Monday, January 19, 2015

Loooong Time, No See

Warning: This post is text heavy with very few pictures.

Well, it has been forever since I've blogged on here. Life life basically got in the way of my creative life. I've since graduated from college, received my degree and teaching certificate, got my first job, moved, and have successfully completed my first semester of being a full fledged teacher. All riiiight! It's been scary and wonderful all at the same time!

Now that things are finally starting to settle, my hands are itching to create again. I've crocheted a few motifs over the last year or two, but nothing worth noting. I feel like I lost a big part of myself by not creating. In. Any. Way. I tend to create in phases. Sometimes I draw, other times I write, I'll get into baking, start playing with yarn and embroidery floss, working in my amazing planners, or constructing with fabric. I haven't done of any of the above in way too long (except for my planners which I'll post about later!) I need to find and soothe my creative side again.

Teaching is an extremely stressful and never-ending job. I'm always questioning myself about if I'm good enough and if I'm helping my kids to grow. Could I have done that differently? Should I have been more sympathetic/empathetic? Was that the right thing to say to that student/parent? Am I going to get 10 emails about my choice? When is my principal coming in to watch? While these are stressful and never-ending, the job is quite rewarding (at least 3/5 days a week haha) and I love teaching and my students. BUT I've realized that I need to take time for myself and begin creating again.

Handstitched Class

To get back in touch with my sewing side, I've decided to take Rachel's (of Stitched In Color) Handstitched Online Class. I absolutely LOVE handwork and I snatched up the chance to slowly get back into sewing. But seriously.... I LOVE HANDWORK! Many years ago, **sidebar story begins  here** I took a sewing class at my university. I already knew how to sew, but I wanted to tighten up some of my skills. We had to hand sew our hems and I was in heaven! I learned a few different hand sewing stitches which I loved. For my final project, I created a beautiful complex little sundress with a zipper. Zippers are the bane of my existence. When my professor returned the dress she was beaming and told me how wonderful it was but that my zipper was atrocious. She then suggested I hand sew my zippers since I enjoy hand sewing so much. I should take her advice! **sidebar story ends here** Anyways, I'm extremely excited to learn even more about handstitching and how I can apply to quilting. We will be learning about applique (which I know very little about... it's almost embarrassing), English paper piecing, and various stitches. Plus there is very little pressure which I need right now.

The fabrics for the Modern Medallion Quilt we will be making in the class! So in love with these springy colors. I need to order a few more prints because I mostly have scraps of the ones I have featured on my focal point fabric. It was hard picking out fabric... something I've never really experienced before. It got my blood pumping though, and I can't wait to start!

What does this all mean for you? Alie Makes will come out of its hibernation and you can follow me down my journey to begin creating again. If you haven't created anything in while, please start! It's now or never! Kind of. Let's get out of our creative slumps and rediscover our love of making again!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Google Reader Ending

Image from CNN

Just a friendly reminder that Google Reader is ending on July 1st. There are a couple of different options to follow blogs now. I recommend Bloglovin, following through Blogger, or email subscription.

Here are a few articles on how to export your blogs from Google Reader:
Mashable: "How to Export Your RSS Feeds From Google Reader"
CIO: "How to Export Your Google Reader Account"

Alternatives to Google Reader:
Mashable: "Check Out These Google Reader Alternatives:
Bloglovin': "Moving From Google Reader To Bloglovin'?"
Alie Makes: "Tutorial Tuesday: Bloglovin"

I hope that all of my Google Reader followers find a new place to follow me that suits them. If you'd like to talk about different options, feel free to leave a comment and I'll try to help you out!

