Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I just read that you are looking for a few extra stockings to fill, with the help of the nice people at the Fat Quarter Shop. So I took a little look around and found a lot of things to put on my wishlist.

I really like the look of this fabric- Blush, by basicgrey and since it's be my turn in a virtual quilting bee soon, that would be a great gift to find under my tree.

I think I could also enjoy making something for a wee one out of this fairy fabric by Michael Miller as well.

And last, I've never had the chance to make anything out of a charm pack before, and this sweet pink and red Valentines fabric is awfully cute.

So there ya go Santa! I've been REALLY GOOD this year!



PS. Do you want to win some fabric too? Click on that first link to enter the giveaway!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I- Spy in progress

You know how I'm always asking for help? Take a look at this and tell me what you'd move. There are a few reds that I want to swap with each other, but otherwise I'm feeling pretty good about it. I'd love to hear any suggestions you have though, as it's completely possible that I have looked at it one too many times!

If you look at it on flickr, be sure to look at a small version as it looks very cool little. Plus there are some notes on certain blocks.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Help, please!

For Christmas I am making the Bug an I-Spy quilt. I joined an I-Spy swap so I have TONS of blocks. Each block will be 3.5 inches once sewn.

I had wanted to make it like a rainbow by pairing the ones with a red image next to a red piece of sashing,etc. Similar to this one from jarobichaux's flickr page (Only not quite as awesome as I would use solids, just ROYGBIV and B&W):

I did not want to have the solid squares as large as the I-Spy squares, was thinking maybe 1 inch sewn (1.5 inch cut).

But then I realized that it wouldn't match up if all the blocks weren't the same size. And I have SO MANY blocks it would make a HUGE quilt.

I could smoosh them all together like iris b2007 did here, but I doubt my eye for it (though the more I look at it the more I like it.)

So then I though about doing all one color sashing like this one from the Rice Family's flickr page:
Should I give up on the rainbow and do all the same color sashing? Or should I use fewer squares saving the rest for another quilt? Or do you have a third idea?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Test post!

Hi, I'm playing with Feedburner and needed a test post, please ignore me!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sewing room tour!

We've spent the last 24 hours moving every piece of furniture in my sewing area. I share the room with the boys and we decided it would make more sense to flip the room 180 degrees. So we did. This is a very large basement room, bare concrete floor, ugly paneling, no windows. None of that has changed.

(To see these same pictures, plus more, with tons of notes, visit this flickr link.)

Mike built me a big work table, so we started with that. We used couches to split the room in half. We got rid of some furniture and repurposed other pieces. We made a giant chalkboard for the boys.

It was a lot of work. It's still not a room worthy of a magazine spread, but it's so much better that I can't even describe it. There are a few details left to take care of but it's mostly done. I am so excited to get to work down there. The boys seem to like it better, and there are lots more things for them to do.

You can see a guided tour of it on my flickr page, complete with notes. I'd love to say they are all perfect photos, but I was working with 30 seconds time in a windowless room. Go look anyway.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ok crafters, here's a heads up!

There's an online class about marketing your shop over at Katydiddy's, just in time for the holiday season. There are several parts to the class including blogging tips, markets, and facebook tips. I really want to take it, but don't have the $49 to sign up. Lucky for me, you can WIN a spot by blogging about it. So, I'm blogging to win it, but if you wanna take it WITH me, feel free to go here to sign up!

(Oh, ok, if you wanna win it you can check this link. )

Friday, October 9, 2009

Weekly Craft Roundup for October 9

I completed another block for the bee inspired quilt group this week. This one was due in September, oops, but time just got away from me. This one is a disappearing nine-patch (Hi, Trish!) so it went together really fast. My feelings are mixed on the fabric itself, while I do like bold prints, this was really loud.
There is a second block as well, but there is a slight error in it.

Look at this great craft- so pretty and done with Sharpies!

