Monday, April 30, 2007

great mail day part 2

Today my family and I got 3 packages in the mail. That's right. 3. Yahoo!

A few weeks back Susan and I decided to do a (not so little) swap.

Here is what I got in the mail today.

First off, how cool is that packaging? (I love B+W)

I squealed with delight several times.
Each time I took out a new piece, actually.
Look at all of this goodness!

(my photos don't do these justice...but look how well the tags match my countertops)

I already have a plan for the buckle.
And I plan on hoarding the buttons for a long, long time.

And it looks like I am going to have a few cups of tea. Mmmm.

Susan, thank you so much. I love it all.
I would gladly swap with you anytime. Any. Time.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

a great mail day

Look at the sweetness of this dress.

This came in the mail yesterday from my lovely friend, Linda, for my little A who is turning one tomorrow.
The dress is gorgeous, and the detail is amazing.

Thank you so much, Linda. The dress is so sweet. I love it!

Friday, April 27, 2007

my twist on wardrobe refashioning

I love the whole idea of wardrobe refashioning that folks are trying. I am too chicken to give it a go, but someday I hope to.

I also LOVE rag rugs. My sister crochets gorgeous ones, and she gave this one to me for my birthday a few years back.

I love this rug! It is made from all cotton strips that she cut on the bias. I have wanted to attempt something like this as well, but I don't work with fabric cut on the bias if I can help it. I would rather make a quilt out of cotton fabrics. (the rug reminds me of some of the Gee's Bend those!)

So, my solution to all of this...

I am cutting up my old stained t-shirt (that was destined for the rag basket anyway) into 1/2" strips. Slip knotting the loops into a long string...

and crocheting those loops into my very own (cushy) rag rug.

I am using a huge (pink!) P hook and it is going quickly. That blue section is all from the one t-shirt (woman's L). We have a lot of clothing around my house that I can recycle in this way. I can not tell you how excited I am about this project!

And I did cut up my dictionary.
Some of the S pages are on their way to Sarah P.

Thanks to all of you who commented on my blog this week!
I appreciate it so much.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

today's projects

1. cutting into this dictionary

2230 pages to use for collage, card making, etc.
but 31 years of knowing that one doesn't cut books apart is a stumbling block.
plus, how would I explain this to my little ones?
it does have water damage on the back cover...

and I already have a replacement...
but still, it seems wrong to destroy a book.

2. making some cards for a craft challenge that my sister sent to me....(the dictionary pages would come in handy here)

3. packaging up some goodies to send to the wonderfully talented jewelry maker, susan, of sulu-design. we are doing a swap that I am very excited about. I'll have to post pictures after she gets her package.

4. cleaning up my house a bit. it is looking a little neglected.

5. snuggling my kids - they seem to be feeling very clingy today. (yes, I have to put this on my to-do list. how sad is that?)

what are your projects today?

let me know if you would like me to send you some dictionary pages....and your letter preference, because that sounds like fun.

[I will send up to 12 packages out.]

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

the first 5

This is the start of my first king sized quilt.
[The amount of puckers that are possible in a quilt this large scares me to no end.]

These are the first 5 of 25 blocks I will need for the quilt top. Each measures 18.5" square. I am not using a pattern, just making it up as I go along. (My favorite kind of piecing.)

The color scheme reminds me of candy corn. Hmmm.
Not quite the look I was going for, so I am anxious to see how the rest of it comes together.

It is a wonderfully rainy day here, so it makes for a guilt free quilting (and blogging) day. Hurray.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Here is a collage I made for my sweet little girl.
It is 33"x 36".
Her room is nearly decorated.
Which is great since she turns one on Sunday.

Monday, April 23, 2007

too much information (TMI)

sometimes I feel like one big copy cat.

I am constantly inspired by all the creative bloggers out there, that I feel like I end up copying them instead of coming up with something fresh and new.

I am using an idea borrowed from kat of Taylor Made Designs. She has been doing a Friday RoundUP where she sums up the blogging discussion of the week. It's very cool.

Today I am going to do my own sort of RoundUP. I am going to attempt to answer a passel of questions that have been posted in the comments over the past several posts.

Melissa asked why she saw only 94 posts when I did my hundredth post give away. I guess I had technically written 100 but had only published 94 of them. Somewhere along the line 6 of them bit the dust. Wow, Melissa, what an eye for detail you have. Good for you. I see why you are in accounting! (can you send me your e-mail address please?)

Clair asked if I needed any more fabric. Well, no, but I'll always take more, you know that.

Kevin asked if it was too late to win something. Yes, Kevin, you missed it!
(this is my husband giving me a hard time. he needs a new gig, but I still love him.)

Clair asked what the scrap quilt is for. I don't know yet. I had a bunch of scraps that matched so I thought I would sew them together. I finished the quilt top last Friday.

approximately size: twin

Anina asked what size do I consider a scrap. That is a tough one. When I was refolding my stash if it didn't wrap around my 6" wide cutting ruler it went into the scrap buckets.

