2 Slow Cookin'

Forget about football. You know what I have to say about fall?  Well, basically, for me fall is crock pot, ahem, slow cooker, season. Or at least it's the time of year when you can bust out your slow cooker and get excited about the colder weather that is to come. 

I love my slow cooker, which just so happens to be a crock pot. Why? Because I don't follow recipes very well and I much prefer to cook without measuring things, which--I admit--can be a recipe for disaster, but--lucky for me--not with a slow cooker. Seriously, slow cookers work miracles. Oh, also, using a slow cooker makes your house smell like you're a much better cook than you really are.

So, when I ended up with a gigantic bag of leftover vegetables after last weekend's tailgating birthday party, what do you think I did? Yep, you guessed it. I busted out my crock pot and made vegetable soup. Thankfully, I had everything that I needed on hand so I was able to throw it together very quickly one day while I was home on my lunch break.

It's all pretty self-explanatory, but basically, I diced an onion, chopped some garlic, cut up some already-sliced squash, zucchini, and grape tomatoes, sliced the leftover baby carrots and celery, and threw it all in the crock pot with two cans of diced tomatoes, a can of V-8, a carton of low-sodium vegetable broth, and a whole bunch of random spices (basil, oregano, white pepper, red pepper, salt, and some sort of roasted garlic herb mix). After 4.5 hours on high, I had some very homemade vegetable soup, which fortunately for me (since I'll be eating it for a while) turned out to be delicious. 

By the way, do you see the plant behind the crock pot (to the left)? Those are the little orange seeds that I planted in April. I'm so proud.


0 The South Carolina Rap

I've always wanted to know a music video star. 

Now I do. 

The lady in white--dressed Old South style--is none other than Tod's cousin. (She shows up around the 4-minute mark if you watch the video.)

I never knew you were such a good actress, Macky. I LOVE IT! 

If you want to read more about the video, you can check out the article from The State here.


2 Oh, Baby!

Believe it or not, but I love to make baby quilts. (Perhaps there's something genetic in that because my grandmother made some pretty wonderful baby quilts, of which I was privileged to receive two after my sister accidentally ripped my first one while building a fort with couch cushions.) 

Making baby quilts is just something I started doing a couple years ago when my friends started having little ones.

Here's the quilt that started it all.

I made this quilt for a very dear friend, and although it's a bit wonky, it was truly a labor of love. Also, even though I did not intend for it to be a work of art, I was beyond flattered when she treated it that way. (But I do hope that baby Charlie has pulled that thing down off the wall by now and slobbered all over it!) 

So what's so great about this quilt? Well, I chose the fabrics deliberately. The "papaya"-colored fabric actually came from the J.Crew bridesmaid dress that I wore in my friend's wedding. (Yes, I cut it up, because--although it was a cute dress that made for some spectacular pictures--I had not worn it again and probably never would. It seems that there's just something about a bridesmaid dress that always screams "bridesmaid" even if it doesn't look like a bridesmaid dress.) The brown corduroy: that came from the first pair of pants I bought in Chapel Hill, where we went to college. The denim came from a skirt I bought in my favorite thrift shop in Paris, a shop I totally dragged my friend to when she came to visit me while we were studying abroad. And the yellow fabric, well, that came from a skirt I wore on many occasions during the summer when we lived together in Colorado. I know, I'm like a pioneer woman reusing my old clothes for quilt squares. I'm like a grandmother in a 30-something body. I'm like a small child doing a craft project. I'm like . . . okay, I'll just leave it at that.  

The colors are a bit more true to life in the picture below, although please disregard my very awkward smile. 

Over the past year or so--during what appears to be a bit of a baby boom amongst my friends--I've had the opportunity to make several baby quilts, and I've honestly loved making each one. Do you want to see a few of them? Good, I thought you did.

Photo from Elizabeth Miles Design

I mean, what little boy doesn't want a quilt covered in dogs playing Twister?

