Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Lied. The "In Progress" Pictures Are Worse.

So in just a couple of hours, this:

became this:

And then my husband planted grass seed while I made really inappropriate jokes about it. Which I am not going to share with you. Because this is a mommy blog.

I had a quick project that I whipped up last night as well:

Chalkboard paint + adorable plant containers from IKEA + herbs = Awesome.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Warning: These Before pictures are terrifying

Remember the grand plans I had for my apartment? Well, I've been pretty unmotivated to start anything, for a couple of reasons. We were having serious issues with our apartment and getting attitude from the managers about fixing them, so I basically didn't put any effort into this place because I was having doubts about staying. However, things have finally been resolved and I'm back to the original plan of staying here for at least a couple of years. That plus some freed-up cash means I can actually get some of these plans off the ground!

I've been slowly collecting frames here and there for my gallery wall, but the focus this week is on my awful-looking backyard.

I'm actually pretty lucky in that I have a decently-sized backyard for an apartment, not just a small slab of concrete outside my back door. I wanted Monster to have a safe place to go out and play, but that clover is about two feet high and attracts a lot of bees so it has to go. I did what any DIY-inclined person would do: I researched my options, read tips on websites, asked gardener friends about methods.... then I whipped out my checkbook and paid someone else to fix this mess.

What can I say? Gardening scares me. All that dirt, and being outside in prickly, stinging nature. -shudder-

 So anyway. This post is to document the awful condition my yard is in now, so hopefully over the next few weeks I'll have some much better photos to show you.

I'm slowly confronting my gardening fears!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


We have a winner for the DollyMamaEugene scrapling! The winner is....

Comment #9!

I will email the winner. Congratulations!!

Also, a small note - I changed a couple of dimensions in the Scrappy Chevron Quilt Tutorial to make the math easier for scaling it up or down.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Scrappy Chevron Quilt Top Tutorial!

(This is my first quilting tutorial, so constructive criticism is welcome! Apologies for the crap-tastic photos, I have really awful lighting in my house.)

This tutorial will show how to make a scrappy chevron quilt top using half-square triangles (HSTs). The instructions will make a toddler-sized quilt measuring about 45" x 60". Our squares will start out as 5 7/8" and finish as 5". We'll be using six rows of chevron striping with four prints each. Out grid is 9 blocks wide and 12 blocks long. If you want to make a bigger quilt or change the number of stripes, some simple math can be used to scale the blocks larger or add or remove rows.

You'll first want to choose the colors for your chevron stripes. You can do six different colors or shades for a rainbow or gradient affect or choose one, two, or three colors and repeat rows in those colors. I chose two colors repeated three times each.

- 1 1/8 yard of your neutral color. I used white.
-1 fat eighth for each print. You'll need four prints per stripe for a total of 24. I used three prints and a solid color for each stripe.
- If you'd like to use scraps of these fabrics to piece a backing or some matching binding, you'll need to plan on buying more fabric than I listed here. The above is only enough for a quilt top.

Let's start cutting! You're going to need fifty-four 5 7/8" squares of your neutral color and nine 5 7/8" squares of each of your colorways (so two squares of each print plus one extra).

(Since I was just using two colors, I ended up with 27 squares divided between my blue prints and 27 divided between my orange prints.)

Once you have all of your squares, match each colored square with a white square and pin them together in two corners, right sides facing.

Taking a ruler, draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other. I used a pencil, but you can use a water-soluble pen (if you're marking them all at once) or an air-soluble pen (if you're marking then sewing one at a time.)

Now you'll want to sew your squares together. You're not going to be sewing on that line you just drew - you're going use it as your guide and sew 1/4" away from it on either side.

After your two lines are sewn, cut along the line you drew and press your seams toward the darker side. You now have 54 squares consisting of one white triangle and one colored triangle.

Lay out your rows as shown below.

Once you're happy with the way your prints are laid out, start sewing your squares together to form rows. Then sew your rows together to form your quilt top!

Stay tuned - I'll be writing a post on the quilt back I'll be making and how I plan to quilt this!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review and GIVEAWAY! DollyMamaEugene from etsy!

I'm so pleased to say that Monster's doll experiment is going wonderfully!

DollyMamaEugene from Etsy sent him one of her adorable little scraplings and it was an instant hit! This guy is about seven inches tall and is exactly the right size for Monster's little hands to carry easily. The first day we had him, he went to Costco, the mall, and Best Buy with us. After all this, he was pretty dirty (I blame the escalator rail that Monster made him ride!) and I threw him in the wash. He came out of the dryer just like new.

One of the most unique features of this little guy is the lack of a face. I'm going to go ahead and quote DollyMamaEugene here because she says it best:

"It is important to teach our children about feelings. Contrary to the image portrayed by typical, ready-made dolls, we are not always happy. The absence of permanently fixed faces encourages a child to get in touch with how he or she feels. By describing how a child’s doll feels, a child can freely explore emotions and discover ways of reading body language."

I couldn't agree more! I thought it might take Monster a little while to get used to the lack of a face, but it didn't even seem to faze him. He didn't hesitate to imagine a mouth so he could feed him, or closed eyes when the doll was "sleeping." I'm so glad that his imagination is being stimulated! Who needs a doll that makes crying noises or eyes that roll shut? We prefer pretending.

Monster's favorite things to do with this guy is put him in his dump truck to "drive" since he's just the right size, and to set him on the counter of his toy kitchen while he "cooks" - just like I let Monster sit on the counter to help me mix things when I cook. It's truly adorable. Monster is also happy that I let him take the doll anywhere we go, since most of the time I don't let him bring his toys out on errands.

