Monday, December 21, 2009

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Has it really been nearly a month? It has flown by. I have been so busy that many days I didn't know if I was coming or going.

The stockings are hung. No mantle here, this has been their home every Christmas since our oldest was born in 1987. They are kind of a mishmash, now. A family friend made beautiful embroidered ones for our first four kids, but then stopped doing them after she retired and moved away. I made new ones out of fabric that fit each child's personality, but some of those have gone AWOL. A friend made stockings for all the kids one year and their gift from them was in it. This year a couple of each adorn our railing.
The decorations are on display. I love this little fiber optic tree. The penguin I bought a few years ago, it sings "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (I love that song) and there is an echo that is sung by a baby penguin that pops up. The snowmen were given to me by a friend last year. Ruthie loves these and one space or the other is often empty as she takes them down to play with them.

The cookies are all baked. 8 kinds this year (2-4 batches of each), plus homemade marshmallows for hot chocolate. I'm often scrambling at the end to finish them, but this year I started late Thursday morning and finished Saturday by dinner time. I still don't know how I got them done in that amount of time.

The tree has been bought and decorated. We get a real tree each year. Sometimes we cut them down, but lately it has been more economical, both in time and money, to get an already cut tree. The kids have all bought their gifts for one another (and for us) and have them wrapped and waiting under the tree.
Our gifts to them are still hidden in our closet. Though we don't have any Santa believers anymore, the gifts still won't go under the tree until they are all in bed Christmas Eve night.
I was in charge of the Christmas Eve program at church this year and it turned out to be quite a task. It is a 3 part play (which I wrote) with Christmas carols sung between acts by all in attendance (led by a team) while the scenery changes behind a curtain. All is in place for this and I'm surprisingly calm about it all.

Yesterday I made my lists of things that need to be done each day. Today I had a sheet of directions to type up for my curtain guys, who will be raising and lowing a curtain in front of the platform. My goal today was to do as little as possible having a family of 8 and I succeeded nicely, LOL. A load of laundry, my curtain guy directions, a couple of sink loads of dishes and some general picking up. Mostly, I quilted :)

The flying geese have come out of hiding and got all of my attention today. I want to also get back to the posies and celtic, but that will wait until Christmas is over and I can give it my full attention. Hand quilting is perfect relaxing work and that is what I did today. I'm looking forward to getting back to my quilting challenge.

And, Miss Ruth. We occasionally find her sitting or laying on the back of the couch, this time it was on the arm. She got off before I could get back with the camera, but happily climbed back on when I said I wanted to take her picture. Last year she was rather out of sorts on Christmas, perhaps just overwhelmed. I don't think she really gets it, but loves all the "pretty" around the house and she knows what to do with presents, I'm sure she'll have a wonderful time.

I don't know who is more excited for the day to come and for what reasons. The kids are more excited about what they picked out for each other, I think, than opening their own gifts. We are all looking forward to Christmas dinner, which we get to have twice, because our oldest daughter and her boyfriend will be with his family on Christmas. We'll do a repeat of Christmas dinner on Sunday and exchange our gifts with them.

I look forward to each of the next several days, and hate for it all to go too quickly, though I will surely enjoy next week, with NOTHING that needs to be done!

For now, I don't want to wish away all the fun and excitement of the next 6 days and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Prosperous, Blessed New Year!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hunting Weekend Wrap Up 2009

Well, it wasn't the weekend I had planned earlier in the year, but it turned out to be a good one. Friday my husband emptied our small walk in closet, fixed all the shelves, we each went through our things and tossed a lot of junk and we again have a usable closet. He also put some shelving over his dresser to more easily store some things.

In cleaning it out, I found this. A nice bag of yarn, all rolled and ready to use. That gave me an idea. I had a couple of small gifts I needed to make and hadn't yet decided what to do. I pulled out some knitting needles and have been knitting like crazy.

