A new camera case

For my birthday a couple of years ago, my hubs got me the Olympus PEN EPL-1 camera. I wanted something with DSLR quality in a compact size, but most importantly, it’s a very cute camera! Unfortunately, the cases for it are not. I didn’t want to lug around a huge padded bag every time I took my camera out–that seemed to defeat the purpose of its compact size. I’ve been using an old makeup case that came free with scented lotions to hold my camera. (I actually bought the lotions just for the case.) It reduces bulk in my diaper bag, but it isn’t padded and it’s starting to fall apart. I finally sat down to make my own case. I had some leftover Echo fabric from my cushion makeover that I wanted to use. So I took some measurements and just went for it. I used this tote bag tutorial as a base to create a box. I ironed on fusible fleece to the backsides of both the printed fabric and the lining for extra padding. The lining is a linen/cotton blend I had leftover from another project. It bugs me that the velcro tab is crooked. I might restitch it.A view from the top.
A side view of the case. The snaps were put in place to cinch the top together. The camera lens accounts for the extra width, but the case needs to be tighter at the top. I have a fancy triple-stitch function on my sewing machine, so I added some detailing using a dark purple thread.
I attached a piece of twill ribbon with snaps on both ends to fasten around the camera strap. At first I made it too short, then I cut it in half and added more fabric to lengthen it. This is one of my favourite features–the camera case becomes an extension of the camera. I don’t know how many missed opportunities I’ve had to take those “picture-perfect” moments of Froo & Boo while trying to unzip my camera case. The moment usually passes as mommy tries to recreate it by directing them into a forced pose.There is a pocket on the inside that ended up being a happy accident. I discovered it after I sewed on the top flap. The photos were printed from my Polaroid PoGo printer. It’s a great little printer that I like to use to make greeting cards with pictures of Froo & Boo. Colour matching is way off, but the convenience of having instant photos is golden.
The front and back views.This picture shows the loopy snap thing being used to stay on the camera strap.And finally, some pictures with the camera in the case. I only have the one camera, so I used my iPhone to take the photos.I am pretty happy with my new case!

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Cushion Makeover

Years ago, I bought 4 turquoise cushions on sale at London Drugs to use as seat cushions for our spare chairs. They weren’t meant to be seat cushions, but at $2.99 each, they were perfect. The only sewing I did was to attach a piece of ribbon on 2 corners to keep the cushions from sliding off the chairs. 

Fast forward 6 years: the hubs and I packed away half our furniture in temporary storage, including our dining chairs (which are so nasty, but that is a post for the future) and our spare chairs became our new dining chairs. Our dining chairs took up a lot of room, but really, I couldn’t imagine putting our condo up for sale and people being put-off by our dining chairs. So I decided to make new cushion covers. I wanted to make patchwork cushions and was excited to use fabric from the Echo line by Lotta Jansdotter. The cushion tops were made, but there was still piping and zippers to install. Then life got in the way and moving to a new country turned out to be a lot more stressful than I thought it would be, so the turquoise cushions remained naked.

When we moved to San Mateo, the dining chairs came back to life (shudder). I bought laminated cotton fabric to reupholster them; cloth covered chairs are not meant for little kiddos. I am also planning to paint the chairs, so we’ll see how that goes. Also, my craft shelf (Ikea Expedit bookcase) became our hallway bench. I have no idea if it’s strong enough to hold our weight, but so far it’s holding up. Froo loves that she has her own cubby for her shoes. I love putting Boo on the bench because he is too afraid to jump off and will sit there until we are ready to go.Ta da! The cushions are done! Almost too nice to be underneath our butts.
I used this tutorial to sew the piping on and I used this tutorial to sew the invisible zipper. I even bought an invisible zipper foot to install my zipper, but I didn’t end up using it because it doesn’t work when there is piping in the way. Some cushions turned out better than others, but I couldn’t get a close enough finish on the piping side of the cushion to be a truly invisible zipper. I ironed on fusible fleece to both the top and bottom of my cushion since they will be getting a lot of use.
Finally, a look at Boo’s shoes. His feet are growing too fast. He also has really chubby feet, so he has a hard time squishing his feet into most shoes. We bought him the Star Wars shoes when we first arrived and now they are too tight. Le sigh.

