22 June 2011

squares within squares quilt

The baby quilt is fini, and sent off to Atlanta where it will help welcome a new little baby soon. Although it's for a baby boy, I didn't want it to be too "boy-y" so I went with a more gender-neutral yellow and turquoise color scheme. It's a mix of bold, bright patterns with a few more subtle ones, like the yellow stripe seersucker and the pale blue dot.

The square-within-a-square pattern was fun and quite simple to piece. I didn't realize until sewing all the strips together that because of the sashing there was not a single seam that had to be carefully lined up. Sweet! I had one stray block leftover, so I incorporated it into the back of the quilt.

I did a simple quilting pattern--just straight lines in one direction. I still don't trust my walking foot very much. I need to practice more.

Binding is always my favorite part of a quilt. (Is that weird? Am I the only one?) I love the actual task of binding by hand, and I love the look of the finished binding. A lovely way to finish a quilt project.

Sending wonderful happy thoughts for this new family of three!

15 June 2011

my anniversary present

For my anniversary present, Matt had an old piece of my grandmother's cross-stitch custom-framed. I love it so much.

I found the sampler in the depths of my grandma's linen closet when we cleaned out her house. I don't know when during her lifetime she made it, or why she never framed it. I don't really remember my grandma doing much sewing or embroidery, though she must have done quite a bit earlier in her life. I'm not surprised at all, though, by how perfectly neat and precise her cross-stitch is.

The sampler is made up of delicate little motifs of flowers and animals, all in the most lovely muted colors.

Her initials are in the very center of the sampler. My grandma's name was Genevieve, which I've always thought such a beautiful name. She would laugh because many people didn't know how to pronounce it, and she was usually called "Gen." She died just over a year ago, and I'm so glad to have this little reminder of her where I can see it every day.

I knew that Matt was framing the cross-stitch, because I went with him to the store and hemmed and hawed endlessly over the framing options. I didn't know, though, that he also ordered and framed a photo of us. My brother took this picture of us at our family reunion last year. We're walking away from the camera, and we just look like we're having a lovely conversation. I can't remember if we were, but probably so. We tend to have mighty nice conversations.

14 June 2011

his anniversary present

I made a linen shirt for Matt as an anniversary present. I made it from our "wedding linen," which is what I call the 10 yards of natural linen that I bought last year to use as table runners at our wedding reception. I've been using this linen in projects all year long, and I still have about 3 yards left. It seemed appropriate to make Matt's anniversary present from the wedding linen. And it was one of the few fabrics in my stash that was appropriate for a man's shirt. I need to remember to look for more male-friendly fabrics when I am fabric-shopping.

I used McCall's 6044, which is the same pattern I used for the long-sleeve shirt I made for him this past winter. It's a nice pattern and fits him well, though I think in the future I will make the sleeves a bit slimmer for a more modern fit.

I was surprised by how easy it was to work with the linen, since I've sometimes found linen a bit slippery to sew. (I always think of it as "squigy" though that is not a real word, is it?) In this project, though, everything came together nicely. I love how crisp linen gets when you iron it, makes sewing hems so much easier.

We took these pictures in front of our new flower beds outside the fence. I'm proud of these beds because we created them from scratch. It's all been a bit of an experiment. Last year, we started with roses and clematis on the arbor, flanked by monarda, yarrow, and hollyhocks. The hollyhocks did nothing the first year and are only just getting going now. They have been plagued by rust and are still looking quite spindly. I need to figure out if there's anything I can do for that. This year, I added nepeta, african daisies, and pink cosmos in the front of the bed. I love the nepeta, and it hides the gangly legs of the hollyhock and monarda perfectly.

The one hollyhock that has managed to grow to full height this year is lovely. I need to figure out how to get the others happy, because these beauties are worth the effort.

Tomorrow I'll post about my anniversary presents. I think Matt's superpower is thoughtful gift-giving. He is awfully good at it.

08 June 2011

a happy year

Matt and I celebrated our first anniversary over the past weekend. We popped a bottle of champagne, snapped a picture under the arbor, then walked downtown for dinner. I wore the new dress he bought me a few weeks ago (from Target!). It is a great dress, and I was surprised by how comfortable and flattering it is. It has inspired me to try sewing a Lisette Traveler dress, which has a similar shape. Now I just need to pick out a fabric...

We're in re-adjustment mode this week. Matt's work schedule has changed and he's now working a night shift and, what's worse, our days off no longer coincide. It stinks, and has knocked both of us for a bit of a loop. Neither of us likes change very much, but I know we will settle into a new routine soon. And, it reminds me how lucky I am to have a husband whose very presence just brings me so much joy. I wish we could have more time together, but this isn't forever.

In the garden, we've harvested the peas. They're pretty much done for this year, and we pulled the vines down to make room for the cucumbers, which are running wild. We've already gotten one cucumber, and with the heat wave we're experiencing, the tomatoes are close behind. Two words: summer pickle, folks. SUMMER PICKLE!!