Monday, November 26, 2007

Gettin' Busy

Whew! Thanksgiving was lots of fun but wow, what a lot of work! Thank goodness for Whole Foods - I ordered their dinner for eight and then supplemented it with my family's sweet potato casserole, homemade pumpkin pie, fresh whipped cream, and fresh roles from this book. It was great! I let someone else do part of the meal and then I got to make the things that I like. Perfect. The table came together nicely after a quick run to Macy's the night before. I can't believe that I found this tablecloth with enough matching napkins plus I also got the Godiva turkeys half-off. Perfect. I love the centerpiece because the bowl is from my dear friend Megan in Pittsburgh. What made setting the table so much fun was the memories - as I put each piece on the table, I thought about the friend or family who gave us a piece of silver or crystal or of a family member who has passed away. Holidays can be quite stressful but I found this Thanksgiving rejuvenating.

Thanksgiving Table

Now, I'm sewing up a storm! I committed myself to sewing most of our holiday gifts so everyday is planned around my rotary cutter, sewing machine and iron! Plus my friends keep having babies who need warm blankets for the winter! BTW, if you just had a baby or if you are about to have a baby shower (you know who you are!) don't look at the next picture!! I love making these receiving blankets and burp clothes. Plus the onesies are so easy and fun, especially if you use Lite Steam-a-Seam. That stuff is fantastic; once the applique is applied, you just do a decorative stitch around the edge for effect and it's done! So easy and well worth the effort. Isn't this fabric great? I should have bought more....

cupcake shower gift

My machine is calling. I promise a pic of my other Amy Butler bag soon!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

36 pink years

Well, today was my birthday and I think all in all it was a pretty good one. In the morning,we took Lucy to her 3 year physical in the morning where she acted shy for the doctor! She's growing great and 50th percentile for everything. Yeah Lucy!

Then I was off to lunch with my friend Amy while Mitch took Lucy and her friend Lauren to the NJ Aquarium. He survived though he appeared a bit shell-shocked when he came home this evening. While the girls and Mitch were looking at fish, we got manicures and pedicures using the nail polish that my brother and sister-in-law sent me for my birthday.

Which brings me to the real reason for this post. I have the BEST brother and sister-in-law. I'm not exaggerating. They both totally understand my bizarrely high-expectations for my birthday and always rise to the occasion. Yesterday a box arrived from Fed Ex for me. I tried not to open the box most of the day but after dinner I just couldn't wait. So, I opened the box with the intention of leaving the actual gift untouched until the morning (today). Well, I opened it and found this:

Birthday Gift from Harper and Vicky

Now, with all that lovely vintage wrapping paper, honestly how could I not open the box?! So, I thought I would just open the card:

Birthday Gift from Harper and Vicky

Well, that was that. Lucy and I started opening the gifts. Harper and Vicky had collected 36 pink gifts for my birthday ranging from girly to sporty. Plus Harper, the mathematician in the family, included some trivia about the number 36. Apparently it's quite a lucky number: 6 x 6 is a perfect square, 9 x 4 is a product of a perfect square, plus a few other things that went over my head about prime numbers. And in each generation there are supposedly 36 leaders who maintain the status of the world! Wow, sounds like a great number - hopefully that means better things are on the way!

Oh, the 36 pink gifts were: 3 chocolates, 6 pink nail polishes, 6 lip glosses (I love lip gloss), 6 socks (three pair), 9 tennis balls (for my fledgling attempt to be a tennis player), 3 wraps for my tennis racket, one headband, and 2 sweat bands. What a treat indeed.

Plus, Mitch and Lucy gave me gorgeous pink bling earrings and breakfast in bed. And at the end of the day, we had my favorite pink chocolate cake (my mother has used the same recipe forever) with our neighbors. So far, my 36th year is off to a great pink start.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Well, it's been a bit difficult readjusting to life here. This past weekend was just a blur. The reality of Dorothy's passing is still coming over me in waves which I suppose is to be expected. I've been wearing one piece of her jewelry each day - usually a fake pearl necklace or something shimmery. Lucy is keeping me extremely distracted plus my birthday is tomorrow. I think I'm going to get my nails painted this red again, in Dorothy's honor!

The owner of the shop, Jan, put Stitchettes Numbers one and two in my employee mailbox the other day. I have looked at them multiple times on the Wee Wonderfuls site and have been tempted to purchase them. Thanks Jan for sharing these with me! It made my day! Now, I just need to pick out some fabric to get stitching....You can see what other crafters have done with the patterns here.

They come in cream-colored envelopes with a darling sticker on the front

and then when you open them, such lovely images appear!

Hillary Lang, the designer of these fabulous little things, also has a very cute elephant pattern (peanut, the weel elephant) in Joelle Hoverson's latest book Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts. I wasn't sure what I thought of this book at first but the more I look at it, the more I like it. The pictures are fantastic and the designs are just very current and approachable. The elephant is one of the cutest projects in the book.

It's getting cold and we're feeling the urge to do cold-weather activities! Lucy and Mitch just mixed-up our homemade hot chocolate mix. It makes a ton of hot chocolate - enough to last an entire winter for sure. The recipe comes from my Aunt Debbie. I've been drinking it for years and can personally attest to how yummy it is - here's the recipe:

8 quarts powdered milk
16 oz Nestle quick
1 cup coffee mate
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Ovaltine

Mix it all together in a big bowl, store in large glass or plastic containers like these. To make hot chocolate, fill mug halfway with mix, add hot water, stir, add mini-marshmallows and enjoy.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I'm a winner!

Wow. This is so exciting! My bag won the monthly u-handbag Amy Butler pattern contest. You can see the results here. I could really use a pick-me-up these days.

