Monday, January 28, 2013

A Trip to the Local Quilt Shop

This past Saturday I got to spend some time with my mom and sister at a really cute quilt shop in Jefferson, Wisconsin. That's a little over 30 minutes from my home in Madison. I do most of my fabric shopping at JoAnn Fabrics, so it was really nice to be in a little boutique!

The shop is called Tea & Textiles and they give you a little goody bag and a packet of tea when you check out. It was lovely.

We went for the sale they were having on fat quarters. $1 each!!! You had to buy 25 to get the sale price, but between the 3 of us there was no way we wouldn't do that. I bought 28 just myself!

Their whole back room was filled up with tables like these, covered in bins with fat quarters. The woman watching the back room told us she had 17 people in this room right when they opened hoping to get the best cuts. I loved what I came away with, so I can't imagine what might have been there earlier in the day. I don't think the little shop gets too much business on a regular day, so having 17 people just in their back room must have been a huge rush.

Here's what I came away with:

Some Christmas prints to (finally) make stockings that won't fall apart for me and my husband. I threw out our old ones, so I guess I have to make new ones. Alex likes the red fabric better than the white, so his will be red lined with white and mine will be the opposite.

Some blues to add to my already blue-heavy stash. I couldn't help it, they were so pretty!

This is my miscellaneous stack. Some pinks, some vintage, some multi-colored ones. I wanted a little variety and some prints that I could use for backgrounds or fillers. I really like the one that is second from the right - white with little yellow/orange flowers. I'm pretty sure I had a pillow case in a fabric just like this when I was little.

And my stack of teal and coral! I started seeing all of these in the shop and my mind was made up that I had to make a quilt out of these colors. I'm not sure if I'll use the floral prints, but I'm thinking teal, coral and white in some type of pattern. Now I've just got to sift through my stack of quilt designs and see if there's one I want to use or if I should design something new. I'm sure this will be much farther on down the road since I have plenty of other things to keep me busy (my Over the Rainbow quilt is currently pinned and awaiting quilting)!

After we were done at the fabric store we were all going out to celebrate my brother's 25th birthday. Time got away from us a little bit at the store and my brother called us just as we were leaving, wondering where we were. We were supposed to pick him up to take him to the restaurant. We had to push back our reservation by 15 minutes (not so bad!), but all I could think about on our way back was this picture I had seen online earlier that day:

Thank you, Boromir! I couldn't have said it any better. :) 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Little things

It's been quiet here lately, and I'll admit I haven't had time to do much sewing. Between cleaning and organizing our apartment and getting back into the swing of things after the holidays, I feel like there's no time left in the day! So, January has been dull for me on the creative side of things. I plan on having a much better February!

All that being said, I have managed a few small things in the past few days. I put together the January block for the Color Bee Shocked Bee. Our host for the month had a little goof with her measurements on the fabric she sent everyone, so the outer border is from fabric I added from my stash. I think her quilt will turn out quite unique since she'll have a lot of different fabrics from everyone in the bee. I'm really looking forward to seeing it all put together.

I have also added the border to my Over the Rainbow quilt top, so that is ready for basting. I also sewed up the back for it. I know everyone loves to have a pieced back (or maybe it's just trendy right now??), but for some reason they just don't sit right with me. I used one on my Dots on Dots quilt, but I'm not very fond of it. So, this quilt just has one fabric for the back and I'm happy with that. :) I'm hoping to have it pinned and ready for quilting by the weekend.

The last thing I've started is a rag rug. My husband was actually helping me cut up all of the little pieces. It was really fun to see him using a rotary cutter and quilting rulers!! We are using old T-shirts that are worn out or the wrong size to make the rug. I'll keep this one in cool colors, but I do have some red shirts I'll need to do something with. Any ideas??

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sausage, Potato and Leek Soup!

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've had a weird ear/balance problem that's been making me feel sick and (to use a quilting term) wonky, so I've been taking it easy. With the weird head movements I'm supposed to do I'm sure I'll be back to normal soon. :)

I have managed to clean and reorganize my bathrooms though. I bought a little cupboard that holds all of my towels and wash cloths now so I have lots of room under the sink. I even spent about an hour scrubbing each of my toilets by hand! (I know - I'm really dedicated to the cause - haha!) They look wonderful, but I felt funny taking pictures of a toilet, so I didn't.

On another note, I did manage to make a really delicious soup that I thought I'd share. Soup sounded really good to me since it's in the single digits outside here and I've been ill. So, with the help of my amazing husband, we put together a very tasty sausage, potato and leek soup!

Here's a list of what I used with rough (and I repeat rough) estimates of how much I put in. It's a soup, so you just have to feel it! :)

  • 5 medium sized russet potatoes (this I know I counted right...)
  • 1/4 of a leek - chopped (I've never used a leek before, so we used 1/2 of the light end of the leek)
  • about 2 cups chicken stock (maybe more...)
  • about 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 lb of sweet Italian sausage
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
First I peeled, cubed and boiled the potatoes. I drained off most of the water and then mashed 3/4 of the potato cubes in the soup pot. While those were boiling, I browned up the sausage. When the sausage was almost done I added the leek to it to get those little guys warmed up too.

