Monday, October 29, 2007

I have a million tiny pin pricks in my fingers

BUT it was totally worth it 'cause I made a quilt!

I must say this: "Thank You Amy Karol and your awesome book, Bend the Rules Sewing!" If AK were here right now, I would hug her and probably cry tears of joy. Not a slobbery, sobbing cry... just a tear or two from each eye..moist eyes really, not even an actual cry...just an outward showing of my inward jubilation! sigh.

Though not as difficult as I imagined it would be, it wasn't exactly easy. Or at least it didn't seem so at the time. Pinning the top to the batting and the backing was a pain. I think it took me three tries to get it right. It didn't help that while I was crawling on the floor tending to this particular task I had two cats rolling around on top of it! My sewing machine decided to get crazy on me a time or two and the fabric did some weird puckery things while sewing those long strips. And then there was the fun of hand stitching on the binding...hence the millions of needle sticks on my fingers! The upside of that is that I sorta know how to use a thimble now...sorta. I learned a lot in the process and I have the confidence to try it again. I'm sure I can improve next go 'round.

So now I have made this quilt and although the colors match absolutely nothing in my house, I feel about it the way I feel about the yellow apron. Attatched. It's my first attempt at making a quilt, after all!

I think I'll keep it in the car since Mark freezes me when we are driving. I'll stay nice and cozy on road trips this winter.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bloggy Apron Giveaway!

It's time to reveal my Fall Ya'll Bloggy Giveaway item!

I chose to do an apron for the giveaway because so many people seemed to like the one I made for the Dog Days of Summer Bloggy Giveaway. These tea towel aprons are a snap to make and I think they are cute, cute cute! I used a Martha Stewart tea towel in a fun, retro-ish floral print with nice long chocolate brown grosgrain ribbon for ties. Hope ya'll like it! This was actually my second attempt for the giveaway. Here's the apron I almost gave away. Personally, I think you'll be much happier with this one.
Here's a front view...not the greatest picture, my flash makes the colors look a tad weird right in the middle. Top photo colors are more accurate.

If you'd like to be the proud new owner of this tea towel apron, all in the world you have to do is leave a comment and you'll be in the running! Feel free to gush and go on and on about how fabulous and adorable it is and how I must be equally fabulous and adorable to have crafted such fabulous adorableness and all that jazz. ;) Easy enough, huh?

I almost do not have to have a blog to win BUT you do need to leave a valid email addy so that I can contact you when you do win. International players are welcome! I'll announce the winner on November 4th.

And hey, thanks for stopping by! Maybe you'll come back when you aren't trying to win every prize known to man??? Hope so!

Be sure and head over here if you want to enter to win EVEN MORE bloggy giveaways.

Kellie Cooks Up an Apron

Taking a break from my quilt, this afternoon I decided not only would I make an apron, I would design it myself. Those of you who read this silliness know that I only started sewing back in the summer. What in the world made me think I was suddenly an apron designer, I'll never know.

Actually, that's not right I kinda DO know. One of my favorite toys as a kid was called Fashion Plates. They were little plastic plates that had pieces of clothing on them. One had a head w/hat or flippy 70's hairdos, the middle was a blouse/shirt/sweater and the bottom was pants or a skirt and maybe shorts or gauchos. You pick out your outfit, lay a piece of paper over it and then rub it with a black crayon. Next you fill it in with various designs and color with colored pencils. OH the ensembles I designed! Such style! Such flair! Such panache! I could play with that thing for HOURS. That and the giant Barbie head to whom you applied make-up and fiddled with her hair....ooh and Colorforms. I loved Colorforms too! BUT I'd have to say the fashion plates were my favorite. I played with those during my elementary school years (and if I'm telling the truth probably middle school too). In high school art classes I was constantly drawing models in various 80's outfits. I'd sketch the girls in Seventeen magazine. Sometime I'd even change around their clothing and make up my own fashions. Perhaps I was revisiting my youthful dreams of fashion design when I decided that yes, I could design an apron.

