Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Anything To Avoid The Math

Junko is coming from Tokyo tomorrow morning, so this may be the last daily post for the next 2.5 weeks, but it might not be either. I'll have to see what happens when she gets here. I finished the "Made by Annette" last night and started to draw in the design I'll be embroidering next. It's a cute little flower form the Sublime Stitching book.

Starting to add the design

I really wanted to start the back of my quilt before Junko got here, but I just don't feel like doing the math just yet.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Family Visit

My parents came to visit me last night. We went to my favorite greasy Chinese take out restaurant, Tang's! The food was good and it was nice to hang out with my parents. My dad wanted to straighten out my finances and help me devise a better budget plan, which includes a little investing and perhaps a little low-risk stock market action. On the other hand, my mom wanted to talk to me about Clorox and the wonders it will do for cleaning my sink. They left pretty late, so I didn't get too much done, but managed to start the "Annette" in my embroidery.

Embroidery Progress

First I stitched a few long stitches to write out my name and now I'm going to wrap around all those stitches. Tonight, I hope to finish the "nette" part, start the date and possibly think about the design or border I'm going to add around the tag. I'll also have to do a little cleaning around the house, so that Junko feels welcome in my little apartment.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I've been making some progress on my quilt tag. I think I'm just doing anything to distract myself from starting the back of the quilt. There's a little bit of math involved with the quilt back, which I will explain as soon as I figure it out. Speaking of distractions, my friend Junko will be visiting me from Tokyo on Thursday! I haven't seen Junko in about 2 years, so I'm very excited. I'll try to update while she's here, but it might not be daily. Though, she wakes up late and I wake up early, so I might!


I'm not sure if I should continue with pink, or move onto a different color. I'm also going to put the date under my name. I think I'll do it all in pink and put other colors around the name and date. I'll have to think about this one.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

He Got All My Favorites

Today Brian and I did the Race for the Cure, which was a bit emotional. It was great to see the amount of people there and the amount of money that was raised for such an important cause. Before we made our way over, Brian made me a delicious breakfast.

Brian made me breakfast

The rest of my day will be devoted to continuing some embroidery. I got a decent start at the coffee shop yesterday, being my first time embroidering and all.

Embroidery for the quilt tag

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Coffee, Cookies, and Crafts

I purchased some of the backing fabric yesterday. I say "some" because they didn't have enough fabric to cover the back of my quilt. I bought it anyway, because I kind of wanted to do something creative in the back using other fabrics too. I have a few ideas already, but I might do a photoshop mock up before I commit to anything. I washed all my fabrics yesterday. I was really nervous, because I didn't do any color bleeding tests and I didn't have color catching detergent, but everything worked out okay. I got a few tangles, but not as many as I thought there would be, considering all the fabric I washed. I put all my loose fabrics in a pillowcase and my quilt top in a laundry bag. The quilt top hardly had any tangles at all.

Strings that were cut off the fabric, after I washed it.

Ever since I got my embroidery book, I've been dying to have a go at it. This afternoon I will be meeting my partner in craft, Nicole Shibata, to have some coffee, cookies and crafting at one of my favorite coffee spots in Pasadena. I'm going to work on a tag for the quilt, or maybe just practice and enjoy the company.

Quilt top with backing fabrics and possible embroidery

Friday, February 23, 2007

Big Top Quilty

My morning has been non-stop pinning and sewing.
Sewing the bigger squares together

Panel after panel...
Panels of the quilt being sewn together

Until, finally, the quilt top is all done!
The finished Quilt Top

Now, the quilt top and I will be taking a trip to Joann's to find a backing fabric. My batting is dry and ready, and if all goes well today, I might finish this quilt by the weekend's end!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Batting Bath

I have officially decided to pre-wash and pre-shrink my fabrics and batting. I've put too much into this quilt to see it all get puckered in unexpected, funny ways. Since my quilt top is almost all sewn together, I thought I should go ahead and work with the batting a little bit. I threw the batting in my bathtub, and started to soak it in tepid water for about 10 minutes.

