want to cut it.  It sat in my fabric closet for years and when I decided on making Little Dresses for Africa, this was my first pull.  I love  the happiness of the colors! I hope this will make a little girl very happy! 

I was wring on the sleeves last night and realized that I did not have a safety pin in my sewing rom to pull elastic! How can I not have a safety pin, LOL!  My dear garment sewing goddesses on Instagram had so many amazing ideas!  The best thing about Instagram is if you need immediate assistance, there is so much support!  The number one answer was a bodkin.  I do not own one so I was out of luck but it will be added to my next fabric shop shopping list.  I did find this fantastic tutorial by Kathleen on Fashion Incubator.  This WORKS and it is super easy.  My instagram friends did let me know that this method is not great for stretchy fabric or waistbands.

For my dresses I will be using Aurifil 40wt ( the green spool) and If I have the coordinating colors 28wt ( the gray spool) for  topstitching.  These are my personal favorite for sewing of high use items or when you wish to have a little more pop!

So YAY for #theyearofgiving and I am so excited I am off to a good start!

The Year of Giving { love}

My upbringing was not affluent by any stretch of the imagination so understand what it is like to have to do without.  That being said, I had what I needed to grow up and over the years we have worked hard to give our children everything they need. Our family has fresh food everyday, clean running water, warmth in the winter and the ability to have cool air in the summer.  If we are ill, some of the top medical professionals are only a phone call away and we are able to see them to receive care. The children attend very fine and safe schools.   My daughter will never be thought of as a second class citizen but as a person with value. I am very grateful for my life as I am well aware that this is not the case for many families and children in this country and many other countries around the world.

Choosing a word for 2015 was not something I was interested in doing.  Like a New Year's resolution,  it hovers over you and can have the ability to make you feel that you have somehow failed.  I don't need that kind of pressure in my head or heart.  Giving to others of time, love, and support comes easy to me.  I get immense joy from the act of giving.  I have mentioned before that last year I sadly did no sewing for charity.  I did not realize how much the act of not giving had been a drain.  It took the flu and being bedridden with children also with the flu for me to stop and reevaluate what is important in life.  In that logo time is when my word did come to me, without reservation it will be fully embraced!

My word for 2015 LOVE!  Giving love through actions of kindness, through words, through charity to those less fortunate.

I decided to start sewing Little Dresses for Africa as one of my first projects.  Amy from Amy Lou Who Sews and Angela from Cut to Pieces are joining in to make some dresses for this very amazing project!  There are free patterns for the pillowcase dresses on the website. they also have patterns for Britches for Boys and reusable sanitary pads for teen girls that sadly miss many days of education because of their monthly cycle.

I had chosen not to make the pillowcase dress but a dress with sleeves. Amy suggested a pattern she had made for her littlelouwho's that was easy to make and very adorable. I bought it last week but am always leery of anything that says easy to sew ;o)

I chose fabrics that were bright and colorful from my stash.  Katy wanted to be part of the process and so we took a trip to the Local Quilt Shop and she chose some lovely batiks.  I had not washed them yet so there is no photo.

I had to give myself some time to become reacquainted with my serger and learn how to thread it again.  Maddening machine that is completely adored when it is threaded correctly!

Today I have four dresses cut out and will be ready to go!

This will be #theyearofgiving.  I hope you will join in with me and use the hashtag #theyearofgiving on IG ( my IG is gogokim)  and twitter for any project you may be doing for charity!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bring in the BLUE!

Deciding on colors for around the sewing room I looked to find inspiration IN the room itself.  I love every thing vintage so it was natural to pull from this beautiful Singer to make my next decision! She is so beautiful!  Found on Craigslist for $35 including all the attachments!  I was a happy camper and to top it off, she sews like a dream :o)  The color of that machine is so very lovely, the decision was made to add that somehow into the room in bits and pieces.

In the corner of the sewing room there has been this bolt of fabric.  It is from I am sure the 70's and came from my grandparent's home after my grandmother passed a few years ago.  I have been unsure where to use it but this past weekend when I was working on the painting the sewing table it hit me like a ton of bricks! 


The fabric will be used on my chair that is now a dark gray to brighten up and liven up the room.  It brings my grandparents kinda into my everyday life an that brings me great joy!

Please wish me luck since I have not done an upholstery project in years and I have already cut this one incorrectly once ( thank goodness I have a WHOLE BOLT of this fabric ;o)

What inspires you IN your sewing room?  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cracking myself up!

