Thursday, November 18, 2010

magic in the air, fabric (and books!) in the mail

Well hello.

What have you been up to?

Me? Nothin' much. Just some housekeeping. Tying up loose ends. Fixing things that have been needing to be fixed for a really ridiculously annoying long time. Sewing up a few quick presents. Mostly I've been waiting for fabric. And then, when it arrives, the flurry of making stuff shall ensue. I've decided that this year is going to be a mostly hand-made holiday for our family, which means more work for me (also, more fun for me) and less bits of plastic laying all over our house three days after Christmas. Always a good thing. Also, I get the added benefit of getting fabric in the mail.

Can I just express to you right now the utter glee I experience when I get a nice fat stuffed envelope in the otherwise dreary stack of junk mail and bills? It's pretty much the best thing ever. Even if I don't get to keep (read: hoard) the cute new fabric but rather must instantly take a deep breath and start slicing and dicing it, it's still awesome. Just for a shout out, I tend to get a lot of fabric from sew deerly loved on Etsy. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, posts are likely to be ho-hum for now, due to most of my projects being Christmas presents. Also, my stupid camera broke.

For now, I'll leave you with a picture of this amazing book I've been drooling over for three years and finally broke down and bought:

I've only started reading it and it's already making me froth at the mouth a teensy bit. If you like bread, I definitely recommend it. Also, if you like reading the ponderings of a baker/philosopher, because the guy who wrote it has an amazing ability to make me want to jump a plane to Paris and hole up in a basement kitchen forming loaves and drinking wine whilst thinking deep, existential thoughts. 
Also, ever since I read "The Book of Lost Things" last year (which incidentally was totally screwed up and gave me nightmares) I can't stop wishing I had hundreds of dollars to buy one of this guy's amazing papercuts. Particularly this one:

Hope you're having an excellent day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Rachel

Today is my sister-in-law's birthday. Ages and ages ago when I first started making quilts for Swaziland, one of the first ones I made was this one, made from the New Wave pattern by Oh, Fransson!: 

new wave, DONE

At the time I remember her going on about how much she liked the pattern, the fabrics, and so I made a mental note to make her one later, after all the crazy quilt-making madness was over and my quilts were off to Africa. 

About two months ago I ordered a lovely stack of fat quarters in one of my favorite fabrics lines, ever, Good Folks, and proceeded to chop them all up into wedge shapes in preparation for making this quilt again. I'm glad I did it in advance, because if I'd waited there would be no quilt. We're so broke right now!! Ugh, anyway, the second time around is always WAY easier, and this one came together really quickly--about four days from beginning to end! Fun. I love things that work out fast. Instant gratification, people. I'm all about it. 

rachel's quilt 2
I like the way this one came out more than the original I made. This time, I elongated the original pattern from a six inch wide wedge to a nine inch wedge, and added more fat quarters (supplementing my supply with one Amy Butler and one Tina Givens print) so it would be longer than the original pattern. I think the original was supposed to be about 50 x 50ish. Mine was more like 52 x 70, mostly because I don't like lap quilts. If I want to snuggle up under a quilt, I want my whole body to fit under it, not just my legs. I mean, how is that fun? Warm legs, cold everything else? Nah.

rachel's quilt

I used Freebird Eggs in Grass for the binding, which matched the greens in the Good Folks fabrics really well.. I'm getting MUCH better at machine binding I have to say. And although I'm not much of one for gadgets, the bias tape maker I bought last year has been worth more than it's weight in gold. Five minutes and an iron and I have yards of binding ready to slap on. Good times. Makes me cringe to think of all those nice quilts that I bound with poly blend bias tape from Joann's. *shudder*

Anyway, I got an email this morning from Rachel telling me she was currently putting her new quilt to good use, which really, is the best thing a person can say about a quilt, isn't it?

Friday, November 5, 2010

little girl in a little red hood

little red

A few weeks ago my friend Heather gave me a fat stack of doilies and whatnot, figuring I could do something with them. And I have! Doily number one at use right here. I seem to see little red popping up all over the place on Flickr, so I felt the need to jump on the bandwagon and stitch one myself. Actually I got this little red stationary about a year ago and loved it, and I've always wanted to incorporate the cute illustration somewhere. Well now I have. Yay!

Hope you're having a good Friday. And if you're in Florida, hope you're enjoying the rad windy cold weather!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's Official

A while back Rachel over at Stitched in Color asked me if I would be interested in leading a quilting circle for her charity quilting bee do. Good Stitches. I went back and forth on the issue for quite awhile, begging for more time to think about it and pray about it, etc.

Well today I finally decided to just take the plunge and do it already. And I'm so excited now! My circle is going to start up in January, after all the Christmas sewing madness is over. I know this is the right thing for me to do, and that God has given me my abilities and interests for a reason. I'm really looking forward to using my gifts to glorify Him and to bless others. Thank you Rachel for inviting me to help, and the rest of you, check out the flickr group to see what's going on over there. You may even want to get involved! Wink wink nod nod.

See ya.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Whole Month of Thankfulness

Here in the Grigoryev household, we feel that being thankful to God for His blessings is something really really important. More important than a quick prayer over Thanksgiving dinner, and definitely more important than football or Black Friday. Not that there's anything wrong with those things, it's just that we feel like being thankful should be a regular part of every day, and sometimes it's good to remember clearly everything that has transpired or been given over the last year in particular. Which is why we've instituted the tradition of the Tree of Thanks. 

tree of thanks

Every year I make a tree out of paper, and cut out lots of blank leaves from fall colored paper (this year we used tempera paint to make mottled, fairly realistic colors). Each day each person in our family thinks of something specific that they're thankful for, and writes it down on the leaf. Then we put it onto our tree. As you can see it starts out pretty sparse, but by the end of the month it's as full of things we're thankful for as our life is of God's blessings. 

It's just one of the ways that we try to teach our children about the things in life that matter. It's difficult at times to do this when everything around us is so commercial, so frenzied and so busy. But we try to let them know that without a grateful heart possessions are absolutely meaningless and become a weight rather than a blessing. I think they understand it pretty well for their ages, too. 

So, what are you thankful for today?