Racing the Clock

I'm trying my best to get everything done without getting overly stressed. Here is what's been happening at the Novak household:

I won the SMS giveaway at Field Wonderful...

I made a yoyo necklace from this tutorial...

We made sushi at home using all of Charlie's birthday presents...

And Jaxon got in on it, too, but didn't eat much sushi...

I made preschool teacher gifts, including a cup insulator, some fancy cocoa, and a gift card to a local coffee shop...

My scrappy Christmas quilt is back from the quilter, and it is GORGEOUS! The picture obviously does not do it justice (click to see larger)...and I hope to have it bound by Christmas...

This little peek is a gift for Charlie (who doesn't visit the blog so I am safe). Let's see if I can get it quilted and bound before gift giving commences....

...and finally...

GLITTER BELLS!!! I got lazy and didn't glitter the jingle balls (yes I meant balls). But they are shiny and retro so I love them.

Also, I have one of the charity tree skirts back and I am binding it now. I'll be ready to auction when the last one arrives, but it doesn't look like it will be before Christmas. Would you bid on a Christmas quilt for charity after Christmas has passed??


Dear Santa:

*Note: check out the Jolly Jabber for more on my letter to Santa*

I've been a very good girl this year. I have only lost my temper with the toddler terrorist a handful of times, and I only failed a couple of students (and remember: a student *earns* an F, I don't *give* it to him or her)!

I know the elves like to do their fabric shopping at Fat Quarter Shop, so I thought I would help you by showing you exactly what I want:

Chloe's Christmas Fat Quarter Bundle by Amy Barickman for Red Rooster Fabrics

I know what you are thinking: "That Novak girl has enough fabric!" But Santa, think of all of the gifts I could give made from this fabric! I just want to make others happy!

You might also be thinking that I said no more Christmas fabric until I use what I have. But really, you know how much I love retro-inspired fabric so it's not the Christmas-ness of this fabric that appeals. And I promise to give the kitty print to my sister.

One last thing Santa. You know, you have not avoided the naughty list yourself:

I know what you're like after a few egg nogs, and I am not afraid to tell Mrs. Claus!

Merry Christmas,


*&^$% Bells

*Thanks for all the auction love. I'll let you know as soon as the tree skirts arrive.*

When I saw Anna's glittered bells, I was immediately smitten. Glittery and retro, they *needed* to adorn my front door (preferably in aqua). Little did I know how frustrating the search for the materials would be!

1. Look for bells at JoAnn. Yes, the materials list says Kmart, but JoAnn is more convenient. Only find giant 10" bells.

2. Go to Michael's. I haven't been in a Michael's in years. Now I remember why -- the two closest Michael's are really junky and hard to navigate. Are they all that way? I could only find red Martha Stewart glitter and it was $10 per container. No bells. No thanks.

3. Today, armed with coupons from the Sunday paper and Anna's advice that she found bells at Michael's, I head to location #2. I asked a sales associate if they have anything even remotely resembling plastic or metal Christmas bells. No, only cowbells. HRMPH. BUT...the large containers of glitter are on clearance at this location ($6 still seems a lot for one container of glitter, but I'm going with it). They only had silver and aqua (SCORE), but it's not standard glitter, it's tinsel glitter. Again, I'm going to go with it. On my way out I see a woman buying a Christmas ornament that look suspiciously like a Christmas bell. Back to the ornaments...and I find two silver plastic bells.

So here is what I have:

Let's see if they get done and up before Christmas. Don't hold your breath.

By the way, while at Michael's I overheard a woman ask if they carried any Hanukkah ornaments, and the sales associate responded, "I'm sorry, we don't have anything like that." Wow.

P.S. Every time I typed "bells" I typed "balls" first and snickered. Sorry, Anna, but something about "Anna's glittered balls" just made me laugh.


Almost Auction Time!

