Saturday, May 29, 2010

Quilting...and other busy-ness

I've been really enjoying quilting on the Celtic and Posies. Two blocks are quilted and the sashing surrounding them is done as well. Block 3 is in the hoop and ready to go, possibly a few stitches will be taken yet tonight. I could have more done except there is A LOT going on here these days. One of the biggest things is the ramping up of the wedding plans for our oldest daughter. They aren't officially engaged, yet, but that is really just a formality. They are figuring out exactly what they want and the engagement will likely bring with it an announcement of the date, most likely some time this fall.

It will be very much a homemade wedding. After seeing veils at the bridal store we visited, we decided we certainly could make one. We bought a piece of tulle and some beads and we picked a zig zag formation for the beads and she's been practicing getting them on without pulling too tightly.

I'm sure there will be much more to tell as the weeks go on.
In the midst of it all, my husband is job hunting. The company he works for now has been underbid and it's likely the current employees will lose their jobs. We need that income, and our insurance is there, so we're in a bit of a mad scramble to find a way to replace that job. We're sure all will work out for the best in the end, but in the meantime, it's quite nerve wracking!

Thankfully we have our own personal hair stylist! Ruthie wants her hair cut whenever the haircutting supplies are out. Since Rebekah does hair out of our house, poor Ruthie would be bald if we obliged. She did need a trim, though, so she got that last week.

Here she is, discovering the wonders of Easter chocolate. She's not much of a candy eater, usually we give her a small toy and some snack crackers or something in her Christmas stocking and Easter Basket. She does enjoy an occasional piece of "chokuck" so had a few among her Easter goodies this year.
Lucas was practicing roller blading with a helmet and pads, so Ruthie had to have some, too. She wore these for quite a while and grinned the whole time.

The quilting updates will be slow in coming these days, all the projects are big and have a lot of handwork, though I will have a wedding quilt in the works before too long.

Hopefully we don't get too much terribly hot weather or it will be hard to keep a big quilt in the quilting process!
Keep cool and Happy Quilting!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Long Update

It's been a while! I'm still not used to being able to post more quickly and tend to put it off longer than I should. I'm hoping to change that with more frequent updates so they aren't as crazy long as this one is!

Rebekah came to me a couple of weeks before Mother's Day and asked what I wanted...though before I could answer said they had an idea. The "they" was she and her boyfriend and their plan was to replace my favorite tree, which was dying, with a new one. We planted this tree when it was barely more than a stick. It started out green in the spring, then was covered with beautiful white flowers (though they stunk!) and then the leaves turned purple for the remainder of the summer, new growth coming out green and then also turning purple.

It got a fungus several years ago and we didn't realize what it was until it was too late. My husband wanted to milk it along for a while, since the fungus wouldn't spread to other trees and the tree was still looking passable, but I thought he might go for this new plan. He did, and the next day the cutting began.

Here the main lower branches had already been cut off. Brian (Rebekah's boyfriend) enlisted the help of a couple of our boys to help him take down the tree.

Here more of the branches are down, they are nearing the end of what can be done with it still standing.

Lucas was thrilled to be included and spent his time taking any branches he could carry to the garden, where they stayed until Jonathan was able to move them to the woodpile up by the back of our house.

Brian and Rebekah got a dog last summer. She occasionally comes for a visit when they are here so they can stay longer. She loved the activity that day, watching all of the neighbor dogs and giving kisses to the kids when they would get close enough.

The trunk was cut into usable sized pieces and branches all hauled to the garden. Lucas continued to pick up smaller pieces so the mower wouldn't run them over.

He came back a couple of days later to work on getting the stump out and took me to pick out my new tree. They had picked out a few different ones, the final choice was mine. It's a flowering cherry and should have beautiful white flowers in the spring. I can hardly wait. It seems to have "taken" well and there is some new growth at the top. It's supposed to be a fast growing tree so hopefully it won't look so little and lost among the rest of the trees and shrubs!

Mother's Day was great. It doubled as Rachel's birthday dinner day. We made dinner together and afterward went to do her birthday shopping. She wanted me to be able to shop, too, so got everyone together to chip in instead of picking out gifts. Ruthie and Rebekah came along, too, and we had a wonderful time, ending our shopping trip with ice cream at Oberweis.

During the course of those few busy weeks, I finished up the border of the celtic and posies. This past Monday I got the muslin needed for backing and started basting that evening.

Here it is in the hoop. This one will take me a while, but that's ok, I'm really enjoying quilting on it, even the difficult middle section where there is so much quilt to move around.

Here it is during the basting process. Every so often I go on a baking binge. I love to keep baked goods around, which is no easy feat with my hungry group. Sometimes rather than baking every couple of days I bake several different things in a day.

This time is was a Swedish Flop. The cake is a rather stiff, yeast cake. The lemon filling is the same as that in lemon pie. The white layer is a cream filling. So good!

Even better are the Kringles. There is a bakery in Racine, Wisconsin that makes these and I found a recipe online. I was amazed at how close this recipe comes to the original and it has quickly become a family favorite.

They are oval shaped, the recipe makes two and I halved them to fit them on the platter. The filling is butter, brown sugar, and walnuts. I've also tried apple, peach, and chocolate chip and nut, but this one is far and away the favorite. The pastry is soft and light and the powdered sugar icing just finishes it off beautifully.

Ruthie continues to do wonderfully. She loves the camera and we've decided that she needs to have her own for her birthday (which isn't until November.) There are a couple of disposables floating around here and she seems to lose some of her shyness when she has one in her hand. This may be just the thing to bring her out of her shell some when other people are around.

In the meantime, she'll enjoy getting her picture taken. She can be in the worst of moods, but mention taking her picture and she's all smiles. Here she is sitting on the back of the little couch in my sewing area.

This one was taken with my phone camera, so the quality isn't really good. She asked to ride the horse at Meijer, which was a first and was thrilled to have her picture taken on it. They have it rigged so no money has to be put into it, but she didn't like when it moved so we won't be pushing that button again for a while.

She can still be found sleeping sometime in the afternoon or early evening a few days a week. She loves that little spongebob, I used a bit of my Mother's Day money to buy it, she entertained herself for quite a while with it in the store while Rachel tried on clothing, so I didn't have the heart to leave it there. Notice her painted toes, too. Rachel and I both bought new sandals on Mother's day, so we painted our toes that evening. Ruthie was not to be left out. She comments on her pretty toes daily.
So there it is, the very long update. I'm spending a lot of time sewing and quilting these days, but all of the projects are big so there really isn't that much to report. The warmer weather is slowly making it's way here and I've enjoyed the extended cooler spring weather that we've had.
All in all, it's been a good spring. I hope the same for all of you!
Happy Quilting!