Spectrum Quilt

Hey y'all, I'm back.  What, a week goes by and you thought I left you again?  We really have to work through these abandonment issues you have.  I've just been knee deep in new car shopping and Madison tripping.  Yes, dear friends, last weekend I was in Madison: watching roller derby, catching up with awesome friends (some of them meeting their babies for the first time!) and eating at my favorite restaurants. I hope to have a recap soon.  But right now it's easier to talk about another saddle I've gotten back on: sewing!

Completely generously and by surprise, my friend Gracie sent me a book of baby sewing projects.  It was just the thing I needed to break that year and a half streak of strictly utilitarian sewing.  The book is called  Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby by Anna Maria Horner and it is filled. to. the. BRIM! with adorable projects.  I decided to now start small and, you know, make my first quilt (first solo endeavor at least, love ya Mom!).  Thar she blows:

It's called the Hide and Seek Spectrum Quilt.  The fun part is that each window opens and reveals a coordinating patterned fabric for baby to find:

Fun fact!  The orange and the dark blue squares are from dresses Seven and Five, respectively.  The patterns feature leaves and birds and flowers and....enhance...ENHANCE.....let's look as some other favorite squares:

A girl's got to know: Go Pack Go!

Secrets!: An old pair of Matt's boxers
...but in spite of the source material, the plan is to use this as a play mat for the little one.

It was very quick to pull together.  In fact, I did it in one day from start to finish (including prewash).  Cutting the pieces was tedious, but you quilters must love that because that's kind of a big part of this whole quilting thing.  I understand that now *inhale...exhale* and will be better prepared next time.

The only other pain was that I had to change thread colors a lot.  For instance, this is what the quilted border looks like:

Ooooh, pretty.  And bobbin-y.  Yes, the largest expense other than the batting was the back up bobbins I needed to purchase.  And that's true.  This quilt is super cheap to make if you have a well-nourished stash:

So if you decide to raid your own stash and make this quilt (and I recommend you do!) you may want to consider a few fun extras...you can make each patterned square more texturey by adding rickrack or use fleece.  (I have upholstery fabric and swiss dots for some of mine because that's what I had.)  You could even recycle some clean food wrappers or a heavy plastic to sew into the windows for the patterned fabric to make them more "crinkley".  Kids love that stuff.

I'll admit the corner I cut in this quilt was the hand quilting.  The final dimension of the whole thing is about a four foot square, so I could still feed it through the machine, and I happily did.  I thought I might regret not being "true" to the spirit of quilting, but then I thought about the first time baby girl or one of her adorable cousins might spit or poop on this thing and I was glad to save the handiwork.  Happy Sewing!


And finally, Big Project #3

Ten points to Griffyndor if you know what this picture is all about!*  If you guessed "Sandy's Organic Chemistry Homework", your points are awarded thusly. 

*Sorry, just now reading Harry Potter.  I know, way behind.

Yes, the third big project of the last year is my return to school. I know I'm going backwards in excitement level...baby to new house to school?  Well excuoooooze me for not being Steven King, Master of Mystery and Suspense.  I'm just a girl from Virginia who is definitely four chemistry classes smarter than the last time we met.  You noticed, didn't you?  *ahem* Straight "A"s, bizzes. 

So, why the return to school?  Well, I've said it for years and I guess turning 30 was just the swift kick in the pants I needed to stop talking and start doing.  I started back this fall to get my prerequisites out of the way so I can apply to grad school and then become a Nutritionist.  Sound like a lot of steps?  Well, it is!  And who knows how long it will take me!

So, how does this work?  Well, I am working full time by day and taking class part time classes by night.  Although this semester I am taking a little "gestation vacation" but plan on returning in the summer or fall again.  Oh, and I also plan on making you listen to me worry about baby time versus school time when the time comes.  See, it's started already.  What fun.

But so far, I love it.  First of all, girls can do and love science.  Just in case you believe the rumors going around that say otherwise.  And secondly, nutrition makes something in me tick like few other things do.  The link between childhood obesity and poor access to health care for low-income families???  Probably not something most people get excited about, but it is if it's something you want to improve and help people understand!  Word to ya' adequate access and smart decision making motha'.


So, yeah.  That's my deal.  I've covered the big changes in the last three posts: a baby, a fixer-upper, and school.  Now that we're all clear on that, time to move on with life unfolding. What big things do you have going on?  When were things most hectic for you, would you pile it all on again?  And I do promise to let you know if I ever have an answer to that myself.....


Big Project #2

Aside from the human baby, Matt and I have another baby we're working on: our new house.  After one rejected offer then a decision between the put together house in a neighborhood full of people our age versus a fixer-upper in a neighborhood of octagenarians, we chose.......the octagenarians!

