Projects · sewing

A Scrap Quilt with Memories

Last year I was determined to finish up some UFO (UnFinished Objects) in my sewing room – including this scrap quilt made with scraps from quilts I’ve made in the past!

IMG_3002Quality quilting fabric is expensive so when I have any scraps left over from make a quilt I tuck them away.  I save extra blocks, fabric strips and scraps that are at least 2.5″ x 2.5″.

When I was ready to sew this quilt, I had enough scraps to make 64, 10″ x 10″ blocks.  After sewing all the blocks together I had a full sized quilt that holds a LOT of memories.

There are blocks from the (Storm at Sea) quilt I made my dad, one block from the tea cup quilt I started and quickly decided I didn’t have the patience for, blocks from my Tula Pink Butterfly quilt, and plenty of Sewtropolis shop samples!

I don’t know what I’ll do with this quilt yet.  I believe quilts are made to be used, but I love all the memories this one holds, so for now it’s sitting safely on a shelf in my sewing room.  

 

Projects · sewing

T-shirt Quilt: Part 2

I made another t-shirt quilt this week for a friend of mine’s daughter!

I love how this one turned out!  Once I had the t-shirts we scheduled a call to go over what her daughter wanted.  She pretty much left the design up to me, but knew that she wanted the borders to be a gray… and that she wanted the backing and binding to match.

Some of the shirts were smaller (child size) so I had to ‘build up’ some blocks to make them large enough.

When laying it out I thought it would be cute to have Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse looking out across the quilt to each other.

I quilting it using a longarm, and super fine thread that blends in so nicely with all the blocks.

Like I said, I’m really happy with the way this turned out.  this quilt is about 55″ x 55″ and I used about 15 t-shirts (a few front and back) to make it.  I have my listing up on Etsy if you’d like to your own t-shirt quilt.

Projects · sewing

Sample Seahawk T-Shirt Quilt

I posted earlier that I am taking custom orders for t-shirt quilts.  I’ve done a few in the past, but unfortunately didn’t have pictures of them to post on my Etsy site to ‘advertise’ my work.  Unfortunately, I don’t own a lot of graphic t-shirts … so I took a trip to Goodwill and picked up a few Seahawk t-shirts to make this Seahawk themed lap quilt.

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I think it turned out okay considering some of the t-shirts were “V” neck and I didn’t think of how hard it would be to ‘center’ in a block.  I also included some kid-sized t-shirts that needed some ‘building up’ to make the block larger.  The quilt measures 45″w x 50.5″ L … so not quite square, but plenty big for a lap quilt.

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I had the green fabric used in the sashing and the binding in my stash, and the Seattle/Seahawk themed blue fabric was purchased from JoAnns.

I’ve taken pictures and listed it on my Etsy store as an example of my work AND listed it for sale here.  As much as I like it, I have a house full of quilts and like I said – I’m determined to get out of debt.

Happy Sewing

 

Projects · sewing

Darning Socks, and a Saved Sweater

Even though I really like to knit socks – I don’t wear my handmade socks when I workout.  Instead, I buy store-bought socks which seem to last about a season, and as soon as they get a hole in them I toss them out.  A few months back I decided instead of wasting money (and creating waste) I was going to try darning (mending) my socks.

Darning a sock is not that hard… all you need is yarn (I used sock weight), a needle and a darning egg – or something to stretch the sock over while you mend it.

Before I bought a darning egg I used a tennis ball or one of the dogs Kong.  Both did the job, but they were not ideal.  I thought I would have a hard time finding a darning egg, but I found this one on Amazon for about $10. 

To mend the hole in my socks I stitched an outline around the hole in my sock, then created vertical/parallel stitches across the hole, and then ‘wove’ in the horizontal stitches.

This sock had a small hole – but I decided to darn a larger area because I felt that the smaller patch might bug me.  I’m glad I did because these are my most comfortable pair of socks now – there’s so much cushion in the foot bed!

I love that I extended the life of my socks (and made them even better).  Having one success, I decided to use the same technique to save a sweatshirt that I accidentally marked with a red ink pen.

I used two different colors of embroidery floss and created a hatched circle over the mark.  The sweater looked a little odd with just one circle so I added a few more.  Again, I think I made my sweater better (more fun) by ‘fixing’ it.  What do you think?

Happy Darning!

Adventures

Choosing To Go Gray

I’m choosing to let my hair go gray!  I have been dying it for as long as I can remember.  Initially it was to have some fun with it, a blond streak here, blond underneath and dark on top.  It was all in the name of having fun at first, but then somewhere along the line I started dying my hair to hide the grays – and that’s when the fun stopped.

