Friday, December 28, 2007

...None of Your Monkey Business

...that is if you are my Brother and Sister in Law reading this, since this has not been delivered yet.

For all the rest of you - the QUILT IS DONE! The last of my unfinished Christmas projects was completed on December 26th around 3pm. Just need to arrange delivery now.

This was a truly "fly by the seat of my pants project" - I purchased charm packs and fat quarters and yardage in the Five Funky Monkey line by Moda, as well as wonderfully wide 54" fabric for the backing, but just did not quite have enough to pull it all together. Rather than going back for more - which was a bit beyond my budget - I opted to add in the yellow/orange fabric from my local JoAnn Fabrics. I think it was a good choice, and I was able to do double duty with it in the dragon quilt (which I forgot to take a photo of...oops)

My only major oops on this quilt was in the binding - I used an online calculator and plugged in my block sizes and number of blocks, and it told me I needed 2 yards for the binding. In my pre-holiday mental frazzle, I did not even question that, and sweated it a bit because the fabric I found that matched the best only had 1 3/4 left on the bolt.

"Measure Twice/Cut Once" - should be "calculate twice/cut once" - anyone need enough brown binding to go around a throw quilt - possibly even a twin??? Turns out - according to both the handy dandy quilt calculator I got from my hubby AND the shopping guide I got from Lazy Sister Sue - that I only needed about 1/2 yard. OOPS!

So here she is - in all her monkey glory...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tastebud Memories

It never ceases to amaze me how powerfully the senses of taste and smell are connected to our memories. I think that must be why we turn to favorite recipes from childhood - especially around the holidays - those little mouthfuls of memories that take us back to the magic of the season as it was when we were young.

In our house my hubby was the baking fanatic this year - I managed to crank out a batch of my favorite butter crescents (or moon cookies -as the Munchkin called them), but other than a big gingerbread cookie (BIG pan - one BIG cookie) I just stood back and out of the way as hubby made Russian Tea Cakes, Cutouts, and super yummy decadent truffles.

So why the picture of the big pretzels? Well -it was not exactly a Christmas memory - but these big puffy soft hot pretzels brought back memories of my own childhood attempt at pretzels, straight out of Cricket Magazine - of which I was an avid reader. I still have them all - from Volume I Issue I on up for about 5 years. I am saving them to share with the Munchkin when he is old enough - and I hope that he finds as much enjoyment in them as I did.

Who needs 1.21 gigawatts of electricity for time travel -just stock up the fridge, fire up the oven, pull a book off the bookcase - and away we go!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The After-mush

Just a follow up to our snowpeople of last week.
This is the picture that was taken the next morning - after the rains came.

We still have the two base blobs in the back yard -like 2 big snow stools.
With 12 inches predicted for Sunday, perhaps our friends will come back soon??? (and stay a bit longer this time?)

Decking the Halls

I still cannot figure out how a bigger tree ended up with fewer ornaments on it this year?

Sunday we put up our new 7 1/2 foot tree - and after wrestling with some light issues - loaded it up with over 1000 tiny white bulbs (about 50 of which are now out, but that is an issue for NEXT year now!!!) Circumstances did not allow actual ornament decorating to begin until last night. Of course the munchkin went right for the breakables in the box, but we managed to divert him and get the child friendly stuff in his hands and -mostly- on the tree. There is this band across the middle where it shifts from fragile to indestructible - and seems to correspond to his reach, although I am sure he will prove us wrong sometime this season.

For many years we decorated an old old old artificial tree - I think it was the original one my family had, although my mother will beg to differ on that. Anyway - it was very open, all the way through, and I loved that I could hang ornaments all the way in and see the sparklies all the way through it. This one is much much much thicker, so we could not do that (although we have a strategy for next year that may give us that back - without employing wire cutters! we shall see)

I still have some more "decking" to do - mantle to be cleared and decorated. It really means finding a place for all the stuff on the mantle, mostly fragile or non toddler friendly items that I will have to find a SAFE place for. I ran out of momentum last night to do that - but need to get it done to have a place for the stockings.

Some cookies are done - more to be made this weekend. Sunday looks to be blustery and cold, so perhaps we can stock up on ingredients and just bake the day away!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Magic Time

It seems like just yesterday it was Thanksgiving, and I was well on schedule to getting all my Christmas projects done and in the mail and to far flung destinations ON TIME! And now it is December 12th and I am not as far along as I thought I would be. One project is holding up one package - and it is not really a big project but something I have never made before, so I just need to dive in and do it.

The rest of the packages are local, and not needing delivery until December 21st at the earliest - so I have a bit more time there... I think!

Of course there is still a tree to decorate, and wrapping to do, and cookies to bake, and, and, and...

