I’ve got sunshine!

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day! And it came in the form of fabric in my mailbox! I am so excited about this that I could pee myself. Not really.

However, this fabric was delivered to me by Moda Fabrics to use in completing the projected I submitted for Moda Bake Shop. I was super excited that my project submission was accepted, but even more thrilled when I learned that I could submit a fabric request to complete the project!

I gave several possibilities, so I wasn’t sure which one would appear in my mailbox. It was Snap Pop by Sandy Gervais!
Snap Pop charm packs

Seriously, don’t the fabulous colors just make you joyful?!

Snap Pop charm packs

And now, the real work begins. Because of course I designed a project composed of 520 2-inch squares. Let’s see if I can finish this before the baby comes! Go!

 

Works in Progress

Brrr! It’s cold outside. Though, compared to some other parts of the country, Virginia is a tropical 17 degrees F! Makes me wish I had a nearly finished quilt so I could sit under it and sew on the binding. Sadly, though, none are that close to being finished. The three I have in progress are in various stages of finish:

a. Brians quilt: I still need a couple more block and then the top needs to be put together.
b. Free form robin bird quilt: top and back are finished, needs basting and quilting
c. Road Trip Quilt Along quilt: still working on FMQ

Phew. Speaking of works in progress, here’s what The List looked like last week in entirety:

1. Inventory for my Etsy shop: clutches + totes. None.

2. Six more blocks for Brian’s quilt topNone. 

3.  Finish quilting on Road Trip Quilt Along sampler. Minimal progress. I quilted a couple more blocks. It’s a long process because I”m learning to free motion quilt as I go, including watching my Leah Day Craftsy class here and there.

Road Trip Quilt Along free motion quilting

4.  Backing and quilting for the free form robin bird quilt. Progress. Back is finished. Needs to be quilted and bound. I’m kind of in love with the back. It is particularly special because it includes the panel with the names of all the ladies who worked on it with me. I wanted something fun, so I picked up a Kona Modern Quilts print on sale at the Fat Quarter Shop. Then I pieced a strip to imitate the print in the fabric and added the signature panel.

Back for free form robin bird quilt

5.  Kelleigh’s wonkey star blocks for Bee a {Modern} SwapperSome progress. These should be pretty easy to finish up, if I just sit down and do it.

6.  Nancy Drew project for the Nancy Drew Get a Clue blog hop, using Moda’s new Nancy Drew fabric as part of the project.  Still need to actually buy the fabric. None. Must buy fabric.

I also worked on some things that weren’t on The List. I decided I needed a checkbook cover and made tutorial for that.

Checkbook cover tutorial

And I did a little bit of hand sewing on those monochromatic English paper pieced rose stars (how’s that for a description!).

Here’s The List today (didn’t change much):

1. Inventory for my Etsy shop: clutches + totes. None.

2. Six more blocks for Brian’s quilt top.

3.  Finish quilting on Road Trip Quilt Along sampler.

4.  Basting and quilting for the free form robin bird quilt.

5.  Kelleigh’s wonkey star blocks for Bee a {Modern} Swapper.

6.  Nancy Drew project for the Nancy Drew Get a Clue blog hop, using Moda’s new Nancy Drew fabric as part of the project.  Buy the fabric.

See more Works in Progress in the sewing and quilting world at Freshly Pieced!

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How to make a pretty checkbook cover

There’s no reason why those “everyday things” can’t be lovely to look at, is there?

Maybe you don’t write a lot of checks anymore, but as a parent of little ones, I certainly do (preschool tuition, dance class, soccer). For all of those, checks are the best way to complete the transaction. When my new checks came in this week, I decided I just didn’t want to carry around that blah, dark blue, flimsy plastic cover that comes along with them.

So I made one out of a favorite fabric. It took less than 40 minutes. Here’s how you can make one, too!

Checkbook cover tutorial

 Supplies

You’ll need a fabric for the outside and the lining and a fabric for the pockets. You can use the same if you are so inclined. I used the flimsy, plastic cover to measure the size. It is 6-3/8 inches wide and 6-7/8 inches long when opened.

