The 2021 Halloween Costume Chronicles: Rachel

Me: “What do you want to be for Halloween, Rachel?”

Rachel: “I don’t know.”

Me: “I honestly didn’t think I’d get that answer from you, of all people.”

Rachel: “Probably some sort of witch.”

Me: “OK, well, Ren’s going to be a 1950s witch; what kind of witch do you want to be?”

Rachel: “Maybe something along the lines of an Instagram influencer witch aesthetic?”

Me: [raises eyebrow] “Okaaaaay…and what does that look like?”

Rachel: [brow furrows] “It’s hard to explain.”

Me: “Well, let’s search a witch hashtag on Instagram and you tell me which ones look like what you’re thinking of.”

[We look at witch hashtags. Rachel says nothing.]

Me: “Any of these what you’re thinking?”

Rachel: “No. There’s too many crystals and too much eyeliner.”

Me: “Well, that’s kind of what the Instagram witch aesthetic is.”

Rachel: “…”

Me: “How about we look on Amazon for costume ideas?”

Rachel: [shrugs shoulders] “OK.”

[We pull up Amazon and start to scroll through costumes]

Rachel: “Ooooh, Katniss Everdeen!”

Me: [adds to cart]

The 2021 Halloween Costume Chronicles: Emms

Me: “Emms, what do you want to be for Halloween?”

Emms: “The same thing I always am.”

Me: “Do you want me to make any extra accessories for your costume?”

Emms: [left the room while I was talking]

The 2021 Halloween Costume Chronicles: Nathaniel

Me: “Nathaniel, what do you want to be for Halloween?”

Nathaniel: [flops onto ground and starts convulsing]

Me: [watches]

Nathaniel: [stops twitching]

Me: “An electrocuted dude?”

Nathaniel: [laughs] “Nope!”

Me: “…”

Nathaniel: [grins in anticipation]

Me: “…Kind of hard to guess off of what you’ve given me so far.”

Nathaniel: “A pig!”

Me: [stares blankly at the child that will carry on my husband’s family’s name] “Alright.”

The 2021 Halloween Costume Chronicles: Renaissance, Part 1

Me: “Ren, what do you want to be for Halloween?”

Renaissance: [shrugs shoulders] “Meh.”

Me: “Does that mean you don’t want to dress up for Halloween?”

Renaissance: “Meh.”

Me: [inhales and exhales slowly] “Please use English words to convey what thoughts are going through your brain right now regarding this year’s Halloween costume.”

Renaissance: “I don’t know. Maybe a witch?”

Me: “I can do witch. What kind of witch?”

Renaissance: “Meh.”

Me: [has an aneurysm explode in my brain] “I’m going to restate my request for actual words.”

Renaissance: “How about a 1950s witch?”

Me: [heart skips a beat as ears perk up] “That’s…oddly specific? What’s the vision?”

Renaissance: “Meh.”

Me: [death glare]

Renaissance: “How about a cat or a pumpkin on a circle skirt?”

Me: “I can do that.”

Crystal Quilters Block of the Month: Sew Many Stars! Finishing Instructions

We made it to the end of the sew along! We’ve made it to the end of 2020! When I volunteered to take on this task at the beginning of the year, I didn’t imagine in my wildest dreams how this would end up going this year. But I’m glad we at least had this little block of the month to keep us connected. Thanks for going on this journey with me, and thanks for the little texts and Facebook messages with pictures of your blocks! I love seeing them!

So here it is, the finishing instructions for this quilt:

I hope your quilts come together with ease and I look forward to seeing them in actual real life AT SOME POINT when all this craziness has passed us. Pat yourself on the back for finishing this up! Good job!

As always, if you’re posting your block to Instagram, please make sure to tag it with the #crystalquiltersbom (If you’re a member of the guild) and #sewmanystarsquilt hashtags so we can find your blocks!

Happy sewing! (And thank you!)

Crystal Quilters Block of the Month: Sew Many Stars! Block 9: Martha Washington Star

THE LAST BLOCK! WE MADE IT!

