Friday, January 30, 2009


Today was a make up a block sort of day. The picture on the calender was for an ocean waves quilt done in grayed out jelly bean colors. Beautiful quilt, horrible colors. Tomorrow's block will be the ocean waves block but I don't know what colors I'll do it in. I'll figure it out then. I made up today's block. I wasn't going to use any St Patty's/shamrock/luck fabrics in my green quilt but I got to thinking, you can't have a St Patrick's Day quilt without a shamrock somewhere so I made up this one. The whole block took about 4 1/2 minutes start to finish because I can't find my green thread to zigzag stitch around the edges of the shamrock. Guess it really isn't finished then, but I'll find the thread tomorrow.

We got our tax return today so I was able to go do some fabric shopping! I bought 3 more yards of Warm and White batting because it's a good thing to have on hand. I bought some gold and black skeins of yarn because a guy Tony works with admired his orange knitted boggin (hats) the kids gave him for Christmas that he wants one for himself. He said Steeler's (stealers?) colors. Tony said gold and black, so since I know nothing about football I'm taking his word for it. I wish they had had a varigated yarn, but they didn't and I have an idea for the hat already.

I bought to 1/4yd cuts of red fabric toward my Shakespeare in the Park. Man, did JoAnn's red selection suck. I was hoping they'd have more than that, but they didn't other than precut FQs and I was already buying a couple of those and didn't want to get any more. I'll have to go look at Gina's, one of our LQS--I could spend a fortune on red fabrics there!!

I bought 1/4yd cuts of fabric toward 2 quilts for the Bumbling Bounty Hunter's quilt challenge. Guess what or who the 2 quilts will represent! I can't wait to start on one of these and probably will, even though I have other things to work on. Like quilting the Bob quilt and quilting my mini green quilt. Oooh, but patience is not one of my strong point. In fact I'd like to have part of the scripture from James, "let patience have it's perfect work" tattooed inside my left wrist where I'll see it 1000 times a day!
And I got some "just because" fabric. I never get just because fabric, so I'm pretty excited. Although the green paisley is probably toward the St Patty's quilt and on the way home I decided that I wish I had bought a yard of the dark blue on the left instead of the 1/2 yd 'cause then I could use it for sashings for a UFO I'm planning on finishing this year!! DARN IT! LoL!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

QSTx4 and a House?

Today's block was, I think, for QSTs. I thought they were sewn together to make a square block so without looking at the calender I made mine that way. Later this afternoon Mom said she thought they were sewn together to form a straight line. I still haven't bothered to look, my block is done and a square suits my purposes better than a line anyway. And, "done is better than perfect" to quote the ever wise Debbie Y. I also squared up a little over half of yesterday's flying geese and cut out 4 batik circles for yoyos for a future bag (already in the works in my head.) Not a totally unproductive day!

This afternoon at 2 we had an appointment to go look at a house. We've talked about buying one off and on for a couple years but didn't think we had the credit or could afford to and we're happy with our apartment, so it never was a big deal. Last week a guy Tony works with now says to him that he bought a house and flipped it, and it just got put on the market. It's about a mile and a half closer to where Tony works (not a big deal, we're only 3). Tony looked at it when they got off work the other day, but wanted me to see it.

We thought maybe it's too small to buy, at 1144 sq feet but that is the size of our apartment and we are happy and have enough room here, so it's all good. And I LOVE it. It is so nice inside! Tim (the guy selling it) has redone EVERYTHING. Brand new, beautiful hardwood floors, all new carpet in the bedrooms, redone (expensive) garage floor, new cabinets and all new stainless appliances and new counter top in the kitchen. New showers, cabinets and looks like toilets in the bathrooms. It's 3 bedroom, 2 bath. Has a large kitchen, large laundry closet with water heater and still big enough to put washer/dryer, ironing board, shelves and maybe fabric stacking bins?? He's painted the walls a nice color that reminds me of ostrich, but is probably not anywhere near it, LOL! The baseboards are all new or newly painted and bright white.

The yard kinda sucks, being on a hill, but we live in East TN and all yards are on a hill. The major plus is that it's not on septic. Been there, done that. However, with a little landscaping the yard would be nice. Has a basketball hoop, which Tony likes and a huge (almost 1 car garage sized) shed/building in the backyard that has also been redone with siding to match the house. Workshop maybe? It's a half block from the fair grounds in town where our county fair is held every summer, so no worried about where to park! Also the same distance from the local pool, walking trail and park. It's in a quiet neighborhood that we can also walk in with a judge, a retired police officer and Christians as potential neighbors.

I am really praying because I really like this house! We're waiting to hear back from the mortgage company to see what we can get approved for. They are asking $124,900 but the realtor already said he could get us a better price (and negotiate to have railing's added to the front porch so kiddies won't fall off and down 3 feet to the yard.). I am trying not to get my hopes too high, we need our payments to stay about the same as we are paying for rent. But it would be so great to own a house! And even nicer that it is not a fixer upper!!

On a side note when I woke Tony to have him get ready to go this afternoon, I thought he was awake cause I was talking to him about different things when suddenly he laughed and said, "You know what's funny? You make all these plans way up high and then Veronica walks around with a fork." Mental head slap. I said, "TONY WAKE UP!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Flying geese, again

Instead of making a block today I made 28 flying geese. They'll finish to 6"x3" and will make the top and bottom border for the sample stars quilt. I used all purple fabrics from the stars, except for the dark green. That I threw it just because I could. One of those quilter's prerogative things. :-D I didn't square them up or anything, just ironed them and laid them out to look at. I'm into instant gratification, LoL!
Today's block was an hour glass or a Quarter Square Triangle (QST) and flying geese are along the same lines, so I figure it counts.

