Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So flippin' funny

Seriously, this is great. And I have to say, I understand completely V's point on all of it. I hope she laughs as much as I did. Later of course.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I love this Figgy Christmas Tree quilt

I love this quilt! I SO want to make it! But I just finished my own Figgy Pudding quilt for Christmas. Hmmm. Maybe the layer cake will go on sale after the holidays and I can make it for next year. Yeah, I like that idea.

I'll show my Figgy Pudding quilt soon - just got to take pictures first.

Alternative Storage Option

I know that storage is a big issue for most people, and it seems even more crucial to those who sew, quilt, craft, etc. So here is a cost-free idea for storage.

I use the zippered, or snapped, heavy plastic bags/pouches that linens come in. Actually, many items come in this kind of packaging and I hate to throw them out. They were so functional to protect what I purchased, surely they can protect my projects. And the nice thing is that most of them have little pockets that hold the description of what you purchased. Turn that little slip sheet over, right down your new project and put it back in the pocket. Instant knowledge of what is in that bag.

I often just collect fabric with an idea in mind. So those will go in these containers with the 'plan' for the fabric written on the card. Just to keep me on track.

One of my favorite containers like this is what the Boppy came in when I was pregnant. (Nursing pillow - great invention!) It is big purse size, zips closed and has handles. Love it for larger projecs.

So as you are taking your purchases out of their packaging - rethink just tossing them.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thank goodness for dishwashers

I was reading through the blogs posted on Quilter Blogs.com and came across this one from Sherri Howard Designs discussing the dishes that her family has used for generations for holiday meals.

And it reminded me that my mom did a great thing one year regarding dishes. She bought a set of 6 plates each for me, my sister and for herself. It is the Red Rim design from Crate and Barrell. White center with a red band around the outside. Perfect for the holidays, but not too holiday that they can't be used any time. We have added on throughout the years, both on dinner size and salad plates. The salad plates can be used for everything - especially dessert! So now we have 30 each of dinner and salad plates. And we live close enough to each other that whoever is entertaining a large crowd can use the plates. So no paper for us. We also all have boxes of extra glasses for parties so no plastic there. And I do have a bag of silverware that be pulled out if I have to, but it is pretty old and not really up to snuff for a sit down dinner, but will do for a buffet if needed.

We hosted thanksgiving last year and had a pretty good crowd - I think 16. For that we used all the beautiful things we got for our wedding - the china, the glasses and the flatware. I think that was maybe the 3rd time it has been used. We put in some of our regular white plates for the kids and it blended nicely. I think we may do the same again this year. Depends what our final head count will be.

It feels nice to be able to entertain a large group on real plates, etc. Thank goodness for dishwashers (and guests who do dishes)!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Town Square in my living room

This is one of the quilts I did at Friday Night Valet sewing out at the Cottage. I think it is called Town Square. I tried to match my living room colors. And I guess it does. I am just not really thrilled with it. I don't know why. It is a functional quilt, looks okay in the room, but not really my style. But I am not sure why. I loved the sample the shop did, and the image on the pattern itself. But then I struggled with fabric choices (nothing new there)- and I only needed 5. Some of our other quilts have needed 12-18 different fabrics - and that is just overload for me. I think the issue may have been trying to make this work in my living room. The colors I like in quilts are not those that are in my living space. But I love the colors of my living space. Or maybe it was trying to fit those into this particular pattern. Oh well, it was a great experience. And I do keep learning.

I guess that is the interesting thing about Friday Night. The Cottage picks the pattern and you get to pick the fabric. I learn something every time I go, and I love that it is dedicated time to sew and visit; just-for-me time. But the projects they pick may not always be a pattern I would choose. Still, I love to go. And I love to have a finished quilt. Donna Levesque quilted it for me. Which is a good thing, otherwise it would still be sitting there like a few others I have decided to try myself.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pie in a Jar - really

Oh wow. This looks so DANG yummy! I can't wait to try this - Pie in a Jar. (Okay, doesn't sound so good when I just typed that, but go to the link and you will be as excited as I am.)

