Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wild Play Quilt Top (Minus border)

Chelsea took this beautiful photo!

This afternoon Chelsea and I got together for a busy day of last minute Christmas shopping, pho-slurping, and quilt... quilting.

I finally finished piecing together the main part of my latest quilt top.  I'm using two charm packs of the Wee Play line from American Jane (which were not easy to track down, by the way!).  I love this line so much, and am sad that it's going the way of the buffalo.  I used the Wild Thing quilt pattern again.  I like the movement of the blocks, and the way you can showcase lots of different prints.  I also used some different whites from the Bella Solids line and Kona.  I wanted the quilt to have a scrappy, vintage look - like the quilt you find in your grandma's atticf, which you find out used to sit on the foot of your mom's bed in kindergarten, which has been pieced and patched over the years.  Or something.

I'm a little stumped about what to use for the border and binding.  I'm thinking maybe some Kona Ash for the border:

Something fairly neutral, I think.  And maybe a pretty red polka-dot for the binding.  If anyone out there has any ideas, I'd love to hear them!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

2011 Owl Love Calendar

I love buying new calendars for the new year, but I'm extremely picky about size/shape/theme/artwork for my calendars, so I always have a hard time finding just the right ones.  Shivani, the author of the blog My Owl Barn, has put together the owl-inspired artwork of 30 different artists to create a customizable 2011 calendar.  You go in and select the 12 pieces you love most, decide which picture you want for each month, then download the calendar as a free PDF.  It will print as one of those small, desk-sizeish calendars.  Perfect for my entryway!

Go HERE to make yours.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wild Betty Quilt Finished!

Last September I started a quilt top using a Hello Betty layer cake and the Wild Thing quilt pattern from Thimbleblossom.  Remember?

Well, I finished it!!  All these snow days gave me the perfect opportunity to put in the last few hours this quilt needed.

For this quilt, I used freemotion quilting... which is both very fun and takes a lot of shoulder muscle!  The freemotion pattern is far from perfect, but I just love this quilt.  The candy striped binding makes me smile every time I look at it.  This quilt looks perfect draped over the end of our bed, but now I want to make some matching pillows... 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Summer Love Quilt Top

This is a quilt top I started last spring, using fabric from Amy Butler's Love line.  At the time, I stalled out because, once the quilt top was finished, I had no idea how to go about turning it into an actual quilt.  Now, my skillz are a little more developed and I know what to do... but since I will probably continue to procrastinate with this particular quilt, I thought I'd go ahead and take some pics to show you now.

 This is my wonderful husband being a good sport and helping me hold the (very large) quilt up.  He is sporting a look that I like to call, "The Handsome Hobo."

A little bit of summer on a wintry day!

Blue Owl Baby Quilt

On Monday Seattle got its first snowstorm of the year, so I've had two snow days to quilt and sew to my heart's content!  I finally finished the quilt that I bought fabric for back in September. When I finished the quilt, I still had blocks left over (although not enough to add a row and still keep the pattern of the quilt), so I made a little matching pillow.

I really do love these colors together!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jungle Baby Quilt

My wonderful friend Rosann is having a baby boy in March, which was the perfect excuse for me to make another rag baby quilt!  I tried, with increasing obviousness, to find out what colors/themes/whatever she was planning for her son, so that I could get started on a quilt. 

Here's how the conversation went:
Me:  So, have you started buying things for the baby?
Rosann:  No, not really!
Me:  Well, have you done any window shopping?  Maybe you've seen some blankets or bumpers or something that you thought were cute?
Rosann:  Not yet!
Me:  Well, if you were to start thinking about it, what colors do you think you'd be drawn to?
Rosann:  I don't really know... maybe nothing too bright?
Me:  So like, pastels?  Neutrals?
Rosann:  Ha ha, I'm so not a visual person!  I don't really know!  I like monkeys!
Me:  (giving up)

So I went to the fabric store with "nothing too bright, monkeys" as my criteria, and amazingly, I found the perfect fabric!

Not too bright!  Monkeys!  Hooray!!

From there, it was easy to find some coordinating fabric, and I love the way the quilt turned out:

Now the plan is to maybe make a pacifier clip or embellish a onesie with the same fabric to create a little gift set.  I'm super inspired by the ones sold at The Red Pistachio:

I have several quilt projects nearing completion, so hopefully more posts very soon!

Friday, November 19, 2010


This has nothing to do with anything, but I just had to share this clip of some of SNL's more famous female alums, plus Andy Cohen, doing "The Real Housewives of SNL."  I love all of the Housewives references... "We are fambily!  And we will always be fambily!"


