Friday, December 24, 2010

merry christmas!

off to maine, brrrr! crank up the twinkle lights and have a merry christmas!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

it's coming...

and i am not ready. i don't have the time. today is my day off, i worked the last 6, many without lunch breaks and having to run straight home from work for one reason or another, and i have not had a chance to do much shopping. (ok, well, those 2 sweaters i bought myself, they don't count.)

so today is a mad rush to get a sorts of things done. i feel terrible that i haven't made more cookies, or sewn more, or cleaned more, or whatever more! i did, however, get a gift done, so chalk that off the list!

i tried to make some zip pouches today, quilted, of course. i think they came out pretty cool if i say so myself. so it goes like this...

cut strips of fabrics, different widths, same length (mine was 9"). sew together, quilt with batting and back (interior) fabric. (my quilting is mono directional, i simply stitched the width of my sewing foot.) once that was done, i trimmed the quilting clean, stitched on the zipper, then stitched the sides! it's not tailored inside, but i used some fray check to help keep the top clean. i don't think it matters much as they are just cute little pouches for whatever, makeup, jewelery, or a make shift wallet.

i show it today because though i have not given the gift, the recipient doesn't know who they are. so it will still be a surprise... merry christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

sunday, bloody sunday

yeah, not the most constructive day of my life. i tried to get things done. i managed to pull the old wall hangings down off the wall in the dining/sewing room. only to tear off a bit of drywall paper and find out that i need to give the wall a quick coat of paint. (by taking down the artwork, i got that lovely reminder of ed's smoking... he is quitting in 2 weeks though... he better.)

after that i made two new christmas cookies. kinda failures... first up, the ganache tartlets...

ok, they look alright. but not so hot. they are supposed to have a sprinkle of sea salt on top, but frankly i think they are a bit salty already. and i didn't have the required 3 1/2 inch round cutter, i had to scrape by with a 3 inch, and i question if the difference would have made the tartlets just big enough. i dunno, i am still debating whether to take them to work tomorrow. second up...

a christmas jelly. now i know, one may think, hey they look kinda good, but they are stickier than all get up, worse than clark w. griswold's tree sap! you toss them in sugar, which helps for a second of two, only until the heat melts it down again, and you are back where you started! it took alfie 2 minutes to eat his! (i had made some in cute apple shaped silicon molds, as they are apple/apricot... can't even get them out! i am hoping that by sticking them in the freezer i will be able to salvage the molds... ugh.

finally, while working on said wall project, i was trying to rub sticky tape off the wall, and somehow managed to rub the top layer of skin right off my index finger! how the frig is that possible?!?!

i am typing like a weirdo... little sewing was done. i made a pie chart half circle, i'll explain another time, but i did spend a few hours making my pattern in proper style. it's coming, i just know it!

whew, i'm glad the day is over... better make some full proof brownies to make myself feel better...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

pillow talk

one of my new classes in the new year is a great string pillow! it is very easy to make, and the results are uber rewarding. it looks like so much more, and you can totally impress people who don't sew by having them think it took you ages and ages. nice.

the collection of fabrics were not chosen by moi, but i seriously think anyone would think that i did. this is a sample for the class, with fabrics chosen by the lovely laura at spool. does she know me or what? yeah aqua!

so basically it's a paper pieced project. paper you say? yes i say. paper. by sewing to actual paper you have keep all your lines nice and straight and clean. (things i love, yet rarely maintain.) when you are all finished the project, the sewing you did creates perforations on the paper and it tears right off! so easily you go from this...

to this...

super neato cool. i know. there is actually a great little tutorial at filminthefridge, check it out. and if one was so inclined, the class schedule is available... now i have to go and make that amazing new anna maria free love emblem pillow!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

merry merry

ho ho ho and all that crap. put up our itsy bitsy tree today. towering in at a huge 3 feet, she is up and running, (even though 1/2 her pre-attached lights burned out and i had to go to the home depot and grab a new strand to finish her off.)

