Crafting is fun!

Not so long ago I was trying my hand at every activity I could think to try in the Bay Area.

Kayak with whales?

Did it and didn’t puke in high seas.

Race stock cars?

Did it and got the picture to prove it.

Pole dancing?

Tried my hand at it but discovered I was a better lap dancer.

Though I enjoyed most all of the activities – except for cave crawling – two activities stand out amongst the others:

Glass blowing and ceramics.

First I tried glass blowing.

I loved it so much I went back a second time and did the exact same thing I’d done before.

I made a beautiful bowl.

I have two GORGEOUS glass bowls for fruit or candy that I gifted to my mother.

I’m still floored that I was able to make them (the second time I was with my friend Kimberly and she made a bowl too)!

My ceramics class was also wonderful.

I made a dish and a bowl, which I glazed and fired and took home to my mother, not because they were something only a mother could love, buy because I wanted to share the beauty of them with her.

The only downside to my ceramics class was that it took place in a shady neighborhood in the Emeryville.

I’ve decided that for 2020, provided I survive this pandemic, I’m going to take up ceramics and actually pay to join the local ceramic shop – Higher Fire.

And I’m going to go back to the glass studio and make more glass objects to gift to my friends and family.

Nothing says I love you like a handmade gift, yes?

My grade school art teacher would be very proud, I think to know that I can’t throw clay without remembering the big nose mug I made in his art class in junior high.

I still have that mug (I use it as a pencil holder in the kitchen), it was made so well.

I think this is more of my homesteading urge coming to light, but I’m just going to go with it.

Crafting is fun!

Just in time for Mother’s Day

I made another quilt.

It’s not finished yet, but the top has been pieced together.

It’s a quilt I made using ten inch white fabric squares and fabric markers.

I supplied my nephews with the squares and markers and they designed 12 unique designs to incorporate into the quilt.  Here are two:

I sewed a simple window pane pattern around the squares and I must say, I think the quilt turned out lovely.

It was really simple to do and I followed only the pattern in my head to make it.

Took just a few hours for me to pull together.

Here are the supplies I used:

Ten inch cotton squares (also known as a layer cake):

If you’d like, you can also use five inch cotton squares (also known as a charm pack):

Fabric markers – get the ones with fine point and chisel point tips for drawing lines and filling in space:

Add a little love and magic and voila!

You have yourself a charming quilt.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, I might add.

Quilting

For Christmas, I gave my nephews white 10″ fabric squares and fabric pens:

The idea was for them to spend a little less time gaming and a little more time crafting.

It’s good for you.

Anyway, they’ve made some lovely designs:

Well, they’ve finally almost finished all their squares (12 total) and so I bought this purple fabric to frame them:

And this accent fabric for the border:

Because the whole quilt will be crafted with LOVE and what better to symbolize that love than colorful hearts?!

What you may not realize is that my brother married my best friend who I’ve known since 5th grade so some of my love is getting stitched into this quilt for her.

In case you missed it, she ALREADY has one quilt I made and she (if not my brother) LOVES it:

I suppose it’s not all bad to have an extra 10 hours a week to spend quilting instead of commuting. . .

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s my favorite time of year.

The time when I get to pick out presents for my loved ones and show them how much they mean to me.

This year, I’m focusing on my nephews – or The Littles as I call them.

Because my brother and I each had two sets of boys.

Mine are the BIG boys and his are the LITTLE boys.

Hence, The Littles.

It’s an easy way to distinguish between them when we’re discussing “the boys.”

This year, for Christmas I purchased two sets of white cotton pajamas.

Boring, plain old cotton pajamas.

Then I got a tie dye set from Amazon so that The Little can MAKE THEIR OWN PJS!

They love tie dye and I think they’ll enjoy working with all the colors to make something unique and handmade.

Every year, I always get them a personalized ornament with their names and the year and THEIR HALLOWEEN COSTUME.

My oldest nephew was the grim reaper:

My youngest nephew was a zombie from Minecraft:

It’s not easy finding their costume every year on an ornament.

Last year, my youngest nephew was Venom.

I had to commission a Venom ornament from etsy to complete his gift.

This year, I’m also getting something different – a ten inch “layer cake” of white fabric and fabric pens.

I noticed that both boys are really artistic and I thought wouldn’t it make a great gift for their mom (my best friend from 5th grade – yes, my brother married my best friend) to have them design fabric squares over the next few months that I can then make into a quilt for her?

I sure am crafty when it comes to presents and I hope The Littles enjoy what they get.

Australia Quilt

My whole life I’ve dreamed of going to Australia.

I have a small obsession with it.

It’s a beautiful country with amazing wildlife and I can’t wait to see my first kangaroo out in the wild when I go there.

I can only imagine how breathtaking it would be to see something so foreign just out and about, like it’s no big deal.

It’s a kangaroo!

My friend Michelle and her husband took a trip to Australia and I was so envious of them making that trip.

They’re global adventurers to say the least.

I was right there after their trip, asking questions.

What did they do?

Where did they go?

What did they see?

Someday my sister and I will take a trip to Australia and I will get to experience firsthand what my friend and her husband got to enjoy.

All the diversity of life and the people of Australia.

In keeping with my passion for quilting, I’ve started to work on my Australia quilt.

Now, remember I make quilts for other people so making a quilt for myself is a rare occurrence.

