What I’m Lovin’ in September

Yes, I’m a total slacker. I’ve skipped a few What I’m Lovin’ posts, but I’m trying hard to get back on track! I hope you didn’t miss these super fun lists too much 😉

sept

Here’s the short list of what I’m lovin’ in September:

1. My Day Tripper Top

day tripper

Lately I’ve been really focused on building my handmade wardrobe – and trying to finally tackle some of the patterns in my “to make” pile.

Boy am I glad I tackled the Day Tripper Top because I love it! You can read all about my love for the pattern here.

2. Our shed

shed

We got a shed!

I know, the fact that this is so exciting just goes to show how very old I am. The dogs love it – they think we bought them a giant playhouse. The Hubs loves it – finally somewhere to store his stinky hockey and lacrosse gear that will help quiet my complaints about the smell. And I love it because it has become the new man cave – and the old [indoor] man cave has simply become “The Cave.”

Upon evacuating The Cave of all smelly sports gear, my sister and I promptly painted it purple! It’s my new favorite room.

man cave

3. Making my own veggie dogs

veggie dog

This sounds ludicrous, but it was SO easy! And tasty. And now I know what liquid smoke is.

I followed Brewing Happiness’ recipe for Baked Veggie Dogs and I was so impressed with how quickly these came together! And how many people can say they not only know all of the ingredients in their hot dog, but can pronounce them too?! Very worth it. {Pin the recipe here.}

To go with the theme [of faux “grilling out”], I made this recipe for Extra Crispy Oven Baked French Fries – delightful! {Pin the recipe here.}

4. My first Tank Dress

tank dress

The fabric is a quilting cotton print from Anna Maria Horner that I snagged during Sew Charleston‘s fabric destashing on Instagram. The pattern is the Tank Dress by Sew Caroline – she had a sale last week that I couldn’t deny (you should sign up for her newsletter so you’ll be the first to know when she runs another sale!).

I didn’t alter the pattern at all – I usually shorten them, but I was worried that the curved hemline would make it seem too short. I’m glad I left it as is 🙂

I also opted for the elastic casing in the back and I love how it gives the dress more shape.

5. Seeing others enjoy something I’ve made them

Remember how I made my Mom a Beach Quilt? Well, a few weeks ago she sent me this sweet picture of her enjoying it on the beach:

mom quilt

I’ll treasure this sweet picture forever!

6. Podcasts

Podcasts might be the best thing to happen to me in terms of training (because remember all the other thoughts I have while running?) – podcasts are perfect for long runs!

They are probably the worst thing to happen to everyone around me because after almost every run, I send a billion links to everyone I know telling them they need to listen to this podcast…and this one!

Here are a few of my top picks (click the image to be taken to the podcast’s site for more information):

So Money with Farnoosh Torabi

so_money_logo

My favorite episode so far was with Mrs. Frugalwoods (listen here!).

I loved hearing about how the Frugalwoods stay frugal and focused on their goal of retiring by age 33.

 

 

The Anxiety Podcast

anxiety podcast

I find myself listening to this podcast beyond just the long runs (like on my lunch break, on my way home from work, while sewing). Tim JP Collins shares true strategies you can use to get through stress (I love that I can use what I’m hearing).

This episode about how natural movement can help with anxiety made me want to go for a hike and jump on rocks (you know, that thing that people call “play” which we mistakenly think is only for children 😉 )

 

The Millennial Podcast

millennialLogo

Speaking of quarter-life-induced-stress, I’m also thoroughly enjoying listening to the Millennial Podcast. I so appreciate how totally honest Megan Tan is with sharing her story and her struggle. Start from the beginning to follow her story (go ahead and subscribe because you’ll definitely want to continue to follow her journey!).

 

NPR’s Fresh Air

fresh air

I’m not always near the radio in the evenings so I love catching up on Terry Gross’ interviews on the weekend while sewing.

 

 

NPR’s Story Corps

story corpsThese short insights into other people’s life stories are so powerful.

Most powerful to date: Traffic Stop – listen here.

 

 

 

7. Craft Fairs

You can tell fall is on its way when all the holiday craft fairs start popping up. I love craft fairs (as you should well know from this post) and I love going with my sister!

Earlier this month, we attended Martha’s Market Preview Night and it was so much fun!

martha's market

As my sister said, the floating hat and crooked sign are proof that we had a l-o-n-g week!

And then we went to the Indie Craft Parade in Greenville!

indie craft parade

And then we stumbled upon the Farm Fresh Fair in Fountain Inn – it was literally a giant craft fair on a farm! It was fabulous (despite the heat).

farm fresh

Next up (THIS SATURDAY!): The Thrifted Sisters party – shopping vintage clothes while sipping Loveland Coffee?! Talk about dream selfie date (yes, I’ll be going alone. My sister has something planned with her husband. And my husband will be cheering on the Gamecocks [I don’t allow him to waste his spare ticket on someone who could care less about football…aka me]). If you’re local, you should stop by and shop with me!

thrifted sisters

Follow the gals on Instagram for SNEAK PEEKS! {Click the image to visit their IG account}

And only a few more months until Crafty Feast!

