Author Archive: ladykatie32

High Five for Friday!

High Five for Friday!

I’m sharing the highlights of my week… five to be exact!  I love the idea of focusing on five little things that made me happy… definitely a fun way to recap the week and stay grateful.

The Amateur Librarian // H54FThe Amateur Librarian // H54F

1 – Secret Santa. I LOVE the wall quilt my secret Santa made for the swap at last week’s MCMQG meeting. It’s a modern log cabin pattern that’s so gorgeous close up and far away, when you can see the wreath more clearly. I hung it above the couch right away… Gorgeous!
2 – Patchwork Finish. In other quilting news, I finished this QAYG patchwork tree table runner and I love having it up on the breakfast bar when I eat my cereal every morning.
3. Dickens of a Christmas. This past weekend we headed downtown for the Victorian Dickens of a Christmas festival, complete with Dickens characters in costume, carriage rides, roasted chestnuts, and even snow (fake, of course)! We went early to avoid the crowds… but we missed the town sing. Next year!
4. Podcasts. Serial just concluded it’s 12-episode run this week… and wow, what a journey! I think podcasts in general are having quite a moment, and I’ve recently discovered two more that I absolutely love – (1) The Lively Show with Jess Lively, which is really helping me think about “living with intention” more seriously, and (2) Craftlit, which is a weekly audiobook/book club for crafters… it’s been going since 2006 so I’m excited to binge-listen the back episodes! Seriously, I love podcasts.
5 – Naturebox. What a great idea: a monthly delivery of non-sugary, non-GMO, organic, healthy snacks to fill the hangry mid-afternoon void!  Hubby got me a subscription for Christmas but the free sample box already arrived so… needless to say, I’ve already indulged!

 …

I’m linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for H54F!

H54F

DIY Gifts: QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Runner

(Quick Note: I should be posting an update on the Fair Isle Quilt today… but I honestly didn’t make much progress in the last week. I’ve been doing a lot of other holiday-related sewing and decided to give myself permission to finish it up at my leisure instead of sticking to the 8-week timeline… so I may not have the Fair Isle quilt finished in time for Christmas, but I’ll be sure to share whenever I do finish it up!)
One more project to share before C-Day… I don’t know about you, but this holiday season has flown by so quickly this year! I love the Diary of a Quilter blog and the improv patchwork tree tutorial she shared recently, so I decided to make a table runner using her blocks.
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
I really liked her clean white-and-green palette with a hint of red, so I searched for similar scraps in my stash. I used 5 x 5 charm squares but otherwise kept the same measurements as the original tutorial.
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
I decided to use a QAYG (Quilt As You Go) technique from Jera Brandvig’s Quilt as You Go Made Modern book to speed up the quilting process. By sewing the fabric directly to the batting while constructing each block, half the work is already done by the time the top is completed. It’s also a great way to use up batting scraps that I hoard for no good reason… except projects like this! I I used 7 x 7″ batting scraps for the QAYG process, and trimmed the blocks to 4 1/4 x 5 1/2″ squares.  I loved getting to quilt more densely during the QAYG process, because normally I would never be able to do such detail. I did “echo” quilting around each triangle, inside the tree, and straight lines across the trunk.
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
After playing around with the layout a bit, I did a two by two checkerboard and added a 2 1/2″ border with more white scraps (with a simple wavy stitch for the quilting). For the backing and binding, I used a red snowflake print leftover from my Fair Isle quilt.  A simple quilting grid joins the three layers, and I used the “cheater binding” method to finish it all up.
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
Cora had to inspect the new addition, of course… I think she approves!
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
Here’s a pic from last week’s Music City Modern Quilt Guild meeting where I shared for show and tell (the feather’s aren’t mine, although I wish they were!)
The Amateur Librarian // QAYG Patchwork Tree Table Topper
I love using the same holiday decorations year after year, especially if they’re handmade… so happy to add this to our collection!  I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday!

WIWW: December 7-13, 2014

Another week of What I Wore Wednesday!

