Tuesday, November 24, 2015

making :: sugar pop {baby quilt}

Sugar Pop :: baby quilt
Sugar Pop Baby Quilt

I just might be queen of the last minute projects. Even when I think I'm giving myself plenty of time and starting early I can't seem to keep up the pace and actually finish early.  This quilt was much the same...

It started with a mini roll of 2.5" polka dotted strips that I got from my partner in the Lined Drawstring Bag swap.  I knew I wanted to use that mini roll-up and went looking for roll-up friendly patterns.  When I found this free pattern on Craftsy, I knew I had a winner.  Then I started in with the fun part... playing with fabric.

Very quickly I realized that I'd need to add fabrics to the mini roll-up to get up to the required number of strips for the project.  What I didn't realize until till I had all the blocks made though, was just how big this quilt was going to be.  So, back to adding fabrics to the polka dots that I started with.  I remembered that I had a cute stack of fabrics I'd gotten from Pink Castle Fabrics - the Dear Stella Stash Box.  It was full of a muted rainbow of hearts and bunnies and blenders.  It would be perfect for this project, especially for helping create the high/low volume feel of the blocks.  Yet, that still wasn't quite enough to fill out all the strips.

I added in a few of my favorite Heather Ross prints... perfectly low volume and I just knew the mom and dad-to-be would love the pink bikes print.  With everything else reading as a solid color, these prints really stood out on their mainly white backgrounds.

Last, but certainly not least, I added in the solids.  These were from an awesome bundle I won from Dana at Old Red Barn Company!  The bundle itself was beautiful together and full of depth.  I loved the way it seemed to have the perfect solids to add to this quilt.  And I thought adding them, with their rich tones, gave this colorful quilt a touch of sophistication.  The winning bundle came at just the right time and it filled out the quilt perfectly.

Then it was on to cutting and sewing and sewing and sewing.  A million long strips together and then together again.  Then more cutting... with only one little mistake made (can you spot it?).  But I just went with it, because sometimes it's ok to have a little bit that isn't perfect.  I feel like there's some little hidden message in that.

I got everything done, just enough, so that the day before the shower I could finish the hand work as we traveled south.  On BART and on Caltrain I stitched and stitched on the binding.  It was finished up and the quilting threads tied off and trimmed just a couple hours into the car ride down to Pasadena.  Excitedly I shouted to my friends in the car, "It's done!"

And it was.  I was so happy with how it turned out and the parents-to-be really seemed to like it.  I forgot to get a good picture of the backside (guess that just means I'll need to visit when little Sophia arrives), but it was pieced together of mainly a grey polka dotted flannel with some extra soft puffy clouds in flannel at the top.  I even worked in a little more Heather Ross on the backside and for the butterflies on the binding.  

:: Riley Blake - Polka Dot Rolly Polly
:: Dear Stella
:: Heather Ross - Lightning Bugs & Tiger Lilly
:: Art Gallery Pure Elements Solids - Tokyo Solid Fat Quarter Bundle

Sugar Pop :: baby quilt
The Process

Sugar Pop :: baby quilt
all in the details :: a little label

Sugar Pop :: baby quilt
Matching all the points makes me happy

Sugar Pop :: baby quilt
Sugar Pop Baby Quilt

Friday, November 13, 2015

making :: cloth baby booties

Cloth Baby Booties

When I learned that my colleague at work, who I work closely with on our international studies, was expecting her first baby I started dreaming up a gift to sew for her new little one.  I had big ideas of a modern looking quilt with a play on sailboats, since she and her husband are into sailing.  I tried to track down some Ugandan or Kenyan fabric to use as the sails, but when I didn't have any luck the idea faded to the background and I forgot about it.

Fast forward... she delivers a week or so before our big abstract deadline!  And thoughts of baby were brought right back to the surface.  The whole family would be at the conference and I NEEDED to bring a little something from the little guy.  With limited time, I turned to my go-to baby present - these cloth baby booties.  Even with all the pairs I've made, I'm still working through the first bit of that fleece-y swede fabric I use for the soles.  Tracking down that fabric way back in 2009 is was first brought me to Harts Fabric - where I learned just how awesome fabric stores can be.

I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to use for the main fabric but I knew I wanted it to be bright and not girly.  I was going through the fabrics in my stash when I suddenly remembered that another colleague, this one from Uganda, had brought me back some fabric.  Luckily I found it!  Luckily it was this awesome print!  Luckily there was just enough to do these booties and even do a bit of pattern matching to make a set!

