Friday, February 29, 2008

My "Grandma Quilt"

A few posts back I wrote about Mark Lipinski's take on what quilts are really about, and told you about my "Grandma Quilt" - and I promised photos of the blocks that I have been able to salvage from the top.
Here they are:

I have 8 blocks left - in various stages of disrepair.

You can see my teenage efforts at repair on this one. The red floral is nearly transparent, and the funky fabric is a heavy coarse weave.

This block is the closest to intact -even with the red tie remaining in the center.
The light fabric in the 9 patch feels like a linen dishtowel, and I think the dark plaid was
a skirt or shirt at one time.

Requiem to a Rotary Cutter

Well Old Friend - I knew this day would come eventually - the day that you would "snap" and our wonderful partnership would have to come to an end.

It's been a long and prosperous relationship. From the day I brought you home paired up with your friends the cutting mat and the ruler you were willing to give me your all - rolling and cutting and then ducking back safely when I needed you to. For the past 10 years you have always been there for me - ready to work on my crafty projects, my curtains, my pillowcases, my tablecloths, my Lazy Girl totes, even pinch hitting as a raffle ticket cutter sporting a perforating blade for a while. We've had to get you a new mat, and a few new rulers have joined the team, but through it all you were the key - the tool the others needed to work together.

Up to the end you gave it your all - finishing up this pile of strips for my latest projects before finally breaking down.

I know you would continue to work if I let you - but we've had a great safety record until now and I don't want to risk that - especially with the Munchkin around.

So now it is your time to rest, wrapped in a cushion of crumbs and strips and scraps and bits that you helped me to create.

Rest easy old friend -and thanks for a job well done.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's not all partying

Just wanted to show that my life is not all birthdays and cakes and trains right now - I continue to plug away at the "to-do" pile - and just shifted this pile of a dozen Wonder Wallets over to "tah-Done!!!"

I did not get a picture of the 2 shirts that are now a pile of buttons and fabric strips and squares. RRRIIIPPPP!!! That was fun!

Birth Month - Day 26

Mommy's running out of steam, and the stockpile of little goodies is getting smaller. It seems kind of strange to be adding little things to the Munchkin's toybox after he just got some great things for his birthday, but it also did not seem right to end the pocket routine before we got to the end of the month.

It will be interesting to see the Munchkin's reaction when the pockets come down - and then again next year when they go back up again.

Last night's giftie - giggling Troublesome Trucks for the train. I might regret these -they have a pushbutton and a battery and a speaker - and they really do giggle. I tried to find an audio clip online -but can't find it.

Tomorrow is Daddy's birthday - need to figure out his present still. Hmmmm - any ideas???

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Birth Month - days 23, 24 and 25

What a busy weekend. Saturday the Munchkin and Daddy went shopping for birthday party supplies while Mommy was at work. The 23rd Birth Month pocket did not get opened until Sunday, and it was train stickers from SC Gramma. The big birthday party was on the 24th - and was the "pocket" for the day.

I will let Geek Dad blog about the cake - but I can't resist posting a photo. It was AWESOME!!! The party was tons of fun - lots of family and friends, food and fun. The Munchkin had a great birthday! Thanks everyone!!!

Birth Month Day 25 - back to more trains! This time it was the mail car.

Only a few more days left - and the 28th is Daddy's birthday!
Let's not forget the bonus day, too!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Birth Month Day 22 -The Munchkin is THREE!

Yesterday the Munchkin turned three - unbelievably THREE! He woke up all smiles and "it's my birthday!" and then more giggles. He knew the 22 pocket was HIS birthday - and this morning got a birthday train set - 2 engines with confetti decoration, a "snow globe" tanker car with a cake and presents inside, and a flat car with a "present" on it. He opened those up over at Grammas in the morning, and I guess played with them ALL DAY.

We did dinner at the local diner - he ordered all by himself "grilled cheese and french fries please" and was tons of fun. Then back to Grammas for more "pwesents" - including a box from his SC Gramma with Katy and the Big Snow and some other fun stuff. Of course Katy was our bedtime story for the night.

