Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ahhh, Fall how I love thee!

Have I mentioned Fall is my favorite season? It's the best season by far (sorry to make all you two season peeps jealous heehee).

The crisp morning air makes me super happy!

Even though Christmas is looming and there are a ton of gifts that need to be made, I needed to bask in the awesomeness that is Fall for just a minute.

So this Fall Mini Quilt was born! It measures about 21" square.
I pieced together the leftover strips to make the backing and then free motion quilted the whole thing. I need major practice on that because I messed up a bunch of times, but since it's living at my house, I didn't bother unpicking the mistakes.
I didn't use a pattern, but I'll give you a quickie idea of how it was made.

You need:

- 5 fat quarters (you can definitely get away with less because I have enough scraps for a potholder or two)
- an 18.5 square of white cotton (I used Kona)
- 20" square of batting
- coloring book pages!! I googled "leaf coloring pages" and got lots of choices.
- binding tape (you can buy it pre-made or make your own)
Print your leaf coloring pages. You can do the same for the pumpkin shape or freehand it like I did.
Using your favorite applique method, add leaves and pumpkin to the white square. I used THIS starch method by PieceNQuilt and a blanket stitch. Worked beautifully.

Cut four 1.75" strips for the border. Sew to white square using a 1/4" seam. Don't forget to press open your seams!
Take your left over fabric and piece together the backing. There's no right or wrong way to do it. Whatever looks best to you.
Sandwich your top, batting, and backing together. Quilt however you like. Using your favorite applique method, add leaves to the white square. I did free motion quilting, learned from THIS Oh, Fransson tutorial.
Attach binding by machine or hand. I used leftover binding from last year's turkey place mats, so I don't know exactly how wide it is. It's pretty narrow. You can use whatever width you want, depending on the look you're going for. THIS tutorial from Red Pepper Quilts is pretty awesome.
Step back and admire!

I think I want to look for more fun coloring book pages to use as applique shapes!

Now it IS time to think about that long long list of Christmas gifts to be made in less than 3 months. :X
P.S. - I'm having major spacing issues with Blogger. The spaces between lines disappear when I publish a post, which makes the text harder to read. Any tips?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up

We didn't have any big plans this weekend, so when a neighbor mentioned that a nearby town was hosting a Harvest Festival at the reservation, we figured we should check it out.
There were vendors selling all sorts of crafts, but our favorite was the marionette puppets.
A classic Pinocchio was one of Pi's favorites.
There were people dressed in colonial clothing that were walking around and talking to the crowd. It was neat to see all the different characters. This particular guy seemed to show up wherever we went. Colonial stalker!

Piper + saw = heart palpitations! She did great, though, so my worrying was for nothing. (p.s. - see the colonial stalker in the background?)

Roasted duck (I think) anyone?

A man teaching about Native Americans had these animal skins on display.
Pi is never too old to pose for a cheesy picture with me.
These boys scouts were making fresh squeezed apple juice. It was delicious!

There was a make your own scarecrow section. Unfortunately for us, we got there just as they ran out of scarecrow parts. Oh well, maybe next year. The scarecrows on display were awesome!
We headed over to the petting zoo, where we found this cow wrestling with a metal chair. He was literally fighting to hold onto it!

Once it was taken away, he was happy to get a rub.

Baby chickens... So stinkin cute!
Baby ducks.... even cuter!
Pi was enamored with this sheep.
Until they got into a tug-of-war over her jacket!

Annnnd, the very best way to end the day was by eating a ridiculously large funnel cake!

Fall is seriously the best season. I love activities like this and being able to enjoy them in cool weather.
What did you do this weekend?

Oh, Fransson's Advent Calendar.

I can't even begin to explain how relieved I am to have this project finished! It's the Oh, Fransson Advent Calendar I started last Fall, in the hopes of finishing it for Christmas 2009. Fat chance, Chris, fat chance!

