Hey there 2015!

Let’s take a look back at 2014, shall we?

2014 Leaves

At the beginning of 2014, I started a little weekly photo challenge for myself. I wanted to practice using my camera, and take lots of photos every week. I went strong for 22 weeks, then just…stopped. I got a little burned out, and needed a break from the camera. In 2015 I’m aiming to take lots of photos again, but not on such a strict schedule. Less stress, ya know?!

Probably the biggest moment of 2014 was buying a house in March! I hope to do an updated house tour soon, now that we are all settled in. All you’ve seen are the empty rooms! Seems crazy that we’ve already made it our own style and gotten so attached to our little house.

Our First Home

In March, I my first traveling of the year to Kentucky to see my sister and her family for her birthday.

having fun outside

I love this little boy so much.

Then in May we went to NYC! John and I spent our one year anniversary here, and we had the best time. I’d like to go back…tomorrow. Ok? Thanks!

wk 22 insp 02

Central Park amazingness

We also took a quick trip to Oklahoma to celebrate my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary. I tear up just thinking about how much love they have for each other and for their family. It was a super special evening celebrating these two. Aren’t they cute?

Granny and Grandpa 60 Years

Celebrating 60 Years

P.S. I can’t take credit for this amazing photo! Aunties, do you know who I can credit?

Halfway through 2014, I decided to enter a quilt in my very first quilt show! The Capital of Texas Quilt Fest. Seeing my quilt hanging up there with the rest of the amazing works of art was the best feeling. In 2015 I’m going to try and finish my latest quilt and enter it in another show. Details soon, I promise.

Liberty Geese Number 3, front

My first quilt show entry.

Oh and I joined a quilt bee! And I didn’t even tell you! How rude of me. I’m part of the “Sew Together” bee here in Austin, and we meet once a month to talk about art quilts and modern quilting. I’ve met some lovely ladies and am excited to learn and get inspiration from the group.

Not only did a join a quilt bee, but I also became a member of the Austin Modern Quilt Guild. I joined in October, and am slowly getting to know everyone. I love being a part of this group of like-minded quilters! I get to geek out about sewing and quilting, and I’m excited to attend more meetings in 2015.

More quilty things: Halloween was awesome because I went to the International Quilt Fest in Houston. My brain melted.

Ruby Jubilee quilt display

The next night John and I got all dressed up and went to our friend’s awesome Halloween party. Bonus points if you know who/what cartoon we are from.

Finn and the Ice King

I also opened my Etsy shop in 2014! I have just a few things listed so far, and I have been aiming to get even more items up in the next month or so. I’m really enjoying working on my shop, and I’m learning a lot.

Hey, I'm for sale!

Hey, I’m for sale!

The holidays were nuts around here. It seems like the last few months flew by, and I don’t even have ANY pictures except this one of cranberries. We hosted my parents for Thanksgiving, and I did a really bad job at making turkey. But the sides were DANG GOOD!

Cranberries

We spent Christmas day in Austin, then traveled to Wichita Falls to spend time with John’s side of the family. Lots of fun and food and family time.

Christmas lights in typical Austin fashion.

Christmas lights in typical Austin fashion.

 

Finally, we toasted to 2015, and said goodbye to 2014. We hosted a New Year’s party at our house, and it was a lot of work, but it was even more fun. I made a glitter CHEERS sign and everything.

Cheers to 2015

Looking good, lady friends!

 

And that’s a wrap. If you made it to the end of this post, I owe you a cookie.

I liked you, 2014. I liked you a LOT. But I’m ready for more adventures and crafts and sewing and reading and writing and eating. I think 2015 will be just right.

 

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My New Succulent Container Garden

IMG_2675

Today my friend Charly and I spent our afternoon at East Austin Succulents, finding the perfect plants to make our own succulent container gardens! Not only did they have an amazing selection of succulents, air plants, and cacti there, but they also had some helpful tips for caring for my new little plants.

East Austin Succulents
Rows and rows of succulents and cacti.

Plants from East Austin Succulents
It was tough narrowing down which ones to get!

Tillery Street Plant Co

East Austin Succulents shares a space with Tillery Street Plant Co., which also has a great selection of beautiful plants.

