Monday, December 8, 2008

Shredded to Snuggly and Sophisticated Perfection

I can't wait to make my next version of this quilt. They are so fun to make and look and feel like a million bucks when they are snipped and washed. This one sold in one day, so it looks like I will have to get back to the sewing machine quickly and keep my etsy shop well stocked with these puppies!
And, stay tuned for a smaller "lovie" version, with satin backing!

Featured Etsybloggers: Holy Cow! It's Spotted Cow Soaps

Holy Cow! The School Food Service Director behind the Etsy shop Spotted Cow Soaps certainly has her act together. She just celebrated her 300th order about a month ago and is hoping to celebrate her 500th order soon too! If that doesn't attest to the quality of her soaps and other body-goodies, the fact that she comes from Vermont should. (It always seems like all good things come from Vermont, doesn't it? Whether it's soap or soapstone, Vermont, apparently has it all!)
She also has a kickin' blog!

Blog Carnival: Spotlight on Fellow Etsyblogger Christmas Item

Still searching for the perfect Christmas gift? Check out SkyGirlStyle's cute red and green accessories for girls.
This former flight attendant seems to have found her place among etsybloggers great crafters!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blog Carnival: Favorite Thanksgiving Tradition

For me, all other traditions pale in comparison to one critical tradition that goes with all holidays: spending time with family. Being married, you learn to "spread the wealth" in terms of your time with each side of the family, but I know that my husband, my children and I value our time with whomever we are going to be with from our families.
This year, we are excited to be spending time with my "little brother" and his wife in South Carolina, along with my mom and dad. We are sad that we won't be able to hang out with my husband's side of the family and the other members of my family that we will be missing in South Carolina, but they will most definitely be in our hearts that day, as they always are.
In this day and age, what more could we come to value but the people in our lives? I could go without the turkey, without the desserts, without even eating in general, but I could no go without spending time with my family! This year, make sure that whomever you are going to be with this year knows that you feel the same way!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Featured Blogger: An Okie Who Haiki's

Creative people often have lots of interests they like to explore at once, and this featured Etsyblogger is no different. Storybeader (etsy shop and blog) is a writer from Oklahoma who enjoys writing and beading (among other things) and integrates these two talents by writing a haiki for evey necklance she creates. Check out her etsy shop for this beautiful necklace and it's haiki.

My Haiki for Storybeader:

Storybeader! Go and write--
And me, decorate!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fluffy, snuggly, shredded quilt!

I'm so excited about how this quilt came out! I've never made a "rag quilt" before, so I looked up the basic technique on the internet, came up with my own pattern and measurements and "poof" this quilt was born. The fabric was given to me by a friend for my birthday and features girly images like cupcakes, booties, x's and o's, flowers and other cute things.

I made this quilt with eight fat quarters for the front, some random whites for layering and getting that thick "ragged" look, an unbleached batting (cut smaller than the block) and a backing from my scraps. I snipped the heck out of it with ragging scissors (Yes, they actually make those). These scissors are essential to a good rag look and your sanity!

These blocks are 6" x 6", perfect for using up your scraps! I sewed a 5/8" seam allowance to give some ragging room. Then, around the entire quilt I sewed a zig zag stitch to stabilize the edge. After two washings and a few trimming of thread, this was the result!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blog Carnival: What I'm working on....

Hey world,
When my blog group (etsybloggers) came up with this month's blog carnival topic, "what are you working on?" I thought, "Hmmm...the easier answer would be what am I not working on." But, to give you a little taste, here are some photos and some details about some projects I have going on...

Project #1: This is my most ambitious quilt pattern yet. It's a star pattern called "Star Flower" by Elsie M. Campbell. I bought the pattern several years ago and finally started. It's taken many hours to get to this point. Click on the image for more information from Elsie Campbell. There is also applique involved. I'm on block 1 or 8 on that part!

Project #2: This is a project that came about in one of my quilt groups. Our leader finds a block for us to do each month and then we can do whatever with the results, so I combined four of the blocks together. I might add some smaller blocks all the way around the outside as another border. Not sure! You can see each of these blocks on there own at my flickr page. Just click on the image.

