Embellished shirt

One of my chores this weekend was to make my way through a huge pile of mending. Well really it’s part of my roundabout approach to cleaning – I want to clean up the crafting corner of our bedroom, but don’t want to leave all of those half-finished projects just sitting there, and the overflowing mending basket was a big portion of the mess in that corner since it couldn’t fit back on the shelf anymore. That and Carl tried on all of his clothes this weekend to see what still fit and there were three shirts that needed buttons, so I figured it was time to tackle the problem.

As a reward for tackling the pile and because I was changing out the thread on my machine frequently for all of the holes that needed darning, I took some time to get crafty with a couple of my maternity shirts. When I bought this top at Old Navy for $5 I thought I might want it to be a little more fun, but I decided to wear it a couple times to make sure I didn’t want it to be plain to make it more versatile for matching with other things, but it turns out a bright purple t-shirt isn’t really something I’m going to wear to work anyway, and it could handle the spicing up. In the meantime, I discovered Alisa Burke’s blog and this project totally got me inspired to get going on the shirt.

The big flowers are cut from one fabric (the selvage said Alexander Henry 2006) and the small flowers from another (which only said “yen” on the portion of the selvage I have). I was going to go simple and only do the top three flowers, but wouldn’t you know that in the first couple times wearing the shirt, I managed to drip some oil on my belly that stained the shirt, so Carl agreed that while I was embellishing I might as well cover it up. This free motion stitching was so much fun to do! I did a second project while I was at it, that I’ll try to show when I wear it – I’m not sure if it’s the most flattering maternity look, though. I was tempted to add beads and I love Alisa’s paints, so it’s definitely an idea that’s still floating around for further fun play.

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Honored

My very wonderful friends threw me the best kind of party for my 30th – a home cooked dinner for 13 where we dressed up and ate under the stars. Every details was so well thought out, and it made me feel very special and loved. Thank you all!

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Quilt 1 of 2010

I was beginning to feel like my stack of unfinished quilts would stay that way forever! I made 9 quilts in 2009, my first year of quilting, and while I had at least 7 in progress for this year, I knew I’d never catch up if I didn’t get moving. The problem was that all of my basting pins were tied up in this quilt (and have been for most of the year), and it would have been cheating to just go out and buy another set of pins. Well, going with the saying that finished is better than perfect, it’s finally done. The free motion quilting leaves something to be desired, but practice makes perfect and I’m sure the next one will be an improvement (besides being a long ways away – my other strategy for getting quilts done is to use lots of straight(ish) lines). My frustration with the quilting turned out not to be the needles falling out of my machine as much as it was that when I pushed the quilt away my stitches were fine, but I skipped stitches every time I pulled the quilt towards me, no matter how steady I thought I was in my motion. Side to side wasn’t as big of a deal, either. Hopefully it’s just an issue that practicing moving the quilt around and keeping my foot steady on the pedal would solve, and not a weird issue with the machine. From a distance, it does have a nice crinkly effect, though.

That being said, I do love the design of this quilt! I had a charm pack of Tula Pink Neptune that I used for the center of these squares, and pieces other little bits of them into the frames. The struggle I have with designing quilts is that I’m drawn to simple, modern, designs, but they aren’t challenging to make, the tops can be completed almost too quickly to be fun, and I don’t want to stay in the beginner place forever. However, all it takes is looking at Denyse Schmidt quilts like this one and this one that I love and I’m reminded that it’s worth it to make quilts that I love instead of making them to show off in some way. Plus, if I’m bored, there’s always free motion quilting to throw me for a loop! So I used lots of solids here, I think this is Kona khaki, which I bought a whole bunch of for a gender-neutral project last year that went a different direction.

The binding is a Japanese polka dot print (from superbuzzy, I think) and the backing is just two prints that I can’t see working into a top anytime soon. The finished project measures about 44″x65″, so it’s a snuggle on the couch quilt.

There’s a baby-sized companion quilt in the works for this one, that might be the next to get quilted (besides the three already quilted just waiting for their binding) if I can figure out how I want to back it. It feels good to be getting a stack of finished objects – I buy plenty of fabric that I need to actually use it sometimes, too!

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Summer food



Summer food

Originally uploaded by megrje

I’m loving all of the photos of food showing up on flickr lately – probably more so this summer because we have fresh produce of our own so I’m not just staring in jealousy of other people’s lucky finds. We should have started measuring our quantities of tomatoes when we started picking, because we’re probably into bowl number 6 or 7, but I can’t be sure. So many are yellow globe tomatoes (cherry-tomato sized) and yellow pear tomatoes, and there’s not much to do with those except eat them plain, in salads, and on bruschetta, not that I’m complaining. Dad made a couple batches of pico de gallo this weekend using 10-12 romas in each batch and some of our fresh jalapenos. There seems to be some doubt as to whether I’ll get around to making sauce to freeze, but I’m claiming most of the red tomatoes that are ripe at this point to at least make an attempt at that. I just have to decide if I’ll go the long route and peel them first, or if I’ll cook with peels on and then strain, making a juicier sauce but such an easier process. It just screams to me of the kind of thing I need to be doing now to prepare for the baby coming this fall, putting food up in the freezer for when I don’t want to cook then. Looking at these photos I’m wondering what excuse I can come up with for making a peach pie, since the good ones are showing up at the grocery store now. Our other favorite so far this summer has been homemade blueberry ice cream. Oh, and see that photo of grilled pizza in the top row? On the menu for tonight with a few friends. Yum, yum.

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