Valentines Coasters

I am not really one to decorate for (or even celebrate) “minor” holidays – Valentines Day, Easter, etc.. but this year I decided to break the mold. It also helps that my Quilt Guild is having a February challenge. And I needed coasters. I have a TON of fabric with iron on transfer left over from Suzanne’s baby shower. So I made these bad boys:

They have a heart in (cheater) reverse applique on the front, and then a four-square patchwork on the back. They came together pretty quick and I’m super happy with them. I think I like the backs the best :) And check me out.. using fabric that could be x’s and o’s.. so cute!

I’m thinking of maybe hand-quilting around the heart on the front to reinforce the ironed on fabric and to also add the cut out hearts to the back.. Not sure yet though! Any ideas or input are welcome!

I’m pretty happy with the fact that they fit our mugs! Go me and my measuring!

Don’t forget to enter in the Pay it Forward! I’m linking this to Sew Happy Geek and Lines Across my Face

Happy New Year!

I know I’m late (when I am not, really?) but I figured late is better than never, right? My parents and I spent my New Year’s eve in Naples, Florida with our friends from the summer cottage. We have celebrated New Year’s with them for the past 6 years, which is really fun. This year was a little scaled back in numbers but still amazing. We had steak sandwiches – perfect cooked – and salad to eat before we turned on the tv to watch the ball drop in New York.

Early in the night… Chandler, Laura, and I; as well as Tim and Andrew.

Obviously a bit later… Kenny and Chandler; me and my dad <3

And just after New Years… Andrew and Tim enjoying a “cleansing beer” and Lindsay and Laura enjoying the noisemaker. Nothing in focus as I was enjoying myself!

And our hats.. Good times.

Overall, a successful beginning to 2012!

No post… just boring-ness

I’m taking the evening off to spend time with this:

I know it’s a horrible photo because I used my laptop as a digital camera… not good. Just know that Gavin is leaving tomorrow to go to Estonia for his best friend’s stag do (bachelor party)… 24 men. Lots of beer and strippers. I think he will come back happy, if not hungover :) Oh well, this must be a sign of adoration.. right? But look how sweet he is when he is sleeping on the couch! I can’t help it!

Beautiful Video

So if you have been following this blog for any period of time, you will notice that I am obsessed with really like videos. And music. This video is no exception. It ticks all the boxes for me – beautiful location (Iceland?), great music (love Bon Iver), and a dreamy sequence.. Love! The little boy is so cute too!

BON IVER “Holocene” from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

On a side note, regardless of whether this is Iceland or not, I really want to visit. The raw wildness of it really speaks to me. I want to rent a jeep and travel all through the countryside and not see another human for miles.. Just little shaggy ponies and sheep, icebergs and moss fields, lakes and forests.. What a dream!

Baby Shower!

When I found out that Gavin’s sister, Suzanne, was pregnant, I decided 2 things on the spot: 1.) that I was going to make the baby a quilt, and 2.) that I was going to throw her a baby shower. People here in the UK aren’t into showers, baby and bridal, that is, but to me, not having one is travesty! It’s such a beautiful way to be acknowledged for something that is such an amazing life changer! I immediately starting doing some research into baby showers (why Gavin refers to me as Monica, I have no idea…) and I here are my basic plans for the decor:

one; two; three

It is going to be a tea party theme – just because she is having a boy, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t deserve a nice girly party! To go with the tea party/English vibe, I thought some bunting was in order (when is bunting not welcome, really?). I love the ‘how sweet it is’ bunting, but I think just his name would be sweet as well.. we’ll see what I do when it gets closer! I love the paper lanterns (and only about £5 a pop to make? Yes please.) As she is having a boy, I am planning on doing one each in blue, yellow, and green. And last, but not least, I thought these little tie bags would be perfect for guest favor bags.

I refuse to have any ‘traditional’ baby shower games (melted candy bar in a diaper, guess the belly size, etc.) but I know that we need something to pass the time as well as something to make everyone comfortable. After some more research, I decided upon decorating onesies! I’ll get one per guest in all different sizes and then we can spend about an hour eating sandwiches, drinking tea (and Pimms cups for the non-preggers in the group) while decorating. After we are suitably decorated, we can move on to gifts! Very fun :) I also plan on enforcing a no card policy – instead of a card, guests are going to be instructed to bring a book to start the babies library! I love the idea.. I have no idea where I saw it though. Unfortunately, I am not that creative and I totally ripped it off from somewhere… Oops. I’m even going to design little bookplates to go inside that people will personalise :) I’m so excited! Can you tell?

What I’m listening to

These are the songs (and their respective albums) that I have in constant rotation at home and at work. I get a bit obsessive over music and I can literally play a song 4 or 5 times in a row. Gavin is failing trying to get me to only play a song once. In fact, I am now banned from playing Fleetwood Mac or Queen at the office as I overplayed them… Oops. But without further ado, here are 6 songs that I am obsessing over:

Metronomy – The Bay
This song is pretty catchy and perfectly summery. I love the digitalisation of the music as well. I have to keep myself from playing the whole album on repeat!

