Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday {3.28.2012}

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

It's been quite a busy week here!  I must be having an "on" week, as it seems one week I get a ton accomplished, and then next, zilch.  I'll take it though.  Here's whats new:

Completed Projects

retro flowers baby quilt

More on this quilt here.  But its done, and off to its new home as of this morning.

cabinets after

It felt ah-maz-ing to put the last handle on the last cabinet door in the early hours of Sunday morning and stand back and admire our handy work.  We still have quite a bit more work to do, but we've just been enjoying the new and improved lightened up look of our kitchen.  A detailed post on this project can be found here.

In Progress

4x5 Bee Blocks

4x5 Hive 10 Quarter 1 test block

Nothing like waiting until the last minute, but I finally spent some time playing around with my block for the 4x5 bee.  I had purchased Rachel from Stitched in Color's Wheel Quilt pattern a few days ago, and thought "I wonder if I could scale that pattern down to a 12.5" block" so I tried it out last night, and it worked just like I was hoping it would.  I again used Leann's pinless curve piecing technique, and I'm officially a convert, pins be gone!   

This Weeks Stats:
New Projects: 0
Completed Projects: 2
In Progress:  I've lost count!  

Be sure to head over to Freshly Pieced and add your WIPs!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

a non quilty finish

This might be the most exciting finish I've had in a long long time, and its of the non quilty variety!  You may remember me mentioning a few weeks back the hubs and I have decided to give our kitchen a little "facelift."  We aren't DIYing everything, but we wanted to tackle a few of the projects ourselves, to cut down on cost.  The main project being resurfacing our cabinets.  Here is what we were working with before:

kitchen before

Nothing too terribly horrible, but it just looks dated.  Especially those cabinets.  I just had these fears that we would spend all this money on things like new coutertops, backsplash, etc. and when all was said and done, all I'd see were those icky oak cabinets staring me in the face.  Like I said, not that there is anything wrong with them, just not exactly my taste.  So what to do?  We decided to paint them!  Here is the after shot (please ignore the ugly paint splattered coutertop, and not yet replaced backsplash):

cabinets after

I just love it to pieces.  What a difference a little paint and new hardware can make.  Here's a before and after from a different angle:

kitchen before

cabinets after

It just looks so crisp and clean and much more our style.  This project was quite the undertaking, and spanned about three weeks total for us, however we really were in no hurry and took our time with it.  You realistically could do this in about a minimum of  about 10 days, as there is a lot of painting, and then waiting for the paint to dry before continuing.  

cabinets after

cabinets after

I did a good bit of research before starting this project, about what kinds of paint to use and tips for the best method, and found this post by Sherry and John of Young House Love to be the most helpful.

If you are interested, here's a peek into our process:

Day 1:  Remove cabinet doors, making sure to LABEL the doors so you know where to put them back!  After removing our cabinet doors, we emptied some of the cabinets, and also cut up large trashbags as tarps and taped them to the insides of the cabinets we didn't empty to keep the  dust from sanding out. 

cabinet progress

Because we were using new hardware, we also puttied all of the holes from where the old hardware was.  Sherry and John have a great video of this step found here.

cabinet progress

We laid tarps down in the garage, and turned the garage into our cabinet door painting studio.  Our cars were left out in the cold for about a week, but it was nice to be able to spread out and have a place to leave the doors to dry flat.

kitchen cabinet doors before painting

Day 2:  Sand, sand, and sand some more.  I lucked out and the hubs tackled this part of the project one day  when I happened to be at work.  Sand all surfaces that will be painted, and don't skimp.  The pain in the you know what prep work is the worst part, but is so so important to achieving a great finished product.  We also wiped the doors down with a liquid deglosser before and after sanding.

We also primed the cabinet door backs with paint primer.  I used Zinsser Smart Prime and was very happy with the result.  For all priming and painting, we used a 4" small foam roller, and 2" angled paint brush for the application.  

cabinet progress

Day 3:  Prime cabinet door fronts, prime cabinet "boxes" (the parts of the cabinets still affixed to the kitchen walls), and, after the primer is dry apply the first coat of paint to the cabinet door backs.


After much hymning and hawing about what paint to use, we settled on the Benjamin Moore Adavance paint in a white satin finish.  What sold me is the great finish and easy application the paint gives.  My research told me, and the lady at the store confirmed, this paint is a water based/oil based hybrid essentially, meaning that the clean up is easy, fumes are low, AND it has these great self leveling properties, which basically levels out the "orange peel" effect of using a roller on a flat surface, and some of those pesky brush strokes.  Sold. 