I also cut about 20 sets of charms for the monthly charm swap I host. I need to mail them back out by Friday, and I hadn't cut mine yet! The theme this month was Christmas fabrics. With 10 charms (5" squares of fabric) per "set" that's a lot of squares. With mine (which were mine, Mom's and Diantha's combined) we had 56 sets--or 560 squares for me to swap. I'm about half way through (45 minutes, sheesh) and taking a break because too sleepy Hannah was out of sorts and yelling at me. See her yelling? Actually she was crying abd blubbering and yelling, "Ba-ba-ba-bad! Da-da-da-ba-ba-ba...." When Mama is ignoring her pitiful plea she calls for Daddy...or Nana.

I can sympathize with her though. I am having one of those days where breathing is almost too overwhelming. When I'm tense I clean but when I am depressed I just kind of shut down. I have had to force myself to do everything today, even speaking was an effort. I feel like SUCH a whiner and in my head a voice is telling me to suck it up and be glad I'm not an army wife. And I am, and thankful! My husband's job is fairly safe. But this third shift was already hard and this week they've been making him work 12 hour shifts, 6:30pm-6:30am. I am basically alone all the time with the kids and it's starting to wear on all of us. Again, I am such a whiner. And on the other hand, if they actually let him keep the overtime it will be such a blessing.

Maybe now that I'm done ranting I can try to lay Hannah down, read to Jeremiah and finish swapping charms. I just know I'll be confused now and have to re-count every pile! LOL

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystory. Today is a present.

"The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace"--Psalm 29:11

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."--John 14:27

Shakespeare in the Park

When I was about 15 I fell in love with a quilt pattern called "Shakespeare in the Park," which combines variable star within a star blocks with snail's trails blocks. I decided this would make a most beautiful "wedding quilt" for when I married and I began collecting fabrics for it. It is now my oldest UFO!

I have hand-selected all the fabrics for it, meaning I haven't left it up to fate and swaps. Typically I have bought fabric an FQ or 1/4yd cut at a time because though I want specific fabrics, I also want it scrappy. I'm using all shades of red for the darks and whites and creams for the lights. I've bought a bunch of "love" or heart fabrics but not specifically Valentine's ones. I even found a cream with wedding vows on it!!
When finished it will be an over sized queen, I think not quite king size. Our bed is king sized now but I don't want to have to mess with the pattern anymore, LoL! Most quilts like this don't have a final outer border and mine will, of 7". I've pieced squares for the 4 corners of the outter border combining the snail's trail and variable star patterns. I have all the snail's trails blocks done, finished last year and need to start on the star blocks.
Looking over my stash of fabrics though I might have to do some more shopping. :-) I want to start on the star blocks but will wait patiently until I do get some more fabrics, hopefully in a couple weeks. That way they mix in evenly with the older fabrics I've already used and it doesn't look unbalanced. Let everything be done with order, afterall! : )

It is my goal and hope to finish this quilt by October this year! October 2nd is my 5 year anniversary, and that gives me 9 months to complete it. Not quite a wedding quilt but an anniversary quilt is special too!
I thought maybe if I shared my plans and progress it would help inspire me to take action. I am feeling very inactive today. Do go to yahoo or google and do an image search for "Shakespeare in the Park quilts" and be inspired at others' quilts, this truly is a gorgeous pattern!! I think it was originally put together by Judy Martin and if you go here and scroll down you can see lots of people's quilts like this

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Back in the swing of things

Finally I am getting back in the swing of things, though it doesn't entirely feel like it. I did manag to run my dishwasher and do about 3 loads of laundry all on my own. And make brownies! My sister Diantha helped me clean up and vacuum the living room, fold lots more laundry and put up with Jeremiah--no small accomplishment.

I needed to cut some charms for a monthly charm swap I host, but in order to cut them (or make my block for the day) I needed to clean off my table. I have "but first! syndrome" terribly because in order to clean off my table I needed to put up the pieces to my mini green quilt. And since it just needed the machine stitching around all the shapes. Might as well! It's now finished and ready to quilt, yay! Almost got another project done for the year! I never did get all my charms cut, will have to try after the kids go to sleep or in the morning.

I don't conform very well. I have authority issues. Right now my biggest issue is with these calender people. Today's block was a square with a goofy, and not in a good way, penguin. What the heck am I gonna do with an appliqued penguin? Have you ever SEEN a penguin in real life? They're disgusting. I need two more 12.5" purple and batik stars, so this is what I came up with--it's called Texas Star. The greeny batik might have been a little over the top but the recipient will like it.

I've decided to set all these blocks together and give the finished quilt as a gift to someone. I want to make flying geese to go as a border across the top and bottom to make the quilt rectangular instead of square. Hopefully I'll get that last block I need made tomorrow and maybe even start on my flying geese! Though I don't want to overload myself, my kitchen still needs to be cleaned.

I've picked out a block for my first bumbling bounty hunters mini quilt, I will just need to pick up some fabrics for it--maybe when we get our tax return in a week or so. It's gonna be great, LOL!

Tony and I are going to look at a couple houses this week! It's a little scary and a little crazy cause money is really tight right now, but the market here is good for buyers. We'll be talking to a mortage company in the morning to see what we need to do to qualify for one, then talking to a realtor about a couple houses we've already looked at online. If we don't end up being able to buy a house right now, it's no big deal--we're very happy at our appartment, but it never hurts to look!

Monday, January 26, 2009

New blog, new challenge!

Hello all!
I have started a NEW blog for a NEW quilting challenge, because I just don't have enough to do!

I have talked to many quilters recently who are in love with the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, and in its honor I have started a mini-quilt challenge.

Read about it or join by visiting:
Rules are simple, make a mini quilt by the end of the year. No pressure or hassle. No other snooty requirements! Just have fun!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Valentine's Day Special!

I have given my etsy shop a little upgrade for Valentine's Day with a new banner and a new special! Valentine's Day just happens to be my birthday, and in honor of me and lovers everywhere I am offering FREE SHIPPING on any purchase of 2 items or more!

