Monday, July 21, 2014

Sewvivor: schnitzel & boo

Sigh...oh, Cargo Duffle Bag by Noodlehead, I love you...


I teach sewing classes in Georgia at an awesome little studio in Atlanta called Fabricate, where our guild also happens to meet once a month. It was at the studio, at one of our guild meetings, that I first saw the Cargo Duffle. You've heard of love at first sight? Yeah, well, consider that to be true in this case. My friend Jenny made a gorgeous version in yellow and I was instantly smitten. So, I proposed to teach a class on how to make the bag. With every good class comes a good sample, yes? And since my husbands birthday was coming up, I thought it would be a good idea to kill two birds with one stone-so to speak. I would never kill an animal. Actually, I did accidentally run over a pigeon in Seattle once, but that's neither here nor there. And like I said, TOTAL accident...


Anyway, birthday present! I took myself on down to the fabric store and bought the necessary supplies to make the bag, mostly I just needed the canvas and some accent pieces. I bought some "fashion denim" (because nothing screams "HAUTE COUTURE!" like homemade jeans) and a bit of Cloud 9 organic quilting cotton herringbone print. The shoe fabric was something that already existed in my horde. Stash! I meant stash. Since my husband's favorite color is orange, I bought a spool of cream-to-yellow-to-orange variegated thread for the quilting.

(zipper gusset)

Isn't that thread fabulous?? It's technically machine embroidery thread, but I don't always like to follow the rules (except for in contests, of course, winky wink) and I like to think that I am pretty logical, so I used it anyway. It's only for decoration, right? I didn't use it to stitch the seams together, that might have catastrophic results! 

(bottom accent and close up of the back)

Every piece of this bag that asked for quilting has a different design quilted into it. 

(bottom gusset)

Even the handles were quilted.


I really love how this bag turned out, and what is more important is that my husband did too. He's trying to plan a trip just so he can use it, ha ha!

I'm pretty excited to enter this project in to the Family Ever After Sewvivor Contest, I have two projects planned out for the nautical part and the quilted bag part of the competition, it would be so awesome to give life to them!

Best of luck to all entrants! This is going to be a heck of a lot of fun!


Friday, July 18, 2014

The Drop Dead Gorgeous Betsy Travel Bag

It all started with a little announcement on IG about my then upcoming Cargo Duffle class at Fabricate Studios in Atlanta. 

Come take my class, I said, It'll be cool! I expected comments of the "I wish I lived closer!" variety, but I did not expect this one:

I knew that a trade pretty much had to happen. My friend Elizabeth is so incredibly talented. You know her as Don't Call Me Betsy on the webs, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc. she's also an author, pattern designer, Craftsy teacher and all-around awesome person. A trade? As in I would own an Elizabeth Dackson quilt?? Well heck yeah, when do we start??

Apparently the answer to that was "immediately." The very next day, our designated hashtag "#theswapofepicproportions" was under way. I started seeing sneak peeks (because that was the rule. Only sneak peeks allowed, and we had to go off the others likes and favorites) like this one:


The colors! I told her that my favorites are pink, gray, yellow and black. I'm feminine but I have an edgy side, I don't like to conform, I like to be different. Want to see what she made for me? Of course you do!
(my photo above)
Is that not epic??? I mean really? It's gorgeous! Funny, the name of it is Drop Dead Gorgeous. A perfect name!
We each were so inspired by the other that our creations have become sewing patterns. You can buy the pattern for this quilt by hopping on over to E's Big Cartel Shop (

(Her photo above)

I am in awe that I get to own this creation of hers, it is so beautiful. I think owning something made from a pattern that was invented for me feels better than having someone name their baby after me. I really love it, Elizabeth. Thank you!!

Tomorrow I'll show you what I made for her. In the spirit of the epic swap, here's a sneak peek:
Unless, of course, you're on IG with me then maybe you've already seen it? 

Happy swapping!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

WIP: Chaise Lounge Re-Do

My friend Katy is the editor of a brand new quilting magazine called "Quilt Now" and, as you can imagine, having such an awesome job comes with some pretty sweet perks. For example, one of my most favorite companies in the fabric industry, Renaissance Ribbons, contacted her and said (in my imagination, at least) "Hey Katy, we want to send you some ribbon because you're way flipping cool and we think you'd like it!" To which she replied, "Ok, but you should contact my friend Kristi because she loves ribbon and she could do something really fab with it!" And you know what? They did. 

One day I opened up my email and there was one from Renaissance Ribbons explaining the above conversation and a request that I could use some of their ribbons on a project. "Katy mentioned you had an idea for a chair..." After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I wrote back accepting their offer and warning them that the chair would indeed be fabulous, but it would also come with a price tag. It was going to need A LOT of ribbon. Their response? "We do love fabulous, what do you need?" 

