Saturday, December 27, 2008


Tony's off until the 5th so I've been spindling while he's watched the kids. And I've been spindling while he was off working on the bedframe, whilst Hannah crawled around on the floor under my feet trying to catch fly-away bits of fiber.
My house is still in Christmas turmoil. Boxes everywhere. New baby outfits everywhere. Toys! Batteries! DVDs, blenders! Did I mention I did about 8 loads of laundry before Christmas that didn't get put up in all the hubbub and running around? I'm ignoring it. Actually, I was ignoring it until about 2 this afternoon when the laundry-guilt took over and I started to sort through laundry. Now my house is even more of a mess.

But look at the progress I'm making! I can't wait to get to Mom's tomorrow and use her swift to see how many yards of yarn I'm getting. I still have about half of the fiber too! Ooh, I could just run around in a circle like a chiuahua and pee on myself.

From Tuesday:
From yesterday:


Bear in mind that Mom spun the bit you see skeined, I think she said it was 68 yards. I've done what is on the water bottle, the mountain dew 2 liter and the spindle. What FUN!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Eccentric Presents

We did Christmas with my immediate side of the family on Tuesday night. My family is a little eccentric. Just a little. And so at Christmas we expect some kind of unconventional gifts. Also, I'm pretty good at guessing what a present is by shaking, squeazing and sometimes just looking at a package. So since I was a kid Mom has tried to get me at least 1 present a year that I don't expect and will totally stump me. Boy did she do it this year.

When I was passed this present I looked at it and said, "Oh you got me a case of toilet paper!" They all grinned and told me that was wrong, to open it. Well, it wasn't a case of toilet paper. It was a really cool retro-chrome diner napkin dispenser and a CASE of 4500 paper napkins. Mom said, "You never have napkins." I will have napkins when Jeremiah graduates. Ney, when he marries. I can get a rubber stamp with his and his bride's name and just stamp them on the leftover napkins for the wedding. LOL! I love it, too funny!

One of my other AWESOME presents from Mom was a thousand pounds (okay, probably somewhere between 15oz and 20oz) of various red, more red, black, white, and sparkly wool and a drop spindle of my very own! I immediately had to spin just a little bit since I knew I wouldn't be able to until today. This morning I spun some more and have the spindle quite full. I'm almost to the point where I want to borrow her swift and set the spin in this and start some more.

Hannah got a wonderful, gorgeous silver chain with a cross hanging from it for her first Christmas. The links in the chain are heart shaped and as serendipity would have it, she also got a wonderful, beautiful anklet of heart shaped chain links with little bells hanging from it. Very gypsy. My brother in law joked (since upon arriving at my inlaws, Hannah's clothes immediately came off since it was 80 degrees in there!) that in only her diaper and fancy jingle bells her stage name was "Bambi". LoL!

Jeremiah recieved a play electric guitar and a chainsaw, among other things. I think these two are at the top of the list. He fell alseep Tues. night holding the chain saw and Wed. night holding the guitar. He asked his Nana and Papaw if they had ever heard Nickelback on the radio.

Tony was blessed with a small shop-vac of his very own, so he can be a wonderful husband and clean out my car. MUAHAHAHA!

We had a wonderful Christmas, 6 or 7 times by the time we were done this year. We are blessed with a large and loving family so it takes a lot of miles and a lot of presents before we're done making the rounds but it is so great to be able to see everyone and we are thankful for having had a safe, happy and healthy Christmas!

OH YEAH, we also recieved these SUPER cute magnets from my parents. Mom got them from Polpette Clay on etsy. The lady custom made Tony's with a gotee and Jeremiah's as Darth Vader. Mine is getting the other peas tangled in red yarn and Hannah's is cute and pink.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Heart Quilt

My Mom used to make all my play clothes. She'd make dresses, button down shirts and shorts, dresses for church, halloween costumes, jackets, etc. Apparently when I was about 2 I started picking out fabric from her stash, then picking a pattern out of her other stash and saying 'This.' As well all know kids outgrow things quickly, and I have a couple of my old dresses saved and put back incase Hannah wants them. Some of the others though, got cut into squares or cut into hearts to make a quilt for me when I was 7.

For Christmas 1993 my Mom made me this red quilt, because red is my favorite color. She put a heart in each square because I was born on Valentine's Day. And on Christmas eve my Granny Judy Swartzbaugh sat around and sewed buttons in the center of each heart to tie the quilt. I love this quilt. I am thinking of doing the same thing for Hannah, although since most of her clothes are store-bought knit I wonder how that would work for a quilt. Mine were mostly cotton that could be used for quilting since they were handmade.

The quilt hangs in my kitchen and has since I got married. Before then it hung in my bedroom. The flowers you see hanging from it are ones that people brought to the hospital for Hannah when she was born. I've dried them but haven't found a box or something to put them in. Not quite sure what to do with them, but for some reason I thought I should keep them.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Knitter's Christmas Eve Poem

Goodmorning Internet!
It's the last weekend before Christmas. Thankfully, we only have about 4 presents to hunt down and 2 of them are gift cards so that will be quick! Jeremiah is sleeping in and when he awakes he and Tony will go off and do manly things, like buy me some presents. Jeremiah has been stressing about the fact that I don't have any presents under the tree yet. He had me write him a list the other day and said he was going to get me "everystuffs" on it and wrap it up when I went to bed. Bear in mind my son is 3 and cannot read and also goes to bed before I do, LOL! Still it is very cute and all spoken with a very southern accent. I keep having this little southern babies who come from the womb saying things like "my-say-elf" instead of "myself" and wanting to mainline SWEET tea and biscuits and gravy. *smiles* Isn't it great?

