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December 31, 2011

Swanky Squares Quilt


This block is one of the many new projects currently hanging out on my design wall.

This particular quilt has been a long time in the making. Remember when I posted this bundle last June? Well it's taken me 6 months to actually get started on it because of time, and also because I was having difficulty finalizing the pattern. I knew what I wanted to do...I just didn't know how I wanted to do it!

It all started when I decided to make my friend Amanda a quilt for her wedding gift, and she told me she would like a Mad Men inspired one (to go with the styling of their ubercool city loft). A few weeks after our email exchange, I was surfing through Shutterstock at work looking for images for a flyer, when I stumbled across this image. After that, I became obsessed with finding a way to not only easily piece a square with rounded corners, but with one (or more) squares nested within it.

Now that all my Christmas sewing is out of the way (if I have to sew another bag or pouch I will shoot myself!), it's time to get back to my quilting roots. I already have 3 quilts in the works right now, but this project is definitely my top priority since I'm 6 months behind....*sheepish grin*

I decided the design would look a lot cooler and bolder done in solids, so I edited my original stack down to the following, and I'll be using an additional charcoal gray solid for some background sections, plus (maybe?) this Lotta Jansdotter print for the backing...but I'm not 100% committed to it yet. I wanna wait and finish the top before I make a final decision. More to come...

December 27, 2011

A Griswold Family Christmas

The holiday weekend got off to a rough start for me. After experiencing a situation eerily similar to this, the Griswold Christmas Vacation continued when I was up in the attic and accidentally put my foot through the bathroom ceiling. The whole family was over for Christmas Eve and we were short a stocking, so I went up in the attic to grab one. I didn't bother to turn on the light because I knew the location of the box I needed, and while stumbling around in the dark, my idiot self thought there was a board over one section (where there obviously wasn't, lol!) and I stomped right through the ceiling. I let out a yell, and when Ray and his brother came running, my size 11 foot and part of my calf were dangling through the bathroom ceiling. Aside from a small bruise on my knee (and ego), I was completely fine, and we all got a pretty good laugh out of it! ;)

The good news is, it's not as big a deal for us as it would be for most, because my father-in-law and brother-in-law both work at the family roofing & drywall business, so fixing it should be quick & painless :)



The hubs and I are currently laying on the sofa watching mindless reality TV (Ice Road Truckers - woot woot!), so here's a quick Telschow 2011 Christmas in review...

These are the handmade gifts I mailed to my family in Kentucky. The Echino bag & Strawberry clutch were for my sister, the houndstooth bag for my mom, the box pouch sets for my aunts, and the coffee coozies for my mom and dad.


This is a plaid yoga mat carrier I designed for my dad. It wraps around and velcros in place. I didn't know the circumference of his mat, so I made the velcro strips pretty long to allow for adjustment. The inside is flannel to keep the mat from sliding around.


Another Sidewalk Satchel for my future sister-in-law. The purple Keyka Lou clutch was also for her, and the Amy Butler one was for my cousin.


Puppy Adventures...











Human Adventures...

 Zoolander.

 Blue Steel.

 I made homemade cinnamon buns - yum!

My mother-in-law drinking eggnog out of a gravy boat. Long story, but my husband's usual shenanigans are to blame ;)


My new cutting mat wouldn't lay flat, so naturally the logical solution was to lay on it (rather than re-rolling it in the opposite direction)

We're a crazy & colorful bunch, but we always manage to have a good time ;) 

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas with your loved ones (and Santa brought you all the quilting supplies on your list!)

December 20, 2011

Holiday Baking


The past few days have been very interesting...and by interesting, I mean stressful. I had two migraines within 3 days, and then on Sunday afternoon, we discovered the Bumpus hounds underneath our house. It took me a while to figure out what the heck was going on, because I could hear a wild dogfight going on somewhere nearby, but there weren't any dogs outside. I started yelling down the hall at Ray because I thought maybe he was watching another documentary on Alaska/The Iditarod at an obscene volume, but he swore up and down he wasn't. And then...I felt a bump from underneath the house and heard a clang as something hit our pipes. The pack of vicious mongrels wasn't on TV, outside my sewing room window, or in The Christmas Story where they belong. They were in the 2 ft space underneath our elevated house attacking something, and whatever that poor creature was, it wasn't going down without a fight God bless it. Ray ended up having to go outside and scream at the top of his lungs while beating the lattice work around the elevated opening with a broom for a full ten minutes, and eventually they ran out the front and he chased them off by screaming and flailing his arms wildly, lol. So that was intense. And then I was upset the rest of the day that some poor creature was dying a slow and painful death under our house. I tried to talk Ray into crawling under the house to check on it, but he was like "uhh...no...if it's still alive, it's not going to be happy to see me."

