Monday, December 21, 2009

Almost There

It's the home stretch and we're almost there. All of the busy work is done (and shipped out) and I have grand plans for baking today. A few oldies but goodies which include caramels and gingerbread men and a new comer to our cookie plate this year - homemade marshmallows. I'll let you know how it goes.

Some gifts have already been given, because they were much needed - and let's face it, I have a really hard time waiting for Christmas day. This is the slouchy hat available as a free download on Ravelry, altered a little to accomidate the stripes.
Sara got the Twighlight hat - pattern also available as a free down load at Ravelry. I am in love with this hat and the pattern. If you've never tried the fptc, fpdc or bpdc, this is a great hat to learn on. I was twisting the pattern at first, but once I figured out what I was doing wrong, it was a piece of cake. In fact, I have another one on the hook now... and a thrid one planned for myself. Josh's hat is still in ball form waiting to get started. I wanted to make his blue and gray, but wasn't sure - another reason for not waiting until Christmas. Sure enough, he chose blue and gray.

Another present that was never wrapped was this present to myself.It all started last Christmas, with four of these blocks. I didn't really care for the bald angel that was supposed to go on the four side blocks so I ended up pushing the project to the side while I waited for inspiration. I could use the Jerusalem city for a block, but what about the other 3 blocks?

Then while visiting with a friend, she shared a different pattern, by the same designer - Nancy Halvorsen - with me. A little tweeking and rearranging of animals and two more blocks came came to life.

In the end, I used an angel from the second pattern and drew some hair to go on her for the final block.
A little machine quilting and now my Nativity Tree Skirt is under the tree telling it's story. If I don't make it back here before Christmas - Merry Christmas to you!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

You say it's your birthday...

It's my birthday too. (That was especially for Sara, who has just discovered and is completely in love with the Beatles). Another year older, but still on the right side of 40. :)

My dear, lovely, loving husband surprised me by taking the day off of work to spend with me. He has always made a point of making a big deal out of my big day each year since it is just 8 days before Christmas. And, he always springs for the birthday wrapping paper - if you have a near Christmas birthday, you know how sweet that is.

Anyway, we're off to have a fun filled day, I just wanted to share a couple of thrift store finds with you first.All of these were thrifted. The red, wax pine cone, white retro garland and 4 of these amazing brass deer. I do have to admit that I found the deer in a shopping cart, but it was abandoned - I promise. We watched it for at least 30 minutes while D was picking out records and another 10 minutes later to ease my guilty conscience.
While I love the deer, my absolute favorite is this angel. Growing up, we had an almost identical angel on our tree. Our angel had a pretty white dress, and I'm thinking of revamping this one. For now, she's on top of a cabinet watching over the festivities.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A little friendly quilting

A few weeks ago, I received an email from my friend Amy..."So how busy are you?" Never too busy to squeeze in a quilt for a good friend. Her daughter's favorite color is orange and she was looking for an orange quilt for a Christmas. Immediately, I thought of Emily's Stacks of Three pattern which I've been dying to try. It's one of Crazy Old Lady's "2 hour tops", which sounded perfect.
It was a lot of fun to work with these bright and warm colors during the snow storm that passed through - 14 inches or more in two days. And (you shouldn't start a sentence with and) it really did take just over two hours to finish the top.
The quilting was a breeze since I stuck to the meandering/stipple/puzzle piece pattern that I've been mastering.
So there you go, an orange quilt for a teenage girl :) Shipped off to CA, I can't wait to hear what they think of it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Merry Christmas

I used to make my Christmas cards every year. It was a lot of fun planning, but a lot of work executing. The first year we moved here, it was late in the year and a handmade card just wasn't going to happen. I went with one of the photo cards that I always said I would never use, and it was on Fuji paper, which was really hard for me since I had worked for Kodak for so long. I felt like I was cheating on them :). Anyway, they turned out really cute and it was super easy, just drag and drop your picture then order. Last year, we went completely digital and emailed our card. It does sound like a cop-out but let me tell you, that was almost as much work as the old cut and paste version. It would help if I knew how to use the program rather than muddling my way through with a hope and a prayer. Plus after living in three different states, you make a lot of friends along the way and you don't want to leave anyone out. And think of all that paper we saved.

All that justification just to bring you our 2009 Christmas Card. Without names or dates - I realized that after I had already sent it out. But, you know who we are and what year it is so....
All of the page elements that I used are available free at ShabbyPrincess.com. Be sure to resize your image to about 640x640 so that it will email nicely. Any larger and it will have trouble going through.

