Today I have a finished knitting project to share with you – And no I didn’t just finish this since having the baby.  In fact it was finished the week before he was born and I have just finally gotten a few pictures taken!  Carter is almost 4 weeks now, so that is pretty bad.  But, it’s also been way too hot in MN to even think about donning a sweater.  The temps are down into the 80’s now, so it’s a little better now.

The sweater is called Vonica.  It was designed by Bonnie Marie Burns of Chic Knits.

The construction of the sweater was really interested.  It’s a top town pattern and there are no seams – Not even to attach the collar or sleeves.  Bonnie has a unique way of setting in the sleeve that I think is really clever.  I haven’t seen the technique used in any of the other patterns I have knit.

This shot kind of shows you how the collar wraps neatly around the back of the neck. You have to know how to do a provisional cast-on to be able to do it, but that isn’t hard and is well worth knowing to be able to do the construction seamlessly as written.

The yarn is 100 % bamboo so it has wonderful weight and drapes beautifully.  I have noticed that it is pretty stretchy and I am curious to see if that will be a problem with this open lace pattern.  I seem to remember hearing that bamboo does stretch quite a bit, so that might become a problem (I have heard that bamboo blends are much better).  I have knit with this yarn before and it didn’t seem to be a problem, so we will have to wait and see.  The name of the yarn is Eden by Madil.

You can find my Ravelry link here.

That’s all for now.  I’ll be back shortly with a finished quilt!


Posted in Knitting | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments

Friday Finish in Seaside Cottage

Happy Friday Everyone!

I finished up a few sewing projects this week – can you believe it?   I was worried that this was turning into a baby blog, so I am happy to have some quilting done to show.

Actually, I can’t take all the credit, as my Mom did most of the sewing and I just tried to get them quilted and bound.  It took me a couple of days, as I haven’t figured out yet how to feed the baby and machine quilt at the same time!

The fabrics are from my Seaside Cottage line, which will be in stores shortly.  I couldn’t decide which fabric combination to use, so I decided to make a couple of toppers.

My favorite is probably the red and aqua

There is also a pink and green option:

and a grey and aqua option.

The pattern is my Diamond Diva pattern.  It’s a pattern that I have made several times, as they are quick and easy to make (much easier than they look), they require just a few fat quarters (which I always have lying around), and they are small enough that they are easy to decorate with (throw one on an end table, on a nightstand, over the back of a chair, etc).

I made this one a while ago using my Artful Home fabric.  It moves around my living room as needed.  I’ve made a few more too, but can’t seem to locate the pictures just right now.

Before I go, I have just a quick question  –  Do I get to count this as my first smile, or is 16 days old too early for a smile?  Everyone attributes those early smiles to things like gas, but he did seem pretty happy at the time.

So, does anyone remember when their babies first smiled?  (and btw – it won’t hurt my feelings if you tell me it is just way to early to be a real smile.  Either way, I had a good excuse to share this cute picture!)

Posted in Fabric Trends, Pattern of the Week | Tagged , | 61 Comments

The Best Anniversary Present Ever!!!

Last week Wednesday was our 9th anniversary.  That was also the day our little boy decided to make his appearance into the world.  What an anniversary present!  June 13th will definitely be a day to celebrate in our household!  (and it certainly makes it easier for Joel to keep these dates straight!)

His name is Carter William and he was born at 6:30 in the morning, weighing in at 8 lbs, 3 oz. and 22″ long.  This is one of his first pictures, showing just how long 22″ is.

The delivery went fine and both baby and Mom are doing well.

On day two he looks a little less shell-shocked and much more rested!

We had lots of company in the hospital, as there were lots of little nieces and nephews anxious to meet little Carter.

I didn’t do a very good job getting photos of everyone, so here are just a couple favs . . .

Joel and his mom dressing Carter for the trip home.

A four generation picture with my Mom and Grandma.

A couple of random foot shots . . .  always a favorite!

I think he might be able to play the piano with these toes!

We have been home for about four days now and I wanted to show you a few shots of Carter at a week old.  He is full of cute expressions that keep us constantly entertained  . . . .

Thanks to everyone who checked in to see if everything was okay.  It has just taken me a little while to catch up on some sleep and get around to loading photos.  I have had lots of good help, which I am so thankful for!   We are also thankful that Carter has been such a good baby (so far).   So much for that box of fabric from my last post – I am now smitten with something else!!!

Posted in Family | Tagged , , | 226 Comments

Seaside Cottage Has Arrived!

So remember that box of fabric that I had been “waiting out by the curb” for?  It was supposed to be here quite a while ago and has finally arrived!

This is just my sample yardage, so I am busy planning what quilts I want to make. 

Remember in my last post when I was talking about the things I have tried to move this baby along?   My guess is the best thing to move this process along is a box full of fabric that needs to be sewn up right away.   My theory isn’t scientifically proven, so we will just have to wait and see.  I will keep ya posted.

