Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 comes to a close...

and I am ready to see it go!  2010 had lots of good family moments, but more than its fair share of heartaches and issues also.  We had some painful transitions to go through and I didn't get nearly as much quilting done as I would have hoped.  Sigh.

But, 2011 is a NEW YEAR with new hopes and dreams.  I hope and pray that this year will run a bit smoother and have fewer of those nasty (forced) transitions!  We are settling in rather well to our homeschooling routine and the boys are thriving, so I am pleased about that.  Actually, that is one transition that was painful (the situation the necessitated a total upheaval) but I am gradually letting go of the hurt feelings and gaining a sense of peace and acceptance.  I think this was one of those things that just had to happen in order to make me see what my kids weren't getting from our situation at the time.  Now, they are beginning to love learning again.

I wish all of my readers a joyous and blessed New Year!  Hope to hear from you all really soon!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

They were a hit!

The Christmas quilts, that is!  Here are Mom and Dad with their quilts on Christmas Eve.  Yes, they live in a log cabin, so the quilts work well there.  They both loved theirs and they told me that they have curled up with them after we left on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and this evening.  It made me smile.

Christmas--the After Photo....


The festivities are over.
Even my Mom and Dad's dogs are feeling a bit pooped!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Victory!


Victory at last!  Dad's quilt is completed and ready to be gifted when we see him for dinner tonight!  Whew!  I am really glad that this one is ready in the nick of time (I have never run so late in my life).  It might be awhile before my hands aren't claws, though since I did the big stitch quilting around the outside edge to stabilize it (there were 4 layers of fabric and 4 layers of batting at the edge).

I hope that all of you have a warm and wonderful Christmas with friends and family!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Close, but not complete....

Okay, I have been making lots of progress with Dad's Christmas quilt, but I keep finding more things that either keep me away from finishing up, or that create extra work for me.

But, here is where we stand...

This little baby is an absolute trooper, but as I don't have a walking foot for it (soon, very soon), I had some trouble with the edge stitching.  I used two layers of Warm and Natural batting so that it would be very warm and where the edges all are sewn (yes, I sewed and flipped--don't judge me) there are 4 layers of fabric and 4 layers of batting all crammed up in there together.  Can't topstitch without the walking foot because the top layer was getting all puckery. So...


In order to secure that edging and keep it stable, I am hand quilting around the edge, big stitch style with the same crochet cotton that was used in the interior blocks (more on that later).  Of course, after 1 and 1/4 edge, my hands turned into claws, so I had to put it down for the evening.  But here it is in progress.


This is what my completed corner looks like.  It is holding the edge stable and it gives a bit of a rustic touch, which I like for this.  My parents live in a log cabin (hence my Mom's log cabin Christmas quilt earlier this year) so rustic and folksy works well for them.


This is the backing fabric that I used.  It is part of the extra long, California twin sheet (that my Mom kept for years) that my baby brother took to camp in the summer time.  It's a nice plaid and large enough to use a single piece.  The plaid is a nice touch.


Normally, I really think that tying a quilt is kind of like cheating.  Yes, it works for awhile, but it isn't terribly durable compared to good old fashioned quilting.  But, hey, it is December 22nd and I have battled multiple broken sewing machines, bronchitis, and the lack of a walking foot to get this far, so I ain't stopping now!

Actually, I saved a bunch of the buttons that came off of the shirts when I processed them.  Of course I used bunches to make my button and twig snowflakes, but still had oodles to tie one button in the center of each square in the quilt.  I left the little ends sticking up a bit past my surgeon's knot so that it would add to the rustic flair.  The buttons don't match in size or even colors, but that makes it look even scrappier.  The more I work with it, the more I just know that it suits Dad perfectly.  Tomorrow I will work on it further and with any luck finish it and start cleaning my horribly neglected pig sty house for the festivities to begin.

I hope that everyone who reads this post has the opportunity to celebrate Christmas (or the holiday of your choice) with the ones you love.  Can't wait to see what I we can get into quilt-wise for 2011!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Borders and Astronomical Delights

Okay, I will freely admit that I am a night person and that often the best chance I get to do anything remotely creative is after everyone is in bed and I can enjoy the quiet.

Tonight, I got the quiet AND a really cool lunar eclipse.  Between checking the eclipse and cutting and sewing border strips, I feel kind of accomplished tonight (and seriously sleepy).


It's really too wide to show it effectively on my curtain rod design wall.  But, the eclipse was lovely and I got to see it really well.  Once the clouds came rolling in heavily, I had gotten to see it and I figure it's just backwards from here on out.

The quilt top is completed.  Tomorrow, I get to piece the backing (and some batting) and see how this new machine does some simple quilting.

I really liked the piano key border idea, but the more I work with this top, the more I think it suits my Dad.  And, I really like that!

I am off to bed.  I promise to take a better photo of the top sometime.  Yawn!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Finally! Some Progress (and Pictures)!

Ta-daaa!  Here it is, the majority of my Dad's Christmas quilt.


For a quilt that is mostly navy blue and beige, it really is "reading" as green.  It's kind of funny, but that will definitely affect what I choose for my borders.  I can either play up the green or play it down with navy or red.  Choices, choices...

Here it is hanging on my cheater "design wall" as I have been calling it lately.  I am looking at it and pondering which of my new thrifted shirts will become the first border.  The original pattern calls for a piano key border, which is absolutely gorgeous, but I am running so short on time, it may prove very unpractical!

Readers (both of you!) may remember that I had a very unfortunate situation occur with my first quilt ever made from vintage shirts.  It was to be a baby quilt for the new honorary grandson, but it disintegrated in the wash.  I disintegrated when I found it.  Fortunately, the baby's living great grandmother made him a quilt, so I didn't feel quite so bad.  But, I am definitely making him a "big boy" quilt for a twin bed.  Anyways....

It was a big step for me to even consider making another quilt out of shirt material after that.  But, I have a new sewing machine and my old, second hand machine may have been the culprit, so I am stepping out on faith here!


Hubby who originally hated this pattern when I first showed it to him, really seems to like it now that he sees it in person.  He keeps telling me that he really likes the "ring" in each block.  It's not really in each block, it is kind of like an optical illusion thing.  The "ring" is formed by a secondary pattern when the blocks are butted up against each other.  Nonetheless, it does give a lot of interest.  Isn't it funny how secondary patterns emerge with some quilts?  When I first looked at this one, it almost looked like an exploding star to me, but hubby immediately focused in on the rings.


I cropped this photo to show the actual block unit that is used to create the quilt top.  The color placement in my version is not quite the same as in the original version (due to my error) but I really like that it looks extra scrappy this way.

I am very pleased with how this is turning out so far.  Now, I am off to dissect a few shirts and start auditioning borders!  Can't wait!

More Antibiotics and a Special Delivery!

Well, hubby started feeling bad yesterday, so this morning he went off to the doctor like a trooper.  He NEVER wants to miss work, so it was a little unusual for him to voluntarily go, so I knew he felt really badly.  Looks like he has a bad upper respiratory infection.  But, he is really good about taking his meds, so he will be quickly on the mend.