I’ve realized there are SO many reasons to stop dying my hair:

  1. There are over 5,000 chemicals in hair dye, (according to the National Cancer Institute), and more than a few have been linked to cancer.
  2. Dying your hair dries it out!  I can vouch for that!!!  I hate having dry, brittle hair worse than having grays!
  3. It’s a colossal hit to the wallet!  Every time I get my hair done (cut and dyed) it costs me  $200-$300!  My last postwas about being debt free by the end of 2020, and spending $200-$300 every 6-8 weeks to dye my hair seems so insane given that goal!

Its been about 8 weeks since I last dyed my hair.  Normally I’d be itching to do a root touch-up, but I’m done!  I’m joining all those brave women of a certain age who have paved the road before me.  People like Alexandra Grant (Keanu Reeves girlfriend).  People either loved or hated her hair…  personally I love it! (and her boyfriend too)

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Truth be told, I don’t have THAT many grays given my age, but I’m done trying to hide them.  I think it helps that silver hair is the IN shade for 2020.  I’ve seriously considered taking the plunge and dying it all silver …. but I’ve been dissuaded by more than one hair dresser from doing that.  In all honesty I like the thought of going cold turkey from the dye box – it seems like a more natural way to go.

So with that said, this is what my hair looks like today:

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See my glitter???

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I’m feeling pretty good about this decision, and I’m looking forward to how my hair will look by the end of 2020.

Happy Sewing

 

sewing

Looking at 2020 Goals

Last week I told you about one of my goals for 2020: obtaining my Greek citizenship.  Another one of my goals is to get out of debt!  I will admit that I am one of the 169 millions of American’s who holds debt – and I hate it!  I was a pretty good money manager, up until about the time I opened my business.  I said it before and I’ll say it again:  I loved owning my own business, but man did it take a toll on me… physically, mentally and especially financially.

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I have no regrets – and I take full ownership of my debt.  I’ve been pretty steady with clawing my way out, but I am at a point where I want to claw my way out faster!  I think it was Suze Orman who said “Debt is Bondage” and man is that TRUE!!!  It’s been hanging onto me for too long now and it’s time to break free!

Dave Ramsey suggests that to help pay off debt one should get a side-gig.  So I make quilts… and sometimes I sell quilts.  I watch dogs via Rover.com – and that is fun, but during the winter months there just isn’t a lot of people traveling.  (no cash flow).

I am currently working on a t-shirt quilt for my brother and he is SO happy with it that he suggested I make custom quilts for people as a side-gig.  I typically don’t like to do custom work for people – after all I have enough projects of my own… but then I think “Debt is bondage – get your priorities straight!”

So I’ve added “Custom made T-shirts” to my Etsy store.  I’ve made each of my kids their own t-shirt quilt.. but I added lots of other stuff to ‘fill in the gaps”, so they are more of a memory quilt than a t-shirt quilt.

Drew's quiltDion's quilt

I also made my brother his quilt – he just wanted all his shirts sewn together – no sashing or extra stuff.  (my brother has ‘unique’ tastes in t-shirts).

Sam's quiltAnd, I can also do a t-shirt quilt that has sashing… I just don’t have a good photo of that style (but you can bet I’ll be working on one).

My debt is pretty large, but my determination to get out of it is even larger.  I’m curious to know what your side-gig is if you are also digging yourself out of debt.  In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you want a t-shirt quilt done… or know anyone who may.

Happy Sewing

 

Adventures

2020 Resolution: Citizenship

A few weeks ago I shared my completed 2019 resolutions, and today I’m going to share one of my 2020 goals: obtaining my Greek citizenship.

My grandfather was born in a village outside of the town of Kalamata, Greece. Kalamata is located in the southern Peloponnesus peninsula, (in the Spartan region) and is home of the Kalamata olive – and is one of my favorite places to visit in Greece.

This past summer while I was there, I obtained a copy of my grandfathers birth certificate…. the first document of many that I need to collect to prove that I am his granddaughter – because if I can do that then according to Greek citizenship laws, I am eligible to become a Greek citizen.

Over the past 6 months I obtained certified marriage and birth certificates for my grandfather, my father, and myself – which was no small task! And, to make things more interesting, up until last week I had always thought my grandparents were married in Iowa – and it took Iowa 8 weeks and $20 to tell me that they in fact, were NOT married in Iowa at all!! Thank goodness my son is a wiz at computer sleuthing and found the correct city/state for me.

So, minus the correct marriage certificate, I was able to make the connection between my grandfather and myself, so off to San Francisco (the nearest city with a Greek consulate) I went! I flew in early on New Year’s Day, and spent some time walking around the city, I found my way to Chinatown, had dinner and took lots of photos for the photo greeting cards I’m working on!

My meeting with the consulate the next day went well, and afterwards I found my way to Lombard street, Hyde street, and then onto the Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch!

