Monday, May 30, 2011

Giveaway Prize

Lynn, if you want to be surprised by the mug rug you've won, look away!

Everyone else...check this out. :)

I muddled over quite a few ideas and pulled out many, many different fabrics before I settled on the Giveaway Day winning mug rug.  (And, truth be told, there was a point that I wasn't certain that I was headed in the right direction with this design.  Thanks to Mom and Benah for the encouragement.)  I wanted to work in as many of Lynn's likes as possible, but it also needed to work as a whole.  After messing with some other layouts, I came back to doing a small log cabin.  Largely because I heart them so much myself.  I wanted it to look kind of traditional, but not be just a log cabin square bound as a mug rug.

Choosing the fabrics was fun.  My initial plan was to work through the color scale of orange to yellow to green to blue and, ideally have the colors move from lighter to darker shades.  And it looked silly.  So I moved things around a bit until it felt right, and ended up dropping the blue fabrics out completely.  And then most of the green.  It just wasn't gelling right, and the mug rug was going to end up a massive log cabin square.

So, focusing on yellow and orange and a touch of green, I came up with:


And a fun green on the back, where you can see the quilting a bit better.


I hope it suits your tastes, Lynn!  :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Putting the Kids to Work: Craft Hope, Project #12: Orphan Outreach

Thanks to Deb over at Works In Progress, I discovered Craft Hope.

I've been looking for an organization like Craft Hope.  There are many days that I'm reminded that, as little as it feels like we have some times, as tight as our budget might be, we are SO SO SO very lucky to have the lives that we have here.  And I like the idea of being able to share...something...with someone else who might need it.  I can't donate large funds, but I can make stuff with my hands and my heart.

Enter Craft Hope.

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

For their Project #12, they're sending bracelets to Russian orphans.  I can make bracelets.  Bug can make bracelets.  My niece and nephew can make bracelets.

So I picked up a big bin of beads and some elastic cord (which I had, but not much of) on my way over to hang out at Mom's today.  Bug and I gave them a trial run and I think that we have a stunning Memorial Day craft. :)



Man-Quilt: The Beginning

(I haven't forgotten about announcing secondary winners for the SMS giveaway.  Promise.)

Once upon a time, I was involved in a fun quilting bee.  Life happened and I fell behind.  I caught up again.  But I TOTALLY FORGOT that January was my month to send out fabric.  D'oh.  I scrambled to get some fabric ordered, but by the time it all arrived it was a little late to get stuff out.  We talked about pushing me back in the lineup and the way life worked out, I kind of slipped out of the bee.  (As far as I know there were no hard feelings.)

After much debate, I'd determined to send out fabric for Richard's quilt.  He picked out the fabric and we talked about what he was looking for in a quilt.  He decided on a wonky square-in-a-square.

But then there wasn't a bee to send it out to, so the fabrics just kind of been hanging out...

Reopeneing my store and gearing up for Giveaway Day had me all crafty and wanting to be productive.  So I pulled out Richard's fabric and decided to start working on that.

I cut strips of fabric.


And then I started to sew...  I was able to get three done the first day, and three the next afternoon.  They were going fairly quickly and I'd hoped to get a few more finished, but the three year old had other plans.







Thursday, May 26, 2011

And the Winner is...

Thank you all so much to everyone who visited the blog and decided to enter the giveaway.  It was much more popular than I expected it to be and I'm thrilled that so many of you decided to follow the blog as well.  Hopefully you'll stick around a bit and enjoy it. :)

Before I announce a winner, I want to say that I wish I could have chosen everyone.  Seriously.  The comments that were posted were so much fun that I wish I could make a mug rug for everyone who took the time to enter, but I'm afraid that postage would kill me.  That said, I AM going to chose more than the initial randomly chosen winner.  There were a couple of comments that put such a clear picture into my mind that I can't NOT make those mug rugs.  I'm going to announce those winners in a second post, though.

So.  For the moment that you've been waiting for...

