Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Wedding Scrapbook for Sarah

Last week I sat down with my new My Memories software and made some scrapbook pages.  At first I didn't know what occasion to scrapbook, since to be honest I don't have very many photos of my husband and I, we just never seem to take any photos with us in them.  But then I got thinking and decided that the pages didn't have to be for me, I could make pages for someone else.

So here are the pages I whipped up for my friend Sarah of her wedding day.  Forgive the photo quality, these images are ones we took ourselves on our little old digital camera before it dies on us and we got our big fancy DSLR.

I love that I can use any font or color I want to make my own word art.  The color I chose was called "honeydew", and it matches all of the stitching details and embellishments throughout the project.
The transparency feature was really nice.  I love how the background behind the "I Do" looks like it's made out of vellum. 

I love how easy it was for me to whip these up.  This would be a great gift for busy people who don't have time to sit down and scrapbook, since all they have to do is pull up the program on their computer and a few clicks later they can have a scrapbook.

There's still time to enter my giveaway for a free copy of the My Memories software I used to make these pages!  Just follow the directions at the bottom of this post and enter away!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's Been Crazy Over Here

Crazy things have been going on over here at my house and as a result I've been delayed in posting the scrapbook pages I made with the My Memories Software.  Because of that I've decided to extend my My Memories Giveaway an additional week.  The new deadline to comment to enter to win your own copy of My Memories is Sunday September 18 at midnight, and I'll pick a winner on the morning of the 19th.  Happy Commenting!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Memories Giveaway!

For the last week and a half I've been playing with a new toy that's making scrapbooking tons of fun... the My Memories Software Suite.  

The folks over at My Memories sent me a free version of the software to try out and I've been loving it, plus they've given me the OK to pass along my good fortune to one of my readers who will also receive a free copy of the software, as well as a promotional code STMMMS51174 for $10 off the cost of the software for anyone who wants to check it out.

Before I start telling you about all the fun I've been having with it let me tell you what My Memories is.

From the My Memories website:
"My Memories Suite version 2 software is a complete digital scrapbooking solution that provides a powerful set of creative tools and multiple sharing options that no other software can offer. Its intuitive workspace and enhanced time-saving features are perfect for a beginner to build an entire album in minutes, or to empower the design pro to build a scrapbook album masterpiece."
To be completely honest with all of you I haven't been a traditional paper and glue scrapbooker for long, in fact I only completed my first scrapbook in May while I was away at a scrapbooking retreat, but I've already noticed that there are a few negatives to traditional scrapbooking that the My Memories Software completely eliminates.  

1. Sharing.  Traditional paper scrapbooks can't be shared digitally (at least not well), but a digital scrapbook made with the My Memories software can be shared with friends and family around the world and it looks AMAZING!  Plus I can add music and videos right into the pages to make them interactive, something definitely not available with traditional scrapbooks.

2. Sizing, Printing, Cutting. With a traditional scrapbook you have to size photos, print them, and cut them down, but with the My Memories Software you can add photos, crop them, edit them, and change your mind and switch them out all in one easy step.

3. Reusable. With traditional scrapbooking you have to be worried about running out of supplies, but with the My Memories Software you can reuse papers and embellishments as many times as you want.

4. Ease of shopping.  With the My Memories Software if you realize that there's an element you need for your project you can easily pull up the My Memories website and find whatever you are looking for and download it right to your computer for a fraction of the price you would spend on traditional supplies, plus there's no need for a trip to the store.

5. No Mess!  Since everything is digital there's no pile of scraps to pick up, and it's super easy to resume a project where you left off, there's no need to haul a huge pile of supplies out of the closet every time you want to work on it, in fact there's no need to store supplies at all!

