Thursday, February 24, 2011

UFO's and Flying PIGS

(ok -so I know it is a sheep in this picture - but I could not find any evidence of aliens abducting anything except sheep, cows or people - they don't seem to want PIGS - go figure)

My PIGS are battling my UFO's - and at least this week, the PIGS are winning! I have pushed aside a UFO from the recent Sew in the Snow Day (the creamsicle quilt), and started a charity quilt that has been roiling around in the back of my brain since last year at this time, when a few fellow quilters at my workplace donated a quilt to our United Way kickoff carnival raffle.

They did a t-shirt quilt, which was very popular, but I did not have access to shirts and did not want to copy them anyway. What I did have was a large number of fabrics I have been collecting in our school colors - orange and brown.

Last night I finally decided on a scrappy brick wall pattern -making it up as I go - and did the initial cutting. I am assembling this using a "quilt as you go" construction, and was able to pull batting strips that have been in a box since about 2000, when they were leftover from a baby quilt I did. There are plenty to do both the body of the quilt and the borders, so once I get the strips laid out the way I want (and pick up some muslin for the back and a nice brown thread) this should go together fairly quickly.

Currently I have 12 strips that I have sewn into loops. I will be cutting some open down the middle of a block, and opening up some along a seam so that I can lay them out staggered like a real brick wall.

And then once this PIGGY is off to market at the raffle, I will be back to battling the UFO's.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Birthday Party #3 - the Cake-inator

This year's entry into Hubby's album of AWESOME CAKES. The Birthday Cake-inator was born of the imaginations of Hubby and the Munchkin, inspired by the Disney show Phineas and Ferb.

It was awesome, it was yummy, and the family that gathered devoured about half of it - the rest went in to work with Matt to be enjoyed by his co-workers.

And Party #3 was complete. This one is a lot easier - as the cake is the "centerpiece" and that is all Matt's doing. I just clean, prep the munchies, and wrap the presents.

The Munchkin had a GREAT day and LOVED his cake!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Birthday Party #2 - School Celebrations

I was a bad mommy - I don't have pictures of the Munchkin's birthday party at school. It did cap off an eventful week - he had Valentine's Day on Monday, 100's Day on Tuesday, a play in the snow day on Wednesday, and Birthday Treat on Friday.

I took a half day off of work, and brought in a cookie cake from our local Wegmans. It was a beautiful balmy sunny day - and was also MY birthday! After snack time was over, I excused myself, picked up Shellie, and proceeded to hit THREE quilt shops, plus lunch! We even shared some cookie cake with the gals at Mt. Pleasant -they are so nice there! Love that store!

So I guess what I am really saying is that Birthday Party #2 was a bit for the Munchkin and a bit for me?! :-)

And this was one of my presents:

I also got an awesome pouch from Shellie - but it is upstairs (3rd floor) and I am downstairs (1st floor) and I am being too lazy to walk up and take a photo. I will have to post a picture of it another time.

I guess I AM feeling my age! :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Birthday Party #1 - the Jungle Expedition

This year the Munchkin turns 6 - and we got a bit carried away in the birthday party department. To date he has had THREE parties for his birthday -and the actual birthday has not even happened yet.

Party #1 was with some of his friends from school. It was a Jungle Expedition themed party, held at a local park lodge - complete with a "Mommy Made" obstacle course and some other fun activities. The invitations were printed on "leaves" and sent out about a month ahead.

WARNING: This is a pretty photo intense post - as I walk you through all the elements and what we did.

The kids started out with their pith helmets - which they got to decorate with some animal stickers, fun foamy vines and splats and other geometrics, and a tag with their name. On the back of each chair was a backpack for each of them - which they would begin to load with their "provisions" - including a glow stick and magnifying glass from this first table. (crafty note: nothing much handmade/homemade here - except the nametags which were layered scrapbooking paper - and which the kids promptly unlayered! The backpacks were a clearance rack find and are their school color)
Next they moved on to the Birdseed Challenge. Inside each of these pans of birdseed were hidden 144 tiny erasers shaped like bugs. The challenge was for them to reach in the pans and find the bugs...
They were doing pretty well - until I made them pick up those orange "bandannas" and tie them on as blindfolds. Then it got a lot harder. (crafty note: instead of paying a higher price for individual bandannas, I purchased yardage, cut it with a pinking blade on my rotary cutter, and called it done - no sewing required. We also sent the kids home with any erasers they found -and a baggy full of birdseed.)

After traipsing all the kids through the bathrooms to wash all the birdseed dust off their hands, we had a trail mix station. In the trays were pretzels, cheerios, marshmallows, boxes of raisins, M&M's, and goldfish.
Each child could fill a ziplock with what they liked and stash it in their pack as provisions. (crafty note: the drawstring bags were just simple unlined drawstring bags - with boxed bottoms. It was actually a remnant from when the Munchkin's curtains were a jungle theme and worked perfectly for a little goody bag for this event.)

