Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dear Diary--

It's been a rough day. The pounding is incessant, but the end is near. They've finished the floors downstairs, and 2 bedrooms and the hallway upstairs. They'll finish the other bedrooms by the end of the week and by next week they'll finish the staircase. It's tiring, and I'm not even the one doing the work. When night time comes and the kiddos are in bed, all I want to do is veg in front of the TV. Last night we watched Hancock. The night before it was multiple episodes of House Hunters International on Hulu. I don't even remember what happened the night before that. I think I fell asleep watching Dog Whisperer.

Today the hubster took the kids to the driving range and I got to clean out my sewing room. Tonight I got to sew. This is what I made:




Thanks for listening, diary dear.
I can always count on you,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Popping by to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. merry christmas
Last year when I took this picture we'd been snowed in for a week and we were running out of food. I think we had stir fried beef and green peppers for our Christmas meal. Today it's bright and cheery--a predicted high of 42 and not a lick of snow. We're spending the day baking, eating, and playing chess. I'm not feeling guilty about "forgetting" to do Christmas cards, either. Tee hee! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Bit of History

I'm so pleased to be the new owner of these beauties. So rich and rough and full of history. I love that they were created to be useful objects, and now they'll have the chance to be useful once again.




Saturday, December 19, 2009

An Unintended Home Project: The Kitchen

The downstairs floors are about 1 day away from completion. The good news is that they look great and really warm up the space and make it feel cozy. The bad news is that they make our already unattractive countertops scream: "look at me, I was ugly to begin with and now I'm uglier than ever, maybe worse!!!" So, although we were planning to wait awhile to do the countertops, it seems like we'll be doing them sooner rather than later.

so close

icky counters

countertop option

backsplash options

We have a few samples to look at for the weekend--a small slab of countertop and some backsplash tiles. I think we're going to take our time to figure out what we want to do. In the meantime, do any of you have experience with Squak Mountain stone or poured concrete countertops, and if so, are you happy with it? Please email me--I'd love to hear about your experience. (joanna (at)greatturtle(dot)com)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tab Top Curtain Tutorial

I made some curtains for my little boy's room using Bot Camp fabric. The tutorial calls for 3 different coordinating prints and explains how to line the curtain panel with blackout fabric. If you're interested in how to handle mitered corners, this tut is for you. It can be found HERE on the Michael Miller Fabrics blog.



mitered corner

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Don't Touch the Screwdriver

We've been dealing with some abnormally cold weather for the Seattle area. Yesterday our handyman got called home for an emergency--his pipes froze and he had a flood at home to deal with. His sudden departure necessitated that he leave his tools where they were, his half drunk can of coke still on the windowsill, sawdust everywhere. I really don't mind. But someone has to guard the screwdriver.

It's a hard job.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Home Project

wood floors have begun
I'm excited to report that the floor project has begun. Out with the impractical white carpeting and in with the wood. I've been told it's going to be a three week project. I'm trying to take it day by day, because the prospect of three weeks of pounding, sawing and air compressors compressing stresses me out. The worst part of it is feeling confined to parts of the house that aren't being worked on at the moment. I guess I could just take the kids out somewhere, but it's 29 degrees outside, so I think we'll rough it in the house. I'm not complaining. I'm very happy that this is happening and that I'm not the one doing the work. NOT complaining!!!

where we're hanging out
Our hangout spot. The kids like jumping from chair to chair.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Round Cushion Tutorial

robot cushion

robot cushion2

Here's a tutorial for a round cushion that is trimmed with piping. Even if you may not be planning to make the cushion, I'd recommend taking a look at the tut for tips on working with piping. The fabric is all Bot Camp by Michael Miller.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Pillowcase Tutorial

Here's a pillowcase tutorial to go with the bed skirt. This tutorial is a little different than other pillowcase tuts out there because it includes instructions on how to make an inner flap to hold the pillow in place. I love the instant gratification of a quick sewing project like this! I hope you make one of these and that you come back and tell me about it. :)

When I was making this set, I was imagining that I was an interior designer of children's rooms working for a rich celebrity client. Is that silly? The funny thing about having a craft blog is that I always feel like there ought to be a story to go along with everything I post. But the fact is, this is just a pillowcase. Sorry folks...there is no monumental story save for my imaginary celebrity clientele. Carry on....

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bed Skirt Tutorial


I made a bed skirt last summer using bot camp fabric from Michael Miller. I must say, it's fun looking at pictures I took way-back-when when the sun was actually shining. Sigh, I miss those days.


When I look at this picture I also get excited at the thought that those white carpets that came with the house will soon be gone. Wood floors, baby, here we come!!! Woo hoo!!!! Nothing like embarking on a huge home reno project right before the holidays. Can't be helped.

The PDF tutorial for the bed skirt is here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More Christmas Sewing

I'm happy to report that the store-bought Thanksgiving meal was a huge success. I'm totally going to do it again next year. Our Thanksgivings involve family members coming to visit for a few days and involve lots of meal planning, grocery trips, and time in the kitchen, so I appreciated the one big meal being catered. La la la...spoiled, spoiled. Everything tasted yummy. The turkey was moist, the gravy was lump free, the stuffing was tremendous (as was my stuffed belly).

The only bummer was that little baby came down with the flu and our relatives decided to head home a day and a half early...which left me some time to sneak off and do some more Christmas sewing.

pound of thread
I bought a pound of thread for the machine. It makes more sense for me to do it this way. The bobbins in my machine are so huge that when I wind them, there's hardly any thread left on the conventional-sized spools.
christmas 2
I'm getting the hang of the new zipper foot.

christmas 1
I'm making good progress on the Christmas sewing.

