Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Sew Relaxing Week

Before I batten down the hatches and hunker down to meet Hurricane Sandy (or Frankenstorm, as forecasters are calling it) I wanted to share some of my recent sewing and quilting endeavors.

I was on vacation this week and I spent the majority of the week sewing and playing with fabric. Best. Vacation. Ever.

I spent all day Monday sewing with my sisters Jean and Jan.  I didn't get much done, just a small attempt at a wonky scrap block, because I spent a lot of time cutting up some fabric and digging through the ton of scraps that Jan was getting rid of.

I've been really into blues lately so my scrappy block is all blue:
Since "wonky" drives me nuts, I'm not overly thrilled with it, but it will make a nice potholder or mug rug once finished.

During the rest of the week I skipped from project to project, testing out things I have wanted to try.  My main focus was to complete a new mini quilt for the Alzheimers Art Quilt Initiative.  It's a great charity and one that both my sister, Jean, and I have made projects for before.  The finished quilts they collect are no bigger than 9 x 12 and are auctioned off the raise money for Alzheimer's Research.

My latest quilt is one I call Shattered Blues:

Since I wasn't able to participate in the yearly walk in our area this weekend, I wanted to contribute another way.  Serious props to my sister, Jan, and  brother-in-law, Jim, and their family for participating in the walk and raising $750!! 

Another small project I completed is something I've been wanting to try and have kind of been intimidated by: a quilted notebook cover.  I'm not the best at measuring and adding seam allowances and having them actually turn out correctly but I threw caution to the wind and tried the cover.

I'm so glad I did because I love how this turned out!
It was not nearly as hard as I had thought and now I want to cover every book and notebook in my house!

I ended my week of vacation with a sweet treat for J and I this morning: Cream Cheese Cookies.

It was a simple recipe I found somewhere on Pinterest, but I can't seem to find it again.  Basically it is a package of cream cheese, a stick of butter, a box of yellow cake mix and a 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract.  You mix it together, chill it for 2 hours then roll into balls.  Then coat the balls of dough  with powdered sugar and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Once cool you sprinkle some more powdered sugar on and viola!

Not my favorite cookie in the world, but definately tasty and worth a try!

Also, my Boston's wanted their pictures taken while I was taking pics of the cookies, so here they are:

This is my 13 year old Boston Terror Terrier, Blair.  As I've mentioned prevously on the blog, she has been through a lot in her 13 years.  She has lost her left eye, most of the vision in her right eye, a toe and the majority of her hearing but if you could see her when the pizza man comes to the door, you'd never know it!  She's our pitbull in a 20 lb body.  She's never met a stranger she didn't bite terrorize let know that they were unwelcome.

This is Jovi, my 3 year old Boston.  She what you might call fat a tank chubby. It's hard to get a picture of her upright because this is literally her favorite position.  She sleeps like this and plays like this (what we call "back wiggles).  If we would staple her food bowl to the bottom of the table she would eat like this too.  Her personality is the polar opposite from Blair and she is always wagging her tail and wanting love from every stranger who passes by...not that easy to do while Blair is trying to bite those strangers at the same time.

That's it for today, I have a few more  quilty things to share soon, mostly WIPs!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Gift Giving

I love to give handmade gifts.  I try to give them as much as I can.  I try to not nitpick my gifts and immediatly point out the flaws when I give them. (Am I the only one who does this?  I will literally interrupt someone as they are thanking me to say "Sorry about the little bit of crookedness on the side" even though they didn't even notice it!)

Sadly, my absolute favorite coworker left our team at the end of this week.  I'm sooo sad.  She is so awesome and even though she is in California and I am in Maryland and we've only met twice I consider her a great friend.

The best way I could think of to tell her thank you for your hard work, good luck with your new job and I will miss you terribly was to make her something.  I threw around lots of ideas before I decided on a business card holder.
I was really happy with how it turned out.  I didn't use a pattern and I did have a couple of failed trials before this success, but I'm hoping she will love it as much as I do!  I'm tucking in a Starbuck's gift card and one of my own business cards so she won't forget me!

