Thursday, December 30, 2010

the owl quilt and forays into mid-arm quilting

I got the new sewing machine just in time to help finish up the top and back for Alex's owl quilt. And, since it IS a freaking large quilt, I decided there's no time like the present to learn how to use the quilt table. After many stops, starts, thread breakage, loops, and what-the-hell-is-going-on-here moments, I finally quilted the top. Granted, it kind of looks like shit, but hey... it's my first try! There are a number of spots on the back that are particularly terrible -- wads of looped up bobbin thread and other such horrors. But, Alex being the "who cares" kinda guy he is, and me being too lazy to hand fix it all (at least right now), I think for now it's going to stay this way. It's my ode to learning. :)

The front:

The back: (witness my shame)

All trimmed up and ready for binding!

New sewing machine!

You'll see me quilting a lot more in the coming months, because I got a sweet new sewing machine. It's a Janome 1600p that I managed to snatch up on craigslist, along with a Little Gracie II quilt frame (that barely fits in my house). I'm heading for the big(ger) leagues!

Now if only I can figure out how to properly use them...

The machine:

The beast:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a 70's inspired log cabin quilt for Alex

My next big project is a curl-up-on-the-couch quilt for Alex. Wintery nights usually find him wrapped in a giant Sesame Street blanket that is nearing the end of its life... my aim is to replace it.

A while back I came across some owl fabric that he really liked, so this has become the inspiration. The colors are all 70's yucky (or not, if that's your thing, as it is Alex's): browns, oranges, red and cream.

Here are the blocks all set out on the floor as I figured out the layout:

I am going to sash them with a creamy solid, so it won't be THAT dark.

Last night I finished squaring them off. One of the great things about having a drummer around is how many giant flat drumhead boxes there are around that I can use to make big 14.5" square templates! This was my evening last night:

And here's a closeup of the stack waiting to be squared up. Love those owls!

My goal is to get the quilt top done before xmas, and the quilt itself done by the new year! Here's to dreaming big!

The Joys of Paper-Free Wrapping

My family and I have a deal this xmas -- no more paper gift wrap! Last night I received a big package from back home, filled with goodies in home-made fabric holiday bags made by my mom. They all look amazing!

As for my own gifts, I splurged on a bunch of fun xmas fabric earlier in the year, in the hopes that this fabric will be traded around between family members for years. Some of the highlights are Sheri Berry "12 Joys of Christmas" (now on sale at pink chalk fabrics... get some now and join in the revolution next year!) and a bunch of selections from the Alexander Henry "Christmas Time" collection.

I wrapped each present up in a piece of fabric, much the same way I would've done had it been paper, and then tied them up with a 2" length of white linen. To top it off, I embroidered simple name tags using some cute xmas transfers from Sublime Stitching.

The final result? Pure Christmas spirit!

3rd baby quilt down, 3 more to go!

I finally finished the charm squares quilt and handed it off to the new parents to be. They have assured me that they will do their best to see if it can become "THE BLANKET" for their kid. That's really my ultimate goal with all of these.

I forgot to take a final pic of it, so I snapped one as I was on my way out the door to give it to them. Look how cute it is all tied up with an extra strip of binding!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


told ya.

Charm Squares Baby Quilt II -- In Progress!

Last night I started the quilting on my latest project -- another version of Elizabeth Hartman's Charm Squares Baby Quilt for yet another pregnant friend.

Here's the top, with lots of excess batting poking out around the edges:

I'm going for the same straight line quilting that I did last time, as you can see here...

And speaking of last time, I think I probably never posted pictures of the last quilt since I was afraid Karen & Luke would see it before I had a chance to give it to them.

Hopefully the one I'm working on now will turn out as well. I'm planning on binding it in yellow, which I think will be super cute! I would love to try some free motion quilting but I just don't quite have enough faith in my crappy Shark sewing machine. For now, though, the straight lines are working for me.

I also did one quilt between these two that I forgot to take any pictures of before giving it away! That one was from Elizabeth Hartman's Nine Patch Lattice Quilt pattern. Can you tell I like her stuff? She writes a fantastic blog called Oh, Fransson and just came out with this delicious looking quilting book (it's on my xmas list!): The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker (Stash Books)

Friday, July 30, 2010

The July Breakdown

Not a break-down like my car is broken or I'm having a meltdown but, rather, since I haven't posted anything in July, here's a quick breakdown of some things that have occurred or happened to me this month...

1. Pigs in rain boots; they're everywhere. (Wow, I wish I meant that literally.)

2. I'm trying to get a regular poker game together, so I've been thinking about poker... and stereotypes of poker games... and dogs playing poker... which brought me to the site "" which had this pic in the gallery:

Note the fantastic line: "He reads the day's mail and has no worries or women within sight."

3. Every kind of varmint in the world has taken up residence in my yard including, most recently, a rabbit. And all of them want to eat the kale. Yet, despite everything, I know I will try to grow kale again next year. Some people never learn.

