Saturday, July 30, 2011

Peacock Feather Earrings

One of the best features of the area where we live is this amazing public square between our library and city hall. It's called Celebration Square and the name truly fits it. Most weekends have some sort of celebration going on, a few weekends ago was Rib Fest, today was Fiesta ng Kalayaan (a Filipino Freedom Festival), tomorrow there is free yoga in the Square. The list just goes on and on. However, I digress. . . back to the point. While standing in line to buy an empanada, because I LOVE ethnic foods, I spot the booth next door that is selling Peacock Feathers and at a very affordable price! Yay! Of course I had to get a dozen.

Now, of course I instantly thought of the peacock feather earrings that I had a few years ago and loved, but lost one while wearing them on a windy day. Well, don't I just happen to have the necessary items and tools needed to make earrings. Booyah Grandma, Booyah!

So, from the picture above, to this:

A friend of mine has just returned from a volunteer stint in Iceland and happened to be with me while at the Filipino festival, so we took a few minutes together making these this afternoon before she had to head out. I don't think we've done anything creative like this together since we were children. And it was a lot of fun. 

Silly me forgot to get her permission to post a picture of her wearing her new earrings that she made, so here's a cropped version that I'm sure she won't mind me sharing:

Don't they look great!

And the best part is, it was such a quick project. They are completed, and I haven't had them on a W.i.P. list. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

WIP Wednesday on Friday this week--focus on place-mats

I'm terrible at getting motivated to remove pictures from our camera. I finally took some pictures of the place-mats I'm working on and copied them from the camera. But only because I had the camera out to take some really cute pictures of my little girl for facebook.

Place-mats are still in the works. I have two completed, one that needs the binding hand stitched, and one that is still totally lacking the binding. I probably won't get these done until I can get to fabricland and purchase the thread I need to complete this. 

Now why would I take the time to do this? Especially sewing the binding by hand? Well...I'm about to finish my first very-own-all-by-myself quilt and don't want the binding to look like it was done by a "newbie" quilter. :$ 

Plus, I absolutely hate the wretched place-mats my hubby and I picked out when he got the table for the condo. They are super cute, but cleaning them is nearly impossible because of all the ridges and I really want to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives. So out comes some fabric from my stash that was meant for pillows (until I found two really awesome pillows at Pier 1). Now we are going from this:

Looks good, but virtually impossible to keep clean

To this (I made the napkins back in January or February):
To simply throw it in the washing machine to clean :o)
...and it isn't plastic! Yay

It's a little bit matchy, matchy with the binding fabric being the same as the napkins. But I totally love all the colours in this Liz Claiborne fabric and I'm really glad I've put my clearance fabric purchases to good use. 

New project addition this week:
* A Tinkerbell skirt for my niece Hayley. It's her birthday gift so I better get a move on!

Still in the works:
* Brown Bear, Brown Bear quilt. I need to get embroidery needles for my machine (and some thread) so I can satin stitch around the letters in the border. This will be my first time doing this so cross your fingers. I'll be practicing on a scrap piece first.
* My Asian bargello quilt. Just plugging away at it slowly enjoying the process.
* Some clothing alterations for my husband and I.
* Felt circle curtains. I need to get a piece of doweling to hang them from.
* My machine pieced cathedral window piece from the quilting course my Mom and I took as her  Mother's Day gift.

I better finish something this weekend so I can start something else! :oP

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Product Review: Up Mama Baby Sling and Pink Daisy Breast Pads

To start off, I want to say that I don't have any sponsors. The products I am reviewing here have not been given to me, I've paid for them myself. I like to believe, therefore, that I am an impartial party. Although I will admit to being partial to supporting Canadian owned stay-at-home-mom run businesses, since I hope to start one of my own some time soon.

Pink Daisy Breast Pads
If you are a breastfeeding mom, you probably went through the same struggle with finding good breast pads that I did. I tried a couple different companies disposable ones and thought they felt like formed concrete when removing. I tried Thyme Maternity's cotton reusable ones and soaked through them in an instant and had trouble getting them to stay in place. At this point, I was walking around with folded up washcloths in my bra out of shear desperation!

Then I ordered Pink Daisy Organic Cotton/Wool Nursing Pads. I was skeptical at first, but after trying, I was impressed. They absorb a ton! I have had very few leakage issues with them. They move around a little, but normally stay covering what they are supposed to cover and they are comfy. I know, I know...wool?!? But it's the cotton velour you are putting on your skin and the wool naturally absorbs 40% of its weight in moisture before feeling wet (or so the company claims on their packaging--and from my experience with the product, I believe them). I bought mine from a Canadian online store run by a stay-at-home-mom called, but I'm sure if you are in the states you could find them their too since they are made in Knoxville, TN.

Up Mama Baby Sling
My husband jokes that this is my $100 worth of sanity. But truly it is some days! There are days where my wonderful little girl isn't feeling the greatest (whether she teething or she's having another food intolerance episode) and the only way to keep her happy is to have her up and snuggled with you. Well, the sling lets her snuggle and me function. I have to admit, I haven't tried any other slings, this one came highly recommend, so I bought it and haven't had any reason not to love it. It's only weight rated up to 35lbs, but really once your baby is that heavy do you really want them hanging from you?

