Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sweet Snowmen

I finished the potholders Christmas Eve. All but two, and those were for people I wasn't seeing until after the holiday, so I decided to call that a success. Who knew I could make potholders so complex?

I decided to bind them as if they were mini quilts because in my mind, that idea was much easier than making my own bias tape (let me know if I'm wrong on that and bias tape is actually incredibly easy). Making that one little change required me to sew the binding on one side by machine, and the other side by hand. I have thought many times of investing in a bias tape maker, but I tend to think that even cutting the strips of fabric on the bias would be a huge pain.

They turned out cute! I paired them with jars of Cowboy Cookie mix (with Christmas colored M&M's) and printed the baking directions on a card that I cut slits in and threaded through the handle of a wooden spoon.

I love the little snowmen, and overall they weren't hard to do, but when you make a quilt, people appreciate the effort. When you bake something yourself, people appreciate the effort. Apparently jamming the ingredients into a jar for them to bake themselves (and boy did I have to jam them in there!) and making what is essentially an 8 inch square quilt, does not pack the same punch. I don't think that anyone didn't appreciate it, but I guess I felt like the level of enthusiasm definitely did not match the amount of time put into it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday Moments, Tuesday Edition

I slept in my own bed last night for the first time in four days. It was nice. We drove roughly 140 miles to my parents' house Christmas day after opening gifts here. We spent the night and left late morning the following day on a 70 mile trip to my in-laws' where we stayed for two nights. Yesterday we did the last and longest leg of the whole trip. It was 180 miles to get home, and boy, did we all miss this place!

This Tow Mater truck came in my son's stocking and he loved it so much he told me it wanted to say "cheese".

Then he promptly drove it through the huge breakfast I made before our trip. I knew there wouldn't be a single place open to stop on Christmas Day so I tried to force some scrambled eggs and hash browns on everyone. Unfortunately, I think Mater ate more than Gabe did. He never woke up hungry in the car though, which I guess means I accomplished my goal.

Tomorrow I'll post some pictures of my other accomplished goals.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I had no Monday Moments yesterday because I didn't think I had a single photo to post. Turns out there were some on the camera that hadn't been uploaded. Whoops! I found that out today when I uploaded these babies.

Yeah, that is the puppy from way, way back in September. It's really terrible that I just sat down this morning and put in the hour's worth of work it took to finish her.

Once I asked for your advice and figured out how I was going to finish her, I decided to move on to my next problem project and leave the simple things until later. That later ended up being three days before Christmas, when I will be giving this "puppy-pup" to my niece is shameful. At least she is done though. I cannot say the same for my snowman potholders.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sawtooth Stars

I decided on Sawtooth stars to back the potholders I'm making for Christmas and set to work on them. In this one "simple" potholder project I have done my first ever snowball blocks and flying geese units. Not to say there haven't been mistakes made, obviously this completed back is about 1/4 too small for the front. I'm leaving it though. I figure once it's bound no one will ever know. I am forever correcting myself that way.

Obviously I learned from my measuring mistake on this one, but all of the mistakes on the first block (directional prints are not my friends and I had to re-do a couple flying geese) left me with not enough fabric to outline the star in for this block. So I just repeated the star fabric. I think it looks a little too busy this way, but I might do a couple more like it just to make them all look intentional. More corrections of mine. HA!

I also decided that the snowmen for the fronts of the holders definitely need arms. That means this guy goes back in the embroidery hoop. Just when I thought I was so close to finishing the holder up. Oh well, he'll look better and that will make me feel better.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Moments

We took the kids to go see Santa last night. Part of my husband's plan to spend at least an hour out of the house every day to get the dog completely cage trained before we have to travel for Christmas.

I had no desire to go. I whined so bad about the long lines and how Gabe wasn't going to get it that you would think I had some traumatic Santa experience as a child. But I didn't. And he didn't really get it, but he loved looking at the fake reindeer and wearing the little cardboard elf ears they gave him (except when the camera was on him, of course). The line wasn't even that long. I felt kind of like a boob, but I guess it's the pressure of the season and not being sure how much I will, or want to get done off of my list. Even possibly thinking about wasting an hour in line is enough to stress me out this time of year. And despite that pile of gifts, I am not done shopping. I could be, if I HAD to be, but I want three more.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Busy Bee

A few years ago, on my tiny single girl budget I decided that to make my family's Christmas gifts more special I'd buy those cheap plaster ornaments and hand paint them with each person's name to use as gift tags. I unwittingly started a family tradition for my sister. When my niece was born another ornament with Ava written on it was at the top of my sister's Christmas list. This year, with the new baby, she didn't even ask, but I figured she was probably expecting it. I searched around and found the cutest little reindeer ornament. I painted it, adorably, I might add. And then I wrapped it. Without taking it's picture to show you all. I realized it as I got it downstairs and put it in the gift pile and kicked myself. Not literally.

