Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moving. Rearranging. Sewing.

For awhile now my husband and I have been talking about moving our youngest son into the room with his older brothers. Mostly we felt like they should all be together, especially since there's such a gap between my middle son and youngest. 

So this weekend I decided it would probably be a good idea to move his crib in there so he could get used to being in there before we switched him over to the toddler bed I made him. All day Saturday I spent moving his stuff into the boys room, all the boys' toys into my sewing room, and all my sewing stuff into the former nursery. Boy, that took forever. I didn't realize how much sewing junk I had until I had to make fifty bazillion trips from one end of the house to the other. 

But the result is that the boys are really excited to have him in their room. I am really excited to have my sewing room be the room with the best lighting (and air conditioning that works--our back room is not insulated) and it's SO AWESOME to have all the boys legos and toys in one specific area rather than all over the place. Everything feels so much cleaner! We'll see how long that lasts, though. Ha.

Anyway, with the "new" sewing area in place, I've been super inspired to sew. What am I making? Pillowcase dresses!

Dresses for orphans {3 down}

These are going to be for the little orphans in Siteki, Swaziland. Our church tries to do whatever we can to help them, whether with money for food or supplies, and simple dresses and shorts for the orphans are what we're working on now. I've never tried these before (three boys, remember?) but they are so satisfying. I didn't use a pattern or tutorial, I just forced my boys to try them on in different sizes to get a good template (evil grin) and went to work. 

Dresses for orphans {strawberries}

The girls in the hospital/orphanage range are between 3 and 5 years old so I've been making them similar in size. The first one I made with just the ribbon through the casing, the second two I made with with bias tape over the armholes extending up as ties. 

Dresses for orphans {seahorses}

I've got fabric laid out for at least 4 or 5 more. I'm pretty excited about this. Ever since I made quilts for the orphans and grandmas taking care of them I've been hoping for another project to help them out, so this is perfect.

Also, I had a ton of fabric my mom had given me that used to be Guatemalan skirts, and I never knew quite what to do with it. But it's the perfect weight and pattern for shorts for the orphan boys! So Sunday I cut into that and got about six pairs of shorts out of it. Yay! It makes me happy to know that I can make something so necessary and useful out of things I already have.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


That's what I feel like I'm doing. I have never been so self-conscious about my swap items before EVER. I feel like I can't do anything right but maybe that's just me. Anyway, this made me laugh while I was making it, and things that make me laugh while I'm making them are always worthwhile for me. Even if my partner doesn't like it. Even if it didn't turn out quite the way I envisioned. It's still funny. 

Rubix Pincushion

Anyway. Here's to hoping!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fun Mail Day

I love fun mail days. Today in the mail I got this totally awesome Frogger mug rug from my partner Leah in England. Which is really funny. But I can't say why just yet. 

Scrappy Mug Rug {received!}

Anyway, isn't it cool! I love it. It went right onto my wall to keep the other video game quilts company. No way is this baby having a coffee mug anywhere NEAR it.

The wall, with a new addition


Monday, May 23, 2011

Your ultimate mix

Name Your Mix, partner!

What would your ultimate mix be called? I wouldn't even know how to answer this because I'm supremely uncreative with naming things. Thankfully, it's not for me.

Or maybe it is. If my partner is too quiet, I've decided to keep this and make her something else. I'm going to have a little mini rant right now and say I'm very fed up with getting quiet partners. !!!!! Okay. Done.

So. Ahem. Any good mix tape names anyone??

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Go big or go home

My husband and I seem to suffer from the same malady: we can't do anything small to start with. Most people, when they want to try something new, they start small. Baby steps. Knit a few potholders before you move on to a sweater. Build a little spice rack before you frame a house. That sort of thing. 

We just can't do it. 

The first time my husband attempted any real woodworking, he built my dad a cigar humidor out of fancy wood with fairly complicated inlays. I wish I had a picture of that thing. It was so...smooth.

When I first started knitting, I knit about four inches of a scarf before I was bored, and then I made this.

Not the kid. The sweater. Although I made the kid, too. Ahem. 

