Birdies

The day Mila was born I was definitely nesting. I cleaned and organized our front closet, cooked and froze a batch of soup, and finished some kitchen curtains. I’m so glad I finished our kitchen curtains now that it’s really hot in Los Angeles.

SMTD| Curtains (2)

The afternoon sun beats in our back kitchen windows and heats up our kitchen by several degrees. Since I wanted to block out the sun I lined the curtains with a blackout fabric. I cut up some old Pottery Barn Kids curtains that I had and repurposed the blackout lining.

SMTD| Curtains (1)

The curtain fabric is from IKEA and is perfect because it has birdies on it. Our kitties spend a large part of their day sitting at these windows staring outside at the birds.

The only thing about these curtains that I don’t love is that if I want to open them, they don’t stay open very well because of how they hang on the rods. For my next curtains I think I would construct the top differently (I copied the construction from the old Pottery Barn Kids curtains).  For now, I’m just going to sew some tie backs that I can use when I want them open.

Do you have a favorite curtain pattern/tutorial that you use to make lined curtains? If so, please share!

– Erica

Social Media Overload

I’m feeling a bit of a social media overload.

Since Mila joined us the need for uploading pictures has become more important so grandma and grandpa can see her day by day (since they live out of state).

But now I’ve got pictures on my phone, on Jake’s phone, on Flickr, on Instagram, on Facebook, Tumblr and in our aperture library on the computer. How do I keep all of these pictures straight so they all get where they need to? For someone who is very organized, it’s becoming a nightmare…

I like Instagram because the filters make almost everything look cool. I like Flickr because the photos are full size so grandma can download them directly. Facebook is just Facebook (and the easiest of all because everything will feed to Facebook). Is tumblr just one too many?

How do the rest of you deal with all of your photos? Should I just give some of these up? I would love to know how the rest of you do this…

-Erica

Out and About

I don’t want this post to make it look like I have it all together as a new mom, because that certainly isn’t the case. I’m as “green” as they come.

But, in the past 6 weeks we have made it out of the house on a few occasions and I’ve becoming a pro at nursing “out and about”. Thank goodness I made my nursing cover!

SMTD| Nursing (1)

At the Pasadena Farmer’s Market

SMTD| Nursing (2)

At The Getty

2013-08-15 12.45.12

Venice Beach

– Erica

 

 

One Month

I can’t believe how quickly one month has gone by! This post is already a little late as she is 5 1/2 weeks old already!

Here are some of her milestones in this first month:

– Lost her umbilical stump at one week
– Makes the cutest grunting noises when she is hungry (my little piglet)
– Has had her fingernails cut 4+ times
– Can hold her head up
– Turns her head to look at mommy, but doesn’t follow yet
– Had outings to the Pasadena Farmer’s Market and The Getty

onemonth

I’m still totally in love.

-Erica

Geekly Skulls

Today is my first day flying solo with Mila at home. And it’s been a fussy day so I essentially haven’t put her down at all. Right now she is sleeping on my belly and if I move at all she squeals.  Although I’m not really complaining about having to cuddle with my precious little princess…

Here we are (thanks photo booth!). Don't mind the big bandage on my arm, I had a dysplastic mole removed yesterday....

(don’t mind the big bandage on my arm, I had an abnormal mole removed yesterday….)

I’ve been thinking that I would like to make something for my ob/gyn as a thank you gift. I was initially hoping to bring it to my post-partum visit. But since that is next week, I’m realizing that’s probably not going to happen. The biggest problem is that I can’t decide what to make her. My regular “go-to gift” is a baby quilt but she doesn’t have a baby, so I have to think of something else. During my pregnancy I noticed she had a lot of clothing with skulls on it, so I found this great fabric that I want to use.

Geekly Chic Skulls in Grey by Amy Adams

Geekly Chic Skulls in Grey by Amy Adams

I’m wondering if any of you have suggestions of what to make with this fabric or patterns that you have used and love (purse, pouch, other idea???)? I’m totally open. I think my creative juices are a little dry because I haven’t slept much in the past month…..

I have been accumulating patterns/tutorials/inspiration over time on Pinterest. Here are the purse and bag tutorials and here’s some other random crafty goodness I have found.

-erica

Throw Pillows

SMTD | Throw Pillow (1)

Mila’s room also doubles as my sewing room and our guest room (yes, we live in Los Angeles and only have a two bedroom apartment). Mila is actually sleeping in a bassinet in our room so right now her room is actually for changing her diapers and relaxing on the pull out couch.

Her room is pink and grey and before she was born I decided I needed to make pink throw pillows to match her chevron rug. The pink in her rug is very hard to match (it’s kind of a blush/rose). The closest color on my Kona card was blush pink.

