Hi Friends! Whew! Its taken me over a week week to catch up since I got back Sew South in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina! (And that long to catch up on my sleep too!!) But, it was, in one word – AMAZING!

There is always SO much to say about my time spent at Sew South, so I thought I would share the Top 10 reasons to love Sew South, now that I’m back from my second trip. Because, well, you might want to go next year. Which is ok, as long as I get my ticket first!

sew south photo booth

#1: Time Spent With Friends

Seriously, the.best.part.hands.down. I had the best time with my dear friend and roomie Tessa! Seriously, it was like we were at the most fun sleepover ever the entire weekend. Not one night did we go to sleep before 2 AM! And, it was so great to see so many friends from last year and spend time catching up while sharing our love of sewing. Its priceless really.

sew south secret sisters

#2: Secret Sister Swap

This year, I was SPOILED ROTTEN by Nicole – her gifts to me were so thoughtful and just so ME, my heart was warmed so many times over the weekend.

secret sister swap gifts

And, I think its even MORE fun to make things and give to your secret sister. This year, Cindy was my secret sister, and let’s just say that one of the funniest moments of the weekend was on the second morning I was less than awake while packaging up her morning gifts, and actually SIGNED my name to the card. So much for a “secret” right?! And the funniest part is – I had NO IDEA that I signed my name. So about an hour later, when she asked me if I was her secret sister, I LIED to her and of course said “No! What would make you think that?!” To which she quickly replied, “Well, you signed your name to the card!” Note to self – do not try to do something secret before 9 AM! Oh well, I hope I made up for giving up the secret with the rest of my gifts over the weekend!

CheesecakeForDinner

#3:  Cheesecake For Dinner

All of the dinners at Sew South are on your own, and one night, Tessa had a FABULOUS idea – Cheesecake for dinner! So, we headed over to the Cheesecake Factory with Marcia and proceeded to enjoy the most amazing Cheesecake EVER for dinner. It was perfect. And delicious. Did I mention, delicious?!

 

#4: Meeting New Friends

On the last day when everyone was taking photos, I was so overly tired and just so consumed with saying my goodbyes, I completely forgot to get photos with LOTS of my new friends. Even with so many repeat faces and friends to catch up with from last year, it was so wonderful to meet and connect with so many new friends. Hi Asha, Marcia, Lisa, Tracy, Shirley, Nancy, Nicole, Laurel!!! Let’s all sew together again soon, ok?

finished sew south projects

#5: Finishing A Few Sewing Projects

Ok, let’s all be honest for a minute – sewing retreats are not actually about sewing. I know, crazy right?! But, I did actually get a few finishes in on Saturday including my boxy pouch taught by Kelly from Kelby Sews and my Scrap Bucket Basket taught by Heather from The Sewing Loft. And, I also finished a fold over clutch too. It matched my outfit, so I had to get a photo!

 

sew south sponsor

#6: The Swag

Seriously, the sponsors for Sew South really step up to the plate and provide the most amazing swag and gifts throughout the weekend! I of course don’t have a photo of it as I have yet to unpack the SUPER LARGE BAG, but you can enter to win your own swag bag from Jennifer at Ellison Lane this week. Thank you so much to all of the sponsors including Coats and Clark, Rowan Fabrics, Free Spirit Fabrics, Joanns, Pellon, Dear Stella, Michael Miller, Oliso, Stash Books, Aurifil, Robert Kaufman, Lark Crafts, Dritz, Schmetz and Aurifil.

 

#7: Making Time For You

One of the biggest reasons I heard from friends at Sew South was that “they needed a break” – no matter if it was from work, family, kids, etc. And really, don’t we all need time for ourselves to focus on us and the things that make us happy. I spent 5 glorious days with my dear friends and only had to worry about myself. It may sound selfish, but for those 5 days, being selfish was priority #1 and it felt REALLY good. Taking time away to focus on you can be so renewing for all other aspects of life. And, I was totally surprised to come home and realize I hardly took ANY pictures and didn’t spend time checking email while I was gone. Seriously, the best!

 

blogging and social media sew south

Teaching my class on blogging and social media. Photo courtesy of Jennifer at Ellison Lane.

