Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Despite it being a busy year, Mr. Gardener and I managed to sneak in a few travels here and there.

Earlier this month, we went up to Baltimore to visit our friends, Bryan and Leah. They're actually friends of ours from Texas. Josh and Bryan were college friends in San Antonio and then we all wound up in Houston and attended the same church. About a year and some change ago, they moved out to the East Coast so Leah could pursue her MFA, and so we get to see them from time to time.

Baltimore is a fun, funny, artsy type of place.

For example, this presumably abandoned store and storefront. Just the level of chaos in its abandon amuses me. Why? Who knows? I'm weird.

Also the Senior Crossing sign. I don't know why I find this so hilarious, but I do. Is this the only place that seniors should cross? Are only seniors able to cross here? Will they check your ID?

Additional nerd alert: you can find quilt patterns anywhere. Check out that sidewalk. 

We visited a couple of fun bars, as well. Baltimore has some cool craft, local brews available. 

Again quilt patterns - check the sign. I could do something with those staggered blocks.

Soup of the day....BEER. hahahahaha

Also fantastic...this pub had ski ball!! I kicked Mr. Gardener's behinny.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. ;)

Have a fabulous day!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Summer Memories

I don't know about where you are, but it's cold here.

And I am not a fan.

Heck, it's already snowed here a couple of times. That's January/February weather, people. It is too early for that nonsense and winter has just begun.

So, while we miss the sun and warmth, I thought I'd share some pictures of a pretty little visitor who came to meet my marigolds this past summer. 

Plus, it's almost time to start garden planning and seed starting.

Never too early to start considering that. ;)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Holy Coloring Book, Batman!

I've talked to you folks about my adorable brother before. 

A few years ago, I made him a coloring book holder (following instructions from Martha), which turned out to be a big hit. 

Matt's a great artist and coloring (and music) help him deal with crowds of people when we're out and about. Since Matt has both Down's Syndrome and Autism, lots of strangers about and noise really stress him out. Coloring helps him stay focused and deal with the stressors.

However, that particular holder had seen better days...

Way better days.

So I was on a mission to make a new one. 

Once you've followed her (or others, there a million tutorials on these across the web) instructions, they're pretty easy to adapt. 

Her instructions call for felt, which makes a little sturdier case, but I was on the hunt for something a little more fun and colorful than I'd made the first go round. More Matthew-like.

So when I found this Batman fabric at JoAnn's, I knew I'd hit gold. 

These guys are the bomb. Every sewist should own one. They make turning out corners a snap.
Matthew loves Batman.

For example, when he stays at our house, he has a rotating set of DVDs that seem to live in his room. Among these are Batman Returns, Friends Season 4, and Jesus Christ Superstar.

What can I say? He has eclectic tastes.

The problem here was making it sturdy enough. Cotton alone really isn't going to work. So I got some pretty heavy duty Pellon interfacing and hoped for the best. 

I think it was Pellon 65, or something of a similar weight.

I tried to incorporate the Batman fabric in as many places as possible, including in the pen holder (Matthew is particular; his preferred medium is gel pen) and the notebook holder. 

I have to say, I think it turned out pretty well. He seemed to like it. 

I did inadvertently put my label on the front rather than the back of the book, but as far as mistakes go, that's pretty minor.

Notebook slides in on the right and pens go in on the left. 

So glad this experiment worked. It's actually much sturdier than the original. I am beginning to become a huge interfacing fan. The right stuff makes all the difference, although it is sometimes difficult to decide what type is right for a particular project. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Mr. Gardener and I would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas this year.

May we all celebrate and rejoice in this season that is a reminder that God is Emmanuel, that He is truly with us.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[c]
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Luke 2:8-20

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Better Late than Never

So...yes, that last post? I may have been a bit premature in declaring victory over work.

Things got a bit, shall we say, insane after that. Not quite to the point where work put me up in a hotel again (did I mention that during the craziest period over the summer they put me up in a hotel next to the office? I'm sure I didn't since I hadn't written since the Juneish timeframe.), but pretty insane.

I am definitely using the next couple of weeks to burn off as much of my comp time as I can. It certainly won't be all of it, but I look at it like an investment. :)  They do take good care of me after all and I did get a promotion when the whole bit started, so I really can't complain.

Either way, for those of you who are reading this post, thanks for checking in again. I will attempt to be more regular again in my blogging, since we seem to have hit a more regularish tempo at work, but I will also not make any promises. We know how the last one turned out. ;)

Right now, I'm using the time that I should be cleaning my house and finishing some last minute grocery shopping to write this post. Also, my mother gave me an article on ADHD the other day. I should probably read that.

I have managed to sew quite a few things in the interim with stolen time here and there.

But, because I'm dumb, pictures of most will have to wait until I can snag them back from their recipients. With whom I'm spending Christmas, so it shouldn't be a problem. ;) They can model. Probably unwillingly. But I'm persuasive.

But what I'm really excited to show you is new fabric I got for a new quilt.

New quilt, Ashleigh? Have you finished the other million that you're working on?


I did finish one!

But probably not the one you're thinking of....that one is almost finished. It needs a few more hours, then it should be complete!

Here are some pictures just to give you some of the progress (it's been basted and partially quilted at this point, so I'm much further along, but I have no pictures of that progress for you):

I hope to finish this guy this week. So close!

Then I will have four quilt finishes for 2013, which is four more than I have ever had!

By the way, this method of keeping my seams straight and at a consistent quarter inch really didn't work for me. This is one of the areas that I really need to work on. 

This, above and below, is the finished quilt. I've been working on this baby for about a year and a half. It's actually the quilt that brought about the final death of my old sewing machine (wherein I may or may not have punched the machine). 

It's for my brother, and since you may or may not be able to tell from these pictures, yes, it is a Halloween themed quilt. 

That he will get for Christmas. 

More with final pictures later. It's in the wash as we speak. 

And finally, new quilt in the works below!

Yum. Look how fun that is!

Above is Rain Basic in Black from Timeless Treasures. I think that I will need to stash some of that. It's so pretty! And colorful!

I'm pretty stoked about this quilt. It's a baby quilt for an artsy friend, who has similar tastes to mine when it comes to bold color and whimsy.

From the top, there's the Rain Basic, then you can see a tiny sliver of Alexander Henry (you can see it better in the picture below), followed by Stella Solid in Lime from Dear Stella, Free Spirit Solid in Parrot Blue, Free Spirit Solid in Saffron, Free Spirit Solid in Red, Pure Elements Solid in Burnt Orange from Pat Bravo, and Crosshatch in Black from Carolyn Friedlander.

Again, you can see the Rain Basic, followed by Pop Art Countdown in Multi from Alexander Henry. I am in love with this, too. I may stash that as well. Perfect for baby quilts. 


And I'm planning on mixing in a bunch of scraps. Stay tuned. 

And friends, they may not be the best pictures because it was darn cold outside. Especially, since it was 70 yesterday and today there's ice in my ornamental kale (look in the middle). 

But pansies keep the area bright even in winter. :)