The pictures don't really capture the color just right, it's a bit deeper pink and has a sparkly pink thread running through it. I decided scarves would be quick and easy. I'm making at least 3, maybe 4. One is done and will be given away this weekend. The next two have to be done by the 11th and then I have until Christmas to make the 4th. These knit up really quickly and are a nice diversion, though I really want to get them finished and get back to my quilting.
This next picture was taken in our backyard, but it shows so well Jonathan's dedication and ingenuity when he decides to do something. This is a big chunk of a tree trunk someone brought to us for our firepit, only we didn't have a great way to cut it up. He decided he wanted to use it as a firepit, chipped out an area in the middle it so wasn't flat on top and would contain the fire, drilled holes for air and so that it would burn into the trunk some and placed the wood around the bottom for extra safety as far as sparks.

Though he got it started easily, he had more trouble than usual keeping it going and restarted the fire several times. He spent a few hours out there and really enjoyed it. He and our oldest, Joshua, really like camping and spend a lot of time just sitting by the fire when they do.

And of course, Ruthie. She loves blankets of any kind and will often bring one to be wrapped up in. She is talking so much these days and comes out with things that really surprise us sometimes.

Here she is with her little Cubbie Bear. She loves this little couch and settles there for at least a little while a couple of times a day. Usually covered up with a quilt and often accompanied by a dolly or stuffed animal.

Our hunter's (Joshua and Jonathan) did well, each getting a deer. This group they went with party hunts (shares what they get) so they came home with 3 leg quarters and a backstrap (to cut into steaks) so they were pretty pleased. They hunt again in two weeks here in Illinois and my husband will be able to hunt then, also. They generally do well here and are counting on at least two, but hoping for 4 or 5.

They've processed what they brought home and it's in the freezer. It's a big help to the grocery budget when they fill the freezer each fall!

Today I baked 3 pumpkin pies, a pecan pie and a pan of bakery style apple slices. Tomorrow I'll be prepping from the time I get up, though once all the chopping and prepping is done, there should be some time to relax before I really have to start cooking and getting it all together.

We have a really busy 4 days coming up, with Thanksgiving tomorrow, friends coming on Friday (her dishwasher broke and flooded her house, there is major repair work going on at the moment and Friday is her birthday), Saturday some of the kids' friends are coming for my annual making of turkey soup and we have other friends coming on Sunday for dinner and football. Is it Monday, yet?? LOL.

I hope you all have a Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hunting Weekend....sort of. And a Challenge Update

My husband and two older sons are on their way to where they meet up with a few other guys for their 6 hour drive north.

Unfortunately, my husband isn't able to go with them and is dropping off our sons and coming home. He decided quite some time ago that going this year is probably not going to be possible (not enough money, nor enough people to cover his work while he's gone) and, though he's disappointed and I'm sure wishes he was going with them, he is excited about the list of projects he has in mind to do because, you see, though he is unable to make the trip, he took the usual days off his second job anyway. His last evening (he works second shift) was last night and he doesn't go back until the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Which means *I* don't get hunting weekend either. I think I'm taking it worse than he is, LOL.

Hunting weekend for me means as little cooking, dishes, and cleaning as possible, combined with as much sewing time as possible. It means stretching out in our big bed instead of being scrunched on one side (my husband is tall and restless when he sleeps) and it usually means staying up until all hours of the night sewing and watching movies.

This year, it means projects that my husband decided to do that he will inevitably need me to help out with, cooking regular meals, and not really getting a break. I told him that, while I'm really sorry for him that he can't go, I'm a little bit sorry for me, too. He told me I should sew as much as I want to :) So we'll see how the weekend goes. I'm glad to have him home more for the next week and a half, that's for sure, but launching into the holiday season without my little 5 day respite makes me sad.

BUT, I'm a cup half full kind of girl, the emotional adjustments have been made and I'm sure we'll have a wonderful time (except when he's frustrated when a project isn't going just as he planned *snort*) We're going out to breakfast tomorrow morning with Ruthie and Lucas so that should be a good start to our day.

Amvets is coming tomorrow so we cleaned out a bunch of closets and drawers. The big project of the weekend is redoing our closet. The organizer is falling apart (it's 25 years old) and he's basically pulling everything out, repairing or replacing what he needs to and then putting it all back together again. I actually went through a lot of my stuff already and hopefully by the end of the weekend we'll have a more functional closet (I've barely been using it for some time now.)