When the boys were teenagers, I would make a joke about this or that and they would look at me with a deadpan stare and say, "Mom! That was NOT funny!"  

I would laugh even harder and reply, " Yes it was,  I am cracking up!"  They were not amused. 

When putting away fabric and sorting scraps I made a pact with myself that NO SEWING would take place until everything in the sewing room was put away properly in a place...and then I laughed and laughed and laughed! I was sad that the boys were not here to tell me nothing was funny so I could laugh even harder. 

Have you seen the 2015 Aurifil Designer Block of the month for January by Gudrun Erla from GE Designs? How could I resist this lovely mini quilt pattern? Did I mention it is FREE!?! So I completely broke free from the pact I had made with myself ( last week) and pulled out some beautiful fabrics to start sewing!

I used Michael Miller dots ( not sure of the line) and Robert Kaufman Kona Robin Egg!  These are not my usual colors but I love the way the blue POPS!  

The pattern is fantastically written and very easy to follow.  All of the cutting instructions were spot on.  Even though the pieces are small they are not unmanageable.  It was fun to watch this mini quilt top come together.  The most difficult part of this process will be deciding how to quilt!

The thought had crossed my mind with this BOM, since they are all mini quilts, is to make them and have them ready as gifts for birthdays or Christmas.  Planning ahead is always a good idea!

Here are a couple of other finishes for the BOM from other quilters using different fabrics. Love these!

Kim Lapacek from Persimon Dreams

Friday, January 16, 2015

Around the World Blog Hop

Have you seen the fun participants in the Around the World Blog Hop? I was invited by Heather Valentine from The Sewing Loft to join in the fun and spread the blogging love ALL THE WAY around the world!

I met Heather when we were collaborators in the book Kitchen Stitches for Martingale.  Heather and I were both in Houston at International Quilt Market shooting videos on tips on how to help complete projects for the book.  I was so nervous and she was there cheering me on!  I had not met her before that day and there she was being my supporter.  The shoot went smoothly ( with the exception of my shaking hands and voice) and I am sure it was because of her support!

Heather is incredibly talented and her blog is completely filled with all kinds of sewing tips, tricks and projects that are for every sewer and skill level. Did I mention they are almost 100% free!  She collects the best of the best and has them bundled all together in tidy packages of sewing love!  Heather is someone I am thrilled to have as a friend, she calls with words of encouragement just when I need them the most :o) I hope you will take a moment to go and visit her blog and see all the great stuff she has to offer!

Here is a photo of us from when she came to visit me last summer and we asked Katy to get a pic of us...LOL!  This was honestly the best one!  We have too much fun together and I hope that will be lasting a vey long time into the future! ( Especially after sharing this photo)

I was not brought up sewing.  I had a grandmother that did sew adorable outfits for me and my older sister, matching...of course!  The one that really sticks in my head is the fluttered sleeved red and white gingham print ones that we wore in a photograph taken at Grant's Department Store when I was probably seven.  I had no teeth and braided hair.  It was lovely and in the days of film so I am not even sure I have a copy of the photo.  I do remember spending a great amount of time with my grandmother in fabric shops. I would happily look through the "dream" books of patterns and walking through all of the bolts of fabrics.  I have been fascinated with sewing my entire life.  

I did not start sewing until I was 40 and eight years  later I love it more now than ever.  I am a self proclaimed Thrillsewer and am always excited to try something new!  I am not the best pattern reader , having not been brought up sewing,  I have to try and see every step.  All of my tutorials are written from a beginning sewer point of view with no pattern knowledge.  I want everyone to take that first stitch and be confident in learning new sewing techniques and patterns.  I love testing patterns for other quilters to learn more about the pattern reading but still have to take each step "seeing" the words come to life. 

When I wrote my first quilt pattern " Happy Weekender" for Moda Bake Shop, I was scared to death! Imagine my surprise when my email had messages from people saying this was their first quilt and thank you for making it easy to follow.  I was so grateful anyone had made it at all. 

I have never considered myself a quilter but more of a happy piecer. I have seen what long arm quilters can do...I am not a quilter...lol!  I do love to quilt, especially grid or straight line quilting. The quilt I made for my grandmother to bring some cheer to her bed in the nursing home had was a fun diagonal grid.  She was 92 and loved this quilt.