This is what I came up with on my own. No pattern, people! I did, however, use Amy Carol's Bend the Rules Sewing when it came time to attach the waistband. The fruit print fabric is vintage, given to me by my friend Sheila. It belonged to either her aunt or grandmother, I can't remember. I also used some tiny vintage yellow gingham bias binding(remind me to run screaming from this stuff in the future). I wanted it to have a bit of a 50's look and knew the vintage fabric & trim would help. All of my half apron patterns have gathered waistbands, and being of the ...ahem..."husky" build, I am not flattered by gathered waistbands, which is why I decided to use two side pleats instead(I realize now they weren't necessary). I've learned in the last few months that if you cut fabric on the bias it is a little more swingy and flowy. Technical sewing terms. So I folded my fabric on the bias as best I could and cut out a shape that I liked. The pocket was an afterthought, but it's cute!

When I started out, I had fully intended on using this for my bloggy giveaway item. But the more thought I put into it and the more I slaved over it the more attached I became and realized I can't part with it.

Somewhere there are probably apron patterns that are similar...maybe I've seen them, goodness knows I've looked at hundreds of aprons online and at the flea markets, so it is possible that I had a picture in my subconscious. If so, please don't tell me...please don't rain on my parade of creativity!

Oh, and did you notice how I didn't mention every thing wrong with it??? My bloggy friend Fiona told me to cut that out!

If you're wondering what I made at the LAST minute for my bloggy giveaway item, it's another Amazing Tea Towel Apron. Similar print to my first, but I think this one is more fall-y. Again, another technical term.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So Far, So Good.

Here's the finished "Easy Lap Quilt" quilt top. Yes, Mark makes a lovely quilt top model, does he not? Sock feet n' all.

It went together fairly easily. I'll have to trim it to fit on the backing properly...needs some straightening andI added one more piece than was called for or something. Tonight I start on the actual quilting of it...or at least getting the top pinned to the batting and back. This makes me nervous. We shall see how it goes!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I signed up for a beginning machine piecing quilting class at a local quilting shop today! YAY! I got to meet the instructor when I went in to register and she showed me the quilt top we will be learning to make! GORGEOUS!!! I don't know what you call it, but it was a sort of star-type pattern done in my choice of brights or 30s reproduction fabrics. I am sooo excited!

Oooh! And she sells embroidery floss! WooHoo!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quilt in the Works

Last week was crazy-busy. Hence the absence of much posting. I didn't have the time to blog nor to read blogs much. I worked late every day and and spent many hours of the weekend at school to boot. I don't feel like I had any down time last week, so doggone it, this week I'm going to have down time if it kills me!

This afternoon, even though I had an after school faculty meeting AND we had to grocery shopping...ugh...I managed to begin a quilt! That's right an actual, real live quilt! I used a rotary cutter for the first time ever(strangely satisfying), laid out my design and got my strips together. I'm using the Easy Lap Quilt pattern from Bend the Rules Sewing. Big surprise, huh? The fabrics aren't my favorites...they came from the bargain bin at WalMart, but I liked the colors and didn't want to spend too much money my first time out, in case I made a big mess of it. Oh, and they look better in person, too. But so far it is going well. I only sewed ONE piece on backwards! WOO HOO! I told myslef that was going to be my one and only mistake. We'll see and I'll keep you posted. I know you'll be salivating in anticipation.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mississippi Mud

Mmmmmm! The mouth waters at the sound of the words, doesn't it? Or does it? I suppose if you hear "Mississippi Mud" and get an image of actual mud from the state of Mississippi your mouth might not water. But if, like me, you hear "Mississippi Mud" and think chocolate cake with gooey marshmallow and chocolatey pecan're probably going for a glass of milk right now!
This is my Aunt Rosemary. She makes Mississippi Mud nearly every Christmas and sometimes at Thanksgiving. I don't remember NOT having it at a family holiday dinner. It's my favorite thing she makes and it was always my favorite dessert at Mamaw's house on Christmas Eve. Oh heck ya'll it was always my favorite dish at the dinner, period....who am I trying to fool. Give me a choice between a plate piled high with delicious chicken and dumplings, pinto beans, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and homemade biscuits or a piece of this gooey goodness...I'll go for the goo every time. (Yeah, I know, my love of sweets is why I have to do a Tales from the Scales post once a week.) You can imagine how thrilled I was when Rosemary gave me her Mississippi Mud recipe for my cookbook! Thanks Rosemary! Love You!

This week I made a batch and took it to school. Rave Reviews! So I wanted to share it with all of you! As is unusual for me, I had all of the correct ingredients and did not stray from the recipe at all. Be warned: Cut small pieces and pour a big, cold glass of milk to go with!

