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Preview: Three Dancing Magpies

Three Dancing Magpies

Updated: 2018-03-07T16:26:15.423-05:00


Why is it when you get your house on the market then you don't want to leave?


Just realized I haven't posted in forever!  I am actually getting back to a little sewing and with our pending move for husband's new job . . . I am thinking of blogging on a regular basis even if it is just for me and a family diary of sorts.

Turning 48 yesterday and also the passing of a high school classmate after a long battle with cancer, made me think about life.  My friend was a glass half full kind of person all the way and in some of the comments on her passing yesterday, one really stuck out to me . . . Lets celebrate the time we had with her and know we were better off for it, then dwell on the fact she was taken too soon.  That is really my moto in life and I am really working hard to instill it into my three kids.  I sat and really thought about what the next couple of years before turning 50 would look like for me and realized I have 100% control over them.  I made both some personal goals and some family goals.  Returning to blogging is high on the list and staying connected with friends, while working hard to make new ones.  When I look back in a couple of years, I hope to find us happily relocated and everyone thriving in our new environment!

I am choosing to think of this move from a place of gratitude . . . we were lucky to spent 9 years in a wonderful town, raising our children and having tons of time for them.  We were blessed to live in our spacious new home that we and the kids love for 9 years.  Now we are onto new challenges that will come in living in the metro new york area.  Our house will be a lot smaller and the pace of life will be crazy . . . but we will carve out a niche for our family and thrive.

I do want to share the link to the website with the photos of our current home (mainly for you mom, click the link and then on the top, click the "photo" tab to see the photos they took) The professional photos are better than the shots I have taken in the past when we rented the house out for track season.

This has been a wonderful family house for us and one I am thrilled to have called home.  Yesterday while swimming with the two younger kids, they each caught their first frog of the season in the yard and went crazy creating a habitat for them for the evening, promising to return them to the "wild" in the am.  It made me think of

House for Rent - Track Season


House for Rent - Track Season, a set on Flickr.Lots of shots taken on a dark and rainy day. More to follow, when sun shines!Most photos have been taken in last couple days.Painting 95% finishedNew carpet/hardwood in master next 2 weeks[...]

100 Days Project - Fake Cake



Ellie has been wanting to make a pretend felt cake for awhile and I kept thinking we would get to it.  When the 100 days project came up to mark her and her brother's 100 days of school, we decided now was the time to go for it.  Nothing real complicated to this project, but when I was looking for inspiration, I found one example, but had no idea what the fake cake was made of.

Here is how we made ours!

I went shopping at the craft store and bought some assorted styrofoam items, wreaths and circles.  We used regular craft glue, scrap booking paper, tooth picks/wooden skewers, washi tape, candles and embellishments.

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We chose which paper we wanted for the various layers and then started tracing the wreath shaped
parts.  Then cut them out.

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We pieced the two round circles for each tier together by using skewers.


We measured how tall they were and then cut strips of paper, mine were 2 inches wide and I had to cute three 2" x 12" pieces.  We secured them with toothpicks and glued the overlap to keep them secure.

(image)    (image)   (image)

We then assembled it, doing each layer this way.  We got a little lazy on the bottom outside layer and used washi tape around the circle, it was even easier and I love the black and white polka dot tape we had.


Once you have the layers how you want, then Miss Ellie, counted out the candles and we got to town inserting them into the cake.  On the bottom layer I used a seam ripper and made an x shape for each candle to be inserted through.  On the middle ring, we used a whole punch after gently folding the wreath circle in half.  Decorate any way you want, this was where we almost got too carried away and lucky Ellie got bored and wanted to finish!


We used huge skewers to secure the final top layer to the rest of the cake, so it wouldn't shift around.  We also used tooth picks to secure a row of flowers around the cake.


We added some fun with a banner made of washi tape over baker's twine and strung onto skewers to spell out "congrats".  Ellie wrote her name and also "Days of School" on notebook paper to give it a school flair.  We love how it turned out and she is thrilled to bring it into school on her 100th day!



Pillow Talk Swap 8 - Ready to Send


Okay I think the only thing I blog about anymore is the Pillow Talk Swap . . . this is the eighth pillow I have completed for this swap.  Each time I don't think I could love a pillow anymore!  Each time I learn something.

This round was not any different.  I finally mastered paper piecing!  I now own an add a quarter inch ruler and I know how to use it!  The most important tool however is a simple piece of card stock to fold against.

This pillow is ready to ship.  I will soon be sending it on its way!

I have been putting zippers in for quite a few rounds now, but must admit I am pretty darn proud of myself this time.  I didn't pull out my notebook from middle school and follow the steps at installing a zipper into a pillow - progress!

I must admit I am crazy for the back of this one.  I really love the chevron print in aqua.  Couple it with the hot pink washi print and wowza!  I wish the chevron came in a home dec weight and it would be the perfect pillow fabric!  Hope my partner likes this one as much as I do!

Pillow Talk Swap - Pillow Received and Mine ready to send!


