Monday, April 20, 2009

I Know, I Know

Like I said before, I haven't posted anything in a long time. And for good reason. Blogger is blocked at work!! How dare they! So, of course, I can't get to my Dashboard to post any new entries. But worst of all... I can't keep up with your blogs! Anytime I try to view a Blogger blog I get prompted for a system password about 20 times. Click, click, click, click, etc. It's endless. Eventually the page loads but I know that a million little warning lights are going off up in IT. I'm just going to have to move all of my internet aspirations to "home time".


So there's the rub - sad but true. I'm going to try my hardest to keep up with posting - because I'm sure you all know that I am definitely still creating. It's just hard to go from sitting at the computer all day at work to sitting at the computer in my free time. If there are lapses here at Kate + Ice Cream take a look over on my Flickr for the latest happenings.

Now on to the good stuff...

Tiny-bama is finished!!
This awesome chart by Subversive Cross Stitch is a re-working of Shepard Fairey's iconic "Hope" poster from Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign - just in case you've been living under a rock :) I wanted to do something a little different with it so I stitched it over one on 32ct white linen and changed the colors around a bit. The resulting awesomeness is about 1.25in wide x 2.5in tall. I framed it using a very presidential portrait-y frame I found at Michaels in their SnapShot collection. I love the clash between the intricately traditional frame and graphic poster. So you get a real idea of size...

Now that Obama is finished I plan on revisiting some things that I put to the side: (1) Hallow Sampler, (2) TIAG's The Auction, (3) a special project that I'm working on for a friend.

Stay tuned! And don't forget to check the Flickr!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Get 'em While They're Hot!

Jo-Ann Fabrics is having a huge Spring sale and the black oval frames that I used to finish up my pet silhouettes are on super sale - I think 40% off. They would also look great spray painted colors other than black or maybe sanded and distressed. Anyway, they're really nice and have great vintage detailing. Thought I would share!

It's True

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Framing Fiasco

After much deliberation I decided to use the frames that I had bought a few months ago for the pet silhouettes. Originally I wasn't quite sold - they had the look I was going for but seemed a little large. Turns out oval frames are almost non-existent anymore and anything smaller that I found was too small. Anyway with everything said and done... I love them! And good thing too because boy was it a labor of love getting these things framed up. Phew, baby.

The day starts off taking apart the frames and cutting foam board to the size of the glass. I can't cut a straight, non-jaggedy line with an Exacto to save my life so the boyfriend was recruited. We went through a few "oopsies" before getting 2 ovals cut to the right size. Then I cut my batting, 3 pieces for each (one big, one medium, one small). Next, at the ironing board, I end up burning a portion of the linen around the cat - the iron was set to "linen" and everything! No idea. I was heartbroken. Thankfully when I mocked it up the huge burn was just outside the frame. That was probably my closest call of all time - literally millimeters. With all of that out of the way I started framing the dog, had it all pinned to the foam board, even started cleaning up the back. Then I realized I hadn't signed the piece or written the dog's name on it yet. DOH! After all that was the grand idea - to created portraits of all the family members, even furry ones, that come into our lives over the years. And what's a portrait without a name to go with it? So I, extremely carefully, took everything apart and stitched in dates and names. After that everything was smooth sailing. I guess I learned that no matter how excited you are to get something finished up still take the time to make sure everything is exactly how you want it.

Confucius says, "Measure twice, cut once".

The Frenchman
The Lioness
Aside from the framing horror show I've been doing a little work here and there on Primitive Needle's Hallow Sampler. My camera died last week after 7 years of service (RIP, good buddy) so I hadn't taken any update photos. We bought a less-expensive replacement this weekend, a Nikon Coolpix, and I'm back in business! Here's the latest...

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Finally, a Finish!

About a year ago I had an idea to make old-fashioned silhouettes of the entire family. Instead of going the paper cut-out route I figured that cross stitch might be more interesting. I also decided that over 1 would give them that crisp, paper look I was going for. (I would sooo do over 2 now in a second! Ug. Talk about a ton of work.) At any rate I finished my Frenchie's, Louis, silhouette last year around Thanksgiving and then started up on the cat, Boh. Since you don't need a chart to stitch a silhouette once the outline is layed down it became my stitch-at-work (hence no update photos) lunch break/sanity getaway. All of those 30 minute sessions did eventually add up to something though. Feast your eyes...

Meeeoow! So now they're both finished and are looking for frames. What do you think? Matching? Mis-matched? Oval? Square? I might be leaning toward something vintage and oval. Still pondering.

So my new lunchtime project is going to be - drum roll please...

The Primitive Needle's Hallow Sampler

I already got a few stitches layed out yesterday afternoon. It's such a fun project I don't think I'll be able to contain it to just stitching at work! Plus those last 2 quilts on Told in a Garden are just wearing me out. This will be a nice break.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chain Reaction: A Study in Hoarding

It all started with the Super Bowl Sale at Salty Yarns...