When I lived in Boston, I made a throw pillow with an invisible zipper, so I kind if remembered how to make it. I ended up using this tutorial by Schlosser Designs to refresh my memory and help with the details. And, whoop, it turned out pretty great!

SMTD | Throw Pillow (2)

I cut my pieces the same size as the pillow forms (18 inches) because I wanted the pillows to have a tighter fit.

The cotton was too thin to make a good pillow cover so I spray basted the kona cotton to an old curtain panel I had. Then I sewed the squares together with parallel lines, one inch apart, using one of the fancy stitches on my machine. I have to say that I really like how it turned out. (I marked the parallel lines with a hera marker– Have I talked about how great it is?- You need to get one!).

-erica

Introduction to Paper Piecing

I recently met Sarah online when she reached out to me asking to do a guest post on paper piecing. I tried paper piecing once at a Boston Modern Quilt Guild meeting, but promptly forgot how to do it. I haven’t done my own paper piecing project yet, but it’s definitely on my list!

Sarah has a sewing blog where she blogs about sewing projects and techniques. She also puts up videos demonstrating various presser feet, sewing tools and serger techniques.

Thanks Sarah for writing this paper piecing tutorial! Now I can refer to my own blog for instructions when I’m ready to start my first project!

Please, check out her: Blog, instructional YouTube Videos and Facebook Page.

-erica

INTRODUCTION TO PAPER PIECING:  I’ve always admired quilters that made difficult shapes, like stars or lighthouses, look so effortless. Then, I learned paper piecing. It’s super fun and as simple as painting by numbers! There are thousands and thousands of free paper piecing patterns available. All those tiny scraps you’ve been stashing (never know when you’ll need a 1 inch scalene triangle) can finally be used. There are piecing patterns that literally use the tiniest of scraps, so when your partner gives you grief for keeping an itsy bitsy scrap, you have justification. Waste not!

paper piecing feature image

This star pattern is great for easing in to paper piecing. Believe it or not, this took maybe 20 minutes. You can sew it into something as big as a full blow quilt or as simple as a pot holder. Either way, you’re going to love playing around with paper piecing!

Tip: If you’re having trouble following the directions below, check out our video instructions.

Supplies:

  • Paper Piecing Pattern. There are TONS of free paper piecing patterns all over the internet. All you have to do is find one you like and print it from your computer. Can’t find the size you like? You can reduce an image on your computer or have an image enlarged at Kinko’s. Here are a few trusted sites: Forest QuiltingPiece By NumbersCarol Doak.
  • Fabric Scraps. Most patterns will come with a list telling you how large each scrap needs to be.
  • Universal Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors or rotary ruler and rotary mat
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Printer and Computer Paper

Step 1: If your pattern does not have 1/4 seam lines drawn in, go ahead and mark them yourself using your ruler.

step 1

step 2Make sure you have enough scraps to cover all your steps. I like to separate mine into piles.

step 3Step 2: Mine has 3 separate pieces that will be sewn together to form a star, but the process is the same for each piece. First, let’s start with number 1. Place your first scrap fabric right side down on the table. Now, place your paper pattern on top of the fabric scrap, wrong sides together. The pattern diagram should be facing you.

step 5Remember: Whenever you are adding a new piece of fabric, it always needs to be at least 1/4 inch larger (on all sides) than its corresponding shape.

Now that you have the pattern template laying on the first fabric piece, let’s go on to number 2. Once again, you want to make sure your fabric scrap is at least 1/4 larger (on all sides) than your template.

Place the new scrap fabric piece right sides together with your first fabric scrap. So, from top to bottom, you have your paper pattern facing you, then the wrong side of first fabric, and right side or second fabric scrap.

To ensure that your fabric scrap is lined up correctly, hold all three layers up to a light source. You will be able to see the shadow of the second fabric scrap. (The darkest shadow is the fabric for number 2)

pp fixed copyStep 3: Reduce your stitch length just a tad to create a  perforated line. Sew along the straight line between shape 1 and 2. Don’t forget to back stitch.

step 6Fold the paper back on the sewn line.

Using a ruler, trim the fabric to a 1/4 inch.

trimmed dowmPress the seam and move on to number 3. You repeat the same steps along the border of number 2 and 3 as you did with one and two.

press seams openThe first section is finished! Time to move on to the next section. Start the exact same way we did with the first part. Number for is the new number 1.

IMG_6571These are the basic steps to paper piecing. You will simply be repeating these steps until you have pieced all of you pattern.

step 15You can remove the paper pattern after each section or once you have sewn the entire block together.

step 17Once all the individual parts are pieced, you can sew the 3 sections together.

step 16Sew all the pieces together to make your quilt block. Press. Use your ruler and rotary cutter to trim up any uneven edges. Not too shabby, right?

