Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My second calling

In my next life, I'm going to be a party planner.  The other weekend was my brother and sister-in-law's baby shower for their first child (and my first biological niece!!![I love Rayna, but I'm excited for one of my own, too. Now Mr. T and I don't have to share.]), who is due in September.  Their friends were the official hosts, but seeing as they have their own adorable four month old daughter to look after, Mom, my SIL's SIL, and I all pitched in to help out. My SIL's SIL handled the bar, Mom made the desserts, and I provided decorations. The shower was simple - really more of an open house for my brother and SIL's friends to come say hi, drop off a gift, and have some lunch.  Co-ed, no games, no present-opening at the event.

We held the party in the clubhouse of my brother's neighborhood.  I had been in the room a few times, but forgot how massive it is until we actually arrived. Food, drinks, and the gift table were along the walls behind this photo, and dessert was across the room.

The main decorations were buckets of paper flowers that I made (with some help from Mr. T, Molly, Julia, and Lindsay. Thanks guys!). This photo was my original inspiration, and I used this tutorial (though they're quite simple, so once you make one the rest come naturally). I made 448 individual flowers, 112 in each color - yellow, pink, purple, and orange.  For the table coverings, I just used $2 plastic tablecloths in an off-white color, and then covered them with a loose-weave burlap runner.

Each bouquet had 4 different shades of the respective color, 3 solids and 1 print, just to add a little interest. I hot glued them to floral wire and then we filled the buckets with wet sand to hold the flowers in place.  The day before the shower, Mr. T and I showed up at my brother's place with 2 paper bags FULL of flowers, and 28 empty buckets. At 10:30 that night we all (including my 7mo. pregnant SIL) gathered around the kitchen table to stuff buckets, then I frantically glued the leaves on the next morning just in time to set up before the guests arrived.

There's also a large fireplace in the room, so I stenciled a few onsies with flowers in colors to match the bouquets, then used some twine and washi tape to hang them across the mantel.  Mr. T said this looked like babies strung up at the gallows, but I like it.

Mom knocked it out of the park with the desserts.  She's a trained pastry chef, though she doesn't work in the industry anymore, so she's always recruited for this role at events.  At Thanksgiving, she brings an entire suitcase just of dessert, and a small carry-on for her clothes.

She made two kinds of brownies (chocolate orange and double chocolate), two kinds of macarons (mexican chocolate and, my favorite, salted caramel) and her famous sugar cookies (I may or may not have taken most of the leftover sugar cookies home).

Is that one on the left bothering anyone else? I wish I had noticed and moved it!
Finally, on the gift table we had sachets of candy-coated sunflower seeds for guests to take as a party favor.  Mom ordered FIFTEEN POUNDS! of seeds - individually packaging them was another of our night before activities, along with making the paper flower bouquets.

Overall, it was a success! My bro and SIL had a good time, they got some good gifts (I'll share what I gave them soon), and I got a lot of compliments on my flowers!  Thankfully most of the bouquets were claimed by family and friends (I have one in my office), so I didn't have to throw too much of my hard work in the trash.  I also received some advice on how to monetize my crafting, but for now it's just a fun hobby.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap

Last month I was one of the 600 people who participated in round 2 of the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap.  I probably shouldn't have, given all of the items on both my crafting and life agendas, but I did - and boy am I glad I did!

First up, here's what I sent my partner, Alexis (note - I lost my photos, so I stole the ones she posted on Instagram)

In the information Alexis provided, she seemed very enthusiastic about tea, so I took that as my inspiration and ran with it. I paper pieced the teapots in the four colors she listed as her favorites, using this pattern (teapot block #1), with a variety of gray background fabrics. She also said Lizzy House was one of her favorite designers. I was trying to work only from my stash, and this was the only Lizzy House I had, so it became the backing.

Participants are also encouraged, though not required, to send a few extras. I sent a fat quart, some washi tape, note cards, tea, a Dr. Who bookmark, and a boatload of gummy candy.  Everyone says it, but it was really hard to part with this quilt. I don't even like tea, but I thought it was pretty fun. At least I know it's going to someone who appreciates all the work that goes into even a mini quilt.

Now on to what I received! Getting my own quilt in the mail definitely made it a bit easier to part with the one I made.

Angela made this quilt for me and I LOVE it! I wrote that I love bright colors and retro (as in featuring retro items) prints, and she nailed it! Plus, that quilting is unbelievable. I had it taped on the what for a bit, but then it fell off. But as soon as I have time I'm going to sew a hanging sleeve on. It's already got a nice empty space of wall waiting for it!

Oh, and here's the rest of my loot!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DGS June 2014

A few days late, but here's the next installment of do. Good Stitches blocks, this time for Linda using this tutorial.  She requested blocks of complimentary colors.

Fabric: Dear Stella (peacock feathers) and Denyse Schmidt for JoAnn (orange)
And because quilters love cats:

Mitchell photobomb!