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"):