488: I'm teaching now!


I'm so excited. I'm heading to Colorado to do a private teaching gig at Penny Layman's house! You might know Penny better as @SewTakeAHike on instagram and the author of The Paper Pieced Home.

(affiliate link, because why not? more on that another time)

Now, I've been offered  teaching opportunities before and I have said no every time. It has always terrified me.  But after Quiltcon 2015, Penny messaged me to ask me to come to her house and do a small class on my raw edge faces. I was like, "Um, thank you, but I don't teach." And she was so sweet and encouraging and said "We just want you to come and share what you do. No pressure, just a few friends. We'll pay your way and pay you to teach us." 

You guys? Could there be a more perfect way to entice me to try teaching? Not really. Penny is a love. I agreed to give it a try. I was so nervous! Back in February, this gig in late September seemed so far away. And now it's here! And I'm so....excited! 

I've been making a bunch of faces for class samples. 

I've been making a bunch of faces for class samples. 

And since I had already agreed to embark on a teaching adventure at Penny's, when QuiltCon announced that they were accepting class proposals for 2016, I thought, "Huh. Maybe I could do that?" It was a miracle that I put together something on time. And then! It got accepted! Wheeee!

When registration opened,  I was basically just hoping that enough people would take the class so it didn't get cancelled. 

You guys. Both classes SOLD OUT on the first day of registration! That's 24 people in each class! Holy cow! I'm not messing around when I tell you that I was surprised. I love what I make, but I wasn't really expecting to get that kind of reaction to it. Imagine if I had just blown off the call for proposals? I would have missed out on this awesome opportunity to grow and stretch myself and share what I do. I need to keep this in mind when I let other deadlines come and go!

This was my first one with a brown background and I love how it looks! Also, shot cotton eyes!

This was my first one with a brown background and I love how it looks! Also, shot cotton eyes!

So since I booked Penny's and QuiltCon, I decided to do a small, free, invite-only practice class to make sure I can, you know, teach.  Since I wasn't charging for it, my local quilt shop Tumbleweed let me use their space! (Big thanks to Mary Carlson for that!) 

Look at this amazing FIRST TRY by my student (eeee! student!) Beth Stephens:

Student work by Beth Stephens in Making Faces with Melissa Averinos class.

Student work by Beth Stephens in Making Faces with Melissa Averinos class.

Can you believe it? So awesome! The first hour and a half is a basic lesson in drawing faces, broken down all easy-like to make it achievable. About 20 minutes in to the class, Beth said, " I feel like an artist already! I've never been able to do this before!" DAY MADE.  (Huge thanks to my other students Jodi Meenan, Judy Skwar, Jane Greenfield, Jean Necheles, Kate Martin, and Sally Johnson. Some live right in town, but others made the summer trek from Boston, Providence and even Connecticut! Thank you for believing in me!) 

I fell in love with teaching that day. And I didn't even bring write notes to work from! I wanted to wing it just to see what came out naturally ---- and it was AWESOME! There is some fine tuning to do, but overall it felt so natural and fulfilling. Another surprise!

And now I'm getting ready to head to Fort Collins, Colorado to have a slumber party at Penny's.  

Experimenting with a limited color palette.

Experimenting with a limited color palette.

And! I'm now booking workshops all over the US for 2016! (omg omg omg) Hit me up via email (melissa at melissaaverinos dot com) if you are interested in having me  come to your shop or guild. I will be posting info on a separate page once I get all my ducks in a row, but until then email me for info!

I want to hang out with you  and make faces together!




DIY Wine Corks featured on Oprah.com!

You guys! 

My book DIY Wine Corks was featured on Oprah.com!  

Here is a little video I did via skype: 


If you want to do some crafting, you can grab the book on Amazon. Click the picture below!

(odd post beacause i'm trying to do it quickly using my ipad and i feel like i have paws!) 


486: so many things


So many things to talk about! I seriously don't even know where to begin. I sort of lean toward making single-topic posts these days, but it goes against my rambling nature. I just want to hang out with you! And talk about ALL THE THINGS! 

BUT FIRST, this little sign I made for myself one day when I was having a hard go of it,  as you know I do sometimes. 


