Don’t be an idiot (like me…) Part 2

I have a feeling you guys are going to get sick of seeing these squares! Especially since, to the untrained eye, it looks like nothing is happening with them.

While it *is* in fact slow-going… it’s at least going. If you’ll pay special attention to the bag in the upper right corner, you can see it’s well organized while the other bags are in complete disarray. I’ve sewn all those squares into duos and have IRONED THEM. (I never iron anything. Unless I really really really really REALLY have to. And this time I really really really really REALLY had to.)

Which brings me to my point.

I am not at all an expert on fabric. I’m learning a bit at a time, especially as I follow other bloggers. When Mary at The Curious Quilter said there should be no homespuns included in the swap, I literally had to Google it. Now I know what a homespun is (or I at least have a clearer picture), and I went through my swapping fabric and pulled out all the probable homespuns.

But I’d already learned a valuable lesson during my ironing sessions. When I was ironing out my duos, some of my fabrics MELTED. Yes. They just shriveled up into a crunchy mess. So, my assumption is that some of those fabrics were synthetics. I am systematically having to go through my bags of squares and pull out the offenders and test the suspects. I am really excited that I get to personally touch all 3000+ squares at least 20 times each. (Sarcasm.)

So, don’t be an idiot like me. Learn your fabrics. Know what you’re using. And if you’re in doubt, test before you cut, sort, and sew.

So, you fellow swappers out there, I am sorry if you get my fabric!!! I am definitely trying to do this right, and I can assure you that you will not have anything that I *think* is a homespun, and you will not have anything that will melt!

Here’s a sad little shot of some of my swapping squares. I have so many duplicates, it’s not even funny. I am making sure that each set is without duplicates, but I have the potential to create LOTS of sets. 🙂

What NOT To Do When You’re Quilting (Or: Destroying The Owl Quilt)

This is the sort of post that I never ever ever want to make. But SOMEONE (me) thought it would be a good idea to sign the Process Pledge, so I guess I have to chronicle this.

I started quilting my sister’s owl quilt. I was super excited to be finalizing the project. I looked into having a pro quilt it for me, but, partially to save money and partially for bragging rights, I decided to just quilt it myself.

It was going way better than I expected. The top was a little more poofy than I expected, but ok, no problem.

The stitching wasn’t *great*, but it was waaaaaaay better than my first attempt at free-motion quilting! I’ll just admit… I was pretty proud of myself.

Until I turned my quilt over.

Here’s what I have to “brag” about:

Don’t really see a problem? Let’s look a little closer, shall we?

Oh yeah. That’s a foot-long fold in my backing. And it’s not the only one, there are little folds all over the place, this is just the worst of it. I can fit my finger through the tunnel, so I know I’ve got a good two inches folded over. I’m pretty disappointed.

So, the only option I really have is to take out ALL… THOSE… STITCHES. And do it all over again. This is a problem for a few reasons. 1. That’s a lot of work. 2. I’m going to have HOLES all over my quilt. 3. I don’t want to do it.

But Alex and I are going to watch some TV in bed, and I guess I’ll be curling up with my ruined quilt and my new best friend, Seam Ripper.

(Re)Creating Memories

I’ve always loved this picture of my husband with his mom. When Dexter was teeny, I always wanted to try to recreate that scene. We just remembered to try, and we didn’t manage to capture the serene moment Alex had with Karen. Dexter is a little older, a little more self-aware, and quite the ham 🙂

But thanks to the digital era, we were able to play around and were able to get lots of fun shots!


Recipe: Lemon Raspberry Bars With Cream Cheese Filling


This is what happens when you see someone else is having lemon raspberry cake (thanks Kaedra!!) but you don’t usually like cake AND you don’t have a recipe for anything lemon-raspberry-y.

Using a basic cookies-from-cake-mix recipe, I came up with this delicious monstrosity:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350.IMG_6033

Step 2: Soften 1/2 stick butter.

Step 3: Start telling your husband a story and accidentally melt the butter entirely.IMG_6010

Step 4: Add an egg.IMG_6013 

Step 5: Add dry lemon cake mix. Use organic, so your dessert will be inherently better.IMG_6005


Step 6: Stir until you realize there is absolutely not enough liquid to moisten the dry cake mix.IMG_6016

Step 7: Soften another 1/2 stick of butter. Correctly this time. Feel pride.IMG_6018

Step 8: Decide there is STILL not enough liquid and add 1 Tbsp milk at a time until it seems right. This takes 2 Tbsp milk.IMG_6020


Step 9: Fold in 6oz of beautiful raspberries.IMG_6024

Step 10: Decide to pulverize the raspberries instead of gently folding them into the batter. IMG_6028

Step 11: Find a clean  pan. If you don’t have one, wash only one pan. You wouldn’t want to do any extra work. Dollop batter onto the pan in heaping spoonfuls. If you have extra batter, just put it into any other cooking apparatus and be done with it. IMG_6032

