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November 30, 2010

I'm Alive

Yes I'm still alive, although I know it's been a week since I've posted *sheepish grin* A large group of family has been in town for over a week, and we've been doing so much with them that I've barely been home in the evenings! One of my cousins had a birthday yesterday, so we went to Domenica's to celebrate (it's also the restaurant we went to for my birthday not too long ago...yay for November babies!) I had an amazing time not only because the food was mind-blowing (would you expect anything less from a John Besh restaurant?), but also because it's attached to The Roosevelt hotel. The Roosevelt is probably the most famous hotel in New Orleans (it's been around since 1893) and they almost didn't restore it after Katrina, but I thank my lucky stars they did because look how amazing it is!!!   (bear with me because I took these with my new phone!)


The north entrance.


Lobby Hallway


Precious crystal and glass ornaments hanging from the trees.


They even had a gingerbread display! They had a wee lil' shotgun house and a replica of St. Louis Cathedral (see below)!


I didn't get a chance to take a picture of my dinner because I'd scarfed it down like a wolverine before I even thought about snapping a photo...but I did remember when dessert came! And luckily for you, that was the best part!

I got the Frittole di Zucca (pumpkin & ricotta fritters with an eggnog rum sauce)


And my mother-in-law got the Meyer Lemon Semifreddo. Yes, that's roasted marshmallow and pomegranate on the outside. If there isn't food in heaven, I will weep.


And just for good measure, here's a random picture of Whiskers. Remember when I said he claims ownership of all our tree skirts? Yeah. This was taken about 30 seconds after I'd arranged the skirt neatly and lovingly under the tree. I stood back to admire my handiwork, and Whiskers seized the opportunity to declare himself King of the Christmas Tree. He's such a man.

November 23, 2010

My Finished Project for the Holiday Mug Rug Swap


I finally finished my Mug Rug for the Mug Rug Swap 2! I've been tearing my hair out and cursing the day I signed up for so many swaps...I knew better than to sign up for so many right before the holidays, but I couldn't stop myself. Despite the madness, I managed to finish a few days before the final mailing deadline on the 29th :)  Now all I have to do is complete my Modern Swappers items, my 3x6 Bee blocks, and my Pillow Talk Swap pillow and I'll be right as rain.

I thought it would be cute to have a reversible mug rug that my partner could flip to reflect her current mood :)  I figure the "naughty" side will be pre-coffee and the "nice" side will be post-coffee...hehe! I used free-motion applique on all the words, packages, and lumps o' coal.


Below is a closeup of my packages. Don't act like you're not impressed by my crappy bows. They look so sad and lumpy *sigh* ...I promise they were much more majestic in my brain.


Also, I'll have some pictures of my finished Scrappy Spidey quilt soon! I had to baste it in an empty office at work and I've been hand quilting the layers during my lunch break every day in order to hide it from the hubby. Have I mentioned before that it's impossible to hide anything from my him? He always unwittingly stumbles across every surprise I plan for him...BAH! He guessed that I was getting him an XBox for Christmas last year, and I played it so cool. Still have no idea how he figured that one out. He's strictly forbidden from looking at my blog, so hopefully this year he'll be surprised when he unwraps his quilt :)

Hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving!!! I don't know about ya'll, but I plan on slamming. I pity the food that crosses my path come Thursday. I'm trying out a new cornbread and Andouille stuffing that looks pretty spectacular spectacular (in the words of the vernacular). Needless to say, the running regime shall resume on Monday before I spiral out of control and develop a food baby in the ol' stomach region.


P.S. Many thanks to my partner in Scottie crime, Sarah. She tipped me off about the amazing Scottie Christmas fabric you see above. Can you believe it's from Hancock's? Whiskers shall be getting a new stocking and a tree skirt this year. Yes, it's his tree skirt, because he believes that all our tree skirts are his personal blankets. He likes to lounge under the tree on them and munch on the plastic branches...this is also why we haven't been able to put up our Hogwarts Express Lego train the past two years....*sigh* The poor little Lego men would think he was Godzilla as he stomped through their little plastic town!

