October 7, 2011

Finished at last

When I first started this project back here, I didn’t think I’d ever see the day. I knew a quilt would be a big project, but I had no idea just how B*I*G. I certainly learned a lot through the process. For one, I can say that my second quilt project is somewhere in the far, far, far future. Perhaps when the kids are in college or maybe when the grandkids are in college. Until then, I’m quite content using my new quilting skills for smaller projects like pillows and potholders.

Here’s a closeup. I had hopes and dreams of doing some sort of fancy quilting technique…free motion pebbles maybe? However, I quickly realized that sticking to straight lines was a much safer bet. Actually…sending it off to a person to do the actual quilting would have been even safer, but this was about the learning (repeated to self over and over especially when holding seam ripper.)

Here’s what’s happening on the quilt back.  We can’t talk about how many hours this project involved (my husband might be reading). However, what could be better than a warm, handmade, one-of-a-kind quilt (finished!) on a cool fall day?!

Smaller quilting projects coming soon.

Filed Under: sewing
September 27, 2011

Love notes

My first grader regularly composes an assortment of Mom love notes. She’ll come home from school with a folder filled like she can’t get all the love down fast enough. I know I’m eventually going to miss finding heart after heart in her backpack proclaiming her undying affection, but right now her notes are a total delight. The one below made me laugh out loud…

…completely random on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon. But hey, who says you can’t party mid-week? All you really need is a disco ball (that would be the black ball in center of composition.) Even a 6-year old knows you need a disco ball.

Hope you’re having a week worth celebrating!


September 12, 2011

Big Bugs

This summer we visited some very Big Bugs at a local park. These amazing sculptures by artist David Rogers WoWed my family.  David creates the sculptures by using various combinations of whole trees found standing or fallen dead, cut green saplings selectively harvested from the willow family, dry branches, and other forest materials.

Here’s my three providing persepctive. Big bugs indeed.

Each bug in the exhibit was thoughtfully installed were the actual bugs might be found. This dragonfly had hundreds of the real live versions buzzing around him.

Here’s my favorite, the bee with flower. Completely gorgeous.

Daddy Long Leg spiders really can be beautiful. Seriously.

I’d love to plunk this dazzling butterfly right down in my own garden…even if it is almost 5 feet across.

This amazing traveling exhibit is a must-see if you have the opportunity. It was a highlight of our summer… despite being forced to do the bug hokey pokey at the coordinating park bug show. No photos available.

Filed Under: family, fine art
September 3, 2011


It’s only September, but I’m joining major retailers everywhere in anticipation for one of my favorite holidays. Halloween season along with haunted happenings (cue spooky music) will be here before we know it. This week’s Illustration Friday prompt, “mysterious”, is right up this haunted trail…a trail leading to a very mysterious house made of burlap. Can you hear shrieking from inside the decrepit walls?

A crow named Ted (ha!) hangs out on the rooftop.

I’ll be placing this painting in a thrifted frame spray painted black.

September 2, 2011

Happy Back-to-School plus my return!

So summer got me. It lured me away from any sort of a routine. I am totally blaming summer for my blogging absence. And I refuse to feel guilty. I just love summer too much. Don’t think for a second there weren’t mind posts…the ones written, photographed and uploaded in my head, but never quite making it anywhere else. They happened. Again, summer’s fault.

I’m thinking most of you are already back-to-school, but it’s never too late for a back-to-school cake tradition like we do here. If you’ve followed along you know what I’m talking about. If you’re new, let me tell you every back-to-school year begins with a themed cake. I have at least one kid in particular who needs convincing about how back-to-school should be celebrated rather than mourned. Cake helps. In past years, I’ve done a pencil, apple, school bus and notebook. This year, visions of…

…backpacks filled my head. The rectanglarish shape was appealing since time was limited. A quick consultation with my L.L. Bean catalog (because the real backpacks were already at school) served as a reference.

Here are my basic notes for turning a 9″  x 12″ sheet cake into a backpack with the aid of one fruit roll-up for the handle. If you wanted arm straps to show, use an entire box of fruit roll-ups. My straps happen to be hidden since we were down to one lonely green roll-up.

Happy back-to-school and labor day weekend. I promise I’ll be around more with alarm clocks ringing at least five days a week.

Filed Under: baking, family, kids
June 24, 2011

Buttons over broccoli

I painted “All I Really Need” several months ago. It was my simple way of summing up a few of my favorite things (besides the living, breathing kind of course.) Recently, I decided to have 4″ x 6″ magnets professionally printed to share the sentiment with all of my artsy friends. This magnet sticks to a fridge or any metal surface (yes…like that file cabinet in your art studio or the one in your office which sure could use a coat of purple paint.)

You can find these magnets for sale over in my etsy shop: Fun little pieces of art for about the same price as a card.

  Note: In the painting above there are several pieces of good chocolate hidden behind the button jar. Now that’s all I really need.

June 21, 2011

Substantial Homework: The Quilt Project Update

Five weeks have passed since my first modern quilting class. Even though the class description mentioned “substantial homework“, I really had no idea what I  signed up for. I found they weren’t kidding about the homework at least in my case. My fellow classmates just happened to be super sewers, hardly beginner quilters. I often looked around for hidden cameras thinking I was being punked for some reality sewing show. I reread the class description…yes…intro to quilting. Hmmmm…I was suspicious. Where did these ladies find the time to get all of those blocks completed? Two with kids younger than me…that friendly Jessica with a newborn! Clocking 65 mph on the sewing machine and still maintaining 1/4″ seams?! How did they make all of those cuts and actually have blocks the same size as the pattern?! Thankfully (even though I still suspect they have trunks filled with gorgeous handsewn quilts hidden in attics), they’re a great group and completely supportive. Heather, the instructor, has also been a gentle source of encouragement from week to week. To be here today with both a complete quilt top and quilt back is amazing to say the least. It has been good for me to step out of my comfort zone and attempt a project that seemed all big and scary. The class has kept me on track. My sewing skills and math (did you know about the math?!) are also improving rather nicely.

