The most excellent adventure recap, session one: Liberty of London, Tana Lawn heaven!

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Aloha friends!  I survived our great European adventure.  Now I shall taunt you with some of the spoils of my travels.  For all cotton fabric lovers out there, you need hear only one word…Liberty.

You don’t have to hang out long in the fabric-obsessed world to hear about Tana Lawn fabrics from Liberty of London.  The finest cotton I’ve ever laid my hands upon, it is somewhat rare and always expensive in the US.  The prints are iconic in the UK, classic and beloved.

When planning our European trip that included London, you KNOW that a long stop at Liberty was on my must-do list.  Right up there with Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.

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The gates at Buckingham Palace. I’ve got about 4 layers of clothing on in this picture. Kinda cold for a Kauai-dweller. Check out my wee little guard friend in the background.

Oops!  Off on a tangent.  Anyhoo…we found the Liberty store, and a special feeling came over me.  A feeling like I had returned to my homeland.  Thankfully, they had wifi, so the Mr. plopped into the comfy husband chair and I meandered.  I touched every piece of fabric in their incredible fabric and haberdashery department.

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And then I bought some fabric.  This is going to make an amazing dress.  By now I had also gained a co-conspirator, Koh Chow.  We meandered together.  Koh Chow would take each fabric, lay it out on the cutting table, and fold it in an origami-type fashion to visualize the type of garment I wanted to make.  My new BFF.

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Then I bought some more fabric.  You know that if you have 3 meters of fabric you can make anything.  AND have pieces left over for quilting.  Just sayin.’

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Koh Chow folded this into a blouse.  I don’t usually go for delicate, but holy cow this is pretty!

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I wanted to make sure the haberdashery department got a fair shake.  So I bought some pre-made bias tape, a little bag kit, a fabric roll…

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Fabric for another dress, charm squares…

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They even have pretty shopping bags.  I was in heaven.  The Mr. was on the internet.  Koh Chow had a good sales day.  All was right with the world.

We got into London on the morning that the new little Royal was born.  While we were at Buckingham Palace, they put up the birth announcement.

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We were among the first to see it, and it was only up for about 3-4 hours.  It was so cool to be there for a historical event!  And I’m an Anglophile, so anything Britishy or Royally is right up my alley.

I also managed to buy some smaller pieces of Liberty fabrics at a few other little shops into which I wandered in Ireland.

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It’s nice to be back, I hope some of you missed me.  My sewing room beckons, as does a new little friend in my life…

When in doubt, accessorize! Accessories for the whimsical traveller.

Travel accessories for the crazed sewist.
Travel accessories for the crazed sewist.

There is so much prep time for a big trip.  I’ve been plotting and planning, piling and packing.  And I think everything is ready.  So I decided I needed some new travel accessories.

Leather bag tag, Anita Goodesign embroidery design.
Leather bag tag, Anita Goodesign embroidery design.

Did you know that you can embroider on leather?  Well you can.  I just happened to have this cute leather bag tag sitting about.  Nothing within my reach is safe from the Destiny.  I embroidered my initial on the flap.  At first, I couldn’t decide whether to embroider the initial for my first name or my last.  I hope I chose wisely.

Camera case in batik alligator print.  Custom made to fit my new camera.  Soft and stable for padding, long zipper, detachable wrist strap.
Camera case in batik alligator print. Custom made to fit my new camera. Soft and stable for padding, long zipper, detachable wrist strap.

I’ve been practicing with my new camera for the trip.  So of course the camera needed a cute little case.  Matches the lining of my backpack.  Boom.

Necessary Clutch Wallet pattern by Emmaline bags.  That beautiful Michael Miller fabric with a batik lining.
Necessary Clutch Wallet pattern by Emmaline bags. That beautiful Robert Kaufman fabric with a batik lining.

My new wallet is so classy.  I wanted to make sure it would coordinate with my mix-and-match outfits.  Now I can carry it as a clutch no matter what I wear.  Yep, same fabric as the backpack.  No worries, I won’t hold them up next to each other.

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"I never sleep on planes" eye mask.  Anita Goodesign embroidery.  Gray poly satin fabric, black lace elastic.
“I never sleep on planes” eye mask. Anita Goodesign embroidery. Gray poly satin fabric, black lace elastic.

