December 20, 2012

Introducing Opera Crispies

Have you ever heard of Opera Cremes? They are out of fashion now, according to Grandpa's vintage books, because they are tiny and have to be hand-dipped in chocolate. But they used to be popular among Victorian opera-goers, for precisely the same reason. Tiny candies are easier to sneak into long opera performances, and you can eat them surreptitiously. No large nut-cruching to distract the performers, no large mouth movements to give you away.

Grandpa's books have a couple of recipes for opera cremes, one of which includes instructions for topping with a layer of melted chocolate and cutting into pieces larger than 1/4 inches. What's not to love?

I have apparently become accustomed to learning the ins and outs of a new recipe online, with an absurd number of photographs, something notably absent from the books. When the book says, "beat candy until it just loses its gloss", I'm a bit vague on what that means. If it's just lost its gloss, are parts of it still glossy? What is the final texture I should be looking for? How much should I worry about the candy slapping around in the mixer bowl? Should I have avoided the mixer altogether? Is it even possible to mix or beat the candy thoroughly enough by hand, assuming I'm not a mid-1960s Midwest farm wife with upper-body strength augmented by regular wrangling of livestock or prize vegetables?

Opera Not Cremes
These are not Opera Cremes. These are Opera Crumbles.

My current theory is that I didn't recognize the moment of "just lost gloss" and overbeat the candy. At this stage, it doesn't even press together nicely. It tastes lovely (a butter-free caramel with diced pecans), but forget covering it in chocolate and cutting it into squares. It's a crumble through and through.

What does one do with over a pound of Opera Crumble?

Make Opera Crispies!

Opera Crispies
These are basically glorified Rice Crispie Treats (although I did look at the Porcupine Ball recipe from Celebrating Candy). I used corn flakes, rice crispies, marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, plus my opera crumbles, making more or less a double batch of treats to use up all the crumble.

Opera Crispies
Lessons learned: Fresher marshmallows are better. Mini chocolate chips melt at a lower temperature than old marshmallows. Use a stove burner with a reasonable heat output (I managed to caramelize the marshmallows before I melted them!)

These are a strange but tasty accidental creation. The candy bits give the treats a richness that I don't get when I make regular Rice Crispie Treats. And they've got enough oomph - probably thanks to the corn flakes - that a small piece is usually enough (unlike the regular kind, which is unsatisfying in any size smaller than "brick").

The downside, of course, is that to make Opera Crispies again, I'll have to overbeat a future batch of Opera Cremes.

Or maybe I should look at it from the other angle: At least I know what to do when I attempt Opera Cremes again and need to make three batches before I get the beating thing figured out.

Anyone want to come over for post-holiday treats?

December 17, 2012

An Interruption

Look what came in the mail last week:
Tiramisu pattern from Cake!
StephC over at 3 Hours Past has launched Cake Patterns, focusing on make-able, wear-able, everyday wardrobe options, "always with pockets"! Tiramisu is the first pattern, and I'm extra excited because Steph is going to do a sew-along after the first of the year with info for the knits newbie. (Ok, maybe I've done a few things with knits in the last year, but I still feel awkward and intimidated around them.)

Oh, and Steph is doing a pre-sale "circus" this week for Cake's second pattern, Pavlova, a wrap top and skirt. I bought my Tiramisu pattern during the last pre-sale (Steph uses the pre-sale to fund the printing run for the pattern) which basically worked out to a reasonably priced multi-sized pattern with free shipping.

If you think you might want a Pavlova of your own, get it now! I'll probably kick myself later for sitting this one out - I've got to make some progress on the pile of projects before I add any more!

December 12, 2012

Not done yet!

annual candy confabulation
A rough count, so far:
  • 4 pts heavy cream
  • 2 cups peanuts
  • 7 11 oz bottles of corn syrup
  • approximately 4 cups almonds
  • approximately 4 lbs butter
  • and a lot of sugar
(Apologies for the less-than-thrilling photography. Yesterday, Seattle had it's sixth darkest day of 2012, according to our local weather guru. Sure, it's a dark time of the year, but our cloud cover is so thick that it basically looks like twilight all day long!)

