Monday, September 27, 2010

The One With Valerie's Senior Pictures (Sneak Peak)

It's Senior Pictures time! Here are some that I took of my sister-in-law Valerie. Isn't she beautiful.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The One With the Rall Family Photos

My sister-in-law came to visit with her hubby and baby girl. They asked me to take some pictures for their Christmas card this year. Here are the results.

I actually took these at a party celebrating Carly's baptism, but I just love the sentiment.

Cute as a little button!

In this one, Carly was smiling really big because her dad came over to entertain her. I love how much she loves him!

And the whole family!
And here is the Christmas card I put together for them.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The One with the Signs for Amity

Recently I was hired to hand paint some signs for a grocery story in Amity, Oregon, called Amity Foods. I basically repeated the same process as with the Carson General Store sign, only this project was much bigger. I painted 8 eight-foot signs in black and white with a burgundy border. It took a long time and the black paint was difficult to make even.

To begin, the boards were primed and painted white. Then, after projecting the image and tracing the letters, I did the first round of outlining in black paint.

This part made me feel like a real artist because it reminded me of Michaelangelo's quote when asked about the statue of David, "How do you take a rough stone and make such beauty from it?" to which he replied, "I just carve away anything that isn't art." This project made me feel like I was carving away everything that wasn't the letters of the signs. Silly, I know, but it got me through the very long process.

It took a few more rounds of touch-ups with white and black paint alternatively to perfect the signs. And finally I added a burgundy border. And here's a shot of what all the signs looked like lined up and waiting to be picked up by the owners of the Amity store.

Sorry about the glare, the black paint was very shiny. One of these days I'm hoping to drop by the store and get pictures of them actually mounted. Until then, you'll just have to get the idea from the lineup above.

The One with Ellie's First Birthday Party

Bear with me... this one has a lot of pictures.
This past week Michelle's daughter Ellie and Mallory celebrated their birthdays! The festivities began with brunch at the Original Pancake House in Portland.

And then we had a little party for Ellie on Saturday. She had a three-tiered, homemade, chocolate cake covered in colored melting wafers for the polka-dot effect.

And then there was a pink almond cake for Mallory who (gasp!) doesn't like chocolate cake.

Ellie didn't quite know how to approach her top tier of cake.

Which she also matched.
And here is the buffet table. We had bruschetta, a tortellini, bacon and broccoli salad, a chicken Caesar salad, a bacon, lettuce and tomato dip, turkey wraps and a raspberry lemonade punch. Everything was very, very delicious.

And here's a peak of the decorations. More about that later.

I put up all my favorite pictures from her first year using clothespins with pretty paper glued on top.

And then, of course, Ellie had to open her presents. She was very polite and read the cards first.

The One with Ellie's Memory Quilt

Well, Ellie is 5 years old now, and I have finally completed her memory quilt. It was actually completed for a time when she was only a year old. But then the binding was coming off and needed to be repaired and I got the opportunity to quilt the blanket on my grandmother's quilting machine. So I took off the binding and the backing and redid the whole assembly. Anyway, after quilting it and redoing the binding, it is complete again and I thought I'd update this post accordingly.

I began making this memory quilt for Ellie as gift her first birthday. The idea was to use some of her onesies and other clothes to make the quilt top as a way to commemorate her baby-hood. Originally, I thought it would have been cool to have what she was wearing when she first came home from the hospital (I did get that one), what she was wearing when she started crawling, walking, talking, etc. It turns out, however, that these grand moments in childhood are not so easily defined. So instead, I just took the onesies that I liked best, were special presents just for her and, when possible, commemorated special events.

The first step was the hardest for me: cutting up her clothes. Of course, I saved plenty of clothes for any future baby girls and I just couldn't bear to cut up anything too valuable. I had to constantly reassure myself that onesies are cheap and usually stained and it would be easy to replace them for another baby. I also had to convince myself that Ellie would enjoy them much more as a blanket than tucked away in storage for years on end until someday I pulled them out for her to look at or play with or (shuddering at the thought) dress her own baby in.

Having gotten over my fear of destroying onesies, I spent a good bit of time laying them out in the perfect pattern. And then of course I sewed them together in strips and then assembled the strips. I picked out a cute border fabric at Joann's and some pink minky fabric for the back. Originally, I just stitched along the border to "quilt" the pieces together, but eventually I was able to quilt it with my aunt and grandmother. My aunt got me started and even stitched Ellie's name in one of the squares, which I really love.

The exact dimensions of this quilt aren't really necessary, but some people have asked so here they are: 

Ellie loves it and I'm glad I did it. Olivia's is in the works and just waiting to be quilted. Should I make one for Henry? Would a little boy ever care about something like that?

P.S. Here are some things I learned making the first quilt that have come in helpful on the second:

  • use an iron-on interfacing on the back of the squares of clothing to help them keep their shape and be more durable during the whole quilting process. I didn't do this for Ellie's and there are some wobbly lines that could have been avoided. Most baby clothing is stretchy, so it's important to have something that keeps it in its place.
  • I originally used this tutorial to make the binding. In the second round I did a blind hem stitch. In general, if there is a part of quilting or blanket making that you don't know how to do, I would suggest looking it up on YouTube or searching tutorials via Pinterest. I could make a tutorial, but there are so many already out there, that I don't feel like it is necessary.
  • This particular quilt ended up being about 40 inches by 51 inches. There are 35 squares made from 6-inch blocks of onesie material. I used quarter-inch seams, so the blocks end up being 5 1/5 inches each. You should be able to get two blocks from each onesie, though, so you don't necessary need 35 articles of clothing you are willing to destroy. Clothing that is stained or otherwise unusable is the best resource, since it can't be handed down to future children or donated. Be aware that especially if you are using newborn or 0-3 month sizes of clothing, you will likely need to take them apart at the seams in order to get enough fabric to make a 6 inch square. 
    The two borders are 2-inch border (1.5 inches after sewing 1/4 inch seams) and 4 1/2 inches. I bought 1/4 yard of the first and 1/2 yard of the second. The back, if you use these exact measurements, should be about 1 1/2 yards of fabric, at least 44 inches wide. If you aren't sure exactly how much you'll need, finish the quilt top and then buy the backing and quilting batting once you know the dimensions.
  •  I am currently working on the second edition of this quilt for my second daughter and have done it a little differently. I am using 4 inch squares instead of 6 inch, and I have 88, but since you can get 3-4 out of each onesie, I still didn't need too many. 
  • You can choose to cut the clothing however you like, but 6-inch squares are probably the biggest you will be able to get if you use teeny tiny baby clothing. It would also be fun to do long rectangular pieces, or smaller square, or maybe even triangles! I'd love to see the different things that could be done with this. (So if you make one, send me a picture!)

(And now you can see the original pictures from this post, which I won't remove so people can find this post via Pinterest pins of these photos.)

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