His big present was his camera. His very own digital camera. Daddy and I had loaded it up with batteries the night before and it was all ready to go - except we put in rechargeable ones and they must not have been fully charged, because they gave out after a few pictures.

But the Munchkin loves his new camera SO MUCH he was willing to sacrifice the batteries in his Duplo diesel train engine to power the camera!!! Luckily that did not have to happen.

I am looking forward to seeing what kind of pictures he takes - so far we have a lot of the floor!

(Oh - day 21 was an oil tanker car for his train set. He was a bit grumpy that evening -having fallen asleep on his way home from Grammas - and even the car did not pull him fully out of the grumpies - but he's got it all lined up with all his other tanker cars now (he is up to 5))

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Birth Month - Day 20

Since we stayed late at Grammas last night for buckwheat pancakes and sausage, the Munchkin went straight up to bed (no I did not keep him up for the lunar eclipse) and did not open yesterday's pocket until this morning.

We had a new Thomas the Tank Engine book - Thomas' Milkshake Muddle. We sat down and read one of the stories this morning- but the Munchkin did not want me to read any more. See - there is this one character that he seems to be afraid of - or not like - and when he comes up in the videos or books he turns away and says "stop" - "stop the video" or "stop reading". It is very strange but we are not pressing the issue. Wonder if it is something that character did in a story that is causing this reaction? Time will tell.

You know you live in a small town when...

I had a few extra hours on my time sheet this work week, so I opted to come in a bit late this morning and run a few errands - Village Hall, post office, bank -that kind of thing.

When I walked into the Post Office I was instantly greeted by name - and "Happy Belated Birthday!" OK - unless these ladies have memorized the Lions Club birthday calendar, or can read through envelopes - how did they know I just had a birthday??? They even remembered that the Munchkin's birthday is tomorrow!!!

But wait - it gets better!!!

Due to a computer glitch, the payment for the postage on the 7 packages I sent out today (lucky recipients -are YOU one of them???) would not go through. My debit card froze up the machine, and the only option was to shut it down. Rather than going through voiding all that postage and reprocessing it all, M just says "can you stop by in the next few days with the cash? Just tell D that it is for my drawer, 'cause I am going on vacation. I will get these packages out for you today though."

Uh - we are talking over $15 in postage here - and she just sent me on my merry way - knowing I would settle up with her as soon as we could get back in again (Saturday).

Tell me how many places THAT happens??? Not many.
Made my day!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Almost back to "normal"

I was feeling MUCH better last night - able to breathe and not so doggone tired - so I spent some time sewing. I have a bunch of projects cut and ready to stitch in my "To-Do" box - plus I experimented a bit.

This was one of the experiments -
I need to practice my flying geese before I make too many of these blocks.

A "Get well Soon" pillowcase for a brother with a broken leg.

A Get Well Soon "A Door Able" for a Godmother having foot surgery.

A Chocolate "A Door Able" for Gramma,
who's watching the Munchkin this week for us.

Just need to add some finishing touches and make some deliveries.
Oh- I also managed to production line a dozen Wonder Wallets to near completion!

It feels good to feel good again!

Birth Month - Day 19

Saved by Your Big Backyard -again. Although two issues in one month- what's up with that??? The Munchkin is getting so good with his animals - some I know are from our books here at the house, but some I haven't even heard of and yet he rattles off the names like they are old friends. Hmmm - I think keeping up with him is going to get harder and harder!

This morning he had sun glare on the way to Gramma's, and wanted me to tell the sun to "go back to bed" so he would not have to squint. Wish I could keep him up for the eclipse tonight - as much as he loves the moon - and can recognize it in all its various stages AND spot it in the daytime or nighttime sky - I wonder how he would react??

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy! Birthday

So the stuffy head cold was not exactly what I wanted for my birthday - but if you overlook that it was not such a bad day. The Munchkin was content playing all day which let me get a lot of projects cut out and ready to sew, get caught up on blog and email reads, and just generally relax. Hubby came home after doing ALL the grocery shopping (and then some), made us a delicious dinner (chicken feta spinach pasta toss -yum!) and cannoli for my "cake".

