Saturday, March 31, 2012

remember buggy

It’s been 11 years and I find something new I miss about her everyday. Most recently…her cynical sense of humor.

- cbq -

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

black and white and yellow all over

I have a love hate relationship with our home. I think most homeowners do, right? We are frugal, so we bought a cute little townhome that was way under our limit. But we’re paying for it now…in space that is.

This is our main living space. See how cramped we are?! Big husband (not being rude here, he really is – he gets asked if he is in the marines on a regular basis), big weimeraner, and me - all three of us on that little couch (because of course the dog is way too spoiled to lie on the floor).

Anyway, we painted this room, along with our kitchen, yellow not too long ago. I thought it might brighten it up and make it a more enjoyable space. In reality, it’s just made it hard to decorate. With the tan couch (now ruined due to doggy drool), the horrid recliner that neither hubs nor I can part with and the hodge podge of other bits of furniture in this room, it’s impossible to make it look ‘pretty’.

I did make an attempt, though. My idea was to have yellow, white and hints of black in this room (that will never happen), so that is why I bought this fabric. Really, hubs picked it out. I’m not sure what I would have gone with if I’d have had free reign, but it probably wouldn’t have been this.

Either way, I’ve finally started putting together the curtains. I did my own version of a ‘tab-top’ curtain, which I’ve decided is my favorite type of curtain. I haven’t tried making curtains with grommets – I think that will be my next domestic sewing project (for our master bathroom).

Hopefully, these are not making the tiny space even busier…I have a feeling with the three of us in there, it’s busy already!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

hitting a steel curtain...

I have been planning a Steelers Quilt for quite some time now (it is even on my finish-it-in-2012 list). I picked a sad week to do so, as my all time favorite Steeler Hines Ward announced his retirement in a very tear-envoking press conference on Tuesday. Better to see him retire in Black & Gold than play for another team, but I do wish he could have done so on his own terms. I will definitely miss his ever present smile!

Enough of that now…there’s no crying in quilting! Yeah, I think that’s how that goes…

Anyway, the cathedral window quilt pattern has long been one of my favorite traditional patterns. I had planned to use the Steelers quilt to give the cathedral window a try…after all you can definitely see a resemblance to the franchise logo.

Perfect plan, right? I thought so.

There are two ‘methods’ out there in webland that I was able to find for completing the cathedral window. A method that uses a template for folding over the edges to make the ‘window’ and a method that involves sewing the ‘frame’ part of the window together in an enclosed square and turning it right side out. (I’m sure these methods have names…no idea what they are. Sorry). After searching for a while, I decided on the using-a-template-to-fold-the-edges-over method and found that this tutorial made the most sense to me. Now for the next challenge in the Saga of the Steeler Cathedral Window…size.

For my quilt design, I needed approximately 11” stars in the window (from point to point). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a conversion factor, as most instructions and tutorials for this quilt pattern allow for 2.5” windows (~3.5” from point to point) using a ~9.5” block for the ‘frame’ part of the quilt square. So I got to do math again – Pythagoras and all (yay!) and decided I would use a 22” square for my frame.

After all that calculating and measuring and ironing (I hate ironing…cw require a LOT of ironing) and some machine embroidery, too, I came up with this.

Not quite finished, but, beautiful, right? Looks perfect. And then I got to thinking…

That’s a lot of extra fabric I just used to make something that I could have just as easily pieced together…

Maybe I should take it apart…

But, I put so much work into it!

But, I will be saving $ and fabric if I take it apart…and it will look just as good right?

And so, out with the seam ripper. Bye, bye cathedral window.

Luckily, I found a great (free) curved piecing pattern for the same effect. And it was even the right size – I used the same yellow, red, and blue fabric squares that I had already cut! I couldn’t have happened upon a more perfect solution for my blunder.

And there’s my silver lining, folks. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

um, how have i missed this!?!

Yeah. So, I just discovered nanaCompany's blog. WOW. I absolutely love EVERYTHING on her blog!! Especially this!!

From her flikr pool here. How sweet!

I definitely think I found my new favorite blog!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

pleasantly surprised

I mentioned that I'm trying the Aneela Hoey Crackle pattern a while back. I was becoming a bit discouraged with undertaking this project. Until I put it up on the design board.

Then I changed my mind. It's still a tedious pattern, but I am really enjoying it now that I've seen a peek of the potential finished product! Yay! Looking forward to the finished product, although I am sure it will be a slow process.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

going out in style...

We've shipped up to Boston to see the Dropkick's for St. Paddy's. Hubs and I have been wanting to do this for years - one of our fav bands. So in honor of my first trip to Boston, and St. Paddy's, here's the unofficial anthem of St. Patrick's Day.

Have a lucky one.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

a squared + b squared...

One of the things I LOVE about quilting...

the math.

