Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hexagons: An Epic Quilting Project

Hexagon (n): a polygon having six angles and six sides.

Oh, dictionary.  If only it were that simple.

I was introduced to hexagons in fabric form in the spring of last year by a co-worker. She was making piles and piles of tiny little hexagons for a project that even she wasn't sure about yet, and I got a little obsessed--first with her project, then with starting my own.

Actually, I got a lot obsessed.  I made a few of my own hexagon templates and started down the rabbit hole.  With fabric scraps from my stash, I made a tiny little cluster of hexagons.  Then another.  Then another.  Then I made a larger cluster. And it was love.

A few months into this obsession, my sister-in-law announced that she was pregnant with her fourth child.  It seemed like fate that she should be pregnant at the same time I was obsessed with hexagons, and I figured that the universe was telling me it was time to take this experiment full-scale.  I decided to make a hexagon quilt.There are a lot of things that I wish I could go back and tell naive, beginner Beth, like: "that's going to be a lot more work than you realize," and "your fingers will bleed," and "maybe you should do bigger hexagons so you won't be spending hours and hours on end doing nothing but sewing hexagons."  Yeah...let's just say that I'm a lot wiser now. 

It started with choosing the fabric.  Since my sister-in-law made the decision to be surprised by the baby's gender, the color palette had to be neutral.  I went digging around in my fabric stash and found two fat quarters from the Tula Pink Hushabye collection that I had picked up in 2009 (top two on the left of the photo below) .  Yes, I know I have a problem; we try not to talk about it.

I had an idea in my head of a very classy, sophisticated quilt that didn't scream baby, but still had an element of whimsy to it.  I spent hours looking at fabric, swapping out fabrics, agonizing over patterns.  When all the decisions were made, I had ten different fat quarter fabrics from three places: my stash, Ben Franklin Crafts in Redmond, and my local fabric shop, West Seattle Fabric Company (I love it there.  I'm going to see if they will just let me move into the back room and live happily amongst the lovely bolts of fabric.)

Here's what I ended up with: very neutral tans, browns, creams, and whites, with a dash of green and Tiffany blue thrown in for color.

The first step was to cut up I cut all of the fat quarters into squares to prepare them for the paper piecing process. So. Much. Cutting.

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: Year in Review

2013 was quite the year (though you wouldn't know it from the lack of posts on my blog).  Two weddings, a new house, a new cat, and so, so much more.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words--and I have 16--I'm recapping the year with my favorite photos.

Chinese New Year in Seattle's International District

Sister Goodlaff's Engagement Party

Monday, May 27, 2013

It's Oh-So-Quiet...

It's been quiet around here lately.  I apologize for that.

They say that life is what happens while you're busy making other plans.  I don't know who the proverbial "they" are, but "they" are right. 

In a nutshell, the Goodlaffs have had a lot going on.  I didn't blog about it, but at the end of March, we took the first step towards becoming homeowners by attending a first-time homebuyers class. Three days later, we were pre-approved; two days after that we were meeting with a realtor. We began a house hunt and found one we liked.  We made an offer and it got accepted.

The day we found out that we bought a house, I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my leg.  In a few weeks, I will be getting rechecked to make sure it's gone, and then we will set about finding out what caused it.  I've been resting and healing, and I haven't been able to eat much in the way of green leafy vegetables, as it interferes with the blood thinning medication I've been taking. It's funny, but the minute the doctor told me that I couldn't eat spinach, all I wanted to do was sit down and eat a big old spinach salad.  And I'm not even that big of a fan of spinach!

Since then, it's been a whirl of doctor's appointments and weekends at The Home Depot. We've learned how to use a lawnmower, hacked back the wilderness that was our backyard (see below!), installed a mailbox, had the electrical completely updated, and, in the course of appliance shopping, learned the hierarchy of refrigerator brands. 

Yard before:

Yard after:


We move in less than two weeks.

We've started packing; the house is a disaster, with alternating towers of empty and full boxes clinging to the walls for support. The first of what I'm sure will be several trips to Goodwill happened today, and even though we took four trash bags full of linens and clothes, two paper bags full of books (yes, I got rid of some books. Be proud.) and various other sundry, a lamp, and a filing cabinet, the house still feels as full as it did before. 

All of this means that I've been neglectful of this blog, and you, the five people who read it. 

