Thursday, October 31, 2013

a reconstruction job

It happens at least once a month.  Actually, it happens every time we walk through the doors of the local Goodwill.  Someone finds a dress/shirt/skirt that they like, but there's this thing about it that they want changed.  So, what do they do? 

"Hey, can you do/fix this?"

Of course I can!

So, about a month ago, Sarah found this adorable dress...

And when the top half of the dress looks like this, you can't not buy it!  I mean, it's hot pink with ruffles!!!
However, the bottom half was about six inches too short and skin tight. 

 It also had to be taken in about four inches at the waist.  So, I tore into it.  Literally.


Making the pattern for the new skirt was easy, since I used the same method I use for all of my A-line skirts.  It was a little different since this one had a high waist, but I added some pleats in the back to give it a nice shape and it worked out quite nicely.

Sadly, I haven't had a chance to get a picture of Sarah wearing it, but you can still see how well it turned out from this picture. 
I learned two things from this project:
1) Serge every seam as soon as you finish it, because if you don't, you will forget about it, sew another seam across it, and it will be too late.
2) I don't want to have to do another invisible zipper in a side seam anytime in the near future...
It was nice to get my hands on a "clothing project" again.  It's been a while since I've done anything other than a quilt or some small project.  I should do this more often! :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

those lovely tubes of color

The main problem with having multiple hobbies/obsessions is that at some point you have to give something up.  Just for a little while, anyway.  For me, in the last six-ish months, that something has been painting.

It's sad, I know.  But something had to go, and this is the thing that got cut.


Two reasons:

a)  No time.  Seriously, I have had so many other things going on that there for a while I even forgot that I could paint.

b)  Money.  Yes, that age old problem...

For those of you who don't paint, let me tell you, it is expensive.  Oils especially.  So when my paint stash started running low, I decided that the best thing to do was to take a hiatus until I could afford to stock up again. 

At one point I even had the horrific idea of switching to cheaper acrylics for a little while. Then I reminded myself that I hate acrylics with a passion and no amount of desperation could induce me to buy them.  And so, I moved on with my life.

So, in the meantime, drawing has been my main outlet.  I can always afford pencils!  :)

Because, who doesn't need a pencil portrait of Benedict Cumberbatch?
I mean, really... ;)
And then, it happened.  I was casually browsing through Hobby Lobby and found THIS:

2.5 oz. of Georgia Oil Colour for $2.87!!!!!  I squealed.  Out loud.  Thankfully, I was alone, or I would have seriously embarrassed someone! 

I dropped everything and started rummaging through four ginormous bins of pure heaven!  The hard part was decided which colors to get.  There were so many!

 I managed to restrain myself and I only came home with nine tubes.  ONLY nine. 

So now, I only have to restrain myself from using these glorious tubes of colorfulishiousness until I get caught up on my unfinished projects.  Which means I needs to stop procrastinating and get to work on the dress that's been sitting on my sewing table...

Stay warm! :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

quilt week: a look back

Quilt week was a tremendous success.  I managed to pick out/buy fabric, cut, and piece the entire top of Birthday Quilt #5 by Wednesday afternoon.  Did not see that coming! 


I absolutely LOVE fat quarters!  What I love even more are fat quarter bundles.  They take all the worry out of mixing and matching colors/patterns which is a huge load off my mind!  I managed to find these at Hobby Lobby.  Two packs of five that were completely different and matched perfectly!  Five minutes and I was done!

Cutting is the hardest part for me.  I guess it's because I am such a visual person.  I could just sit and stare at fabric for hours and cutting into it seems like I'm ruining the loveliness of it.  A bit dramatic, I know, but that's me!
Look at that mess of thread!

Finally getting it all put together is the best part!

Pinning, pinning, and more pinning!

And now, I am in my happy place, quilting away and loving every minute of it!

Monday, October 7, 2013

my own personal cloud

Life has been crazy at our house, just as it always is this time of year. Fair/Festival season has been going strong for the last two months, but we are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Two more events!!! Two more and we’re home free for the rest of 2013!

