Sunday, March 30, 2008


Last night I was sewing up a bag from one of the magazines I recently purchased. This bag calls for a long narrow shoulder strap. While I was stitching the shoulder strap I would randomly receive cat pounces from Gizmo who, thankfully, came to us declawed. I had cut too much fabric for the strap and so thought I would use the left overs to make Gizmo a fancy cat string. On the cutting table happened to be about 15 wool felt flowers that I had cut for a project that just didn't turn out well. I combined the strap and the wool flowers to make some very fashionable kitty toys. I have them listed in my etsy shop for a very reasonable price.
I spent the day at my parent's house scanning in old photos for a slide show to be shown at their 50th wedding anniversary dinner in about one month. It was such a nice day to spend with them working on this project. Mike and I will celebrate our 50th in 2042. Seems like there will surely be robots and self cleaning houses by then. I probably still won't have a dishwasher.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Can't Sleep, Organizing

I can't sleep. If something wakes me in the middle of the night I'm done for. I've been up since 2am. Since I tried and I tried to get back to sleep but couldn't, I thought I'd do something useful. I have been organizing my digital photos. It has been something I've wanted to do for some time but just never got around to it. Now they are all nicely labeled with the date and year and all those blurry shots were deleted.While sorting, I found some pictures of a quilt I made a few years ago. It was for Mike's cousin who was having her 2nd baby. This was my first attempt at machine quilting and I didn't like it very much. I found it difficult to handle the quilt and to get the stitches even. It was such a bad experience I didn't attempt it again until recently.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Last Tote and Quote

Well folks, here it is.....the last of the totes for my etsy shop. I've used up all my "fillings" with this little spring bag. No one has bought one yet but I think I may just keep sewing and take all my projects to market this summer. This tote uses that green floral fabric you've been seeing over and over. I just love it. Since my ironing board cover is made from this fabric, the tote sort of disappeared when I tried to iron it. I've used some pink polka dot fabric as the accent. Flower seeds and gardening shears make the package complete.Good news on the home front (ok, the home selling front): We've come to an agreement about the fixing of things in the house. I've become locksmith, glazier and painter in the past month but it sure has saved a lot of money. This evening I boxed up Mike's records. Yes, you heard me correctly: records. They are the heaviest things I've carried down three flights of stairs in a LONG time. Now it is his job to go through them and decide which ones he can't live without. I'll have to show you all the records that are his. By his, I mean those that are his music and have his picture on them. Some of them are quite old. Maybe tomorrow.

Finally, I leave you with a quote. Prince Caspian the movie is coming out in May. I can't wait. I have assigned Nathan the book, one chapter at a time. He could read more than one chapter but I also have him writing a response to each chapter. You have no idea how long it took him to do the first. Not because he can't do it but because he thought he couldn't do it. That was part of my terrible day. Several hours later he did write a very nice response. He's been writing every day since with very little trouble. Ah, perseverance and patience.

Needless to say, I've been re-reading this book. I love the section where Aslan shows himself to Lucy but no one else and she tries to get all the children to believe her and to follow him even though they all think it is the wrong way. She allows the others to influence her and they all walk in the opposite way. Alsan shows himself to Lucy again and this is part of their conversation:

"I'm sorry," said Lucy, who understood some of his moods. "I didn't mean to start slanging the others. But it wasn't my fault anyway, was it?"
The Lion looked straight into her eyes.
"Oh, Aslan," Said Lucy. "You don't mean it was? How could I--I couldn't have left the others and come up to you alone, how could I? Don't look at me like that...oh well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn't have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?"
Aslan said nothing.
"You mean," said Lucy rather faintly, "that it would have turned out all right--somehow?"

I'll leave you with that. I hope you all will follow Aslan, even if it feels like you are alone. You are not. He is always with you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Can't Stop.......

I just can't stop making these tote bags! I hope someone wants to buy one. I've been thinking about going back to Eastern Market this summer. I just don't know what else to do with all these bags. I found that market was not a place for my quilts but I was able to sell some coasters and tote bags. Items that were under $20 seemed best.