Project #3: Matching robes for my daughters' American Girl dolls and them. This will be a Christmas present. Gotta get movin' on this. I have done anything!
Other projects:
A rag-edge quilt with Amy Butler fabric (pictures to follow . . . as soon as I start it).
An original quilt pattern that I have to get published.
A myriad of other things....
That's it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blog Carnival: Oriental Salad Recipe

This recipe is the recipe that I have given out more times than any other! I'm actually quite happy to be posting it on my blog so that when certain family members ask for it for the "umpteenth" time, I will no longer have to search for it in some email that I've already sent them. I can just send them to this post. That being said, here is my recipe for the best oriental salad you'll ever try:

1 head Napa cabbage, finely shredded
2 bunches green onions (optional)

Saute in 3 tbsp of butter until golden brown:
1 package of broken up ramen noodles (the flavor packet is used in the dressing)
2 oz. sesame seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Drain and cool on papertowel

Bring to a boil:
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup vege oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
season pack from oriental flaver pack from ramen noodle package

I like to keep that boiling for a while, until it starts to look a little like it is bubbling up and forming a caramel consistency. That way it won't completely separate after it is cooled. Cool this completely -- in the fridge for at least an hour before serving is best.

Ready to EAT! Don't mix the crunchies and the dressing with the cabbage until you are ready to eat or it will get soggy.

This serves about 8 people depending on the size of the cabbage and how much everyone loves this salad!

Featured Etsyblogger: Baby Friendly Beads

Like so many stay-at-home moms, the woman behind Etsy shops Baby Friendly Beads and Mama's Magic Studio is an overachiever. Her blog is packed full of information and easily-relatable stories that can help just about anyone get a chuckle or smile about everyday life with kids!

She has lots of useful and innovative products including this bracelet that helps you keep track of your breastfeeding schedule:

She also has necklaces for your baby to play with while breastfeeding or bottlefeeding. What a great idea, huh? Check her out!!

Congratulations, Jen!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jungle Themed Baby Quilt

I made this bright and happy jungle theme baby quilt over the weekend. Jackie Shapiro's line featured some stencil-looking animal patterns in red, yellow and green and then she has coordinating nature graphics to go with it. If you want to see more photos of this quilt, check out my flicker page (

Friday, October 10, 2008

Etsybloggers Carnival Topic: Something to do with work

I've been at my current job since August 8, 2003. Since then I've added another "co-worker" and am currently in the process of creating another that will join the team on or hopefully before February 10th. I am a full time mom! Often called, stay-at-home mom, I can't say that I am home much, so I'm just a full time mom.

What does my job consist of? Making breakfast, lunch, dinner and a gazillion snacks a day for two little girls. Changing diapers ... only for one, and she is being potty-trained. Doing homework with the kindergartner. Going to the park. Going to the library. Doing lots of laundry. Cleaning up. Lot of vacuuming! Finding fun things to do on the weekends and in general laughing!

I love my job! It is tiring...more tiring than any "real job" I had before this. More stressful. More demanding. But also much more rewarding, much more fun and much more interesting! Afterall, just look at my two co-workers!
To find out more about etsybloggers, go to

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tagged: I'm it!

So, here's the deal. I've been "tagged" by two other members of a group to which I belong (etsybloggers): Human Touch Designs (her rad blog is at
and Memories for Life (check out her happy blog at it is my turn to tag five other people and share 6 facts about myself. So here are the links to my five tagged people:
SpiritMama: Etsy and Blog (a shout out to you for blogging about my hair accessories)
Jersey Girl Design: Etsy and Blog (your from the state of one of my best friends and I live 20 minutes from B-more. B'lieve, hon!)
Wondermommy: Etsy and Blog (Love the name!)
Miesmama: Etsy and Blog (Awesome handmade stuff)
Grey Eye Designs: Etsy and Blog (somewhat of a newbie, so give this girl some clickie love!)

