From my family to yours, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Here’s to a bright and creative 2015!
This past weekend, I was busy with change ~ a big change. Changes that have been on my mind for at least a year. And if you are reading this on my blog, you probably know what I am talking about! Yesterday, I went live with a big website redesign.
Over the last year, I’ve really felt that I’ve outgrown my old WordPress template, colors, design, and layout. Yep, pretty much everything! Twelve months ago, I set up a test blog on my server and started brainstorming and testing changes. It was so overwhelming and time consuming that I sort of gave up.
Well pretty recently, I decided to revisit the idea. I felt a strong desire to create a more mature, cleaner look. I also wanted specific features, like a menu system in the top header. I had just really outgrown the capabilities of the old set up and my list of pages was just getting out of control!
I purchased a template on Etsy as my foundation and started digging into the code and making changes that aligned with my vision. (These are the times I’m very happy to have a background in computer programming!)
I’m so excited about the new look, I actually couldn’t sleep last week as I was thinking about it. I also know change is hard. Every time the Chicago Tribune or CNN redesign their websites, I am the first person to think “WHY!?!?!” Well, I hope not all of you think that when you see this new site.
** Oh, side note: the first time you load images, it will take longer than usual. It will speed up as they cache in your browser. **
All the blog content is still here. My biggest fear was somehow losing something important – or, you know, everything. The tabs that you used to see in the header are now listed in the blog menu up there. I’ve also made some (hopefully) helpful changes, like organizing my tutorials by category, listing my finished projects by year, creating a page with wholesale information, and giving my shop an easier to remember name.
Really, the best part about this new design though is it’s ability to grow with me. As I offer more tutorials, patterns, quilt alongs, and whatever else might come along over the next years. I hope you will take some time to look around. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking things over the next few days, but it’s mostly here!
I can’t believe it, but I finished my daughters Halloween costume way early! I don’t think I’ve ever made her a costume for Halloween in all 8 years. But not long ago I pinned some costume ideas on Pinterest and she really loved these bird wings.
I followed the general idea on both this website and this website (this second link for the headpiece as well). I didn’t worry about making each wing a perfect 1/4 circle. I measured the length of her arm and the length down her back. I cut a rectangle that size and then just eyeballed a curved line between the two.
I want her to be able to put the costume on by herself for her school party, so I used some sparkly black elastic about 3/4″ thick that I found at JoAnns for the arm holds. It’s not too tight for her and there is nothing for her to tie (or really, for her teacher to tie).
For the headpiece, I followed the general instructions here. (But again, I didn’t make it tie, just sized it to her head.) The ribbon is Renaissance Ribbons by Anna Maria Horner. I’ve had them forever! Happy to finally use them.
The wings at headpiece use a variety of fabrics (handpicked by my daughter) and wool felt. I love wool felt, it is such good quality compared to craft felt from big box craft stores. It comes in so handy for craft projects. One of my sponsors even carries some in her shop – Fabric Spark!
My daughter love, love, loves it. **I know I generally ask you not to Pin pictures with my kids on Pinterest, but feel free to Pin any of these Halloween costume photos.** Now to finish my son’s costume. He has a much simpler request – a skeleton.
Not quilting related, but my kids had off school Thursday and Friday so we decided to have a little fun in Chicago. We took a day trip Friday to the Art Institute. I had my kids bring sketchpads and colored pencils, and they spent the day finding their favorite artwork and recreating it themselves.
This is such a fun way for kids to experience art museums. It makes them really look at the artwork and not just walk on by, bored after a couple rooms. It doesn’t matter AT ALL if they are artistically gifted. It makes them notice details in the paintings that they would have missed otherwise. The staff in each room allowed them to sit on the floor if benches weren’t around. I think the only time in the past we were not allowed to do this was in special exhibit areas (too crowded).
We are so spoiled to have all these awesome works of art practically in our backyard. The fact that we can drive 45 minutes and then spend our day surrounded by Monet and Picasso and Matisse…just incredibly lucky. I knew my daughter would have fun (we’ve done this before), but this is the first time I’ve brought my 5 year old – very active – son. He LOVED it. He wanted to draw everything he saw. He was so calm and concentrated so hard, he did not want to leave at the end of our time there.
I definitely recommend checking out the Art Institute, even with young kids, if you are ever in Chicago. We only made it through 3 sections – Impressionism, Modern American Art 1900-1950 and Modern Art (3rd floor in the modern wing) so we will be back to explore more soon.
It’s a funny thing, how quickly five years can fly by. Today is my blog’s 5th anniversary. I went back a couple days ago, to revisit that first post. (The image from the post lost in the shuffle during a blog transfer a few years ago.) I’m not sure how long I thought I’d be blogging back in 2009. But I’m happy to still be around and have all of you join me each week, reading and commenting and sharing tidbits and your projects with me. Thank you so much for spending a bit of your time here with me.
Much of the last two weeks has been devoted to designing and pattern writing. I can say there are some new, fun quilts and patterns coming down the pipeline. And while I can’t share those just yet, I thought I’d share some fabric and blocks and food.
I’m planning to use some Kona Cottons in an upcoming project. I totally copied everyone else who was cutting up their Kona Color Cards and placing them on book rings. So much easier to pull out colors and plan quilts!
I also ordered an absolutely beautiful collection of Liberty of London Tana Lawn fabric, cut into a roll, from DuckaDilly.
And – total accident but they were sitting next to each other on my table – doesn’t the Kona look awesome with the Liberty?
I love it when that happens!
Another project in the works is a pattern based on my Radiant Splendor block tutorial. Although this test block below looks the same, I did some unpicking after I took the photo as the pattern changes up the block a bit. I’m working on writing and testing and hopefully will get the new pattern finished sometime this Fall. For those that like bigger quilts, this one will be Queen sized (ok, well that’s big for me!)
I’ve also spent a bit of time in the kitchen lately. I’ve recently discovered America’s Test Kitchen and have fallen hard. (I know, I’m the last on the planet, right?) I have had success with pretty much everything I’ve made from both Cooking for Two and The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2014.
This Cinnamon Swirl Bread is in the latter, as well as online (and I saw them make it in an episode I recorded on PBS).
It was *delicious*.
I hope those of you in the United States and Canada have a great holiday week. Yesterday was Canada Day and Friday is Independence Day here (and my husband’s birthday!) I plan on doing some relaxing and enjoying time with family. And hopefully fit at least some sewing (or more pattern writing in) too.