Monday, November 2, 2009

Seven.


You are SEVEN. My brandnewbaby. The One. The First One. I cannot believe how quickly time flies between forceps and first grade. You have always been the sassy one. The BackTalker. The opinionated one who doesn't go quietly. When you moved into your Big Boy Bed you threw The Tantrum That Lasted Three Months. We're still talking about it.

Today you are bright, curious, more respectful of yourself and others. You are constantly thinking, asking addition questions and history details, and creating new ways to play. You take chess lessons (even though you are already an expert according to yourself). You love your soccer team and particularly excel in the goalie position.

You are the bravest food-tryer I've ever met. When the school cafeteria serves every kids' favorites, you choose salad. The big salad that the teachers get. You crack us up! Your favorite restaurant is Benihana and you eat it All.

You love bossing your little brother around at anything you play. The Wii, Club Penguin, Playmobil, Nerf wars, etc. You set up elaborate battalions of soldiers to recreate scenarios from your knowledge of World War II and the Civil War. When other kids are playing Bakugan, you are asking for books about wars, ancient Egypt, and the next Magic Treehouse.

You astonish us with your courage to try new things and your joy at learning. Your vocabulary has always been huge but you still pronounce animal like "aminal" and hamburger like "hang-a-ber". Sometimes I forget you are still so young. Sometimes you seem like my partner in crime.

You are always negotiating, trying to explain, or "helping" your siblings understand better. You will make a great diplomat. You will make a great anything!

You never balk at having to wear the patch on your eye. You haven't complained about your glasses since the day we got them two years ago.

Without you, our family would be an awful shade of gray and so, way, too much quiet. Thank God for you! I thank my lucky stars every day I look at you. You are a miracle and add joy to my life in ways you won't know until you become a parent. I wish you all the joy and fulfilment that life can offer you. I wish you peace and exploration. I wish you all the learning your heart desires. I love you!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pinwheels for Dummies?

Ok, I need help from you seasoned pinwheel makers out there. I posted this problem on Sew Mama Sew too.

I just assumed pinwheel blocks were simple. I'm making a quilt inspired by this one at the Moda Bake Shop. So I made two blocks last night and discovered that maybe pinwheel making is more complicated than it seems:Anyone see anything wrong? One is going "clockwise" and the other is going "counter clockwise". I am desperate for any tips to keep these straight and heading in the same direction while constructing my blocks! I am using the half-square triangle method where you put two 5" squares right-sides together, sew 1/4 inch on either side of a diagonal line and then cut apart.
Please, please make any suggestions that might help me keep things straight while making my blocks! I feel like I'm constantly checking and double checking to make sure my solids are all marching in the right direction now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Completed Quilt!


Ok, well, it's not exactly 100% completed but the lap quilt I made for my mom's Breast Cancer Fundraiser is all done except for tacking the binding to the back. I went ahead and took pics of it since the sun was streaming in through the windows so nicely. I usually finish a project late at night when there is no good light to use for photos.

So this is a simple charm pack quilt made with April Cornell fabrics. I quilted it with free-motion loop-de-loop quilting which wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. It was very quick which caused me to make more mistakes than I'd like. I think I actually prefer stippling to the looping. We'll see.
Audrey is helping model the quilt like a good little helper. The backing is the same natural solid as the sashing. Probably from Joann's but I'm not sure of the exact color name. Not bright white, more of a cream.
It feels wonderful to post an actual quilt accomplishment on my quilting blog LOL. Now that we are into our third week of school, I actually feel like I can get some things completed again!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Feeds Available Now! And a little Jen Lancaster worship...

I am a new blogger and still trying to figure everything out. I finally got my site feed working (I think...) so please add me to your list.

The two-year-old starts her pre-school program this week which will give me two mornings to myself. Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things and share some finished products with you!

My mom has requested a quilt donation to a Breast Cancer Fundraiser Auction. I have a charm pack lap quilt that is already basted so I have decided to try and quilt it quickly so I can donate it to her auction. My mother herself is a breast cancer survivor so this is obviously personally worthwhile for me. Stay tuned for pictures of that this coming week.

On a side note, please check out Jen Lancaster's books if you are looking for a fabulous read and some pants-wetting laughter. I started out of order with her third book "Such A Pretty Fat" and laughed so loud and so often that I started to think that maybe I had a problem. Could this book really be THAT funny or am I having a breakdown? I had to read many passages outloud to Andrew so that I could have someone to share their fabulousness with. She is so adept at speaking the truth about life's challenges. I then went back to her first "Bitter is the New Black" which is timely for us since we're unemployed right now. This book is about going from the dotcom boom where our generation thought we were wealthy successful GODS to the shock of 9/11 when reality started tumbling down. Fabulous insight into a shared reality and growth experience of our generation.

I am currently reading the second "Bright Lights, Big Ass" which is worth the purchase price even if you only read the bit about trying to keep 2 dogs, 4 cats and her crazy self quiet during Fletch's conference call. I have lived that scenario many times myself and can't help but read that part out loud to anyone who will listen. PLEASE go buy these books and give yourself the gift of side-splitting laughter.

Have a great Sunday and tune in later this week for updates!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Goodbye Baby.