Now, five facts about me:
1.) I'm five and half months pregnant and crave two things: beer (which I don't normally drink) and running in the mud (I'm a runner, but not sure why I want to get all dirty about it)
2.) My birthday is today. I turn 33 today, which, in case you were wondering, is the same number as one of my favorite childhood baseball players from the Orioles: Eddie Murry!
3.) I married my highschool sweetheart! We've been married for 9 years. We dated for 10 years before that, so I've been with him more than half of my life. And I like him a lot!
4.) My brother is a pitcher for the San Diego Padres, and baseball has been an important part of my family life for as long as I can remember.
5.) I'm a crappy triathlete and a fair marathoner, but after baby #3 I hope to improve the heck out of my time on the marathon.
6.) I love ice cream with peanut butter and oatmeal in it. I've been making this concoction since I was about 13 years old. I wish Ben and Jerry's would come out with this flavor so I wouldn't have to make it myself. Try it and you will see that it is delish! Add some chocolate syrup and it's good to go!

Happy day!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lilly Pulitzer Quilt, Etsy Sale and New Items

My latest etsy offering is this customizable quilt featuring 25 patches of Lilly Pulitzer fabric! For all of those Lilly collectors out there, you could have a quilt that no one else has! And there is a sale right now that could get you free shipping! Check out my etsy page!

Some other new goodies on my etsy page are what I call "uppitydo daisies." Every ponytail needs one of these cuties:

If you have some specific fabric or colors that you want, just let me know and I will be happy to make you a custom order. That goes for anything on my etsy page!

And, as always, check out my other team members' etsy shops. They have lots to offer! We will be hosting a trunk sale soon. More details will be on etsy, my blog and lots of other blogs too!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Very Special Featured Etsyblogger: Joeyandaleethea

A few months ago, I happened upon a team on etsy called etsybloggers street team, a team for people who "love to blog about their craft, their creative process and other etsians." Well, that sounded like something I would like to join, so I did.

A few months have gone by and I have learned more about the person who started this group and while I've never met her or even spoken to her, I have to say I am extremely impressed by her creativity, her products, her desire to spread the word about her team and her ability to juggle this thing we call being a mom with doing something she loves...etsy!

I strongly encourage you to check out her etsy shop. This little onsie (at right) is one of my favorite items.
She has lots of other great and original products you'll want to "add to your cart"! She uses lots of great fabric and has some really cute appliqued items for babies that make great gifts for expectant mothers!
Her blog has lots of goodies too (not to mention some good tunes streaming while your read)!
Congratulations to Joeyandaleethea for a much-deserved feature!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blog Carnival: A Childhood Memory I'll Never Forget

There were a couple of memories that immediately came to my head when I thought about my childhood, like constantly drawing with crayons, playing baseball on an all-boy team (I was the only girl) and going to Orioles games with my dad, BUT one event that impacted my life for several years to come was a particular bike ride when I was seven...
It all started with my sister and I heading up a big hill on our bikes. I asked my nine-year-old sister if we were allowed to go up this hill -- a hill that I might mention was, up to this point, off limits. She said, "Yeah. Mommy said we could." So, I pushed to the top of the hill and was looking forward to the fast and easy ride down.

About halfway down the hill, my handlebars started to wobble and I was going too fast to control my bike. I hit a gravel pit at the bottom of the hill, flew over the handle bars, landed on my face, lost two teeth (one was a front tooth) and got a nasty booboo on my arm. Not good. I was carried home by a complete stanger and handed over to my mom, who was nine months pregnant!

For the next several years, my two front teeth grew in as buck-toothed as one could get. So, I was left a red-headed, freckled, buck-toothed little girl. I got braces later and my teeth are fine now, but that is a memory that my whole family laughs at today. My sister still feels a little guilty about lying and telling me that were allowed to go down the big hill.
Even to this day, I think about that wobbly trip down the hill! I did two triathlons in the last year and I have to admit, there were some hills that brought me back to that infamous hill!

