Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A purse for my Mom

As a Christmas present for my Mom I made my first purse using the pattern for the Phoebe bag from Rebeka Lambert at artsycraftybabe.  I had no ink in my printer to print the pattern, but luckily Ed has a huge screen on his imac (24 inches!) so I sized the pattern on the screen to 8 1/2 by 11 and traced it.  Clever, clever me . . .

Here it is hanging on my sewing chair

The inside of the bag, with a pocket.

Inside seams, I am actually really proud that I managed this step right the first time. 

So, yay for me that I managed to get it finished in time to mail for Christmas, so glad it got there in time!  I think that the exterior fabric is awesome because it's adult enough to use for everyday and then the interior fabric is lots of fun with the butterflies.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas projects

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

I was only able to get two of the stockings done before Christmas, and those went to Liz and Daniel. I love the reindeer!

I do think I am going to have to level up to a more advanced sewing machine soon as it was so difficult to go through so many layers of batting, fabric and the loop all at once. But the stockings did turn out pretty great, even if I did break a needle half way through.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My first quilt top

Here it is . . . my first finished quilt top:

Ta-da! I call it the "Zaney Quilt." All the fabrics except for the yellow and orange are from the Robert Kaufman Animal Party Line (in Fall colors), and I think they are super cute!

The blocks are randomly placed, but I find it funny how you kind of end up with patterns, even with randomly placed blocks. . .

I still need to quilt and bind it, I have been practicing quilting with my free-motion foot and am a little nervous. Maddie added her own artwork to the Giraffe Panel, there is a pen mark in the bottom by the grass, luckily it fit in with the style of the print.

This quilt is a Christmas gift for Zane, the two year old son of my friend Victoria . . . I didn't get it quilted in time to mail to Australia for Christmas, so I had to send photos instead :)

Here is Zane on Christmas, isn't he a cutie?

The quilt is kind of an odd size because Zane is in a toddler bed, so I made it larger than a crib quilt but smaller than a twin, the exact measurements escape me at the moment, but it is five 10 inch square blocks wide by six long, so I have to subtract the 1/4 inch seam allowance . . . hmm, I'll get back to you, Christmas has wiped my brain out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

And the panic sets in

I've been sick with a horrible cold for almost a week now. Midway through the week Maddie caught it, and now James has it too. It is less than a week until Christmas and I still haven't even mailed (*cough* *cough* finished making) my gifts for my family on the east coast. I only have one more thing to do, which I hope to finish before the post office closes today.

I worked all day on projects yesterday and I still have this wonderful pile of fabric waiting to be made into stockings:

Detail of the awesome fabric I got for Jamie's stocking
(no flash, the lamp makes the greens a bit muted though)

Well, aren't these cute . . . I wonder what lucky people get these fabrics?

The trick is to get them done before Christmas Eve or they are kind of pointless (for this year anyway).

The only fabric I am not 100% sure about is this green that is going with Maddie's Santa toile:

I do love that Santa toile though!

I couldn't find anything I liked for contrast and just snagged it off the wall at the last minute. I shouldn't have been shopping for fabric at Joann's anyway . . . but I'd had a horrible day out shopping (ok, really just to the church to pick something up and then to Joann's for some interfacing and snaps), but in that time we had several mishaps. These include, but are not limited too:

a) Maddie throwing up,
b) the double stroller not opening
c) carrying Jamie around the store while I pushed Maddie in the cart with the other hand, I had to switch off sides to give my sprained wrist a "rest" (side note, my five month old is the size of an average one year old and heavy!)
d) Jamie's chubby little leg getting stuck in the side of the shopping cart as I tried to set him on top of Maddie for just a minute while we were in the bathroom - yes all of us in the handicap stall . . . his poor leg was too fat to come back up easily and he was not happy. I kept having visions of the fire department having to come cut him out of the shopping cart, luckily he did eventually get un-wedged with only some minor bruising.

I was really just not in the mood to go to a quilt store to look for better quality fabric, especially once we got outside the store and it had gotten dark. Jamie loves riding in the car during the day, but he gets car sick or something at night and screams his head off the whole time he is in the car seat.

