Thursday, December 31, 2009
This quilt is a long time coming. I bought the pattern (or generously allowed my mom to buy it for me) at a little quilt store in Massachusetts when I was doing college visits. At this point, that's at least seven years ago.
All of the fabric for the center squares was cut out at least three years ago.
It was all quilted about a year ago, but I packed it up for the summer, not wanting to sit with a big quilt in my lap to bind it during the summer if I was only going to pack it up. So when the weather permitted, this came out. Binding was sewn, threads were trimmed, and a whole bunch of buttons were added. And I love it.
And it's for me. For a while at least.
*Well, a little short of seven full feet. Finished dimensions are 64" by 80". And I suppose, technically, it's not finished. The pattern includes instructions for giving some of the smaller snowmen stick arms and mittens, and adds flowers to the hats of the female snowmen (they're the ones with the curved hats).
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
We made our way from Tennessee to Southern California via San Francisco and Monterey. We saw friends and got to tour CSUMB (Nothing hotter than an otter). Then it was in the car for a drive down California. After much debate about which route was best, we drove the 101 through some beautiful farmland. Not that it made that much difference to me. Once we were in the car, the vibrations and the warmth of the sun meant I was a goner. Sad, I know. I actually started knitting a hat while we were driving from SF to Monterey and A. asked me whether it would be done before we arrived at his house. Might have been possible if I didn't sleep away 3/4 of the daylight drive!
With time out for this.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I distinctly remember finding one of the more distinctive fabrics. See, when my parents were first married they lived in Monterey, and Mom wanted some fabric with otters on it. I think it was Hancock fabrics that had it. Little otters frolicking on a rocky coast.
And when my sister-in-law decided that she was going to Cal State University, Monterey Bay, I remembered that fabric hunt. And sure enough, Mom still had the rest of the quarter-yard of fabric that she bought, one five inch square cut out. I got five more 6.5 inch squares. The other light blues are scraps from previous projects (and a little cannibalization from a future project). You've already seen the design. And here's the finished object.
I wish I had made the outermost border a little wider. Unfortunately, I cut all the strips before I realized that I had enough fabric to do so. And then I thought a seam down the middle of the border would look silly. The binding is a blue and white stripe that I got from the remnants bin.
Yep. All the fabric except the dark blue came from my stash (or Mom's. Which is really mine too, right?). Oh, and the backing. A chambray sheet that I found at Goodwill. The only blue 100 percent cotton sheet they had in the place, and remarkably awesome.
And yes, I've failed at the twelve days of Christmas. I knew I should write these posts ahead of time and schedule them, but I failed. And what am I going to do when friends call and want to hang out? Set myself a curfew so I can write my post for the day?
Monday, December 28, 2009
I was in the midst of such a stressed out period (dress up box? Dinosaur play mat? Road play mat with cars? I spy pillows?) when I saw the Elf Shoes pattern by Flint Knits. And then my problems were solved. Well, at least for the two littlest cousins. I pulled out this green wool from my stash (purchased on clearance at Woolcott's in Harvard Square--closed now, so sad) and dropped by the local fabric store turned local fabric store/local yarn store for the red. One football game, a lecture on copyright, a lecture on the history of Christmas, a game of Settlers of Catan, and a post-finals party later, and I had four giant elf shoes.
A combination of time and lack of hot-water washing capabilities meant that I waited to felt these lovelies until I was in California. Since my in-laws don't wash anything in hot water, I decided to try hand-felting them. I'm no good at it. It didn't take too long before they found their way into the machine with some towels, inaugurating the washer into the ways of hot water.
I think they're adorable. The flaps don't stay down at all. I tried wetting them again and letting them dry with the flaps folded down, but I had no binder clips to hold them down. And I might have sewn them down, but I didn't have the right color thread, and I decided it totally wasn't worth it.
All of which leaves me with just one question. Why do elves get the cool shoes?
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Between my husband and myself, we have three sets of grandparents. And I find his grandparents particularly hard to select presents for. So when a local quilt store was going out of business and I saw these adorable panels for $3/yard, that settled it. I'm pretty proud of how good things look together considering the store was pretty picked over by that point. The only thing I got somewhere else was the red sashing around the cornerstones.
