Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Best Kind of Busy

Before I get to my quilting adventures, I have to brag on Lucas. He's 7 and last night was his Awana Grand Prix night. A month or so ago they got their blocks of wood to be carved as they wish. Many are various versions of cars and trucks, some clearly done by the children, some clearly done by their parents.

Lucas decided he wanted to make a rat. Yikes. I gently tried to talk him out of it, wondering how in the world we would make that block of wood look like a rat. He would not be swayed.

Joshua (21) did the rough carve for the shape and Lucas did all the sanding and painted it. He helped pick out the nose, eyes and ears and I hot glued them on. Here is the result.

We were quite pleased with it and he happily went off to the races. I was unable to go along because of car issues, I waited almost nervously, hoping that he had a good night and that his car made it down the track. I needn't have worried. He came home even happier, with a first place trophy for design. Not only did he win the trophy, but Joshua says he had a fan club. EVERYONE loved his car and when his car ran everyone in the room was rooting for the "mouse", even the kids he was racing against! There were 3 little girls that were particularly vocal and one asked if she could have the car (thank goodness he's still too young to be swayed by a cute girl!) His car definitely was the buzz of the night. He nearly had a chance to win for speed, too, getting to the final heat in the first bracket. The first place car for speed was a wedge of cheese, I can't believe no one thought to get a picture of the mouse and cheese together.

Afterwards they could run the cars just for fun. During the race, the tail had to be taped up so as to keep the car regulation length and not potentially obstruct other cars but afterwards he could take it down. It was even more of a hit then, the tail wiggling out behind, the kids said it looked just like a mouse was running down the track.

Now onto quilting! As the weather warms I know my time to quilt will likely be greatly diminished so I'm taking full advantage now. I plan to start walking most, if not all, of the local errands so that will take a fair amount of time. I do hope to be able to do a fair amount of handwork while outside with Ruthie, but that is somewhat weather dependent.

In the last couple of days I've gotten a lot of my little things done. I made the binding the for the baby quilt (I always make the binding when I finish the top.) I did all the cutting for the leaf block quilt, it has stars as the cornerstones of the sashing and it's set on point so there are the funny sized side pieces to contend with. I even made the binding and put everything in this basket. My problem lately is I've had so many projects going that I have elements of them all over my sewing room. I'm spending the rest of the day organizing them all so I can easily find what I need/want to do.

The things I'd been putting off was designing the toppers. I'm really looking forward to doing them, but I sometimes find the design process frustrating. I tend to go overboard and I was afraid of doing that to myself again. With 16 of these to make, it's imperative that I be reasonable about it.

I ended up semi-reasonable. I determined early on that it needed to be a circular design so the candle and vase could go in the middle. I tend to get frustrated appliquing flowers with all the little indents, so was going to make yo-yo flowers. I experimented laying out a few of those and it seemed too corny. After looking through several books, I found a wonderful pattern, the posie had gentle curves and it seemed doable. I substituted a symmetrical leaf for an asymmetrical one for ease in making and placing pieces and will put a small yo-yo as the center circle with a little pearl in the middle. I have the freezer paper pieces cut for the first one and fabrics pulled, hopefully today I'll be ironing them together and maybe even basting some of the pieces. I'm anxious now to get this first block together so I can see what I've gotten myself into!

Everything is ready to go on the ring block quilt, I'm having to stop myself from beginning the construction but I really want to save it for tomorrow night. A good part of my day today will be spent getting ready for tomorrow. Straightening my sewing room and making eggrolls and crab rangoon being top on the list. I hope that I'm still left with some quilting time today...I should be...but with grocery shopping and babysitting thrown in the mix it will be a busy day.

Now I have to run. I still have bedhead and with any luck my husband will be back with his van so I can grocery shop in about half an hour. I'll leave you with a picture of Ruthie, who lined up her various dollies on the steps and planted herself in the middle of them, quite please with herself.

Happy Quilting!
Sue and Ruthie

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lots of Little Things

That's what this week is going to be.

I'm having a retreat night with a friend on Friday night. She's coming just after I get home from my quilting bee, we'll make a quick and easy dinner and then we'll sew until we drop. Hopefully we'll make it until morning, which is the plan.

I'm doing some careful plannning and prepping this week so Friday will be as productive and as much fun as possible.

