Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fused Plastic Bag Obsession

I'm not sure where I found the idea to fuse plastic bags, but I tried it and now I'm obsessed. I found the tutorial here. Basically, you iron 4 or 5 plastic bags together between layers of wax paper to make a thicker, more durable plastic "fabric." Check this one out - it's way cool. I'm not that sophisticated a fuser yet.

Malia and I experimented with it over Christmas and then I had to make more and more. So this morning, I made these:

A lunchbag:

(I told my coworker that I made it before work, and she told me I made her feel like less of a woman - I thought that was funny...I mean, of course it's not true)

I love this back part the best:

Then I made a toiletry clutch for traveling:

The inside:

I also made another lunch bag, but I don't like it so much. And I also made a little black pouch to keep in my purse for receipts and coupons and junk like that....but I'm too lazy to get my camera out again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nest and Measure

Check these out - are they not the greatest?

(yes, they nest)

They're measuring cups!!

How I love functional art...

p.s. They're from Anthropologie.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Earlier in the season, my family had proposed a handmade Christmas, so you know I was fired up about that one... well, then they changed their minds, but I had already started some of my gifts, so I kept with it. I probably have an unfair advantage anyhow (by that, I mostly mean an abundance of free time). Here are the goods I made for my family:

For my sister, the Amy Butler layered Barcelona skirt. The print is so "her." I almost couldn't part with it, but I know it will be I'll probably borrow it every time I visit her.

And you already sort of saw these, but I did decide upon the pears and everyone got an M shirt - even the American Girl doll, Molly, and the doll I gave Maile, whose name doesn't necessarily start with an "M" (she has no name thus far). Notice how Malia's (the bigger one - and the pear really goes on the L corner) is already worn and wrinkly? She put it on immediately and that made me immensely happy.

The girls also got these brown corduroy skirts, and blue ones too - Makaio got little blue pants to match.

Malia helped with this one. We call him "Monkaio." He's our little sock monkey made of the same soft yarn that Makaio's favorite blankies are made of. Look at those poor little gorked ears.

I made this tote for D's mom. It has a cute little pocket inside for keys or a little cash stash. I have a lot of Ms in my life, don't I?

And lastly, though I think this was the first gift idea I had, BBQ spice rubs for my brother-in-law. He's a grillin' man, so I hope he thinks they're delicious.

I hope everyone loved their gifts. I certainly loved making and giving them.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Best Kind of Gift

Looks a little something like this:

Pomegranates = gold, as far as I'm concerned. Thank you, Emily & family.

It's a Christmas Miracle

This has never happened...

Witness the amount of thread left on my bobbin AFTER finishing a project.

I'm chalking it up to good karma.

Four Skirts and a Pair of Pants

After a nice sleep-in, I got to work on more Christmas presents.

Malia and Maile are getting little skirts...with matching skirts for their dollies, of course. Makaio is getting a semi-matchy-matchy pair of pants. Great idea, Yoshko, to put little fabric cuffs on them, so the pants can grow with his "thuper-fatht" legs.

I'm undecided on the's not ironed on yet. I guess whether the pears are "in" will all depend on the tops I find/make. I'll keep you posted...I know the anticipation will probably kill you.

This fabric is from Peapod. It's a linen/cotton blend, and it's my new favorite thing. It has the nice crisp look of linen when pressed, but so easy to work with, like cotton. And even when not pressed, I like the relaxed look of it. Plus, it's super reasonably priced. I can't wait until she carries all the colors!

...because what I need is more fabric...

Not Unexpectedly...

I finished the quilt!! And it's not Christmas 2008 yet, so I fulfilled my promise only 11.5 months late. Excuse the quality of the's dark out.

The top is the Denyse Schmidt Ice Pops quilt from her book. I used only Kona Cottons, with one exception (the gratuitous polka-dot representation).

The back - which I love so much that I might just make more like this! So much faster. Inspired by these, of course

The binding I did in a solid blue.

*High Kick* I'm so excited to have finished this. Well, yes, not only excited that it's done, but also because it was my biggest/longest-taking project yet, and also because I can't wait to give it to D (not like he hasn't seen it 100 times already, but whatever). He can actually, officially use it. A nice light-weight quilt, just in time for winter. Awesome.

Merry Christmas 2007, D!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Auntie's Workshop

There's nothing like a deadline (Christmas) to motivate me into a sewing frenzy...

One of my friends is friends with a major rock star (seriously) and she asked me to make gifts for his children (no pressure!!). The girls got matchy-matchy bohemian-ish aprons:

Basically the same, but just different enough that they can tell them apart (they're twins).