Hubby even read my whole LOONG blog post from the other day and read about my plan to buy Mark Lipinski's Quilters Home Magazine, so he stopped at JoAnn's during his lunch break, hunted all over the store to find the magazine (it was not in the magazine rack up front) and picked up that AND a gift card! (Birth Month - Day 18 pocket - woo hoo!) Usually when I have a "hint" for him in my blog, I tag it with the label "wishes" so he can sort and find my hints easily. This was not even tagged! He got a big "air kiss" for that one (trying NOT to spread these germs -it is hard).

(oh - it is the March/April issue by the way - hot off the press!!!)

So a gift card, a magazine, and a big squeezy hug from my little one. What a great day!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy? Birthday

OK - I am home on my birthday - this is good, although Monday is my normal day off since I work every Saturday.

I am sick on my birthday - not so good - a lingering very stuffed up head and cough from my cold/bronchitis. I have now been sick ALL of February -and then some. Not fun.

I am feeling up to a bit of crafting - mostly cutting out things to do a whole bunch of sewing at once. My "to-do" pile is growing - but the "Tah-Done" pile is not quite caught up yet.

Right now a cup of tea, a chick-flick movie, and the flannel quilt on the sofa are calling -the Munchkin is napping and the laundry can wait until later.

Birth Month - Days 16 and 17

I LOVE! I was able to find a whole lot of toddler puzzles for the Munchkin at a bargain -and the Thomas floor puzzle that came in the engine shaped box was just right for Day 16.

One more train car for Day 17 - a magic boxcar with 3 different cargo themes hidden behind it's door.

Today's pocket is MY pocket - day 18 - MY BIRTHDAY.
I wonder what it will hold? (It won't be too much of a surprise - as I will probably put whatever it is into the pocket to be retrieved - just will be obvious that it is for Mommy and not the Munchkin)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Why Quilts?

My husband recently got me tickets to go to a quilt show at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery featuring "art" quilts. While I am excited about going, it led to a discussion about the functional quilts versus quilts made as art. Although I admire the latter - I definitely am all about quilts to snuggle in - or under. One of my biggest quilting heartbreaks is a baby quilt I made for my nephew - my own design even - using baby soft corduroy, flannel and a woven fabric of the family tartan - that was put away and as far as I know never used 'because it is too delicate for a child to use'. That's not how I made it - and that's not why I made it.

My Grandma made me a quilt out of recycled clothing and I don't know what else - and I used it, and repaired it, and loved it - for 22 years. I was heartbroken when I returned home after being overseas for 3 years and found the quilt had gotten damp from being too close to an air conditioning vent and mildewed, beyond repair. I salvaged a few blocks from the top - even framing one for my brother who had lost his own "grandma quilt" in one of his many moves, but I think I am still searching for a quilt that has that drape, and weight, and softness that this quilt had. I used it winter, summer, spring, fall - especially when I was sick or upset. It was like a little hug that just wrapped around the small of your back, and encouraged you to tuck up in a little ball to fit shoulders and toes under it's small dimensions. I miss that quilt. I think I will keep quilting and piecing until I recreate it - somehow. It may not look the same, but I will know the right feel when I feel it.

Recently, some members of the Prolific Online Quilters blog ring have introduced me to Mark Lipinski of Quilter's Home Magazine. Although I will admit to never having read the magazine, I think I remember seeing Mark on Simply Quilts when I was first getting started. At that time all the different personalities and experts were a blur, and VERY intimidating, and most of what they said just did not stick. I got most of my quilting information and inspiration through my Lazy Sister Sue, and really did not look out much further than that. Sue has been a font of information with no intimidation and has encouraged my experimentation as I find my own quilting style.

Recently though I have been expanding my horizons, joining the blog ring and Yahoo group, and learning a lot of things from my fellow in the trench quilters. However - a message that Mark put in the latest issue of the magazine, that I read online (look under "read more from Mark about what quilts really are")- really struck home to me - and showed me that this personality, this expert quilter, really gets it. Really understands why I am quilting. And suddenly Mark, and his magazine, have become much less intimidating.