I guess the moral of the story is: never trust your big sister. And if you do, never let her live it down! Right, Jenny!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Amy and Heather and Anna Maria, Oh My!

I just created this block this afternoon and it ended up featuring some of my FAV designers, Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Anna Maria and Jennifer Paganelli. Fresh colors and great graphics by each designer make pairing them together easy! I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this block. Something is telling me to make a center medallion quilt out of it -- kind of round robin. We'll see!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pillow Talk

For quilters, making a pillow out of a block can be a form of instant gratification that often escapes us during the usual long quilting process. I made a Dresden Plate block a few weeks ago for a long-term quilt project. Not wanting to take away from that project, I made an almost identical block to make into a quilt pillow and put on my etsy page. The pom pom trim really solidifies the look I was going for: happy, colorful, cheerful!

Another pillow that I made is a "tooth fairy pillow." This was made from a vintage apron with a really great pattern on the fabric. I fussy cut the pocket portion of the apron and made that the center of the pillow--a place for all those precious lost teeth. Some frilly trim finished off the look.

Pillow Tip: For both of these pillows and most of the ones I have made this year, I have made a back flap for easy insert and removal of the pillow form. To me, this is a more finished look than hand sewing the two sides together at the end of the process. Take a look at this pic of the purple pillow to see what I mean...

Thanks for tuning in to pillow talk!

Friday, August 15, 2008

What a doll! Matching Dresses!

Here's an idea for all you crafty people with little girls who love their American Girl dolls or other dolls of choice. Go to your craft store and buy about a yard of the pre-smocked fabric. Measure your daughter's chest size and cut the fabric to that size. Sew a seam up the back, add some straps and repeat for the doll (Cut about 4" out of the smocking for the doll so her dress isn't "all smocked"). Taa-daaa! You have matching doll sundresses for about $14 total and in about 1/2 hour! Love it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Big Game and Big Sale!

So, today is the start of the Etsybloggers Team Sale, which last for five days from 8/13 to 8/17 and features many sales from many of the shops that are a member of this cool group. Click on the graphic on the right for a list of all of the shops' sales.

AND, today my little brother, Josh Banks, pitches for the San Diego Padres against the Milwaukee Brewers' CC Sabathia! The game starts at 7:05 p.m. PT. Keep your fingers crossed for my little bro'! Check out the press on Josh if you're a baseball fan!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Quilt Block as Self Portrait

If ever there were a quilt block that I could say is "me," my newest one would be it. I used some of my FAVORITE scraps to create this Dresden Plate block:

This block is just like me: organized...and also crazy. I love it for that reason. It's also BRIGHT! Another reason I love it!

I also created this other block within a few days:

It also makes me happy. I've now become addicted to using scraps. Check out more images on my flickR page!

Etsyblogger Carnival: Grilling Recipe

Hey everybody!
My recipes is for the most awesome grilled potatoes you will ever taste. The recipe comes from a cookbook that is (for some crazy reason) out of print. It's the Vera Bradley cookbook: Cooking with Friends. This is my all-time favorite cookbook. The recipes are tried and true! I've made about 20 recipes in this cookbook (so far) and continually pick a new one to try! So my recipe is called "Chips Grilled Potatoes" and the book states that this was submitted by Stefanie Chevillet.

6 medium pototoes, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 slices of bacon, chopped

1.2 cup oil
2 tablespoons of cornstarch (although I use flour)
rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

The directions state: "Prepare the grill. Combine the potatoes, onion, celery and bacon in a medium bowl and toss to mix well. Place on a large piece of foil coated with nonstick spray.

Whisk the oil, cornstarch [or flour], rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper together. Drizzle over the potato mixture. Top with another piece of foil sprayed with nonstick spray. Seal edges to form a packet.

Place on the grill [second rack is what I use]. Grill over hot coals for one hour. The potatoes will cook evenly, so there is no need to turn the packet over."

It's awesome. Try it at your next cookout!

Featured Etsyblogger for August 2008

I'm a proud member of etsybloggers, an amazing group of artisans and lovers of hand-crafted items who have blogs, in addition to etsy storefronts. This month's featured etsyblogger is talented jewelry designer "TuLips Treasure Box."