First off, the food. We love sauteed cabbage, mushrooms and shrimp, that will be our dinner. I'll chop the vegetables in the morning and all we'll have to do is toss it all in a skillet. Thursday I'm making eggrolls and crab rangoon, those will go into the deep fryer while dinner is sauteeing and they will also make good nibbles later in the night for staving off the sleepies. I saw a recipe on the Food Network for Procuitto wrapped carrots which will also make another good nibbly thing. Combined with nuts and some cheese, the food is covered and it's all easy and delicious.

With a bunch of projects in the works, usually a couple come to the forefront. I don't want to let any of them fall into the cracks, though, so I made a list this week of the next step on each so I can progress on them all. I hope to have all of these little things done this week as I'm saving the big steps on a couple of projects for our Friday night sewing fest. These little things include cutting background for the anniversary toppers and for the "leaf" blocks (a design made with leaf shaped elements), choosing fabric for the toppers and sketching out a design, marking the small border on my current hand quilting project, cutting sashing pieces for the leaf blocks, choosing border fabric for the (now finished) ring blocks, choosing fabric for the celtic border on the leaf block quilt, marking the ring blocks and marking, basting and making binding for the baby quilt I just finished. Whew!

My major project for Friday night is putting together the ring block top. If I finish that (I should barring complications along the way), I might do some hand quilting and also have a bunch of bowtie blocks cut and ready to sew. More than likely I will just machine sew as hand quilting is so relaxing for me I'm afraid it might put me to sleep. Pictured are the ring blocks with their alternating block. I'm very excited about quilting this one, though with toppers and the album quilt to be done by August, this one will likely sit on the back burner for most of the summer.

While going through a cabinet in my kitchen I found all the cups that go with my set of china. We bought the china at a garage sale, I think it's seconds, actually, as there are some flaws in the designs on some pieces if you look for them. I never use these cups, even when we have company, I'm a mug kind of girl and drink my coffee in a tall latte cup. I LOVE pincushions so decided to make pincushions out of the china cups. I picked 3 different fabrics and went to town. I had enough saucers for almost all of them, the saucer will be good for holding a spool of thread, small scissors, thimble and other small notions.

One of these will go to my friend Friday night, a little souvenir from our "retreat night." They were great fun to make and it makes me want to scour antique shops for mismatched china cups to make some more!

While typing out my long list of "little things" I've been trying to figure out which ones I want to do today. The ring blocks are almost all marked, so I'll certainly finish that today. I have part of one piece of sashing left to quilt before I need to mark the small border on my hoop quilt, I'll finish that quilting and mark it so I have it to work on while watching TV tonight.

I also plan to cut the background for the toppers and leaf blocks and would like to mark and baste the baby quilt. I can't show that one yet as it's a test project for my friend Tyanne and she requests that I not show my test work until the pattern is published. I'm more than happy to oblige. Visit her website to see her patterns and learn more about her.

If I finish the planned things for today, I'll just pick something else from my list. I have today and tomorrow to get the bulk of it done as Thursday and Friday are both busy for a good part of the day.

Ruthie LOVED the pincushion cups when she saw them. My sewing table is visible coming down the stairs and she stopped, her eyes got huge, she pointed and giggled and quickly made her way to the table where she climbed on the chair and gently patted each cushion that she could reach.

I look forward to the days when she can quilt with me. She is interested in all the little supplies and doodads that go with quilting and will sometimes play in the fabric. She definitely loves quilts and lays claim on all the small ones I make. I lay them out on the floor to get a good look and she happily lays on each one, then picks it up and walks away. I just might have to see if I can find some sewing cards for her and soon she'll be able to glue fabric scraps to paper. She's definitely a quilter in the making!

So that's it for today, I've got to run if I expect to get any of my list done today. Except for possibly having music practice tonight (I sing 1-2 times per month on the worship team) my day is wide open, I'm hoping to make the most of it!

Happy Quilting!
Sue and Ruthie

Monday, February 18, 2008

Somebody Help Me!

I don't even know where to begin! If you watch my quilting log at all, you've seen that I've spent a lot of time at my projects. I could easily spend all day, every day, sewing, planning, quilting and doing anything else that is quilt related. It's the most productive post-holiday time that I can remember having and I'm loving it!