When I volunteered to do this Block of the Month, I don’t even think I’d heard of COVID-19, and we got a late start on it because of quarantine and not knowing what the heck was going on. But here we are, nearing the end of a very long year, and I’m so glad to have been able to offer this little spark of light to you throughout it. Hopefully your quilts are looking good, and I hope that the time when we can finally gather in-person to see each others’ blocks arrives sooner than later.

I left this block until to the end because I didn’t know how I was going to be able to “draw” it in the PDF. I gave up and just threw in some actual photos on the second page of the pattern. If the directions are a little unclear, this block has a lot of pattern explanations all over the internet…I did my best.

You can download the instructions for the Martha Washington Star block here:

Good job, everyone! Keep sewing and look for the bright side in these murky times!

Sleighbell Sampler Quilt

SONY DSC

Four and a half years ago, I began working on it.  I was just getting started in quilt-making, and absolutely fell in love with both this quilt and Farm Girl Vintage, so I threw caution to the wind and decided to join both of their quilt alongs.  I did great on sewing up the blocks, but when it came time to put the sashing and borders on them, I FROZE.  It took me years to finally break through that block, but I eventually did it and now I get to bask in the delight of a freshly-completed Christmas quilt draped across my favorite couch.  I love this quilt so much.

Pattern: Sleighbell Sampler, by Sherri Falls, from her “Winter Wonderland” pattern book.

SONY DSC
Fabric: “Holly’s Tree Farm,” by Sweetwater, “Jingle,” by Kate Spain, and a few scraps from the stash. The backing is flannel from Bonnie & Camille’s “Vintage Holiday” collection, and I cannot remember exactly what collection the binding came from, but there’s plenty of bias candy cane-striped fabrics out there to choose from these days, so you’ll be ok to find some if you need some.
(Also, can we start a petition to #bringbackhollystreefarm in the future, please?  Love that collection.)

SONY DSC
Quilting: I tried out a new quilter this time ’round, Ashley of Hen House Quilting, because she’s more local than my usual go-to.  I’ll definitely be using her again; she’s really sweet and very professional, and I only have good things to say about the experience of working with her.  She helped me pick out a beautiful snowflake quilting pattern that just goes beautifully with the quilt, and I love it so much!  Thank you, Ashley!

Modifications: None.

SONY DSC

Yay!  I have a goal of a Christmas quilt or blanket for every bed, couch, and armchair in our house, and this guy puts us at a total of five…only six more to go!  Ha ha.  (Hey, we all need goals to work towards, don’t be afraid of how big they are!)

SONY DSC

Unicorn Star Party Quilt

Unicorn Star Party Quilt, sewn by That Crafty Cara/Cara Brooke

My first big finish to come out of the new craft room is this Star Party quilt for my Rachel-girl for her eleventh birthday.  I started it last year, and it only needed its binding, but binding is hard to do when you’re being yanked back and forth between “Yay, he got a job and we need to get packing!” and “Well, shoot, the job offer fell through at the last possible second…should I unpack the craft room?”  Ugh.  2018 was rough, folks.

But I digress.  We are where we need to be now, and the craft room is unpacked, and I’m never moving again (she said as she chuckled anxiously), and so we can get back to our regularly-scheduled crafting program ’round these parts.  Boo-yah!

SONY DSC

Excuse the dark/blue lighting–it’s winter…

When I saw the “Happy Little Unicorns” fabric collection pop up on the “Coming Soon” page over at Fat Quarter Shop, I immediately subscribed to be notified when it became available because I KNEW it was perfect for my unicorn/glitter/rainbows-loving girl.  I had a completely different pattern picked out to use it with, but found myself browsing the Robert Kaufman website last year to look at the free quilt patterns that they released for their Kona Color of the Year announcement, and lo and behold, they have patterns listed for almost everything they release, INCLUDING a quilt pattern for the Happy Little Unicorns fat quarter bundle, appropriately named “Star Party.”

It’s nine big blocks, which was fantastic and fast; and the only modification I made to it was to substitute some polka dot lavender fabric in for some of the solid lavender (I think it was Corsage) around the middle block because I…probably cut something wrong?  I don’t remember, actually.  (Never did I insinuate that I was perfect.  NEVER.)  I used Robert Kaufman flannel in lilac for the quilt backing.

