Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Crafts

I made a few potholders yesterday when we were snowed in. The two on the left are for Brian's grandma, Rose. The two on the right are for my neighbor. She made amazing peanut butter cupcakes on 4th of July last year, so the patriotic cupcake one is in hopes that she makes them again!

I'm also bringing my quilt home to work on using Mom's quilting sewing machine. I somehow made the backing way too big and putting the "sandwich" together was hard, but I think it will look great once it's done or at least partly done. Wish me luck getting home today and lots of productivity once I'm there!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Baby Quilt

I finished the baby quilt! And the baby hasn't even been born yet!

Here's a shot of the finished product. Many many small patches. I think the largest patch is 2"x2" and most are far smaller. I started in the middle and worked my way out. After the first few sections, I took Mom's advice and used fusible interfacing underneath the patches to hold them on just a little more tightly.
I fell in love with this quilt and loved putting it together in pieces so that I got to see it evolve throughout the project. No feelings of being let down after the initial design phase was done. I'm thrilled with the way it turned out and Hillary and Jesse seem to love it just as much as I do, so I was very happy to give it to them. I'll try to get a shot of it with the baby when he/she comes next month.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Brian's latest creation

Brian has been welding lately. He made the metal planter holder that I posted this summer and he just finished this coat rack. It's made of wood from a reclaimed beam from an old building and some metal curls that he cut and welded in place. I love how it looks like it's floating on the wall since the L-brackets are hidden. And I love even more that I have a place to put my work bag, jacket, and scarf when I walk in the door!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sewing with the Baltimore girls

Dan and I were in Baltimore for the last week at Emily and Brian's house. We were so busy exploring the neighborhoods, and trying out all the food and drink in the city (!) that we didn't have a lot of time to sew! But I helped Emily put together some of her postage stamp "scrap" quilt. She's using 3-inch cut squares and sewing together strips of 30. I donated some fabric and scraps from my collection to the cause and we managed to get a few more strips put together.
We used the railing in her guest room/craft room to drape all the strips. We didn't get too far arranging them, but had fun admiring all the beautiful fabrics. Izzy enjoyed it, too! She plopped down on the comforter that we were using to lay out the strips and made herself comfortable. She knows how to appreciate a good quilt!
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Blogs to Follow

I found a couple of crafty blogs that I wanted to share, but I don't think I can edit that list at the side of our blog. Here they are: is by a young Japanese girl who makes small hand-sewn gift-type items. I've tried a couple of the projects but I had difficulty with them - they were so tiny. But I love to read her commentary. She's reall sweet. She writes in broken English and I just love her commentary on Japanese crafts and life. has great projects and fabrics and it's updated often.

I'm participating in a Block Party. I've never done one before, but apparently each month everybody in the group makes two blocks for one of us (there are 12 in all) so at the end of your month you have 24 blocks to put together into a quilt. There will supposedly be pictures posted on Flickr at this link:

or you can just sign into Flickr and search for Tethered Threads Block Party.

Tethered Threads

       Block Party

Dresser Scarf

This is done with English paper piecing then appliqued onto the background. I don't usually like to do hand sewing, but this looked easy enough, so I tried it, then did the hand embroidery, and since I had already done all that hand work I decided to hand quilt it too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It's officially autumn on the East Coast and that means time to pull out the fleece blankets. Inspired by Maya's creation that I saw on a visit to Pittsburgh this summer:
I made a fleece snuglet (an obvious rip-off of the Snuggie) for Zac. It is his Christmas present from me, but I felt he might need it during football season. Then I remembered he lives in LA and probably never ever needs a fleece anything unless he's trying to pick up hiker babes. Anyway, he likes it and facebook LOVES it.

This is incredibly easy to make. You just make two sleeve tubes and sew them into the holes you cut out. It practically makes itself! I think I made 2 in one hour. Pattern here:
Thanks, Maya!

