Monday, February 28, 2011

No way!

FO: Scrap-Happy Couch Pillow

When I made this pillow, I didn't realize I would be able to enter it into not one, but two contests.

And imagine my surprise, when I saw this Stitched in Color entry, naming my pillow as one of the nine finalists this month!!

I was so surprised, as there were so many beautiful pillows entered in the contest.

Thank you, Rachel!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

FO: Grellow + Pink Quilt

For three weeks, this quilt has been mocking me. It's been done, folded on the bed, slept on by both cats, just waiting. Finally, today, with the help of my sister, I got some FO pictures to share with you.

FO: Grellow + Pink Quilt

I am very proud of this quilt. It took me about seven months to finish this first, and really, it would have taken a lot less, had I not been so intimidated about the actual quilting process.

FO: Grellow + Pink Quilt

I used some of my very favorite fabrics, including the lovely Heather Ross mermaids (I've got an entire quilt of Heather Ross Mendocino planned for the future!), the Tula Pink lady bugs, the Tip Top elephants, a Joel Dewberry favorite, some Amy Butler, and miscellaneous favorites I've picked up.

I quilted using both horizontal and vertical lines, and I actually dig the unevenness, although I can't say that was entirely intentional. It's a little difficult to wrangle a giant quilt under the machine. This is somewhere between a queen and full sized quilt. The dimensions (unwashed) are 67" x 74".

FO: Grellow + Pink Quilt

I pieced the back using a large piece of Kona Coal and several large scraps from piecing the front. I also used an entire strip of too-small squares I made for the front.
The binding is primarily Kona Snow with a tiny section of Kona Medium Pink (I ran out of Snow).

FO: Grellow + Pink Quilt

I learned a lot through this process. Red Pepper Quilts taught me about pre-sewing the binding with a zig-zag stitch, to make it easier to attach.
I know next time to tape my quilt back to the floor before starting the pinning process.

Baste, baste, baste

Knottygnome indicated I might want to use a few less pins next time.

All in all, making this quilt was a wonderful experience.

SGSG Fabrics

I'm already well into piecing my second quilt, for the Single Girl Support Group.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Spicing Up the Kitchen: Received!!

I have to say, being part of this swap has been so much fun. Not only am I "stalking" my secret partner, to make sure my items will make her day, but someone has been doing the same for me. And she nailed it!

SUtK: Received!!

I got my package last week, on a day when I REALLY needed a pick-me-up. It was a hectic week at work with lots of long hours. Becky (My Fabric Obsession) made these incredible placemats for me. Here's her blog post.

How cute are these hexagons??

I can't get over the hexie cuteness. It's unbelievable to me, but this was her first attempt at hexagons. Really!

Received and on the table

They are already on the table, and have already been loved a bit by the kitties. With my new tile floor in the living/dining room, it is starting to feel like home. I'm trying to think about some new decor ideas, and these lovely placemats were a great jumpstart for this room.

Becky, thanks so much for your beautiful placemats (and chocolate! and measuring spoons!).

My swap items are complete, so I'll be posting and sending my package soon!

Make a pizza (with what you got)

Sorry for the silly title, but I do love me some 30 Rock.

Sometime last year, I discovered the joy of homemade pizza dough. It's so easy when made with active yeast, and it is so satisfying to make, changing the toppings based on my current cravings and pantry selections.

Turkey sausage & Artichoke Pizza

Friday night's pizza included some turkey jalapeno sausage from Green's Sausage House, artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, orange bell peppers, mushrooms, shallots and Kalamata olives.

I modified the regular dough recipe Friday night, and I think I'll be making it this way again:

1 cup a-p flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
Pinch of kosher salt
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (I buy mine by the jar now, but you can just one packet of this if you don't purchase the jar; dry active yeast eliminates the need for a second rise)
Olive oil
3/4 cup warm water
Several glugs of a good beer (I used an IPA; instead of this, you could use honey or a sprinkle of sugar; you just need to give the yeast something to eat!)

1) Pour the yeast into the warm water and let sit.
2) Combine flours, salt, a glug of olive oil and the beer in a stand mixer (you can probably do this without a stand mixer, but it will be a lot more work).
3) Once the ingredients are combined, pour in the water/yeast mixture. Let the mixer run on low for a minute or two; you will know the misture is ready when it is combined well and mostly formed into one lump.
4)Coat the mixing bowl (or a new bowl) with a few drizzles of olive oil and roll the ball of dough in it to coat.
5) Cover bowl with a warm damp towel and let sit in a warm place for an hour.
6) Punch down dough, and it's ready to use. You can also let it sit longer at this point, and putting it in the fridge for later use is also a good choice. I find that the dough is even tastier after sitting in the fridge for a few hours.

I love the way fresh mozzarella melts.

When I make pizza at home, I prefer olive oil instead of tomato sauce, or sometimes pesto. Really, though, you can make this baby however you like!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I didn't cheat, I swear

I have a new skein of gorgeous handspun yarn. I didn't cheat, though. As promised, I have not purchased any yarn in 2011.

I did, however, trade my old sewing machine to my good friend Sarah, and in return, I was able to pick one skein of her lovely spinnings.

