Friday, October 31, 2008

The night before a holy day or All Hallows Eve a.k.a. Halloween

I've been in a funk all week. I don't know if it was hormonal or due to Nathan having a science test. Well, today I felt great (and that science test was over)! Also, it is Halloween. My boys love to dress up. I love to make costumes. Of course, this year I didn't make any costumes. Nathan wanted to wear his Knight costume again and Nolan decided to be a private eye. Fortunatley for me, we are having an All Saints party at church tomorrow night so I made a costume for dear little girl I love (St. Kateri Tekawitha) and Nolan neede something to be St. Francis. I'll post pictures on this event later this week. I have to say I was greatly disappointed in our Trick or Treat night. I am used to hordes of kids. Now that we moved out of the city, there just aren't the same numbers of kids. I've got TONS of candy left over. I guess I'll take it to the All Saints party. I hope you have a great day. Happy All Saints Day Eve....I mean All Hallows Eve.....or Happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

All or Nothing

It seems I either post a lot or not at all. I guess it all comes down to time. When I have time to sew and blog I post a lot. When I don't.....well......I don't.I spent the morning making a new tote bag. I lined it with cotton batting so it is really sturdy. I'll probably use it to tote my materials to and from church. The bag turned out really nicely. I am thoroughly sick of this Alexander Henry fabric, however. I STILL have at least a yard of both left. I loved it so much when I first saw it that I bought a lot. Now I'm sick of seeing it. I have a tote bag, a wristlet, a messenger bag, a cushion and two pillows made out of the stuff. Definitely overkill. Anybody want to trade some fabric??????? other exciting news...after finishing the wristlet I wanted to try more. I went to the Fabric Outlet and got zippers ($0.35 each), swivel hooks ($0.75) and key rings ($0.20) to make some different straps. I also bought some brown fabric to make Nolan a St. Francis costume. Pictures on that later.
I'm probably going to use some of these fabrics (above and below) to make some new wristlets. Maybe I'll send them to my nieces who are in college. A fun mail surprise.

Friday Night Wristlet

Boy, I had some fun last night. I worked hard to finish my Religious Education lesson for Sunday so that I could spend some time this weekend doing things I like. Of course, cleaning the house will probably get stuck in there somewhere and I don't like doing that but I DO like the way it looks after I'm finished.So, after our homemade pizza, Mike left for a gig and the boys were in the basement watching a movie.

I took the ipod to my sewing room and started organizing my shelves. I'd like to make a few of these little boxes for some of my notions but for the time being I used what I had to organize. I used to keep my sewing feet and machine needles in the little compartment in my sewing machine. I found that this wasn't the best organizational method and the needles kept falling out of their containers and I somehow managed to lose my zipper foot (which I replaced). So now my needles and feet and a few extras are
stashed on my shelves.

I folded my fabric (which is minimal after this event) and gathered my computer printed patterns in one folder. I was ready to sew.
I've been wanting to work on Oh Fransson's wristlet pattern for some time and have had all the supplies for months. I've been dying to see how she puts in the zipper. I have to admit that the price of the pattern was worth it just for this little tidbit. I love the way it went in and how the finished zipper looks. The wristlet instructions were very well put together. The pattern is for three different types of wristlet and two different sizes for each pattern. She also included several (4 or 5) ways to attach the strap using different types of hardware. I am lucky to live near a fabric and notions store where the notions are cheap, cheap, cheap! Ok, I should say they are inexpensive because the quality is first rate. I'll never shop for notions at JAF again. I used a swivel clasp and d-ring so that I could attach the wristlet to my big, ugly everyday bag.All in all it turned out nicely. It was very difficult to turn the bag due to the amount of fabric and lining. The wristlet is very soft but I'm not sure it needs the amount of sturdiness for my purposes. I may try it without the interlining next time to see how that turns out. I also sewed my seam too close to the zipper which made my upper corner not as clean edged as I would like. The bottom corners, too, aren't as crisp as I'd like. Well......I guess I'll have to make another one!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sewing Room Redo