If you’ve learned anything whatsoever about me, you know that this is my favorite travel accessory by far.  My special sleep mask.  I plan on wearing it on those redeye flights.  Although no one will know if I have red eyes.  Maybe I’ll even get bonus points for creeping out some people on the flights.  I might even wear it backwards when I get up to use the restroom.

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I swear this is the last travel bag I’m making. Before I leave next Sunday.

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This time I mean it.  I have completed my travel bag journey.  This is the backpack I am using on my grand European tour.

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It is a super-sized version of the Dawn to Dusk backpack pattern by Chris W. Designs.  I left off the decorative straps on the pockets, just too fussy for my taste.  I wanted to let this glorious fabric shine.  It is a cotton voile by Robert Kaufman fabrics.

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This is the water bottle pocket.  Himself pointed out that it would actually hold two water bottles.  Yeah, because you know I’ll carry his water for him.  Not!  Since we are traveling to Britain and Ireland, I have decided to adopt the old custom and refer to the Mr. as Himself.  I shall be Herself.  Thanks, Carolann.

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I redrafted all the pattern pieces except for the front pocket and the straps.  We’ll be traveling for more than a day on the first leg of our journey, so I must have enough room for a book and some fresh undergarments.

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I love this lining fabric, it reminds me of alligator.

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I had made one of these modified backpacks earlier this year.  The colors just were not grabbing me for my travel wardrobe.  I am much happier with this print.

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I am taking the advice of one of my friends, packing a wardrobe comprised of black and white with royal blue as my accent color.  Everything I am bringing plays well together.  This is a tough challenge for me since I am such a color girl.  I want to bring red, and pink, and all the colors of the rainbow.  But only blue is going in that bag with the black and white.

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I embroidered this awesome tree of life design on the front pocket.  The design is from Urban Threads, one of my fave embroidery websites.

With departure less than a week away, I can barely contain my excitement.  Will you miss me?  I’ll be gone almost 5 weeks.   I’m going to do some type of travelogue if you want to come along vicariously.  There will be lots of pubs involved.  Lots.  Probably some blurry photos.  And some castles.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, though the paint ain’t flowin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, brush roll!

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Two, count ’em two, brush roll projects today!  I found out that a friend of mine is a painter.  She told me that her teacher had the coolest fabric roll to carry her brushes.  I, of course, took that as a challenge, and said I could make her one.

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She picked out this faboo day of the dead fabric from my collection.

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Pardon me, fine ladies, you are  looking quite skeletal today!

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She has 21 brushes that she uses.  I measured the length and determined that the interior needed to be10-1/2″ high finished.    The pockets needed to be 5″ tall to hold the brushes, and 1″ wide each.

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I found one brush for the photo shoot, so 20 colored pencils are actors portraying paint brushes.  I added the flap on the top so the brushes don’t leap out as she flings around her brush roll.  Satin pigtail cord ties this puppy up nicely.

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This is my makeup brush roll for my upcoming European adventure.  Decided to make it look Hawaiian, for that little touch of home on the road.

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The brushes have varied sizes of stems/sticks/handles.  The pockets are sewn to accommodate that.

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Don’t they look happy and cheerful in their floral home?  Once again, a flap to prevent flinging.  I also made a shaped flap for the tie end.

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I think I have found my mission:  to organize brushes, one roll at a time.  If anybody wants to make their own brush roll and would like pointers, let me know.

Now go out there and make something pretty!

How about a nice Hawaiian punch? (You knew this was coming, right?)

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I think I’m up to 21 Hawaiian quilt blocks!  This one is lemonade.

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You know, I’m just gonna let you look at pictures of all this yummy batiki goodness.

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After spending some time looking at what I think are yellow tulips, I’m really starting to think this looks more like silverware.  Like forks and knives radiating out from the center.

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It’s like a fancy little hopscotch game in my back yard.

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I’m making good progress for my project.  Are you getting sick of looking at my pretty blocks?

Hey, all you former Girl Scouts! Here’s a grown-up sit-upon for your grown-up bum!

