Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Handmade bridal gifts and a cushion for a pin




I needed a few gifts for my niece's bridal shower.
It all started with the above basket from a maya made pattern
which was - by the way - a snap to do

I started with a kitchen theme and made a few magnets and a pot holder.

The purple inside the basket are a few grocery totes.
 
and an emergency sewing kit with mini scissors, needles,
thread and buttons. Of course her name
is spelled with pins.

Finally for the bride some supplies for relaxation:
a sleep mask
flax seed hot/cold pack
and lavender bath tea
all in the bag below.


The bag was a rayon tank top in its former life
it begged to become a bag.


Finally for me, the first of the projects from these scraps
in a thrifted vase.

In other news I am finally a senior in college. For as long as this process has taken me I could have a doctorate but am so happy to be at this point.  Fall classes have begun and one week from today I will be back at work as an elementary school  para. The busy season is upon me and I cannot wait to be back with the students. When I first started college I wrote so many papers I could have written a book, I still write at least one or two a week but for the next five months I will be focused on writing lesson plans. Much more fun then papers but way more work. Speaking of.... I better stop procrastinating and get back to work.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Camp quilt.....check

I started this quilt in July of 2007. Yikes.  I finally found a direction for the backing purchased the batting and put it all together yesterday. I pieced the back, basted the layers, quilted it on the horizontal lines...



....sewed my table cloth to the back, removed the table cloth, squared evened things up, sewed the binding on....

and finished hand stitching the binding at 2 a.m. It is a sickness- I could not stop.

 
I could not love this quilt more. I used a kona cotton for the binding in avocado.

There is only one print in the whole quilt it is on the back and happens to be geese in bonnets. I know. Odd. Other then that the back is flannel and brushed cotton...so so soft.
 
A few facts::
This is the largest quilt I have quilted myself.
This is the first quilt I have ever made with a solid binding and all the same fabric.
The binding was inspired by this great quilt which also inspired this quilt.
I loved quilting this quilt.
Quilting with cats can be challenging.
Apparently a quilt layed out is done solely for the cat.
I purposely left the air a little cooler last night so I could justify sleeping under this quilt.
I slept like a baby.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

1970's Hex


Some fantastic prints from the 60's and 70's
Thought I would share one of my on going projects. It is my portable project and goes with me everywhere in a small baggie.  Some years ago my mother-in-law gave me these hexagons already cut.  She had cut them out years earlier with her mother-in-law. At the time I was not at all sure I wanted to do this.  However, I hung on to them and a few months ago I realized what a perfect project they would be.  I have done a lot of quilting but never by hand. I want to make one entire quilt by hand and this is it.

 
So these will become, one day, a quilt completely made by my hand. I have no illusions on how long this will take, yet the process is meditative. I love the tiny stitches I am able to achieve through the English paper piecing method- the method I choose for these because I feel it is the most secure. To the left of the above box is a baggie that has a needle, thread, card stock templates and hexes to be basted. It all fits neatly in my bag and I can pull it out anywhere. Sometimes I take the whole block with me and work on that. It helps to have that along because people will ask you what you are working on and then look at you like you are nuts, which I am- so fine!

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Oh, you want to give me your scraps?"



My sister made this fabulous quilt, of which I do not have a photo but will try to get one.
 I coveted that quilt like you would not believe.
It was comprised of the above fabrics and had circles.
 One fine day I was over at her house and she gave me the scraps from the quilt.
Good enough for me- the colors....

My scraps and I ventured into my sewing room to see what was there.
Plenty I think.
 A lot of it is Amy Butler's Midwest Modern.
Oh how I love the colors.
I sorted and ironed and separated them into three sizes.
I have plans for these babies and they are well underway.
My intention is to use each bit of this fabric and see what I can do.
Because I need to have 5 projects going at once.

 
My question is.... when is a scrap a scrap?
When does a scrap just need to be tossed and when should it be folded and put on the shelf?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In the Garden


This year my flowers are putting on quite a showing of their
finest finery. So sassy in her silver pot.

 
I love the simplicity of these onion blooms, I wonder if they know how modern their lines are?
Yellow peppers just asking to be plucked.

And this is my squash- I love squash- I want an abundance of squash of various varieties- which I have. However everyyear they are under attack by the squash vine borer.
 A very destructive, unwanted and uninvited garden
pest. It kills my plants every year and I get maybe one or two zucchinis.
Naughty.