#8: Meaningful Connections

Whether you are in search of new friends who “get” you and your need for more fabric or you want to connect with online sewing friends in real life, Sew South has it all and more. And, if you are looking to make sewing related business contacts, they are there in abundance too. I can’t even begin to tell you of the friendships I’ve made that I know will be everlasting for many many years to come that not only get my need for more fabric but encourage it ;) Sew South has also been a great spring-board for opportunities that I know I wouldn’t have had as easily otherwise.

And, this year I was able to connect my  my day job in online marketing to my passion of sewing by teaching a class on blogging and social media. It was truly amazing and such a supportive and attentive group! And, what’s more is the sheer wealth of knowledge in attendance is astounding – from women who have written sewing books, designed fabric, written and sold patterns – if you have an idea or want to turn your sewing into a business, someone there has already done it and is happy to share their story!

 

#9: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

This could be applicable to so many things during Sew South! Everything from getting out of your comfort zone to meet new people and share a bit about yourself to perfect strangers (although, I will vouch for the fact that not once did anyone at Sew South that felt like a stranger!) to trying a new technique. One of our classes this year was improv sewing taught by Katie of From the Blue Chair – a new technique for me! Do check out Katie’s blog if you haven’t seen her improv work, be sure to check it out! Seriously, some truly amazing stuff!

#10: An Abundance of Inspiration

Katie’s presentation was so inspiring to me! She started with the above Ted Talk video, and something about “embracing the limitations of the box” spoke to me in a new way. And, Alison Glass was absolutely amazing and awe inspiring as she told her personal story. As was my new friend Asha, as she shared the story of her family with me late one night during open sew. Same with Tracy as she shared her goals and aspirations over dinner.

There were countless moments throughout the entire weekend that truly inspired me in a new way, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one. Last year, I was just so thankful and happy to have finally found “my people” – friends who understood me and got this thing we do called sewing. But this year, this year was even more special in so many ways. This year, I walked away with a new sense of purpose and clear thinking. Calm and relaxed but also energized and buzzing with ideas.

I’m excited and looking forward to the next Sew South and the new experiences and friendships it will bring – hope you are too!

Welcome everyone! Today’s my day on the Crafty Traveler Blog Hop hosted by Jennifer of Ellison Lane. You’ll also want to hop on over to Bryan House Quilts, as she’s also sharing a pattern review for the Crafty Traveler as well.

I was so excited when Jennifer asked me to be part of this blog hop, as bag making is my first love in sewing. And, I’ve been wanting to try the Sew Sweetness Aeroplane Bag pattern – so it was completely a win-win!

So, why sewing bags? Well, for me, sewing bags started it all for me with sewing as an adult. Approximately 5 years ago, I moved to Richmond, Virginia with only a few friends in the area. My Mom, an amazing quilter for over 20+ years, was visiting me for the first time and we went to check out the local quilt shops – because well, that’s what we do! And, at one of the shops, they were having a class the next weekend to learn to make a bag. Mom signed me up right then and there, and with a borrowed machine, I went. And that was all it took! I was completely in love – although I have to say there have been quite a few tears and broken needles in the beginning.

For me, sewing bags combines everything I love about sewing, such as:

Sew Sweetness Aeroplane Bag Pattern

Ok, so now that you know a little bit more about me and my thoughts being bag making, I’m super excited to share my thoughts on the Aeroplane Bag Pattern by Sew Sweetness. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to go this long without sewing one of her bags, as her pattern shop has so many cute styles! I’m so glad that I chose this one first, as it met my criteria for a unique bag and quick finish!

For this bag, I really wanted to combine two of my loves right now – navy and white stripes, pink and leather. As my friend Sarah from Stitching and Bacon says – everything is more fancy with leather! And I couldn’t agree more. I think the leather really creates a sophisticated and finished look – which is exactly what I go for when sewing bags. I want someone to ask me where I got it and be completely surprised when I say that I made it!

You might have noticed that I added my own bit of “flair” to the bag. When I finished the bag as the pattern was written, I was pleased with it and its shape, however, I really felt it was a bit too plain and missing something. So, I quickly sewed together a strip of my favorite polka dot ever, Michael Miller Ta Dot in Candy, and tied it on. It completely did the trick and I’m completely in love!

I made the long version of the pattern and let me tell you, this bag is HUGE! It measures 18-1/2″ long by 14-1/2″ tall by 8-1/2″ deep. I can imagine myself using this bag over and over again this summer at the pool, at the beach, on a picnic – it will hold multiple beach towels, snacks, etc. And, I absolutely love that it has an interior zip pocket to hold important things like money and keys, which will be perfect for time spent at the beach or pool so I can leave my purse at home!

