Category Archives: home

Gift commission.

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My lovely friends Sam and Amanda, who I made this quilt for last year, asked me to make a set of placemats and napkins for a wedding gift.  Amanda suggested grey and mustard yellow so I set off to The Little General and got a lovely stack.

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Each of the eight placemats and napkins are different.  I roughly used this tutorial though I used fusible fleece, quilted the front with a variegated grey thread, and used the pillowcase method.

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The placemats measure approximately 13″ by 18″ and the napkins, white on the other back sides, are 17″ square.

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I wish I’d gotten better pictures but that’s what happens when you finish something 5 minutes before the deadline!  Sam and Amanda loved these and had a hard time giving them away.  I can only hope their friends Chris and Clair love them too! (Sam and Chris made a documentary together called Wagonmasters that’s super awesome.)

Lamp redo.

I recovered this lamp weeks ago and I’m just getting around to showing it off!IMG_0878

I found this lamp at the Rescue Mission Thrift Store and loved the shape of it but the base was a tan yellow color and the shade was cracked.  I swear I saw a photo from quilt market a few times back with a lamp similar to this in the background of Anna Maria Horner‘s booth, but I can’t seem to find it again. I loved it when I saw it and knew it’s what I wanted to do to this one.

I pieced three feathers using remnants of this pillow, and using a template I made by tracing the curvature of the shade, pieced turquoise sections to complete the circle. I stretched it over the old shade and using fabric glue, rolled the edges over the top and bottom. I spray painted the base a glossy white, and voila!IMG_0881

I love it!

Patchwork dinner napkins.

This is one of those projects that I’ve meant to make for years.  Whenever I go to Caitlin‘s house, I’m always pleased at all her homemade napkins used for every meal.  So much nicer than paper towels!  So, with a dinner guest coming last night, I decided now was the time.

I started with the Denyse Schmidt FMF bouquet fabric because I love it, I had a full yard, and my living room/eating space is grey and yellow. From there, I picked coordinating scraps, sewed some patchwork strips, and added FreeSpirit Arctic white.  I did my math a little wrong and they only turned out about 16½”, but that’s okay.

Now I want to make place mats, coasters, a table runner… all matter of useful things!

Snippets of my house.

My new apartment is coming together, slowly but surely.  I painted my bedroom and living room in the last couple weeks and I love it so much.  Most of it is a pale grey called Grey Owl with an accent wall in the living room called Sunshine (maybe the brightest yellow ever) and one in the bedroom called Hot Lips (magenta).  I’m saving up for a trip to Ikea for a couple things and my friend Laura has very graciously given me three tables.  It’s definitely not done but I took a few photos this morning.

I thrifted this mirror for $2 and spray painted it.  It’s coincidentally nearly the same yellow as the opposite wall.

My favorite way to organize everything.

I thrifted this shelf with hooks, the mirror, and the brass candlesticks.  The candle is from my friend Sarah and the magnolia print is by the wonderful Andy Kurtts, whom I met at the Hand 2 Hand Market.This is art by my talented friends.  From left to right there are pieces by Liz Simmons, Zap McConnell, another one by Liz, Caleb Williams, and Molly Bolton.

Snippets of life.

Where did I go the last couple weeks?   No where, just not here apparently.

I don’t have any big finishes or anything quite yet but I wanted to share a few snippets of life around here lately.

Remember I set a goal to bake a loaf of bread every week this year?  Well week two was pizza crust and may I say, it was amazing.  The recipe I used, from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, made enough for five 10″ pizzas so I used two and froze the rest. Mine, pictured above, had roasted garlic, olive oil, bacon, caramelized onions, and fresh basil, with mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and feta cheese.  Yum!

I spent a gift card at Marshall’s and got, among lots of other kitchen things, a lovely green Le Creuset pan into which, I promptly made blondies.  I added whiskey and instant espresso to the batter and seeing as they spread so thin, it’s possible I ate twice as much :)

This is quilt three of three for Catherine’s nieces.  I finished sewing the binding on the front today and will complete it tonight in front of the tv (Castle and Parks & Rec have returned!) and then it will be in the wash for all three followed by a photo shoot with Cait in a couple weeks!

I got a sweet Groupon deal for a portable iPod speaker system that a friend of mine had recommended.  My computer speakers just don’t get loud enough when cooking or washing dishes and this is a great solution!  It came with a small bag and strap but I think I’ll definitely be needing a much prettier one!

I actually made this a couple months ago but never showed it.  It’s only 8″ square (instead of 24″) but now I’m not sure what to do with it!  I think I might streamline it a little and  use some in a larger quilt.  I like these as minis!

When I started rearranging my studio a few months ago (no, I’m still not done :-/ ), I took down a couple pieces of beloved artwork so I knew they needed to be hung elsewhere.  So now they adorn the hallway and I’m able to see them multiple times a day, and a couple of them when I’m laying in bed.  The three on the left are done by the lovely Laura Lashley, the middle and top right are by Liz Simmons, and the bottom right is by Molly Bolton.

