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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

snug as a bug

Let me begin by saying that this snuggie wrap blanket (not to be confused with a snuggie) is my favorite baby project to date.  It was inexpensive, not too time consuming, and only a little frustrating, which is more than I can say for the everything bag.  Another one of Amy Butler's designs from her book Little Stitches for Little Ones, it was much easier than the bag and I wouldn't hesitate to make another.  
I lured Matt down Route 2 by telling him we could go to Harbor Freight Tools if he would join me at Joann's.  When we arrived I convinced him to pick out the fabric... I figure he should have some say in this child's accessories since I've basically been choosing everything.  I think the dinosaurs are pretty cute considering the usual selection available.
The blanket features a tie that slides through two button holes at the back for securing the baby once he or she is wrapped up inside.
It's lined in fleece for extra warmth and cuddliness...
and the hood is just plain adorable, or at least it will be once there's a baby's head inside of it.  I made the 0-3 month size and I'm planning on making one in the 3-6 month size for later use, but next time I'll pick out the fabric... maybe some of Alexander Henry's spotted owls!  We'll see what the next couple of months allow for.

Monday, August 30, 2010

back to school

After fighting the feeling that autumn was approaching I finally have to give in to it... school is back in session as of tomorrow!  Fall doesn't actually begin until September 23rd but when that bell starts ringing regularly at 8:50 a.m. Monday through Friday it sure seems like the seasons have changed.  Even though I'll be at school (a.k.a. work... I call it both and people are often confused) during the week instead of gallivanting around town I hope to keep up with the tiny hummingbird.  Be on the lookout for more sewing projects, New England fall activities (hooray for apple picking!), places to eat in RI, nursery progress, and eventually the arrival of our baby!  It's going to be sooner than I realize, I'm sure.  So wish me luck as I attempt to maintain some of my carefree summer spirit as I begin a new school year with my third and fourth grade students.  I'm looking forward to a successful start for all of us!  

Friday, August 27, 2010

where the magic happens...

No, not that magic, the sewing and crafting magic.  This is the place where I do all my sewing and most of my crafting - the blue room.  Yes, Matt and I often refer to the rooms of our home as if we lived somewhere palatial like the White House or The Breakers.  The blue room, the purple room, etc.  Anyway, for a long time the blue room was home to a lot of boxes and miscellaneous items.  We made what I think was an excellent decision to turn it into a room where he could edit photos and I could work on projects, and here's the best part... we can do these activities in the same room!  We used to spend lots of time in different parts of the house, me at the dining room table with my supplies all over the floor and Matt anywhere he could find space since I usually occupied the only usable table in our house.  A desk from Target (similar to this one) for Matt and a workstation from Ikea for me (an expedit desk/workstation) did the trick.
I quickly filled up the shelves with boxes and tins to hold all my treasures.
Fabric is stacked according to color and works-in-progress are everywhere!
Some of my attempted organization - spools of thread in the pink box (a photo archive box from Target), Sharpies and mechanical pencils in a mason jar, bobbins in the silver tin, buttons in a votive holder.  Finally an excuse to collect every bit of pretty packaging that I encounter!
Four shelves devoted to the content of my old desk (which found a happy home in my mom's sewing room) - scrapbook paper, stamps, embroidery floss, zillions of cards, and other office supplies like tacks and paper clips.  We use one of the shelves for our laptops and various power supplies and cables that we use often.   
Two more shelves - one for batting and interfacing and one that houses my printer and paper when it's not in use.  Matt requested the use of at least two shelves so I begrudgingly sacrificed them to his photography supplies.
 
And last but certainly not least... my machine!  It's a Husqvarna Viking Huskystar C10 and I bought it used at Blaine's Sewing Machine Center which is conveniently located right down the street from my house.  I love my machine and am so glad I bought it instead of using the ancient Singer Matt found on Craigslist for $5 last year.  The Singer served me well for about a month and then I was reduced to tears trying to make a ridiculous amount of birds.  Anyway, I'm just glad I have such a great machine now.  Thanks, Matt!    

Thursday, August 26, 2010

invitations... for free!

My friend Olga's friend is visiting from South Carolina this week and she brought some exciting news to share - she's getting married in September!  Wouldn't one of these invitations be perfect for her quickly approaching celebration?  The best part is they're gorgeous and free!  
via How About Orange