But amidst all this is a beautiful almost-3-year-old who is really aware of the magic of Christmas for the very first time.

So as the munchkin will sing... "Good Dining To You, and all of your Kin" - and be warned that your gifts may be a bit late!

Friday, December 07, 2007


is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely.

Last night I went out looking to teach a class, and came home after discovering some great new friends.

The class was on two Lazy Girl patterns - the Wonder Wallet, and the Checkbook Cover. I had been offering these in continuing education programs at two different schools since Fall of 2006, but unfortunately I could never get more than one person to sign up, which was lower than the minimum the schools required, and so the classes never ran.

It turns out that the one person signing up each time was the same person - "G" - who REALLY wanted to make a checkbook cover for her mother for Christmas. She finally asked if I would be willing to come to her house for a private lesson if this last class at the school was canceled, and I said "sure!"

It turns out that "G" hosts a weekly girls crafting night with some of her friends, and two of them also joined us. "G" made both patterns, and one other friend just made the wallet, and one woman was just there to relax and socialize.

I tell ya - sometimes you walk into a home and meet new people and feel like you have known them forever - this was one of those times! I got a chuckle out of "G's" son, who came in and said "Mom - where's the teacher?" and when he was told it was me he said "Oh, I just thought she was one of the regular ladies!"

I like that - "regular ladies" - and when "G" asked if I would consider coming back and joining their group - I did not hesitate to say "YES!!!"

From teacher to friend - all in less than 3 hours - what a great way to spend an evening!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Cosmic Convergence

Today was one of those days when all the elements came together for a perfect afternoon.

2 inches of fresh, wet, packing snow.
Mild temperatures just around freezing.
No wind or other weather issues.
Mid afternoon daylight.
A freshly napped toddler.
2 energetic parents.
A clean muck-bucket and somewhat clean flowerpot.
A few shovels.
A make-your-own snowman kit.
Mommy's hat and scarf.

Add in a little bit of sledding down the "hill" (the raised earth around the roots of the big black walnut tree - maybe 2 feet, tops...) and some driveway shoveling, and it was a great time.

Until it had to end...
...first by us having to go in and get warm and dry
...and then by the rains coming - I wonder how our snowpeople will look by morning? We forgot to give them umbrellas. Who knew???

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thinking Pink

FINALLY! I have been planning this tote for nearly a year now - and it is finally done and delivered to it's new owner.

First a little back story - I was at work one Saturday last winter, when I am usually the only one in the office. A co-worker was there, and as I was leaving for the day we were chatting about her nice new HUGE canvas tote bag with our school logo on it. She knows I love totes, and ended up giving me the bag, as she found it too big for her tastes.

What were her tastes? - I asked. Well, she had this old canvas tote with threadbare handles that she had been trying to replace, but could not find one in the same size/strap proportions.

Knowing her fondness for flamingos, my creative wheels started turning, and I told her I would only accept the big tote if she let me replicate/replace the little one. Then I started the hunt for the perfect flamingo fabric, which was found somewhere down south by my Lazy Sister Sue.

Well, it finally happened (despite the Munchkin's "help"). It is a bit smaller, and has a few different features than her old one, but it is done and hanging on her door knob.

And just for some extra fun, I tucked in a WonderWallet and Checkbook Cover from Lazy Girl Designs, and a petal pouch from a pattern that Lazy Sister Sue shared with me.

I am just waiting to hear the squeals from down the hall.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I am such a "cut up"...

This picture could have been me yesterday - well minus the manicure and the clean workspace - and using a different brand of rotary cutter -but you get the idea. I spent my "Mommy Time" while the munchkin was napping cutting out the fabric for 2 different quilts -one with dragons and one with monkeys!

I 'think' I have them all cut out and ready to assemble - in my usual style these are BOTH "make it up as you go along" patterns - which makes the mistakes less evident but the design more time consuming. The dragon needs to be shipped to SC, so will be the first one completed. The monkeys can wait until Christmas Eve (although I will kick myself if I wait that long to get them done) but there are some intervening projects that also need to get shipped, so it is on hold at the moment. The "cut and ready to go" pile is actually bigger than just these 2 projects, so now I just need some machine time.

Ahh - Thanksgiving Break - here's hoping it is productive!

Friday, November 16, 2007


My munchkin calls my jewelery "sparklies" - and he would have enjoyed these creations from the 5 ladies who just finished up my 2 part "Beginning Jewelery Making" class at the Churchville Chili Continuing Education program.

This is the second time I have taught this 2 part class - they make earrings, a memory wire bracelet, and a necklace. I buy a selection of coordinating beads, but they put their own designs together. Two ladies went for the leftover sage and purples from the last class in the spring, rather than the black/silver/red that I chose for this pre-holiday season class. And surprisingly no-one went for the dangly silver swirls with the black bead inside them. I will have to figure out my own design with those.