November 19, 2010

Somebody grab the smelling salts....


...because I might just pass out! Look what arrived in the mail today!!! Heather over at {House} of a la Mode was having a destash on Etsy, and for once in my life I was at the right place at the right time :)

I'm slowly but surely building my Flea Market Fancy stash....and it's slow going not only because FMF is hard to find, but also because I refuse to pay an arm and a leg for it!

I'm building quite the stash, because look what other hard-to-find prints I stumbled across this week! With the exception of the pink seeds, all of them were $5/fat quarter (which isn't cheap, but not as bad as most of the pricing I've seen). I bought a full 1/2 yard of the seeds and it was a smidge more than $5/FQ...hehe ;)

Sadly, this represents the last of my birthday money :(

RIP birthday money, hello fabric :)


From Top: Flea Market Fancy - Pink Seeds, Flea Market Fancy - Green Posies, Flea Market Fancy - Pink Daisy Dot, Bohemian - Galaxy Dots in Blue

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

November 17, 2010

Finalized "Rain or Shine" Fabrics


So after reading ya'lls comments, swapping, cutting, stash yanking, and staring (into the abyss), I've finally finalized my fabrics for the Rain or Shine quilt from Oh Fransson's book. I just couldn't do without certain fabrics, but what I had before wasn't working...so I decided to add a 5th group of blocks and make my quilt 5x5 rather than 4x5. Problem solved! I only had to take 1 print out, and I got to add some awesome new prints...note the Echino and Far Far Away 2 in the top right corner ;) You know I mean business if I cut into the Echino and FFA2 stashes. I have a serious hoarding problem when it comes to expensive/rare prints...I ordered a 1/2 yard FFA2 bundle a while back and so far I've only cut into two prints (in 3 months)!

Oh, and I'm down between Kona Ash and Kona Medium Gray for the sashing....I'll probably wait until I have my blocks assembled to make a final decision on that.

P.S. One of my friends saw my fabrics and immediately squealed "it's an LSU quilt!". I may or may not have peered down at her with death ray eyes after she let that loose. Allow me to clarify. I will fire-walk over a mile-long bed of hot coals before I ever make an "LSU quilt". I am a UK fan to the death. Go Big Blue.

Below is a close-up photo so you can see all the prints in more detail. You know...daylight savings time is really crampin' my style. It's almost dark by the time I get home from work (at 5 pm!!) every day, so it's getting near impossible to take my photos outside. Hence the crappy indoor lighting. The dark purple prints look almost black :(


Oh! And I finally finished my 2nd set of coasters for Molly (Ms. Brown Butter Shortbread) from an earlier giveaway. They went in the mail on Saturday and should be arriving on her doorstep any day now!

Front


n'Back


P.S. You see what I have to resort to? I'm so desperate for light that I took these photos on the counterop of my cubicle *sigh*.

P.S.S. We're not supposed to put up holiday decorations at work until the 29th, but I used my birthday yesterday to lobby for my baby tree. Remember this tree skirt from the SavVy {Seasons} swap? You're so awesome valmiller!!! My friend is always telling me I'm a gay man trapped in a woman's body because of my love of show tunes, Glee, the Divine Miss M, Clinton Kelly (I met him at a mall this summer!!! He looks exactly the same in person! So precious!), Moulin Rouge, Project Runway and my general demeanor....so she nearly died when she saw my amazingly amazing silver Christmas tree. I told her not to hate because I can't help being born more awesome than her ;) Word up to all my "G's"....I miss you Ben :(

November 15, 2010

Pardon Me!


My bad! I almost forgot to announce the winner of the Christmas giveaway!!! According to Mr. Random Number Generator, the winner is.....


Comment #90: Kara!!!

"Apparently generosity is also a trait that you practice all year long, not just at Christmas! The potholder is fantastic (and the fabric too)! Can't wait for the pattern!"

I felt a little weird posting that comment, and I promise I didn't fudge the results because of the compliment...haha!


