green chevron detail

This quilt is actually the older sister to the baby bee quilt.  I made this one two years ago but lost my pictures when my computer crashed.  I was babysitting its owner this morning and grabbed a couple of snaps with my cell phone.

green chevron

This is a small quilt, just 21″ square, for use in a stroller or car seat.  Backed with fleece so it’s nice and cozy.

 

baby bee quilt

A dear friend is having a baby boy any day now so I made her this small quilt.  It measures about 24″ square, just the right size to use in a stroller or car seat.

baby bee quilt back

It being August and all, I skipped the batting and used a piece of flannel for the back so it’s cosy but lightweight.  I figure it will come in handy around September when the evenings start getting cool here in upstate New York.

baby bee quilt

I spotted this sweet bee fabric while traveling at the beginning of the summer and snatched it up because my friend’s school has a beekeeping club.  The rounded corners are a cinch to make since there isn’t any batting — just pin the fabrics right side together, cut your corners, stitch, flip right-side out, top stitch around the outside to close the gap, and quilt. Easy peasy.

Roman Blinds

I’m the queen of crappy pics lately but I wanted to post this project for the record.  I made my sister some roman blinds at the beginning of the year.  This was actually a long-ago Christmas gift IOU.  I was a bit intimidated by the process and didn’t really like the original fabric I had chosen.

Over winter break, I finally decided the time had come to finish this project.  Part of the motivation came from the fact that I have been trying to weed out my stash of stuff, including all my unused craft supplies.  I had all the pieces for this project — dowels, wood slat, rings, string — and needed to clear it out of my craft closet.  I finally found fabric I *love* by looking at shower curtains at TJ Maxx!  This was a Cynthia Rowley cloth shower curtain that I cut in half lengthwise to make two blinds.  The great thing about using a shower curtain was that the bottom and one of the sides were already hemmed, and I didn’t have to worry about lining up the design perfectly since it was already taken care of.  I wish I had better pictures because I really love how these turned out.  They look beautiful against the dark wood window frames and give the whole room a cleaner look.

I used Martha’s tutorial as inspiration but sewed my dowel pockets from the lining itself (pic one, above). And I did everything by machine.  This worked out fine since I used white thread and the front fabric pattern hides the stitches well enough, but if I had used plain fabric, it would have looked sort of messy.

Butterfly Mandala

This is what happened.  My (not so) new apartment has very tall ceilings and once I got things arranged to my liking, I found I had a very tall empty wall over my bed.  I wanted something big to put there that would fit with the India-inspired color scheme — bright orange curtains, pink rug, yellow throw pillows, multi-colored bed scarf.  Lots of thinking, looking at pictures on the interwebs, more thinking.

In October, I became obsessed with paper maché and made a dio de los muertos mask.  Around the same time, I became obsessed with mandalas, so I decided to make a giant paper maché mandala for my wall.  I put it together with cardboard, newspaper, flour paste, and gesso, but then came the difficulty of deciding how to decorate it.  Paint? Collage? Fabric?  I stared at it for a few more weeks, tried collage but it looked like crap so I peeled it off and stared at it for another week or so, painted one design and hated it, gessoed over it, stared at it again.

Butterfly Mandala

After a few more false starts, I got the idea to use butterfly wings as inspiration — butterflies having an important symbolic meaning in my life.  The designs in each of the mandala petals are copied from different kinds of butterflies, but I used monarch coloring throughout.  After staring at it for another week or so, I decided on a simple flower in the middle.

Butterfly Mandala

Since I only used paper maché on one side of the cardboard, it pulled the cardboard into a convex shape as it dried, adding to the three-dimensional quality.  You can’t quite see it in the photos, but the inside section is cut out, adding more dimension.  I didn’t put any kind of hanger on the back, so I just drilled right through it with a couple of wood screws, which are black and disappear in the black paint.  It measures 38 inches across but looks smaller on the giant wall.

It’s really dramatic — very colorful and almost tribal — and I’m kind of loving it.

Corduroy Lap Blanket

I’ve been holding off on posting this project since I couldn’t get any good pictures, but here it is anyway, for better or worse.  My ma asked for a heavy duty lap blanket for Christmas.  I inherited many yards of corduroy from someone and had been thinking it would make a great blanket.  I went for a large-scale chevron pattern — the squares are about 10-12″.

Corduroy Lap Blanket Fleece Backing

I backed it with heavy fleece — no lining necessary — and wrapped the fleece for binding.  I didn’t actually quilt the thing, which was a bit of a mistake, as now whenever she washes it, she’ll have to sort of shake it out to get it to lay flat.

The pictures are really bad and the colors are off.  Looks sort of garish here but I promise it’s much better in real life! And very cozy!

Adventure 3D collage

Every year I make a birthday card for my niece and they’ve gotten more elaborate over the years.  The rule is that it has to be made of paper to qualify as a card but this year I cheated a bit.  I got  a new ipod for Christmas and was looking at the cute plastic box that it comes in and the idea came to me that I should put a mini-diorama in it.

Adventure 3D Collage

The diorama is made completely of cut paper from an old Metropolitan Museum of Art desk calendar.  The photos don’t quite do it justice.

Adventure 3D Collage

My niece is studying abroad this semester — a grand adventure for someone who has let a relatively sheltered life.  I am so excited for her.  (And jealous too!)  Makes me think about my own travels overseas, especially when I was her age, and to long for some adventure of my own.

On the back, this favorite quote from Helen Keller.

Adventure (back)

Chocolate Meringue Pie

I haven’t done a whole lot of stitching this year, but I have made a whole lotta pies.  The pie of the autumn/winter season was what my mom’s old 4H cookbook calls chocolate cream but is really chocolate meringue.  I had trouble with the first one I made as the filling did not set and though delicious, it was more of a milkshake than a pie.

4H Cookbook Cream Pies

I figured out that the reason it did not set was that the filling never got hot enough, so the second time I made it, I skipped the double-boiler and cooked it in a saucepan, whisking the whole time so it wouldn’t burn.

4H Cookbook Meringue Topping

I make a 4 egg white meringue so there is more of it.  You have to use 2T of sugar per egg white in meringue, so I upped the recipe to a 1/4 cup of sugar.

I have started using J. Kenji López-Alt’s method for making pie crust (here) and it really is perfect every time! I love it!

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