Friday, November 18, 2011

Sheepish Grin

I think that I need to just come to grips with the fact that I am a complete 'hit or miss' kind of blogger. If you don't already know of my famous inconsistencies, let me start by telling you that I do not blog every day, or every week, or even every month. I will have an entry one day, then not again for another month, then 15 days in a row. I am trying very hard to change my ways, but I don't think that they have the kind of rehab that I require. I am not addicted to drugs or alcohol, I am not a hoarder (I hope not, anyway), and I don't have anything that I need to ''tell you more about''...but I do know that the first step in making yourself better and correcting your problems is admitting that you have a problem in the first place, however, I am not sure which ''step'' this is. I also know that one of those steps consists of tear-filled apologies to all of the people that you have affected (and sometimes infected) along the way.

So I stand sit here before you with outstretched arms (palms turned up, not begging for money), asking you all to please forgive me. I am a baaaaaaaad girl.

...and although I have some fancy, creative excuses that I have dreamed up, I am sure that the excuses are something that I am supposed to forgo in these types of settings. Still, I think that you will like the one I have that involves digging myself out of my own stash with nothing but a seam ripper...(that was really a good one, too.) Oh well, time for another giveaway. Tomorrow. What? I really mean it this time. Honest.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I May Not Finish Quilts; But I Make Damn Good Blocks!

I am so amazed at how fast some quilters 'get 'er done'. Some of these fabulous fabric lines come out, and before I can even pull out my husbands credit card...someone else has already quilted something astounding with them. I am not talking about company and designer samples here; I am talking about, honest to goodness, Sally, two houses down the street, kind of quilter. By the way, ''Sally'' has 4 kids all 1.75 years apart in age. She is president of 3 non-profit organizations. has won 5 blue ribbons for her peach pie. Now I can't be sure, but I am willing to bet she hopped up the judges with a recipe as good as this one here: Honey Bourbon Caramel Peach Pie. (yes, click on the know you want to.) Sally doesn't know how to 'not know' anything. How do these kind of people do this? Don't they have Facebook for crying out loud. Do their eyes not close at night? You know what? For all I know, she is at level 1,543 in Mafia Wars and icing people left and right while she stitches the binding on her 52nd quilt this month. (and of course these quilts are ALL being donated to a non-profit organization who's main interest is saving the unicorns...yay! tax write-off!) OK, Her children even have their hair combed daily sans jelly and peanut butter. I have a little girl that likes to put her feet on the table while she eats in restaurants.
And I got another block done!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Somewhere in This Post, is a Winner

The bad news is that I am sick. I am sick with a cold that Connor brought home from school, along with a few red marks from his teacher. I guess that I should be like a ''normal'' mom and be disappointed in him for being verbal in school and for his lack in self-control during class (and that is definitely the message that I perfectly portrayed to Connor); however, I am really just ecstatic that he is not the mousy, shy boy that I thought him to be. I am sure that this bad boy image that he has acquired from his first week of kindergarten isn't a downward spiral into tattoos, body piercings, and bad taste in music. It is kind of funny to see other moms think otherwise though. ''Oh, NO! Johnny got a red mark! Now he is NEVER going to get into Yale!'' lol. Yep. You're probably right. But I think it has less to do with Johnny talking during class, and more with the bottle of glue that he chugged during recess. Really, Connor goes to school with a lot of normal, happy, good, smart kids...with a few overly privileged ones thrown in, just to make it interesting.

The good news is that I had the foresight to package up the winner's fat quarters last week into an envelope, all ready to mail. So no yucky germs being mailed to anyone! I am calling this foresight, but we all know that this was pure luck. Being a mother, you can plan a schedule better than the Presidents secretary, but that all means nothing with a baby, 5-year-old, and husband always changing things on you. You might as well wake up every morning planning for train wrecks, alien invasions, and house fires. Then if those things don't happen (yeah, right), you have got yourself a special day!

I am hoping that this is the way that the gal who writes the blog My Life in Quilts starts out her days, because these 6 free fat quarters thrown in will probably make the invading aliens seem like a minor detour. Congratulations!...And a heartfelt 'Thank You' to you all who entered the drawing. I enjoy doing these things, so I think a new one will be in the plans for October 1st as well. I will keep you posted.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back in Session

well, my give-away is drawing near, but there are still a few days to enter to win the fat quarters. The good news to those that already have is that your odds look pretty good! See my previous post for details.

