Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My applique summer





Back in June, I shared some bags I appliqued with my children's first-name initials. I filled the bags with activities and snacks for the long car trip we took to Colorado for vacation. The bags were a big hit; the kids both liked having something personalized (they call them their "'L' and 'E' bags") and the bags kept them fairly well occupied in the car. My inspiration for the bags was the lovely Gillian, who makes beautiful appliqued items. I really enjoyed making the bags for my kids; it gave me a chance to use some favorite fabrics from my stash and also to practice my hand-stitching skills. The simple stitching was relaxing and gave the appliques a nice finishing touch.

Making these gifts for my children gave me a lot of satisfaction and I decided to spread the joy to other kids we know. We have attended several birthday parties this summer and I opted to give each birthday child a handmade gift, along with books, which are my favorite thing to gift on a child's birthday. Books were some of my best-loved childhood gifts and I still have many of them, some with inscriptions inside and others with pretty bookmarks still enclosed. I don't know that these children will treasure their book gifts the way I have, but I'm happy to try.

The three bags here were made for little girls turning five, seven and nine, respectively. The seven- and nine-year-old girls happen to be sisters, and I didn't want to give them anything too similar; the younger girl got the strawberries, the older the green pear. The blue apron was given to a little boy who turned five, and whose first name begins with L. I wanted all of these items to be fun, playful and bright, and I had a lot of fun raiding my fabric and embroidery floss stashes to come up with good color combinations and pretty designs.





I used Heat N Bond to fuse the cut-out fabric shapes to the bags or apron. I really enjoy using this stuff; it fuses very quickly with a medium-hot iron. I tend to keep the iron on the piece just slightly longer than the instructions specify. I think my iron might be running a little cool these days as it's getting old. But my approach seems to work fine; the applique is securely bonded and there hasn't been any damage to the fabrics. I knot the embroidery floss at the end before stitching to make it more secure and I tie it off before cutting it. Hopefully it will stand up to normal kid-use.

The books I gave were age-appropriate fiction, except in the case of the little boy and his apron; he got a copy of a cookbook we really love in our house, Betty Crocker Kids Cook! He is the GB's special little friend from preschool and we know that he really loves to help in the kitchen. I was so happy when he put his new apron on right away as soon as he opened our gift, and wore it for the rest of the party! The other children liked their gifts too. I'm really glad I decided to make gifts instead of buying them. I love learning how to do something new and I'm enjoying this new skill a lot. I'm on a roll, I'm an appliqueing machine; there's no stopping me now!

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Can I just say how OVERLY EXCITED I am about the Royal Baby? I checked the news approximately every five minutes all day on Monday and I watched the live feed from the hospital yesterday while I ate my lunch. They looked so incredibly happy. Kate looked beautiful as always, but especially for having just given birth. And I was very impressed with the way William deftly placed the baby's carseat in the car. He looked like an old pro. It took us weeks to do it right every time when we had our first baby. Congratulations to them and to my bloggy sisters across the pond.

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Thank you for your comments and kind words about my home-"improvement" project. It's much better now. The carpet was laid on Monday. Leaky pipes were fixed the same day. The sheet-rock guys were here yesterday and are back today, repairing the place in the wall which needed to be opened to fix the pipes. Luckily, we've had very professional, competent workers on the job. More on this saga (with photos!) coming soon...

30 comments:

  1. Jennifer,

    I love the bags sooooo much! And I always give boooks as gifts too. I really need to have a go during the holidays. I am limiting myself to two (I know I said one) posts a week, beacue I want to keep up with the happy post and I thought I could insorporate most of my week into it.

    Us Brits are notorious for not getting excited about something until it actually happens. We loved the Olympics, but didn't go crazy until the opening ceremony. The lead up to the Royal baby ahs been pretty low key in the press here, but has gone mad in the past couple of days. Even my anti-Royalist friend Liz is debating possible baby names!

    I think after the death of Diana, the British press left William and Harry alone to grive and grow away from the public eye as much as possible. That tradition has continued with Will & Kate too. I thought she looked lovely, although some wag wondered whether she had come onto the steps of the hospital in her dressing gown! She is very beautiful. He is very popular here (as is his brother, but for slightly different reasons...)

    Phew long post.

    Once again, gorgeous!

    Leanne xx

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  2. HI Jennifer I love your applique work. I have won some fabric in a giveaway and am thinking of doing some.Still trying to work out exactly what and for whom though!
    Yes, very exciting about the royal baby.Cant say my husband is thrilled though, he doesnt appreciate our royal family as much as I do. Can I just say we agree to differ?!

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  3. I love your applique bags. Great idea to personalise your gifts makes them extra special! I think a lot of people have enjoyed some good news with the royal baby being born. I agree totally with what Leanne said above. They are such a lovely natural couple. :-)x

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  4. They look so lovely and very effective...very summery.

