Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Electric Heat

The thing about electric heat is that it makes me thirsty - at 4 am. The other morning I woke up for a drink and then decided... well, to sew. Oh, but only for an hour. I set the kitchen timer to make sure that I went back to bed by 5 am so I wouldn't be totally tuckered out before the day even began. And, lookie there - I got lots done in just 1 hour while my Little Angel was sound asleep. Glory be, I could actually leave my scissors at the sewing machine (gasp), while I got up to iron. Imagine! I think I am on to something here. I think I am going to give up trying to sew altogether when he is awake, it is soooo much more peaceful at 4 am. Oh, and did I mention I get tons more done in 1 hour when he is sleeping than in 1 hour when he is awake?

Country Wife - now finished - or at least ready for long-arm quilting! And - Little Boy in his butterfly fleece bathrobe. When I spread the top out on the floor to take a photo (well, almost completely spread out anyway - there are a few ripples in the photo, but it is actually nice and flat), he took his usual inspection spot. And declared - "Ooohh Momma, it is boootiful!" Think I will keep it - how could I not after that endorsement!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Why I have a messy car!

Oh, how very quickly can a nice, little walk turn into - well, an event. Right. These 2 photos illustrate perfectly the reason why I keep a TON of extra clothes in my car - from extra coats, hats, mittens, blanket, towel (usually - had to borrow one from my sister's car today), shoes (yes - shoes), socks... well, you get the idea. That is just the clothing side - let's not forget the water bottles, snacks (sometimes involving the cooler or thermoses), camera, toys, books, sunscreen, bug spray, all that good stuff to boot. Ah well, what is a Momma to do? A big tupperware tote usually keeps things pretty contained with a bit of extra room for the "daily" bag that has to be gone through and refurbished for the next outing. But still, the car usually looks like a tornado has recently hit, even though I try to at least clean out the daily trash!

As you can see, we took advantage of the super-fab weather today (in the mid-60's) and played and played outdoors, changed into dry clothes and played some more (this time away from the water as 2 pairs of shoes in his size is all that I have and sadly he has outgrown his rubber boots and the stores only have snow boots right now). Truly a wonderfully nice time! As a special treat the 2 of us went out to eat at a restaurant for dinner (OK - so it was only 3 pm, but 3 pm is sooo much easier than battling the later dinner crowd and the unpredictable moods of a tired boy). And of course, that little angel went right to sleep tonight after our days adventures (which also included seeing some of the family and going to see a train display, oh - and a trip to the library too. Yup, guess you could say I tuckered him out!

And, thanks for all the kind words of encouragement, you guys are all so sweet and your kind comments sure do my heart alot of good. I have had hardly ANY time at all to read your blogs lately, but some cold, snowy, winter day in the near future I will get all caught up with your doings....maybe (one can hope anyway!).

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Making Mittens

My big crafty accomplishment for the day... making 2 pairs of mittens for my smallest cold-weather New England nieces. I made these mittens with the left-over fleece from Little Boy's bathrobe. They are pretty easy to make and I have a few more pairs yet left to go, but different sizes... sorry, no pattern - that is my own blue construction paper version over on the right side (these are for 2 years and under age group).

I feel like my blog is a bit un-inspiring lately. I have hardly any time these days to do anything except chase after that very busy 3 year old son of mine and by the time I get any "free" time, I usually try to take a rest! Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining by any means - it is wonderful to have a healthy, active, busy child who wants to learn about just about everything and loves to copy - in his own way - what Momma does. This learning/copying bit has led to many mishaps and adventures this past month... all I can say is that if you have a 3 year old, a good sense of humor is important. I just could use a few extra hours in my day right now to get everything done that needs doing! Oh, and a bit more rest would be nice too...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Just 1 fat quarter

Sometimes you need, not a tower, but just 1 fat quarter. One of the fat quarters in that tower was PERFECT for the cornerstones on the sashings for my Grandmother's Choice blocks. So, I've squared up 30 of the blocks and added the sashings - this is a photo from last night - I've got almost all the rows sewn together this morning! The blocks finish at 10" and the sashing finishes at 2". Hard to see, but the top rows have the cornerstones in place. And - yes, I know that I made a mistake on that bottom block, but once something is sewn together - it usually stays that way for me as long as the measurement is correct. No time for a long blog entry because I used up all my "free" time sewing. Got to run - have another busy day coming at me!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My 1st tower!