Connor started kindergarten this week. He is loving it and doing great, with just a few minor hiccups here and there. His mother, on the other hand, is trying to adjust to waking up at 6:30 in the morning, with temper tantrums and pouting. I have been going to bed at midnight or earlier (can you believe it?). It is not so bad, because now the kids go to bed at 8pm instead of 9pm. I just really wish that I could adjust as well as they have. The secret is coffee, and lots of it. Then after the kids are taken care of, I will usually have a cup myself.

My sister called yesterday to see if I would be interested in making some wall hangings or banners for her church in Oriska, N.D., that recently burned. They are now in the process of rebuilding. I am not Lutheran (those heathens...) :), but I am Methodist, and ''Method''ists make the best quilters, so how could I not. Plus, Oriska's church has been long overdue for a Larry-the-cable-guy lent banner, or an Elvis Easter one. What? At least people will notice them for once. Too bad they're not Catholic; I would make a Madonna Madonna.

I finished another basket for a gal in Australia that didn't get one from her swap buddy. She doesn't have a blog. She doesn't have Flikr. The only thing that I know about her is that she likes blue, and her address. Most people would be frightened by such mystery and vagueness; not me. To me it is a ticket to bend rules, and to do what I want to do. The most difficult swap partner that you can have likes ''Lego's, penguins, and yellow, but not gold yellow...and can't stand Amy Butler.'' Huh? What do you make for those kind of people? That's right! A gold/yellow Amy Butler bag! Anyway, back to this gal in Australia. If you are out there, sweetie; if you ever bump into my blog in the land of Internet and see this, I want you to know how much I loved making your bag for you. Your bag is on it's way. This is what it looks like:
I have a challenge quilt to make that is (thankfully) only 24 inches square, and it does not have to be done until February. I am going to applique some on it though, so I should get started now. Finally, I have also been working on a t-shirt quilt for a friend that I have been dragging my feet on only because I cannot stand making t-shirt quilts. I make them. I just grumble and piss and moan about it the whole time. I think it is because for every person you meet, they have a sentimental stock-pile of T-shirts in a box. A box filled enough to make 3 king size quilts. If you make the mistake of making one, you are automatically elected to make one for each of their friends and family. It is like a bad virus. The next thing you know you have 5 quilts in your closet (Jennifer's high school band, TJ's baseball, Margaret's Triathlon t's, Ed's Softball and beer drinking, and Egbert's Harry Potter). And your double wedding ring quilt that you have always wanted to do can just wait until Egbert is taken care of. Your grand children will wonder why the hell they don't have a single one of grandmas quilts, and why she made one for that weird neighbor who still loves Harry Potter.

lol. I need a coffee.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Free Fabric for Someone...

I have been buying fabric lately that really needs to be in my stash. I have always loved anything ''funky'', or ''ugly'', or just plain ''Seriously?''. I have liked them for a long while. In fact, I think that it is funny that the fabrics that I am attracted to are called ''Modern'' because they are really either a reproduction of 1940's prints, 50's prints, or most recently, inspired by 60's and 70's prints. It is like I waited 30 years for my favorite prints to become cotton instead of double knit. And now that this kind of fabric is more readily available, I can even score some at lower prices. Last week, I bought some fabric that was discounted. The catch was that you had to buy a yard minimum. I only wanted a half yard cut of these prints, but when I found them available at 1/2 yard, they were more expensive than the full yard. So, I bought the full yards, cut a set of fat quarters for a friend, and decided that I will give a set of fat quarters away to one of you fine people in blogland. I know it is not much, but it is free; and if this goes well, I will do FUNNER things again and more often. You will get the 5 fat quarters shown above with an extra bonus fat quarter. I will choose a winner from the comments of this post on September 1st. The only things that I ask of you is that you leave a comment, and tell your friends on your blog about it. (and Thank You!)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lord, Bless This Poor Child.