December 07, 2012

Gratutious Cat Photos

Taking pictures of our cat is hard. Wasabi doesn't pose. He sleeps in dark corners. He's prone to rearing up on his hind legs and swiping at things out of place, including camera lenses.

Every once in a while, though, he'll get curious about a camera.
Actually, I think he's not so much curious about the camera as why this weird black thing is hovering in front of my face.

Wasabi likes to visit people in the kitchen, since, obviously, we might be talked into feeding him. Also, he's realized that the catnip lives in the spice cupboard. Any time I open that cupboard, it could be for him, right?

I wish I had a picture of him trying to put his whole head in the catnip jar. It's a small jar. Wasabi has a big head. Hilarity ensues.

Wasabi in the catnip
This will just have to do for now.

December 04, 2012

If you need me

first caramels of 2012
I'll be in the kitchen for most of the month.

The first batch has been beta tested and deemed a success. I'm still not sure what the final collections will include beyond the essential caramels and English toffee. I've got all of Grandpa's candy books, which mostly means that nothing is impossible.

Which leaves me with improbable amounts of sugar. Hooray!

November 27, 2012

In Progress

A couple weeks ago, I shared the start of a project. Here's an update:
work in progress
Traditions and all that.

There are possibly a very limited number of extras. Speak up if you'd like to be on the receiving end!

November 23, 2012


Back in March, I announced my intentions of a personal Wardrobe Improvement Project. I made myself a single shirt and then there were clothes for Caitlyn and garden things and summer and harvest and preserving. Nothing else for me.

Which is not to say that I've abandoned the idea. This pile is all intended to end up in my closet:
a fabric pile
There is a pair of jeans, a pair of black twill pants, a skirt, a cardigan, three other tops, and a possible scarf in this pile. Of course, it's all just potential at this point. I haven't actually done anything. I've just been collecting fabric and ideas. I've been reading and watching Cindy and Sunni and Steph.

Honestly, I'm a little scared to get started.

What if I can't make things fit me? What if I don't like the look of something after it's all done? What if I flub things up because I'm following a contemporary pattern that doesn't recommend the ideal seam finish or include recommendations for lining (or underlining) something?

I know the solution here is to just get started. I know (in my head, not so much with experience) about tissue-fitting and muslins. But I'm still nervous.

But if I don't get started soon, more of my wardrobe is going to look like these shoes:
old shoes
And we can't have that, now, can we?

November 20, 2012

A Small Side Project

postage stamps
I've stumbled upon a little block swap and have, perhaps foolishly, added one more thing to my sewing queue. The Postage Stamp Block Swap is making scrappy postage stamp blocks (duh!) for swapping. I've gone through my scrap basket and found at least 12 blocks of stamps, reducing the size of the scrap basket pile by about half. (Sure, there's more in the basket, but using all of it would result in blocks that weren't "scrappy" so much as "mostly made from one fabric".)

My other postage stamp quilt from 2011 is about half-way quilted. It needs quilting in the borders, which I've been thinking I would do in loops or curves or maybe in something that could be interpreted as flowers. Which means I need to do some trial/practice quilting on something else first. Which is why the quilt's not done. Or so I tell myself.

Not sure if these new scrappy swapped postage stamp blocks will ultimately end up in a quilt by themselves or if I'll try to combine them with this summer's siggy blocks. I really like this layout option, but the relative sizes of the blocks might make it, well, not impossible but weird. I guess I'll find out in the spring!

November 14, 2012

Tangle Storage

I've recently discovered Zentangle (it's Jackie's fault). And someday, perhaps, I'll show some of my tangles. Not yet, though.

More relevantly, I decided that I didn't want to carry my tangling supplies around in a beat-up gallon ziploc kitchen escapee. I'm probably breaking all sorts of tangle etiquette by not tangling in a more meditative fashion. Oh, well. Maybe when I'm all grown up I'll figure out how to get up before dawn, write 1000 words, do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, center myself with a tangle, and be all peaceful, productive smiles for my family at breakfast.