8. It’s National Sewing Month!

So obviously I’m planning to finish the month by sewing all.the.things.! Actually, this weekend I’ll be moving all the goodies from my sewing room into our spare room (aka: “The Cave”) temporarily so that the contractors can come and eliminate the MOLD growing in one of the closets. Why didn’t someone warn me how LAME being an adult is?! #IdRatherBeSewing

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, stay tuned because I may be posting some purge items that will be up for grabs (as I’m not sure what I’ll discover hidden in the nooks and crannies of my craft room). If we’re not Facebook friends, shoot me an email (ejslice@gmail.com) to let me know what kind of gently used (perhaps even UNUSED – who knows!) craft supplies you’re interested in. If I find some, I can send you an email to arrange shipping.

I hope you all had a magnificent September and STAY TUNED because my birthday is next month and I’ve got some super duper fun things planned to celebrate with you!!

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DIY Beach Blanket

I know I’m wayyy late (like, a full month), but I couldn’t resist sharing a picture of my oh-so-festive Independence Day brunch at Eggs Up Grill!

july 4th

The Fruited Plain Ultimate French Toast {y’all know my sweet tooth…it was worth every calorie!}

Don’t worry – I suffered through a very humid run before consuming these tasty, festive treats 😉

Onward! To the beach quilt!

Remember that time I made my first quilt? Oh yes, me too. I love it so much…in all it’s flawed beginner glory. I love it so much that I make the Hubs lay it across our comforter every morning so I can see it when I get home! (I know, I’m a nerd.)

Anyhow – as soon as my Mom saw it she was all “Ohh..you should make me one to take to the beach.” After giving her the side-eye and replying that I don’t make things to go in or on the sand, I revisited her request (I mean…the woman stayed with my dogs for TWO AND A HALF weeks OVER CHRISTMAS. She’s a saint. I owed her).

I was planning to visit her this summer so we could walk go shell hunting at the beach. As my trip approached, the idea of a beach quilt floated in and out of my mind (mostly out)…until I ran across this Picnic Blanket Tutorial on Pinterest.

At first, I had planned to buy some terry cloth, but I was running low on time (and if I had to go to JoAnn’s in search of terry cloth, I’d most certainly lose a solid 4 hours after getting “lost” in all the other great fabric and craft supplies I so desperately need). In addition, I’ve been on a mission to purge my fabric stash (after realizing it was suffocating my creative process/sewing room/space to create, I purged and then offered free bags of fabric to my friends on Facebook. I highly recommend offering your Facebook friends things you want to get rid of. They jumped right on it! By passing my stash onto friends, I didn’t have to live in fear that my fabulous fabric might not make it to the sales floor of the local thrift store). On that note, I decided that I shouldn’t buy any new fabric for this project. In my Mom’s original request she said “you could use big pieces for my quilt so it wouldn’t take as long” (she’s thoughtful in her requests, right?!). Since I’d be raiding my stash for this one, her “easy solution” was great inspiration.

Step 1 – Find a large piece of fabric (or piece together scraps) that represents the size and shape you desire for your blanket. This will serve as your template for the quilt.

I had one beautiful curtain panel in my stash that had previously adorned the one window in my tiny dining room until the pattern had become too aesthetically busy. I knew it would be the right size for this – larger than a regular beach towel, but smaller than a traditional quilt. After cutting off all of the finished edges of the curtain, I laid it out flat to use as a template.

The unused curtain edges made a great doggy bowtie…

My helper, Twitch, snoozing on the job (like usual) while wearing the fancy new bow tie I made him ;)

My helper, Twitch, snoozing on the job (like usual) while wearing the fancy new bow tie I made him 😉

Step 2 – Find some batting.

There are lots of options here – you don’t have to use traditional batting. You could use an old fleece blanket, towels, flannel, etc.

Last year (while on the high from beginning my first quilt) I found a large white polyester-blend blanket at a thrift store. I bought it thinking it would make great batting (after some bleaching of course). The material wasn’t up to my standard of soft-n-cuddly so I knew I wouldn’t necessarily want to use it for a traditional blanket. It worked out perfect as batting for the beach quilt!

Step 3 – Cut your batting to match the size and shape of your “template” fabric.

Using the curtain piece as a template, I cut the batting to be the same size and set aside.

If you are using scraps of material for the batting, just sew the pieces together and trim as necessary until you have a piece that fits your original “template” (made in Step 1).

Step 4 – Gather fabric for your “top piece” (this will be the fancy side of your quilt that you will most likely use as the “top” so be creative with your selection).

