Friday, December 28, 2012

And Now, We Breathe

The holidays are (mostly) over and now it's time to catch my breath. It was such a fun year and everyone seemed to like their handmade gifts :) I barely finished in time. I was working on sewn projects almost right up until we left for Mario's parents' house and then I finished crocheted projects on the drive and on quiet mornings while everyone was digesting *delicious* breakfasts. I ate SO MUCH between Saturday and Tuesday, it is amazing I didn't explode or something. But everything was delicious! How could I resist tamales and beans and cinnamon rolls and cookies and pot roast and and and... YUM.

Anyway, here are a few of pictures of the things I finished between the last post and this.
Chibi Charmander and Owl

perfect quilted tote
Polka dots on the inside. Skipped the pocket for time reasons.

holiday quilt
Finished holiday quilt. Sorry for the photo- I had no one to help me!
I also made a pretty hat for my grandma, but I didn't get any photos of it before I gave it to her. Oops! You'll just have to trust me on the prettiness. I'm planning to make another Charmander and a Squirtle and Bulbasaur as another gift for a nerdy friend of mine. I will see him for New Year's so I guess I have the weekend to finish. Yeah. We'll see if that happens. I already have all the pieces done for Charmander, though, so he'll at least get that!

I'm sort of relieved and sad that the holidays are over. This is my favorite time of year. There are so many things to celebrate... my anniversary, Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, New Year's. All in a little over a month and it's over! Every year I feel it is too soon. But at the same time, things have been so hectic and crazy, it is kind of nice to be able to sit and enjoy my coffee in the morning without worrying about all the things I have to do that day. 

But the new year will bring happy, exciting things! I interviewed for a job before Christmas and am now waiting for a background check to go through before my second interview. Cross your fingers for me! But if that one falls through, I should be getting another interview after the holidays. And I have applications pending at several other places. So I better enjoy my brief break from working full time while I can! 

I think this is enough for one post. I'll post again soon with some cool things I got for Christmas. I hope all your holidays were wonderful and that you also get a little bit of time to catch your breath before the new year! :)

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another Monday?

Yes, it has been over a week.

I was going to post something Friday. Then I read the news. Then I didn't feel like posting anything. I don't even have words for what happened, not really. It was just unbelievable.

It is still unbelievable, really. So over in my corner of the world, I am cherishing the people I have in my life right now because you never know when they will suddenly disappear from it. I can't even begin to imagine how awful things are right now for those affected directly by the shooting and I sincerely hope this leads to some meaningful nationwide dialog about mental illness and gun control.

Right now the cherishing has taken the form of making Christmas presents and spending time with family and friends. You see, it was my birthday yesterday. And I graduated "officially" on Friday. It was a big weekend. Would you like to see the cake my boyfriend made for me? It's pretty cool.

Feliz Cumple Master Poophead! :)

Adorable (Mario is from Mexico and speaks fluent Spanish, hence the Spanglish cake). We had a small party with my friends and siblings. Cake was eaten, Mario Kart was played (who went undefeated? Yeah, THIS GIRL), and my new(ish) puppy was loved by all.

I know. She's the cutest! Her name is Lizzy. She showed up on our door step one day as a stray and since we couldn't find her owners and she was just such a sweetheart (when she isn't licking men's legs or biting your ankles), we decided to keep her. She is dog #2. This is dog #1, Charlie:

He thinks he's a cat, as evidenced by his sitting on the arm of the couch. He doesn't understand the concepts of barking, stairs, or fetch, but he loves to run around in circles like a maniac, which we find to be pretty endearing. But he is too big to be picked up like Lizzy, so there aren't so many adorable party pictures of him. Plus, everyone knows Charlie, so they were mostly doting on Lizzy.

But back to crafting! I have been crafting my hands off! I finished more hats:

all the hats!

Quilted and bound my dad's quilt (which is the FIRST QUILT I have ever finished! Happy dance!!):

finished quilt

You can see the holiday quilt in the background. I started quilting that today! It needs to be done by Friday so it's definitely crunch time!

