Thursday, August 30, 2012

the furniture from 1967

I bought this flannel board set at an estate sale last summer or the year before. Probably the year before, since pain and limping aren't part of the memory. Either that, or they were overshadowed by the snotty attitude of the woman I bought it from. Since then, I've wondered what possessed me to buy it in the first place. Then I opened the box this week and suddenly remembered.

It was the furniture! (Click the image if you want to see more details.)

This is the furniture I remember from my childhood. It's what my thrift store Barbies had printed on the walls of their vinyl house. We didn't have quite this style in our own house, but I remember seeing it.

And those are the appliances I remember growing up with. Bill and I had a washer and dryer that probably did date to 1967 in our house right after our first baby was born fifteen years ago. I miss that set.

It looks like they went out of their way to make sure that they depicted every style of phonograph or radio a family could have.

And I love the sewing machine -- I think that might've been one of the reasons I bought the set!

I've shown less than half of the pieces here. There are two complete families and more pieces of furniture.

The lesson plan on the inside of the box is just bizarre. There's the "Father works to earn money to provide food and shelter, while mother cooks and keeps the home neat and clean" and "Everyone would use the TV, while mother would probably be the only one using the washer-dryer." And there are certain things that are only used by the baby.

I'm all for Mother staying home and Father going to work... but why we needed a curriculum to tell us that Baby is the only one who uses that death-trap of a crib is a little beyond me. (And why don't they capitalize mother and father? Is is coincidence that Father is usually at the beginning of the sentence, so that one does get capitalized?)

I should probably just admire the furniture and not read the teaching plan.

This post is linked to Time Travel Thursday & Vintage Thingie Thursday.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

cupcake hats and the encyclopedia

I've had the pattern for the cupcake hat in my Ravelry queue since I made Leif's pineapple hat. I don't know whether or not I actually planned on sticking a cupcake on his head, or if I was going to scale it up for Alex, or what I was thinking. As a preemie-sized hat, though, it's adorable!

Wish I could say the same for the Baby Bunny Newborn or Preemie Hat. I followed the instructions as written. If I was going to try it again I'd knit it in the round and make the ears longer, but I think I'm about ready to give up on the bunny hats. Sewing on separate ears is not making me a happy knitter.

Another witch hat...another bug hat...another paper bag hat... last week's batch of baby hats was definitely cuter!

I'm slowly working my way through The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs. I picked up this one after reading one of his other titles, My Life as an Experiment: One Man's Humble Quest to Improve Himself by Living as a Woman, Becoming George Washington, Telling No Lies, and Other Radical Tests.

I flew through the first book. This second one is taking longer because I have so many other things going on right now. And, like the encyclopedia, it's full of good stopping points.

Does every bookworm think of reading through the entire encyclopedia? I know I tried it once. Can't remember how old I was, but I didn't make it very far before moving on to more interesting things. Reading this book almost tempts me to try it again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

they look like quilt blocks, don't they?

That design the middle is Broken Dishes...and I'm sure if I went through the rest of the game cards I'd find more patterns we could name. But these aren't quilt patterns. They're the cards for Q-bitz, a game I ordered for the family after Quinn played it with his speech therapist one day.

We've simplified the rules for the younger kids, and I just realized when I was looking at the company's website to get the details for this post that we've never played it quite as it was intended. In the third round, you look at the card for ten seconds and then re-create it from memory. That might strain my brain just a bit too much!

My two littlest ones have decided that it works best to lay the blocks directly onto the cards with difficult patterns. Either that, or they just ignore the cards and play with the blocks. It keeps them busy, and I can almost see the little brains working.

I do think quilters might have an unfair advantage at this game -- we're used to combining squares and triangles to get the shapes we need!

This post is linked to Works for me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.


When Bonnie posted her Spoolin' Around Leader/Ender Challenge last week, it seemed like a perfect reason to pull out my own abandoned spool quilt. I just needed to figure out where I'd put it...

Two trips to the sewing room later, I stumbled across it while I was looking for something else. And now I'm thoroughly confused. I would have sworn I was working with 1 1/2" strips. I know I made some 3 1/2" spools with fabric I stole from the log cabin bin. So why are these spools -- and the pattern I used to make them -- 6 1/2"? And where are the smaller spools I know I made?

