2015 ~ A Year in Review

2015 Year in Review : Fresh Lemons Quilts

It’s the last day of 2015! The last two weeks have gone by in a blur. My parents came to visit for Christmas, then we went out of town with more family for a post-Christmas trip to Michigan. For those who were curious, my kids loved their Maker’s Totes. I love the holidays, but I am always ready for the calm that January brings.

I thought it would be fun to do a little 2015 wrap up, and then look forward to 2016. I made 11 quilts in 2015.

2015 Year in Review : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Five were gifts: Hanna Hearts, Spidey, Scrappy Kaleidoscope, Home Run, and Nautical.

Two were quilt alongs: Scrap Plus and Snowflake.

Two were for new patterns in my shop: Poinsettia and Four Square.

I also sewed quite a few bags in 2015. All but one of these comes from a pattern by Noodlehead…I guess you can say I’m a fan!

2015 Year in Review : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Besides the Scrap Plus and Snowflake quilt alongs, I also created a few additional tutorials for all of you: Star Bunting, Posy Strip Pillow, and the Fresh Spool Series.

Fresh Spool Series : Fresh Lemons Quilts

My kids started their very first quilting bee ~ Not Your Mama’s Bee. It’s been a fun experience creating with them every month!

Not Your Mama's Bee : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I continued to enjoy the honor of being a BERNINA Ambassador, and contributing a bit on the We All Sew blog. A vintage friend also joined my family – my “new-to-me” Singer Featherweight.

Singer Featherweight: Fresh Lemons Quilts

Of course, as always, I had much bigger plans in my head for the year. But I am happy with what I accomplished. For next year, I hope to share more quilts, more patterns, more quilt alongs, more tutorials…simply put, more bright, fresh inspiration! I hope you will continue to follow along. You can always sign up for email notifications so you don’t miss a post.

I want to thank all of you for visiting this year. This blog of mine had over 2.6 million pages loaded in 2015! I am continually humbled by your support and kind words as I share my quilting journey. Here’s to a great 2016!

Maker’s Tote Take Two : Star Wars Edition

Maker's Tote Take Two : Star Wars Edition : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I promise that it is a complete (happy) accident that I am sharing a Star Wars project with you on Star Wars day. Hopefully you all didn’t think you would escape the frenzy of the latest Star Wars movie coming out today by visiting a quilting blog. 😉 What can I say? I have a 6 year old boy who loves all things Star Wars. Did I also mention his favorite color is orange? Those two facts make me certain he is going to love his Maker’s Tote on Christmas morning.

Maker's Tote Take Two : Star Wars Edition : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This is the second Maker’s Tote (pattern by Noodlehead) that I’ve made, and it went much faster this time around. I made them back-to-back so I wouldn’t forget the pattern. On this tote, I made the same minor adjustments/personalizations to the pattern – you can find the details listed in this post. I did have an “opps” this time though. I accidentally put the zipper pocket on the outside 1″ too low. That’s what comes from thinking you have the whole thing memorized and moving too fast! Probably not a huge deal though, I am certain my son won’t notice.

Maker's Tote Take Two : Star Wars Edition : Fresh Lemons Quilts

For my fabric selections, I used a variety of Star Wars prints.

Outer Fabric : Star Wars Comic Strip by Camelot Fabrics
Inner Lining : Essex linen yard dyed in Black by Robert Kaufman
Pockets and Outer Sides : Star Wars, The Force Awakens, Logo in Orange by Camelot Fabrics
Binding : Star Wars, The Force Awakens, Logo in Stone by Camelot Fabrics

Maker's Tote Take Two : Star Wars Edition : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The outer print is…well…pretty loud. I joked that I felt like Chewie was yelling at me the entire time I was sewing this tote. Sometimes you just have to sew for the recipient though, am I right?

Maker's Tote Take Two : Star Wars Edition : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I attempted to calm down the “excitement” of the fabric by throwing in the Essex linen. I think that does help. Just like with my daughter’s tote, I made the small size and feel like it holds enough for kids – markers, coloring books, headphones, some games and toy figures. I mentioned last week that on this tote, I was planning on raising the inner zipper closure about 1/4″ so that it would better accommodate an 8-1/2″ x 10″ coloring book. I did that and it works great. If I were to make a third, I might get even more greedy and raise it another 1/4″. :)

Maker's Tote Take Two : Star Wars Edition : Fresh Lemons Quilts
Darth Approves

As a last minute idea, I also decided to make my kids little vinyl fronted zipper pouches to coordinate with their Maker’s Totes. I sort of just made this up as I went, clearly feeling confident after making a few Noodlehead bags lately!

