Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap

A little while ago I talked about the package I received from the Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap, but I never really did get around to talking about what I sent out. And that’s because I super-stalked my partner so that I could tailor the package to her tastes as much as possible, but that meant that revealing any sort of information would really give everything away before it ever arrived. So for the swap, we were mailing out a hand-made pouch, 50 charm squares, and a notion of some kind.

Simple and Sweet Swap

I ended up unrolling the charms to mail, but the roll is 51 charm squares (I sent one extra that I think is linen maybe), the pink fabric is a 5 or 6″ by WOF strip of Heather Ross’s camper vans fabric, which was just an extra because I knew my partner was looking for it, and then three rolls of washi tape (which are kind of acting as the notion – I don’t know if washi tape can really be called a notion, but we’ll go with that :D).

Unrolled, these are the fifty charms I sent out:

Simple and Sweet Swap

Nadine’s favourites included, with five(ish) of each…:
– text prints
– greys
– aquas (though I leaned pretty hard on the turquoise end of the spectrum)
– a row of the five main fabrics in the pouch I sent out
– oranges (please note all the sneaky additions of turquoise there too!)
– polka dot fabrics (I kind of went rainbowish there) (duplicated in the top of the second photo…)

Simple and Sweet Swap

– chartreuse fabric, though I wound up mostly with lime – that’s what happens when you choose fabric at night, I guess, your colours aren’t quite what you were expecting 😀
– Tula Pink fabrics (I tried to aim mostly for older fabrics, but couldn’t bring myself to cut into my Neptune prints, which had been my intention to send :D)
– Mendocino mermaids and swimming sisters, in aqua, brown, and gold
– assorted Heather Ross, aiming mostly in the aqua and orange realm

Simple and Sweet Swap

The fifty-first charm, the linen one, is shown above.

So then the pouch. Well, Ms Lobster Grrl is a fan of Union Jacks and is going to London in spring for her honeymoon, so I made her a Union Jack pouch using her favourites orange and aqua, with some grey text:

Simple and Sweet Swap
Simple and Sweet Swap

The pouch is made using Noodlehead’s Open Wide Zipper Pouch tutorial, a favourite of mine. This is the medium sized pouch. The flags are made using this pattern from Four Twin Sisters.

I really enjoyed putting this package together for Nadine and I’m so glad it seems to have hit the mark for her. It’s great to be able to put together something that you’re really certain will please someone.

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Sweet and Simple Swap Package Received

So late last week I received a package in the mail from Rockislander, who is the swap mama for a Flickr swap group I’m a part of, the Sweet and Simple Scrappy Swap. For our first round, we were swapping a handmade pouch, a notion of some sort, and a collection of 50 charms cut from our own stash. I didn’t open it until today, because it’s my birthday and I thought it would be fun to save it and open it on the day since I’m spending my birthday largely alone (I went out for lunch with a friend, but my family is all out of town) and otherwise birthday gift free. (I’m not actually super big on birthdays – or not big on my own, anyway! – but let’s face it, getting gifts is ALWAYS fun.)

Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received!

I couldn’t have asked for a more awesome swap package than this. I mean… seriously. Doctor Who. A Doctor Who pouch. The cutest thread/floss winder in existence. A seam ripper (unbeknownst to all of you, I’ve been using a straight pin + a pair of scissors as a “seam ripper” for quite a while – I used to have two, but I lost one and broke the other, and neither was as brilliant as this one which has a long enough handle that I’ll be able to see standing up in my container of tools and actually be able to hold onto decently). White piecing thread. A piece of typewriter fabric – there’s a thing I’ve never had, but always liked! A bit of potions bottle fabric! A great selection of charms AND some extra island charms, because Ms RockIslander lives in Bermuda. By the way, did I mention the Doctor Who pouch? Because if I didn’t, I should.

Doctor. Who. Pouch.

Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received!
Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received!

This apparently is licensed Doctor Who fabric, though of course out of print. I didn’t know such a thing had ever existed! I’ve seen stuff on Spoonflower that people have created, but never anything licensed. So there is the Tardis and there are Daleks and please note the frequent flier privilege of a key for the front door!

Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received!

These extra charms are Mari-Ann’s “way of sending a bit of Bermuda” my way, and they’re lovely and beachy! I am thinking that maybe I need to make a little wall-hanging with these, maybe my own little hexagon mug-rug so that they will retain their beachy islandness and maybe give me something warm and lovely to think about once winter hits in a few months!

Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received!
Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received!

And finally, the rest of the charms. This is such a nice mix of different fabrics: the super cute owls and hedgies and ladybugs and safety pins and that lovely tree down at the one corner that I love love love. And then there are great basic blenders like the Art Gallery Natural Elements and other tone on tone/tone on white prints. I didn’t give Mari-Ann a lot to work with in terms of things I like or was looking for, so she did a great job with the little bit of information I did provide. She also doesn’t know it, but I’ve had long (long!) term plans to do a dots quilt, someday, using only prints with dots on them, and quite a lot of these fabrics will work perfectly for that as well.

It was a really great (unintentional) birthday gift to open today. So many, many thanks to Mari-Ann!

Pencil Case style Zipper Pouch

Yesterday my sister and I went out to do all the things:
I went book shopping while she got her hair cut, we got manicures, we got our eyebrows threaded (this is like… high-speed plucking, but with a string rather than a pair of tweezers), we went junk food shopping (ahem), and… I forget. All I know is I hadn’t slept, because I worked the night shift again, and then we did all the things ever and then I came home and slept for an hour and a half so that I wouldn’t pass out in my dinner, and then I made my sister a little zipper pouch in the space of time it took me to watch the last 15 minutes of the Shakespeare episode of Doctor Who, plus the episode that came after. (Cats + traffic jams + other weird aliens.) (I’d forgotten how much I loved the season with Martha Jones. She doesn’t get that much respect in a lot of the online forums I read, but I really liked her and there were a lot of fun episodes in her season.)

Anyway, the book store that I went to, like a lot of book stores, has had to put more and more home decor and personal care items into the store alongside the books because book sales are tanking, and so I spent a long, long time looking at all the ridiculously tempting things they had there. (I bought some Polaroid style greeting cards and a Chuck Klosterman book, but otherwise avoiding spending money on anything.) When my sister came in, she found a zipper pouch, which was this great purple colour, but had ugly gold lettering on it, which she was tempted to buy to use as a passport/receipts carrying pouch while in the US next week – she and her husband are taking a road trip to California, leaving tomorrow and returning in September – and she’ll need to collect all her receipts for purchases that she might have to declare when coming back into Canada.

Honey. You live with someone who has a sewing machine and too much time on her hands. (I’m on vacation this week too! But I’m not taking a road trip to California 😦 )

Pencil Case-Style Zipper Pouch

So I made her a super simple lined and divided zipper pouch. I didn’t follow a pattern – it’s really basic! I just figured out the size she wanted (large enough to hold two passports, plus some room for receipts) and found some fabrics in colours I knew she’d like. I didn’t decorate the outside in any way – it’s just Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen in Black – because my sister is not into anything very fancy or cute or whatever. Even simple patchwork would have been more than she’d have wanted. She pretty much likes red and black and white, so there’s the black (and kind of white…) with a red zipper from Zipit. (The zipper pull is also from Zipit. I have a pile of Octopus ones, but this one with the robots in love was attached to my last order of zippers from Zipit. It seemed to fit the black white red theme a little better than any of my octopuses.)

Zipper Pouch

The interior is lined with a red MoMo print and then I put in a divider in a red Kona Cotton. It’s not perfect – somehow the divider feels loose, but I don’t know how to make it more taut? I did it the same size as the lining pieces, but should I have made it a touch smaller and then stretched the bejeezus out of it to make it fit but stay taut? I also messed up the zipper/seam somehow at either end – I’ve done it with my last two pouches and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but the zippers are winding up all lumpy on the ends and I couldn’t even top stitch this pouch because I didn’t think I’d be able to get the sewing machine to stitch over the lumps at the end where the zipper opens. (The end of the zipper isn’t quite so bad.)

Anyway, this pattern free sewing didn’t go so bad despite the few little issues and my sister is happy – it saved her $25 or whatever that one from the store cost and it’ll get the job done. (The photos are pretty awful though. I should go steal it back and take some better pictures now that I could use natural light instead of the garbagey yellow overhead light in my sewing room.)

WIP Wednesday: Not the things I was expecting…

I thought for certain that my work in progress for the day would be the quilt top for my Vintage Modern Wonky Stars quilt (or even better, the basting/quilting rather than just putting it together). And I thought I’d also still be working on the giftie for my recipient at the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap on Flickr. And I thought I’d be done with my wall-hanging from last week.