Monday, October 19, 2009

ROY G BIV quilt

Look what my sisters made me! Pam and John are visiting us in San Francisco and Pam brought us this beautiful quilt made by her and Kathy. Pam said that she thought it was appropriate for me, because I taught her the ROY G BIV method of remembering the colors of the rainbow! (I don't remember that, but OK, as her older sister I'll take the credit!) The pattern is from a book called Simple Patchwork Gifts, which I had just gotten out of our library, and was sitting on my coffee table when Pam arrived. It's absolutely beautiful!!
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Project: Baby Quilt

My friend Hillary is having a baby next month. Like a lot of the new moms I know, she is not going to find out the sex of the baby until it is born. One of the reasons for this decision is to avoid the piles of pepto pink or baby blue items that she worries her friends and family will heap upon her if she told them the baby's sex.

I found a great quilt on the Crazy Mom Quilts blog and Hillary loves it, too, so I'm starting another scrap-based project. Yesterday I made a quilt sandwich of just the backing, muslin for the top, and one layer of bamboo batting. Today I made a bunch of tiny scraps (all smaller than my 3" squares for my other scrap quilt) and pinned a few on.

Here's what it looks like now. None of the edges of the scraps are turned under. The idea is that to quilt just inside the edge of each square and that should be enough to hold it on there. And maybe with successive washes the edges will get nice and fuzzy. We'll see. I think I can get a few squares done before the Steelers game starts this afternoon and maybe a few during half time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Baby Monster

Whipup posted a link to this baby monster plushie tutorial. It was very easy and turned out quite cute. This will be a gift for Monika's baby Elise who is 16 months old now.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I found this picture on Re-Nest today.

The artist is named Emily Fischer. Should I steal her ideas? We already share a name and this would be a great quilt for the Engineers in our family.
Link here

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I finally finished Susan's bed quilt. It's made from a pattern in a Kaffe Fassett book, with mostly Amy Butler fabrics.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New Amy Butler patterns

Check out this new CD for sale by Amy Butler.
It's full of patterns - I guess instead of publishing a book, she's just put the patterns on the CD. I LOVE some of the projects shown, especially the quilts. I think I might have to have this CD...I haven't seen it in any of the stores yet so I guess I'll have to start shopping more!

Monday, August 24, 2009


I just got back from a great weekend in New York to celebrate with my friend Jan before her upcoming wedding in October. We threw a little party for her at her apartment and it gave me the chance to try out some decorating ideas I've been thinking of for my own wedding next spring.One of them is the seemingly-ubiquitous pom-poms (or am I the only one who sees these because normal people don't read wedding blogs?). I made them out of folded tissue paper and we unfolded them after they made the bus ride to NYC.
I got to check out the pom pom-making skills of two of my bridesmaids, Jen and Jan, and they did very well. What do you guys think of these?

Are they too casual for an indoor reception?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rainbow from the garden

A recent weekday harvest from our deck. I just really liked the color spectrum. I'm not trying to brag :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weekend quilting with Lauren

I spent last weekend at Lauren's apartment, and we spent some of our time (when we weren't at the pool, or the park, or shopping) finishing up the quilt that she is making for her college friend, Heather, who is getting married in September.

Lauren had already finished the center of the top, which has crazy-quilted hearts on a swirly beige background.

We added the inner border, made out of random pieces of all of the fabrics that are in the hearts.

Then she added a pretty purplish-navy blue outer border. Then we drove down to Robbie's house (he wasn't home) and we used his hardwood floors to pin the quilt together.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Taggy Blanket Success

Another picture of the adorable Gabe Friedman enjoying an Emily Fisher original. Gabe's mom, Erin, reports that he loves the tags and attempts to put the whole blanket in his mouth, which sounds like a great endorsement to me!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Crafts

This summer, I took on a couple of small projects. The first is a purse made from a Nancy Zieman pattern. The pattern was great, but the accompanying directions were extremely complicated. However, I did manage to get a nice purse out of it.