Not this year, last night I performed major surgery on my poor plants and
removed many of the ugly little worms. Hopefully with luck the plants will recover
and prosper. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thrifted



When you have a house full of boys and kitchen chairs that are used a lot- well like Goldilocks and the Three Bears- they sometimes fall apart at the joints. We were down two chairs from our table and borrowing uncomfortable ones from other places.  Then on an excursion to my favorite antique mall I came across these. I love their regal design and tall backs. Even the color speaks to me.

The mod seat fabric. Nice. A coat of paint and a light sanding and they should be perfect.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An exotic tale of mint and fried chicken dripping in fresh cream



Spicy dahl with meatballs, fresh tomato and cilantro. Mint chutney on the side.
 ( the meatballs have leftover basmati rice from Sundays meal).

Many years ago the sound of the ocean and the song of the Cascades drew my restless soul to the great Pacific Northwest. It was there that I met my husband and there that I learned an independence that I had never known before. I also discovered ethnic food. Okay I had tasted an enchilada and known the taste sensations of a Chinese buffet. What I had not ever tasted was fresh cilantro in a homemade salsa, or sautéed bokchoy in a stir fry created before my very eyes. Tai food was an exotic mystery and I never dreamed that vegetables in a simple Asian broth could bring such joy and satisfaction on a rainy winter day. Then there was that fresh salmon (need I say more) and mussels in a creamy sauce over angel hair pasta (who would have thought noodles could be so thin). Nor had I had the delicate and intricate flavors of Indian cuisine.

This is my favorite and most craved of all my discoveries. Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t actually deprived of food as a child. I drank milk that came from a large jar with the cream floating on top and that same cream was served with fresh strawberries and homemade biscuits for desert or breakfast. Oh yes and it was heaven. I grew up on the comforts of things such as porcupine meatballs and beef stroganoff, not to be outdone by fried chicken and potato salad dripping with mayo. Snacking meant grabbing a mulberry or boysenberry right from the branch and lefsa and pickled herring are still my holiday favorites. And my mother makes the most delectable rhubarb and apple pies that I have ever had.


After several years and babies #3 and #4 on their way we decided that with our jobs and the cost of living we would be better to live in the Midwest where I was from, so we moved. Ten years ago. For the last 8 years we have resided in a tiny little town that boasts one store, two hometown restaurants and like all small towns one bar. The flavors of my past are tucked conveniently in my memory.

Mint Chutney first attempt.

Since the move my cooking has drastically changed, true I still prepare the occasional tater tot hot dish, but for the most part we eat fresh foods with lots of flavors. Over the years I have honed my Indian cooking skills and make a pretty great curry, dahl, korma and my naan rivals any restaurant. One thing I have yet to master is mint chutney. Actually this was my first attempt and while it was tasty it did not offer that ‘I need to have that on everything’ quality that I expect from my chutneys, relishes and salsas. Up until now I have occasionally traveled an hour to the Indian grocer to stock up on red and yellow lentils, seasoning and mint chutney but at $4 for a small bottle I must be able to make it myself. I have all of the ingredients fresh just steps from my kitchen.  I will keep working on the recipe and I promise to post if I hit it.

::Side note:: it was also in that beautiful country that I had my first espresso and then honed my aptitude toward being a complete and utter coffee snob. I was a barista in the 90's after all.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A lesson in value


 In October my niece, who also doubles as my God child, will be betrothed to her beau. I am most certain that she does not read this blog and if you happen to, LOOK AWAY until your nuptials. However this lovely niece of mine does read her and also happens to be sister of the bride, whom I am most certain can be trusted with my secret.

 

I was inspired, first by this, which led me to this - pure inspiration- and the tutorial that I have followed up to this point.  I have never done this type of quilt before and it required a little more patience of me so I did have to set aside my typical seat of your pants quilting style. The hardest part was deciding on what was light and what was dark. I must most certainly be, value blind or need value glasses because I had a heck of a time. Unless its darkness screamed at me (which at one point it did and I decided I need to go to bed when my fabric starts to talk to me). The next morning my blocks were quiet again. Thank goodness. Yet it it wasn't obvious I struggled with it's value.


