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Friday, November 20, 2020

Baby Palooza

I'm so super excited to show the baby stuff I've been working on the past several months.  Rich's daughter is due in early January and the baby shower is this weekend.  Everything has been gifted and opened, so I can finally share all the things I've been working on.

The first thing I did was make this Harry Potter Cube.  It's a free pattern on Pinterest if you'd like to make one for yourself.  Alyssa is a huge HP fan and I tried to do something she would find fun.  As most of you know, I'm a huge fan, too!  Something that I love about modern baby stuff is that it's not super baby themed.  I would have liked to do similar when my kids were babies. 
I found these super fun ribbons on Etsy that all have a HP theme.  The golden snitch has crinkly stuff inside.
The Quidditch field is made with wooden teething rings.
The Hedwig panel was the hardest one to do.  There was a national shortage of elastic at the time and I couldn't make the pouch the way it was supposed to be made but I think I got it done.  Clearly the baby owl is removable and Hedwig's wings have velcro to hold him in.
Then there's the Hogwarts emblem.  I'm really happy with the whole thing.💓
I had to miss the baby shower because of the pandemic.  Her mom is hosting a "Drive Thru" shower this weekend.  We couldn't justify driving to Iowa just to drive by her mom's house & wave hi.  So, instead I baked cookies and shipped them.  The invitations were really cute and said something about welcoming a little pumpkin so I went with pretty pumpkins.  The little rose is from a fondant mold, the rest was piping.
This was the first time I've used real egg whites instead of merengue powder for my royal icing.  It didn't harden as well but I liked the flavor a lot better.  I used a gift tag cutter for the base of the bottle cookie.  They've been "quality controlled" after shipping and passed inspection.
The onesie wasn't as successful as I had hoped.  I used a lace technique for the first time on the sleeves.  I think this would have been more successful using merengue powder.  Also, the green and cream frostings were different thicknesses so the dots didn't smooth into the green like I wanted them to.
The peach dots were more successful.  I didn't want them to be as 90s country as they turned out but, there you go.  It is what it is.  They're delicious and that's what really matters.  I've literally been using this cookie recipe since Alyssa was 6 years old.  Not sure if she remembers them from that far back.
I really wanted to do some burp rags.  They're super useful and a fun way to be creative.
I bought some fabric diapers and basically raided my ribbons and rick rack.
They were fun.  I liked the idea a using fabrics that weren't necessarily baby themed.
Last but certainly not least, the quilt.  I didn't want to go super fancy because I hope that it gets used.  A lot.  I want this thing to be barely hanging together by a thread when the baby is a middle schooler.
I really had trouble deciding what to do.  I was hoping for HP but I didn't like any of the fabric that was available in the US.  I just couldn't bring myself to spend $20/yard for fabric that was going to be pooped on in the near future...
Melissa gave me the best advice while I was stressing out about it.  She said that I should make it about me so that the baby knows what Grandma Heather is about.  When I was done crying ugly tears, I found the baking mice.  My spirit animals, each and every one.
I can't get enough of them.
I hope that baby Lucy always feels the love that this was all made with.
And with that, my friends, it's time to find my butter bed and & take my nap...

Sunday, November 8, 2020

It's Not Awesome But It's Progress

It's not that I completely haven't been creating.  I just haven't been doing much of it that's been any good.  This block from the Red & Green quilt makes me absolutely cringe every time I see it.  All the pieces are wonky.  All of them.  And there are quite a few in this block.  None of the hexagons are the same size, almost none of the points match.  Bleh!
I just finished this one last night.  Much better.  Fewer pieces to match up.  I had a second piece of yellow stuffed in the large flower's center but it must have fallen out because there's quite a bit of shadowing happening.
This one was finished last month.  I had completely skipped a leaf at one point and didn't notice until I was sharing it during a TAS meeting.  Ooops.  I think this project may be too taxing for my current state of mind.

