16 October 2016

Why you should get the Sew Sampler Box!

In the beginning of September I was really lucky to have won Fat Quarter Shop's September Sew Sampler Box. But I said to myself, "I can't accept this, they would have to mail it all the way to Greece and that would be very expensive" (it's not by the way, keep reading :)
All of the Sew Sampler goodies (Aurifil threads are my own :)

 So I thought it would be a better idea for them to send it to a sewing gal who just lost everything in the Louisiana floods a horrible tragedy, not only loosing mementos like photographs and the memories of her home.  But her brand new car, brand new sewing machine and  her recently organized fabric stash.

The Floods took it all and she became homeless.  I asked the Fat Quarter Shop if they would be so kind as to send my September Sew Sampler box to her instead, to bring a small smile to her face.  And not only did they send the Sew Sampler box but they sent so much more!! Melody told me "We’re going to put together a little something extra for Margaret" lol, yes I see a little something extra.
All of the wonderful items sent from the Fat Quarter Shop
Wow, Fat Quarter Shop, you are so amazingly generous, it still brings tears to my eyes, and I'm not even the one who received all of these goodies, but I know that she really appreciates everything, Thank you so much!.  But then they also sent me my  box!! WHAT! WOW! 
I put immediate use to everything inside.
Making a pouch using this free tutorial.
Just changed the back to using 2.5" strips for the top and bottom of the bag and a 4.5" strip of linen in the middle.
And a Sew Travel Bag using Elm Street Quilts free tutorial
The only change I made to the tutorial is to bind it instead of sewing around and flipping it.  I have found when sewing with vinyl it is better and easier to bind it

SO why should you sign up for the Fat Quarter Shop's Sew Sampler Box, first it is a reasonable price of $24.95 a month the one time sign up fee is .99 cents and shipping well if you live in the States it's a no brainer, hurry up and sign up, what the f**k are you waiting for, only $4.95, Canada is pretty reasonable as well at $12 and then for us International's I thought for sure it would be like $25 to mail but it's ONLY $16 so again not bad at all, taking the total of the box up to $40.95 a month, and let me tell you you WANT everything in the box!  I am the kind of gal who can only purchase what I need, but there is of course so much more that I want, but never buy, well here you go, FQS as made it easy for you and is sending you the stuff you really wanted, but had a hard time actually purchasing, like this month's October box (you have till the 20th to sign up for) they have already shared this sneak peek.
All the heart eyes, they are going to send the Handmade Bonnie & Camille Embroidery Floss Collection.  I have had this in my I would love to have imaginary shopping cart since I say it come out at Spring Market with Lecien Cosmo threads.
So sign up today, you won't be disappointed, in the last box they sent over $50 dollars worth of supplies which makes up for even the cost of International shipping.
And I have already used everything in the September box, yes even the seam ripper (hehe) can't wait for my October box!!
I love and have used everything in the September box!
 Linking up my finished bags to Elm Street Quilts Bag It Challenge.
And Sunday Stash (it's been a long time since I have joined in).

30 September 2016

September the cushion month

I made a few cushions this month for some challenges, I wanted to make more, but you know, time, it wait's for no one.
First cushion that I finished is a really easy and quick make, saw a gal do it on Instagram for the Modern Makers Cushion Palooza and was like oohh.. I want to make that with the new Raindrop fabric that I just got.

Buttons are cut from the Selvedge on the Raindrop fabric, so cute.
If you would like to make your own Sprocket Pillow, it is a free pattern available at Cluck Cluck Sew
It was really rainy, for weeks, so this pillow had some magically powers and made it sunny again.  My daughter has claimed it as her pillow.
Rain, Rain Go Away, Come Again Some other day! I'm not a fan of rain, can you tell :)
Next up was actually a UFO/WIP I didn't finish it originally because I wanted to make the back special as well as the front and was trying to come up with something.
I decided on this, what do you think? Makes me think of a Stained Glass Porthole.
The kids fought over who would get to claim this pillow,
Katerina technically won, she is very good at wrestling, but since she got the previous pillow this one went to Nik.
Nik was excited to have won and even agreed to take some photos (rare occurrence)
I then asked if he could take a few photos with me holding the pillow, this is how that went.

 Me Speaking.
  1. Don't stand so close to mummy.
  2. Try to get just the pillow
  3. That's better, but try to get all of the pillow in the picture.
  4. um yeah I guess your done taking photos then huh?

