Thursday, December 30, 2010

What I Won't for 2011

A new year is fast approaching and it's a time when, instead of looking back at the missed opportunities and misfires of the past year, I(like a lot of folks) prefer to look ahead to the possibilities that a new year brings.

A few years ago, instead of making resolutions I made a Not-To-Do list. I was inspired by this article and liked the idea of thinking about what I didn't want to do rather than coming up with a list of resolutions that I may or may not make happen. For 2011, I think another list of un-resolutions is in order. 

My 2011 Not To Do List

I will not continue to hate my body. I've been doing it since I was in the fifth grade and the family doctor asked me if I was going  out for the football team.  I've done a lot of damage to my body since then by going on unhealthy diets...gaining and losing weight over and over. I've crammed my body full of junk food and neglected to take care of it. And have landed again at 30 40 50 too many pounds overweight. But, I refuse to go on another diet! Diets are motivated by self loathing and I'm done with that. Instead, I plan to love this body by:
  • moving it with regular exercise that makes me feel good(not something I dread doing that makes me feel like I've been trampled by a herd of elephants).
  • feeding it healthier foods and water.
  • taking in less junk.
  • taking time to unwind and de-stress.
  • surrounding myself with positive people and a support system via SparkPeople to help me as I learn to love my body once and for all.
I will not put myself down in front of other people or worry about what other people think of me.  Not only am I guilty of calling myself names and putting myself down, but I worry constantly about what other people think about me. Constantly. I think this probably stems from the whole body image thing...never good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, cool enough, blah blah blah.  Of course I realize this way of thinking is ridiculous, which is why:
  • Phrases like "I'm so fat" and scores of other lies I've uttered about myself are banished from my vocabulary. Anyone who hears/reads these phrases from me has my permission to give me a smack upside the head.
  • I will no longer get bent out of shape when someone calls me "Little Susie Homemaker" or makes a crack because I like to sew, cook, and hang out at home. I've taken offense to it in the past and regarded it as a put-down. I simply refuse to see it that way anymore.
  • I am not going to seek approval from everyone I know(and don't know).
  • I am proud of who I am, quirks and all.
I will not be the nagging wife.  I'm flawed, y'all.  I admit it, I pick and I nag at my husband sometimes. He'd probably argue that  I do it a lot. I hope not, but I fear that I am hard to live with. So when the situation arises that I want and/or need him to do something around the house, I'll ask. Once. If he doesn't get to it in my time, I'll let it go. I know men and women live in two completely different time zones and I'm going to try to be more attune to that.  If he does something in a way that is different from my way I'll be appreciative instead of pointing out why my way is better...because it is(wink wink, nod nod).

I will not give in to negativity.  God bless them, there are just some people who are unable to be positive. If you gave them a hundred bucks they'd say "Dang. Now I have to get out my wallet to put this away." I have to be honest with myself here and admit that I tend to sway to the negative side. Which means I am easily influenced and brought down by these Negative Nellies. It's gonna be hard but I'm going to try to deflect that negativity as often as I can. While I can't avoid all the negative that comes my way, I can make a conscious effort to surround myself with more positives.

I will not spend money frivolously. Unless it involves fabric or books.

I will not be bored.  There is absolutely no excuse for me to be bored. I'm OK with lazy every once in a while, because a day of  wearing pajamas, stretching out on the couch and reading or watching TV is relaxing. Boredom, on the other hand, is ridiculous and uncalled for. There's alway something to do...even if it is to simply meditate on how incredibly blessed I am. There are so many things I want to do creatively in the coming year that I refuse to let boredom ever rear it's ugly head. 

I will not forget to be thankful. I serve a wonderful God. A God who has blessed me with the most incredible family a girl could ask for and the most undeserved gifts of everlasting Love and Grace. I have so much and have done so little to deserve any of it. I am thankful for this past year(and all the years of my life) for the overflowing of love from my family and friends, for health, for a home, for all the things I take for granted on a daily basis.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Free Fabric Giveaway

Hoping that you had a wonderful Christmas filled with family and fun! I certainly did!

