Friday, September 30, 2011

Favorites and my weekend list

Friday Favorites
Click on the picture for photo credits!

I've got a lot on the weekend to-do list, since the Sewing Summit is next weekend! Yikes!

I need to make those pajama pants I told you about.
I want to make a laptop case, in either this (on the right) or this (scrappy) fabric.
I'm trying to get this finished before I leave, so I can report back to Rue on her beautiful design. I'm so close!
As usual, I'm being overambitious, and I'd like to finish this skirt. All I have left is the hem!
Pack for the summit
Laundry (before the packing, of course!)
Haircut

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things, but I love a good list!

Have a good weekend, friends!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Eep!

My Ysolda Knits

I get to take a class from the amazing Ysolda next month in Austin! Woo!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What are you watching?

Bella

So, I'm curious, when you're sewing, knitting, or otherwise crafting, what do you like to watch? I'm always up for new suggestions, and despite my frustration with Netflix and/or Qwikster, I use both the instant queue and DVDs to keep myself entertained while crafting.

Lately, thanks to Kara, I have been enjoying The Forsyte Saga and Bleak House. I've also been channeling my angst-y teenager side by rewatching Felicity.

Some other shows that have a high re-watch value for me are Gilmore Girls, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, Firefly and Six Feet Under.

So, what are you watching during your crafty time?

Monday, September 26, 2011

To and from Rachel

I'm pretty sure you all know Rachel, right? If you don't, take a minute to go check her out. She's the mastermind behind do.Good Stitches, Bottled Rainbows, and more recently, Celebrate Color. She's so creative, sweet and just a lovely person!

Rachel and I were chatting about Sewing Summit several weeks ago, and after hearing Jeni's plan to make a Simplicity duffel bag (pattern 2274), we decided to do a swap. I made her a bag and she made me one. There were moments I questioned my sanity. Like when my needle continuously fell out of the machine. I honestly don't know why. Oh, yeah. Maybe because I was sewing through burlap webbing, batted layers, etc. Yeah, maybe that's why. So, a quick trip to Joann's for some heavy duty needles fixed that problem!

Rachel's Bag

This pattern is not complicated, it just takes time (and patience) to construct. I chose straight line quilting for the body of the bag and sides. I thought it would look nicer with the fabric, and I hope Rachel thinks so, too.

There are three awesome things about a swap like this.

One, I would probably never ever make myself such an elaborate bag. I have a perfectly good duffel bag that I've had since like, 1992. It has few scuffs, wear and tear, but it does the job. Laziness often wins when you're crafting for yourself (gifts are an entirely different story!). I wasn't really drawn to the pattern, but after seeing Jeni's awesome FFA II version, well, I was sold.

Front view

Two, I get to step out my comfort zone and work with a fabric palette catered to the Rachel. We chatted about desired colors and patterns, but she didn't know my final fabric choices and vice versa. It can definitely be intimidating (and I definitely had a few self-critical moments of worry), but it's so much fun to plan a project with someone else in mind.

I'm feeling pretty proud to have this bag finished, and I hope Rachel will enjoy using it.

Detail of Rachel's bag

I used Joel Dewberry's Ginseng home decor fabric, and the interior (as well as the zipper tabs) is Alexander Henry's Heath in Chocolate (also home decor weight). The bag has one side pocket with a zipper and a front pocket. Speaking of zippers, I used my zipper foot for the first time. I've always just stuck with my regular foot, but the specialty foot was pretty fun to use. I'll definitely do that again. Also, any sewing on more than one piece required the walking foot (so much thickness).

I really love the mix of fabrics. I hope it's not too busy for Rachel, but I thought a little variety would work well on such a big bag.

From Rachel

And finally, in return for my hard work, I get to enjoy the fruits of Rachel's labor on my new bag. Every time I look at it and use it, I'll think about our fun swap.

Look at the hand-stitching! So sweet. And the fabrics Rachel used are so much fun.

A colorful package

Thank you again, Rachel! I can't wait to meet you in person!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Treasures

I shared a couple of new-to-me items on flickr recently, but forgot to share them here.

Paint or not?

My mom has had this printer tray for ages, and passed it on to me recently. I debated painting it, like some you can find on etsy, but I have decided to leave it bare. I really love this tray, and will probably hang it on the wall it's laying against in the photo (in the living room).

On my last visit to see my grandparents (earlier this month), my grandmother gave me this piece of tatting.