IMPORTANT: Kara - I need for you to contact me at ktelschow at gmail dot com (you get the idea). I didn't see an email listed and your blogger profile is blocked, so I have no way to get ahold of you!


If I don't hear back from the winner by next Monday 11/22, I will redraw another winner. A big thanks from me to everyone for playing!!! :)

I looooooved reading through each and every comment! You all have such lovely holiday traditions and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed that little glimpse into your lives :) And bonus, I picked up a couple good movie suggestions and just moved Holiday Inn to the top of my Netflix queue....I'd never even heard of that movie before, but a ton of you mentioned it so it must be good! I looked it up on IMDb and I'm a little baffled by my ignorance. My sister and I used to live off of TCM and AMC in high school, and I can't believe I wasn't even familiar with the name! D'oh!

A Very Merry Fabric Birthday


You know you have a sickness when the only thing you want for your birthday is fabric. If someone had told me when I was 10 that one day I would desire nothing but yards and yards of fabric for my birthday when I was older, I would have thought they were crazy or a liar. I did a lot of damage this weekend, but shopping is always more fun when you're spending someone else's money...hehe! The world's most awesome mother-in-law (mine), gave me gift certificates to our two local quilt shops this weekend!!! My birthday isn't until tomorrow, but due to my office hours I'm only able to get to our local quilt shops on the weekends...and she knew I'd be chomping at the bit if I had to wait 4 days to use my giftcards...isn't she so thoughtful? Nod your heads yes :)

So here's the rub. From The Quilted Owl I bought the above fat quarter bundle and an ADORABLE vintage style Santa tablecloth that came in a precious matching fabric envelope! (sorry...I forgot to take a picture of that one!) I'm a sucker for vintage Christmas items, plus it reminded me of my grandma's house...which made me sad and happy at the same time since she passed away at Easter this year :(

I thought the FQ bundle would be sweet for a baby girl quilt. The Quilted Owl doesn't carry any modern fabrics, only vintage reproductions and a few batiks...but you know what? I'm not a subscriber to the belief that you can only use modern, designer fabrics if you're a modern-style quilter. I try to be a pretty open-minded person and I think if we turn our nose up at traditional fabrics and write them off entirely, we're no different from the quilters that are dismissive of the modern quilt movement (or machine sewing for that matter...hehe!). Do reproduction fabrics typically suit my taste? No. Do I gravitate toward them? No. But whenever I go in their shop, I always find some fabrics I can use. Always. I think if I mix these up with some of my modern pink fabrics and a chocolate brown Kona, it'll be a pretty awesome fabric party. Nuff said.



Next up is a FQ bundle of the entire Wild Thyme line. It was 35% off at Mes Amis. Party on Wayne.



And here we have a smattering of delicious fabric flavors. Nicey Jane + Love + Weekends = Awesomeness.



And this is a picture of all my loot from the weekend. Happy Birthday to me!

P.S. Has anyone see this video? I die every time at the "happy birthday to the ground" part!!!

P.P.S. Check out the awesome corduroy bag I bought from my friend Mandi. We had a MQG holiday party on Friday night and she was showing us all her leftover bags from a recent craft fair. Can you believe no one bought this??? I would be outraged, but it meant that I got to buy it :) Believe you me, as soon as she pulled it out of her Show & Tell bag o' magic tricks, I swooped in with my eagle talons and snatched it before anyone else could get any wise ideas.


And look at her smug decorative applique stitching. Do you know this crazy woman actually free-motioned a puppy AND a dinosaur onto a baby quilt during our recent quilt retreat? She was like "oh it's easy...just like drawing!". Whatever devil woman. I'm not buying what you're sellin'. To test her casual dismissal of free motion, we started yelling out things she should try and "draw" onto the quilt...and that's how the dinosaur was born. Guess she showed us ;) Moral of the story: Never test a woman from Texas. You'll lose every time.




