Category Archives: Fabric Finding

I am impossibly in love with gorgeous fabric- and on the hunt for where to find the best, and then what to do with it.

Great Internet Finds: Purl Bee’s Liberty Backpacks turned Ballet Bag

 

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We are back from a very long summer break! With three little ones and a summer full of traveling, playing, working, etc., we took a break from blogging (and quite a few other things). But with fall in the air, preschool starting up again, and even my little three year old starting her first dance class, it’s time to get the blog going again.

So, first up is this super quick and easy Purl Bee tutorial gem – a backpack tutorial I used to make my daughter a ballet backpack. I found this adorable Anna Griffin Arabesque ballet shoe fabric at my favorite online fabric store. The fabric, plus Purl Bee’s easy to follow, easy to make tutorial was a perfect combination. My daughter had been asking for a backpack, and with her ballet class starting up in a week, I figured this was a perfect solution.IMG_8736edit

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The Purl Bee blog does impeccable tutorials, and I was looking to do a very quick and easy project, as I was on a time crunch, so I didn’t change a single thing (except the fabric).  However, if I had to do it again, I would have shortened the straps a bit (which I may still do).  I wanted the bag to be a surprise for my daughter, so I didn’t fit her while making it.  So one suggestion, try on the backpack before sewing the straps in, to make sure you like the length.  There are three sizes- toddler, child, and adult.  I chose the child size, even though my daughter is still kind of growing out of the toddler phase- this way, she can grow into it a bit and her ballet gear will fit easily.  Now we are ready to go, and she couldn’t be more excited!  My son is now making sure that I know he wants one with truck fabric for his birthday in a couple months.  Fortunately, this backpack can be whipped up in an hour or two and for less than $10, so it should be no problem!

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Great Internet Finds: Market Tote Tutorial from Bijou Lovely

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I have had this Market Tote from Bijou Lovely tutorial bookmarked for probably a year.  And I’ve had an adorable Cloud 9 cotton canvas waiting for months and months to be turned into a bag.  It was only a week ago I put one and one together and realized they are MADE for each other!  I’ve been wanting to make a catch all bag (library trips, farmers market, kids stuff at church, swimming lessons, etc.) for awhile, but never really committed until I figured out this combo.  Now I am so happy to replace the ugly green Winco bag I often used  for such outings!

This feels much better!

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This tutorial is great – seriously! I have tried many a tutorial as I’ve learned to sew, and some are complete and easy to understand, and great pictures that fill in any questions, but in my opinion, it’s rare that I don’t have to fill in a single blank on my own.  This tutorial is that rare gem- oh, and with a fabulous outcome to boot!  Thank you, Bijou Lovely! You will be my tutorial inspiration when I finally attempt one!

So, the fabric I used was the Cloud 9 Bark & Branch canvas in blue and a Robert Kaufman cotton/linen blend in a natural.  I was trying to make this a very quick project, so I skipped the interfacing step.  I was using a canvas and a hardy linen/cotton, so I felt like it would have enough weight.  And it did.  If I’d wanted to spend a bit more time on the project, it probably would have made a good addition- a bit more stability.  I don’t think it’s missed too much, though, with a decently thick home decor weight fabric.  With anything lighter though, I wouldn’t recommend skipping the interfacing.

One other variation on the tutorial I did was to make the lining pieces just a bit bigger in height (about a half inch or less) bigger than the outside fabric.  I wanted a little trim of the linen on the top of the bag, so when I got to the second to the last step, top stitching the top edge- I just made sure the linen poked up out a bit.  If you do this, just make sure the lining is fitting in nicely (I pinned at the bottom before pinning the top for top stitching), and I top stitched on the outer fabric and the lining.

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Oh, and if I hadn’t been trying to keep it to a couple hour project, I would have added a pocket into the lining.  I am sure I will make this same bag again, with different fabric, so I’ll do it next time.  I’ll update any tips on here when I do.  Anyway, try out this Bijou Lovely’s fantastic tutorial if you are looking for a great market bag- with spring right around the corner, I think we could all use one of these!

