August 28, 2006

Quilt Monday: Almanizer

almanizer, originally uploaded by Hambone and Jennicakes.

I take part in a monthly block swap, and while it's not a secret swap exactly, I probably shouldn't post what I made for my partner before I send it along.


I really love this block. It's called "Almanizer," and I only chose it because I wasn't really sure what my partner would like. Now that it's done, though, I llove the way it shows off this cute fabrics that Carrie of Sommer Designs gave me.

And as luck would have it, Hancock's of Paducah is having a sale on charm packs, and I couldn't resist picking up a few. I love the idea of doing a wall-sized Almanizer quilt.

Only, does anyone even know what an "almanizer" means?

August 21, 2006

Quilt Monday: Cupcakes on Coral

new quilt!, originally uploaded by Hambone and Jennicakes.

I had such ambitious hopes for this fabric. But a couple of the prints didn't coordinate as well as I'd hoped, but it was no matter. The brown inner border became the brown outer border, and I made the whole thing square.

I hand-quilted the whole thing in front of lots and lots of Dallas. Actually, I exaggerate - it only took about ten hours, but I spent two days working from start to finish on this alone. Once I pieced it in the simple, pared-down style, I was so excited to see the end product that I couldn't look at another project until this was done.

I hope I have a lot more weeks like last week - and lots of quilt Mondays - as the weather starts to cool.

August 1, 2006

Shop sexy!

Hambone and Jennicakes eye quilts are now available for sale at the Hella Good site!

Go check them out!

July 19, 2006

More temptation

Can you believe this album kit?

I just discovered and I am seriously in love. Authentically old-looking pieces that you can customize with your own info?

Brilliant. Just brilliant. Well done, France!

July 10, 2006

Cherry Crush.

Maybe I should I have named this post for an actual flavor of soda pop, but, sorry, I'm just not all that into oranges and grapes right now. I've always loved cherries, but I seem to love them more and more as time goes on.

I bleached some fabric this weekend according to Martha's instruction, and although it's not so tough finding cheries on white fabric, I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

What's weird, though, it that I'm just dying to turn it into some sort of doily. Why? I'm not a doily person. But a cherry doily would be so compact and sweet looking, like the one in this pattern I found.

What do I do about this sudden urge to doily?

June 28, 2006

All strung out.

I'm kind of irritated with myself today, because the quilt I've been wanting to enter into the San Mateo County Fair just doesn't look as though it's going to happen in time.

What's sad is that I've been excited about submitting an entry since the very beginning of this year, so it's not like I haven't seen the deadline coming. And I now have the 25 different blocks of string-piecing that I needed to make the top.

What I DON'T have is the border fabric. I wanted to do a double mitered border around each block in alternating fabrics, and I am just at a loss about colors, patterns, everything. And because the decision-making process is taking so much time, I no longer see how I'm going to fit the cutting, piecing, quilting, and binding into about three weeks' time.

The ironic thing is that my original concept for the quilt was pretty much what I did here and, of course, sold. Not wanting to repeat myself, I decided to try something new, and it's not going to be ready in time, because I'm sort of in uncharted territory.

I feel like there's a lesson in this, but it can't be, "Don't push yourself," can it? I mean, what a crappy lesson!

June 27, 2006

Apron fun!

This time of year always makes me think of aprons, because it's such a fun time for making messy things, like barbecue and lemonade and fruit pies. And so I've been making aprons - one for the apron swap, another for the adorably fun Tie One On theme, and a few more for my shop.

I've actually been through with the Tie One On apron for a while now, except that I haven't been able to decide on what style of pocket would be JUST SO, and it really must be just so. The idea is to make an apron inspired by your favorite musical, and if there is anything I take seriously, it's my favorite musical! So more on this very important matter later.

And I'm just dying to post my swap apron, also finished, only it's got pockets and everything. I'm really pleased with the fabric I bought and how well it worked for the pattern, and I'm itching to share all kinds of pics and info, but it's a secret swap! So, again, more later.

I can speak to the pictures here, however, when are of aprons made from repurposed pillowcases. I've never sold one, which is really too bad, because I love making them, and they're so beautiful. I'm really hard on my bedlinens, and just couldn't put my heavy, dirty old head on either of these - especially since, after years of folding, some of them split at the creases and end up with more than one opening. In a way, I guess I was making an attempt at keeping these heirlooms heirloom-quality, enclosing the seams of the ties and waistband and letting the back of the pillowcase serve as a lining, and now I'm just as happy with the sturdiness as I was with the look of the vintage pillowcases.

Or, to make a long story short, Reuse, Recycle, Retro.

June 2, 2006

From PBS to MTV

I updated the shop today, and not a moment too soon - I hope!