Right now, DS12 is the only healthy person in the family.  He has finished his antibiotics and is getting rather ill with the rest of us sickos!  Today, I took DS14 back into the doctor's office (for the 3rd time, no less) to pitch a fit and finally get him some help.  But, after I pitched a fit on the phone and refused to see the doctor in the group that had been so un-helpful, I got to see my favorite doctor and she, of course, came to the rescue and now, I am confident that DS14 will be on the mend shortly.

It's been an ordeal to try and regain some semblance of health around here.  Not fun at all!

Of course, I didn't like it that I still had a cough and couldn't go and be at the hospital while my honorary grandson was born.  They are worried about infection and I totally understand that with mommies-to-be and babies in such a fragile condition.  Even though I am on day 4 of my antibiotics, I figured it best not to scare anyone.  So, sadly, I stayed home and got messages by phone and text while I took care of my own brood.

But, I am still a little bit sad about it.  I wanted to see him, even if only through the nursery glass.  I am told that he has a head full of jet black hair and a perfectly pink complexion.  I will do my best to see him tomorrow and welcome him to the world.  I will take my mom with me (the honorary Great-grandma).  The doctor said he would hook me up with a sample of cough meds if necessary to get me past the nurses once it was certain that I wasn't contagious any more.  He totally "got" the baby thing when I explained it to him.  It seemed silly at the time, but I just might try it tomorrow!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A little bit of progress

A few blocks completed and pressed for Dad's lap quilt.  The colors are supposed to line up so that it makes a cute, secondary design when the blocks are alternated without sashing.  It makes the pattern, but not quite the correct way since I messed up the order of the colors.  Oh well.

Life is a little wonky, right?  Especially on bronchitis meds!  LOL!

Right now, all of the little 9-patch numbers are done and I have done the first 12 of the snowball blocks.  12 more snowballs to go and then we can start assembling and making decisions about borders and backings.  I will be very much relieved when this final gift is completed.

My Mom tells me that Dad, "sits around and shivers like a chihuahua!"  Great visual.  So, I figure that he really needs a quilt.  He is diabetic and is feeling the cold more these days.  Mom, however, still has hot flashes and thinks that the proverbial "Nanook of the North" is sweating in his igloo!  Now, I hope that Dad will get to cuddle under his very own quilt, made of guy fabrics, and stay completely and totally warm!

We can only hope!

The verdict is in...

Acute bronchitis.  Cough.  Cough.  Wheeze.

For now, I am holed up with quilt, antibiotics, magazines, laptop, inhaler, hot tea, etc.

Sniffle.  I am slowly working on my gift quilt.  Hope to have some pics to show tomorrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feeling puny

I am off to the doctor's office first thing in the morning to see if I can get rid of this crud.  I have picked up the same, croupy, deep cough that I typically get with bronchitis, so I am anxious to get rid of this.

My honorary grandson will be born no later than the 20th (they induce if the mom hasn't gone into labor on her own).  So, I have to get better, because it just won't do that I can't hold that sweet  baby that I have been waiting so long to meet.

Sigh.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We got snow for the Snowflake Event...

Well, kind of.  The kids were calling out excitedly, "it's snow, it's snow!"  So, I opened the front door to look through our storm door and noticed that the "snow" was bouncing on our wooden steps and small landing.

Snow shouldn't bounce.  I have lived all of my life in Georgia, but I was raised by Yankee parents, so I know things like the fact that snow doesn't bounce upon impact.

Hubby thought this was funny and set out with DS12 to determine if this wasn't snow, what it was.  Nothing like a teachable moment in this house!  They went out and inspected the icy things and determined that the centers are white with a clear outer ring.  This indicates that there was a bit of real snow in the center and ice formed around it while it was in descent.  In meteorological terms, this is graupel, a German word for snow surrounded by ice.  I thought that in honor of the Snowflake Event, that I would make note of this.  Those poor little snowflakes tried to come to Georgia, but they got ganged up on by ice crystals.  So sad.

However, we weren't depending on Mother Nature for our snow.  Here are our homemade snowflakes:


I made this little snowflake (no pattern, just having fun) to hang in the little window that is high up on our front door.


The boys and I made the paper snowflakes that make up our mantle garland this year.  It was really fun.  They liked it, but didn't have much patience for doing the more intricate designs.  These were all done free-form.  The quilted mantle scarf was made last year.  The "Better Not Pout" sign was made by my mother and given to me to post conspicuously for the boys.  The red candles are real wax, but battery operated and really flicker.  The small, china cups hold tea lights (when my tea lights are used up, I will get battery operated ones to use).  The red candle on the left was a recent gift.


This is our fireplace.  I really like the warm, golden glow that the candles cast over the decorations.  It just looks warm and cozy to me.  The candle lanterns on the hearth were given to us one year full of cookies!  We have used them with candles in them every year since.  The lanterns help to keep the kitties from playing with the flickering flames (silly cats!).


Here are a close up of my latest decorations.  They are snowflakes made up of twigs and buttons, painted white and stuck to the rocks with a (gasp!) glue gun.  The glue holds them securely but can be popped off of the rocks fairly easily.  I like that they add a bit of a rustic texture that goes well with the rock fireplace surround.  I found the tutorial to make these here.  I really enjoyed using items that were readily available (buttons from repurposed shirts, glue gun, twigs, white craft paint).  It really cost next to nothing, but looks so festive.  I think these will stay until spring.

Many special thanks to The Pleasant Times blog for hosting this Snowflake Event.  The entries that I have seen so far are stunning and inventive!  I hope you have enjoyed seeing my take on snowflakes.  Please stop back by anytime!

Whew!

What a whirlwind week we have had!  Two sick kids, doctor's visits, doing math at home to play catch up (yuck) and trying to get things together for the Snowflake Event that starts tomorrow.

The snowflakes were the fun part!  Loved that!  I am waiting to put the finishing touches on my twig snowflakes so that they can go on display this evening and be blogged about tomorrow.

Pretty much, the week can be summed up with this photo:


Sleeping kids (snoring included) with big ol' size 14 teenage feet sticking out from under the quilt they stole borrowed from their mom.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Snowflake Event!


Isn't this button adorable?  I am so excited about the Snowflake Event that begins next week over at The Pleasant Times blog.  For some reason, the entire button isn't showing but just the graphic.  That's okay, you can check them all out at the blog.

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.

Friday, December 3, 2010

First Project with the New Machine!


Here it is!  It is the first official sewing project on the new machine!  You didn't think I would wait long to do a little something, did you???

This is a project that I found on dollarstorecrafts.com.  These will go into my gift baskets for family members.  I did get the kitchen towel and potholders at Dollar Tree.  I am making two of these for a total cost of $1.50 per gift.  Woo Hoo!

It's HERE!!!


Late last night, UPS tracking informed me (finally) that they had a delivery date set.  It was to be delivered sometime between 8 am and midnight TODAY.  Well, since I live out in the boonies, I assumed that it would be far closer to the midnight estimation than the morning one.  I was SO wrong!  Around 9 am, UPS showed up with the most amazing little sewing machine, just for ME!

I have sewed a bit just to try her out and welcome her!  As you can see from my very messy sewing table in the dining room, no time was wasted getting her up and running.

Okay, now I have to run a couple of errands and I really need to clean this nasty house of mine, but then, I will sew and sew and sew!  Of course, tomorrow I work all day at a Christmas bazaar, but after that, I will sew and sew and sew!  Oh the gifts we will sew together.  Sigh.

