Saturday, February 28, 2009

Turtle Tigress

Yep, you heard right. Turle. Tigress. I can't understand 3 year olds.

I finished THE quilt. THE quilt that was originally my Not Really Irish St Patty's quilt. THE quilt that then became Jeremiah's Green Quilt with pirate backing. I told him to think of a name for his quilt, so I could put it on the label. He thought long and hard all afternoon and came up with "Turtle-Tigress." He is on a Kung-Fu Panda kick and loves Tigress, but he says since Tigers are orange and his quilt is green we're just gonna pretend.

Here is Jeremiah's finished green, Turle Tigress sans label. I didn't get the label done or it washed but he is happy, happy!
I said, "Jeremiah I'm so happy to have made you a quilt."
To which he replies, "Mama, I made the quilt. Well, I did some of it. I did all the blocks in the middle. You did the binding." Glad we have that straight.

I have no idea what size it is. It was 40 3/4" wide before I quilted it, LOL! Remember the problem I had with the sashes? All I know is that it quilted with only 2 little bitty puckers and that it has binding on it. Good enough for me. The binding is even different across the bottom because I was stash-busting bits of binding. I think it's really cute and I'm glad he loves it! I am glad because of the odd size that he changed his mind about the flying geese border and wanted a checkerboard instead. I still have a bunch of the squares for the checkerboard and 1/2 yd of the pirate flannel so I am thinking a throw pillow to match?

Friday, February 27, 2009

When you give Hannah a cookie

She's gonna trash your house.

What the heck?

When did I become the bad quilter? Have I not been quilting for over a decade? Have I not been trained and tutored by other quilters? Have I not made countless quilts and learned from my mistakes? Now I'm not saying I'm the best quilter out there, I'm pretty average but jeez. Suddenly I am the Bad Quilter! The last 3 quilts I have been working on have been simple--blocks, seperated by sashes and cornerstones. Easy. I have squared up my blocks using a ruler. I have then cut my sashes to the same length as the blocks. I have sewn the sashes to the blocks to find that they are ALL at LEAST 1/8" and some 1/4" short. WHAT THE HECK?! So with Jeremiah's quilt I decided to use a different ruler. I ironed the fabric for the sashes to make sure it was totally flat and perfect. I lined it up on the cutting mat. I counted twice before I cut and I cut the sashes to the 8.5" that I squared the blocks up to.

They are all 1/8" - 1/4" short. Sigh. Bangs head on table top.
We went to the fabric store and Jeremiah picked up the first green fabric he saw, said this was it and started to take off. I told him we didn't have to go with the first one and he said, "Oh." He then looked over the selection of green fabrics, choosing a bright green with little bitty blue dots. His favorite colors are blue and green. He then picked a flannel backing that is green and blue and pirates. This is no longer Desiree's Not Really Irish Quilt but Jeremiah's pirate quilt, or whatever he decides to name it. He helped me lay out the mentioned dastardly sashes and cornerstones and kept saying in a nervous little voice, "This is my quilt. You're not gonna sell it?" LoL! He also decided it needs squares across the top and bottom instead of triangles, like his Lightning quilt his Nana made him. Okay! Easier on me!

Yesterday while I was in the shower Tony, my beloved husband gave my son a harmonica. He has been playing it unceasingly, everytime his short-attention-spam-3-year-old-brain remembers about it. He informed me that he was playing "Tinkle, Tinkle, Leetle Tar." I can only assume it's Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

Keep on playing son, here, let's look up Steven Tyler on youtube :-D

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Castles in Scotland

Today instead of doing one block I've done three. I decided I was tired of creating UFOs (unfinished objects) and I currently have about 5 WIPs (works in progress) going. Are ya down with the slang? You liked that didn't you? Anyway, I needed 3 more green blocks for that quilt so I decided to make them. While I was sewing block number one (Castles in Scotland) Jeremiah took all the rest of the blocks and laid them out on my design wall. This is how that went:

Jeremiah stands in Hannah's room, having just arranged 13 blocks on the design wall. I enter the room with another one.

