The Force is Strong with This One

For us this is the season of friends having babies. This project was for a couple having their first baby – a girl. The dad is super into Star Wars, so we figured a Star Wars blanket was a must. Sean went to the fabric store to help me pick out fabric. We ended up with the great fabrics below – blocky Star Wars and an adorable hot pink and white polka dot.

starwars-blanket1To tie the two sides together more we decided to add contrasting fabric hearts to both sides of the blanket. I’d neve done appliqué work before so I was really hoping it’d turn out. I put a fusible interfacing on the back of the heart, pinned it to the corner, and then sewed it on with a zig-zag stitch.

starwars-blanket2 It turned out pretty well! This is the back of the appliqué that ended up inside of the blanket. I had a couple glitches that I had to figure out as I did it, but it ended up coming together really well.

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Star Wars heart on the pink side.

starwars-blanket4 Pink heart on Star Wars side.

starwars-blanket5 Here are a couple pictures of the finished receiving blanket folded up. Finished size is 41.5 by 42.25 inches, so it’s not quite square.

starwars-blanket6Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Inara the Turtle

Meet our newest cubist animal, Inara the Turtle!

Inara-the-turtleInara-detail1

Inara-construction1

I took some pictures of the cubist animal construction this time to give you an idea of the process.

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I tacked down the ribbon for the head and the tail really, really well.

Inara-construction3Inara-detail2She can hide her head and tail under her shell!

Inara-detail3Inara-climbing1She prefers climbing to hiding.

Inara-climbing2

Check out our other cubist animals:
Ari the Lion
Elmer the Orca

Climbing Wall

One of our favorite activities to do together is indoor rock climbing at a nearby gym. As we’ve gotten more and more involved in the activity in the past couple years, we decided we really wanted to be able to climb more often than traveling to the gym would allow. We decided to draw up plans for building our own rock climbing wall in the spare bedroom.
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I’ve already created a scale model of our house in Google SketchUp, which really helps when planning home improvement projects.

plans

“Building” the wall in SketchUp helped us plan the project and calculate the expense.

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Here is where the wall is going to go.

trim

We removed the baseboard and began pulling back the carpet.

constructing_wall

I constructed the angled wall and then bolted it to the ceiling and floor. (I had to add support beams in the attic between the ceiling joists as they run parallel to the wall.)

framing

Then, I framed in the side wall and added support for middle of the angled section.

tnuts

Once the 3/4″ plywood was cut, I drilled a staggered grid of holes and hammered t-nuts into the back of them. This is what the climbing holds will bolt into once the wall is complete.

plywood

The plywood is going up and I’m using a couple of climbing holds to help move the boards into place before attaching them to the frame.

partially_installed

3 of the 4 walls are done.

wall_installed

Construction completed.

sanding

Then we sanded the outside corner so it wouldn’t be sharp.

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And added some paint.

sorting

Kristine is sorting out our climbing holds so it will be easier to design our routes.

installingholds

Installing the first holds.

climbing

Testing out the first route.

routesetting

Placing route tape to designate what holds can be used for each route.

board

We added a marker board to rate the difficulty of each route and keep track of which ones we’ve completed.

hammock

Several routes installed, and even a hammock to really give the room an outdoorsy feel.

finsihed-room

The wall is complete with 83 holds, 20 routes, and a crash pad.

A quilt to keep you warm on an ice brrrgh, matey!

Well, it’s been way too long since we posted anything here. We’re going to try to update this more often, but currently aren’t making any promises on how often that will be.

Anyway, I had enough scraps leftover after making a baby quilt for a friend that I decided to make a second quilt! I found a great tutorial for a chevron quilt using rectangle pieces (instead of triangles) at Crazy Mom Quilts. I adjusted it a bit to make a baby size quilt.

pirate-quilt-layout

First I cut out a ton of rectangles and played around with them until I found an arrangement I liked.

pirate-quilt-pieced-trimmed

Piecing the quilt took a lot longer than anticipated… several months. Mostly because I kept on working on other things. I started in August… and finally finished piecing it by the end of  December.

pirate-quilt-quilted

I decided to back the quilt with a solid brown and quilt it with green thread. Yes, every mistake is pretty obvious with contrasting thread, but I like the look.

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Yesterday I finished making the binding and attached it to the quilt.

pirate-quilt-edge-detail2

Today I finished machine binding the quilt. Again, I checked out a tutorial from Crazy Mom Quilts. Binding a quilt intimidates me, especially tacking down the binding by hand (so much time involved!) so machine binding made sense. I think it went pretty well for my first time!

Pirate-quilt1

So here’s the finished quilt! It measures roughly 37x 42 inches.

Pirate-quilt-back

Pirate-quilt-edge-detail

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It’s a pirate-y quilt, matey!

When we heard that some of our friends were having a boy this past spring I knew the quilt I made them would not be your average “cute baby boy” type quilt. They love all things nerdy/geeky and their quilt would have to reflect that. I ended up finding an adorable pirate fabric set by Riley Blake that I just knew they’d love.

