Got Rhubarb? Here's a quick refreshing way to use it....

Do you have a rhubarb plant too? Mine came with the house and although I do like a good rhubarb and strawberry pie (my Grandma makes the best!) that's where my list of rhubarb uses ran out; right at number one. Until I came upon a suggesting in one of my gardening books for rhubarb water.

It sounds a little silly, rhubarb in water...but it has the same refreshing quality as slices of lemon or mint and ginger or some other fancy combination. The strawberries are also going crazy in the garden so I threw a couple in for good measure.
Rhubarb leaves are huge in my garden, so much rain
this year. But you wouldn't want to eat them, the leaves
are toxic.

Cut into slices

Add to a pitcher of water and
chill for a bit before pouring
a glass to enjoy!

Also I've got to tell you about Stashtacular, because I want you to be a part of it! I've teamed up with Jenna at Sew Happy Geek & Stephanie of Spontaneous Threads to bring you 4 weeks of stash busting fun! We'll be having 12 tutorials for simple fun projects with supplies you probably have laying around right now! And have you ever wondered if you can go a month without buying fabric? Odd question, huh.....we're a bunch of fabric junkies! But take the pledge of no new fabric for a whole month and swap with over 20 ladies from around the country and the world! And there's tons of prizes for swaping and for making the Stashtacular tutorials.
Find out all about it on the Stashtacular page by clicking below and sign up over at Stashtacular Flickr page!

Blue Bird Sews


Also I'll be linking up this week with all the parties listed on my side bar. Go over and give them some love and link up too! 

Why I Love Fabric

Elephant on roller skates, brilliant!
Fabric is in my genes. It's my history, where I come from, who I am now. And I didn't even have a say in it. I didn't even have a chance, it just always has been. And I can now trace back my love of fabric to this:

My fabric busy book, made for me by my maternal Grandmother from a Vogue pattern. This book was a favorite of mine growing up. I remember playing with it, fastening the buttons, zipping up the zipper, tying bows, braiding the lions tail. And now that I have a son we play with it together and it has captivated his imagination; just as it did mine.
But what is even cooler than the book and the fact that I saved it all this time when other toys fell by the way side? Well in the latest box of vintage fabric from Grandma's attic there was a piece that looked familiar, really familiar.
Alligator eating ice cream
 The polka dots! It's the same print, same fabric! Amazing!
A loved turtle
The legacy of fabric and sewing in my family is something that is special to me. My sister and I quilt together it's something that keeps us close and connected. My Grandmother is a master seamstress, and so is my mom. They always made clothes and even had a business for a while back in the day. When I was pre-school my mom would sew and mend for the old ladies living in the retirement home. I still remember those outings and the women we visited. They always liked me.
But something clicked for me when I saw this fabric and my busy book, because I am now living that legacy and continuing it through my son and future children. I secretly hope for a daughter so we can sew together and I can teach her all I know. If not Baby J will have to take the charge, boys sew too right?

What's your fabric legacy?

All the best,

ps. Check out the Stashtacular page and join up!

Blue Bird Sews

Work's In Progress #13

Hey it's Wednesday WIP day! Hooray! I've got a bunch of secret projects going on for Stashtacular that I can't wait to share with you next month. What? Haven't heard about Stashtacular yet? Well click on over and join up, won't you!
So my WIP's are shaping up nicely. A deadline always helps that doesn't it? The quilt I'm making for Grandma needs to be quilted and at least have binding sewn on ready to hand stitch before I leave on vacation. I really want to hand deliver this quilt and see the expression on her face because it will be a surprise, I told her it'd be done by winter ; )

 Excited for taking it to the long arm quilter on Saturday. I'm going to do the pattern boards they have in an all over feather. I'm by no means practiced enough to try this one free-hand.

All in All: 
Finished!: Super secret Stashtacular projects!, 3 super cute shirts!
Needs Binding: 6 baby quilts
Needs Quilting: Grandma's Quilt goes to the long arm with me Saturday!
Long Arm Quilting Projects x2 
Needs Piecing: Small Nine Patch, 1/4 bento box
Needs Cutting: Shrinking Squares
Needs Design:  a queen sized quilt for a male friend
Clothes: 1 shirt

Thanks for checking in with me, now it's time to check out all the lovely ladies (and there are a lot of them!) at Lee's Freshly Pieced WIP!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Getting to know my Viking

I'm still learning about my sewing machine, Astrid a 1985 Husqvarna Viking Prisma 980. Every once in a while I go 'ah' that's what that's for and 'oh' that's the right way to do that.

It has been just over 3 months since I bought my sewing machine and I am still in love. I have no regrets about buying used. I don't wish I'd bought a brand new one, or a fancy quilter's edition. Astrid is all the sewing machine I need. 
But I don't know all there is to know about her, I haven't made a button hole or used all of the computer settings. Last week I found the best way to wind my bobbin - through the tension discs - not the side winder - and hold on tight to the thread. I realized not to long ago how to pop off the sewing plate and clean around the bobbin (super important!). And just between us I had the foot pedal upside down for the better part of 2 months. It's much easier to pedal when it's turned right side up. 
But what I love most is the sound she makes, it's a steady strong hum. An industrial hum. 
I read my manual a lot and get a little more acquainted each time I start something new. Zippers are a snap, stretchy fabric too. I can see the needle - no problem with the 2 lights around the presser foot. Throat space is ample it makes quilting a dream. All in all Astrid is my perfect sewing machine. 

