Sunday, September 28, 2008

Scrap Quilt Completed

I have finished the scrap quilt. It looks great as long as you don't analyze it too much. Haha. It's the first sort-of-pieced quilt I've ever made and I certainly learned a lot. I could have learned many things before making this quilt if I had just read my First-Time Quiltmaking book first. Like, being extremely accurate with measuring and cutting and like, sewing in a straight line (I did actually know all of these things...I just didn't do then since I wasn't following any instructions). Haha.

Also, I messed up the corners on the binding somehow. I have no idea what I did but they are pretty hideous.

Despite all of it's numerous flaws, I do love it because I love all the fabrics. And it's a nice little size for my lap while knitting or something. If it ever gets cool enough to ever want to touch yarn or have a blanket on me. Plus, I like the way it looks in our living room -- it makes the room a little more my style. Woot!


You may have noticed on my Twitter from a few days ago that my friend, Lisa, finally had her baby -- Jillian! She was born almost two weeks late which was making all of us (not to mention, Lisa) very anxious to meet this new little one! But, she was cooked just perfectly and born at home! I'm so happy for and proud of Lisa for getting to have the birth she wanted. Jillian is a very lucky baby to have such great parents.

Congratulations, Stephen and Lisa!

Sofia Blanket

On Saturday night we attended a really beautiful baby shower -- lots of twinkly lights and pink tulle and white linens. It was catered with some amazing Italian food, cake from Bread Basket Cake Company (as was the cake from my baby shower -- yummiest cake ever!) and attended by over 70 people!

The shower was held at the father-to-be's grandmother's house and I fell in love. The grounds and gardens of this house were my dream. Beautiful flower beds, fruit trees, lots of room for vegetable gardens, a beehive, grassy lawn and patios. There were even sheep next door. *Sigh*

But anyway, what we're really here to talk about is this Sofia Blanket that I designed and made for the baby-on-the-way. It's made with 3 different fabrics from Heather Bailey's new line. This fabric is so vivid and soft and with just some thin flannel as batting, the weight of this blanket ended up being so yummy. It was really, really hard to part with, but seeing how much the mommy liked it made it a bit easier. :)

So anyway, I'm thinking that I will make a few of these for sale on my etsy shop, once I get that up. My only worry is finding a good price point for something like this -- where it makes sense to cover the cost of the fabrics (this used nearly 3 yards of fabric total) and also so I could make a little bit of profit. What do you think? How much would you pay for a blanket like this? They would be made with beautiful, designer fabrics, the dimensions are approximately 30x36 and the batting is organic, un-dyed flannel. ???

A Happy Birthday Among the Germans

John's birthday was yesterday!

A couple of months ago John requested German Chocolate Cake for his birthday. I had never made one before, so I was a bit nervous. I just used the recipe on the German's Sweet Baking Chocolate box and it turned out great! From the looks of the baked cake, I was worried that it wasn't going to be very moist (it doesn't look very moist, does it?)and wasn't sure about the delish factor. But it was and it had it. We are having the last couple of pieces for dessert tonight. Along with the best vanilla ice cream ever, from Trader Joe's (it also happens to have about 100 calories more per serving than cheap-y vanilla ice cream -- but so worth it).

A local farm here, Underwood Family Farms, is having Oktoberfest this weekend so we had to hit that up. We listened to German music and watched men dance around in lederhosen and ate knockwurst with sauerkraut. What could be better? (Actually, if it wasn't 95 degrees it would have been way better. Also, actually being in Germany.)

We put William in a big pen of beans and I think he had more fun than he's ever had. He was very sad and cried when we finally had to leave -- maybe I'll have to put some beans in a box for him to play with here at home.

I think we made it up to him though, by getting these amazing handmade toys from a booth there at the fest. These wooden toys are handmade by a really nice man named Arlen, right here in town. I was freaking out at his booth. The toys are all adorable, really well made and very reasonably priced.

I have looked at wooden, American-made toys online and they are pretty pricey. And you have to pay shipping on top of that! That won't stop me from getting a couple of choice things, but I am really happy to have found someone local who makes such incredible toys. I wish he had a website so you could see all of his other toys -- helicopters, stack rings, cars, tic tac toe, tops and more. I'm sure you'll eventually see more of them here on this blog. :)

We also had dinner out with friends and attended a very fancy baby shower (which you'll soon hear more about), this weekend. And John got a panini press for his bday so we will definitely being trying that out this evening. Yum! Happy Birthday, John!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It Has Happened

It was only a matter of time. And today was the day. Our first episode of Baby Destruction.

