December 12, 2013

Christmas the European way

Mr. H and I make it a priority to travel out of the country at least once a year. I understand that not everyone can afford this "luxury" but we do make sacrifices to be able to do this because I think it's so important to see the rest of the world.   This year we decided to see how the Europeans celebrate Christmas! We leave this weekend.  Here are the places we'll be visiting:

Bruges, Belgium

 Brussels, Belgium


Strasbourg, France

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Munich, Germany

Prague, Czech Republic

I can't wait to visit all the Christmas markets, drink the mulled wine and eat the yummy Christmas treats! If anyone has any suggestions on places to visit and things to do in any of these cities, please share them with me!

December 8, 2013

Creating my own fabric on Spoonflower

Have you ever heard of Spoonflower? I discovered them when I was searching for a specific pattern for a fabric I wanted to use to make my nephew a baby blanket.  His mom and dad love the abominable snowman aka Yeti.  I searched for a fabric with Yetis but the ones I found were too girly or too mean looking.  I wanted a friendly cute Yeti.  Then I stumbled upon and found that I could create my own design and send it into them to print onto fabric!  I can't draw.  Let me repeat, I can't draw,  but I thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a try.  After spending a few hours messing around on the digital drawing pad, I finally created something I liked!  Here he is!  I put him against a background of snowy mountain tops.

I uploaded the drawing to and ordered a yard of the fabric. It was very reasonably priced, only around $18 for the yard including shipping.  Here is the fabric that I received.

I paired it with a blue and white stripe fabric and a snowflake fabric for the binding.

On the back I handstitched a "V" for Victor. 

So if you ever want to design your own fabric, I highly recommend Spoonflower!  I promise no one is paying me to say that!  Another great thing about their site is if you allow your design to be "Public" and allow other people to use it, Spoonflower will give you 10% of their purchase price. I haven't decided if I want to do that yet.  I am now working on turning the abominable snowman into Bigfoot!

December 4, 2013

Wish list: Sunroom/sewing room

Now that I'm sewing almost every day, the dining room has turned into my sewing room.  While Mr. H says he really doesn't mind, I would love to have a sewing room where I wouldn't have to put everything away every night, where I could put a spool holder on the wall instead of throwing them all in a plastic bin,where I'd have drawers for all of my fabrics instead of stuffing them into a bag each night.

We have a deck on the side of our house that we never use. It just gets way too hot in the summer and of course during the winter we don't go outside much. Here is what it currently looks like.

Here is the view from inside the house.

I think it would be perfect to enclose this area and turn it into a sunroom/sewing room!  Ever since I thought of this possibility, I've been obsessing over it.

I love these rooms:

Of course there would be a sewing table in there along with all the other essentials!  Kind of like this room:
The problem is we have a kitchen to renovate and a front porch to re-do so I'll have to try to figure out how to squeeze a sunroom/sewing room addition in there somewhere!

November 27, 2013

Thankful for new found passions

I haven't posted in a little while and it's because all I've been doing in my free time is sewing!  I stay up way longer than I should just sewing away.  I wanted to share one of the things I've made.  

This little fleece hoodie is for my friend's baby boy that she is expecting in January.  She and her husband are Green Bay Packers fans so I made the hoodie in their colors! It was so soft that I wanted to keep it just to snuggle with it!  I found the pattern on Etsy from a shop called Puperita.  Her pattern was really easy to follow!

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for discovering a new passion.  I am loving every minute of sewing and I hope it does not go away.  I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy time with your families and eat until you waddle!

November 15, 2013

My first hand made doll

So I've become a sewing fool lately. I am finally willing to say that I think I'm a seamstress now, well maybe a novice seamstress!  I've been making quilts,  baby bonnets, and even a fleece jacket for a baby!  But the thing that I was really excited to make was a doll for my friend's 5 year old girl.  A couple weeks ago I stumbled upon some websites that allow you to send in your child's drawings and they turn them into dolls or stuffed animals.  There are several websites but my favorite is Child's Own Studio.  I was inspired!  I thought maybe I could make a doll from a child's drawing too.  Visit the website if you have a moment and you'll see what I'm talking about. 

One of my friends had posted a drawing of an angel that her 5 year old daughter, Emily, had made so I thought I could start with that drawing.

I went to the fabric store and got some purple fabric, some light tan fabric for the skin, some stuffing, and black yarn for the hair.  One of the challenges I ran into was how to make the yarn curly for the hair.  After doing some Googling I found that you could curl yarn by wrapping it around round dowels, dosing it with boiling hot water and then baking it on a low temperature for about an hour.  I wrapped mine around some chopsticks!

I had never made a doll before so I didn't know how to start so I just jumped in and started!  After spending three nights on it, here is the finished product!

I wanted it to be a surprise so I didn't tell my friend that I was making it. Emily got it today and was so excited to see that her drawing had come to life!

