Friday, December 19, 2008

Laptop Cases DONE!

Like the fat guy up in the North Pole I've been hard at work in my workshop, pulling some late nights to try and make a dent in my (overly ambitious) homemade gift list. Well, it's December 19th and I've finally finished something! Take a look at these two laptop bags:

Made from the Amy Butler pattern, I guess you'd call them protective cases more than bags. I knew I wanted to make one for my brother's girlfriend who recently got a brand new Macbook (not that I'm jealous or anything). While I was buying the materials, I figured I'd go ahead and get enough to make two ... you know, assembly line style.

It opens up and the laptop nestles inside atop a few layers of stabilizer and fusible fleece. I was hoping to have a nice, new Macbook as a prop for my photo, but my work computer will have to do. Again, I'm not jealous or anything.

I was dazzled by the array of Midwest Modern 2 at my local shop and could decide on two exterior / lining combos, but I'm pretty happy with the ones I chose.

So this project really, really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Layers upon layers of canvas duck cloth, extra firm stabilizer, fusible fleece, sew-on Velcro ... it wasn't quite the "quick and easy" project I was hoping for, but I consider it a huge accomplishment not only that I finished, but that the computer fits and the Velcro actually lines up!!

Ah, another shot that would be lovely if it featured a beautiful, functional new Macbook ... Santa, are you reading this?? I've been a good boy this year ... I promise!

Are they perfect? Of course not. But if I wanted perfect, I would have just bought one, right? As for the second one, I'm not sure yet who I'll be giving it to. Or, maybe I'll wait and see if there's anything special under the tree next Thursday ...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kreativ Blogger Award

I've been chosen (twice!) for a Kreativ Blogger award. Thanks so much to both Jen and Cathy for the award and for the nice words. It's always such a boost to know that people appreciate the things I make.

It's kind of a frilly little award, isn't it? But I'll take it!!

Are you a Kreativ Blogger? If so, consider yourself nominated!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When it rains ...

Wow, after complaining about not winning any giveaways, I just won my second in less than a week ... and it's a GOOD one!

I won a custom-made embroidered pillow from the insanely talented Rita of Free-Falling. I first met Rita during my first Craftster swap and we've become fast swap buddies. I even lured her into my SewConnected groups and have gotten her hooked on mini quilt swaps.

Want to hear the freakiest thing? I was the first comment. I mean, really ... when does comment #1 ever win these things?? Well, I did, and I can't be more excited about it. Thanks a ton, Rita!

In other news, I've been working hard to not only get my giveaway winners' packages out (they're both on their way, finally!), but trying to make progress on my still-growing Christmas gift list. THIS has been a major, major time suck. I sure hope it's worth it when I am done! Pictures soon, if I don't throw it out the window first ...

I'm also binding up my "words" mini-quilt for Sonja in the 6-12" Mini Quilt Swap group. Yeah, yeah ... I know it was November's quilt, but Sonja and I mutually agreed to lift any deadline pressures for this one. I think it will be worth the wait ... I can't wait to show you all what I made. Pictures of that soon, too.

About the only thing I have to show pictures of tonight is the few blocks that I've completed for the Lap Quilt Swap IV over on Craftster.
These first 3 blocks I made for myself, with some of the fabrics that I selected for my own quilt. I stuck with some basic 9-patch blocks, mostly because I was making sure that the fabrics were working well together. I really like them and I'm excited to see what everyone else does with my fabrics.

And here are the first 3 blocks I've made for others. 3 down, 19 to go!

Hope you're all having a great week.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The curse has been lifted!

I finally won a giveaway!! Check it out.

I am very excited to win these embroidered squares from Michelle ... and I already know what I am going to do with them! Like Amanda Jean, I have some charm packs of Holly Jolly and Merry & Bright, and I think these guys will mix in nicely.

Of course, with the way things are going around here, that might be a Christmas 2009 project ...

Thanks so much, Michelle!!

Some more bags ...

It turns out that Giveaway Day helped me get my butt in gear and complete a few unfinished projects that have been hanging around for a while. In addition to the drawstring bag that I gave away, I made three more for my mom to bring to another craft sale this weekend.

And remember the Jelly Bag that was my other giveaway prize? Well, it was one of three that I had started. Here's #2 ... this one's a thank-you gift for my aunt who traveled down here from New Jersey to help with child care while I was recovering from my double knee surgery.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Giveaway Day Winners!

381 comments?? Seriously? Seriously??

Wow, I am blown away by the response to my giveaway -- not only the sheer number of people who came by to visit my blog, but by all of the nice, supportive comments that I received. Thank you all SO much for visiting, taking a look at my work, and taking a moment to say something nice. I know that many people came by just because of the Sew Mama Sew list, but I hope that at least a few of you will continue to come back!

I usually try to respond individually to my comments but, boy, this one got out of control REAL quick. So I apologize that I didn't get to respond to each of you. I expect that I will be spending the next couple of weeks going through my comment list and visiting all of the new-to-me blogs that I've been introduced to via Giveaway Day.

And now for the winners ...

It's really weird how life works out sometimes. I mean, what are the chances that the one person that I gave a shout-out to in my post would be the one to win??! But it happened. The first winner is #5, Anina, who wrote:

Anina said...

Hey, it's not the 3rd over here yet! Love the bags though!

December 3, 2008 12:27 AM

Looks like sneaky Anina took advantage of the time zone difference to get an early jump on Giveaway Day! She's the mastermind behind the Dear Baby Jane blog and also just opened up a new shop, so be sure to go say hello (if you haven't already).

