Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 10 Posts of 2011

I started this blog in April of this year - these past few months of blogging have been a blast!  I have connecting with some incredible people that I never would have known had it not been for blogging or twitter.  I even got a chance to meet Katie (who by the way is just as awesome in person) and Renee (who I barley got a chance to talk to because I was too busy being in total shock that she reads the blog)!  I am looking forward to another year of blogging and all the fun that goes along with it!

Here are the top 10 posts of the year: (really of the last 8 months) 

Our office has a hunting theme - and this post was the tour of the office.  I will have to update this when we get the new floor put in the office!

Just like the title sounds - all about asparagus!!  This was a fun post for me - I would love to do a post like this for other crops!

The very first tour of our house!  I LOVE looking at tours of other blogger's homes (I am pretty sure this is because I am nosy) so I decided to do a tour of my own.  As of right now I am not done but plan on finishing soon!  This post was our dining room and bar area ... yes, we have a bar in our house - no we are not alcoholics! 

A tour of our kitchen and breakfast nook.  I need to update this since we have new floors!

This was the saddest post of the year.  This summer my grandpa (my mom's dad) got cancer and within 2 weeks he died.  I am glad he didn't have to suffer for longer than he did but he sure was in a lot of pain.  It has been weird without grandpa (he was my last grandparent) - he lived in Oregon so I didn't see him as often as I would have liked but I miss him.   

I don't like writing about sad things, but life is not all puppies and roses. 

I have an AMAZING mom - and this post tells why she is so amazing! 

The famous meal that took FOREVER!  We joke about this every time we eat at my sister's house!  They always promise us that it will not take as long as this roast did!  It took such a long time, but it was really good!  If you want to make this roast make sure you have enough charcoal!

Pretty much the BEST baby shower EVER - my sister's baby shower we threw her.  Thanks to Regina and Sarah it was amazing - the food (Sarah is the BEST cook EVER) was amazing the set-up was amazing.  The games, the pies - everything was amazing!!

Oh, and speaking of amazing creativity - if you need custom invites, announcements, business cards, or anything like that please send me an e-mail and I'll get you in touch with Regina.  She designed my sister's Christmas Cards and they are awesome!!  She also designed the invite for this baby shower at it was perfect.  We don't send out cards but I want to just so I can have her design some for us!  Plus, she is smokin' hot, hilarious, and the sweetest and most caring person!  She rocks! 

Thanks to the amazing Crystal Cattle for featuring this tutorial on her blog!  Just like the title suggests, this post is a tutorial on how to turn a feed bag into a grocery bag (or any reusable bag). 

It was so exciting to go to this conference for the first time - I had been wanting to go for 4 years and this year I finally decided to go no matter what.  I am sure glad I did!  For a recap of the day - go here. This post was also featured on the California Ag in the Classroom's newsletter Cream of the Crop!! 

Since I have had such a blast blogging this year - I would like to thank you all for reading by doing a giveaway!!  I LOVE giveaways - I never win them, but I still LOVE them!!

Since the feed bag tutorial was so popular, I thought you would enjoy a completed bag!  You will get to choose between the feed bags shown below and there will be two winners!

Please enter below - you have 5 ways of entering - do them all or just do 1!
I have never used this before, so please let me know if you have any problems entering - Thanks!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tummy Time Mat Tutorial

I have always wanted to make a quilt but I have been too afraid to try - that was until I saw this tutorial.  Seemed pretty easy, so I gave it a try.  The original tutorial used 1/2 a yard of  5 fabrics, but I didn't want to make 6 of the exact same quilt, so I bought  7" pieces of four coordinating fabrics, 1/2 a yard of another coordinating fabric (to use for the quilt and the binding), 2 yards of fabric for the back and the edges, batting (crib sized) and coordinating thread. 
As you can see from the picture, I bought both brown and pink for the back - I bought 2 yards of each (since they were on sale - I only needed 1 of each).  Since this tutorial will make 2 quilts, I made one with pink on the back and the other with brown on the back. 

Making the Top ...

My mom bought me this fancy shmancy rotary cutter for my birthday and I LOVE it.  I don't know how I used scissors for so long - this is so much easier!  I bought the self healing mat at Walmart (for only $14) and the ruler was on clearance at Walmart (for $4).  I use this stuff all the time - well worth the money!! 

Now, back to the tutorial ... I washed my fabric then ironed them.  Then, cut the five pieces of fabric into 6" strips. 

Arrange them how you want them. 

Pin and sew the seams together.  I did this one strip at a time. 

Looks great, doesn't it?

Press your seams toward the darker fabric. 

Cut the top and the bottom even. 

And cut what you have in half. 

You will have two of the exact same pieces - set one aside (see it in the top right corner?).

Cut 4" strips of your backing. Pin and sew. 

I pinned and sewed the two side pieces on then cut them even with the rest of the quilt.  Then, I pinned and sewed the top and bottom pieces. 

The Quilting ...

The other tutorial stops here -  this was my first quilt so I have no idea what to do when I got to this step.  Luckily, I found some amazing batting at the new Hobby Lobby in my area that saved the day! 

Fusible Batting - this just may be the best invention ever!!! 

All you have to do is place the top on and iron it - that is right it will stay put!!

Do the same thing with the bottom.  You can do the top and bottom at the same time if you are feeling brave (I obviously wasn't). 