Okay, enough of the perks of the My Memories Software over traditional scrapbooking. Let's get to the nitty gritty of using the software.  Downloading the My Memories Software from the website was a breeze, and unlike other software out there it's available for both PCs and Macs.  And your computer doesn't need to be a super fast top-of-the-line computer, I downloaded my software onto my old PC and it runs beautifully. In addition to the software I also purchased several templates and papers from the site, including "Stamp Cluster", "Celebrate", "Magic Fall Papers", "So Boy Papers", and "Live, Laugh, Love", and downloading them into the software took only a few clicks, and when I opened up the software everything I purchased was right there for me to use. 

The actual interface of the software is straightforward and easy to use, with a very minimal learning curve.  With the features included in the software it's easy to build your own project or use one of their designer templates, and they even have an auto-fill option where you select the images and they plug them into the template for you.  For the calendar I made and included in my post yesterday I used their calendar grid templates and added embellishments and word art to make it special.  In addition to the calendar, I used the software to make my new blog header, and to scrapbook a few pages for my friend Sarah's wedding, which I'll be featuring in an upcoming post.

Now onto the negatives.  Not everything about any particular software can be perfect, and I'd be pretty biased if I pretended that it was.  Some features that I think could enhance the My Memories software include a merge feature.  It would be nice to be able to merge layers while working on a project to make it so that there isn't a need to move all the layers when you decide to move an element from the top of the page to the bottom.   Another feature that would be nice is if you could change the color of the embellishments, or at least the text elements.  As it is the only things you can do to change the elements is change the size, the opacity, and rotate it.  The final critique I have of the software is that it would be nice if they bundled the downloads.  Currently when you download your embellishments you purchase from the website you download each individually, but when you purchase 10 or so at one time downloading each individually can take time.  It would be nice if the website bundled your purchase so that only one download was needed.

Okay, now onto the good stuff... the giveaway!  My Memories has offered to give a free copy of the software to one of my blog readers, and has offered a special promo code for $10 off the cost of the software for the rest of the readers.  To be entered into the giveaway please visit the My Memories Website and tell me what scrapbooking or embellishment kit you'd like to start scrapbooking with, and what kind of project you'd make.  For a second entry follow my blog, or tell me if you're already a follower, and for a third entry blog, facebook, or twitter about this giveaway and let me know that you did, and please leave every entry as a separate comment on this post.

The giveaway will be open until 11:59 PM Pacific Standard time on Sunday the 18th.  I'll draw the winner on Monday morning and send the winner their code for their copy of the My Memories Suite software.  If you can't wait and want to get a copy of the software for yourself right away then you can purchase it at www.MyMemories.com and enter the code STMMMS51174 to get $10 off the purchase price of $39.97.

So that's it!  I hope while you're over at the My Memories website you take your time and look around a bit, they have quite a large amount of cool stuff over there.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Chenille Quilt and a New Calendar

Over the weekend I completed my second chenille blanket.  I completed my first one over the summer for my friend's little boy. After seeing this tutorial at the Aesthetic Nest Blog for a chenille blanket I wanted to give it a shot.  I had no idea how much time it would take to sew all of the lines and cut all of the channels with scissors, but when it was done and it came out of the dryer it was amazing, even though I couldn't feel my thumb for weeks after all of the cutting. 
my first chenille quilt

Since the first one was such a success and since I was given an Olfa chenille cutter as a present from my aunt Christine I decided to give making a chenille quilt another go.  Last Black Friday I spent hours at Joanns with my mother in law, and one of the fabrics I picked up was a blue flannel with blue VW bugs all over it, and I bought it with my uncle Lance in mind since he's in love with his restored baby blue '73 VW bug, so a chenille blanket for his birthday using the flannel was perfect. 
I paired the flannel with three solids, a dark blue, a light blue, and a light grey.  After layering them I pulled out my cone of blue thread and walking foot and started sewing. 
And sewing...
Until the sewing stopped.  Or I should say, until I bent my last sewing machine needle.
And the sewing ground to a halt.
But then the hubs ran out and got me a new set of machine needles, and the sewing continued.  
The sewing part of the project lasted as long as it had my first time making a chenille quilt, but the cutting portion was a breeze using the chenille cutter.  Unfortunately it was at this point in the process that my camera pooped out and so I don't have any pictures of what the quilt back looked like cut or after it had been washed. And since it was a birthday present for my uncle I had a timeline for when I had to give it away, so I wasn't able to get a picture of it before it went to him, though he did promise to snap a photo of it when he got a chance.

