Thursday, September 29, 2011

the blahs

This past week has been pretty uninspiring for me. It's really really stupidly hot outside so I just couldn't bring myself to make anything fall-ish. And, I don't know, I'm just going through one of those phases where I don't even want to LOOK at my sewing room. Do any of you ever get like that? I'll be insanely creative for a few weeks, then get a week of the blahs and I look at my to-do list and I just can't make myself care.

Plus I've kind of been pouting about my sugar allergy. I hate to admit that, but there it is. 

ANYWAY, I think I'm emerging from the funk because yesterday I busted out a few fallish things that make me smile. I've had a stack of pretty colored felt sitting in my closet for months now, and coincidentally they just happened to be the exact colors I've been getting into for fall. So I made a leaf garland that was based on a split second glance at a picture I saw over at Stitched in Color. You can tell it's split second because I did it weird and mine isn't nearly as cool as the lady who did it first. But I still like it. I just couldn't get a good picture.


I also used that felt to make this Felt Rosette Wreath, which I totally adore and I'm so excited that I actually made myself something like this. Sometimes I get so into fabric that I forget there are other materials to try, and I really love the way felt looks in this kind of piece.

Welcome, fall!

Plus I feel like it makes my front door look so dressed up and nice. 

What do you think of these colors? I've been on an orange, gray, green and aqua kick for so long that these richer, deeper colors are really calling to me right now. Every year for three years I've said to myself that I want to get or make some more fall decorations, but here's the thing: I ABHOR orange and brown together. I mean, I really really hate that combination, and let's face it--all fall decorations are orange and brown. Bleh. So I feel like you know what, I'm going to pick colors I like that make me feel nice and fallish, and if nobody gets it oh well. I'm the one who has to live in it.

Felt rosette wreath

Don't these flowers just feel so cozy to you? It almost makes me want to make a whole bed of roses out of felt to snuggle up in. If only felt weren't so insanely itchy. 

Anyway, here's to saying goodbye to the blahs...for now. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Most Disappointing Day of my LIFE

My oldest can be so overdramatic sometimes, and lately everything he experiences is the best or worst day of his LIFE. You really have to put the emphasis on that last word to get the full effect of what he means by it I guess. Last Friday after our homeschool co-op we had to go get new tires. Thankfully there was a Chik-fil-a nearby so they spent that hour and a half playing on the playground and drinking milkshakes instead of bouncing off the walls in a tiny waiting area that smelled like tires. Once we got done and we were driving home, he announced, "Wow. Co-op AND milkshakes AND the Chik-fil-a playground? That was the best day of my LIFE."

Well this morning I had to go get an allergy test which I was kinda not looking forward to. The prospect of 48 needles was not appealing, and while it didn't hurt that bad it was still not my favorite thing ever. I don't quite know what I was expecting--maybe a gluten sensitivity at the most. I knew I didn't have any real serious allergies but they were testing me for sensitivities. So they poke me a million times and immediately one area starts itching like crazy. Two bumpies right next to each other in particular. When she came back and looked at it she started laughing and shaking her head. 
"What?" I asked. 

"Well," she said, "This one right here is histamine, which you should be reacting to. So that's normal. But this one here...well we all know it's the root of all evil but I've never seen anyone react like this to it."

"Which one is it?" I ask, wondering if I'm going to have to start eating soy or something awful because I'm allergic to meat. 

She points to the sheet of allergens and guess what is written there? 

Sugar. 

Freaking SUGAR. Are you kidding me? Sugar? Really? For the person who loves to bake this is like...I don't even know how to explain my feelings. It is just...ugh. I mean I don't have that big of a sweet tooth but sugar is in everything. How do you avoid it?

When I told my oldest his response was, "Wow. This must be the most disappointing day of your LIFE."

Indeed. :)


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

pillows and plates

For the last three weekends I have been taking a glass fusing class with my good friend Heather. It was something I bought from Groupon a year ago thinking it would be something fun and creative for us to do together, so back in August we decided that September was going to be our month to try it out.

I have to admit--it's not really my thing. I enjoy the creative atmosphere but for some strange reason I thought we would be learning glass blowing, which involves fire and danger and excitement. Finding out we were just going to be cutting out pieces of glass and sticking them on another piece of glass to have it melted down into a plate or a bowl was sort of a disappointment. But still, I made a few things and I think they'll turn out okay. So far the only thing I've gotten back is this, and it just makes me laugh looking at it. 

yep. it's what I do.

