Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Amy Butler Mikasa Dinnerware

"Amy's first dinnerware collection is decidedly modern shapes with vintage colors and familiar motifs lending old-world charm. Like her fabrics, it's all about layering colors, shapes and patterns for both casual and elegant entertaining."

Gorgeous, for sure... but at $139.99 for this one serving bowl... I gotta tell you, they're not going to be appearing in my house anytime soon!!

Available now through Mikasa; click here if you'd like to see the full collection.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

WIP Baby Blanket

I was comissioned to create a quilt for a coworker's grandson (on his way, but not here yet!).

I'm using
Boy oh Boy by Lakehouse, and a disappearing nine patch pattern. The binding is giving me a bit of trouble, because I made the quilt extra-thick. I'm thinking I may have to baste before I give it another try...


About 3 months ago I showed up to a local Stitch & Bitch meeting with a hook, a ball of yarn, and a dream. A wonderfully nice woman spent about 30 minutes patiently showing me how to start my first crochet row, and then to doublestitch. Since that day, I've been doublestitching like crazy... and I'm very close to finishing my first project ever, a scarf! (Don't worry, once I'm done there will be more then enough photos!)

With fall coming, I'll like to amp up my skills a bit and try something new. After much "ohhing & ahhing" over the adorable fingerless gloves I've seen on Etsy, I've found a pattern that seems simple enough to try.

The free pattern is available over at Creativeyarn... and she says that "maybe it's the best pattern for people who wants to start crocheting!".

Now I just need to figure out what all those stitches are... eep! Wish me luck!

Christine's Fabulous Finds

My boyfriend's sister, Christine, is a craft-junkie. I'm not sure if this is a new thing, or if its been dormant in her all along... but having her brother date someone like me has either been incredibly good for her, or possibly bad, depending on how you look at it. You see, I've gotten her addicted to Etsy.

I know, I know, all you crafters out there think this is a GREAT thing... another person perusing our projects, another potential handmade gift-giver... but considering the struggle I know I have, tearing myself away from Etsy & other craft sites (like this one!) to do mundane, boring things likes work, and school... well, I'm sure she's having her own issues with this now.

Sorry Christine! LOL!

But instead of encourage her to get back to work, I've decided to feed the addiction and share with you some of the awesome (and in some cases, a bit odd) things she's stumbled across this week. Enjoy!!

Reusable reversible coffee sleeve from the doe and the mouse

In celebration of Talk Like a Pirate Day... This Is A Painting Of Garnet The Outspoken Pirate, by the dreamy giraffe collection

A Pastel Multi-Colored Crochet Cotton Bath Puff from Earthtone's Bath

Leap40 30x30inch original oil painting by RozArt

And my personal favorite... a Tofu for Obama Plush by ChrisCreatures!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Amy Butler - Daisy Chain

A few choice cuts from Amy Butler's newest line, Daisy Chain. Its supposedly not available until October, but I've seen it a couple of places... like here, and here. Enjoy!!

Autumn comes but once a year...

Autumn is, hands down, my favorite time of year. Maybe its the colors, after all, I do live in New England. Perhaps it is the cozy nights, curled up under a comfy quilt... or it could be the clothes, hoodies, scarves, jeans, boots... all the comfort of the winter, but without the frigid cold.

Its a fleeting season, to me seeming shorter each year.... so I'm going to surround myself with, and celebrate it as much as possible while its here.

As of 11:44am today, welcome Fall!!

And Hello Fall, a collection "of quilts and cozy goods" is now available from JC handmade. Enjoy!

Paintbox Quilt

I've been eagerly watching the progress of Elizabeth Hartman's (of Oh Fransson) Paintbox Quilt... I'm loving her experiments with colors, the offset boxes, the strong use of white space... but then yesterday she posted photos of the back side of the quilt, which include large black applique letters, and swatches of each solid fabric she used on the front... and fell so hard for this quilt that its beyond words.

Check out her site for posts at various steps in the making...

Two New Collections...

Found these at the Fat Quarter Shop, and just wanted to share!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Oh Moda! How I love thee!!!

They've done it again... just when I thought nothing would change my life the way Moda's adorable little charm packs did (in case you're scratching your head, these are adorable little precut 5x5 piece of fabric, available in packs of about 30-50 squares, PERFECT for a quickie quilt without all the cutting & measuring)....

They came up with this...

Turnovers are 6"squares cut in half diagonally to yield half square triangles. They will be debuting at Houston Quilt Market and arriving in stores beginning Jan. 2009!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Autumn Patchwork Potholders - A Tutorial (sort of)

I spent a fair amount of time this weekend making six autumn-themed potholders for my house. I'm about 85% finished, and hope to wrap them up this weekend (in time for the official start of autumn, Sept 21st!).

I didn't exactly have a pattern for these; it wasn't really necessary. Though I will say that I originally got the idea (and some basics) from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing, and also pulled a couple things from Pretty Litte Patchwork.

First step was of course to gather my fabrics. A dip into my stash, and a subsequent quickie trip to JoAnn Fabrics gave me this pile... previous experiments with the patchwork potholders taught me that more variety is definitely better, I think I ended up with roughly 12 different fabrics altogether. At JoAnn's I limited myself to 1/8 yard pieces, which mostly ended up under $1 each.