Giraffe Planter
Isn’t this giraffe planter awesome? It can be yours for about 500 bucks.

Craft Takeover Succulent Container Garden
The container for the plants came from Target. At about 8 inches wide, and not too deep, it’s the perfect size for all 10 tiny plants. There is also a drainage hole at the bottom of the planter, which is important to prevent overwatering.

Succulent Planter
Fuzzy details. That one in the front is so soft!

Succulent Container Garden from Craft Takeover
I’m so in love with my new little succulent garden. I plan on keeping it indoors on the dining room table. When I water it, I’ll leave it outside for a couple of days to get a little extra sun and not get too moist. The soil is a special blend that East Austin Succulent Garden makes, instead of regular potting soil.

Succulent Container Garden
I hope I can keep it healthy and beautiful for a long time to come!

Easy Cinder Block Planter

I’m so excited to start working in our new backyard. There are a few things on my wish list, like an outdoor table with an umbrella, a hammock, and a little veggie garden. One thing I recently marked off my wish list though, is this simple concrete planter. I love how cheap and easy this project is!easy cinder block plantercinder block flowers

This is actually the 3rd time I’ve done this project! Here’s the first attempt in 2012. I lived in a townhouse with a teeny tiny little yard. Once I made the planter…I didn’t really do much else, and it sat without plants until I moved out. Sad, right? At least the cats liked climbing on it!cinder block planter 2012

Since the concrete blocks were empty, they came with me when I moved out. I made the same planter a second time, and my dad helped me fill it with plants when he was visiting. (Thanks, Dad!)
cinder block planter 2013

Here’s another photo after the plants got big and took over.cinder block planter 2013-2

Here’s how you can make your own!

Cinder Block Planter

Materials Needed:
10 regular-size cinder blocks
2 half-size cinder blocks
Level
Soil
Mulch (optional)
Plants – any kind you like. I’ve had good success with various cacti and succulents. They are hard to kill!

Steps:
1. Find a good spot for your planter, and clear the area of any rocks and weeds.space for cinder blocks

2. Place your concrete blocks nearby, and lay the first row of blocks according to the diagram below. The “x” on the diagram means the block is turned sideways. (P.S. Gloves are helpful when moving the blocks around. Those things are not soft and cuddly! Careful not to drop one on your toes, either.)stacked cinder blocks

concrete planter 1
3. As you go, use a level to make sure you are placing the blocks evenly. Otherwise, they will not stack nicely. (Note: I know that in this photo the blocks don’t follow the diagram. I changed my mind and moved them around!)
leveling the cinder blocks

4. Continue layering the blocks until finished.
cinder block planter

5. Spread mulch around the planter, fill the holes with soil, and plant your flowers! cinder block flowers

Besides these pretty flowers, I think I may try to grow some herbs like basil, thyme, parsley, and mint. I’ll be filling the rest of the planter up soon!

This time around, I did a slightly smaller version of the cinder block planter. For the bigger version pictured earlier in this post, you would need 16 regular blocks, and 4 small blocks. Here is a diagram for the large version:

concrete planter 2

 

Have fun making your own cinder block planter! I’m glad I made mine now before the Texas heat gets too insane 🙂

Easy Quilted Coaster

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you are enjoying this lovely Sunday. Today we packed up most of our kitchen to move to the new house. This means I won’t be cooking any fancy Easter meals. Guess I’ll just enjoy an easy sandwich with coffee on my new quilted coaster. Look how cute!

quilted coaster 01

Recently I shared a tutorial for flying geese quilt blocks, so afterwards I had several of these blocks floating around just begging to be used for a project. I thought a teeny tiny quilt would make a great coaster for drinks, hot or cold.

