Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Idaho sure has a lot of stuff"

Title comes from a quote by the same 5-year-old after we crossed the border into Idaho on our road trip. And he was right!
And what stuff did I take pictures of?
Old quilts of course!
These quilts were in a little museum in Rexburg with an exhibit about the breaking of the Teton Dam in the 1970's. Wow. I can't imagine the damage - a whole town under 10 feet of water with houses and cattle floating away in the flood.
Love the strippy-scrappy kaleidoscope quilt!
And this embroidered tumbling blocks quilt was incredible.
(Sorry the picture isn't great - it was behind glass.
Which is probably a good thing.)

There were also some adorable, politically incorrect, vintage salt and pepper shakers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Enquiring mind wants to know

As you know, my boy turned 5 last week. Which means he is getting way too big for this bed. So it's time to get a big-boy bed, but I had to share some farewell photos of his little one. I made this quilt for his crib when I was pregnant. Since I already had two little girls, I was so excited to have a boy too!
And this boy gives me a run for my money. Not just physically but mentally too. Here is a small sampling of some of the questions this kid asks me:

How do you make milk? Do cows have machines in their stomachs?

Why do dinosaurs always live by volcanoes? Is it because they eat lava?

How does Heavenly Father make vitamins in food?

How do shoemakers make shoes?

Why is it called 'gray'?

Why do people store food for the winter?

How old are Dads?

How do Chinese people cut up their food?

Why does school teach us about the earth and letters?

Why did Heavenly Father make 2 moons for Mars and only 1 for us?

So when this guy crashes (sword in hand) at the end of the day, not only do I get a rest, but so does my brain. :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Little Buttercup

This is a little bag I made for my sister-in-law's birthday.
I loved it so much, I almost couldn't part with it.
But because it was so fun and such a snap to make, I gave it away, knowing I can make one for myself.
You've probably seen this everywhere. It's from this adorable FREE pattern for the Buttercup bag from Made by Rae.
I whole-heartedly endorse this pattern. Quick, satisfying, and as I said, very fun.
The fabric: More Wonderland and lined with American Jane dots.
Love the combo. And the vintage button.

And since we had so much fun with the Three Amigos a few weeks ago,
I couldn't resist showing this one too. :)

The birthday party went very well. I'm always giddy with relief when birthday parties are over and everyone seemed to have fun. And no crying is an extra bonus. I love how easy to please little kids are. Throw some cupcakes and some rubber spiders and Diego stickers at them and they are happy campers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The most anti-climactic 100th post ever

Not much time today.
I'm having a bunch of 5-year-olds for a birthday party in an hour and a half.
If only I was going to look half as charming and well-put-together as this mother.

And, for my stupidity confession of the day, all week they've been forcasting rain showers today, which totally frustrated me because it would be so much easier to keep 9 5-year-olds entertained outside. But since rain was in the forcast I asked my dear husband to please put fertilizer and weed-killer on the lawn last night, which he kindly did. Then we woke-up this morning and NO RAIN! My husband then tried to get the sprinklers running to make it so we could still use the yard, but a big sprinkler in the back yard is busted and needs to be replaced. Argh. So now, we have no rain, but we also can't use the back yard until it gets watered. Sometimes don't you just wonder why you even try???

But, just so you don't go into the weekend feeling totally unfulfilled by this post,
I'll leave you with some photos of the little critter we found in our front yard this week:


My son came home frantically from playing with the neighbors saying he saw a snake. In all my years of living in suburban Utah I've never seen a snake in our yard. So thinking it was just a worm or something, I went with him to calm his fears.
And that is when I almost stepped on it and screamed like a little girl.

Pretty soon a crowd gathered.
As soon as we had confirmation that it was harmless,
it was lovingly taken into captivity by the boys on the street
and proudly showed to each of their mothers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Drum roll . . .

First of all
Holy Schmoley!

Well, I never imagined that kind of a response! So nice to meet all of you and thank you so much for the kind things you said. I wish I could sit and chat with all of you, but frankly it was all a bit overwhelming and I couldn't click through to everyone, but I will do it this weekend. :) I look forward to making your acquaintance more thoroughly! I also really wish I had a Wonderland Jelly Roll for each of you.

And now the moment you've all been waiting for. I always feel so solemn pulling up that Random Number Generator and putting in my info, and then it gives you the winner so quickly - I keep feeling like it should play some kind of fanfare music before it shows the magic number. So anyway, I'll stop with all the blathering.