And remember a couple weeks ago when I showed you a mess of fabric on my floor? (Click here if not.) I wanted to share the finished product with you.

I made this quilt for another very dear friend of mine who is about to have her first baby girl. I hope little Lulu loves it as much as I'm going to love her! 

And if you read yesterday's post about my trip to the mill, then you might recall my newfound love for tulle. Well, here's my first attempt at a baby tutu. And because you never know how big those little baby bellies will be, I went with a tie-back version. Although I haven't perfected my method yet, I definitely see some dog tutus in my future. Zelda really wants one. I promise.

Oh, and my precious mom gave me some sweet labels for Christmas last year, so now I feel like my baby quilts are totally legit. 

Who knew that sewing squares of fabric together could be so much fun? Oh the simple things, they are so sweet--sweet like new babies.


1 All About All About Fabrics

A couple weeks ago, my mom and I went on a very dangerous field trip--a very dangerous field trip for fabric junkies like us, that is. Once a month, a mill near Greenville opens its doors and sells a little bit lot of this and a little bit lot of that. No offense, mom and dad, but I'm probably going to plan my trips home based on this mill's schedule rather than your schedules from here on out. This place is like crack for crafty-nester-DIY types, and I'm afraid I'm going to need another fix pretty soon.

Oh, and if you're wondering whether that "All About All About Fabrics" title was a typo, it's not. This fabric-lovers' mecca is called All About Fabrics, and well, I'm here to tell you (and show you with a bazillion pictures) all about All About Fabrics. Duh.

From the minute you walk into this place until the minute you walk out, you're pretty much just overwhelmed. At least if you're a crazy, crafty fool like me, that is.

And if I had music on this here blog, I'd cue up "The Work Song" from Cinderella right now, otherwise known as "Cinderelly, Cinderelly." You know, the song where Gus the mouse sings, "I'll cut with the scissors!" and Jack the mouse sings, "and I can do the sewing!" And then my favorite part when the little girl mouse sings: "Leave the sewing to the women. You go get some trimmin', and we'll make a lovely dress for Cinderelly!" 

Okay, I'll stop that now. Promise.

Anyway, All About Fabrics is a misnomer because this place is all about a lot more than fabrics. Check out these children's chairs. I heart children's chairs. (In fact, I'm now inspired to do an entirely separate post on children's chairs and all the fun things you can do with them. It may be a while though because I've got several sewing-related posts that I need to finish first!)

I did not check out the prices on these little chairs because I already have more of them than my child-free (unless you count me, of course) house should have, but judging by the prices of everything else at this place, I cannot imagine that they would break the bank.

Ooh, and tables! So many of the same table. What is it about a collection of something that just gets me going? 

Okay, it's time to check out some fabrics now. The first room of this warehouse is filled with rack after rack of roman shades. 

Okay, they're pretty random and not completely my style, but I loved some of the patterns and several of them inspired me to mentally decorate my very own imaginary vacation home!  

See the red/natural striped one below?

Here's a close-up. I think it would look perfect in my imaginary vacation home.  

Oh, and you want to know the price of these shades? $15.00 a foot. That's a deal because I'm pretty sure if I tried to make my own roman shades, it would just end up looking like I'd tacked a bed sheet on the window, college style.

I told y'all I love collections of things. So you better believe I was mesmerized by the bins of zippers and buttons and the walls of tassles and ribbons and cording.

I LOVE rick rack! (And you just wait 'til I show you what mom and I did with some darling rick rack a couple of weeks ago! Another post, of course.) 

Yes, iron-on alphabet soup, except I could only find these four letters: C, A, N, and D. Any ideas about the origins of these letters? Maybe they were supposed to order B instead of C, you know, for the BAND, so they had to throw the whole batch out? That's my guess, and I'm sticking with it.

