Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Signing off


Signing off to ring in 2009 with a family camp-in, snacks and fun. See you next year with a holiday recap and some new work in progress.

Wishing you a sweet New Year!

PS: Look closely at the big man's features, all carved from a lovely butternut squash. The word for 2009 is "Improvise". :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

That's my boy!

"I feel sick mama."
What kind of sick bub?
"You know, like Jello mama."
Me thinks its all the gummies daddy fed him.

Monkey love

Meet Stella and Irene. I've been feelin a little bit of that monkey love this Christmas and these two cuties are now in the hands of two of my favorite girls. I was lucky enough to be on the phone with the mama (who is also listed among my favorite people, and its a short list you know) of those two while they open up their monkey friends and yes there was a little squealing.

Stella and Irene had to travel a bit to arrive in the hands of those girls but from all reports it was worth the trip. The legwarmers worn by Irene were custom made for this special monkey as was Stella's super cool hat. Both were whipped up by Miss Momo, ten years old and an eye for monkey fashion.

We love you and miss you Stella, Irene and the monkey keepers. Merry Christmas to our favorite peeps. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December's Mini Quilt Swapping

Kim already received her package for the 6-12" Mini Quilt Swap, yay USPS! The theme this month was 'My Favorite Things'. Each partner lists five of their favs and you can choose which of their favorites to work with. Kim had a great list of favs so it was hard to narrow it down.
My first thought was to fit each of the five in the quilt somehow. I must have sketched out forty different way to make that happen. In the end though, the sketch I liked the best was a pared down Wizard of Oz theme (Kim's favorite movie, and one of mine too).

I pieced the background in greens, reds and golds for the Emerald City and the sky from some fun cow jumped over the moon fabric . Yeah, I know there's no cow in Oz but the fabric worked so I went with it. I drew the witch pattern after a quick looks at some movie stills to get the right pose and of course one of the best quotes from the movie is stitched alongside the wicked one.
Each of the hanging charms is made from fabric handstitched (quilted almost) onto two layers of wool felt. I know I said I simplified this quilt but I still couldn't fit everything in that little quilt and so the charms were born. I think they might be my favorite part and I'll probably make more of them eventually. I think they might make really cute little pins.
Kim sent me a beautiful mini as well. I love it so much that it deserves a post of its own. Yes, I did make the happy noise when I opened her package. Check back and see how pretty Kim's mini is! Its already found a very happy spot on my kitchen wall. :)

Friday, December 12, 2008


mmmm....cookies, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

It smells like Christmas around here. Cookies are beginning to pile up in the most unexpected places. Unexpected because someone's children have already eaten at least half of the stockpile. Its alright, I'm a very creative cookie hider.

The latest batch making my house smell so good is the classic Alaska cookie. Named by G when he was to young to pronounce Molasses and during a time when the grandparents were driving from NY to Alaska every summer. Alaska cookies were born. G won't touch chocolate anything but will eat a spice cookie anytime. Go figure, if I couldn't positively identify that giant head of his I would have sworn they switched babies at the hospital. We love him anyway of course, aversion to chocolate and all.

If your in mid-Christmas baking hysteria or haven't even started these are a great, make your house smell amazing cookie that will keep until the big day (if you hide them well).

Alaska Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter
2c sugar
2 Large eggs
1/2c molasses
4c flour
4tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
2tsp cinnamon
2tsp ginger
1tsp cloves

So you mix them in the typical cookie like way, roll into balls, roll in sugar and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. I'd watch the first batch to see how long it really takes. Apparently my oven is a little quick and I swear they were looking done in 6 minutes so use your own judgement. Let me know if you give them a try!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let's try this again...

So, the camera works fine. Yup, did you know that there should be software involved when your trying to upload photos from a new camera ? Not normally something I would miss but after eight weeks alone with four kids, I'm not exactly functioning at my best. Yeah, I think I'll be using that excuse for awhile. :)

This is the package I sent to Heather for the Mini Quilt in a Bag Swap. Nothing like a little procrastination. I decided to add the piece of vintage dresser scarf that I embroidered the night before the package went out. Sorry for the wait Heather! The pattern is of course from the Hoop Love group on flickr. Good stuff over there if you like vintage. Heather will be making a mini quilt to send back to me out of these materials. She picked out some great stuff for her own mini which I received a little while ago. Heather sent tons of Katie Jump Rope fabric and some great trim too. I've already got an idea in the works for that one!
Thanksgiving weekend seemed like a great time to start a few more Christmas gifts. The dress and swingy little shirt will be for Miss Mimi. Both are really cute simple patterns which probably would have been done already if I hadn't sewn one of the ruffles on upside down. See first paragraph for my standard excuse.
The red and white is a super soft flannel and the pink paisley is baby cord.
Wrapping up for today is a very poorly lit pic of a quick linen and wool pillow I made from a thrifted embroidery. The couch needed a little sprucing up for the holidays.
I'll be back soon with some pics of the amazing fabric stash I received from Oh Franson for my lucky Giveaway Day win. Oh lucky day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Darn Camera