Speaking of...look at this pile! I have been a very busy bee this year. Very busy.

And that isn't even all of it. Shhhh! Don't tell anyone I showed you, but this little broom closet is where Santa is stashing his loot this year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Progress Report

Well, the quilting is done and the million slits have been cut. The outside of the bag has been washed and dried (in order to fray it). I'm torn on what to do next. I seem to remember washing the last bag I made from this pattern twice to get the amount of fraying I wanted. But if I don't wash it again then I am free to actually start sewing the sides together and cutting the lining. Hmmmm....

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Moments

This is my husband's busy season at work, as it is for a lot of folks, I'm sure. He is an unbearable grump, working six days a week, and when he comes home, the last thing he wants to do is more work. I am having one hell of a time trying to balance everything this year. I absolutely have to finish this diaper bag, and I have to finish the snowman potholders, and I have to make up five jars of cookie mix and a box of cookies for each family Christmas that we're going to. I have to find a gift for my mother, another gift for the husband who I know I'll love again in a few weeks, and order the gift for my mother-in-law in time to have it wrapped and ready to go, and I have to do it all while throwing in extra loads of laundry and dishes to make up for what my husband isn't doing.

And then, on top of all of this, there are the snow days. It saves me driving back and forth to school twice a day, but it also means that I have two lunches to serve and two kids to watch.

Or four kids to watch when the neighbors' come out and hop on our sleds too. It really was an enjoyable thing to see, but in the back of my mind I was thinking about the sewing room the whole time. Maybe I'll be more fun on snow days in January.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Monday Moments, Tuesday Edition

First, a little explanation of why I forgot to post yesterday. On the way to my parents' for Thanksgiving we encountered some snow. Just a little bit, but enough for my husband to see that the tires I had been bitching about for months were actually just as bad as I said they were. (He rarely drives the car, so he hadn't been on wet roads with it for eons.)

My husband's work week is Tuesday through Saturday, so Mondays always end up being our day to run around and get everything done. In this case, it was seemingly endless trips to tire shops.

Then we had the actual plans we had made for the day. We drove out to the same Christmas tree farm that we got our tree from last year and made a selection that we were pleased with. My husband sawed it down while the kids looked on in awe.

Then we got it home and realized our tree tastes were far bigger than our space. That tree is HUGE! Little branches are poking into my TV stand and my lamp stand that the tree usually sits perfectly sandwiched between. Oh and did I mention the spiders that came crawling down the windshield when we hoisted it onto the roof? It's things like this that make me want a fake tree. But it's things like these photos that make me realize what I'd be giving up along with the hassle.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Has it been almost a week already? I decided to go with Erin's suggestion and re-use some of the bag fabric as the side panels, being that I would be the only one who knew that the pattern called for each panel to be a different fabric. I ended up following the yellow monkeys with the cream/red/brown polka dot and then the green polka dot.

I decided the easiest way to make the bag taller (rather than redoing the entire trapezoid shape to make it longer/larger) would be to add a single strip of fabric in the width I want the bag to be to the bottom. This is also the fabric that I'll be using to bind the bag and make the straps. I probably took a picture of it in the worst spot because it isn't really apparent that the colors do actually coordinate.

The next step is to layer it over top of some canvas and a couple layers of batting and quilt it. Then I have to cut about a MILLION little slits in the edges so that it frays nicely, wash it and I can finally begin the parts that make it take the shape of an actual bag. I love that part! I love seeing something come together and seeing if it looks how I envisioned it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Moments

This Monday Moment is brought to you by my husband. I had a bunch of sewing and present wrapping to do, so he offered to watch Gabe while he was doing his jobs around the house. Mainly changing the oil in the truck (and an attempt at changing a part in the car, but the auto parts store sold us the wrong one).

As I was on the computer checking a message my husband came rushing in for the camera telling me I was missing out on some great photo opportunities. This is what he captured, and it's so dang cute I'll forgive him for the fact that Gabe was wearing a brand new white and gray shirt while monkeying around under there.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Is this terrible?

I bought the flannel (dark brown to bring out the browns in the fabric) to back the diaper bag on Thursday night and got all of the pieces cut and sewn yesterday afternoon.

I compared it to the size of my purse and it is exactly the same, however, the Bohemian Bag has ties on the top that close off two panels from both the front and the back. Leading me to the decision that I need two more panels added to one side to balance it out and maintain the shape.

Here is the part I'm wondering about. Would it be awful to not buy two more pieces of fabric? Given that the very end panels wrap around the sides anyway (and would not be seen from the front) could I repeat some fabrics without it seeming too cheesy?