Woo Hoo!  Oh my new little joy!  How I heart you!!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This is just too stinkin' cute!

You just HAVE to check out the quaint, little snowflakes on this blog.  She shared a tutorial on how to make them and everything.  I can see so many ideas from this basic tutorial.  I can't wait to get started!  They don't look expensive to make at all, either!

Plus, remember the Snowflake Event beginning the week of December 12th at The Pleasant Times blog!  This is just going to be so much fun!

I guess I am going through a bit of the winter doldrums here, but I just haven't been feeling like myself lately.  I am not keeping up with things in my life.  I just feel icky and want to sleep--like I am fighting off a cold or something.  So, since these snowflakes are getting me excited, I am going to go with it and really indulge!  Maybe it can help me shake it up a bit and feel a little better.  Let's hope so!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Won't You Join Us?


I ran across something really fun out in blogland!  I follow a wonderful little blog called, The Pleasant Times, which has many crafts, edifying articles, and just nice stuff.  It's kind of like a blog about Simple Living with an emphasis on appreciating beauty.



Today, I was reading the latest post and they are having a Snowflake Event during the week of December 12th! It's a celebration of all things snowflake!  There are beautiful paper snowflakes on their site and some patterns, links to other patterns, etc.  You can showcase anything with snowflakes on your blog:  sewing, quilts, stencils, rubber stamping, folded paper, embroidery--really just anything at all.

Most of these crafts are really inexpensive, but gorgeous!  Imagine snowflakes of all sizes cut from left over winter themed scrapbook papers.  The new fine glitter could be great, too.


For those families with loads of kiddos (or nearby friends) how about having the kids lie down on the ground and make the shape of a snowflake all together.  What a fun photo that could be!

My boys and I discussed it and we will be cutting out paper snowflakes and talking about crystalline structures during our home school science time.  Hmmm.  I think I will also sneak in a bit about properties of water (why it expands during freezing) and 60 degree triangles and bonds.

This is not about competition, money, or anything else.  It's just a compilation of links from folks who will all be celebrating the season together with snowflake themed crafts, art, etc.  No pressure!


But, the best part for me is that reading the blog post reminded me of making paper snowflakes with my science students in public school to go along with atomic and crystalline structures.  We decorated my classroom with loads of snowflakes and it was wonderful!  It's one of my favorite memories from that time in my life.

So...long story short, won't you please join us in making some snowflake crafts and sharing in a bit of frugal Christmas joy?  I'd love to see yours!

A few sentimental things


In my bedroom, on the small portion of angled wall next to the bathroom door, hangs a sampler that is very, very precious to me.  My Nana hand stitched this sampler and it hung over the cribs of all of her babies.  My Aunt Edith, my Dad, and my Uncle Phil all slept under this prayer.  Nana died when I was 10 months old, so I never really knew her.

I was in High School when my Aunt located the sampler and sent it to me because I was the last child in the family to bear the family's last name.  I always loved this piece of hand work.

Above the sampler hangs a dessert plate with roses on it.  While I am sure it is rather unconventional to hang plates beside and above the doorway to the master bath, I don't care because I love them.  There are a set of six in total.  Five are above the doorway and the sixth sits above my prized sampler.

The plates are from my late great-Aunt Mackey.  Her given name was Effie Maxine.  We have always laughed that the Maxine cartoon character was really about her.  She was a hoot!  And she definitely spoke what was on her mind!

They are made of china with a distinctive rose pattern that I have learned was very popular in the late 30s and 40s.  The design seems to be on some sort of decal or maybe the paint is bubbling up a bit.  Either way, they are a bit cloudy in places and not fit to eat on, but a wonderful reminder of my Aunt that I visited with and spent time with into my adulthood.

Neither of these items would be worth anything much financially in the big scheme of things, but they are precious to me.  They were gifts full of meaning that I have used to decorate my home.  My children are growing up around these items and they are learning about connections and family history.  It's a good thing.

Hmmm. Ideas....


Okay, I am looking for a really good idea for a gift for our wonderful math tutor.  She is a retired special education teacher who has taught kids with learning disabilities and autism her entire career.  She has been such a blessing in our lives.  DS14 (my Aspie) has really grown so much while working with her.

When she started working with us in May of this year, my kiddo was doing marginal 1st grade math.  He is now doing basic algebra and geometry.  She has to present it in ways that make sense to him (which I just don't know how to do) and he is thriving!  She is definitely an answer to prayer.

I'd love to make her something to show appreciation.  I am trying to be mindful of both time and money.  I am not sure when the sewing machine will be arriving.

In a perfect world, a lap quilt would be in order, but I am not sure I will have time to get that completed this time around.  I was thinking of potholders (can't everyone use potholders?) or a candle mat, maybe with one of the new, battery operated candles (love those because of my cats.  The tutor has a cat also).  Hmmm.


I got this photo from a wonderful tutorial at http://33shadesofgreen.blogspot.com/2010/02/amy-butler-quilted-potholder.html.

Any ideas that you would be willing to share?  Please?????

Woo Hoo! Victory!


My log cabin quilt (Christmas gift for someone special) made it out of the laundry intact.  Whew!

I am quite relieved!  

Monday, November 29, 2010

575 Posts and a new finish!

It's hard to believe that this is my 575th post!  When I started this blog, I wasn't sure if I would have much to say or whether anyone would want to read it.  Looks like I have kept on writing and a few folks continue to read, so it's a good thing!  It's been a good outlet for me and a way to connect with others with similar interests.  So, for you who read this blog, thank you!


I have been kind of restless today, possibly because I am trying to decide what I want to do, gift wise, while waiting on my sewing machine to arrive.  I guess it has made me a tad more productive.  I managed to get the binding on a quilt that I had quilted as a QAYG and had been waiting for the binding to go on.  I had used a friend's machine to do the seaming and was folding it to the back and stitching it down.  Right as I got to the final foot or so on the last side, my kitty, Natasha, decided that the quilt looked good enough for her and she just hopped on up!

Yep, my quilts are kitty approved!  Now I just have to get brave enough to wash it and pray that it stays together (unlike the shirting quilt).  Wish me luck!

I don't think I have ever shared this....


As I anxiously await the arrival of the new sewing machine, I thought I might share a quilt that I am really fond of.  It is my one and only antique quilt.  Back in the late, gulp, 1980s (when I was 2--LOL!), hubby and I saw this quilt in a yard sale.  They were using it to pack up items to cushion them for transport.  I was a very, very new quilter and I knew that it was pretty and old.

That pretty much sums up my quilting knowledge.  The edges were tattered and some of the patches of a black fabric had worn down to show mostly foundation muslin.  Some brown is very worn also.  The batting was just clumps of cotton pressed flat and sewn through.  The back was made up of feed sacks that came from a flour mill about 40 miles from here.  You can just make out the printing on only one of the sacks.

It was a mess.  It really should have been a cutter quilt, but I was young, stupid, and fell in love with that faint printing on the feed sack.  The owner thought I was crazy but sold it to me anyway--cheap!

My mom helped me to put a turkey red border around the edge to protect it (yes, I know, a restoration no-no) and it has hung in my home ever since.  For a while it was folded over a hanging rail in my bedroom.  In another house, it hung in the entryway.  Currently, it hangs from spring clips on a display wire behind my couch in the living room.  It's beautiful.

