Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer Love

Ooops! Apparently, I spoke too soon as it's now raining. Oh well, it's Oregon, right?

Anyway...one of my favorite things about late summer is that I finally get to make this:

Roasted corn and tomato salsa. So so yummy!

It's a family tradition and I usually end up making about three big batches before summer's end. Best of all, it freezes well so we can enjoy it even after the fresh corn and tomatoes are long gone.

So, who wants to bring the margaritas?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cute Alert!

Lookie what I found at Goodwill for two bucks:

My daughter wants it. Bad.

But I've made it very clear that this particular item is mine. All mine.

It holds other cute items:

I had a pretty serious obsession with Hello Kitty when I was ~ahem~ younger. It seems I never quite got over it. I mean, how else can I explain denying my very own daughter this sweet treasure? But I did. And I don't have even a twinge of guilt.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A New Favorite

If you haven't checked her out yet, go visit Ayumi over on Pink Penguin because she makes some pretty fabulous stuff. She's also super generous with the tutorials and often has some real gems in her etsy shop. She recently made a bento lunch bag for her husband and was kind enough to share her pattern with the rest of us in this tutorial.

As soon as I saw the bag, I knew I wanted to make one for a friend of mine who is a knitter. We had dinner recently and she pulled out her latest project in a plastic grocery bag! I said to myself: This will not do! She needs a cute knitting bag!


One of the really cool things about this bag is the drawstring cover. It's a really lovely detail.

This bag was made from a cotton/linen blend with a colorful Henry Glass print for the rim and some random print from my stash for the cover. The lining of the bag and back of the handles is a green sheet from IKEA (which happens to be an almost dead on color match for Kona peridot, in case you were wondering).

So, after making this bag, I really REALLY wanted to make one for myself as well. So I came up with this little patchwork number:

I'm using it as my purse right now and love it! One of my favorite things about this one is the cover, which is made from a vintage pillowcase. Cute, right?

Ayumi's tutorials are very clear and easy to understand with lots of pictures to help you along. Her attention to detail in the construction and finishing of this bag are particularly nice.

I'll probably need to make another one. And then maybe another one.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


...the newest members of our family:

Lord help me, we've added not one but TWO kittens that are just 1-2 months old. I guess managing two children under five, starting potty-training with my daughter and trying to keep up with things like laundry and grocery shopping (not to mention sewing and crafting!) just wasn't quite enough.

This is Girl Kitty, proudly named by my two year old. She's feisty and has tons o' spunk. But she's also battling a pretty intense upper respiratory infection (kitty cat cold), so please think happy thoughts for her.

This is Little John, named by my four year old. He is a total cuddlebug and the sweetest little fella. I love the tufts of hair coming out of his ears. He looks like a feline elf.

They're both still getting used to their new digs and have discovered that the wine rack is a pretty cool hideout.

Oh, and by some MIRACLE, they both already know how to use a litter box. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Both kitties were adopted from the Oregon Humane Society. If you get the chance to invite a pet into your life, please check out all the wonderful animals available in this and other shelters.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hexagon Needle Book ~ Tutorial

After looking all over for a cute hexagon shaped needle case tutorial, I kept coming up empty. I started by making this one, which was inspired by one I saw in a magazine but it was really fussy and I didn’t like all the thread globs from starting and stopping the stitching. I was looking for a clean simple design – just like the hexagons I’ve been piecing! So after a few more attempts, I came up with this. It’s not too fiddly, is quick to come together and you’ll have a cute needle case when you’re all done!

Bear with me – this is my very first tutorial.


Outer fabric: two 4.5” squares

Inner fabric: two 4.5” squares, one 1.5”x 5” piece (for “hinge” piece, not pictured)

Fusible interfacing: two 2” hexagons

Felt: one piece approx. 7" x 3.5"

Four 2 inch and two 1.75 inch hexagon templates (you can print these up here)

Sewing machine and thread


First, let’s make the hexagons. We need to make four hexagons: two with the outer fabric and two with the inner fabric. You can baste the hexagons using the 2 inch templates as a stabilizer (just like regular paper pieced hexagons) or you can join the Lazy Crafter’s Club and just press them around the template, which is what I do.

Once you have your four hexagons be sure to press them well so that they will hold their shape and have nice crisp edges. Remove paper templates, if using.

Gently open up the outer fabric hexagons and place one of your fusible interfacing hexies inside, fusible side down. I actually cut mine down to be a little smaller than 2 inch hexies so it's easier to fit them nicely inside there.

Carefully fold back the edges so that you have a nice tidy hexagon again. Press well. Repeat for the other outer hexagon.

Your hexagons are done!

Next, take your 1.5” x 5” piece of inner fabric (or whatever you’re using for your hinge piece (mine is a scrap of brown linen/cotton) and press ends under (1/2 inch) and then press in half so that you have a piece that measures 1.5” x 2”.

Now let’s tackle the felt! I like the pages of my needle book to be slightly smaller than the cover so I use the 1.75 inch hexagon template. I make a larger template by placing the two hex templates side by side, with a half inch space between them. This extra space is to make room for the hinge part at the fold of the needle book. It should look like this:

Use this template to cut out your felt.

Yay! You now have all the pieces needed for your needle book. Let’s assemble!

Take one outer hexie and one inner hexie and sandwich them wrong sides together. I put one pin in each side to hold everything so things don’t get shifty. On the side where your needle book will fold, tuck your hinge piece in about 1/2 inch.