Once the kids were all "provisioned" and prepared - we moved over to the obstacle course. Actually it was tough keeping their attention on the first few activities - because they all wanted to be on the other side of the room. Here are a few of the boys checking out the course:

The course started at "Base Camp" - made from a tent and tunnel found on craigslist, and guarded by a big stuffed Lion that the Munchkin has had since before he was born. (crafty note: I used odds and ends of fabric torn into long strips, with knots and smaller pieces tied here and there to look like vines. These were scattered all over the course, along with some silk vines I had gotten at a craft store. The green fabric piece over the tunnel was leftover curtain lining from the Munchkin's room - but not fabric I could use for quilting. I had some die cut leaves from another event that I attached with safety pins and also scattered around other parts of the course.)
Next came Alligator Lake. (crafty note: this was a blue vinyl tablecloth. The stepping stones are brown kraft paper taped down with masking tape, and I used full sheet printable labels to print out the alligator and fish and stick them down. The tablecloth is taped down all around and has 2 rolls of shelf liner underneath to minimize slippage. I thought this would be the first thing to "break down" during the event as it seemed the most fragile, but it held up well)
We then moved on to Snake Grass Trail. This was actually one of the most expensive elements in the entire obstacle course - and surprisingly the "scariest" for the kids. It also tended to knock their hats off. It's hard to see in this picture, but the orange thing coiled on the floor is the Munchkin's stuffed rattlesnake.
(crafty note: This was nothing more than raffia grass skirting sold for luau parties zig zagged between two tables, with kraft paper walls bordering it (and a LOT of tape). I covered it all with a tablecloth so that the kids would not be able to see what it was inside.)
After Snake Grass Trail, the kids popped into the Spider Web Trap, where they became the spider and had to catch bean bag "flies" tossed at them by the other kids. (crafty note: the spider web is 2 nested hula hoops - 2 different sizes, tied together with white string. The "flies" are beanbags made from 5" squares of fabric and a little tuft of shower scrunchy netting for wings. I filled them with rice. They are in the basket in front of the chair.)
The kids then rode a small gym scooter down the Rocky Road. I purposely made this narrow and windy as I did not want them picking up a lot of speed on the scooter for safety reasons. (crafty note: the Rocks are brown paper lunch bags - and I put the Munchkin to work scrunching them into rocks. They worked better with a dab of newspaper tucked inside - and our inspired moment was letting the kids play "basketball" with these and a big garbage bag to get these things cleaned up. It DID take the entire package of 100 to make this short road.)
And the road led to Monkey Tree Valley - with an inflatable pine tree. The monkey's hanging off were tagged with the kids names, and the kids had to rescue their monkey, stick it in their pack, and head back through the course. This was the most expensive item purchased for the course - but I calculated the cost of crafting a tree this size, and buying the inflatable was actually the cheaper option. These do tend to be tippy, though - hence the blankets around the base for anchor. (Nothing too crafty on this stage.)
And then we let the expedition commence - each child went through alone -
and the other kids acted as "fly tossers" - which despite some practice tossing before hand got a little bit crazy.Each had a different technique on the scooter -with some finding the "pack on the lap" method working well as they headed back to...
...the end of the trail...5 happy explorers - and one mauled lion!!
...which also doubled as a pillow.And lest we forget the cake -it was a snake with a cupcake body and krispie treat head and tail, with some gummy worms and centipedes to keep it company.
Much fun was had by all!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

100's Day

Today is 100's day at the Munchkin's school - 100 days of Kindergarten! WOW!!! It seems like yesterday he was just getting on to the school bus for the first time.

For "homework" we had to do a project of a collection of 100 "something." We decided to do a collection of 100 fingers, with pictures of 10 family members and their 2 hands, including this awesome one of the Munchkin. He then wrote little cards introducing each person and what they like to do "with their 10 fingers." We put it all into a little album with some front and back cover art provided by the Munchkin, and it turned out great. He had fun thinking about what each person likes to do, and then writing up all the cards, although it came right at the time that we were also writing Valentine's so I think he is nursing some writer's cramp right about now. I have not even brought up birthday thank-you cards with him yet - will give him a couple day's break to recover! :-)

While brainstorming ideas for the 100's collections, I had the thought of doing a 100 block table topper using up some of my 2 1/2" fabric square scraps. I did not pose this idea to the Munchkin, because I wanted the project to be more HIM than ME, but I decided I wanted to make 2 of these table toppers anyway - one to give to his teacher as a thank you for 100 great days of school, and the other for the Munchkin as a celebration of his first 100's day.

I thought it was something we could keep with our seasonal decorations and use on the dining room table for a 100's day dinner celebration.