It's super shiny so I couldn't get a glare-less picture, but you get the gist. I could tell that all the old people who work there were like, "huh?" because in general most of what they produce looks like this:


Erm. Yeah. Not my thing.

This week I'm also FINALLY finishing binding my do. Good Stitches quilt which I am terribly late on and it's just been like this millstone around my neck for ages. I'm happy I could finally afford batting and got it all quilted up and the binding machine-sewn on this Monday. Now I'm in the process of hand-stitching the rest in place. Also, I finished my pillow for the Pillow Talk Swap. 

PTS {finished}

Most of this was new territory for me. Raw edge applique, swirly quilts, a lot of improv patchwork...none of those are things I do regularly. So I hope it looks okay. Here it is all stuffed.

PTS {stuffed}

And a little detail shot of my extremely amateurish swirly quilting. That was just...hard. 

PTS {quilting detail}

All in all I like it though, even if it's not something I would normally make that, for me, is part of the fun of doing swaps. How about you all? Made anything outside your comfort zone lately?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Giveaway winner!

Hey guys! So, you want to know who the winner of the Joel Dewberry giveaway is?

I mean, I know I said I'd announce it tomorrow but...I've just got way too much on my plate the next few days so I figured I would do it today.

Sooooo.....drumroll....the winner, chosen by random lot, IS....




Congrats, Felicity! Send me your address and I'll make sure that gets out to you!

In other news, last week we had our first day of homeschool co-op. I have to admit I was pretty nervous, particularly because I'm teaching drawing to the high school students. I've never done anything like this before and high schoolers are scary. Not to mention I have all the quiet, stylish kids in the class. But I'm really enjoying it. Today was our first day of actual drawing in class and I loved doing it. I'm pretty excited about watching them grow as artists--even the ones who are taking it "because they have to." 
Back in B.C. days (before children) I was vacillating between becoming a physician's assistant or getting my Masters in fine arts so I could teach college art classes. Later on I started thinking I would suck as a teacher because I am proven to be super impatient with little kids. I figured the same thing could apply to older ones. But really I think it's just that I'm an older kid person because I like being able to explain myself without dumbing it down or pausing every few seconds to make everyone shut up and pay attention. 

Anyway, all this to say that art is becoming more a part of my life again and I'm really excited about that. Not that I don't love sewing, but art has always been my first love and I've kind of wandered away from that the last few years. Buying art supplies and writing the syllabus and thinking about how to grade things has me in a mode I haven't been in in ten years, and I'm pretty stoked about it.

Of course, I still have eighty billion sewing projects hanging over my head as well, sooo.....yeah.

The end.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

geek chic gifts

This Saturday my boys will be going to the birthday party of a little four-year-old friend of theirs, and since we are low on funds (and really, buying plastic junk that will last a week holds no charm for me) I decided to make gifts instead. His mom told me he's really into Star Wars (my kinda kid) and that he's recently gotten more into drawing. Enter the presents:

star wars sketchbook

My friend Heather gave me some vintage Star Wars sheets to cut a small piece off and this was what I came up with. Two birds, one stone. Of course, I had to make a pencil pouch to go with it.

invaders pencil pouch

All in all it took me about an hour for both, which is pretty good I think. I'm getting much faster at putting in zippers that's for sure. In fact it took so little time that I got kinda bored and curled my hair. My kids wonder where I think I'm going but y'know, sometimes a girl just wants to look pretty, even if she's wearing pajama bottoms.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

beauty is only skin deep

The other day I was grocery shopping, and they just happened to have figs on sale--by one get one free. Since I had never eaten a fresh fig in my life, I thought heck, I may as well give it a go. So I bought two tubs of black mission figs and went my merry way home.

I cut one open. I smelled it. I ate it. I was...underwhelmed. 

"But it's so pretty!" my mind exclaimed, as if prettiness equals yumminess. Upwards of ten horrific Martha Stewart recipes should have taught me that lesson already. But I was determined. I had to make something of these figs OR ELSE. So I browsed and I Googled and I came across a site with a recipe for fig tart that sounded delicious and guaranteed that even the staunchest fig-hater would be won over by this sumptuous dessert. It also guaranteed that the pie-dough recipe would turn even the most proven pie-ruiner into a pie-crust master. I proceeded with optimism. 