Time to grab my coupon and head to JoAnns and hope the current issue is not sold out yet. Because as valuable as I think Mark's magazine could be - buying it with a coupon means more money left to buy more fabric - and maybe the next combination will be "the one."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Birth Month - Day 15

Two weeks down - two weeks plus a bonus day to go.

Today we got back to the trains - Duncan to be exact. It was wonderful to hear the Munchkin making up stories. for those of you who don't know about Thomas the Tank Engine -all the stories are narrated, like reading a book, so you get the narrator's voice describing the action, or saying a line with "Thomas said" at the end of it.

We got to hear little narrations last night. "James was talking to the other engines. 'What are you doing here?' James asked. The other engines were happy, except Diesel, he was cross."

So fun! One of those times I wish I could pull out the camcorder without distracting him from his play so that I could record some of these "munchkinisms"

Like his latest - when driving home at night from daycare. "Mommy, it's dark, the sky is off."
The next night - it is lighter because it is a bit earlier, and clear weather. "Mommy, turn the sky off. It's not dark."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Birth Month - Day 14 - Valentine's Day

My boys got a wind up walking heart. It tends to walk in circles, and seems to have walked off somewhere already as I could not find it this morning. It was fun, and caused the Munchkin to dissolve into his infectious giggling. A good time was had by all.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Nothing says "love"...

Like a Sicilian Anchovy pizza - all for me!!! (with a giant air pocket in the crust)
(the boys had cheese and pepperoni)

And the winner is...

Moneik is the lucky random winner of my 100th post giveaway. I need to pull everything together and post a photo before I get it out in the mail (which may take a while since I usually go on Monday's and this Monday the PO is closed).


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Birth Month - Day 13

Day 13 was easy -chocolates! Mint Truffle Hershey's Kisses.
Watching the Munchkin unwrap these is fun - he pulls the foil all apart and then hands it to Mommy or Daddy all in a bundle. Then - and only then - does he eat his kiss.
Funny kid.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Birth Month - Day 12

Thanks Lazy Sister Sue- the magazine subscription you gave the Munchkin came today - so that ended up being the Day 12 gift.

Daddy's order from Rockler came in!

And Mommy got a nice quiet evening at home with her boys - and her sewing machine!

Sharing the Love

I had LOTS of this train fabric - after making both a pillowcase and a new tote for the Munchkin, I STILL had LOTS of this train fabric. So last night I decided to share the love - and the fabric -and whip up a few little gifties for some friends.

Two little kids I "know" are train lovers, too - one lives in Arizona and the other just moved from Florida to North Carolina. I've never met them - or their moms - in person, but know them from an online group of moms.

Happy Pants -the little one in Arizona - has a birthday coming up - so one tote is for him. He also has a big brother who likes trains, too (I think) so I put together a wonder wallet for Super Boy. Their mom was VERY generous in sharing a template file with me to make the Munchkin's birthday party invitations. Saved me a TON of time! Thanks!!!!

The other little train lover in Charlotte is such a cutie! She and the Munchkin would have lots to talk about if we could ever bridge the distance and get them together - train talk!!! She and her Mom are off to Tweetsie Railroad in May to celebrate her birthday - how I wish we could go, too. So she will have this little tote to carry her "train stuff" in.

Just need to get some addresses and envelopes and get these out in the mail.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Birth Month - Day 11 - Baby's Got a Brand New Bag

This is my first ever Miranda bag - another great Lazy Girl pattern. I already had the train fabric and since the Munchkin's day bag was getting a bit worn (it was a Harrods tote from Lazy By Proxy Sister Terri from her years in England) I thought I would make this for him. He also tends to be a creature of habit when it comes to his bags, coats, scarves and such - he does not like to change - so I thought perhaps the train theme of this might ease the transition.

It is hard to see in the picture - but there is actually quilting on this!!! Machine quilting! I did not go crazy and free form - I did diagonal "tracks" on the green bottom, and followed the railroad tracks on the train fabric. The inside is a fun and funky orange to match some of the train cars. I put in clips so we can cinch it in, or add the longer strap (to be made) if Mommy has to carry it for any length of time. The whole thing is short enough that the Munchkin can carry it on his own if he likes.

