TGIFF: Jake’s Darth Vader Quilt

Months ago, my son had a little money burning a hole in his pocket. It went everywhere with him and he was always looking for something to spend it on.

Then we went to a craft show to check out all the tools and goodies displayed. While there Jake found a Darth Vader quilt kit for about $20. He bought it and took it home with the big idea to work on it with me.

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We started together in March. I did the cutting and pressing. He did the sewing. I was really impressed with his ability to sew straight although he did get a little bored at one point. I asked him to just sit through it and get the top done. Then I’d take over.

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And he did! He stuck it out and completed his first top. And look at those points!!!

Then the quilt sat for some time. More my fault than his. I had little free time to do it and I, too, get bored easily. I’ve never been good at sticking it through a whole project from beginning to end in a decent amount of time but I do try.

This past Thanksgiving I got the bug to really spruce up my craft room and get a few projects done And the first to get marked off that list: Darth Vader!

The quilting is simply straight lines on the diagonal. I also switched between red in one direction and white in the other. Sort of like the Dark Side versus the Light.

Of course, even though I did the finishing, I consider it Jake’s quilt. He did the piecing, he bought the package, and he will be the one to use it. And check out how proud he is!

Now I quilted to the very edge of the borders so it gives the back a nice clean, finished look. The stitching goes all the way to the end of the binding from the back. There is something I really like about this, and I can’t quite out my finger on it. But it’s pretty awesome looking.

I did the binding different this time. I rolled the backing fabric over to the front, glued it down, and hot pressed it together. Then did a simple straight line around the edge. And I have to say, it was a fairly easy process and gave it a very smooth look.

Even the mitered corners look crisp! I used a simple Elmer’s glue stick to first fold over the back to covered that raw edge. Then I smeared a little glue on the folded binding and pressed it with the iron onto the front of the quilt. I did use my Wonder Clips to hold it into place but I didn’t need it, honestly. The heat from the iron and the glue held really well.

Another shot, this time from the back. See how neat that is? A simple binding line and I don’t have that spot where I had to tuck the binding into itself. Instead it’s just a clean straight fold.

And with the quilting coming to the edge and folding over to the front, some of the ends dot the binding and the effect is kinda cool. Almost like stars in the galaxy peaking out of the dark skies.

The little man is pleased to have a quilt and I’m so proud that we did it together. There is another quilt in the books!

Check out our side bar for some great quilting link ups! This post will be linked over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

And if you want to hear our most recent podcast, definitely check out Episode #56 where we discuss Birds in the Air by Frances O’Roark Dowell!

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Book Review: Birds In The Air Episode #56

Hey hobbyists and crafters. It’s time for another episode of Hobbies Up To Here!

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We’ve had a very productive week off for Thanksgiving. Here are a few of our WIPS!

My mom and dad have been working on their own stitching projects. She’s flying through a baby blanket and he’s cranking out some great dollies.

I got the wild inspiration to go ahead and create my own design wall. The guys helped me put it all together and now I have one BIG design wall to play with!

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Jake’s Darth Vader quilt is quilted and now the trimming commences! Jake did the top on his own (with only a little mommy help) and I did the quilting. I’m attempting to roll the binding over as opposed to my usual strip method. Wish me luck!

I also wrapped up my box subscription showdown on our Youtube channel.

This episode we dive into the novel Birds in the Air by Frances O’Roark Dowell. I surprised my mom with a copy for each of us to read and enjoy. And boy did we!

Not only is Frances an author but she is also the host of The Off Kilter Quilt podcast where she talks of life and quilting. Check out her podcast and her website!

If you don’t want to be spoiled, listen through to minute 32 where we take a quick break and then leap into some spoilery goodness.

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Our Annual Thankful Post! Episode #55

It’s that time of year again, hobbyists and crafters! Time to get down and thankful!

We start off our podcast this week promising some future content to be posted! So keep an eye out for these future posts.
Basting Gun Review
Subscription Box Review
Future Book Discussion

We have a few WIPs on deck and a few of them aren’t quilting projects!

My mom’s Curved Log Cabin is coming along.


Some crochet books have arrived!


If you think it LOOKS soft, just wait till you feel it!


My dad has a gift for dollies. Here is one he made!


I’ve started some creative journaling in my new Sark’s Journal!


A little of the stitching I’ve been doing on my mandala.

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Because we are feeling so thankful, we wanted to shout out to a few listeners/friends who reached out with some comments.