I'll get back to regular blogging soon but today has been dubbed Kitchen Cabinet Cleanup Day. I have to have a place to put those new small appliances and the gorgeous polka dot ovenware set I got for Christmas, right?! And I'm really tired of being beat to near death by plastic storage containers that fall from my kitchen cabinets every time I open a door.

Still...I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share this fabulous fabric giveaway that's going on over at Dawn's Quilt Corner. She's generously giving away 7 yards of Robert Kaufman's Cat in the Hat & Celebrate Seuss fabric!

Photo from Dawn's Quilt Corner Giveaway
I just discovered Dawn's blog through a friend, and I'm so glad I did. I love finding others who inspire me. Go check it out & enter the giveaway....and of course if you don't have a need for 7 yards of Dr. Seuss fabric, you can always send it my way!

Now, I'm off to tackle some Tupperware.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Winner and a Rag Doll

Grey Cat Quilts was the winner of my Merry Mushroom smock. It's on it's way and I hope she will enjoy wearing it!

Thanks so much to all of the 280+ folks who dropped by during the Sew Mama Sew giveaway event!

Not much craftiness(or cookery) going on around here lately. It seems like every day of my Christmas break thus far has been spent running around. But I'm not complaining...I've had the chance to hang out with family and friends and that has been awesome and most excellent!

Last week(about this time), I was cutting and wrapping caramels and sewing like a mad woman trying to finish everything up by the last day of school.  This year at the school where I work, each staff member has been assigned a child to mentor. I wanted to do something for the little girl who is my partner for Christmas, so I decided to make her a rag doll, something near and dear to my heart. I didn't really play with "baby" dolls much as a kid, but I had two handmade rag dolls and a Holly Hobbie doll that I adored.

I have been wanting to try and complete a rag doll since I started this one (using a vintage Polly Pal pattern) a couple years ago.
Sadly, she's been tossed into the closet, naked and bald for far too long because I didn't think I could tackle the clothes or hair with any degree of success.

I knew finishing Polly Pal wasn't an option, so this time around I followed the instructions in Wee Wonderfuls and made this little doll called Patchwork Penny. She was surprisingly easy to make!

I am happy with the way she turned out for my first completed attempt and I think my little friend liked her as well. After she opened her and asked if I made it, she said "She's pretty" and "I like her boots". Sweet!

Now that I've had some success, I think I may return to Polly Pal before too long!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Giveaway! Merry Mushrooms Apron

Welcome to those of you who have cruised in from the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

I hope you'll take a minute to check out my blog.  I frequently rattle on about sewing, quilting, cooking, my love of aprons, my inept attempts at domesticity, affinity for all thing vintage, and Harry Connick Jr.

But enough about me,  I know why you're really here....

Giveaway Day!

I would love for you to have this fun, funky, retro smock style apron made from Windham's Merry Mushroom line! While I adore a flouncy, girly apon, I love a good smock apron too. They're great for doing household chores and allow you to get down and dirty without a lot of flounce and froof to get in the way!

All you need to do is leave a comment on this post to be eligible to win!  Please leave your email address or make sure that you have an email addy attached to your profile so I can contact you if you win. That's it! Easy-Cheesy, right?

If you would like extra entries you can:
  • become a follower of my blog(let me know via a comment).
  • visit my etsy shop, come back here and tell me which of the six or so aprons currently listed is your favorite.
Giveaway will run through December 17th.

Thanks for stopping by!  That's it for me---I'm off to try and snag some goodies myself!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Coming Soon! A Giveaway!

Sew Mama Sew is hosing Giveaway Day beginning on Monday. I missed out on the last Giveaway Day, but I'm excited that I'll be able to get in on it this time around. I have yet to decide exactly what to make(or pull).

Come back Monday to find out what handcrafted item I will be giving away! 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Process Post (BBP mini quilt)

This little quilt has been mocking me from my design wall since I hung it there last week. I started on it a while back and stopped. I got frustrated after spending what seemed like hours trying to freehand with fabric something that might pass for an angry pig. And as frustrating as it was, now that time has passed, I really like the way he turned out. Especially his angry eyes. 

