Friday, January 28, 2011

Loving it.

First of all, I need to share this picture because it just cracks me up.
I don't know why.
Maybe it's the look in her eyes?
The little smirk on her face?
The 25 knots she managed to twist into her hair while she slept?
Her slightly cocked head?
Whatever it is... I just can't resist laughing out loud when I see it.
It is SO Willow.
What a nut.

I've got a few other things to share.
You probably won't think they're very interesting.
I don't care.
Here's a pillow I made for myself... first thing I made that I get to KEEP in a long, long time.

There's a funny little story that goes with this pillow.
I bought that cool center stitched situation in the middle there on Etsy forever ago.
I thought it was fun and apparently I had some seemingly spare cash to buy something on a whim... that must have felt nice.
It's been sitting in my make-shift studio just staring at me... begging me to finish it.
I would actually get a little upset with it.
Of course I would move it from surface to surface as projects allowed. But it was always visible.
You'd think the anger at an inanimate object would urge me to, oh, I don't know, put it away somewhere where I couldn't see it?
I kept it out so it could stare at me. And make me mad.
I finally had enough and while Willow was napping the other day, I whipped this thing out in a frenzy.
I'm pretty sure I finished the entire pillow cover in 6 minutes. Six.

When I was done. I just kind of laughed.
It felt good to get all my anger out by... making a pillow?
I might have lost it.
I think I've lost it.

Back in Normal World... I've been making a few other things.
And not out of anger, in case you were wondering.
Here's a nursery set that's already in North Carolina... just waiting on a baby!
(I used Flora in Bloom, Nature Elements in Brown and Hot Pink, and Star dot in Orange.)

Here's the back of the quilt. I really love that Flora print.
It's really cute.
Here's another quilt I was working on as a surprise gift for the same people who got the nursery set:
I've been wanting to try this design for a while and I thought this would be my perfect opportunity since there were no real guidelines, which meant I got to experiment!

I love experimenting.
Especially with pieced backs. They are the bomb.

And here's a teeny tiny dress that I made to coordinate with the quilt.
It is so small.
I was really excited about the fussy-cut bottom border that I knew I wanted to incorporate but seriously took me about 30 min. to figure it out.
It really should have taken about 2.
But it took 30.
Whatever. It happened. It looks cute. I did it.

I sent this dress out to California...
... and this one out to Delaware.
Could they be traveling any farther apart?
I thought that was pretty nifty.
I pondered it the entire time I was in line at the post office.

Here's some exciting (almost) news:
I'm in the midst of building a WillowBean website where you can buy lots of fantastical WillowBean things!
So stay tuned for that. I'm not sure how long it will take.
It's already taken longer than I thought, but what doesn't?

I'm also sending a sample package of WillowBean goods to a retailer in Florida!
Please, please keep your fingers crossed for me.
This could be big news for WillowBean Creations and the start of something fun.
I'm trying not to get too excited.
My sensible half says, "Stay calm, nothing is for certain." And then my me half comes around and says, "throw a fricken' party, dance a jig, get giddy... why not?"

So. That's where I am.
Loving it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pay it Forward!

Please go and make a donation to the National Down Syndrome Society for Nella, my cousin Kelle's daughter, who turns 1 tomorrow!

The goal started at $15,000 only a couple weeks ago and Nella's ONEder Fund has now raised over $90,000 thanks to everybody's small donations!
Every little bit helps... let's help Nella raise $100,000.
What a birthday present!

You can find Kelle's blog, Enjoying the Small Things, here and read all about Nella's Birth Story and their family... it's definitely worth a peek!

Thanks so much for paying it forward!

Making things, creating things.... loving things!

Well, I started on my new quilting ideas for the girls' room.
I love how that sounds... the girls.
I'm making quilts for my girls :)

I used the templates for the Center of Attention Quilt in the Handmade Beginnings book by Anna Maria Horner.
I liked how big these plates were (small is 17" across and large is 21" across) and that there were two different sizes for the plates- and I couldn't find a Dresden Plate template at Jo-Ann's.
(I can't really find much there that I want these days.)
And I decided to start this project at night, so most stores/quilt shops were closed.
Hey, you use what you've got, right?