So, I pretty much like everything but this green which is kind of cheap fabric and feels somewhat like thin cardboard, may have to get her a different contrast. . . or wash the heck out of it and see if that softens it up at all.

We shall see how these turn out, as I am not following the pattern I bought, but meshing it with another I saw online and modifying in my brain as I go. . . hmmm, sounds dangerous.

I would tell you all about the project I made yesterday (of which I am very proud), but the recipient of said project reads my blog . . . here is a sneak peek though ;)

Ooooh, what could it be?
No, really, don't guess, it's for my Mom and she would see your guesses!
There do appear to be butterflies involved, however . . .

ETA: Only an hour until Santa, no one is bathed or dressed (both babies are asleep actually), and apparently the post office closes at 3 p.m. on Saturdays! What!?! Will have to mail off my east coast gifts Monday. The package is light so I am hopeful I can send it first class and get it there by Thursday . . . nothing like cutting it close to the wire!

Oh, Christmas tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!
Your boughs are green in summer's clime
And through the snows of wintertime.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!

We finally have a tree! It isn't decorated as of yet, but it is up in the living room. It's very cute, if a bit tipsy-looking as it lists to the side. Maddie is very excited about having a tree inside, and keeps saying "tree!" and asking me "wasthis?" when she wants me to confirm that we do, indeed, have a tree sitting in the living room. The plan is to decorate Mr. Tree tonight after we go see Santa (his sleigh is stopping at 5 pm on the street behind ours for pictures and canned food donations).

Here are some pictures of our tree finding adventure. This is the same lot we've been going to since our first Christmas together 8 years ago. We stopped there Christmas Eve on the way back from our honeymoon in Solvang. Side note: both kids and mommy are sick, which explains the slightly spacey looks on the babies.

Maddie and Daddy strolling the tree lanes

Maddie's come hither look . . . why, yes, those are her pink Winnie the Pooh sneakers, thanks for noticing ;)

Posing in front of a "Charlie Brown" tree while we wait for our tree to get a stand and netted, don't they look so into it?

James on the roof of the car with our tree, he is master of all he surveys . . .

One of Ed's (in)famous one-handed family portraits

Friday, December 11, 2009

Give away madness

Seriously folks, there are way too many give aways going on right now on all these lovely sewing and craft blogs.  It is insane!!!!  Here is the latest one I have entered, and I suggest you do too . . . a jelly roll, layer cake and a quilt pattern . . . awesome!

Visit Green Fairy Quilts to enter . . . they are also having an amazing sale, if only I have money to spend!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fabric give away

Today I am watching Daniel while his mom, my best friend (and catcher of James) Liz, is a on a non-date (wink, wink).  Danny-boy and I are making a gingerbread house . . . the third and last set of walls is in the oven baking.  Unfortunately, I have already managed to break a wall, so fingers crossed we can put it back together  So while taking a break from our baking extravaganza I came across this give away and thought I'd post it here in case anyone is interested in winning some gorgeous fabric . . . and really, who isn't?

So, just mosey on over to Sweet Liberty and enter already!

Now, I must go remove Maddie from her perch inside the fridge. . . .

Friday, December 4, 2009

My favorite Christmas recipes (part one)

Here are some yummy winter/Christmas recipes that my family enjoys . . . I meant to post these yesterday, but Maddie had a hard day.  She is fluctuating between feeling sick and yucky and wild spurts of energy during which she is practicing her new favorite sport - diving off the couch.  And to top it all off - James is mobile!  Yes my five month old can scoot himself all over the floor! 

Grammy's Famous Snowball Cookies
Makes six dozen (I never get six dozen out of it cause I snitch dough while I am rolling them)

1 pound butter or margarine
4 cups sifted flour
one cup powdered sugar
one cup chopped nuts (pecans walnuts or almonds)
1 tsp. Vanilla

Let butter stand at room temp until it gets soft. Cream butter in large bowl, gradually working in flour, sugar, nuts, and vanilla. Chill until firm enough to roll into large marble sized balls. place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Cook 350 degrees until light golden brown. (Approx. 20 -25) cool on cookie sheet for aprox. 10 min. Remove carefully. Shake gently in a bag with 1 cup powdered sugar until generously coated. may need to be re-coated. cool completely on wire rack, before storing in a tight container with wax paper between layers to keep from sticking.

