CGM Podcast Episode #22: Auld Lang Syne

Listen to the episode HERE

Show Notes:

  • Life update:
  • WIPs:
    • At Home in the Woods quilt - quilting this was thwarted by a "clunky" machine I had to take in for servicing....which somehow resulted in the new sewing machine purchase. Eeeek!
    • Gaptastic Cowl in Madelinetosh Tosh Chunky in Dahlia colorway
  • Book Review:
A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

Thanks for listening and Happy New Year!



BDSI: Boxing Day Sew In!!!

We had a wonderful Christmas and the girls were delighted with everything Santa brought this year. Sam was so excited to get those Squinkies, she hasn't stopped playing with them all day. They are fast becoming the nuisance I'd suspected they would be when I saw their tininess and "squeeze into every crook and cranny" capability in the packaging. And since everyone in the family was "informed" by Sam early on that Squinkies were the gift of choice, they seem to be multiplying before my very eyes.

Squinkies and a decided lack of motivation to clean the bomb that exploded in my family room yesterday are my reason for trying to disappear as best as I can in my sewing studio to get some much needed "me time" in after a busy holiday season. My fellow podcasters, Sandy at Quilting for the Rest of Us and Pam at Hip to Be a Square, came up with the idea of doing a Boxing Day Sew In (#BDSI on Twitter and Tweetchat.com) for those of us who'd rather stay in our jammies all day and sew! sew! sew! versus braving the "day after" sales and return/exchange madness in the stores. So the #BDSI was born.

I will be giving away some great quilting books, including a copy of Simplify by Camille Roskelley and Fresh Fabric Treats from the Moda Bakeshop Designers. To get in on the action and for a chance to win a book or one of the MANY prizes, head on over to Sandy's blog at Quilting for the Rest of Us to get all the information and enter to win.

And we'll be having fun on Twitter too! Not only will we be keeping one another updated on our progress via Twitter, but we'll be having special Twitter-only challenges and giveaways. Want an easy way to keep track of #BDSI on Twitter? Go to www.tweetchat.com, link it to your Twitter account, and then follow #BDSI. You'll be able to track all the #BDSI convos in one easy place! Be sure to check it frequently--some mini-challenges will have time constraints on them!



Favorite Things #2: Hope Chest

Hope chest: n. A chest used by a young woman for clothing and household goods, such as linens and silver, in anticipation of marriage.

I got married in May of 2004. In April, my bridesmaids through me a huge shower, that included many of my female friends and family. People laugh today that it was like a mini wedding without the groom. I received so many wonderful gifts that day, some from my registry, wine and martini glasses (yes, my friends know me well lol), lingerie, and more. But hands down my favorite gift that day was from my Mom. Not just because we're like two peas in a pod who occasionally drive each other crazy. But because she had truly put all her love and hopes for me in this new stage of my life into this gift.

The chest itself was one she bought at those "all unstained wood" furniture stores where you can choose whatever treatment or paint you want to put on the item. Being a decorative painter, she knew she could turn this into a hope chest for me.

She painted it a pale green and then put mine and DH's initials on the top. She also painted beautiful scroll embellishments all around the top and edges.

On the inside cover she painted our wedding date.

She lined the chest with cream satin and edged it with ribbon. She then included several items in the chest: a 1000 thread count sheet set monogrammed with our initials. I just might be buried in those sheets they are so wonderful. A set of very good quality baking sheets, measuring cups and spoons, and bamboo (wooden) spoons - things she calls staples of the kitchen. And a super-fluffy and luxurious bath towel set, also monogrammed with our initials. 

All of those items are in current use, so not photographed here. But what I did when I returned from my honeymoon was to put some wedding keepsakes to store in the hope chest. I included one of the artificial Hawaiian leis we got on our honeymoon (Maui and Hawai'i), the tiara I wore on my wedding day,

An adorable wedding couple bear set from my maid of honor, and a wedding gown sachet.

Underneath all of this is the lingerie I received at the shower. There is way too much to count, and besides, mentioning it too much here might make my DH who sometimes reads this blog, ask questions like, "did you get all those flannel pj pants you wear now at the shower too?" Why go there, right?

Needless to say, this is without a doubt one of my favorite things. Handmade with love by my Mom for one of the most special times of my life.... does it get better than that?