Life is never dull amongst the Telschow clan, that's for sure.

Also, I was cussed out (and flipped off for a prolonged period of time), by a 70 year old man at a stoplight today. Which, honestly, was more amusing than it was upsetting. I worked as a bank teller every summer in college, and I'm pretty well desensitized to being screamed at by members of the public. It was literally all I could do to keep a straight face the entire time, because I kept thinking, "what if his dentures fly out of his mouth while he's screaming at me?" And once that mental image was in my brain, there was no going back...it was so freaking hard not to laugh in his face, but I had to fight the urge because it probably would have resulted in him ramming my car like Tawanda.

So instead of coming home and sewing my backlogged Christmas presents, or working on the mountain of dirty clothes in our bedroom, I did an indecent amount of baking.

Sugar cookies for my coworkers (and a small plate for Ray *wink*)


and some warm Seven Grain & Seed Bread for us to munch on with salted butter. Yum.


My bread turned out looking more like a quick bread than a yeast bread this time, because my clumsy self bumped the loaf pans and degassed them right before they went in the oven. D'oh! It was still tasty though :)

The bread recipe is Nick Malgieri's Seven Grain & Seed Bread from The Modern Baker, and I don't remember where the sugar cookie one is from...I think maybe it was given to me at one of our wedding showers 6 years ago. I absolutely love the sugar cookies because they hold their shape, but are still chewy. And the flavor is very simple and buttery - almost like shortbread.

Sugar Cookies
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.

Beat butter and sugar in mixer until fluffy. Add eggs (one at a time) and vanilla extract. Beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture until a smooth dough forms. Divide dough in half, wrap in Saran, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Flour your work surface and roll out one dough ball at a time. Cut into shapes and decorate with sprinkles if desired. Place on greased cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes (this keeps the cookies from losing their shape when baked).

Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned at edges. Let cool on rack.

December 14, 2011

Savvy Seasons Swap 2011

I've been working on this for quite a while, but it kept slipping my mind to take photos...so I'm just gonna jump right in with both feet and show you the finished product!

My secret partner requested a table runner that could be used throughout the winter, and not just during Christmas (which is really good, because she'd only have gotten a week's worth of use out of it!), so I went with a winter snowman theme. The snowman block is 12", the two Winter Woolies blocks are 6" x 12", and the whole shebang measures roughly 18" x 38".

I've actually had this project sketched out since the day I got my partner assignment, but I had a devil of a time deciding on fabrics. I wanted to use linen, plus a mixture of traditional Christmas colors and a splash of blue. Coordinating those four things wasn't too difficult, but what really complicated matters was the tiny piecing. I needed to find red, green and blue prints that matched, plus in a small enough scale to show up well with the paper piecing. I finally settled on the three diamond prints from Kate Spain's Flurry line for the binding and sashing, a cute blue & white dot print that resembled snow for the snowman + Winter Woolies background, and another Flurry print called Nordic Winter Stripe for the back (which I love, love, love!). The hat and scarf are from an old Caleb Gray Groove print, and the green glove print is one I picked up a while ago at Joann's from the fat quarter rack.



Don't you just love Kerry's Winter Woolies block pattern? Everything she makes is so stinkin' cute! I added a wee little button on top of each toboggan instead of appliqueing the little ball on.


Here's a closeup of all that tiny paper piecing. Kerry's pattern is very easy to follow, and I promise it's not nearly as hard as it looks...it just takes some time :)




And I'm really loving this little guy because he looks like a stack of puffy marshmallows! I made him using 2", 3", and 4" snowball blocks, then added some free motion stick arms and button eyes.



And here's a shot of that Nordic Stripe print I love so much. I bought just enough to back this, but I'm gonna have to go back and snag some more for myself now. I don't know if you all have used this line or not, but it's SO stinking soft!



 And just for good measure, I threw in some kitchen towels because you can never have enough of them.



Here's my whole package ready to go out....the runner, kitchen towels, two fat quarters, various Flurry scraps, Coffee Crisp candy bar (I blame Kristie for getting me addicted to those!), and a cute notepad of two ladies eating cake that says "it's ok, it's organic!". Because as we all know, even cake is magically transformed into a health food when it's organic *wink*.


Hope you like it partner!