Remember when I mentioned a tattoo I got being part of a larger art project?  Well the show is up this month at the Electric Moustache gallery and Evan did such a fabulous job!  He took photographs of all of us that participated and our tattoos and made a video loop of our horses in motion.  You can see the video here.  It’s based on a series of photographs by Eadweard Muybridge in 1877 who set out to prove whether or not when a horse runs, all it’s feet leave the ground at once.  Through the photographs, he pioneered stop motion animation. I love the tattoo and the show and I’m so happy to be a part of this project!

I’ve been feeling the need to sew clothes lately.  I’m on the search for an easy, versatile top that I could make a lot of.  This is Simplicity 3835, a Built by Wendy pattern that I had a lot of hope for.  I’ve made the shorter dress with the ties before and it fit super awkwardly but I hoped the shirt would be better.  And it’s not really.  This picture actually isn’t bad but I kind of just feel like I’m wearing a bag :(  There are darts in the back but it doesn’t give it enough shape.  I could either shirr the waist or I could easily take it in but then I’d have to put in a zipper… I plan to work with it and see if I can’t make it better.

I ordered myself a couple things!  I love getting books in the mail.  I got a red sketchbook because I’d like to start drawing/sketching again this year (I haven’t done it since 11th grade), Denyse Schmidt Quilts (I didn’t realize until looking through it recently how much I love almost all the quilts in it!), and Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.

Speaking of which, I’m excited to tell you that my friend Cait and I are embarking on a challenge in 2012 to make a project a month from LMP+QG!  We have designated 12 projects and will be blogging about them the last Thursday of each month.  I very rarely buy quilting books because I feel like I have to be drawn to a majority of the projects, so this is a good prodding for me to try some things I might not, otherwise.  After flipping through a few books that Cait owns, we settled on this one because it has a range of projects, and because of the iconic Color Wheel Quilt.  (That’s when I also realized I was drawn to a lot of DS’s projects so I threw that in my shopping cart, too.)  Can’t wait to show some things off!

Christmas weekend.

This Christmas was pretty nice.  It’s wasn’t as snowy and awesome as last year but it was a weekend filled with sleep and cooking and a couple new things.

Saturday night I made pretzel rolls

and used them for sandwiches with sauteed sausage and onions and they were delicious!  The pretzel bread was so easy, I want to make them all the time.

Having started them the night before, I baked  no-knead pumpkin rolls on Sunday morning that were so good.  The recipe made 17 rolls; so what if I ate two for breakfast yesterday and today and one for dessert?  There’s no time like the holidays to be a fat kid :)

For Christmas dinner I made garlic schmeared rosemary chicken, butternut squash risotto with sage and bacon, crispy parmesan asparagus sticks, Martha’s trusty baked macaroni & cheese, and garlic pull apart bread (based on this recipe).

The risotto didn’t really work, I think it just lacked seasoning and I wish the squash had been more finely cut.  The asparagus wasn’t very good either.  I didn’t get pre-seasoned Panko breadcrumbs, which might have made the difference.  But all in all, the deliciousness of the chicken, bread, and pasta made up for it!  And I was pretty proud of myself for making three yeast breads in 24 hours!

One of my goals for Christmas day was to learn how to crochet granny shapes (hexagons in this case).  I pinned this photo on Pinterest months ago so following the tutorial, I made a couple and I love them!

I’m just using some Bamboo Ewe yarn I got with coupons at JoAnn’s and I thought I would stick with these same four colors the entire time but I might throw in a couple more along the way, keeping the grey outer ring a constant.  Three down, only 78 more to go!

Remember the photo I posted of the wrapped books I received and were saving for Christmas morning?  Well I eagerly opened them and spent a couple hours just flipping through the pages.

My dad so kindly got me The Break Baker’s Apprentice, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, and The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt so I can join in on the quilt along next month!  I’m so excited about all these things.  I was really inspired by a sentiment Amanda talked about when we met at the Sewing Summit.  She talked of her desire to live a handmade life and I absolutely want to do the same thing.  Any small thing I can quilt to use around the house, making more of my own food, using my hands to knead bread and mend things; that sounds like such a rewarding life.

Oh and of course, how can I forget that I finally joined Instagram!  I love seeing everyone’s photos from there but hate that you have to have particular Apple products to use it.  I have a Mac but nothing else that would work, until Friday when Marcus brought home an iPad, a year end gift from his boss!  I won’t be carrying it around with me so I’ll only be posting things around the house but I still get to “like” and comment on other people’s things.  My name is @kaitcetera and you should follow me!

With new toys comes the creation of new things to use with them.  I noticed the hunching problem when using it while sitting down so following Betty Crocker Ass’ tutorial, I made a handy iPad rest!

The fabric was one of the only home dec fabrics I have in my stash (Amy Butler Imperial Fans in forest from Nigella), and definitely the least “girly” one.  Marcus and I have a bit of an argument about what’s manly :) I bought 5 or so yards of a wood grain fabric I fell in love with a few years ago and used it heavily in his quilt (and lots of other projects) but he insists it’s not actually manly at all. I want to make an iPad case but he said he wanted it to be black and purely functional.   What’s the fun in that?

