Saturday, December 11, 2010

The first quilt I ever made...

Not only was this the first quilt I ever made, but to date it is the only quilt I have ever made. 

A friend of mine showed me a picture of a wall hanging similar to what I made and asked if I could make a quilt like it.  I took one look at the picture and said "Of course I can make a quilt like that! No problem."  Honestly, how hard can it be? 
Quilting is just sewing. 
Piece of cake, right?

Quilting is hard.

Plus, I didn't just pick your every-day-run-of-the-mill beginner's quilt to start with.  I picked this crazy color changing mosaic quilt with lots of tiny little squares to piece together.  And several color changes that I had to keep track of to make sure I was getting the right squares in the right places.

Now that I have it all finished, I am kind of happy that I never have to see it and I am kind of sad that I never get to see it.  But, most of all, I am just happy to have successfully accomplished it.  I can now say "Yes! I have made a quilt!"

And even though it would never win a prize or live up to the standards of a seasoned quilter, I am pretty impressed with myself.

I embroidered several butterflies around the center and the first color change area.  This inspiration came from the wall hanging my friend showed me. 

I also embroidered several trapunto butterfly designs throughout the entire quilt to keep it from shifting and give it some quilted effect since I wasn't going to quilt the entire thing.

All in all, I am pretty proud of the way it turned out.

Plus, I know it is getting some good use.
I saw it on my friend's bed last time I visited her, so I know it turned out to be a hit with her...and in the end that is really all that matters.

Happy Quilting to all you brave souls out there!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This is no longer your grandmother's ottoman...

I found this great ottoman at an estate sale for $6.  I love the shape of the legs and it is such a great height. 

Obviously, it needs a little help.  But, it definitely has potential.  I started to take the cushion apart and remove all the fabric so I could paint it and recover it.  This turned into a two day project.  As I really started to get into it, I discovered there were about 1000 upholstery tacks and 1000 staples holding the fabric on.  I got about half way through it the first day and I thought my hand was going to fall off.  I couldn't pull any more tacks out.  So, I walked away and took a break from the entire project.  The next day, I decided I wouldn't let this ottoman beat me.  So, I sat back down with my tools and finished removing the rest of the cover.

Finally I got them all out.  The cover was off and now it needed a whole new look. 

A little turquoise paint, a black and white print fabric and a staple gun...

How adorable is that?!?!
And all for $6!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My First Vegan Pizza

It's not pretty...

It's not complicated...

It's doesn't even have tomato sauce...

But, it was delicious!!!

I became an ovo-vegetarian in July 2009 and I haven't had any cheese since then. I don't miss it very often, but sometimes I see a pizza commercial and all I can think about is the ooey-gooey warm and melty cheese. So, I finally decided to be brave and try the vegan cheese. I had a few people tell me that the vegan cheese tastes like the real thing, but I was still pretty skeptical. In fact, when I went to take the first bite I was making that face that a kid makes when they are forced to choke down the rest of the vegetables on their plate. But! Surprise! Surprise! It tasted just like mozerella cheese! I couldn't believe it! It was just what I was looking for!

Thank you Mr. Vegan Cheese Maker!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A few baby gifts...

I have made several baby blankets as gifts over the last few years, but I this one is definitely my favorite.

I love the random mix of fabrics...not so matchy-matchy.  And of course the ruffle makes this blanket ten times better than any other blanket.

Plus, who doesn't love minky dot?  So soft and makes it feel so rich.

I was pretty tempted to keep it.  I would never get away with it though. My friend and I picked the fabric out together for her daughter, so she was expecting it to arrive. I threw in a couple of other gifts as well...

A wrap sling...all dolled up.  This sling is basically just a long thin piece of jersey knit, but I dressed it up a bit with this playful glitter butterfly gauze fabric.  It really turned out great. 

And last, but not least...I made a sleep sack.  I love the criss cross top.  It has a bit of a kimono feel to it, which is perfect for my friend's style.  Both top and bottom are made from heavyweight knit. 

I probably should have made it out of fleece or flannel to provide a little extra warmth for the winter months, but I didn't think that far ahead. One of these days, I will learn to think through the whole project before I jump right in and start making it. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A much needed make over

During one of my semi-weekly trips to Goodwill, I found this great chair.  Very sturdy.  I wasn't crazy about the cushion, but that is an easy fix.  What I was crazy about was the beautiful, ornate back.  It was so unique.  I just knew that it would look so much better with just a little bit of help.  So, for only $10...I couldn't pass it up.

I just knew that a little black paint and upgrade on the cushion was going to make this chair look like a million bucks....