Yes, we bought a butter and baby blue *shudder* ranch house that needed someone who loved it enough to banish fake wood paneling from its being.  Our mantra?  But it has sooo much potential!  Our reality?  We have been finding precious surprises about it ever since:

A backyard filled with so many tchotchkes my sister-in-law named it "Narnia"?

A broken dishwasher from the '80s hardplumbed into the house?
A roach problem?

Two fire place flues that exposed the tender wooden frame of our new home?
A yard full of dead trees that lean precariously over our bedroom.
All the hot and cold faucets connected backwards so hot is cold and cold is hot?  
So far we've found these smaller hiccups to be manageable via (in order)...
the dump,
a hacksaw followed by a plumber,

better living through chemicals,
a seedy old fireplace repair man called "Beetlejuice",
tree removal service almost followed by small claims court,
aaaaaaaaaannnnd being lazy and living with it!  You're welcome unknowing house guests!
(Oh!  And here's the part where I skip over mentioning the foundation problems because I don't want a lecture....Yippeeeeee!)

Paint and elbow grease go a long way too and I will look forward to bragging about some of our improvements as the blog goes on.  We're finally completed a lot of infrastructure-y and detail stuff and are now dealing with the "fun" of having moved from a 720 square foot home in our beloved Madison to a 2100 square foot home that echoes because of lack of furniture.  First world problems.

And (for those sewing blog hanger-on-ers!) I do have a sewing space set up in the new house, but unbelievably the sewing machine has only been used to sew curtains and repair Matt's heavy duty wood splitting gloves.  Yes, much like the Bounty paper towel man I imagine, my man splits wood.  My husband is awesome.


First Big Project #1

Wow, two posts in 2013 so far.  That's 200% more that 2012, I'd say I'm off to a good start and should take the rest of the day off.....

Just kidding.  This one's too good to wait.

Second post and it's been a year and a half since we've chatted!  We have some catching up to do.  Time to reveal one of three big new projects of 2012-13 for this now casual sew-er.   I made it through nine measly dresses with my crazy sewing blog goal, but now I have my eyes on a larger prize.  Instead of nine dresses, I'm now over halfway through nine months of my largest project to date.  The Matt and I are having our first baby!

Yep, that's our sweet little girl at 20 weeks.  Whoa.  I love this picture because we were totally not expecting 3D pictures and were so surprised when the technician flipped the switch and we could see our daughter sucking and moving (and man, is she a mover).  You'd think having a baby would be an excuse to take things easy, move things off your plate, but I'm excited to add this blog to the mix and chat up some momma stuff with you.  Besides, Matt has already made it clear that I am now the #2 woman in his life now.  I need to feed the ego somewhere.

Exhibit A: Proud Papa
Now, if you were starting to get excited/nauseous that this was going to turn into a "parenting blog", you have no reason to squeal/reach for a paper bag to puke in just yet.  I'm still an adult human and like all adult humans, I have varied interests which you will be forced to listen to: house stuff, craft stuff, work stuff, (spoiler alert!) school stuff, and also, eventually, this "parenting" stuff of which I speak.  Welcome, baby girl!


Hellloooooooo beautifuls!

*Mwah*!  *Mwah*!  I'm back.  Happy Monday!  A lot has changed since I last posted to (twelve) dresses, if the last post there didn't give that away.  Yep, in the summer of 2011 the hubbs and I were packing up our precious first home in Madison, Wisconsin and moving back to North Carolina.  I won't get into the ins and outs of that decision making process right now, but it was (and sometimes is still) difficult.  We knew all along we left in spite of having a great life there, not running away in search of one.

Lucky Strike Tower, Durham NC
So now, here we are!  Settling in in Durham, in the Bull City.  The land of tobacco and a young Kevin Costner, kickstarting this old new blog (to use the parlance of our times).  I never did finish those twelve dresses (I got to nine) and I don't have the awesome blonde streak in my hair that I used to.  I also don't play derby anymore.  But I do have a few other new and exciting things going on, which I'm excited to share.

About that, this blog is going to move away from being a sewing blog and more about life and other random projects.  Hey, I was honest in my original "About Me" and said I have a history of perfected and then hastily abandoned crafty interests.  Turns out I know myself really well.  But there's still a lot of making and doing going on around here, and I might need your help sorting some of it out.  So sorry for the old "one, TWO!", but I hope you'll still stick around because we have fun, don't we?  I still love ya, baby.

The (twelve) dress project has a place of history and honor in the "In Summary" section to the right. You'll see the tagline (to the left) has also changed to include a healthy dose of honesty.  Other tweaks to the blog layout and content coming too.  A year and a half is a long time to make changes.  And a "Hi, World!  I'm back on the internets!" blog post is too teeny tiny small to explain them all, so stay tuned for the 'splaining to come 'round.

It feels good to be back.