Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thrifted Thursday

Here's a Christmas present that didn't get made:

These two 100% wool sweaters cost me $5.70.

I meant to use them to try out a pattern (or several) from Countryside Softies. I got the book out of the library, but I like so many of the animals I should probably just buy it.

My niece received a sewing kit last year from my sister-in-law complete with lots of notions and I thought it would be brilliant to give her all the pieces and directions to make her own little animal this year! The problem was I ran out of time to assemble the parts, let alone test the pattern to be sure the directions would make sense to her... Perhaps it will work out as a birthday present.

Instead we gave her an origami flower set. And a flock of cranes I made as hanging decor for my college apartment. I felt bad throwing them away at the end of school so they waited in a paper bag until now. I think it was quite a hit as I spent at least an hour Monday afternoon assisting as all three kids made various types of birds, a frog and several sleds with the extra pile of origami paper also found in the bag.

Isn't this little emblem cute?

Friday, December 23, 2011


Well, I'm posting this a bit later than I had intended. Truthfully, the table has been finished for a couple weeks now. It was the surroundings for the photo that weren't... Anyway, I've been working really hard to get the apartment ready for the holidays and apparently it's down to the last minute. All the relatives will be arriving tomorrow evening!

Here is the side table installed in my sewing room the guest room:

A chronicle of my process:

As purchased, dirty and stained.
Sanded and primed.

Even the back.

In January, I plan to reconfigure our furniture again.

The futon will return to the living room while the large (ugly) dining table will be moved to the sewing room since it is the best available surface to sew large items on. (You can expect to see my first attempts at quilting!)

And this lovely little side table will be moved into my room. I can't wait to snuggle under my blankets with a cup of tea and a good book!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Made by me!

I'd seen Pay It Forward around here and there, but never in time to be one of the first 3 commenters.

Until yesterday at A Sometimes Quilter.

The concept is easy. If you find a Pay It Forward post AND you blog too AND you are one of the first three commenter's on the blog post that tells you about Pay It Forward, the blog owner will make something especially for you.

Here are the details:

1. Important! You have to have a blog.

2. I will make a little something for the first 3 blog owners who comment on this post. It will be a surprise and I will make it and send it to you some time during the next 365 days after you have commented. 

3. Make sure you let me know your email address, or that you arent a no-reply blogger so that I can get your contact details.

4. To get a handmade present from me, you have to play too! This means YOU pledge to send a little handmade something to 3 readers of your blog. It doesn't matter what you give, as long as it is handmade by you!

5. Once you comment here, you need to post about your Pay It Forward on your blog (within 48hrs) to keep the fun going! You can just copy the rules from me and please include the Pay It Forward badge in your post. Also, feel free to join the 
Flickr group to see what else is being sent!

Note: If you want mail you'll be happy you opened, please help me get to know you a little bit and learn what would make you smile! I'm looking forward to reading your blogs and checking out any other related accounts (flickr, pinterest, etc...) you have in order to plan what to make for you!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thrifted Thursday

Does luck at thrift stores come in spurts? It sure seems like it. I've been searching for furniture for our (sparce) apartment since we got married over a year ago and only in the past few weeks have I actually been finding things I like. (Of course this only adds to my list of things to do before company arrives.)

On my last trip I found a small side table. $5.66, including tax!

Second find in about as many weeks!

I like the legs and the fact that the drawers have tracks on the underside so they stay flat when you pull them out (at least to a certain point). It seems to have some water marks here and there; I'm not sure how they came to be on a vertical surface... I think the worst part is a sticky fake wood grain print protective thing over the top. I'm guessing its mylar, but it could be plastic. Either way, I am removing it. I'd hoped it would peel off in just a couple pieces, however it is old and brittle so I am scraping it off with a carving tool left over from my architecture student days.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Finally! Some sewing!

I feel I'm making good progress on my first bed sized quilt top. All the charm squares have been sewn into pairs and most of those pairs have become squares again, albiet larger this time.

Here's the overall design.
I'm sure it's overly ambitious, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to lay this quilt over the bed in the guest room when we have visitors in 3 weeks? Hmm... yeah, probably not going to happen. Nice thought though.

I've also begun picking fabric for the quilt along. Here's what I have so far:

I'm planning on a white background and considering adding some solids to the mix. I'm not sure whether I would make the solids their own starts or have them mingle with the flowered prints - any thoughts or suggestions?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

For Juliet

I met my cousin's new daughter for the first time on our visit to TX in September. Adorable.

My dad's side of the family usually exchanges Christmas gifts at New Year's, but since we won't be visiting again this year, we decided to do it early. Of course, I'll be sending some small packages since I wasn't really ready. Juliet was the only one I actually had a present for, a blue and white striped dress made from a men's shirt.

Did I remember to take pictures of the finished product? No... the best I did was a blurry shot of the package being opened in which the dress was hardly discernable...

I do have other pictures of the trip though, as promised!

Will's first visit to the Alamo.
The grounds were wonderful!

Here's me with my dad at the Riverwalk.

Totally a posed shot.

The puppy wanted us to stay longer. And keep petting him.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Do the stars gaze back?"

A philosopher once asked, "Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Pointless, really... "Do the stars gaze back?" Now *that's* a question. - Stardust

I love that movie. And book.