Friday, November 09, 2007

the "after" picture

10:00 at night, the toddler is FINALLY down for the count, DH is not home, and I need a picture of my new "do" before I fall asleep on the couch.

What's a girl to do?

So I grabbed the cell phone - and this is the resulting self portrait. Not the best photo I have ever taken, but it gives you an idea of my new "do".

This was hairdresser styled -so a bit poofier than I normally wear it, but I am loving how easy it is to scrunch and dry and go and get nice bouncy curl.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Helping Haircut

Today I had my hair cut. I have not had it cut - other than trims - since I found out I was pregnant with my son in June 2004, and it was the longest it had been since I was in grade school.

I was getting frustrated with it, though. It was up or back, or in the way, or getting cleaned out of the drain or swept up - you get the idea.

I wanted to donate it but did not quite have enough for Locks of Love without going extremely short - but recently read an article about Oprah cutting Hilary Swank's hair for donation - and it was a different program. It is sponsored by Pantene, and makes wigs for adults. They only need 8 inches, which I had - and it left some over to give me a nice bob.

Since Mom is a cancer survivor, I felt really good about making this donation. And I LOVE my new cut! (picture to come later - I promise)

Here is the information on the program if anyone is interested: Pantene's Beautiful Lenghts

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Unfortunately the day job means that I spend more time in front of my computer than in front of my sewing machine, and more time in the office than in my "studio"... but the side effect is that I have become a master of finding patterns and ideas online (free or otherwise), sharing ideas with others working on similar projects (Thanks Lazy Girls and Lazy Sister Sue), and shopping for supplies... and more supplies... and more supplies (can you sense a weakness here???)

One of the new resources is all the blogs that wonderful artists and crafters and pattern designers have out there. One that was just shared with me is Sew Mama Sew - and here is a crafter after my own heart. The theme for November is "Handmade Holidays, 30 Days of Gifts to Sew! Every day there will be tips, tutorials and free patterns!

For quilters out there - my Lazy Sister Sue just pointed me to Quiltville - which is a website of a member of her quilt guild. Wonderful patterns - and her accompanying blog is inspirational reading also.

These are just a couple of the crafting blogs among ones I follow on a regular basis - what do YOU read???

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

No More Trouble with Turtles

IT'S FINALLY DONE - and delivered!!!

After 5 months, and 800 miles, I now have no more "Trouble with Turtles". I finished most of the binding in the car between NY and SC, and then worked on it some evenings during our visit there. I was finally able to deliver it after the wedding, just before Lazy Sister Sue and her family left town to head back to their homes.

For an adaptation of a pattern - and some parts that were made up as I went along - it turned out pretty much as I thought. If I did it again (and I don't plan on it - 2 is enough) - the legs and head would be a bit different, and I would practice half square triangles a bit more to get the shell corners better.

The munchkin loved the turtle -and now sees turtles everywhere he looks! And I don't even have my collection on display right now.

Friday, October 05, 2007

What I did on my Summer (er - Fall) Vacation

Beading, sewing, baking, floral arranging, shopping, laughing, eating - I think we covered most of the bases during our week-plus away from home.

The bride to be, her mother in law to be, and two aunts to be got together one night for a beaded bracelet making session. These are our finished "sparklies." (Mine is the amber and copper and black one at the top of the picture. The bride -who had never beaded before - did a gorgeous black on black! Yummy!)

Once I get my photos organized, I will post the finished (!) pink turtle!

A great time was had by all!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Puppies, too...

Yes - I have been a bit consumed by the turtles lately - but in between I managed to play with the Scotties, and finish this tote for our neighbor. She has two wonderful "puppies" and is a surrogate "grandma" to the Munchkin, so this was a nice thank-you for the toys and other treasures she has found for him. There was a matching wallet, too, but I did not manage to get a photo of that.

Thanks to the Matriarchal Sis for brokering the fabric swap with a friend in SC. It was PERFECT! (and one she had not seen before - I guess she has a collection of Scottie fabric for a quilt to be named later, and this was not in it! How lucky!)

A Turtle is Born...

I finally got the picture of Turtle Crossing, or the Box Turtle Quilt, off my cell phone so I could post it. The Trouble with Turtles (the pink one) is still giving me a little trouble, but should be subdued and tamed enough to pack in the car for our upcoming journey.

Remember though, Matriarchal Sis, that turtles return to their hatching place from time to time, so you better start saving your pennies for a trip north! The quilt will guide you here...

