Jen Giddens Classic Messenger Bag

I love messenger bag style purses and was excited to try out Jen Gidden’s Classic Messenger Bag pattern. I have made her Pleated Tote pattern and really liked it. Very simple and clear instructions.

Messenger Bag

I used decorator weight Lovesme Lovesmenot in Leaf from Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush collection.

Messenger Bag Inside

For the inside lining, I used a polka dot from American Jane Patterns from the Look and Learn collection by Sandy Klop. There is just a simple pocket inside, but you could really customize here adding a zippered pocket or specialized pockets for your phone, etc.

Messenger Bag

For the interfacing, to give it body, I used Pellon 809 Decor Bond.  This made the flap a little stiff. Currently, it looks very nice, but I wonder how it will really stand up to real world use.

All in all, this was a very fun project and pretty much instant gratification, which was exactly what I was looking for!

Kid Stuff · Pillows

Minecraft Steve Pillow

After being completely Creeper pillowed out,  I received a special request for a Minecraft Steve pillow. Here’s how he looked in process:


Here’s how he looked all done and ready for delivery:


I used the same technique as the creeper pillows: ironing 2 1/2″ squares onto fusible interfacing, sewing 1/4″ seams vertically and horizontally, then adding a 3″ border to make the front. All fabrics used are Kona solids.

I am done with squares for a while!


Baby Quilt Finished!

I finally finished a baby quilt for my son’s 1st/2nd grade teacher. The baby was born over a month ago, but that’s the way sewing goes around here. Since work ended in late May and school ended in mid-June, I’ve had a little more time to squeeze in some sewing.


The pattern is Elizabeth Hartman‘s New Wave Quilt. The fabrics are from Sarah Watt’s Timber & Leaf collection for Blend Fabrics. I fell in love with this collection and knew it would be perfect for this family. Even though there’s a lot of fox fabric out there, I think this collection has the cutest one! For the stripes in between the prints, I used Kona Snow and for the binding I used the tiny stripe in aqua from Locally Grown by Marisa and Creative Thursday for Andover Fabrics.


Here’s a picture of the back of the quilt. I was hoping to use one solid piece of the fawn fabric and not do a pieced back, but I found a flaw in the fabric and needed to cut it off. Unfortunately, this print is hard to find and I could not find enough yardage at a reasonable price. So, I added a few other prints along the side.

For Hank Amos

I just made a simple embroidered label for the back. I have been wanting to practice embroidery and hope to bring some along to keep my hands busy on our road trip later this summer.


Here’s a full view of the quilt. Due to my fear of free motion quilting on a gift project intended for someone else and not just for me, I chose to just do some straight quilting along the waves.  I think it turned out pretty well. But I would like to be a little more experimental on some upcoming projects.

Bags · Pouches

Couple more things for the school auction

Quite a while back I made a couple more things for the school auction. Here they are:


Here’s a little zippered pouch made with Essex Linen/Cotton and some cute fabrics from Dear Stella and Art Gallery. I love those squirrel and tree prints.

Market Tote

I also made another Market Tote from the ever-popular orange Ikea bird fabric. It has a matching zippered pouch that fits into the interior pocket of the tote.

Market Tote

Although neither this boy or dog are auction items, they were too cute not to include.

Asher and Fox
Asher and Fox looking cute.

Pleated Totes for SW Charter Auction

Here’s some pleated totes I made for my son’s school auction coming up on March 15th.

I used a great Pleated Tote tutorial by Ellen Luckett Baker of The Long Thread. The directions were easy to follow and the results are terrific. There’s lots of room to customize the inside. I added pockets to hold a cellphone and other small objects. I used decorator weight for the outside of the bags and quilting cotton for the insides. Fusible fleece gives the bags some body so they’re not too floppy.

Pleated Tote 1

The fabric here is from Jo-Ann’s. This was very inexpensive decorator weight fabric, but it sewed up beautifully. The lining is one of my go to fabrics — Kona Medium Grey.


This purse is a great size, measuring about 14″ x 13″. So not too small, not too big.


I also tried hidden magnetic snaps for the first time and love them! I purchased them at Tantalizing Stitches and find them so much nicer than inserting a pronged snap and they just seem a little more professional looking.


Here’s another Pleated Tote made with fabric from Ikea. The inside lining is made from Bike Path Chartreuse from Lucky Penny by Alison Glass for Andover.



Here’s an up close view of my new merchandise tag. I’d really like to design a true logo for Chinchilla Whiskers, but I just haven’t had the time. So, a picture of the little critters will have to suffice for now.

