Friday, November 29, 2013

A wintery runner

Check another item off the to-do list: I finally have a Christmas table runner!
If you've seen my past WIP Wednesday posts, you've probably noticed that this project has been on my to-do list since at least June, and there have been so many times since then that I thought I'd have a chance to knock it out and then just never did.
Most of the fabric was purchased last winter or came from my stash, but one newer addition was the mistletoe fabric, which is from the lovely Winter's Lane collection (though it's pretty hard to find now, it seems).
I paired it with some Metro Living circles in red, a candy cane fabric from my stash (I can't remember what line's it's from.), and a fabulous linen-like fabric that Jacquie Gering told us about at her workshop this summer.

Inspired by the lovely work of Jenny Bartoy, I pieced it in somewhat random wonky strips. The back is a solid piece of the linen fabric. I debated on whether to quilt it and in the end decided I liked it plain (and the hubby concurred).
Now, it's all ready for our holiday table! Maybe by next December, I'll have that Advent calendar finished.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I am thankful for grandparents. It's amazing what you can get done with helpful grandparents around. I mean, seriously, I should have been so much more productive before I had a kid. What was I doing with all that free time? I can do a million things now if someone's here to watch B. Matt's parents are in town for Thanksgiving, and today we accomplished a ton of Thanksgiving meal prep and almost all of our fall yard clean up (finally!).
It feels great. It's just too bad that my sewing space is also in the guest area. Just imagine the projects I could finish! Anyway, here's our menu line-up for tomorrow (with recipe links, in case you're looking for some last-minute inspiration):
Thanksgiving muffins (for breakfast)
Turkey (duh) and gravy
Sage and sausage stuffing
Cranberry sauce (plus the scary canned jelly stuff, for Matt's dad)
Sweet potato biscuits
Green bean casserole
Mashed sweet potatoes (from the biscuit leftovers)
Mashed potatoes
Maple buttermilk custard pie
Pecan pie bars (courtesy of the friends who are joining us for dessert)
Update: we also make pumpkin pie bars (so good!)
Then, on Friday, I already have plans to make some Neiman Marcus cookies for the weekend. Man, I love Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WIP Wednesday #52

Howdy, Wednesday. Nose to the grindstone, I'm doing my best to squeeze in as much sewing as possible before the holiday guests/general madness swings into high gear next week. So, without further ado, let's not waste anymore time.

Yay! I finished actual things! First, I took a break from quilting to make another lovely little Kindle cover for my sister (made using my Kindle cover tutorial). I had just enough of the teal fabric left over from the zipper pouch I made her last Christmas to whip this one up, combined with a little white and navy gingham on the inside.
To shake things up a bit, I used fusible fleece to line the inside (cut 1/2" smaller on each side than the main fabric) instead of the method used in the tutorial, and it worked like a charm. I might be using that one from now on ... . I also left the flap squared off instead of rounding the corners.

Next, I whipped up two more little dishtowels, this time for our actual kitchen. My original plan was to make them using some scrappy patchwork (using this tutorial), but I wasn't in love with my lime green fabric selection, and to be honest, I just needed to get them done, so a solid strip of fabric it was.

In progress:
I'm moving right along with the Waterfront Park quilt, too! After the long debate on which layout to use, I decided to go with the modern one, so now I'm just chugging along with piecing.
I've finished seven blocks and pieced parts of about 60% of the rest of the top. After making the first row of blocks, I decided I wanted to do the first step of each block for the rest of the quilt. So, instead of finishing each block one at a time, I'm finishing each step for each block before moving on. It seems to be going faster that way and is easier when I only have a few minutes for sewing (no need to drag out the ironing board).
We're getting there!
But wait, there's more! I started on my pillows for the STLMQG Pillow Bomb Project. This weekend, I helped out a bit at a marathon sewing session for pillows (we finished 100 during the day!), which inspired me to go home and get to work on my personal contribution. I've got 10 pillow fronts cut, and now I just need to get to the store to buy some solids for the backs.

On the "to do" list*:
Get back to the T-shirt quilt and Kitchen Window quilt
Kitchen dish towels
Kindle cover for my sister
Giveaway Day goodies
MQG Riley Blake Challenge quilt
Christmas table runner
Secret baby project: quilt or divided basket full of goodies, I can't decide!
New tie for B (with a tutorial, finally!)
Superhero cape for B
Re-covering the downstairs chair
New pillows for the downstairs chairs
iPod workout strap
A mug rug for me
Ironing board cover
Another divided basket from the Noodlehead pattern 
Reusable snack bags
Living room quilt
Washi dress
*Why does it seem like every time I mark something off, three things get added?

This week, I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Grandparents make birthdays better

So, it's just not possible for me to keep up with everything at once. Productive sewing and work? Then, the blog falls behind. Keep up with the blog, and a million other things fall to the wayside. I'm just trying to stay afloat over here. After a super busy week and weekend, we came home from church on Sunday to a garage door that wouldn't open. Turns out the spring broke after we left for church that morning. I'm just so thankful that our car wasn't inside the garage when it happened. Thankfully, it got fixed this afternoon, but it was just one more thing. It's hard enough to keep up with the expected things, much less all the unexpected issues that always seem to be popping up. Anyway, that's not what this post is about. This (overdue) post is about the wonderful grandparent visit we had the weekend before last (Beckett's birthday weekend). (And, yes, I still have posts planned on his party and his two-year update. Just pray our house stays together until then.)
For some reason, we didn't do anything particularly new on this visit, but we were blessed with some really beautiful fall weather, so we made the most of it with lots of outdoor activities, including trips to two parks.
B loves to hang and swing from the bars above the slides.
Racing Papa (any guesses who won?)
And, of course, we couldn't miss out on another trip to the zoo, starting, obviously, with a ride on the train.
This time, we got even better views of the tiger and elephants from the train. (For some really amazing pictures at the STL zoo, check out this page — thanks for the tip, Melissa!)
After the train, it was straight on to B's favorite exhibit, the "fish" (i.e., the fish in the hippo tank, noting that he only wants to see the fish and could give a hoot about the three or four amazing hippos swimming around, which, in this case, was a good thing since the tank was being cleaned, and the hippos were absent).
Elephant family!
Checking out the ducks
Taking flight
And saving a hug for dad (B now likes to back up and take running starts for his hugs.)
This shirt could not be more true.
It was a HUGE help to have grandparents here to help with Becket's birthday party (more on that to come). They took care of putting up all of the decorations while I finished the food, and during the party, they took care of their grandparental duties — ensuring B got more than his fair share of goldfish and cookies. ;) (Note the blue-icing-covered fingers in the third pic.)
Before they had to leave the next morning, we took B downstairs to reveal his big birthday gift, a train table! He was so excited! (And Matt probably likes it almost as much as B does — rearranging tracks is his new pastime.)
Then, B got to unwrap a few more presents from us and his great-grandmother. Not surprisingly, the books were a big hit.
Somebody's two!
As always, another wonderful visit!