Thursday, February 26, 2015

sneak peek of Colly Bird

Colly bird is an old English expression meaning blackbird. That's what was originally in the song. I like the idea of a blackbird ornament. But he doesn't mind if you say Calling Bird. You can make him whatever color you like. Give him a tiny iPhone.

I'm finishing up the pattern and samples and will have it all together and released...erm...soonish. I just wanted you to get a preview of him because I really love him. And for proof of progress.

I'm getting many firsthand sightings of his real life brothers and sisters during the migration. Huge flights of blackbirds land periodically in our yard to terrorize the squirrels in our bird feeder. It's a little Hitchcock-y while they are all sitting in the trees around the house.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

say it with popcorn

My friend Robyn is The Gift Swami. She knows exactly what will make me squeal like a little girl. Like the above.

And the above.

And these.

And this. Sigh.
This list could get very long. My house and person are peppered with recent thoughtful birthday and Christmas Robyn gifts.

But this? A popcorn popping pan with a rotating handle thingy? YES. Because even though when I opened it at Christmas I had more of a puzzled-raised-eyebrow-reaction than a squeal she knew that I would love this Whirley-Pop. AND I DO. Oh, yes, yes, YES I do!

I love me some popcorn. I eat it several days a week. To the point where I can sense without looking the slightly judgy arched brow of my husband as I bring yet another late night bowl of popcorn to the TV. I've contemplated serving popcorn for dinner many times, but microwave popcorn doesn't really ping the meter for that. It's quick of course, and the brand we buy is relatively not horrible for you.

But THIS. Is popcorn excellence. It tastes so much better than microwave popcorn. It's funny how you forget what things are supposed to taste like. I hadn't popped corn on the stove since high school.

Thanks to Robyn, it's great to have control over the type of corn we pop (read non-GMO). We can use healthy oil (we use olive oil) and vary the amount according to preference, 1-3 TBS (we use two). The rotating bar thingy inside the pan keeps the popcorn from burning and gets almost every kernel popped. No waste. No blackened kernels stuck to the pan.

Half a cup of kernels fills this deep pot entirely with popped popcorn. Way more than you get in a microwave bag.

After it's done you can heap all the salt or flavorings you want on top but my current favorite is this sesame oil that Robyn sent with it. Mmm mm mm mm mm. Yummo. Michael likes Tabasco.

Granted, cleanup is more than just tossing a greasy bag in the trash. But the effort involved is minimal. I give the lid a quick sponge and rinse the pot out with water and give it a wipe with a paper towel. Done. It just stays on my counter top because we use it so often. NOW I can serve popcorn for dinner if I like. Thank you again, Robyn, for elevating our popcorn habits. I just had to share your gifting prowess.

Now I will totally copy you and give this magical thing to others.

Monday, February 16, 2015

dog and cat gadget cozies

These gadget cozies were my Valentine gifts to my two girls. Dog and cat describes their relationship at times.

My girls do not have phones. We are old fashioned that way. Well, yes, they technically are old iPhones but have been stripped down to be music/camera/video/calendar gadgets. Like a Touch but without wifi. The girls love their gadgets and carry them everywhere, listening to music, creating elaborate custom backgrounds, taking selfies and recording silly videos of one another. (I came upon the youngest recording a song off the radio the other day with Voice Memo, old school style. Took me back to my days with my boom box and tape recorder. I said, "Um, why don't you just download it on iTunes?" and she said, "Mom, be quiet, you are ruining my recording.")

They are designed to hang on wrists, belt loops, purses or backpacks. (To attach them just squish the cozy through the loop, luggage tag style.) It will save their gadget some knocks and provide a nice place to stash their ear buds.

To make them I modified the small size Gadget Cozy pattern to be a bit taller to fit their 4Ss. I added a dipped rim in back, animal appliques, and Velcro closure. The puppy cozy is actually 5% bigger overall than the grumpy kitty cozy because it needed a little more wiggle room. Second time's the charm.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

mustard + leaves + pillow

What do you do when you have company coming over and a long list of things to do that are more pressing than sewing random decor items? Why, you disengage your brain and make a pillow. And when I say 'you' I mean me.

See? It needed a blot of mustard yellow just there. In my defense I actually had intended to sew this pillow cover for quite a while now because I ordered the cotton before Christmas specifically for that purpose. A very quick, sew-it-and-be-done-with-it, plain, solid pillow.

After the brain disengagement happened somehow the 'solid' part turned into 'eighteen leaf applique'. I'm not sure how that happened. But I loves it.

It was quick and scruffy looking applique. All on the machine. Cut the leaves from chambray, layed them down with dots of Tacky Glue, zig zagged the edges, and ran a white vein down the middles. The black stems are machine stitched with intentionally wobbly lines and the leaf veins got several back-and-forths of white stitching so they are more visible.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

look, I made a quilt!

My throw quilt. After listening to me whine and gripe and obsess about it for months, here it is! A little anticlimactic for you probably, but a triumph over adversity for me. Oh, my ever lovin' fancy word. I bow so lowly to you, quilters everywhere.

If you remember, I changed my mind at least twice about the design of the quilt top. I settled on this very simple half-square triangle composition. The fabrics for the quilt top are from a bundle of beautiful AMH fabrics I purchased many moons ago.

OK, so the back. I decided on a wonky double cross, which I adore. I'm not sure the turquoise is working but it's on there and I'll learn to love it. I had a limited choice of solid cottons locally and it was either this or a burnt orange. You wouldn't believe (or perhaps you would) how long I spent just staring at them both against the other fabrics and weighing the decision. This one. No, that one. Nooooo...This one. Think I might've loved the orange better. Gah. (closing eyes, raising arms and letting it go. whoosh)

I do really like the binding fabric. It was a cotton I found in the aisle at Jo-Ann. Hand sewing that binding on the back kinda took forever. Lots of TV time.

In hindsight this process makes this gift, already so well-loved and appreciated by all of us, look even more sacrificial. Thanks again, Robyn. And now your quilt has a buddy hanging right next to it on the quilt rack. We use them every day.