i am fine with having a small tree. so be it. we have a small apartment, what more can be expected. i am also pretty sure that my edward doesn't really care much if we even have a tree. but come on, if one even sees one of my quilts, they know i am a shiny bright twinkly christmas light kind of girl!

i have been busy all day... ran to the super-marche, the depot, as mentioned, came home, cleaned the house, started the laundry, i got a stew simmering in the kitchen for dinner...whew. it's after five, and i haven't sewn a stitch! nor did i yesterday. (wait, does sewing buttons on your boss' coat count? it was christmas charity, the poor man lost all his buttons, what could i do!)

i guess i better get going then... plus i have some cookies to make! i did make a great pillow this week though, more to come on that soon! ho ho ho!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

bohemian baby

ah ha! the second installment in my baby quilt/play mat has been completed! i am v.v. relieved to be done. it took a few days to do the binding, sad, but frankly migraines don't care what you have to do, and after roughing it up at work for 9 hours, frigid weather changes, and good old fashion tiredness, two nights in a row the pain came back, and looking at tiny little threads, well, yeah, not so much... but it's done now, and awesome!
a good pal of mine said that the first installment of this piece made her want a baby girl, like right now. a complement, i believe. so now i want her to want a hippy, bohemian baby. but no sunshine... no moonbeams...

more like jefferson airplane, beads, lava lamps, and a baby in a sweet sweet bandana! yes!!!

i love this color scheme, rich reds, pinks, navys... it's a mix of anna's new shattered design, along with some good old kaffe in tonal plaid and wild florals, and a back of one of kaffe's wovens... a dirty minty green streaked with reds... love.

again, this pattern is really very easy, a take on log cabins, lots of strips, a few angles, and there you go. i should have it done soon... soon.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

to teach is to learn

so.....ahhhh. yeah. still tired. christmas, love, work, eh, not so much. but not all work. i did manage to finish all piecing and quilting of my second installment of my to be pattern. in fact, after i post this, do a bit o-flickring, and grab some iced tea, i will bind it up while watching some tele-vision. nice. of course, i have no pictures to speak of at this moment, but blame that on lack of proper lighting, not my sewing abilities.

what i do have to show though is me! yes, yes, drum roll. super excitement... i can feel it in the air. (blah, blah, blah...)

there i am in all my teaching glory. but i have to tell you, and i think laura, the gracious, lovely sewing owner of spool, has said it best about my pictures... "One is blurry, but I thought it fitting since you are always in motion! I mean that in the best possible way!" how true... and i do take it as a compliment. when i am showing someone how to sew it's pretty awesome, and i can get, oh... how do i put this... i think, in a tizzy would be accurate. in general, i can be known to get a bit babbley and fast paced. it's in my nature, what can i say, i'm a leo.

but how can you not? i joke in class about how i turn all hippy dippy, talking about going with the flow, loving your colors, and being one with the fabric. cheese, yes, i know, but i think of quilting like painting. sure, the fabrics may not be your own designs, but what you can create with another's work can be pretty extraordinary. all just by playing with proportion, contrasts and colors. i love how everyone is making the same quilt, and yet they are so completely different.

i love all the colors and patterns, and the whir of the machines, and the sighs when they find out they will have to hand sew their binding! it's wonderful. (don't worry though, i know one day someone will appreciate the hand sewing of binding as much as i do.)

and so yeah, its totally awesome. see what i have learned. teaching rules.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

no picture

that's right. no picture today. i was going to do a post, and then i thought, self, you don't really have a picture to put up. i mean, you haven't really done anything, but you have to put up a picture. you just have to. eh. (shrug.)

i felt compelled to put something up, as the most amazing thing ever has happened to moi. yes... ANNA MARIA HORNER TOTALLY COMMENTED ON MY BLOG! WHOOOOOOOOOOO! CAPITAL LETTERS!!!!!!!

the best christmas present ever! everyone i know knows... like my gentleman, mother, co-workers, students... i blabbed it out to everyone. so there! sweetness...

however... that excitement can only take a girl so far... i am beat. see, i work in retail, as the illustrious and over worked holiday elf at a beautiful tableware boutique.  do i dress like an elf? nah. do i toil and run around like a mad-capped crazy trying to make everyone's holiday gifts happen happily. yes'um. so tired. so very tired. i sewed for like, 45 minutes, now i feel like passing out.

so to recap...

no picture today.
anna maria totally saw my quilts.
be kinder to retail folk this holiday season.
and sew.