HANG IN THERE, WEIRDO. Ah, I love it. It makes me smile every time I look at it, which is all the time since I set it as my desktop background. 

Hi. I like you. Thank you for being here with me. You are my community, my friends, my peeps. I get so much from my interactions with you on the facebook, instagram, sharing my obsessions with you  on pinterest, your comments here on my blog. Seriously? I'd be lonely without you. You have been right here with me during some of the hardest times of my life and you cheer me on during the best times of my life. Ah, now you got me all misty-eyed. Quit it.

What's up? SO MUCH. 

I'm just going to write a little list of things and then I will  probably end up writing a whole new post for each of them, ok?

*I went to QuiltCon and it was awesome. My quilt 'face #1' won an award!

*I got a puppy in November! His name is Max and he is a giant love. 

*I'm ridiculously, goofily crazy for my Adorable Husband (tm), above. LIKE WOAH. That guy is the best. How did I get so lucky? 

*I've been doing a 'painting a day' challenge! (which I share on instagram and facebook.) I think I'll start blogging my favorites every week. Or, let's be honest, whenever I feel like it. Schedule, schmedule.

Here's one I love:

Weird cats FTW. Markers on paper. Oh, did I say 'painting' a day? Well, whatever. Sometimes it's a painting, sometimes a doodle, sometimes it's a design I do on the computer.  Maybe I should call it something else, something more inclusive. 

*Ummmmm, what else? I feel like there's more. OH! Ha. Last week I shot of video of me talking about crafting with wine corks posted --- you remember I wrote a book on that?

So this little video interview I did is going to be posted on a website on Friday, March 20. 


On this website called, um, oprah.com!


There's other stuff to tell you but that made me all nervous so I'm gonna do some escapist pinning of clothing refashions until I forget why I was nervous.

I love you.



ps did you notice my pretty new site? (still in progress, but I love it!)


485: quiltcon 2015! I'm totally going!

You guys!

Who is going to Quiltcon?? Let's hang out!

I wasn't planning to go, but then on the last day possible (OF COURSE) I submitted my face quilt and it got in! 

So, my quilt that got in. It's the one I was working on in my last post

Here she is all finished:

Face #1 by Melissa Averinos. 

Face #1 by Melissa Averinos. 

Eeeeeee! I love how it came out. If you get my updates on instagram, then you have seen a lot of this lady face.  I posted the whole time I was making it. 

I've been making things all my life--- since middle school. This is my favorite thing that I've ever made, paintings included! 

I actually cried with joy when I finished it.

I plan to make more. This was the first try!

I didn't use any photos or programs or anything. It was all improv. Made it up as I went along, like I do with pretty much everything.

I loved trying out different combinations on the design wall , stepping back and reworking it until it looked right too me.  That's the fun part to me, the creation of something new. Then it was time for the not-so-fun part: piecing it together! There was no easy way to do it but with the help of the camera on my phone I sewed it all together in sections. What a giant pain! 

But it was so cool to watch it develop as the features came together:

Auditioning lips:

Lips done:

So. Many. Seams.

Once the deign was basically done on the design wall, I actually did the piecing and quilting all in one weekend because it was going into a gallery show that Monday. Yeah. No pressure.

I just did some simple straight line quilting on it because: 

1. That's all I had time for. On such a tight deadline I wouldn't have been able to take my time with custom quilting.  

2. I loved it so much I didn't want do anything to alter the look of it or distract from the piecing and design. 

3. I actually love plain ole straight line quilting and it always looks great.

Here it is hanging at Cotuit Center for the Arts, in a modern quilts exhibit I curated (Dang, I really need to blog that exhibit!)

Yes, it is giant. And you can see her in person if you go to Quiltcon next week!


It's been so long since I have seen my quilty peeps!! Are you going?? I'm just going to some lectures, no workshops. I plan to go to the Moda party--- you too?

Maybe you want one of my pins?

Any suggestions for things I can't miss in Austin?



P.S. After a million years with yummygoods.com, I am making the switch to just my name. Now if only Facebook would let me change my page name ----JEEZ. 


484: improv pixel(esque) quilt

Yup, another face. 