Checkbook cover tutorial

From outside/lining fabric cut: (2) 6-7/8 x 7-3/8 inch rectangles

From fusible interfacing cut: (1) 6-1/2 x 7 inch rectangle

For pockets:
From fabric cut: (2) 6-7/8 x 6-1/2 inch rectangles
From fusible interfacing cut: (2) 6-1/2 x 6 inch rectangles

Checkbook cover tutorial

Directions

Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the outside and wrong side of the pockets according to the directions. I left the lining without interfacing, but if you want a stiffer cover, just cut another piece.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Optional: round the corners. You could leave them crisp and pointy, but I chose to round mine. You don’t want to cut off much of the area of your cover, so trace a small diameter circular object.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Fold each of the pockets in half so that they are 6-7/8 x 3-1/4 inches.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Edge stitch along the folded edge of each pocket.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Align the pockets on the right side of the lining so that the raw edges match up and the folded edges are toward the center.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Place the outside piece, right side down, on top of the lining and pockets. Pin in place. Round the corners of the other layers. Sew around the perimeter with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving a large opening for turning the cover right side out. (I actually left most of one side open so it would be easier to turn with all the interfacing.)

Checkbook cover tutorial

TIP: As you round those tightly rounded corners, go slowly. Move a stitch or two at a time, then lift the presser foot, leave the needle in the fabric, and turn the piece. And repeat.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Notch the corners to reduce bulk.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Turn the checkbook cover right side out through the opening. Poke out each corner. Iron flat, tucking the seam allowances of the opening under to press.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Edge stitch all the way around, enclosing the opening in the process. Again, so slowly, a stitch at a time, as you move around the rounded corners.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Well done! Something pretty for your everyday!

Checkbook cover tutorial

 

Works in Progress: Finding my mojo

Last week, I said I had lost my sewing mojo. Well, I seemed to be finding it a bit and then I was derailed by the unfortunate appearance of a stomach bug. Not fun! Despite being out of commission for a couple days, I did manage to get some sewing done this week.

First up (not on The List), I finished my first printable PDF quilting template. It’s a cutting template to go with my method of completing the spiderweb block. I already had one person test it out, but if you feel like it, I’d love some more feedback regarding whether it loads and prints correctly to size (there’s a 1-inch test square to test the size). You can find the PDF template here.

paperpiecetemplate-spiderweb

 

I also designed a project to submit for Moda Bake Shop and made a sample block, but I can’t seem to get the submission form to completely load.  Don’t know what to do about that.

And here’s The List from last week:

1. Inventory for my Etsy shop: clutches + totes. None.

2. Eleven more blocks for Brian’s quilt topProgress. I sat down to make 2 blocks and then I would cut a piece that I didn’t quite like with the current block, etc. and I ended up with 5! Monica wants to make some blocks for the quilt as well, so I’m certain this will be finished soon.

Turning twenty again blocks for Brian

3.  Finish quilting on Road Trip Quilt Along sampler. No progress.

4.  Final border for the free form robin bird quilt. Finished. And I love it. It was pretty labor intensive for “just a border” with all the little pieces, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. I’ve even already ordered some fabric for the back. Yay!

Wonky diamond border for free form robin quilt 5.  Kelleigh’s wonkey star blocks for Bee a {Modern} Swapper.  Some progress. Not very impressive progress on this one, but I did manage to eek out the beginnings of one of the stars.

IMG_5849

6.  Nancy Drew project for the Nancy Drew Get a Clue blog hop, using Moda’s new Nancy Drew fabric as part of the project.  Still need to actually buy the fabric. No progress. Still haven’t ordered fabric. Though, still plenty of time, so no worries.

7.  FIND SEWING MOJO. I think I’ve found it!. :-)

And now The List looks like this:

1. Inventory for my Etsy shop: clutches + totes. None.

2. Six more blocks for Brian’s quilt top.

3.  Finish quilting on Road Trip Quilt Along sampler.

4.  Backing and quilting for the free form robin bird quilt.

5.  Kelleigh’s wonkey star blocks for Bee a {Modern} Swapper.

6.  Nancy Drew project for the Nancy Drew Get a Clue blog hop, using Moda’s new Nancy Drew fabric as part of the project.  Still need to actually buy the fabric.