Well, I am happy to report that McKenna's baptismal gown is finished. I made a similar one for her older sister, so I couldn't very well not make one for her. I started it when she was a little baby, knowing that it would take me a while to get it done. These sort of things take me a while because I worry so much about getting it right that I drag my feet getting some of the steps completed. The pattern that I used did not call for any needle-turn applique. All of the ''stuff'' that you see on the front was either completely designed by me or inspired and adapted from another source.

here is a better picture of the front:
The flowers that I drafted are Myrtles, which are symbolic for ''one converted to Christ'', the Columbines symbolize ''the Holy Spirit'', and the white rose stands for purity, (if you are Catholic, it is also one of the many flowers associated with the Virgin Mary...we are Methodist so it probably means ''brings extra food to the church potluck''). I wanted to do some broderie perse applique on the gown, so that someday, when McKenna is older, she can hopefully appreciate all of the different things that I learned along the quilting road.

This is a better picture of the collar, again with applique lace medallions:
I made a bonnet to go along with the dress:
I was wondering if it was going to even make it to her head without being grabbed and thrown on the floor right away, but surprisingly enough, she loves to wear the darn thing...everywhere, no matter what condition her hair is in, or how dirty her clothes are. She watches cartoons with it, wants to take a bath with it, and don't touch her precious 'hat' or you will surely get a display of tantrums. weird kid. Bless her heart all the way to the alter.

Who Wants a Pretty Scarf?

Dorien at Just Do is having a give-away on her blog of this spectacular scarf. She is amazing at everything! Making bags, pillows, wallets, even bike skirts. Yes. Bike skirts. You really must go to her blog to see just what I am talking about...I stalk her Flikr pictures on a regular basis. I hope you will too.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Take That, You Dirty Vintage Fabric.

Today I am hand-washing some of my vintage fabric. I have 2 loads to do.

When it comes to vintage fabric, I prefer to buy it unwashed. (but hey, I am NEVER going to turn down vintage fabric in any form!) If the scraps are too small for washing, I just use them as is, being especially careful with the reds, blues, blacks and any other ''risky'' fabric.

Many times, vintage fabric is found in attics, basements, garages, storage units, and other dusty, yucky areas. Since I am allergic to dust, I have to clean them the best that I can, without causing any harm to them in the process. Please, fellow quilters, follow a few tips from a gal that has done this for years, again, and again.
  • Don't wash vintage fabric in your kitchen sink (I don't) unless that is your only alternative. If you do wash in your kitchen sink (please don't) be sure to disinfect it very well afterwards. Unless you know exactly where these beautiful fabrics came from, you don't know what kind of things have happened to them in storage (think cute tiny animals with long tails). So, yeah, being a former farm gal, I definitely wash my vintage fabrics. I like to wash mine in a cheap plastic Rubbermaid bin in the bath tub.
  • If your fabrics are delicate, and you are concerned about washing them, you may want to reconsider even using them in a quilt, which does require a certain amount of strength to hold up, even if you are using them as applique pieces. Remember, many vintage fabrics are just a few decades away from being antique. Weed out the ones that might not make it in the ''survival of the fittest'' selection process.
  • Fill your wash tub with warm water (I like to use hot when I can). Separate your fabrics into like color piles (no reds in with the whites) to reduce the risk of bleeding fabrics. Add detergent. I recommend Vintage Textile Soak, or even Oxy powder. An acquaintance of mine, Kathleen McCrady, uses Oxy. Kathleen has over 75 years of experience quilting, has had numerous quilts on the cover of Quilters Newsletter, enough show ribbons to make another quilt out of them, and is a former quilt appraiser, and quilt historian. I figure if a lady of that caliber used Oxy, it is good enough for little ol' seam ripper like myself. I have also used Arm and Hammer Free liquid detergent, which has no dyes or perfumes, on extra dirty fabrics with stunning success. (after doing extensive research on liquid detergents) Now, just let the detergent mix with the water well, before adding the fabric.
  • Carefully add your fabric to the wash tub and mix it up with your hands. Don't agitate the fabrics too much, just a few minutes of plunges should do it. Let that soak for about 15 minutes. Plunge away for a few minutes, soak for 15 minutes. Dump the water out of your wash tub, being careful not to lose any scraps of fabric (this is why I love having the Rubbermaid bin in the bath tub.) squeeze as much of that (DIRTY!) water out of the fabric as you can. Do not wring.
  • fill the wash tub with fresh, clean, cool water. Add the fabric. Plunge it for a few minutes to rinse out that detergent and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Plunge again, and drain the water. You may have to rinse twice to get all of the detergent out.
  • Squeeze (don't wring) the water out of your fabric. Let the pieces dry flat if you can. I have used my dryer on low heat setting on rare occasions.
I just cannot believe how dirty that water gets sometimes. Believe me when I say that the dirt, dust, and ''whatever else'' is in there, is doing more harm to that fabric over time than cleaning it will. Plus, it's YOUR fabric. No one knows better than you, what should be done with your fabric. I sure do love mine...clean.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Block Swap

This is what I worked on last night. I belong to a bee that swaps blocks once a quarter. This particular swap is easy because we are swapping a very simple block. The good ol' nine-patch. We are doing 1800's and Civil War reproduction fabrics. This one will be a great quilt because it is such a simple pattern, and might actually get done fairly quickly. When I say fairly quickly, I mean that it just might have binding on it within two years!