Pillow and pouch received from Kari and pillow ready to send! A little sad that Pillow Swap Talk 7 is almost in the books for me! I received a great pillow and zip pouch this week and finished the pillow I will be sending. How am I going to obsess over which pillow is coming to me or wake up thinking of details to put into the making of my pillow to send? Oh well, I guess I will have to obsess over something else! I love that sometimes a Plan B ends up better than your Plan A. The moment the partners were sent out I made a plan. I lined up fabrics for said plan and also ordered a pattern book from Japan, along with some fabric. The weeks went by and the package from Japan has not arrived. While waiting not very patiently, I decided to try one Granny Square block to test the waters. One turned into joining the quilt-along with Dana and promptly making 12 more squares and before I knew it . . . a new pillow plan was born! My partner is one cool chick and she needs a fun, modern and funky pillow. I hope this fits the bill! 2 inch squares Granny style gave me blocks a little shy of 7 inch square. I love using black and other bold colors thrown in with lots of colors to unify color schemes. I sew that way for myself, but usually hold off on black for others . . . A Seattle girl at heart and a big believer in a mostly black wardrobe with a few pops of color here and there, I know that not everyone embraces the dark side! Jenn's use of black and white prints to unify here, gave me the push to do my thing. I know my partner likes fmf in small doses and likes greens/blues/greys, so I thought a few splashes of fmf colors would be fun! Love how it turned out! Love that I felt okay cutting wildly into my grey, blue and green seeds. I even cut my strips both ways so the running stitch in the print would be going the same way when I matched the prints in the corners. This swap and others are fun for me because they get me to attempt new things. Some work and sometimes it leads to a redo, that I wouldn't do if the item was just for me. Not sure why I can brings my C or D game when making something for myself, but up my game for swaps! Okay back to the details . . . I ended up not having enough piping cord on hand to make my own piping, but had almost enough standard black to go around the pillow. I sewed some strips of accent fabrics together, ironed under the edges and then stitched it with a zipper foot onto the pre-made binding. When the 2.5 yards in the package didn't quite make it around the pillow, I stitched another piece on and covered it in the patchwork. LOVE how it turned out! Will be adding this to future pillows for sure! Another too lazy to drive a half hour to a Joann's led to a bit of a disaster and then a happy accident redo. The longest zipper I had on hand was a 16 inch. I put it on the short end of the pillow and thought I could easily slip the pillow in . . . it was a bear to get the pillow in. The seam ripper was put to work and in the end the pillow has a envelope closure. The problem with an envelope back on a long rectangular pillow is a bit of opening, but if you have a lot of envelope closure overlap then it it awful to get the pillow in. To solve this little problem I added four little black snaps. Now it looks good from the back, but my partner will now be able to easily get the insert in, making the pillow easy to wash (he or she has little ones around!) Ties would have been a fun solution as well. This will be a tough pillow to ship off, but I am excited for my partner to receive it! LOOT Received Love the pillow I received from Kari, she used the fun curved ruler, that I just have to have! I am loving the blocks and pillows people are making with it. Kari made the cutest little zip pouch to go along with the pillow. I made an insert for it and it is just so cute! Her detailed hand stitching is such a fun touch! I think this will live on my sewing chair,[...]



I ♥ Granny Square Blocks I couldn't hold myself back any longer. I was planning to make just one block, to make sure it was fun and I could commit to a quilt. Then I couldn't stop at one . . . a couple of days later I have 12 and if I could ignore the kids, laundry and all responsibilities I would keep going! It all started for me with a photo and Japanese magazine/pattern book Badskirt Amy posted. Then Tamiko's block with itty bitty patchwork sent me over the edge. Jolene's finished quilt, for sale on ETSY, pinned everywhere on Pinterest, made me giddy. So crisp and wonderful. I think I love how the colors just pop from a crisp white background. Was thrilled to see a tutorial on Jolene's blue elephant stitches blog. Finally when Dana started a Quilt-a-long based on these blocks, I was in for sure! Tons of inspiration on flickr in the I ♥ Granny (Square) group or the Red Barn Quiltalong. I really am drawn to Heather's scrappy blocks and can't wait to see how she hand quilts it. Thought it might be fun for a few localish (Upstate NY, Vermont and Western MA) friends to gather and make some blocks at the wonderful sewing space at KC Fabrics. After our first sew in Granny style I thought we could get together a month (or two) later and show off our finished quilts. I know I always follow through a bit better when I have a deadline. Let me know if you are interested, we have a group of four or five and would love to add to the fun! [...]

Pillow Talk Swap . . . Love this Swap


Dear Partner in Pillow Talk Swap Round 7,
Hello and happy stalking (my favorite part)! Since blog posts seem a thing of the past for me, I thought I might use this space . . .
Inspiration Mosaic for this round. I think what I notice when I look at my favs, pinterest or mosaics I have made for the last 7 rounds of this wonderful swap is . . . I love patchwork of any kind with bright colors, jewel tones or graphic prints mixed with a neutral (linen or cotton). I used to be fussy with fabric lines I like and now I realize, I really like every line. If you throw in a little hand-stitching I might just faint!
Most important for me, is for you partner to make something that inspires you. So if you are dying to try something, go for it! A special size or shape, I am game. We are easy to please and very appreciative of anything you make.
The we in our house is one lovely husband, a nine-year old boy, and a dynamic four year old duo - one girl and one boy, oh and me! I am your somewhat typical 45 year old mom who can't say no. My days are filled with running our two little kids from activity to activity, being the PTA president of son's grade school and driving all three kids from activity to activity every night. We are way over-scheduled and over committed and this is the year I plan to slow it all down. I try and carve out time for me and have found time recently at the gym and in my sewing room. Flickr is a great place for me to dream and on occasion I actually sew things! I apologize for all the Blythe craziness you will have to weed through in my stream . . . I got a bit carried away and now am trying to downsize the hobby. Part of the fun is sharing it with my daughter who loves playing dolls and then we have a family project going, we are building a dollhouse. The kids have really loved being creative and having fun with this silly family project. We are slowly making progress! Okay back to pillows . . .
After making the mosaic above I realized that my likes seemed a bit narrow, so I gathered some of my all time favorite pillows since really joining into the flickr fun and came up with this mosaic.
(the first pillow in the upper left is a pillow I lusted after and ended up doing a private swap with Amanda. I now snuggle with a very similar pillow on our sofa each night!)
Also partner to make your stalking more streamlined, here is a link to a previous pillow post where I reference other past pillow posts and this one describes places where pillows might hang out in our home (the kids have grown by two years but rooms are the same!)
Thanks in advance for all your efforts!