Jeremiah: See my green quilt!
Me: I thought that was my quilt?
Jeremiah: No, see I made it? It's a square.
Me: Yes, it is a square--good job! Put some spaces between the squares though.

Jeremiah puts spaces between all the blocks and takes the one from me. He stands and looks at the wall like he has seen me done, and once he decides he puts the quilt block in a blank space.

Me: We need 2 more blocks.
Jeremiah: This is my quilt to cover me up on the couch.

We go into the living room, get on the computer and go to quilterscache where I look up 8.5" blocks. Jeremiah picks 2 then digs in my pile of green fabrics and pics fabrics for them. {Time lapse while I make dinner and then make the 2 blocks and we take them into the bedroom where he puts them in their places.}

Jeremiah: See the quilt I made! It's my first quilt!
Me: Are you sure this is yours? I thought it was mine. I was gonna sell it.
Jeremiah: Nope, it's mine. It's square. I want it tall.
Me: Do you want more borders?
Jeremiah: Yeah, triangles.

I show him a row of flying geese on another quilt

Me: You want me to make flying geese?
J: Yeah sure, just go ahead.
M: On the top and the bottom or just on the top?
J: Top and bottom, going left and right. (OF COURSE!)
M: You want strips of fabric between the blocks?
J: Yes and squares in the corners
M: Not just strips of fabric? Squares too?
J: Yes, go ahead. See my quilt I made? It's my first quilt!



I am featured today on the Feature Cafe blog!
Go see me talk about myself, LOL!

Also, I snagged another treasury on etsy this afternoon--it pays to have a Mom who can figure out the time it opens. Cheating? Nah! I did eyeballs, LOL! Eventually I'm planning on doing one featuring items from my blog followers who are also etsians, so if you have a shop leave me a comment and let me know! Jenn, Lee, Marion and Mom I know about you already, LOL!

And here's a little treat. My Mom got Tony a shirt last night. Yes, Trohpy Husband he is--in need of a haircut!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Broken Dishes and Watermelons

My house was clean this morning and now it's not. Bah. I'm not too bothered though because my babies are happy, I got crafty things accomplished, there is a nice cool but not too cool breeze coming in my window and I have pans of bbq spareribs, brownies and leftover pizza sitting on my stove. What more could I ask for??
Today's block was a appliqued cat block, but it didn't actually give the pattern for the cat and since I didn't want to take the time to draw it I decided to do something else. :-p I made a "Broken Dishes" block, 6.5" square. It looks like a slightly unusual choice of fabrics to use together but I HAVE A PLAN. Trust me. :-D

Over the course of the day I spun a little more black yarn and skeined it. I didn't get as much on this skein as I was hoping (got 64yds), but it was getting heavy and this merino I'm spinning is so slick and so fine I was having a hard time working with it. I started to get more bumps and slubs and thicker and thinner than I had planned so I quit while I was ahead. I love it, I have more I can spin if I need to but it is so beautiful in person! Can't wait to put it around the collar of my shrug. Have to knit the shrug first though, LoL!

I also put the finishing touches (last seam) on a quilted bag made from pale batiks. Apparently not everyone likes the bright, hippy batiks? What??? LOL! I am NOT a pastel person but I kind of like this and it would make a wonderful Easter Basket! I got it listed in my shop tonight and I think I might make one like it in sock-knitting size sometime soon.

Because I am so headstrong and impatient I spun my entire "watermelon" batt. It is SO cute! I got 80 yards of yarn out of it, which is impressive because I think it was 2 oz? It is about half pink romney wool and half merino (black and green). I have it hanging up in the tub to dry, can't wait to stick this baby on the ball winder. I think I might list it for sale in my Mom's etsy (yarn) shop and if it doesn't sell by the time the listing expires I see a wonderful little knit bag with black plastic handles and pink satin lining!