Friday, September 14, 2007

turtles CAN'T run - but they CAN hide

I am having such a time with these turtle quilts. First I lost the extra bag of shell blocks and had to punt to be able to finish the Box Turtle quilt (the blue one). Then last night I was all geared up to piece the top of the pink one (my goal is to have it pieced and sandwiched with the binding sewn on but not turned, and then tie it and stitch the binding during an upcoming LOONG car journey) - and I COULD NOT FIND IT!!! All the pieces were in a big gallon ziplock bag - but since things had been rearranged in the house due to mid-summer company and late-summer construction projects (LOVE my new French Doors to the back yard, by the way!!) I was not sure where this little turtle had wandered off to.

The munchkin was reading bedtime stories with Daddy as I went upstairs to the attic, downstairs to the living room, into our bedroom, back to the attic, back downstairs, back to the bedroom - I lost count of how many places I looked. Finally, after about an hour of this I was able to visualize what else I had been working on and remember where I put all those things.

Needless to say, no actual sewing was done last night - just the block layout and pinning. Tonight is Crop Circle -so sewing may have to wait for the weekend. 8 days left until we depart - the turtles may end up staying home!

That's what they get for hiding!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Passing Skills Along the Generations

I have written before about how the Matriarchal Sister taught me to sew, but there are so many other things I learned from her, from my other siblings, from my parents, and from others that I still do today. I still make meatloaf based on Mom's recipe, and repot plants using techniques she taught me. I'm comfortable in the woodshop, and even on the roof, after a summer helping Dad with some work around the house. The list could go on and on...

This morning the Munchkin learned something important - passed down from generation to generation in my family - the proper way to assemble a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He watched with intensity as we selected and laid out the bread, carefully spread the strawberry jam (not homemade - sorry Mom), and chose between crunchy and creamy. Sides were joined, and sandwiches were cut and packaged for lunch - all while he carefully munched on a small version and observed carefully.

Next week we will introduce him to the variations - peanut butter and swiss cheese, anyone???

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Other People's Art

I am constantly blown away by what other people can create. I know my shortcomings and weak spots in terms of my crafts - one of them is being an "instant gratification" kind of gal and so not being willing to commit to the time it takes to hand quilt a large project, or learn a time consuming skill. When it comes to quilting, I enjoy the geometry in the piecing, but tend to find quick and easy ways to get to the finishing - and that sometimes translates to my other projects as well (that is why I love the Lazy Girl patterns so much!!)

Knitting has also always stymied me - because I knit and knit and don't seem to get very far. Crochet seems quicker, but despite my frequent resolutions, and a full set of hooks in my studio, I have yet to pick it up.

And then there are the people that come up with something so totally new - that they are the only ones doing it (or at least the only ones that I know of).

Check out Bent Objects and you will be totally amazed at what Terry puts together.

Oh yeah - and the little cork horse? I won that in a contest on his blog and it is now on its way, galloping towards a special spot on my desk.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Almost done with the Turtle quilt - just adding the borders and - oops - I don't have enough strips cut. I forgot to calculate in that the top and bottom strips need to be longer to go over the body of the quilt PLUS the side borders. And there is NOTHING left in the scrap bag.

Two choices - go to my local fabric store and hope they still have this fabric OR find one of the complimentary fabrics out of the shell and make contrasting corners. Either way it necessitates a trip to the store. That's rough (NOT!) - the tough part is coming out with ONLY what I need.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Parts and pieces, pieces and parts

I got to thinking last night - as I rounded out the rest of the turtle shell and then packed my bag for tonights scrapbooking work-session - that there are not all that many differences between a lot of the crafts I do. When I sew or quilt I take large pieces of fabric, cut them into pieces, and re-assemble them into a pleasing design. My scrapbook is made of large pieces of paper or photos, cut into pieces, and - well - you kind of get the idea. And sometimes you use paper in quilts, and fabric in scrapbooks - it is all such a small small world.

No wonder my "studio" is cluttered and I am reluctant to throw things out - you never know they may find a new life and new purpose in another craft. (ok -so I am stretching it to justify my mess...)

My brother-in-law (The Matriarchal Sister's husband) always ribs her about cutting apart perfectly good fabric only to put it back together again - but yet I never see him reluctant to snuggle up under one of her wonderful quilts!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Turtle on the half shell, and other delicacies

I actually got some sewing done last night - even with the side show of fire-trucks at our neighbor's house (suspected gas leak). I finished a Summer Tote as a gift (will post a peek of that in a few days when I get the zipper pull done) and made some progress on the turtle.

So he's a VERY long legged turtle with a short neck - either that or he's just poking his nose out a bit...

As you can see -he is not quite done yet. It sure felt good to make some progress, though, especially after breaking and/or bending TWO needles on a project earlier in the evening. I almost kept on sewing right past bedtime, but that is when I start to make mistakes and I really don't feel like doing any more ripping on this project.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Unfinishables, and other frustrations

I know I have a lot of UFO's in my studio (un-finished objects) - or as the Matriarchal Sister calls them - WISPS ... works in slow progress...

