Tuesday, July 31, 2012

{Speaking of Summer} Falls Lake

Today was reasonably mild compared to the horrendous heat we've had.  I've been in a bit of a rut and thought a trip to one of our favorite spots on Falls Lake might give me a lift.  Mark and I used to come and hike with the dogs here just about every weekend before we had kids.  And we've been bringing the kids down here since they were babies.  It is just a simple, quiet, beautiful place to getaway and only about 5 minutes from our house.  The kids almost always find something to do and I almost always leave happier and with a clearer mind.

Just look at how excited these two were!  Quite a funny moment I managed to capture here...

Woohoo we're going for a walk at the lake!

Love it out here!!


So, I'm hoping to get back into sewing soon! It's becoming more physically challenging for me with this pregnancy but I still try to squeeze in a little each day.  It is all about finishing up quilts for the kids.  Can't wait to share more! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One Thing Always Leads to Another

I haven't done too much sewing this week, but I decided to start cutting out Joe's quilt top today.  To my surprise, I cut it all out in less than an hour.  That never happens!  I probably should've called it quits (trying to take it easy these days).  But, there were these scraps left over from the cutting.  There are always "these scraps", are there not?  I started thinking about these little strips and how they would make a perfect chevron pattern.  And, I came up with this. 

Playing with chevron...

Chevron is EVERYWHERE these days and I love these colors.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but I'm contemplating some sort of bag or pouch.   Any thoughts, suggestions?    

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Baby Love

This weekend when I was feeling so exhausted I spent some time filling my Pinterest board with inspiration for our baby to be.  The truth is, we have nothing planned for her arrival...no.thing!  She'll undoubtedly be well cared for and loved to pieces and that's all she'll really need.  But, it's still fun to think about how we might decorate her room and to admire some of the adorable goodies out there for babies.

I'm loving the idea of a simple neutral nursery, with pops of color here and there.  And, I think we could pull something like that off with little spending/effort when she's ready for her room.  From left to right:

Sadly, with all the handmade things I make, I only have a few things planned for this baby. I've knit her a sweater already, and hope to make a pillow and a simple garland for her room. I'm definitely admiring all of these adorable goodies I found online, from left to right:
Want to see more?  Check out my Pinterest Baby Love board.  Have any baby goodies to share?  Please do!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Seeing Spots

 Vintage Village

New Shelf, Old Favorites

Vintage Dish

Red Chairs Turned Blue

Somehow or another, I managed to get very little sleep this weekend.  Late night storms, late night hunger, those aspects of pregnancy that inhibit one from getting comfortable...they all kept me up.  So, I kind of felt like I was seeing spots, like these snapshots of my weekend (playing with a new app on my iphone called Pictureshow).

At least my exuberant husband kept things productive.  He worked on finishing up our bathroom updates which involved painting, patching, taking down an extremely outdated light fixture to discover the electrical box was 1 foot from the middle of the wall where it needed to be.  Oh, and then there were the three Goldilocks-type trips to and from Homegoods - this mirror is too big, no this mirror is too small, no actually the big one was just right.  *sigh*  And, after all that he painted a set of red chairs we got a while back a bright turquoise blue just because I'm into blue right now.  And, he took the kids to the museum downtown and out for LocoPops.  Keeping the little people happy and check, check, checking things off of our list single-handedly.

Me,  I just wandered around my favorite antique shops.  I found a new shelf for some favorite fabrics and some pretty vintage plates.  I cleaned and did laundry and got groceries and thought about sleep.  Ummmm, that's about it.

And, the kids, well, they did what they do best and tuckered themselves out.

Here's to a new, fresh week...no spots, lots of sleep!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal with Pencil Pouch

I'm so excited to share my first tutorial with you today!

Before we get started, I want to mention that I was interviewed and featured over on my friend Mary's blog, Where's the Zoom as part of her "Inspired: Be Your Own Boss" series.  Mary asked some thought-provoking  questions about starting a small business.  I am honored to be featured and talked a little about learning to sew, finding balance, and setting up my Etsy shop.  Mary's blog is full of beautiful photography and all kinds of goodness, like recipes, DIY projects, and things to do around town - I'm still dying to go check out this cool soda shop in Durham.  So, pop over and check out her blog - you'll be glad you did!

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal with Pencil Pouch

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal with Pencil Pouch

Ok....the tutorial!  This is my first time writing a tutorial and I really enjoyed it.  I like writing steps - kind of a nerd like that!  Please send ANY comments/questions my way.  I'd LOVE to hear what you think.  And, if you make a journal, please share it with me!  Alrighty, ready?  Let's go...