Ooh, one more thing and one more picture. There is a lady who buys yarn from my Mom who is in Japan? I think, anyway, she spins her own yarn too and for some reason can't mail it from the APO as a business venture so she sent my Mom a BANANA BOX shoved full of wonderful handspun yarns for my Mom to sell in her shop, with all the proceeds to be donated to the youth center thing here in Knoxville that some of Mom's proceeds go to anyway. SUCH a generous thing to do! Mom should probably have some of them listed in the next couple days so if you're interested, go check out her My7Kids shop at etsy. Look at the two yarns I picked out, which I will have to give her the money for later. I LOVE them, I can't wait to think of something special to do with them--especially the black with the blue, gold and sparkles!

There and Back Again

I love the Lord of the Rings. Heck, I love just about anything by Tolkien.
And so I created a "Treasury" on etsy to show it!

There and Back Again

Go see, click, comment if you're an etsian but most of all enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


And it's not even my birthday! I had another "I can't believe it" mail day today! First was getting a little print I bought off etsy from Hide N Seek and I can't believe how beautifully it was packaged! She prints her own envelopes and tied it with a red ribbon. Incredible!

The second was a envelope stuffed full of fat quarters from Jenn. I really can't believe it! She is awesome, these fabrics are incredible and beautiful!

Then last but not least, in a swap package for the Anything Goes block swap I'm hosting, dear Lucy sent me 6 beautiful FQs! I am too blessed with quilty friends!

I forgot about Tackle it Tuesday but I had been wanting to handdye some fabric for a special bag I have in mind. I bought some dark brown Rit Dye which I know some professional fabric dyers might get teir nose open about, but with a little knowledge of chemistry (salt and baking soda for the rest of us, LOL) you really can permanently dye fabric for quilts with it. I have some I dyed about 8 years ago for a quilt that has been washed 20 times and it's still just as colorful. Also, my parent's handmade soap takes all the excess dye out of stuff (wonder how we found that out??) so if it's washed and washed with their soap and the water is running clear, you're good. Anyway, I needed a dark brown, a light tan (tea dyed) and a yellowy/tan. The light tan came out just as I wanted! The brown came out purple. Huh. Back to the drawing board. I overdyed the brown with some tea/coffee dye. It is still a slightly purple but now it is closer to the brown I had in mind! From left to rigth we have tea dyed, onion dyed, tea and onion with a 2 second dip in the brown dye and then the brown is dye, onion and tea dye.

While the kids were napping I spun some more wool. This is not going as quickly as I'd like but then I am only working on it a few minutes at a time. I worked on it for a little bit and then I cleaned my kitchen, LoL! I am totally here and everywhere today, bouncing back and forth. I made my block for tonight by ironing it down. Haven't stitched around the edges yet. Hopefully I am not done sewing/spinning/cleaning tonight but we will see.

BTW, here's another peak into my house! My clean kitchen, except for the trash which I vehemently insist to Tony is NOT my job, LOL! Actually I would take it out but it's cold and my kids are still at the have to watch every minute stage and I'd have to walk all the way around the apartment building. :-D My kitchen is done in red, white and cherries.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Back to the grind

Or at least our old routine!
I now have 2 theories of life. One is that vacuuming is the key to world peace. The other is that ketchup is a circle of life. I'll get to that one in a minute, the vacuuming theorem will have to wait for another post.

I fooled around the house doing lots of things and nothing. I spun some more black merino wool into yarn this morning which gave me a half full spindle so I'm halfway to being able to skein it and starting on an alien batt! Woo hoo! I made the front and back of another bag that was supposed to be sock-knitting size but came out regular size. Huh.
I loaded, unloaded and ran my dishwasher twice.
I made a delicious and nutritious dinner. Well, okay, the rice was a sodium-laden box of long grain and wild rice that was indeed too salty for my taste, next time we go with the low-sodium box, LoL! (Boil my own? What is this, 1958??) To go with my not-so-healthy rice I made seasoned boneless pork chops cooked in just a smidgen of olive oil, fresh broccoli and apple slices with low-fat caramel dip. What did my precious baby boy do? He asked for KETCHUP for his juicy and succulent pork chop. In fact, he said, "Can I have some ketchup, please, sir?" Very Oliver Twist.