Three of the five Scrappy Holiday Charity Quilts are done! I expect the two tree skirts to be here this week and then the auction will commence. I will need your help, bloggy friends, to spread the word and help us raise some money to fight hunger. I will let you all know as soon as we are ready to go.

Here is what I have so far...

Table runner, quilting and binding by Anna.

Lap quilt front.....

...and back, quilting by Natalia and binding by Cecelia.

Large quilt front...

...and back, quilting by Molly and binding by Cecelia.

Thanks so much to everyone who donated blocks, volunteered their time and talents!


Holding You Hostage...

So, you stopped by to see if you had won the giveaway, right?

BWA HA HA HA HA...I shall make you wait to find out! You must sit through my image heavy, rambling post first!

I great big thank you to all the commenters from the giveaway post! You all made me feel so much better -- lots of advice to breathe (maybe I am not doing it deeply enough??) and take a bath, and a few jokes to get me smiling. It worked! And I got my grades in -- I hit the submit button at 12:01, they were due at 12:00 but no one seemed to mind. I am attempting to respond to every comment, but it is going to take awhile!

As soon as my grades were turned in I started working on some things to sell at Pattyfair. I don't feel like finding the link to my past posts on Pattyfair, so here's the Reader's Digest version: My good pal Patty realized a few years ago that she has a lot of creative, artistic friends, so she invites us all to come over one Saturday in December, we set up our wares, and she opens her home to a bunch of people she may or may not know, feeds them, and hopes they buy our stuff (that was one long run-on sentence). It's the only "craft fair" type thing I do -- no entry fee, no complaints about the pricing, and lots of good friends!

Well, I sat at my sewing machine for a couple of days straight and came up with this:

Wow, looks like a table covered in fabric. You see here 10 minky- backed blankets, a bunch of diaper and wipes cases, and some tote bags. Here's another view:

Unfortunately I think this was my least successful year -- the baby crowd must have stayed home. I sold a handful of diaper and wipes cases, three blankets, and no bags. So it will all go in my Etsy shop just as soon as I can take pictures. If you see anything you'd like let me know and I can get it to you before Christmas!

Also, some odds and ends I discovered while getting pictures from the camera:

I mentioned I forgot to take pictures of my September and October quilting bee blocks, but I found October. The request was for squares in squares.

Before Thanksgiving I made this tea towel as a hostess gift -- super easy, take a piece of waffle weave toweling, applique a fabric strip, and bind the edges in scrappy solids. I finished it with a little gobble embroidery.

And I've been playing with an iPhone app that turns your pictures into old school polaroids. I'm sure my parents have actual polaroids from me in the 70s that look just like this.

OK, have a stalled enough? Oh, wait, look what made me laugh the other day:

The license plate says "ZOINKS"!!

OK, this times for reals....and the winner is:

...which corresponds to....

Congratulations, Amy! You should be seeing an email from me soon. And for the rest of you, I'll be doing another giveaway before Christmas, so stick around!


SMS Giveaway Day or How I Lost My Mind

It's time for Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day. I missed the last one because I was too busy and didn't want to miss this one. Of course, my grades are due tomorrow and I still have more research papers to mark, Jaxon was melting down left and right today, and the only craft show (at my friend's house) that I do is this weekend...but I still signed up. *sigh* So I took a break and whipped this up.

So here is the giveaway....

One sewing travel case containing a self healing mini cutting mat, a 12" ruler, a washable fabric pencil, a pair of scissors and a sewing pattern!

How this works: One entry per person, one comment equals an entry. All I ask is that you take a few seconds to make me feel good because I am way overloaded! Please leave your contact info or you will be disqualified.

Yes, I will ship internationally. You have until Dec. 6 to enter and I will ship by the 12th (Charlie's birthday!).

