Friday, October 31, 2014

My Entry in the Blogger's Quilt Festival

Have you heard of the Blogger's Quilt Festival over on Amy's Creative Side? It's such a fun blogging event, that I look forward to twice a year. Quilting bloggers can enter a quilt they've made into one of several categories for a chance to win some fun prizes. What I especially love is finding other quilters and feasting my eyes on the amazing quilts! 
Blogger's Quilt Festival - AmysCreativeSide.com

You all know I love a fun sewing competition, (Sewvivor, anyone)? So this year I decided to enter my mini reverse-applique deer quilt

Every aspect of this quilt is sewn by hand. (With one exception... I machine sewed the first side of the binding, but then hand sewed to other side to give it a nice finish). I absolutely LOVE reverse applique. The fabrics seem to be popping out and I just love the texture it creates. I love that you can create almost any shape you want out of fabric. Hand sewing is one of my favorite things to do, because I can do it in the car, while I'm at my daughter's dance class, or watching tv. It is so relaxing. I decided to enter this quilt into the Applique Category because I love the technique so much, and it is the main feature of my quilt!

Having grown up in South Dakota, where deer run a-plenty, I'm very drawn to the deer trend right now. Originally, I wanted to make this pattern with more man-friendly fabrics to make pillows for my husband and his brothers, who are all talented huntsmen. I thought I ought to practice the reverse applique process first before creating gifts, so that's how my mini was born. I chose some of my favorite fabrics and went to work to make a quilt all for me! heehee.

Ever since Camille Roskelley has been releasing her famous quilt patterns as minis, and posting pictures of her mini quilts collection in her sewing room, I have felt inspired to make some minis for myself as well. So this deer is the first of many mini quilts to come. :) I love mini quilts because they are such a fun way to practice a quilting technique without committing to a huge quilt and the expenses that come with it. Plus, if you hang it on the wall, you'll get to stare at it every day. This deer makes me so happy!

The pattern for the deer and the shield is from my good friend and quilting genius Mary Dugan. Refer to this post if you're looking for more details on how I made it! Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the quilt festival!

xoxo, Rach

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tinkerbell and Periwinkle {Homemade Costumes}

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Lest you should think my girls are giving up their chance to be Elsa and Anna this year... let me start by saying that these are last year's costumes. Ha! Along with every other sister duo out there, my girls are jumping on the Frozen bandwagon for Halloween this year. (Totally their idea, not mine). I LOVE letting my kids pick out their own costumes. Can't say they were super original this year, but even I admit that they will be the perfect Elsa and Anna, with a new baby brother to dress as Olaf!


Enough about that... let's rewind to last Halloween! There I was, two weeks ahead of schedule, sewing my little heart out. I had every last detail of Tinkerbell and and her sister Periwinkle sorted out in my mind. And then, something hit me, hard. I felt sicker than sick. Pregnant!! The good kind of sick. But it certainly put a kink in my Halloween sewing. Then and there, I made a pact with myself to never get that crazy when it comes to homemade Halloween costumes again. I only got half of my sewing done... And literally, just minutes before trick-or-treating began. We didn't have any time for cute pictures. Grrr. And by the time Halloween was over, I never wanted to see those costumes again, (they brought back memories of nausea), so I put them away. But just for the record, they really were the cutest little fairies on the town that night :)


Now fast forward to this year... I realize I never got cute pictures of my girl's in their fairy costumes, and I really did want to share them on the blog. So yesterday I dressed them all up and headed to the park to take photographs. (Throw a little bribery in there- I had to remind the girls how hard I worked on these costumes, and they owed it to me to dress up for pictures. Such little pixies, they are)! The good thing is that now they want to keep them out and play with them! (Why didn't I think of that last year)?


When the Disney movie, "Secret of the Wings" came out two years ago, my girls were enamored. They LOVED that Tinkerbell had a sister. I can't even count how many times they have played "Tink and Peri." It was their wish to dress as these fairies last Halloween, and given how cute they were, I knew I was going to help them make it happen.


My favorite part was designing the costumes. I decided to create Tink and Peri both as winter fairies. We live in a colder climate, and I wanted both of my daughters to be warm and snuggly when we went Trick-or-Treating. I used this picture of Tinkerbell as my inspiration.


How did I do?
My original plan included a hood, green leggings, boots, a pixie dust pouch, and homemade wings.  

But regular white leggings, easy pom poms added to their shoes, and store bought wings had to suffice.

Other elements in the costumes included- earmuffs, belts, and white hair spray for Peri.

I don't have a complete tutorial to share, like I had planned. But it probably doesn't even matter this year, because your daughters are going to be Elsa and Anna too, right? Haha. Anyhow, here are a few details, and if you're interested in making your own, I hope that you will find some pictures of my process helpful! Just a note- these are in NO way flawless! There were several design elements that I could have executed in a better way, or with a pattern. But, it was a great learning process for me, trying to figure it all out on my own. :)


Design Process:
I used a sweater that belonged to my daughter, and created a mock up on muslin. This is just one of several versions. I only created one sleeve, and I'm happy it worked out so well! Don't pay attention to the triangles at the bottom- it was a very loose brainstorm.

