Monday, December 22, 2008

New Tools!

Here is the long awaited picture of my new sewing machine (Singer Confidence Quilter), purchased about a month ago. I got a crazy deal on it at JoAnn Fabrics. The sale price tags were still on the machine even though the sale had ended 2 days before, so the saleslady honored the sale price. Apparently JoAnn doesn't usually keep the machines in stock, but instead they order it to the store after you pay for it...however, I got the last one they had on hand! I rock!

I couldn't be happier with the new machine. I had been agonizing over getting a new machine and picking out what kind I wanted for the past 6 months or so, and it was so frustrating. I was looking for a machine with a wide opening and only needed one that did straight and zig-zag. Apparently this seemingly simple machine is a thing of the days of yore (as is now my Stitchmaster Zig Zag Deluxe machine). I now have 99 stitch types, and an extension table that came with the machine - you can see it attached on the left of the picture.

Now I cannot wait to get my sewing table to I have more of a flat surface to work with! Whew! Feel free to ask me any questions about the machine, because I love talking about it! Here is also another link to information about the machine, because the Singer Confidence Quilter site (link above) is sorely lacking in information.
Lastly, I needed a new pincushion, so I made one this morning from the Heather Bailey tutorial found here. It is so cute, but unfortunately I think I need something a little more substantial - perhaps I should use a heavier weight stuffing or more of it next time!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Three Quilts and Tea

Quite a busy few weeks quilt-wise lately. I still have a color wheel quilt in the works for my friend Maggie, but it is on hold while I work out a problem I'm having with it. However, I finished the quilt top for my friend Soraya's quilt. Here is a sample of the turquoise, gold and black beauty:
I also finished the quilt top of a blue and yellow quilt, but I have no one in particular in mind to gift this one to yet. Here is a sample of that one:

I also actually finished (in record time) a quilt for my roommate's friend who is having a baby. The pink side is the front, and the green paisley is the back. It is edged with eyelet lace.

Lastly, I have fallen in love with the Marani tea from Tea Gschwendner. I was actually looking for a tea akin to the Queen of Babylon tea from Teavana, and the Marani stacks up well. It is far cheaper, and has a more rounded, less sweet flavor. Brew me up a cup!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Two Tickets

Two tickets, each more valuable than the next. Wait, actually one was far superior to the other and, ironically, more magical.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Making My Morning Better

On my way to the El most mornings, I see a car whose license plate brightens my day, so I thought I'd share it with you:

And here are the fabulous cupcakes that I decorated for our Halloween party. I think my favorite is the scared little looking cupcake near the middle of the bunch.
Finally, here are some of the pumpkins carved at the party. Mine is the one on the left. And it is totally coincidental that there are two pirate themed pumpkins - we were keeping our designs secret from each other until we had finished carving. Could it be that we were subconsciously influenced by someone's recent move to Tortola, an island once inhabited by pirates???

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Things Made and Eaten

One of these things is not like the other, meaning that I made all of them, but one never got eaten. Okay, I didn't exactly "make' the apple either, but I picked it. That's right..I went apple picking for the first time ever this past weekend. It was splendid, and the weather was perfect...I don't think I've had this enjoyable of a day in months! Look how pristine that apple is!
This is the baby swing seat that I made on commission - I got the check for it in the mail the other day and I am still super psyched about the whole experience. Speaking of selling things, I brought a bunch of the scarves I'd been working on to Wolfbait& B Girls last week, and they have them in their front window! Woo Hoo! Now get in there and buy them! Or contact me directly!

And here are the two things I actually did make and eat...this was a sweet cherry bread, perfectly crisp and delicious when warm...mmmmmm!!!
And this is salsa made from tomatoes straight from our own garden!!Get ready for a Halloween party post soon!!! I just finished frosting some sweet looking cupcakes (including a pirate pumpkin)!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Loving Everything Equally

I am enamored with the emails I get from storypeople every day. They are usually a little bright spot in my inbox. I really loved the story open heart the other day, and it turns out my sister did too, so I think I need to share it:

He told me one time he forgot himself & his heart
opened up like a door with a loose latch & he tried
for days to put it all back in proper order but finally
he gave up & left it all jumbled up there in a pile
& loved everything equally.

[Here is a picture of a heart, just for show...] [via metrohealth]
[and here is a picture of a heart latch, because it fits the theme of this post, and it is pretty sweet itself] [via Van Dyke's Restorers]

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Anti. (And Quilts)

But not anti-quilt.

