Saturday, September 28, 2013

Blog Fail

It's been six months since I popped in to say anything here. Six. Months.


In my defense, it's been a pretty busy six months. My kid learned how to walk and had a birthday. My husband started working from home. I decided that I needed to try to keep the house clean. We decided to start working on the house again. I discovered that the library loans digital copies of books, and they'll let you borrow them even if you have $18 worth of fines.

Like I said, it's been busy.

Here's our girl these days (12 months top, 13 bottom):

Here's her and Satchel. She loves him, and he is incredibly patient with her. She treats him like her own personal jungle gym, and he just takes it.

She's into everything. And I mean everything. I caught her eating out of Satchel's food dish the other day...while he was eating. I don't have many gross-out moments, but that was definitely one.

I've done some sewing. Nothing huge. A few sets of pillows, some blocks for my Carpenter's star quilt, zippy pouches, lots of clothes for Tiny. I won't inundate you with photos.

Ain't nobody got time for that.

I've done a couple of really fun swaps recently. One of them involves swapping the new Starbucks "You Are Here" mugs along with sweets and crafty goodies, organized by Sukie.

My partner (Chandra of Mildly Gifted) knocked it OUT OF THE PARK.

I got an amazing embroidered mug rug, chocolate, tea, mug (duh), and a bunch of blocks of Tula Pink fabric, including some of the stunning new Acacia. It was like Christmas. So great. I'm really excited to make something special, just for me with the fabric.

I'm really excited for the next round. Tiny and I are going to Oklahoma in a few weeks to visit my brother and his wife. I think I'm going to have to leave room in my carry-on for an Oklahoma mug!

And finally, we've been listening to a lot of Jens Lekman lately (and by "we" I mean me). This is the current favorite:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Baby Quilt for a Monday

This happy fellow is my first big finish of 2013. It's sweet and pretty and I had so much fun putting it together. (I talk fabrics and pattern here)

I stitched the binding extra wide on the front so it creates a faux-border. I love how it looks. It might become a feature of every quilt from here on out.

I quilted every block through on the diagonal in either direction and then stitched on either side of the seam on each big square. My Elna isn't really made for quilting, but she soldiered through.

Did I mention the corners? This is the first time they've ever come out perfectly. I would keep this puppy just for that, but I'll have to settle for a picture.

I know pieced backs are all the rage right now, but I love how they look, and I would much rather buy less backing fabric and make up the difference with scraps from the front thereby saving myself money and ending up with a cuter finished product. Call me cheap, but it makes me happier.

I love love love the way the quilting looks on the back.

The binding is handsewn on the back. I like the finish handsewing gives the back.

So there you are. A happy quilt to warm up what is a very cold and snowy Monday here in Ohio. Now I'm off to drink more tea, snuggle with my baby, and overdose on The IT Crowd (it's my new favorite).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mercy Mercy

I wanted to put this in with my last post, but it seemed to full already, and I thought this  might be a little out of place anyway.

Did you know that you can listen to Hillsong United's new album "Zion" for free on Spotify? Well, you can. And you should. It's really good. I've listened to it completely through a few times. This song is one of my favorites,

A Hundred Years

It's been exactly one month since my last post. I know you all have missed me. (Sarcasm). I'm sorry I've been away so long, but I've had a really bad attitude and didn't really know write a blog post without all that nastiness leaching in. I try really hard to avoid complaining to people that are not my spouse (And I don't know why he still puts up with me, bless his heart), so it's been a lot of silence on the social media front (Except for Instagram. I can't NOT post pictures).

One month later, Tiny is still teething (And NO teeth yet! KMN), still not sleeping great at night (Or during the day), still wants to be attached to me (Or any other familiar human) as many hours out of the day as possible, and is still the stinking cutest thing that ever lived. Mothering is hard, hard, hard work, but so worth it when your kid gives you a big, toothless grin or snuggles up in your arms to take a 15 minute power nap. This little person gives me headaches, wears out my back, shoulders, boobs, and patience; she keeps me from napping, cooking, and bathing but dang it if she isn't the best thing to happen to my life since Jesus and prescription strength deodorant. She makes me a better version of myself in so many ways. Every day with her pushes me to get over myself and the things I want to do and focus on helping her grow up to be the best that she can be. It's cool and terrifying and the same time, and I feel so humbled to be her mother. (Side note: Did anyone else start praying more when they became a parent? I say a lot more "God give me patience" prayers now.)

