Sunday, September 30, 2007

some japanese crafting



This issue (#28) of Cotton and Paint arrived last week. It's my first time checking out this magazine and I'm highly impressed. I was immediately drawn to this image and got to work on my own versions.





I loved the flower pattern on this bag, but I didn't have any of it in my stash, so I made these two instead.



some flowers:



It's a thicker canvas fabric and the design on it is in a soft embossed velvet (purchased in Japan earlier this year). It is now being used as the home for my wip, granny square afghan.



some orange:



The fabric on this tote is from a Tikoli tea towel that I bought at the Bureau of Urban Living in Detroit (thanks Jodi!). I was excited to finally make something out of it...it's been calling my name from my shelf for quite a while. Now this bag is stocked with all my supplies for my felting class tomorrow night. I can't wait!



• • •



Here are some of my favorite images and projects from the magazine:







looks like granny squares are making their way to placemats.





love this bag...it's next on my list for this magazine



Friday, September 28, 2007

fall inspiration

I haven't been lurking much around flickr lately and I've been missing out. I just rediscovered all of the crafty inspiration that is on the site...I've got to check back there more than once a month! Here's a few images of things that have caught my attention:



Mosaic4598426



1. Seeing Double?, 2. Autumn Corduroy Tote-closeup, 3. Patchwork Baby Quilt, 4. Star Quilt Stars, 5. baby quilt, 6. Done!, 7. Baby Quilt3, 8. craft show bags 3, 9. flea market bag 1, 10. BROWN YOYOS, 11. The Eyes Have It: Gingerbread Cupcakes with Creamy Lemon Frosting, 12. Felted periwinkles bag, 13. felted beads, 14. Felted gerbera bag, 15. Dia De Los Muertos Calavera Purse, 16. LOVE XO



And, I was so excited to find this quilt on the Denyse Schmidt quilting group. It's a What a Bunch of Squares quilt that is quilted with vertical lines rather than nested squares that were part of my initial plan. I had to abandon that quilt when I realized that I was not up for the daunting task of my first try at hand quilting on a queen sized quilt. These vertical lines are definitely doable on my current sewing machine so I'll have to add that quilt back to my current project list.



I'm still on the fall inspiration kick...starting the needle felting class on Monday (can't wait to make some cute animals and flowers), working on the new quilt, and cranking away at the granny afghan. My mom and I are out to attend the American Sewing Expo tomorrow.



And, in the meantime, Jon and I are catching up on the last three seasons of The Office...hilarious! Where were we when this show started?



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

fall

I am so excited that fall has finally arrived! We were able to enjoy the beautiful colors up north at my aunt and uncle's lake house...seriously...is this not the most gorgeouse bedroom window view?







We had a little weekend getaway with two of my college roommates and their husbands' this weekend...lots of good food, laughter, paddleboating and Settlers of Catan playing. It was great to get away.





And, as a special treat, I got to drive my new car up north. I ordered this car over a month ago and it arrived on Wednesday, just in time for our trip. A car that gets 40mpg is a nice tool to have when gas prices are so high! Now, Jon and I have matching cars. A four door Yaris sedan for me and a two door Yaris hatchback for him. Matching glasses and matching cars...we definitely spend too much time together!





I was able to get lots of hooking done this weekend on my granny square afghan. I tired out my wrist while I was fiendishly working, so I'm taking a bit of a break from crochet this week.





In the meantime, I started cutting out the strips for my handkerchief corners quilt. I'm almost ready to assemble the squares...just have to finish trimming the strips and cut out the white squares for the center.



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

new quilt



I bought this Denyse Schmidt Katie Jump Rope fabric from Cia's Palette (highly recommended with great customer service!) earlier this summer and have been trying to come up with a scrappy patchwork quilt pattern to make with it.





I found this handkerchief corners pattern in Kaffe Fassett's Passionate Patchwork. It reminds me of an inverted log cabin pattern. I'm planning on using this pattern and my new Katie Jump Rope fabric for my next quilt. I bought some white fabric to use for the squares in each block and then I'll use the printed fabric to make the corners. I'm looking forward to getting started on this once I make some more progress on my granny square afghan.





And, I found this quilt in a Country Home book from my mom's collection. I love the pattern on it, Orange Peel Reel, but have had a hard time finding an actual pattern for it online and in quilting books. A version of this quilt might just be my foray into quilting curves...



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

sewing basket



My mom found this darling little sewing basket at a garage sale earlier this summer. She had it sitting out in her dining room and when I told her how much I liked it, she told me that she had bought it for me. She didn't want to offer it to me without hearing my opinion of it because she didn't want me to feel obligated to take it if I didn't like it, so she was happy when I pointed it out and could pass it along. I'm excited to add another container to my collection.





