12/31/10

CGM Podcast Episode 2


So I made it to a second podcast episode, hooray! Listen to it here: Episode 2

Show notes:

Recap of Christmas Day and gifts both for Samantha and me (crafty gifts):

Alex Little Hands Craft Kits

Alex Toys Paper Plate Bugs, Alex Little Hands Art SeriesAlex Toys My First Mosaic, Alex Little Hands Art Series


Baby Alive Baby All Gone


Baby Alive Baby All Gone - Blonde



Martelli Zip Bind System

Zip Bind System Clips Miters Guns Sewing Quilting

Check out their tutorials on using this awesome stitch-in-the-ditch binding system here:
You Tube or at their website Martelli Notions


Quilting Arts TV Series 600 DVD set


This was a gift to myself! Find it here: Quilting Arts



What I'm Working On:

By the Shore landscape quilt (kit from Nancy's Notions). It's almost done! I just need to quilt the border and then bind it (using my new Zip Binder of course!)


At Home in the Woods by McKenna Ryan block-of-the-month kit.


Anybody want to buy some beautiful living room furniture? LOL




Books I talk about:

Fresh Quilting by Malka Dubrawsky


Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration



Left Neglected by Lisa Genova


Left Neglected


Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros

Goodnight Tweetheart


Books also mentioned: Still Alice by Lisa Genova, Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham

Holly's InboxStill Alice


Here's to a crafty and productive 2011! Happy New Year!!!

12/26/10

Crazy Christmas!

Phew! I don't know about you but Christmas poops me out. Between getting the holiday pictures taken, sending holidays cards and the gifts to far away family, the cookies, the candies, the shopping, the wrapping....all that plus being 7 months pregnant and it can all make me feel like a 2 year-old who has had too much stimulation and throws a suitable temper tantrum then passes out from sheer exhaustion.

That being said, we had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. Sam got us up at 7 am and she had forgotten about Santa, taking her time to snuggle with us under the covers, brush her teeth, etc... then all of a sudden it was like a light bulb went off in her head and "Oh wow! Santa came!" Then she was ready to rush downstairs to see what he'd brought her. She zeroed in on her most-requested gift, Baby All-Gone. For the rest of the day no gift was as appreciated or played with as that Baby All-Gone. Her best feature (according to Sam) is when she burps...never-ending peals of laughter. Who says only boys find gross bodily functions funny?

Around lunchtime we got dressed, packed up and went to my parent's house, leaving the wrapping paper-and-empty boxes bomb that exploded in our family room for today's clean-up. More gifts, more food, more showing off Baby All-Gone at Nana and Grandpa's house. Then we drove to my cousin's house for a huge Christmas feast with family and friends. We got home late, and Sam went to bed without a twitch, she was so exhausted from such a stimulating and fun day.

December 26th is "traditionally" a clean-up day in my home..there is just something in me that says, "OK, Christmas is over, time to get all the trash out, the dead tree in my family room on the curb, and the decorations stored away for another year." So we've spent the morning doing just that and my husband just shakes his head at how quickly I am ready to take it all down.  Aaah, holiday traditions LOL. Now off to rest and watch a movie. If I wasn't pregnant some kind of alcoholic beverage to "toast" the end of the season would be included. This year I'll toast with hot chocolate.

Happy Un-Christmas!

12/17/10

CGM Podcast episode 1

Well I've taken the plunge into podcasting! Come have a listen here: Episode 1

Show notes:

Introduction/a little about me

My blog: craftygardenmom.blogspot.com
Podcast purpose: to talk about quilting, knitting, general crafts and everyday life as a crafty mom

What’s making me happy: podcasts like Sew-Stitch-Create, Within a Quarter Inch, Stash Resolution, Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski, Knitmore Girls, Knit Wits, NPR Fresh Air, NPR books, NPR Culturetopia
Seamed Up – can you say anticipation?!?!

I mentioned Libby Lehman and her fantastic book, Threadplay. Unfortunately it looks like it's out of print, but you can pick a used copy up on Amazon for $10-$15 (as of 12/17/10). Well worth it!!!

Threadplay With Libby Lehman: Mastering Machine Embroidery Techniques
What I’m reading: advance reading copy (ARC) of Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. Releases 3/1/2011

What I’m going to get done: wrap gifts, clean my fridge, work on UFOs

Wow, I was able to fill a whole hour with my blather! Thanks so much for taking the time to listen. Please leave a comment or review on iTunes and let me know what you think (be gentle please!) I apologize in advance for all of the "ummms" Good grief, you never know how often you say that until you listen to yourself. I promise to make a conscious effort to reduce those "ummms" in future episodes.

Happy holidays!

12/15/10

Book review: The Love Goddess' Cooking School

The Love Goddess' Cooking SchoolI just finished the Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate, and was rather impressed. This is the first time I've read this author, and I could tell from reading the synopsis of the book on the back cover that it was a more literary "chick-lit" book. you'll note from my previous reads that this is not a problem for me, but I wasn't sure what to expect from this one...basic premise is after losing at love once again, Holly Maguire (female protagonist) returns to her grandmother's home and business in Maine and tries to follow in her footsteps as a well-known Italian cook and fortune teller. Holly does not have "the gift" and barely knows how to boil water much less make pasta from scratch and run a successful cooking school. Her 4 students all have various life issues going on, and it's a bit predictable that Holly and her cooking class bring them together as they solve their problems. Holly finally finds love with the father of one of her students, but when his estranged ex-wife returns.....well, the ending is predictable too.

