Thursday, March 26, 2009

La Carbonera, Nicaragua - Work and Witness Trip 2009

Here are a few quick photos from our Work and Witness trip to La Carbonera, Nicaragua. We are now back in Managua and will be arriving home to Ohio on Sunday evening.
This photo is our group hanging out with the children and families in the village. They were singing and playing little games. This is the front porch of a home.

This is the monster of a truck we rode 1 hour each way to La Carbonera. Its a beast and can drive thru anything. Not comfy at all, but great for dirt and rock roads.

These are two little girls from the village. They were always wanting their photos taken with us.

Sweet as can be!

More to come when I get home....

Monday, March 23, 2009

¡Hola! Como esta?

Thats right, my Spanish classes from 10th grade are coming back to me. I´ve been in Somoto, Nicaragua since Saturday, and its been great so far! But unfortunatly, this internet cafĂ© I´m currently writing from does not allow photos to be uploaded, so I´m out of visual luck tonight.

We arrived safely in Managua on Friday and arrived to our motel in Somoto 24 hours later, at 1:30am Saturday morning two plane rides, an 8 hour wait at a (wonderful) hotel in Managua, then a 3 hour INSANE bus ride. We´ve met all the kids in La Carbonera where we sponsor many of them -they are as sweet as can be! Today was our first work day building another part of the Child Development Center... which consisted of sanding homemade bricks, tying rebar, hauling sand, dirt, and stones, and mixing cement. No I did not do ALL these jobs, not yet atleast. I`ve never been so dirty in my life, seriously.

My time is about up on this computer... please keep praying for our team of 27 members. Its really overwhelming to see the poverty in this country. Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America. 80% of the people live on LESS THAN $2 a day. What did any of us do to deserve what we have in America?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Farewell! (plus a finished quilt)

I've been scurrying around trying to get every last detail taken care of before I leave for Nicaragua tomorrow morning (flight LEAVES at 6am.) I'm almost done packing, life at my desk job is all wrapped up, and I already miss Justin and Hazel :-( Fortunately, we have good friends who have offered to feed Justin one night next week, and their daughter, Adi (almost 3) even offered to do our dishes. Too cute!
Last night I finished sewing a handy little catch-all clutch to keep in my carry-on and backpack (while traveling/walking/riding in the back of cattle trucks) and a fun little camera pouch. Both were just a product of my imagination - and some great Ikea fabric. At least I'll be well-coordinated on this missions trip!

And I finished my 3rd baby quilt, just posted in my Etsy Shop. I loved this Amy Butler fabric so much I just had to make another quilt, but bigger, than the last one. Just thought I'd share... yeah, I've been busy today.

I'll try to post some photos while on my missions trip - assuming I can find an internet cafe in Somoto, Nicaragua with computers that are compatable with my camera card. We'll see.
Catch ya'll later from South Amercia. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A wee quilt-in-progress

I'll be leaving for Nicaragua in 2 days, yet I can't seem to put my sewing machine aside! Are quilts and bags really more important than a missions trip? Absolutely not... but I can't seem to help myself. This is just a small stroller sized quilt top I started... still need to add sashing. BUT I did sew a cute little (Robert Kaufman) fabric patch on a pair of work jeans for the trip, made a quick bag to store small items in my carry-on... and half finished a camera pouch. So I'm sort of working on packing for my trip; sort of. Right~

If I somehow find extra time to fool around before 4am Friday morning, maybe I'll share the fruits of my sewing labor. Yes, I have to be to the airport by 4AM Friday. Someone shoot me.


M & M Studio is sharing the love and doing a fabric giveaway - looks like 4 full yards!
Check it out here:

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Two favorite Quilt Blogs

If you haven't had the pleasure of checking out these two wonderful blogs, I'll give you a little shove in the right direction:

Oh, Fransson! Elizabeth is doing a quilt-along and I'm just enamored with her knowledge... and ability to communicate with any level quilter. Be careful - you may become addicted!

Crazy Mom Quilts Amandajean always has some new quilt or block to show, and is a wonder with color!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Marimekko Clutch - hey why not?

I've dubbed March "The Official Month of Fun Bags" so I just had to post my newest:

Marimekko fabric is now one of my favorites! This particular pattern, called Unikko (Poppy) was made in 1965... but its still in production! I love the bold color, and BIG print.... so big you can almost not tell they're poppies. Hmm.