The worst things, though, are those 'unfinishables' - projects that got started and for whatever reason got stopped, and now finishing them is just not an option.

I came across one the other day - I used to work at a large chain fabric store, and had purchased some raw-linen-like material in this really nice burgundy, and a smaller piece in rose. I had enough to make pants, jacket, vest and skirt in the burgundy, and a skirt in the rose - and I was going to make the vest reversible. Career clothing.

I finished the vest, had everything else cut out - and worked next on the pants. Because of the nature of the fabric I was using french seams -for the first time...

I am not sure what happened (this was about 6 years ago) - but when I tried on the pants to figure out waistband placement, the rise was all wrong and they looked like a pair of hip-huggers (for those of you who know me - you can see how ridiculous this may have looked). In frustration the entire project got put aside...

Fast forward 6 years - and a few extra pounds later -and even if I did decide to go back and finish these outfits - they would not fit. The vest was the only thing remotely finished- and it is too small to be flattering. And because I already cut everything out already - the pieces are too small to reuse a larger size pattern.

So I have removed all the pattern pieces and pins (in my frustration that is how they got stuffed in a box), and the fabric has now been donated to what i hope is a far better home than a box in my studio.

I don't know that I have attempted any clothing since that project - except for a polarfleece jacket.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The small world we live in

I hope you have all had a chance to visit the Lazy Girl Designs Blog and enjoy the story of the Long Distance Lazies. The internet has played a big part of this.

When we agreed to do this story - I never imagined it spreading much beyond Joan's blog and readers, but I forgot how easy and powerful the internet can be - the story has been linked at iVillage which has a HUGE readership!

How fun!

Gotta run - the small world of my living room has a munchkin who does not understand his Mommy's little bit of fame today, but knows he has some trains that need track set up.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Collector or Crafter?

Sometimes I wonder about my crafty nature - if it is that I truly enjoy the craft itself, or collecting all the things that go with it. Having a family in the craft shop business, and being a former employee of a large fabric store chain, it was often too easy to pick up tools and materials and gadgets for my crafts here and there. Teaching all sorts of different classes was also a good excuse for collecting - and keeping - lots of different supplies.

So now I have a "studio" full of stuff (notice I am NOT posting a photo of this!) Drawers full of rubber stamps, tubs full of fabric - not to mention the papers, stickers, beads, and all other sorts of fun stuff. More recently I am a collector of patterns - although when I will get to make some of these things, or what I would do with them once they are made, is beyond me. I also have sisters who are "enablers" - supplying me with more ideas, more patterns, more beads, more papers, and more fabric. To be honest, after seeing their "studios" - my sisters are as bad as I am!!!

For now I will enjoy my collection - and continue to putter away at my different crafts (when the weather in the "studio" is not 90+ degrees!) - although I do feel a collection purge coming on...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Little Moment of Fame..

My oldest sibling Sue and I (the youngest) live at the two geographic extremes of our family - Aiken, SC and Rochester, NY - but have managed to keep collaborating on a variety of craft projects, despite the distance. Pattern designer Joan Hawley, of Lazy Girl Designs, was intrigued by the relationship she saw play out in the Lazy Girl Yahoo group that both of us belong to, and decided to profile us at - We ended up sending her so many photos and stories that a one-time posting has now evolved into a mini-series. Sue would send something -and it would remind me of a story - so I would send more. Poor Joan was overwhelmed I think!

Check her blog starting Monday, August 6 to read more about my crafty family, and see photos of some of our projects, as well as a few photo blasts from the past.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

When you Wish upon a Star...

To those of you who I am not married to - let me explain about my husband and his gift buying issues. See - I will give out ideas all year round - especially in the fall - of things that I would like and DH will hear them but not retain them, so right before Christmas he will want me to come up with a list. Of course I cannot remember all those great ideas I had throughout the year, or where I saw them, and so we go round and round every year.

This year I told him I would post my wishes on my blog - even post links where I have them - and tag them with a WISHES label so come Christmas shopping time (which for DH is often December 24th!) he could sort out the list and get some ideas.

So here's my first one... a quilting calculator.

He has one for wood -I could use one for fabric, since I am very often winging it on the fly, and either coming up short or way overbuying.

If you have used one of these, or know of a better vendor or price, let me know. He'd appreciate the feedback.

Merry Christmas in July!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Momma's Little Quilter??

The munchkin thinks that my quilting rulers make great tracks for his trains - or templates for him to practice his counting on.

Just so long as I get them back - and he realizes they are mommy's toys and not his, I think we can all get along.