Click HERE to follow me on Bloglovin'!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Retro Pot Holder (Folded Stars)

It's Tutorial Tuesday!! Woohoo! For today's I will be featuring the Retro Pot Holder Tutorial found at Going Sew Crazy. This tutorial is a little sentimental to me for various reasons. First, it was one of my very first pins that I pinned to Pinterest. Second, it was one of the first things I had ever sewn that wasn't clothing or a quilt.   Third, I took pictures of every step because I knew that one day I'd want to have a sewing blog! After a little over a year, I'm finally getting to it! In fact, you can see my first quilt in the background of the above picture... maybe one day I'll share it with y'all... when it's done!

Because it was one the first "things" I ever made, I followed the instructions pretty much to a T (tee??). The only thing I changed was that I liked being able to see the fold on my points so I had those face up and not down. Oh and I'm pretty sure I just used a large glass I had to trace circles onto my fabric, so I have no idea what size they are. Here's my pictures!

And there you have it! My picture steps are complete. I quilted it in the creases of the folds. A little embarrassing story... I didn't know about a quilting foot and was so annoyed that my machine couldn't do it with the normal foot on that I just took the foot completely off and sewed it that way! My fabric was going all over the place, but I persevered! Luckily, now I know about a lot things I didn't know about back then ;)

Below is another pot holder I made for my dear friend (who is expecting a baby girl soon! Guess who's making a baby quilt?!), and one that I found in an antique store.

The one I made for Ren along with a little doodle.

The one I found at the antique store.

I hope you enjoyed looking at the Tutorial Tuesday! This project is rather quick and easy, so what are you waiting for!? Go make one!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Isn't it funny when...

...the fabric you favorited on Etsy completely randomly with no goals in mind, look like they'd make a nice quilt together? Love it when that happens! Hmmm... now just some convincing that I need more fabric...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Linky Party #2

So this week for Tutorial Tuesday I've decided to host a linky party! This will most likely be happening every other Tuesday. I don't always have time to try out a new tutorial, so this allows me time to do sew (hehe), and for you to share what you've been working on.

The Inlinkz website has changed some of their policies, so I have to pay to show thumbnails of your creations now.... I'm a poor college student who would rather spend her spare change on fabric. Sorry if this upsets some of you. You'll just have to be surprised by what you see after you click on someone's name :)

Rules (just a few!) for entering:
1) Link up must be of a project you recently made or are currently making in the form of a blog post or Flickr picture. This can be anything sewing related.
2) Project was preferably made using a tutorial you found online or one that you created.
3) There must be a link back to the tutorial, if one was used.
4) Please link back to this post and/or put a button on your post (found below). This is completely optional, but would be greatly appreciated!
5) Visit a few of your fellow quilters' posts, and leave them lovely comments!
**Due to not being able to show thumbnails anymore, I've lengthened the characters allowed in the "Name" line to be 100. Feel free to put a very little description of what you're linking too!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Blogger Stash: Rachel from Stitched In Color

Today is the very first post of a series I've created called "Blogger Stash". I'm constantly trying to expand my stash, but I get so overwhelmed looking at the beautiful fabrics out there! My conversation with myself sounds something like this when I think about stashing, "So many pretty fabrics! Which do I buy!?" "Well, what do my favorite bloggers buy?" "Maybe I should ask them..." and that's when it hit me... "That would be a totally awesome series on the blog!" "Hmmm... who should I ask?"

I instantly thought of Rachel from Stitched In Color. I've always loved her color palettes and her quilting creations. She was kind enough to agree to answer my super long list of interview questions. Read below to see her thoughts on sewing and stashing!


-When did you first start sewing and quilting? Were there any influences as to why you started?

I started sewing in 2009, when I dusted off the boxes that had long stored my childhood collection of My Little Ponies, sold them and used the money to buy my first sewing machine and my first fabrics.  I still remember that grand purchase.  It was a huge lot of glorious fabric from Sew Love Fabrics, including an almost-complete set of Anna Maria Horner's Good Folks collection.  In fact, I think Anna deserves a lot of credit for enticing me to take the leap!  I was also drawn in by bloggers and sewing books that painted such colorful possibilities.  About six months into "drip, drip" sewing I made my first quilt.  Since then it's been a rush, a river of making.