Sonnet Collection, by Moda! Look at all those fabrics - aren't they yummy! They are in the dryer right now, as I am typing this. I still have to get some background fabric, but here is my start on Gratitudes... Many of the prints are large, but I think it will work out together. And, I will definately have enough left over to do a 2nd quilt, maybe even a 3rd. Ohhhh, the possibilities!!!

That is my big quilt-y news for the day. I don't have tons of time for sewing lately so I've been sticking to some little projects to keep me entertained, while I put together some fabrics, pattern ideas for when I do have time to quilt. Oh - and the American Girl doll - I didn't buy it, it is one of my nieces!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dressing dolls

Here is the result of me fussing around with doll clothes patterns - I got this pattern at the Joanne's sale last weekend for $1! The fabric was on clearance for $2 a yard and I think each garmet took less than 1/2 a yard. Ummm - has anyone LOOKED at the prices in the American Girl catalog lately? Ouch - especially if you just so happen to have a little girl who likes a variety of outfits for her doll. And, I just so happen to have 2 nieces who love these dolls right now. I made this outfit just glitzy and shimmery enough to make any little girl happy!

There are things to remember about this slippery/shimmery/RAVELLY fabric if you are a quilter used to very well-behaved quilting fabric! The first thing being that it will melt if you put your iron setting to cotton! It really unravels about as fast as you can sew it - so I used Stitch Witchery on some of the seams and my serger on the bigger seams. I am waiting for scissors to go on sale next week at Joanne's and then I will get a pair of pinking shears. I am slowly remember all my clothes sewing tips/techniques as these little clothes are being assembled... meaning... don't look too closely at this outfit as it is the 1st one - I am just getting warmed up here! But aren't we sometimes are own worst critic? I just know that my nieces are going to be thrilled and I AM having a FUN time making these and those 2 things are really what matters at the end of the day anyway. Part of the fun for me IS in working with these non-quilting fabrics - I have a love of fiber and it has been a while since I last worked with fabrics with many different textures (and personalities!).

This is just one of the many, various non-quilt-y projects I have on the go right now! So - 1 outfit down, still have to make the 2nd one which is identical (one for each niece). You might be able to see in the photo - I have red dresses cut out too - so more to come later.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Playground fun!

Little Boy and I have a daily contest between the 2 of us - to see who can wear the other out first! And this Momma has a few tricks up her sleeve to help her win - the playground being one of them. An extra bonus - look how much fun he has! He just loves that digger thing - and it is heavy! It isn't a huge playground, but certainly has enough to keep him entertained...

He is wearing a headband that my Nana knit years ago. I am not so good at dates, but I think that Nana died 8 years ago now. She knit tons of these headbands and they keep popping up in various drawers and pockets. This one my sister had with her and when the wind picked up she popped it on his head - a perfect fit!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Recipe for a Rash

I always use dye free, purfume free, etc. laundry soap. Always! And, um - I only use 1/2 of the recommended amount - sensitive skin and all... So, what caused Little Boy to have such an awful rash? Well, the Downy fabric softener was RIGHT next to the laundry soap. Sigh. Didn't see the microscopic "fabric softener" on the bottle. And that is what I bought - thinking it was laundry soap. I mean really - the bottle was about the right size, had a nice picture of a child on it, had all the right wording in BIG letters. Did lots of laundry. Next day - Little Boy had a very bad rash all over (and I mean all over) with bumps and ridges... poor dear. Almost warranted a trip to the doctor, but I thought we would try the pharmacy for some Desetin cream 1st - which worked - almost instantly, thankfully! 1 day later his skin was soft as a baby's again, phew! Of course, got very nice, thick, goo-ey white cream all over my black pants, which so far, over 1 week later, still has not come completely out, despite repeated washings. Not that repeated washings really mattered - obviously I had to do ALL the laundry all over again. The entire episode reminded me of one of my very favorite books from when I was little - "The Little Old Man Who Couldn't Read". I'm not sure if it is still in print, but definately a book I would recommend looking for... all these years later!