I can't stop.

If we are pals on instagram (which we totally should be) then you know this.

In my last post, I showed you that raw edge applique self portrait I started. Well I decided I wanted to try a pieced improv face. (A topic for another day: do people respect raw edge applique? I sort of feel like they don't.)

At this point I am just building this face on the design wall. When I get to the actual piecing it is going to be a bear!

Like my mess? You know how I like to keep it real. I can barely see the floor in there. I keep trying to get Stuart to hang out with me while I quilt but he's not having it. He practically gets hives when I suggest it. Ah, well. He's pretty much perfect otherwise, except for not liking pie. (I KNOW)

So I just crank up my Pandora (Joshua Radin or Avett Brothers station = love) and get to work. Play. You know what I mean. 

I love how it is coming out. It is so much fun to see it develop.  I get all up close and change things around and then it's so awesome to step back and see how it all comes together.

Is this a pixel quilt? Kind of I guess!? It's not all squares, lots of rectangles. I would love to try making some picture quilts with triangles. 

A lot of people make pixel quilts and they are always so cool. I don't think I could make one from a pattern though because a.) I realy dislike following patterns, it makes me anxious and b.) for me the fun is creating it as I go. If I designed it ahead of time I wouldn't bother making it because it's the figuring it out on the fly that I enjoy. I paint the same way--- I don't sketch it out first, I just dive in and mess with it until I like how it looks. 

And no, I'm not using any kind of reference for this gal. It's just out of my head. I do plan to do specific portraits but this time around is just from my imagination. 

I get to put kitties in people's eyes.

There are also skeletons and ducks. 


I just love improv!

It's really the only kind of quilting I do. I sometimes feel like I want to learn the basics of traditional blocks and stuff.... but then I'm like.... oh look I made a unicorn out of scraps. 

So, anyhoo. This is what I'm working on, among other things.


I need to blog more. I miss it. I got my first Mac for my 40th birthday a couple weeks ago so I am still finding my way around. I plan to do more blogging and fabric designing now!

What about you? What are you working on?

I'm SO happy it's summer. 

Also, you guys? It's was a crazy and difficult spring but I am now feeling better than I ever have. I was sitting by the garden about a month ago and I turned to Stuart and said, "I have this weird feeling. I think it's like... happiness?" I can't wait to tell you all about it.










483: giant fabric selfie

Hey, miss me? I miss you. Do people even read blogs anymore?

Couldn't sleep one night last week so I went up to the sewing room and started messing around.

My brains, I can't shut them off. Sometimes I lay in bed with my mind in a tornado. Usually I do. But for whatever reason that night instead of laying there cursing my brain problems (hashtag brainproblems), I got up and decided to play with fabric.

Why did it take me so long to tack up batting for a design wall? I only put it up a couple of weeks ago and I LOVE IT. Nothing fancy, batting and pushpins. You're smart so you probably already have a design wall, but if you don't- you need one. NEED.

Yup. I started a giant fabric selfie.

I didn't really mean to but I just started to throw scraps on the wall and since my default thing to draw and paint has always been faces, I started to make a face shape. I have always drawn and painted self portaits and of course I know my own face best, so ... why not?

Nothing like some giant fabric collage to harness the power of my mind for good instead of evil. Posted to instagram and went to bed.

I wasn't planning to really sew it down or do anything with it other than take the scraps down, but my ig and facebook pals encouraged me to keep going. Since I hadn't secured the fabric at all, I started over lightly glueing it (glue stick!) just enough to keep the pieces in place until I sew it down.

This is where I am so far.

I spent a little more time on it than the first go-round, so it looks different, more like me I think. But I still do like the first version a lot.

Close up:

Obviously I try not to get too precious and perfect with it.

I really feel like I'm just painting but with fabric. More like collage I guess.

Not sure what I will do with it next. I could keep going with more scraps or I could start sewing it down...

I struggle with the term 'art quilt'. We should talk about this sometime. Textile collage? Quilt? Art? I don't know. It's kind of weird to make a giant fabric selfie, but it's fun to play and finally do the things that I feel like I've done in my head for ages. Know what I mean?

Here's a little video of a bunch of the process photos so you can see how it changed and came together as I worked on it.

