Friday, November 1, 2013

Shake Your Tail Feathers

As promised, a few quick peaks at our Halloween peacocks!
Apparently Bee had a conversation with her Nana in which she stated that her Mommy never made her Halloween costumes...I guess it's a good thing I have a blog!

Because I've made everyone of them...some much more successful than others though.

I'd say these peacocks are in the top 3...with the clowns and chicken. I can't really decide their order though.

Maybe it's 'cause the kids wearing them make'em so much cuter:)

Especially when they shake their tail feathers!

Happy Halloween from our flock to yours!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Meet Rascal

Lots of little projects going on around here right now...nothing much getting finished on a regular basis. Right now I have Halloween costumes begging to be stitched, but my hands are so sore from cutting all the pieces yesterday, that I thought I would take a minute to share Rascal.

He's knit from the most recent Fuzzy Mitten pattern release. The pattern also comes with modifications to make a badger and a fox. They make quite a trio! I have tons of the gray yarn from this little guy left over, so there may be more raccoons in the works soon.

I'll try to remember to swing back by and share our feathery costumes later in the week...happy haunting!

Monday, June 3, 2013

I need to lose some weight...

So, I'm going on a diet...a fabric and yarn diet that is:)

I've developed quite a stash of both recently and really need to use up some of what I have before there is room for more. But, before declaring a full-on Fabric Watchers program, I did take stock and make a few last minute purchases to fill in the holes in my collection...this way I have no excuse. The collection is complete and there is no reason to buy anything else, right???

My knitting generally consists of small toys for my girls or for gifts. My favorite yarn for toy knitting is KnitPicks Comfy Worsted. I've turned into quite the yarn snob over the last few years and almost didn't try this yarn because of the acrylic content. But I prefer cotton toys for my kiddos because they have ultra-sensitive skin...and most cotton yarn on the market just isn't very soft. AND, I really needed to find a more affordable yarn option than constantly ordering hand-dyed or hand-painted yarns from Etsy. So, I thought I would give this one a try...and I LOVE it! It is super-soft and the perfect weight for toys. And I don't end up with hand cramps after knitting with it. Over the last few months, I've gathered a collection of animal colors (grays, browns, white, black, etc.) and a nice collection of colors for garments...mostly on the paler end of the spectrum. Before I started my diet (which officially begins today), I grabbed up a couple of coordinating brighter colors. I also purchased the fingerling version in black and white for embroidering faces.

I have recently acquired a new toy knitting pattern for a dragon, and the solid colors of my favorite yarn just weren't going to cut it. So I added the hand-dyed, Blue Safari cotton yarn above to my collection, along with the dill and teal Sunseeker yarns below.

I think those metallic threads and going to add a special touch to the wings and other details!

And with that, my yarn stash was complete, and I moved on to fabric.

My fabric stash has gotten a lot of extra padding in the last couple of months. I primarily stocked up on low volume prints because I had greatly depleted my supply. And I was pretty sure that my stash was good to go, but...

Right now, I'm on a quilted pillow kick. I was making lots of mini-quilts, because I could try new techniques and fabric combinations without commiting to an entire quilt. But, when I really started to think about it...a pillow is just a mini-quilt with a back..and so much more functional. So, now I find myself dreaming of pillow covers:) As I looked at what pillows I wanted to make in the coming months, I knew I really wanted to get some subtle holiday pillows working. And then I found it...the hole in my fabric stash.

I have NO holiday fabrics!

For pillows, I knew I wouldn't need much, so I picked up a couple of charm packs and called it a day.

But, there is a Christmas quilt in the plans for this year, and I knew I was going to run short. So, a couple of last fabrics were selected...this Heather Ross flannel pajama pants leg (for those of you who don't linger on Etsy for hours on end, I know you're thinking I'm crazy, but that's the only way you can get some of her older prints) and some Katie Jump Rope Green Dot Stripe will make the fussy cut centers and the binding respectively.

I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I have enough of the solids I'm planning to use for the blocks...but I can always adjust the size of the quilt based on the available fabric if necessary.