I spent a lot of time this weekend pulling paper off of the back of the paper pieced quilt. I got the 2 inch muslin border sewn on and today the outer brown print border is going on. Yesterday, when the bulk of the paper was off (I had left the outer row intact until the border was on) I laid it out on my bed and was thrilled with the result. I will most certainly being doing at least one more quilt like this, as I really want to experiment a bit and try it with white and brights and possibly spinning the units that make up a block and see what happens.

I hope to baste this one in the next couple of weeks along with another top. The ring blocks are nearly finished and I hope to finish piecing that top very soon. Since I need to clear off my table to baste, I try to do more than one project if I can.

I finished my bags over the weekend, I made 15 altogether. There are 8 of the darker blue ones, 3 of the floral and 4 of the lighter blue, striped bags (these are heavier fabric, too, for those heavier items.) I keep one in my purse, that worked well over the weekend when I didn't want to wear my new suede shoes out in the weather...I wore my crocs with my heels in the bag, which folded up nicely in my purse until I needed it again.

This is my "bag o' bags", this quilting tote was given to me by a friend (who had it given to her some years prior.) It's made of an old quilt that had seen better days. The handles are a bit short, so it doesn't work for most of what I use my bags for, it made a perfect bag for my bags, though. It hangs on a hanger in my pantry for easy access and out of the way storage.

I've got the brown border sewn together and the binding is made, too. I've got one side pinned on and ready to sew. I'll finish the rest of those in short order. I'm going to make freezer paper foundation pieces for a quilt pattern I'm testing for my friend who designs patterns. I can't show any of it until it's published, but when it is you'll see it here. To see her website and her available patterns, visit

I had hoped to finish the ring blocks today, too, but with a big dinner on the agenda (my husband is home tonight because of President's Day) I'm not sure if that's realistic. These little blocks always seem to take me longer than I think they will. Still, I hope to at least make a dent, I think I have 4 blocks left. I also need to find the other blocks that are finished and the alternating blocks, I can't seem to locate them at the moment.

In looking for the ring blocks, I also found some blocks for a smaller project that are finished and ready to be sewn into a top, those (along with the border strips) are on my sewing table as well, that will be finished in the next couple of days, also.

It's time to run, I want to get as much sewing as possible done today and I have a sink full of dishes to tackle before dinner prep starts.

And as usual, a picture of Ruthie. Here she is snuggled up with her baby for her umpteenth viewing of "Elf"

Happy quilting and keep warm!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Going Green ... and Other Stuff

I've been slowly making changes, mostly because I try to be frugal and am really trying to cut our budget wherever possible. I try to make sure lights are turned off, it keeps our bill down and reduces the emissions from the bulbs, too, which I hear are some of the worst for the atmosphere.

We put out as little garbage as possible because we pay by the bag, I recycle all that I can and I mostly cook from scratch, we have very little garbage output for a busy family of 8.

In addition, I'm a bagaholic! I admit it, I love bags of all kinds, sizes, shapes and materials. So you can imagine how intrigued I was when I first heard about making cloth grocery bags. I've been hearing more and more about it and how bad the plastic bags are for the environment on a couple of bulletin boards that I read. I was inspired by Michelle's blog and her picture of her trunk full of groceries in cloth bags. I poked around my fabric stash and found the perfect piece to use, I've tried to put it in quilts as border or sashing over and over and it just isn't right for what I usually do (the piece was given to me by a friend who tried to quilt but just couldn't get into it) so I cut it up to make bags. Eight of them. I finished the last seam as my husband walked in the door at 11 last night.

I knew that I probably didn't have enough for my full week worth of groceries, but I added a few other random bags to my stash and off I went. I did end up with plastic bags at Meijer even though I went to the self check because I went to the full order lane and one of the ladies that oversees the self check lanes started to bag my groceries for me. Usually this won't be a problem as my 15 year old usually shops with me and bags while I check.

I think the checker in Walmart was quite surprised when I told her I had my own bags and would bag my own. I couldn't get it in the bags quickly enough because of that small space on top of the bag carousel, so I just loaded everything in my cart and moved off to the side and bagged it there. She didn't have any more customers and came over offering to help me, but I knew I'd rather put things how I wanted them in the bags anyway.