On another note, I finally finished listening to the podcast interview of Anna Maria Horner. The second half wasn't nearly as emotional as the first (thank goodness). I found it to be a very interesting interview and hope to listen to more Craftsanity podcasts on my morning walks. I do hope that they aren't all tear jerkers though!

On one final note (which is actually related to the above paragraph), I have been noticing over the past year or so that it is virtually impossible to say something about your likes or dislikes without first being sure to say that you aren't meaning to offend anyone who is of a different opinion. Maybe it is just me (so many things are) but I guess I don't assume that everyone thinks, feels or likes things just the way I do. In fact, I'm glad of it. However, just because I put forth an opinion about something doesn't mean that I think everyone else is wrong or has bad taste. Just because I don't like and don't wear frills doesn't mean I think another person shouldn't wear/like frills. I guess much of it is self-centerdness, as if I am always thinking about that other person and this is the reason I am making a statement. I noticed throughout the interview with Anna Maria that both she and the interviewer (sorry, I can't remember her name at the moment) did this constantly when they were talking about their own personal likes and dislikes.

Ok, I'm not sure if anyone has read this far but I just had to get that off my chest. I saw there was a podcast with Alicia Paulson that I'm going to download next. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Shop Update and a Few Musings

I've had a frustrating day. I'm not going to go into details because in the big scheme of life it isn't that big of a deal. Let me just say that selling a house can be really annoying. On top of being a bit stressed by the negotiations with the buyer I had a stressful day with both boys. It will all work out and you didn't come here to read about my grumpy day.
Because of all the dealings with the houses I've been absolutely unable to think about anything creative. I have been sewing quite a bit and really glad I got some patterns that I don't have to think about. I love to sew but have very little use for most of the things I sew. I have been trying to use my stash and found that the simple tote pattern from Bend the Rules Sewing is a perfect size to use a lot of my pieces of fabric and also my left over batting. I decided to try to make some gift bags (gift totes?) for my etsy shop. I filled three bags with different items. If you want the details check my shop.

I also finished my quilt. I don't especially like this one but it was good to try. I want to make a more accurate Happy Hour Quilt to give to Mike's aunt and uncle who are having us out to their home in Colorado this summer. I plan to use Moda Marble fabric because it is my absolute favorite.
Finally, I wanted to point you in this direction because I loved two things: The lunchbox and the door stop. I just think her sewing is very professional and the color combinations are amazing. Plus, there are free tutorials. Check it out!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Cleaning

I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter. Our family enjoyed a day with both sides of our extended family. It is always good to gather together but always a bit tiring as well.

I wanted to share a little cleaning secret I have used for some time. When I quilt I usually use flannel for the backing since it is so soft and warm. I almost always have some flannel left over and found the perfect way to use those little pieces. I make Swiffer cloths. We have wood floors and cats and so the floors often need a quick wiping down. I hate buying cloths that just go into the trash and I love using up bits of fabric that are left over.
To make these lovelies, just measure your Swiffer broom (or measure a throw away cloth) and cut the flannel accordingly. These are 9x8, I think. I just zigzagged the edges to keep the fabric from fraying. I lightly spray the bottom of the cloth with furniture polish (be careful about this as it can make your floors slippery) and zoom away. Nolan actually enjoys this job and is in charge of the wood floors in their room. Just toss them in the washer and dryer and you 're ready to go.