This brings me to my ketchup theory: When you are a child, you want it on everything. When you are grown you sweat and slave to create interesting, healthy and delicious meals for your family and get mad when they put ketchup on it.

The quilt we're working on on my block a day calender is a tea time quilt with appliqued tea cups, flowers, teapot, etc. There aren't a lot of instructions to go with this so I drew my own little wonky tulips and flowers. I didn't get the machine appliqe done but they are stuck down thanks to the miracle of Wonder Under! (LOVE this stuff!) I am using some of the incredible civil war repro FQs Jenn sent me (block background) and I think when I'm done with this it will be "Ellen Plum" for my Bumbling Bounty Hunter's mini quilt challenge.

There is this thing on Etsy called a "Treasury", basically etsians get to pick a small collection of things they like to put together. The front page of etsy changes rapidy and is made up of such treasuries so if you get an item in one, maybe there is a slight chance you'll be on the front page! However, I've only managed to make 2 treasuries so far and I've only been in one (that I know of) that wasn't my Mom's, LOL! Some of this happened today! I made a treasury and also found myself in 2: and
Pretty exciting to me! (I don't have a lot going on!)

I'm going to scoot off of here for the night so it doesn't look as if I've spent the whole day in the comp when my dh gets home, LOL!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

HANDbag, fish hat and sheep fur!

Whew! It has been a busy couple of days. I finished quilting all but the border on my nine patch quilt yesterday morning using Diantha's little bitty Kenmore sewing machine. I'm still afraid to try mine since it messed up so badly! Eventually I will have to but for now I'm still using hers!

I have lots of pics to share today though, despite no actual "quilting" unless you count my newest handbag! I traced my hand and machine appliqued it then sewed antique buttons on the finger tips for nails. I love it, Diantha says it looks like the Corpse Bride severed hand. Bah! LoL! Speaking of Diantha...
Last night (Fri) she asked if she could try making a bag. I had a strap that was just slightly too short for me to use (by about 2 inches). She dug through my scrap box and pulled out some coordinating fabrics and all my her self, with no help from me but verbal instruction pieced her own little tote bag! It turned out GREAT! She did such a good job quilting it too! I'm so proud of her!!

I went over to Mom's today to return the girls and she said her friend Marion had sent some things and there were 2 things for me. One was the most incredible fish hat!! She had made one for her daughter and posted it on her blog a few weeks ago and I being a smart mouth, said I love it and where's mine, I like red! I didn't think she'd actually take the time to knit me one! I am in awe! This hat is SO AWESOME I CAN'T STAND IT! It is knit from the gorgeous Red Ryder BB Gun yarn my Mom had for sale at Christmas. I loved that yarn. I drooled over that yarn. Now I have a kick ass dead fish hat. Pardon the language, it just has to be described like that!!

Marion also, being an ANGEL, sent me some wonderful romney wool! OMG, I can't believe it. I hope she won't be offended (oh please don't, oh please!) that I dyed it already, LoL! It was a nice light tan color, perfect for dying. I am getting more and more addicted to this spinning thing and I have been wanting to try my hand and dying wool and it was just too much temptation! I have been looking at batts on etsy that were black and lime green so I took 2/3 of the wool she sent me and dyed it the most awesome bright, alien lime green. I used Mom's drum carder to card it with some of the solid black merino I bought a while back and suddenly I had the alien batt I was wanting!!

In the bag of wool there was a little bit of a gorgeous emerald merino. I took the other 1/3 of the tan romney and dyed it a great watermelon pink. I carded that with a little bit of the black merino and then finished it with the emerald merino and suddenly I had a watermelon batt! I can't wait to spin these up. I have 2 bags I need to do in the next couple days--little ones though! and then maybe I can start spinning! Ooooh, I can't wait.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Marion! You are AWESOME!