The big yellow bus just came and took my baby away. Jamie's fifth birthday isn't for three more weeks so he's one of the rare kids who starts elementary school as a four-year-old. He was so nervous and quiet this morning. I have never been more thankful that he has an older brother to show him the ropes and hold his hand.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pure Joy

My friend Kerrianne took this fabulous picture of Andrew throwing Jamie in the pool this week. This photo is the very definition of this summer for us and I am thrilled to have it preserved in such a great way. Jamie met his Kindergarten teacher today and gets on the big yellow school bus for the first day of school on MONDAY, yes Monday! While it's not the end of summer here in Georgia, it is the end of summer vacation in our county.

With Andrew off of work, he has spent many hours throwing our kids and all kinds of neighbor kids in the pool. My kids don't even realize how lucky they are to have dad around so much. I hope the boys are both old enough to remember the summer of Six Flags, Whitewater, Edisto Beach with my family, Hilton Head Beach with Andrew's family, tons of fun at the pool, and lots of time with their dad.

I secretly look forward to a return to the school schedule, structure, progress, and time all to myself to sew...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Scrap Nine Patch Completed!


I finally finished the Scrap Nine Patch for my sister Carrie (I am in pink shirt, Carrie is in blue). It wasn't really made from scraps. I used April Cornell's Poetry fabrics for the 9-patches and a light green fabric for the sashing. The backing fabric is another selection of the Poetry line and the binding is the cream polka dot from the same family. I really don't love the green sashing but I'm still in love with the backing and binding!
This is the first quilt that I have completed with free-motion quilting. I used a stipple pattern and it turned out much better than I expected! My hands still want to do a loop-de-loop pattern instead of the stipple so I might try that on my next one.
I wanted to share with you an easy way of managing your binding during the process of making it and attaching it. While I ironed it in half, I began rolling it around one of my small rulers:
Then when it was time to pin it to the quilt before sewing, I just unrolled it along the sides of my quilt. It kept it very well organized and pressed. In the past my binding has been in a pile at my feet as I'm working with it and it ends up getting creased and wrinkled, not to mention rolled over by my chair! This solution was simple, free, and quick.
I'd like to give a cyberThanks to Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts for putting together the quilt-along that finally spurred me into completing this quilt. I am very happy with it and can't wait to complete one for myself!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Home again!

I have been gone two long weeks and am happy to finally be back home and back online! I was at the beach, first with my family at Edisto Beach in South Carolina and then with Andrew's family at Hilton Head. Both were good visits with everyone and filled with lots of salt, sand and shrimp!

While I was gone our main computer gave up the ghost after six years of dedicated service. I am a little out of sorts without my photo files, bookmarks, etc.; so please be patient while I regroup and get back on the blog wagon.

In exciting news, I finished and gifted my Scrap 9 Patch quilt for my sister Carrie. It turned out so well that I was inspired to pick up the quilting pace now that I'm home! I promise to complete my post about this quilt as soon as I can get the last picture uploaded. Thanks for your patience!

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm in Quick Quilts Magazine!

OMG, I just received my September issue of Quick Quilts magazine only to turn the page and find my own picture staring back at me! A few months ago I submitted a picture to their "Quick Pics" section on their website showing me with my very first quilt. It was a pattern from their March 2001 issue so I figured they'd like to see a completed quilt from one of their old issues. Since it was my very first quilt, it is an especially sentimental moment for me.
At the top of this post is the cover of the magazine so you'll recognize it on newstands. I was drooling over the Joel Dewberry quilt called Moderne Meadow before I got to the Quick Pics section and started screaming ;-) Go check out the magazine to see this great king-size pattern in those gorgeous fabrics! And, ahem, if you insist on checking out "my" page then turn to page 30:I wonder if I really get the free batting they mentioned. I love the Warm Company! I've never won anything in all the quilting blog giveaways I've entered so I feel like I've finally hit the jackpot. Thanks for letting me brag tonight!
In quilting news, I've been adding sashing rows (Zzzzz... sorry, I just fell asleep there for a minute...) to my sister Carrie's quilt. Since this is a Scrap 9 Patch, I am including it in Amandajean's Quilt-Along over at CrazyMomQuilts. Sashing is a lonely sport and requires lots of reruns of Bones on the Tivo to keep me going. Is there anyone out there who enjoys sashing? Post a comment and let me know your thoughts on how to break the monotony.
I will also admit to a little fabric shopping yesterday which I will post about later (or when the internet becomes invisible to my husband...). Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Lovin' Happened So Fast

Ryan is the only one who looked semi-natural in the wig Audrey got for her birthday. I love this picture because he hasn't reached the stage of being too cool to pose for a picture with a wig on.

Audrey's second birthday was a low-key affair with family and some out-of-town friends up from Orlando for a visit. They brought her a "Hair Salon" kit which was the cutest thing ever. Every famiy should have a wig!

The Sunday after the birthday my friend invited Audrey and me on an unexpected beach trip which was such an amazing indulgence! I loved every minute of it and even enjoyed the lack of cell and email reception at the beach house. It was a quiet, relaxing trip that gave me the gift of time to catch up and grow closer to a very good friend. I am thankful to Andrew for watching the boys and allowing me the chance to take off.

When I returned my sister was in town for a great but short visit. We got to stop off at several bookstores for her to sign her book which made me feel famous by association.

This week I hosted a few friends over for a lesson on making a handbag. It was fun but I neglected to get pictures to share with you all. Oh well, next time.

