Monday, June 29, 2015

going :: home

going home
Shawna + Adrian

I was incredibly excited when the estimated time of arrival showed 30 minutes earlier than expected. But then I ended up circling for 1/2 an hour and getting through customs and baggage claim took longer than expected. I had all my camera settings ready to snap a quick "you've just arrived picture", but the threat of the bicycle helmet wearing, move-it-along authority kept the camera in the car while we hurried big suitcases into the back and pulled away from the curb.  My sister is here!  All the way from Singapore {with her boyfriend too!}.

We headed up the coast to the folks Friday morning with a lunch stop along the way for tasty sandwiches and smoothies in Willits.  Smoothies were very much required because the A/C on the car only works in 20 minute intervals.  The trip was filled was hanging out, playing buzz word {poor international people didn't stand a chance}, a walk to the school, a manual driving lesson, and cooking Father's Day breakfast.  All good stuff... all over too quickly.  

Looking forward to seeing even more family in just a few days for my brother's wedding!!  

going home
my pretty sister

going home
getting it out of his system before the wedding {I think}

going home
good morning, Sunshine!

going home
Emu + Shawna + Adrian

going home
all smiles

going home
Daddy + Daughter

going home
remember to turn the camera on first

going home
TJ goes for a swim post driving lesson

going home
Visiting the first house I lived in

going home
missing Matt

Friday, June 19, 2015

growing :: herb garden reboot

herb garden + lettuce
new :: starting again
The herb garden was in a serious need of a reboot.  The plants were looking mighty sad.  The herb garden beds held hardly growing squash instead of herbs.  The basil bolted almost instantly.  Things needed to be refreshed. 

Last weekend I hit up three nurseries and came home with a pallet of herbs {and lettuce} and more bags of dirt.  Out went the dirt that was more like twigs and in went the fresh dirt that is having much success in the other raised beds.  This time, multiples of all the plants were sown so that we won't be afraid to chop off what we need for cooking.  

Grow little garden, grow!   
lettuce + early green tomato
glamour shots :: little lettuce + little green tomato

Monday, June 8, 2015

making :: pink + elephants {handmade style by noodlehead}

making :: handmade style {travel makeup case}
elephants on parade!
The new book, Handmade Style, by Anna Graham {of noodlehead} came in the mail just a week ago.  I love the way the book is laid out - pictures in the front, directions in the back.  All the projects look great... and many are quickly making it to my must sew list.  This one just had to be first though because I knew exactly who I wanted to make it for... my soon-to-be sister in law!  

Her bridal shower was just a little over a week away when the book came in the mail.  I went online shopping for the perfect fabric, but then realized it wouldn't get here quick enough for me to get the sewing done in time.  Then I found the pink elephants fabric from a 1/2 yard bundle I'd won ages ago.  And it turned out to be perfect!  

I also didn't have time to track down {buy online} the perfect sized zippers that the pattern called for. But I was able to make it work with the offerings from Joann's and I think none was the wiser.  The seam ripper came out a few times - sewing through all those layers and getting everything just right can be a challenge.  I was getting frustrated with quilting the top panels since the outer fabric stretches compared to the thick canvas that is used as the base when doing the quilting.  Basting around the edges {as called for in the pattern} seemed to give me unwanted puckers.  I think if I had more time to take it slow that method could have worked but I need to get this done fast.  So I used a bit of thin, double-sided interfacing {wonder under} fused to the backside of the elephants and then fused to hold the quilt sandwich together.  It worked like a charm! 

For the outer zipper I used two 20" heavy jacket zips and overlapped the tapes where they met in the middle of the case.  I couldn't decide if I should have overlapped or folded back the ends.  But I thought I could get a cleaner finish and have them meet closer if I overlapped.  I only broke two needles trying to carefully sew over the metal zipper ends where they met the hinge pieces.  Oops!  But I probably should be changing my needles more often anyways.

The inside zipper was also a bit smaller than the requested size.  To accommodate that, I added tabs to the ends - just stitched through the wrong side of a leftover piece of the fabric pocket onto the zipper as close to the metal teeth as possible, folded back, pressed, and top stitched.  I trimmed it to 11.5" as the pattern suggested, but wish I had made it 12" since that was the size of the lining piece it would go on.  Since I was adding the tabs any ways I could have made that adjustment, but didn't because I was just following the pattern.

In the end, I finished it just in time.  One late night sewing session + waking up and sewing first thing the day of the shower and it was done with enough time to snap a few pictures, get it wrapped and out the door to make it there on time.  