Remember these? Well, this just in from Marie of The Sampler/Style Lounge fame:

hey, jennicakes... this just in: you may need a lot of those Hung Over eyemasks in the very near future. they were possibly THE MOST POPULAR ITEM today at style lounge. There's a priceless picture of Anne Heche wearing it and throwing her head back.


I was actually hung over in front of This Old House reruns when I made this mask. It is now apparently owned by someone on Laguna Beach.

Crafting is so wild. Like, 10% of the time, anyway. (It helps if you can get excited about stuff like This Old House.)

May 31, 2006


is the craft book that I LOVE!

I'm not really somebody who can design her own handbags, so I really appreciate the instructions for all the sweet little purses.

My absolute favorite:

This is a book with lots of quilted projects. If you're a fairly skilled piecer and quilter, the fact that it's all in Japanese would only be a tiny impediment.

My own version of the Retro Fruit Bag (with a little help from Sublime Stitching!):

May 28, 2006

Tie One On, May

This month's Tie One On theme is "A smock to wear out," and I couldn't think of a better way to make an apron that can double as clothes than to use some old clothes. This is made from a halter top that I love, but don't wear because finding bras to go under it is a real bother, and the bottom of an apron whose top I just loathed, but saved because I love gingham. It has two sets of ties in the back, and doesn't cover TOO much, because I really like to have access to the pockets of my jeans. It really comes in handy, though, when I need to wipe glue off my fingernails when I'm in the middle of Blythe cosmetic surgery!

May 25, 2006

The apron meme!

Filled out at the request of the What's cookin'? hostesses.

1. first apron (that you can remember) : I had a few very fun, frilly hostess aprons from my great-grandmother when I was little. I used to play dress-up with them, and I wish I knew where they were now.

2. last (most recent) apron : I'll be submitting to Tie One On this weekend! Watch this space!

3. dream/favorite apron : I love this halter apron I bought at Bazaar Bizarre from HouseWears

4. dream sewing machine: Probably a Singer Featherweight.

5. what do you put in your pockets? or what strange thing have you ever found in them? My apron pockets? At home, nothing. If an apron has big pockets, I wear it to craft shows and use it to hold my change.

6. condiment(s) you can't live without : Does olive oil count? I don't use a lot of condiments, although I have a real fondness for Heinz ketchup, because I grew up in Pittsburgh.

7. do you wear more showy aprons or dutiful ones? Both.

8. favorite cooking gadget: I think my cheese grater.

9. cooking gagdet that promised the world but didn't deliver: My hand chopper from Pampered Chef. It's easier and less messy just to use a knife.

10. a recipe that you know by heart and any stories behind it: Probably just freeform stuff like cola ham and marinara sauce and soup. And if I mix a drink once, I seem to remember it forever.

May 21, 2006

Can't Craft, Cleaning

I've been trying to get the house in order, which means I really ought to be getting my studio in order, which is, all in all, a good idea.

But it's so tought getting from point A (here, a thread tangle as big as my head!) to point B.

May 15, 2006

Quilt Monday x 26

Being accepted into The Sampler's MTV Style Lounge boxes has been such an emotional roller coaster.

Overall, I've been so proud to be part of the effort, and it's a really exciting opportunity. But hand-making 26 eye quilts has been a ton of work, and knowing I'm not going to be paid for that work isn't my favorite feeling.

Sorry to be such a mercenary. It's just another of those business risks, I guess. I just need to cross my figners and hope for a good return on my investment.

Here's the pile that went out today:

In other quilty news, I started a new blog for one of the quilts I'm working on now. Please stop by!

May 12, 2006

Swap blocks!

These are the blocks I got from the Seedpod blockswap. Aren't they fun? I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get more blocks with mint green in them, but I'm going to go ahead and use up the rest of the mint and make a few more rows.

The idea of having a quilt made up of blocks from people I don't know is way more exciting now that these are in my possession. I can't wait to get these in my sewing machine!

April 25, 2006

I haven't posted in just about forever, while my nose was becoming well-acquainted with the grindstone in preparation for Bazaar Bizarre.

Now that BB is over, I have a little cold and a little sunburn, but the effort was pretty successful, and I couldn't have had a better time. Now it's time to branch out into some other projects I've been wanting to get to (including, possibly, another peanut quilt) and, of course, finishing up my samples for the MTV Style Lounge. A shopper at BB envied my sewing and embroidery projects, because she guessed - correctly - that all that work meant lots of hours in front of the TV.

I should be well entertained this week, because my return to a normal schedule coincided, yesterday, with the return of the US Senate to Washington. This is my dirty little secret: I watch C-SPAN 2 obsessively.

One of the highlights was meeting the editors of the upcoming Craft Magazine, one of whom is also a blogger over at the MAKE blog. They had a lot to say about quilting, and questions about the changes in quilting over time.

Actually, now that I think about it, everyone asks me that.

