Sunday, August 07, 2011

S o T h i s I s L o v e

Last night we celebrated Tim's grandparents 60th anniversary.  It was a lovely evening.  There were many photos of course.

Grandma and Grandpa with their children

With their grandchildren, minus one grandson.  We missed you Jon.

With their great grandchildern, minus Jon's daughter.

Just our little fifth of the family... we are the largest fifth.  That's grandma and grandpa, their second son and his wife (my wonderful in-laws), their four children with spouses and seven grand children plus another on the way.

I snapped this one of T & Me with my phone.  Love this man.  December marks 15 years of wedded bliss... looking forward to what the next 45+ will bring.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Cat's Away... AKA Home Refurb

The Hub's on another business trip.  Actually, it's been like a year since he has gone anywhere so I can't complain.  My original plan was to clean the crap out of the house while he was gone.  Less than two hours after we dropped him off at the airport I had purchased the steam cleaner of my dreams and made up a plan of attack to complete a room a day.  Yesterday was the kitchen so no need for the new carpet steamer.  All was going well until I moved the kitchen chairs into the living room so I could mop.  Before moving them back some sandpaper found it's way into my hand and before I knew it I had sanded a whole chair (what, before I knew it??? It took me more than 3 hours).  I woke up sore this morning but committed.  I have to finish these chairs before he gets home.  I even remembered to take a before photo...

(do I really have that much crap on my fridge?)

I have to finish them before he gets home because when I've mentioned the desire to paint them in the past he has looked at me like I'm crazy.  Maybe it's my lack of finishing projects or maybe it's that he doesn't think there is anything wrong with them.  Who knows.  Here's my half of the argument:

I've abused this one by using it as a step stool too often.

His half of the argument... well maybe this quarter finished chair... or this half finished chair... or the lack of curtains in our kitchen... the ones I started in the spring but still have yet to finish.  He complains about not being able to walk in the kitchen in his underwear and it is an issue since we share a back yard with another family.

He'll be home in 3 days.. fingers crossed!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

So proud...

Yesterday Patrick's baseball team had their end of the season celebration at on of the area's local water park. Trophies were presented. When Patrick received his trophy coach also gave him the game ball from his very first hit. I'm still a little choked up about it. It's been 3 long seasons. That hit meant more to us than words can describe. So proud of you P. I hope someday you realize how amazing you are.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

If It Makes Me Happy!

Sorry for the cheesy blog title.. ok, all my blog titles are cheesy.  T and I went to see Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow last night with a few friends.  We had a great time which has brought me to a few conclusions:

  1. We should go see Kid Rock next time he is in concert again.
  2. We should go to more concerts.  Live music is the best.
  3. We need to hang out with the couple we went with more often.  Last night was our second official "date" with them.  
A few of the things that are making me happy lately are:

Almond Butter with apples.  I tried not to focus in too much on the almond butter because it's appearance is questionable, but trust me, it's some yummy stuff.

Quilting and sewing.  Really though, it's all about the quilting right now.  It is actually really surprising to me because as much as I enjoy quilts I've had no desire to make one because of the handquilting.  Then I discovered that you could actually machine quilt them and the heavens parted and birds were singing.  Ok, not really.  I love that I can make something beautiful and functional for our home.

And lastly:

Knitting this sock.  I've sorta lost my knitting mojo lately but the Trekking/Jaywalker-yarn/pattern combo has pulled me out of my funk.  My only real issue with it is that it is 92 stitches.  Yikes.  I cast on 80, knit 2x2 ribbing and then increased up to 92 (*knit 6, inc, knit 7, inc, knit 7 inc* repeat)  I also had to cast it on 4 times before I finally got the fit right.  Watching the colors change is quite addictive.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Lesson in Zippers Part 1

I've decided to improve my zipper installing skills... they really are quite poor.  I also am in some desperate need of new throw pillows for our living room.  Having a zipper closure on a pillow really is a good idea.  My last couple efforts ended a pillow that would not stay in it's case.  I'm sure it is not the pillows fault, rather the maker of the pillow's cover fault.

