30 December 2019

Sept - Oct - Nov - Dec

I didn't get back into sewing so much in September after the kids went back to school, because that's when I was asked to take on a major leadership role in our church ... one of these days ...

But I did SOME sewing through the end of the year!

September is National Sewing Month and I set a goal to sew every day. I got 10 of 30. Sigh. Of course, on the 15th, I got the leadership assignment at church so that definitely threw things off.

mending: 3

quilt blocks: 4. I made four letter blocks to start working on RG's Extreme Reader quilt (even though I'm still not done with Night Sky).

a skirt for ME!: this was a long time coming. I even assigned it to myself as my last Faith in God pass-off - the children's church goal program that I was the leader for (so I did it myself with the girls, to encourage them along). When we wrapped up the program in September because of transitioning to a lot of new things, I had one week to just do it - park my butt down and make my skirt.

It's brown linen, made with the Anywhere Skirt instructions from Made Everyday. (This is the second time I've used this pattern - the first was for SM's theater costume in 6th grade.) It suggests you use twice your waist-measurement for a full skirt - I did about a quarter more than my waist because I wanted it pretty toned down. I ordered painted wood buttons specifically to go with this fabric, and they're my favorite thing about it.

Night Sky quilt: the top is 100% done! And pinned in its batting/backing sandwich! HOORAY! It's 60 by 80 inches, so a scaled down twin bed size. And then I set it aside for another month to take care of some other things on a deadline ... sigh ...

other quilt blocks: while finishing the Night Sky top, which took some Tetris skills to get all the differently sized pieces together, I needed to just sew something fast. We had a bunch of cut 4-inch squares left from the "A Doll Like Me" doll quilt project in February, and someone had contributed a bunch of brown. They were just laying around on my table - I think one of the kids got them out - so I mixed the brown with other colors to make what I'm calling a "chocolate checkerboard." To get it big enough for a 48x48-inch back for a jeans picnic blanket, I need more brown ... Checking the scrap bins, and then I'll send out a request to quilting friends to raid their scrap bins. I have 28 4x4 blocks so far. Laid out for the photo, I like it even more than I thought I would!

mending: 2

quilt repair: Adam's mom made a quilt for him incorporating his baby blanket. We let RG have it on her bed because it's quite heavy and it acts as a sort of weighted blanket for her. Unfortunately, her autism fidget issue is that she shreds things - paper and ... fabric ... and she was rather extensively destroying the baby blanket section literally one thread at a time before we caught on. So I confiscated it from her and got some large flannel pieces from my stash. They had been intended to be made into baby blankets if we'd had a boy, but obviously that didn't happen so the fabric has just been sitting here all this time. What's left of Adam's baby blanket is now entirely enclosed and quilted under Dr. Seuss flannel and some flannel pieces left from making Adam's pajama pants - it looks kind of new but it's not really. Just a new piece added to an older quilt with some additional quilting.

baptism dress: TA was baptized on November 30, and per our family tradition (let's be honest - Adam insisted on this one), I made another baptism dress. It was down to the wire - I finished it the day before. The pattern was the Oliver and S Pinwheel dress, because of the flounces on the bottom. It's actually two pieces - an under-dress with the lower flounce, and a tunic over the top with the upper flounce. I made the under-dress out of lining rather than cotton because TA likes silky fabrics against her skin. The pattern idea is that the two pieces can be worn separately if the child wishes - this one can't because the lining is somewhat sheer. But that's okay. I can make her another.

It's also TOTALLY typical of this girl to insist that she wear sneakers. She hasn't worn "church shoes" in ... I don't know when she ever did. So Daddy took her to get some new white ones to wear with her white dress. The only thing missing was that she wanted white leggings to wear with it too, because that's her style - dress or t-shirt, a hoodie, leggings, sneakers. I need to get a picture of how she has styled this dress to church since her baptism: the white dress with black leggings, the white sneakers, and a black/silver zip-front puffy vest over the dress with the ruffles sticking out underneath. It actually looks pretty cool.

I still have A LOT of church work (it's at least three years in this position), and even some editing work ... but WAY less than last year. Just a couple of hours here and there - not rewriting an entire freaking book in two months.

I did no sewing at all this month until Christmas day, when I spent the entire afternoon quilting the Night Sky quilt. And then some more the next day, and I got the diagonal lines done in one direction. I thought about leaving it like that because it looks kind of cool, but Mindy said that she was told that if you quilt only one direction, the quilt will eventually warp. Sigh. So I will go the other direction for the criss-cross. Then fold the backing around to the front to be the binding.

