Thursday, December 24, 2009

happy holidays from the brindle squad!

I can't believe it's Christmas again... I guess that means it's also my blog-i-versary. Ah, it's been a good, productive year and full of changes, at that. We said goodbye to a lovely, loyal, and absolutely legendary canine friend and welcomed a new member to the tribe: miss violet p. (shown here in all her chunky glory!). My hubby graduated nursing school and started a new job (yay!), we moved (ack!), and we finally went on our honeymoon (only 2 years late!). Oh, and I got a walking foot for my newly-repaired sewing machine (major yay!). Who knows what next year holds? It's a big one for me... 30 here I come!

What I do know is that I'm excited to have an itty bitty break from work. I've got some projects planned (two smallish quilts) so crafty photos to come. In the meantime, here are some pillows I made for some of my pals at the office. I really do want to try some paper-piecing - especially hexes - in the new year, but these little hexes are appliqued (shhhh!).

Happy holidays to you and yours, from digs and the brindle squad! and cheers for a grand 2010!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

everything's coming up toadstools!

Okay, yes, that's probably the cheesiest blog heading I've ever come up with, but I can't help it. These little ladies just make me happy. Thank you, Cathy Gaubert! And they make our Christmas ficus look oh-so-merry, don't you think? Despite the fact that they look a

More holiday crafting updates to come, and soon if I'm going to get everything made in time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

in the lab... (er, sewing room)

I spent my weekend experimenting with some quilting designs that have been in my head for a while. The first is a quilt block that I've been dreaming about for my round of the Common Threads quilting bee. I'm wondering if I can actually make the vertical lines match up and how well those colors will play out over a queen size quilt... open to suggestions!

Then I worked on some stitched holiday cards with some super cute green (of course) polka dot fabric I found. I love stitching on paper... it always surprises me that it's so easy to do.

And finally, the girlies got some new bling.... matching, of course. Aw, (spoiled rotten) mama's girls!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

big (big, big) news!

I'm so very excited... remember that "felt mystery project" I was working on over the summer? Well, mystery revealed: I was feverishly creating projects for this book: Fa La La La Felt. Lots of hard work on a crazy fast schedule, but so worth it! This book is Lark's very first ebook, available for purchase at It's also coming out in its print version early next fall, but instant gratification is so nice, especially this close to the holidays. I had such a fun time getting acquainted with felt (especially the whole easy-to-work-with bit)... and the book is chock full of super cute designs, both traditional and indie. And what a smashing collection of designers!

Here's one of my designs as a sneak preview; maybe it's my quilterly ways, but I couldn't help but bring a little fabric into the mix. Wanna get a free project from the book? Try Cathy Gaubert's totally rad Holiday Toadstools on for size. I want to make about 62 for our Christmas ficus!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

crafty holiday weekends....

....are the best! Especially when you've got two lovely assistants. Here they are, "guarding" the sewing room (or more likely hoping someone will come round the corner with cheese!).

First on my to do list: blocks for Rebekah's round of the Common Threads Quilting Bee. Her fabrics were terrific to work with! We each made 15 inch blocks that are going to be put together with grey sashing... so cool! I've been thinking about my month - which isn't until April - and I'm starting to get excited. By then, the mister and I will have a new queen-sized bed (hopefully!) that will need a lovely covering...

And finally, a wild crafting hair moment: I decided to make something Christmas-y for our table - just a simple quilted placemat. Ye olde Christmas ficus just seemed a bit lonley this year.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

a little series (so far)

Today, I'm so very thankful for dog parks... and tired brindle doggies. A little peaceful crafty time is so nice! I think I've got two more in me: birdies, I think, with some (score!) Ikea fabric leftovers! These guys are bound for 7 x 7 stretchers and then...

Happy turkey (or tofurkey or veggie lasagna) day, everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

trees and more trees

Last weekend was my family's official yearly girls-only camping trip (with margarita machine, of course). It's unseasonably warm for November (or at least it was last weekend) so we got to take in some lovely scenery. These images are from Craggy Pinnacle, just one of the many awesome spots along the parkway. Every time I hike past this tree, I wish I spoke entish.

And perhaps it was the hardy trees of the upper elevations that inspired this little mini. The little hand stitches are my favorite part. I can't wait to see these last few little minis on stretchers... I just received the stretchers so I'm thinking I'll finish a whole batch over the holiday weekend. And then maybe a store update?

Monday, November 9, 2009

many minis!