Tired of the mockery,  I decided to get back to it and have been sewing scraps together in a somewhat wonky fashion for the border. Almost finished....

My thoughts right now:
  • I love the letters. Love. love. love. them! 
  • Not entirely happy with where I placed the pig, but I ran out of the black fabric and had to make do.
  • All those border colors might need some containing w/an outer border or black binding at the least. 
  • It might not need a border at all.
  • Did I mention I love the letters?
This is the third quilt that I've made that I'd consider arty but others might consider modern(the other two are pictured in this post). I haven't  followed any design and just went with the process. I love doing it this way and am beginning to lose the "it must be perfect" attitude---which feels nice.

I'm hoping to have this guy done this week. 

Interested in taking The Process Pledge yourself? Go here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bee Blocks

So tonight I finally got busy on the Fresh Comfort 2 Bee blocks due for Liz. They were due in November. Hopefully she won't mind they are a tad late. I have to say that these are, to date, the most addictive quilt blocks I've made. The tutorial for these blocks is here. It was my first go at paper piecing...super fun! Of course it didn't hurt that Liz sent along a bunch of vintage sheet fabrics for me to play with on these blocks. I added a few scraps of my own in one of the blocks, but mostly let the sheets do the talking. I hope Liz enjoys them!

A couple more bee blocks....these are for Marlynn in the Sew Bee Wonky bee. I've had them done for a while, just keep forgetting to mail them. Bad helper bee! Bad!

They make look familiar as they are the same type of blocks that I used in the Big Biting Pig quilt seen here. No, I'm not finished with that quilt either. But it is hanging on my design wall, mocking me.

My current crafty to do  list...perhaps writing it down will force me to get going.
More Fresh Comfort blocks
Finish baby quilt
Finish Big Biting Pig mini quilt
Finish wonky house quilt
Christmas apron
Etsy aprons(it's been far too long)
Experiment with watercolors

Monday, November 29, 2010

In Which Kellie Makes a Design Wall (errr, tacks a tablecloth to the wall)

I have a design wall! WooHoo! OK, it's a dorky homemade design wall, but it's a design wall nonetheless. Normally when I try to put together a quilt, I lay the blocks on the floor, only to have cats and/or the dog decide to lay on them, carry them off, or attempt to eat them. Not to mention, it's hard to really take everything in when you're standing over it rather than in front of it.

I've seen photos on quilting blogs of lovely studio spaces with large design walls and envied the quilters who get to create in such wonderful spaces. My "studio" is actually a spare bedroom turned computer room/crafty space/ebay-antique junk holding room combo. Not exactly the studio of my dreams, but it works. Tonight I decided that, despite the fact I'm up to my eyeballs in unfinished projects, laundry and general clutter, I couldn't go another night without a design wall of my own.

So I grabbed the wadded up tablecloth from the sewing closet and got to it(3M Command Strips, I heart you!).  I suppose I could have bought a "fancy" wall or maybe spent the money to create a more permanent one, but the version I've got going here is suiting me fine.  I saw it done this way at my local quilt shop and I figure if a tablecloth design wall is good enough for the quilt shop, it's certainly good enough for me!

And nah, I couldn't take the time to iron(can you even iron the backside of a vinyl tablecloth), steam, or otherwise smooth it out. I'm impatient like that. I slapped a couple of my current projects up, stood back and admired my tablecloth turned design wall. It'll be nice to be able to step back as I'm working on future projects and take a look at my work...hopefully it'll help me focus on the process a bit more.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This year, I decked the table.

This year, instead of decking halls, I decked the kitchen table.

 I have good reasons, however....

1. Trixie. Despite appearing laid back in this photo, she is a fiesty little devil who decided to take down our Christmas tree not once, but three times the last time I put it up.

2. Our Goat-dog. Oh, don't let that adorable face fool you. This dog is bent on destruction and will eat and/or drag off anything not nailed down.

This is the lovely white tree that I was so proud of. Then the cat climbed it and knocked it over. Three times. Fearing it's highly unstable(and since about half the ornaments were broken), I decided not to put it up this year. Sadly, I missed out on the after Christmas tree deals last year and don't have a replacement  for it. This photo was taken after putting it back up for the third time and moving the ornaments from the back side to the front to replace the ones that were broken.