I used to choose a winner, but I'm not certain how to post the screen shot.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

Our winner is...#34, wooLynn, who said: "What a great giveaway! I like greens, blues, yellows, orange and natural linen but not red and no pastels. I would use it on my craft table maybe for coffee and a snack or to place my rug hooking scissors and hook. Log cabin with various widths or a random type of patchwork would be cool."

I'll be contacting you to get your address and I'll get started on your mug rug as soon as I hear back from you.  I'm really looking forward to creating a mug rug for you - the ideas are already starting to flow!

And, everyone else, watch for the second post.  I'm going to mull over the other entries and narrow down my favorites, then make another post later today.

Thank you all!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Giveaway Day!

Welcome, welcome to everyone who's visiting as part of Sew, Mama, Sew's May Giveaway Day!

Giveaway Day - May 2011

Up for grabs today is your very own mug rug.  Don't know what a mug rug is?  By definition, it's a quilted piece of artwork larger than a standard coaster and smaller than a placemat, used as a resting place for a beverage and a snack.  But often used for many other things. ;)  (I'll be honest.  I have one next to my computer that I use as intended.  And one next to my sewing machine as a resting place for my scissors so I always know where they are.)

This mug rug will be made JUST FOR YOU, based off of a short list of likes.

What do you have to do to enter?  Easy-peasy.  Just post here on the blog with a few things that tickle your fancy.  "I love orange and hexies and want to use the mug rug as a resting place for my cat's food bowl."  (I'd be sure to add a waterproof liner!)  Or, maybe "Polka dots make me shout with joy and I really like anything round.  But I don't care much for blue."  Or even "Elephants are my favorite animals.  Ever.  And I kind of like stripes."  You get the picture.  Just make sure that I have some way of contacting you if you win.  Blog followers get a second entry, free of charge.  Just post again letting me know that you are.  (New blog followers welcome!)

Entries will be accepted from right now through May 25th (I'll close submissions in the wee hours of May 26th) and I'll get working on the mug rug as soon as the winner has been contacted and responded, so that it can go into the mail quickly.

Good luck and have fun with all of the giveaways!  (And be sure to check out my TWO giveaways at frog loves monkey!  You have lots and lots of chances to win there!)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bug Cam

I love these photos.  The "Is this thing on?" check.  Makes my heart smile.



Meet Solo.


It was not my intention to get another cat after we lost Pie.  Our pet losses have been high this past year: Hope adopted abruptly just before we left Texas, Emma left behind, Elliott and Lili succumbing to a hereditary heart defect, and then Pie giving in to his age.  I kind of thought we'd give Chin a go at being a single kitty, keep our hearts open and if the universe decided that we needed another cat, we'd take it in.

Enter the three year old.

Not long (at all) after Pie passed away, Bug floored me.  We were playing with a very affectionate Chin when Bug told me "Miso needs a friend who isn't dead".


I put in a call about a cat I'd seen on craigslist that spoke to me, and the kids and I took off to meet him.  Solo.  So named because he was all alone in the world when the family we adopted him from found him.  Though lots of people prefer to think it's a Star Wars reference. ;)

He was a pathetic little baby kitten when he was discovered.  The family he'd been living with already had a cat and a dog and had no intention of keeping him, but took Solo in, fed him, cleaned him up, got him to the vet, etc.  He was ten months old when we met him (and there goes my "no more kittens!" rule, right out the window) and the three boys in the family had gotten quite attached.

The woman we adopted him from felt that we were a good match for Solo (Bug took to him instantly and was very gentle - yay!), but I wanted to talk to Richard about it, and I hated the idea of taking the cat while her oldest son was at school.  Not getting to say goodbye is hard.  I wasn't going to do that to someone else's kid.  We went home, I talked to Richard, she talked to her son, and we went back that evening.

Solo has been a real sweetie, and fit into our house very quickly.  I expected it to take a few weeks before Chin and Solo were okay with each other, but they'd stopped hissing at one another by the end of the second day, and were tentative buddies the day after that.  Now they're inseparable.