Now to make one for Mommy!!! - not with trains, though - I don't like them THAT much!

This is Birth Month day 11's gift - since I spent the bulk of day 11 making it!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Virtual Quilting, Landmark Posts, and a Giveaway

I have posted before about virtual crafting and quilting with my Lazy Sister Sue, but recently my online "quilting guild" has expanded to include some pretty incredible and talented and FUN ladies from far and wide. I have enjoyed getting to know them through groups and blogs, and sharing ideas, inspiration, and tips with them (of course still keeping LSS in the loop as well).

One of these quilter/bloggers just posted her 200th blog post - and his having a little giveaway to celebrate. You can find her at Ramblings of a Fabric Obsessor . More great members of this group can be found in the Prolific Online Quilters blog ring.

Ironically - in checking on my own progress as a blogger, I found that this is my 100th post!! So - in the spirit of giving, I am doing my own little giveaway! Just post a comment here between now and Valentine's Day - and on the 14th I will pick someone for a little bundle of handmade goodness. If you have your own blog and can post with a link back to me - all the better - but not required for entry.

Playing Catch-Up

We were out Saturday evening, so the Munchkin did not get to open yesterday's pocket until this morning - so we doubled up.

Boy - when I put this whole idea together I did not anticipate how hard it would be to come up with 28 little gifties without A) totally blowing the budget and B) totally spoiling the Munchkin. I don't want to do trains every day, and too much chocolate gets into other issues.

What's a Mom to do?

Today it was my hand-me-down bin that came to the rescue. The Munchkin just outgrew his carpenter jeans (too short - especially in this cold weather!) and I went scrounging to see if we had any on standby from our generous cousins and friends. No luck on the jeans, but I did come across a sweatshirt that the Munchkin had picked out at a store last September (Thomas, of course) and a vest that we had gotten somewhere. Since he has been trying to wear Daddy's fleece vest (and you can see how successful that is!!) - I thought he might be open to the idea of wearing his own. So for yesterday and today's pockets he got clothes.

Now to figure out what to do for the next 18 days?!?!?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Birth Month - Day 8

So Mommy is a sucker for giving the Munchkin trains. We started out with a few trains in September to help pass the time on a trip to South Carolina and back. At that time they all fit in a nice little canvas "train bag" that the Munchkin's cousin decorated for him.

The "train bag" is filled to overflowing now - and more engines and cars are waiting in the wings. They've taken us to haircuts and doctor's appointments, and make great little gifties for Birth Month.

Yesterday's train was Lady -Lady is "... a magical engine. When she works along the rails, she spreads gold dust along the rails. Lady has been known to help Thomas and his friends when there was no other engine to turn to..."

The Munchkin knew exactly who she was before I even had the collector's card pulled completely out of the pocket. The boy knows his engines!

My treat last night was a 3 hour scrapbooking session with friends. I finished 3 more pages in the Munchkin's book - well, except for some journaling. I gotta work on that!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Birth Month - Day 7

Boy the Munchkin has a great memory - he can tell us what he got EVERY DAY for the past week! We will see how long that continues as we go through the month!

Last night was another new book - Curious George and the Firefighters. Of course we sat down and read it right away - and he also looked at all the other titles available - the covers were pictured on the back cover of this one. I am sure there will be more CG books finding their way into our home library soon.

Daddy got a mini shopping spree at Rockler. Of course one of the items is a tool needed to finish the kitchen - actually two of them were - so I guess indirectly it was a present for me, too!

I actually got a surprise package in the mail from a special friend. She knows who she is - and what she sent - and I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY like it!!! Can't wait to play!!! Thanks for such a special surprise!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Birth Month - Day 6

We were all back to work and daycare today - although hubby has started the cough and mine is still lingering. The Munchkin seems to have dodged the worst of it - even though he played nursemaid when I was sick. He would tell me "Mommy, lay down on the pillow" and then would plop my rice bag on my head and tuck me in. Good medicine!