December 11, 2011

Strawberry Pocket Clutch



It stinks because I really wanna tell you more about this pouch - like who I made it for and the thought process behind it - but I can't because I'm afraid they'll read this!

So all I can tell you is that it's a Christmas present for someone close to me, and it's not Ray (although he did think it was "cute").

I used Keyka Lou's Pocket Clutch pattern (which was incredibly easy, by the way). The most time-consuming part was cutting out the fabric, because it literally took me about 20 minutes to sew this puppy. And I liked how it turned out so much I made a duplicate for my shop! I'm slowly but surely managing to build up my inventory - a big thanks to those of you that commented / emailed me with tips the other day :)

And in case you're wondering where I got the fabric, the Navy Dot was from Joann's Premium Quilting Cottons section, and the adorable Strawberry print is from Hancock Fabrics (I don't know if they still carry it though, because I picked it up pre-incident and haven't been back since then, lol!) I know a lot of people rag on Hancock's and Joann's...yes, some of their fabric is really cheap, scratchy and/or thin, and 99% of their employees are oblivious to anything sewing related...but I actually find a lot of cute fabric there. You just have to be willing to dig a little bit! Because let's face it, they do have some nice stuff that most people would buy if they saw it sitting in their LQS - but since it's Joann's, they turn up their nose. I put on no such airs because hey, let's be honest, I come from a small town in Eastern Kentucky, plus momma didn't raise no snob. She can bargain hunt with the best of them :)





December 9, 2011

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I got off work early today because we had our big office Christmas party, and as I was stuck for 30 minutes behind a train 2 blocks from my house (grr!), I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my extra spare time! I thought about getting started on the 7 Christmas presents I still need to make, or posting my new holiday bunting tutorial on here, or doing the pile of dishes in my sink. But ultimately, I decided to crash on the sofa and catch up on my backlogged shows on Hulu Plus. Until...

...I pulled up to my house and found my Savvy Seasons swap package on my porch, which included some delicious homemade cookies!!!! The plan was then modified to include sofa + Hulu Plus + blogging + cookies + hot chai (my friend gave me this delicious new brand at Whole Foods called Festivus - yum!)


Do you like how I skillfully kept the packaging intact, while managing to squeeze a cookie (or two) out through the tiny opening? What can I say...I was born with talent, lol!

And my favorite? The little fabric fortune cookie she attached, which had a teeny little "To & From" tag tucked inside. So creative! My partner was Nancy (who is one of my readers - yay!), and I can't believe the amount of care and detail she put into my package - it makes me want to try so much harder on all of my swap packages, because I want to make all my partners feel as special as packages like this make me feel :)




They recently extended the mailing deadline to the 14th (thank goodness!) and I haven't mailed my box yet, so I'm looking forward to spending some extra time on my swap partner. Hopefully I'm able to make things for my partner that are as cute as these...

A sweet bunting note card...


A precious wee fabric Scottie ornament.


An absolutely adorable scrappy Christmas tree skirt! I've been dying for a handmade tree skirt to replace the crappy one I bought at an after-Christmas sale a few years ago, and this one looks so lovely under our tree (it matches the rug perfectly!)


I was laughing out loud to myself while laying underneath the tree with the lights shining in my face, because I kept thinking of that line from A Christmas Story "Only one thing in the world could've dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window".....hahaha!



But that's not all! She also added some cute plaid towels to go with the Christmas/Scottie/Plaid Scottie theme. They're now being proudly displayed on my oven :)


Thanks for the beautiful and incredibly thoughtful package Nancy, and I love that I got to know you a little better through all these gorgeous handmade goodies :)

December 7, 2011

Goodie Bag Swap, Round 2

I received my new bag from my partner wen_ot in the Goodie Bag Swap yesterday! I took photos as soon as I got home from work today, because I'm anxious to cram all my stuff in there and start using it! This bag is so perfectly me...I love the wool, the cute wonky yellow stitching, and especially the "secret" front pocket :)



That little hole in the front isn't just a cool design element - it's a giant pocket! I'm going to keep my phone, iPod, and a few other frequently used items in there :) My brother-in-law thought this bag was about the coolest thing since sliced bread....I think that concealed pocket in the front was transporting him back to his Hardy Boys mystery days, lol.


And he was even more impressed when I told him it was reversible. And because Wendy thinks of everything, she put a cute summery print on the inside so that I can use my new bag year round! The striped fabric is a really thin, soft cotton that's perfect for the blazing inferno summer days down here in New Orleans :)



Thanks Wendy! I absolutely love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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