Saturday, January 31, 2009

Quilty Afternoon....

Working on another baby quilt... and I've officially decided that the most difficult part of making a quilt is making the decisions!

As you can see below- I'd already finished three sets of the blocks when I was trying to choose more fabrics. Normally I choose them all at once, but in this case I've already finished two other blocks- but then decided that I hated them and took them apart... now I'm trying to decide what to replace them with...

Alright, decision made...

And now we're in the "Wait and See" stage where I lay everything out on a table, and spend a couple days walking into the room, looking at the blocks and walking back out. In about 48 hours, I'll either decide I love it and move on to quilting, or I'll hate it and we'll go back to the drawing board!

This photo is awful- the lighting is bad... but I do think I'm leaning towards loving it. My quilts always take a little time to grow on me, but I've yet to finish one I haven't absolutely adored in the end... so I've got big hopes for this little guy!

Friday, January 30, 2009

I buy every pattern this woman makes...

Because they are gorgeous... and so well written. Also, she emails them to you, so there's the instant gratification factor. Did I mention they're gorgeous?!

Mix Tape Quilt Pattern, available from OhFransson.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ira Glass & This American Life

Sometimes things just fall into place... like last night my boyfriend and I popped in our brand-spankin new copy of the This American Life television show (season #2!), then this morning he sent me a link for an interview with Ira Glass (the host of both the radio & TV versions of TAL), and then to complete the trifecta, I stumbled across a link in Something's Hiding in Here Blog to make your own Ira Glass's glasses.

Well now that I have a crafty tie-in, I figure the message is that I need to share with you my love for This American Life.

TAL is originally a radio show, broadcast on NPR out of Chicago. If you're a public radio junkie like me, you've likely heard it weekends on whatever your personal NPR station of choice, between Weekend Edition and Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me! (both of which I highly recommend!)

However, if you're less into NPR and more into your iTunes, don't worry, there's a free podcast weekly.

The basic premise is that every week (since 1995!), Ira shares a short story that intoduces a theme for the hour-long program. The rest of the hour is a collection of 1-4 different stories told by real people, about things that have happened in their lives based around that theme. The stories are almost always riveting. You laugh, you cry, you see a new perspective on things you once thought you understood. Sometimes they do specials- like a couple done recently on the economic crisis, where they interviewed people involved directly on Wall Street, and those effected directly on Main Street. I learned more in those two hour-long segments then I have in 6 months of trying to desperately follow and understand the news from a myriad of sources.

I find myself constantly sharing these stories with friends and family. My boyfriend and I listen to the podcasts in the car on the weekend- sometimes more then once they're so good.

And then a couple years ago the show made the leap to television. They continued the radio show- much to my relief, because they understand that TV isn't necessarily better, its just different. Some stories lend themselves to being seen- and Ira & the producers on TAL have really figured out the formula in season 2.

So grab some scissors, make yourself a pair of uber-nerdy Ira Glass glasses, and download a podcast or two. I promise, you'll be hooked.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snow Kisses

It just keeps coming down around here... the two-legged family members are tired of the cold and snow... but for the four-legged furballs, it just never seems to get old.

Here is Zack giving Kaya some brotherly kisses... I think it was about 3 seconds before he tackled her and stole her toy. Gotta love big brothers!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fabric Shop Recommendation

With everything going on in the economy, plus some personal finance stuff, I've been trying to cut way back on my fabric shopping habits. It would probably be less painful for me to cut back on nonessentials- like food, air and water, because there is nothing I love more then getting the new lines in-hand as soon as they're released. I could spend an entire day washing, pressing and organizing my new editions... and then of course it takes forever to get the strength to actually cut into them! I know, I'm a little crazy, but I just love fabric. I blame my Memere (French-Canadian word for Grandmother), she's got a serious fabric problem that she instilled upon at a young age!