Soaking the batting

I know this is probably not the proper way to hang your batting to dry, but that batting was heavy! I tried to squeeze out all the water I could, but it's a huge king size sheet, so no matter what I did, it weighed a ton.
Drying the batting

This weekend, I'll have to give my quilt top a wash/shrink and go looking for some backing fabric. I'm leaning on something brown so far, but I'm not sure yet. I'm not even sure if I should buy fabric or find a 100% cotton sheet for a king size bed. If I get a sheet, I won't have to cut a thing, but if I buy fabric, I might some big square/rectangle piecing on the back. Any ideas?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Quilt blocks

The quilt top is all sewn into big squares. Now I have to sew the big squares to each other. The pressing portion is really slowing me down, but I know it's necessary. What drives me crazy is that I still have to wash this quilt top, so after I wash it, I'm going to have to re-press all the squares. I'm bad at math, but I'm pretty sure there are 396 squares here and that's a lot of pressing.

Sewing big peices together

Monday, February 19, 2007

To Wash Or Not To Wash?

That is the question. Yesterday, I went to Joann's Fabrics and purchased some batting for the quilt. While I was there, I started talking to a group of quilters who were also shopping for batting. It was interesting because these quilters were from the "anti pre-wash" school of quilters and were trying to convert me. As a novice, I know very little about the differences, but the ladies at Joann's told me if I don't pre-wash, my quilt will be antique-ish. I'm coming to the end stages of my quilt top, so if anyone has an opinion about this, I'm all ears!

Quilt Process

At this point, the quilt top is 80" x 100". Just 2 more rows of squares and the quilt top will be finished.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Belated Valentine

Since my Valentine this year was a surprise, I had nothing prepared at all! So, I got a little busy last night. Since my Valentine is a boy, I decided against the girly pinks and reds and went with some boy-friendly Valentine colors and patterns.

Fabrics for my Valentine's Day Card

I was also doing lots of quilting last night and since that's what I'm up to these days, I thought it would be a nice personal touch.

Stitching the card

And here it is. I also have another special surprise planned, but that will come in a later post. I hope my Valentine likes it!

The finished card

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sublime Stitching

After I found out this book existed, I got really anxious and waited a whole week before I had to run to the store and go buy it.

I'm not sure I'll do anything with it until I finish the top of my quilt, but I'm thinking of making my quilt tag with a little embroidery, possibly even the the back of the quilt itself.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Baking, Cooking, and Valentine's Day Surprises

Yesterday was busy. After work, I wanted to bake a cake and a lasagna. I made a carrot cake for my boss' birthday. He had told me it was his favorite once and since I had never made a carrot cake, I was excited about the challenge. Carrot cake sounds difficult to make on paper, but was a lot easier than I expected. I just hope it tastes okay! I got the recipe from one of my favorite sites

Here is my cake batter.
Carrot Cake Batter

Here is the naked cake, fresh out of the oven.
Naked Carrot Cake

And here is the frosting from hell. This was my first time making frosting from scratch, my mixer broke just as I was about to use it which made the whole experience a difficult one. I had to keep adding butter to soften it up, but I'm afraid the frosting was a lost cause. It might taste okay, but next time I'm just going to pay the $2 and buy some.
Making Frosting

Oh what a horrible mess. This cake is borderline embarrassing, but I'm okay with that. I added a little heart, since it is Valentines Day and what carrot cake would be complete without a little frosted carrot, right?
Frosted Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped pecans. Frost the cooled cake.

Onto the Lasagna, I made a turkey-tomato mixture with a ricotta-spinach mixture and layered away. I'm a little old fashioned when it comes to the boil/non-boil debate over lasagna noodles. Even though it's more work, I really like to boil my noodles, at least for a few minutes before using them.
The Noodles

Here is my turkey-tomato mix.
The Turkey Tomato-ey Mixture

Before the oven

After the oven

After all this cooking and baking, I was feeling worn out. That all changed when my surprise valentine came over and brought me some surprise valentines! Super sweets from my super sweet! Aren't they cute? And the card! Ohh, the card! The cupcakes are from Dots Cupcakes, which I've never been to, but has a cute website and the cupcakes were tasty! The chocolate was amazing!
My Valentines from Bpy

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Flavor Of The Month

I've become obsessed with quilting. This is what I always do, find a new hobby, obsess over it, then get over it. I also do this with music, clothes and food too. I'm a cocaine addict waiting to happen. Thankfully, my only cocaine is crafts and my current flavor of the month is quilting.

Here I am sewing squares.
Sewing Squares

And this is what I got so far. I think it's safe to say that I'm a little impatient, so part of me wants to just sew this bad boy up and call it a day. Though, I know I will only get bored when it's over and so, I will keep sewing. I think I want this to be approximately 90" x 100" or so, and it's almost there.
It's coming together...