Not the cutest picture of me, but... for scale:

I'll let you know where I take it from here!

Just wanted to pop in and say hi and show you one of the things I've been up to. I also have a bunch of quilts that I have done for clients lately (click here for my longarm quilting services info! and yes I can fit you into the queue!) and I've been painting up a storm too.

Also, did I tell you I joined a roller derby league? Yeah, like a year ago! If we hang out on ig or fb you know this already. More on that soon.

I miss you. I should get back to blogging.



(aka Stabby. That's my derby name: Dear Stabby. My # is XOXO, seem familiar? But the o's are actually zeros)

482: Jeni Baker's Shining Stars Quilt

I was delighted when Jeni of In Color Order sent me this gorgeous creation to quilt. So much negative space to play with!

The prints are from her own line Color Me Retro with Art Gallery Fabrics.

The quilt pattern is called Shining Stars and it is Jeni's design. I believe she will be releasing a pattern for it soon--- I will update this post with a link when she does.

I quilted straight lines in the blocks and surrounded them with my 'Melissa Stitching.'

I have a new page about my longarm quilting services which you can check out here if you like!


I really love longarm quilting. It's so much fun.

The back:

So, that's what I've been up to.

That, and I finally watched the last season of Dexter--- which was AWFUL.

And maybe drinking some fireball whiskey now and then.

Oh and roller derby.

Have I even told you about this yet?

Ah! I have so much to catch you up on! Soon.





481: Judy's Newport Crosses Quilt

Look at this beauty I got to do for my second ever custom quilted quilt!

For those who may not know, longarm quilting is considered 'custom' when it takes into account the quilt pattern and seam lines, rather than being an 'allover' or 'edge to edge' which treats the whole quilt the same.

My awesome customer (and friend)  Judy Skwar gave me this gorgeous modern crosses quilt made with inspiration and techniques from Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts by Jacqui Gering (aka Tall Grass Prarie Studio) and Katie Pederson (aka Sew Katie Did).

Judy made this for her (VERY LUCKY) daughter in indigo blues and essex linen. It is so yummy. And I'm lucky too because I got to quilt it!

I wanted to do straight lines and pebbles. I wanted to echo the cross shape in the quilting. I wanted to do some stitch in the ditch.

I got a lot of practice in with this quilt!

I used a linen color Glide thread by Fil-Tec.

I like how the quilting lines extend the crosses in some places.

Judy always peices her backs, so here's the rear view:

You can really see all those pebbles surrounding the crosses on the back. Pebbles are fun!

Judy called this one "Newport Crosses" because her daughter lives in Newport. Nice, huh?

I couldn't resist sneaking a few feathers in there:

I am dying to do more quilts like this. Send me some!




480: thready or not

(re: title. oh yes i did)

You know those thread ladies I did?

Well I started to do  more, this time painting them as well as stitching!

I started off painting this lady....

And then I stitched.

Here is a little video. (sorry there is random sound!)

So much fun, you guys.

I am using Derwent Inktense blocks. I didn't use any fabric medium, so I don't expect that it would hold up in a wash. I would need to do some experimenting if I planned to use this on a functional quilt, for sure. The blocks are like sticks of pigment, so i just used a wet brush to grab some of the color and then painted with it, kind of like you would with watercolors. Ok, just like you would with watercolors, except the paint is in a stick instead of a cake. Mmmmm, cake.

Here are a bunch of them all together:

Here's that little cherub before I colored it in. (Sometimes I stitch and then paint, sometimes the other way around.)


And here is another little video of the process:

Woah, sorry. That is pretty jiggly!

And sometimes it looks better before you mess with it. I painted, stitched and then painted some more:

I like how it came out, but I think I liked it better before the stitching.

You never know until you try! I love experimenting. I am dreaming up all sorts of things to do with thread and paint!

Meanwhile, happy halloween!



479: do YOUR work

I needed a peptalk, so I made one.

Maybe you need one too?

Feel free to print and hang it where you need to see it.



478: log cabin,fear of failure,quilts for boston

My friend Suzanne made this amazing log cabin quilt top like 30 years ago.

