Sunday, July 31, 2011

To set goals or not to set goals.

When my kids were younger I used to ask them what their summer goals were.  They looked at me all funny and asked why the heck they needed to set goals over the summer.  An explanation of why goal setting made people happier, more successful, or whatever mumbo jumbo I could come up with would ensue.  Being a stay at home mom made me aware of just how many free hours it takes to make up a summer..... a crap load.  So, I was hoping they'd set some simple kid friendly summertime goals we could work towards.  They'd end up saying things like going to the arcade and riding go carts, reaching a certain level on a video game, and listing some movies they wanted to see.  Fine.... gave us something to work towards.  My goal, summer after summer, was to read a lot and sew a lot.  They caught on after a few years that I was just saying the same thing, but really and truly, those were my goals.  So, what's my point?  I pretty much don't set goals either. 

However, this month, I thought I'd finish a certain few Crazy January challenge pieces, bind the 2 newly quilted quilts, and finish this challenge piece.   I've done all of those except for finishing Peppermint Twist.  That Crazy January Challenge piece needs special concentration and a magnifier that ties me to one stitching chair and I just haven't been hanging in that room this summer. 

The Sweet Home Alabama piece must remain a surprise until Anna reveals it on her blog.  You'll just have to wait for that. 

The second quilt that came back from the quilter was Apple Crisp.  I made this during the winter and posted about it once or twice.  I love the fall colors. 
I think I can finish Peppermint Twist in the next 2 weeks.  Buttercup will be away for a second week at camp plus a little vacation with a friend so I should (knock on wood) have some good stitching time.  Stay tuned. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My friend

Robin says I can't post every day then JUST STOP!  Oops.  The whole point of making myself post every day last week was to get back into the mode of posting more frequently.  I do love it when people commit to an entire month of posting.  I like knowing there will be something to read even when it's not craft related.  Let's face it, there aren't too many of us who can craft and create that fast. 

I don't have a real long list of blogs I read so I start to get to know the people who write what I read.  Some are even people I know in real life so their blog is even more interesting.  Even the mundane, seemingly boring stuff is fun to read. 

So, here goes.... a post with no real sewing, stitching or reading value.... however.... I will post a picture that includes myself....something I have, to date, never done. 

Yesterday Robin and I went to a town about 30 miles away with a quilt shop.  They do wonderful long arm quilting.  Robin had taken a quilt that was ready and I wanted to take one.  First, I sewed like a mad women for 3 straight afternoons until I HAD a quilt to take, then we jumped in the car and headed off. 

Several things show you how sloppy my blogging has become....
1. I have no photos of the quilt, and
2.  I never even thought to bring my camera. 

Luckily Robin had hers, although we didn't even think to take pictures until we stopped at a LOVELY winery on the way home for lunch. 

This way cool tree was just inside the door of the restaurant.....

then the beautiful view we enjoyed from our table on the deck. 

 So, maybe I've distracted you from the fact that I didn't take pictures of anything made by me...

or the bottles of wine I purchased... 

I guess we'll just have to go back and retrace our steps while I have a camera in hand....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Did I make it a full

week of posting?  I think so.  Just in the nick of time because I'm plum out of any stitching or quilting to show you.  Not to mention anything to ramble on about. 

However, I do have my way cute glasses and a pretty lamp from the rummage sale.  I bet I come home with more stuff after working there this morning. 

 I'm a sucker for anything with flip flops. 

I don't know where the lamp will go, but I'll find a place.  Possibly on my desk. 

Oh, when will this heat end?  We northerners like our cool evenings.  At least bring those back...... 

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's Friday.....

who doesn't like Friday.  I'm off to set up for the aforementioned church rummage sale.  No AC there, either.  I'm a glutton of punishment, I guess.  Knock on wood I find a bargain that makes all this work a little more fun.

I finally finished sewing the binding on this quilt.  This is the original, unquilted picture. 

 And, here it is all quilted enjoying a moment in the sunshine....