Do you ever pull out a UFO and discover that it's not at all what you remembered working on?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Design Wall Monday - Santa Fe String Star

I think I've found the background for my Santa Fe String Star!

Of course it's a sheet, which I bought at the thrift store for a song. What else would I use? I love the way the strings stand out against that dark blue background. Unless I change my mind and use the yellow one.

To see more design walls, head over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sue and her lobster got a bath

I ran my crayon tinted Sunbonnet Sue block through the washer, just to see how the crayon tinting would hold up.

Here she is before --

And after --

She lost a lot of color and I may follow Bea's suggestion to apply another coat of Crayola to brighten her up again. Or I might not. I can't decide which look I like better. What I absolutely love is what the trip through the washer did to the texture of the piece.

Now I want to make a tinted embroidery baby quilt and fade it like this on purpose. For me, because there's no baby in my immediate future... but who says I can't make myself a baby quilt just because it'll be cute? I'm thinking of this pattern for a Peter Pan quilt. Maybe. Or maybe just some more blocks from the International Sue book.

What I don't know is if I'll have to use the same batting to repeat this texture. The hunk I used for Lobster Sue was left over from my scrappy pinwheels. I didn't like that batting at all, but I've got another crib size package left and I'll need to use it up on something...

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 2 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 42 3/4 yards
Added this Week: 3 yards
Added Year to Date: 148 yards
Net Added for 2012: 105.25 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 400 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 730 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 3900 yards
Net Added for 2012: 3170 yards

To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

back to school blog hop and giveaway

We're a homeschooling family and learning pretty much year round, so we don't get excited about back to school. I don't even know when the official school year starts or ends...

But I do notice when school supplies go on sale. There are plenty of fun things for quilters to stock up on while they're cheap.

Here's my shopping list --

Cases of spiral bound notebooks. Or is that just me?

Boxes of Crayola crayons for playing with crayon tinted applique

Colored Pencils and Graph Paper for sketching out project ideas. Those composition books even come in a graph paper version. I bought one of those a few years back and used it once or twice before hiding it from the kids.

Frixion pens for making marks that will vanish with a hot iron

And for keeping all of your back to school treasures in, I've designed a Treasure Chest Snap Bag.

The pattern is free for everyone here, and for the bog hop party I'm giving away one kit with pre-cut fabrics (the die cut for the lock and the brown strips), the batting and fabric for the lining. I used a hunk of old bed sheet for my own bag, so I'll be substituting a fat quarter of 100% cotton for the winner.

To enter, be a follower of my blog and leave a comment on this post before 11:59pm September 8, 2012. I'll use the random number generator and choose a winner. And yes, I will ship internationally.

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

Friday, August 24, 2012

on my needles -- a pineapple this time

Still obsessing about little Halloween hats here... I can't decide if the pineapple or the beehive is my favorite this week!

The pineapple hat is a scaled down version of this free pattern from Chili con Yarn. I made this same hat for Leif when he was a newborn, and had completely suppressed all memory of how hard that stitch pattern was on my hands. But for a preemie size version, it was totally worth it.

The beehive hat is a free pattern from Knitting for the NICU, with a bee inspired by the one at Sweetp Knits.

Little Frankie Stein is a pattern from the book Warm Hats for Wee Noggins. I didn't have any buttons, so I knit bobbles for his eyes. The two other hats are from the same book. Did I mention my goal of knitting my way through it?

This post is linked to on the needles at Patchwork Times and Show and Tell Saturday at be different act normal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

treasure chest snap bag tutorial

Quinn asked me to sew a bag to put his little stuff in and I wanted to make something a little more involved than two squares and a draw string... and I had a new Sizzix die that I bought at an estate sale a couple of weeks ago...

It was a bag to hold his little treasures, so why not make it a treasure chest? And I didn't want to fiddle with a zipper, so why not make it a snap bag?

