October 04, 2010

I'm Back- Where do I Start?

I'm back sort of.  I'm not making any big promises about a regular posting schedule, but I have missed it and can only imagine how desperate you must feel every week when you check over here and you still see the sad picture from the last post!

Since we last spoke:

Temporary Job now Permanent

Bad news-- after announcing that "something would have to be wrong with the person who would take this position", I proved once again that something is wrong with me and took it.  The good news is it is still only Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  And you can't beat a steady paycheck.  (Did that just come out of my mouth?  What has happened to me?)  Besides, this company has stories that make me giggle almost every day and I wish I could share them, but, really, they are too juicy to share with the interwebs.  Unless I create an anonymous blog.  Hummm....  But I haven't been keeping up with this one, so forget that idea.

Don't panic.  Jcaroline is still kicking and I work there Mondays and Fridays.  And sometimes Wednesday evenings, Saturday mornings, and Sunday nights.

Cooking on Steroids (not me- the cooking.  I just cook on alcohol and prescription drugs.)

I bought a couple of books off of the interwebs, Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer and The Everything Meals For A Month Cookbook. I prefer the first one, though the second one did have some good tips.  It's just that the second one really does have you cook EVERYTHING for one month (there is actually an acronym, OAMC!) and I am overwhelmed at that thought.  So, I've been making 3 or 4 different things on the weekend and freezing and that seems much more manageable to me.  The biggest tip from these books:  don't use containers in the freezer because they take up too much room (and I can never find matching bottoms and lids anyway).  I seal everything in FoodSaver bags, which I used to laugh at that machine and now I'm drinking the Kool-Aid.  Armed with those bags and a Sharpie marker, I've got 2 gallons of spaghetti sauce, 1 gallon of Chicken Noodle soup, 8 dozen muffins in a four different varieties, 4 servings of Macaroni and Cheese, 4 servings of Beef Stroganoff and a lasagne safely tucked away in my freezer.  Which makes me envision this future conversation with my husband:

Husband:  "Caroline, I just brought home some chicken breasts to grill for dinner."

Me:  "Well, honey, there is no way I have time to freeze and thaw those out before 7:00!"

Chair Redo

I'm working on an awesome chair for Kay Whitt (pattern maker extraordinaire and author of Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear) for Fall Quilt Market. It is awesome, if I do say so myself. Let me put on the finishing touches and then I'll share.

Fabric 2.0

There will be a Fabric 2.0 party this Quilt Market and it will be a REAL one, as opposed to the light, buy-you-own version of the last three markets.  Details and hosts to come, but mark your calendar for Friday night, October 29, 6 to 10 p.m. at the Grove in Houston.

Silhouette Cutter


I am so easily influenced, but I had seen this digital cutter on Melissa Esplin's blog and now Jessica's.  And Jessica is currently offering a giveaway of one through October 11, so go over there to win.  And she also has a coupon code for $50 off the cutter with some additional goodies included, so I did it-- I ordered one.  Hurry!  The $50 coupon is good through the 16th.  Jessica just got hers, but Melissa has been doing some awesome things with hers for months now.  I am dying to try cutting fabric that has Heat 'n Bond ironed to it.  I'll report back.

Birthday Present

My birthday was in September (44 for those counting at home) and my husband bought me


an IPad!  So forget everything I ever said about my Dell Netbook.  I am officially IPad obsessed including books from ITunes.  Check out "Enhanced Books"-- my daughter loves them.  They have little videos embedded in the book either reading the story or adding additional bits of information.  I'm much too busy cooking to be reading to her!

Okay, I have held you hostage long enough.  If I would post more often I wouldn't have so much to say, now would I?

August 23, 2010

Good-bye Little Girl


Today was the first day of school and Olivia started Pre-K.  She's gone to Mother's Day Out for a couple of years, so to her, no big deal.  To me, big deal.  More kids, more chaos, more rules.  But she had a great day at school and I can't believe my little girl has started her school career.  So I could blather on about how grown-up she has become and what a significant milestone this is, etc. etc.  But, alas, she threw a huge tantrum tonight, so I know my little girl is still in there.