I am selling the above covers in my etsy shop but I can't imagine anyone buying them since they are so easy to make.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bend the Rules but Pay Attention

I have been enjoying my new book and magazines. I'm working on small projects that can be completed with fabric and notions I have on hand. I made two of the small totes from Bend the Rules Sewing. I didn't take a picture of the first tote I made but will get to it another day. Today I made the tote you see here. I was proud of myself for using quilt blocks that have been laying around for awhile. The front pinwheel was from a mini quilt I made over the summer. For the inside pocket I used two four square blocks from another summer quilt. I have been wanting to use both of these for quite a while. After I got the entire tote together I wanted to see just how deep the pocket went and that is when I discovered I sewed the lining in upside down! My pocket opening is on the bottom of the bag. AAAAAHHHHH!!!! I do this type of thing so many times. I will fix it but I just didn't have the heart to do so today. I hate ripping but do it often. I need to pay closer attention to detail as I am sewing. Live and learn.
Yesterday I made this pin cushion. It was a pattern from the current Quilts and More magazine. The pattern is by Anna Maria Horner. This is quite a large pin cushion but I like it. I have it listed in my etsy shop. Speaking of Anna Maria, I downloaded the interview with her from Craftsanity. I have only listened to about half the interview but it is amazing. Definitely have a box of tissues handy.

Tomorrow is Easter. I wish you joy on this the most important day of the year.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

You Are Garlic

Of all the spice types, you are the most universally loved.

You get long with pretty much everyone, and you leave a lasting impression.

You adapt yourself well to situations. You can fit in or stand out, depending on what you're called on to do.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Machine Quilting

Here is my work in progress. It's the quilt I modeled on the Happy Hour pattern. I'm not all that happy with it, to be honest. I wanted to try this quilt but due to the fact that I don't have the actual instructions the blocks aren't quite right and the fabric really isn't what I would choose if I was picking fabric from the store specifically for this quilt. I didn't buy any new fabric but used only fabric from my stash. I did have to purchase more batting. I love to use Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting and tend to buy it off the bolt in 10 yard quantities when it is half off. Joanne Fabric no longer seems to carry cotton batting in the bag. I did see they had bamboo batting which I would like to try sometime. Since I was on a budget (you know, buying a new house and all) I went with the only Warm and Natural they had: Fire Retardant. I've never even seen this product before but it was just the size I needed and not too expensive. When I got it home and sandwiched it in the quilt I realized that it is a very thin loft. So, one more thing I don't really like about this quilt.

I did get to buy some things that I do like. Due to the fact that our new house is a lot smaller than our current house, I have been going through everything we own and deciding whether we need it or not. This is our last year of homeschooling as well, so I definitely had quite a few things that are in the "no longer needed" pile. I had an expensive history book that was recommended and I bought at Barnes and Noble but never used due to many factors. So yesterday I returned it to the store for some store credit. I bought myself two things: Bend the Rules Sewing and Quilts and More Magazine.

I'm excited to take a look at these and make a few small things. Nolan was completely confused by the title of the book. He just couldn't wrap his brain around the fact that there were rules in sewing and then how you would bend them. We had quite the conversation about this. I explained that one of the reasons I wanted this book was that I wanted to make some fun projects to continue honing my sewing skills. That if you follow the patterns to learn to make something, it then helps you be creative in making your own projects. It is like life: we must follow the rules to learn how to live but then we are able to decide our path and how to follow it, because we are not all the same, are we?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I'm feeling more confident about our home sale so I thought I'd share a part of it that touches my heart. Remember we put our house on the market because we found ONE house we loved and could afford. Then someone bought that house out from under us. We continued to look around to decide if we wanted to keep our house on the market or just stay put since we do love our current home. So I had a list and my Realtor and I took an afternoon to peek in them all. I have to say that I love looking at houses so it was fun for many reasons. I also love my Realtor who is fun to hang out with. We looked at probably five of the houses on my list and they were definitely TOO small or too much work or too ugly. I had asked her to take me back into a house we had looked right after I found the "perfect" house since it had come down in price and I remember loving the kitchen.

In my search and in our home selling I discovered some part of what I love about houses. I love original. I love old. I love when I can feel the history and I can feel the family that loved the house. So many houses we looked at had lots of re-dos. Some were very nicely done but none suited ME. Even the house we had an agreement on had a kitchen that I didn't like. The rest of the house was great (including a 1950's yellow tile bathroom) but that kitchen stumped me. After looking at lots of other houses I figured it out: I like original.

