Thursday, December 30

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Curt & I spent Christmas in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with his family. We all stayed in a rental for the week in honor of his grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. 

We were right on the beach, which was strange since it was very freezing cold all week.

The beach is littered with these houses and hotels the colors of sherbet, a stark contrast to the wet sand and bleak winter skies. 

Sadly, a lot of these older hotels are literally being washed away into the ocean, held back only by these sandbags. 

But would you look at those colors?! 

Curt's uncle brought along a tree, which we decorated with handmade ornaments and bows, carefully cut snowflakes, and a popcorn and cranberry garland. It was very sweet and really turned the beach house into a special Christmas getaway. 

This little guy woke everyone up nice and early Christmas morning; it was fun to share Christmas with little kids again - they make the day a little more magical. 

These two had the honor of passing out presents to everyone. Among the gifts were a new camera, a Nook ebook reader, a new hat & scarf set, and plenty of toys for the little ones. 

I gifted Curt's family with this quilt I've been working on. Sorry I don't have better pictures, I'm working on obtaining some more. I finished the binding while we were there and never got a chance (aka I forgot) to take pictures of it in it's entirety. 
Curt's mom also got an iPad, so I now I will be making a sleeve for that.

We had a great time with Curt's family, we don't get to see them a lot, so it was nice to have time to catch up. We even got to meet the newest cousin for the first time, even though he was born way back in May. 

Because of impending snow storms, we all packed up and left the house on Christmas day. We headed up to Pennsylvania, which turned out to be a nightmare of a drive due to bad directions. After about 12 hours of driving we made it to our destination and called it a night (although it was really morning!) We spent a couple days with Curt's grandma and great aunt before heading back to Nashville. 

Overall we drove something like 37 hours and I have never been so sick of a car in my life! I was overjoyed to be home again, back to work, and back to my normal schedule. 

Since we were with Curt's family, we missed out on the fun in Michigan with my families, including this little cutie in the pants I made for him - yet another pair of Quick Change Trousers from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings

The pants are made from a burgundy corduroy shirt and a plaid shirt, both thrifted. When I saw the plaid shirt I knew it would be perfect for Christmas pants. The vest was already picked out, so it was a match made in heaven. The booty panel on the pants is the same plaid, and corduroy on the plaid reverse. I had plenty of fabric left over so I made the matching plaid bow-tie. I'm so glad to see it all fit and matched, making the sweetest outfit for his first Christmas! 

Hopefully I'll be getting more pictures of our holiday from other family members and I'll be sure to share those too! 

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and enjoy your New Year's Eve bashes! I have to work but hope to join a friends' party just before the ball drops. At the very least, I'll be able to give my honey a midnight kiss and make a wish for a wonderful 2011! 

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Wednesday, December 22

A Little Quilting

In the little spare time I have, I've been stitching up a few quilt tops for Anna Maria Horner's Rainbow Around the Block. If you don't know what I'm talking about, take a look at the link. The short story is: Anna Maria also lives in Nashville and after the May floods decided to give back to the community by collecting quilt blocks to be stitched into quilts for those who lost everything.

Hundreds of blocks were sent in, as well as a number of partially completed tops, sets, and finished quilts. A few others who live in Nashville have gathered twice so far to sew the tops together and make sense of everything she'd collected.

This charming woodland quilt was actually made from two different tops that were sent in. One must have been made of a few charm packs to form a small quilt top. The other top was actually about 1/3 of a quilt top made of blocks with the bear applique. I ripped the two tops apart and stitched them back together to make this pretty giant quilt top that will fit perfectly into a Tennessee home.

This quilt is made of the same block sent in from many different people. I think it was one of the block patterns Anna's children designed.

Here we have the infamous flamingo quilt. The interesting thing about asking others to send in blocks is the fact that you never know what you're going to get. There were a few shall we say - "funky" - blocks made with novelty fabrics that took special consideration to work into quilts. Anna Maria offered five bucks to anyone who could make the flamingo blocks work so I took on the challenge. It turned out to be a great success, thanks to all of you who sent in pink and lime blocks. Now that I think of it though, Anna Maria still owes me that $5 :)

This quilt top was such a delight to sew together. It started with a stack of blocks from the same person, deep tones from Kaffe Fassett, that I combined with other gorgeously bold blocks. The result was stunning and to be honest, I wish I could keep this quilt for myself!

I took over backing duties on the second group sewing day along with Kirsty. We had a giant roll of Good Folks to back all the quilts.

Can I just say how much fun it was to swim in that sea of Good Folks fabric all day long?!

Overall it was such an amazing experience. It was so nice to meet local quilters who are closer to my age, and there was even talk of starting regular modern quilt meetings! And it was such a learning experience to see how other people think creatively. Creating quilts from random blocks was also a test in creative thinking. There were some amazing blocks, there were some odd blocks, and there were just some straight up ugly blocks, but we managed to make them all work together to make beautiful quilts for the people of Nashville. 
Anyone recognize any blocks you sent in?

Here's a video of our second sewing day. Be sure to look out for me talking :)

In other news, here's a sneak peak of a Christmas quilt I've been working on:

I'm still working on hand-stitching the binding to the back, but it will definitely be done by Christmas morning and I know the recipient will love it!

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Tuesday, December 21

Christmas is Coming

Are you ready for Christmas?

To be honest, it snuck up on me this year. Thanksgiving came and went and life took over, and all of the sudden Christmas is days away!