I give this book a solid B+ for good writing, even though the storyline is predictable, Melissa Senate keeps it moving along and a truly sweet story enfolds. I definitely wanted to finish the book to the end, versus put it down as I have so many books with plots like this. There was just something quaint and heartwarming about this book that made me glad to read it.

12/13/10

All I Want for Christmas is....

Some cute and handy gift ideas for the crafty friend in your life (most are from my favorite site for handmade gifts: Etsy!

Amy Butler patterns..I mean, who doesn't drool for these? So adorable and most are pretty simple to do. Picking out the fabric is the hardest part!


 

Buy them here: Swell Cloth



Spa Goddess Sugar Scrubs...yummmm, and she's offering a travel-size set of 5 where you pick the scents/flavors!

Buy them here: Etsy




Dandelion Pillow by MaDahms on Etsy...so adorable, fresh, and modern. I love this embroidered pillow for it's beauty and simplicity.


But it here: Etsy


Ultimate Quilt Binding Tool...I am dying to try this little gadget out to machine bind my quilts. While a lot of people like hand-sewing the binding on to the backing, I do not find this part of the finishing process fun at all. I much prefer to piece and quilt and then just be done with it so I can display or use the quilt. I am so hopeful this tool works since it sews both sides of the binding on simultaneously...heaven!

But it here: Nancy's Notions

Family Necklace..I have one of these with 1 child, but now that baby girl #2 is on her way, I definitely need to get a new one!


Buy it here: Red Envelope


Night Before Christmas Activity Kit..this one you'll need to get before the big day of course, but I couldn't resist adding it in, it's such a good idea. Now really, you could make one of these "kits" yourself, but it's packaged so nicely here I figured I'd spend my time doing all of the other things leading up to Christmas, and let this take care of itself.

But it here: Red Envelope

Herb Snips..so cute and handy for snipping those small pieces of herbs from your garden or containers outside your window.


Buy them here: Burpee


12/9/10

Book recommendation: Keep the Change

Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity
I saw a review of this book on one of my favorite reading blogs, Charlotte's Web of Books. Having not read, only heard of, Steve Dublanica's first book, Waiter Rant, I took Charlotte's word that this was a funny read. She was right, as usual. I loved this book - Steve's writing style is witty, funny to the point of laugh-out-loud hilariousness, and I also got a lot of useful information out of it. In a nutshell, Keep the Change, is about Steve's quest to become the "Guru of Tipping." He researches all kinds of people in the service industries, from waiting tables (his past employment), taxi drivers, hotel concierge, parking valets, barbers and hairstylists, to phone sex operators and strippers.

Not my usual literary and/or chick-lit fiction, but this was a well-worth-it detour from the many titles piled on my nightstand and desk at work. I can't wait to read Waiter Rant, and will definitely keep an eye out for future work by Steve. For now, I'll also content myself with going back and reading his 4-5 years worth of blog posts over at Waiter Rant. I will have to try not to read these while at work, people keep coming over and asking what is so funny! Review Grade: A

12/6/10

Showered With Love...

My Mom and cousin through me a baby shower yesterday, and it was a lovely event. I know people have "mixed" feelings about baby showers for the second, third, and even twelfth child (OK, a shower for a 12th child IS nuts), but in my family that's just how we roll. I like to believe it's because we really love babies and are happy for the expecting family members, but I secretly suspect we're also happy to have a chance to get out of the house sans men and drink wine (not me, the guests!) and eat, while we coo and giggle over cute stuff.



Here's my favorite gift...the diaper cake! Sooo cute!


Thank you, thank you all who came to celebrate!

12/5/10

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree....

We spent a lovely Saturday putting up and decorating our Christmas tree. It was really fun this year because Sam better "understands" Christmas than last year when I'm sure it was all a big party for her vs. a reason to celebrate.


My favorite part of the tree is the bottom...you can always tell when a younger kid decorated a tree by the "clumps" of ornaments and the fact most of them are at the bottom half of the tree, LOL.


Merry Christmas!!

12/3/10

So many podcasts, so little time...

I'm addicted to podcasts, and it's a bit of a problem right now. As I scroll through my iPod list of downloaded podcasts, I currently have 29 different ones and over 50 episodes to listen to! That's more than 50 hours of listening. Considering most are updated weekly, and I listen about 2-3 hours per day during the week, there's no way I'll catch up anytime soon. But it's almost like I'm a Podcast "collector" now - no matter the fact I haven't listened to the last 5 episodes of one podcast, when a new one comes out, I just "have" to download it too!

The podcast subjects I listen to are somewhat varied among my many interests, and that's what is so fun about them - there are literally hundreds, maybe even thousands, of different podcasts out there, in just about any topic you can think of.