I got 1 shirt for my Dad all done except sewing buttons on it! We decided instead of giving him 2 shirts like I'd planned, we will give him one now with something else and give him the other that I cut out for Father's Day in June. I'll make it soon though before I forget and have to have Mom walk me through all the sewing in babysteps. I am a trial, I'm sure. : ) But Mom makes such wonderful clothes! She's won ribbons in fairs for suits she's made my Dad and she made my wedding dress (3 times, actually)! I started to sew a seam on the shirt and she was like, no first do this, this and this. I said, "This is seamstress crap huh?" And she told me that was the difference between a shirt that looked handmade and one that looked like it came from a store. Whatever you say, Yoda. Thankfully the buttons and 3 more handprints on Granny's quilt are all the handmade things I have to finish up for Christmas. I actually got everything done!!

This was on a knitters list I'm on today and I thought I'd share.
A Knitter's Christmas Eve
A poem written by Nancy Massaroni.

`Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
Was unfinished knitting not under the tree.
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care
`Cause the heels and toes had not a stitch there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep; he was no help at all,
And the sweater for him was six inches too small,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tripped over my yarn and fell down with a crash.
The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how much I still had to go.
Out on my lawn I heard such a noise,
I thought it would wake both Dad and the boys.

And though I was tired, my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
But what I heard then left me perplex-ed,
For not a name I heard was what I expected,
"Move, Ashford! Move, Lopi! Move, Addi and Clover!
Move, Reynolds! Move Starmore!
Move Froelich –move overPaton, don't circle 'round; stand in the line.
Come now, you sheep will work out just fine!
I know this is hard; it's just your first year,
I'd hate to go back to eight tiny reindeer."

I peered over the sill; what I saw was amazing,
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing.
And then, in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa's feet coming across the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet,
And as I turned 'round St Nick I did meet.

He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe,
And his clothes were hand knit from above to below.
A bright Fairisle sweater he wore on his back,
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His cap was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.
The scarf 'round his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
The back of his mittens bore an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I espied a small label,
"S.C." was duplicate stitched on the cuff,
And I asked, "Hey, Nick, did you knit all this stuff?"

He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to knit when I was a kid."
He was chubby and plump, a quite well-dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I'd thought up a plan.
I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair,
He spoke not a word, but looked in his lap
Where I'd laid my needles and yarn for a cap.
He quickly began knitting, first one cap then two,
For the first time I thought I might really get through.

He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks.
While I sat back drinking scotch on the rocks.
So quickly like magic his needles they flew
That he was all finished by quarter to two.
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me,
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year start your knitting sometime around June!"

I am starting my knitting earlier this year. My sister Diantha's birthday is in March and I have something knitty in mind so I've already got the yarn ready to go! See me, I'm thinking ahead. Way to go me! LoL!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Major cookie, minor quilty

Before anything else, when Mom got to my house today she brought me HOMEMADE CREAM PUFFS. Miniature eclairs. Bits of HEAVEN. Whatever you want to call them!

Boy did we bake today. We baked 5 batches of cookies. 1 Chocolate chip, 1 Chocolate snow cap, 1 peanut butter and 2 batches of Snickerdoodles. See my chocolate chip cookies!

While all that was going on Mom and I began to work on my Granny's quilt. Oops. Her half was bigger than mine by 3" all around. The nearest store that sells fabric is 35 minutes away and neither of us was feeling like a trip to Knoxville so I dug around in my stash and found a red in my box of Shakespeare in the Park fabrics that matched well enough. Thank God there was enough! We added borders, pinned it out and Mom quilted it while I worked on cookies. Then while she worked on cookies I did the binding. Then we through it in the wash while we made corndogs for dinner, LOL!

When it FINALLY came out of the dryer we painted the kids that were still here's handprint on different squares. Still need to add my cousin Dana and my brothers Allen and Artemas but then it is ALL done and can be wrapped.

Mom's side of the quilt was a W/U entry for the N2Quilting list. Or a round robin. I can't remember. I am so tired my brain and fingers are fuzzy.

Diantha is spending the night so Mom can work on her Christmas present tomorrow. BUAHAHA. She doesn't know she's been gotten rid of for the day, LOL, she just thinks she was left here. Maybe tomorrow I can work on laundry a little.

My husband wants to make cupcakes to take to work tomorrow. Red velvet for Christmas he says. I don't think he understands that is it 12:22 AM. He said he'd make them (I just didn't get to it today) but he keeps hinting that I could make them. Stuff like, "You didn't start on the cupcakes while I was in the shower did you? Oh." And to Jeremiah, "I'm gonna have to help Mama help me make cupcakes a little...she's really good at that." *sigh* Sometimes I'd like to not be so freaking wonderful. Hannah is asleep, the first time this week she's gone to bed before 1:30AM! Sheesh. I don't know what her deal is. But she is alseep. I could be asleep.

But, I am wonderful at making cupcakes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

BONUS: Snickerdoodle cookies

Here's a bonus cookie recipe for the day!
I think these cookies are fundementally flawed in that there is not a snippet of chocolate anywhere in this recipe. HOWEVER, they are delicious and are terrific with a nice cup of coffee.
Another recipe that calls for the dough to be rolled into balls, these were a favorite to make as a kid due to the hands-on factor. And they are quick. :-D

I think these are another of the recipes we're going to make tomorrow. Now I just need to finish cleaning my kitchen so we have lots of room! I will make sure I post pics of the cookie making (and eating!) processes!

Snickerdoodle Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, and stir in remaining flour.