I purchased the full collection of Denyse Schmidt Hope Valley fat quarters a while ago, with the intent of making pillows but then was afraid to cut them up.  2 nights ago I got over my fears and dug out the yard of linen in my stash to make a 18" quilt top. (I love the Hope Valley, I see me purchasing some more very soon,  I want to make a million things out of it now.)  As for the zipper, I decided to use a 22" because I thought it might give me a little more wiggle room

I'm not going to attempt to explain how to install a zipper.  Their are many tutorials out there that are very well written.  For my pillow I used the tutorial on Sew Mama Sew by Creative Little Daisy.  It worked like a charm.  Well, mostly.  The issues I had with it were of my own doing and I know how to avoid them next time.  I've already started a second pillow with the Hope Valley scraps.  The only thing that I would do differently is change the order I sewed a few things.  The tutorial has you sew the flap side first and then the other side to the zipper.  I found this a bit awkward, especially since I chose to make a gathered flap.  It was also a lot to manipulate while sewing.  (I also think I need to double check my machine's manual to make sure I'm using the zipper foot correctly???)

Topstitching the second half of the backing piece.  See how the flap is just in the way.  I find sewing straight with zipper foot difficult too.  There are no lines really to use as guides so I just say a prayer and hope for the best.  

Here is the finished pillow.  I am very happy with how it turned it.  Surprisingly, it does not look horrible with my super-ugly couch which I hope to replace with something more attractive and comfy soon.

And the back... love that orange floral print and the ruffle.  Couldn't help girl-ing it up a bit.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Goodbye old friend

Hanging out at Grandma's pool is one of our favorite summertime activites.  We get to see grandma and grandpa, cool off a bit, have some good family quality time and often get a free meal too.  Those days are over though.  During our swim yesterday afternoon this happened...

Yes, we were actually in the pool when it happened.  First, the top railing made a popping sound.  The side had started to fall and water was gushing out.  As it gushed it it tore the already weakened side of the pool and within 3 minutes all that was left in the pool was about 4 inches of water.  
There's the sad boys standing next to the dreaded gash...

Patrick enjoying the last few inches of water

Quinn doing the same

There is some serious pouting going on here.  Quinn was actually stomping around and Patrick was holding back the tears.  It did not help that Grandma was bawling her eyes out (Grandpa was celebrating, he's tired of maintaining it).  They have said the past few years that when something major goes wrong that it would be gone.  This is pretty major.

The pool is about 16 years old.  I remember when Tim and I were dating, just a few months before we were engaged,  helping out getting it up and going.  We've had so many good times and wonderful memories in that pool.  It has hosted sixteen 4th of July parties. Both my boys, my 4 nieces and 1 nephew all learned to swim in that pool.  I can't even count how many impromptu family get togethers have resulted because of the pool.  If it is hot, Tim's brother's and sister and their families would all just show up.  So many wonderful memories.

It's hot out too.  Makes me want to buy that disgusting house down the street that has been on the market for at least 6 months.  It has an in-ground pool.  

On a side note, check out what I did today... no it's not crafty.

I was in the garage reaching for the orbital sander and there was a vase in the way.  Instead of moving the vase, I tried to reach around it and knocked it over.  It bounce off of my shin before it hit the ground and broke.  I called the Dr's office asking how should I know if I need stitches... yes I'm that stupid.  I guess if you can look into your wound then you need stitches.  The glass did not break when it hit my leg, it was just the weight of the vase itself that made the gashes.  The vase did have some sculpted edges so maybe that is why the cuts are so deep.  

My doctor steri-stripped the gash up.  He did give me the choice between that or stitches.  I told him whatever he though would heal better.  I wasn't so concerned about having a scar as having a permanent dent in my leg. He thought this would be better, I just have to try to keep them on for 7-10 days which means trying not to get them wet.  He also mentioned something about having to possibly trim the skin around it if he did stitches because it had curled under into the gash.  Sorry if that is grossing anyone out.  That did not sound like fun to me.  I'm really glad I did it during his office hours so I did not have to go to the emergency room.  

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Pincushion Caddy pattern reveiw

I FINALLY finished the pincushion caddy I started last week.  The pattern can be found in Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing by Anna Marie Horner.  I have the book out on loan from the library and it has a lot of great projects in it so buy it or go check it out.