Overall, I’d say this bag is perfect for a confident beginner to intermediate sewist. And, I only say that because it has two zippers. I found that the zipper instructions in this pattern were extremely straight forward and easy to follow – which I think would make it easy for anyone to be successful with the zippers on this bag!

The only part I found that might be tricky for someone who has never sewn a zipper or bag before would be sewing the bag together once the main zipper was in, as the pattern images do not fully illustrate that step and could lead to a broken needle or two. My tip is to start with the outside of the bag first and pin or clip the front and back pieces together as close to the zipper end as possible, and sew as close to the zipper as possible, but not over it. It will still be secure but you won’t break a needle in the process.

Fabrics and Supplies for My Version of the Aeroplane Bag

Outside:
Navy & White Stripe Home Dec Weight Fabric, Faux Leather Gifted by Mom

Lining:
- Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets in Pink

Inside Pocket:
- Tsuru Making Tracks Print by Rashida Coleman Hale for Cloud 9

Interfacing:
- I used Pellon Fusible Fleece 987f on the Home Decor Fabric, as I didn’t have Soft & Stable on hand and have had a love affair with fusible fleece for a long time and knew that I’d love the results.
- For the leather bottom portion, I used cotton duck cloth as a sew-in interfacing to give it more structure as it was quite flimsy. This would not be needed on a heavier leather or suede.
- For the lining, since the outside was in home decor fabric and fusible fleece, I didn’t want to bulk up the bag with heavy interfacing. So, I used Pellon SF101 Shape Flex to give the quilting cotton a bit more structure on the inside and to hold the zipper pocket.

Thanks so much to Jennifer for having me as part of the hop – I’m looking forward to loading up my bag with sewing projects for Sew South coming up in just a few weeks! I hope you enjoyed my version of the Aeroplane bag and are inspired to make your own. I hope you do, as there are quite a few prizes to win if you link up!

Crafty Traveler Blog Hop

Link-up your travel handmade project March 6-12 for a chance to win one of three great prizes!
(US only)



Prizes: 

#1: Free Spirit Fabric, Crafty Traveler Tote supplies and Dritz rotary cutter.
#2: Box of 50 Coats Threads
#3: Pellon Prize Pack (Interfacing & Batting)

To enter to win simply link up your project at ellisonlane.com on March 6. Please link from a new blog post but your project can be anything you’ve made to travel handmade within the last 6 months. You may also link from Flickr or Threadbias. 

And, don’t forget to stop by the rest of the stops on the hop for more Crafty Traveler inspiration and projects!

Blog Hop Schedule

2/3:  Patchwork Posse & Fabric Mutt
2/6: Random Thoughts Do or Di
2/10: Golden Willow Quilts
2/13: Between Quilts & The Sewing Chick
2/17: May Chappell & Modern Handcraft
2/20: Bryan House Quilts & Love By Hand 
2/24: Petit Lyons Sew Many Possibilities 
2/27: Owen’s Olivia
3/3: Old Red Barn Co.  & Go Go Kim
3/6: Link-up opens at www.ellisonlane.com 
3/13: Winner’s announced! 

Thanks so much to the Crafty Traveler sponsors! 

pocket pillow tutorial
Hi Everyone! I’ve got Valentines Day on the brain (how can you not with the barrage of diamond and chocolate commercials on TV right now?!) – so I thought I would share a pillow tutorial for this super quick, adorable and fun Ombre Heart Pocket Pillow that I originally created as part of the Craftaholics Anonymous Creative Team. I don’t know about you, but I just love pillow tutorials that are fun, quick and easy, as I’m often leaving holiday decorating until the last minute!

Ombre Heart Pillow Tutorial

Supplies

To make your own 16” pillow, you’ll need the following supplies:

½ yd fabric for front and back of pillow
½ yd fabric for pocket and binding
¼ yd fabric for heart
1, 9” x 9” piece of heat n’ bond
16 ½” x 16 ½” piece of fusible fleece (used Pellon TP 971F)
1, 16” pillow form
Free Heart Template

Fabrics used for pillow tutorial:
Pillow front and back, Essex Yarn Dyed Linen by Robert Kaufman
Pillow pocket and binding, Simply Color by V & Co. for Moda
Heart, Simply Color by V & Co. for Moda

Heart Pocket Pillow Tutorial

Making the heart

From the ombre fabric that is already 9” wide, cut 9, 1 ½” strips from the various colors in the fabric, approximately 3 dark, 3 medium, and 3 light to get the desired ombre effect for the heart.
Next, sew all the strips together in order from dark to light along the 9” side to create a 9” x 9” square. Press all seams open.