So, like any good diet, I started with a splurge:) And now that it's out of my system, my Paypal account is going dark. In honor of bikini season, I'm going to shed some weight, burn through some fabric, and come out lighter and leaner on the back side. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Pillow Talk Swap

The Pillow Talk Swap is in its 10th round, but this is the first time I've played along.
After much stalking and quite a bit of debate, I decided to pull out my Farmer's Wife Quilt book and have a little fun.
My partner seemed to approve of my fabric selections, even though limited light made getting a good pic of the pull a little challenging. So, I forged ahead.
A few blocks in and she still seemed satisfied, so on we marched.
And in the end, this little lovely was born...only she isn't so little! That's a standard size pillow in there and it's a perfect fit.
While I can make a zipper pouch with the best of them, my invisible zipper skills are not quite so well-honed. After all the hours cutting and piecing those little blocks, I just wasn't brave enough to risk putting in a zipper.
So, I settled on an envelope closure with a little button fun.
The pillow is having a really hard time leaving my bed, but it will be on its way to its new home tomorrow. I hope my partner loves it as much as I do!

Monday, April 29, 2013

You can find me over here today...

The Modern Traditional issue came out today and it is a FANTASTIC one! And not just cause I'm in it:) I haven't even had a chance to read it properly and there are already lots of projects I can't wait to try. If you aren't a subscriber, you can purchase a subscription or just a single issue. can always go back and purchase older issues if you missed one that you just HAVE to have. Oh...and be sure to check out page 55! I've had to keep mum on this for so long and am so excited to finally be able to share pics:)

Which projects from Issue 13 are first on your list?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Covert Robin and Some News

I played along with the Covert Robin swap again this year. I was treated to a beautiful quilted pillow cover, which you will not see pictured here. I took some pics of it, but when I sat down to edit them this evening they were all blurry and out of focus. I'll need to get some more someday soon!
But my contribution to the swap was this quilt. It's 32" square and was designed to be used either as a table scarf or a wall hanging...but its recipient is welcome to use it however she pleases. I'm sure a snuggly cat would be happy to claim it, or a doll, or maybe even a child. Amy at displayed a Women in Scripture button on her blog and it was Easter time, so I thought she might like this. Pop over and take a look...she's taking the kids clothing week challenge and she makes some seriously cute clothes!
So what's the big news??? Nope...not pregnant! And not gonna be:) Bee sealed the deal on that one...she's more than I can handle!
It seems I find myself once again gainfully employed...full-time! Yikes! I think I've probably mentioned once or twice that back in the dark ages I was a teacher. I taught 2nd and 3rd grades, reading intervention, and was a literacy coach. I've been home with Belle and Bee for the last 4 years and loved every...ok, most minutes of it. But when there was an opening for a literacy coach at Belle's school, it just seemed like it was meant to be. I've been back at work for 3 weeks and am really enjoying it. There is some adjustment going on behind the scenes around here, but generally everyone except Bee is happy about it. Bee is spending her days with her Nana and TT (that's her great-aunt) and really likes that part...she's just not too happy about the absent Mommy part. But, I am already feeling like I enjoy the time I spend with her more because it isn't so endless. So I think eventually she will start to see that Mommy is a brighter, happier person with some structure and professionalism in her life...fingers crossed!
I'm still sewing though not quite as much, still cooking though not for quite so many hours, and still crafting, gardening, and lovin on my littles. I'm in a couple of swaps this spring and have joined in a couple of challenges through our local Modern Quilt Guild. I'm even mostly keeping up with my Block of the Month clubs. I'll try to keep you updated...the real challenge is not having much of a chance to take pics during daylight hours. may be grainy pics and less frequent posting, but we'll stay in touch:)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Good Customer Service Goes a Long Way

No pictures today as my SD card is completely full and I'm too intimidated by the thought of trying to go through and edit all those gazillion pics to even begin...just a little public service announcement.

I really appreciate good customer service...not the follow you around the store stalking a sale kind...just good old fashioned making the customer feel good about the experience and resolving any issues that might arise. So when I find good customer service I like to share that info, so you all can experience it too.

In the last month or so, I have had two issues come up while shopping online with the Gap know, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Gap, Athleta, and Piperlime. One was totally my fault, the other theirs. Both were resolved within 24 hours with no more than a quick email from me to report the issue. No questions asked, no hassle given, just a prompt, polite the customer's favor.

In the first, I applied a coupon code, but then went back and edited the contents of my cart. After the edits I didn't take the time to ensure that the coupon code was still wasn't. My bad! I emailed customer service and they applied the discount retroactively and credited my credit card the was substantial. Pleased was I.