Another pictureless post today. Not to worry though, the new camera has been recovered from the sticky kid hands. Today however, I can't seem to figure out how to upload all those pics. Frustrating little camera it is . I'm usually just a wing it kind of girl, no instructions for me thank you very much. This time though I've read the manual (which by the way had all of six words on how to upload) three times and my computer is still staring blankly at me, or maybe its the other way around.

On to bigger and better things, I won something ! Woo hoo! Can I get a Woo Hoo? Yes, I did make the kids do that for me at breakfast. They already know I'm crazy, it will be okay. I left comments on an embarrassingly large number of blog giveaways yesterday, all organized by Sew Mama Sew. They hosted a great blog giveaway day and Elizabeth at Oh Franson deserves a great big thank you from me because oh, did I mention, I won! Elizabeth had up for grabs four postal boxes filled with all kinds of cool fabric and one of them is headed my way. She has a great site with tons of tutorials that I'll be adding to my bloglist. Alright, so one more woohoo for me and off you go to check out Oh Franson.

PS:Neenee-the curtains are awesome! Now get off this site and go paint something...Christmas is coming! :)

Monday, December 1, 2008


Well, I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and plenty to be thankful for. I'm most thankful for my husband home again after an eight week business trip. Whew. That was possibly the longest eight weeks of my life. Anyway, home safe and sound and the kids are so happy they won't even let him out of their site. Like I said plenty to be thankful for.

I've actually had a pretty productive couple of days making Christmas gifts, unfortunately I have nothing to show you because one of those adorable kids has wandered off with my camera. Someone's probably making an awesome video of the dog. I'll be back soon to post some actual photographic proof of gift making but until then I'll be hanging out with my husband. We'll probably just be looking for the camera together but it still counts. :)

Happy December 1st!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Red and Aqua Swap

Red and Aqua Swap, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

Red and Aqua Swap

Red and Aqua Swap, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

Mail from Australia

Red and Aqua Swap, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

My Red and Aqua Swap package arrived all the way from Tracey in Australia. I want to say right now that, yes, I was ridiculously excited by what I received. Tracey did such a great job with all the little projects she made. Her tiny little stitches are amazing. Sorry about the slightly blurry photo but the winter light is not making it easy. I've already starting sketching some new ideas in the cute sketchbook holder and the little house magnet is making its way to the refrigerator once I clear off a two inch spot. The kids have been making and hanging tons of art these days. I know its probably hard to see in the cruddy pic but Tracey also sent some kangaroo and airplane confetti, tags, embroidery thread and make sure you check out the close ups of a couple other projects below. Thank you so much Tracey, I love it all!

Red and Aqua Swap

Red and Aqua Swap, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Another Giveaway!

Film in the Fridge is giving away some very cool stuff to celebrate her 100th post! Check this out!

Love the cute napkins with ric rac and the fabric scraps would be great for adding to some of my Christmas gift projects! All you need to do to enter is head on over to Film in the Fridge, congratulate her on all those posts (you should read some of them too, good stuff!) and tell her about some of the gifts you'll be making this year. Good luck, and if you win don't feel obligated to share with me or anything...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Australia or Bust!

Red and Aqua Swap, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

Tracey received her package for the Red and Aqua Swap so I can finally post what I've been busy working on. Of course, a big woohoo! goes out to the US Postal Service for shipping in what must be near record time. I think it took longer to ship to Canada!
This package was really fun to put together. The shiny thing in the center is a pack of tiny vintage Christmas ornaments found at my favorite shop along with the vintage handkerchief that I embroidered. The notebook holder is from a pattern by JCHandmade with an embroidery design by moi. I'm lovin' the hexagons these days. Two tea towels are embellished with doily type things from yup, you guessed it, my favorite store. That tiny little necklace is a handstitched patchwork pendant with a linen backing and vintage button. I liked it so much, I made myself a twin. A little Chai spice tea, chocolate bar with dried cherries, a magazine to read and an amazing smelling candle wrapped up the swap. Hope you enjoy everything Tracey!

