Friday, September 30, 2011

The Madness

1. hexy love, 2. hexies purse, 3. herringbone quilt., 4. I Spy Hex Quilt, 5. Pink Cabinet - Drawers, 6. Coloured sea, 7. Patchwork Star Blocks, 8. I Spy Hex Quilt, 9. Sunny pair

Just wanted to share some of the quilting madness that is whirling around in my brain these days. (Hm... just realized that one picture is included twice. I just discovered this photo tool over at Big Huge Labs - super fun!) I have all these hexagons and am trying to figure out how to configure them into a quilt that isn't a disaster. I've decided to sew them into flowers, but then what? Should I include a solid border around each, or sew them together like you see in these pictures? A very difficult decision... I am also planning sewing projects for Christmas gifts. I have joined a charity quilting bee (more on that later). I am preparing for a holiday craft fair. AND there are just way too many beautiful fabrics and projects out there to keep straight in my overly-ambitious mind, not to mention the 6 or so other unfinished projects lying around. It is all good, but sometimes I find myself with a free moment to sew and realize that I am standing in front of the sewing cabinet wasting time just trying to decide what to work on. Tonight it will be hexies. I love those guys - the perfect Friday evening project. Hope you are enjoying your evening as well!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Titus: "Moses, what does it look like in La La Land?"

Moses (heaving a huge exasperated sigh): I already told you!

Friday, September 23, 2011

I know it's 90 degrees outside...

...but I just can't stop making these Christmas banners! They are so fun and look so cute wound around their little piece of card stock, all stacked on top of each other. *sigh* I have run out of Baker's twine, though, so I'm off to make something else. Perhaps I'll stray from holiday sewing for a bit in order to restock baby boy bibs. Have a wonderful weekend, and if you are here in California, stay cool!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tiny Little Bunting

Last night I sat to down with the need for some instant crafting gratification - I needed to start and finish something before bed time. I came up with these. They might look familiar - I made some of these banners for the boys' room a while back. These are the Christmas version. Until a few years ago I wasn't into decorating for Christmas - it felt more like a hassle than anything else. I mean, red and green? Does that mean I have to change out all my throw pillows and hide the orange quilt until New Year's? I always ended up stressed out. More recently I've been seeing holiday decorations that work for me - simple, modern, small things that add a tiny twinkle of festivity to a home that is already settled. That's how I like to think of this bunting - it is little and easy to hang, and won't be too obtrusive wherever it's hung. I'm keeping some for myself and putting more in the shop. I hope you like them!

Monday, September 19, 2011

(Real) Fresh Eggs

The other day I dropped an egg on the kitchen floor as I was bringing some in from the hen house, and I realized it was the perfect opportunity to show you all what a real fresh egg is supposed to be like. The top picture is what the egg looked like after I picked it up off the floor. That's right - I didn't have to wipe it off the floor. It didn't explode everywhere like a gooey water balloon. I picked it up, and then I did this with it:

OK, I admit I was just showing off in that last picture, but that's the real thing. Freshly laid eggs are sturdy like that. It's all because of the membrane between the shell and the gooey part. The membrane is that filmy thing you encounter when peeling a hard-boiled egg. As soon as an egg is laid, the membrane starts to dissintegrate, and the inside of the egg starts to evaporate out through invisible pores in the egg's shell. That is why when you buy store-bought eggs they are super easy to crack, and when you hard-boil them there is an air pocket inside. Newly-laid eggs have none of that. You have to hit them pretty darn hard on the counter top to crack them, and then you usually have to use your finger to puncture the membrane just to get anything out. And forget hard-boiling them; they are impossible to peel because the super-thick membrane sticks to the egg and by the time you have removed all the shell bits, you are left with just the yolk.

Speaking of yolk, see this nice orange color? That's what an egg is supposed to look like. In fact, one winter when I found myself eggless and had to go to the store, my boys wouldn't even touch the eggs I cooked for them. They kept saying "but they're yellow. Eggs are supposed to be orange." Again, that's because when you buy eggs at the store, they aren't exactly fresh. No matter what the box says, those "farm fresh, free range, organic eggs" were probably laid a month ago. Don't even get me started on what those boxes actually mean by "free range."