Pocket and Petal Pillow Pattern- My test run and a chance to win a copy of this pattern for yourself!


Okay, I made something to keep at our house and I think I am in love. It even made me come out of blog hiding! It is made from this awesome new pattern, available here. Pocket and Petal Pillow Pattern, say that three times fast . . . I love flickr and all the wonderful online friends I have made in the past four plus years through online swaps and bees. One of my favorite parts of swaps are getting to know people you have been partnered with. The little bit of stalking to determine their likes and personality often brings you close. I have been super lucky to have been partnered with some amazing people. I have even been partnered with a Modern Quilting Rock Star or two . . . I had the opportunity to make some Urban Home Goods items for one said Amazing Quilting Godess and Star, Nova. Over the last two years we have shown each other lots of flickr love and have had fun getting to know each other. Her first Pocket Pillow for the Pillow Talk Swap really tickled my fancy. In the pocket she made a little boy and girl. I crushed hard on that pillow and in my mind decided it was made for me! I have three wonderful children, including a toddler boy and girl, who at the time were three. The fact that a little boy and girl lived in the pillow made it mine. You can imagine my surprise when someone else received it! So when Nova asked me to be a pattern tester for her new pattern, based on one of my all time favorite pillows, I said YES!!!! I am by no means a expert seamstress and with two toddlers, a 9 year old and a ton of commitments, I don't sew as much as I would like to. Really the perfect person to test her pattern. The pattern is great. Tons of photos, great explanations and lots of room to change things up or make exactly as shown. Nova has found her calling, she has a knack for making things simple and straightforward. I give this pattern a big thumbs up and plan to make some more! Check out Amber's, Kerry's and Kelly's test runs, they are fabulous and really show how fun and versitale this pattern is. Here is one Nova made that I also went crazy for. I have a couple in the works for holiday gifts, but here is my first finished pillow. We love a good holiday pillow and one with a pocket has the kids over the top excited! Here is a close-up on my favorite parts of this one! A few details on my pillow. I used lots of my holiday favorites and my all time favorite red striped fabric, cut straight for the pocket and back trim and on the bias for a candy cane effect on the binding. Cut into my all time favorite Spoonflower home dec fabric by Mummy Sam (who I hope to meet, she lives a half hour away). I paired it on the pillow back with some wool felt yardage I just bought for another holiday project. I quickly ran some stitching over it and love the look, texture and feel! Finally a little of my very favorite red and white check gingham ribbon! My little kids have been showing the pillow lots of love, but at a 20 inch square size it is hard to see Ellie behind it! I love a big pillow and this one is sure to please! Nova was very generous and is allowing me to giveaway a copy of this awesome pattern. Just leave me a comment on your favorite holiday tradition or just say hi! I am gearing up for our favorite tradition, making and decorating gingerbread houses. Each kid (and if I have success when baking the houses- the adults) decorate their own house on Christmas Eve. For the past two years we have been making our own, details on my friend Stacy's blog, who helped me transition from the kits to making our own! I will keep the giveaway open until mid-night eastern time on Saturday. [...]

Frogs, Pillows, Photo Shoots and a Lazy Sunday - Keeping my promise to play with kids for at least 2 hours each day


Am going to try and blog a bit more often . . . Have gotten up early with Ellie the last few days and we have been busy. She helped me take some photos of the pillows I finished last night. They are both for swaps. The first one is paper pieced and has lots of curves. Not something I would try without a bit of a push. When I saw my partner's mosaic, I ordered Alex Anderson's book right away and set to give it a try. I was surprised at how I got the hang of it, once I actually started to sew. Got a bit carried away with the hand stitching. One of those things that once you start you just can't stop. She asked for colors of the sea, I think these are perfect! I will ship it to it's new home soon! I am having a big love affair with Japanese test fabrics from Suzeko Koseki. Paired with the scrappy Japanese X&+ blocks I am in total love. I started this pillow before the swap partner names were handed out. It doesn't fit any of the requirements my partner mentioned or does it resemble anything in the mosaic she did, which will teach me to jump the gun! But it is really a happy accident, because I worked on them both in stages and will have to do that will all pillow making from now on. Making a second, really doesn't take double the time. You are in the zone and a pillow is the perfect project. Piece one or add an hour and piece another. Quilt one or quilt two, you have the machine out and ready! Make one back panel with a zipper, why not do a second. It was really a time saver! Red, black, aqua, grey and cream . . . a favorite combo for me for sure! I love binding pillows and the touch of red and white stripe makes it perfect to me. Since Leah had on a matching dress, I couldn't resist getting a shot of her. While I was taking photos of pillows, Ellie set up her dolls and busted out the Hello Kitty camera. I have been making a point of sitting down with her and playing dolls, games, etc each day. We had a blast dressing dolls, taking photos and giggling all morning. We got this wonderful outfit, Devout Dolls, and had to put it on Casper. She is such a cute Brownie and now is ready for Halloween. Sam woke up and it started frog fest. The two of them started small, by catching one and it lead to 12 captured and relocated frogs. They took their work seriously and soon climbed into the window well to rescue the frogs stuck between the window and screen. Hope you are having a great day. We are enjoying this fall weather and having lots of fun! [...]