In the second issue, one item in a different order was shipped separately and never arrived at my house. Again...another quick email and within 24 hours they had credited my card...sadly the item was no longer available so they couldn't reship it. Pleased was I...again!

So...while this post is incredibly uncute, without so much as a tiny preschool grin to spruce it up, I hope the info serves you well. Because good customer service really does go along way!

Monday, March 18, 2013

x and +

A few weeks ago, Rachel at Stitched in Color, posted a process for defining your artistic style. It just happened to pop up in my reader at a good time. I was struggling with some projects that just weren't singing to me...and I had a few minutes on my hands.
So, I pulled out some paper and worked through the steps. Bottom worked! And here's what I learned...
I focused on my quilting/sewing style and discovered that I tend to flip for:
* scrappy
And the best news, this information is helping me look more critically at trends and sew-alongs and swaps etc. Instead of trying out any old craze I come across and leaving a gazillion projects unfinished, I would much rather focus more time and energy on things that I'm going to love (and therefore, hopefully finish). Even if those projects end up being more complicated or time consuming, they are worth it if I actually get'er done.
So...I'm officially letting myself off the hook for Scrappy Trip more self-pressure on that one. It's colorful and scrappy, but doesn't have that intricacy that gives it wow power in my eyes. Don't get me wrong...they're gorgeous...just not my thing. And I'm becoming ok with that.
On the other hand...the x and + craze is right up my alley. Scrappy, colorful, and with an intricacy of appearance that makes it sing. (It's all about projects singing to me...fabric can sing, colors can sing, patterns can get the picture). Opportunities for fussy cutting, angles, and a general "looks harder than it is" appearance...all add up to great harmony!
Here's my first attempt...and yes, I took the time to make sure all the text was facing up. That's the kind of thing that elevates a project in my eyes, so it's worth it to me. Probably not so much to the rest of the world:)
So...go figure out you style and let me know what projects, sew-alongs, etc. and singing to you!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Help Save the Elephants!

Aria is a spunky little girl with a huge heart...we met through an art exchange over a year ago and have stayed in crafty contact since. When Aria learned of the plight of the Asian elephant, she decided it was time to take a stand. Think little people can't do big things? Aria plans to prove you wrong.

Hop on over to Elephant Saver and see how you can online auction to help Aria raise money to save the elephants went live yesterday...and there just might be a mini quilt from Belle+Bee in the mix somewhere.

Let's help a little girl save some BIG animals!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spring Sewing Kit - Posy

I've been hexie-addicted recently (maybe I should say "readdicted" since this isn't my first ride in the hexie rodeo). You see, I have to have one upstairs and one downstairs project going at all times. The one upstairs is for the machine and is used to fill any unspecified sewing know, the times when there's nothing pressing that has to get out the door yesterday. The one for downstairs has to be a hand-sewing project. It's what I do when my husband is watching tv after the girls are in bed. At this time of year I prefer to do a little (or a lot) of hand-quilting. Unfortunately, I spent a couple of weeks spinning my wheels trying to get something ready for hand quilting, but I just couldn't get anything that would take more than one evening ready to go between all the other things that were on my table.
So, I was digging around in the notions closet looking for something, and I accidentally knocked off my basket of charm packs and squares. Of course, eveything tumbled out all over the floor. I spent a good twenty minutes sifting through (and petting) all the I Spy charms and various thing I had collected over the last few years, when I saw them...a massive stack of 2.5" squares that I had acquired in a swap about a year and a half ago. I had stuck them in with the larger charms and completely forgotten about them!

Five minutes of printing and 3 sheets of cardstock later, I was set with a hand-stitching project that had to last more than a single night. And it might have...if I hadn't also been in need of a hand-stitching project for the carpool line. That one has to be something small that fits easily in my front seat while we sit waiting to pick up Belle every afternoon. But...between tv time and carpool time, I made pretty short work of the charm stack.

So, I raided the charm basket again, this time looking for 5" charms that could be chopped in fourths and would make lovely hexies. That's when I found two Posy charm packs and began to have visions of Easter table runners filling my head. I pulled one of the packs out and starting whacking away (ok - more like rotary slicing away, but whacking sounded more exciting).

42 x 4...168. 168 hexies Posy hexies added at least another couple of days to my hand-stitching project that I thought would go on for weeks.