Isn't it funny how you can have 13 projects going on at the same time, forever; then comes a month when you get 7 of them to finishing stage, and your friends are thinking that you get all of these done in a Not really. My friends throw a party every time I finish a quilt since it is such a rare occasion. Sometimes they even invite me.

This is what it will look like when it is done. This is a picture from the magazine that the pattern is in. The only thing that we are doing differently is we are making the block larger. Ours will be 8 inches, the one in the pattern is 6 inches. It will end up being the same size as the one shown with one less row across and down. I still cannot decide if I want to increase the size of the flying geese or not. We shall see.

This is the magazine that it was taken from. American Patchwork and Quilting, April, 2011.

The background that you see in the pattern is scrappy as well, but pretty uniform looking since it is mainly reproduction shirtings that are being used. These are the ones that I picked. We will be swapping some of these as well so there will be others added to this supply. Plus enough left over to do the geese in the border.

I really want to use this fabric as the sashing, but I may have to switch to a tone on tone or a more solid looking fabric. The only way that I will be able to get away with using this one is if I make the sashing wider. We shall see on that as well. Thank goodness math is my favorite thing about quilting...and the coffee...and (sometimes) a seam ripper.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What I Deserve

Well, I am back. I truly enjoyed June with Alannah. I decided that I wasn't going to be tied down to my computer during that time so that I could spend all of that extra non-Facebook time with her. I found out that if you miss an entire month of Facebook, you can get some serious quilting done, you can churn butter, wash your laundry by hand, and build Rome. I hope to God that I don't have ''had the best time on Facebook with all 15 of her friends'' on my tombstone. I hope that it would at least have ''actually got that binding done'' somewhere on it.

I keep my computer in the kitchen/living room area, so that I can put out fires, pull the children out of the furniture, or wipe up emergency kool-aid spills (which, for some reason only gets spilled on a cloth or rug-type surface...) The kids are at that ''magical'' age where you can't even turn your back on them for a second. I have been getting ALL (and any) quilting done during the dark hours. I love being a Mom (I capitalize ''Mom'', because, well, It is a much tougher job than ''President'', and damn it, deserves to be capitalized). My days are chaotic, but I think God knows how much I enjoy my life of craziness. I grew up this way. I know not of normal. He is getting back at me for throwing my dad's tools in the Mouse River in Minot, N.D. as a small child...or maybe it was for eating ALL of mom's chocolate that she purchased to make Christmas candy one year. Could be running back and forth across 4 lanes of highway with my little brother and sister just to see if we could get them to honk at us...naaaahhhh!

It kind of scares the hell out of me, because I think that my kids have their best stuff in store for me in the near future. I caught Connor running around our neighborhood without a stitch of clothing on yesterday. THAT, is going to be my mildest experience with him, I am sure of it.

I do want to share some of the things that happen in my quieter hours. I have gotten a few things done at least.

I got this quilt top done for the quilt shop to be used as a store sample during the Quilt Across Texas Shop Hop that will be going on the entire month of September.

I have been getting some serious work done on McKenna's gown (maybe some pictures tomorrow?)

and I have a block swap due in August that I am almost done on...I really need to get pictures that progress as well...

I suppose tomorrow you will see some of my long as Facebook crashes.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Busy as a Sloth

I have been getting some of the smaller projects done. Now, you may think that I am doing this to brag about all of the stuff that I am able to do with small children constantly underfoot; but the truth is that I have been wanting to clear out all of this small stuff to make room for my bigger projects. It is very stressful to look around a sewing area only to see 20 projects in various stages of completion; and these are not even counting my UFO stash. Sooooooo, get rid of the ones that you can get rid of quicker. Put them in a big pile in the back yard and throw a match on them and watch them burn, baby, burn...only kidding...sort of.