For this sewing planner tutorial for Liberty of London  I used 40wt Aurifil for a grid that popped a little more.  It was breathtaking!

In all of sewing, for all the different techniques and styles, Cathedral windows are my love...my soulmate of sewing!  They are stunningly beautiful and deceptively easy on a sewing machine. I add them to just about everything in ways that can make them accessible to every sewer.  During this year,  there will be more windows! 

Aeroplane Bag I made for Market with Sew Sweetness pattern!  This bag is perfect and stunning!  I am not sure I ever had more compliments than with this bag slung over my shoulder! 

Cathedral Window Cushion Cover  tutorial for Pellon Projects.  I had to make this massive cathedral window just because, lol!  My thought was that if you can make it small...you can make it BIG!  I may have to make a giant quilt like this someday ;o)

Or just this fun rugby style Cathedral window pillow for my daughter's room where she did not want the classic look but a more beachy and fresh look. Cathedral windows are adaptable to any look or style.  

Looking forward to this year, I know I will be going back to more sewing with others in mind.  Sewing for charity.  When I was miserably in bed with the flu in December, I had so much time to sit and think about what is important and one thing I realized was not only my blog anemic but I had been missing something that was originally very important to me, sewing for others. I had not made one charity project in the year 2014.  That was a very sad realization and a good smack in the rear to make it happen!  So I have been looking around for some good organizations and mapping out how I will be tackling some projects I can accomplish for others.   

One of my favorites that I always enjoyed taking part in was 100 Quilts for Kids.  This sweet string quilt made with Dear Stella fabrics was one made in 2012. I look forward to making more for this event. I hope you all will be joining me in some of the events I will be posting about in the upcoming year!

For my tagging, I am including some of my nearest and dearest! I cannot believe these people have allowed me into their lives and hearts...they are not only some the THE MOST talented people I know but the kindest as well.

Quilt Jane is my Petal extraordinaire with MAD fast quilting skills!  Her sense of humor is quick and she travels with Tim Tams!  What is not FABULOUS about that!?!

Jane started quilting over 20 years ago by designing and hand piecing a queen sized quilt. Caught up in study and travel, it was not until 2010 did she rekindle her passion for quilting again.
“I love everything about quilting and the quilting industry. I am so inspired by the enthusiasm and creativity I see everyday”.
A scientist at heart, Jane loves the engineering behind the quilt making process – the planning, the fabric selection, the designing and construction, and of course the quilting. She is always ready to challenge her skills when designing a new block or quilt.
These days you can find Jane in her studio running a professional long-arm quilting service, teaching, designing and planning her next publication.

I am not sure Sara from Sew Sweetness needs an introduction since she has been really an active part of my blog and my very best friend for about seven years.  Without her, I would not be blogging.  She and Amy MADE me blog and did not stop harassing me until I did.  Sara is my love and my light ( not just being gooshy, it is the truth).  She and I have the yin and yang thing down pat!  I am insane and she is the calm.  Truth be told sometimes that goes in reverse but we are always there for one another.  We travel to Market together and talk whenever we can. My life would be complete if we just up and moved our homes next to one another.  

Sara's bag patterns have rocked the sewing world!  Her attention to detail is flawless and the bags are something anyone would be proud to say they had sewn.  What else can I say...she is pretty perfect :o)

Me, Sara and Jeni Baker in Kansas City :)

Em from Moonlight Sewing I have known for a few years and we met through an online bee.  I invited her over to a sewing playdate at my home and we really hit it off!  We also ran a half marathon together ( she beat me and was FIVE months pregnant at the time).  Em has an amazing set of free blocks on her blog and is one of those people you sit and look in amazement at when they make everything look effortless.

A couple sentences about me: I am torn between the aspiration of what I *want* to accomplish and the reality of what I actually CAN accomplish. My online platform for sharing sewing projects is Sewing by Moonlight or @moonlightsewing because nearly 100% of my sewing happens at night after my 3 little girls are in bed. I live in the midwest, but I lust for the mountains. 

As I am looking back at this post , I know that I love what I do in writing this blog about my misadventures in sewing.  In truth, what means the most to me and continues to give me a reason to continue writing is the people I have met here.  Most I possibly never would have had the opportunity to meet if it were not for this little blog. The kind words of encouragement from my online friends to help get the next project done or to offer great suggestions for sewing tips, color choices or storage.  
You guys are AWESOME !  Thank you! 
Let's take this love Around the World!