Dinosaur fabric and blueberry cake

I added the border to my zigzag baby quilt and pressed it all nice and crisp.  I’ll probably use this soft flannel dinosaur fabric from Joann for the backing.  On a whim last fall I made curtains from the same material, backed with a bright teal flannel, for the bathroom off the master bedroom.  The thickness helps block out the sun and heat during these 115 degree Heat Advisory days, and it provides insulation in the drafty window during the winter when we rarely turn on the heat.

dinosaur flannel

In other news, I ate a third of an entire cake for dinner.  I cooked fresh blueberries (only $1 per pint at Sunflower Market through tomorrow!) in a saucepan with a bit of sugar, water, and corn starch until thickened, squishing most of the berries to release their innards.  I split a single 9 inch layer in half (the other half of the batter became cupcakes), filled the from-a-box cake with the cooled blueberry sauce, and then frosted it with fresh whipped cream.  I was going to eat leftover pea soup for dinner and maybe roast some brussel sprouts with olive oil and rosemary, and instead I kept eating more cake.  I regret nothing!

Blueberry-filled cake

July 28, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, Recipes, Words. 2 comments.

Fabric scrap cards

Here are the cards I made after seeing the ones on Crazy Mom Quilts.  The scraps are from a Mother’s Day quilt I made for my mom and a baby quilt for a friend.  The pink floral is from a shirt my grandmother used to wear (she died in spring 2007, and I used pieces of her clothing in the quilts I made for my mom and aunt).  The oranges are from a couple apron swaps last fall.

Fabric scrap cards

Update: To make them, I sew strips of fabric to a piece of paper then attached the paper to the front of a card with double-sided tape along the edges.   I sewed right-sides-together then pressed open each addition, chain piecing four or five cards at a time so I didn’t have to constantly start and stop the machine.  My scraps were various lengths, which I cut even to the paper after they were all added.  I’ve seen others who sewed directly to the card and left the raw fabric edges visible, and versions with decorative stitching across the front.

July 26, 2009. Tags: , , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 4 comments.

Great Space Clean-Up of 2009: Amy Lee

Amy Lee has volunteered the Before pictures of her sewing room as part of the Great Space Clean-Up of 2009.  Impressive!

July 25, 2009. Tags: , , . Links, Words. 1 comment.

Purple polka-dot and green paisley apron

Here’s an apron I made last November for a friend.  She commissioned an apron and I ended up giving it to her as a gift  instead of taking her money.  As usual it’s reversible.  The paisley fabric was included in a Crazy Mom Quilts quilt last winter, and it was fun to recognize the material.  AmandaJean makes amazing quilt after amazing quilt, and seeing that she chose the same fabric I did was reflected validation.

Purple polka-dot and green paisley

Purple polka-dot and green paisley apron

July 25, 2009. Tags: , , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, Words. Leave a comment.

Possible future giveaway

rae gun ramblings japanese fabric giveaway I’ve noticed that some rather popular sewing, quilting, and craft blogs do the occasional giveaway, when people get  to possibly win a box full of fabric scraps or a handmade apron simply by commenting on the post or linking to the blog.  For example, rae gun ramblings has a currrent giveaway for some Japanese fabric.  I think the appeal is the hoped-for thrill of winning and the delight in getting a package in the mail.  Everybody loves getting personal mail, especially if it’s something pretty.

So I was thinking that maybe sometime I could do my very own giveaway of something way totally awesome, so that somebody who reads and comments could get something way totally awesome in the mail.  Yes, that probably means it would be you, Mom.  Would anybody else be interested?

Tonight I’ll finish piecing the baby quilt.  If that takes less time than expected then I’ll turn a red skirt into an apron.  I love aprons!  Here’s one that I made for an apron swap by Yarni Gras! last fall.  It’s my standard fully-reversible option I’ve developed since first learning the basics from the great lululollylegs tutorial.  The theme was Hot Drinks for Hot Mamas — luckily I didn’t have to be a literal Mama to take part — and my partner’s favorite beverage was hot chocolate.  Coincidentally, check out the pictures she just posted on her blog of her astounding sewing space that absolutely does not need to participate in the Great Space Clean-Up of 2009.