The second winner is actually another blogger that I've come to know over the past few months. #43 is Audrey, a partner-in-crime both in my Craftster swaps and the Tokyo's Triangles group over on Flickr. Audrey said:

audreypawdrey said...

THe bags look great! I am a fan of the Swell one my self.;)

December 3, 2008 7:40 AM

Since Audrey made a special request, she'll be receiving the Swell tote bag. Anina (who I know is another Tula Pink fan, so I hope she won't be disappointed) will receive the Flutterby bag.

Congratulations, Anina and Audrey!!

Thanks again to everyone for all of your contagious excitement. Giveaway Day was a lot of fun, and even though I haven't won anything myself : ( yet), I've really enjoyed having the opportunity to give something away that I've made.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

110th Post Giveaway!

Hello, and a hearty welcome to any new visitors who may have been pointed in this direction by the Sew Mama Sew list!

To celebrate my 110th post, and as part of Giveaway Day 2008, I'm happy to host my own little giveaway today. And, to sweeten the pot, I'll be selecting not one, but TWO winners today!

The loot, you ask?

Each winner will receive one of my homemade bags.

The first is another drawstring bag from the Amy Butler In Town Bags pattern, made from some of my favorite Flutterby fabric.

The second is a larger tote bag made from a jelly roll of the Swell line of fabrics. The pattern is the Jelly Bag pattern by Bunny Hill Designs.

This one's not quite done yet ...but don't worry, those metal clips will come off before I package it up. : )

They're not perfect, but hey -- they're made with love for my blog readers. (I never claimed to be a bag maker, and every time I try it, I swear it's the last). Oh, and I'm sure some other little goodies will make their way into these bags before they're sent out.

Now I'm sure you want to know how to win. You know the drill. Leave me a comment on this post -- nothing specific ... I'm too tired to try and think of something clever -- and I'll do the random number generator thingy. If you have a preference on which bag you'd prefer, let me know in your comment. I'll try to accommodate requests once the two winners are selected.

In keeping with Giveaway Day guidelines, entries will only be open today and I'll be picking a winner either later tonight or first thing Thursday morning. Well, because the list of giveaways is so long, the people at SMS have suggested that we keep entries open for a few days to give people a fighting chance of visiting all of the blogs. So, I'll be picking a winner later on this week ... say, Friday evening or Saturday morning? So keep those comments coming!

Good luck ... and happy Giveaway Day!

P.S. In your Giveaway travels today, be sure to stop by the Twiddletails blog and say "hi" to Anina. She didn't make it in time for the SMS list, but is hosting a giveaway of her own. Well, looks like she did, in fact, make the cut!

EDITED 12/5: I just received my 381st post (say what??!) and I am officially closing the comments to pick the winners. Stay tuned for the announcement!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quick Question

Has anyone made the Amy Butler laptop cover and/or mp3 case? I'm thinking of tackling it as a Christmas gift for my brother's girlfriend (it's OK, I am sure she doesn't read my blog!), and I wanted to know if anyone would give it a thumbs up / thumbs down before I invest $12 in the pattern.

If not this one, is there another laptop case or sleeve pattern around that people have had any luck with? Not a full laptop bag, but just a sleeve.

Suggestions welcome!!

Giveaway ...

... tomorrow!

In celebration of my passing 100 blog posts, I'll be participating in Sew Mama Sew's (or, in this case, Sew Papa Sew!) Give-away Day tomorrow. Check back to see what I'll be giving away!

Well, that is if I actually finish it ... which would explain why I'm still up at 1:45AM on a weeknight ... and worried about things like posting to my blog ... grrrrr ... ... ...

Doll Quilt Swap 5

Of the many swaps in which I've been participating these past few months, the Doll Quilt Swap is one of my favorites. It's amazingly well-run, many of my favorite quilters are regular players, and the creations are always unique, colorful, amazingly creative, and inspiring. I just wrapped up Doll Quilt Swap 5 and I am excited to show both what I sent and what I received.

First, take a look at the jaw-droppingly drool-worthy quilt I received from krom_mama:

This beautiful creation from Sarah is absolutely perfect for me ... perhaps because of the sneaky recon work she did ahead of time. She showed a few sneak peeks over on Flickr and tricked me into giving her my opinion (which, of course, was that I loved it), so she knew she was on the right track.

It's been living on the back of our chair-and-a-half until I get a chance to hang it. Looks right at home, doesn't it? And, as a bonus, it was appreciated as part of our Thanksgiving decor this past week. (Actually, this was our Thanksgiving decor ... but that's OK : ).

Thanks so much, Sarah! It will be cherished.

Now for what I sent off to my partner (who shall remain nameless until the package's receipt is confirmed) ...

I've had flying geese on the brain, mostly because of Amanda Jean & Sarah's Tokyo Triangles group over on Flickr. I was also inspired by a recent issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. I love this cover story Christmas quilt, and when my partner indicated that she would like a Christmas quilt, it all just clicked!

I started with 2 charm packs of the "Winter" line by Minick & Simpson for Moda. Turns out the charm squares were the perfect size to cut up for these flying geese units. I've really enjoyed seeing what different kinds of small quilts that I can make from charm packs ... they're affordable, and I really enjoy working with all of the different prints within a line.

I'm very happy with how this quilt came out. Quality-wise, I think it might be the best finished quilt I've made yet. I was even happy with my binding!

Once they knew there was a photo shoot going on, the kids wanted to get in on the act :

I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to quilt this one, but I wound up just following one of the patterns created by the flying geese and stitching in the ditch. I love how the zig-zag pattern came out on the back:

With the Christmas season upon us and a completed project in my hands, it was really difficult to convince myself that I did indeed have to put this one in the mail!