It is made up of shirting fabrics and is quilting in an unmarked Baptist fans pattern.  At least I hope that the ladies didn't mark this out, otherwise those Baptist gals had been drinking rather heavily!  LOL!

I didn't really pay too much attention to the details of this quilt; I just knew that I liked it.  But, it does explain why I seem to be fascinated with quilts made from shirting fabrics and the Baptist fan quilt pattern.  It's just kind of familiar to me after all the years of living with my quilt.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The tree is up!


 The boys took a much larger part in getting the tree up this year.  They stuck with the process for the entire time and worked along side us instead of playing or leaving the room while we parents did the work.  Even better, they decorated the entire tree and not just strips at their personal eye levels.  We didn't have to go back and move ornaments around after the fact.  We listened to Christmas music and talked, reminiscing about ornaments that were sentimental.  I really enjoyed it.

That evening, I had completed decorating the mantle and hanging the Christmas quilts up.  We lit the candles and dimmed the lights.  It was warm and beautiful and full of all of the Christmas-y magic.  We were together.  It's all that matters.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Blessings!

This year has been a financial struggle for us.  It has been a necessary one as I have left my full time teaching gig in order to homeschool my boys (an unpaid, full time teaching gig).  But, for all of struggles, I have loved being with my boys more and helping them to learn.  In many ways, life has improved.

I started my home business and it is growing.  It is slowly growing and getting stronger by the day.  I have no doubt that it will eventually be able to replace my earlier income.

But, I have to admit horrendous frustration when my sewing machine died.  I inherited a couple of older ones that died soon after also.  Hubby is great at being able to do minor maintenance on them and he kept me going for months longer than I should have been able to go.  But, he can only do so much!

I depend on my sewing machine to do some repairs, make things for around the home, make great gifts without spending loads of cash, quilting, and just general therapy for me.  I love to make things.  It makes me happy.  It saves me money and I enjoy it!

When the shirting baby quilt fell apart because of faulty stitching, I knew that my machine sewing days were nearing a close.  My mom and a friend allowed me to finish up a Christmas gift on their machines, but I had to re-think oodles of gifts because I couldn't do the sewing projects that I had planned.

But, Black Friday came and my hubby blessed me tremendously.  I had an online coupon to a site and they put a sewing machine on deep markdown.  It isn't fancy and it wasn't a pricey machine to begin with, but it will serve my needs well.  We were able to pick it up for less than 50% of the original price with free shipping, the coupon, and the sale in progress.  It's not my dream machine and I will continue to save a little here and there to eventually get that one, but it is a Consumer Reports Best Buy rated machine.

I am SO grateful for my hubby and this blessing in my life.  I can't wait for it to arrive.  I am going to take amazing care of this little baby!   And yes, the photo above is of the machine that I am getting.  Nothing to brag about, perhaps, but it means the world to my little, creative heart!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful!

Thanksgiving Day is probably one of my all time favorite holidays.  The older I get, the more I appreciate that it comes with no hype and little drama.  It is a day that has remained (more or less) as it was intended, a day to celebrate all that we are thankful for in our lives.

It's not about showing off material possessions or having to mortgage your future to purchase just the "right" gift. It's about family, food, enjoying each other, and gratitude (which is too little expressed IMHO).

Just a few things that I am thankful for this year (certainly not an all inclusive list):
Salvation from sin
Living in a free nation
my parents and brother
my husband and children
the home we live in (our haven in the woods)
my extended family, some we will see today and others we can't be with
that I am able to homeschool my children
that I can legally homeschool my children
my friends, particularly those who have been with me through thick and thin
our pets
the doctors we see and the medicines we take in order to be healthy
my weight loss (getting healthier by the day)
good medical test results a couple of weeks ago (dodged the big "C")
the Boy Scout troop that my boys and hubby are involved in
having a Mom and a friend who will let me borrow their sewing machines when I am in a pinch
shade grown coffee--mmmmmmmm!
Good books
Crochet hooks, knitting needles, quilting tools, fabric
big hugs from my kids!

I wish you and yours a wonderful and fantastic Thanksgiving Day!  What are you thankful for this year?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stash Manicure Post

Yay!  I have been invited to be a guest blogger at Stash Manicure for the second time!
Check my post out on November 18th!  Can't wait to see you there....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How Rude!

Some days never cease to amaze me!  Today was one of those days.

I am a small business owner.  Much of my work takes me into other people's homes.  I love what I do and I really enjoy the other people that I work with.  That being said, it really bothers me when people treat my clients unethically, or are just downright rude!

I think that lying is rude, at the very least!  It nearly broke my heart to see a hostess and friend who had received 10 definite RSVPs to a get together (just the day before) sit and realize that nobody was coming.  Not even her mother.  Nobody.  Surely, all ten of those people didn't die overnight.  They couldn't all have been hospitalized or in car accidents.  Some only had to come from a house or two away.

Eventually, we did have a few guests arrive.  The first arrived 20 minutes after the stated time (she was at a child's sporting event and it ran late, totally understandable).  The next two arrived 45 minutes late (including her mom).  I have no idea why.  They may have had very good reasons.  Now, all of these ladies were delightful and had fun.  I am so glad that I got to meet them.  But, it bothered me that the whole situation made my hostess sad.

Why couldn't the other 7 or so people call?  Is our culture really that okay with being so rude?  If you commit to doing something, is it okay to blow it off at the last minute?  These weren't acquaintances, either.  They were close family members and long time friends.

When I work with a hostess, it is my goal to make her feel like a princess and have a really fun time.  It's hard to overcome that kind of disappointment in order to do that.  At the end of the event, the hostess was far more relaxed and happy.

But, was it really necessary to put her through that?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Authors Post

In addition to basking in quilty loveliness, I also like to read.  I don't get to very often, but with my machine down for the count, I may sneak a bit in.

I read a challenge (here) where the blogger listed 15 authors that they enjoyed, strictly off the top of their heads, no tweaking allowed.  So here they are, fall where they may!  Of course, there are many other authors that I have enjoyed!  Please post your list!

Shakespeare
T.S. Eliot
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Phillippa Gregory
Margaret Armour (the author that I actually know!)
Alexandra Stoddard
Harper Lee
Christopher Marlowe
William Blake
Edgar Allan Poe
Janise Ray  (I think that's her name, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood)
Phyllis Schaeffer
David Bottoms
Madeline L'Engle
the author who wrote A Bridge of Birds, a paperback that I borrowed and LOVED!



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Does anyone know of...

a good sewing machine store in Georgia that does a trade in sale?

Right now, I would love to buy a new machine and if I could trade in the 4, yes 4, machines that I currently have that are certifiable junk, it would help me to afford one.  I know that I used to hear of such sales.  I guess that they would then repair the old ones to sell?

I don't even know if the ones I have are worth repairing.

My LQS has a sale on BabyLock machines, with the Audrey, in particular, for $359 through December 31st.  I would love to be able to swing that.  Don't know if I can, with Christmas and all, but a girl can dream.

A local private school is having an even to purchase old gold/silver jewelry.  They are paying going rate and the dealer is donating their portion to the school.  I certainly don't have much jewelry that I could sell, but I am seriously thinking of getting together all that I have and seeing what I could get for it.  Every little bit would help, right?