After having some difficulty with it at first (this was only my second quilting project at that point and a flashing red light screaming NOOB NOOB couldn't describe how little I knew), I put it aside to the WIP pile.

There is sat through Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years. In order to have peace during the holidays, I threw balls of yarn over it so I could pretend it wasn't there.

Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's, April fool's day, and Cinco de Mayo all skipped happily along. I'd pretty much forgotten all about this WIP, being hidden under all that yarn.

The one day in June, I moved the yarn and there it was. Still sitting in a pile, waiting patiently for me to finish it. You'd think that I would remember it was there, but I was in total shock when I saw it. Totally and completely forgotten... defense mechanism, anyone? It felt like the project was accusing me... You. Forgot. Me! *shudder* Creepy!

So I sucked in a deep breath and got right back at it. I re-read the pattern, which seemed easier now and made a whole lot more sense to me this time around. I examined what I'd already done and realized I had to rip out about half of it out. *sigh* But at that point I decided it was better to do it right, rather than be unhappy with it when it was all done.

I took my time with the free motion quilting and it's finally finished. I have to say it was more than worth it because I love it. Like love love, for real. The pictures totally do not do it justice!

The fabrics are all random Christmas fabrics from a local craft store (no selvages with the name that I could find on any of them). The white is Kona cotton. I was clearly worried about not having enough fabric and managed to buy double of what I needed. I think there might be a Christmas quilt in my future to use up the leftovers.

Now that Christmas is on the brain, I really really need to get started on gifts.

(I'm proud to say no homework was abandoned in the making of this quilt, haha).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.


I'm so proud!!!
P.S. - The monster pattern she based this on is from the book Fleecie Dolls by Fiona Goble. I scored this book for dirt cheap at Strand Books.
P.P.S. - Thanks so much for the nice comments on my blogiversary. I love you guys, really truly!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm Three!

Today is my 3rd blogiversary!

I seriously can't believe it's been three years already. Man, time flies. Gotta say, I still love having a place to share my crafts and kooky obsessions (zippers anyone?). The best part is knowing you crazy kids are just as obsessed as I am. ;)
Thanks for hanging around!
(I would have liked to have a giveaway, but a $1700 car repair bill (somebody say ouch!) has put that plan on hold for now. I'll have a belated giveaway later.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Grease stain? What grease stain?

One morning, I went to put on my favorite, comfy, orange t-shirt and was dismayed to find a grease stain on it. I had to go through all the stages of grief before I could accept that my shirt was ruined. I don't even know how that grease stain got there!
But I couldn't accept that one little stain would end the relationship between me and my shirt. No way!
So, I bought a $0.99 cent foam stamp from the craft store and pulled out a jar of white fabric paint that I already had on hand.
Then I stamped right over Mr. Nasty Grease Stain.
And stamped some more.
And some more.

I stamped until I was happy with what I had. After it dried, I set the paint with a hot iron and it was ready to wear.

My shirt and I lived Happily Ever After.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Worth Repeating again...

This is the message I posted two years ago on this day. I think it is worth repeating again.

Please keep all the September 11th victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers today. Also, please keep the rescue workers in your thoughts and prayers as well. My dad was a rescue worker at ground zero for more than 5 months, searching for victims and clearing debris. He now suffers from respiratory problems that he did not have before the September 11th attacks. Many, many of the rescue workers are suffering with respiratory illnesses.

A big thanks to the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program at Mt. Sinai Medical Center for continuing to provide medical care for the rescue workers who are ill.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's not an obsession, really.

After discovering that zippers are not scary, I may have run to the store and bought a few more. My equally crafty friend Joyce was a good sport and went with me early on a Sunday morning to arrive just as the store opened (not a sign of a zipper obsession).
Making a zippered make-up purse for Val's birthday now seemed like the only appropriate gift! (also not a sign of a zipper obsession,see?)

Following THIS tutorial from Craftster, I whipped this up really quickly.

