Mountain Colors

My mother requested that I make some baby bibs with ‘mountain colors’.  My interpretation of mountain colors are colors such as brown, green, rust, and beige.  You may recall that our house is on the market and therefore most all my fabric in storage.  But, even if I had access to my stash, I wouldn’t have any of these colors.  I think if I had to sew with brown on a regular basis, it would depress me.  It’s just not something I buy.  And not having a job at the moment means that I don’t have extra money to spend.  So, I racked my brain trying to figure out where I could get some fabric in ‘mountain colors’ on the cheap.  And it occurred to me that men’s cotton shirts would work.  So… off I went in search of used men’s shirts.

I’m not sure if this is true for all of the NC mountains, but Macon County has a ton of thrift stores.  They are everywhere! (or at least they seem to be)  My google search found about 2 dozen thrift stores in a county of just 30K people.  And they don’t disappoint.  Many wonderful things can be found at the thrift stores in the area, but on this day I was looking only for men’s shirts.  And I found them!  One of the local stores was having a sale of just $1 for each item of clothing.  So I bought some shirts (and one pair of khaki slacks) in mountain colors, took them home and washed them, and started cutting them up.

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I downloaded a bib pattern from JRoxDesigns and purchased a few ‘mountain’ animal embroidery files from Planet Applique.  I couldn’t find a deer design that I liked, so I digitized my own designs for the deer.  I also added the flower to the hedgehog design.   And over the next 2 weeks or so, I made 5 bibs in ‘mountain colors’.

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For the large and extra large shirt sizes, I can get 4 bib cutouts from each shirt — one on each sleeve and two from the back.  And then extra fabric was used to applique several of the animals.  So the same shirt used for the fox bib was used to applique the hedgehog spines.  The khaki slacks were cut up and used as a back for each of the 2 deer bibs, and was also used for the hedgehog body.  The rust colored shirt was used for the body of the fox, and so on.  Each bib was also lined with a thick interfacing for support.

I am not impressed with the shirt used for the male deer.  That shirt was from Banana Republic, and although it was really nice fabric (I think it may have had some spandex in it although it said it was 100% cotton), it stretched and wrinkled way too much when embroidered.  And what you see is my second take.  The first was even worse.

The hedgehog smelling the flower is my favorite.  They are so cute together!  The deer isn’t too shabby either, if I do say so myself.

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There is still plenty of fabric left over for more projects.  I saw a tutorial for a cute apron made of the front of a man’s shirt.  And I have the shirt fronts left on almost all the shirts, so maybe I’ll try that next. Or, I probably have enough left over to make a quilt, if I decide to go that route.

Have you repurposed clothing for something other than it’s intended use?  I’d love to hear about it.  I love new ideas.

Linking up with Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

In case you didn’t guess it from the title, we will have a little boy join the family soon. My daughter is having her second, and he will be my 4th grandchild. Holy Cow! Four grand children! I still don’t understand how that could be true when I am only 29! {in my mind}

Don’t you just love little babies? They are so sweet and precious. Their little toes are so tiny and cute, and their little cheeks so ripe for kissing. And in a short month, I’ll be able to hug and cuddle him. In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to make a few things for him.

We went on a cruise in June, and for most of the drive to FL and back I worked on a blanket from a free pattern I found on ravelry. After the first couple of rows, the pattern was pretty easy. However, it was super important that I count the stitches each row — missing just one would throw the other rows off.  I love the waves, and the popcorn stitches make it a little more thick than a typical blanket but not too heavy.

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Next up were some burp cloths and onesies.  I usually make burp clothes from pre-folded diapers and add some flannel.  This time I used flannel on one side and terry on the other.  They were super easy to sew up.  I hope they are absorbent.

DSC_0806 DSC_0808And the onesies I embroidered with an adorable little elephant and dinosaur that I digitized.

DSC_0800Up next, a quilt.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress.  This little one is going to be ‘hooked-up’.

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas in July

One of my favorite memories as a child is hearing my dad roam throughout the house whistling Christmas songs — in July! I love Christmas music, and even though it may bring strange looks from others, I think it is appropriate at any time of the year. It is kinda hard to imagine snow or the weather being ‘frightful’ when it is 95 degrees outside, but Christmas music is such cheerful music and that is why I love it!

This July I find myself working on two Christmas projects. The first project was a Christmas sweater for my son. He was invited to a Christmas in July party and needed an ugly Christmas sweater. When I heard his request, my first thought was where am I supposed to find a Christmas sweater in July. My second thought was that was a great business idea! Start a website selling ugly sweaters for those times when someone really needs one and didn’t keep that last one they received as a gift. As it turns out, there are already several websites with ugly sweaters. Darn, someone beat me to a great business idea again!

And did I buy a sweater from one of those websites? Nope! So much for that business idea! Actually, it was because no one carried the size that I needed. My son wears a XXLT. So instead I went to the local thrift store and found a sweater vest. Not ugly, but certainly nothing a 21 year old is going to wear. He requested it to look like a ‘sweet old granny’ made it. His words — not mine. Well, I’m sweet and I’m a grandma, but I will not claim old! I figured two-out-of-three was not bad. My first thought was to sew some ornaments and ribbon in a meandering pattern all over it and just make it really tacky in general. But I decided to be nice and instead I cut owls and a tree out of felt and appliqued it onto the sweater. The owls are stringing ribbon around the tree and decorating their Christmas tree.  I think it’s adorable!  He said he liked it too!

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The second Christmas in July project I am working on is the Peppermint Candy table runner and/or wall hanging by Claudia’s Creations.  I saw this last year and didn’t think I would find the time to make it, and then a group I regularly sew with monthly decided to do it.  So, I jumped in with both feet and decided I could fit it in with all my other projects.  Honestly, I just love it and can’t wait for it to be done.

