Thursday, December 20, 2007

Last Year at this Time

Isn't our Christmas tree from last year so Charlie Brown? At least I was trying, the pine paneling doesn't really lend well to my minimalist theme. In the background are some cute vintage wool ski pants and suspenders hanging. Also some little girl ice skates, the kind with the double blades. Man those were the best.


Also in the house with wood paneling is our old little breakfast nook. I loved that spot so. You could see right into the living room which had a whole wall full on windows. Scuba Steve is still there in the bottom right corner too.


Such a difference in snow fall amounts this year. last year there was only enough snow to make these snow men. This year we have been getting snow weekly.



Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Vintage Fabric is a Girl’s Best Friend

With such little spare time until the Christmas season passes, I have been dreaming of what I want to create next. Here are some vintage fabric pieces that I scored this summer. I was thinking that I may cut the bird one up into squares and then interspace the squares with a solid square.



We’ll see. For now here is what I am hoping to cook up.

1) Sew a skirt, dress, and shirt in January. This will be my first foray into the seamstress realm.
2) Make small stuffed mushrooms and twigs (fabric that is). Like the ones I saw on Little Bird’s blog here and here.
3) Finish my mushroom and owl appliqué pillows.
4) Sew a pillow cover for my jumbo pillow that I already have fabric for.
5) For the dogs: sew Mollie a sleeping pad and Misty a dog jacket.
6) Finish or maybe just start all over Steph’s baby quilt. Maybe make some bibs and burp cloths too.
7) Sew a cover for my fabulous Hayward Wakefield chair. I should also make a cover for Adam’s nightstand.
8) Sew a full size quilt with some of the aviary fabrics that I love.
9) Learn to use the new digital camera that I am getting for Christmas.

Wow this list will keep me busy. I would love to be able to get this all done in a month. I also need to start dreaming up some Valentine’s Day decorations.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Simple Lemon Quilt

Another past quilt project of mine is this little lemon number. It was super easy to make and inspired by Denyse Schmidt’s website. When I spotted this lemon fabric at Joanne’s I knew I would find many uses for it. So far it has made its way into this quilt, several small lemon drop pincushions, my mom’s lemon quilt (aka the quilt that is currently killing me slowly), our friend’s wedding quilt (yikes! Still to be mailed) and I still have a yard left.


So I have been really good about making things for Christmas and I will posting those shortly. The Christmas present I made for my boyfriend is 2/3s finished and it is great! I can’t post it till after Christmas in case he reads about it. Soft trees and candy cane colored yo-yo garland are still on my decorations list of to-do’s. I fear I won’t get a chance to do ‘em. Anyway, Adam if you are reading please see The Purlbee’s Christmas idea list and feel free to run with it. Ah, alas I am getting greedy. See my big present this year is going to be a digital SLR camera that I can not wait for. I was very into photography during college and used my dad’s old Canon SLR film camera. I even started my own little business at craft fairs, local stores, and gift shops. I can’t wait until I get the digital one though, I think I will be able to grow leaps and bounds with it.

I really liked redheadedsnipit’s little yellow flower pictured here. She tells me the idea is from Martha Stewart’s website here. I seem to remember being eight and wanting one desperately at the county fair. Can’t wait to get started on my own collection. I also want to try out some of her wreath ideas like this bottle cap one and this rag one, also featured on sewmamasew's blog. Okay, I know I am going a little link crazy here, but these ideas are so cool. Tree Fall Design's blog also has some great examples of these types of wreaths check it out.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Unfinished Projects

Every quilter or crafter has a pile of unfinished projects. I try to keep my unfinished's to a minimal. Just a few that are almost done with for x-mas. I did get this panel when my local Hancock Fabrics went out of business. It is from Amy's Aprons and all you have to do is cut it out and sew it together. No measuring or hemming and hawing about what fabrics to use--it's all right there!



Warm wool blankets for the winter. I scored these two for $5 a piece and they are super warm.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Have I mentioned that I love quilts? Oh, yes? I see. Well here is another favorite of mine scored for just $50 at an antique store. The Grandmother's Garden pattern tends to be a little too "cutsey" for me, but the bubblegum pink colors just caught my eye. Plus, I've always had a hard time walking away from deals that someone spents tons of time handcrafting. Can you blame me?