Now for the rest of the pictures...

making :: handmade style {zipper detail - how to use two zippers}
pink + elephants

making :: handmade style {all the pockets - travel makeup case}
pockets!

making :: handmade style {travel makeup case - detail}
inner zippered pocket with added zipper tab


making :: handmade style
all filled and ready for honeymoon travels


making :: handmade style (zipper detail on the travel makeup case from Handmade Style}
overlapped zipper ends {making do}

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

growing :: this little garden

in the garden
zucchini + butternut squash 
This little garden of mine is just growing like crazy {or at least parts of it are}.  Here's just a quick photo tour of the {better looking parts of the} backyard.

in the garden
Don't look too closely.  We're still working on reclaiming the rest of the yard.
in the garden
cilantro + pumpkins + marigolds
in the garden
zucchini + peas + PURPLE! cauliflower 

And just to remember where things started... the marigolds got moved to the bed along the fence. Good thing too, as they would have been swallowed whole by the tomatoes in the back bed.
newest garden box
it looked so empty...

Friday, May 29, 2015

making :: just enough {umbrella prints trimming challenge}

umbrella prints trimming challenge in English paper pieced diamonds and hexagons
just enough

In the last couple years, I'd read {and followed along with} the annual challenge Umbrella Prints hosts.  I even, once, got a trimmings packet so I could play along but inspiration failed and time got away from me.  But not this year.

This year, inspiration came in bursts.  Nothing came to me all at once, but I didn't let lack of the end picture stop me from getting started.  I got a packet of blue trimmings and waited while it winged its way to me from Australia.  The next bit of inspiration came from pursing the guest judge's website.  Her beautiful, hand-stitched work inspired me and I knew I wanted to hand-stitch.  That would be the perfect thing to work on in the mornings too.  Small and portable and bus-ready.

I'd neve done any English paper piecing before, but I just jumped in and did it.  I got a set of 1" diamonds and 1" hexagons cut from freezer paper.  I didn't know how I was going to put all the little pieces together, but just started cutting - working to get as many out of each small trimming as I could.  Sure, I could have stopped and pondered and plotted and planned, but instead I just did.

I ironed and cut in the dark before running out the door to the bus.  Then I basted each shape to the paper.  Probably stitching more than I needed to, but learning as I went.  As I was nearly done basting my next burst came from looking at the quilts in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  I had thought I would put the diamonds together in stars, but was stuck with how to work in the hexagons.  Instead, I saw a beautiful, spiraled rainbow quilt made of three dimensional-looking hexagons made of diamonds.  And I knew, I wanted to make those optical illusions.

With all the pieces cut, I separated them by value - light, medium, dark.  Without planning it - just getting lucky - each pile had 14 diamonds.  Just enough for 14 pieced hexagons.  And the stitching continued.

At some point, during all this, I accidentally felted a bright blue sweater.  I was disappointed since I loved the color and there was no way the now child-sized sweater was ever going to fit again.  It would be perfect, though, for reconstructing - inspired by a coworker who makes the cutest wool diaper covers and coziest blankets from felted sweaters.  So, a cover for a heating pad it was destined to become.  Something simple, practical, and useful. 

The pieced together hexagons were just big enough and the sweater just big enough to fit the perfect shape I had imagined.  And I knew I wanted to bind the inside seams of the cover to give attention to detail and a clean finish.  But I wasn't quit sure with what.  Then a package of fabric I ordered {all the way from Japan} came faster than I expected and wrapped up prettier than expected too.  The fabric strip tied around the bundle was just the right size for binding the seams.  And just long enough.

Each piece of fabric from the trimmings packet went into the paper piecing, except for one.  It was too small to even get one diamond out of it.  But it was the perfect size for a sweet little detail on the heating pad.  The flower stood out against the bright background and tied the heating pad to the cover.

With the last day to submit project here, I quickly attached the hexagons to the cover and trimmed the last threads.  I had just enough time.  Just enough.

Umbrella Prints trimming challenge - details on the rice heating pad
the little detail

Umbrella Prints trimming challenge {English paper piecing, hearts, elephants, diamonds}
hearts and elephants... oh my!

Liberty binding on the heat pad cozy sewn for Umbreall Prints trimming challenge
sweet binding :: just enough

Rice heating pad in felted sweater cozy - Umbrella Prints flower detail
all tucked in :: button placket reused