Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Thursday

Hey everyone, just a quick pop in today to say Spring Break is going wonderfully and I have had a little time for sewing.  I actually wrote most of a WIP post yesterday and then got busy doing stuff with the family and never posted it.  Oh well...  We've been busy doing a bunch of nothing much, but everyone is happy, so that is always good.  Last night we went to the Gator Softball game and Emma and her 2 friends loved it.  The Gators lost, but Em is definitely hooked.  She asked when their next game was!  ;)

Doesn't Oren look thrilled?  He had a bad allergy attack Tuesday and he's very grouchy in his recovery of it...  I did make Emma's shirt.  I'll show it in the next day or so.

 I have some secret sewing going on for a very special sister who celebrated her birthday yesterday!  I did tell her yesterday, but for the blog, Happy Birthday Carrie!!!!

Do you think we look alike?  Growing up, people didn't believe we were sisters.  They said we looked nothing alike...

But I've also been working on some do. Good projects.  Ronit asked for triangle-in-a-triangle blocks this month.  We each made 3 since they are smaller than the average 12.5 inch block.  Here are my 3.

She asked that we use colors including turquoise, cerise, magenta, chartreuse, french blue, deep orange and grass green.  I tried to accomodate, though I did have to google cerise to see what color it really was.  Chris always laughs at me because I read obsessively but I always have to stop and ask him what words mean.  Apparently, I don't have the largest vocabulary in the world...  I like to believe that I just learn so much I have to let go of things to make room for new things.  That sounds right, doesn't it?

Plus, I've finally gotten over my sewing block with the tilted square sashing for my do.Good Stitches quilt from December (gasp!).  I've got all 20 blocks sashed on top and bottom and am now sashing up the sides.  Another thing Chris finds amusing is my lack of ability to "see" math.  What I mean is, for the life of me, I have a hard time looking at something and figuring out how make it happen...like how big of pieces to cut or how to cut them...How to sew tilted sashing onto 20 squares to get them to tilt back and forth...how to estimate how big of pieces I will need and then how I still get it wrong after I measure 3 times before I cut once.  It's a wonder I love quilting with all of the math involved...  I tell him that kindergarten teachers only need to add and subtract to 10, so I let all of that geometry go...


But here are the squares in progress...I'm hoping to make significant progress on this one in the next week and my goal is to have it done by Easter...I'm up again to be the quilter and choose the quilt in May, so it would be nice to be done by then, huh?  ;)

Chris and I are dropping the kids off with Aunt Carrie tonight for a date night...rare occurrence around here and we're looking forward to it!  Hunger Games here we come!!  I hope y'all are having a great week as well, and if I don't check in again, I'll be back next week with regularly-scheduled programming.  :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Another Friday Finish

Yay!!  I am finally done with the 4 baby gifts I had from...December.  Yikes!  But dealing with a loss of sewing mojo can set a girl back, you know.

As I mentioned before, this quilt is for a dear friend of mine that lives in the UK.  She and I worked at a summer camp together here in FL more than 10 years ago, and our families became close and we have remained friends despite the distance.  In fact, Kirsten was at both my and my sister's weddings.  I couldn't think of a nicer friend and family to be my UK connection.  :)


So, this quilt is for her sweet little girl, Daisy.  I went with red, white and blue to represent both of our flags and our connection to each other and wonky stars because they're plain awesome, but also because they are graphic and have the connection to the US flag as well.  Other than a restock of some Kona Ash, this entire quilt came from stash!!




As far as quilting, I originally planned to do a looping meander with a FMQ flower (you know, because her name is Daisy...) thrown in every so often for fun and even did that on two blocks before I decided that I really hated it and ripped it all out.  It took SO LONG to rip it all back out, but I knew it was the right decision.  I'd started too tight and the quilting was taking over the quilt instead of being in balance with the design.  Instead, I outline quilted around each star and then used my embroidery machine to do the big flower between each block.  It was a free design that came with my machine and it fit perfectly in the space.  I also used this design on Emma's lunchbox over the summer.  And as I did on her's, I considered using two threads (red/white and then white/blue) to make the flowers to tie in the colors, but I decided to just go with the gray.  I like how the gray tones it all down and makes it a little more calm.  Plus, gray is a little easier to keep clean than an all-white background for a baby quilt.  ;)

Ooh, sometimes closeups aren't flattering...let's pretend that awesome flower is centered over those seams, 'kay?

I bound it in a red dot from Connecting Threads.  Their basics can't be beat.  I like how the pop of red sets it off and frames it very nicely.