Well, this little project isn't quite finished, but it is almost there. My adoring husband painted my sewing room a few weeks ago. I just love it that he likes to paint walls. I am not so fond of it myself but will do it if I have to. The problem with doing something I don't like so much is that I also don't always do the best job. So, needless to say, I'm really glad he will paint for me. Above is the room mid-fix. There was some not so beautiful stenciling all around the room which really bothered me. You can see that was the first to go. Take note of the light in the room. I'll talk about that at the end of the post.I picked a color that would coordinate with the pillows and cushion on my blanket chest. It is Martha Stewart's Anjou Pear. I like the color and I love the name. Martha comes up with the best names for things, doesn't she? The teacher that I work with told me her mother picks paint colors by their names, not their colors! For instance, she painted her bedroom a color called Pony Tail because she said it reminded her of her girls. Don't you just love that?Here you can see I got a few of my mini quilts on the wall. I hung my candy table runner above the blanket chest as it just didn't really fit on any table. I love the way it looks and also how the black, red, white and yellow minis look together. It really makes me happy. I was planning to hang my pinwheel quilt on the short wall but it just wasn't looking right to me. It occurred to me that I could make a design wall. I emailed Jacquie to ask how she made hers but ended up doing something a little different. I may eventually regret not doing it her way!I used white flannel and cotton batting to make a "wall quilt" of sorts. I actually just nailed it to the wall and then made a border out of red and white polka dot fabric. At the moment the fabric is pinned to the quilt. I need to decide how to make it more permanent. My original idea was to actually make this as a quilt and then hang it on the wall so that I could wash it if needed but still hang my blocks on it. I began to realize that I probably needed something a bit more stable on the wall and got a little crazy with the nails. I'll let you know how this works for me. Right now I just have scraps hanging up there.
Here is my lighting fix. The old light, which you can see in the first picture, really was very dim (and really not my style). I also hit it all the time when I was folding my fabric. I wanted task lighting but knew I'd never spend the money to get the room rewired. Low and behold, I found this lovely light at Lowe's. It works perfectly for my small room. Each light swivels to where I need it. I'm very pleased with this find. There is one and a half problems with it though....the first is that the bulbs are very expensive ($8 each) and the half problem is that they give off quite a bit of heat. Obviously this is a half problem because in the winter I'm happy they give off heat but in the summer I might not feel so happy about it!

Well, I'm happy about my room right now. I'm hoping to get my sewing supplies a bit more organized tonight and do a bit of sewing this weekend. I have a few small projects in mind.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Deep Breath

I just thought I'd share a few pictures from a little hike we took this week. Although the weather has turned chilly, the beginning of the week was beautiful. The leaves are turning such marvelous colors. At work we have a beautiful tree that is turning red. The leaves actually fall while we stand under it. The kids just love to walk through the downed leaves or to pick them up and toss them in the air.This has been a busy weekend and I just felt like taking a few minutes before getting ready for Mass and Religious Education to post. It is a guilty pleasure for me. Nathan and Mike have been at Boyscout camp all weekend. I was at a disabilities conference at the diocese and Nolan was at grandma and grandpa's house. I spent Friday night alone (which is strange to say the least). Last night Nolan and I snuggled up to watch a movie together. Now he is still slumbering but I will need to wake him in the next few minutes.
Nathan will have some homework to work on when he and Dad return and I just HAVE to go to the grocery store. I don't like to shop on Sunday but when my Saturday is filled I just have to do it. Nolan is also itching to hit the costume section of the party store. He wants to be a detective.I must get myself showered and Nolan awake so we can get ourselves to church. Have a great Sunday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Giving Thanks

Last week when I had two days off school and the boys did not I was determined to finish this quilt. I wanted this to be finished over the summer but it just didn't happen. As I've said before this quilt is a thank you gift to Mike's aunt and uncle for having us out to their house in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The trip was probably the best one of my life and I really wanted to thank them from the bottom of my heart. The best way I know to thank someone is with a quilt, of course! Mike's aunt has her Colorado house all decked out in a southwest theme including Native American blanket designs and cowboys. Since this is not a theme I typically use in my quilting I really had some time trying to find some ideas. I didn't have a ton of time to do the actual quilt so although I found some really nice ideas, I knew I'd never get them done. I searched Internet sites and the library and even a few quilt shops for pattens and came up with nothing. One day, while searching for something totally non related in my own quilt books I came across a whole section of southwest designs! I laughed good and long at myself.So this is the finished product. I didn't measure the quilt but it is a nice couch size for those cold mornings and evenings. I machine quilted it along the design in two different colors. The back is plain green flannel for extra warmth. This particular flannel really made the whole quilt full of fuzzies (which you may be able to see in the picture as I had a hard time removing them all!).

I'm hoping to deliver the quilt in the next week or so. It is only about four months overdue!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Beautiful Day

Today was a beautiful day. We said a final farewell to Mike's grandmother. The Mass was beautiful and her beloved family was gathered around her and each other. Mike's cousin, Ellen, gave a wonderful Eulogy (hi, Ellen....I posted just for you!).

I often talked with Nana about the church and the different services. She was so proud to be a member of St. Peter's. Her grandfather led the procession (on horseback, no less) on the day the church was dedicated. I loved to talk with her about the parts of the church, the songs, the priests. While sitting at her funeral Mass I just kept seeing and hearing things that I wanted to talk with her about. I will miss that.