I made a square with 2 of the flying geese blocks, then grabbed a scrap of batting and a piece of plain fabric for the backing. I used a couple of pins around the edge to hold the layers together, then took it over to my sewing machine for some simple straight line quilting (start with a line right down the middle to keep things in place!). This couldn’t be easier, the coaster is a great size to work with. Just take a second every now and then to check out the back of the coaster and make sure your quilting is looking ok. I quilted each line about a quarter of an inch apart, and didn’t mind if my lines were a little imperfect. It has some character that way!

quilted coaster 03

Instead of doing something more time consuming like a traditional binding, I used my serger to stitch and seal around the outside of the coaster to finish.

quilted coaster 02

Making a coaster is a great way to use up extra quilt blocks you might have. Bonus points if you have enough for a matching set! Of course you could also quickly sew up some blocks in order to make as many as needed. This is a project without strict guidelines – just use scraps you have on hand, make however many you like, and in whatever size you want!

quilted coaster 04

I’m looking forward to making a whole set of these for our coffee table at home, and I think this would also be a really great handmade gift to give!

Our First Home

Our First Home

As I mentioned earlier this week, John and I have officially purchased our first home!

new house

Can you tell I’m excited about the kitchen in the new place?

We will be slowly moving over the next month or so, so we’ll be keeping busy around here in the rental house we currently live in. Today I spent a few hours just organizing things we need to get rid of. It always feels good to simplify a little before you move into a new place.

Anyways, back to the house. I wanted to share the things I’m extra excited about!

Modern orange front door.
This bold orange front door.

Stainless steel open shelving in the kitchen.
The open shelving in the kitchen.

Kitchen storage space
Storage space!

Bathroom
This perfect-for-bubbles bathtub. 

Beautiful open kitchen.
Using this amazing stove and kitchen island. It faces the living room! I can just imagine how awesome it will be to watch Girls and cook a delicious dinner at the same time.

Sunny work corner.
I plan on setting up my sewing and work station in this sunny corner.

Two master closets.
Not one, but TWO master bedroom closets.

Orange nook in the hallway
This funny little orange nook.

Art spotlight.
This art spotlight in the hallway. What am I going to put here?

Also excited about:
Painting walls whatever color I fancy.
Growing flowers and veggies in the backyard.
And soooo many more things.

We have just a couple big things on the to-do list:

  • electrical work
  • privacy fence
  • buy a fridge
  • oh, and move all our stuff in!

We are so excited about the possibilities in our new place. I can’t wait to show more pictures as we get settled in, and then the decorating can begin! My favorite part 🙂

Painted Silhouette Portrait

Last year after Christmas, I shared with you guys the fantastic handmade wooden toothbrush holder my dad made for me as a gift.

Well, this year my parents have done it again! I had to share.side by side silhouette portraits

Here’s the backstory: My mom has always had a framed silhouette portrait of her profile as a child. When I was growing up, I always thought it was soooo neat and told my mom I wanted to keep it.

So, instead of giving me her copy, she painted me my own version! I think it’s so amazing and thoughtful. After she painted it, my dad crafted a little wooden frame for the canvas, and my mom stained it.

silhouette portrait decorframed silhouette painting

Isn’t it a great idea to make a simple painting from a loved photograph as a gift? Sometimes homemade presents are the best ones.

Around the house

 

 

Wanted to share a few photos of things I’ve been loving around the house.

Here’s my quilt setup on weekends. All I need is some good coffee, a comfy chair, and a little cat for company, and I’m happy quilting for hours.
weekend quilt setup
My favorite outside spot on the porch.
favorite place to sit
My plants are growing like crazy. The planter my dad and I made is my favorite part of the backyard. You can hardly see the concrete blocks anymore!
crazy overgrown plants
John’s parents gifted us this lovely family quilt for our wedding. It’s got a new home in the guest bedroom.
cozy guest bed quilt
Here’s a detail shot. I love all the bright colors and crazy scraps that went into this quilt.guest bed quilt detail
Speaking of quilts, I’ve got ideas brewing for my next project. More details coming soon.
my next quilt design
Making good use of this chalkboard I used in our wedding. Breakfast taco love + flowers to add color in the kitchen.
chalkboard love and flowers
Currently reading Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card. Just finished several books from his Ender’s Game series and I needed more. So good.
currently reading
Watched this tutorial video and worked on my origami skills. Little elephant is keeping my hair products company. (p.s. the woman’s voice in that video is so soothing!)
origami elephant

Just a few things I wanted to share…now I need to get to work on the broken dishes quilt. I’m SO close to being done and I can’t wait to share the finished product here!