24 November 2019

Mindy's Holiday Baking List

Pumpkin Molasses Cookies - soft and chewy like cookies should be, these add a nice amount of spice and variety to your cookie plate.  (And I make this recipe with gluten and non-vegan.)

Pumpkin Mousse and Gingerbread - the mousse is light and fluffy, and the gingerbread pairs wonderfully with it to add more spice and snap.  We've made it as a pie, as mini cookie pies or just to dip the cookies in.  The mousse also makes great filling for crepes.
Pumpkin Souffle - like a crustless pumpkin pie, this is what I'll be having for Thanksgiving this week.

Sugar Cookies - these cookies are definitely not limited to Christmas.  We usually make them for most holidays, birthdays and just-because days too.

Fairy Bites - nothing fancy about tiny shortbread cookies with sprinkles on top, but they are requested each year.

Peppermint Snowballs - I made these for the first time in 2015 and instantly knew they would become a Christmas tradition.  These are a must-make every December.

Peppermint Meringue - I like to make these for my gluten-intolerant friend.  And they are yummy for me too, of course.

Rice Krispie Squares - no reason to include the recipe because it comes written on the box.  The only difference is we use peppermint marshmallows, or you could add 1 tsp of extract to make them minty.

Candy Cane Fudge - basically two ingredient fudge with crushed candy canes on top.  So super simple but you can't go wrong with chocolate!

Cookie Dough Fudge - after the first time I knew it would be made again and again.  I've included this recipe in my daughter's journal because I know she'll want it when she's older.  It does require more than just two ingredients, but worth the extra time (which still isn't long!).

Chocolate Orange Muffins - not just a Christmas-time muffin, but I love how these taste like the chocolate orange I always get in my stocking.  I like these best as mini muffins and will also make them as lime coconut or lemon poppyseed just by swapping out the zest and one ingredient. 

31 August 2019

June - July - August

Since May, when my sewing momentum was completely shut down, I haven't done much at all. The busy-level of the summer felt a lot more hectic this year, even though last year was had the exact same pattern: 17-day vacation followed by summer theater followed by two camps, and then back to school. I'm getting old ... anyway ...

mending: 6

zip totes: 4 for teacher gifts at the elementary school, made literally the day before school year ended. But they were done, and they were gift-wrapped and ready to go when the girls left for school on the last day!

quilt blocks: 1 - the cake block from the Spelling Bee book. My intention is to make a "Happy Birthday" banner to hang up for birthday parties and include this block, but this is as far as it's gotten.

crafting: lots and lots of "tornado streamers" for the summer theater production of The Wizard of Oz. The choreography was that Dorothy and Toto spun in circles while the Munchkins ran in circles around them, first with the dark colored streamers for the storm, and then switching to the colored ones to indicate her travel to Oz. I came up with how to do the streamers - I bought the plastic-y tablecloths from the dollar store, cut them into strips, and hot-glued them to craft sticks. We made about 150 of these (total, both sets combined) and each one had 3 to 8 streamers. It was a lot of cutting and a lot of glue, and a lot of time. But only about 10 bucks.

mending: 1

quilt blocks: 4, put together in a quilt-as-you-go small project. I did this at my friend Sarah's house in Utah so she could teach me the technique. I took a bunch of photos with the intention of posting a tutorial here, but obviously we haven't gotten to that yet.

summer theater: I am such a glutton for punishment. I still agreed to be the costume manager again, even though our family wasn't even IN the show this year. On the morning of THE SHOW - not the THREE dress rehearsals - Adam helped me figure out the Tin Man costume, and that gave me fits all the way through the show. Every break, I was pinning it somewhere just to keep it on the guy. We were both happy to take it apart and throw it in the trash within an hour of the final curtain!

- I'm most proud of our Yellow Brick Road - it was a PERSON! She danced, and Dorothy and crew followed her. I made the cape, and this cute girl was so excited when I told her she could keep it when the show was over. I hope she dresses up as the Yellow Brick Road for Halloween.

- a lot more tornado streamers
- elastic waist/knotted tulle skirts for the Munchkins
- I altered the dress for Glinda - I had to take in the bodice of a formal gown so it didn't fall off her.