And a new sewing basket means that I've got to find something to put in it, right? What better than the beginnings of a new hobby? I signed up for a needle felting class at a local yarn store and found out about a woman in my area that is a merino wool roving wholesaler, so I am all stocked up with felting needles, roving and a sponge for felting. Now I just have to wait until October 1 to start my class.



Monday, September 17, 2007

quilted bags

I finished these two bags a couple of weeks ago, but it's taken me weeks to get them photographed and posted.



These are my first attempts at designing a handbag template...a little off as you can see. I think I'll just copy a pattern from Machine Made Patchworks 2 for my next bag so that I don't end up with huge, too wide, too floppy bags.





I suppose making a muslin sample first would have shown me that the pattern I made was flawed, but then again...I don't do trial runs. : ) These bags are too wide to keep their shape (the bag bows in half when there is anything in it) and they just turn into sacks with a strap once their in use.





But, I really like the fabric that I used and the quilting turned out well, so they are both in rotation until I make another replacement for them.



On a lighter (or heavier note)...Jon and I started the cider mill rounds this weekend. First we made a trip to the Rochester Cider Mill on Saturday by ourselves before a wedding reception and then we went to Yates Cider Mill on Sunday with some friends. We're both still recovering from our sugar and doughnut rush...perhaps this could be the problem:





Saturday, September 15, 2007

jon's birthday



We celebrated Jon's birthday on Wednesday at my parents' house. My mom outdid herself by cooking a wonderful lasagne...so delicious.





Jon opened up his gifts with his new buddy, Riley the cat, at his side.





He was especially excited to open this gift...a new gps for his car. I think it was especially appropriate as Jon drove past our house on our way home from my parents' house. Let's just say that he's a non-linear thinker and the line of work he's in is perfect for him! : )





I was excited when Jon discovered that the GPS has a feature where you can plug in coordinates, which means that we can finally try out geocaching!





I have been improving on my birthday mound of 2005 and made this red velvet cake for the occasion. I loved the red color of it...so much more exciting than a yellow cake!





Tuesday, September 11, 2007

fall is coming



enjoying some of the last signs of summer in our garden.



Monday, September 10, 2007

on quilting



Turning Twenty quilt pattern with fabric by Anna Maria Horner "Bohemian"



A few readers have left me comments or emailed me about how I got into quilting and how I learned how to make quilts, so I wanted to share a little bit of my background with you today.





Denyse Schmidt fabric, loosely based on her Day at the Beach pattern



The single most helpful book that taught me the basics of quilting is The Modern Quilt Workshop. I have yet to make a quilt from one of the patterns in this book, but I've got quite a few patterns on my to-do list. This book has an excellent how-to section that details what tools you will need to begin and walks through the steps of making the quilt from preparing the fabric to cutting to piecing to quilting to binding. I'd recommend this book to anyone learning to quilt or looking for some fresh modern patterns. I'm not much of a class taker, as I can usually figure out how to make something faster on my own by reading a book or watching online video tutorials.





Moda fabric "Chocalate" charm square lap quilt



I bought my sewing machine just over a year ago in August 2006 and I made my first quilt a few weeks later. I bought everything on the list of suggested items from the book (rotary cutter, cutting mat, bias tape maker , clear ruler, etc.) for quilting at a big Joann's quilting sale that happened to coincide with my new hobby.





Brick Road pattern with fabric from Joanns



I'm not much of a perfectionist when I work. Sure, I like things to look nice. But I'd rather get something done than get it done perfectly. It's definitely a fault of mine, but it also means that I don't obsess over things if they don't look right. I just try to make do with whatever is messed up or try to patch it over as quickly as possible. On the positive side of things, this means that my quilts have gotten progressively better with time as I've picked up new techniques and practiced more. My free motion quilting isn't so jerky anymore and the binding doesn't come off the quilt because I've sewn it crookedly and the stuffing is coming out, etc. The one thing I'm still working on is getting the darn quilt to be square - it's quite embarrassing when they're all folded up. And I'm still working on matching up corners perfectly and creating nicely mitred corners. My favorite part about the whole quilting process, other than picking out the fabric, is the quilting itself. I have found free motion quilting to be so incredibly relaxing and meditative. I rush through the beginning steps of the quilt just so that I can get to the quilting aspect of things.