If you click the picture you can get a closer look at the quilting.  It's just a flowing flowery pattern in a variegated thread.  It enhances the quilt pattern nicely. 

I first blogged about this quilt here.  It was so fun and easy to make.  The original pattern was posted by Rachel last summer as a weekly project.  (She posted 1 step per week for 4 weeks.) You can find her tutorial here.  Scroll down to the postage stamp quilt.  She called for 2 jelly rolls, a plain and a patterned.  Mine used a little more of each since I made mine a little bigger.  Now, every time I see a fabric I like I want the jelly roll so I can do this quilt again.  Fun and easy despite the overall look of tedium.  Like many quilts, larger pieces are sewn together then recut and sewn again.... so I never really handled a 2 1/2 inch square.  Anyone who thinks they'd like to quilt but can't imagine sewing all those pieces could do this one and safely call themselves a quilter.

Still no picture of my way cute flip flop glasses.  They're currently in the dishwasher. Tomorrow?  We'll see.  Possibly the suspense keeps you coming back. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What's a girl to do

on the hottest day of the year?

This?                                 Nope.

 How about this?     (Well, Ok. I did do that, but not until after 3 1/2 hours of doing.....
this.  Yup.  From scratch.  All the way from scratch....which means I made the crusts, too.  2 cherry crumb (I pitted each and every cherry), a blueberry/peach crumb, and a Nestle's Toll House pie. 
First I went for an early morning doctor's appointment, then to work, then to BJ's where I loaded up on over sized, extra heavy packages of food and drink, then came home and baked.  Crazy, I know.  The weatherman is, right this second, saying that we haven't had a day this warm since 1998.  And, we don't have AC... just some window units that are working extra.  But, duty calls and pies were the item of the day.  They should fetch a good price at our church rummage & pie sale. 

So, are you bored with my post a day?  Today is a two-fer.  Just your lucky day, I guess.  Oh, maybe tomorrow I'll show you the way cute glasses (of the drinking variety)  I bought at BJ's.  They have flip flops on them.... and they're glass, not plastic.  Such simple pleasures.

Best invention ever....

if you have to give your pet a pill.  Our kitty is suffering some tummy upset and needs to take a pill twice a day for 2 weeks.  She's no fool when it comes to hiding a pill inside she suffers a very restricted diet of NO people food.

What a life saver.  She's not as easy as our 'old man' cat to give pills to.  I'm happy to say (sort of) that she even wakes me up in the morning begging for a treat.  Knock on wood she won't figured out what's buried inside these moist little snacks.  There's even a dog version, but I think dogs might be a little easier then cats.  I know ours tended to gulp things.... like a little wad of cheese or something covered in peanut butter. 

Lest you think I'm here only for pet care advise.... I'm not.  I just wish I'd known about these things before we wrestled that poor kitty's mouth open half a dozen times. 

As proof, I have a little progress picture to show....remember this Block of the Month? 
I received the first installment this very week and stitched it up quick as can be.  It helps that I made a quilt a couple years ago from the same designer so I'm familiar with their patterns and methods. 
Such a fun quilt.  Now, let's see if I can stay on track with the rest of the months. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anyone remember

Lee's Older and Better challenge and how I was so quick to join up?  (There was a direct correlation between that speed and the # of old and forgotten patterns I own)  I have been stitching on my selection.  'Keep the Spirit' by Debbie Mumm.  I love snowmen and snowy scenes but this one had been in my stash for some unknown number of years. If I had to guess, I'd say 10.  I sort of refuse to admit that I spent money on something I'll never do so I adamantly hold on to each and every acquisition. 

There are vast amounts of snow to stitch, but I'm still enjoying it.  It was a kit so I stuck with whatever was in the package..... blue aida and all.  I don't mind aida and the cheap stuff will soften up with handling.   Working on snow in the heat of summer is kind of nice.