Every time Lisa posts about her napkins I want to whip some out myself. I mean, how pretty are those?
In shop news, nothing new posted this week. I was a busy bee though, making up and sending out another tailgating banner (War Eagle baby!) and finishing up a nice sized batch of notepads.
The round up is a little thin this week- I kept forgetting to save links!
What fun crafty thing did you do or discover this week? Any great new Etsy finds?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Feature: Weekly handmade roundup

On my personal blog I do a Random Friday post where I put all the links and notes from the previous week that I want to share. I thought it was about time to start that here. I plan to limit it to crafty things, pretty handmade things, and cool Etsy items, as well as personal sewing notes. I can't quite decide what to call it, but I plan to post it on Thursday or Friday of each week. Any suggestions?

Here we go!

Does anyone have a source of bulk zippers? By bulk I mean dozens, not hundreds.

How stunning is this quilt? I'd so love to make something like this for my bed.

This is a smart idea- make one cool t-shirt out of two clearance ones.

Oh, I want this ring!

I absolutely LOVE how this person keeps her journal. I wish I were half that artistic and creative. Even so, I am half tempted to try it next year.

Personally, the sewing I did this week was in the form of a banner that I sold in the shop. I had a bit of problem with a yellow mark transferring from my ironing board to the banner and had to basically start over, so this one has a LOT of extra time into it. I'm itching to make a few more backpacks though, as I sold TWO of them this week! Slowly but surely...

What fun, pretty, crafty or handmade goodness did you find this week? Was it something you made? What have you been wishing you had time to make?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I won!

A few weeks ago I entered a contest at Cicada Daydream to win a bundle of fat quarters of her new line of fabric.

Imagine my surprise when I won! About 3 days later they arrived on my doorstep.

They are even prettier in person than in these pictures. I think the top middle one is my favorite... can you see the little snails?

So now I'm faced with the inevitable question- what to make with them??

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Friday, September 11, 2009

One for me

I decided that the best way to show off my work was to carry it with me.

I had been using a great bag, but it was a bag I bought, not something I made myself. I thought I'd try to replicate it. I had this piece of Joel Dewberry's Aviary fabric that I had been hoarding, waiting for the perfect thing.

This isn't exactly like the model. The fabric is a little less slouchy and the straps are attached a little differently. Inside there is a zipper pocket and a couple open pockets.
Why yes, I do carry all that around with me. Often more! The bottom is round, with a few little pleats to give body to the bag. It's a great weight and very roomy.

As always, there are a few things I'd do differently- like make actual bias tape, cut on the bias- but overall I'm very happy with it.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Craft, Inc by Meg Mateo Ilasco

(Some of you have already seen this, but there are a couple people who only read this blog who might be interested in the book.)

As you are all fully aware, given how much I talk about it, I have a shop on Etsy. I'd love to turn it into something that will generate a little extra income for my family so that I could one day be debt free. (Yes, "one day" is a long long long long LONG time in the future. Do not crush my dreams.) To that end I bought (yes, bought!) this book- Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business. It's a short little book, only 160 pages, and while not everything in it will really apply to me, there was a lot of inspiration to be found.

Ilasco breaks the book down into chapters about marketing, inspiration, sales, and pricing, among others. The book covers in very general terms all the different aspects of owning your own shop AND creating your own brand. She's very clear that you have to brand yourself fully, you can't have a bunch of random stuff throw together and expect to be a rousing success. I think this is possibly the most useful thing I took out of the book and I expect it'll cause me to think more about my own shop and how I can pull it together more cohesively. One thing I took the time to do already was to create a Facebook fan page for the shop, please go become a fan!

Throughout the book there are short interview from various people who have managed to turn their hobbies into very successful brands. Each one was about two pages long, just long enough to keep me interested, without too many details. Some of them were very inspiring and make me think that this IS possible for me.

The one aspect of the book that wasn't so helpful for me was that a lot of the book does focus on things that can be mass produced. For example- pottery pots, or lip balm, or even knitted hats. Most of what I make tends to be one of the kind- custom team banners, messenger bags, and tote bags from t-shirts. It's a little harder to market something that is so unique- just how many sample banners do I need anyway, if the Twins fans don't bite?

Overall, a useful book, one that I'll add to my shelves. It certainly does inspire me to work harder at my goal. If you're interesting in starting a creative business of your own, I think you could get a lot out of this book, otherwise probably not for you.