Maker's Tote Take Two : Star Wars Edition : Fresh Lemons Quilts
Chewie still yelling at me

I used 16 gauge vinyl on the front. The fabric you are seeing is actually through the front of the pouch. It’s a bit easier to see on my daughter’s finished pouch, with the markers zipped inside.

Maker's Tote Take Two : Star Wars Edition : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I think they turned out pretty cute, and will be great additions to their Maker’s Totes. It’s something they can put a few markers inside and bring into restaurants (or any other “boring” location) when we go out.

Maker's Tote Take Two : Star Wars Edition : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I can’t wait to see their reactions – one more week!

Stitching Here and There

Crosses and Losses quilt blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Only 10 days until Christmas, and I have only spent a bit of time here and there at the sewing machine. I did knock out a few more Crosses and Losses blocks. This has been a fun project on the last few rainy (but warm!) days. They certainly are bright!

Crosses and Losses quilt blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I also have been working on Christmas gifts. Last week I shared my daughter’s Maker’s Tote with you (thank you all for your nice comments!!). This week I plan on taking pictures of my son’s tote. He’s a huge Star Wars fan, so the fabric choice was a no brainer.

Crosses and Losses quilt blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Can I just say how much I love these Clover Wonder Clips for bag making? They hold thick layers together so easily. I first started out pinning all these crazy pieces together and after much frustration – and bleeding – I switched to the Wonder Clips. It made for a much more pleasant experience.

I’m planning on trying to make a couple zip pouches today to coordinate with these totes.

Are you making something handmade for the holidays? I’d love to hear what you have planned!

Maker’s Tote ~ A Finish

Maker's Tote, pattern by Noodlehead : Fresh Lemons Quilts

My first Maker’s Tote (pattern purchased from Noodlehead) is officially finished. I think my daughter is going to love it! Anna’s pattern comes with directions in two sizes, a small and a large. This is the small, but as you can see, it still fits a lot of stuff! I loaded it with things my daughter likes to take on trips – headphones, markers, a book, a sketchpad, a stuffed animal…no problem fitting it all and zipping it up. I also can just squeeze in an 8-1/2″ x 10″ coloring book. On my son’s tote, I’m raising the zipper 1/4″ to make it a bit easier to fit.

Maker's Tote, pattern by Noodlehead : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This was a fun pattern to make. I can always count on Anna to challenge me, in a good way. With this bag, I successfully completed two new-to-me zipper installations.

Maker's Tote, pattern by Noodlehead : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The first was this zipper in the middle of the outer panel. I was so nervous to cut into my fabric, as I had just spent a really long time getting it ready with all the quilting. But it worked!

The second was the top zipper, installed with zipper tape. It was much easier than I anticipated! One of the reasons I decided to do quilt-as-you-go on the outer fabric was I wanted to camouflage the two horizontal zipper tape stitching lines that appear on the outside of the tote. I think it worked – you can hardly notice them.

Maker's Tote, pattern by Noodlehead : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I left off the outer snap pocket on my Maker’s Totes. My kids seem genuinely confused by why they would need snap pockets on their Cargo Duffles. So I decided not to bother this time, even though I think they are adorable.

Maker's Tote, pattern by Noodlehead : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I mentioned a few details in my progress post earlier this week, but in case you missed that, here is a summary of the fabrics and minor changes I made to the pattern.

Fabrics
Outer : Carrie BloomstonPaint fabric line – Brushes in Inky
Lining : Carrie BloomstonStory fabric line – Stars in Hot Pink
Pockets : Carrie BloomstonPaint fabric line – Palette in Spackle
Trim : Carrie BloomstonPaint fabric line – Patina in Aqua

Modifications
1. Quilt as You Go for the outer panels. I quilted directly onto the interfacing specified in the pattern.
2. Added stitched lines 5/8″ apart on the inner flat pocket to create a marker holder.
3. Left off the outer snap pocket.
4. Finished the handles by stitching straight lines 1/4″ apart and leaving them flat.

Maker's Tote, pattern by Noodlehead : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This first tote probably took me about 8 hours total for cutting, quilting and assembling. This was my first time reading the pattern, so that always takes time. The quilt-as-you-go step that I added was a significant chunk of time, as was the stitched lines for the marker holder. The binding took an hour or so to stitch on as well.

I’ve made a second tote already for my son (will share next week), and it probably took 5 hours total So I’m getting faster! I definitely recommend the Maker’s Tote pattern if you have a few bags under your belt and are looking for a great handmade gift – for a friend or yourself!