Friday, July 31

Summer Loving

I stopped by Goodwill the other day with the intent of buying a few men's shirts to refashion. There are a million tutorials out there for things to do with oversized shirts, I'm going to slowly work my way through them.

First up:
Refashioned Men's Shirt to Tie
A tie, loosely following the Purl Bee tutorial. I didn't use their pattern (no printer) so I just tore apart one of my old work ties and traced that. The bottom is a little uneven, but that's something I can fix the next time around. It will serve it's purpose for now. The tie came from the back of the shirt.

From the front:
It may be hard to tell, but yes, that's underwear. They look quite wonky in this picture, but very cute on. And I wasn't about to model them so.. use your imagination.

I don't remember if I ever posted this, but it was just sitting there next to my picture taking area, so I added it to the bunch.
Knitting Bag
A very easy reversible drawstring bag, from the mind of Pink Penguin.
It's just the perfect size to carry along my sock knitting:

Today it finally stopped raining in Nashville (it feels like it's been raining for weeks). The sun came out and the golf course that is my backyard was glowing. And then I looked closer - they had painted the green - well, green. But not just any green, that is nuclear waste green. I'm not sure the photos translate, but you get the idea. Painting grass green? Why don't they just grow better grass?!

While I was outside I took some pictures of my other surroundings:
A beautiful blooming tree that turns the ground beneath it a wonderful shade of magenta!

And the view from our porch.
Blue skies, green trees, warm weather. What a perfect summer day.

Perfect enough to take a nap with your favorite quilt.
He looked so precious lying there, I had to sneak a photograph. I'm happy someone enjoys my quilts as much as I do.

My hubby comes home tomorrow after playing a show in Michigan tonight. I'm so anxious to see him I hope I can make it through work tomorrow without bursting from the excitement.

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Wednesday, July 29

$50 Fat Quarter Shop Giveaway!

Rachel from P.S. I Quilt is giving away a $50 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop!
There are three easy ways to enter:
1. Comment on her blog and tell her your favorite quilting color combo.
2. Blog about the giveaway.
3. Follow her blog.

What will I get if I win? I would get a few different charm packs and jelly rolls - maybe Tula Pink Neptune, Authentic by Sweetwater, Eva by Basicgrey, or some Christmas supplies - the Have a Sheri Berry Holiday is really cute, perfect for a festive quilt or table runner. I love those snowmen, and my mom would too :-)

So hop over to Rachel's blog and enter yourself. While you're there take a look around, she has a wonderful blog and makes beautiful quilts.

I'm off work today so I'm going to spend it sewing. My fingers are aching from all that knitting.
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Monday, July 27

Dyed and Knit

Friday was my day off, so I decided to spend it dying some yarn and roving in my stash. Here are the 'befores':
The yarns are all Knit Picks Palette, which I love for multiple reasons, but hated these colors that were left in my stash. The green and orange yarns were just too neon, too bright for anything of my liking. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I bought them in the first place, but I had 2 skeins of each. The top right corner was a bare yarn from Knit Picks that I dyed awhile ago, but the colors are just so cotton candy sweet it makes me want to puke. I already re-dyed half of that skein, but this little ball needed fixing still. (Sorry, 'after' pictures of this yarn will have to wait.) Lastly, some plain alpaca roving from my MIL's alpacas.

I used Kool Aid and the Kroger equivalent to dye, which is the same process I used before. I like it well enough because it's cheap, simple, and there are practically unlimited color choices. I tried a few different methods: stove top, microwave, and hand painting the alpaca roving.

And here are the afters:
Dyed Alpaca
Yummy alpaca, it's a little more pink than it looks in this picture, with yellow and a little orange from where they combined. I've started spinning this - I hope it turns out well.

Dyed Rusty Pumpkin
The neon orange color turned into a nice burnt pumpkin color. I love the kettle dyed effect, lots of nice shades of orange and rust, and even a few little spots of the previous offending construction-orange color, which I don't mind, just a nice reminder of how lovely this yarn transformed.

Dyed Green
I like to think of this as a froggy green. It's considerably more muted, with hints of teal and the nice dark spots. This yarn reminds me so much of a warted frog, odd, but I love it! And so much easier to work with than looking at that awful grass green.

So easy in fact, that I've already worked on a couple hats:
Topographie: I love the way this is coming along, there is just enough of the dark streaks to really make those purl stitches pop.

Lace Beret
And this gorgeous lacy slouch. I whipped this one out in a couple knits of easy knitting. It went so fast, the lace pattern was very easy to remember, and it has just the right amount of slouch to it. My cousin saw a picture I posted of it on Twitter and immediately requested one. I am going to happily oblige, using the second skein of that froggy green yarn. The kettle dyed yarns look great with this pattern, giving it a little more depth than a single-colored yarn.