The winner is #352: Andrea from Alaska who said:
"Commenting and crossing my fingers (okaaay my toes too)!!"
Congratulations, Andrea! Apparently crossing your toes really works!

Many thanks again to all of you for stopping by, and I hope you'll continue to visit in the future. And thanks again to Jodi for spotlighting me and sending you this way.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Beautiful photos

Aren't these pictures gorgeous?
They were taken by a new friend of mine, Amy Hackworth.
I love this one looking down at the tops of the old spools.
The one with the star is my favorite.
Amy sells these photographs as art prints and note cards in her etsy store.
I would love to frame a few and hang them in my sewing room.
(As soon as I get part of the bailout money to set-up a
Superfund project to reclaim and reorganize that space. Sigh.)

I'm also quite fond of Amy because she was there to reassure me in line at Costco when the older woman ahead of me complimented me on the lovely children I was with and asked me if they were my grandchildren.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A quilt that stretched me

I love what Amy over at Park City Girl has done organizing an online quilt festival! Brilliant!
She's a genius! I'm so proud to live in the same state as she does. ;)
So fun to look at so many beautiful quilts all connected in one location.

Since I too can't pick a favorite
[kind of like picking a favorite child - different ones are favorites at different times :)]

I'm going to pick a recent quilt.This one was made from Moda's new Arcadia collection and all I used was a Charm Pack, Layer Cake and Jelly Roll,
plus about 2 yards of solid orange for the front and the back.
Almost not sure which to call the front and which to call the back.
I kind of like them both equally!
I also used the jelly roll strips for a scrappy-pieced binding. and I love how it turned out.
This quilt was a total improv project one weekend. It was a really cool new experience for me.
I LOVED having the big variety of colors and patterns from the whole collection and pre-cut pieces made it go so quickly.
Also, this was the first quilt I've long-arm quilted myself in a LONG time. I am totally not confident in my machine-quilting skills. I am TERRIBLE at stippling, and since I have some kind, wonderful friends who will do a lovely job for me, for a very reasonable price, I usually take them up on that. But with this quilt, I was working on a tight deadline and I needed to get it finished quickly, so I took a deep breath, and went for it myself.

I like how this image captures the quilting. I totally went with my own style, using the front as my guide. Much more modern and geometric like the fabric style. And it works! I'm so pleased with it! Thank goodness "wonky" is cool, because the quilting on this quilt is VERY wonky!
This quilt represents accomplishment to me on many different levels. Not just because I tried something new and went out of my comfort zone in piecing and quilting style, but in the motivation and purpose it served as I prepared for Design Mom last week. That whole experience was completely out of my comfort zone and I had a ton of doubts and fears (and stress) as I prepared. But the work and the reach to try something new paid off! It was a really gratifying experience to expose myself a little more, and in the process, meet some wonderful new people. Awesome.

ps. in case you aren't already aware, there is a giveaway below. it's Wonderland. Mmmm.

My 96th post. And a giveaway too.

Well, how did it get here? Totally snuck up on me.
My 96th post! So lets celebrate.
(Everyone celebrates 100, I thought it would be neat to do something new and exciting.)

So here it is friends: a Wonderland Jelly Roll.
For some lucky random winner.
Let's just do this the good old fashioned way:
One comment=one entry.
Blog about it and leave another comment= another entry.

You have until midnight MST on Wednesday, April 22 to enter.
Winner announced Thursday.

And there you go.
This little jelly roll needs a good home.And while we're at it, let's celebrate that: my computer came back from the dead; a safe trip to and from Rexburg, Idaho within the space of 40 hours (yes, I didn't mention that in the craziness of last week because I didn't want any stalkers to know I was going and break in and steal my fabric); that I have done 7 loads of laundry and only have 3 more to go; that we survived *cough* I mean enjoyed Spring Break; and that there is no more snow in my yard.
And it's going to be in the 70's this week! Woo!

Can't wait to hear from you!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A roller-coaster ride

Whew! I'm pooped!

Blogging in two different places can really wear a person out.
Especially when it's coupled with Spring Break and four little kids
with serious cabin fever because of a massive blizzard that hit our house this week. (Boo!)