Hot Chocolate apron - front Hot chocolate apron - back

July 24, 2009. Tags: , , . Links, Projects, Words. 3 comments.

Homemade cloth napkins

A month or two ago I made these floral napkins using clearance $2/yd fabric from Joann.  My plan is to make a set of 8, each with its own combination of patterns.  I like the futzy florals, I think because they remind me of a set of teacups I would admire in a glass-front china cabinet in my grandparents’ dining room when I was a little girl.  That tea set colleciton is now mine, carefully packed in a box somewhere in my sewing room.  After I have completed the Great Space Cleanup of 2009 and finished the set of floral napkins, I will have a tea party and think of my maternal grandmother.

Homemade napkins

July 23, 2009. Tags: , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 5 comments.

Sewing Room: Before

I have decided to share the Before pictures I just took of my sewing room, with the theory being that I will post After pictures within a couple months.  It’s gotten so bad that while working on the zigzag baby quilt, I’m really only using my sewing room when I’m sitting at the sewing machine itself.  Everything else — cutting, pressing, arranging, pinning, etc. — I’ve been doing in the spare room next door.  I have acknowledged the depths of the problem, I have motivation from within to change.  The process begins today.

If anybody would like to share Before pictures of their own sewing room or other space clearly in need of some attention, I’ll link to you.  Maybe it’s as small as a junk drawer or as large as a three-car garage, I know you have your own disaster area.  Let’s organize them before the end of the year.  We can call it the Great Space Clean-up of 2009.  Who’s in?

The Sewing Room Partially empty bookshelf Unused dresser
So many piles and boxes Oh look, a sewing machine!

Some things to note:

  • The first picture shows part of my current zigzag baby quilt.
  • There are over half a dozen unpacked boxes sitting around.  We moved into the house 11 months ago.
  • The dresser is still wrapped in the plastic the movers used to hold in all the drawers.  Again, we moved into the house 11 months ago.
  • Does the crumpled paper bag of gift wrapping supplies really need to be in my sewing room?  And could the supplies maybe be kept together by something other than a crumpled paper grocery bag?
  • The closet doors are open because there’s too much stuff in the way to close them.
  • The bottom two pictures show quite a few clear plastic bins and drawers.  In theory, these can be used to hold things other than slightly smaller clear plastic bins.
  • The window had blinds at one point.  They fell on me one day around Christmas when I pulled on the string to open them.  They have been leaning against the window ever since.
  • I regularly vacuum the patch of open floor space, especially before laying any fabric on it.  The patch keeps getting smaller.  I pretend not to notice.

July 22, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 5 comments.

Reading about sewing is the same as sewing, right?

I keep finding new blogs about sewing and I’ve spent the past hour jumping from site to tutorial to gallery to blog.  Each gets me excited about making something, and then instead of running to my sewing room to get started right away I click another link and find yet another project I want to try.  My Favorites folder of sewing, craft, and quilting blogs to read keeps growing — soon I’ll spend three hours a day reading the latest from the blogs which will leave zero hours for actually making something of my own.  Here’s what I’ve been browsing this afternoon:

Angry Chicken


Wardrobe Refashion

Veronica Darling’s Crafty Adventures

P.S. I Quilt

July 19, 2009. Links, Words. 1 comment.

Awake before noon on a Saturday!

My alarm went off at 7:25 a.m. today, on a Saturday.  I didn’t get up until 8, but still, that’s unheard of for me.  I had signed up through the volunteer site at work for  6 hours of cleaning at the Junior Achivement BizTown.  JA is a non-profit focused on teaching kids about financial literacy, workplace readiness, and entrepreneurship.  Schools take their 4th and 5th graders to the BizTown for a day of running city hall, creating and selling newspapers, managing an insurance office, etc.  They get a loan in the morning to start the business, then they need to sell goods or services during the to hopefully pay back the loan and make a profit.  The individuals running each business get two paychecks during the day to spend in the Town.  The two Towns are rooms about the size of a small gym, set up with streets and individual stores, most of which are sponsored by their real counterparts.  (The insurance is Allstate, the sports team is the Coyotes, etc.)