-How would you describe your style of quilting?

From the beginning with my very first quilt, color has been my muse.  I was drawn into this world by beautiful designer fabrics, which I felt defined "modern quilting" as a style.  Since then I've learned that modern quilting is often described in much more specific design terms.  I actually enjoy a huge range of styles from traditional, detailed, precise kinds of works to free form improv in exuberant all-solids and also really simple quilts.  I love them all!  What I'm after, what I crave, is the chance to explore every possibility of color and scale and pattern.  Impossible, I know.  But, the best dreams usually are.

-How do you decide on which fabric you buy for your stash? Do you go on merely seeing it on a fabric website/in store, or are you influenced by seeing other's creations with certain fabrics, etc.?

I am absolutely influenced by seeing other's creations online!  Sometimes I'll search out a particular fabric after seeing it used beautifully or realize after seeing someone's work that I want to add more stripes to my stash.  It makes sense - creativity inspires!  That's actually a big part of what felt right about accepting fabric store sponsors on my blog.  Fabric advertising can be done in a natural, organic way that inspires the community rather than taking from it, precisely because of the fact that it happens naturally anyways.

I actually never shop in person for fabric.  I started by shopping online, and it works well for me.  Plus, I prefer to shop with my sponsors!  I especially like shopping on Etsy sites and using the "favorites" tool to make a collage of fabrics.  It's fun to put together a color story that way.

-What do you look for in fabric that you get for your stash?

Well, that depends, doesn't it!  Sometimes I fall in love with a whole collection.  Love is about jumping in, seizing the moment, and letting that passion be the inspiration for my next project.  Not so much thinking involved there, shopping-wise!  But more often I shop to fill a "hole" in my stash.  Like recently I wanted to make a jade and peach quilt and discovered that somehow I didn't have either color in my stash. What's with that?  Shopping time!  Other times I've gone shopping for orange or yellow fabrics or searched out low-volume fabrics.  I guess I'm usually looking for a color.

Getting more specific, I mainly buy fabrics that are about one color or at most two.  When I say "color" in this context, I'm not counting neutrals like black, white, brown, gray, etc.  So, I'll buy a gray and yellow fabric, a navy and white one, a green and darker green, etc.  These helpful fabrics are great investments, because they're so versatile.  Often, the simple designs are better, especially dots and stripes.  In fact, I wrote a whole post about helpful fabrics earlier this year!

-Do you have any favorite fabrics that you stash in bulk or find yourself buying repeatedly?

Most collections come and go so fast that I can't keep favorite fabrics in my stash, even if I wanted to.  But, if I were shopping for basics and getting started today, this is what I'd add to my cart:

Heath in Black
Architextures in Gray
Essex Linen in Flax
Old Script text print
black text print
Comma periods, especially chalk
Dots in lots of colors, especially stone
Lizzy's jewels

Yep, that would be a fantastic start!

-What fabric do you think every stash should have?

Kona cotton solids and a Kona color card!  These are my go-to solids, and they have the most colors.  Love them!
-How do you organize your stash?

All of my quilting cottons are organized by color and on display behind glass doors in my fabric cabinet. The bottom section of the cabinet, which has wooden doors, hides bulkier stash like flannels, home decorator's weight and random somethings.  Anything significantly less than a fat quarter goes to my scrap drawer system, also organized by color.  Within the drawers I have separate bins for large scraps, small scraps, string scraps and crumb scraps.  Triangle scraps of all colors go to separate place of purgatory, where they devise plans to take over my scrappy world.  I actually love working from scrap, which is why I have invested so much space and energy in keeping them organized and at hand!  You can take a tour of my room right here.

I hope this has been helpful folks.  Thanks for giving me a chance to ramble about fabric.  Always appreciated.  Thanks for having me, Alie!