I had time somewhere between McKenna's 2am fit of hysterics and my 4am sleepy-time head bob to get this quilt top done (see picture above) It is only the size of a fat quarter; but it was one of those projects that I needed to purge from my sewing area. It is one of Lori Smith's Fat Quarter Quilting quilts from her Cherries, Chocolates, and Cream pattern packets, and it is also a shop sample. So nice to get it out of the way. I cannot work in a mess, it drives me crazy to do so. You have to remember that many times, small projects have just as much ''ingredients'' as large projects. So the more of those babies that you can get done, the cleaner your work area is and the happier a quilter you are. Plus, if you're not as stinkin' honest as I, you can show a picture of a small one and say it is a king size...almost no one will know.

I would like to get truckin' on those Texas blocks tonight and some flowers on McKenna's gown. This is, of course, if I get to the post office, grocery store, and coffee shop without getting lost.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Daughter

Tomorrow, I get to pick my daughter up from the airport. She will be visiting me for the month of June. I am pretty excited to have her here for an entire month. Since she lives with her father in another state, I don't get to see her as often as I would like. I normally get to see her in the summertime, or at vacation time during the school year. So, not very often, and not for very long. So this is a real treat. Alannah is the oldest of my offspring. Her father is my ex-husband (we all have one of those, right?).

9 times out of 10, when I tell people that I am not the custodial parent of my daughter, I get weird looks. I get people asking me what I have done wrong as a mother to not have custody of her. I get people who ask me how I could just give her up, or those who say ''I love MY children too much to ever give them up.'' You see, you have to be a totally dysfunctional mother to not have custody of your children. You must have been in prison. You must have been a drug addict. You must have not loved your children enough. Maybe you abused them. The truth is much less dramatic. The truth is that my heart has ached every single day since the day that I had to watch her little waving hand from the back seat of a car bound for another state.

My ex-husband and I moved from our home state of North Dakota to Colorado; and when things fell apart with us, we separated there. He had planned on moving back home at that point; and I could not, for reasons that few people would understand. My family lives in North Dakota. His family lives in North Dakota. I felt that if Alannah was living with her father (who also loves her very, very much) There would be family there for her in addition to her father. Family that could take care of her in an emergency. You see, I would have been a completely selfish person if I fought for custody of her at that point, because I had no family living with me in Colorado. If something happened to me there, there would have been nobody to take care of her. The schools in Colorado are not nearly as well-grounded as the ones in North Dakota (which is kind of proven with the Columbine incident). The crime in Colorado is much higher. I could go on and on with my reasons for ''letting go''. What kind of parent would hoard their children from their exes in selfish disdain, without putting the child's best interest in place. I love her so much that I just couldn't do that to her.

I cried myself to sleep, I don't know how many times, missing her. She will never, never know how much of a loss I have had, or how much I think of her, or love her. I have told people that it is almost similar to giving ones child up for adoption. It is so painful. And yet, she is so much better for it. Here she is 15 years old now. In a few years, she will be off to college. She is a smart and beautiful young lady; and I am so very proud of how she has grown.

I am really looking forward to all of the times that we will have together in the future. I have missed so many of her 'firsts' but I refuse to let that crush me in our times ahead.

I found a beautiful quote that defines my sentiments: Enjoy the little things in life; for one day, you may look back and realize that they were the big things.

To me this means that if you simply take care of the times that you DO have, those will be the times that will mean the most. Those will be the ones that will really matter. I may not know what day it was that her molars broke through her gums, but I have many wonderful experiences to cherish. I keep them in my heart, along with her, since she never really left me after all.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Checking In

Well, since I haven't gotten too many things done recently, I decided to inundate you with a plethora of projects that I have been working on...diligently. As you can tell, I also have not had any time to read, so whenever I am in the sanctuary of the powder room (powdering), I read a little from the dictionary. I can usually get one word in before I see fingers sliding under the door and frantic banging and carrying-on happening on the other side. The interruptions are usually very important things like ''McKenna is playing with my Trios! She is destroying my castle!'' Get used to it kid; she destroyed my castle months ago.