I was flipping through my calendar last week and admiring all of the empty dates and free time that I was going to have and then suddenly I realized:

There are only ELEVEN weeks ‘till Christmas!!!!
Cue dramatic music and horror stricken facial expressions.

Eleven weeks???? How on earth did that happen????  Wasn't it July only yesterday????

Of course, along with realization of the fast approaching festivities, comes the mental To-Do lists that hang over your head like a lead cloud. You all know exactly what I'm talking about.  That invisible cloud that holds your list as well as your sanity that at any moment threatens to come crashing down on top of your head, leaving you broken and temporarily insane. 

Happens every year.

With that in mind, I have two quilts that have to be finished before Christmas, roughly 20 gifts to make that I have no earthly idea what they will be, and I was really hoping to be able to squeeze in enough time to make myself a Christmas dress this year. This is not to mention all of the non-Christmas projects I have going on.

My cloud is starting to teeter...

Free time?  HA! 

And so, as I scramble to get the Christmas To-Do list rolling, this week has been officially dubbed “Quilt Week”. I made it official by writing the words multiple times and making a banner with different colored pens over this week in my calendar. J I am hoping to get at least one of the two tops put together and pinned to the backing before the week is over. The ambitious side of my brain also hopes to start on the actual quilting, but we shall see…

Therefore, if you need me this week, I'll be in my sewing room trying divert my attention from my invisible, yet very present cloud. :)

Does anyone else have any special Christmas projects planned?  I'd love some fresh ideas!


Monday, September 16, 2013

4 down and 1 to go!

As you may recall from posts earlier this year, 2013 is the year of the quilt.  It is the year in which yours truly vowed to make all five of her nieces and nephews a quilt for their birthdays.  It's been adventure, for sure!  Especially having two of them due in the same month as well as on the same day. (I lost quite a bit of hair over those two and it had nothing whatsoever to do with procrastination... ;)

You can see pictures of quilts #1 and #2 here and here

And now for #3 and #4. :)

This is the only decent picture I managed to get of #3.  I completely forgot to take one until after the recipient had already opened it so I had to steal it in the middle of the birthday party to get this quick shot of it!

It is the exact same pattern as #2, but girlie (of course!).  I thought it would be cute for them to match since brother and sister would be getting them on the same day.  Plus, it's a super fast pattern to work with which is always nice when you've got to do two at the same time!

#4 was for a cute as a button one-year-old boy.  :)  I had special instructions for this one: blue and green with circles.  Thank goodness for Joann's!  I managed to find all of these adorable fabrics in fat quarters - blue and green and ALL of them have circles in the pattern!

I think this is my favorite one to date!  I just love the colors!
All four quilts are backed in minky and I am absolutely in love with it!  It's so soft and cuddly and completely eliminates the need for batting which makes the cost of the project much lower (yay!).  Next year I am determined to make one for myself to cuddle with on the couch!
Now, I am once again on the hunt for a pattern for quilt #5.  The final quilt.  I'm a little sad that it's almost over.  I've enjoyed having the excuse to quilt for the past 9 months.  This last quilt is due 3 days before Christmas and the recipient has been so patient throughout the whole year while everyone else has received theirs.  I can't wait for her to finally get to open her own quilt!  Of course, I have to figure out what it's going to look like first... ;)

Friday, September 13, 2013

farewell, summer

The blogger in me dies during the summer months. No idea why, but it happens every year so I guess I have to accept it as a fact of life. I suppose I could blame it on the heat since the faintest hint of a fall breeze sends me running back to the keyboard.

Unfortunately, the blog isn’t the only thing that’s been neglected over the summer. Poor Knightley has been sitting all alone in his case only to be taken out during a birthday party or whenever there is a juicy toddler around to take pictures of. :D

Me and my favorite one-year-old. <3

But, as I said before, there is a hint (a very slight hint, but a hint just the same!) of fall in the Tennessee air and the creative juices are flowing more freely and my fingers are beginning to itch. I want to do anything and everything right now! So, out comes Knightley, the needles, fabric, yarn, canvas, embroidery hoops, the works. Of course, browsing through Pinterest every day isn’t helping matters any. I can no longer just look at a 6 in square of fabric and say, “Oh, this would make a nice ___________.” Oh no! Pinterest opens the floodgates of possibility and turns it into, “I could make ___________, or ___________, or___________, OR…..”, you get the idea.