Did I mention the amazingness?

And she let me quilt it!

I did a simple stipple. The piecing and the fabrics were so awesome, the quilt didn't need anything else.

I used a linen-y off white threadso it would blend on the back.

It does.

Also, I need a pedicure.

Don't you love how Suzanne arranged the blocks to have these stripes?

Don't you love the fabrics and the colors?

Ahhhh and look at the center!

So awesome.


I am still in love with quilting, but I have to admit I have not been as much of a go-getter with it as I need to be. You know why?

Well, the truth is I am kind of intimidated!

I mean, I bought this really expensive machine and I redid a room in my house and I spent money and time to go to MQX and ... and.... what if... like,..... well, what if it doesn't work? What if I can't make a go of it? What if it fails like my shop failed?


I know. I know it would still be a valuable experience. I know I would be ok. I know I would figure something else out. I know I have what I need to actually make this work, too. I know if I really really put my heart into it I can have a thriving business.

I mean, I can, right? I tell myself I can. And there is still some very real part of me that is scared of really trying because if I really REALLY try and I still fail, then.... well that just blows doesn't it?

Anyways, setting that aside, I just gotta keep on keepin' on, right? I am slowly plugging away at building this longarm quilting business. I got some business cards printed and even dropped some off at the local quilt store. Want to see my cute new business cards? (Jeez how many more times can I put the word 'business' in this paragraph?)

Cute, right?

Ok, I am stressing out just thinking about all of this, so let me show you another thing I've been working on.


I'm volunteering my services to longarm 3 Quilts for Boston, organized by the Boston Modern Quilt Guild.

Bayberry Quilters, the quilt guild I belong to on the Cape, sent in 75 blocks! When I finish all three I will post pics so we can see if any of our members' blocks are in them. Like a quilter's I Spy.


I am obsessively pinning clothes to sew for myself. More on that soon.

What are you working on?







477: Heather Ross + Judy Skwar + Chasing Cottons = Awesome

You guys, quilt porn alert.

More magic sent to me by my awesome customer Judy Skwar.

I am so honored that people send me their beautiful work to longarm quilt! I just did simple allover loopies on this baby.


Love this center panel of Heather Ross's ridiculously amazing Far Far Away line. (*shakes fist in the air* DAMN YOU HEATHER ROSS!)

And hey lookie there, some of my first fabric line is in this block! The two left vertical strips were from Sugarsnap for Free Spirit.

Always makes me happy to see people using my fabric.

Another view of the loopies.

So cute, right?

But, you guys?


That's right.

Here is the front omgomgomg!

It took me a while to work up to quilting this one because I was so intimidated by who awesome it was! Gah! Lots of Kokka linen! I am so lucky that my customers have such great taste. Oh man, do I love this quilt.

The pattern is the Sand Castles Quilt by Chasing Cottons.

Isn't it magical?

I am coo coo for these little postage stamp borders. GAH.

SQUEEEE! Look at this Kokka linen!

I chose this orange golden color Fil-Tec Glide thread, I think it's called melon or cantaloupe or something like that.

It worked beautifully.

Another castle block.

And more Heather Ross beauty:

Seriously, everything she does kills me.

There you have it!

The amazing Heather Ross Sand Castles quilt --- pieced by Judy Skwar and longarmed by yours truly.





476: melissa squared and a free pattern!

The first of my customers to receive her quilt back from me after longarming it was the lovely and talented Melissa Peda of 100 Billion Stars! In addition to making her own quilts, Melissa sews sample quilts for Westminster's booth at Quilt Market.

This was a quilt of her own design using primarily small pieces of various Westminster fabrics (both Rowan and Free Spirit). See link below to grab a pdf of this free quilt pattern called Roundabout!

I was thrilled when Melissa told me to just have fun with it and do my 'Melissa Freestyle Stitching' which is an allover mix of designs. That is the most fun for me--- it is pure improvisational and intuitive play!

Drawing with thread--- it is so rad you guys.

No stitch regulator.

I think this is my 8th customer quilt. I love longarming!