Step 12: Bake for 9-12 min. IMG_6034

Step 13: In the meantime, prepare filling/icing. Combine 8 oz spreadable cream cheese, 1/4 c powdered sugar, and about 1/3 tub of leftover store-bought butter cream icing.*

*Not all butter cream icing has streaks of green in it, but you can achieve this at home by sticking a knife with already tinted icing into your nice clean icing. Just throw the rest of that tainted icing back into your cabinets and save it for a rainy day.IMG_6037

Step 14: Blend filling/icing ingredients until smooth.IMG_6041

Step 15: Note a burning smell. Confirm that your haphazardly dolloped batter is now spilling over the sides of the pan and landing on the heating element of the stove. Yum! You’re almost done!IMG_6044

Step 16: Realize that during baking, your batter became a cookie conglomerate.IMG_6045

Step 17: Decide to make a cookie-bar casserole. Chill filling/icing while cookie mass cools, then stack cookie-filling-cookie into a casserole dish.IMG_6049


Now, despite how horrendous this thing looks, and all the trouble I had while constructing it, it tastes really really good. Especially that filling. It taste almost like cheesecake. I will use it in the future with other desserts. Also, if I ever make this again, I am just pouring the batter into a casserole dish, baking it as cookie bars, then icing it after it cools. But you learn as you go 🙂

Progress Report: Pink/Blue Owl Quilt


I’m both excited and frustrated… I’m extremely happy because I completed all 12 of my squares!!! But I ran across lots of problems. Namely that I apparently cut my sashing strips too short, boo, and I can’t find my scrap material to add to the strips, extra boo. And by the end, I was having a lot of sewing trouble and I’m going to have to rip some seams. A break was called for.



I am LOVING the way it’s looking with the sashing. I can’t wait til I work out the kinks. I added a little plain chocolate brown to the length , hopefully it won’t be too distracting. I’ll have to do this on every wide strip and at the end of all the border pieces.


It’s really coming together! The tree on the back will be the next challenge 🙂

Dexter, Art Vandal

In the process of moving, we’ve decided to let go of a lot of our possessions. Tonight I was going through my paintings, deciding what I could price to sell, and taking pictures. My 14 month old, Dexter, was being quite rambunctious. Why didn’t I just wait til he was in bed, you may say. Why, indeed.

To distract him, I gave him crayons. I thought to myself, “What a clever mommy I am! This will keep him from grabbing my paintings!”

A specific painting I photographed was one everyone seemed to love. It’s an appropriation of American Gothic I did in college. I call it American Urban.

Not five minutes after taking this picture:IMG_5413

I turn to discover that my dear Dexter is enthusiastically adding his own touch to the painting:IMG_5429

I gasped and exclaimed a long “Nooooooooooooooooo!”, with wide-eyed disbelief.

And then I started laughing. What can you do? Dexter knew I wasn’t happy, he had a concerned look. He probably figured the laughing was a precursor to a complete mental breakdown. So I squatted down to get a better look and he leaned in and kissed me lol.

All is forgiven, but he’s been relocated to the highchair to complete the rest of his studio time. IMG_5444




Hopefully the crayon will come off my painting. If not, anyone wanna buy and Rebekah-Dexter collaboration??

Monster Hats, Photo Shoot Bloopers, and The Few Tips I Have

I’ve been planning to make monster hats for my Etsy shop FOREVER. But I kept putting it off. I finally got the motivation to do it, and I’m loving them! I have 5 listed in my shop so far, and almost 20 more started.

Shooting them was so hard, though. The older Dexter gets, the harder it is to photograph him. He was all over the place. Plus, even though he has been an active hat-wearer since birth, he felt it was an injustice to his soul to have to wear these hats for me. (Am I allowed to say, “I carried you for 9 months, the least you can do is let me exploit your cuteness to sell hats!!”?)

IMG_5087 “But Mom, it’s JULY!!!!”

IMG_5149 “Ok, I’ll be still, I just need to blow some kisses first!”

                 IMG_5154  IMG_5155  IMG_5157  IMG_5167  IMG_5168

He spent most of his time running around on the far side of the room with my camera’s lens cap in his mouth.

I made the mistake of making him think we’d go outside, just to lure him closer to the natural light… drama ensued.

               IMG_5183     IMG_5184

The best tips I can give are these:

1. Shoot when your baby is comfortable (not tired, not hungry, not wet, not too cold, not too hot…)

2. Distract, distract, distract! He chose the lens cap and my phone, and then I tried pulling out a mirror so he could check out his hats. But in the future I’m going to find some props that I won’t mind ending up in the pictures.

3. Do your best to get natural light so you can shoot without your flash. My pictures aren’t the best, but that really brings them up several notches. Just keep in mind that if there’s not enough light, your pictures will look blurry.

4. WORK FAST! If you have a digital camera, don’t get picky. Just focus and shoot as fast as you can, because those babies are quick. You may be able to use a quarter of the pictures you take 🙂 If you’re lucky :).

In the end though, if you can get just one drooly, lovable picture of your dude, it’ll be worth it 🙂