Anina also asked if I would come to organize her craft room. I offered to if she would fly me out....but it looks like she went and did it herself. Too bad for me, I always wanted to visit the pacific northwest.

Melissa asked how I was making my crochet striped blanket. It is worked in rows, and each row is a different color. It is a lot of fun to pick the yarn colors as you go, and it prevents boredom by changing colors each row. I would definitely recommend making one.

Natasha asked about my quilting. I quilt all my own quilts on my Juki TL-98Q. I bought this machine last October after my cheapo sewing machine died after 5+ years and 30+ quilts. I love my Juki and would heartily recommend one to anyone. The instruction manual says "For Professional Use". Sweet. I am so glad my husband talked me into spending the money on a decent machine. (I tend to be on the frugal side.) It makes a ton of difference, and since I bought it I have GREATLY reduced the number of puckers in each quilt. It has knocked my socks off.

Now a few other notes I thought I would share.

On sewing with vinyl. Roxanne asked about vinyl dulling the needle. I didn't notice it, really. My machine will sew through 4 layers of vinyl no problem. Like I said, that Juki is one sweet machine. I don't know how other machines react to vinyl, but my experience with it was great. I would recommend trying it.

Many people have asked me how I get so much crafting done. And since I love reading about others' creative process, (in the 4-18-07 post) I thought I would share a bit of my own.

Creating is a huge passion of mine. I always have several projects going at a time. My craft room is in the utility room of our home. I share it with my washer and dryer, so I can sew and do laundry at the same time. This works out very well, as I do a LOT of laundry. My boys' room is right across the hall and they play while sew. It is nice to be so close to them when working, but they are not under foot. There are usually many interruptions, but I can leave everything set up in my craft room and jump in where I left off when I get a chance. I am a huge multi-tasker. And I have heard that I am a high energy person. I don't watch TV during the day-just after the kids go to bed. Then I sit in bed and crochet or blog or hand stitch binding, or whatever. I go to bed way too late each night. I am always working on something. Always. I sew or crochet with the baby on my lap. I read to the kids when I am working on a project. I find that creating is extremely therapeutic. It is nice to have something tangible to gauge my accomplishments. (Unlike cleaning house and cooking.) I also stay home A LOT. We don't go out much-even for errands, because with 2 or 3 little ones (depending if there is school or not) in tow it is just too much work. And when you have small kids, it is unwise to mess with their schedules. (eating, naps, etc.) I have become a homebody lately, but I consider it adapting to my current circumstances. I'd also like to think that I am striving to live a more simple life. Making do instead of running to the store of that one ingredient for a dinner that I am trying to whip up between projects. Alright, I guess I'll leave it at that...for now. You know me-I'll have more to add to this topic later. I hope that I haven't bored you to tears.

Have an enjoyable day.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

the perfect piece of fabric

so my plan to stay off of the computer this weekend failed miserably.

Here is the stack of fabrics that I plan to use to make a king (!) sized quilt for my bed. I am thinking something Denyse Schmidt inspired/log cabin-ish...I will also be adding some off white fabric to this mix.

I was looking for a solid orange that wasn't insanely bright to add to the quilt, but that is not an easy thing to find. (Go check it out sometime in your JoAnn's or similar store, you'll see what I mean.)

When I checked Hobby Lobby, their solid quilting cotton selection had NO orange.
As I was about to give up, I saw this fabric....

Left to right is selvage to selvage.

It is in the right colors and I have a variety of solids all from the same piece of fabric. I was quite excited to find this.

Alright, I am off to go start this baby. Never mind that I have this and this in progress, among other things. I am so not a one project at a time kinda gal.

Friday, April 20, 2007

work in progress friday

Stripey crochet blanket.

I am 90 some odd stripes into it.
Probably around 150 stripes to go.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

work in progress thursday

A new scrap quilt in progress.
ALL scraps. Nothing from the stash.
I am working in the wrong season as far as colors are concerned.
That must be a sure sign that I am a designer, right Roxanne?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I hear that it is national library week.

In honor of that, I thought I share what my library book stack looks like currently.

(just for the record, there are 55 books in that stack)

I hope one of the kids doesn't run by and accidently knock it over, or we could have a serious injury on our hands.

I am currently reading:

The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini (I am really enjoying this one, I was skeptical)

The Pact by Jodi Picoult (having a hard time since it is a heavy read, but trying to perservere)

Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley (for the second time, at least)

Rachel Ray 30 Minute Get Real Meals (I have tried 2 new recipes from here and they were surprisingly good and not too fussy to make)

AlterKNITS and One Skein both by Leigh Radford (the photography and inspiration in these books are so fantastic!)

What are you reading?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

about a year ago...

I was about 9 months pregnant...(her birthday is in less than 2 weeks)

....and I had my best mail day ever!

I got not one, but two handmade quilts for my little one about to be born (gender unknown)...

from my sister Clair....

and from my friend Linda.

Aren't they both gorgeous???
Both quilts have gotten a lot of use, and have held up wonderfully!
That was one great mail day.

What was your best mail day ever?

