Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Honorable Award

Earlier this week, I received the Liebster Award from Cinzia. Cinzia blogs at deux petites souris, and I adore her work. I met Cinzia via a secret swap; I really like the logo she designed for her projects. 

Here is what the award means:

The Liebster award (German for favorite) is for bloggers with 200 followers or less. As a recipient of the award, you have the chance to thank and link back to the blogger who gave it to you as well as pass it along to five other deserving blogs.

Here are four bloggers whom I would like to extend this award to:

Kristen at Knitionary: Kristen also lives in the Bay Area and makes the most beautiful knitwear. She usually models her own garments, and they are always so perfect on her! Be sure to stop by her blog; she has the most gorgeous house and backyard with beautiful roses.

Maryse at Anyone Can Knit: Maryse lives in Canada and is my number one fan! She is also a knitter and enjoys making lovely gifts for her friends. She makes knitting look so easy.

Marisa at Quilt Otaku: Marisa is a very talented quilter; she has a thing for Japanese fabrics like I do. We met many years ago at a local Japanese bookstore browsing through craft books in Japanese. She also knits; how do we keep up with our hobbies?!

Katie at There and Back: Katie makes the smallest house blocks and has so many interesting hobbies. I especially like the half-triangle quilt she worked on awhile back. I actually don't know how many followers she has, but I like her blog so I am giving her this award!

Be sure to check out these blogs. Thanks again, Cinzia!

Surprises in the Mail

There was a package on my door step today when I came home! I immediately knew it was for me for Spring Swap v.8! I literally dropped everything on the floor by the door and went looking for my scissor so I could open up this baby. 

And wow! There was not one, but two mug rugs! Sue at Beachgirl Sews was my secret partner and let me tell you she really spent some time spying on me and making something just for me.

Sue used reusable grocery bag from Trader Joe's as the envelope! I love Trader Joe's; what a creative idea.

Here is the first mug rug she made me. I am really into free motion echoing these flowers in black. Check out that butterfly! Those flowers scream spring and looking at them makes me smile.

This is just so me! Lime green and pink.... Ah! It's so perfect. Sue knows I like Drasden plate and yo yo's. The greeting card in the photo was handmade with fabric sewn onto it. I really like it :)

Okay, and there is more! Can you believe it!?!?

 Elegant pink and lime green charms for me to sew with! Here are some of my favorites.

I have both of these mug rugs hung on my walls in my sewing corner. There is no way I am going to put my dirty coffee mug on these! Sue: you are way too generous. Thank you for everything you included and for every second you spent learning about me and for making me these mug rugs. I will treasure them! 

By the way, my secret partner received the tulip mug rug I made her today as well. Happiness all around; that's the magic of secret swaps!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quilted Kitchen Floor Mat

What a crazy busy week it has been; however, as we all know, that never stops me from doing things that I enjoy. Today, I am excited to show you a beautiful floor mat I made for my kitchen over the weekend. I dropped one of those narrow and tall olive oil bottles last week. It was pretty traumatic. I had just filled up the bottle all the way to the top the night before I knocked it over. The bottle shattered into a million tiny pieces and the olive oil was all over my nice jeans, counter top, white cabinet door, hardwood floor and an ugly black floor mat ($8 from Home Depot!). I used almost an entire roll of paper towel to clean up this mess. Needless to say, I tossed out the floor mat with olive oil all over it and was convinced that it was time to make a nice quilt for us to step on! *sarcasm*

I have been eying Robert Kaufman's Treasures & Tidbits collection and knew this would make the perfect floor mat. I selected seven green and orange fabrics to match my kitchen. What do you think!?

Ah! Go ahead! Go step on your quilt; it feels amazing!

- Seven different 1/8 1/6 yard cut of fabrics for the top
- About one yard of fabric for the back
- About 1/3 yard of fabric as binding
- Fleece
- Non-slip drawer lining to go under the mat so it won't slip

1. Prewash all fabrics. This is a must if you want to machine wash this floor mat!

2. Cut the 1/8 1/6 yard of fabrics into thirty-five 5.5" x 5.5" squares.

3. Assemble the 5.5" x 5.5" squares into a quilt, with 1/4" seam allowance, that measures 35" x 30" when finished (seven squares across and five squares down).

4. Quilt them using fleece as it holds up better than cotton.

5. Before you bind this off, create four corners so you can tuck the "non-slip" drawer lining into each corner. This will allow me to remove the liner when this mat needs to be washed.

6. Bind off, and that's it! I used a 2" strip for the binding; I wish I made it a bit wider. I think I will use 2.5" to 3" strip next time.

I cut up two pieces of non-slip drawer liners and taped them together. They work so well!

Happiness is stepping on my beautiful quilt and looking at it every time I walk by my kitchen!

Yes, it's official. My husband thinks I am crazy for spending the time and money on this. But he agrees that this looks fantastic in our kitchen. Now he wants to me to make matching chair cushions, placemats, potholders, etc. I know how I plan to use up my scrap fabrics from this collection!

Fresh Poppy Design

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Version of Christian Louboutin

My husband and I visited a local nursery in our neighborhood to look for a new tree this weekend. I quickly lost interest as it was very cold and rainy in the outdoor area. Not to mention all of the trees look exactly alike; I thought the entire thing was kind of boring... I excused myself and went back into the store and started browsing through the gift section. I got busy and came across this beautiful pair of shoes! Funny how we have a thing for shoes, huh!?

I think you can order this from

I love Christian Louboutin and stiletto, but spending $900 on a pair of gorgeous shoes is just a bit too much. I decided to settle with this pair instead. I wish you could have seen the look on my husband's when I told him I was buying this planter for $60 this weekend as he was busy ordering bags and bags of soil, fertilizers and other useful stuff for our yard.