Combine the 4 tablespoons sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Place balls of dough 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are beautifully golden.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Note: If your kitchen is exceptionally warm and the dough gets too sticky to roll into balls, simply cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chocolate Snowcap Cookies

I am really excited about making these cookies tomorrow. My kids are too, can you tell?

Once baked and cooled these cookies will last a week in an air tight container. Only, they won't last a week. Trust me. They might last a weekend and that's if you have no company and a lot more self control than I do.

Chocolate Snowcap Cookies:
Makes about 11 dozen

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly (2/3 bag choc. chips)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for rolling

Heat oven to 350°.
Chop chocolate into small bits, and melt over medium heat in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water (or microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds until melted). Be sure not to get even a DROP of water in the chocolate because if you do it will ruin it! Set aside to cool.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
Beat butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add the melted chocolate.

With mixer on low speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk until just combined. The last addition of flour you will want to switch to a stiff spoon.
Dust hands with powdered sugar. Using a t-spoon dipped in powdered sugar, dip up balls of dough and roll them in more powdered sugar.

**Alternately or if your kitchen is warm, on a clean countertop sprinkled generously with powdered sugar, roll each portion of dough into a log approximately 16 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, using more confectioners' sugar to prevent sticking. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and transfer to a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes. Cut each log into 1-inch pieces, and toss in confectioners' sugar, a few at a time. **
Using your hands, roll the pieces into a ball shape. If any of the cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll dough in confectioners' sugar again to coat completely.

Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a foil, parchment, or waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies have flattened and the sugar splits, 12 to 15 minutes.

Transfer from oven to a wire rack to let cool completely.
Note: I always end up having to chill the dough in the refrigerator for a few minutes before I roll them into balls. Otherwise the dough will stick to your hands like no tomorrow! But these are totally worth every bit of "trouble".

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sheep on Safari

I've always wanted to make a miniature quilt but have always been nervous about all those little pieces. Well, in an effort to add stress to the holidays I have ignored all else for the day and made a little miniature quilt. When I laid it out my first thought was "Wow, that's a LOT of orange for one quilt." It measures 14.5"x22". I've yet to quilt it but hopefully will do that tomorrow and not have this end up a UFO. I don't know what I'll do with it after that, since I'm not a real big orange person.

What do sheep do during the summer months when it gets too hot to wear their fleece? After they have been shorn, birthed their lambs for the spring and managed to escape the butcher's in time for Easter dinner. What's a ewe to do to relax and maybe even get over a little post-partum depression and recoup from the stress of introducing yet another mouth to feed into the fold?

Why they go on holiday of course! And where, you might ask, do ewes vacation? Well, they might visit Rome taking in the history among ancient streets, sampling the local vino and sending post cards to their loved ones at home. Or maybe they visit Florida and St Augustine and look for the fountain of youth Ponce De Leon missed. A ewe could make a fortune off her wool if she were to live forever in her prime!

These sheep, however, have gone on Safari! Over to Africa they traveled to visit the desert and see the local, leagendary wild life. Rhinos, antelope, lions and jaguars! Their favorite thing to do was frolic at the watering holes with the zebra. Such lovely zebra, such wonderful stripes! Such contrast against the painted orange sunsets!
These sheep made great friends and had a wonderful summer but looked forward to their return home to share their adventures, to sitting around in the fall in front of fires and enjoying life whilst knitting socks for their children. Being sheep on safari can be very tiring.

Chocolat, the ULTIMATE cocoa

Have another winter recipe, on me! (I will be posting another decadent cookie recipe tonight too!)

If you saw the movie "Chocolat" (Johnny Depp, yummy) you'll remember that super thick, ultra-lucious cocoa that Vienne makes. Here is a recipe that is sure to please anyone who needs a little hot cocoa to warm them up!

Castillian Hot Chocolate

1/2 c Cocoa (powdered), unsweetened
1 c Sugar
4 c whole Milk
7 teaspoons Cornstarch (cornflour for my European friends)
1/2 c Water

Mix the cocoa and sugar together.
Gradually combine the milk with the cocoa-sugar mixture in a medium-sized saucepan. Begin heating this mixture, continuously stirring it with a whisk, as you bring it to a simmer. Mix the cornstarch into the water and gradually add to the pot. Simmer, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. The cocoa is ready when it thickens and is glossy and smooth. (It may not look glossy and smooth but after stirring for ten minutes it will be once you pour it into the mugs.)

Add a dash of cayenne and real whipped cream (don't dare desecrate this wonderful, thick cocoa with Cool Whip or the Chocolate Police will come and drag you off!)

Note: Get the pre-sweetened whipping cream and whip it up until it's thick, but not over whipped and add a dollop to each mug. The pre-sweetened whipping cream is better than regular - trust me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cookies for Christmas

Suddenly I am bit by the holiday baking bug. I had a thought to put up a cookie recipe a day starting 13 days before Christmas, a 12 Cookies of Christmas kind of thing but since I am already to late for that I thought I would share a recipe that I am wanting to try. I haven't made it yet, so if you do and it's a bust please don't throw rotten cookies at me! I'll post another few recipes (that I've made!) here and there for the next week incase anyone else is feeling particularly domestic. I've invited Mom ( ) and my sister to take a day off from unraveling and dying sweaters to come over one day this week to bake at least 4 different kinds of cookies.

Here's the recipe I haven't made yet, but will when they're over. It's from the book Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke.