Solo is still very much a kitten - very active and playful - but also quite mature and thoughtful.  He'll attack anything that moves (so he's not a good bedroom kitty at night), but if he knows that there's a person beneath the movement, he will NOT put out his claws.  Bug can use him as a pillow, and Solo's okay with it.

(That's an early morning sleepy-face, not sad.)

I'm glad he's here.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mug Rug Swap - Round 4

I got involved in the Mug Rug swap on flickr just in time for round two.  (And I'll have to look back to see just what I've posted about that...)  I didn't really need another hobby, but I think I might be hooked.  They're great.  Tiny little quilts, big enough for a beverage and a snack.  Relatively quick to put together, small enough that you can experiment and they have the potential to be stinkin' cute. I'm still going with the swap. ;)

This is a blind swap, so I'm not at liberty to name my partner just yet.  Soon.  For now, I'll say that I was a little bit stumped on what to do for her.  She gave some really great information and I didn't expect to get stuck, but I did.  I latched on to her love of "kitschy" and decided to run with it...only, how exactly would SHE define the word?  I did some flickr stalking and fabric eyeballing, and ended up with this selection:

(Warning: crappy night time cell phone photos ahead!)


The Alexander Henry chicken fabric was something that I came across at Joanne's and didn't even realize what it was.  But it tickled me, so I abandoned my previous kitschy idea and let the rooster lead.


I was pleased.  Sort of.

I posted the pictures as a sneak peek to the group (which is suggested).  It was well received.  But it just didn't feel quite right for it's intended owner.  I stalked some more.  I eyeballed some more.  I went back to my original plan (and ended up with another Alexander-Henry-found-at-Joanne's fabric), and then abandoned it again.

I settled on bunting.  Because it's kind of fun, the design appeared very clearly in my head and (most importantly), my partner says she likes bunting.

I posted another sneak peek.



These photos were also well received.  And I have it on good authority that the person I'm making this for will be pleased.  So I'm ecstatic.

My original binding plan (polka dots) really, really, really didn't work out.  WAY too busy.  So I settled on black.  I think it frames it nicely.

It's kind of hard to tell in the photo, but I've quilted the front with big fluffy clouds.  It seemed to fit. :)


The back is quilted separately, straight lines.  I didn't figure I could go wrong with a little straight line quilting.  And I totally stole the tagging idea from some of the other swappers.  Had a stamp made up and heat set the ink on twill tape.  Brilliant.  Tagging is normally pretty stressful, but I love this.  It's easy-peasy, and I think it's super cute, too.

And, this time, I've gathered a few things to round out the package.  In addition to the mug rug - which I hope she enjoys! - I'm sending a mug, some teas in flavors that her profile suggests that she'll enjoy, a tin of sentimental candies and an Arizona-themed postcard.  Can't wait to see what she thinks of it!


First Harvests

In addition to the sunflowers, Mom's garden has already started producing a fairly nice bounty.  She's collecting a good number of tomatoes, zucchini and squash daily.  The radishes are ready too, though I'm really the only one who seems to be eating them - and I've learned to like them only because Bug enjoys picking them so much.

It's been a lot of fun to go over every day and help to pick the ripe veggies.  And even more fun to take them inside and immediately turn them into lunch.

Lunch harvest

We also picked and cooked a number of the radishes, though I forgot to take a picture of them.  I was pleased to discover that cooking radishes mellows them quite a bit.  First attempt was tasty, though a bit bland.  I'm looking forward to experimenting now.

And, even though they're not quite ready yet, Mom let Bug pick a couple of carrots.  We all agreed that they were quite tasty.

Season's forst carrots


My mom's garden is AMAZING.  (Well talk about mine later.)

One of the many things that she's growing this year is sunflowers.  Thanks to craigslist, I stumbled across a gentleman who was looking to rehome some that were growing wild in his yard (volunteers from his own garden) and came home with many.  All of mine died.  Mom's are doing quite well.