Bl♥ved - Stars and Stripes 34/365


Have a wonderful 4th of July!

Pillow Talk Swap 5 . . . aka "the quickie"


Here is the mosaic for round five. I also thought it might be helpful for you to see my thoughts around this swap since the beginning. I still love all the pillows in old mosaics, but those fav'd photos are hidden in my crazy amount of things I favorite right now!
Here are some old related posts:

Mosaics made for rounds 1-4
Can you believe all the great pillows that have been sent and received in this swap? Every time I look at the flickr pool, I just am in awe. I find myself looking at the four I have received and holding them close . . . way to much to be normal! This is such a great swap and I want to thank Kelly and her sister for taking on the organizing this round. Also for all the angel pillows they have made . . . THANKS!

Spring Kids Clothing Week Challenge


Okay, I started out strong . . . the first four days I was able to make something! My free time doesn't seem to happen anymore around here until at least 8 pm and each day it got later. The fourth night I started my project at 10:30 and finished around 1 am. I was just too tired by Friday to keep going and I figured I got four things done! Meg on her blog, Elsie Marley, started a challenge last spring. Spend one hour each day for a week and see what you could get accomplished sewing clothes for kids. Now the group is over 400 members strong with lots of kids outfits under our collective belts. The flickr group is a great place to go for inspiration if you have any kids sewing to do. This year I decided to play late Sunday night, so I didn't have the luxury of thinking through the projects, getting the patterns and fabric ready, etc. I just decided to wing it. Also I concentrated on clothes for Ellie only. Let's face it, the boy stuff I made last year was kind of ugly and they didn't wear the items much, where Ellie wore her skirts and dresses so much they are really worn out. Girls stuff is also a lot more fun to sew. I know my two boys feel a bit left out, but I pulled out a ton of old dino shirts of Max's for Sam and he was thrilled and Max got a couple new Under Armour shorts and tops and he thinks he is the stud of all 8 year old boys. So it is all good. Day One - Started after 10 pm, so went with the Simple Skirt in Sherbet Pips for Moda! Love Aneela's line for both quilts and kids clothes! Used a great tutorial, Day 2 - Still needs elastic in the sleeves and the neck elastic secured, but needed to wait until she woke up to measure and try on. Sorry for the bad photo, this one is still not done and I have forgotten the pattern I used. Will post about it later. Looks cuter than the photo! Day 3 - Used Scraps from making her big girl bed quilt to make this fun sun dress.Used this pattern, Day 4 - Pattern from Whole Grain Baby, Little Mod dress. Used a fun Kokka Cotton Canvas print. The heavyweight of the main fabric, adds to the look of the dress I think. The pattern recommended a home dec weight. Love how this one came out, but a bit hard to attach the yoke to the dress. As I write this post, I am thinking I might attempt either an Ice Cream Social Shirt from Oliver & S or perhaps a quick shirred sundress. We will see! Either way it has been a great week and Ellie has some new outfits to show for it! [...]

Potholder Pass 7


Instead of dwelling on the fact that I have taken a break . . . I decided to just get back into it! I have become a bit obsessed with Blythe Dolls, started and finished my sons elementary school yearbook and am focused on trying to get in shape. So before I sew, blog or even look at crafty stuff, I have to work out. Love the Potholder Pass Round 7 which included making a re-usable grocery bag and also two non-round potholders. I just sent my package off today. When I posted the photo to flickr quickly, I posted the wrong one, showing the extra's I sent. I am sure my partner figured out it was for her when she saw two pieces of HTF and OOP fabric from her very short ISO list. Oh well, she lives really close, so I am guessing the box will arrive in the am! Here is what I sent: A Jane Market Bag sewn with Echino Oilcloth on both the inside and outside. I made one for us and my husband loves it, he can wipe it down quickly and then keep it in his car. Not to mention I used a more manly Echino print. I hope she likes it. Then you can see the round pot holder, which is from this book. A little dishtowel with a fun large hexie patch sewn on, some handmade fancy pins and then some fabrics. You can't see the long potholder that is hidden under the rest of the loot. Here it is. Of course as I was looking up her address to print the label this am, I noticed I had read the colors she wanted and left one off. She asked for grey, orange and aqua. Oops, forgot the aqua, but I am hoping she will forgive me, this fabric combo in my view is awesome! On the topic of forgiveness . . . I must admit I sent a bit of my very small remaining piece of grey flea market fancy seeds and split my remaining HY of AMH Cathedrals in dusk, as a sort of bribe for my sloppy stitches and quilting. If I had the time, I would have re-made this stretched out potholder, but time ran out. I figured a potholder gets trashed after one messy meal, so it was probably all good! Today I was thrilled when I pulled these two babies out of the padded mailer! For some reason I thought it was some fabric I just ordered from a Canadian ETSY fabric seller, so it came as a big, happy surprise! My partner Val made the perfect bag for me. I LOVE it! It is from Penny, Sew Take a Hike's pattern. You can find it here. I purchased this pattern and can't wait to give it a go! Here is the non-round potholder Val made. It is the perfect colors for me, natural linen, brown, cream and red. Love the fun prints. Isn't it fab! Okay so I promise I won't be gone so long . . . Here are a few other little things I have worked on in the last week or so. Pillow top in Pepper's favorite colors for a friend. A miniature sized Bento Box pillow in the fun new DS Quilts fabric. A miniature house pillow made for the Modern Blythe Swap and a wonderful hat made just for my partner by Maidensuit. I am finishing up items for that swap and hope to have it on its way soon. [...]