This is a final gift -part of a wedding gift concept that I am working on and will discuss at a later date. The first pictures I took I realized that there was an issue with the pattern that I did not see just looking at it. In the photo it is much easier to spot where the blocks have gone a rye and where they are great. I need about 16 more blocks but I have been through my stash and do not want to duplicate anymore so I am at an impasse. Many of the fabrics I used were cut for the very first time.  I was not planning on buying anymore fabric until I burned through my overflowing collection. But ahem what to do.  Back to what I was saying about picture taking::: I used the picture taking technique when I made this quilt::


This is a pretty bad picture of it but I made it for my daughter's volleyball coach and each of the girls signed a block. The center is the center of this year's volleyball shirts that all the supporters wear and the girls themselves, it says..... peace love volleyball. Lilli was a senior this year and so this was her last high school season.

This is the back of the quilt and the back of the shirt is in the center. This quilt was my first foray into free motion quilting.

{sorry about the teeny pics they were hijacked from another site of mine}

Hopefully, the next time you see the value quilt it will be done or near done and won't have gone broke foolishly buying more fabric.

Edited to add: I guess I already blogged about the Volleyball quilt here- this is just how good my memory is- I had to be reminded by the little pictures that are automated after each post...sheesh.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Time just keeps moving


In the last two weeks we have:

::painted our living room, kitchen, bath, hallway, entryway and lower landing.
::Re papered the entry and updated the trim
::Hung new curtains
::Cleared out all living area clutter (notice I say living area, there is plenty more to go)
::Cleaned the garage
::Cleaned the house top to bottom

Most importantly we watched this beautiful child grace her way through another rite of passage....high school graduation.

Our final company pulled away from our house this morning on their way back to WA and the finality of it all is just setting in. Next we will be packing up and sending her off to college. You wouldn't believe all the panic that is attached to this process. I have these words on a constant reel in my head...."did I teach her how to....." and "did I prepare her for....".

Last month my focus was on getting through three classes, finishing up at work, doing my practicums and planning graduation. Each object of my attention ending in that order - classes, practicum, work and finally graduation. As soon as school was out it was full on graduation party mode with its painting and cleaning and preparing. It was odd as we stood and watched the last of our family leave our house. A strange sense of lost-ness came over me. Most of this day I just haven't quit known what to do with myself. I suppose this is a variation of what it feels like when the last of your children head off to college. The house will be empty and years of focus will have to be readjusted. The one positive is that in a teens senior year of school they are gone a lot, at work, games or with friends so that some adjustment is already happening. Yet somehow it doesn't seem any easier.


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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy Birthday!


The jumper on the left, is 13 today, a much anticipated rite of passage has been crossed from pre-teen to teen. Happy Birthday to a boy who rocks my world!
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Lunch just got a whole lot cuter!




I spent the better part of today not doing what I should and instead doing what was fun! I needed a lunch bag that would accommodate the rectangle glass containers that I usually take my lunch in. This is what I came up with. I kinda like it! 

I had really been wanting to make a reuseable snack/sandwhich bags and my first attempt is pictured below.  I just used a ziplock bag as the liner.  This was my first try and it sucked I am not crazy about it.  I especially do not like not being able to iron it-that is driving me  crazy. It was supposed to be just a wrap but I sewed it together envelope sylye- but not very well.

And closed....see it really needs an iron!

 Then I found this great tutorial that reuses the bags that chips come in. I just so happened to have a Mylar bag and whoola… I made both the snack size and the sandwich size bag! I am really excited at how these turned out. The only change I made was using the rick-rack instead of the elastic. I have one more idea for these bags but it will have to wait.

Snack bag

And for the luckiest sandwhich in the world......
I am pretty sure my lunch is going to taste way better.  Would it dare not to in such cute attire?


Finally, I made this snack mat from this book. I would like to make a bunch of these to have around. They would be great for holding chips or crackers. Of course it is perfect for tea and a few cookies.



Friday, February 26, 2010

In case you were wondering..........


How to Preserve a Husband

Be careful in your selection. Do not

choose too young. When once selected,

give your entire thoughts to preparation

for domestic use. Some insist in keeping

them in a pickle, others are constantly

getting them in hot H2o. This makes

them sour, hard to get along with

and sometimes bitter. Even poor

-2-

varieties may be made sweet,

tender & good by garnishing them with

patience, well sweetened with kisses

Wrap them in a mantle of charity.

Keep warm with a steady fire of

domestic devotion and serve with

preaches & cream. Thus prepared

they will keep for years.



I found this amidst a bramble of recipes in this

thrifted box.
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