Monday, November 29, 2010

first of the season!

sunday i made my first holiday cookies of the season... a chocolate & mint sandwich cookie. i saw the recipe in the december issue of better homes and gardens... which, fyi, i also subscribed to today. 12 issues for 5.99! come on, you cannot beat that! so i used the recipe in an article about charity cookies, and voile! (no, not the fabric, the cookie!)

slightly different from the magazine of course, with the main difference being, i used a scalloped edge star shape cut out, made the icing green in color, and mine is just mint, not peppermint, but i wish to say, that is only because the third world, third rate pathmark by our house did not have peppermint extract. heathens!

i think they are pretty good actually, and i think i am happy with their design. (the cookie cutter is one that was my grandmother's... long story short, i do not have a ton of memories of her through my life, her living far away from me, but i do remember getting holiday cookies from her that were made with this cutter.)

i have made a big box for my darling to take to work tomorrow. you gotta move those cookies... and of course, christmas cookies mean christmas giving...woo hoo!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

sometimes it all comes together...

and sometimes it doesn't. bah. i am not discouraged mind you, but this whole pattern making thingy, well, it's a bit annoying, you know, when you are wrong about it. ha.

not that i have had any huge mistakes, mind you, just that i have learned that more than 1/4 yard of each fabric is necessary, more like 3/ that acceptable? i hope so.

i guess i am more discouraged by everything else at the moment. well, not terribly. it's just that there are so many things on the pot right now, and i want them done. done! but alas, i need more fabric to finish my bohemian style baby quilt proto-type, i need muslin, which my local shop is currently out of, to finish those sweet simple curtains, and i haven't even started any sort of holiday gifts, which i totally need to get started, cause baby, christmas is coming.

i will never complain about christmas though. tis my favorite holiday. red and green and over the top and sparkly and scented and all lit up! that's the way i like it. i guess i better get crackin' then...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

oh anna...

can i just say, right now, here, that i love anna maria horner. like true love. i just read her most recent blog post, about the velveteen, and i am smitten. smitten i say. her work is so beautiful, and inspiring, and she is so helpful. i mean, come on, she has like 6 kids, and she sits and writes a wonderful expose on the beauty and intricacies of her new velveteen line of cotton fabrics, which, of course i will say, are amazing! and she creates perfectly wonderful patterns, and fabrics, and everything. (oh man, am i gushing?)

and i just wanted to say that. please, if you don't already worship her work, you will. how can you not? logical me knows that to say i want to be her is silly, i mean, i don't even know the poor woman, i know nothing about her real life, and i may come off slightly....odd. but you know what, i want to be her.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

it's curtains...

i haven't done a terrible lot of sewing in the past few days. had the weekend off, but i went out to shoot the pictures for the baby k quilt, then on sunday ed and i trekked out to ardmore to check out the last clover market of the season. bummer. it was way tiny, but i was informed that normally it is much bigger, so i missed it. double bummer. i think ed knew that too, he said he felt bad. however, after i got some chipotle, well, it was livable. we also got to visit an uncle who is rarely seen, which was v. nice. hopefully we will go out again soon, have dinner, bring a cheesecake, you know, the usual stuff...

follow all of that with work, work, sewing class, kate nash show (yeah!), work, evil, fat, cocky mouse living in my house leaving messes and eating alfie's food.... well it was a lot. this is what i got done...