And then there's this. My coveted aluminum 50's Christmas tree.

I adore it! But the dog is still much too destructive to be trusted around it, so I'm holding off on putting it up till next Christmas. Surely she will be calmed down by then...and I will have made a lovely retro tree skirt for it as well.

So instead of two fun and funky trees, my Christmas decorating this year consists of a sparse but shiny aluminum Charlie Brown(ish) tree and a tablecloth.

And I'm OK with that. Christmas spirit isn't really found in the trees and trimmings, anyway. It's the Christmas spirit inside us that really counts.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


OK, I should be cleaning house right now. I should be doing laundry. I should be working on a baby quilt for a special little girl who will likely be here before I get it finished. And then there's the 2 loaves of bread, butter pecan cake and a batch of Cowboy Caviar to take to the folks' for Thanksgiving tomorrow that I haven't even begun to think about getting started on.

But am I doing any of those things? Nah. I've been looking at crafty blogs, websites and going through my growing collection of sewing books. The one I pick up the most often?

I am officially obsessed with this book and nearly every single project in it. I love these little soft dolls and animals.  I didn't really play with baby dolls much except for Rub A Dub Dolly and a doll that had a birthday hat and other birthday accessories(anyone remember her?). I was more a Barbie girl. However, I loved Hollie Hobbie and I had two handmade rag dolls, plenty of stuffed animals--including a yellow calico elephant-- and some crochet toys that my grandmother made for me. The projects in this book, while thoroughly modern, remind me of those toys and my sweet 70's childhood. Perhaps that explains my obsession.

1. Doxie Dachshunds, 2. av's-baby-mermaid-1, 3. dressed down margot x 2, 4. patchwork penny, 5. Tag Along Doll, 6. panda buns!, 7. Katie Kitty, 8. Bookworm, 9. DSC03360, 10. P1000511, 11. Beebee standing, 12. Marie Antoinette

I've yet to make any of the projects, but I plan too in the near future! If I spent less time drooling over the book and more time sewing, I'd have half the projects made! 

I want to start with either the mermaid or Patchwork Penny(#4 in the mosiac). In the meantime, I've got a flickr mosiac to inspire me! What are you obsessing over?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In Process: Mini Quilt Inspired by a Big Biting Pig

The Process Pledge

I, ____Kellie______, pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them into words or be sure I’m being totally clear.   I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there.  

For those of you who have "heard" me babble about The Process Pledge, there you have it. I stumbled upon it on a blog a while back and thought it was a great idea, especially for someone fairly new to quilting. Although, I can see how it would also be valuable to any type of artist. It'll be interesting to see how my processes change/are refined as I become more experienced and confident in my skills.

Here's the process/progress of a project I am currently working on:

First of all you need to know that in my little corner of KY, we have our very own independent film production company. Cool, huh? It's called Big Biting Pig Productions and they make suspense/horror flicks.  A few weeks back they had a  fan art contest. and while I thought "I should make a quilt!" I also thought "that would be completely nerdy and people will realize I am an uber dork", so I didn't do it. 

This past weekend, following a wrap party for the latest film and a burst of inspiration, I decided to go ahead and stitch up my take on fan art. I mean who was I kidding? It's not like it would come as a surprise to anyone that I'm nerdy and dorky. Besides, it is feeding my need to do something creative.

It's(obviously) still a work in progress, but here's what I have done so far: 
These letters were the devil to make. Perhaps that makes them befitting  a company that makes horror movies. The one online tutorial I've ever came across for this type of letter was removed, so I had to wing it. I drew them first and used that as my guide. 
(my letter guide sketch...please ignore the  bits of Milky Way Caramel)

From there I just began cutting small bits of fabric and "playing" until I got something that resembled a letter.  Luckily, they seemed to work out. OK...if I'm being honest, I actually think they look pretty great.