Cock-a-leekie Soup
We like to have this in the days leading up to Christmas - so full of yummy goodness!

4 lbs chicken breast (you can use dark meat too if you like)
10 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup barley
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
7 leeks, sliced
2 stalks celery, thickly sliced
1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped (I like to use 2 or 3 sprigs, and cook them whole in the pot then chop or break them up near the end of cooking, yum)
1 TBS. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper 

In a large pot over high heat, combine the chicken, water, onion, and barley.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour.  Remove chicken, discard the bones and skin, chop meat into bite size pieces and return to the pot.
Add the chicken broth, leeks, celery, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 30 more minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New fabric for Christmas projects!

I have done almost nothing productive today as I have spent most of my day entering the give aways featured on Sew Mama Sew. I did however manage to get out to M&L fabrics today as they are having their 20% off sale this week . . . I managed to snag some fabrics for some Christmas projects. Maddie went with me as she loves the fabric store. She has gone from pointing at the fabrics she wants to touch (she then holds onto the bolts as we tool around the store, but only the bolts of the fabrics she likes, the ones she doesn't like so much we put in the back of the cart) to pointing and saying "zisssone" when she wants a bolt! I am so proud. She picked out a whole sequence of Winnie the Pooh, or "Ppppohh" as she calls him, fabrics (are we surprised?) from the sale shelf. I'll be using them (I think) to make a skirt or skirts for her for Christmas. One of them is a panel that I will make into a blanket / quilt.
I am so excited, I love new fabric. I wasn't extremely thrilled with the Christmas fabric selection, so I still have to hunt down some for the stockings I am going to make.
I can't reveal all the projects these are for as some of the recipients may or may not read this blog . . . but I have fabric love and need to share. My camera battery is still dead so these were all taken on my phone.

These are great! There were a few other patterns in the line that I loved too, might have to go back and get some more . . .

Maddie's Winnie the Pooh selections (a little bit upside down)

The matching Winnie the Pooh panel

Does this look familiar? There was barely any left on the bolt, so I got another yard because I love this fabric and with the 20% I got on my other stuff it was like getting this yard for free! I don't have any immediate plans for it but I have some stuff percolating through my brain.

Meanwhile Sarah's bridal shower apron sits half finished on my sewing machine, but I still have give aways to enter!

Tomorrow I am hoping to post some of my favorite family holiday recipes - it's really time to start getting into Christmas around here!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A rose by any other name . . .

We rejoice and delight in you;
we will praise your love more than wine.
Song of Solomon 1:4(b)

Last week my good friend Sarah (a.k.a. Sarey) married the love of her life Joshua (a.k.a. Rocko) in a very rock 'n roll wedding. I was blessed to be a part of their wedding as both a bridesmaid and as a "florist" (in quotes because this is my first time even attempting bouquets, let alone 7 of them plus boutonnieres and table arrangements!) The wedding was in a sort of warehouse type space near downtown Los Angeles. We honestly ran out of time (many, many thanks to my co-florists Raymond and Melinda) but thankfully the bouquets got made - complete with feathers . . . the boutonnieres didn't fall apart (Melinda really rocked the boutonnieres in addition to talking me down off the ledge several times during the day) and enough arrangements got finished to make the space look beautiful - all thanks to Raymond the biggest superstar ever! Not only did Ray provide my transportation, he also procured the bridal runner, white roses, and so many other items it would take me hours to list. He also put the feathers on the bouquets!

Here are some pictures I've snagged off my friend's facebook pages as my camera battery died near the end of the reception and I haven't bought another yet.