Save 15% When You Spend a $125 on Furniture

August 21, 2010

Two Chairs, One Winner

Susan was another Glamour Giveaway winner and Freshnest Design redesigned her living room for her.  Here is what they envisioned.


And here is what we made at jcaroline home.


I love the little dash of apple green to break up the brown/natural monotony.  The chair fabric is Earth Beads with pillows in Earth Stacks.  If they were my chairs, I would probably stain the legs a dark brown to help "anchor" the chair.  Nothing complicated, I would just throw some stain on a rag and go to it.  Then again, I would also probably get stain on the covers and be very upset.

And if you had always wanted to know what your home would look like with barn red outdoor siding on the walls and a bare concrete floor, now you know.  I just didn't have the energy to drag the chairs to a nice grassy spot, so outside the office had to do.

And for the winner of the Cloud9 bundle, it's LisaB!  She commented  "The downside to fabric this beautiful is that it is hard to find a project that seems worthy! Forget baby, I'd make something for me! =)".  So enjoy making something for yourself, Lisa!

You Can Make This!

August 16, 2010

So It's Not Just My Child

BBC News Reports:

Boy's head stuck in toilet seat

Firefighters in Essex came to the rescue of a young boy who had a toilet seat stuck on his head.

The boy, aged two and a half, and his worried mother went to Braintree fire station after she was unable to get the small trainer seat off his head.

Firefighter Chris Cox said: "We put some dish washing liquid on his head and ears and it slid off nice as pie.

"The boy was very brave and didn't make a fuss and once we had got the seat off he toddled away as happy as can be."

Mr Cox added: "The boy had put his head through it and couldn't get it out again, he came in here wearing it like a collar.

"His mum had tried to get it over his head but couldn't budge it so she walked him down here and asked us to have a look at it and we went to work and we managed to get it off in no time."

You may remember a couple of a years ago, my daughter did the same thing, so I am vindicated. Kind of.  In this story, they seemed to have removed it with dish washing soap and didn't have to get a bread knife near his head.

They other funny thing about this story is several people asked me at the time why I didn't take her to the fire station for help. I thought that was a weird idea because clearly she wasn't on fire. (Not when I started removing the seat, anyway.) My mistake. Apparently they handle all sort of mishaps and have plenty of dish washing liquid on hand.

August 13, 2010

Cloud9 is on cloud 9 (and a giveaway)


The August issue of Martha Stewart Living includes a feature on Cloud9 fabrics, the organic fabric company started by Michelle Engel Bencsko and Gina Pantastico.  Don't forget, they just debuted their first line, My Happy Garden, less than one year ago!

Here is Michelle and Cherri House of Cherry House Quilts at Spring Quilt Market with the gorgeous quilt Cherri made from their second collection, Beyond the Sea.  This collection was another great line of organic cotton prints and marked the debut of three matching organic solids.

And now, they are introducing Forest Friends Flannel.  It shipped to stores this week and I happen to have on good authority who is getting those shipments.  The stores below will have some or all of the Forest Friends Flannel collection in the next few days:


City Craft

Crafty Planet
Saints & Pinners (UK)

Sew to Speak

Fancy Tiger

Hart's Fabric
Stonemountain & Daughter

Modern Organic Fabrics
The Little Shop

Pink Chalk Fabrics

Cloud9 is still on cloud 9 after their Martha article, so they have generously offered one of my readers a bundle of one-half yard of each of the six prints in the collection. That bundle is worth $49.50!


So, to win this bundle, enter a comment on this post by noon on Thursday, August 19.  Tell me what you plan to do with this bundle:  1)  Turn it into darling things for baby, 2) Caress it lovingly for days dreaming of big projects that never get sewn, or 3) Display it in a place of honor next to the family china.  The winner will be picked at random and notified by email.

And if you don't win... crack open the piggy bank and pick up a yard or two of this luscious flannel.