Another project I whipped up this week was a birthday card for my aunt.  She's been wanting new curtains for her living room and so for her present I'm going to make them for her.  Since I didn't have anything to physically give her for her birthday I wanted to make her a card that symbolized the gift.  The idea I had was to make a card with a window on the front, and make a curtain on the window.  Yeah, pretty cheezy, but I liked the way it turned out.

For the message part of the card I decorated the edges with stitching.  To get even stitching I ran the edges under my machine with the stitch length set to 5 with no thread in the needle, so basically I punched holes evenly along the edges, and then went back with my embroidery thread and needle and threaded the thread through the pre-punched holes.

Now onto the surprise.  Tomorrow I'll be hosting my first giveaway!  Since I'm also a big fan of papercrafts in addition to sewing the team at My Memories gave me a free copy of their My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software and I've been having fun playing with it.  

The first project I made with it is a calendar.  I'm a big fan of staying organized, so it's important to me that I remember all my appointments, and for that a calendar is necessary.
I made this September calendar a few days ago using the software and I loved it.  It was so easy to use, and had so many fun options.  The version I made myself included my appointments and reminders on it, but I wanted to post a blank version of it here in hope that some of you might be able to use it as well.

Check back here tomorrow for the official launch post of the My Memories giveaway and my review of the software, and check back in the following days for a few more projects I've done using it!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Hexi Journal all for me!

I've been seeing a lot of hexagon sewing recently and thought it looked very relaxing. Since 90% of the sewing I do requires me to sit in front of my machine or at my cutting table for long hours the idea of having a project that was portable that I could do while sitting on the couch seemed very enticing. In July when the Hex-a-long over at Lily's Quilts and Gayle Brindley's Blog started I was too busy to start a new quilting project so I didn't commit to the Hex-a-long, but the idea stuck with me to one day give it a try.

Now I don't know how many of you have seen me say in this blog that I come up with most of my own patterns for what I make, but that's the case.  I've never actually followed a pattern for any quilt I've ever made, and even when I make something like a doll from out of a book I normally only follow the pattern so far and then go my own way.  Well, to keep track of all of the patterns I make and all the designs I come up with I decided to put them all in a journal, and my husband lovingly obliged me and went out and bought me a graph paper composition book.  And since no journal is complete without a cover, I saw an opening for my hexi project.

A few months ago I won a charm pack of  some "It's a Hoot" fabric and so I thought I'd use that.  I used the incompetech website to make my hexagons, and since I didn't know what size to make them I made them two inches (seems about right, right?). Well, they turned out a little bit on the large size, but that's okay, since it was a learning experience.

Cutting the fabric and basting them to the paper templates was super easy and stress-free.  Since I don't like to waste fabric instead of making a bunch of full hexis and trimming them to make my rectangle, I made some half hexis.  They were easy enough to do, but in the future I might just suck it up and make them all full hexis, that way I'd have more freedom about placement.
I fussy cut the one owl that I had in the charm pack.  All of the other squares that should have had an owl had half an owl, or the ear of an owl... only the red and yellow colorway cut had the whole owl.
Sewing them together was easy.  I've done enough hand sewing that matching lines and getting the corners tight wasn't too much of a challenge.  And sewing them while the templates were still there made it that much simpler since they were nice and crisp and easy to work with.
Finding a color to make the rest of the journal was difficult.  It couldn't be white, and I didn't have the right off-white.  I didn't want it to be red or yellow since that would make it too bright.  I finally settled on grey.  I can always count on grey.