 

More fun Works in Progress at Freshly Pieced!

 

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Custom “fill in the blank” tote

I had a request for a bag that a 3-year-old child could be involved in “designing”.

Mary wanted to purchase a bag for her daughter and have her granddaughter add some artwork to it.  She said that she had some fabric that she wanted me to use in the construction of the bag and that she would sew on some patches later with her granddaughter’s drawings.

When I went to pick up her fabric, I realized it was a heavy weight fabric, like I would use on the inside of one of my totes.

I suddenly had a brilliant idea.  I would use her fabric on the inside of the bag.

Fill in the blank tote inside

The next day, I brought selections of a few different color combinations to show Mary.  She chose the one you see in the photos, and I created a patchwork bag that included several patches of white fabric.  She could purchase some fabric markers and guide her granddaughter in adding artwork before she gave the bag to her daughter.  It would save her the trouble of sewing on patches later.

The bag includes “blank canvas” patches of various sizes, and I was sure to include one that would be large enough for a 3-year-old’s handprint (I used my 4-year-old as a model. Handy that I had one of those around!)

Fill in the blank tote side 2

There’s plenty of room for drawings on the front and more on the back!

Fill in the blank tote

The bag has a small accessories pocket for all those small things the recipient wants to find easily.

Fill in the blank tote: zipper pocket Fill in the blank tote: pocket I’ve requested a photo of this bag when it’s “finished” with the art embellishments.  This was a fun project for me, I can’t wait to see the final version.

Happy mail

When we arrived home last week after two weeks away, I had mail waiting for me.  Unfortunately, the post office had already closed for the day, so on Monday, I finally got to go pick up my “happy mail.”  I love when I’ve been away and come home to exciting things in my mailbox.

There was this mini quilt with three mini-mini quilts on the line.  The siding on the house is really cool because the fabric is folded to make that effect.

mini quilt with quilts

And do you recognize this little girl on the swing from a previous quilt block I received?  I laughed out loud when I saw her again!

mini mini quilt

Cool beadwork in the tree.  Reminds me of the cherry blossoms here in Virginia in the spring!

Mini quilt beading

Next package: a little fabric bundle that I won in the Bee a {Modern} Swapper group for “most creative packaging.”  The package may or may not have had some other goodies including some Ghirardelli  chocolate which may or may not be already gone.  Ooops.  I love the grays and will be able to use them to make some more of those English paper pieced rose stars I was working on.  And the reds are a welcome addition because I have a serious lack in my fabric stash!

Happy mail: fabric bundle

And hey!  Another mini!  After years of having no fabric art in my sewing space, my walls are going to be so (sew) pretty!  I love how the pink binding picks up the pink in the birdie.

Mini quilt bird in tree

There was one more, but I didn’t get a photo of that.  I won a giveaway on the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway day from Happy in Red.  It is three really beautiful skeins of yarn and a crochet hook.  I don’t crochet, but I really want to learn.  2013 goal?  I think so.

WiP

I’m suffering from a serious lack of inspiration right now.  I’ve lost my sewing mojo, so if you’ve seen it lying about somewhere, please let me know, m’kay.

The last time I posted a Works in Progress update was the last Wednesday in November (eep!).  So, here we are, new year, time to get back to reminding myself what I’ve been up to in the sewing room (lately: not much) on a weekly basis.

We left for two weeks over the holidays, and my poor sewing machine was left home alone with only the cats to keep her company.  Poor Tori.  I did bring some fabric for a little hand sewing while I was away, and have been working on these monochromatic black-white-gray English paper pieced rose stars.  I have no idea what I will do with them when I’m finished or how many I will have when I’m “finished.”  I would love your suggestions …

English paper pieced monochromatic rose stars gray

Since we’ve been home, I have managed very little sewing.  It’s not me, and it makes me a little sad, but like I said, sewjo seems to have temporarily gone.  I did spend a lot of hours on “digital sewing” because I drew up all those blocks for the Road Trip Quilt Along for this summer.

Road Trip Quilt Along sampler quilt 2013

I think I need to clean/rearrange/reorganize my sewing room and I will find the sewjo in the process, but ugh, I really, really don’t want to do it!

