Wednesday, January 31, 2007

a baby quilt

A good friend just emailed me these photos of a quilt I made a while back for her baby who's now 3 months old. It was my first quilt (and only so far), quilted but no piecing. It has stippling, like this book instructs, but zigzag circles of contrasting thread. E's mom embroidered his name with her fancy machine. Even though I had done several smaller quilting projects, there were some surprises along the way with this one. Like how hard it is to manage something SO huge under the machine. And how difficult it is to be consistent with free-motion quilting, especially considering my old machine is not equipped for such maneuvers! Anyhow, I love how it turned out, even with its imperfections.
I've made so many things lately to give as gifts, and got so excited to present them that I never took a photo, so it's great that she did these for me.
And I'm really enjoying this guy! I kept trying to figure out who I could buy one for, and E finally got one for me for Christmas. We also bought one of the birds for his mom. The workmanship is really impressive.

Monday, January 29, 2007


This morning I finished this bag, and I'm so happy that I found this pattern. I'll definitely be making more of these. For this bag I used duck cloth and a panel of the ladybug fabric from superbuzzy. It's lined in red with a ladybug pocket. I shortened the straps because I prefer a shoulder bag to the messenger style. With the shorter strap, the bag really should be cut with a more angular shape rather than the rectangle because it kind of folds in on itself. Anywho, I'm quite happy with how quick it went (under 3 hours, and I'm quite slow) and how productive I feel. I mean, this is something I can use everyday! Well, maybe in the spring. There's one more detail I want to add, but it may be next weekend before I get to it. I definitely recommend this bag pattern- quick, easy to follow, and modifiable.
Now I want to kick myself for lurking so long before posting comments on others' blogs. Now that I'm posting, I realize how valuable (and exciting) each comment is. So, if you're reading, let me know what you think!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Producing and Produce

Detail shot of gathers.
Today I started to make a bag based on the tutorial at tiny happy, but that project came to a screeching halt when I realized the fabric hadn't been washed. I definitely don't want these fabrics to bleed, and it will be washable. So, I started on another project I'd been meaning to do. I've been wearing this black and white headband, by Jessie Steele, around my waist almost every weekend lately. My mom picked it up from Edith and Edna on a trip to Maine and Boston to visit my brother. It's long enough to tie back my hair, but I like it better as a belt, so I safety pin it together in back. I think everybody's getting tired of seeing me in it. Sashes were the first thing I started to sew really on my own, and I made a ton of them, lots of Asian brocades. But now it looks like I'm moving on the the more tailored fabric belt. I think I'll add snaps to the green one I made from estate sale fabric. Used the gathering (ruffling?) foot for the first time and that thing is pretty violent, but it works so fast!
I had already gotten the veggies and hummus ready when I pulled out moldy pita bread, so I decided to make my own wrap. After 3 tries, I remembered the Mexican cookbook where I found the recipe for tortillas I used in Japan. It's just flour, salt, oil, water. Knead, rest, roll, and grill. Yum.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Getting Clearer

Still working on this camera thing. Took lots of shots today in the limited hours of natural light when I was home, but still, so many are fuzzy. I thought I'd solved my inability to get it focused when I took a picture of some pants and could see the individual fibers. Today, fabrics were once again what turned out best. I'll have to keep working on this.
The first fabric is a thrifted tablecloth that I'm considering saving and making into a skirt when the weather warms up. But is it too busy? Hmm. The other fabrics are some (cheap) prints that caught my eye when I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up more Shrinky Dinks. I first discovered Jewelry by Jessica when I was searching for plastic earrings that wouldn't irritate my ears--you know the ones with the bendy plastic posts from the 80s--and instead I found her shrink plastic jewelry. I love her designs, and I've had my own fun with the plastic-- I prefer the 'ruff n ready' type-- making jewelry with my younger cousins and photo gift tags for Christmas. My father-in-law thought the tag was cool, then realized "Oh, that's me?' I eventually found the 80s earrings from another shrinker. The plastic posts are a little fatter than regular ones, but they really are great for my sensitive ears, not to mention how *rad* they look!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dreary Day

