Thursday, June 30, 2011

Putting my Bedazzler to good (?) use

Dear Shayne,

Last month was our company's User Conference and there were shirts for us to wear with our names printed on them (they were "mechanics" shirts, so it worked). But mine didn't have my name.

So I fixed it:
My name in [Bedazzled] lights

With the Bedazzler!

Ha -- looking at that old post, I wrote "The #1 rule is: Don't use the Bedazzler on clothing." And then... I went and did it! The Bedazzler is a seductress.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dill-icious potato salad

Dear Shayne,

Despite my well documented black thumb (That plant died soon after that post. Who kills catnip, Shayne? Me. I do.) I decided to attempt to grow dill this year. There is a local cafe that makes the best potato salad I have ever had -- super dill-y. Riding high on that experience, I decided to try it myself.

Amazingly, my dill plant has almost doubled in height since I bought it five weeks ago! I sent my mom this photo two days ago and asked her what to do:
Dill plant, getting tall

She told me that I needed to trim it down before it gets too tall and goes to seed. She knows about plants, so I did that. And then I chopped up all of that dill and made:
Dill-icious potato salad

Potato salad!

I googled "dill" and "potato salad" and found this recipe. It uses sour cream instead of mayo, which I love and it's very, very basic, which I also love. I'm a very picky eater, so I can't stand a bunch of junk in my food.

I've never made potato salad, so I did screw up two parts: not enough potatoes and they were slightly overcooked. Sooo... it was kind of mushy. A little. Not super gross, but just a bit mushy. But the dressing was dill-icious and my screw ups are easy fixes for next time.

Meanwhile, any time the words "potato salad" are uttered in our house, we are compelled to say, "Made it a thousand times, and I've still got a lot to learn!" If you are unfamiliar with this, it's from this Kids in the Hall sketch, which is hilarious:

"Mix, mix, stir, stir. I married young, it's all a blur."

HAHAHA. Bruce McCulloch kills me.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Baby blanket

Dear Shayne,

As I mentioned yesterday, my good friend Hollie is having a baby. I've been dying to knit this baby blanket (OpArt on Knitty) for several years, so I took this opportunity to go ahead and do it!
OpArt baby blanket

I knew the baby's room was going to be grey and Hollie's favorite color is green, so that's how I chose these colors.
OpArt baby blanket
The style is really more mine that Hollie's, but I hope she'll get some use out of it. Babies always seem to need a lot of blankets, right?

As recommended in the pattern, I used KnitPicks Swish DK yarn. It's superwash wool, so it's pretty easy to care for when the baby pukes on it. It's also really squishy, which is great. It didn't turn out exactly as I had hoped, but I'm pretty happy with it overall.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Group-made baby quilt

Dear Shayne,

I belong to a little crafty group at work that meets every Tuesday for lunch to hang out and... well, craft. Most of us knit, but we've also got a cross-stitcher and a hooker (that is, crochet) (yup, we're 12). Over the years, we've had various other crafts show up -- as long as it doesn't involve power tools (too noisy), everyone is welcome to join us and craft.

Almost everyone in the group also sews, so when one member of the group got pregnant (Hi, Hollie!) we decided to make her a baby quilt.

It was super fun! Like an old-fashioned sewing bee. I love to craft and group crafting is even better. FUN.

Most of the crew hadn't made a quilt before, so we started the day with lessons. We picked blocks from the awesome-est quilt block book ever, Marsha McCloskey's Block Party (sadly, out of print) and then we went to town.

Our most prolific seamstress (Hi, Jocelyn!) made three blocks and our little hungover bunny (I won't call you out on the blog, bunny -- you know who you are) even managed to make one. Everyone else made 2 and it all worked out perfectly!
Completed baby quilt
(If you click through to view that image on Flickr, you can hover over each block to see who made it.)

Came out beautifully, didn't it?

Our cross-stitcher made a beautiful letter M (the baby's last name begins with M) from my Cross Stitch Letters Bible. It came out so beautifully that I thought maybe we should just frame it, but I went ahead and put it into the block you see in the middle:
Baby quilt, detail

Other than that one, I made this block -- called, appropriately, the "Friendship block":
Baby quilt, detail

Once it was finished, I wrestled with how to "sign" the quilt. I tried embroidery, but my embroidery mojo just was not with me last week. Ugh. So I used a permanent fabric marker and I wrote all of our initials on the back, in the leaves of the fabric:
Baby quilt, back
(I love that backing fabric. I bought more of it so I can make my own quilt and use it on the back. Loves. It.)

We gave the quilt to the expectant mom yesterday -- she's due within the next few days, so we got it done just in the nick of time! Go, Team Crafty!


Friday, June 24, 2011

Table runner: it's mine, all mine!

Dear Shayne,

It's been SIX months since Christmas, and I am finally getting around to posting this -- remember when I was drooling over this table runner waaay back in September?

Not long after I posted my desire, I went back to see if it was still available and, to my chagrin, someone else had beat me to it. Awww.

As it turns out, it was my parents who bought it... for me! AWE-SOME. They gave it to me for Christmas and, well, you probably heard the squealing in Maryland, right?

It's perfect on our table -- it's like it was meant to go under our candle holder:
Table runner: Loves it!

And look at this amazing quilting -- Victoria is a truly talented artist (click to see this larger, cause it's stunning):
Table runner detail

I've admired her work for several years (you might remember that I won this fantastic little quilt in her blog giveaway in 2008) and I am so absolutely thrilled to have a piece of her work in our house. Thrilled!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

I declare this Blog Break officially OVER... with a quilt!

Dear Shayne,

Whew! Guess we took a blog break, there! It's been 2 months since our last post -- by far the longest we have gone without posting here. I know you've been a busy little beaver with your geeky craft happenin's (both the book and the site) and with getting this darling little mascot a name.

But now that she's officially Pixel, let's get back to reportin' our crafty goodness around here. I'm kicking it off with a quilt that I have been working on forever and finally finished this past April.

This is a quilt I made from Bill's dad's shirts. John passed away in February 2007 and I started this quilt in June 2008. At that time, I planned to hand quilt it, so I showed you my hand quilting practice, and then the basting process. That was in August 2008. And then... STALL.

I just couldn't bring myself to finish it. This was the most difficult project I have ever worked on. It took me over a year to even begin cutting the fabrics. Nothing says "This person is never coming back" like cutting up their clothes. That was really, really tough.

So flash forward to 2011, three years later. This thing is hanging over my head, and it's clear to me that I need help. So I gave up on the hand quilting and had it machine quilted at my favorite quilt shop, New Pieces. They had it finished in three weeks. Versus three years. So, you know, that was good.

I had them do a heart pattern in the quilting -- predictable, but appropriate:
Memory quilt: quilting detail

After it was quilted, I cut the binding from John's old robe (another tough process) and laid it out on the bed with help from my little overseer:
Memory quilt, supervised

Here is the entire finished quilt:
Memory quilt: Finished!

Here is a detail of one of the shirt parts that I kept in the quilt -- they did a great job of quilting around these -- you can unbutton this and feel the batting inside!
Memory quilt: button detail

And this pocket could still be used for a pen:
Memory quilt: pocket detail

I did a little home-y embroidery on the back:
Memory quilt: embroidery

And this project is DONE, Shayne. DONE! And I am far more pleased with it than I thought I would be. It turned out great. I'm really proud of it and I'm so happy it's finally in my mother-in-law's hands. Only 4 years late but, well... better late than never, right?