You think I'd know better and give my Singer a nice and easy settling in, but no! I've been wanting to try pebble quilting for a while, and I must say, the results are a nice compliment to my quilting style. This one is made with the same hand-printed stripe fabric and is bound for the stretchers. I do love the minis!

And speaking of minis, the vet just told us our little Violet is probably a bit older than we first thought, maybe 8 or 9 months. Which means she may not be getting much bigger after all. She's about 25 pounds now, and she may not top 35... We like the sound of that even better: an itty bitty pitty! She looks a bit business-like in this photo, though I think she was actually trying to figure out if my straight pins were edible!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Love song for Singer 6105

Oh, happy day. My sewing machine is back in action! And working better than ever. I continue to be surprised by how attached I am to this machine. The thought of learning a new machine positively horrifies me. And, I guess, it's also related to the fact that this was my mom's machine (until I "borrowed" it 10 years ago), so I've always imagined I'd make my children's clothing on it... Or at least puppy costumes. Speaking of puppies, things are finally starting to settle down at the homestead. Violet is doing well (see puppy montage - my favorite kind - below!), and Baby is starting to enjoy her new little buddy, despite that constant gnawing feeling in her ears, lips, legs, face, bum....

With the ensuing calm, I've had a little time to create. Gosh, the place didn't feel like home until I got to be creative here. The first experiment was printing my own fabric with cardboard cutouts: based on an idea I saw in a magazine, I cut out strips of cardboard, glued them in a stripey pattern on another piece of cardboard, put paint on the strips, and pressed them onto the fabric. Easy, fun, and that imperfect look I've learned to love.

Then I used the printed fabric as a background for these little red corals. I don't know why sea life - kelp, coral, greenies - keep popping up. I live in the mountains; I suppose I should be making pine trees and mountains instead, but... I do like this little mini and it's the first of a little series I have in mind.... we'll see where it leads.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

and I'm back!

Gosh, it's been a crazy month and a half. I didn't think I'd be gone that long, but a lot of life has happened. Let's see: we moved across town (bye bye beautiful porch for all that sunny picture taking), suffered some seriously bad machine mojo (computer, sewing machine, scooter), and Billy started a nursing job (woohoo!). Things were just starting to settle back down... I even was a little crafty. First a sock monkey for Craft Hope...

...and then some quilt blocks for Common Threads...

.... and then we almost ran over a puppy on the way to our friend's house. And, because fate is cruel, she looks exactly like Baby! No tags, no microchip, and no calls from her previous owners despite the fact that she's an utter sweetheart. We've named her Violet for now, but the jury's still out as to whether Baby can handle a younger, spunkier, fartier sybling in the midst of so many other changes. Pheww... puppies are a lot of work! Hopefully, I'll get to use the craft room - oh, yes, the room of crafts! - soon. I'm thinking Violet may have crafty tendencies....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

hiking and packing adventures

With the sewing machine still down for the count, I thought I'd share a few shots from our hiking trip to Potato Knob (just south of Mount Mitchell). The blueberries were quite cool and delicious, though we were in the middle of a bear sanctuary, so we nibbled watchfully.

But the time has come... the Carestio family is moving uptown! Goodbye, West A'ville; hello, North Asheville. With the move, I'm thinking a little blog break may be in order, at least til I get my craft room set up and ready for action. So, until next time....

Monday, September 7, 2009

labor day (for real)

Now for something different.... There is something about buying furniture - especially the used, cheap kind - that sets my heart aglow. After months (really!) of looking for dining room chairs that didn't cost a fortune, I found these beauties (not really!) on Friday at the local Habitat for Humanity store. And the set was on sale: even better.

After some intense sanding, priming, painting, and sealing - oh, and stripping and stapling and sweating (labor!) - I have a new set of dining chairs that I absolutely love. And the fabric: super yummy. I think it's actually outdoor furniture fabric, but that's probably a good thing since the hubs and I both tend to be the spilly type. I love these types of projects - especially the transformation aspect.

Speaking of transformations, we're about to make a big one: moving from our much-loved, yet pricey rental house to an apartment. We're saying goodbye to a lot: lovely West A'ville, a superb yard, our hot tub (sniffle, sniffle)... and it's bittersweet for sure. But there are some definite positives: hello, my first ever very own craft room!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

virtual quilting bee, round #1

Here is installment #1 of my round with the Common Threads virtual quilting bee. What fun! I love the colors Amber chose... It'll make it hard come my turn. I think my favorite part of both blocks is the tone-on-tone blue stripes. I'm thinking I'll have to put that technique to use again sometime soon.