I did try to plan easy-ish meals which will buy me some quilting time and I don't sing this weekend which means no practice Saturday and not getting up extra early (I'm NOT a morning person) on Sunday.
As for quilting, Debbie's quilt is done. It's actually been done for a couple of weeks already and, though it wasn't really fun to work on, I do love how it came out. I'm thrilled to have all the big Christmas projects done before Thankgiving!
Here is a closeup of the quilting.
With Debbie's quilt done, the Flying Geese quilt is in the hoop. This one is really enjoyable to quilt on and I love how it's coming out. So far a single geese strip is quilted, as is a double and the connecting border strips. I'm on another double geese strip now. This one will go quite quickly, it seems.
Usually I plan a special project or two for hunting weekend, so decided to abandon quilting on the flying geese quilt for a few days and to focus on the posy and celtic quilt. I may spend a little time on other challenge quilts, too, but I don't multitask with my quilting as well as I used to and do better working on one thing for at least several days at a time.
After sewing some of the posies onto the border vine several weeks back, I decided to match up the rest to make sure I didn't end up stuck with too many of the same color at the end.

Here is the posy basket, holding all the matches, some of the leaves (there are still more to be cut), and the threads needed for sewing.

I've finished sewing on a posy set and now am on a set of leaves and hope to settle in after dinner for an evening of hand applique.
Here are Rachel and Ruthie, camped out watching a TV show. See the grin? She knows the camera is out, the little ham. She loves this little couch, and often settles on it later in the evening when she's getting tired. She also goes running to it whenever Say Yes to the Dress or So You Think You Can Dance are on the TV.
Ruthie turned 5 this past Monday. We had her family dinner on Sunday (though some of the family had previous plans, they gave her due attention on Monday) and we decided on ice cream instead of a birthday cake as she's not a big cake eater. At first she was hiding her face until we said we wanted a picture, then the smile came out.

All in all, life is good. Everyone is happy and healthy, we're headed into this holiday season much less stressed than the last couple of years and for that I'm very thankful!

And now it's time to run, my sewing is calling me and I need to take advantage of every minute I can find.

Happy Quilting!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Over the Tops - Moving Along

My intention was to update more often than I have been of late, but I've been so busy that it's been easy to put it off. Fortunately, even among the busy-ness, I've been able to spend some time on my challenge projects.

I'm also thrilled to have finished the purple paper pieced quilt, I put the last stitches into the binding yesterday afternoon.
Here is a closeup of some of the quilting.
With this one finished, my sister-in-law's quilt is next to quilt. I had to mark the blocks and border and then baste the quilt. The basting gave me fits this time. I try to be frugal with my batting and backing because scraps of each can be used for other projects. Sometimes that comes back to bite me as I get far enough to shift the quilt on my table only to find that either the batting or backing doesn't reach as far as I thought. This happened TWICE this time. I was NOT a happy camper, but knew that I really wanted to get it basted that night so kept at it. Of course, once I've finally got the basting done, I'm not happy until those first stitches go in. I've been quilting on it for a couple of days now.

It seems as if this one is going to go pretty quickly and I love the border design so am anxious to get to it.

Sometime in the next week or two I'll be marking the flying geese quilt, it will go into the hoop next. I'll also be having a few small Christmas gift projectsto do along the way, but I'm determined to keep a big project in a hoop as much as possible.

The challenge project that has gotten quite a bit of attention in the last few weeks is the posy and celtic quilt. I'm really, really happy with how this is coming out. Here are the last of the flowers and leaves to be added along with the yo-yo maker I've been using and the stack of fabrics that are being used for the yo-yos.

I'm anxious to get back to this one, but want to pace myself. I have a lot of hand quilting to do before the challenge is over and I don't want to end up with all the tops done and waiting for quilting. I'm enjoying this one so much that it's hard to put it down. Here you can see a bit of the vine border up against the sashing and a block.

I hope to spend quite a bit of time quilting this week and plan to get a good bit of Debbie's quilt done and I would like to also get a fair portion of the vine/leaf/posy part of the border done. I should also do something on another challenge project, I haven't decided which it will be, yet.

I came out of the kitchen one day to find Ruthie laying on her belly watching the TV downstairs, which is a half flight down.