The first to bloom though, was one that grew up wild in a random pot, from a seed that fell from a bird feeder.

It's gorgeous.


And tall!  Bug was so excited when the sunflower finally bloomed that he actually let me take his picture with it.  I'm not sure what's up with the affected smile. ;)  For reference, Bug stands right at three feet tall these days.

Bug and the first sunflower


At the end of March, we lost our beloved kitty, Pie.  He would have been seventeen years old in April.


This has been particularly difficult for me to talk about.  Probably because it's May and I have yet to really let myself grieve.  Probably because we've been in Arizona for almost a year and I have yet to really emotionally handle much of anything that's happened over the last year.  There is a lot of grief and anger for me to deal with and I've kind of put my energies into dealing with what was in front of me, instead of why it was there or how I felt about it.

But we're talking about Pie.

Pie came to us the summer of 1994, when Richard and I moved back to Houston.  We sublet a little apartment for three months while we looked for someplace to live and volunteered with the Homeless Pet Placement League that summer.  They brought Earl Grey into our lives.  He was 2.5 years old, fluffy and full of awesome.  He also adopted a tiny, flighty, homeless kitten...Pie.  And I do mean that Earl adopted him.  After a good bit of time and a whole lot of coaxing, I was able to get close enough to the kitten to snag him and get him into our apartment, but he didn't let anyone else near him.  Just Earl.  Earl, who cleaned him and cuddled him and played with him.  I'd never seen anything like that before.  It was amazing.

Several months later, Earl came down with a bug of some sort.  He was still owned by HPPL at the time (though I was fairly certain that we were going to be keeping him at that point), so they took him for a whole week to get him to the vet.  Pie freaked.  That poor kitten was lost.  On the sixth night, he finally approached me, and I sat on the kitchen floor with him for a very long time.  After that, he was my baby.  It took another year-and-a-half before he let Richard touch him.


Fast forward.  We had many cats come into our lives and leave again under various circumstances.  Earl had obviously been an outside cat at some point and eventually turned into and indoor/outdoor cat at our house.  When we took in a litter of kittens (he was about ten at the time), he started spending more and more time outside and finally took up residence (on his own terms) with a family who lived down the street.  I still put food out for him and he'd come over and say hello when I was outside, but he let it be known that he was his own cat thankyouverymuch.  Pie became our old man.

When we moved to Arizona last summer, he was showing his age.  He'd had a tumor of some sort in his tail for years.  We had it checked out and it wasn't cancerous, but he was going to lose his tail if they removed it (which they wanted to do because it had a tendency to swell and then explode like a giant blood blister, which is as disgusting as it sounds), but he was getting more frail and there was a fear that he wouldn't survive the surgery.

I think it's safe to say that pretty much everyone was shocked at how well he'd handled Bug.  I mean, Pie was pretty much the center of my home universe and he was kind of used to being king of my heart.  He didn't care much for change, and certainly hadn't cared much for the various kittens he'd been exposed to.  That Bug latched onto him and they became buddies was somewhat amazing.

Pie was awesome with Bug.  Just awesome.  Bug could do anything to Pie, and Pie would take it.  Body slams, using Pie as a pillow...whatever.  It would make my mother cringe to watch, but Pie loved Bug and Bug loved Pie.


When we moved into our own house, Pie got to start spending some time outside.  Really, only because he was too old to get over the fence, so we knew he'd have to stay in the yard where we could see him and where he couldn't get into too much trouble.  He loved eating the weeds, keeping tabs on what Bug was up to, and acting like he could take on the neighbor's giant, barking dog.  It revitalized him.


And then...he got sick.  Fast.  We woke up one morning and he'd been throwing up.  The best I was able to tell, he'd jumped up on the counter and decided to drink the sugar-water that Bug and I had mixed up as hummingbird food.  I thought it had just upset his stomach, but he just didn't get better.  Even when he stopped throwing up, he just never got his strength back.  It wasn't much of a surprise when we came home from Mom's one night and found him.

I miss him so very much.


Pie (1994-2011)