I have been feeling extremely anti-consumer lately. My motto as of late has become "simplify." I saw this picture, and I just had to post it. There were rumors that Banksy was behind it, which is doubtful. But I do still love both Banksy and the billboard.
Picture by sepultura [via the girl in the green dress]
That being said, I will now show a quilt I completed for my friend Amy in New York earlier this year. When I asked her for some inspiration, she said she wanted primary colors, so primary colors she got - I aim to please.
More quilt posts coming soon!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Color Hues

I just discovered this test that was blogged about at and it is simply amazing! You can test your color IQ by arranging various color tiles by hue. A score closer to zero is the best. (My score was 11 for those of you wondering.) This picture is what the non-online version of the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Test looks like...pretty sweet, eh?

I have also been working on my first commissioned project, which I delivered yesterday. It was basically reupholstering a baby swing seat. I must say that the seat looks super chic now. :-) Pictures to follow.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And We're Back

There were massive computer problems, and breakups to endure, but I have returned. Triumphant. I recently completed several projects! First, this chair was rescued from an alley by my friend Michael. It had sat in my room for many months, missing its seat, and being ridiculed as "the toilet" by my roommate. And oh, how it did look like a toilet. My landlord was able to cut me a new seat, and I cushioned and covered it the other weekend. Here is the result.
Other new and exciting things:
I am currently rocking to the band State Radio. I love the song Keepsake, which was featured in the season finale of the third season of Weeds. I also like the fact that the lead singer of State Radio used to sing for another favorite band, the now-defunct Dispatch. You can find out about Weeds and listen to State Radio's Keepsake here. Weeds has featured great music pretty consistently, so listen to some other great stuff there as well.

I went to Red Bull Flugtag when it was in Chicago the other weekend. It was pretty fricking sweet, and I have been inspired to start a team to create a crazy flying machine of our own for a future year. I encourage you to go see Flugtag when it comes to a city near you. And get there early - I cannot emphasize that part enough!

I went to the Renegade Craft Fair yesterday. Although it rained (read: poured), and is still scheduled to pour for the second day of the fair today, there were some pretty awesome crafts to be seen and scored. Here are my two finds:
I scored the tee from Red Paper Record. I love it! I also love the little notepad business cards, rather than the traditional card! I got the bee necklace from Erica Weiner Jewelery, and they were even nice enough th remove a few links from the chain while I waited!

Last but not least, the rainy outdoor events of yesterday (including a hole in my rain boots) prompted me to order these cute Wellingtons from Emilyhannah Ltd! They are currently having a 30% off sale, so check them out! I can't wait to have dry and stylish feet once again!

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Little Preview

Here is a little preview of what I have been working on lately:
(hint: think winter - yikes!)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Inter Alia, Icehouse on the El

The sewing machine is partially fixed, meaning just enough to do some basic projects, but not enough to do any quilting. The main problem now is a tension problem, but I seemingly have no speed regulation mechanism either, but that is nothing new. I am still on the hunt for a new machine - I hope to have that accomplished in the next month. Still, I was able to make some new sets of quilted note cards.
See my cute little "Atelier K" logo on the back???
I went to Maxwell Street last Sunday, and I got a shadow box for my sweat shop* and I also took this lovely little picture. I love the vibrant blues and reds and greens all mixed together, like a living urban landscape. Also recently thrifted, at a Salvation Army location that I'd never been to before (2 floors and some not so thrifty prices somewhere around Goose Island, possibly this location) was this gem of a vintage serving tray. Despite my claim of high prices, which I still stand by, this baby was a mere 45 cents! Score! It loves its new home already.
This vintage lightswitch plate was also recently "thrifted" in that I took it from my Gramma's dining room. I was hoping to install it in my bedroom, but it turns out that every single light switch in my apartment is of a larger variety, so it will have to be installed in my old bedroom at my parent's house.
And last, but certainly not least, this is what I surreptitiously took a picture of on the El at 1:45 this morning - this man had an Icehouse in the water bottle holder on his bicycle - if nothing else, this guy is a dedicated drinker!*"The Sweat Shop" is my roommate's affectionate name for my cozy little studio/workspace. And I do mean cozy, in every sense of the word.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday Zafus

My sister and a friend are going on a yoga retreat at the end of this month, so my sister decided I needed a new project. The project was "meditation cushions." After some google work, I decided that was too vague. After some consultation, it turns out that they wanted zafu cushions. Here is the finished product:
Done and done. Who's got another project for me to tackle?
p.s. Yes, yes, the quilts are still in the works for those of you on the list, but a new sewing machine is required first!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Yesterday's Thrifting Finds

Thought I'd take a break from my legal work to show what I found whilst thrifting yesterday: an awesome vintage necklace with a leaf-shaped clasp, and more fabric to add to my ever-growing stash (hopefully this will become part of an apron soon)...