And being able to post the above makes me feel a lot better. Like I'm maybe getting through the bad funk that has been the last month.

So that was deep and weepy. 

Now for some sewing related nonsense.

I'm currently working on a custom baby quilt. The finished size will be 60x60 so it will transition well from crib to toddler bed to regular bed. The top was pieced using Rae's Storytime Squares tutorial. I just made everything bigger, so instead of starting with 5" squares, I started with 6.5" squares and cut the sashing 4.5" wide instead of 3". There's lots of Bonnie and Camille and Les Amis in here. I love the fox print. I would like to get a couple yards of it to make a crib sheet for Tiny. 

A delicious in-progress photo. (See that mess behind? That's my stash. It all needs to be dumped, purged, and tidied up in a bad way.)

 The top came together really fast. I loved not having to match up a bunch of seams. I'm working on the quilting now. This part has to be done in chunks otherwise my neck, upper back, and shoulders seize up. My lovely Elna isn't ideal for quilting items quite this big, and I don't have the assistance of a walking foot. It's about 25% done, and I'm really counting on the finishing wash/dry to hide all the little imperfections. I Instagrammed this of it late last night:

I'm still plugging away on the blocks for my Carpenter's Star bed quilt. I finished two in the last few weeks. Here are the first six all together. They make me happy.

This is my most recent finish. It's Tula Pink Saltwater with a dark brown woodgrain I picked up at JoAnn.
As you can see, there's A LOT of Tula Pink up in the joint (every block). She is far and away my favorite fabric designer. Her stuff is just so quirky and cool. Like those Octopi. I want to make a dress out of them.

Other than that, it's been lots of tea, soup, and Netflix while we wait out winter. We recently discovered Oddities on Netflix, and I LOVE it. The people that pop into Obscura are so different. I would never want to purchase a two-headed calf taxidermy or antique blood-letting kit, but there is something comforting about knowing that world holds people of such diverse interests and tastes, however strange I may find them.

And that's all. I'll be back soon. I've been working on a couple of homemade beauty products that I would like to share with you all.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'll Sleep when I'm Dead.

You guys. This has been the longest week ever. We've finally decided to try and get Tiny on a schedule. Internet friends, don't wait until your child is six months old to get them on a consistent sleep/awake schedule. Just don't do it. At least not if your kid is as stubborn as mine.

 We've spent the better part of this week trying to get her away from the habit of going to sleep at night, waking up three hours later, and spending the rest of the night in our bed, nursing every 45 minutes. I won't lie to you, people of the internet, it's been rough. In the past (long, long ago, last week), I would get up when she cried, make sure her diaper wasn't wet, and bundle her off to our bed where we would cozy up together under the fluffy down comforter and drift back to sleep.

Now, I hear her cry. I lay there for a few minutes trying to psyche myself up enough to drag out of  my soft, warm bed to swathe myself in a sweatshirt, get her out of the crib, change her diaper (which probably isn't wet anyway, but I'm going to change it just because it could be a little bit damp, making her cold and waking her up), and settle into the uncomfortable rocking chair to nurse and fight soothe her back to sleep. What used to be a five, maybe ten minute disturbance is now at least an hour long ordeal.

It's the worst. (I'll save the nap time drama for another post.)

I have to give credit to Bob, though. He'll come join me after she's done nursing and is attempting to gum my fun bags to death while I try to get her take the pacifier, and we both cry (she screams more than I do). He is super helpful, but I'm usually so zombified that I just growl at him. But it has gotten a little better every night. Sunday night, we were up twice, for an hour each time. Same deal Monday night. Last night she slept three hours, woke up for an hour, slept for six hours, woke up for an hour, slept for another two and half.

It was super.

The last two and half were spent in our bed, but I didn't care because I got to snap this picture of her and Bob sleeping. She's definitely his kid. (See that burp rag? She'll occasionally spit up in her sleep. Another reason to get her out of our bed and into her own.)

That was a long post with a lot of "woe-is-me" nonsense. This is real life.

It's not been all crying and sleeplessness, though. I've also spent this week preparing for my strip-piecing class. It's going to be a lot of fun. These are my samples. They're going to be turned into a big, quilty pillow that's going to live at someone's house when all is said and done.