I also somehow found the time to pick up Tunisian crochet...

tunisian crochet scarf

This is going to be a gift for a friend!

And I completed a second notebook cover, this time with three *usable* pen slots:

I have also been working on a couple of adorable amigurumi Pokemon for another friend, but they aren't very exciting to look at right now, so no pictures. I have been so busy! But it's a good kind of busy. A relaxing kind of busy, even. I'm really enjoying making Christmas presents for everyone! I don't know that I'll do it every year, but this year at least it has been fun. 

I'm linking up to Let's Get Acquainted over at Plum and June

Plum and June

Monday, December 10, 2012

Let's Get Acquainted

Hey there.

I'm linking up today to Plum and June's Let's Get Acquainted Monday Link Up! If you're visiting from there, hello! I hope you'll take a look around and say hi. I am just starting out as a quilter and crafter and love the encouragement and inspiration I get from the blogging community!

I don't have anything new to share today, sadly. I spent yesterday making English muffins and cutting and piecing quilt backs for 2 quilts I am working on. Not terribly exciting work (except the English muffins! Sooo much better than store bought) - but it will pay off when the quilts are all finished and given away on Christmas :) Here are a couple of pictures of what I have been working on.

First Quilt Top

Pillow Covers

Frippery Table Runner

Crocheted Hats

Notebook Cover
See? These hands have not been idle. And in the last push to Christmas, they will continue to be busy! So keep an eye out- I am going to be making some fun things :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Little Things

Saturday already!

I'm so tired already, but looking back on today, I don't feel like I got a lot accomplished. I did make a pretty quilted cover for my notebook. I want to make one for a friend who likes to draw for Christmas, so I thought a trial run was in order. I think it turned out pretty well considering I decided to just wing it and not bother trying to find a pattern (although finding a pattern probably would have saved a lot of time....).

flea market fancy notebook cover- closed

Isn't it pretty? I used some Flea Market Fancy I picked up from the Fat Quarter Shop on Black Friday. I looove the dots and flowers. I think that's my favorite print. It's just so simple and cute!

So now my notebook is all dressed up. Hopefully this will make me was to use it more!

Here's a shot of the inside- one with a notebook and one without.

flea market fancy notebook cover- open

I really like the way it turned out! There are actually 2 slots for pens. I was aiming for 3, but I failed to take seam allowances into account for the far left pocket, so it has 2 useful pockets and one for... a lollipop? Yeah. That was the plan all along.

Notebook cover

And now that I've done it, I feel confident that I can do it again for a Christmas present :) Yay! It was actually a lot of fun working without a pattern, making it all up as I went. Gave my brain a workout!

I also made myself a cute little pincushion.

Before I was using the little plastic box that the pins came in for everything... and after spilling pins everywhere (TWICE... because I'm clumsy), I decided what I really needed was a pin cushion.

It's really simply, but I love it! Probably just because of the fabric. Marmalade! I got it from Fresh Squeezed Fabrics when Randi was having a customer appreciation sale :) I love this shop! Such great service and fast shipping.

marmalade pin cushion top viewIsn't it cute? And it has already come in handy so many times... I even put the silly little box of pins away so there is no longer any danger of spilling pins everywhere because of my clumsiness :) Happy, happy day.

I have to say, I am so enjoying having my weekends to myself for once instead of thinking about what papers I need to write or what quizzes I need to study for. Instead, I just got to wake up this morning, catch up on my blog reading, and sew.

marmalade pin cushion
I didn't get started on either of the quilt tops I need to quilt, though. I decided I needed to make cookies instead. Because sometimes cookies are necessary. And also... I had a half bag of potato chips leftover from Thanksgiving that were languishing in my cupboard. So I turned them into Potato Chip Cookies. Sound weird? Well, they aren't. They are salty and sweet and nutty and perfect. Seriously. Smitten Kitchen has never led me astray. I REALLY want the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Hopefully for Christmas...