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Altered Art

Yesterday Jonah and I visited a pumpkin patch, and we took some cute pictures of ourselves (with our iPhones... and yes, I did drop my iPhone while trying to take pics of myself, and yes, it did land directly in the mud, and yes, I did spend time today picking mud out of the headphone jack...).

I'm trying to get more familiar with PhotoShop Elements, so I played around with the stamp filter until I had this cool altered image.  I like it when experimentation leads to things I actually like, as opposed to just frustration!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

Tonight my husband surprised me with a pumpkin-carving date... which was quite a surprise, since in nearly 10 years together he has NEVER carved a pumpkin with me (I do it alone in the kitchen every year... confessions of a lonely holiday nerd).  To my delight, he decided that it was fun, so we're definitely headed to the pumpkin patch tomorrow to pick up a few more.

This picture cracks me up.  I love how my little punkin is looking slyly at his... and his is sort of spazzing out.  Kind of like their creators.  :)

Cross your fingers for me that tomorrow's forecasted storm waits until after the pumpkin patch.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Little Punkin Cookies

I have a new blog addiction... Bake at 350 has given me a new interest in cookie decorating! She makes the cutest little cookies, using royal icing and a technique called flooding.
I was inspired! Basically, you whip up a bunch of super firm, strong icing called royal icing. You use the royal icing to create an outline, and let it dry and harden. Then, you water down the icing a bit and use it to "flood" the inside of the outline. You end up with super smooth icing! Well, hypothetically. Maybe I'll get there in a few more tries. :)

This little guy was my favorite. I have a meeting after school tomorrow... I think these will be just the right treat to bring!

Apple Pie Filling

After my day of apple picking yesterday, I found myself with a whole lot of apples! Duh, right? But seriously, we're talking A LOT of apples. Because my mom decided she didn't want all of hers, so we're talking probably 15 pounds of apples.

So here's apple project #1: Apple Pie Filling. I found a recipe that supposedly freezes really well, and spent my Saturday night peeling and slicing 15 freshly-picked Jonagolds. I'm hoping to make the first pie sometime this week, and will probably save the other jars for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We're not usually big pie people, but I have a feeling that these jars will prove quite tempting peeking out of the freezer!

This recipe should actually be packed into 5 containers, as it will make 5 nine-inch pies. I just had to make do with what I had on hand!

Freezer Apple Pie Filling

18 cups thinly sliced apples
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 cups water

In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and set aside. Pour water into a Dutch oven over medium heat. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add to water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add apples and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Ladle into 5 freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Cool at room temperature no longer than 1 1/2 hours.

Seal and freeze. Can be stored for up to 12 months.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Apple Pickin' With My Mom

Despite the torrential downpour we got here, today was the perfect apple-picking day.

My mom and I drove a little over an hour north, to Merritt Orchards in Bow, Washington.

We each got a super special apple-holding bag (read: plastic grocery bag).

It took us awhile to pick our apples, because we're both super picky. No worms in these apples!!

This orchard would make an amazing photo shoot location.

Mom tried to just pick the high ones, leaving the lower ones for little kids. These little kids were purely hypothetical, as we were the only crazies picking apples in the rain.

Man, those were the wrong shoes to wear.

We found some nests too, but we left those alone!
The final count? Ten pounds of Jonagolds! Yes, it sounds like a lot, but I have big plans for these babies...

And naturally we couldn't leave without warm apple pie a la mode. We climbed back into the car, wet and cold. We cranked up the heat and took off our shoes and socks and agreed that it was, all in all, a perfect day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Card-Making Party

Last night one of my co-workers hosted a card-making party at work. I'd never been to one before, so I was excited.

Okay, I have to tell you - this is the way to craft! This brilliant, artistic woman showed up with all of the supplies to make 4 different card designs. She had examples made, plus all of the fancy papers, embellishments, stamps, inks, ribbons, tape, glue, foam tabs, and envelopes needed. She even brought her die-cutting machine! I got to make 8 really cute cards. It was cheap - $10 total - and I didn't have any pesky leftover supplies to figure out storage for.

I made this cute little kangaroo pocket-card.

You know I love all things owl-related!!

I would have never come up with this design on my own, but I think it's very fun.

How cute is this - 5 little mini cards inside a nifty little box that we made with the die-cut!

Too fun!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Framed Art

Last weekend I took the Martha Stewart "What's Your Halloween Crafting Personality?" quiz, and learned that I am a Seasonal Crafter.

Martha knows me so well. It's true - when the seasons change, I want everything about my environment to change too. I want to be surrounded by the colors and smells of the season in my home.