A detailed look at Froo’s quilt + paper birdies

I am not a quilter. While I appreciate the time and talent that goes into making a quilt, I’m just not visually drawn to them and I find quilt fabric unappealing. Until last year. I came across a blog called Film in the Fridge, where I was introduced to modern quilts with awesome fabric. After a couple of late nights finding the cutest quilts ever, I felt the need to make a quilt.

When I saw the fabric line, “Fly a Kite” from October Afternoon, I knew I had to make a quilt for Froo. I’ve liked this design ever since it came out as scrapbook paper. The colour palette includes both soft and contrasting colours, the illustrations are adorable and it matches Froo’s bed–which is important because anything other than pink would be unacceptable.

After basting together the patchwork top, batting and backing, I wasn’t sure how I was going to quilt it. I went to my local quilt shop to find out how much it would cost to have it professionally quilted. The answer I got was, “between $100 and $1000”. Whaaaat? Suddenly, the cute Pottery Barn Kids quilts seemed like a steal. So I went back home and quilted it with straight-ish lines a little less than 1/4 inch from each seam. Not all of my squares met up as perfectly as shown in the photo below. It was a little tricky fitting the quilt through the machine, which explains why my stitch width isn’t always even.
I decided to machine bind my quilt because I don’t have the patience for hand sewing. It came together really fast!
The backside of the quilt is also from October Afternoon, but from their Farm Fresh line.  The pink is not exactly the same, a little more peachy, but I loved the look of random white lines. I thought it would hide any imperfections in my quilting!
I made a couple of mistakes, but I didn’t bother to fix them. I love how it turned out, but I still wouldn’t call myself a quilter. Just someone who dabbled in quilting once because the fabric was too nice to resist. The next quilt I make will be for Boo, the fabric is just as adorable. It’s sitting in the same clear tote bin that Froo’s fabric was in. If we get more house guests, perhaps I will get started on it.
As for the paper birdies, Froo asked me to make her some. She was fascinated when I made her one out of a paper placemat at a Chinese restaurant. We usually do crafty things while Boo naps, so I took out my origami paper and made some cranes. The paper is over 9 years old–purchased in Japan while the hubs and I were still dating. I’ve been saving it for all of these years, not knowing what for, until now. The crafty time I spend with Froo is one of the favourite parts of my day.

A quilt for Froo

Before moving to the San Francisco bay area, I promised Froo that I would make her a quilt. I planned a twin size quilt, bought fabric and batting from a couple of online fabric shops, researched quilting methods, read quilt-making books, bought 505 basting spray *, then put it all away in a clear tote bin. This process took about 5 months. Froo’s quilt would become my first patchwork quilt. Before this endeavour, I made a crib-size quilt that is just 2 pieces of fabric with iron-on batting (I don’t recommend the stuff, it’s horrible!) with brown binding made from pre-cut strips. I learned oodles from my first quilt-making experience.
my first quiltNow that we’ve been here for a couple of months, I finally put it altogether.  My parents and little brother were visiting and I realized that we didn’t have many spare blankets. That was the extra push I needed to get started on my quilt. It came together in 5 days! Uncle Sammy used both Froo’s old Hello Kitty blanket and my first quilt, but his feet were still sticking out. It’s surprisingly cold here at night.

The fabric is from October Afternoon, Fly a Kite, by Riley Blake Designs. Is it cheating that the fabric came in pre-cut 10″ squares? I don’t think it matters because Froo loves it and so do I.
fly a kite quilt* I spray basted my quilt sandwich on the driveway. Interesting way to meet neighbours.

An introduction

Hi. My name is Irene. This is the beginning of my little blog. I hope to showcase my handmade Froo & Boo creations here.
froo & boo workspace
The jewelry box on my desk is the best Mother’s Day gift. Ever. The contents are so precious, it’s even glued shut. If you shake it, a generous amount of glitter will fall off and you can hear the mysterious treasure inside. It makes me happy. It inspires me to create.

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