Field Trip!

wedding wheel quilt by jen hoverson
wedding wheel quilt by jen hoverson

I love PurlSoho. I dream of taking a class there. I am a frequent reader of their blog, the purl bee, and often find inspiration there in the beautifully photographed and carefully described projects. So, I’m reading this blog post where Purl owner Jennifer Hoverson has taken her lovely hand-sewn wedding napkins and turned them into a wedding quilt. The whole thing is a fab idea…the backing fabric for the quilt is the personalized cake table cloth they had ordered from spoonflower.com. I LOVE these ideas.

Anyway, so I’m drinking in the pictures, and I see that the wedding (which was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings!) happened at Dana Point, which is not far from here. And I’m thinking, “why would a New York city fabric shop owner have a wedding in Southern California?” Well, turns out, the warehouse for Purl is in Costa Mesa…also not far from here. Warehouse. That’s not that exciting, right? WRONG! You can shop there!

After a little googling, I found out that you can shop there from Tue-Fri from 9-4. So, you can figure out what you want by looking around the website, and then go buy direct at the warehouse!!! I can’t tell you how exciting this is.

Now, if they’d just offer a west coast Heather Ross workshop every now and then, I’d be in heaven.

new crafts…

Here are my latest creations and almost creations. I made this cool hook roll using a bunch of Denyse Schmidt fabrics and my special pink Japanese bunny and squirrel fabric. I think it came out great. The pattern is from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, and although it looked pretty intimidating with all of those strips, it was very fast and easy.

look at my hooks!

hook roll supplies

Plus, I loved using all those fabrics at once. I am really bad about collecting fabric and then not using it because I hate to cut it, and I hate the idea of not having it anymore. Isn’t that silly? What good is a fat quarter sitting in a box? Isn’t it much better cut into pieces and sewn into something cool? I can see the rationalilty of this right now, but when it comes to my next project, I’m sure I’ll have trouble selecting the fabric I’m willing to cut.

i put a hex on you!I’m also slowly working my way through a million hexagons. I don’t know how many I’ll make, but I cut about 400 squares from five different fabrics. And I’m using my handy hexagon templates (available for download!) which are working perfectly. I can’t decide if I want to just sew them into a big mix, or if I want to create a pattern with them. I saw a fun quilt in a book called Modern Primitive Quilts where the hexagons were appliqued around embroidered blocks – I loved that idea. Especially with fun embroidery patterns out there like Wee Wonderfuls stichettes. In fact, I think Heather Bailey’s fabrics would be the perfect frame for my Quilting Bee embroidery.

wee wonderful!

Stephanie’s gifts

So here are the gifts I sent my good friend Stephanie-doo-dah. She’s my crafting guinea pig – she gets all the prototypes. The little bird (filled with catnip and bells) and coasters are from the book Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (awesome book – you can find my review here.) The apron is from an Indygo Junction pattern, and the slippers were made from a pattern on crochetme.com. You can just search for “mary janes” – there are lots of patterns available online.

coaster bag

coasters with bag

little catnip bird

retro reversable apron

crocheted mary janes

Craft Book Reviews

(For my book count, these books are #59-#63. I wasn’t sure whether I should count them in my goal towards 100 books for the year, but since I’ve read them cover to cover more than once, I figured they should count.)

I love pattern books.The easier the pattern, the better the book! So here are a few of my favorites, if you’re interested in sewing and quilting, check them out.

Bending the Rules on AmazonThis first book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew
by Amy Karol, is awesome for the beginning seamstress. I’ve already made two of the purses in here. The directions are really easy to follow, the patterns are easy to cut out. There’s lots of room for personal interpretation, but Amy also provides everything you need if you want to create exactly what she’s made. Fun project, great gift ideas – I really really recommend this book. The author has a super cool blog called Angry Chicken, and she’s also set up a fun flickr group where people post the projects they’ve made from the book. These photos are great for inspiration, color options, ect. [rating:5]

Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted GiftsNext is Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts
by Joelle Hoverson (Author), Anna Williams (Photographer). Again, I seriously love this book. I’ve already made a bunch of those sweet birds on the cover filled with bells and catnip. I’ve also made the coasters and I’m working on a pin cushion. Super easy instructions, great patterns, GORGEOUS projects and photos. I love love love this book. The author also has a great blog called the PurlBee and an online shop called PurlSoho. Definitely check them out. I actually found this book through another blog, Wee Wonderfuls – written by the designer of the sweet little elephant, Wee Peanut, in the book. [rating:5]

In StichesNext is Amy Butler’s In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects
by Amy Butler (Author), Colin McGuire (Photographer). I won’t lie, I haven’t made anything from this book yet. Her patterns, instructions, and materials lists are more involved than the first two books. I feel like I’m not quite to this level. HOWEVER, I love the projects – the book is gorgeous, and I look forward to the day that I master the patterns. If you’re a seasoned quilter or sewer and you’re looking for some cool projects for your home, I highly recommend this book. I wouldn’t recommend it for brand new sewers – although I’m sure smarter people than me could handle the challenges just fine. [rating:4]

Denyse Schmidt QuiltsNext is Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects
by Denyse Schmidt (Author), Bethany Lyttle (Author). Again, I love love love this book. I’ve made one of the quilts (top left, orange and white pattern), and it was very simple. I even changed the pattern to fit a little better to the fabric I had on hand and it was no problem. I’ve seen a few of her quilts for sale in other places like Anthropologie and in the Sundance catalog and they were ridiculously expensive. I was excited because I already had the patterns, and I can make them myself! The projects really range from super-beginner to a little more seasoned, so I think this is a book for every level. Highly recommended! [rating:5]

amy butler's midwest modernFinally, Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern: A Fresh Design Spirit for the Modern Lifestyle
by Amy Butler (Author), David Butler (Photographer).

This one is really more of a coffee table book, although it does have one pattern in it. Still, it’s gorgeous. Her sense of style and her fabric designs are awesome. I was a little disappointed that the book only has one pattern, but it was nice to get a peek into her life, design mentality and creative process. It’s amazing how many talented, inspired people there are out there – and she’s definitely one of them. [rating:4]

Hope you found those reviews helpful – now stop reading and get sewing!

Reality (TV) Check

So – I’m two weeks behind on my reality TV check. Here’s what I think:

So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD)

First, was anyone actually watching fireworks? Or were you mad – like me – that SYTYCD wasn’t on? Anyway, I was sad to see Jessie go – but she clearly had too many health issues going on – not fair to her partner. And how funny was Pascha dancing with that lady? Don’t get me wrong, she was good, but she really did look like Bette Midler. I thought it was hysterical, and a little yucky. I was super sad to see Jesus go. If only he hadn’t been up against the two most long-legged jumping dancers on the planet for his solo!

On to this week…I did not like Hok’s waltz at all. Why did they make him wear high-waters? I loved Sabra and Dominique’s hip hop. I think she’s my favorite girl. Hok is still my favorite guy, but no more waltzes, okay? I also did not like Shauna and Cedric’s tango. I thought it looked so awkward. I voted them off in my head as they were dancing, and apparently I was right :)

brittany snowI wish they would have shown a little bit of Brittany Snow in the whole Hairspray red carpet reel. I loved her on American Dreams. And how cute is that little Zac Efron? I guess he’s not so little – I just think of him on Summerland…I confuse him with that cute Chris Lowell that’s going to be on that new Grey’s Anatomy spin-off. I loved Ricki Lake’s version of Hairspray, and this one looks even better – can’t wait!

chris lowell zac efron

Oh yeah, did anyone else think that Hillary Duff looked exhausted after her performance? That big sigh? She was just okay. I love her silly teenagery movies, but her singing just isn’t for me. She wouldn’t win American Idol, that’s for sure.

