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My parents gave me this old foot chest when I was home in July. It was in my room as a little girl, and I’ve always loved it. It’s spent the past 10 years collecting dust and mementos in their basement. I managed to lug it up to my second-floor apartment by myself, and now it’s once again in my bedroom, storing quilts made me, my grandmothers, and my great-grandmother.

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Seriously, is there nothing that grey paint and Amy Butler fabric can’t fix?

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A Quilt Begins

I’ve made six quilts in the past year. A few were gifts, a few were to sell, and a few were for me to use. Of the ones I’ve kept, only one has any real emotional significance to me, and that was the first one. The others are just pretty compilations of pretty fabric that keep me warm when it’s a bit chilly.

I want to make a quilt that means something.

So I’m going to.

I’ve never done a scrappy quilt before, but seeing as how my scrap box overfloweth, it’s probably time. Many scrappy quilt patterns I’ve seen on pinterest and elsewhere seem really complicated, which would totally cramp my “patchwork is awesome because you can do WHATEVER you want” style. So I won’t be doing those. Instead I’ll be making a color-blockish pattern with simple 10-inch blocks (easy to cut, easy to piece, easy to stitch-in-the-ditch).

What’s the meaning in a scrappy quilt? Fabric for me holds emotions and memories like pictures do for other people. Looking at beautiful fabric I can recall every project I’ve made with that particular print: the excitement, the frustration, the triumph, and joy on the face of the person receiving it. Fabric is my cognitive therapy.

The first step was to sort all the scraps by color: blues, greens, reds/pinks, and whites/yellows. This was probably the most enjoyable activity I’ve ever done. Seeing each little piece, feeling them, and then organizing them with their pretty brothers and sisters. You’ll notice most of this is Amy Butler and Sandi Henderson. I never pretended not to be obsessed.

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And now the piecing begins! I have no real plan, which is how I like it. More to come.

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My sister is quickly surpassing me in the kitchen. I’m ok with it, for the most part. Especially when she teaches me things like Chicken a la Sis.

What is Chicken a la Sis, you ask? It’s a chicken breast stuffed with 1-2 vegetables and cheese. The possibilities are endless: asparagus and mozzarella; red pepper, spinach, and gouda; spinach and Swiss; broccoli and cheddar, and on and on.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Saute your vegetable(s) in some olive oil and garlic until they soften.
2. Stuff the chicken with what you just sauteed. There are two ways to do this.

  • Pound the chicken flat and thin, then roll it up with the stuffing inside, securing with toothpicks.
  • Cut a small slit, then cut an opening in the side of the chicken breast (so the opening is small, but you can stuff to the outer edges all the way around.

3. Put your cheese in the chicken.
4. Bake at 400 for about 30 – 35 minutes.

 

What combinations can you come up with? Please share!

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Bubbupdates

I really appreciate everyone who wished Kane well during our scare the week before last. After our initial trip to the vet, he did much better for a few days. Then, he began having the opposite problem–he couldn’t hold his pee. He ended up soaking both of us after sneaking onto the bed one night. Back to the vet, where the polyp/mass/spot on the X-ray looked the same, and the doctor drew blood to check for adrenal diseases.

The blood was mostly normal, but indicated a deficit in his thyroid production. So, my svelte, 1%-body-fat, solid muscle boy has hypothyroidism. The good news is this is a very treatable condition, and the herbal thyroid support supplements and Western thyroid medication are fairly inexpensive. We go back in 3 weeks to check the mass/polyp again, and for more blood work to see if the herbs have corrected his thyroid deficiency. (He’s also on several herbal supplements to break up whatever that mass is, so he can flush it.)

I haven’t seen any blood in his urine, and his overall demeanor is back to normal. He may even be a bit better than he was before this; some of the herbs target and quench his “fiery” constitution.

So, we keep moving forward.

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I’ve heard many couples on home improvement shows say that the bedroom is always the last room they decorate, because no one sees it but them. I get it, but for me, the bedroom is uber important. That’s where the most important 8 hours of my life happen, and I want them to happen in a nice, pretty, relaxing room.

So the bedroom has gotten most of the attention in my new apartment.

The “makeover” (is it a makeover when you’re starting from scratch?) involved two major projects: a new patchwork duvet and shams, and decorator-quality drapes (8 of them—-4 big windows).

Allow me to share:

The Duvet

This thing is gorgeous. Gorgeous.

It’s made entirely from Amy Butler’s Lark line, which is super bright, fun, and elegant. I used her free pattern/tutorial for a duvet from her website, and modified to make it look the way I wanted. I also made the matching shams, which have that awesome coral block simply because I didn’t have enough of the jade fabric to make them solid. But I think it works.