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Does anyone else remember making a sit-upon in Girl Scouts?  I can’t really remember what fabric I used.  I’m sure it was groovy.  The one thing about which I am sure, you could feel the floor through those sit-upons.

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My butt does not touch the ground on this cushion.  It’s got four and 1/2 bags of fiber fill in it!  I don’t think Andre the Giant could get his butt to touch the ground on this one.

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I bought the pattern through Hawthorne Threads, one of my favorite online retailers.  It is called the Hexagon Situpon by Bonnie Christine.  The fabric is vintage Indonesian ikat, and I’ve been carrying it around in my collection for >20 years.

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The construction of this cushion is pretty straight forward – the six sides are squares, the top and bottom are each six triangles. One brilliant detail is that the “show” fabric is quilted to canvas.  This means you can use anything – including quilting cotton- for this pattern.  That gives us the whole world of possibilities.

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And here is the Hexagon Situpon in action.  None of the other humans were home at the time.  The cat wagged his fat-ass tail and gave me that “not on your life” look.  So Ricky Ricardo Montalban Rich Corinthian Leather patiently posed for two photos.

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This shot is just gratuitous look-at-how-nice-our-weather-is photography.

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And this one is just here to see if you get dizzy.

Lonely no more, the Hawaiian quilt block gets some new friends!

I was busy this weekend.

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Destiny was embroidering like a maniac!  The sections still need to be sewn together, but I managed to stitch out all four parts for each of the red and blue quilt blocks.  The vibrant colors are making me so happy!

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I continue to be amazed at the stitch quality of my Destiny.  It is so consistent and lovely.

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The designs in this Hawaiian Quilt pack by Anita Goodesign are amazing.  That company provides such consistent high-quality projects!  I’m going to need a big pile of blocks for a king-size quilt.

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Notice my solo pineapple square?  I ran out of embroidery thread  after this one.  Oops.  Well, that and I screwed up another two of them.  So we’ll call this one a work-in-progress.

I was working on organizational items in my studio between thread changes on my machine.  This week I will be moving my sewing studio upstairs to a much bigger space.  Unfortunately, this will involve a bunch of dudes with big muscles.  So that’s a wild card.  I’ll be spending my days prepping, unloading bookcases, carrying supplies, and generally wearing myself out without a lot of creativity to show for it.

My small space always looks like a bomb has exploded in it, so I’m looking forward to my bigger spot.  My issue is sure to be the one facing all of us with large fabric collections…storage.  I’ll keep you posted.

Does anyone else see a Hawaiian quilt in my future? I think it’s my Destiny.

Look what happened at my house on Friday!

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The first block of my Hawaiian quilt is in the bag, and I am thrilled.  I’m using an Anita Goodesign embroidery collection called…wait for it…Hawaiian Quilt.  My plan is to use a variety of fun batik fabrics and make it really colorful.

I had three of these four sections completed when my sewing machine decided to have a spa visit.  The good news here is that I had actually saved my design in the machine memory!  I was able to complete the partially stitched section without a hitch.

Wondering what was up with my Babylock Destiny?  Just a big hairball – well, a thread tangle.  A spool of thread I had used previously kept shredding and breaking.  Some of that thread got caught up inside and built a nest in the machine.  Thanks to the clever and talented repair department at my dealer for solving that issue!

Destiny and I are resuming our love affair right where we left off.

Waves in the water and beach balls, all in one convenient quilt!

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I finished my curved piecing yesterday!  It is really fun, once you get over the initial horror of taking a rotary cutter and slicing randomly through the fabric.

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Anytime I need help smoothing out fabric on a flat surface, Tippy the massive cat shows up to offer his services.  He is 20 pounds of fabric love.  Apparently that front beach ball needed some work.

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When that beach ball was properly pressed, his work was done.

I had the beach ball parts fused and cut out already, so don’t be thinking I performed any super-human piecing tricks.  I attached them to the background and zigzagged them on.  I ripped out parts of a couple of the seams so that two of the balls would look like they were in the water.

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Now I am thinking about the borders.  I had a plan, similar to the one shown on the pattern (Day at the Shore Quilt by See How We Sew.)  That may change…