The panel shows eight reindeer. I'm not quite sure who's missing, since Rudolph is there front and center.
There's a tradition in my family to read "A Visit From St. Nicholas," otherwise known as "The Night Before Christmas" on, you guessed it, the night before Christmas. Apparently this year they must have gotten into a debate about the names of the reindeer because my dad called and demanded to know what the name of the reindeer that came with Blitzen was. I definitely vote for Donner, but apparently the original manuscript calls him Donder. I think he must be having an identity crisis, and that's why he doesn't show up in these pictures. What do you call the reindeer who flies with Blitzen?
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The Christmas Eve menu: pork, black beans and rice, yucca, flan.
Christmas Day: lasagna, twice baked potatoes, brijole/braciole (beef wrapped around eggs and bacon), etc. Only problem is, I forgot to take pictures, so you'll have to make do with a picture of someone else's brijole. Apparently what you fill it with is personal preference, or at least varies by region.
Hope everyone is having an enjoyable Boxing Day!
Friday, December 25, 2009
For me, it's important to acknowledge the whole reason we celebrate this season. This morning at church we were asked to bring up the gifts, and for me it was a powerful reminder that the most important gift we have to give is the offering of ourselves, and the most important gift we receive is the offering of Himself for us.
May you have a wonderful day full of His love and spirit, whether you're celebrating with family of in your own way.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
And the inside says "We invite you to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and curl up in your favorite chair with a great book and have a cup of tea on us.
Change someone's life without leaving your chair.
Please take a minute to consider what reading means to you and send what you can to help other adults enjoy the same."
Awesome idea, right?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
The only graph paper I could immediately lay my hand on was the back of my old calculus notebook. And I had to leaf through it to relive the glory days of my senior year of high school. And so now I will force you to do the same.
This is my notebook:
I loved these graph paper composition books. I covered the labels with these awesome postcards. The first notebook had Einstein sticking his tongue out.
I think I was destined to be some sort of blogger. Look, I even noted when I started this notebook.
Even though it made me feel a little dumb--I don't remember how to do half of this stuff (Which I suppose is why I saved them. So I can re-learn it all.), I enjoyed leafing through the rest of the notebook. I made fancy titles for each new section. This one was my favorite.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure I'm any less dorky now...
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The principal task of this Thanksgiving vacation (other than spending good time with my family and eating entirely too much) was to attach this binding to three quilts.
It's lot's o' binding. But with all the movies that had to be watched, and Wii playing to be done by the rest of the family, it got done. And then, in reference to the second part of the post title, I buried all the thread tails left over from quilting.
I'd show you a picture, but it would ruin a surprise, so it'll just have to wait until after Christmas (which, unfortunately is probably the way a lot of my posts in the next couple weeks will go--"I did something cool, I promise. I just can't show you what it was.") C'est la vie.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
I think I play Scrabble all wrong. I keep thinking of words I want to play, not words I can actually play. Case in point: Our first word was "rile." I kept wanting to get the letters to spell "puerile." Just because it would have been awesome.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
You already saw the invitations. I think that was when I was most stressed out. I had volunteered and then promptly put it in the back of my mind until my co-host reminded me that the honoree would only be in town for one weekend, so we should probably get a move on. Knowing the invitations were supposed to set some kind of tone, I mailed them out a few days later than I might have liked, trying to settle on exactly what we were going to do.
Since baby has already spent time in New York City, Spain, and Argentina, as well as Tennessee, I finally settled on a world traveling theme. I didn't carry it through majorly (I failed the "go big or go home test"), but it was enough to get me moving and at least provide some direction. Here are the details (These are mostly for my own benefit. You can scroll down to see what I made as a gift, but otherwise, it's pretty boring and pretty long):
- Martha Stewart "Eyelet." A little girlier than I really wanted, but I already owned them (clearance from WalMart). I tried to make them a little less girly through use of color and background printing, but I had major troubles. I don't have a color printer, so I tried to save the file and take it to Kinko's, but their printer didn't want to print on weird sized paper, so I tried to take it up to the counter, and he was even more hesitant. So I ended up printing in black. I still have another box of the cards, so the ordeal has been duly noted.
