Friday, December 12, 2014

one proud momma

When I was in California,
I spent a little bit of time teaching Kacy to sew.

She made one of Anna's open wide pouches
with just a little bit of guidance from me.
She did all of the sewing herself,
including inserting the zipper and topstiching.
You might say she jumped in at the deep end.
(she didn't know those are things to be feared, so she just did 'em. Tricky of me, eh? ;-)

I made a pattern for her from one of her favorite skirts
and used it to cut some super soft grey ponte.
I left instructions on how to sew it up.

and helped her cut out some cute flannel for a pair of pjs, 
showing her how you line up a linear print.

Just a few hours ago, 
she sent me a picture of her wearing her jammie shorts!
I am so stinking proud of her!!

fun finish

So, as you know,
I finished the twin quilts
All commissioned work.
Which I am very glad for
(very glad indeed!!)
(there is always a but with me ;-)
as much as I like being able to sew for sewing machines,
there is additional pressure
and less creative freedom
that comes with such sewing.

I was feeling the need to create 
just to create.

But this time of year doesn't really afford creating just to create,
so I doubled up my creating with a gift need.

We've never done a gift exchange in conjunction with the Elders' Dinner before,
but this year, 
they added one to the agenda.
The gift is supposed to be a coffee cup
with a gift inside of it

Because I don't always follow the rules exactly
(but I do like to know what the rules are, so I can know how much I want to break them ;-)
my cup is going in my gift,
instead of my gift in my cup.
'cause there is no way I was going to wrinkle this beautiful baby
by shoving it in a coffee cup. 

(I wasn't 100% positive of my choice to use the dark blue for the zipper tab, but after I purchased my cup,
I was like - oh yeah - perfect call :-)
I love when things go together like that.)

And I love that this project was made entirely of scraps!

The smallest scrap was less than 1 ".
I normally wouldn't save such tiny pieces, 
but it was California Dreamin', so you know it was destined for something.
That something turned out to be a tiny set of leaves 
on the stem of a happy daisy.

I sorta want to keep this gift....

linking up with Amanda Jean

Amanda posed a question yesterday regarding making gifts for people - I'll answer here.
When I make something for someone, I totally tailor it to their tastes,
leaving my personal tastes and preferences out of the equation.
Since I didn't know who would end up with this particular gift ~ I just made something I would like,
which, I think, is what made this little project extra fun.

p.p.s I used Anna's open wide pouch tutorial when installing the zipper ~ thanks, Anna!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

note to self

Now that we eat wheat free and relatively low carb,
making Christmas goodies is pretty low on my list of priorities.
I can healthify my recipes,
but then they aren't the same,
and really, we don't need to be eating a ton of treats, healthy or otherwise.

Yesterday, though, was our turn to bring snacks for 242.
(The kids love it when it's our turn.)
I decided since it was so close to Christmas, we should make a few Christmas treats.
I texted Tyler a list with all sorts of junk on it.
(He called to tell me that my text had somehow gotten messed up,
because there were things on there he knew I couldn't possibly want him to buy ;-)

we made the pretzels with kisses things.
Then we made a variation of them
using rolos and pecans instead of kisses and m&ms.
Then, we were going to dip pretzel rings in green-colored vanilla almond bark to make wreaths
but the almond bark got super thick when I added the food coloring (?)
so we got out the peppermints I had in the pantry for a craft,
smashed  them,
and mixed them in with the green almond bark and a few drops of peppermint e.oil
and made candy instead.
We also made bite-size caramel apples.

All the treat making (and accompanying mess-making)
about wore me out,
but the kids loved it.
Lily said,"It's the best Christmas ever."
All because we made a few goodies.

Note to self: it doesn't take much to make kids happy
dadgumit - just make the treats sometimes.
(and use nuts. and the word nuts ;-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

marking off the list

I've actually managed to mark quite a few things off of my list.
things are being added
more quickly than they are being marked off,
so I'm still behind.

First up - the twins.

I was given paint chips
and commissioned to make 2 simple quilts for our church nursery.
After making a trip to Hancocks and Hobby Lobby,
I couldn't find anything that matched the paint chips,
so I left empty-handed.