TuLips Treasure Box uses nature materials, natural gemstones, crystals, tiny beads, glass and silver to create wonderful handmade pieces like this one:

I hope you will check out this talented artist at her etsy page and her blog!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's Raining Quilts!

I shouldn't be on the computer right now, since a huge crash of thunder just shook the craft room, but I've been MIA on this blog for so long that I must carry on! Since I've written last, I've finished four quilts and many other handmade items, like belts, fabric covered buttons and pillows. Check out these at my flickr page.

The first quilt that I am happy to have finished is a scrappy quilt for my niece, Emma. She turned 7, and has always been a crafty little girl. She really appreciated the time and effort that a scrappy quilt takes. I really enjoyed making this quilt. As you may know, when you make a scrappy quilt (a TRUE scrappy quilt) you spend a lot of time going through your scraps and if you are like me, you can remember what piece of fabric went into each quilt. I was able to use fabric that went into many different quilts, including my first quilt, a quilt I made for my first daughter, quilts that I've made for close friends and family and quilts that I actually managed to keep for myself (a rarity). So, Emma's quilt is an important connection to all of these others. I like that!

The second quilt that I made was my first "made for sale" quilt. My sister was my first quilt customer. She asked me to make a quilt for a couple who is getting married, and the only guidelines that she gave me was, "keep it neutral." This quilt is what I came up with.

The other two quilts are tests of a pattern that I've created that I hope to get published in the next month and sell to quilt shops and make available on my etsy page. I hope you will check back for that. It is a fat-quarter friendly quilt pattern that is great for beginners and advanced quilts. I achieved two completely different looks with the same pattern and I'm really excited to see what other people come up with.

Hope you are making lots of "handmade items for everyday use."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fabric Lines: Do you stay on the straight and narrow?

I've only been quilting for about five years, but in that five years I've seen the exponential growth of many popular designers. Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Anna Maria Horner, Valori Wells and Joel Dewberry are some of my favorite designers with unbelievable fabric lines. I've read a few articles here and there that hint at the notion that perhaps these fabric lines are causing us to lose some of the creative process with quilting because we might pick fabrics from all of the same line and create an albeit well-coordinated but "familiar" quilt -- something that looks similar to something someone else has already created. But, what I find to be true for myself is that these fabric lines are so creative and the colors are so carefully chosen that they inspire me to be more creative. In fact, I might buy several pieces of fabric from one designer's line but I like to spread that fabric out in several quilts. I'm interested to hear what everyone else thinks, so please respond to my poll at the right.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Celebrate Earth Day with Brown

Hi Creative Miners!

Brown is the new black, and this pillow is sooooo cool! In Amy Butler Nigella and Belle fabrics, this pillow would look great in any room. What's that? You want it in your house? Well, you can buy this at the Creative Mines Etsy Page! Get it while its still available! More pillows are in the works! You can never have enough plush pillows to cuddle up with!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Let me push your buttons!

The Creative Mines have been busy working on some new things that will be coming out over the next few weeks. But, it's always good to take time for a quick project that makes you feel like you've accomplished something. These fabric-covered buttons are so much fun to make. They will eventually be added to some larger projects, but for now here they are--in some of my favorite fabrics by Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler and lots of others. They are available at The Creative Mines Etsy Page

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Quilt Design Coming Soon

Hi Quilter Friends,
Just wanted to let you know that I am working on a super secret quilt design that is going to knock your socks off (there is a joke there that you will soon find out). So keep watching! I plan on selling the pattern on Etsy and at your local quilt stores. This new pattern is simple, fresh, trendy and fun!
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Creative Mines with Julie Antinucci and Friends

Someone once told me, "if you built it, Julie, they will come." I'm taking her advice and the big plunge. I have way too many friends who are either smart, crafty, great trend-spotters or all of the above and I can't wait a minute longer to get their and my products out there. So, stay tuned. April 1st; the first day of the revolution.