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Valentine’s Day: Show Your Love with Handmade Gifts

I adore Valentine’s Day.  Not so much in the past. Maybe lots of people feel this way, but I’m pretty sure I was Valentine’s Day cursed up till several years ago (and even after being happily married, I still ended up in the ER in the middle of Valentine’s Night after a botched root canal.  Ug- cursed!).  But once I had kids (who could eat cookies and cupcakes!), I realized Valentine’s Day was a perfect excuse to have fun and celebrate as a laugh in the face of the Great gray beast February (in the words of Clive Barker). I have been making Valentine’s Day a really big deal in our house for about 3 years now.  It’s not only near the end of the long stretch of cold, stuck-in-doors January and February, but it’s also quite the holiday dry spell after New Year’s without Valentine’s Day (unless you go all out for Groundhogs Day, I guess). So we do a party, and decorate, do crafts, fun breakfast, lunch and dinner – kind of make a couple days of it (and if I’m lucky, the romance part gets stuck in there, too!).
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So this year I decided that along with our celebrating, I would start a new tradition of giving each of my children a gift I made for them.  I felt like it was:

a) a perfect excuse to make them a thing I was already hoping/planning to make (deadlines always help me get motivated!) and

b) a great way to show my love, by putting some time and attention into making them something I knew they would love that came from my hands. Every time I work on a project for one of my children, I feel like I am imbuing that thing for them with my love, and there is something extremely satisfying about that. Yet with all the busyness that fills every single day, it is often so much easier to plunk down some money for something and save myself hours when gift time creeps up quickly. Handmade just feels a bit more connecting to me (and hopefully the kids).

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Well, one of the gifts was a no-brainer for me.  I absolutely fell in love with this Wee Wanderer Michael Miller fabric designed by Sarah Jane. I get mine at my favorite online fabric shop, Hawthorne Threads.  I had a large pillow form waiting around from some bedroom redecorating I’ve been up to.  When I saw the fabric, I knew I’d found a perfect match!  I cheated and gave it to my daughter a bit early to get some pictures.  She loved it almost as much as I did.  I think I love this fabric so much because of the innocent whimsy that brings me back to childhood, but I also feel pretty partial to the two girls and one boy (just like mine) in the panel print.  This was a favorite for my little girl, too.

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I used another firefly fabric in the Wee Wanderer collection to border the pillow, since the panel in half was a bit small for the 24 inch floor pillow.  I’m glad for that though, I think it is even more fun with the border. I finished it off with an invisible zipper closure, since I figure it will definitely need some washing at some point!

So, my new Valentine’s tradition – make their gifts! There is just something about giving a gift you made yourself that makes you feel even closer to that person you made if for, and I believe that it is the same for receiving one.  Those gifts that someone has taken the time to make for me or one of my children has had something especially magical about it.  One extremely thoughtful and talented lady I know knitted a beautiful blanket for each of my three children before they were born.  All of my children (who can talk) still know her name and who made their blanket even though they very rarely see her.

There are tons of ideas out there on the web.  This link is to one of my plans for next Valentine’s (if I hold out ’till then. These are so cute!):

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This clothespin wrap doll tutorial from the  This Heart of Mine blog is awesome (and p.s. her latest post is about a Valentine’s Day party- check it out).

So, a little challenge to myself and maybe others – to think about maybe putting a little extra love into your Valentine’s Day this year by thinking about making something with your own hands.  I realize not everyone is so inclined, but I have noticed that almost everyone has some kind of talent that would make for a great Valentine’s gift. You could write a song or a poem, paint a picture or take a photograph to frame, you could make a great dinner (trust me, being married to a gourmet, I can tell you, this is ALWAYS appreciated!), make something out of wood, or fabric, or clay, or metal, make a sugar scrub in a great package, or jewelry – there are endless ideas of things that can be made and talents that can be shared.  Show your love by sharing yourself!!

We would love to hear Valentine’s ideas you have, or inspiration you’ve found! There are many more to come!