Place your 9” x 9” square of fabric face down on your ironing board with your 9” x 9” piece of heat n’ bond on top. Following instructions for the heat n’ bond, press together and allow to cool.
Using the heart template, trace the heart outline onto the paper side of the heat n’ bond and cut out your heart. Set aside.

Making the Pocket

Cut 2 pieces 10 ½” x 10 ½” from your pocket fabric. Place both pieces right sides together and pin in place. Sew around all 4 sides using a ¼” seam allowance, leaving a 3” opening at the bottom. Clip your corners and turn right side out. Press flat, ensuring your opening seam is folded into the pocket.

Take your heart and remove the paper backing. Center it on the pocket and press in place using a hot iron. To sew the heart in place, I used variegated pearl cotton and hand-stitched around the outside edge. However, you can also use a long straight stitch on your machine and sew around the edge of the heart as well. Note that this method can allow for some frayed edges since it is raw-edge applique.

Attach the Pocket to the Pillow Front

Cut a 16 ½” x 16 ½” square from your pillow front fabric.  Fuse this piece to your piece of fusible fleece to give the front a bit of weight. Center the pocket with the heart and pin in place. Sew around three sides, leaving the top open and making sure to catch the pocket opening in your stitch line along the bottom.

Making the Back

To make an envelope closure on the back of the pillow, cut 2 pieces 16 ½” x 10”. Along one edge of each piece, fold in ¼” and press, and fold in another ¼” and press to create a finished edge. Using a straight stitch on your machine, sew down the middle.

Finishing the Pillow

Place your pillow front face down on a flat work surface. Next, place both of your back pieces right side up, lining up the three unfinished edges with the edges of the front. Your pieces will overlap approximately 2 inches on the back, creating the envelope back. Pin in place.

Next, create your binding using your preferred method by cutting 2, 2 ¼” x wof (width of fabric) strips from your desired fabric. Since I wanted the project to be quick, I sewed my binding to the back of the pillow using my machine, and then I sewed to the front using my machine rather than hand stitching. Some say its cheating, but I say its quick and it works for me!

Next, just put in your pillow form and your pillow is finished! Don’t forget to add a cute note, card or goodies for someone special!

I hope you enjoyed the pocket pillow tutorial! If you make your own version, I’d love to see it! Leave a link in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out!
30. 01. 2014

Wow! Its been a busy month, and I promise that some sewing has been happening. Today, I’ve got a bit of a mash-up of WIPs to share.

Remember the two medallion along groups I’m participating in? Well, they are still going on – slowly but surely – and I finally have a border finish to share with you.


All of you know my friend Chrissy of Sew Lux – she’s seriously the best! I’ve had her Christmas themed medallion center for a couple of months, as I wanted the Christmas rush to pass by so I had time to really focus on doing a great job (especially considering my last medallion border!).

And let me tell you, I’m so glad I did! I really enjoyed the process with this border more than I have with any other – and I got it out by the time I said I would! I had trees in my mind for the border for a while, especially after the wall hanging my friend Tessa from The Sewing Chick gave me for our SURMA Christmas Swap – yes friends its mine all mine!! 

I used the tiny templates provided in the Modern Holiday Book by Amanda Murphy without enlarging them. It was a true labor of love for a dear friend, as the trees finished at 2″ x 3″ – FINISHED friends!! By far, they are the tiniest things I have ever pieced or made ever.

Here’s the finished border added to Chrissy’s medallion center. If you notice, the photo above of the border is before I realized that I would need to add an inch on each side to make the borders even on the top and the bottom – since they were 2″ x 3″ vs. square. So, my seam ripper and I became good friends. The borders matched up this time perfectly around the center and I easily added 4 HSTs to the corners on the top and bottom.  I’m totally in love with how this turned out, and I think Chrissy is too! I sent it off to Holli where I know she’ll add something great too.