Third Grade Writing Assignment too funny not to capture


The teacher asked the kids to write a persuasive letter that asked for something outrageous. Here is what Max came up with. He is 8 and a half right now. (mom, click on the letter to enlarge it)
Here was our response to the request.
Thank you for your letter asking for a mansion. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide such a grand home because of the expense. Instead we plan to save our money to allow you to go to college and one day buy your own mansion!
We're happy to address your need for more privacy in our current home as well as becoming better organized so you can have enough storage space. Also, we LOVE your suggestion of cleaning up after play dates. A large mansion is not a requirement for such an act, however.
Lastly, we love spending all our time with you. If we lived in a mansion so you can "stay out of our way", we'd never see you! Have a great day in school and we LOVE you!
With Love-
Mom and Dad
We thought we were pretty clever with our response. He came home and said he had to read it aloud in the class and everyone thought it was funny . . . but him! His response, "nice try on the cleaning up after myself front". And yes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree . . .

What happened to February? Oops forgot to blog!


I am really not sure what I have been doing . . . I think I will blame it on the LONG, COLD and very SNOWY winter we are having. Then I always have the two three year old excuse, they have both been a bit on the needy side lately. I have also gone a bit mad for Blythe dolls and have been making clothes for them, buying little miniature items, little photo shoots and the most fun part, playing on the floor with Ellie and Sam and using our imagination with the girls. Ellie's enthusiasm has only spurred me on, and lets face it, it really didn't take much. This is Ellie with Trixie, she brought her to pre-school for her show and tell letter D day.I finished and shipped my items for the Urban Home Goods Swap. This round has amazing and it is really a swap not to be missed. Make sure to check out the items so far on flickr. I loved my partner's mosaic, isn't it wonderful with all the natural linen and mustard tones. I ordered a bunch of mustard solids and some worked together and some not so much. In the end I used one solid and then all the mustard prints in my stash, which is sadly a colorway I am lacking. Here is the pillow I made. It was based on this one, a tutorial Heather made for Sew Mama Sew. Pillow front pillow back and yes, it is sporting a zipper!I am nothing if not predictable and made a Jane Market Bag. I really love this pattern and must make a few for us soon. My local quilt shop, KC Custom Fabrics is carrying a few rolls Echino Laminate and it is awesome. The market tote really has a great feel with the laminate. I also spent a day at KC taking a workshop by Amy Bradley. I learned lots of fun tips on machine applique and the new workshop space at KC is amazing. The best place to take a class. A huge space, with tons of table space, light and a great lunch room. With all the fabric downstairs and also the sewing machine store under one roof is great if you need anything! I finished three blocks and turned one into a pillow for Ellie's room. Pillow front from Hoots Pattern Pillow back with zipper! Although I have been eyeing the Blythe posts for a couple years (and had one in the 70's as a young girl), having a daughter to play with pushed me to the edge. The Modern Blythe Lovers group and its first swap pushed me over. Here are some of the items I made for my partner. I ended up sending a lot of small items I purchased because little is just plain fun! I didn't take a photo of the package before sending it . . . oops. I received a great swap package from Jessie, Yarntini, but will save it for a post in the next couple of days. It is so special it deserves its own post. Thanks again Jessie!Finally I will leave you with a few shots of our girls, aren't they lovely? I have done a lot of knitting for them and it is fun to get the needles out again. I love sewing for the kids, since it is quick and easy . . . miniature sewing for Blythe will take some practice, but it is almost instant gratification! The lovely Rory . . . I really adore this girl! Miss Trixie has stole our heart and her pink hair makes her officially Ellie's doll. Everything pink in our house is automatically claimed. Our cool chick, Crickette Cristina, natural beauty Sam, our first girl, and oh so sweet. She will go to the spa sometime soon. She is lovely. [...]

Obsessed with all things small and cute


I love little things. I especially like sewing and knitting for little people. The cuteness factor is high and the time involved low - what a great combination! Another mom at Skidmore pre-school, had an adorable baby boy, just before the holidays. With all the Christmas madness and family visiting, I just didn't pull a gift together. Enter snow days, lots of them. Finally a little time to sew. I had had these cut out forever, but finally decided to sew them together. The pattern is from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings Book and they couldn't be easier. Also they are reversible, which when out with a little one could be very handy! I was in such a hurry to get them off, that I failed to take a photo of the reverse. Inside one pair is a cute print of Paris and the other features bikes. Very fun! The flickr world has really been inspiring to me. I must admit I have been drawn into things that I probably don't have the time or money to even be considering. But the call of lovely photos and all the fun friends are having . . . was just too hard to resist. Also I have logged hundreds of hours with Ellie dressing princess girls, barbies and now little Pet Shop Blythe dolls. So I decided why not step it up a notch and then entered Megan of Lucy and Norman. She got the Blythe bug a while ago and quickly had lots of dolls. She offered up a couple of her girls for adoption and it just seemed like they were destined for Ellie and I. (I know shameless to blame it on almost four year old) So without any further ado . . . meet Sam and Astrid. They will be coming to live with us soon. We can't wait! At the same time we were finalizing the adoption, I found out a gift was on its way to Ellie and I. They left Japan on Wednesday . . . I am still very much in the learning stage of all things Blythe, but I figure the more the merrier! Also one of the first people I met when we moved to Saratoga 5 plus years ago has had a neglected Blythe and we plan to have a bunch of fun together. Here is Becky's Blythe, Ameila, and her awesome blog.I started to make a sweater and have ordered a few pairs of tights, shoes, etc for the girls. This weekend Ellie and I plan to hit our sewing studio and get busy making them some clothes! Ellie and I created a new corner for her to iron, sew and fondle fabric alongside Mommy. She often wears her veil while sewing, which is a key accessory as far as Ellie is concerned. Ellie's sewing corner OKAY, Now for my other dirty little secret . . . I have always thought that doll, bear, barbie collections were a bit crazy. I am a little worried about being the grown woman that plays with dolls, you know, the silly doll lady. BUT in the end, I have decided to go for it and enjoy! So if you think I have gone a bit nutty . . . you are probably right, but don't bug me because I will be playing with my dolls! Check out just a few of the thousands of wonderful photos of Blythe, here is one of my favorite groups of photos.[...]

