Friday, December 17, 2010

This elf is running out of pixie dust . . .

I love it when this . . . .
turns into something like this . . . Ellie's "A Big Girl Bed Needs a Big Girl Quilt" quilt is quilted, bound, washed and crinkled to perfection. It is wrapped and ready to go under the tree. My only mishap was this cute label . . . is now almost a complete washout. I will have to recreate it and sew over the top of the old one.
I also have finished this one for my mom, I was in such a rush to get it under the tree I didn't even take a photo . . . it is big squares of Figgy Pudding from last year and this year with a scrappy binding and fun pieced back, sashed in medium grey kona. I really thought I took a photo, but sadly did not!
Another small quilt for a new baby on our street, that was such a rush, I failed to photograph it as well . . .
The fourth and final quilt made since Thanksgiving, is one I am still working on. I joined Cara in her awesome Urban Lattice Quilt-a-long. It was the perfect quilt to tackle as time on my quilting for x-mas time was fading away. Check out all the great ones made in the quilt-along here.
Here it is before it was quilted. It is now quilted and needs to be squared up, bound and washed. I am just not feeling up to it . . . I think maybe a glass of wine and my flannel pj's and cozy slippers might help me find my mojo. Or at least put me to sleep and I can stop worrying about it.
Here is the front-
and this is the back
I am going to bind it in the solid sage green. I can't wait to get this one done!
Like all little elves this time of year . . . the list is long. For sure I need to make finish (start) four more pillows to go with the two I have already sent to Seattle. All the Meyer/Ott cousins will have matching pillows made by mom/aunt kirsten under the tree! Here are the two for my brother's girls: (okay it looks like I didn't take photos of the two I sent, just this one photo which shows most of the Rosie pillow . . .)
So the question I ask myself every December when the holiday burn-out begins and I am not even half-way through my to do list is, why don't I start this madness months earlier?
Okay off to get busy in the workshop now that the little people in the house are fast asleep!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Starting the Preparations!

December 5th and we decided to turn on the holiday in our house. We are a bit slow at pulling the full Christmas decor rip cord . . . but we started with a few basics today. Outside lights, the kitchen and placing of the general christmas chatskies! We are waiting until next week to trek to VT for a tree, we are expecting some snow next week to make it a little more special.
Holiday cards get me a little nutty. This year I was going to be better. I ordered them ages ago and of course haven't started to write notes or address them. I so wish I took the time to catch up with dear friends with personal letters. Oh well, I guess there is always next year and now at least there is facebook! I do love the cards this year . . .
Here is a little holiday eye candy for you! We were lucky enough to be a vendor sharing a side with the very talented papier moon primitives at the Saratoga City Center Craft show. After sneaking peeks all day, I had to pick up a few . . . doesn't this look lovely on the kitchen shelf?
and then of course an aqua santa could not be overlooked!
Although primitive is not my usual cup of tea . . . I really am loving these and the work she puts into them is amazing! It was lots of fun to get to know the artist and learn all the work and talent she puts into each piece. She recently opened an ETSY shop and I have a feeling it is going to be a big success!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pillow Swap Four - Cozy Winter Pillow

I must admit I have a love/hate relationship with winter. The kids still need to get from place A to B and I am not a fan of driving in the snow. Driving the 45 minutes back from Max's weekly soccer game last night, I realized soon I would be doing it on snow covered roads. The morning shuffle to school for all three kids is a bit more crazy when you add hats, coats, gloves and boots into the mix.
But for all challenges the snow brings I love snuggling in for the season. Sitting together as a family with a roaring fire, the little kids playing with blocks with Daddy and Max and I on the couch me knitting/hand sewing and him reading/small electronic device is just heaven. For this whole to work for me, I require cozy pillows and quilts to complete the picture. So when the velveteen came into one of my favorite fabric shops I knew that I had new plans for the pillow swap.
My partner asked for a pillow with lots of negative space, but other than that she was pretty open. She has young children and I thought a big cozy pillow would be fun. Anna Maria Horner's new Innocent Crush in the velveteen is amazing, buttery soft and so tactile. The colors are amazing and in my book it makes for one luxurious pillow. I hope my partner feels the same. I worry when I don't make a crazy over the top pillow, but I love the less is more approach and I am fairly certain looking a her blog and flickr stream this pillow will be right up her alley.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The music has stopped and our game of bedroom bingo is officially over!