I do have some things I want to accomplish, though, so I will go ahead and write The List.

1. I’d really like to increase the inventory in my Etsy shop to see if I can make that endeavor work, which means I need to make some clutches and totes for that purpose.

2. I need 11 more blocks to have enough for Brian’s quilt top.  My goal is still to finish the quilt before his house is finished!

3.  I had been practicing free motion quilting on my quilt from last summer’s Road Trip Quilt Along, and I want to finish that quilting so I can call that project D.O.N.E!

4.  The birds quilt from the free form robin requires one more border.  I’ve been making some wonky diamonds to finish it off.  Free form robin quilt top

5.  This is the last month for Bee a {Modern} Swapper.  I have two wonky star blocks to make for Kelleigh.

6.  Nancy Drew project for the Nancy Drew Get a Clue blog hop, using Moda’s new Nancy Drew fabric as part of the project.  Still need to actually buy the fabric.

7.  FIND SEWING MOJO. 

Prepping for a Road Trip

Last summer, my family traveled through 16 states over the course of 2 months away from home.  That trip inspired me to host the Road Trip Quilt Along.  Each week, beginning in June, I posted a tutorial for a state quilt block representing one of the states we traveled through.  By the middle of September, I had posted 16 block tutorials and was able to put together a sampler quilt (it’s still not finished; but the quilting is in progress!).

This summer, we will NOT be taking a road trip of that magnitude.  However, when summer rolls around, I will still host a summer Road Trip Quilt along.  The states represent an imaginary road trip that one could actually travel if inspired to do so.  My long term plan is to continue to host a summer Road Trip Quilt Along until I have covered all states in the United States.

Like last year, I will begin again in Virginia, and travel north through Maryland.

Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: VA - Virginia Reel Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: MD - Maryland Beauty

Then it is on to Delaware, New Jersey, and New York.

Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: Delaware Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: New Jersey Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: New York

We will continue through New England with Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: Connecticut Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: Rhode Island Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: Massachusetts Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: New Hampshire Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: Maine

The return trip will come back across the northern states and finish with Vermont and Pennsylvania.

Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: Vermont Road Trip Quilt Along 2013: PA-Wyoming Valley

There will be twelve 12-inch finished state quilt blocks in this Road Trip Quilt Along, rather than 16 like last year, and with borders, the finished quilt will be 56 inches x 70 inches.  Or, you could hang onto your blocks until next year and make a larger quilt.  Three states will repeat from last year, but since there are often several blocks that represent a states, no blocks will repeat.

I have spent way too many hours over the last few days researching various state blocks, drawing them out, and then creating the graphics you see above.  Before the road trip this summer, I hope to learn how to make printable templates for the paper pieced blocks so that you can you simply print them off, rather than following my directions to make your own.

Mark your calendar.  The road trip will begin Friday, June 7th, 2013.  Will you join me?

Road Trip Quilt Along sampler quilt 2013

Best of 2012

It was just a year ago that I started this little blog.  Sometimes I feel like I haven’t really moved forward much since then, but then I look back at all I did accomplish, and I’m definitely satisfied.  As  reminder to myself, I thought I’d post my favorite projects from each month of this last year.

January 2012

I jumped on board with a pin cushion swap and decided to write a tutorial for a pin cushion caddy.  It was one of the first posts on Sewing by Moonlight, and it is still regularly visited.  Pin cushion caddy tutorial

February 2012

In February, I made an addition to Karen’s starter block in the Be Free Bees free form robin that was an idea had been holding in my head for some time.  It was a technique I had seen on a wall hanging in a quilt shop that involved 3-dimentional pieces of fabric sewn in to create the effect of water.  I was thrilled to finally have the perfect project to try it out.  Karen's Wisconsin block + Round 1 additions

March 2012

In looking through my March project posts, I’m finding several that I’m pleased with.  I posted my first quilt block tutorial, for a partially paper pieced (say that 5 times fast) block I called Sunset Squared.

Sunset squared quilt block tutorial

I tried New York Beauty blocks and made them small, 5-1/2 inches, to add to Nichol’s quilt, which I had that month for the Be Free Bees.