I thought since the Munchkin loves all the colors - and the rainbow - that I would start with 10 each of those 7 colors, and then add in pink, brown and black to complete the set. Only trouble was - I was a few blocks short in a few color families.

Enter my Tran-Quilt-ity friends, who responded to my email plea with lots of squishy little envelopes filled with lots of colorful squares (and a few bigger scraps that I had to trim down myself -but that yielded lots of yummy color goodness!) With the response I got, I could have made a whole set of these, but given other constraints like finding time to get them quilted I stopped myself at 2. I finished this one for school last night before dinner, and quilted up the Munchkin's after he went to bed last night - it is waiting on the dining room table for him to come down this morning.

These doubled as a good practice ground for some FMQ. I still have more practicing to do before I tackle a whole quilt, but I did echo quilting on this one, and a meander of sorts on the other - after doing a "stencil" of the number 100 in the center - not sure if you can see it in the picture.

These were great fun - and I have plans for the leftover donated and collected squares for some charity quilting projects.

Happy 100's Day!

Monday, February 07, 2011

I was there - really!!!

Since I did not have a photo of myself from Sew in the Snow, I grabbed this great one that Shellie had taken. I was busy buzzing along on making flying geese but looked up just as she was snapping the shot.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Tortoise of the Day

Look who I got to meet today! She's an African Sulcata Tortoise and was visiting our local Winterfest celebration.The Munchkin even got a picture of the two of us together. She is 8 years old -and her owner said she can live to be 150 and grow to be the size of the circle on the gym floor behind me. WOW!!!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Sew in the Snow Day

I am friends with about a dozen quilters who all live within about a 15 mile radius of me - but I had only actually ever quilted with one of them. The rest of us would talk about quilting and sewing when we would see each other at other community events and activities -and would share pictures if we happened to have a camera or cell phone with us that had photos on the memory card -but that was about the extent of it.

Until today - or rather until last July - when a few of us bumped into each other at a quilt shop.

"We should get together some weekend and quilt," I said.

"Yes," they agreed - and that is usually where it would have stopped.

But not this time. This time I rented a lodge in town, printed up invitations, and spread the word. Come and "Sew in the Snow" - and bring a friend!!! We had the lodge for the entire day - and we had plans to stay all day!!!

We made chili, and soup, and scones, and chex mix... and ate and ate and ate!!!

We sewed quilt blocks and totes and pillowcases.

We taught a new quilter how to piece together blocks that her mom had cut out years ago (and now have her hooked and heading out to buy her own tools to keep going!!!)

We even attempted to teach someone how to crochet.

We laughed.
We took photos of our works in progress.

We swapped ideas.
We had a GREAT TIME!
And I even got to eat out of a bowl with a turtle in it!!!!

We did not make it ALL day - choosing to pack up around dinner time when the snow starting coming in thick and the sun started going down... and everyone headed home safe. I had the shortest distance to travel, and was the last to leave as I had to lock up, but was home in time for dinner with the boys.

Can't wait to do it again!!!

Friday, February 04, 2011


Jill has asked if I know "why" I have UFO's and PIGS and other projects that never seem to be done.

I've said it before and I will say it again - I have "QDD."

That is "Quilters Distraction Disorder" - or perhaps "CDD" - Crafters Distraction Disorder.

I was doing better in January - making a concerted effort to slow down my perusal of crafting blogs and websites - to focus on the patterns at hand and not feel like I need to print and start the latest and greatest free pattern shared by my favorite online quilters.

I WAS doing better in January.

On Wednesday, February 2nd I tripped... and fell headlong into cutting out a Moda Bake Shop free pattern that was recently posted.

My quilts I started in January? Not done.
My tiger wall hanging I started in January? Not done.

That is not to say that I haven't had finishes in January - I did finish up decorations for the Munchkin's birthday party (pictures to come after), and props, and goodie bags, and fly bean bags.

I guess I just need to turn off the internet, cancel all my magazine subscriptions, stop going to the library - and FOCUS.

Yeah -like that is going to happen.

the QDD/CDD and the UFO's are here to stay.... (until I get them done! and find more!)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

It's February

February is upon us once again - or rather should I say "Birth Month."

Birth Month IV to be exact!

It has begun much like those of the past. The Munchkin opened pocket #1, and hubby gets to open his pocket tonight (it was to be my night but Munchkin and I decided that since we got to stay home for a snow day today and Daddy went to work - we would swap days and give him a treat!)

This year there will be a few bigger pocket presents (the Munchkin got his very own Wii controller and nunchuck yesterday) and some smaller ones. We are also celebrating the Munchkin's birthday FOUR times this month - school, family, friends, and actual birthday - so those will be the "gifts" for those days.

On top of that, I am also hosting a quilting retreat day on Saturday, attending a family party and taking the family to a hockey game this month!

Will come up for air again in March! :-)

Happy Birth Month!