Tree Blocks

Tree Quilt Blocks photo by Kara Hartz

These are the trees from the Mystery Quilt I wrote about a little while back. The colors look a little strange to me here, more brown in a few of the fabrics than in real life. I like them. I like trees. 

So I’ve been trying to decide what I’d like to do with these blocks now, and I think I’m going to go ahead and make up the same settings blocks from the pattern. Mine will end up smaller than the pattern, but that’s okay. I think it will be cute. I’m pondering colors for the setting blocks, since I don’t love the colors in the pattern, but I’d like to get started soon.
The quilting bug is nipping. Probably because I’ve been focused on NaNoWriMo and haven’t done any sewing. I’m missing it. 


Working on a Mystery Quilt

Years ago, I found a pattern for a ‘Mystery Quilt’ online and it sounded fun, so I made it. When you make a mystery quilt, you have instruction for making each block, a step at a time, but you don’t know what the whole quilt will look like until you finish. I made that first mystery quilt when I was just learning how to quilt still, and it was a lot of fun. I don’t have a photo of it – I gave it to my mom – but I’ll try to get one. I really liked how it turned out.

Our local quilt shop closed awhile back, but only their physical store. They have managed to keep an online shop going and they also design and sell patterns. They put out a fun weekly newsletter, and once in awhile they have free patterns or mystery quilts there. So I decided I’d like to do one again while I was recovering from my first surgery.

I was slow, and got way behind, so I had only finished a few weeks worth of blocks when the finial reveal came along in the newsletter. It wasn’t what I had hoped for. Thimble Creek Quilts usually just blow me away, but this one was just – okay in my personal quilting tastes. So I didn’t really work on it anymore. But now I have a bunch of blocks that I like from that project, so I might as well do something with them. So, while I’m not going to make the whole quilt, I will probably still go ahead and make the tree blocks to add to what I have done, then put them all together in a smaller version of my own.

The pattern isn’t available for free anymore, but can be purchased here. Although if you are a quilter, it would be worth your time to get on their email list for future free patters and such.

Here are a few of my favorite blocks from the mystery project that I’ve finished so far:

photos by Kara Hartz


Android’s Dream Sheep Amigurumi

The next few posts will be a little bit of old news, but I still want to share these pictures, even though time has gotten away from me.

When my kiddos entered some items into the local county fair, I decided to contribute as well. I was learning a type of crochet called amigurumi (which is Japanese for a knitted or crocheted stuffed doll). I was also reading a book by John Scalzi called “The Android’s Dream”. Turns out, the book isn’t about sleeping robots like I thought when I picked it up. I won’t tell you what it is about, but my fair entry is a hint.

I got a nice red, second-place ribbon, which is amazing considering I misunderstood how to do the decrease stitches on the back of the head. It ain’t pretty back there. My theory is that there were only two entries in this category. I also want to credit RoxyCraft and the book “Tiny Yarn Animals” for the pattern for this cute little sheep. I sure couldn’t have come up with it on my own. I met Ms. Snow at the Maker Faire last year ans she was uber nice, and there are free patterns on her website, so go check it out. I have more amigurumi to show off soon, most are also from her patterns.


Easy to Make Baby Shoes that are Cute too!

I wanted to write this blog a long time ago, but I never got around to taking pictures of the shoes I made. Now that my daughter has outgrown them, I can’t find what I did with them. So still no pictures to share.

Ah well. I loved making them so much, and they were so nice to have, I’m going to blog about this free soft baby shoe pattern anyway.

The baby shoe pattern was created by Stardust Shoes, and they are both darling, and simple to sew. Even if you’re a beginning sewer, you can make these shoes.

Now I didn’t exactly follow the directions (I’m not normally a troublemaker, but I am lazy, and I don’t do things that I can get away with not doing). Also, I was not trying to make shoes that would last. I knew my daughter wouldn’t be wearing the shoes I made for very long, so I didn’t worry about cutting corners a little. While the shoes I made turned out very nice, and actually held up very well, if you plan to put them to serious use, or want them to last awhile, I recommend following the pattern’s directions more closely.

I didn’t use the bonded fleece for the sole; I just used canvas for the whole outside of one pair, and vinyl for another pair. I lined both pairs of baby shoes with flannel, and didn’t bother with any interfacing since both the fabrics I was using were fairly thick. I liked how the fleece made the insides soft and cozy. The vinyl pair of baby shoes was cute, but probably wouldn’t have been a good choice for a baby that was beginning to walk, as I think they may have been a little slick on the bottoms.

Soft baby shoes were much easier to make than I thought they would be. If you’ve ever been tempted to try it, download the free baby shoe pattern and give it a try. If you like the look of these dhows, but don’t want to make your own, I know several great EtsyKids sellers have some really adorable baby shoes in their Etsy Shops.


Super Easy to Make Reusable Fabric Shopping Bags

Making reusable fabric grocery bags has been a project on my personal to do list for way to long. I’m proud to share that this weekend I finally got my rear in gear and made some bags. Now that I have the hang of the pattern, I’m going to get more creative with the next ones I make – maybe some applique or pretty fabrics.

Last year Salome at Seven Veils Studios told me about Morsbags. They have a super easy, and free pattern for reusable totes. They can really be used for anything, but I’m going to use mine for shopping bags.

My mom gave me reusable Target bag – the kind they sell in the store for $0.99. I ended up using it to hold sand toys for when they kids and I go to the playground. I was always tempted to buy the reusable bags they sell at the grocery store too, but I knew I would feel to strange about using a bag printed with a specific store logo to shop in another store. I use about three different grocery stores depending on which one I’m closest to and didn’t want to collect bags from them all. Then there’s my paranoia that if I bring my bag back into the store later on, I can’t prove I’d already paid for it the last time, and I’ll have to pay for it again (I know – not likely – but I never claimed to be rational.)

Making my own bags solves all these problems. I just had to get working!

I also asked my daughter if I made her a bag, would she help me carry in the groceries? She said sure, if I made her a ‘kid sized’ tote bag. Her reusable bag also had to be yellow. The little yellow Dragon Tales bag in the photo is what I made for her.

I did make one modification to The Morsbag Free Pattern that my mom recommended. I added a pleat into the bottom of the bag so it has more of a flat bottom. It should be a little easier for wide items to sit in the bag. It’s very easy to modify the bag.

With the bag inside out, just pull out one of the bottom corners and measure however big a bottom you want to make. I made mine about 4 inches. You could use pins or chalk to mark the fabric, but I just held the sides in the right place with my fingers. Worked fine, and it’s fast.

Do the same thing on the other bottom corner of the bag, then go ahead and cut off the excess fabric at the corner.

When you turn your grocery bag right side out again, you’ll see the seam that adds the bottom. I hope this is understandable. If I’m not clear enough, or you have questions just leave a comment and I’ll do better.

I also didn’t always use the exact measurements that the Morsbag pattern gave. The yellow bag is the closest. Obviously the kid tote is much smaller, and I for the pink bag, I just wanted to use up the last bit of that fabric that I had, so it turned out a little taller. It’s all good – and I know no one will have reusable shopping bags that are just like mine!