Friday, May 30, 2008

Quilting Bee and Sewing Night!

Today looks to be a wonderful day. We skipped our walk this morning because of a threatening weather radar and tornado watch, but an hour after our normal leaving time it still hasn't rained and the sun even made a peek through the clouds.

I had so much to do this morning, though, that it really made it much easier without the walk in the mix. My quilting bee meets this afternoon. I have iced coffee made in the fridge and will have a pot of hot coffee available. If you're a flavored coffee drinker and have a Meijer anywhere near you, try their store brand Michigan Cherry flavored coffee. OH MY. It's fabulous. Add a little french vanilla creamer and it's heaven in a cup.

I made a chocolate pound cake last night and bought some mini eclairs so all that's left to do is clear a few things from my sewing table and I'm ready to go.

As soon as the quilting bee ends, I'll be getting dinner ready and then sewing until I drop. A friend is coming over as soon as her dinner is finished and we're going to sew and chat and watch movies until we can stay awake no longer.

We try to do these late night sewing nights every few months. I'd rather work on a project that is fun and doesn't NEED to be done. In my last post I talked about the bags I needed to make and while writing that I realized I do NOT want to spend my entire sewing night on these bags, even with as much fun as they are to do. That gave me the push that I needed and the first is done. I customized the inside pocket by adding a layer so there are two pockets hanging there instead of one. There is a cardboard insert in the bottom that gives it some stability and a magnetic closure at the top. I was really happy with how it turned out!

Bag number two is well under way. The instructions have you quilting a very large piece of fabric and then cutting it apart. I found this very tedious and difficult and it reminded me why I don't machine quilt! To make this bag, I took a different approach and cut the pieces first, slightly larger so they could be trimmed, and quilted them. MUCH easier and way more enjoyable than the first way. All of the pieces are now quilted and the construction will begin during my quilting bee this afternoon. I don't know how much of it I'll actually get done, but I'm hoping to have most of it finished so that I can finish it in quick order after the bee is over.

I'll have stroganoff sauce in the crockpot (I'm working on that while posting) so all I have to do is make the noodles which means I should be able to keep working after the bee and maybe even have the bag finished (or just about) before our sewing night officially begins.

I decided my big project for the night is to work on an old top. In looking for something else I ran across these blocks so decided I will work on them for the weekend, hoping to have the top completely done once the weekend is over. Then I will have to concentrate on the toppers and album quilt for my parents' anniversary party. I'm appliquing on topper number 8 and the quilting is under way on the album quilt, but with only two months left I'll have to pay attention to how much I'm getting finished.

Looking at this strip paper pieced project, it's probably more than I can do in a weekend, but I'll see what I can get finished and maybe I'll keep it within reach for the occasional day that I need a machine project as a distraction. For now, I'm looking forward to looking at something different for a couple of days!

Ruthie's language is exploding, both verbally and with signs. She's been quite entertaining the last couple of days and is warming up more and more to the kids' friends, who make nearly daily appearances of late. She lost her head the other night and was doing all her tricks for them, LOL, and I told them all that someday they might regret working so hard to get her to interact with them because she'll be begging to play their games and go places with them. In reality, I think our little darling will have quite the social life as it won't be long before she's included on shopping trips and the like. Here she is enjoying a bowl of ice cream.
Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Beautiful Summer Day

Our Memorial Day was lovely. I woke up tired and it was gloomy and chilly, but the forecast promised a warm day and that's what I planned for. I dressed accordingly and the weather warmed up nicely. I puttered around in the morning, did a bit of sewing and around noon began working on our afternoon barbeque.

On holidays, we generally eat our big meal mid-afternoon or so because I want the bulk of the work to be over early. We ended up eating about 4:15, all of our children AND my husband home(a rarity these days) and the girls' boyfriends as well. The food was laid out on the table inside, we fixed our plates and took them out. Typical barbeque fare of burgers, bratwurst, hot dogs was accompanied by homemade onion rings, sauerkraut, baked beans, and cole slaw and lots of fun conversation.

Rachel's boyfriend left shortly after dinner, Rebekah and her boyfriend left a while later to go watch a hockey game. I started a fire in the firepit and gradually got the meal aftermath cleaned up. We sat out until dark, enjoying the warm breeze and the crackling fire.

Ruthie got dutifully dirty, in her navy blue halter dress with flags and her bare feet. After a nice bath in the kitchen sink (she still doesn't like the big bathtub) she was clean and snuggly and ready for bed.

Today is a new day. It's cold here, only 43 right now and I'm hoping to get a lot done. I don't have anywhere to go today and have set my sights on Friday night, when I'm getting together with a friend for a sewing night. I have two bags that I need to make for friends and I decided if they are not done by Friday night, they will be the first priority then. That got me moving on the bags, since I have another project I'd really like to work on that night. One bag is nearly finished, but I don't have enough batting for the other. I may figure my grocery list early so that I can run to the store later or in the morning and get that one done, too. I can work on drafting and cutting pieces today as this next bag is a combination of two different ones and I haven't quite figured out what I need to do to make all the elements work.