As soon as the dust has somewhat settled, I promise I'll be back. But for now, wish us luck with our move.  We are going to need it!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fabric First, Project Later

A few months ago I saw my local fabric store, West Seattle Fabric Company, had gotten a new collection of fabric from Moda:  Glamping.  It was unbelievably cute, and I knew I had to have some of it.  What would I do with it?  I had no idea.  But that wasn't going to stop me.  (Side note--that's how I have come to collect an entire drawer of fat quarters that I haven't yet used.)

I mean, look at it:

I loved the cute tents and trailers, and figured that I'd find something to do with them later.  
Well, it's later, and I did, in fact, find something to use that fabric for:
A glamping kitchen set! I embellished three towels and made two potholders and an oven mitt.  I am so happy with how they came out:

The potholders are double sided.  Glamping fabrics on one side:

And ginghams on the other. 

I used Insul-bright to insulate the oven mitts and potholders, which means they are not only pretty, but they won't burn your hands when you use them--very functional!  (BTW: If you're interested, I found the pattern for the oven mitt at Skip to My Lou.  I didn't use a pattern for the potholders.  I figured I could handle the square without needing instructions.)
I'm sending this entire set off to the Newman Memorial Foundation as a donation to their annual Fishing Derby's silent auction.  Hopefully someone will love them as much as I do!
I'm also sending along these fun little key fobs that they can use for prizes. They are really easy and quick to make, so I figured--why not?
I love crafting for a good cause!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

30 Before 30: Crochet a Scarf

I've used my convalescence of the past week or so to check another item off the 30 Before 30 list.  You all remember that I changed my goal of crocheting a blanket to a scarf.  Well, goal accomplished!

I have been saving this super cute mustard yellow yarn for a rainy day (let's be honest--I pretty much save all my yarn for a rainy day), and finally found a project worthy of it.  I put my new crochet skills to good use and made this braided scarf/cowl:

I spotted this on Pinterest, and instantly knew that I had to try the scarf.  It turned out so well, and was a super-easy project, especially for a beginner like me.  The suggested "pattern" for it didn't seem like it would really work for what I was trying to accomplish, so I changed it up a bit.  I cast on 120 stitches and did 5 rows of double crochet,  times three strands (size H hook).  Braid them up, seam them off and voila! Scarf.

I can't wait to wear it!

Check another item off the list!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Since Google Reader is dying...

If you're like me and you use Google reader to keep up with all the blogs you follow, you're probably pretty sad to see that it's going away.  It seems that everyone is jumping on the Bloglovin' bandwagon, so I though I'd give it a shot.

 Follow my blog with Bloglovin'

Friday, March 15, 2013

30 before 30: Progress

It's been almost a month, so I figured I would fill you in on my progress. I have taken a lot of steps toward accomplishing my goals, but I'm sad to say, I can't check anything off the list just yet.

So, what am I up to?

1.  I'm reading Jane Eyre.  I've gotten further in the book than I ever have before, but I'm nowhere near becoming a fan.  Sorry to all you Bronte fans out there, but every time I pick up the book, I'm bored.  Give me back my Jane Austen.

2.  Become a homeowner. We have started looking for houses.  This process merits a whole other post, which I may or may not do (depends on my laziness), but suffice it to say,  we are looking at but not finding a whole lot...

3. Finding my style. I spent about an hour last week tearing all my clothes out of the closet and mashing them together in random outfits.  I'm pretty sure my five year old niece puts together better outfits than I did.  It's a process.

4.  Run a 5K.  I signed up for one, does that count?  Sure, sure, there's a bunch of training to be done, but I am committed to running one at the end of August.  In Disneyland.  If you have to run, you may as well be running in the happiest place on earth, right?

5. Crochet a blanket.  I learned to crochet a bit more, and I even bought a book to teach me the rest, but I think I was a little too ambitious in thinking I would be able to start and finish a blanket having barely learned how to do a chain stitch.  I am amending my task to "crochet a scarf," because, as the old saying goes, you've got to crawl before you decide to run a marathon.  Or something like that.

6. Let my hair down.  I have actually been making an effort to wear my hair down at least once a week, and I've been mostly successful so far.  I missed one week, but otherwise, hair has been worn down more in the last month than the last year.  Success.

7.  Floss Daily.  I have been flossing every day.  I've been so good, and I fully expect my dentist to look at my mouth during my next cleaning and say to me: "Finally.  Welcome to adulthood where we suck it up, put on our big girl panties, and do unpleasant things like floss our teeth and take out the trash before it overflows."

8.  Sew clothing for myself.  I bought fabric for a skirt. Although, it should be noted that I already had fabric for two other skirts. Um, right...

And there you have it, my progress on the road toward 30.