If you could turn any hobby into a business, what would it be? What do you love to do? You don't have to be great at it, I'm just interested in what your passion is... and don't say "I'd love to make a living reading books!" cause DUH.

Craft, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco

Chronicle Books


160 pages

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Facebook fan page!

Hey, Look over there in the sidebar -->

I added a link to the Made by Lisah Facebook fan page- become a fan and don't miss any shop updates!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fair Quilt

This is the only quilt that I took a picture of at our fair. They hang most of them in an odd folded way so you can only see a sliver of the quilt. This was a small wall hanging near the edge of the room. I don't know if you can really tell the scale, but look at the size of the ribbon and the hanger. That's a regular hanger, like you'd put your skirt on. Those little hexagons are about the size of your fingernail. Crazy, huh?
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Taryn's Bag

It's back to school time and my niece Taryn wanted a school bag that wasn't like everyone else's, and really, who could blame her? She wanted something that wasn't pink and she likes the messenger bag style (thank God, I don't think I'm ready to make a backpack yet!) She brought me a sample bag and should be what she liked and what she didn't. She chose the main fabric and I found a matching corduroy for a little strength. I interfaced the whole bag heavily, but it should soften up with use. This was my first experience with inset zippers and seams, but I think they turned out pretty well.

I left the edges of the peace sign raw so that over time they will fray a little bit, a peace sign shouldn't be perfect.

Inside there is another pocket, and a hook for her keys (the red thing to the left.) The outer edges have elastic in the seams to hopefully keep things from falling out.

I'm going to give it to her tomorrow, I hope she loves it!

Many thanks to Larissa at mmmcrafts for her messenger bag tutorial, which is where I started. Obviously I veered off into my own world and didn't follow her exactly, her bags are super cute though, so go take a look.
PS. The yard is crooked, not the bag.
PPS. If you are interested in your own custom bag let me know!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

John's Blocks

John's block 2
Originally uploaded by lharsma

I made two blocks for John for the bee inspired group. This is the second one. I really liked making these blocks, they were really easy to put together and I like the way the pattern looks when it's laid out with the rest of the blocks. I'm tempted to add this to my list of future quilts.

(Apologize for wierd formatting- I uploaded one pic directly from flickr and the other from my harddrive.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Barb's block

Barb's block
Originally uploaded by lharsma

One of the two blocks we had for July was for Barb. She wants to make a wonky bento box/log cabin so she requested a 1/4 log cabin. I had the hardest time making it wonky. While I'm not so much of a traditional quilt block girl, making things intentionally NOT straight was hard for me. I suspect that mine will be one of the least wonky of the groups. By the time I was done I was kinda getting the hang of it, but of course I ran out of fabric.

You can visit the rest of the group on flickr.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Donna's Block for the Bee Inspired Group.

Donna's Block
Originally uploaded by lharsma
Lots and lots of sewing at my house this weekend, yay! Sadly, no pictures of any of it yet so you'll just have to wait. Meanwhile, I realized that I had never posted a picture of Donna's Block for our Bee inspired quilt group.

Donna wanted stars and she sent a variety of blue and gold fabrics. She's planning to do an irish chain type of quilt with stars in the open areas. It should be stunning.

I'm pretty pleased with the way this one turned out. There is one pair of points that aren't so lovely, but the rest are pretty crisp. Just goes to show, practice does make perfect!

Friday, June 5, 2009

May's Blocks for the Bee Inspired Quilt Group

In May we had two blocks to do and I squeezed them in under the wire by doing them both on the 31st!

First was Nettie's block. Nettie wanted flying geese, which is something that intimidates me quite a bit. This made me procrastinate on starting the block, but as it turned out they were a lot easier than expected. She sent 8 different prints, all of which were super cute. I had a lot of fun trying to center the best part of each of them in the triangle. She is also apparently brilliant at math because when it was all said and done I had about a 1x4 inch scrap of the blue fabric left over!

Here is the finished block.