I have toyed with the idea of taking one of my clunkers in to be repaired, but they are all such cheap-o machines that I wonder if I would do better by saving my pennies and buying up a little bit in quality.  The LQS is a BabyLock dealer.  I have checked out (and drooled) over their machines on more than one occasion.  One of the owners even went to school at the BabyLock factory to become certified to repair their machines.  He does all of the repairs in the shop and I really like that they don't have to send the machines out and he does it right there in his workroom.

I guess time will tell.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Insert Picture Here

of the beautiful, sawtooth star quilt that I finished just in time for the baby shower for a dear friend.

For those of you who have followed this blog lately, it is a quilt that I have had hanging up, looking at it, being very deliberate in making every decision because I wanted it to be just right.

When my second hand machine quit working, I took it to my mom's house to finish the quilting and put on the binding.  Then, we threw it in the washer.

That was the end of my quilt.  It, literally, fell apart in the wash.  I have had a seam pop once in a great while, but have never made a quilt and had it shred in the washing machine.  I made my first quilt in 1988 and have made every mistake in the book, but my work has held together.  Until now.

I don't know if the fabric gave way.  Large parts of the stitching seemed to come out.  Could this have been from using a crappy machine?  I use good seam allowance; nothing should have pulled out.  I probably make too large a seam allowance to make sure everything is very, very secure.

I had to go to this very special shower (which I was one of the ladies who threw it) with no gift.  I was embarassed and mortified.  I could have sat and had a good cry if I had a quiet moment.

So....  I don't know if I shouldn't have used the vintage shirts.  I don' t know if it was the machine.  I just know that I am not happy about it right now.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Women Helping Women

I just learned about a new company that is allowing women from wealthier countries to help women from more poverty stricken areas in a really meaningful way.

That company is Seeds of Blessing.  They are an offshoot of the group The Blessing Basket which bought woven baskets and other products from women in poverty and sold them.  The ladies who made the baskets benefitted tremendously by bringing in a good and fair income, having a ready market for their goods, and learning solid business skills.  It is a great opportunity for them and a great opportunity for ladies in wealthier nations to be able to help these women by purchasing their products, but also by receiving gorgeous, handmade items of great quality!

In order to spread the word, Seeds of Blessing is bringing their products into the Party Plan format.  You can also purchase from their website.

I learned about this from a fabulous blog.  This blog is part of Party Plan Divas, another example of women helping women to succeed.

I think it is high time that we women stick together and help others to make their dreams come true!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Some progress


Well, I was finally forced to make a decision regarding the baby quilt that I am making.  Mostly, the decisions were made by realizing that while I had started in plenty of time to leisurely work on this quilt, I had gotten busy with other things and didn't realize that the shower is NEXT SATURDAY!!!

So, with time short and money shorter, I had to just go with a plan that would allow me to use fabrics that I already had and that I could sew up in very little time.

The photo doesn't really show it well, but the red outer border is the exact same fabric as the red star points.  It should finish up to a 40 inch square.  I think I might have enough of the blue check from the star points for the binding.  But, at this point, it is going to be bound with whatever I have that will work.  I am not against a scrappy binding.

As for the backing, I will have to start working on it tomorrow evening.  I will be using various shirting materials I have.  The mom-to-be had a color scheme in mind for the top (she has no idea what I did with her color choices, though), but the backing may add in other colors out of necessity.  I plan to piece together scraps from my shirting fabrics to make a scrappy back.  I do have a vintage sheet that is a red, white, and blue plaid that I could use for a single fabric back.

I kind of had it in my head that since this was my first quilt from shirt fabrics that it would be entirely out of shirt fabrics.  I am not sure why it matters, but....

After that, I will be seeing what I have in the batting department.  I may be piecing some batting together to get a piece big enough to work with.  At least I feel like I haven't been wasteful at all with this quilt.

I did plan on making my dad a quilt for Christmas out of the shirt fabrics, and if I am going to do that, I will have to get started pretty darn quick!  Otherwise, I won't get it finished in time.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sniff, sniff...

Nothing smells better than apples and pears cooking with a little cinnamon and cloves.  It's heavenly!

This week, I went over and got the last of the pears that weren't rotten on my parents' pear trees.  They are organic, which really means that we have never pruned them, taken care of them, watered them, or fertilized them.  But, no chemicals, so that is a good thing!


These are not pretty, grocery store pears with a buttery, smooth texture.  These are old fashioned pears with peels like leather and a slightly grainy texture, but the taste is sweet and wonderful.  They cook up well, but will make your hands sore when you peel and core lots of them at a time!

Today, I prepared two large bags of pears and some Fuji apples that we got at a farm stand (off the trees that morning!).  Now, I have both crockpots running on high.  The largest one is full of pears, cinnamon, splenda, and ground cloves.  It is filled to the brim, just waiting to cook down into pear butter.  Mmmmmm.


My smaller crock pot is filled half way with the remaining pears and topped off with the Fuji apples.  They are starting to smell SO good.  I will water bath can both batches when they are done.  But, they have to cook a long time and they will cook down a lot, so two crock pots is a good amount to deal with.

Some of these will likely be put in Christmas baskets with maybe a decorated hand towel and/or homemade dishcloth or two.  I love that the bulk of this gift is done way before Christmas.

I still have about 2/3 of  the apples we bought, so some plain ol' apple butter will be next, maybe followed by some home canned applesauce!

Frugal, by necessity or choice!

Although the politicians say otherwise, I know different.  At least in my area of the country (the deep South, specifically, Georgia) we are still being hard hit by this economy. Georgia has lost tons of jobs and I know lots of people who are under-employed or going through a prolonged job search.  Raises are non existent for most folks and pay cuts are the norm.

That being said, just about everyone I know is hunkering down and trying to figure out how they can hold it together through Christmas.  I am certainly no exception.

Here are some of the things that I do to try and stretch my money a little bit farther.

1.  Hang clothes to dry.  Our dryer is on its last leg and I only use it for things that really need to be dried.  Things that have to be ironed, for example.  I couldn't care less if my towels are a little scratchy.  Dermatologists tell us to exfoliate, don't they?


2.  Home hair cuts.  I do the haircuts for both of our boys and get compliments on how nice and neat they look.  Hubby isn't brave enough, yet, but someone told him that he should do his hair like my son's hair.  Loved that!  I use a good set of clippers that hubby found with guide combs (more than paid for itsself, by the way).  Even in the beginning, the kids didn't look bad.  Now, I am getting good at it.  I even cut my own hair. Yes, it sounds like I am super-talented.  8 or 9 years ago, I had unexplained hair loss until I started wearing wigs.  I get them on sale and look for trendy/modern cuts.  They look great.  I buzz cut what is left of my own hair.  Otherwise, I would have a stringy comb over thing happening.

3.  Cook at home.  This is not an easy one for me.  I am not a good cook.  I am best preparing candies and baking things that would make your cardiologist's head spin.  But, as my doctor put me on a diet where I have lost 50 lbs., I can't eat like that.  My menus are uninspired, but nutritious.  Hubby is a better cook, but he isn't here to do the cooking, except on weekends.  I love weekends.