And yes, a table runner and possibly even a wall hanging are in the plans using both the hexies and the remaining charm pack. But, 168 is a whole lot of hexies. And even after laying out the table runner and wall hanging I still had quite a few hexies and 5" squares left over. It seemed a shame to let them linger in the basket, so a couple of them found a new home in a spring sewing set. As I have no ACTUAL need for a sewing set at this moment in time, I popped it up in the shop. But, it's kind of one of those things that you know you need to let go of, but it turned out so well that you just really don't want have those kinds of projects too, right???

She's just so springy and pretty...maybe she'll bring someone else a little smile this spring and then I can feel better about letting her go:)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Little Bit 'O Drama and Nifty Solution

A few weeks ago Rachel, at Stitched in Color, put out a scrap challenge. Readers were asked to submit project ideas for this beautiful fat eighth scrap bundle provided by The Intrepid Thread. Four challengers were going to be selected to receive the bundle and get sewing. The rules: You must use all of the fabrics in the bundle. You could add one additional fabric. You must complete the project and share your results by February 24.
So...I shared a bit of our drama. (Do you know how difficult it is to take a good picture of your backseat?????) I do believe my story went a little like this... "'s the two bambinas (3&5yrs) are crazy avid readers and books have completely taken over my tiny backseat. I keep saying that I'm gonna make them one of those snazzy hanging book pouch thingies, but I just never seem to get around to it. I need a deadline...I must have a deadline (and a little fabric wouldn't hurt) or we're all going to be eaten alive by Junie B and Dora! Only you can save us from the mutant book mob!" Cuz...drama always works for the littles, why not try it myself?

Luckily, Rachel took pity on me...and my backseat. My lovely little bundle of yumminess arrived from The Intrepid Thread in about 2.2 seconds and I started cutting right away.
I'm a quilter at heart, so I tackled this project like any good little quilter would...I made mini quilts....4 of them. I measured the space in my backseat and started with one large solid mini quilt as the back piece (that's Kona charcoal as my additional fabric). Then I drew out a little diagram to figure out the size of my three pocket minis [My measurements: total dimensions 12"x22". Mini quilts are 9", 14", and 19" in height x 12" in width.] and dreamed up cutie little designs for each. You only see a couple of inches of the two middle pockets so they are only pieced along the top edge. I made sure to save a nice large hunk of the Lillybelle bouquet for front and center. I added a layer of heavy weight interfacing to the back of each quilt top, then made a sandwich with each of the pieced tops, a layer of batting, and a solid piece of charcoal for the back of each. I quilted each mini and bound the top edge of the three pockets.
Then came the real fun...I stacked those bad boys on top of each other and bound the whole enchilada like a quilt (if you try this home, be sure to cut your binding strips wider than normal so it will wrap around all those layers.). Just go slowly and have patience. My poor little machine was so not happy with me along that bottom edge, but she persevered:)
The final step was creating a strap...again, I measured my space and found that I needed a 48" strap to wrap around my headrests. I cut two 6" wide strips of charcoal, stitched them together on the short ends, trimmed the strip to 49" and folded/pressed my long strip like really big binding. I added velcro strips at the ends and sewed all the edges of the strap together. The strap was centered on the top edge of the backside of the book organizer and stitched in place. (The velcro ends were sticking out on either side, so they can wrap around the headrests and meet in the middle behind the seats.
One little tip (wish I'd thought of it sooner and saved myself some trouble)...that back pocket is REALLY deep. You might want to stich it closed part way down so that books don't fall into the black hole. You should really do that before you bind all the pieces together...I kinda didn't think that step through, so I had to go back and hand stitch it closed...oh well, no one can see it:)

My little bit of drama turned into a pretty mifty solution. If you're interested in making one of these yourself, I'm sure there's a tutorial or a pattern out there somewhere...but like in my cooking, I just don't like to follow a recipe:)
THANKS, THANKS, THANKS to Rachel at Stitched in Color and Julie at The Intrepid Thread! We've finally gotten Junie B. and Dora to surrender and peace reigns again:)

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Sewing Space Spruce Up is Under Way!

Once upon a time a young couple created a nursery for their first born bairn. It was decorated in gender neutral crayon brights and featured adorable small-child-style accessories. Over the years this room was filled with snuggles and gurgles and tiny diaper changes. Then as time passed it underwent a slight metamorphosis...into a playroom, full of tiny toddler toys and the same small-child-style trappings.