Wow. I just realized that I haven't even gotten to the good fabric-y parts yet. Yay for my you, my 6 or 7 readers! (It's embarrassing how much fun I'm having just writing this post. It's like I'm reliving the amazing day of my life when I spent two hours looking at odd bits and pieces of crafty crap. I love crafty crap. The possibilities!) 

These attractive zippered pillow covers were just $5.00 a piece.

And oh my, the buttons. THE BUTTONS! 

Umm, yes, you know we filled a zip-loc bag full of buttons for $5.00.  AND I CANNOT WAIT TO SHOW YOU WHAT WE DID WITH THEM! (Sorry, another post.)

Okay, so everything that I've just shown you was contained in the first room of this giant warehouse, which seems to go on and on and on. And I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but after you leave the first room, you just keep walking through arched doors into room upon room filled with row upon row of roll upon roll of fabric. Holy silk and cotton-spinning gods! I was in heaven and mentally decorated two or three imaginary vacation homes. Unless this here blog takes off by some sort of miracle, I think those vacation homes are going to stay imaginary, but that's cool.    

Looking for denim? They've got it. In every shade actually.

Literally. In every shade.

Or stripes? Yeah, they've got that too. And polka dots. And toile. And gingham. And every other pattern under the sun. 

Like I said, row upon row of roll upon roll of fabric. You name it, and I bet you could find it: think linen, velvet, sunbrella, ticking, burlap, leather, pleather, microfiber, silk, and even something called bengaline. (What the heck is that? All I can tell from the sign is that it comes in regular and a "moire" version. Hmm.) 

Yay for measuring charts! And don't laugh, but I sort of want to frame one of these and hang it in my house. You know, just as a reminder of all the possibilities that our furniture has to offer.

And now for my favorite part: the remnant room! It's like the clearance rack at T.J. Maxx or the bargain bin at K-Mart. You just never know what you're going to find, and if you only need a couple yards of fabric for a project, then this is the place to start your search.

The remnant room is also home to a whole lot of odds and ends. Like dish towels for a dollar each.

Or tattoos for your towels. (Because your parents are sure to like a tattoo on a piece of terry cloth a lot better than one on your skin!)

How about some damaged camo overalls? Yep, you can find those here, too.

Or stencils and beads.

And old school receiving blankets. How cute would it be to wrap a baby gift in one of these instead of in a paper bag or box?

You need thread? Look no further.

And I fell in love with tulle. Seriously. Think dog and baby tutus. I'll show you my first effort in another post.

Although my mom and I did not pick up any fabric on my inaugural mill trip, we did pick up a few sewing notions, including some pinking shears and a few stencils. I'll show you what we did with our loot in another post.

And for those of you who are curious about prices, the fabric at the mill ranges from roughly $2.50 a yard to $6.50 a yard for decorator prints. A few of the specialty fabrics may be a bit more expensive, but in all, the prices are insane. And yes, the next time your decorator wants you to pay $65 a yard (or much more), you might want to think twice!

As for the remnants, you pay by the pound, hence this old-timey scale. If I remember correctly, I think it's a couple bucks per pound.

Here are a few more things you'll find in the remnant room:

A treasure chest filled with . . . knitting needles. The largest knitting needles I've ever seen actually. Are large knitting needles akin to large-print paperbacks?

And what does every owner of giant knitting needles need more of? You guessed it: yarn.

Another trunk filled with . . . fabric paints. These were $3.00 each. 

Oh, and see the Oriental Jacquards? I'm not even the least bit ashamed to say that my first thought upon seeing these shiny prints was just how adorable Zelda would look in a tiny dog kimono. Are you with me or what? We already have our Halloween costume for this year, so maybe next year. It'll be a toss-up between the tiny dog tutu I plan to make or the tiny dog kimono . . . .

Whew, are you worn out from all of that? If you've read this far, then you must have a bit of fabric junkie in you, too, right? Now, let's see what kind of projects I can come up with to justify another trip to this crafty slice of heaven. Any ideas?

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