So, I really didn't have that much of a plan.
I just started grabbing fabrics out of my scrap bins that I liked and that I was sure I could cut at least one blade from- big or small.
ALL of my pieces were from my scraps... ALL of them!
I'm super proud of this.
Extremely proud... not a single fat quarter or yard was cut in the making of this quilt!
Even the medallions for the centers were fussy-cut from scraps!
(80 small blades)

My scraps are all organized by color, so once I had all my scraps picked out
(after, of course, I beat my husband again in a game of hardcore Jeopardy)
and I started cutting, I made sure I had at least 20 blades of each 'color'.
I had a pile each of dark pinks/purples, light pinks, oranges/yellows, and then blues/teals.
And it takes 20 blades to make one plate, so that's how I came up with that number.
When all the cutting was finished and I needed a new rotary blade...
I had 80 small blades and 80 large blades (20 of each of my 'colors' for each size).
Even as I was cutting, I didn't have a solid plan about how I was going to arrange them.
I just figured this was a safe place to start.

Then came time to sew all the blades to make them pointy.
I'm pretty sure this is the 'easy' way to make Dresden Plates because there's no point to finagle with, you just sew the top together (right side in) and then flip and press to make the point.
I could be wrong about this being the 'easy' way, since I've never made these before.
But it sure seemed easy...
I chain pieced all my blades which made for a lovely sort of colorful bunting thingy which I decided to hang on my mantel and stare at for a little bit.
Colorful things make me happy.
(I just noticed everything about this picture is off-centered and crooked)

After all the snipping, flipping and spraying and pressing, I ended up with a gazillion pointy blades ready to be assembled into Dresden Plates.
I played with colors for a minute or two, trying to decide if I wanted to do all blue plates or pink plates, etc:
(plate using only dark pinks)

In the end I liked the plates that had all the different colors in them the best, so that's what I went with.
When I arranged them all together, I kind of had a pattern so none of the same 'color' blades were next to each other.
(plate using all the different colored blades)

I'm super psyched with the results:
I mean I LOVE them! Love.
I ended up with 4 large and 4 small finished Dresden Plates :)
I think these were pretty easy to make... there was a lot of pressing, though.
And take note: when doing a mindless task like ironing, make sure to move your haphazardly placed can of heavy-duty spray adhesive away from your can of spray starch at the end of the ironing board.
Failure to do so will result in a hot, sticky, gooey, totally stupid and completely preventable mess.
Just saying...

I don't think I'm done making these plates... I'm pretty sure I will want some more.
But- I'm not really set on a final pattern for either quilt, so we'll just wait and see.
I know that I will be making smaller ones for sure.
I found this great tutorial for making Dresden Plates (the easy way) out of 5" squares before I even had Anna Maria Horner's book and wanted to give the Dresden Plate a try.
It requires a Dresden Plate template.
As soon as I get my hands on one, you know what I'll be doing :)

A few last thoughts about the Dresden Plates:
*way easier than I expected
*way faster than I expected
*spray starch really helps with the pressing of the points, which was a little tricky at first to get them centered, but got easier (as long as you move the spray adhesive...)
* chain piecing all the blades were key
*ironing the center pieces/medallions into perfect circles was the trickiest part of the whole project.
*if you haven't tried making these yet, you should: it's very gratifying.

I've also finished a few other projects that I can't wait to show you in the near future...

And here's a little peek at some other stuff I'm working on:
future quilt:
pillow shams:
quilt for niece:
beginning of quilt for nephew:
color palette for custom nursery set:
And I think that's about all for today :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Decisions, decisions...

So. It's official.
This little lovey is going to be a big sister to one very special little GIRL!
I was 100% sure we were going to have a boy.
Just like I was 100% sure Willow was going to be a little boy.
Apparently I suck at guessing gender.
At least while they're in the womb, anyways. I'm probably a little better at it once they're out...haha.

Besides being bummed that I was wrong- again -and that my hubby was right, and that I won't get to use my boy name that I finally convinced my husband was soooo perfect...
(It was Hudson, by the way- awesome, right?)
I couldn't be happier.
I was really 50/50 about what I wanted to have.
Good thing- it's not like you get to choose.

I can't wait to be able to say things like "my girls" and find cute matching things for big sis and little sis and they can share a room forever if they want and they'll probably help each other be naughty and tell secrets and... I can't wait.
Not to mention I already have about 2349080239 bins in the basement of little girl clothes... bonus!

Now that we know we're having I get to plan out the nursery.
Previous to the new knowledge, they were going to share a room anyway.
And it was going to be red and aqua.