Not your Momma's "Little Black Bag"

I tried to work on the baby quilt yesterday - really I did - but the heat was frying my brain and I screwed up the first seam... so I put it aside and worked on something a bit less strenuous.

My son is very fascinated by numbers right now, so I picked this fabric for him. This was a free pattern from Leisure Arts and is supposed to feature their purse handles and have interchangeable handles on a reversible bag. I chose to make the fabric handles, but liked the look of the loops and d-rings, so I kept that in.

It is reversible, but I think I will keep the numbers out where the munchkin can see them. And next time I make one -reversible or not- I think I will add some pockets.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Nice to be appreciated...

The Orange Brick Road quilt was given as a graduation present - and the graduate and her family were at our house on July 4th. Her mom made a point of telling me how special she felt the quilt was, and how it was nice that I gave a gift of something that would be treasured and kept forever. She was also amazed at how I took school colors of orange and brown (which always made her think either YUK or HALLOWEEN) and turned them into something beautiful.

It felt good to hear that...

Every quilt I make is a fabric hug - but sometimes I get hugged in return with comments like that.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Quilting on the 4th of July becoming a habit

OK - that bag of blocks can reappear now, because I punted... I found a few scraps and was able to construct 3 blocks which went into the baby quilt and the others moved into the pink one (why? because when you are making a quilt for the person who taught you how - you don't want the one block with the fabric that appears NO WHERE ELSE in either quilt because you just needed that little square and had to bring in an outside scrap just to get it done - you want it to be "perfect"...)

All the components are ready to assemble -but with July 4th at hand and a house full of 28 people because our outdoor picnic moved inside due to rain - I decided the baby can wait... I did have the strips spread out on my bed to show a friend though - it looks AWESOME! I cannot wait to finish this one!

Here is what I was sewing the morning of our July 4th picnic LAST year...(look behind the munchkin on the swing)

I taught a class at my dining room table, and this is what I made while I taught it. I machine sewed the binding the morning of July 4th because I wanted it on the swing and just ran out of time - even though I prefer to hand finish my bindings. It is a great summer weight quilt and came inside onto the sofa for yesterday's picnic. The munchkin has now discovered "brankets" and loves to curl up on the sofa or floor and figure out how to cover himself up.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Now where did I put that (insert item here...)????

OK - I am officially getting middle aged - I am starting to forget where I put things. I used to be so good - I could put my finger on something pretty quickly - even after 7 moves in 7 years (or perhaps because of 7 moves in 7 years???)

I don't know though - lately it has been tougher - I think with my craft space in the attic - but my primary work space in the dining room (easier with the toddler) a lot of things get shifted during transport up and down stairs.

My latest loss is tortoise-shell...not the contraband stuff, but extra shell blocks that I made for the two quilts. I had 25, and put 18 in the bag with the other blocks for each quilt, but decided I want to use 12 in one of the quilts - and now the extras are no where to be found. I've looked "upstairs, downstairs and in the lady's chamber" and have no clue...

I cannot remake them - but will look for a while until I declare them completely lost. Knowing my luck I will find them as I put the last stitch into the quilt.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

mmmm - quilt sandwich

It is almost a quilt -the layers are sandwiched, the ends are hand basted, and the spots for tying are pinned...

Tonight is binding night -then I need to find a house with a/c so I can sit there and tie this thing without dying of heat.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Mythconception? Or not?

From a friend - who is Pegasus:

You Are a Centaur

In general, you are a very cautious and reserved person.

However, you are also warm hearted, and you enjoy helping others in practical ways.

You are a great teacher, and you are really good at helping people get their lives in order.

You are very intuitive, and you go with your gut. You make good decisions easily.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Boy - Oh - Boy

Little Paul is now home - so now I know which quilt moves up a level in the work pile. The graduation quilt HAS to be finished before Saturday, June 23 - so that one will stay on top until it is done.

I was at the fabric store again yesterday to find backing, border and binding for the "Orange Brick Road" - Plan A fell through, as the brown/gold was only in FQ. Plan B was a gorgeous tan/brown with chocolate brown vines and leaves - but I choked at the price, even with a coupon. Plan C was a peachy orange with tiny cream stars scattered throughout, and a burnt orange "tapestry" print fabric for the binding. It actually ends up lighter and more playful than Plan A would have - and the price was much much much easier to swallow.

Unfortunately - other than the fabric getting washed last night - no progress was made on any of the quilts. The munchkin had other plans for my time - and then I was just out of energy.

Tonight perhaps - because tomorrow is SCRAPBOOKING NIGHT!! Woo Hoo!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Just had to share this picture - the munchkin and I were out back in his first experience with soap bubbles, and my first experience trying to blow bubbles, take pictures, and keep him safely in the yard, all at the same time.