- mending: 1
- zip tote: 1 for a birthday party gift
- fabric shopping bag: 1. A new state law in Connecticut requires you to pay for any store plastic bags you use, to try to encourage people to use fabric bags. Yay for the environment and less plastic! Really, I support this. Now I just need to get my bag supply up to speed.

No photos of anything in August.

31 May 2019

May nothing

Oy. This month, life happened, and it happened HARD. I sewed one quilt block for Night Sky, and that's it. No mending, no nothing. My goal was to finish Night Sky entirely for SM's birthday, but in the first couple of days of the month, I got a Facebook message from a friend in Australia whose college-age daughter is in the US ... and everything went down the tubes while I dealt with her passport issues.

So here's the Night Sky status ... A few weeks ago, my little girls helped me lay out the finished blocks to see how they can fit together. My mistake with this quilt is that I made things of all kinds of different sizes without planning how they would fit together, so I'm kind of scrambling now. It looks really neat, but it's a rather painful Tetris game to put it together.

Left side of this shot - finished section. Center - a newly finished section that was actually done/mentioned in April, but I'm just now getting pictures of it. I need a third section for the bottom to get it to 80 inches long. It's 60 inches wide.

Twin-sized quilts are typically 90x70 inches but I cleared 10 inches off because this is going on a bunkbed. I don't want lots of overhang at the edges of the bed - the slightly smaller quilt works better for us.

30 April 2019

April finishes

- the doll quilt project was finished up with the last of the labels being attached, and shipped out to Wisconsin.

- JE's birthday dress

- a pair of knit shorts for pajamas. The Kid Shorts pattern from Made only goes up to a size 10, and three of my five have outgrown that largest size in the past few months. So I attempted to scale it up to a 12-ish size, and this was my test run. I need to make a slight adjustment on the height of the rise to the waistband, but mostly it turned out fine.

- I gave myself a deadline to finish the Night Sky quilt: SM's birthday in 8 days. I made 7 more blocks and got the second section of three done. I was trying to entirely finish the pieced top today, but got sidetracked by an emergency visit to the orthodontist. It will be done by this weekend, and then I'll have Mon/Tues/Wed next week to quilt it. The binding will be easy - the backing is HUGE because I bought super-wide flannel (120 inches instead of 60), so I'm going to flip it around to the front and enclose the edges with it. 

22 April 2019

service finish

Post 1
Post 2

The doll quilts for A Doll Like Me are DONE!

And SHIPPED to Wisconsin.

So proud of my crew of 12 little girls who were so eager to serve other children! Made by kids for kids!

21 April 2019

crazy cat girl

I'm not sure if she's a crazy cat girl, or a cat crazy girl ...

This is the child who, about a year ago, wanted to get rid of all of her clothes, and get all new clothes ... with cats on them. I saw this print online and figured what the heck. So I bought the fabric to make this dress for her, and happy birthday to our newly-minted 9-year-old!

I hadn't worked much with knit before, so I went for it and bought some higher end, more expensive knit for this. SO cute! SO soft! SO annoying to work with! The edges curled like nobody's business. I had to pin the crap out of it, seriously like every inch. I could steam it flat with the iron, but as soon as the heat went out of it, it curled up again. Now that it's done, it's a fabulous dress, but making it took awhile because of having to go so excruciatingly slow.

The pattern is the Girl on the Go dress from Oliver+S. The fabric is Cat Nap Pink by Dana Willard in the Blush collection.

And because this is the 500th POST!!!!! - I actually have an unopened copy of the Girl on the Go pattern that I will give away on April 29 (because that's the next 9 day, for my 9-year-old). US/Canada only. Comment what your hints are for working with knit fabrics because whoa, that was less than fun.

31 March 2019

March notes

1 - A Doll Like Me doll quilts: I quilted the 7 I had pinned, pinned the other 6, and quilted all of them. In three days. I was on a roll. I took them to a friend who showed me how to do binding. While she did 12, I did one. In the same amount of time. Yeah. I'm a rookie and she's super experienced.

I am now handstitching on the "Made by kids for kids" labels. 4 done, 9 to go.

2 - Night Sky blocks: 2 more.

3 - six bean bags for hopscotch

4 - "thread drawing" on a skirt to "decorate" it for my I-hate-plain-clothes girls.

