Tuesday, January 31, 2012

mini quilt progress

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I finally decided that my original idea for the Fab Little Quilt swap was kind of lame. I was getting too boxed in by ideas and styles that are just. not. me. So I said to heck with it, I'm going to pick weird colors that I like and do some improv work and see how it comes out. Here's what I did today:

FLiQ quilt top

What do you think? Meh? Awesome? Personally I love it, although YET AGAIN I've gotten a mute partner so I have no idea what she'll think. I don't know how I feel about parting with my last scraps of Mendocino for a partner who isn't into this, so I really hope she'll let me know either way. I, as some of you might know, have no problem keeping a quilt I love and sending off one that I don't care too much about if my partner doesn't let me know what they think. :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

hanging hearts

hanging hearts

Today is a beautiful day. That, and this garland/mobile thingy are making me smile. What's not making me smile is that the picture behind my chair is crooked. Ha.

What's making you smile today??

Thursday, January 26, 2012

i heart hearts

So my sewing has come to a bit of a standstill while I wait for money for fabric. Ah, the story of my life. In the meantime, I've been typing away at my "book" and making hearts.

I've never been a big fan of Valentines day, seeing it mainly as an excuse for stores to sell candy and flowers and cards. I want my husband to say he loves me because he does, not because it's the required day for it. And I have to admit, the super saturation of pink and red hasn't traditionally been my favorite thing ever. But for some reason this year I've just gotten into hearts. 

Ever since I saw this quiltie on Flickr last year, I've been wanting to do a drawing like it. The other day I did, and it was fun.

L'amour ne meurt jamais

I'm also piddling around with making these heart garlands for my house/my friend's V-day party. 

heart garland

Seven down, thirteen to go, ha.
On a Valentine's Day-related note, I made these little bow ties for the aforementioned party. There's going to be a little photo area, and I never seem to be able to dress my boys cute for pictures so I'm totally taking advantage of this opportunity. My younger two wanted bow ties, and I also made a skinny red tie for my oldest since he's too cool for school now.

bow ties

I'm pretty excited about the upcoming soiree. I think it will be nice to have a cute little party for the kids, even if my older boys do find the whole idea of pink and hearts "icky" and "girly". Ha ha ha. Oh, you stinky boys.

Friday, January 20, 2012

like an orange on a toothpeck

Not too long ago, I was sitting around, browsing through all the dormant Flickr swap groups, and wondering when the next rounds of the Doll Quilt Swap, Pillow Talk Swap, or Scrappy Mug Rug swaps were going to start. Christmas was over, my sewing room was clean, and I felt the itch to start making things again. Literally that same day, I got a head-inflating email from one of the top swap mamas on Flickr asking me to join an exclusive mini-quilt swap that was for invited people only.

Well who can resist an offer like that? A personal invitation? The prospect of making a quiltie for some of the super talented people on Flickr--and, even better, to receive one??

I deliberated for a nanosecond. And then I was in. 

I'm super excited about this, not to mention honored to be included in such an amazing group of quilters. Here are my inspiration mosaics:

FLiQ Swap Mosaic

More FLiQ faves

The other day we recieved our partner info, and I immediately went and did some blog and Flickr faves stalking. And today I pulled a cheery rainbow of patterns and solids that makes me smile. I hope it makes my partner smile, too.

FLiQ Picks?

In reference to my now enlarged head, I'll leave you with this, one of my favorite scenes from "So I Married an Axe Murderer": 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

a loose ends kind of day

Today I felt inspired to work on unfinished things. For example: the story I've been working on haphazardly for a few years now. I rearranged some ideas, edited some pages and wrote five new ones. Slow going, I know, but cut me some slack--I am surrounded almost constantly by noise and it makes concentrating difficult. That being said it was perfect writing weather today: cold, gray, and briefly stormy.

Once I felt like I'd reached the point of diminishing returns with the writing thing I decided today was the day to finish my ginormous painting. This sucker is 4 feet by 5 feet--the biggest canvas I've used yet. When my husband bought the canvas for me for Christmas a few years ago I immediately knew I wanted to paint a giant magnolia. And then somehow I convinced myself that I should do something else. And I hated the result. I've been meaning to paint over it for ages, and the last few weeks I decided it was time. So here it is, the original (and much more satisfactory--always go with your gut when it comes to creativity!) idea, all finished and making me happy.


Oil on canvas
48 x 60

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

let them eat cake

A little while back, my sister-in-law Rachel sent me a picture of a pretty cake and asked me how I could help her make one like it for my niece's third birthday. I took one look at the prettiness and volunteered. I don't particularly care for eating cake, but I sure do like making them. Especially pretty ones.

The next day I was off to Michael's in search of silk flowers, which I have never before purchased outside the occasional 70% off stem or two. After an hour of deliberating on colors, sizes, etc., I went to the register feeling pretty good about my choices. Then the cashier rang me up and I about swallowed my tongue. 

People, there is NO WAY that fake flowers can possibly be worth that much. Seriously.

But all my grumbling about unethical silk flower extortion evaporated once I started putting the cake together: one 8 inch and one 6 inch round of strawberry cake, frosted with an illegal amount of cream cheese frosting, topped with these-may-as-well-be-made-of-gold-for-how-much-they-cost silk flowers.
Livi's cake

I was so giddy putting this thing together that I'm pretty sure I jumped up and down and few times. It's possible I even clapped my hands and giggled a bit, but you didn't hear that from me. 

Livi's cake top

It wasn't a terribly difficult cake to make--Wilton cake decorators and people who use fondant will probably roll their eyes at the simplicity but I don't care. I like it. It made me smile. 