Handstitched Patchwork Pendant

Tea Towels

Tea Towels, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Stitching, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

Look at all the cute stitching done by our group of fifth grade American Girl Club Members! They did such a great job and really took their time with this project. So proud! The girls used crayons to tint the fabric and stitched the outlines to finish it off. I spent the morning looking around for fun embroidery patterns for the girls to stitch. As usual, I found some really cute patterns but even after downsizing them they were either too intricate or too big for the hoops.
I really did think I'd bought the larger hoops. In the end I drew up some simple designs myself.
I think you can see for yourself which were the most popular. (hmmm...cupcake....) I was so impressed by how much time and patience the girls put into this project. They really did a great job and its pretty clear by the lack of whining that they really are growing up. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Swap Till You Drop Mini

This is my November Mini Quilt for Swap Till You Drop group on flickr. Its my first time participating in this swap and it was so much fun I've already signed up for December! The theme for November was a two color mini, so of course I went with my all time favorite red and white combo. The embroidery is a free pattern from Andrea Zuill of Badbird's. If you haven't already been over there, now is the time to go check it out! Andrea posts a new free pattern each month and they are fantastic. This is the first time I've tried a disappearing nine patch pattern and, not only was it almost too easy, but I love the way it looks with all the white. What do you think? Is this a possibility for the Spare Change Swap? Oh, and yes I finally stopped ogling my squares for the Spare Change Quilt, but just so you know, I am not at all embarrassed by my behavior. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Spare Change Swap Fabric

Spare Change Swap Fabric, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

This amazing package was in my mailbox today. This is my Spare Change Swap fabric all ready to be made into a quilt. I can't even imagine how long it must have taken Juliette to put all these packages together. Although, it must have been fun sorting through all that fabric ( for the first couple of hours anyway)! Did you see the cute apron one in the center? And the apples, and the retro flowers on the top left? Good stuff! So, now that all the squares have arrived its time to decide what the quilt should be. Any thoughts?
Now I know this is repetitive but, did you see the aprons?! Umm... wow, and where do I get more of that? I 'm gonna go roll around in my fabric now. :0)

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Little Bit of This

Aqua and Red Swap, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

Just the tiniest bit of a couple of projects for the Red and Aqua Swap winging its way to Australia. Okay, its probably sitting in some bin in the post office but still its on its way Tracey! Cross your fingers and make a wish and maybe customs will be quick! I hope you like your surprises Tracey, its been so much fun making them for you! I'll post pics of the whole shebang once it makes across the world.

Oh, and some of our favorite people are picking up and moving into their shiny new mansion today. A house fit for the Queen in all of them! We love you Neenee and hope you'll make it through the moving mania! I'll be making tiaras for everyone, except you Mr. Bones. Happy new house!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quilt, quilt, quilt Giveaway !!!!

Yup, its another quilt giveaway in blogland. How amazing are these? The Old Red Barn Co. is giving away each of these three beauties, and yes in yet another lame attempt to up my chances in the drawing, I'm showing them to you. Now, as usual, you may look but of course please do not enter the contest...there, I knew you wouldn't. Thank you in advance for your good luck wishes on the giveaway. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November Quiltie Sneak Peek

November Sneak Peek, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

Here's a quick look at a mini quilt I just finished November Swap Till You Drop group on flickr. Its a two color theme so I used my all time favorite red and white combo. The full reveal coming soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Swaps and more swaps

These are the fabrics and other goodies I'll be sending to my partner for the Mini Quilt in a bag swap. Most of the chocolate and aqua squares are from a Moda Tula Pink Nest Charm Pack. I bought them from Hancock's of Paducah (really great customer service and super fast shipping). The others are an Alexander Henry (blue and brown mod print on the far left) some chocolate and natural linens and a little aqua piece, some vintage lace and crochet hexagons from the local thrift craft store. Seriously, I'm developing a real problem when it comes to that place! Stay tuned for the upcoming intervention.....I also found a vintage dresser scarf that had seen better days. I'm thinking about stitching a small design and including that in my swap bag as part of the mini quilt. Any suggestions on what exactly to stitch? I can seem to make up my mind. See how I went right back to what else I bought at that store?! A sure sign of addiction! Anyway, I can't wait to see what my partner sends for me to work with and get started on her quilt.
I'm also wrapping up my package for the Red and Aqua Swap, hosted by Selena and Sarah . That will be sent out tomorrow to my partner in Austrailia so I'll be posting a sneak peek at that in the next few days. I don't want to ruin Tracey's surprise! :) You can also check out all the other swappers goods on their flickr group.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A little something and a swap

List Maker, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

Well, I 've finally made something for myself. It seems like most of the things I make are gifted to others. I'm not complaining, I love making things for the people I love.
I saw this pattern on JCHandmade a little while ago and couldn't get it out of my head. Its a great pattern, ridiculously easy and quick to produce the finished list maker. There are so many ways to make it your own too! The flower parts are all handstitched onto chocolate linen. I found them at my favorite thrift/craft store. I think some of the fabric is older (some distinctly 80's fabrics in this bag of parts) but all pre-cut just waiting to be made into something fun. Just another attempt to look super cool at those PTA meetings. Its hard but I have to try.