- I'm not necessarily big pro-games, but since there were several sub-groups of people invited who didn't know each other, I thought it was advisable in this case.
- Baby name Balderdash. Perhaps the only thing actually inspired by the world-traveling theme, I found names from various cultures on a baby name website, and asked everyone to write down what they thought the name meant. For reference, the names included:
- Yoruban. Born on a journey.
- Miwok. Coyote chasing deer.
- Egyptian. Wonderful feeling.
- Swahili. Born when father is in trouble.
- Children's book Pictionary. I wanted this one to tie in too, but looking at children's books from around the world, I just wasn't sure that anyone was going to be able to guess them. So I went through a list of the top 100 children's books in English, and picked out ones that I thought you could draw even if you didn't know the story (it would be extremely difficult to get Harold's Purple Crayon if you'd never heard of it, or to draw Stella Luna likewise). There was definitely an unfair advantage to the Americans in the group, so maybe next time I would come up with some other possibilities. But Pictionary is always fun, though now I have two easel-sized pads of paper, so I need to force our friends to come and play regular Pictionary.
- Baby name Balderdash. Perhaps the only thing actually inspired by the world-traveling theme, I found names from various cultures on a baby name website, and asked everyone to write down what they thought the name meant. For reference, the names included:
- As I said before, I had a cold during the week leading up to the shower. So both because I was tired and didn't think people would necessarily want things made by me, I opted for more purchased than homemade goodies. Mini quiches and brownie bites from Costco, little cheesecakes from a mix on clearance at Osbornes, delicious cupcakes from a bakery in Memphis, brought by my co-host, and punch, cobbled together by my co-host from various ingredients that I thought sounded yummy at Target (blood orange Italian soda, raspberry lemonade concentrate, and Fresca). People definitely weren't as nibbly as I thought they might be, but there were leftovers for A. and another law school guy when they came by at the end.
- The Pictionary pad of paper was backed by some scrapbook paper that looked like railroad tickets, a little clothesline with baby onesies and socks strung up on ribbon that matched the giant bows on the mailbox and door (we live in a duplex which is not well marked, and is identical to 5 other units all in a row). Tablecloth from my collection--I actually ironed it though! I cut out another piece of scrapbook paper in a circle to put under the plates. A couple of Martha Stewart tissue paper puffs were hung at the last minute. And we actually used our punch bowl for perhaps the first time ever!
- I thought I was terribly clever when I spied the Andes mints in the aisle at Target, since baby and mom had just returned from a month in Argentina and are heading back now for another month. Apparently a little too clever for my own good, since everyone needed an explanation. Dispersed into individual little plastic bags with a header from some fabulous paper from World Market stapled on top. Most people didn't take any, but I think that made A. extra happy.
- My Gift
- I planned to help my friend with whatever kinds of random things she doesn't receive as gifts--baby bedding, burp cloths, blankets, etc., but didn't feel like that excused me from something to actually open at the shower. So I opted for probably the quickest thing I could think of--a nursing cover. This was the tutorial I used, but this looks closer to what I actually did. I see that the second tutorial suggests using home decor weight fabric, and I can definitely see the advantage. As it is, it seems likely to fly up with the smallest flailing of the wee babe. Also, the d-rings don't lock quite as well as they should, our would with a more substantial strap. I did include a little pocket made out of a baby washcloth and also wrapped up some breast pads. I should get a better picture of the fabric itself, but it's a dark pink with purple and yellow flourish-y designs that I picked up at Threadfest. You can see it in the first picture of that post.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
After being sick and having other obligations that put me out of crafty commission for a while, I cleaned off my desk last weekend and started making lists. Because, you know, Christmas is less than two months away. And Advent, less than one. Actually, I feel like I'm in a pretty good place, but it definitely helped my panic to get things written down and all encoded (stars mean they have a Christmas due date, dots mean they're sociable projects, etc.). I'm not quite ready to forego sleep, but it's definitely on.
