Monday, March 29, 2010

What I wish I was making this summer (even though it isn't summer yet).

I'm a Los Angeles native (well born in Manhattan, but raised in LA) and although I do love living by the beach (especially when I can go swimming) I don't love how long and warm our summers are (I know I know, what a thing to complain about). I really do hate being hot, unless I am swimming (which doesn't happen as often as I'd like), so my summer (2008) in Portland was so perfect. Portland weather was always a perfect temperature for me, it even rained a few days (this girl loves summer rain) and it was never too hot. I could run on the Willamette even in the height of a sunny afternoon and I had none of the heat related running problems I have in Los Angeles. But Portland summer weather is not the point point of this post, the point is..... this summer (almost summer) I miss Portland more than I did last summer, the main reason for this being the Pacific Northwests abundance of berries and my ongoing obsession with homemade jam (KatieMade Jams has a nice ring to it I think).

If you have known me for awhile you might have read my Summer in Portland blog (which I took down). I talked about and blogged about picking berries at Suavie Island and making jam all summer long. Los Angeles doesn't get the same quality berries as were available in Portland, nor do berries ever get as cheap as they were in Portland. Los Angeles also doesn't have Marionberries and sweet blackberries are always hard to find.

I love berries, all kinds and in/with anything. I could eat berries all the time and never ever get sick of them, and I especially loved picking my own. Partly because I could eat and pick berries at the same time (as shown below) and partly because it was so inexpensive to buy so many berries. I ate pints and pints of berries and made pints and pints of jam which was eaten and shared entirely too quickly.

So although I am happy for some upcoming pool beach time and sunny Saturday sewing afternoons, today I miss berries (picking and eating them) and then making jam with them. Maybe I will just have to buy a flat at a Farmers market and make a little bit of jam. Or I could order some Marionberry jam from Moppethill Farms (at the Portland Saturday market) and spread it on a tasty English muffin (delicious breakfast). If I was in Portland that English muffin would be substituted with Daves Killer Powerberry Bread or Sin Dawgs loaf, which was some of the most delicious bread I have ever had (and I do love bread). Maybe instead of making jam on the weekends, Skywalker and I can try a new waffle recipe every Sunday (yum, yum!).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sewing, LAMQG Style!

Yesterday was LAMQG 3 weekend sew (and my 2nd). This one day a month is quickly turning into one of the things I most look forward to each month. We had more than 20 people working on various projects yesterday. So much inspiration, so many fun fabrics, and so much fun chatting. Emily, our wonderful guild photographer, took a few shots that I was in, including one of me sewing (which I asked for), and making a really scrunchy/squishy face, which I seem to do a lot in her photos. I still really love the photo of me sewing, thanks Emily!

The problem with the weekend sew (and Monday Meetings) is that the rest of the week, especially the immediate days after, all I can think about is sewing and fabric, which makes it hard to get anything else accomplished!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Today's Happiness

A little Liberty, wonderful Polka Dots (Wonderland by MoMo), Gnomes (by Heather Ross) and Basil!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cards, Scrapbooking, my Mom and the Snow

Weekend in Arrowhead with just me and my mom = a truly fun, relaxing and memorable weekend. As I posted last week, I went to Arrowhead this past weekend, with mom, for our 2nd annual Scrapbooking retreat. It was put on by my friend Laurie (a creative memories consultant) and it was at the UCLA Conference Center, which is such a nice place. All meals were included, so we wouldn't worry about going into town for food and we have this huge room for cropping (thats scrapbooker speak) in case you didn't know. Everyone gets and 8 foot table (which is sooo mcuh space) to crop on and there are lots of extra tools there to use.

This year and last year (and at a couple other crops), Stephanie has brought her cricut machine. Man I love that thing, if I ever have the craft/sewing room that exists in my dreams, I will have a cricut with it's very own special table. The short explanation behind a cricut is that it is able to cut paper in a million (maybe an exaggeration) different ways, with different letter fonts, different holiday shapes, lots of animals, and borders and on and on. Anyway it is really cool, the cards I made below, were all through the use of cricut and made over the weekend, because I didn't have as much cropping inspiration as usual.

The other great thing about this past weekend was that it snowed. I love the snow. I love playing in it and being cold in it but I especially love eating it (I know, I know, I'm like 5 years old). One of my favorite things to eat on earth, is snow ice cream (fresh snow, milk and maple syrup), it is delicious. Most people have never heard of it or eaten it, but people love it when they try it. As a California girl, time in the snow is at a premium and some years go by with no snow trips at all, so I was so glad it snowed on Saturday in Arrowhead, made the trip completely perfect.

Last year at the retreat I made 40 something pages, this year I made 16 (fail on my part I guess), I was not as into it as I wanted to be, and I spent some time making cards, walking with my mom and two other croppers and finishing up some of the embroidered squares for the Jungle and Forest Friends quilt (post below). I took a photo of my favorite page of the weekend, which didn't translate will in the photograph, so it might not have the same impact as it does in person, but I love it anyway (plus it is snow themed).

Baby Quilt - My Jungle and Forest Friends

So I finished the squares for this baby quilt I am making, and I love it so much. The squares haven't been all squared off and I still need a back, because I HATE the one I bought (this is why you bring the quilt/squares/fabric into a store to chose a back and don't order one you think might work online).

