Saturday, May 30, 2009

Where to Begin....

There has been so much activity since my last post I barely know where to begin. I spent most of the time working on Marshall's quilt and finished it at about 10am the morning of his party (last Saturday.) I was very pleased with the results and he was thrilled. Here is the full view (or as much of one as I could get in my limited space, the grass was wet so I couldn't take it outside.)Here is a view of the border design. I enjoyed doing it so much (and the look when it was done) that I'll be doing more of these tessellating type designs in my borders. I like how it fills it all out, and it was really fun to do.While working on Marshall's quilt, we also were preparing for "junk day" here. With Marshall's quilt done, it was time to get quilting on one of the Christmas tops. I chose Arnie's quilt to do first, as it probably has the most quilting on it.
At this point, I should be able to go right from one quilt in the hoop to the next until all four are done. With Katie's top already done and Emma's well under way, I'm in really good shape as far as my Christmas quilting goes. I pulled out my design board, and I think I'll try to find a way to keep it out for a while, I'm enjoying being able to see her top in progress and will enjoy doing this with the next ones, too. Here is Emma's top on the design wall. 30 of the 40 hearts are appliqued and I'm making the 9 patches in groups of 4 so I can place a row at a time.
While I was quilting on Marshall's quilt, we also prepared for "junk day." Our garbage service requires us to buy special bags and everything we put out must fit in them. Between storing what we didn't want and couldn't throw out, and saving things we weren't sure we'd use again, our crawlspace was WAY too full. Jonathan is our project doer, he offered to bring everything out, a couple of things at a time, while I kept quilting. It worked out great, we got rid of LOTS of junk and Jonathan cleaned out the garage, too.

We had a lot going Memorial Day weekend, I had something every day from Friday through Monday, and that's a lot of activity for me (and for Ruthie.) I spent most of the week trying to feel normal again, I quilted a lot, caught up the laundry and all of Jonathan's organizing work make me even more anxious to go through some other things in the house (I've been slowly doing this.)

As the kids get older, it's becoming easier and easier to keep up, which makes me VERY happy. While the older kids will be very busy this summer, with jobs and social activites, so far it seems that it should be rather quiet for me. I plan to spend a lot of time quilting, hopefully a good part of it outside. So far it's been either too cold or too wet to do that.

While cleaning the garage, Jonathan came across this bike trailer and asked if he could try it out on his bike. I wasn't sure if Ruthie would let him pull her in it or not, but she liked the ride. They went around the block a couple of times and then headed to the park, but she'd had enough before they got there so he turned back. I suspect that I'll have a few quiet afternoons as he's offered to take Lucas and Ruthie to the park on occasion. She was all smiles after the first time around our block.

Ruthie tends to go off by herself when people are here, at least for a while. When our friends came on Memorial Day she went into the kitchen. My husband found her like this. She really can sleep anywhere!

I had planned to quilt by the firepit today, but it's cold, damp, and has rained so everything is still wet. I'm really hoping for a better day tomorrow, the Cubs play at night on ESPN, we don't have that channel, so it would be a perfect night to sit out and listen by the fire for a while. Hopefully the weather will cooperate!

For now, it's time to get back to quilting before needing to start dinner. My husband is only home for dinner on the weekends, so I try to make a really nice one whenever possible. Today it's western style barbequed ribs with oven fried potatoes and a couple of vegetables.

Nothing more will get done if I don't scoot! I hope everyone has a warm and relaxing weekend :)Happy Quilting!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Prolific Production

I've had an unbelievable couple of weeks since I last posted. All 5 of the quilts that need to be done this year are under way. The most pressing is Marshall's, his is in the hoop and the quilting has a nice start on it. I need to have this done by the 23rd and am feeling pretty confident that I can do this.

While I was piecing Marshall's quilt, I was also piecing Katie's quilt. I used the same pattern for these two quilts, it worked up really quickly and was quite a lot of fun. I may do a scrap version with smaller pieces sometime as triangle paper makes these projects so easy for me.

I continued to ready applique pieces for Debbie's quilt, and just this weekend decided on a pattern for Emma, which also has some applique. Hers will be an Irish Chain, with hearts appliqued in the spaces. I have the applique pieces for both quilts in a storage box and I'm in the process of basting down seam allowance. Tomorrow I plan to cut the background fabric for both so I can begin the applique. This is perfect "take outside and watch Ruthie" work, she loves to be out and this allows me to get something done while supervising her outside.

Today we had a fire in our firepit, and I basted some pieces while sitting out there. Also on the agenda tomorrow is cleaning off our porch, so I can sit there and sew when she's playing out front.

Friday night was Prom night and Rachel and Marshall went to his. Rachel wanted to have her hair highlighted, but wanted it to be a surprise so we stayed up late Thursday night and did it after Youth Group. Friday, Rebekah switched her work hours so she could do Rachel's hair, along with 2 of her friends.

Here is the front view:

And the side view:
Here they are, ready for their big night:

While Rachel and Marshall had their big night out, I had a big night, too. I had planned a sewing night with a friend. We've been trying to do this 2 or 3 times per year and I love the "sew till we drop" aspect of it as it's almost like a mini retreat to me. She had a conference that day, so we weren't able to start until 5:00, but we picked up Chinese for dinner and then dove into our planned projects for the evening. Our "usual" is quitting around 2:00am. We've done it twice, so far, and each time I came home and put on another movie and sewed a while longer.

With the kids out at prom and due home around 2am, I knew we'd make it until then. As it turns out, we were still pretty wide awake when they arrived so we kept on going. My husband had to get up really early for work that day, imagine his surprise to see us still going at it at 4:00. My friend finished up her projects (she made two baby quilt tops that night) and I took her home (she lives only a few blocks away.) I walked in the front door, turned off the lights, walked upstairs, quickly changed and climbed into bed about a minute after hitting the front door. I looked at my clock, it was 6:45.

My project wasn't quite finished, so after a few hours of sleep I got up and got back to it. By mid-afternoon, Arnie's quilt top was done, too.

When I cut for tops, I nearly always cut and make the binding, too, so the fabric doesn't get misplaced or accidentally used for something else. Since 3 of the 5 quilt tops are done, and I hadn't yet made the binding, I did all of them yesterday afternoon along with planning out Emma's top.

Ruthie continues to be a joy. She had her first big day outside today in a while. We've been out for short amounts of time before now, but it's been either too wet or too cold to be out much. We had a fire in the firepit, she played ball, sat on her lawn swing, played on the swingset and generally just enjoyed the nice day. She's doing very well with potty training, staying dry all day on most days now and rarely needing to be reminded.

Her speech continues to improve by leaps and bounds, with both her vocabulary and her enunciation improving daily, it seems. In spite of her delays, she's very much a 4 year old and can be quite entertaining. While she's grown so much since last year, she's still quite small. We sometimes forget that until we see her with other children. Here she is, sitting in a plastic basket.

Several times a week, we find her sleeping somewhere. She'll be awake one minute and sound asleep the next, though the little stinker actually pretended to be asleep on the floor last night. No pretending here, though, she was OUT.

Hopefully I'll be out soon, too. It's getting late and since I got motivated to do this post and some needed paperwork, both of which were on tomorrow's agenda, my day will now be wide open for quilting. With any luck, I'll make a serious dent in Marshall's quilt by midweek.

Happy Quilting!