Confession: I see all these great and different ideas, crafty or otherwise, and I instantly think - I want to do that. Not only do I want to do that, but wouldn't that be a great present for EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY! Here is the deal on that though. We have a big family. And I mean at least 20 people when I say family now - and that is the adults. (Maybe I should count before I go spitting out numbers, hmmm.) It used to be a smaller family, but it has grown, exponentially now that I am married. And on the in law side we get together with aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, cousins once removed, and all that, on Christmas no less. So it gets to be a big hooha. I am getting used to it. And it is very fun. But that means a lot of presents. And in my head I always think that if I make presents it is less expensive than buying things for everyone. I should do the math on that one too. I wonder....

All of that to say, I wonder if Mark will make these pie things for everyone for presents. :-)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Love those girlies!

This is just so cute, and it is still in the planning stages from what I can tell. Go see Chez Beeper Bebe to see what I mean. I think I may have to dig up some wool sweaters - thrift store, here we come!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Fun Theory

I know I am a little behind, and you may have all seen this. But it just makes me smile. I love this use of our brainpower.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yummy Yummy - Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have to try this recipe from Amy at Diary of a Quilter who was blog sitting for Aunt Spicy..

A friend turned me onto a more traditional recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies that I fell in love with. I have to admit I really was not too excited to try them, I'm not sure why. Maybe because pumpkin pie is not my favorite. But I LOVE THOSE COOKIES! So now I want to do a taste test to see if these are in the same league. I sure hope so because this one looks a lot easier. And I am lazy ;-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

I love new tricks

Went to my glorious night of Valet Sewing on Friday. I just love it. We had such a good time creating, although this pattern was slightly more challenging. Not hard necessarily, but you really had to pay attention. Which is kind of hard when you are eating, blabbing, giggling, etc. I'll post it when it is done.

But I learned a great new trick from Marion. It seems so simple now. So, "well, duh." But it was new to me. Are you ready for it.....iron your binding. Obviously as you are making the binding you iron it. But this is after it is machine sewn on, iron it up and over the edge of the quilt to make it easier to hand sew down the edge. Again, so simple. And yet so genious. And yes, obvious. Just not to me. Until now.

I love new tricks!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Denim Rag Quilt

Love this! I have to say I think this is one of my favorite all time quilts/blankets. And I am a blanket girl!

I saw an episode of Simply Quilts about 5 or 6 years ago and the guest was explaining how she does rag quilts with denim. And I was hooked. I had done one or two baby quilts with flannel and they were okay. I mean the experience. For some reason it felt more like, okay, check, made one of those. No driving desire to make any more.

But this denim variation really got my creative juices flowing. So I decided to make it almost king size. And nothing like needing a deadline to get it done. We were going to the annual family Thanksgiving picnic and the morning of I was sewing frantically to get the final rows together and begging my husbad to help clip, which he did. (This was before I got the springloaded scissors.) So that we could get it washed and dried in time to take with us. I love deadlines. It really is the only way I can get some things done.

Best hint EVER: when you move or decide to take on a new project. Throw a party. Nothing like having a party for a deadline to get things done. Ask me how I know...(That is a great story for another post. Remind me.)

Well, we got it done and this is now a great picnic, beach, cozy up on the hammock blanket. And I have made quite a few more as well.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is that a napkin or a pillow?

I know pillows are probably one of the easiest things to make. But I still avoid making them from 'scratch'. I try to find as many quick and easy ways as possible. And I love to use items in ways other than what they were intended. I think the buzz word there is REPURPOSE! Love it. So these -

Became this. Oh so easy. And cute!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumpkin love

This was a wallhanging I did last year. One of my first 'offical' quilty type things - with layers, batting, quilting, binding, etc. And since my birthday is on the 31st, I love all things Halloween.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My first quilt

This is my first quilt. Although I don't know if you can really call it a quilt.

This was made maybe 18 years ago. I washed the bandanas many, many times before putting it together. To make sure they wouldn't bleed and also to soften them up. It is definitely soft now! The back is a twin sheet and I put buttons in the corners where they come together. This has been our picnic blanket for years. It sits in a basket by the back door to be used on the grass or to cozy up with on the hammock when it cools down.

