Sunday, March 18, 2012

In which the baby is actually napping, so it's posting time, right?

The tulip wall hanging is coming along very slowly. I was hoping to get it done by the actual start of spring (which is, what, Wednesday?), but., meh. It won't actually feel like spring for another month in the Pacific Northwest, so I've got some time.

They are actually just a slight modification on the maple leaf block. Shhh.

I am excited for the Rainbow Charm Swap I'm part of. I already know what I'm going to do with all my charms. Behold, my professional, not at all sloppily and hastily Photoshopped together:

I used to hate rainbow and grey together until I did a rainbow/grey mug rug for a swap last year. Then suddenly I liked it. Orange Kitty says: "Try new things! They may surprise you! And if it surprises you in a way that gives you horrible stomach cramps, it's probably spoiled, so throw it away!" 

I've been wanting to do a chevron quilt for a while, but then I saw the patchwork chevron on Moda Bake Shop and the scrappy-loving part of me said, "THAT'S it, I HAVE to do that!" The great thing about this is that when I ordered my fabric for the charms, I also ordered the solid fabric I'll need for it, and since the charms will be pre-cut, theoretically it should piece together quicker than I'm used to. Thinking ahead, that's a new thing for this is what it's like to be prepared for things ahead of time...

In yet other news...Sana awarded me with the Liebster Blog award! Thank you so much, Sana! It's Orange Kitty's very first blog award! So I guess the rules are:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Link back to their blog.
3. Copy and paste the Liebster award to your profile.
4. Pick 5 blogs that you feel deserve to be in the spotlight (they must have under 200 followers).

5. Blog about it and leave a comment for your nominations to let them know that you have chosen their blog.

So I did a quick scroll of my blogger list and it doesn't look like any of the people I wrote down last week have gotten the award yet. But if they did...well, this is what I get for not blogging about it for a week! Anyway, I award the Liebster Blog Award to: 

Benta of SLIKstitches.  She was my swap partner in the very first swap I did as a brand-new blogger last year and I continue to follow her blog because she makes some amazing projects, plus she always has a positive, humorous outlook on things. Visiting her blog is like visiting a old friend's home, it's just so warm and inviting!

Kristy at Quiet Play. She's so creative, her recent toilet toll cover is adorable! She also has a couple of kids that are involved in some of her sewing projects, and it's kind of a neat glimpse into where I might be in a few years with my own kids :)

Jess at The Elven Garden. I just started following her recently, and I stick around because everything she makes is so colorful and bright! Visiting her blog is such a visual bombardment of color, it cheers me up every time! I don't know how she does it.

Fiona at Finding Fifth.  I feel like every post she makes, no matter how short, is packed full of information from speaking Hindi to fabric storage tips! After seeing that she plans out her weekly meals on a white board, I got my butt to the store and bought a white board too, and have written down dinners for the last few weeks and not sat around at 6pm whining, "Ugh, I'm so hungry but I don't know what I feel like maaaaaaaking..." (or at least, I haven't whined *quite* as much...)

Krista at krista stiched. She also uses a lot of bright, fun colors, usually in combinations and shades I wouldn't even think about using, but she makes it work! Her hexagons are downright amazing! I never know what new, crazy project she will be working on whenever I see an update from her!

So there's my Liebster Blog Award picks! Please take a moment to visit them if you haven't already--they are all great!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

In which I prepare for spring, a season that Seattle normally skips completely, going straight to summer sometime in late June

So we finally took down our Christmas wreath a couple of weeks ago (lazy, I know, shush). The wall it was on has been bare and white since, save for a lone nail sticking out of it. So since spring is coming (kind of...not so much in the Pacific Northwest) I decided to start on a little spring-themed wall hanging.

I am generally an apathetic fan of flowers, but I have a soft spot for tulips. If that guy in 11th grade had put tulips in my locker instead of red roses, he might have had a chance. Though I still would have been creeped out about how he broke into my locker in the first place.

The thing about having a baby who only takes 20 minute naps is that you have to cram as many things into 20 minutes every couple of hours that you can. Baby's eyes flutter shut? Cram those scrambled eggs down your throat while chugging coffee while running to the bathroom while tossing food at the cats at the same time and wondering if you can set up a little table in the bathroom so you can rotary-cut fabric while on the toilet. Baby wakes up. Entertain baby for 2 hours, baby falls asleep, repeat. It's like a reality game show of Multitasking XXXtreme!

But the whole thing has inadvertently made me slightly (and I do mean slightly) more organized with sewing. With pieced blocks I have a bad habit of doing only one or two blocks at a time. I'll cut enough fabric for a couple of blocks, piece them together, then start work on the next one or two, leaving all the fabric on the table or floor or whatever while I go eat dinner or whatever. It's fine when you have hours to sit around and sew, but that method was not working for me any more. So with this wall hanging I'm working on, I actually sat and pre-cut all my blocks, then sorted them into little baggies labeled with their dimensions and everything.  When I have my 20 minutes to sew, all I do is grab the right color fabric from each little baggie and sew and bam, a block is done. I am sure other people have figured out this method a LONG, LONG time ago, but I'm slow and lazy and all that. Also, Orange Kitty and Gray Kitty recently decided that Fabric On The Floor was the best place to fall asleep and promptly eject huge tufts of fur on. That huge cat tree in the corner just isn't good enough for them because the moral of owning cats is that nothing you put effort into is good enough for them; however, that cardboard box sitting by the door waiting to be recycled is the BEST CAT TOY EVER. Every time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In which I probably should not whine so much