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I used a strip quilting pattern I’ve used before. I love it because it goes together really quickly.

Pirate-quilt-Wil-2 Pirate-quilt-Wil-3

I played around with the “map” block placement a lot. I wanted it to be multi-directional, and have the land and sea sections balanced so there wasn’t too much land or sea in any one section of the quilt.

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I quilted it diagonally across the map blocks (x marks the spot!).

Pirate-quilt-Wil-5I finished it without a binding.

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Here’s the finished quilt! As you can see, I created a border using the backing fabric. It ties the two together rather nicely, I think.

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The mother of this family just started a blog called raising little dragonslayers where she writes “mostly about the things that have the majority of my time, attention, and interest: parenting my two kids, general geekery, and the relationship between the two.” Check it out!

Also check out the chevron pirate quilt I made from the fabric I had leftover from making this quilt!

Elmer the Orca

Sorry for the length of time between posts. With one thing and another we’ve had some projects in the works but hadn’t finished anything until now.

So, without further ado, I introduce you to Elmer the Orca! He’s one of the cubist animals that I came up with after creating Ari.

whale_backElmer says “hi!”

whale_dark

He’s comfortable in the snowy arctic with nothing but white all around him…

whale_front

or in the tropics with the deep blue beneath him.
whale_lightHe especially loves to play in large waves!

 

Homemade Chai Tea

Sean loves chai. But chai mix that tastes great, and is not too expensive, is a rare find! Our friend Caleb makes his own chai so we asked him how he does it. He approximates his recipe so we developed our own exact measurements as we followed his general directions. It turned out great!

Ingredients:

6 cups of water

2 black tea bags

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick (about 3 inches long)

1 nutmeg chopped in quarters (it’s helpful to use a very sharp knife and have the nutmeg resting on a towel so it doesn’t go flying when you cut it)

1 cup of sugar (can be adjusted according to taste)

~ Bring ingredients to simmer. Simmer until the tea mixture is just a bit stronger than you want. Remove nutmeg, leaves, and cinnamon, then let cool.

Add milk to taste. We used about 4 cups.

1-chai_tea_creativelyus Ingredients. You can use any sort of black tea.

2-chai_tea_creativelyusThe pot with the nutmeg, bay leaves and cinnamon.

3-chai_tea_creativelyus Simmering! It smelled soooo good!

4-chai_tea_creativelyus Make sure you remove the nutmeg, leaves, and cinnamon stick!

5-chai_tea_creativelyus Mixing in the milk.

6-chai_tea_creativelyus

Homemade chai! Sooo good!

Chalkboard Wall

One of the ways Kristine and I like to relax is to draw on our chalkboard wall as we listen to music. My brothers are working on recording a new album, so we used one of their songs as our inspiration. Part of that song accompanies this video. Kristine and I both have our own styles of thinking visually as we create abstract shapes and patterns as a way of processing our thoughts. This is the first time we’ve done this together and merged our two styles into the same image. The song was written and performed by Seth Gilbertson and produced by Steve Gilbertson.

Person of Interest

person_of_interest_creativelyus

I have the privilege of designing many of the graphics used for our church’s message series. The graphics are used as the title slides for PowerPoint as well as a header image on the bulletins. This design is for a series our pastor is beginning in February, titled “Person of Interest.” The sermons will be focusing on some of the lesser-known individuals in the Bible.

Birthday Cake (decorating)

One of my family’s birthday traditions is decorating a cake for the birthday person. Growing up mom would let us pick out the shape and design we wanted for our cake and then she would decorate it for us. As we got older we helped her make and decorate our birthday cake. Everything I know about cake decorating I learned from my mom. This year I made my cake by myself.

Starting out, I frosted the sides and top edges of the cake with homemade white buttercream frosting.

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Then I colored a portion of the frosting that I’d put aside sky blue. I dropped the blue frosting on top of the cake and blended it into the white frosting with a knife.

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I decided to do the writing next (usually my mom and I put the writing on last when we make cakes together, but I decided to put it on at this point so I’d know how much space I needed/had left over for the rest of the cake design). Piping in writing is challenging! Before I piped the writing in on the cake I practiced on a piece of parchment paper so I had an idea of how large to make the writing and what sort of letter spacing I would need.

cake_creativelyus_3 I forgot to take a picture of just the tree structure… so here ya go, two steps in one… I mixed some coco powder in to a portion of the buttercream frosting to make a rich brown frosting then used a star tip to create bark for my tree. Next I put two different buttercream icing greens (one a bit more yellow-green, the other more blue-green) together in the icing bag with a leaf tip so I’d get variegated leaves. I piped on leaves wherever I thought the tree needed some leaves. I could have stopped there, but mom gave me a few new tips for my birthday so I decided to use more of them and add some flowers to the tree.

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Orange is my favorite color… so, orangey-peach flowers! Next I added yellow centers to the flowers.

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cake_creativelyus_6 cake_creativelyus_7And here’s a picture of the finished cake! I am very happy with how it looks. It tasted good too!