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The Final Handmade Gift Post...I Swear

12.30.2009
As the holidays draw to a close, the purging and organization bug has officially bitten me.  But I have no idea why....

 
Hmmmmm......

I got three hours of sleep before we left town for the holidays furiously hand sewing a binding on a quilt....and it got done.  But the craft room was a disaster. However, I have been organizing like crazy the past couple of days and can't wait to share the results.

Until then I want to show my first two completed quilts.  I know you are sick of handmade gift posts by this time, but I want to show them anyway.

The first quilt was a baby quilt that was inspired by a fabric remnant I picked up at Joann's for a couple of bucks and a subway tile pattern (sticking close to the home reno roots).

I was very scientific about this quilt....I used a notepad for the sizing of the squares and cut a lot of them.  Then I laid them on the floor in a random pattern.  When I thought the quilt was large enough I stopped cutting and started sewing.   I am probably making real quilters groan right now.


I used free motion quilting as my machine does not have a walking foot that would allow me to do straight lines.  It took me awhile to get a handle on that....as in I ripped out seams over 10 times at the beginning because I wasn't liking it.  But after I got over my fear and figured it out, it was not as difficult as I thought.

The second quilt was a little more ambitious and I used a Figgy Pudding Jelly Roll to put this together. 

I added solid red in between the figgy pudding and on the back.  I bound with with some figgy pudding yardage.  I used a similar free motion design on this quilt because frankly I was running out of time and I knew I could do it without breaking out the seam ripper.

 
 

Sorry for the less than stellar quality of these pics....they were taken after the quilt was given as it was not finished in time to snap some before we left.  There is nothing like having someone open a gift and then snatch it back to take pics of it:).  The red is not so bright in "real life."  Also looking at pics snapped with the old camera, I am loving the new one even more (if that is even possible).

So now that I have officially completed two quilts I wanted to share all my "knowledge".....

Ahem....
Things I have learned about quilting-
  1. It takes a long time, especially when you are like me and don't know exactly what you are doing.  So when you see a quilt and scoff at the price (like I used to do) know that someone took many many hours putting it together.
  2. Quilting involves very straight lines and exact measurements. And straight cutting. And straight sewing.  And good ironing.  Because if you are just a little bit off, the whole thing gets wonky....and you know what that means....hello seam ripping.
  3. Hand sewing binding is not fun.  Yeah it looks nice and all but it takes forever and my fingers killed me for two days afterwards.  Maybe my technique sucks and I am doing it wrong.  Or maybe it is just not fun.
  4. Quilting is fun....and an awesome excuse to use amazing fabrics.  I can't wait to start another one. 

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My New Toy

12.28.2009
I know you have all been waiting on pins and needles to see what I got for Christmas and checking the blog hourly hoping I was going to update it. 

Ready?  Here's a hint...the last week my new nickname has been "paparazzi."


A new Digital SLR camera...the Canon Rebel T1i to be exact.  Whoo Hoo!

Actually it would be accurate to say that I received money for me to buy the camera at our "first Christmas".  So when we got home last weekend I was thinking about ordering it, but thought I would just do it after the holidays since we would be traveling and I did not want to miss the package.

That was before I saw that BH Photo had free overnight shipping right before Christmas.....

So on the 23rd after hitting refresh on the package status once every five minutes and not showering in case I missed the USP man waiting patiently this baby arrived.



Which quickly turned into this....

And then unfortunately this...


So why a Canon?  A couple of reasons.... like I really like the fact that it is capable of shooting HD video and it has tons a great reviews.  But the main reason is this......

I had the film version of the Rebel years ago and lens are interchangeable.

Sadly I never used the film version to it's full potential (as in never went into the modes where you actually had to adjust things) because frankly it is a pretty steep learning curve when you are paying for film and processing and don't get immediate feedback if you totally messed it up or not.  Also the controls required a lot more knowledge because there was not a huge screen.


So it has been collecting dust for the last couple of years while I have been using a point and shoot Sony Powershot.

Until now.....

But as a warning just because I have a new fancy camera, don't expect the pictures to all of a sudden be stellar.....I have a lot of learning to do and two uncooperative furry friends to do it on.  Here are some of my favorites from this weekend  (I have not picked nor figured out editing software yet, so these pics are straight from the camera).





My current thing that I LOVE about this camera.....there is no pause between pressing the button and the picture snapping so you can capture things like this....





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The Snowy Recap

12.26.2009
Well we are home safe and sound from a great Christmas.  I can't wait to share some of my gifts but for now here is how our second Christmas went with the in-laws.