Right now I am thinking of adding the two new panels to the end with the yellow monkeys. Next to the yellow monkeys would be a repeat of the cream with brown and red spots and then I haven't decided what fabric would go on that last side yet, possibly the red with numbers. But, this all hinges on you folks telling me this isn't a bad idea.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I thought I'd give you all a peek into another project I'm working on. This is going to be a diaper bag in the style of Lila Tueller's Bohemian Bag for a friend of my sister. She saw the Bohemian Bag I made for my sister last Christmas and wanted one just like it, only larger, with dark browns and unisex so she could use it as a diaper bag for the baby she's expecting in January.

These are the fabrics I chose. Dark brown and unisex was actually much harder than I thought it would be. For the most part they're from the Five Funky Monkeys and Goodnight Monkey fabrics by Moda. I don't think this is the final layout, and it may not even be the final number of panels. I need to get some flannel to back them and then sew them together to compare to my purse (the size she wants her bag).

If I thought picking out the fabrics was a challenge, I think I'm in for it altering this purse pattern into a diaper bag!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Moments

Sunday was the birthday party for my sweet little boy. He got a tricycle from his grandma. He runs up to it several times a day screaming, "Boike!" He hops on and rings the bell, but is just the tiniest bit shy of reaching the pedals.

He also got a wooden train set and a couple new wooden trains to push along the tracks. He got some motorized trains too and a new train whistle. I think he might just be the luckiest boy in the world.

I even tried my hand at decorating a train cake for him. Unfortunately, having not decorated a cake in almost a year I had no idea that my couplers went missing to my decorating set. I cried for half a minute about how I didn't have time to run to the store and buy new ones, then I used my appetizer gun (made for filling deviled eggs and the sort) to pipe in the icing. It turned out well considering I was using the completely wrong tools for the job, but I can't help looking at it thinking what could have been. My son didn't care. He thought it was amazing and yelled "Train! Choo! Choo! Cake." And then asked to blow out the candles twice because it was so much fun.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Snowball block

I picked up a novelty fat quarter bundle at the fabric store knowing I wanted to make some potholders as Christmas gifts (probably to give away with a jar of cookie or muffin mix). I saw these cute little guys and thought, "I could make those!"

This is called the snowball block. Seriously. Well, this is two snowball blocks sewn together. I have seen them used in dozens of quilt patterns, but never to make a snowman. I thought they were really perfect for my potholders.

I'm pretty pleased with how my first attempt came out. It isn't a complete potholder yet, just the front, but I like it and have plans for several more in different colors. I originally had sketched some little stick arms, but I think he looks cute without them, definitely more like the snowman on the fabric.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Moments

I swear that I am only slacking a little on the crafty and it has been just a crazy, crazy week. This is my new nephew, born Halloween night. Sunday I took my kids to the park and got some great snapshots that I am trying to turn into wall-worthy portraits with the magic that is picnik. Monday I took a day trip to see the new baby. And now, a week later, it is my baby's second birthday.

In between there has been some sewing and fabric cutting and all kinds of trips to the craft stores for supplies. I just haven't finished anything (even though I have a couple projects that would take me less than an hour to complete, I just keep starting new ones). Don't worry, there will be some completed projects and works in progress this week!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Moments

Of course, today's moment has to be about trick-or-treating! It was my son's second time out, but last year he did most of his candy grubbing from his stroller. My husband wouldn't hesitate to say it was his technical first Halloween.

He absolutely loved it. By the third house he was an old pro, even pointing to the houses that had their lights off in his own little way of asking us, "Hey guys? Why aren't we going there?" When his big sister (a zebra, that may not be apparent in the photo without her tail) got too cold and wanted to go to the car I asked him if he wanted to stop. He looked right at me and said, "More...snacks."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I won't say how shamefully long I went without making any new blocks for this quilt, but I know why. I was so bored with using the same teal and green fabrics from my stash and really felt that I wasn't even being creative anymore just randomly picking out different pieces from the pile to pair up.

I had already decided that I needed to go back on my "no pink" declaration I made when I started. I had a few pinks (still combined with an earthy green) that I was excited to start with. Then, my mother-in-law brought over a bag of her scraps. Nearly every piece was a green or yellow with pink flowers, all with earthy green leaves. I made eight new blocks, only six of them with pinks. The addition of one new color to the scheme has left me so much more excited to play with my other scraps. And seeing the finished blocks all laid out, I really like it better this way. The pink doesn't take away from the green and teal the way I thought it would.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Moments

This is the first year we actually let my step-daughter wield the saw to carve her own pumpkin. A huge change from last year when carving pumpkins meant scooping out the guts, then drawing a magic marker face on it for her daddy to cut out.