He pulled me down to sit on the grass, then climbed in my lap to look at the photos we had taken so far. I am not sure if I pressed the shutter, or if he did - but I really like this picture for some reason.

I guess you had to be there...

Brick City

Last night was a productive one, and even though I had a few fat quarters that were a bit skinny, and one that had a flaw right down the middle, I managed to put together the 35 blocks needed for the lap quilt.

This is the rough layout on the living room floor, after some help from my husband in rearranging a few of the blocks. I have them stacked and ready to assemble - which will be tonight's project.

I am still not sure which fabric I want for the border, but have decided that the binding - and probably the backing - will be the chocolate brown with the gold (second row from bottom, middle block). I am putting one layer of soft flannel in the center (my batting of preference) and will tie this one for lack of time (and in deference to the limping walking foot on my machine).

I hope to know more on baby neighbor today - they should be coming home thisafternoon.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Another Brick in the Wall....

When you work at a college that is "affectionately" known as the Brick City - where ALL the buildings are made out of brick - and you have a relative graduating from High School who is coming here for college that you need a graduation present for...

...can you see where this is leading?

Yes - another "brick road" - this one is orange and brown (school colors - looks better than it sounds). Boy is this pattern ever paying for itself! I managed to hit the fabric store on a fat-quarter sale and have been chain piecing turtles and borders and bricks. I have even managed NOT to mix up the colors -but my ironing board is this wonderful rainbow of green and blue and pink and orange.

Still no word on the identity of baby neighbor -but I think s/he has arrived, because there has been no one at home.

So work on the blocks progresses - I will have one 5x5 round "Turtle Crossing" for the baby, one 5x6 "Trouble with Turtles" for the Matriarchal Sister, and one 5x7 "Orange Brick Road" for the "husband's-father's-cousin's-daughter"

Stay tuned...

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Fine Print

Since I think the Matriarchal (Matroniacal?) Sister missed the fine print in the last post...

the 2nd quilt is for my Quilt Teacher (who just happens to be my sister - my OLDEST sister)...

Got it now??? That is where you come in, sis!

(and YOUR quilt may or may not have pink in it - only the neighbor knows)

Show a Little Leg...

...otherwise known as teasing your sister unmercifully!

OK - so now we know that this is a quilting project...

...and the beauty of this pattern adaptation is that it gave me enough blocks to do not ONE, but TWO quilts!!! One for the new baby (the car has been gone since early early this morning - so perhaps we have baby?), and the other for my quilting teacher. They will be similar - but a bit different - and the baby will decide who gets which one, once I know if we have a buddy for Nathan or our very own "girl next door."

Sunday, June 03, 2007

At a Turtle's Pace

So now I have the Matriarchal Sister intrigued - she who has developed a love of turtles recently in life, after a close encounter in Hawaii that I have yet to get all the details on...

...but alas, I am not yet at liberty to share. The project is moving at a turtle's pace - actually at a "household with toddler's pace" - a bit slowly - but actually not that far from a shareable stage.

I will throw out a hint... think "Turtle Crossing the Yellow Brick Road"...

And that grinding sound you hear from somewhere near Augusta, GA is the Matriarchal Sister grinding her teeth in impatient frustration!!!

Tee Hee!!!

(oh - and no neighbor baby yet)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Squishy Turtle and Friends

This is about a craft project in progress - but one with a story behind it.

I am quite sure I know when I started collecting turtles - I was living in Japan as an exchange student and had gone on a school trip. We were staying along the coast near a lighthouse one night, and the gift shop had these teeny tiny carved turtles made out of shell. White and purple, and no bigger than the tip of my pinky. I bought two - one to keep, and one that I gave to a friend.

Soon after I returned home, my mother found a wooden carved turtle - nearly identical in style to my tiny one - and about the size of the palm of my hand. And so the turtle collection began. When I returned to Japan, I added a soapstone one from Hong Kong, a jade one from a friend's visit to China, a bamboo one from another trip in Japan (that one comes apart and is all tiny spinning tops), ceramic ones, an incense burner - my rule was that they all had to be different and from that area (hence why I don't have an Austrian Crystal one yet - I have never been to Austria!).

When my son was born, on our first trip with him, we visited my brother and his family, and my sister-in-law and I made our annual trek to Filene's Basement and Marshalls (leaving the baby at home with the boys!). Squishy Turtle and Friends came home with us that day -and ended up being a favorite book for both baby and mommy.