SONY DSC

The quilting was done by Utah Valley Quilting, and Kerri found a unicorn motif and we used lavender thread on the front and RAINBOW VARIEGATED on the back.  I mean, could it be anymore perfect than that?

SONY DSCBut then we finally got a job offer that actually stuck, and moving sucks and unpacking sucks even more, which brings us to this year, and me frantically attaching the binding earlier this week so that I could give it to her for her birthday.

I really thought she’d figured it out that I was working on finishing the quilt for her birthday, but she hadn’t, so she was pleasantly surprised when she opened it.  Win!

SONY DSC

The Details:

Fabric: “Happy Little Unicorns” fat quarter bundle by Sea Urchin Studio for Robert Kaufman.
2.25 yards of white solid for background
0.5 yards of Kona Cotton “Surf” for binding
3.5 yards Robert Kaufman flannel “Lilac” for backing

Pattern: Star Party

Quilting: I can’t find it on the Utah Valley Quilting site, but it definitely was in one of the design books at the shop.  It’s been so long since I had it done that I can’t remember what the design was called, sorry.  But I’m sure Kerri could help you figure it out if you wanted to use it.

I might actually end up using this pattern again because I really liked making it.  And I rarely use a pattern twice, so that’s a big compliment.  Love the big blocks, and super loved the adorable fabric collection.

SONY DSC

But, most of all, I loved making my girl happy!

Autumn Update

Hello friends!

Because I’m quite sure you wouldn’t get all giddy over a post that chronicled which boxes I unpacked and where I put the stuff that was in them, I figured it was better to not update you until I had something creative to show you.

I’ve had no inclination to sew, knit, whatever, AT ALL, and I’ve been OK with it because the more I look back on the past twelve months, the more I realize that we went through A LOT of stressful stuff, and it takes energy to deal with all that stress, which came from my creative reserves.  Happy moment, though: This last week I had a brilliant little moment where I wanted to make something.  That feeling has been absent for months, so I’m grateful that things are calming down enough that my interest in crafting is starting to come back.

201811117370910250702226081I did grit my teeth and make my youngest daughter a Little Red Riding Hood costume for Halloween because I did have time for it, and her little brother decided to be a wolf so he could match her, and I think they were adorable!  Her costume was an exercise in frustration–I could not locate the pattern in her size ANYWHERE.  And my best friend rode in for the rescue and bought the pattern* at her local JoAnn Store, not realizing that it came in adult OR child size, and sent me the adult size.  (Oh gosh, we laughed…)  So the costume ended up being the Adult Small skirt, minus five inches around the waist; a plain white t-shirt with aspects of the original costume appliqued onto the shirt; and I tracked down a different pattern** for the cape/hood.  She was so pleased with it all, and totally didn’t care that it was a crazy hodge-podge costume.  A woman stopped me at the school Halloween party to liberally compliment me on the costume, so I’m pretty pleased with the experiment.  (And totally want to make more things edged with eyelet lace!  Such a sweet look!)

20181103_145518-01And right now I am eyeballs-deep in making linen napkins for my Thanksgiving table because I’ve always wanted linen napkins and I have no crafty deadlines on my plate at the moment.  It’s been so. much. fun. researching hemstitching and heirloom sewing, and oh my goodness, do I love me some beautiful heirloom sewing.  So much drooling.

BUT…I massively underestimated how long these napkins were going to take, mostly because I didn’t think ironing the hem allowances was going to take twenty minutes PER NAPKIN.  Four more napkins to press before I actually get to meet needle to fabric!  Ugh!

But look at this gorgeous view from my new craft room’s window…it’s so nice to have something besides a window well to look at!

The napkins are going to be lovely, with mitered corners and hemstitching.  I’m seriously in love with them.  That bit of brown fabric and thread in my craft-room-view photo is the start of one of them.  It’s a gorgeous chocolate brown.  So pleased!

