October 31, 2011

Fabric Fun: Swapping Yellow, Aqua, & Gray

Charm Swap

A colleague of mine and fellow member of the IMQG is also co-creator of Craft Buds, a site that collects all sorts of craft-related content (tutorials, giveaways, interviews, and even the 4-1-1 on creating your own craft biz) and brings it together for one-stop shopping.  When Lindsay posted that Craft Buds was joining forces with an online fabric shop to sponsor a swap of yellow, aqua, and gray charms (translation: 5-inch fabric squares), I had to join in the fun.

If you haven't heard the news, fabric swaps and virtual quilting bees abound in the online quilting/sewing world.  I've never joined one, being a little nervous about expectations and working under deadlines; but this swap only involved
  1. Buying 1 yard of fabric in any combination of yellow, aqua, and gray
  2. Cutting it up into 5-inch squares
  3. Dropping said squares in the mail to be combined with 27 other swappers' squares
  4. Sitting back and waiting (im)patiently for my mixed-up charm pack to show up in my mailbox 
Not too difficult, so I figured I could handle it.  I tried so hard to find gray fabric that I liked and wanted to swap, but to no avail.  Finally I settled on the Moda Hunky Dory print you see above.  You can scroll here to see what I'll be getting in return.

October 28, 2011

Urban Decor: Downtown Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh mural

Jen and I were in Pittsburgh last weekend for a wedding in the family (congrats Lauren & Neil!), and while exploring the area around our downtown hotel, we came across this great mural.  Jen's reaction: "Take a picture! Blog it!"  So here it is, in all shades of grey, purple, red, and turquoise.  The scale is pretty impressive (see the folks in the lower left?) and the design is both retro and futuristic.  Much more interesting than a big, blank brick wall, no?

October 24, 2011

When the Fork ran away with the Spoon and the Knife!

Recently I was at a children's consignment sale at a local church because I believe in recycling and reuse, especially for children's toys that they grow tired of so quickly. My mom and I were wandering around the toys and book tables when we found this adorable, soft activity book. These are great, quiet toys to pack for traveling, so I picked it up for all of 50 cents. All the pieces were there except the fork, knife, and spoon for the place setting page. I figured I could fix that for 50 cents, so last night while watching one of my favorite classic movies (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) I started forging my felt silverware. Once I was done with the knife I held it up to show my husband who promptly said "I don't think knives are good for kids." Granted, he didn't have his glasses on, but once I explained that they were made out of felt between giggles, we were both laughing.

Felt silverware directions

Wool felt scraps
Warm and Natural batting
Thread and needle
Pattern (see link)

1. Cut out 2 of everything (including batting)
2. Trim batting so that there is a 1/8" allowance between the felt and batting.
3. Sandwich the batting pieces between the front and back of each silverware piece and pin.
4. Blanket Stitch around each piece. You could sew these on the machine too, whatever is easier.
5. Add embellishments with a Sharpie permanent marker.

October 15, 2011

Fall Recipe Idea: Swedish Meatballs

Every once in awhile I see a recipe and think "Wow, that would be good," but it never seems to happen before a trip to the grocery store. Today it did for once, so the hubby and I had an excellent afternoon of college football followed by delicious "Almost Famous Swedish Meatballs" from Food Network magazine. Now, the magazine described these delicious balls of yummyness as a copycat recipe from the IKEA store. I honestly can't remember the last time I had IKEA Swedish meatballs, so I'll have to take their word that they are similar. What I do know is that they are delicious.

Since they passed my test, I leave you with the following comments
1. If you have people coming over and you don't want to spend a ton of money on meat  (it adds up!), give the Swedish meatballs a try.
2. If you enjoy meatballs in general...make them. We tossed extras in spaghetti sauce the next day and they were great.
3. If you want to snack on food, say, during a football game, try the meatballs as they are very appetizer-y.
4. If you don't want to spend all day in the kitchen for "comfort food," these were quick and easy (I skipped the refrigeration step in the recipe).
5. I'm not sure if it helped, but I will divulge that I ate the aforementioned meatballs with my "Dragon" silverware from IKEA.

October 9, 2011

Big Finish: Habitat Fabric Challenge Pillow Cover #1

Habitat fabric challenge, pillow front

A few months ago my Indianapolis Modern Quilt Guild joined a challenge sponsored by FreeSpirit fabrics to promote the Habitat line designed by Project Runway winner Jay McCarroll.  I decided to toss my needle and thread into the ring and received a complimentary package of Habitat fabric.  For my first quilting challenge, I was more comfortable working on a small-scale project, so I turned to Oh Fransson's Chopped Vegetables patterns for pillow covers.  I separated some of the darker prints, added an eggplant purple solid from my stash, and picked up a grey zipper for the closure on the back side.  Now that I've finished this first pillow cover, I'm more motivated to make a coordinating one, pairing the lighter Habitat prints with a grey solid.  Stay tuned...

Habitat fabric challenge, pillow back

**For the record, this is only my second attempt at a zipper, so I'm pretty amazed at how well it turned out.  For anyone who thinks I don't give myself enough credit for what I make, trust that I'm oh-so-proud of my zipper.

October 3, 2011

Sweet Reader

As an editor, I basically read all day.  A hefty percentage of that reading is not always particularly fun or interesting to me personally, so I always have a stack of books and magazines at the ready to read for pleasure when I can.  That's why this mini-quilt in the book Pretty Little Mini Quilts caught my eye.

Pretty Little Mini Quilts

Some projects turn into a personal challenge, and this is definitely one of those.  The book had instructions but no pattern, so I struggled to try and make my version resemble the one in the book.  (Who would have thought something no bigger than 8x10 inches could cause so much frustration!)  In the end, I think I like mine better, especially the book cover and sliver of pages peeking out along the top edge.  I'm considering hanging it in my work cube to remind me that there's fun reading in my future.

Summertime reading


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