Wednesday, December 30, 2009

new fabrics and a few projects

While I haven't made much progress on my UFO's, I am quilting the scrappy log cabin and hope to be finished with that soon.

I'm anxious to finish it up so I can start some new projects.  I bought some fabrics at IKEA that would like to use for tote bags.  It's home decor weight and the scale is huge.

Here are a couple of pretty bird prints from IKEA that I have no plans for yet.

And some Nicey Jane, a little Merry Christmas to me.

I did get a couple of last minute Christmas projects finished last week.  A necklace for my sister-in-law, cut from silver sheet.

And a table topper for my mom.  I used this tutorial and put Insul-Bright inside so hopefully she can use it for hot items too.

I can't believe 2010 is almost here!  Best wishes to you and yours for a happy new year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

merry christmas!

Merry Christmas from Texas

where there's snow on the ground on Christmas morning!  A very rare event for us.

Wishing you many blessing today and in the new year!
- Melanie

Sunday, December 20, 2009

a well balanced breakfast

Does this qualify as a well balanced breakfast? Egg whites (divinity), hash brown potatoes (butterscotch haystacks), and oatmeal (no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies).

For the past few years, many of the girls on my mother's side gather for a candy making day before Christmas. Everyone brings supplies to make one or two of the their favorite treats and at the end of the day, we split it all up and go home with lots of yummy sweets.

I made Oreo cookie balls. The recipe is so easy! It's only three ingredients: one package of Oreo cookies, one 8oz. package of cream cheese and chocolate for dipping (I used the chocolate almond bark). Put an entire package of Oreos in the food processor and whir them up. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the softened cream cheese. Roll into balls and dip in chocolate. I made two batches, one with regular (reduced fat) Oreos and one with peanut butter Oreos.

Clean, beautiful dipping is an art form and I'm not well practiced.  I thought I'd try pouring the chocolate over the formed balls, but that didn't work out. I ended up chilling the rolled balls in the freezer and dipping the chilled cookie balls using a bamboo skewer and a fork. That worked out much better.  They are wonderful!

On Friday, I was in charge of the class party at school and Shea, of course, requested a pinata. We had fun stuffing it with goodies and the kids had a blast taking turns swinging at it.

I finished quilting the pinata throw and am about half finished with the binding. I love being so excited about giving. I've got a couple of unexpected surprises up my sleeve for Shea and the thought of seeing her face on Christmas morning makes me giddy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dear Santa

Santa, I was browsing around at the Fat Quarter Shop and I found a few things that I'd just love to have.  Nothing too extravagant and of course, everything would be put to good use.

This new fabric called Nicey Jane is just wonderful.  I could make something really cute with these fat quarter packs.

And a cone of this Gutermann 100% thread in white would go a long way! You know, there are 3,281 yards of thread on that cone. That's almost two miles!

I could also use a new blade for my rotary cutter. Mine began skipping while I was cutting out the fabrics for my latest quilt.

And lastly, I could use some of these clips to hold my bindings in place while sewing them on. I think they would save me a lot of time!

The Fat Quarter Shop wants to know what's on your Christmas list and it looks like Santa may grant a few wishes this Christmas. Head over to the Jolly Jabber and create your wish list!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pinata Throw

I finally decided on a layout for the pinata throw. I wanted something that would work with the large scale of the pinata fabric. A while back, I saw a baby quilt made using one large log cabin.  I can still see the photo in my head, but cannot locate the source online. I created a layout and cut the fabrics out yesterday. The top was assembled last night while Shea was out and the backing pieced today. It measures  60 x 70".

the layout

a portion of the quilt top

I didn't have a single piece of batting large enough for this quilt on hand, so I decided to splice and piece two left-over pieces. It's my first time to piece batting, so I hope it holds together after washing. I opted for the curvy cut with machine zig-zag stitching.

I was terribly disappointed to learn the hard way that Warm and Natural is not 100% cotton as I was lead to believe by the packaging. I pressed/steamed the spliced seam after I finished sewing it and the batting melted on to the soleplate of my new iron. But, it's there, on the back of the package, in very, very tiny print:  Polypropylene 12.5%. I think I'll stick with the 50% Cotton/ 50% Bamboo batting in the future.  It's got a wonderful hand after washing.

I just need to assemble to sandwich and get busy with quilting; I've only got two full weekdays left until she's out of school for the holiday. I may have to use my 505 Spray and Fix Adhesive on this one since all 200+ of my quilters safety pins are on the scrappy log cabin sandwich waiting to be quilted!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Holiday Spirit

I could not be more excited about what's going on over at Oh, Fransson!. Have you seen the beautiful wall quilt that Elizabeth is working on for me? It's absolutely wonderful! I could not be more thrilled or feel more humbled by her generosity.

I think the holiday snuck up on me this year.  Christmas is almost here and I still have so many things to do!  There are...

cards to be mailed,

quilt sandwiches to be made,

yarns to be knitted,

books to be read,

and gifts to be purchased.

But today, like yesterday, this is what I'll be doing...


The company I freelance for has me working on holiday 2010 projects.  Right now, I'm in the middle of a collection of plush animal floor cushions.  After that, it's on to the holiday themed pillows.  Me personally, I'd just like to finish holiday 2009!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm feeling the love.

