I’m Still Here! I Promise!

Just a bit behind in the blogging world. To be honest, I’m a bit behind in the real world too. I came down with Parker’s flu over the weekend and have been playing catch-up ever since then. Trust me, you don’t want me to be blogging about the details of what’s going on around here! It hasn’t been all bad though, and I do have a couple of things I’m really looking forward to sharing with you all. Hopefully soon. :-)

For today, I’m just lounging around with my little buddy, fighting away the overcast blues. Can’t wait to get to the pool this weekend (it’s opening weekend, yay!!) and enjoy my 5th anniversary with my hunny bunny. I do have one exciting bit of information to share with you though–I won a giveaway! Yippee! I hardly ever win anything anymore, so I was just thrilled when I saw I won this beautiful pattern from Happy Together. Watch out, little girls in my life — one of these dresses will probably coming your way soon!

Isn’t it the cutest?

Hope you are all hanging in there and avoiding the sick bug that is going around. What have you all be up to?

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A Purse and Procrastination

I like to think I’m an organized and some-what disciplined person. But the reality is, I often procrastinate. Not on things that I have to do. For some reason I have no problem getting stuff done when there is no choice. I mean, in college, I finished papers up weeks ahead of schedule and never pulled an all-nighter. I was definitely Miss Organized back then. But now, sometimes, I just put things off.

Like making a purse for a friend. This project has been on my list for about 2 months. It’s a simple purse that I’ve made a dozen times. Less than 2 hours. No experimentation with new techniques. Easy-peasy. And yet I put it on the back burner time and time again. Well, yesterday, I decided I had to do something about it!

I whipped out this cute purse during Parker’s nap. Against all sewing odds, I made no mistakes and every detail came out perfectly. Those of you who sew know how rare it is to get through a whole project without any sort of aggravation. Not only was it a relief to finish the project, it actually made me motivated to work on other things too. Isn’t it cute?

So, the moral of the story? Do the hard/unpleasant things first. You’ll feel great about getting it checked off your list, and you might even enjoy it more than you imagined.

P.S. This may not work with exercise. I tried to live out my “just-do-it” campaign this morning, but I still hated running. Hey, at least it is done and I have the whole day in front of me!

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Quilting Progress

Remember my Block-a-Palooza blocks? Those poor lovely squares have been waiting for me to get moving on the next phase of the Block-a-Palooza project. You see, the next step for this quilt is a large block made completely of appliqué. I adore quilting, but I’m still new to the world of applique and it’s not my favorite sewing technique. But, I managed to get my rear in gear and have made a little progress on that darn appliqué block. I ironed on the double-sided fusible interfacing, cut out all of the little pieces, and ironed them to my fabric. Now all that is left is to stitch down the design. I really like how it looks!

Please disregard the un-ironed state of this block. Oh and the un-vacuumed carpet, too.

As much as I would prefer to steer clear of appliqué, I am really enjoying the freedom of design that appliqué provides. There are no worries about curves or strange shapes, which is really nice. Oh, are you wondering how this appliqué block will fit in with the 16 blocks I’ve already made? The blocks will border the appliqué block: 4 across the top and bottom, 4 on each side. I think it’ll create a really nice effect!

If you remember my New Year goals (can you believe we are nearing the halfway mark in 2011???), I decided I wanted to complete all of my in process quilts. I haven’t made as much progress as I’d like, but I have finished doing the stippling on my Rainbow Quilt. Now all that’s left is to attach the binding. I just ordered the quilt binding from Slightly Biased. This shop is run by one of the ladies I met back in March at the Sewcial Retreat I attended in Texas. Jenn has been great to work with–you should definitely take a look at her shop!

OK, it’s a little hard to see the stippling, but believe me–it’s there! I used a quilting thread the goes from dark pink to yellow. Love!

Here we go–you can see the stippling a lot better on the back of the quilt. Isn’t this fabric fun?

I’m still hoping to create a pattern for this one and make it available as a pdf. It has been a lot of fun to create my own pattern and see it go through each step of the quilting process. What do you think?