Next WIP to mention is this baby quilt I am making. I originally had a plan to gift it, but I was too late for the shower, so now I think I’ll finish it up and list it in my Etsy shop. I am SO in love with it – the pink and teal along with the low volume prints – swoon! The pattern is a free pattern, the Star Bright Quilt by Katie Blakesley at Swim Bike Quilt. It goes together super quick and was the PERFECT thing to make with my Ladies Night bundle from Sew Lux curated by my friend Sarah.

I’m feeling really great about my sewing lately – more creative than ever. So, I’m sure I’ll be popping in with many more updates in the next few weeks now that I’ve gotten over my Holiday sewing craze! 

http://www.freshlypieced.com/

07. 01. 2014

Reason #1: Getting To Be Part of Life’s Biggest Moments

 Can we talk about how cute this little one is?! Meet Rylee, looking absolutely ADORABLE in her newborn photo shoot just a few weeks before Christmas. I just love that the stocking I made will forever be part of little Rylee’s story. Totally warms my heart!

Reason #2: Making New Friends

Through my Etsy shop this year, I made around 60 stockings, 5 tree skirts and a few other items within an 8 week stretch. Whew! But, I also receive so much love and excitement in return from new friends once their new stockings are hung by the fireplace with care.

Reason #3: Handmade lasts long after the occasion

I made these Christmas placemats for my Mom this year (one of the FEW gifts I actually made!). Next year when I go home to celebrate the holidays with my family, these will be on the table. And each year my Mom brings them out, she’ll think of me with a smile on her face and know how much I love her. And, even though I no longer live with her, I’m there in some small, meaningful way. No other gifts stand the test of time like handmade.

There are so many more reasons why I love handmade, and I’ll be sharing more of them here over the next few months. I’d love to hear from you – what are your reasons that you love handmade!

06. 01. 2014
Image via RosieandViolets on Etsy

I’m so excited about all the promise this new year has in store and I have so many exciting ideas that I could just BURST with excitement.

If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago, what my sewing goals were for 2014, my answer would have been so very different. You see, last Friday, I met up with my dear sewing friends Chrissy, Lee, Sarah and Xandi. I was working on a commissioned project (one that isn’t too exciting if I’m honest) and we were all going over our traveling medallion quilts. As we were thinking of what the next border should be, we all noticed the last borders of the quilt “smiled” at us and the quilt was not square. So, I’m going to come on out and share – the last border on the quilt, the ones that were terribly crooked and “smiling” were mine. I was completely and utterly mortified, although, my friends, being so dear and wonderful, assured me that it was fixable and that its a common problem in quilting. Whew.

Before I tell you my goals and the end of the story above, let’s rewind a bit and let me tell you a bit about my sewing journey. If I had to say what type of sewist I am, I would say “I make things” and those things can include everything from bags, to tree skirts, to stockings, to crib bumpers, and yes, it also includes quilts. I would not classify myself as a quilter. Why? Well, I kind of just “taught” myself how to make a quilt since I know the basics of how to sew and from watching my Mom all these years. I can follow a pattern, I know I need to use a 1/4″ seam allowance, I know how to make a bunch of HSTs. I know the basics, and from there, I kind of just figure it out.

So back to my sewing day with friends, Lee and Chrissy started to talk about “easing it in” and how to correctly sew borders to ensure no smile (although I want a happy and fun quilt, a smiling border is NOT ok) and I had no idea what they were talking about and how to do what they were saying. So, I did what every good sewist who wants to be a better quilter does – I helped Chrissy seam rip off all of the borders I added and pressed them down, and then I asked questions and watched to make sure I knew how to fix it, and what I could do differently in the future. Now, I know that was a long story, but I promise it will make sense in a minute!

2014 Sewing Goals

Goal #1: Learn to Enjoy the Journey

A few posts from this past year have touched on this, and I have my friend Holli to thank. I REALLY need to slow down and learn to enjoy the process of sewing. I’m so deadline driven in my day job and with my Etsy shop, that I let it spill over into other things that are supposed to be fun and enjoyable and make them into a chore with a bad attitude of “I just have to hurry up and get this done!” So, this year, I vow to take my time on projects and embrace the make.