I think that's enough of my rambling for one day. I will leave you with a much nicer picture of my finished holiday quilt top for Mario's parents :)

Holiday quilt top

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

First WiP Wednesday!

It's Wednesday? Already?? How did that happen?

Today is the official last day of classes. I'm already finished because you know, I'm cool like that, but it's still exciting! No more school! :D No more finals! No more textbooks! No more busy work! AHHHH! I am probably a little over excited considering I don't have a job yet, but whatever. Not having homework is enough to keep me happy for now... we'll see how I feel in a couple of months when I still have no job and my money has run out!

I have other good news! I finished another quilt top! Sadly, all I have for you now is a late night crappy cell phone picture, but it will have to do until Friday when I will have time to photograph it while the sun is up (did I mention that my jobs keep me out of the house from 7:15 am til 5:30 pm? Yeah. No sunlight to work with! But that will be over with in ONE MORE WEEK. Then there will always be pretty photos! Yay!)

Holiday quilt top

It's very exciting! I have 2 quilts to quilt now :) This one is better than my first one, but still not perfect. Some of the corners just don't line up... which is entirely my fault. I was squaring up my blocks and got distracted. I had 2 piles going, one that had been squared and one that still needed to be. But when I came back, I thought the two piles were just the two different kinds of blocks and that I had finished them all! I didn't realize my mistake until halfway through the quilt top. And there was NO WAY I was going to pick out all the seams and start over! I'm just not that patient. So, it's imperfect. But it is made with LOVE and that's really all that matters, right?!

I hope to get started on at least one quilt this weekend. It will probably be this one first:

first quilt top

Just because I already have the backing and binding and batting ready to go. I still need a backing for the other one!

I am linking up (for the first time!) to Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday. Cross your fingers! I am going to try to get one done this weekend! It will be my first time quilting and finishing something so big :)

That's all the news for now. I'll get some better photos as soon as I can :) And maybe by then I'll have some new projects to show off! I have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Busy Week!

So. It has been over a week since my last post! But I have not been idle- far from it.

First, the BEST news. I have officially finished ALL of the homework and papers and paperwork necessary to graduate!!! I am so, so thrilled to be finished!! In a month or so I will have a shiny new diploma to tell the world that I have a Master's degree. YAY! I didn't take a break between undergrad and grad school, so I am absolutely exhausted on the school front. You have no idea what I relief it is to not have to worry about homework anymore! :D

That was the main reason I have been so quiet. I just wanted to focus on getting my school work done as much as possible. Not that I haven't been crafting, mind you. How could I not when my amazing, wonderful, PERFECT boyfriend bought me this for my birthday?

A new sewing machine!! Ahhh! I'm so happy :) Isn't he the best? And it's over two weeks early! I got it Friday and my birthday isn't until the 16th! He got it as a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal, I think. I got it to replace one of my old ones, a Brother, that has had tension problems almost every single day and has been nothing but frustrating. The other old one, another Brother, but a very basic model, has never given me a lick of trouble- but it is also really small and has limited capabilities. Still, I plan on keeping it as a back up because it has been so faithful!

I have been playing with my new toy non-stop, but I had to finish my homework I could open it (isn't he smart?). As a result, I finished all my work over a week before it was actually due just so I could spend the weekend with my new machine.

So what have I been doing? All of this :

holiday throw
Work on Holiday Throw for Mario's parents
free motion quilting
Free motion quilting practice! Weee!

quilted pot holders
Pretty Potholders- first ever!

quilted table topper
Finished Table Topper (didn't actually use the new machine for this, but isn't it fun?)
See? I have been busy. I know the free motion example is pretty terrible- but it was my first go! I have a couple of books on my Christmas wish list. I may also add a Craftsy class or two to that list as well :) I really want to learn how to do it well!

crocheted Hats
It hasn't just been my sewing machine that has been busy, though. I also made *most* of another hat! Bringing the total up to 4 in the past couple of weeks!