The last time I made a quilt for myself was about 8 years ago – a beautiful pinwheel quilt very similar to this one:

I’ve decided I’m going to make myself an Australia quilt and I’ve selected the perfect wildlife fabrics from Spoonflower (naturally) to make this quilt:

I like this pattern for the quilt because it allows you to focus on the fabric design.

It’s called Craftsman by Amy Smart:

And because I want to surround my quilt with a beautiful border and binding, I’ve selected this wonderful ocean wildlife fabric for the border and geometric waves fabric for the binding:

Should make a GORGEOUS quilt no?

Almost as gorgeous as all the critters, small and large, who make up the fabrics I’m using!

Spoonflower Sale!

Spoonflower is having a sale on fat quarters.

For those of you who don’t know what a fat quarter is, it’s when you get a quarter yard of fabric that’s 18 inches by 20-22 inches instead of 9 inches by 40-44 inches.

It’s a FAT quarter yard, hence the name.

Spoonflower has the MOST DELIGHTFUL fabrics on the internet and if I was a rich retiree, I’d spend thousands of dollars buying their fabrics for my quilts.

They’ve literally got every design you can possibly think of.

My niece is turning 12 this year and while there’s no way I can possibly make a quilt in time for her birthday this November, I’m putting a quilt in the queue for her.

Hopefully I’ll get to it in the next 6 months.

This is the design I am looking at online, but instead of being pink and orange, I’m making it BLUE AND VIOLET (on my cousin Jennifer’s recommendation).

It’s a 16-patch combined with a pinwheel, in an on-point (diagonal) pattern:

quiltJust because I want to see all the fabrics in one place, I’m posting them here for you to see.

Most have some sentimental meaning to either me or to my niece.

Here are all the blue fabrics I’ve selected:

And here are all the violet fabrics I’ve picked out:

Yes, I’m aware there’s Daryl Dixon from the Walking Dead in there.

My niece happens to be a HUGE fan so I have to work it in somehow.

The rest of the fabric makes me think of her = be it baby chihuahuas, wizard fabric, or footballs (go Niners!).

Can’t wait to get started on this quilt, right after I finish the three I’m already working on!

Turning into a pumpkin

I have a thing for carving pumpkins.

It all began when I worked with a bunch of really spirited Halloween coworkers.

Costumes on Halloween were encouraged and there was always a pumpkin carving contest.

Being a Type-A overachieving woman, I prepped for the competition by planning my pumpkin weeks in advance.

No, I didn’t use a template.

But I did make some pretty decent pumpkins – one with an upside down mouth (by accident) which actually turned out pretty good, and one that was supposed to be Yoda:

I also made a pumpkin of my son’s face, dramatically lit for the sake of carving.

I made a template in Photoshop and then transferred it to my pumpkin.

It turned out okay, here’s the original image, the pumpkin, and the pumpkin all lit up:

Well, this week my company had a pumpkin carving contest and I won for the scariest pumpkin:

I made. Jack Skellington pumpkin and my only regret is that I was so busy carving I didn’t have time to go around and collect pumpkin seeds, which make a delicious fall treat when toasted with a little salt and garlic.

 

I bleed for the best

If you’re wondering who is affected by the power going out in California due to the PG&E outages, the answer is ME.

My house has no power.

Needless to say I have some strong feelings on the matter regarding the giving of millions of dollars in bonuses to PG& E executives while aging infrastructure isn’t maintained properly.

The power has been off for nearly two days now and I had to go to Tejas’ house nearby to take a shower.

Le sigh.

Anyway, what did I do while the power was out?

I cut fabric for a quilt.

I discovered my old method of cutting fabric on the floor wouldn’t work for me because it gave me SUCH AN ACHE IN MY BACK I was walking like a grandma when I stood up.

So I had to modify my kitchen table to accommodate my cutting and thankfully, that seemed to do the trick.

I just can’t sit on the floor, bent over a mat, cutting fabric anymore.

So I managed to cut all my fabric, even the 100 white triangles that I COMPLETELY forgot about until I was getting ready to put things away.

One thing did happen though.

I cut my index finger on my rotary blade while cutting fabric thereby ensuring that this quilt will be magnificent.

I bleed for all the best quilts.

Quilting Frenzy

I guess it’s the season.

All of a sudden I’m getting SUPER domestic and I’m quilting up a storm.

Maybe it’s because I’m not dating so I have free time to actually work on my projects.

In case you want to see them, here are the latest quilt projects I’m working on:

That should be enough to keep me busy.

I’m planning quilts for my mom and my sisters.  Maybe even one for my niece Bella.

Despite looking complicated, these quilts are at best intermediate skill level, which means I won’t be tearing my hair out trying to piece them together.

Wish me luck and if you like any of them, let me know!

Which one would you like?

Plan B

Oh dear.

I may have planned out my next quilt a little too hastily.

Just out of curiosity, I went and photoshopped the pattern another way and I like it the color arrangement much better than my first attempt.

The teal/aqua combination looks much better than the teal/lavender combination.

Like by a LONG SHOT.

I think I will have to scrap Plan A and move on to Plan B.

It’s no big deal however.

I haven’t done any real work on the cutting and piecing yet.

I haven’t even received the fabric in the mail yet and the difference between Plan A and Plan B is less than a yard of aqua fabric.

So I’m making an executive decision and going with my second color arrangement instead of my first.

If I didn’t make the change, I’d forever be looking at that quilt thinking, “oh, it could have been SOOOOO much nicer.”