Sunday, January 30, 2011


I worked on the rows for the baby quilt today.  First, I did this:

And now I'm at this point:

It may not seem like a lot, but considering that it's my first it seemed like a big deal for me.  I think I'll finish the other five and then it will be time to go out and find some fabric for the border and the backing.  I thought I'd have the other quilt going way before this one so I'm not fully prepared to put it together.  It's exciting to see it all turning into a real blanket instead of just a pile of fabric. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Baby Blanket

Remember this fabric that I showed you a few days ago?

I finally did something with it since I'm feeling better (though still very congested).  I cut it into 5.5" squares yesterday and today I laid it out.

Now I just need to sew it.  It's going to be a baby quilt for DH's cousin's little girl.  I took out the frog fabric.  It just didn't look right with all those pinks and no other blues.  I'll save it for another little one. 

I guess this is going to be my first quilt since I actually have all the fabric I need for it.  I'm going to tie this one though.  I'll let you know how it goes. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sinus Infection

I haven't been crafting because I'm pretty sure I have a sinus infection.  Every time I stand up my head starts throbbing and my sinuses feel like they're on fire.  I'm hoping that I'll feel better by next week so that I can start working on more stuff.  I still have a ton of quilt squares to cut, but I don't have the energy to stand up for very long.  Hopefully I'll be up and running again soon.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Goodies

This weekend DH and I went to visit my mom and since she lives very close to much better fabric stores than we have here, I decided to go check them out.  I ended up only making it to her Joann's (which is about twice the size of the other one I've gone to), but I also raided her fabric stash and brought home some pieces that are new to me. 

First, I picked up some flannels.

The hearts are from when I was little.  The snowflakes are one that I picked out when I was about 15, but never ended up using it. 

There's also some pink gingham (also from when I was little).

And some pink eyelet fabric:

Please forgive the wrinkles.  I haven't washed these yet and they were living in boxes for many years.

While at Joann's I picked up a few more fabrics for the quilt I'm going to make for our bed

and some fat quarters too.

Finally I made DH help me pick out a bunch of fabric for his cousin's baby.  We just found out she's having a little girl so I was excited to pick out some girly fabrics.  These are all flannel because I thought a baby blanket should be soft.

The green stripes didn't show up very well (third from left), but they look really cute in person. 

I know this upcoming week is going to be super busy, but after it calms down a bit I'm hoping to be able to really get started on both of these. 

I'll share the progress as I go. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cricut Design Studio

One of my Christmas gifts from DH was the Cricut Design Studio software.  I've played around with it a few times, but never really had something to use it on.  Until today.  I finished scrapbooking the last of the pictures from my bridal showers and bachelorette party and I decided to use it to create a title for my bachelorette party pictures. 

It's very simple, but I like the way it came out.  The font came from Lyrical Letters (one of my favorite cartridges).  Now that I've practiced a few times it was pretty easy to get the title to come out the way I wanted.  Hopefully I'll get more use out of it soon. 

This also means that all of the pre-wedding events are scrapbooked and I can finally move on to the main event.  That also means I need a new scrapbook since the others are all full. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Step 1: Cutting

The first step in getting started on my quilt is cutting all the fabric.  I don't have all of it just yet, but I did have 6 of them that I knew I wanted to incorporate so I spent parts of my day cutting them into 4.5" x 4.5" squares (so they'll be 4" squares once they're sewn. 

Here's my progress:

I'm glad I started now and can go as I acquire the new fabrics.  The rotary cutter hurts my hand.  I love it anyway though because without it I would not have gotten this far today.  And my hand would still hurt. 

A Big Project

Most of my projects have been pretty small so far, but I'm ready for something big.  Preferably something that can keep me occupied for a while.  So I'm starting a quilt for our bed.  It will be my first one, but I've been reading the Beginning Quilting series over at Diary of a Quilter constantly and trying to make sure I have all the information I need. 