Was I right or was I right? 
I love how this turned out. It is such a great chair.  I can't believe someone would give this one away.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

hodge:podge Inspired Star Wars Peg Board

As I was browsing through the blogosphere, I came across this great post by hodge:podge.  You can check it out here, tutorial and all! 

Once I saw this Star Wars inspired eye chart wall art, I knew I had to make one.  And I had just the person in mind to make it for.  I can't even begin to count the number of times I have watched the first trilogy (or for you die hard fans out there, Episodes 4-6)...usually because my big brother was watching it (over and over and over again).  Plus, since he just bought a new house and significantly downsized his garage/tool space, he is going to need a new system to organize his tools.

Hence, the Star Wars Eye Chart Tool Organizing Wall Art Peg Board...

Thanks hodge:podge for the great idea!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Quite possibly my favorite find of the year...

Sometimes we get it in our minds that we have to have a certain type or specific piece of furniture, and so we set out to find it.

...And sometimes a great piece of furniture just finds you. 

I wasn't even looking for an armoire.  In fact, I didn't even know I wanted one until I saw this...

Isn't it beautiful?

Can you believe it only cost $50?

How could I turn that down?  I guess I am kind of an idiot in this whole ordeal, because there were two of them and I only bought one.  I went back a couple of weeks later with the hopes that maybe...just would still be there, but obviously someone else saw the same beauty in this armoire that I saw. So, sadly I only have one.  But, oh how I do love the one I have!! 

As you can see, there are no shelves and only a hanging bar across the top.  I really wanted to use this to replace my dresser, so I was definitely going to need some shelves.  I ran down to Home Depot, bought a full sheet of plywood and had them cut the shelves for me while I was there. (They didn't fit the first time, but luckily they were too big and not too I was able to just take the shelves back to Home Depot and have them trimmed down to the right size.  Maybe someday I will learn to take my time and double check my measurements, but who are we kidding?  If I haven't learned by now, will I ever?) 

But, I digress...

Once I got the shelves cut, I could have just called it a day and loaded all of my clothes on the shelves...but where is the fun in that??

Instead, I decided to cover the shelves with fabric and line the back of the armoire. 

This was pretty easy. All you need is several pieces of fabric larger than your shelves and one large enough to cover the entire back side of the armoire and a staple gun.

I also bought a couple of baskets to hold my delicates.  I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, so I just bought the cheapest ones and added a little spray paint and new basket liners so they would go with my newly decorated armoire.

I couldn't be happier!!  Like I said, quite possibly my favorite find of the year...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Gift for Amelia

A few weeks ago my friend April gave birth to an adorable baby girl named Amelia Liliana!! 

I was so excited when I found out she was having a girl.  Two of my brothers have six kids between them and five of them are boys.  We haven't had a baby girl around here for 12 years.  And I didn't even know how to work a sewing machine when she was born.  The boys have been a lot of fun to craft for, but the older they get...the less interested they are in the gifts I can make for them.  That is until I learn how to build my own Wii or PlayStation or remote control helicopter.

So, of course I was just tickled to get the chance to make baby girl presents!  I definitely went way overboard, but it was a lot of fun.  I started with the moses basket in the picture above.  The bumpers, the ruffle, the ties and the sheet are all made from flannel to give Amelia that extra soft coziness as we get into the cooler months.  I love giving a moses basket as a baby gift...almost as much as Amelia seems to enjoy sleeping in it.  You can get pretty extravagant and creative with how you make the lining and most moms are so appreciative to have this for the first few months.  You never have to leave baby sleeping alone in the room while you are trying to catch up on things.  Plus, the lining is so quick and easy to make!!

Unfortunately, we live a couple thousand miles away from each other, so I wasn't able to make it to the baby shower.  But, I sent a bag filled with all homemade gifts...

The whole group

I always like to make a little something for the siblings, and Amelia's big brother Jacob loves the Care Bears.  So, I made Care Bear Big Brother/Little Sister shirts for the two of them.

I got this great tutorial from Dana's blog Made for the knit dresses and used a Dumbo picture to create my own stencil, like I did here.  A little blue knit to trim the neckline and a pair of blue knit bloomers...what an adorable outfit!! 

Recently, I discovered elastic thread and how to create these adorable looks with it.  And, I love it!!  Plus, I added a pair of bloomers to go with the dress.  My niece is always asking for dresses like these, but the pre-made fabric with the elastic section is so expensive and the choices are so slim.  Now I can make her a dress like this out of any print!! 

One more outfit with the elastic thread...this one is a one piece jumper with snaps in between the leg holes for easy diaper changing access.