This pattern is a free video tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company, instead of the 5" pieces of fabric suggested in the tutorial I used 2.5", the pillow measures at 20" square, and I used a zipper at the bottom.
We took these pictures at an old abandoned stone house.
Next up is a labor of love, I had originally wanted to enter it into 3 different challenges, but was unable to finish it in time for the Selvage Challenge, that is okay because I originally got this idea from a gal on Instagram when she showed her #shapefamilychallenge pictures and I just loved how she made Hearts out of Paper pieces!
these hearts are made with
1 - 2" 6 Point Diamond and
2 x 1" Jewels
 When you put the hearts together they made a void in the shape of a star, SO I am calling this cushion Swirling Hearts and Stars.

I went outside again to take some new photos, does this one look better?

Originally I was only going to quilt the stars,
Only stars quilted
But it didn't pop as much as I thought it would, so then I quilted everything except the hearts, plus I really wanted to use my new Aurifil Brillo 739, it's so pretty and sews like butter!
Everything quilted but the hearts
I used some of my favorite prints with selvedges and some of my favorite designers got heart's around their names, don't worry I live to far away to become a stalker :)
I also mention my family, who lives in the USA
Okay I'll stop now, Picture overload! oh wait, let me show the back, had this picked out in the beginning for the selvedge challenge,
Insta Love fabric on front and selvedge on back
Envelope back, cushion is not stuffed yet, need to make a special shape for it and I'm out of fill.

Linking all 3 Pillows to Modern Makers Cushion Palooza
And the English Paper  Piecing Pillow that I showed last was made using the Hexie Shape Family from Tales of Cloth for their #shapefamilychallenge
Thanks for stopping by!

22 September 2016

Strawberry Goody Goody Binding Kit

I just heard about The Sewing Loft September Sew & Tell yesterday and I was like oohhh... I need to make something.
The Categories are, Tools & Technique, Sewing Shapes, Scrappy Fabrics and Handmade Gifting.  I thought it would be fun if I could make ONE thing that could go in ALL of the Categories, a true challenge right ;)
So I give you my Scrappy Strawberry Goody Goody Binding Kit,
This is a free tutorial available with Lella Boutique, I have made a few of these, in fact it is my favorite thing to give to a fellow sewing buddy (I will show photos of others that I have made at the bottom of this post).  It is so versatile, it was made as a binding kit to hold some chocolates or whatever while you bind quilts, but I don't do quilts, but I do do English Paper Piecing and love it to hold all of my little bits and bobs for EPP projects.
Goody Goody Binding Kit with Sewing Tools
Now these aren't just hexies these are special Foundation Paper Pieced Hexies, my next favorite thing to create, FPP!  So how about that 2 in 1, the little jar of Strawberry Jam is from Susi herself of Tiny Toffee Designs, are you slightly jealous, hehe, We were in a Hexie swap together and I got partnered with her, if you don't know her, check her out, she was just featured in Issue 37 of Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine.  
Scrappy Hexies
 I started with this bunch of scrappy hexies, some from Susi and some from Nicole @littlesewitall and a few I made.  I wanted to include a few more FPP EPP strawberry hexies and I used this pattern here.
When I do Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) I use this awesome tool called a Finger Presser, it saves me from having my iron on all the time. (which my husband would constantly nag me about) Also it is very good at not allowing you to "stretch" the stitches which you see some people do when they do FPP, the stitching should be invisible and not stretched.
I have 2 different sewing tool Finger Presser's one is Clover and the other a wooden one.
Sewing Shapes Challenge, all about hexagons!

 I wouldn't have been able to do these hexies since I was working on them at night with out my Mighty Bright light, I just got this 2 days ago, perfect timing from my friend Erin @sewathomemummy
Mighty Bright Light, like sewing in daylight.
Hexies are truly my favorite shape!
Aurifil Monofilament Thread is also a very helpful tool when putting Hexies together.
The stitching doesn't show at all when using Monofilament thread to piece your hexies together, so Scrappy!
Interior Goody Goody Sewing Kit, the way I like it!
Just need to add a zipper pull to my zipper.
I will be giving this Scrappy Strawberry Goody Goody Kit to a friend of mine who loves Strawberries as much as I do, here are a few other's I have gifted in the last year.
Went to a well known blogger that was pregnant last year and wanted to join the needlebook swap, but didn't have time.