granted, they are sewn now, into the basic rectangular shape that will be the curtains for the bedroom. i am debating on whether i should line them or not. they are basic 4 inch patchwork. i would like to have some light shining through them. i envision the usual, you know, stained glass style colors gliding through in the final burst of sunlight in an autumn evening... but then you would see my sewing on the back. not that anyone will see it... but i will. bah. what to do...

with all of this, i look back and think, wow you are lame. look at anna maria! i just read her latest blog post about quilt market. even i'm tired! so much work, and i am complaining about a mouse! but i suppose that is why she is heaven... sigh.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

quilts and sunshine

ahhh. it's 65 degrees outside today, the sun is shining, the trees are beautiful, truly a perfect fall day.

took alfie to the small park, his new found love of sniffing the leaves makes you feel good. i love to hear his little paws trample through the dry foliage, and i think he does too.

of course, now i have learned, taking said beagle along with a bagful of quilt that you want to shoot in the fall sun, not so much fun. he couldn't stop for more than a second before a new whiff of excitement hit. so to my chagrin, i finished the excursion, them came home, grabbed my bike, and headed out on my own...

not so bad though, riding my amsterdam cruiser down crisp lanes, erm, or something like that. (it's the city, you take what you can get in the way of nature.) but what's important, is that i have a new quilt! yeah!

it's not so much a quilt, as maybe more of a play mat. measuring in at 32x36. i finally dove in and used some of my jennifer paganelli dance with me. not for lack of love, perhaps more for intense love of never wanting my 2 yards to go away! it was one of my first purchases when i dove in to quilting, and i love it more than life itself. but one must move on, and since i only used, say, 3/4 of a yard, there is plenty left! yeah!

the playmat/quilt/whathaveyou, is a version of a log cabin quilt, one cabin in the middle, two porticos on the sides, and some steps playing up the corners...heheh. i kind of winged it, knowing only that i wanted to do another log cabin, having so much fun with my fifties kitchen quilt, but i didn't want to do the same thing twice. (you live once! move on!)

but i think it came out really swell. so swell in fact, that i swear upon the quilting gods themselves, that i am going to make a pattern for this mo-fo! pdf fancy pants. of course, i have no clue how long that is going to take me, but i'm gonna do it. (i mean it, laura!)

back to the sunshine! yeah!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

don't you think alfie looks like he is in an old issue of better homes and gardens? you know, minus the fact that ours is not a better home.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

daylight savings

tonight's the night. change those clocks back. in one way i am way happy about it cause frankly, i cannot deal with this whole getting up in the dark thing. it depresses me. guess that's why my stint working at a bakery was not my happiest time in life, working from 7-3? blech.

of course, the bummer is too that now it will be dark really early. i have to ride my bike home from work in the dark chill. in the fall, through christmas, i don't really mind the early nights. it's kinda novel again, like the idea of snow. it's time of year you can make pies, and roast chicken, and snuggle up under super awesome new quilts you made, drinking cocoa, watching modern family and think the world is ok.

ask me again in january.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hey you...Blogger's Quilt Fest!

so, through my perusing of the universe of quilting blogs, i found the lovely Blogger's Quilt Festival!, from the minute i saw it, and all the awesome quilts on it, i thought, i have to show my garden quilt!, why? because though it is not perfect, i am so ridiculously proud of it!

it was my second quilt. ever. my first being a crib sized quilt that i made in a beginner's quilting class at Spool, my favorite place in philly. i dunno, something clicked when i made that quilt, and then, when i found anna maria horner, well let's just say, the stars converged, the earth orbited the moon, it was crazy and everything made sense!


it's made up of a lot of anna's garden party. it has to be my all time favorite fabric collection. (yes, yes, i know i have only been quilting for a year, but i am confident it will always be my fave.)

of course, making this quilt was not easy. like i said, it was my second quilt, and i went from crib size to full size. add to that that my sewing machine was on its death bed this year, clinking and clacking to the bitter end, and a ton of cutting on a tiny cutting mat at the dining room/kitchen table, now the "sewing room", and you get a ton of work!