I am so excited to try to make more toys from kids' drawings and give them that magical moment when they realize that they designed the toy they're holding.

November 4, 2013

Bringing "Ryann" home

Back in September I shared my exciting experience watching artist Mary Qian's demonstration at Saks Galleries.  If you missed it, you can read about it here.  During that demonstration we watched her paint a model live in the gallery. We went back a few days after watching the demonstration to purchase one of her other paintings that I fell in love with, "An Innocent Gaze".

An Innocent Gaze
Well, Mr. H really loved another painting, the one we watched her paint.  The painting is titled "Ryann" which is the model's name. It is painted in more of an impressionist style than "An Innocent Gaze", with larger brush strokes. He loved the painting itself but he also really loved the fact that we got to watch it come to life, meet the model and have a real emotional connection to it.
©Mary Qian
©Mary Qian

Mary said that the hands are the hardest part of the anatomy for her to paint because she wants them to look natural and real. They convey emotion and mood all by themselves and they are always the last part she paints. You can see in the photo on the left that the hands are unfinished even though the painting is almost done. I was really excited to see how she would paint them so I watched really closely and intently. I tried really hard to watch how she was going to do it but all I saw was a little shading here and a little shading there and suddenly there were fingers positioned so elegantly and naturally! It was so amazing to me. True talent!

Mr. H loved the painting very much (and I liked it a lot as well) so we went back to the gallery and brought "Ryann" home. Here is the painting in our living room.  I am so pleased with it and it looks like our cat Shifty loves it, too! We told Ryann the next time we have a party at our house we'd invite her so she could see the painting of herself in its new home.

October 28, 2013

Celebrating 9 years at a bed & breakfast

This past weekend Mr. H and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary.  We always make sure to take a little getaway to celebrate.  This year we are planning a trip to Europe over Christmas so we decided to keep our anniversary trip low-key and just drove an hour north to spend the day in Fort Collins.  After doing some research on Tripadvisor (I love that website) we picked Edwards House Bed & Breakfast.  In recent years, Mr. H and I have become big fans of bed & breakfasts. They're just so personal and make you feel so much more at home than a big chain hotel.
photo from Edwards House Bed & Breakfast website

The bed & breakfast is in a beautiful home built in 1904 in Old Town Fort Collins.  

If you didn't feel fall in the air here, you won't feel it anywhere!

  There are nine guest rooms and we stayed in the Lady Moon Room. You can't see it in the picture but the room has a gas fireplace which was perfect for the chill that night.
I love the small details of an older home: the door bells, stained glass, pink tulip lamps.

As you may know, I love copper and this copper coal bucket caught my eye. I love the copper (of course), the lion head detail on the side, and the blue and white porcelain handle.

One of the things that sets a bed and breakfast apart from a hotel are the small touches that the innkeepers leave around to make you feel at home like these freshly baked cookies. 

It was a nice, relaxing getaway. I'm already thinking of our big 1-0 next year! Maybe a trip back to France is in order for that one!

October 24, 2013

Sew obsessed

When I started blogging back in June, my goal was to post something at least twice a week...well, it's been a week since my last post so I'm a little behind and here's my reason for it...I've become completely obsessed with sewing! I mean obsessed. I think about it at work, I think about it when I'm having dinner, I think about it when I'm hanging out with friends. I work it into conversations. It's gotten so bad that I'll get a faraway look in my eyes and Mr. H will ask "What are you thinking about?" and I'll say, "Nothing" and he'll say, "Oh you're thinking about sewing again, aren't you?". So whenever I get free time, I'm at the fabric store, behind the sewing machine, or on the internet looking for sewing inspirations.  That's where I found my current sewing bonnets!

photo from Sew Mama Sew
Look at that bonnet.  How cute is that? I found it on and had to try it. My good friend Jamie is expecting a baby girl, well, she actually had her two days ago.  Guess who gets to be my guinea pig for my first bonnet, baby Gianna! I used some of the fabric I had left over from the quilt I made for her. There were two tricky parts.
1) The materials that were needed included picot edge double-fold bias binding which I could not find in any store so I made my own! I bought pink double folded bias binding and lace trim and sewed them together.
2) Making the spaghetti bias binding for the adjustable closure in the back took me an hour, literally an hour, to do. It's almost impossible to turn such a skinny strip of fabric in on itself. 
I found a method that finally worked on It involved cutting a tab and then using a bobby pin to pull one end of the strap in on itself. It sounds easy until a seam rips or the tab rips off the bobby pin. It took several ruined strips for me to get this done but it finally worked!

Here is the bonnet for Gianna. It's reversible!
Pesky drawstring that took forever to make

I also decided to make a Christmas bonnet since it's just two months away!  It's reversible too!  I'm putting this one in my Etsy shop. I'm so excited to make more!


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