I found more fabric today, a nice floral print that will make 3 bags and a heavier striped fabric that will make 4. The striped ones will be good for heavier items like 2 liter bottles of soda, bags of flour, etc. I have the floral ones cut and hope to get all 7 made today. I should be set for a while. I may even keep one folded up in my purse (they fold quite small) for unexpected trips to the store.

Speaking of purses, I got a new one (though I do try to be frugal with consumables, I do love new things...and I keep and use my things for many years.) Does anyone remember "Mad About You"? I loved that show (until it got weird at the end) and Jamie always carried this large leather bag that she seemed to always have everything she needed in and she could always find what she wanted. I've tried carrying bigger bags in the past, but it just wasn't what I expected it to be. As a larger woman, I always felt that much bigger when I carried a big bag and bumped into everything.

I'm smaller now, though, and thought I'd try the "big bag" thing again. Plus I have certain things I really do want to carry with me...and I'll be carrying things around for Ruthie for a while yet, too. I started looking at all the local stores and just wasn't finding what I was looking for.

I saw something that I liked at Meijer some months back, before I was really in the market for one. It was more than I hoped to spend and a little too trendy looking. It had an unusual shape but I knew it was similar to what I wanted. Of course when I was actually ready to buy, all that was left at Meijer were bags that looked much more tote-bag-ish.

Walmart had nothing at all, Kohl's had a beautiful bag that was $55 ON SALE. Yikes, but I'm not sure the shape was really what I was looking for. Then I checked Target and I knew I'd found it. It was labeled a work tote and I'm sure it's meant to be used as a briefcase, but it was just what I wanted. On the larger side, but nice looking, it has body to it so it keeps it's shape when set down. It has a removable zippered pouch with a bit of stiffness to it, meant to protect paperwork. I keep a clipboard in it for when I grocery shop and also with blank paper on it for Ruthie to scribble on. A removable cell phone pouch, a zippered pocket, pen pockets and a couple of other small pockets keep things handy. I shopped with it for the first time today and loved it. I will have a hard time switching to a summer bag, I think!

I also splurged on a pair of shoes. I've been babysitting lately, and while I pad our grocery budget with some of it, I'm also left with a bit of money to spend on other things. I found these shoes while shopping with my daughter and had to have them. They are really comfortable with the size heel that I just love. I don't have much to wear them with right now, LOL, but I did manage to find something in my closet in my current size to wear to church that they will accent nicely. I seem to be on a brown shoe kick, LOL, it's been years since I had or wore any brown shoes!

The paper pieced blocks are done and sewn into rows so that top will be finished soon. I should have a lot of sewing time tomorrow and I hope to have all the bags finished tonight. Of course, as careful as I was I managed to put one block on wrong. Thankfully I saw it before the whole top was together. I should be able to just rip out the one block and re-sew it properly, which is one nice thing about paper piecing. Can you see the improperly placed block? The third from the left is turned wrong. I'm hoping to have enough gumption to pull it out after I'm done sewing bags for the evening, if it seems too daunting I'll leave that for tomorrow and hand quilt or applique instead.

The ring blocks are going well, I've finished 4 in the last couple of days and would like to finish those this weekend and start working on the anniversary topper blocks.

I did a lot of babysitting this past week and running errands had to be shifted around. I was able to spend quite a lot of time sewing in spite of that. This next week should be much easier, I'm hoping that means even more time to sew. With so many projects in the works and the weather still being quite wintry, I'm taking advantage of being housebound and energized.

And just because, a Ruthie picture.
Happy Quilting and stay warm!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Decidedly On A Roll!

This has been a very productive month so far. I've been able to find 3 hours or more each day (except one, see my sidebar for my log) to work on quilting projects and it definitely shows when I check my current projects.

The blocks are nearly done for the paper piecing project (4 units make a block) and I will definitely go ahead and finish this top before setting it aside. The red and black quilt doesn't have much quilting left, then the purple flower quilt will be quilted, and by then I hope to have my parents' album quilt ready to quilt (though I STILL haven't picked out which album block I want to do.)

The flower ring blocks (from the previous post) I hope to have done within the next week and then I'll also assemble that top, the alternating blocks are ready and waiting so that top will be completed soon as well.