Tomorrow: The other baby quilt I'm working on...

Monday, March 9, 2009

My kind of quilting: Goal Oriented... or OCD?

Its Monday. Daylight Savings happened the day before. I lost an hour of sleep plus the other 7 hours last night that I couldn't fall asleep. My desk job was long and tedious... and I desperately tried to keep my eyes open all morning. So what do I do on my lunch break? I go home and sew a quilt top. I'm one of those freaks of nature that live a HALF MILE from their office, go ahead, smirk.
This fabric from Amy Butler just arrived from my favorite fabric shop, and I couldn't just let it sit there all nice and folded and uh... un-made into anything. Its just too pretty. I guess it just got stuck in my head what I want this fabric to turn into... and I won't rest until its done! This should turn out to be a 34" x 46" baby quilt.

I'm keeping it simple, I realize. Since I still consider myself a novice quilter, I'm somewhat gun-shy when it comes to doing intricate designs and fancy-schmancy piecing. BUT I did go out on a limb and try a fun little surprise on the back of the quilt. I had this cute Apples & Pears fabric left over from numerous other projects... and thought it might add that extra "dang!" factor. Ya know?

Tonight (still Monday) I actually got as far as quilting the whole thing. I just did an easy 'stitch in the ditch' then some random criss-cross lines, maybe six of them. Once its done, I'll post about it, I'm sure. Hopefully this week!

Yeah, I'd say OCD. But its for a good cause... Etsy!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bags - to have and to hold

I've been making a lot of bags lately. It started before Christmas and I haven't stopped yet.
I made at least 6 to give as gifts... one for myself... and others for my Etsy Shop, both tote bags and clutch bags. I don't know what it is but I just really enjoy the process of sewing totes and clutches. Could it be because I keep it simple and can see a finished product in less than a day? At any rate - springtime is the perfect excuse to switch to a new bag, no matter how large or small. I prefer LARGE bags, but I'm a weirdo.

Here are two of my favorites so far:

(Left - Amy Butler Wall Flower in Apricot, Right - canvas from Ikea)

Not so surprisingly , they've both sold :-) I need to get more striped canvas from Ikea! LOVE their fabric! And SO affordable! Check it out here. They carry lightweight cotton (quilting weight) AND home dec fabric! Hopefully you're lucky enought to live within driving distance.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yes I can!

I've been working on a custom order of CD sleeves for my sisters photography business.
Figuring out how to close the flap was one thing, but forcing myself to learn to use the button hole function on my new sewing machine was a whole other ballgame. But, I did! I've never made a button hole before but by golly, it was easy! So, you can too! If you already know how to do that, you could learn to knit, or play rugby, or yodel. The possibilities are endless! Pull out that manual (if you can find it) and cram some more useful stuff into your brain. Its difficult, I know! I work in medical insurance - my brain has been full for months now.

And as luck would have it, Carrie (said sister) will be flying in from Florida next week to personally pick up her fabulous new CD sleeves. As a bonus, she has business in town at the same time. I'm just happy to save on postage!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Hazel behind Hazelnut Designs

Three years ago, I decided to get a puppy dog, and my husband moaned and groaned that he didn't want one. Of course, I put down a deposit (without his saying "yes") on a Lhasa-Apso / Poodle mix, and a month later we were the proud parents of a rambunctious puppy named Hazel. She quickly melted Justin's heart, and now the two are inseparable.

She LOVES to go boating with us in the summer, and enjoys jumping off the swim platform and swimming... and swimming... and swimming. She's had 3 summers on the boat, and she gets more brave every year!

She's got such a fun playful personality... you wouldn't know she's not a puppy anymore. She only has 3 toys, and they're all her favorite to play fetch with.

Last October as I was trying to think of a name for my new Etsy shop, I kept coming back to Hazelnut since that was one of Hazel's nicknames. How could I go wrong with "Hazelnut Designs?" After all, my shop is full of bright, cheery colors that hopefully bring a smile to your face. And thats what Hazel does for us. We haven't yet started a 'real' family, but Hazel has been wonderful to practice on. We're told dogs are easier than babies, which I would probably agree with. The thing is... can a baby be cuter than Hazel? You decide....