I don't have a fancy quilting sewing machine so I tried to make my lines perfectly UNstraight (that's right - not straight)  I knew I wasn't going to get them perfect so I decided to make them not perfect on purpose - that was the best decision ever!  I followed the seams and sewed random distances from the seam.   

Now, when Michael saw the quilt he said, "Your lines aren't straight."  I said, "I know they are perfectly UNstraight!"  He looked at me like I was crazy (which isn't entirely out of the ordinary), laughed at me, and told me that I made that up.  I punched him in the face laughed too!  Just kidding - I told him that I thought it was amazing!

You can see the random perfectly UNstraight lines here. 

So, this is where it gets interesting.  The person I gave this quilt to has a seahorse theme in her baby girl's nursery.  I wanted to make it go with her theme, so I decided stitch waves into the quilt.  Waves aren't straight so that fit my perfectly UNstraight stitching ... well, perfectly! 

I drew waves on the quilt with a washable fabric pencil - I used the clear ruler to make my waves straight-ish. 

Can you see the waves?

How about now?

Then, stitch along the lines and you will have nice subtle waves!

LOVE it!!

After I completed the quilt, I wanted to go back and use turquoise thread instead of pink for the waves.  That would have really made the waves pop instead of being subtle.  But you know what they say about hindsight being 20/20.  Maybe next time!

On to the binding ...

Cut of the extra fabric and batting to make a nice rectangle. 

Looks nice! 
By the way, the quilt is wet because I took a wet rag and wiped off the pencil I used to mark the waves. 

I cut 2" pieces of my binding material (I only used 3 of them).  I sewed the ends together to make one really long strip of 2" fabric. 

I folded under, pressed it, folded it under on the other side, pressed it again, then folded it in half and pressed it.  Then, I attached it to my quilt and sewed.  Sounds easy, right? Too easy even ..

Then, I finished, hated the way it turned out and cried.  It looked horrible (I just typed and erased four times, so I am just going to leave it at horrible) - I almost threw it in the trash right there, but I decided to just shut the door and walk away from it.   

The next day (after thinking about it all day at work) I took out all the stitching and Michael's mom found this amazing video on how to do binding. 

The video shows her not pinning the binding on, but I did.  I sewed it on the back first. 

Then folded it over and pinned it down. 

I sewed it down. 

I am so happy with the way it turned out!!

Look at those beautiful corners!!

I could have stopped here, but I decided to add a little something to really make the quilt personalized for her. 

Adding the Embellishment ...

My coworkers baby's nursery theme is seahorses using pink and turquoise.  So, I wanted to add a turquoise seahorse.  I found seahorse clip art and printed it out (you can resize it to the size you want - I enlarged mine). 

Put it behind the fabric and trace it with a washable fabric pencil. 

Cut it out and place it where you want it. 

Notice how the tail isn't cut out all the way?  I shouldn't have cut it out perfectly since I had to cut it out twice. 

Attach the seahorse (or whatever you want to add) to iron on adhesive, cut it out, place it where you want it and iron it on. 


I tried to add turquoise bubbles coming up from the seahorse but I tried and failed multiple times.  I had to give it to her at her baby shower, so I gave up.  If I would have added the bubbles before I quilted it then it would have been a lot easier.  But, I love it the way it is!!  I was also gong to attach an eye (from the white dot fabric) but I lost it. 

I folded it up and put and pretty bow on it.  I made her a few bibs with coordinating fabric. 

The mommy to be loved it and I am sure it will get tons of use once the baby arrives!!

So, there you have it a personalized tummy time mat / quilt! 

Don't forget to click over to see the original tutorial at iCandy Handmade - I am in love with the fabrics she used!!

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Christmas

Prime rib for dinner on Christmas Eve. 

My adorable nephew, Heman, opened presents. 

He got a gun from his uncle (my brother) ... at 7 months old he just may be the youngest gun owner!

He loved his moose. 

He got some John Deere toys and a garbage truck - he loves the wheels!

I made some yummy pies (this picture was the extra filling and topping - no crust) for Christmas dessert. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Flooring!!

When we bought our house 2 years ago we knew we would have to change out the carpet.  It was white with stains all over it.  We have dogs who made new stains all over it.  We got it cleaned before we moved in but the original stains came back after a little while - we cleaned it a few times since and the stains wouldn't come out. 

Here is is before.  All of the furniture is in the bar and dining room - our house was a mess!

The tile entry and the formally white carpet. 

Old stains and new stains make for some pretty disgusting carpet. 

The "tile" in the kitchen - hate it!

So, one Sunday we had Michael's cousins, brother, and Bruce over for a super fun flooring party!  We ripped out the carpet, the pad, and the tack stripes.  We swept and vacuumed.  Put the under layment down and put laminate flooring in. 

I was pretty much no help but the boys were amazing!!  They got all the way to the kitchen done and then Michael and I finished the kitchen and the bar area after work a few nights last week. 

I am SO HAPPY with the new floor - it looks AMAZING!!

Here are the after pictures:
I didn't take a picture without the furniture - but you can still see how amazing the floors look!

The floor look great even with the blue floral tile!

And the best part - no ugly tile in the kitchen!!  LOVE the new floors!!

We still have the dining room and the office to do.  I LOVE how they look - it makes such a huge difference in our house!

What do you think of our new floors?