Yep. I said it. Getting out a calculator, finding the right equation, and calculating measurements for fabric sends my little nerdy brain to a happy place. So when I set out to make a quilt for my neice's fourth birthday, I was excited when (after lots of planning and asking hubs his opinion), I decided on this design for a Hello Kitty quilt to go with Haidyn's Hello Kitty bag. AND, I got to use the Pythagorean Theorem (yay!).

Aren't hubbies great for holding quilts up for pictures!? :)

I also decided to try and make this a quillow using this tutorial from a cuppa and a catchup (GREAT tutorial by the way). Since I was using a panel for the front instead of blocks, it made it a little more difficult to follow the directions, but it folds up just fine! I put the pillow pocket in the back of the quilt instead of the front.

This was my first time working with minky fabric (quilt backing), and I learned a few things. First, I wish I would have spray basted. The backing fabric was definitely slipping a little as I was sewing and the basting pins just didn't hold it together. Luckily the quilting is sparse so there isn't to much pinching. I was savvy enough to use a walking foot anytime I was sewing on the minky, and that helped a little, but I did get some stretching on the backing.

Overall, a very quick and simple project that I really enjoyed. I will definitely be making another quillow!! Now let's hope Haidyn likes it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

we raced the sunset and we almost won...

Well, not REALLY. Those are some favorite lyrics from hubs and I's favorite band. But, we did have a darn good time in Northern California a couple weeks ago. (PS, so glad NorthernCal is so different from SouthernCal...I like it much better!!).

Anyway, as part of our outdoor enthusiasm and our National Park Project, we visited Redwoods State and National Parks, made a quick stop (too quick if you ask me) in San Francisco, and finished our trip in the amazingly beautiful Big Sur. Here are the highlights!

We started the trip by camping in Elk Prairie Creek Campground in Prairie Creek Redwoods SP, which was an amazing campground. There are several sites 'in the woods' near the creek that are just adorable. But, it was pretty chilly when we were there (26 degrees F at one point!) and we thought it might be warmer if we stayed in the 'prairie' part of the campground...and I'm glad we did!

It turns out that a herd of 8 bull elk were using our campground as their own little bachelor pad.  They even came to visit the campground host!


They were pretty playful with each other, which was amazing to watch.  And they really didn't mind us being there.  We kept our distance, of course, but they basically walked through our little campsite.  Definitely a highlight of the trip!

The first morning, we woke up to a frosty 26 degrees (that is, frosty inside the tent!).   

 So we set out in the car to warm up a little.

Made a quick stop to view our new friends...

We landed at Gold Bluff Beach.  Very beautiful, and peaceful.

By the time we returned to the campsite, it had warmed up enough to take a few hikes.  We did most of the James Irvine Trail, the Foothills Trail and the Cathedral Trees Trail.  All very close to our home campsite.

James Irvine Trail

After a hard day of hiking, we returned for some R&R...and elk watching.  Yep, they were still there.

(Left) Never had a tangerine wheat before. This was pretty good! - From Lost Coast Brewing. (Right) 
We stopped at this place (Redwood Curtain) in Arcata, CA.  Low key and good beer. 
Below - a Stellar's Jay.

My hubs and the beautiful night sky.

Our next and last day, we traveled through Humboldt Redwoods State Park and the Avenue of the Giants which was amazing.  Kind of wish we would have gotten to spend more time there.

We did the Founders Trail, which was beautiful.

This tree was believed to be the tallest tree until it fell recently.

That ends our trip to Redwoods.  From here, we stopped quickly in San Francisco.  We stayed at the Hilton San Francisco Wharf, which I really liked.  In walking distance to the wharf; where we spent most of our time.


Hubs REALLY wanted to see Alcatraz.  So off we went.

Beautiful landscaping on the island.

Does someone have a key...cause I'd really like to lock him in here ;)

 We spent the evening after Alcatraz exploring the Wharf, eating the clam chowder bread bowl at Boudin Bakery (amazing!!) and at Scoma's, which was okay for a pricier meal.  The next day, we were off to Big Sur.


We camped at Kirk Creek Campground.  This is probably the most beautiful campsite I have ever seen.  On a bluff about 8 stories above the ocean, with ocean views and sounds.  Just amazing.

Our first (and my favorite) stop once we got to Big Sur was to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and McWay Falls.  This place is the definition of picturesque and amazingly beautiful.  I could have sat and stared at the beauty of this place all day.  I was a little bummed that the sun didn't cooperate for a better picture, but this definitely makes my top ten list of beautiful places!

 There is an interesting amount of history that goes along with this place. 

Below, some of the beautiful shoreline that Big Sur is so overrun with and the historic Bixby Bridge. 

We stopped to have breakfast at the Big Sur Inn which was as quaint as can be.  I had the raspberry cream cheese stuffed sourdough french toast.  Heavenly.

This definitely was one of my favorite trips just because we were so isolated and detached from the hustle and bustle of everyday life that we strive so hard to get away from.  No cell phone reception and only the noise of the nature around us.  The perfect get-away for this outdoor loving couple.

Hope you enjoy!