Molasses Crackles:
Do not preheat your oven, the dough needs to chill

3 sticks melted butter (1 1/2 cups)
2 cups sugar (white)
1/2 cup very dark molasses
2 eggs (beaten up lightly with a fork)
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups flour (all purpose)

Melt butter in a large bowl. Then add sugar and molasses and stir. Let cool slightly, then add the eggs, baking soda, salt, innamon and nutmeg; stirring after each addition. Add flour one cup at a time, stirring after each cup. The dough will be quite stiff.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs but overnight is fine.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.) with the rack in the middle position.

Put some sugar in a small bowl.
Roll the chilled dough into walnut sized balls and roll them in the sugar. Place them on a greased cookie sheet (12 to a standard sheet). Press them down lightly so they won't roll off when you carry them to the oven.

Bake 10-12 minutes. They'll flatten out by themselves. Let cool 2 minutes on the cookie sheet then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Note: these cookies freeze well. Roll them in foil, put in a freeze bag and they'll keep for about 3 months.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Killing time and old blue jeans

Well here I sit at my aunt and uncle's house again, killing time while my husband works on our bed frame. It's about 40 degrees outside and Tony and Russ (my uncle) are making drawers for the sides of it. It looks great!! I am really excited because it is finally almost done. Apparently the drawers are a lot of work so Tony has been putting it off. I brought some knitting with me but I'm not interested in the project so I'm procrastinating too. Seems to run in the family. LoL!

Other than my Granny's quilt I didn't get anything else quilty done this week. I did make a couple bags to list in my etsy shop but not like the ones I usually make. I had a pair of much beloved blue jeans bust a hole in the top of the inseam for the 3rd or 4th time and so they were beyond repair. So I cut them up! HA HA! I cut 10" off the very bottom of the legs and made 2 little handbags with it. I machine appliqued batik hearts to the front, lined them and then added a batik strap and button tab. They turned out pretty cute. Don't know if they will sell but if not I have little sisters and their friends I can pawn them off on. I just couldn't think of tossing them without trying to turn them into something else first. I saved the top of the jeans to make a fairly large handbag. I sewed the fly shut, leaving the pockets all usable. I've lined it and made the straps for it but I need to pick up a zipper. It is just too wide to use a button tab. It's pretty cute, can't wait to get it done to post pics!

I have signed up once again for N2Quiltings Liberate Your Stash Challenged issued by Lucy Coleman. Basically any fabric purchased before Jan. 31 2009 is eligible for use in anything we can come up with. This is good because I don't have much stash anymore and HOPEFULLY Santa will bring me some fabric or fabric store gift cards, LOL! I plan on making at least 3 queen sized quilts out of my scrap box next year.

I have also joined N2Quilting's UFO Challenge. We make a list of each item we have that is an UnFinished Object or a Work In Progress (WIP) and try to cross them off our list as the year goes on. The person who finishes the most unfinished projects wins. Ashamedly I have 2 items on my list that were there when Lucy issued this challenge in 2006. *sigh* I made my list the other day, 11 items. All but 2 are at least twin sized but half of them are King sized. Guess I have my work cut out for me. :-D

Here's a little something funny. A tune about stuff a Mom says in a day, set to the William Tell Overture

Granny's quilt

I've been harping about needing to make a quilt top for my Granny for Christmas. Mom made one about 45" square to give to her and the plan for mine is to use it to back Mom's so we end up with a reversible quilt. The one I'm making is just 16 plain squares seperated by sashings. When Mom is done quilting it I am going to paint all Granny's grandkids' (and great-grandkids') handprints in the plain squares.

This should have been a simple project. In fact I even already had the sashing, cornerstone and border fabrics in my stash--I pulled them out of my Loving Shakespeare stash. My Granny's favorite color is red though she has spent the last 50 years catering to my Papa whose favorite color is blue, so everything she owns is blue. Very curious; she doesn't even wear red. My favorite color is also red and my dh's is blue (and hot pink), and so I made Granny's quilt red too. Maybe it's a little defiance on my part, shaking my fist at the future and hoping I never lose myself so much to please people. Either way, I love the fabrics! The border fabrics
is from the Tattoo Hearts by Alexander Henry (2004). Yummy!
Kinda funny, it looks a little like my tattoo!

Mom calls last night and said, I need that top, I need to quilt that quilt!

I got 3 of the rows pieced with rows of sashing between them and they weren't going together right. I was sure that I cut everything to the same measurements so for the last row I made sure to pin everything, but no luck. I looked at the finished piece and it was horrible! Points/corners off by a mile. SO I picked up my seam ripper and TOOK IT ALL APART. Dangit! What should have been a half hour job took more 2 and a half hours. I started working on it at 10:30pm (we did church last night then Walmart so got home at 10) and finished about 1:30, adding a break to nurse the baby but it's still another late night! I am still not totally happy with the points and corners. From the fabrics being ironed, cut, sewn, ironed, ripped, ironed, trimmed and sewn they were a little bit wonky but I didn't have any more fabric to cut new. It's not really bad but there is a nagging voice in my head that says after 12 years of quilting my piecing should be dang near perfect.

But this morning, here it is, finished! Ironed! Pictures taken! Folded neatly to give to Mom. Whew. One more down!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Black and White Quilt Challenge!

Yesterday I was invited to join The Black and White Quilt Challenge!
I have a year to complete my quilt, well actually til November, and the project must be black, white and one other color.

I don't have a lot of black and white fabrics anymore, most some 5" charms left from last years charm swap on N2Quilting. Good excuse to go buy fabric, eh? I wish I had stumbled on this challenge a little earlier and I could have entered that Split Personality bag sold. It was all black and white on one side and all red on the other. Would've been an easy entry, LOL!

