Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nursery sneak peek

I've got a couple more projects for the nursery that I'd like to tackle, but I have a feeling that I'll still be working on those even after she arrives. 




Can you tell I have a thing for doilies?

With each project I work on, I keep telling myself, "She just doesn't want to arrive until this is finished" and then, "She doesn't want to arrive until that is finished..."  Well, tonight it's "She doesn't want to arrive until the crib skirt is finished".  I figure a good bribe can't hurt.  But maybe I should take a cue from her sister and offer up some chocolate.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry, merry

Waiting for Santa

Happy holidays, dear friends!  Did everyone survive?  We kept Christmas pretty low-key this year since my husband had to work and I was (and still am) much too pregnant to go too crazy. 

Christmas Phoebe 2011
I simply love that little chipped tooth!
Phoebe had an absolute blast, got waaaaay too many presents, and made Christmas all the more exciting for every one of us here.

Christmas Tree

I was hoping to finally reveal all of the Christmas goodies I've been working on the past month, but I still have a few family members and friends to exchange gifts with, so it will have to wait a bit longer.  As for myself, I was surprised by my husband and parents who went together to get me a brand new, shiny camera that I've been coveting for the past year, as well as some gift certificates for, what else - fabric!   

For the birds

And as if I wasn't spoiled enough on Christmas morning, my family has taken Phoebe off my hands for the next couple of days so I can take it easy before all the chaos of a new baby takes over.  

Even though I usually like to keep the tree and decorations up until after New Years, I figured I'd better get everything back in order while I had an empty house and before baby arrives.  I hope the birds enjoy their Christmas treat!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Another project that will take me forever to finish

Wowzers that was a lot of comments!  I had a blast reading through your Christmas wish lists and adding some things to my own :)  Looks like a lot of you are hoping to find new cameras, notions, and sewing machines under your Christmas trees - and not to mention fabric!  Especially Lotta Jansdotter's new line, Echo.  I wouldn't mind finding some of that myself.

Well, Mr. choose lucky commenter #397 - Staci of The Confused Quilter, whose present came early this year when she and her husband treated themselves to a new TV and surround sound system.  Nice!  Congrats Staci - I can't wait to see what you create from these lovely fabrics.

Folksy flannels - entire collection!

So I know I had promised some sneak peeks of the new nursery, but by the time I finally got around to hanging some shelves today, all of the natural light was gone and pictures were a no-go.  So later this week - for reals.

Another project that I've just started involves my recently completed collection of Folksy Flannels.  Like most of my fabric addictions, I wasn't enamoured with these prints when they were first released, but after seeing them in person and browsing all of the lovely things made with them I decided that I had to have them all!  It's always fun to go on a hunt for an entire fabric line over a year after it's been released.  Especially when two of the prints have become discontinued.


Have you ever heard of a biscuit quilt?  Neither had I, until I saw one at a quilt shop a couple of years ago.  It's basically a quilt that is made out of individually sewn "biscuits" or "puffs" that are made out of two pieces of fabric, of which the larger top piece is pleated, sewn to the bottom piece, then stuffed to form these individual little puffs.   I picked up these handy little clips when they were on super clearance at Joanns, and they really get the job done and give me perfect little pleats on each side.


Since the top and bottom pieces are sewn right sides together, the bottom is completely finished as well.  So once you aquire a whole mess of them, you can just whipstitch them all together and you have this awesome, cushy, textured, and super warm little quilt.


As you can see, I've made a ton of progress on this quilt.  Four whole biscuits.  Each finished puff is 2" square, so I'll only need about a million more to get a nice sized little throw.  Add in the hand sewing and this should be done in no time!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Project snippets, updates, and a giveaway!

**Giveaway is now closed!  Thanks for everyone who played along - winner will be announced once I get my act in gear and take some photos for my next blog post :)

Welcome Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway groupies - and of course my lovely friends and followers.  I'm finally getting over my never ending virus (knock on wood!), and I think my nesting is finally kicking back in - we're in the home stretch regarding all things Christmas and new baby.  Eeeks!

Here's what I've been up to.....


Making my favorite Christmas recipe to package up for gifts - Salted Chocolate Orange Hazelnut Bark.  You can find a link to the recipe from last year's post.


Remember this quilt top from waaaaaay back when?  Well I finally got it basted and ready for quilting.  I'm really hoping to get it done before new baby gets here because it will be great for the whole family to cuddle under since it's so ginormous.  Although I think my arm muscles keep chickening out at the thought of manuvering that monstrosity through my machine.


Here's the progress I've made on new baby's crocheted afghan.  Two more strips to go, weaving in some ends, and possibly a border if I have time.  I'm finding it funny how much the color scheme from this blanket and the above quilt match each other - especially since I started both projects about eight months apart!


I'm absolutely loving Dottie Angel's tutorial on joining the squares as you go - I think it looks amazing and it saves so much work in the end!