She is talking more and more, which we are really loving. She still has a long way to go, but is making good progress. She'll be 5 next month but is very small for her age. Combined with the speech delay it's easy to forget how old she is, but she really is more like a little girl than a toddler these days. I think that's it for this update. I'm watching playoff baseball and quilting, but took a break to write this post. The current game is nearly over and there is another yet to come, I've stoked up on coffee so I can stay up late and sew and will enjoy sleeping in tomorrow. We're keeping our heat at about 60, so the house is chilly in the morning. It's so nice to be snuggled under a few quilts while I lazily wake up in the morning.

My family is pretty busy tomorrow, so I should have a lot of sewing time. I'm making one of our favorite meals for dinner, boiled spareribs with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and rolls cooked on top of the boiling pot. They will all be outside for a good part of the day and this is a perfect cold weather meal. Thankfully it's also a rather low maintenance meal while cooking, so it should leave me plenty of down time.
Happy Quilting!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Over the Tops - First Update

These last couple of weeks have been much busier than I ever expected, but in spite of that I've been able to make some progress on a couple of my challenge projects.

To complicate things, I badly cut my left index finger on Saturday, while preparing for our Football and Food Fest day yesterday, rendering it pretty much useless for at least the next several days. Typing while watching the keys and substituting fingers REALLY slows one down when one is used to not looking at all! This was supposed to be a decidedly less busy week, but I'm now babysitting 3 afternoons and Rachel's algebra is taking us a couple of hours a day...add that to a gimpy left hand and I won't get nearly as much accomplished as I'd hoped, then again, just not having to leave the house except to grocery shop sounds pretty darn good in and of itself.

While the Purple Paper Pieced quilt isn't on my challenge list, I still want it to be finished before putting anything else in the hoop. I was on a roll until I hit the outer border, which is more tedious to quilt than I expected. I'm still going to quilt at least a little bit on it each day and will get back to it full force when my finger is more useful, for now having to do everything altering the position of my hand is really slowing me down.

I've spent a fair amount of time on two of the projects. The first is the Posy and Celtic quilt (which probably needs a new name, while the applique is done in the way celtic applique is done, it turns out that none of the designs are really celtic style designs.) I finished sewing the second side down to all the pieces in the sashing. I was still stumped as to what to do in the outer border.

I thought about and discarded several ideas. I felt like it needed some kind of braid in that outer border to "complete" the sashing braid. Just the braid didn't seem like enough, though. I finally drew out a design and laid it along the edge.

I had planned to put the braid in closer and then a vine and posy border outside of that. When I first planned this quilt, the outer border was to be a vine and posy border, but as I worked on the quilt, that idea changed. I laid this paper pattern up next to the top and it didn't seem to work. The braid alone wasn't enough, the vine seemed superfluous when on the outside.

In moving the top and border pattern around, one time it ended up with the vine border inside and the braid border outside. That was it! It looked complete with that braided border on the outside. I added the border strip and marked it all, and started to sew on the vine.

The other project that got a lot of attention is Radiating Rainbows. I cut 13 sets of blocks, and set up my applique box with all the thread needed, spare needles and a pair of scissors. If I need a takealong project, I can just pick up this box and go.

Each baggie has all the pieces to make 4 blocks as there are 4 of each color combination. This should keep me going for a while and once they are done I can lay them out and see what combinations are needed to balance out the colors in this top. Here is a finished block.

And of course, no post is complete without a Ruthie picture. Drawing is SO exhausting!

So now it's time to get to the quilting. Laundry is going, algebra is done, a bit of kitchen cleaning and picking up will fill in the times when I need to get up and move around a bit. Hopefully I'll et more sewing done than it seemed I would first thing this morning!

Happy Quilting!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Over the Tops"....a quilting challenge

I've been able to think of little else but my quilting challenge since my last post and have spent much of that time planning it out.

I decided that it needed several facets. Part of the challenge is the amount of projects I'd like to see completed by the end. My official start date is today, September 8, 2009, and the official ending date is December 31, 2010.

I guess the easiest way to do this is to just list off the projects and include any "why they are included" information in their description. The projects aren't listed in any particular order, and won't be completed in any particular order.