From my grandmother

She couldn't remember who had given it to her, but she's had it for decades (tucked away in a drawer for awhile now).
Isn't it incredible?
I'm excited to have such an amazing piece, which just needs a good (delicate) washing to remove a couple of stains.

Tatting

I'm not sure if I will try to hang it, or use it on a table top (although kitties might be less likely to destroy if it's not on a flat surface!).

What about you? Any treasures you've discovered, or re-discovered lately?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

You know what they say

I named the test-knit project (for Rue) "Put a baby in it", and my first best friend ever just let me know she is having a boy early next year. So all of a sudden, this sweater has a recipient.

Progress: Test Knit Baby Sweater

I'm much further along than the picture shows (which is good, because my deadline is fast approaching!). I finished the body up to the armhole joining this weekend, and cast on for the second sleeve. I'm hoping to get some more quality knitting time this weekend, and I should be able to wrap this up next week. Rue is releasing the free pattern very soon, so stay tuned for that on her blog!

Also on the to-do list?

To-do: Foxy Pajamas

A pair of foxy pajama pants, of course! I bought some Monaluna Anika to make myself a pair of fun PJ pants for the Sewing Summit. Let's just see if I can whip those up in time. I sure hope so!

I'd also love to make a laptop case like Jeni's, but that may be pushing it.

And don't even get me started on the rest of the to-do list. There is always too much to do, but I like it that way.

I was able to resist the Pretty Little Pouch sign-ups, but it was hard! If you have never done a swap, it's a great way to get your feet wet!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kindred spirits

Sometimes, I forget how lucky I am to be a part of our community. I was reminded of that fact several times this week. First, when I received ShapeMoth's package, and then again, when I got an unexpected gift from Chawne If you remember, she was one of the shawl winners, and in a most generous gesture, she sent me something in return.

A-mazing

I am now the lucky girl with a mini-compost of my very own, as well as an amazing hand-print by Margot Bianca. There's also a wee pouch by Splityarn for me to enjoy.
Wow. Amazing. Thank you again, C, for your sweet gift!

On display

Now, I've got a lovely space above my ironing board to enjoy.

The final reminder of community I received this week was attending my first Houston Modern Quilt Guild meeting. Meeting quilters in person was exhilarating, and made me even more excited about the upcoming Sewing Summit. In fact, I met some gals who will be attending, so I'll know a few familiar faces!

You can look at this photo to see what some of the members did with the Habitat challenge! Very cool projects going on.
I'll definitely be attending more meetings and events, and they're having meetups during the International Quilt Show, too!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

September bee blocks

Bee blocks are always fun to sew. I have gotten to try many new techniques, and it's a great way to dabble with a block I might not otherwise try for myself.
For Rachel's do.Good Stitches this month, my circle is making the July Modern BOM. Jenn wanted one in pink/orange/yellow and one in blue/green/gray.

DGS September Blocks

Third DGS Block

I ended up making one extra girl block because my measurements came up just a little short on the first one. These were fun and fast!

For the last month of the Wonky Bee (not forever, but we're taking a few months off), my pal Nicke asked for Wonky Shoo-Fly blocks using the It's a Hoot! fabric she sent.

For Nicke

I love this line, and enjoyed these quick blocks.

Friday, September 16, 2011

For the Love of Solids - complete

Now that I've both received and sent in the Solids swap, I'd like to show you the results!
So first, I received from ShapeMoth. My package flew all the way from Germany, and it contained:
Whoa
this incredible metal-frame pouch (just look at that linen!), and

FTLOS: Received!!!
this beautiful mini-quilt. I love the gradient effect and the quilting is fabulous.
Joanna really spoiled me with these lovely items!

On the other side of the swap, I sent to Krista. Krista really wanted placemats or an apron. I almost made an apron, but I was afraid not many people would have requested one, and I didn't want it to be obvious she was my partner.
So, placemats!

Solids Option #2
Krista's favorite solid is Kona Butterscotch, so I paired that with some lovely blues, yellow, and a few brighter solids.

Krista has three kids, so I wanted to make sure everyone had their own placemat.

FO: FTLOS
When I made that decision, I didn't think about all of the hand sewing it would entail, but I'm so glad I didn't skimp.

These were really fun to make, and I know Krista really loves them!

Finished placemats

I quilted each one a little differently, and bound them in various solids.

A closer look

The triangle quilting was my favorite (I didn't want to let that one go!).

I also whipped up a little zippy pouch to send along, and stuffed it with some solids and a couple of prints.

FTLOS Extra

Swaps are super fun, and I'm so glad I jumped in for this one.