Throw in Microsoft's automatic update corrupting Windows on our computer and making it crash! Seriously, this happened on Wednesday and I still needed to finish the bag tutorial for the next day! Fortunately my husband's wonderful co-workers (a big shout-out to Brent and Daniel) went above and beyond the call of duty to miraculously re-install Windows and restore my computer to me by Wednesday night.

Another big shout-out to other people who pitched-in to help me get ready for Design Mom. Like my wonderful sister, Laura, and my fabulous brother-in-law, Nathan, for taking some great pictures, including this behind the scenes shot:
And the lovely Laura Lucille for creating such wonderful banners for this blog and my etsy store.
Seriously, this girl has skills - skills that I do not posses.
She also has a lovely blog (and a cool etsy shop) that you should visit here.

And many thanks to my husband (who gallantly rescued me in my computer-crash meltdown) and kids (who have probably watched a little too much TV this week - please do not report me to Child Protective Services) for their patience.

(this is starting to sound like the academy awards)

And finally, thanks to YOU for stopping by or leaving a nice comment.
I've so enjoyed meeting new friends and I hope you come back again soon.
(Like Monday, if you want, because there is going to be a sweet giveaway in celebration of all this.)

Have a happy weekend, folks.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some serious laundry to catch-up on.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The 32-minute messenger bag tutorial

This little bag pattern is "easy-peasy-chunky-cheesy" as my 5-year-old likes to say.
You will feel so proud of yourself when it's done in no time!

For an adult/bigger-kid size bag the fabric requirement are 2 coordinating half yards.
For a smaller child's bag you will only need two pieces at 3/8 of a yard.

I will demonstrate with the larger bag
and give the measurements for the child's bag at the end.

First: from both half-yard pieces, cut a 4" strip off one end.
This will be for your strap.
Cut the remaining piece down to 14" x 30".
(You can save the remnant for a pocket, if you want.)
If you are going to put a pocket on, do it now. To make the pocket, fold the remnant in half and sew three sides shut with a 1/4" seam, leaving an opening to turn right side out. Clip corners and turn right side out. Press, tucking edges in at opening. Fold outside bag piece in half and center the pocket where it will appear on finished bag. Pin in place and sew close to the edge along three sides, sewing opening shut as you go.

Now on to the bag: Place two 14" x 30" pieces right sides together and pin together at ends.
Sew 3/8" seams on either end.
Now take to your ironing board.
Bring the seams to the center and match them up.
Press seams open.
You will now have your lining-piece folded in half on one side and
your outside piece folded in half on the other.

Pin open sides together, leaving a 3" opening on one side of the lining fabric
for turning right side out. Sew 3/8" seams on both sides.

Turn bag right-side out and top-stitch opening closed. It will look like a flat, empty pillow.Tuck lining fabric inside the outside bag fabric.
Now it's starting to look like an actual bag!
To make the band of trim around the top of the bag,
roll the lining fabric above the bag about 1/4".
Pin to hold fabrics in place and press.
Top stitch around the edge of the bag at the top of the outer fabric
AND at the top of the lining fabric.
This is easy, and it will give the bag a nice, finished edge.
Now, place both strap pieces right sides together
and sew down both long sides using a 1/2" seam allowance.
Turn right-side out, press, and top-stitch along both edges.
Now is the time to decide how long you want your bag strap.
(This strap is meant to be worn diagonally across the chest.)
For an adult, it's about the right length as it is.
For an older child, you might want to cut-off a few inches.

If you leave one end with selvage edges on the end you don't
need to do anything to the strap before you start sewing.
If you cut-off one end, you may want to tuck raw edges under and press.

Now, pinch the end of the strap in half to find the center.
Line up that pinched crease with the seam on the side of the bag.
Place end of strap about two inches inside the bag.
Pin the strap in place
And sew around the edges and along the top of the bag,
creating a rectangle to secure the strap in place.
Repeat with other side.
And Voila! You are seriously done. Pretty awesome, huh?
To make a child size bag cut a 2 1/2" strip off the side of both pieces.
Then cut the bag pieces 11" x 24".
Repeat all the same steps.
(You will probably want to shorten the strap.)
These are so fast, you really might get addicted. And the possibilities are endless.
We used a heavier, canvas fabric on the cowboy bag.
The other bag is made from the Wonderland by MoMo collection for Moda.

Have fun!

(and please feel free to ask any questions so I can clarify these instructions where needed!)

**A couple of people have asked where this fabric is from:
It is part of the Wonderland by MoMo collection for Moda, Spring 2009.