This includes any of my quilted batik handbags, knitted items or knitting bags!

What fun!

Check it out at:

I guess I got lucky as there's no block for today or tomorrow so I get to take it easy and/or make something up. I feel better today, not nauseous or feverish anymore but weak, weak. Strange feeling for me, I'm used to being able to get up and DO instead of lie here on the couch and whine about needing to do things, LoL! It's been a lazy, lay around the house day for all of us though, Tony and the kids still have on jammies and we all took a big nap together. He has to get ready for work in a little bit but right now we're all watching Rambo.

I did play with fabric for about 2 minutes before I had to lie back down. What I did was mess with things for my green mini swap quilt. A boat for the water and a sun. I LOVE the sun. It's from a GORGEOUS piece of handdyed I got at Gina's quilt shop yesterday. Mom took me grocery shopping while the guys were building a shed at her houseand the kids were watching TV. We of course had to take a little detour to the quilt store 'cause it's RIGHT UP THE STREET from Kroger. I may not have been able to stand there for very long, but I found the perfect sun fabric, LOL!

We left Tony's lil pick up at Mom's house because I didn't feel well enough to drive home last night (about 40miles) so tomorrow we'll have to make a quick trip up there and get it. I hope tomorrow, aside from cleaning my disgusting "How-Clean-Is-Your-House(BBC)" qualifying kitchen to be able to machine zigzag stitch down my umbrellas on my green quilt. We'll see. Tony says I should take it easy, and if the man is insisiting I lie on the couch and let the house go, I should listen! :-D

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Refusing to do today's block

I decided to do a block a day, but I'm not going to hold myself so staunchly to that commitment that it takes the fun out of it. And since I seen to have developed some severe and horrible strain of the bubonic plague, I am refusing to do today's block. It's pretty and nice, but I feel like garbage. We spent the night at Mom's, with no toothbrushes and I've been barfing.... too much information? Sorry! So the block making is taking a forgotten back seat to barely taking care of my kids and trying to eat, LoL!

Hopefully, Lord willing, I'll be back to my regular scheduled programming soon!

Friday, January 23, 2009

A block-y day

I made today's calender block green again, working toward the goal of a St Patrick's day quilt. Behold the simply titled "Mosiac Block." Mom bought me some more little cuts od green fabrics to ensure I have enough for the whole quilt. I think, since I'm doing 8" finished blocks, I'll need 20 of them. I think this is block 6.

We've spent the day at Mom's again. Tony decided to bring his pickup here and help Mom load it full of stuff to take to the dump. He then got another idea, took some more "junk" back to Home Depot and traded it in for lumber. He's been up since 7:30pm Saturday and is right now out in the yard biulding an 8ft x 8ft shed with my uncle. sigh. He is sooo gonna crash! We're camping out here tonight so he can pick things up again in the morning.

I made several quilt blocks today, but they're a secret. They're going to be for a secret pal package. I did take pics and have them to post sometime, months from now when my pal has recieved them.

I got a pic of my Sheep on Safari quilt, with it's purple and black pieced backing. And Mom helped me take a picture of the arm of my shrug! I love, love how it's turning out. I brought up another skien of red yarn incase I got inspired to knit on it some more. I also have a second slipper (the mate to the one I made the other day) in the works and with me, incase I get really inspired. However, I am tired and hurting all over and don't feel good and just want to veg. So I think I'm going to get out of the computer and sit here on the couch with Mom, sipping a mountain dew (by myself, Mom can get her own.) Have a good night everyone!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lovely Lola Block

My son is celebrating the season premier of Burn Notice by pretending he's a spy and "rewiring" an old cell phone to "remove the GPS so THEY don't know where [he] is." Can you tell we took advantage of USA's BN marathon today??

I would love to have pictures to show y'all. I have lots to show pics of today. Alas, my camera batteries which have been threatening to die for about a week finally gave out tonight. Still, I've been able to take and post at least one pic every day this week so I won't complain.

I finished my Sheep on Safari miniature quilt. I posted about it last month, but todayI finally got it quilted and bound!

I also made my block for the day which was called the "Lovely Lola Block". It's basically a 4 patch set in a square with corners. That's clear as mud, eh? Having just finished all the S.P. books by Janet Evanovich I wished it was the lovely LULA block, LoL! I think I might have to design a few quilt blocks and make myself a Bumbling Bounty Hunter quilt. Hmm..must think on that and keep you posted.

I've also made progress on my lucsious red knit shrug. I have almost a whole sleeve finished, needing just a few more rows. It took one skien of my yarn, which is great as I still have 5 more. But, was it one of the 68yd skiens or the 111yd skien? LOL! Should'a labeled the suckers so I could keep track.

Hopefully I'll get some batteries tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mysterious Star

There was no block today and I figured with the lack of block it might be time to add another star block to my purple and batik collection. I don't know the name of this star pattern. Mom hosted a quilt mystery a few years ago and this was the pattern she used. I made all my stars for that with "ugly" fabrics, and it's on my UFO list to finish up this year. I think with sashings I can get at least a full sized quilt out of my Mysterious Ugly Star blocks.

Anyhoo, I used the same pattern and made just one star for today. I really like how this came out. The light in the 4patches in the corners is a nice lavender/periwinkle handdyed--it's NOT blue no matter what your monitor tells you.
I also used today's no-block freeby to knit a slipper sock, though that really doesn't have anything to do with quilting or calenders. I'm going to try to cast on the mate for it tonight after the kids fall alseep.

I've decided to pick out the "sea" of my green mini and replace it with a cheerier, sunnier, more summery batik. Gosh, I do love batiks. I love the feel of them, the look of them, the way they handle. If I could afford to make sheets from them I would. If a person wouldn't get fabric fuzz stuck to their tongue, I'd argue that they're so luscious they are lickable.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Drunken Irishman

Today's block was flying geese, laid out three in a row instead of an actual square block. A row of geese didn't fit my plans. I got bored. Behold!