Urban Home Goods Time . . .


In coming up with a mosaic and filling out the form to join the latest round of the Urban Home Goods Swap, I realized a couple of things: 1. My likes and ideas are all over the map. 2. I am not sure if I had myself as a partner that all the colors, ideas and random thoughts would help me to pick an item or two to make. So partner if you are reading this . . . I love swaps when I am given so many ideas that I usually find one or two that really excite me. Also I find it hard when someone is too specific or gives you one fabric line, etc. I feel compelled to make what they want and go and buy the exact fabric they want in order to please them. I am not that person. I really want someone to make something for me, that is fun for them to make. So really I would like ANYTHING and I pretty much like ANY fabric. Okay, that being said . . . here is a mosaic of some things I like and some of the past mosaics. I also included a bit of a history of this swap so I would have it all in one place. Thanks in advance for spending your time making something for me! Here are my inspiration mosaics from the first two swaps: Round Two First Round This has been such a fun swap. Here are some of the items I have received . . . sewing machine cover received from Lisa, lpinette Received from Colette at The Threaded Nest Tablerunner in red and aqua, clutch I have used everyday since I got it and really need to replace it has gotten that much use! and a initial iphone case which has also got too much use and is almost threadbare! I have also had tons of fun making stuff for this swap. The first time around I made some placemats and a grocery tote for Leslie of lesleyandsara. The second time around, I made items for Nova and had a lot of fun creating for her. Her is what I came up with. Here is a blog post written for my partner before round 2. [...]

The flea market fancy pillow of my dreams and a New Year's sewing resolution


This is what I received from Amisha. By far this is my favorite holiday gift. All my favorite fabrics sewn together by hand and with all the white space, the fabrics just shine. Thanks so much Amisha, I LOVE IT! Sometimes I think to push the envelope and really have fun, we all strive to come up with very elaborate pillows, quilts, etc. I marvel at the construction and work that go into all these fantastic pillows. They are works of art! Swaps have been a wonderful way to have a WOW piece come into the house. I am not sure I would take the time to make myself such a showcase piece like the Flea Market Fancy Cathedral Window Pillow Amisha made for me. As I often struggle to come up with new ideas for gifts or when making something for us, I realized recently that a few simple pieces allow the few WOW pieces to really stand out! Simple allows me to actually make something, and when I get too crazy I tend not to finish what I start. (unless it is for a swap with a deadline!) The wonderful fabrics that I obsess over tend to stand out more when they are featured in a simple design. So I have decided to embrace simple for a few months and actually make some things for us. Every time I finish a swap, Steve or the kids always ask why I rarely make things for us. That is going to change this year. I am going to set more realistic project goals for the items I make for home. Yesterday I actually put this new approach into action. I cast some stitches around mid-day, quilted and felted during naptime and sewed it all together after everyone went to bed. It was a few hours worth of work in total. I challenged myself to take a fabric I love and pair it with some texture. Varying the fabric for me adds depth and layers to a project, it gives it life. First I took out the knitting needles and created a striped square with a wool/mohair blend. Then I felted the wool and blocked the "fabric". I quilted the Echino bus fabric with two layers of batting in a simple line pattern with contracting thread. Cut the felted fabric and sewed the two pieces together. A little topstitching to hold the two together, a simple envelope backing, using the pattern of the fabric to make an interesting back. And Viola, a new, fun pillow! I LOVE the combination of the felted wool and the canvas print. I must admit I was feeling a bit homesick for Seattle last night as we watched the Seahawks beat the Saints. The game was fun to watch and the shots of the city, as predictable as they were . . . throwing fish at Pike's Place, a barista at the original Starbucks in the market, a shot across the water looking at downtown from West Seattle and then looking down on the city from the crest of Queen Anne. It looked like a great day and scenes of Seattle always make me miss home! Ellie is still in the New Year's spirit. She loves the tiara my sister got her in NYC and has worn it for the last week straight. She is also still trying on new outfits with glee. This is a little number that Grandma Sue had under the tree for her, minus the sunglasses, tiara and hot pink shoes. I am off to clean the pink nail polish off the floor, chair, etc from the pedicure Ellie gave Sam this am. I tried to take the polish off of Sam's toes (really his whole foot) but he insists on keeping it on! [...]

Happy New Years and a little meltdown!