I was a Fairy Tale Swap Angel (her original partner did not send her a gift) this was part of her package along w/ a mini.
For the NanaCompany Swap, made with Paperie Fabrics.
I  thought I had more, but can't seem to find them, but don't they make great gifts!
Linking to Show & Tell at The Sewing Loft

19 September 2016

Selvedge Binding Tutorial

Rainbow Selvedge Flange Binding for the Undercover Maker Mat

I recently made flange binding out of my selvedges, and I love it!  I thought I would share here how I made it.  The style of flange binding is nothing new, I love doing this type of binding because then I don't have to hand sew the binding on, hehe, yes I'm lazy.
You can find the Flange binding tutorial here and several other places on the internet.  There is a very detailed blog post that can be found here, with lots and lots of photos, I just don't like the 1" 7/16 fabric cutting to squirrelly.  Okay onto my little tip today, making the binding Selvedge Style!
Make your selvedge fabric
 First Make your selvedge fabric, if I had know I was going to be using selvedges I would have cut them more uniformly but most of these I had already cut, the larger chunk ones are freshly cut from Fat Quarters, they are 1 1/2" by 18" long.  I think cutting selvedges at 1 1/4" is a good size.
The top selvedge piece should have extra fabric and the bottom piece is better to not be a selvedge but instead just regular fabric, since when sewing end to end, the selvedge would be covered up on the bottom.
Place a piece of Fusible Interfacing down with sticky side up, I used Pellon SF101. Arrange your selvedges in a pleasing manner, don't overlap them to much this makes things bulky, but you also don't want any of the Interfacing to show otherwise it will stick to your iron, once the interfacing is completely covered, slowly iron the selvedges down, one strip at a time. 
Next sew the selvedges down to the interfacing for security, I switched between a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch.
Cut your selvedge fabric at 1 1/2"
You can tell here that my bottom strip IS NOT a selvedge fabric because when you sew the strips end to end if it was a selvedge it would be covered up.
I also had the bottom and top fabric hanging OFF of the interfacing by half an inch on both sides, in order to prevent lots of bulk, when sewing end to end.
Cut your Accent fabric at 1 3/4", and follow either one or the other tutorial's listed here (links will take you to a new page) Susie's Magic Binding  or Mitered and Flanged Machine Binding
Rainbow Selvedge Binding, All Alison Glass fabrics
 What did I make with my pretty Selvedge binding.
Sew, Eat, Sleep, Repeat Sewing Machine Cover with Selvedge Binding

hand quilting around each letter
 This quote is from a recent Elm Street Quilts QAL (quilt a long) I have reduced the pattern by 50% and changed the original word Quilt to Sew (I'm not a big quilter). You can find the original pattern on Craftsy and she has also made a alphabet pattern so you can make any word you want.
Under Cover Maker Mat with Selvedge binding
 This free pattern from Lillyella can be found here, along with her 3 different butterfly shapes, this is Pepper.
I made this to enter in her #undercovermakermatsal 
And after finishing it I was like hey I should enter this in the Selvedge Challenge going on with Stash Builder Box so here I go in entering it there as well. #selvagechallenge2016

 What will you make with your selvedge binding, it's so fun! #selvedgebinding

25 August 2016

4 Kids Christmas Swap 2016

I am addicted to swaps, and now my kids are too!
They love it when mail comes in but get very sad when they find out that it's not for them (mommy gets most of the packages)
So how about we do a swap that is just for our kids or gandkids!

In order to participate in this swap you must have an OPEN IG account, I'm sorry no Private accounts, I realize some people don't want family/children's photos out there, and you can make an account just for swapping, but I also believe especially in this swap that you will want to see at least one photo of the child you will be sending too.  Thank you.

This will be an open swap this year,  YES, this is the second year doing this and last year was very successful and fun, but last year we did it as secret partners, but I really enjoyed getting to know the lady who was making for my kids since I assigned partners I knew who had me and she of course knew she had me and it was really nice and simple for her to ask me more questions about the kids.  SO technically this is for our kids it will still be a big surprise for them and that is what it is all about.

What we will be Swapping:
1.   You will make one medium SEWN item, ie. pillowcase, dolls, hoop art for the wall, purses, bags, on the go art bag, etc.
2.   Now lets include our kids and make something together, that doesn't cost money.  If your child wants to learn to sew maybe a mugrug with your scraps.  Or for example last year one of the participants had their grandkids make Christmas tree ornaments together, it looked like so much fun.
3.    Okay now we will spend money, $5-$10 , purchase a small gift item and have it nicely wrapped for the child, this is a Christmas swap, in fact try to wrap all the items, this item can be a few things adding up, say a small toy and candy.  I will leave the price set up to you guys to discuss I know last year I really wanted to buy my partners daughter something that cost $10 but since I set the cap at $5 I didn't want to look like I was trying to show off or something so instead I limited, so please discuss this with your partner.
4.     Send some information about where you live, a post card is good, or maybe a magazine clipping, so they can see where in the world their gift came from.
5.      For EACH child you sign up for you will also send a FQ (Fat Quarter, or same amount of scraps) for the sewing/swap addicted Mama/Grandma/Man.