Today I am off to a Girls' Weekend in the mountains. Yes, I am a spoiled princess. No, I don't mind if you call me that out loud. Now you know why you aren't seeing great updates of sewing projects here! Summer vacation has arrived with a whoosh-bang and I am loving every minute of it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

You are TWO.

I know this is the most overused expression in parenting but that it because it is so true: THEY GROW UP SO FAST. This is my precious newborn baby. The girl I dreamed of for 33 years. How can it possibly be that she is two already? I cannot shop in the "baby" section of stores anymore. There is a big girl bed in her room now waiting for the crib to become a thing of the past in our house. It was only yesterday that my mom helped me pick out that crib for my 6.5 yr old when he was a new baby. Passing out of the "baby" stage of mothering is bittersweet.


This feisty girl is spoiled rotten. She is a mama's girl and I find it very hard to say no to her. She climbs up on the counter and says "see-all" which means she wants cereal. She gets a measuring cup out of the drawer and brings it to me wherever I am in the house as her way of saying "feed me". She eats all day long but is still the tiniest of my babies. She loves to say "stop", "wait", "peetz-zah", "belly", and "goosie" which is for our dog named Lucy. She calls her drink cup "Jew" whether it's juice or milk. She wakes up happy and goes to sleep talking to her baby dolls. She has a favorite blankie with a silky edge she likes to rub. She is a cuddler and will snuggle into even a stranger's neck.


She loves to swing and dance. She loves to try anything her brothers do including shooting Star Wars guns and waving around swords. She takes on a gruff deep voice when playing guns or cars which cracks us up. She is a wonder. She is a hoot. And she will always be "Baby Audrey" in our family. She is my dream come true and I am thrilled to celebrate her life today with utter thanks to the universe for sending her to complete our family.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm a SEWING FOOL!

Ok, this post is about the pink and green handbag, but check out the two posts below for updates on my two quilt-along quilts.

My friend Julie told me about a project making a handbag out of placemats. With that in mind, I came across the most adorable placemats at Target a couple of months ago and picked them up. After googling "Placemat Purse" I found simple directions and got started. Less than an hour later and VOILA!

Yes, this was really just a placemat at Target!
Sorry the pics are always less than great, but if I took better pictures this would be a blog about photography instead of quilting and sewing!
Anyway, enjoy the eye candy. :-)

Flag Day Farm Blocks

These are some of the blocks I've started for Oh Fransson's Mod Sampler Quilt in Flag Day Farm fabrics.

O Tannenbaum


I've finished my first set of rows for the Old Red Barn Co Quilt-Along.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Old Red Barn Co Quilt-Along Update




Ok, I got my fabric all cut and now I'm wondering if it's going to be too GREEN! This is Michael Miller's Funky Christmas line. I love the patterns and color combos in this.
I also spent some time sewing Oh Fransson Mod Sampler blocks from my Flag Day Farm fabric. Too many projects and not enough time!
I am hosting a Girls' Night bag-making party next Thursday to help spread the bag-making love. Now that I've finished putting the handles on my Meadow bag, I'm in LOVE. I will post finished pics of that tomorrow.
A friend of mine asked how I have time for all of this along with my three children being home from school for summer break. I told her the truth: I don't clean, do laundry, cook, etc. I let my children run wild while I hide in my sewing room and chant "la-la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you-la-la-la-la". And sew. And then beloved bedtime comes when I get to put the kids to bed and I return to my sewing room and continue.
Just kidding. Kind of.
Edited to add: for some reason Blogger doesn't want to include my paragraph breaks. Excuse the bad formatting. As an English Lit snob, I can't stand for you to think it was just me writing in a completely unorganized manner!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ANOTHER New Project for me? Oh Fransson!

Yes, yes, I know I have a big quilt already in progress. Yes, I know I have another quilt-along (Old Red Barn Co) that I'm going to start this week. But I couldn't resist starting Elizabeth's (Oh Fransson) Mod Sampler Quilt-Along! I had a stack of fabulous Flag Day Farm fat quarters that have been begging to be turned into a quilt, like Right Now.

And even though these fabrics were all set in my mind in a Sawtooth Star pattern, I still couldn't resist changing the plans after seeing all of the wonderful Mod Samplers on Flickr.


It has taken me a couple of evenings of cutting to get everything prepped the way Elizabeth has it outlined. Talk about organized! Here is my first fabric pair organized on its card:

I added an additional pair of FQ's to her recommended 6 for a total of 14 different of fabrics. While getting all of the perfectly organized cards in a stack I had a fear that my two year old "helper" would get her "helpful" hands on them and rearrange the pairs and all of the cuts. So off to Target we went to get a box with a latching top to keep projects like this together and away from helpful hands. Not three hours after placing the perfectly organized stack into its new box did my child rip into it somehow and chuck all of the cuts from the top three cards onto the ground in a pile. ARGH.

After getting all of the cuts back in order I was short one piece. Huh? I FINALLY found it in my scrap drawer. Now you all know why I gave up quilting for 6 years when I was having three babies! It's all I can do to keep her out of the pins, scissors, hot iron and machine needle. She also threw all of my bobbins out of the bobbin case and into the little plastic water jug I use to refill my iron. Helpful. Very helpful.