...And the boy, a manly tie thermal.

And for my friend, Dianne (that's pronounced Di-Annie), her friend just had a baby named Sofia. And being the thoughtful person that she is, she wanted a matching shirt for older sister, Ella. Are those names to die for or what?? Thanks, Dianne!

And lastly, this little semi-homemade tote for my singing group's gift exchange. Kristy ended up with it, which is perfect because her fiance's last name is Bartlett! (Hi, Ish!)

I forgot to photograph the little pockets I sewed to the if you're going to the market, you can just slip your phone and your cash into the bag and leave the whole purse behind.

I made one other thing, but I can't show you just yet... I think I need a nap anyhow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

All I've Ever Wanted

...are these souvenirs from Mexico:

A high-kicking tin Dia De Los Muertos skeleton angel

A DDLM tote bag

And matching doctor and nurse DDLM refrigerator magnets

Oh, and I've lost a little weight:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fabric Store Radar

Even in Cabo San Lucas, we would find the fabric store (the as in the only, not as in da bomb).

D gets so excited for me everytime we see one. He's so great (I might have mentioned that before).

Oh, and I think it's only fair to show you this photo:

Remember this post and how I bragged about my light packing? Well, this time, D won.

There's Gotta Be a Better Way

At 10:30 the night before I left for Mexico, I started binding the quilt (using this technique)...on my 14 inch-wide shelf.

It was then that I was most grateful for not machine quilting it myself, even if D thinks that's cheating.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

More Pillow Talk

I made a Christmas pillow for the Twitty Committee "Cut-Throat-Eyeball-Scratching-We-Are-Not-Friends-Until-This-Is-Over" gift exchange...

And what started as this:

Ended up this:

I was tidying my scraps at the end of the "session," and decided I liked the look of the stripes instead. Total (happy) accident.

Here is the back, using a vintage Auntie Fern button. More on her another day...

I'm still working out the kinks with the free motion quilting. Anyone out there know how to prevent the obvious tension problems on the underside? I'm still safe with pillows, but once I move to quilts, forget it...

By the way, in a very composed, polite, diplomatic way, Kat is now the rightful owner of the pillow. Don't stress, it's machine-washable.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Stop the Barking

In this month's MS Living, she has an article about nostalgic Christmas goodies. I wanted to make all of them, but started with her Winter Bark - which was so easy and yummy and opened the floodgates of my potential Holiday Bark Extravaganza.

Everyone, you're getting nut bark for Christmas. There. Now you know. Anyhow, I made a couple mini-batches of experimental bark.

A 2 layer peppermint bark* - semi-sweet on bottom and white on top:

And a semi-sweet orange almond bark.** Heavenly!:

The basics are:
  • Melt chocolate chips (whatever kind you like) in a double-boiler or slowly in the microwave (zap 10 seconds, stir, repeat).
  • Add some extract, zest, nuts...or not.
  • Spread on wax or parchment paper in a rimmed baking sheet. If you're doing 2 layers, freeze the bottom layer for a few minutes so that when you add the top layer, it doesn't easily melt and smear.
  • Top with nuts, crumble, or whatever. Let 'er cool, and break it up.
* My friend (who is an ay-mazing [gluten-free] cook) has a "famous" peppermint bark recipe here. Not to mention a plethora of other ridiculicious recipes, even if they are gluten-free.

** This was bittersweet chocolate with orange zest and a couple drops of orange extract. Toasted nuts on top. However, next time I will mix the nuts into the chocolate. They kept falling off.

It's Happening in Soledad

Do you know how many years I have been trying to capture this photo?? I've unsuccessfully taken the drive-by-with-the-hand-out-the-sunroof shot and the through-the-windshield shot on several occasions, and on the fourth drive to San Luis Obispo with D, he finally just said, "Let's just pull over. We'll get you this photo once and for all." He's such a genius.

Is this not the greatest billboard of all time???

It hasn't changed in my lifetime, I'm sure of that. Check out that 70s font! For whatever reason (irony, tackiness, nostalgia, dependability) I just love this billboard. If they sold, "it's happening in Soledad" T-shirts, I would totally wear, every day. And if there were Soledad mugs, it would be my favorite mug.

Of course, the time we finally pull over, the arrows are pointing to a bunch of holiday crap (so we cropped that part), but usually, there are 2 things happening in Soledad - the Mission and the prison. Ok, that's a lie...because obviously there's a Starbucks too.