Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Phantom Puke: A Cautionary Tale

I know I'm a little late on this, but did you have a nice Thanksgiving?  We went up to Orange County for the day.  I ate a lot.  When we got back home, my stomach felt funny.   Making matters worse, that night inside my house, I kept smelling something bad.  But just in certain areas.  Like I would be standing near the kitchen in one spot it would just smell bad.  Pukey bad.  But in other nearby spots it smelled fine.  Then I would be in the dining room, and the puke smell would get me there.  I thought it was somehow related to my upset stomach!  Gross.

Anyway, the next morning, the smell was still hovering around.  I kept searching for hidden cat mess and interrogating my husband and son to see if one of them had secretly puked and hid the evidence (?).   I went to work cleaning everything in the general area.  First with some natural "green" cleansers

Then again with the good stuff

THE SMELL WAS STILL THERE!  I may have cried a little at this point.

FINALLY the source of the smell was discovered!  It turns out that it was emanating from the water and stems of the mums I had in a vase on the dining room table.


I am telling you this so you discard your mums.  They are nasty!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

You Know, For Kids!

In addition to yesterday's quilt for my niece, I am also working on another quilt for a young person!  Why am I working on FOUR quilt projects right now when I haven't finished my aprons for the craft fair???  WHY?  Seriously - I'm asking you.  Post your best guess in the comments.

For this quilt, I started with two packs of 5" squares, one pack of Kona Ash solid grey squares and a pack of Bella New Solids mixed color squares.

I combined them into a bunch of half-square-triangles, which I decided to arrange in a random zig-zag pattern.

I think it looks sort of hip and/or modern?  Anyway, this is going to be a nice stroller-sized quilt for a toddler.  I'm pretty sure I have the right hipster toddler in mind for this.

For the back, I have some matching Kona Ash yardage and four leftover half-square-triangles....  Let's see what happens!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Quilt for Teens

Here is a photo of the top of my Crazy Nine Patch Lattice Quilt (fabric is Lark by Amy Butler).  I think it looks pretty crazy!  But nice too.  Just like a certain soon-to-be teenager I happen to know!

I think I am going to give this quilt to my niece for her 13th birthday in January.  I mean let's get real:  Can you think of anything a teen would want more than a quilt made by her dumpy aunt?

(Don't worry.  I'll go to Hollister too......)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Memories, Like the Corners of My Mind

I was looking through some old photos the other day and came upon these cuties from June 2009:

Then I realized these are not just cute pics of tiny Griffin wearing puffy pull-ups under his PJs, these are photographic evidence of my VERY FIRST home improvement/DIY project!

I had just started reading Young House Love (it was called This Young House then) and, inspired by this post on how to paint furniture, I decided to give it a try.  I zipped over to Home Depot and picked up sandpaper, paint, polyurethane, brushes and rollers.

Over that weekend, out on our old apartment's tiny balcony, I sanded, primed, painted and poly'd this sort of barn-red bench tan.  Why did I paint it tan?  We'll never know.  Why didn't I paint it a "fun" color or at least white?  Who can say.  And, most importantly, why didn't I take a "before" picture of the bench?  Again, we will just have to live with the mystery.  But this is what got my ball a-rollin'.

Here's the bench today -- still tan and still lookin' (semi) good!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another New Project Alert!

I used to not be able to start a new project until I finished what I was working on.  Now I can't stop starting new projects!  I just started another one using Ruby patterned and solid white charm squares.

I'm making them into little 5" Wonky Cross Blocks (free pattern!).  Once they are all done, I want to make a cute lap quilt or table-topper for my mother-in-law.

Don't these squares look like cute little Christmas presents?????


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

That Was Fast!

Ready for an update on the Crazy 9 Patch Lattice quilt?  Yes, I realize it seems like I started this project only yesterday, but I actually finished all of the crazy squares this past weekend!  MAGIC!  Now I just need to cut out the plain white squares and sew it all together and make the back and quilt it and bind it and oh dear.

Anyway, as I told you yesterday, I divided the 24 Lark prints into three groups (greenish, bluish and reddish) and added one solid into each group so I had three stacks of nine fabrics.

With each stack, I was able to make nine crazy blocks that each include a little piece of each of the nine fabrics (each print is in a different position in each block).  Does that make sense?

Here is one of the reddish blocks:


And greenish:

This quilt is going to be loud and possibly obnoxious with all the colors/patterns.  Maybe it would be good for a tween/teen?  Maybe a tween/teen who lives in Maine and likes bright colors?  Hit me up in the comments if you know of any such tweens/teens!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Project Alert!

Do you recall my recent acquisition of all 24 Amy Butler Lark prints?  They mostly look like this (mostly):

Anyhoo, I was trying to find a way to incorporate all the prints into one quilt.  And I think I've found it!  It is called the "Crazy 9 Patch Quilt" by Elizabeth Hartman.  Free pattern!  Score.  Her example quilt is so nice, done in shades of orange and red, with all her seams and corners perfectly lined up:

Photo from Oh Fransson

Mine is not going to look like that.  Moving on, the blocks are made in sets of nine using a group of nine prints.  As there are 27 print blocks in the quilt (4 are on the back), I could make three sets of crazy blocks if I had 27 prints ... and right now I have 24 ... so I divided the prints into three groups of eight by sorting them into greenish, bluish and reddish piles and added one solid to each group!  MATH WORKS!

I've already started cutting, sewing and squaring the blocks.  This pattern is very easy and goes quickly.  It would be a good starter project if you want to make a quilt of your own!

Here is an in-progress shot:

More later!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Even though I'm supposed to be hard at work on my aprons, I also need to quilt and finish my Modern Meadows quilt.  The quilt top and back have been done for a while, but I've been dreading the quilting process  It is such an ordeal!  Then I realized that's just because I don't have enough quilting accessories!