I chose a sky blue thread because there was a lot of blue in the quilt already. I like how it blends with the blue fabrics but pops on and adds blue to the other fabrics. I bought a bunch of Glide by Fil-Tec (awesome colors!) and I love it. It has such a nice sheen and it doesn't fill the bobbin with lint and make it all fluffy like a cotton candy machine!

When Melissa got her quilt in the mail, she emailed me this,"I got the quilt today! Woo hoo!!!!  It looks amazing! Thank you so much. I love the "Melissa Freestyle" quilting and the thread color is perfect."

This makes me so so happy!!

I love this green flowery fabric --- I am so out of the fabric loop I don't even know what collection or who it's from, but it makes my heart jump a little:

The back was peiced wit ha few large pieces:

 Melissa bound it immediately and sent me this picture, saying the quilt was Cat Approved!

Huge thanks to Melissa Peda for being one of my first customers, for believing in me and for letting me have my way with her beautiful work! Head over to her 100 Billion Stars blog to grab a copy of the free pattern for this awesome Roundabout Quilt  and read her post on our collaboration!


You guys, I love doing this.








475: lady in thread

I can't help myself.

I start some feathers or stipple and then I just....


Whoops! I made a face.


These little ladies have been showing up when I'm practicing lately.




Apologies for the photo quality--  they are instagrammed.

I heart instagram. Hang out with me there?




I decided to try one with contrasting thread:



Obviously not concerned with perfection on these, just using the machine like a paintbrush.

That's all. Just wanted to pop in and say hi and share my thread ladies!





474: my first customer quilts!

You guys!

I got my machine a few weeks ago and this weekend I did my first two customer quilts!

I really feel like I have finally found the thing I am supposed to do for a living. It's like I have been practicing for this my whole life! It is such a perfect fit.

I don't have a lot of experience with the machine yet, maybe 40 hours, but it feels so natural - it's just like drawing which I have always done.  I look forward to learning all the nuances of this new-to-me art form and finding my way with it. I love it so much.

I am so grateful  to Mary Julia Skwar (Judy) for trusting me and jumping right in to be my first customer --- she sent me six quilts! I can't wait to show them all to you. But to start with, here are the first two, a pair of similar ones that were my very fist customer quilts!

(apologies for the wonky colors - they are much prettier in real life!)


I am referring to this freeform allover as Melissa Freestyle--- I just play and do what I want! It is wicked fun.

You can't really tell, but the sashing is a beautiful turquoise and I used a matching Glide thread from Fil-Tec.

On the other one I did a largish stipple.

I love my quilting room. LOVE IT. I have more pictures to show you of the transformation sometime soon.

But for now, I just had to share my Very First Customer Quilts with you!

Thanks so much for all of your love and support during this new venture!!





473: longarm honey

Been whipping together some tops to quilt on my friend's longarm.

I do so love improv piecing. You know, I have never made a quilt from a pattern. I have never made any traditional block. I would like to learn, and I will, but making shit up is just so much more fun for me.

That's right, I swore a little bit. If this is a problem, then we probably shouldn't be friends.

Here are some more quilty doodles, feathers:

Still getting accustomed to the machine. That is just a practice piece, but I can't waste fabric, so I bound it and it's on my bed.

Some exuberant feather action.

And playing with type.

Gah, I can't wait to get the machine HOME so I can quilt ALL THE THINGS!

Yes, I am getting  my own longarm. If we are pals on twitter, facebook or instagram then you know this already.

I am offering simple allovers to start, like meanders, loops and lines. To begin with I will only be doing my own custom quilting until I feel ready to offer it to others.

More to come on this exciting new adventure--- you should SEE how the studio is shaping up! I took before and during pics so I can show you. I am going to put together a slideshow.

Oh, ok, fine. Here is a sneak of the room before:

So I kind of have a lot of stuff. This is, like, half of it.

And here is what the room looks like today, almost ready:

SQUEEE!!! It's going to be a tight fit, but I can't wait to get started.

I have 4 quilts in the queue already, plus I think two on the way shortly. So exciting to embark on something new. More soon on how this all came about. I totally didn't plan on writing about this today, but I couldn't help myself.

How many quilt tops do you have laying around that need to be quilted?

Will you send me some? I'd be pretty psyched if you would.

