Butterfly Geranium Tunic {or all geranium all the time}

Awhile back, I was sitting in the Pediatric ER's waiting room with enough nervous energy to build a house. It wasn't really a big deal. It was more like a comedy of errors that further reinforced Emma is my child. The short version is a solid ceramic cat water dish and a 4 year old's face cannot be BFFs. The gash was too close to the eye and too deep to glue at the urgent care center. So the ER was stop number two for the night.

While Emma was totally engrossed in Frozen {along with every other kid in the place} Instagram told me that a small fabric shop having a going out of business sale. So I did what any nervous fabric hoarder would do and bought some cute stuff. Everything I got was for the little one with the hole in her face. So it was totally appropriate!

The Llama Geranium for picture day was part of the haul. The other was this adorable butterfly and polka dot fabric from Riley Blake.

While it was defiantly heading to fall, I decided to sew up a very springy Geranium. I made the tunic length, with layering in mind. Emma gets tons of use out of this cute number, even in the dead of winter. And it should fit her well into summer!

Little man wanted in on the fun. He's not quite nine months old and is very convinced he can walk. He's cruising everywhere and falling because he keeps letting go. His sister walked right at nine months so I'm guessing he'll be on the run soon!


Llama Geranium for Picture Day

I feel like I could post for days on projects that never got blogged. Most are pretty small. Maybe I'll do a post with a bunch of them at some point. But this cute dress needed a post of its own! It's also a chronicle of some of Emma's favorite modeling poses. That kid!

I made it for Emma's picture day. I felt like that sort of occasion called for a special dress. Really, it was just an excuse to cut into the fun fabric! The fabrics are both Michael Miller. I could put llamas on everything!

The dress is a Geranium lengthened a bit {by accident} and with a more simple gathered skirt {out of laziness}. Plus, it's made with llamas. So it's just about the most wonderful thing ever!

Plus, there's heart snaps! Llamas and heart snaps. What could be better?

Here it is in action. No clue why she looks like she's winking in all of her pictures. But that smile!


Hexie Projects {or I'm buried in Hexies!}

If you're anything like me, once you started making hexies you couldn't stop. I have a pile of them forming. So now I need to figure out what to do with all of them. Here's eight wonderful projects to make with your growing stash!

Nicole at Modern Handcraft has made several versions of this Modern Hexie Quilt. It is just heaven in every hue. Maybe if I start now I'll have enough to make one by Christmas!

This tea towel is adorable. And likely being made for my husband's grandmother and aunts for Christmas. Mollie at Wild Olive has a great tutorial. I also think hexie hand towels would make a great hostess gifts!

This table runner is just adorable. I love how eclectic it could be. It would also be fun to have one for each season or holiday!

I'm starting to realize I need a way to travel with my hexies. I think this travel bag might just be the ticket. Patchwork Posse offers a free pattern and tutorial for this cute little bag.

Or maybe this sweet little caddy would be in order. Doe anyone have advice on how they travel with their EPP? Sewing Room Secrets does a full tutorial fpr.

This thread catcher is so cute. I really do need one. It seems like such a lame sewing project when there's so many dresses to sew. But I really should do some selfish sewing one of these days. And Melissa and Cornbread and Beans offers a wonderful tutorial.

Oh this adorable pillowcase! I would love a dozen of these! A Spoonful of Sugar Designs has a great tutorial for making these pillowcases. The pillowcases themselves are such a quick sew!

Hellen Phillips has a tutorial for this beautiful hexie pouch. I saw a lot of great hexie drawstring bags when I did Jenni Baker's Drawstring Pouch Swap. They make great use of scraps!


English Paper Piecing and Hexie Resources {or where I got started}

This year, I'm hoping to push myself to learn new techniques. I want to try new things rather than just sewing the same dress in different fabric. I also want to explore ways that I can create without being chained to my sewing machine. My machine is in the study, out of the way of the hustle and bustle of the house. It's great for getting stuff done. It can also be a wonderful break. But sometimes its really isolating.

First up on the new technique list was English Paper Piecing. Really, I just wanted to learn EPP to make hexies. They're so stinking cute! And all over the creative web I see people doing amazing things with them.

I figure I'm not the only one setting out on this hexie making journey. So, I wanted to share the resources I've found helpful.