After a good month of watching me and my dad painting obsessively when we were staying up in North Carolina, Art decided he wanted to try painting, too. The only thing I'd ever seen him do artistically was drawing a really lame cartoon bunny, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Then he busts out this:

A few years ago, when we had just moved back to Florida, I somehow stumbled across Denyse Schmidt's website, and saw her Drunk Love in a Log Cabin quilt. I have never really liked quilts, and it had been years since I'd really sewn anything but this one really got my attention. As did the pricetag. I wondered: could I make a quilt? Did I have to take a class or something? I printed out a picture of the drunk love quilt, bought some JoAnn fat quarters (I know, try not to cringe) and made my first quilt.

And yeah, I free motion quilted my first quilt. I didn't know any better. Now I actually prefer it. 

My husband hand-wove a hammock for my dad one year for Christmas. I reupholstered a wing back chair last year. Art built me a vintage-style guitar amp out of Brazilian rosewood. You can seen the trend here, I'm sure.

Well I've been thinking about building things lately. I have all these ideas of things to build, but not a great deal of experience. I mean I know how to use *most* power tools. I understand the basics. But the only thing I ever really built myself was a really ugly side table out of a giant empty cable spool from Home Depot. All I really did there was screw a table top onto the spool and cover the sides. Whoopdeedoo. 

Anyway, my youngest has practically torn his crib to shreds, and is in need of a new bed. I don't have money for a real, twin sized bed (and he still seems way too small for that) and the cheapest toddler beds I could find (Ikea) were still upwards of a hundred bucks and not very cool looking. So I went to Home Depot, bought some cheap pine lumber, some screws, and made this:

Mal's new bed, unfinished

How stinking cool is THAT?! It took me probably six hours from start to finish, and cost less than 40 bucks to build. I quite literally jumped up and down and clapped my hands when I was done, I was so excited.

Mal's new bed, with sunflowers!

I still need to fill the nail holes, sand, and finish it, and I still can't quite decide if I should paint it or stain it or just do a matte varnish so it keeps that Ikea-esque light wood look. All I know is...it rules! I'm so excited about this can you tell!!! I want to build more! More! MORE!!!

To help me in my new addiction, this site is quite possibly my favorite thing ever.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mixtape Mini

80's Swap start--yea or nay??

I got started on my swap item for the "I Heart the 80's Swap" the other day. I gotta say, I totally want to keep it already and I'm not even close to being done. I'm waiting to get some Kona Charcoal to make the final, outer edges, so it's just sort of hanging on my wall, looking bodacious, wanting to be finished.

I'm not quite sure this will be something my partner will like. The other option I'm thinking of is a nice unicorn hoop. Maybe. Perchance. We'll see if she says anything about it either way. In the meantime, I'll wait on pins and needles and sort of selfishly hope she HATES it so I can keep it all for myself....mine, all mine!! (cue maniacal evil laughter)

'Course, if she totally hates it my creative, eager-to-please side will likely be crushed. Oh, the dichotomy.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Heading out

mug rug package

This little package will be winging its way to my partner soon! I really hope she likes it--there are some very specific things she liked and I tried to include as many as possible. The little hoop I worked on last night while watching reruns of Stargate SG-1. Ha ha. There's nothing like some really cheesy sci-fi to embroider to.

I've got some other things I've been working on, but those will have to come later--my husband is coming home today! After 10 days of single parenting with a head-cold I'm so ready. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Scrappy Mug Rug Swap {finished}

The finished mug rug

At last, I'm done. All I was waiting on was some coordinating thread for sewing on the aliens. 

I really like the way this came out. My partner is very VERY quiet, so I have no real idea if she'll be into this. I hope she is, because this is my very best favorite thing I've made this month. 

The Glamor Shot

Now I need to really think about that 80's swap...