Hit me up at melissa(at)yummygoods(dot)com to chat about it!



472: afghan unfringed or how i learned to love finishing things, at least for now

So about a million years ago , ok maybe it was 3 or 4, I spent a month or so making a bunch of granny squares and then, miracle of miracles, even seamed them together to make an actual afghan.

I do not usually finish things.

I especially do not usually finish things before a very long delay.

This thing, I made it and I finished it!

Kind of.

Since it was my first time with granny squares (also I am lazy) I didn't weave in the ends as I went.

So I had a big granny square blanket with, like, random fringe all over it. Did this stop me from using the blanket? No it did not. It has been used and washed many times in the last few years since I made it. My Adorable Husband (tm) liked to tease me about it. I fully expected that it would stay fringey forever.

Eh, whatever.

And then I started longarming. And then my amazing new friend Judy showed me how to bind a quilt the not made up way (which is pretty much the way I do everything, the made up way) and in the last few weeks I have bound all of the things that I quilted.Even the things I did last summer. This one I machine bound (which Judy doesn't do because she is hard core.)

And most of them I actually HAND SEWED the binding to the back (which is what Judy taught me), which is something I always thought I would hate to do. Sew teeny tiny stitches? FOR HOURS? That you WANT to be invisible? That no one will ever see or notice, you hope?

Maybe it's because I got to hang out on the couch and watch Dexter while I did it, maybe it's because I was drinking Fireball Whiskey on  the rocks, maybe it's because I got to drape the quilt over me (and you know how I am ALWAYS cold) --- whatever the reason, turns out, I really love handsewing the binding to the back of the quilt! (My own quilts, let me clarify.)

Neat! Old Dog, meet New Trick!

So, after several evenings of contentedly binding quilts (and watching Dexter, Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey), I ran out of quilts and my hands were lonely and bored.

I looked at my afghan.

It looked at me. I grabbed the snips and a hook.

And I spent a couple of evenings tidying up and FINISHING my first granny square afghan!


Yes, I used crappy acrylic yarn.

Thor and Riley don't judge me.

I love seeing all the critters hanging out with my handmade stuff. It's so cute.

Now I gotta make a million more quilts.

And bind them.

I'll have a whiskey on the rocks.

And Bates.




471: My new book!

You guys you guys YOU GUYS!

I finally get to tell you about my new book!!!!

DIY Mason Jars : 35 Creative Crafts and Projects for the Classic Container

That's right, I wrote a book all about crafting with Mason Jars!

But wait, I didn't just write it, I ILLUSTRATED IT, which is a dream come true. I can't wait to show it all to you, but for now, here is the adorable cover:


I had a blast working on this with the lovely folks over at Adams Media! They are a division of F+W and if that sounds familiar to my crafty peeps, it might be because they recently acquired  Interweave.

DIY Mason Jars comes out this spring but is available for preorder RIGHT NOW on Amazon, so, you know, go preorder it!

I mean, if you want.




470: Bacon, the gateway meat

I've been a vegetarian for 22 years.

Well, technically not a vegetarian, so much as a fishatarian, as I do occasionally eat seafood. Most people still think of that as a vegetarian, so it was just easier to use 'vegetarian' as shorthand.

Anyhoo, aside from the aforementioned seafood, for most of my life I haven't eaten meat. Nope, not even chicken. I don't know why but people always still think you eat chicken, too. "But what about Thanksgiving? I mean, you still eat turkey, right?" No, no I don't.

But, what about when you smell bacon?

Bacon smells amazing, everyone knows that.

There was this one time about 12 years ago when I did try to eat meat again for a few months. I have always struggled with fatigue and I hoped that eating meat would help. You know, protein, iron, all that business. You can definitely get all you need from a veggie diet, but I thought I would give it a try, since I am a lazy vegetarian and had never made  an effort to get enough protein (until this year when I started lifting weights.)

So I tried to eat meat. Yes, tried. But after years of not eating it, well,  it kind of freaked me out! The texture, the taste, the thought of *what it actually is*.  It always just felt like i was chewing on someone's thigh.  (And not in a good way.) I could handle chicken sometimes. Beef, no.