August 10, 2010

I went to NYC and all I got was ...

  Empirestate ...the latest information on how social media is changing everything.

I just got back from Blogher '10 in New York.  Here is what I learned:

1.  Women control 85% of household spending.

2.  A "pink twitter" is a combination of lemonade, vodka and grenadine.  I really thought it was... oh, never mind.

3.  AOL still exists.  Who knew.  Apparently they now make business card holders and IPod speakers.

4.  I did not win an IPad, but the free box of Ph-Balancing tampons completely made up for it.

5.  I taped a video segment for 5 Minutes for Mom, and can say proudly, I gave them absolutely nothing they can use...

6.  ...though I think my comment about locking my doors while blogging to combat internet security issues was genius.

7.  There are a ton of really talented writers and artists in the blogosphere.  Watch for Kirtsy's auction of art pieces based on inspiring blog posts.

8.  I must get rid of the ".typepad" in my blog name.  It's so 2009.

9.  A Mr. Potato Head and PlayDoh can completely make up for being gone for five days.  For a four-year-old anyway.

10.  I am now inspired to get back to a regular blogging schedule, so beware.

July 18, 2010

I haven't forgotten you...


Okay, so I have really abandoned you for the last month or so.  So I'll do my best to catch you up and then proceed back on our regular schedule.  The family made their semi-annual trek through Missouri and Arkansas to visit the relatives.  We celebrated Olivia's 4th birthday complete with the famous Barbie cake, entered the 4th of July watermelon eating contest, played dress up anywhere we could find dresses, played a lot of chase, tried to catch butterflies, entertained ourselves blowing up latex gloves in the woods while Granddad picked blackberries, played in the creek, enjoyed chilling in our stroller naked after playing in the creek, got mauled by our sister while chilling in our stroller, got grass stuffed down our shirt by said sister and finally, escaped.  Oh, and Henry started walking, so we've entered another stage.

And I have a little secret to share with you.  I have taken a j.o.b.  It's a temporary accounting position three days a week, which I swore wouldn't affect my blogging, but alas, I have had trouble getting into a good schedule and keeping all balls in the air.  So I am working on a better schedule to insure that I get some blogging done.  So stay tuned as I do plan another book giveaway this week.

Hope you are having a great summer!

June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

I hope everyone had a Happy Father's Day, whether you have one or you are one!  I got creative last week and took pictures of the kiddies, put together a collage in Photoshop, had it printed at a photo store and framed it in those big 12x12 Ikea frames.  I made the pictures black and white because 1) I like that look and 2) it hides color problems or other photo issues.


I cut my reprints to 12 x 12 from a 16 x 20 enlargement as the photo store didn't offer that size.  In retrospect, I could have saved some money had I ordered a bigger reprint (they offer a 24 x 30) and placed all three of them on one sheet.  Oh well, live and learn.  I'm now working on an 8 x 8 version for the grandparents.

Congratulations to Rosemary who won last week's book giveaway: a copy of Small Stash Sewing!

June 15, 2010

Alan's Room Design

Another Glamour Giveaway winner is getting their goodies!

Fresh Nest Design worked with Alan to rearrange his existing pieces and integrate the two new chairs that he won.  Here is what they envisioned:

And here is what it looks like:

I have never noticed the brown version of the Ikea Poang Chair and I love it, especially against the linen cushion.  And I love green, so of course I like the citron and apple green pillows and I think the chocolate cording provides a nice accent on the pillows.


Thankfully, I had an assistant to help test the sitting power of the chair.  And by the way, the linen we use is a rayon/cotton blend, so it has the look of linen, but wears better, has more body, and doesn't wrinkle!

June 14, 2010

Wiley Book Party holds Life Lesson

Wiley Publishing had a book launch party for Sandi Henderson, Melissa Averinos and Anna Maria Horner during Quilt Market.  It was held at this very cool restaurant called Cosmos in the Graves 601 Hotel (no connection to architect, Michael Graves).

Anyway, here is my pictorial essay of the event.