In shop news, I had great luck picking up some simply gorgeous vintage sheets this weekend.  They've been washed, ironed, and are already for sale in my Etsy shop!


I also found some simply stunning vintage baby quilts in pristine condition.  Each individual fabric is just more beautiful than the last.  I'm keeping this one for myself, but I've got one more in the shop that I'm forcing myself to part with.


And as if I don't have enough projects going on right now, I finally completed my Folksy Flannel collection thanks to Pink Castle Fabrics (who currently have bundles of the entire line in stock!) and have something fantastic in the works.  More on that later....


And because I couldn't resist, I also picked up these flannel prints from Anna Maria Horner's  Loulouthi line (from Pink Castle as well).  You know how luxurious her Folksy Flannels are?  Well, if it's possible, these are even softer and cozier! 


Okay, giveaway time!  This giveaway is sponsored by none other than Pink Castle Fabrics!  I'm super in love with the Ruby line by Moda and these Sundae Stripe prints are my favorite.


Just leave a comment telling me what you hope to get for Christmas this year, and you'll be in the running for a fat quarter from each of the colorways - six in total!  As for me, I'm hoping that this baby will arrive early, but I'm definitely not holding my breath :)  I guess I'd settle for a Liberty Mini Fabric Bundle - I've been pining after one of those for a long time!

Good luck everyone - the giveaway will stay open until Friday at 5pm EST and yes, I'm willing to ship internationally.  I'll be back in the next day or two with with a sneak peek of the new nursery!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stopping to enjoy the season

Christmas is always crazy and busy and hectic, but this year is all the more so with my due date looming a mere 2 weeks after Santa's visit.  Throw on top of that an incredibly nasty virus that invaded our house over a week ago, took out the entire family, and yet still hasn't left.  Sigh.

In between all of the cough medicine, hot tea, and holding down a screaming toddler about 50 times a day to wipe her faucet of a snotty nose, I've made a little bit of progress around the house.  Some Christmas presents have been made, decorations are going up bit by bit, baby projects are coming along, and I have finally started setting up the nursery.  But I could definitely use a couple extra weeks - and a whole lot more energy! 

I took a break tonight to relax on the couch and work on some popcorn and cranberry garland while watching White Christmas.  Definitely one of my favorite holiday traditions - and our tree is looking a bit naked without it.

Be sure to come back Monday since I'll once again be participating in Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day!  It's been tons of fun in years past and this time will be no exception! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tree cutting and christmas crafting

It's not even December yet and already our holiday festivities are in full swing.

We cut down our Christmas tree, took obligatory 34 weeks pregnant photos (please disregard the look of exhaustion and no makeup on my face), and decorated every square inch of our house.  

It has been the most fun holiday season that I can remember because Phoebe is super into it this year.  I couldn't even count the number of times that Phoebe "ooooo'ed" and "aaaahhhhh'ed" and said "That is so so pretty/sparkly" while we got out our decorations.   And she tries her darndest to hug and kiss the Christmas tree about 20 times every day. "I LOVE my Christmas tree!"


We've also been doing some holiday crafting.  I have to keep Phoebe's projects a secret for right now since they're gifts for the family, but this is a little something that I whipped up for my Modern Quilt Guild's ornament swap that took place at tonight's meeting.


I can't take credit for the adorable pattern - I spotted it on Pinterest (of course!) a couple weeks ago.  You can find the full tutorial and printable pattern here.



Phoebe was pretty bummed when I had to wrap this one up to give away, so I think I'll be making a couple more of these sweet little cottages to grace our Christmas tree!

Friday, November 25, 2011

More projects from the couch

I get bitten by the same crochet bug every fall.  Once the weather starts getting cooler, I find myself venturing into yarn shops and scouring my studio for misplaced crochet hooks that haven't seen the light of day since last winter.  You can definitely call me a seasonal crocheter. 


This year I'm more in love with it than ever since 1) Just about all of my projects are for the new baby, and each stitch gets me more and more excited for her arrival  2) I've pretty much surpassed beached whale status and it's incredibly uncomfortable and exhausting to do most any activity that doesn't allow me to lie on the couch with a carefully calculated placement of at least 20 pillows.


My main project that I'm working on at the moment is an afghan for the new baby.  I guess I've set the trend that each new baby gets his or her own quilt, cross-stitch, embroidery, and crocheted afghan.  This is what Phoebe's looks like.

I picked out the yarn before I even started looking at patterns (because I like to live dangerously :), and finally settled on 7 shades of Berroco Comfort yarn in a worsted weight (white was on back-order at the time so it's not pictured). 

Patchwork diagrams - I ended up going with the top right sketch
After falling in love with this blanket (the whole room really) on Pinterest, I followed Dottie Angel's basic how-to for joining the squares as you go.  But basically, each square is made up of 15 rows of 25 double crochets.  It's incredibly relaxing since it's a simple stitch with basically no counting, and you can actually carry on a conversation while you're working without losing your place.