So instead, I finally made a lined drawstring bag from Jeni’s wonderful tutorial!  It really was so simple and the fabric combinations are endless so I’m sure there are many more in my future.  I used fabric from my stash: an unknown floral print, the aforementioned wood grain, a yellow DS Quilts print, and an off-white twill tape for the pulls.

Ah, the holidays.

I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone and that December is nearly here, and yesterday is was 70 degrees outside.  I hope everyone had a nice holiday!

I have finally caught up on blogs from the last month and the time to sew feverishly for the craft faire has come.

I’ve mentally prepared myself for winter and have been making paper snowflakes as wishful thinking.

It looks to be a quiet day around here, a cup of tea, the smell of garlic as I roast some for soup, making monkey bread, organizing my room with things I got at Ikea last week, and plenty of cuddles with the animals.

Recap.

I wanted to post a quick recap about the last couple weeks, including the visit with my mom Kerrie and aunt Reen.  They came to see me from California for almost a week and were so generous with their time (cleaning) and money; I’m glad they came!

We did a couple touristy things that I wouldn’t probably do by myself like go to the Reynolda House.  It’s the historical home of RJ Reynolds (a very attractive man, as it turns out) that houses both the original furniture and history, as an art museum, currently showing Modern Masters from the Smithsonian.  I really enjoyed the whole experience.  There are also beautiful gardens near the home that while not in season, are still well manicured and lovely.  The garden is surrounded in weeping cherry trees that are probably gorgeous in spring (future quilt photography site?); I’ll definitely be returning.

We drove up to Asheville for a day and it was a beautiful day with the perfect fall colors. I had never been to Asheville before and didn’t really know what to do with the few hours we had so we wandered around the arts district by the river a little bit, ate at the Early Girl, went into the Grove Arcade,

and lots of other little shops.  There’s a lot of really interesting history there (not that I know it, I just know it’s there) and so much art and busking. At only two hours away, and a lovely drive at that, I’ll definitely go up there again.

We ate a lot of good food while they were here including 6th and Vine, Mellow Mushroom, Breakfast of Course, and First Street Draught House, while I made steak tacos, mini broccoli pesto lasagnas, and chili.  Yum!  They were really gracious and bought me so many great things I needed like a bath mat, a Swiffer-like cleaner, an immersion blender (even though it was 4 times more expensive than thought!), a nice little cat perch for the window, dishes, soap, chocolate, and a massage!  They also mowed both yards, scrubbed my shower, mopped the whole upstairs, and did countless dishes.  I wish they were around all the time! :)

While it was great to have them around, I didn’t realize how much time I usually have to myself.  After I took them to the airport I spent the day laying around, doing pretty much nothing. I’m enjoying some alone time before Holly comes next week!

I finally finished a Swoon block!

Goodness gracious, this quilt is so labor intensive, especially when I’m trying to make two at one time and have sewn a few things wrong.  The coloring of this picture is off but this quilt is both a gift and part of the Habitat challenge in the Modern Quilt Guild (and I am using three different neutrals).  Unlike most people, from what I’ve gathered, I love this line and bought a half yard set and would like to get more.  I can already tell I’m going to love this quilt.

The weather has been lovely and wonderfully autumnal but today it took a turn for the cold this weekend.  (It was 74 yesterday and it’s more like 40 today.)  I turned the heat on for the first time and am making Herbed White Bean and Sausage Stew for dinner.

Tomorrow is the big Halloween party at work.  You have to dress up to get in, hundreds of people come, and all out friends play in amazing cover bands.  Last yea the boyfriend and I only stayed for half of it but we saw the Zombies which were amazing.  This year will be Weezer, Led Zeppelin, Dick Dale, the Buzzcocks, and Nirvana.  I’m working it and I’m really looking forward to it.  Pictures to come!

Tomorrow is also Marcus’s birthday!  Whoo!  I bought him a little something and I think we’ll go to dinner.  Nothing fancy but he (we) isn’t too hard to please :)

Hopefully I’ll have more crafty photos to share soon!

A little clean up.

Nothing like guests to make you clean the house.  Usually that just means the kitchen and the dining room but since Caitlin was coming over on Sunday afternoon, I had to clean my studio and make sure two people could fit in there  :)  While cleaning, I came across a few orphaned blocks that I stuck to my project wall, thinking maybe I’ll do something with them.

North Carolina is one of the hungriest states in the US.  It was brought up recently (through a source I cannot find) and it spurred on some people around here to do something about it.  My friend and coworker Philip put together a compilation of local bands for fall.  (You can listen to it here.)  A local visual artist was paired with each band to create a piece of art that correlated or was inspired by the song on the comp.  There was also a festival this last week/end including most of the bands and a gallery show of the art.  All the proceeds from the sale of the compilation go to the Second Harvest Food Bank (you can also buy it here!).  We got a group of artists together to make art pieces that were approximately 6 by 6 inches that were donated and sold to benefit the food bank as well.  I made this…

It didn’t sell but I really like it and it’s inspired me to make a series of 6″ blocks to finish and hang.  I started a small paper pieced hexagon block to get my collection going.