Class this week will be making the quilt sandwich. Say a prayer (or fourteen) that my top and bottom actually kindof match and it all works out.  The final class will be edging and then I’ll have my very own handmade 74″ x 74″ quilt ready to live on the family room sofa. Exciting, to say the least. Quilting is like running a marathon. Hopefully, I’ll be able to save enough steam for the final stretch.

I’m pretty sure my family members are excited to be done with pin minefields happening here in just about every room. We’re typically a no-shoes-in-the-house family, but this quilt project has been leaving pins everywhere making ‘no shoes’ dangerous. Even I can’t explain where they’re all coming from. Yesterday the Mr. Funny Guy I married, pretended to have a pin stuck all the way through his big toe. Hilarious. Actually, the pets and small children have averted serious injury to date so we’re good.

In other quilting news, imagine my glee when I found this iron at a yard sale. I initially fell in love with the Oliso iron at Sewn studio a.k.a. quilting class headquarters.  It’s an iron with little feet that lift up when you release the handle and go down when you touch the handle. Therefore, you never have to prop the iron up on its side between presses. It’s the most amazing super steam iron I have ever used. After a couple times using this, just try to go back to a cheapie. Trust me, it’s painful. But the retail price which falls between $110 and $160 is pretty painful too. So when I stumbled across a brand new/never been used/still in the package/Oliso iron at a yard sale for $20 you had better believe I had a moment. It makes seam pressing a breeze. Talk about luck. Just love those summer yard sales.

Now I’ll be getting back to everything else neglected since the start of the great quilt project. Look for the final reveal coming soon…

Filed Under: projects, sewing
June 16, 2011

A Completely Fun ‘To Do’ List

A couple of weeks ago over a family dinner outside on the deck, we pathed our summer. This summer I wanted to put together a list of sorts that would include all the things we wanted to do together as a family. To get started, I printed this cute printable: 50 Days of Summer Fun courtesy of Crafting Chicks. Next, I adhered the list to a piece of cardboard and added some embellishments (more fun!) to go with the theme.  To determine what made the list, all family members were given a stack of slips to pen what they wanted on the list. We folded each slip and deposited in a group bucket. The rules: 1) Each activity had to be within a 60 mile radius of our home; 2) Each activity had to be something that everyone could partake in i.e. no bungee jumping; and 3) No activity could be outrageously expensive. During dessert, Dad opened each slip and read the proposed activity out loud. Then we took a vote as to determine if that activity would make one of the 50 slots. Since we’re a family of five, majority ruled with 3 or more votes. We filled our board quickly with a most fun summer.

With my previously sick kids on the mend, we dove into our list this past weekend. #19 was a trip downtown to a really cool outdoor market. One child who shall remain nameless was less than excited about this excursion. However, 15 minutes after we arrived was singing a different tune telling us how much fun he was having. Hmmmm…an added bonus to 50 Days: Trying new things and discovering where fun can be had…that’s in addition to the obvious: Strengthening family bonds.

Getting back to the business of summer, we have quite a bit to experience yet. Future fun includes room makeovers, family game night, pottery painting, bike rides, rollerskating, hikes, a read-in day and museums to name a few. The list has generated big time excitement around here. After all, ‘to do’ lists shouldn’t be all about the work right?!

June 8, 2011

Sunnier days

All three of my sunflowers are now out of school for the summer. It seems about two minutes after the last bell rang the temps spiked up into the mid 90s making outside play unbearable. Unless of course you’re at a pool which would be fantastic if a rather mysterious rash didn’t decide to cover Flower #2 about the same time the final bell rang. Four doctors all took guesses settling for virus on the rare side. Flower #3’s ear infection is also keeping us mostly inside today. So I’m working to finish those quilt squares and wrap up a few other projects. A less than perfect start to summer vacation, but at least the flowers purchased here are blooming bright.
Filed Under: family
May 26, 2011

This will be a quilt…and repeat

Despite the fact that May has been a seemingly endless blur of end-of-the-year sports, banquets, dance recitals, school presentations, meetings, and appointments, I signed up for a 6 week modern quilting class. While the timing was/is less than perfect, I chose not to overthink the class fee, my schedule, my kid’s schedules, my husband’s schedule and all the other stuff getting in the way of my future in quilting (please note: ” future in quilting” comes with a smirk as this is yet to be determined.)  An excuse to hang out at a cool, newly opened, designer fabric store minutes from my house was pretty great motivation as well. So here I am into week 2…fabrics have been chosen and I’m into the cutting part. Lots of cutting…

…to complete a Rail Fence quilt.  We’re working on a project from the book above. Heather, our fearless instructor, swears we’ll have a quilt by the end of June. I’m taking her word for it. She believes in us.

I heard about this fiction book about the same time I signed up for my modern quilting class. It’s fun, light-hearted reading by the crafty chica that meshes well with my current sewing immersion. Which I promise to keep you updated on. Because there will be a quilt.

Filed Under: projects, sewing

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