Apparently, I'm not grown up yet.

Anyway. I made a pocket for my tangles.
Zentangle pocket
Maybe it's more of a wallet?
Zentangle pocket
I borrowed liberally from the folded card wallet tutorial at Trillium Designs but then kinda did my own thing. This version is wider, has two tangle tile sized pockets, and has an extra added pocket for pens.
Zentangle pocket
It's not perfect yet. It's too wide. Maybe I should have quilted the whole thing before assembly. The pen pocket seems excessively deep, but the top flap of the whole would need to be longer to close things up if the pen pocket were shallower. Maybe I should have put the pen pocket on the back with it's own velcro?

If I made it less wide and converted the two tile sized pockets to three credit card sized pockets, I bet it would make a nice, simple wallet. Maybe I'll try to take it even smaller, just big enough for some cash and an id, still small enough to fit in a pocket for a trip to the farmers' market.

Maybe I'll make too many of these pockets, getting it just right, trying out each new idea.

Maybe this is how I'll end up with an online store.

November 12, 2012

It's that time again

what am I working on?
Anyone want to guess what I'm working on?
what am I working on?
A limited selection of bonus points are available to those who want to play along!

November 08, 2012


When Grandma came to town over the summer, she very generously took Caitlyn shopping. It was August, so the back-to-school, autumn/winter clothes weren't available but the summer dresses were pretty well picked over. We found two floral dresses, both with straps instead of sleeves so we could put long sleeves under them for warmth.

Sadly, the first time we washed them, one of the dresses not only shrank almost to the point of unwearablity, but its straps nearly frayed themselves out of their anchor points. I've tacked the straps back down and I think the dress will last through the school year, but not much longer than that.

This dress, on the other hand, I made four years ago.
yellow dress
Caitlyn wore this yellow dress for her school pictures during her second year of preschool. I know this because it's an absurdly cute picture of her, fists on her hips, ready to take on everything. I deliberately made it long for her at the time and I've let the hem down twice. I've had to re-anchor the straps once, in the process letting them out just a little.

Caitlyn is seven now, not the three years old she was when I made this dress. She's a lot taller now than she used to be. There's no more hem to let out. Time to retire the dress?

yellow skirt
No, I think we can make it work a little longer. Much like with the purple dress-to skirt conversion this spring, I turned the dress' bodice into a waistband, this time cutting off the curve at the bottom front of the bodice. There's a lot of unpicking in the process, what with the zig-zagging, the waist seam, the rows of gathering stitches.
yellow skirt waistband
I am really pleased with the waistband this time around. It's a little shorter than I wanted but that's hardly a big deal. Look at how tidy it looks, all lined up with the zipper (which had to come out and be reinserted)!

The big flaw? That waistband is about an inch too big. It's cut down from the original circumference of the dress' bodice, but not quite far enough. The skirt doesn't fall off when Caitlyn wears it, but it's going to be awfully drafty under there this winter.

The plus side? The skirt is no longer too short. This process took me a day or two, and I've just added at least two more years to this garment's lifespan (assuming Caitlyn doesn't tear the fabric while up a tree or something). When the waist is too tight and the skirt is too short (again), she'll be about nine or ten, maybe eleven. And I will have gotten seven years or more of wear out of one handmade dress.

Forgive me if I'm feeling just a little smug!

November 06, 2012

Everything in its Bag

Remember these?
Charming Travelers
They are the Charming Travelers that stayed here when the rest of them moved on to GrammieQ.

Want to know what I did with them? Or, at least most of them?

A project bag!
a project bag
See the tan floral-ish square in the lower right? That's the charm that influenced all my choices. I used the blue colorway of this fabric to back a quilt a couple years ago. So the arrival of this other color meant I was going to do something that brought both colorways together.
a project bag
The blue version of the fabric is the lining inside the bag (which you can't really see in these photos) as well as the fabric drawstring. I used 10 of the selected Charming Travelers for the outside and added in a couple other pieces from my stash. The bag is Jeni's Lined Drawstring Bag pattern, which I use all the time. I like bags, it seems.