The best thing about newly-laid eggs, of course, is that they taste much, much better than anything you will buy in a store. Probably the only way to get your hands on eggs this fresh is to either get chickens of your own or make friends with someone who has some. I've been seeing more fresh eggs at farmer's markets, too, and often vendors who don't advertise that they have chickens will tell you that they have fresh eggs if you just ask. OK - I'll get off my egg soap box now. What do you think about eggs? Would you pay more for newly-laid eggs or even consider getting chickens so you could have some?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lots of Little Guys

The other day Titus was admiring a scrap of Japanese fabric I've had lying around - he was pointing out all the "little guys" that he liked best, and I had the idea to make him a little pillow out of them. The idea came from Amy's blog - have you ever visited? She makes the most beautiful things and has such a great style. She made a similar wall hanging a while back and her resourceful use of tiny scraps of fabric has been stuck in my head. Plus, the opportunity to do a little sewing project during daylight hours was pretty exciting. This is how I made it work:

Playdough and a temporary remission of the "no sitting on the table" rule made this project run very smoothly! I cut out all Titus' favorite "little guys" and interspersed them with some other cute fabrics, then hand quilted the entire thing using embroidery floss. I embroidered the first few lines of "Jesus Loves Me" around the outside, that being one of his favorite songs. I used shredded foam to stuff it with - not the most earth-friendly option, but I had a big bag lying around and I like the firmness it gave to the finished pillow. Titus is VERY happy with the end result!

Here's a shot of his special little space. (Have you ever tried getting a good picture of a bottom bunk bed? The lighting is a nightmare.) I made him the quilt last Christmas and the animals are a funny collection of other little guys he has picked up along the way. The framed picture is a painting of a bulldozer he made with his Aunt Cindy. I like that he has a little cheery place that he doesn't have to share with anybody else except all those cute animals.

Now I need to make one for Moses. And finish the quilt I started for him, um, 4 years ago. As soon as September hits I get the itch to make ALL of our Christmas presents, so I have an almost endless list of sewing and knitting projects I want to do. Hopefully some of them will actually happen and I'll be able to document them on the blog. Until then, I'll keep going into Titus' room and smiling at his little pillow. It really was a fun project.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Blackberries make it better

On Monday this happened:

Five and a half years of laughter, silliness, deep questions, lunch-time conversations, lego marathons and morning farm adventures zipped up his backpack for his first day of Kindergarten. He was excited, I was terrified. The day before, I reviewed in my head over and over how in the heck we were going to get out the door by 7:30 am to get to school on time, and then what in the world little brother and I were going to do with ourselves in the absence of our favorite sparkly five year old. What if someone was mean to him? What if he missed me? What if Titus realized that he doesn't like being with mommy all by himself? I was a big weepy ball of stress that needed to make jam. Seriously, sometimes you just need to make jam. So I did. I walked all the way to the end of the road and scoured those bushes like a mad woman (it's been a bad year for blackberries around here), falling into the thorns more than a few times. I filled up my lime green Easter basket to the top and sweated my way home. The end result: 8 jars of beautiful blackberry jam (which the guys are NUTS about) and one tired mommy who really didn't feel better about the Kindergarten thing at all but felt nice about having some jam stored away.

Of course, everything worked out fine. Moses loved his first week of school, though we are all still adjusting to waking up, eating breakfast, and leaving the house well before 8 am. I still miss him at lunch time, but am treasuring the alone time with little brother, who seems to like it too. Congratulations to all you other mommies who have survived the first few weeks of school - it sure is hard to let them go, isn't it?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Books by color

Today this beautiful image on Design Sponge inspired me to do this:

A pretty easy project when you have such a tiny little book shelf. This area of our house has been a circus for a while, full of old textbooks covered in dust and piles of books about getting babies to sleep through the night, none of which have been even looked at in years. So I scaled back mercilessly (I am good at that after 11 years in a tiny house), gave the entire area a good dusting, and did my best to sort the books by color. I've been seeing the books-by-color trend everywhere, and I don't know why I finally gave in to it, but I am definitely hooked.