All my supplies were found at Joanns.
The costumes are fully lined in a plush soft fabric. 



At this point, I was thinking this would make the perfect Elf costume!!


Here's a few pictures of the sleeves...
 





Here's a nice picture of the finished jacket:

The "earmuffs" were a cinch to make. I just wrapped a headband in scraps of the jacket fabric, with hot glue, and then glued a very large pom pom to both ends.

And that's all I've got as far as the construction of these costumes. I'm so glad I was able to pull this idea off in the knick of time. The girls had a blast dressing up as their favorite pixie fairies and staying warm at the same time!




Remember... all you need is a little FAITH, TRUST, AND PIXIE DUST!
Thanks for visiting!
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Friday, October 17, 2014

My TV Segment on PBS with "It's Sew Easy"

Today I get to talk about my experience when I was filmed for TV. Back in February, I was contacted by the PBS show, It's Sew Easy. They asked if I would come on the set to share the tutorial for my Bandage Knit Skirt, as shown in the picture below. 

(photo by justin hackworth)

I was literally scared out of my mind when they asked me, because I had never done anything like this, but I knew it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up! My husband is the sweetest person in the world, and totally helped me find the courage to say yes. 

He and our kids traveled with me, and even got to come tour the set. It was such a neat experience for the whole family! Troy was so cute and took about a million pictures of me. The kids literally cheered me on from behind the scenes. I was surprised at how professional the set was. I wasn't expecting something this legit. The entire crew was so knowledgable and helpful. They helped put my fears to rest.

That's not to say that I wasn't nervous... Despite having practiced over and over, once I was in front of the camera, I still found a way to stumble on a few words and get ahead of myself a few times. The entire segment was filmed live on set, meaning I had one chance to demonstrate my tutorial. And I only had a 10 minute timeframe. I wore an earpiece so the crew could communicate with me through it, and was notified when I had 5 minutes remaining, 3 minutes, 1 minute, etc. That part was stressful! The earpiece kept falling out of my ear, which kept distracting me. I was disappointed that I ran out of time to demonstrate any of the steps on the sewing machine. But you know what they say... that's show business!!

Overall, I'm satisfied with how my segment turned out, considering it was my first time being filmed for TV. It was really weird to see myself on camera, especially since I was 4 months pregnant! It was also interesting to hear myself... I watch it and can tell I was nervous just by listening to the sound of my voice! I would LOVE to have another chance at this someday... a little confidence and experience goes a long way. 
A big thanks to Girl Charlee, my favorite site to shop for knits. They always have a great selection of stripes, which is what you need to create this skirt.

And a great big thanks to Lynne of Coats and Clark (who sponsors the show), and Kathy, the producer at KS Productions. They put great faith and trust in someone who has never been on TV before. It truly was the opportunity of a lifetime. I am so happy that I was able to experience something like this. It was so eye opening and interesting! I'm grateful for the things I learned and for all the support I had along the way!

As far as the skirt tutorial, it makes sense to me, but if you watch the segment and need further instruction, you can reference the tutorial on my blog. The one thing I'd change, is to place the lining facing the wrong side of the skirt (instead of the outside), so all the seams and enclosed in the middle of the skirt.

This is the original skirt I made, and you can find the full tutorial on my blog here: 


My segment is #704 of Season 7 on It's Sew Easy. It will air on your local PBS station, and their website (scroll down to find it), from October 17-24, 2014. You can also watch it on my youtube clip directly below, any time.


Thanks so much for reading about my experience! 
Stay tuned, because Kathy actually invited my kids and I back this summer, to film a clip for "Crafts for Kids," which will air on PBS sometime in November. It was a blast, and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sewvivor Season 3: Lap Quilt + FINAL RESULTS!

Welcome to the final results of Sewvivor Season 3: Quilter's Edition!
Season 3 has been SO MUCH fun!!! My hat goes off to each of the 16 original contestants. They put their heart and soul into their projects, and they each brought a whole new level of quality to this competition. I cannot thank them enough for sharing their talents and spreading their excitement for being part of Sewvivor. I enjoyed getting to know everyone, and I'm so excited about the new friendships and opportunities that have been made as a result of this season. Stay tuned for announcements on what is next for Sewvivor! (If you would be interested in sponsoring future seasons, please send an email to: Rachel, familyeverafter at gmail dot com).

Let's get to it.....
HERE ARE THE WINNERS AND THEIR PROJECTS!!! 

1st Place goes to.....
Nicole from Snips Snippets
hexagon floor cushion
star wars bag

2nd Place.....

3rd Place.....
Amanda from A Crafty Fox
Sewvivor Final-11
Sewvivor King Quilt-3
Weekender - Amanda-9
Nautical Quilt - sewvivor-7

WOW!! Congratulations ladies! You made it up to the very end, and I stand in awe, not only at your sewing skills and creativity, but also the fact that you made 4 incredible projects each within 10 days time.  That's amazine!!