Sarey and Rocko's first dance, you can see a gorgeous purple rose and sparkly "iced" curly willow center piece

Sarey, the gorgeous bride with her bouquet. I will hopefully get a nice up close pic of the bouquet off my camera . . . it includes (I think! I lost count) about 26 or so purple roses, 8 or so white roses, white ostrich feathers and lighlty "iced" curly willow.

The bridesmaids . . . our bouquets have a dozen purple roses, sparkly silver twigs, and black feathers and are wrapped with purple ribbon. The only thing I would do differently in the future is cut those stems a lot shorter!

Raymond (co-florist extraodinaire) modeling a purple rose boutonniere and Sarey.

And as an added bonus here is an iphone shot of the guestbook I made as my wedding present for Sarey and Rocko (their invitation theme was "Sarey and Rocko Getting Married"):

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Now thank we all our God,   
with heart and hands and voices,   
who wondrous things has done,   
in whom this world rejoices;   
who from our mothers' arms   
has blessed us on our way   
with countless gifts of love,   
and still is ours today.   

O may this bounteous God   
through all our life be near us,   
with ever joyful hearts   
and blessed peace to cheer us;   
and keep us still in grace,   
and guide us when perplexed;   
and free us from all ills,   
in this world and the next.   

All praise and thanks to God   
the Father now be given;   
the Son, and him who reigns   
with them in highest heaven;   
the one eternal God,   
whom earth and heaven adore;   
for thus it was, is now,   
and shall be evermore.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Happy Halloween

I've known all year that I wanted Maddie to be Boo from Monsters, Inc. for Halloween.  It really has to be done this year because she's the right age and just looks so much like the character (although cuter in my opinion).  Her costume was pretty easy - purple stretch capri pants (I just put Maddie in a size 9 months pants I got on sale from Target for $2.74, I got this idea from Ed as he accidently put her in her brother's pants and they fit except for being a bit short) and a pink oversize tshirt ($2.50 at the tshirt warehouse) and white socks.  What really sells the costume though is the pigtails and while I wasn't able to find pink ball ponytail holders (we used to call them knockers, but I guess no one else did?!?!?) I did manage to get Maddie's hair up, after several practice runs throughout the week, into pigtails . . . crazy, uneven pigtails, but pigtails none the less.

I really wanted Jamie to have a Monsters, Inc. costume as well, and several weeks ago I came up with the idea of dressing him as Mike Wazowski.  At 10 p.m. on October 30th I had a yard of green felt, and a small piece each of black, white, and blue felt, and a pair of green stretch pants from Target.  Three hours later I had Mike Wazowski sitting on my computer chair:

I really have to thank my good friend Tor in Australia for talking me through all of my random ideas for the creation of Mike, and especially for using her artist eye to help with eye and mouth placement over the webcam.  The most important part, however, was the shape.  I figured if I just sewed together two circles poor James would end up looking more like the green m&m than Mike, you know, just sort of flat.  Tor came up with the idea of three barrel shapes sewn together, and it was brilliant, I freehanded a barrel (I was obviously tired and desperate because I never freehand anything) and cut through all three layers of fabric in the most haphazard of ways.  I then sewed it together in a ridiculously hasty fashion, I am literally just lucky it came out so nice.  The eye I measured out with different size plates and cups, and because my hot glue gun went kaput I was forced to stitch it on!  So I got to practice my precision stitching and discover that my machine will indeed stitch through four layers of felt!  

James really, really loved this outfit, it was kind of funny, he kept grabbing it and rubbing it on his face like a blanket, and in the stroller he smushed it up and fell asleep on it like a pillow.  Here is a full body shot so you can see it with legs, and one of him laughing . . . the flash is a little harsh, but you can't beat that grin!  The costume is so big he could probably be Mike for at least 3 more years . . .

And last, but not least, here are my little Mike and Boo with Mommy on the porch before heading out to Disneyland (where Daddy kept wheeling the stroller up to employees and saying "Excuse me, we are looking for someone named Sully" which was usually met with a blank stare).