Assembled bundles. They're so happy. I dipped into some of my Tula Pink and Heather Ross horde for them, lucky people.

And I finally finished January!! It felt like it took me forever, but I'm so happy with it. I did all of my snowflakes with sparkle floss instead of white and added extra because I could.Those little deer and such little dears. (HA!)

The Girl Scouts delivered cookies this week. Is it just me, or is Girl Scout cookie time the only thing that makes the end of winter bearable? We get to enjoy Christmas and New Year's then suffer through January, and it's frigid nastiness. The big furry rodent comes out of his hole, bearing the bad news that there are six freaking weeks of winter left, little monster. We'll just skip over Valentine's Day. Maybe I'll tell you how I feel about Valentine's Day next year, but for now, let's just say I don't like it.

Then, out of the gloom rise the girls in green uniforms bearing little boxes of heaven. I don't know what it is about cuddling up on the couch with a big mug of tea and a small hill of Samoas that makes the dreary countdown to March a little less hateful, but it just does.

It would appear, however that there are fewer Thin Mints in a sleeve than years past. Are the Girl Scouts being trained in how to run a small business or how to be tiny scam artists? Only time will tell. There are 16 cookies in a full sleeve this year. You better believe I'm going to count again next year.

The final big accomplishment for this week was getting a high chair. Tiny Girl has been trying to escape from her Bumbo and bouncy seats for weeks now. It was time to upgrade her to something with a harness and sides that are too high for her to worm her way out of. She likes it. It allows her to be up on the same level as the big people and still be contained. Win-win.

Well, that is all I have for you today. Thank you for putting up with my long absence. I wish I could send you all boxes of Tagalongs as a treat for being nice.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

"Sorry I'm late. I just got done taming a wild honeymoon stallion for you guys."

Hello Readers!
Tiny Girl was sickly yesterday. She was warm and whiny all day. I got nothing done. Well, almost nothing. I did make another batch of bretzel while she sat, mostly content, in her Bumbo on the counter next to me. (Attention Parenting Police: I don't want to hear about how it's 'unsafe'. She was supervised the whole time, and more interested in making a grab at whatever it was I happened to have in my hands than escaping from her seat.) I doubled the amount of baking soda in the boiling water and skipped the egg wash. Here's a delicious looking picture.

We went to the Second Street Market with my brother, "Uncle Ponyboy" today. It was nice to get out of the house. The Second Street Market is always fun, but I think I prefer it in the spring and summer. There's more produce, more flowers, and the atmosphere is just generally more lively. I did pick up some ground rabbit while there, and at a delicious Tandoori Chicken meat pie from Cheeky Meat Pies. Here's Tiny with Uncle Ponyboy. (He spent most of his time trying to keep her from pulling his hair out. It's at treat for him to carry her. He has more hair than I've had in YEARS.)

I've also spent some time this week preparing for my upcoming Scrappy Trip Around the World sewing class coming up in a week. (What's that? You didn't know I teach sewing classes? Well, I do. Occasionally.) Here's a super swell photo of the bundles I assembled. I'm really looking forward to this class. It's going to be a lot of fun. You can visit out the Facebook event if you're interested in more info.

And that's all the wild exciting things that have happened around here today. Napoleon Dynamite is on. That movie is so 2004 (2005?). I leave you with the AMAZING dance sequence from the end:

P.S. Tiny is sleeping! And has been for the last hour-ish! It's a Saturday miracle!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Teething, you're the devil.

I realize I promised you all a rant about hashtags on Tuesday, but yesterday was one of those days where I couldn't put my child down without all hell breaking loose. I don't know what her deal was. She slept almost eight hours Tuesday night and took a two and a half hour nap. It was just her day to be persnickety. Between her and the fact that my house looked like a pet hair explosion, there was very little time for blogging.

To help with what I thought might be teething related whining, I made a batch of bretzel yesterday morning using the Smitten Kitchen's recipe.They were delicious (and almost all gone), but next time I make them I'll add more baking soda to the boiling water (The crust was a little limp for my taste, and there's nothing worse than expecting a thick, chewy crust and getting a thin, slightly chewy crust.) and skip the egg wash. The smell of pretzel was a little masked by the smell of cooking egg which was disappointing.

Tiny didn't have any complaints about it, though.