This was all the progress that I had made back in October since my white yarn was on backorder for FOREVER, but since it finally arrived last week the blanket is now just about halfway completed.


But in the meantime, I had found the last two skeins of Berroco Plush for half price in the discontinued bin, and they were so soft and frothy that I just had to make something for my winter baby.  This is an incredibly basic baby hat pattern that I have made a million times, but it took me forever because the yarn is so fluffy and fuzzy that it was near to impossible to see or count my completed stitches.  After ripping it out more times than I'd like to remember, I finally just winged it and guesstimated the entire thing, adding and subtracting stitches when I thought the hat started to look lopsided.

Does anyone else have any great baby crochet patterns to share?  I'm looking for my next project!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Anyone else out there celebrating Thanksgiving?  Or has everyone skipped ahead to Christmas?

Don't get me wrong, Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday of the year and I like to go all out with gingerbread houses, cutting down a fresh tree, and coating our house in multiple layers of tinsel and glitter, but I've always loved Thanksgiving and it makes me kind of sad that it gets the shaft - being stuck there in between Halloween and Christmas.


When I was younger, Thanksgiving consisted of me sleeping in, and waking up in just enough time to watch the parade while helping my mom make pumpkin pies (she made the crust while I made the filling), going to my grandparent's for the absolute best meal of the year, then playing games and eating said pie the rest of the evening.  Such a low-key, cozy holiday.

Taking a day to give thanks became even more important to us three years ago when we discovered just a few days prior that our cycle of IVF was successful and we were expecting our first baby after two years of trying to conceive.  When we went around the table to say what we were thankful for, we passed out pictures of our precious little embryo.

So I've definitely been trying to make Thanksgiving meaningful in our house and talking with Phoebe about the first Thanksgiving (and as one of my friends said, "Without going into the whole Trail of Tears thing", lol) and what it means to be thankful for what we have. 


The major bummer is that there really aren't a lot of decorations that scream "Thanksgiving",  and since I like to keep things festive around here, I've resorted to making a lot of my own.

Phoebe became really smitten with finding pretty leaves in October, so we ended up pressing a bunch of them and suspending them from our big picture window.  Of course my husband walked in and immediately questioned my sanity as to why there was a giant stick suspended in our living room (as I'm sure most of the other moms at playgroup were when I found it in the park and drug it back to my car a couple weeks ago). 


I also took some inspiration from Pinterest and made a bunch of these simple garlands by cutting out random leaf shapes from some felt scraps and sewing them together with a basic running stitch.


This little crocheted turkey and pumpkin pie have actually been around for quite awhile, as I went crazy during the early days of amigurumi and crocheted pretty much any free pattern I could find.  The turkey pattern can be found here, but I can't seem to find where the pie pattern came from.


I hope all of you have just as much to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"I like things you can put things into"

That was one interesting quote by Andy Rooney that I picked up during one of his many tributes that have been playing on the news lately.


Sure, not the most eloquent statement - but what person doesn't like to have an assortment of boxes, bags, and pouches in which to organize their life?


And nesting pouches?  Even better!  A pouch to put all of your other pouches into.


I made these using an assortment of Denyse Schmidt's new fabric line for Joann's - Daisy Mae.  The largest pouch is 12" square and the rest decrease in increments of 2".  I layered all of the outer pieces with some light batting and quilted them all with different straight-stitch designs.


I highly doubt that these would be Andy Rooney's top fabric choices, but I think the recipient will be happy!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

More coziness

Since I really don't need many baby supplies for this second little girl, I decided to splurge when it came to making her some special keepsakes.


Right now I'm in baby blanket production mode since all of Phoebe's baby blankets have been claimed by, well, Phoebe of course.


I have been madly in love with fabric designer nani IRO for a looooong long time.  Not only are her prints incredibly gorgeous, but some of them are printed on the softest, most lovely double cotton gauze - of which I have been completely smitten ever since Heather Ross' Far Far Away collection came out.


So why isn't my entire house swathed in this fabric?  Well, at about $22/yard, it's definitely a splurge for our current budget.  But after a couple of good Etsy sales, I went ahead and order a yard of this print...


.....and a yard of this one - both from Superbuzzy.


All of these blankets are pretty simple with just one piece of fabric for the top, and one for the backing.  I sewed them right sides together, turned them out, then used a decorative topstitch around the edges. 

I paired each of them a little differently - this one has the double gauze top with a voile pastry line backing....


.....and I pieced a backing for this one out of all of my leftover Far Far Away double cotton gauze.


Finally, this one has a Little Folks voile top with a Folksy Flannel backing - both purchased from Pink Castle Fabrics.

Each one is softer and more luxurious than the next, and I think that both baby and momma are going to love cuddling together with these.


And Polly too, of course.