Sunday, May 29, 2011


Look at this! I love it...


We have been proud owners of a Betta Fish for one week now! Correction: Lili has been the proud owner.

Lili has been asking for a pet fish for a while now. We decided that a fish would be the best choice for her and she had to work for it: show consistent high level of responsibility in accordance with caring for another life. She worked hard at it - whenever she didn't really want to put away her laundry or help Mira with something, she would do it anyway. You could see her hesitate, and then remember her goal.

We went to the store together to get Gliv (who was named before being picked out), and even though Lili wanted a girl fish, we still ended up with a male because apparently male Bettas are prettier than the females.

Gliv lives in an old pretzel container from Costco. With a mermaid statue. And a lid to discourage the tendency to jump out of the bowl. (edited to add... the lid has lots and lots of holes drilled in the top of it! we know that fish need oxygen, and the store clerk that helped us was very knowledgeable and made sure we'd have a safe home for Gliv!)

Some recent fun fish quotes:
Lili: "If I could wish just one more dish, my greatest wish would be more.... FISH!"

Me: Lili just got a fish!
Conor (our 3 year old neighbor): Did she eat it?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A little Rainbow Pouch

Three posts in one day? You betcha.

So. My ALFALC swap partner got her package. Now I am free to brag about (ahem, post about) the little something I made for her.

I seriously agonized over what to make for Teri. And then a moment of epiphany. You see, we both like rainbows! She had commented that she liked my market love tote, but I couldn't figure a good way to make that into rainbows. BUT I have been wanting to do scrappy rainbows and a zipper pouch is PERFECT for that! It was an evening of truly fun sewing making up this one.

And I'm pretty sure she liked it. I know I loved it, so there are more slated for my future :)

SMS Giveaway Winners!

Whew! 523 comments? Seriously? How cool is that?! I feel honored. And a little overwhelmed ;) To be honest, I didn't read through all the comments yet. But I definitely will. And I will be choosing additional winners of items based on some of the comments so stay tuned! But for now... the official winners of my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway.

Winner #1:
Comment 423 from Hippie Housewife. I am certain she is going to put the fabric to good use!

Winner #2:
Comment # 372 from Micmacker. Who, despite a love for frogs, will still recieve the prize from me ;). Coincidentally enough, she's from only about an hour away from me! Amazing!

Winners will be contacted shortly! Thanks for playing, everyone. I'm sure to do it again next time!

Astounded. Speechless. Thankful.

I'm not going to lie. This has been a long hard week for me. And I knew this package was coming so I was so excited to see it in the door upon arriving home today. But I had no idea how amazing it would be.

I got my swap package from A little fabric A little chocolate today. And I was brought to tears by the generosity of my partner, Teri. Literally. I had no clue that someone I had just met (and not even in person!) could know me so well. She spoiled me to the nth degree and I am just so greatful for her thoughfulness.

It's an early birthday present! Not three, or four FQ's of fabric, but a whopping SEVEN FQ's, what I guess to be half a yard of my new favorite fabric, Pick a Bunch, and yards of an adorable print for the girls. And chocolate. Lots of it. From my fave two stores: Trader Joes and IKEA. How could she know?! Plus stickers and notions, and treats for the girls. It really is amazing.

The piece de resistance? A beautiful hand quilted hand embroidered wall hanging. She MUST have modeled those two cuties after my girls. I am touched to receive something so personal and thoughtful.

Thank you, Teri. It's an amazing box of warmth and friendship.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

SMS Giveaway Day!

******** UPDATE: Comments Closed! Now I have to read all the great comments! **********

It's time for the semi-annual Sew Mama Sew Giveaway day! I am SO excited to be a participant this time around. I had a ton of fun entering (lots and lots of) giveaways last time, and felt like I could be a giver this time!

