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…is proving itself to be too much fun to blog.  I hope yours is as well!  xoxoxoxoxo


totally doing this


I just love this idea.  Details here.  Check out what people are making in the flickr group here. Or search #tobostonwithlove @ Instagram.

In addition, the Boston Modern Quilt Guild has embarked on a quilt-making project.  Another excellent way to use your talent and help. You can find that information on their website.

a question for you

On a recent ski trip at Cannon Mountain, my husband {pictured}, my sister-in-law and I were riding up the chairlift when I proclaimed that I couldn’t think of anything more fun than skiing or snowboarding. {I do both, but I am a better skier than rider.} I ruminated that surfing is probably just as fun, if not more fun, but I’ve never tried.  My sister-in-law asked me:  “What about sewing?” and I answered pretty emphatically:  “NO WAY!”  I’d rather hit the slopes than jam on my Janome any day.  Ha! That sounds so ridiculous.

The conversation got me to thinking about the interests of my fellow makers, outside of their craft. Here is my question for you:  Is there an activity that you like more than sewing/knitting/making?

Side note:  THANK YOU for all the great feedback on my last post about organizing a quilting workshop at my local library.  It has given me tons of food for thought and will help me to put together a great event. I will be sure to let you know how it all plays out.

crafty ways to help

I’ve come across two crafty things that people can do to show our support for the Newtown community–make snowflakes and sew pillowcases.  Both deadlines are post-Christmas, so I plan to do both. I may even organize a snowflake-making play-date during the winter school holiday.

Of course, sending letters to the members of the community or making direct monetary donations is also a great thing to do.  A friend of mine has published a beautifully written post on her Mom’s Club blog that provides information on the many ways you can help in that regard.  That link is here.

confessions of a fabric stasher: part two

In my last post, I promised to share with you information regarding my fabric stashing habits of the past.  {P.S. This post will make more sense if you read the post that precedes it.} Here you have it–the good, the bad and the ugly:

-I truly enjoy shopping for fabric, and when I didn’t have a lot of free time to craft, shopping was the quickest and easiest part of the “making” process. When I didn’t have time to make things, I could hop online and acquire pretty supplies.  It’s quick. It’s easy. I would get my fix. And I would get a lot of fun mail!

-I justified my shopping habits.  It would go something like this:  “Fabric shopping is my only consumer vice.  I hardly ever shop for things like clothes, shoes and make-up.” Or “ I make lots of gifts, so I am SAVING money.” {HA!} I could go on and on with examples. I am an expert in talking myself into things.

-My stashing habits were not very conscientious.  I wasn’t giving much thought to what type of fabric I already had.  I was clueless as to whether or not I was low on warm colors or that I owned an absurd amount of blues and greens.  I threw everything into a closet with no regard for organization and that was that!

-I used to get caught up in sales and/or free shipping offers. I would buy fabric, not necessarily because I loved it, but because it was a good deal. I would buy more fabric than I needed in order to justify paying for shipping.  Or I would buy more fabric than I wanted to buy in order to meet the minimum for free shipping.

-In a similar vein, I would occasionally get burnt by online shopping.  I would buy things that looked great on my computer monitor, and yet were just.plain.ugly. in person.  That’s the risk you take with online shopping, especially when you are dealing with something as tactile as fabric.  You really don’t know whether you are going to love something until you see it in person.

-I used to buy cuts of fabric that were too large for the type of sewing I do.  I would often buy one-yard cuts of fabric because, if I wanted to use it to make clothing for my daughter, I wanted to have enough on hand.  But the reality is that for someone like me, who likes to have a very wide array of fabric represented in most projects {quilts especially}, the largest cut of fabric I should ever buy is a quarter yard.  I shouldn’t “stash” fabric for an imaginary dress I think I might make someday.  I should buy that fabric when I know I am going to do that project.

-I would get worried when I was getting low on a print that I love and want to buy more before it disappeared.  This problem is generated by the lightening quick pace of the fabric market.  New lines are released and then disappear before you can blink an eye.  Some weird sense of urgency is created.  It can make some people feel pressured to shop for fabric just because, if they don’t buy it RIGHT NOW, it will be gone.

So, what have I missed?  I am sure there are other things I have done that I am forgetting to mention.  If you are susceptible to any {bad} habits that have not been mentioned in the above list,  please chime in if you feel inclined.   I think it could be informative to update the content of this post with ideas from other people.

