Saturday, December 14, 2013

What you don't see

I have finally finished this little quilt top with Birch fabric I bought years ago from the Purl Soho. 

I love how it's so soft and neutral. Also, it has fishes and whales on it. Just need to send it to the quilter!

It's funny, Kitten helps me with these usually by curling up on the unsewn pieces I have set out. She likes to be 
involved and when she's uninterested I wonder if I've done something wrong.

She definitely took a shine to this one and I am glad to let her roll all around on it now that it's done.

Even if it means she's just hanging out and taking a bath.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Give me Liberty

Kitten continues to find clever places to perch herself in her new sewing room. My sewing room? I think we ceded control to her long ago. She is currently trying to perch herself on the laptop while simultaneously asking me to play.

I am plugging away at my cathedral squares, which is the perfect project for this season because it's a mix of intensive cutting and ironing in the sewing room balanced against the handstitching portion of the work that I can do while watching re-runs of Downton Abbey. Or whatever football game my husband has on in the background.

I ordered some lovely Liberty fabrics this weekend to add to my cathedral squares and I can't wait for their arrival. I will be sure to post pictures.

 Kitten managed to hop up onto a double-sized mattress propped on its side against the wall. We still aren't sure how she managed to leap that high.

Cathedral squares

Kitten loves sitting on this laptop. I think she likes the squishiness of the keyboard under her little paws.

Detail pic of the Liberty and Grandma scraps cathedral square. Those safety pins have been a lifesaver (or finger-saver). So much less dangerous than strait pins!

Hope you are having a lovely Columbus Day. It's a perfect fall day here.

Oh and have you seen this? Baby girl clothes in Liberty fabrics from J. Crew. How can they release this upon the world? Who could resist?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Man, oh man

Order is slowly restoring itself to our abode. Adam and I can't believe we moved last weekend. It seems like ages ago.

We are slowly settling in and getting back to things we love, like playing Scrabble, cooking good meals, listening to cool new music and sewing.

Portugal. The Man is coming to town soon and I've been listening to them in my sewing room, along with the new Grouplove and Small Pools.

I remember posting something about the cathedral squares I was making with my favorites of my Grandma's scraps, but I had kind of stalled out because I didn't have enough of these delicate florals to move forward. But that was before I ordered a Liberty bundle from Purl Soho. The fabrics are so delicate and pretty that I finally feel like I've found something refined enough to match my Grandma's collection.

Liberty's backstory is pretty cool, too. It's a British company that's been around for ages and made a name for itself designing high quality fabric with florals inspired by famous gardens throughout Britain. So these jewel-tone patterns are really a perfect match for my painstaking cathedral square handiwork. 

I'm glad to be back to work (and inspired.)

Here's the first square I sewed in with the Liberty last night. Isn't this fabric lovely? I have been ironing the squares, as described in this tutorial, with help from Kitten who keeps trying to walk on my laptop and pausing my music while I work. Alright, so she's not all that helpful, she's just good company. She is currently sleeping on my bundle of Liberty fabrics.

One of the many chai lattes I've picked up from Starbucks since fall officially began. People keep talking about the Pumpkin Spice Latte and I don't get it. Give me a chai latte any day.

Adam and I may have detoured to the Cosentino's Downtown market for lunch one day after a trying experience at the downtown DMV. So we had some chocolate cream pie to make up for it (Tippin's!). Holy moly, it was good.

See what I mean?

Although we're not fully up and running, we are well past this state of things. Thanks to Adam and his master organization skills. 

Time for me to sew.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chai Shai, what took us so long?

Adam and I erred when we moved to 59th street and didn't immediately go to Chai Shai, our neighborhood Indian and Pakistani restaurant. It's blocks away from our little rental house and makes for an easy walk.

So naturally, we didn't go there for dinner until tonight, in the midst of our packing to move away on Saturday. We have heard from many fellow Brookside neighbors that this place is great and we believed them, but I guess we didn't really hear what they were saying.

Because it's ridiculously great. We've never had pakoras with such light, fluffy outsides and perfectly spiced insides. Our whole meal (all vegetarian) was quite a treat. And then we got an iced chai to go. Another great call.

We were so excited to be there that we took pics. I am mid-fist pump in my pic down below.

The good news is that we're not moving all that far away (mere blocks, really) so we can still come to Chai Shai. In the future, though, it will probably be more of a bike ride distance than a walking distance.