I went into my favorite needlecraft store with a few things in mind and of course came out with more than I was planning on. I picked up "Creepy Crawly" by Blue Ribbon Designs, fabric and floss for that, and "Hallow Sampler" from The Primitive Needle along with overdyed linen for that and some Weeks floss. The shop was out of a few of the Weeks colors I needed so when I got home I went to my online back up, ABC Stitch Therapy, for what was left. Of course I ended up buying more than just floss. Who wants to pay shipping on that? (At least that was my excuse.) To round out the order I bought a cut-thru from Bothy Threads - "Cut Thru Camper Van" - for my surfing boyfriend and "Garden Birds" from The Prairie Schooler, which I've had my eye on of a while. Needless to say I was giddy from my purchases.

A few days later I decided that I was going to make a birthday present for a friend, since I've been on a gift giving kick recently, but wanted something a little out of the ordinary. My friend LOVES Hawaii so I wanted to take a look at what was available as far as Hawaiian xstitch. Enter Quilts Hawaii. Elizabeth Root, the owner, is such a nice woman. I bought an awesome leaflet called "Scenic Oahu" from her. She wrote me an email and everything. Even checked out my blog! Thanks Elizabeth!

Do you think I have a problem yet? Wait, there's more. I picked up another Janlynn kit from Kooler Designs called "Vegetable Trio" and, of course, I had to stitch Subversive Cross Stitch's Obama design. Holy hell. I've got enough to keep me going until I'm old and grey!

In between all my shopping I put some more stitches into TIAG's "The Auction".

I even made a Valentine's Day card for my boyfriend using Little Acorn's Squirrely Valentine 2009.

Now I just need some time to stitch!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today's Forcast: 100% Chance of Clouds

I've been thinking about putting a label cloud on my blog for a while now and finally decided to give it a try. Scroll down and let me know what you think!

I followed this super easy tutorial from phydeaux3. If you're completely lost as to where the "/b:skin" tag is just keep scrolling down, down, down under your Edit HTML tab. You'll pass section headings like Posts, Comments, Sidebar Content, Profile, Footer and then - bam - there it is. Just follow the directions in the how-to. If everything works smoothly you'll see the label cloud when you preview your blog. If you're unhappy with the black-and-blue color scheme you can change it buuuuuut, the link to the "RGB Color Code Chart" in the tutorial is broken. Follow this link instead where you can see RGB codes for 216 colors and even how the color will display. Perfection!

Happy clouding!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oh, oh, oh

To all my single ladies:

As you can tell, I've made a little progress on my Told in a Garden project. I've officially reached the "tricky part". Up until now there has been nothing particularly hard about this chart but I've got a little alteration planned. Stay tuned...

Monday, January 19, 2009

How-To: Idea Book

There are so many ideas that I have for the new house. I've been holding on to years-worth of magazines (Domino, Dwell, This Old House, etc) planning to look back at them when it comes time to work on the house. The problem is now I'm running out of space for all of the magazines. As I was attempting to tidy up the house yesterday I had a great idea. I decided to clip out all of my favorite photos and articles from my stash of magazines and put them all in one place - an organized Idea Book. (The full tutorial is also on my flickr in my How-To collection!)

Gather your thoughts by gathering your favorite pictures and inspiration is at your fingertips!

Materials: 3-ring binder, dividers w/ tabs, clear pocket binder sheets, glue, scissors, magazines, pictures, drawings, etc.
Decide how you want to organize your book. My book is for home design inspiration so my tabs reflect the rooms in my house. I chose to print out labels to use in my binder tabs. You could just as easily write out the tabs yourself. Some tabs are even formatted to run through a printer. Just remember to print out two of each label so both sides of the tab are labeled.

If you decided to print out your labels trim them up so they fit on the tab insets included with the binder dividers. Use glue or tape, whatever you have around, to stick the labels to the tabs - one on each side so you can see them no matter which way you flip through your book. I used a glue specifically for paper crafts (Elmer's Craft Bond).

Once finished your labels should look like this...

Insert your labeled tabs into the dividers - oh, so pretty.

This is an exercise in consolidation so gather up your favorite magazines, pictures, drawings, blog posts - anything you've been holding on to or frequently look to for ideas. Clip away!

Once you have all your favorites clipped out throw all those stacks of old magazines away! Aaah, isn't that liberating? After all everything you refer back to those stacks for is now in a neat little pile on the table.

The good thing about clear plastic binder pages is they're perfect for magazine articles - you can still see both sides! Bits and pieces that aren't full pages can be glued/taped/stickered to printer paper, even construction paper for more color. You can even scrapbook it up with text, photo corners, anything you want.

Now categorize your pages under the correct binder heading and voila! You're finished! At least for today. Add on when ever you feel the urge.

Here are a few pages that I made for my Home Idea book...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Good luck, Dad!

My father is currently in New Zealand, lucky son of a gun. It's summer there. Not only that but he's there for a job interview! That means I might actually have a reason to travel half way around the world soon. And, yes, I've considered the downside. Nothing is final yet so I'm not going to go get all worked up but it's fun to think I might be able to bump into these guys on the street in the near future...