I did some satin stitching around the edge of the star using a Stitch in the Ditch foot. Super easy! Just install your foot and set your stitch length to a short zig zag.

IMG_6578All finished! Time to make another 11 of these for a fun baby quilt!

step 19Thank you so much for reading and I hope this tutorial was helpful. Happy Sewing (and Quilting)!

-Sarah

 

Miss Mila

Blogging has been a little harder than I anticipated since Mila joined our family. I don’t know where the time goes… before I know it, it’s nighttime again and I’m trying to get just a few hours of sleep at a time. But it’s all so worth it.

Mila joined our family on July 8th at 10:10 AM. She made me so proud by waiting until 37 weeks, 2 days to make her arrival. They called her a “late preemie” at birth.

SMTD | Mila

Overall, my delivery was perfect. Labor started when my water broke (just like my mom and sister, so I wasn’t surprised). It took about 3 hours for my contractions to start. And then, from the beginning of contractions to her arrival was only 6 hours! We hired a doula for the delivery (think birth coach) which was amazing. She was such a support for both me and Jake. And I’m so proud to say I had a natural delivery, without any pain medications/epidural! Since I had taken so many medications and had so many complications throughout the pregnancy, it felt nice to be able to actually control something. I wanted us to both be alert and present the day we met.

It can be common to get a lupus flare post-partum so I’m watching carefully for any signs/symptoms of a flare. Stress can cause flares so I’m trying to stay stress free and get as much rest as I can (ha ha!). If things are going well 6 weeks post-partum than I might be able to start tapering off the prednisone I have been taking for 1+ years. I will have to taper down slowly but it will be a huge blessing if I can decrease my medications. FINGERS CROSSED.

Nursing has been way more challenging than I anticipated. And not the actual nursing, but worrying about whether or not Mila is getting enough milk. Lupus can decrease your milk supply, so as soon as I learned that I essentially started worrying. Our little peanut is hungry a LOT and many times will want to nurse 4-6+ hours in a row and those are the moments I start to really worry. She has been steadily gaining weight so hopefully soon I’ll be able to trust that she is getting enough.

After everything that has happened in the past 2 years, I can’t believe Mila is here and part of our family. We are so happy.

SMTD | Our Family

-erica

 

Nursing Cover

I’m planning on breastfeeding, so it was obvious that I would have to make my own nursing cover. There were several tutorials online and I chose a tutorial by Freshly Picked. I made some small alterations to the tutorial (one was choosing to miter the corners which you can see in the  bottom photo).

I used some fabric I had in my stash, but had to buy D-rings and some boning.

This fabric is extra special because I bought it about 2 years ago when Jake and I came to California to interview for my job. After my job interview we celebrated by going to Sew Modern (on Pico Avenue) and I bought one yard of this fabric. I’ve been saving it for something special–it’s so perfect to use it in this way!

SMTD| Nursing Cover (8)Fabric is Featurette from Silent Cinema by Jenean Morrison

SMTD| Nursing Cover (3)

SMTD| Nursing Cover (15)See how the boning lifts the cover off the chest so you can see baby while feeding?

SMTD| Nursing Cover (5)And of course I had to add my label!

-erica

 

Baby’s First Quilts

When I first moved out to Los Angeles, I posted an inquiry on the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild (LAMQG) website looking for some girls who were interested in getting together on a weekly basis to sew. Liberty and Jenny responded quickly and it turns out they both live within a couple of miles of my house (how rare in Los Angeles)!

Very quickly these girls became close girlfriends, especially as they helped me grieve through my second miscarriage and then my diagnosis of lupus. I cannot tell you how therapeutic good friendship and sewing is for the soul!

Over this past year our lives have all gotten a bit busier (and during my periods of intense morning/evening sickness I wasn’t able to sew much), so our get togethers have been more sporadic. But our lives have been connected and hopefully we will get together a little more frequently in the future. 🙂

My friend Liberty made our baby girl this beautiful quilt.

SMTD- LAMQGI would point you to her blog, but she just decided that her blogging phase is over for now, so, you’ll just have to believe me that she is an incredibly talented, wonderful woman. She tends towards improvisation which is inspiring to me since I tend to follow patterns and specifics.

SMTD- LAMQGThe star is made from large half square triangles. There is a tutorial for a similar quilt top by In Color Order: Giant Vintage Start Quilt Tutorial. Liberty used only 2 fabrics/colors in this quilt rather than 8 different colors.

DSC02573Jenny made me this fantastic quilt. I am in love with the fabric. Especially the print peeking out from the back. She machine quilted it and also added yarn ties for texture, which I love. Jenny has an amazing eye for anything vintage. She recently renovated her sewing space which makes me incredibly jealous– you can check out her before and after pictures on instagram.

Our girl is already so blessed!

– erica