Unfortunately, these blocks have done the unthinkable: they have killed my sewing machine. Well, actually, it was probably the 20+ years of steady use without a servicing. Either way, I'm taking her in for a checkup: fingers crossed. Gosh, I never thought I would get so emotionally attached to a machine.

And I can't help but share some lovely shots from our weekend camping in the mountains. We camped at Lake Santeetlah - which was still warm enough to for swimming (oh, moonlight swims!) - and did a little bit of hiking at Joyce Kilmer. And Baby took her first canoe ride... like a champ! Admittedly, we were trying to extract one last flurry of summer fun, but the nip in the air is nice, too.

Monday, August 24, 2009

(very) wonky log cabins

I think it's a good thing: being able to embrace my inner wonkiness. Or maybe that's just a bit of laziness coming through... either way, wonky log cabins are here to stay, complete with some embroidered details.

And since the only thing I photograph besides crafts and my hubby doing silly things, you, dear reader, will be subjected to installment #46 of Baby in her best porch-sitting pose. Here, she's looking bored and ready for fanning - one of my favorites!

Monday, August 17, 2009

back to reality

Hmmm... this is my second post with this title. Either I spend a lot of time avoiding the real world or I do a good job taking a break from it at times, thus necessitating a return. Ah, the bored ponderings a vacation supplies.

Yes, indeed: the Outer Banks were absolutely splendid. If we three - Baby, my hubby, and I - do ever decide to start a professional beach sitting team, the Outer Banks will most definitely be our training grounds, provided they have enough limes. Here are a few pics from my new favoritest beach in NC:

From top left across: provisions, Baby and the big "bath," Billy and Baby in the sound, the Hatteras lighthouse, the boardwalk, and my vacation table runner (yes, the sewing machine joined us for our journey).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

beach bound!

...but not without a crafty project in tow! I'm thinking table runner in yellow and grey. We'll see how much work I actually get done, and if my hubby can handle me bringing my sewing machine on our official honeymoon (two years late but hey!). My main objective is some serious beach sitting and maybe just a touch of sweet, sweet boredom: it's been so long! Outer Banks, here we come.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

super (uncrafty) weekend

I spent my weekend with my brother, his family, and their super full-o-life boston terrier Lucky. We took in some local eats, played lots of apples to apples (my fave!), and went tubing (also my fave!) on the Green River. I love sharing this place with my family... it always makes me rediscover things I forget to notice on a daily basis. No crafting to report, but good, good livin nonetheless.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

big news!

Yay! I just finished setting up my very own Etsy store! Pretty exciting stuff, and something I've been meaning to do for a while now.

Oh, and I have a new piece I've been working on... so much for a break from the sewing machine! This is one of the ideas I've been thinking about experimenting with: stretching my minis over canvas stretchers. I really love the effect; I love minis as they are - art! - but somehow they seem more official on a canvas like this. You can expect to see a lot more of these and the birds too, I guess. I really could make birdies all day long!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

next steps

Actually, in the last week, the only steps I've taken have been outside... ahhh, hiking does this body (and brain) good. It's nice to take a mini vacation from the sewing machine and let the creativity build up again in my hands. I'm still plotting some possible new directions - an Etsy store? More craft shows? Putting together some kind of art show myself? But it's wonderful to be still for a moment, sit on the front porch with my best gal Baby, and count the cars that go past. Here's to porch sitting and it finally feeling a little more like summer!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

post show glow

The Big Crafty has come and gone... I had a blast but gosh, it was a lot of work. Here's a shot of me with my wares.

What's missing from the photo is my little table setup... seriously, I could have read some tarot cards. Maybe next time... yeah, I think they'll be a next time. This show was such a good learning experience. And best of all (besides the fact that Tia - campfollowerbaglady - stopped by while she was in the neighborhood... from Australia! Thanks, Tia!), I've got a ton of ideas for where I'm headed next with my minis. And boy, oh, boy, I'm excited to experiment. After a small break, I think.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

all about the merch

...andising, that is. Digs and bean stitched business cards, bags, and official craft show signage, all bound for the Big Crafty show tomorrow. The bags are my favorite: they were a total last minute, matter of necessity creation, but I'm all for free and handmade!
I love stitching on paper, but I'm not sure how my sewing machine feels about it. When I think about all the sequins, papers, impossible amounts of fabric layers, and various fake fur items I've run through my poor machine... I think she's probably due for a little servicing soon, after 25 years of dependable operation.