PLURPLE

Mustaches are in

Well, not really, but they are all the rage in class 202 (Ana’s class). Their teacher, Ms. F. really likes them, and the kids once posed for her with cardboard-made mustaches on their faces. As an end of year present for her I thought it would be cool to make her a mustache quilt, with each kid having a block and filling it with a mustache of their choice and their name.

So far it’s going well. The trickiest part was giving the materials to the kids during the drop-off and pick-up times and keeping it all from Ms. F.

The names are being embroidered but they still retain the children’s personal styles of writing.

Things I have learned so far:

– mustache is the US spelling, many other countries spell it “moustache”. I kept wondering why the spell checker underlined it!! [I take pride in my spelling]

– so far the most popular mustache is this shape:

mustache

– only one child has chosen yellow for their block color :-( What’s wrong with these kids?

This is what I got so far. I couldn’t wait to start adding sashing to one side of the blocks. 12 blocks finished, 8 more to go.

bigotes2

It was great seeing the kids’ smiles as they handed me back their finished blocks. I can’t wait to have them all.

 

 

Books quilt – Clementine

Another very productive week has passed. I have a new book block for you, number 21.

Book title: Clementine

clementine book

Author: Sara Pennypacker

The story: When Ana started reading chapter books she was obsessed with Ivy and Bean. One day at our local bookstore she couldn’t find any that she hadn’t read already and the lady at the store suggested Clementine because her granddaughter liked it. It was love at first paragraph, so to speak. Clementine’s books are funny; they are also very orange. As an added bonus Clementine lives in …. BOSTON! In one book Ana couldn’t believe that they went to the Boston Public Garden where the ducks statues are. She also went to Plimouth Plantation with school, which Ana will get to do next year. Very exciting indeed.

The making: All Clementine’s book covers look difficult. The one I chose was the easiest. I started off with the main shapes in applique. I fused them together first on my teflon sheet and then transferred them onto the background.

clementine1

clementine2

Then I added some lines in the letter that she is reading and some details in her jeans.

clementine3

There was no more delaying. The hair needed to be tackled. But how much hair does this girl have???

clementine4

More hair added… still doesn’t feel quite right. In the meantime I added some little dots to her T-shirt.

clementine5

And this is all the hair I was prepared to sew.

clementine6

At one point my mum asked what stitch was I using for the hair (it was all done by hand). I just laughed… there was no particular stitch in mind, I just sewed and sewed in any direction I could. You do not want to look at the back of this block. :-)

She also thought of a special stitch for the letters (look at the big C), but it was unsustainable for the rest of the “smaller” letters so I went with my regular backstitch. And here is the completed block (notice I added pockets to her jeans?). I didn’t get a chance to iron it, but you get the idea.

clementine finished

Yesterday we went to a book store and found out there is a brand new Clementine book. Guess who wants a copy?

Last week I also sewed pijama shorts for Tomás. The fabric featured London’s tube system.

pijama london

And…. I am happy to report that my Flower Power quilt is doing well, and I rescued another big project from the dark. More on that soon. Thanks for reading.

Read about previous blocks:

Books quilt: Introduction

Block 1: Smile

Block 2: Babymouse

Block 3: Lunch Lady

Block 4: Little Miss Fun

Block 5: Madeline

Block 6: Ivy and Bean

Block 7: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Block 8: Thea Stilton

Block 9: Miffy

Block 10: Elephant & Piggie

Block 11: Pablo Diablo (Horrid Henry)

Block 12: Cupcake Diaries

Block 13: No, David!

Block 14: Frederick

Block 15: Mafalda

Book 16: American Girl

Block 17: Charlotte’s Web

Block 18: Chrysanthemum

Block 19: Wayside School

Block 20: Silverlicious

Sewing galore!

My parents are visiting us for a couple of weeks and somehow my mum and I have managed to tackle a bunch of sewing projects, some of which I had put away for months.

First it was a dress that my mum no longer wanted and being yellow (my absolutely favorite color) she gave it to me. It needed taking in a bit so that was project number 1.

Project number 2 was a suit she bought for me in Spain, which fit perfectly, but the pants needed shortening (so typical).

fundraiser

I didn’t waste any time to put the suit on… we had an event at school last Saturday.

Project number 3 took me about 10 minutes to sew and hours to figure out how to finish. It was a top made with the leftover fabric from last summer’s dress. I used my serger to sew the main seams but then didn’t know what to do with the neck line. I remembered that it was tricky to sew a narrow hem, even with starch, so I tried plan B. I could use bias tape to finish it off. The problem was that the bias tape was heavier than the blue fabric. Here’s what it looked like when sewed on.

blue top binding

Then I figured out we could just push the bias tape down and sew it again. That way we could have a nice finished curve and the bias wouldn’t pull down on the other fabric. That did the trick and I felt so clever!

blue top binding2

I have to give credit where it’s due: my mum did most of the altering and hand-sewing, leaving me only the machine sewing, for which I am so grateful. She kept saying we needed to “hilvanar, hilvanar”, which is to baste, whereas I was more keen on “let’s just sew it and see what happens”. She also kept asking where my “hilo de hilvanar” (basting thread) was. I don’t have a special thread for that!!! Do people have that?