I've put my cross-stitch project in this bag. Something about not having my portable projects in beat up, gallon size freezer bags makes me unreasonably happy.

(No pictures of the cross-stitch project; I expect it'll take me years to do. Although maybe I should take a photo of it at the same time every year, like I mark Caitlyn's height on her closet wall around her birthday every year. Should I mark the passage of Februaries in photos of my cross-stitch tiger?)

November 01, 2012

Now with 3 pounds of candy

Caitlyn as a FireCat
This year's costume started out as one of our projects from Craftsy's Costume Box class. The colors were partly determined by a small box of beads, partly by what colors of tulle were available the day we went shopping. After seeing what we had, Caitlyn and I agreed that this was a Fire Fairy costume. I don't think we were thinking of Halloween at all when we got started, but then that was months ago.
Caitlyn as Fire
Caitlyn, of course, wants everything that's in the Costume Box. So far, we've got this skirt and crown pair and her sword. There are more crowns, lots of wands, assorted wings, and a cloak as well. If we could have pulled off everything that went into Caitlyn's planned costume before Halloween, Caitlyn would have been thrilled. She also would have gone trick-or-treating not so much as a fairy but as a walking pile of fabric.
Caitlyn as Fire
But as we got closer to Halloween, it became clear that all the chosen projects were beyond what we could do in the time we had. Caitlyn, quite reasonably, volunteered to skip the wand and the wings. Instead, she added in elements from her tiger costume from 3 years ago and became a Fire Cat.
Caitlyn as a FireCat
The combination of fairy skirt and cat mask worked out much better than I thought it would. I didn't think she could wear her crown and her ears at the same time; shows you what I know. There were lots of compliments from the neighborhood on the costume, and I got to tell people that Caitlyn did most of the work herself. She tied all that tulle; all I did was cut things to the proper length and remind her to stay focused. So proud!
Caitlyn as Fire
(Oh, and because I now have a kitchen scale, I weighed Caitlyn's trick-or-treating take for the night. I don't have anything to compare it with, but 3+ pounds of candy seems like a lot. We live in a very generous neighborhood.)

October 31, 2012

The Most Wonderful Day of the Year

...when Caitlyn gets to wear her tiger ears.
Caitlyn and tiger ears
Do not confuse the ears with a Halloween costume. It's just Silly Hat Day at school.

Halloween costume photos later!

October 25, 2012

Writing to "Ten"

Yesterday was a rough day in Caitlyn-land. I don't know all the details but apparently her school day was frustrating, her playdate didn't go quite as planned, and dinner wasn't her favorite.

Lately, she's been exploring note-writing as a way of expressing her feelings. It helps her put her feelings into words in a less-pressured circumstance than a conversation and it allows her a way of getting the feelings out that's more constructive than acting out or breaking things.

It's kinda weird, though, to be asked how to spell "really", "there", "smoke", "head", and "patience" and then to find a note at my space at the dining room table using all those words.

I thought about posting her note, but that seems potentially invasive to Caitlyn. So I'll just say that she used lined paper (but wrote on it sideways), spelled everything correctly, used a capital letter to start, remembered her apostrophes and commas, and included the period at the end.

I'm ridiculously pleased.

Upon finding the note (taped to my placemat with roughly three feet of tape), I found Caitlyn and gave her a hug. Of course, I then ruined things by suggesting we talk about the note, which brought the pressure of actual conversation and polite behavior back into things.

Maybe next time (because I'm sure there will be a Next Time) I should write a note in response. Perhaps our more heated conversations could be more productive if we filtered them through a pen.

October 24, 2012

Bloggers' BOM Blocks Done!

It's not the 25th yet and all my Bloggers' BOM blocks are done!

Here's Block 12...
Bloggers BOM Block 12

And here's Block 13.
Bloggers BOM Block 13

Time to figure out how to arrange them!
Bloggers BOM Blocks
(Sorry about the questionable photo. It's October in Seattle... and I'm not waiting until the next sunny day to take pictures!)