Supplies --

12 2x9" strips of brown fabric
1 scrap yellow fabric for lock
1 scrap dark solid brown or black fabric for keyhole
20x10" fabric for lining
20x10" piece of batting
fusible web
2 7 1/2" long pieces of metal measuring tape

To make the lock, I used the Sizzix Styled Labels die. This is the first time I've used a magnetic die. The shape inside the blades is open, and there are smaller magnetic dies that you can position in that space.

(That's where I made my mistake -- even though it very clearly says on the front of the packaging that the keyholes are included, I missed it. Instead of making Quinn wait until I got a second die, I cut the keyholes by hand.)

The Sizzix works a little differently than the AccuQuilt cutters. There are two cutting mats. One goes on the bottom, then the die, then the fabric, then the second mat.

I backed my yellow fabric with fusible web and ran it through the machine. Then I backed a small piece of solid fabric with fusible web and cut the keyhole. Fuse the keyhole to the yellow piece. If you don't have the die, a rectangle of yellow fabric would work, or you can find clip art of a similar shape and cut it by hand.

Sew the twelve 2x9" strips of fabric together along the long edges to form a panel. The first strip on either end will be folded under to create the casing, so don't use your favorite fabric in that position. The lock will go on the fourth strip from one end, so make sure the strips there are dark enough to make it stand out.

Once your panel is pieced (this would be a great way to use up some brown strings, or you could use a solid piece of fabric), layer it with the batting and lining and quilt as desired. I used a quilting pattern that I hoped would resemble wood grain.

Trim sides and ends. I zig-zagged around the edges to make the inner seams a little more finished looking and keep the little Lego guys' hands from getting caught on fraying fabric.

Cut two pieces of metal measuring tape, each one 7 1/2" long, an inch shorter than the width of the fabric panel. Because this bag is for a little boy, I decided to completely encase the metal pieces in scrap batting instead of just taping the sharp ends. You'll want the rounded out side of the measuring tape facing the inside of the bag -- I marked my batting on the right side so I didn't get confused when I put the tape into the bag.

Fold the strip at the end of each panel down towards the lining of the bag and sew along the edge to create the casing for your measuring tape pieces. Slide one piece of measuring tape into each casing.

Fold the bag in half, right sides together and sew along each side from the bottom fold up along the open edge of the casing. Be careful not to sew through that metal measuring tape -- my machine didn't like it very much! Turn right side out.

If you want to make your own bag, come back Saturday for the Quilter's Blog Hop. I'll be giving one of my readers the die cut fabric shape for the lock (you get to cut your own keyhole) and a set of brown strips identical to the ones I used in Quinn's bag, along with the batting and lining they'll need to make their own.

This post is linked to Create and Share at Trendy Treehouse, The Mommy Club at Crystal and Co., Too Cute Tuesday at Funky Polka Dot Giraffe, Handmade Tuesday at Ladybug Blessings, Tuesday Tutorials at the Kutz Corner, and Elm Street Quilts.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

four crayons and a piece of muslin

One of the things that makes Calendula Patterdrip's Cottage so absolutely amazing and gorgeous is the crayon tinting. Since I fully intend to finish that one after I'm done with Hocuspocusville, I'm going to have to learn to do it, and do it reasonably well. There's a good tutorial at Sew Mod that explains how it's done on the Crabapple Hill patterns. And another at Urban Threads.

So I decided to give it a try. I'd thought about converting one of the patterns from International Sunbonnet Sue to embroidery, maybe on a dish towel. And then I got to thinking about the crayon embroidery posts over at mamacjt's blog....

I didn't find the exact post I was looking for until after I'd done my coloring and embroidery, so I missed the freezer paper step. And I didn't do my black outlining by machine -- mine is hand embroidered with 2 strands of black DMC. I don't think my free motion skills are quite up to that yet. I also gave up on the light tinting because I wanted her lobster to be really red and her slicker to be really yellow.

I would have liked to do a quilting design that looked like waves, but I really wanted to get her quilted, so I stuck with my usual stippling. I do like the way it looks when it's this tiny and close together.

And the detail that it adds in the tiny open spaces. Definitely worth the stopping and starting again!