There will be TWO winners of this giveaway! BOTH winners will get an entire half yard of Tina Givens for Free Spirit fabric - Olivia's Holiday in Velocity Blue, plus a home-cut fat quarter of coordinating pink solid. The FIRST winner will get their choice of either a skirt pattern or a bag pattern, and the second winner will get the other pattern!

To Enter!
1) Leave me a comment. Make sure I have a way to contact you (emails can be in the form of name at domain dot com)! Any comment will do, but I would love to know what sewing machine you currently use, or what your dream machine is, and why!

Bonus Entries (please leave a new comment with contact info for each entry):
2) Visit my page of finished projects and let me know what your favorite project of mine is.
3) Visit my Etsy shop and tell me what your favorite item is!
4) Like my Etsy shop on Facebook

Open to anyone in the world with a valid mailing address. Giveaway will close 8pm EST on May 25 2011. Winner will be announced here on the blog and contacted directly. If there is no contact information available then I will keep choosing names! If I don't hear from the winner(s) within 48 hours I will choose new winner(s). Items will be shipped no later than May 30 2011 (unless backup winners need to be chosen).

******** UPDATE: Comments Closed! Now I have to read all the great comments! **********

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fabric, Chocolate, and Friendship

My friend Rachel has these "invisible" friends. People she's met via the internet whom she has come to love and support. In return, she gets alot of love and support back! And I think I am just beginning to understand about how wide this world is.

I joined my first "swap" recently. I was looking for a fun way to swap fabric or sewing projects with other people who share my interest, and I found this great swap on Flickr called "A little fabric, A little chocolate". So I signed up! And I waited to find out who my swap partner would be...

And we could not have been matched any more perfectly. As my partner said - the main difference is our age! She was a stay at home mom of two girls (who are grownup now) and has recently ramped up her creative outlets. It has been really fun getting to know her a little bit through her blog and messages back and forth. I really feel like we might form an ongoing friendship - at least I hope so.

In any case, I have been working on her swap package. The guidelines are to send fabric, chocolate, and a little something special. I can say I had a lot of fun making the little something special for my partner, but I can't post it yet because I really want it to be a surprise! So while I pull together the rest of the goodies I'll just have to keep the secret :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Love in a Lunchbox

Lili is starting Kindergarten in the fall. So far this is a big milestone that has included Kindergarten screening and plenty of anticipation. And worry. My poor girl has been having a certain amount of anxiety about the longer day, and eating lunch at school seems to be a big hurdle for her. Fortunately, her preschool is in the same building as her elementary school.

So her preschool teachers organized lunch at school! Lili got to have lunch at school two days in a row. The first day she decided to buy hot lunch, and did the whole bit even going through the lunch line. I wished I could have seen it. She had breakfast for lunch and the highlight was chocolate milk.

Today, she brought her lunch! Which made me a little more emotional than I thought it would. She was so proud of the fact that she was bringing lunch in a lunch box that she carried her lunch box for the whole one mile walk to school.

The very special part of it? It's a vintage Strawberry Shortcake box that Keith gave her from his collection.

I was tempted to fill it to the brim until I remembered - she eats very little at lunchtime at home, why should school be any different? So it was... a salami and cheese sandwich, pretzels, strawberry, and a special chocolate chip cookie. All wrapped in a cloth napkin from home. (Has anyone out there read "Bread and Jam for Frances"? it is one of our favorite stories...)

The best part for me was that she wanted it to be a surprise. So I had no whining about what she did or didn't want in the box, and she was happy happy happy with it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pillow Party Retrospective

About a month has gone by since I've thought much about the Pillow Party... But it was a fun party, wasn't it?

Blogger's Pillow Party

I found the whole process to be fascinating. It was my big foray into the world of bloggy sewing, sharing with other Pillow Party members, and learning about Pillow making in the process. I had a lot of fun. And learned a lot. And got some great inspiration. And learned about my personal style. I really appreciated how Rachel at Stitched In Color put it all together and really brought together this community of sewers. And so a little retrospective...