Flight of the Conchords! Watch it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quilted Goodness

I finished my quilted blanket last night, slip-stitches and all. Pretty darn good for a first attempt if I do say so myself. Boh-boh climbed right on as soon as I layed it on the bed. Mission accomplished! Maybe I'll try making something with quilt blocks next time.

There are a few more pictures up on Flickr if you're so inclined.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Little Pony and Friends

On Saturday we went to Assateague Island National Seashore. I haven't been there since my freshman year of college - Spring Break. Jeremy and I live so close now we decided to go have an adventure. If you're not familiar with Assateague it's a barrier island just off the coast of Virginia and just south of Ocean City, MD. There are lots of trails, camp sites and birds to watch. There is also a herd of wild ponies that live on the island (ever read Misty of Chincoteague?)The local yarn is that they are the decendants of shipwreck survivors - arr, matey!

She looks like a particularly salty dog.
After getting up close and personal with the locals we ran over to Salty Yarns - after all we were in the greater Ocean City area. Any destination within 30 miles and I'm required to visit :) I've been on a gift-giving kick recently, and not just because of Christmas so I bought another chart to stitch as a gift. This one doesn't need to be finished until October so I have some time. It's the Primitive Needle's "Hallow Sampler". That's all I am at liberty to say...

The last bit of news thats fit to print is I made my first quilt yesterday! Or at least I "quilted" something. My cat, Boh, has completely covered the bottom corner of my bed in hair. I guess she has decided that this particular place is more comfortable than any other place in the entire house to sleep. I know this because the ratio of cat hair to fabric is exponentially larger than that at any other location. So I decided to make her a blanket to lay on. After all, a blanket is much easier to wash than a quilt cover.

Its pretty small, about 3ft x 3 ft - perfect size for a cat butt. I used 2 different color pieces of fabric, 2 pieces of batting, and 2 thread colors that match the fabric I chose. After I pinned everything in place I sewed a 1in border all the way around the piece. Then I just quilted the sandwich so everything stays put. The only thing I have left to do is slip stitch the 4th edge closed. I'll post pictures as soon as I'm finished.

Oh oh, I also scanned a bunch of my favorite old photos from high school on into Flickr. Still waiting to nab the old photo albums from mom and dad's house!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I love you, Cuisinart ICE-25!

I got a Cuisinart ice cream/frozen yogurt maker for Christmas and last night Jeremy and I made our first quart of ice cream. It was absolutely delicious. We dicided to take it easy our first time around and follow the basic vanilla recipe - no vanilla bean, no egg yolks. So here was the spread:

The recipe was just about as easy as you can get:

1 cup whole milk, chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract (we used 1tsp)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl - make sure the sugar is dissolved - and pour it into the machine. Watch in awe.

Ever wonder how to make the cookie eating experience better? Two words - ice cream. We actually decided to break up some Pepperidge Farm oatmeal cookies and throw them in as well. Good choice.

This whole wonderful process only took about 30 minutes, including prep time and VOILA!

We were so excited to chow down that we didn't give the ice cream enough time to harden in the freezer. (Note to self: Restrain. 2+ hours next time.) It's soupy-goodness hit the spot though. Who can argue with Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ice Cream??

**I checked the freezer this morning before I left for work. The massive amount of leftoever ice cream is perfectly hardened. I think I'll sneak a taste when I get home!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Having 5 Days Off of Work is a Trick

...because then you have to go back. Blah.

So I had a fairly eventful start to the new year - if you consider seeing the Wu Tang Clan(!!) an event. Wu Years Eve at Sonar in Baltimore. Good times even if there were 7 opening acts and the main event didn't start until 1am. I definitely want to see them again but maybe not on a get-drunk-and-pass-out holiday.

Side bar: I can't believe how many people wear the shirt to the show - I thought that was considered "Uh, not cool". Maybe I would have sported my new ODB shirt. Or would that have been overkill? Notice the gold teeth. Throw your "W"s in the air!

Thursday was entirely spent waiting to eat. Dad always makes pork and sauerkraut on New Years Day - a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. And in true Donovan fashion the meal was scheduled for 5pm and didn't actually commence until 8. We didn't get back to the house until about 11. Just in time for Jeremy to go to bed - he had to work on Friday. Sucker! :)

Me? I spent all Friday stitching - finally! Got another good chunk of my Told in a Garden project finished. Behold...

On Saturday Christmas disappeared. It's always a little sad to put away the tree and all the lights and presents and advent calendars but, finally, I have my house back! Everything got tucked away, back in the attic - hopefully staying intact for next year.

The rest of the weekend was spent organizing. We've been in our house now for about 5 months. We've done a lot of work and put a lot of personal touches here and there but some rooms still just "wear me out" when I look at them - namely the laundry room, dragonfly border and all. I bought some fabric tubs and tried to unify and tidy up as much as possible. I must say its a nice change - far from being finished but much easier on the eyes. I'll post pictures in the next few days once we do a little more - a shelf and ironing board still need to be hung and in a tiny room that can make all the difference.

I also started the Great Craft Reorganization of 2009. We'll see how that goes...