Sew along the edge all around the hexagon sandwich. Keep your stitching very close to the edge.

Repeat for the other hexagon, tucking in the hinge piece again so that there’s about 1/8 inch between the two hexies for the fold. Like this:

Almost done! Take your felt and center it inside your needle book.

Stitch along the center attaching the felt to the hinge.

That's it. You did it! Admire your fabulous new needle case!

If you make one, I'd love to know!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Dear Gary, I love you but I think it best if you do not read this post. Seriously. Thanks, sweetie!

Okay, I don't know if everyone has a place like this in their backyard but we Portlanders are very lucky to have Fabric Depot and it's yearly Outdoor Sale. OMG, it's like a little fabric Disneyland - and this year, they seem to have Really Great Stuff.

Check it out:
These will be made into pj pants for my daughter. The top one is flannel and the others are the softest cotton I've ever felt.

These are pj pants that have already been made for my son. Three bucks a yard for these fabrics! Awesome!

And I think I may have to make sushi pj pants for me.

Okay, here's where it starts to get crazy. Gary, seriously, if you're reading this, you should stop. It's for your own good.

Some sweet orange polka dots, and a tiny alphabet print (hard to see in this pic). The bottom two are fabulous faux bois prints that will probably back some napkins.

These are all coordinating cheery cherry prints from Moda - four bucks a yard! I mean, how can I NOT buy them. They're going to make super cute patchwork!

Yeah, there's more. And yes, that's Tula Pink's Nest fabric on top. Third one down is a great ruler/tape measure print. The solid on the bottom is a nice linen/cotton blend and I got an insane amount of it - something like six yards (there are about two yards pictured). I plan to make some bags to give to friends for Christmas.

Okay, don't hate me - and don't rush over to Fabric Depot because I bought pretty much all they had. Yes, LUSH!

As if that wasn't enough, I've also had some truly stellar luck in the remnant department lately. Fabric Depot is great for rems because they automatically mark down 20% and then take another 50% off at the register.

If you made it this far, just know that I wish you all the same luck at finding great deals on fabric. It's an obsession I truly (and obviously) understand.

EDIT: Please know that these were NOT all purchased in one fell swoop...more like collected over the summer. And most Outdoor Sale pieces are one yard. Rems are significantly smaller, some just 1/8 of a yard. Do I sound like I'm trying to justify this massive mountain of fabric? Why yes. Yes, I am.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Little FYI

I don't post about this often, but my four year old son Owen has juvenile arthritis. He was diagnosed about a year ago and is doing really well. We had the opportunity this past weekend to attend Camp JAM, which is a program of the Arthritis Foundation. It is open to children and teens who have arthritis (and their families) and we had a GREAT time!

The theme this year was pirates, which is why there were parrots and pirate flags to greet us.

We had a tree outside our cabin that Owen had a fabulous time learning how to climb. Children with arthritis experience a lot of pain,stiffness, and swelling in their joints. Owen has been affected mostly in his ankles and knees. Watching him climb a tree is a joyful sight!

We had lots of fun at the playground, climbing the tire wall and trying to figure out the chain ladder.

No one really knows why some children develop arthritis. Some forms seem to be genetic, others may be caused by a virus that settles in a joint and causes the pain and swelling. Many kids are also susceptible to developing uveitis, which is like having arthritis in your eyes!

The bouncy house was awesome - I wish we had one at home that I could toss the kids into when they need to get rid of all their excess energy.

One of the really wonderful things about Camp JAM is that the whole family can attend, which gives siblings like Bailey a chance to hang out with other kids just like Owen as well as other kids just like her who have a brother or sister with arthritis. Of course, it also just gives you a great opportunity to squish your toes in the mud!

There wasn't too much sleeping going on at camp, but Owen had a great time hanging out in the top bunk of the way super cool bunk beds.

One of the highlights was a visit by the Reptile Man who brought alligators, lizards, snakes and hissing cockroaches for the kids to see. I have heard a LOT about various creepy crawlies as this has been Owen's main topic of conversation since camp. There were amazing volunteers who did a great job buddying up with the little kids so that parents could attend different panels and workshops to learn more about the best way to support our children in the challenges they face with this chronic disease.

Did I mention that the theme was pirates? There was a "skeleton head" that both kids really wanted to take home. They had fun posing with it and saying, "Shiver me timbers" before the costume parade. Seriously cute.

Campfire was a huge hit! Of course, it was 95 degrees so the campfire was really all about roasting marshmallows and making s'mores.

There are over 46 million people who have arthritis and over 300,00 of them are children. There is not yet a cure. We are grateful that Owen is doing so well and we will do all that we can to be his best advocates.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August Bee Block

Just finished my August block for Bee Vintage. It's a Grandmother's Fan pattern, which includes curved piecing and hand applique - both of which I had never done before.

Just ignore that little wrinkle that I neglected to press out. Once again, it was really fun to try new techniques and a block that I probably wouldn't have chosen to make for myself. It's great to learn and I'm discovering that things are rarely as difficult or scary as I thought they would be.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A first attempt

Tried a little project to see if I could make it work.

Can you figure out what it is yet?

It's a needle case!

It's a little wonky yet, still need to make a few refinements. But I like where it's headed! Perfect to pack in a hexie take-along bag for the hexie maker on the go.