And last, but not least, I made a small diaper bag for mom.  When she had Jacob a couple of years ago, I made a large diaper bag.  She wanted something smaller for the little trips.

So, I hope they enjoyed all of it. And maybe if I am lucky (and April is reading this), she will send me pictures of Amelia wearing the outfits. (hint. hint.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Let it Rain!!! The Elephant Umbrella Tutorial

I love it when it rains!  I don't love it when it borders on a monsoon, but a nice steady cool rain that brings a much needed gust of cooler air is always a welcome occasion.  Lately around here it has been either hot, hot, hot with the heat index teetering around 110 degrees or violent severe thunderstorms accompanied by torrential downpours and followed up with city wide flooding.  I don't know whether to walk around in a my teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini all day (which wouldn't be a pretty site) or start building an ark. 

Instead, I have decided to let mother nature inspire me to create a unique accessory to help shield me from these treacherous times. *sigh* (Was that dramatic enough for ya?)

Hence...The Elephant Umbrella!

This is such a simple project and there are so many ways to personalize it and make it your own.  Add your own images, a favorite saying or a name.  Seriously!  The possibilities are endless!

So, let's get started...

First things first, get all your supplies together.

You will need:

an umbrella
fabric for your designs
heat bond
an iron
the design you want to create, tracing paper, a marker and scissors
(I am a Dr. Seuss fanatic and I love elephants, so I used the elephant from Dr. Seuss's ABC book)

After you have selected your design, trace it onto tracing paper (I used regular notebook paper and it worked just fine).  Then cut the design out.  This will be your template for creating the design on your fabric.

Trace the design on the backside of your fabric.  Use a pen or marker that won't bleed and leave a mark.
Be sure to trace your design in the reverse image of how you want the final design to look.

Trace as many as you will need (I made 8 elephants since there are 8 sections on my umbrella) and then cut them all out.

Don't worry if your fabric is wrinkled.  This will be taken care of in a later step.
Repeat this process on the sheet of heat bond for each piece you have created.  Be sure to trace your design on the correct side of the heat bond.  Read the instructions carefully so you will now which side attaches to your design and which side attaches to the umbrella.

TIP: You could attach the heat bond to the fabric before tracing and cutting out each design.  If you do this step, trace your design a bit larger than you want the final piece to be so you can trace on the front of the fabric and cut inside the lines to ensure no markings are on your design.  I chose to do this the hard way, because I tend to get ahead of myself.  I should really learn to stop and plan out all my steps first before diving right into a project.  But, I digress......

Attach the heat bond to the design following the manufacturers instructions.

Iron each design onto your umbrella.  If you are picky about perfection, you may want to mark each spot before you start ironing.  I tend to just eyeball things, so I (once again) just jumped right in and started ironing.  Make sure all the edges are secure!

Viola!  Now you have your very own unique personal umbrella.

Now, go outside and wait for it to start raining!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Top Quote of the Night

Project Runway Season 8 premiered last night and it was fabulous.  One of my favorite parts of the show is the overly descriptive and imaginative insults that Michael Kors throws at the designers on the runway.  And last night he did not disappoint.

My Favorite:  "She looks like a pole dancer from Dubai." directed at the tragic outfit created by Casanova (#4).

I seriously think Michael Kors needs to teach classes on how to give such creative insults.  I would certainly jump at the chance to learn from the master!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Make It Work!...Or Give It Up??

It's back!
It's here!
The day has finally arrived!

Project Runway returns tonight!

I am so excited, I can hardly wait for this day to be over and the evening to arrive. 

I am mostly intrigued to know which designer prompts Tim Gunn to stray from his usual "Make It Work" attitude to "Give It Up". 

Also, will it be possible for them to find a designer that will be fiercer than my all time favorite, Christian Siriano?

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Birthday Gift for Molly...Finally!

I am a little embarrased to share this with you, but Molly's birthday was the end of March.  That's right! I said March!  And, sadly, I just gave this gift to her a few weeks ago.  Anyway, I was inspired by these...but not quite patient enough to make them out of plastic.  I tried twice and failed both times.  So, I cheated.  I made them out of waffle weave muslim.  I think they turned out just as cute.  In fact, I had a hard time parting with these.  I almost kept them for myself, but I didn't.

I will definitely be making myself a set of these very soon. 
I love my green bags that I have already made, but these are so cute. 
It's time for new ones.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Streamer Frock Grosgrain Giveaway

Is this not the most adorable dress you have ever seen? I mean, Seriously!!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dear Old Dad...

Father's Day is here and I thought it might be nice to take a minute and write a little something to the dads in my life...