We decorated a little - the tree, stockings (not yet hung in this photo), and a few Christmas knick knacks around the house. We aren't home much to enjoy the decorations, but these are just enough to get us in the spirit. Curt fought hard for a real tree, but after seeing how expensive they were (not so in Anderson, Indiana!) we decided to go without. We were both bummed about it, and I couldn't let Curt go without a tree so I searched high & low on Craigslist and found a fake tree for cheap. Now we have a perfect little tree for years to come!

Wouldn't it be cool if this was our house decorated like this?! 

It's not, but it's in our neighborhood, and to be honest, it's kind of an eyesore. During the day all those blow-up decorations are just dead carcasses in the yard, which is a little freaky. 

The car was zooming too fast to get a good shot in the dark, but you get the idea! The lights really are pretty. 

Nashville got hit with a snow storm last week. It wasn't so much a snow storm as it was a few flurries, but the whole city shut down for a couple days.

This hill next to our house proved to be a big problem for those who live at the top after it all turned to ice. Curt and I spent a substantial amount of time at this window, watching cars try to make it up the hill. 

That Sunday I went into work and shut the store down because of the impending weather. I live about 3 miles from my work, but it took me two hours to get home because of all the idiot drivers on the icy roads. My Michigan training and all-wheel drive served me well, but I watched a few cars come within inches of mine because the drivers didn't know how to handle the situation. I took the above picture while stuck on the road waiting for cars to be pushed out of the intersection. Our neighborhood is that intersection. I sat there, 100 yards away from our neighborhood, for a good 30 minutes. It was such a relief to finally make it home safe before anyone crashed into our car!

In last minute Christmas preparations, packages have been sent. 

Presents for my mom and Christmas pants for baby Nicholas plus a little extra surprise. I didn't take any pictures, so I'll have to wait until his mommy sends me some to share them. 

Here we are on Thanksgiving - he's wearing another pair of pants I made. They looked adorable, and since I knew what he would be wearing, I though a little coordination was in order :) 

Hope your Christmas plans are all falling into place. Are there any last minute things you still need to do? Good luck!
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Monday, December 20

Festival of Cakes

I'm not sure if three cakes count as a "festival of cakes," but it sounded good, right?

I don't get a lot of chances to make creative cakes at work, but the Christmas season seemed like the perfect excuse. Inside these cakes is candy cane and dark chocolate ice creams, yum!

Then my favorite customers ordered a cake for their daughter's birthday party at school and it was, well, the icing on the cake :)

Decorated to match their party paper products. So cute, yeah?!
(This is for the same family who ordered the Paul Frank and rock & roll cakes.) 

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Sunday, December 19

this moment

{this moment} - A weekend ritual, inspired by SouleMamaA single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Are your stockings hung? 

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Friday, December 10

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual, inspired by SouleMamaA single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Our first snow of the season, just the way we like it! (barely there!)

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Saturday, December 4

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday [or Saturday] ritual, inspired by SouleMamaA single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Hope your holiday season is off to a good start! Ours is, courtesy of time with family, friends, and maybe a little wine, sangria, and/or tequila via frozen margarita.

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Friday, November 26

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual, inspired by SouleMamaA single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Hoping everyone had as wonderful a Thanksgiving as we did - full of family, new babies, football, turkey, and great friends! 

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Monday, November 22

Small Things for a Small Human

I've been itching to try Anna Maria Horner's Quick Change Trousers and finally had the perfect excuse when my cousin commissioned a few items for her son Nicholas. 

I combined some fabric in my stash with some new fabric and came up with these adorable (and reversible!) pants: 

The best thing about handmade clothing is that it is custom, meaning skinny little babies like Nicholas can have a pair of pants that fit!

Nicholas received these just as he turned 4 months, but I actually made the 0-3 month size from the book and reduced the elastic length by a few inches. 

{please excuse the crazy colors - that lime green was hard to photograph!}

I hear they fit him perfectly, right now his legs are 11" long, which is the rolled-up length, according to the book. The book recommends measuring baby's waist to ensure a proper fit, and this was definitely necessary for Nicholas. 

The pattern was very easy to follow, which seems to be the theme with Anna Maria's patterns. The pants went together quickly, the directions made sense, and after the first pair, they are easy to whip up from memory. 

We (Stacey, Nicholas, and I) were so happy with the final product that we thought a pair of Thanksgiving pants were in order!

Corduroy pants will be perfect for Thanksgiving in Michigan and the reverse lining on these is really soft. 

The booty panel reminds me of turkey feathers and I love the earthy tones. The corduroy itself came from a pair of thrifted J.Crew pants. It felt a little crazy cutting them up, but I was able to make one pair out of one leg, making it frugal to sew these baby pants out of high quality fabric.

The reverse is a brick red color, not exactly what's portrayed in the photos, but it's a perfect Thanksgiving color.

The back has a small navy blue gingham panel. Cute, yes? 
I'm still trying to figure out what elastic-wasted pants I should wear to Thanksgiving this year :) 

Nicholas also needed some lightweight caps to wear. It's not cold enough for fleece in Michigan yet, so these jersey knit caps are just the ticket. Cool enough to wear in an indoor environment, cozy enough to wear out and about while running errands. 

I used this tutorial from Sew Liberated. The tutorial was great but for whatever reason, my sewing machine refused to cooperate with the knit fabric. I tried a jersey ball point needle, a regular needle, different sizes, it seemed like no matter what I did, it was skipping zig zag stitches - very annoying! Any suggestions? It worked fine on the straight stitches, just decided to boycott the zig zags. 

We are enjoying the nice weather in Nashville for the next few days before heading up to chilly Michigan for Thanksgiving. Do you have any special holiday plans? 

[ETA: Stacey just posted a photo of Nicholas in his pants on their blog, so I stole it so you can all ooh and ahh over the cutie!]

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