I then proceeded to cut the pieces into 2-inch wide strips of varying lengths. My shortest being around 3-4 inches, the longest around 6-7.

I decided that I wanted my finished potholders to be about 10x10 inches square, so when I sewed my strips together in longer lengths, I made them about 33 inches long (the extra 3 inches being 1/2 inch around each edge to eventually be covered by bias tape), so each length would span three potholders.

The whole process was full of guesswork- I just kept my yardstick nearby and would frequently check the length, choosing strips by length as needed. The lengths had to be at least 33 inches (very important) but if they were a bit longer, no worries for now!

I originally laid them out to be 5 lengths tall, but eventually went back and added a 6th to each to account for seam allowances (I didn't snap a photo at that point.)

And then I simply sewed the strips together- making two long (33 inches long) rectangles of 6 strips each. Ironing the seams flat is important at this stage, to keep everything nice & neat.

Once they were all sewn together, I cut each long rectangle into three squares (roughly 10x10), and evened up the sides to they were all straight.

This next step took forever, because I hadn't originally thought about my backing fabric when I went shopping, so I spent a number of hours sifting through my stash, trying out fabrics, patterns & colors. Just when I was about to give up, I found the perfect solid shade. I don't know where it had been hiding all day, but it made an appearance just in time. The photo makes it a little more red then it is- more of a rust brown in real life.

So I meticulously drew my quilting lines onto the fabric with a water-soluble pen (I love these!!).

And then I made my "quilt sandwich" with the patchwork pieces, a heat resistant batting (available at JoAnn's for about $6 a yard), and the base piece I'd drawn my lines on. I find that starting by sewing the center diagonal line and then working out from the middle towards the edges works best and keeps things from bunching up and/or slipping.

As you can see below, I decided against the original criss-crossing lines I drew and just went with the diagonals across once. I figured that since my patchwork was so bright and busy, I didn't need the extra quilted lines. It was just a preference, nothing technique-related.

And then of course, in my excitement at being so close to finished, I made a silly mistake and sewed with the longer edge of my bias tape on top, and ended up completely missing the bottom section in some areas. Whoops!!

So I had to take the bias tape back off (that goodness for seam rippers!).

And that is where I ended for the day! I realize now that I also forgot to snap some photos of the pocket-type things I added to the back... so when I redo the binding, I'll take some time to show that last step too!

This is definitely a project that you can just sort of make up as you go along, adjusting sizes & shapes as needed or desired. I love these kinds best!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Looking for your help...

I am a craft book junkie. Everytime I'm in need of inspiration, ideas, or motivation, I head over to my bookshelf and start flipping pages. I love collecting these books, knowing that the beautiful photos, informational instructions and endless projects will be at my fingertips anytime I desire them.

Add this to my love to reading other crafter's blogs, including the numerous book recommendations and reviews they provide, and my Amazon wish list is easily a hundred books long!

So I've pulled out a few craft books that I've recently become enamored with- but that my local bookstores do not have in stock for me to peruse in person before buying. Have you read any of these books? Do you own them? Would you recommend them?

Even if you haven't read them yourself yet, from the synopsis I included from each book- which would you pick, if any? How do you chose your craft books? Do you have a recommendation I don't have listed here?

I'd love any thoughts, tips, recommendations... or maybe you've come here and fallen in love with one of these books and now must have it for yourself... I'd love to hear about it!

Seams to Me - by Anna Maria Horner

Anna Maria Horner's signature style combines the techniques of a seasoned sewer with the vision of an artist. In Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing, she walks you through the fundamentals, offering practical advice on everything from fabric selection to color choices to choosing and buying a sewing machine. Simple step-by-step instructions show you how to turn her designs into fanciful creations:* Sideways Squares Skirt* Prairie Blouse* Full Contact Cooking Apron* PlayingAlong Quilt* Doggie Dreams Bed* And so much more!Vivid full-color photographs and designs will invite you into the creative process. Whether you're a beginner or a veteran, the twenty-four projects in this beautiful book will transform your home and wardrobe into a collection of unique treasures.

Handmade Hellos - by Eunice and Sabrina Moyle
Signed sealed delivered! In this delightful book card-making mavens Eunice and Sabrina Moyle of Hello!Lucky letterpress gather together more than 25 projects from today's most talented paper artists. Simple instructions outline card- and envelope-folding basics plus how to screen print use a Print Gocco machine hand-bind emboss stamp stencil and much more. Ready-to-use patterns and spiral binding ease the process while easy-to-follow directions cute illustrations and finished project photos make it a cinch to create stacks of boutique-worthy greeting cards.

Home Sewn - by Kaari Meng
As the founder of the renowned crafts and notions store French General Kaari Meng scours the French countryside and Parisian flea markets for vintage treasures. Now this beloved designer has gathered her favorite patterns into a charming sourcebook sure to be coveted by crafters Francophiles and home decorators. She offers 30 simple sewing patterns for French-inspired projectsóa scalloped tablecloth piles of pillows and bedding a festive party garland totesóand more. Lay-flat spiral binding and ready-to-use pattern sheets and embroidery transfers plus step-by-step directions gorgeous photographs and helpful illustrations make it easy to bring the palettes and pleasures of traditional French living into any home.