The parents were thrilled with the little shoes.  The dad even requested a pair in his size.  I'll call that a win!

Pattern :: cloth baby shoes - free Michael Miller Pattern
:: outer - kitenge fabric from Uganda
:: inner - Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander

Cloth Baby Booties

Cloth Baby Booties

Cloth Baby Booties

Cloth Baby Booties

Monday, November 9, 2015

blogging for books :: seven spoons

blogging for books
Blogging for Books :: Seven Spoons

It's been ages now since I received this "new" cookbook from Blogging for Books and it's about time I got my act together to post my review. Plus, I'll get to pick out a new book once I get this posted! Well, in all the time I've had this book I've only cooked from it a couple times. That isn't a reflection on the book - instead, it's just the state of ambivalence towards the kitchen that I seem to be stuck in at the moment.  I can find the energy, for about a week, to be good at meal planning, shopping early on the weekend, getting things prepped, etc.  And then, after resounding self congratulations on such a stellar job I start to slack off all over again.  Rinse and repeat.

But I'm all for trying again and again.  Someday my good intentions will become habit.  Until then, I'll collect recipes and pretty cookbooks that make me want to do better.  And I'll keep on trying.

Continuing the theme of moving slow, these pictures are from three weeks ago.  When I pulled out the camera to take pictures of the dish (Broccoli rabe with bagna cauda) I was in "feeling awesomely on top of things" mode.  Red sauce was simmering for the week ahead, extra veggies for work lunch salads had already been washed and chopped.  The golden afternoon light simply added to my feelings of contentment.  (then I got lazy again, the computer broke, I went out of town, the computer got fixed, I got sick... and the pictures just sat waiting for me)

I should say a little something about the book.  The first descriptor that comes to mind is lovely.  From the outside, with its canvas-y spine and pressed title, to the inside, with its smooth pages and calm photographs it is pleasing to the eye and the hand.  The recipes come with helpful headnotes that read like mini stories and are filled with bits of information that might translate to cooking skills somewhere down the line.  I'm especially inspired to try out the "staples" section at the back of the book.  The broccoli rabe came with quite a flavor punch with the sauce and earned thumbs up from the husband too.  I'm happy to have this one on my shelf - easy access for when I get to meal planning (even when that's right before I head out the door for the store and not earlier in the week like I always hope).

Here's a glimpse of the kitchen when I like it best (i.e. when I'm least likely to be dreaming of a million ways it could be better).

blogging for books
In the pantry

blogging for books
Afternoon sunlight

blogging for books
Current state of the fridge at the moment the photo was snapped

blogging for books

blogging for books
broccoli rabe with bagna cauda

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Inigo & the hairy chested lumberjack

pumpkin carving
Pumpkin carving... much flying pumpkin pieces

the pumpkins of 2015
by (from left to right): Sam, Lukas, & Megan

Inigo & the hairy chested lumber jack
Inigo & The Hairy Chested Lumberjack

Just a few memories from Halloween 2015...

::getting covered in flying pumpkin shavings. There was just no getting around that.

::laughing with Sam as she got dirtier and dirtier getting into her costume. She was Rambo from Rambo First Blood.

::Sebastian surprising the trick-o-treaters with his loud boo! Except for one preteen witch who, with sass, said, "You didn't scare me!"

::the little spiderman who didn't want to look at me because he thought I was scarier than Rambo.

::surprising myself anytime I caught a glimpse of my face. It was easy to forget it was painted.

::playing more exploding kittens.

::being totally prepared for the hoards of children, but then not being as swamped as last year - darn!

twins :: tuxedo cats

Friday, October 16, 2015

where'd the last 6 years go?

I was going through the unpublished posts in my draft folder and came across this gem from 6 years ago.  We were freshly engaged and snapped these shots for our save the dates - home-made photo booth style!  And then we printed up a zillion in 12"x12" sheets that I cut apart and glued to thin wood squares Lukas cut.  Covered in resin {oh so many drips to manage!} they became coasters and the coasters, became our wedding favors.  But what I can't get over is how YOUNG we were.  {That... and I cannot even remember when Lukas had such a tame beard!}  

Happy birthday to the guy who's been mine for the last 12+ years, my husband for the last 5.  Together, we're learning and growing and exploring and (sure) being lazy.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

(Can you guess each of expressions above?)