Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

My entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2010 is actually the first quilt I ever finished. Not the first one I started, not the first one I cut and pieced, not the first one I started quilting. But the first one I actually finished. (OK—I had made a quilted pillow before. Does that count? It was about a 12" block, with no binding. So I say no, it doesn't count.)

Finished in August 2006, this is Zachary's quilt.

Yes, I look at it now and cringe. There are so many things I would do differently. But Zachary loved it, as did his mom, who has a tendency to buy pieced blocks at thrift stores and frame them.

So, the story behind this. I wanted to make a quilt for the baby because his mom loves quilts. Choosing the fabric was another story. It had to be OK for a boy or girl. And I really wanted to find some animal prints. Zachary has an older brother and sister. His brother is autistic—but quite high-functioning. But there was a lot of stress about how big brother (who was about 7 at the time) would accept the new baby, as change is very hard for him.

Big brother loves animals. Loves them. And can tell you all about them. Everything I know about bullfrogs I learned from this boy. So I thought maybe an animal quilt would give the new baby something that big brother could discuss. But a babyish print would be good, so that it clearly belonged to the baby.

Like a true beginner, I chose my pattern before I chose the fabric. Which was not a great idea. But it had lots of squares. Big squares! I did a simple diagonal quilting pattern, as well as some square outlines and straight lines.

All in all it worked well. I finished it, after all. In a timely fashion! The whole family loved it. And I realized that making a baby quilt is much much faster than crocheting a baby afghan.

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Friday, October 29, 2010

Crazy Busy!

The last 2 weeks of October are pure insanity. Every year. But this year...

• My parents came to visit for 5 days. They do not like to (or want to) do anything other than tell me I am too busy. My dad did help me vacuum, moving things out of the way! Unfortunately, he could not get my mom to move her feet. Lots of extra cleaning and cooking for me--and my mom hates it when I am the computer. Even when I am looking up info for her. Really!
• Field trips for both boys. Different days. Requiring prepping of different lunches, docent "donation", etc etc.
• The putting together of costumes!
• Helping a class of 2nd graders carve pumpkins!
• Ticket selling (and organizational meetings) for 5th grader's school pumpkin patch/fall festival.
• Pack full moon hike.
• Pack Halloween party.
• Both boys' school picture days. Different days, of course.
• Galaxy game with little guy's soccer team! They got to march around the field too.
• Friend's Halloween party.

Are we done yet? I haven't touched my sewing machine in two weeks!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a simple pillow

So T-Bone (11) has long loved having two pillows--since he had a horrible cold at age, I don't know, three?

He had "borrowed" a couch pillow for his second pillow. An old, feather-filled, somewhat pokey, not-machine-washable couch pillow.

I decided to get rid of all those pillows when we got rid of the couches they matched. Freecycle girl took some, the rest went on top of the trash can and someone took them.

I finally made a cover for the new borrowed couch pillow last weekend.

See that fabric? Yeah, he likes it. Even if he won't show his face ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I have never liked radishes. Too spicy in a way completely different from chiles. Too...dirt-tasting. Too..crunchy in a way that isn't entirely crunchy, if you know what I mean. Yet so easy to grow!

Today's harvest--(not so) Petit Dejeuner from Renee's Garden

Last winter our CSA boxes came with plenty of radishes. I needed to do something!

So I took a little tour through The Joy of Cooking. If you read about radishes, it tells you they can be used in turnip recipes. If you read about turnips, it tells you they can be used in potato recipes.

Scalloped radishes?

Oh. My. Goodness. The spiciness is toned down to a magnificent onioniness--without onion. The dirt taste is gone, the not-quite-crunchy enough texture fully softened by parboiling and baking.

And there are four different types of dairy product! What's not to love? (Unless you are a boy, I guess, since they won't even try it.)

For tonight's potluck.

Perfect for a potluck, since two of us can finish off an entire 8" pan. And with all that dairy goodness, that isn't really necessary.

Friday, October 15, 2010

this moment

Extraordinary? Definitely memorable.

This moment, as inspired by SouleMama. A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


After my monthly trip down to the San Pedro scout shop I decided to reward myself with a trip to my favorite fabric store. It was on the way home. Really. Kind of.

I was greeted with this:

In spite of having exactly 2 hours to shop, wait in line, get home to get organized, and get the boys, I managed to buy this:

A lot of brown and orange. Two colors I rarely use. I love love love that bird fabric! I see a bag of some sort. The pink/red/black is intended for the outside of the Everything Bag from Weekend Sewing. I want to do some sort of wonky block with the orange/brown on the upper right. (I love those fruit trees! Love them.) The bottom selection--I'm not sure yet.

Now I need to get back there. I need to go with a plan. And to think I really just wanted to see Innocent Crush to wrap my brain around it before buying any. Needless to say, they don't have it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

pineapple guava jam

4.5 pounds peeled and sliced pineapple guavas
7 cups sugar
2 slices of beet (for color)

Yield: 7 8-oz jars, 1 12-oz jar, 1 half jar

I friend's tree has been super productive this year, so she gave me a bag. I don't really think the color of plain pineapple guava would make a very appealing jam, so I added 2 slices of beet, hoping to make it pinker. Perhaps a half slice would have been a better idea.