And here's another idea for those upholstery samples. I had actually pulled the velvet out to see if it coordinated with some fabric I had for a pillow cover, but A. spied it when I was asking for his opinion on sashing for the fairy/angel panel. The black cornerstones are my way of disguising the too-short pieces, but I think it works. I just love that it looks all glowy and candlelight-y.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
I'd like to start a campaign to get a color-namer come in and talk to me. How does one end up with such a job? Is that all they do, or do they have some other job in the paint factory, fabric mill, or makeup designer's office? Because, you know, I think I might be interested.
Case in point. This fabric that I've been working with is from a line called "Cheddar and Poison Green." The best part of it is, it's not even a new fabric that someone just named. These were colonial dyes from the early days of automated fabric production (and quite different from the earliest dyes--browns and rusty reds). What I have is a reproduction (I don't have any 200 year old fabrics in the stash), so I'm guessing it's not dyed with the early natural dyes (some people think poison green refers to the dye's source which was possibly the wormwood tree of absinthe fame).
I think the print is great (and great for the project it's going in), but I think the names might make me love it a little more. It's happened before. When I was in elementary school, crazy-colored nail polish was the coolest thing ever. There were a couple of bottles I bought just for the names, particularly "E=mc^2," which, if I recall correctly was blue and sparkly. Anything you love even more because of its name?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
I did get something else accomplished, though. I found presents for grandparents and grandparents-in-law. I'm getting better at picking out presents for in-laws, but I still find it fairly difficult. I'm not sure it will ever get much easier though--I know my mom is always searching for ideas for my dad's family...
Even though there are snowflakes on this quilt, I'm not wishing for winter yet. I'd love to have fall stick around for a while!
Friday, October 9, 2009
The weekend I went to pick up A. from Boston this summer, we went to the wedding of some college friends. I love weddings! Anyway, I decided sometime way before the wedding that I actually had time to make a quilt, so that's what I wanted to do (note to my friends who got married in '07 or before--want me to make you something? I'd love to! Either ask, or have a baby. Those will both light a fire under me).
But then I didn't actually work on it until the week of the wedding. But I had pretty well planned out what I wanted to do, so I managed in a night or two of work. I took the quilt with me to Boston, figuring I'd have plenty of time to get the binding and label sewn on before the wedding. And then I didn't. So I brought it back home. And sewed on the binding. And then waited and waited and waited some more to sew on the label. I finally did it yesterday while watching 'Jeopardy!'. It didn't even take the whole show. Oh well, like I said before, I like to take full advantage of the generous gift giving window for wedding gifts. So now it's wrapped up and ready to wing its way back to Boston.
Sorry it's a little wrinkly. I picked green because I'm 80% sure it's the bride's favorite color. Plus the 'Save the Date's were green and white.
And here's the back.
In a particularly nerdy moment, I decided to quilt the zig-zags themselves in intervals corresponding to the digits of pi. It's approximate, but I think you should be able to make out 3, 1, 4, 1, ... starting from the top.
The pictures were taken before the label was on and before it got its final washing (washing a quilt for the first time often gives it that all-over wrinkled look that makes quilts so snuggly), so now it's good-wrinkled instead of bad-wrinkled. I like it a lot for how simple it was.
And since there happens to be a quilt festival over at Park City Girl, I'm adding this! Click on the icon to be taken to see more quilts
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I always thought punch needle looked like fun. It's kind of like drawing with thread (I suppose that's what embroidery is supposed to be, but this is a more similar action). You punch from the back using the little tool and end up with loops on the front side, sort of like a varsity letter jacket letter. But I could never think of a really good use for a finished product. One can only hang so many pieces of textile craftiness on one's walls before it becomes a little fussy and overly precious (I'm picturing your Great Aunt Mildred with the crocheted antimassacars and lace tableclothes). Like I said before, it reminds me of the patches for letter jackets, but as I'm no longer a Girl Scout my need for badges and patches seems to have decreased.
But then I was looking at a tote bag that I got at the Goodwill Outlet. Nice and sturdy, Land's End-inspired boat tote. Except that it has a casino logo on it. Not so cool. I've been thinking about covering it up for some time now (I love buying those nice giveaway bags for free and then customizing them), but last night when I looked at it, I realized that it was a perfect application for my little patch-maker embroidery tool.