So, I will start with the telling of the first project: I was very excited to do a recent gift swap where the participants got to make a little basket-type bag, then send it off to another participant. I was very lucky to get a wonderful, crafty gal in the Netherlands named Dorien, who has a wonderful blog called Just Do. Go check her out, and tell her ''that crazy Monica sent me''. Anyway, I started working on the bag that I was going to send out way before I even received my swap partner information. (btw, I am sure that quilting is one of the only places you will find ''swap partners'' being talked about without any dirty-minded intent). She loves bright colors, so I was even more motivated to continue on.

This is the front of the bag. I used ''stack and whack'' blocks that were in a scrap bag from one of my ''scrap angels''. I used jumbo ric-rac for the stems, and I adapted a vase pattern to my liking and added reverse applique elements to the front. The bright colored fabric on the bottom and handles is an old Robert Kaufman fabric that I have been hoarding for 'that special project'.

I added a pocket of bright fabric to the back, as well as the inside.

This was so much fun to do. I loved the bag so much, that I think that I may have to make a reasonable facsimile for myself sometime very soon.

I also have been working on McKenna's baptismal gown. I am really hoping to get this baby done sometime before she starts driving. This is what its looking like so far (not pressed, don't judge).

I know that it is very hard to see right now, because it is cream on cream applique, but it will come to life here in the next few days. I am currently adding flowers that have spiritual meaning such as the columbines that are shown above. Tonight I will be drafting some myrtles to add.

Next, I am doing a shop sample for the Quilt Across Texas shop hop in September. I want to get this top done in the next couple of days, so I will have to get busy. I am using a pattern by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. called 'George' for inspiration, but I am adapting the size of everything. Here is what it looks like so far:
The next thing I have going on is a quilt to use up some Moda Turnovers that I have. It is a pattern called ''Asterisk'' from Quiltmaker Magazine issue 133 (May/June 2010). I am not in a hurry to get this one done, it is just one that I am using as a ''leader, ender'' project. This is what 4 blocks look like:
Finally, I have a finished project to show! (even if it is the size of a notebook page). This was a leader-ender project that I just finished to be a mug rug, or wall hanging or whatever the person it is for decides to do with it. I am thinking that I might put it on Etsy so that I can figure out how that darn website works. It will be an experience. But then, I shouldn't be scared a bit. I do have children after all.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Am Quilting...I Swear!

I need to get to ''done'' on a project. A few of these projects are nowhere close to being completed. Not anytime in the next few years. Others are projects that are impressive and will get done soon, but I am not allowed to show you pictures of them; such as the block that I am making for the Austin Area Quilt Guild's raffle quilt. There is supposed to be an unveiling of it a long time from today, so sometime the future you will all be wondering how I get all of these fabulous things done.

Here is my secret:

1) stockpile finished projects and only use your camera once a year to take pictures of them.
2) sign up for tons of small projects. ''Hey, look at this kick-ass seam ripper case that I made!''
3) give your stuff to other people to finish, then take credit for getting it done . (well, I did put the binding on...)
4) start giving yourself credit for pulling fabric off of the shelf for a project. Sometimes, it takes me an 8 hour day to pull a stack of fabric for a project. 7 hours of it is spent cleaning, cooking, washing kids, and putting out small fires. 1 hour spent hiding behind my sewing desk with chocolate and a quilting book.
5) Pull out projects that you finished years ago, then ''re-post'' them. No one remembers (or cares?) about the quilt you finished in 1992. Go ahead, technically, it's almost vintage.
6) and now, I am going to start posting blocks that I finished, even if they are a nine patch. Like I said a few posts back, a nine patch is quite an accomplishment to me these days.

It is now 12:30 in the morning. I have a fresh pot of coffee. I am going into my sewing room.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Let Me Tell You (x3)

I think that it is time for a new post; would you not agree? I have a few tidbits of information to share today. First, I have become totally spoiled by my ''secret'' mug rug swap giver. Christine provided me with a stack of fat quarters (a big huge stack! \0/), a beautiful card and note, and two very wonderful mug rugs. She hand quilted one of them (love it!). I love so much about these. The colors on the one under my mug is colorful and matches my sewing room perfectly; so that one will have a new home next to my machine. The other one, with the tiny, tiny paper pieced tea cup shall sit next to my green laptop on my desk; again, matching perfectly. I think that she came to Texas and snooped in my windows to make sure that she coordinated them exactly. (just kidding Christine, we all know you are way more normal than I am.)

