Friday, November 30, 2012

Wedding Rings

I love weddings, always have, which is kind of ironic considering I didn't really want to get married for a long time.  But there's something about making heartfelt, passionate, meaningful promises to someone you love, love, love, out loud that just gets me.

I thought once I tied the knot in this FABULOUS DRESS I might lose interest in the NY Times wedding announcements. But Styles is still the first section I turn to every Sunday, skimming the longer entries for stories of how people met - because who cares where the bride's mother works?  I want to read what the pickup line was!

This summer my favorite party by far was thrown by my friends Scott and Danny, in celebration of their wedding after EIGHTEEN years together.  It was held outside at a house where they've vacationed every summer for years. From the party favors of fancy cheese (Danny's a true connoisseur) to the part of their ceremony where guests blessed pieces of sea glass collected by the couple's families in summers past, it was just such a thoughtful and loving night.

So what does a novice quilter do for newlyweds she loves?  Well, not the traditional wedding ring quilt with all of its intricate paper piecing.  And certainly nothing big enough to cover that king size bed! And a minimum amount of quilting the sides together, because I still just suck at that.

I decided to go with a picnic quilt (I'd recently made one for myself) because it's such a nice thing for a "family" to have.  I started with a traditional (and free!) pattern found  here, modifying the edges and turning the paper piecing into solid circles).  I ended up with this:

Oh, I'm sorry, are you having a hard time picturing the picnic they could have?  How's this?

Those are some seriously wavy edges, but the recipients know it was made with mucho cariƱo.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Housecoats and Ponchos

Ugh, if I'd only known when I walked into Target that this one little purchase would prevent me from ever leaving the house again...

I just cannot take this thing off.  I get that I look like a fat old man cookie monster, and that there is grocery shopping to do and a new car seat that isn't going to install itself and mail to retrieve, but I cannot bring myself to even untie the sash.  I totally get now why grandmas call them housecoats.  Why would you ever relegate such a lush piece of acrylic to just one room or time of day?

So what to do stuck inside all day?  Sewing project!

I stopped at Joann's on Friday, not because I'm the kind of gullible person that gets manipulated by Black Friday "sales" but because the super-expensive batting was 60% off that morning (no, seriously, this was like a REAL sale).  So I was making a beeline for the stuffing corner when I saw this pattern out of the corner of my eye:

Now, I stopped sewing clothes for Miss J when I realized she'd never wear the 2 dresses I'd made her, because while she was busy outgrowing them, they were sitting in the IRONING pile.  But this was seasonally appropriate (no procrastinating!), and did not involve a zipper.  I went blue fleece to match her eyes, and trimmed it with a pretty ribbon that I also used for the velcro closure at the neck.  It has a Russian princess feel and reminds me of one of my favorite childhood books,  The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.  So here's the finished product:

And here it is on my model:

Not the greatest shot, but we were interrupted by a well-meaning passerby who wondered why I was making my child crawl around outside in 32 degree weather with no mittens.  Dude, it's a poncho, you don't need mittens - be impressed I got her to keep the shoes on!

I'm pretty pleased with it - it's as comfortable as my housecoat but decidedly more attractive.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Passing on the Patchwork

When I was eight and sick in bed with the chickenpox for a week, a friend of the family sent me this quilt: (after reading this post my mom informs me I received this for a baby present - so I guess I just first APPRECIATED it during that chicken pox week!)

I loooooved it, but more than the top I loved the back that (back in the day) was jet black with tiny flowers.  When I pulled the covers over my head the light would shine through and the flowers were like stars in the sky.

Cotton sure does fade over the years, but not that red acrylic yarn used to tie it!  As I've gotten into quilting this year I wanted to make similar quilts for my nieces, and I wanted to start with the back fabric since that was the part I loved best in my quilt.  I finally decided on this:

It's Kaffe Fassett's Fan Flower.  I'm not usually one to pay attention to fabric names/designers, but when I ran out fabric for the back of these quilts I spent a frenzied hour on the internet discovering they don't make it anymore!  These sisters like matching everything - if you vary too much one sister always suspects the other got the better deal, so I knew the backs needed to match.  This is what I ended up with:

And for the front, which I have a feeling will end up being the back, considering how much little girls love their names, I did this with shott cottons, which I'd never heard of before I fell in love with this post. 

Ha, and all together now...

I'm excited to lint roll the cat hair off these puppies and get them in the mail!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Presents for the Garbage Obsessed

My nephew has been obsessed with all-that-is-garbage since he could talk - or at least that's how long we've been aware of the obsession.  In the early days this meant circling the neighborhood to find garbage trucks to follow.  As he learned to walk it meant patrolling the neighborhood on trash day to close all the cans.  Now it means his garbage-themed birthday party involves games where the challenge is sorting recycling into the correct bin, and the family hits all the sanitation department open houses for the surrounding towns every summer.  Even though he lives across the country, he is who I call when I need to know the last day I can leave out yard waste or whether pizza boxes are ok to throw in the "toter" (yes, that's what they're called in this part of the country and only my nephew and I know that).   A couple years ago I collected close to 30 gum containers that looked like recycling bins, tore off the labels and gave them to him for Christmas.

Last year I came up with this t-shirt:

The lid flaps up so you can put stuff inside.  So what's it going to be this year?  Looking for suggestions!