These are just a few of what I've been collecting.

I wanted aqua walls and red and white furniture and cute little garden gnomes and toadstools and a little reading nook with a red chair and more fun stuff.
I even figured out the quilt designs: a zig-zag quilt for Willow and a string quilt for the new love.
And I separated out the right scraps to make the string quilt:
So, I still love the color palette... but I'm suddenly second guessing myself.
Willow's room wasn't 'girly' by any means. Her walls were blue and her bedding was blue, pink, and yellow- super cute.
Shouldn't this new little girl lovey have some pink? Will she be different if she doesn't?
I know it sounds stupid... but raising kids is just so much pressure.
Every little decision could alter your children's lives.
I know it sounds like I'm blowing the importance of a nursery room color palette way out of proportion... I probably am. (*definitely am)
And if I wasn't me and I was reading this, I'd be muttering, "Get a fricken' grip, lady."

But I am me... and I've made a decision: there will be two color palettes for the room.
That's right.
I just figured it all out last night while I lay in bed wide awake at 3 am worrying about this.
The walls will be aqua (still). All the furniture will be white and I will still make my red and aqua quilts like I'd planned.
Now, however, there will be another set of quilts that are super bright and funky and girly.
I'm thinking lime greens, teals, oranges, hot pinks, purples, bold blues... it's going to be so great.
I want to make a Dresden Plate quilt for Willow's twin bed kinda like the Center of Attention Quilt in Anna Maria Horner's new book, Handmade Beginnings, which I now own thanks to my sis-in-law Michelle (gotta love good Christmas presents!)
It's going to be amazing.
I wish you could see inside my crazy brain, because you would know exactly what I'm talking about.
And for Lovey #2's little crib quilt I was thinking something simple- like a polka dot background with a smattering of lots of different-sized, randomly placed Dresden Plates.
Again, I wish you could see inside my brain.
I will go through all my fabrics tonight, after I whoop my hubby in Jeopardy again for the zillionth time.
He still asks me every night if I'm ready to "get worked" in Jeopardy.
He's lost about 20 times in a row.
Gotta admire is never-give-up-ness. I guess.

Also, my fabrics are all nice and neat and organized because I was forced to clean my house from top to bottom in order to find my phone that was lost for about 4 days.
I never found it.
But Willow did - in the couch- a place that I had already looked about 6 times...
It got found and now I can communicate with the outside world.

The Christmas tree finally got taken down and put away and I could actually put my front room back together. Yippee!
Everything isn't gobbledy-gooked on top of each other anymore.

Notice the hutch with only one knob?
Yeah, it's been that way for quite a while- one knobbed.
It's my fault. I couldn't decide on knobs that I liked that didn't cost $12 a piece.
But, my first venture into Hobby Lobby solved that problem.
All hardware was buy one, get one free.
So I got all these beauties for $18 buckaroos.
I still couldn't decide on one style, so I got a whole bunch of different kinds.
I'll show you the finished product just as soon as I scrub off all the purple crayon that decorates the front of the hutch... don't hold your breath.

Friday, January 14, 2011


So here's the big news... we're expecting Baby #2!
I'm already half-way done.
20 weeks.
We find out what we're having on Monday. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Year, A Blank Slate, and Everything I Wanted to Post about Last Year But Couldn't (Or Didn't)

Yes, I know the title is long, but I need it to be.
It's a reflection of the length of the post... so get ready.
Grab a glass of wine, a beer, some coffee and get ready.
Don't grab a glass of water.
I don't like water and this post deserves something more exciting, like chocolate milk or a nice cold Coca-Cola... aaahhh.
There were so many things that I need to share about last year before I can really, I mean REALLY, go ahead with this promising new year.
(Which I am SUPER pumped about, by the way)

Here I go with some pretty awesome events of 2010, in no particular order:

My little sister Brookie got married in September... she was the last of us girls.
I come from a big-ish family, if you can't tell. There are some sisters, step-sisters, half-sisters, half-brothers and adopted brothers if you want to get all technical.
But, when you get down to it, family is family and you will end up driving from Michigan to Virginia, non-stop, all by yourself, at the last minute in order to make it to one of those people's weddings, or whatever it may be.
Because family is family and it's just what you do.
And if you didn't, there wouldn't be these awesome moments caught on film, or memory card.