So in order to fully embrace the quilting lifestyle, I needed to buy specialized sewing machine feet and other items.  I found what I wanted -- The Quilter's Kit II!

I found a super cute store near me that sells it.  They even gave me the 20% off nice face discount!  Well, more like a 20% off damaged box discount.  Whichever one -- I'll take it!

I already set up my sweet acrylic quilter's table and walking foot with guide.  Now I can quilt in nice straight lines and learn how to free-motion quilt.  I made this tiny green quit out of scraps for practice:

Here's hoping we all get nice face discounts more often!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I really like Jonathan Adler's line of white pottery pieces.  Especially this cute elephant tea pot:

I do like elephants!  I like elephants so much, in fact, that I realized I already have an elephant teapot!  Except mine looks like this:

So .....  What would my teapot look like if it was solid white?  Let's spray paint it and find out?

Well, what do you think???

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another New Fabric Alert!

MORE FAAABRIC!  I want you to know this isn't even all of it!  Yes, there is more!  I'll save the rest for next week.  I can feel the excitement!

This fabric is part of the new Lizzy House collection called Outfoxed.   It was almost too cute for me with all the foxes and hedgehogs.  I got a few of the prints without the animals.  The fabrics came in pink, green and orange colorways.  Guess what color I picked?

PS - The answer is green.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Fabric Alert!

Remember this book?

Unlike Ann, I do not like red.

Nevertheless, I found myself strangely attracted to the new Ruby fabric line from Moda.  I purchased a set of the Ruby charm squares (pre-cut 5" squares) along with a set of plain white ones.

I think I'm going to use these to make something Christmassy for my in-laws.  

Am I starting to like red?  I'm not sure.  Do you like red?  Do you remember that book?  Explain in the comments!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Santa's Sweatshop UPDATE!

Remember the sweatshop?  To recap, I am making a bunch of aprons to sell at a holiday craft fair.  Yikes!

Let's check in on my progress:

1)  Purchase fabric  DONE!

2)  Cut fabric  DONE!  I have the components for 14 aprons.

3)  Sew aprons  Ugh.  Not done.  Not done at all!

Sad Santa:

Let's make another list.  Each apron takes four major steps to complete:

1)  Make and attach pocket

2)  Attach trim

3)  Make pleats and attach waistband

4)  Make and attach ties

So far I've completed the pockets on four of the aprons.  That means I'm only 7% done!!!!  DOUBLE YIKES!!!

Let's hope I've made a lot more progress by next Monday!

PS - This is what came up first when I googled "Sad Santa."   ENJOY!

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Fabric Alert!

I used to love new clothes and shoes.  Now I love looking at fabric and buying fabric and having fabric and thinking about projects to use the fabric.  FABRIC!!!  What is wrong with me?

Anyway, I recently fell in love with the new Amy Butler "Lark" fabric line.  Like, really in love.

I ordered the whole thing!  All 24 prints!

Now I just have to find a great project for it.  I think I have something in mind......  we'll see!

ALSO!  There is an ALL GREEN line of home decor Lark which is making me rethink all my life choices.  Wouldn't this make great drapes???!?!?!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Before and After

As you may or may not recall, a while ago I had an idea to line the back of my china cabinets with fancy paper.  Is this ringing any bells?  Here is a refresher.

Anyway, I tried it!  I'm not sure if I love it.  Can you take a look?

Here is the before photo.  As you can see, the cabinets are very WOOD and dark and crowded.

Step one was cleaning everything out and removing the shelves.  There was a lot of STUFF in there.  Some of the items I put in that small top cabinet.

Then I taped the paper onto the back of the cabinet (I used four sheets total) using Scotch reusable mounting strips.  I put the shelves back in, this time using one less shelf for a hopefully less-crowded look:

Do you like it?  I think it looks pretty cute.  If you have any advice on how I should rearrange the items or shelves, tell me in the comments!  I am not good at "styling" things.  Now I just need to get four more sheets of paper to do the other side.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Santa's Sweatshop

Not too long ago, I found out that the office building where I work is having an employee holiday craft fair in mid-December.  Guess who signed up?  That's right!  (Me.)

I decided to mass produce a bunch of my patented pleated aprons in a variety of holiday prints and see if anyone wants to buy them.  Perhaps they will?  Who knows?  If they don't sell, guess what everyone who reads this blog is getting for Christmas and/or Hanukkah?  (An apron.)

Each apron takes about an hour to make, and I want to have about 15 to sell, so I've got to get started!  So far, I've purchased the fabrics and started cutting.  Here are the different prints:

1.  Green and white floral with red ties and trim:

2.  Stars of David and dreidels with blue ties and trim:

3.  Nesting Nativity dolls with green ties and trim:

4.  Holiday Hats with red ties and trim:

The fabrics are from Rosie's Calico Cupboard (a happening place with a surprisingly large selection of Judaica fabric) and Joann's.

Time to start sewing!  Or as my son says, time to start needling!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Back Attack!

Remember the front of the Modern Meadows quilt?  Well, fasten your seat belts, because the back is done too and it is pretty darn cute.

Rather than make it solid white or mostly white, which I'm kind of getting sick of, I used two large print panels and a row of strips across the center.  Check it out:

Here is a close-up of the row of strips:

Nice!  I really like how this quilt is coming along, but I'm sort of dreading what's next: the quilting.   I think I'm going to quilt it in diagonal lines and see how it goes.  My goal is to finish by Thanksgiving, but we'll see how that goes.  I am very busy with my sweatshop!  Did you know I also operate a sweatshop?  More about that tomorrow!