  • Thanks Alida over at Tweety Loves Quilting for thinking of us!
  • And to Kati for thinking of us, also! Check her out at Kati’s Quilting and Sewing.
  • Don’t forget to go over and subscribe to Frances at The Off Kilter Quilt! We’re reading her new book Birds in the Air and we’ll share our thoughts on it soon!
  • Julie reached out to ask about the Luminess Airbrush system. We hadn’t used it before but Dori jumped on the chance to try out a new makeup product. She’ll have to share her thoughts when she’s used it! Thanks for listening, Julie!
  • Nonnie from Nonnie’s Quilting Dreams podcast shared a fabulous recipe with us from our Monday post. Definitely worth checking out!

Last year we shared everything we were thankful for and we plan to keep this a annual event. It’s great to take time out of our busy lives to share our appreciation to all of our friends and family! If it wasn’t for all of you, we’d just be two crazy crafters sitting around talking about our hobbies.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Meal Prep Monday: Casseroles Are LIFE!

Hey my fellow crafty chefs. It’s been a while since I’ve shared some of my creative endeavors in the kitchen. Why? Well, things have been super busy with the new teaching job and cooking took a back seat.

Plus, the husband shared with me that making all of the food over the weekend and eating it throughout the week wasn’t desirable because he felt like he was eating just leftovers again and again. I could see his point so we made some adjustments and made most of the protein items on Sunday and then cooked sides through the week.

Nothing like a fresh batch of veggies or rice each night to complement some chicken or steak!

But even that change still proved to be too tough to keep up with. The demands of my new job and our already hectic life kept getting in the way. Between grades and soccer and long working hours for the Mr., I was in need of a meal prep schedule that I could keep up.

Enter the casserole! Sorta…

I call it a casserole because I tend to put it together in a large casserole dish but in all honesty it’s more like a tossed together full meal that we reheat throughout the week. It includes a meat, veggies, and a carb like pasta or rice at the base. I’ve had some successful meals come from this new plan of attack that I’ll share below.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Ravioli Casserole

Ok this one literally was an off-the-cuff last minute idea. I had guys over watching football and a kiddo playing Minecraft so I was stuck at home trying to come up with something to feed the troops.

In the freezer I had some butternut squash cubed and ready to cook so I roasted it with garlic, oil, cayenne, oregano and sea salt. While I did that, I layered cheese ravioli into a casserole dish along with some washed spinach. When the butternut squash was fully cooked, I blended it until it was soup like and then I spread that between layers of ravioli and spinach. My thinking was to make it like a lasagna but instead of the long, flat noodles, I’d use the ravioli for layers.

I covered the top with cheese and baked it until the ravioli was cooked completely. As a finishing touch I broiled the top so that the cheese was nice and melted. And we were super impressed! I thought the guys would hate it but in the end they both ate it and enjoyed it! We added a little simple basil marinara sauce on top or to dip it into and that added bonus flavor.

Italian Sausage and Beer Pasta Unbake

My husband confided in me that he didn’t like baked pasta. Particularly the crusty bit around the edge (oh my favorite!). So, taking the idea of a pasta bake, I boiled noodles, browned sausage and beef together with garlic and seasonings, and mixed a bag of roasted peppers into a marinara sauce with the intention of tossing it altogether in a casserole dish but leaving off the last step of baking it together.

That way we still get the goodness of a full meal without the crispy bits around the edges. And when we heat it up throughout the week, we melt a little cheese on top to keep it fresh and new.

My other go-to is my Turkey Chili. I can vary certain ingredients (like marinara for salsa) to include whatever I have on hand. I’ve got a list of a few things I need to always have on hand to make one of these all-in-one meals. Things I replace when I run out, not things I buy weekly. The meat I buy weekly and that’s about it. Otherwise I have a decent stash of these items in my cabinets and freezer.Canned tomatoes

pasta sauce
salsa
frozen mixed veggies
pasta (a variety)
frozen ravioli/tortellini
frozen meatballs (Trader Joe’s are awesome)

With these things always  at home, I know I just need to grab the beef, chicken, or turkey to add. We also shop for the pasta and the frozen veggies on days when it’s a 10/$10 sale. It saves us a little money and time to grab a bunch and store them.

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DIY Steampunk Kid Costume

Every Halloween, we get creative. And not just Halloween, but it’s something about Fall in general. I love the colors, the feel of the season, and it gets my DIY craftiness going.

Because Halloween is all about becoming something you are not everyday, my son and I have always made our costumes as much as possible. And this year was no different! He wanted to dress up in the Steampunk style (thanks to the TV show Steampunk’d).

With his style in mind and a few ideas on what pieces we’d need, we headed over to Pinterest to gather some ideas and plans to bring his look together. He found one picture that turned in his main inspiration.

Then we took off to Good Will.

There we hit a home run with a $0.99 vest, a top hat, and even some goggles. We filled in the other pieces with things we had around the house. His black pants, white shirt and boots were all clothing items we already had. Then we took an old Nerf gun and some other toys that we would antique for a more steampunk look.