Of course, not everything has changed since last year. Gabe is still far too young to appreciate what is going on with the pumpkins. He just tried to say pumpkin a few times and had a blast taking the top off, then putting it back on.

And this year, instead of licking the scrapers he decided to actually try to take a bite out of the pumpkin. He doesn't quite understand the food as decoration concept.

Here is the end result of our messy activity. For her first time cutting (hers is the cat), my step-daughter did an awesome job!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'm no Bakerella

My sister and I briefly considered a woodland theme to her baby shower before we settled on the puppy idea. In the few days we were thinking about it I plotted out making some Bakerella style cake pops as shower favors. I was going to combine the directions she gave for Hello Kitty cake pops with the all body Easter chicks and make cutesy little owls.

I thought I had this in the bag. I've covered a million things in chocolate, I've baked many cakes in my time and I love to decorate. It was much, much harder than I thought. I am ashamed to say how many times I ruined a cake pop, and had to get a whole new thing of chocolate because I got crumbs in it. But I did get a few that looked at least somewhat like I was imagining.

I decided since I finally ended up following through with my idea a week before Halloween that I'd make some more sinister looking owls. I used some red confetti sprinkles for the eyes and switched up the color of the beaks and feet. Then added a little V of chocolate over their eyes.

I actually like my afterthought owls way better than the cute ones, but I still think they need some work. I think I'm going to e-mail Bakerella and see if she'll tackle my idea sometime in the future.

The worst part of this whole experience...after all of my hard work they taste terrible! It has nothing to do with the cake pops recipe and everything to do with the cake and frosting I used (peanut butter and peanut butter). Good in theory, awful in practice.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Moments

It's official. I am no longer 28 as of today. We have a family tradition of going to the apple orchard every fall, and when the timing works itself out, it almost always seems to be my birthday weekend. Up there is my son enjoying his part of a birthday pumpkin spice donut. The closest there has been to cake in my house.

Lest you think that picking apples fresh off the tree was all we did for my birthday, I did get showered with gifts and dinner out (with no kids!) and I got to see the first movie I've seen in a year and a half in the theater. Very fun!

The orchard was fun too though, a completely different kind of fun where you get to watch the kids exploring things and learning about their world. Gabe has been coming to the orchard since he was in the womb, but I think this time was the first time he really realized what he was doing, and that apples were food. He mooed at every single tractor (a la Cars) and loved every minute of it. Which is always a good time for a mom who loves taking pictures as much as I do.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I don't get it

I'll admit, I thought the new Care Bears were adorable. I went out and bought one for my sister for her birthday even though she's in her 20's. I thought the new My Little Pony was adorable, and I was thrilled to death when my niece fell in love with the remade Strawberry Shortcake...but this Rainbow Brite crap has got to go!

At least the other makeovers stuck to the spirit of the originals. The Hallmark makeover of Rainbow Brite looks more like it was based off of the adult Rainbow Brite Halloween costumes than the cutesy cartoon I loved as a kid.

Ironically, I just rediscovered this vintage fabric panel I bought at a church rummage sale almost ten years ago. I have Champ (shown here), OJ, IQ, Hammy, Lucky and Romeo. I tried sewing Spark together about ten years ago by hand. I wasn't very good at that point and I'm not sure whether or not he can be salvaged. I painted them all with fabric glitter way back then and after seeing my not-so-hot job of sewing Spark I left them in a bag in my craft tote to be forgotten for ten years.

I obviously thought they needed a little jazzing up too, but not that much! This one is for the folks at Hallmark.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The doll body is finished. Initially, I had thought she was going to be a young girl all dressed up for trick-or-treating. Now that she is done I definitely see why the vintage doll making book I was basing her off of called her a lady. I think now that she is an actual vampire, which flushes all of my costume ideas down the drain.

I don't like her neck. It's way too long. She looks almost alien. I have decided that she needs a high collared dress to hide this particular flaw. I found this site while searching for inspiration. Gorgeous, gorgeous dresses. I am quite sure I can't pull off something so dramatic, but I think I can maybe pull easier elements from some of these dresses and simplify them for my doll.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Moments

I sent my husband and son out yesterday with the orders to be gone all day so I could get some housework done. They came home right around dinner time and I fully expected my son to be estatic to see me. After all, he has never been away from me more than twelve hours his entire life. I opened up the bathroom door and continued with my chores, waiting to hear little footsteps on the stairs. It never happened.

After a few minutes I went downstairs to see him. He grabbed my hand and drug me to the kitchen door, asking to go outside. I picked up the camera and let him make his way to the sandbox. I got him to smile for me once, saying, "CHEEE!" After that he pushed the camera away with his hand as if he were a celebrity and I was the paparazzi. Not even two years old and done with me already. I'm in for a lifetime of heartbreak with this boy.