Top Chef

Sad to see Sandee go. Hung is turning into a jerk – snotty, arrogant. I was so happy that Lia won – she’s an underdog, for sure! I also like Howie a lot. Even when he got mad, what he was saying was reasonable, not crazy cursing like that dumb Joey guy. The two tall cute guys seem like they’ll go far – too bad I can’t remember their names :)

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List

The prison episode was one of my favorites. She’s really becoming a whole person. I used to just laugh at her cheapness (always trying to get something for free) and willingness to take any job. But this season, she’s dealt with her dad’s death, talked about her divorce, started dating…she’s hysterical. This week she’s headed to London. That promises to be ridiculous, so everyone should watch.

Hey Paula

Anyone watching this show? I have a few episodes Tivoed. I watched one and she was SUPER obnoxious. Just like she is on American Idol, so I don’t know if I’ll keep watching.

Non-Reality Check

Starting tonight: Monk and Psych on USA! Hooray! Also, a good show you’re probably not watching is Burn Notice, Thursday nights on USA. Very funny – and my husband watches it with me! Wonder of all wonders! And just to keep up my broken record refrain, watch The Closer on TNT and Army Wives on Lifetime. My favorite shows on TV right now.

Some other stuff I’ve been watching due to lack of prime time options: DIY’s Uncommon Threads and Creative Juice. Those shows are FULL of cool ideas for all things crafty. How do I get into a group that would be on Uncommon Threads? Can I start one? Anyone part of a crafty group?

all in a day’s work…

I made my first attempt at a mary jane’s pattern, and halfway into the first one, I realized I must be using too-chunky yarn. Even though I was using the G crochet hook, as the pattern specified, my mary jane was easily the size of a snow cap. WAY too big for any foot. So I unraveled it. I’ll start again with finer yarn and see how it goes.

little tom tomMy quilt run starts tomorrow, and I can barely contain my excitement. My husband has agreed to give me one full day of freedom each weekend so that I can travel all over my portion of the state visiting quilt shops. I’ve decided to map out a few scrapbook, yarn and bead shops as well – might as well get them all in, right? My brother-in-law even lent me his tom tom, so all I have to do is have the addresses, and Mr. T (or the voice of my choice) will tell me how to get to each shop!

In TV news, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying The Closer and Army Wives. Cable really has some excellent shows. I saw a promo yesterday for a miniseries on Sci Fi called Tin Man – looks like a retelling of the Wizard of Oz (with Richard Dreyfuss and Zooey Dechanel and Alan Cumming!). Coming in December – Very exciting!

Anyone watching Days of Our Lives? I’m getting a little fed up with the crazy-awful Irish and Italian accents they’re coming up with recently, but I like the current storylines. Any thoughts?

In book news, I’ve been reading Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series. I’m on the 4th book, and I really like it. I plan to do a review of all six books soon.

Hope all is well in your worlds!

My name is Blabby. I’m a crafter.

That’s right, I can hardly tear myself away. We may need to write a “Big Book” and hold meetings, because I’m a junkie. Here are my newest creations…the crazy pink purse is for my neice’s birthday – she’s turning nine. Both purses are my own design, and the grey one is my first attempt at a lining. Needs work, but definitely better than no lining. The mouse is my third attempt at amigurumi animals. The pattern came from anapauloli. Still a work in progress.

My good friend Slapdash pointed out that there’s a wealth of amigurumi examples on flickr – so I’ve been doing lots of looking for ideas. I’m amazed at people’s creativity! I’ve never been very good at coming up with good ideas on my own. I’m better at looking at someone else’s genius and copying it. Is that bad? Now, if only I could get it to work to my advantage like Martha Stewart!

grey purse

pink purse

mouse

mouse2

My first Amigurumi…

In between furiously using my newly allotted tokens on iconbuffet, I’ve also been pretty busy crafting. Here are my newest creations. The little Ami bird is from a pattern from BitterSweet.

The purse is my own design. I wanted a small purse with a long strap that I could wear like a messenger bag. I ended up making the strap too long because once my big-ass wallet is in there, the strap stretches, and my little purse is below my booty. But I still think it came out great. It was very simple – all single crochet, with double crochet for the strap. Let me know if you want a pattern, and I’ll make one up.

ami bird

my #1 model

little purse