4.  Canning or Freezing.  You can save a lot of money putting food up.  I get windfall pears every year from my trees at my parent's house.  They really don't use them for anything, they like that they attract deer.  I will cook and can them.  Yes, it's work, but that work will keep us full and happy through the winter.  Canned goods in a nice basket make a great gift that I have used for many a Christmas!  Family packs of meat or surplus of veggies in season can be put away inexpensively.  Think sweet potatoes cooked and canned in November.  Think green beans in July.  Think pumpkins--NOW!  If you like the seeds, dry and roast them.

5.  Learn to sew.  Even if you make crafty gifts or simple curtains and repairs, you can save a bundle and add a little bit of self-sufficiency to your skill list.

6.  Crochet or knit.  Make scarves for gifts or hats for the homeless shelter.  Yarn can be found at thrift stores or even cheaply at Wal Mart.  You can make things more special than you can buy them.  Make your own dish cloths.  If you take good care of them, they will last absolutely forever.  They also make a cute gift.

7.  Turn off the cable or satellite dish.  We did (out of necessity) and until the new season of Dr. Who starts, I won't actually care.  The kids watch shows on hulu.com and my oldest has discovered the old Superman movies and Alf!  I really did miss two short PBS specials on Sapelo Island and the Okefenokee swamp that I would have liked to have seen, but I am not all that heartbroken about it.

8.  Entertain yourselves at home.  Rent redbox movies or trade movies that you own with a friend to see something new.   Hubby salvedged the bottom bowl from an old smoker that had died and put it up on some rocks and made an impromptu fire pit.  We have had numerous marshmallow and wienie roasts and they are fun!  We even did this with guests who were visiting and they had a great time.  We burned deadfall wood from our property.  Yes, we did spring for marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate (and hot dogs) but it's still cheap fun!

Anyway, if you are being hard hit by the economy, you are not alone.  Just use this time to build up some frugal skills.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Work in Progress

Well, I haven't made as much progress as I would have like to have made, but here is where we are.  I put sashings between the blocks out of a fabric that I haven't used before, but since it is blue, it works.  I love that I am able to rummage through my vintage shirts and find what I need.  This is turning out to be a very inexpensive little project so far.

I just have to decide how I want to finish this out.  I know that I will have borders around the edges, but I am not sure how many and of which fabrics.  I am currently wondering if an nice red border surrounded by pieced scrappy bits of red, tan, and blue fabrics, surrounded by another dark navy border would look.

Hmmm.  Maybe I should leave the scrappy to the binding.  I'd love it if YOU, my wonderful and glorious readers would chime in with an opinion or two.....or thirty!   I know that folks do occasionally check out my blog, so I want to know what everyone thinks would look best.

Oh, How I Love it When the Kids Share with Me...

NOT!  Well, not this time, at any rate.

What started as seasonal allergies (ragweed, yuck!) has slowly turned into sinus infections for all of us, one by one.  DS12 had it first, then DS14 (very mild case) and now lucky me!  The doctor did set me up with 2 weeks worth of antibiotics and an antihistamine spray for my nose (which works so fast that I am coughing and sneezing just moments after I take it).  The only bad thing is that the spray either runs down my throat tasting horrible or it's the drainage.  Not pleasant at all.

But, I am taking the new meds and am sure to be on the mend very soon.

Which is good, because I have quilts and lots of Christmas gifty love to work on!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Off to the doctor I go.....

Sniff.  I give up.  Really.

Two weeks with a sinus headache is just too much.  Hubby suggested I take some benadryl last night so I could sleep and help it ease up if it was allergies.  It helped (sleep is always a wonderful thing), but I woke up still hurting.

So, after school today, I am going to the doctor to see what help he offers.

Sigh.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baby steps...baby steps

Well, in between out of town guests (love them!) and sick kids (allergies backed up sinuses and now kiddos have infections and ear infections, too), I managed to get a little bit of quilting in.



Thanks to a friend who gave me an older sewing machine that has an awesome straight stitch (but no zig-zag), I am back in business.  The star on the left is machine pieced this evening.  The one on the right is hand pieced.  I love them both.  Right now, I am thinking of keeping the hand pieced block and making a wall hanging out of it.  I love the hand pieced block, but I am afraid that the machine pieced one might stand up to various washings for a baby's use a little better.

But, I absolutely love having both blocks hanging up to view them.  I am using old, discarded, I mean vintage shirting fabrics for these.  It's soft and masculine.  It is the kind of thing that I would have hung up in my kiddo's rooms for years since it isn't  kiddie type fabrics

Now, I have to machine piece three more blocks and borders.  We are taking a break from school right now, so it's a good thing that I have suddenly been gifted with a machine.  God is SO good to me!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Port-a-bil-ity!

I am fortunate to own a copy of Jinny Beyer's book, Quiltmaking By Hand.  I had purchased it quite a while back when I was looking for ideas on hand quilting designs.  I never really anticipated needing to learn to sew by hand.  But, I digress...

When I looked at the information in the book on hand piecing (great photos, by the way), I realized that I would need to keep a few supplies together so that I could work anywhere.  Here are the contents of my new portable sewing kit that I made up.  It includes, a mini tape measure, sharp scissors, a rubber coated thimble, YLI Select hand quilting thread in white (needle stuck in top for photo), needle compact (that I will refill), needle threader, and about 8 straight pins.  Now, I just needed a way to keep it all together.

 This is what I came up with (after a little research and trial and error).  It is a Tupperware Sandwich Keeper. It has a strong closure (so I won't lose my stuff) and the lid is hinged (so I can't lose it either).  There is a rather large image of the Pokemon named Jigglypuff on the front.  I pulled this out of the back of my cabinet.  Hey, if I had something that worked, I surely wasn't going to spend money on it.  Yes, I know that I am weird.  But, no one will accidentally confuse their kit with mine, I am certain of that!


Here it is, all set up in working order.  There are two strong magnets hot glued to the lid.  One holds my needle that I am currently using so that it won't get lost in the contents.  The other holds my few straight pins.  Hubby kept the magnets out of an old cell phone case.  They are really strong to be so small.  Hubby scratched up the lid a bit so that my glue would make a good bond with the magnets.

It is the size of a, well, a sandwich actually to carry around.  I keep my current block in progress in a ziplock type (but cheaper) plastic bag to keep all of my pieces together.  I can throw it in my purse, or a tote bag.

It's pretty convenient.  Today, I sewed two seams while waiting for DS14 in the orthodontist's office.  He popped a bracket off and we needed to get it fixed.  I also stitched a bit while the kids were working during homeschool time.  I imagine that if I get a used to carrying this around, I will find lots of small amounts of time where I can do a bit.  Sounds like it could add up to some serious progress to me!


A Small Victory....

 Yep.  Here she is.  The official, first ever, hand pieced block by moi!  It wasn't pressed, just completed while we were homeschooling today.  I took it outside (we homeschool with a friend's son and we use their basement) and took this photo while the sun was shining.  I used thrifted, er, I mean vintage men's shirting fabrics. Let's just say that the new local Goodwill has been very good to me.  So has my hubby, my sons, and various family members who gave me their worn out shirts.  But, I have still had to purchase a couple on half price sale (a whopping $2.20)  to get the colors that I need for various and sundry projects.

 The center blue is a tiny blue and white check, the star points are navy with various blue stripes, and the back ground is a pale blue and yellow windowpane on white.  This is the first block in the baby quilt that I am beginning for a very dear friend.  I am so excited for her as I know that she will be an awesome mom!