In my next post, I will write about the various things I have done to try to break these habits.  Again, I really want to stress that I am not perfect and I haven’t stopped buying fabric all together.   The last thing I want to do is sound preachy! What I have done is become better aware of the type of crafter I am, and the ways it makes sense for me, personally, to acquire materials.

confessions of a fabric stasher: part one

At the start of the New Year, I created a mosaic that showcased almost all of the things I sewed in 2011.  I was going to post it here but since most of those items have been featured on this blog, I decided it would be redundant. If you are interested, it can be found here. One thing that did strike me, when I looked at all of the things I sewed, is that I was particularly good about using fabric that I had on-hand.

At the beginning of 2011, I resolved to try to stop buying more fabric.  I realistically don’t have a ton of free time to sew. I am part of a family with two young children and I have a full-time job that has absolutely nothing to do with my hobby.  And yet, I own a healthy amount of fabric.  And by “healthy” I mean that I have at least eight times as much as I could possibly use in a year. At least.

That said, I’m not apologetic about having a sizable stash.  I have enough materials to allow me to start almost any project without needing to go to the store– which is great when you don’t have a lot of free time to sew. Another positive aspect of having a mini stockpile is that I am able to create things that are more my style.  I love scrappy patchwork–I don’t tend to make thing from a single line of fabric.  I am able to express myself more freely because I have more options.  I really can’t imagine buying fabric project-by-project.  So, in that regard, I defend the notion of having a stash!

In early 2011, I organized all of my fabric and displayed it in a visible area of our home.  This was the act that forced me to realize that I had hit a saturation point.  Having it all right there in plain view, it was undeniable that I already had in my possession more than enough variety of prints and colors, and really couldn’t justify buying any more. It was time to reflect on my shopping habits and change my ways.

I thought it might be helpful to share my experience and thoughts on this topic because I know that I am not alone in this little conundrum.  We are crafters!  We see so much potential in raw materials! We get excited for the challenge they present! We love to anticipate the beauty they will inspire!  All of this is normal.  Healthy. Good.  But if you start to feel overwhelmed with regard to the amount that you have, it is probably time to examine your behavior, try to understand the reasoning behind your actions, and decide whether or not you need to switch things up.

In my quest to slow down my fabric purchasing, I learned a few things about my habits, in general, as well as some tricks that have helped to keep the consumer in me at bay. Believe me, I am not perfect.  I’ve made good progress, but I still have my moments of weakness. The purpose of this first post was to introduce the topic.  My next post will explore the {bad} habits I’ve identified throughout the course of this exercise.  The following post will explore things I’ve done–with mixed results– to help improve my situation.  And perhaps I will do a wrap up after that? I hope that sounds alright. And I hope that everyone has a great weekend!

random thoughts and miscellany

I can’t put my finger on exactly why I don’t post as frequently as I would like to my blog. I know that a good part of it is that it takes time to compose and I can be really choosy about what I write. I also hem and haw quite a bit about content.  My least favorite posts I’ve written show a few photos and say “look what I made” without really providing any real information. I like to try to make more of a contribution than that. {I’m not apologizing for my sporadic posting habits.  This is my blog. No one pays me to keep up with it.  I’m good with that!}

Sometimes list are just easier, so I’m going to quickly jot down some thoughts:

-I made a quilt recently and will be showing it off here soon. I am so excited about this one! {I know. I say that every time.}

-I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my fabric shopping habits, how they relate to my crafting habits, and things I’m trying to do to control my personal consumerism.  I have a very long post drafted about this topic, but I’m not ready to publish it yet.  Its still an unorganized mix of thoughts and patterns I’ve observed. I think that when I do, it will have to be covered in at least two posts.  Apparently I have A LOT to say about it.

-I’ve also wanted to post about my feelings toward virtual quilting bees.  I was hesitant about jointing a bee at the beginning of the year but now my attitude about them has done a one-eighty. I’m loving it and I feel compelled to explain why.

-This new type of virtual quilting bee fascinates me.  I don’t know that I’d be game for something like it because I would be wary of having to quilt someone else’s quilt top. But seriously.  How great would it be to have a completed quilt sent back to you at the end of the project?

-Little reminders about the genuine need for people to create have been emanating from the House on Hill Road blog and flickr stream. This is such an important message for creative types.  Making things is not superfluous.  It’s not impulsive.  For some people, creating is a necessity.  In order to be happy, it’s important to be cognizant of your needs.

-The new book in which Jen of Painted Fish Studios has been published looks awesome.  I am totally in love with some of the items she has posted in her shop recently as well. Quilt inspiration abounds!