I promised the Middle Child that I would paint his bedroom walls green. He loves green and has been asking for months. This is the child who pretty much does what we say. He's sweet, quiet, funny, and doesn't ask for much. So I will put my beloved sewing projects on the back burner (or try really hard to...) and take time this week to get the green paint on his walls. I mean, how can you resist a Clone Trooper's command?



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mother of a Quilt-Along GIVEAWAY!

For those of you in the quilting blogsphere who don't know that this is a massive giveaway week, WAKE UP! There are unbelievable goodies being given away by the most generous bloggers out there. Check out the blogs on my list in the right-hand corner or go to the master list at Sew Mama Sew. What a great way to learn about the different bloggers out there!

While racing around and shamelessly participating in my favorite bloggers' giveaways, I came across a fabulous Quilt-Along that also includes amazing giveaways each week. Check out Old Red Barn Co. The quilt design is both gorgeous and do-able for beginners. If you are a newbie (ahem, my little beginner quiltlings... I'm talking to you!), this is a great way to jump in and get a new project underway. I'm going to do it because it looks quick, easy and fun!

So please visit as many bloggers as you can in the next few days to find out what is out there and who knows, you may just come away a winner!

Although I was too chicken to participate this year as I am a new, baby blogger, I am working on my first giveaway and will announce it as soon as the item is ready.

Happy blog-hopping!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's in the BAG!

Massive pats on the back to myself for tackling a new skill. I finished my tote as you can see here:

Here is a close-up of the quilting and the red pindot lining fabric:Biggest lesson learned: Pay close attention to measurements of lining vs. measurements of bag... I ended up with about four yards (or so it seems) of extra fabric in the liner. It's all baggy and wrinkley but goodness, it's mine! Unfortunately what was meant to be a beach bag has turned very quickly into a diaper bag-looking thing. Oh well. I think I'll hang it from a knob in my sewing room to add color. Afterall, it is a historic part of my quilt-making as it is both my first bag and my first attempts at free-motion quilting.

On to bigger and better bags! While at the big Sewing and Quilting Expo in Atlanta a couple of months ago, I purchased a bag pattern that caught my eye. This is another Melly & Me pattern. You may recall the adorable plush elephant Ellie that I made for a friend's new baby. That was made from a Melly & Me pattern. There must be something about their designs that draw me in! Here is their Meadow bag pattern and I could not be more thrilled with how easy it was:


You may have noticed that it is lacking the handles. I ran out of fusible fleece so I have to wait until I can get more tomorrow. As it is 11:30pm here, it's not happening today. The only question I have for you more experienced bag makers is this: the fusible fleece has gotten a bit wrinkley on the main bottom fabric of the bag. Is there a fix for this?
And you'll be happy to note that I have learned from my lining mistake and the liner on this looks much better:


So there we are. Well, only 3 more days of school for my big boy kindergartner. In the meantime his siblings are loving their summer fun without him:











Monday, May 25, 2009

Up, Up and Away!

Well, I am here to announce some news on the quilting front! I have FINALLY ATTEMPTED FREEMOTION QUILTING! Yahoo! I have some adorable kite fabric in my stash that is begging to come out of my closet for summer. When I ran across Amandajean's Bag Tutorial at Moda Bake Shop I couldn't resist how easy she made it look.


Amandajean has always been one of the most inspirational quilt bloggers for me, especially in regards to her free motion quilting. She is a whiz at stippling and makes it look way, way easy. In honor of her inspiration, I am using her bag tutorial as my experimental project. Just look how well it's turned out so far!


Ok, so you can't see the detail very well but I chose a loop-de-loop quilting pattern to add to the whimsy of the fabric. In addition, I am also outline quilting each kite to make it appear puffed out in the air. I have selected a red pindot fabric for the inside liner but I'm open to suggestions if that's too crazy. Any ideas are always welcomed here!

I will post pics when I get it finished. Now I'm off to put the rascals to bed...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Trekkie By Marriage

Yes, we will continue our non-quiting posts for another day. I am contemplating participating in Sew Mama Sew's big Giveaway Day May 27, what do you think? Ready for my first giveaway?

Last night Andrew and I had a babysitter so we could go see the new Star Trek movie. It was amazing! I loved every minute of it. I have seen enough bits and pieces of Star Trek episodes on TV as well as some full length S.T. movies since meeting my husband that the movie was appreciated on a deeper level than a non-Star Trek person would appreciate it. That is not to say you wouldn't like it if you had no S.T. history. You would. It's a good movie in its own right.

However, having seen Star Trek episodes, especially the early ones, you can apprciate so many more details! This story would be considered Star Trek Zero. It happens before the original TV series starts (in Star Trek time). So you get to see some of what came first. Early Spock and how Captain Kirk becomes Captain. Have a beaming problem? Meet a young Scotsman with an attitude. Every scene is a combination of knitting the new, young Star Trek team in with your memory of the older, original one. I truly loved it. Chris Pine who plays Captain Kirk is easy on the eyes despite the fact that I spent the entire movie thinking he was the new "bad" member of The Unit on tv. He's not, by the way.

So there is your movie review for the day. Star Trek is fabulous, action-packed, comedic at times, and so very babysitter-worthy.

