making my own napkins and loving it

chez dewitt
September 16, 2009, 6:39 pm
Filed under: crafts, food

one day, jonny had a birthday.  so he planned (planned?) a delicious menu, then ordered us around as we prepared it in his honor.  and i must say, he looked quite dashing as he did it.


appetizers consisted of grilled, peanut butter-marinated chicken (yes, that’s right) with a creamy avocado cilantro dip.  mmmmmm.  really, it was delicious.  no joke.


then came pizzas.  toppings galore!


IMG_6863that’s just how we roll.

of course, a party with my friends isn’t a party unless there’s fire.


so jon requested a creme brulee, which he brulee’d himself.

IMG_6872 deliciousness.  of which i did not partake, because i had to catch a train back home in order to lie in bed awake and be nervous about my first day of student teaching.

on a final note, some pre-party shots:






part 3
September 7, 2009, 3:23 pm
Filed under: crafts | Tags: , ,

part 3 is not nearly so exciting, but i’m gonna document it anyway.  for my birthday last year elaine gave me cuts of two of my favorite fabrics.  they sat in my fabric drawer for eight whole months, until now…

introducing, the laptop sleeve:


it’s just a simple bag/sleeve design, with two layers of batting in the middle to give the computer some protection.  and of course, a label:


the contrast between inside and outside is my favorite:


i’m planning on attaching some straps to it with a couple of d-ring closures, so that i can cinch it closed for more protection.  but right now it just sits in my bag, making my computer look adorable.

part 2
September 7, 2009, 3:09 pm
Filed under: crafts | Tags: , ,

next up was a baby quilt for my friend liz, who wins the award for freaking me out the most by being pregnant with baby #2.  you know baby #1 from such posts as this one.  she’s a cutie, that’s for sure, and now there’s a new one on the way to craft for.

the result:

this quilt-


i love love love all the colors and fabrics, and it was so simple to put together – just 9″ squares in a modified checkerboard pattern.


the backing fabric is repeated a few times on the quilt top as well, in the center and in each corner.  i think it’s beautiful, and i know liz will love it.


i debated what to do about the binding.  i didn’t want to buy extra fabric for it, so i figured i’d piece together a binding out of scrap fabrics.  but then with the way i decided to pattern the squares, i had an extra square of each fabric left over, so i mixed them with a little bit of solid scrap fabric and pieced together an adorable binding that matches the quilt perfectly.


i chose to quilt it in a really simple grid pattern – ¼” on both sides of every seam.


and of course, my favorite part:


i almost want to keep it for myself.

craft cramming part 1
September 7, 2009, 2:51 pm
Filed under: crafts | Tags: , , ,

there has been some serious cramming going on. between august 21st and september 1st were ten little morsels of vacation, mine for the taking before school/teaching responsibilities started up again.  what to do with all that freedom?


first on the list was alli‘s lunchbag, which, embarrassingly, has been on the list since january.  i’ve received plenty of grief about it over the past eight months, and rightfully so; but now it is finished and presented, and alli can happily go back to work with her very own lunchbag.  well, maybe she won’t happily go back to work, but she’ll go back to work happy about her lunchbag.  or something.

chickens love bugs
chickens love bugs

chickens love bugs

August 17, 2009, 2:57 pm
Filed under: crafts, miscellany | Tags: , ,

now that i’ve been in my new place for six weeks, maybe it’s time i posted a few pictures.  the roommate moves in on wednesday.  i haven’t done all my decorating yet, because i didn’t want her to feel like she was moving into somebody else’s house, but now that i’ve been here on my own for six weeks, that’s exactly what it feels like to me.  adjustments, adjustments.

as of this friday i’m on vacation until september 1st, and i already have a list of things i want to get done, including curtains for the living room, some new blocks for my string quilt (which i don’t think i’ve posted about, but i haven’t done much on it anyway), books books books, and the rest of season 1 of the wire.

busy busy busy.

i’m also headed to boston for a few days to visit the recently-arrived recipient of the baby quilt.  she’ll be receiving a totally adorable onesie with little eco-felt fishies on it.  not handmade by me, but handmade by someone who lives close to me and sells her wares on baltimore ave, so it almost counts.  plus, it matches the quilt, so you can’t beat that.

okay, here are pics!



IMG_6689my spacious, well-lit kitchen



IMG_6694my ridiculously tiny tv, and some artwork that has yet to be hung

IMG_6695so, picture this covered with cat hair (which looks black against absolutely everything, and light gray against this futon- blerg)

IMG_6697comfy comfy comfy cute.  this was made out of ikea fabric – 9 whole yards of it.

IMG_6700where all the magic happens

IMG_6702this is where i pile all of my crap.

IMG_6731haven’t touched the guitar since i moved in.

IMG_6737also made from ikea fabric.