Back to the review: I started the pattern last week. I cut out the 8 wedge pieces and sewed them together and then was at a standstill because I did not have any double sided heavy fusible interfacing and didn't get around to picking some up till Tuesday this week.  I used Peltex 2 which is super heavy, like posterboard.  They also make it as a single sided fusible, which is called Peltex 1. So now that I had the Peltex 2, I assembled my inner tube and then proceeded to attach it to the outside ball.  It did not fit (outside ball was too large).  The pattern said to sew all of your seams for the 8 outside pieces at 3/8" (which was a challenge for me since I do not have a 3/8" marking on my machine).  It suggested increasing the depth of your seams if it did not fit, so I guess they anticipated this happening.  I resewed all of the seams at 1/2".  And it still did not fit, but was much closer this time around.  I then resewed every other seam at 5/8" and left the others at 1/2" and it finally fit. It's worth mentioning that the wedge pattern is not symmetrical (one end tapers more than another) but I ignored this fact so it could also contribute to the fitting.  I would pay more attention to this next time and try to keep like ends of the 8 wedges together.  I sewed the tube to the outer ball together with little trouble, but not without a few puckers. I would probably handsew this seam if I ever make it again.  

Next is to sew the inside base of the tube to the bottom of the tube.  I guess because of the fiddling I did with the outer ball seams it was a smidge too small (or maybe the non-symmetry??).  I had sewed most of it before I realized though (by hand) so just made it work.  When I say a smidge, I really mean a smidge.  It just sorta curves up in the center so really a non-issue.  You then baste (by hand) the outer ball to the edge of the bottom of the tube and then can start stuffing the ball.  Mine is overstuffed, but I don't really care at this point. That could explain why it took me nearly 3 hours to stuff the darn thing.  I used a large knitting needle to get the stuffing around to the side opposite the opening.  I think if I ever make it again, I may leave two wedges partially open to help in the stuffing.

Lastly, you handsew a larger circle to the base of the cushion.  Instead of using the method suggested in the book to form the bottom circle, (which involved aluminum foil and cardboard) I just used more of the Peltex 2.  This worked well because I was able to fuse the raw edges to the wrong side of the circle.  I used a piece of parchment paper to make sure the Peltex 2 did not stick to my iron or board.

I'm pretty sure I will make this again someday.  My mom was oohing and aahing over it so I think she needs one too.  And I'll know what to do differently next time.  However, it is HUGE... that is really not a problem, I just was not prepared for how large it was going to be.

Here it is after it "swallowed" the husband's iPhone...

And the underside... I love the that print on the circle.. yes it is almost as tall as a 16 oz water bottle.

I really do love the finished pincushion.  I used the Denyse Schmidt fabrics I've been hording for it.  It is not a quick project.  I think from start to finish, minus the week long rest period, it probably took me close to 8 hours.  If you do not like handsewing, then look for another project.  You handsew 4 seams in this project.  I have the claw to prove it.  

Oh, and I rewarded myself with some stash-enhancements today.  One of the local quilt shops was having a ridiculous sale on fat quarters.  Also hit Joann's for a few items, including some sharps needles, which are longer than the quilting needle I used for all the handsewing.  I will certainly need them if I do any more handsewing to avoid the dreaded claw... my hand is still tingly.  

Monday, July 04, 2011

Missing you...

It's been 10 years since we lost you.  I still miss you everyday.

I wish you could see the amazing young man that Patrick is growing into.

And that you could know Quinn.  You would have gotten such a kick out of each other.  

I'd give anything to have 5 more minutes with you.  I miss you Big Dad.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Walking with a new foot

 I don't remember if I mentioned it in my last post, but I broke down and purchased the walking foot for my machine.  It was near impossible to machine quilt (among other things) on my machine without it.  I don't know why I waited so long.  Oh yeah, maybe because when I started looking into it a year ago it was going to cost $75 and I could not justify buying a $75 part for a $150 machine.  I ended up snagging it off Amazon for $33, and I'm so glad I did.

Using blue painter's tape as a straight line stitching guide, like how it is being done here.  Sorry I did not include the link to the actual post where she talks about it, but I'm lazy and didn't feel like looking for it.

Back of quilted piece, look at all those purdy lines!

Not the greatest photo, but check it out, not a pucker in sight!

The finished result, a new cover for my ironing board.  I was in desperate need of a new one.  I loosely used the tutorial on Moda Bake Shop.  I like it, but do not love it.  I did not have any ribbon, at least not enough to go around so used elastic, I think I need a wider elastic??? (I used 1/4") and it definitely needs at least another layer of batting, I can feel the ironing board surface through the cover.  I'm wondering if a piece of canvas would help? Guess the icky, flimsy piece of foam on the old cover served more of a purpose than just grossing me out (and shifting around aimlessly).  