Thursday Thoughts

  • Have you ever had so many ideas for new quilts running around in your head you get dizzy?
  • That's how I've been feeling the last few weeks.
  • So many ideas, so little time.
  • It doesn't help my Crafter's ADD situation at all.
  • Last night I sketched out a new quilt based on a Gustav Klimt painting.
  • All while the UFO's under my table called out to me, "Taneeeeesha, we're loooonely. You started out making us with such delight and anticipaaaation. Now we're like old shoes in the back of the closet to you."
  • Then there's this little quilt I got an itch to make last weekend. 
  • With my jelly role race quilt still hanging on the design wall, 
  • the lighthouse quilt folded up in a corner of the table, 
  • and my At Home in the Woods quilt spread out across the dining room table.
  • It's such a paradox to me that this craft I love so much and so enjoy doing drives me crazy a lot of the time.
  • I went to Target, the grocery store, and the hardware store yesterday.
  • All 3 had a Salvation Army person standing at the entrance.
  • At the first, I put a couple bucks in the bucket.
  • At the second, I put some change in on my way out but couldn't help but think "Really? Again?"
  • At the third, I couldn't help but think, "If she doesn't stop ringing that damn bell...."
  • Yes, I know.
  • I am a horrible, awful person.
  • But I can't be the only one to feel like you have to walk the long way around to get into a store these days.
  • Without feeling like a total cheapskate for not leaving some change in the red bucket. 
  • Every. Time.
  • Or you see someone ELSE walk quickly by the bucket and think, "cheap bastard."
  • Not exactly in the Christmas spirit and all the fa la la's we expect this time of year.
  • I mean, don't you think there should be a sensor you wear in your jacket so the Wal Mart Salvation Army person could tell, "Oh yeah, she left $5 in the bucket at the grocery store, so she's good to pass."
  • And now Samantha has got in on the red bucket action.
  • It's my own fault really.
  • I should have known trying to teach her about charity and giving would somehow come back to bite me in the behind.
  • Last week I took her with me to the grocery store.
  • On the way in, she asked about the bell and big red bucket.
  • She wanted one.
  • A bell that is.
  • So as we walked around the store, I explained to her the reason they were out there ringing the bell.
  • She was very intrigued and concerned.
  • She thought about children without food or blankets to sleep under at night.
  • She wanted some money to put in the bucket.
  • I gave her a dollar.
  • She put it in the bucket, and then started talking to the lady ringing the bell.
  • Before I could give her the "NOOOOOOO" look, the lady handed Sam the bell.
  • Sam proceeded to ring that bell with gusto.
  • She also decided she needed to add some vocal accompaniment to the ringing, and started singing Jingle Bells along with the bell.
  • Then she did a rousing rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Town and 2 other kids walking into the store made their parents stop so they could briefly join in.
  • She made $15 for the bucket in less than 10 minutes.
  • I finally convinced her to hand back the bell.
  • Yes it was very cute, very "Samantha-like," and I am a proud but red-faced mother.
  • But remember when I said it would come back to bite me?
  • Well now EVERY store we walk into that has a Salvation Army person out front, she feels it's her duty to stand by the bucket and help the bell ringer.
  • And she has no qualms about calling you out if you try and pass by "her" bucket without leaving some change.
  • Sigh.
  • Those damn Squinkies.
  • She's 4 so she is still learning the meaning behind selfless giving.
  • But I can't deny she's got the "Spirit" part nailed.
Happy Holidays!!



Christmas Wreath Mini Quilt

I had some fun this weekend:

I used this sketch I did a couple weeks ago, 
making the drawing lines darker.


A fresh box of crayons (love that smell!)


Here's what I did in a nutshell:
I traced the sketch onto the fabric, using a pencil. To stabilize the fabric so it wouldn't shift while I was coloring, I ironed freezer paper to the back. Then I started having fun coloring in my wreath and lettering. I pressed down hard while coloring because when you heat-set it, the color will fade a bit. Pressing down hard resulted in a few broken crayons and some selective cussing, because you only get 1 color per box, and adult fingers aren't conducive to coloring with a 2 inch stump. Anyways, I managed to get the whole thing colored in and then heat-set it with a medium high iron. I placed a piece of muslin on top of the image so it wouldn't mess up my iron. Once I smelled wax, I lifted the iron so it wouldn't scorch the fabric.  This resulted in a pretty water colored look, especially on the wreath.

Detail of the wreath:

I wanted the wreath and lettering to stand out somewhat so I used a trapunto technique by using a thin batting on the back of the image. I pinned it down, then on the right side, I outlined the wreath and letters using a dark green and black thread to match. I cut away all excess batting. I bought some holiday buttons and sewed some down to add a little 3D dimension to the wreath. Then I spray basted and sandwiched the whole quilt. I first outlined all of the wreath and lettering in black thread so they would "pop." Then I did some swirly machine quilting, bound it with green hand dyed fabric, and wa-la!, a cute little quilt I have no idea what I'm going to do with but like all the same, lol.

