Sunday, July 26, 2009

Is Summer Over Yet?

I think I am in the minority when I say, I hate summer. I can't stand being hot, the sun triggers my vertigo and migraines, I hate bugs, I hate to sweat. That about sums it up. The only thing I really like about summer is the yard sales.

Now fall...I LOVE fall. I love the smells, the weather and especially the colors. This weekend, while an awesome store brewed outside, I locked myself in my studio with Big Brother on my laptop and worked on some fall projects.

This was the weather outside, aren't those clouds fierce-looking?

Anyway, my favorite project of the weekend was a linen towel. I found the pattern at one of my favorite sites for free patterns Fat Cat Patterns. I decided to use fall colors and just love how it turned out. I also used a stitch I have never used before to applique the chicken and I like it more than the blanket stitch I usually use.

Here's a closeup of the rooster that hopefully shows the stitching better:

I also made another Grocery Tote like the one I made a couple of weeks ago from the pattern at Spool, this time in some new fall fabric I found. I added two pockets on the inside, one for my iPhone and another for my ID/credit cards. I didn't love the fabric as much as I thought I would when it was finished, but this one went together much easier and I made fewer mistakes! I planned to use it as a purse, but I think I will continue to search for fabric I like better.

The only other sewing project I completed this weekend was another free one from Spool. I made a quick and easy Sewing Machine cover. As usual, this first one was a test, and I will remake this at a later date with sturdier fabric. The cotton is just too limp for my liking, although this will do the job of keeping dust off of the machine just fine in the mean time!

So that's it for sewing this weekend. I did decide that I need to teach myself to crochet since my sister has been makin all of these cool dishcloths and I do need something to keep my hands busy while I watch TV at night. I already knit, but Jean says crocheting is much quicker.

I picked up a few books at the library and sat down to try my hand. This is not my first attempt to learn to crochet, by the way. My past attempts led to a lot of cussing and a lot of frogging of the projects.
This is as far as I got with my first attempt of a coaster. Not too bad so far, but the hook still feels awkward in my hand. I'm use to holding knitting needles I guess.

I'll have plenty of time to practice next weekend, because J and I are spending the weekend on the Eastern Shore at my Aunt's house. Love to visit my aunt and my sister and brother-in-law, who live on the same property, but with no internet access and no sewing machine, I'll spend my time crocheting, knitting and maybe doing some embroidery.

I hope to spend at least a few hours Saturday morning checking out some antique stores in the area though.

Hope everyone has an awesome, craft-filled week!



Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pillow Talk

I'm finally feeling better and was able to get back to spending my Saturday mornings at Yard Sales & Thrift Shops. Jean and I planned to hit a few yard sales in the morning and be home by noon. As usual, things quickly went awry. The first community yard sale we went to was pretty much a bust, although we did pick up a few things. Then we happened upon a pretty good community yard sale we didn't know about. We were done by 10am so we decided to hit a couple of thrift shops. Five hours later we made it home...LOL!

We both got some really good deals including some new vintage sheets and tons of books to read. (We both love to read!)

By the time we got home, I was so tired from all of the time in the hot sun and all of the running around, I took a nap and never did get around to crafting.
This morning, I relocated my laptop to my studio so I could watch my Big Brother Live Feeds while I worked on some projects. I actually did not get too much done, but I am on a pillow kick, so I completed two pillows.

The first is the apple blossom pillow I started several weeks ago. This picture makes the red look really bright and overpowering, but the colors actually complement each other much better then they apear.

The second pillow is made out of a vintage sheet and an Ikea sheet I had in my stash. I had picked up a bag of small pillow forms at a yard sale for a dollar and used them to make this pillow. It was very quick and easy. Instant favorite!

I was also able to (finally!) paint another colander. This one was kind of beat up when I got it, but I loved the floral design. How cute does it look painted teal? I think this one has become my favorite!



That's really it for this weekend. I craft much less during the Big Brother season since I'm so addicted to watching. I'll try to do more next week!