Kid toys are so fun to me, but with no kids of my own it may seem a bit odd at my collection. So here is how I've changed it to be my own. The vintage doll crib with mice on it stores Misty's bones and balls. Everytime she takes something out of it to play with I shout with delight "she just took her bone out" or "she grabbed her ball this time." Still haven't taught her to put stuff back though. We're working on that one.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yo-Yo Thinking

I've been yo-yo thinking lately. mainly thinking about what I should do with them. I scored these from Plain Jane Notions a web based seller with ebay and etsy stores. I know--what kind of ninja am I if I don't even make my own yo-yo's right? Well, ahh, sigh it is Christmas and I have been making myself crazy finishing two quilts for the nieces and nephews (total 3 kids quilts) and a queen sized one for my mother. I have to admit I'm very close to getting these all finished and I'm pretty damned proud of that. So I originally bought these yo-yo's hoping that the like 150+ of them would be enough for a quilt cover. I didn't want to sew them onto a backing fabric just sew them together and have a cool topper. Anyway, I would really need like 500+ to cover a bed. So I've been holding on to them researching all the cool things I can do with them.


Friday, December 7, 2007

Favorite Fabrics and Fun Store


I thought I would feature some of my favorite fabrics today. All of these are either from Joanne’s or from a yard sale. I have found the brown dragonfly fabric is a great accent color to many of my monochromatic quilts. I’ve used it in the yellow quilt for our friend’s wedding and in my mom’s Christmas present quilt. I originally thought that I would like it for a back on a quilt so I bought several yards of it.


Lemons, lemons, lemons I could never have enough lemon fabric if I lived to 100! When I was in Italy I walked by an amazing fabric store with up to the ceiling full of bolts and oilcloth fabric to die for. I didn’t even let myself in. I guess I figured how would I know how much to buy and how much it was for? I could just kick myself now. In fact I think I will. Agh.


Good news! One of my favorite stores in Kennebunkport Maine finally has a website. The store is called Daytrip Society. Check it out here. There is so much fun, modern, and nature oriented stuff to be found. I particularly like these owl cards. Great books and outdoor camping stuff too.
Speaking on Maine, another favorite place to shop there is On Board Fabrics. Their website is here.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Holiday Mix-up

Even though it is heading towards Christmas I am still reminiscing about the more recent holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. This little turkey display belongs to my mother. She has been collecting turkeys for about five years now.



I love early fall and Halloween so much. The whole freezing thing hasn’t really sunk in yet for the season. It is just a bit chillier so that you can wear light jackets and pile on cozy blankets at night. Next year darn it, I am going to decorate for the Halloween. Now that I rigged up that branch with festive things for Christmas I can just use it all year. I’ll try some black tulle and white lights maybe. I picked up this a yard of this cute Halloween Fabric at Joanne’s over the weekend. It caught my eye by having a white cat decked out for trick-or-treating versus a traditional black cat. I love the little skeleton necklace.


New England has had quite a cold-snap the past few days averaging in the high 20’s. Misty has really been feeling it, being a Tennessean and all. Her fur is so short and then and her body so skinny that the cold just goes right through her. I went all out and got her some warm jackets at and booties from Granite Gear. If you are an active dog lover (you hike, run, and bike with your dog) you will love their site. The dog on the front page is so great. Granite Gear’s stuff is top-notch too. Having worked in the outdoor industry off and on I have heard plenty of customers raving about their goodies. I like their simple yet sturdy designs. Both of these companies also sell stuff through REI and EMS.

A friend of mine described this wonderful pumpkin dip as so good she could drink it. I hope to make it this weekend. Great idea to serve with the recommended gingersnaps or apples. I have no idea where the recipe originates.

Sweet and Creamy Pumpkin Dip

This easy dip is the perfect appetizer or dessert to serve with gingersnaps for any fall or winter gathering. The warmth of pumpkin pie spice and the citrus flavor from orange extract go great with pumpkin.