That is just one of my favorite things. I think the hammock gets used more in the cool weather, at night all wrapped up, than in the summer.

The pillow was pretty easy. I did the zipper first and then the other sides. Still not a fan of putting in zippers, but this one went pretty fast.

I need to make more of these bandana quilts. I really love them. Anyone have any bandanas they want to part with? (Only those not used as hankies, please.)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Is that a table runner or a valance?

I love curtains, or a valance, or some kind of softening on windows. But I really don't like to make them. So I tend to get creative when I want some kind of window covering. Like when I wanted something simple for the kitchen windows. The accents in that room are blue but it is mostly a white kitchen. So I was at Ikea, saw some table runners I really liked, and voila - matching valances. All of the edges are already finished so no worries there. Just eyeball how long you want it, sew a pocket for the rod and there you go. Instant valance.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Procrastination makes me so productive.

I am feeling somewhat productive right now. I got so many little things finished yesterday. But the reality is that I am procrastinating. Which is why I am so productive. Make sense?

I decided I would start quilting some of my projects, rather than send them out. I tried quilting once before and just got overwhlemed. I admit it was an early project, a large throw size quilt, I was following the pattern in the fabrics which may or may not have made it easier. But I was also pregnant, Christmas was looming and I had 2 of them to finish - one for my mother, and the other for my mother in law. It got to be too much. I wrapped up the partially quilted quilt and gave it to my mother, saying I would take it back to finish and then return to her. Then the very next day I did the exact same thing, with the exact same quilt, to my mother in law. And then we moved, and had a baby, and it just kind of sat there. I did send my mother-in-law's out to be quilted so that I could get it into her hands. And I did finally finish the other one for my mother. Some time that summer....

And the reality is that the more I worked on it, the easier it did get. But I still think I am intimidated.

Thus all the other things that are getting done, instead of the quilting. I pieced the back for my Figgy Pudding Christmas quilt. I created a table runner for my aunt and I loved it so much I needed one for myself. And those now have backs ready to go as well. I created a quick table runner for halloween - no quilting needed. More on that later. I've purchased the gloves that will (hopefully) make things easier, I've gotten the thread. Now I just need to move my machine into the dining room and jimmy-rig a set up to make things level with my sewing maching surface. You know, a few more things to put off actually taking those first few stitches. I'll let you know how it goes. But for now, I am glorifying in all of my productiveness!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A tower of toys

So what do you do when you are playing with your little one and feeling a bit creative? You create a tower of toys, of course.


Bug usually takes great joy in knocking down whatever I am stacking, but this one intimidated her just a little bit. Mommy had to help.
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Is that a bed skirt or a valance?

I love repurposing things!

While hunting around for nothing in particular in the clearance part of a bedding store, I found a great bed skirt for our king size bed. And lo and behold, they had 2 of them - a great shade of blue, in raw silk looking fabric, and $9 each! Yeehaw.

Did you know that a king size bed skirt makes a great window valance for a 16 foot span? Well, it does.

So this (ignore the wrinkles)

Becomes this -

I have been wanting to soften our bedroom a little since we moved in, about 1 1/2 years ago. We painted and put in crown molding - or at least hubby did - I was pregnant at the time and they wouldn't let me paint or get on ladders. But since then it just needed some finishing touches, some fabric, a little extra love. And I finally got that done this weekend. Fancy pleats and all. I love it.

(As to the wrinkles on the bed skirt that is on the bed- I got so excited to see how it would look I didn't want to wait to iron it, and then I didn't want to have to take it off again. I am hoping they hang out, but not looking good so far. I wonder how long the cord is on my iron.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I love bookstores!

We went to the bookstore today. For me that is a bit like going to the fabric store. I love it. I could spend HOURS just wandering, browsing, getting ideas, touching things. I truly feel the need to touch things in the book store and the fabric store. (Not sure why but it feels like a compulsion.)