Have you been getting any quilting done lately? What is your favorite part of the process? Have you ever come up with your own quilt pattern?

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Corners of my Home

Some weeks I think, “where did my week go? did I get anything done at all?” On those weeks, it’s helpful to look around the corners of my home to find evidence of what I’ve been up to. Below is what this week is shaping up to be.

::On my table::
Two 8.5 oz bottles of vanilla extract in the making. I used this recipe.
Now I just have to wait 8 weeks for it to steep so I can use it!

::On my sewing desk::
Two beautiful new home decor fabrics from the Crate and Barrel Outlet. These babies cost $4.95 a yard. Normally, $32.50 a yard. How excited am I? Jump-up-and-down-and-do-a-happy-dance excited.

::In my freezer::
A not-so-green homamde Key Lime Pie, with homemade graham cracker crust and homemade whipped cream. Yum. My decorating skills aren’t the best, but I still don’t think this bad boy will be staying in the freezer for long!

::In the Laundry Room::
A new stack of diapers to prep. 6 new pre-folds, 2 new Bummis XL covers, and 1 new Bummis XL swim diaper. That’s what a growing boy will do to ya! I also picked up some of my favorite diaper ointment: Angel Baby Bottom Balm. These are from my local cloth diaper store, Comfy Bummy.

::On my nightstand::
A new stack of books from our local used bookstore. I tend to plow through books quickly so I have to stock up when I make a trip. These might last me a week or so. Any books you recommend?

So that’s a small snapshot of what is going on around my home. Of course there are the countless loads of laundry, weeknight meals, hugs and snuggles, talks with friends, grocery shopping, organizing, cleaning, etc. that can’t really be quantified. But, at least I know I’ve been up to something around here!

How about you? What have you been up to this week?

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PJs and Elastic

Is there anything cuter than a toddler in pajamas?

I mean, seriously, look at those cute chunky legs covered in firetrucks. They are the best.

As you can see, I got around to putting the elastic in these pantalones for my dude and they came out perfecto! (I’m making tamales this week, so I’m in a bit of an Espanol mood. Lo Siento.) Anyway, instead of following the patterns elastic instructions, I always do it the way my mom taught me. Rather than make a channel for the elastic (in which it inevitably gets twisted and bunched), I just overlock the elastic right to the pants, pulling the elastic tightly as I go. Then, just turn down the fabric to the width of the elastic and zigzag it all in place. So fast and no twisted elastic! Yay!

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Block-a-Palooza: Block #16 and a Hat

Block #16 – Pinwheel Parade

Woohoo! This is the last block for the block-a-palooza! I really like the way it turned out. As you know, I like me some pinwheels. Very, very much! They posted the finished quilt on the flickr pool and I’m excited/nervous about it. They have all 16 blocks surrounding a large appliqué of spring flowers. Super cute, but, wow! That’s a lot of appliqué! I hope to post updates as I get a chance to work on it.

In other crafty news, I finished Brian’s hat this weekend! It came out perfect and he loves it. I’m so pleased that I took on this slightly more complicated hat and was able to pull it off. Yay for knitting! What do ya think?

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Block-a-palooza #15 and Julia Child

Woohoo! I completed block  #15 for the Block-a-palooza. Just one more to go. I really like the pattern on this block. I think an entire quilt made out of this block would be amazing. But maybe that’s just me and my love for pinwheels talking!

On an entirely different note, I’ve been reading My Life in France by Julia Child. It’s a really fun read that my Austin friends told me about. It’s so challenging to read all the recipes and methods of cooking. It makes me want to take all sorts of classes and really grow in my cooking ability. But you know what’s impacted me the most? Julia was 37 when she started taking cooking seriously. Thirty-Seven. Can you believe that? There is one line from the book that keeps coming to mind. Julia is talking about analyzing how she interacts with people and says “I was thirty-seven years old and still discovering who I was.” Not only was she trying to figure out what her passion was (cooking) but also who she was as a person.

I so identify with that. I’ve spent a lot of time this last year trying to figure out “who I am”. There have been many times that I’ve said “I’m 26–I thought I’d have myself figured out by now.” And yet here is Julia, at 37 and still figuring herself out. That’s such a comfort.

