Monday, March 1, 2010


I LOVE fabric. I am so amazed by the continued brilliance of all of the great designers out there...I love feeling the different textures and seeing all of the latest prints and's so much fun! I have such a love of the quilt store and all of the latest, greatest all-cotton fabrics that I have rarely ventured outside my comfort zone for sewing. So, in effort to improve myself and my fledgling sewing abilities, I took a crafting challenge from Shipwreck, an amazing local handmade & vintage boutique locally. I was given a package (total surprise what would be inside), with the meager instructions: "Make something new". I asked if I could add to whatever supplies I received and was told I could...and I took my package out and my friend and I tore it open as soon as we got to the car.
What we found For some crazy reason I thought I'd receive yardage of fabric. I did not. What I did receive was an ugly yellow prom dress (and the embossed roses on it almost did me in alone with their ugliness...not my thing at all!), a striped stretch Tommy Hilfiger blazer (hello, 90s!), and a brown crocheted purse with plastic handles.

Here's the original dress....I used the lining on the outside of the skirts for the girls because the print on the dress was just dreadful!

I spent two weeks thinking, "What the heck am I going to do with all of this?!?"...but seeing as the challenge was timed and I had a month, I figured I'd better get to work.
So, I nervously began cutting apart my items...and here's what I came up with.

I added some Amy Butler fabric to the purse...the whole outside was initially the yellow fabric, but it just didn't hold its shape well for the structure of the it was relegated to the top "clutch" piece of the inside and outside.

Skirt for my Kaia
"Bubble" skirt for my Emma...I stuffed it with tulle from the lining of the dress to give it definition, but it looked weird and was oddly heavy, so I just left it "unstuffed" but I think it will be floaty and pretty when its on!

I learned I do not like sewing on slimy, shiny fabrics like this polyester/satiny yellow...I REALLY like repurposing pockets (as I did with the ones on the outside of the blazer...I made them inner pockets on the purse, and it was SO easy and they look really cute!), and I reinforced my love of creating without patterns or rules. I love that I sewed the skirts without measuring was very free and fun!

I still LOVE quilting and have some Heather Ross mermaid fabric that's been calling my name from my stash for months...its calls are getting louder, I must make a quilt!!! But, I did learn a lot about deconstructing thrifted clothes and repurposing, so this was a really great detour from my usual sewing!

Monday, October 26, 2009


My nephew's hand-painted nursery walls!

Turtles and wavey-swirled-stippling!

My sweet nephew is due around Thanksgiving...and I can't wait to meet him! His nursery is AMAZING, artfully done by my sis and her boyfriend, Brandon. It's a Dr. Seuss theme, and I made a Dr Seuss baby quilt to match the room...I couldn't find Dr Seuss fabric anywhere, so I bought a Pottery Barn sheet...and all of the characters were odd sizes and was a total fun puzzle to design a quilt around the fabric!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sock Monkeys!

I started this quilt for this sweet little girl while I was pregnant...she's now 2 1/2! It's Sock Monkey flannel with a red Oh-So-Soft snuggly comfortable but throw-sized so a grown-up can use it, too! I am so happy to cross another "UFO" off of my list!! I quilted little bananas into the center squares...for the most part they're a little questionable-looking, but I think you get the idea! :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pickled Watermelon Rind!