Hercules and the Love Affair – Hercules Theme
This is my “struttin'” song. ‘Nuff said.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes – Home
I love this song more than words can say. It is such a good love song that isn’t cheesy at all! Well, maybe a little bit, but not so much that it makes you feel sick. Sometimes I catch myself singing, “Alabama, Arkansas…” and it makes me smile. Even Gavin has given it his seal of approval – and that’s saying something!

Noah & the Whale – 5 Years Time
I have to give a little disclaimer with this one.. I absolutely adore love songs. Not the sappy, dramatic ballads (except for the odd one like Celine Dion’s “It’s all coming back to me” and “All by myself”), but ones that are cute and well-written and actually make you feel like you can relate.. you know? This is one of them :)

O.A.R. – Love and Memories
I used to love O.A.R. in university and then I didn’t hear their new album and sort of drifted apart until I had basically forgotten about their existence. Until the other day when I was listening to some playlists on 8tracks and this song popped up! It was like running into an old friend that you haven’t seen in years. It was like no time had passed at all :)

Hall and Oates – You Make My Dreams Come True
Such a happy song. Perfect summer dance song! I can see my mom, sister and I dancing around the summer cottage kitchen to this one :)

Things that are currently tickling my fancy

Since I obviously fail at regular updates, I thought I would do this post as a list. A list of things that I really enjoy right now. If you don’t know me very well (but I know that everyone reading this does ;) ), you should know that I like really random things. So, without further ado, I bring you The List:

1. What Do You Live For, ad by Ogilvy Asia.

Seriously, this made me tear up. Granted, I am a wuss and tear up at most anything even vaguely emotional. Watch this one at full screen for emotional power that goes up to 11.

2. Welcome to the Jungle, 2CELLOS.

I really enjoyed this and it made me want to play an instrument. Real bad. I don’t know much about them other than they play a mean cello, but you can find out more on their site or their facebook page. This one also benefits from full screen viewage*.
* I know that viewage isn’t a word, I just like it.

3. Hennie Haworth, illustrator and designer.

This is her beautiful Skyline poster I love all the detail and the use of color :)

And how great is this Alphabet print? I think it would be great in a nursery, but as that isn’t going to happen for a pretty long time, I could settle for it anywhere. Again, it’s all the detail in the drawing for me. I also love the colors. I seem to have some sort of obsession with a red, white and turquoise combo at the moment. I bought Gavin a print that was red and white, I bought me a print that was turquoise (mostly) and then I bought us both another print that will go in the kitchen… I think I am noticing a trend…

4. The World’s Smallest Post Service Kit

I think I just like stuff that is not normal sized… On a side note, I would LOVE if I got one of these in the mail!

5. Deep Dark Africa, an store that sells stuff made in Africa, but of great design.

There are these beautiful lace vases that are only $35! I love that the stuff is just classic, nice looking, affordable pieces, rather than the ram-it-down-your-throat-ethnic vibe that most fair trade products/stores give off.

How about a gorgeous bamboo shawl? This one’s a twofer as you get eco and humanitarian cred all in one ;)

Seriously, check them out as all their stuff is amazing, handmade, affordable and it helps people. In their words, Deep Dark Africa is “carefully selected hand designed and made pieces created by or in collaboration with a diverse range of local artisans, designers & crafters, Deep Dark Africa aims to promote this uniquely talented continent & its rich creativity, showing that African design is evolving whilst still holding firm to it’s handmade roots.” I couldn’t have said it better myself :)

So we have reached the end of my list. I can now close all the tabs on my browser and perhaps give my poor dying laptop a well deserved restart..

Summer? Is that you?

Summer is so close that I can almost taste it. Summer fruits, Pimm’s cups, ice cream along the Thames and leaving the windows open all day. Good times all around! Today Gavin and I got burritos and ate them in Golden Square. It was glorious. The sun was shining, it was warm and the flowers were beautiful. We were even serenaded by a man with a guitar and amp who was playing and singing. It was great.

Aren’t the flowers great? I love the frilly edged tulips :)

Spring has sprung!

Creative title, I know.. I also know that this is a bit late, but whatev, I’ve been a busy little bee. Spring has been such a welcome change in the cold, dreary grey of a British winter. It started with the daffodils:

These are in a little area I walk through every day on the way to train (and sometimes pick some chives!) and the bright yellow flowers with the sun streaming through them is such an awesome way to start the day. I think that the sun alone is beautiful, but the addition of the daffodils takes it to a new level. There are also blooming trees all down my street – amazing, really.
I get my fresh produce delivered (all British and organic) and last week I got the first glimpse of spring in my box! The BIGGEST green onion I have ever seen! I mean seriously, check this bad boy out:

That is a normal sized set of keys next to it! I was way impressed… and they say everything is bigger in the US.. ;)
The last sign of spring is that I have started preparing my “garden” for summer! I planted some tomato seeds and they have all sprouted! I have never grown anything serious from a seed.. Maybe a sunflower or something, but never something that produced FOOD! These are a long way off from food though…

Now I just need to get that living room painted…