Baby quilt with fabric from Reprodepot.com



Other than the book, I did find a lot of helpful information at Pattern Review and some of the quilting pages on about.com. I would also recommend the book Denyse Schmidt Quilts. I really like the style of her quilts and I also appreciate that she uses lots of solid fabric in her quilts (cheaper fabric = more fabric that I can buy while staying in my budget = more quilts to make). She also goes over the quilting process in her book, but I just prefer the method laid out in the Modern Quilt Workshop.





Any Way you Slice It quilt pattern from Denyse Schmidt Quilts



And, next up on my quilting to-do list is teaching myself how to do some hand quilting. This Bunch of Squares quilt from Denyse Schmidt Quilts would not, could not, fit through my sewing machine neatly, so I'm going to have to do the quilting by hand if it's ever going to get done...another project for fall and winter.





What a Bunch of Squares pattern in progress



Sunday, September 9, 2007

jumping on the granny square train



I cannot tell you how many times I have started and stopped a granny square project in the last 10 years! My aunt, Dani, and friends, Harriet and Kate, have taught me how to crochet and make granny squares multiple times. I’ve picked out the yarn to make an entire afghan and then just given up on the project months later. The Salvation Army has received all of my yarn and crochet donations over the years each time after I’ve abandoned ship.



This time, I’ve decided, things are going to be different. I’m actually going to finish this afghan! So I've jumped on the granny-along train that lots of craft bloggers joined months ago.



I went into Michaels last week to buy a cake pan for Jon’s birthday on Wednesday to no avail and came out instead with a bag of yarn and some cute crochet hooks. After a few trial run squares that looked pretty scrappy, I stocked up on the library’s collection of crochet how-to books and realized that I was doing the double crochet completely wrong. Thank goodness for how-to books and online video tutorials!



I’ve been catching up on podcasts and enjoying the breeze coming into our living room this afternoon while hooking these squares. I didn’t realize this when I picked out the yarn, but the five colors that I chose (cream will be the border around all the squares) are all colors that we have painted rooms in our house or used as accent colors in each room, so this should be a pretty versatile afghan when it’s finished.



fruit smoothies

Jon and I are constantly making fruit smoothies as an afternoon snack. We usually mix yogurt, orange juice and some berries of choice and end up with a yummy treat minutes later.



Last night we were feeling quite inventive in the smoothie department pulling bits of fruit from all over the kitchen and placing them in the blender.



This might have been our worst smoothie ever...





Let me tell you...cantaloupe, grapes, blueberries and raspberries do not a good smoothie make. What were we thinking putting grapes into a blender? Two words: grape skin!



Tuesday, September 4, 2007

chainsaw aftermath

Last Thursday evening Jon and I were enjoying a leisurely dinner, when we heard a knock on our side door. Our neighbor was at the door with a chainsaw and wanted to help Jon cut down our two overgrown arborvitaes. Jon agreed and they got to work immediately (who can resist freely volunteered help afterall?!).





before



For the next hour loud chainsaw noise and gas fumes filled the air. They cut down two overgrown, 15 feet arborvitaes and left the backyard strewn with branches.





The following day we spent a few hours bagging the lighter branches and stacking the larger logs. We ended up making multiple trips to Lowes because we kept running out of lawn and leaf bags. All in all, we used 27 bags to dispose of the tree! All of this yard waste will be turned into free wood chips and compost that we can get for free next summer.





In addition to getting rid of the trees, we ended up getting multiple loads of compost from the city on Saturday morning to smooth over our bumpy, dead sod (dug up from the garden spot) and we planted some grass seed on top of the new dirt. Hopefully it will fill in nicely in the next few weeks!





after



We're glad to have the trees gone and to have another item left off of our list, but it's a bit disappointing to have so much open space left. I hit the big fall sale at Bordines and bought a cute little Snowball Viburnum to fill the space the arborvitaes left. It's not going to provide much privacy from the neighbors for a few years, so we might add a trellis or two with some vining plants behind it next spring. We'll see.



demetri martin

D_2



Jon and I got tickets for us to see Demetri Martin a few weeks ago at Meadowbrook Music Festival. We braved the outdoor concert just after a severe thunderstorm covered our county. Luckily, the tornadoes stayed away from us!



I had never seen or heard of Demetri Martin before the show, so I went into the show completely blind. He was hilarious...not an obnoxious stand-up with an overly loud voice or stupid jokes about hitting on women or going to sporting events...just a down to earth guy with a quick wit and dry sense of humor.



One of my favorite one-liners from the show:

A secret admirer is just a stalker with cute stationery.



We have been remembering the funny jokes from his stand-up routine and repeating them to each other and laughing over and over since the show.



You can check out some of his you tube videos here...the Comedy Central show in four pieces is worth a watch too if you're interested.