It's not great. You can tell from the pictures that the loops are a little bit uneven in height, and the coverage isn't evenly distributed throughout the shape. But it was pretty fast and fun. I found that two strands of embroidery floss worked best, though I might try further experimentation.
Anyone got some silly logos that they need covered?
E.T.A. I just remembered that I wanted to point out my favorite punch needle piece ever. This woman made a picture of the moon, and it's just awesome!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Since my third published idea on ways to use upholstery samples was tote bags, these probably don't constitute a new idea. But I thought I'd share them anyway. When I got the samples, I immediately noticed four matching/coordinating pieces that were all pretty large. I decided they all had to be used together. In considered a couple other possibilities, but it came down to tote bags.
Later in the summer, I became obsessed with the Multi-Tasker Tote by Anna Maria Horner. Interesting construction, side pockets, and a minor crush on the designer (she has fabulous color sense and eight children, and she lives in Nashville--it's only natural I should have a girl crush, right?), all led to this obsession. Once I got the pattern, I tentatively tested the pattern on these coordinating samples. One was smaller than I thought, but the rest fit beatifully.
The pattern is quite fun and goes together nicely. I actually made most of the lining out of a different fabric, but made a little facing piece so that the tunnel for the straps would coordinate. I would think that if you added a few more pockets and made the lining out of something wipe-able it would make a fabulous diaper bag.
I haven't quite figured out why I need coordinating tote bags though. Ideas? Anyone? Because they probably shouldn't sit on my coat rack for too much longer.
But fall has it's own charms, most obviously beautiful fall colors. Tonight I got out some of my jewelry making supplies for the first time in a long time. I bought these giant square pendants thinking they would make lovely frames for a tree of life*. So this is my first attempt, with some fall colors to celebrate what is to come.
It didn't come out quite as I had envisioned. It's a little clumpy, which I think works out okay for an autumn tree, but would look right otherwise. Also, I think the pendant may just be larger than I will ever wear, but we shall see.
Friday, October 2, 2009
It was a fundraiser for a local senior center. There were patterns, notions, and fabric. Lots of fabric. Two dollars a yard fabric. Here's my haul:
Quilting Cotton (for quilts and miscellaneous projects)
Notice the cool vintage snowflake print?
Wool and Wool Blends (I don't actually know the fiber content of any of this. But it definitely feels like wool).
That piece hiding on the bottom is solid light blue.
Other Garment Fabric (silk and silk blends, rayon, some shirting)
I actually do have project ideas for a lot of these pieces, but realistically know I probably won't get to most of them for a while. Some sewing bloggers talk about SABLE--Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy. I don't think I'm there yet, but I suppose I should watch myself!
Click through to see the pictures on my Flickr photostream
Thursday, October 1, 2009
While I was waiting for A. to finish checking out at the grocery store this evening (the essentials--ice cream and ingredients for french toast), I started to browse the movies available in the Redbox. On the first page, after all of the "Coming Soon" movies, was one called "Fermat's Room." Well, that was certainly intriguing. And then the description itself had me from go--
Four mathematicians who do not know each other are invited by a mysterious host on the pretext of resolving a great enigma. The room in which they find themselves turns out to be a shrinking room that will crush them if they do not discover in time what connects them all and why someone might wish to murder them.
My husband, being the generous soul that he is, agreed that we could watch it this evening. And it was everything one could have wished for. A grown-up Clue or Mathnet with some classic brainteasers thrown in for good measure. It made me want to host a murder mystery party weekend.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
A. had a summer internship in Boston, and what with me having my own job, I couldn't really go with him. So we spent two months in different apartments with only one weekend to provide a little bit of face-time to balance all those phone conversations.
Between the heat of summer and the fact that making an involved dinner for one just isn't that fun, there wasn't a ton of cooking going on in our house. So both of us ended up eating out a fair amount (where "a fair amount" is more than once a week). We agreed, on the way home, that we both needed a period of eating-out detox.
Good thing I went ahead and purchased the pattern for the Emmeline apron from Sew Liberated when there was a 2-for-1 sale earlier this summer. I'm thinking it will be super when I make some "glad you're home" cookies.