Full Disclosure:
1. Yes, the scissors are toddler scissors. They still cut, just not fabric...
2. The ruler is too long for the travel case so I kind of stuck it in the last pocket so it leans out the side....I bought the goodies before I made the case.
3. The topstitching on the outer flap that holds the velcro on is way crooked. Not thrilled about how the pattern had me do that. Dug around looking for something to cover it up and then gave up.
4. Just checked the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day entry to make sure I included everything I am meant to. The post doesn't go up until the Dec. 2. This is Nov. 30. I just pulled this rush job for nothing, could have been grading papers. D'OH!

Now I really need a boost. ;-)


Silence is golden?

Yes in a movie theater. No on a blog.

I didn't mean to ignore my blog. In fact, I have 6 or 7 photos processed and sitting on my desktop, ready for posting. But the usual rigamarole of the end of the quarter somehow got in the way once again.

I need to take a few minutes away from grading to send a big thank you to Katy. She sent me the sweetest Pay It Forward!

The tote is my new favorite library bag. Check out the lining:

Super duper cute! Thanks, Katy!

I keep forgetting to take pictures of my quilting bee blocks. September and October slipped by, I'll have to ask the recipients for some images, but I remembered before sending off November:

Missy chose Maverick Stars, and I am so glad she did! I was planning on making some for my scrappy Christmas quilt and she gave me the kick in the pants I needed. I finished the top of my Scrappy Holiday Block Swap top (this plus borders):

And I have another in the works. Plus the first charity top came back quilted this week, and the last charity project went out (FIVE charity projects in some form of completion!!!). Pictures soon!


Sewing Room: Cutting Table

There are a few things that are not quite finished in the sewing room, but I thought if I did a reveal here and there eventually it will get there.

This is my new cutting table:

The base is made from two cabinets left over from the kitchen remodel. Charlie connected them and mounted them on feet, which makes it the perfect height for his over-six-feet-tall wife. The countertop is Aqua Boomerang Formica.

We mounted a flat panel TV to the wall and the black box stood out way too much with all that aqua and white. I put together a quilted cover inspired by a 50s tv.

When Jaxon wants to watch Ratoo-a I can pull it off and swivel the tv towards him. When I want to watch my new favorite show, I swivel it back towards the sewing machine.

The green bins were on the clearance rack at Lowe's and hold my scraps...

...and I am trying to find the perfect felt flowers for my vase.

But almost there!


"What a crazy random happenstance!"

November?? Really?

We had a fun week with trick or treat and a school party. Any guesses on Jaxon's costume? Here's a hint?

I'll give you a few minutes to think it over...

....and while you're thinking that over, I started a Halloween quilt last year, but I put the top away when it was time to move onto Christmas sewing. I promised I would finish it this year by Halloween, and sewed the last of the binding last night.

Still thinking about Jaxon's costume? The title of this post is also a clue!

I went with the loopy quilting, but I wish I hadn't quilted it so densely. It's tough to do a big quilting pattern on a home machine.

OK, give up on the costume guessing?

Jaxon is Dr. Horrible from "Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog."

Jaxon LOVES Dr. Horrible, although, WARNING, it is not entirely child appropriate. Jaxon has only seen parts, like this one:

You can watch all three acts (or the whole thing at once -- it's about 40 minutes) for free at Hulu. It's well worth it!

EDITED TO ADD: I now have six volunteers to pay it forward, so it you'd like to participate check out their blogs to volunteer for a PIT of your own....


Pay it Forward from my Sick Bed

Still recovering from this cold. Yuck! Yesterday I really needed to check in with my students. They had an assignment due and I wanted to make sure it got turned in correctly. So our facilities manager hooked up a camera in the classroom and I "taught" from home. Of course it wasn't just me:

The students particularly liked when Jaxon called them "corn dogs."
**There's a little quilty project in this photo that I haven't blogged about yet. Must get photos!

I made breakfast for lunch, one of my favorites and most comforting. Jaxon liked it, too.

Anna, like your bangers and mash, I think of this as being "British"....eggs in a basket....not sure why, maybe "V for Vendetta?"

And I finished my blocks for Sis Boom POW!