What do I need...indeed! What do I need? Well, for starters, I need a chair. A chaise lounge chair, to be exact, and preferably Victorian. How hard can that be to find? After about 2 months of searching high and low and visiting every antique shop between here and my mother's house I finally found one. Granted, it was just the frame and it was in really rough shape, but I found it.

Mr. Cool, Roo and I headed out to pick it up. I knew I had to have it. This chaise was perfect and it was going to be mine! 

When we got to the store, the owner was surprised that we had driven all that way just for that item. It had been sitting in her shop for months, she didn't think she'd ever sell it! But, she said, she thought it would eventually, that it was just waiting for the right person.
(Loaded and cramped and trying not to think of spiders!)

The chaise had been pulled from the depths of an old ramshackle barn. It had dry rot in some places, tons of extra nails, a few layers of paint where there should never have been paint...but in my mind's eye, I could picture it refinished and it was gorgeous.

Today, I finally had a good chunk of time to coordinate with my friend Drew's schedule. (Drew is a master woodworker and one of my best friends.) I loaded the chaise back up onto the MINI and headed his way.

He told me I had to wear jeans and real shoes, so I did. It's Georgia in July. It's 94° and muggy because it rained yesterday. Wouldn't you know it? He stuck me right out in the sunshine to work:
(Hotter than a pig on a spit!)

I didn't really mind, though. I was finally working on this project that had been a dream for so long. Yay!

Drew glued some pieces back together, showed me how to use the, ahem, "Ball Sander" and then pretty much walked away. I spent the next four hours sanding with the drill/ball sander and by hand, and using the air pressure thingy to blow the dust and cobwebs away and then finally using a clear satin coat to seal it.


I have one more coat of sealant to add and then we have to add the bendable plywood, cushion and then finally the cover. I'm so excited!

Eventually, this box of goodies will become the fabric for the chaise. What do you think?
Happy Creating!

Friday, July 11, 2014

My Sewjo Is All Over The Place!

**warning, this post contains expletives**

I got up early today with the goal of finishing the Red Sox themed quilt in mind. I got as far as beginning the layout of the other side when I realized that I was out of Indigo kona and wouldn't be able to finish until I had it. Now that project is on hold until the shipment from arrives. Ugh.

What's a girl to do while she's waiting? Start a new project, of course! One she doesn't have time for! I mean, you've seen The List, right?

Really there's no room to add anything to it, right? But that's exactly what I did! I thought it would be kinda nice to make something fun and fast before getting back to work. Why not make a Potty Mouth Pouch? I had made one for my friend Laura Jane (pictured above, on the right, with me at Camp Stitchalot) and it got a huge response. People loved it! I decided that I would make one-ONE-from my scraps and then move on. Somehow that decision led me to the fabric store for supplies to make TWENTY of them! 

(LJ's pouch, above)

If you're at all interested in a Potty Mouth Pouch, look me up on Instagram or send me an email. I have lots of fabric combinations to choose from:
And will FMQ almost any word or phrase onto it. For example:

Pouches will be large-ish and will be $25+shipping each or 2 for $40+shipping. Proceeds go directly into the Roo School fund so my little one can continue the Montessori education she so dearly loves and thrives on.

Send me an email if you're interested!
Happy Weekend!
Schnitzelboo at yahoo dot com

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

In Progress and Other Fun Stuff

A few months ago I was asked if I'd be interested in working on a custom baseball themed quilt. My first reaction was "as long as it's not a Yankees quilt!" followed quickly by my second reaction of "OMG I get to make a custom quilt??" Turns out, it's a new baby quilt for a boy born to a Red Sox FANily. Heck yeah!
We decided on a two sided/reversible quilt. I'll keep the second half a surprise for now (unless you follow me on Instagram). Here is the first side in progress, a cheater herringbone half square triangle pattern:

And now finished:
(Say hello, Fenway Frank!)

I shared a tip with my IG friends/followers while working on this quilt. If you decide to recover your ironing board any time soon, or you need to make yourself a pressboard (check Katy Jones/I'm A Ginger Monkey's blog for a little pressboard how-to) consider using flannel instead of regular quilter's cotton.
The flannel helps the fabric "stick" which practically eliminates that whole stretching-on-the-bias-as-you're-ironing thing. Pretty cool, huh?

Let's see...what else? Oh! I am an overachiever and have been assigned TWO Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap Partners! Here is what I made for them:
Do you like? The arrow quilt person has to wait until Friday when I can ship it (yes I'm the swap mama and I just threw myself under the bus. I'm a late sender! A horrible example! I meant it when I said we understand that stuff happens!) The star quilt person is out of town so I'm hanging onto it until they get back.

