Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chevron and Cherries.

I'm going nuts not knowing if I'm going to have a niece or nephew come September. Luckily, my sister is kind of streamlining things- if it's a boy, the baby's room will be green and gray, if it's a girl: orange and gray. She's decided that it's definitely a girl, and my brother-in-law is for sure that it's a boy. I sort of split the difference and went with gray front, girly back, and green binding. Ha!

I bought an issue of Quilty on a whim at Michael's a while ago. There are several quilts in the magazine that I intend to make, but one in particular caught my eye: Chevron. I thought that it would look great in white and gray patterns. I went through my fabric collection and found a bunch of gray, gray print, and black and white print that I thought would work, and luckily, I had enough for a baby sized quilt. Aside: I love having a fabric stash big enough to be able to do things like this. This is my first time actually using a quilt pattern. It's nice to not have to figure out measurements on your own.

Here's the back: it's cherry-printed quilter's flannel.

I quilted it really simply with straight lines. This is what the pattern suggested and I decided to roll with it.

For the binding, I pieced a light green and a dark green together randomly. I also made actual bias-binding this time because it's for a baby, and I'm hoping it will get used and spit up on and washed a lot.

Now I just need to make a label and mail it off!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Slightly Nautical Easter Brunch

Yes, Easter happened awhile ago. Right after Easter, I went to the Midwest to visit my family, and got stuck there for longer than planned because of a massive ice- and snow-storm. Literally every item outside was coated in a thick layer of ice. I didn't know that individual blades of grass could look like that. It was shockingly unpleasant. When I got back to the glorious place that is California, I couldn't make myself sit down and blog at the computer when there was outside stuff to do. Like plant tomatoes and sunbathe and grill and really just enjoy the perfect sunshine, beautiful and crazily abundant flowers, and sheer happiness that is living here. As my (cancelled, delayed, cancelled again, more delays) flight was finally landing in California, I thought I was going to cry of happiness when I saw all of the green. That, or sheer exhaustion. Maybe both.

So anyway. Here's my Easter brunch. This year I went with a slightly nautical theme, because I'm pretty sure that I am meant to live in New England. I love all things nautical- always have. I seriously get asked if I'm going sailing at least twice a month. Usually by the same old man who works in my building, but still. I stuck with a navy, white, and pink color palette, so I guess it should really be "nautical preppy," or "Ralph Lauren." My decorations were super simple, and made of things I already had on hand. I love it when I can do a whole party with stuff I already have in my craft room. Makes me feel thrifty.

We had 16 or so people for brunch, so we moved our picnic and beer pong tables into the house and stuck them end-to-end. I have several white sheets I use for tablecloths. Some day I mean to buy actual tablecloths, but sheets are so easy. The low-thread-count ones from Walmart are cheap, come in lots of colors, and when people inevitably spill on them, you just chuck them in the washer. So I used the white sheets, and for a table runner (which I must always have on a long table like this, or I get twitchy) I used a satiny navy scarf I had in my dresser. I really wanted to do a centerpiece of pink peonies, but my florist didn't have them in yet. Instead I bought a pink, white, and green bouquet from the grocery store and took it apart. I cut everything way down, like you must do with the crazy long stems of grocery store bouquets, and I added in some pink roses and greenery from my yard. The vase cover was incredibly simple. I measured a piece of tagboard to the height and width of my vase, then hot-glued it into a cylinder. Then I took some navy and white yarn and glued it on in stripes. Easy.

For napkin rings, I cut strips of navy-and-white striped fabric, cut a "V" into the ends, rolled my oatmeal-colored linen napkins, and tied a strip of fabric around each one.

I've developed some sort of pathological need to have a dessert table at every event ever, even if dessert would be kind of inappropriate, or if there will only be a few people there. Can't help it. My credenza is perfect for dessert tables, and they call to me. For this one, I made three cakes- carrot, white with raspberry filling, and coconut. The carrot I baked in a heart-shaped pan, and the other two, a 6" round. The coconut cake was especially fun to make. Inspired by this tutorial, I made pink ombre sugar dots to cover the cake. They were so easy to make, and fun, too. They're pretty much just sugar cubes, like the ones for coffee. For the white cake, I made a simple little bunting with scrabooking paper, string, and two skewers. I have quite a few clear cake stands from when I was a professional cupcakerist that are perfect for dessert tables, so I put the cakes on those. I have an apothecary jar that is usually full of wine corks, so I just replaced them with pink peeps to keep with the color scheme. I always like to decorate the wall behind the dessert bar, so I made a simple bunting with navy and white cardstock and pink ribbon.

Everything bagels are one of my favorite foods, but I have yet to have a good bagel in California. So in true over-doing-it fashion, I made bagels. From scratch. It took forever. They were delicious, but ohmygosh were my arms sore from kneading the dough. My husband decided that if I was making bagels we'd need some smoked salmon to go with it, and our smoker is new enough that he's still enamored with it, so he smoked a few salmon pieces to go with the bagels.

And of course we had a Bloody Mary bar. What's brunch without it?