But the family grew, and the children grew and it just didn't seem to get the use and love that it had once enjoyed. So, again, changes were made. A trampoline, some fairy dolls, and lots of art supplies were added. But the children didn't like to play alone, and the mother wanted to be able to create along side her budding little artists. So more changes were made. A sewing table, some shelves, and handy fabric storage made the space functional, but it lacked visual appeal for school-aged children and a 30-something mom.

And so a spruce up began. It started with some small accessories, and expanded with fresh new wall art.

The little yellow room felt so lucky to have its family back.

And the family felt so lucky to have this special space where they could create together. They promised to continue to make that little yellow room a magical place where they would want to spend hours together over the years.

And they all lived happily ever after...THE END!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Sixty-seven years in the making...ok, maybe not that long! But, Belle's quilt is finally finished. Can I say that again??? FINISHED! Never again will I attempt anything even remotely on this scale...way too much of everything! But, it's gorgeous, and she loves it.

This one is all hand-quilted because I didn't trust myself enough to put it on the machine...even with a plain old walking foot. There was no way I was taking a chance on messing this thing up! A pretty rainbow in the border rounds out the outrageousness. I'm not usually a border-adder, but due to the nature of the design, to make it any wider I would have had to make it LOTS wider and then it would have been too wide. A border was my only real option. And in this case, I think the linen helps tone down the riot of color.

And, did I mention that it's FINISHED????

Sunday, February 10, 2013

More Hearts and some FMQ

In any other world, this would be a Valentine's decoration...not in Belle's world! Red, pink, purple, hearts, flowers...yep, that's an everyday kind of display:)

This is my favorite little detail. There's another little 4 patch heart hiding above the embroidery too. It was a fun little mystery for Belle to find the hiding hearts.

I can't believe I am even showing you this picture...this was my very first attempt at free motion quilting...yep, I'm a chicken:) I practiced a few swirls on a test sandwich...just enough to know that I wouldn't be stippling any time soon...the let her rip. There are some definite problem areas, but all in all, not too shabby. Fast is definitely better with FMQ...and that suits me just fine:)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hearty Mats

For some reason, I'm feeling the need to decorate for Valentines Day this year. I think it's the absence of all the sparkly Christmas decoration. It sure isn't the cold, dreary's 70 degrees here while I'm typing!

These placemats came together relatively quickly...then they sat waiting for the binding to be stitched. It's a rather boring project and I've too many other ideas floating through my head to have any patience (or self-control).

But one was lucky enough to get its binding and have its picture taken:)

I love the little 4 patch heart on the front side, but how realistic is a white placemat? I mean...I have two children and we eat a lot of spaghetti!

So a quick, string-pieced back hides the spots and shows off the fabrics. Perfect solution...just flip that bad boy over before they eat.

And red and pink is just a delicious combo...don'cha think?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I had the opportunity to test a new pattern from HeidiandFinn this week. I have several of their patterns and absolutely love every one I've used. They are simple to follow, include tons of helpful pictures, and come together quickly. But, better yet, they are special. Each one has it's own little touch of flair that makes it stand out from the basic, boring patterns of the world.

The new pattern is the Ballet Shrug. When it comes out in the next few weeks it will be available in two size ranges...12mos-5T and 6-10 years. Another perk...patterns that come larger than 5T. In all honesty, I never really thought we'd get to that point. But, here we in the big girls department and having to modify our old patterns to add an inch or two to the hems.

For once, Bee was the immediate beneficiary of my sewing projects. It seems I always sew for Belle knowing that it will make its way down to Bee eventually, and then we'll get more wear out of it. But sometimes the kid just needs something of her very own...or I start to get the pirate face:)

The pattern comes with directions to add ties around the waist band, but Bee is in gymnastics (not ballet) and I thought long strings and flipping over bars were probably not the best combo.

Here's one general sewing tip...fabric quality matters. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot! I didn't want to make the drive over to the fabric store to get a knit for this project. So, I picked up a nightshirt from the local big box discount store. It had a cute print and matched her leotard. I thought it was a good idea....WRONG!

This fabric was a nightmare! If I so much as put a pin through it, it got a hole. And forget ripping out a seam if you accidentally made a pucker...shreds! GRRR!!!

But if I had to fight with the fabric, at least I knew I wouldn't have to fight with the pattern. It comes together like a dream. And then, when you've made something just for Bee, you get dreamy eyes too...buh-bye pirate!