My other project this week was ruffles.  I will admit that ruffles scare me, or should I say scared me.  I am all about the ruffles now!  I read a few tutuorials I found on a google search and armed with some  good tips, I went to work.  How exciting that I got some decent ruffles on my 2nd try!  I've been wanting to try one of those multi layered ruffled towels that I've seen on Pinterest and I did it!
These ruffles are hand done, but once I fell in love with the ruffles I immediately went on and bought a ruffle attachment for my sewing machine.  I'm hoping it gets here before I go on vacation next week so I can spend some ruffle-y time!

This towel is made out of a cheap flour sack towel that I cut in half.  I used half for the towel and the other half I made into the ruffles.  I love the white on white look.

I'm planning to make a few towels and potholders for another team member who just got married yesterday.  (And I STILL have to do bibs for yet another team member who just had her first little one!)

Needless to say, I'm keeping busy and I couldn't be happier!  I'm hoping to get together soon with my Stitching Sisters for some girl time and sewing time! (We've happily added my sister, Lucy, to our sewing circle and she is SEW excited to quilt and sew!)


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Studio Makeover - Part 2 - In Living Color

My studio has always been predominately decorated with red accents, but always with a mish mash of other colors thrown in.  Little by little as I thin out my excess crafting stuff (which sounds better than "get rid of my crap") that I don't need/won't ever use, I'm trying to stay within my chosen color pallette of red/aqua-teal/pink.
A few weeks ago I did a mini-redo of what is possibly the ugliest free standing pantry ever.  I bought this pantry at a thrift store I worked at back in 1993 while living in Virginia.  To be fair, it's little particle board self has held up well.  I keep planning to repaint it, but #1 it's really heavy and #2 I keep saying I'm getting rid of it, although it somehow always ends up sticking around.  For a short-term fix I modgepodged some adorable red & white polka dot wrapping paper that I picked up at Michael's for a dollar (score!) to the front panels. 

Who knew that a little thing like that would brighten it up so much!  I also plan on changing out the knob hardware and doing something to the side that faces my main crafting table, but I'm still thinking on those.

I love how the red & white accents draw your eye up to the scrap fabric in mason jars stored above.

As many of you know, my sister, Quilted Cupcake, has such a great eye for color and decorating, whereas my eye is a little, shall we say, off?  If you haven't seen pics of her studio follow the link and check it out.  It's my dream studio!
My studio is slowly but surely getting there.  I'm in no hurry to get it all done.  I do a little bit at a time and it seems to work better for me stress-wise.

Would love to see some links to your studios!  I'm always looking for inspiration!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Today I had to break up with some fabric.  I was very sad.  As a fabric hoarder, it's in my genes to keep every scrap just in case.  My BWF (best work friend) Christina is just starting to sew & quilt and she is not well stocked on fabric yet.  So, I do feel better that the fabric I broke up with is now hers and she will make good use of it, because honestly, I would have never used it.

It also helped that the UPS man came today and brought me a box full of new fabric.  And in case you are wondering, yes, I did just whine about breaking up with fabric knowing full well that my stock would be replenished with new pretties by the end of the day!

Most of the fabric is from the new Riley Blake line by Lori Holt called Polka Dot Stitches with some other pieces thrown in from Riley Blake's Chevrons and Riley Blake/Lori Holt's Millie's Closet as well as  Pierre's Famous Traveling Circus & Tiny Gingham by Michael Miller.
  Lately, I buy all of my online fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop.  They have the best selection, the newest fabric lines and will even email you when a new line is available.
 (I am not a paid spokesperson, but I would love to be let loose in their warehouse for 10 mins!)  They are the quickest shippers around too.  I always get my fabric quicker than promised and that makes me a happy girl!

Did I  fail to mention I placed another order from them last month as well?  Well, I did.  Not quite as much, but still some fun pretties:


So, are you not feeling very sorry for me for breaking up with the older fabric earlier?  I didn't think so.  But I know Christina is at home right now petting her new fabric, so all is good!