And then it’s on to Christmas crafting, which I was really hoping to not do this year, but something went wonky with my bank transfers to my Christmas savings account when we moved, and there is much less in that account than there should be, so I’ma gonna have to get creative with supplies already on-hand.  Boo/yay

I’ll probably start writing a bit more, now that things have started to settle.  It was such a mistake to think I’d be able to paint everything upon moving in–I’ve come to the decision that I’m going to tackle the house room-by-room, because it’s driving me batty to not have a single “finished” room in this house.  I’ve been working on my youngest daughter’s room, and it’s looking pretty cute.  I’m excited to share that when we finally reach the finish line!  (You can have a housewarming party five years after you move in, right?)  😉

But I am hosting Thanksgiving this year, and there could be as many as twenty people attending, so it’s all about the napkins and the cleaning and the cooking for the next two weeks.  (And my dining room table that was supposed to be delivered in August?  And then October?  They changed the delivery date AGAIN…to December.  Fan-freakin’-tastic.  We’re eating Thanksgiving dinner on folding tables this year.  So classy.)

I hope the onslaught of the holiday season is treating you all well!  I look forward to seeing your posts and photos of what you’re working on in these next weeks!

*Red Riding Hood Costume: McCall Pattern #M6187
**Substitute Cape/Hood: Simplicity Pattern #8729

There is a House in Washington

So, yes, our family made it safely to Washington almost two weeks ago.  We rolled into town just as the fireworks for the Fourth of July started going off, and it felt like the state was welcoming us with gusto.  (And added the much-appreciated side effect of lighting up the heavily-treed highway that was tough to navigate…but the cats weren’t big fans of the fireworks and may have peed…a lot…in their carriers.)

 

We signed the papers for our Washington home the next morning and officially had the keys by lunch.  My aunt made a beeline for us and helped us unload our truck and trailer, and our ward helped us finish the huge task later that evening.  We’ve been screeching, “Where is the [insert a million different items here]?!?!” ever since.

image-20180705_120528

20180713_131255Where we’re living is *lovely.*  It’s a little removed from Suburbia-proper, but only by a little bit, so running to the grocery store/Costco/Home Depot takes minutes, and the drive is lush and green and has a crazy spectacular view of Mt. Rainier the entire way.  Sometimes I have to sit and wait for the dairy’s cows to cross the road to get to their next milking, and there’s rivers, and hydrangea, and four different types of purple or pink flowers in bloom by the roadsides right now (Fireweed, Sweet Pea, Foxglove, and a plant that looks like Butterfly Bush) and I just…get so happy to see familiar plants again.  I figured out plants in Utah, but these are what I grew up with and can name without thinking because my dad taught them to me when I was in preschool.

20180711_135323

 

 

We’ve had family over TWICE in one week for dinner, which is crazy amazing and as fun as you’d expect, and we get to attend a family wedding this weekend because we don’t live fourteen hours away anymore.

20180705_131516

The house is bigger than our last house, which I’m loving a lot–six people in our old house got old about six years ago, so the extra space is much-appreciated by all of our family’s members.  Unfortunately, though, this house is painted in a very warm and earthy color palette, and I lean toward the cool and ocean-inspired color palette.  And the ceilings are painted the same color as the walls…the same, sand-brown light-absorbing color…even the twenty-feet-up ceilings in the front room.  Yep, I gotta paint ’em all…and that sand-brown color is just dark enough to warrant two coats of primer every. time.

So I’m busy for the rest of the month, and probably for most of August as well.

But it’s OK, because at the end of all the painting my kids will all have bedrooms with fully-finished walls painted the colors of their choosing, and everything will be just as lovely inside as it is outside.

We went and got our library cards today, which really does make you feel like you truly “belong” in your town.  And I forgot to turn on Google Maps for the drive home, but it didn’t matter because I got home just fine, with no special mental gymnastics.  I pulled up to this house in this new state without help, and my kids clambered out of the van like they always do, helped by dumping our purchases onto the kitchen table before running off to binge-read their library books like they always do, and in that moment it was clear: This house in Washington is now our home.

20180705_120124

Probably still a bit of time before Happy Crafting Times can recommence, but with each newly-unpacked box and newly-painted wall, I’m getting closer to reopening the fun conversations I get to have with my crafty friends!  I’ve missed you!