After the pie-dough had been beat into submission and rolled into an acceptably thin crust, and I'd spread the frangiapane over the dough, I started cutting up the figs. 



See? They just look so yummy. 
After they were cut I started lining them up on the tart crust in a circular pattern, which gave me this pretty but slightly alien looking tart.


Then this bizarre creation was popped into the oven for 45 minutes, and came out a beautiful rich purple and brown. It only exacerbated my desire for it to just be fall already.


Doesn't it look amazing? I mean really, I think I might have done a happy dance when this came out of the oven. 

And then I tried a piece. And then that piece was swallowed against my better judgment. I did not repeat that mistake. Talk about a beautiful disaster. This was quite possibly the grossest dessert I've ever had the misfortune to attempt to eat. Even my kids wouldn't eat it, which is saying something because I've heard them say on many occasions "I just LOVE sugar!!!"

To the guarantor of this recipe I would like to say: Ew. Also: I want my two hours back, thank you very much.

On a positive note, I have to say this was the first time in my life I've ever made a successful pie-crust, so it wasn't a total loss. I'll definitely be using that one again. 

So how about you? Ever made something that looked impressive but tasted terrible? (If you work for Martha Stewart, you can't answer because I'm afraid that would be cheating.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Giveaway time!

Remember a few weeks back when I was so excited about my 100 followers, and I mentioned a little celebration being in order? Well here it is. 

I've joined up with Aubrey of Southern Fabric, who has generously offered to sponsor this giveaway for me. What's the prize? Drumroll please.....


Some lovely Heirloom by Joel Dewberry! The prize includes 30 six-inch squares of this yummy line for you to play with. Aren't they so pretty? Mmmmm...and I don't usually like purple, either. Of course, there's quite a bit of orange in there which I LOVE so maybe that's what's balancing things out for me. Now, if only I could be in the drawing! Alas, that fun is all for you, dear readers.

How to enter: 
1. Leave a comment and let me know that you're already a follower. 
2. For a second entry, please visit Aubrey's shop and tell me what fabric you'd most love to have right now. 

That's it! I'll do a random drawing on Friday and post the winner on Saturday. Good luck!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

{stuff}

The last few weeks have been purely crazy, but I actually have made a few things. Like this Christmas pillow (top) here:

christmas pillow top

And I've worked some more on my fall embroidery project.

embroidery, progress

And I made my September blocks for do.Good Stitches.

September blocks, DGS

And lastly, I'm in round six of the Pillow Talk Swap on flickr, and these are some fabrics I've pulled to go with the idea that is taking shape in my brain:

How do you feel about these, partner?
how 'bout some tree action?

Friday, September 2, 2011

August Round Up

August round up

I feel like I made way more than nine things last month, but apparently not. I blame life for getting in the way.

What about all of you? Productive month?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

hand stitching and fun mail

I've discovered that no matter how much I want them to be, quilting and homeschooling are not really compatible occupations.

School started for us this week and I have had zero time to work on my unfinished quilts. Between first week whining and crying and shouts of, "But I don't remember how to add two plus two!!" and a lovely migraine I've been experiencing, I have felt ever so slightly unmotivated to even LOOK at my sewing room. 

But...embroidery is a thing that lends itself well to schooling. I can sit right next to the complaining children and answer their questions without running back and forth from one room to another. I can keep them on track and pay attention while also doing something more appealing than staring at the wall and waiting for the next meltdown. Here's what I started working on today:

"Celebrate Color" embroidery

I was inspired by the whole Celebrate Color thing, and the fact that I love Anna Maria Horner's style of flowers. So I used my color palette for fall and ideas from a swatch of fabric and drew up an embroidery design. I'm not saying just yet what this will be when it's finished, but I like the way it's going. And I think the folk-art effect of the felt lends itself well to autumny things. Yes, I know autumny is not a word. Get over it. 

Then once I finally peeled my flattened behind out of my chair to be done for the day, I went to check the mail and found this in my mailbox!

pile o' loot

It's my weeks late but nevertheless awesome package from the "I Heart the 80's" swap. Yay! I love everything about it. Especially the quilt! My boys really liked the Pop Rocks, although the midget seemed a bit perplexed by the cacophony of crackles emitting from his open-hanging mouth.

Hope you're having a swell day, all.