November 11, 2010

Squares for the "Rain or Shine" Quilt

This is what I did with my evening:


I need ya'lls feedback. Do these groups look balanced? Each block uses 4 prints and all the blocks are the same design, but you're supposed to use 4 different fabric groupings to liven things up. I tried to get a good mix of purple/yellow, small print/large print, geometric/organic in each group, but I need some fresh eyes (plus I had to stop working on it because The Mentalist came on). Thanks in advance :)

November 10, 2010

My Next Quilt & Some Fabric Stashin'


Remember the Raspberry Lemonade bundle I bought from Fabricworm waaaay back when? Well I finally found the perfect pattern for it! Oh Fransson's new book arrived in the mail last week, and I fell in love with the "Rain or Shine" pattern as soon as I saw it! I needed 16 prints total, so I had to pull a few from my stash to add to the bundle. I thought gray would look amazing with all the rich yellows and purples, so I trucked it on down to Joann's and bought some Kona Coal for the sashing. I'm SOOOO PSYCHED about this quilt...you guys have NO idea! Just talking about it right now and looking at the photo below is making me giddy! AHHH!!!


I've been a good girl the past few months and have really toned down the fabric buying since I ordered this sassy little number, but I had a relapse last week and ordered the Lecien prints below from Wondrous Woven Fabrics (Cathy is awesome and sells by the fat quater!) I can't wait to use them in a baby quilt for my friend :)

L to R: Flower Dots in Pink, Flower Dots in Gray, Sugar Multicolored Dots

And these are from Fabric.com. I've been meaning to order some of the Remix prints ever since I received scraps of the aqua daisies from Elizabeth, but I just now got around to it. I'd like to have some of the orange flowers too, but they didn't have any in stock :(

L to R: Modern Meadow Dogwood Bloom in Pond, Remix Daisy in Aqua, Remix Daisy in Pink

November 7, 2010

The Plaid Scottie Presents: A Christmas Giveaway!!!


THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED & A WINNER
HAS BEEN CHOSEN

My lovely assistant Vanna Whiskers modeled the giveaway items for me! I seriously love Christmas in the sappiest way possible. Not just because of what it represents to my faith, but also because of family, love, generosity, nostalgia, and all that other sappy world-peace-type-stuff...hehe :)

Plus I love hot chocolate, a crackling fire, and Christmas movies more than is healthy. Our annual movie lineup begins on my birthday every year in mid-November and includes: Elf, A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street (old and new...but old is my favorite...gotta love Maureen O'Hara), cartoon Grinch, Jim Carrey Grinch, It's a Wonderful Life, Family Man, Home Alone, Muppet Christmas Carol, Love Actually, The Holiday, Polar Express, White Christmas and The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.

But you probably don't care much about that ;) On to the giveaway! Since I'm on a serious holiday baking/potholder kick right now, the first item is a double oven mitt made by me :) I could seriously kiss the person that invented these things. It's so much easier than trying to round up two potholders while the oven timer is frantically beeping at you! Plus it's an awesome lap guard when you're transporting a hot dish in the car.


I made it using my Orla Kiely potholder from Target as a model. It's lined with Insul-Brite and the fabrics are 2-D Yuletide, Kei Honeycomb Dots in Red, and Kona in Rich Red. I used 1/2" bias tape from Joann's for both the binding and hanging loop thingy.

I'd also like to add that I realize not everyone out there is as obsessed with domesticity as I am. So if you find yourself the winner and cooking/baking isn't your bag, you have my blessing to pass this item along as an early Christmas gift to a cook in your life. Seriously! It's cool. :)

P.S. I'm going to post a pdf template for you guys here in a few days so you can start making some yourself! It took me about 2 hours to make this from start to finish (including ironing, cutting, making the pattern, and all that jazz), so it should only take you 45 min. to an hour.


And I'm super excited about this giveaway's fabric bundle! I think it would be perfect for FITF's tree skirt (I plan on making one for myself using most of these prints and some solid Kona...still debating on whether or not I wanna go with white or jazz things up with some red or green). Included in the bundle are: 1/2 yard each of Kona in Rich Red, Grass Green, and Jungle (not pictured...it's on its way as we speak)...and a Fat Quarter each of Reindeer in Snow, Hexagon Dots in Holiday, Groove Funky Star Bursts in Lime, Reindeer in Holiday, Square Dots in Holiday, Lecien Sugar Multicolored Dots, and Funky Rectangles in Holiday.