Kid Stuff · Pillows

Minecraft Creeper Pillow

Minecraft is still with us! Since every boy of a certain age at my son’s school seems to be obsessed with Minecraft, I decided to make a Creeper pillow for our annual auction on March 15th. Hope it brings in a few bids!

Creeper Pillow 1

The finished pillow measures 22″ x 22″ with 2″ squares. It’s not as ambitious (meaning fewer and bigger squares) as the Minecraft sword pillow I made my son for Christmas, but I am pleased with the results!

Creeper Pillow 2

I used a variety of Kona solids for the squares and then added a border to define the creeper a little more. It is backed with Fences Smoke from Summersville Spring designed by Lucie Summers for Moda available at Sew, Mama, Sew!

Kid Stuff · Pillows

Minecraft Sword Pillow


Here’s a pillow I made my son for Christmas. I always like to make him at least one handmade present each year. Like most 8-year old boys, he’s obsessed with Minecraft. I don’t get the allure, but it did inspire this creation. Pixelated worlds just lend themselves to patchwork and quilting!

The pillow top is made from 1 1/2″ squares ironed onto lightweight fusible interfacing.  Then seams are sewn vertically and then horizontally leaving you will 1″ squares. This is a great technique for making a messy job look neat. I used mostly Kona cottons for the actual sword with a few prints thrown in the background just to break up the blue.

It was a big hit on Christmas morning!


Christmas Tree Pants

Depending on your point of view, it’s either really early or kinda late to be working on a Christmas tree skirt. I figure if I start now, I’ll be ready for December 2013.

I’m actually not making a tree skirt, but rather “tree pants” using Happy Zombie’s Christmas Tree Pants tutorial. I love the red and aqua combination for Christmas. I’m using some fabrics from my stash and some new.  The background is done with Kona Snow.


I’m planning on a scrappy binding combining the reds and aquas I’ve used for the stars. And, I still need to cut a square to fit into that empty spot at the top. Not sure how I’m going to quilt it yet. Here’s some of the fabrics I used:


  • All Wrapped Up Peppermint  from Cherry Christmas Peppermint by Aneela Hoey for Moda
  • Circles from Modern Whimsy by Laurie Wisbrun for Robert Kaufman
  • Skinny Vines Aqua from Valentina for Robert Kaufman
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Marisa and Creative Thursday for Andover
  • Tinsel Lights Aqua from Tinsel by Maude Asbury for Blend Fabrics


  • Cheery Christmas Birds from Cheery Christmas by Aneela Hoey for Moda
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Marisa and Creative Thursday for Andover
  • Leonard Rich Red Blue from Bloomsbury Gardens by Liberty Lifestyle
  • Tiny Diamonds Cheery from Petal Pusher for Dear Stella
  • Jacks Red from Apple Jack for Moda
  • Oh Deer! Tiny Deer Cherry for Moda
For the Home

Pearl District Table Runner

I have been working on a Pearl District Table Runner by Busy Bee Quilt Designs since November. Here’s what I have so far…I’m waiting for Essex Sand to get re-stocked in the shop so I can finish my binding. I’ve used fabrics from Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study Collection.Fox and Pearl District I have enjoyed making this a lot. I chose to make the circles by sewing a circle on squares of fabric and interfacing sandwiched together, then slicing open the interfacing with my seam ripper, turning right side out, trimming and ironing flat. While probably the most time-consuming applique method of the three suggested in the pattern, I liked the neatness of this one. I tend to be messy with fusible interfacing and get glue on my iron and fabric. Ugh!

Pearl District Runner

Some of the prints from Field Study are larger scale, so you only see a partial part of the design. Maybe this would have worked better with smaller scale prints, but I think I still like it. Pearl District Runner

Not sure how I’m going to quilt this yet. I’ll probably just do something in the border and leave the circles alone. My free-motion quilting skills are still in the development stage.

pearl district table runner

I have a lot of left over circle in a square blocks that I didn’t end up using. Perhaps they’ll transform themselves into coasters.

As with every new year, I always have a bevy of goals, resolutions, etc. I am a dedicated list maker. So, one of my goals is to always do more sewing. I really want to conquer some of my many UFO’s (unfinished objects) that are sitting around my office. I also want to get over my fear of the serger. I have this beautiful machine, but it scares the heck out of me. I think another round of classes is in my future.

For the Home

More Pillows

I’ve been making pillows again! Last year I made a set for Asher’s classroom. This year, I wanted to make a set for his new teacher. Unfortunately, there are many more issues to contend with in 3rd grade — sharing and spreading head lice! So, no pillows for the reading area.

I used mostly prints from Moda’s Oh Deer! collection with a few prints from my stash thrown in.

I echo-quilted the design on the front. Not sure what I’m going to do with them now. Perhaps an auction item?