Friday, May 6, 2011

a cure for cancer before lunch

Okay, so your comments on my last post were funny and I just felt the need to clarify--getting that much done that early is DEFINITELY not a normal occurrence for me. I had to wake up at 3:45am to take my husband to the airport, and after that I couldn't just go back to bed. So dinner: throw roast in crock pot, add italian dressing and banana peppers=about 2 minutes. Cookies: whip up familiar recipe=5 minutes, followed by 1 minute intervals of putting more cookies on the sheet every 20 minutes or so. The sewing was maybe a half hour.

So really it's not like I'm Wonder Woman or something. And I didn't mean to come off like I was bragging about how amazingly fast I am. I just didn't know what to do with myself for the rest of the day having finished so early. Although...if I could pull off this outfit you can bet I'd be sewing, cooking, cleaning, and honey collecting in it.

And no, I didn't find the cure for cancer before lunch. I went to the water park with the kids instead. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

7 a.m.

It's 7a.m., and I've already driven for an hour, made cookies, started dinner (I love crockpots. Seriously) and made this:

Another little bag

A little bit ago I saw this cute take on windows on Flickr and my first thought was not "oh. lady parts," but, "Oh! It's like cathedral windows, only easier!" I filed it away on my mental to do list. Today I glanced at the tutorial, then figured I could just do it on my own, and whipped this baby up. 

Say, "Aaaaah..."

I know based on my perusal of the tutorial that I did not do anything the same except sewing down the folded strips. I wanted a rainbow effect, so I sewed four strips of fabric together to form the "peekaboo" background. I definitely did NOT hand sew all those little windows--gah! That's a little more self-torture than I'm into right now. The front and back of the outside and lining are one piece. I mitered (if that's the right term here) the bottom corners pretty deeply so the pouch could stand on it's own--making the base about two inches wide. And I used the same method used on Noodlehead's clutch for the zipper because I feel like it looks cleaner.

I have no idea why I felt the need to make this, but there you have it. 

Now what to do with the rest of my day?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

turn me right round baby right round

So today is a very circular day.

First of all, I have to share with you an elegant solution to the problem of laziness. A little while ago I joined Lynne of Lily's Quilts dresden quilt along. I whipped up the circle in no time flat, intending it to be a one-block wall quilt. Then it came time to piece the circle into the border and my brain went, "Nyugghhhhh." I couldn't make myself do it. So it sat there. Dying for attention. Irritating me with it's not-doneness. Until I remembered: I have a ginormous embroidery hoop. Ha!

Lily's QAL solution

Done and done. Also, awesomely, all the colors match my youngest son's bedroom perfectly. Yay. Sorry about the crappy pic but I was being lazy about that, too.

Then today, since I was on a roll, I made a bunch of striped circles for this months do.Good Stitches quilt. We were supposed to make two, but I figured I'd make six. Why? I don't know. Because I could? Because I already had all the strips cut up and I hate wasting strips? Sure. Okay. Mostly I think it's because they were small, and I figured if someone flakes or sends ugly circles, our quilter can use my awesome ones instead. *snort*

May Striped Circles

Now, we were supposed to use Angela's tutorial on making these ready for appliqueing. Is that a word? It looks stupid. Anyway. So I did the circles using the prescribed method. And...I did not like it. Not that there's anything wrong with the concept, and I can see how it's supposed to be quick but the edges just bug me. No matter what I did I could not get the edges perfect, and nothing annoys me more than an imperfect circle. It's probably just that I'm not good at doing it right, but I think I much prefer Anna Maria's "Super Circles" method. Although if I do circles again I might combine the two in the sense of making the circle's AMH's way, and then ironing on a circle of interfacing afterward to keep the turned-under edges tacked down and ready to sew.

That being said these did come out nice and sunny and I look forward to seeing the finished quilt.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Peeks, and selfish sewing

Not such a sneak peek

Today I did a little more work on my partner's mug rug. I made a rainbowy binding to go with it, but alas, I can't finish till have that matching thread. Drat. Also, I don't know if this is something she'll like or not. Somehow I always get the quiet partners when I do swaps, which leaves me biting my nails in anxiety.