Back to work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The finishing flurry continues

with this cute little quilt from The Prairie Women's Sewing Circle.  I loved getting these kits in the mail as part of a 6 month block of the month.  I like small quilts and this series was so cute.  I've written about it a few times before.  It's one of the block of the month projects that I waited to get all parts of before starting anything.  (Not on purpose.... that just seems to be how these things work out for me.)  I'm determined to plug away at it until I've completed all 6.  This is project #5-Seneca Falls.  (Home of the Women's Hall of Fame..... shamefully.... I live very nearby but have never been.)  While this is project #5, it is only the 4th one I've finished. 

Pinwheels and patriotic colors.... 2 favorites.  

 My current book...Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan.  It's very good.  Check it out on Amazon
I put the quilt under some baskets on an old trunk... a trunk that always looks dusty no matter how thoroughly I dust it.  Besides that, I love it. 
 Back to work.  Tuesdays are my busiest work days.

Monday, July 18, 2011

#11 of my

Crazy January Challenge is finished!  This was a hard earned piece.  Not as hard as Peppermint Twist, which I'm hoping to have finished by the end of July, but a trial just the same.  Getting my hands on some Poblano Pepper that was dark enough caused some distress.  Given the comments on my original post about the thread, I suspect every stitcher, knitter and quilter has experienced the same problem.  Many thanks to KarenV for sending me a skein dark enough. 

Here it is....ABeeC Sampler by Country Cottage Needleworks.  

I couldn't believe it was my 11th finish.  I guess I've lost count.  I was hoping it was at least #9 when I edited my page with the list.  Peppermint Twist should be next.   I'm not sure what I'll pick up after that.  We'll see what looks good when the time comes. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

This & That Bag

I made this cute little Button Bag by This & That last week using a charm pack called Sunkissed.  Such cute fabrics.  The pattern was easy enough to follow but the instructions to put the zipper in were bizarre.  The zipper went in after putting binding on.  It seemed like a much more complicated way of doing it then necessary.
One of my favorite things to make are handles for bags.  It's near impossible to see in the picture because the fabric on the handle is so light, but I like to use a fancy stitch between the 2 rows of stitching along the edge. 

This pattern also suggests putting a button at the center of the hour glass blocks.  I haven't decided if I'm going to do that or not. 
I would love to make this again but will try something different for installing the zipper and would forgo the binding on the bottom and stitch the bottom in the way that many bag patterns call for.....with the bag inside out sew across the bottom, form points at the corners, cut them back the same length, then stitch along the newly cut straight edge.  Having the inside of the bag be seam free by putting binding on just seemed more complicated then necessary.  Now I just need to find something to keep in here. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What's to become of my poor

neglected blog?  I've thought up one post after another but then discard them as too frivolous.  I even wrote an entire post but then wasn't happy with my picture so I deleted it.  Or, in the case of another post, I abandoned the idea when what I wanted to blog about was open to comments I didn't really want to read.

My solution is to say this out loud, or blog it as the case may be... I'm going to post something EVERYDAY for the next week.  Hold on to your seats for some fun...or so you don't fall out when you fall asleep out of sheer boredom.  Ha.  Go with it.  Maybe I'll finally show pictures of what I've been working on... because there really has been sewing and stitching, not just graduation partying.

First, however, let me show you this stolen , ahem, I mean borrowed picture and exchange that I've signed up for.  After all, Carol said I could blog about it.  It's just a minor technicality that I never asked if I could use the picture.  (Plus I think it came from somewhere else.  I'm sure if she minds I'll be severely reprimanded and have to remove it or change it to a picture of my own.)

The exchange is called Santa Sack Swap 2. 

Carol of Carol's Crafty Creations is hosting a Christmas exchange.  Here are the details. Since I've about exhausted all the challenges I can find, I'm moving on to exchanges.  If it sounds like fun, sign up.  Maybe we'll be partners.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pillow Case Tutorial

Yesterday I was chatting with my mother and sister.  They'd been making pillow cases.  When I mentioned how much fun I thought they were I discovered they didn't know about the method I'd learned thru a quilt shop demo. 

Making pillow cases is a cool way to use up some fabric or to compliment a bed quilt.  Also, it's a great way to use cute novelty fabrics that you don't know what else to do with.  I've made my kids any number of cases using fabric that caught my eye and reminded me of them.