IMG_6739nino and me…

IMG_6729…and birda makes three.

jam packed
June 29, 2009, 8:45 pm
Filed under: crafts, food | Tags: ,

it’s been a really long time.  color me ashamed.

the sad truth is that there has been little crafting going on lately.  plenty of reading, and apartment searching, and trips with friends, but precious little sewing and knitting.  weighing it all out, i can’t say i’m all that upset.

recently, however, my crafting has experienced a rebirth.  this is partly due to the fact that my sister-in-law is out of work for the summer, and horribly bored.  even more exciting, however, is the fact that i’m moving into my new apartment in approximately 40 hours, and things like placemats and curtains don’t just make themselves anymore.

so, in an attempt to make up for months of not posting, i will be posting several projects at once.  be forewarned.

first of all, jam.  what can i say about jam?  not much, really.  i don’t eat that much of it, nor had i ever been super inspired to make it myself.  but alli needed some company, and i bought all of those cute jars in canada, so i figured, what the hell.  let’s make some jam. so on wednesday alli and i headed out to new jersey, to a farm much praised by local canners, only to find that their berry season was long over.  blerg.  so we bought some corn and peaches, and headed to linvilla orchards.  i think the last time i went there i was 12 and picking pumpkins with a friend’s family, so it was a little weird, but fun to return.  we spent an hour and a half in the beautiful june sunshine, picking strawberries and rhubarb, trying not to think of the pesticides as we popped a few choice berries into our mouths.  live a little.

with two full boxes of strawberries and rhubarb, and after checking out the farm store, of course, we headed back to philly for the jammin’ action.  i don’t have the patience to go into all of the details here, so enjoy this short summary:

– we washed and cut over 8 pounds of strawberries, preparing some of them with sugar and vanilla to be stored, and leaving the rest out to make jam the next day.

– on thursday, the jamming commenced.  we decided to start out with the rhubarb, because neither of us had any real idea what we were doing, and we figured that we’d rather waste rhubarb than berries.

– the rhubarb was cooked down, pectin was added, and we ended up with some delicious, yet quite sweet, rhubarb vanilla jam.  too sugary for me, but a beautiful purply-red color.

– rhubarb was combined with strawberries to make a strawberry-rhubarb compote, which will no doubt be sinfully delicious on ice cream or pancakes.

– strawberries were cooked down into strawberry jam, which is delicious but also too sweet for me.  i’ve been giving away jars of it as ice cream topping.

in the end, it only took us about 3 hours to make 3 separate batches of goodies, and there was only one significant skin burn (mine) and one significant stove explosion (see pics).  and, despite my general lack of love for jam, i’m totally sold on canning now, and want to can anything and everything i see.  the jars are just so damn cute.

here are the pictures:

alli always knows how to dress for the occasion

alli always knows how to dress for the occasion


how tart is your rhubarb?

how tart is your rhubarb?

rhubarb vanilla jam in the making

rhubarb vanilla jam in the making

luscious berry murder

luscious berry murder

balls to the wall

balls to the wall

the final products

the final products

you better like it

you better like it

big black dog seal of approval

big black dog seal of approval

ethyl loves to jam

ethyl loves to jam

so that’s the story of the “no, we’re not sisters” jam company’s debut line of jams.  more pics are available here.

in less exciting crafting news, but way more exciting personal news, i’m moving into my new apartment on wednesday, and there are many many things to be done.  instead of doing those things, i’ve been making placemats.


the fabric is from ikea, and i added some fun little kicks of color.


if i have time tomorrow, bird-themed napkins will follow.  who am i kidding?  i’ll totally make time.

finally, since i am at long last moving out of the family domicile and into my own place, it occurs to me that i’ll need a new theme for this blog.  i’ll stick with apt2b, but the whole “just mom and pops and me” doesn’t work anymore.  not that i ever wrote about living with them.  you didn’t want to hear it anyway.  but if you have any ideas for a new tagline, send ’em my way.

babies be appreciative
April 8, 2009, 11:29 pm
Filed under: crafts | Tags:

so, the quilt was finally finished, just in time for me to wash and dry it before my trip!  it was delivered to its recipients last night, after a delicious dinner of roast chicken, greek-style mashed potatoes, and brownie sundaes.  unfortunately, i had no real means of wrapping the quilt, and it seemed wasteful to buy a gift bag, so it was presented rather unceremoniously in a bryn mawr college campus bookshop bag.  eh.

so, here it is, in all its completed, quilted, fully-bound glory:


all the fabrics shrank just the right amount in the wash, giving it that oh-so-perfect crinkly quilt look and feel.  and the fish, seahorses, and octopi are just as cute post-spin cycle!


this was the first quilt that i’ve bound in a true quilt-binding style, so i was a little nervous about how it would turn out.  it certainly took eons, and my poor fingertips were quite sore at the end, but i think the binding turned out beautifully, and the bright orange really sort of pulls the colors together and brightens up the pale-blue that dominates the front.

and, of course, i had to include one of my nifty tags!


i’m so incredibly happy with this quilt.  it feels like the first “real” quilt i’ve made because each and every square was pieced together,  because i used real batting, instead of just backing it with polar fleece, and because i made a real binding and sewed it on by hand.  and while it’s not the first quilt i’ve given as a gift, the fact that it’s a baby gift for a dear friend makes it extra-special and meaningful.

in the end, despite the lack of wrapping paper and sappy cards, both parents-to-be were very touched and grateful, and when i woke up this morning, tristan informed me that last night, as he lay in bed falling asleep, he was thinking of the quilt.  in his own words:  “i could see the baby on the quilt.”  it doesn’t get any better than that.