...all while grading some more papers. And coughing a lot.

Awhile ago I signed up for a Pay It Forward with Katy. I wasn't sure at the time if I should post about it at that moment or when I received something. Now I know because I've signed up with Lynz, too! So here's how it works:

1. I will make a little something for the first SIX people who comment on this post with PIT in their comments (usually it's three, but I am doing two pay it forwards). It will be a surprise and it will arrive on your doorstep when you least expect it!

2. I will have 365 days to do it in. What's the catch? To get a handmade present from me, you have to play too. This means YOU pledge to send a little handmade something to THREE readers of your blog. It doesn't have to be quilty - just handmade.

3. You must have a blog.

4. Once you comment here, you must post about your Pay It Forward on your blog to keep the fun going, with the Pay It Forward badge.

If I don't get six from this post I will keep advertising!

EDITED TO ADD: I now have six volunteers to pay it forward, so it you'd like to participate check out their blogs to volunteer for a PIT of your own....


*Cough* *Cough*

That head cold from the weekend has moved into my chest and seems to have developed into a bronchial infection. With a prescription from my doctor in hand, I've spent the last couple of days at home. It's hard work chasing after a 3 year old any time, but especially with a cold.

I did get some grading done, and took a stab at crossing some things off my to do list. The problem is many of my projects are at that point that is less than enthralling for me. I like the design and construction.

So that means I sat down today to use up some more of those Holiday charity blocks, this time in a smaller lap quilt. It's currently about 40" by 54".

What do you think, white borders or no borders? I have plenty of white donated by my grandmother...

Also, I want to send a great big thank you to Lynda for sending me 8 yards (!!) of fabric to use as backing. That thank you also extends to Molly, Annette, and Wendy R. who all volunteered to quilt *AND* donated the batting for each of their respective projects. Thank you all for your generosity!

I was supposed to be finishing the quilting on my Halloween quilt. I found a tutorial for spider web quilting over at 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting. The problem is she makes it look much easier than it really is! I practiced a bit and decided to try loopy FMQ instead.

You can see why, right?

As usual I was on a roll and doing *okay* until I had to change the bobbin. Tension problems galore! So I popped in a different bobbin. Same problem. So I gave up. I'm not thrilled with the black thread, it stands out a little too much, but I don't hate it enough to pull it all out. I hope to get the rest of this quilted before Halloween.

Both times I typed "bobbin" in that last paragraph, I actually typed "boobin." Nice.

One bright point in the weekend: Jaxon learned to wink! Yay!


To Don't

This weekend's "to do" list:


  • Teach myself Javascript for a project
  • Grade 30 midterm exams
  • Grade 40 response papers
  • Grade 15 composition projects

  • Finish backing for charity tree skirts and ship them to quilters
  • Quilt Halloween quilt from last year
  • Make blocks for Sis Boom POW!
  • Make October blocks for Quilting Sisters Bee

    What I forgot to add to the list: Come down with killer cold. Lots of this and this and this.

    *sigh* Now I am *really behind*

  • 10.15.2009

    The Power!

    My students are currently taking a midterm (BWA HA HA HA!) which gives me a little down time to blog!

    I won two giveaways a couple of weeks ago and now finally have a few minutes to post my lovely winnings...

    Rosalie gave away this lovely pattern for Leon the lion. I plan on making one for my sewing room...but Jaxon isn't so into plushies right now...after I get a chance to make him one of you might inherit this pattern!

    Beth had a big giveaway to celebrate 100 sales at Etsy and 150 blog postings. I won this FAB-U-LOUS goody bag! It included....vintage trims and bedsheet fat quarters, greeting cards, an owl stamp, a pattern, Burt's Bees, Japanese animal coasters, a pad of paper, a zippered pouch, and...my favorite....

    ...a felt heart pencil topper!

    Thanks, Rosalie and Beth! You made my week! Students are starting to hand in exams, must start grading....

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