Note: The journal cover portion of this tutorial is based on and inspired by this tutorial.  I have made many journal covers using this tutorial and have added modifications for this design.   


3 coordinating fabrics
        A(main outer) -1/2 yd
        B (outer spine and pocket) -1/4 yd or FQ
        C (pocket) -1/4 yd or FQ
Lining fabric - I prefer canvas, but flannel or batting would work as well
Fusible interfacing
sew-in velcro
water soluble pen
coordinating thread
sewing machine
serger (Optional - If you have a serger, consider yourself lucky - I have serger envy!!!) : )

For the applique (optional): scrap fabric pieces, Steam a Seam 2 (or other fusible web), piece of felt or fabric scrap for letter OR sticky felt letter (I discuss these below). 

1. Cut fabrics:

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - Supplies

Fabric A
Main outer fabric panels - Cut 2 pieces 13.5" (H) x 12.5" (W).  Make sure you have directional fabrics oriented properly.
Fabric B
Outer spine fabric panel - Cut 1 piece 13.5"(H) x 6" (W)
Pocket Back - Cut 1 piece 13.5" (H) x 5.5" (W)
Fabric C 
Pocket Front - Cut 1 piece 13.5" (H) x 5.5" (W)
Pencil Pocket - Cut 1 piece 12"(H) x 5.5" (W)

Lining Fabric (canvas)
If you have serger, cut 1 piece 13.5" (H) x 29.5" (W)
If you DO NOT have a serger, cut 1 piece 13.5" (H) x 28.5" (W)

Fusible Interfacing
Cut 1 piece 13.5" (H) x 5.5" (W)
Cut 1 piece 12" (H) x 5.5" (W) 

2.  Make the outer cover:

Layout your fabrics as shown below, from left to right: Main outer panel (Fabric A), Outer spine panel (Fabric B) - make sure you use the piece that is 6" wide (just sayin'!), Main outer panel (Fabric A).   You will stitch these pieces together from left to right.  So, right sides together, align the right edge of the left piece with the left edge of the middle piece and sew with a 1/4" seam.  Press seam towards left piece.  Repeat with the right piece, pressing the seam towards the right piece.

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 2A

IF you have a serger, lay your outer cover on top of your lining piece and serge around all edges.  Press the short edges under (towards wrong side) 1/2" and topstitch.  Skip to topstitching below the following photo.

IF you DO NOT have a serger, first center your lining on the wrong side of the outer cover.  The outer cover should extend beyond the lining ~1/2" on both sides.  Pin the canvas to the outer cover and zig zag stitch the layers together along the top and bottom (longer) edges.  Next press each short edge under (wrong sides together) 1/4" and then again 1/4" and top stitch in place.

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 2B

Finally, I like to topstitch on both sides of the middle fabric piece as shown below, to reinforce the seams.

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 2C

3. Make the Pencil Pocket:

You should have 3 fabric pieces remaining for the pencil pocket!  The first two pieces below will make the back of the pouch and flap (labeled 3A, 3B below).  The remaining smaller piece will make the front part of the pouch with pencil slots (labeled 3C).

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 3A

First apply the fusible interfacing to the inner back piece (3B) and the pencil slot piece (3C).

Next fold the front piece (3C) in half lengthwise with wrong sides together, giving a 6" (H) by 5.5" (W) piece.  Topstitch along the fold ~1/8" from edge.

Next, cut a 1" piece of velcro.  Take one part of the velcro and pin to the front of the pencil slot piece (3C) approximately 1/2" below the fold you just stitched and 2 1/4" from each edge.  Take the other side of the velcro and pin it to the inner back piece (3B) 1" from the top edge and 2 1/4" from each side.  Check to make sure the velcro pieces line up, by overlaying these two pieces as shown below.  Stitch each velcro piece in place by sewing close to the edge around all 4 sides.

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 3B
Now let's mark the lines for the pencil slots (3C).  Take your water soluble pen and mark 5 lines -  from left to right @1.25", 2", 2.75", 3.5", and 4.25" from the left side.  Ignore my extra pencil slot piece in this photo (I made two of these as I was developing the tutorial!).

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 3C

Pin this piece to the inner back piece (3B) with the velcro (right sides up).  Sew along all 5 lines remembering to backstitch at the beginning and end.  It should look like this when you're done.  Don't forget to spray away those pen lines!

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 3D

Now place this piece right sides together with the outer back piece.  Stitch around all 4 edges with a 3/8" seam leaving a 3" opening at the bottom to turn the pouch right side out (make sure you leave the opening at the bottom, not the top!).