When we arrived home from the Mass and luncheon someone had left some mums and a pumpkin on our doorstep. We don't know who gave these to us but we are so thankful. While making supper this evening I glanced out the door and found this little fellow helping himself to our pumpkin!This little lady (yes, I think she's a girl) sat outside my kitchen window for at least 30 minutes while I was making dinner.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Goodbye, Nana

We will say a final farewell to a beloved grandmother and great-grandmother tomorrow. Mike's grandmother (A.K.A Nana) passed away on Friday afternoon. She was 92. I only knew her for 16 years but enjoyed her company and the way she welcomed me into her family. Mike is the oldest of the grandchildren and was adored by Nana and her late husband, DadDad. As Mike's grandparents had three daughters they were thrilled to lavish attention on this grandson. I never met DadDad as he died when Mike was in 7th grade. I will remember Nana for her stylishness, her love of storytelling and the history that she represented to the family. She didn't always get the stories right but they were always interesting (even after hearing them many, many times). She never learned to drive and was always so glad when we came to visit. We spent many a Sunday afternoon in her living room.

So, goodbye, lovely lady. You will be missed. God Bless You!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

B.O.T.M. Noah's Ark

Click here to see a really cute embroidery block of the month featuring Noah and the animals. Now, you know I have all the time in the world to work on this but I downloaded them never know.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Feast of St. Francis

I think St. Francis of Assisi is one of the best saints for children. We have so many stories of his life, especially surrounding him showing God's love to animals. I noticed the boys were carrying their stuffed tigers everywhere we went and when I asked why they told me it was because today was the feast of St. Francis. Today is also my mother's birthday so we woke early and went out to breakfast with my entire family. It was fun and filling! This afternoon, the boys and I did a few activities for St. Francis. First, we refilled the bird feeder which a squirrel immediately knocked over. We refilled and attached it to a stronger branch. The birds, squirrels and a baby bunny have been enjoying the seed mix this afternoon.
While I read a story about St. Francis from the book, Brother Wolf, Sister Sparrow, the boys colored in a mosaic of St. Francis. They really worked well together on this until the end when they had differing opinions about how to color the bottom. I finally had to have them pick a number between one and ten to decide whose idea to use. They then began working on these wooden cats which we will attach a prayer for our cats and magnets to hang on the refrigerator. I don't think we'll get this finished today.Finally, I figured out a way to get the head back on our St. Francis garden statue. I used painter's caulk. As you can see, St. Francis has seen better days but I just couldn't get rid of him. I think I'll try to paint the whole statue. Black seems to be an odd color to me so I may try to paint him white. Any ideas about this?All in all it was a good day. Our parish has it's annual Campfire Mass this evening at the county park. We aren't able to camp overnight this year but always enjoy the fellowship and Mass under the stars.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Blah's turn to Productivity

All this week I've been feeling a little sorry for myself. This mostly happens in the mornings when I am leaving for work. I've been lamenting the loss of my stay-at-home status. I really loved being a stay-at-home. I loved having the time to do all those domestic things like cooking and baking and cleaning and gardening. Ok, I'm not so good at the cleaning and gardening part but it got done more often when I was home. I really miss volunteering at school and having time to sew.

So in the mornings on my drive to work I've been a bit sad. Also a bit PMS. The two probably go together pretty well. Once I'm at work, though, I forget all about it and enjoy my job. So yesterday I really pondered my situation and gave myself a little talking to. I really need to be working if we are to continue sending the boys to private school. I'm really dedicated to keeping them in this school through 8th grade. I really need this job because it gives us our benefits. I actually LIKE this job. Plus, I am home by 3:45 everyday, I don't have to think about work when I'm home, I have holidays and summers off. They even work out our pay so that we are paid all year round, not just over the school year.

I decided that there was no reason for my malaise. I could still cook and clean and garden and sew. I just needed to be a little more organized and energetic. I gave myself a little list:
  • mow the grass
  • clean up the papers floating around the house
  • pay the bills
  • clean the downstairs
  • wash the kitchen floor
  • dust and sweep the basement room
  • organize all that Religious Ed paraphernalia that is a mess
  • Quilt
  • Take a picture of the mini quilt from upstatelisa
Now, I didn't expect to get all this done in one day, but maybe two. I cut the grass (boy does that improve the view from the sun room), paid the bills, put a pile of every paper floating around the house onto the sun room table and threw away or organized them all, dusted and swept the dinning and living rooms, organized all my religious ed materials (class starts Sun.), and took the photos you see in this post.

Thanks, Lisa, for the amazing quilt. I just love it and can't wait to get it hung in my sewing room. I love the little zipper pouch she made me as well. I already have it "loaded" and in my purse.
So, I didn't get to the quilting or finish the cleaning but I really was able to accomplish quite a bit even after working all day. I even helped a few children with their homework! I'm feeling better about my situation and thanking God for the situation he has put us in. It is so much good and really so little to fret about. Plus, I have a four day weekend next week!
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