Then we had Deanna's block. Deanna wanted any sort of star. She requested that the chocolate brown be the star center and the cream as the background. I looked about about a hundred star patterns online and finally printed out 3 or 4 to look at closer. When it came time to make it I discovered that none of them would work since I would run out of cream or the brown wasn't big enough, or SOMETHING. There was one last one that seemed possible, but I was scared to cut and be wrong. I ended up making this slightly wonky star, which I think turned out well.

June is Donna's month and we're doing stars again. Donna sent a little more variety in fabric, so I think the math won't be so intimidating! Regardless, I won't be working on it til after our vacation.

To see everyone else's blocks, visit the flickr group here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

On Originality

Lately I've been seeing a lot of little turtorials on other blogs for basic items like eyeglass cases and lanyards. These are items that require little or no thought to create a pattern but the bloggers are nicely putting together a photo tutorial on how to do them. I think this is a great thing that they are doing- until I get to the end and find: "please do not sell anything you make using this tutorial." Now. I completely understand that you don't want someone else to make money off your original work. I really do. And I think if you make something that is unique, that this is perfectly reasonable. In the last couple weeks though I've seen tutorials for things I could have made myself and would have done in the exact same manner. So what happens now? Am I never allowed to make and sell those items? What about the key lanyard that someone did a tutorial for that is literally:

Take a strip of fabric x inches long by x inches wide. Make a tube and turn it inside out. Slide a toggle clip on and sew the ends together to make a loop. Please don't sell any of these if you make them!

REALLY? SERIOUSLY? I mean, her tutorial had pictures and all, but couldn't anyone have done that? Where is the line? It seems clear that I should be able to sell this lanyard if I wanted to sell it.

There are a lot of tutorials out there for simple totes with boxed bottoms. I made quite a few of them before I discovered the world of craft blogging. I did not use a tutorial at all, but used techiniques from a pattern that I had bought for another bag. Now though, I have read those tutorials. If I unintentionally follow some aspect of their technique instead of doing it in the same order I did before, am I allowed to sell my bag? What if I make my pocket like they did, but do everything else the way I always have?

On the other end, if do make a bag that is clearly not the usual bag, I can understand saying that I can't copy that. But at what point does it swap over? I've seen tutorials for items for which I've bought mass retail patterns. I think it's great that I could have made my own without buying the pattern, but what's to say the blogger didn't copy the publisher of the pattern? Am I not allowed to sell something made from a McCalls or Simplicity pattern? What about if I make a quilt from a pattern in a book? Can I sell that?

Before the book Weekend Sewing came out, I saw a tutorial to make a checkbook cover. There is a pattern for that in the book. Did Heather Ross copy them? In 1997, two friends and I made checkbook covers and book covers to give to people for Christmas. Our pattern was shockingly similar. Too bad we didn't publish a tutorial.

At some point it seems that everything has been done and nothing is original (you should be able to say this about books too though, right?) When does the 200 crayon rolls I've seen turn into me copying someone else's idea illegally? Have you looked for a crayon roll on Etsy? Because clearly the majority of the people selling them, myself included, copied that one original person, intentionally or not. (That search found 990 of them.)

After giving this a lot of thought, I've decided to use my best judgement on this. If an item is a simple basic item I'm not going to worry too much about copying you. I've seen a millon handmade tote bags. I'm not going to stop making them for my shop because someone did a tutorial. I don't particularly want to make lanyards, but if I did I'm not so worried that you told me how to make a long tube. I know this is gonna make some people angry at me, but let's use some common sense. If I bought your pattern and you asked me not to do it, I won't. If your item truely is unique and is something I'd never thought of myself, I won't try to sell the items I make from it.

So what do you think? Do you only sell things you've created in a vacuum? Am I being unreasonable? Are you about to call the craft police on me? Should I just close the shop now? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sometimes life gets in the way.

It feels like I'm ignoring this blog lately. I don't MEAN to, but by the time I have a chance to sit down to blog I'm too tired to take pictures of what I'm sewing. I'm still blogging a bit at my main blog, so stop by and say hi over there while you wait for me to get my act together.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Meredith's Block

Since we just got our fabric for the next block, I figure it's time I posted my LAST one! This block was for Meredith, who gave us a link to this stunning quilt as her inspiration. Size wasn't a huge factor as she'll be piecing it together like a giant puzzle in the end. Here's what I came up with:

Be sure to check the bee inspired pool to see everyone else's great blocks too.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I carefully wrote out two fairly long names on wonder under craft bond stuff. Then I found the perfect fabric and ironed it on....