It's loud. It's obnoxious. It's a little wibbly. It's tipsy. It's better slightly contained (see the little bitty borders?)

So maybe there is a more traditional block called Drunken Irishman, but that's what I'm going with. I took the Flying Dutchman block and I screwed it up. I love it. I can't wait to put it in a quilt! St Patty's Day, here I come! I can smell the corned beef and cabbage. I can taste leftover corned beef stew! I'm suddenly very hungry. Have a great day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bordered 4 patch

I finished piecing the sky for my green quilt. Think Rachel was right, I might need some beach towels. The quilt will take on a lot of personality with the quilting. I'm going to free-hand quilt it with waves in the water, clouds in the sky, detail in the umbrellas...maybe a sand castle or some star fishy shapes in the sand. Think I need to find a hurt your teeth yellow/green and applique a sunshine.

I really, really liked doing the foundation piecing! It was a lot of fun! I had to stop about every 3 strips and iron it flat so I made sure not to get puckers or bumps but other than that it was sooo easy. I had started to try to make a chinese coins pattern before, jew sewing strips together and after the 3rd or 4th strip I was bored and fed up with it. I think if I foundation pieced one I could finally do it! It's weird, 'cause it's not much different than just sewing strips together. I do love chinese coins and would love to make one someday in a lap or baby quilt size.

Today's block was a 4 patch with borders all around it. The picture showed the 4 squares in the center all being different colors, but other than that it's the same. I used green scraps from the Beachy quilt. I think I have enough green pieces to do several blocks this size, 8.5". I can throw them together when I'm done and have a "Nearly Irish" quilt--maybe in time for St Patrick's Day. I'm part Black Irish, so maybe this is a little shout out to my heritage.

Tony saw all the green scraps laying around from today's sky piecing and said, "Are these green fabrics for something specific? 'Cause you don't usually use green!" LOL! He noticed. *wink*

So...anyone else excited about the new Underworld movie? It's just me, isn't it. But then, I'm watching Monday night Raw (wrestling) for my hubby. He had to leave for work a few minutes ago and wanted to know what happens in the last match. I could tell him, some guy with no neck and big, oiled muscles in a spandex diaper will pile-drive another guy with no neck, oiled muscles and spandex leggings. Still, the muscles are nice...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Progress report

Friday's block wasn't technically a block. It was rail fence sashings for the stupid tea cup quilt and it was seriously 3 strips of fabric sewn together. So I did it, but I modified it. Once I'd sewn 3 strips together I cut them up into triangles and made spider web blocks out of them.
For the season's miniature quilt swap I need to make a green quilt representing summer. My idea is to do a beachy scene, all out of green, with a pieced sky, water, sand and beach umbrellas. I want to use the spiderwebs for my umbrellas.
There wasn't a block for yesterday or today, just a picture of another quilt. So yesteterday morning I drew and machine appliqued a cross block. Currently the block is 12.5" but when I'm all done doing the machine applique I'm going to trim it down and put a border around it so it isn't so stark. I have NO idea how I'm going to machine zigzag stitch around the little blue flowers, it will take an extreme amount of patience! I drew the cross on a piece of paper, then cut it out and traced it onto iron on wonder under stuff. Then ironed that onto the back of the fabric, cut it out and ironed it onto my background. I was EVER SO thankful that while we were dating Tony bought me a hot pink pocket knife shaped razor blade. It was wonderfully useful for cutting out the little shapes in the inside of the cross. I wouldn't have been able to do it with scissors or my rotary cutter!

I threw together the seam for the water and sand part of my green quilt. I don't know why but I cannot get the sand to show up the correct color, it is a greeny yellowy sandy color, honestly!

I laid my "umbrellas" out on it and it's not quite what was in my head.

I then started working on my pieced sky. I've never done foundation piecing, but how hard can it be right? The look is what I was going for but now I think it might overwhelm the rest of the quilt? Still, I have 5 more pieces (I think) to piece like this then we will see. When I get the quilt components all sewn together I'm going to square it to 20", so I will look some of the width and length of things. I figured it was best to work a little large in a way I could square smaller later than start out smaller and run out of room!

And yes, I know how dirty my ironing board cover looks. It's stained, I did wash it a little while back. Thank you for pointing that out. : )

Quilting is a lot like Christianity

For the Lord opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Quilting is a lot like Christianity.
Okay, maybe that's a broad statement so please, let me explain.For example I am currently in a miniature quilt swap. This swap is also a challenge. The original challenge was to make a quilt representing your swap partner's favorite season. This year the host has raised the stakes: make a monochromatic quilt in your swap partner's color of choice, representing their favorite season. I got summer and green. Seems easy enough right? Nope, I am scared to death! I have been quilting for many years! I have helped teach quilting, participated in countless swaps and challenges but this one is way outside my comfort zone.

Today as I stand at my ironing board ironing little pieces, the first and easiest component of the larger image in my head I thought to myself, why did I take this on? The reason was simple, to learn and to grow in my craft. You never learn to do anything different or better if you never try something new and often times scary.

This train of thought led me to Christianity. Most times we are comfortable in our relationship with Christ, coasting through our lives and our Walk inside our comfort zone. When he Lord sends challenges our way, our first thought is nope, I'm not ready for that. We continue on our way missing out on an opportunity for growth because it's scary or makes us nervous. There's an old saying that the Will of God won't send you where the Will of God will not protect you. This is so true, even though from the middle of the situation it often looks like we're alone wih our troubles with no way out.