I'm happy with this quilt and even more happy to do be done with it.  All baby gifts for the time being are checked off the to-do list and I can get started finishing up some other projects.  :)

I hand-embroidered Daisy's name to the center square with embroidery floss I had on hand.

Finishes feel great don't they?  I'm linking up this finish to Amanda Jean's Finish It Up Friday party.  Head over to check out all of the great links of amazing things people are finishing up this week.

Have a great weekend everyone!  Oren's got teeball games tonight and tomorrow morning and Em's got her first game tomorrow morning too...at the same time 20 minutes away.  Oh well, there'll be plenty more and I'll give her big hugs of encouragement before she and Daddy go.  What do you have in store this weekend?

P.S.  This afternoon started our Spring Break.  I've got big sewing plans on the agenda...we'll see how it pans out.  If you don't hear from me you know I'm too busy playing Mommy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Fun Finish

Back in December, I had 3 friends (well, one was actually my cousin and his wife) that had babies.  I made Kennedy (the only local one) a cute dress.  I'm still working on the wonky stars quilt for baby Daisy that lives in the UK...  And for my cousin's new little one, Sibley, I decided to make a mini quilt/wall-hanging.  When my cousin Jen (Sibley's Aunt) had her two kids, I quilted up wall-hangings for each of them per request, so while I had the intention of making this sweet new one a quilt of her own, I decided a wall-hanging would be better.  It's small for me at 18x24" and I considered finishing it up and entering it in Jennifer's mini-quilt contest last week, but honestly, I was just too tired to get that far.  So a week later, here it is in all it's glory and ready to send off.


I went for whimsical on this one.  The only thing I measured out ahead of time was the background fabric and the pennants.  I then just placed them on the background in a pleasing manner and starting sewing.  The pennants are raw-edge applique.  Then I grabbed some brown perle cotton and hand-embroidered the "string" for the pennants.  I did cut the "S" with my Silhouette (using the fabric interfacing for it) and quickly ironed it down and sewed around it.  I simply wrote the rest of Sibley's name and embroidered it.

For quilting, I randomly sewed a curved line every so often and then followed it with one close by.  They are not any set distance from each other.  I wanted this quilt to be very light-hearted and also, fast to finish.  It's not my normal style as I see a lot of faults with things I wish I had slowed down on or taken the time to measure out, but I think it's perfect for the design and for the intended recipient.


The back is a simple stack of the pennant fabrics surrounded by the focus fabric on the front and it's bound in that as well.  Sibley's room is in pinks, greens and browns, so I'm hoping this fabric is the perfect fit.  As she lives in Oklahoma, I haven't seen her room personally to know.  ;)

I'm not attaching a sleeve, because I'm not sure if they'll want to use it as a wall hanging.  That was my intention, but they may have something else in mind.  Sibley might love it as a doll quilt in a year or so.  I firmly believe that once a gift is given, it's theirs to use as they please, and as long as they are using it, I am happy.  ;)

I'm linking up with Amanda Jean's Finish it Up Friday.  Head over there to check out the other amazing projects linked up.  A finish feels great, doesn't it?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Patterns Tested

The week of Oren's birthday I had two bloggy-friends contact me about testing patterns for them.  The problem was they needed the patterns made that week and photgraphed by Saturday and Sunday...Ummm....Oren's birthday was Friday and his party was Friday night...and I'm a one-trick pony when it comes to that many kids at my house for a few hours.

But, I have only good things to say about both patterns, because I made one on Saturday and the other on Sunday.  It took me longer to photograph the end results and email the pattern designers than to make either project!  And that's a sign of a good pattern right there.

So, what did I make?  Well, first up was another pattern from Jenny at Seamingly Smitten.  I don't know how this girl continually cranks out great and simple patterns for both women and children, but she does.  I think this is the sixth pattern I've made for her and they've all been great.  Jenny chooses simple designs that really flatter a girl's figure.  She's great at giving basic instructions so that both newbie and experienced sewers get it.

This time, I tested her "Double Ruffle Halter Dress."  I made the size 8 for Emma.  Honestly, even with my very tired (after an evening of hosting 12 hyperactive excited and boisterous kiddos) brain, I whipped through this pattern.  I did have to make a few changes, but mostly because Emma is a very skinny Minnie, so she needs an 8 in length, but she needs about a 6 in width.

I don't know why this looks fuzzy, but I'm tired of fighting with blogger....I'm having to use the old interface as it is because the new one won't load after months of using it...


Jenny offers different options when it comes to the straps, including directions to make them halter-style, or straight across the shoulders.  She also suggests that you can tie them behind the neck or make a buttonhole to thread them through with a big bow on the back.  The buttonhole method is so cute and what I wanted, but by that point I was so tired, we went with the traditional halter tie and I will add the buttonhole later.  Emma loved her new dress and wore it the rest of the day.