but now our bedroom is a sea of color, with me adding more every day. and that small quilt on the wall above the bed, that was my first quilt, beginner's quilting, which i am, prouder than proud to say, is now a class that i teach!

isn't is nice when things make sense.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

mutt strutt & no sew techniques!

we have strutted. it is over. alfie, along with his new best friend, loki, did their philanthro-pupic duties and attended the philadelphia mutt strut, a great annual fundraiser for the philadelphia animal welfare society, or PAWS.

this is loki, he is just a young pup, but he was such a good boy! so many people wanted to pet him, how can you not love those two colored eyes and that soft fur! plus, he still has puppy in him, he is a pouncing playing pup!

alfie, on the other hand, was more interested in breaking free! he always wants to break free, it's the beagle. but this is a good dog's eye view of his beagle world.

so with all this strutting, i've barely had time to sew! i figured it was time to do some non-sewing. non sewing? what do you say, you, you, crazy! yes, with some fabric tac, adhesive spray, and a firm belief that fabric should cover everything, i made some great new art boards!

so you take your boring old cork boards... i got one in the "canvas" style, i.e. it looks like a stretched canvas, just make of cork. the second is your traditional bulletin board, cork board with a wooden frame.

with the canvas style one, well, oh so easy really. take a piece of fabric that will cover the board, giving you a couple inches on each side to go around the back. spray the wrong side of the fabric with adhesive spray, then carefully place the board on top, flip it over, pull out any bubbles or folds, then tack it to the back! you can use just the spray, or if you have a nice stapler, staple it to the back!

i used this one for jewelery in the bedroom, with some super awesome anna maria horner roses. so ridiculously easy, and much easier on my stuff since the necklaces live in a ball in a jewelery box.

the second was a bit more work... i painted the wooden frame with some acrylic paint, then cut a piece of fabric to match the inside. again, i used spray adhesive, tacked it down, then used fabric tac to create a cute ribbon border, which also hides any imperfections, got to love that!

now i can hang ideas, photos, color palettes, what have you, in a place that isn't taped to the wall in the dining room....

much better.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

an apple a day...

you know what's kinda funny. i love apples. ok, not really funny there, but what is funny, is that i don't actually get a kick out of eating raw apple, you know, like bite it, right off the tree... eh, can't help it. what i do love though, is anything with apple in it... pie, cider, pancakes... good.

so what does a girl do when she has one apple, sadly sitting on the counter in the kitchen? well, she makes a quick compote! yeah compote! (pssst, that's warm fruit.) i love fruit compote so much that i rarely put it on anything, i just eat it straight from the stove...

it's v.v. easy too! first, you take your apple... ok this can be tricky to some, i mean, apple, sure. no problem. then martha and the lot get you all confused... what kind of apple? granny smith, pink lady, golden delicious, too many names! now i love martha, and i love apples, so i just grab whatever one looks pretty! today it was a pink lady, which i found out stay pretty firm, so if you want a softer touch, i grab a golden delicious, my general favorite. (which, of course, as a child i refused to eat, green apples were for boys like my brother, i only ate red ones. so there!)

ok, so you basically do this...cube it, melt a bit of butter in a pot, toss in apple, sprinkle in sugar, cinammon, and anything else you fancy. cover it on a simmer for, say 10 minutes, then apple-cadabra! compote. yummy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

cloudy 50's country kitchen quilt

say that five times fast. whew. it's done! and i must say, i love it!

it's a basic log cabin design, which can at times, seem like a lot of sewing, but oh so rewarding. i've shown the color palette before, which is kind of a redy/turquoisy/blackey/whitey palette, yeah, who doesn't love adding y's... the back is an uber cute apple design, dark pink and red, which i think adds to the country kitchen idea.

the above is an example of one block. Each block is 12 inches in the end, with five shades, starting and ending the with same pattern. i wanted to do the entire quilt like this, all 25 squares, but i fell to the voice of reason, aka the man in the house, who said that he would like it a little less, oh, let's say, busy. (moi? busy? oh wait, yes, constantly! woo hoo!)  therefore, the alternate block is just a single bordered block.