Fast forward two years - and my neighbor is expecting her first child (tomorrow is her due date!) - so I decided to find a copy of Squishy Turtle and Friends for our neighbor-to-be. An over-the-back-fence-chat later, and come to find out my neighbor is a fan of turtles as well.

stay tuned for part 2 of the turtle saga - in which the Matriarchal Sister gets involved - and a peek at what all this turtle talk inspired me to create...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tending the Garden

I have not been productive lately. The sewing machine sits unplugged (with a stack of projects unfinished next to it), the scrapbook is closed, waiting on the next spurt of pages, and my stamps sit unused.

I have not been idle, though. For at this time of year, when the weather warms, the sun stays up just a little big longer, and everything turns green - I attack my spring cleaning - of the outside! Weeds get pulled, plants get trimmed and moved, new plants are added - and a beautiful layer of mulch is spread over it all.

I am physically exhausted - lots of lifting and pulling and kneeling and twisting has moved muscles I forgot I had - but when I look out on my tulips, or see my little munchkin helping spread mulch - it is all worth it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Random Road in Springtime

So I finished the quilt - 3:30 PM on the day before my father-in-law was going in for surgery - the munchkin was cooperative and took a nice long nap while I was hand-sewing the binding. I do have pictures - but the camera is at home and I am not. I will update with a photo as soon as I have camera and computer in the same room.

Why "Random Road in Springtime"??? - one word - potholes! Needless to say the mis-cutting at the beginning was not the only "pothole" in this project. A limping walking foot, some mis-measuring, and a rotary cutter run amok are among a few of the bumps along this road. But I really like the way it turned out in the end. I just need to make a tag for it - when it comes back home from the hospital.

-FIL's surgery went well - now for the recovery!!!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Read the Directions TWICE, Sew Once...

or at least that is the way it is SUPPOSED to work...

I am working on a great quilt pattern called "Yellow Brick Road" - made from 12 fat quarters for a lap size quilt. I read the directions, cut out all my fabrics, and then put them aside for a few days. When I returned to begin sewing - I 'should' have reread the instructions -but I jumped right in, confident that I knew what I was doing.

Oops - I sewed too many strips together, and did not realize it until I had further cut them down into the next size component. A phone call to my quilting sister Sue later, I was re-designing the "Yellow Brick Road" and turning it into the "Random Road" - I managed to eek out enough of my redesigned blocks to get the number I needed.

So now I have the 7 rows of blocks sewn together - and am ready to begin the next step - once I get this head cold under control and can focus on matching up my points and seams and keeping it all together. Pictures to follow SOON!

The quilt is a "get well" gift for my father-in-law, who will have knee replacement surgery on the 20th - so I have 10 more days to get my act together and finish it up. At least there is no more cutting involved....

Fighting the Mid-Winter Slump

I am here - and I am working on projects - albeit very very slowly. My sister now calls them WISPS - "works in slow progress" - but I have actually accomplished a few things, like hemming my drapery panels for the dining room (and hanging them right side up!!!), making new cushion covers for my sofa, and starting a quilt. But I will leave that to another post.

But the allure of the sofa, curled up under a warm blanket, is strong on a dark and chilly mid-winter evening! Maybe it is time to finally take up knitting and crochet so I can curl up in comfort and still create. uh oh - not that I need MORE wisps!!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Whole Lot o'Cooking Going On

Yesterday for some strange reason I was feeling domestically inclined - AND had the energy to capitalize on it. Starting after breakfast, and finishing around 9:00 PM, I accomplished a batch of chili (split in 2 and in the freezer), a batch of lazy lasagna (split in 2 and in the freezer), a loaf of bread, a batch of cookies, servings of veggies for my toddler (in the freezer), a meatloaf (in the fridge for planned leftovers), plus lunch and dinner for the munchkin and I.

This does not happen often - in fact I cannot ever remember it happening before - but we are stocked up for some dinners now, so I guess that big snowstorm can come and snow us in now - we won't go hungry!

Friday, January 05, 2007

A New Year and UFO's

There have been several news stories lately about UFO's sighted at an airport, or mysterious objects falling from the sky into houses - but in my house the UFO's are "unfinished objects" - and this holiday season saw several around our house. A few tote bags and purses that did not quite make it to the finished pile, some panel curtains that need to be hemmed top and bottom (they are hanging with clips so they are up - just unfinished) and the slipcovers that need to be sewn for my sofa cushions (have had the fabric since mid-October -oops!)

This happens every year - or almost - I bite off more than I can chew in doing handmade projects. Part of it is too many ideas, and too many things that I like to try - that I am always adding projects into the mix up until the last minute. Another is procrastination - but I will address that at a later date (LOL!).

As I get started into 2007 I hope to be better about planning out my projects, using up some of the materials and stash I have had for some time, and donating items that I just really don't have an interest in using anymore. We will see how much that cuts down on the UFO problem - and hopefully my pile of FO (finished objects) will grow more quickly than usual.

Happy New Year!