In regular news my dh goes back to his "normal" shift at work, which is 2:30pm-10:30pm. He had worked this shift since right before Jeremiah was born until 2 months ago. He doesn't seem to be too excited, I think he was starting to like being home with us in the evenings but I am. When they work them 7 days a week it's not too great, we don't get to see him (awake, LoL) a whole lot but they aren't working them that much right now and I think it will be great to get back to our old routine. It will be a blessing if in no other way than simply being on the same sleeping schedule!

I feel so blessed today. I got to spend time with my sisters, then whole family. Saw my MIL this morning for an hour or so and she is wonderful. So great with me, my kids, my husband. Such a blessing in itself. My hubby has tomorrow off, we can spend together doing anything or nothing. No plans. I just have this peace feeling tonight, it is so nice. I know this is already long but I have a Newsboys song stuck in my head and I'll share some lyrics:

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the Power of Christ in me
From life's first cry, to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell nor scheme of man
Shall ever pull me from His Hand
Til He returns or calls me Home
Here in the love of Christ I live

Friday, February 20, 2009


I didn't get to yesterday's block yesterday what with the quilting and everything, but I did it this evening! Mom called it "Crosshairs" and I don't know what it's really called so I'm going with that. Last night while my migraine was raging I mentioned to Mom that I couldn't figure out how to make it be 8.5" for my green quilt. Being the great mathemetician that she is she INSTANTLY rattled off numbers and I said, "Uh huh, okay."

This evening when I went to make the block I made it to what I remember Mom saying. The block ended up being 7.5". WHAT THE HECK?! How do you make a 7.5" quilt block? It's unheard of! LOL! So I puzzled at it a minute and then recut everything to a different size and VOILA! an 8.5" block. Yay! This is block number 13 I think, so maybe I only have 3 more to go if I get creative with some pieced borders!

Praise the Lord who is merciful and has taken my headache almost all away! I decided to forgo taking any painkillers last night cause they weren't helping anyway, and instead took an ambien. LoL! I put my babies to bed, Hannah nursed and went in her bed for the last time around midnight so I was able to go to bed then. She didn't wake until almost 6am! This is a long time for her to sleep, especially in her own bed. We've been having problems with that. I was blessed with a good night's sleep and so were my kids--in their own beds!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Artificial Prairie Ninepatch

Yes I know it's an unusual name for a quilt, but it works. I have been working off and on (more off) on this quilt for 11 years. I started making the nine patches for it when I was 12. I went into Mom's sewing room, grabbed up a bunch of fabrics I thought would be beautiful together and started cutting roughly 2.5" squares from them. This was the first quilt I started entirely on my own. And it shows! LOL!

My intention at the time was to offset the nine patches with hourglass (QSTs) made from a civil war repro and butter yellow satin. Yes, satin. I pieced one block and decided the satin frayed waaaay too badly to mess with and settled on plain 6.5" squares of the fabric. Only I ran out. The store didn't carry the fabric anymore so I had to substitute a different repro. This running and and substituting happened 3 more times.

I took my haphazard ninepatch center and bordered it with fried egg flowers. Only my machine was messing up so I left the leaves off the flowers. I tell you, this is the wonkiest, running-out-of-est quilt in the world! I looks like one of those quilts you see from the Oregon Trail days where the prairie women used what they had, ran out of fabric, substituted, etc. Hence the Artificial Prairie Nine Patch. I love this quilt though, it just seems to work. It's the biggest train wreck but it's SO funny!!

To make things worse, I have a lovely, beautiful red toile print to back it with. I was very careful measuring the backing to cut it and piece it, measured wrong--of COURSE and cut it too short. Had to piece another piece along the bottom. Went to pin out the quilt and realized I pieced the backing to the right size, sideways. Instead of running up and down the lovely, beautiful red toile print runs side to side. Sigh. Figures.