Happy Holidays!!


I have linked this post up with the following sites:

The Girl Creative

BWS tips button

Fresh Poppy Design


Sneak Peak!

A little clue as to what I've been working on this weekend:

Pics of the mini quilt on Monday! Hope you're having a fun weekend and getting in a little crafty time.



CGM Podcast Episode #21: Holiday Warm Up

Listen to the episode: HERE

Show Notes:

  • Life update: Where this podcast is moving, Sam's Christmas list
  • Completed projects:
    • Lemon Squares Quilt
    • Selvage Christmas Tree mug rugs
  • WIPs:
    • Jelly Role Race quilt
    • Finish quilting the At Home in the Woods quilt
    • Knitting a baby sweater for Maddy
Gift-giving book ideas for children: 

I go into detail about giving books as gifts to children this episode. All ages, genders, there are quite a few ideas on some books you may not have heard of that would make a great holiday gift for the child or young adult in your life.

Thanks for listening and Happy Holidays!



Thursday Thoughts

  • I am doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD.
  • I started on Monday.
  • I hate that bitch.
  • Sorry to use that word, but I thought long and hard about it, and after waking up everyday the last 3 days feeling like a mack truck ran over me, yeah, it fits.
  • I hurt so much I had to console myself with Haagen Dazs last night.
  • Don't know how I got to the bottom of the carton so fast.
  • Someone must have eaten 2/3 of it before I got there.
  • Anyways, since everything including the tips of my fingers hurt I haven't done any sewing.
  • I just go into my studio and stare forlornly at the fabric.
  • Then I snuggle under a quilt and watch a BBC series, Lark Rise to Candleford.
  • Have you seen this one?
  • It's great.
  • Fulfills my current love for all BBC period dramas like Downton Abbey.
  • The second season of Downton Abbey has already finished in England.
  • It starts in the US in early January.
  • I have a dirty secret about it though: I've already seen all 8 episodes.
  • Don't hate.
  • All I'll say about how I was able to watch the season is that my Dad "knows a guy."
  • I won't give away any details here because I know you want to let it unfold in all its delicious wonderfulness.
  • But it's awesome.
  • And they perfectly set it up for Season 3.
  • Leaving you hanging.
  • Which I'm now ticked I have to wait a whole year to see.
  • Samantha keeps asking if Santa got her Christmas list.
  • She's worried it might get lost in the mail.
  • She thinks we should have emailed it instead.
  • See what I deal with?
  • I'm taking her and Maddy to get pictures with Santa this weekend.
  • She's (Samantha) still picking out outfit potentials for the day.
  • I'm wondering why they don't have wine bars in malls.
  • My Mom told me last night that she got my Dad a colon cleanse for Christmas.
  • I don't know what else other than sex-talk falls under TMI for parents.
  • I can only hope when my DH and I get to their age I don't feel it's necessary to give my daughters a run down of his bowel troubles.
  • Ick.
  • So now I know whatever I get my Dad he will be delighted with it.
  • He'll be even more delighted if I give my mom the 30 Day Shred DVD.
  • We're mean like that in my family.
  • Happy Holidays!


    Jelly Roll Race Quilt + Tutorial

    Last weekend was a flurry of activity for me and my family. We decked the halls:

    We took our family Christmas photos, and I even sneaked in a little gift shopping afterwards. I know I'm going to regret buying those Squinkies, her #1 gift request this year:

    Look how tiny those dang things are! Don't they just look like a devilish little item you find in every nook and cranny by January? Ugh!

    I also found snippets of time to make this quilt top!

    (Pardon the unstraight edges, I hadn't squared it up yet)

    I used just 1 jelly roll from the Ruby line by Bonnie & Camille to make the entire top. It's called a "Jelly Roll Race Quilt." Not sure who or where it started, but I saw this YouTube video and was intrigued. I knew I had several jelly rolls in my stash and wanted to give this a try. A big selling point was the speed at which they said it came together - and they were right! From Saturday to Sunday, sneaking in 15-20 minutes here, 1 hour in the evening, I was able to put this top together.

    I took pictures along the way and decided to do a quick tutorial on the technique since it's not altogether clear from the video or written instructions on the web. Here you go if you want to give it a try yourself!

    Open up your jelly roll. Lay out the strips in a more random order than they come in. Don't worry about trying to determine how the colors and fabrics will end up looking in the final quilt top - the randomness of it is part of the fun!