When not working on bags, I'll quilt on the album quilt or applique on the next topper. I finished another on Sunday, so 7 are done, I have 9 left to do. I may mark some more backgrounds for toppers, too, as I'm working on the last marked one now.

Dinner tonight is easy, just waffles, fruit, and bacon, so it really does leave this day wide open for me and it's totally up to me how productive it is. I'd better get moving!

Happy Quilting!


Saturday, May 24, 2008

What a Week!

It's been a crazy one here, more busy for me than usual, so I'm very glad it's the weekend! My family is in and out all weekend, but other than church and possibly a softball game on Monday night (rain is predicted) I get to stay put!

This is finals week for my daughter, who is in cosmetology school. Her practicals were Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday through today are written tests. She's done very well (she finds out each day how she did on that day's test) and, once today is over, she just has to complete her 1500 hours, which should happen midday on June 10th.

I had extra babysitting this week, in addition to being one of the people she worked on for her practicals. Add in errands, a (wonderful!) visit with a friend and walking and I spent 3 whole days busy with things that didn't include much in the way of household tasks or sewing. Thankfully the house isn't in too bad of shape and that means much of my weekend can be spent doing enjoyable things and recouping from the busy week.

I have a huge list of things I want to do this weekend. I plan to bake some today and tomorrow for Memorial Day. When I bake, I bake in bulk so it should last most of the week. It's sunny but chilly here, so I'm hoping the it's warm enough to spend a bit of time outside today. My husband plans to work on the garden when he gets here sometime after lunchtime and I will light up the firepit to burn up some of the branch trimmings from last weekend's work. It's a little breezy, so between that and the chill in the air I'm hoping that I can still do a bit of hand sewing outside while I work on my burning project.

I do plan to get the current table topper finished (I'm now quilting on the braid that goes around the outer edge) and begin the next one. I need to quilt a bit on the album quilt and I also hope to do some cutting and prepwork on two bags that I need to make. I'm having a sewing night next Friday with a friend (we get together around dinner time and sew until we drop) and if the bags aren't finished by then, they will be my primary project.

Weather permitting, tomorrow will be spent much as today. Putzing with household chores, lighting the firepit, sewing, cooking, baking and hanging out with whatever kids are here.

Pincushion Swap. I'm going to switch gears for a minute. I joined a pincushion swap on Teresa's blog but only a few people signed up. She agreed to leave the signups open until the end of the month so I could post it here to see if we can find a few more people who are interested. You only need to make 5 pincushions (but can do 10 if enough people sign up) and they aren't due to Teresa until July 1st.

While I love my walking, it really seems to sap my energy some days. We don't walk on weekends, mostly because we're busy with family things, but I feel like my poor old body needs time to recover. I have more energy today than I think I've had all week and I'm hoping that continues for the weekend so that I can get a lot of things done. The fact that I'll be home most of the weekend helps immensely as well, I truly am a homebody!

Ruthie mimics everything these days and thankfully she has a bunch of wonderful role models to imitate. She attempts new words every day now and she loves to be outside. Though I'm not an outdoor person, even I am hoping it begins to warm up a bit more than it is because I know the days will be a lot more fun and interesting for my two youngest if we can spend more time outside. In the meantime, she manages to keep herself quite busy inside. There was supposed to be a video here of her diapering one of her babies, but uploading videos with dialup appears to be a hit or miss operation. Two attempts and about an hour of waiting for them to upload and no success, so I'll try that another day! In the meantime, we'll have to "settle" for stills.

Happy Memorial Day weekend and may it be a quilty one!
Sue and Ruthie

Friday, May 16, 2008

Slow Progress

I feel as though I'm working at a snails pace lately and wonder if I should go back to timing how much time I spend on my quilting. While I think it might be helpful, at the same time I haven't gone through one of these stale periods in a very long time and I know they are usually followed with renewed motivation. I'm hoping for that, and soon, or the timer will have to come back out!

I did finish the quilting on my latest topper and just need to get the binding on. My hope is to get that on sometime today and then relax and sew to the back tonight. I have a busy day today, I babysit from 10 until 3 and during that time have a short cleaning job to do with my husband.

I'm beginning to think that the flower quilt will not be finished before I start on the album quilt. I just cannot make myself work on it at the moment. I'm hoping to turn that around in the next couple of days and just get it done, but if I can't I think I'll have to baste the album quilt and move on. I guess the good part of that is when I am finished with all this anniversary stuff there will be another project with a quick turnaround waiting for me. I just realized that I appliqued these blocks during the winter Olympics, perhaps it's fitting that the quilting be completed during them as well.

Both families are having reunion parties within a week of each other. On August 2nd my family will all be together for my parents' anniversary party. On the 9th, my husband's very large extended family is having a reunion. By the time everyone leaves, the Olympics will have started. We are admitted Olympic junkies. Our TV will be on from the time we rise until we go to bed on whatever channel happens to be hosting at that time of day. During the winter Olympics two years ago, I got TONS of handwork done. We had what we called the "running bowl of popcorn", and chores and meals were done in little fits and bits during commercials. After the stress of the reunions, we are really looking forward to this. Our daughters have already let their new boyfriends know that they are welcome to come here as much of the time as they'd like, but they will be watching Olympics. I expect that Rachel may not be quite as invested this time and I suspect that Rebekah may be watching a fair bit of it on her boyfriends very large, very nice television, but he has already conceded the Olympics weeks since Rebekah has quite happily obliged him play-off hockey.

