Saturday, June 23, 2007

Applique trick

Once I was helping my roommate with a quilt square and I had to go to 3 different stores before I found freezer paper. Apparently nobody uses freezer paper these days, and I honestly don't know what it's for outside of quilting.

I found another way to make applique pieces lay down the way you want them to here:
Thought you guys might like it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wrap with Love donations

An Australian charity collects knitted squares to make large blankets that are donated to needy communities. You can knit a square and send it in or donate excess yarn. Donations are due July 13. Thought it might be a good way to use up those bits of yarn that I'm too lazy to move (and a good way to procrastinate packing for me!). Check out


for details.

Monday, June 18, 2007

bridesmaid dresses

Here are the dresses in action (well, not that much action, but in their intended use). Check out my picasa site for a bizzillion pictures from the wedding weekend.

p.s. I should point out that the guy in the tux in this picture is not the groom. He's the "bridesman", a good friend of Sarah's. We tried to keep him off to the side to accentuate that point, but I thought I should point it out in case you look at the rest of the pictures and see her kissing some other guy :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Book recommendation

I just finished a book I think you'll enjoy. It's Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I've enjoyed her novels, but this one is nonfiction, about food and farmers and why we should grow and eat organic food. They live on a farm (in Virginia, I think), and decided for one year to eat only food that was produced locally, including a lot that they grew themselves.
I usually lose interest in nonfiction books, but this one was really interesting and well written to someone who knew nothing at all about the subject. It wasn't preachy or too unrealistic, although I thought her children did seem unnaturally cooperative. But maybe that's just me. It includes some good recipes, too.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Alphabet Book

This project goes WAY back...when Zachary was born, Geri Laney made him an alphabet book. I don't know if she used a pattern or not, but it is darling. She used corduroys and calicos in mostly primary colors and it had really cute objects to illustrate the different letters, some of them quite elaborate and some with removable parts (like a flower that buttoned on and off). It became a favorite toy of ours (note the stain on the front, and several missing parts) and despite having been made 26 years ago (!) it doesn't look dated at all. I always wanted to try to copy it, and recently made one that is a hybrid, using some of Geri's ideas and some from a pattern I had bought for an alphabet book. I made mine with felt pages and adhesive appliques with zigzag stitching. I used the letter templates from the purchased pattern, and for the pictures I used a combination of ones copied from Geri's, some from the purchased pattern, and some I made up. It's cute, but I used much simpler designs and construction, and Geri's is much cuter! Next time I think I'll copy her patterns more closely.

Switched-at-Birth Sister Checking In

I guess it's official: I was switched at birth.
You guys are amazing with all these projects.
I haven't picked up as much as a knitting needle, other than three weeks ago when I went to my knitting group and felt obligated to take some knitting (I dug around and found an old half-finished washcloth and worked on that).
Reenie, your trip sounds fantastic.
Everyone's quilts and dresses and costumes and projects are fantastic.
My only project is to help Mike do a little movie for Tim for his video Father's Day card - we have a big pile of dirt behind our house (new house being built in the lot) and we're going to take some Barbies and Ninja Turtles out there and make a movie. Reen, we've been researching the Amalfi Coast for our possible vacation next summer, and we've decided to push the Barbie Dream House into the side of the dirt pile for Barbie and Shredder's Italian coast summer home. If it turns out, I'll send it to everyone.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Altering a Bridesmaid Dress

I'm going to be in the wedding of two of my best friends, Danny and Sarah, next weekend. Sarah is a great bride from a bridesmaid perspective (and her fiancee's too) because she picked great, affordable dresses for us to wear. The dress I'm wearing is super-cute and great for a hot June day. The ceremony is at 5 and we didn't want dyeable shoes, so Sarah and Jen (another bridesmaid) decided we should add black sashes to the dresses. Sarah and I worked on them 2 weeks ago and I think they came out really cute.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The next generation of Laney crafters!