Since this is a tribute to a movie company, I decided some stars were in order. As I was digging through my scrap bag for star fabrics, I came across some pieces from an apron I made a while back.  I thought the man looked like he was screaming and the woman had a bit of a worried look on her face. I knew immediately I had to add these to the quilt, so they were added to the center of the stars. 

I don't have it all worked out in my head, but I think it's going to need at least one more star and  I simply cannot have a Big Biting Pig quilt without a pig. Since I've never done anything like this, I have no idea how it's going to all fit together in the end. I think it'll be rather like working a puzzle. I'm having a great time with it!
I hope to have it finished this week and I'll be continue to blog my process as it comes along.

 To take The Process Pledge yourself, go here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Triton's Delight...or...I Crush Everything

Is it wrong that I am totally, completely, 100% in love with this quilt? Because I am.

I know I took the Process Pledge, but  I started this quilt long before I decided to pay more attention to the process. I'm ashamed to admit that it's been hiding in a closet(for fear of cat hair and dog slober) but tonight it's out of the closet and I will find a home for it somewhere, whether it's folded on a bench, resting on a bed, or hanging on the wall.

In a nutshell, here's the lowdown on the process:

I used a Turning Twenty pattern. Sort of.  Instead of using 20 fat quarters, I used ten half yards of fabric. I also laid the blocks out in a design pleasing to me, rather than following the T20 pattern. Basically, I used the pattern as a guideline on how to cut the FQs and put together the block. I guess you could say this is my own design, inspired by the Turning Twenty.

The fabric is Mendocino from Heather Ross. Y'all, it's like buttah'!  The mottled gold is the only non-Mendocino fabric in the quilt. I can't remember why I didn't have ten of those prints---maybe there weren't any more available in the brown/aqua/colorway? Regardless, I dig it.

After spending so much time and money on the top, no way was I going to try and quilt it on my home machine and with my lack of machine quilting skill. The gal who quilted it let me go through her designs(computer aided) until I found something that I thought would work. The pattern I chose had a seaweed kind of feel. She did a great job with it!

After it was quilted, I went back to to find more Mendocino to bind it with. I didn't realize the line had been discontinued and the prices had skyrocketed. Still, I snagged a half yard for about 7 bucks. Normally I would never pay that for fabric, but I am soooo glad I did. I love how the addition of a second gold fabric frames the quilt.

As for the name, I'm not completely satisfied with Triton's Delight. I think it works, I think it's fun...Triton would certainly approve of sea creatures, mermaids, and little swimming girls. But I secretly call it I Crush Everything, because the giant squid swimming around on it make me think of this song by Jonathan Coulton:

Working on other projects that I hope to post about this week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Flea Market Finds and a Creepy Cymbal Playing Chimpanzee Freak

This past weekend we hit up one of our favorite local flea markets. Normally, I take my camera along and photograph things that make me smile, laugh, or want to run in the other direction.

One of those flea market field trips is here, and yet another can be found here.

This time around, I just wasn't feelin' it. It may have been that I was preoccupied with  getting my Halloween drops done for The Toy Society. It could also have been because my hands were too busy shoving hot, fresh caramel corn and roasted ears of corn on the cob into my face to take photos. Or perhaps it was because there was sooo much vintage goodness to be had that I just didn't think to grab the camera.

...except for when I decided to document this. I know I'm usually going to run across one at some point, but they still scare the crap out of me.  [[Shudder]]

Now that that's out of the way, I'll share some of the non-terrifying goodies that I managed to snag.

Mark bought this adorable ceramic/chalk(?) Scottie bank for me. I love this shade of green!

 We realized once we got it home that the lid doesn't really go w/this cookie jar. But no worries. It was only 3 bucks and looks cute over the kitchen counters.

I searched and searched through a large pile of vintage towel calendars for 1968. No luck. BUT I couldn't pass up these fun designs. I love the color combo on the barn. These may end up being tote bags.

Lovely vintage full apron for $2.00!

Just in case the city of Mad'ville ever hosts a Gatsby Summer Afternoon event, I snagged this hat for a dollar. Too bad it looks ridiculous on my extra large noggin. Sigh.

