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!