I didn't quite follow anyone's instructions completely, but that's one of the fun things about quilting -- glancing at the pattern and then doing your own thing. I like the way my crayon tinted and embroidered Sue came out. Not sure how -- or if -- I'll finish her, but not every experiment has to become a finished quilt. I think I'll just hang her in the sewing room the way she is for now.

I do kind of like Sunbonnet Sue. The traditional pattern makes cute baby quilts. And the more creative versions...those I really love. At the Sisters quilt show a few years back, someone had recreated Nancy Drew book covers with Sunbonnet Sue applique. I didn't get pictures, which I still regret. that was the neatest quilt.

When I saw International Sunbonnet Sue, I wanted it. There's the lobster, and Sue as Sherlock Holmes, and Sue as Cleopatra holding a snake... I haven't done much applique, but I've got a happy collection of applique books that I've fallen in love with. Someday I will learn needle turn applique and make myself a Baltimore Album quilt.

This post is linked to Try it on Tuesday at Jo's Country Junction, Freemotion by the River, and Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story, and Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.

Monday, August 20, 2012

almost as busy as the bees

The two big kids are spending the week with my parents -- Mom and our daughter at the coast, Dad and our oldest son at their place in the mountains. I'm sure both of them are being spoiled completely rotten.

I'm enjoying the relative quiet of a house with two kids in it instead of four and my design wall is overflowing with newly started projects.

Behind everything else is an orange and black Halloween quilt that Mom kitted up for me years ago. She got together with a friend and made her own, then they packaged up pre-cut squares and the pattern and passed them along to me. It's one of the things that turned up when I was digging out the sewing room, and I'm determined to make the thing before I can lose it again!

The green yarn is a Halloween NICU hat, an idea that I came up with late at night and really hope I can pull off. If it works, there'll be a pattern coming soon.

Those strips of brown with the lock? Quinn asked me to sew a bag for his stuff and I wanted to do something a little more challenging than a couple of squares and a draw string...

And the crayons...that's the beginning of what I hope will be tomorrow's post.

To see more design walls, head over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

we take our rocks very seriously

When I was coming up with a name for the Moab or Sedona quilt, I decided against asking my husband if he thought the colors were right. Even if they weren't dead on, I felt like they captured the feel of the places. And, after finally coming up with a name I liked, I didn't want to start over.

The next night, I was proven right when he called me into the bedroom to ask me to look at the rocks in the movie he was watching, Yellowstone Kelly. Wherever they were, it didn't look like anything we'd seen around Yellowstone. Turns out it was filmed in Coconino National Forest -- those were the red rocks around Sedona.

Last night, I thought the rocks in the movie looked like Monument Valley...he thought they looked like something else...turned out that it was Durango Mexico.
Have I mentioned how wonderful the Kindle is for quickly looking up facts? And when did I get so interested in rocks?

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 40 3/4 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 145 yards
Net Added for 2012: 104.25 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 100 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 330 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 900 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 3900 yards
Net Added for 2012: 3570 yards

Not much change in the numbers this week, except for some some new yarn I bought for the NICU hats. I needed those particular colors -- if all goes well, you'll see why later this week! For more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Halloween cross-stitching plans

I love Halloween -- especially the decorations, the knitting patterns, the quilt patterns, and the cross-stitch patterns. This project has been neatly folded in the bottom of my sewing basket for almost a decade now. I really should get it finished and on my wall. (The Pattern is Witches Dance by Lavender Wings.)

When I stopped by Acorns and Threads last month, the new ones were seriously hard to resist. But I've got Hocuspocusville to work on and, at fourteen bucks a chart, I couldn't justify adding them to my collection when I've done so little cross-stitching lately.

A couple of weeks later, I was at Joanns and saw the Just Cross Stitch 2012 Halloween Special Collector's Issue. It was love at first sight, never mind that it was a ten dollar magazine and I wound up paying almost full price.

There are so many projects in here that I want to make, some with the same feel as the ones I was tempted by at the LNS.

There was also a 2010 issue and a 2011 did I miss those!? Out of habit, I always keep my eyes open for the Christmas Ornament issue, even though I haven't bought the past few. Happily, the other two Halloween issues are still available and I just ordered them from 1-2-3 Stitch. I can't remember if I'd ordered from them back in the heat of my cross-stitching obsession, or if I've just heard good things about them.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Moab or Sedona?