My grandmother's funeral is tomorrow. For some reason, my father decided to have her estate sale the same weekend so I went to her house last night and actually had to buy some of the items that meant so much to me. She had remarkable taste. Her furniture is very "in" these days but I love it because it really captures her spirit for life. I'll post pictures of my purchases later. I know that it's crazy and innapropriate to have to buy belongings of my grandmother's the same weekend as her funeral, but otherwise my brother and I would never have this opportunity again. It's really sad what families do to each other in times of crisis.

Dorothy's obituary is here.

Thanks for your kind words. I look forward to returning home and getting back to sewing, knitting, and being with my friends and family.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Stash and Dash Bags

Stash and Dash Bags, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

Just a quick post before I head to OKC.

I made these out of the leftover fabric from the Weekender Bag. They're not hard but do require a bit of practice. I love that the lining is sewn in by machine and not by hand plus the little pleats at the bottom add just enough charm, don't you think? Anyway, the picture here doesn't do them justice - I think I was just looking for an excuse to have the gumdrop pillow from the shop on my blog! ha ha!

I'm off to OKC with Miss Lucy Rose. It will be a sad trip but I hope that as a family we can focus on celebrating Dorothy's life and all that she accomplished.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Life of the Party

Birthday dress and hat, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

This picture doesn't really match this blog entry but I just couldn't help posting another cute photo of Lucy. My mother made her that had to match her birthday dress. When my mom was a little girl, her grandmother would send her a birthday dress each year complete with underwear, stockings, shoes and a hat. Now, she wants to continue that tradition with Lucy so she picked out this dress on our last trip to Oklahoma and then took the dress to the yarn store and picked out the colors. What a cute outfit! And Lucy loves the dress - she knows that it is something special.

I found out this afternoon that my paternal grandmother, Dorothy, had died. It's hard for me to believe that she is no longer with us. She was such a force, a pioneer in her time. She worked in the oil business and over time, invested in wells, making trips out to the fields with the men, wearing her hard hat. She never let us call her "grandma" just Dorothy. She wore bright colors, short skirts and fabulous strappy heels in a size 6! She was a voracious reader and could debate you on an issue from either vantage point. She believed in the power of women and the ability of any one to do what they wanted if they set their mind to it. She encouraged me in everything that I did. I wish that Lucy could have known her more. Dorothy was the life of the party; she could talk to anyone about anything and make them feel like she thought the world of them.

Dorothy entertained a lot! She had her bridge group, her executive secretary group, her book club. But man, could she throw a fantastic party. This is what she suggested that I always have on hand for an spontaneous fete:
Hershey's kisses
M and M's
Bridge Mix
Salsa with a can of black-eyed peas mixed together
and of course,
some good quality mixers.

There you have it. I'll miss you Dorothy. I'll do my best to teach Lucy what you taught me: to respect others, educate yourself, and never underestimate the power of a woman.

Lucy in Action

Lucy in action, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

I love this photo - it was taken a few weeks ago with my new camera. Mitch bought it for me as an early birthday present (November 15th btw) but of course, he used it before I could and snapped this photo at the Princeton Battlefield Park. It perfectly captures the spirit of Lucy Rose. My neighbor described her as a ball in a ping-pong ball game which I think pretty much sums her up!

I finished my Frenchy Bag yesterday and will post a pic soon. Tomorrow I'm off to deal with the family stuff and then I'll be back ready to sew the winter blues away....

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Disco Princess WItch

Disco Princess WItch, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

Lucy wanted to be a princess witch for Halloween. I bought this fabric last year on clearance and thought it would be perfect. Initially I was going to do a very intricate princess costume but I quickly thought better of it and made a simple sheath dress instead, covering in pink tulle. I then made a cape with the tulle and a collar from the dress fabric. I wanted to make a hat to match but Lucy preferred the one from last year so I made her a sassy disco witch treat bag instead (I'll post a pic later.) Lucy wouldn't try it on until Halloween so thank goodness it fit!! The only trick was the set-in sleeves. I need more practice for sure! And, I promised myself that I will never ever work with rayon fabric again!!

And the blue eyeshadow - well Lucy loves to put on makeup with me so I let her indulge in the electric blue eyeshadow and some pink face powder. I know it's a bit over-the-top but hey, it's Halloween!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Amy Butler Weekender Bag.

Amy Butler Weekender bag., originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

Yeah! At long last a new post. I wish I could write more about what is going on with me. Lots of family stuff that's really difficult and taking most of my energy these days. Thank goodness for my husband, daughter and Pfaff sewing machine. Ha Ha!

I loved making this bag. I started the project as an intermediate sewer and I think ending as advanced!! Seriously, it pushed my limits but wow was it worth it. Sadly for me, it's at the shop as a sample so I have to wait for the kits to sell-out before I can take it home. I'm planning to teach a class on it next February. I also made Amy's Stash and Dash bags. Great results but also takes some practice to get the zipper to look lovely.

All in all, things are well. I'm busy on yet another Amy Butler project, the Frenchy Bag. After this, I'm going to make a quilt with lots of lovely cheery fabric, though Amy's new Sophia Carry-All has my attention!

Winter is coming, the days are getting shorter and my sewing room is just looking so cozy. I've vowed to make all my Holiday gifts this year so I better put the pedal to the carpet and get sewing. Plus, there are babies gestating who will need warm receiving blankets and new mom's who need pretty tote bags. And then there are all those kind souls who are helping me with my life right now. Maybe just some pretty coasters out of my favorite Kaffe fabric

More later about Lucy and her fabulous Halloween adventures. This child is a pro at trick or treats!