Makes 20 (2-tablespoon) servings.
Prep Time: 5 minutesRefrigerate: 30 minutes

• 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
• 2 cups confectioners' sugar
• 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
• 1 tablespoon McCormick® Pumpkin Pie Spice
• 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Orange Extract
• Gingersnaps (optional)

Directions: 1. Beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add pumpkin and remaining ingredients; mix well.2. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until ready to serve. Serve with Gingersnaps and/or apple or pear slices. Toss fruit with a little lemon juice mixed with water to prevent browning.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Gritty Girl Quilts

If you haven’t gotten your hands on Joelle Hoverson’s book Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts you need to get right out there and scoop one up. The book has easy to follow clear explanations and snappy ideas. My quilts here that I have named Gritty Girl Quilts are from her book. I made mine throw sized while the book gives details on how to make it as a wall hanging. I loved the colors in the book ambers, oranges, canaries. I was so lucky to find at Joanne’s an almost identical brown for the background and borders of this quilt.



I’ve been calling it a Gritty Girl quilt because it is both pink and girly but still gritty with the brown.



As much as I have been catching up on my quilting things I think I have also been a little behind on the Christmas present thing. I really want to make soft trees this year. Little Bird’s blog first featured this pattern and instructions. The Purl of the also did a great display of them last year. I’m planning on one grouping to be all different sizes and probably blue and white, since that seems to be my Christmas decorations this year. I also want to do some really small green and white ones, because small things are totally underrated.
I think writing in this blog as often as possible is a great way to start the whole writing thing again. Hopefully in the next few months or so I can start blogging some short stories.


I upgraded my Flickr so I have better access and more options and I stumbled across a few photos of the very first weekend we had Misty.

See I hadn’t even gone to see her at the shelter originally. My boyfriend suddenly got on a kick that he wanted a dog and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’ll admit it I didn’t want another animal we had two cats and Mollie. He tends to get his way and he picked her up the weekend of my birthday in July. We had already booked a campsite for several days so we were really just jumping right in with her. She was a perfect little peach with perfect behavior and great camping etiquette.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Skunk Family

Phew! I started a skunk collection and Phew! is my feature skunk. She is around four to five inches and is a Delee figurine. The other smaller ones are either unlabeled or from Japan. The whole collection started with picking up two skunk salt and pepper shakers at a thrift store. I then scored these online on ebay.

I got a big scare from a baby skunk the other night too! I was working all weekend (yuck) and I peeked out the door (we’re talking like 7-8 p.m.) to see if it had started snowing yet. I saw something out of the corner of my eye to the left of the stairs and it was a skunk. I screamed like the little girl that I am and high-tailed it back to my desk.


One of the quilts that almost killed off my quilt-sickness is this yellow and white one that I made for a friend’s wedding in August. Yikes! I still haven’t sent it. Mainly it didn’t go because I was waiting forever for my boyfriend to get me their address. Now I just have to send it on one of my lunch breaks. It is based off of, once again (I just love all her stuff), Denyse Schmidt’s book Quilts. If you have checked some of my past posts I also made a red and white version of this same quilt. This yellow one is great because it incorporates some of my fiercely loved favorite fabrics.


I tried to make the design somewhat my own by creating one block that is made out of a coin design. I also threw a few coin strips in among the other plain strips. The coin stripping method from this has inspired an entire quilt like this for my mom for Christmas.




I’ve decided to make quilt for all the little nieces and nephews (we are now at four- 2 girls and 2 boys) for Christmas. These plus my mom’s are running my quilt bug dry. I think after Christmas is over I am going to focus on sewing clothes more. I want to make several cute going out tanks and dresses. I figure making some nice dresses would be pretty lucrative since I have none and nicely made dresses are pretty expensive. I want to also focus on smaller projects like from this super great list from Sew, Mama, Sew! I adore the the Snap Box from My Little Mochi. Also I am excited to try this fun hat from Curiously Crafty. Her blog also has really cute original use of embroidery located here.