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Beehive Cafe

Usually, as you can tell from my regular restaurant posting, I don't venture outside of Providence to find yummy breakfast, lunch, and dinner venues.  However, my friend John recommended a spot in Bristol that he said I absolutely had to try, The Beehive Cafe.  Let me just say that it completely lived up to all the hype.
The first floor is home to a few tables and a giant case full of breads and pastries.  Morning glory muffins, lemon squares, banana bread... it doesn't get much better than that.  Ari and I (we went out for one last hurrah before we would live in two different states) wrenched our eyes away from the carbohydratey goodness on display and began searching for two breakfast entrees to share.  After we placed our order we found a table upstairs and then anxiously stared down the stairwell at everyone who walked up it, hoping it was the server with our food.    
I selected a banana mango smoothie to start us off.  Its sweet flavor and creamy texture had me addicted after one sip and I swear it wasn't evenly split... sorry, Ari.
We shared a breakfast sandwich stuffed with two fried eggs, bacon, tomato (had to take that out of my half), Cheddar cheese, and arugula on potato bread.  It came with a fresh fruit salad that was gone in a split sec.  The bacon was perfectly crispy and I loved the addition of arugula, a green that I wouldn't think to put on a breakfast sandwich.  I could have eaten the whole thing and then this, too... 
French toast!  Classic out-to-breakfast choice.  I can't believe I used to hate it.  This particular French toast was light and fluffy and perfectly sprinkled with powdered sugar, not covered to the point where one chokes from inhaling the stuff directly into the esophagus which often happens.  My mouth is watering just thinking about the delicious meal we shared at The Beehive Cafe.  I can't wait to go back, even though it's in Bristol and, like a typical Rhode Islander, the 35 minute drive is a bit painful for me.       

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the everything bag

Operation Baby Preparation Project #2 was the everything bag from little stitches for little ones by Amy Butler.  Let me begin by saying that this project is not for the faint of heart, or at least not for a beginning/intermediate sewer (I still can't get over the fact that I must refer to myself and like-hobbied people as a system for transporting sewage) such as myself.  Luckily my cousin Shannon (who makes amazing children's clothing, for sale in her Etsy store Bella Couture Designs) wanted to make the bag as well so we worked on them together and after, oh, seven or eight hours we had completed both of them.  Overall I'm really happy with how mine turned out.  Two of my fabrics are from Erin McMorris's Park Slope collection, birds and flower field in teal which I used for the pockets and lining.  The main fabric is Anna Maria Horner's dance floor in teal from her Garden Party collection.  I didn't pay careful attention when cutting my side pocket fabric out of the bird print and thus ended up with bird flying north and south rather than east and west, but I don't think anyone would notice unless they looked closely.  Or unless I point it out, which I have done every time I've showed the bag to someone.      
The pockets are roomy and the divider is a nice feature, too.  I actually used the bag for about a week and loved how organized I was.  My usual bag has only two pockets and is large enough to fit a change of clothes complete with shoes and a plated banana bread (I've done it) including all the normal purse things so you can imagine how easy it is for me to lose things inside.  I can't wait to fill this one up with baby things.  Anyway, if you decide to try your hand at making this diaper bag make sure to check out the corrections here and get a good night's sleep.   

Monday, August 23, 2010

where in the world?

Ever since Matt and I bought our house in August of 2007 I've been saying that we need to get some things on the walls.  People come over and comment that I must be a minimalist while in reality I adore clutter and just can't find the right clutter to complement our home.  We have a handful of things hanging around the house including a couple of watercolors we bought while on our honeymoon in Italy, a set of great fork and spoon giraffes from our friend Elsa, a mirrored gold star, a framed card from my sister-in-law, a silver clock, and some wedding photos in the hallway leading to the second floor.  Oh, and a peacock feather that I have behind glass in a shadow box.  That's seven-ish pieces of wall decor in our entire house.  Some rooms are completely bare!  Anyway, one thing I would love to have in our living room is a world map (I like the one pictured above the best) where we could document our travels.  Jordan's friend and her husband show off their example of what I'm talking about here.  And just last week I saw this sweet scratch map (think lottery scratch ticket) on a cup of Jo - love it!  What do you think?   

Friday, August 20, 2010

Meeting Street Cafe

You all know how I love trying new restaurants and revisiting old favorites in Rhode Island.  Well, a couple of weeks ago Ari introduced me to a new-to-me restaurant on Thayer Street called Meeting Street Cafe, a place I've walked by literally hundreds of times, so many times that I can't believe I've never stopped in for a snack!  Ari and her husband Matt went there on their first date so it's a very special place for them and after eating there I can see why they like it so much! 


I ordered the classic reuben sandwich with a pickle and it was enormous!  Both the pickle and the sandwich.  The bread was perfectly toasted and absolutely stuffed with corned beef and sauerkraut.  Swiss was oozing out the sides as I took each bite and thousand island was constantly dripping onto my plate.  Delicious, albeit a little messy.  I was only able to eat half and then my darling husband Matt ate the rest without telling me so I went looking for it the next day and was sorely disappointed.  You're probably wondering why I'm so bitter and unwilling to share with the guy I love.  Let me explain.  Matt thinks there are only three food groups - chicken cutlets, macaroni (not '& cheese,' macaroni is what he calls all pasta), and orange juice.  He does not like corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, or thousand island dressing and yet he still ate my sandwich.  And later complained that it wasn't any good.  Now do you understand my frustration?  Hmph.  