Day 4:  Apply second coat of paint to cabinet door backs, and cabinet boxes.  The BM Advance paint instructions say to let the paint dry 16 hours in between coats of paint, which really is the main reason that this project took so long to complete.  We had 20 cabinet doors and 8 drawers, and it took me about 1 1/2 -2 hours per coat of paint.

Day 5:  Apply first coat of paint to cabinet door fronts and touch up any spots on cabinet boxes.

Day 6:  Apply second coat of paint to cabinet door fronts.  Between a good coat of primer, and the two coats of BM paint, we really had great coverage, and felt that two coats did the trick. I'd say all in all we used about a half a gallon of paint for the entire project. 

kitchen cabinet doors after painting

Days 7-10: Wait, wait and wait some more.  The directions on the paint instruct to wait 3-5 days before rehanging the cabinets to let the paint harden and cure.  It will continue to cure and harden beyond the inital 3-5 days as well, and we are finding this to be true. 

Day 11:  Rehang cabinet doors and hardware.  Ok.  Realistically, this will likely take more than one day.  We stretched this out over a few days, as it was the most time consuming part.  If you are planning to reuse the same hardware this step will be a breeze, but be ready to utter several curse words when trying to get everything straight and level!

cabinets after

It feels great to have this project completed, and to know that we did it ourselves!  I'm so excited to get everything else done to see the whole thing complete!  In case you are planning a project like this, here is a list of links that I found really helpful before tackling our cabinets:

Evolution of Style -painting use a sprayer
As mentioned before, Young House Love


Monday, March 26, 2012

Completed Quilt::Retro Flowers

retro flowers baby quilt

In between things like finishing up our cabinets this weekend, and seeing the Hunger Games (which was awesome) and various assorted errand-runnings, I managed to squeeze in some sewing time and finished up my Retro Flowers baby quilt!

retro flowers baby quilt

I started this quilt about a month or so ago, and other projects just seemed to get in the way, so it feels nice to check this one off the list.  This quilt is based off the Retro Flowers pattern by Christina of the Sometimes Crafter.  I think my blocks ended up a little different than the pattern because I used my Accquilt GO! and Drunkards Path die which made very quick work of the cutting step, but the blocks ended up at about 11 inches finished.  


I also tried a new (to me) method for sewing curves.  I've always been an avid pinner for sewing curves.  The more pins the better, in my book.  I went out on a limb and attempted sewing pinless curves.  I followed along with Leann's tutorial and could not believe how perfect my curves were!  Now it certainly took a few practice runs to get the hang of it, but I have to say these are the prettiest most accurate curves I've ever sewn.  No puckers, no sharp icky angles I would sometimes get with pins, AND it was so fast!  Like speed lightening quick.

retro flowers baby quilt

This quilt is for baby Alyssa who was just one week old yesterday.  Her nursery is done in the prettiest shades of aqua with accents of pink.  I knew immediately I wanted to do soft aquas, greys and yellows (one of my favorite color combinations), but when I finished piecing the quilt, I thought it needed something "girly" since the top was so gender neutral.  I decided on this Timeless Treasures Crosshatch Sketch in Lipstick for the binding.  These crosshatches are quickly becoming my favorite blender/binding fabric, and this bring pink brought just the girly pop of color I was looking for. 

retro flowers baby quilt

As for the back I did something I don't usually do, and just used one continuous cut of fabric, forgoing a pieced back.  I have to be honest, it was part laziness and part that I just happened to have a 1 1/4 yd cut of  this DS Quilt Collection Plaid Pink fabric on hand, that it seemed like it was just meant to be.  

retro flowers baby quilt

I really could not be happier with how this quilt has come together, congrats Julie and Andy and welcome baby Alyssa!

Quilt Stats
Quilt Name:  Alyssa's Retro Flowers
Pattern:  Retro Flowers
Size: 40" square
Fabrics: Quilt Top: Assorted aquas, greys and yellows from stash, Kona White, Quilt Back: DS Quilt Collection Aunt Edna Plaid Pink
Quilting:  Allover loopy stipple done by me

I will be linking up to Sew Modern Monday, head over to Canoe Ridge Creations and add your modern finish!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WIP Wednesday {3.21.2012}

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Eeek!  Has it really been an entire week since I've last posted?  We've been hard at work on our kitchen project (who knew that actually rehanging the cabinets was going to be the hardest part??)  Argh.  The hubs is off today, and I'm hoping that I will come home from work today  to a pretty kitchen with cabinet doors!  The little sewing I have done has been on a few secret projects that I can't share just yet (bummer). Anyways, here's what I can share... 