So what's a girl to do? I finished my elephant skirt. Pics to come later, when I'm out of my sweaty workout clothes and can manage to not look too hideous. I also made myself another Noodlehead gathered clutch--this time it's all for me. I hardly ever make myself crafty things--clothes, yes; crafty stuff--no. So I felt it was time. 

the Heather Ross clutch

I used up some of my never-ending scraps of Mendocino, and some leftover FFA2 from my niece's quilt.


The only thing that irritated me is the fact that I really wanted to add a little loop to hang onto, and only remembered that desire AFTER I sewed the whole thing together. Poop. Oh yeah, and I sewed the mermaid lining in upside down. Double poop.

Still, I like it. And it's nice to have a shrinking to-do list, to the point where I can just bust out something like this in a hour or so.


Monday, May 2, 2011


mug rug sneak peek

The other day I cut out and fused these little aliens for my partner's mug rug. I was going to hand stitch them originally but they're so small, I didn't want them fraying to pieces. So I opted to machine sew them with a tight zig-zag instead. Man, it's hard to sew tiny things with a sewing machine! But I think ultimately it will work out better.

Now I just need thread to match the rest of the rainbow of aliens. Alas, that trip to JoAnn's will have to wait...I hate the week when the mortgage is due. It's just so spectacularly unfair when BILLS get in the way of my craft supply hoarding. Ha. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

swaps and {honey} bees

This last week was a whirlwind of activity for me--finishing a baby quilt (which, coincidentally, I was so excited to get packaged and ready that I forgot to take pictures. I mean, I didn't even get ONE) working on a skirt I made big enough to fit an elephant (grrr), matching up partners for our "I Heart the 80's" swap, sending out five thousand flickr mails to said partners (double grr), planning my Scrappy Mug Rug swap partner's rug, and contracting a lovely, shrapnel-in-the-back-of-the-throat cold. FUN TIMES.

I am excited to get underway with my swaps--the mug rug swap is lots of fun because you get to experiment with different things and if it turns out looking like poop, you just toss it out and start again because hey, it's tiny! And the 80's swap should be fun just because it's so dang cheesy. I've already got several ideas for both, and my mug rug is already getting cut up and worked on. I stayed home from church today because of my snottyness, and spent some time doodling around with a hoop. It's probably too simplistic as a main swap item, but might make a fun extra.

I really feel like I should fix my elephant skirt, but right now all I want to do is play. Or cradle my snot-stuffed about-to-implode head in my hands and cry. Y'know, either one works.

I realized yesterday that I never got around to taking pictures of our new bees. Really, until yesterday there was nothing to see. Just some boxes on stands. They were getting acclimated to their new environment, so my husband wasn't really doing much with them. But yesterday was the first official day of smoking them, pulling out the frames, and checking them out. And it was really cool.

If you'd told me a year ago that someday I'd be okay with standing in a small cloud of bees without feeling any anxiety, I'd have laughed in your face. But I felt totally fine. It's weird because...I don't like honey. I don't like being stung. Not much of a bug person. So what's in it for me? Not much, but it's still cool and interesting. And it was so...heartwarming is the only word that comes to mind...to see my boys watching their Papa work with his bees. 

I just have to say that the dorky beekeeper clothes crack me up. I couldn't get over the dress shirt paired with those light-colored jeans. And of course the hat. I was whistling and catcalling the whole time. 

 Look how close I got! I'm so proud of myself!!

This little turkey I'd left in the house so he wouldn't get stung, and he managed to sneak out anyway. When I caught him, this was the face he gave me. Oh my word. He's such a punk! Don't even get me started on the trouble this kid gets into. This morning I had my first experience calling poison control because he managed to climb onto the kitchen counter, get into the cabinets, and wolf down half a bottle of B12 vitamins. Thankfully they said the worst that would happen would that he would be extra energetic. Great. MORE energy for the already tireless tornado of mayhem. I was kind hoping I could get some of that crazy action on video, but I was too busy cleaning up messes and chasing him around. If you'd like my address so you can send me my "Mom of the Year" award, just email me.

Anyway, hopefully soon we will have some chickens, and then our idyllic pretend farm will be complete. (For full effect, please read that last line in Darth Vader's voice.)

And I'm out.