I'm liking this layout at the moment. I definitely want to put something between the blocks but haven't yet decided between sashing (and if so, how wide should the sashing be?) or putting squares between all these blocks (although that would probably make the final quilt too white?). I've got some leftover fabrics from these blocks; I wonder if there's enough to use for the triangles on the edges and corners?

October 23, 2012

Under-supervised Seven Year Olds...

... sometimes end up well-glittered.
Caitlyn with glitter
I don't know if this was meant for faces/skin or if Caitlyn's friends applied glitter glue to her eyelids. It took my dwindling supply of Mary Kay eye make up remover to get most of it off. And yes, it got in her eyes and made her cry.

But it looked really cool first!

October 17, 2012

Bloggers' BOM Blocks

I abandoned most of my Block of the Month projects back in June. Solstice, a birthday, the end of school, the start of summer and swimming lessons. Now that summer's done, Caitlyn's back in school, and harvest season is over, it's time to get caught up. Christmas sewing must start soon!

First up, the Bloggers' BOM. June's block was number 10:
Bloggers' BOM block 10
And July's block:
Bloggers' BOM block 11
Two more blocks to go and I'm all caught up on this one. I wonder if Jackie is going to do a putting-it-all-together post or collective show-and-tell post on the 25th (which is when the next block - if there was one - would be posted)? I wonder if I can make it?

October 15, 2012

A Tale of Two Shirts

Part way through KCWC last week, I had a sudden insight: Right now, Caitlyn doesn't actually need any new dresses or skirts. She'll disagree with this assessment, of course. But I folded up those two floral prints and put them away for future sewing and focused on the knits. And the serger.

First up, Figgy's Tee for Two in the leftover teal floral.
Tee for Two for Caitlyn
Kid-sized clothes sometimes look weird on full-size hangers.

I made the sleeves as long as I could with the fabric I had, thus the three-quarters-ness of them, but otherwise, I think this came together pretty well for a using-up-leftovers kind of project.
inside view of Tee for Two for Caitlyn
I used my neighbor's serger for most of this project. Fun stuff, serging. In hindsight, I don't think I had the tension quite right but all-in-all, it's not bad for a first time out with a new-to-me machine. I'd read so many things about how difficult sergers are to thread and was pleased to discover that while it's more complicated than a regular machine, I didn't think it was all that difficult.

Of course, I had to push my luck. I found a manual online that suggested the serger I was using could do a kind of overlocked hem/finishing stitch and I thought I'd try it. I made the adjustments as the manual instructed, but the results weren't anything I'd want readily visible. I reversed the instructions, restored everything to how it was at the beginning, and that was it. The serger didn't want to make any nice and tidy seams any more. I think the looper timing is off.

The hem and cuffs of the teal shirt are zigzagged with my regular, reliable Bernina. As is all the construction and details on this pink top, McCall's 6157:
pink knit top for Caitlyn
I think I need either more practice or a reference book for knits. I added strips of fusible interfacing (something I'd seen recommended over at 3 Hours Past) to the shoulder seams and to the neckline to keep the knit from stretching. It may have worked for the shoulder seams, but the neckline stretched. It's wearable only because I thought to have Caitlyn put it on to get the cross-over part right. If I'd relied on pattern markings, it'd be all gappy up front. I'm going to blame the presser foot for this; when I finally switched to my walking foot for the hem, the stretching became less of a problem.
pink knit top for Caitlyn
I do like how these gathered sleeves came out. Caitlyn was pretty excited about the sleeves as well, although not the gathered part. "Mama, you made a long-sleeved shirt!" Followed by a big hug. Points for Mama!
inside view pink knit top for Caitlyn
Doing two back-to-back knits, one on a serger and one on my regular machine, has provided a fine chance to compare the two. I double stitched a lot of the seams in the pink top to provide extra strength, but otherwise things are unfinished. And knits may not ravel like wovens, but the serger finish just seems so much more polished. I like the durability of the two-needle seam, the decreased bulk from trimmed seams, the general inner tidiness.