The next bit of news is that I got another shop sample done, but the picture didn't turn out very well, and I am way too lazy at this point to drive to the quilt store to take a better picture of it. Never look back, I say...unless there is a cute butt involved. The pattern is called Snapshot, and the Fabric is from Moda's Sandy Gervais called Lovely. I used a panel, cutting the circles in half, then using those as the focus print in the pattern. Here it is:

Last, I have my new replacement 2011 Chevy Equinox. I sure did miss my car. I did not realize how much I loved that car until she was totaled. My friends are telling me that I need to give her a name so that she will stick around longer. So she is now called ''Natasha''. A beautiful but mean babushka with a protective and durable outer shell. She needs a good ol' North Dakota car quilt in the back though, as a Christianing. I wouldn't dare bust a bottle of champagne on her butt when it could go well in my cup, on my mug rug.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I love IKEA!

This is how the corner of my sewing room looked before I replaced the bookshelf.

And this is how it looks now:

I am a firm believer in utilizing wall space for storage, and visual impact, especially when you are trying to store things in a sewing room. I have so many more books on my shelves now, with plenty of space above those to stow other sewing supplies away. The key is to get narrower shelves so that the weight of the books will not bow the individual shelves over time. It also helps to keep your books together in groups such as: applique, scrap quilting, how-to, quilting designs, etc, etc. remember to keep the books low and lighter things up high. As you can see, you don't have to be afraid to build those shelves almost up to the ceiling. I promise it won't look terrible.

So that is my before/after for the I just have to go ''fix'' the other 3 corners of the room...see y'all tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One Stinkin' Block

Well, I got a block done. So normally, I wouldn't make a blog post after doing one stinking block...(who am I kidding...if I get a 9 patch done these days it's a flippin' miracle!) but this one got done without having to rip seams once. No, no one helped me! This block is something to blog about, because I am NEVER doing it again. It wasn't that it was that difficult, it is just that, if you have small children...

Today, I tried to give the one-year old a nap. Any time that she is sleeping, my time is spent cleaning and maybe I can get 15 minutes or so of stitching in, if I am lucky. Unfortunately, she has a 4-year-old brother who cannot keep quiet during that time so I struggle with sanity on a regular basis. Not 30 minutes into her nap I hear her crying, so I go to investigate and find the bigger kid, in the crib, dumping milk on the shorter kid's head, and all over the bedding; bedding that I just took fresh out of the dryer. (...and have you ever changed sheets on a mattress inside it's own miniature prison?) No nap today.

Throw shorter kid in the tub. Try to prevent her from drinking her own God-awful bathwater, while explaining to the bigger kid that he cannot go in the backyard to pee since I am blocking the toilet. After this is done, I go to change clothes since they are now covered in God-awful bath water and sweat. While changing clothes, two small children find a brand new Kleenex box and pull each and every one out, shred, then disperse throughout the entire house. Some of those pieces of Kleenex were dry, so I was lucky.

The television was not working because the shorter kid pushed a button that sent the whole entertainment system to the black hole of death, so no Sesame Street or The Cat in the Hat to distract them while I pulled wet Kleenex off of the walls.

Out of chaotic exhaustion, I decide to throw the kids in the truck so that I can run a quick errand. This errand was supposed to be simple. Run to pick up a gift that I already had picked out, then return home. On the way, I go through the drive through and buy the bigger kid a kid meal with a chocolate milk that he is not to open until we get home. The next stop was to a car wash to spray off the interior door, panels, and floor to clean up the ''unopened'' bottle of chocolate milk. I cannot wait until August to find out what that is going to smell like.

So I may have only completed one block, but the block is 6 1/2 inches square....and it has 229 pieces.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chef Connor in the Kitchen

Chef Connor's Personal Pizzas

1 tube large refrigerated flaky biscuits
1 jar pizza sauce
2 cups pepperoni (and or olives, mushrooms, green pepper, etc.), quartered
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. line cookie pan with aluminum foil. Lightly coat foil with cooking spray; set aside. Roll each biscuit to a 5'' diameter circle; transfer to oil squares. Spoon pizza sauce over dough to within 1/4 inch of the edges. Sprinkle with desired toppings and cheeses. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

2. Connor's instructions: First dough, then sauce, then meat, then cheese. Cook until it looks yummy.

If you have kids or grandkids, they love making these. Plus, it doesn't make a huge mess of your kitchen when you are done...really.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Just Half a Pot, Please.

