A+ dresses

I’ve decided to take Penelope’s advice and take on a project that would force me to learn something new. I have always wanted to sew clothes for my children but have only dabbled here and there. Since I have four (count them!) daughters, a friend at church chastised me for not using my skills machine to save money on clothing. With those two pushes, I’ve decided to take on this lovely book: Absolutely A-Line: 1 Easy Pattern = 26 Adorable Dresses for Girls. Since there are 26 ideas in this book, my goal is to make a new dress every other week. Given my current track record, that may not happen. But let’s give it a college try.


13 years in the making

I have finished my first quilt of the year (and for a few years, actually). Since I'm participating in the UFO Challenge at Stashbuster, I had to get going on some quilts that I've started and not finished. This one, I'm sad to say, was started almost 13 years ago for my baby (who obviously isn't a baby anymore). Now that I'm at baby number four, who is already two years old, my oldest has been on my case about finishing her quilt.

So I took the blocks that I already had, the stars and cathedral windows, created some disappearing nine patches, and put it all together. I think I'd call it a lap quilt now. I look at it and see a ton of faults. My cathedral windows leave a lot to be desired. One of my stars was put together incorrectly. I'm not so hot at squaring blocks, so my new blocks and my old blocks are a bit different in size, which caused problems when I put them all together. I was in a rush to get my binding done, so it is so uneven that it's beyond sad. This quilt isn't winning any prizes, but my daughter is glad to have it, and that's what matters to me. That and being able to say that I've finished something.



I have to work on my "blog balance". I've been posting away over on my book blog, but I've been neglecting this blog. It could be because I haven't had a moment to do anything crafty.

I'm currently the UFO Challenge Queen over at Stashbuster, so I'm trying to finish the binding on a quilt. Hopefully I'll be able to post about that in the next day or so.

I also like cooking, so I tried to find a simple recipe that has been enticing me. I decided to try pickles. I feel like I've been seeing recipes frequently in the blogosphere. I have a daughter who loves to cook, and I tried to turn it into a Cooking with Kids moment, but pickles didn't excite her. Especially when I suggested pickling carrots. She thinks I'm weird.

I remember my grandmother making these with a bit of a kick. So I found a few recipes and riffed off of those. This was my first time making pickles, and I was rather surprised at how easy it was. I guess mine are considered refrigerator pickles since I didn't do any hot bath. I started with a small amount of brine that was supposed to be for two jars. but it wasn't enough for my big jars, so I had to make more.

Are you supposed to taste the brine? I didn't so I don't feel like I know how they will turn out. The brine smelled good, though. I sliced carrots into sticks, and added onion wedges and sliced red sweet peppers. It was easy and fun, and I think I'll experiment with different combinations of spices and different types of vinegars.
For more books about food and/or other foodie type discussions, visit Weekend Cooking.


Let's have a happy 2010!

Let's make up our minds to make this year productive and full of hope.

Along those lines, I've decided to make an effort to pull out my sewing machine more this year.

To force motivate me to sew, I signed up for stashbuster's 2010 UFO (unfinished object) quilt challenge. I have twelve unfinished quilts on my list.

I've written before about my habit of starting quilts that I don't finish and how this is particularly true when it comes to quilts for my own children. So I am determined to complete the quilts that I've started for each of them. This accounts for four of the quilts on my list.

I'm a big fan of Gwen Marston, so I started some free-form house blocks over a year ago. This quilt was intended to be for a friend, so I also started some letter blocks that I learned about from Tonya. I hope to put this all together soon. using similar free form ideas, I started in a Christmas quilt that I really want to finish. Two more quilts.

I've been curious about string quilts, so I started one similar to what Mary does. I also like strips, so I started one using this method I learned at Happy Things. And since I used to have a hard time throwing away scraps, I started a crumb quilt using the ideas I found here and here. Three additional quilts.

Before I went back to school, I was a member of a bee associated with our local quilt guild. They were kind enough to make blocks for me. I have put some together and began quilting, so I have to finish that quilt.

I bought these cool hand quilting stamps by Kate. As a result, I started a double wedding ring and a flower garden quilt. I was impatient and put them aside once I was unable to attend my bee, so I'm determined to pick them back up this year. Two more. I think that averages out to a quilt a month. Keep your fingers crossed.

I'd like to try my hand at a few clothing items for my cuties. I don't have a definitive list though. If anyone knows of any challenges or motivators, please let me know.

Fabric books
I have a thing for fabric books. I've started a small one that I need to finish. And since I want to do some embroidery, I plan to make at least a couple more.

In theory, it will be a busy year in my crafting world.


Kwanza Day 7: Imani

Imani (ee-MAH-nee) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.


Kwanza Day 6:Kuumba

Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.

Kwanza Day 5: Nia

Nia (NEE-yah) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.