The Amateur Librarian // What I Wore Wednesday

What I Wore Wednesday is my motivation for wearing the clothes I own, finding new ways to mix and match outfits, and not wearing the same three things all the time! I kept a fashion diary for the entire year of 2012, in 2013 I added a bit about my days to go along with the outfit, and I’m continuing the same tradition in 2014… So these weekly check-ins are a mini journal of my life too!

December 7

December 7

blue striped top // Forever 21
jeggings // eBay
brown boots // Deep South Pout
Just hanging out with my rainbow books before running a few errands… braved the crowds for a few gifts (and candles for myself… I’m obsessed with holiday scents this year). Spent some time with the sewing machine and wrapping paper too… only half the items on my To-Do list got crossed off, and I was definitely not ready for the weekend to end!
December 8

December 8

neon pink top with zipper shoulders // Target
layered rose gold necklace // Charming Charlie
aztec print infinity scarf // Everyday Icing
black skinny pants // Gap
nude flats // PayLess
Back to work again. Put on some neon to brighten up the day… but I’m not sure it worked, ha! I spent my lunch break waiting in line at the post office and it definitely felt like a Monday… but after we got home and ate dinner I spent some time at the sewing machine listening to Christmas music and went to bed happy again. Just another manic Monday!
December 9

December 9

black top // Banana Republic
black+white bird print scarf // eBay
striped maxi skirt // Gap
red t-strap wedges // eBay
The cold weather version of the maxi skirt… put a scarf (and a bird) on it, of course. Cora didn’t want us to leave in the morning… and neither did I! Another long work day, but at least I got to curl up with a good book after the day was done.
December 10

December 10

maroon sweater // Loft
quilted vest // Deep South Pout
gold circle necklace // GroopDealz
black pants // Banana Republic
black flats // PayLess
I am loving vests this year! Keeps me warm in my freezing office, but it looks more put together than huddling in my jacket all day. For some reason this work week seemed super long… by the time Wednesday rolled along it felt like the longest week ever. More sewing after work to keep my spirits up. I am just not in the mood for working out or watching TV lately… must be doing something with my hands at all times. Tis the season, I guess!

 

December 11

December 11

purple print top // Loft via eBay
black knit infinity scarf // gift
black skinny pants // Gap
nude flats // PayLess
Left work a bit early to get ready for the office holiday party.
Bonus! Terrible, shadowy night pic:
December 11

December 11

black tank dress // Loft
red cardigan // Target
bead necklace // Everyday Icing
red t-strap heels // eBay
Quick change after work for the party in Nashville. I pretty much wear the same outfit every year for holiday parties, but you know what they say… if it ain’t broke, dont fix it! Fun times at The Standard, a really cool restaurant in an old mansion in Nashville.
December 12

December 12

plaid button up top // Kohl’s
white cami underneath // Old Navy
silver leaf initial necklace // Etsy
skinny jeans // Old Navy via eBay
brown ankle strap wedges // PayLess
TGIF! I don’t know why the weeks in between holidays seem so long, but this week crawled by eventually. Worked a bit more at the sewing machine after work to catch up before Saturday’s guild meeting, then relaxed for a night of catching up on the DVR.
December 13

December 13

teal top with lace stripes // Loft
floral print scarf // Walgreens
jeggings // eBay
black boots // Belk
Super fun Saturday! First, the MCMQG meeting, with Dirty Santa (I came home with Tula Pink fat quarters!), Secret Santa Swap (my partner made a GORGEOUS wall quilt), and potluck dishes galore (Yum!). Then, a cozy afternoon at home… finished up a couple gifts and wrapped them, cross stitched a bit, and a movie on the couch… I love wintry days like this!

I’m linked up to The Pleated Poppy for WIWW!

DIY Gifts: Six-Pocket Tote Bag and Journal Cover

I always plan on making lots of handmade gifts every year, but usually the holidays sneak up on me and nothing comes together in time… and this year is no exception! There are a few crafty items on my To-Gift List that I’m determined to make for various gifty occasions, and the first one just passed… so now I can share it here on the bloggity-blog!

