Holiday Gifts

Handsewn Holiday

 I had some fun with sewing for a few of my 2014 Christmas gifts. Pictured above is a Social Tote that I made for my mom. It's a pattern by Carolyn Friedlander and Anna Graham of Noodlehead. Follow the links to find their posts about the pattern, as well as info in case you'd like to make one yourself! I made one for myself a couple years ago and I love using it!

Next up, the very exciting Sew Together Bag by SewDemented. One of my New Year's resolutions last year was simply to sew a zipper, and I ended up sewing 16 before the year was over. The most thrilling thing about sewing zippers is that it's not as difficult as it seems... not even difficult at all. My sewing machine came with a zipper foot (which is crucial), and before I made my first attempt I watched a bunch of YouTube tutorials and read through instructions. I followed Noodlehead directions for my very first zipper, and it was a cinch! 

One of the main reasons I put "sew a zipper" on my to-do list for the year was because I wanted to make this delightful bag! I made one for myself and decided to make a couple for gifts. The purple and blue bag above was for my sister in law, and the one below, featuring a Cotton & Steel exterior, was for my friend, Lisa.

 I used the same colorful fabric for the exterior of mine, I love those colors and am very fond of postage stamps, so when I first saw the print I couldn't leave the store without it!

The last project was a trio of kindle cases! I followed Atkinson's Designs' Reader Wrap pattern. One was for my Dad and the other two were for Josh and myself! It's so nice to have a case, and extra nice that it's so cute and cozy! I'm sure that's why the boys like it. I haven't used the little pocket on the left yet, but I imagine that it will come in handy. Our kindles are the small original style, so I shortened the cover by an inch and also shortened the pocket on the right so we can read the whole page without taking the kindle out! We all happened to have the same kindle, but the pattern has instructions that can be adapted for any e-reader.

Monogrammed Pocket Notebook

 The book above is the gift I gave to my Valentine on Monday night. The card underneath is an oldie from a Current catalog, it was fun to put my colored pencils to use! By the way, it's true. He really is tops!

My Valentine is great at filling up little sketchbooks, and really enjoys those made by Moleskine. I must admit, I do too. I especially like their city notebooks and went through two of them in Boston, and one in Paris. I thought I'd try my hand at making this nice little size, complete with the elastic closure.

Custom Folding Trinket Boxes

Upon our return from France, my bags were a tad heavier with the weight of souvenirs and trinkets. Among my favorite were beautiful silky cotton prints by Liberty of London. My friend Camille introduced me to the fabric and the Liberty craze that seemed to have taken over all of the shops in Paris. 

I didn't have a specific plan for these treasures, but they just had to come home with me! I spread all of the fabric out for my family this summer and one of my aunts had the idea to have me use some of it to make something for her and my cousins for Christmas. These photos are of the boxes that were under their tree on Christmas morning. The box above uses Liberty's Small Susanna print.

I sent thumbnails of all of my fabric to my aunt and she asked my cousins to pick their favorites, without giving them a reason why. This was a top-secret project! This Liberty print, Mauvey, is the first that caught my eye. I bought a metre of it at the most fabulous store, Merci, also introduced to me by Camille and her friend Cynthia.

This sweet floral print was a JoAnn's find.

For the guy in the brood, Liberty's Pelagia print gave a bit of a masculine touch.
I found this print of the Tuileries Gardens at Hearbeat Quilts in Barnstable, MA. You can just see a few details in this shot, but I have a couple of yards of it, so I imagine it'll make its way into a quilt (and more photos) this year.

These boxes were based on a trinket box that I made for my dad to give to my mom a while back, and now that I've gotten back into the groove of making them, I'm thinking I'll have to make a lot more!

Perfect Holiday Wrapping

Look how crafty my sister-in-law and brother are! We got to open their presents after our long drive back from snowy North Georgia and it was a major treat! Of course, who doesn't love a brown paper package tied up with string, but look at those other sweet touches ♫ buttons and pom poms, and stamping of stars... these are a few of my (other) favorite things ♫

They used rubber alphabet stamps to stamp our names, traditional brown paper, and a few other special techniques. There were pom poms on multiple gifts that made me want to turn into a little pom pom making factory! Stacy saw the tutorial on the Purlbee blog, and picked up one of the contraptions at Joanns. The third present's wrapping job comes from Alton DuLaney's presentation on Rachael Ray's Show. After delaying the unwrapping so I could take some photos, the gifts were just as fab as the wrapping. :)

I love when we get to stretch the holiday out! Tonight we're off to Tampa to see more relatives. I have twelve large books to round and back today, so the drive down and back will give me some time to relax my arms before I sew 24 endbands tomorrow! Is it possible? We'll see!

Secret Quilting Part Three

Now here we have fitting scenery for a quilt! I took photos of this quilt the day after Christmas at my in-laws' house. I finished the binding during our car ride up there, so that's why this one didn't get the volleyball court and pool glamor shots!

This quilt had a pretty different look from the other two since I used a darker background fabric. The alternating border strips stood out quite a bit more than the others, since the flowers were such contrasting fabrics.

