fun stuff

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

• A unique and creative gift box from Carissa:

including a paper ornament, handmade leaf box, cute card, mix cd, glass bead stamp magnets and a yummy assortment of tea.


Their photo site is great, especially their poster/calendar offerings. Just upload 2-40 photos and they will arrange the photos in a collage. You can select border thickness and background color (but not arrangement). I put together a photo collage of classic cars that my dad has photographed for my dad's office and one of our cats for Jon's office and then framed the collages with frames from IKEA.

• Fabric wall hangings

We bought this fabric on ebay a few weeks ago and spent about 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon stapling it to canvas stretcher bars (ours were purchased from a local art supply store, but you can find them online here). There are directions for this project here. It's a great way to display fabric that you love. And, it's a great way to feed our Marimekko addiction!

• A new softie from SotoSofties....these little stuffies are just too cute

meet Sherbert the bunny!

• A sweet new wooden German Candle Pyramid from Jon

I have always wanted one of these and I was so excited to open it up on Christmas!

Habitat Quilt

Monday, December 29, 2008

I've been on vacation from work for the past week and I don't have to go back until January 12, so I've been in project mode around here (home, Christmas, knitting, sewing and otherwise)

First up is a quilt that I made my aunt Dani for Christmas...

I first saw this kit/pattern at a quilt show in October 2007. It's the Habitat Quilt by Fourth and Sixth designs. At the time, the booth was sold out and rather than special ordering it, I let it go. Then, earlier this year, I saw the same quilt kit at a different quilting show and it was in stock, so I scooped it up. I've had this sitting in my sewing room since March. In August I washed and cut out the fabric and then I let it sit for another four months and did a marathon quilting/cutting session last Monday and Tuesday. I finished it just in time for Christmas.

The fabric for this quilt was hand-dyed, so it has a slightly mottled and suede look to it. I really liked the texture and dimension it adds to the quilt.

I did my standard free motion stippling on the quilt. The quilt measures 50" x 58" and is composed of 56 blocks and a small border around the edge.

knitting projects

Monday, December 22, 2008

I finally finished up the February Lady Sweater for NaKniSweMo last Monday (about 15 days late). After a thorough wet blocking, the sweater was set to wear and I love how it turned out! Here's a flat photo of the finished sweater. You can find more details here on Ravelry.

I went a little yarn crazy around here to pick up the remaining yarn for my Zig Zag afghan (which has been neglected, but not forgotten!).

How did I get all of those hanks of yarn into balls? Oh, with my new swift, of course!

I really like working with this and it is so pretty to watch it spinning away while I make balls. I picked it up a City Knits in Detroit, where I was lucky enough to meet and talk with the owner, Karen Kendrick-Hands, who designed the Lifted Twill hat pattern for Interweave Knits Winter 09. I picked up these two skeins of Misti Alpaca Chunky to make this hat myself.

while I was away

Sunday, December 7, 2008

in no particular order...

• I watched Jon learn lots of new knitting skills. So far he's finished his first scarf and is working on a set of handwarmers, Dashing.

• I worked on my NaKniSweMo.

Here's the progress on November 30,

and here's the progress today. I'm hoping to finish the sweater up by Saturday.

• I successfully cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner for Jon's family (turkey and all) and sewed these napkins for the table.

• I found the perfect stuffing recipe for said Thanksgiving dinner: Sourdough stuffing

• I finished up the semester (well, about 98% finished)

• I watched and was inspired by Craft in America

• I saw an incredibly inspiring, deaf percussionist, Evelyn Glennie, perform with the DSO.

Now, I've got a month of free time and a long list of projects to do and books to read. Hopefully I won't be taking long breaks again any time soon!

NaKniSweMo: February Lady Sweater

Sunday, November 9, 2008

In an effort to focus all of my creative energy on one project, I cast on for the February Lady Sweater last Saturday. If all goes well and I can find the time, I should be able to finish this sweater during the month of November for NaKniSweMo. I'm using Mission Falls 1824 superwash wool and this yarn is so soft, squishy and warm.

I just started on the lace pattern on Wednesday, but haven't touched the sweater since then because I was out of town attending a trade show. It's been a fairly easy knit so far and I've learned how to knit button holes, too. If this sweater works out, I'd love to try it in a baby version.

blog meet up

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Carissa was in town last weekend visiting her friend, Anna, so the three of us had the lovely chance to get together to enjoy dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Café Habana, and to visit a local pottery painting/glass fusing/mosaic making/beading store for craft night. There was lots of great conversation about libraries, blogs, quilting and food! Best of all, I got to see my most favorite quilt of Carissa's (now Anna's) in person.

I'm pretty sure Carissa has a few before pictures of our projects, but in the meantime here are the afters. Carissa made these two glass fused ornaments and put my eyes in jeopardy with her crazy glass clipping tool.