But we will be back. I see a new Thursday night tradition in our future.

Back to packing!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wasted canvas

Look how cerebral we are here in House of Kitten. We've got the New York Times and two weeks worth of US Weekly.

I've been naughtily hinting at and then posting nothing about my cross-stitch project, so I want to apologize and post progress pics.

First things first. The project is to cross-stitch on waste canvas, heavily starched cross-stitch fabric that you apply to regular material like cotton, knit, linen or whatever. You then apply your design on top of the waste canvas but through the layer of fabric.

Once you've finished your cross-stitch, you soak the whole thing in water so the starch comes out of the waste canvas. (Some advise adding a tablespoon of vinegar if you think your colors might run.) Then it dries (impatient Sarah tried to do this while it was still wet and it was wrong and a waste of time) and you pull out the waste canvas.

All of the sudden, you have perfectly measured stitches on cotton, which would be impossible to do without the crutch of the canvas. Pretty cool, eh?

So I have progress pics:

Kitten kept me company while I worked my way through this border pattern. Eventually, this will be a pillowcase in our guest bed.
Here's Kitten, looking bored.
A fuzzy shot of my progress, which I think may have already appeared in a post. Apologies for the re-run.

Hello, Adam! I took this picture at Pizza Bella when we went for my birthday. I get hungry just thinking about it. Not sure how that snuck in.

 Back to my task, here I am this weekend rounding out the project. I had my handy pattern book nearby at all times. It's a Johnny Jump-Ups pattern, and I don't know what a Johnny Jump-Up is, exactly, but I know it makes for a lovely little floral border.

 More stitches...
 This is where I soaked it to loosen the starch. Sometimes I think the back looks prettier than the front. And you'll notice, no knots! Always must weave in those ends.

Front side, still wet. You can see all the little canvas pieces poking out now. 
 This is the dried piece with some of the threads from the waste removed, and others still there.
 Bald patches in this vs. where the threads remain.
 This is how easy it is to pull them out. I was so taken with the process that I was almost late last night to my MBA class because I was standing there pulling these things out for so long.

All threads gone! Waste canvas totally wasted and gone. On to the next one!

Won't these be a pretty pair? I hope they class our place up a bit. Love homemade touches.

It's easy so you should totally try it!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

We have a winner

Adam is popcorned out. We returned to the Plaza Art Fair for a second day of Topsy's limeades and popcorn this afternoon. Today was another gorgeous day with cool breezes and warm sunshine.

Yesterday I mentioned that our favorite art fair game is to find creepy artwork for children's rooms. We did some close examination today and found some great examples that would be a perfect nursery gift if you're trying to be really passive aggressive toward the parents (or don't like children).

I should've gotten the name of the artist so we could properly recognize them here. But I was in a hurry to take the pictures because I was afraid I would be shooed away.

Armed monkey in space!

This bunny (below) looks wise, but not quite in a kid-friendly way. More like the original Alice in Wonderland (not the Disney version.)

Time to work on my johnny jump-ups cross-stitch pillow. 

More later. 


Saturday, September 21, 2013

A fair day for an art fair

In between all of the eating Adam and I did at the Plaza Art Fair this weekend, we did make time to look at actual art. I believe there are people who don't even do that, they just have cocktails and socialize--but it's a great venue for it so who can blame them?

Anyway, we saw new works from Signe and Genna Grushovenko and I couldn't resist taking pictures. I am so taken with these artworks. I tried to be mindful of not taking pictures of entire paintings, just interesting bits and pieces, but I think you still get a good sense of the artworks.

Maybe someday we'll have one on our wall in our new house.

 Another favorite pastime Adam and I have at the art fair is looking for the most terrifying artwork that we can find--we like to make jokes about using it to decorate a child's room. Today we found some enchanting moon artworks that would be just fine for a child to see, except that they had holes cut in them with terrifying little monster figures sticking out. Totally fit the bill for our long-running joke (going on three years, I believe?)

We like anything that promises nightmares, bonus points for recurring ones.

 Oh yes, it's Topsy's. A steal at $3. Pairs nicely with a limeade.

Adam took this pic of his old apartment building, centrally located right on Ward Parkway. We still miss his location, parking spot, and immaculately clean and brilliantly cold pool. We still get wistful when we think about it. We had some good days there.

Am currently embellishing pillowcases for our new casa's guest room. I will post some good progress pics.

Happy weekend!