Last weekend was the December meeting for the Music City Modern Quilt Guild, which consisted of all kinds of fun quilty activities… a seriously tasty potluck, show-and-tell (sharing that project soon too!), Dirty Santa played with yards of fabric, and a Secret Santa Swap. I made a few handmade items for the swap… both are pretty easy, and great gift ideas if you need to fit in a quick project this season.
Pocket Tote Bag
The Amateur Librarian // Six Pocket Tote Bag
First up is this pocket tote bag… I’ve never made a bag before (and I was super nervous to make one for someone else), so I stuffed it with extras to sweeten the deal…  it’s definitely not perfect, but it’s still a fun project that could be perfected with more practice. And it turned out pretty well for a first try!
My secret swap partner wanted a tote bag and mentioned that she loved Charlie Harper fabrics, so I hunted for some yardage online (found at Maggie Anne’s Fabrics on Etsy) and looked to Pinterest (of course) for a pattern. I found this free pattern for a six-pocket tote bag from Better Home & Gardens and it looked simple enough for a tote-novice like me.
Look here for the free pattern. The instructions are pretty straightforward, and the only thing I did differently was the handles. Instead of using a third coordinating fabric to make the handles, I bought canvas webbing (from A Graff Supplies on Etsy) …. with pros and cons. It saved the step of making the handles and hopefully made it more durable in the long run, but it was also more difficult for my sewing machine to handle and caused some headaches.
The Amateur Librarian // Six Pocket Tote Bag
The Amateur Librarian // Six Pocket Tote Bag
The Amateur Librarian // Six Pocket Tote Bag
It turned out pretty cute, even if there are a few wonky bits.  I really like the six pockets, which should be perfect for craft supplies. To fill up the tote, I added a magazine and a few other notions… pincushion and pins, binding maker, tape measure, and… a coordinating notebook of graph paper for sketching quilt ideas.
The Amateur Librarian // Six Pocket Tote Bag
The Amateur Librarian // Six Pocket Tote Bag
Which brings us to the next handmade gift idea… a journal cover!
Journal Cover
The Amateur Librarian // Journal Covers
I’ve wanted to make a journal cover for such a long time that I finally decided to go for it… in fact, I blogged here about wanting to make this very project way back in 2012! I used Stitched in Color’s tutorial to make a cover for one of those ubiquitous comp notebooks, and even used her suggestion to order a notebook with graph paper from Staples. Perfect for a quilter! Of course you could use any kind of plain notebook, but the dimensions in the tutorial are absolutely perfect for the standard composition book.
The Amateur Librarian // Journal Covers
The Amateur Librarian // Journal Covers
The Amateur Librarian // Journal Covers
The Amateur Librarian // Journal Covers
This was a super simple and quick project with almost instant gratification… my favorite kind!  I used scraps from the tote bag to make a coordinating cover, but I have all kinds of ideas for more journal covers… now that I’ve finally made one, I think I’ll end up making a lot more!
Having a deadline definitely pushed me to actually finish these two quick gifts during a busy holiday season… and more to share next week!
I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday!

Meow Monday: Christmas Cats

It seems like everyone has the big tree up with all the ribbons and ornaments and trimming… and I’m over here with my little table top tree. I don’t know why, but this year I’m over the ornaments and I love our little tree with only the lights and star at the top.  I hung the stockings (for the cats), a wreath on the door… and I’m done!

Cora is obsessed with the tree. We find her sitting by the tree almost every night, usually with her head in the branches gnawing away.  Tali, on the other hand, is terrified of the tree.

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

But Tali find plenty of ways to cuddle with the other Christmas happenings… mainly in the sewing room where I’ve been spending a lot of time lately.

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

And because the cats are never far away when I’m trying to take pics of new projects, here are a couple sneak peeks at a few crafty somethings I’ll share on the blog shortly…

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

(This GORGEOUS log cabin wreath quilt was made by my secret Santa at the Music City Modern Quilt guild… I love it!!)