You can check out the rules for this challenge by visiting

And hit the main blog to look at the other participants stashes, works in progress and finished quilts or inspiration quilts! They are gorgeous!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Star Row Robin

Years and years ago I was in a row robin. I made a 12"x60" row of blocks and mailed it on for people add too. Last year I got out the top, pinned and began quilting it. I tried to quilt something different down every row. I outline quilted some, stipple quilted, did free-hand continuous spirals (badly!), etc. I need to do a little more quilting in the row with moons in it but my original row, which is actually the second in the quilt now, has no quilting. I can't decide what to do in it. What do you think?

I already went ahead and bound the quilt since only 1 more row really needs quilting. I figured better to do that then let the edges get all torn up until I finally finish it. This has been on my UFO list since 2002, LoL! I'd like to finish it up before the new year.
I actually made the bottom row too, since the quilt top came back 12" too short for a twin. The finished quilt is twin sized and I love it! I handdyed the yellow fabric my original rows of stars was made with (the row with the hearts uses some of my handdye too). I sent 3yds of the navy with blue stars on with my row. I absolutely love that fabric!

Okay so I'm selfish

I have another blog to post later with pictures, quilty and creative things, but right now I'm going to complain.

I'm sitting here nursing the baby instead of making dinner and I'm starving. Not unlike a child, this makes me just a little cranky. This brings me to the selfish thing. As I sit, nursing and starving I am wishing I was independantly wealthy.

Why? Because. If I were filthy rich I wouldn't have any gray in my hair, I would pay someone to fix it. I would pay off my parents house and buy Tony some teeth. I would have a fabric stash again. I would pay off my cars and I could have picked every single card off the Angel Tree at Walmart and bought all the sad little kids each a present, sneakers AND a coat.

But the biggest reason why I wish I was rollin' in it is my husband could have a part time job flipping burgers just to get him out of my hair for a little while, but the rest of the time he could be here to help me!

I am sick, starving and drowning in housework I don't have the energy for. The creative bug has bitten today and I'm doing baggy things because I can work on that 5 minutes at a time and it takes less energy than loading my dishwasher, but then I feel guilty. I wouldn't have to feel like a whiner or need to borrow a sibling once a week to get anything done. Tony could play with babies, hold the craby one while I make dinner, take Jeremiah fishing. It's cold, okay, he could play Candy Land with Jeremiah.

Sorry I'm whining; I know for thousands of years woman have had babies, killed and cooked dinner and kept their husbands happy and some have managed to even brush their hair with all of that. I'll suck it up in a minute and I'll be back to my feeble attempts at being Wonder Woman. I just needed to vent and be selfish for a minute. LoL! Thanks for listening. Now that's over I should mention I am so very thankful for my husband's full time job, for our nice cars (even if they aren't paid for just yet), for the fabric I do have to play with. I praise the Lord for my healthy, beautiful, intelligent children. I am blessed to be able to stay home full time with them and I take none of that for granted!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Artistic ADD

Artistic ADD, yeah that's what it is. That's my problem. I just can't help myself. No impulse control. Well, maybe a little impulse control.

I say "artistic" but it's probably more I'm just bored. I'm still sick so I don't have energy to do anything anyway, but I feel like I should. I mean things other than the laundry, dishes, bathrooms to clean, vacuuming, don't mention dusting.

I have 2 shirts to make for my Dad for Christmas. Hopefully I can get them cut out while Mom's here on Thursday. I've made clothing, but not enough to have any confidence in my abilities and since Mom is a master seamstress I shall await her help.

I finished Berverly's hat on Sunday. The picture looks distorted because I put my big old hand in it to try to get the cables to show up. I used a black eyelast yarn and just did straight knitting, no ribbings, until I ran out of the black yarn. Then I switched to a plain red acrylic and knit with cables. I used 4 double pointed needles and each needle had 24 stitches.

I knit 2, pearled 1, k6, p1, k4, p1, k6, p1, k2 across each needle. Every 6th row I cabled the middle 4 knit stitches. It looks SO cute on her, I shall have to get a picture soon.

When I finished it I began a blue hat to use up some blue fun fur. I'm knitting this on circular needles because the stitches kept slipping off my DPNs. I am doing k2, p2 ribbing on this then it will have a pearl stitch running diagonally up the hat in a spiral every 8 stitches. I don't know what I'm going to do with this when it's done. *shrugs* Maybe list it on my etsy or find someone to give it to.

I have a quilt for my Granny to put together. Hopefully today. It is just 16 muslin squares seperated by sashings. When it's done, quilted and washed I'll paint all her grandkids' hands on it.

I have 3 more quilted bags in my head. And yesterday I had this sudden notion that I NEED to make a bunch of variable or ohio star quilt blocks and set them into a quilt. I'm exercising impulse control on this one. Holding off as long as I can. Maybe until after Christmas. I am also having a rather agressive urge to cut the rest of my sad little stash into diamonds and make a scrappy Bethleham Star baby quilt. I have ALWAYS wanted to make this pattern and have been fighting off the urge for about 6 months now. Might have to give in. Then I'll have to find someone having a baby to give it to, LOL! This is a pic of a wallhanging I made my Aunt Traci for Christmas 2 years ago. I used 5" Christmas charms, but used all the "lights" wrong side up to make them lighter.

But alas, I am tired and puny and will have to just lay on the couch and watch Stealing Beauty.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh, crap

WARNING: This blog is NOT for the faint of heart. My world is covered in poo.

Maybe I should begin at the beginning.

