Saturday, June 28, 2008


What to do on summer vacation when you are ten? Well, swim, read a ton of books and make a bunch of tiny food out of Sculpey clay. Nolan has been having a blast with his clay and a book we have. I'm always surprised that something I've had for months that is never used finally finds the right moment and inspiration. Nolan loves to have fun so this was right up his alley. He was also a willing model for the photo shoot. He is definitely my little ham. Maybe that's the next food he needs to make!

Friday, June 27, 2008

House Work

It has been a busy week. This was really the first full week of summer that I didn't have any other obligations. It may be the last week of the summer that way as well. Next week I begin working four hours a day, three days a week as an aide in a classroom of high school aged autistic students. I am looking forward to the opportunity but not so much the having to be at work by 8am part. It is difficult to get back into the working world after being at home but it is necessary. At least I am able to get back into the groove slowly.Since I had a week off, I promised the boys that I would de-rose their room. They had one full wall of rose wallpaper and three walls of rose border. I think whoever applied the wallpaper did so with super glue. The wall of paper came off in one day. Yes, one wall, one day. I thought the border couldn't be too much worse. I was wrong. That paper didn't want to come off for anything. I used orange remover, I used DIF, I used a Paper Tiger, I used a scrubby sponge, I used all the muscles I had and it just wouldn't come off. Finally I used the sander. It still took quite a while and a ton of muscle but I got it off! Tomorrow Mike will paint the room. I'm so glad we have complementary talents. I destroy, he restores. It is a match made in heaven.
The above picture is what I see every time I go upstairs. The downside to having a small house is that when we do these "little" projects, there isn't a whole lot of space to put all the extra stuff you have to move around. It motivates me to finish quickly.

The bulletin boards and mirror and others extras from the boys walls are in my sewing room. I have been motivated to finish my quilt along so I piled everything on the blanket chest and worked around it. Here's what I see in my sewing room:
I plan to border the white with one row of squares and then maybe another narrower white border. Time will tell. It is hot today and so I promised the boys we'd go to the pool. They are amusing themselves in the back yard with ten boxes of popping fire crackers. Tomorrow is a swim meet for Nolan so he and I will be gone most of the day. The good side of being gone all day is that when we get home, the boys room should look amazingly different. I love when that happens, when I return to an amazing transformation. It is sort of like reading blogs, I get to see all the results without having to endure all the time it takes to get there!

Happy Friday, folks.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I finished the quilt blocks this morning. I have to say this is probably one of my most sloppy quilts. I had a lot of trouble with my fabric stretching and in getting my 1/4 inch seams accurate. I guess I should use my walking foot all the time but I find it annoying. I had to rip out an entire block this morning because I was using my presser foot as a guide and realized what I always knew: it isn't 1/4 inch like the lady at the store told me it was. I had to draw a line on my machine to sew at 1/4 inch and that doesn't work as well as I'd like. I need to really sit and figure out what to do about this. I could follow the presser foot if the blocks were all squares but it screws up the triangles. Oh me, oh my. I've been working with this for years now and you'd think I'd have it figured out.
Anyway....I got things this far. Since this is to be a picnic/pool quilt, I wasn't going to stress over it. I wanted it to be fun and somewhat fast. I don't think I'm going to add the border squares like Amanda did, even though it looks amazing. I think I'm going to try to find a coordinating fabric to add as a border. We'll see. I have a ton of yard work that should be done today so I don't think I'll be doing any more sewing. Going away for a week doesn't really help get the house and yard in order. It was worth it though.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I have to be at a smoking cessation training in 30 minutes. Have I taken a shower? No. Lucky for me the training is 4 blocks away. Here are a few cute shots of the chimpmOnks in Colorado. We named this guy Francis. Why Francis? Because this guy is a Chip MONK. Get it?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rocky Mountain High

Why haven't I blogged for a week? Well, I've been busy climbing the Rocky Mountains. We just returned from the most fabulous vacation ever. We spent 7 days in Estes Park, Colorado. Estes Park is a high valley nestled in the Rocky Mountains. Anywhere you turn you see mountains. Here are just a few of the pictures I took:
The above picture was taken from the back porch of Mike's Aunt and Uncle's house where we were staying. Can you imagine waking up to that view every day? Fantastic.
These are just a few of the Elk or Wapiti that we saw every day.These still have some of their winter coat. Speaking of winter, the picture below was one of Nathan and Nolan's favorite things about Colorado: They have snow in June!It was 80 degrees the day we arrived and the very next day it was cold. It snowed during our hike!
Ok, maybe the snow wasn't the boys favorite part of Colorado. I think it was the ground squirrels and chipmunks. This little guy is a ground squirrel.
I'd share some more pictures but I'm exhausted. We flew in this morning at 5am and just got back from a swim meet. Mike and I are ready for bed.