Yup, Brookie got married, Christine was about to burst, Chloe had just announced she was expecting... and Staci and Traci and I were just rubbing that belly!
It was so much fun to have us all together :)
Congrats Brookie and Hunter... or Mr. and Mrs. Weeks!

My little Nugget turned 2 in August!
She did, she really did.
Wow... she's just so fantastic I can't even believe that I had something to do with her existence.
She's this whole person now, not just a baby. She knows the words to tons of songs and dances like a rock star and loves her Daddy and has a great arm and she can dribble a soccer ball and likes her nails painted and doesn't like bows in her hair and she likes her music LOUD and loves trains and planes and robots and Play-doh and she still likes to sleep in the "big bed" with mommy and daddy even though she has her own "big girl bed" and, man...
I just love her.

And now I would like everyone to meet Gabe:

Our nephew was born on Thanksgiving. How amazing is he?
My hubby was at the hospital with Graham and Michelle all day, waiting, and then we all went up there after Thanksgiving dinner... to wait.
There was so much waiting...

...but, when after all that waiting, you get to hold a brand new baby, I will wait 'til the moon falls right out of the sky because there's nothing better than holding a brand new baby.

And we all got a turn...
Go here to see an amazing slideshow/video my hubby's sister Emily put together of Gabe's birth. It's awesome.
Graham and Michelle, or, more appropriately, Mommy and Daddy :)

photo taken my sister-in-law Tracy and hi-jacked from facebook...

Welcome to this crazy thing called life, Gabe!

Then there was this awesome Farmer's Market lunch I concocted one day and dubbed "The Masterpiece" that was so good I feel the need to share:

Here are the ingredients because you need, repeat: NEED, to make this when you are all alone so you can eat it nice and slow and savor every little bit of it:
1.) warm and fresh homemade italian bread right out of the bread maker
2.) juicy and delicious tomatoes from the vegetable stand with the smiley guy
3.) fresh basil from the round and rosy lady with all the pretty flowers and herbs
4.) fresh mozzarella from the cheese stall with the guy who always makes you feel really good about yourself somehow when all you really discuss is cheese and the occasional cracker or spread
5.) olive oil, sea salt, and cracked pepper
Directions: Layer ingredients in a way that suits your fancy and broil in oven until ooey and gooey.
Eat and love.
You're welcome.

My sister Christine also had a little baby boy, Triston, in October.
Sadly, I haven't met him face to face yet, therefore I have no pics of my own, so I will share these other hi-jacked facebook photos of him with you:

I wish I could have been there!
Big sister Gabi meeting her new little brother :)
Mom, Dad and Baby Triston
I can't wait to meet you Triston!

And here's a few pictures of the latest nursery set to leave WillowBean Creations.
I know the pictures are crappy, I'm not sure what was going on with my picture taking skills this day.

Front of patchwork crib quilt:
I love all the fun and funky bright florals with a few smaller, simpler, two-tone patterns.

Pieced quilt back:
And I'm not sure if you can tell, but the binding is a hot pink zebra print (Party Animal in Pink). Love it!

Close up of the crib skirt:

... and a really bad picture of a runner that I couldn't even fix in iPhoto:

I don't usually get all pumped up about the New Year, but I think 2011 is a little different.
My Willow will turn 3 (sniff), my hubby and I will celebrate our 4 year anniversary (yippee), and there are so many opportunities just waiting to be scooped up and tried out. We are rearranging the house. There might be some painting, some redecorating, some change.
I think I like change.

It's like there's this huge blank slate titled "2011" and we get to fill it in with whatever we want! I'm planning to make it the best, most detailed, most colorful, crazy, beautiful slate one has ever laid eyes on.
Watch out world, here we come!
I want to get messy. I want to get wild and crazy. I want to remember every little bit I can.
I'm going to soak it all up and let it all sink in.
I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but I think that sounds pretty damn fun, don't you?

I can't wait.

Stay tuned for some seriously BIG news. I mean BIG. I just need to find the perfect picture to go with it...

Now, if you excuse me, I have to go beat my hubby in Jeopardy for the 4th night in a row...

A few things I forgot to add first go 'round that happened in 2010:
I turned 25.
That means I'm 5 years from 30, 15 from 40 and half way to 50.
Holy. Smokes.
I had a fight with some ice and it won. Big time.
(the winter-frozen-water kind, not the illegal-drug kind)
Oh, and I painted my bedroom grey.

There. That's all.