Bob came home early to get footage of Tiny rolling around and playing for a spot he's working on. So we got to eat dinner together (The first time in years a few weeks) before spending half an hour wrangling the baby. (Have you ever tried to get a six month old to play in one place for more than 30 seconds? It's darn near impossible. She refused to stay on the quilt and pitched a fit just about every time I moved her back onto it.)

Action shot.
Here she is, mesmerized by Dad's fancy work camera.
Side Note: One would think that I would have acquired better photo taking skills what with having a husband who takes photos and videos professionally, and an older brother who has won awards  for his pictures (Here's his most recent big deal. And just for fun, I'm going to let you guess which one is him.), but no. I can't seem to retain any of the information I'm been given about shutter speed, aperture, or perspective. Bob even gave me a lecture on the rule of thirds one time, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was even about. That being said, I would like to re-learn it all. I don't think these low-quality iPhone pictures will hold your attention for long.

Anyway, I don't have the energy I wanted to have for my anti-hashtag rant. All I really want to do is walk two doors and get a doughnut and nap the day away.

But no. I'm a grown-up with a job.

I might go get that doughnut, though.

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day, if you care about that sort of thing.

Update: I did get my doughnut! I got two of them, actually. A sweet friend gave me a chocolate glazed one, then I had to break a $20 for my boss, which meant I had to walk two doors down and buy a caramel doughnut (Normally I would have gone for plain glazed, but Jim's was pretty well cleaned out, and I'll take what I can get.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Weekend Things

I realize that it has been almost a week since my last post, and there's a really good chance I've lost the attention of the three people that read this blog, but I will persist all the same because the world needs my words! (Not really, but the egocentric part of me likes to think so.)

We had a busy weekend, but I still managed to get some crafting done. I finished one of the deer for my January frame of the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Woodland Sampler. I still have one deer, 15 snowflakes, and a word to finish before I can move onto February. I'm a painfully slow careful cross-stitcher. And yes, those are reading glasses in that picture. I need them for small work and extended periods of reading or computer time. I was stitching on the couch one evening last week and my husband looked over, stared for a minute then asked "How old are you?" In real life? 23. Deep down inside? 75.

I also made Tiny the cutest pair of Big Butt Baby Pants out of Pokey Little Puppy flannel. They're so stinking adorable. She wore them two days in a row, and that's why there's no picture of them. I couldn't get her to lay still long enough to get a picture, and I didn't want to deal with the drama of taking them off of her, snapping a picture, and putting them back on. There's too much screaming involved for that nonsense.

Speaking of our Tiny Girl, she had her half birthday on Sunday. I can't believe she's six  months old. It doesn't seem real. Here are pictures of her being cute:

We took a half birthday walk as a family. Bob insisted I let him carry her. Backpack time is her favorite. She can pull hair and look at the world at the same time. Baby bliss.

We met up with friends from church last night so the menfolk could plan the service, and the ladies could talk about...whatever it is we talk about. It's a lot about the babies, actually. One of the other couples have a four month that is bigger than Tiny. So we're forever comparing them and laughing at the strange things they do. Ok, strange things Tiny does. She's always trying to grab her little friend's face and hair bows and toys. We've preemptively apologized for any hitting/biting/stealing of toys Tiny does when they're older. She's just wild and curious and wants what she wants. We're going to have a lot of fun with that stubborn personality when she's older.

She did settle down after I gave her the top of my bread bowl. She chewed on it for a long time before it fell on the floor, and we all got to hear how sad she was.

We had to be up bright and early for her six month check up yesterday morning, and I ended up giving her my phone while she was in the car seat just so I wouldn't have to hear her scream all the way to the pediatrician. She has apparently figured out how to work the camera, as I found this picture while going through my photos this morning. She's too smart for her own good.
So, there's that. I'm preparing a carefully worded rant against hashtags for tomorrow, but now my lunch break is almost over, and I still haven't finished eating my chicken and noodle soup. (I forgot my spoon and am having to eat it with a fork. Soup with a fork? Ridiculous.)

Have a happy, sunshiney rest of your Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday Things

This post brought to you by way of my iPhone and our ancient iBook G4. (Blogger works on it, but Drive doesn't? Oh well.)

It's Wednesday, a day off. Hurray! We had a great night last night. Tiny slept from 10:30-4 and after a good feed, slept until 9:30. Can you hear the angelic chorus? Me neither.

