Saturday, April 28, 2012

Live Oak Shawl - Finally!

I finally finished the Live Oak Shawlette and had a the chance to photograph it. I enjoyed knitting up this shawl, but didn't enjoy working with Madelinetosh Tosh sock yarn as much as I had hoped. This yarn has great reviews, but I am not sure why. I just didn't like it as much. I also wasn't a fan of the pink I picked out. According to Ravelry, I started this project in August last year, frogged it in March of this year and finally finished it in April! Gosh, this project took a long time to finish.

When lay flat, this shawl has an interesting shape and looks like a trapezoid. The construction of this shawl is great. You started in the center and work your way out, once you get to a certain point, you divide it into three sections, thus forming the trapezoid from a half circle. This shawl is supposed to have lots of open half circles for the edge, but since I ran out of yarn, I just left the edges flat as is!

On a different note, my husband planted a herb garden when I was traveling last week. I came home to this darling box full of different herbs he planted with automatically sprinkler system all set up! He planted basil, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, and oregano. However, I think something (bunnies maybe?!) got to most of the cilantro, parsley and basil! How cute! :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sewing for Mother's Day

I love sewing for my mom. She always sports my finished projects as if they are the best in the world but we all know sometimes our projects just don't come out as good as we had hoped. My mom still has most of my handmade things from when I was little all over her house. Sometimes I look at these things and wonder how the heck I put them together, not to mention all the funny stitches here and there.

I decided to make her a tote bag for Mother's Day. This will be a bag for her to go to the grocery stores and run errands. It's light, versatile, and easy to wash! The Go Anywhere Bag is the perfect bag for my mom. 

It's the perfect size. 

The pattern is pretty simple. I think the hardest part of this project was choosing fabrics that I think my mom will like. She has a thing for denim, so I used that as my starting point. The denim fabric I used was so easy to work with. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the name of the designer. The denim fabric was super soft so I lined it with fusible interfacing to give the bag some shape. The floral pattern is by Michael D'Amore, and it's called "Bold and Beautiful" --- just like my mom! The gray stripy fabric is "Reunion by Sweetwater" for Moda.

The front of the bag; it has three pockets here.

This bag is also great because of all the pockets available. It has a total of four pockets! It will be perfect for her cell phone, keys, and whatever else she carries in her bag.

My iPhone snuggling comfortably in that pocket. 

The pattern asked us to top stitch around the entire top edge, but my sewing machine just would not cooperate. UGH. I think I will need to adjust the tension of my machine to get the stitches to line up nicely. I used two types of magnetic snaps: one for the front pocket and a hidden sew in one for the main body of the bag. The hidden sew in magnetic snap is amazing! It wasn't cheap, but I love the finished look of it.

Not bad, huh!? 

This pattern is great. I highly recommend it. I think I will have to make one for myself too! Now it's time for me to figure out how to top stitch this baby. I hope my mom likes it! :) Are you making something special for your mom? By the way, I am able to blog about this without ruining the surprise because she is not tech savvy enough to read my blog! Gotta love that!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Guest Blogging at Sew We Quilt!

Hi everyone! I am guest blogging at Sew We Quilt today. Thanks, Madame, for the opportunity to showcase my quilted kitchen floor mat with your readers! If you haven't visited Sew We Quilt, be sure to check it out!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sheep Shearing 2012

Today I witnessed sheep shearing for the very first time. I had a great time on the farm with Marisa, Dorothee, and their families. It was fun to see dogs running around without leashes and sheep enjoying themselves in the sun grazing away. It was the perfect break from my go go week. The Hidden Villa Farm was so well kept, I was very impressed. The farm does sheep shearing every year at this time, so if you missed it and live in the area, I highly recommend it. The place was so busy today with tons of kids and families.

I saw a sheep herding dog in action today, and it was spectacular.

When they shear the sheep, they try to keep the wool in one piece. The hair was quite dirty with mostly straws, dirt, and grass tangled up, but I guess the sheep don't mind it at all. The trick is to make sure the sheep is comfortable and just do it fast! I guess it is normal for the sheep to get cut. This is because there are nerve endings on their skins, but they are not supposed to feel the pain. When the sheep do get cut, people on the farm will spray this special blue liquid over the cut. It's an antiseptic and prevents flies from laying eggs on that spot. Ewwww! I guess you learn something new everyday.

Fiber, anyone?!