Following this whim, I took some pictures off of our balcony on Sunday. We are so lucky to have this beautiful tree right outside our apartment, which changes to the most vibrant, beautiful colors every fall. I snapped a bunch of pictures - some of the naked leaves, and others with props like mini pumpkins, and then picked my two favorites. After a quick visit to the Walgreen's photo website and a slightly longer visit to the store itself, I had two very seasonal photos to temporarily install in my living room:

Seasonal joy!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

The pumpkin madness continues! Yesterday I also whipped up a double batch of Chelsea's awesome pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies. Here is her super-awesome recipe:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix together:
1 c. sugar
1 c. pumpkin
1/2 c. oil
1 egg
In a large bowl, sift together:
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix gently.
Dissolve together and add to rest of ingredients:
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Fold in:
1 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. nuts
Stir until combined - do not overmix.
Drop rounded tablespoons onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake approximately 10 to 12 minutes. NOTE: Careful not to overcook. Cookies will be soft and moist.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pumpkin Hazelnut Muffins

After three weeks of searching and waiting, I finally found canned pumpkin puree at the grocery store!! Until last year, I never realized how tough it can be to find canned pumpkin, even at this time of year.

Apparently, Morton, Illinois is the center of most pumpkin production for Nestle (who makes Libby's, the most widely-available canned pumpkin in the U.S.). Last year, Morton got twice as much rain as usual, which made most of the pumpkins rot in the fields.

People were selling cans of pumpkin for $7 on ebay!

This year, the pumpkin harvest is looking good, but they're still catching up from last year. So when I saw canned pumpkin at QFC on Friday, I bought 6 cans.

You might want to stock up too, if you can find these little cans of gold. Who knows, they might be an investment towards Christmas money!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October Treats

Oh yum! A few treats I am hoping to try out at some point this month:

1. Candy Corn Cupcakes
2. Caramel Apple Cupcakes
3. Haystack Monsters
4. Nutter Butter Mummies
5. Oreo Mummy Pops
6. Owl S'mores
7. Chocolate Pretzel Candy Apple
8. Pumpkin Rice Pudding
9. Jack 'o Lantern Sandwiches

Click through the links for delicious ideas for festive feasts!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Decorating for Halloween

I just couldn't wait one more minute. I love Halloween, and I really love decorating for Halloween. Putting Halloween stuff out on October 1st means at least 31 days to enjoy it!!

Happy Halloween-month!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For All My Gleeks Out There...

Photo courtesy of Diamonds for Dessert
OMG. I am so loving these Glee-themed cookies from Diamonds for Dessert. Look at those little details - the blue streaks in Tina's hair, Puck's fauxhawk, and Emma's little string of pearls!!! Perfect!
What do you think, Chelsea... will we ever reach this level in our baking adventures? :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween Envelope Bags

Oh, I just can't help myself! I know that it is way too early to start spreading Halloween cheer, but this weekend I found an inspiring tutorial on how to turn an envelope into a little gift bag, and I couldn't resist. These ones are filled with sweets leftover from my Halloween Advent Calendar. I'm going to try to wait to deposit these on desks until at least October 1... but no promises. :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Halloween Advent Calendar

I just love the fall! It is easily my favorite time of year. And the best part of fall is this time we're in right now, where school has started, the leaves are turning red, and all of the stores are stocking a new year's worth of Halloween Decorations. Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and beyond that, Christmas. There is nothing but wonderful to look forward to.

Oopsey Daisy posted a tutorial for this SO cute Halloween advent calendar. I think that the magnetic cookie sheet I found at Dollar Tree was a little too small, and my glass marbles were a little too big. That led to less space for candy, so I had to get a bit creative when cramming all 31 pieces of chocolate on there. I kind of like the wonky, haphazard look though, don't you?

More Halloween projects coming soon!!

Colorful Boys Quilt

Today is a rainy, gray day in Seattle, so Chelsea and I decided it was the perfect day for an outing to the fabric store. She was picking out fabrics for two adorable baby girl quilts, and I needed some border fabric for my Wild Thing/Hello Betty quilt (which I am finishing up now... pics to come!).

I was really only planning to buy the border fabric, but the striped fabric on the far right in the pic above just jumped off the shelf at me. I grabbed it on a whim, and almost immediately I spotted the owl fabric on another shelf. Those were quickly followed by the thicker stripe fabric, the plaid, and the stars. The chocolate brown solid finished off this happy little pile just perfectly!

I'm not exactly sure which pattern I want to use for this quilt. I've been looking at Cluck. Cluck. Sew. for inspiration, and I have a couple of good ideas: either this fun wonky block, or a more simple blocked quilt using her stack 'n whack tutorial.