1. This is a very old project. Started for my husband's 40th birthday, this got side-lined for many different reasons. I started thinking about it again when two different things happened. The first was that I found the poem I wrote to go on the back of the quilt. The other was my husband's innocent "you don't have a need for an overhead projector, do you?" Many times over the years, I had wished I had one, when I had a pattern that needed to be enlarged. I told him that most definitely yes, I could use one and he's watching out for one (he works at the local high school and they often throw out equipment when it's been replaced with something better, even if it's still in working order.) This is a hand pieced project, it's a castle with a moat and surrounding grounds. Hanging out one of the "windows" will be the damsel (me) and coming up on a white horse will be a knight in armor (my dh). The plan will be to get this top done, quilted, and bound.

2. Posies and Celtic Quilt.
This is one that I really didn't want to end up as a "UFO." I need to finish the applique in the sashings (this is nearly finished), design and add the borders, and quilt it.

3. This project has two pieces. It's a roman shade and cornice cover. The top of the cornice cover is done, it needs to be quilted.
The shade has these same blocks, in a similar configuration but offset, hard to explain, but you'll see as I go! The individual blocks are all finished, the top needs to be assembled and quilted and then I have to learn how to string it and hang it so it is a working shade.

4. Another roman shade and cornice cover, this one is for our bedroom. The center pattern has been drawn but that is all that is done on this one so far.
I need to finish designing the shade itself (it needs a vine up the sides or something) and the cornice cover, applique them and quilt them, along with hanging them. This is one of the scarier things on my list.

5. I'm really feeling the need to quilt some of the tops that I've made that haven't had a particular reason for their creation.
Even though this top was finished just recently, the blocks were several years in the making. I'm really looking forward to this quilt, and it will be the first in the hoop once Debbie's Christmas quilt is finished.

6. Another I'm feeling the need to finish I call Oriental Roads. This is my version of Bren's Pink and Brown.
We made several tops one year where we used the same pattern, with our fabrics of choice. I couldn't figure out how to quilt this one, but an idea came to me and now I'm ready to get this one finished.

7. Drunkard's Path. This project has no real purpose but to force me to learn to use my curved piecing foot. A few years ago I spent $30 to get this little doodad, but never really took the time to get proficient with it. I've wanted to be able to do patterns with curves for a long time, now is the time to learn. This will probably be set in the traditional way, and I've not made any plans for it, yet, other than it will exist.

8. This is probably the most daunting of the projects for me. It will be called Radiating Rainbows. I haven't hand pieced in a long time and this one will have a lot of small pieces that will need to be carefully pieced. It will be made from Marti Mitchell's templates and will have 110 six inch hand pieced blocks.

The blocks will be 1/4 of a sunburst block, so 1/4 of a circle and will be set to radiate out from the center and then frame the outer edge. I'll be using the fabric I got for my birthday, to which I added a pink and a purple.

I've been looking at this pretty basket full of fabric for a few weeks now, and part of me hates to cut into it...part of me can't wait.

So there it is. Eight projects officially in my challenge, though I know that I also have to finish the purple quilt, quilt Debbie's quilt, make a few other small Christmas gifts, and of course there will be at least one Christmas gift quilt for next year and possibly a wedding quilt. Yikes.

For now, I'm focusing on what's in front of me. The purple one is a big priority, as nothing else will go into the hoop until it's finished. I'm not quite sure how I'll "schedule" the others, at first I'll be picking what I feel like doing each day. At some point, I'll likely settle into a couple at a time to focus on.

It's already late today and after a busy weekend and a much busier day today than I had planned, I still have dishes to do. Once they are done, though, I will have actually accomplished just about everything I needed to in order to make tomorrow a mostly sewing day. I'm looking forward to spending some time on at least a couple of these projects!

Happy Quilting!

Wish me luck!


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Musings, Updates, and Ruthie

I saw the movie "Julie & Julia" yesterday. My husband surprised me the night before, asking what was going on the next day. He often asks, to find out what's up with all of the kids for the weekend, but I could tell there was something different. When I finished the rundown of who would be where, I asked why. He said he wanted to take me to a movie. We haven't been to a movie together since "Sleepless in Seattle" came out. Generally, if we have the time and money to go out, we go out to dinner so we can talk, but he knew I really wanted to see this movie.

It will be on my Christmas list if it's out on video by then, I LOVED it. I also plan to get Julia's first book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." I love to cook nearly as much as I love to quilt and was completely mesmerized by some of the dishes made, and some of the exerpts read in the movie.

I was enthralled in the movie theater, I think perhaps because I see some of each Julie and Julia in myself.