I'm so glad I took the scrappy log cabin apart.  This is my first attempt at sashing, but it was pretty easy.  I'm liking it much better now.

It's about four inches too long for the backing I prepared pre-sashing.  I'll have to add a little to the one end of the backing, but it's a patchwork anyway, so it won't be an issue visually.  It's a very generous throw, maybe big enough for two.  It's only a few inches shy of twin sized at 69 x 82.5".

If I'd know I was ultimately going to this way, I would have started each log cabin with a white square.  But, I'm not feeling the love enough to "fix" that.

I'm anxious to start on the quilting.  I think I'm going to try doing loops rather than stippling, like this from Crazy Mom Quilts.  I'll have to make another placemat to try it out since I haven't done it before.    

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I can't believe it... I won!

I won the most fab-u-lous giveaway!  As part of Sew Mama Sew's December Giveaway Day, Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson! offered to make a custom quilt for one lucky winner.  That's me!  I am so excited!  I'm in shock!  Thank you so much, Elizabeth!

Before the "I won!" mayhem broke out around here, I was working on the scrappy log cabin.  I decided to take it apart and I'm so glad I did.  It was just too busy with all that crazy randomness going on.  I'm not sure what I was thinking when I sewed it together.

I got blocks separated, cleaned up, and re-squared.  I'm using some Bella white to add a 1.5" sashing between the blocks.  That process should go rather quickly and then I'll be back on track.

The sour cream chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate peanut butter glaze from was wonderful!  It was as rich and intense as I imagined and was a big hit at our Sunday school class' Christmas Party last night.  I think I'll make it again for our family Christmas.


I'm so excited tonight!  I still can't believe I won!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Early this morning, I started pin basting the scrappy log cabin quilt I began early this year.  It's a large throw size, about 60  x 70".  I don't love it.  Honestly, when I look at it now, I don't even like it.

I think it needs sashing (a thin light border between each block), but I don't want to have to take it apart.  I'll also have to re-work the back if the sashing made it too much bigger.  So, do I get out the seam ripper or keep pinning?  If I finish it as is, I know we'll use it, and I love all the fabrics, but I'll always wonder what it would have looked like if I had used sashing.  It just seems too busy to me as is.

Maybe I'll debate further as I attempt to bake this chocolate peanut butter cake for a Christmas party tonight.  Does licking chocolate covered mixer beaters bring about clarity and discernment of thought?

Friday, December 4, 2009

new fabrics = more projects

When I entered the joy in the new year challenge, I only listed currently unfinished projects.  I didn't think about all the things I want to make for Christmas!  Shea loves the video game Viva Pinata, so when I saw the Alexander Henry pinata fabric online, I instantly ordered some.  The scale is larger than I imagined, so I'm not sure how I want to lay it out.  I bought some dots to go with it for the front (in orange and turquoise) and some plain dots for the back (at the top of the photo).  Now I need to think of a layout!

I also ordered some Natural Effects fabrics.  I love this collection.

And when I saw this, I had to have it too!  Alexander Henry's "Spotted Owls".  So cute!

MORE Giveaways!

December seems to be giveaway month, but this one is HUGE!  Amy at Park City Girl is one of 12 blogs hosting a giveaway from The Original Scrap Box.  How awesome would this desk be no matter what your favorite craft is!  I could use this for jewelry, paper crafting, sewing, quilting and knitting supplies.

Head over to Park City Girl and enter to win the EZ View Desktop!  I'd love to fill all those little cubbies and compartments with goodies!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sew Mama Sew December Giveaways!

I should have hosted a giveaway!  Of course, Kelly would have won.

But, if there's anyone else out there reading, browse on over to Sew Mama Sew and check out the great giveaways.  There are some fun things to be won!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Copy-Cat Owl and Fresh Bread

I received a Crate & Barrel catalog yesterday with the cutest little patchwork ornaments inside.  Shea has been obsessed with owls lately, so I wondered if I could make an owl like the ones in the C&B catalog.  It's a blatant copy, I know, but I'm not going to sell it.  It's just going to hang here on our tree and make us smile.  I put it in today's pocket in her advent calendar.

I used the food processor to make bread dough tonight.  I used this recipe from While She Naps for a basic white bread and it was wonderful!

I substituted King Arthur bread flour rather than all-purpose and the dough was incredibly silky.  I did have to use at least twice as much water as the recipe called for, but it came together beautifully and tasted great.  It was super easy.  Now I need to find a recipe this easy for wheat bread!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Trimming the tree

We got the tree decorated today.  I think Shea enjoyed wearing the tree skirt more than decorating.

Our tree doesn't have a theme, color or otherwise.  It's a collection of ornaments from years past with a few glass balls thrown in for sparkle.  A few of my favorites...

Our first Christmas 1993

Paris November 1999
The Eiffel Tower had a large countdown clock that read "only XX days until 2000".
(En Français, bien sûr!)
This was during Thanksgiving 1999, when I was pregnant with Shea.
It was so cold!

Pere Noel
We bought him in Paris one year.

My alma mater.  It's a Horned Frog.

This little book ornament belonged to my Mamaw.

It really has carols inside.

We bought this little guy in Munich, Germany.

The front of our 2006 Christmas card.

I could go on and on.  I love that every ornament has a story.  Even if the story is "I saw this at Target in 2004 and had to have it!"