My friend, Karen, had been posting about using silk threads,
and I really wanted to try them,
so one night when I was having trouble sleeping, I spent an hour or so picking out a bunch of threads.
I put some reds in my cart for Any Which Way,
and then added a slew of colors.
I decided to heck with matching the paint chips, I was just going to stitch a rainbow (so to speak)

I proceeded to check out,
where I discovered that the shipping
(on lightweight thread)
was going to be 1/2 what I was paying for the thread!
I just couldn't do it.
I was soo irritated.
I couldn't spend $45 on thread for a baby quilt.
So I emptied my cart.

I went to Wawak
and found that they were discontinuing their silk thread, 
but they had a 'grab bag' of 5 large spools for $13 (which is a crazy good price!)
I ordered one, and prayed that there would be a red in the mix.
I decided I'd figure out the twin quilts later....

I also ordered some stretch thread (similar to wooly nylon)
because  Rachel  recommends using it in the bobbin when hemming knits.
I don't have lots of trouble with it, but I have had a few issues with thread breakage on my hems,
so thought that might be a good move.
(I have no clue where I put the darn thread though! I've looked for it twice and haven't found it. 
Good thing I kept it separate from my other thread, so I wouldn't mistakenly use it....)

My order arrived quickly,
and in my grab bag of threads - yes!
There was a red!
There was also a dark teal and a green.
They didn't match the paint chips, which were much more pastel,
but they went nicely, so I was in business.

I went back to Hancock Fabrics and bought 1 1/3 yds of a fun owl flannel,
which went perfectly with my silk threads.
Because everybody starts a project with their quilting thread, right? ;-)

When I went to the closet to get my Kona White, so I could baste the two together (with batting)
I saw the bolt of polka dot knit that I'd purchased about 2 years ago for $1/yd,
and decided to use that instead.

Instead of just horizontal lines covering the quilt, 
which was my original plan, 
I used my hera marker to draw both vertical and horizontal lines,
leaving plenty of blank spaces
to create a sort of plaid pattern.

And then I stitched.
and stitched.
and stitched....

On planes, in airports, at the beach, on the couch while watching netflix.
I stitched until I finally had all of the horizontal lines done,
at which time I thought adding machine quilting would be an awesome idea :-)

I still had that owl fabric,
so I just used it for the back of the other quilt,
and pulled all the greens and blues I had that went with the owls.
It was pretty cool to be able to pull together enough fabrics from my stash and scraps!

The top went together reasonably quickly
(but of course, took longer than I'd anticipated.)
I'd planned on quilting diagonal lines,
but after I'd marked straight lines where I had no seams (to use as guidelines for the diagonals)
I decided I liked the look,
and I'd just quilt right on the lines.
I felt very RedPepper Rita-ish doing all that straightline quilting ;-)
 (only her lines would have been closer together than my 1 1/2 inches apart)

I decided to do matching solid bindings, so I pulled out my Kona color card,
and my green and teal threads,
then ordered some Clover and Celestial, which matched perfectly.
I machine stitched the binding on the irish chain,
and hand stitched it on the plaid.
I definitely prefer the look of a hand-sewn binding.
(but it takes 8 times longer to sew)

After I finished the twins,
so that meant making an outfit,
since I truly had nothing appropriate to wear.

I had 2/3 of a yard of a stretch dark raspberryish sequined fabric,
so made a pencil(ish) skirt
and then I made a peplum jacket out of black scuba knit to go with it.
I spent a ridiculously long time on it,
in with the red, green, and teal silk threads,
there was also a dark raspberry thread that went perfectly with my sequins!

The scuba was a dream to sew with, but the seams don't lie flat when pressed
so I figured I needed to topstitch them, but wasn't sure how that'd look.
When I checked my bag of silk threads and found a match, well, I thought it was serendipitous.
How could I not use it?!
So I topstitched, by hand, every single seam except where the sleeve meets the bodice
 (it has princess seams, both in the front and the back)
and hemmed the (full) circle skirt of  the peplum.
That, my friends, is a lot of sewing by hand
when you are in a time crunch.
Sadly - from even a very short distance, you can't see it at all!

To add insult to injury, I hate how the jacket fits.
Tyler thought it looked fine,
but I felt like I looked even fatter than I am.
Ah well.

In between finishing the twins
and working on my outfit,
I also cut into my orange and blue stack.

For about 8 hours total , 
15 minutes here and and hour or so there, 
I've cut,
or trimmed
and now I have a completed quilt top.