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

I love this time of year!

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

High Five for Friday!

High Five for Friday!

I’m sharing the highlights of my week… five to be exact!  I love the idea of focusing on five little things that made me happy… definitely a fun way to recap the week and stay grateful.


The Amateur Librarian // H54FThe Amateur Librarian // H54F

1 – Tis the Season. I love this cozy time of year… and all the decorations that come with it. Cora likes it too!
2 – My True Love Gave to Me. A little holiday treat for myself… this collection of holiday short stories by notable YA authors is so much fun!
3 – Candles. Lately I’ve been obsessed with lighting candles every night. This weekend I braved the mall (yikes) to buy some three-wick candles from Bath & Body Works that were on sale… yes, I’m definitely obsessed. But Twisted Peppermint makes the whole apartment smell so lovely!
4 – Holiday Sewing. Sensing a theme yet? It’s all Christmas, all the time over here! Lots of gift-making going on at the ole sewing machine.
5 – Hunger Games. We finally saw the latest Hunger Games movie and I really liked it! I heard a lot of people didn’t like this one and of course it’s annoying that they split the last book into two movies, but I felt like they finally took the time to flesh out some of the characters. I liked all three books but wasn’t really satisfied with the ending, and I think the movie version might actually be better than the books (shocker, I know!).

 …

I’m linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for H54F!

H54F

Fair Isle Sew-Along: Week Seven

It’s been so much fun to join in on Freshly Pieced‘s Fair Isle Sew-Along! I love the pattern but it’s a bit intimidating and bigger than what I usually make… which is why I jumped at the chance to make it along with lots of others for tips and motivation.  Each week will tackle one row of the quilt, and in eight weeks I should have a completed quilt (cross your fingers, knock on wood, pinky swear, etc.) … here we go!

The Amateur Librarian // Fair Isle Quilt

Week Seven: Assemble Quilt

The Amateur Librarian // Fair Isle Quilt

I’m doing things a bit differently to finish up this quilt. Instead of assembling the top (which is what everyone else is doing this week), I’m going to do QAYG (Quilt As You Go) blocks, then join them together with sashing. I learned this technique from Crazy Shortcut Quilts by Marguerita McManus, and I made this quilt in 2012. It will definitely make the quilting more manageable to do it in small pieces, especially since I’ve never made a quilt this big before.

The Amateur Librarian // Fair Isle Quilt

 

 

The Amateur Librarian // Fair Isle Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Fair Isle Quilt

I started prepping the blocks, but I had a lot of other sewing-related deadlines last weekend so I didn’t get as far as I wanted. The backing and batting squares are cut, so next week I’ll work on basting, quilting, sashing, and binding… at least, that’s the plan.

And now for Week 8 – quilting and finishing! It will probably take me another couple weekends to actually finish, but I’m excited that I’ve made it this far! Here’s hoping I’ll actually have a quilt in time for Christmas.  We’ll see how it goes… stay tuned for another update next week!

If you missed any of the previous weeks, here are the blocks done so far:

Week 1: Cutting

Week 2: Poinsettias

Week 3: Fir Trees

Week 4: Zig Zag row

Week 5: Reindeer

Week 6: Checkerboard row

 

WIWW: November 30 – December 6, 2014

Another week of What I Wore Wednesday!

The Amateur Librarian // What I Wore Wednesday

What I Wore Wednesday is my motivation for wearing the clothes I own, finding new ways to mix and match outfits, and not wearing the same three things all the time! I kept a fashion diary for the entire year of 2012, in 2013 I added a bit about my days to go along with the outfit, and I’m continuing the same tradition in 2014… So these weekly check-ins are a mini journal of my life too!

