Thursday, June 30, 2016

sewing machine mini

The other day, as I was cleaning out my studio, I came across this paper pieced block from years ago. And, since I still liked it, and decided it was high time I turned it into something useful (a mat or a mini mini quilt of sorts) .

Once I had a plan, I wasted no time. I basted this little block, did my absolute favorite straight line quilting, and used this pretty polka dotty fabric for the binding.

All finished, yay :).

I love how it turned out. It will be a nice addition to my studio for sure.

And now I'm curious. What do you do with your orphan blocks? Do tell.


Linking up to Finish it up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

mini charms {plus a giveaway}

Hello, happy Monday to you all.

It's been super hot and humid for the last few days so I decided it was a perfect time to stay indoors, eat tons of ice cream, and play with my screen printed fabric.

What do you think? A pretty happy looking array of fabric, isn't it?

I had a huge pile of screen printed panels sitting on my cutting table for weeks now and I'm really happy I finally found time to cut them into 2.5" squares.

And, of course I had to see what they would look like in a project, so I made this little patchwork drawstring bag.

I can't lie, I really love how it turned out. And even my kids agreed it was cute :).

So, what do you say? Would you like a chance to win this stack of 100 - 2.5" squares of my screen printed fabric?

If so please leave a comment below letting me know what project you're working on at the moment (please make sure your email is attached to your comment). Both domestic and international entries welcome.

Giveaway will close on Thursday, Jun 30th midnight and I will announce who the random winner is on Friday. Good luck everyone, looking forward to hearing from you.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

rope bowls

Last week I went through yet another stint of rope basket making (click here to see my previous rope creations). I'm telling you, this is super addictive, I can never make just one bowl and be done.

I'm happy to say we're regularly using pretty much all the bowls and baskets I made so far, so it seamed like a good time to add a few more to our daily rotation. And by saying our daily rotation I mean our kitties' daily rotation.

Because they both absolutely adore these baskets. See? Looks pretty comfy, doesn't it?

And it really doesn't seem to matter much to Lola if half of her body spills out :).

Of course Kiki took over the biggest bucket :).

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Last time I wrote about my rope baskets I got quite a lot of questions about the supplies and the process. I hope you'll find the following information and links useful.

Before I started working with clothesline I read quite a few tutorials generously shared by other super talented folks.

Here's the list of the ones I found the most useful:
Cotton clothesline baskets by On my Honor
Rope basket mania by Schneider Peeps
How to make a coiled rope basket by We All Sew
Sewing a rope bowl by Flossie Teacakes - my absolute favorite
A basket for everything by Soule Mama

The clothesline I use is 3/16" thick and seems to be available in 50' and 100' lengths. I buy 100' ones to limit the amount of joint points as much as possible. I tried using 1/4" thick rope but I found it to be too thick and a bit harder to work with. Plus, I didn't really care for the final look of the bowl.

I don't use any of my expensive thread for these baskets as they "eat" thread like crazy. I just buy these cheap-ish cones of polyester thread in different colors from Joann store and I have not had any trouble with sewing or durability of my baskets.

 This is my usual set up for rope baskets. I use my Janome sewing machine as my Juki doesn't have a zig zag stitch but I do borrow Juki's extension table. You can probably see it's not a perfect fit, but it does the job very nicely as its main job really is to support the basket as I stitch.

As you can imagine, I've experienced my share of frustration when working with rope.

One of the things that really bugged me was that the middle of my basket wasn't turning out as pretty as I liked it to be. I was super excited when I came across  Florence's idea of using pins to hold rope in shape as I was working on those first pesky rounds :). Such a clever idea, isn't it?

My other source of great frustration came from the rope not being long enough for the projects I was working on. I quite hated how much one could see where I joined my second, or third rope. After a bit of thinking and trying things out, I decided to simply hand stitch the rope ends together and cover it with a scrap of fabric wrapped around the rope. Worked like a charm. And now I have little accents of fabric decorating my bowls and baskets. Don't you just love when useful and practical is also pretty?