Besides the usual ripping up of magazines/books, emptying of drawers, splashing in the toilet, dirt eating, computer re-booting, etc, we really haven't had anything exciting happen. What makes this even funnier (or, worse?) is that both John and I were standing there watching it happen.

And here's how it went down...

John was hurriedly trying to leave for his video shoot and William and I were in the bathroom hindering watching him getting ready. Will got into a bathroom drawer and took out my cosmetic case that contains all of my nail polish (I imagine you've already guessed where this is headed).

This wasn't the first time I had let William play with the polish -- it keeps him busy for quite awhile (his favorite is the red). This time, as I watched him put the bottles in and out of the bag I thought about 1)the fact that the floor is tile and 2)that the bottles are glass. However, I casually chose not to do anything to prevent imminent disaster.

After about 30 seconds, William missed the case and dropped a bottle on the tile. Predictably, it broke, and sparkly black nail polish quickly pooled around his feet. And then he promptly put his hands into it.

Like this, except sparkly black. And broken glass.

The polish ended up on the following:
William's hands, feet, legs and belly
William's shirt (RIP Dino shirt)
John's hands
My hands
The bathroom rug
The bathroom floor
The kitchen sink
The bathtub

After killing a few thousand brains cells each and using half a bottle of nail polish remover, we managed to get the mess cleaned up and John out the door.

I think we all learned a valuable lesson today. Any good Baby Destruction stories out there?

P.S. Speaking of nail polish -- I'm obsessed with this new color I just got. I first discovered it when I had my nails done on my birthday and I had to go buy my own bottle. It's called Lincoln Park After Dark. It is so radical (it's a bit darker than it appears in the photo).

Luckily, this bottle is still intact.

I'm a Winner!

That's right -- I won something! And it came in the mail yesterday which was a fantastic surprise. I'm always hoping to win a give-away from one of the lovely blogs I frequent (it seems like there have been a lot lately -- so many generous ladies!) and I finally did!

The give-away was held by Marné at hey lucy -- one of my favorite blogs! You can read about the give-way here and read about me winning it (and see a great list of recommended books), here.

I am almost half-way through the book already and I love it! It is really good. It's about a young girl growing up in Germany during WWII (as told by the Grim Reaper) -- a period that has always interested me. Ever since my grandparents took me to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. when I was twelve years old, I've felt a draw and a strong interest in the events during that time period. I have probably read 15-20 books -- fiction and non -- about the holocaust and surrounding events. It's just so fascinating and disturbing. It's hard to believe it happened. And that things like it still happen today. Humans are strange beings, to be sure.

Along with the book, Marné sent the following:

Isn't this pin cushion the sweetest?? It's super tiny -- perfect for my "take-along" sewing and knitting projects -- and in a tart pan! I've been using it while tie-ing my quilt to hold my needle.

She also sent a cute handmade notebook (how will I ever decide what's worthy to write on those pages?) and a nice note. It was so fun! I love getting mail (yeah, yeah, you've heard it before) and I especially love getting fun free stuff! And even more -- fun, free, CUTE stuff!

John is gone for most of the evening at a last-minute video shoot so William and I are at home alone -- listening to Lily Allen, working on the quilt and going on a walk. Thanks for all of the anniversary cheer yesterday -- it was a nice one, if much more low-key than previous years. So that's what happens when you have kids, huh? ;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Eight Years

Happy Anniversary, my love.

Thanks for being my best friend, the daddy, and everything I ever wanted.

Christmas time-ish 2006 in Malibu.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Warning: Self-Pity Ahead

Have we talked about how my husband is the best ever? If not, we really should. Because he is. John just took the babe somewhere so I could have some much needed time alone. He was out of town all weekend so I was a single parent -- which was totally fine, but it was tiring to never get a break. And then last night and today William was just way more cranky and sensitive than usual. I got probably 5 hours of actual sleep last night. And I need more than that. I'm tired. And spent. So thank you, sweetie, for giving me a little time.

I've had a rough day, emotionally, too. Remember this clothing crises/melt-down I had, eerily enough, exactly one year ago (it actually was September 22 -- creepy!)? Well, it basically happened again today. I'm just so discouraged. I'm in this horrible in-between stage where nothing fits. Stores do not carry my size. "Normal" stores don't carry anything big enough and "plus-size" stores don't carry anything small enough. Am I the only person who wears this size??