I have found that I need to make lists now when I go shopping. I used to be able to keep quite a bit in the noggin', but I now have Mommy brain so things just don't stay in there like they used to. So on the list for the bookstore was - a reference with more pictures of animals - found one on sale right when we walked in!, a sign language dictionary - check, a version of The Princess and the Pea to go with the quilt I am making (although this is not needed until x-mas) no luck, and a copy of A Short History of Women.

The first three items were for bug, she is absorbing so much info we really need to keep up the input! The last on the list is our next book for Book Club. I better get on it as the meeting is next Tuesday night. I can't wait. I'll let you know how the book is once I finish.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ouchie teeth

My little one, bug, is about 14 months old. And she is cutting teeth. Her baby molars are coming in and it just doesn't feel good. The best solution we have found so far is frozen grapes. When nothing else seems to make her feel any better I pull out the bag and she goes to town.

I end up cutting them in half before they go in the freezer and that makes it a little easier for her. And I usually wait until that point where you aren't quite sure you want to eat them any more. You know that point - some look a little more sad than others, some are a little too squishy, but they aren't completely gone. In the freezer they go and the come out as little globes of frozen goodness. Try it - for yourself or your little one. Yummy!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Great idea for class project

My sister is so clever. She was in charge of her son's Fundraising Project last year. The class had just learned how to stitch - so cool that they teach that in elementary school. So she got a lot of different colored burlap and yarns and assigned each child a letter or two. The teacher created a more detailed design to be used as the center panel. Then she came over to my house all panicked because she didn't really know how she was going to put it all together. We figured it out and here it is -

It says "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all." The inspiration for the piece was 'borrowed' from a Pottery Barn Kids poster. (Original design is I think by Rebecca Puig of Sugarboo Designs and the poem is by Emily Dickinson.) A nice choice for Hope Elementary, don't you think? And a nice project for the kids. Well done MLR.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Valet Sewing

I am heading out to my 'class' in just a bit. I love this set up. It is at Quilter's Cottage in Fallbrook. One Friday a month they pick the pattern, you pick the fabric for your kit, they cut it all for you, you show up with your machine and tools, dinner is served, you sew, they iron, and Voila! - most times you come home with at least the center of your top pieced. It is called Valet sewing and I just love it! A little mini-retreat.

Here is a quilt I made in one of the 'classes' a few months ago. It was for my brother and his wife who both celebrated 'big' birthdays within a month of each other.

I think the pattern is called Easier by the Dozen. And I didn't quilt it, I leave that to the professionals! I tried quilting once for one of my first creations. And wow, was that harder than I expected. Especially on my little Brother machine. But with all of the quilts I have been making lately I may need to take another stab at it, just to be able to afford to make more quilts!

So I am off to enjoy an evening dedicated only to sewing, oh, and visiting and eating and chatting. But mostly sewing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oh, that isn't what I was expecting.....

I need to learn how to get into the habit of posting regularly. Just add that to the list of things to do....along with figuring out how to rescue my Old Red Barn quilt. I just loved seeing it all come together for so many people. And I really wanted to be a part of that. But when I went to get my fabrics I got sidetracked by a grouping of paisley fabrics, in three colorways.

I have to admit I am not great at picking fabrics - it kind of intimidates me. So I basically announced to the room I was in at the LQS (converted house so fun rooms filled with fabrics) that I needed help. And help came to my rescue. Wow, did it ever. I think 4 or 5 women gave various suggestions, timidly at first and then when I encouraged them it truly became a group effort. We had bolts piled all around, switching back and forth to find the perfect combinations. And in the end I came away with the 12 that I needed. And I really liked how it all looked - as folded fabric sitting next to each other. But it was definitely not the bright and fun fabrics that many others were using. And that, in hindsight, is what probably 'made' the quilt for me.

I learned a few things. As I seem to do with each quilt that I make. Especially the ones that somehow did not turn out like I thought they would. Plaids are not good for me, or some stripes for that matter. Turns out I am not the best fabric cutter. And it becomes very obvious in that kind of fabric. And in this particular pattern, it becomes very obvious that I am a bit 'casual' when it comes to a 1/4" seam allowance. Wow - I had some blocks that were 11 1/2" and others that were the 12 1/2" they were supposed to be. I am now an expert at easing to make sure things line up. In the end it all turned out. I have the center finished. I think it needs a little 1" border and then the extra strips will be the outer border.