What's interesting is that is that quilting haven't changed. It's the quilters who have. It's American life that's changed. That's why I bring up my love of politics. Years ago, quilting and embroidery were a way to keep women occupied, quiet, and out of debate. Remember Henry James' Washington Square? Now, with technology being what it is, my hands can live the life of a busy little homemaker, while my eyes and ears can be devoted to, among other things, being an informed citizen.

Quilting is such a slow, quiet art that I think it surprises people that I'm not nostalgic for a slow, quiet time in history. I love high-speed internet. I love high-speed EVERYTHING!!! I love living in an image-saturated era - I think it's good for design, and I think the freedom to seek out new aspects of good design is the major difference between traditional quilting and it more modern incarnations. I love vintage quilts, by the way, but there's a big difference between trying to make good design choices out of muslin and a pile of your husband's shirts, and trying to make good design choices when you have thousands of cotton prints at your fingertips.

Speaking of cotton prints, I may need to spend some of my BB earnings on cool Japanese imports. More on this later.

March 24, 2006

Two Quilts, Part 2

I feel like I have been buried under a mountain of quilts. It was great getting two commissions two days in a row, because that guaranteed plenty of work. I can't lie - making money on quilts is great, but not just for the obvious "I-like-to-eat" reasons. Designing and making quilts is the most fulfilling part of working for myself, and when I put my heart and soul into something and it doesn't sell, I have to concentrate on products that aren't as exciting to me. I actually like making every product I currently make, but for years my dream has been to be able to quilt full-time, and it's tough knowing that may never be profitable or viable.

On the other hand, it is really a hell of a thing to be buried under a mountain of quilts. Any project that takes more than a day or two to finish can become truly all-consuming for me. I have a hard time answering the phone, or even responding to emails, when there's an unfinished quilt nearby. That's why I have a hard time describing myself as a quilter, when that's really a pretty accurate description of what I do with myself, professionally. The day I become a quilter might be the day I fall off the face of the earth! So today I'm going to make some aprons - plural!

It's always good to get back to making things, plural.

March 17, 2006

Irish Coffee

I've been making the servicable sister of the tea cozy - the French press Warmer - from time to time over the past week or so. I felt a bit odd showing it off on the bar, but I guess that's appropriate for today of all days!
My mom called me this morning (9 am!) for the recipe for the famous Irish coffees we love to drink here in SFO. But the recipe is a no-brainer - it's the pre-heating of the glass, the dissolving of the sugar cube in the coffee, the shot of Irish whiskey and the slow pour of slightly whipped heavy cream over the back of a spoon that makes Irish coffee Irish coffee.


March 9, 2006

Two Quilts, Part 1

I got two quilt commissions this week! It never rains but it pours. I have been sewing my fingers off since then, and here's what I have so far:

1. The Peanut Quilt, requested by a friend for her friends' "peanut." I developed the character(s, they're all different!) just for this quilt, but I'll probably use him again.

This one needs a widish blue border to make it unisex. Then it will be ready for quilting and binding this weekend! Also, I added a little rick rack trim. Pics to follow.

2. Hambone and Jennicakes Portraits. A woman found my site via Google, and requested a crib-sized quilt with both Hambone and Jennicakes. They are FAMOUS!!! Well, not really. If you look closely, you can see I've done little line drawings of hams and cupcakes to fill the empty picture holes:

I don't know why I'm obsessed with embroidery that's "framed" with fabric, but I am. I'll be stitching the little guys for the rest of the week, and quilting and binding next week.

Now, off to get ready for the season finale of Project Runway!

March 3, 2006

I was so excited yesterday to discover and sign up for this Block Swap! I've always been nervous about swapping, but this is going to yield charity quilts along with stuff for me, so I'm very excited.

I can't believe it's March 3 and I'm already ready to order fabrics - AGAIN! Lately I've been mostly purchasing fabrics for aprons, and that's because they really do require quit a bit of fabric. But now that I'm committed to this swap, and because I'd like to do some tea towels, it's time to make another order. Crazy!

March 1, 2006


I went a little crazy at the equilter spots and dots sale a while ago, and now that my fabric is here, I'm glad I did! I'm in the process of designing a quilt for the county fair, and I know I want it to be very, very dotty!

February 28, 2006


In honor of me getting a new studio space (goodbye, old dining room!) I decided to pick up a few cute things from Loloko to cutify my desk.

I guess, theoretically, getting a new studio space means I shouldn't need to buy myself presents beyond that, but I did. Thankfully, in addition to being beyond cute, they are wonderfully inexpensive.

I was feeling really energized after visiting the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles yesterday. Usually I try to avoid doing too much craft-related stuff over the weekends, because I don't want my whole life to be about sewing. But then going back to the grind on Monday is so tough after all the socializing and partying and eating out and movie-watching. But seeing the exhibit there was a good reminder that I did choose the path I'm taking now, and for good reasons.