Robbie sent me a picture of his latest craft project. He's down in San Antonio, where the Cavs will be playing the Spurs this week in the NBA finals. The text of his email read:

"Needless to say, I couldn't get one of these in San Antonio, so I resorted to a little home craft project." That's my boy!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Greece and Italy trip

Here's a short account of the trip that Dan and I took to Greece and Italy, for those who may not want to look at all the 100+ pictures that I'm putting on Snapfish! We flew to Athens, Greece the last week in March and stayed 5 days there, seeing all the ancient sites and attractions there. Our hotel, aptly named the "Acropolis View Hotel" really had a view of the Acropolis from the balcony! This picture of was taken from the roof deck of the hotel.
The weather was kind of iffy for getting the ferries to the Greek islands, so we instead decided to rent a car and see some of the major archaeological sites on the mainland. We drove across the Corinth canal onto the Peloponnese peninsula where we saw Epidaurus, Mycenae, Nemea, Messene, and Olympia, staying in whatever small towns were near the sites. Then we crossed back onto the mainland and saw Delphi before leaving out of Athens. We enjoyed all of them - each one was a bit different in terms of what was located at the site. Most of them were much more extensive than I had realized and they each had a museum where you could see a lot of the items that were unearthed in the excavations. This picture was taken at Messene, one of the larger sites that had a theatre, and a huge athletic stadium, as well as temples and houses.

This one is from Olympia, the site of the original Olympic Games, where the torch is still lit for the Olympics today. It was also a very large site, with of course a huge stadium, training areas, houses, temples, etc. (It's hard to tell one set of columns from the next at these places!)

Then it was on to Italy - we flew to Naples and started our trip there, going out to Pompeii, Sorrento, and Amalfi from there. Pompeii was really interesting - the whole town was buried by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, and then unearthed in the 1800's. We spent the whole day walking around there - most of the artwork and items had been removed to museums but the site itself is impressive. We went to Sorrento on Easter and from there we took the "poor-man's tour" of the Amalfi coast - that is, we took a bus! It drove along the narrow, winding road on the steep cliff WAY above the coastline. It's gorgeous and there are picturesque little towns perched on the hillsides.

From there we went to Florence, where we spent 5 days and walked our feet off, spending hours at museums, trying to see as much of the Renaissance art as we could. Florence is chock full of churches and museums filled with art by all the great masters, and ornate architecture. This picture is taken from Piazzela Michelangelo, a plaza that sits above the city with great views of Florence - we went for sunset but the sunset wasn't all that impressive that day! There's a copy of the famous Michelangelo statue of David on this plaza.

From Florence, we went to Venice for three days and wished we could have stayed longer. We loved Venice! It's a beautiful city - the canals are so picturesque. There are museums and elaborate buildings to tour, but it's fun to just walk around the city. Here's Dan along the Grand Canal with the Rialto Bridge in the background. We toured the Duomo (cathedral) and the palace of the Doges, which is full of art, and includes the Bridge of Sighs (I always wondered what that was!) We reluctantly left Venice and went to Bologna for a few days. We saw the sights of Bologna - the cathedral and 3 or 4 other old churches, the leaning towers, and the public square with an interesting and controversial fountain. From there we did a day trip to Ravenna, which has a lot of very old churches decorated with beautiful mosaics.

Here's Dan in front of the fountain in the main plaza in Bologna:

Up to this point, we'd been traveling by train. From Bologna, we rented a car for 8 days to get out into the Italian countryside. We drove around Tuscany and Umbria. The countryside is just like you see in the pictures! We stayed in Greve, a small town on the Chianti Road, which is the Chianti wine-making region, full of vineyards and wineries. The wine there is very inexpensive, so we got our fill, because we can't carry liquids home on the planes anymore! The Tuscan food was really good, too. The whole area is full of little "hill towns", which are ancient towns, built up on hills usually with stone fortifications around them, and with narrow cobblestone streets. The picture shows Dan in Montefiorelle, one of them outside Greve - as you can imagine, navigating these streets in a car is challenging! Each one of these towns has a fancy old church or three and museums and/or archaeological sites, etc. From Greve we took trips to see San Gimignano and Siena, and then moved onto Assisi, another hill town built around the churches of St. Francis and St. Clare. The churches are all full of fabulous frescoes and mosaics. We visited Perugia and did a walking tour of the ancient covered city on our way to Orvieto, near Rome, our last stop. We spent several days there seeing the sights (another fabulous cathedral, among others) and relaxing, before returning the car at the Rome airport before our flight out. This last picture is looking out from the city wall around Orvieto. We took over 700 pictures but it's hard to capture all the sights, especially since most of the museums and even many of the churches don't allow any photography.