Mississippi Mud
To 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup margarine add 4 eggs, one at a time. Next,
add: 1 1/2 cups sifted flour, 1/3 cup cocoa, 3 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 cup nuts.
Mix and pour into greased and floured 13x9 inch pan. Bake at 300ยบ
30-35 minutes. While still hot, spread 1 small bag of mini
marshmallows over cake and bake 10 min. Let cool.

Mix 1 stick melted margarine
1 box powdered sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 c. milk (more if needed to spread well)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. nuts
Mix and spread on cake and let set 3-4 hours

Also getting rave reviews were Edith's Chess Squares. I used the glass dish this time and they turned out just right!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tales from the Scales WK 4

Whew! I managed to lose the pesky pound I gained last week. WooHoo! Now it's time to try and get back on track for real. I've missed WW meetings the last two weeks. Last week I was unable due to having something more important to do. The week before I just skipped! I was getting a little aggravated w/paying 12 bucks and not seeing the results I wanted to see. Ummm, it could be that I wasn't seeing the results 'cause I wasn't following the program...I'm just saying. This week, I will track. I promise. And I'll drink more water, which should be quite easy to do considering I've had a whopping none this week. I think if I can focus on those two things along with keeping the exercise going, I'll do OK!

This week the exercise of choice is the second Leslie Sansone Walk at Home/Walk Slim DVD from the set I mentioned last week. This is the Fast Start walk/jog. The length is shorter but the workout is just as good. I think I might like it a little bit better. I like having the option of doing those intervals of jogging rather than just walking, and Leslie's jog is completely doable. Again, Leslie scores a 10 of 10 with me. I may break out the Dancing with the Stars DVD this week. I've tried this one once before(right after I bought it) and I seem to remember bouncing around like an idiot for half an hour. After that one time, I put it away and it hasn't seen the light of day since. I'll give it another go and pay more attention this time so that I can share it with ya'll!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Randomness Revisted

This is what my embroidery thread stash looked like. No wonder it took me so long to pick it back up. Digging through that mess would drive anyone to distraction! So I've been working on it and now it looks like this. Much better! Went to Walmart today. Mark had to buy some gadgety thing for the lawn mower. Me, I mosey back to the fabrics/craft dept. for some embroidery thread. Now that it is organized, I know what colors I need. I get to where I'm going only to discover they no longer carry embroidery thread!!! WHAT? NOOOO! WalMart has muscled in and pushed all the little guys out of business...they are the only store in town where you can buy anything remotely craft supply like. How DARE they stop selling what I need! Curse you WalMart! Now I will have to drive 45 min. and spend nearly 30 bucks in gas to get to a JoAnn Fabrics in order to buy .25 embroidery floss! Stupid WalMart.

An embroidery work in progress.

I made these cute checkbook covers using Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing book. VERY simple to make (as the title of the book would suggest) and fun to use! I think I need one for every season and some for gifting! I need to spend some more quality time with that book.

Speaking of books, got this one recently. Terribly cute projects inside!! Except for the stuffed poop. WHY would someone want to make a poop doll? Now ya'll know I'm all for being silly and I enjoy things that are on the wacky side, I really do! But a poop doll? I don't get it.

My one and only Halloween decoration: a vintage 50's light up jack-o-lantern and black cat. I love it! I'd like to have more Halloween decor, but I just can't seem to find what I want, or maybe I don't know what I want...

And on the cooking front. I know that making salad is not technically cooking, but this was soooo yummy I thought I'd share. My grandmother made a similar salad for my brother and me last weekend. I tried to reproduce it today. Nothin' to it really, but I'd never had this type of salad before and it's now one of my favorite things! Mamaw Doris used iceberg lettuce and milder apples, but I used what we had on hand. Toss together: dark leafy green lettuces, gala apple chunks, crushed pecans and shredded carrots. I think it may be a variation on a Waldorf Salad. Whatever you call it, it was tasty.

