I’m always a little late to the game when it comes to books. I don’t usually read them when they first come out but months or years later. That is most definitely the case with Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead.
‘A principal dancer at the Kirov Ballet, Arslan Rusakov’s superb talent and magnetic stage presence have earned him international acclaim and marked him as a national asset to be protected at all costs. Status and success cannot replace artistic freedom, however, and Rusakov risks everything by making a daring defection. The star-struck ballerina he encountered in Paris, Joan, acts as his accomplice, delivering him to a new home in the United States. Joan, who knows she lacks the talent to advance beyond the corps de ballet, finds that Arslan’s enormous gifts as a dancer are the ultimate seduction.
When their relationship eventually sours, Joan is determined to find fulfillment outside of the world of ballet and plots to make a new life for herself. She marries a good man, and they settle in California with their son, Harry.
Despite her intentions otherwise, Joan soon comes to understand that ballet isn’t quite finished with her. As her young son develops an extraordinary talent that proves impossible to ignore, Joan is pulled back into a world she thought she’d left behind, back into dangerous old secrets, and back into Arslan’s orbit.’
Being from a dance background the magical world of ballet always interests me and I think that’s what pulled me in to reading it.
Plot: It didn’t thrill me enough to read it in one day but it was a slow easy read that I quite enjoyed.
Cover: I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover but I love talking about them purely from a design standpoint. I love this cover because it feels dainty with the ribbons and handwritten title.
(Picture and summary of book were used from Maggie Shipstead’s website)
I just wanted to take a few minutes to tell you a little about myself and my sewing story and why I decided to make this blog with an emphasis on sewing.
I was a wee little tot when I learned how to sew (I’ve always been described as an old soul). I spent a lot of time with my grandparents so naturally my grandmother taught me. I started with crosstitch and embroidery until I bought my first sewing machine. When antiquing with my mother one day, we stumbled across an old singer toy sewing machine (a 1950’s Singer 20 Sewhandy Childs Sewing Machine to be exact). It was way more than my mother would let my spend but I knew I had to have it. I bargained like crazy for it (just imagine a wee tot with pigtails, how could you say no?) and got it for 5 dollars.
I loved that machine (still do) and began exploring sewing things like little quilts and doll clothes. A year or sew later (ha get it?) I got my first ‘legit’ machine for Christmas. I made all sorts of things (I feel like mostly curtains) but lost interest around my tween years. My sewing picked back up when I took a sort of level 2 version (it was called Fashion 101) of home ec. in high school. There was no fashion involved in the class but I did learn a lot about quilting and finished my first quilt in the class. It was lovely and simple.
Soon after that I began taking sewing classes at a local fabric store where I made my first article of clothing, pj pants (haven’t we all made these?). I attempted other articles of clothing without much success but I was able to alter my own clothing. This came in especially handy because I was a 5 foot petite girl with no boobs.
I continued to alter my clothes in college and these skills came in handy in my sorority. I altered a lot of costumes (mostly mine). It was a learning experience, in that I learned I needed to advance my skill set.
I’m now two years out of college and I’m just now working on that. I love Seamwork Mag and their podcast and learning the why to why we make.
My body hasn’t change much since then besides the addition of a few pounds and a cup size (I’m still 5 foot tall). It been hard to find clothes to fit right and with the right silhouettes which lead me to take part in the Wardrobe Architect project from Colette. I’ve began taking a closer look at my clothes and I want to create closet that I feel comfortable in and can take pride in. I use other sewing projects to break the frustration in-between.
Even though I’m like two years late to Wardrobe Architect I’m going to start (slowly) and share my experiences here (so stay tuned).
Sewing has been a huge part of much life for most of my life. There is such a sense of pride when you are able to say you made something yourself. It is that feeling that drives my sewing journey.
This past weekend was the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Spring Plant sale. If you’ve never been, it’s fantastic and a plant lovers dream. They have a lot of your basic stuff and a lot of things you’re not used to seeing. My favorite part of the sale is the native plant section and the orchids.
I wish I would have gotten one of these!
One cool part of the sale is that if you are a member you get to go a day early before everyone else. If you want to look into a membership click here (members get some neat perks!).
If you didn’t get the chance to go this year be sure and check it out next year! Or you have a chance to get fall varieties at their fall sale!