On a side note, it looks like the chances of us moving to WI are very slim at this point. I am kind of relieved, kind of disappointed. I guess that's the reaction when you are split completely 50/50 going into it. :)

Monday, April 16, 2007

lots of fabric (in pictures)

The past few days I have been devoting my time to organizing my craft room. I've worked several days and still am not finished.

I spent the entire afternoon on Saturday (and well into the evening, if the truth be told) folding my cotton fabric stash...

...all the while berating myself for heaping and hording and not just using what I have....

...finding fabrics that haven't seen the light of day for ages, but they aren't quite vintage yet...

...and these are my flat folds (at least 2 yards)... newly fattened scrap stash (thanks to Roxanne's sister Becky)....

....all color coordinated.

My baskets literally runneth over.

Now, before I give you the false impression that I have it all together (which I definitely do not), I have to show you this picture....

I still have some work ahead of me.

now, just for fun, here is the prettiest load of laundry that I have ever washed in my life. (and I have washed a good plenty, mind you)

(a new doll quilt I finished over the weekend for little A)

The sun is shining and it looks like spring may actually visit Michigan this year after all.
I can hardly believe it, but I am so excited.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

and the winners are.........

Mama Urchin

Amy Jo

Thanks, all, for commenting and playing along.
(I wish all of you could have won...)
Amy Jo, I think your prize will be hand delivered. ;)

Friday, April 13, 2007

my 100th post

It's give away time!
Those of you who know me are probably surprised that it took me this long to get to 100 posts. (A combination of always having something to say and a little obsessive compulsiveness.)

You: post a comment.
I: will draw a name. (on Sunday around noon)
The winner: will receive something handmade by me.
(It will be your choice-one of four things.)

Thanks to all of you who stop by.
And thanks a bunch to those of you who comment.
I appreciate it so much.

I was going to end this post with photos of cards that I made while stamping with my dear Amy Jo
yesterday, but I can't seem to find my camera. (I think my husband took it with him today.) Thanks for the fun day yesterday Amy, I needed it so much.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

more denyse schmidt inspiration

I am still working on projects from this book.
{In fact, that may be all you see in the next several days. Consider yourself forewarned.}

Some fabric cards.

And a few new vinyl zipper pouches.

{I love the tape measure tabs!!!}

I think my vinyl sewing has come to an end, at least for the time being. I have used up all my thrifted zippers that match the brown and turquoise color scheme. And I am trying really, really hard to use what I have, since we may possibly have an impending relocation. It's not easy! {The possiblilty of relocating or using what I have. ;)}

My husband has a job interview tomorrow in Wisconsin. In one of our hundred or more conversations about moving, my husband had asked me "do you really want a license plate that says America's Dairyland?" Because that's really the important stuff to consider...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

have you seen this book?

It is fantastic!

I checked it out of my local library, and it is bad news for my to-do list.
But, I found out that it is fun and fairly easy to sew with vinyl.

Who knew???

by the way, my husband thinks I've crossed over to the scary side of the crafting world. :)

This bag took me less than an hour to make. I ended up making two right away. (The total cost less than $5 for both...hurray for 40 cent vinyl remnants and 50% off sales and coupons, right Amy???)

The hardest parts were:
getting the top seam even (you really can't pin vinyl)
cutting into the tape measure, even though that was my intention when buying it.

And out of the scraps, I made a little zipper pouch.
(more of these to come....there are still lots of vinyl scraps to use up!)
There are 30 projects in the book. So far, I have made 3 of the projects. (one quilt, and these bags above.) And I hope to make 15 additional projects. Yes, the book is really that good.

What are some of your favorite craft books? I'd really love to hear your suggestions!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

do you need thread?

if you do...I would recommend ordering from connecting threads. they have great prices, even when you add on the shipping costs. I have ordered from them a few times now, and the quality of the thread (as far as my experience goes) is great. Each spool is 1200 yards. Oh, yeah, that's a good thing. And it fits on your machine like a normal spool of thread.

shown is the essential neutral set and the essential country set. I hated the label of the "country" set, but the colors are great. (the last thing I need in my house is country...images of blue geese come to mind....are you cringing yet?)

Monday, April 09, 2007

loads of goodness

Things are finally getting back to a routine...lots of organizing and putting things away going on around here. I have some fabulous new items that traveled home with me.

A little pillowcase dress for my sweet little girl.

Thanks for swapping with me, Linda. I love it. (I would have little A model it, but she's still waking up from her nap...) You are an excellent seamstress! I am so impressed with your ability to sew, as always.

Roxanne was super generous to my family, with gifts all around.
I love my new orange bag. She is one talented purse-making gal. They are even better in person than in the photographs.

A little purse for A. (her first purse!)

And a matching wee bunny.

And my little artists are working on filling up their fantastic notebooks.

Some of P's artwork, age 4.

a mountain with clouds and V birds....(p's description)

spiderman hanging from a tree...getting the bad batman.

and an alien. (I love kid artwork!!!)

Now, some of Z's drawings....age 6.

Easter eggs (with little sister's hand, of course)

fresh frout (fruit) in Michigan.

Thanks so much Roxanne...and Linda. I love my new stuff.