I thought these were so fun! Published in '59 & '60 and a whopping $.50 each!

Vintage coloring books from the 1960's.

First ever purchase of vintage hankies. I plan to use them as apron pockets or incorporate them into bags. I feel a new obsession coming on.

I LOVE this patchwork dog!  There's a pattern for one very similar on Denyse Schmidt's website if you are so inclined to make your own. My little guy is completely hand stitched and I believe there are several feedsack fabrics. He(and the doll) will be the newest residents in my school library. The little doll tells the story of Little Red riding hood. Her dress flips up to reveal each character & his/her part in the story. Check back for more pics of her on Vintage Thingies Thursday.

This tablecloth was my favorite find of the day at a mere 5 bucks! And yeah, I can see that it needs ironing. I'll do that later...really.

It was a great day...I finally got to spend a Saturday with Mark, the weather was gorgeous, my grand total was right around 30 bucks and I had my fill of caramel corn!  We finished off the day with a late lunch at Panera Bread and a Big Biting Pig Halloween-A-Thon. Nope, not a bad day at all!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Toy Society Drops

I'm ashamed to admit it's been nearly a year since I've done a drop for The Toy Society.  When several of the girls in my sewing group decided to participate in a Halloween weekend drop, it was the  perfect opportunity to get back in the swing of it. I managed to drop two handmade toys while Mark and I were at a local flea market. With so many people milling around, it was hard to be covert, but I managed.

The first drop was another of my robots, yes-I'm a tad obsessed.

 Funny, I was so worried about being spotted dropping this guy, but he hung around unnoticed for quite some time! We visited the building where I dropped him first thing and went back to that building(for vintage hankies)about four hours later and he was still there! We checked again after the hanky buying excursion and he was gone. Yay!

The next drop, was this guy. A mini version of Lars. He's OK, but I think I'll go back to making the larger ones the next time.

I don't know how long the mini-monster stuck around. It was probably an hour later when we walked back by the stone bench where I left him. He was gone.

 I hope they found a good home or at the very least, made someone smile!

Want to spread a little hand made love? Head on over to The Toy Society for more information about this fantastic project.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Progress on the Wonky(but not so much) House Quilt

When I decided to start blogging again, I decided to take The Process Pledge and share my quilts in stages of completion.

I am currently in mid-piecing of the Wonky House quilt. I may have mentioned this before, but I chose the least wonky of my Sew Bee Wonky bee blocks and built several more less wonky houses to go along with them. I'm also using a more traditional method by putting the sashing strips in.  I guess you might say it's a Wonky quilt, but not so much!

During my sewing group meeting last week, I was able to get all of the sashing strips made and lay out the quilt. Here's what I came up with.

It took me too long to get them in just the right order and I found myself obsessing over goofy stuff such as getting two of the same colors or fabrics too close together. Clearly, I don't  have a liberated quilting mindset yet.

This afternoon, I'm sewing the sashing strips to the house rows and I must say...I'm in love with this so far and I cannot wait to see how it ends up!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vintage Thingies Thursday--Cupcake pics and a disturbing doll.

I just stopped by Colorodo Lady's blog and saw that she's still hosting Vintage Thingies Thursday. HoooRaaay...I loves me some vintage thingies!

A few weeks ago the mister and I went up to Grand Rivers KY to see replicas of the Nina and the Pinta. On our way to and from, we stopped at some antique shops and flea markets. For my reappearance at VTT, I thought I'd share some things that I bought and a couple I left behind.

I love these little cupcake pics! I've been wanting some forever and don't come across them very often. These are smaller than the ones you normally see. So sweet! I should totally make mini cupcakes, and soon!

I fell in love with this vintage apron(surprise, surprise) with it's 60's calico cat and dog print and adorable green gingham ties/pocket detail! I think I gave a whopping three bucks for it. I would have paid more. Just sayin'.

Apron  Fabric

And what did I pass up?

Weeeellll.....THIS. I don't think an explanation of why I left this behind is really necessary, is it?


I Care. And I'm Creepy.

Can't get  enough vintage thingies? Head on over to Colorodo Lady's blog for more vintagey goodness!