Here is the friendly staff setting up the drink luge.  This one is a little more fancy than a traditional drink luge- they expect us to use glasses.  (I had never heard of one before, but they run the alcohol through the ice block to chill it.  In the extreme party version, you just drink off the ice block as it runs off.  I wouldn't waste my time- a good old-fashioned shaker chills the drinks much better.)  Note the candles to highlight the luge and in the lower right of the picture as table accents.

The restaurant created "signature" drinks honoring each author.  I tried the Anna Maria, which was very good.  I was tempted to try all of them, but since they were 99% alcohol, I decided I better tone it down a bit and continued with drinks that were only 50% alcohol.  Note the glow of the candles reflecting in the menu.

Raise your hand if you knew where this was headed.  Yes, a guest's scarf caught on fire as they filled up their glass at the drink luge.  Caught on fire.  Like flames.  Her friend had to pull it off of her neck and stomp it out on the floor.  Fortunately, the only thing injured was the scarf.

Though I've always said, "It's not a party until someone catches on fire", do watch your candle placement around your drink luge.

June 11, 2010

Small Stash Sewing Book Giveaway

I told you I'd have another book giveaway this week!

The very talented Ms. Averinos from Yummy Goods, wrote this little gem that features your fat quarter stash.  Her design aesthetic is very different from mine, which is great, because it makes me try new things.  Her sewing techniques tend to be very free form, so it is a great opportunity to experiment with new ideas and think outside my little sewing box.

And check out my favorite project of all.


Sassy Shoelaces.  She even has a solution of how to finish the ends that is C.L.E.V.E.R.  However, I won't tell you what it is- you'll have to buy the book. :-)

And look at what that clever girl wore at Quilt Market?


She said she has always collected vintage spools of thread and what a clever idea to show them off.

Okay, so now to the giveaway.  Leave a comment on this post by Thursday, June 17 at noon (CDT) and tell me how you like to sew.  Do you 1) follow the instructions obsessively regardless of what they say, 2) only look at the instructions AFTER you get into trouble, 3) follow the instructions for a while and then take off on your own?

I go in spells-- sometimes I am obsessive about following the instructions to a T, but if I get in a hurry or  feel lazy or ornery, I just go for it however I want to.

June 09, 2010

Rainy Days


We've had a lot of rainy weather here lately and my daughter somehow has more rain gear than anyone I know.  We went to get her hair cut yesterday and she was decked out her vinyl and rubber. 

She also came to work with me this morning, which she hasn't done in a long time.  And she may not again for awhile.  She loves to play with tape, usually the scotch variety.  But today, she picked up the Thermoweb Fabric Fuse tape, which I remembered too late, is designed to hold fabric together with no sewing or heat.  She wrapped herself from chest to bottom.  I was able to pull some off very carefully, but much of it left a big gooey mess.  Finally, I worked her dress over with some rubber cement thinner to remove the final bits of goo.  Of course, rubber cement thinner has terrible fumes, so she probably won't read at grade level.  But I saved that dress.

So after that incident and answering approximately 57 "why" questions, she went home and I came back to get some work done!

Congratulations to Susan who won the copy of City Quilts.  I've got another book giveaway this week!

June 03, 2010

Janna's Room Design

Another Glamour Giveaway winner's room design is done!

Janna's room had some green furniture that was going to stay and I love how Fresh Nest Designs used the Marzipan Clarise fabric on the pillows to tie in the green as well as some brown that was in the room.


The lesson  here?  Don't be scared of brown and black.  The chairs are in Licorice Emilio, which is a black/gray/white combination that could go into almost any room.  Janna wanted the throw pillow in the Black and White Tunisia because she anticipates it being carried from room to room as the activities change.


I think this chair is so sophisticated looking and with different throw pillows, could be used to tie into any room.  Yummy, yummy.

And the winner of the Contemporary Cloth giveaway is 2Hippos.  Contemporary Cloth will email you and you can select your 2 yards of Cloud9 fabric.  Congratulations!