The cast is off and I can sort of type again! The good news is sewing doesn't hurt much! So in honor of my fingers freedom, a quick blog post!
Remember the game of musical chairs from childhood? We have been playing that game for the last three plus years at our house and I think either we are going to move into a house that is just one huge bedroom and put two king sized beds together or finally declare a game over! Max was so excited when Ellie and Sam were finally born and each brought home from the hospital after our years of infertility struggles and adoption hurdles that he wanted all three of them to share a room or at least he and Sam could be roomies. From there for various reasons over the past three years we have worked through all the combinations from all three together to all three apart and everything in between. They have also been in all three of the rooms, including taking over a guest room and making another room for our guests.
Finally everyone is happy and in their own rooms. A few months ago this included saying good-bye to the cribs and purchasing big girl bed for Ellie, Sam inheriting Max's bunk bed's and Max getting a new larger bed. We are also starting to decorate each space and for me that includes making them each a quilt or in Sam's case a set for their beds. The boys bed's have bedding that will work for a bit, but Ellie has only random blankets, so I started with hers. For now the walls are a spring green from when we didn't now whether we would be blessed with a boy or a girl (it worked great when we found ourselves parents to one of each!) I plan to paint it a aqua blue perhaps someday soon, but made a fun quilt that will work with anything. I must say I love paper piecing a string quilt, but it does seem to take forever!
It was so fun working with all my favorite scraps and gathering a few new ones! Here is a closer look
Using Ashley's wonderful String Block tutorial found here. Also lots of fun examples of string quilts on flickr here and here.
I am almost done with the back and it will be off to Courtney at KC to be quilted. After the new year I will start on quilts for Max and Sam. Next up for me on the quilt list should really be a quilt for my mom for Christmas, but before starting that I think I am going to take on a quick one for my brother-in-law for the holidays. Along with my husband and their mom, they have had a hard few months since their dad unexpectedly passed away this summer. I thought maybe a special quilt would keep him warm and cozy. He is a big guy and needs a manly quilt. I feel in love by this awesome quilt from Cara and since she is nice enough to start a
quilt along . . .
Check it out and join in the fun. I love the thought of this one and think it will come together pretty quick. At this time of year a quick check off the list is a good thing! I hope to get started a bit today!
Note to my children if they ever read this later in life . . . I love you all so much, but please stay in your beds all night. Last night dad and I ended up getting out of bed and going downstairs to the guest room when you all ended up in our bed around 2 am. Is it really that lonely in your own rooms?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pillow Talk Swap Mosaics

I thought it would be fun to look at the photos I have put into mosaics for this swap the past four times. It shows that yes I tend to love the same pillows and the same styles, but also that I just am so inspired by everything made by this fun group.
Round 4 Mosaic
Round 3 Inspiration
I love all these pillows!
Round 2
Round 1
As I add these photo to the post I LOVE all these, especially the two in the bottom row corners. The fresh white gets me every time!
Thanks Heather and Kerri for this swap . . . it has been a fun one to take part in. The inspiration is fantastic and really makes this whole sewing/flickr addiction FUN!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Short and Sweet