Just so you know, I really have been working on lots of new things and on redoing my craft room, I've just been lazy about sharing.  I'll work on it!

Off to play with my new pretties!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hexie Love

I came across a sweet new blog called The Hexie Blog via Pinterest.  I emailed Julia a photo of one of my Mom's beautiful hexie quilts and she featured it in a post.
Please check it out here!

Nothing feels better than to have my Mom's quilt legacy shared with others.  She bought me my first sewing machine and is the reason I have such a passion to sew and quilt.  I'm sure my sisters will agree that every time we sit down to sew Mom is on our minds and in our hearts.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Piece Out

This past week I rediscovered my love for Foundation Paper Piecing.  I first learned this method several months ago on a sewing day with my sisters.  As soon as I "got it" I realized this is the perfect thing to satisfy my OCD tendancies of straight lines and following a pattern directly.

I found a really great site here that has 100 paper pieced blocks.  The quilt featured using the blocks is a crazy quilt with tons of embellishments on it.  Quite intriguing, but not my style.  I have done a few blocks using Block 1 and some scrap fabric. 

Each block looks a little different because I was getting into the swing of things and measuring things wrong, but since it's a crazy quilt, it doesn't really matter as long as the blocks are the same size in the end!
After practicing on these blocks I wanted to try something with a higher level of difficulty.  I will not share with you the star block that I spent waaaaay too much time on and never did quite figure out.  (No matter how I sewed, it wouldn't quite work.  I choose to blame pattern error, even though I know for a fact the pattern is correct!)

Saturday I got up the nerve for attempt 2 on a more difficult block.  The finished block is only 5" square, so the tiny pieces frustrated me a bit and had me saying some very inventive curses.  It was only after I finished the block and sewed the four separately pieced rows together that I realized one of the pieces that was supposed to be black was done in linen.  Oops!  It's okay though, nothing a strategically placed heart won't fix! I also added a little bit of hand embroidery for the thread and the needle.

Overall I was pleased with the result and learned from my mistakes.  I definately will not be making a whole quilt of sewing machines, but it was much easier than I always feared the multiple rows would be.  Here is the free pattern if you want to attempt it. She actually has a ton of free paper piecing patterns on the main site  I love the fandom ones, but am not yet ready to attempt them!

Another sewhooked pattern that I made was the spool one.  This one was pretty simple.  I'm thinking of making a wall hanging for my studio with this pattern.

Check back soon for some more sewing room updates.  I haven't forgotten I said I was going to post more, I've just been sewing more than organizing and I don't want to lose my mojo!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Granny Blocks

Thanks to the fabulous Lori Holt over at Bee In My Bonnet I tried out a new technique and I'm totally addicted.  (I so want to adopt her as my 4th sister!)

She is hosting The Great Granny Along and has a great tutorial to help you get started. 

Here is my first block:

I was so proud of myself at how well this turned out.  I doubted it the whole time I was working on it, but as my sister always says: Trust the pattern.  I did and now I want to make tons more!

I've also been working on hexies again and want to work on a block I found in the Summer 2012 magazine Scrap Quilts for a Crazy-Pieced Block.  Looks like something I can do.  It feels so good to be motivated to sew again!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Studio Makeover - Part 1 - Curtain Call

My studio serves double duty as my creative area and my home office.  I've been "redoing" it for months.  Nothing major, just organizing, purging and redecorating as I go along. 

I'm super tired of the clutter.  It's a large area made smaller by my office area and an old pull out sofa that came with the house and can't be moved.  It won't fit through the door...don't ask how it got down here in the first place, I have no clue.

Yesterday, I spent the day shopping and sewing with my sisters.  They gave me great advice and pointers to complete my new curtains.  Unfortunately, I only took some of their advice...I'm stubborn that way.

Here are the before curtains.  Basically they are discount store curtains that I hung just so the neighbors couldn't peek inside until I made new ones.