Quilting is to me as cooking is to Julia. Julia tried several things before learning to cook, because she needed something to fill her time. I learned to knit at 10 years old, and have done some form or other of needlework since then. I knitted in study halls at school, at home in front of the TV, I added stamped cross stitch, needlepoint, crewel, and counted cross stitch to my repertoire as the years went on. I can remember bringing cross stitch projects to stitch during my break time at work.

Then one day, I got an advertisement in the mail for a quilting book. I was intrigued. I was intimidated. I WANTED that book. Eventually I bought a quilting book. Little by little, I read my way through, studying it, learning the steps, daring myself to try it. Pregnant with Rachel, baby number 3, I decided it was time to try. What better trial project than a baby quilt? I bought supplies, carefully made my templates, and spent afternoons hand sewing those attic window blocks with the fussy cut inset squares. I made a baby quilt and changing table pad, hand pieced and hand quilted, in just 3 weeks. I WAS HOOKED and I was off and running. Much like Julia was with her cooking.

Julie, on the other hand, was trying to find her way. She took on a big project, something to keep her busy, something to focus on, and something to finish. She was obssessed.

I understand that obssession. I feel that way often because quilting is so much more to me than just making a blanket. Along with being a creative outlet, time spent quilting is also spent praying, meditating on God, and thinking through problems. I reminisce and daydream, plot and plan, all the while the machine humming while I piece, or the needle gently gliding in and out while hand quilting or appliquing. It brings me peace and it's such a gift.

I'm planning a "Julie" project. I haven't decided what it is, yet. Maybe it will be multiple things, a list of techniques I want to try, and projects I want to finish, a list that hold me accountable for the rambling "someday" things that run through my mind.

In the meantime, I've got quite a few projects in the works!

Debbie's quilt remains on my design board.The main reason is that I got on a roll with the purple paper pieced quilt and decided I wanted to finish it before moving on. Often in the past, I've needed to set aside quilts to take on deadline projects, or have put projects aside because they were tedious to work on, only to have them sit for a very long time before getting picked up again. I'm attempting to break that habit.

I've also learned how to play mind games with myself to make less enjoyable parts of things more palatable. I decided to quilt all the purple blocks first, because those were more difficult. I had two different motifs in the alternating blocks, and one of those was much easier than the other.
The little heart wreath is adorable, but there is LOTS of turning the hoop involved. I decided all these needed to be finished first. I then moved onto the other motif and those worked up quite quickly. I'm now doing the white border (also being quilted in purple thread) and it won't be long at all now until this quilt is finished. Though I really wanted to finish it before moving on, in the back of my mind I was pretty sure it would get set aside yet again. The fact that I've plowed through the most difficult part and now find myself just a week or so away from finishing this has given my motivation a big push. I've been more diligent about using my time wisely, and hope that I'm setting myself up for good habits come fall.

I also spent some time on the triangle paper project.
I still have quite a few sheets of triangle paper left to find fabric for, and I may work on this some tomorrow. The 1/2 square triangle units in the box are all sewn together and waiting for pressing, which will be done a few at a time. Quite a few of these will be made into Pinwheel blocks, the rest are left as 1/2 square triangle units.

Soon to be in the forefront is the posies and celtic quilt. I spent a couple of days last week making more bias tape for the outer border.
I still haven't decided for sure what will go into that outer border. I'm pretty sure there will be a vine, leaves and posies. I might also need to do a smaller braid type thing between the blocks and the vine border to finish it out properly since there is so much applique in the sashing. I plan to concentrate on this more as soon as the purple quilt is finished.

I'm pretty sure I've decided on a project for the fabric I got for my birthday, and it might be part of my Julie project. While typing this post, I already thought of a few things I'd LOVE to finish as part of this challenge. I guess part of the challenge will be naming it!

And now for Miss Ruthie. She's been in rare form of late. Because of her limited vocabulary, it's easy to forget how much she really understands. She still catches us off guard sometimes when she answers questions. Today, Rachel was asking her a bunch of questions, all to which she said "no." Rachel asked if no was her favorite word and Ruthie paused and looked at her and said "Yes!" Rachel was quite amused, "most little kids would say 'no' again!" she said.