Here are some of my favorites:

NPR Fresh Air: I think Terri Gross is one of the best interviewers out there today. She always has such a varied selection of guests and topics. My favorite are the author interviews, and the 2 segments where she interviewed Jon Stewart were absolutely fantastic.

NPR Culturetopia: if you haven't listened to Pop Culture Happy Hour yet, you're missing out on some seriously funny and witty listening. As someone who tries to stay "up" on the trends in our culture/everyday life, this podcast summarizes what's happening now very well.

Manic Mommies: I pretend Kristin and Erin (hosts) are my neighbors I love them so much. They are such "real" moms who put it all out there: the good, bad, and sometimes very ugly of motherhood. Soemtimes I find myself laughing so hard I have tears coming down my face...a must-listen/subscribe for all Moms!

Flylady: what, you don't know about The Flylady? If you're suffering from any form of CHAOS (Can't-Have-Anyone-Over-Syndrome) because your house is a wreck..run, don't walk to her website. Although I am a fluttering and sputtering Flybaby, her system and philosophy about decluttering, cleaning, and organizing your home has helped me tremendously over the years. Can't recommend her enough!

Quilted Cupcake: really nice podcast about quilting, ideas for creativity, and fun projects to try. My favorite episodes are when she travels and gives a "quilters" recap of places to visit.

Stash Resolution: like the Manic Mommies, I wish Sarah (host) was my neighbor too. She is a full-time working mom (like me) and crafts almost everyday. The amount of projects she completes amazes me. She is a quilter and knitter, and always has great information about both.

Sew-Stitch-Create: Brye Lynn is soft-spoken and down-to-earth, and every episode she provides really good information about quilting. I always enjoy hearing about what she's working on, and the different quilt-related topics she researches thoroughly and "reports" on.

Creative Mojo: this is Mark Lipinski's relatively new podcast! I have loved him for a long time, he is so damned funny and his podcast is "true" Mark. You have to take him and his humor with a grain of salt and know he comes from a place where he really wants us all to be our best creatively, and is on a mission to take the "boring/stuffy" out of quilting and infuse it with a lot of fun. He has fantastic guests every episode, and I learn something new each time I listen.

So there you have a few of my most-listened to podcasts. Definitely give podcasts a try if you haven't already! They fill the time when you're in the car, crafting, standing around, and since I'll be up late and often with a new baby next Spring, I know I'll get a LOT of catch-up time on some of the other podcasts I have in my queue.

Happy listening!

12/1/10

"Mommy I want to do crafts...."

Last weekend my daughter and I did a little decorating for Christmas. She loves doing crafts but since she's still young (not quite 4 yrs old) we're limited on what she can do all on her own, so she can work alongside me as I craft too. Luckily for us "crafty moms", it seems the craft stores have a much wider selection of easy projects little ones can do. And my wallet is happy many of these items are found in the $1 aisle! There are the simple color-in-the-ornaments like these:





Paint Posters where you just need a wet Q-tip to act as the "paintbrush" - very good mess-free painting idea:



There are make your own beaded holiday necklaces:



And I just found these cute mugs where kids color in the pictures...great for "personalized" hot chocolate breaks!



Sam has had so much fun doing these, she wants to do one everyday....good thing I stocked up during the after Thanksgiving sales, and used my coupons! (I found all of the above items at Joann Fabrics and Michaels) And while she was working on her crafts, I had time to make this new wreath for the front door:


Happy Holidays!!

11/29/10

Books I'm reading now....a little sexy stuff mixed in.

I've discovered a good "steamy" romance author who writes about characters who knit! Heidi Betts has written several good "chick-lit/sexy" romance novels, and I just finished Tangled Up in Love. This book was a quick, fun, lighthearted read, and (gasp!) had some really good sex scenes. Now most non-knitter's might picture little old ladies when they think of knitting or even if they're young knitters, they tend to think straight-laced/ they'd never be "that" kind of girl. But hey, I would venture to say a lot of us crafter's in general like to keep it clean in daily life, but don't mind getting a little kinky between the sheets with our significant other. I know my husband is turned on when I knit in my bra and panties in bed...OK I don't have to be knitting let's face it, men don't care. LOL

Anyways, I like how Heidi Betts worked in "real" women who have regular jobs, friends, family, etc...and a love for knitting. The series revolves around the same knitting circle of women and their love interests. Tangled Up in Love features a woman newspaper columnist who is "dueling" with another columnist, who happens to be a hunky man. They challenge each other to all kinds of crazy stunts in attempts to outwit the other, and she ends up challenging him to learn to knit which she believes he'll never manage. He knows he's in over his head, but determined to prove her wrong. Of course I'm not giving anything away when I say it's a happy ending, and the subsequent match-up of the pair is amusing and like I said, very sexy stuff.

Here are a few of Heidi Betts' books. These are worth checking out for a little "winter warm-up" reading. Even good if you're snowed in with your "honey" on hand for re-enacting some of the steamy sections later. (wink-wink) OK I'll stop now...

Tangled Up In LoveLoves Me, Loves Me KnotKnock Me for a Loop


I definitely plan to pick up the other 2 books in the series and look forward to more from Ms. Betts!
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