June 02, 2010

Pillowcase to Compensate for Mediocre Parenting

I have a confession to make.  I often feel like I'm not doing enough for my children and that they take a back seat to less important things like sleeping, eating, working, blah, blah, blah.  Ever heard that before?  But I occasionally absolve my guilt with material goods, and the guilt seems to be absolved more effectively with handmade goods.

So yesterday, I whipped up a pillowcase for Miss Olivia, who was thrilled.  I love making pillowcases because they are 1) necessary, 2) fast, and 3) much appreciated.  It beats the heck out of buying a new sheet set every time you want a change in look.Olivia_pillowcase
So the tutorial for the pillowcase is here.  But I have another confession to make.  When I did this tutorial, I sold fabric for a living and had no regard for yardage required.  I went to the shelf and cut.  But, now that I'm ordering my fPillowcase_inst_1_revisedabric online and have to live with the yardage I ordered, things are going to change.  I only ordered a yard of each of the fabrics, which by my original cutting layout would not have worked.  So I turned it, which on this print, worked out great.  If it doesn't work for your print, the other solution would be to piece the pillowcase (back and front) cutting two pieces that are 29" wide and 22" tall.  Man, I'm going to miss that unrestricted yardage.

The fabric, by the way, is the Olivia fabric from Andover, which I purchased at the Fat Quarter Shop.


June 01, 2010

City Quilts by Cherri House


I think I've told you before how much I like Amazon's preorder feature.  If you know a book is coming out, you can order it and voila!  one day it appears on your doorstep.  Cherri was celebrating the release of her book at Quilt Market and I got a sneak peek of it there.  But this weekend I sat down and read it.


This is Cherri House at Quilt Market with her talented daughter, Lizzy, designer of Castle Peeps fabric for Andover.  It appears she is telling her to take a hike, though I don't believe that was the case.  I've only met three members of the House family, but they are all wildly talented.  And if you read City Quilts, you'll see where it came from.  I'm not a quilter-- I don't even play one on TV.  However, I love color and I love graphics and this book is perfect eye candy for that.

Cherri is a self-taught quilter and her book has great information on color selection, piecing and quilting.  I accosted her at Quilt Market and asked her some of her quilting tips.  The most valuable was fusible batting.  No more pinning and fighting the layers.  Done.  Her second most valuable tip was thread selection.  Silk thread is very fine and "dissolves" into the fabric so the fabric stands out.  If you want a "chunkier" look, use a heavier weight thread.  Done.

I love how her books shows the visual inspiration for the final quilts and how subtle changes in color can make a big difference.  It also reinforces that there are no "mistakes", just different color choices.  So if you like it, it isn't wrong.  I love how she takes a traditional quilt block (the Nine Patch) and by changing the colors turns into a 3-dimensional explosion of color (on the City Play quilt shown below).

My favorite quilt in the book is City Lot, which was displayed at Quilt Market.

Something about that brown background and the colors intrigues me. 

The other inspiring thing I learned from Cherri is that she machine quilts most of her quilts on her home sewing machine.  Yes, she has a Bernina with a stitch regulator for free motion quilting, but it is a home sewing machine.  So armed with fusible batting and a sewing machine, I think I could do this.

So would you like yourself a copy of this book?  Well, comment here by Monday, June 6 at noon.  Tell me if you have actually 1) made a quilt, 2) have just talked about it and if you've just talked about it, what held you back?

May 28, 2010

Stephanie's Room Redo

You may remember, oh, about half a year ago, I teamed with Deb and Erin at Fresh Nest Design and Flor Carpet Tiles to do Glamour Giveaway.  The winners were given two chairs, four throw pillows, one large floor pillow and one large ottoman from jcaroline homeFlor Carpet Tiles provided a 5" x 7" area rug.  Well, the winners were notified in March and Deb and Erin asked the winners questions about their spaces and their decorating styles and then recommended what items they should put in their existing spaces.

Fresh Nest designed Stephanie's living room/dining room around a cool piece of art she already had.  Here is what Fresh Nest mocked up for Stephanie.