Here is the truth of the situation.....the back of the block.  This is where all mistakes will show up.  If you look closely you will discover that I am NOT a very good seamstress by hand.  But, that part will be hidden and more importantly, this star has POINTS, yes, real points.

I have impressed myself to no end!  LOL!

Ragweed, ACK!!!

Apparently, from the stands of yellow flowers I see growing everywhere, ragweed is in full bloom around here.

Lucky me.

Judging from the fact that my entire brood (self included) is coughing, hacking, sinus headache-y, and tremendous mucous making machines, that we are officially allergic.

Yay.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A block to remember

Well, it will be when I get it sewed together!  I have cut out the first of the four Sawtooth Star blocks for the baby quilt in progress.   I have put together a little, portable sewing kit to take this project on the road.  Lately, I find that I may get more done if I can do a seam here or there while the kids are working on school work or while waiting for kiddos at the orthodontist, etc.

It's four blocks, so I don't see this as being an astronomical time hog.  Now, if I were doing a couple of hundred Drunkard's Path blocks or something, I can see hand piecing as really slowing things down, but just four blocks doesn't seem to be so daunting.

I will try to take a few pics tomorrow (when the light is better) of my little sewing kit and (with luck) my block.  Then I will have to cut out another one!  I am afraid that I will have to purchase another tan shirt or two in order to make this work.  I hate to buy more, but I want this to be really super-cute!

I have never really done many star blocks before and I always have a hard time lining up the star points.  I am hoping that hand piecing will allow me to make it look really nice.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A little bit of progress

Well, if my computer and blogger could agree how to proceed with a photo, this is where I would show you some vintage sheet charm squares (from my swap) that I hand pieced into pairs last night.

I have to admit that it went better than expected.  I am still trying to figure out which of my thimbles work best for this.  My good thimble (Roxanne) doesn't seem to work well for this, but it is a dream when I am hand quilting.

I pinned up a bunch more squares to practice on.  I will start joining them into 4 patches when I get them all done.  I figure that I can't do much of anything yet on a "real" project until a) payday comes  (I need straw needles and maybe some 1/4 inch tape) and b) I know if I can pull this off well enough to even bother with something that is for a gift.

So, I will keep on with it.  It isn't difficult so far and I enjoy having some hand work to do when I am just sitting.  At best, I will eventually have a vintage sheet quilt for summertime.  Love that idea.  At worst, I will have a wall hanging for spring and summer for view when you enter my front door.

If I can get photos to post later, I will.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I see stars....

Sawtooth stars, actually. Somewhere, I have seen a tutorial or pattern for a Sawtooth Star pattern in around 14 to 15 inches square. I think that 4 of these blocks would be lovely for my baby quilt that I am working on. The mom-to-be wanted navy blue, primarily, but said I could add lighter blues and beige/cream/tan. So...

After much searching and gnashing of teeth, I decided that I could do a Sawtooth Star quilt that would look very planned and nice using a nice, light tan for the block background, light blue for the block centers and navy for the star points, and borders. Maybe a thin, tan background around the blocks before the navy. I wouldn't want the star points to get lost. I also have enough fabric from thrifted shirts to make this an economical project, even if I did have to pick up another shirt or two in the right colors. Right now, economics is playing a very heavy handed role in my decision making. Since we turned the satellite dish off, we are watching movies of an evening (we watched Henry V with Kenneth Brannaugh last night) or listening to the radio. Either way, some handwork makes me happy while I watch or listen.

Anyway, I figure that the whole thing could finish out at round 36 inches square, which isn't a bad baby size quilt.

I am also planning to make a real quilt label this time and not just write on the backing with a permanent pigma pen! Ha! I am so fancy--he! This baby will come into the world in style. I don't know that this baby has any members of his family with "Granny" skills, so I came to the rescue.

Actually, the mom-to-be is a former student who I dearly love! Even if she would have received quilts from every person in her family, I still would have made one.

Gotta finish up the logistics, since I may be piecing this one by hand--yikes! Not my first choice, but I think I can pull it off. Wednesday (payday) I am off to The Gardener's Quilts in Jackson to get some 1/4 inch quilters tape and some straw needles so that I can begin.

I love having a project that is ongoing, so I am pleased to have made a decision on this one. Of course, I still have my brown log cabin to hand quilt and I will start that one right after.

But, first priority is that I really can't wait to get my hands on that baby! How am I ever going to wait until late December??? Good grief. If I can't wait, how must she and her Mom feel?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Off the Deep End?

Maybe. This idea just might be totally off the deep end...

When my mom had surgery recently, she asked family members to be my FaceBook friends so that I could update them from my phone and get information out quickly without making a bazillion phone calls. So, many of them did. And they were updated.

Today, I mentioned quilting in a message and I got a reply from a family member. Not anyone I am close to, but a great aunt that I have met one or two times. She is a quilter.

Who knew??? Well, actually my mom knew but forgot to mention it. But, I love that! She and her hubby travel lots in a motor home and she takes projects along to work on. Love that, too!

By hand. Now, I like to quilt by hand. I am still a beginner but the process is awesome and relaxing. But, piecing by hand? I don't know about that one! I don't have great manual dexterity at all. Mom was thrilled when I learned to type and quilt by hand--I never could embroider or anything else. But, a rocking stitch slowly came to me. Somehow.

So, now I am almost tempted to hand piece a little something. You know, just to see if I could. Maybe my hand stitching would be less cantankerous than my slowly dying machine. It would be frugal. It would be slow. It might be fun. It might be harder than it looks. It might fall apart the first time I wash it.

Hubby thinks it is a swell idea.

Of course, I think that he wants off the hook to buy a new machine-LOL! Truth be told, he really isn't, but money is surely tight around here lately and we have other things that need to be replaced also.

Things are a bit better today...

Homeschool is running much more smoothly today. Whatever abducted my kid and left me to deal with a horrible mess seems to have returned to the mother ship.

I even got him to write his first 5 paragraph essay and it ain't half bad! I typed it for him, but it is all his work.

Maybe venting about it made the worst of it go away. I sure hope so.

You might not, because that likely means far more venting in my future-LOL!

After school, I have to make a few work phone calls and then I hope to sew for an hour or so. I decided to start sewing on the quilt that I am giving my Dad for Christmas (glad he doesn't read the blog). The top is all cut out and it will feel productive to get it pulled together. My Mom's Christmas quilt is all done except for binding, so I am ahead of the game on that one (glad she isn't a blog reader, too). Still mulling over a nice (frugal) crafty gift idea (matching hand towels and dish cloths maybe?)for others this Christmas. But, I have time. I have to get the baby quilt together first.

Amanda Jean's filmstrip quilt on crazymomquilts.blogspot.com is looking pretty good too. I could just alternate shirting fabbies with some white or unbleached muslin. Hmmm. Too many choices. But, it is fun to ponder!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Fair!

Between helping to take care of my Mom, homeschool for 3 boys, and starting a new business venture (slowly....s l o w l y....), I feel like I am hardly able to get anything done (including laundry) well or even at all, sometimes.

You would think that with the economy and how tight money is for us, that since we are home more that we would be able to get so much more done!

Lately, I am so spent from our homeschool time that I take a nap when I get home. I need the break--dealing with my oldest is totally emotional! But, it eats into my productive time, if you could even call it that.