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 3E

Clip the corners, flip your pouch right side out and press well.  It should look like this!  You might want to check your pens/pencils and the closure to make sure everything fits before we stitch this to the cover!

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 3G

All good?  Ok, let's attach the pencil pocket to the cover.

4.  Attach Pencil Pouch to Cover: 

First, get your water soluble pen and mark a horizontal line approximately 5" from the top edge of the pencil pouch on the inside of the pouch.  This will make the flap!

Lay your cover right side up and position the pencil pouch right side up as shown below - 2 3/4" from the bottom of the cover and 3/4" from the right edge.  Pin in place and topstitch the pocket to the cover beginning along the horizontal line you just marked and sewing around the bottom of the pocket approximately 1/4" from the edge of the pocket. 

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 4A

It should look like this when you're done!

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 4B

5.  Make Letter Applique (Optional):

The letter applique on the front adds such a fun personal touch!  These are the supplies I suggest for the applique: circle templates (see below) fabric scraps, Steam-A-Seam2, and some type of felt letter.  I found these peel and stick felt letters at Joann's about a year ago, but can't find them in the store or  online (figures!).  The letters measure 2".  I would guess Michaels or other craft stores have similar products or you can simply cut your own!

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 5A

I've made a circle template for you below that you can print and use to cut your circles.  The larger circle has a 3" diameter and the smaller circle has a 2.5" diameter.  You should be able to click on these and print but be sure to check the sizes!

Follow the instructions on the Steam-A-Seam for applique.  Position the larger circle on your journal cover first.  It can be positioned approximately 2.5" from the left edge of the pencil pocket and 1"  above the bottom of the pencil pocket.  Or, grab your journal and test out the positioning by centering the cover on the journal and wrapping it around.

After applying the applique, I like to stitch around the edge of the circle - you can zigzag or straight stitch - whatever works!  Then center the smaller circle on top, apply the fusible web, and stitch in place.  Finally, you can center your letter on the smaller circle and stitch in place.

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 5B

Isn't it cute?

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 5C

6. Finish the Cover:

Yay, you're almost done!!  Ok, lay your cover right side up and fold each end of the cover towards the middle 6" (right sides together) as shown below.

Now, get your water soluble pen and mark horizontal lines 1 5/8" from the top and bottom edges as shown below.  Stitch along each of these lines, being sure to backstitch at the beginning and end.  Note you are NOT sewing all the way across, but only along the lines where the layers overlap!

{Tutorial} Kiddo Journal - 6B

  guess what?!?!  YOU'RE DONE!!  Woohoo!  Now turn those ends right side out and try it on your journal.  Hopefully, it fits, makes your kiddo happy, and sparks hours of creativity!

Loves It

If you don't want to make one, but want to purchase a journal cover, check out my Etsy shop for a custom listing.  I'll also be listing the journal covers I made with this tutorial!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I've been on instagram for a while now, but am finally really getting into it.  I'm @laurelk76 if you want to follow me!  Here are a few snippets of our afternoon:

Stitching in the carpool line...
Stitching in the carpool line
I swore I wouldn't do this, but...
Swore I would never do this, but...
Cheering on our church softball team...
Together again (he has missed her a LOT these first couple of days of Kindergarten)...
Together again!!  Last one today, promise!

Hope you had a great day as well!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Plotting and Planning

Writing that post yesterday felt so good.  I had some pent up anxiety and a little sadness from all of the happenins around here.  Maggie's first day of Kindergarten went about as well as we could've hoped!  She didn't give me much info, but she said she wants to go back!

So, this weekend admidst all of the swimming, I got a fun shipment of fabric from Hawthorne Threads.  I thought I'd share some of what I have up my sleeve...

First up, fabric for Custom Kiddo Journals with Pencil Pouches, now listed in my shop!  As my son would say, the first set is for 'da boys' and the second set is for 'da gills' - although, I think they all play nicely together.  I will have a tutorial for these posted by Wednesday as well!  When I dropped Maggie off at school this morning, I noticed that there was a stack of the Mead Primary Journals I made covers for at each table - perfect!

Fabric Stack for Kiddo Journals (Boys)

Fabric Stack for Kiddo Journals (Girls)

This is the fabric I've picked for Joe's quilt.  A stack of Michael Miller's new Cotton Couture for the quilt top and this great City Scene print from Jessica Hogarth's VeloCity line (love!) for the backing.  I'm planning to make a quilt like this one.  Isn't it fantastic?!?!  I know I can't pull of fancy quilting like that, but I really, really love the simple patchwork design.  I think it'll be fun for him but something he won't grow out of quickly. 