..... the wrong side.

It's ok, I wanted to do it twice!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dyline's Block

This is the second block for the Bee Inspired quilting group. When Dyline announced her intent to have us all do Vacation House blocks I was a little disappointed. It seemed there wouldn't be a lot of choice in how we made them. As it turned out, if I did math a little better, I'd have seen that there wasn't any choice. She sent three pieces and they only could have been used in one way. However, I messed up cutting and my last piece was about 1.5 inches too short to use. Good thing we were allowed to use our own fabric, as the blue leafy fabric was mine!

In the end, I liked my block ok, but what I really liked was the idea of making my own Vacation Home quilt. I can picture a little neighborhood of houses with different embellishments and I really want to do it, so thanks for introducing me to it, Dyline.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wanna win something springy?

Head on over to This That and The Other and you could win a nice little care package- it's got flower seeds, and pan scrubber, some candy... oh and this lovely little table runner....

Wouldn't that just make your table look Spring-y?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rachel's Block

I finished my first block for the bee inspired quilt group! Rachel requested any style pinwheel or whirlygig. I made a 15 inch block of whirlygigs, and then cut it down to the requested 12.5 inch block. I did a trial block first using some fabrics I had on hand, and I'm REALLY glad I did, as I made a big error in it. I was much more careful on the real block. The colored one is Rachel's, the black and tan one is mine.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Quick weekend sewing-

The Pirate has a new obsession, Star Wars. He blends pretend play about Pirates, Power Rangers, and Star Wars seamlessly into one big fight scene. (Sometimes it feels our entire life is one big pretend fight scene!) So last Sunday during naptime I raced down to the sewing room and whipped up a quick "Obi Wan Kenobi" tunic. I did most of it with the serger so the hems are finished, but not pretty. It's pretty narrow and I didn't cut it on the bias so it doesn't stretch, but the Pirate doesn't notice these flaws. He firmly believes that he IS "a Star Wars."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Calendar Quilt Challenge Update

This isn't a great picture, but here's my "block" for January for the Calendar Quilt Challenge. I hesitate to admit this, but I don't like it. I can't imagine that I'm going to like the finished quilt either. I haven't sewn anything for February, even though it's now March 1st. I'm considering making a much narrower strip (like 3 inches wide) for the remaining months and then making more of a Chinese coins quilt. I'd probably do it something like this one that I made for my cousin, with lots of blank space around the 12 strips.

What do you all think?

I'm not loving it, and I'm not sure I want to spend the time on it when I could do something I'd love more, but I hate to give up on something.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

bee inspired

I've gone and done it now! I've signed up for a virtual quilting bee. If you're reading this blog you probably know what that means, but if you don't here's how it works: There are 18 of us participating. Each of us have one month that is "ours." Some months have two people. When it's your month, you mail a bundle of fabric to the other participants with some basic guidelines. Everyone makes you a block and mails it back, and suddenly you have enough blocks for a quilt! The other months you get fabric and make a block to send to the others. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? I'm a little bit nervous (what if they are all better than me???) and a a lot excited. It's all run through flickr instead of a central blog. There aren't many pictures up now, but as the bee gets going you'll be able to see them at the bee inspired group. Mine, of course, you'll see here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What I did on my day off..

Today is President's Day, which meant I had the day off work. My children's daycare was open so I had an entire day to myself. YAY!

Here's what I did with my day off...

I made a square for the Bushfire Quilt Project.

It turned out a hair small, so I made a second.

Then I made a little thank-you gift for a friend out of an old T-shirt. Zippers are fairly new to me, so I am proud of my little bag.

Finally I made a series of crayon rolls for the shop. I LOVE this fabric and have a little bit of each left over. I also have a yard of the coordinating robot print, but I decided it was too big a print from crayon rolls.

I finished 5 of the rocket crayon rolls and cut 5 more out of a girly kitty fabric.

It was a completely wonderful day.