Monday, September 30, 2013

Hello Fall, Goodbye Summer (and CSA)

Like a lot of people, I love the fall - it’s one of my most favorite times of the year! As excited as I am for the cooler temps, all things pumpkin spice, and Halloween and Thanksgiving, I’m going to miss the unending fridge full of good food. I eat melon in the summer like a bear during salmon season! 

This was our second year of participating in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). It was such a great learning experience and saved us from the weekly dread of figuring out what meals to make and what to purchase from the grocery store. We tried and made lots of new things. Some of our favorites – baby bok choy, eggplant parmesan, coleslaw, kale chips and veggie stews. We tried beets for the first time, and several new recipes. It was like a food adventure in our kitchen, and a great project to work on together as a couple. 

I would highly recommend joining a CSA next year! We got a variety of fruits, veggies, canned goods, eggs and cheese, meat, bread (about 9 items a week) – and it was all local and fresh. I didn’t think I liked melons until joining CSA. There’s such a difference between a fresh/ripe cantaloupe, and one that’s not. So you get wonderful and healthy foods, and you support your local farmers:)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lettered Envelopes

I've discovered a new way to letter envelopes! Well, I'm sure this has been done for many decades, but it's new to me! 

I have become very computer dependent when it comes to lettering which makes it very difficult to write on envelopes. I make it even worse for myself because I get so tense knowing that it's for a special occasion, and inevitably I start writing down hill, or I make a mistake:( I cannot write in a straight line!

So, with this new technique I can letter on a large sheet of paper (plenty of room to letter it a few times) and than cut it down to size. This also works great if the envelope paper isn't suitable for the medium your lettering in (watercolor, pen & ink, etc). I make a cut in each corner - making sure to cut through just one layer of paper - and than slide the lettered sheet into the corners. This wouldn't hold up through the mail system, so hand delivery is best - perfect for a wedding!

We love this wedding card - I think this is the third or fourth time we have given it:)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Colorado Quilt

UPDATE: You can now purchase my Welcome to Colorful Colorado quilt pattern on Craftsy!

This quilt was Jesse’s 30th birthday present, and it was quite the process. Last year Jesse won a very large stack of Oakshott cotton at a Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild event that I brought him along to, and he very graciously gave it to me! I knew I had to make something for him with it, so the fabric was the first decision I made in making this quilt. I decided on Colorado for the theme, since he was born and raised there, and chose to use lots of graphic shapes for the pattern.

I started in June, giving me plenty of time to finish it. I didn’t want him to know that I was making it, so the only time I could work on it was when he wasn’t around. Fortunately, I found a few hours here and there each week. But, boy, that was stressful! I never want to have to quilt in secret again:)

The Oakshott fabric (oh my goodness, I love this fabric!) came in fat eighths, which definitely added complexity and time to the quilt. It all worked out in the end, but having fat quarters would have helped tremendously - not that I can complain, it was free after all. I drew everything in Illustrator, figured out the sizes, and also assigned every piece to a color since I was limited on fabric. My brain got a total workout on this one!

The quilt works both vertically and horizontally. Vertically, it’s like your standing in a field, looking at the sun setting behind the mountains. The large brown piece on the right represents the flat irons, which are located in the Boulder area where he grew up. If you hold it horizontally, it reflects the map of Colorado. Jesse actually taught me this, but Colorado is divided into thirds, with the mesas on the west (the reds) the mountains in the middle (blues are rock, white is snow, and green is the trees) and the plains (yellows, greens and browns) on the east.

I decided to name the quilt “Welcome to Colorful Colorado”. It only seemed fitting - a colorful quilt to represent the state’s motto. I used freezer paper and fabric paint to do the label on the back, and a facing finish binding to complete the quilt. 

I gave him his quilt last weekend, and he loved it! He’s so excited to have a quilt all his own.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Baby Quilt

This past year was full of several of my friends having babies. I guess I am at that age where people start to procreate – even though I still don’t feel old enough to take care of another human being!

The fun part of friends having babies (besides the cute babies) is getting to make quilts for them. Baby quilts are the perfect size to make. Anything bigger just seems unmanageable and way too time consuming.

One of my favorites I finished was for my good friend Jenn’s baby girl. Jenn and her husband have a very modern design aesthetic and picked lots of bright colors for the nursery, which made it even more fun to make! I used solids, and free-motion quilting that added a lot of texture. I used this fabric on the back, which helped inspire the quilt too. A lot of people thought it looked like the Trivial Pursuit game piece, or a game spinner – not intentional, but it would be really fun to do game inspired quilts in the future!

I was so excited to see her monthly photos taken on the quilt. Isn’t their baby girl adorable?! She’s even bigger now and almost 7 months old!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

DIY Cardboard Hexagon Containers

We somehow ended up with loads of cardboard in our house. It probably helps that I won’t let Jesse throw ANY boxes away! We had several pieces in really good condition, so I decided to play around with turning some of it into little hexagon containers. I was able to use up some of the cardboard stash, and also found another use for my beloved washi tape.

The great things about these is that when you get tired of them you can just toss them in the recycling bin, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. Even better, these only took about an hour to make. One hour = three very functional, and free, recycled hexagon containers – not bad!

Supplies: Cardboard, Washi Tape (I purchased some of mine from Happy Tape), pencil, x-acto, cutting mat, ruler and hex template.

Instructions & Tips:
1. Layout your template so that the top line is running parallel with the grain. This seems to make it a little more stable, and less likely to warp while wrapping the tape.
2. Don’t forget to mark your score lines! A clear quilting ruler works well for lining up your score marks and making a straight score line. Though, any ruler will do.
3. Score, cut out and fold. Use a “stabilizer” piece of tape in the inside to join the seam of your two end pieces. This will help hold the sides together while you wrap the container. 
4. Tape the sides to the bottom before you start wrapping the container. Wider tape works best for this part, as you’ll stick it to the side, and than fold it over to the bottom to attach the two.
5. Start wrapping! It helps to always start and stop on the same side, that way all your tape seams will all be one side.

I’ve included templates you can download for the three containers, and a bonus XLARGE version that is great as a gift box or for larger items.

They can even be found in nature – how cool is that?! Yep, I love hexagons.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


This past February I was able to go out to LA and visit my long time friend Jessie. We have been friends for our entire life, yes, all 29 years! We went to the same daycare as small children, and shared many classes over the course of twelve grades at the same school. Somehow we even made it through 4 years of French together, we’re still not sure how that happened! And please, don’t ask us to parler francais:)

I had such an amazing time. Jessie was kind enough to drive me around the town, which if you’ve ever been to LA, is no small feat. Some of my favorite things were Melrose Trading Post, touring Paramount Pictures (and the sets of Glee!) and watching the entire first season of American Horror Story together. If Netflix had been around while we were in high school, it is highly likely we would have done this!

We visited the shop Poketo, which I had seen online and knew I had to visit. The shop was amazing, just as I expected and the neighborhood was really cute too – an up-and-coming area with fun graffiti and a few other shops and restaurants. It seemed like an area straight out of the show New Girl, and I was right! The exterior shots of their apartment building is located just blocks away from Poketo. If you’re in LA, you should definitely venture to this part of town!