I don’t know about you but I have way too many plants and I only want more. I saw a picture somewhere on Pinterest that said “Plant lady is the new cat lady” and I, being a crazy plant lady myself, knew I had to make a pattern.
Download the pattern here.
I love bunnies and slippers. So when I stumbled upon See Kate Sew‘s tutorial for kiddie bunny slippers, I knew I had to make an adult version.
I mean how cute are these? My toes have never been so cute and cozy.
How to Make Slippers
Pattern, download here
Fleece, Flannel, or terry cloth
1.Cut out all pieces:
2 of each pad
2 outer sole pieces
2 inner sole
2 outer bunnies
2 inner bunnes
4 soles from batting
2. Sew bunny face onto the outer bunnies using template
3. Sew pads onto the bottom of the outer sole using template to align.
4. Assemble the outer sole as shown in the previous picture. Place the right side of the bunny face to the pad side of the outer sole (right sides together in other words). Sew around the toes.
5. Place the inner sole piece together. Batting, inner soles, and inner bunny face (right sides together). Sew around toes.
This is what it will look like after you have finished steps 4 and 5.
6. This next part is a little tricky. Turn the inner sole bunny out and fit it inside the outer sole bunny and pin. Sew around the slipper leaving a 2 inch gape on one side.
7. Flip inside out and hand stitch the gap. You’re done!
For an added touch you can blanket stitch around the shoe as well!
For all you cat lovers out there I’ve also added a cat version in the pattern. Just use it instead of the of the bunny face.
If you are having a hard time following my instructions go to the original direction for the kiddie slippers here.
On March 15th Cotton and Steel released an adorable lawn chair pattern so you can use their cotton lawn fabrics. It was so cute they couldn’t just stop there. They then released a vintage shell chair and a beach chair! Since I had never done any foundation paper piecing, I decided these would be an adorable way to start.
I love how these turned out. The best parts? They’re fast, easy and you can use scrap fabric.
Each block finishes around 10″ (perfect for mixing and matching on a quilt).
You can find the lawn chair block here.
And the vintage shell chair block here.
Here’s the beach chair block that I’ve yet to get around to.
You can find the beach chair block here.
They are also having a #lawnquilt challenge! All you have to do is use any of their forty three cotton lawns to make a quilt and post a picture to Instagram. You could win a collector’s box of C + S fat quarters, and one lucky winner will have their quilt featured in our booth at Spring Quilt Market! The challenge runs through the end of April. Get the deets here.
Squares on Squares is a desktop background inspired by a crosstitch pattern I was making. When I zoomed in on Illustrator is just magically appeared. So I’m passing it along to you today.
Download the 2560×1440 wallpaper
Download the 1920×1280 wallpaper
Download the 1280×800 wallpaper
Download the iPhone wallpaper
Download the iPad wallpaper
Handmade quilts, particularly hand-sewn quilts are a treasure.
Sometimes you come across one that is in rough shape. My mom had one she loved so much that she continued to use it despite the fact it had a humongous hole in it. It is a shame for a quilt like that to be tossed aside just because of some wear and tear. I have a few ideas for those quilts.
I recently was given a hand-sewn quilt that had a lot of little holes in it and one huge hole. I could have repaired it but since it wasn’t sentimental I decided to give it a new life. I knew the first thing I wanted to do was make a pillow out of some of it like the ones at Alabama Biscuit Co. (which I highly suggest visiting).
Here’s how I made my own.
- An old quilt or some of an old quilt
- Fabric for the back
- Stuffing or a pillow form
- Needle and thread
- Optional: sewing machine
I cut a piece of the quilt to the size I wanted, which was easy since it was a simple block quilt. I cut out a 2×2 square piece with a little seam allowance on the sides. This is totally customizable so you decide how big or small you want your pillow. Next, cut some fabric for the back (I used an old seed sack).
Pin the fabric, right sides facing each other, together.
And lastly, sew her up! With right sides together sew around all sides leaving a 4 inch gap to turn the fabric. If you use a pillow form you will need to leave one whole side open. After you sew turn inside out and stuff with stuff or slide pillow form. Then sew up the gap and you’re done!
I left all the little holes in it. Even though the cotton is peeking out it doesn’t fall out because it is well sewn. Isn’t it charming?
Here’s another one I made even bigger. It’s so comfy!