I love trying new foods...and somewhere inside of me is a Prairie Mom itching to get out. I SO love any handmade crafts, and down-home, throwback recipes. We had watermelon this weekend, and I suddenly had the urge to turn this sweet Summer treat into some pickled watermelon rind! I scoured the internet for recipes, and took the best bits of each...and here's what I came up with:
STEP ONE: Cut away all of the flesh (pink) and peel (green) of the melon, leaving only the rind. (Now if you know me, you know I don't measure when I cook, and I do things as well as I can easily but I'm not OCD about it...some of you would use a toothpick to scrape away every last vestige of pink but this is what mine looked like) and cut into about 1" pieces. Put the pieces in a bowl with water to cover and a couple of teaspoons of salt to soak in the fridge overnight.
STEP TWO (it is now the next day :): Rinse the melon in a colander, and place it in a stockpot covered with new, fresh water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. While this is happening, cut a square of cheesecloth and place 5 cinnamon sticks broken into small-ish pieces, about a teaspoon of cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seed. (I didn't measure it and it came out great!)
STEP THREE: Tie up your cheesecloth into a cute little pouch!
STEP FOUR: Oh look, the watermelon is boiling! Boil it for 30 minutes over medium heat.
STEP FIVE: While the watermelon is boiling, put 2 quarts of Apple Cider vinegar (or white, I used the former) in a stockpot with 2 1/2 cups of sugar (approx.). Add that adorable little sachet of spices and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir to make sure sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and let rest 15 minutes.
STEP SIX: When the watermelon's done, drain it.
STEP SEVEN: Put the watermelon into the vinegar mixture and heat to boiling over medium heat. Boil for 45 minutes until watermelon is translucent. After 40 minutes of boiling, remove the spice sachet.
Remove from heat. Allow to cool, and can as you would can anything else, or put in a clean pickle jar in the fridge for more immediate eating :) I did the latter, and I used this recipe with the rind of one large melon.
The finished product! It is SO yummy! You can still taste the watermelon-y flavor but it has a lovely pickle-y crunch...I am SO making this again!

Monday, July 27, 2009


L-O-V-E this new fabric. SOOO much! L-O-V-E this girl lots and lots, too!
It's a Japanese upholstery-weight, and I think it will have to be a new tote for the Alaska Cruise in a couple of weeks...if it gets done in time....but the nice thing about the quilting cruise is that I can sew on it while I'm there, too, with tons of fabulous Scottie Dog Quilts Quilters!! :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Clutchy, clutchy.

This is my first attempt at a clutch. I went into JoAnn fabrics last week and the linen was literally staring me down. Literally. It was right in front, first row, 60% off. What's a girl to do? Then I tried to buy one yard, and there was another 3/4 on the bolt that they gave me 75% off of the 60% off...anyway, how could I not? So now I have this gorgeous linen, and only a fat quarter of some ADORABLE bird fabric Liz bought selvage, no idea who made it, only that it's Windham (I think). So I thought, "I guess I'll add some linen". I looked at a bunch of patterns online, made some pleats (now that I know how! :) and then didn't know what to do for the top...I found this pattern and used it for the shape idea for the top of the clutch...and then I made it a different size, different width and height, and used contrasting lining, added a zipper and wrist strap (my first zip, BTW, a little wonky but workable!)...and it's done!
I can't wait to make another!!!!

Relay For Life--and the amazing Margaret's Hope Chest

I have to post about someone who staggers me with her kindness. I can't even find the right words to describe how remarkable I think is. She makes quilts simply to bless people. Margaret's Hope Chest is my hero! I entered a giveaway on her blog through Sew, Mama, Sew....and I won! I never win anything, and I was thrilled to win this gorgeous quilt! (image courtesy of

My husband and I in our team regalia at Relay

I wanted to use this quilt to raise money for American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and our team, Mel's Movers, in honor of our dear Auntie Mel (her photo is on our bright green shirts), who lost a courageous battle with lung cancer a couple of years ago. We put the quilt on the very front of our table and it received so many comments and sold so many tickets....we were so thrilled! We drew a winner at random from the lottery, and she was just ecstatic to win this handmade masterpiece!!!
The quilt gracing the front of our booth
Our team
Survivor Lap at Relay for Life 2009
Thank you, Margaret's Hope Chest, for all that you do. The gift of this quilt is something I will carry with me always...and I know the recipient will treasure it forever. What you do and what you are teaching your children with your positivity and gifts of love is so remarkable...and I truly admire you! You are amazing!!!