New York Beauty blocks: favorite corner of addition for Nichol

My daughter still loves the ruffle skirt I made, and she happens to be wearing it today!  (She looks so much older than she did in the photos from that post, just 9 months ago!)

Ruffle skirt

April 2012

With winter over, I finally finished my winter table runner.  Go figure.  Now matter, though, I’ve been using it this year, and I love it!  It’s great to have a seasonal decoration that I don’t have to put away after Christmas is over!

Half square triangle winter table runner with snowflake appliqué

May 2012

Hmm, seems May was another good month for projects I loved.  I was a guest poster at A Girl in Paradise with my Rainbow Double Staircase baby quilt.  In that post, I said I loved this quilt so much that it almost made me want to have another baby.  That “almost” has become a reality and Girl #3 is due at the end of March!

Rainbow double staircase baby quilt

A friend requested a mei tai from a Michael Miller giraffe garden print, and I added an appliqué of one of the giraffes to the sleeping hood.  So cute!

Giraffe appliqué mei tai with gray canvas straps

June 2012

June was actually a pretty productive month, especially considering I was gone for the entirety of the month.  I posted my first tutorial (Virginia) for the Road Trip Quilt Along (the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tutorial for the QAL were also posted in June).

Road Trip Quilt Along: Virginia

The mei tai I made for my friend Emily is one of my favorites.  The reverse makes me just as happy as the “front” side.  I think it’s the turquoise straps.  They were her request, but they look awesome!

IMG_1017

At my sister’s wedding, my mom and I presented her with a quilt we had been working on together for the better part of a year.  It was made of 121 6-inch blocks from The Civil War Love Letter Quilt book.

Civil War Love Letter Quilt

July 2012

For the second month in a row, my family was on the road.  We did a lot of camping and moving about, and thus, there was not a lot of sewing happening.  I did manage to continue posting the tutorials for the Road Trip Quilt Along, including South Dakota, which gave me some trouble in the construction, but I really loved it when finished.

South Dakota quilt block

August 2012

My daughter was going to be starting her first season of soccer, and she needed a little bag to carry her shoes and water bottle.  I wrote a tutorial for a little sports cinch sac that I made for her.  Her favorite color is green, so the green soccer monkey fabric was just perfect!

tutorial_kid-sports-bag

September 2012

Even though I had never attempted hand embroidery before, I joined an embroidery hoop swap through Bee a {Modern} Swapper and finished my first hoopie!  I love how it turned out, and my partner was happy too!

Split hexagon embroidery hoop

The “queen bee” for this month requested house blocks and I’m still giggling that I made a yurt quilt block!

yurt quilt block

October 2012

The Sewing by Moonlight Etsy shop opened in October!  The shop is languishing a bit at the moment, but one of my 2013 goals is to get it in shape and increase my inventory.

Etsy-header

I also tried English paper piecing for the first time and made a large rose star wall hanging, with the colors and design inspired by a photo I took at Glacier National Park.

Glacier inspired rose star

November 2012

A mei tai is a project that requires a significant time investment, so a month in which I finished three mei tais means I managed to carve out some great sewing time that month!  I also finally completed the quilt top from the Road Trip Quilt Along (now if I could just finish the quilting!).

Road Trip Quilt Along quilt

Two new quilt block tutorials were posted in November: one was an update on the spider web quilt block and the other was a hexagon block I designed inspired by the triangles I tried in English paper piecing.

12.5 spider web quilt block tutorial Multiples of 3 - quilt block tutorial

December 2012

For the last couple weeks of the year, I sort of dropped off the face of the blogosphere.  We were out of town and there was just no sewing happening, not to mention, limited internet time.  I’m not complaining: we had a great trip to visit both mine and my husband’s families in the midwest.  Earlier in the month, though, I finally finished a mini quilt for a swap.  What a saga that was.  I ended up keeping it for myself, I had invested so much time and tears into it.

IMG_5507

Since I kept that one, I had to make a new one to send off in the swap, and I’m just as pleased with my second attempt, and the design of a tree in the sunset.

Tree in the Sunset mini quilt

Now to see what 2013 will bring!  There is some amazing bloggy inspiration from the past year at the Fresh Sewing Day link up if you want more!

button_fresh sewing day