P.S. My cat wanted to say hello to blogland. He gets mad when I get the camera out and don't take a picture of him. (Polar opposite of the dog!) So meet Sasser, he is my 17 year old barn cat. Poor boy used to be 22 lbs and has shrunk to about 15 lbs in his old age. He's slowed down so much in the last 2 years, but he is still a big love bug!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Wonky Weekend

This past week was not a good one. What started out as a migraine last weekend triggered my Vertigo which resulted in me spending most of the week in bed with blankets over the windows to block out the light.

My first bout of Vertigo was back in March and since then I have dealt with migraines and ongoing dizziness to varying degrees. My doctor is concerned and now I need to go see a specialist. Lovely.

I hate missing work...hate it. I have a severe case of Catholic guilt which comes into play when I am late for work, nevermind missing 4 days! Ugh!
I have been forcing myself back to normalcy because I know I have to go back to work tomorrow like it or not, so I spent a little time in my studio this weekend. Unfortunately, everything I attempted came out quite wonky. I think it's because I couldn't concentrate for long periods of time.

I'll share a few things, but, you have been forwarned about the wonkiness.

I made this little ornament from one of the Art to Heart books I love. It's the Spring book. It looked super cute in the book...not so cute here. I'm trying to pretend I was going for Shabby Chic.

Next I attempted to piece a Stacking Coin Quilt. Clearly this will need some seams ripped and resewn, but I do like that I finally used the red, white and blue charm pack that I've had for 6 months now!

Lastly, I finished the owl embroidery pillow I've been working on for awhile. He isn't wonky, thank goodness, but that's because he was mostly done before I got sick.

Cuteness, huh? I am very happy with how it turned out.

Hopefully I will feel better with each passing day and be able to work on some painting projects I had to put off this weekend. Including these:

New/old colanders to paint. Yay! If you know me at all by now, you know I love colanders. I couldn't turn down these 2 colanders at a yard sale last week for .50 each. I think one needs to be orange and one purple. Not my usual colors, but I already have pink, blue and teal ones...time to get more creative with my colors!

If you have a minute, please wing some positive thoughts my way that I will overcome this Vertigo and get back to the business of living life!



Sunday, July 5, 2009

Down in the Boom Boom Room

My dog, Blair, and I spent the majority of the long weekend in my studio. Not because she was feeling particularly creative (although I was!) but because she is terrified of fireworks. (And thunder. And birds. And cameras.) I try not to laugh at her and hurt her feelings, but this dog will run up to a pit bull or rottweiler and bark, but is afraid of fireworks. (And yes, I consider her feelings because I am one of "those" pet owners. The ones without children so we turn our pets into our "kids". Laugh if you like, I have come to embrace it.)

We considered giving her a sedative this year for 4th of July, but decided against it for two reasons. Firstly because she is allergic to a lot of medications and it would be just our luck that she would have a reaction and we would pay $300 for an emergency vet visit just so they could give her a shot of benedryl. Secondly, there is no such thing as fireworks on the 4th of July around here. In my neighborhood, fireworks start around June 15th and and end around September. Seriously. And I think it would probably be considered animal cruelty to sedate my dog for 2 1/2 months. Plus there is the added worry of her becoming addicted to the sedative. I mean, I can't turn down her sad little face when she is begging for an extra treat or move her surprisingly heavy little body when she is taking up half of my bed, do you think I could turn down her begging for one more pill? I'm an enabler, I tell ya! I'm just kidding....mostly.

Anyway, that is why we spent the weekend in the studio in the basement, which we call the Boom Boom Room. When there are "boom boom's" outside, Blair runs to the door. And pants. And drools. And thank goodness my studio is down there to keep me busy because we have a "No Animals in the Studio Unattended" rule.

I made a deal with her that we could stay down there all day if she let me take her picture. Well, since she is also photo-phobic, she let me take her picture but it looks like I just got done kicking her or something. She's all submissive and her ears are pinned back. I swear I didn't kick her, but I did say "SIT" in a stern voice. Now she's probably scared of the word sit too. *SIGH*

So here she is, looking completely cowed, but I swear she's usually a ball of fire. In fact, ask my oldest nephew, I think he still has a scar on his lip from when she bit him. To my sister, I still say he didn't need to go to the ER for that!

Anyway...I started the weekend by doing a little bit of reorganizing in my studio. I am still nowhere near organized, but I now have 2 new shelves hung. The first one is what I call a "favorite things" shelf. It contains things that make me happy: things I made and things that inspire me.