Bacon? You bet your sweet ass I ate bacon.

After a while it was the only meat I was still eating. And I didn't feel any less tired. So I stopped eating meat again. No big deal.

Being a vegetarian was mostly habit by this time. I started off my vegetarian career as a 16 year old who had just read Animal Liberation. Frankly, that would turn most people off of meat for a while if they were willing to read it. But I did still wear leather, so it wasn't all for animal welfare reasons. It was complicated. It was kind of a cultural thing as well, I was hanging out with people in their 20's who had been vegetarians for several years, and it just sort of rubbed off. It never felt like a sacrifice or anything, it was just something I didn't eat anymore. I didn't want it or crave it or miss it , even though I was always a big meat-eater.  I mean, I still loved the smell of bacon, but it just didn't occur to me to eat it anymore. I figured I would always be a vegetarian, er, fishatarian.

So it was habit, a social thing and kind of an identity thing, though I was never militant or preachy.  Different strokes, you know?

Then about two months ago something inside me changed and I was like, you know what? I think it's time to eat meat again. And again, it's kind of complicated. Part of it is that I do lift weights now and I want more protein options. Part of it is willingness to let go of my identity as a vegetarian to find out what really works best for my body. And if I'm being honest, the biggest part of it is this weird deep exorcism of a painful relationship from when I first became a vegetarian. I know, it's weird.

So this year when Thanksgiving was coming up, I was pretty sure I would have turkey for the first time in over 20 years. But the day came and went and I just didn't want it. I *could* have it, I was *willing* to have it, I just didn't want it. So I waited.

I waited until last Thursday when I went to my friend Alison's open house at her lovely business Supple Apothecary. She was like, "Honey, you gotta try the candied bacon!" And I was like, "If I ate bacon I would be all over it!" About an hour of mingling later (and no, I wasn't drinking!) Stuart and I were standing by the food and,knowing that I have been ready to try eating meat again, he was like "The bacon *is* REALLY GOOD."

I looked at. All glistening and chewy-looking and crispylike. And I thought, you know what? I WANT SOME.

So I ate a piece. And it was so frigging delicious. And then I ate some more.

And you know what? I didn't instantly become a bad person. The world didn't crumble, I was still me and it was all good. In fact, I felt giddy! I felt, kind of...free.

And now pretty much all I want to do is eat candied bacon. Stuart came home from grocery shopping on Friday and sing-songed "I bought you some BACON!" And he made me some candied bacon for breakfast on Saturday. And it was still amazing. And I wanted some the next day, so he made me some for dinner. And I wanted some today but he was like, "Honey, we are out of bacon" and I was like "Well BUY MORE BACON THEN" and he made me some  for dinner. He is being most accommodating about my new habit.

Who knows how long this will last, or what other meats I might try to eat again. But for now I am eating the hell out of some bacon. I'm pretty much being Ron Swanson about it, "Give me ALL THE BACON YOU HAVE."

Oh, here's how you make candied bacon:

Preheat oven to 400. Dredge bacon slices in brown sugar. Use regular or thick cut, fancypants smoked kind or regular old red-package-kind, whatever. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Crack some peppercorns over the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the slices are your favorite level of brown and amazing and crispy and chewy and crack-like. Eat with your bacon-eating fingers.


(Vegetarians, please do not send me hate mail. Thanks a million.)




The Baconater



469: swoon quilt quilted

I have a handful of very simple quilt tops that I made with my Swoon fabric line a couple of years ago. I quilted this one the other day after Lemony Snippet.

 I have been practicing drawing what I want to quilt:

So I keep trying to practice feathers when I get on a machine:

That's sort of my oakleaf version! I like it.

Backed this one with a print from my Dazzle collection:

Here's another allover design I've been practicing on paper:

And on the machine:

ANd this one is kind of a combination of a feather and that shell thing!

 Loops and meanders:

 more meandering:

Ahhh, I love it so much!! I wish th equilting machone fairy would visit me.

I even had someone on twitter ask if they could send me their stuff to quilt! I wish!

Off to practice on paper until I can get my paws on a machine again.

Do you send quilts out? Do you quilt yourself? Talk to me about machine quilting. I am obsessed.