OK, ok, ok! I realize this has been one random post! I'll try to focus on just one topic next time :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fall Y'all Giveaway...Coming Soon!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I just found out that on October 29th another bloggy giveaway begins! I will be participating in the giveaway again since it was so much fun the first time around! Check back to find out what I will be giving away! I don't know myself yet but it will be something new and handmade and it might very well be another apron. You can go to the bloggy giveaways website for info on how to join in on the Fall Y'all fun or to participate in the giveaway goodness going on right now!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I started on these Days of Week Towels back in the Spring of 2006. I don't know why it took me so long to pick them back up, but regardless they are done! Managed to get in several good hours of movie-watching while finishing them! FYI: The Patriot---I had forgotten how good, Young Guns II---better n' the first w/0 cheesy music & Three Amigos---HILARIOUS every time! Have I mentioned how much I love having this week off work in the Fall?

I love these! Not bragging, mind you. I just really think they turned out nicely. The towels are Martha Stewart from KMart. They come with the days of the week pre-embroidered, so they were perfect for these cute Aunt Martha bunnies! This little guy is my favorite of the lot. Freshly washed(as they've been in my embroidery bag soooo long) and starched and now ready for gifting. I think I have another set of these Martha Stewart DOW towels in a closet somewhere. The only question now is do I use another Aunt Martha's or do I bust out the Sublime Stitching patterns? Hmmm? Either way, I think I need a set for myself! Here are some of my other un-finished projects and some I finished a while back!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tales from the Scales Wk. 3

I think this is week 3 anyway...someone correct me if I'm wrong!

I know that so many of you who are doing the challenge are doing great! Let me congratulate you right here and now! I will be reading you're stories this week and hopefully I'll find some inspiration to get myself in gear! I'm not doing so hot. Last week I was whining because I stayed the same. Vowed to refocus. This week I actually gained a pound...that'll teach me to whine for maintaining, huh? Now I know ya'll don't wanna hear me whine more or cry over gaining a pound, so I won't do it. I've said this before ...I'm fat 'cause I eat too much and I exercise too little. Bottom line. No mystery, no deep psychological stuff with me. OK, yeah I DO tend to overeat and overeat and overeat some more when I'm feeling stressed, so maybe there is a little psychological stuff there but basically... I loves me some ice cream, pop, and cup cakes...a lot. Heck, I didn't even try last week. It was a stressful week. Still I know enough to know that had I decided to choose exercise over junk food, I'd have managed that stress just as well, probably better! But, you know, with every new day comes a clean slated and who's to say that today won't be the day that I get on board and do what I know I need to do?

This morning, after I weighted in, I thought about my plan to revisit all my exercise DVDs and how I did it for a week and just stopped. SO this morning, even though I was feeling a little pitiful over gaining, I popped in a DVD and decided to at least get back on the exercise track! Feel better for it, too! Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home. I can't say enough good things about these workouts. These are the workouts I was using faithfully when I was losing weight weekly and actually trying. You'd think I'd learn from my past success... Anyhow, compared to the others I've blogged to date, it is my favorite, hands down. This is a set of two. A 2 mile walk/jog and a 3 mile fast walk. This morning I did the 3 mile fast walk workout. There's a five minute warm up followed by a 35min. walk and a 5 min. cool down/stretch segment. The moves are very simple and straightforward. Walk in place, walk forward/back, kicks, side step, with some arm movements ...that's about it. Sounds boring, but it's not at all! I was enjoying it, despite my pitiful self, this morning. Leslie is very motivating and she's fun to watch. And 45 min/three miles, 'cmon...that's a good workout!! I was sweaty and a tad winded, but not falling on the floor begging for mercy when it was over. My rating...10!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I'm Blabbering ...and a Halloween Apron

It's 9:30 a.m. Second day of Fall Break. My house is clean. I have a bag full of DVDs borrowed from Shea and an embroidery project to work on this morning(while watching yet undetermined movie). Later today I'm meeting my friend Heather to take some photos of her family at the city park. It's a sunny, breezy and our forecast is calling for mid 80's. Harry Connick Jr's OH my Nola CD is playing on my itunes. It's gonna be a good day!

I might add that yesterday--first day of Fall break--was a great day! Managed, with the help of two friends, to box up the other half of my school library and be back home before 2:00. Watched Young Guns. What a good movie. I had forgotten how much fun(though bloody) that movie was. Here's the thing that bugged me about it, though. Right in the middle of this WESTERN there was a block of cheesy 80's synthesizer music. It played during the end credits too. WHAT? They couldn't find genre specific or historically appropriate music for the film in the 80's???? I guess it wouldn't have been an 80's movie without it. Still, good movie. Caught the new show Journeyman---time travel fascinates me---and enjoyed it. I worked on some embroidery last night as well. It's amazing how enjoyable the day is and much I can accomplish when I don't have to go to work!