She was playing in the kitchen one day and called me to take her picture.
She had some rearranging to do.
She then smiled big and said "picture" in her own inimitable way.
I can't get away with pretending anymore, she demands to see the picture in the back of the camera once it's taken.

She likes to dress up. She will often find a hat, then find me and ask for a picture. Really, though, who wouldn't want to capture this for posterity?
Or this? This is her current "shopping" getup, she'll put on shoes, the hat, and the purse and push her little cart around the house. The other day, she stopped, reached into the purse, pretended to put something in her mouth, grinned and said "gum!"
And now, believe it or not, my update is finished. I hope to post more often now that we're starting our school work and, in general, things are less busy here. In the meantime, I'll be thinking about the currently nameless self challenge and what it will entail.
Until then,
Happy Quilting!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer is Winding Down

Our first day of school is the day after Labor Day. Our local schools start today, but we home school so can pick our start date. We enjoy these last couple of weeks of summer very much and this year it's much cooler than usual for the middle/end of August and that is just adding to the pleasure of these days.

I have even surprised myself with how much quilting/sewing I've done this summer. Usually I'm more than ready for Fall to arrive so I can ramp up the quilting, and in spite of what I've accomplished, I actually could do more if the computer didn't call my name so often.

The table runner went far faster than I thought possible and the quilting and binding were finished just 3 days after I started.
The completed table runner gave me a boost to finish the last of the blocks for Debbie's quilt. I assembled this one as each row was finished as there is applique where the blocks connect and that would be easier without so much bulk. I'm looking forward to beginning the quilting on this one. I plan to mark it in the next couple of days and baste in the next week or so. We had a few warm and muggy days, today isn't so warm but is very damp because of rain, so hand quilting isn't appealing today. It's to be in the lower 70s by the end of the week, though, which is very cool for this time of year here, so if the basting isn't done the purple paper pieced quilt may get some more attention. Here is Debbie's top.
I trimmed down the triangle paper I printed off so I may ready and sew a few pieces of that to get the next scrap quilt started. I also need to mark and trim the blocks for the next strip pieced quilt, which is good muggy weather work.

I couldn't resist this pose. Sometimes Ruthie will ham it up for the camera, other times I try to catch something she's doing and she'll move before I can get it. She got passed down a bunch of princess dress up, she loves it. Yesterday she spent most of the day running around in this dress. Princess Ruthie had finally worn herself out. Hopefully my next post will find Debbie's quilt well under way and a couple of new projects under way as well. Remember this one? I LOVE this top and came across it straightening up the growing pile of quilts in my sewing room. I've promised myself I'd finish the purple paper pieced top before moving onto the flying geese top, I'm hoping that will be the incentive I need to forge ahead with the purple one. I love it, but the blocks are tedious to quilt and it's sucking the fun out of it some. I know that I'll be very glad to have it finished, so it stays out where I can see it. I'm going to try to quilt at least a block a day on it (not a huge feat, the blocks are only 6 inches) and hopefully quilting one will lead to another. If not, one a day will eventually get it done!

I've also pulled out the Posies and Celtic top. I finished sewing one side of all the sashing pieces down some time ago, that's the most tedious part because it's where the placement and trimming of pieces happens, so now I just have to sew down the second side of it all. I spent a good part of the last couple of days doing that and am now getting to where there isn't much left. The big problem is I still haven't figured out what to do with the outer border. I haven't even sewn it on, yet, because I didn't want to limit what I could do there. I want to put another celtic design but decided using the same green as the sashing would be way too much green. I had hoped to find a floral that incorporated a similar green and at least a few of the other colors, but so far no luck.
I have a book of celtic borders and I figure if I peruse it enough, and keep checking out my stash that something might come to me. This one will have a huge amount of quilting on it, it's being quilted like the table toppers I made last year and will also have all the celtic that needs to be quilted around. I'm looking forward to this one, but know it will probably be a long term quilting project as it will be quite tedious to do.
In the meantime, it can't be quilted until it's done, and nothing will get done with me sitting here! So off I go, to sew down some celtic, pin a few triangle paper fabrics for sewing and to do a bit of quilting on the purple quilt. My inlaws are here for the day tomorrow, so a bit of straightening needs to be done as well. That will happen later in the day as, with all the coming and going here, anything done this early will surely be undone by later!
Happy quilting!