Saturday, March 9, 2013

iPad Case

I've been wanting to make a case for my iPad for the past year or two. I've gone through a few cases. First, I was using the Kensington Keyboard case because I really did feel like I needed a keyboard when I first got my iPad. After about 6 months I grew weary of the weight of a keyboard case. I started using a slip case for my iPad, but I did like the structure of the keyboard case. So I was on a hunt for a new case, and I really did want to make mine. I started a Pinterest board to help me gather the tutorials, but most of them were basic slip cases. I had made a Kindle case based on the Chica & Jo Pattern and although I liked that - it wasn't exactly what I wanted for an iPad Case.

I found a great iPad case tutorial at Instructables, but I wasn't too keen on the separate "harness" aspect. The best thing about the Instructable case was the concept of a "rollable" cover. This would give me the right angle for typing on the iPad. I decided to incorporate some of the things I had seen in other cases such as bottom corner holders and elastic at the top. The elastic is a bit too low, I end up having to move it to use the corners of the screen. I also added a cardboard backing (from a notepad) which I wished was a bit more sturdy.
Make sure that you sew in the velcro before you add the corner pockets, otherwise you will sew them closed (did that the first time). The tutorial also recommended that you sew parallel lines to make pockets for the acrylic rods. I wish I had continued with those parallel lines instead of switching to perpendicular lines. It doesn't curve as well to close.

However, even with those mistakes I really do enjoy my case and I have received a good many compliments on it. I recently went to a work conference and everybody asked me about it!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Knitted Cowl

I really started getting into knitting the past year. I found it to be so transportable and easy to do while watching TV. (I love projects that let me watch TV because then I don't feel bad about watching TV :) I've done a few projects and hope to blog about them soon, but the simplest and easiest is this "Knit Cowl of the Chunky Variety."

I discovered this pattern through Pinterest (see my knitting Pinterest Board) and found it to be very a great knitting in the round project. I decided to also join Ravelry to not only help keep up with projects, but find new projects based on the yarn I have. I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky in Eggplant. I takes about 70% of a skein.  I made one cowl and gave it to my friend and made this one with about 30% of what was left and then purchased another skein. I did experiment with what it looked like with just the yarn I had left - bound it off and everything and it really does need that extra yarn. Unfortunately, if you look at it too closely you can see the line where I bound it and then unbound it. The stitches got a bit warped. But when it is on, you can't really tell and that is all that really matters.
My favorite thing about this pattern is that I can stop at anytime and know exactly where I left up, there is no real pattern to keep up with, so I could knit in the carpool line, at lunch, at book club and never really have to concentrate. I highly recommend this for beginner knitters as well.

I started to make matching boot cuffs to match, but my circular needles broke. After attempting to fix with electrical tape (which so did not work) I am now contemplating purchasing circular needles. It is a pretty hefty investment, but I think I'm ready. Have any brands you recommend?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fat Quarter Idol

So I have to say I have gone head first into the social media sphere of quilting again and I came across Sew Mama Sew's Fat Quarter Idol. I was inspired by the Serendipity White ~ Gabbie  and those Emerald greens and teals, with just a bit of pink had me at hello! Who am I to pass up the opportunity to pick out fabric and pin something on Pinterest. You can too - just let me win first :)

Quiltcon 2013: The Quilts & Lectures

As you have seen, I had a great time at Quiltcon, but besides the workshops I did some other amazing things! First and foremost Quiltcon is a Quilt Show, which means there were fantastic quilts to view! I really do wish now that I had submitted something to the show, but I'm just not ready to be "judged" on my quilting ability just quite yet. Some of my favorite quilts can be found in the following slideshow and can also be seen on my flickr page.

David Butler
I was also really inspired by the demonstrations and lectures. In particular I found Jacquie Gering and Katie Pederson's demo (from their book Quilting Modern) on their quilt making process with example quilts to be fascinating. I also couldn't get enough of Amy Butler discussing her process of Fabric design. I felt so inspired by her talk and have a renewed interest in her fabrics. Her husband David also gave a very interesting talk about photography and the role an image plays in their various products. Sometimes it is not about the technical brilliance of a photograph, but the way it makes you feel that is important. Denyse Schmidt's keynote was just as fascinating. It was compelling to hear her story, to understand why she creates the way she does and how her process works. I already respected these "giants of industry," but I really came to value their creative process and idolize them just a bit more.

If you didn't get a chance to come to Quiltcon, several of the lectures are available FOR FREE to watch at

Overall, I felt Quiltcon 2013 was fantastic! I still can't believe what the team was able to accomplish for their first time. Everything seemed to work without a hitch, I'm sure their were some, but to the casual observer it looked like smooth sailing :)

I can't wait to go again!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Quiltcon 2013: The Workshops

Can I just tell you that last week at Quitcon was such an amazing experience! I don't think I have ever really traveled by myself or gone to a conference that wasn't work related. It felt so selfish, but I now realize how important that can be. I get so overwhelmed with the day to day things that I forget to just enjoy life. Quiltcon was a time for me to be selfish on purpose, to focus on things I wanted to do and not be distracted by the little things. By far the biggest influence on me at Quiltcon was the opportunity to take workshops!