5 - costume pieces for JK's birthday party: no-sew fleece dragon wings for JK and TA, a big stuffed dragon tail for JK, and a glittery top with a high-low hem for JE. I used the Girl-on-the-Go pattern from Oliver+S for the top.

JK's dragon wings and tail. I didn't get a picture of TA's wings, but they were the same scallops only in orange. They were dragons from Dragons Love Tacos, and we had tacos at the party.

Vega from Star Darlings. The costumes were to dress as your favorite book character.

6 - Mending: 5

15 March 2019

skirt "decorating"

RG does not like plain/solid colored clothing because it's "boring." Last spring, I made her a basic skirt in plain blue linen-ish-weave fabric for Colonial Day at school (in April or May, but forgot to put it in the journal notes). They didn't have calico prints in that time period, so sorry, Kiddo, your skirt is boring.

Once Colonial Day was over, she still had this perfectly good, brand-new skirt. So I've added some fun details, and NOW I will put it in the sewing journal! (I probably should have just left it alone for future Colonial Days at school, but whatever.)

I have the sewing book Stitch by Stitch from the writer of the Whip-Stitch blog (which is posted on far too infrequently for my liking), and in one of the "learn your machine" exercises, the "assignment" is to figure out thread-drawing. You drop the feed dogs on the machine - the little teeth that pull the fabric under the needle - and change the foot to a free-motion foot. Your hands are now 100% in control of how the fabric goes under the needle.

I like flowers and garden scenes, and they're easy to draw. So that's what I did. It probably looks like a little kid drew it, because it was my first attempt at anything of this sort. But I like it and I don't care what anyone else thinks about it. I don't see THEM trying to draw with thread!

07 March 2019

February tangents

I think I would have fewer tangents if it weren't for Project Quilting.  Thankfully the season is only 6 challenges long, so I will have less distractions soon.  (But I have a way of distracting myself with other projects so I don't know if anything will actually improve.)  Anyway, here is something Bigger Than a Breadbox.  I was just going to focus on all the projects I had already started, but then I saw this while scrolling through Facebook, and thought it'd be easy enough to make a small doll quilt.  I have lots of 5" squares, picked a few and off I went.  The actual quilting isn't my best - the back is quite wrinkly - but I think it's pretty cute.  A non-pink heart for Valentine's Day (although I was tempted by some pink and purple .. that may have to happen later). 

While basting the blue heart above, I also basted this project too - I finished the top for this table runner before Christmas and now it is all done! It was made from scraps from a quilt that is .. sadly in the UFO pile.  All the blocks are done, but it hasn't turned into a top yet.  It is on the list to finish for Christmas this year, and hopefully a second Christmas quilt as well - I have a stack of fabric but haven't settled on a pattern yet.

I've kept up with my Harry Potter quilt until now.  Ron here was a little late (typical) and Luna is still in pieces.  Her glasses look quite intimidating, so it keeps getting pushed aside.  I won't let myself go too much farther without picking up the UFOs and turning them into completed projects.  This one is slated for a friend's baby due at the beginning of April so I can't wait much longer!

Speaking of Harry Potter... one of the challenges from Project Quilting this season was Pixel Play and I had been eyeing this beautiful Hedwig from the second QAL.  Even though I didn't start it until Thursday (and the deadline is always Sunday) I eeked it out just in time.  I turned the 12" block into a pillowcase for my friend's birthday and she loved it.

Not a great picture, but my Unicorn mini quilt top is complete.  I've got the backing and binding ready, but I haven't been super confident with my basting skills lately so it keeps getting set aside.  It is so pretty though, and I had a lot of fun making economy blocks.  I may have to hop onto a round of Finish-A-Long so I can be motivated to get more things completed!

Aside from quilting and sewing I've been reading and DRAWING!  Look!  Oh it feels good to be drawing again.  This is Salty, and I'm loving how he's turning out.

And finally, the longest running project on the list - the last of the Squared Away Twilt blocks were completed! (Can't call this one Squared Away because it wasn't originally included.)  I ended up doing a second blue pinwheel to bring my total block count to 48.  That is a LOT of blocks!  Trina finished hers up as well and we both got them in the mail.

All of our blocks.  I'm still playing with the layout, and leaning towards a grey sashing with cornerstones.  And that border.  Did some math - I need over 300 2.5" squares to make a double-wide border.  Good thing I've got over 400 cut then!  It's going to take a lot of time to get this finished, and with a July deadline I better not put it off for much longer.