Thursday, December 29, 2016

Really Random Thursday, 12/29/16

This is it, folks. The last Really Random Thursday post of 2016.

Mark and I got our Christmas present early--we have had a jacuzzi for years. And we use it all the time--actually more in the summer than in the winter.

Our current one was 15 years old. And it looked like this. Yuck. A major leak down there in the corner, which resulted in constant mold on the cement. And all that old redwood siding. Ick. We had already placed an order for a new one, but then second-guessed ourselves on whether we should have repaired rather than replaced. But then the heater burned up.
We made the correct decision. The new one was delivered a week ago and we have already been enjoying it nearly every night.
Mark and I went out to dinner Thursday night at one of favorite restaurants, Sierra Brewing, in one of our favorite parts of town, the Tower District. It's a rather funky part of town, as you can see, both outside
and inside.
Yeah, they hang an ornament from the backside of animal every single year.

But I did appreciate this sign in the bar area.
Ella turned 3 on the 21st, which was a Wednesday, so we celebrated her birthday on Friday night. Homemade pizza. So yummy.
Ella and Amelia (along with cousin, Luke, up there in the corner)
Ruby and Charlotte
Levi and Gabriel
Right after I took the picture of the boys, Gabe wanted me to delete it and take another one of him.
Because who doesn't want to do bunny ears on their own head? So silly...

Jason stopped by on Christmas Eve morning with Ruby and Amelia, so they could pick up their gifts.
Ruby had wanted a Lego set. And not too long after they left, we received these pictures.

That didn't take long...

As we alternate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day between us and Christa's side of the family, it was our turn this year for Christmas Eve.
We had pulled pork, cole slaw, raspberry jello, roasted potatoes, and later had ice cream with fudge topping and leftover birthday cake.
Since only the kids have presents to open, for the last couple of years we have done a scavenger hunt so Christmas present opening lasts a bit longer. This year we opted for a photo scavenger hunt. I went around the house and took pictures of items that for the most part are in plain sight. Then I cropped the pictures really tight so only a part of the object was in the picture.

They criss-crossed pretty much the entire house.
From top left, going clockwise: wrapped present decoration in the family room, pencil cup in the office, gummy snacks in the pantry, and paw of favorite stuffed animal in the guest room
Quilt in the dining room, large pincushion in the sewing room, detail of cutting board in the kitchen, and hand-painted heart on a piece of wood in the master bedroom
For some reason, this black knob was hard for them to figure out, even though the cabinets in the master bath are the only ones in the whole house with black knobs. And then, ta-da, behind the shower curtain....all the gifts. In the tub.
It was a fun hunt. I need to start thinking about next year instead of waiting until the week of Christmas as that always stresses me out. :)

 Nana and Papa enjoyed spending time with their great grandchildren.
We always get the kids new pajamas for Christmas. But I forgot to take a picture of the four of them. I even had Santa hats for each of them to wear. I'll have to recreate it when they spend the weekend in January.  

Anyway, after the gifts were opened, and Nana and Papa had gone home, we put in a movie for the kids to watch, while the four of us played a new game, Colt Express. I got these pictures of Ella before she changed position--for some reason she looks so much older than 3 in these two pictures.

We received this picture on Christmas morning. It is significant because when Aaron was about Levi's age, he bought Mark a set of screwdrivers, really small ones. We still have them and use them very frequently. And now it has moved on to the next generation--Aaron received a set from Levi. 
And now all the Christmas decorations have been put away and the house has been cleaned. I feel ready for the new year and I'm looking forward to 2017. Did you see this Google banner last week? I love that two of letters are knitting. 
2017 is going to be the year I learn how to knit socks. So I was pretty excited to receive this package from dear friend, Carla, who owns a yarn shop in Kamloops, British Columbia. Orange sock yarn!!

Mark is back to basketball reffing. And the other day, the coach of one of the teams turned out to be Angel, who was Aaron's roommate his senior year in college.
Whew! That was a lot packed into the past week. 

January always puts me in the mood to start cleaning out drawers and closets. So I will leave you with this.
Happy New Year, friends. See you next in 2017.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday Finish: The Dot-Dot-Dash Bag

Our granddaughter, Charlotte, is a self-proclaimed panda enthusiast.
Good friend, Stephanie (@stephiepeterson) purchased this hat for Charlotte on a business trip to Washington DC, home of the new baby panda at the National Zoo.

I wanted to make her a bag so I stocked up on panda fabric and purchased the Dot-Dot-Dash pattern by Sara of Sew Sweetness. 
Because I know you will ask, the super cute panda fabric is a home dec weight Japanese fabric called AnimaLand.  I'm not sure where I purchased it, but you can find other colorways on Etsy. The lining print is Panda Bebe by Alexia Marcelle Abegg from the Black and White collection, spring 2016, for Cotton+ Steel. I really wanted to make that cute purple/chartreuse zipper work, but I ended up using a regular zipper.