In non-Trekkie news, my sister has announced the news on her blog that her novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, is being MADE INTO A MOVIE! WAHOOOOO!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Woman Sandwich

Today I am in heaven. My mother is here this weekend to celebrate Mother's Day. My daughter, who is extremely mommy-addicted, is even more "Nana" addicted. She flings herself at my mother upon arrival even before she has a chance to exit the car in the driveway and doesn't give her up until we scrape her off of my mom at the end of the visit. Does she see the same thing in my mom that I do? Even though I am 35 years old I still sometimes wish I could fling myself at my mom upon arrival and not let her go until my husband drags me away from her at the end of the visit!

What a gift to have both my mother and my own daughter surrounding me today. I feel like the middle of a generational sandwich of women. I never really imagined a day when I could hang out with my mom and my own daughter together. Amazing. For those of you who don't already know this, I have always wanted a daughter. I have two sisters. My mom has three sisters and one brother. We are a family who knows sisters. I always assumed I would give birth to girls and watch my daughters experience sisters. Then I had a boy. And another boy. What? Then I spent two years studying how to have a girl and finally got my girl. After a few years as a Mother Of Boys it was strange to actually give birth to a daughter. Audrey is almost two now and it's still strange. Being with my mom and Audrey today makes me daydream about one day being with my mom, my daughter and her daughter. There is something special about mothers and daughters.

Having said that, there is something VERY special about mothers and sons. I woke up this morning to my 6 year old son and the sweet persona that he trots out a few times a year for special occasions. He has been all sweetness and light today, offering me breakfast in bed, a trip to the bookstore, and whatever else my heart desires ("we can play whatever you want to play today mom!").

Yesterday the three kids were on the swingset and Ryan (6) mentioned that for mother's day Audrey was going to keep me company. I asked where he was going to be on mother's day since it sounded like he wasn't going to hang out with me too. He said "For Mother's Day, I'm going to give you Five Minute's Peace!" Out of the mouths of babes.

So I came downstairs to open (I mean, let them open) their school-made gifts to me and discovered that Ryan had drawn the most wonderful picture of me pushing all three kids on our swingset, something we have done alot of lately. He also wrote about how much he liked my pink shirt and how good I was at helping him find websites. Then Jamie (4) gave me a standard pre-school handprint picture. I flashed forward to his future huge man hands and thought about the day when these handprints will look tiny. The time goes so fast.

After opening my gifts, I settled on the sofa to prolong my pajama time and Audrey came over with one of the boys' Nerf guns. She pulled back the slide, pointed it at me and with her chubby baby fingers, pulled the trigger. Ahhh, my princess. The result of the best of both worlds. The unexpected gift of two bright, funny, loving sons and the much anticipated but different-than-I-imagined gift of a daughter. A family full of loud, messy, chaotic love. The best gift on Mother's Day.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Brothers

I keep posting about The Princess on here because she is with me all day everyday while the boys are in school. More opportunities to get pics and witness her antics. However, just to prove that she does indeed have two older brothers, voila:

I guess Jamie is trying to be some kind of fierce Superman as opposed to a friendly, easy going one which is the type of Super Hero he would actually be in real life. Ryan on the other hand is looking all sweet and innocent when in reality he has had any number of privileges revoked already today after using his sassy mouth against his parents (ahem) and his kindgertarten fists against his brother. Hence the need for the padded costume on Jamie's part...

And here is an example of why I have so few pictures of all three of my children TOGETHER:

On a quilting note, I have been working on sashing more blocks for the nine patch quilt. BORING. Does anyone else lose interest in quilting when the weather gets nice?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Because I can't resist.


The effects of older brothers on a small girl.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Scrap 9 Patch Quilt Along

The quilt I've been making for my sister Carrie was inspired by a quilt I saw (and drooled over) on Flickr. Now my very favorite quilting blogger has decided to use that very same quilt as the inspiration for her Quilt Along! Check out crazymomquilts.blogspot.com to see her intro.

I have begun the sashing on the quilt and surprised myself by choosing a light green print rather than a white or cream solid for the sashing. Here is a picture of part of the first sashed row:


Here is a picture of the quilt backing (pink paisley) and the green sashing together:

Sorry the light isn't quite right. I think it will look good when it all comes together. Right now it's looking a little weird. Here is a pic of the blocks arranged on my design wall (minus the bottom row which is sashed already):

So I am thrilled to have company during this process to help me move it along. I especially need some guidance when it comes time to choose the quilting pattern. I'm not sure if I want to go with the straight gridded pattern the original quilt has. You can see that quilt here.

If anyone wants to join us in the process of creating a great scrappy nine-patch quilt, visit Crazy Mom and chime in to her comment section! I will say that I have used the strip-piecing short-cut method on my nine-patch blocks whereas the Quilt Along will be using the method of sewing all nine cut squares together. My way makes many blocks that use the same two fabrics whereas her method is for a true scrap quilt. My method is quicker and easier but her method is authentic and creates more varied colors/patterns in the nine-patches. If you want help learning the shortcut just let me know!

Thanks Crazy Mom!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mother-In-Law

I am writing with the full knowledge that my MIL is reading this. I have been blessed by the In-Law Fairy. It is hard to believe that I lucked into such wonderful, smart, funny, involved and loving in-laws. They are better than I could have ever imagined. My MIL and I have a very close relationship and my in-laws come over about once a week to play games or share a meal.