November 30

November 30

green top with crochet neckline // Kohl’s
skinny jeans // Kohl’s
nude flats // PayLess
Travel day back to Tennessee, after brunch at Starkville Cafe. It’s always bittersweet to leave family and friends (and Al!) behind again, but it was so nice to have a break from “real life”… and of course we were happy to see the cats again! I couldn’t resist putting up the Christmas tree and nativity that night… tis the season, finally!
December 1

December 1

black+white print top // Kohl’s
leaf necklace // GroopDealz
black skinny pants // Loft
red t-strap wedges // eBay
Back to work again… good thing I like my job! Returning to the real world is always rough. But I have to admit, a cheery Christmas tree twinkling at home makes everything a bit better.
December 2

December 2

striped wrap dress // Target
navy blue sweater // Target
grey tights // Gap
brown ankle boots // Deep South Pout
We got spoiled by the mild weather in MS while we visited for Thanksgiving – back in TN, it’s cold and drizzly again. Busy day at work, followed by a few errands before we were home for the night.
December 3

December 3

black+white color block top // Charming Charlie
leaf necklace // GroopDealz
grey ruffled cardigan // Anthropologie
black skinny pants // Loft
black flats // PayLess
Lately I’ve been wearing a lot of black+white – it’s just so easy to throw together. Another work day, another trip to the grocery store, another typical Wednesday night.
December 4

December 4

animal print dress // Belk
rose cameo necklace // gift
red cardigan // Tommy Hilfiger outlet
grey tights // Gap
brown ankle boots // Deep South Pout
So here’s an adult dilemma: I bought myself some really cute black ankle boots that would go perfectly with this outfit… but they’re supposed to be a Christmas gift to myself… so should I wait until Christmas or just wear them now since I’ve already bought them? I decided to wait… but it’s hard to be Santa! The highlight of my night was watching Peter Pan Live! Really fun, although all the obvious flying wires ruined a bit of the magic for me.
December 5

December 5

green striped sweater // Banana Republic outlet
black quilted vest // Deep South Pout
skinny jeans // Old Navy via eBay
floral flats // eBay
TGIF! The work week went by swiftly, but by Friday I was dragging. Happy to check out at the end of the day and visit our favorite wine tasting to start off the weekend.
December 6

December 6

black+mocha chevron top // Forever 21
fleece-lined leggings // Deep South Pout
brown boots // Deep South Pout
Spent some quality time with my sewing machine to catch up on some holiday gifts. After lunch we drove to Nashville for the Porter Flea holiday bazaar… but the line down the block caused us the rethink our plans. We ate lunch and turned back around… oh well, more time to sew!  We went to see the third Hunger Games movie Saturday night… I really liked it!  (Even though the plot was as break-neck as the previous movies, there was finally time to develop some of the characters.)

I’m linked up to The Pleated Poppy for WIWW!

Christmas Tree Skirt Update!

Now that’s it’s Christmas-time, I can finally use the tree skirt I finished up during the summer! I started it way back in 2010 and it’s sat unfinished all this time, so it’s fun to finally get to use it (for more details on making the tree skirt, see this post.)
We don’t have a big tree this year, so the skirt seemed a bit overkill sitting on the floor around our tiny two-footer. My solution? Set it up on the dining room table, with all the presents (more to come… I need to get to wrapping!).
The Amateur Librarian // Scalloped Christmas Tree Skirt
The Amateur Librarian // Scalloped Christmas Tree Skirt
The Amateur Librarian // Scalloped Christmas Tree Skirt
Cora approves!
The Amateur Librarian // Scalloped Christmas Tree Skirt
The Amateur Librarian // Scalloped Christmas Tree Skirt
I’m just happy to finally have a completed tree skirt that we can use every year!

Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch Sampler: November

Since I had to cram two blocks into the month of November, I stitched up this block in record time… but I didn’t do a great job of documenting with pics. My favorite details are “Granny’s” glasses, the falling snow, and the slice of pumpkin pie.

Now onto the progress pics…And since it’s Meow Monday, I’m sure you can spot a couple kitties along the way:


The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

And here are all the blocks completed so far:

The Amateur Librarian // OUAT Sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch Sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch Sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

I can hardly believe we’re on the last month of 2014 already… get ready for Hansel and Gretel by the end of December!

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