I've got a new quilt pattern over at the Moda Bake Shop today, this one called Moab or Sedona.

Jelly Rolls are a great way to get a wide variety of fabrics for a single project, but the 2 1/2" width is wider than the itty-bitty pieces I like to work with. So why not cut them in half lengthwise? The strips on this Courthouse Steps quilt finish at 3/4" of an inch, which is even small enough for me! It's not a difficult quilt, but it's definitely not a quick project.

Why that name? Every year when we start to talk about travelling, it seems like we're deciding between Moab and Sedona. Something about clambering over the rough sandstone calls to all of us. As I was assembling this quilt and trying to think up a name for it, the colors started to remind me of the sandstone fins and the dark shapes of the scrubby little trees against the rocks as the sun goes down...and I started to wonder which destination we'd wind up in on our next trip... Moab or Sedona?

Here are some of my favorite things about both places...


The big draw for us is Arches National Park. We discovered that one when our oldest was just a toddler and since then we've been back many times. I think we've hiked just about every trail, which range from easy 1/4 mile walks to the Dark Angel trail, which just about does me in. (I just looked it up and it's only 4.9 miles round trip -- I'd have sworn it was longer!)

Those specks climbing up to the arch -- yup, they're all four of my kids! And as soon as I was done taking the picture, I was up there too. There are fossilized shells embedded in the rock.

The Devil's Garden campground is gorgeous, but we did find scorpions under the tent as we packed up from our last night there. The ranger says they don't find those very often. I'm not sure if that makes me feel better or not.

Back when we had the SUV for it, we also headed off into into Canyonlands National Park. This picture was taken at the Island in the Sky entrance, which you can get to with a minivan. The really fun stuff required four wheel drive.

I think I might be just a tiny bit grateful that the Lion's Back is now closed. We went once and just watched them driving up it. I held my breath the whole time. There's a You Tube video that will show you why (but don't read the comments - they're just obnoxious). I don't think my husband would do anything like that, even when he gets his baby rebuilt, but just the thought of it would keep me awake at night...


We love Sedona! I think I might love it just a bit more than Moab, but that could be because on the past few trips we traded our timeshare points and spent a week in a condo almost the size of our house. Even the campgrounds there can make me forget how I feel about sleeping in a tent with four kids.

On our first trip, we camped in a gorgeous tent site by the creek, close to spigot that was fed by a natural spring. All night long, cars would stop and people would get out and loudly fill their water bottles. So we came to the natural conclusion that it's "magic water" and only works if you collect it by moonlight. Every trip since then, we've stop to fill our water bottles. During the daytime.

Oak Creek Canyon is one of the most gorgeous places I've ever been. Call of the Canyon is a We took a helicopter tour a few years back, which was just amazing. And when it gets too hot to hike, there are a ton of gift shops and art galleries to wander through.

The petroglyph panel here, at the V Bar V Ranch, is actually a calendar. When the sun hits a certain spot, it's time to plant crops. The whole thing just boggles my mind.

There are amazing ruins (Montezuma's Castle, Montezuma's Well, Walnut Canyon, and others that I can't name off the top of my head) and the winding, curving road south to Jerome. The drive and views are spectacular on their own, but I love wandering through the town.

And of course I can't forget to mention that there's a fun quilt shop in Sedona!

This post is linked to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Natural Suburbia.

on my needles -- a bat and a bee

More little Halloween hats for the NICU!

The orange hat the is the Basic Beanie from Warm Hats for Wee Noggins. I love that textured knit pom pom! She also uses it on the stocking caps in the book, which I seem to be steadily knitting my way through. I found the instructions for the garter stitch bat over at Natural Suburbia

The bee is a free pattern from Creative Knitting. I love those little antennae and plan to knit more little bug hats in different colors, but I think I'll use the Basic Beanie pattern so that I can vary the sizes a bit.

This post is linked to on the needles at Patchwork Times and Show and Tell Saturday at be different act normal.


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