(BTW – I was really only half serious about those things and would have done all of them anyways, just because I am trying to keep busy and make this last week move along a little quicker).

So, I am busy cutting up fabric.  Arranging pieces on the design wall.  Trying to decide which prints I want to use for borders.  All that good stuff.

The fabric will be in stores in July.  I’ll keep you posted on that too.  In the meantime, I will hopefully get a few things finished to show you.  If not, there will be a baby to show instead!

**You can still go to Henry Glass’s website to enter to win some fat quarters of this fabric and my newest book!**

Posted in Fabric Trends, Quilting | Tagged | 45 Comments

Nursery Update and Virtual Baby Shower

It’s less than a week until my due date and time is moving very slowly!  I have tried to speed things up by walking, landscaping, gardening, helping Joel prune trees, eating spicy food, going for a bumpy boat ride, etc. but so far nothing has helped.  My SIL suggested castor oil, but I’m not desperate enough to try that yet.  I’m sure that some of you might have some good suggestions on what to try too – I’m sure I might get a chuckle out of some of them!   I think the baby is trying to help too by attempting to kick his way out, though I don’t think my ribs make a very good opening.

In the meantime, I am still working on the nursery.  It has been a slow process, mostly because I am picky when it comes to color, but also because I seem to pick detailed accents that just take a while to finish.

Remember the book ledges that we were making?  They are finished and up on the walls.

They are made from two pieces of 1x material.  The bottom piece is a 1″ x 2″.  The top piece is made from 1″ x 3″ material, which Joel notched to form a lip to keep the books on the shelves (Just in case we have a door slammer?).  All that “notching” was followed by lots of sanding, then priming and painting.

Next, I was going to attempt to slip cover a chair.  It’s a nice comfy chair that I found at HomeGoods, but it never quite was the right color (very dull green/brown plaid).  Here is the chair before:

I have been dragging my feet about doing the slip cover, as I HATE doing stuff like that.  So, after lots of procrastination, I opted to try dying the chair first.

Yes, you heard that right.  I figured I didn’t have anything to lose, as the current fabric wasn’t working out anyways.  So, I bought a weed sprayer, mixed up a batch of watery dye and sprayed the chair very lightly.  I used a gloved hand to rub the mixture into the fabric and into all the nooks and crannies of the chair.

Now, for the after:

Much better, don’t you think?  Can you believe I pulled it off?  I ended up doing two coats to get it just the right color and it dried nice and even.  I figured it would at least have a marbled look, but it really worked pretty well.  How lucky  . . . . .

From that picture you can see that I have done a decorative paint treatment on the wall.  I began by auditioning diamonds cut from colored paper on the wall.

Then I did the math to figure out how many diamonds would fit the space.  The first day I did the orange diamonds, then let them dry overnight.  I kept layering the colors, doing a little bit each day and allowing that layer to dry.  (so allow at least a week to do this).

Lastly, I taped and painted the brown lines.  If you try this, be prepared to go through lots of tape.  It took quite a while to mark and tape off the lines, then a few minutes to paint them.  The worst part was, the tape lied.

When I took the tape off, the dark paint had bled all over behind the tape.  (I had this issue while painting the diamonds too, but it wasn’t quite as noticeable with the lighter colors.)  I decided the easier thing to do was re tape the lines a little wider and paint them over.  I used Frog tape for the second go round and that worked a little better.  I still had lots of bleeding, so some of the lines were painted four times before they looked like this –

I am happy with the fun detail that it adds to the room, but found it to be a frustrating process!  Did I mention that I did two of these argyles?  There is another one on the other side of the window.

Another frustrating process was painting the furniture orange.  I have tried out every shade of orange spray paint at every hardware, craft store, and home improvement store in the area.  They are all either to bright or too dull.  So, I bought a quart of orange oil base paint and a sprayer.  Turns out they can’t get a very deep orange in oil base, so that didn’t work either.  I decided to give up and go back to the first orange that I tried.  Craziness, huh!   I recommend just sticking with cream or brown furniture.  Much easier.

(BTW – I used a mask for the painting so I didn’t inhale any fumes that would be harmful for the baby.  I did, however, feel like a really bad parent going into all those stores and buying cans of spray paint with this huge belly!)

I am also working on the baby’s quilts.  Here is a shot of his puppy quilt.

I haven’t quite finished it yet, because my arms have gotten too short to machine quilt it (which is a nice way of saying that my bump is too big to reach the handles on my quilting machine!)

So that is my progress so far.  Maybe someday I will have photos of the finished room!

One last thing – Henry Glass is having a virtual baby shower for me over on their blog.   Click here to join in on the fun and for a chance to win my new kids book and some fat quarters of my new fabric.