Well anyway, I'm starting to feel a little bad that during these lean times I'm leaving my absolute favorite fabric shop,
fabricworm, out to dry... so I wanted to take a minute to recommend them to you! If you are looking for the latest, greatest, and most reasonably priced fabrics by Heather Ross, Heather Bailey, Alexander Henry, Amy Butler, Erin McMorris, Jay McCarroll... or patterns by Sandi Henderson... or tons of others, then fabricworm is the place for you.

Cynthia, the shopkeeper, is a stay-at-home mother that is using etsy to make a living (how many of us dream of that!). She puts together the most amazing collections of quarter, half or full yard fabric pieces, sometimes covering an entire line and sometimes combining lines in ways that you can always trust will look amazing when they arrive in the mail (don't you just hate when fabrics look like they will match online, but in-hand look awful together?!).

And perhaps the best thing about her, is that she is always more then happy to make a change to an order or fulfill special requests. When the new Amy Butler home-dec line came out- she even sold me 4x4inch swatches of every single fabric in it, so I could play with the
designs on my furniture and decide which ones I wanted to use!

Oh, and right now she's selling Amy Butler's Daisy Chain at $7 a yard, while supplies last. That's the line I'm using to make this quilt...
Happy shopping!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Good Folks - by Anna Maria Horner

The newest line from Anna Maria Horner, Good Folks, is an excellent followup to the gorgeous Garden Party line, and would be a fantastic collection to use while exploring her recent book, Seams to Me. I love everything this woman does!

In her words: Good Folks was inspired by various sets of things, but all of the notions in my mind had kindness involved. Odd? Perhaps. But can't think of how else to say it. Old European linens. Family. Hand-loomed wool bedspreads. Meals. Fields. Embroidery. Needlepoint kits that I spent summers in Greece as a child occupied with. The icons of the village churches. Layer upon layer of mismatched bed linens piled on top of my floor palette in the upper room of my Yiayia's house to keep me warm even though it was the middle of the summer. Tablecloths drying in the sun. Memories of what my cousin's dowry of linens looked like. All the details. All the work. All the warmth. All the good wishes. Weddings. Wine. Love. Goodness.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I am so very excited!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jay McCarroll - Garden Friends

Wow, its been awhile huh?!! The holidays around here have been crazy… in between the normal family get-togethers, shopping, cooking, etc… we also had to plan a 5-day trip to Boston for a conference the day after Christmas, the repeated issues with my car (you wouldn’t believe the story if I told you!), and then finally, an absolutely horrible head cold/sinus infection for me. Right now my craft room has been turned into the “room where I stash things I don’t have time to deal with, like wrapping paper and extra boxes from Christmas”, and little else.

But I’m not going to stress about it. I have a list of “need to finish” projects looming over my head, Christmas gifts that were given in DIY IOU style… but they will wait patiently until I’m not longer under the weather, and possibly more importantly, until we’ve had time to even take our Christmas tree down!

So in lieu of any projects, finished or otherwise, I want to talk about Jay McCarroll.

To be quite honest with you, I live under a cable rock. Our staples are Law & Order SVU, House, and whatever special is on History International or National Geographic at the time. When we do get into a prime time show, its invariably after the buzz has died down and we can watch the season on DVD through Netflix. Maybe we’re just perpetually one step behind, or maybe it’s because we just can’t be tied down to a weekly TV schedule, but either way… I have never seen a single episode of Project Runway, a show in which (I'm told, and Google has confirmed) Jay McCarroll was a winner.

He’s recently come out with a fabulous new fabric line, which I HAVE heard of, and which I’m utterly enchanted by.

It’s called Garden Friends and its full of crazy little characters that will have you laughing in some cases, and if you’re like me, scratching your head in others!

Here are a few of my favorites, together:

I love this little guy... I've dubbed his look "Kitschy Steampunk".
Some fantastic "Doodle Birds"...
And the head-scratcher... an LSD Bunny print? I love it. I think.


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