First I hit up the Salvation Army on Fullerton, then the Unique on Diversey. It was the first time I had visited the Salvation Army on Fullerton - I found it sparse and very overpriced. The Unique on Diversey of always a crowd pleaser though.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Rug

I have been living in my current apartment since October, and have been passively looking for an area rug since. My roommate has a lovely jute rug from World Market, similar to this one, but I couldn't justify $100 for something in a larger size. Then, a few weeks ago, inspiration struck, and I was so in love with the simple idea from idahostudios that I decided I had to make one myself. I meandered over to the local carpet store today, and told the woman I was looking for greens and browns, the weirder the better. She was only able to come up with some weird ones (the plaid and then the smaller print ones), but I think they provide some nice variations to the rug. The pieces were marked $2 each, but I asked if the smaller ones were cheaper. I ended up getting all the pieces for $10, and I'm sure if I had a $10 bill, there wouldn't have been tax, but unfortunately I had to charge it, as I had just been to the thrift store, so the total for the carpet was $11.02. I also had to get a new roll of duct tape, which was a whopping $7.08, but I figured I'd get the largest roll of tape since I was out. So, without further ado, here is my masterpiece of a rug.After taking this picture I realized how hideous my black bedside table is. (You can catch a glimpse of its ugly spidery legs in the photo.) Therefore, I resolve to paint that sucker soon! The list of projects grows by the minute!

The kitchen light also got installed successfully this weekend - it was a 7:30 am daddy-and-me project, which necessitated me eating a bowl of cereal 20 minutes into the project so I wouldn't be so feisty. Other than that, we work well. The project was completed in time for me to meet my friend for brunch* and this included a trip back to the store to exchange a broken glass lightshade on a "final sale" item - see how persuasive lawyers can be!

Finally, this was last night's dinner and it was delicious! I used my bread machine to make the pizza dough from a recipe in this 1993 gem of a book, but I omitted the garlic from the dough. It was crispy on the bottom, yet still soft under the potatoes and fresh rosemary from the garden.

* My favorite and oft-frequented brunch place in the City!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chicago Style

So, this is how we do it Chicago style. I present my Chicago Flag Quilt:

I finished this quilt a few weeks ago for my sister's boyfriend. We worked together to come up with the Chicago flag idea. He also requested that I put a pocket on the back, so there is indeed a pocket!
Here are some Chicago style carrots that came from the garden this weekend:

And finally, here is the project I completed today, using the TipNut tutorial for how to print on fabric. I am thinking of also using this method for quilt labels, although it seems a little impersonal, however fancy and time saving it may be.

Projects in the works: installing a light over the kitchen table tomorrow morning at 7:30 am, acquiring buttons for a new brooch project, fixing a dress that became too trendy, and getting 4 AA batteries for my hand-held sewing machine. Maybe writing these here will keep me on track...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pitchfork and DEPART-ment

I attended Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park with my roommate yesterday. While I thought Spoon was going to be the highlight of the fest, it turns out that I got a TON of crafty ideas from DEPART-ment, which was also on the premises. I also bought this really cute necklace from a vendor there called Recycled Rings, and I am wearing it to inspire me as I work on writing this opinion regarding subpoenas! I'm going to need a lot of inspiration.

I also recently found this fun idea for a swimsuit greeting card, which I plan on modifying. I think it will be a great use of some fabric scraps!

Currently baking: onion rye bread with caraway seeds.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Broken, finally

Two days ago, my sewing machine (a Sticthmaster Zig Zag Deluxe) finally conked out on me. It appears to be a problem with the tension. I diagnosed the problem by looking to the decades-old manual that told me the upper thread tension was too tight. It was on 1 - it could not go any lower, so I carefully took apart the offending parts of the machine, and it appeared that an inside screw was slightly bent. I remedied that problem, but to no avail with the tension situation.

Luckily I bought a hand-held sewing machine in Eagle River on vacation this year, and I suspect that might do the trick for all the cards I need to finish quilting. Since telling people I am selling my cards at Wolfbait, people seem to be coming out of the woodwork expressing interest, but I have no more finished cards! Hopefully I can remedy this soon. Hopefully I can also remedy the problem of a real sewing machine - more on this in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Atelier K!

Today I have finally gotten my "Atelier K" stamp for my cards! next step will be applying the branding to my scarves and quilts and then bringing some of them over to a few specialty stores! Hurray!