I was so pleased with the binding fabric I found at Quilter's Cove. My favorite part about this blue was how it was a bit more bold and framed the quilt so nicely.

Above is a close up of my stitching in the ditch. This is something I first learned a couple years ago from my Aunt Joyce. When I started the quilts I put my aunt in the position of secret keeper! She's an amazing quilter and I thought it would be helpful to have such a guru in the know, in case I needed help! It was especially fun, because I got a sneak peek of the lovely quilted table toppers she made for her sisters (my mom included) for the holiday!

 How great is that porch? It wraps around almost three sides of the house!

Secret Quilting Part Two

Here is the quilt that I made for my brother and soon to be sister-in-law! I wanted it to have color in it, but be neutral enough that it could find a place in any room of their new house.

The example quilt used bold colors in floral prints, which is part of what attracted me to it. Even though I love that type of color combination, I settled on a fairly monochromatic scheme for each of mine.

Each of the quilts has a paisley theme. On the quilt I posted yesterday, every other rosy square was a paisley print and the tan backing fabric was also a faint paisley. On this quilt the centers and cornerstones of each square are a bold and more modern paisley, while the backing fabric has a faint traditional print in green. Paisley, paisley, paisley! That gets a little bit tricky when you say it three times fast!

While I was taking these photos, one of our apartment complex maintenance workers let me know that I'm not allowed to dry blankets on the volleyball court. Good to know!

Secret Quilting

On this too gray and rainy day in Florida, I thought it would be good to look back at these photos I took in December, yes sunny December!

Back in September, as I was thinking about what I might like to make for our families for Christmas, I thought of the sewing machine that my husband gave me for our first Christmas. I had been using it here and there throughout the year for small projects, but I thought it deserved a good work out!

My mom has shown me the ropes on her sewing machine, and I also took a sewing class in middle school home economics. (A project I remember was making a pair of long elastic waisted shorts out of a blue plaid flannel material) As far as quilting? When I was in 5th grade or so, I took a quilting course, where I learned some basic quilting skills. I am a saver, so I still have some of the worksheets from the classes. Armed with all of that and thoughts of snuggling in a winter wonderland I went on a Jo-Anns date with Lisa! We found a quilting book full of lovely photos (Material Obsession: Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots), I chose a pattern from it, and we got busy picking materials for the fronts of three quilts! I wanted to make one for both of our parents and for my brother and his soon to be wife. We magically chose a day when the quilting department was boasting a 40% off sale!

The quilt in these pictures is the one I made for my parents. The pattern is called "Smuggling Letters" and it's by Kathy Doughty. It's a pretty big one! The book calls it a large twin and it completely covered our full bed. When it came time for the batting, backing, and binding fabrics I went to Quilter's Cove here in Orlando, again with Lisa! The ladies who work there are so sweet and helpful. I'm looking forward to my next trip to the Cove.

The binding fabric ended up being one of my favorites. Possibly because I saw the least of it! I shouldn't say that, because I never got tired of any of it! I loved my nights of quilting during those last months of the year. Although it was hard to talk to my mom on the phone without letting the cat out of the bag!  I'll share the other two quilts with you soon, and then I can share the quilt I'm working on right now. I've been using scraps from my Christmas projects with a few bits and pieces that I've saved throughout the years.

Custom Recipe Book

This custom recipe book was made for a chef named Seth, as a gift from his sister and her husband.
Aside from having a spot for ingredients and lines for directions, her only stipulation was that it look manly and measure around 8.5" x5.5".  I used a mossy green bookcloth, rich brown endsheets and cinnamon colored endbands. I sought Josh's help for the "manly" type treatment! The recipe pages are printed on a thick smooth paper, and the title was printed on a cream Fabriano Tiziano.

Postcard Box

Here's another project that hatched in the bindery during the holidays. The box was a gift from a wife to her husband for a collection of postcards that will continue to grow throughout their marriage. This cute couple picks up postcards when they visit new places and jots down the details of their days on the backs, so they can have simple & meaningful keepsakes from their adventures.

This sweet wife is a designer, and she'll be making a label for the front of the box. I'm guessing the label will look something like a postcard, and have a vintage-traveled feel. Maybe I can post a picture of that in the future (hint, hint)!

Happy New Year! & Santa's Bookshop Part One

Happy New Year One & All!
It was a busy December in Santa's Bookshop (as Boombox Bindery came to be known during the holidays!), so I have lots of things to share! The wrapping above was for the books below, that were ordered by a friend for some of her special coworkers.

Each book is a long stitch with a wrapper cover. The pages are perforated for easy note taking, and each cover was made to match the personality or interests of the recipient. The top left cover is a Snow & Graham paper enhanced with some decorative stitching. Centers of several cranes on the Japanese paper on the top right were cut out to reveal kanji underneath. I had enough material left to recreate the polka dot/flower combo that was originally used for one of my handmade giveaway books. And finally, on the bottom right, some gorgeous Claire Maziarczyk paste papers. Lori of Elvie, does that hand look familiar? My friend and I were inspired by your heart in hand!