What I love:
- He's well-made
- He's made of organic fabrics. I don't go absolutely nuts trying to buy only organic for my kiddo, but if there's an organic option out there, it's pretty obvious which is better.
- He's portable
- He's MACHINE-WASHABLE - a biggie!!

What I don't love so much:
- His little hat is adorable, but very easily lost. My husband had to backtrack through Macy's to find it when it fell off. We decided to leave it at home to play with in the future so it doesn't get lost forever.

My readers get a chance to win an adorable scrapling doll just like Monster's for their very own!

All you have to do to enter is:

- Visit DollyMamaEugene's etsy shop and post a comment here telling us what you like about the shop or what your favorite item is.

It's that easy! If you want even more chances to win, you can do any of the following for more entries. Please leave a separate comment for each entry! If you leave only one comment, you only get one entry so this is super important!

- Favorite any item in DollyMamaEugene's shop or the shop itself.

- Follow my blog (or already be a follower)

Please make sure that your email address is either in your comment or EASY to find on your profile. The giveaway is open worldwide, hurray!

Small print: Contest is open until 11:59 p.m. PST on 02/24/2012. Winning comment will be chosen via random number generator. Winner will be emailed and has 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This review is 100% my honest opinion. I received a complimentary doll to review, but I was not "paid" to give a good review.

Good luck!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Embroidery floss organization

I've been feeling a little bit down this week, so I decided to complete a super quick project. Immediate gratification always cheers me up!

Money's been tight lately, but that gorgeous felt basket was $1 at Target and a pack of clothespins cost $1.69, so I splurged just a little!

 I was inspired by this Pinterest pin, but I added my own little twist. I don't embroider a ton, but it's still really helpful to keep my colors labelled in case I need to buy more of an exact shade. That little "806" on the label is a color code.

I considered just writing the number on the clothespin, but that would make re-using them difficult. So instead I just snipped off that little piece with the number...

... and slid it right over the end of the clothespin. It fits pretty tightly and stays in place as long as I don't rummage through my collection too enthusiastically. A teeny dot of glue could always be added if they fall off.

Wrap the floss around the clothespin and secure the loose end between the clip.

Hurray for pretty organization!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yes, I'm getting my son a doll. No, it won't turn him gay.

I've never considered myself a traditional sort of parent and I knew even before I got pregnant that I didn't want to raise a child to think that some toys or colors or jobs were for girls and some for boys. Of course, you guys might already know that.

I think it's sad in this "enlightened" age when I tell people that I got Monster a kitchen for his birthday and they make a weird face and tell me kitchens are for girls. Seriously? I talk about how Monster loves to stomp around in my heels and people tell me I'd better "be careful about that." You know what? His favorite color is purple and he loves to play with cars and he sometimes wears my heels and sometimes he wears his dinosaur rainboots. And this is all JUST FINE with me. Wearing heels isn't going to turn my kid gay - and even if it did, I wouldn't care.

Society will undoubtedly give my kid these screwed-up messages when he gets older, but for now he's all mine and I'll let him pick out purple bowties if he wants to. He doesn't have very many years to be himself before he tries to change to fit in with other kids so I'll make the most of these years.

When my husband's parents flew in for the wedding, he secretly asked them to bring one of his toys from when he was young - a little stuffed dog in a tracksuit named Jogging Doggy. :) He gifted it to Monster who immediately pulled the doggy's pants down and tried to change his diaper! Now he covers his toy shopping cart with a blanket and tells us to "Shush, baby's sleeping!" He's absolutely obsessed with the baby shoes I'm crocheting for a new niece, and since we don't have immediate plans for another baby, I think it's time to get this Monster a doll!

Regardless of the attitudes people sometimes have, I feel that I'm doing the best thing for my son. And with all of this practice, he'll be an amazing partner and father of his own one day - one who cooks and changes diapers!

(Hint: Monster is getting a doll and you are getting some really awesome giveaways pretty soon! Keep an eye out!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Is there a support group for that?

I think I may have a problem.

It's quilting. I can't get it out of my head. I'm completely, hopelessly hooked. I've been avidly searching pinterest for new inspiration and do you see my links bar on the side? I decided to update it and then realized it's almost all quilting blogs! The modern quilt movement has gotten its claws into me. I'm terrified to even drive near the fabric store - I might blow the rent.

We're going to be a little bit tight on money for the next couple of months until Adam's work permit gets approved, so there isn't any room in the budget for fabric right now. All I can do is pin away and create photoshop plans for my next quilts, but I tell you, I'm free-motion quilting in my dreams.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quilt! Quilt!

Although I don't usually go in for the whole "New Year Resolution" business, it seems that my subconscious decided to make this a time of new adventures in the crafty world. Yesterday I finished my first quilt and in the process, used two sewing machine feet that I've never used before - the freemotion quilting foot and the walking foot.

So here you have it. Sure, the stitches aren't perfect (especially the first third, which I did before I got the freemotion foot), but I'm ridiculously proud of it anyway. It's approximately 46"x46", quilted in an all-over stippling pattern, and I used Oh, Fransson!'s awesome-sauce tutorial for the binding.

And now I've absolutely caught the quilting bug. I'm planning a chevron quilt next, then a queen-sized Nintendo-themed quilt for a friend. Said friend was warned that the quilt may take uh, years. ;) But true to OCD form, I spent the evening mapping the Nintendo quilt out (inch by inch) in Photoshop.

Does it look simple?

Well. Kinda.