Here is my fun, bright upgrade:

It took me 2 days of sewing to make these.  I started picking them apart the minute I hung them, then I stopped.  Because who cares if they aren't perfect?  Who cares if one side hangs slightly lower than the other.  I MADE these.  I put my ♥ into them.  And I love them.  So there! :)

I will be posting more studio updates as I complete them.  (See those red polka dots in the bottom left hand corner?  That's a sneak peak at another update I'm going to share!)


Sunday, June 24, 2012

What's Cooking?

Father's Day is an especially sad day at my house since J & I both lost our Dad's in the same year.  This year we decided to honor my Dad by making something he would have liked.  His favorite was always something with red sauce whether it was lasagna or spaghetti or something  Italian, but since I don't do red sauce we went with seafood.  Dad used to love steamed shrimp, steamed crabs, crab cakes, crab imperial, etc.

J & I came up with our own version of a seafood quesadilla.  The first one is the shrimp version with white cheddar cheese and mozzarella.  As you can see by the top picture, we really loaded them down with shrimp.  What made it extra good (and calorie-laden) is that we sauteed the shrimp in a garlic butter sauce before putting it on the quesadilla.  Can you say YUMMY?!?

The second quesadilla is a crab quesadilla with white cheddar.  I didn't think to take a picture of this one before cooking but we didn't do anything special, just lump crabmeat and the white cheddar.  We had sour cream on the side for dipping, which was the perfect addition to both versions.

I have to say that both versions were awesome and I think my dad would have loved them.  The crab was my favorite and J liked the shrimp better.  Although this is not something we will have on the regular menu (because of the cost!) it was a great way to remember my dad on an otherwise sad Father's Day.

I know I have once again been lax with my crafty updates, but I do have lots of projects to share.  I've just been super lazy about taking pictures.  It's on my to do list, I swear!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bright & Sunny Owl Banner

I've been wanting to post this bright owl banner for a few weeks now, but Mother Nature likes to make it rain on the weekends so that I can't take it outside for a good picture.  She finally decided to make it sunny (and way too hot!) today so here goes!

I just love how this turned out.  I had a picture in my head of what I wanted and it turned out even better than expected!
For the owls, I used the pattern from Moonstitches.  They were super easy to make and brighten up my craft studio a lot!
I know it doesn't show by my bad posting habits, but I've been hard at work on lots of projects.  Most of them are still in the WIP stage, but I hope to get them posted soon!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Hoop de Hoop

My new obsession is mini creations in embroidery hoops.  I have a bunch saved on my Hoop Dreams board on Pinterest.
This hoop was inspired by a hoop made by Gwenny Penny on Pinterest. 
Encouraged by my sister, I did more of a free motion outlining instead of the straight stitch I normally stick to.  I'd really like to make a whole series of these with different animals.  Quick, easy and fun, right up my alley!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Goal Oriented Crafting

I think my biggest challenge in being creative is getting started.  I surf Pinterest and blogs all week thinking of all I can work on over the weekend.  The problem is, once the weekend comes, I have no clue what I actually want to spend time on.  I think I've finally found the way to stay focused.  I got an idea from elleandblair via Pinterest. 

This has literally changed my crafting life. 
 I made my own version of a Goal List (below) based on the one I found and I rotate
out the post-its as needed.

I have always been a "list" person, but once I wrote something on the list I felt bound to I had to do it because I had written it down.  (Hello, OCD!)  This is the perfect solution because if I find something I want to do I add it on a post-it and remove one of my "lesser" goals.  No guilt, no eraser, no messy crossed out lines (which I totally don't believe in anyway!)
How do you stay organized and/or motivated??

By the way, stay tuned for some crafty updates soon.  My sister (Quilted Cupcake) and I spent the day sewing together yesterday and I'm super excited to share the projects I completed and some great tips she passed along to me!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bunny Butt

I love Spring.  I'm not a big fan of Summer, but Spring and all of the bright vibrant colors that accompany it make me feel like I'm waking up after a Winter of hibernating.