Having said that, my mother-in-law is also prone to giving me some doozie stereotypical in-law comments. Every once in a while she'll make a comment that just begs to be shared with someone in a story that begins "You'll never believe what my mother-in-law said to me..." Here is one such story that I'm still laughing about today.

Last night they came over for dinner and cards. Upon arrival my MIL looked right at me and said "I really don't like your hair." It may have even been the first thing she said to me. I was speechless, which is a rare thing. Knowing that she loves me despite my hair, I laughed. And, really, she's right. It's awful hair. But still, how great is it to be able to tell people that my mother-in-law looked right at me and, out of the blue, just said "That's really bad hair."

She also took a look around our house and commented on how clean it was. A great compliment to a family that usually lives just shy of squalor in the dirt and mess department. Just as I was feeling a swell of pride that she'd noticed the effort we'd put into it, she said "You must have gotten your house cleaners back!" Because surely, you two couldn't have pulled this off yourselves... And for the record, no we haven't gotten our housecleaners back. Andrew was laid off and while we can be stupid with money, we're not THAT stupid!

I am grateful to her for being outspoken. I love to laugh at her comments but I also love to laugh with her. If she weren't so outspoken and truthful, we wouldn't have such a close relationship. I'm sure I've given her many "You'll never believe what my daughter-in-law said" stories as well.

In addition to the material she gives to me as my mother-in-law, she has also contributed a great many hilarious stories to her family history. The "Get Away From That Wall Of Death!" story and the spraypaint on the bedroom walls stories are my two favorites ;-)

When my husband was growing up, she was a big force in his life and had a big part in creating the person he is today. The stories he tells about growing up in their house are so rich with detail that I almost feel like I was there too.

He had a very stereotypical American upbringing. His dad went to work every day for 40 years to the same company with the same bologna sandwich in his lunch box. They lived in the same house from the time he was a newborn until a few years ago. His mom stayed at home and made meatloaf, "dry chicken", and frozen pizzas. Their harvest gold Maytag washer and dryer set had replaced the pink ones that they had gotten as hand-me-downs before that. They had a parade of stray pets through their house and they shot hoops in the driveway. In hearing about it, I get the benefit of this nice, steady experience even though my own included divorce, back and forth parent visits, 8 homes over 18 years, etc. Don't get me wrong, I loved my childhood and wouldn't change it. But I love hearing about an experience different than mine.

Despite the traditional childhood they gave my husband, my in-laws are anything but traditional. They travel the world in search of adventure. They study world religion, relationships, and spirituality. They reach for new knowledge, new people and new experiences. They moved into a neighborhood so full of activity that we have to fit our visits into their busy schedules now. They are loving their lives and filling them to the brim.

I have learned so much from my in-laws since meeting them ten years ago. I am thankful for their influence on my children, my husband and myself. Their personalities and life experience compliment my own parents' in a way that makes me feel like I have the best of both worlds. If ever I need advice, a shoulder to cry on, or just great company, I have so many wonderful parents to choose from. Each offering me something different but something very much needed and treasured.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Side-Seam or Seam-Free Bloomers?

I would like to make some bloomers to embroider or applique things on the backside but don't like the Butterick bloomer pattern I've been using. As you can see from the pic in my previous post, there is a nice big seam up the wazoo. Any suggestions on patterns that avoid this?

Also, I'm looking for simple shorts patterns for all three kids (2T girl, 4 boy, 6 boy). Any suggestions?

Spring is finally springing here in Georgia and in between torrential downpours we can see glimpses of nicer weather beginning. On that note, I am not able to hide behind my Jacques Penne' sweatsuits any longer (JC Penny for you domestic folk). I am going to have to reveal the white dough-girl beneath now that the 70 degree days will be here to stay. Argh. So begins the new diet regime. I am using SparkPeople.com to track my calories and exercise. Anyone else have experience or feedback about Sparkpeople? Share what you're doing to take off the holiday damage after the old Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years-Valentines-Easter indulgences!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wee Play Hexagon Quilt






I consider this to be my fifty buck copy of a quilting magazine. It is the October 2008 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. In an effort to sell me a massive subscription commitment a sales rep at the quilt show offered this back issue to me as a free gift. I took one look at that cover quilt and had to have it. The minimum subscription was $50 which got me two full years of two different quilting magazines plus all kinds of freebies. It was worth every penny (in fact, I was thrilled to see my first issue actually show up today!).


Now, once I caught sight of this cover quilt I had to go out and immediately buy up the fabric before it disappeared from shops FOREVER! Two jelly rolls and some yardage later, I am officially in love with the "Wee Play" fabric line. I had been trying to find this particular fabric for a while and it turns out to be a part of this line:



I have seen it everywhere and am in love with it!


I sewed all the jelly strips together a few weeks ago, pressed them yesterday and made my first block last night. Viola:

I know, I know, don't faint from the glare of perfection my friends. Some fabrics are just meant to be drooled on. They ought to come with a wax coating.
Now, for those of you experienced quilters (and please, could you come out of hiding just for me?) how in the heck do I manage that crazy zig-zag binding? The pattern doesn't specify other than bias binding. How do you make those turns? Any ideas?





Bloomers and Skunks



I just finished the bloomers that go with that kittycat dress.

Since they will be under the dress I didn't spend much time on them making sure patterns matched up etc. They'll do the job.


