Thursday, December 30, 2010

Return to My Roots

My life as a sewer/crafty person started with quilting. The first quilt I can remember making was peach and forest green (blech!) and true to the country decor of that decade (I'll let you do the math!). I don't know what happened to that quilt, but it started a life long obsession with "projects."

I once spent an entire summer (yes - summer...don't ask) quilting a massive navy blue and white quilt that the entire family, including the cat, still fights over.

But somehow, in recent years, I have strayed from my quilting roots. Clothes, toys, orders, and gifts have monopolized what little time I have. And I'm beginning to miss the joy of watching tiny scraps grow into beautiful patterns.

So #2 on that prominently displayed list of goals is, "Return to my roots." Get back on the quilting horse.

First project - A quilt for Belle's big bed.

I spent some time combing through Flickr for ideas and then called Belle over to help me pick the final design. I had 4 relatively simple examples to show her, and after scanning through them all once, I got ready to show her each one again so she could decide. Unfortunately, she caught sight of all the other favorites I had marked and fell in love with a huge, rainbow, string-pieced, diamond quilt and that was it. She had to have THAT one.
"Are you sure? Don't you love this one? Or this one?" NO! So, diamonds it is...I guess. I sketched out a color plan and figured up dimensions with the resulting number of blocks to be created...

This may take all of 2011 to finish! But, she loves it...and I'm beginning to love it too. I decided to work in sets of 8 blocks at a time. Yesterday afternoon, I prepped the first 8 and began to sew, hoping to finish 1 or 2. I was so excited by the results of the first one, that I dropped pretty much everything else so that I could do the other 7. Thank goodness for Chinese take-out!
But with 40 still ahead of me and all the quilting to be done after that, it's going to be a long time in the making. I guess the longer it takes me to finish the quilt, the longer she has to sleep in her little girl bed...this quilt is looking better and better every minute:)

2011 Sewing Goals:
2. Return to my roots.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pips on a Roll...

The Pips and I have been on a roll! But, I do have a confession to make...I hoard fabric. When I get my hands on fabulous fabric, no project ever seems worthy of cutting into it. It sits there for weeks, months, even years...untouched. One of my goals for 2011 is to stop this ridiculous practice. Repeat after me, "Fabric is intended for use. Fabric is intended for use. Fabric is..."

So when the first set of Pips arrived, I immediately made these skirts. The fact that I started with charm packs definitely helped me begin to conquer my hoarding ways. There was no pristine yardage that had to be butchered. Just neat, little squares that were already cut for me.

But I'm no fool. I knew when that second charm pack arrived that it would be filed away for future use. I mean, this fabric hasn't even been released! How could I possibly use all of it???

Luckily, I've written down my sewing goals for 2011. A short list, in a prominent location, that must be faced every day. At the top of that list....STOP HOARDING!

So reluctantly, I planned out a few projects and got right to work.

I must admit, I'm really glad I didn't hoard these...and I even have a few left over for that "perfect" project down the road. But just a few, and I'm already making plans for them...I PROMISE!
And just to prove that I really am trying to rehabilitate myself, I'm not even going to hoard the finished products. Both of these will be for sale in my shop when it reopens on 1.4.11. Use the coupon code PIPS10 for 10% of any order.
2011 Sewing Goals:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pips in Action

Coordinating Christmas Eve outfits from the yet-to-be-released Sherbet Pips.

I only wish my models would have cooperated enough for me to get a shot of both of them together with no one crying...oh well!

I love these skirts because they were perfect for a holiday family gathering, but the "not red and green" color palette will last them through the winter too.

More pips to come, I promise!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The mama was nestled all snug in her bed, while visions of AMH flannels danced in her head. Wishing you and all of yours a warm and snuggly holiday. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I might have been a bit of a distracted Mommy for the last week...

It's a good thing Bee is good at entertaining herself....

Maybe you'll be reading her blog before long....

Looks like she's a natural:)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Making Do Monday - Cover Those Stains

Somehow with all the holiday hullabaloo, I just forgot about Making Do Mondays. I promise to at least try to do better:)

We're a messy house...clementine juice running down our arms, paint splattering across our chests, garden soil ground into the knees of our pants. It just happens. We seem to have no control over it. So we make do:)

Both of these shirts featured lovely stains on the front (strawberry and chili if I'm not mistaken).

A quick sketch, a light iron to fuse, and a few rounds through the sewing machine and they were good as new...actually, better than new!
All you need are a few scraps of fabric and some of this.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Handmade Holiday Update

After much debate and more than a little searching for inspiration, I finally decided to make Bee a baby play set for Christmas. She's really gotten into loving on her dolls and stuffed animals and this gave me a chance to make something really special for her that I hope will grow with her in the next few years.