Three weeks into my cast on arm induced blogging, sewing and creative break . . . missing everyone! Since I am typing with one finger, I will keep this short . . . here is what I was able to finish with the help of my kids and a friend . . .
Tree skirt for the Savvy Seasons swap using the new Moda Bliss. It is a great line and a understated take on the holidays . . . my partner suggested she would love this for holiday decor and I think it will be right up her alley. I plan to use this fabric on some upcoming projects myself.
I had plans to make a bunch of little items and had an stitching project half done . . . so switching gears I decided to let the fabrics help me make a bold statement and I must say I love the outcome . . . I hope my partner will like it, with little kids in her life I think it will be great. My kids wanted to keep it and love all things holiday.
I even cut into my favorite Shinzi Katoh holiday prints . . .
I will have to write a much longer post about how much I have come to appreciate on-line friends both new and old. Two great swap packages came my way in the last couple weeks.
A mug rug and fun goodies from Sue -
How can someone read your blog and look at your flickr photos and just know what you will love. This is such a fun and perfect mug rug for me! The stitching is fab and the whole thing is so fun! Thanks again Sue!
Then I was lucky to matched with a online friend who has been so wonderful to get to know over the last year. She was partnered with me and was supposed to make a couple of potholders . . . well lets just say the potholders brought friends! LOOK at this package, I am still fondling everything and making sure no one spills on the potholder or coasters!
Thanks Linda, I am crazy for everything and just LOVE the farmdale prints!
Okay I want to try and add links to this, but I am off to take a pain killer . . . perhaps trying this wasn't such a great idea, just wanted to say thanks and I am still around and miss everyone!
Have a great rest of October! We are getting ready for a visit from some dear friends from the UK and then my college roomate and her son. It will be fun having guests the rest of the month, I love a full house!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tina Given's Sent me a little package!

Look what arrived on my doorstop a few days ago . . . a wonderful package from Tina Givens. No, not just her fabric from a store, but an actual package from Tina with a note to me! I was planning on participating again in the Kids Clothing Week Challenge (check out all the great kids clothing items people made) this fall, it was awesome all the stuff I made the kids during the Spring. I had seven full days of projects ready to go, pattern and fabrics . . . when I injured myself (more on that later). Tina had a post on her blog about the challenge and she generously offered a pattern and fabric to people who were taking it on and sewing one hour a day making clothing for their kids.
I think the hand written note from Tina was my fav! By the way I have got to get some of her stationary, it is so fresh and fun!
I have pre-ordered her new book, Sew Tina, and was anxious to give the zigzag girl dress a try. I love the crossover bodice and have been looking for a pattern. I mentioned in the note on her blog and it showed up with fabric to make one!
With a little help from my eight year old son . . . he did the cutting for me! Here is the fruits of our labor in just about an hour. It is a great pattern and a fun little dress. I can't wait until Ellie wakes up to try it on her and finish up the sleeves and hem!
The reasons I haven't been on flickr much, sewing or taking part in the kids clothing challenge-
(sorry for the patching style of this post, but I had to cut and paste parts of this because my hand is starting to swell and throb from typing)
For a couple of months I noticed when waking up that my hands were still asleep. Then it got worse last week and I started to feel tingling, burning, and numbness in my hands and sometimes up my arms. I freaked out. Tons of things ran through my mind - heart attack, stroke, MS, etc. I moved up my yearly dr's appointment and found out . . . I have a bad case of carpal tunnel in my right hand and moderate case in my left.
Without realizing it, I have had a mild case for years, finally have started working out every day lifting weights stressed it to the breaking point. I had no idea carpal tunnel could be this painful- the brace is helping and most of the numbness, etc is gone.

So . . . for six weeks I am not to type, sew or really do anything I enjoy. Hope to finish little projects, but hand work will be out! Ughhhh. Typing is out, but I can use the touchscreen on the ipad to keep up with my flickr and fb obsessions. Guessing not a lot of blog posts, but hey what else is new.

I promise lots to show the next time I post!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Falling into line

This week we finally got into the groove. Ellie and Sam had their first full week of activities and pre-school and Max is going strong. All three of them are busy, which in turn keeps me crazy busy. I am thinking about picking up my needles and making some hats and gloves for the kids, since I find my time sitting at their activities a lot and could be moving my hands! Also I just ordered the sequel to my favorite knitting book, Last Minute Handmade Gifts, from Purl. I thought it was a signed copy, but sadly it wasn't. It did allow me to order some of the new embrodery thread Purl is carrying! Super excited to make a few things from the new book!
all time fav knitting book!
new book!
The little kids had a very happy week and one day were so in the zone I had to take some photos. I love when they are being nice to each other . . .
after pick-up on their first full day of Skidmore College pre-school - Sept 2010
Ellie put this little number together herself, minus the coat and I couldn't get over how cute she looked (I know I am a bit biased) but how fun when things you pick up from different stores and even from different years, come together to a fun outfit! The dress I bought when she was an infant at a going out of business sale and held onto it for three years, together with tights bought on a whim due to a love of stripes and then her new school shoes and coat . . . together so fun!
The Savvy Seasons swap has been keeping me busy. I get so crazed with finishing the swaps so I can not have to worry . . . that I don't get any other sewing done. So I am trying to finish it up this week. A great week with new TV shows to sit and stitch binding. This week I quilted a bit each night, then made the scrappy binding strips and last night started to hand stitch the binding. I have a night or two left and it will be done! I LOVE the Bliss line and am thrilled at how this is coming out. I took it with me to KC Fabrics last night for our Thirsty Thursday stitching night and my peeps have me really wanting to keep it! I always promise that I will make the same item for us . . . and this time I mean it (unless of course I get one from my swap partner!) Here is a quick peek of how it is looking.
Also so excited to get some Heather Ross prints that Amber and I ordered from Spoonflower in the Sateen. I am thrilled we choose to go for it, the prints look wonderful!
Okay off to help in Max's class . . . we are making applesauce.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Christmas in September? 1970's addition