Posted in Decorating, Family, Quilting | Tagged , , , , | 42 Comments

Puerperium Cardigan and Hat

I finished up another little baby sweater that I want to share with you.

It’s called the Puerperium Cardigan.  The designer states in the pattern that it is designed to be easy for new parents to dress their baby,  thus the side buttons from top to bottom of the sweater.  That idea sold the sweater for me, as I have tried dressing my nephews and found it to be a bit of a challenge.  In fact, it may have taken me a half hour, give or take a few minutes. 

It is designed for the first 6 weeks post birth – or a 6-8 lb baby.  My baby will probably be bigger than that when he is born, so I cast on 8 extra stitches.   I love how easy it is to adjust the size on top-down raglan style sweaters!

I made the sweater to go with this little football hat.

The football hat can be found in the Itty Bitty Hats book by Susan Anderson.  You can click here to see other cute projects from the book.

The yarn is Rowan Purelife Organic DK.  It’s probably not the best yarn for a hat, as it doesn’t stretch much, but it worked just fine for the sweater.

Now I just hope the hat and the sweater fit him at the same time!  Both were fun projects to make and are now in the diaper bag awaiting a trip to the hospital.  (Only 11 more days to my due date!)

(Ravelry links for the sweater and the hat.)

Posted in Family, Knitting | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Photo Shoot Bloopers

I may have mentioned in the past, that taking the photos for my books can be a bit of an adventure.  Part of the problem, is I don’t know what I am doing.  The other part is that sometimes things just happen.  I shoot many of my photos on hand-made backdrops that I lean against our garage doors. 

Most of the time, it works fairly well.  The windy days can cause some problems and several times the backdrops have blown over.  Many props have been smashed to bits.  Two tripods have had broken legs, though luckily my camera wasn’t on the tripod at the time.  My trusty assistant is supposed to run to my rescue if he sees the backdrops falling.  Though he is quite professional (as you can see below), he isn’t always very quick and the wind sometimes wins the battle. 

Even though he isn’t quick, he is quite helpful at hauling the heavy backdrops, carrying all the furniture from the house out into the front yard, and running the power tools required to level the backdrops and the quilts.  So, if he forgives me for the above photo, I will still let him have the job as my trusty photography assistant.

Sometimes I use a quilt stand to hang my quilts, if I want a different background.  As you can see from this photo, that is a bit of a challenge too.  I have ropes tied from the side poles to the neighboring trees, just to try to keep the darn thing upright (much less keep the quilts hanging level).  I also have bags of sand that I tried to stabilize the stand with.  It still blew over several times.  And all this hassle just because I love natural light! 

My favorite photography bloopers have involved my nieces and nephews. 

Check out this photo shoot from my Bella Bag Pattern.  It was all going along fine until . . .

one of the “props” (my niece Bella) gave me a zerbert.

Sometimes the “props” eat the other props – like before you can even try to stop them – it happens so quickly!

Let me just clarify that I am not against eating the props – I just prefer to wait until after the photo shoot.

Our dog Daisy has also eaten props, though I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo of it.  Apparently, she likes chocolate chip cookies and tirimasu as much as I do.  Don’t let this innocent looking face fool you, the edible props are not safe around her.

At that same photo shoot, one of the “props”  made some awfully cute faces at us!  That was obviously before the props were eaten by Daisy.

Sometimes the “props” keep running out of the photo.   It starts with a smirk like this, and is followed by that “ready, set go” pose and about 5 photos with a blurry, running kid in them.  That is then followed by his mom chasing him down and me promising to be a little quicker this time!

I have tried to learn from these experience by having something for the kids to do while they are in the photo.  It works pretty well with 4-year olds.

Not so much with this little boy.  We tried bubbles, water squirting toys, cookies, etc.  He just kept crying and yelling “Done”. 

Not that I blame him.  We did put him outside in his swimming trunks in forty degree weather.  But he is so cute, that I had to try!  Plus, his outfit matched the “Here Fishy, Fishy” quilt so perfectly and he has the best dimples in town.

He did eventually quit crying, though he wouldn’t look at us or the camera.  He didn’t like my trusty assistant at all and would turn his head to the side and yell “Done,  I’m Done”  anytime Joel tried to talk to him.  I’m pretty sure that we have traumatized him enough not to want to come to our house again. 

We settled on this for our final shot:

So, if any of you have wondered about the empty chair or who belonged to those shoes, now you know the answer.

I have to say my favorite blooper of all times involved my nephew Gavin.  The photo shoot started out like this – All sweet, innocent and cute.

My last photo looks more like this.  It wasn’t until I loaded the pictures onto my camera that I realized the situation wasn’t so innocent anymore.  Check out the middle finger on his left hand.

Yes,  that little stinker is giving me the finger.  It makes me laugh every time I see it!

So, there you have it – my adventures in trying to be a quilt photographer.

Posted in Family, Quilting | Tagged , , | 28 Comments