I used the string-pieced swaddling blanket pattern from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings. She is my sewing crush afterall! She also has an adorable baby pattern in the book, but I wanted a doll that would look a wee bit older.

So I turned to my other sewing crush, Hillary Lang. This is the Tag-A-Long doll from Wee Wonderfuls. I omitted the pigtails and hair in exchange for just a few embroidered curls, but I'm seriously considering going back and adding some wool felt hair (no pigtails though...I want it to look about the same age as Bee).

I also made the dress as a separate entity, so that it could be removed for diapering...Did I mention the SUPER easy diaper pattern in AMH's book??? I'll have to show you pics of those later. It turns out that I am out of Velcro. I could have sworn that I bought a package last week, but apparently not:(

There are still a few more pieces to add to the set...a bib, some diapers, maybe some cloth wipes,

and a sweet, little teddy bear for the doll made of some faux fur I grabbed from the remnant bin this morning. You didn't think that obnoxiously large pocket on Baby's dress was just for decoration did you??? It had to be large enough to hold her tiny teddy:)

Every baby needs a bottle, right? I seriously considered making one of felt, but then remembered that we had three bottles that we bought before Bee was born that had maybe been used once each. It took some searching, but I managed to find one and whipped up a quick cloth cover just for cuteness.

Belle gave the whole set a test drive this afternoon. She promises me that Bee will love it. She also promises to teach Bee how to wrap her baby. I think this translates to stealing the whole kit-n-kaboodle, but we'll see.

To keep the whole set together I made this little bassinet. Belle thinks it is hilarious that we are going to carry the baby in a "bag." I've given up trying to explain the difference.

I really hope Bee loves it! If not, I may take it's just so cute:)

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Love My Mailman!

Look what he just brought me:) I've spent the last hour combing through Flickr looking for fabulous inspirations...and with another set on the way, I'm pretty sure there will be a baby quilt in the shop in the near future!

The Giveaway Winner is...


Who said, "Your hats are lovely, and since I can't knit or crochet at all, I am super-impressed!"

Congrats! You should already have an email from me in your inbox...if not, leave a comment here and we'll track it down in cyber-space.

And for those of you who are super jealous of Addy right now...custom hats are available for order through my Etsy shop. You'll notice the shop is on vacation through 1/4/11, but I'm still taking custom orders, so just send me a convo and we'll make sure you get the hat of your dreams:)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last Chance and Another Teaser

It's your last chance to get in on my GIVEAWAY! Comments will close tomorrow (12/17) at NOON EST. You don't want to miss out, so scamper on down the page and be sure to leave a comment about your favorite winter crafting activities! I'll contact the winner by email sometime tomorrow afternoon.

In the last couple of weeks I've been churning out holiday orders like mad around here, and I'm almost there. Two tees, one hat, and one grocery bag are all that remain. And then I get to really start on all the gifts that I have planned. A little late...I'm fully aware. But, I have a rock solid plan to get it all completed:)

So here's the Handmade Holiday update...

You've seen the start of Belle's BIG gift (and there's still lots more to come on that one). So here's sneak peak at what Bee will be finding under the tree next Saturday. Any guesses on this one???

What might have ducks...

and dots...



and more dots...

and even some leaves???

I need to make a run to the fabric store before I can finish it, so I guess you will just have to wait and see:) But if you love those fabrics...most of them came from Melanie, so pay her a visit and get $5 shipping no matter how much you buy!
And seriously, don't forget the GIVEAWAY!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Handmade Holiday Update

Before we go any further...have you entered my GIVEAWAY yet??? Yes? Good! Now on to the post...

Princess pillows??? That's what she wants! I have no idea where this idea came from. I've probed and prodded and tried to get more details, but to no avail. Belle is insistent that Santa bring her princess pillows. When questioned, she explains that she wants to put them around her knee when it hurts. Hmmm.... She plans to use them in the family room. Hmmm.... They must include her favorite princesses. Hmmm... Santa was perplexed, so he passed the task to Mommy and went with something much less nebulous.

I just hope that Mommy can rise to the challenge!

Ariel didn't photograph very well, but she was the most time-consuming, so I started there. Still to come...Cinderella, Rapunzel, and a castle pillow.
The sad news...Belle will be moving to a grown-up bed shortly after the holidays. The real deal. I'm not handling this "growing up" thing exceptionally well, and if I let her move to a grown-up bed, then I might as well start shopping for a wedding dress. I seriously need a pause button for life.
The good news...these pillows will be the perfect start to her new grown-up bedding set. AND, you all will get to see all the parts as they are created. Quilt, wall art, accessories, the whole shebang! That is assuming that her knee is willing to share the pillows with her bed:)