My coffee maker died a few days ago. I have been using a french press (which I am not complaining my french press), but it is nice to just have a pot ready to go for a super industrious day. Since I have not had a drop of coffee yet today, I called my neighbor to beg for a pot of coffee in clamoring desperation. Actually, I said ''I have a desperate and unusual request of you.'' He says ''That is exactly how I like my women: desperate and unusual!''...such a comedian. So I run over there with my carafe and coffee like a heroin addict needing a fix. I am currently enjoying my first satisfying sip of flavorful, aromatic, french roast with a touch of amaretto. Thank you, thank you, thank you, God for supplying the earth with such wonderful neighbors.

My husband was having a hard time trying to figure out what to do for Valentine's day this year, and I said ''Are you kidding? We are getting a Bunn! that will be the best v-day gift ever!'' He is incredulous time and time again about his luck marrying a girl who could care less about jewelery, flowers, expensive shoes, etc. Instead, he got me, who is just fine with a bag of coffee, box of chocolate, bundle(s) of, if cotton prices keep rising like they are, my taste may just have to rise with it.

My agenda for today is to put a border on one of Connor's scrap quilts. The backing needs to be prepared. Then I guess I will have to do some dishes...or something domestic.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lady Bug Mug Rug

This is the 2nd mug rug, also completed at 2am. The picture is not nearly as nice as the real thing. I did a 'quilt as you go' method, trying to do a somewhat wonky strip. Then I used broderie perse applique to put the ladies on. Finally, I did my 2-fabric binding; so be sure to look at the back too:
Here is a better picture showing the 2-fabric binding:

Well, there you go. Another swap completed successfully. Now I just need to make a run to Starbucks and the post office...

Mug Rug # 1 picture

I finally got done with this mug rug at 2am. I was really pushing the limit there since they have to be mailed out today. The second mug rug is also done, and I will do a separate post for that one. This one took more time than the 2nd one, because I hand quilted it, hand pieced it, and hand appliqued it. I cannot help the insanity. I just figured that I would make something that I would love to have myself. The person who I made this for is somewhat of an enigma wrapped in a riddle. I have a name and address. She does not have a blog or a flikr account. Her preferences were ''anything''. Whoever you are...THANK YOU! I was able to make something out of pure creativity, while still staying within a guideline of ''what would the average quilter just love''. I couldn't really make a mug rug with a coffee theme, because I didn't know if she liked or hated coffee (are there really coffee haters out there?) what do you think of the first one? I hope she loves it!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mug Rug #1

I know that the is a pretty big hint of how the mug rug is going to look; but the person that I am making it for has no clue that it is for her. I started planning it last night, then immediately began going through my gold and yellow scraps (thank God for scraps!). Then I got to sewing. I am so anal-retentive that I can only do these English paper-piece method. I will never do them another way. I also started planning the second one since we are supposed to make two of them to exchange. I might start cutting fabric for that one tonight.

Speaking of tonight; it's our neighborhood ladies night, and boy is it going to be good. I am bringing my camera so watch for pictures of a bang-up time!

Oh, and my car is totaled.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Missing Posts Means:

I really, really love my fabric transportation device. I have had it for about 2 months so far, and cannot express my happiness enough. I can even fit kids in there....and a Starbucks.


I am sad now because I have a very sore neck and this:

I can't say for sure, but I am pretty confident that the 20 something year old gal that plowed into my front driver's side wheel was texting as she flew through her light. I have many pet peeves in the driving world but the two that top my list are people who follow too close and people that text (or talk on their cell) while driving. I swear if my neck didn't hurt so bad when she casually walked up to my window to ask me '' are you alright?'', I would have taken the phone out of her hand (yes, she still had it) and bounced it as hard as I could off of her forehead.

I went to the hospital on a back board as a precaution. All of the x-rays and scans done say that I ''only'' have a torn neck muscle, and worst case, some disc movement. (O.K., I am not complaining too much here, I know it could have been a whole lot worse.) Both of the kids were with me and didn't even suffer a bruise. (Thank the Lord!) The firemen that took them out were very happy with my seat belt skills on the kiddos, and quite honestly, so was I.

At least I was provided with a decent rental. One that can hold a crap-load of fabric...and two kids. The unlimited mileage says ''Paducah!, I have yet to visit you. Let me call ahead with my credit card numbers.''

I am now going to look forward to posting about happy things like mug rug exchanges, projects to get done, and rainbows.