Friday, January 27, 2012

Knit Night

Last night I got together with a small group to do a little knitting. It's always fun to craft with friends and share tips and stories while working on projects. I mostly worked on a pair of socks for my husband. One sock is done and the other one will probably get finished up today or tomorrow.

I also managed to cast on for my next effort: a cabled cowl. All yarn is Madeline Tosh and I just have to say that the sock yarn is really lovely to work with - not at all scratchy for 100% wool. I love it.

Do I dare admit that I'm starting to create a yarn stash?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging...

...or not so regular in my case....

..... to bring you EXCITING news! Owen lost his very first tooth!

Of course, then he LOST it. As in, on the playground at school.

Oh well, he doesn't seem too concerned about it. We wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy:

Dear Tooth Fairy,
I lost a tooth. And then I losed it at school. Please bring me something anyway even though you won't see my tooth in the pouch.

And he included a lovely crayon drawing of his tooth.

And we finally got to use his Tooth Fairy Pillow! Tutorial here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Yep. I was bit by the Swoon bug.

I even joined the Swoon-along over on flickr.

But then I had doubts.

I couldn't decide on a color palette or fabrics.

I couldn't decide where this quilt was going to live.

And mostly, I wasn't sure where I was going to find the time to make a gazillion half-square triangles and flying geese.

I was on the verge of giving up when I realized - hey, I can make just one block! The blocks are enormous (24.5" square) and one will make a lovely wall hanging.

Whew! It was so liberating to let myself off the hook for the whole quilt. And I really enjoyed making this one block using some of my very favorite fabrics. You see that sewing machine in the center block? Love it!

And I love this lady peeking out in her coral dress - so fashionable!

So glad I listened to my gut and went with one block instead of a whole quilt. Someday, I'll probably tackle the larger project but for now, this is perfect. I'm going to look for other ways to simplify and/or minimize larger projects that keep getting put on the back burner.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I can't explain what exactly possesses people (like me, and maybe you) to think, "Yeah, I'm gonna sew up my very own luggage!" Because when you tackle the Weekender, that's what you're doing. Don't fool yourself by thinking you're going to be making a "bag." This is hardcore.

And totally doable, I might add. Yes, you'll cuss. And you'll likely break a sweat when sewing all the layers together. But you can do it.

I made a few little changes, like adding top stitching where the bottom panel meets the side pockets (above).

I was very skeptical about how the pattern has you install the zipper, but I followed the directions and I love the result.

All-in-all, a very satisfying project. It helps if you have a friend making one too, so that you can work on them together.

Here are some suggestions and/or changes that I made as I went along:

*I used fusible hem tape to make my piping (no line of stitches to worry about hiding when sewing everything together later.

*Added piping to the end pockets.

*When you're done sewing the piping on the large pockets (and end pockets, if you add it there), gently pull a little bit of the cording out and trim it. That way you can eliminate the bulk of the cording in your seams, which will make a HUGE difference in how difficult it is when sewing through all those layers.

*I added a D-ring attached with nylon webbing into the bottom of each end pocket. I will be making a shoulder strap that can attach there if I want to use it, but the hardware stays hidden in the pockets when I don't need it.

*Make sure you have more than one heavy duty needle. I'm surprised that I didn't break any during the assembly and would hate to have to stop midway because I didn't have an extra needle handy.

*I used a two-way zipper - it has a zipper pull at each end so that the bag can open from either side.

*Speaking of zippers - the directions have you pin the zipper in place in such a way that the pins are under your fabric when stitching the zipper in place. I went slowly but was very nervous about having the pins where I couldn't see them. If I make this bag again I'll use some Wonder Tape to hold the zipper in place while stitching.

*I'm adding four large metal purse/bag feet to the bottom to help cut down on wear-and-tear.

That's about it! Now I need to take a trip somewhere so I can use it.

Pattern - Amy Butler's Weekender
Fabrics - viewmasters are Ruby Star Rising by Melody Miller, gray dot is a canvas from Hometown by Sweetwater, piping is a pink twill

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Best Mail Day Ever

So SO happy to open my mailbox today and find a package from Ayumi's etsy shop. I ordered these because I have been coveting them for so long. They are even more beautiful in person.

I'm super excited to add these to some projects I have swirling around in my brain. If you covet these the way I did, be sure to grab some from her shop before they're all gone!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bear with me

I'm trying to get back into the swing of regular blogging but it's been challenging!

These two keep me all kinds of busy, but at least we've been doing some creative activities like paint your own pottery!

B chose a unicorn and O chose a dragon. They've been fired and now happily reside in their rooms amongst all their other treasures.

I've also had another opportunity to help out at B's preschool. Remember these bouncy toys? Hippity hops? Pretty fun when you're four.

And just to prove that I haven't been totally lazy on the crafting front - I made a sock!

And it went so well I went ahead and made another one!

There are loads of mistakes and I experimented some with tension to see what worked well but I'm a little impressed with myself. I had never used double pointed needles before and socks always seemed sort of impossible. But I am here to tell you that you CAN do it!

And last but not least.... I was thrilled to find a copy of Suzuko Koseki's latest book at a local bookstore. It's a feast for the eyes and you will surely see some projects inspired by her lovely creations as things settle down a bit and I can spend more time in my sewing space.

I hope you're having a wonderful start to 2012! What are you working on?

Friday, January 6, 2012


Well, as this new year starts off in earnest, life has made its presence known and thrown a wrench into all my well-laid plans. Funny how that works, isn't it?

So....we have been occupied with family issues and changes including my mother-in-law fracturing her femur (ouch!), needing surgery, and now moving to a rehab facility before she can go home. She's doing pretty well, which is great news. But all of the activity surrounding this event has left me at home most evenings caring for my wee ones while my husband cares for his mom and checks in on his dad. Not much time for craftiness at the moment.

However, I thought I'd share this.

The kids each have their own little art/craft table in our family room. We give them access to paper and crayons at all times (after a thorough explanation and tested reinforcement of the rule that all marking devices are for use at the tables only).

Because they are getting older and more independent, I recently made them each a small craft box with glue, pom poms, markers, glitter glue, googly eyes, etc. That way they can have a little more creative freedom without me needing to be the keeper of the craft supplies.

Well, to show you a perfect representation of my two children and their very different personalities, I give you Owen's first creation - a bumblebee.

He made a plan, was very thoughtful and deliberate in his choices, and executed his plan with precision.

Bailey created this.

She emptied two tubes of glitter glue and used every googly eye and pom pom in her box. I think it's hilarious! She seems to think everything should be approached with a use it or lose it attitude.

I think I have a lot to learn from both of my budding crafters. Think things out, have a plan, but be open to impulses that grab you along the way. And don't be afraid to use your supplies (ie - precious fabric).

Have a great day!