So anyway, I was trying to find a skirt or a new pair of jeans. I tried on several pairs at varying stores and it was just ridiculous. I ended up in a horrible mood wanting to either kill myself or kill the whole world. My wardrobe right now is so pathetic. It consists of one pair of ill-fitting jeans, about 5 t-shirts in varying degrees of disintegration (I'm never buying clothing from Target again) and a couple cardigan-type things that are not weather appropriate yet. Anyway, it sucks. I'm pissed. I'll just have to continue looking and feeling like an idiot for the next few months (as I have for the past year) until I get down to a "normal" size. Blah.


I love love love this fabric combo! This will be turned into something for a baby shower coming up...

Anyway. Moving on. Saturday was EXCELLENT. I went to my favorite local quilting shop to spend my birthday money and was instantly greeted by a display of my favorite designer's fabrics! Heather Bailey just came out with a new line and I've been dying to get my hands on some. The quilting shop did not previously carry her stuff, so I figured I'd have to buy it online. I'm so happy!! Plus, it turns out that the shop gives you a percentage discount of half of your age if it's the week of your birthday! I had no idea before going in there and it was very exciting.

I also got some Amy Butler fabric which I'm stoked on. I hadn't seen her there at the quilting shop before either. Woot!

Another exciting thing: Back on December 26, 2006 our favorite Indian restaurant burned to the ground. It was heartbreaking. Luckily, we had just eaten there days before. Happily, this Indian restaurant happens to in the same center as my quilting shop and while I was there on Saturday I saw that the restaurant was back in business! Every month or so we'd drive by to check on the rebuild progress and I could see that it was close to being done last time. So, last night John met me and William there and we had some amazing chicken curry and chicken makhini (sp?). Yum! No other place can beat it. William liked it, too!

As for my quilt progress, it's coming along. It's far from perfect, but I think it's going to be cute. If I had actually like, read any sort of instruction before starting it probably would be better, but it's not too bad. Now I know all the things I should have done differently by learning the hard way.

I got some fabric for the backing that doesn't exactly match or even really go with the front, but I loved it too much. Plus, this quilt is for me, so it goes together if I say it does. And I think I've decided to tie rather than quilt it. I was looking at these two quilts I have that were made in the 1930's and they are both tied and there's just something so nice and home-y about them. I guess I'll have to research how to tie a quilt without one of those big frames. Embroidery hoop??

So, anyway, happy fall, you peeps. I'm so happy that it's now officially autumn and I am hoping for some appropriate weather soon.

Also, my sister Beth recently introduced me to the devil incarnate: Fried Ice Cream Ice Cream. It's just store brand but it is quite possibly one of the best things I've ever eaten. The cinnamon/honey combo rocks my socks off. And also makes it impossible to fit into clothing, apparently.

Friday, September 19, 2008

In Which I Promote a Product

Okay, I feel a little bit weird talking about this here because this blog is supposedly for like, craft related things. Sometimes it's a stretch, I know. And sometimes it really has nothing to do with crafts whatsoever. But, whatev. However, I just recently discovered this item and had to share because I know a ton of women having babies right now and I really wish I had known about this before. I can't believe I've gone 11 months without it.

I had seen some similar nursing tanks in like Motherhood Maternity, etc, but they were pretty lame. The two nursing items I got there were really bulky and after I washed them they shrunk all weird and wonky. I wore them each one time and then got rid of them cause they totally sucked.

Anyway, I just got this nursing bra top from and it totally rocks my world. It isn't bulky, it's very comfortable, it's super easy and the best thing -- coverage! No exposed mid-section ever (believe me, no one wants to see that sight) and it's nice and discreet in other areas, too. If you know what I mean. And I'm sure you do.

So anyway. If you are currently or are going to be nursing a babe (first of all, great job)...totally get a couple of these. I just ordered another one so that I have two. They are the best! (That last word should be sung in an opera voice, to get the full effect of how much I love them)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Footwear and a Dress

Crap dudes.

Anyone know where I can get some bucks???

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


When I have 3 projects I need to get done by certain dates (baby shower, birthdays) what do you think I do? Start a completely unrelated and irrelevant project, of course!

I am making myself a little lap quilt out of fabric scraps. My craft cupboard is really kind of out of control (mostly cause the organizational system in it doesn't really work for my purposes) and I need to get rid of some stuff. So...scrap quilt!

I don't actually know what I'm doing. I'm just like, doing what I think makes sense. We'll see how it turns out.

I cut out a million 3x3 squares until it seemed like I had enough for the size I wanted. Also, until I ran out of scraps.

Now I'm just sewing them into strips and pressing the seams. Then I'll sew the strips together. Still not sure how I'm going to quilt it -- either just doing vertical lines like the last two quilts I made, or tying. I'm still too intimidated to try to do machine quilting at this point. Plus it would require actually like, researching and learning what to do, I think. Way too much work.