Then I combined everything into the potato pot (so potatoes, leek and sausage mixture, milk, chicken stock and seasonings). Then I brought that up to a low boil and kept adjusting the seasoning as I went. 

I served it with corn bread (I tried a recipe that was gluten free and I found it lacking - I think it needed more salt). However, the bread was good dipped in the soup. We also garnished our soup with some fresh made bacon. Delicious! And, I have two large bowls for leftovers. So - this would probably serve a family of 5 just fine. :) Hope you all are having fun quilting, crafting, cooking or doing whatever you love! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Guest Bedroom Cleanup

Well, change of plans. I didn't clean up and reorganize the bathrooms today, but the great purge of 2013 continued. Instead, I tackled the guest bedroom! :) Which is also my craft room and our storage room and for me was the most daunting room of all. So - there was a lot of stuff to go through. I doubled the amount of things I'm giving away and I threw away 3 large garbage bags of junk! It feels so good to purge! (My husband said we look like hoarders with all of the stuff we've thrown out and the boxes piled up in the hallway to donate!)

So, here are some photos of before and after. I started around 11:30am and had one break for dinner and one break to take the Christmas tree to the curb and finished at 8:30pm. It was a long day!

Before: View from the doorway
During: It looks really bad now! I pulled everything out of the closets...
After: View from the doorway. :)
After: View from my sewing desk (closets are to the right and fill the entire wall!)
Before: Left side of the closets
After: Left side of the closets
Before: Right side of the closets
After: Right side of the closets
I know this is not perfect and we still have a lot of stuff in these closets, but this is pretty much all of the storage that we have. The closets in our master bedroom we use for clothes! :) Plus, this is a guest room and a craft room and I have lots of crafting supplies. I bet if I didn't craft at all we would have a very clean apartment.

Speaking of crafting, did you see the quilt on my bed in the 4th picture? My great-grandmother made that for me in 1987. I was just one year old (or maybe less...)! I love it and it's super warm.

During this clean up I went through boxes and boxes of junk - things we had probably moved around with us since we left our parents' houses. I also had a ton of old mail (even junk mail) that was just stashed away in the closet. So, lots of things were thrown away and lots of things went into cleaned out boxes to be donated. My front hallway is almost impassable now because of all of the boxes to donate. We're taking a trip to Goodwill tomorrow after I get done with work. I hope it all fits in the car!

I came across a couple projects while cleaning that I want/need to do:

1) I saved some of the old T-shirts to cut into strips and knit into a couple rugs. I want to make at least 2 rugs, but I bet I have enough T-shirts for way more.

2) I had saved all of our wedding cards and I want to make a book out of them. I saw one that a good friend of ours had made by gluing them together into a spine of sorts. I think I may use some glue, but I'd like to sew them together with needle and thread like I did my upcycled journals.

3) I have some old quilt blocks that need to get made into a small lap-quilt or picnic quilt. That project shouldn't take more than an afternoon to finish up.

4) We need shoe racks to go along with our underwear drawer dividers. I wish I had a work space to make some things out of lumber, but I'll figure something out. Maybe Goodwill has something I can use... ;)

So - rooms left to clean out and organize:

  • Master Bathroom
  • Guest Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Dining Room
  • Living Room
We'll save those for another day though. :) I hope you all are doing something much more fun! Happy crafting to you all!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Master Bedroom Cleanup

Well, I couldn't wait to get started on my mission to get organized this month. So I started with our master bedroom. It was atrocious!

We had laundry everywhere! It was all clean laundry, (except for the stuff in and on top of the hamper) but I didn't have anywhere to put it because our drawers were stuffed full and our closets were a huge mess.

Try not to cringe too much! :)
I'm glad my cats were having fun in there because I was not! My method of cleaning isn't the most organized I'd have to say. My husband wasn't very happy with me when he walked in and saw all of our clothes piled on the bed, heaps of clothes to give away stacked on the floor and everything from the closets in mounds to go through and organize. I think I pulled everything out of everywhere all at once and then commenced going through it all and putting it all back away.

It took about 6 hours of time to get this into a clean, organized space and it was well worth the time. Not only did I put away all of the clean laundry we had, but I washed and dried everything that was dirty and then put all of that away too. The best part about that was we had exactly the right amount of shirt hangers for everything we kept. That never happens!

We do have quite a bit to donate. Here's a picture of my front hallway with 2 garbage bags, a box, a large duffel bag and a large piece of luggage filled with clothing and a few other miscellaneous things to donate. My grandmother gave me that huge piece of luggage at least a decade ago, but it's starting to wear out on the bottom edges. Maybe someone at Goodwill will be able to fix it and give it a good home for a cheap price. Otherwise, it has wheels so it will help me get the donation to the store much easier!

My cat Sasha was very worried when I started bringing all of that stuff out to the hallway. I bet she thinks we're going on vacation and leaving them here for a while. She'll be relieved when we come home from church tomorrow and don't leave. :)

So - here are the after pictures of all of my hard work. I should have taken a before shot of the closets, but just imagine them brimming full with hanging clothes, no space on any of the shelves, and shoes, clothes, papers, books, etc all over the floors so you can just barely close the doors...