I got this about half quilted, getting a free handed (badly, LOL!) spiral quilted in all the plain squares and random wavy lines through about half of the nine patches. Still have to the the other half and then go back the other direction so they cross--if that makes sense. Couldn't work on it anymore, I am having the mother of all migraines again since about 3:30AM and I wanted to get home to lay around. My sisters came with me to help play with babies, well Diantha and Veronica did. Betsy would be so fun to have spend the night (she'll be 2 on the 9th) but she's a BAD kid and I'm just not up to that tonight! LOL!! (Terrible 2's for about 10 months now.) Mom says she loves the quilt, even with all it's quirks and I do too. She offered me $100 for it, LOL! Don't know if I can't let it go. Too good of a story. In fact, I've been using it for inspiration to write a book about making an extraordinary, horrible quilt. Plus, it's already heirloom quality and antique looking..hahaha...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another one bites the dust!

Another quilt top down! I finished the top for my quilt made from the blocks I've done from that pink and orange batik and purple fabrics. I thought about pinning it out today since I bought a really cute orangey/peachy flannel with pink and purple polka dots on it for the backing. JoAnn's said it was a "sew comfy flannel" (ie juvenile print) but it just works with this quilt. Plus the flannel backing will make it all the more comfy. I didn't pin it out though cause I'll need all the pins I can find tomorrow. I'm heading over to Mom's to borrow her ex-library table kitchen table to pin out my queen sized Antique Nine Patch.

And that is another story all in itself! I started to piece the backing for it, measured TWICE and cut the backing--both pieces I needed to sew together--8" too short! Sigh. I had to sew a 10" strip across the bottom of the backing. Tony says the backing is "so beautiful," it's a red on tan toile. Hopefully I'll have piccs tomorrow of a quilted quilt!

Jeremiah must be in the spotlight this week, since he seems to be featured on here nightly. He asked that I put a picture he drew on his magnedoodle of "Kung Fu Panda." He tells me the main characters are here, Po, Tigeress, Monkey, Shi Fu and Ti Lung. I'm taking his word for it!

My precious baby Hannah started walking yesterday! She was 10 months old on the 10th and had been taking a step here and there for about a week but last night she started in earnest. She is taking 5 or 6 steps at a time now, walking the distance between our couch and recliner bypassing the coffee table! My baby is a toddler!! Where does the time go? Here's another snapshot courtesy Jeremiah Photography, LOL!

Houndstooth in a Nutshell

There wasn't a block on my calender today, just another quilt picture so I decided to add another 8.5" to my growing collect of green blocks (I now have 12!). I used one of the darker greens Jenn sent me for my birthday and a putrid, lime green light that always shows up as yellow when I take pictures of it. I chose the Houndstooth pattern because it's very easy and I love it. It's a little time consuming because I have to cut each square individually, but I think the result is worth it.

First I took my 4.5" square ruler and I divided it, on an angle, as evenly as I could with a piece of masking tape. This is because the houndstooth is strips, cut crooked. It'll make sense in a minute.

You'll need at least a light and a dark fabric. I always forget how wide to cut the strips and ALWAYS cut 3.5" stirps of each. This is a little bit extra so if you're short on fabric you can cut 3" strips and you'll be alright. If you're a little nervous about trying a new block, go with my 3.5". I decided to do this pictorial after I had cut 3 of my 4 squares so bear with me, LoL! Sew your dark and light strips (right sides together) down one long side. Iron the seam toward the dark fabric.Line your masking tape ling up along the ege of the seam on your strip set. Your ruler will look crooked on the fabric. Make sure to hold it steady so you can trim around it.Be careful holding down the ruler to cut around it! Rotary cutter accidents are painful! Ask me how I know, LOL!
You need 4 of these squares for every block. Once you have enough squares cut for the number of blocks you'll need there are 2 different layouts you can choose:
I like the second one and it's the one I chose for my blocks today. I think the first one kind of looks like windmills, which is fun too! I hope you'll give these blocks a try because they are so easy and look very nice when set into a quilt top. I have one hanging on the wall in my living room done in 5 different colors. It's really easy with some careful seam allowances to have perfect points too, so give yourself some bragging rights! LoL!