Day 6 brought a new backpack - actually I found this at a yard sale when the Munchkin was just a few months old - tags still on it - for $1. Since hubby and I are Lions Club members, we kind of collect things with lions on them, so I thought this would be fun. Now that the Munchkin is old enough to wear it - it made a perfect little gifty. Now if I can only convince him that he can actually put stuff IN the pack and carry it around!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Birth Month - Day 5

...the day the tastebuds came back!

I can taste Chocolate again! Of course it took until the end of the day - but my sense of taste is nearly back to normal, so I treated myself to a Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate with White Mint square that my sister in law gave me -she doesn't like them! :-)

The munchkin got some dinosuar stickers and a mint truffle Hershey's Kiss, - and is the only kid I know that will eat that with a cucumber chaser!

Hubby had to work tonight due to Super Tuesday, so his surprise will be doubled up tomorrow (although he seems to be coming down with the ick I have had, so he may not appreciate anything)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Birth Month -Day 4

Oooh - I got such a great package in the mail today from an eBay auction - but since the Munchkin has gotta wait, so do all my readers!!! Don't worry - the contents will pop up over the next few days.

Mommy's got bronchitis - so my giftie on Day 4 was 2 prescriptions. What fun.

Daddy got to stay home with us today - to give me a hand with the Munchkin and to let me get out to the Dr. - his giftie was the ingredients to make escarole and bean soup tonight... and I brought him home his favorite sub for lunch.

The Munchkin decided he wanted to wait until after dinner to open the pocket - but since my high test cough suppressant will be kicking in around then, I will blog this now - while I am coherent.

(shhh - don't tell him but it's another
Take Along Thomas engine.
It's Mavis - he's been asking for her for a while,
and she is retired so hard to find)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Birth Month - Day 3

I kept it easy today - chocolate. 3 pieces -one for the Munchkin, one for Mommy (who wishes she'd get over this cold so she can taste it) and one for Daddy. We had a big family party yesterday and got all sorts of Valentines and goodies -so he's still digging through that stash.

The Munchkin was eying the birthday pockets today - namely his -trying to figure out how long it will be until we get to that one.

Slow down kiddo - gotta get through Mommy's birthday first!!!

What fun!

Saturday, February 02, 2008


...I forgot to do it again.

Forgot to get a finished photo of "A Mid-Winter Night's Dream" with the borders and bindings. I meant to last night before it got delivered, but did not.

Perhaps someone will take a photo of it today?
If not - at least I have the layout photos.

Oh well. Not the first time this has happened - won't be the last.

(UPDATE - I just learned that the quilt brought $100 in the auction!)

Birth Month - Day 2

One of the first things I heard this morning was the Munchkin looking at the completed Birth Month calendar and saying "look at all the nuners (numbers) - great job Mom - you got all the nuners on the pockets"!

Day 1's pocket had a Take Along Thomas Engine for the Munchkin, a new toaster for Daddy and a new vacuum for Mommy (I know - not very exciting for Mom and Dad, but just wanted to show the Munchkin that not all the presents will be for him). Actually - all those things were not in the pocket -but I told the Munchkin they were supposed to be there - and we all actually got them on Jan 31st. But I think he is getting the idea.

Day 2's pocket held a note that said "a new book for the Munchkin" and he got Mark Teague's How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon - which we read this morning, but it did not seem to help with the medicine taking struggle.

We looked at the whole calendar, and Daddy was sure to show him the special birthday pockets with the names on them. "We gotsa lot of birthdays" he said!

Just need to make and add another pocket at the bottom for the 29th of February - I think it will attach with a button and be bigger - for that extra special bonus Birth Month day!!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Birth Month - Day 1

Welcome to February - better known as Birth Month in our household. With upcoming celebrations on the 18th, 22nd and 28th - the countdowns have begun.

The intent of my countdown wall hanging was:
A: to have it on the wall by February 1st and
B: to have little presents tucked in the pockets for the munchkin to discover.

Well - it is not on the wall (still need to add a few bead embellishments and get DH to hang the hook for me) and the munchkin discovered one of his surprises last night by accident.

So I guess we will see what February 2nd brings - besides that dang groundhog and all his publicity!

Stay Tuned for more Birth Month drama!