And for reference, here's how bad the old cover was... yuck!  The tear got caught on something everytime I used the ironing board.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mama needs a new sewing machine...

I've been doing some quilting lately, which makes me really happy... just piecing actually because of the two machines I have, neither can manage to machine quilt.  One machine is actually from my high school's sewing program.  When they discontinued the program they sold all of the machines, I think they were $10 (sergers were $25).  It sat and sat in my craft room for years then last spring when I decided to start sewing I dug it out and used it till decided not to work.  That really only lasted about 4 months.  I was lucky enough that my mom had fairly new, yet inexpesive, Brother machine that she no longer wanted because she just bought herself a fancy-schmancy machine that does it all.  It sews just fine but when I try to quilt with it, the top layer of fabric bunches up or drags along or whatever it is that it does.  Anyways, I get annoying little "pleats" that really should not be there.  Thus the desire for a new machine.  But until I can rationalize the $10k price tag on the Bernina of my dreams, I purchased a walking foot for my machine from Amazon.  

So here are a few of the things I have been working on.  First is the red white and blue wonky star wall hanging.  I intended on alternating blue and red on every point but sewed the last block in the wrong order.  I'm happy enough with it not to tear it out.  Obviously, it will be my 4th of July quilt, but what I really want is a Captain America shield to decorate for the 4th with.  Maybe I'll make a wall hanging inspired by the shield. 

This is my Halloween quilt.  I've jacked up the pattern so had to improvise (see a recurring theme with my sewing skills???)  It is loosely inspired by this quilt.

I think the tiny bit of sewing I've been doing was spurred on by the even tinier bit of organizing I've done.  I started converting this: 

to this:

I found this cube shelf thingy in the garage. It was originally in the boys room and never made it up there when we moved.  I'm not sure if we even have the fabric cubes that go with it anymore.  It's likely just temporary because my ultimate goal is to have fabric farther from the floor than this would allow or behind cabinet doors to avoid dog hair and dust.  I am liking that each fabric is visible when stacked this way, rather than folded in tubs like I had before.  The tubs make seeing what you have more difficult and you've seen the end result of that.  Sadly, I don't think this cubical thing will hold all of my fabric.

I'm anxious to finish up both of these quilts so I can move on to a throw for the couch.  Maybe the Japanese + and x quilt along???   The boys were fighting over the tiny little quilt I made in my learn to class today so that has encouraged me to make another 2 or 3, I think we all need a lap quilt, right?  Anyway, the walking foot should arrive Wednesday... yay!

Monday, April 18, 2011


I'm trying not to dwell on all the events of today, but it has really been complete crap.  Most disappointing is that I'm gonna have to stop running for a while.  The shin splints have gotten to be too much, I had little relief with the compression sleeve so it's on to ice and rest.  I do love the compression sleeve though.  The pressure feels almost like a little massage and seems to offer extra support.  Race day is about 4 weeks away so hopefully it heels by then.  Sadly though I probably will have to walk most of the race since the rest will set back my training.  I'm still not the strongest runner.

I'm hoping if I try to list some of the positives I have going on right now then maybe I can pull this week out of the crapper.

I've lost a total of 25 lbs since I began my weight loss journey.  25 lbs may not seem like a lot for nearly a year and a half attempt, but it's still 25 lbs and I'm going to celebrate it.  I'm beginning to see a physical transformation in myself as well.  Moving out of the plus sized department, my face looks thiner and I feel thiner and my wedding ring fits again.

Only 31 more days left in this school year.

We are going to look at a house on Wednesday (fingers crossed that it all goes well).

I seem to be back on track with eating healthfully, it's been a struggle lately.

I found a LYS that carries reinforcing yarn so I can finally finish a few of the socks I've had laying around.

I bought a cute new dress for some of the events we have going on this spring which means I need to go shoe shopping.

That's helping already.  Now I get to go to bed which makes me really happy.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

My faithful companion

Bought a used rocking chair at Goodwill yesterday for $15. In the process of sanding it so I can paint it. It will live on either the front or back porch. Haven't decided yet? Boomerang could not pass up the opportunity to lay outside next to me while I work. He's such a sweetie.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

so busy....