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Paris Envy

On this cozy, rainy, cool Autumn day:

I finished Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co., a memoir by Jeremy Mercer.
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I sewed up a Chocolat pillow.
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While listening to my Carla Bruni station on Pandora.
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With my two little girls (who have quite obviously French names) playing/sleeping in the office with me. IMG_2778_Edit

I did not do this on purpose, but I think I might have a problem. I think I will call it Paris Envy. Maybe there’s something about the changing seasons, the feeling that anything is possible that seem to permeate the air along with the crispness that sets in, but my mind always starts to wander the globe this time of year. Feeling pretty anchored at the moment, I will just have to dream for awhile.

If you are experiencing Paris Envy as well, I am finding that it is slightly appeased with some of the aforementioned things.

The book, Time Was Soft There, was a gift from my fellow English majory brother, who knows what a bibliophile I am.  Not only is it a book, but it’s all about an iconic bookstore, run by a serious book lover, in Paris.  I don’t want to launch into a review.  I will just say that I really enjoyed it, and I’m a book snob.  It is light enough to enjoy for a cozy, rainy brain candy type read, but also rich/deep enough to make you think, reflect, muse and feel like you’re doing something that might be good for your brain.  Having kids, I really like to find this middle ground in a book.  It’s a lot harder now that I have kids to carve out the time to read (at all!) some of the thicker (page numbers and subjects) books I once enjoyed.  A Moveable Feast will have to wait. But if we’re going to go full on brain candy, I’d rather just veg in front of a Grey’s Anatomy marathon.  So this kept me from full on lobotomy in front of the t.v.  And transported me a little.

The pillow can be found in our Etsy shop, Peachtree Park.  I have always been a sucker for French script.  And who isn’t a sucker for chocolate.  And cozy pillows.  When I saw this fabric, I just had to create the combination.  Or again, maybe it’s just my Paris Envy.  And I will tell you a secret (I am feeling generous today!), in case you are so inclined to sew one of your own- this fabric is from the gorgeous Eclectic Elements collection by Tim Holtz.  You can find it at Hawthorne Threads, my favorite place to find fabulous fabric (I realize after re-reading this it sounds a lot like an ad, but the only affiliation that I have with them is I love their taste in fabric and buy it!).

The Carla Bruni Pandora station is a perfect taste of French songs and mood, perfect background music for a project, reading a book, hanging with friends or family, eating chocolate (hmm, that must be on my brain), or whatever you’re doing while indulging in your Paris Envy.

Sorry, you can’t have the girls though!

I think Paris Envy for me is also a great lesson in pleasuring the senses.  And I will just bask in that for now.  Maybe a little Paris Envy is good for my bien-etre (well-being)!

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Filed under Book, Etsy Finds, Fabric Finding, Food

Thank heavens for Australia!

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I should be saying thank heavens for Calico & Ivy, an online fabric store in Australia, or thank heavens for the internet.

I love this pillow- even more now since we just spent a week at the beach, digging, making sand castles, and lots of kite flying.

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When I got home, and back to reality,  I realized I should check for more fabric online, since I have only one more pillows worth left of it. I am finally learning to crawl out of my naive cocoon as to how fast fabric can disappear from the face of the earth if you’re not careful (My mother used to hoard bins and bins of fabric that never got used, and I’m trying to steer clear of that!).  But,this exact fabric was nowhere to be found, not even on Liberty of London’s site (it’s there, just out of stock- maybe mom knew something after all).  I was pretty dejected for a couple days, because this design was born out of this gorgeous fabric, and having a little girl, and one on the way, it tugs at my little heart strings, and though I could find it in other colors, none spoke to me like this one.  I couldn’t bare to list it on our Etsy shop (www.peachtreepark.etsy.com), like I had been planning, because I figured I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on any more fabric, and wasn’t ready to part with this one yet.

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However, thanks to the global network of the internet (thank you technology- maybe that’s what I should be saying), I finally found this fabric half way across the world.  Again, thank you Calico & Ivy for being Liberty lovers!!  Their shop has gorgeous fabrics, etc. so if you are as in love with beautiful (and apparently hard to find) fabric as I am, they are a great destination.

So, now back from a beautiful vacation, refreshed, restocked!, I’m ready to finally start up this blog about our life as the creative team of Peachtree Park.  I think I have a lot to learn!

Mom Made That!

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