Handspun from Sarah

I chose this. I think I may have gotten the better end of the bargain. The yardage is between 350 and 400 yards of DK weight. The colors are incredible. I forgot to ask about the original fiber dyeing, but yep, I'm in love.

On a related note, when I went to Austin a couple of weeks ago to visit Sarah (and make said exchange), we went to Hill Country Weavers, one of my favorite yarn stores, and all I bought was the new Knitscene magazine.
No yarn.

I picked up, I contemplated, but in the end, my purchase was less than ten dollars.

Willpower. Who knew?
Although, fabric is an entirely different story.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spicing up the Kitchen progress

I finished the biggest item for the kitchen swap this weekend, and I think I'll have trouble mailing it away.

FO: Pretty Ditty Apron for SUtK

Jamie Christina's Pretty Ditty apron is such a cute pattern, and I love this red geometric fabric, found at the Quilt Show last fall. I paired it with some of Robert Kaufman's Quilter's Linen in a blue-gray shade, which I think works well for the trim.

Well, partner, do you like it?

I learned some new techniques with this one, including a ruffle (which is probably my favorite part) and gathering stitches, a very useful technique.

FO: Pretty Ditty Apron for SUtK
Ruffle closeup

I'm almost finished with my swap offerings; I just have to make one quick supply run for the finishing touches! I hope to finish this up before the end of the week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Kitty valentines

Bella and Olias want to wish you a happy valentine's day.

Olias has vampire mouth

I love vampire mouth, which Olias is showing you here. It's difficult to capture, so I apologize for the blurriness. Honestly, I was just excited to have my camera handy when he made this face. If you don't have cats, or are not lucky enough to experience vampire mouth, certain smells make them open their mouth this way, and they just pause that way for a second, as if trying to recall the smell. It's hilarious, and always makes me smile.

I just love this cat.

Here's Bella in the sunlight. Both of my gray kitties enjoyed basking in the sun, and I was even able to open my window for a few hours yesterday afternoon.

I'm sorry to those of you who are still freezing, but it was nice to turn off the heater and enjoy some natural air in the house!

What I see when I sew

I snapped this picture at my sewing table yesterday. My sister made the calendar for me (she does them every year!), and I just love these pictures she took of Elliott and I. To the left, some patchwork (from my sewing machine cover), and to the right, there are some photos from my first San Fran trip (about six years ago).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Weekend Plans

My list of tasks for the weekend is growing by the minute, but luckily, many of the task are fun ones!

-Take pictures of my finished quilt

Progress: Grellow + Pink Quilt

-Finish my biggest item for the Spicing up the Kitchen Swap

Part one for SUTK: complete

-Make my February blocks for the do.Good.Stitches bee

February do.Good.Stitches palette

-Make some tasty Valentine treats

Gift Tags

-Cut millions and millions of pieces for the Single Girl Support Group

Secret Crush Fabric

-clean out closet, take stuff to Goodwill
-return two Christmas gifts
-Valentine's dinner Sunday with my fella
-clean out flower bed (it's supposed to be in the 70's this weekend!)

What do plan to accomplish this weekend?

Monday, February 7, 2011

FO: Scrap-happy Couch Pillow

Yep, that pillowtop I shared last week is now a finished pillow for the new couch. I don't have a picture of the pillow ON the couch yet, but here she is, in all the scrappy glory!

FO: Scrap-Happy Couch Pillow

I used some scraps from the stash, as well as some from an etsy purchase and the lovely Apriltwoeighty. I really love this little pillow. I found a lovely project in the Winter 2008 Stitch Magazine, which I used as my starting point. When I started pulling scraps, I loved this combination of colors, and tried to balance polka dots with vivid prints.

FO: Scrap-Happy Couch Pillow

I used a piece of bright green with branches for my backing fabric, and it's tied with a piece of cream colored ribbon. Cute!

In other sewing news, I finished. my. quilt. Seriously! I'm so excited about it, but I was too busy having a blast in Austin this weekend to take pictures. I plan to do that this weekend (please let there be sun!), though, so you won't have to wait too long to see it.

I'll also be joining the Single Girl Support Group for my next quilt project. I haven't committed to a size, but I'm planning to use my fat quarter set of Innocent Crush, as well as a few extra prints I think work well with the line.

I've got a crush...

I haven't decided on my solid fabric yet, and I'm tempted to go with gray (but it seems a little obvious). Thoughts?

ETA: I'm adding this baby to the Blogger's Pillow Party.

Blogger's Pillow Party

Thursday, February 3, 2011

From Jules

The package from Julie came last week in return for my package to her. She sent me this adorable mug rug.

Mug Rug from Chicken Julie

It's so cute! Her stitching is incredible on the binding (oh man, I have so much to learn!), and I love that all of the pieces are appliqued. I can't wait to use it.

For Oliver

She also sent this freaking cute t-shirt for Oliver. I think the back is my favorite:


Oliver will roar at you if you say the word lion, so it's very fitting.

Thanks Julie! I love everything you sent (including the earrings you made! I wore them this weekend).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Progress: Apple Ishbel

A little knitting in an alpaca, silk & cashmere blend from the stash,

In progress: Quilted Pillow

and a quilted pillow cover for my (new!) couch.

These are the two main priorities this week (except of course, the secret swap items I'm working on, but can't quite show progress on yet!).

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