Joe's quilt fabrics

I finished Maggie's quilt top over the weekend and am almost done with the backing.  And, I'm slowly chugging away on my hexagons and flowers for the Hexy MF quilt for the new baby.  I think after spending close to 40 minutes in the carpool line waiting to pick up Maggie, I've found a new opportunity to work on them.    

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Staying Afloat...

On Friday, the kids and I had a pool playdate with some friends.  I was beat...it had been a long and eventful week with Joe's birthday, Maggie's first "trial" day of Kindergarten, and I was admittedly distracted.  I got lost in conversation and Joe, after refusing to wear his life jacket, lost his footing in the pool, got in too deep, and started panicking.  I got to him in plenty of time, but we were both really shaken up.  He got over it pretty quickly, but it was just a little too much for me on this day that I was unsettled to begin with.

Fast forward to today...Maggie passed her swim test at the Y.  She got her yellow band, giving her freedom to go down a giant slide and swim on her own in most parts of the pool.  She had been practicing her swimming and treading water and while I thought she was close, I didn't think she'd pass.  But she jumped right in and swam like I've never seen her swim.  She was amazing...so proud of her!  

So much like my children's very different experiences this weekend, sometimes I feel like I am just barely staying afloat and other times I look around and feel amazed at what I'm able to accomplish.  

This week our little girl starts her first full week of Kindergarten.  We'll be figuring out a new rhythm, at least for the next couple of months.  I packed her lunch tonight and put a little picture of us in there with a note on the back!  I haven't really been emotional about this whole thing yet, but just pasting that picture on the card and writing a note to her on the back made me cry a LOT!  I have no idea what the little guy and I will do with our days without her, but I look forward to the time with him.  We'll all just have to do our best to stay afloat.    

Friday, July 13, 2012

Someone turned 4

I've been thinking about writing this post all week.  And my sentiment about it has changed over the course of the week...the truth is he made me a little crazy this week.  And, I don't think he and I were on the best terms at times for me to write about him.  That sounds somewhat ridiculous, huh?  Mom honesty at its finest!  But, I have written about him every single year since his birth and I didn't want to let that trend go.

He is four, although most people mistake him for a much younger child.  And, he wants NONE of that!  He wants to be four and in fact he is already talking about turning five.  There are two things he's been called over and over again - charming and messy.  He eats his hot dogs from the top, working his way down the dog taking little nibbles and smearing ketchup everywhere, then going back to the beginning.  Who does that?!?!

He hums little tunes when he's wandering around, makes a weird moaning sound when he eats, and is often insanely loud (no teacher or friend would ever believe this).  He has the funniest little shifty eyes (we call them creepy eyes). 

He loves babies, especially his niece Riley.  He thinks its hysterical when she makes noises.  Wonder how long that'll last? 

He makes US laugh so much!  At one point, he decided he wanted to be called "Petey".  He sometimes just blurts out the name "John Jason" or "Mr Tomlinson" and laughs a giant belly laugh…we have no idea why?  Oh, and he has an imaginary friend that is a cat named Michael who has a special cat light saber, only eats cheese ("not food, just cheese" he says) and likes to ride a scooter. 

Never in the world did we think we'd produce such a character!  And, even on these tough weeks, he is our sweet, charming, boy who we love to pieces.  Happy Birthday Joe!  Until next year...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kiddo Journal with Pencil Pouch

In less than a week, we'll have a Kindergartener in our house (eep!!!).  We are all equally excited and anxious and some of us - not mentioning any names - are just a wee bit sad (*sniff, sniff*).

I've been planning to make something special for Maggie as she starts on this new journey in life.  A while back I picked up these nifty composition books from Target.  They are "Primary Journals" designed for early school-aged kids and have room to draw and write on each page.  I thought a journal cover would be perfect, but I wanted to jazz it up a bit and make a pocket on the inside for pencils.  And of course, what I make for one, I often make for the other - so even though he just turned 4, I made one for Joe too.

Kid Journals

It took just a bit of trial and error, but I am so happy with how these turned out!  The pencil pouch holds six pencils and has a nice flap with a velcro closure so nothing falls out.  

Pencil Pocket

For Girls

Pencil Pocket

For Boys

I personalized each one with a fun applique with their first initial on the front. 

Aren't they fun?!?!  Would you like to make one?  If so, I'll be adding a tutorial later this week!  Aaaaannd, I'll be listing some in my shop soon with the option to customize fabric choices.   

In the meantime, I'm excited to give this journal to my little Kindergartener.  It makes me happy to think about how much she'll be growing and learning and the stories she might share in her book....Lord knows that girl has stories!