It's been a crazy week.. and it's only Tuesday.  Ok it's 12:03 so it's really Wednesday.  Today we had baseball practice, soccer practice and I had cub scout roundtable.  No wonder I couldn't find the time to blog until now.  

Been really busy sewing on Cub & Boy scout patches to shirts.  There were 9 for my shirt, 6 for Patrick's and Quinn has 8 (I still have 2 more of Quinn's to sew on, until Saturday, then I have 3 more to sew on).  I'm ashamed to admit it, but I broke down and started sewing them on my machine instead of by hand.  I'll get some pics of the 3 of us in our shirts on Saturday.  My boys are crossing over to Bears.  Can't wait! 

Monday, April 04, 2011

First Quilt Down...

I finished it last night and immediately popped it in the washer to get the disappearing marker out and so it would do that crinkly thing quilts do that make them so darn cozy. I just love it. It's just under 40" though so barely qualifies as a lap quilt. Not so small that it kept me from cozying up with it a good portion of the day (which explains why it is extra crinkly at the bottom :).

Sunday, April 03, 2011

So close

I have approx. 25 inches left of the binding on my quilt to blind stitch. I can't wait to be done with it. My fingers are sooo sore. But mostly I want to finish it because I have a huge stack of fabric waiting to be made into fabulous things. I've been very good an not let myself start anything new, which really is a difficult thing for me. Should be finished before bed tonight. Yippee!

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Sometimes a door or two opens that you didn't even know where there. More information when there is something real to share.

Friday, April 01, 2011


They love each other. And oh how I love them. Yes, Booms is wearing Q's new TC baseball hat. We have a thing around here for the initials TC, not the Twins.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Harry Monsters... grrrr!

The beginning of the month we made Harry Monsters at cub scouts.  Growing up, this was always one of my favorite crafts my mom did with us.  We actually did it at VBS and I looked forward to it each year.  Having a mom who is the VBS craft coordinator rocks btw.

Harry Monsters all in a row
It was really fun to see all of the boys individual personalities come out in their monster's faces.  We had several with Angry Bird mustaches and a few holding "Go Blues" signs.  I'm still a little surprised how much fun the boys had.

To make a harry monster of your very own all you need are some small plastic cups.  I always think of these as fruit salad or punch cups.  I think they work best for a proportional face size.  And I like that they are clear.  Decorate to your hearts content with pipe cleaners, googly eyes, pom pons... whatever.  Add some potting soil, lots of grass seed, water regularly and watch it grow!

Quinn's cyclops (left) and my Angry Birds Pig inspired stached monster.
After a few weeks your moster will start to look like a punk rocker and will need a haircut.

I thought of putting a bow in my monster's hair, but it has a mustache and gender confusion is not exactly what I'm going for here.

Faux-hawks really are dumb.  2nd dumbest haircut ever.
Still punk rock, don't you think!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

First Quilt

Again, I've been neglecting you blog... so sorry.  

I've taken some quilting classes in the past few weeks with Shilo.  They were a lot of fun but it REALLY makes me wish I had a nicer machine to work with.  I can say that the $1500 Babylock we used in class really was not much better than the $150 Brother hand-me-down machine from my mom.  It did have a lot more bells and whistles, but sewing wish it was just meh and I'm not really looking for bells and whistles.  I'm being steered more towards the direction of a Bernina now or maybe even a Janome.  

So back to the classes.  First was the hand quilting class.  I am surprised by how much I enjoy hand quilting, it's slow but still very enjoyable.  I can see from my speed though that I will want to become a better sewer (or maybe I need a new machine?) so that I can just machine quilt most of my quilts.  Still, it's a good skill to have and I can see myself hand quilting pieces that are more decorative and then machine quilting the rest of a piece. I've already plans for my Christmas quilt to do both.  

These photos are from the beginning quilting class.  It was a two day class, 4 hours each on consecutive Sundays.  I learned so much during both this and the hand quilting class.  I also realized while shopping for my fabrics (I LOVE the fabrics I chose) for the beginning class that I do not like quilts styled like the one we did in class.  This will probably be my one and only quilt I ever make with boring little blocks.  I have a burning need for scrappiness... I never realized how deep it was until now. I'm anxious to get started on my next few projects and have fun.  If I ever finish sewing on the binding for this first quilt.. it's been two days and I'm nearly half way done.