Saturday, December 3, 2011


I've never given advent much thought.  We don't have kids in our household and the days leading up to Christmas is a very busy time about here. As a result, we are rather boring by putting mini candybar bites in our calendar's pockets and forgetting about it.

(The advent calendar my MIL made for us.)

But last year I made an advent calendar for my sister and her family (who do have small children).  She posted a question on Facebook that asked what ideas others had for putting in the pockets.  One woman suggested a small lego project to build little by little each day which I thought was amazingly clever!  However, the more I thought about  it, the more I worried about lost pieces and/or choking hazards.  

So, my question to you, dear readers, is what non-food items would you suggest putting in the pockets (about 2"x2")?

(The advent calendar I made for my sister's family)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In-Law Visit

The In-laws came to visit the weekend of November 12th.  Unfortunately, my MIL came down with the flu the first day.  

I felt really bad for her, but at least she was able to curl up on the couch w/ a blanket and recover slowly.  While she was napping and the boys were off to Menard's for some home improvement shopping, I worked on the binding for the pinwheel baby quilt.

I'm making progress - it's just not going very quickly.  The binding is about 2/3 completed.  

It's inevitable that if I have a blanket on my legs, a kitty will be settled in shortly.  I don't mind most of the time because it is comforting to have them there.  This time was no exception.  Mac was unamused by my attempt to record her nap on my legs while I worked.  

I just have this week left for classes and I'm very much looking forward to working on some projects over my break.  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Non-quilted Project - The Milk Box

When we bought this house, the previous owners had left an old milk box in the "garage."  Dr J really wanted to put it on the porch, but I wouldn't let him do that unless it was sealed against the elements so it would be preserved.  We went to one of the local craft stores (who happened to be having a sale on the supplies we needed) and bought some sealing paint, stencils, stencil paint and a brush.

Last weekend was Dr J's Fall Break, so we were doing quite a few outside projects.  I laid some newspaper down and put the box on top.

Then I did several coats of the white spray paint.  I basically just kept coating it until there was no more paint left.

Then I stenciled "Milk" on the front and top of the box (sorry - no pictures of that process because I forgot.)  Then I sprayed the lettering with the same sealant I used on the sign for the front door (seen on the door in the final picture).  This is the end result.

It's cute, but I'm not completely satisfied.  It's a little plain and the "L" looks like a "2" to me.  If I had free-hand painting ability it would be no big deal, but I don't.  So, I'm not sure what I'm going to do to remedy this.

Obviously, we don't have milk delivered anymore, but packages will fit nicely in there.  It looks just right under the mailbox!

A close-up of the sign (sealed and hung), for inquiring minds.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Secret Projects and New Arrivals

It has suddenly become that time of year when I cannot talk blatantly about the projects I'm working on.  I finished a birthday gift for one of my sisters (I can post pictures next week after she receives it) and am now beginning to work on Christmas gifts.  It took me a while to figure out what projects to make this year, but I think I've got it.

I did place a small order with Fat Quarter Shop.  I had received a coupon for 20% off my next order and I had already started looking at patterns.   

My booty (plus kitty):

First up is this selection of Farm Fresh - a new line of baby fabrics.  I liked this one because it was gender neutral.  I have a few plans for the fabric.

The other fabric I bought was this Desired Things collection. 

For this pattern:

The original used a blue for the border, but with our bedroom walls a different kind of blue, I thought I'd go with a more neutral color for the border.  I'm looking forward to making this in the spring!

 Finally, I bought these patterns:

 They are mostly quilt patterns, but there's a bag pattern in there too.  I also signed up for the Miss Rosie's Quilt Company pattern club.  I love these patterns and keep buying individual ones, but this way they will automatically ship me the new patterns as they arrive for retail. 

This is the first time that I have bought pre-cut collections beyond charm packs - pretty exciting for me!  Have you bought pre-cuts before?  What did you think of them?  Were they more or less helpful?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My New Roommate

As you may know, the cats have been not very friendly to each other since we moved from Ohio to South Dakota.  With this move, things didn't get any better and we had to figure out a more permanent separation.  So, Clovey will be living in the sewing room with me.

You can see her new bed on the left and the litterbox under the cutting table (upper right of the picture).  My new roomie (although, not really new since she's 10 y/o).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Sewing Room!!

As promised, here are pictures of the new sewing room.  I finished putting the last box (of batting) away this morning while I waited for Dr. J to be ready to have me help shave his head.  As I put the last of the loose stuff away, it occurred to me that I really need to paint the room.  I don't have a lot of pictures (etc) to hang on the walls or a rug for the floor now that I have a room all to my own either.  I think the obvious solution is to make a couple wall quilts to decorate. 

The sewing desk was originally set in front of the windows, but I realized I wouldn't have an outlet if I kept things that way.  So, it got moved.  I think it helps make the room seem bigger.

You can kind of see the racks on the wall in the closet.  Next weekend we're going to put three shelves in there to add more space and organization. Those pink tubs in the closet are all yarn.  I was able to sort my craft books into general crafts and sewing patterns on the first shelf, Quilting books on the second, and crochet and cross-stitch books on the last shelf. Yes, that really is a box of Yankee candles on the pattern table.  I buy a couple when they are on major sale for each season (fall, winter, summer) and rotate them out accordingly throughout the house.

So, I'd be very interested in what you all suggest for wall colors.  Leave a comment with your choice keeping in mind that the office/spare bedroom is a bright yellow, our bedroom is a spa blue, the bathroom a mocha tan, and the hallway ostrich feather (lighter grey brown).