I don’t mean to brag, but my friend Mel, upon seeing this duvet, asked me, “This is from Anthropologie, right?” That question absolutely made my day.

 

The Drapes

These drapes are amazing. They are from Joel Dewberry’s Heirloom collection (which is currently on clearance at fabric.com), and I lined them with a bolt of pale yellow fabric I bought from a lady I met on Craigslist during the summer.

They are really nice quality, thick enough to block out sound, yet light enough to allow natural light to filter through. I absolutely adore the color scheme, and you wouldn’t believe how happy it makes me that they coordinate with my super awesome duvet.

 

Kane’s New Bed

I have a really bad habit of letting Kane sleep with me, but this needs to stop for several reasons:

  • It would only be a slight exaggeration to say I love my duvet more than I love him. I want to keep it nice.
  • I’d like my bed to not smell like dog on a regular basis.
  • I’m home all day with him, and he needs the alone time to promote autonomy.

I tried making him a bed from a crib mattress, but the texture of it freaked him out. I debated for several weeks about springing for a memory foam dog bed, but eventually decided it just wasn’t worth $200. Then, while I was at Hancock’s, I noticed their selection of furniture-quality upholstery foam, and had an idea. It was on sale, so I bought two pieces of 22x36x4 foam and glued them together, to make one 44×36 piece of foam. Then I made a “duvet”/zippered cover using one yard of outdoor fabric and a flat sheet I had on hand. I plan to re-do it eventually to make it look a little nicer and fit the foam better, but it serves its purpose for now.

Note: I know I’m really bad about sharing tutorials for my projects. It’s not that I’m trying to monopolize them, I simply get too excited about them and forget to take pictures or remember the order of the steps. I’m in the market for fabric to make new living room curtains, and I’ll try to slow myself down enough to be able to craft a coherent tutorial. I’m also planning to do something super amazingly awesome for my living room wall this weekend, so I’ll be sure to share that step-by-step as well.

 

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Hey, did you guys know that I’ve fallen in love with Amy Butler fabric and patterns (and maybe the person, but I haven’t met her)?

Well, I have.

I whipped up these two tote bags on Tuesday night. Adorable, right?!


This one is a yoga mat/gym tote. I got the pattern from one of my favorite sewing sites, Sew4Home.  The pattern called for home-decor weight fabric, but I didn’t have any that I liked on hand. What I DID have on hand, however, was 17.5 yards of Soul Blossoms quilting-weight cotton. (What?! 17.5 yards is a reasonable amount to have on hand for something you really love.)

To reinforce it and give it the strength of a home decor weight fabric, I used Pellon mid-weight iron-on stabilizer. The outside is Amy Butler’s Soul Blossoms Joy Passion Lily Mulberry. The lining is Amy Butler Soul Blossoms Passion Twilight Peony Saffron.

The second bag, below was constructed exactly the same as the yoga mat tote, but the dimensions were different. I used a half yard of Amy Butler Soul Blossoms Passion Temple Tulips Cinnamon, cut in half across the middle to make 2 18″ x 22″ panels. The lining is Amy Butler Midwest Modern II Martini Ice.

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I’m still going strong with the Primal Challenge. I’m actually going stronger now than I was when I first started, so that’s awesome. I’ve started tracking my food via LiveStrong’s My Plate again, which is incredible for calculating your total carb intake for the day. And really guys, staying between 50 and 100 grams isn’t all that hard. Especially when you can have delicious things, like whipped heavy cream and Stevia, totally guilt free, when a craving hits you. (Like it may or may not have hit me yesterday afternoon.)

In four days I’ve racked up 4 hours and 15 minutes of low-level activity. I’ve also gotten in 2 intense (well, okay maybe only one was intense) full-body strength training sessions, and yesterday I turned my 3-mile run into a sprint workout. (And OH. MY. GOD. My lungs weren’t expecting that.) It’s Wednesday, and I could stop working out until Sunday if I wanted to. LOVE that!

Here’s what’s on the menu today:

Breakfast: Smoothie with Prograde, unsweetened cocoa, frozen banana, and light coconut milk

Lunch: Cinnamon-crusted pork chop, mixed greens and mushrooms sauteed in bacon fat, along with some bacon

Snack: 2 hard-boiled eggs, celery, organic cream cheese

Dinner: Spaghetti squash, shrimp, homemade red sauce

Totals:

Cals: 1395 (HECK YEAH!!)
Fat: 81 g (Who cares? It’s all natural, Grokkish fat)
Carbs: 71 g (HECK YEAH!!!)
Protein: 102 g (Woohoo!)

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My two best friends took me to lunch today for no reason other than it was a beautiful day.

They made me drive, and I left still a bit hungry, but we had a great time.

He's the slobberyist boy I know

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