For my quilt, I raided my fabric stash and stuck with large pieces of home decor / upholstery weight fabric for durability. I recommend using canvas, home decor fabric or upholstery weight fabric – something sturdy and durable.

I also recommend sticking with similar weight fabric (i.e. I wouldn’t recommend using lightweight cotton and upholstery together as it will cause one area to be heavier than the other. Additionally, the lightweight cotton wouldn’t be able to withstand the same wear-and-tear that the upholstery which may alter the look of your quilt in the future).

Step 5 – Piece together your quilt top.

Once you have gathered a stack of prints you like, start cutting the pieces to straighten the edges (basically: you want to turn your pieces into rectangles of sorts – all straight edges. Differing width and heights are fine for now – just focus on straight edges).

Now place your scraps on your template and arrange until you get the look you desire. Overlap them slightly (by about an inch) to ensure that your piece will be large enough to cover your template.

Starting with rows that use more than one piece of fabric to cover the quilt horizontally, sew the pieces together along the vertical seams so that they construct one long horizontal “row” that matches the width of your template. Trim the pieces so that the row is the same height across all pieces horizontally (making one long rectangle). Be sure to press the interior seams open and flat.

Once you have all multi-scrap rows constructed (you should have several rectangular rows now), lay them across your template in the order you want them to appear.

Step 6 – Begin sewing the rows together to build the top of your quilt.

I free-styled this (aka: made it up as I went along) so I don’t have great instructions. I used my basic quilting knowledge (piecing, pressing seams, squaring up, etc). If you have never pieced together a quilt top before, have no fear! You can do this with two giant pieces of fabric that are the same size and skip steps 4-6.

Starting from the top, take the second row and flip it up so that its’ right side is facing the right side of the first row. Align the pieces along the bottom horizontal edge and pin. Stitch along the bottom horizontal edge. Press the seams.

Now align the third row (right sides facing) to the bottom edge of the second row and stitch. Press the seams. Repeat until you have your entire top piece stitched together.

Step 7 – Make a quilt sandwich.

Layer the fabric flat (make sure there are no substantial wrinkles on any of the layers as you place them on top of one another):

1) Bottom layer: Quilt back [made in Step 1] facing right side up

2) Middle layer: Quilt top [made in Steps 4-6] facing right side down (so that your bottom and top pieces have the right sides facing each other).

3) Top layer: Batting [made in Step 3]

Step 8 – Pin the layers together.

Using a bundle of large safety pins, carefully pin the layers together. Since you are only going to be sewing around the edge of the quilt, you only need to pin around the edges.

Step 9 – Square up the top piece of your quilt.

Cut the edges of the quilt so that all three layers match along all edges.

Step 10 – Sew the layers together to hold in place.

Before you start sewing the layers together, make two marks along the bottom edge of your quilt (about 10-12 inches apart). This will be the opening that you use to flip your quilt – do not sew this area together in this step. If you are using extra fluffy batting or layers, you may need a slightly larger opening.

Starting at the left mark, begin sewing around the quilt until you reach the right mark (again: do not sew between these marks – this is the opening you will use to flip your quilt).

The seam allowance is not strict, but I recommend something larger (1 inch) to ensure that you are sewing through all 3 layers.

Step 11 – Flip your quilt inside-out so that the right sides are facing out.

Before flipping, trim the corners of your quilt (cut diagonally across each corner – be sure not to cut into your stitching).

Using the opening you left in Step 10, reach inside your quilt (between the top and bottom quilt pieces) and begin pulling the right sides out to “flip” it.

Step 12 – Sew around all edges of the quilt.

Once you have the right sides out (with the bottom and top quilt pieces in place and the fleece inside), tuck the edges of the opening under and pin. Starting with the opening, sew all the way around the edges of the quilt. I recommend a 0.5 inch seam (this seam needs to be slightly smaller than the seam you chose in Step 10 so that when you sew across the opening, you are able to sew all 3 layers to keep it securely closed).

Step 13 – Take your quilt out to play!

Congratulations! You just finished a fabulous beach blanket / picnic quilt / whatever-kind-of-blanket-you-want-it-to-be! I’d love to see your creations – tag me on Instagram when you share: @jordslice11.

For a little inspiration, here is the Beach Quilt I made for my Mom (she loved it by the way!):

blanket back

This is the quilt BACK – the curtain I used as a template for the rest of the quilt. {Oh, and Mr. Twitch posing alongside with his matching bowtie}

blanket front

This is the quilt TOP {And the Hubs who had way too much fun helping with these photos!} 😉

It’s hard to believe I had scraps that large in my stash. It sure felt good to use them up – this is a great scrap buster and easy gift!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and are inspired to make something pretty for yourself! I’d love to see what you make – if you blog it, link your post in the comments and tag me on Instagram with your photos: @jordslice11.

{UPDATE: See my beautiful Mom enjoying the beach quilt here.}