These were my four submissions to the party - one per month! January through April:
1. Rainbow 2. Swooping Solids 3. Balloon Girl 4. April Sunshine

I feel like I can see some definite style preferences amongst my pillows, and also see a real penchant for experimenting with techniques. I was thrilled to be picked in February for the "Participation Prize" and also really excited when Sew Mama Sew included me in their pillow tutorials!

Here were the actual winners, month by month. Very deserving folks, and lucky duckies to win some fun fabrics :)

I find it very interesting that there are TWO dresden plates in there.

And I know not everyone can be a winner. But there were some pillows in there that my personal favorites. If I had been the only judge, these would have been the winners, month by month:
1. Rebel Homemaker 2. SplendorFalls 3. Girl Who Quilts 4. Lollybix

1. I love me some Central Park, and it was used so fashionably here!
2. The Curvy retro feel of this pillow is amazing, plus the colors! This one is by far my favorite overall. Great use of several techniques including sewing curves, free motion quilting, and peicing. Really great work.
3. Mo Willems! Need I say more - she did SUCH a great job capturing the essence of these characters I don't think this pillow is just for kids. It's for the parents too.
4. This pillow is so amazingly striking - and I loved how the creator outlined her design process - great work!

I really hope to participate in something like this again, so if anyone out there knows of a sew-y blogg-y contest... hook me up!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Perils of Blogging

So. I've been a good little blogger lately. Posting frequently. Lots of pictures. How do I get rewarded? With a Blogger Glitch. My two latest posts - one including my much anticipated soon to be celebrated finished Sherbet Pips quilt - were inadvertently deleted by the blog service. Supposedly they're working to restore. Here's to hoping they are successful.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I heart Pick a Bunch

Let's be honest. I'm a fabricoholic. Probably not as bad as others, but my stash is certainly growing. Part of what I love about sewing is that I can play with pretty fabric on a daily basis. There's so much great looking fabric out there.

But rarely has a line hit me as hard as this one:

Pick a Bunch by Nancy Mims is in organic cotton, and I am in love with almost all the prints, but especially with the ones above. Now I'm just waiting for the right project, or the right sale to come along...

Pips Quilt - Completed!

I finished the Sherbet Pips Quilt! And to say that I am proud of myself is really an understatement.

This quilt started when I won a Sherbet Pips charm pack from Jaceycraft. Along with a fabric bundle I won from Lizzie, I felt I had to put it all to good use and make a quilt. A real quilt, made with quilt blocks, basted to batting, and with binding.

I love the Sherbet Pips fabric line because it can be gender neutral if you want it to be. But you can also girl it out too! I added lots and lots of pink to the quilt because my girl really loves all things pink. I personally very much appreciate the blues and greys in there too.

The back of the quilt is mostly a clearance sheet from the Company store. Does any other quilter out there do this? I loved it because I didn't have to peice together a whole back. I threw in a peiced strip for some eye catching interest and also to make the quilt reversible if we don't want such a busy top showing.

I quilted it with basic straight lines, randomly placed. I really love how it turned out, echoing all the 90 degree angles in the blocks.

I am so thrilled with how the binding turned out. It's the first time I've ever done binding and I was so daunted. I made it wider than the average - I think the finished width is about 3/4". I also made very good use of my demo machine's embroidery function and machine stitched the binding with a cute star pattern. I absolutely love how it looks.

Here's Lili, the proud owner of a new handmade quilt! It's total coincidence that her outfit today matches the quilt :)

And the quilt in it's intended resting place, on the big girl bed.

In all, this quilt took me about a month to complete. I don't know if I'll do it again, but MAN it was satisfying. I am so glad I finished it!

To see where/when I started, and my accountability process, see previous posts:
Pips Start off
Pips in Progress
Pips almost done

I am submitting this quilt to:
Blogger's Quilt Festival

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pips in Progress #3

Amidst all other projects, I am thisclose to finishing the Sherbet Pips quilt for Lili.