Well, I am more or less done with the wall-hanging from last week. I’m still not totally sold on the centre bit, but this might be as good as it gets. Mom, if you’ve followed a link to my blog, please close it now because this is your Christmas gift and I don’t want to spoil it.

I tried a lot – a lot – of things to solve the poof problem with the middle panel of this wall-hanging. I stitched around the outline of some of the words in a variegated green thread, but the green stitches on the back really, really bothered me. Some were up/down left/right, but others were kind of angled or… I don’t know. It bothered me. I tried coming up with some kind of miniature snowflake pattern that I could stitch in white on some of the white places so it wouldn’t stand out on the front, but wouldn’t be out of place either, but again with the way it’d look on the back. I tried outline stitching the few red places so that they’d blend on the back, but I used one strand of floss too many and it looked too heavy and dark on the front.

Finally I made a kind of peppermint stripe around the outside edge of the cross-stitched area, stitching with white perle cotton, and then weaving in red around it. Which I should have done in reverse because the white shows on the back (a lot, but it doesn’t bother me because it’s just a nice looking square) and the red wouldn’t have.

Christmas hanging close up

I really like the look of it, except that it was a bit pointless because it doesn’t hold down ENOUGH of the poof and, well, the white is totally invisible if you back away from the macro setting on the camera…

Holly Jolly

(I haven’t, by the way, had a chance to take proper photos of this yet, in decent light. We’re all light-shunning vampires at my house, so all the blinds and curtains are closed at all times and this was photographed in my kitchen, by the light of some our energy-saving area lights. I won’t do a proper post about this until after Christmas, with better photos that don’t currently exist.., just because if my mom hasn’t paid attention and is looking at this, at least she shouldn’t get the full-on rundown of it now.)

Anyway, I’m thinking that I just need to suck it up and stitch some snowflakes into the white area, back of the quilt top be damned. It’s going to be hanging against a wall and anyone who looks at the back deserves to have an ugly view for NOT doing the right thing and just admiring the front. Right? Right… I’ll keep telling myself that.

But moving along: Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt. I STILL haven’t finished my last couple blocks. Tomorrow morning. Or Friday. I’m kind of messed up this week because I work a night shift tonight, which I NEVER do, and my head’s all on backwards until I get back to “normal” night shifts, which is every Thursday night and alternating Friday/Saturdays. (This is my weekend off! So fortunately I’ll be able to spend a lot of time crafting. My sister has a funeral/memorial to go to on Saturday, so I’ll have the house distraction free even.)

Vintage Modern block bits and bobs

This is an old photo, with five unfinished blocks. There are only THREE unfinished blocks left and then I can get the top put together. I am toying with the idea of putting the blocks on point, so that the quilt will be larger, but I need to figure out what size backing I’d need if I do that, because I’ve already bought my backing and it takes 2 weeks to ship it in, so I can’t get more. It’s flannel, so I’m not sure if I’d like to piece the back with non-flannel to get it up to size. Has anyone done that? How weird is it, blending the two, on one surface?

Anyway, I’d planned to do those blocks this morning, but then I realized that TODAY was the fifth of December, not tomorrow, and that meant that I had to get my Scrappy Bits swap package in the mail. I hadn’t made it because I couldn’t get a really clear read on my partner’s likes and dislikes, and I kept wibbling over what to make for her. I mentally auditioned about a dozen types of ornaments and I contemplated adapting a particular paper piece pattern to a circle to make a particular type of pouch and I wibbled about colours and I wibbled about fabric types and if to add embroidery and what sort of embroidery and then time was ticking ticking ticking and suddenly I had to have it in the mail. I didn’t have any more time to figure it out!

Modern Scrappy Bits swap package

I’m a little worried it looks lazy and sloppy (I was hoping the frayed edges on the stars would look kind of blurred, as if they were twinkling) and maybe… childish? Somehow the idea didn’t translate as well as I’d hoped. It looked better brainside than out in the world, I think. I mean, I think it would be great for a little girl, maybe, but for an adult woman? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out. (I rather suspected my last swap partner didn’t like what I sent her – she never talked about it on her blog, though she posted a photo with an enthusiastic enough couple lines about it on the swap group.) I hate to think my indecision might have left me to turn out something my partner won’t like, though. So I’m still toying with making something else and sending her a second package. (God I’m good at stressing myself out over things…)

Anyway, that one’s not a WIP at all, is it? Unless I do make something else…

Linking up to:

The Needle and Thread Network

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced