Tuesday, January 31, 2012

At last...

Well, well, well. Look what finally decided to rear its head...


The best part is how they look a little like they're yelling out of their big trumpety mouths.

I must now go cut and fuse. I have a bag order waiting to be made.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

V-day Crafts

Hi gang! How's your Sunday? Mine is incredibly lazy.  Paying some bills yesterday made me realize that January is almost over. I'm not sure where it went because I feel like I wasn't there for most of it...I certainly haven't made much that's new within the month, but January is always fairly lazy around here - that big come-down from the holidays never motivates me much.

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and two of my favorite things I've made ever are for V-day. In case you wanted something quick and easy to make (that even the kiddos could help with) I'm reposting below with a few notes.

I've been asked many times where I got the wire hoop I used for this - but they were all no-reply commenters that I couldn't respond to :(  I found my wire hoop in Joann's in the section where they sell embroidery hoops (or in a nearby aisle). They come in a variety of sizes and are hung concentrically on the hooks. Alternatively, you could use a wire wreath form from in the floral section - but you may need more fabric as they have about 3 rows of wires. If you can't find either or just want to use what you have around you could form a wire hanger into a circle (or even a heart!) and tie your fabrics around that.

If you don't have a sewing machine, you could always needle up a length of sturdy thread or embroidery floss and do a running stitch up the center. This could be a good way to teach a young'un some simple stitchery as well, and can be made in any length to accent a mirror, a piece of art, anything that could use some lovey brightening. 

I must now go get myself dressed and ready for the day. Yes, it is officially after-noon, and I'm in my jammies still. But the nephew just asked me to take him to Office Max (I know!! What?!?!?!) so I must  be off. And then it'll be time for some quiet Sunday stitching.

See you all in a bit!

Linking here this week:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Curvy Nine Patch

This week's quilt block was actually kind of fun to make, curves and all. My printer decided not to work so I had to improvise to cut the templates. I opened the PDF, then resized it until the test square showed as one inch on my screen. Then I simply traced the shapes. Not crazy precise, but neither is my cutting or sewing. The block itself went together fairly quick, and it was one of those sewing sessions that's very relaxed and enjoyable. I really dig this one, even though some of my points were eaten; that's ok - if my seams are hungry who am I to deny them a meal?

I'm not sure why I have not a single problem sewing curves with bags, but with quilt blocks they're so much more fiddly. Maybe it's the lack of interfacing...

I have a question for seasoned quilters and patchworkers: to steam or not to steam? I feel like my seams are so crisp and precise when I use steam, but the steam seams to make the blocks crinkle up a little bit once all the wee pieces are assembled. I've tried looking this up, but I'm getting nowhere. If anyone has any advice on this point I'd be most grateful!

It's quite early still, but I think I'm hauling myself off to bed now. I'm bleary-eyed from quilting, and had a day I wasn't fanatical about....g'night!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I've got lotsa things I'm working on, but nothing is really near completion. It's unusual for me to have multiple projects going at the same time, but each is different enough that I can turn to it when I need a change of pace. I figured I'd show them to you anyway, in case you feel like having some sympathy for me and my loads of work :) I kid, I kid. I love it :)

First up - this giant pile of fabric and batting:

It's not even the start of it. I have miles to go before I sleep with this one. It's a ten feet long by 18 inches wide table runner that I'm quilting as a basic grid. I have another one to do to match (that's eight feet long) after this one. When a friend of mine asked me for these to finish off the look of her living room I heartily agreed. I don't know what I was thinking. I love straight line quilting, but looking at the same fabric over and over and over for stitch after stitch gets a little wearing on the eyes. Since Lola got her tune-up she sure is stitching sweet though:

Next up I've got a small portion of the tumbler shapes I cut with Persephone. It's going to become a runner for the kitchen windowsill, made in oodles of springy colors, and using some of my favorite scrappy bits. This pile is the rows waiting for pressing and stitching together:

And my rainbow ripple. It grows and grows. So meditative. So pretty. So perfect for when I have/need just a few minutes of something easy to work on. I finished the first repeat and am making headway on the second. That first part was tricky - I liked it but was holding out full elation because I thought once all the colors were there it wouldn't be so wonderful. But it is. It's not everyone's cup of tea by any means, but it's unspeakably me :) The bright pink in the middle upwards is what I've done since the last peek:

And finally, one we've been waiting for since Christmas - my mom got a potted amaryllis from a co-worker.  It appeared to be not interested in anything, and then it shot straight up. And up. And up. The blooms are ready to burst, but it's taking its good old time. Today, though - pretty flowers are almost in sight:

Isn't it nice having flowers around in the dead of winter? I love it. I wish we had options other than supermarket flowers right now - blooms in winter are delightful!

I'm off to cram a meal and then go pick up my night guard from the dentist. If you can think of anything sexier to do on a Wednesday evening I'd love to hear it :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Not here...

I'm not here today. I mean, I'm here, both physically and mentally, but not...blogilly. I'm over at Craftionary today, doing my first ever guest post! Did you ever do one? It's kind of weird writing something up that's going to be somewhere else.

Anyhoodle, if you fancy seeing my tutorial for this:

...then head on over and take a peek. Later taters!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Weekend

I have had such a lovely cozy weekend I don't want it to end. That whole resolution about doing the 'work' sewing during the week and the 'me' projects on the weekend has worked out quite well for my mood. I get so much more accomplished, too. Win-win.

We had some icy snowy messy crap Saturday morning. It's not the fun kind of snow that's pretty to look at - it's that crusty crunchy stuff that's a pain to shovel. It made for nice days inside sewing and stitching away. I didn't get anything finished, but I got things done, which isn't exactly the same.

Remember a few weeks ago I got gushy about the new toy I bought myself? Well, it arrived, and I spent some time playing with it. Please meet Persephone, my new Accu-Quilt cutter:

I have wanted one of these for stinkin' ages but I couldn't justify the cost to myself, especially since you have to get the cutting mats and the dies too. BUT they offered a great deal on their Facebook page a few weeks ago and I went for it. With the purchase of the cutter I got two mats and two dies for free. I threw in a couple extra dies that I liked (the apple core and the tumblers) and that was that.

This is so easy to use it's almost ridiculous. I pulled out my scraps and cut away with the tumbler die. I may have gone overboard, but they'll all get used. More to come on that front.

Overall it's been a quiet weekend. Today was the Patriots/Ravens game. I stayed in the other room quietly sewing. It was best to stay out of the way of the brother and the nephew while all that was going on. When the final kick thing to tie the game went bad, they decided that the best thing to do was make snow angels. Or, in this case, crunchy snowy ice angels.

I'm glad I sew and do quiet things. I would not want to be expected to show my devotion like this. I was freezing just taking the picture.

I'm going to go work on my ripple afghan for a bit, and then read for a little while. A quiet end to a cozy little weekend...cheers, all!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A drunkard's path of a post...

I think I had too many imaginary blooming snowballs, because my drunkard's path is a little too sober. Yeah, try and figure that one out. I have no idea what I just wrote. I made one boo-boo but it's not really one because it looks fine and didn't make anything go off-kilter, so it looks different than it's supposed to be but it's still a drunkard's path block, and I can probably make a run-on sentence out of anything if I tried. Phew...

So my mistake? I'm not entirely sure. I just think it's wrong because I couldn't make it look like any of the samples. Or maybe you need more blocks to make it look inebriated. But it's also entirely possible I'm shape-challenged. Either way, though, I like it.

To me it looks like four little gingham boots walking in a circle, so I guess it is kind of a drunkard's path, just walking in circles through a polka dot blizzard. My curves came out nice and sweet this time too:

Because I did a Google search for it I'll probably have the Feds at my door, BUT I had a few moments of intense concern that this block resembled a certain...historical symbol representing hatred and intolerance (but originally did not mean that until a certain group used it to represent its twisted view on mankind). I figured if it too closely resembled that...symbol I'd redo the whole thing, but it doesn't actually look like that so a redo was not required for cultural sensitivity purposes. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then just ignore this paragraph. Even though at this point you've probably already read it, so all I can say is 'sorry.'

I went back to proofread this and my first honest thought was "WTF did I just type?" Hence the title.. But you can't say you weren't warned---'rambly ramblings'--it's right up there in the header.

I'm very looking forward to the weekend--happy happy Friday to you!!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My First Fail of 2012

Over the weekend I was working on what was supposed to be a cute little Valentine's Day project. I had sorted out another tutorial I was working on (you'll get to see that next week), and was in that mode of "I can make ANYthing!" I have been largely uninspired thus far by what is out for V-day crafting. So I got this "bright" sparkly idea... It's not really a fail but it's pushing it...it's definitely a 'not how I imagined it' kind of thing...

Sooo....I bought a package of heart shaped doilies, and some fine red glitter. I had a 3-D heart shaped idea in my head but it was way too messy so I went in another direction. I didn't exactly know WHICH direction but I figured I'd figure it out as I went along. I sprayed Elmer's spray adhesive on the doilies and generously sprinkled them with glitter. My mother said, and this is a direct quote, "You're putting glitter on doilies and calling it a project?" At this point I had no idea what I was really aiming for but I kept plodding along.