The second shelf is more of a cabinet really. I've had it for about 2 years but never hung it up. I got it at a yard sale for $5. Well worth the money. This one hangs right over my sewing machine. In this picture I have a WIP hanging from it. Mostly because I need to get motivated to finish it, but also because I like the colors. This shelf also has a picture of my Mom & Dad on their wedding day in 1953. Love that pic. Hard to believe they only knew each other a few months before getting married and ended up having 5 kids and stayed married for over 50 years.

After hanging the shelves I was ready to sew. I started out by making a tissue cover for purse tissues. I have always wanted to make one, but they seemed hard to me. I couldn't wrap my head around how to do it. After searching online, I found a tutorial and set to work. After 10 minutes I was done...and embarrassed. These things are easy! Why was I so afraid to make one? I wanted to make about 50 more. But I only have one purse. So I stuck with this one.
I used fabric from my Mom's stash. I used to "save" her fabric. I was afraid to use it because I felt like I was losing a part of Mom. Then I came to the realization that she would want me to use the fabric. I imagine her smiling down from Heaven, happy that I am using her fabric. And as a bonus I get to carry a little piece of her with me daily. Now I feel silly for not using the fabric more before. Plus, I guess I should mention that my Mom had a ton of fabric. I'll bet that I could NEVER use it all....EVER.

I will be making more of these. I kind of feel sorry for all of my friends. You can bet they will all have tissue holders for their purses sometime soon.
Next I worked on finishing a pin cushion that I've been working on for over a month. It wasn't a difficult project. I just had to find a button big enough to put on the top and bottom to shape it. It was way too puffy without one. I had to rein it in a bit. I don't even drink marguarita's but I think this looks way cute in the marguarita glass.

Another fear of mine in the sewing world has been making a purse or tote. I just didn't have the confidence to try one. My sister makes them all of the time. I had to try. My sister had posted a cute one she made on her blog from Spool Sewing so I decided to try it.
I won't say this was easy like the tissue cover, but it was easier than I thought it would be. I especially like the cool way they did the straps. I made mine out of inexpensive fabric, using more fabric from Mom's stash for the lining, as a test case. I made some mistakes, but it still turned out okay. (Note to self: always remember after basting something by machine to change the stitch length back to normal size)

I will definately be making more of these totes with some minor changes to the pattern that work for me.
After completing these sewing projects, I was in the mood to do some embroidery. So I pulled out my dozens of Aunt Martha's patterns and set to work finding one I wanted to do. I found one that was Summery and quick so I set out to do that. It went pretty quickly and I finished it before bed last night. I decided it needed a little fabric to make it pop so I added a stripe at the bottom. I'm really pleased at how it turned out. It now hangs from the shelf I hung over the sewing machine.

Today I dedicated to a new quilting project. I wanted to make a patriotic wallhanging. True to my nature, I thought of this the day after 4th of July. So next year, I will be ready! One of the blogs I just discovered, Quilt Dad, has a really cool looking 1/4 Log Cabin quilt on it and I wanted to do my wall hanging based on that. I worked on the piecing on and off all day (I kept taking breaks to fold fabric, I swear I'm obsessed with perfectly folded fabric!) and finished the four blocks I was working on. Then, when I layed them out they didn't look like I thought they would. I moved them around a couple of ways to see if I liked them better. I'm not sure which I like. So this is where YOU come in. Which way do you like best?

This is the traditional layout and best shows the 1/4 Log Cabin blocks. But anyone who knows me knows how linear I am and this is not linear to me.

This is more pleasing to my eye, but you can't really see the log cabiney detail of it and I could have made the same pattern with strips...know what I mean?

And this last layout looks more like a big old cross to me. So any suggestions or help would be appreciated!

Overall it was a very relaxing weekend for me and I think both Blair and I faced some of our fears. Okay, so Blair didn't overcome her fears, but I certainly made leaps and bounds in attempting my tissue holder and a tote bag with no fear!

I hope everyone had an awesome 4th and I promise to try to go back to updating at least weekly!



Saturday, July 4, 2009

To Be Continued...

Just a quick note to let everyone know I will be updating tomorrow. I've been crafting all weekend and have several things to share!

Happy 4th of July to all!