You want to see what it looks like "in real life"?


I adore Jessica Jones fabric (obviously!), and I didn't expect this combination to be so awesome.  I'm quite smitten with this group.

What to see it a little closer?


I thought you might. 

And this exercise with the Glamour winners has convinced me that I have been unfair.  I have not treated solids as equal to prints, and I apologize.  I just assume everyone is like me and wants 85 prints in their room, but that, apparently, is not that case.  So I've moved solids up to their rightful place in jcaroline home, where they can be used as the base for any of our chair covers or pillows.

May 25, 2010

Giveaway from Contemporary Cloth

I just got back from Quilt Market in Minneapolis, but I haven't unpacked or downloaded my pictures yet, so that will have to wait. In the meantime, Contemporary Cloth is sponsoring a giveaway.  Two yards of Cloud9 Organic Fabric-- you mix and match in half yard pieces out of either collection, Under the Sea or Happy Garden.


Shown above are pieces from Under the Sea, Cloud9 Fabric's latest organic cotton collection.  Cloud9 was started last year by Michelle Engels Bencsko and Gina Pantistico, who formerly worked together in the apparel field.  They wanted to launch an all organic cotton fabric line and they did it!  They now have two collections out and are launching an organic flannel collection for fall, Forest Friends.  (They had a great booth at market that I'll share later.)

Contemporary Cloth offers organic printed lines such as Cloud9 and Mod Green Pod.  They also carry a wide range of designer quilting weight and home decorator weight textiles.  And they are offering a 20% off coupon through June 1, using coupon code "jcaroline".

Okay, for the giveaway part.  To enter, leave a comment here by June 1 (Tuesday) at noon.  Tell me if your plans for sewing this summer are:  1)  I've got big plans for summer sewing,  2)  I swear I'll sew every summer and I never do, or 3) Summer is coming?

May 19, 2010

First Birthday!


Henry's first birthday was last weekend (where did the last year go?) and I actually got a little crafty for it.  I made the banner above and I plan on reusing by removing the number each year.  Actually, I have in my mind creating a cake with velcro'ed candles-- have to work that one out.

I also printed out little pennants to top the store-bought cupcakes.  That was easy and fun.  Some 110 lb. paper, glue stick and toothpicks and you are good to go.

And to be completely over the top, I made each child a personalized towel for summer.  The towels are just bath towels from Target and I appliqued their names on them.  Most of the children were older (a one-year-old doesn't have any friends) and they really seemed to like them.

Oh, the birthday boy?  I thought you'd never ask.

The sandbox is his downfall.  He can't get enough of that sand.

Even though a mouthful seems like a good idea at the time...

I'm off to Quilt Market in Minneapolis tomorrow.  I think I'm going to have a good time.  I have no obligations and I finally know a bunch of people that will be there.  And with twitter, I'll be able to find them.  (So if you want to avoid me, don't respond to my tweets!)

May 11, 2010

Mother's Day Follow-up

I did get a gift from Olivia for Mother's Day-- a dwarf orange tree, so she did understand that the present wasn't for her.  She also made a book about me at Mother's Day Out.

I can't wait to get that giraffe.  Do you suppose they can survive on the leaves in our backyard?

"we play together and mommy's silly"?  I have no idea what she is talking about.

This page is tricky.   I guess my daughter is going to force me to admit that my hair is closer to brown than it is to blonde.  I'm glad she says I'm 3 years old, because in her mind, my age is so outrageous, it might as well be 100.  And thankfully, she thinks my favorite drink is "aqua" (water).  I'm glad I didn't have to explain anything to her teacher.

I hope you and yours had a Happy Mother's Day!

May 07, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!


Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, especially mine.  Thanks for making sure we were always dressed nicely, even if you did make us clean the house on Saturdays.

My husband told Olivia this morning that this weekend they would be buying a present for Mother's Day, to which Olivia exclaimed, "A present!  For me?"  So we'll see how that turns out.