Not much sewing or knitting was done, but none the less, it was a wonderful weekend. I hope you were able to relax as well.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Productive Week

Wow! It's been one busy week, and the weather is not helping either. We had trees on our property trimmed and removed. The fig tree was really getting out of control. However, I am really missing the Magnolia tree we had on our front lawn. It has been dead for awhile, and we didn't even know! I didn't realize how much I would miss having a large tree on my lawn though. Replacing this tree is very high on my list of things to take care of this weekend. We are probably just going to get another Magnolia tree. Do you have any suggestions?

I frogged the Live Oak Shawl that I started awhile back and casted on again with a smaller needle (US size 4); I am really liking how it looks with size 4. I am about to start the lace pattern, so I guess you can say I am 50% done!

I am not liking this shade of pink...

On an exciting note, I finally ordered a nice brown 22" separating zipper and finished installing this zipper into the Quilted Diamond Vest for my mom. I ordered the zipper from Zipper Stop; it was very hard for me to find the right color from local craft stores. The selections just weren't very good. I think I visited over 10 websites and watched at least five different YouTube videos before I figured out the best way to install a zipper into a knitted piece. I took a few in-progress photos and will share with you how I installed this zipper. I think I did a pretty good job. I will ask my mom to model for this weekend so you can see it :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cathedral Window

I came across these beautiful cathedral window pincushions on Laura's blog. Laura used Kim's tutorial on how to create these. Kim's tutorial was so easy to follow. I have always liked cathedral window blocks, but they just seem so complicated. If you have been wanting to make these, I suggest checking out Kim's tutorial.

I used some of my Denyse Schmidt collection for this pincushion. 

This only took me about an hour to create, and it was my first time! I couldn't believe it. I made this for my secret partner for the Spring Mug Rug Swap. I purposely include the red and white checker box fabric in this pincushion to match the mug rug. *Squeak* This is so just charming!

By the way, I baked these delicious cheese, garlic, and butter biscuits last week. It took me 15 minutes in total. I highly recommend this very simple recipe found on the Food Network. These biscuits were especially requested by my husband. I can eat four at a time!

Warm, cheesy, buttery biscuits straight out of the oven!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mug Rug Round Eight - Spring Swap

I signed up for another round of swap for mug rug; this is one of my favorite Flickr groups. Everyone is so talented, engaging, and kind! I love seeing work people post, and the best part of all this is the joy of making something special for someone in mind. The theme for this swap is Spring, and my partner loves tulips. I decided to go with a simple look to feature this tulip.

It measures approximately 8"x8.5".

I used my precious Japanese taupe fabric as the background and made a ribbon with a fabric covered button. It's pinned onto the mug rug so the recipient can remove it easily. I forgot how to make fabric covered button and had to look up my own tutorial! Unbelievable... I also stamped a ladybug on the leaf.

Here you can see a closeup of this beautiful taupe fabric. I love the pattern.

Denyse Schmidt for the background and border.

I hope my partner will like this. Partner: If you are reading this and don't love it, please comment on Flickr, and I will make another one for you. Time to gather goodies to ship along with this!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Citron All Done

I started the Citron shawl last Sunday and got around to finishing it last night. I washed it, blocked it, and it was all dried and ready for me to sport it off by this morning! I really enjoy making these shawls; they are simple, fun and are perfect for Spring! I especially love shawls with a ruffle edge. This was my first time working with Malabrigo sock yarn, and this may be my new favorite yarn. I love the way it feels after I wash it, and it dried up super fast!

Hand washing it with lavendar Eucalan.

The yarn I got can be washed by washing machine, but I just needed a quick rinse to block it so hand washing will do. Have you tried Eucalan? It's my favorite soap for all my handmade knitwear. The lavender scent is lovely and the soap comes off so easily. I don't even need to rinse it out. You can get this product from your LYS.

I decided to feature our avocado tree this time.

Our growing avocado tree yielded us four avocados last year. I can't wait for this tree to keep growing. I love avocados! I really enjoyed seeing the yarn change colors, it was addicting. 

The size of this shawl is perfect; not too big, not too small. 

I did a test swatch before I started to determine the proper gauge. I used US size 2 for this sock yarn; everyone else used size 6 for the same yarn! I was very concerned at first, but I am glad I trusted my gauge and went with it. Gauge used: 24 sts/36 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch. See tips for this project on my Ravelry page.

Here I am holding and reading my newest book shipped to me by a great friend of mine all the way from Taiwan. Remember Jane from two weeks ago? That doll was made from book two written by a Chinese instructor. However, I really wanted books one and three. A friend of mine actually went to the store located in Taiwan, hunted down the author of the book, asked him a million questions that I had, purchased his books and additional supplies I need to create these dolls, and then shipped them to me. 

I enjoyed a late breakfast and great weather with my husband reading these great books :) Thank goodness for weekends!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Charm Swap Received

Remember this I Spy Charm Swap that I participated in awhile back? Jennifer from Ellison Lane Quilt kindly organized this swap for 50+ of us, sorted through 50+ stacks of fabric, and shipped the sorted stack back to each of us. Look what I got in return for one yard of fabric! I can't think of a better way to collect enough 5"x5" squares for an "I Spy" quilt.

The group did a really good job selecting prints for this swap. 

Here are some of my favorite ones. 

Jennifer also created a Flickr group and discussion thread to share ideas on quilts to make with these charms. I can't wait to follow these 50+ individuals and see what they create with these squares.

This reminds me that I need to get started on my mug rug for Spring Swap V.8. My partner did a good job detailing what she likes about Spring; this will help me create something for her. Time to look through my scrap jar for bright fabrics!