Goal #2: Push Myself to Learn More

There are so many things that I know about sewing that I have taught myself and learned from trial and error, especially in bag making. However, in quilting, there is still so much I need to learn about nesting seams and ironing (I know I could improve here), paper piecing (I’ve learned how but haven’t really pushed myself), and the need to explore more complicated patterns or techniques – just so I can add them to my list of experiences. Since I will be slowing down and taking my time based on goal #1, its the perfect time to add a few more complicated projects to my list and just work on them at my own pace without a deadline.

Goal #3: More Me Sewing

I tried but failed to launch my selfish sewing series, but this year, I am going to resurrect it and stick to it! Along with this I really want to take time to explore projects and ideas to help me better understand my personal sewing style. Given that I spend so much time of my sewing time making things for others or for sale, I rarely have time to think about what I like anymore. Its so sad and pathetic I know! But that stops now. I’m going to say no a lot more to others so I can start saying yes to myself to be more creative with my sewing projects and learn more about what I like to sew for me.

Goal #4: Clear the Decks

I made a list of all the projects I still have to complete that I didn’t finish by the end of 2013, and that is NO WAY to start a new year with new sewing goals. So, first up will be to clear the decks and wipe the slate clean by finishing all of my projects that are still owed to others. Its a SERIOUSLY long list, and to be honest, only a few things on the list interest me enough to finish. But, the sooner I finish them, the sooner I can take a deep breath and focus on me for a while.

Goal #5: Blog with Purpose

A year ago (almost), I started this blog as a new creative outlet without much of a purpose or plan. And, that worked for me over this past year, but I’m still craving more, and have SO MUCH MORE to share that I think others will find valuable. So, this year, I’m going to be more purposeful with the type of posts I share here on the blog. That’s all I’m going to say about that, as I don’t want to make it a formal list of post titles, but stay tuned for a few new kinds of posts to start cropping up in the next month or so!

So, are you as excited about the new year as I am? Thanks so much for joining me in this journey and Happy 2014 to you!

02. 01. 2014

Wow. I can’t believe 2013 is over, but on the other hand, I’m so happy to be putting it in my rear view mirror. I originally wanted to title this post “my love/hate relationship with 2013″ but the more I thought about it (let’s be honest, scrolled through the photos of projects I took, as it was all really a blur in my mind), there were A LOT of positive things that happened this year.

First things first, I posted over 60 times to this new blog that I started on January 20, 2013. That’s coming up in just a few weeks! I’m really proud that I kept it up. And, I think my instincts were right – it felt right share my love of handmade and my love of sewing with everyone through this new blog.

2013 Highlights

Published! I had two projects published in Stitch Magazine – the Spring and Summer Issues of 2013. I also had a stocking project published in Fat Quarterly too. And, I had a table runner tutorial on Sew Mama Sew!

Attended Sew South. The event was awesome, and more importantly, I met the most wonderful group of friends that I could ever imagine to have in my life. It all happened at just the right time, and I’m so thankful for Sew South for bringing us all together. Love you ladies to pieces!

Christmas In July. Along with my new friend Chrissy from Sew Lux, I hosted my first big blog event of fun holiday tutorials for a Christmas in July series. I had such a great time, worked with a few new bloggers and made a few new friends too.

The Makes of 2013

I’m not going to do a full count (because let’s be honest, I lost count months ago), but here’s a few accomplishments that I’m happy to share.

Finished my HUGE Little Black Dress Swoon Quilt. I haven’t had a chance to write up a full post, but I got it back from the Longarmer and put the binding on in time to gift it to the BF’s mother at Christmas. Yay!

Completed two quilts for Dear Stella and got to play with new fabrics, including their new sparkle confetti dots!

Sewed not one, but TWO Amy Butler Weekender Bags! And yes, they were the exact same (Hi Xandi!) and yes, I still love the pattern.

This holiday season, I sewed approximately 60 Christmas Stockings for my Etsy shop, plus 4 tree skirts and a 90″ table runner – did I mention I did all of that in only 8 short weeks?!

Speaking of Holidays, I actually crammed in a bit of last minute Christmas gifts. I finished a set of placemats for my mom, plus 2 fold over clutches, a Christmas table topper and a throw quilt top. I’ll share more on that and my love of Handmade gifts in the next week or so.

How did your 2013 end up? I’ll be back early next week with my thoughts on 2014 and my personal sewing goals and goals for the blog – I think I finally have a plan and I’m so excited!