Plans for today:
Locate a nearby tree farm and see if we can scare up a decent tree.
Drink lots of coffee with eggnog.
Find the motrin and see what that does for my bum leg.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On the Wall/On my Mind


We bought a piece of artwork for our hallway as a tribute to this onslaught of rain we've been having lately. Unbelievable. Probably time to up my vitamin D supplements...the wintertime blues are creeping in already.

We have relatives coming for Thanksgiving in a couple of days. For someone like me, who actually likes to cook, I did the unthinkable: I ordered the deluxe turkey dinner package (serves 8 - 10) from the grocery store. It comes with all the side dishes except for salad and sweet potato casserole, so I can focus on keeping the house clean, beds made, and preparing those two dishes. That I can handle and still keep a smile on my face (and in my heart).

on the wall

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Small Batches

batches of 3
I'm sewing in small batches. Groups of three seem to be my sweet spot. Any more than that and I get overwhelmed by all the stuff surrounding me. I'm wondering if I need to find a way to raise my cutting table a bit higher. My back is sore from all the leaning over.

Not much to say today. I'm just chugging away.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ah, hemp

My order of hemp fabric came in. Lovely nubbiness. Nubby loveliness. This is going to line my bags.



Friday, November 13, 2009


Another Christmas present.

It's been decided. I'm going to work out all my kinks on Christmas gifts.
Come January I'm going to set up shop.
I think this was meant to be.
I get so giddy that I sometimes lose sleep over it.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Alrighty then. The stockings are done. I think I'm going to stuff them, sew them shut and string them on something shiny. That will be a project for another day. Because, frankly, I'm a little bored of them and am champing at the bit to work on some leather.

I'm in the process of making Christmas presents for friends and family. I so love working in a new medium and with my new machine. I've made some things I'm pretty happy with, but I'm in a quandry. It's hard to have a craft blog but have stuff that I can't blog about. I think the only way around that for me is to just take macro shots of things I've made without revealing too much about what they are or who they're for.

First up, this thinggy for a certain someone:straps on croc

Secondly, this other thinggy for someone else:suede zip
Wow, things are so mysterious around here. (rolling my eyes)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Advent Calendar

basket of stockings

Why, hello? I was reminded yesterday that I am hosting an advent calendar sew-along. Remember that post I did in January about not putting off working on advent calendars until November, blah blah blah!??? Ha! I should have known this year wouldn't be much different. OK. I think I've got about 6 stockings done, and I'm going to see if I can crank some more out this weekend. Are you with me?

The stocking pattern is here.
The flickr group is here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


juki juki bo buki
This thing is amazing. Soooo unbelievably amazing. Sorry for gushing. I can't stand when people show off on their blogs, but I'm not showing off, promise. I'm just in awe of what I have to work with and what those J*ki folks imagined and produced. To be honest, I'm rather scared of this machine.
It has a servo motor which, with the switch of a dial turns it down from going it's usual pace of oh, 2,500 stitches per minute, to make it slower and give it some torque (so that it can sew through thicker material--i.e. leather). But when I go slowly it complains b/c it wants to run (like my dog on a leash), and when it goes fast, it feels a bit like a runaway horse. I've learned already that I can't be wearing my D*nskos when I sew. I have to be in my stocking feet so that I have adequate friction and can feel how far I'm pushing the foot pedal. Every millimeter makes a difference. Touchy touchy.
I'm sensing a learning curve, but am so super excited!!! I've had lots of ideas floating around in my head that I haven't been able to execute b/c my old machine, try as it might, just couldn't do for m*. W*w! Another th*ng I learned--it's fun to substit*te rand*m letters with asterisks. Makes one's words rather sp*rkly, d*n't y*u th*nk? :)

p.s. Thanks for being excited along with me!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Days Later

two days later

Staying up late assembling.
Hoping I don't regret my decision to purchase over the web.
So far so good.
Not up and running yet.
Reservedly excited.
A wee bit overwhelmed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I've cleaned, sorted, and organized. I've arranged and rearranged. I've made the space. And now I wait.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tin Tin

Sewing room or studio? Studio sounds more stuck up, so I'm going to go with that! Ha ha!

It's funny, but sometimes I feel like my studio is like a little dreamworld for me. I get to merchandise it the way I want, like I'm a shop owner or something. Yeah, or something. :)

ribbon tin

I have a couple more studio pictures to post before the real mayhem begins. Now that I've got the room set up the way I like it, I need to make room for a table that's 48" x 20". I'm very excited, but for now, that's all I'm saying.

More studio pictures here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Showing My Drawers


There's a lot going on here behind the scenes (always is!). So for now all you get are these pictures. Have a wonderful day! :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009


This little box uses the same cuff method as found in the soft basket tutorial on the right sidebar. It whips up pretty quick, and I may have to make some more judging by the rate our game and puzzle boxes mysteriously go missing.

fabric box
puzzle holder

****Thanks for the comments on the messenger bag redo on the last post. If I make another one, I'll do a more complete tutorial. In the meantime, here it is in a nutshell: Use the stitch picker to remove the top panel. I smoothed the fabric out on top of the panel and carefully cut a slit for the zipper. I turned under the fabric surrounding the zipper and taped it in place with double-sided tape. Then I handstitched around the zipper. I basted the fabric onto the panel around the edges and then attached bias binding all around the perimeter by first machine stitching , flipping it over, and then hand stitching. Finally I sewed the panel back on the bag. Would love for you to drop me an email if you end up redoing a conference bag. :)