Wish me luck!

A Tragedy

Something happened today. Something that has never before happened in my lifetime. To me, anyway. It was devastating and a bit traumatic. Are you ready for this?

I threw 7/8 of a pie in the trash. Can you believe that? A pie.

Last Friday I made a pie with delicious peaches from the farmer's market. I was so excited about the peaches. And so excited about the pie. I ate a piece the night I made it and it was amazing.

So what happened, you ask? It seems that in my house I am the only one not immune to the call of baked goods. Whenever I make bread or muffins or pie or pretty much anything besides cookies, I am the only one that eats any of it. Which means I can't bake nearly as often as I would like. So anyway, that's what happened this time. Apparently no one else was interested in the pie.

Sadly, I am on a pretty strict "diet" (I don't want to call it a diet -- cause it's not -- it just entails NOT eating an entire pie by myself). So, I ate one slice and then managed to not eat any more. And then this morning I was going to be really naughty and eat a piece of pie for breakfast. As luck would have it, the entire pie was just a soggy, sick mess. The crust was soaked and it was stale and just really gross (which I suppose should be expected for a 5 day old pie). So, I tossed the pie in the trash. Actually, I had to have John do it cause I was so traumatized.

So there you have it. It's a sad day.

But! Speaking of pie -- Pushing Daisies is coming back in exactly 2 weeks and I can. not. wait!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Couple Lovely Things That Also Make Me Somewhat Sad

I just re-discovered this blog, Inside a Black Apple. I say re-discovered because I used to be a devoted reader until I quit working and lost all of my bookmarks (cause...I did all my blog reading at work). So anyway, something reminded me of her tonight and I looked her up. I'm so glad I did! Her paintings are just so beautiful, I think. I love the colors she uses and the subject matter. She also has a very similar style as me and I'm often want-y of her decor and clothing.

This painting is beautiful. I just love everything about it. And what really does it for me are the trees coming from the pipe. It just makes me feel a way I like to feel.

Here's a photo of Emily's new studio. It's adorable. I hope to someday have a studio of my own. Until then, I'm more than a little obsessed with checking out the studios of my favorite crafty ladies (ie Posie Gets Cozy and Heather Bailey -- kill me!).

I have all kinds of jealousies on this girl. She has the top selling shop on etsy and she's been on Martha Stewart (see here). And, I just found out, she recently moved to Portland. For crying out loud. I may die.

Emily also has a fashion blog called Some Girls Wander. It's fun to see what she's wearing or what she's found.

Anyway, this kind of turned into a big commercial for The Black Apple. But, I just had to share because her stuff makes me happy. Even while she makes me depressed. Haha.

11 Months

William and his mommy on his 11 month birthday. Sept 14, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Butter & Sugar

I had a nice relaxing birthday yesterday. It started on Saturday with a massage using a gift card I've had for nearly a year. Then on Sunday I got to go read and drink a chai all by myself for an hour. I met up with Ruth (my birthday twin) to get our nails done and have a milk tea. As per tradition, we had dinner at Yamato (our 6th birthday celebrated there) and cake back at Ruth and Eric's.

I just had to show two of my favorite birthday presents:

I've wanted one of these for years and finally got one! This is a pot de beurre (butter pot) -- it keeps butter spreadably soft and fresh for a month. It's like, the best thing ever. Here's the one I got. And here's how it works. Thanks French people!

And this is a sweet little sugar bowl that Ruth gave me. It is too adorable. And you know, I really need more reasons to use sugar.

Thanks for the bday fun, my friends!

In other news, it's back to being hot again. It's 93 degrees. Blech. I'm pretty disappointed. Hopefully Autumn will come and stick sometime soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Felting of the Fox

So, last August while I was on bed rest with nothing but crafting to do, I ordered all of these little critters from Crafty Alien. For one reason or another, it took two months for her to send them to me which meant that my plan of getting them all done before the babe showed up didn't happen. And now here we are a year later and I'm just now finishing a couple of them (I did get the owl done before Will was born).

I was going to do a tutorial on felting but...I forgot and only took a couple of pics. So, it's probably not terribly helpful, but I'll post the pics anyway.

All the pieces knit up and ready to go.

Soak for 5 minutes in hot, soapy water. Then roll and squeeze each piece around in your hand until the individual stitches disappear.

All of the pieces are now felted. Stuff with batting and shape as desired. Allow to dry overnight.

Attach parts and applique face, etc. Allow to roam free.

Will loves the owl but it took him a few minutes to warm up to the fox. He seems to like it here.