Hannah hadn't have a bowel movement in about 4 days. I fed her prunes. I fed her apple sauce. I fed her pintos and cheese from Taco Bell. Saturday I had to scurry around in the 38 degree weather with the kids and during the afternoon Hannah decided to poop everywhere we went. On the 3rd trip to the changing table in Walmart's notoriously disgusting bathroom carrying my diaper bag, Jeremiah, Hannah, Hannah's quilt, Jeremiah's jacket, hat and scarf, Hannah got something nasty on my sweatshirt. By then it was 28 degrees and I am wandering around the parking lot looking for my (white, Chevy Impala that EVERYONE OWNS) car.

The result was a sore throat on Saturday night that had developed into a full blown flu by last night. Overnight both my kids caught it. So today my children and I have been laying around sniffling and coughing.

I tried to lay on my bed with them and have a nap but Hannah (maybe her throat is hurting?) nursed for 2 HOURS! Everytime I tried to get away from her she would cry. Loudly. By the time I finally was able to roll over to try to nap myself Jeremiah was awake and coughing up a storm because his medicine had worn off. Of course.

I boxed darling, sleeping Hannah in the middle of the bed with pillows and came out to give Jeremiah some more cough syrup. About 30 minutes later he said, "I'm gonna go check on my baby sister" and I began dinner. 2 minutes later he returns and says, "Mama, Hannah's awake but there's something weird on Daddy's pillow." She's been throwing up mucus all day so I figured that was it, oh great, and went to get her.

It was Not Snot.
She had pooped her diaper and overflowed it, then rolled in it. It was on 4 pillows. It was on my sheets. It was on my HUGE, KING SIZED, puffy comforter my DMIL gave us. The thing won't even FIT in my washer. I have a super-capacity washer, but it's a 1998 super-capacity washer not a brand new, if-your-kid-barfs-on-the-seat-of-your-grandparents'-Buick-you-can-fit-the-whole-car-in-the-washing-machine super capacity washer.

I started to cry.
I picked up the baby, stripped her clothes on the bed and took her to the kitchen where I sat her in the sink and hosed her off. Bad idea, then I had poop on my PUR filter. Crap! Had Jeremiah run and get me a bar of soap and a towel... baby's now clean.

Took the pillow cases of my pillows, sheets of my bed and threw them in the tub. Shoved the whole comforter in the washing machine. It won't get clean, but it will be clean enough that dear hubby can take it to the super-loader at the laundromat on his way home from the dentist in the morning. Next I will wash the sheets and pillows. Then I will give Jeremiah a shower. I think he managed to get away unscathed but better not to take any chances. I made him take his clothes off and wash his hands. Twice.

Dinner is finally done, thank God for frozen ravioli and Prego. Now maybe the rest of the night can be uneventful. Thankfully, also, Hannah's nose is now running clear instead of green, albeit running like no tomorrow. I am tired of sucking out baby noses. And I am tired of being covered in poo. And, I am tired.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fa ra ra ra ra

I just love the movie a Christmas Story. Mayhem and chaos, ah...dear, dear memories of Christmases past. LOL! In the honor of the movie's 25th anniversary I made an oriental/Christmas fabric bag a while back. Since Christmas is almost upon us and I would hate to see it hang around until next Christmas I've put it on sale for 20% off the original listing price.

Yesterday I did manage to make and list 2 more bags made from civil war repros. I have another full-sized one and another small knitting project sized one. I've titled them War is NOT Civil. It's as political-activist as I get. I just don't have the energy to get excited about things I can't change. I'm sticking to teaching my kids morals and not worrying about other stuff. The Lord will take care of us, no matter what's going on. I felt quite triumphant; 2 bags in one day! Then I looked at my house. Then I felt guilty. LoL!

My best and only friend called tonight to say they are back in town until Sunday night, so she will try to get over here tomorrow night and visit! I haven't seen her since April, so I'm hoping to have a nice (if short) visit. Since her kids just happen to be my wonderful godchildren, I picked up a couple little things for them for Christmas at the store tonight. I had made Summer (8) a bag from fun/bright girly prints so I got her some hair things and lip smackers to put in it. My friend, Bethany has been on me for a year for a knit hat with a "HUGE puffy ball on top" so that's what she's getting, with matching fingerless gloves. :-)

I have tons of email to catch up on, if I owe you an email I am sorry! I'm calling it an early night as far as computing goes. Tony and I rented HellBoy 2 so we're going to have a nice romantic movie night when he gets home, LoL. (Our first date we went to see HellBoy.) I need to pick up the house some more, give Jeremiah then me a shower and maybe sew?? on Granny's quilt. In an hour. Yikes!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not Paisley

This is just a quickie post, because I need to upload a picture.
I listed a Little Hippy Batik bag in my etsy shop and said the lining of it was a pretty paisley print. I lied. I'm sorry! I started to line another bag with the same fabric tonight and realized they are NOT paislies but some kind of weird fan, primitive flower...something or anothers. So I am putting a link to this in that etsy listing, to clear up confusion. Sorry if this confuses you! Thanks!

Half Square Triangle Pictorial

I posted this in the photos section of the yahoo group N2Quilting, where I am a moderator. I thought I'd post it now out here in cyberspace where other people can see it.

Henceforth half-square triangles will be refered to as HSTs, to save me time and prolong carple-tunnel syndrome, LoL!

Start with 2 squares one inch bigger than you need your finished HST to be. For example, I am using 4" charms so my HSTs will square to 3.5", and in a finished block will be 3".
You'll need one dark square and one light square for every 2 HSTs you want to make.

Take the light squares and lay them face down, so you're looking at the wrong side of the fabric. Use a pencil or quilt-marking pen and draw a diagonal line down the center of the block.