I don't plan on joining any others until the new year, but I'm sure I will be tempted. ;)

P.S. I'm planning to post my very first tutorial here soon!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

FO: Figgy Toast

Look! Actual finished knitting!!

FO: Figgy Toast

I LOVE these mitts. You have probably already stumbled across Sam's blog at some point (and if you haven't, please do! She's super talented), and she is the spinner of the gorgeous yarn I used in these mitts. I purchased it from her shop, and funnily enough, it was in my stash just under a year before I broke it out for the mitts.

Toast is a super simple pattern, and such a great use of handspun. After seeing Julie's version, I was pretty much sold.

There's not much more to say about these beauties, except that I will definitely be wearing them regularly!

Progress: Figgy Toast


Raveled

Friday, September 9, 2011

Flashback Friday and some links

Stylin'

I liked posting the picture of my dad and I, so here's another one of little Jacey. I loved wearing my dad's giant cowboy boots when I was little. You can see my sister Jill in the crib.

Onto the links!

My aunt Mary gave me a sackful of butternut squash this weekend, so I think I'll be making this soon.
I have so much love for Chawne's Composting. I am going to start cutting some scraps this weekend, in fact!
Did you see this beautiful Retro Flowers quilt pattern?
These make me happy.
I'm kind of obsessed with making Etsy treasuries. Here's one I made yesterday.
I'm loving the new Colette patterns. Cute!
Jeni's Single Girl is awesome!
After seeing this, I immediately wanted to go camping. Incredible shot!

Have a great weekend, peeps! I'll have some FOs to share with you next week. xo.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Upside-Down Spiced Peach Cake

Upside-Down Spiced Peach Cake

I got the itch to bake on Monday, after lots of driving across Texas all weekend. After picking up some beautiful peaches at the grocery store, I came across a recipe in my mammoth resource for desserts by Bon Appetit (a birthday gift from Jenny and Adam) that caught my attention. There was only one ingredient I didn't have on hand: cardamom. I used cloves instead. I used a springform pan, which I think was a mistake.
The gooey topping (or bottom layer) oozed. out. of the. bottom and left a nice sugar glaze on the bottom of my oven, which I will be cleaning tonight (or at least, this weekend).
It was worth it.

Recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts:

6 T. butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
2 medium peaches (about one pound), pitted and sliced thin

DSC_1292

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 9" cake pan (you could probably use a square brownie pan, too)
Combine flour, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and honey, and bring to a boil. Let boil for two minutes and immediately take off heat and pour mixture into greased baking dish.
Using hand or stand mixer, beat remaining four tablespoons of butter until fluffy.
Add sugar. Blend.
Add egg. Blend.
Add half of flour mixture.
Add yogurt.
Add remaining flour mixture and mix just until combined.
Arrange peaches in a single layer over honey/brown sugar layer in dish.
Dollop cake batter over peaches, and then use a spatula to smooth out the layer.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes (mine took 35, but the recipe called for 40). Cake should pull away from the pan at the sides. Use the ever-trusty toothpick test to check doneness.
Cool in pan for five minutes.
Using a platter, cover cake pan (don't burn yourself like I did!) and flip over so that the peaches are on top.

Upside-Down Spiced Peach Cake

Marvel at your skills.
Cut cake and enjoy every bite.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Second Swoon

After a weekend away, I was so happy to be back in my sewing space yesterday. I have tons of things to do, but I decided to indulge in a second Swoon block.

Second Swoon

You can see my first block here.

I'll be back soon with a yummy recipe to share!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

If I wish it

Sometimes, I wish I lived somewhere else. I've lived in the Houston area all my life, and there are things I really love. But the heat. The humidity. I could probably do without those. Also, the lack of "seasons".

Orange giant

This photograph was not taken in Houston. I took this at Berkeley last December.

I so desperately love the colors of fall foliage, and I dream of living in a place where I can really experience them. Then winter comes, and I feel pretty good about my locale.

To pretend fall is nearer than it is for me, I started a pin board to get me inspired. Now I'm dreaming of warm fall shades, jewel tones and ashy gray. I'm thinking about bonfires, carnivals, trench coats and knits.

Speaking of knits, I finished half of one this week.

Progress: Figgy Toast

My first Toast mitt is finished, and I'm halfway done with the second.

In thinking about fall, I'm also pretty excited about this month's color focus for Project Spectrum:

Project Spectrum: Yellow

It's yellow! I do love yellow.

I'm going to link up with Rachel today as part of Celebrate Color.

Celebrate Color

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