I am pretty sure I need a new candy thermometer. I think that trip mine took through the dishwasher has rendered it about 5° low. Between the fig jam and this... yeah. On the upside, I think I may not even need the thermometer any more, I think I can tell when the texture changes. But I don't think I trust myself!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

yup, it's fall

It might have been 80 degrees today, but it's definitely fall.

The white-crowned sparrows are back!

Tonight after dinner the boys were riding bikes out front, and I got to listen to the white-crowned sparrow chorus from the back. I just love their song.

I guess it's time to start listening for the Yellow-Rumped Warblers.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

the Strapping Bag is done

And oh was it frustrating. But it is cute. (Please ignore the ugly backyard. )

This pattern is from Small Stash Sewing. I used Nicey Jane scraps I had left over from an apron I made last summer, and corduroy left over from the pencil holder I made last month. The button came from my late grandmother's stash. Even the interfacing I already had--WOO-HOO!

So, the frustrations...different illustrations show the corduroy nap going in different directions. The 3.25 x 18" pieces for the lining gusset leave you with about 3" on each side to cut off. The lining gusset is larger than the outer gusset. But the best is the cutting for the handle: first you cut 6 18" strips (that's 108 inches). These are cut apart into 3 to 6" segments and sewn together--and then you cut a 56" length for the actual strap.

Giant leftover piece.
Yes, I had over 30" left over! I cut apart all my Nicey Jane for this?!?

I added the closure and button. Since I had that big old leftover piece, I took some of it back apart (hellooooo seam ripper). One piece was buttonhole practice, the other was the real thing. It came out quite nicely (Nicey?).

So, my strap/purse body intersection is nothing like the picture in the book, but it does match the written directions. Whatever.

This was my favorite pattern in the book, which will be going back to the library next week.

I need to make another bag or two, and then I need to work on my own dream bag pattern. The ideas are almost overwhelming.

Trying to get a good picture....
Think anyone will notice when I wear it out tonight?

Friday, October 8, 2010

this moment

This moment, as inspired by SouleMama. A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Argghhhh the purse

There it is! Lining on the left, outside/strap on the right.

The lining is larger than the outside. Nice. I am also wondering what happens to the 2-3 feet of strap that I put together and then cut off?

Yet I keep plodding along. It will be really cute if it comes together!

And yes...5 days into blogtoberfest and I missed a day! I realized this morning I was so busy yesterday I didn't even open google reader!

Monday, October 4, 2010


The feeling you get when you find, amongst your stash, the exact number of fabrics a pattern calls for--even the iron-on craft-weight interfacing. And then as you begin sewing, you find that 1) you actually need more fabric and 2) the writing is not intuitive (aka just plain wrong) and 3) the drawings change the nap direction in each picture.

So, my awesome new purse is not done.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

farm CSA day

Another day with no crafting--but it was CSA day at our farm!

Added bonus: our CSA is a school fundraiser, and the farm has regular tours (strawberry, watermelon, pumpkin patch, depending on the season).

Rather than get any crafting in, we ate farm-grown organic produce. This is just a sampling, but boy those squash were yum-my.

The boys rode kid atvs, and these awesome pedal cars. T-bone was the first kid of the season (which started...yesterday) who didn't need a single push on the course. He was pleased.

We took the tractor ride to the pumpkin canyon, fed the boys giant shaved ices, and--of course--picked pumpkins! E-man picked his own outfit. He almost disappeared among the pumpkins.

A fun day. We love Tanaka Farms. And then for dinner I made cilantro pesto from this week's box.

Fingers crossed that crafting occurs maƱana!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

8:15 am

First ones here!

I am a morning person. I love to be up at the crack of dawn. This doesn't often happen--as evidenced by the fact I am writing this at 10:10pm. I'd rather be in bed, but after the boys are in bed, I am usually cleaning up.

Most people can't stand having the first soccer game of the day. Up early, breakfasts to be had, uniform and shin guards and cleats to find and put on. Drive to make. Dew. Putting goals together.

I love it. Dew. Fresh(er) air, all morning-y, if you know what I mean. Empty parking lots. And an empty Marine Park! By 9:30 the place was packed, with 3 games going on, staggered times so lots of comings and goings, lots of tennis being played, siblings riding bikes and kicking balls, joggers and dog walkers, and a hellish parking lot.

I like it early.

And, we had thunder and big raindrops! So much for afternoon plans to go to Santa Ynez canyon for a fall hike. We scouted the ESPN Zone at LA Live for a certain 5th grader's birthday party instead.

Friday, October 1, 2010

this moment

This moment, as inspired by SouleMama. A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Can I do it? Blog every single day of October?

I guess even I will figure out just how boring I may be!