The Gentle Art of Domesticity - by Jane Brocket

Jane Brocket delights in domesticity. Lively, curious, and creative, she takes inspiration from her surroundings, from art, literature, and nature, and expresses her passion through the gentle arts of needlework, cooking, gardening, and homemaking—and now through her writing. In The Gentle Art of Domesticity Brocket celebrates everything that is, and can be, wonderful about home life.

This gorgeous and unusual book, full of whimsy, warmth, and a wealth of stunning photographs, helps us to see domesticity with new eyes. Whether she’s knitting a tea cozy or baking jam tarts, crocheting a blanket or sewing an apron, Brocket fills her home with beauty, color, and fun. She transforms day-to-day domesticity into a realm of possibilities, both practical and imaginative—and encourages us to do the same in our own lives.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Warm Fuzzies

It never fails to completely make my day (sometimes my whole week even!) when someone gives my blog some accolades... either on another blog, or in the comments of mine I read and appreciate every single one!!!

I just recently swapped blog addresses with the very creative, incredibly talented Nici of ArtShapedWorld... and I just adore her work! She does all the crafts I wish I did, artist trading cards, altered items, mixed media... and I'm hoping that if I'm really nice, she might show me a thing or two!

Anyway, Nici was sweet enough to give me this little blog award...

With it comes the responsibility of nominating seven other blogs for the award, and sharing those links with you. Oh where to begin?!! I'm going to spend some time in deep contemplation- choosing between the 169 different craft blogs I subscribe to with my "
google reader". I'm not kidding, I just checked, 169!! I just love nothing more then perusing other people's work for ideas, inspiration, instruction and just to see whats out there.

But within the next couple days, I will narrow the list down to seven for you. I promise.

Thanks again Nici!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Spare a Square Scrap Challenge!

I just joined in the fun over at JC Handmade...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Book Club

On August 13th I introduced to you the Crafty Daisies Book Club, explaining that the first book of this new group was The Big-Ass Book of Crafts, by Mark Montano... And then I never completed my project, and consequently never posted my photos on the Crafty Daisies Book Club Flickr Page. Whoops!

I just didn't like it. The book, that is. It wasn't my thing. It was a bit too "glue a few random things together and they become something else!" for me. I prefer actual patterns, detailed instructions, and really new & exciting ideas. I don't want to put the book down- it was well-done, just not really my cup of tea.

And like you, I'm sure, I just don't have the time to spend on things that don't really inspire me.

That said, the next book the club will be reading is one I've been wanting to pick up for ages... and one that I think will be really exciting...

Lotta Jansdotter’s book Lotta Prints: How to Print with Anything, from Potatoes to Linoleum, ISBN 081186037X, ISBN13 978081186037.

This is the same talented woman that wrote a book I can personally recommend...

"Simple Sewing" is an excellent book for either a beginner sewer... or an more advanced person that loves new, fresh & simple ideas. Lotta frequently works in linens, and after spending some time with this book, I really fell lin love with them too!

If "Simple Sewing" is any indication, then I am going to love "Lotta Prints"!

Just to recap the Book Club for those of you just joining us... Every 4-6 weeks we “discuss” a craft book as follows:

Make one project out of the book that is due for the next book club meet-up
Explain why you chose that project
Discuss the clarity of the instructions, the layout of the book, the illustrations, other projects in the book, and whether you liked the book or not
Suggest one book for the next book club
The "discussions" are posted online, and photos are uploaded to the
Crafty Daisies Book Club Flickr Page.

Crafty Daisies Book Club will virtually meet on Wednesday, October 22nd.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lizzy Dish

This is a brand new (not-quite-ready-yet) line of fabrics called Lizzy Dish! Created by Lizzy House, and available this fall!! These are so going in my kitchen...

On the Lookout

Be on the lookout for Lori Marie's (of Pretty Little Things) new line of tutorials, "Look What I Made". She will be offering a small collection on mask tutorials including templates, pattern pieces and step by step instructions.
Watch her shop for updates later in the week!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Friday night I went to visit my grandmother, and we tackled Melly & Me's giraffe stuffie pattern.

I put in about an hour today, finishing up the mane & tail... and voila!!

Aside from my doubts halfway through (before we added the legs, she looked like the Loch Ness Monster)... I thought it turned out really well. I'll definitely be using this pattern again!

Crafters for Obama

I don't want to get too political here... everyone has the right to their own opinions, and I don't want to make my craft blog a soapbox for sharing my own.

I do however, wish to share this link with you, just in case you are interested in showing your support. Click the picture to donate. Thanks!!

Got Scraps? (Scrappy Cabin Quilt tutorial link)

The ever-talented duo, Melly & Me has posted their finished quilt for the March 2007 Scrappy Quilt Challenge. I think you'll agree, its gorgeous! We may be too late for the challenge- but they've be nice enough to share a tutorial here. What an excellent way to use up all those extra scraps!


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