And, even though I talked about my finishing method in my previous post, I feel like I should mention it here again. I personally didn't care for raw end of the rope to be showing. In the end I decided to cover the area where the rope ended with a piece of leather and a thick thread to secure it in place.

Happy campers :).

I think we're set with our rope bowls for quite some time.


Monday, June 20, 2016


Did you guys have a nice weekend? I hope you did. Ours was pretty relaxed which I greatly appreciated as we've been running around doing a million things each day lately so it was nice to take things easy.

And by taking things easy I mean screen printing and sewing like a maniac, of course :).

 I even got out of my comfort zone of using only black or white ink and did a few panels using a super bright magenta ink instead.

Makes a lovely little pot cozy, doesn't it? Click here to find a free tutorial on how to make this fabric bucket.

And, in case you'd like to add a bit of magenta and screen printed goodness to your stash, hop on over to my Etsy shop. I hope you'll like these happy bundles as much as I do.

Wishing you all a fantastic week. Svetlana

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

tiny flower pot cozy {a tutorial}

Sadly I don't have a green thumb and over the years I've managed (not intentionally, of course) to kill tons of different house plants, even the ones that were supposed to be very easy to take care of :(. I do like having plants around the house though. So, when the other day I spotted an assortment of lovely succulents at a nearby store, I decided to bring some home. After all, they are used to drought so my forgetting to water them regularly should not be a problem, I hope :)

The only thing I didn't like about them were black plastic pots they came in. And so I decided to make little fabric cozies for the pots. Don't they look adorable? Such happy little plants. Make me smile every time I look at them.

Now, I'm sure I'm not the only one who dislikes having ugly plastic pots around the house, so in case you'd like to make some cute little cozies for your tiny plants, here's what you need to do.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Please make sure to measure how tall your pot is before you start cutting. I included measurements for two sizes of pots - smaller one is 2.5" tall, larger one is 3.5" tall. Both cozies follow the same directions for construction.

Use 1/4" seam allowance unless otherwise noted.

Materials needed for a cozy to fit a 2.5" tall pot:
exterior fabric - two 6.5" wide x 5.75" tall rectangles
lining fabric - two 6.5" wide x 5.75" tall rectangles
SF101 interfacing (or other medium weight interfacing of choice) -  two 6.5" wide x 5.75" tall rectangles

Materials needed for a cozy to fit a 3.5" tall pot:
exterior fabric - two 8" wide x 7" tall rectangles
lining fabric - two 8" wide x 7" tall rectangles
SF101 interfacing (or other medium weight interfacing of choice) -  two 8" wide x 7" tall rectangles

1. Follow  manufacturer's directions to fuse interfacing to wrong side of exterior fabric.

2. Use a ruler and disappearing fabric pen to mark a 1.5" square for small size (and 1.75" for larger size) along both bottom corners. Cut them out.

3. Mark and cut out corners on second exterior panel as well as both lining panels.

4. Place exterior panels right sides together. Stitch along the bottom edge only, backstitch at the beginning and end. Press the seam open. Use 1/8" seam allowance and stitch along both sides of the seam - this step will help your bottom seam to stay nice and flat.

5. Bring both panels right sides together, pin to prevent shifting and stitch along the side edges backstitching at the beginning and end. Press the seams open.

6. Align side seam on top of bottom seam, pin or clip to hold corner seam aligned. Stitch along the raw edge to box your corner. Stitch the second corner shut following the same directions.

7. Turn finished exterior right side out, set aside.

8. Follow the same directions to assemble lining, only keep the finished lining wrong side out.

9. Place exterior into lining (exterior is right side out, lining is wrong side out).

10. Align top raw edges as well as side seams of the exterior panel and the lining. Clip all the way around the top edge keeping both exterior and lining aligned.