Anyway the squares are 15 inch log cabin (or they should be when I cut them) with a 7ish inch square in the middle. Log cabins seem to usually have smaller center squares, I really like the look of the big center square. 12 squares total, 6 with hand embroidered center squares and 6 with coordinating animal print fabrics. The giraffe square (pictured below), is my favorite, I want to make another one for a pillow, I just love that little giraffe sooo much. Even though not all the embroidered squares have been finished (I still have 2 left to complete), I had to finish the log cabin parts, because I was sick of just embroidering plain white squares. I'll be purchasing the back tonight (I hope), because I have to have everything ready for next Sunday and the LAMQG weekend sew, so I can do my stippling all at one time. Hopefully I can come up with a better option then what I have at home.

The title of the quilt "My Jungle and Forest Friends" is because of the hand emrboidered squares, 3 of which are more jungly (hippo, giraffe and elephant) and 3 of which are more foresty (deer, birds and a skunk [which everyone thinks is a squirrel]). Every square I embroidered has a little bird in it. When I showed a friend a couple of the squares (I forget who this was) there was a little bird in 2 of them and they said I should put a bird in all the squares, and I loved the idea. Some of the birds are much better then other birds, maybe I should take some photos of just the bird parts of the squares to show you what I mean.

Kelly, if you are reading this post, and you don't want to see Savannah's quilt then read no further (I'll try to put the photos down the page some). I just had to post them though, because I love the overall look, but you know me, not so good with surprises. Plus I am so excited to get the blocks mostly completed.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A week full of happiness...

This week was full of happiness, and here are some reasons why, quilting time, winning raffles, LAMQG meeting, new purses and a weekend away with mom.

On Saturday I bought 5 raffle tickets (to increase my odds of winning) for the Urban Craft Centers (UCC) Quilt for a Cause, fundraiser for Haiti. UCC gave everyone who wanted some, the same Alexander Henry Green Owl print and gave some directions for making quilt squares. Some of the girls from LAMQG made squares at the last weekend sew (which I missed), see my friend Abi's blog for a post about the weekend sew. All these various squares were then turned into 3 baby sized quilts, which were then raffled off, and I won one! I was thrilled, because I love the idea that it was made as a fundraiser, and I also have a new obsession/love for String block quilts (I took a picture of the whole quilt as well as my favorite block in the quilt).

On Sunday I worked on quilt squares all afternoon and Skywalker did some of my chores so that I could keep piecing blocks together. How great is he?

Monday was brought one of my favorite days of the month, and the LAMQG monthly meeting. Emily's blog has a nice post about it, including a picture of me holding my new quilt (don't look at the weird closed eye face I am making). I brought the quilt I had one to the meeting for show and tell, because I knew some of the ladies might have made squares in my quilt. I often can't sleep after LAMQG meetings, because of the abundance of ideas floating around my head. Next meeting my goal is to have the "Jungle and Forest Friends" baby quilt finished and ready to share, a lofty but possibly doable goal.

Last night my husband made me the happiest girl in the world. He came back from a business trip with a lovely new purse (see the picture below) in tow. If you know my husband at all, he is anti adding to my purse collection, especially slightly expensive ones, and he is also not the most spontaneous person in the world. He likes to think about purchases for months before buying them. So this was an amazing and unexpected present in so many ways and is already in use today.

My last happiness of the week, is crafting related. Although I have to have a weekend away from sewing this weekend, I am going to Arrowhead with my mom to attend our 2nd annual Scrapbooking weekend. Weekend away with mom + hours and hours of cropping = a very very happy Katie. If I make any brilliant layouts, I will be sure to post pictures.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hippity Hop

So I was telling my friend Bonnie last week that I had an image of a stuffed bunny in my head and I wanted to make dozens of them and send them to friends and family for Easter. Problem is when you have images in your head, it is hard to make them translate onto paper and even harder to make the fabric version look like the one in your head. I actually have lots of crafty ideas swirling around my head, some of which may be impossible to get a fabric version of, but my almost success with Mr. Bunny give me hope.

So the first bunny pattern did not turn into a bunny, it turned into a weird skinny creature. There will not be pictures of this bunny fail, but I do have the little guy in my sewing bag. Some discussion with dear Skywalker about the unsuccessful first pattern led to changes in patter number two, including his request to make the bunny have more Velveteen Rabbit type ears (the fact that my husband used Velveteen Rabbit as a reference point was shocking, if you have met him, it probably would have shocked you too).

Bunny #2 was a overwhelming success, well maybe not overwhelming, but certainly a success. He even stands on his own. Changes to future bunnies, overall rounder shape, longer ears, a cottontail and eyes evenly spaced on both sides of his head. I also love the idea of making one with strips of fabric, so he or she could be extra stripey. Also I want I want to make some a bit smaller, which will pose some pattern difficulties.

On the positive side, he really didn't take very long to make (if you take out the time I had to redo some mistakes in sewing), only about an hour and a half with his embroidered eyes (I am sure with more practice I can get it down to less time). Also he is already being loved by a cute cute little boy (my 2nd cousin), so now I have to make another one for myself, and maybe a whole bunch of them to sit on a shelf on our bookcase, or to send to people for easter.