I definitely don’t have myself figured out yet, but I think I’m beginning to understanding my relationship with cooking. I really love to cook. I want to learn how things work and why certain things are more nutritious than others. I love making stuff from scratch. I love challenging myself. But most of all, I love what cooking food does for my soul and for those people I cook for. It’s a creative endeavor that makes me feel at home and satisfied with life. AND it serves people. It feeds the tummy and the soul. I cook because I enjoy it, but I also cook because it shows people that I love them.

So thanks, Julia. You’re the best. You teach me how to cook and how to be OK with myself. And you make me really want to go to France. :-)

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Block-a-Palooza Blocks 12-14

I’m on a roll! After a whole weekend of sewing you’d think I’d be sick of it . . . but I’m actually the opposite! I think I had been in a sewing rut for a little while where projects just didn’t seem that exciting to me. But after seeing my impressive pile of clothes and blocks, I’m hooked again. Here are the next three blocks for the Block-a-palooza. They were fun and I managed to complete them during one very long nap from the kiddo. Yay!

Block #12

Block #13


Block #14 – Follow the Leader

Just two more blocks and I’ll be done with the Block-a-palooza. It’s been a fun experience. I’m still not sure how all the blocks will look together, but I love all the individual pieces and patterns. I might have to use some of the blocks in the future with a different line of fabrics! Happy Weekend everyone–see ya on the flip side!

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Block-a-palooza Blocks

So, I got a little behind on the block-a-palooza blocks. I’ve been cutting out the blocks at the right pace, I just hadn’t gotten around to sewing them up! Thankfully, my little sewing weekend in Austin caught me up to speed. Here are blocks #3-11.

Block #3 – Shoofly Geese

Block #4 – Gingham Pinwheels

Block #5 – Geesey-McNinePatch

Block #6 – You Are Here

Block #7 - Orange You Glad I Chose a Nine-Patch!

Block #8 – Basket of Geese

Block #9 – Lemonade Stand

Block #10 – Turned Geese

Block #11

So, what do you think? I like the way they are turning out. I think the mix of colors is really interesting, so we’ll see how they all come together in the end. I think Block #11 is my favorite so far. I really like the pink and grey combo. Plus, I love pinwheels. So yeah, it’s just about perfect! I’m working on Blocks #12-14 and will hopefully have them up soon!

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Clothing Time

Wow. Clearly I grew up in the 90′s. Titling this blog made me laugh really hard. It made me start singing “Closing Time” with a lisp. Try it. It’s fun. Or maybe that’s just me.

Where was I? Oh yes, clothes. I made lots of clothes at our weekend sewing extravaganza. I had already cut nearly everything out before I left (you know, to reduce the amount of stuff I had to cram into my bag), so I had the leisure of trucking on through from one project to the next without pausing to cut out fabric. It was great and made me feel super productive. So, here’s what I accomplished:

I made a new top for myself using the Simplicity 3759 pattern. Even though my experience sewing clothing is limited, I found this pattern to be really easy and thorough. Something that doesn’t happen a lot when using commercial patterns (in my opinion). I’ll definitely make more of these with minor adjustments to the bustline. As it is, this is more of a date night shirt. Not so much a wearing to church shirt. *Ahem.*

Then I made these little guys for my little guy. They were taken from old shirts of Brian and re-purposed to fit the little dude. I made them a little big, so they should fit this summer. I really didn’t use the pattern (Simplicity 3856) much, just to cut down the shirts to size. I kind of winged it from there. They are so stinkin’ cute on him though. Yay!

And pajama pants ( from Simplicity 2734). As you know, I have a history of trying to find nighttime clothing solutions for my chunky monkey. I made these extra big so they should fit for awhile. Should. If he ever stops growing like a weed that is. I forgot to bring elastic, so I still have to put it in the front two pants. I haven’t made the tops yet because I’m not sure if I like the pattern or not. I’ll let you know what I decide to do with them!

Tomorrow I’ll show you all the quilting I finished over the weekend!

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