So, I need a serger. My general inclination is to find a serger with the bare minimum. I think what I said when I was in the market for a sewing machine was that I needed it to go forward and backward and that was it. I've got a solid machine that's held up well to garments, sewing, random mending, and two international moves. But I do find myself thinking now that more than two decorative stitches might be nice. So I'm wondering if perhaps settling for the bare minimum is really the smartest move now. If I'm wanting to expand my tool chest, as it were, maybe I should go whole hog.

If anyone has any serger-shopping wisdom, please share!

October 11, 2012

If only I was this excited at 8am

Caitlyn in the morning
These photos were taken this morning, before the school bus came.

I don't know that I can remember ever being this excited about anything before, oh, say, noon.

Maybe if I had a new top and - surprise! - got to wear it unexpectedly? Possibly, if I was wearing said new top at a reasonable hour. School buses do not come at a reasonable hour.

Where was I?

So, this is my first KCWC finish for the week. It came out well enough and Caitlyn seems to love it, but I'm not super thrilled.
Caitlyn in the morning
I don't think it's the pattern (McCall's 6530), exactly. No strange construction surprises.

Except that the gathering for the waist and the sleeves was supposed to be done as shirring, with elastic thread in the bobbin. And that turned out to be something I just couldn't get my sewing machine to do. The elastic wouldn't retract and gather up the fabric. I looked things up, I re(hand)wound the bobbin, I messed with the tension, I unpicked a lot of non-stretchy seams.

And finally gave up, putting regular 1/4 inch elastic directly in the sleeves and making a casing for 1/4 inch elastic for the waist.
Caitlyn in the morning
The other disappointments are all my fault. I misread the fabric requirements when I bought the polka dots from Stash and ended up with fabric only for the body. We took the dots to Pacific Fabrics and got the purple for the sleeves, but forgot the fabric requirements (again!). Or maybe I bought fabric enough for short sleeves but then decided that long sleeves would be better? Either way, we've ended up with 3/4 sleeves.

The body isn't as long as I would like. In hindsight, I should have got purple enough for long sleeves and the ruffle at the bottom, using all the dot fabric to lengthen the whole thing. And I think I would have preferred the bottom ruffle more like that on the red tunic. Although maybe my ruffle objections are more a factor of the final length of the tunic; if it came to Caitlyn's knees, maybe it wouldn't feel so weird?
Caitlyn in the morning
Oh well. Notes for how to do it better next time. In the meantime, Caitlyn gets a new tunic to wear for her last day as "Student of the Week". She's getting a kick this year out of informing everyone that her mama makes her clothes. And I'm enjoying that while it lasts!

October 10, 2012

The Envelope, Please

It's getting late on a Wednesday. The market run is done (more onions! apples! carrots!), Caitlyn's off to bed, the kitchen is cleaned up, and we've opened up a pint of cider for the evening.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and left a comment on the Charming Travelers giveaway. And thanks for all your kind thoughts about my 500th post!

I've asked to select our winner.

a random number from
Congratulations to Commenter Number 3, Charlotte! I'm sending you an email shortly.

And after KCWC, I'll share what I made with the Travelers I chose from the pack!

October 09, 2012

October Bee Blocks

October blocks for Sew.Quilt.Give.
For Sew.Quilt.Give. this month, Maria asked for string blocks a la this tutorial in greens and yellows with a touch of gray. String blocks! Yay!

(It's been weirdly sunny for weeks here in Seattle. I totally should have filtered the sunlight somehow for this picture!)

I'm feeling a bit more confident about my colors mixing well with everyone else's this time. It doesn't hurt that greens were some of the colors I picked up when I added some fat quarters to the stash for the August blocks.

Really looking forward to seeing how this one turns out!

(Don't forget! The giveaway for the Charming Travelers closes on Wednesday evening!)

October 08, 2012

KCWC Fall 2012

It's that time again, when elsie marley hosts the Kids Clothing Week Challenge. Commit to sewing clothes for your kid (or any other kid in your life, I expect) for a minimum of one hour a day for a week.

Therefore, it's also that time when, unlike any other time of the year, I over-commit and over-extend, planning to accomplish way more than I should reasonably expect of myself.

I know this, and I still do it.