 I can still manage some straight-up embroidery, though.  I can still follow a line when I need to.  Jeesh!
When I moved into the smaller studio, I lost my design board.  And, along with it, my photo set up and good lighting.  So now everything is weird angles and shadows.  I've really got to do something new for that.  I just haven't figured out what.   
I've also been working on baby things.  Rich's oldest daughter is expecting in January!  We're very excited but I don't want to share those projects until they've been gifted.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Look What I Forgot To Do

Hello!  Hope everyone is well.  Apparently I started this post back in July and totally forgot about it!
I finished the Sue Spargo Stitch Along that she did on FB in the early months of the Covid19 lock down.  I think they may have started another round since then.  Or, maybe it was a different stitch along all together.  As you can tell, I've been completely out of it these past 4-5 months.
I really enjoyed the process quite a bit.  Early on, it gave me something daily to look forward to.  In the end, I was a little over it.  You know how I get bored easily...

All the different animals were fun to make.  Not something I would ever think of on my own.
As time went on, I got sloppier with my stitches.  Not all of my animals look like what my intentions were.  Fore example, that tan one below in the upper left corner is a lion...
Some designs made more sense to me than others.  The more abstract, the more confusing for me.
Flowers are always my favorite.  


Anything with weaving took forEVER to do.


I used my Wildflowers thread exclusively and I wouldn't let myself buy more either.
Since these photos, I've quilted the whole thing and turned it into a little table topper.  I couldn't think of anything else to do with it.  Too big for a pillow, too small for a wall hanging.  Rich likes to look at it and tell me how crazy I am.  We guesstimated that I put about 250-300 hours into it for absolutely no actual purpose other than creating.

We had a crazy fall wedding season at work, regardless of restrictions.  A few of my friends didn't get to come back to work, which was heart wrenching.  And for the next 4 months, I'm back on layoff.  Who knows what the spring will bring.  In the mean time, my brain is slowly recouping or at least learning to cope with the new normal that is our life.  Perhaps I'll start keeping up with the blog again now that I will have time to create again.

Type at you soon!  Heather

Monday, May 25, 2020

Just In Time

Hello again, dear friends.  After being on layoff for 2 months, they've asked me to start back up tomorrow.  I really hope I remember how!  I thought I'd have another month before the tuxedo industry kicked back in but apparently not.  Before all this happened we had planned to replace the floor in my studio/ office.  Luckily, Rich had a long weekend and Hunter was able to come install my new floor ahead of schedule.  I knew scheduling it while I was using the room for my office was going to be a disaster.  This is my cutting/ ironing and painting station.

Every art studio needs a big screen TV.
This was what was under the carpet all these years.  Ew.  The crazy thing is that they had this butting up to actual hardwood floors.  I bet it was spectacular when they also had the mirrored tiles on the walls...
Bookshelf, fabric yardage, thread, ribbon, bead storage.  The boxes at the bottoms hold my kits and templates.
Here's my sewing table and office space.  A realistic, messy view...
Truman's bed... he was so freaked out with the house being torn apart for the last few weeks that he's refusing to leave the bed now that it's all back together!  Honesty, Rich and Melissa are almost as freaked out.  Nobody likes change around here but me.  Rich is thrilled I'm going back to work, only because I won't have time to think of more house renovations.
A good look at the floor.  It's a luxury vinyl plank.  I'd only been using this room for a week when I dumped BBQ pulled pork and chocolate cake onto the old carpet.  Here's hoping this is a little more Heather proof...  It was a HUGE job that took a solid 2 days but they did a great job!  I'm super happy to finally have the studio just the way I wanted it!
During the last month, I didn't do a whole lot of stitching since I was busy with the kitchen cabinets and then the floors.  I did start a Quilt of Valor that I've had in the kit bin for almost 10 years...