I got a book out of the library called "Sew Darn Cute", and found a pattern for this little craft apron. It's made of canvas with fabric ironed onto it. I've had this piece of flowered fabric sitting in the basement for a year, and didn't know what to do with it. I think the fabric was perfect for this apron. I especially like the "scissor holster", don't you?

Friday, July 31, 2009

I do what Martha says

The latest issue of Martha Stewart Living was waiting for me when I returned from my trip to Paris this month. She suggested making coasters out of old maps and I thought this would be a great present for my friend Mindy since we had just finished a wonderful trip together and because I knew she needed felt-lined coasters because cork sticks to her table's surface. I followed Martha's instructions and just glued a layer of felt underneath the cork. They're not exactly uniform in shape, but they include most of the monuments and attractions that we visited and will keep that table ring-free!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco

This year was the second year that the Renegade Craft Fair was held in San Francisco. I loved it last year and went back to see what was new this year. This is a very "crafty" fair with everything hand-made. Most of the vendors are young, and also sell their things on Etsy online. Most of them only have one table of things for sale, but there were over 200 vendors this year, so lots of variety, and some very creative crafts! Some of my favorite things: beautiful letterpress cards and paper products...

...lots of purses and bags of all sizes and shapes - purses, tote bags, etc. There was a lot of Amy Butler fabric and patterns used. The vinyl bags are very similar to the ones that Emily and I made from the patterns in the Denyse Schmidt book. (Hmm....I have some of that vinyl left over!)

I was impressed that quite a few people had hand-made clothes, mostly dresses, and many made with funky fabric combinations.

There are apparently a lot of talented graphic artists out there, putting their designs onto everything from baby onesies, to posters, T shirts, bags, pillows, tea towels, etc....

There wasn't much pottery in this show, but this was one of them and I think it's beautiful!

These were some of my favorite bags - they're made entirely from vintage fabrics (can you tell?!) and they use men's ties as handles, with the tie ends just sewn to the two sides of the bag.
I might have to make one of these myself.

And of course one of the best things about this show is that it was at Fort Mason, which is right on the bay, and it was a beautiful day to be out in San Francisco!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dress update

Here's Elise Andrade in one of the smocked dresses I made. I love her model pose here.
The dress got lots of love on Facebook :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Harvests

The wild raspberries are ripening near the State Park where we take Izzy on hikes and last weekend I brought back 1.5 pints. They're delicious and I made a great tart with them that disappeared before I could take a photo of it.

In other news, our garden has expanded. Brian bought some pepper plants and more basil to go with my herbs and tomatoes. He also built this window box (deck side box?) for them out of steel. I think it looks great.

And finally my first tomatoes are ripening. I think these two will be perfectly ripe while I'm in Paris next week, so I'll miss them but Paris is a pretty good consolation prize!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Inspired by these links (lei neckline via WhipUp and flower collar) and the possibility of using up more fabric leftover from the remnants of my fail dress, I "made" this shirt.

Started out by improving the neckline of a rather boring Old Navy black t-shirt:(this project was already a success at this point)
Then I made a bunch of rounded squarish and somewhat-leaf-like shapes. I sewed them together with one running stitch and then gathered them to scrunch them. At first, it was too long:
and looked like I lost part of my lei after some luau drama. I shortened it and it was better:

Brian calls this my shirt with "flair".

Friday, July 3, 2009

Weekend Sewing

A few weeks ago I bough Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing. I was resistant to this book at first, but many of my daily-read bloggers loved it and she was on the Martha Stewart show in a great segment, so I bought it. I used elastic thread for the first time and made bloomers for Sarah's imminent baby girl, plus a cute dress for Elise (Monika's baby and recipient of my first diaper bag creation).
This smocked dress is frighteningly similar to the one Molly is wearing in this picture and it makes me want to try to make the dress that Jedy is wearing in that picture!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

they use it!

Just a quick picture of Gabe Friedman, recipient of one of my changing pads, just hanging out enjoying the changing pad lifestyle.

It's wonderful to see it in use!