As a result of my compulsive creativity disorder, the sewing room is a disaster area. It got a bit piled up during the inactivity of the summer months and who wants to clean/organize when there are so many things waiting to be made? Unfortunately, since the mess has now spilled over into my bedroom, I am going to have to force myself to slow down and put things back in order.

It’s been a lovely summer. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. It’s been a bit of a wild ride, for sure! I turned another year older, made lots of new friends, and had a few adventures along the way. However, I am glad that life is finally slowing back down to the normal pace! I do enjoy the peace and quiet of the fall months!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! :D


Friday, May 24, 2013

my hazardous life

I am a natural born klutz.

Ask anyone who has known me for any length of time and they will tell you: I trip over chairs, I walk into walls, I lose my balance even when I have both feet firmly planted on the floor, I can't catch a football or a Frisbee to save my life, and I have a reputation for falling down stairs.  After nearly 22 years of suffering from this disorder, I have managed to get used to it.  It's still slightly embarrassing, but I can live with it.

Thankfully, my clumsiness has rarely resulted in injury (except for the time I fell down two flights of concrete stairs with a 50 pound book bag and loose text books flying through the air), so I never really thought of myself as "accident prone".  Never, that is, until this week.

Here is a list of the injuries I have acquired in the last 5 days, all of which occurred at home and most of them had nothing to do with my own clumsiness:

-We are overrun with fire-ants.  Little bitty things, but they cause killer pain.  One managed to find the top of my left foot and present me with a welt bigger than a silver dollar before he came to his demise.

-I lost nearly half of the nail on the toe of my right foot while dragging the pool supply chest from one side of the back porch to the other.  Thankfully, this was the only bloody wound I received all week.

My left hand had the most damage.

-I got a nasty burn on the side of my first finger when taking bread out of a 450 degree oven and my pot holder slipped. 

-Somehow, after spending an hour or so in the garden with an old fashioned "push plow" (it looks like one that you would hitch to a mule, but smaller and you have to push it yourself), I managed to get blisters through my gloves.  Not only that, but they only came up on my left hand...  Go figure.

-Then to top it all off, I put my hand down on yet another fire-ant while getting out of the pool, so I have another welt on the palm of my left hand.

I really wished I was right handed that day... 

-Then, my right foot decided that I needed something to take my mind off the throbbing in my swollen hand, so it found a big fuzzy spider and stepped on it.  I now have a bite on the arch of my foot that itches like crazy.

I hate spiders.

The crazy thing is that, with a couple of exceptions, all of this happened within 24 hours

I am just hoping and praying that I can survive the weekend without anymore assaults to my body.  If anything else happens to me, I just might be inclined to just got to bed and stay there for a few days.

Hope you all have a fun (and safe!) Memorial Day weekend! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

just some notes

Last week, a lady gave me a stack of old sheet music.

I say, "stack", but it was really an overflowing box filled with hundreds of classical and folk pieces that I could never possibly sort through.  And by, "old sheet music" I mean really really old and most of them by composers that I've never even heard of.

I love old things.  I could live in an antique store and die happy.

The older something is the better.  I love holding something and imagining all of the hands that have held the same object over the years.  The people who used those dishes, or read that book, or sat at that desk...the imagined stories about their lives fascinate me.

Sheet music has a special appeal.  As a musician, I understand the relationship that develops between the player and the paper.  It's a special kind of love/hate that ties you together and makes you thrilled to put it away when you finally learn the piece and eager to pick it up again after some time has passed.  Looking at the notes penciled in and remembering the frustration and aching fingers, it's a strange sort of way.  Looking a stranger's music is even more interesting.

So imagine the ecstasy when I found a book of Mozart with a disintegrating cloth binding and smudged pencil marks that was dated 1896.  Yeah, I nearly dropped it.

I can't believe I have such a treasure!

Now I just have to figure out where to put it all and find some time to actually sit down a play some of it!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

the third and first attempt ;)

Four years ago, I attempted to draw a self-portrait.  Profile.