View from the doorway
View from my side of the bed
View from the bathroom doorway
Small closet for our dress clothes
His side
Her side
This is the closet for our every day clothes, pieces of luggage and my shoes. :) We just have pants hangers left (and extra space on the shelf!). My husband came in after I was done and was speechless. He was very happy with what I had done. I even organized our dresser drawers so now he can find everything he needs.

We just need a couple things to make it completely done. We both want to make dividers for our top drawer to separate out our socks and underwear. I also want to make a better holder for his ties. I know I could just buy a tie hanger, but I saw something fun on Pinterest that I want to try if I can swing it. We'll save that for another day after I have some more of this clutter taken care of.

Tomorrow's mission: bathrooms! :) Happy cleaning!

December Finishes and January 2013 Goals

Welcome to 2013 everyone. How did it get to be January 5th already!? I'll try to keep this post short and sweet so you can all get back to your New Year's Resolutions (I didn't make any because I don't want to break any!). 

On my plate for December I was supposed to:

1) Quilt up the Christmas quilt for my dad - done! He loved it, and even though it's not a queen-size quilt (it finished up at 6 feet x 6 feet) it is proudly displayed on his bed at home. :)

2) Put together a triangle quilt for my brother-in-law and his wife - done! They also loved it and this time it was a queen-size quilt so they could put it on their bed. They had just made a headboard with matching fabric, so I'm really happy it all worked out. 

3) Finish my Over the Rainbow quilt - not done. There just wasn't enough time in the month. :(

4 and 5) Get the rest of the Christmas shopping done and presents assembled/wrapped - done! And get our Christmas cards made, messages written and sent out in the mail - done! Plus, people got them before Christmas eve, so I got those done earlier than last year. :)

So - 4 out of 5 is a solid 80% which was still in the B range when I went to school. I'll say I bump up to an A for December with finishing the triangle quilt all in a week (I'm so generous with my grading!). :)

So, what's on the docket for January? Nothing. No crafting - no sewing - no baking. :( I might be cranky come January 31st. 

This month I need to focus on cleaning and organizing my apartment. We have laundry everywhere (clean) because our drawers are full of things that are outdated or don't fit. We need to put away the Christmas decorations. Clean out the closets. Reorganize the cupboards. And... I need to really revamp my craft storage. So - I'll be a busy little maid this month (and maybe, just maybe I'll have to create some things to get us organized so my crafting mind will be kept content). 

There is one commitment that I will have to get done this month which is my Bee block for January. That should only take part of one day, so I'm going to save it for when the vacuum cleaner breaks down or I'm waiting for laundry to dry, etc. 

I'll have a few humbling pictures up here I'm sure with the before shots, but hopefully the after pictures will make up for it. So, without further ado - commence Mission Organization!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 in Review - on to 2013!

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a great new year celebration! I had a lovely time with my family with good food and fun activities - just the way I wanted to ring in the new year. :) I'm a little behind with getting this up, but here's a look back at the projects I put together in 2012:

I made 9 quilts - 8 of them are completely finished and the last one just needs to be basted, quilted and bound. He's on the list to complete in 2013. My prized finish was my huge Super Mario Quilt. It was in progress for 9 months and I finished it on my birthday in July. That was the best birthday gift ever!

I learned how to knit in 2012. I started off with the black and white scarf (modeled by myself, but knit for my husband) and ended with the red kindle case. I see a lot more knitting in my future!

Hops and Bee Blocks
I participated in my first blog hops this year and signed up for my first bee. From top to bottom - and left to right, they are: Wicked Hop, Wicked Hop, Dots on Dots Hop, Leafs Me Happy Hop, Red White & Blue Hop, Red White & Blue Hop, Red White and Blue Hop, Think Christmas Hop, Think Christmas Hop, Think Christmas Hop, Color Bee Shocked Bee, Color Bee Shocked Bee. I'm looking forward to participating in more hopes in 2013 and seeing how my first Bee shapes up.

Just a few scrumptious things I whipped up: Super Bowl Chili, Strawberry Mango Soup/Smoothie, Grand Marnier Souffle, Sausage and Roasted Garlic Pasta, Caramel Apple Pie, Skittles Vodka

Small Sewing Projects
I made some of my blog hop blocks into smaller projects rather than into big quilts. I also made a couple other table runners pot holders and pillows. My favorite project was the cathedral window pin cushion.

Small Craft Projects
And lastly, here are the small craft projects I put together. A few wreaths, a Super Mario cross stitch, some Christmas items and some book crafts. I think my husband's favorite was the hollowed-out book safe. :)

I guess when I look at all of these things together I really did make a lot during 2012! I feel like there were so many days I could have been doing something more, but I'd say I'm satisfied with this. 2013 will see more craft, food and sewing projects, but hopefully my skills will continue to improve. I received a new book on free-motion quilting, so you'll be seeing some new designs! Thanks for following along, and happy new year!
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