Wednesday, April 30, 2014

31 in ATL

So I turned 31 a few weeks ago, hard to believe, and it turned out to be a bit of a crazy weekend. It started off well — with waffles, as all birthdays should (FYI, this is our new favorite waffle recipe).
After breakfast, we headed to the botanical gardens to join some friends for an Easter egg hunt (I'll save that for another post because there was too much cuteness to do it justice in this one.) and then I skipped out for our monthly STLMQG meeting, which was a great one. That night, we went with several friends to see Ben Folds play with the St. Louis Symphony, which was awesome. I am a huge Ben fan and have seen him in concert several times, but this was the first time I'd seem him play with the symphony. And we had great seats (see the picture below, which, yes, is of an empty stage, but just imagine Ben sitting behind that piano. It was close — 5th row.). Afterwards, we went out for whiskey and desserts. Yum.
The next morning, I hopped in the car and headed to Atlanta by myself (about a 10-hour drive). Late the previous week, I'd gotten an email from my mom saying my grandmother really wasn't doing well and was back in the hospital with a bad infection. My grandmother has been battling cancer/a million problems for years really, but things have gotten pretty steadily worse since last summer. In fact, we headed to Atlanta for a visit last October and left thinking it might be the last time.
Thankfully, it wasn't, but with the bad news from my mom, I didn't want to miss another chance to see her. Because it was so last minute, we couldn't work it out for us all to go, so B stayed behind with Matt. The great news was that on Saturday, my grandmother was suddenly feeling much better and did a total 180°. She managed to fight off the infection, and the doctor gave his approval for her to return home for rehab instead of having to return to the (depressing) rehab center where she'd spent the last few weeks.
She was so happy to be back home at my aunt's house, and we had a wonderful visit there. It was also so nice to get to spend some time with my mom (who was in town to help with my grandmother), aunt, cousin, and other family. On Wednesday, I hopped back in the car and headed home to my two smiling boys.
And we'll even squeeze a little sewing into this post because when I was in Atlanta, I was able to give my grandmother the mini pillow I'd made her, along with this little tote, which I made to hold her, um, medical supplies.
My mom and aunt had requested it several weeks before I arrived, but it took some time to figure out how to make the gazillion modifications needed. This is no ordinary tote bag. It was also the first time I'd done an adjustable strap on a bag, which turned out to be super easy. And she loved it, so job done.
Matt sent me some pics of B while I was away to cheer me up. That kid's turning into quite a character.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Baby basket

Man, I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post. The short version: April was crazy, y'all. Between my birthday, Easter, an unexpected solo road trip to Atlanta, and a planned road trip to Memphis, the month flew by. I'm going to do my best to catch up (prepare yourself for some upcoming personal posts), but for today, let's get to one of the few sewing projects I've managed to finish lately.
I needed a present for an upcoming baby shower, but I knew I wouldn't have time to go all in with a quilt, so I decided to check another divided basket off my list and fill it with goodies from her registry.
This is my third go-round with the delightful pattern from Noodlehead, and it gets easier every time. (You can see my other versions here and here.) The fabrics were based on the colors from her registry, so I hope she'll be able to find some use for the basket in the nursery. I love this aqua/yellow/gray combination. I've had the front fabric (how to make paper hats!) in my stash for quite sometime, and I was so excited to find the perfect project for all that cuteness. This was a total stash project, too, which makes me feel a little less guilty about that order I just placed with Hawthorne Threads ... (birthday money, you know?).
I also decided to thrown in a matching bib, 'cause you can never have too many of those. I love this little set.
Bib and main exterior of basket: Sarah Jane, Children At Play, Making Paper Hats in Aqua
Basket divider and pocket lining: Joel Dewberry, Modern Meadow, Acorn Chain in Pond
Basket handles and top of front exterior: Carolyn Friedlander, Architextures, Crosshatch in Curry
Basket interior: Half Moon Modern, Big Dots in Steel

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WIP Wednesday #62

Hiya, Wednesday! It's been lovely outside this week (thank goodness!), but somehow I still managed to get a lot of sewing done. Must be because I mostly sew around midnight...

First up, the quilted heart pillow! This cutie is a gift for my grandmother. You can read all about it in this post.
Last night, I finished up one of the divided baskets (from the excellent Noodlehead pattern) that's been on my to do list. I've been itching to make one ever since I finished the first one, so it was fun to finally get this one together.
This one will serve as B's Easter basket, so I kept it simple, omitting both the outside pocket and the inside divider. I worried that removing the inside divider would make it a bit floppy, but it still stands up well on its own and should work well. The birds and dots are Ann Kelle, and the stripe is an unidentified piece from my stash.
In progress:
I'm still making headway on the Kitchen Window quilt! After a little encouragement last week, I decided to go all in and try to FMQ it (my first time!). It was a little rough at the start, but I'm starting to catch on, and it's look pretty good, as long as you don't look too close.
It helps that I found Elizabeth Dackson's (of Don't Call Me Betsy) new Craftsy class, "Start Free-Motion Quilting." I've never done a Craftsy class before because they're a bit pricey, and I wasn't sure it was worth it. After stalking this one for a few days, Craftsy was nice enough to inform me it was on sale, so I signed up.
I'm on the fourth episode, but so far, I've been really impressed. I'd highly recommend it if you're starting out with FMQ. Elizabeth has already given lots of information and tips that I've never heard elsewhere, and I'm feeling much more confident about my FMQ already. Check it out!

On the "to do" list: 
Kitchen Window quilt
One more divided basket for gift set
Quilted heart pillow
Mystery HST quilt
Charger pouch for the hubs
Car travel pouch for B (this, this, or this)
T-shirt quilt 
New tie for B (with a tutorial, finally!)
Superhero cape for B
Re-covering the downstairs chair
New pillows for the downstairs chairs
A mug rug for me
Ironing board cover
Reusable snack bags
Living room quilt
Washi dress/tunic

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

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ethereal pastels mosaic

To celebrate the start of spring, Rachel over at Stitched in Color is running a contest to design a mosaic of fabrics that represent your idea of "ethereal pastels." Inspired by all of the mosaics that have already been submitted, I couldn't resist putting together one of my own.
The fabrics are pulled from Lark Cottons' website and, for me, represent the cheerful beauty of the start of spring, the winter gloom breaking and colorful flowers just starting to spring from the ground. If you're in need of a little color inspiration, check out the other mosaics on Rachel's post. Happy spring!