Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last Day to Enter - December 31

***Give-Away is now closed***

Don't forget - December 31st is the last day to enter the drawing to win one of these three great prizes. Hurry on over to Claudia's blog to enter.

The Red Chair

A little while ago I got it into my head that I needed a red chair for our living room. So, with a little Christmas money in my pocket, the hunt began. The chair had to be cool, comfortable, and of course, in my budget. I had an image in my head of exactly what I wanted. I checked a few furniture stores but didn't love anything I saw. I looked online but the only stuff I loved was waaaay out of my price range. Pottery Barn had some beautiful chairs but $700 - $1000 dollars?? No. I finally hit up my favorite thrift store. I walked in and there it was - a little funky, a little worn - it was calling my name!!! And it was a fraction of what I would have paid at a retail store. I am in love with my new chair!!!

I threw a handmade quilt over the back and finished quilting the throw pillow from yesterday's post.

a great spot for a little reading

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Crazy Square Baby Quilt Block Tutorial

I made this baby quilt a few weeks ago for a friend (see more pictures here) and thought I'd share how I put the blocks together. I love quilts that don't require a lot of measuring and precision, and I like quilts that are just a little "off" - this quilt design falls into all of those categories.

To start you need 5 inch squares in your background color - mine was white. The number you need will depend on the size quilt you're making - I used 80 for the baby sized quilt. I'm using 16 in this tutorial in order to make the finished blocks into a throw pillow.

You will also need scraps in your color scheme (mine is random scrappy) - they don't have to be cut into any particular shape, although square to rectangle -ish works best, just make sure they have 1 straight edge.

Now you will lay 1 of your scraps across 1 corner of a background square - right sides together, straight edge of your scrap angled along the corner of your background piece. The angle or placement doesn't really matter but you will be folding back along your seam allowance so make sure your scrap is big enough - kind of confusing but keep reading and I think it will make sense.

Sew a 1/4 inch seam allowance along the straight edge of your scrap like this:

Continue with your other blocks, varying your angles and placement - I sew mine all together at once in a big chain in order to save time. It will look like this:

Then you just clip that little bit of thread between the blocks to separate them.

Now iron your scrap of fabric back along the seam allowance. You should now have a piece that looks something like this:

You're going to repeat this process on the opposite corner now. Lay a fabric scrap across the opposite corner, again right sides facing and straight edge angled across the corner. Sew with a 1/4 inch seam. Repeat with all of your squares.

Iron the scrap of fabric back and you should now have a piece that looks like this:

Flip your piece over to the back side and using your background square as a guide, trim all excess over-hanging fabric off, along all 4 sides.

Your square will now look like this:

at this point you can also trim the excess background fabric from behind the scrap pieces if you want (leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance) - I usually don't do this but if you're planning on hand quilting you probably would want to.

Lay your squares out in rows to create your "crazy squares" - when 4 scrappy corners come together it will create the square:

You can now sew your blocks into rows, and then your rows together into your quilt top (or pillow top in my case).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cool Things Our New Camera Can Do

The only one of these that I used any photo editing on was the first pic of the apple. (Most of these photos courtesy of my husband - I'm still learning to work the new camera.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Making Me Happy Monday


Christmas Eve

cookies for Santa, carrots for the reindeer, and cheese for Santa Mouse (no, I don't know who Santa Mouse is but my kids insisted)

Christmas morning - pajamas and coffee

table set for Christmas dinner - vintage table cloth, handmade napkins, and I splurged on fresh flowers

new kimono - a gift from my husband, brought back from his most recent business trip to Japan

And finally, a new camera - my husband and my Christmas gift to each other. The first few days we had it, I came quite close to throwing this brand new camera against the wall and smashing it into a zillion pieces (I don't do well with new technology!)!! Luckily, I somehow managed to marry a very patient man who is methodically reading the manual and then explaining to me how to use it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Crocheted Vintage Christmas Bulb Ornaments

Free pattern available here. Since I already have so many Christmas ornaments, I strung some on a piece of hemp twine and made garland for our bathroom mirror.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips

This was just too enticingly odd not to try. Recipe comes via Annalea from Our Hartbeat guest posting at kojodesigns. And the recipe is exactly what it sounds like - potato chips dipped in melted chocolate - that's all there is to it.

There's really nothing redeeming, nutrition-wise, about this recipe. But they do taste good!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Baby Hats

These are so cute it almost makes me want a little one of my own to put them on - but not quite. Cute hats are probably not the best reason to decide to grow your family. (I can see my husband taking a big sigh of relief right now!) I'll settle for making them for my upcoming new niece/nephew.

I used this basic (free) pattern. But changed up the colors - and left off the ears but added a stem and leaf for the apple hat.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Hats Off To Cardigan

I fell in love with this sweater on ModCloth:

The Hats Off To Cardigan

It's $52.99 on ModCloth, and while that's not too outrageously expensive, I knew I could make it for a lot less. I had a brown scoop-neck top that I had picked up for $2 at the thrift store and some cream lace on hand.

Starting with the neckline, I pinned my lace in place, adding in little pleats, and machine stitched it down.

I used a wider piece of lace for the tie part of the bow and pinned it in place - I sort of pinched it together up at the top part of the tie and pinned. I stitched that down.

Then I cut another piece of wide lace and folded it in half for the bow - you will need 2 of these.

Pinch the raw end together and pin in place on your sweater to make 1/2 of the bow. Sew down and repeat on the other side.

The finished top:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crazy Square Baby Quilt

Made as a baby gift for a friend.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Mixed Nuts

Here's an easy, quick, yet really delicious, holiday treat recipe - Holiday Mixed Nuts.

Start with unsalted (or lightly salted) nuts of any kind - I used almonds, cashews, and a partial can of mixed nuts.

Mix all together

Spread nuts on parchment lined baking sheet.

Drizzle with melted dark chocolate (I used Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips) and sprinkle with coarse sea salt or kosher salt.
Refrigerate until set, then break apart.

Salty and sweet - my favorite kind of snack. And since dark chocolate and nuts are both good for you (in moderation) not too terribly unhealthy!