She made this adorable face when I heard her wake up and went to get her.

She's too much. We'll keep her.
I need to climb laundry mountain today, but I really don't want to, so I'm going to try to sell you something instead.

Sometimes I want a quick, almost instant gratification project with all the charm and detail of a big project, so I'll make a mini quilt. The problem is, I don't need these mini quilts. Tiny doesn't need these mini quilts (she has a bajillion blankets, and I'm not exaggerating). Maybe you need one of these mini quilts?

All photos were snapped with my iPhone. I pulled out my real camera last week and the charger is MIA. (Is it worth buying a new charger for a Nikon D50? I don't know.)

Mini #1

Measures 23"x22"
$30 local pick up ($35 shipped)
I kept thinking of Skittles while I was working on this one. The colors are candy-tastic. This was one of my first forays into triangles. I've learned a lot since then.

Mini #2

Measures 28" square
$35 local pick up ($40 shipped)
This mini is near and dear to me. I bought the whale fabric while I was still in high school and have just held onto it. The quilting on this one made is so cozy. The back is super lightweight, really soft denim.

Mini #3

Measures 23"x27"
$40 local pick up, $45 shipped
This is my most recent finish. I love the fabrics, especially the ice cream binding. And the quilting. It's so puffy and delicious. I need to make myself a person-sized one.

All three have been washed and dried for maximum snuggliness. Let me know if you're interested in one, and we'll work something out!

How's that for shameless self promotion?

Now, if you'll excuse me. I have a squalling infant, a pile of clean diapers, and a half-finished cup of coffee clambering for my attention. And I'm going to watch the new Robin Hood while I'm at it.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Big Weekend Wrap-Up

This post will be far less exciting than it sounds, I promise. Also, prepare yourself for the less than stellar iPhone pics.

It was a cold weekend here in Ohio, so we mostly stayed inside. I finished up a couple of projects. One was the emergency apron my husband asked me to sew. It was for his former boss who left her job to pursue full-time mothering. Good for her.

This is the first apron I've ever made with all solid fabric. I wasn't crazy about it, but Bob picked the fabric, so it's not on me.

It came together pretty quick. And I did like working with the unbleached muslin and linen. They both ironed up so crisp (and promptly wrinkled like crazy when folded).

The other project was a pair of pillows my aunt requested to give as gifts. They were fun, easy 18" square pillows made from half-square triangles (my favorite way to make anything). I brilliantly accidentally forgot to take pictures of them before they went in the mail on Saturday, (Oops) but they looked a lot like this:
If you're thinking to yourself "Ooh. What do I have to do to get a pillow like this?" I will gladly make you one for the low, low price of $25. Or two for $45. Add $10 each if you want me to provide the pillow form.

Aaaaaand that was a shameless plug for my sewing business.

Moving right along.

My mom's birthday was on Thursday, but with everyone busy with either work or school, we didn't celebrate until Sunday. Since I've been old enough to be a decent baker, I've tried to make her cake. Up until I was 16 or 17 she would have a Sara Lee Coconut Cream Layer Cake; delicious, but not nearly as tasty as what she would make for everyone else.

She requested chocolate cake this year. I made this cake with this frosting. A note on the frosting, I did one and a half batches, and it was barely enough to frost the split layers and the top/sides. So, if you're going to use it for a layer cake, DOUBLE IT. That being said, both the cake and frosting were easy to make and so ymmy. The cake was dense and the frosting light and whippy.

Tiny helped with the cake:
She didn't seem to think that the flour tasted good, but that didn't stop her from trying to eat it. Here's a picture of the cake (Top only, there was barely enough frosting to do the sides, and they were pitiful looking. Also, you can't tell how lopsided it was from the top.):
I couldn't resist the Valentine's Day sprinkles and pink candles. It is February, after all.

Tiny is working on her two bottom teeth, so we had a lot of this over the weekend:
It was rough. By Sunday night I was making the same face. And last night was great. We were up with her for about three hours in the middle of the night while she screamed and cried and kicked. (New birth control idea: have teenagers who have decided they're ready to get freaky with each other care for a teething infant for 24 hours. They'll never have sex. EVER.)

But it's a new week. I have two cups of tea and a piece of leftover chocolate cake in my system, and I'm ready to take on the world!!

See you soon!