Monday, June 9, 2008


I do hate to wait. It drives me crazy. This is a failing of mine but I just can't help it. So, I'm joining AmandaJean's 1st quilt along after it is all over and she's half way into her 2nd quilt along. The really great part about quilting "behind" is that I don't have to wait. All the blocks are laid out and so I can zip through them. I tend to focus in on one project at a time and let all else go to H-E-double toothpicks. I love doing this with books, too. Nolan and I only started reading Harry Potter right before the last book was due to be released. We spent a few months reading books 1-6 and then only had about a month to wait for book 7. I did it with the Lord of the Rings movies. I didn't watch a single one until they were all out on DVD. Mike and I rented them all at once and spent a glorious week watching them all. We watched the extended versions as well so we took about two days to finish each DVD. It was amazing. I didn't have to wait.I'm learning to be patient but it isn't easy. I've been enjoying our surroundings since our move. There are so many birds (I saw the momma cardinal today. Looks just like the daddy only smaller and not red.) I ADORE the squirrels and the bunnies. It slows me down to spend time watching. This is what greeted me as I walked downstairs (our stairs are directly in front of our front door).Have a great day today. We are having a heat wave which the newspaper defined for this region as three or more days of 90+ degree heat. Stay cool. We're off to the pool.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

And the Winner Is....

Matilda! The choosing was not random at all. Here's what she had to say...

Oh that is a beautiful quilt! My cousin, who is also my mother's god-child, just had her fourth child on Monday. She gave birth to a little girl named Jayden Leah who is very tiny at only 5 pounds 3 ounces. Today is my cousin's birthday and she will be spending it in the ICU with her little girl who has some sort of infection that is baffling the doctors right now. I would love to send her this beautiful quilt of yours to brighten her day. I am not trying to get a sympathy vote here, but as soon as I read your post, the spirit moved me. Happy 200th post!

How could I pick anyone else?? Thank you for all the lovely comments. I was glad to get to see some new blogs through this as well. Thank you all for the lovely comments. And, by the way, this is an hourglass block, not a bow tie. I'm so glad as I like hour glasses better than bow ties. As you can see on my sidebar, I joined Quilting Bloggers. Check it out when you have time. My problem is looking at all the fabulous creations of others and not working on my own!

Speaking of projects, here is a picture of the box cushion I made for my cedar chest. As you can see I had my first visitor. In the course of making this cushion I discovered that I lost my zipper foot. Due to having to make the cording with my regular foot, it isn't as snug as it should be. I've wanted to get a foot to attempt machine quilting so I guess while I'm ordering feet, I'll just get two. It is always helpful to have two feet, isn't it? (ok, that was REALLY a bad joke).

Projects for the future: Pillows to surround the cushion and a picnic quilt. I think I'm going to use Amanda Jean's first quilt along (nothing like joining months after everyone else is finished). Yesterday I whipped up a bag for my camera. I'll try to post a picture soon. It would have been perfect if I had made the flap a few inches bigger. The Velcro I attached didn't meet and so I ripped it out during the swim meet yesterday. I need to figure out a way to close the bag when my camera is inside. Still thinking....

Speaking of swim meets, Nolan did such a great job! He beat all his times from last year at the first meet! Yeah, Nolan!! He is my little fish. I have a hard time videoing and watching at the same time so I missed the beginning of Nolan's swim here. You can see him at the end. He came in 2nd in this heat. It is so nice when your child finds something he loves and works at it. We are fortunate to have such wonderful, caring coaches. They make all the difference.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A few favorites

My creation
Originally uploaded by simplysewn
Well, I've been up since about 4:30. I don't know what woke me but I couldn't go back to sleep. I wanted to play around with the mosaic maker and thought I'd show you a few of my favorite quilts from flickr. It is so inspiring to see what everyone is making.

Don't forget that the mini quilt give away isn't over until tonight. If you want to be in the running just leave me a comment on that 200th post.

Have a great Saturday. We have the first swim meet of the season so I'll be packing my messenger bag with books, cards, snacks and drinks as it is to be VERY hot today. Too bad I'm not the one in the pool.