It's a beautiful, sunny day today. I'm hoping this continues as Ruthie loves to be outside. So far there haven't been many nice days and the ones we have had were preceeded by rainy ones...making the yard wet and muddy and not a very good place to play. I have nice places to sit in both the front and back yards, so perhaps I'll be able to get a little handwork done while the little ones play in the yard.

Maybe I need to start list-making again, that sometimes works to help me muddle through when I'm feeling unmotivated. Today the plan is to sew the binding to the front of the latest topper and finish the applique on the current one. Maybe a more reasonable list will get me going!

So I guess I should run, maybe I can get something (anything!) accomplished before my little charge comes at 10:00.
Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Focus! I Need to Focus!

I had lofty goals of accomplishing much over the last several days but it was just not to be. I did finish the pincushions, yay! And the next topper is nearly done and I hope to put the binding on later today.

That is about all that was really accomplished, though, and I'm trying to figure out why I'm putting off these other projects.

I think part of the "problem" is that there is so much going on around here these days that I don't feel like I have much time. The reality is I can MAKE the time, but am just not doing that. I hope to change that this week, in spite of it being a fairly busy one.

There is so much to think about these days that I'm easily distracted. With three new romances in teenville (well, oldest is 21, but the group he hangs with ranges from 17-21) there is a lot going on here. Add to that their jobs, school and other activities, just keeping track of who is where and when they are there is mind boggling some days.

At the moment, our 16 year old is at the DMV, hoping to get her driver's license. She is actually quite a good driver but has heard horror stories of them trying to trip you up and she's nervous. It will be evident when she walks in the door what happened, and that should be sometime in the next hour.

In the meantime I won't get any sewing done, I'm far too nervous. I know that she will be extremely disappointed if she doesn't pass and I dread the thought of having to do it all over again next Tuesday.

For now, I have a few more computer things to do and by then they hopefully will be home with good news and then MAYBE I can get my act together and make some good progress on some projects. The afternoon and evening are wide open today and tomorrow, so I really need to knuckle down and get some things done as the following two days are much busier.

I attempted to upload a video, it appears to have worked this time. I've tried a couple of other times and they wouldn't load. Here are Lucas and Ruthie, waving hello :)
And now I'm off, hopefully my husband and daughter will be home soon with good news and I'll be able to FOCUS!
Happy quilting!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Isn't this a fine kettle of fish!

I had a whole post written out but I couldn't post pictures so I left it here to come back to. When I tried to reload, it was gone and no draft was saved, so I'm starting over.

First off, I need help! I'm not sure I can let people sign the front of the album quilt, which sounds ridiculous since that's what it's for! Instead I'm thinking of putting a nice motif in the middle of each block and using the back like a guest book and having everyone sign there instead. What do you honest!

I'm hoping to squeeze a lot into today. I've taken a walk, bought Mother's Day cards and got them into the mail, laundry is going and I'm just about to have lunch.

Once I've eaten, I need to make my grocery list, which will be a challenge this week with it being Rachel's birthday and Mother's Day. I'm hoping to finish the rest of the pincushions, they are all ready to stuff with sand and then close. I have two bags to make and hope to get a start on one or both of those as well. Hand quilting has taken a backseat lately, but I really need to get going on the next topper as well, it's in the hoop and ready for me and small enough not to be too warm in my lap on these humid days.

By the end of the weekend I hope to have the album quilt marked and basted, the current topper finished and another ready or nearly ready for the hoop and both bags finished.

Tomorrow, though, very little sewing related work will get done unless I still have energy tomorrow evening. Our tradition for the last several years with our girls, rather than try to pick out what they like, is to take them shopping and out for lunch for their birthdays. It gives us a nice morning/afternoon together and there is no need to return things that they don't care for or because they don't fit. This year, Rachel has opted for breakfast out instead of lunch. We'll then do our grocery shopping, then her birthday shopping and we'll get home in time for a friend and her children to come for the afternoon. My friend sews, so I may get some done then, though the little guy I babysit for will be coming during the visit so I may do more talking than sewing tomorrow, depending on his mood.

After the visit I'll have dinner to make and then the older four kids will be gone for the evening, so it will then be time for me to relax.

Friday will be similar, but the weekend shouldn't be quite as busy. You never know, though, with all that is going on in our house, anything can happen anytime!

Now THIS is tired! The places this child can fall asleep are absolutely amazing.
I've been walking a lot and sometimes I'll take Ruthie along in her stroller. She loves it, but if we walk too long she'll take a little snooze. My other kids would wake up when we stopped, but she will wake up along the way, sit up and smile and begin looking all around again.
Well, I need to run if I expect to make a dent in my long list for the day. I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, productive day!