Saturday, July 11, 2009

The big, big slide

Before Ivy was born, I made her a crib set. Alas, Ivy had her own ideas about things (thankfully we like that quality in a child) and she never actually slept in her crib. Not once. It did look beautiful, though.

In fact, her room was just darling, even though it was only 8 feet wide by 6 feet deep with steps to the attic occupying one corner. Humor me. I was so proud of my nesting prowess.
If you look back, you may notice that what used to be the nursery is now our sewing room - slash -  office. It all came down to the fact that we never really used the nursery. 
I've been thinking for awhile that I should make a quilt out of the crib set and today I got ambitious and ripped out all those seams and ironed. 
And here you have the "big, big slide". Ivy and Blue have been very into the slip and slide lately. No water running down this one, but that made it all the more fun. The slip and slide is a tad scary for two years old, even when she pushes herself to keep up with her big sister.
The question is, how to manipulate what I have to make a quilt. Her favorite blanket is 'the squares' - the quilt my sister made my husband and me, so I want to make her a quilt of her own. It would be nice if she would attach to her own little blanket or stuffed animal before we move her to her own bed at some unforseeable point in the future
I have a plan, I think, but it will require a little scrimping and pinching with the light blue. It's a fine wale courderoy which I'm hoping will be okay for quilting. I've never quilted anything before. Yikes. This will be good practice for the bigger quilt I have in mind to make. I was inspired by this quilt which is utterly amazing. And to think she did it all with squares. Crazy. I'm fascinated, though, because with just one base color, I can pick any fabric I have, or any fabric I want to buy, and make something cohesive without a big plan. I mean, I have a sort of a plan in mind. Well, I have a sort of pallette anyway. 
I'm now off to put Ivy to bed - my bed - so I can slip off to the sewing room - formerly her room - to make her a quilt for her new room, whatever that may be.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A cup of calm

My sister and I spent an entire weekend cleaning and organizing my house. In all honesty, it would have taken us a week of weekends to get it all done. But my kitchen is ever so much more manageable now, even if getting to the sewing machine is still an Olympic event. But, houses are for living in, and neatness disappears. But I made sure to take care of this little cupboard my sister organized.

Isn't it lovely? That is my "china". I got it at a yard sale for $20 when $20 was big money. It's called "Anniversary"and some of the pieces are a little chipped, but they are my 'good' dishes because I love them and they make me happy. Jason and I used to make a pot of tea on Sunday mornings before we had kids and sip from tea cups very civilly. Incidentally, the tea pot is from a friend's trip to England. It's not part of the set.
Sometimes when the house it getting the best of me, I go to the cupboard and open the door for a hit of neat and tidy and pretty. Before my sister organized, it was all shoved up on the highest shelf and I had to pull it all down to find anything. Now, I will sometimes take out a little plate and have a slice of frozen lemon cake - just to be civil.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Little Patchwork

For the past few weeks, there has been no creativity in my life. I finished the girls dresses and then... nothing. Summer is here, and the girls and I are so busy that I have been missing things. Swim class? Oops. Occupational Therapy? Oops. And that's not like me. So J and I made some time yesterday for me to do some sewing (which is a much bigger challenge than that sentence reflects). I've been curious about the disappearing 9 patch, so I decided to make a little pin cushion. I've always thought I would like a nice cute pin cushion. Ever since Blue took a pair of scissors to the old strawberry, anyway. So I got my scraps out and laboriously cut out 4 one-and-a-half inch squares. Whaaat? Nine patch needs 9 squares. Get the scraps back out. Where was my head? I just don't know. So I sewed, and I sewed, and I sewed. And let me tell you - when your squares are 1.5 inches, that 1/4 inch seam needs to be accurate. Well see? I'm learning already.

So I cut and arranged and arranged and arranged and sewed. And now I have the smallest pin cushion on the face of the earth.
I think it is so small it doesn't even show off the prints well. But it does hold pins quite well.
Part of what got me interested in patchwork was this little bit of my past. I have had this quilt since I was a teenager. I think it came from my grandparents' house after they died. You can't tell from this picture, but it is in sorry shape. I don't know if it was my storage method (I was young, I thought a plastic bag was a good idea) or what, but it has deteriorated badly. Every time I touch it, it rips a little here and there.
And here is the back. As a kid I was amazed that the back was made up of the same print in different colors, and I also wondered why the person who made it would have bothered using two different colors. I didn't come from a family that talked about fabric or quilting or that sort of thing.

Incidentally, since the quilt is falling apart, I can see that it was pieced onto muslin. I keep staring at it, trying to figure out the order in which the pieces were sewn, wondering what the person who made it was thinking about as she chose pieces. I have always been fascinated by scrap quilts and the history of the fabrics that make them up.
Now lastly, as I was looking at this quilt, something reminded me of a quilt I had started long ago. I haven't thought of it in eons, but today I managed to dig it out of a box in the attic. When I started it I had just moved to northern Minnesota (north of the lake...brrr) to live with my new boyfriend/old friend. I didn't have much of a job, and I was stuck out in the cold north woods, so I decided to make a quilt. And being me, I decided it had to be a recycled quilt. Every Wednesday I would go to the $3 bag day at the thrift store and buy a bag of shirts to cut up. I would then spend the week cutting out the pieces, one by one, with scissors, using a foam core pattern piece. Then I would sew them all together. And rip, and sew. With an old black sewing machine that I bought in Duluth for $20. 
Then we moved east, and I bought some scraps of fabric at Crate and Barrel and made some more blocks, but then we were getting married and then we had kids and the next 9 years disappeared in a flash.
I bet you're thinking I had some fancy intricate pattern I was making, right?

Nope. Just a good old nine patch. But just use your imagination for a moment and you will see me with my tongue sticking out the side of my mouth toiling over this thing. 
I put them all out in the sun for a few minutes today for pictures. I absolutely hate some of the fabrics I used. But the feel of them brings back such bright, young, falling in love memories that I don't want to mess with them. Not even the sparkly trees. Not even the lavender plaid.
So I was thinking about finishing it. I can either sew it up as is, or I can 'disappear' the squares. I'm undecided but leaning toward disappearing them. I don't actually like the look of it right now. Part of me wants to just plow ahead with something new, even though that wasn't my initial plan for it. Part of me is indecisive and terrified. I think it would be healthier to just slice them up. Or I could just shove the impotent dregs into the attic again. Wouldn't that be a shame? For me, I mean. To turn down this opportunity for growth and all that.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What have I gotten myself into now?

I just signed up for Craft it Forward on Marie-Jolie's Permission to Unwind. I am both ecstatic and terrified. I love, love, love to give things to people. It is my life's calling to make people (anyone... everyone!) happy. I will also freely admit that I am very poor in the structure/timeliness/followthrough department. Getting better as I get older, though. And once you state something in public, you reallly have to follow though. Unless you are drunk off your gourd standing atop a bar in northern Wisconsin.

So here's how it works. I accepted a craft to be mailed to me with the provision that I would mail three crafts out to to-be-determined others. So here I am posting on my blog with this offer: I am going to mail the first three people who comment a fantastic little surprise craft of my choosing. As long as those three people go over to their blogs and make the same offer. Isn't that fun? And seriously, when I signed up, I almost forgot that I was going to get something from Marie-Jolie. I was very focused on the thought of sending three crafts out to other people.

So. Don't be a lurker. I know that occasionally people make it over here. It will be fun, and I will make you something lovely. I'll even go over and look at your blog to see what kind of things you are into. Awesome. I love this game already. So hurry! Sign up now!