I made some triangles to fit snugly with the hexagons out of the grey and attached them, and then since my hexagons weren't quite tall enough for my journal I bordered it with some strips of the grey.
 For the rest of the journal I did some simple piecework.  I thought I'd give myself a chance to make a title for the journal so I left a little patch of light color on the front. 
To balance the patch I made another border strip, and then to add interest to the inside cover I made a strip of patches using some of my leftover scraps, and then put enough grey on either side so that the fabric piece I had made wrapped all the way around the journal.

With right sides together and the sides lined up so that my left line of hexagons would cover the binding of the journal I sewed along the top and bottom edges, folding over the fabric on the exposed edges.  The next time I do this I'll probably choose to serge the raw edges and then stitch them down, but since this journal is just for me I skipped those steps.
I then turned it right side out and pressed.
And then slipped my journal right on in there.
Viola! A completed project!
I still haven't decided yet what word to put on the cover.  Create? Sew? Patterns? Ideas? Does anyone have a suggestion?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Small Blog Meet Post

Small Blog Meet

"What is this?!" you might ask, "TWO posts in a day???"

Well, to answer your question, this morning I was doing my regular thing of reading through all of the blogs on my feed and I came across the Small Blog Meet at the Lily's Quilts blog and decided to join in since I'm always looking for new bloggy friends, so an additional post was needed.

The history of my blog is this: I decided back in March to start blogging. I've always made stuff and people always ask me about how I did it, so I thought I'd simplify things and make a blog where I could just post all of the pictures and the process in one place so that people could look at them and think "oh, how pretty is that?

Well, I ran into a few problems:
The first is that I'm NOT GOOD at taking pictures of things in-progress. I'll make something and realize that I didn't take any pictures of it while I made it.

The second problem is that I'm just not very good at taking photos. We have a big fancy camera and yet I still get blurry yellow pictures that don't show off what I make.

Third, I'm really BUSY. There's a stint in my blog where I went from one vacation to another to an out of town job to moving to another vacation, and what I ended up with was no posts at all in June and July and only two in August.

But I'm back now with a newly designed blog and a new name, and I'm getting back into the swing of things. I plan on posting about my finished hexi journal cover tomorrow, as well as my journal itself, and I hope to have some progress to show you on the chenille blanket I'm working on as a birthday gift for my uncle.

Anyways, thanks for reading, feel free to look around, and thanks for visiting my blog!

A New Name and a New Look

If you'll look around the page you'll see I've made a few changes.  The look has been overhauled and it's gotten a new name.  

When I first started the blog I had trouble deciding on a name, and finally settled on "The Things I Love" because I was blogging about the things I love on the blog.  For a while now I haven't really been happy with the name though, because it doesn't say at all who I am.  I've been going as "Sewing By Stephanie" in the blog world and my sewing business has the same name as does my flickr account, but other than it being in the blog address the name "Sewing By Stephanie" was nowhere in the title, so I decided to ditch "The Things I Love" and dive in as "Sewing By Stephanie".

If I was going to have a new name I needed a new header, and working with the yellow design I had up I was realizing that I wasn't really liking it.  For one thing, I'm not a huge fan of yellow, and for another the design had nothing to do with sewing.  I tried out the grey and white polka dot design that's up now amazingly enough because it was called "Stephanie", and once it was up I decided to keep it because I liked it so much.

Looking thorough files on my computer I found the frame and leaf images I used in the header, along with the stitching font I purchased last year for my "Sewing By Stephanie" business cards I made.  Looking at the stitches on the leaves I knew I was going to use it, so I decided to make a flower, and what better way to cement the sewing theme than to use a button as the flower center.

I got the image of the button from the internet and used the eraser tool to delete all of the image from around the button so that all I was left with was the round button. 

After putting it all together I put it up on the page and LOVED it.  To go along with the header I also made two small buttons.  I thought in the future that maybe I'll put them to good use somehow.  Maybe in the scrapbooking software giveaway I'll be doing soon.  I'll post scrapbooked pages soon, but for now here are the buttons I made!  Which one do you like more?

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