Tonight I will put away my sewing needles and make a carrot cake and a lasagna! Many pictures to be posted tomorrow.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I love cake batter.
The Batter

Fresh out of the oven, naked little brownies.
Fresh out of the oven

Sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Sprinkled with Powdered Sugar

Saturday, February 10, 2007

What Came first, the Crafter or the Blog?

In my case, it was definitely the crafter. I realize watching squares grown on a quilt, may not be as entertaining to everyone as it is to me, so I thought I'd take a look into my crafting archives. You may have seen my Record Boxes, but before that came my Record Journals.

This one is one of my favorites. I still have it, I couldn't part with it.
Record Journal

The Carpenters!
Record Journal

And the book that started it all. I took a bookmaking class in college, and the assignment was to make a "creative book", so I made a book on my band photography out of a record. It also has a sleeve and cover. I still make vinyl books, but they're a pain to make, so it's custom orders only.
Vinyl Photography Book

And if you're into watching quilt squares grow...
Quilt # 2 Progress

Friday, February 09, 2007

Getting Bigger

The quilt is getting bigger! I still haven't bought any backing material or batting. I'm trying to figure out how heavy I want this quilt, because though it does get cold in my apartment, the valley gets record breaking heat waves in the summer. So far I'm leaning towards a cotton/poly blend, but we shall see. I've been playing with the idea of making this a double sided quilt. Part of me just wants to have it be brown on the other side, but then another part of me wants to make big squares of the material on the front, in the back. I might make it brown with a few patches here and there, but I'm still not sure yet. My hands are working faster than my brain is right now.

A lot more progress on Quilt # 2

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Quilting and Coffee

I made a lot of progress on the quilt top last night. I want this quilt to be huge, maybe for a queen-king size bed, so I still I have a lot to go. I'm really happy with it so far, it's been fun! I've been sewing squares of 4, which measure 10" x 10", here's what I got so far:

Quilt #2 Progress

Neighbor/pal, Lauren, stopped by last night for some Turkish coffee. Some people can read your fortune using the leftover coffee grinds of your cup. Lauren and I just look inside for pictures, but didn't see much! It's still fun!

Turkish Coffee with Lauren

Expect to see more quilting and some cooking and cake baking this week.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Digital Stitching

I started some of my squares last night. I'm pretty happy with it so far, but I'm so hesitant to keep going without a pattern of some kind. I made a little mock-up on photoshop and played around with random patterns. The one below isn't exactly anything I'm going to stick to, but I like some of it. My plan now is to just make squares of 4 that I really like together.

Quilt Mock-up on Photoshop

So far, I only made 2 squares of 4. These were taken from the mock-up above, on the bottom left.
Starting to Sew

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Quilt # 2 Swatches

Last night I cut lots of pieces for quilt #2. I want this to be a big huge semi-random looking quilt, so now the hard part is deciding the "random" pattern.

Quilt #2 Swatches

I made a list of how many I have of each square.
First row from the top (left to right): 8, 8, 28, 24, 12
Second row: 28, 8, 16, 16, 8
Third row: 20, 24, 32, 24, 24
Fourth row: 24, 16, 12, 14, 16

On most of the fabric, I could make more squares too. Lately I've been thinking of getting some solid color fabric to put in the mix, so that it's not as busy. Tonight, I plan to scan each pattern and play with the patterns on photoshop. For some reason, I see everything clearly on photoshop. I was thinking of also sewing random groups of 4 squares to get started, then matching the 4 squares together to make a bigger pattern, but that might be too risky. I don't want to waste my fabric.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Pillow Cases

Nicole and I went to Rosie's Calico Cupboard, the most amazing fabric store in San Diego! I spent a little more than my budget allowed, but I'll keep myself busy for a long time with all my new supplies. We went there to find a fabric to make Nicole's curtains out of. We found one she liked, but when we went to the window, the fabric looked too yellow. We had a lot of it, so we decided to make some pillowcases for her bedroom instead. We picked up a few 99 cent pillows at Ikea and went to work.

Pillow and Fabric

We measured and pinned.
Pinning the Fabric

We did a little ironing.
Ironing the fabric and seams

Nicole really wanted to do the actual sewing part, so here she is stiching away with my husky.

And here they are on her bed. It only took a few minutes!
The Pillows

Here is some of the fabric I bought at Rosie's:
San Diego Fabric

And here is the fabric I came home to that night! It's here!
Mail Order Fabric

Quilt squares will be cut tonight!