I've joined yet another swap because apparently I can never have enough to keep me busy during the holidays! Woohoo! Is there a deadline?! I thrive under stress. Really, I just couldn't stop myself. This one sounds like too much fun. Its the Mini Quilt in a Bag Swap. You and your partner each put together a bag full of fabrics, trim embellishments etc. and exchange them. Then each partner will use the bag of fun they've received to make a mini quilt to send back. Now, I already know what I would do with all the stuff I 'm sending, I can't wait to see my partner's ideas! You can check out the flickr group to see the swap from the beginning.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Button Jar, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

The latest and greatest in kidmade art .... a button candle jar, made with silicone and a ton of buttons all by himself. This was a project we originally did for my daughters birthday party, much more glam and shiny of course.

The Monkey-man found the extra supplies and spent the better part of an hour making this beauty. Perfect for my favorite polka-dot candles and vintage doily from the best store ever. We may be making a few more for holiday gifts!

Monday, November 3, 2008

We interrupt this blog...

Tip me over Tea Towels, originally uploaded by spinster sister.

I guess I took a little break from blogging, so my apologies to my two readers. I think it was all the Halloween that did it. I usually start those costumes much earlier but some people have a habit of oh, waiting till the last minute to decide on their costume. Others just like to change their mind a few times. I don't even have proof of all the costumes because in my semi-dazed stupor I accidentally deleted all the pictures. We'll be having a reenactment of Halloween very soon.... you know, like at a wedding where you pretend to cut the cake for the photo op.
In my spare time I've been working on a few gifts. Tea towels for my mother-in-law for Christmas. I found this vintage pattern on the Hoop Love Flickr group, an amazing group of free vintage patterns.
I'm loving the happy teapot and the creamer and sugar bowl are obviously involved in some sort of dispute. Next up are the dancing spoon and fork. All the happy towel guys will be wrapped up with a nice new teapot that I hope she'll like.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Random Craftiness

Can you guess what the Monkey Man is going to be for Halloween? I bet you can! Here's the sneak peek with the full reveal not far behind. We're running out of time before the annual extravaganza. Only three more costumes to go after this one, wish me luck.
Yards and yard of wool from the nicest lady who was trimming down her stash on Craig's List.
These were all estate sale purchases and she wanted to give them to someone who would put them to good use. Ooo! Over here! This isn't even all of it, there is still a ton more to wash.
She was so happy to hear that I was teaching my daughter to sew and passing on those skills to the next generation. I love meeting people like her, who talk to you forever about their lives and how things used to be.
Another addition to the stash, this time a request from a favorite teacher. More bibs for the twins who have apparently already outgrown all the infant bibs I'd made and are moving on to the real deal. Bibs for wiping off all that mushed up, smeared on, used as hair gel, baby food.
And finally a craft from an afterschool club I run with a friend. Some really fun Rainbow Spinner's made by twenty girls. This one took a while to dry. :)

We don't have a huge budget to work with so we try to recycle quite a bit. This time it was two old CD's. Each girl decorated one cd with fabric paint and gems. A little hot glue (done by the adults please) and some ribbon for a hanger and you have a really cool spinner to hang in your window.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quilt Giveaway

Lizzie Ann Quilts is having a giveaway for a beautiful quilt! I love the frayed edges on this quilt. Its a great design too! So now that I've told you about it, you can go take a look at this beautiful piece. However, since I was nice enough to tell you about it (you know, purely for inspiration) please do not leave a comment on her blog and try to win it. Clearly I can't afford any more competition over there, so many comments already. Alright? So, pinky swear that you won't comment and enter the giveaway and then you have my permission to go have a look.

I know, the suspense is killing you...