    Nina x

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  5. Okay. I'll put my order in now, I want 2 of every design :)
    They are absolutely precious, I hope you put these on pinterest Jennifer... they are gorgeous!
    Tammy x

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  6. Jennifer, these are so pretty - you have such a talent! It's so nice to make your own gifts for people. I would love to do it more, but I just don't have the confidence. I need to practise more! Oh yes, the royal baby - George, such a good name for a future king. I loved it when William was holding the baby, then fitted the car seat and drove them home! It brought a tear to my eye. They seem like such a genuine couple, such a special moment for them. Xx

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  7. I love your applique bags. Top quality ! What thoughtful gifts.

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  8. Wow the bag are great I really love the Strawberry one the best.
    Clare x

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  9. Jennifer, I think your bags turned out great! I love the Strawberry one! Super cute. :)

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  10. Hello again Jennifer

    I have now reached "the end". Actually the ongoing, but from your first to most recent post, this one is currently "the end"! Your blog is lovely, your writing style is great. I have no idea how you sound, but I can hear your voice in my head as I am reading. I especially love the sewing projects, I wish that I could crochet like you, but I cannot even knit. Oh well, I can just admire your work without the struggle of doing it myself.

    Sorry this is a bit of a ramble. Just wanted to say how lovely it has been to read your work and get a glimpse of your life and times.

    Looking forward to reading some more!

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  11. Nice stitching, beautiful work!

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  12. I love this style of applique - where the short stitches show all around the piece. You did a lovely job - and I can just picture the kids beaming over their bags because everything inside was put their just for them by a loving mommy!
    I saw Prince William deftly handle that baby seat too and it made me smile. A future king - popped into the back seat of a car by daddy just like every other little boy who wasn't born already having his job decided for him!

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  13. You continue to amaze me with your industriousness! We're relaxing from our trip to the beach. I love your bags and the pear is so clever with the lighter color making a slice out of it! Bravo! They will be welcome gifts. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  14. They look great, my girlfriend did something similar when my son was little and he used it as a library bag for years.

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  15. Beautiful appliqué, gorgeous gifts Jennifer, you are so full of wonderful ideas and carry them through so well! You inspire me every time I look at your lovely posts, thank you!
    I am thrilled for the 'Royals' but a tear comes to my eye (seriously), each time I think of Diana; so sad she had to miss this, she would have been such a proud Mum and Grandma'!
    Glad to hear things have settled a bit on the 'homefront'!
    Joy x

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    Replies
    1. Joy, I totally agree about Diana. I miss her and I know she would have been thrilled by the baby and would have loved Kate.

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  16. I really love it when my children receive handmade gifts. The thought that goes into crafting them makes them very special. Paired with books - that's the best.Jayne

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  17. Kudos Jennifer...well done!

    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  18. Gorgeous bags and apron, these are really lovely. I love doing appliqué too, it's such a satisfying craft. Lovely gifts with the books too. Perfect!
    Glad things are working out with the home improvements.
    Marianne x

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  19. Awsome Jennifer, I love applique and used to do heaps when mine kids were small,
    may have to do something for the little grandbabies ☺

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  20. I love how you have made such meaningful gifts! I'm sure the bags/apron and books will still be used long after many of the other gifts have been cast aside.

    That's funny you mentioned that about Prince William being so good with the car seat. My son was just telling me how long it took for him to get the car seat in their vehicle for him to bring Diana and Lucy home from the hospital. :-)

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  21. Look wonderful! I really love the pear design x

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  22. The strawberries are so cute, love it!

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  23. Love the bags Jennifer, you've been very busy- Will definitely catch up with reading the rest of your goings on:)

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  24. What lovely gifts, that's so thoughtful. I was pretty excited to hear the news about the baby on Monday too. I'm glad to hear your home improvement dramas are ending. X

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  25. Oh, the bags are so darling! The strawberry design is my favorite. I was so excited to hear about the royal baby boy on Monday and I love his name. Will and Kate are going to be such wonderful parents! Can't wait to see some of the first baby photos!

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  26. That's such an awesome idea! And I love the idea of giving kids books. Gadgets overrule way too much these days. Your bags really make me want to try out some sewing. I guess I'm going to need to learn to use an iron soon!

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  27. Love those strawberries so simple but effective. Thanks for always calling in to my blog. Jo x

    http://joeveryday19.blogspot.co.uk

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  28. That pear applique is about the cutest thing I've seen. Just adorable. I'm envious of your craftiness. Wish I had a little more natural ability. I just steal other peoples' ideas off the internet. :-) Might have to try this one, too.

    L.

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