Imagine it like your child learning to walk. They stand holding onto the couch. They get a little more brave and begin to walk around, not letting go. Then you hold their hands and they walk around the room. Then finally you hold your hands out to them and make them take that first step on their own. It seems like there are a million miles between the couch they are holding onto and your outstretched hands but in reality it's only a couple baby steps. Once they are safely in your arms, it's not scary anymore.

It's the same way with the Lord, everything He asks us to do is a new beginning. A baby step.
It's the same with my quilting. Every once in a while I have to try something new. I have to take that first uncomfortable baby step. And the great thing is, if I mess up it's alright! It's not the end of the world, and I can try again! Puckers quilt out, slightly different sized blocks pin together. There is grace in the mistakes because I am willing to try something new.
And so it is with the Lord. His grace is sufficient for you, His mercy is new every day. That means EVERY day we get another chance to try again, to do better. We get grace and forgiveness for the mistakes we made yesterday if we ask.

In what way is the Lord asking you to grow this week? Is it to have faith to pay your tithe? Is it to be more patient with your kids? Is it to be understanding when your husband comes home from work and is grouchy? Or is it something bigger? Whatever it is, give it a try. Even if you mess it up, try again. His hands are inches away, waiting to catch you when you fall. And remember, in the overall scheme of things, the puckers quilt out.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Quiet but still out there

I have been quiet the last couple days, but not entirely unproductive. I did not get my block made yesterday. It was a rail fence. Today and tomorrow there is no block, but today I did design and make an appliqued quilt block. I just have to machine stitch around it, which will take some figuring out. Tomorrow I'm going to do the rail fence and start work on my 4 seasons monochromatic mini quilt. My camera batteries are dead tonight so I don't have any pics to show you. Will have to fix that tomorrow too.

We went to church tonight so tomorrow I can take it easy and work on some sewing with no problem, hopefully. I have a bad headache tonight--partly due to the muscles in my back all being knotted up and partly because my hubby played at Mom's today, burning everything he could think up in a metal barrel so he stinks of burnt. He's off to the shower while I make the very gormet meal of lunch meat and potato chip sandwiches, then we're going to veg and watch Step Brothers. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Square in a Square and my day off

Today I took the day off. Relatively speaking anyways. When Tony got off work this morning at 6:30 instead of coming home, showering and going to bed he came home, showered and made breakfast! When the kids and I awoke we did to the WONDERFUL smells of biscuits, gravy in the cast iron skillet, bacon and sausage and eggs. How awesome is that? He stayed up until about 12:30 also, to spend some time (awake!) with us. I got out of making breakfast, I didn't make lunch either--Jeremiah and I ate a couple leftover biscuits with jelly on them, and I'm not making dinner. It's leftover or fend for yourself i.e. sandwich night. :-D Tony just woke up and said that was fine with him. I haven't had enough caffeine today to have any sort of culinary expertise. In answer to Lee's question yesterday, no I don't take a multi-vitamin. I should still be taking prenatal vitamins because I'm still breast feeding Hannah, but I forget...everyday. I do remember to take my calcium before I go to bed though!

Today's block seriously was a 3" (pieced, not finished in a quilt!) square in a square. Petite. Boring. I made mine bigger. It's an odd size, 6 3/4" square, but I'm planning on using it in one of my quilted bags so it won't matter at all. I will just add strips or squares to it until it's the size I need for the side of the bag. I took a 5" charm of a beautiful charcoal handdyed and 2 4" charms of a red on black batik that Sarah sent me. Slice the 4" squares diagonally down the middle and there you have all the coponents to the block. Mom, in rivalry for my making a block yesterday, said she one-upped me by making hers a normal size and with the square in the middle being a nine patch. :-p Whatever. LoL!

I also gave in to temptation and began work on my luscious red knitted shrug. I got 5 whole rows knit. And I'm good for right now. Tomorrow I will work on that a little more, and cook a little more. Today I am enjoying being lazy and lying about the house in my pajamas. Gotta be comfy to watch the NEW EPISODE of BONES AND CSI--where Grissom leaves! Can you tell I'm excited?? Can you tell I'm kinda bummed? I admit, I cried when Sarah left. I'm not even an emotional person but I was pregnant and that makes it okay, LOL!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dutchman's Puzzle

Today's block was actually the abhorrent tea cup. I spent the vast majority of my day trying to keep little ones quiet so Tony could sleep and didn't give sewing a thought until about 10:30. Mom and Dad came over tonight around 8 to hang out and watch Love Actually. I love that movie and it is really funny, but has some inappropriate stuff in it so they left the kids at home. They brought Betsy with them to run around and occupy Jeremiah.

Mom brought some wool to spin while we're "sitting" around (that is how we watch movies, always doing something) and when I suddenly remembered about my block for the day she said I was making her look bad. I told her she was spinning sock weight yarn and I'm making her look bad? LOL! I thumbed through a quilt magazine laying around, Quiltmaker's All Time Favorites, and picked a block at random. I settled on a Dutchman's Puzzle because all I needed was 2 7.5" squares and 8 4" squares. Easy, peasy. I went with the purple and batik theme again, though why I've settled on that I don't know. I love batiks but I'm not a big purple person. Again, the block IS SQUARE, I'm not sure what's up with the pic being wonky.

Jeremiah has been being such a good boy the last few days. Thankfully Tony can sleep though anything, so he doesn't have to be too quiet but he has been trying. Playing quietly with his sister. I got some knitting done today and a LOT of laundry washed and actually PUT UP, a rare accomplishment. We made a quick walmart run for diapers and then Tony and the kids had another nap while I finished a knitting project.

Today was much better for me, thanks to people like my friend Jenn who always has some kind of encouraging word or scripture, or simply an "I've been there, it gets better." Adjustment is always hard, especially when your routine of 3 years changes drastically but we are working on it! This weekend might be a toughy, Tony will be off and what sleeping pattern do we follow? LOL! We shall see! Hopefully he will get our bed frame done!! *Crossing fingers* I will try to get pics of it as it is so you all can see what he's come up with. It will be so great when it's finished, I can't believe what a good job he's done.