Finally, the finished mini quilt for the Spare a Square Challenge. I loved making this project and using other people's scrap fabric really was fun. I think my favorite is the green in the center with the little circles and flowers. See it? How cute is that one? I'd love to get my hands on more of that. Anyone know where to find it from my tiny little piece? Get out your magnifying glass and have a look.
I had some trouble coming up with a working idea for these fabrics when they were full size. There were too many competing patterns and colors none really stood out, except the numbers of course, its hard to miss those. I knew I definitely wasn't cutting into those they are too graphic and needed to be kept whole. I started out with a confetti theme and sketched a little girl tossing fabric in the air. The sketch got tossed out, pared down along the way. I really like the idea of making something from nothing so we have all the tiny bits of fabric becoming a whole. Oh, and a limited edition numbered quilt. Only 6,313 more to go in the series according to my cool numbered scrap. :)

Monday, October 13, 2008


The beginnings of my Spare a Square project for the JCHandmade Challenge.
Little scraps of great fabric on their way to becoming something new. I should have taken a picture of the scraps as soon as I received them but I was too busy kicking around an idea for the project. My scraps were from group four and in a week or so you can take a look at the flickr group and see what everyone else came up with for this challenge. There are a few projects posted there already and they look great.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Vintage Bits and Pieces

Another good day at the local craft/thrift store. Love that place! So many fun things to show you. I know I can't be the only one who makes the squealy noise when finding a whole bag of vintage silk thread spools for....ready? Two, yep two dollars. My family thinks its a little weird that I'm not planning to actually sew with it. Maybe someday...okay, probably not. Right now they look fantastic in their little vintage pyramid on my grandmother's desk.
Also from the amazing thrifty crafty place, a huge bag of quilt pieces already basted and waiting for a project to call home. I found a place for some of them on a new notebook holder so I can look ultra cool when I go to those PTA meetings. Its hard to be cool at PTA. :)
On a totally unrelated note, I received my scraps of fabric from JCHandmade for the Spare a Square Challenge. Its amazing how being handed a few fabrics you probably wouldn't have combined yourself can make think. I wasn't really sure where this project was going when I first saw the scraps. After a day of ignoring them and then waking up the next morning thinking about it, I finally got started. The project is going in a totally different direction than I thought, but I really think I like it. Oh, and here's a teaser, I used a little bit of some vintage goodness to pull it all together. Stay tuned for a WIP photo hopefully tommorow.

Monday, October 6, 2008

WIP Winter in October

I know its only October but its been awfully cold here lately, maybe the temperature has something to do with the look of this project. Last night I pulled out my basket of vintage odds and ends and played until I found a combination I liked. I started with the snowflake and pulled in some subtle winter colors. Miss Mimi has decided it looks like a snow globe and so, a snowglobe it will be! The background is vintage linen recycled from an embroidery I was given, which will soon be a new pillow for the bedroom. I don't have any plans for the snowglobe yet....

but I do love the way the late afternoon light shines through.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Spare Change Swap

Have you seen this?!
Chickpea Sewing Studio is organizing a scrap challenge. Sign ups are open until October 15th.
Basically a 1/2 yard fabric swap (cut into 5x5 inch squares). The squares will be used to make a white and scrap quilt. I may just be able to check a Christmas gift off my list after this swap!

An example of a white and scrap quilt made by Chickpea herself. I love the way the white makes all the fabrics stand out. Go check out that swap for yourself and let's make some quilts!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Goods for the Gratitude Swap

No more sneak peeks! Here's the real deal, this is my completed Gratitude Swap package winging its way to Tonya. She should receive this today. Hope you like it Tonya!
I used Soulemama's free Gratitude Wrap Pattern. You can find the downloadable pattern in her sidebar. This pattern is great, easy to follow and quick to produce. So simple and yet so cute!

Tonya likes a good surprise so I hope this is fun for her. My only clues were greens, browns and she loves hedgehogs. The wrap is mostly linen with recycled denim (with four kids we have a lot of that around here!) and some other fun scraps. I used denim and chenille for the inside pockets for some added texture. The cute hedgie embroidery pattern is a freebie from Pimp Stitch, another fun pattern!

I filled those pockets with some handmade cards, made with stamped linen scraps and stitched onto cardstock. I really like the way these turned out. Oh, and if you look closely, the thread ends were left on intentionally. I thought it looked kind of cool.

Also included in the package were a few local treats. We found some yummy candy, popcorn on the cob, apple jelly and a beeswax candle with a (plastic) bee in it at the local farm market. They have the best stuff and the coolest Halloween Teepee filled with Jack-o-lanterns so it was no hardship for the kids to go shop there! Although the littlest one did leave the teepee in tears. I think it was the hanging skeletons at the end. Oops, forgot about that part.

This was a great swap, hosted by Melissa and I had so much fun putting all this together!
Alright, now go check out those free patterns!