Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Long, 2011!

I'm not one for too much personal introspection at the end of the year. 
I was all set to make a mosaic of all the projects I made this year, but honestly, they were frustrating me and didn't look that great anyway. Also, looking through everyone else's great projects of 2011, I found myself getting a little annoyed at my lack of productivity. 

Then, I snapped out of it. I have gotten loads accomplished this year, and should be proud of that, right? One of the most important was guiding this little man through his third year of life...

  Happy Birthday, Carson Gabriel!

And just how are we celebrating?

My little farm boy requested pink cupcakes, pink frosting, and pig sprinkles!!

Should be some exciting times at the Lovelady house tonight. 

Happy New Year's to every single one of you and your families. Stay safe and have fun!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday, vol 17

When you take a little break from posting nearly every day it is kinda hard to get back in the blogging groove, isn't it? I figured a WIP Wednesday post was a good way to jump back in. 

I have been getting a little sewing done over here during the holiday break, but I'm feeling the need to get back to a normal routine and be a little more disciplined. But I guess that happens to everyone this time of year. Onto the WIPs...

Ongoing Projects

Carson's birthday is Saturday so I really need to get this finished. Those are the bottom nine blocks. I'm using Nova's tutorial to make this a "quillow", so you don't construct it exactly like you would a regular quilt top. Looking back, I wish I had used more solids in the quilt as it seems a little busy, but I'm sure Carson won't care. I'll just keep that in mind when I make Wyatt's I guess! He has already started telling me what kind of blanket he wants, and his birthday is February 1st, so I won't get much of a break!

My favorite block.
I spent a long time embroidering Carson's name on the block that is to be the front of the pillow part, only to really hate it once I put on the borders. Then I decided to just applique his name and I like it much better. 

Only now I have to do some kind of quilting on it, and I'm really not sure where to go with that. I started hand quilting some zigzags above and below his name, but it looks awful. Now that I think about it, I may just take it out and quilt some random straight lines parallel to his name...

Also over the break I have been going through my scraps and cutting pieces for the Japanese block swap. On Christmas day I decided to let myself sew whatever I wanted so I made one block. Yep, that's all I got done! I spent most of my time cutting scraps, but once I actually sat down to make the block it went together quickly.

Making this block made me realize that I don't do "scrappy" very well. I am far too picky about which fabrics touch to let things be truly scrappy. The blocks are fairly small at 8", so I will need to make quite a few to make a quilt!

No Progress

I'm honestly not sure when I'll get back to this Hometown quilt. Hopefully soon, but I'm not making any promises, though I think I've decided to go with the traditional layout. I also never did anything else with that Christmas-y dresden I was making into a pillow...Hopefully I still like it next year! 

Upcoming Projects   

***do.Good Stitches "Imagine" circle stars up in January
***Modern Blocks bee also starts in January
***Japanese X and + block swap...yep, starts in January
***Wyatt's quilt...I think his latest request was "yellow", though I'm thinking differently...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011


...I made it to the grocery store before the sun came up...

...Marshmallows were dipped....
...and now I am waiting for two little boys to fall asleep so I can start wrapping gifts even though I really just want to go to bed...

What did you do today??

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Treats

What are you all whipping up in the kitchen for your holiday festivities? 

I really hadn't planned on making too much this year, but I found out this weekend that we will be hosting my husband's family for lunch on Christmas Eve, so I decided that I wouldn't be a proper hostess if I didn't have a tray of Christmas cookies and candies out for everyone to snack on. 

I was browsing Etsy and found this beautiful tray...
Etsy Listing found here
So simple and pretty I would hate to cover it up!

 Here is what I have made so far:

Buckeyes ~ Around here, we just call them Peanut Butter Balls and if I don't make them my brother-in-law would disown me. This year I used the recipe from Smitten Kitchen and will definitely continue to make them Deb's way from now on. Her addition of graham cracker crumbs and a little cream cheese is perfect.

Oreo Truffles ~ I hadn't made these before, but they will be on the list from now on. So easy and so good! 
1 pkg Oreos + 8 oz cream cheese + chocolate coating = Delicious!

Homemade Marshmallows ~ Another new addition to the lineup. These were fun to make and I liked that my kids know that marshmallows don't have to come from a bag at the store. I used this recipe from Our Best Bites but sadly, forgot to add the vanilla. They are good, but kinda boring. I think I will let the kids dip most of them in a little chocolate and crushed candy canes to liven them up a little.