It turned out to be quite the undertaking. You have to lay down a good base before using the Rub and Buff wax to get that antique look. I sprayed a matte black coat on a sanded down Nerf gun and a little plastic squirt toy for his hand. Waiting for everything to dry probably was the lengthiest part to the whole process.

While I waited, I began the task of Gorilla glueing all of the cogs and chains to his Good Will top hat.

Then we waxed and buffed all of the antiquing colors onto his weapons. We used Rub and Buff in different tones and while it made it easy to change the obnoxious orange and yellow of the Nerf gun to a great antiqued weapon, I didn’t quite do it as instructed. I painted it on instead of rubbing and it just took longer than expected. I still think it’s a great product.

In the end Jake LOVED his costume and the overall look. Below are the final results (except for the trench coat he added when it got cooler).

We love to DIY and we love the Steampunk style. Pulling them both together made a great costume that got lots of compliments.

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My Grown Up Crafters Wish List Episode #54

You can never be too old to make a wish list.
Even if, as an adult, you know most of the items are unrealistic or out of reach, it’s still fun to create a list of things you’d enjoy playing with.

On this week’s podcast (recorded 10/22/2016) we share a few fun crafty items we’d love to play with!

Everything from  some Tula Pink shears to a fun hot foil pen!

What’s on YOUR crafty wish list?

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All Things Fall Episode #53

Hello Fall!!!
Our favorite season is here and we couldn’t be more excited to get totally crafty!

Last year I shared my Dollar Tree haul of all my fall goodies. I’ve done it again this year and I can’t wait to share with you all the great items I’ve picked up for my crafts this season!

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2016

We gave a shout out to Frances over at The Off Kilter Quilt. Definitely check out her wonderful podcast. It’s a lot of fun to listen to and hear her thoughts on quilting.

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DIY Fall Gift Baskets

My mother-in-law recently asked for some help to create some spa-day gift baskets for a few captains that have been organizing a retreat for the past year. It was her way of saying “Thank You” for all their hard work.

She wanted some input after seeing my YouTube videos last year when I hauled a bunch of cool crafting items from my local Dollar Tree and used them to create lots of adorable fall decorations and later on, some great gift ideas for under $10, all from the Dollar Tree.

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Even Jake enjoys them!

Also, I’ve most recently been gushing out my local Daiso store where you can get a lot of unique Japanese items for $3.00 or less. I’ve enjoyed a lot of their sheet masks for my face.

So together we hit up the Dollar Tree first and I just about died at all the beautiful fall decor and crafts! I love the deep colors and all the leaves and sparkle.
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For my mother-in-law’s project, I was surprised to find that the Dollar Tree also carried shrink wrap gift bags. I’ve used this stuff before but not from here so I took a chance and we brought home a few to try.

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We combined a mixture of bath and spa items from both stores including bath gel, lotion, rose sponges, bath salts, relaxation masks, hand sanitizers, and a sheet mask or two.

She already had these adorable baskets with little felt pumpkins and leaves. Very cute and fall feeling for a great base to our gift baskets.

We also picked up some packets of fabric leaves. They had everything from solid fall colors to gold or sparkling leaves, too. So many great little pieces to add some dimension to the baskets.

Filling the baskets was fun but the real challenge came when we had to use the shrink wrap. Now my previous experience is that shrink wrap can be finicky. Sometimes it works, sometimes it folds and creases, even rips.

But I was happily surprised by the outcome! Once I got the hang of it, I found each gift coming together quicker and smoother than the last. The trick seemed to be working from the bottom up. Heating the bottom, then around to the sides, and up made the process simple. We just used a plain hairdryer and then trimmed the tops after wrapping a beautiful bow to synch it shut.

 In the end we made 8 gift baskets and used up all the spa and bath items. We had a few packets of leaves left over so I took them home to make something with them.

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Our Beauty Must Haves! Episode #52

Makeup, another hobby of ours.
We see it as a time to play with colors and to create new looks.img_6544

While makeup isn’t a necessary everyday routine, we really enjoy taking good care of our skin and playing with different products and colors and techniques. In this episode we focus on our favorites, things we love to use and repurchase when we run out.

Dori’s Must Haves

Katie’s Must Haves

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We’re Back!!! Episode #51

We’re back!!

We took an unexpected break due to illness and a weekend away and the start of the school year but we’re happy to be sitting down together again!

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Check out Alida’s Art with Fabric blog hop starting Oct. 1st!

During my trip to Big Bear I visited two great shops, Bear Country Quilts and Patchworks Quilt Shop, where some lovely quilters are happy and willing to talk shop all day!

Thanks Nathalie from Germany who shared zentangle with me. It’s new to both my mom and I and now we’re fascinated with learning more about it!

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