9.02.2014

Spice Kid Tutorial

I love finding new, fun, inexpensive things for the grand-girls to do. This project turned out to be a huge hit. Leia, 6, played "Chef" for a couple of hours, then off and on for several more. With Leanne, 3, it was good for a solid hour, then off and on for another hour or so. And best of all? They cooperated and played well together, with no bickering. Hooray!
 
Step 1: Clean out your spice rack. Be sure to check the expiration dates, just for grins. My worst one expired in 2006, but hey, I don't use pumpkin pie spice ever very often.
 
Step 2: Put expired spices, non-breakable containers, measuring spoons and a variety of stirring implements on the counter. Throw in a bottle of "pretty" popcorn kernels you are never going to use. Add measuring cups and water. 
Step 3: Step back and let the fun happen.
Leia kept insisting that I call her "Boss" or "Chef".
 
Optional: Nose plugs. When mixed together, some of those spices really stink.
 
Bonus: Hubby thought it would be really bad (as in call-the-plumber bad) to put the final 'soup' down the garbage disposal, so I poured it around the landscaping out front. If nothing else, the two containers of red pepper the girls used will keep wild critters and neighborhood cats out of there for quite awhile!
  

9.01.2014

Saturday with French General

What better way to spend a holiday weekend than taking an embroidery class with friends at French General
 
I'd heard of Pam Garrison, the instructor, but don't think I'd seen any of her work before Saturday. Most of her stuff is very whimsical and cheerful, full of flowers and tiny creatures.
 
We didn't receive any 'instruction' as such, just a picture of Pam's finished sampler, help with stitches if we wanted it and the admonishment to "have fun". 
 
It was sew great to be among friends, just hanging out and stitching. 
  
None of us got anywhere near finished - just barely started in fact - but it was one of the most fun, and relaxing, workshops I've attended.
  
And with Pam's sampler as inspiration, I think I might actually finish this. 
 
Some day. Looking forward to stitching an hour here and an hour there until this is done.    

8.31.2014

H2Oh Summer

August's quilting UFO is done. 
H2Oh Summer, 50 x 68".

It would have been finished by the second week - instead of the last day of the month (sorry, Marti!) - but both my sewing machines had issues and went in for repairs. And of course, the repair guy was on vacation so they sat for an extra week until he returned. But it's done and I'm happy.
 
This quilt has a lot of 'firsts' for me - the first time I've made a tube quilt,
 
first time I've done serpentine quilting,

first time I've machine sewn the entire binding and been happy about how it turned out.
 
The quilt top is made from fabric I bought at Joann's last year because it was on sale!! and colorful!! And since I had no plan for it when I bought it (I'm trying to do better about that . . . ), the charm squares just sat in the stash. Until Twelve in Fourteen came along to rescue them.
 
This is destined to be the outdoor quilt for the grand-girls and me. Leia breaks out in hives when she's on grass, so this will give her some protection. Plus, it's just plain fun to sit on a hand-made quilt when you're outside. 
 
Leanne was all ready to give it a go today, but we agreed - no dirt buckets allowed, not even if they're color-coordinated!

8.25.2014

Memories In Flight

The Oldest FO in History is in its new home. Don't Jama and Abby look great all wrapped up in pelican memories?
 
It took me longer than planned to finish the binding - mainly because both my sewing machines needed a trip to the repair shop that same week. 

  Finished size: 47 x 65"

I sewed the front binding on with Leia's new-to-us machine, worrying the whole time that I would burn out the motor. But it worked - that little Janome is a champ.
A student at my fav quilt shop suggested the binding color. Gold was nowhere on my radar before that - I was looking at browns and dark greens, but they made the rest of the quilt look soooo dull. The gold picks up the yellows in the pelican faces and makes the two border strips sparkle.
 
I named the quilt "Memories in Flight" in honor of Mom. And I told Jama that this is a "use it" not "keep it for special" gift. Judging by that first picture, I think this little quilt's going to get - and give - a lot of love. 
   

8.12.2014

New Resident

Look what followed me home today . . . 
 
I found it at my local repair shop when I took my machine in for a tune-up, and thought it would be perfect for Miss Leia. 
 
She's been using a very nice mechanical Janome but gets frustrated when it doesn't do what she wants - plus it doesn't have a speed regulator, which makes me a tad nervous. This baby is a few years old but nicely maintained. And since it is pre-owned, it was very reasonably priced and the shop guarantees it for a full year.
 
I think Leia likes it. She spent the afternoon making scarves for Leanne and me, and can't wait to come back tomorrow to sew more things. Win-win all the way around!

8.11.2014

Bodie Tooterphants

I've had this pattern in my Ravelry queue for almost 3 years. 
 
Finally bought the pattern, ordered the discontinued yarn from England (boooo for high shipping rates) and got to work.
 
Part of Tooter's charm is the way the yarn patterns along his body and trunk. Now that I've made one and seen how the pieces fit together, I'm planning to experiment with different, thicker, self-striping yarns.
Bodie* Tooterphants loves belly rubs.

The well-written pattern is available on Ravelry and Etsy for under $5 US. The only changes I'm planning are smaller ears (these are too floppy for my tastes) and sewing the legs at the center of the belly rather than toward the sides. 
 
I definitely see more of these in my future. Christmas presents anyone?
  
*Addy and Leia call all elephants "Bodie" after their favorite pachyderm at the Denver Zoo.

8.09.2014

Happy (almost) Birthday

Leia's actual birthday is later this week, but since it's easier to get everyone together on the weekend, we celebrated a few days early. Leia didn't object; something about opening presents early being a-okay with her?
 Leia and Leanne

Getting to dress up in princess-mode and be the center of attention was also okay with her. 
 "Grandma, Grandma, take a picture of my earrings! I can wear these now that I'm all grown up."
 Princess pin-braids.

It was Leia's idea to have a skating party. Mary has been teaching her to roller skate and Leia loves it. 
 
She's still more comfortable holding on to the 'maid' (great invention!)
 
but she can skate by herself when she wants - and no one is looking.
 
Leanne was excited about skating . . . 
 
until about the 5th time she fell. 
 
Then she was definitely done, even with Leia encouraging her to keep going. She had fun off the skates, watching the big kids and checking out the video games, so it was all good.
Spotlight on the two (unrelated) birthday girls - who just happened to be wearing identical knee socks. Too cute. 

Leia's big present was a bike.
  
Mary thought it was too plain, 
 
so she glitzed it up a bit. 
 
It is amazing - can you tell Leia loves it?
 
Skating turned out to be the perfect party venue - everyone had a great time,  from the big (usually rowdy) boys to teenage Naia

and all the little girls.
 
Happy (almost) birthday, my grown up Leia!