Finally I rescued from the depths of my wardrobe a shirt I started over a year ago with fabric Pete bought for me in Japan. Making this shirt was an arduous process from start to finish, so when I tried it on and it was too wide for me I couldn’t face it any more and hid it away.

Japanese top1

But now we were on a roll and things were being mended left and right. The basting thread conversation came up again and in no time we had fixed this shirt too. Now I have all these new things to wear!

Now, before you think that I am exploiting my parents’ visit to get my alterations done, let me say that we also “allow” them to have some free time every now and then (as long as the sewing has been done for the day, that is).

Thanks for reading this very long post. More to come soon…

Books quilt – Silverlicious

Block number 20 today. Long post – you’ve been warned.

Book title: Silverlicious

Silverlicious book

Author: Victoria Kann

The story: The main character in this book is called Pinkalicious, a little girl who loves pink and cupcakes. In this story her sweet tooth falls out and the tooth fairy is too busy to come and get it. Instead, Cupid, the Easter Bunny and an Elf take turns to visit her and leave her a present.

Interestingly enough this week one of my son’s front teeth fell out and the tooth fairy did indeed come, but she made a couple of big mistakes. The first day she left money but forgot to take the tooth with her!!! The second day she came back for the tooth and left a note but her writing was not fancy, like it had been in the past. Needless to say my kids are getting “suspicious” and asking lots of questions… This is what you get when you delegate, if you know what I mean.

The missing tooth:

Silverlicious Diente

The making: The first step was to create the silver background. I fused the flimsy silver fabric to a white cotton fabric to act as stabilizer. I was scared of burning the silver, and it ended up a bit wrinkly. Also, all photos came up horribly because of the light reflecting on it.

silver background

The applique pieces were OK.

silverlicious applique

I added a bow and buttons and some stitching lines to the dress, so cute.

Silverlicious bow

Then came the letters, which came all together in one piece except for the S. In the book cover they are speckled with glitter. I bought a metallic thread and went over the letters a few times to create a glittery effect but it didn’t come out that well. The thread also broke a few times if I sewed too fast.

Silverlicious almost ready

I didn’t bother with the crown and some of the pink strips floating around; too much hassle if you ask me. But I did want to add the dots of the letters “I”. I searched for cute buttons but nothing worked. Finally I found this swirly bead in Ana’s room that although too chunky it is similar to a mint candy.

silverlicious letters

Here are the comparison between the book and the block:

silverlicious comparison

I can see that I desperately need a new fabric to make kids’ skin tone. The one I have been using is way too white.

For the final touches I added the orange jelly bean and the pink heart to dot the “i”s.

silverlicious finished block

No hints about next week’s block. I have been so busy with other things that I haven’t even started it yet. I have exactly a week to get my act together. In the meantime I’ll post about all the other sewing things going on right now. :-)

Read about previous blocks:

Books quilt: Introduction

Block 1: Smile

Block 2: Babymouse

Block 3: Lunch Lady

Block 4: Little Miss Fun

Block 5: Madeline

Block 6: Ivy and Bean

Block 7: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Block 8: Thea Stilton

Block 9: Miffy

Block 10: Elephant & Piggie

Block 11: Pablo Diablo (Horrid Henry)

Block 12: Cupcake Diaries

Block 13: No, David!

Block 14: Frederick

Block 15: Mafalda

Book 16: American Girl

Block 17: Charlotte’s Web

Block 18: Chrysanthemum

Block 19: Wayside School

Books quilt – Wayside School

Book title: Wayside School

wayside school book

Author: Louis Sachar

The story: We bought the Wayside School book series (3 books) to take to California with us. Surely they would keep Ana entertained for hours… Well, they lasted all of two or three trips to the pool. She took to them like a fish to water, and couldn’t stop commenting on the stories. Everything is wacky in this school, starting with the building itself, which was meant to be all on one floor but they read the map the wrong way round and ended up with 30 floors!

The making: All books have slightly different covers but they all have the leaning school on the left, so that needed to be featured. I was dreading the little windows but they were OK, just a lot of cutting and stitching little pieces.

wayside school 2

wayside school 3

I added some objects, such as the apple and the mosquito (or is it a dragonfly?), but I had to simplify things too.

wayside school 4

Now that I sew upstairs I can hear Ana reading Wayside School to Tomás when they are in bed. Even I find it funny.