In Progress

Retro Flowers

retro flowers #3

retro flowers #2

Have you caught the Retro Flowers bug yet?  If not, you should totally check out the pattern by Christina of the Sometimes Crafter, I am using her pattern, but cut my pieces with my Accuquilt Go! Baby, and its made quick work of the cutting step.  

retro flowers

I actually made my first Retro Flowers block way back in January for a dear friends newborn baby girl, and I am just making my way back to it now.  This is now numero uno priority, so there should be a quilt top to show in the next few days!  

Well, that's all she wrote for this week!  I have big plans for this coming week, including an uninterrupted sewing weekend (with the exception of a movie date to see the Hunger Games!!) as the hubs is working all weekend.  What have you been working on this week?  Head over to Freshly Pieced and add your WIP!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday {3.14.2012}

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

WIP Wednesday, we meet again!  I have to admit, I'm honestly surprised I've found any time this week to get behind the sewing machine...You see it all started with the hubs and I wanting to get new coutertops in the kitchen.  And it's sort of snowballed into one of those "while were doing ___________, lets just do _____________".  Right.  Anyways, this line of thinking ended with us deciding to paint our cabinets.  Here's our kitchen before:

Not too bad, but I have despised those builder grade plain old oak cabinets since the day we moved in.  Five years ago.  Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with them, they just aren't exactly my style.

The doors have all been removed, and are now inhabiting our garage, while our cars are living in the driveway.

Were not quite ready for a big reveal, but this is the progress we have so far:

I can't believe even with no cabinet doors yet how much brighter the kitchen is!  The doors should be reattached Friday with new brushed nickel hardware, and the new courtertops will be going in in the next few weeks, as well as a new over the stove mounted microwave (yay more counterspace!!) and a new backsplash. Whew!  I'm just ready for it to be done, and to have my kitchen back :-)

Anyways...back to the matter at hand, whats new in my sewing room...

Completed Projects

baby blocks quilt

In between coats of paint this weekend I did manage to finish up this little guy!  More on this quilt here.  


More on this great pattern here.

Hopefully this week brings a little more sewing time, and less picking paint from under my fingernails!  Be sure to head over to Freshly Pieced and add your WIP!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Completed Quilt: Baby Blocks

baby blocks quilt

I had a little bit of free time this weekend to finish up this baby quilt, and it certainly feels nice to check something off my list.  I get in these ruts where I feel like I'm working on the same projects for what feels like eons, and for some reason just can't focus enough to finish one thing.  I certainly do love having multiple things on my sewing to do list to flit from project to project, but I find its also nice to start one thing, and see it through to the finish.

baby blocks quilt

This quilt is based on the Building Blocks baby quilt which was featured on the Moda Bake Shop a while back, that I've had pinned for a while now.  Of course, not being able to leave well enough alone, I altered the dimensions of the blocks slightly, so that each block finished at 8" square.  That way with the sashing and borders, this quilt rounds out at a nice 41" square, and in my opinion, is the perfect baby quilt size.

baby blocks quilt

This quilt top came together in a record one evening sewing session last weekend, however has been set aside for the past week to focus on our "kitchen facelift" project we have going on.  We are in the process of getting new countertops and backsplash, and I just couldn't resist tackling the large project of painting our cabinets.  Ourselves.  Yikes!  All is well, (pictures soon to come) I'm sort of glad that we kind of just jumped right into this without extensively plotting and planning, because we may have just nixed the whole idea!  While it was one gazillion percent worth it, and I love the final outcome, I think I've had my painting fill for quite some time.  

baby blocks quilt    

Anyways, back to the subject at hand.  Baby quilts.  The request was for this quilt to use some sort of animal fabric, and for it to say "boy".  I played with the my last half yard cut of this Central Park animal fabric, and paired it with coordinating green, yellow, grey and blue prints, Kona White and Kona Royal for a fun baby boy quilt.  

baby blocks quilt

As for the back, I accidentally made one too many blocks for the quilt top, so I pieced the lone extra block into some Kona Royal, which shows off the quilting nicely.

baby blocks quilt

This quilt will be off to baby Nolan in the next few days, hopefully baby and mom like it as much as I do!