it basically comes out like this...

then i created a border by sewing 3 inch blocks together, just to add a bit more color, sorry, just had to, and voila. quilted in red, a basic criss cross quilt, and binded in birds.

i think this will be our personal fall quilt, though of course, it does not go with the decor. but frankly, when it comes to quilts, who cares! add color!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

love that duffy

have to love that duffy song, i think its called "i'm scared." of course, sweet little welsh duffy is talking about love and loss and all that bologna. i am talking about textile arts. practically the same thing...

i had one of those little break downs the other night. i am not original, like, i read some of these blogs, and these people are like crazy on top of everything, and have beautiful fabrics to their credit, or sell a ba-zillion patterns, or oh heck, i dunno, do things awesomely that i don't. blah blah blah. but the truth is, i love colors. they make me happy, as i have said before. and not happy in a lame sunshine and peppermint sort of way, but in a yeah, that is so right on so many levels sort of way. (plus, some of these people, they don't have jobs! snooty to think about, but take what you can get, i always say...)

a friend of mine says that you should just write your ideas down, and you'll have them for later, which, i take to mean, cool your jets, do one thing at a time. bummer. yet true. double bummer. for now i will continue to sew, and notice that each time i finish a piece, it is better than the last... just wait, i finished a quilt tonight! my 50's country kitchen quilt will be up this week, sweet sweet log cabins, and that will have to be it for now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ruffle it up!

it's done! it's done!!! my prototype ruffle baby quilt is complete! i love it, yet... well, some have heard me say it is either a flop, or will revolutionize baby quilts. i am still not sure...

i started with a simple idea. ruffles are cute. i mean, come on, they are! especially when they have pink birds, sunbursty swirls, and star shapes incorporated. cute. top that off with a soft flannel backing and how can ruffles go wrong?

ok, well possibly with the fact that there are actually no real ruffles on the Ruffle Baby Quilt. slight hiccup, i know. truth be told, pleats are so much easier, i love their drape, and there is so much more control on a pleat than a ruffle. but the word pleat makes me think of horrible school uniforms and rough, hard edges. ruffles make me think of easy going happiness. hence, ruffle name, pleated look.

these pleats are not ridged of course, after double folding, pressing and stitching one edge i simply double folded and pressed the second and attached the pleat by folding as i went on the machine. no exact counting, each pleat is a bit different. it gives it a more off the cuff, ruffle style.

the hardest bit was figuring out the quilting. but then i asked, why does it have to be traditionally quilted? i mean, though it is a baby quilt, it is on the more decorative side, so it won't have a hard baby life of being dragged and pulled, spit upon, what have you. so i followed a basic old style of quilting, which is that after free hand machine quilting the edges in double rows, i simply did a variation of widths of knot quilting. i grabbed some embroidery floss, did a single stitch and knotted the ends. cute.

(also, why do these pictures look dingy? they look awesome in my photoshop. hmmm.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

let them eat cake!

i am feeling crazy colorful today. not because i am happy or any nonsense like that, but actually because i feel kinda down, run down, you know the type of thing, nothing is actually wrong per se, but ya feel a bit blah. blah. i find that whenever that happens, if i dive into color, the world seems right again.

 i mean, who in their right mind doesn't love pink cake with confetti icing. really, who? i haven't make a pillsbury cake in say, 15 years, but the other day at target, in the new fancy schmancy pantry section, there is was, screaming, i'm easy, cheap, fluffy goodness. i succumbed. i mean, it's pink cake!

it's pretty amazing what color can do... even a shade of the same color can change everything. why does aqua and seafoam green make me coo, while my friend dies for rich purples and jade.

i think it's so important when you quilt to not be afraid of color. of course, it's all about how daring one wants to be, one person's tame is another person's hell in a fabric basket. but maybe it's good to just take a step out, every once and while. color rules.