Man, do I love this kid.  And man, does she need some sun after a long winter!  ;)
Check out Jenny's blog if you're interested, because she often offers sales or giveaways for her excellent patterns.  You won't be sorry!

Then on Sunday afternoon, I tested a new bag pattern for Jenilyn of Grits and Giggles.  She is launching a new line of bag patterns, and this girl has got a future in pattern design.  The "Carolina Breeze Bag" was so simple to come together and the possibilities are endless based on the fabrics you choose.  I can imagine it in a thin leather, denim, fun quilting cottons, etc.  Jenilyn even featured it in burlap and it was precious!


I don't usually sew bags and purses, but every time I do, I'm always surprised by the instant gratification that comes with a simple and fun project.  Why don't I do more of them?  At any rate, I would also highly recommend this pattern for anyone looking for a new roomy bag.  I saw on her blog that she's also got patterns for clutches and other bags as well.



So, those are my latest pattern-testing experiences!  I love trying out patterns for friends.  It's a win-win situation.  I get to test out a great new project and make something new and my friends get an honest opinion of their pattern with pictures before they try and market it to sell.

Have you ever tested out a pattern for someone?  Tell me how it went...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More Adjusting


So I am supposed to be watching The Wizard of Oz being performed right now with Emma on her 2nd grade field trip, but instead I am writing this post at home...yep, Emma came down with the stomach bug this morning.  I think I am much sadder than her.  I seriously thought about crying this morning.  She has been so excited for this trip, she's talked about it nonstop for days.  She asked me to make her a blue & white gingham dress to wear with her ruby slippers (thank you Target!) and I did.  But this morning she woke up saying she felt awful.  Not 2 minutes later she was letting go of whatever was left in her stomach from last night in both directions.  But she persevered and said she wanted to give the field trip a shot.  So we loaded up and headed to school...tardy, but we made it.  And she looked just precious in her Dorothy outfit.  But as soon as we stepped into the office for a tardy slip she made a beeline for the bathroom (the teacher's bathroom at that since the nurse's office was full) and let's just say I had to use a lot of the disinfectant in there when she was done...

So we are home today instead.  She wisely decided she needed to come home and all I could think was "How is my 7-year-old so mature?"  She didn't cry about missing the trip, she didn't try to go when she knew she was sick.  She just said "I hate to miss it, but I need to go home." and that was the end of that.  Bless her heart.

BUT...that did give me time to show off a little of what I've been working on.  Today, I thought I'd show you the bee blocks I got done in February...2 weeks later...

First up, my Nubee Blocks:
 Two of my hivemates this month didn't want or care about background color, so I decided to go with that and make them all colorful!  I showed a sample of what I was thinking weeks ago, but it ended up too small...so in taking it apart, I rearranged it and came up with these:

For  Vicki--She wanted greens, pinks and yellows for her little girl.

For Jody--She wanted greens and purples with  natural  (grays, creams, etc.) accents.

For  Jacqueline--She wanted teals, browns and greens for her teenage son.

For Nancy--She wanted purples and blues with other colors thrown in for a pop.

For Julie--She's finishing up her Rainbow inspired quilt.

Then, I forgot to mention on here, but I participated in Jennifer's polka-dot charm swap.  I sent off these beauties...can't wait to see what comes back!


And for Michonne who requested Lee's Ribbon Star block in my favorite color scheme for our February do. Good Stitches, I sent these:


Then Carrie from our do. Good group requested girly log cabin blocks from anyone who wanted to donate a few.  A young girl had been injured in a gymnastics accident and was hospitalized near Carrie.  She's putting them all together into a quilt and wheelchair blanket for Avery.  I made these two:


  And those are my February blocks that I sent out.  I've already made and mailed my March block for my modern blocks bee and am picking fabrics for my do. Good stitches blocks.  They're triangles!  Can't wait to show you.  I've got a few pattern-testing projects to show off in the next few days as well.  I told you I'd been busy!  

I'm off to clean house and take good care of my sick baby girl.  Hope she heals up fast, because this sickness is for the birds!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Adjustment

Life is full of changes, and if we want to try to even keep up with it, we have to adjust.  That's what I've been doing lately.  I've been busy adjusting.  Nothing is wrong here.  There are no big changes or bad changes.  But as our children grow, our schedules change, their moods change, our responsibilities change...and that requires quite a bit of adjusting.