I stepped back into this house and it hit me. It hit me almost immediately. I had found it. I went into the kitchen which is very tiny but set up very nicely for cooking. Those cabinets! I love them. I began opening the cabinet doors and I found recipe books and a recipe box. The woman who is selling the house lived there for 44 years with her family. She is now in a nursing home. Well, I saw that box, opened it and found cards with her handwriting and all those recipes. Some were hand written, some were cut out of magazines. I said to my Realtor, "Oh, I'd love to have this. I'd love to have a part of her stay in the house."

My Realtor told the story to the agent selling the house who happens to be the owner's niece. Guess what? They took the box out of the house so it wouldn't get lost when the furniture was being taken out. The owner also took all her recipe books and is copying more recipes for me!!!!! Yes, they are giving me the recipes. I can't believe it. I found out she is a painter and a knitter and very active. They told her that I am young (thank you!) but know all the old fashioned arts and that we love her house.

So there's my story. I find it as charming as the house. The picture is of part of the kitchen. There is quite a lot of wallpaper in the house which we will remove over time and some lighting fixtures which don't suit me. I think for awhile I'll just keep it and get a feel for the house. To enjoy what was from the previous family and to then make it our own for the next 44 years!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

News and a Work In Progress

I have been trying to get into my sewing room more often these days. One of the reasons I am able to do this has to do with my news. We have a contract on our house and have and agreement on a home. I'll give you more details about it another day. For some reason I am still hesitant to say we have definitely "sold" our house. I guess because we have the home inspections to endure.

Since we no longer have to show our house I am able to relax a little about cleaning and get back to sewing. I continue to make some things for my etsy shop and have started a quilt using my stash. This quilt is based on the Happy Hour quilt. Due to the fact that I don't have the pattern, I made my squares a little differently. I don't like it quite as much but I think it is turning out ok. I'm thinking this one will be lap quilt sized, perhaps a square. I'll keep you updated with photos.

The other thing I'm doing is cleaning out the house. There is nothing I love more than purging, just ask anyone who knows me. Mike and I took a car load to Goodwill today and once the home inspections are completed and the contracts are all hashed out I will be getting rid of some large furniture pieces. Once again, the home we are moving into is MUCH smaller than the one we currently inhabit. So my dinning room table, my patio furniture lots of books and records will have to go. I don't want to move anything that I will end up purging. I want to purge first. Tomorrow we are touring the house again because Nolan hasn't seen it yet. I plan on taking lots of measurements so I can figure just what we can take and just what we can't.

Hope you all are having a lovely day. It is beautiful outside. Every time I take a walk I wish I had my camera. One of these days I'm going to go walking specifically to shoot photos. Have a fantastic weekend. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. It is hard to believe Holy Week is here!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sewing Literature and Shop Update

I thought I'd share some sewing books and magazines that I think would be nice to own (hint, hint, Mike, my birthday is coming up). I feel very fortunate that my love of sewing has finally come into vogue and there are lots of amazing women (and men) out there creating patterns and projects and sharing them with us. So here is my list:

Happy Hour by Terry Atkinson. I recently stumbled upon this quilt and think it would be a really nice pattern to own. I could probably figure it out but I've been busy and so having the book might be nice. I don't actually know wha
t other projects are in the book but I like the quilt so much that they should be good.

Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. I've looked through this book at Borders and there are some sweet little projects in there. I think it would be nice to have on hand for the making of gifts. I've been reading lots of posts in blog land about having a "grandmothers gift closet" so when those new babies, weddings and house warmings come up, I can just go to the "gift stash" and pull something out.

Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects. It was an article about Denyse Schmidt and pictures of her quilts that got me to learn to quilt. I like her crooked style.

Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. I've seen this one at Borders and my friend Michele owns it (and said I could borrow it....thanks Michele!).

