Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not So Extreme Makeover Bathroom Edition

When we moved into this house (can it be almost a year ago?!) I knew we'd have to do something with the master bathroom. The hideous original 1985 wallpaper, the disco light fixture, not to mention the blend of at least 6 different hardware finishes (porcelain, brushed nickel, chrome, ceramic, wood and gold tones) - it all had to go.

When the contractor told me it would be about $30,000 to renovate, I just about had a fit. Really? $30K? Um, no.

I'm pretty handy, so I decided to see what a face lift could do. After 2 coats of primer, 2 coats of paint (btw, I abhor painting), a new light fixture - yup, installed it myself - new mirrors, towel bar, artwork and shower curtain, I think it looks pretty good. Not $30,000 good. But good enough.

Not bad, eh?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Design Wall Wednesday

I know a lot of bloggers will do Wordless Wednesday or WIP Wednesday. I'm doing Design Wall Wednesday. But not necessarily every Wednesday. And not necessarily on a Wednesday. Then I guess it might be Design Wall Thursday, which sadly does not have the catchy alliteration. Or, maybe I'll just do Wordless WIP Wall. And if I happen to do that on a Wednesday, I'll score bonus points!
Anyway, here's my wall:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Head Start Update

A few weeks ago, I told you about Cherri House and the quilt drive for South East Early Head Start (SEEHS) here in Baltimore. You can read about it here. Well, last week was giveaway week! All the sweet children received their quilts! Here are a few pictures:

 All the moms and babies waiting patiently.

 Our first recipient!

 Melissa making the children into super heroes!

 How precious is this little guy?

 After the kids received their quilts, their moms were encouraged to choose a book and read it to their child.

The whole point of this - a cozy place to cuddle up and read a favorite book.

 The director of SEEHS, Gayne, and I were chatting about what else the center might need. She said "more books!" My mind went immediately to cloth books (we quilters always think in fabric, don't we?!) She said "Yes, Yes!!" If you're sew inclined and would like to make a cloth book for a very deserving child, please let me know! It will be well used and well loved!

I'm so honored to have played a small role in this. Thanks so much to Cherri's blog readers, to the Faithful Circle Quilt Guild, to the Baltimore Quilt Guild and especially to Melissa House, who put this all together!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

OPS Part Two

So, a couple of weeks ago I posted this about my love for OPS, other people's scraps, and put out an offer to make something out of OPS. Linda was game, and sent me a scraptastic package

Oh, the possibilities!

Friday, May 20, 2011

So Proud of this Boy

***Warning: Self indulgent mommy bragging alert.***

Monday night we visited Kyle's elementary school, Kempsville Meadows ES. He was the recipient of their PTA scholarship. Although he's already received a full academic scholarship to Virgina Commonwealth University, this one was more sentimental and personal. Our friend Anne was able to present it to him, which made it all the more special. With a 4.2 GPA at a Math and Science Academy, he is more than deserving. I'm so proud of this boy.

Vintage Feed Sack and Echino

I met a new friend, Mary, from the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild today. We went to this funky, antiquey, artsy type place called Savage Mill. They have a quilt shop, And Sew It Goes, which was enough incentive for me. Mary and I spent a wonderful morning getting to know each other over Art Gallery bolts, coffee, and then, antiques. It's been ages since I've been antiquing. Savage Mill has a fairly large antique mall. Fortunately for us, we were on the same antique wavelength, forgoing most of the collectibles, and setting our radar on the textiles. It's a good thing I don't collect feed sacks and antique quilt blocks, because there were plenty. And linens? OMG. Tons. It was hard to walk away from a ziploc full of 1930's Dresden Plates, though. Two pieced circles, and enough blades for 10 more. Mary picked up a feed sack with cacti, plus a beautiful vintage table linen. I thought I was going to walk out empty handed, when in the very last booth, I spotted this:

Then, I remembered I had these:

And thought they'd look great together. What do you think?

My heart says tote bag, but my head says enough already. Maybe a skirt instead.

A great morning. Hope we get to do it again soon!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why Hasn't Anyone Told Me

That JoAnns is carrying some great quilting books? I was there earlier this week and found this:

I just happened to have a 50% off coupon. Oh yeah!

So, as I was browsing, I found Malka's new book and Elizabeth's new book. Needless to say, next time I'm packing (coupons that is) these babies are coming home with me!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Big Finish Weekend

Too many WIPs. Too many projects I want to start. I know. You can relate. To reconcile this, I dubbed this weekend: Big Finish Weekend. I had 4 projects in mind to finish before I allowed myself to start something new. Fortunately, rain was in the forecast, so I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything by being in the studio all weekend.

Here's how I did:

My Maple Leaf Quilt. This one was about 2/3 quilted and already bound. Finished off the quilting. Washed and out of the dryer!

Next, Mod Bento Box Quilt:

These blocks were from this swap. The top was pieced. It needed basting, backing, quilting and binding. All complete, except for hand sewing the binding to the back. (I really love a hand stitched binding! Luckily (?) I have about 30 hours of car time coming up in the next month. Stitching binding is one of the few projects I can work on without, well, you know.)