Yeah, I know, it's kind of cheating to do a profile, but it was my first attempt and I wanted to make it as easy as possible.  Of course, my second attempt was also a profile...

It wasn't until last week that I got brave enough to attempt to draw my full face.  I was planning on hating it anyway so I decided to put aside my perfectionist tendencies and just go, full steam ahead, and finish it as quickly as possible.

As it turns out, I don't hate it as much as I thought I would.

Unless you ever attempt a self-portrait you can never understand the intense scrutiny that went on while I worked on this!  You learn things about your face that you never knew before.  For instance, I had no idea my glasses were that huge!  I also have more freckles than I cared to show here...(ahem!)
I'm looking forward to seeing how much I can improve on this in my future attempts.  However, I don't think it will be anytime soon.  I much prefer working on other people's faces.  Preferably people that I don't know so that I don't get too much criticism! lol

Of course, I could always do one of those modern abstract portraits so no one would know who it is except for me. :)  Now that's an idea!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Friday, March 15, 2013

'tis the season!

This time every year our kitchen gets transformed into a temporary pre-planting greenhouse.

We are overflowing with tomato plants, pepper plants, herbs (I went a leetle crazy with the basil and chamomile... ;) and just about anything else you could possibly want!
One day I shall have a greenhouse.  Actually, I will have two.  One of those fancy glass ones that is attached to the house for flowers and another great big plastic one for the garden. 
It doesn't hurt to dream! :)
Now, if it will just warm up a bit more so I can get my toes in that dirt outside!  I'm getting impatient...

Friday, March 1, 2013

I promise I don't sew ALL the time!!!

I do other things too!!!  Although, it probably seems by my archives that I don't.

So, lest any of you should begin think that all I do is stitch and press and hoard fabric (although, that is a good 85% of it!) allow me to show you a few other things that don't necessarily make it to this blog on a regular basis.

{I can't wait for spring!!!!}

I love my camera!  Knightley is the best!  However, there are times that I think that I might be a little obsessed with him.  For instance, it is the afternoon on the first day of the month and I already have 30 pictures in this month's file.  Yeah... I get excited sometimes! :)

Unfortunately, unless the kiddos are here, I am very limited on models.  Very.  In this family, it's like pulling teeth getting someone to pose for me.  So, most of the time, I am limited to still life - like this picture I took this morning.  I have a lovely view of this tree through my second story window and I managed to get this beautiful pic through a smudgy/streaked window - I might need to do something about that. But still, can you believe I got this through a dirty window????

Did I mention how much I love my Knightley?

Allow me to introduce you to "the pile".
This is the "to be read/re-read/finish reading" pile (I can never seem to read just one book at a time and I have to go back and re-read my favorites several times.).  Of course, this is not including the scripture studies and the massive Latin textbook that I'm thinking of re-introducing myself to.  Nor does it include the books I will, no doubt, cart home from the library even though I have absolutely no business being in a library with a pile like this already sitting on my chest.
My 8 year old niece wandered into my bedroom a few weeks ago and after taking a quick look around said, "I'm guessing you like books?".
Yes, m'dear.  I do!
I've also been trying to find the time to squeeze in some much missed painting.  The ideas have been flowing for a while now, I just have to take up a canvas and smear on the paint! 
We shall see...
This picture is a little corner of one of my oldies.  One day, a couple of years ago, I decided to do a quick rendition of a Georgia O'Keeffe piece.  I'm still obsessed with the color!  Red and orange are so much fun to work with!
So, there's a little random sampling of some of the other things I do, just in case you were curious.  Of course, there is also the massive garden planning that is currently going on, gluten-free recipes to experiment with, the bit of writing that I try to get in each day, journaling, puppy cuddling...oh, and one of my favorites...Pinterest browsing! I also find a little time to devote to my blog.  Maybe you've heard of it??? ;)
Yes, I know I am overloaded with hobbies, but I enjoy it.  Needless to say, I can never complain of boredom!
Have a lovely Friday and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