Well now my babies are fussing, Mom and Dad are still here and we're watching Talledega Nights now. Have a good night!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Bob Quilt

There was no block for the day, just a picture of a quilt of paper pieced tea cups. Each block the same, surrounded by sashings. Boring. I can't do it. I'm just not a tea cup type person. When I was a child I had a friend who loved tea parties. Her Mom used to let her have this fabulous, horrendous parties with china and scones and we were supposed to wear these huge awful dresses. Mom always made me go. Said it was good life experience. And because of said life experience I am currently experiencing latent trauma that won't allow me to make the tea cup quilt. Too bad.

So I finished the Bob quilt. Those of you who read the Janet Evanovich books about Stephanie Plum know what I mean. For those who don't, I'll explain. In the books Stephanie has this huge, stupid, furniture eating dog (it's supposed to be a golden retriever but is bigger) named Bob. She also has an orange and brown, 70s Partridge Family wreck of a bathroom. So when I laid out this orange, yellow and brown puppy quilt I was speechless. I called my Mom and said I made a horrid Bob quilt. She instantly knew what I meant. I've been working on it for a couple days but I finally got the chance tonight before Tony left for work to set the top together and add the final outter borders. I'll quilt it and it will be given to the lady I told you about who had the majorly preemie baby. Every baby should have a quilt. The quilt IS square, no matter how it looks!

I'm a little ashamed of myself. I have been doing better, much better, with my block a day than with reading my Bible every day. I don't know why that is always the first thing to go when I am stressed or when my time is being used in ways I don't intend it to be. When I spend time in the Word everyday I am less stressed, more patient and peaceful. I must make an effort to get some alone time with my Bible. I've talked about this before, and I did for about a week. Every day I managed about 20 minutes and it was great! Then Tony had 2 weeks ago and we ran everywhere and my good Bible habbits went out the window. I am not using him as an excuse, I have been a Christian for too many years now to "forget" so easily. I did manage to get about 4 minutes tonight and the scripture I ran across was perfect:

Seek the Lord and HIs strength; seek His face evermore!
Remember the marvelous works which He has done. Psalm 105:4-5a

Such a good scripture for me right now! We are only 3 days into Tony's new shift and already I am feeling like a single parent. I need a break so badly already. I am not resentful, I am so greatful that he still has a good job when so many don't. It just seems like though I am home all day, and up with the kids most of the day, I'm not getting much done. My time is basically spent trying to keep the kids quiet so he can sleep. I did manage to get the house cleaned up tonight too so at least it will look nice when he comes home from work tomorrow morning. I have the kids ready for bed but apparently neither are sleepy. Bedtime is late around here because for the whole of their lives Tony has gotten off at about 11 and doesn't want to get up super early. Hannah already fell asleep once but wakes every time I lay her down. Don't know what her deal is lately but I could just run away. LoL! So I am kind of having a hard time but I'm doing my best to put up a good front. I am venting here, I'm sorry, but I don't want to say these kinds of things to Tony because he is already feeling badly. He has been saying stuff like he's no use anymore except to go to work, how he's no help, etc. I knew this transition would be hard on him physically but he didn't think so, he figured he'd sleep a little bit when he got home and be good. I am trying to make things as easy for him as I can, and keep up the house the best I can so that he doesn't worry about stuff here on top of everything at work. If you get a minute, say a prayer for my hubby for strength and peace! I'm sure he can use it! : )

Tomorrow the block is the putrid tea cup block so I will come up with something else. I made another block last night that I can't share with you either, and might again tomorrow but I promise to come up with something you can see, LoL!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nine Patch

Yesterday's actual block on the calender was a "snow ball" block with an ugly snowman in the middle--basically a square with the corners "rounded off" by a triangle in each one. It creates a kind of octagon shape. I modified it. I made the snowball the center of a star and appliqued something else. I can't show you though! In the N2Quilting elist I'm on we're about to start another round of secret pals, and I think the lady I might end up with might read this blog. And since I have a plan, I can't show you that block.

Today's block was a simple ol' nine-patch. I modified it too. I needed to make a couple 12.5" blocks for a healing quilt, and since a nine patch that size looks HUGE I added a border all around my nine patch with squares in the corners. Tony said it would make an ugly quilt, LOL! I told him it's a phenomenon lately with me and ugly-ish quilts (though they end up turning out fine). He said at least all the ones I make for us are pretty, haha! Then he said he was joking and it will look nice. All the blocks for the healing quilt are supposed to be light green, light blue and lavender. I went a little dark on the purple in the nine patch but I am so not a pastel person, I just can't help it!

We're still getting used to this 3rd shift thing. Eating and sleeping; it's what we do best. Hannah had a check up this morning, 9months. She weighs 19 1/2 pounds and is 29" long. Chubby little thing. She was in size 12 months at 6 months. Jeremiah did that and though he has stayed 90% on the growth chart he thinned out once he started walking, er, running. Hannah is already cruising around, walking holding on to everything. Everything goes in her mouth. She's a terror. She spent some time this evening beating on the fish tank and yelling at them. I think I might have to feed them and turn their light off early tonight, just to give them a break, LoL!

Des, signing off to go clean up the kitchen and make another quilt block! :-D

Sunday, January 11, 2009

4patch pictures

PLEASE ignore my math on the previous post. I said cut 3" and 5" squares when it should have been 3" and 5 1/2" squares! I've fixed it in the previous post.
So here are the pics and this is my block for today.
I've made a double 4 patch, but if you were making a whole quilt top out of these you would assemble lots of blocks into rows.