I spent a bit of time today figuring out my size and pattern and then drawing it out so I could figure out how much fabric I need.  I'd share, but it's got my notes all over and it's probably not going to be helpful to anyone but me. 

Based on my math, I still need a lot more fabric before I can get started, but I should still be able to get started soon.  I can at least start cutting. 

Here's the set of fabrics I plan to use so far:

Please ignore the fact that they are super wrinkly.  I just got some of them out of the wash and I'm feeling too lazy to iron them at the moment. 

I can't wait to get started.  The hardest part will be finding more patterns in the right colors that don't have any flowers on them.  DH's only request was that it not be floral and I'm trying to honor that. 

What sort of projects are you working on? 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I decided to change the background of this blog because the other one felt boring.  Sorry Blogger, but your backgrounds just aren't that interesting.  So I picked up one from shabbyblogs.  There are a ton of cute options over there.  I almost couldn't decide which one I wanted.  I'm loving this one.  How about you? 

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Stuff

After a very stressful day of dealing with the dealership where we got DH's car (I cannot express enough how much I hate that place), my MIL and I went to Joann's because practically everything is on sale right now.  While I was there I picked up some batting.  Some of it will be cut off to use for a project.  The rest will eventually turn into a quilt for our bed.  I also picked up some useful things to have around like more thread, elastic, and some Steam-A-Seam 2.  I also picked up some fabric. 

The top five fat quarters all came in a bundle.  The other was on its own. 

I also picked up this fabric.  The two on the left are cotton and the one on the right is flannel. 

The bird print was waiting to be put back on the shelf after someone else bought a bunch of it and I asked how much it was.  Regularly it would cost me $8.99 a yard.  During their current sale it was $2.99 a yard.  What a steal!  I have no idea what I'll use it for but I just love it so it had to come home with me.  I think some might make it's way into a baby quilt for DH's cousin.  I'm not sure what the rest will be used for. 

The rest of the sales were pretty awesome too, but that one was especially great.  Now, after driving all the way back to the dealership to pick up DH's car tomorrow, I will be able to do some of the crafts I've been looking forward to. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Craftiness Coming

I am lacking supplies for pretty much all of the projects I want to work on right now.  However, tomorrow I will be making a trip to Joann's, which has a ton of stuff on sale at the moment, and I will be stocking up so I can hopefully work on something soon.  Not having the supplies to do anything crafty is making me crazy. 

In the meantime, inspire me.  What are you working on?  What cool things have you found lately? 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Exciting News

I got a call yesterday to tell me that the job I interviewed for and was really excited about is mine!  That means a lot of things for DH and I and it makes me incredibly happy.  I don't have a start date just yet (have to go through the hiring process first), but I'm overjoyed about this.  It isn't (unfortunately) full-time, so I can't mark something off my list, but it's enough hours to make me happy and still allow me plenty of time to get stuff done.  I can't wait.

This also means I don't have to take the class at the junior college because I no longer need it.  I'm hoping they'll have some good classes available next semester so I can take something that just sounds interesting.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Quickie Pin-Cushion

Now that I've started sewing I really see the use for a pin cushion.  At first I thought I'd just use the little container my pins came in.  Usually that works fine, until I'm reaching in to grab a bunch and I stab myself in the finger.  So I thought I'd make a pin cushion.  I found this little guy and used that as my inspiration.  I left off the button and instead of filling it with fluff I used rice to weigh it down to make it a little easier to use. 

Basically, just patch together some small pieces (2.5x2.5 squares in this one, but you could probably adjust the size to your liking) and once you've got a 2x2 square sew together like you would a pillow.  Flip it inside out then stuff and sew up the hole. 


Quick and easy and pretty cheap too since I already had these fabrics on hand. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vinyl on Canvas Tutorial

I've seen these around the blogosphere lately and I thought it would be perfect for some art in my craft room.  Since we're renting all of our walls are white and I thought they could use a pop of color.