I love the effect I got from dying these yarns so much, I might just buy some more Palette and kettle dye it. There are so many colors to choose from, you can't beat the price, and I've successfully used Palette for hats and socks. The only thing you have to look out for is that fact that it does felt, found that out the hard way after Curt accidentally put a pair of socks through the dryer - they still fit, they are just a totally different fabric.

Also on the knitting front:
Second Sock Syndrome
I can't seem to finish this pair of socks. I've been working on them for awhile now, and I think I officially have second sock syndrome. I'm not worried though, these will be perfect for fall so I have plenty of time to finish. I love the first one, just need to get back into the sock knitting grove.

I've also been slowly but surely spinning. This is dyed alpaca from my MIL's stash. She has a ton of alpaca fiber just sitting in her basement, so I took a bunch and have been making my way through it. This roving was dyed blue with shades of gray and yellow. I don't really like the colors, but I think it will make a pretty shawl or something nice like that. I'm also considering leaving it single ply and see how I like knitting with that.
Spun alpaca

I've been bored out of my mind without Curt around. I seem to reach a breaking point when I can't stand being alone any longer. I hit that point tonight. Luckily I have work where I can go communicate with actual people (the dog doesn't talk back unless he wants something) but it's not the same as having someone at home to just hang out with. He'll be back Saturday, and I can't wait!

Back to my Topographie hat, I can't wait to see this finished.... happy knitting!

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Sunday, July 26

A funny little clip -

I spent the yesterday dying some yarn and roving I had in my stash. I went the Kool Aid dye route, and I'm happy with the results. I haven't put the pictures on my computer yet, so I will post more about that later.

Tonight I've been using some of the dyed yarn to knit a hat. I know it's a little warm out for hats, but I was just in the mood.

I felt the urge to post, but really don't have anything to post about right at this moment, so here's a little clip of me and my encounter with a kangaroo. It's from January when I spent a couple weeks in Australia. Phillip Island, Victoria to be specific. We were at the wildlife park feeding animals when this kangaroo got a little to combative. Curt edited the video to really make me look like a fool. And let me also point out, the kangaroo was already after me before the filming started, Curt just chose to turn on the camera before coming to my rescue. It's embarrassing to say the least, but it's also really funny and makes me laugh.

So without further ado, I give you: Brittney & Kangaroo

To see more videos from my travels down under, go to my husband's YouTube account. They are mainly of Curt's band stuff, but the videos are pretty entertaining and it's a great way to procrastinate for awhile. Have fun!

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Thursday, July 23

Life as a Single Lady

Curt is playing at a camp for the week so I am alone with my crafts. I've been wanting to make 'Right Off the Cuff' since I got "Seams to Me" for Christmas and I finally got around to it the other night:
I love the result, I think I will make more in different colors. Also, I think the next one will be a little shorter, not so much of a statement that way. I think this will look really cute to dress up a simple t-shirt or otherwise plain outfit. I used leftover Amy Butler fabric from Lee's clutch.

Curt & I ventured out a couple weeks ago to the nearest Joann's (not so near, but it's a superstore and I could have spent all day). They had a scrap of Insul-bright for the taking, so I snatched it up and tried it out on a pot holder:
A tad wonky in spots, but over all I like the result and will probably make a couple more with the rest of the Insul-bright.

And in long-ago-finished quilt news:
A pillow I made for my sister to match her birthday quilt. This picture is in her bedroom at our parent's house. It matches great in there, but will ultimately be in her dorm room.
Bri's Pillow

And while I was at my parents' house, I was able to take some pictures of the quilt hanging to get the full effect:
Bri's Birthday Quilt
Still love this quilt, full of all that Amy Butler goodness. Pink and girlie but still sophisticated enough for a 20-year-old.

And here's the quilt we made for my parent's anniversary, on display in use in their camper.
Mom & Dad's Anniversary Camper Quilt
It wasn't our first choice of colors, but look how great it matches! We wanted the grey colors so it wouldn't instantly get dirty while camping. The rest of the colors blend right in with the trailer. My parents were very surprised and very happy to get rid of the old, ugly bedspread that came with the trailer. Unlike a house, the decorations in a trailer are built right in, not so easy to paint over. I think this quilt draws well from the color scheme while bringing a little quilty-goodness to the trailer.

