or, “the best of both worlds.”  or, “two worlds, one family.”  or, “night and day.”  however I label it, this break has been two weeks of opposites.

last week, I was SUPER productive.  I went to manhattan and did so much sewing my machine had to go to the sewing machine doctor.  this week, I did NOTHING.  both were pretty awesome.

so when I went to manhattan, I did a crap ton of sewing.  I handmade a lot of my gifts this year and I was pretty pleased with the results.  we got out of school so early since christmas was on a sunday, so I had a solid week to do a lot of sewing and crafting.  my sewing machine made it almost all the way through everything before deciding it was done and I was working it too hard.  which was annoying, but I had the most important stuff done and it wasn’t too big a deal.  (I took it in to quilter’s haven a few days ago and now she is good as new.  I do love quilter’s haven, they are so good to me, so even if I am annoyed about how much it costs to get a machine serviced these days, I do think it’s important to support your LQS.  they have helped me out many times with minor issues for free, and I used their work space all the time, so I guess it’s not too big a deal to pay them for something for once).

first on the agenda was shopping bags!  I used this pattern and it was okay.  it makes a nice finished product, but I’m not terribly impressed with the pattern itself.  I don’t know how much I should really judge it though, since I hardly ever work from patterns.  so my pattern-following-skills are probably not up to par.  there were a lot of little quirks, and a lot of instructions that I had no idea how to follow.  I would have been pretty lost without being able to ask a pro like lindsey.  I will say, however, that following a pattern involves a lot of problem-solving skills, and I have little confidence that patterns like this will survive my students’ generation.  I feel like I have pretty strong problem-solving skills, and if patterns like this are difficult for me, there is no way my students would have the perseverance to make it through.  anyways.  it was nice that I was making five of them, so I could do things one step at a time over and over again.  (this is a strategy I teach my students and it is a good life lesson too.  if you are annoyed or getting frustrated by the tedious problems you are working on, do them one step at a time instead of one problem at a time. do the first step for every problem, then go back and do the second step for every problem, and so on.  that way you will get really good at each step and mastery will be easier.  [sorry to get all teacher-y on you today, I guess I am ready to go back to work!])  so the cutting out of the pattern pieces didn’t bother me as much as it usually does.  I also lined them with muslin, because it makes them much sturdier.  (lindsey made me one for my birthday last year and I LOVE it, and the lining is my favorite part because it makes it feel so much stronger and makes me want to use it more).  I DID NOT enjoy all the freaking bias tape I had to use.  it was very tedious and even though I got pretty good at it I never really enjoyed it.  I would say the bags were a big hit!  I forgot to take a picture of most of them before they got wrapped up, but most of them were the same fabrics from the bibs (that you’ll see below).  I did get a picture of scott’s (the crazy blue one) and one of david’s (he got two).

the blue one is from amy butler’s new line and I thought it wasn’t too girly.  the fabric for david’s is my favorite.  it has pictures of fake money (with presidents on it!  what?) from the world’s fair.  how is this a thing?  it cracks me up.  it also reminds me of the wallpaper we had in our bathroom growing up, so it is pretty sentimental.

next up was an arsenal of bibs and burp cloths.  I whipped these out pretty fast because I did all the cutting one day and sewed them up the next.  I have made these before, and I still love them just as much.  effy is so awesome.  she is so adorable and has so much personality already.  and I think before too long she’s going to have some teeth, because she is little miss drooly pants.  so the bibs are definitely starting to get more use.   and they are so freakin cute.  (bib pattern here, burp cloth “tutorial” here).

I messed around a lot with different types of quilting.  that is my favorite thing about making bibs, you can experiment with crazy stuff and not care too much if it turns out weird because its chief purpose is to get dirty.  on the crazy blue one I did some free-motion quilting, which I am still not very good at.  I need more practice.  this blue one is everyone’s favorite.  (this is also the fabric that I used to make a shopping bag for my grandma.  it reminds me of her, specifically of the sheets that were on her bunk beds when we would go stay with her when I was little).

on several of them I did some outline quilting, which was tedious (more so on some than others) but SO pretty.  this one turned out to be my favorite.  I like the little details, something I’m not usually very good at, so it’s nice to have a project where I can be good at them.

and don’t they look so pretty all boxed up?

I had the stuff cut out to make six burp cloths, but I only got through three before my sewing machine said “no more!” so I’ll finish the others pretty soon here.  they are such an easy little project and my sister tells me they’re so handy.

up last on the homemade plate was a few little things more for effy.  lindsey was making some of these little booties for her new niece and I just about died when I saw them.  so I found the etsy shop where she bought the pattern and went nuts.  seriously people, these little projects were so fun and so satisfying.  it was nice to pick up my crochet hook again, I really do enjoy it.  people have baby fever right now, and I’m thinking I might crochet a blanket or two instead of doing all quilts.  the headbands take all of 20 minutes and you can knock out the booties in a hour or two (the finishing takes a little time, adding the buttons and such was not my favorite part).    and for real.  are these booties not the cutest things you have ever seen in your life?

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