I guess I need to be more regimented. I am expecting the boys to help more around the house with chores, etc. I think that maybe this place will look relatively presentable in the near future. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

But, I am absolutely itching to quilt. Something fabulous. Really fabulous. Now!

I need to make a baby quilt for a friend who is having her first baby. She wants navy blue. She liked my suggestion to add lighter blues, and maybe some white or cream. But, even though I have pored over the internet looking for ideas, I can't settle on anything. My mind is just so addled lately that I am taking way too long to just focus.

I am thinking with that color scheme, that thrifted men's shirts could look fun and very "little man" for the quilt. I've even got a few shirts, just no inspiration that I can claim. My stash fabrics look a little too floral and cutesy for this quilt. The mom is not wanting anything feminine at all, so my swirly little scraps are out this time. I do love the idea of creating an heirloom for my friend's new baby without breaking the bank! This economy does keep us being creative, doesn't it?

It's crazy. I even have a bed sized quilt basted and ready for hand quilting and I just can't seem to get started. It's like I am too tired to pick it up, even though I love to sit and quilt of an evening while the kids and hubby watch a movie, etc.

I have got to get past this little slump I am in so I don't lose my mind. I need my quilt therapy (I can't afford the other kind--LOL)!

Whew! It's a Wild Ride...

Life, it seems, has me over a barrel right now. At least it seems like it. Returning to homeschooling with my two boys (one gifted, one Aspie that is LD math) and a hearing impaired child of a friend (with cochlear implants, amazing technology) is keeping me busy and worried. I feel like I have been on a roller coaster until I am ready to lose the proverbial lunch!

My oldest (the Aspie) just turned 14 (how did that happen???) and suddenly his behavior and attitudes have taken a turn for the worse. He has never liked to be pushed academically (or physically, for that matter) but he will comply if pressed. Now, it is getting much more difficult to direct him and he is balking at doing even the things he is very good at. I know that it may be just part of the "teenage" thing, but it has pushed me way beyond my limits for the last two weeks (let's just say that I am not going to be eligible for "mommy of the year" any time soon). I can honestly say that I don't anticipate surviving 4 more years of this.

It's heartbreaking that just overnight, I can't seem to reach him. I'm really bummed about this.

My mom had a huge cancer scare and had major surgery. Turns out that she did have a growth in her abdomen, but it was benign (praise God!). We've been checking on her and helping out where we can, but that has messed with our schedules--and my oldest loves counting on the schedule.

Actually, Mom's surgery coincides with the beginning of this two week period where my Aspie began losing all control (minor exaggeration). It also was just before the 14th birthday. I wonder if he is upset and more volatile than usual because of him being aware that Granny is not 100% just yet and he hasn't been going over for his usual sleep overs with Granny and Grandpa.

Sure wish I could figure this one out.

Younger son is doing well. He loves the curriculum we are using (Sonlight), especially the historical fiction. This curriculum is full of amazing books! He wrote his first essay draft today and I am pretty impressed. He doesn't need me as much for a teacher, but just to keep him focused on getting the work done. He likes to learn.

Any homeschool Moms out there who can share some insight? I'm open to suggestions!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Out of Sorts

It sure seems odd that I am not posting quilty things lately. I am kind of at a standstill for a few reasons. We are just starting our second week of homeschooling and that's a little involved from a planning standpoint. I am starting a new business and my kick off event is this Saturday, so I am frantically cleaning house, attending training, watching training online, etc. Worst of all, until I can earn the money to purchase the new sewing machine, it is unlikely that I can get anything done at all. Sigh.

I did find out that a young friend of mine wants red, white, and black for her baby quilt, so that is another project on the back burner. Her baby is due just before Christmas.

So, I feel like I am in a quilty fog. Lots of projects adding up, but not working on any for now. Ick.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What is with the comments?

I like it when people comment on my site. I really do. It is a neat way to have some kind of contact with my readers.

But, lately I have been getting some really sleazy comments in a foreign language. I don't post about quilting, homeschooling, frugal living, and being a mom to have comments that are essentially links to overseas porn sites floating around. Yuck!

I have gone through and deleted several, but now I am wondering if I will have to turn on comment moderation to avoid some of this disgusting stuff.

Any thoughts? Legitimate comments are always welcomed!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Okay, Blogger--What Gives?

Okay, I ranted about the blogs that I follow being erased from my list. Well, Blogger must have been listening, because just a few minutes later, they were returned.

Thank you, Blogger! Can we be friends again???

A New Adventure

Well, after a summer of not being able to make the bills, the need to homeschool my children (one gifted; one mildly autistic)wins out over returning to my teaching gig. But, we still needed to get some money coming into the household for any "extras" or "fun" that we could even begin to imagine.

Not to mention that my sewing machine is dying and hubby has to work on it each and every time I try to sew for more than 10 minutes or so. Our couch has succumbed to the daily wear and tear (and general disrespect) that my two sons have generously heaped upon it. Add to that the porch and deck that never got built on our house when it was built 5 years ago, and the fact that I haven't had new eyeglasses in 5 years and am starting to have some vision issues. Oh, yeah, don't forget that I have lost 47 lbs. (as of this morning) and I don't have many clothes left that fit.

So, in a moment of pure serendipity, I stumbled across an incredible opportunity. I was invited to a Premier Designs Jewelry party. Needless to say, I am broke, so I made a minimal purchase of small, silver plated earrings. But, the more I looked at the jewelry, the more I was simply impressed with it. I scheduled a party to help my friend out, but eventually, I thought that I could be the Jewelry Lady.

Long story short, this company is amazing, debt free, and based on Biblical principals. So, now I am a Jewelry Lady. I am starting to schedule shows and my kick-off event is on August 14th! I am so excited! I have even been invited to have a booth at a craft show kind of venue. It is all so amazing!!!

If you are in Georgia and would like to know more information, let me know and I will get back with you!

EXPLAIN, please!

I would like to know exactly WHY Blogger just decided to erase all of the blogs that I am following. There were around 100. Now, I will have to take time to try and track them all down again. That makes me so mad!

Technology is supposed to make my life a little easier, not more difficult. UGH!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

well, not exactly in the deep South, but you know what I mean. We are, gulp, 5 months out from Christmas! So, my dining room is looking a little rough with all kinds of Christmas goodness coming together.

Right now, I have cut out pieces to make a certain someone a lap quilt.


And now I am in the middle of cutting up thrifted shirts for a Smokey Mountain Stars Quilt from the
Quiltville site. This will be a generous couch quilt for someone special.



Beyond that, I have a log cabin lap quilt ready to go (minus binding) for Christmas day.



So, I am making progress toward all of the gifty goodness! But, there is so much to do and so many secrets to keep--hehehe! Good thing I picked up more shirts at the thrift store today. Got some good colors, even some cool greens!

It's Hard to Keep a Secret!

But, unfortunately, it is very necessary sometimes, especially when the secret involves two matching gift items for nieces' birthdays! I have been dying to post more about them, but I knew that my tech savvy nieces might see them. So....

Without further ado!



This is a purse with two interior pockets made for my 9 year old niece. She seemed to think that it was cool!



This purse is for her big sister who is turning 14! Yikes! She seemed to love that hers was scaled up with a few extra details to differentiate it.

So, I have made two gifts this week. Unfortunately, neither one was a Christmas gift. So, I have to get cracking on that front!