KCWC ambitions
I'm less organized than last time, when I had a bunch of things cut out by the time KCWC got started. This time, all I've got is good intentions.

Starting from the left:
  • McCalls 6530 in purple polka dots. This was something I didn't get to in the spring, and it's been sitting on my sewing table ever since. It's the only one cut out already.
  • McCalls' 6157, with plans to make the shorter top view in both a solid yellow and a solid pink. The fabric is leftover from the spring, clearly, and I may decide to embellish them somewhat when KCWC is over.

    The significant thing with these two, though, is the knit fabric. Despite my previous adventures in knits, I still feel less than confident about working with them. This time, I've borrowed my neighbor's Singer Simplicity serger (thanks Erin!) so I can compare the serging experience with the zig-zagging with my regular Bernina experience. If it turns out to be life-changing, do you suppose Santa might bring me a serger of my own?
  • Some blue and green knit (leftover from this project) which I've saved thinking there might be enough to make a shirt for Caitlyn. If there is, I'll either do a graded-up version of Figgy's Tee for Two or rub off one of the shirts in her closet.
  • Nearly 4 yards of teal floral (birds of paradise?) and nearly 3 yards of red floral (hibiscus?). I think these came from a neighbor's yard sale destashing a few years back. I'm not sure what I'll do with them. Current candidates include McCalls' 6389,McCalls' 5694, McCalls' 6062, McCalls' 4817, or Simplicity 2918 (the dress). Recommendations appreciated!

Clearly, I'm not going to actually get all of this done by next Saturday. Anyone want to start a pool for how much I'll actually get done?

(Don't forget! The giveaway for the Charming Travelers closes on Wednesday evening!)

October 04, 2012

Practical Hexies

I will not fall into the hexy/English paper piecing craze. Nope. Takes too long, all that handwork.
hexies on my jeans
Well, except for maybe once in while. For useful things.

Like hiding the split seam on my jeans.

Really, these hexies (on both sides, for balance) have nothing to do with adding stealth quilting references to my clothes.

(By the way, the giveaway for the latest version of the Charming Travelers is open until Wednesday, Oct. 10. Leave me a comment on this post if you want to play!)

October 01, 2012

Milestones and Giveaways

This is my 500th post. It's not very exciting when I think that I've been blogging since 2000, earlier if you count our Germany Journal, but milestones deserve to be celebrated, yes?

Also, I recently won a giveaway! Wasn't I just saying that I never win anything? And now, twice in 3 months!

So: Diane at From Blank Pages launched this clever thing a while back. Charming Travelers!
Charming Travelers as they arrived
It's a charm pack (56 5x5 fabric squares) that she gave away on her site. The rules state that if you win the Travelers, you get to pick out whatever squares you like from the pack, add in new fabrics to replace those you took out, and then you give the updated collection away again. Diane's got a map going on her site tracking where the Travelers go, and I'm stop #10, winning the pack from Skook's Playground.

(If you're new here, hi there. I'm Christina. Mom to Caitlyn; quilter and seamstress; occasional web designer; gardener, food preserver, and baker of desserts; holder of artistic ambitions, with an oversize frivolous reading habit (which doesn't really show up in this space). Stick around and talk crafts or food or big picture thinking with me.)

Here's what I chose from the pack:
my travelers come home

So, since the Travelers are now ready to move on, and since this is post number 500, I'm hosting my very first giveaway.

The Rules, as written by Diane:
  • winners must be active bloggers
  • you must reside in the US
  • before sending the charm pack off to the next winner, there must be 56 - 5" x 5" squares of fabric inside - please no yucky fabrics
  • to help keep Diane's map updated, winners must fill out the quick and easy form to let her know where you are!
  • if the charm pack arrives full of unwanted charms, let Diane know and she'll clear it out and fill it back up with more beautiful fabrics!

Charming Travelers ready to roam
If you're interested in having the Charming Travelers maybe come visit you, please leave me a comment below. Be sure your comment profile includes your email address (or include it in your comment) so I can contact you. I'll ask to pick a winner on Wednesday, October 10th. Good luck!