11. Stitch all the way around the top making sure to leave about 2.5" opening and taking the clips out as you go. Press the top seam open and turn the bag right side out through the opening.. Gently push the lining inside your cozy.

12. Smooth the top edge with your fingers clip through both exterior and lining layers to hold them in
place and topstich along the top edge using 1/8” seam allowance.

13. Snip off any stray threads and fold the top edge down by about 1".

That's it, finished!! Pretty easy, wasn't it?

Oh, have you noticed? These little cozies are reversible.

Now place your pretty little plant (or any small objects you'd like to store in there) inside and admire. And, as always, if you make a project using any of my tutorials please add it to my Flickr group or use #sotakhandmade if posting on Instagram.

I love seeing all your amazing creations. Svetlana

Saturday, June 11, 2016

epp project booklet

A few months ago I had the pleasure of designing a few EPP (english paper piecing) projects for Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine. I planned and plotted for weeks, and finally I settled on making a peg bag, hexagon trivet, project pouch, and some super simple lavender sachets.

 I quite enjoyed working with these fresh, spring-y fabrics and I absolutely love the addition of my little peg boy in the upper left corner.

This was my first time ever working with such small, pointy templates and I did worry a bit when designing my trivet. Especially after I tried thread basting some of the pieces and I was having a really hard time matching things up. So the next day I picked up basting glue at my local quilt shop and it made the whole process way less stressful.

Of course Wonder Clips got to come out and play, too. They are perfect for holding binding down. Have you used them before? They are one of my most used and loved tools when I saw.

And look, super talented folks at LPQ published all the projects in this handy little booklet. So very exciting !!!

I hope you'll pick up your own copy of LPQ issue 35 (coming to US store in a few weeks) and give EPP a try.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

lola in kona fog

Lately it's been pretty hard to find any long stretches of sewing time as we're into our third week of summer break which of course means lots of outings, pools, concerts, water balloon fights, and constant rotation of friends and sleep overs. All good stuff, of course, but once in a while this mom needs a bit of sanity saving sewing time :).

So, the other day I spent some quality time with my sewing machine and made myself a new Lola pouch. Truth is, I didn't need yet another pouch, but I was really curious to see how AGF denim would look combined with this screen printed Kona Fog. I cannot lie. I'm in love. ♥ ♥ ♥

I also wanted to test out using nylon for the pouch lining. I worried it would be a bit too slippery to work with, but it really wasn't terrible. I used lots of Clover wonder clips to hold layers together and the whole pouch came together rather quickly. I'm pretty sure from now on I'll be using nylon a lot to line make up as well as pencil pouches. 

Mission accomplished, sanity restored. Back to summer fun I go :).

Wishing you all a super lovely day. Svetlana

Monday, June 6, 2016

shop update ::new fabric panels::

Hello everyone,

just wanted to quickly stop by to let you know I've added quite a few new screen and block printed fabric panels to my etsy shop.

 And yes, I've added my "mushroom" line drawing prints in black and white to my shop as well. I can't wait to turn one of them into a pillow for our living room.

Hope you'll check it out and find something you like :).

Happy Monday. Svetlana

Thursday, June 2, 2016

leather bottom pouch

Pouches are my absolute favorite thing to sew. So, when I noticed the other day how very "tired" the pouch I was using as my wallet looked, I was more than happy to clear my schedule and make myself a replacement pouch.

The pouch is inspired by Leather Bottom Zipper Pouch from Krista's fantastic book Beyond Cotton.

I made it a bit smaller than the one in Krista's book and I added a zipper pocket on the outside. I also added a removable wrist strap (mostly so I could use some fun hardware),

and super practical card slots.

I think it's a perfect addition to my other everyday pouches. I like to keep them all in my bag as they help me stay organized and actually find what I need without having to dump the contents of my bag every time I look for a chapstick or a pen.

Thanks for stopping by, friends. Svetlana

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday.

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