Looking forward…

and reflecting on the last 12 months…

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 ! ! !

It’s that week in the crafty blogosphere where many post a mosaic of “finishes” or accomplishments from the past year… so why not join in, huh?

Thinking back, I felt that 2012 was not a particularly productive year for me, that is, until I went through my photos and blog archives, and really tallied up my accomplishments:

2012 Finished Projects Collage

In 2012…

I made an appliqué baby blanket for my niece,

and a clothespin holder for my sister-in-law,

I hosted a craft-filled Monster themed baby shower for a much loved friend,

finished up my Diet Quilt,

and my Halloween quilt,

made myself a dress from a vintage Simplicity pattern,

made a special baby gift for another dear friend’s wee one,

pushed myself by paper-piecing and embroidering a Diet Coke bottle mini quilt,

made a pillow for a swap,

and another for a gift,

I made several zipper pouches as gifts for a fun group of friends I only see once a year,

created unique Halloween costumes for my sweetie and me,

made a BIG ironing board for pressing fabric and a design wall,

Finished up a special quilt for an internet friend with the help of some other bloggy friends,

made a hand-sewing kit for a my friend, Cindy,

and a much loved Dr. Seuss quilt for one of my very favorite little persons…

And then there is the pattern company, and the 9 or 10 Modern Fortune quilts that Trina and I made together, and the 6-7 One Big Cabin quilts we made… and the two quilts we have finished for pattern number three, and the time invested on pattern number four….  (Holy Toledo!  That’s nearly TWENTY quilts!)  That’s above and beyond our full-time jobs!

Row House Creations 2012 Collage

I guess 2012 was a VERY productive year, after all!

Last January I made some creative resolutions, let’s see how I did (notes in red):

  • I resolve to spend more time sewing on my ancient WIPs and UFQs.  I didn’t finish any of them but MAJOR progress was made on my Candied Hexagon quilt, and my Love in a Mist quilt top is DONE! 
  • Spend more time sewing clothing (for me and maybe for that little baby niece) ;-) The only item of clothing I completed was my Easter dress, made from a vintage pattern.  Must do better in 2013.
  • In 2012, I’m going to sew my own quilts, my own inspirations, and not worry so much about what trends are popping up on blogs, Pinterest, and flickr. Or if it will fill a void here on the blog….  If I like it, and I feel it, I’ll create it!  yep, pretty much marched to my own drummer this year, blogged when I felt like blogging and spent less time worrying about what other thought of me, my blog, my work, etc.
  • And lastly, I want to try some new things.  I haven’t defined exactly what those new things are yet, but I know I want to experiment more this year and work/sew outside of my comfort zone.  I guess the pattern business, particularly marketing, selling, and promoting would fall under this category–much of that was outside of my comfort zone!

I’m not going to write any new crafty resolutions, but I will renew the four I wrote last year, and see how much more I can add to them in 2013!

Writing this post has energized me and inspired me…  Reflection is sometimes very useful.

Really Random: Quilters Rock!

Anyone with quilt-y friends knows, quilters are typically a kind a generous lot.  Over the past few months, I’ve been the recipient of some of that fun generosity.  My business partner, Trina gave me this Jack-o-Lantern flash drive (in May, because we are both big fans of Halloween!), and her husband had the serial quilter decals made for us:

Cindy showed you my decal on my Beetle, which travelled to Gruber’s in Minnesota with me this year.  

But I sold my Beetle in August and bought my little Yellow Mini Cooper shortly thereafter.  Thankfully, they had one more Serial Quilter decal for me, so the Mini Cooper is properly decced out.

And the Jack-o-Lantern flash drive, he’s darned cute.  Trina hunted him down on the internet and had him shipped all the way from Japan, so I could have a fun drive, too.  (Her’s is a monkey)

I was lucky enough to win a few bloggy giveaways this Spring and Summer, including this one from Carolyn Friedlander, including her Sessoms pattern (LOVE!) and a hand-picked jelly roll:

I have a nearly finished table runner made from this pattern (just need to quilt it so I can show it to you!).  And one day, I plan to make an entire quilt fro this pattern–it’s lovely!

Stephanie is one of my Gruber’s friends, (and a fellow Iowa native) I met her for the first time in July 2011, and saw her again at Spring Quilt Market in May 2012 and this July… She became one of those fast friends, an immediate connection that felt like we had been friends forever. Little messages pop up from her at The. Most. Opportune times.  I don’t how she does it, but she can sense when I need a little pick me up.  She sent me this “happy” earlier this year at a time when she knew I needed a hug:

She knows I love Kate Spain, and I had admired these journal/calendars on her blog… and it came with the sweetest note.  It holds all kinds of notes related to the pattern business these days, and every time I look at it, it gives me warm fuzzy thoughts of a treasured friend.

Much of our time lately has been spent house hunting (read: scouring realtor.com at least once a day for new listings; obsessing over properties we are interested in; mentally moving ourselves and our stuff into the space)… you get the picture.  We put an offer on a house that we still refer to as “the Dream House” and we lost out on it not once, but twice.  I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed.  But we keep looking and my thoughts are about 78% focused on houses and architecture these days.

As a diversion, I’ve been trying to catch up on some reading, including a large pile of magazine on my nightstand, and this pile of books from our library:

What’s occupying your thoughts these days?

Have you been the recipient of a quilter’s generosity lately?

Candy Corn Crazy

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 30

It’s true, October 30th is National Candy Corn Day… I’m not sure why we have National “Days” for everything under the sun, but there it is.  And, I admit it, I have a weakness for this stuff.

