Thursday, May 28, 2009

Simple Summer Totes

I mentioned a few posts back that I wanted to work on some simple totes. Something good for library books, snacks for the park, or hauling goodies to a summer vacation play date. Wait, that reminds me...we were at a group dinner last week and there was a family there we had never met. I mentioned something about Tatey having her first solo playdate and the lady flipped about how they don't say the word "play date" in their house. Say what? She went on and on about kids being over scheduled and why can't we just call it "hanging out". Dude, calm down. It was weird. I just kind of stared at her speechless (which only happens a few times a year) and kept my fingers crossed that the two long island ice teas Crafty Papa had had wouldn't lead him to mock her to her face. Ok, diversion over.

Back to the totes. Very different fabrics and different price ranges too. A little something for everyone.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Recipes You Must Try

I love to bake. That's probably why I can't lose these 10-15 pounds. But it makes me happy. I find so much satisfaction in gathering what I have in my pantry, adding a thing or two borrowed from my neighbor, and then creating something yummy.

Lately I've been daydreaming about having my own bakery. Something fun and funky, geared toward kids with mini tables and chairs sets. Bright oil cloth on the tables and different colored fiesta ware plates. I would have a different apron for every day of the week and my girls would "work" with me at the bakery after school. Daydream over.

This weekend we tried this recipe for Colorburst Cupcakes. Super fun and different and they really are as bright as the pictures. They took quite a while to assemble so I'm thinking they're a once or twice a year kind of treat but the kids thought they were really cool so it was totally worth it. Look how happy Tater looks.

I also tried the frosting recipe included with the cupcakes link. The taste was good but I thought the texture was a little funny. I think maybe next time I'll throw my Kitchen Aid mixer bowl in the freezer along with some of the ingredients so everything is really cold when I start mixing.

I also recently made a lemon pound cake using this recipe. I liked that the ingredients were things that I regularly have in my pantry, minus the lemons which I shoplifted from my neighbor. I'm not a huge lemon person but I thought this cake was delicious. Crafty Papa, who really isn't a sweet eater, dug the glaze.

I think this afternoon I'll try to turn a box of yellow cake mix into some kind of yummy glazed cupcakes. Instead of eating them all myself, I'll take them into work tonight and give them to my coworkers. That should make this old lady at least temporarily popular, right?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Now, that's pretty

I had some blocks leftover from my quilt and thought they'd make a fabulous tote bag. I believe I was correct.

Seriously, how can you not think that's beautiful? Lots of color, lots of pattern, and a funky strip design. It's quilted so I got a chance to practice my stippling for my big quilt and even Crafty Papa said I did a great job.

This is just a simple tote, no boxed corners, no pocket, no closure. Just something easy to throw your stuff into and go. You'll be the most fabulously accessorized lady at the library with this bag. Or use it to carry your lunch and junk to work. Or, if you're like the Crafty Family has been this past month, use to carry all of your meds:) Seriously, we've had one ill month but I think we're finally on the mend and I'm feeling creative and motivated again.

I'll promise you right now that it won't be in my shop long. If it doesn't sell by the end of this week, I'm going to keep it for myself or give it to one of Bella's wonderful teachers as a year end gift.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

See, I haven't been completely lazy

I'm finished with my quilt top! I carefully laid out my blocks this afternoon and really couldn't tell whether I screwed up anywhere with the pattern because the whole thing is so funky and crazy, you can only look at it for about 3 seconds before your eyes start to burn.

Doesn't it look pretty on the back of my couch? I think I might make some pillows to coordinate. Crafty Papa is anti-pillow but after nine years of marriage, I think I've earned a throw pillow or two.

This is what I plan on doing with the quilt when it's finished. Except I probably won't use a pacifier and I'll be real sleeping instead of faux sleeping while trying not to laugh like my model.

Unfortunately, I'm all geared up to finish my masterpiece but can't do so right now. I accidentally spent my allowance for June (yes, we give ourselves an allowance, and yes, I gave myself an advance) on tshirts from Lands End. They were on sale for $10 each with free shipping and 3% back through Ebates. I was blinded by the bargain and now I'll have tshirts in every color of the rainbow but another unfinished quilt.

I'm considering listing some inexpensive, no bells and whistles tote bags in my shop. Really pretty fabric but no pockets, special design, or other features. Just something fun and pretty to use for library books, farmers market, diet pepsi, whatever your pleasure. Anyway, they'd be relatively inexpensive and I'm hoping they might spark some sales and I can have a little extra money to finish my quilt sooner rather than later.

And speaking of diet pepsi, I've made the crazy decision to try and give up my refreshing beverage of choice for a month. I know artificial sweeteners are linked to all sorts of bad things and with my pain and sleep issues related to Fibromyalgia, I thought I'd give a diet pepsi hiatus a shot. I don't drink gallons of the stuff, just one a day, but I'm curious to see whether my little experiment yields any results in the way I feel day to day. I'll let you know how my stint as a guinea pig goes.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Steals & Deals

Owl necklace and earring set, $20 (by the way, we gave owl earrings to Bella's teachers last week for one of their Teacher Appreciation Week gifts and they LOVED them! Put them on immediately and wore them again the next day. My point is, end of the school year is approaching and I think this would make a fabulous, unique gift for a teacher.)

Anna Maria Horner Good Folks bag, $28

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mama's Day

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Mother's Day. We've spent our day mostly in our pj's and just laying around watching movies because mama and papa have been really sick for several days now.

I asked for just one thing this weekend...time to work on my quilt. I got my big stack of fabric from Jona last week but waited a few days to start cutting and piecing because I was feeling so sick, I was afraid I'd screw up on something.

I have all of my strips cut and sewn together and am working on cutting my blocks and triangles. I'm a little bummed that even though I purchased enough fabric, it looks like I'm going to run out. Tell me if this isn't crazy...I'm supposed to cut four 10 1/2" squares from my strips. So that's 42 inches total. The strips started at 44" but definitely shrunk after washing and drying. Add to that waste and selvages, and I can only get 3 squares out of the strips instead of 4. Seems kind of ridiculous to me. Anyway, here's my first pieced square...

Lastly, I got an amazing present from Crafty Papa today. HE DESIGNED and MADE it for me himself!

How sweet is he? A metal flower sculpture for our yard with one flower for each of the little girls we're growing. We saw something similar recently and instead of buying it for me, he surprised me and made it himself. I think I'll definitely keep him.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jumping In!

I ordered my quilt fabric tonight! Sis Boom Pretty Please!

I ordered from Jona's shop and got a fabulous deal. I know it's kind of bright and crazy but that's what my living room needs (and bright and crazy may just describe me too). I was initially set on using a jelly roll but couldn't find one that I was 100% in love with. I went fabric shopping for yardage and still couldn't find a collection I liked. I checked out Jona's shop this evening and immediately knew this was the perfect palette for my quilt. I ordered 15 fabrics in mainly pink, blue, and green.

I spent my early morning chatting online with my very own quilting consultant. I've been friends with Alissa for about 8 years and she was the one who first taught me how to quilt. She's amazingly talented and has had a great teacher in her mother. We have completely opposite taste but we somehow work together well. When she saw my fabric choices, she said they're very "Kelci". Anyway, she recommended this pattern and I'm apprehensively trying it. I love the way the end result looks but I just know I'll sew half of the triangles incorrectly.
(That's Alissa's quilt. Isn't it so fun and pretty? See, I told you she's talented.)

So, hopefully by the end of next week I'll have a few little squares started. I can't wait to see how it all comes together.