I whipped up this cute lil project in very little time.  It was inspired by a paper garland I'd seen on Etsy from psitsinthedetails via Pinterest.  The original is super adorable and made me think, I could do that with fabric!

I hand-drew the pattern and added a yoyo and a pom pom for the tail.  Easy as pie!
I'm thinking of downsizing the pattern and making a lil fabric garland of them too.
I'm so happy to have my crafting mojo going at full speed ahead!  I'm trying to be a more organized crafter as well, so I will have some posts soon on how I keep organized.
Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

White Chicken Enchilladas

I have a really cute last minute Easter project to share this weekend, but right now my internet is not feeling well and keeps dumping me offline. (Cross your fingers, the cable guy is coming tomorrow and is not leaving until he fixes this ongoing problem!)  I'm a pretty passive person, but don't mess with my cable/internet.  Last time we had a cable problem that wasn't fixed correctly I ended up calling the president of the company's secretary (don't ask how I got her number, it's a secret) and the "lucky" manager who refused to get on the phone and speak to me - flat out REFUSED!- ended up looking for a new job and we got 6 months of free cable.  Like I said, don't mess with my cable/internet.

Anyway, I wanted to share a picture of the absolutely DIVINE enchilada recipe I found and made from Pinterest.  This was soooo good.  J and I have been together for almost 10 years and he said it was the best dinner I've ever made.  Now, I am not the family cook.  I bake, mostly desserts, and J cooks, so I haven't made the majority of dinners around here, but I've made my share.  So that tells you how awesome this is.

I left the chile's out because I don't do spicy, but otherwise I followed the recipe that you can find HERE.  I have to tell you, I have a lil girl crush on Joyful Momma for introducing this awesome-ness to my life!

Check back tomorrow or Sunday for my Easter quickie.  I adapted something I found on Pinterest to an easy sewing pattern.  Mega Cute!


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Boy Oh Boy!

I love making bibs, mostly because they are so easy.  I haven't had any small children to sew bibs for lately so I haven't made any for about a year.  A few weeks ago a coworker asked me to make some bibs for her unborn baby boy.  I made her a few for her little girl a few years ago and she loved them.  Since flattery will get you anywhere with me, I quickly agreed.  I had a sewing day with my sister, Jan, and made the bibs below.  My coworker loved them!  I was doubly honored because after I left the office another girl on my team told me she was showing them to another coworker and they were both oohing and ahhing over them!

This polka dotted bib is made out of courderoy with a teal flannel backing.

Green polka dots (that are much brighter in person, not puke green as shown) with a whale embroidered on it.
Close up of the whale.  (This one was definately my favorite)
Baby blue with white polka dots and an embroidered elephant.
Close up of Mr. Elephant.

Puppy bib.
All four bibs.
I was really happy with how they turned out!
I have lots to share with you since I've been on a crafting bend, so check back soon!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Strung Up!

I came across an awesome site with links  for over 130 quilt block tutuorials and it refueled my sewing mojo.  I set a goal of doing at least 2 new blocks a month starting with one I've always wanted to do, the String Block.
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.   Instead of using a paper foundation I used a scrap piece of fabric, which I found to be easy.  I definately want to make more of these!

The next block I want to try is the Offset Square Block.  Stay tuned for more blocks!


Monday, January 9, 2012

After Christmas Backlog

I have some wonderful Christmas presents and ideas to share with everyone, but I've been super busy, especially since we just had our family Christmas gathering yesterday!
So, since I don't have time to write out a post for that just yet, I thought I'd share a couple pics of my Christmas Bostons. 
Trust me when I say Santa Paws was very good to these two lil terrors...errr...terriers.

Here's Jovi, our youngest wearing her new Christmas pajamas that she plain hates, but she knew she was not getting a dingo without posing for at least one pic with them on:

And then of course we have Princess Blair who is twelve, cranky and doesn't let that missing eye slow her down even a little.  She hates this Santa suit, but we still make her wear it for 5 mins every Christmas.  We did compromise and not put the booties on her this year:

I'll be back soon with more actual crafty stuff, I promise!!