Finished up this Halloween apron yesterday too! I didn't know it at the time, but I chose a pattern that was WAY to difficult for a beginner! Butterick Pattern B4945 for those of you who are wondering. Spent about six hours working on it(not all at once) and there were lots of directions on the pattern I didn't understand. With my mother out of the country, I had to go it alone on this one and couldn't call her wehn I didn't know what I was doing.. Much seam ripping was done and there are still some stitches that I need to remove. Lots of things that aren't evident in the photo are wrong. Considering all this, I'm proud of it! It's darn cute when I don't scrutinize every little detail and mistake! I may even wear it to work on Halloween!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Itchin' for some Stitchin'

Where crafting is concerned, I have a touch of attention span jumps around, a lot. I'm still digging the sewing, mind you, but I've kinda been itching to drag out the old embroidery hoop lately.

These are a few projects that I've started and a year later(two in one case) have yet to finish. I guess ot
her projects got in the making, scrapbooking, building a new house, life...

This one I started
as a shower gift for a friend who got married nearly two summers ago. I've started on them two other times thinking I would finish them for other people's wedding gifts. I've decided to give it another shot and give them to the person for whom they were originally intended!! How's that for a novel idea!I picked up these vintage tea towels a couple of years ago at a local antique mall and knew immediately they would have French poodles on them. At the time, I never imagined that TWO YEARS LATER they'd be unfinished!Anthro fruits & veggies are my favorite subject for embroidery! I've made one set for Jackie(my sis') and one for Shea(my bro') . These were supposed to be for me!And now, I've gone and bought this! Jenny Hart's Sublime Stitching book! I've wanted it forever and I finally coughed up the money and bought it.
Basically, I've taught myself how to embroider. A friend of mine gave me her old stitch diagram from the 60's and another gal I work with has shown me some stitches here and there. But other than that, I do a lot of trial and error. Thankfully, there is a solid section on different types of stitches and how to work them in the book. Maybe now I can finally learn those stitches I've just sorta been playing around with! I might add, the patterns in this book are so stinkin' cute that I couldn't have passed it up even without that awesome "stitching school"!

Although I haven't done an embroidery in a while, it is one of my favorite hobbies. It's comfortable and relaxing to me. Yeah, I know some folks may see it as an old fashioned granny hobby, but I like that it's old fashioned! Perhaps that's what feels comfortable to me about grandmothers all did some type of needlework. I also appreciate (very much)that it doesn't require any type of technology to embroider ! OK, I just realized that last sentence sounds a little like Michael Scott from this week's episode of the office! ha! Don't get me wrong, technology is great, really. I use it on a daily basis and would be lost without my computer, cell phone, ipod, etc. But don't you think our world moves awfully fast? Does anyone else long for a little simplicity every once in a while? There I go again....I'm too young to be talking this way! Sheesh!

ANYWAY...I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes it's nice to just slow down, park myself on the couch and use a needle, some thread and my own two hands to make something pretty.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I owe my sewing machine an apology...

Apparently it doesn't hate me. It just needed a little special attention. Thanks to some of my buddies at work, I managed to get her up and running again. Just when I had made up my mind to buy a nice new(but inexpensive) Kenmore! I managed to finish up the apron for my sister. I didn't think I'd ever finish it and there were many many many snags along the way with this one! I would like to have done a better job on it, but I think for a once in a year accessory, Jackie will still like it! Also made her and Scott a set of Halloween coasters from Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing and some fun mixy-matchy Halloween napkins.

As far as yesterday being a black cloud was BUT today was better...nothing out of the ordinary. ;) Perhaps I'm feeling this way because it's the week before Fall Break and everyone seems to have gone nuts. The students and the teachers, myself included...especially myself. Lord, get us through tomorrow and let us come back with our sanity restored!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My day was like this...


Big Fat Zero.

That's how much I lost this week. Good thing I'm exercising or it'd be a gain! Is it just me or do you completely lose control when you get stressed out and eat everything remotely chocolate and or chip like that comes within view/smell/thought? I HATE to be off track so early in the game.

OK, will try to refocus and do better this week. In the meantime here's a little song about exercise!