For supplies, you'll need paint

I chose these two colors.  You can do one if you choose, but I wanted the slight color variation of using two.  Brand doesn't matter.

You'll also need a paintbrush.  If you want to see brush strokes, use a standard brush.  If you want a smoother look use a foam brush.  I chose foam.

Pick out some vinyl in a color that you like along with some transfer tape.

Finally you'll need a canvas in your chosen size.  I went with an 11x14 because that was the biggest size Wal-Mart had in stock and I didn't feel like driving to a craft store.

Start with the darker color so it will show through.  You don't really have to worry about making it look good because you'll be painting over it.

As you can see, mine is not pretty.

Then paint over in your lighter coat.  I didn't wait for mine to dry.  I wanted it to mix together a little bit.

Not a huge difference in photos, but in person you can see darker and lighter patches, which is what I wanted.

Then make sure to paint your edges.  You could leave them white, but if you do that you'll want to tape them off at the start so you don't get paint on them.

I wish mine had the staples on the back instead of the sides, but that's all they had and I don't think they'll be too noticeable once it's on the wall.

Then pick your shape.  I used one from the Lyrical Letters Cricut cartridge.  I bought it thinking it was just another font cartridge, but it has some beautiful shapes.  I already knew what size I needed because I'd cut it out of some extra white paper I had laying around.

Cut your shape.  Any cutting machine will work.

Then pull away all of the vinyl you don't want on your canvas leaving behind the backing piece and your image.

These pictures are sort of hard to see because I used white vinyl, but hopefully they'll help.

Then peel off the backing for your transfer tape and put the sticky side against the vinyl.  The instructions say to move your vinyl, but this cut has so many long parts that I didn't want to risk getting it all stuck together so I did it this way.  It worked just fine.

Mine came with a large popsicle stick to help the two pieces stick, but you could use a credit card or something else that is stiff enough to not bend when you apply pressure.

Rub all over your image so that it will stick to the transfer tape.  Then pull back.  If any pieces don't stick just put the tape back and rub with the stick again.  Then place it on your canvas in your chosen location and rub again.  Again, pull back gently and if any part doesn't stay on the canvas just put the tape back and rub again. 

In the end you'll end up with this

I haven't hung mine yet, but I will hopefully get it up in the next week so that I can have something pretty to look at in my craft room.

On a slightly different note, have you guessed my favorite color yet?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Building Things

Today was a very productive day for DH and I.  We got some errands done and then decided that it was time to organize our house a little more.

We started with this,

and this.

Any guesses on what we got?

We got one of these!

I've been wanting to get one of these for a while.  I have so many crafty things that I thought this would be the perfect solution without having to buy a bunch of tools so DH could make me a custom storage shelf.  It was even on sale.

So we spent the day putting it together along with installing a new shelf in the closet of DH's office so he would have some extra space too.  This thing was actually pretty easy to put together.  The instructions weren't the easiest to follow, but the pictures certainly helped.  A husband that understands how to put stuff like this together was helpful as well.

Once it was built, it looked like this:

Those off-colored squares are actually where the wall shows through.  It only has backing for five of the squares.  Please ignore the rest of the mess in the closet.

Then, I spent a couple hours cleaning my craft room, getting rid of stuff, and reorganizing so that this little baby now looks like this:

From left to right, top to bottom we have stamps, scrapbooking tools, fabric, scrapbooking decorations, cards and envelopes, Cricut supplies, random crafts, paint and coloring tools, and pictures and ribbon.  On top is my sewing box, a couple of old disposable cameras that I need to get developed and my iron.

I love having everything in its own little space and it's all so easy to find now.  I just need a better way to store my fabric and I'll be happy. 

How do you organize your crafts?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Zippered Pouch

I used another tutorial from Skip to my Lou.  This one is for a lined zippered pouch.  I just love her tutorials.  They are so easy to follow and for someone who is just starting out that is very important.  Even for someone who isn't a beginner these would be great because the final products are so cute. 