Peanut Butter Fudge ~ I am not generally a fan of this, but my husband loves it. This year I used a recipe from Annie's Eats that was so simple. My husband said it was great and the little bit that I ate was really good.

Still on the list to make:

Anything else I should add?? I think I need more cookies.

Head over to Debbie's Tuesdays at the Table and see what other foodie-goodness people are sharing today!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Halfway There...

Actually, I finished two more blocks after I took the picture, so I'm more than halfway done with the blocks for Carson's "green blanket". I'm having fun making these and really like the fabrics I'm using. Hopefully Carson does, too.
  The blocks are 16" and I am just randomly cutting strips to make the area surrounding the cars. Though I keep wanting to cut every strip at 2" so I'll have lots of scraps to use for the 
Japanese x and + block Swap I'm in on flickr! I cannot wait to get a chance to start on those blocks. There is still room if anyone else wants to join...

I also made a couple of these blocks to send to Sarah for the next quilt being made by Quilting for Kids. I believe there are still a few spots open for this one, too, if anyone wants to make a few blocks for a good cause. This quilt is being made for the brother of the two girls for whom we made the first quilts.

What did you work on this weekend?

Friday, December 16, 2011



Out of 750(!!) comments, chose...

#653 was...Emma!
 and our second winner...

 #623 who was...Kathy

Congratulations Emma and Kathy! I'll be emailing you shortly to get your information. Thanks to everyone who entered! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pooches and Pickups Baby Quilt

I finished the baby quilt I've been working on and I have to say that I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It was a bit frustrating at first, mostly due to my refusal to plan ahead rather than just whacking into my fabric, but overall I'd call it a win. Well, except for that last row of red squares but we won't worry about that.

The focal fabrics are Pooches and Pickups by Laurie Wisbrun, with Kona Ochre, Kona Medium Grey and Peeps Jewels in Turquoise by Lizzy House. I did very simple quilting in diagonal lines through the blocks, hoping to keep the quilt a little more snuggley. 

Now to get to work on that "green blanket" Carson keeps requesting. His birthday is Dec. 31st...think I can make it?

Linking up with AmandaJean at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday and Lucy of Charm About You who is hosting TGIFF.


You guys are awesome. Seriously awesome.
I am completely amazed at the number of people who have stopped by in the last few days. You really want some Kona, don't you? I have loved reading what everyone does for a living. Such an interesting variety!

Like everyone else, I've been a little busy lately, but I really wanted to pop in and say a couple Thank-You's.
First, thanks to everyone who has entered the giveaway and to those who have decided to stick around and see what other crazy stuff goes on around here.   

Also, a huge thank-you to everyone who left such kind comments about me on my recent feature at Amy's Creative Side. I was so flattered to be featured there and as I was battling the plague your comments really made my day! 

Other random bits from around here lately...

We finally got to celebrate this guy's birthday Sunday night. He devoured his cake and had a great time staying up way past his bedtime. I used this frosting recipe for the first time and it was delicious. Not sure "magical" is quite realistic, but very good nonetheless. 

Progress is being made on the Pooches and Pickups quilt for our friends' baby due any day. Huge thank you to my friend Cindy for sending me some of her scraps of this line to supplement that large print I had. Anyone notice the mistake in the picture?

And finally...
we have a Christmas tree! Tree pants are in place. I let the kids do all the decorating. The only thing that I did was put on the lights and the ornament Kelly sent me. Though our tree will never win a beauty contest, I think they did a great job.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Giveaway Day!!

**Giveaway has closed. Thanks to everyone who entered! Winners can be found {here}.

It's finally here! One of the most magical days of the year!

I don't know about you, but I love when Giveaway Day rolls around. One of the first thoughts I had when I started my blog was what cool stuff would I give away on such a fun day?

Well, I don't know if you are aware of this, but I have a little love affair going on with solid fabrics. I adore them! So I thought, why not share some beautiful Kona solids with a lucky reader?

How about a Fat Quarter starter pack of 16 of the most popular Kona solids?
See that one in the bottom right corner? It's called School Bus and is one of my absolute favorites. I'm an orange kind of girl.

But wait! Kathy the generous owner of Pink Chalk Fabrics has graciously offered a second FQ Starter Pack to another lucky reader! That's right kids, 2 FQ Bundles are up for grabs.