Candy corn is a sweet confection, made to look like dried corn kernels. It’s considered a “mellow cream,” a type of candy made from corn syrup and sugar that has a marshmallow-like flavor. Although candy corn tastes rich, it’s actually fat-free.  But keep in mind, that does not mean calorie free!  And if you are like me, one handful is never enough…

There are any number of Candy Corn inspired recipes out there, such as Candy Corn Cheesecake:

Candy Corn fudge:

Candy Corn truffles (which look pretty darned tasty):

There are even recipes online for making your own Candy Corn, though I’m not sure why you would bother when Brach’s does such a wonderful job of it for you.

There is no shortage of candy corn inspired crafts either.  I even posted one of my own last year, a Candy Corn themed favor bag, tutorial here.

I might have to make one of these to celebrate next October 30th:

I’m sure you’re hungry by now so go treat yourself to some Candy Corn in honor of Natioanl Candy Corn Day, October 30, 2012…

God’s Jack

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 28

Most everyone who knows me, knows I have a thing for Halloween.  But I also have a thing for God.  While I do have fun celebrating a holiday that has pagan origins and ties to the occult — I celebrate it as a time to be a kid again, a time to express creativity, and a time to be silly and be “someone else” for a bit, even if only for a few hours.  Even as a kid and a teenager, I never did anything evil on or around Halloween.  Most people don’t, do they?

One of my favorite emails received (that I repost every year) is this:

It’s called “God’s Jack”


Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin.
God lifts you up, takes you in,
and washes all the dirt off of you.
He opens you up, touches you deep inside
and scoops out all the yucky stuff–
including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed.
Then He carves you a new smiling face
and puts His light inside you to
shine for all the world to see.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  –Chronicles 2: 14

Really Random: Retro-fied

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 25

Linking up today with Cindy over here.

I meant to share this when I first found it… my fortune cookie at dinner, the weekend before we released our Modern Fortune pattern (I practically jumped for joy!  Took it as agreat sign, because, yes, I believe in these things…):

This was around the same time that I found this at the check out of a local hardware store…

Brought back a blast from the past, I remember my brother and I begging Mom to buy this for us (curiosity got the best of me, I had to find out if it tasted as good as it did in 1976).  It did not.  Clearly the recipe changed, or my 43 year-old tastebuds are slightly more sophisticated than my six-year-old tastebuds were.  I’m more of an Orbit girl these days… and what quilter wouldn’t be with these inspiring packages…?!?

I can’t help but see some modern quilts there.  And these mugs found at Target, recently?  So quilt-y…

I also think they look a little 1970s retro… which I tend to like (see Fruit Stripe Gum story above).  My last car was a 2002 New Beetle, sadly, I had to replace it this last month, but I bought another fun, little, retro car in it’s place:

I love it!  It’s a Mini Cooper S (not brand new, but new to me!) in Liquid Yellow, and I was thinking of naming her Buttercup or Daisy… just not certain.  That little yellow car just makes me happy–she is my Sunshine!  I’m going to have to sew some items for her, too. Then my BIL referred to me as Driving Miss Daisy.  Not sure if that’s a good connotation or not…  What do you think, is she a Daisy or a Buttercup?

Incidentally, there is an SUV in the area that I live with a vanity plate that reads “BUTTRCP”–and it’s silver, not yellow– I assume it’s a nickname of the owner.  This is a license plate we saw in Kansas City this summer, we were on our way to a quilt shop we had not been to before.  Guess what?  This driver led us right to it!

So, two questions for you today:  Do you have a personalized license plate?  and do you name your car(s)?

Really Random; Gone to the Cats and Dogs

Blogtoberfest, Day 18

I’m linking up with Really Random Thursday with my friend Cindy, over here.

For those of you with “quilting” cats, do you have trouble with them wanting to always be “in” or “on” whatever fabric or sewing project you are currently working on?  My Maggy loves curling up inside bags, particularly one I am in the process of packing… I think I “removed” her from this bag three times before I got the rest of the rolled up quilts shoved in there…

Our tuxedo cat, Kato, goes where ever his humans go in the house, he likes human contact far more than most cats do, and his new favorite place is in my sweetie’s guitar case while the guitar is out of it, being played.  Added bonus: a cushy, soft place to curl up while sitting close to his favorite human.

We said goodbye to my Sweetie’s dog, Frances, three years ago; the day after her fifteenth birthday (a Husky, she lived to be 15!).  Now that we are looking to buy a new home and will be moving sometime in the next six months, we are considering getting a dog again (Maggy will NOT be pleased should this actually happen).  I’m not sure I’m up for puppy training, so maybe a rescue dog…  But, it’s hard to say no to the cuteness of a puppy face.  This is my sister’s new bulldog puppy, Peaches:

Seriously, how cute is that face?!?  Peaches is a nickname for Princess Peach (which is what you get when you let your four year old Mario Cart obsessed son name the family dog!)  We think it’s going to be fairly amusing to call her Peaches when she looks more like this:

Just because this has a bulldog image, I’m sharing this fun recipe from a book we picked up at an orchard gift shop (and it suggests it being served for Oktoberfest, so it’s timely, too!) for BEER Muffins (let me know if you decide to try the recipe–I have not!):

And, finally, I didn’t buy these, but saw them at a Vintage shop in the East Village (Des Moines, Iowa), they are “Damn-It Doris” postcards:

Apparently, “Doris” is the goat pictured…  I see very few things with my name on it.  Wouldn’t you know I’d have to find something like this. Reminds me of Tina the Llama in Napoleon Dynamite:

aye, aye, aye….

Happy blog reading,

Doris (the human, not the goat)