How do you get three kids to smile all at once without goofing around? Take them out in the snow without jackets and tell them you'll stay there as long as it takes. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

No picture today

Just the addition of one of those cheesy counter thingys. Our 17th wedding anniversary is coming up and what can I say, I like cheese. We've actually been together for 21 years - high school sweet hearts and all- but I went with the official wedding date.

We had a great time doing a whole lot of nothing while our friends were here. We did manage a trip to DI and Ikea, but other than that we "hung out" like the old days and just visited with eachother. I would love to post the cute group photo, but I never thought to pick up my camera so I have to wait for the photos to come via email.

Thanksgiving was spent with our entire family on the couch sick. We all ended up sick, some with strep throat, some with colds and some with both. I'm headed to the Dr. for another visit and my second round of antibiotics. Thanksgiving dinner was a crock pot roast and a frozen pie courtesy of my loving husband :). Hopefully we got "the sick" over with early this cold season and can enjoy a healthy Christmas.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Company and a reveal

Friends from CA are coming to visit this weekend. We are so excited! They have 7 kids, so our kids have a blast when they all come over. When we met, both of our families had three kids, and Sara and Bryan napped in a crib together. (insert embarrassing picture here)Wow, that was a long time ago. Anyway, needless to say I'm in company mode...a flurry of cleaning...you know the drill. I did have to stop in to show you how well one of our major investments went.

Aaron before braces (and when he was shorter than me)
And -drum roll please - Aaron after braces
A few years and a couple of thousand dollars later - but worth every penny. I could go on and on about how that fun little boy has become this wonderful young man, but for now, let's just enjoy that smile :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Joys of Thrifting

It's snowing...and I'm actually OK with it :) We've had a few weeks of really nice fall weather, and I am happy to transition into winter.

Besides our fireplace, we have something new to keep us warm during this season...What could warm your heart and soul more than a turntable? Get this...it was free. A hand-me-down from a friend at Diego's work. He is so excited to be out hunting down "vinyl" for his new collection. He even surprised me with and Elvis Christmas record.

Thrifting has really been the theme of the month. We had a church event that was what I call a free garage sale. Everyone took items to donate, then the next day we shopped for free. You could take equivalent to what you brought on the honor system. I kept saying, we should do this every year. We picked up a few VHS movies, some books, a candle, some yarn, a few clothes for Sara and a coat for me. Other people were getting toys for their kids, baby items and all types of things.

Last night we went to a thrift store with Sara and she got a tape recorder with tapes. All day it's been...."Day 1, note 5....I'm on my way to dance class..." Remember recording things when you were young. We would record songs off the radio. :) I also picked up a nice wooden board for a marble game for a buck. I'll have to see if I can find just the right marbles to go with it.

Going into a department store the other day, I was looking at all of the new board games - you know Christmas and all - and I just couldn't beleive the prices, all of the plastic and the bright new packaging. It just seems so wasteful. I kept reminicing about the "free garage sale".

Speaking of Christmas, do you know what my boys want this year? They are 15 and 13. A package of Mike and Ikes. That's it, nothing else. I'm sure they want more, but that is all they will ask for. Even when I tell them they are going to end up with nothing under the tree, they say that's OK. Bless their hearts. They know how tight things have been for everyone this year, and they say they have everything they need. Part of me feels really bad about that, like I'm failing them...then the larger part of me is so proud of them and it makes me think we may not be able to give them everything, but we're giving them the things that matter most. They are building character.

Well, I'm off to get Sara and maybe some hot chocolate. I wonder if I could make some mix myself....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Invader Zim Quilt

Every once in a while, you see something - like an Invader Zim sheet - and it inspires you. Really inspires you...and you can see the quilt perfectly in your mind. Then, every once in a greater while that quilt comes out exactly the way you had imagined it. Know what I mean?Then your husband and kids all start fighting over it so you think, hey maybe I could sell that on Etsy. So, for any die hard Invader Zim fans out there...the quilt is posted in the shop. If it doesn't sell, it will end up under our tree this year.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Halloween Dress

This year, Sara was a Zombie bride, Zombie princess, Elphaba and a Vampire - all in the same dress. I used McCalls MP309 and a lot of fabric from the clearance section.The pattern went pretty smoothly. I left a lot of fabric out of the bottom of the dress and I did have to make a couple of alterations - took up a little in the shoulder seams, added a few darts to the back of the dress and added the light gray panel in the chest. Too low cut for a 9 year old. Hope you had a happy Halloween :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Welcome Fall



Hello Autumn, my old friend.

