Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cold winter days

On a bitterly cold day this week the tide washed up this huge ice chunk. Now, ice chunks are fairly common this time of year in the bay, but usually not this big - fairly close to shore. It was just tempting enough that Little Boy and I put on our winter gear, braved the howling winds and walked across the flats - through the "chocolate mayonnaise" - to take photos, of course! Really - one c
an hardly appreciate how big this particular ice chunk is unless there is a person standing in front of it for perspective; right? Take a look at the next photo if there is any question in your mind. Oh, and "chocolate mayonnaise" would be the thick, dark mud that pulls at your boots, sucking you down with each step - grabbing and pulling so you are forced to curl your toes as you walk - the better to hold your boot on - as you cross the mud flats of the bay at low tide.

It's been an odd week really. I am a bit unfocused on any new project after finishing the binding on Green Ocean Waves. Thank you for all the compliments, by the way! I am carefully considering several different quilt patterns that might be my next project.
.. even made up part of a sample block - which I still have to finish, but I figure it is still worth sharing (that is my thimble up on the top)... but nothing has really "stuck" with me. And, in the meantime I continue to hand sew the binding on the back of my log cabin in spare moments here and there. It does feel odd to not have a "current" quilt on the go - even though I have been sewing...

Sewing for the week would be another pair of much needed flannel PJ's for Little Boy (my his legs keep growing and growing!) and this cute bag (Simplicity 9949 - except I omitted the zipper and lined it). At least it is bright and cheery and hints at Spring
... and - it is full of fat quarters - waiting for me to decide on
hat to do with them.

And finally - here is a photo of Little Boy in front of some huge boxes... In an effort to avoid shopping I ordered some duffle bags on-line. I THOUGHT that I would be able to fold them up and send them to DH... here is a photo of what the delivery man brought... and because these duffle bags have hard bottoms and rolling wheels, etc., etc. there is no hope at all of folding them up smaller. Sigh. Any idea on how much $$$ this would cost to airmail? So - I had to go to the store anyway to bring them back ... which was not a complete loss because my Dad went with me and we made a day of it; including lunch and a few other errands. Well, at least it gave us something to do on a cold winter day!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Warm Weekend!

Oh my goodness, it finally warmed up (from the low 20's to the mid 30's!... that would be from about -6C to 2C). Quick - put on the ski pants and head outside!

A few photos from skating on a pond today. Cape Cod has wonderful "kettle" ponds - created years ago by glaciers. These ponds are great to swim in during the summer - plus fun for sk
ating in the winter if it gets cold enough and the ice is good. Little Boy's first time on skates... he liked being pushed around in the chair! He did ok, but was happiest with the picnic (as long as there is a picnic involved - my boy is happy!). Oh - and check out my sister's big thermos for hot chocolate! He also liked watching the other skaters. We went early because the weather forecast was snow and my sister wanted to check the ice before it was covered in snow - good and thick at about 5" - just one soft spot/puddle toward the edge and she put a broom down as a marker for the kids to stay away from. We actually had the pond to ourselves for some time... and here is another photo with other skaters after a light dusting of snow. I'm not a good skater at all, but I think with a little practice I could do better. We all had so much fun!

On Saturday I sat out on my sister's swing for a bit - working on a binding - while I watched Little Boy play in his cousin's sandbox. Her deck gets the sun so nicely and it was actually toasty warm in that spot. I got a little more of the binding done on my log cabin (why oh why didn't I just put it all on by machine?) and my sister got some knitting done - but we had to keep jumping up for the kids so we didn't get tons done, but it was still fun. AND - after we went inside my sister showed me how her knitting machine works! Hummm.... now, that is one nifty gadget.

Forecast says it is supposed to get cold again - and windy which means - brrrr- really cold, so I am glad that we took advantage of the "warm" weather while it was here!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It doesn't hurt to ask...

Moving around so much - well, it can be a bit frustrating... my machine might be in one country, my rulers in another, my fabric in a 3rd. Ugh. It takes a bit of planning to get all the components needed for quilting together, and sometimes, despite my best intentions, it doesn't happen.

Oh yes, please do oooh and aaaah over the Green Ocean Waves quilt - all quilted (by Judy). Last week I ran into the quilt shop and bought a light/dark green mottled leaf print for the binding - you can see just a tiny bit of it on the bottom... It was a bit funny because I was standing there agonizing over the decision - so many choices - when I finally came to my senses, grabbed one fabric and had it cut - so many would have looked good and this one looks just fine too... heck - any binding sewn onto a quilt so you can USE it is already a step ahead of finding the "perfect" binding fabric. Only problem... I like to put my bindings on using a walking foot... and the machine I am borrowing from a sister doesn't have one... and, well - those things are expensive, and I don't want to buy a walking foot for this machine because I already have a walking foot for my own machine (which is in Canada). So you see - I had to put my thinking cap on as to where I might get my hands on a walking foot.

And then I remembered - a distant acquaintance, who lives in town, quilts and I was fairly certain that she would have a walking foot. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained - right? So, I look her # up in the phone book and call her. And guess what? She DOES have a walking foot (on a beautiful Bernina sewing machine, might I add), and YES indeedy I could come over to her house and use it to put the binding on my quilt! And when I got there she had her sewing table all cleared off for me, the foot attached AND a new needle in the machine. Wow! And while I was in her wonderful sewing room I admired her chicken pin-cushion so she gave me the pattern for that, plus the felt for the beak and comb. She has lots of lovely wall quilts displayed through-out her house too so I had a mini quilt show! After I got the binding on she fixed me lunch and a hot cup of tea and we visited and then she invited me to go to a small gathering of women for hand work/visiting session. Well, that worked into my schedule so off we went and when I got there they gave me a stack of old quilt magazines, which is great because I miss my quilting magazines and books. And, of course, it is always nice to meet with people and see what they are making and chat. I really, really had fun and I am so happy that she said yes and then one thing lead to another - all good things!