Happy first Halloween to my sweet little Mike Wazowski, and Happy second Halloween to my beautiful Boo girl.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Primitive Quilt Shoppe Give Away

There is a really awesome give away of some gorgeous fabrics at Pumpkin Patch Primitive Quilt Shoppe.  Brenda is giving away a Fat Quarter Bundle of Red Rooster's Pumpkins & Spice Fabrics by Whimsicals:

Aren't they pretty?  You can enter by following the directions on her blog (just click on the link above).  The give away ends on October 31st.  Good luck!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Riding the ponies

Saturday we went to the Los Angeles County Fair and Maddie went for a ride on a pony with no mommy or daddy walking alongside! She did great, we are so proud! Her pony's name was Dr. Pepper and here are some pictures:

I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper,
She's a Pepper, we're a Pepper,
Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too?
Be a Pepper. Drink Dr Pepper.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Starting my first quilt

I am so excited right now! I finally bought material for my first quilt today! And my first ever rotary cutter!

I signed up for a beginning quilting class through the ABC school district. The class runs from mid- September through the end of January and it's only $25 (plus all the materials you bring, but for a beginner like me that basically boils down to fabric, thread, my rotary cutter, and my other basic supplies like pins). $25! Seriously, what a steal! Not only that I used my birthday money from my Mom, so my class is actually a gift . . . thanks Mom!

The first class was last Friday (9 am - 12 pm), basically it's a bunch of ladies (I am the youngest by at least 20, possibly 25-30 years) who get together and quilt! There are some that have known each other 35 years, and some that have only been coming a few years. There were 3 or 4 of us newbies. The teacher, Beverly, handed out a pattern we are going to be working on this session (one of the other new quilters is going to opt for something smaller and simpler, but I figure why not jump on in when I have the teacher, plus all the other ladies to get help from). The pattern isn't what I would necessarily pick, however, I can see why it's great for teaching different techniques. It's called Be-Bop-A-Lula (Rhubarb Pie . . . ok, not really the Rhubarb Pie part - my father warped me with too many Prairie Home Companion radio broadcasts while I was growing up), by Colleen Reale and Chloe Anderson for Toadusew.

I am going in a completely different direction with colors . . . I have more of a shabby chic feel going on (who, me? really? quelle surprise!) but more in a lovely sort of goldeny-green, brown sugary goodness sort of way - with my main fabric being a gorgeous blue (with ever so light a stripe) with cascading roses and vines . . . oh my, I am in raptures. It is times likes these I wish I had Anne Shirley's vocabulary.

Here are the fabrics I got today. I love getting fabric. If I had any kind of money I'd be an absolute fabric whore (what a horrible thing to say, shall I say fabric strumpet instead? ). Get this, Fabric Whore is an actual website! That entertains me greatly, but sadly it looks like it hasn't been updated in awhile. Moving on . . .

The blue is from the "Mary Rose" collection by Robert Kaufman, The paisley from "The Bailey" collection also by Robert Kaufman (I love his stuff), The taupe with flowers (which will be for the pieced rectangles going all over the quilt) is from "Sweet Dreams" by Robyn Pandolph (first time I've used anything by her), and the faded roses on the dark cream that will be used for my background is a screen print made in Japan.

I am so excited! I can't wait to get started tomorrow!

I have to go put my bag of goodies together to take with me!

Friday, September 11, 2009

These are the times that try men's souls.

The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

- Thomas Paine

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

- Francis Scott Key

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Walking away with ourselves

I am excited to announce that my friend Liz and I have a new blog - Walking Away With Ourselves, which is going to chronicle our journey as we train to walk the Catalina Marathon in March, 2010. Come join us!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Random projects

Methinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew;
especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts
than while so occupied.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun, 1859

Here are some pictures of some of the projects I've done in the last few months.

My first sewing project on my Mom's machine, curtains for my kitchen:

A skirt for maternity pictures, Maddie had a matching top:

Little boy burp cloths for James, please ignore the staining on my computer chair where Maddie has emptied out her bottle a few times:

Mother's Day apron, made one for my Mom and for Grammy, I love the bright, cheery fabric:

front view
back view

The only place where housework comes
before needlework is in the dictionary.
- Mary Kurtz