    Cut off the selvages on both sides of the strips.

    Start string piecing the strips together on the short ends.

    Continue string piecing the sections of 2 strips together to form 1 long continuous strip of the entire jelly roll. Yes, it will need to drape on the floor since it's about 1600 inches long!

    Cut off approximately 20 inches from 1 end (doesn't matter which end) of the strip. Throw that in your scrap pile.

    Join the 2 short ends, right sides together, making sure the strip is not twisted anywhere. Take your time doing this, as it is a very long strip.

    Sew down the entire long side of the strip using a 1/4 in. seam allowance.

    This takes awhile so listen to a podcast
    while you're doing it! Maybe this one? ;-)

    About 2 inches before you come to the end of the strip, use your scissors to cut the fold open. Then sew the remaining 2 inches of the strip together. Open them up so the 2 strips are side-by-side.You will now have an approx. 800 inch length of 2 strips sewn together.

    Fold this long set of 2 strips in half again, meeting the short ends, right sides together. Sew along 1 side of the long side of the strips again. Again, right before you come to the fold, cut them open. (you can just finger press the fold and use your scissors to cut open. You will be squaring up the quilt later.)

    Open them up and you will now have 4 strips from end-to-end.

    Again, join the 2 short ends together and sew along the long side of the strips. Make SURE you don't twist the strips. I draped mine back and forth on my cutting table to be sure it was straight until I met both ends.

    Again, cut open the fold with your scissors - very technical, lol.

    You will now have 8 rows of strips (from the 4 folded on top of 4).

    Once again, fold the whole thing in half, join the 2 short ends and sew along the long side of the strips and cut the fold. You will now have 16 rows of strips sewn together (from the 8 strips folded on top of 8).

    Do it one more time! Fold the strips in half, sewing the short ends and sew along the side. Open it up and wa-la! You now have a pretty and scrappy jelly roll top to quilt as you wish. Square it up, taking particular attention to the long sides. You can quilt and bind as is, or add a border.

    Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. Again, this is NOT my quilt design or idea. If you Google "jelly roll race quilt" and look at images, you will find many completed tops and quilts. And if you make your own, please send me a picture!

    I have linked this post up in the following places:

    BWS tips button

    Sugar and Dots:  What I Whipped Up Wednesday

    Trendy Treehouse: Create and Share

    Blue Cricket Design: Show and Tell

    Linkin' With Lil' Luna Wednesday

     Junk in their Trunk: Link It Up Wednesday

    Savvy Southern Style: Wow Us Wednesdays


    PS, a couple of quick notes: I did not press any of the seams until the very end of making the top. Then I pressed them all in the same direction. Also, wear your "play clothes" while making this quilt. I was not aware how "linty" a jelly roll is, and you will have a lot of tiny fibers on your clothes...not very pretty right before you're going out to dinner like I almost did! I have seen pictures of this quilt done in all solids, and those are very beautiful and modern looking. If you go for that clean/ultra-modern style, I would definitely give it a try!


    A Few of My Favorite Things

    One of my favorite movies is The Sound of Music. I could sing "I Have Confidence" and "My Favorite Things" all day long (and I frequently do!). There's just something about that movie that says "Christmas" to me. So in the spirit of the season and my love for that movie, I will be sharing a few of my favorite things with you.

    Favorite Thing #1 is:

    My Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls.
    Here's the story behind them (as told to me by my Mom over the years):

    About 36 years ago (1975-ish) my parents moved to a suburb outside of Manchester, New Hampshire, the town I was born. We were the only black family in the neighborhood, probably that town. Having lived through the social unrest of the Civil Rights movement only 10 years before, both my Mom and Dad had some very painful as well as positive memories of that time. They had not been sure about moving to a place where they were the only black family for miles around.

    Well, they needn't have worried! The neighbors welcomed us with open arms. I'm talking fruitcakes, pies, casseroles, offers of babysitting for their adorable 2 year old (me!), etc.... My parents were a little overwhelmed but very happy at the reception.

    My mom was a crafter and occasional sewer, but being a new mom and working as a nurse's aid part-time she didn't have much time to do either. It was Christmas time and while I had a lot of baby dolls, there were no black dolls that my Mom could find. She really wanted me to have at least 1 doll that represented what I and my family looked like vs. the standard blond/blue-eyed dolls I had lining my bed. She was talking about this to her elderly neighbor and friend who also happened to be an excellent sewer. She had no grandchildren of her own, and often babysat me while my Mom got some free time.