The Savvy Seasons swap and all the holiday fabrics have me in the holiday decor crafting phase. I love the holidays and just can't resist all the fun projects centered around them. This year I plan to make a holiday quilt for us and maybe a pillow or two.
The swap has got me thinking about my favorite decorations from years past and trying to recreate them. My partner was pretty specific in her requests and she is also one of what I refer to as the flickr elite. Anyone who reads this little blog knows that I get a little worried about my sewing ability when sewing for others. The quilt blocks this person makes are A M A Z I N G and since I know I can't create any complicated piecing jobs . . . I am relying on color sense and fabric choices. Through some stalking of my partner's blog I found out that the new Bliss line is a favorite. So off I went in search of some and let me tell you . . . it is a great line.
Here is where I stalled out. I could not find a pattern I loved for a tree skirt, so I decided to create my own from my favorite tree skirt we used growing up. It is not the traditional rounded skirt, but a quilted skirt with 8 blades if you will. I traced the skirt and have pieced together the top so far. I am loving it and now just need to decided how to quilt it. I am leaning toward straight organic lines. This skirt I love is a really awful 70's print that really wasn't all that festive, I just really loved the shape!
sorry for the random sneak peak! I have pieced with the jelly roll every other fan of the tree skirt and then used the print shown in red or the same print in green on the alternating one.
The exercise of decided what I liked from years past also got me thinking of ornaments. My mom made amazing stuff in the 70's. I really loved two sets . . . she did dough art for all of us and painted them in great little sports outfits or really whatever we were into. It was a ton of fun and they really felt special. Then she made some felt ornaments from a kit, that I just LOVE. A fellow flickr user posted a photo of the set recently and my quest began to find them. I had checked on Ebay before with no luck . . . but today I found them! I am keeping my fingers crossed I will win the auction!
Finally I have been playing around with some another idea of three nesting baskets in some fun holiday colors to go with the tree skirt. Here is my first prototype and I will tweak it a bit. I need to find something else to use as the base. I think I will make one for us to store the cards that come in. Maybe even as a gift to give to the neighbors with a few goodies tucked inside. Here is the smallest size and what I have so far! Loving the new spoonflower design from Laurie Wisburn . . . could it be printed as a Kaufman print next fall? We can only hope!
the inside looks like this
Before the partner assignments I started to work on a little hoop . . . not sure if I will use it, but will keep going on it. It is from Annie Oakleaves that I bought last year, but now it is easy to get them from Kerri at SewDeerlyLoved.
Have you started any holiday crafting? It will be here before we know it . . .