Just leave one comment and you'll be entered to win. 
How about telling me what your day job is?
Yes, I'm a snoop. I think it's interesting to see what we do when we aren't sewing. If you're CIA or something crazy like that, just make something up OK?

For a second chance at the bundle of joy, let me know if you are a follower. 

Mr. Random will pick two winners Friday December 16th after the giveaway closes at 5PM PST. International entrants welcome!

Be sure to stop by Sew, Mama, Sew for tons and tons of other great giveaways!

Ornament Swap

Guess what I got in the mail today??

Last month Lindsay organized a Holiday Ornament Swap and today I received this bundle of fun. I was lucky to have Kelly as my partner who made me an ornament. But she did much more than just make an ornament! She also made a cute card with a button tree and included a generous amount of scraps and chocolate. Really, what is better than fabric and chocolate?  

Kelly is also having a giveaway on her blog right now, so hop on over there and enter!

Want to see what I made for my partner? Well, I am such a professional blogger that I forgot to take any pictures of it before I sent it off, but thankfully my partner did! 

Can I just say that I was a bit intimidated to make an ornament for Lindsay? Seriously, the girl is awesome and even just announced that she has a project in the new book Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders. Lindsay is also having a giveaway on her Lindsay Sews blog right now if you'd like to stop by and enter that one, too!

Be sure to stop back here on Monday for my contribution to the  Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Extravaganza!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Maxwell James

Today this squidgy little bundle turns one year old!

Unfortunately, our celebrating has been put on hold due to the plague descending upon our home. Back to the laundry I go!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WIP Wednesday, vol 16

Well, it is an unofficial WIP Wednesday as Lee is taking a well-deserved holiday break. But, I actually have some works in progress, so I thought I would share. 

First up, I've gotten a quarter of the blocks made for my Road to Tennessee quilt.

I'm having a hard time deciding which way to position the blocks. I think the top to rows are the more traditional way, but I kind of like the way the bottom rows are, maybe even have that zigzag type design going vertically down the quilt instead of horizontally. Maybe with a little sashing? Not sure I'm that ambitious... Suggestions?

Here's a little sneak at the next pillow that I'm working on. I've got all the dresden pieces made but I'm still indecisive on the rest of the design. I've never made a dresden before, but have been wanting to try them, especially after seeing the cute ones made by Alli and Amy

I need to make a baby gift for some friends of ours. They are having a boy and I think this fabric is perfect for him, but I'm having a hard time deciding on coordinating fabrics. This is the only fabric from that line that I have and I'm trying to work from my stash, so I keep pulling groups of fabric out then putting them aside for others. Needless to say I am making a mess and not much progress. I may even decide to just make bibs and burp cloths or something like that instead of a quilt. The baby will likely be here in two weeks or less, so I need to get on this!

What are you working on?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mini 'X' Christmas Pillow

When Debbie posted the tutorial for her Mini 'X' quilt, I knew I would by making one. I'm not sure why, but I decided it needed to become a pillow. Maybe because I know my track record about how slow I am getting things hung on our walls and I knew I would want this out on display. With a pillow I just have to throw it on the couch, so a pillow it will be!

This was such a quick and fun project. Debbie did an excellent job writing the tutorial. The only thing I changed was to only make 9 x's instead of 12. Also, somehow my top didn't come out as square as it should have, so I had to make my borders a little wonky so I could keep the design centered on my pillow. 

The fabrics I used are from Holiday Happy by Happy Zombie. I love the red and aqua and the Santa gnomes are fun, too!

The fabrics were from a bundle of 5" strips that I won earlier this fall. Having those pre-cut strips really helped speed up the process, especially when trying to decide on the back of the pillow.  This is actually the first pillow I've made, but it was so fun it will not be the last! 

To see some more versions of Mini 'X' quilts, check out the flickr group Quilting with A Quilter's Table.

Linking to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.

Cinnamon Salt Dough

            Does anyone else have memories of making salt dough ornaments 
 at Christmas when you were a kid? 

My mom wasn't a big fan of letting us make a mess in her kitchen, but I do remember that she always let us make these ornaments. We just used plain salt dough and painted them after they came out of the oven. I've seen a few recipes for adding cinnamon to the dough which makes the house smell great and produces a pretty brown ornament, so that is what the older boys and I did this morning. 

This is what Max did...