I think it's going to remain just a top for a few weeks though,
because I've got some Christmas sewing that I need to get to :-)

'the twins' in their new home, where they'll be used to snuggle oodles of babies over the years :-)

linking up with Lee

p.s. about the silk thread? It is lovely, but I actually think I might prefer perle cotton. I'm still undecided...

p.p.s I'm curious - how long would you say it'd take you to make either of the twins, or the HST zigzag?
(they are all roughly 40x50)
I think I'm a slow-poke...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

this and that

Jeremiah's birthday was yesterday (11!)
and he'd requested toast (from homemade bread) for breakfast,
so Monday evening found me dragging out the grain mill.

It'd been so long since I've made bread, that I actually had to think about my measurements.
When it was time to shape it into loaves though,
and I felt that familiar perfectly kneaded squish under my hands
 I thought,
"now, this, I remember."

Feeding my family was simpler when we ate bread...


We usually get our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving,
but we didn't this year.

Jeremiah always talks about how lucky he is to get to unwrap his birthday presents
under the lights of the Christmas tree,
so waiting to get one 
wasn't an option.
Especially since he wasn't going to have any of his big kids here to celebrate his birthday...

We choose a Frasier Fir this year
and it smells sooo nice!


I threw some pillows and covers on the floor by the tree 
and added a crate of Christmas books
to make a cozy reading corner for the kids.
Tyler said, "Oh. you're making a bed for the dogs."
oh poop. 
Hadn't thought about my cozy corner inviting them, too.
"No. I'm making a reading corner for the kids!"
I very lovingly responded.

Here's the text I sent Tyler the next morning:

Darn dog.

Speaking of Jack,
he continues to be a zero value commodity.
We're thinking of buying him a shock collar for Christmas.
Maybe one prone to malfunctioning.... 


We received an invitation last night
to go on a triple date to the Symphony on Saturday.
Which means - I need to make  something sorta fancy

Monday, December 1, 2014

a hike in the sun

I spent most of the (very short) Fall
positively dreading
the coming of Winter. 

And then,
came early.
So now, I am doing my best to enjoy any warm sunshiny days that we do have.

Penny sent me some texts
(which I didn't see, because I was cleaning...)
"You want to go on a two-hour hike?"
"It's gorgeous out - you better not be cleaning!"

Since I didn't respond,
because, you know, I was, in fact cleaning,
she came over 
and told me to go check my phone.

Tyler gave me 3 hours off,
and I went hiking with Penny
in the glorious sunshine.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

the progress of the works

The 'twins' are coming along nicely.

After calculating that I had roughly 24 hours of hand-quilting for the vertical rows,
I went ahead and machine quilted it.
I wasn't so sure about my decision at first, but once I got several rows done, I decided I liked it just fine.
Especially when I was finished in just 1 hour!

I dug through my scraps and stash to find 36 blues and greens
for the Irish chain.

I'd intended to use Missouri Quilt Co's tutorial, but there was something I wasn't crazy about 
about it.
Then I remembered that I'd bought a pattern from Rae ages ago (4 1/2 years!)
before I knew that I could probably find it online for free.
It was much more pleasing to my eye, so I went with it.
(I also really like this one  - but it's not what I was going for this time.)

 I would have saved myself a lot of headache if I would have just made it exactly according to her pattern,
but of course, I couldn't do that...
(as written, I felt the length was too long for the width. Plus, it was longer than I wanted...)
I also wanted to include more fabrics - duh ;-) but that part wasn't tricky.

I got so frustrated trying to figure out what I needed to cut/sew to make my reduced version
(I took off 2/5 of the top and bottom blocks)
that I had to walk away from it for awhile.

When I came back to it - I was able to figure it all out just fine.
Now I need to decipher and re-write my notes in case I want to make it again.
I really like my version better than Rae's, 
and wondered why on earth she didn't plan her's that way ;-)

I haven't touched my red and white quilt, 
but I got one more star turned into a hexagon.

Jeremiah thinks this looks like a pond in the fall.

I also did a fabric pull
that I'm just itching to cut into

But next on my agenda - pies.
Ya'll pray for us.