With softball and teeball starting up, we've got practices 4 nights a week.  The only day they overlap is on Mondays and they're often practicing in different places.  (Ball is BIG around here and there are a LOT of people using the fields around town!)  Tuesdays bring AP study sessions after school for Chris and his AP students, dance class for Em at 4:30 and practice at 5.  Chris has been leaving his study session and going to practice without Emma and then Oren and I bring her at 5:30ish when she gets out of dance.  Oren had opening ceremonies and his first game on Saturday, and in two weeks, Emma's games begin.  Only problem...Emma's team travels to nearby areas (nearby is a relative term...anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 1/2 hours away) while all of Oren's games are here in town.  Chris is the assistant coach on Emma's team and I'm the scorekeeper for Oren's team.  It's been a big adjustment from last year when the kids played together!

Oh, and Oren's been sick off and on for 3 weeks.  His tonsils are so swollen that they're practically touching, but they don't think it's strep.  I called today after a week on Claritin with no change and they want to see him back in the office to recheck him.

So...all of that is to say that I haven't been here because I've been busy adjusting.  Adjusting schedules, routines and the many hats a Mom wears.  I'm no different than anyone else and am not asking for a pat on the back.  My me hat, the one that encompasses sewing, blogging, running, vegging..., that hat is on the back of the rack and gathering dust lately.  And that is okay, because I know, eventually, I'll put it back on and all will feel right with the world.

But, I miss y'all!  I've missed giveaways, big announcements, and all of the finishes big and small that I would have loved to congratulate on.  My blog friends are my sewing buddies, the ones who get why I get excited over new fabric and hours hunched over my sewing machine.  Who know there are fabric Rock Stars and Quilting Police.  :)  Who understand the joy of opening an envelope to find a block someone halfway across the country made for you in a swap when you could have just made it yourself.  Please understand that I haven't been avoiding or ignoring you, I've been MIA.  Google Reader says I've got over 900 new items to read.  Yep, I don't see that happening...

I've got things to show you.  Blocks for bees, pattern-testing projects, and baby gifts.  I'll be back as soon as I can to show you.  I promise!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Six plus one...

Yesterday was a special day around here.  A day of smiles and celebrations.  Yesterday my favorite boy turned six.  I don't see how he can possibly be that old.  How my baby can be a big boy.  It seems like no time has passed since I was changing his diapers and begging him to use the potty.  It seems like just the other day that we watched Cars and Toy Story over and over and over again while Emma was in preschool.  But it wasn't, because my baby is six (plus one day).

It's been six years of smiles, laughter, hugs and kisses.  It's been six years of booboos, crazy antics and questionable choices (mostly from him...).  Six years filled with cuddles, pride, love and growth.

Six years just isn't enough.  I'm a demanding Mama...I want many more years to come with this sweet boy.

We spent the day on a field trip to the high school FFA plot, celebrating Oren and Dr. Seuss' birthday, and running and playing with jet packs at a space-themed birthday party at our house last night.  It was an awesome day for an awesome kid.


And since I could go on and on, I'll just give six things about Oren at six:

1.  He is a "reading fool!"  He told his teacher that this week.  ;)  Reading has finally clicked and he's reading everything in sight, from text on commercials to billboards to every paper that passes him by.  Best of all--he loves it and that makes me happy!
I have turned this as many times as I'm turning it...sorry for the sideways picture...blame Blogger!  


2.  Oren is universally liked.  Kids are drawn to him, adults adore him.  I'm not bragging on my sweet boy, I"m stating a fact.  He is so good-natured and so kind.  Wouldn't the world be better if we were all more like that.


3.  But he does have a temper.  And when it flares, watch out!  We hardly ever see it, but when he's mad there will be yelling and possibly some punches thrown if he's mad at Emma.  It almost makes me want to laugh because it's so unlike him, but I don't...till he walks away or snaps back to normal!


4.  Right now, Oren likes planes, dinosaurs, Star Wars, Swiss cheese, Transformers, Monster Trucks, anything involving a gun, reading, Swamp People, his sister and his Daddy and Mama.  Lucky for me, he LOVES his Mama.  :)



5.  He dislikes getting into trouble, chores, being around rude people, losing at anything, and apparantly green onions although he eats them on stuff all of the time.


6.  He gets embarrassed easily for someone who is so easy-going.  If you even mention girls in that way (you know like girlfriend kind of way) he goes red in the face and won't talk to you.  He got a little embarrassed for his friends to sing to him last night.   He is his Daddy's son...


Oren, you are a balm to my soul with your big heart.  You are my sunshine every day, not just when skies are gray.  Keep being you, buddy.  You make this proud Mama awful happy!