See the sheep in the middle there? This is the "after" picture. She was twice as big before her hair cut.

The farm also has booths demoing how they dye, weave, and process these fibers into yarn. Let's just say I now have so much more appreciation for the balls of yarn already available for purchase at the store. The farm dyes these fibers with things they find on the farm: black walnut hulls, eucalyptus bark, lichen, jack-o-lantern mushrooms, etc.

I find the black walnuts so beautiful. 

 OK, this looks nothing like yarn!?

And of course, before I left, I had to pick up these organic eggs!

I finished blocking the Live Oak Shawl yesterday, I hope to take some pictures of it tomorrow. I need to pick out a good bag pattern this weekend. I need to get some fabric for it as well. I better hurry before Monday is here! Do you have a favorite bag pattern that I should check out?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happiness All Around

Have you seen these adorable bird pot holders made by Lisa at Make it Up as I go Along? Lisa and I decided to do a private swap, and I got an adorable red bird and elegant fabrics in return! This hot potholder looks even better in person; these squares are less than one inch on each side! I have no idea how she pieced all these together so patiently. I love this bird shape hot potholder. Thank you, Lisa! It matches my kitchen and adds a splash of red that goes well with everything.

As you can see, it's already keeping me company in my kitchen. 

Not sure if I will have the heart to use this, but here it is pretending to be in action!

In addition to receiving this in the mail, I also received Seaside Home in the mail from Craft:nosis. Have you heard of Seaside Home? It's a wonderful quilting book that features 25 stitched projects from sea creatures to sailboats. Although I don't live by the sea, I look forward to making many great projects from this book to remind me of the water. Whether you are a beginner or advanced quilter, you will find something in this book for you. Heidi: Thank you for a copy of this book!

 A collection of top designers. 

 Here are pictures of some of my favorite projects from this book.

On an entirely different note, do you remember my orchid that came back to life and started budding around the end of 2011? Well, I am excited to share with you that it flowered once again! It has taken almost three months to re-bloom, but the wait has been worth it! See for yourself.

My beautiful orchid. 

I usually have this orchid by the window during the day, and at night, I move it onto my kitchen counter. I think that really makes a difference. I don't think my orchid likes to be cold at night, but it enjoys the sun during the day. I water it thoroughly every ten days. That's it! So if your orchid is not blooming, make sure it's not near the windows at night.

That's it for now! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Scrappy Potholder

Thank you so much for your nice comments on my Kitchen Floor Mat! I am so excited that Quilt Story featured me on Fabric Tuesday. I must say, I was all giddy seeing my photo on someone else's blog! I am delighted that you like the quilted floor mat. I hope you make one, and if you do, please let me know. I am here to help!

I am doing a private swap with a friend I met through this space. She liked the colors I used for the Kitchen Floor Mat, so I thought I would make her a pot holder with my scrap fabrics from that project. I think it came out quite cute, but I will let her be the judge!

The front.

As with all of the pot holders I make, I always use Insul-Bright batting to provide insulation. I am pretty sure most local fabric stores are now carrying this; they sell this by the yard. I layered my hot potholder in the follow order: quilt top, insul-bright, regular batting, and the backing. I think two layers of batting are appropriate for hot potholders. I wouldn't want my friend or myself to get burned!

The back.

Ha! It matches the mat so well. Time to make myself one!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sewing Little Wallet

I purchased a pattern for how to make little wallets when I was in Maui last year. The store had a cute tiny wallet right by the cash register, and I just knew I had to get the pattern for it. I decided to use my Tokidoki sushi fabric that I blogged about for these little wallets. I am making this for someone who may be reading my blog so I won't ruin the surprise :)

These wallets are perfect to store gift cards, business cards, or other random things she may have. 

I actually wasn't quite sure how to sew on the snaps, but thank goodness for YouTube! I used this tutorial; check out how she does these little knots. Isn't this red sushi fabric so cute!? I love sushi!

The finished size measures approximately 3.5" x 4.5"

I stopped by Pier One Imports today. Do you have one near you? I can spend hours there! I bought a few cute decor items for our house, but check out this bamboo lamb I bought!

Ha! Look at this cutie!

This lamb is sitting on the fire mantel next to my drawings; I am so excited to have this little addition in my sewing corner. I need to place some white yarn ball next to it, that would be cute, huh!? 

Hope you are enjoying your weekend wherever you are.