Click here for photo credits.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thanks, Alex

Two posts in one day???? It is unheard of around here. I wanted to show you my new bag. I used my Alexander Henry fabric for this one. I just love this fabric and bought all that they had at JAF so you may be seeing a lot of it. I used the pattern from one of my quilting magazines (I'm too lazy to run upstairs and see which one. If you want to know, comment and I'll check). I modified the way the bag was sewn together because I don't like turning edges under and sewing, I'd rather sew the whole bag together and then flip it outside in and top stitch. I just think it looks nicer that way.
I would make this bag a bit narrower if I was to make another one (which I just might, someday.) I don't carry around large folders or papers so the bag is a bit long.The inside includes a zipper pocket which I just LOVE and ADORE. All that small stuff stays safe. So, you may wonder what I carry around in the new bag. Well, first you have to understand where I went today. First, to the pool with friends and then off to swim team practice. So inside the bag you'll find A book (yes, I'm reading Eldest), sun screen, goggles and nose holder (Nathan hates to get water up his nose), a Gameboy micro (my dad actually found this IN THE TRASH), several Gameboy cartridges, our pool passes and my car keys. I had a large container of strawberries and kiwi in here as well but I took it out prior to the picture. What do you keep in your bag?
By the way, I'm waiting till Saturday to pick the name for the quilt give away. For some reason I thought today was Thursday. Ahhh, summer.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

fun meme

My creation
Originally uploaded by simplysewn
1. What is your first name? Beth
2. What is your favorite food? strawberries in season
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color? red
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Sean Connery
6. Favorite drink? Pinot Noir (because it's fun to say)
7. Dream vacation? New England
8. Favorite dessert? chocolate cake
9. What you want to be when you grow up? I'm not growing up
10. What do you love most in life? my family
11. One Word to describe you? dependable
12. Your Flickr name. simplysewn

Go here for photo credits.

I saw this a few times and thought it would be fun to see what I came up with. You type in your answers into flickr's search and pick your favorite picture. BEWARE if you do this, there are some really nasty pictures out there. The mosaic of all the "answers" is made with Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker.

Just a reminder about my quilt give away. I'll pick someone on Friday so leave a comment on yesterday's post to be included in the give-away. Ooops. I thought today was Thursday. I'm extending the quilt giveaway till Saturday!

Two Hundred

I can remember when my kids were in kindergarten they had to bring in 100 of something. When I got that note home, I thought, "wow, that's a lot to make him carry." Of course when you count out 100 cheerios, it doesn't even fill a whole plastic sandwich baggy. I also wonder why we love those zeros so much? What is it about being even that makes it special? Maybe someone could write their thesis on this fact.Well, since I totally skipped over my 100th post, I'm celebrating 200. I'm giving away this little quilt to one lucky commenter. The quilt was inspired by a very large one made by Amanda Jean. I think the proper name for the block is the bow tie but I could be wrong (and often am). So if you want to get your hands on this little colorful quilt, tell me something, anything! I made this quilt from left over triangles from my pinwheel quilt. I still have quite a few triangles left. I'm not sure why I cut out so darned many in the first place. Amanda Jean inspired quite a few people to make quilts in this pattern. I've been seeing them all over blog land. My favorite is in this post by Jacquie of Tallgrass Prairie Studio. I love the fabrics Jacquie uses in her quilts. I'm a nut for color.

In other news, I sold my modified Happy Hour quilt which has been on display at Cafe On Main. Finding out that someone likes something I made always boosts my spirit. Especially when I didn't even much like the something I made.

Finally, I want to give a big thanks to everyone who reads this little blog. Some of you are friends from here in Lancaster and some of you are from afar. I've loved seeing the amazing women that are out there in the world that I would never have had a chance to meet if it weren't for the Internet. You all bring Joy to my life. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bananas and Chocolate

I am so happy it is summer. I thought I'd have time to post last week but I didn't. So, in case you are keeping track, this is my 199th post. Next one will include a give away. We've had lots going on here including having our old next-door-neighbors over for dinner, a retirement dinner for my mother-in-law and having four wonderful moms and crew over for luncheon yesterday. Did I mention swim team for Nolan as well? Anyway, it has been busy but fun. Nolan finished school last Friday so we are in summer high gear. My father-in-law gave us some bananas when we were helping clean out my mother-in-laws classroom (oh, I forgot to mention that one in the above list!). The bananas were on the brown side so we decided to whip up the boys' favorite: Chipper Banana Muffins. You may ask why Nolan is wearing his bath robe to cook. Let me just say that boy dances to the beat of a different drummer.
The boys have very different personalities and so there was quite a bit of fighting going on during the baking. I tried to stay out of the kitchen as much as possible. Here's the recipe. It is from a Weight Watcher's cookbook. We follow the directions except when it comes to adding the chocolate chips. I'll let you use your own discretion when adding yours. Here's the recipe:

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened a
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup skim buttermilk
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 18-24 muffin cups with paper liners (I usually get about 22 muffins out of this). In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat the sugar applesauce, eggs and oil until frothy with an electric mixer. Alternately add the bananas and buttermilk with the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon batter into the cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes.
This last picture is the fabric I'm using to make a seat cover for my blanket chest which is in my sewing room. I got the foam at 50% off. I bought 5 inch thick foam because I wanted this seat to be really comfortable. I had no idea how expensive that foam was! Glad I didn't need much. I think I'll make some pillows and maybe a valance out of the fabric as well. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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