So, how is that for a red letter day? All because I picked up the phone and asked someone if I could use their machine to put the binding on my quilt! It doesn't hurt to ask...

AND - my quilt binding is done, done, done!!! I cut my binding 2 1/4" wide, sewed it on to the BACK of the quilt using a scant 1/4" seam - then folded it over to the front and top stitched the front of the binding down. The binding is narrower in the back so when you top stitch the front you don't catch the bottom binding, but the backing of the quilt instead. I really like this look! One more look at the quilting...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pink party

Today Little Boy and I had a Valentine's Day party...

The idea behind this party was that the kids could decorate their cookies and bring them home. So this morning I get started on making cookies... But, well, you know - making cookies can be a bit time consuming and it was such a beautiful day (well, in the 30's anyway)... I really wanted to get out and take a walk with Little Boy! So, to speed things up I didn't make as many cookies as I planned - switching instead to a cake mix and whipping up a batch of mini cupcakes.

The menu: Fruit platter, unsweetened juice in the punch bowl and frozen cheese pizzas. Oh - and lots of sugary frosting with those cookies and cupcakes, I know - asking for trouble, but it couldn't be helped in this case and we did save the decorating part for toward the end! Plus coffee/tea for the adults.

Party favors? Well, the cookies/cupcakes, of course!

Notice I bought pre-made frosting and 3 tubes of red squirt frosting (ALL the same color - no arguments that way!) and the red sugar sprinkles. Plus I made up 2 bowls of red frosting (fun to mix the red and white for pink). Paper plates to bring the goodies home... paper table cloth to make clean up easy... and - a box of kid's Valentine's - Little Boy liked handing them out and the kids all liked getting them too.

SIMPLE is the name of the game with kids parties, at least in my book. And, everyone had fun! OK - so truthfully Little Boy was having a Toddler Day with a capital T, but things still worked out fine and he DID have fun, but you know, sometimes with a toddler, well - you kind-ov have to be prepared for toddler behavior which is usually at an all time high when you are having a party, of course! I mean, what is the point of having a rip roaring toddler day without an audience??? LOL!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Kid Approved!

Inspired by a quilt that Mary showed in January (Making Scrap Quilts from Stash), I've started to make my own version - here is my progress so far. I cut the novelty 6.5", the stars and waves 4.5" and the red 2.5". So far, so good - it has Little Boy's stamp of approval!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The felted mittens!

Little Boy's red and pink felted mittens are done! He thought they were very funny before I felted them - huge and he could poke his fingers through them.

Aha, but lookie there - 3 hot washes and they are only slightly too big. Then again, he is only 3 1/2 and the pattern only indicated child, not toddler. Probably would have fit better if I hadn't added so many extra rows for the cuff, but you know, snow gets into cuffs and that takes some of the fun out of sleding. So, I like extra long cuffs - put the mitten on before the jacket and then velcro the jacket sleeve nice and snug and believe me - no snow is going to get at that sweet wrist. They are thick, thick, thick - something he will really appreciate in a few years when he really gets into sledding and puts his hands down to help steer the sled. I can't tell you how many mittens we blew holes through un
til Mom started buying us fake those deerskin mittens that we kept well oiled all winter.

Before and after photos on my cutting mat. Still have to get a photo of them being worn... They really did shrink alot - but remember, I did wash them 3X! I used a wooden spoon to stuff the thumbs with a plastic bag and then loosly balled another bag in the palm/wrist for drying. Not sure what that purl line is all about so I stopped doing it - too complicated to keep track of and it felted out anyway. And - 1 very funny thumb - I must have picked my needles up backwards but again - it felted out. AND - just had to share my phone headset - I just got it this week and it is wonderful!!! I can whip up a batch of brownies and talk on the phone at the same time without getting a crick in my neck.

Some of you have asked where I am - forgot to put that piece of information on my travel entry... I am on C-c-cold Cape Cod! Here is a photo of the bay with ice chunks. These big ice chunks get pushed in by high tide and then are left when the water goes out for low tide. They are especially beautiful at sunset - if sunset is at low tide - because they often glow orange and red. But when you see chunks like this in the bay, it is cold. Believe me, this is a sight the summer people never see! I took this photo last week when it was warmer - you can still see a patch of water - this morning it is all ice, as far as you can see. Brrr! Timely finish for those felted mittens - might have to make myself a pair, long cuffs and all.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Flannel Kids Quilt

1 yard of flannel will give you 20 8.5" squares. I like to cut novelty prints large so the design doesn't get chopped off. And, Little Boy just loves to help Momma experiment with different layouts... here is our 1st one. We have enough flannel cut to make up a few quilts! I like to make these - I will use fleece for the backing and no batting. The quilting will be just squiggly lines around the outside edge of each block. Easy-peasy and kids just love the softness!

A slightly different version...

Don't you just love the possibilities contained in a few yards of uncut fabric! Novelty flannels were on sale this week at Joanne's and I just couldn't resist these fun prints!