TO ENTER
  1. Leave a comment.
  2. For a 2nd entry, become a follower and leave a comment telling me so. If you are already a follower, leave a comment to that effect :)
  3. For a 3rd entry, leave a comment telling me your favorite Christmas movie and holiday movie snacks! Someone asked a question about favorite holiday traditions in the Mug Rug Swap forum the other day and I got a little addicted reading about everyone's cute traditions!

This giveaway IS open Internationally. The winner will be chosen via random number generator and announced on Monday, Nov. 15th


GOOD LUCK & THANKS FOR PLAYING!  :)

November 3, 2010

A quick hello!

I'm just popping my head in today to say hi! I have a ton of things to work on right now and I gotta keep my head above water, so I won't be blogging much the rest of the week.

HOWEVER, I do want to mention that I'll be having another giveaway soon! I just reached 100 posts and 100 followers, so that deserves a celebration, right?! Keep your eyes peeled in the coming days. And I'll even give you a hint....it's Christmas related...and will involve both fabric and handmade items ;)

Are you excited?! Because I am!

November 2, 2010

Look What I Won!!!!!

I just found out I won a pillow from Mighty Crumble on Flickr!!!! She originally made this for her partner in the SavVy {Seasons} Swap, but changed her mind mid-swap and then decided to use it as a giveaway on her blog. I even get a matching mug rug!!! I'm so excited because this was one of my favorites from the swap! Seriously... I couldn't love it any more than I already do. It's almost as if she knew I would end up with it all along...hehe!

I think Santa's got crazy eyes from present fever...hehe!


P.S. This totally makes up for the fact that I'm home sick today with a stomach virus. I'm currently sitting on the sofa with my computer, watching Elf, drinking copious amounts of water, and occasionally making a dash for the trash can/bathroom. Nothing like a surprise present to make you stop wallowing in self-pity...hehe!

P.S. You can find Mighty Crumble's blog here.

November 1, 2010

Box Pouch Tutorial


Sorry this has been so long in the making, but I wanted to make sure I did it right. I worked very hard to make sure my directions and photos are clear, but if you all have any issues, please let me know in the comments! Happy sewing (and these make FABULOUS Christmas presents!)

SUPPLIES
(2) 8 x 10 exterior fabric pieces
(2) 8 x 10 lining fabric pieces
(4) 8 x 10 in pieces interfacing
(1) 12 inch zipper
(2) 3 inch pieces of linen or twill tape (for zipper pulls)

FINISHED DIMENSIONS
6 x 4.5 x3 (length x width x height)

**For this tutorial, the pink print is my exterior and the purple solid is my lining. I thought it would be easier to distinguish the two in the photos if I used a print + solid rather than two prints**

1.  Iron interfacing on the back of your exterior and lining pieces. All four pieces should have interfacing because it's what supports the boxy shape of the pouch.

2.  On the front and back of the exterior fabric, draw a line with a water-soluble pen 1/2" away from the edge of the fabric. Do this for the left and right sides (but not the top or bottom). This line will show you where to stop and start your stitches when you start sewing.


3. Layer as follows: 1 lining panel - right side up, zipper - right side up (center it over the lining panel), exterior panel - wrong side up.


4.  Using your zipper foot, sew layers together about 1/8" away from the teeth of the zipper. Stop and start on the 1/2" marks. This is important! If you go over this line even by a little bit, rip those renegade stitches out!


5. Fold the lining and exterior panels back and iron the seam.


6. Topstitch about 1/8" from the edge, stopping and starting on the 1/2" mark you made in Step #2.


7.  Repeat Steps #3-6 for the other side. You will order the fabric the exact same way as in Step #3 (see picture below).