With all my free time, I've been watching lots of movies, which also means plenty of dishcloths. I branched out and tried some tawashis. Very quick and easy, from now on I think I'll make a scrubby to match the dishcloth. I think these ones will go to my newlywed friend Leann, they look like her.
Dish cloth & scrubbies

Lastly, I almost forgot to mention I joined Doll Quilt Swap 7. This is my first swap and I'm very anxious to get my partner and get started on a mini quilt. I'm also nervous, but it looks like there are a lot of newbies to this round so I'm not terribly out of place. We should be getting our partners today; they are secret which means we get to 'cyber-stalk' our partner. A little creepy yes, but also a little fun to play detective and figure out what that person likes without coming right out and asking. Just blogging about it makes me even more anxious to get started...
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Monday, July 20

Wedding Weekend

I spent last week in Michigan for my best friend's wedding. We drove up Tuesday afternoon, arrived in Michigan at 4am Wednesday morning. It was a long drive, but I've never been so thankful to be home. I started to get sick Sunday night with a sore throat, but by Tuesday night it was a full blown infection. Wednesday Curt left to vacation with his family while I stayed home trying to recuperate. I got antibiotics that evening and by Thursday morning was feeling much better. We had a bachelorette party Thursday night, complete with a couple bridal accessories I made:
Future Mrs. L... Sash
A Future Mrs. L... sash made using freezer paper stencils and fabric paint. And a light blue veil I made using tulle and a hair comb. This was so easy and fun, plus the bride looked so cute:
Along with some cute lingerie I made Leann an Artsy Clutch from BTRS.
BTRS Artsy Clutch
I used Amy Butler Midwest Modern for the outside with a plain brown inside. The button is from Joann's. I have one more button like this, so I think I'll have to make one for myself. Leann loved her clutch and used it all weekend at her party, rehearsal, and yes, even the wedding!

Friday night I was feeling better, still couldn't talk much and was coughing like crazy, but my throat didn't hurt and I finally broke my 100.2 fever. I wore my newly made shirred summer dress to the rehearsal Friday night and it was perfect, comfy, cute, and wearable.
Shirred Summer Dress
After the rehearsal and dinner we went back to Leann's dad's house to finish the seating cards. They were little folded up chairs a la Martha Stewart. Curt came back to town and was able to help out with the cutting, folding, and gluing - it was quite an assembly line. We brought the bride to her mom's house for her last night as a single woman and headed home for my first night of kind-of restful sleep.

Saturday morning we all had our hair done and headed over to the church to have our make up done. The lady who did the make up was awesome and made all of use look like movie stars. Soon enough we were in our dresses and ready to walk down the aisle. Everything went off without a hitch, I didn't cough the entire service, and soon we were in the limo on our way to take more pictures. I can't wait to see the pictures, I have a feeling they turned out SO great.

The reception was a blast, we danced the night away and I've never seen my best friend so happy in our ten years together. I headed back down to Nashville by myself Sunday afternoon. What a long drive! 9 hours went by faster than I expected, but boy does that take a lot out of me!

Curt is playing music at a camp for the week and then playing a show the following weekend in Michigan, so I will be a bachelorette for a couple weeks. I'm working lunch all this week so I'm hoping to get a lot of sewing done and I'd also like to finish unpacking the few boxes left. I'd also like to go see Harry Potter while it's still fresh, I can't wait! And speaking of movies .. The Time Traveler's Wife is coming to the big screen. I read the book awhile back and every time I see the preview I get chills, it looks so good.

I'm going to bed early tonight, still trying to knock this cold. I took my last antibiotic yesterday, but the medicine said it could take up to 2 weeks to fully recover.. I'm counting down, this cold has wiped me out!

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Wednesday, July 15

Mini Quilt Crazy

Over the past month or so I caught the mini quilt bug and just can't stop. Here are some mini quilts I have finished, as well as a WIP.

Maverick Star Mini Quilt

Maverick Stars - Anna Maria Horner Chocolate Lollipop

Flying Geese Mini Quilt
Flying Geese - Amy Butler Daisy Chain

String Mini Quilt #2

String Quilt - Scraps

String Mini Quilt
String Quilt - Scraps

Half Square Triangle Mini Quilt

Half Square Triangle - Amy Butler Daisy Chain

WIP Mini Quilt
WIP that is kind of like a mini version of the Old Red Barn Co quilt along.

I have another one in progress that is a reverse of the maverick star mini quilt seen above. The thing I love most about mini quilts is that they are a quick satisfaction with minimal planning. They are also a great chance for me to try new techniques on a small scale. These were the first time I had ever done a string quilt, maverick stars, flying geese, and half square triangles using this method. This way I know I can accomplish those techniques if I ever wanted to complete them on a larger scale. My plan for these quilts is to hang them on the wall above my sewing area. I am also considering opening an Etsy shop and I know I can churn out mini quilts for that.