I thought I was done when I reached this point:

wayside school 5

But a few days later I noticed the detail on the roof, a W on the flag and some lines inside the bug’s wings. I had to do them. Now it’s officially done:

wayside school detalle

Here are the block and the book side by side:

wayside school comparison

Next week it’ll be block number 20!!! Not much longer to go now. Enjoy the summer weather while it lasts.

Read about previous blocks:

Books quilt: Introduction

Block 1: Smile

Block 2: Babymouse

Block 3: Lunch Lady

Block 4: Little Miss Fun

Block 5: Madeline

Block 6: Ivy and Bean

Block 7: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Block 8: Thea Stilton

Block 9: Miffy

Block 10: Elephant & Piggie

Block 11: Pablo Diablo (Horrid Henry)

Block 12: Cupcake Diaries

Block 13: No, David!

Block 14: Frederick

Block 15: Mafalda

Book 16: American Girl

Block 17: Charlotte’s Web

Block 18: Chrysanthemum
cesta 2

A little gift

A little gift for the people who make my life easier, for the ones who have to deal with me when I am frustrated, angry, desperate… and no, I am not talking about my family. They work in the office and they are my first callers when something doesn’t work in the classroom, and believe me, it happens a lot! or at least this semester it was particularly bad.

I wanted to make a lot of things for them, but as the days passed by the projects became less and less feasible. Looking for a quick idea I came across a little basket tutorial by Ayumi that I had long wanted to try. Choosing the right fabrics was the biggest stumbling block and what took most of my time. I had two color schemes:

cestas fabric choice2cestas fabric choice1

The instructions are fantastic and the whole basket is put together very easily:

cesta 1cesta 2

I love the color of the green lining and how it matches the squares and I also love the bluish fabric with French writing on. I bought some chocolate cookies with sea salt to go in the baskets.

cestas

And of course, I had to make one for myself too. I am going to use it to keep my hand-sewing stuff.

cesta for me

This is a great project idea that lets you showcase some of your favorite scrap fabrics. I get a feeling that I will be making many more of these. :-)

 

 

Books quilt – Chrysanthemum

Book title: Chrysanthemum

chrysanthemum_mouse_sm

Author: Kevin Henkes

The story: Chrysanthemum is about a little girl (mouse) who gets teased at school for her name, which is not surprising giving the name she has, right? Both pictures and text are great. Kevin Henkes has written many other children’s book you have probably seen around, like Wemberly worriesLilly’s Purple Plastic Purse or one of my favorites Julius the Baby of the World.

What went wrong? First of all, no matter how many times I looked at the original picture I still managed to produce a mirror image in the block. But this was only the first of my troubles, there were more to come.

chrysanthemum 1

Notice the shadow? I was very pleased to have found the perfect grey color for it, and then I checked online and noticed the original was light blue. No big deal, who cares about a shadow anyway? I had bigger fish to fry, the ears, for example. What you can see there in purple is not a shower cap, but Chrysanthemum’s ears. The color is meant to change gradually, and not go completely from white to purple. My plan was to add “hairs”, but how exactly to make them blend I didn’t know. I put the ear issue to the side and went for the hands… not to be critical, but those hands….. they don’t really look like hands, do they?

Luckily the skirt came out nicely, which lifted my spirits a bit. I cut out my letters …

chrysanthemum 2

… and it was then that I got an email from my old sewing teacher telling me about this awesome technique to paint your fabric using crayons. It wowed me and stupidly I decided right then to try it. Of course instead of doing my tests on a scrap of fabric I went straight for Chrysanthemum’s ears. This little trick was going to fix it all. And by now you see where this is going. Let’s say I skipped an important step in the process and ended up with this:

chrysanthemum 3

A little smudge on her face that later on turned into a bigger smudge with little stains of crayon here and there. Torn between making a brand new block or carrying on I decided to finish this one and probably replace it when I have more extra time.

More crayon paint and more “hair” were added.

chrysanthemum 5

chrysanthemum 4

I managed to finish the whole block because when I showed Pete and Ana the picture above and asked them what they thought about the mess they both asked What mess? Apparently they didn’t see anything wrong with this block!!

Here is the finished block with the five flowers.

chrysanthemum 6

I can’t stand the crayon marks below the letter C. Will have to redo this block some time. What a waste of time this all was. [I still don’t know how to fix the comments box…anyone with computer skills out there?]

Read about previous blocks:

Books quilt: Introduction

Block 1: Smile

Block 2: Babymouse

Block 3: Lunch Lady

Block 4: Little Miss Fun

Block 5: Madeline

Block 6: Ivy and Bean

Block 7: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Block 8: Thea Stilton

Block 9: Miffy

Block 10: Elephant & Piggie

Block 11: Pablo Diablo (Horrid Henry)

Block 12: Cupcake Diaries

Block 13: No, David!

Block 14: Frederick

Block 15: Mafalda

Book 16: American Girl

Block 17: Charlotte’s Web