I was adding a photo of my '65 VW to my students' blog when I started really missing driving it. A couple months ago, the brakes gave out and I haven't driven it since. I've only had it a year, and it's far from perfect, but it's the car I always dreamed of.
The weather is especially dreary today. I was planning to post some new photos after reading my camera's manual, but it's too dark. I had gotten so frustrated with never getting the right shot that I was looking into buying a new camera. I'm actually pretty impressed (and ashamed for not figuring it out 2 years ago) that my Sony cyber-shot can take some decent photos. I just keep comparing it to our first digital camera that traveled so many places with us. The little Olympus served us well.
Instead, have you checked out Crate and Barrel's new store cb2? It's a little like west elm. I like some of their wall decor. I also found inspiration for an upcoming pottery painting session (a Christmas gift). I like the ideas at one hour craft. Usually that's about all the time I can devote in one sitting. Heavenly days is another blogger in FL! I really like what she says in her profile.
Oh, I added a photo to my header. It's in Kyoto, Japan, taken from the east side of the city looking back west. In the distance, you can see Kyoto Tower (across the street from where I worked) and further, the mountains of Arashiyama. A great reminder of an amazing city and an amazing year.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


The sewing room is really coming together. All that's left now is re-hanging a picture and some electrical work, both jobs for E. I finally have a place to save/display bits of inspiration. Pinned on the board is a card I got from E a couple years ago--I pointed it out to him at Target one day and then got it from him a few days later, swearing he didn't remember me pointing it out. hmm. I love the colors, design, AND glitter. I still need to do some work on the pockets of my board to keep them from sagging, but overall, I'm satisfied with how it turned out. It's a 24x36 office corkboard covered with batting and fabric, both affixed to the back with staples.
Next up: finding some new projects to use my fabrics ordered from superbuzzy. Have you seen this new one? Too cute!

Picked up this piece at an estate sale yesterday. The woman whose estate was for sale, Eleanor Maldonik, had had little cards printed explaining how she crafted and fired her pottery. Recently the estates of several local artists have been held. They have the most interesting collections and such huge stockpiles of supplies. It's neat to see the unfinished projects--I'm sure I'll leave plenty behind--and those that were finished. Even when it's someone I don't know, it's such an honor to own a piece that was created with such care.
The latest west elm catalog arrived this week, and I'm trying to figure out if I can recreate something like this. I love the motif, but maybe it'll have to go somewhere other than on a rug. Also love the birdies here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Finally Friday

For a four-day week, this one sure has been a marathon. It seems like there was only time for work and sleep. It paid off last night when a record number of students enrolled in this semester's evening English classes. Between work and some dog issues, needless to say, there was no time for creative endeavors. E's away to a car show tomorrow and, as my mother-in-law said, "You know what that means: Sewing Day!" I hope she's right.
So it's nice to look back on some of the projects, like this patchwork scarf, I had time for during winter break. This scarf, inspired by the ones in Denyse Schmidt's book, went to Aubrie, close friend and college roommate, who recently moved to Chicago. I enjoyed making these for three Florida-to-cold-climate transplants. They're lined in grey fleece, which makes them super cozy.
This weekend, I hope to finish the corkboard to hang above my sewing table. Mine has pockets like the ones over at Shim + Sons. It seems that these pinboards are on everyone's to-do list.
Happy weekend.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


So, I've gone back and forth about starting my own blog. For the past few months, I've been so inspired by other blogs. Now I'm going to give it a go. I read something in craft actually's profile (about how other people in her life don't understand...) that solidified why I should have a blog. Even though I have creative friends, none of them sew or have an interest in the types of art/craft that I do. I hope blogging will allow me to share with others who know where I'm coming from. My mother-in-law is a quilter, and it's great to talk to her about technique, but we have such different styles. I love that I've found a community that shares styles similar to mine. I also hope that blogging will give me that extra push I need to find creative time in my day. I wouldn't have done half the crafting in the past six months without the inspiration from other blogs.
Above are the cherry (plum?)blossoms in our back yard. Spring came early this year, and I'm ecstatic that this tree bloomed. We thought the dog had killed when it turned black and lost all its leaves. I don't have much of a green thumb, but I really wanted this tree to survive because we planted it right after moving into the house, which was right after returning from a year in Japan. All the other trees in back had been cut down before we saw the house, so this lone tree is extra special.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

first post

A current project

This is part of my sewing room re-do that has been going on for the past couple of weeks. Some of the fabric was a Christmas gift from my husband, E. He said the fabric cutter at Joann asked if he was a quilter. I told him that he should have said yes, but he said he was afraid of the next question she might ask if he did. He did a great job choosing the fabric, didn't he?, and even found a piece of 100% wool (which seems to be pretty rare in FL) in the remnants bin.
I find the room especially peaceful because of the sunlight and the colors I chose for it (as a guest room) a few years ago. The tree, which has also been there a few years, reminds me of cherry blossoms year-round.