Third was this:

These were my blocks from SewFun2 when I had my month last October. I asked for wonky houses. For as little as it is, about 36x48, it gave me the most trouble. I guess it was all that wonkiness. This quilt needed backing, basting, quilting and binding. I'm happy to report that the binding was finished earlier today, as Katie and I watched 127 Hours.

Finally, this monster:

This is a vintage sheet quilt based on this pattern from Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts. The original pattern had strange (to me) dimensions of 69x102. I decided to add 2 panels, for a total of 5, to make a king sized quilt. I had the majority of the top pieced. I had to finish the final border (64  6" squares), plus all the rest. Not a completed quilt, yet, but I did piece the batting, backing and binding. I usually prefer to spray baste, but I may pin baste this one. I'll probably just do straight line quilting, 6" apart. Since I'm doing it on my Elna, free motion just isn't going to fit. So, hopefully another finish by the end of May!

Overall, I'm really happy with my weekend. Looking at the calendar for the next 3-4 months, I'm not sure when I'll have such luxury of time. Especially when I start those new projects!

I Almost Broke up with Coffee Today....

It wasn't you, dear coffee. It was me. Last week I noticed the "on" button on the coffee maker was flickering on and off. I basically ignored it, thought it was a bad bulb. No prob. I guess it really was a prob, because said coffee maker quit. Still no prob, we have a back up. So, I hauled out the new/old machine, and it makes perfectly fine coffee.

My usual morning routine is wake up, feed the cats, make the coffee, make Katie's lunch. Or, if it's a weekend, like today, replace lunch making with cleaning up the dishes from the night before. This morning, I broke the routine. Bad idea. Cats, coffee, then went down to the studio to fiddle with fabric. Came back five minutes later to find 8 of the 10 cups of coffee I was brewing spilled all over the counter top, the floor, and into the four drawers beneath the coffee maker. What a mess. Turns out the old coffee maker had an automatic shut off thing so that it won't brew when the pot isn't in the maker. The back up machine has no such feature. And so, when I forgot to put the actual pot into the coffee maker, it just brewed all over the place. Half a roll of paper towels and seven curse words later, things are still a mess, but not quite as soggy. I had been meaning to reorganize those drawers anyway.

Plus, I did manage to salvage two cups of coffee.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Can I Stay Here All Day?

This day has the potential to be less that glorious. I'd really like to cozy up in a corner of this store and take a nap.
In fact, it's a clothing store in NYC. But that's what naps are for, right? A little escape. A time to dream. I could use both right now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wonky Bird Mini

This is my absolute favorite craft book that has come out recently
I check out a lot of craft books from the library. Some, I just flip through quickly. Others, I take the time to read. And then there is the elite group that I renew again and again. There's something about Kajsa's projects that I love - the whimsy, the colors, the simplicity. The first project I made from her book is this
Then I made this
Then there was this

And finally, this weekend, this
I love these crazy birds.
I really need to buy this book!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A New Camera Strap Cover

I was hoping to receive one in a recent swap I was in. *sniff* Didn't happen. So, I made my own.  A little Anna Maria Horner, some batting and some linen and there ya go.
Down and dirty directions: there's a bazillion tutes out there. Mine is probably a little combo platter of all I've seen. Basically, a piece of patchwork that measures 2.5"x26", a piece of lined or backing fabric, same size. A piece of fusible fleece or similar 2"x24". (I didn't have any, so used heat and bond to fuse batting to the center of the linen piece.) After fusing, I did a few lines of straight stitches down the length of the linen piece. I didn't fully line this piece because 1. forgot  2. lazy 3. I like to change these out every so often, so don't need it to last decades. Not that this won't, but no guarantees. Anyway, seam up one side of the patchwork piece and linen piece, right sides together, along the long side, 1/4" seam. Press well. On the short ends, fold under 1/2", then another 1/2", pressing well. I did 3 rows of stitching, just to secure. After the ends are turned, sew up the other long side, again, right sides together. Then turn it right side out. I actually have a fancy turner thingy. I'd go look up the name, but I'm upstairs and it's in the basement studio. I'll check it out later. Whatever you use, it's not hard. Turn it and give it a good pressing. Then, unhook one side of your camera strap from your camera (trying to remember how it goes back together - this is important!) Slide your new cover over, hook your camera back up and you're finished. Admire your fashionable new camera and start taking more fashionable photos!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I {heart} OPS

Other People's Scraps. Their scraps are so much better than my scraps. Mine suck. So when Lucia from one of my bees said we could keep the scraps from her blocks, IF we made two blocks, I was all over it. Lucia asked us to make improvised log cabins using some yummy Denyse Schmidt County Fair in home dec weight. Here's the blocks I made for her:
Cute, right?
The leftovers sat around for a while, until I started to play with them yesterday. I laid them out, and came up with a piece about 11 x 16. I knew what to do! I love to write, and I journal {almost} every day. My go-to journals are just plain 'ole compostition books, unless someone gives me a fancy one as a gift. ;-) So, to fancy up the boring kind, I made this:
 Front. (Notice cute covered button - my first!)

I loooove this so much! And I used every last little scrap that was left. This was really easy to make. Let me know if you want a tutorial. Or, better yet, send me some of your much better than my scraps, and I'll do a tutorial and make one for you!