Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cakes or Quilts?

My parents are visiting this weekend. We're celebrating their birthdays, along with both my girls birthdays. Three have already happened and the fourth will happen on Wednesday. We get lots of birthday celebrating done early in the year around here. It makes me dizzy, but I am thankful that I then have ten months to chill. I've made this Wilton giant cupcake cake once before with so-so results in decorating it. I gave it another go this weekend and was happier with the results. I used a larger icing tip, which was more in proportion to the cake, took inspiration from this cake on flickr and followed a tutorial using candy melts to form the "liner" for the cupcake instead of icing it (which looked kind of shoddy on my first go).

One more cake to bake for the birthday party this weekend and then I'm back to quilting, which I think I like more and is much less fattening!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Been a While

I'm still here. Just scrambling to stay afloat at the moment. The upside of having two bad head aches back to back was that I got to listen to a lot of the Olympics that I would have otherwise missed. The downside was losing over two days to the head aches. Bah. They are gone now and I have been caffeine free for four whole days in an attempt to eliminate one possible contributing factor (since the family can't be eliminated). I have to say I continue to feel just a pillow away from a nap at any given time, but I'm making it. Yay.

The above are my parent's birthday presents. I can say that because odds are they will not come across this in the next few days. I am always and continually at a loss as to what to give them and have been trying to make things that I feel they would appreciate - not like the square mug I made them once....or the mug that said "B'S" because our last name started with B. Apparently my Mom took that one another way. Oops. Their birthdays have come and gone but we will be seeing them this weekend and I like to save on postage, simple enough.

I started with layering paper and tissues on top of a piece of muslin covered in diluted white glue. I just spread more glue over everything as I added layers. I have seen this done on Quilting Arts TV more than once, but here is the link to the tutorial from the most recent encounter I had with the idea. You may have to register to be able to see it, so for reference it's project 409-2 that I used as my starting point. I didn't turn mine into vegetable shaped pillows though. Once I had my paper base I did some stamping on top and then added silhouettes of both of my girls that I cut out of black card stock. Getting their silhouettes was really easy. I took a picture of them standing against a wall in profile then uploaded it to picnik where I scaled it to the actual size I wanted it and then traced it right off the monitor onto a piece of white paper which I used as my template for the final cut out. Adjusting the exposure also helped to be able to see the silhouette a bit better. And let me say that the pictures were in no way fussy. I believe neither had had their hair brushed, they were in their pajamas and it was just point and click. I would show you how un-fussy they were, but really, they are not even shareable.

So now it's time to clean the house, as my parent's haven't been to visit in a year now and we have a whole new kitchen to show off. Last time they were here we didn't have a kitchen, so we've greatly improved what we have to offer guests! We'll also be celebrating both their birthdays as well as the girl's, as Sarah's will be here in a week. There'll be a whole lot of aging going on this weekend....just glad it won't be me doing it ; )

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

We had more snow on Friday - about an inch and a half. Even flurries are a big deal here, so anything that sticks on the ground is pretty life altering. And the abundance of snow here this winter has definitely been life altering for us. We have spent so much time outside playing in the cold, which we would normally not be so game for and I have spent what seems like a life altering amount of time washing and drying wet clothes! Lots of good fun.

This is the Valentine I made for the girls (I made two - I'm no fool). I sewed several strips of 1" wide and pink fabric together to get a new fabric to cut the hearts out of, then sewed it to the pink polka-dot fabric. I embroidered "love" on that and then glued it to a piece of paper that says "I love you" and glued that down to a larger piece of pink card stock. What was probably the most fun was the tiny little heart stamp I created by carving it out of a pencil eraser. It worked! Always a good feeling. They were well received, but there was also a request for something more. I think my kids have become too accustomed to always getting "things". They don't even really care about the "thing" - just that they got it. My head is going topsy turvy trying to think of how to stop this now, at almost 5 and 7 and not let it get any further out of hand. Any suggestions? We're already thinking that the Easter Bunny is going to appear very scroogish this year. But for now, Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hearts, Hugs and Kisses

The sewing machine has been busy, but there isn't much to show for it as of now. Hopefully a little something before Sunday though. I did get these Valentine's finished up last night though and in the mail to family today. The girls and I used our thumb prints to make hearts - easy peasy and fast. Maybe next time though, not the thumb - it was hard for them to twist it and get it on the paper. A pointer finger would probably be better. I used watercolor paper for the thumb prints, which gave a nice texture. I was happy with that call.

I am not loving the quilt I have started for us, which was hiding under the pin cushion I made last week, by the way. I think I may abandon ship and find a new boat to sail on, so to speak. I think maybe a different color combination may be in order as well. Who knows. We shall see, time will tell and ahoy matey. Have a great day!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Birthday Girl

I'm headed to a birthday celebration this evening. I believe the birthday girl is turning 29. Again. We seem to have established a pattern - she gives me books off my Amazon wish list for celebrations and I make her something. I LOVE getting books off my wish list. A lot. So I truly appreciate that she does that for me. This year I am mixing it up a bit for her though. I actually bought her something off of her wish list - a book. This book. I need more partners in crime.

That lent itself to a handmade gift to go along. I made this pin cushion from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. I whipped it up in a jiffy, so if you were looking for a last minute gift, this could fit the bill. Another great way to use up some scraps. Now I'm jealous though, the birthday girl's got prettier notions than I do.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


....and I'm not talking football. I had one hour left this morning before I had to go pick Sarah up from pre-school. I was tempted to run by my nearest thrift store. I almost didn't. But I did. Not only did I pick up three jackets for the girls in varying sizes for 99 cents each, I also scored this globe, which I am so excited about. It set me back $2. I am so happy to have a thrift store that actually puts thrifty prices on things from time to time. Not like our Goodwill that wants $8 for a used Walmart sweater. I will say though, that at one point I brought home quite a good haul of linens and then a week later, their prices on linens seemed to have gone up, as if they realized that they had someone looking for them. Apparently they hadn't had a big run on old globes. Another great thing about scoring this was when Sarah asked me, "Can I hold the world?". In the palm of your hands, baby.

Have you tried picnik yet? I'm still loving it and today they are celebrating their billionth photo edited and almost all the premium offerings are free for the day. There is a great tutorial here about how to layer photos using features available from the premium membership. And there are all sorts of free texture groups on flickr. Most just ask for acknowledgment if you use their texture. All I'm sayin' is I know what I'll be doing all night. So go have a picnik!