Monday, June 29, 2009

My Wonderful Weekend

I had a BIG birthday this past weekend. As the birthday maker in our house, I had decided to tell my family what I wanted for the BIG birthday was to not cook or do dishes on the day.

They had better plans than that :) About 10 days prior, my husband told me that I'd have two days off for my birthday. So Saturday and Sunday, I didn't have to cook, clean or do dishes. He took me to lunch Saturday and then to the mall to walk around for a while. He knew that I couldn't just sit while my family cleaned around me. Their plan, he told me, was to have the cleaning done and the food prep done before we got back (he was doing the grilling when we returned.)

What he didn't tell me was our good friends and their family would be here when we got back, for dinner and to spend the evening. This is what my friend brought me for my birthday. I was very excited, it's been a long time since I had all new fabric to work from for a quilt. There is a yard and a half each of the colors, 5 yards of muslin. The batting is 81" x 96". My plan is to buy a yard and a half of pink and purple to add to them, and I should then be able to make two quilt tops. The first is planned, I hope to do a block in the next couple of days to show. This one will be hand pieced...and take a long time in all likelihood.

I have a friend who calls me her adopted daughter and she will often give me money for Christmas and my birthday. My daughters decided that since I take them shopping for new clothes and out to lunch for their birthdays that this time they would take me. I got all those nice clothes at Christmas time, but my summer wardrobe was just as sad as my winter one was before. The girls told their brothers and my dh about their idea and they also chipped in what they would have spent on a gift. My mother in law also sent me money for my birthday so we pooled it all and hit the stores.

I was a little discouraged at first, finding things that really didn't look all that good on me. I had an idea what I wanted, and really needed to concentrate on "bottoms." Tops are easy to pick up here and there and easy to fit, not so much so for the bottom half.

We got on a roll, though, and this is what I came home with today. The skirt on the right is a blue/black denim.

The skirt on the right in this one is denim, also. I love wearing skirts and dresses, the denim ones are for when I'm out and about doing errands, practices, etc. They can also be dressed up a bit with nice shoes and a nicer top for Sunday wear.
Next up are the shirts, there are 4 of them along with 2 camis, one cream, one brown. I have a black one and will start to collect other colors, along with some solid color tops to make all of this more usable. These are both florals (obviously) the one on the right has long sleeves and the background color is brown. It will actually work for all seasons since it's light enough for a cool summer night, yet with a shirt under will be cute as well.
The shirt on the left is a bit gauzy and more casual. I loved this one on and was a little disappointed that the only other color of this one was out of my size. The shirt on the right is a little more dressy, with the rhinestone pin on a ruffly thing on the front, the outer layer being a floral sheer fabric.
Next up are a dress and jacket. The jacket is black and when buttoned fits really nicely. The dress is brown and cream, and is really comfortable.
Next we hit the shoe store. I have a few pair of black shoes, and a couple of pair of brown that are good for winter, but not so much for summer. I just had to have the yellow shoes, they will go great with the skirt with yellow in it or pretty much whenever I want to add a pop of color to my outfit. The brown sandals are for every day wear and the peep toe brown wedges ( they look black in the picture) for when I want to dress up the every day look a bit. They also go with the dress.
Lastly the accessories. The yellow blouse that I really liked to go with the yellow skirt was too big, so we didn't get it. I'm going to wear a black cami and the jacket for now and keep an eye out for something yellow to wear instead. Rachel decided I needed something else with yellow and she was thrilled to find the necklace and earring set. Since the jewelry was buy one, get one half off, I also got a set of bangles. I love bangle bracelets, but they usually won't fit over my hands. I've always had broad hands with short fingers. These fit nicely and I was so excited to find them!
Everything but the denim skirts were on sale, so I was able to get much more than I dared hope to get.

Of course, good Old Murphy, how dare we have a good day without having something bad happen. My husband had to stop quickly with our van and a piece of equipment fell forward and broke the gear shift. He had his wits about him enough to not get himself in a position where he had to back up since he couldn't shift at all.