My trip to SF was fun, it was my first trip of 2020 and it did not disappoint! I flew back to Seattle bright and early the next day, and I now have my work cut out for me with finalizing, translating, and certifying all my documents – and one more trip back to SF!

Hopefully by the time 2021 rolls around, my paperwork will be in Greece being reviewed by whomever makes the decisions on citizenships!

Hopefully,

Projects · sewing

Sewtropolis Signature Quilt

2019 was all about finishing up some of my many UFOs (UnFinished Objects)… including the Sewtropolis Signature Quilt.  I started this quilt about a year before I closed my store… not knowing at the time that I would be closing.   It was intended to hang in the studio portion and I thought it would be a fun way to have my customers assist in a quilt.  There are 100 signatures most from the kids who took my summer sewing camps, but also from my adult students, employees and customers. img_7006.jpeg

I managed to put the top together and that’s about the time I realized I needed to close my store…  and this project and so many others went into the UFO basket for the time being.

So here it is six years and a cross-county move later and I’m finally tackling that that UFO basket.   All I had to do to finish this quilt was to quilt and bind it so I waited till I had a few tops to quilt before reserving time on the long-arm.  After quilting the first two with no issue, I loaded this one and started doing my thing… and about 3/4 of the way into it I realized that the backing had somehow creased and was getting worse as I went along.

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I can “live” with a lot of mistakes, but this crease was not one of them.  I took it off the machine, brought it home and took out most of what I had done.  To be honest with you – I had heard of people doing this and thought to myself NO WAY would I ever do this  – I don’t mind a mistake or a few, I think they give a quilt character – but this crease was in a league of its own!

Once I was done unstitching, I re-quilted it on my home machine, putting a heart in each of the blocks, and a wavy pattern on the boarder – which is kind of a metaphor for my business:  I loved my customers, but it was definitely a crazy ride!!!

Overall I’m really happy with how this quilt turned out – I loved seeing the signatures of the gals that worked for me (miss you ladies), the signatures of the camp kids – some who were seriously SO MUCH FUN, and I even teared up when I saw Skilo’s block.. God, I miss that dog!!!

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Eventually I will pick off all the stray threads, but for now they are a reminder of the difficulty of my owning my own business and of finishing this quilt.

Happy Sewing

 

Projects · sewing

How You Doin?

Well, here we are at the end of another year – and it’s time to check in on those resolutions we all set at the beginning of 2019!  Personally, I think I did okay.  As a reminder my goals were: image

I went to Greece, applied to Law School (twice) and am still waiting to hear whether I got accepted.  I started watercoloring… did it everyday for a month and then stopped (I will get back to it).  My fitness goal was to run 3 miles without stopping – I’m still working on that.  Drink more H2O – which I decided wasn’t specific enough and I deleted it instead of feeling frustrated every time I looked at it.

And the big one:  Finish 1 UFO per month!  That was the kicker!  I started out great – had the first three done before the end of the first month.  But then I started to tackle the projects that took a little longer… Like this Roseville pottery appliqué quilt, which slowed me down big time!   For the record, I still haven’t finished it, and now it’s going on 20 years as a UFO. Roseville pottery

However, I did complete 12 UFO’s – deleting a few that were on the list originally, and replacing them with a few that I decided were ready to be finished.

Here is my “Complete” list.  Over the next few months I may write about a few – if you follow me on Instagram @Sewtropolis and @Shop_Sewtropolis you’ll see pictures of almost everything.  IMG_6908.png

And my list as we reach the end of 2019!IMG_0121.png

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you were all able to reach your 2019 sewing goals.  I’m looking forward to everyone’s year-end wrap ups on Instagram!

Love,

Nikol

Adventures · sewing

Foggy Wallets

I have not been posting as much as I would like – even though I have not slowed down in my sewing!  I’ve actually made quite a few outfits/items including a pair of shorts, a couple of summer tops and now I’m working on another pair of Ginger Jeans.  My problem is I have been pretty lazy about taking pictures.  Sometimes after I’m done making something – I am just DONE and don’t want to look at it anymore… other times I think I’ll take the picture when I wear it for real (i.e., presentable).  And then I’ll forget.  Whatever the reason/excuse I need to get better at taking the pictures.

I do have pictures of my latest make!  WALLETS!!  I’ve got a $hit ton of fabric leftover from my store and I’m bound and determined to use it – so I’ve been making items for the Holiday craft shows that are just around the corner!  Here are all that I’ve made.  I most likely won’t make anymore until I see how well they sell.  I listed a few on my Etsy site – but I need to take more pictures and get the rest up.

Here are also pictures of the road trip I took last weekend down into Mt. Hood and then up along the Oregon coast.  I have had Cape Disappointment on my ‘must see’ list for a long time (30+ years?)  Even though it was foggy – it was worth the wait!