First of all, I am by no means a proficient bag maker. So it makes total sense (ha!) that I would choose a bag that has SIX zippers, including two of them that are curved. 

However, the thing about choosing one of Sara's patterns is that she quickly replies to email when you run into problems or just have some seemingly no-brainer question. Seriously. When I was ready to cut out the templates for the pattern pieces, the line was about 1/16" thick and I wondered whether to cut on the inside or outside of the line. So I emailed her and didn't even make me feel like it was a dumb question. And by the way, she said to cut on the outside of the line. 

This bag requires a lot of cutting--fabric, lining, fusible interfacing and thick stabilizer (I used Annie's) and then quite a bit of fusing and basting the stabilizer to the pieces. That took an evening to complete.

Last Saturday, everything was labeled and I was ready to start sewing. I take my time with projects like this so I'd say I put in a good six to seven hours on Saturday. But it was all good. Mark was out of town and I had the house to myself so I just put on the Christmas music and slowly went through each step.

Sara's patterns are well written and well photographed.The front has three regular zippered pockets, which are straightforward if you have made any zippered pouches. And then came the two curvy pockets on the bottom of each corner.

In retrospect, it would have been much easier to use regular zippers for these as well. However...I had two super cute black and white polka dot zippers with the thicker teeth. They definitely increased the difficulty, but wow are they cute! And again, with the good photos, these were not nearly as difficult as I originally thought. The pocket here looks a little bumpy but I think that is due to the thicker zipper teeth. 

I didn't have enough of the panda lining for the entire bag, so for the front zipper pockets I just used black and white polka dot.
Next came the adjustable shoulder strap. Having never made one of those, I was a little worried. However, again, with Sara's great instructions, it was easy-peasy, and I think I'm most thrilled with how professional-looking it turned out. And also that it actually adjusts like it should!
At this point, I was ready for the recessed zipper, also something I have never done, but I was tired and ready to call it a day.

When I finished it on Monday, the recessed zipper didn't turn out to be nearly as difficult as it looked. 
I'm thrilled with this bag, along with the new skills I learned. 

And now Levi and Gabe have both put in their request for a bag. I think I'm ready to tackle pretty much anything, including the cool cork and sparkly vinyl that Sara carries in her shop. :)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Really Random Thursday, 12/22/16

Are you ready for Christmas? I'm getting there. Just a few little details.

I got some sewing done last weekend as part of Kerry (@kidgiddy) Goulder's ugly Christmas sweater block sewalong. If you are on Instagram, check out #uglysweaterblock. There are some really cute blocks there!

For your viewing pleasure, I made Santa in a snow globe.
Snow angels. (Also note how Starbucks has joined the Christmas sweater trend with their gift cards.)
And one of my favorites, a sweater block with a sweater on the front, which I found highly amusing to make.
After I posted a picture of my selvage ornament pillow, along with mentioning there was a tutorial on my blog on how to make it (just check out the tutorial tab above),
Debbie (@quiltedbasket) made one! So sew cute. Ho ho ho...

Over the weekend, Mark, Aaron and Jason went up to Sacramento to watch one of the guys on their football reffing crew who was reffing the state playoff game. However, before the game started, they spent about three hours at Topgolf in Roseville. You can read about it here. Have you ever played it? Sounds like lots of fun.
Our neighbor dropped off this plate of cupcakes the other evening. They are sooo good.
Speaking of good, our granddaughter, Charlotte, and her good friend, Grace, both love to bake. Our church is currently raising funds for a new play structure for not only all the children in our Sunday morning and Wednesday night programs, but also the preschool that uses our facility during the week. Charlotte and Grace wanted to contribute to the fund raising, so they spent a day baking, and then held a bake sale. Too bad for all those people who didn't get there shortly after the sale began--they sold out quickly.

Gabe even made some extra table decorations. Gotta love a 5-year-old brother who LOVES to draw!
If you are on Facebook, they love to remind you of things that you posted on the same date but in a previous year. This is a picture of Levi from four years ago (I can hardly believe he is 8!!) making glitter ornaments. Facebook is not my social media of choice, but I do enjoy being reminded of things like this.
And finally, I'm teaching a class at my favorite local quilt shop, Authorized Vac and Sew--how to sew with selvages, along with making two versions of spool blocks. It will be a blast. If you are close to Fresno, I'd sure love to see you.
Whatever you are doing this weekend, celebrating near or far, or just having a quiet weekend, I hope it is a good one.