I'm also thinking about changing out the table in front of the windows for one that is more square - not sure about it yet though.

What do you think?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Oh. My. Word.

I had an early lunch with a girlfriend this morning in the same shopping area as the quilting store.  So, I thought I'd stop in and browse before heading home.  I knew it would empty my wallet, but I went anyway. ;)

Imagine my surprise when I suddenly found myself in another room full of fabric!  It only took me a second to realize that over the course of the last couple of months of absentee-ism the store had expanded and nearly doubled their space!  They had a bus tour when I arrived and with the crowd it wasn't obvious at first, but I'm thrilled with the expanded space!  I enjoyed shopping and picked up a few things.

First, I grabbed this little book.  I LOVE charm packs and I'm always looking for cute projects I can use them in.  I liked this book because not only were the patterns cute, but they were also easy to expand into bigger blankets. 

Then this project.  When my parents visited in May, my mom and I had gone to the store and noticed the purse/wallet clasps, but neither of us picked one up.  But this time, they had a physical example of this pouch and I loved that there were so many pockets and a zippered section for coins.  I initially picked out some green and orange fabric, but saw these and knew they were much more my style.

A closer look at the pattern picture.  It's cute, no?

And the various fat quarters I picked up.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but the green dots next to the hockey players is little frogs - very cute.  And the one on the other side of the player is more muted than it appears here.  I loved the chickens and the chicken wire prints!

Finally, a few holiday prints.  I'm more about cute Halloween than realistic or gorey - just not my style.  I'll post pictures of the new sewing room layout tomorrow.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A New Place...

Woah.  It's been a while.  Not that I had a lot of readers to begin with, but I hope I didn't lose any being gone so long!  

Since my last post, Dr J and I celebrated our 8th anniversary, bought a house, moved, and I quit my job to begin a PhD program.  We are beginning to get settled in and the sewing room is the last room to be unpacked as usual.  Here are some pictures of how it is right now. 

I'm hoping to have some updates this weekend!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Enjoy the time with your families and loved ones!  Happy fourth of July!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Baby Blanket Finish!

I completed this blanket at 1am last Sunday morning.  It was just in time for little Levi's Christening Sunday morning.

It's made out of terry yarn that I've had for years - waiting for the right project.  It turned out so thick and soft.  I hope Levi gets many years of use out of it!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Tea Cozy

We're dealing with flooding from the Missouri River so I have put my machines in storage in case we need to evacuate.  But before I did that I finished this tea cozy for my sister's birthday.

My parents visited last week and Mom and I went shopping for quilting stuff.  Sadly, I didn't get a picture of our loot (what was I thinking??), but I have a couple pictures post-washing.

We've been told to expect this flooding to stay for two months.  I'm not sure when I'll be able to get back to sewing/quilting again, but hope it will be soon.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I can't really discuss my current projects because they are gifts, but I CAN tell you about the shopping I did a couple weeks ago.  I had gone to the local quilt shop after my haircut. (No hubby meant I could actually spend some time looking!)  

I initially was looking for a pattern for my Christmas project - last year everyone got stockings or a wall quilt.  This year, I have something else in mind that I saw on another blog and thought it was a great idea!

Anyway, that's why I went there.  But, despite being listed on the designer's website as a vendor, I didn't find that pattern... I found plenty of others.

As you can see I bought a couple of zippered bag patterns and a purse pattern.  I must really like the purse pattern because when I got home I found I already had it in my box.  Oh well.  The other thing in this picture is the "let's twist" pattern book and tool.  They were having a demonstration of this tool and I loved it so much I couldn't resist purchasing it.  I have just the fabric collection that I'm going to use for it.  My plan is to use it for a summer wall quilt.  I can't wait to get through my current projects so I can work on this. (I find myself excited about what I'm working on, but always looking forward to the next project as well - it's a weird paradox.)

I promised a friend of mine that I would make her some pot holders as part of that Facebook challenge I mentioned at the beginning of the year.  She likes orange, so while I was looking at the fat quarters I came across some nice batiks.  There was a nice blue fabric which was part of a Christmas line, but I only found that one fabric.  Then I grabbed a St. Patrick's Day fabric to add to my growing collection.  Finally, some fabrics for the Christmas project I'm planning (I found the pattern online). 

The fabric that really grabbed my attention was, of course, the hockey fabrics.  Hockey is kind of a rare find.  I've been collecting what bits and pieces I can find whenever I come across it - and I hit paydirt here.  I now have a plan for it too!

I'm quite happy with my purchases and looking forward to working on these additional projects!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Completed Project! (And it only took me a year!)

Wow.  I knew I'd written about this quilt before, but I had no idea just how much!  You can read about my process here, here, here, here and here.  Sadly, for the last nine months (yes, I'm ashamed to admit that) all that needed to be done to finish it was to complete the binding.

It is made from muslin that my MIL hand-dyed.  I feel good about it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


It took me two weeks, but the penguins quilt is done (minus the binding)!!

Last week, I finished cutting out the penguins' body pieces, got the bottom halves planned and the left penguin completely sewn on.

And that was where I left off last weekend.  This weekend I picked up from there.

Once all the penguins were sewn on, I attached one of the borders.  Sadly, the pattern called for a second border and I cut it out, but my quilt rack was shorter than two borders allowed.  So, then I pinned the layers together and quilted it.

Finally, I added eyes.  I'll attach the border once I've finished the two I'm working on.  Hopefully, next weekend.

Et Voila.  Penguins!

What do you think?  Cute, huh?