(the group effort star)

I went the plain, boring route and painted the inside and outside of a giant soup mug with an interesting glaze.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 31, 2008

And, Happy Birthday, Aunt Dani!

Jon circa 1985 (cutest Halloween costume, ever!)

Common Threads Quilt

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jon was away for the weekend on a backpacking trip, so I spent most of the weekend basting, quilting and binding my Common Threads quilt. It was nice to have a large block of time set aside to finish up this project. And, it was equally nice to be able to finish up two big quilt projects in two consecutive weekends and clear up this unfinished business from my sewing room!

I was under a little bit of pressure with the quilting, because the new fabric marker that I bought was disappearing ink, not washable ink. By yesterday afternoon, I was really straining to see the last remnants of the lines while I was quilting.

I had a lot of help this weekend from my two little kitty friends. They were partially acting like they wanted to hang out with me and partially waiting by the side door wondering when Jon would arrive home.

I did the majority of the quilting in the loopy line style seen in this wedding quilt from glittergoods. The distance between my lines of squiggles was 2.5". I used red thread on the white top and bottom of the quilt. Then I stippled the individual blocks with white thread. This part really pained me to do because it meant quilting over some of the embroidered details that a few of the blocks had. In the end I was glad that I did it because it blends in with the quilt and it makes the blocks look like they all belong to the quilt.

I used a red and white polka dot fabric for the binding and then black fabric for the backing. The quilt was made for a full-sized bed and is approximately 80" x 90". It fits our non-puffy, non-pillowtop mattress perfectly.

Here it is resting peacefully in our guest room. The little kitties made themselves right at home and made me thankful for using black fabric on the back of the quilt where all of their white hair won't show up!

zig zag afghan progress

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thanks for all of your sweet comments about my completed plain spoken quilt! I am so glad to have it finished and so thankful to add a cheery quilt to my couch during the upcoming winter months.

I've been slowly but surely cranking away at my zig zag afghan. Last night I was able to finish sewing the first two panels together. Tonight I plan on starting on the next set of stripes: orange and turquoise (the fifth and final color in the mix). This project has been just what I've needed lately, it's simple, repetitive and a great lecture watching/tv watching/book listening project. And, by the way, I am totally milking these afghan posts....this project is going to take me forever (2 strips down, 6 to go!)

Soup Swap: Chorizo and Hominy Soup

Monday, October 20, 2008


Jessica has another soup swap posted today. I've followed her example and have been making 3-4 soups every two weeks, freezing the soup in individual containers and then bringing soup to work for lunches. It's a great alternative to eating out for lunch or bringing lean cuisine meals and is much tastier. Here's one of the soups that I made this weekend (it's a lot tastier than it looks!):

Chorizo and Hominy Soup
from Rachael Ray Magazine November 2008
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces chorizo sausage, finely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 32-ounce container chicken broth
1 29-ounce can white hominy, rinsed
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
4 corn tortillas, warmed

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and hominy and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Top with the cilantro and serve with the tortillas.

My variations: I used spicy breakfast sausage instead of chorizo and skipped the cilantro and tortillas.

Plain Spoken Quilt

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This quilt has been in the works for ages! With my busy school schedule I haven't been able to finish it and to top it off, I had to bring in my sewing machine to the shop for service this week. I've had my Janome for about 2 years and it's in dire need of a tune up and had been making weird screeching sounds and tearing up thread, so off to the shop it went.

Luckily, my mom saved the day by loaning me her Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 830! This machine is excellent for quilting because it has such a wide arm. It was so easy to fit the quilt through the arm hole for easy machine quilting. (I may not be giving this back when my machine is fixed at the shop.)

I was able to quilt, bind and wash the quilt on Saturday and am so glad to have another thing to cross off my never ending craft to-do list!

I tried to mimic the quilting pattern that was featured in the Modern Quilt Workshop, but wasn't so successful. There's a lot of funky parts in the quilting, but it looks fine from a distance, so I'm not going to worry.

The final quilt is 50" x 70". It's backed with a mint green fabric and bound with a kelly green fabric. This quilt is taking its new place on our living room couch for the time being (until I finish another quilt that matches the room!)

baby gifts

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My friend and knitting/crochet buddy, Janie, is expecting a girl this December. She always teases me about preferring to make baby projects rather than having my own baby, so I had to be sure to make a few different baby projects to live up to her expectations. Her shower was on Sunday, so now I'm able to share the projects I've been working on for her for the past few months.

A baby afghan (yarn and pattern here)

Appliqued onesies

Bibs (pattern here)

walk in the woods

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jon and I enjoyed a trip out to the country to his mom's house on Saturday. We celebrated her birthday and took our annual fall color tour through the trails behind their house.

You can see a few more pictures here.

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