Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas at the Leonard's

You guys! I spent this week hard at work developing some Christmas spirit in our house. 

I think I succeeded, because Brian got home from work yesterday and immediately told me, "It looks like Christmas vomited in the front room." 

Yes! *fist pump* That was the goal!!

Well, the Christmas part. The vomit part - not so much. 

Our front room looked like some version of this for an unfortunately long time: 

What do you think of it now?

Much more homey, huh? Still a giant work in progress, but at least there's some place to sit, and a Christmas tree! 

Oh tanenbaum...the perfect accessory for any corner, don't you think? 

I was going for a brown, white, and silver theme with lots of natural products, very little glitter, and just a touch of whimsy. Brian calls it our "outdoor" tree, because I used so many organic ornaments. It's the first Christmas tree I've decorated that I would say is totally my style. 

It'll probably stay up through January, 1) because I love it so, and 2) because I don't have a good furniture replacement for that corner yet. 

Want a closer look at some of my favorites? 

One of several frosted blown glass ornaments.

Cute little acorns.

Beaded beauty. 

Pinecones - just the cinnamon scented cones that you can find anywhere with some twine to hang them. They make the tree smell amazing. 

Crimson feather picks - Hobby Lobby for 1/2 off. Wait to decorate your tree until just a week before Christmas, and I promise you'll get some excellent deals. 

Polka-dot flying "V" - a trimming from the tree topper. An impromtu ornament I ended up loving. 

Rudolph's cousin, Herringbone. 

Some other forest-y friends. 

A reading owlie. 

All whimsical stuffed ornaments I picked up at Target. Love. 

What a handsome reflection!

The topper - polka-dot burlap ribbon made into a bow using this super helpful video tutorial. 

I used the same tutorial for the bow at the base of the stairs. 

Wanna see the rest of the room? Real quick, I promise. 

Glitter pillow? A must. 

Rudoph! There you are!  

Owlie's less literate friend. 

The glitter pillows needed a friend too. Hence, glitter ball. 

Are you sensing that I like birds yet? 

Beloved antique piano - for always, not just for Christmas. 

Finally found the right flower arrangement for the large red vase I bought at Target 2 years ago. Took me long enough. 

Last, but never least, the tree is even prettier in the dark. 

I used f-stop 3.5, SS 1/15, ISO 3200 and propped the camera on a stool - since we don't have a tripod yet. I'm pretty proud of it, since I'm such a photography novice. 

Sadie couldn't resist photobombing. 

Google notified me they had an "auto-awesome" upgrade for my photo. I thought it was pretty awesome already.  

Which do you like best? 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Christmas Meltdown

I had a Christmas meltdown this week. 

What is a Christmas meltdown you ask? 

Well, it’s when you haven’t had any new or cute Christmas stuff in over 5 years, everything you have is crappy, dollar store quality, purchased during a time in college when you were desperate for holiday cheer - and you absolutely HATE all of it.

Seriously, I hate it all. Every bit. 

Especially this felt monstrosity: 


Sooo, I decided to sew a new tree skirt. 

I've had these fabrics around, waiting for just the right project. 

Essex Linen in natural, some apparel lace I bought on a whim from Etsy, and a red sheet I've had for a while. 

You can kind of see in this picture that the lace has a bit of shine with silver metallic thread in some of the flowers.  

These will make the points on large Ohio star blocks. 

I also bought some new decor. I just finished setting up the tree today (pics to come). I know, pushing it kinda close. This meltdown happened a couple weeks later than would have been ideal. 

Sadie enjoyed the obstacle course created by the decor boxes and mess while I was working on decorating. 

Sorry about the eye glare - still learning. 

Silly puppy.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Choppity Chop

I feel like I spent the entire day yesterday chopping things.

Well, I guess that's not entirely true. "Project Laundry" has felt more like "Extreme Home Makeover: Laundry Edition" at our house this week - - and it's just the two of us. I can't imagine what it will be like someday when we have kids. Probably best I not dwell on that thought...

Anywho...remember my lighthouse practice block

Well I, I spent most of yesterday cutting my fabric and rough cutting the paper piecing templates. 

I was originally going to make this a lap size quilt in just two colors - purple and blue. 

It was a happy accident that morphed it into a baby quilt for a friend instead. In retrospect, I am SUPER glad my plans changed. 

I am happier with the new color scheme, and after cutting 400 small squares/rectangles and 100 paper templates - my back and hands are sore. It took me around an hour just to rough cut the templates, and now I'm sporting a nasty blister on my thumb. The lap size would have required over twice as many templates and four times as as many small squares/rectangles. Ugh... 

I'm excited to get to the sewing phase of this quilt. Piecing is my favorite part! It's like magic watching all those tiny parts come together to form something new. 

Also - this is mostly for Sarah - I received my fabric for her Barn Door Quilt-A-Long. I had to spring for some of Anna Maria Horner's new line Dowry. I just had to. 

I'm so glad I did. That navy floral is to DIE for in person. I think I'm going to buy several more yards for a dress. It's beautiful. I'm hoping the large-scale prints will look just as amazing once they are all chopped up. 

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced. 

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, December 9, 2013


Since I'm new to the blog thing...I just made my first venture into the realm of bloglovin


I have been living in the dark ages. 

I've been reading blogs religiously for 8-12 months, but I've been following them the old fashioned way, it would seem. Honestly, I just bookmarked them in a folder in Chrome, and would go check on them every so often to see what's new. 

(I know, I know...insert laughter and finger-pointing here...)

I have separate bookmarks for quilting blogs, general sewing blogs, food blogs, and home decor/DIY blogs. Embarrassing. 

Why didn't somebody tell me??   JK - but seriously guys...

Anyway - now you can follow me if you like! :) 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lackluster Progress

I don't want to sew. 

I'd like to..and I have no shortage of projects to work on...but then I try to sit down to work on something (anything) and I just...


I think it's my walking foot. Not getting the association?

Let me explain. 

I have been using the walking foot that came with my Brother CS6000i. I absolutely adore my machine (except for the fact that the throat space inside the arm becomes a VERY tight squeeze with larger quilts). The walking foot seems pretty cheap, however.  

It worked like magic for the first 2.5 quilts it quilted. Then it began squeaking and creaking, getting stuck, occasionally skipping stitches, and causing my machine to sometimes thud in a rather frightening manner. I took it in to a local Brother dealer, hoping there was some sort of magic fix. They oiled and greased it for me. And then let me know that it was cheaply made. Apparently the swing arm that attaches to the needle screw is crap. 

It is a sort of loose metal-on-metal situation that rubs and sticks and is causing metal shavings inside the foot. 

The oil and grease helped for a little while, but I'm pretty sure I need a new walking foot before long. Like, before my next major quilting project. Especially since I only know how to straight line quilt at this point (motivation to practice/learn some free motion quilting?). 

I have been strongly advised by my husband that buying myself a new walking foot before Christmas would be a mistake. Hint, hint.

And so, I just can't make myself sew. 

Any suggestions on a reliable walking foot that will last longer than 2.5 quilts?