Rambling on about more of my inspirations online....I love Simply Quilts the show on HGTV with Alex Anderson. I can never watch it because I am working and yes, I am one of those crazy people without a TiVo or even, gasp! VCR. Anyway, I really can catch up with what I miss on the Simply Quilts website here. They have video clips and transcripts.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Small Quilts and Hard to Part with Paintings

Small quilts and hand stitched pieces have always been a weakness of mine. So have baseball uniforms and dirty work clothes, but that is another story. I won’t let my guy when he is dirty nor my dogs near this little vintage piece. I scooped it up for $8 at an antique store. It is roughly crib size, with a wide range of baby blues, ambers, yellows, and prints. The careful hand stitching evident on the back of the piece is so wonderful.

I adore this yellow printed fabric that I discovered while flea marketing in Maine. The fabric is made of the softest, but strongest cotton. I want to stretch it over a large canvas and hang it so that I can admire it all the time. When I was 16 my boyfriend at the time made me a super large (6x8’) acrylic painting. It is mainly primary colors and the design is a modern abstract one. Just lines and colors filled in between intersections. Sort of nice, but not when you have been hanging on to it for 10 plus years. Mainly it is just large, akward, and doesn't go with my current decorating theme.

So I've debated for years about getting rid of it. Plus, I’m always reading about “outsider art” becoming hugely valuable. I’d hate to part with it and then find out my ex hit it big and the painting is worth like a million bucks. Also, as avid yard saler I am always picking up once loved quilts, books, and photos just thrown out by family members. See it says my name on the back and “with love.” I can’t just put that on the still good table at the dump, now can I? So maybe I will put this fantastic fabric over the front of it and protect my assests.

I made this small blue piece quilt and plan to border it with huge off white borders. What a great waste of fabric eh?

A little more Christmas spirit.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Vintage finds

100_1138 This great vintage quilt is one of my most recent finds. I paid around $70 for it, but it was worth it. This Little Red Riding Hook square is darling and looks to be made from scraps of pajamas or sheets. Little Red Riding Hood is doing her usual things like seeing the Big Bad Wolf and going to Grandma’s house. I’ll post more of the squares soon. Some of the other interesting squares are football squares, valentine’s day type squares, and other great prints showcased.



I purchased these tulips squares on ebay recently. They are not that vintage, probably early 60’s. So that makes all the fabrics 60’s- some paisleys, flower power type stuff. The ones that really catch my eye are the two beach ones. One is a Mexican looking man sleeping on the beach and the other is a parrot at the beach on his post. Such unusual fabrics to go with such a traditional applique design. Now that is truly original. I want to try to pair more untraditional types fabrics together.


I semi decorated for Christmas with this small red grouping. This picture includes my thermos collection, which I almost parted with to allow more room for other things, but at the last minute decided to keep. I purchased the toy sewing machine on ebay.

The NOEL stitching piece is so fabulously retro. At first I found it slightly hideous, which is always how I you find good retro stuff. I have completely warmed to in now. The Squeaky Squirrel was the first book to my vintage children’s book collection. The Penny Puppy and other dog stories is equally lovable, even my dog and to put her paw in on it.

And time to play outside

Spending time outside is as necessary as making things for me. I kayak in my little kayak (calypso from LL Bean), which I love because I can get it on and off my car by myself. I got it in July of this year and it has since seen a lot of miles. Mainly I went to small ponds and lakes in NH and Maine. I love everything about the water- I am in it all summer long. Swimming everyday, kayaking, floating on my tube- ahh now that spells summer to me.

That is what is so great about getting Misty. She is such an active dog although she doesn’t like the water that much- but that is for another day. I am hoping this next year, to teach her to run near me while I mountain bike. She is still a little jumpy around the bike, but I warmed her up to it a little this summer.

This is my other dog Mollie. She is very old (almost 12 years old). She has a little ring around the collar here, but she is still cute. She often helps me with my quilting projects by sitting on them. Any slight bit of fabric of cushion that ends up on the floor she takes as an invitation to put her fat little rump on. The project she is actually laying on is a quilt that I feverously made for a friend of my boyfriend’s and I’s wedding. I spent many crazy evenings piecing it together and trying to shove the thing under my small machine to machine quilt it. Since then I have been hanging on to it as I did not have their address to mail it to. My boyfriend got it then lost it then got it again. So this week I hope to send it out. It is also based on the pattern in Denyse Schmidt’s book Quilts.

I think kind of blurry pictures can be fun because they show life and movement. So here is one.