Now to just get into the habit of taking pictures and downloading them on a regular basis. I'll get to that as well. And then you can see my results. So my Old Red Barn quilt is not bad, but definitely not what I was expecting. More on that to come.

EDIT: I finally got a picture of the top, what is now just the center. And here it is. I have since made a few additions and am liking it better. But now I have to get a photo of that as well. Don't hold your breath.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

One for you, and one for me

Over the past weekend I made a gift for a friend having surgery. It actually came together pretty easily, and it was by no means a hard project, just a rag quilt. But since I have a one year old daughter things need to be broken down into smaller chunks, each with their own time frame and negotiations. I guess that is how it is for everyone. It just feels so much more challenging now.

1. Get fabric - which requires juggling a nap schedule with Dad and then worrying about how much time I spend in the store to get home in time. This also entails seeing everything that is on sale for the holiday weekend, endlessly debating exactly how much fabric I can buy and how many projects I am willing to have sitting and waiting for me. And then the inevitable 'guilt' at possibly buying too much at one time. Knowing I won't get to these new projects any time soon because they go to the end of the line on things I want to do. Turns out this time it was all flannel so the projects won't take too much time once I get into them. Its just a matter of prioritizing within the big 'to-do' list.

2. Cutting the fabric. I find this to be my least favorite part. But this time it was easy - what size squares will make the easiest cutting and mximize the fabric - why 10" squares will do that just fine. There is a LQS somewhat near my house (okay, an hour a way, but worth it) that once a month has a valet sewing night. They pick the pattern and you basically buy the kit plus a small fee. The nice thing about the 'kit' is that you get to pick your own fabrics. The store then cuts it all for you. You show up on Friday night with your gear, they feed you dinner, you start sewing right away since it is all cut for you, and THEY IRON AS YOU SEW! How fantastic is that? I don't know if I would necessarily choose those patterns on my own, but the night is so fantastic I keep coming back. It is a wonderful little mini-retreat for me and I am learning so much by working with new patterns.

3. Sewing. I love rag quilts because they do come together so easily. Seems silly that this one is all the same fabric, so basically I just cut up one big piece into smaller pieces and then put them back together in one big piece again. But it was exactly the soothing pattern I was looking for. And hopefully will comfort my friend in her recovery. When I brought it over I realized it will work nicely in her understated family room. See, rag quilts aren't only for babies!
(I loved the fabric so much I made one for myself at the same time! I love it.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

I love my book club. It is a great group of women. I was originally going to say ladies but, man, that just makes me feel old. And I really don't feel old. The new book for this month is The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. Looking forward to it.

I am off to Kentucky for work tomorrow. A very early flight to get there in time for dinner. A tour of the plant on Wednesday and then a late flight back. Lots of good reading time at least. Although on flights I usually enjoy my 'guilty pleasures' reading, the stuff I am embarrassed to tell my book club about. I have heard of the genre referred to as Historical Romance. But I have to say it is pretty much just cheezy romance. Anything with "seduce" in the title along with duke, duchess, scoundrel, etc. I head straight for the bookstore at the airport and pick up anything with a Fabio-looking cover. Gotta love it.

Now I have to figure out what to wear for 8 hours on a plane to be comfortable and still presentable to clients for a fancy dinner. Hmmmm.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Eeek. I guess I did it.

I didn't realize I would actually do this. I tried to leave a comment for someone on a different blog and then one thing led to another and now I have this set up. Hmmm. Not sure how I am going to use this.

I have been completely addicted to blogs about quilting lately. I guess it has become my version of internet porn, or maybe just a bit of voyerism. But still addictive. And informative. I have found so many great ideas and inspirations. I seem to be creating a to do list for quilting. But it is stressing me out thinking about *when* I can get it done. I just need to keep remembering, only 15-30-60 mintues at a time can still get quite a bit accomplished. Just keep plugging along.

So let's see how this thing works.....