For those of you who make clothes for your kids, do you do the whole "eyeball how big they are" thing? When it comes time to cut the elastic for the leg openings and waist, I kind of wing it. I'm a slacker shortcutter by nature but didn't know if this was a usual practice among other moms or not. Anyway, I'd have The Princess model them but we all know how that would go...


In other kid news, Ryan was an adorable skunk in the school play and can be found on YouTube. It will be available for public viewing until I get the skeevie vibes or read a news story about online kid predators. In the mean time, enjoy the black and white furry kindergartner cuteness!




video


Finally, an updated pic of my design wall and Carrie's Scrap 9 Patch quilt progress. It's slow-going since I keep stopping to do other things but here it is. I just need to buy a better sashing color before I can move on to the next step. The color I got is too light.


So what's next? Oh, only my own favorite quilt project just for me! I am making (Carrie, block your ears, what I mean to say is I'm working tirelessly on Just.Your.Quilt.) a wonderful "Wee Play" quilt from the cover of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. I'll do a seperate post about that tomorrow as I'm off to finish the tacos for dinner...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Another dress finished!



Thanks to Amandajean at Crazy Mom Quilts I have found the easiest sundress pattern in the world. I whipped this one out during a Tivoed episode of NCIS this afternoon. As always, The Princess hated it but Andrew helped me force it on her and distract her. This is a moment of her intense loathing in the backyard. If you look closely enough you can see the steam coming from her ears and the fire shooting forth from her eyeballs. Cover your ears though because the NO-AH is at top volume. Don't you love the kitty-cat fabric? The dress is a little big but it should fit better in the hot part of the summer.
Go on over to Crazy Mom Quilts to find out how to make this and many other wonderful things!




NOAH

I always think I'll remember the funny things my kids say but then I quickly forget. Right now The Princess is into her emphatic "NO!". The funny thing is that in order to emphasize it properly she has added an "AH" at the end. NO-AH! She goes around the house yelling at us for the slightest infractions. "NO-AH!" "NOOOO-WAH!"

So we have started calling her Noah and now Andrew asks her about the ark all the time.

The other funny thing that came out of the mouth of a babe this week was Ryan (6) asking me to put Jello in his hair. He came home Friday from the school bus crying about wanting to go to the faculty fundraiser basketball game. For the first time in his life he insisted on taking a shower ("I stink of sweat!") and then asked me to put Jello in his hair. I told him that I didn't have any Jello and ohbytheway I don't have any hair gel either. Where is he getting this from in Kindergarten? He's gotten hair gel once in his life at Fantastic Sams. Is there a cool kid manual at school that he read telling him to shower and gel himself into presentableness for the big Friday night game? Was there some cute six year old girl there waiting behind the bleachers I'm unaware of? Geesh.

Flash forward with these two kids and you'll see me in ten years. Ryan is shaving, dabbing on cologne and taking the car to pick up his girlfriend on a Friday night (excuse me, I just threw up a little in my mouth). Audrey is throwing a fit at not being able to go to the mall to meet her friends because we had a little mother/daughter run-in like this: "I told you to clean your room." and she says "NO-AH!" and flounces off. Meanwhile the Middle Child Jamie just sits and laughs at it all. He is my beloved Go Along, Get Along child. Happy, obedient, funny and sweet. One out of three ain't bad.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kate's Wedding Napkins

No, I don't know Kate. But she shares my love of the quilter's blogging community and I would love to help her tackle her 80 napkin goal before her summer wedding. Go on over to Kate's blog and check out her project. It's a nice, easy way to pay it forward!

This is a prime example of what is so magical about blogging. Bringing together strangers who share a passion and giving us a way to learn from each other and help each other. One other example of that this week is Oh Fransson's quilt-along tutorial.

Elizabeth at Oh Fransson has been sharing a greatly detailed Quilt-Along which is more like How To Quilt From Beginning To End. This tutorial is fantastic! Not only are her pictures and descriptions nicely done, she has also showed us how choosing a different fabric palette makes such a difference in your finished project. My favorite part is the most recent part, the Free-Motion Quilting tutorial. I crave more detailed tutorials of free-motion quilting in hopes that after reading enough of how everyone does it I might one day have the guts to tackle it. Seriously, I know I just need to make my quilt sandwich practice pieces but I'm terrified I might be awful at it.

Oh Fransson, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Handmade by Alissa are some of my favorite places to go and drool over free-motion quilts. One day I hope I grow up to be any of these quilters!

I am sorry to say I missed the Atlanta area Shop Hop this weekend. I had big plans to drive around visiting as many quilt shops as possible but in the end my too-tight budget kept me home. I knew that if I stepped foot into any of those luscious places, my money would have taken wing and flocked en mass from the depths of my purse and stimulated too much of our economy. My apologies to the Atlanta area quilt shops for my lack of patronage. I hope to be there next year with bells on and a fat wallet. Surely I can find a Sugar Daddy (sorry Andrew...)or win the lottery by then :-)

I am an IDIOT.

Ok, so, remember that lovie I was making for that baby shower? Uh, yeah. I showed up yesterday at 1pm at the home of the hostess. That's funny, there are no cars here. Wait, check the address, yes, this is the right house...

Knock on the door, see the kids come to the door in their pjs. Why would they be wearing their pjs when they are helping host their aunt's baby shower today? Then the hostess (did I mention she is a complete stranger?) answers the door in her tennis tshirt. Hi, I'm here for Marianne's shower? Well, the shower is APRIL 25. What month are we in now? March.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am so on top of things that I showed up for the baby shower A MONTH EARLY. You read that right, an ENTIRE MONTH EARLY. Impressive, huh?