A little embroidery personalized the bag and also made the pink zipper look like it belonged there. (adding embroidery to enhance the zipper color is totally not a sign of a zipper obsession, uh-huh)

It would be logical to think that I was satisfied with adding zippers to little bags, but not so much yet. I opened my copy of Weekend Sewing (remember I got it for about $1!) and traced the pattern for the Weekend Away Travel Bag.

This one took a little longer and fiddling with the zipper placement, but the pattern was easy to follow and I'm really pleased with the results.
The outside fabric is a scrap that my quilting friend sent me. It has fish skeletons on it, which made me think of my sister Inky. She has a phobia of dead fish, no joke! My dad had to get rid of his fish tank because she wouldn't walk by it, constantly freaked that there would be a dead fish.
You see why I thought it was perfect for her? A little sisterly teasing is always fun. I lined it with a floral fabric, so she wouldn't be too freaked. Gotta give the kid some credit... she accepted the bag with a laugh and promised to use it. Good sport!
Ummm, one last thing... I went and got more zippers.

That still doesn't make a case for a zipper obsession! ;)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Monster Mini Golf

Summer passed extremely quickly this year. We've been so busy that I barely had a chance to register that summer had come and gone. We didn't even get to the beach, which seems like a huge goof since we live so close to the shore.
I had promised Piper that I would take her and a few of her cousins/friends to try Monster Mini Golf. We showed up with a group of 9, to the horrified looks of the staff, haha. They re-grouped quickly and we headed into the mini golf area.
The entire course is indoor and glows in the dark.
Sneaker's glowed.
Considering, we're in NJ, I thought this sign was clever.

The candy machine was popular with the kiddos.

As was the rest of the arcade area.

Inky and I have sparkly, glowing teeth!
This is the last hole to be played. It's not so easy getting the ball to roll up that tongue!
A little NY/NJ rivalry humor.

The kids loved this place and we'll probably head back around Halloween.
There are locations all over, so check the link if you want to see if there's a course near you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Oh, Fransson! wristlet

One of my favorite sewing/quilting blogs is Oh, Fransson! There is so much quilting inspiration at her blog and I literally spent hours reading all of the posts, the first time I visited. She's the reason I started THIS advent calendar (almost done, yay!) and also why I tried free motion quilting. Sheesh, I should get paid for the gushing promotion, ha!
Besides quilts, there are other nifty patterns, including the Three Ways Wristlet. Piper needed something to hold her MP3 player and cheapie phone* for when she goes to Brooklyn. She was constantly misplacing one or both because she didn't have one easy place to keep them.

One problemo, though. I'm petrified of installing zippers. Like, a big snake in the yard kind of scared. Even my crochet purses never got zippers because of my deep-seated fear!

That's when I started talking to myself... suck it up Christina... just go for it...you gave birth for crying out loud...you married a Philles fan (which is beyond scary as a Mets fan) ... you live in the land of Bon Jovi devotees...you're going back to college. Just do it, you big old baby!

My inner voice is harsh, don't you think? So I took a deep breath and did it. Annnnd, it's way easier than I expected. Much easier than living with a Phillies fan, for the record.

No clue what the fabric is called. It was a remnant quarter yard that I bought for $1 at the City Quilter awhile ago.

The only thing I would change next time is to make the strap a bit shorter. Since I made the smallest version of the pattern, the strap is a smidge long for my taste, but Piper says she can sling the wristlet onto her shoulder, so it worked out fine.

*Generally, I think it's pretty silly for a kid to have a cell phone, but Piper's dad cancelled his land-line phone and she has no way to contact me when she's there, unless she asks to use his phone. That generally goes 50/50. so we hooked up one of my ancient phones for cheap on my family plan and now she always has a way to get in touch with me when she's there. It felt more like a necessity and the peace of mind is more than worth the $10 it costs me.
P.S. - Happy 30th Anniversary to my parents!!!