In other news, I am home for my best friend's wedding this weekend. We have been BFFs since middle school and I am so excited for her. More on that to come... the bad news? I have a sinus infection plus what I'm sure is a double ear infection. So not the best condition for a matron-of-honor to be in, but I called TelaDoc and the very nice doctor I spoke with called in a prescription for me. I hope this Z-Pak kicks in soon, or I will be miserable. We buy our own health insurance, and while doctors' visits are not covered, the TelaDoc is free and convenient. Just set up a consultation, they call, you explain the symptoms, if the doc thinks you need it, he calls in a Rx and voila - ready in 1.5 hrs. Since I sound like a dying frog.. I'm sure I didn't even need to explain my symptoms, he was ready to give me meds from my first horse word. Come on drugs, kick in any time... I'm going to play Guitar Hero to entertain my lonesome self now.

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Monday, July 13

In an attempt to blog more frequently

NO! West Nile virus has been found in mosquitos in East Nashville. There's no escaping it. I should stop watching the news.. However, I value a good local news station and have yet to find my match here in Nashville. The meteorologist on the NBC affiliate just said the trees and bushes sighed in relief this weekend from the rain. I wonder if he truly thinks he hear them? I love a wacky weather man.

Forgive the rant, onto crafty things:

A little late, I realize, but I made a couple patriotic home accessories for the Fourth of July. Since my sister came to visit, I thought I'd better spruce the place up with some appropriate decorations:
Independence Coasters
Coasters for our new coffee table. I started each with a simple log cabin with larger pieces thrown in to quickly square it up. They are each 4" or 4.5" .. can't remember exactly. I quilted one little rectangle on each and then applique stitched around the outside. I was looking for a quick project and didn't want to turn those coasters inside out, and I like the rustic Americana feel from the slightly ragged edges.

Independence Pillow
In matching fabric, a star quilt, loosely based on this tutorial. I didn't follow those instructions, but I liked the way it looked and figured it out to fit my pillow form. I started with the white middle, added the color rings log cabin style and then quilted the square with random loopy stitches. Then I appliqued the star on top of the quilting and sewed it all together with a slip cover back:
Back of Pillow
For the back I used scrap jersey fabric, which worked great because the jersey is nice and stretchy so it hugs the pillow form tight and is really easy to put on and off.
This pillow is 16" X 16" and I just used a pillow form I already had on the couch in a different cover. It's such an easy way to quickly change a look in any room and keep up with any holidays. I think I'll keep this cover on through July and plan my next pillow cover for fall. (?!? planning for fall already ?!? I'll hold on that thought....)

I've been working on a few more smaller projects, but they need pictures still. More to come...

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Saturday, July 11

New Home, New Quilt

Curt & I moved to Nashville almost three weeks ago now and we have been going nonstop since. Our parents helped us move and spent the week in our new apartment. An extra bedroom and extra bathroom make it really easy for visitors now. After they left Curt got right to work recording some new/reworked songs for a demo. He worked hard on recording for a week and now the songs are being edited and mixed. I can't wait to hear at least a semi-final result.
Between recording Curt spent some time trying to fix our dryer. The hookup on the wall is in a crazy place and it was pretty comical watching him try to maneuver back there. The dryer still isn't working right, not his fault, but something's not quite right and I think it has to do with moving and something got jostled.. long story short, it's not drying. We have to send loads through two or three times. So that stinks and I still want to dig around a little inside and see if I can remove any more lint. Any suggestions?
Finally, my sister came to visit us last week and I decided it would be fun to make a quilt with her. She's helped me sew coasters and a few other little things before, but nothing of this magnitude. We decided to make a quilt for my parent's anniversary and a new comforter for their camper seemed like the perfect idea. Not my first color choices, but it matches their trailer perfectly. And we wanted to go with the grey because their bedding always gets so dirty while camping, what with the dog, the dirt, the sand.. grey should hide all that grime between vacations. This isn't a final product, we were in such a hurry to finish I forgot to take pictures in the end. I'll have my sister take some of it in it's new home in the camper.
It is loosely based on a Denise Schmidt Squares quilt, but we didn't use any pattern .. just winged it. The solid blocks have 6, 7, & 8 inch squares in the middle. The two-tone squares are two different sizes as well. All finished blocks are 12" square. We didn't prewash our fabrics (mostly Kona cotton solids) and had quilt a bit of shrinking. The final size is about 54" X 76". Seems small for a bed, I realize, but the bed in my parent's camper is TINY and this fit just perfectly, thank goodness. I panicked a bit after my sister doubted her measurements of the original bedspread.
(Please excuse the box that has yet to be unpacked and the Finn monster eyeing the quilt. He can't stay off quilts when I'm trying to figure them out on the floor.)

Now off to work for the night.. I hate that. I was able to transfer to the local Olive Garden here. Not my ideal job, but I'm really grateful to have something when so many people are out of work. Curt has been doing mystery shops around town to supplement, but we are both in search of more permanent employment. Anyone in Nashville hiring? :-)

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