So, in an effort to show them.... because telling them how over the phone just wasn't going to work...I made a pillow case this morning and photographed the process.  Probably there is a name for this method but I just learned thru a demo.  Since it's a very picture heavy process... I created a page for just those pictures. 

Check it out.... even non-quilters who can sew a straight seam can make these.  Give it a try and let me know what you come up with.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Graduation celebrations continue.

 'tis the summer of graduation parties for this family.  The year the Scholar graduated we went to Spain forgoing graduation parties.  This year, and because our social circle includes so many of the Boy Wonder's friend's parents, we are at a party most every Saturday.

This week was our party.  What a fun time.  My in-laws are visiting.  Once I got thru with all the housework (which I hate and have to drag out over days and days because we have a well and can only do so much water running in a day) I could relax.  I find my husband's brother and sister to be the most enjoyable house guests.  They are easy, a pleasure to visit with, and best of all..... stay in a hotel.  Who can beat that?

We held our party in our back yard where the kids enjoyed the pool,

 got out of the sun for some fine dining in the barn (Dinosaur BBQ delivers!),
 the Scholar and her aunts and uncle found some space for some intellectual play,
  played volleyball,

and Kan Jam.  Anyone ever see that game played?  The Boy Wonder requested it because it had become a popular game at school.  We saw it played at a recent picnic.  I've gotta say.... I don't get it.  It certainly didn't seem all that exciting to me.  It made me think of something kids (young adults who are of legal drinking age) would play with one hand because they had a beer in the other.  I could see how the game could get a little more exciting if you only had one free hand and were concentrating on not spilling your beer.

The party was a huge success.  The Boy Wonder was appreciative and we ended ours early enough that people could get to other parties.  By 9 this morning we had our barn restored to order and most things put away in the house.  Now we can just  sit back and enjoy the rest of the summer.

Under the heading of "Gotta Love 'em"...

Today all 3 kids have headed off to camp.  While packing everything in the Boy Wonder's car I found an unopened envelope with his name written in my hand writing. It was a nice blue envelope with tape stuck on it showing evidence of being taped to a package.  For the life of me I couldn't figure out what it could possibly be.  Let me tell you, I can't roll my eyes enough.  It was a card from LAST SUMMER.   Last summer, their first summer working at camp, I tried to send them a post card or a card every week.  Sort of reminiscent of when they were campers and I tried to send a card or email note every day.  I thought they'd feel left out when the mail came and other kids got mail.  So, being the ever conscious mother who didn't want to fuel their future therapy bill, I made sure they knew I was thinking of them. Notice how wrinkled it is.

The tape and lack of mailing address tells me I delivered it to camp...either one of the weeks I took Buttercup or the time I took home made cookies to share with all the counselors and a brown bag with his contact solution.  Nice to know they appreciate my efforts.  This year this is the only card they're getting!!

Now I'm off to make the most of my child free week.  Today I'll be hanging by the pool with my husband's siblings then, when work isn't filling my time, I'll be sewing.  Woot.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A new style of

 Havahart trap.  Anyone remember all the chipmunk drama from last summer?  Well, they're back.  We've had a problem with them in the garage this year.  We discovered they'd opened the tiny spout on top of this bird seed container and were going in and out.  So, we tucked it onto a shelf where there wasn't room for the spout to open.  Or, not enough room to open it to GET OUT.  Guess they could get in.  This guy will be enjoying a car ride south. 

Yesterday was Buttercup's birthday.  I bought her this t-shirt.  It's from her favorite Florida restaurant.  (I have to admit a certain fondness for the place myself.)  Almost every time I ask what she'd like for supper she says 'Crabby Bill's"  Yeah, me too. 

I can't thank everyone enough for their sympathy and offers of help in my effort to match my Poblano Pepper green thread.  KarenV has sent some.  Cross your fingers and knock on wood it's what I need.  I'll be sure to show that finish the very minute it's done if the thread matches.

Happy 4th of July.