We filled the car completely with dogs and stuff.  I have no idea how we are going to travel for Christmas when we have a baby as well...might be renting a Suburban....

This Christmas marked the dogs first time staying in a hotel.  If you are traveling with pets, the La Quinta was perfect.  We had to sign a pet waiver, but there was no charge for pets, even dogs over 50 lbs.  They also put us in a room right next to the back door which was perfect for us to take them out.

Jack and Winter did not know what to make of the room....they looked around and then scratched at the door to leave.


We had a couple of inches of snow at the in-laws, but not a whole lot.  The pups liked romping around in it anyway-

Then of course there were presents...lots of presents-

Jack again was an expert present opener and enjoyed sticking his head into everything-

We gave Derek's brother a sweet pair of boxers that I "won" at a white elephant gift exchange.  This was his "excited" face.  (Yes that is puffy velvet lips...this might top the santa clause boxers and matching hat we bestowed on him lat year)

The dogs also received a present they loved....

Yep a Bud Light Tailgate Approved Beer Vest.....


And then there were cookies.....




(recipes here and here)

 After all the family fun was over it was time to say goodbye start our journey back home.

The roads were clear when we set out.  Then it started looking like this...


Which turned into this....


And then we got stuck trying to get up the driveway.  Wish I had a pic of that.

But we managed to get unstuck, parked the SUV in our neighbors clear driveway and then Derek shoveled out two spaces for the tires while his ever helpful wife snapped pictures.

But Derek's fun was not over yet....we could not get the back door open because so much snow was piled against it. The gate to the back yard also would not open because of snow, so he got to jump the six foot privacy fence to unbury the door.

The dogs had a blast romping in the snow Jack hopped like a rabbit because it was so high.  I have seen anything more hilarious. Of course we got some great pics and video....but I have a confession to make.   I can't get it off of the camera because I have no memory left of my computer.  I have used over 40GB of space.  Awesome.   Guess I have too many inspiration pictures.

So tomorrow I am going to stop procrastinating dumping tons of photos to the external hard drive.  Should be tons of fun.  Until then just imagine four feet of snow piled around cars and us up to our knees in in the driveway.

Hope everyone had  great Christmas and safe travels!
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    Merry Christmas!

    12.24.2009




    Hope everyone in blog land has a very Merry Christmas filled with family, food, fun and relaxation!

    We are off to celebrate our second out of three Christmases and I am happy to report that all handmade gift projects are complete.  I might have only gotten three hours of sleep but they are done.  I can't wait to come back after Christmas and share them (because no one is tired of Christmas posts) and also share the gift I received that I believe will become one of the new things I am obsessed with.

    Enjoy the holiday and if you are traveling in the Midwest with the snow (or anywhere else for that matter)...be safe!
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    Pretty Presents

    12.22.2009
    Derek is really good at doing chores that are able to be completed while he is sitting on the couch and watching sports. Present wrapping is one of those chores and he has been in charge in that department since we started giving gifts as a couple.

    But this year I wanted to change it up a little because while he is awesome at getting it done, his definition of creative wrapping is sticking a premade bow on top. Like a man.

    Since bows always get smashed as we travel to multiple cities for the holidays and the gifts always looked a little crumpled by the time they are opened, I wanted to do something different. This year I decided to add some creativity, pizzazz and smash-proofness to the gifts. I loved the results (and many wows when they were given) but I am going to be honest....this is one of those projects that I think will be filed in "won't happen when we have kids and no time" category. But for right now....prettying up the packages was so worth it.

    This year I bought all solid paper for Derek to wrap in. After a couple of quizzical looks about the brown and blue rolls, he did a great job. The yellow post-its tell who it is for and what it is.




    Then I went to work with different ribbon, yarn, bells, paper punches, jewels, scrapbook paper, rotary cutter, gift tags, and tape (and Diet Dr. Pepper).




    Once I got going it did not take much time (but will admit I was still creating as Derek was loading the car).

    I bought some of the gift tags but found this awesome link for prinable ones here.

    We had our "first" Christmas with my family this past weekend so the finished products are ready to be unveiled. (Sorry the pics are not the best quality....I was snapping them as they were being handed out....no one really understood that this had to be documented for the blog....sheesh).

























    My brother was super excited about the "pouf" (as he whipped out his pocket knife).


    Jack was also super excited to get his presents. (If you can't tell he is sticking his entire head inside the gift bag....my dad got an awesome pic of this but I forgot to get it from him before we left).


    Yes a farting hedgehog with a Santa hat and pink toenails!


    One Christmas down and two more to go!
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