The owl hat is clearly not finished. I still need to stitch on his face and get some buttons for eyes. I just love all of these hats, though! Most are destined to give away... But I might have to make myself my own owl hat. It is just too cute! I used the pattern from Repeat Crafter Me: Owl Hat. It was a great pattern- easy, well written, and most importantly- Cute! I also really want to make one of these Penguin Hats, but I need some black yarn first...

Last thing- promise! Thanksgiving pictures!

My first Turkey :) It was delicious!
Me and Mario's sister- excited about the turkey while his other sister  laughs
at our ridiculousness in the background 

It was such a fun day! There were so many people in my house- I was definitely stressing. But everything went so smoothly! And having a couple of beers helped calm my nerves on the actual day ;)

Thanks for stopping by! Now that school is done, I should have more time to post more often and in smaller chunks :)
And Dessert :) I made the "pretty" pies- the others were gluten and dairy free for my brother
so they weren't terribly pretty, but they tasted good!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sickness and Productivity

I have been sick for a whole week. Isn't that just yucky? A whole week of sniffling, coughing, fever and sore throat. But I am finally feeling better today- not perfect, but better. So I'm here with updates about what I did while I was sick :)

Sadly, my boyfriend has the fancy camera at the shop where he is working on his car. He's doing an engine and transmission swap, so he wanted to document the process of giving his green monster of a car a new heart. It's a lime green Volvo from the 80s! It's pretty cool.

green volvo

Isn't it? I love this car. It is getting a turbo motor to replace the non-turbo one that has over 400,000(!!) miles on it. And a manual transmission because that's what he prefers :) So I don't begrudge him the camera. 

For now, I will just upload a couple of not-so-good cell phone pictures and make another post later with better ones- including pictures of the apple pie I made for Thanksgiving that tasted as wonderful as it looked!

When I'm sick, I spend a lot of time on the couch. But I'm not good at just sitting and watching TV. I have to be doing something else at the same time. That is how these were born:

Fuzzy hatRainbow hat
Silly hats! I absolutely love how they turned out. Especially the rainbow one- the yarn just worked perfectly with the pattern to produce the full spectrum, beginning and ending with orange. I used this super easy pattern: Holy Julie Newmar, Batman!

I actually made 3 hats with this pattern. The third uses the same fuzzy rainbowy yarn as the top picture but has a lime green trim. I'm thinking at least one will end up being a Christmas gift. Maybe two. But I just can't part with the rainbow one- it makes me so happy! Please excuse the dopey smiley faces in the pictures. It was late and I was probably feverish...

I also made an arm warmer for a friend. Yes, just one. I plan on making the other one today and will post some pictures when they're finished. They're also super simple. I don't know about you, but I don't like having to think much when I'm sick. This is why I stayed away from my sewing machine. I knew that piecing the quilt top I'm working on would require me to pay attention to fabric orientation and layout way too much for my fuzzy, fevered brain. So I set it aside and worked on simple crochet goodies instead. I'm glad I did. I wouldn't want to ruin a quilt top by being too tired and sick to pay attention!

I guess that's all until I can get the good camera and the pictures from it. I also finally caught up on reading all the blog posts! I am subscribed to so many blogs... I was almost 200 posts behind. But it made for good reading while I was sick on the couch.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday if you celebrate Thanksgiving :) If not, I hope you have been in better health than I have!