How I've longed to see you.Amongst the gray days that you bring - and I have to admit, they do make me struggle - you share the beautiful warmth of colors that are your own.
You inspire me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Found my quilting mojo

I've been missing from the quilting and blogging scene lately. Why? I think it was sewing burn out on those costumes for Fiddler on the Roof. I worked 32 hours (clocked on my timer) in an 8 day period. Whew. Talk about burn out...I didn't even want to step into my sewing room for a week. Then, there was catching up...the house, laundry, children, hubby, a good book, a few cat naps - you know how it goes.After some down time and a night out with the girls last night - Michelle, Emily and Konda - I feel like I'm back. We talked quilts, fabric, design, business, a collaboration - and while I must admit most of the Moda fabric line lingo went right over my head - I felt the creative juices flowing. It was soothing. Sewing for money is great, don't get me wrong, but I need to get back into a little creative sewing. Pull some of those projects off of the back burner and fiddle around with them a little. Remember what it's all about. Friends, fun and fabric :) Remind me when I get in over my head next time won't you?Soo....Head on over to Crazy Old Ladies, Emily is having a fun give-away. Oh, and a little note to Emily - Thank you for referring to me as "super seamstress" rather than "pad lady" :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Just a Quickie

I'm still sewing like a mad woman trying to get the shirts done for the Russian Soldiers from Fiddler on the Roof. Did I share that with you yet? If not, I'll get to it later.....

Here is a little project that I did - you know, back when I was sewing for myself and not for a play.
Hot pads from Jean pockets. You stick your hand in the pocket to use it. This appeals to me on so many levels. Recycle... jeans... using up left over binding from quilts...and they are quick and easy. Christmas presents? Maybe.

Oh, and just for the sake of sharing - aren't these adorable? Picked them up for 50 cents each at a yard sale.
Back to sewing.... ♪If I were a rich man

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rest

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. - John Lubbock

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Taking a Break

I have been on overload lately, and my blog seems to be the one suffering the most. Actually, when I think back, we have had computer problems for the past two weeks, so that accounts for some of my absence here. Now I feel a little better :)

Things have been popping up in the garden. Like this tennis ball sized cantaloupe. Isn't it sweet? We're not sure if it is going to get any bigger, but it's the first one we've ever grown.

I've been doing a lot of sewing lately. First pants and now shirts for Fiddler on the Roof. It has been a little stressful, but it has definitely pushed me to develop my talents. It's like working out - hurts a little, but is worth it in the end. -not that I have been putting that working out thing into practice lately.
From what we're hearing, the local gardens have been having an off year. It could have been the snow in March and April, and the fact that spring really only stayed around for a week this year, but our tomatoes and peppers have done really well. The corn stalks grew, but there isn't any corn to show for it. With all of my time going towards sewing lately, it's probably for the best. I've only had to bottle 4 pints of tomatoes. We've been able to eat the rest as they've come. I've been offered some apples and have my eye on some pears. Maybe more canning as the season begins to change. Off to sew :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thrift Store Find of the Century

There is a new feature in the sewing room Room of Requirement. I just love how that room works. You have a need and it the room obliges. After a nice long browse through DI, our local thrift store the size of any department store, I came across this treasure. It seriously took my breath away. It's a Koala Quilter's dream sewing cabinet. Beautiful. Not a scratch on it. Factory stickers still on it. $35. I know! The sewing machine is on a lift that can drop down into the cabinet and the table top can fold over to close, but I'm leaving it open - forever. It is so beautiful.

Room to sew, room to cut, room for my serger - which by the way is sporting a new cover. Organization still needs to happen. Things have been pulled out and put back in various places - you know how it is. I'm saving that job for a nice, dark, snowy day in the winter. Light some candles for natural lighting, put on some music and pull out all of the cheerful fabrics.