I work hard to be a cup half full kind of gal so I'm focusing on the good and trying not to cry over spilled milk. While we certainly didn't need that expense right now, it is what it is.

In spite of my busy last few days, I did get a bit of sewing done. I now have 4 blocks together on my sister in law's quilt. I plan to applique a bit more tonight.
It is a lovely, cool evening here, so I'm going to do some more sewing tonight. Tomorrow the high is only 69 here, which is rare for the end of June. I'm going to take full advantage since my house is still clean from the weekend. I'll be doing some laundry, but other than that I hope to mostly quilt. It will be cool enough to hand quilt, so I may spend a good part of my day on that. I also hope to get the first block of the new quilt going since the Christmas quilts are moving along so well.

And lastly, Ruthie.
Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Time Flies When You're Having (mostly) Fun....or How I Spent My Last 3 Weeks

I've gotten a lot done in the past few weeks. I've been hunkering down and trying to work my way through some things, I have a BIG birthday coming and it's brought up feelings for me that I didn't expect. What better way to work through some emotional baggage than with busy fingers! So I've been working like a madwoman and am really excited about how much I've gotten done.

Arnie's quilt is done. I'm thrilled with how it came out, it's bound and ready to be sent in early December.

Here is a closeup of the quilting.

Katie's quilt is in the hoop and I've begun the quilting. The last several days have been warm and humid here, so not good for a quilt in the lap. I avoid the a/c whenever possible because of the expense, so I've been working on applique these last few days. The a/c is on today, though, and I'll hand quilt some of today and tomorrow while I'm holed up inside, hiding from the heat and humidity. Emma's top is done, too. I'm really pleased with this one. I'll be basting it in the next couple of weeks so it's ready to go when Katie's is done.If you look closely, you can see little fingers holding the right side of the top, Miss Ruthie had to help, too, then had to have her own turn holding it up for me to take a picture.
Debbie's is well under way. All of the applique is prepared, the background pieces are cut and I've appliqued one block and am on the second. This one has posies appliqued on the corners where the blocks meet, so there will be more to do as I begin to assemble the blocks, which I plan to do as soon as a few of them are finished.
Along the way, I've come up with a couple more projects as well. I printed out paper for another strip quilt, one to go on the little couch in my sewing room, and this time the blocks will be smaller to make better use of some of the scraps, and for variety. It was hard to get a good picture of these, but you can see the sewing lines. To each side of center will be a 3/4 inch strip and outside each of those will be a 1/2 inch strip. The triangles will be background fabric and where they meet will leave a nice space for quilting.I also have a couple of scrap quilt ideas floating around my head and hopefully those will make it to paper soon. In spite of having things that need to be done, it's nice to take a break from them to work on something else for a day or two.

With the Christmas quilting well under way, it's possible that as many as 3 of the 4 quilts could be finished by fall. That leads me back to wanting to get the roman shades made, so piecing the finished strip blocks will begin soon as well. While typing this, I realized that while fabric searching for other quilts, I found a piece that I'm pretty sure is big enough for the roman shade for our bedroom (this one is appliqued and I didn't want there to be any seams, which are more visible with the window light behind it) so that may get a start sooner than I expected as well. Below is the pattern piece, at the end of each calyx will be a 3 dimensional rosebud. There will also be a vine with these same elements going around the sides and bottom of the heart shape and across the cornice box so it is a complete picture when all put together.
I've done a bit of applique so far today, and am babysitting for a few hours this afternoon. While Ruthie and her little buddy are occupied, I might get a bit more done, but with keeping them occupied and a few quick chores, I don't expect to get much more done before dinner time. After, though, it will be time for putting up my feet and doing some more applique or some hand quilting on Katie's quilt. It's nice in here right now with the a/c on, so as long as I don't get overheated with chores, dinner, and dishes, it might just be cool enough in here to quilt.
Keep Cool and Happy Quilting!