Ok, so I'm pretty bad at following directions and have to read things a million times to understand what they're telling me. And even though I read the instructions many times, I still missed a step or two. Haha. So, this fox has plenty of mistakes. The white belly was supposed to be appliqued onto the body pre-felting, which I did not do. And the tail wasn't supposed to be stuffed. Haha. So the tail is big as the body and the fox can't stand up at all. It's pretty comical.

I still have kits for a squirrel and a raccoon but felting the fox and the deer in the same night kind of burned me out. So we'll see when I get to those. However, the raccoon kit has gone MIA. Typical.

Maybe Kind of Flakey?

A list of miscellaneous thoughts. I promise to post something crafty soon.

1) Okay, so remember how I was training for a 5K. And was like, dudes, I am GOING to run a 5K. No. Matter. What. Don't let me flake out. I'm running it. Seriously. And then I got shin splints. And then I started my training over again but this time made sure to warm up and stretch really well before and after running.

Well, then I got shin splints again. Took a break. Started again trying to run differently along with lots of warming up and stretching. Got them again. So, I'm out. I've done a lot of research on the topic and found a lot of really great exercises to strengthen the shin muscles and blah blah blah. The thing is -- I don't like running. It's not something I have a passion for or a drive to do. It's not something that I want to do so much that I want to spend a lot of time specifically working on those exercises to just be able to run. Call me lazy, maybe. But, I'd rather just find something else to do.

2) Also, remember how I was going to have my etsy shop up by February? And then by July? And then, "any day now". Well, also not happening. I have a few things done, but I feel like it'd be pretty lame to open a shop for a whole 5 items. And it was stressing me out so much thinking about it constantly and feeling like a failure because I wasn't making the kind of progress I wanted to on it.

So, I'm just chillin' and am going to see what happens. I have no deadline any more. Truthfully, there are other things in my life right now that I need to focus on. Other things that I need to make a priority at the moment. I'll open the shop eventually, but I'm not going to make myself feel bad about it anymore.

3) This week the weather has finally cooled down! I'm SOOO happy. I can't even express my joy. It's actually pretty disturbing, and also not very balanced, but the weather actually has a great impact on my entire life. When it's hot I just feel like I don't care about anything. I'm unmotivated, uncreative, lazy, and don't care that I'm those things. Or don't care enough to actually do anything about it, anyway. When it's cool and overcast and winter-y I'm like, stoked on life and get a million things done. I just feel so much better. It's like backwards Seasonal Affective Disorder or something.

Every morning this week I've gotten up at 7am and gone walking, done some strength exercises, showered and dressed all before starting work at 8:30. It's been incredible -- cool and foggy and gray in the morning. I've been amazingly productive and motivated to make and meet goals. And I just feel so...right. Like, at peace. Maybe I'm silly, but it's how I feel. I'm crossing my fingers that the weather stays and continues to get more fall-ish. I need it.

P.S. By "cooler" I mean in the 80s. In the mornings when I go walking it's in the 60s. Doesn't sound all that cool, I know, but compared to last week when it was 85 by the time I got up in the's downright winter-y.

4) I just found out that there is another baby in our circle of friends that is on it's way. Yahoo! It seems like every time one baby is born, someone else gets pregnant. It's been non-stop babies for the past year. Fun! Who's going to be next??? :)

P.S. No, definitely not me, thanks.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Little Lassi

Whenever I eat at an Indian restaurant, I like to get a lassi -- usually mango. Lassi is sort of a smoothie made with yogurt. And apparently, second only to chai, lassi is the most popular drink in India. Good to know.

I found a recipe for Mango Lassi in a recent issue of Mothering and had to try it. It is delicious! Although it's actually really not the same as lassi you'll get at an Indian restaurant -- which I'm sure isn't super authentic anyway. Here's my version:

Mango Lassi

1/4 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat milk
4 ice cubes
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup mango, cubed (I use Trader Joe's frozen mango and just throw in whatever looks good)
1 tablespoon honey (I've never measured, I just squirt some in there)

Blender it until smooth. This is a good serving for one. Double or triple or whatever for more peeps. I've also thrown in half a banana before and it makes it kind of more creamy or something. Both ways are good.

I have this and a piece of whole wheat toast for breakfast most mornings now and it is a great way to start the day! Enjoy my friends!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Speaking of...

So I was looking up information on the afore mentioned Bluebird Restaurant and kept running across some really great photos of where I grew up. I decided to share them with you here. These are things that all have a great deal of nostalgia for me. Enjoy!

All photos from Google images.