Completely unrelated, other than the fact that it took place in the sewing room Room of Requirement - Yesterday, Josh needed a book cover for one of his school books. In true Josh fashion, he went onto youtube and found a tutorial - you can learn how to do anything on youtube. He asked for some fabric and went to work


About five minutes later, he was done. This kid amazes me.
Oh, by the way, check out that little screen behind Josh. Got it at DI for $10. The idea was that I could watch VHS movies while I sew during the day when the kids are at school. You know, chase away the loneliness and watch a few movies that everyone else would give me grief over like Jane Eyre or Sarah Plain and Tall. I'm still feeling it out. We only have one TV in our house - on purpose- and it's not on during the day at all. I think it will work out as long as I trade off with audio books, music and quiet. It has also proven to be a little more difficult to sew and watch a movie at the same time. Another perk is that Sara can watch some of the old VHS kids movies that have been packed away.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Annual Book Bag

Two years in a row qualifies as annual right? Last year, when Sara was going into 3rd grade, I made her a book bag. This year she's going into 4th grade, and while she is typically enthusiastic about anything homemade, she looked at me a little funny when I made known my intentions to make her a new book bag. Of course this was on the last day of summer break - the day before school started. We talked a little about her reluctance...and after assuring her that she could choose all of the fabric and that it wouldn't look home made, we went to her favorite fabric shop - the one with the little dog and the fresh baked cookies at the counter. On the way I had a good talk with myself about letting her pick out all of the fabric, not pushing in anyway.

The Amy Butler fabrics were on Sale! but she wasn't interested in them. don't push, don't push..."Are you sure you don't like these?"... oh no, I'm pushing. I lingered over them as we walked away. To my surprise, she chose purple. First a plaid - it was very bright and I was really nervous about it, then a couple of dots, and a pinkish fabric for the inside. She was very excited - I have to admit I was not.

Then I went to work. This time I used a thick/heavy pellon interfacing rather than a quilt batting, so that it would keep it's shape. She also wanted a pocket - Made by Rae's pleated pocket tutorial popped into my mind. I've been dying to try that out - by the way, the tutorial was awesome and super easy. In the end, it turned out beautifully. This girl of mine has great taste and I should never have questioned it. Very 4th grade. Not sweet and babyish and yet not trendy teenage.Now that school has been in for a week or so, I'm settling into a new rhythm. I keep busy and get things done while the crazies are at school -and work :)- so that I can focus on them when they get home. It also helps to chase away the blues. The blues have come more often recently - my body has been doing some funky things on it's own and has decided to make a few changes for itself - pushing me into a stage of life that I feel I'm too young for and that I'm definately not ready for. As I embark out on this new "adventure" I am humbled and am trying to fine tune the whole spirit conquering the flesh thing. Nevertheless, this blog is my happy place and my place to feel good about my creativity, accomplishments and growth.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The First Day of School

Today was the day - the first day of school. The kids all woke up early, were dressed and ready on time and went to school with smiles on their faces. We'll see how long that lasts :)

Me...I'm catching up on reading my favorite blogs -I've been away for too long-, baking some cookies and am enjoying the quiet. I didn't plan anything for today, knowing that it would be filled with a mixture of emotions. In years past, I've always made big plans for the first day of school. Mostly cleaning and catching up on all of the things that have been neglected during the summer break. Then, inevitably, I end up chatting on the phone and playing on the computer trying to fill the guiet that I've been longing for.

So today, I'm giving myself a little time to adjust and to just be.
Waiting for the kids to come home.

and fill the house with laughter again.

Tomorrow? Tomorrow, I'll get to those projects - and maybe even share a few here - but today, I'll just be.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Time Flies

It's pretty bad when you are planting and harvesting on Farm Town and one of your friends asks you what's up with your blog. :)

The summer has just been drifting by and there is a sense of change in the air. A change in season. The boys went to visit my brother in TN...from Utah...on a plane...by themselves...with layovers. All firsts for them and me. They went to a Titans game, paddled the Harpeth River stayed up late, ate a bunch of fast food and apparently stopped by Hooters - they said the chicken wings were great. We missed them terribly but were happy for their adventure. It really gave them a chance to grow even closer as brothers.
Now, Nagymama is visiting and we're all packing more fun into the last week before school. School where even more changes are taking place. High School. Another first for our family. Another reminder of how quickly childhood passes and how important it is that cherish each moment together - OK, not every hormonal moment, but you know what I'm saying.

Sara and I also got to spend a lot of girl time together. It was strange in a way to have an only child, but it was nice to have the mother daughter time. We ate out a couple of times, went to the pool, watched the Hannah Montana movie at the dollar theater and made a few visits to the local thrift store.
So there it is in a nutshell. The past few weeks. The weather is getting cooler, the tomatoes are turning red and the kids are getting older.