Monday, November 19, 2012

I Finished! :)

I thought I would get this done sooner, but all of the Thanksgiving prep on top of work and homework has really slowed me down. Sewing became a sort of productive procrastination. I seriously need to graduate. I have never procrastinated this severely in my life! Soon. Soon the homework will end. In the mean time I now have something pretty to stare at in my living room while I'm putting it off ;)

Completed Frippery Table Runner

There it is! I just quilted straight lines all the way down the runner. Well, mostly straight. I didn't want them to be too rigid, so I didn't draw any guiding lines or anything. I just guessed where every inch or so would be and went with it :) I like how it turned out. Is it perfect? Not at all. But it IS finished! And now it is brightening up my coffee table. I love it.

table runner on coffee table

This is the first time I have ever bound anything! Of course I decided to go the machine route... Hand stitching the binding probably would have ended up looking more even, but I really wanted to learn how to machine bind things for the future, so oh well. It is really not perfect. It's crooked and the stitching if often weird and wavy, but it stays on!  I am so proud! And now I know that binding with my machine is possible, if not exactly easy. Next time I'll be more careful. This time I was too excited for caution :D

I also managed to cut up all the little squares for the holiday throw from the last post. I can't wait to start putting it together! Over the long weekend my sewing machine will definitely be getting a workout. Last but not least, I started a little um, thing? To put in the middle of the dining room table. What do you call those? I don't know. But it is made from the peacock fabric from the table runner along with bright Kona cottons (that I can't remember the names of).

table topper

It's going to be so pretty on my table! 

I am super behind on reading blogs. The long weekend will definitely be full of catching up! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Table Runner Top!

So. I finished the top of my table runner! It's so bright and happy, I can't wait to get it all finished and put on my coffee table. I wanted to finish it up yesterday, but Operation Deep Clean is currently in progress and after 4 hours of cleaning, I just wanted to sit and look at old pictures with my sister. The picture isn't the greatest because I didn't have anyone to help me show it off- but you get the idea :)

Completed Table Runner Top

Operation Deep Clean is my fall cleaning spree. I generally don't do Spring cleaning... but Fall cleaning? Yes. I don't know why, but colder weather makes me want to clean. This probably doesn't make sense to a lot of people. I think it may have something to do with living in the Southwest where it is hot most of the year- for me, the colder months are much more refreshing and therefore motivating.

This year it also has to do with the fact that I'll be hosting Thanksgiving for the first time O.O My whole family plus my boyfriend's family plus a few extras (because my family always picks up a few extras who have no way to spend the day with their own families) will be at my house to enjoy some great food and company. I am so nervous! I've never cooked a turkey! Fortunately, my mom will be there helping me... but still! The thought of all those people being there relying on me to cook the centerpiece of the meal... nerve-wracking for sure. So how am I coping with this stress? By cleaning my house!

I'm sure it will all be great fun, but I think I will be very happy the day after Thanksgiving.... when I can go back to just worrying about graduating and making lots of Christmas presents :)

Speaking of Christmas presents, I've decided to make my boyfriend's parents a throw blanket. They live in colder climes and they use LOTS of blankets in the winter. They have this big chest full of them. So I thought I would contribute one. His mom likes seasonal themed things, so I went with winter and Christmas.

Throw fabrics

These just came from Joann- there was a Veteran's day sale and my sister was going anyway... so I tagged along :) It will be a simple throw made out of squares, but I think it'll be fun when it's finished. 

I need to make myself a throw, too. Yesterday was the first "cold" day of the season here in the desert. Of course, "cold" here means the high was 60 degrees. I'm sure that's not cold to a lot of people ;) But we actually had to turn the heater on, so it was a big deal! And now I'm thinking I need a new throw blanket to snuggle under for the winter... But Christmas presents shall come first!

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Finished Pillow + Table Runner Fabrics

Another not-so-crafty weekend. But there were many friends and fun things going and even some homework, so I don't feel too guilty.

Kirby was taken to his new home. I hope he will be well loved.

I finished the pillow. I was going to take a picture with the nice camera, but I gave it away before I could. So here it the crappy cell phone picture.