color-coded {because I'm OCD like that!}

Today, I broke down and tore into my sewing room. 
You should have seen it before I did!  On second thought, I'm glad you didn't.  I'd like to keep the illusion of being an organized and put-together person up as long as I can. ;)
The "stash". :{)
Now, lest you think that everything was a complete hovel before this morning, allow me to explain.  Everything was semi-organized, but not everything had a "place". 
I know.  It doesn't make sense. 
But, when you have a reputation for being "crafty" or handy with a needle, people are constantly giving you stuff - like the sweet lady at church who just gave me a garbage bag full of large cuts of fabric.  AWESOME!!!!!  But the problem is getting it home and finding somewhere to put it all.  Lately, I've just been resorting to putting it wherever it fits.
Another problem is that I like having all of my things out where I can see them instead of hiding in boxes.
Enough said.  Lol!  ;)
I love having things organized by color!
The point is, NOW, the leaning tower of UFO's (unfinished objects) has been removed from my cutting table, folded properly and placed on the shelf, all my patterns are organized and in drawers instead of random boxes, embroidery floss and canvases are all in one spot, hoops are hanging on the wall instead of laying in a pile on the floor and...well, you get the idea.
It is still a work in progress, but I'm getting there!  And I am determined that once I get everything in it's place it shall stay that way.
Psh...yeah, whatever!

Monday, February 25, 2013


That's actually the name of this adorable-lishious fabric!
I just love it!
This turned out to be the fastest quilt top ever.  I whipped it up, measuring, cutting, stitching and pressing, all in about an hour and a half.  I wanted it to be a fast quilt, but I didn't expect it to be that fast!
When planning this quilt, I wanted to be sure that it wasn't going to be anything intricate and complicated.  In other words, I didn't want something that would bring on the tears and heartache if I found it being dragged through the mud or run over by a tricycle (which, considering the little boy it is going to, is very likely!). 
Simple was my motto for this one.

And it's perfect. <3
I bought a yard of each fabric so I had a little to spare.  The extra yellow (you can't see it, but it's a really pretty stripe) is for the binding and I'm thinking brown for the backing.

If I use this pattern again, I think I might put a thin band of sashing between all of the pieces to help with definition, but that is my only improvement. :)
Now, I just have to buy the minky for the back and figure out how I'm going to quilt it.  I think that's the hardest decision of the entire process!
Happy Monday! :D

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Psalm 19:1
I saw this out my window earlier and just had to capture it! 
Wishing you all a lovely weekend! <3

Friday, February 22, 2013


Birthday quilt #1 was a success. :) 
Now, I just have to get started on the next two!  I have the pattern figured
out and I am hoping to get the fabric for the first one
tomorrow.  I am looking forward to working with boy themed
fabric.  I don't get to do that very often.
I chose just a simple strip-style quilt so there will be very
little cutting and piecing. (YAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!)
One of the newest developments at home is that we have now joined the food allergy club and have changed our diet to gluten-free.  It's not as simple as it sounds.  Gluten is not just found in wheat and other grains, it's in just about everything!  At least, it seems that way when you are trying to figure out what you can and can't eat. 
We are slowly starting to figure things out; although, we are still in a major trial and error stage. There have been more disasters in the kitchen the last few weeks than I care to admit to!   But, it's definitely worth it.  I am not allergic to gluten (only two of us are), but I was shocked at how much better I feel by not ingesting it.  I feel "lighter"...if that makes sense...
Just one more pic!  I wanted to show off one I snapped of Mr. Luke. :)  He's getting sooooooo big!!!!!
How can anyone resist such adorable-ness???? XOXOXOX

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

and the rain came tumbling down...

I was reminded of how thankful I am for being warm and dry when I looked at the window this morning as God dropped what looked like the entire contents of the Tennessee River on us.  We now four rivers running through our property and a rather large lake at one end of the house.  Too bad this doesn't happen in the summer time.  The garden would love it!

I am oh so very thankful that I don't have to go out into this messy weather.  I'm not sure that I could get out even if I wanted to...  Y'all please be safe out there!