The final challenge was...

Here's how the voting was broken down. I hope you can see this... its a screen shot of my spreadsheet that calculates the scores. The first column is where the Popular vote percentages are recorded. (See graph below to see who won the popular vote). The next columns indicate the judges vote, 1st place was given 4% of the total vote, 2nd place was given 3.5% of the total vote, and 3rd place was given 2.5% of the total vote. (They Key explains how 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place are weighted, the judges vote counting as 50% of the total, or 10% each). The grand total is calculated and listed at the end.



 I feel like we need one last look at our other 13 contestants and their projects. A huge congratulations to you all for your amazing work, and an even bigger THANK YOU for being part of Sewvivor.


Jade from Stitch Mischief

Barbie from The Quilting Mill

Jessica from Euphoria Jessica

Angie from GnomeAngel
gnomeangel-5-granny-mac-daddy-trolley-bag-sewvivor
gnomeangel-sewvivor-nautical-weekender-amy-butler-13

Chrissy from Sew Lux

Christopher from The Tattooed Quilter


Kerry from Penny Dog Patchwork
DSCF7614

Marci from Marci Girl Designs

Hilary from Young Texan Mama

Chelise from Chelise Patterson



A great big thank you to the judges.... it was such an honor to have these 5 extremely talented and kind ladies on our judging panel, aka "tribal council." Their job was tough every single week. I appreciate their input in helping to determine who would advance. 

Mary Dugan from Molly Flanders Makerie
Jeni Baker from In Color Order
Amy Newbold from Sukie Don't Ya Know
Jenny Fox-Proverbs, Editor of Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine
Sarah Fielke from The Last Piece

Parting words from some of the judges...

From Mary- "I would just like to say that from the first round I could tell we had a very talented group.  But as each round finished, the remaining contestants got stronger and even more thoughtful in their projects! Truly an amazing group...each and every one from the very beginning.  I will close with a big thank you to Rachel for putting the Quilting Edition together and working often into the wee hours with a new baby in tow.  You are amazing!  And to everyone who competed and participated in the sew-along, it was fun to watch the excitement grow and hear the stories behind your creations.  You should all be very proud!"

From Jeni- "It was such a pleasure to serve as a judge for this competition. I have to say, the real challenge was narrowing down the entries each round! There were so many beautiful projects entered, and I commend everyone who participated for putting themselves out there! Happy Quilting!"

And now for the Quilted Bag SewAlong winner, chosen at random (by scrolling through the hashtag on IG with my eyes closed and tapping a picture). She will win a shirt from Patchwork Threads!
Congrats: @wereradletshug
A big thanks to those who participated in the sew-along. There were so many amazing creations! You can check out the projects on Instagram, searching the #sewvivorsewalong hashtag, and also checking out the Sewvivor Sew-Along Flickr group. And thank you to Patchwork Threads for providing the special "sewprizes!"

A HUGE thank you to the generosity of our sponsors. Without them, this competition would not have happened. Please feel free to visit their sites and shops and show them all a little extra love today! Here's a recap of what the winners will receive:

1st Place:
(over $1,000 value)

$100 gift card from Fabric Worm 
$75 gift card from Fabric Depot
Thread Assortment from Coats and Clark
Fabric yardage from Free Spirit
$75 sewing gift basket from Dritz
$50 gift card from The Fat Quarter Shop
4 DVD sets ($160 value) and prize bag from It's Sew Easy
$50 gift card from Raspberry Creek Fabrics
10 yards fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics
Thread Assortment from Aurifil
Quilting Shirt from Patchwork Threads
13 issue ($100 value) subscription from Love Patchwork and Quilting
Podcast Interview with Modern Sewciety

2nd Place:
($400 value)

$50 gift card from Fabric Worm 
$50 gift card from Fabric Depot
Thread Assortment from Coats and Clark
Fabric yardage from Free Spirit
$25 gift card from The Fat Quarter Shop
2 DVD sets ($80 value) and batting from It's Sew Easy
5 yards fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics
Thread Assortment from Aurifil
Quilting Shirt from Patchwork Threads

3rd Place:
($325 value)

$25 gift card from Fabric Worm 
$25 gift card from Fabric Depot
Thread Assortment from Coats and Clark
Fabric yardage from Free Spirit
$15 gift card from The Fat Quarter Shop
1 DVD set ($40 value) and batting from It's Sew Easy
Fat Quarter Bundle from Art Gallery Fabrics
Thread Assortment from Aurifil
Quilting Shirt from Patchwork Threads

Top 16:
Prize Bag from It's Sew Easy
$5 coupon from Fabric Depot
Sewing Goodies from Family Ever After (aka: me)

Sewvivor Sewalong:
Quilting Shirt from Patchwork Threads

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And that's a wrap. Stay tuned for announcements on what's in store for Sewvivor!
You can stay in touch with Sewvivor on Facebook and Instagram.
You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

If you're interested in sponsoring or judging future seasons, please contact me at: Rachel, familyeverafter at gmail dot com.