I haven't gotten a lot done today. I did finish my second sock this morning and I've been wearing them all day. I even napped in them which is a first for me because my feet get hot while I sleep so I can't sleep in socks--you know how comfortable they must be! I have some little differences I want to make on the next pair, but now that I've made them I know what I can change. Pretty good for not having a pattern!

Tonight is my husband's first night on 3rd shift. It's strange, he is getting ready for work as I type. It was nice to all have a nap as a family though. We did that today so he could get some rest before having to be up all night. Nap time is my favorite time of day. No TV, no computer, no phone. Just me and my babies. We go lay in my bed, all snuggled up together and I sing them a couple lullabyes then we sleep for a little while. I don't know how much this is gonna change now that Tony will probably need a little nap in the afternoon too but I'm sure like today he will just pile in the bed with the rest of us, LoL!

Now that I've finished my other sock I began Tony's second slipper sock. Back at Christmas I ended up wtih 3 men's size XL camo slipper socks. 2, a pair, went to the gift exchange at his grandparents and the 3rd is lying around the house so I've decided to make it a mate, for my mate. Knitting with dk weight yarn after knitting with sock yarn feels SO weird! It's like knitting with yarn the size of drinking straws! I have a hat I need to finish from some bulky handspun and I can't imagine how strange that will feel.

That's all the news that is news. Off to bathe the baby! Sorry about the mess up on the size of the fabric squares.

Quilting for Newbies

First a minor note:
Quilting is like any other art. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to do it. Start with something small, pot holders, lap quilt. Just like when a baby learns to crawl and drags itself around on it's elbows instead of running a marathon, a new quilter is better off with a small project they are likely to finish than attempting a queen sized quilt and getting discouraged 1/8th of the way though. Discouragement leads to dispair which leads to UFOs (UnFinished Objects).

While there are lots of helpful tools like rotary cutters, acrylic rules and self-healing cutting matts (I can't live without mine!), until you know whether you are going to continue quilting or not it's best to start with inexpensive equiptment. Cut a cereal box into squares for templates. DON'T go to a local quilt shop (LQS) and buy $11 a yard fabric! Though some quilters would disagree with me, it doesn't make sense to spend that much money on a first project. If you have a JoAnn Fabrics near you, right now they have FQs for .99 cents. Or use fabric you have lying around--just make sure it's 100% cotton and not too thin!

Just for the sake of this, I'm going to explain how to make a basica 4-patch block offset by "plain" squares.

Buy 2 FQs of a semi-solid print/color (stripes, spots, flowers just make sure it's a fairly small scale print so it doesn't clash with your bigger setting squares.)
Buy 2 FQs (Fat Quarters, a piece of fabric 18"x22" roughly) of a light or white.
Buy 2 FQs of a fabric that coordinates with your semi-solid but is a larger print (these are for your bigger setting squares)

When you get home, open and iron your FQs. You can prewash them if you want--if they are dark or bright colors they might bleed on your lights. Just toss them in a load of wash and iron them when they are dry.

Take your cereal box, dismantle and using a ruler draw a 3" square and a 5 1/2" square on the plain cardboard side of the box. Cut these out. These are now your templates.

Use the 3" square template to draw 3" squares on the WRONG side (the back) of the semi-solid and the light/white fabrics. Use the 5 1/2" square template to draw squares on the back/wrong side of the larger print.

Unlike sewing where you use a 3/4" seam allowance, for quilting you are going to use 1/4". Take a semi-solid square and a light/white square and lay them right sides together. Sew your 1/4" seam down one edge. Open and press the seam toward the darker fabric (helps hide seams). I will make a couple of these later and post pics of this process. Now repeat so you have two of these 2 patch units. Place them right sides together with the light of one touching the dark of the other and sew 1/4" seam down one long edge. Your piece will look like this:


You now have a 4 patch! Make up as many of these as you can with the rest of your 3" squares. You're then going to lay your quilt out alternating these with a plain 5" suqare. Sew the blocks together with your 1/4" seam allowance. Press.

TADA you have a quilt top!!
I'll explain pinning and quilting later, my daughter just learned how to take all our movies out of the shelves! I'll post pictures of this process later, because I learn better by seeing the steps as they happen and you might too!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sharing my Favorites!

Some things on etsy that I love.
Mostly yarn, some just weird. Take a peak!

Blessings and ugly quilts, again

First the blessings, because one should always give thanks and praise when it is especially due!

My husband still has a job! They laid off (temporarily, they say, until the end of Feb) 108 people this afternoon at the plant where he works. They laid off everyone who's hire date was September 05 or later. Tony was hired full time in May of 05--which was as much of a blessing then right before the birth of our son as it is now! He got bumped, another slight pay cut, to 3rd shift so we will have to rearrange our schedules and finances accordingly but praise God he still has a full time job! They told him in Feb when everything pics up (the 3 major car co.s are still on holiday shutdown until then, so there's not much demand for parts) he should get his old job back as a dye-setter on second shift again. We are praying the Lord will favor him with that! All in all we are very thankful, relieved and jovial today even though the news is not good in it's own, it is SO much better than we expected!! Thank you for your prayers everyone, and thank you Lord!!

In other news, there is no block for today. Just a picture of an ugly snowman quilt. Tomorrow's block is the ugly snowman and Monday's is a simple 9 patch so I might improvise a little. Yesterday I began working on a baby quilt, so I'm substituting that for my block for today. It looked cute in my head, and the fabrics all were cute laid out together but now it is turning out pretty bad. Not at ALL what I had in mind. AND, I have run out of the orange handdyed but I think I can pick up another FQ of it at Gina's (local quilt shop) for about $2.50 so I'm not really worried about that. Doesn't do anything about the quilt being ugly though.