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What are you currently working on?  I’d love to hear about your projects.

Oh! Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is up, the stockings are hung, and the snowmen are playing in the snow.  And it appears even my blog is in the Christmas spirit.

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The annual job of decorating is mostly done. It is certainly not a job I look forward to, although I really like the end result. My two oldest boys are living on the other side of the country this year, and don’t plan to make it home for Christmas.  I was missing having them here and shed a few tears when no one else was watching.

I also spent this weekend cleaning up and purging some old clothes, toys, books, and stuff. In fact, I have a whole car full of stuff to take to the thrift store tomorrow. Really, where does it all come from? I wish I could do that daily until I get the house and storage areas uncluttered, but earning a living requires that I spend most of my time each week working for someone else instead.

So, due to all the other extra curricular activities this weekend, I haven’t gotten as much sewing done as I would have liked on the quilt top I’m making with the HST’s. Hopefully I’ll make a little bit of progress this week.

Otherwise, I did want to show you the flannel blankets I made. Remember the elephant and robin I spent forever and a day trying to digitize? Well, I did finally finish it and was able to get the blankets embroidered and made. And I won’t share any of the pictures of the baby with the blanket since it is not my family and not my right to share them. But the baby was adorable with her blankets and the mom was very touched. The robin was meant to be a reminder of her grandmother, the baby’s great-grandmother, that has passed and wasn’t able to be there for the birth.

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I also finished crocheting another baby blanket. But of course, I forgot to take pictures outside today so you’ll have to live with an indoor photo.
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I would say December is off to a good start. Now, if I can just get my Christmas shopping done and presents made before the 25th. Haha, that might be pushing it.  I would like to request a few extra weeks…  Do you think we could delay it?

Oh, and I keep forgetting to mention, I added a few things to my etsy store and everything is 18% off thru 12/2 and 15% off the rest of the December.   Check it out.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/MonkeyNeedle?ref=si_shop

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop!

Half Square Triangles

I started cutting and sewing half-square triangles (HST) for the quilt I decided to do for my parents.  I wanted the quilt to have a scrappy look with 10 or so different fabrics in each of the two colors.  But golly, this is a lot of cutting and trimming.

Putting the HSTs together really isn’t that bad.  I’m cutting my fabric so that I can sew and then cut 50 HSTs at one time.  Ironing and trimming to size comes next.  I realize that trimming them to size is probably the most important part, but it is taking forever.  This is what 400+ HST units look like.

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Only 800 more to go…

The embroidery design I’ve been working on for the baby blanket is now looking like this.

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And just because she couldn’t let me have the camera out without taking a picture of her..

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So what are you working on?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday linky

Best of Show!

Each year for the past 4 years I have entered my handmade items into competitions at our North Carolina State Fair.  The first year I entered just crocheted items.  I have been crocheting many, many years and knew that I did good work, but I really didn’t know how my work compared to others.  All three items that I entered that first year won ribbons — 2 first place, and a second place.

(I looked for and could not find a picture of the christening gown I crocheted that year.  I’m sure I have a picture somewhere, just not sure where.)

After that first year, I was hooked.  It’s not the prize money — each first place wins just $6-$8 and second and third place win even less than that.  It’s the thrill of the competition!  It’s exciting to see a ribbon on an item you made.  It’s exciting to see others appreciate your hard work.

2012 Fair Win

2012 Fair Win

Since then, I have expanded my entries into other areas.  I usually win several ribbons, and usually do best with the items that I made throughout the year rather than the items I try to make at the last minute. And these are items I would be making anyway — they are baby gifts, Christmas presents, birthday gifts, or usually just something I wanted for my own use.  This year I focused on quilting and embroidery more than crochet.

The first quilt I entered 2 years ago, didn’t win anything.  It is still one of my favorite quilts though, and I have kept it for myself.

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The Mexican Rose original design quilt I entered last year won 4th place.  I was very happy with that because there is stiff competition in all the quilt categories, and it was my first quilting win.

Mexican Rose

Mexican Rose

My entries for the 2013 fair did great…

Torreya Turtle won 1st place in the stuff toy category.

Torreya Turtle

Torreya Turtle

Ellie the Elephant came in second place in the baby quilt category.

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My nativity embroidered quilt won a first place ribbon.

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And last but not least, my goose tracks quilt won BEST OF SHOW.  Finally, that Best of Show award is no longer evading me.  I was so excited, I was giddy.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  YAY!!

IMG_3250I’m still shooting for a best of show in the crochet/knitting category too.  Maybe next year…

Losing My Marbles

Well, this past week has been pretty bad for work. I’m working lots of hours; but it is tax season, so I guess it comes with the territory.  In fact, in the last 3 weeks, I’ve had just one day off.  If they were normal 8-hour working days, it might not be so bad.  But these have been 10-14 hour working days.  And I think I’m about to lose it – my marbles, that is!  So therefore, I think tomorrow will have to be another day off for ‘my sanity’.

Due to my crazy work schedule lately, I really haven’t had much time to sew.  I did finish up a baby blanket I was crocheting for a co-worker.  She is due in just 4-days so it really had to be done.  I forgot to take a picture of it though, so I guess I can’t show it to you.

However, I will share with you a project I designed and completed before things got crazy at work.  I am working on a pattern for a quilt and I wanted to make a few test squares.  They turned out really nice so I decided to turn them into a pillow.  I had it designed and made in part of a weekend, so I was very thrilled with how quick it all went together.  The flowers inside each circle are machine embroidered.

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I also decided to practice some free motion quilting.  This is an area I really need to work on, but I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out.

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