We had fun mixing up the dough, rolling it out, and deciding which cookie cutters to use. The dough is pretty stiff so I told Wyatt that I should probably be the one to roll it out. He let me the first time, but then he told me about his big muscles, so I let him have a turn.

He decided it was necessary to climb onto the counter to do it. Which of course meant that pretty soon Carson was up there, too. But he had a little different idea of how to roll out the dough...
Sometimes you need to break out the heavy equipment.  
 Here's the recipe in case you want to make your own:
Cinnamon Salt Dough Ornaments

1 C. cinnamon
2 C. flour
1 C. salt
1 ¾ C. warm water

Mix the cinnamon, salt, and flour in a mixing bowl. Add the water and stir or use a stand mixer with a paddle or dough hook to combine. The dough will be very stiff. Knead a few times with your hands, then roll out on a surface lightly dusted with cinnamon. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and poke a hole with a straw or toothpick. Bake at 300° for 45 to 50 minutes, or until dried.

One side stays dark but the other gets a little lighter.
I was looking for some ribbon to string them on and found a few strips of fabric in my scrap box, so I used that instead. Much more fun, I think!

We always go out and cut our Christmas tree, but I wanted a little one for the kids' playroom so I got them a pre-lit 4-ft tree and plan on letting them make all the decorations for it. I'm also hoping that Max will get used to that tree and won't mess with ours too much once we get the real one. I doubt it will work, but we'll see!

I'll be linking these babies up to Debbie's Tuesdays at the Table. Stop by and see what everyone else is cooking up! I'll bet there are some Christmas cookies this week!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Those 241 Totes and Some Tips

You know what's hard? Making something and not sharing it. 
You know what's really hard? Making three things and not sharing them!

Now that my Pay it Forward gifts have been received I can finally show them. I know, all the cool bloggers have secret projects and when they get to do their big reveal it's something like a book deal! Or fabric line! Or sponsors! And here I am revealing...bags. But they were fun to make, and hey, any finish at this house deserves some fanfare!

I used the wonderful 241 Tote pattern by Anna of Noodle-heads. Such a great pattern! I highly recommend it. The first bag I made went to Sarah at FairyFace Designs

Since I made her's first, Sarah's bag was a bit of a learning experience. Not that there were any problems due to the pattern or anything, it just took a little longer and I made a couple minor changes to the next two. 

Next, I made one for Annabella of Life's Rich Pattern...
and one for Jennifer of Knotted-Thread.
I made the second two assembly-line style and they went together much quicker. These bags use a magnetic snap, and for some reason I thought it would be more complicated than it was. It was so simple! I will say that on Sarah's I used one from JoAnn's and it almost sticks together too well. Like, I hope she doesn't have to use two hands to get her bag open! For the others I used snaps that I purchased from Being Bags on etsy. Besides being a much more economical way to go, I thought these snaps seemed higher quality. Also, I noticed the other day at Joann's that if you buy the magnetic snaps from the Notions section, they are quite a bit more than the ones from the bag-making aisle, where the purse handles and those kind of things are. 

I did a couple things to the bags (maybe not on Sarah's...sorry, Sarah) that I think helped them look a little more professional.
See how that stitching going along the top of the linen is a little more substantial? I used the double-stitch feature, so the needle goes over the same stitch twice. I totally don't know if that is the right thing to call it, but that's what I'm going with. Here's what it looks like on my machine...
That number 3, there? That's it. I would guess that most machines have it, but it may have a different picture for it. I'm pretty sure my old (err, 1982 model...not OLD) Singer had it. I also used that stitch when doing the top-stitching on the straps. 

Here's another thing that helped my top-stitching...
Here's the back...
Do you have one of these? It is a blind-hem foot and came with my machine. See how it has that ridge in the middle and the other part is a little higher? If you use this foot and move your needle over a bit, you can put the edge of the fabric you are top-stitching right where that ridge is and it will kind of glide right along that and keep your stitching straight. Does that even make sense? Ok, I just ran to the machine and took these pictures to help, since I don't think I'm making any sense...

Better? And yes, that's felt but it was what was on the table. I moved my needle over 10 clicks (2.5) to the left. Here's the top-stitching on Annabella's bag:

Much better than what I can do with just the regular foot on my machine. I don't know if any of you even care, but I thought I'd share since every bit helps for me.

I can definitely see myself making more of these bags and I just bought Anna's Go Anywhere Bag pattern, so I'll hopefully be trying it out soon as well.