The volunteer task was to give the town a thorough cleaning before the next school year starts: scrub diner tables, vacuum and steam clean carpets, that kind of thing.  There were more volunteers than the JA people were expecting so some of us got to assemble curriculum binders while watching music videos on a projector, and everything was still done in only two hours.  I could have enjoyed filling the binders for two more hours, I’ve always loved office supplies.

black & white swimsuit July '09I found myself done at 11:00 instead of 3:00 as expected, so I stopped at  Target to purchase a few things.  I made a list and this time successfully purchased all 3 items from the list — including sunglasses, which happened to be on sale for $5 instead of $10!  I also bought a new swimsuit, which wasn’t actually on the list but I’ve been looking for a new one since May.  And this one was on sale for $10 per piece instead of $15!  I like it when things I’m already going to buy are on sale!

Unfortunately I’m not able to wear my new swimsuit in the backyard pool today, even though it’s 113 degrees and sunny and floating in the pool sure would be nice, because the pool turned green this week.  Can’t see to the bottom in the deep end green.  I bought the necessary supplies to shock the pool and scrub the sides, so maybe even by tomorrow it will be usable again.

Instead of hanging out in the pool, I’m using my gift afternoon to work on the zigzag baby quilt in the comfort of my 82 degree air conditioned home.  Then it’s off to dancing at a club tonight with CrossFit friends!  What a delightful day!

What are you doing on this Saturday!

July 18, 2009. Links, Pictures, Words. Leave a comment.

Starting a new baby quilt: Zig Zag

I received an invitation to a baby shower in three weeks for a woman at work — it was an actual card, even though the shower will be in the “Business Center Break Room” and it said “RSVP to Laura by internal email”.  I’m taking this opportunity to make a quick baby quilt.  The expectant mother and I are part of the same 30-person department, but she’s on a different floor on a different team and I don’t really know her.  No matter, it’s a great reason to make a quilt.  Sure, I could throw in $5 for the Target gift card and eat pastel cake with a clear conscience, but would that bring me the glory and accolades I crave?  And I haven’t worked on a quilt since March or designed one since last summer.

I’m using a tutorial by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts with 8 blue and green fabrics I chose from my stash.  I cut all the strips tonight and laid them out next to each other in my sewing room and I love it already.  Of course I do, it’s green and blue, the colors that I keep buying at Joann Fabric even though I say to myself, “You have enough of those colors, get something else!  Can I interest you in a lovely burgundy, or perhaps this orange polka-dot?”  Conveniently enough she’s expecting a boy so the colors are appropriate for her shower if she likes traditional baby colors.

Unrelated to quilting, I had an odd experience at CrossFit today.  I’ve been experiencing intermittent pre-migraine symptoms since last Friday — hallucinatory smells, losing vocabulary (“Without a sweatshirt will you be cold in the… store… the… movie-showing store?” I said.  “You mean the theater?” he said), cloudy mind, clumsiness — and last night before the midnight “Harry Potter” I had some mild pain and a lot of stupidity.  It didn’t culminate in a big headache or anything and I felt fine after 8 hours of sleep.  About 30 minutes into CrossFit this evening, just before we were going to start the Workout of the Day, I lost most of the vision in my right eye.  Suddenly it was like I was looking through a peephole in heavily frosted glass.  It was similar to the migraine aura squiggles I sometimes experience, but obscuring most of my vision.  My left eye was fine and my right eye could see very little.  I walked to the other side of the room to say quietly, “Hey, I just lost the vision in my right eye.  So, uh, if I’m having a stroke and it’s not just really intense migraine aura, or if I get incoherent at home later, take me to the hospital.”  He said my pupils looked oddly dilated, but as I stood there a moment they went back to normal.  About a minute or so later my vision cleared.

I felt normal and did the 5 minute workout of handstand push-ups, kettle bell swings, and sit-ups.  I started the second part of the workout and stopped when my head started to hurt a little.  I’ve felt fine in the hours since, without even minimal head pain or nausea.  And hey, both eyes have complete vision too which is pretty sweet.

July 15, 2009. Links, Projects, Words. Leave a comment.

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