Finished Pillow

It is a little over stuffed in this picture. I unstuffed it just a little before I gave it away. I didn't take a picture of the back, but it is made out of the cute pink heart fabric you can see at the bottom right corner of the pillow. It's just a simple envelope back- I would like to learn how to add invisible zippers, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Still, I like the envelope backs. They're easy :)

My next project is to make a new table runner for our living room coffee table. It currently has a pretty boring bamboo affair on it that came from Ross 3 years ago. I liked it then, but now I just think it's awful. I want something bright and happy! So I bought a selection of prints from the Frippery collection by Thomas Knauer. I don't go in much for seasonal decoration. I like bright colors and I will decorate with them all year round! Here they are, all laying on my craft table just waiting to be cut up and sewn into something pretty...

I love them! Especially the peacocks.

Anyway, I am looking forward to getting started on this. But I have a few other obligations to take care of first... Maybe by next weekend they will be a pretty quilted table runner :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pillow + Amigurumi

Good morning!

Well, I didn't do a lot of crafty things over the weekend. Barbecue and beer with good friends won out over my sewing machine. But I have no regrets!

I did get this little pillow top finished.

It was quick to sew up and I like the way it turned out. I had some tension problems with my machine for a while before I was actually able to sew it, though. Apparently (according to the internets) the Brother XL-3750 often has tension problems and it has something to do with the bobbin case. So I opened it up and treated it like I would an old Nintendo- I jiggled it around and blew on it til it worked. And you know what? It did. Maybe I should start calling my machine NES.

Speaking of Nintendo, I also made this little guy for a friend's birthday. He just needs a mouth, but I couldn't decide what to do for the mouth. I have no embroidery skills (though I would like to learn) so I'm just sewing little felt face pieces on. Maybe I'll just do a little dot for the mouth. Kirby at rest. I made Kirby using this pattern.

I saw a quilt I absolutely want to make. It's from Quilts from the House of Tula Pink and it's houndstooth! O.O I have wanted to make a houndstooth quilt since I started putting together my first quilt top. The only problem? I don't have the book. But I want it. That's going on my birthday/Christmas wishlist. Houndstooth! I'm so glad houndstooth is suddenly fashionable. It used to be that I could only find it in thrift stores in the form of pant and skirt suits (usually with shoulder pads, too- UGH). But now it's everywhere! I need to stock up before it goes out of style again :D 

Well, that's all for today. See you around!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Inaugural Post

Hello there. It seems you have stumbled across the little space I have carved out for myself in the internets. Welcome!

Lately I have been into crafting. A lot. I would be sewing up a pretty pillow right now if my arm weren't sore. But instead I am looking at old pictures while the new ones are copying onto my computers, feeling nostalgic remembering all the silly, fun times. It is nice to realize I have had a lot of silly, fun times. And I have a lot of pictures that make me smile to show for it :)

But on to craftier topics...

I have been avidly reading all sorts of crafty blogs- mostly to do with sewing, quilting, and crochet- and they have been nothing but inspiring. I love seeing regular everyday people like me creating wonderful things! And if they can do it, why can't I, right? So...

This is my first ever quilt top! :D It is far from perfect. I set it aside well over a year ago because the rows weren't lining up perfectly and I really didn't want to go back and do it all over again. But then I got a sudden inspiration to finish it, flaws be damned. This inspiration likely came because of a powerful need to put off doing homework... But I finished it! It hasn't been quilted yet- I have been practicing my quilting skills on a much smaller scale before I tackle the whole quilt top. But I want to get it all done this winter. Maybe even before the new year! That would be lovely.

In the mean time, to hone my skills, I have decided to make pillows. Why pillows? My couch is pretty much made of (ugly) pillows already. But I figure pillows are good, cute little projects to help me practice patchwork and quilting.

Pillow number 1! I was so proud of myself for finishing it! I am less proud of this picture. I don't know how I turned on that ugly date stamp. It will have to go next time. I wish I could work on another one right now! But alas, it is not meant to be tonight. 

Well. Thank you for stopping by! I plan to make this a regular thing, so come back sometime soon! In the mean time, I will be reading, reading, reading about quilting until my arm feels better. See you around!