When I have no idea what to do with something I've made a bunch of I will invariably say "I'm going to string it up and make a garland!!" So I took some jute (twine?) and strung them up, and used some cute old-school thumbtacks I found in the junk drawer:

It was too bland. So I wrote some Valentiney sayings on scrapbook paper and pinned them up with miniature red clothespins -

Haha--that was the last one I made--I was running out of ideas.

So, yeah...not awful. But not fabulous. The worst part? I had glitter in my underwear and up my nose, I had to soak and scrub my hands forEVer to get the glue and glitter off, and you know what? The FREAKin' glitter is 'raining' off of the hearts. You can see how some of the edges are bare... it's quite annoying. I should have remembered my glitter misadventures from when I was younger. I love the stuff, but it clearly despises me.

How has your crafting been thus far? Had any botched jobs yet?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

La Nina Made Me Do It

I love snow. I adore it. I long for it. It keeps winter interesting. I don't like 18 inches in a storm. About six is good--it makes everything quiet and pretty, it isn't impossible to shovel...it's a good amount. Due to stupid weather patterns this year it looks like we won't be seeing many flakes, if any at all (which I guess is fine since for the past few years we got hit with a few hefty storms). So I had to take matters into my own hands and make my own snow. It's inside too, which is better because I don't have to bundle up to see it.

This was maybe one of the easiest things to make ever. It's not even really made so much as hung up... I apologize for the dimmish photos--this window in the kitchen is awful for taking photos near - no matter the time of day or year the lighting just doesn't work.

The little puffballs are a few pom-poms strung up on thread. The friction of the two keeps the pom-poms from sliding down. The larger flakes are glitter covered plastic flakes I got at Michael's for a dollar, strung on varying lengths of thread.

The photos are horrible, but when you see it in actuality there is a hint of gift-shop-wiindow-at-Christmas about it. This actually would have been monumentally better in the window over our Christmas decor but better late than never.

Even my dad came in and said "Wow, that looks really pretty!" He usually doesn't comment unless you're shoving what you made in his face and saying "Look at this and comment!!" (aren't most men like this?).

Here's how it looks a bit from afar - you can see how it all delicately hangs --

I walked into the kitchen late last night, and the recessed lights set up in the 'ceiling' of the window made it look so pretty - almost as though you were watching snow falling outside, gently lit by a street light. No picture - I couldn't get it to show up without the harsh flash, which would defeat the purpose.

My original plan was to crochet a bunch of snowflakes and hang them up but I got really bored, so I made four. They didn't look that good with the others hanging up there, so they're just stuck to the window right now.

I love how the light shows through, and makes it look like it's glowing :)

I don't really have much else to share. I think I inhaled a pound of glitter this afternoon, and I'm hoping that craft works out well because if it doesn't it's going to be extremely annoying to be coughing up glitter in August. I've been chugging through some sewing, but nothing too fun. My first repeat of my rainbow ripple is done. I've kind of been lazing about all weekend, eating candy, drinking tea, and forcing the dog to snuggle with me. How am I ever going to get up the will to go to work tomorrow?

Linking up here:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cloudy Flower

Ever see those text clouds that take common words from a blog/site/etc. and smoosh them into a shape? I was bored, and  I saw a site, and now I'm going to make you look at the one that was generated for me:

Some of the word placements are interesting - how 'sewing things' is kind of front and center, and 'little time' is kind of prominent on the lower right. I don't know how these are generated but I'm wondering if its the most common words that are largest.... I'm also wondering when I've used the word 'don.'

There are a few different options you can play with - shape, font, color - but I went with something slightly Valentiney. Give it a try - and let me know if you do! I'd love to check out your clouds :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blooming Snowball

Wouldn't 'blooming snowball' make an excellent beverage name? I don't know what it would be made of, but I would order that all the time if it was really a drink. Not ALL the time, I'm not an alkie, I usually get iced tea, but if I felt like a drink I'd totally have that, not that I want a drink that often. But wait...is there tequila in a blooming snowball? Because then I don't want it.

Sorry. I had to pause and think of what I'm supposed to show you. It's my next quilt block. We were introduced to curves this week, of which I was not a lick afraid. The pattern itself was quite simple, and I've sewn a gajillion curves with bag gussets and the top of my wavy tote and all that jazz, so I wasn't intimidated at all. I think the parts cut on the bias did get stretched a bit, and that's why this one doesn't lie completely flat right now in that top part:

I don't think you can get the full impact of this block unless you have several of them made up and joined together--it would probably make the niftiest pattern of interlocking petals. I actually like this one better set on point (tilt your head about 45 degrees to see) - I like the big white curvy cross that it forms.

This block, according to the directions, was going to finish at 12 inches. My other blocks are all 12 1/2 inches. I played with the pattern a tiny bit to get the extra space, which might be another reason it's a little bit off. But it's good enough.

OK, must trot. I want to squeeze in a little reading time before bed. Have a good Friday!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I've had a good long think with this one and I came up with my resolution for the year. I'm a little late with it (obviously) but late should be the new on-time anyway, since 30 is the new 20 and all that unrelated jazz... Usually I commit to the impossible - lose x amount of pounds, stop cursing, and other rot like that. But THIS year I have a resolution I can live with.

Slow down. That's my resolution. To slow it down. To be in the moment and not several steps ahead of myself.  I found myself at several points last year whining to someone that I felt so overwhelmed with orders, and things I wanted to do/learn, that I would literally lie awake at night with my mind racing in a gazillion directions over something I do for enjoyment. Is that silly, or what? So this year I am going to take it down a notch. No more rushing through things. No more racing on to the next project, even if it's still to be determined. I'm going to work on projects as they come and not worry about just how quickly they get done. Because seriously? Who's counting anyway? Just me. And it's a completely arbitrary number, just like one's age. In the grand scheme of things it means naught.

So I resolve to stop stressing. During the week I'll work on orders if I have them (and not until the almost wee hours), but weekends are for me. For selfish sewing, for reading, for rippling, for whatever my heart desires. Stress doesn't exactly lead to successful projects and joyful hobby time, so I'm going to try to avoid it. Feel free to virtually slap me if I forget and go all hysterical female on you at some point.

This all may or may not be inspired by the fact that my dentist recommended a night guard since I have a teeth-clenching-in-my-sleep issue that has fairly recently surfaced and won't go away. Did you ever wake up and weren't able to open your mouth because your jaw was locked up so tight? It's kind of panic inducing. My dad said he finds this preferable (not the panic part, the other part) because I'd talk much less.... I didn't really have a response for that. I DO talk a lot.

Since I did manage to sew up this week's quilt block I'll be back to show you as soon as I can find my camera.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Getting started on my rainbow

It's been an interesting week. In "helping" my sister with a crochet baby blankie she was working on, I somehow got her yarn knotted beyond comprehension. The whole thing. It was awful. This was the same day that the heater broke. It was the coldest day thus far, highs in the twenties, and we were sitting around a space heater in the living room. Very fun. Ummm...I found out I was allergic to the Christmas tree, which hopefully explains why I felt like crap for most of December, but it's gone now and I feel better. I was crap-awful on my diet, but I lost two pounds, which only tells me I ate a monumental amount of cookies at Christmas. I straightened out my fabrics and realized I may have some kind of problem. And I received my "ship confirmation" email for a gift I bought myself that I can't wait to show you (though it was a completely unnecessary splurge and I feel quite wasteful but it's been on my mind for months soooooooo......).

I've made a good amount of headway on my rainbow ripple. When I laid it out to take a picture I realized just how far I have to go with it, but I'm enjoying each row and each color. It's more of a thinker than I thought it would be, and I have probably ripped out just as many rows as I've stitched (I even started the whole thing over). But, unlike most of my projects, I aim for this to be a long-term adventure, so it doesn't matter to me a bit just how long it takes. I don't have all of the colors involved yet, so I don't know what the full repeat will look like, but here I am so far:

It looks much bigger than it actually is....

The red is my favorite. If it's not already it should be called Perfect Red. Because it is.

This section looks better in my head. Right now it reminds me of some neon-'80s toy I used to have. It looks much better in the grand scheme of the blanket, though.

This section reminds me of twilight in winter. You know the kind--the sun is down, there's snow on the ground, and the light is soft and purple. I'm working on that hot-pink stripe now.

I like the interlocking stripe pattern of it all. It feels like I have been stitching for a million years, and I suppose I have been. I'd probably have a huge amount more done if I'd stop ripping it out, but oh well.

I'm trying not to think about the ends....

It's a sport-weight/dk yarn so it's nice and light, but it has a lot of warmth to it when it's draped across my lap. I have a few more colors to place and then I'll be on to the second repeat. Maybe by Christmas the whole thing will be done. I've got to pull myself away from this to sew, which is quite unusual for me.

That's about all I've got for now. I'm hoping as January progresses my motivation increases--I've got nil right now. Have a pleasant week - see you soon!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Dog Ate My Quilt Block

Guys? I have a confession to make. I did not do well on my diet this week. I spent way too much money on things I don't need. I drove entirely too fast, everywhere. And, maybe the worst, I said "No way, Jose!" to this week's quilt block. I know! I know!! Straight to the fiery pits is where I'm headed!