4. Speaking of gardens, the veggies are coming along okay (despite the rabbits eating the beans, and everything eating the kale), but the hubby and I have decided that this fall it is time for a complete revamp of the veggie plot layout. I'm thinking keyhole/mandala style, with a fence around it to deter critters. The question now is: do I make the mandala garden raised or just do it at ground level?

5. I have been majorly slacking on quilting projects. My fabric stash continues to grow (the fabric addiction is waning slightly, but it's still there), but my quilting project pace has stagnated. Man it's hard to quilt when there's weeding to be done, and hard to weed when there's cookin' food and hanging out with friends to be done... See, this is exactly why I need to be unemployed. How else will I find time to garden, quilt, cook elaborate meals, hang out with friends and also be a lazy bum? Ahhh c'est la vie.

6. The Dexter season 5 trailer came out! HOLY BEJEEZUS! I am embarrassed to be so excited for a tv show.

7. And as if my level of excitement about Dexter isn't embarrassing enough, I am positively giddy over this Game of Thrones teaser trailer from HBO.

I read daily to keep up on all the Game of Thrones gossip, and have even convinced some of my co-workers to do a chapter-by-chapter bookclub (a la the folks over at Gestalt Mash). GoT fever is in the air!

Well, I guess that's all for now. See you in August!

Monday, June 21, 2010

8 years

Today's our 8 year anniversary. My what an old couple we are turning into.

Friday, June 18, 2010

vegan doughnuts!

And, before I forget, we made VEGAN DOUGHNUTS on Memorial Day! Let me just say... wow! This pic doesn't really do them justice but here ya go...

In the Yard - 6/18/2010

Lots of fun stuff is starting to bloom! Such as...

asiatic lilies

i forget what this is... veronica 'royal candles', i think? 

one of the many dianthus i have around

 alcea rosea 'old farmyard' (hollyhocks)

'lady in red' hydrangea

loads of lavender

the first hint of blooming on the monarda (bee balm)

Friday, June 11, 2010

fabric, fabric, and more fabric!

I have become positively addicted to fabric. Buying fabric, browsing fabric, mulling over ways to use fabric... it's becoming an actual problem. Fortunately I have about a thousand ideas of quilts, bags, pillows and other miscellaneous projects that I can make to use up my ever growing stash. Let's take a look at a few of the collections that I've been obsessed with recently (very little of which I have managed to procure)...

Castle Peeps by Lizzy House for Andover (Castles and folks in medieval garb? How could I resist?) 

All of the Birch Organic collections. After all, they are cute AND organic. Such as... 

I'll just list off a few more, I think the images will speak for themselves...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ta da!

I can't believe what a great job the roofers did cleaning up... and I don't think any of my plants bit the dust! There's a clematis in the back that might have lost a limb or two, but she'll survive. Anyway, new roof! What do you think?

New Roof

When you are getting a new roof, you have to do things like take the window boxes off your house and work from home... and this is what it looks like:

Unfortunately it doesn't actually sound as peaceful as the picture may lead you to believe; I feel like I'm under seige! 

Anyway, here is a pic of the roof this morning as the workers were just getting underway (on the rear of the house):

And here is some of the ensuing destruction...

Will my plants make it through unscathed? Doubtful. Will the roof NOT look it's going to collapse any moment? Yes! I think it's worth the trade off, but oh how I fear for my plant-children today.

I'll post more once they are done and we'll see what the final verdict is!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Groundhog Day

My neighbor has informed me that there seems to be a groundhog living in my yard and, lo and behold, as I stepped out into the yard last night, I caught a glimpse of his fat and furry little butt scrambling under the shed. A groundhog! Living in my tiny backyard! By my tiny vegetable garden! And he's HUGE! Actually, he looked more like this than the above pic:

Or maybe this...

This might explain the assault that's been happening to my lettuce and beans lately. Or, that might be the evil albino squirrel or his birdie henchmen. 

Anyway, since he's so fluffy and muppety looking, I couldn't very well get behind Alex's idea of scaring him off with the bb gun or smoking him out from below the shed (the dear vegan husband is so brutally territorial when it comes to his food!) so instead we took a bunch of chicken wire and caged in the raised bed that's been getting the most abuse, and put some bird netting over everything else. We also caged in the baby paw paw tree that has been having quite a few leaves nibbled lately. So now my yard looks like a prison yard for rogue vegetable plants. 

Hopefully Mr. Woodchuck and I can find a happy coexistence. But if he won't accept my boundaries, I'm not sure what will happen next. I'm open to suggestions...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Plant Close-Ups

I love how everything in the yard looks when you get close-up. And since I was out with the camera anyway, I snapped a few close ones. All of these original images are extra large, so if you want to get really up close and personal, click on the picture to see the big version.

balloon flowers





solomon's seal, nestled in some bleeding heart

raspberries... just starting to happen

paw paw

tiny strawberries