Last year, I bought these embroidered blocks at a quilt show.  The stitching on them is exquisite.  But, she stitched through the fabric and batting.  So, I have a quilt as you go situation.  I butted the blocks together and stitched them in place.  Pinned the border & batting together and attached it.  Then, instead of making an applique sashing, I decided to use rick rack.  Big mistake.  I've been stitching rick rack down for weeks... It'll be cute in the end but it's a lot more work than I planned on.  Literally, the story of my life...
I did finally finish my Ireland crazy quilt book.

I was super gung ho on this in the beginning.  I thought I had plenty of ideas to fill the 5" blocks but as I went along, the ideas dried up.

So, I went on to Etsy and bought a bunch of charms that reminded my of my trip.  I re-did the flowers on the block below.  I like the more mellow color scheme a lot better than what I had originally.

I don't think I made any changes to this one.  I liked it the first time out.

This is a re-do as well.  I changed out the clover button in the top left corner.  Rich had given it to me for our anniversary several years ago, I knew I'd get to use it some day.  The cross in the bottom left was my mom's.  I've been saving the tiny clover beads forever as well.  The rose is a broken piece of jewelry.

That fairy door opens up.  Now I need to find the right picture to put in there.  It turns out that the Ireland island was printed on both sides.  I made it dangly with the airplane, passport and rainbow.
Other than that, I've still been working on Sue Spargo's Toned Down Sampler.  I'm about a week behind on that due to the renovations but I don't think I'll have too much trouble catching up.  Hope you're all safe and healthy!  Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Is DIYing a Disease? Can It Be Treated?

Honestly, I'm DIYing my house to death.  Not to mention my hair...  Poor, unfortunate, Rich is exhausted from all the changes.  I made some strawberry jam a couple weeks ago and made a huge mess.  It set up well though and it doesn't always, so that was good.  Then I made something called Monkey Butter that tastes like baby food but the kids seem to like it.  The name intrigued me.  It's bananas, pineapple, & coconut.  It would make a decent cupcake filling.  IF ONLY I HAD A WORKING OVEN....
Digging through my stuff, I had a lot of strip fabric made.  Remember when that was popular?  It's been there for YEARS!  I had always intended to make Edyta Sitar's Coral Bells pattern.  Holy Y-seams, Batman.  I had enough pre-made strips to make 15 blocks before I ran out of off-white fabric.  Once I order more, I'll add alternating solid fabric blocks and a solid cream outer border so the flowers just kind of float around.
Then, I decided to start a red and green project.  This is from Jeana Kimball's book, Red and Green, An Applique Tradition.  Those cutout seeds were a real booger to do.
And, that's about when I decided to paint my kitchen cabinets.  I was washing them down and realized how terrible the oak looked after 17 years of Mantz torture.  Rich and I have disagreed about painting them white since we moved in.  So, we compromised by letting me get what I wanted.
I think it looks great with the island that Hunter made for me last year.  Now, I'd like to change out the back splash and counter top to match the island better.
We also changed the light bulbs to "day light" bulbs and the brightness nearly blinded us after so many years in a cave!  It's also really crazy how the paint changed the acoustics in the room.  Last, but not least, I added chalkboard paint to the tall cupboard for lists and what not.
If I'd known how much work that was going to be, I would have hired it out.  I kept telling myself how much $$ I was saving by doing it myself.  Hunter and Carmen got an estimate for their kitchen cabinets at about $1200-$1500 and our kitchens are about the same size. My paint and supplies came in about $150.  But, I'm going to be 49 next week and I have literally spent the last 2 months sitting on the couch stitching and watching tv.  Let's just say, my fitness level does not meet the requirements of ladders, sanding, squats, and bending over to paint for 5 days straight in our nasty, moldy, basement during monsoon season.  I told Rich, it's the first and last time that I'll ever be glad to have a small kitchen.  With any luck, we'll be ordering a new stove next week.  I CAN NOT WAIT!!  I'm going through baking withdrawals like you wouldn't believe.  There's only so much you can do in an air fryer...