Ok, so I guess I wrote my last blog post when I was tired and irritated, because a bunch of people commented right away on their opinion of Joann's Fabrics. When I reread the post this morning it did come off as kind of whiny and not entirely necessary.  I think blogs are for venting as well as sharing nice stuff, but I do feel bad lashing out at an entire chain of stores when I've only had terrible experiences at one. Negativity is not the intended tone of this blog, so I'll try to keep the venting posts to a minimum in the future. Or at least make them a little more humorous!

On a more positive note...

Why yes, those are dinosaur pajamas that she's wearing!

...the tag blanket that Benta sent me for the goodie swap last year is finally being put to use! The baby (whom I shall hereafter refer to as "Maggie," since that's one of her nicknames) has just figured out she has hands and is starting to pick things up. I learned this when I looked at her last week and she was lifting up the hem of her skirt and flashing her zebra-print diaper at everyone. The other day, after being unable to find her favorite toy (a bendy ball with a bunch of holes in it that makes it easy to pick up)--I have reason to believe it is at the bottom of the laundry basket underneath all the clothes--I remembered I'd put the tag blanket away in a drawer until Maggie could actually use it. So I pulled it out to see...and she likes it! I haven't gotten to use the lovely bib that Jennifer made for me yet, but Maggie will be eating solids in a couple of months and I know we will get a ton of use out of it then.

This is making me think back to a sort of giveaway I wanted to do on this blog for a while, but I'll have to mull on the details a little longer. Stay tuned...!

Monday, March 5, 2012

In which I remember why I stopped going to Joann's a long, long time ago

Yeah, so if you can't tell from the title of my post...I HATE Joann's fabrics. I am sure in some parts of the country, Joann's is worth going to. Not the one closest to me. For one, Pacific Fabrics, a local Seattle fabric chain is much, much closer, and even though they're pricier, they carry really nice fabrics and all the people there are super friendly and helpful. The only things I don't like are that the only time they have sales I'm usually out of town (this has happened the last THREE times they've had sales, what are the odds?), and their sales are incredibly rare, as are coupons. Their fabrics are standard price, but all their accessories--notions and thread and rotary blades and stuff--tend to be a dollar or more expensive than I could get elsewhere. But I like going there and it's totally on the way to Target and since I go to Target a lot, I always have an excuse to pop into Pacific Fabrics "just for a spool of thread, oh look how did all these fat quarters get into my basket."

And then there's Joann's. It's out of the way for me. It's on a large main road I hate driving down. The last time I was there I witnessed an infuriating conversation between a worker and a customer. The customer was buying buttons and they had rung up at the regular price--not sale price. When she politely pointed this out to the cashier, the cashier flatly told her she was wrong. The customer asked to see a copy of the sale ad to see if she was mistaken, and the cashier laughed and said, "I don't think so. I'm not going to check because I know you're wrong." After a few more heated words, the customer left in a huff without paying...and out of curiosity, when I got home I checked the ad and the buttons were totally on sale. This was just such an awful bit of customer service (plus I don't like their quilting fabrics) that I swore I'd never go back.

But I'm tight on money and I just got a bunch of coupons for them and I need more bobbins and rotary blades and the baby needed fresh air, so I packed us up in the car and drove down the stupid road to Joann's. It took me a full hour to get back out of there, and 10 of that was waiting to get a yard of cheap white solids cut (I have plans for a small wall hanging I don't want to blow my Konas on) because no one was around and another 15 was spent in line because they had one person working the registers who was going. As. Slowly. As. Possible.  While another worker just kind of watched for about ten minutes before opening another register. It's not worth the trek there and back to spend 25 minutes waiting around because of their poor customer service. A friend of mine assures that a Joann's in another part of town is better, but it's harder for me to get to. Maybe I'll try that one some day. Maybe.

ANYWAY, I got a new rotary blade because--well, I needed it, but I'm also hopefully going to be cutting 168 charm squares for the Rainbow Charm Swap, hosted by Sara at Modern Pink Designs (thanks to Annaliese for mentioning it!). There's only slots for 28 people right now, so join quickly! I've been wanting charm squares because I like wanting things and then buying the things that I wanted, and I especially like getting fabric stuff in the mail, so it should be fun. I want to join more swaps and stuff this year, so point me towards anything quick and easy going on! (That means no double wedding ring quilt swaps!!!)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In which I might not be a small blog anymore if I bothered to update on a regular schedule

Hello, those of you who are coming in from the small blog meet! I'm Natalie, a new mom, and someone who likes to do things without thinking them all the way through. Which may, in part, explain why I'm a new mom, but I digress. Mostly I like to sew but I often take on other crafty projects as well, with my husband, new baby girl, and two gigantic cats tagging along for the ride. I'm trying to get back to updating somewhat regularly after the craziness that is the first three months of having a baby, but please bear with me and any strange, disjointed thoughts I may have. Enjoy.

Lily's Quilts