Lay the dark and light squares right sides together, with the light fabric on top so you're looking at the diagonal line you drew.
Sew, using a 1/4" seam allowance, a straight line down each side of the diagonal line you drew.

Cut the blocks apart on the line that you drew

Press your HSTs

Line the block up so you can "square it up" or trim, as some people call it, to whatever size your HST needs to be. Mine need to be 3.5"

Now we have 2 finished HSTs, size 3.5". This is the size you need to make a 9" finished block. I was making churn dash blocks and simple friendship star blocks when I did this tutorial.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More binding!

Praise the Lord who "knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." (Matt 6:8)!! A person usually isn't so excited about quilt bimding, but I am thrilled! I sat down this morning to put binding on a quilt for Christmas and RAN OUT of binding less than 3 feet from the end. Crap, crap. I thought I had bought enough but apparently not and JoAnn's is 30 miles from my house and I couldn't really afford to go buy more. So I spent all day almost-silently fuming about my lack of binding and my brain damage for not buying enough (meant to buy 5/8ths yd, bought 1/3 yd).

Mom, Dad and the kids came over and I got the idea that maybe, maybe I had a couple pieces of that fabric in my scrap box because I love it and have used it before. I found 2 little pieces that was big enough for about 14" of straight-grain binding, I thought I could use it and just piece a little bit of something else in the gap. Then I remembered that I save all the leftover pieces of binding I have, because I can sew them all together to use on a utility quilt (I did that for my scrappy squares quilt) or for potholders, whatever. Praise God, praise God! I had a BUNCH of binding made out of that same fabric I was needing!! I had used it to bind a row-robin a while back and apparently had a bunch of it leftover! Woohoo! I was able to finish the binding on this quilt, and as soon as I take all the safety pins out of it I can wash it.

Of course, since everyone was here I can't find the label...*sigh*
Anyway, not much else going on. Just wanted to share my little bitty praise report for the day. I didn't get any Bible in yet today, but the last couple days I've managed to sneak at least 30 minutes of uninterupted quiet time for myself with my Bible! It's only been a couple days but I can already tell the difference; I feel better inside. Hopefully when Tony gets home he can watch the kids, LoL!

Jeremiah and I started wrapping Christmas presents 'cause he was stressing about the tree being up with nothing under it. :-) I should have known better, sitting on the floor ruins my back so now I'm hurting and I'm going to have to go lay on the couch. Just so happens that A Christmas Story is on TV, what a shame, I will have to watch it. Fudge...LOL!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

And the winner is...

Anna (aka) Spinweaver623 has been randomly selected by my 3 year old to be the recipient of the Little Hippy batik bag that I've had up for grabs. I've sent her a private e-mail to let her know and I look forward to mailing this cute little bag to her. I hope she will love it!

I had a lot of fun doing this giveaway. The suspense was great! Jeremiah even had fun picking the winner (he picked a number). I will definitely have to do this again in a few months.

Back on the home front...

My sister Diantha spent the night again Sunday night and Mom picked her up last night about dinner time. Boy is she a lot of help. Not only did she help watch the kids, allowing me to get boocoos of housework done but she also snipped all the seams on Hannah's shaggy quilt for Christmas! AND I had time to quilt the whole Ugly Quilt, which is now not Ugly at all so maybe it's a Swan Quilt. I am definitely going to have to take Diantha shopping this week and let her pick something, or give her money if she'd rather. The Word says that a workman is worthy of his pay and Diantha is too.

I had Tony hold up the shaggy so I could get a picture and then he couldn't resist showing Hannah to see her reaction. At least she's little and will still be surprised at Christmas, LOL!

On the agenda for today is to finish cleaning my room and the kitchen, make and put binding on the Swan Quilt and maybe start folding all the laundry I did yesterday. I guess this morning Tony and Jeremiah are going to dig the crib out of storage and put it up since Hannah outgrew the safety of her bassinette about a week ago and so has been sleeping with us...and keeping me awake.

I washed Hannah's shaggy last night too, so it's all ready to wrap. I might wrap a couple presents later to put under the tree because Jeremiah is all concerned about them. : ) Plus it will help make the house look more Christmassy. I thought while I was at it I'd share a pic of my Scrappy Squares quilt that I made using 2.5" cut charms. The quilt is queen size and has roughly over 1,600 squares in it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Two down

Two down, 30 to go, LoL! I didn't get a whole lot done today as we spent the major part of the day at my aunt and uncle's house, visiting with my grandparents while Tony helped my uncle pick up 2 truckloads of wood for their fireplace. However...I got Hannah's stocking done tonight! Cross ONE more thing of my to-do list! I am very pleased with the way it came out. I wanted something a little baby-ish, but not so much so that she won't like it when she's 12. The dot fabric is Mary Englebriet, don't ask what the snowman fabric is. I forgot to look.

Here's a pic of Jeremiah's stocking too, that I made for his first Christmas. I used Jeremiah's as a pattern but didn't do the pointed toe on Hannah's. I wanted hers to be just a little different. Tony and I also have homemade stockings, which my Mom made for us and I made my tree skirt too. Can't be a quilter without quilted holiday items too! Well, maybe you can and not to lay a guilt trip on those who don't. If it makes you feel better a secret pal sent me the pannel for my tree skirt and I cut it out, then used it for 2 years before I quilted, backed and bound it. See, I knew that would make you feel better!

I was so happy to make it to church today. Growing up we went every Sunday; it never was even a question "if" we were going or not. Since getting pregnant with Hannah I have missed more church than I had for my whole life! It's not even a religious guilt thing, I simply miss the worship and communion with other Christians. I was SO very happy to make it in time for the praise and worship because usually (thanks to Tony, hehe) we are late and almost miss all of it.