Friday, September 17, 2010

Love the Urban Home Goods Swap

My favorite part of the swap is waiting for the partner I made for to receive the package. Upon awaking this am, I saw that over in Australia a little package arrived for my fabulous swap partner, Miss Nova . . . and she loved it! Her blog, a cuppa and a catch up, has been a staple of creative inspiration for me. I must admit I was a little worried about my abilities when making for one of the flickr rockstars, but after posting a few photos in the pool, Nova was always one of the first people to jump in with sweet comments and she even *favored* a few of the items. So I decided I am at least a flickr solid karaoke singer and I wouldn't fret, but just have fun!
Isn't it great participating in these swaps and knowing that unlike your critical mother-in-law or pregnant friend who you are pretty sure would rather have a gift from a store, you are making something special for someone who appreciates it? I love that part of the swaps!
So Nova mentioned she liked gray, blue, green with a touch of red . . . which is a favorite combo for me as well. I had so much fun breaking out some fabric that often sits on the sidelines and watches . . . grey and blue seeds and some large blue bouquet. I even cut into a Aunt Cookie panel. It made me want to sew with fabrics I love more often and really I have been the last couple weeks! I vow to continue and it is Sew with your FMF month, as proclaimed by Amy of Badskirt.
Here is what I sent to Nova.
The craft or craft show apron, tea cozy, mug rug and a bunting with her name. The cream and sugar set is my personal tea time favorite and I found another set at a fun new kitchen store . . . so thought it had to be sent as well.
here is a full view of the bunting
and a complete view of the tea cozy. I used a pattern by Retromama and will be making a few more cozy's, it is a great pattern. She is even having a contest to win the pattern! It fits over my trusty chantal tea pot and keeps the tea nice and warm!
Later today I will take some photos of the wonderful items I received in the swap from Colette and the fun story behind it. Off to photograph hat day at school for the yearbook and then to soccer and swim class with the little kids. So this will be a partial post for now!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rocky start but good outcome

Now that we are entering third grade, we are old hat at first days of school. He did wake up early and came into our room dressed and ready for the day! What a change from sleeping in all summer long. He was excited to tackle the day and see all his friends.
The little kids didn't feel the same way . . . they didn't want to lose their best buddy for the day. All day long they wanted to know when Max would be home!
Big Send-off
The ever popular backpack photo.
His favorite shirt
This year is a bit different in the fashion, music and just general attitude. He is an eight year old who is influenced by older kids in the neighborhood, on sports teams and at camps he attended. We went to the mall last week for shoes and he really wanted to pick out some "fancy" t-shirts that weren't his usual sports teams. He asked to go into Aeropostale and he picked out some t-shirts, a hat and a lovely chain with a dog tag on it. I was proud of myself for keeping my lack of enthusiasm for the fake chain in check. He knows he can't wear it to school, so really it didn't do much harm. I am learning with the music choices to pick my battles for the ones I can't live with losing.
Here he is from the weekend with the new hat and he is feeling very stylish and cool.
Lamp post pose
I need to dig out the first day photos I have taken in front of this lamp post since pre-school. He is really getting tall!
Our half of Liz Ann Drive
I took a couple shots of our bus stop to use in the yearbook for school this year. It is a job I took on with a friend last year and lets just say . . . tons of work! This year I vow to keep up with it throughout the year so it won't be so much work in the last couple weeks.
Bus stop
I love this shot from oldest to the youngest kids. We have 6 Kindergarten kids on our street this year, three at our bus stop! What fun! The only problem today was the bus didn't really show up! It broke down earlier in the route and a new bus was sent. Not a great way to start the year. We ended up driving the kids and just as we were leaving the neighborhood with minutes until school started, the bus sped onto our street. Lets hope Friday the whole thing goes a little better. Yes you heard me, we had a day of school and now we have a day off for the Jewish holidays. Not sure why we didn't wait for Friday or Monday to be the first day . . .
Waiting for the bus
Max is a rule follower and our house is actually its own bus stop. We often get lonely and go and hang with the neighbors a few doors down. Max always feels like he is breaking the rules and he didn't want to break them on this first day. Ellie and Sam always wait with him. I was waiting to get the shot of them waiting and the bus pulling onto the street, but this year that didn't happen.
True to form, we didn't get many details. Looking forward to chatty Ellie's school days and actually knowing what goes on. I did learn that - he likes his teacher, she is nice, lots of his favorite peeps are in his class and his favorite part of the day was learning that one of his best buddies, himself and the teacher are the only three Red Sox fans in a sea of Yankee loving New Yorkers. He is quite anxious to learn to write in cursive and is thrilled that they will learn slowly.
Have a great year Max - we are thrilled, proud and expecting you to try your best!
P.S. I started writing this post around 8:30 and Max was fast asleep . . . the first day of school is draining!

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