I was just about to write a lovely post with photos of all the wonderful traditions and fun things we did. But to be honest . . . I am just too tired! We did have a WONDERFUL holiday. My mom, sister, brother-in-law and my niece joined us from Seattle and my Steve's brother and mom spent as much time with us as they could. It was great! I made three gingerbread houses that we decorated Christmas Eve. Wonderful meals were made. We had a little snow storm with just enough snow. We drank so much wine that my friend at the recycling center asked how many parties we had . . . The kids loved being with family and just hanging out! On New Year's Eve we had a great family time . . . and celebrated Steve's birthday which happens to be the 31st! The last 48 hours however have been a disaster. The stomach flu came to our house and has not been pleasant. If not sick myself . . . I have been holding, cleaning or caring for a sick child. We have ran out of sheets, towels and plastic bags. Then just now when I was starting to claw my way out of the laundry mess . . . disaster struck. We have an upstairs laundry . . . which is really a bad idea. I found a blanket that I didn't realize had been violated by last nights sick kids and I brought it up for a good soak in the utility sink. I started the water and walked away. My mom called to tell me they arrived in Seattle safely. We started to talk . . . soon Steve started to yell and yes . . . water was overflowing from the sink and going into the kitchen below. Now if this was the first time that this had happened . . . I wouldn't be quite as upset, but you see I have gone down this road now THREE times in the last five years. It always happens when I am so tired I can't take it anymore . . . So instead of a wonderful, meaningful post . . . my new year's resolution might be a simple one - either move the laundry room or not use the sink. Enjoy the random assortment of New Year's/Steve's birthday shots and who knows I might get around to a holiday wrap-up or 2010 wrap up sometime in February. For the time being I will be replacing drywall on our kitchen ceiling or maybe just finishing off the bottle of champagne! Does anyone know a good handyman that also happens to be a plumber? Sister Karyn and Max ringing in the New Year Ellie enjoying her favorite gift, a princess dress and the tea party set Little outside fun in the park on New Year's Eve Ellie blinged out and cuddling with Uncle Eric on New Years(just before she got sick) Fun in the park Uncle Tony, Steve, Max and Uncle Eric at mid-night Happy Birthday Steve Living room on New Year's Eve Ellie dressing Fancy . . . Aunt Karyn gave her the tiara and she put the rest together.She loves metallics this season! My sister Karyn, Mom and I at midnight and after many a cocktail[...]

This elf is running out of pixie dust . . .


I love it when this . . . . turns into something like this . . . Ellie's "A Big Girl Bed Needs a Big Girl Quilt" quilt is quilted, bound, washed and crinkled to perfection. It is wrapped and ready to go under the tree. My only mishap was this cute label . . . is now almost a complete washout. I will have to recreate it and sew over the top of the old one. I also have finished this one for my mom, I was in such a rush to get it under the tree I didn't even take a photo . . . it is big squares of Figgy Pudding from last year and this year with a scrappy binding and fun pieced back, sashed in medium grey kona. I really thought I took a photo, but sadly did not! Another small quilt for a new baby on our street, that was such a rush, I failed to photograph it as well . . . The fourth and final quilt made since Thanksgiving, is one I am still working on. I joined Cara in her awesome Urban Lattice Quilt-a-long. It was the perfect quilt to tackle as time on my quilting for x-mas time was fading away. Check out all the great ones made in the quilt-along here. Here it is before it was quilted. It is now quilted and needs to be squared up, bound and washed. I am just not feeling up to it . . . I think maybe a glass of wine and my flannel pj's and cozy slippers might help me find my mojo. Or at least put me to sleep and I can stop worrying about it. Here is the front- and this is the back I am going to bind it in the solid sage green. I can't wait to get this one done! Like all little elves this time of year . . . the list is long. For sure I need to make finish (start) four more pillows to go with the two I have already sent to Seattle. All the Meyer/Ott cousins will have matching pillows made by mom/aunt kirsten under the tree! Here are the two for my brother's girls: (okay it looks like I didn't take photos of the two I sent, just this one photo which shows most of the Rosie pillow . . .) So the question I ask myself every December when the holiday burn-out begins and I am not even half-way through my to do list is, why don't I start this madness months earlier? Okay off to get busy in the workshop now that the little people in the house are fast asleep! [...]

Starting the Preparations!


December 5th and we decided to turn on the holiday in our house. We are a bit slow at pulling the full Christmas decor rip cord . . . but we started with a few basics today. Outside lights, the kitchen and placing of the general christmas chatskies! We are waiting until next week to trek to VT for a tree, we are expecting some snow next week to make it a little more special.
Holiday cards get me a little nutty. This year I was going to be better. I ordered them ages ago and of course haven't started to write notes or address them. I so wish I took the time to catch up with dear friends with personal letters. Oh well, I guess there is always next year and now at least there is facebook! I do love the cards this year . . .
Here is a little holiday eye candy for you! We were lucky enough to be a vendor sharing a side with the very talented papier moon primitives at the Saratoga City Center Craft show. After sneaking peeks all day, I had to pick up a few . . . doesn't this look lovely on the kitchen shelf?
and then of course an aqua santa could not be overlooked!
Although primitive is not my usual cup of tea . . . I really am loving these and the work she puts into them is amazing! It was lots of fun to get to know the artist and learn all the work and talent she puts into each piece. She recently opened an ETSY shop and I have a feeling it is going to be a big success!