8.  Once you've topstitched the other side, fold the lining and exteriors panels right sides together. The two lining panels will be facing eachother and the two exterior panels will be facing eachother. Pin along the bottom side only and sew a 1/4" seam from end to end of the exterior panel (you can ignore the 1/2" lines this time). Do the same for the lining panels, except leave about a 2 1/2" opening in the center. I like to double pin at the beginning and end of the opening so I know where to stop and start sewing. You have to have this opening in order to turn the bag right-side-out at the end.

 9. Pull the lining panels out so that the bottom seam you just sewed is centered over the zipper. Finger press the edges so it lays flat.


10.  Repeat for the exterior panels, and then iron all the folds in place so the bag lays nice and flat.


 11.  Now here's the tricky part. On the side of the zipper without the pull, fold one piece of twill/linen tape in half and pin it so that it's centered over the zipper (the looped end will be facing in) and the ends of the linen tape are lined up exactly with the raw edge of the fabric. When you pin the linen tape, be sure not to catch any of the lining.


12. Flip the bag over, pull the lining up and away from the exterior panels, and sew a 1/2" seam. Be careful not to catch any of the lining fabric in your seam, because if you do, it will be difficult to make your boxy corners at the end.


Flip the pouch over and repeat for the lining, pulling the exterior fabric up and out of the way so that the seams remain separate.

 13. Turn and repeat Steps #11-12 for the other side, but before you pin the linen tape in place, open the zipper about 2/3 way. Otherwise, you won't be able to fully turn your bag right-side-out at the end (and believe me, it's very frustrating when you forget to do this, because I've done it several times before!)


14.  When you're finished, the seams should look like the picture below. The lining and exterior panels will be completely separate from eachother. You have to be able to pull them apart because of the way the boxy corners are done.

15. Trim the seam down to 1/4" to reduce bulk and get rid of the excess zipper. Your bag should now look like this:


16.  Pull one of the corners out as demonstrated below. 


17. Measure 1 1/2" inches down from the tip, and 3" across. Draw a line with your marker using the bottom of the ruler as your guide. Make sure the line is straight, or else the corner seams of your finished pouch will be diagonal instead of straight up and down.


18. Pin the corner in place and sew directly over the line you drew. It can take some wrangling, but make sure the fabric is lying completely flat (esp on the bottom side). If the fabric is bunched up and you sew over it, your corner fabric will be pinched on the outside and it doesn't look very nice! Repeat Steps #17-18 for the remaining 7 corners.


19.  Once you've sewn all 8 corners, trim down to 1/4" seam. I wait until the end to trim all my corners, because if I discover I've messed up somewhere along the way, I can rip out the seam and fix it. But once you cut those corners off, there's no going back and you'll have a rather odd-shaped hole in your fabric! Once you trim the corners, your bag should slightly resemble Kirby..haha!


20. This is the last step before you'll turn your bag right-side-out. You need to sew the lining and exterior together at the zipper. Otherwise there will be a small opening at the base of your zipper on each side. Find your side seams again and smash the corners down a little to make the seam lie as flat as possible. Start your seam about 1/4" above the zipper and end it 1/4" below the zipper.


21. Your bag should now look like this: 


 22.  Find the opening in the lining and pull the bag right-side-out.


22.  Once you have the bag right-side-out, but before you push the lining down into the bag, pin the opening closed and either hand sew it closed with a slipstitch or machine sew it right below the edge (1/8" inch or less)


23. Once you're finished with the opening, tuck the lining down into the bag and poke all the lining and exterior corners out with your fingers.


Congratulations! You've made a box pouch!

Tips: 
  • If you'd like to keep the lining clean, use some iron-on vinyl on the lining pieces before you start your project. This is especially good if you're going to be using it as a make-up bag.
  • If you'd like to make a purse-friendly size pouch, cut your lining and exterior panels to be 8 x 7, and use a 9" instead of a 12" zipper. Follow the tutorial directions with one change. When you get to the part with the corners, measure 1.25" down from the corner, 2.5" across, and mark. 
  • If you'd like to make a boxy pencil case, cut your lining and exterior pieces to be 10.5" x 3.5". Follow the tutorial directions with one change. When you get to the part with the corners, measure 0.75" down from the corner, 1.5" across, and mark.
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