I joined another swap-don't tell my husband-because my friend Trudi ( told me to. I'd probably jump if she told me to, that's how much I adore her. Whatever ;) We had to make mosaics for our secret partner so this is mine:
Lots of good stuff there, huh? Isn't that sunshine zipper tab the cutest? And the darling little stamps with the envelope blocks? Not to mention the potty mouth embroidery?! >sigh<

Anyway, things are busy as usual around here. I'm chipping away very slowly at my to-do list. My Bee's have been sadly neglected and I haven't made it to a Guild meeting in three or four months. 

What have you been up to?

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Recipe: Creamy Cabbage and Sausage Chowder

Nothing says summer like a hot, steaming bowl of chowder, right? Well whatever, it's delicious and if you eat it with the air- conditioning on, you can pretend it's cold outside!

This is my own recipe and I really hope you love it!

Creamy Cabbage and Sausage Chowder

1 small head of green cabbage, chopped into bite size chunks (or 1/2 head of green and 1/2 head of purple, which is what I had on hand)
10-12 small red potatoes, washed and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced
2-3 cloves garlic , peeled and minced
1 stick of butter
4 Tablespoons flour
1 quart of milk (I used 1%)
2 cups chicken broth
1 16oz package Italian sausage

-Boil potatoes in salted water in a large soup or stock pot until fork-tender. Meanwhile:

-Remove sausage from casings; cook over medium heat until browned and cooked all the through, remove from pan and set aside. 

-In the same pan, melt 1/2 stick of butter; sauté onions and garlic until opaque-approximately 5 minutes. Add cabbage and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and cook 8-10 minutes. Transfer cabbage mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

-Melt remaining butter in the same pan, whisk in flour and cook about 3-4 minutes (roux should be a light tan color). Stir in milk, whisking quickly to break up any lumps that might occur. Cook over medium-low heat until milk thickens, about 10 minutes.

-Add cabbage to milk mixture, turn to low heat. Meanwhile, drain potatoes, return to the stock pot and coarsley mash in the bottom of the pot. Pour cabbage/milk mixture into the stock pot, stir ingredients together, scraping the mashed potatoes from the bottom and incorporating them into the soup. 

-Add the chicken broth and sausage and continue to cook until soup is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 


Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Tutorial: Recycled Crayons

Right before we moved here (Georgia) from Seattle, we bought our daughter a massive, mega-box of Crayola crayons. I think it had 200 crayons or something. I'm not sure but it was A LOT. Hey, 200 crayons are highly essential when your four-year-old is going to be spending six days crammed into the backseat of a MINI Cooper, you know?

So, anyway, it's been about eight months since then and those crayons got TONS of use. They were whittled down to nubs and broken pieces, but still had plenty of life in them. I remembered that my sister once recycled her children's crayons and I figured that Roo and I could do the same thing. 

We started off by purchasing a silicone baking pan with small compartments.

I used silicone because I wasn't sure how we would get the crayons out of a metal pan. The pan was $10.99, but we used a 40% off coupon so we got it for $6.60-(about $4 less than what we paid for the crayons.) She wanted star shaped crayons but that wasn't one of our choices at the store. I imagine you could easily find them online or perhaps at a different store, like Michael's. Whatever you choose, just make sure they won't be too large. 

First, peel the paper off the crayons:

And arrange them into like-colored groups:

Cover a cutting board with foil, paper towels or an old kitchen towel (to avoid getting wax in the knife marks of your board):

Chop the crayons into smaller-than-an-inch pieces and have your child place them into the baking mold:

We discovered that we could fit about three chopped up crayons into each cavity.

Set your oven to 170°, lay foil on the bottom of a baking sheet (to protect the bottom of the pan from crayon meltage) and set the baking mold on the sheet.

Bake the crayons for about 30 minutes:

Carefully transfer the pan to cool. This will take about two hours. 

We were impatient, of course, so we placed ours in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before we popped them out.

That's pretty much it! It took us about an hour and a half to peel, chop and arrange the crayons. It was fun for her to draw with her "new" crayons because she got to make them herself. 

Some hints:
-don't use Washable Crayons, they have a special kind of wax that floats up to the melted surface that doesn't work as well as the regular crayons.
-melt the crayons between 150°-175° for best results.
-even though crayons are non-toxic, I still don't recommend using the baking mold for food once you've used it for this project.
-recycled crayons are fun and easy and make great classroom/friend birthday gifts, treats at Halloween or accompaniments to Valentine's Day cards instead of candy.

Happy Creating!