Pillow Swap Four - Cozy Winter Pillow


I must admit I have a love/hate relationship with winter. The kids still need to get from place A to B and I am not a fan of driving in the snow. Driving the 45 minutes back from Max's weekly soccer game last night, I realized soon I would be doing it on snow covered roads. The morning shuffle to school for all three kids is a bit more crazy when you add hats, coats, gloves and boots into the mix.
But for all challenges the snow brings I love snuggling in for the season. Sitting together as a family with a roaring fire, the little kids playing with blocks with Daddy and Max and I on the couch me knitting/hand sewing and him reading/small electronic device is just heaven. For this whole to work for me, I require cozy pillows and quilts to complete the picture. So when the velveteen came into one of my favorite fabric shops I knew that I had new plans for the pillow swap.
My partner asked for a pillow with lots of negative space, but other than that she was pretty open. She has young children and I thought a big cozy pillow would be fun. Anna Maria Horner's new Innocent Crush in the velveteen is amazing, buttery soft and so tactile. The colors are amazing and in my book it makes for one luxurious pillow. I hope my partner feels the same. I worry when I don't make a crazy over the top pillow, but I love the less is more approach and I am fairly certain looking a her blog and flickr stream this pillow will be right up her alley.

The music has stopped and our game of bedroom bingo is officially over!


The cast is off and I can sort of type again! The good news is sewing doesn't hurt much! So in honor of my fingers freedom, a quick blog post! Remember the game of musical chairs from childhood? We have been playing that game for the last three plus years at our house and I think either we are going to move into a house that is just one huge bedroom and put two king sized beds together or finally declare a game over! Max was so excited when Ellie and Sam were finally born and each brought home from the hospital after our years of infertility struggles and adoption hurdles that he wanted all three of them to share a room or at least he and Sam could be roomies. From there for various reasons over the past three years we have worked through all the combinations from all three together to all three apart and everything in between. They have also been in all three of the rooms, including taking over a guest room and making another room for our guests. Finally everyone is happy and in their own rooms. A few months ago this included saying good-bye to the cribs and purchasing big girl bed for Ellie, Sam inheriting Max's bunk bed's and Max getting a new larger bed. We are also starting to decorate each space and for me that includes making them each a quilt or in Sam's case a set for their beds. The boys bed's have bedding that will work for a bit, but Ellie has only random blankets, so I started with hers. For now the walls are a spring green from when we didn't now whether we would be blessed with a boy or a girl (it worked great when we found ourselves parents to one of each!) I plan to paint it a aqua blue perhaps someday soon, but made a fun quilt that will work with anything. I must say I love paper piecing a string quilt, but it does seem to take forever! It was so fun working with all my favorite scraps and gathering a few new ones! Here is a closer look Using Ashley's wonderful String Block tutorial found here. Also lots of fun examples of string quilts on flickr here and here. I am almost done with the back and it will be off to Courtney at KC to be quilted. After the new year I will start on quilts for Max and Sam. Next up for me on the quilt list should really be a quilt for my mom for Christmas, but before starting that I think I am going to take on a quick one for my brother-in-law for the holidays. Along with my husband and their mom, they have had a hard few months since their dad unexpectedly passed away this summer. I thought maybe a special quilt would keep him warm and cozy. He is a big guy and needs a manly quilt. I feel in love by this awesome quilt from Cara and since she is nice enough to start a quilt along . . . Check it out and join in the fun. I love the thought of this one and think it will come together pretty quick. At this time of year a quick check off the list is a good thing! I hope to get started a bit today! Note to my children if they ever read this later in life . . . I love you all so much, but please stay in your beds all night. Last night dad and I ended up getting out of bed and going downstairs to the guest room when you all ended up in our bed around 2 am. Is it really that lonely in your own rooms?[...]

Pillow Talk Swap Mosaics


I thought it would be fun to look at the photos I have put into mosaics for this swap the past four times. It shows that yes I tend to love the same pillows and the same styles, but also that I just am so inspired by everything made by this fun group.
Round 4 Mosaic
Round 3 Inspiration
I love all these pillows!
Round 2
Round 1
As I add these photo to the post I LOVE all these, especially the two in the bottom row corners. The fresh white gets me every time!
Thanks Heather and Kerri for this swap . . . it has been a fun one to take part in. The inspiration is fantastic and really makes this whole sewing/flickr addiction FUN!

Short and Sweet


Three weeks into my cast on arm induced blogging, sewing and creative break . . . missing everyone! Since I am typing with one finger, I will keep this short . . . here is what I was able to finish with the help of my kids and a friend . . . Tree skirt for the Savvy Seasons swap using the new Moda Bliss. It is a great line and a understated take on the holidays . . . my partner suggested she would love this for holiday decor and I think it will be right up her alley. I plan to use this fabric on some upcoming projects myself. I had plans to make a bunch of little items and had an stitching project half done . . . so switching gears I decided to let the fabrics help me make a bold statement and I must say I love the outcome . . . I hope my partner will like it, with little kids in her life I think it will be great. My kids wanted to keep it and love all things holiday. I even cut into my favorite Shinzi Katoh holiday prints . . . I will have to write a much longer post about how much I have come to appreciate on-line friends both new and old. Two great swap packages came my way in the last couple weeks. A mug rug and fun goodies from Sue - How can someone read your blog and look at your flickr photos and just know what you will love. This is such a fun and perfect mug rug for me! The stitching is fab and the whole thing is so fun! Thanks again Sue! Then I was lucky to matched with a online friend who has been so wonderful to get to know over the last year. She was partnered with me and was supposed to make a couple of potholders . . . well lets just say the potholders brought friends! LOOK at this package, I am still fondling everything and making sure no one spills on the potholder or coasters! Thanks Linda, I am crazy for everything and just LOVE the farmdale prints! Okay I want to try and add links to this, but I am off to take a pain killer . . . perhaps trying this wasn't such a great idea, just wanted to say thanks and I am still around and miss everyone! Have a great rest of October! We are getting ready for a visit from some dear friends from the UK and then my college roomate and her son. It will be fun having guests the rest of the month, I love a full house![...]