I was making this quilt for a lady my husband works with. She has wanted a baby for several years and finally got pregnant this past fall. Right before Christmas (I think Christmas eve, actually) she gave birth to a baby boy, at 25 weeks. He weighed only a pound. Tony heard from someone he works with a couple days ago that he is doing good and gaining weight, though he is still at UT Medical hospital. I wanted to make her a quilt, for her son to let her know we're thinking of her. I thought even if the baby does not end up making it, it might be a comfort to her. And if he does, it might still be. So I am sewing prayers into it.... only it is not turning out how I planned!

I might have to just scrap it and start over? I have another half yard, I think of the white with the paw prints but nothing much more to speak of of any of the other fabrics. Maybe I should get some more of the orange and just press on? Add the white as borders and do some creative stipple quilting and see how it looks all finished? I have seen lots of quilts look ugly until they are finished and the quilting and binding "fixes" things. Right now this quilt looks like the 70s gone BAD!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Variable Star and my List

Ever tried to get refried beans out of a huge can without any type of can opener? No? Lucky...

The calender says today's block is called Variable Star. They lie. I cheated again and used the leftover QSTs from Betsy's baby quilt because I am running out of purple and didn't have enough of the swirly purple fabric to make them. I kinda like the way it's turned out though. I have, I think, 4 more of these QSTs so you're bound to see them again. *grin*

I joined a challenge today that I had seen on other peoples blogs and always found entriguing. Now that I'm signed up I'm all nervous and panicky though. I don't know why because I've participated in swaps and challenges a hundred times. Basically it's a miniature quilt swap. Seasonal themes, done in monochromatic colors. I could end up having to make an 18" square sprint quilt from black/gray fabrics. I can't wait to see what I get to make, but I am still REALLY nervous! It's the 4 Seasons Quilt Swap 5 found here: Wish me luck, LOL!

I've seen this on other blogs and thought each person was thinking up 100 things they'd done! It seemed to me like that would take forever, but then today I saw Ginny's blog and she explained that you just BOLD the things you've done. I bolded mine, but things I've done in the last year I made italic too. : ) Copy and paste your own into your own blog!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/World
8. Climbed a mountain (sorta)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

And now my own:
100: Been on a motorcycle
101: Taken an art class
102: Cooked something you'd never made before
103: Touched a fish
104: Went camping
105: Spun yarn
106: Painted a picture
107: Fallen in love
108: Been to Philadelphia, PA
109: Visited Cherokee, NC
110: Visited a Civil War cemetary
111: Read the Lord of the Rings trilogy
112: Bought a homeless person a meal
113: Gone horseback riding
114: Saw where my Mom grew up
115: Met my (then) future inlaws for the first time
116: Was blessed with a son
117: Was blessed with a daughter
118: Finished a quilt
119: Went out on a boat
120: Fell on rollerblades
121: Drove a 4wheel ATV
122: Got dragged by a 4wheel ATV
123: Got run over by a 4wheel ATV
124: Swam in the ocean
125: Saw a falling star
126: Sang Carols at a nursing home
127: Owned 30 bottles of nail polish at one time
128: Paid attention during a sermon
129: Dared someone to eat something
130: Missed old friends
131: Made a new friend
132: Was nice to someone who didn't deserve it
133: Had someone be nice to be when I didn't deserve it
134: Been hit BY a deer
135: Unwittingly ate deer
136: Quit smoking
137: Learned to drive a stick shift
138: Brought home a 6 foot, 250lb pierced, tattooed man
139: Had parents cool enough to think that was normal
140: Broke a family heirloom
141: Got a family heirloom
142: Got a tattoo
143: Got a massage

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Harlequin Star and Alfredo Lasagna

Curious are you?
Well, today's block is called Harlequin Star which I messed up and I like it. I know, I know, I say I like star blocks but this one I really like. I got the pieces jumbled when I put it together so it doesn't match the calender, but it's still a star! If you want to see the REAL star block for today check out my Mom's blog:
Don't know if I'll make many more of these blocks in my quilting career but it was easy and is nice to look at so one never knows. I used the orangy batik again. I was going to send these in for a healing quilt but need purple and yellows for it and I don't think these blocks are quite yellow enough so I think I'll keep all these (GRIN) and make some others for the healing quilt. Only problem is I don't have any yellows. Hmm....

I got 2 new bags made and listed in my etsy shop since last night. One is an upcycled pair of jeans and the other is a beautiful red (I love red) batik Valentine's bag with puffy, kissy felted lips. I had a LOT of fun making them, especially the jeans bag. I had never attempted putting a zipper in a bag before. I had to have Mom help me pin it in, LoL! I don't think I'll do many more bags with zippers cause I kinda like the button/tab deal but again, ya never know. : )

About the lasagna. I made up these lasagna a couple years ago, though I'm sure some chef somewhere has made it before me. It is really simple, but not quite diet food. I make it about twice a year so I guess that's not too bad. I use leftover "real" turkey from either Thanksgiving or Christmas, and tear it into little pieces but you could use chicken and just cut it up. Either way, it's YUMMY!

12 lasagna noodles, boiled and drained
Leftover turkey or 2 chicken breasts, cooked and torn up
1 box (10oz) frozen, chopped spinach
1 jar (6oz) alfredo sauce (I like Classico Creamy Alfredo)
1 tub (15oz) ricotta cheese (I use low-fat)
1 bag (8oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

Thaw the spinach, drain it by squeasing the life out of it over the sink, and then give it a rough chop so it's in small pieces.
In a 13"x9" baking dish layer 3 lasagna noodles, followed by a couple spoon fulls of sauce (to cover the noodles), some blobs of ricotta, a handfull of shredded cheese and then sprinkle some spinach and turkey over it.
Repeat this process until you've used up your noodles. I always run a little short on cheese and have to break out another bag for another handful on the very top to get nice and brown.
Cover with some foil and bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes, then uncover and bake another 5-10 minutes until cheese is nice and brown. Allow to cool for a couple minutes and enjoy!

Very easy, VERY yummy!