    She understood the meaning behind what my Mom was saying, and agreed it was a shame there weren't any black dolls in stores at the time. Being a redhead herself, she told my Mom she'd never seen a doll with that color hair in stores either until she made her own Raggedy Ann doll herself. She surprised my Mom one day with a handmade Raggedy Ann doll, the one pictured above, for me. Everything, including the dress was handmade, and mostly hand sewn.

    My Mom fell in love with this doll, and knew I would love it too. Then, a few days before Christmas she gave my Mom a huge wrapped box, and said she thought Raggedy Ann would be lonely, so she made Andy too.

    I have had many, many dolls in my lifetime. Barbies, the Baby Alive doll who eats and pees, porcelain dolls, cloth dolls, but none have meant as much to me as Raggedy Ann & Andy. I have kept them all these years (almost 4 decades!) and they're displayed on a bookshelf in my daughters nursery.

    So that's the story of my 2 handmade Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls. One of my favorite things!



    What I'm Reading This Month

    Wow, it's the last month of the year. I counted and I have read over 50 books! You can visit my GoodReads page to see the 2011 Challenge I took to read at least that many. I beat that goal in November, yahoo! So here's the "gravy" to round out my year:

    Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
    Recent winner of the National Book Award for Fiction

    The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
    I am reading an advance copy of this book.
    On-sale 2/21/12

    on sale 12/6/11

    I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
    I am reading an advance copy of this book.
    On-sale 2/14/12
    What are you reading this month?



    Winner of the Evanovich Book Is...

    #8: Kate!

    Kate said: Currently reading Nora Robert's new book that you mentioned in one of your podcasts. I am a huge fan of hers...so had to buy that one. Just finished rereading the entire Harry Potter Series. What can I say...I am addicted.

    Congratulations Kate! I will contact you shortly to get the address to send the book to. Thanks everyone for entering.



    Thursday Thoughts

    • I was bitten by a spider on my left ankle last weekend.
    • My leg felt like someone was stabbing me from the inside.
    • It blew up like I had elephantitis.
    • For reals.
    • I could barely put any weight on it all day Saturday.
    • I remembered I had several Oxycodine pills from having my C-section earlier this year.
    • I barely had to use them then.
    • I think I took 1 of them the whole week after that C-section.
    • I took 5 between Saturday and Sunday.
    • Not at the same time.
    • I wanted to wash them down with a shot of whiskey but my DH thought that might be overkill.
    • If I ever find that spider I may borrow my neighbor's shotgun and blast it to Kingdom Come.
    • Luckily I use my right foot on the presser foot of my sewing machine.
    • I was able to complete my Lemon Squares quilt and get started on a new quilt using a jelly roll of Ruby by Camille Roskelly.
    • Love her and her gorgeous blog, Simplify.
    • Still ignoring the pile of UFOs under my cutting table.
    • I need those to set some goals for 2012 anyways.
    • I am at the point where I just don't get those "Occupy City X" people.
    • For a start: where do they go the bathroom?
    • Don't any of them have kids?
    • Knowing how often a kid needs to go, I bet it's more like "Occupy McDonald's bathroom line" most of the day.
    • Maybe it's the tents.
    • I just can't "do" tents.
    • i.e., I don't camp.
    • My idea of "roughing it" is staying at a motel you walk outside to get to your room.
    • I also don't get the cities allowing the "Occupiers" to camp out for months.
    • But they'll bum-rush a homeless person or family off a park bench in 1 night.
    • How about Occupy City X for homeless people?
    • Hungry children?
    • Affordable medication for seniors?
    • Stashless quilters?
    • I guess in keeping with the reason the Occupy people are out there, I'd fall into the 1% group after all.
    • God knows I've got enough fabric to be in the running as a 1% stasher.
    • But please, for the love of Pete, do not come pitch a tent in my yard.


    Lemon Squares Quilt: Finished!!

    Hooray, hurrah my lovely Lemon Squares quilt is done! I used the Joel Dewberry Heirloom fabric in the citrine colorway for the top. I really liked this pattern, and it came together so quickly.

    Other things I am working on:
    • 2 holiday mini quilts
    • Knitting a baby sweater using the Lion Brand Log Cabin Sweater pattern
    • Basting the At Home in the Woods quilt. My goal is to (finally) finish this quilt in December.

    I have linked this post up with the following sites:

    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

    Sugar and Dots:  What I Whipped Up Wednesday

    Trendy Treehouse: Create and Share

    Blue Cricket Design: Show and Tell 

    Linkin' With Lil' Luna Wednesday

    Junk in their Trunk: Link It Up Wednesday

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