Okay, got it, 3 gifts PER child, you sign up to swap with 2/3/4 children you will be partnered with someone who has 2/3/4 children and you will be sending 3 items to EACH child. You don't have to send a postcard to each child, but the gifts need to be separated AND labeled, but of course can be shipped in the same package.  The only time this is not the case is if you sign up for just swapping for 1 child and then you send 3 gifts to just that one child and one FQ for the mama.  For each child you sign up for you will be sending 1 FQ (or equal amount) of fabric to the mama, (hey I also like presents too!), sign up for 1 child/1 FQ, 2 children/2 FQ's, 3 children/3 FQ's, 4 children/4 FQ's.

How do I sign up?
Please send me an e-mail at grecomara at gmail dot com and in the subject line write how many children you want to swap with.  I have 2 children but this year I will only be doing this for one, my daughter really appreciates all things handmade, I can't say the same thing for my son he just like to play with bottlecaps, his military men and things he finds for free, lol.
I will send you a link for filling out a Google form, sign ups are open from August 25th to September 4th, I have extended the sign up till September 9th a Friday and will send out partners over the weekend.

Shipping Time 
Please have International gifts shipped by November 20th, for same country still try for an early shipping date, but I will put the shipping date at December 11th.

RULES:  Very important and I am a stickler to rules and will contact you via e-mail if I feel you are not participating correctly or following the rules, you will have 5 days to respond to me and if not you will be dropped from the swap.  I will also try you on IG, 5 people got dropped last year, but everyone got presents and it was a wonderful Christmas! Got it okay!
  1. You must make a post/mosaic about your childs/childrens desires and loves before signing up, I love using Pinterest, but you can also write a blog post or make a mosaic and let your partner know about these options via a picture or post to your OPEN IG account and use the hashtag #4kidschristmasswap2016  I have written a Flickr post on how I like to do my mosaics here.
    I did Katerina's this year with PicMonkey, it allowed me to do her favorite colors in each box, cool huh!
  2. Post a fabric pull or a pattern design/ free tutorial idea that you think would look wonderful for the child you are making FOR by September 25th.
  3. I want to see a progress shot by October 25th, this is important, if I don't see anything by this date, I will give you five days to contact me (I will be contacting you, trust me) and if you do not contact me with some kind of communication (really I am open with the communication, e-mail, IG DM, or just even a comment on one of my pictures to let me know where you are at in this swap) you will be dropped!!!
  4. SHIP DATE: International shipping date is November 20th.  Same Country ship date: December 11th.  We want these packages to arrive before Christmas, so if you can ship early please go ahead and do so and let me know (@mara.creates) know when you have shipped. Thank you.
  5. Please, Please if you can respond/heart/comment on at least 3/4 or 2/3 of the photos shared to the hashtag, input, praise, and friendship is greatly appreciated in this swap.  I will really love this to happen and if you feel you have an especially quite partner, please inform me and I will give a friendly nudge to them so they can participate in this fun for the kids swap!!!
Are you ready!
  1. You are making something beautiful for a kid!
  2. Please make sure that what you are sending to this child is of a quality that you would like your child to receive. 
  3. Trim away all threads, ensure that all thread ends are tied off, sunk in. (a real pet peeve of mine, come on, how easy is this)
  4.  That all seams are finished and stitched in properly. (kids are really hard on their stuff, and this is very important, they can't be constantly warned to be careful)
  5. Have FUN!  And include your own children as you see fit!
Send me an e-mail at grecomara at gmail dot com
Also be sure to follow me on IG @mara.creates

12 August 2016

My Summer Sewing

All about the SEA...
One of my utmost favorite themes, is the Sea, I just Love, love all Sea related things.
I made the kids matching Tooth Fairy Boat's, this is a free pattern offered by the Fat Quarter Shop (it is even available as a YouTube video if you are a visual learner), but instead of pillows I made mine bed post hangy things (is there a name for that?) Because I personally know the Tooth Fairy and she has a difficult time getting to the pillows, or under pillows and she thought it was a great idea to hang the "tooth" off of the bed post.  I personally think she is brilliant :)
Flat Tooth Fairy Pillows for the bed post.
 I put the tooth in the small sail and the Tooth fairy puts the money in the big sail.  Katerina recently lost her tooth at the beach, when we were on our trip in Sarti, and really I mean it came out at the beach.  Sadly the fairy couldn't find us at the Hotel (in reality Katerina was on the pillow and I couldn't get the darn tooth out from underneath it)

A picture at the hotel we were staying at.
She has a way of loosing her teeth in the most interesting places and always on trips, she has lost a tooth at the Praktiker (like Home Depot) in Larissa and a tooth at IKEA (I don't need to explain that shop, right?) in Ioannina.