-We welcomed two cats into our family a week ago.  I never thought I’d say that but I am really glad it has happened.  {I grew up with dogs so I’m not accustomed to life with cats.} Our kids are absolutely smitten and I am being won over at a quicker pace than I expected. They are a lot of fun.

i almost forgot

Making this sugar cookie house is becoming a tradition in our house. I’ve been meaning to re-post the recipe because it has worked out so well for us in the past and it actually tastes really good.  We leave ours out as a snack for Santa. Last year he took a big bite out of the roof.

Sugar Cookie House

4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup light-color corn syrup
1 TBS vanilla
1 beaten egg

Combine flour and baking powder. Set aside.

Cook butter, sugar and corn syrup over med. heat until sugar dissolves. Pour into large mixing bowl. Stir in vanilla. Cool 5 min.

Add egg and mix well. Add flour mixture to this, and mix well. Divide dough in half, cover and chill at least 2 hours.

When you roll it out for pieces, they should be 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. They bake at 375 degrees for 6 to 9 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces.)

Original source of the recipe is here.

proud {and maybe just a little bit excited}

You know I must be excited about something when I decide to post THREE {!!!} photos of myself, with my kids, all lined up in a row on the internet. The reason for all the excitement is because my mom recently renovated her beautiful 162 year-old colonial home and has turned it into a bed and breakfast called the Greenspade Inn. It is located in my hometown, just a half hour drive south of Boston. Her website gives a nice, succinct history of the house and the many amenities the Inn has to offer, so I will not repeat what she has already written so elegantly. However, I will tell you what she is too modest to share herself.  My mother was born to be an innkeeper. She is welcoming without being intruding, an amazing cook, and is meticulous about maintaining a beautiful homestead and gorgeous surroundings. This new venture is a dream come true and it has been so enjoyable to watch it unfold.

Congratulations Mom!  We are so proud of you and are thrilled that everything is going so smoothly already. The Inn is stunning. I can’t believe I grew up there!

oh hi!

It’s been a while. How about an update?

::We had a nice, quiet Easter at home. I don’t normally share recipes, but this lamb was incredible. It’s the second time we’ve made it. I added gorgonzola cheese to the stuffing as a compliment to the feta and used spinach instead of mixed greens. We will make this again, and won’t wait until next Easter to do it.

::We went to the EcoTarium and did things like this in Worcester, MA with my cousin and her lovely little family. It was such a great visit. I am so glad they no longer live on the other side of the country. I made them a draft catcher as a housewarming gift. I love the patchwork bit. And the linen. I actually sent it to them while there were still drafts to be caught. {Minor miracle.}

::Baby girl is a full fledged homo-erectus. And a cute one at that. She is now bunking with her big brother, so my sewing machine and supplies have been upgraded from the front porch to her old room, a.k.a. the guest room. My husband is devising plans for a cutting table that will hover over the bed. All of my fabric looks so darn happy all stacked up on the shelves. {I will show you around soon.}

:: I made a puffy pouch for my new sister-in-law. Fantastic tutorial here. I cut out three other pouches and have done nothing more with that fabric. This is very typical behavior for me. I am always distracted by the next shiny new thing.

::I know about a gazillion pregnant ladies/new moms right now and want to make pretty things for all of their babies. Almost all of these folks are having {or have just had} girls. I am thinking pink. I really need to get to work.

:: I am working on a color wheel quilt with a friend who lost her dog recently. Its a memory quilt of sorts. We’ve sewn together the arcs and are picking out background fabrics. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

::My sister’s-in-law wedding is coming up in June. Besides a few top secret bridal shower projects I’m working on with two other bridesmaids, I am going to make clutches for the bridal party. I’ve tried out a couple of designs and think I may have finally settled on the exact one I want to try to replicate. The smart thing would be to use a tried and true pattern. But where’s the fun {and cursing} in that? I would also like to make the Oliver + S Birthday Party Dress for my girl to wear to the wedding, but I’m assuming that I will run out of time.

::I signed up for a fun swap. As if I needed one more project. But with this one, I actually get something handmade {for ME ME ME } out of the deal, so I am excited.

:: Speaking of ME ME ME, Liesl sent me the best apron ever. Just because. How sweet is that? (See top photo.) I owe myself an entire post on how great it is to be part of such an amazing community of crafters and show off just how generous so many people have been to me in the past two+ years.

::Having said that, the crafty community can be pretty creepy too. People stealing photos from blogs and claiming sewing projects {and children!} as their own? It’s horrible. I haven’t made a final decision yet, but I am leaning toward face-free shots of my kiddos from here on out.

Phew. That was a lot of updating. Thanks for sticking with me through all of that. What have you been up to lately?