These pictures are really bright because we are having an intensely sunny day.  It's a nice change from the constant rain we've had lately. 

Here's the inside:

Both came from Joann's.  The lining was a fat quarter I picked up. 

I still can't believe how easy this was to put together.  I think it took me about an hour, which isn't bad at all.  I think this one will be going to live with my mother-in-law.  She loves bright colors, especially orange and lime green so I think I'll pass it on to her.  I've got some other fabric that I might use to make another one for my mom.  Cindy over at Skip to my Lou said that she used some iron on vinyl for the lining fabric so it could be used as a make-up bag.  I think I might have to try that. 

Organizing Fabric Swatches

Since I plan to make a quilt for our bed soon, I decided that I needed a way to look at all my fabric and even bring it with me when I'm going to select more.  I searched online and found a great idea, but unfortunately can't find the link anymore.  If you know who came up with the idea, please let me know so I can give them credit.

Anyway, here it is.

I cut out samples of each of the fabrics I have.  I don't have pinking shears so mine are ragged on the edges, but they'll still work.  I used my double sided scrapbooking tape to adhere them each to index cards then I wrote the place where I got each fabric so that I could remember in case I wanted to search for more.  Then I hole-punched them and put them onto a binder ring that I had leftover from one of my college classes.  Now I can grab the whole thing and bring it with me when I go to the store so I can easily compare fabrics and see if they would look good together. 

I'm sorry I haven't been posting much this week.  I'm in the middle of a couple different projects that I will be sharing next week so stay tuned. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reversible tote bag

Now that I have my sewing machine out of the box and actually working for me I decided to try out one of these reversible tote bags that I saw here.  This tutorial is amazing.  This is only my second time using my sewing machine and I was able to follow it and actually came out with a fairly cute bag.  I did make a change to this one.  I added a pocket to the inside of mine because I like to have somewhere to put the little stuff in my purse. 

I did struggle with it a little bit.  I put the straps on wrong and when I flipped my bag right side out after sewing I discovered that my straps were between the outer fabric and the lining.  Whoops.  So I became friendly with my seam ripper and took out the entire thing.  I redid it correctly and I love the way it came out.

Wanna see the finished product? 

I used some fabric that I found at Joann's.  I didn't even realize when I bought the fabric that the lining and the outer fabric have the exact same flowers on them and the colors even match.  I just thought they looked cute when I bought them.

Here's a picture of the lining fabric:

I love this bag.  And it was really easy to make.  I think I might be making some more in the near future for some friends.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Meal Planning

I've been wanting to get more organized and after reading about the Organized and Inspired blog series starting over here

I decided to try out her first idea.  The first post is about meal planning.  She has some really cute printables available on her blog to help if you're not really sure how to start.  I've been making a list of all the dinner ideas I can think of.  I'm going to do this a little differently than she does.  I'll share my way a little later.  For now, it will be a piece of paper on the fridge, but I'm thinking about doing something to display our meals for the week to make my life easier. 

We tried meal planning a few years ago when we were really trying to budget and try to spend and waste less.  It worked for a little while but then we got lazy.  I'm hoping that having everything easily accessible will help us stick to it this time.

Cheese Fondue

For Christmas I got DH a fondue set because we both loved having fondue when we were in Maui and I thought this would be a fun dinner for us.  Last night we set it up.  It was awesome.  The recipe we used says that it's the same one from The Melting Pot, which is where we ate in Maui.  They have awesome food, but we don't have one near us. 

Here's the recipe, borrowed from here.

12 ounces of beer (we used Blue Moon)
8 ounces swiss cheese, shredded
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp mustard powder (we just used a little bit of mustard)
1/4 tsp pepper

Add the beer and let it start steaming (this happens a lot faster than you might imagine).  Then add the last four ingredients.  Mix the flour into the cheese and add that mixture.  Mix until it's melted.