So let's add that to the little tidbit I didn't share last week about forgetting to get my friend's son off the bus for her. He walked home to a locked empty house IN THE RAIN. And he's 6 years old. Luckily my friend called 10 min later to make sure I had him. Andrew ran to get him and all turned out fine. My friend didn't disown me but I would have understood if she had.

What is the deal? I joke about my Diet Coke addiction causing serious chronic bad memory but this is ridiculous. Anyone out there have any suggestions about improving memory function? Please for the love of God, don't suggest I give up my diet coke...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Scrap Giveaway at Film In The Fridge!

Go on over to Ashley's site for a great scrap giveaway! She is organizing her stash and ready to purge her castoffs.

Her giveaway started two thoughts in my head. The first is wondering if we ever get around to using all of those scraps we save. That is something I wonder about EVERY SINGLE TIME I chuck a scrap in my scrap box! I wonder. I wonder if I'll ever use it. What would I use it for? What pattern is it big enough for? Will I have the confidence to pair it with other scrap choices to come up with a selection of fabrics that work together?

That brings up my second thought. I thought about how little confidence I have in using scraps for the sole reason that they weren't picked out to go together. What if they don't look good together in the finished quilt? What if I put all of this work into a scrap quilt and when I'm done there is a whole patch of disgusting choices that nags at me every time I look at it?

I have certain colors that are very scarce in my stash. I am not drawn to oranges or purples for example. In Ashley's recent post about her improv blocks, she mentioned adding just a splash of a third color to make the rest of the block really pop. I would never have thought of it but just look what a difference it makes!

So my thoughts this week are turned to scraps, color coordination, and stepping out of your color comfort zone.

I am off to make a baby lovie/minkee for a baby shower tomorrow!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Black Sheep

Am I the only person in America who doesn't watch American Idol? I have never been interested in it despite even my mother telling me how fabulous it is. People can't believe I don't watch it. I feel left out in conversations and I don't recognize "famous" names that I should anymore because they got their start on American Idol.

This morning while driving carpool I was radio surfing and I kid you not, EVERY SINGLE STATION was talking about American Idol. Every one. I was clueless. Here I am wondering if the names being repeated on every station are part of Obama's administration or bonus-carrying executives from AIG. Oh no, they are "stars" on American Idol, didn't you know?

So I'm outing myself. I am not an American Idol watcher. There, I said it. Now don't I feel old...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wish List - TO DO

There are so many quilts I want to make.

Colorful family tree applique.
Candy Bar Road with Charisma Fabric (bought and ready to start).
Schnibbles pattern with Mary Englebright fabric (bought and ready to start).
Sawtooth Stars quilt with Flag Day Farm fabric (bought and ready to start).
Are we seeing a pattern here?...
Oh, I guess I'd better stop typing and get to work quilting!

BTW, I am teaching a beginner quilting series on Thursday mornings for fun to some friends. They will be here in an hour and we're tackling measuring and rotary cutting today. I can't wait to see the fabrics everyone chose!

Baby Girl


Baby Girl
Originally uploaded by Frecklemama

When big brothers are off to schoo she knows I'm all hers...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Honeycomb Smocking - DEELISH!

I have been drooling over many talented quilters' work for a while now and would like to start sharing some of my favorites. My alterior motive is to collect them all into one place so that I can strive to tackle making them one day.


One skill that has been lingering in my head for a while is the honeycomb smocking I first saw here. Unreal. I found a tutorial for it here. I don't know what the proper "rules" are for using other people's pictures so I won't. But I will use a "public" picture just to show you what honeycomb smocking is:

I know, right? How fabulous is this in terms of adding texture to a quilt block or anything for that matter. I found the honeycomb smocked quilt block by following one of my favorite quilt bloggers: Amandajean at CrazyMomQuilts. Amandajean herself made this block for the texture challenge. Seeing this creativity jump into 3D opens up my mind to start considering incorporating more artistic elements into my quilting.

Right now I have several projects in my queue to do before venturing out like this but I just wanted to let you know that these ideas are piling up and I am loving witnessing the quilting inspiration on the blogs! Thank you so much to all of you who take the time to share your work and especially your tutorials with us. I have a ton of them bookmarked and can't tell you how excited I am to try them soon. Keep blogging!

WIP - Baby Quilt

I am helping host a baby shower this weekend for a dear old high school friend. She is expecting her first baby (a girl!) and I keep changing my mind about what to make for her. I finally settled on a lap quilt to use while she's rocking the baby in the nursery. I had purchased a kit from Quilt Taffy a while back and discovered it had the same April Cornell Poetry fabrics in it that I chose for Carrie's quilt. Instead of using the delicious pattern that came with it, I wanted to do something super-quick like a coin quilt in order to get it ready for this weekend!



Once I put it together last night I realized two things: 1) it was too long and skinny and 2) the white sashing needed a little pizazz. I added some fat borders to the sides to try and fatten it up and then cut some hearts out of the scraps to applique to the sashing. So much for quick, huh?
Any suggestions on the top/bottom border (if any) or other applique ideas? I haven't done the applique yet, only pinned it on.