It is made by a small Canadian company and it is very well designed (they have some great fabric options). The thing even comes with a built in pocket! Very handy for holding a spit-up cloth, keys, etc. The fabric is mostly cotton with some spandex. Which if you know me and my views on polyester fabrics you'll agree is awesome! Turns out also sells the Up Mama and offers free shipping on orders over $99. I didn't realize this when I purchased the sling and actually purchased it directly from Up Mama. One more thing, the company claims it is wiggle proof, and here I believe them. My daughter is also know as a "Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle Worm" because she is so squirmy and I have never once thought for a second she was anywhere near wiggling out of the sling.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I swear, every time my husband comes home and sees a stack on cookbooks on the kitchen table, he breaks into a cold sweat. I'm sure he's thinking, "Oh God, what new thing am I going to have to try this time?" It's not that it is guaranteed to be a disaster (although there have been a few), it's that he isn't a fan of change. At all. Mind you there are some things that he really enjoys that he would have never tried if not for me. Quinoa is one. Pumpkin pasta is another. 

Now, one picky eater is enough, and we already have two in this household. I can't afford another! So my mission is to get my daughter to try everything at least once, and to have her decide what she likes and dislikes. Hopefully, my husband's and my pickiness won't transfer to her and she'll like a lot more than she dislikes. To do this we're going to have to learn to not look disgusted every time we come across something we hate. (Is this possible?)
The hard part is going to be looking enthusiastic about celery! I absolutely hate the flavour, texture, and colour of celery--or anything else that has anything to do it with it for that matter. Yuck!

So my little sweetie, get ready because your food journey is about to start. Today I pureed some zucchini for you to have later this week! And Tim, prepare yourself. The little green bits in the muffins are zucchini. But it's really yummy, I swear!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Think brain, think!

Connecting Threads is having a design a fabric contest. And for the life of me I can't focus on what I specifically would like to submit. I want it to be good, but what direction to go in? Something focused on natural elements? Something for children? We all know there aren't enough fabrics out there that aren't boy or girl specific. But what ever I do it has to 'say' Tammy, and I'm not sure I know how to do that on fabric.

The basic run down of the contest is this:
The winner will receive $2,000 and a contract with Connecting Threads to have them produce their fabric in 2012, plus royalties on reprints (if any), and free yardage of your fabric. If you win, your design will belong solely to Connecting Threads. Submissions can be made between August 1st and 10th. For those of you interested, you can see all the details here: Connecting Threads Contest Info Page.

Now, I'm pretty confident I can come up with something good, maybe even great. And it would be awesome to see my idea of a fabric line come to life if I were to win. 
But I don't know how I would feel about Connecting Threads solely owning my work. I'd feel a lot more comfortable simply licensing it to them and maintaining the rights to my work, but I have to be realistic. I'm an unknown person, who probably isn't going to win this thing. I'm not some hotshot designer that can demand complete ownership of their work. And the opportunity to have something I designed become commercial would be very cool. So, I guess I submit something as a lark and see what happens.

Oh, PS. . . I finished Audrey's Dr. Seuss crib sheet. It's pretty busy, but both she and I love it. I'm so glad I was inspired by Dana of Made.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

WIP Wednesday, on Thursday :oP

Well, I now have 2 of 4 placemats bound and on the table. I made napkins that match the binding months ago, it's about time I get this finished. I just take forever finishing bindings by hand. I'm not sure what my hold up is it is pretty easy.

I have a couple more rows of my asian bargello quilt done. Don't mind the wave in fabric in the picture. There just happens to be something under it on my ironing board. I'm planning on quilting a large dragon in each of the corners, and a really large koi fish (*sp?) in the center. For the rest of the space, I was thinking a really basic Sashiko style stitch to not draw away from the rest of the quilting design, but kind of sticks to the theme of the fabrics. Because of the number of seems though, it may be too difficult to do by hand. I might have to look at having someone professionally quilt this one.

I'm also working on a Brown Bear quilt for a friend who is going to have her 4th child in December. We're planning on giving them the quilt and a new copy of the book as a gift. Since I plan on hand quilting it, I better get going on this one. It is going to take me a while! Pia decided she must help showcase the beauty of this quilt. I have to choose a colour to satin stitch around all the letters on the border with. . . uggg.

And last but not least. . . you should be seeing a completed Dr. Seuss crib sheet soon, very soon. Audrey is so fixated with her Peter Rabbit and Curious George sheets, I decided she needed a Dr. Seuss one too!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Recipes I can repeat!

My husband is a picky eater. I'm not saying it to be mean, it's just honest. There are so many things I've made that he just isn't in to eating. . . and I'm starting to forget what they are. So, time to start writing down what went over well and can be repeated. Preferably in a searchable format from any where--hence the use of this blog.

So without further ado we have a couple contenders:

Minted Peas
Boil fresh shelled sweet peas for 2 minutes. 
Drain and return to the pot, adding a tsp of butter and 1/2 of dried mint. 
Cook for a minute or two and serve warm.
Sunshine Carrots
My Aunt Brenda and cousin Ashleigh have been making their carrots this way for years. Ashleigh likes to add caraway sometimes too.

1/4 cup of orange juice, 1 tbsp of mince orange zest if you have it, 1 tbsp of peeled and minced ginger (I freeze mine peeled and use a grater to "mince" it as needed), 1 tbsp of maple syrup, 1 tbsp of oil, fresh ground pepper.

Place all the ingredients in the pot and turn the head to medium-low. 
Bring to a boil and cook covered for 5 min.
Uncover and raise the heat and continue to cook until liquid is mostly gone. Lower the temperature and continue to cook until tender.
Serve warm (although, I don't mind this one as cold leftovers).
I have a couple different cookbooks with recipes for cooked cucumber. I'm curious, but I think I might have a hard time getting Tim to consider even trying that one. Maybe when Ashleigh is in Ontario again she'll be up for it. . . 

Have you seen this quilt?

If you are a creative person, you know just how much time and effort you put into one of your 'pieces'. The thought of something someone has worked so hard on disappearing simply pains me. 

A few quilts have disappeared from the Spring Quilt Market. If you have seen the following quilts, there is a reward for their safe return. Check out SewCalGals blog for more info.