I have never been a take workshops person (from an educator this is hysterical I know). I just have never been interested in any of the classes at my local quilt shop. One of the main reasons I actually wanted to attend Quiltcon was because of the amazing Workshops.

I took an all day class on Thursday with Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Franson on Free Motion Quilting on your home machine. I love every aspect of the quilting process, but I had never taken a class. Elizabeth showed us some great techniques for quilting on a home machine, including quilting in quadrants and pulling not pushing your quilt. It was also great to just spend some time perfecting my techniques and trying some new patterns out. I don't often get time to just practice! And look at the fabulous free motion quilting swatches I made!

On Friday I took a morning class with Lotta Jansdotter on Textile printing. This was an incredibly creative and inspiring class. I really had the opportunity to create something new and fell in love with carving my own stamps and designing my own stencils. Lotta's design aesthetic (I feel so Project Runway saying that) is so clean and simple and translates well to block and stencil printing. I can't wait to carve some more stamps and get my son involved in the process.
Overall, these workshops alone were worth the trip to Quiltcon. I hope to continue blogging more about the experience and blogging in general about my crafts. I forget how important it is!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cherry Bounce - what happened?

Well, they both turned out great and got rave reviews... but they were completely different drinks!

CB#1, fermented cherries: this was the one where the cherries sat in sugar for a few weeks, with cheesecloth stretched over the top of the jar. I won't lie to you, they got a little funky.

There were a few moldy bits. I "researched" this on the interwebs, and found out that you can just strain the whole mess. Soooo.. I picked out some of the moldy bits, did a first strain through the cheesecloth, then a second one through coffee filters. I basically lined a funnel with a filter, and poured in as much as it would hold, wait for it to strain, and keep doing this. I did have to change the filters once or twice as build-up eventually stopped the filtering process!

Once I got the fermented cherry juice, in went the bourbon, on went the lid, and it sat for a few weeks. This one was like rocket fuel! The best way I can think of to describe the taste is this: if cherry-flavored cough syrup tasted good, this is what it would taste like. There was nothing bourbon-ey about this, which makes me wonder if I could have used a cheaper version (an experiment for next year).

CB#2, the one with the "soakers": This is the one where everything got mixed together on day 1 and just sat. Eventually, the cherries were strained out, and the liquid went right back into the bottle.
This one was smooth. It had cherry undertones, but still retained alot of the bourbon flavor profile. I would *not* mess around with my starter liquid on this one.

Both had, for lack of a better term, "floaties"... solids that kinda settled at the bottom if the jar sat around too long. The solution? Drink it faster! Just kidding. It didn't alter the taste any if you got some, it just looked funny. If you drink unfiltered beer or chardonnay sur lies, you probably won't mind this. I drink both, but it still weirded me out a tad, so I did filter some of it out (the ol' coffee filter trick!).

And that's it! Everyone who tried it went nuts over it. It was a huge hit! I plan to make it again next year, and maybe it will save me the hassle of holiday baking (or make it a whole lot more tolerable!). Gift suggestion: I used empty maple syrup glass bottles, which looked cute and held just the right amount for gifting! I tied a little folded sheet of paper with the story of CB, and tied on two little acorns on a string (city of oaks, and all!).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NEW POST! Do your cherries bounce?

We're soooo incredibly crafty that we don't have time to post.. alas, we are unable to craft time out of thin air! Not only that, but I am horrible about remembering to actually take photos while I'm doing something, I'll try to remedy that.

I DID remember to take some this week, but only because it's a long-term project. I was inspired, by some article I can no longer recall, to make Cherry Bounce. Cherry Bounce is the drink that, legend says, determined where the capital city of Raleigh would be. I love reading cool stuff about the city I call home, plus this just sounded like a bit of a yummy drink!

So, used the Google, and found quite a few recipes. Here's what they all had in common:
  • Cherries
  • Sugar
  • Some kind of alcohol
Here are the things that varied, by recipe:
  • The type of alcohol
  • Whether or not you mix it all together to begin with, or let the cherries ferment a little before adding alcohol
The hub and I enjoy our bourbon, so I opted for that as my alcohol. I couldn't decide which would be the better of the two methods, so I'm trying both! I took my fanny over to Earthfare, which was the only place I could find cherries, and bought a bag. The sugar is plain ol' Dixie, and the bourbon is Evan Williams single barrel (our bourbon of choice for mixing, or in this case... I don't know.. soaking?).

Jar number 1 (that's right, I'm mixing these in mason jars!) contains the recipe in the article above, I just reduced it a bit. It's a jar of bourbon with cherries floating around, and after 2 days, the sugar has dissolved. This one has a lid, and it's a soaker.

Jar number 2 (recipe here) contains cherries stuffed up to the top, with 1.5 cups of sugar and about a teaspoon of cinnamon (I used Penzey's China Tung Hing Cinnamon). This one has cheesecloth instead of a lid, and it's supposed to break down / ferment. You know it's done when there's a brown liquid and the sugar is dissolved.. how gross does that sound!? THEN you add the bourbon, and it sits a little longer. Hee hee.. it's like SCIENCE!

So, more to come as the jars progress. I'm hoping they turn out nice enough that I can find some cute bottles, or jars, and give them as Christmas gifts.

Stay tuned.. I'm actually going to post again soon... Fig Jam coming up in the near future.