I can definitively say that I certainly never had a cake this pretty...um...ever...so I'm glad I at least got to make one. I know my niece could have probably cared less what this cake looked like--I mean, who cares about cake when you've got a floor-length Rapunzel wig? But I enjoyed it anyway.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

something serious

Today, I'd like to post pictures of the new dresses I've made. Or perhaps the painting I'm working on. Or the pretty cake I'm baking for my niece's birthday party. 

But I'm not going to. 

Instead I'd like to take up your valuable time by sharing he awesomest name I've ever heard with you all:

Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop

Who, if you don't watch the news, is a real person who at some point legally changed his name to that. On purpose. If he wasn't such a psychotic low-life I think I'd want to be friends with him just so I could say his name over and over in public. 

 That is all. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lightning strikes; resolutions

Lately I see lightning quilts popping up everywhere. On flickr, on blogs, and when I did one of those searches to see what pictures of mine are on Pinterest (which, sadly, I've still not been able to join because I refuse on principle to have a Facebook account. Period.) the pictures that have been pinned the most are of my lightning quilts. 

It's nice, and slightly funny to me. The funniness is mostly from how easy they are to make; so easy, in fact, that I almost feel guilty at how quickly they come together. As if a quilt so hastily made must have come about by some sort of cheating. But still. It's a very fun quilt. I particularly like this block arrangement I came across the other day by velvetdog76:

Heat Lightning

Anyway, all this to say that my first lightning quilt (made for my DQS11 partner) has been featured today over at Generation Q Magazine. Woot! Check it out (and all the other goodies on there, of which there are plenty).

Life around here is slowly settling back into the non-holiday groove, and I find myself getting more and more in the mood to create things for the sake of creating--no deadlines, no worrying if someone else will like or appreciate it--I just want to MAKE and DO and ENJOY. Which goes for a lot of things actually. I want to enjoy time with my kids. I want my workouts to be something fun and not just work. I want to look forward to each week rather than to count down the days till the next weekend. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but this is something that I think is a good thing to resolve to do: enjoy life, even on the hard days, even doing mundane chores or cleaning up the fiftieth mess off the kitchen floor. I want my life to be full of joy but that's something that requires work. Work and quite possibly an attitude adjustment. Ha. 

Oh, and if all goes according to plan, I will be participating in my first sprint triathlon in June. So there. 

What about you all? Any resolutions this year?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

I'm back! Today I'm posting about a few of my favorite things from the past month. 

First up, meet Mr. Angry Pig. 

angry pig

I saw this tutorial in the beginning of December and knew I wanted to make some angry birds. We are not iPhone people, in fact, the only apple product in our whole house is one really old iPod nano. But every time we're around our extremely apple-happy relatives, my boys latch onto someone's phone to play angry birds. I thought it would be fun for them to throw them at each other. So I made three pigs, and a red, yellow, and blue bird for them. The pig is my favorite.

Next up, the superhero cape!
superhero cape back

superhero cape

I tried to make as many gifts as possible this year, especially for kids. My friend's little boy likes to dress up in costumes, and she told me that he would love a superhero cape. After looking at a few tutorials I decided it couldn't be THAT difficult so I just made up my own pattern. I used some thick satiny fabric and then some metallic pleather for the appliqued "A". I loved how nice it came out, and my kids are now requesting that I make some for them, too. I'm pretty sure the recipient liked it too since he was wearing it Christmas Eve and Christmas day as well. :)
Some of my other faves are ones you've seen, like the plum velvet clutch I made for a friend and my fabric map (which is languishing on the wall for lack of attention).

I wanted to show you my new dress, but it's currently at the bottom of a big pile of laundry that needs me to do something about it. Ha. 

Today we started school again, and the reality of holidays being over is slowly sinking in. I still have Christmas decorations to take down, and probably 20 pounds of deer sausage and jerky to make. 

Stinking reality. :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

times long past; Christmasy stuff

It's January.
The air is back in my lungs, the house (after today) will be free of cookies and gifts not yet given, and tomorrow my kids will be starting school again.

For the first time in a month the prospect of blogging doesn't feel overwhelming, so here I am. There will not, however, be a backlog of pictures of every last thing I made this month, because that would include:

1) six pairs of pajamas
2) one tiny bathrobe
3) a big purple gumdrop pillow
4) six "pillow fight" pillows (designed specifically so the guys would stop using my nice ones every night)
5) number beanbags
6) three angry pigs and four angry birds
7) two extravagant costumes
8) two Christmas pillows
9) a Christmas kitchen rug
10) my finished Christmas hoops
11) a superhero cape
12) one knit washcloth and one sewn one
13) four jars of sugar scrub
14) eight necklaces and four rings
15) at least 300 cookies
16) my first batch of homemade marshmallows
17) a new dress from my new Japanese pattern book

This list is the reason that blogging has been...intimidating, but I've decided to just take a deep breath and jump back in. So for the next couple of days I'll just show you a few of my favorite things from December, and then we can move on. Sound good?

Every year I try to make at least one new Christmasy thing for the house before the mad dash to make presents begin. This year I made four! So I was happy about that. The first one I finished was my embroidered hoops you may recall that I started on our epic fail camping trip.


I also wanted a cute little rug to replace my usual kitchen rug. This was my first experience making a quilted rug and I have to admit to being a little freaked out by the idea of standing on it. With my feet. But I got over it. I used an old towel for the backing which worked out great and helped me get over my standing phobia. 

Christmas kitchen rug

Items # 3 and #4 were the pillows I finally got done.

Christmas x-string pillow

Christmas pillow

All this stuff cracks me up because you probably noticed that it's all the same fabric. I bought half-yards of these fabrics a few years ago and it's like the gift that keeps on giving...I've made all this plus last years tree-skirt and I still have plenty for the stockings I still haven't finished and probably a few more projects as well. That's a lot of mileage from a few half-yards!