In the process of reorganizing my sewing room a couple of months back, I found this nifty handwork pillow that I made from a pattern. I haven't used it in a long time, when I was heavier it didn't fit well on my lap and mostly just got in the way. Now I can use it so I'm trying to get into the habit as it gives my hands somewhere to rest. It also conveniently holds everything I need to applique which is handy when I'm sitting without a table nearby. On top are elastic loops for holding thread, and a "V" of elastic for holding scissors. The back and sides have pockets and the front is a strap for carrying (thought I don't use that unless I'm sure my supplies will stay put.) It is nice that everything is so easily accessible, yet I can pick up the whole thing and move to another spot. I made this several years ago and the elastic has lost some of it's snap, I may have to take a few stitches here and there to tighten it up. If I think I might be using this a lot again, I may even replace the elastic, I just remembered (and checked to be sure I remembered correctly, LOL) that there is a zipper and I can unstuff it easily and put on new elastic should I so desire. Right now it is loaded up with the supplies for the flower ring blocks, soon it will be full of supplies for the toppers for my parents' anniversary party.

I was going to start the anniversary toppers yesterday, but got on a roll with the ring blocks and decided to go with that. I had originally planned to make quilting that top the post-holiday project as I was going to finish the blocks and assemble the top after my Christmas work was finished and before the holidays were over, but I got involved in all the message table runners.

I'm loving this quilting frenzy time and it should continue all summer. Ruthie loves to be outside and I try to have smaller projects at the ready so I can sit outside and sew/quilt while she plays. Last year we had to do a bit of chasing her, but it wasn't too bad, this year she should be even better at following directions so I shouldn't have to jump up and down quite so much. With all the toppers to make I'll have plenty of small projects to keep me busy while we enjoy the nice summer days...and for the HOT ones we'll be hiding inside with the air conditioning, LOL, so I'll still be able to quilt!

I already have a front yard spot and a back yard spot set up. I sit in the front on cooler afternoons because the sun is on the porch and on the warmer mornings when the porch is still shaded. I have a swing in the backyard that is mostly shaded these days (but can be moved to the sun on cooler days) because of our now very large trees in the back. I have to say even though I'm not ready for winter to be over, I do look forward to the smells of spring, spring breezes and enjoying it all with some handwork and a nice cool beverage!

Just talking about it all has me raring to go so I'd better get to it. I have to make my grocery list for tomorrow and do a few quick chores, but otherwise the day is wide open for sewing.
Happy quilting...and keep warm!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Baby, It's COLD Outside!

Brrrrrr! Yikes it's been cold. I LOVE winter. Love it. I'm always sad when it's over. I do love the change of seasons and part of me gets a thrill when the windows can be opened, the leaves start to bud and a trip to the car isn't an ordeal, but at the same time I lament the passing of winter. We're supposed to get another 3 to 5 inches of snow tonight, people all around are groaning and it's hard for me to contain the smile.

This month in particular my sewing is going gangbusters and I get more and more excited about these projects I'm working on.

Here is the block for the paper piecing project. The plan was to set aside this one to do the anniversary party table toppers but now I have a new plan. I have geen going round and round trying to figure out how I wanted these toppers to look and nothing was doing it for me. Using all gold and white (50th anniversary) sounded BORING, even with different shades and fabrics. I like brown and gold, but that wasn't doing it for me either. I thought about not worrying about color and using jewel tones and while I think that would be pretty, that wasn't quite right either. I kicked around using one big block, 4 smaller blocks, 16 little bitty blocks...nope. I knew I had to find just the right thing.

I think I finally have it. I thought about applique but dismissed it as too much work. One big applique block? That might work. A ring of flowers and leaves would leave a spot in the middle for the vase to hold the candles. I could use the platter or not depending on if I can find enough of them at the right price. How do I make the perfect circle, though? Leaves are really fun to applique, do I want to mess with all those posies?

As I sat yesterday I glanced at my pegboard. There was the perfect sized hoop for the circle. As I dug through my basket gathering up thread, etc, for the applique bag for my purse, I saw the little yo yo makers I just bought. I had the passing thought that they were probably a waste of money and then remembered I thought they would be really fun to use for flowers on an applique vine for a quilt border. DING DING DING! We have a winner! A ring of leaves with posies made of 5 small and/or one larger yo yo. A small quilted motif in the corners and then cross hatching. I quickly ran through the project in my head...I'd need bias for the circle, too...and I have some made for another project I'm working on...more than enough to finish the project and do at least some of these toppers...which means I can get some of them to the quilting stage before I need to make more...IF I need to make more.