Linking up with Lee, as usual :-)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

lint and stones

Earlier this morning,
when I switched laundry from the dryer to the couch, 
and the washer to the dryer,
I rolled the lint off the lint screen and set it on the dryer.


The kids are going in and out the front door today at a greater rate than normal,
and all of them are carrying a bag or basket of some sort.
Full of rocks.
Oh. sorry they are stones, not rocks.

Apparently they are playing a game.
with rocks stones. 


Lexi was finishing up her math when I moved another load of laundry
to the couch.
(and another to the dryer. I am all caught up for maybe a half hour or so)
I had some new dishcloths in the load, 
so the lint was especially voluminous .
"Lex'," I called, "There's a lot of lint. 
You want me to pull it out, or you want to get it yourself?"
(I don't know why my children are so easily distracted from their work...)

She quickly hopped up.

"Oh, I saved you some teal lint this morning," I told her.
I'd pre-washed the first of my LA fabrics 
(I have fabric from LA!! Yay!  :-)
You can't tell it yet - but this is a shirt, skirt, and sweater.

Her eyes, only slightly lighter than the lint, lit up,
"Oh, Momma, Thank-you!"

After pulling the new lint from the dryer screen, she ran off,
soft, aqua/teal lint in one hand,
and a huge wad of pinky-white lint in the other,
"Lily! Look!
Our favorite colors!
And look how fluffy my lint is!"

Then out the door and on an adventure they went.
With their stones.
And dryer lint.

The math will be finished soon enough...

I sure love you, my creative children.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

all kinds of works in progress

As mentioned, I finished my Super Secret Commissioned Project the other day
(I'd really love for you to weigh in on that post!)
and then I went on to do a small project - jus' for fun.

It was going to be a zipper pouch, but quickly morphed into a small tote bag,
because sometimes, I just don't know when to quit.

I haven't been spending much time on my EPP project,
because, as you'll see, I've got other hand-sewing projects taking up my sitting & stitching time,
but I do work a bit on it here and there.

I've got 11 hexagon's complete.

No. Make that 12.
This little baby was sewn on over the course of 3 weeks,
and even went to California with me.

the star's fabric is from Lexi's quilt, the mottled orange surrounds, from Brandon's.

Counting the 12 that have been turned into hexagons, I've got 102 stars completed,
so I only need 8 more!

Of those completed,
I've got 2 dozen paired up with their hexagon diamonds.

and a whole slew patiently waiting for their partners.

I've hit a snag with my papers - a friend has been very sweetly using her cricut to cut them for me out of cardstock.
Something happened along the way, and she gave me a huge batch that were cattywampus,
and had a little chunk out of a corner.
I was so sad to tell her that they wouldn't work!
Then she cut some more for me (but just a few this time) and they are much better,
but still not quite perfect.
I have been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance yet to test them to see if they'll work anyways.
I need to get on that!

I'm not the only one sewing these days;
the girls, especially Lil', continue to crank out creations, too.

I'm slowly quilting AnyWhich Way, in Red with a mix of machine and hand-quilting,
although my machine quilting is not what I'd originally planned.

I thought I wanted to quilt each block with the same motif, for unity,
but I ended up deciding that I'd rather highlight the 30 different block designs by outlining the white pieces.

Here's where my confession comes in.
And on the same quilt!

About that.
Guess what I spent hours doing on this quilt.

That's right, Ladies, I've been stitching in the ditch.
Around all that sashing...

(and yes, I bound it before I quilted it. Backwards, I know,
but I knew I wouldn't have any knots that'd need hiding under it,
and I was concerned about the essex linen fraying.)
(I also sewed the binding onto the back by machine. 
I much prefer the look of a hand-sewn binding,
and I enjoy hand-sewing the binding,
but this was wicked fast, comparatively.
You'll be happy to know I improved my technique quite a bit on my next one)


Also taking up my hand-sewing time (and crowding out my other projects, quite honestly)
is this.
A simple (but not quick!) whole cloth crib quilt.

I've got to make another crib quilt to go along with it,
and I'm thinking a machine pieced and quilted Irish chain would do nicely.
I'm also thinking I may go ahead and machine quilt my horizontal lines on this one...
(which also went to California with me :-)

Hopefully, somewhere in the near future,
I'll be able to sew up some of the fifty pounds of garment fabric I bought in LA, too!

Linking up with lot's of creative folks over at Lee's