Yay for Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! For those of you who are new, welcome! I’m so excited to be participating again, as I had a very successful giveaway in the spring and found a lot of new blogs and online friends!

I’m very busy sewing lots of Christmas stockings these days, so I’m feeling particularly Christmas-y and thought that a giveaway of my HST Christmas Tree Table Runner that I created a tutorial for during Sew Mama Sew’s Christmas in July series.

The runner is made with the Hip Holiday line and its super cheerful, fun and bright – the perfect addition to any holiday decor or a great hostess gift! Its ok to re-gift if you win, I know how hard it is to fit in time to make gifts prior to Christmas!

Enter To Win

To enter to win the handmade table runner:
Entry #1: leave a comment below with your favorite color combinations for holiday decorating.
Entry #2: like Love By Hand on Facebook and leave a comment that you did below.

The Giveaway ends on Friday, December 13. I’ll choose a comment by random number generator. 

Good Luck! 

Be sure to head on over to Sew Mama Sew to see all of the other giveaways and find new blogs to follow!

http://www.sewmamasew.com/

This is so exciting to share – my king size Little Black Dress swoon quilt top is finally FINISHED! To say this way a labor of love is an understatement, as I started this quilt back in February. These blocks have traveled to Sew South, and two Uphome sewing weekends – and just last weekend I finally finished them all, added the sashing and the borders to finish the top at 108″ x 108″.

While the fabric choice and colors are not my normal (I know you are used to seeing LOTS of color around here), I’m really happy with how it turned out. And the Basic Grey grunge fabric is one of my all time favorite background fabrics. The quilt is for my boyfriend’s mom Carolyn, and I know she is going to be so excited to finally receive it!

Sorry for the blurry photo above – I was so excited to get the top finished, I didn’t have much time to take great photos as I had to quickly ship it away to the long arm quilter. Yeah, at 108″ x 108″ my little brother won’t be able to handle the quilting, so I’m more than excited to send it away! I can’t wait to see it finished and get the binding on – and I promise to do a proper quilt photo shoot then.

I know I shouldn’t play favorites, but this block is my favorite in the quilt! I just love the black and grey lace print along with the polka dot – its much more modern than the others, probably why I love it so much ;)

I’ll share more photos of the big big finish once I get it back and put the binding on! I can’t wait to see how the quilting changes it.

Handmade Ornament Exchange

http://www.lovebyhand.com/?p=14

And, while you are here I thought I’d mention one more time that I’m hosting a handmade ornament exchange. Make 5 handmade ornaments and you receive 5 back in the mail – its that simple. No prizes or giveaways, just something fun to spread a bit of holiday cheer!

You can get more details and sign up through November 27 on this post. 

I’m so excited about the upcoming holidays – and I have some serious plans for handmade gifts! Since this blog is a place to celebrate all things handmade, whether by me or someone else, I firmly believe there is no better time to celebrate handmade than during the holidays! Handmade gifts, even the kind with glue, glitter and construction paper, show that we care.

And, since those of us in the handmade sewing and quilting world LOVE to make and receive handmade items from each other, I thought I would organize a Handmade Ornament Exchange for all of us to share a little bit of holiday cheer. Plus, who doesn’t love to receive packages filled with handmade goodies?!

Handmade Ornament Exchange Details

You’ll make 5 handmade ornaments and receive 5 ornaments in return – its that easy! The handmade ornament doesn’t have to be sewn – as long as its made by you, it qualifies! I already have my ornament idea ready to go, but in case case you need a few ideas, I’ve created a board on Pinterest.

If you would like to participate, fill out the form below – you don’t need a blog to participate! – by next Wednesday, November 27.

By Monday, December 2, I will have emailed you the names and addresses of up to five people to send ornaments to.

Make your ornaments and send mail them no later than Friday, December 13! Then, just wait for the fun packages of handmade goodness to start showing up in your mailbox among all of the Christmas cards.

As you make your ornaments and start to receive them, share in the fun on Instagram (my social media network of choice lately) with the hashtag #handmadeornaments2013. You can find me on Instagram @loveelainellc

One Final Note: I realize the holidays are a busy time for making handmade items, so if you don’t think you will have time to make the ornaments and send them to your partners, please think twice before signing up. I’ll have a few extra ornaments in the case that something comes up, but I won’t be organizing angels for this exchange since its meant to be a fun way to share some holiday cheer this season!

Sign Up