What I'm really getting at is that I've joined a quilt along! (You can find the button in my sidebar.) I think the pattern is beautiful with all the different sized stars against a white background. Perhaps I'll use some of the vintage sheets I've been collecting...

Anyway, I'll do my best to keep up with the program, but the next month will be very busy for me. I've got to whip the apartment into shape before we have guests for Christmas and New Year's!

Sunday, November 20, 2011



This was some pretty quick turn around, if I do say so myself.

This morning I put the final coat of paint on. Luckily, the weather has been cooperative for the painting phase. It was above 50 degrees and the predicted rain showers were not scattered in our neighborhood.

Yesterday I spent several hours sanding down wood filler (smoothing out the front where fake drawers and doors had been scored) and putting on a coat of primer.

Here I am!

My balcony - aka workspace.

In preparation for moving the chest into the bedroom, I reorganized my casual clothes. All my tshirts, jeans and sweatshirts had been on shelves in the very spot the chest now sits, while blankets were jammed to the ceiling on the closet shelf. In the process of swapping storage areas, I purged 3 bags of clothing I no longer care to wear! This feels great except for making it painfully obvious that I wear nearly the same outfits every week. (Not on the same day every week at least.) Anyway, I plan to get some new things soon.

All settled in.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thrifted Thursday

Cedar Chest

The total was $20 including an old blanket to cushion it in the back of the truck.

Anyway, I plan to take off all the ugly bits, apply some new paneling and repaint it black, probably satin finish.

The interior looks so much nicer!

Then I just need to finish some quilts to fill it right?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Lurker Joins

Perhaps the word is wistful... That's how I feel just now. I'm making my almost daily perusal of google reader and I've come across some new (to me) blogs that are just wonderful and make me want to create one as well.
This is quite a common occurrance for me really. The blogs I began following in June first put the idea in my head and I've been contemplating this "beginning a blog thing" through the summer and now into autumn. However, I am still not quite sure how to get going; not sure what's on my mind will be interesting to others; not sure I can devote enough time to have a well maintained and engaging online presence; not sure I will remember take photos with natural light more than once a week (or perhaps month)...

Wistful. Yes, that's the word for it.

While I've been reading blogs over the last several months, I've also been slowly building a stash of projects for which I have all or nearly all the components, but no real progress past that.

Case in point:

Progress cutting squares by threadrobin
Charm squares in progress

When I found a flanel sheet at a thrift store with two matching pillow cases I figured it was perfect for a backing and some coordinating patchwork.
At first, I had a terrible time trying to find coordinating fabrics for the quilt top. I finally got a small amount of bright pink/purple batik and some neutral solids. One patterned fabric is enough right? Especially when it is also featured as the backing? I think so.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days

We visited my parents in Houston last week.
(More on this later.)

On Sunday our return home was delayed.

It began with a late take off from Houston, 4:45pm instead of 1:15pm. Perhaps we should have called my parents to pick us up again and rebooked our flights then, but we were assured that everything in and out of Chicago was delayed and we should still make our connection. Upon landing in Chicago, after the time we should have been landing in Syracuse according to the original schedule, we learned that our connecting flight had been cancelled altogether.

Before the last plane of the day to Syracuse took off, it was quite clear we would not be on it; we were numbers 32 and 33 on the standby list. I joined the customer service line. We finally spoke to an agent at 11:30pm. He rebooked us on a flight to Charlotte the next morning and then home in the afternoon. We took a discount rate on a hotel; the airline wouldn't cover the full cost since the delay was due to weather. I was not really satisfied with this, but even the manager gave what sounded like automated responses to our arguments.

We finally landed at 6:45pm on Monday evening, a full 24 hours late.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

En Route

At this precise moment, I am soaring over the clouds, breeze in my hair, bright sun streaming past.

Well, that is putting a pleasant spin on the situation. True, I am above the clouds and sunlight is plentiful, but the wind comes from the vent overhead. I cranked it when the flight attendant decided it was getting cold. I am sitting in the 16th row, an aisle seat over the wing, in hopes of feeling as little turbulence as possible.

We are heading south a little too early this year; it is forecast to be about 100 degrees when we land. Truthfully, it hasn't seemed to be very cool yet in the place we are leaving either. A couple ridiculous trees have decided to begin changing though, a branch here and there.

I am taking a hiatus from my project queue this week. My husband returned all the library books I had yet to look at and were due in the next week, already having been renewed to the limit. I left my most recent fabric acquisitions folded atop my cutting mat and the squares already cut stacked with my sketched pattern and size calculations. Squash from the garden is stashed in the fridge; if it survives until my return, I've promised to actually eat it.

Instead I am taking up a different, thankfully shorter list of things I hope to do:

Eat Ritter's Frozen Custard and Blue Bell ice cream

Visit thrift stores with my mom

Work on the interior decorating in the dollhouse my dad and I started

Eat Mexican food and drink margaritas at Los Cucos and El Jarrito

Take my two dogs for walks and to the park

Hang out with old friends from high school

Celebrate an early Christmas with my dad's side of the family (We won't make it back later in the year)

Meet my cousin's new baby girl and give her the dress I made from this tutorial (I bet it won't fit till next year)