Sunday, May 19, 2013


{ stash}

 { found a perfect size box to store all the sewing tools for the trip}

 { basket almost empty}

 { Another box was found for the layer cakes, 
 Farmer's wife Sample blocks, 
stamp blocks, 
nd hourglass blocks}

 { sewing keeps everything going faster}

 { NEVER too many drawstring bags}

 { nearly empty}

{ Spring in ND}

A long spring walk was needed for S and I. We took a long walk yesterday afternoon before the storm came. The sky is grayish, but the tree buds are out and the spring is official here in ND.  We walked around the regular summer walk route and farewell to the houses that we loved and streets that we enjoyed.  It has been raining everyday and it makes everything cleaner and I am so glad that we will be able to see some greens before we head out.

The weather has been comfortable while packing away.  The University Ave is start looking fresh and bright with all the greens on the tree.  The main road we take to stores and S' school is under major construction now, so we have been taking detour road around the city.  It seems like we are visiting the city for the last few weeks that we are here. We drove by new neighborhoods that we normally don't pass by and discovered a little this and that. 

So many items are boxed up and ready to move into the truck! My slightly fear that maybe I will need to give up some items, but we'll see about that. It might be just me being so anxious and worry at the same time. 

We have so many drawstring bags that I made throughout the year that we've been traveling. They are perfect for everything and we need more! The plan is to make a few more for the shoes and a bigger size for laundry during the trip in next few days.

S and I have been enjoying our last weekending here and busy with a little more packing and cleaning. A week from today yesterday we hit the road. Many many { Thank you} for all your comments from last posts. All the best lucks are being collected and we'll take all the well wishes on our journey that is coming so soon!
I have just sign up for instagram and you can find me under {quarterinchmark}. I have a few posts there and see you soon~


Thursday, May 16, 2013

To Boston with LOVE

 { to Boston with Love}

The week has been slightly overwhelmed with packing and repacking. The fact is " wow, we are moving all these boxes with us". Little by little and all will come together~   Have you read from { Amy at During Quiet time} about { To Boston with Love} project. It has been the project that I thought I'd wait till finish up packing then start working on.  Yesterday morning, I revisited her blog and found out the flag needs to arrive on May 21st. That isn't too far away! I get my hands in this project late last night.

While packing away the sewing room, I found so many old projects that were tucked away. The small 8-point star block with paper templates were zipped in a small zippered bag and also found the very first mini quilt that I made with the same pattern back in 2005.

The 8-point star is hand-pieced, but my memory on the hand-piecing is a little vague. I used the 8-point star symbolized that Massachusetts was one of the first 13 colonies joined the United States. Whenever, I see an American Flag,  I feel love and heart.

This Flag will be in the mail today and hope to make it on time. 


Monday, May 13, 2013

Hourglass blocks: Travel tote & messenger bag

 ::: Hourglass Block::: { Travel Tote}
plus TOVA top # 6

 { Time to go!}

 { The tote's depth is deep}

{ simple compartments}

 { handle folding}

 { Easier for hands to hold the tote}

{drawstring closure for the tote}

{ Simple straight line quilting by sewing machine}

Sew many w.i.p. projects have completed since last few weeks. Over the weekending, I have focused on finishing the travel tote and S' messenger bag and two Tova tops.  Today I break the post into two sections, so I can chat about each project in details with you.

The { hourglass blocks travel tote} is made with varies prints that I have obsessed  loved; Sweet and modern and a little of retro colors. Some liberty lifestyle prints, old new 30's print by Lecien.  Suzuko Koseki prints, Architecture prints and most of fabric are found {here}, {here}, and {here} and [here}, too. These fabric shops are excellent in many way. I am into sweet berry prints lately, it must be spring...

In the past I made an { hourglass block patchwork handbag}. I drew all the lines on the fabric center. The fabric was dark, so it was challenge to make the line seen with pencil marking. Then I tried { hourglass block without marking} method. It is similar to the {double wedding ring quilt} that I made few years ago. Yes, washi tape and masking tape are quilters best friends. I use masking tape to secure the quilt backing on the floor, so it would lay flat without much shifting and wrinkle.

This travel tote is rather larger than { patchwork tote} I made awhile back. For traveling, I added the drawstring style for the closure, so it would keep some privacy.  You can find lining drawing style bag method in {Ayumi}'s new book { Patchwork,  Please}. Only I alter it with added additional lining for the top drawstring.  The only part that is unsatisfying for myself is I might have made the top pieces shorter by 2". 

For the handle part: for sure it took very long time to look for the right fabric for it! Something fun and something not too dark not too busy, I went with Suzuko Koseki's print to match S' messenger bag. I chose green. It turns out very simple and stands out from all the smaller prints that used in the front and back tote bag panels.  How do you make your handle for totes? I have fall in love with the style that shown from above image. It is so much easier for hands to hold the bag.

For the interior of the tote, It is fully lined with light weight fusible interfacing. Only have two compartments for phone, pens, and added small D ring for chain up the keys.  I always look for phone, pens, and keys. and with simple compartments help out this organization part. I have found myself not very needed the inner zippered compartment, so didn't add the inner zippered compartment for this tote.