Just yesterday, I finished up some matching Nautical Treasure Bags, from the book "A Spoonful of Sugar", by Lisa Cox , this fabric is Daysail by Bonnie and Camille for Moda. 

I always like the kids to clean up their room before bed, so these will also conveniently hang from thier bed post in case they need a place to stash some toys before bed.
I thought it would be fun to add charms to the tags and my good friend Betti had just sent me the most perfect Sea themed ribbon to use as the ties, which was a life saver since I couldn't find the cording suggested in the book.
I kind of fucked one up, you see how you trace around the boats with black thread, well I accidentally had the backing fabric along with the front while I was doing this "sewing illustration" and it really perforated the fabric after I used a seam ripper to remove the black stitching, so I had to make another boat and decided to play with it and make it facing the opposite way.
Also from the book is this SEA Doorstop, it's the first project in the book and the first project I did at the beginning of the Summer.
 Can you see how the S and A stand up a little better than the seahorse, it's because I used a piece of cardboard behind them and since this doorstop has a zippered bottom I can take them out if needed or if they get wet, but it helps keep the doorstop a little more formed in my opinion. Next time I make one of these I will use a thicker interfacing than suggested, or double it.

I have been hoarding this fabric for a while, LOVE IT!  It is Seascapes by Deb Strain for Moda, this is from the panel, isn't it fantastic!  And perfect for my Sea themed/rainbow themed hobby room, I have a verandah door down there that doesn't stay open with out some kind of prop, so I use this now.
Using fabric from the same line, I made these cute Starfish Pincushions.
Aren't these the cutest things EVER, this is a FREE Pattern that I have had printed out for a while just waiting for the right time to make it.
If you can see from the back, I do the pattern a little differently
 I do make the Stars a little differently, I'm lazy,
I do 2 full legs and 1 half leg, for each side for the top, when I get those sewn together I trace them out on the backing fabric, and then sew both halves together, for the back I leave a 2.5" gap, so I can later turn the Starfish inside out, instead of what the directions call for leaving a gap along the leg, it makes it harder to keep the shape and if you are using the pompom trim harder to make it look pretty.
I first started with these 3, to see which color way my #underthesea swap partner liked and she liked the blue one, well so did I :)  So I made 2 more, for a total of 3 that you see in the pictures above, the one I sent here says "Ocean" since she lives along an Ocean, I kept the Sea one since I live along the Sea :)
I gave my swap partner these options

I sent the Mendocino one along to a girlfriend of mine who admired it along with a beach themed banner that she liked from one of my swaps last year.

The back
Since my partner liked the blue colors of the Seascape fabric I could continue the larger project I was making her. You see she is an underwater photographer and her feed has some really beautiful pictures, but I was taken with the one that she did of a Jellyfish, just gorgeous and was so excited that I got to be her partner.
I debated with myself in keeping the embroidery all white and now I wish I had, but oh well.
 Using different colors of white to off-white, cream, and grey I embroidered a Jellyfish onto some Batik fabric that I have had in my stash since I began to sew, I love Batik fabrics for water, what do you think?
Interior Patchwork Panel
Using 2 blocks for the Seascapes Panel and a few strips from the same fabric line along with 2 batiks and 1 fabric from Alison Glass I constructed the interior of the Sewing Portfolio.
Sewing Portfolio
 The Sewing Portfolio is also a pattern available from the book "A Spoonful of Sugar" , the instructions show you how to make the hourglass block that you see that I did for the back of the portfolio.
I guess I had a thing for Starfish while I was making her gift :) also sent along a Handmade fridge magnet.
I really hope she likes it, crazy enough it had a shipping incident luckily enough it made it back to me with out incident and I was able to re-mail it, this time sending it with tracking which doubled the cost of shipping, but I really can't complain cause my shipping from Greece is still so much cheaper than what my American and Australian friends have to pay each time they mail Internationally.
Sorry for such a long post, it's just I haven't written anything in ages, enjoy the rest of your summer, the kids here don't start school till September 15th, can't wait.