Monday, April 30, 2007

Fat Quarter Challenge--Take One

Sometimes I make things late at night and I plop in bed feeling like a genius. Then the next morning I wake up, see what I made the night before and think to myself, "huh?" Last night I made this tissue box cozy for the fat quarter challenge, and I stayed up past midnight to get it done. Thank goodness I still liked it this morning. The thing with tissue box cozies is that if they're done right they can look hip and cool. If they're done wrong, they can look like they belong in your grandma's powder room (next to the kewpie doll with the crocheted skirt hiding the extra roll of toilet paper). I can't decide if this is cool or not, but I do like the fabric--Moda Uptown Bird paint by numbers paired with Amy Butler.
I plan to make a few more of these. This particular one is going in the van. I made the strap long enough to fit around the headrest.
Back to the sewing machine. Only two more evenings left to meet the deadline.....

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Now that Stacy and Beth have finally received these aprons, I can post pictures. Guy, it took me long enough to make these, and even longer to send them. I must have driven past the post office 4 -5 times between April 15 - 20. Lines. Long lines out the door. Pesky people trying to pay taxes on time!
Don't mind the rhodedendron. I don't know what's up with those brown leaves. Pictures like that one just make me wish I had a clothesline. Not for drying clothes on (kudos to all those who do!! But I can barely keep up with the laundry using my washer and dryer--I know my limitations), but for the aesthetic blog picture taking thing.
p.s. I should know better than to blog late at night. Words that I never use (like "kudos") start appearing in my writing.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Manly Tea Cozy

When we were first married and teaching English in Taiwan, a student of ours arranged for her father, a tea master, to give us private lessons on the art of Chinese tea. It was so wonderful to be exposed to the various types of tea and brewing methods. We immediately fell in love with the beautiful Yi Xing teapots and slowly began to collect them.

My husband's been asking me to make him a cozy/carrier for his favorite Yi Xing teapot. Yes, you heard it here first folks, a tea cozy for a MAN!!! I tried to make it as masculine as I could. This cozy contains two cups and a teapot already filled with the right amount of tea leaves. It's the perfect size for tucking into a satchel with a thermos of hot water--maybe someday I'll make a coordinating satchel and thermos cozy. Yeah, we'll see about that... :)
Ever since Christmas, I've been wrapping presents for people using tissue paper encircled with ribbon which is held in place by a vintage button. Like this:
The tea cozy is a fabric rendition of that. I used tweed suiting, a ribbon that looks necktie-ish and a vintage button.
It's lined with wool felt. The cups are covered with cozies of their own to keep them from clinking against the tea pot. They were easy to make once I discovered how to use elastic thread in my bobbin. Elastic thread--what a fabulous invention. I think I will be using it a lot.
The cup cozies are labeled so as to avoid any confusion. :) I love how the cozy doubles as a placemat. Ever so handy when enjoying tea in the great outdoors.Here's a picture of it's simple construction. Go order an Yi Xing teapot from ebay and make one for yourself. Stay tuned, because I see a girly version in my future.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Say Whaaa?

Thank you, Linda of Craft Apple fame, for nominating me for the thinking blogger award. That was so sweet of you! Especially after all my whining from my last post. Or should I say, because of all the whining. Unfortunately, although I am very honored, I recognize it for what it is...a pity nomination. And one tinged with nepotism (since Linda is my sister). But thanks anyway! I feel the love (and the pity, too--but the love more, really.)

Here are a couple of bibs that I made.

They are available in my Etsy shop. (Nah. I don't have an Etsy shop. I've just always wanted to say that.)

Off to watch Elliphantom's brother-in-law dance with Heather Mills. Later!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

And the Award Goes To....