Sunday, December 12, 2010



If you are a new visitor to Belle + Bee...WELCOME! I'm so excited about Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day because not only do I get to meet new blog friends, but I also get to roam cyber-world and drool over all the prizes that I want to win! I had the WORST time trying to decide what to offer here at Belle + Bee. There were just so many choices of fun things to share:)

But, first a tiny bit of background about Belle + Bee for our new friends. I'm a stay-at-home mom with two adorable little girls, "Belle," who is 3 and "Bee," who is 1. I started quilting as a little girl and over time have branched out to pretty much any thing that can be sewn, stitched, or created. I'm a compulsive project-starter, which drives my incredibly supportive husband just a little crazy. And Belle + Bee, the blog, is my outlet to share all the various projects that fill my days. You can find everything from needle felted fairies to clothing tutorials to kids' crafts in the archives. And there's always something new around the next corner!

But enough of that...on to the fun stuff:)

In my world, winter is all about cozy crafts...things that warm you as you work. So, after much debate, I settled on a COZY CUSTOM HAT AND SCARF SET for my prize. The options really are endless. Adult, child, infant, earflaps, fur, fuzz, animals, flowers, pompoms... I'll contact the winner via email to design your custom set.
Now, if I were you...I'd take a good hard look at that Christmas shopping list. Then I'd bury it in my bag and order this first set for myself. Of course, I'm just a bit biased. That's my hat and scarf:) It is the thickest, softest, my luscious yarn ever! Warm, wooly, and oh so happy:) (And available in other colors, of course!) The perfect way to reward yourself for surviving all the holiday hubub! I just wish you could touch it through your screen!!!!

But, there are lots of other options too! Animal hats are very popular with small children, but also HUGELY popular with teenagers and young adults. I've actually sold more in adult sizes than child sizes this holiday season.

And every little girl needs a snuggly flower hat that ties securely around her chin so she can't wrestle it off in mid-walk. Because that has NEVER happened in our stroller! HA!

Teddy bears, panda bears, cats, and lions, oh my! [That's a "GRRRR!" in the pic:)]

But of course, if you live in a windy climate, it's nice to be able to tie your own hat securely around your chin.

And one more flower because Bee is just so darn cute!

As you can see, the options really are design your own prize. I'll work with you to get color, yarn, style, and size that will be perfect for anyone on your list, including yourself!

To enter, just comment below! Tell me your favorite winter crafting activity, and PLEASE leave your email address in your comment so that I can track you down easily. I'll randomly select a winner on December 17. Of course, I'd love to have some new followers, so take a look around and if you like what you see you can use the various tools on the right to follow in your reader or on Facebook. If you follow on Facebook you'll find occassional FB specials and Etsy coupon codes available only to followers.

That poor child is so tired of having to pose in hats!!! I hope she'll forgive me someday!
Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to take a look at the other great giveaways at Sew Mama Sew.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Handmade Holiday Update

Belle has put in a most unusual request for Christmas....

This is what I'm working with. A rainbow of lovely lusciousness!

Bee and I had a blast picking all these out while Belle was in school...can't wait to share more:)

Any guesses???

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Treasures

We all treasure different things during the holiday season. It may be the precious ornament from your great-grandmother, the platter on which you always serve the holiday ham, the parade of cards arriving each day...or the artwork of a precious child.

What holiday treasures do you hold dear?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wish Upon a...


I think I might have mentioned my fave online fabric store a few times...Above All Fabric. Well, in case you missed it, Melanie is fantastic! She has great sales, shipping is always $5 or less, the selection is super, and the points system is tip-top!

The options are endless! Here are a few of the things I'm drooling over right now....

And did I mention, that you can set up a wishlist to keep track of all the things you're drooling over!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Handmade Holiday Update

I'm slowly making progress on my gifts for the girls. I think I've spent more time brainstorming gifts for Bee than actually making anything. Belle was the ONLY grandchild on either side of our family before Bee was born. Calling her spoiled is possibly a bit of an understatement. Now that little Bee is here, there just doesn't seem to be anything that we don't already have. But, I finally had an epiphany...

Bee is fascinated with filling and spilling right now. Blocks, crackers, small stuffed birds...anything! So for Christmas this year everything will have a container, be in a container, and be spillable from that container. First...a Three Bears Play Set! Three soft, fuzzy bear balls in a box bearing the images of porridge, chairs, beds, and Goldilocks. Fill, spill, toss, cuddle....

Baby Bear is the first of the set. He's made with lovely, camel-colored alpaca fleece from Alpacas of Niagara. Belle and I were fortunate enough to visit with Diane at the Niagara Alpaca Shop while we were vacationing last week. Belle had a blast watching the animals in the field, and I had just as much fun (and maybe more) chatting about felting and fingering all the lovely gloves, hats, yarns, and toys available in the shop. But more on that visit later...

And I'm still working on the river fairy play set for Belle.