Have I mentioned before that when I was a teenager my Mom asked me to pick up some apple juice and I came home with 1 GALLON of apple cidar VINEGAR? Well, the bottle was the right size, the label had an apple on it... and the liquid inside was the right color... is there a saying about history repeating itself?

Sorry, but that is my exciting post for now... for some reason my mind is running in slow motion these days... or maybe like Amy says... a bit out of focus... which would explain why I thought Downy fabric softener was laundry soap? Those microscopic letters were a bit out of focus. Or, maybe I am just tired.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

This and that...

Yesterday Little Boy and I had a get-together with some friends and family. We both had lots of fun! The food was simple - I made deviled eggs, tuna salad with rolls, meatballs, clam chowder, pasta salad, a hot dip for crackers and a huge fruit platter. Add a bag of pretzels and my sister-in-law sent potatoe salad - we had plenty of good eats. I was pretty pleased that there was actually very little left over. And - NO sugar - which means that the kids didn't bounce off the walls, wildly out of control. Of course, they did bounce, but not with that extra sugar energy that always seems to end in tears. Everyone went home by 8:30 and I think for sure we both were sound asleep by 8:45! I have been so busy lately that I am more than happy to go to bed when he does.

On Thursday I couldn't resist the big Joanne's sale - and picked up some patterns (at $1 each it is hard to pass by!). And I got a little fabric over on the clearance shelf, which was 50% off. Plus some thread - also at 50% off. So, I have the fixings to make some American Girl dresses for Christmas presents, plus some fun scarf material. I already made up some of the scarfs and today realized that my very favorite one cost 75 cents. Cheap entertainment! I also got 2 quilting books at 50% off, but haven't had a chance to read through them yet - but there's always tomorrow! Oh, and a fabulous sewing basket, also 50% off, which I will use for my knitting. Add the 10% off coupon to entire purchase and all in all, it was a bargain filled adventure! I have to take some photos to share!

The photo - from just over a week ago... the wind was blowing a gale so I parked my car at an angle so the windshield wasn't facing into the wind and just quickly jumped out to take the photo. On a windy day - you don't want your car sitting up on top of the hill as the paint and windshield will get seriously sandblasted! And if there is one thing I hate, it has to be a sandblasted windshield because as soon as the sun shines on it - you can't see a thing! But, the photo doesn't tell that story does it? It looks so peaceful and serene!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Art by ME!

This is very hard to get a good photo of - but, I guess a picture is worth 1000 words, as the saying goes - so at least you will get an idea, even if a bit blury! Can't use a flash because it is framed behind glass... and you can see a bit of the slider door reflecting too, but in person it really is lovely.

This is one of my very favorite batiks - it measures 26.5 X 23.5 (including the frame). Made by ME, yes ME in 1985 - art class. The assignment was to make a free-form drawing, using any method of our choice, of realistic leaves. I love batik, so that is what I did - even strategically cracked the wax to get veins on some of the leaves... I got a D. Oh well, I love it just the same and one day, when I had scrapped enough money together - I brought it down to a really good frame shop and had it professionally framed. My only regret is that I didn't sign and date it when I made it. And - I dropped out of art because I got D's on every assignment (do you think the teacher just didn't like me?) and it was pulling down my GPA - which is oh ever so important when you are in high school and reviewing colleges. Funny the things I used to worry about...

In anycase, I thought it would be a timely photo to share as the last of the fall leaves are flying through the air and crunching under my feet these days.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fall Bulbs

Planting the fall bulbs turned out to be such a successful activity that I think I will have to go buy some more before it gets really cold! Little Boy dug just about every single hole with that handy-dandy bulb hole digger/twisty-turny thing I bought. I am not sure, but I think we planted about 6 bags total - tulips and daffadils.