Dear Daddy,

When I think back on all the memories of growing up, there are so many things I want to say. I just don't even know how to cover it all.  So, let's just get right into it...

Remember when I was learning to drive and you noticed a little scratch on the bumper of your Mercedes?  I guess it's finally time I come clean....Chris did it.  :)

Just kidding, I don't want to rehash all those memories (as I am sure you don't either).  Instead I wanted to write you an "I love that you are my daddy because..." letter.  So, here goes.

I love that you are my daddy because...

...even after you would yell at my brothers and me and then hand out punishments, you hugged me and said "I love you, kid."

...when I was in high school, you could carry on a 5 minute coherent conversation in your sleep and not remember it the next day. take pride in everything you do. learned to sign your curse words so you could communicate effectively with other drivers on the road. taught me never to end a sentence with a preposition. think you write legibly, even though you really don't.

...your favorite phrase is "Let me explain something to you..." {Slowly a crowd gathers with cocoa and popcorn as we all curl up for a long, LONG, LOOOOONG explanation about how life really works!}

...even though nobody else finds it amusing, you enjoy spelling words in the military alphabet. taught me to check my oil (even though I don't do it as often as I should, it's the thought that counts..right?). have the driest sense of humor of anyone I know.  And you always make me laugh.

...despite the fact that you try not to let people see it, you are crazy about your dog.

...while moving me to California, you were courteous enough to wake me up to see every Phillips 66 station from Kansas City to San Francisco.  Thanks Dad!!  I didn't really need to sleep!!

...while moving me to Reno, you were there by my side as we got ripped off in Winn-a-F-ing-mucca!

...while moving me home from Reno, you were calm and forgiving when I locked the keys in my car while it was running at 3 in the morning.

...when you found out my best friend got a speeding ticket in high school and hid it from her parents, you grounded her at our house to make sure she was punished. taught me that nothing good ever happens after midnight. can't pronounce Ocho, but it is so amusing to watch you try.

...when I was six and Grandma got mad at me for losing the ring she gave me while I was at gymnastics practice, you drove me back to the gym and helped me find it. are a problem solver.  When I was in junior high and we couldn't get the carbon monoxide detector to stop beeping (even after removing the batteries), you had the perfect solution! Open the freezer door and throw the detector in as hard as I can.  It worked! creatively and lovingly gave all my brothers the nickname of Numb Nuts and me the nickname of No Nuts.

...even though we both know you never got me a pony, a clown and a cotton candy machine for my 6th birthday party, you are convinced that if you just keep telling me it happened then eventually I will believe it to be true. 

(This is just a small list of the reasons, but here is the most important one) always made me feel special and loved.

Thanks for being such a great daddy!  I love you!  Happy Father's Day!

Love, Jenni (a.k.a. No Nuts)

Just one more letter...

Dear Grandpa,

Happy Father's Day! I am so blessed to have had you around when I was growing up.  I feel lucky that I get to experience the benefits of knowing you and I feel sorry for all my cousins who didn't live here and don't know you like I do.  You are such an amazing man and I just want to thank you for what you have taught me over the years.  Thank you for teaching me to be considerate of others.  I admire your ability to always consider everyone else above yourself and I try every day to mimic that.  Thank you for teaching me faith.  I have never known you to question your faith in God, but to always praise him and turn to him.  I admire your strength and because of that I strive to strengthen my faith every day.  Thank you for sharing knowledge with me.  You are the wisest person I know and yet always humble.  You have a thirst for knowledge that is never quenched and I am blessed to have inherited a small dose of that from you.  There are so many of your qualities that I admire and am thankful I was exposed to, but mostly I appreciate your courage.  You have always shown the courage to stand up for your beliefs, to stand up against those who are disrespectful to your friends and family, and to stand up for your country whenever it is necessary.  You are such a wonder grandfather and I thank God everyday that you are my grandfather.

Love, Jenni

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!  Seriously!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I believe...

Just wanted to take a quick minute and say what's on my mind.

I believe...

everything happens for a reason.

in never paying full price for anything.

shoes should always be optional.

the world would be a better place if we all viewed each other like we did when we were four.

it's not the government's place to tell me how much sugar I can eat in a day.

I could win the show Survivor if I had the guts to apply. (I know, I know, you are thinking "Seriously?" and I just want to say that I know that just because I believe it...doesn't make it true.  ;)


blue is the most beautiful color.

having brothers is better than having sisters. (this might be a little biased since I have 5 brothers and 0 sisters...and Yes! They always wear suspenders when they go fishing!! Seriously!)



dessert should always be eaten first!!