I've been very diligent about getting my blocks done as they're presented. I don't want to fall behind, and I don't want to just stop when I've already done so many. And I don't intend to. But this week....ugh. We were tasked with finding an applique pattern and working it out. I found lots of cute patterns, had ideas for the fabrics, even cut the things out (the good thing about applique is it doesn't take much fabric). I got started, and then I stopped. I said "{Naughty word} this, I'm not doing it!" And here's why. I hate it. I've tried all the methods I could find: freezer paper, needle-turn, fusible interfacing--I hate them all. They just don't work out for me one bit. They're too fiddly, even with pressed edges they get misshapen, no matter how much I pin it ends up over there when I pinned it over here. It's just not worth it to me to spend all that time for something that won't look that good, that I won't be happy with, and so on. I don't have unlimited time and, more importantly, unlimited patience. So I'm using a homework pass on this one.

Posts should have a pic, so here's an old one of me sitting on the toilet with my sewing machine.

No, I didn't just do this for no reason. It was for a contest where you take a picture of yourself sewing in a weird place (the prize was a new sewing machine). I wasn't dropping my drawers so it's just an awkward pose and some questionable fabric. I didn't win, by the way--the winner was randomly chosen. And here I bet you thought it was an "ugly bathroom tile" contest...

Have an excellent Friday! I'm off to get my "Big Bang Theory" on!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Busier than I thought...

I wasn't going to do any year-end review/round-up stuff, but I've really been enjoying looking at them on other blogs so I figured I'd give it a go. Until I did this I had completely forgotten about a lot of the things I had made, so it was nice to look back and see just how busy I've been. Here is most of everything I've made in the past year (some things I made so many of it got a little redundant).

Bags and Purses


Yarny Bits

(I needed a 6th picture - but that box of yarn is currently a blanket in progress, though it's not technically a finished project...yet)

Crafts and Seasonal

I'm off to spend some time with my good friend the 'H' hook. See you soon!

Thanks, Jane, for posting a link for this super-easy mosaic maker!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

FINALLY--Baby Blanket Reveal

There is no better way to give a gift than by prefacing it with "When are you stopping by so I can get this thing out of my house?" Tee-hee. Just kidding. Sort of. No, seriously. I'm kidding.

One lonely present has sat beneath the Christmas tree (which we are taking down tomorrow, by the way, not that I suspect you care much) for a few weeks, waiting for my sister's friend to stop by. She's having a wee one in a few months, and I wanted to make her a blanket for the little lad. But I wanted to make one that was a little...unconventional.

I've made blankies for friends before, and I sat there at the baby shower and watched blanket after blanket in all sorts of baby colors being unwrapped. It kind of deflates you because you made it with such love and it's going to get lost in the mix. So this time I thought a little further along the timeline. That baby is going to grow. And wee little blankies in blue and white aren't going to cut it anymore. So I made a blanket that would be better for an older little boy. One who will drag it behind him, spill apple juice on it, wipe his snotty nose on it, and cry for it when it's being washed (I hope--that would be super-flattering to future me).

So here's my reveal -

My inspiration came from this project over at the Purl Bee. I was not spending that much money for yarn, so I tried to find comparable colors, which was really hard to do (so thanks to my sister Alicia for helping me with the choosing). I started knitting it up, but it was going to be so thick and stiff I wasn't sure if the baby was supposed to be wrapped in it or use it for karate practice. So I frogged and decided to crochet the ripples instead.

The colors are softer in actuality than this photo depicts. I love those center three colors together. It starts with olivey green, then mustard yellow, tan, white, silver blue, navy blue (though it looks black), and brown. Because I switched up the pattern from knit to crochet I wasn't entirely sure how it was going to go. It ended up quite wide and fairly short (perfect for wrapping baby), or, if you turn it, long and narrow (perfect for snuggling under). And that, my friends, is how you turn an "I didn't plan it quite like that" into a design feature. I'm just absolutely in love with the look of those ripples.

This was a pleasure from start to finish to crochet. I knew the pattern, had the colors laid out, and was very excited about it. Those three factors together are the trifecta for fun stitchery.

So, Amanda, I hope you love it. I hope it keeps the kiddo cozy. I hope not one shred of it exists by the time he enters junior high. But I do hope he doesn't puke on it. Because that's just gross.

I have one day left of vacation and two things left to accomplish: take down the tree, and sew up my next quilt block. Oh, and a third--start whining about how I don't want to go back to work. Later, amigos!!

I'm sharing here this week:


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