For dippers we used sourdough bread, gala apples, broccoli, peppers, carrots, celery, pea pods, and pita chips.  Other than the bread and apples everything else came in one of those party trays.  It was delicious and fun.  It's definitely a meal we're excited to do again.  If you buy pre-chopped veggies it makes the whole meal really fast to prepare. 

Working on it

While I haven't fully completed anything on my list lately, I'm working on a few things.

1.  On Saturday afternoon DH carried all of the empty picture frames we have into my craft room and told me that he wanted to put pictures in them.  Mostly, he wanted to use the new laser level he got for Christmas and that seemed like a good way to do that.  We couldn't do all of them.  I didn't realize how many 5x7 frames we had.  Since we have zero 5x7 photos right now we left those for another day.  We did manage to fill these two:

These were wedding gifts from DH's aunt.  They are now hanging in our house and I love having pictures up.  We put up some of our favorites from our wedding.  I wish it would have occurred to me to have DH use his laser level to put up some of the wall art we also got as wedding gifts.  But I'm happy with this for now. 

2.  I started playing around with a calligraphy book that I picked up for DH years ago.  I didn't realize there were so many fonts so I probably won't be learning all of them (although it looks like it would be easy to transfer the shapes).  I will pick one that I like and try to make all of the letters look pretty.  Then I'll declare that one done.  It needs a lot more work.  Some of the letters look nice.  Others do not.  Some look pretty darn sad. 

3.  It looks like I might finally be getting that storage shelf I've wanted for a while now.  Hopefully I can get it soon so that I don't have to have stuff scattered everywhere.

4.  I'm signed up to take a class at the junior college.  I'm waitlisted so I'm not sure if I'll get in.  I'm a little afraid.  I think I can learn the information easily, but the teacher wasn't exactly the friendliest person I've ever encountered.  I'm a little worried.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

No-Sew Blanket Tutorial

Yesterday I dragged DH with me to Joann's because they were having some awesome sales and I wanted to get some fabric.  While we were there I picked up some fleece that was on sale and today I used it to make a no-sew blanket.  I've made these before and they were pretty popular a couple years ago.  I love the one I already have, but since DH steals it all the time I thought I'd make another.  These are really easy to make and don't involve a lot of skill so they are awesome for someone who is still learning.  I'm not sure who first came up with the idea, but if this is someone's original idea please let me know so I can give credit.

First, gather your materials.  You'll need two pieces of fleece that measure either 2 yards or 2 1/4 depending on how long you want it.  My first blanket was 2 yards, this is 2 1/4.  You could probably make it longer if you wanted, but this size works for me.

I chose a blue and a light brown that I thought would fit well with the colors in our house.

These are the tools I used.  You can substitute for other tools if you don't already have these.  I used two rulers, my self-healing mat, a rotary cutter and some scissors.  In reality, you could get away with just the scissors, but the rest of the tools made my life a little easier.

Lay out your first color of fleece on a large flat surface.  I used the floor because I don't have a table big enough for the whole thing to lay out.  Then line up the second piece of fleece on top of it.  They might be slightly different sizes, but they should be fairly close.  Smooth out both pieces.

Once smooth, I used my mat underneath both layers of fabric and used the rotary cutter and ruler to cut off the edges and make the two pieces line up perfectly.  You could also use scissors and just eyeball it.

Then use the ruler and measure every inch or so.  You'll cut a ton of 3" strips out of both fabrics.  I eventually gave up on the ruler and just made sure my cuts were close to an inch apart and about 3" long.  It's not a big deal if they aren't perfect.  You really won't be able to tell once it's done.

Make sure to cut off the corners so that the blanket can be tied together properly.

Then start tying a bunch of simple knots.  They look just like the first step in tying your shoes.  The only thing you have to worry about here is making sure that you don't miss a pair or end up leaving out a strip.

Once you've finished tying them all you're done.  You can tie them twice if you like.  It will help them stay a little bit better when you wash it, but it's an optional step. 

Then enjoy your nice warm blanket.

 This is the blue side of my finished project.  I can't wait to use it tonight.