I have to finish these project blocks first, though, so I'll have used all the vine that I need for them. I guess I could cheat and just do the vine part (I just realized that as I was typing, LOL) but I really want to finish them and assemble the top. That was my planned post holiday project so it would be nice to finish it and get it basted.

I still need to figure out an album block, too, but in the meantime I have plenty to keep me busy. I'll assemble the paper pieced block top, finish the flower blocks and assemble that top. I can prepare the applique for the toppers and get a few of those tops assembled and then quilted to see what kind of time I need to do thirteen of them (if they come up with a few more party guests, I made need a couple more...I might even just make a couple extra just in case....I can always use them here or save them for bridal shower gifts.) Thankfully I've been writing all these projects down so none get lost in the shuffle!

And somehow through all of this quilting my house is in decent shape, too.

Usually once I get on the computer, my morning ends up gone, which is why I haven't been posting nearly every day like at the beginning. Generally I think my life is pretty boring! I think the key will be figuring out what I really want to say before I get on...I'm really charged up about all this quilting so it was easy to pop this one off.

Someday soon I'll tell Ruthie's story, but for now I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of her. She nearly always blinks when I take her picture, so her eyes are closed or have that half-drunk look, here is a pretty good one with her beautiful eyes opened. I love her profile but it's hard to get that, too, she's a ham and will turn to the camera if she knows one is there. This time she turned to me, but I was able to get her to turn her head to take the picture (in both she has the ever present bowl of noodles, LOL.)

Happy quilting and keep warm!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Snow Day!

Overnight Tuesday we were supposed to get a lot of snow. As the day progressed, the predictions downgraded and I have to admit, I was disappointed. I love big snows and we really don't get very many here.

A couple of inches (maybe) fell overnight and I woke up to the sound of snowplows. I turned on WGN to find out what was actually going on with the weather and saw the running scroll bar of closed schools. Hmmm. As I listened, I found out that the snow flurries falling were going to turn to quite a snow storm, beginning to fall heavily around mid-morning. Sure enough, about 9:00am, the snow started to fall in earnest and fell that way for a majority of the day. All told we got about a foot of snow.

My husband's second job is as a janitor for the local high school. With school closed, they sometimes don't have to go and thankfully he got a call at 8am saying that he didn't have to go in. He did have a job he had to do for our business and unfortunately it involved going in and out of 13 different buildings. It normally takes him just about until he has to go to the school job to get it done, not having to go to school meant he could take his time. The job is right here in town, too, so at least the driving worry wasn't so big. Our son works for an apartment complex, he went in early and spent most of his time shoveling and salting walks. When he got home at 12:30, quite a bit of snow had fallen and it took 5 of us to get his truck into the driveway. My husband got home about 2:30, only an hour after he usually finished that job, I was really glad to have the whole family home and safe by mid-afternoon. Here are a few pictures from our yard, the top one the bushes at the front of our house, the middle our poor, still sick van and the last a view out of my dining room sliding door. Today the sun is shining brightly and it's just beautiful out there. I just love the snow and was really energized all day yesterday, I sewed/quilted for nearly 8 hours and am raring to go today, too.

I sat and sewed within sight of the picture window until it got too dark to see. In the middle of the afternoon I put a pot of soup on to simmer and started up the bread machine, so dinner was super easy to serve and clean up. I added one muslin piece to almost all of the paper pieced blocks, so there is only one more piece to go. I don't know if I'll finish that today but I should be able to get close. Tonight I'll hand quilt, the older kids will all be gone at Youth Group and that leaves me here with the littles who are usually happily ensconced in their own play during the evening hours. I have only a few blocks left to quilt on the red and black quilt, I'm hoping to be binding that one sometime next week.

Ruthie's new thing is her magna doodle, I finally got pictures of her doing it. She will sit for an hour or more, scribbling away and erasing, I'll bet she's solving the worlds problems on that little thing!
So that's it. I'm off to sew, a lot I hope, at least until mid-afternoon when the baby I sometimes watch will be getting here. During that few hours I'll work on dinner and play with him, then tonight I should be able to mostly quilt. I'll find something good on TV (I'm a Law & Order junkie and reruns are on almost every night) or I'll pop in a movie and poke my poor little sore finger some more...I'm at that point on this quilt that I can't wait to finish it which means it will get a lot of attention from now until it's done.