Serious. All I have left is the last step: completion of sewing on the binding. And I'm doing that by machine, so I am sure to be done tonight!!

A peek at the quilt, with the unfinished binding (which I am very proud of!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's House Party Time

You know that Dan Zanes song, House Party Time? I think of it every time I talk about my house party.

What's a house party? Here's the best way I can describe it... You apply to get free stuff. If you get the free stuff you must share it with your friends "house party" style.

I had applied for a Singer sewing machine house party, and I got it! The free stuff? Use of the machine for 2 weeks, 4 yards of fabric, patterns, thread, decorations, JoAnn coupons.... list goes on.

I was pretty thrilled to get to try out the machine. You see, I do all my sewing on a very basic Huskystar E10. It's ridiculously basic, and I don't love it. I haven't been able to try free motion sewing on it, and I've just kind of outgrown it. But I have no idea what to get as my next machine! Ideally something that will last me the rest of my life. Something that my sewing skills are worthy of, something that's not too expensive. I had narrowed it down... either a Singer, or a Bernina, or a Janome, or a Brother. So you see, that's not really narrowed down at all.

So getting to demo an electronic machine for two whole weeks? Awesome! I've learned a lot about it, and what to look for when I really start trying out machines to buy.

The machine I demo'ed is the Singer Confidence Stylist. Short story? It's a great machine for a beginner. It is really easy to use and comes with a bunch of extra feet and has some great features. It's also got a really good price point. But it lacks the "heft" that I need.

Long story?

Pros: Amazing number and variety of feet (standard, satin, zipper, darning/freemotion, walking, gathering, and a fancy cutting foot. Like a serger... but not! and more I'm sure I've forgotten). Automatic button holer. It was awesome. Drop feed capability. Automatic needle up. Numerous embroidery stitches. Automatic needle threader. Very very easy to use. Does not jam up! Even sewing with the foot up! It's a good little machine. Very smooth.

Cons: Automatic needle up. It would be nice to have the option for automatic needle down (for going around corners, or stopping while quilting). I can't control how many stitches it back stitches. Since it is electronic and always ends in needle up position, sometimes I'd get too many backstitches with one press of the reverse button. The needle plate hole is too big! When sewing thru thinner fabrics, the fabric would sometimes get pushed down into the bobbin area. This never happens with my basic E10. Lastly, the feed is not nearly as strong/heavy duty as it should be. It gets caught up going over zippers, which shouldn't be a problem for any machine. So overall, not enough "machine" for me, though I have been taking good advantage of the built in embroidery stitches!

And some pictures from the sewing party I held to show off the machine:

my friend Erica hard at work

three of the ladies with their completed projects

the party project: a snap card case (jewelry pouch, gift card holder, business card holder...)


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Best. Mother's. Day. Ever.

Normally on Mother's day I feel like doing as little mothering as possible. But this mother's day? It was fabulous and I spent almost all of it with my kids :)

Woke up at 6:20a. Correction. Got woken up at 6:20. But didn't really mind, and I got up at 6:45! And made my own breakfast! And I'm fine with that! We had a great day, including a visit from some good friends, lots of park time, and even an evening family bike ride into town for dinner on a very high waterfront. Yeah, the lake is pretty high. We had maple creemees for dessert. It was a beautiful day!

And my kids top it all off.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Butterfly Pillow

My friend and neighbor recently asked me to make a present for a little girl she knows. She had a very specific idea in mind - a Butterfly Pillow, made in patchwork like my Rainbow Pillow in the colors of the little girl's room.

I was happy to do it - a project involving colors I would not normally put together! It took much longer than I thought it would because of all the patchwork, but in the end I think it turned out beautifully.

It might be hard to notice, but I stitched along the wings where the butterfly's natural wing structure would be.

A fun project, and I hope that they like it!