Ari had just about the tallest tuna melt I've ever seen, also with a pickle.  I'm not a big tomato fan so we didn't split entrĂ©es as usual, but she thoroughly enjoyed her sandwich as well.  I can't say whether her husband (also named Matt) unkindly ate her leftover half of a sandwich, but I hope she wasn't as unpleasantly surprised as I was upon opening her refrigerator door later that evening or the next day. 
In other news, Ari and Matt very recently moved to Connecticut so our breakfast and lunch dates are sure to come fewer and farther in between.  Sigh.  I'm trying to look on the bright side and say that Ari can find lots of yummy places to dine around her new home and give me a culinary tour of the city soon.  Any New Haven recommendations? 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

rock-a-bye

What do you get when you combine a hand-me-down cradle, a gigantic piece of leftover fabric from Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley collection, and a scrap of minky dot?   
A beautiful place for baby to sleep while he's teeny tiny!  My cousin Shannon and her husband Matthew very kindly gave us the cradle that they used for each of their three kids, but along with it came outdated tan and blue teddy bear bedding.  I decided to remedy that wee problem by going through my stash and was lucky enough to find some fabrics that I knew would work for a baby boy and a girl, too, if one ever comes along.
I recovered the bumper and made new ties for it with the help of my friend and teacher, Lorraine.  
She also showed me how to make a simple cradle/crib/bed sheet so now I can whip them up quite easily.  I plan on making a few more for the cradle so we can mix it up a bit.  Also in case of accidents (*wink).
Now all we need is the baby!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

chronology

I informed Matt that we must begin this project pronto.
We need to document us looking more like the above photo before we start looking more like the photo below.  Way below.  And of course with different names and not in the 1970s.  
Be sure to check out the whole project here.
Via Marvelous Kiddo.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

pretty polish

My friends Jaclyn, Rachel, John (yes, John), and I treated ourselves to pedicures recently... I love all our bright colors!  Minus John obviously. 

My toes are now a lovely shade of 'Ogre-the-Top Blue' from OPI's Shrek Forever After Collection.  Before that they were painted 'Who the Shrek Are You?' and my fingernails were 'Funky Donkey.'  I bought both shades at Ulta, but they're also available at Trade Secret.  Another one of my favorite nail polish suppliers is Sally Beauty Supply.  I wonder how many more summer nail polish colors I can squeeze in before the summer's over!

Monday, August 16, 2010

reasons to love your mailman

Is there anything more exciting than coming home to a mailbox stuffed with packages?  Oh yeah, opening them all!  My weekend consisted of lots of fabric preparation for the many projects I have to complete and begin. 
One of my purchases from fabricworm was a yard of Echino oilcloth by Etsuko Furuya in natural.  I'm going to turn it into a booster seat using a pattern from the book One-Yard Wonders which my mom gave me for my birthday this year.  
I love the bright colors and bicycles!
My second fabricworm purchase was this bundle of ten half yards.  
One of my favorites is this Alexander Henry print.
Matt really likes the Michael Miller guitars.
However, I think these robots by Kokka take the cake.  
Purchases 3 and 4 were both yards of Alexander Henry Spotted Owl in Smoke.  I've been drooling over it since I first saw it as a quilt backing over at Oh, Fransson!  Etsy sellers Fabric Luv and The Fabric Store were happy to oblige.  
my three fave owls
My last purchase of the week was from Joann's, an Alexander Henry mod dot print that has been calling my name since I first saw it in the store about a month ago.  
Thankfully the washing and endless ironing is finally over.  That's definitely my least favorite part new fabric delivery.  Now on to the cutting and sewing!

Friday, August 13, 2010

mint lemonade

Here's a refreshing drink to enjoy all weekend... lemonade mint spritzers from the May issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray.  Even quicker than lavender lemonade and just as tasty.  My pitcher only lasted two days!  

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Leah's Flock of Triangles

This quilt is almost a year old at this point as it's been used by a very sweet baby since she was born.  OK, well almost since she was born.  I didn't quite have it finished in time.  Anyway, I asked my cousin TJ to bring the quilt to a family cookout so I could take some photos.  I had handed it off to him and his wife for their baby Leah last October without documenting any of the process or finished product.  So here it is, the second quilt in my quilt roster, Denyse Schmidt's Flock of Triangles (crib size) from her book, 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects.  
I used five different Stonehill Collection fabrics (available at  Jo-Ann's), repeating the pink leaf in the binding and the brown polka dot on the back.  My favorite prints are the bright on white floral and the green.  The design was surprisingly manageable for a beginner like myself and I would definitely make it again.  My one problem was getting the bottom points to stay pointy... a lot of them ended up inside the seams of the quilt top but I don't think it makes the quilt any less pretty!  
Here's ten month old Leah wrapped in her quilt, no doubt wondering why she's bundled up in August.  With lots of babies due in the coming months I should have lots more finished quilt posts coming your way!    
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