When I started asking around about how to EPP, everyone said Bee in My Bonnet was the way to go. She has a very detailed set of tutorials that are a great place to start.

Christina at Sometimes Crafter has an amazing look at a whole bunch of different hexie techniques. It seems like everyone does something different. She compares a bunch of different options and reports back.

Ashley at Mommy by Day, Crafter by Night is what brought about all this hexie love on my part. I mean that flower garden quilt. Swoon! She shares 6 Must Have Tools for EPP. It's a great place to start figuring out what needs to be on your shopping list.

I've been playing with different stitches for joining my hexies. Anjeanette has a double whip stitch that looks great {but I'm super slow at}.

I love the idea of saving time. Heidi at Buttons and Butterflies shows how to baste the hexies all on the back side, without sewing into the paper. This makes it so you don't have to cut out stitches later.

I do love the idea of fussy cutting. What a fun way to show off beautiful pieces of fabric! Flossie Teacakes has a great tutorial, including the supplies you need.

Next up? Embroidery! Let me know if you have any great resources as to where to start!


Drawstring Bag Swap {more fun with swaps}

Remember how I said I had a swap addiction? Well this is the one that started it! Jeni Baker from In Color Order hosted a swap this summer for drawstring bags. It was such a fun, quick sew. I busted out my third grade sewing lessons for this guy.

An easy drawstring bag, some fun goodies, and off this darling went! These are all from the Target Dollar Spot. I wish I had picked up more of those giant paper clips!

The cute little bag I got has been holding my smaller sewing supplies as I truck them back and forth to sewing group!


Banner Adventure Swap Mini Quilt {or swap addict}

I've become a little too hooked on Instagram Swaps. I mean, they're just sooooo cool. You get to see a whole group of creative people running with a theme. You get to stretch your limits in making something for another person. Plus, a complete stranger stalks you and then makes something for you. Ok, that last part sounds a bit creepy. But it's awesome!

Last fall, I participated in a super cool swap hosted by @the_tattooed_quilter and @kidgiddy. It was a banner swap using April Rhodes fabrics. You had to use April Rhodes fabrics and include yarn, leather, beading, wood, or other dimensional items into your banner. Plus, you had to include a way to hang it.

This was my first time making a mini quilt. I was a much bigger fan of the mini than the full sized thing. Except for the small piecing thing. That sucked.

I went with a herringbone block. I wanted to feature a bunch of different fabrics. My {original} partner requested that I used fabrics from the Bound line. I read Stitched in Color's Herringbone Block tutorial and then just kind of winged it. I'm impressed how well my hoping for the best plan turned out.

I quilted using a similar wing it approach. I just did random wavy lines. Part way through I decided I wanted some contrast. So navy wavy lines happened.

I used braided yard and some fabric tabs to make the banner wall ready.

My original partner dropped out. So at the last hour I ended up sending this banner off to another participant. I sure hope she's enjoying it!

I may have gotten a little too hooked on IG Swaps. I'm signed up for way too many swaps: aprons, tote bags, Parks and Rec, Fancy Forrest, Music Lyric, probably another one I'm forgetting....oh dear! I need to get organized! Want to see my crazy swapping on IG? You can follow me @michaelamcbrown.


Photos of a Family of Four {or the beauty that is TEXgiving}

The week before Thanksgiving we revived one of my favorite traditions...TEXgiving. TEXgiving started the first thanksgiving we lived out here. My best friend and her little brother came and joined us for a weekend full of football, food, and watching a very, very tall 17 year old guy scare the living daylights out of Emma.

It's been a few years since TEXgiving had worked out. This time, that 17 year old boy came down from the University of Kansas where he's a senior. Ikes! I swear he's still 8! Oh, and Emma loves him! Wesley was even lukewarm.

The best part of this trip? A girls day! With kiddos at school or daycare, we ran errands, had an uninterrupted lunch, and day drank while we got manicures! Seriously...so amazing!

Plus, the ever talented Auntie was generous enough to take a break from vacation and put on her photographer hat. She got the first real family photos of our family of four. And I cried when I saw them. She caught these little moments that I am going to be forever grateful to have. She found silly faces from Wesley, a look that Emma always gives, and the sweetest interaction between a daddy and his little girl. My heart just bursts!

Ok, prepare for a picture overload from Elizabeth Cavagnaro Photography.

We also got a rocking Christmas Card out of the photo shoot!