How's your sewing machine?

Up-cycle: Hubby Shirt to My Shirt

Hello there from Sew & Tell! I'm linking up this month with clothes instead of quilts! Isn't summer the best time for clothes making? Cute shirts and skirts, right! Well I want to share with you a couple up-cycled shirts I made using my husbands old button downs (old as in he never wears them!) This is sort of a tutorial but more of guidelines if you want to try your own - but if you do try and get stuck just shoot me an email at bluebirdsews!

I am a little addicted to sewing shirts right now. I spent the weekend holed up in the craft cave until 11:30pm each night! 11:30pm - so late for this lady as Baby J doesn't know when Mom is working on 6 hours sleep, but it was well worth it because I got some new clothes without having to go shopping!

Last week I scored some great patterns and I set about using them to turn old button up shirts of hubby's into cute little summer shirts for me. 
The key to using an old shirt for a new shirt is to make sure it's big enough to fit the pattern. This one worked but just barely. I used the original hem in the back as the pattern was just a bit too long & the sleeves work only because they are itty bitty cap sleeves. The shirt I used was an XL and I am a pattern size 8 so it just worked. 

I used Simplicity pattern 2255 and I like it! Super easy to sew together and the up-cycle worked well with the existing buttons. I made a couple modifications I'll show below.
I wanted to give you a big picture view of how to go about doing this and default to the pattern instructions to do the actual sewing part of it. But if you have some questions just shoot me an email and I'll be happy to fill in. 
Start by de-constructing the shirt at the seams

When laying out the top button the front sides
together with right fabric sides facing each other
Then lay out the pattern and match up the center
line of buttons with the existing buttons.
It's easy and pretty intuitive when you're doing it. 

All cut out, just barely! I even had to use the
 double layer upper back portion of
hubby's shirt to get the neck bands. I then sewed
them together at the fold line. 
Once you're all cut out just use the pattern directions to stitch it up. There are only 2 modifications I made due to the up-cycle aspect. One is at the open neck line, because I wasn't making a button band I had to sew the raw edge down.
Front neck modified by hand sewing seam down. Keep the
original fabric that runs down the button holes when cutting
out from the pattern.
And at the hem line I had to use the original hem in the back, but it worked out nicely.
Bottom hem integrated with original in back 

This shirt came together really well. It was easier than I thought using the old shirt and so much better than making my own button band - I'm kinda freaked out by that, lining up the two sides perfectly seems really hard! I'll do it one day, but until then I'm gonna go back to hubby's closet! 
Me and Baby J
I also made this shirt from Simplicity pattern 2936 using a tunic shirt of hubby's. It doesn't have the buttons all the way down but it works and is super duper comfy! Definitely going to use this pattern again. 
That's all for now! But just wait until next week, I've got a matte jersey tee half put together and I'm working on cutting out the most advanced shirt yet, it has neck ruffles and a fitted band at the waist. But it's really, really cute and I'm using some vintage voile in the cutest little pattern. Can't wait! 

Work's In Progress #12

 Hello for another WIP Wednesday....time to get organized with the projects and see what I've been working on. Over the holiday weekend there were some great craft sales...and since I have a no fabric buying policy I spent my money on clothes patterns instead. JoAnn's had a 5 for $5 on Simplicity good not to buy a whole bunch to experiment.
Getting back to my sewing roots, patterns and clothes
I bought 3 shirts, a tote bag & kid PJ's - and saved $70!
I've been inspired by all the summer shirt makings going on around blogland....I had to try my rusty clothes making skills out. When I was a kid clothes were the first things I learned how to sew. I made, with the help of my mom, lots of things....including MC hammer pants (you can laugh, it's funny!) Easter Dresses and lots of PJ's. 
So far so good, I am using hubby's old dress shirts for the button down patterns and it is working out well. I've got one almost done and starting to cut out a second tonight. 

On the quilt front the Grandma-n-Law quilt is coming along nicely. I've got all the Sawtooth Star blocks done and next I start on the stack of nine-patch blocks. They should go fast. 
Flying Geese and Sawtooth Star, Take 2.

Ready for the next step
I recently bought myself a quilt software program. It's just a simple one called 1-2-3 Quilt from the makers of Quilt-Pro, but a  lot less expensive. It's a good basic program for blocks and traditional layouts. Not so good for the modern quilter as there is not a whole lot of built in variation or modern blocks. 

All in All: 
Finished!: Lots of Baby Quilts - 14 done, 6 to go!, MJ's Quilt
Needs Binding: 
Needs Quilting: 6 Baby Quilts
Long Arm Quilting Projects x2 
Needs Piecing: Small Nine Patch, Gram-n-law, 1/4 bento box
Needs Cutting: Shrinking Squares
Needs Design:  a queen sized quilt for a male friend
Clothes: 4 shirts

New Projects: 4 shirts
Completed Projects: 2
On Going Projects: 10 (not counting design & cutting phase)

Feeling good about my progress this week. My quilt projects are under control and the new clothes will be a boost to the wardrobe, and I am loving the upcycling!
Have a great week, and hop on over to see what everyone is working on this week!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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