Can I just say this? I've been waiting around for someone to nominate me for something--anything! There are so many awards going around that I obviously don't qualify for (i.e. The Homeschool Blog Award (nope), the Thinking Blogger Award (not much thinking going on around here, so nope)), can't think of any others at the mo. Like I said, not much thinking ... anyway. So I've decided to nominate myself for an award for which I am overly qualified.
Allow me to present to you the Guilty Blogger Award. This award goes to any blogger who feels:

1. Guilty for the time they spend blogging or reading blogs when they really ought to be doing X, Y or Z instead.

2. Guilty for not responding to comments quickly enough, if at all.

3. Guilty for lurking when they feel they should be commenting.

4. Guilty for not posting pictures of swap packages quickly enough. (Hi Maria and Millie! We got your mini-swap package a couple of weeks ago. I've wanted to post it, but for some reason haven't done it yet! We loved everything! Will post soon!)

5. Guilty for sitting around and doing nothing, because they should be making something, you know, for the blog.

6. Guilty for __(you fill in the blank)__.

If you feel you are qualified for this award, go ahead, steal the button and nominate yourself. Make sure to let us know why you are deserving. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wot I made, wot I got

Lanyards with a magnetic clasp. Made when my mom was visiting a few weeks ago for my aunt who works in a hospital. The magnetic clasp is a good thing for when patients get a little feisty, or when your name tag gets caught on a gurney. Never crossed my mind before, but makes perfect sense. I love the idea that for people who have to wear white coats or otherwise dress the same, their lanyard becomes the one accessory that allows them to show their personality. Wonder what my lanyard would look like? It would probably have lots of reds and oranges. I seem to be going in that direction a lot these days. Throw in a charm that looks like half a brain. I seem to be going in that direction too. Ha.

And thank you, Chara Michele, for the tissue holder, key fob and book mark. I love 'em! Especially the bookmark. That's another thing I never would have thought to make. I love how you can pretty much make anything out of fabric.

I'm writing this post in a big hurry, since blogger is going on a scheduled outage soon. Aaah!
OK. Here's one last picture of last night's dinner (not that you care). Trying madly to use up the Easter ham. My kids don't do pea soup, so ham fried rice it is.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Tram

A highlight of our weekend trip to Portland, OR:
Me and my boys. Davey's always running ahead. Keith is great at staying by my side. Mikey's in the Bjorn, but you can't see him in the picture.Had to stop and take a picture with the funny guy.
The weather was great--we could see for miles. Portland in the springtime. Not too shabby.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

More this and that

I miss my sewing machine. Maybe this is the week I'll get back to it. I have so many things in mind that I'd like to make, but I just don't have the time or the momentum. I feel like I have too many other things going on, and I'm eager to slow down, but at the same time, I don't really want to. I like staying busy. Hmmm. I'm weird that way.
I owe Stacy and Beth each a prize from way back for the quilt inspiration guessing contest. Bet you girls thought I'd forgotten, didn't you? Well, things are progressing nicely. Slowly, but nicely. I'm so excited for you to see these, but you'll just have to wait. Awww, what the hey--I'm so bad at keeping secrets--here's a sneak peek for ya!

I've been cooking up a storm lately with lots of help from my little men. Did you know that fingerling potatoes are the perfect size for little hands to scrub and poke holes in with forks? Unfortunately, all this work they do to prepare them does not mean they actually EAT them, but it is a nice way to keep them busy in the kitchen. Sorry, forgot to take a macro close-up of the potatoes, but trust me, they were beautiful. I tossed them in olive oil, paprika, cumin, sea salt, and chili powder and roasted them for 40 min. @ 400 degrees. Ummmmm. Divine. OK. Enough of that, since I don't even have a picture to show for it.

Tonight we had some friends over to make Chinese jiao dz...also known as gyoza (in Japanese), or potstickers. The fun is in the wrapping, which is an art in itself. Fifteen years ago, my hubby and I fell in love with each other while wrapping jiao dz--but I'll save that for another post. Hmmm. Maybe I should write a tutorial on different methods for wrapping these things. It's actually quite a crafty endeavor. OK. I forgot to take a picture of the final product (I'm such a loser today), but here we are having fun, and once again the boys were really into it:

I'll leave you with some pictures of the beauteous side dishes which I took before the guests arrived:

That red sauce there on the right, by the way...Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce. If you haven't tried that, you haven't really lived. OK. That's all folks.