Another {Tova top} is finished! It is made with {this print} and very comfortable in wear and it matches S' Tova top. For this Tova top, the sleeves cuffs were not added, so that leave much room in the elbow area.

::: Hourglass Block::: {Messenger bag} 
Plus TOVA top #3

  { Frame pouch for {Elnora} who spoiled S way much!}
{Zippered pencil pouch from {Kerry} who is too sweet always think of her}

The messenger bag for S is so fun to make, but between the w.i.p. time there were many changes and alternations made. As S grow a little older, her ideas are as important as I sew for her. She has ideas what she like to wear, what colors she likes, why is this print and not that print.  She almost designed this messenger bag for herself. S asked for privacy, so I talked about what tape of closure we could do for the bag; zippered,  Velcro,Loop button with elastic, drawstring style.. etc. But she asked if there's something like { this tote} I made for her. So we went for magnet closure which works out for perfect for her needs. 

Then she ask the strap style like her {Ukelele}. I had sewn the straps on before she came home from school, when she came home and tried it on and the strap was too long for her, so I added rectangle ring hardware to make the strap adjustable for her, but the hardware is much bigger than the strap width. It was the most closed size we could find near by. 

For the interior, the lining was used linen and cotton weight fabric, so it is a heavier weight fabric, so not need lining with interfacing. Interior of the bag added two compartments for S' {personal items}. As we travel oversea or flight domestic, I always have a small card of contact information, just in case something unexpected happen. 

For S' tova top:  Armholes are most challenging in alter patterns from adult wear to kid wear. I have always having hard time whenever I try to re-size the pattern. For the new Tova top, I raised the armholes by 1.5" higher and that made so much comfortable for S to lift her arms.  The top length is longer, so S can simple wear her summer leggings and have a little time to grow out of this outfit.

It has been fun to preparing the trip and getting anxious about it!  I hope to return {1/4" mark} for another post before our internet server goes down this coming weekending . There is a new {flickr group} for some scrap inspiration if you are so mad about your scraps, come join!

 If we didn't make it back here.. 
{Ciao} for now! 



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy mama's day

She has been busy like a spring bee. I have not been able to peek and check what she was up to last two weeks after school time. She spent some minutes outside..

She presented this very special gift to me this morning. She used found tree sticks to make a picture frame and made sure all the sticks are glued together, so they won't fall apart.  She made a very simple card for this frame. How I wish to hang this up for now on, but I found a little box for it. It will be safe and saved with all other items and wait for us to return. 

And in the other card she wrote:

my mom is good at many things, one thing she's best at is sewing bags and quilts big and small. 

Happy mama' Day 


Saturday, May 11, 2013


As of yesterday, May 10th I have finished my last school day . As of today, May 11th I have graduated from the university. It is amazing that the commitment I made three years ago have come to the end. It was hard to start with a new life in a new place when we first moved to ND.  I did not attended the commencement ceremony as today is S' last violin recital in her violin group. It is so much more important to give S her opportunity, since she has given her mama the greatest opportunity all this time.  We spent our morning at home in our favorite pants and planned our day then headed to the nursing home.

As always, S played beautifully even there were minor mistakes in the music notes. As a mama I am SO proud that she is getting the melody in her head and be confident as she went.  She has overcome her nerves on the stages and sharing her music with others.  Within last year and half she has moved from a 1/4 size violin to a 3/4 size violin.  She has gain so many positive gratitude in her life and more will come!

The {hourglass patchwork tote} is coming. It has not being forgotten! As you might know that I took another detour of Tova madness. Two match same Tova tops were made last few days.  S' travel bag is done! I made few adjustmentSs on her bag and got few material changes in the last minutes. She is loving it so much. She stuffed put her travel fund, notebook, pencil case and a camera in it and I think a book, too. As I was working on the tote, S was doing some trick to show me how she can hit a ball with her hand.. oh dear...

I did a little more experiment on the {hourglass block without marking}. This time, I took the extended sewing table away and taped the washi tape all the way down. It works! But the trick is must go slow! Let me know if this works for you if you don't have an extended sewing bed.

All is well! Thank you for all the kind and sweet messages!! Thank you for all the great supports! Friends, you really made today a bright and good day here~ 

Life is good, let's carry on~


Friday, May 10, 2013

Tutorial: Hourglass block without marking

Here is the tutorial to make { hourglass blocks without marking the fabric}. It is very accurate if you tape the washi tape/ masking tape straight and have the sewing machine set in 1/4" for seam allowance. This omit the drawing pencil lines on each square set and the process is quicker. I would recommend reduce sewing speed to half of your normal speed and avoid pulling fabric towards to you. Let the sewing machine take the fabric. It is similar method that I made for { double wedding ring quilt} by using washi tape/ masking tape as sewing guild line on the sewing machine. 

{ step 1 }

 {step 2}

 {step 3}

 {step 4}

 {step 5}

 {step 6}

 {step 7}

 {step 8}

 {step 9}

 {step 10}

 { step 11}

 { step 12}

 { step 13}

 {step 14}

 { step 15}

{step 16}

 { step 17}

 Enjoy hourglass blocks making~

Edit: as few of you comment that if the sewing machine doesn't have a extend sewing bed. Please try  tape all the way down the machine to the table top, as {jeifner} suggested! Let me know if that works for your machine.