Quilt Stats
Quilt Name:  Baby Blocks baby quilt
Pattern:  Based on this Moda Bake Shop tutorial by Cindy of Hyacinth Quilt Designs
Size:  41" square
Fabrics:  Assorted blue, green, yellow and grey prints from my stash, Kate Spain for Moda Central park animal print, Assorted Timeless Treasures Crosshatch Sketch, Kona White and Kona Royal.
Binding:  Timeless Treasures Crosshatch Sketch in (Lime?)
Quilting:  All over meandering stipple done by me

I will be linking up to Sew Modern Monday today, head over to Canoe Ridge Creations and check it out!

Giveaway winner

Thank you everyone for entering the thread catcher giveaway!  Mr. Random has chosen the winner, congrats OhioMomPatriot!

Look for an email from me to get your contact information :-)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thread Catcher pattern review & giveaway!

***********This giveaway is now closed**********

PDF Sewing Pattern- Thread Catcher

I recently had the pleasure of working with Candice of Squirmy Wormy Studio.  She has the cutest etsy shop with four amazing patterns, including this awesome thread catcher that she so graciously sent me a copy of to make and review, AND a second pattern to give away to one reader!  


This pattern is very well written, with nice pictures and clear easy to follow instructions.  I am the queen of misreading steps and sewing things backwards/upside down etc. and not once with this pattern did that happen.  My seam ripper was happy to have the evening off :-)


The pattern calls for a piece of boning, which I had never worked with, and found quite easy to assemble and install in the thread catcher bag.  The boning really helps to hold the bag part open, making it nice and easy for my snipped threads to end up in this cute bag instead of on the floor like usual.  


Not only did the weight of the pincushion hold the catcher nicely in place, but Candice also calls for a small piece of non-slip grip to affix to the bottom of the pincushion which is available at any craft store that adds extra stay put strength for keeping things nicely in place.


Whats better than a useful, quick and easy to assemble accessory that really is the perfect addition to any sewing space, but would also be good for knitters/crocheters to catch all those loose yarn ends.  I could go on and on about the great things about this pattern, and really do not have a negative comment to make.     

Candice has this pattern, along with four others including a nursing cover, diaper wristlet (so adorable!) and a burlap tote available as an instant PDF download in her etsy shop, so be sure to head over and check it out.

Now on to the even better stuff!  Candice has so generously given me one pattern to giveaway to one blog reader!  I thought I would add a little something too, how about two fat quarters of Amy Butler Lotus fabric (the plus of fabric reorganization--finding fabric you forgot you had!) to complete your thread catcher.


How about three chances to win:
1.  Leave me a comment telling me your weekend sewing plans
2.  Become a follower of sewcraftyjess and leave me a comment  telling me you did so (or you already are!)
3.  Head over to Candice's blog- Made With Love and become a follower, and leave me a comment telling me you did so. 

I will leave this giveaway open until Monday, March 12 at 9:00 AM EST.  Please make sure I have a way to contact in your profile or in your comment.  

Thanks again Candice for the great pattern and giveaway, good luck and happy sewing!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WIP Wednesday {3.7.2012}

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I know I know, I say the same thing every week, but seriously?  Wednesday already?  Where exactly do the days go exactly?  I haven't quite figured it out just yet.  Any's whats been going on in the sewing room:

New Projects


This quilt top came together super quickly on Saturday night and is a commissioned quilt for a friend.  She requested "boy" fabrics, and I don't know how much more "boy" I could have gotten with these fabrics!  It's in need of basting and quilting, but I should be finishing this little guy up soon.

Sewing Room/Fabric Organization

You can read more about my DIY ironing board/scrap storage project here.  Needless to say, I can't believe it took me two years to put something together like this!  


I've also been slowly but surely turning my curret hot mess of fabric storage into these super pretty neat stacks using Jeni's tutorial.  Seriously love.  Like I sometimes just go downstairs to look at those pretty stacks of fabric now :-)

In Progress

Japanese x and + blocks

Japanese x and + love

These little guys have been hanging out on my design wall this week, just making me smile.  These are the extra blocks I will need to complete my do. Good Stitches quilt for March, and I just couldn't resist whipping them up ahead of time.  

What's on your sewing agenda lately?  Be sure to head over to Freshly Pieced and add your WIP!!