So, I am using the icky weather to it's full advantage.  Feeling quite snug in our warm and dry house, I've been using my spare time doing lots of studying, recreational reading, enjoying lots and lots of tea (my new favorite...fresh ginger and lemon!), and yes, that's some more fabric peeking out there!  Rainy days always seem to have a way of putting my procrastination to an end. :) 

Hope every one has a safe and semi-dry Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

color stash

Gloomy winter days make me sooooo thankful for my colorful stash of floss!  It's just so happy and cheerful and oh so refreshing just to look at it.  I have three containers of this stuff that a generous friend gave to me many years ago and I don't think I'll ever be able to go through it all, though I intend to try!!!

I pulled out the floss and hoops for the first time in a very long time the other day.  This is called "creative procrastination" which usually occurs when I am between projects.  The big things get pushed aside for little insignificant doodles.

Like this. =)
At first this was just a sketch in my notebook, then I decided that further procrastination was necessary....
I suppose I can't deny that it is something of a self-portrait.  Minus, of course, the hipster glasses (I recently discovered that this is the proper name.  I call them "nerd-wannabe glasses" since everyone is wearing them).  I just added those for fun. ;)  I don't think they suit me... lol!

I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with it, but it sure was fun to stitch!  Maybe a book cover or inset on a bag?  I don't know.  I'll figure something out!

I don't pull out my embroidery stash very often, but I'm beginning to think that I should make more time for it.  It was nice to have all of that color at my fingertips to play with and as I've said before, there's nothing quite like sitting alone with a needle and thread.  :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

remember me?

I didn't intend to stay away so long!  In fact, I didn't intend to be away at all, it just kinda happened.  I apologize for my lacking blogger skills. 

So, what have I been doing since January first?  A lot!  But, I'll keep this simple. ;)

Remember those yummy fat quarters? 

WARNING:  For members of my family, this is to remain a secret until February!  I just couldn't wait that long to post pics!

Words cannot express how much I love this!  (I was even obnoxious enough to take with me to a meeting just to show it off! :P) It was super fast and easy.  As always, cutting it out was the worst part, but at least all the pieces were the same size and shape!

The quilting was a breeze.  I didn't time it or anything, but I'd say I only have about 10-12 hours in it.

I finished the binding this morning.  You know, there's something rather romantic about sitting in an armchair, sipping your coffee and handling a needle and thread while watching the sun come up.  It was nice. :D

Since this is intended for a little girl * ;) * I opted to back it with that wonderfulishious stuff called minky.  I love it!  I am totally making myself a pillow out of the scraps! It's so soft and plush and also eliminates the need for cotton batting.  I was worried that it would be difficult to work with, but I didn't have any problems with it.  Though, if you were machine quilting you might have a problem with it stretching...  Also, the thread pulls some of the fuzzy stuff to the top of the quilt, but it really isn't that noticeable.

So, now I get to sit back for a day or so to admire it then I have to get cracking on ideas for the next two that are both due in May.  I've got my work cut out for me!

Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend and I'll try not to stay away so long this time!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

let's start the new year right

I am, at this very moment, in fat quarter bundle heaven!  Are these not adorable????

I can honestly think of no better way to start 2013 than by shopping for, drooling over, and coming home with twelve scrumptious fat quarters!

My plan for this new year is to make my nieces and nephews each a lap quilt to cuddle on the couch with for their birthdays.  My first deadline is February. (Help!) :D  That's what this darling fabric is for.

I just love it!
It's just so happy and peppy - just like the Birthday Girl it's going to. :)
Hope y'all had a wonderful time celebrating the coming of the New Year last night.
I think my family has finally gotten over the whole "stay-up-to-watch-the-ball-drop" thing.  Sarah made the comment, "It's going to be the exact same thing as last year..." I think that pretty much sums up all our feelings on the subject!  lol We're just not the partying type, I suppose.  We like to sleep. :)
 I was the last to go to bed.  I thought about trying to at least stay up and watch the neighbor's firework finale at midnight (they started at 7:30) out my window, but I crashed at about 11:30.  Oh well.  I'll have other chances to see them, though.  These particular neighbors have a reputation for extending their celebration for over a week.  Sometimes two.  And I have perfect seats for free!
Just as a side note: I got the title for this post from a song in a certain holiday film.  Anybody know which one?????
I'll give you a little hint!  The score for the film was written by Irving Berlin. :)