The message really spoke to me too, it was about how we as Christians tend to give God our "leftovers." You know, IF we have time we read our Bible, IF we remember we pray, IF we have any money leftover we tithe, etc. My husband and I have tithing down, we do that even when we can't afford it but the Bible reading and quiet I was really convicted on.

I know for me, as a stay at home mom, it is SO very easy to make my kids #1 in my life. Everything I do revolves around them. While it's bad, I guess, that I lose myself in that it is worse that I lose the Lord in that. I was convicted and sad to realize that lately the Lord hasn't been number one in my life, but has fallen in line behind my kids, my husband, and sadly even my quilting. I really need to work on that and try to realign my priorities. My relationship with God should be first, then my husband, then my kids and lastly my hobbies.

I don't know how I'm going to do this, I will need to pray about it. I know I need to start making time (not finding it) for quiet time and Bible study everyday. I don't know if I will have to have Tony watch the kids for me for half an hour so I can do that without disctractions, or if I will need to turn off the computer and (gasp) TV and do it as soon as the kids go to bed. Something has to give though. The reason I have been feeling so worn out lately is that I am spiritually tired as well. Like the Bible says, prosper and be in good health even as our souls prosper! Who knows, maybe I will stress less and have more patience! I know my hubby and kids would love that!

I know some of you reading might not share my faith or agree with me, but since this is kind of my online journal and this has been on my heart today, so I thought I would share it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Welcome Christmas

The holidays are officially here at my house. We put up our tree tonight and I have lots of pictures to share. Whew! It's kind of my unofficial job to fluff all the parts to the tree, put it together and string the lights--then Tony (and subsequent children) helps decorate it. Jeremiah was SO excited, kept getting into things and from having to fuss at him every 45 seconds I put the tree together wrong. 3 times. Hannah crawled over and chewed on the cord, which made us nervous she would electrocute herself so I had to put her to sleep so I could finish the lights.

Jeremiah was a great and frustrating help, LoL! He had 3 particular branches he liked, I guess, because every ornament we handed him went on one of them. Tony jept having to rearrange them. Cheryl (my dear MIL) gave Jeremiah a singing, piano-playing snowman for his first Christmas (2005). Tony replaced the batteries and the kids had the biggest time with it!

It started out being about 55 degrees today but about noon it started raining and got stinking, miserably cold. Good night to stay in doors and trim the tree! One of our LQS had a sale today and I got a couple yards of batiks to use in some more bags and fabric to make Hannah's stocking! It is soo cute, I will post a pic when I finish the stocking in a couple days. Yesterday while at Mom's the kids made milk-carton gingerbread houses (graham crackers instead of gingerbread). Jeremiah was so proud of his we had to take a pic before he started eating it, LoL!

In other news, I finally got the Ugly Quilt pinned out. Hope to start quilting it tomorrow. Speaking of jewel boxes, here's a pic of a Christmas quilt I made in '04 out of 5" charms from 3 years worth of Christmas swaps. I meant to make a Jewel Box pattern, but was 2mo pregnant at the time and had "pregnant brain" so it didn't turn out right. I love this quilt though. The inner red border isn't a Christmas fabric but was the right shade of red and the outter border is a green batik with Christmas trees. I pieced together all the siggy squares I got in the swaps for the label on the back.

I started working on Betsy's hat to match Aubree's. I'm going to take it with me to my aunt's tomorrow, I'm going to visit with my grandparents for a couple hours before they head back to Ohio. Then it's home for (hopefully, Lord willing!) a nap and some actual quilting!

This is our tree. Isn't it pretty?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stuffed to the gills

Where did that saying come from anyway? I don't believe I even have gills. Anyhoo, we had a good Thanksgiving with no fighting, lots of food, and minimal annoyance to me by my SIL. LOL! We took my sister with us and she got along well and was even invited back. We are finally almost home, having made a pit stop at Mom's to drop of Diantha and just haven't managed to leave yet.

I'm getting ready to go dig thru her scrab box (bin, tote, tub, 50 gallon drum) to look for dark or black scraps suitable for making the Vampyr (haha, fancy) bag I have forming in my head. I knocked myself out (almost) trying to get some bags done this week, and I did sell one today! Just not one of the new ones I nearly knocked myself out to make haha!

Mom's given me a bag of some luscious merino wool died in candy blue and pink to spin into some yarn for a hat for my other sister. She (Mom) says she has other things to spin and I can practice. This is great, and I am excited, except...

I have the Ugly Quilt to pin and quilt
2 loud, loud shirts to make for my Dad for Christmas
a stocking to make for Hannah
the seams on Hannah's shaggy to clip
and tonight my beautiful baby sister asked for a red knitted hat. I brought the one I knit for my niece Aubree and Beverly, who's favorite color in the world is red (ah, a girl after my own heart) saw the hat and wouldn't return it. I told her, look in my bag, I have more red yarn I can knit one for you too! She picked the yarn out of my bag and shoved it at me in a silent, "Here! Start. Now." kind of way. She's not spoiled or anything, but I told her I'd start on it when I get home. *sigh*

We hit the mall on the way home from Greeneville to see about a gift certificate for my cousin. I didn't get the gift certificate but I did manage to buy 5 pairs of panties from Victoria's Secret, LOL! Actually, I picked them out and my wonderful, manly hubby went and stood in a long line with little bitty, brightly colored panties that didn't even make a handful for him and paid for them. I love him. I got a gift certificate just for buying something today, so I can go back after the 1st and buy some more. Yay! Panties!