Amy Butler has two books: Midwest Modern and In Stitches. She has a fabulous fabric line and some amazing patterns. I always want to use these ultra modern, large print fabrics in my quilts but can't ever do it. I think the fabrics work better in other sewing projects.

Finally, I'm not one to want to order magazines but there are two that I think could be nice. The first is Better Homes and Garden's Quilts and More. There are always amazing quilts and other patterns that look fun to make. The eye candy magazine I would love is Mary Englebreit's Home Companion. I love her use of color, it makes me happy.

I'd love to hear about YOUR favorite books and magazines. What makes YOU happy (in a materialistic way, of course...)

Finally, I wanted to let you know that I am trying to get my etsy shop back up and running. The pictures on this page are all in or going in the shop. They are a really nice, large bag with coordinating brown and green material that I really like to look at, coasters made from the scraps and my snail's trail quilt.

Happy (belated) Birthday

Saturday was my oldest son's 12th birthday. He is such a genuine, sweet, gentle soul. It was so much fun to see him anticipate his birthday. The best was the prayer he said the Thursday before the big day, "Dear God, please let my Mom have time to go to the store soon to buy my birthday presents." Now, this was, of course, selfish but also so sweet and innocent that I always want to remember him this way.

I always print up a list for the boys on their birthdays for them to find taped to their dressers when they wake in the morning. For Nathan it was 12 things to do on his birthday. One of those things was to go bowling, which he requested along with pizza from our corner pizza shop (four doors away from our house) and a chocolate cake with white icing. Please don't look too closely at the cake. It is crooked and the icing got sort of funky but it tasted good.

My hu
sband took this close up of Nathan looking at the score board (I'm sure that isn't the proper term in bowling!) at the bowling alley. Upon closer inspection I'm noticing a little tiny bit of what looks like peach fuzz on his upper lip! How did my baby get this old? It is wonderful and sad to me at the same time. One of the other 12 things we did on his birthday was to look through his photo albums. You remember those days before digital cameras? I made both the boys albums of their first five years. We love to look at those pictures. It is just amazing to me that I have had this wonderful experience of sharing his life for 12 years. I'm tearing up as I write so I better stop. Happy 12th, Nathan. I love you.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Irish Rose or Daisy as the Case May Be

I don't have a whole lot to say this morning but I wanted you to see the finished quilt. I always love how the quilting pulls together to make the entire quilt have a used and old fashioned feel after being washed. It takes away from the detail in the white squares a bit, though. I backed it in a pretty yellow, red and pink floral flannel for snugness. I got high praise yesterday from my 10 year old son. He woke up with a stomach bug and spent the day on the couch under one of my quilts. He said, "Mom, don't you EVER get rid of this quilt." This comment took me by surprise and I asked him why. He replied that it was so soft and comfortable. I try to use flannel on the back of my quilts for just that reason. The particular quilt he is talking about was one I tried to make for our bed. I was a fairly inexperienced quilter when I attempted it and it turned out horribly as none of the blocks were the same size. After four years of it sitting in my sewing room (actually we moved during that time so it sat waiting in two houses) I just decided to finish it and make it a snuggle quilt for the couch. If you don't lay it out it is hard to see all the deficits. It is a very comfortable quilt and I still really love the colors. The seams are now beginning to fall apart and I should work on fixing those. Here's a picture of it:

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Suprise Package

Yesterday the boys and I were going out for some new sneakers and a hair cut and what do we see with our mail? A package from New Zealand! Wow. We were all very excited. I knew it was from my coaster swap partner who I discovered was Meagan. I was excited that my partner was from a different country. The boys love geography and were very excited that we received something that was sent from around the world. The second surprise was how wonderfully lovely the coasters are! You can see them in the pictures with my morning coffee and newspaper. I wish you could pick these up, feel them and SMELL them. Yes, they smell delicious. Like a spring morning. They are made with organic cotton batting and are so soft.

Check out Megan's blog: scent of water. She has some great photographs and tutorials. Thanks, Megan, for a great addition to my day and my house!
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