I took the purple flower quilt out of the frame as I'm enjoying the hoop more at the moment. I may bring the frame back out when the weather is warm and it's difficult to have quilt in my lap. I really want to get at least these two finished before I begin to quilt all the toppers and the album quilt. I still haven't found a pattern I really like for either one so I'll continue to mull that over while I hand quilt. I've had a few ideas, but I know just the right one hasn't come along yet.

Ok, so that wasn't it, but this is. Happy quilting day!

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's Monday again....

and it seems like I have so much to say. If you get through this whole thing, Bless you! LOL

We've had an incredibly busy week, especially the weekend. Our oldest daughter's 19th birthday was last Wednesday so we had her birthday dinner over the weekend. Her choice was onion rings, potstickers and egg rolls (all homemade) plus shrimp scampi on buttered noodles. Friday night I made the potstickers and egg rolls. Saturday I took her birthday shopping and out to lunch (a tradition with both girls for some years now) and we got back in time for me to make her dessert choice which was spiced apple sundaes in homemade lace cookie cups.

Saturday night, a few of their friends came over and I had some time to work on sewing projects.
Sunday, being Super Bowl Sunday, meant another food fest. Our older 4 kids were all gone for a Super Bowl party, so my husband and I and our two littles ones had the food to ourselves. I made bbq chicken wings, homemade crab rangoon, cut up cheese and sausage and we also had shrimp cocktail.

Today I'm doing as little as I can get away with, I feel like I've been running and busy for weeks!

One bright spot in my week last week was a squishy received from Julia for a Pay It Foward. This is what I got from her, thanks so much, Julia, I just love my gifts!

I've been pounding away at the paper piecing project and doing it reminded me that I have another one (striped blocks) that is also nearly finished. I couldn't find the strips for it, which surprised me as my supplies are pretty well organized these days, but I located them while gettin something else out and now I'm thinking that is another one that needs to be added to my rather long "short list."

I've perhaps gotten myself into a pickle, we'll see how it goes. We're giving our parents a 50th anniversary party this fall and I offered to make centerpieces. After some discussion and thinking some things over I decided that it would be really nice if each female head of household could take one home with her....that means 13 of them. Yikes. So I have 13 table toppers to make (which is what the centerpieces will be sitting on) along with the album quilt for everyone to sign at the party.

I really feel the need to finish these paper piecing blocks before starting those, though, and I haven't quite decided what I'm doing. While working on the pp blocks I mull over the table toppers to come up with just the right thing to do that won't drive me crazy in the process.

While I feel pretty adept at quilting, I'm not so great with things like centerpieces and putting elements together. I came up with an idea I really like and bounced it off of my email group and it turns out that it was very similar to something one of them saw at a fancy event. That made me feel better...but getting the idea out of my head and "in person" AND having it look nice...that will remain to be seen. Stay tuned for the centerpiece saga, it will be played out here on my blog!

While I say I will do as little as possible today, laundry is going (I'm still THRILLED to be able to do laundry), I have to clean up the last of the food fest mess, and I'm babysitting for a few hours this afternoon. The baby is 4 months old so I don't get much done when he's here. Ruthie loves him and if I sit him on her little sofa or in his chair she will sit with him and chatter at him. Our 13 year old son loves babies and he will often take him for a short while, too, so I'm able to get some necessities done as he's here during dinner prep time when he comes.
As for quilting, I'm hoping to finish sewing the last print piece on the pp blocks and to cut the muslin for the remaining two pieces on each block. Tonight I'll more than likely hand quilt or work on the celtic applique (which I worked on all through the super bowl, I got another couple of motifs sewn on.)

I probably forgot a whole bunch I was going to say, but this is long enough! After snowing off and on for the last several days, it's raining here now...a rather odd sight to look out and see winter, everything is covered with snow and there are piles from the plows and people shoveling, yet the rain is falling quite heavily. I'm glad to be working in sight of a window, I love weather and while some people feel down on gloomy days, I'm energized by them.

In fact, the more I look out, the more energized I'm feeling so it's time to take advantage. Happy quilting!