Thank you Rachel for answering my questions, and for helping those of us having "stash anxiety". It really means a lot that you took time to help me on a post and helped out my readers!

Go by and take a look at Rachel's blog, Stitched In Color, if you haven't already done so. Oh, and go add to your stash ;)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday/Thursday: Triangles

Over the weekend, I decided to cut into some of my new stash! I'd always wanted to try out triangles, but I'd always been a bit apprehensive. I'm soooooo glad I decided to do it! I made this pillow, and I really think it's my favorite thing I've ever made. Seriously. It is so me. The color palette, the texture, the subtlety yet pops. I love it! I might even make a whole triangle quilt in this fabric.... we'll see... I have like a bizallion other things to finish!

This Tutorial Tuesday/Thursday is on how to trim, sew, and iron your triangles and rows. I used this tutorial to learn how to cut, and this tutorial to get a basic idea on sewing and ironing. Both are from On the Windy Side. Below is my adaptation! (I'm LAZY, so my version has you ironing the seams after all of the triangles in a row are sewn together.)

P.S. The colors are bit off in the pictures. I really just didn't feel like editing them.... Sorry!


1) The triangle ruler that I have is set up so that only one of the corners is trimmed. Let me say this so you don't fall into a triangle nightmare like I kinda did.... trim all of your corners or trim none of your corners. The picture is showing one that has been trimmed and one that has not.

2) To trim the other corners, line up the trimmed corner of the ruler with your untrimmed corner of fabric like pictured above. Make sure that both sides have equal fabric and that the triangle that has been printed on the ruler lines up with the corner. Cut along the edge.

2.1) After you've trimmed all of your corners, stack the triangles in order that you want to sew them in. Also, put them in the direction that they are to be sewn. To form a straight row, they must alternate with the "top" corner pointed up and the next one pointed down and the next one pointed up, and so on.


1) Lay out the two triangles you want to sew first. It's always good to lay them out, just to make sure you don't sew them wrong ;)

2) Lay the right hand triangle right-side down on top of the left hand triangle. Make sure to line up the edge that the two triangles were touching at when you just had them laid out.

3) Sew along this edge on a scant 1/4" seam.

4) Open the two triangles. Do not iron.

5) Place your next triangle on the right side of the two triangles you just sewed together. Make sure that it is pointing in the correct direction. This would be that the "top" point is pointing in the opposite direction of the triangle sewn before it.

6) Lay the right triangle on to the left hand triangle with right-sides together. Again, make sure to line up the edge of the two triangles where they were touching at when you had them laid out.

7) Sew along this edge on a scant 1/4" seam.

8) Open up the triangles. Proceed to sew your remaining triangles in the same way as described above, until you have finished up your row.


1) Once you have finished sewing all your triangles together, the seams should look something like this.

2) Iron your first seam open. I iron from the free side where my seam isn't crossing over another seam.

3) It should look like the picture once you're done ironing your first seam.

4) Iron down the next seam so that the seam is pressed open. You will end up ironing on top of other seams. This is okay. It is also okay to begin ironing on the free side of the seam, or on the side where it crosses over another seam, however, I find that it works best ironed on the free side (not like I have pictured.. ooops).

5) After you've pressed the second seam open, it should look like this. Here you can see how one seam was pressed over another.

6) Press the next seam open like described above. You an see how one side of the seam is pressed under the other seam. This is fine! In fact, one end of most of your seams will be pressed under another seam. Pretty much let the fabric dictate where to go.

7) Finish pressing all of your seams open.

8) What your row should look like on the front after all your seams are pressed open.

And there you have it! Just sew your rows together and create whatever you want! I made my wonderful, totally-me pillow. I did make it a bit too long, but it still think it is perfect. If you make something using my tutorial, please send me pictures! I would love to see what you've created.

Anyone interested in doing a triangle block pillow-a-long??!

P.P.S. Come back tomorrow for a surprise guest blogger on a new series I'm doing on fabric stashes!