About his jacket ... I love this jacket because it has an elastic waist and comes down in the back - it is a nice, warm jacket from LL Bean. And it fits him - well except the sleeves! I am hoping to get one more year out of it... but you can see that the sleeves are a bit on the short side. Sooo - I am going to try making fleece mittens that will come up the arm a bit and velcro over the arm band of the jacket sleeve? Something like that anyway. OR - I can take apart the cuff and put on a longer one... but before I start that - I have to make sure I can get some suitable cuff material at the fabric store... maybe even heavy fleece if they don't have the ribbing. I'm thinking I like the long mitten idea... we will have to experiment a bit!

Monday, November 06, 2006

A borrowed machine

I don't have my own sewing machine with me right now, so I am borrowing one of my sister's... this is it! She has had this machine for years and years and through many moves... and it still sews like a charm. I had to go get some bobbins for it as she couldn't find 'nary a one, plus some new needles... but she did have it serviced some time ago so it was nice and clean and all ready to go. It is kind-ov fun to sew on as it "chugs". Yes, it chugs right along with the belt whirling away and emiting a faint aroma of sewing machine oil. She is happy to do a straight stitch or a zig zag, but please don't ask her to sew through bulky layers - she won't do it - or for a 1/4" seam as part of the fabric will go right into the feed dog. Doesn't really matter anyway - I am not really doing anything quilty right now - other than sewing together all those quilt backs I got from Marden's - which I use a slightly larger seam for.

It is a great machine for basic sewing - I finally finished Little Boy's butterfly fleece robe - needed to as the house tends to be a bit chilly in the mornings now. Plus, I have a few small Christmas presents lined up that I will be making on this machine (in conjunction with my serger!). I made my 9 year old fashion diva niece a Halloween costume with this machine... out of dalmation minke. She wanted a skirt with long black fringe and a matching poncho (also with fringe). I lined the collar with black fleece and then made a black fleece headband which we attached dalmation ears too. I hear she looked great, but I only saw her in each individual piece as we tried things on. HOWEVER, minke is a bit of a PAIN to sew. 1/2 way through the costume I went to Canada (that big trip) and brought my serger back down. Well, the serger made short work of the rest of that minke, phew! and the costume was done for Halloween.

And, speaking of Halloween, here is my own Little Pumpkin... It was a great costume because the night of the hay ride it was very COLD and his orange winter jacket fit right under there. Luckily, the weather took a turn for the better for trick-or-treating so he just wore a light-weight jacket underneath. I know, I know - a bit late, but we've been soooo very busy, busy around here. More later...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

2 1/2 Weeks

Little Boy and I have had a busy 2 1/2 weeks! We had to make 1 more big trip, driving a truck and towing a 2nd truck on a car transporter trailer. This was a hard drive for me so we took it slowly over the course of 3 days. The way the trailer was loaded, the weight, etc. - well, you felt every single bump in the road. Very jarring, to say the least. Add 1 day of high winds and rain, PLUS the fact the both the front and back tire on the main truck kept loosing air, which of course meant finding gas stations with an easy-access air pump... well, it was a long trip. However, during the trip, we were able to stop at Marden's in Maine, plus LL Bean in Maine, so we had some bright spots. And, Little Boy is such an excellent travler, thankfully! And, upon arrival, one of my sisters got the thing unloaded for me, made us dinner and then gave us a ride home when it was discovered that the 2nd trucks gas tank had been completely syphoned to empty (the 1st truck was still hooked to the trailer and I just wasn't up to driving it), phew! Honestly, after that trip I just didn't feel like doing anything for 3 days!

We have had visiting with the cousins, library story hours, trick-or-treating, trips to the playground, family dinners, night hikes and wood walks, bringing Big Boy in to be winterized... and just the usual schedule of our days.

My quilting fabric purchases from Marden's - all quilt backings, except for the solid purple which is a border. All $2.39 - $2.99 per yard! Thankfully, I had my little list of finished quilt sizes in my notebook so I was able to the right cuts. This fabric is all for quilts that are already made. Strangly enough, I am just not drawn to buying any fabric for new projects right now. I also got fabric for making clothes, but more on that at a later date!

And, I did finish something quilt-y in October - Cars & Stars now has a final border! Finished size is 61X75.

And here is a photo of Little Boy checking out some swans...

I have more to report about, but my time is limited this morning... but more to come later!