Saturday, September 29, 2012

5K Feelings

Do you ever have one of those weekends that is full to the brim with activity, but you are glad for it?  I'm usually a low-key, homebody kind of girl.  Don't get me wrong, I love to do things with friends, but the older I get the happier I am to hang out at home with the people I love best and relax from all that we do during the week.

But this weekend has not been quiet or low-key and I have loved it so far!  Yesterday afternoon my friend and favorite photographer Amanda held mini-photo sessions with a fall theme.  Many of us jumped on them and it was so fun to plan outfits for the kids and see Amanda work her magic.  Here's the preview she gave us:

I LOVE it!  From Oren's goofy grin to Emma's perfect model pose to how grown up they look.  I can't wait to see the others.

Then after photos were over and shorts and t-shirts were changed into, we headed to the football game to see the boys win another game!

But this morning we headed out to our own game--a 5K race in a nearby town to benefit a child with a fatally genetic disease.  I wanted to run in it and Emma did too, but Chris was afraid Em would slow me down so he volunteered to run too, so she could stay with him.  Oren said NO THANKS so my sister and brother-in-law came to support us, take pics and stand with Oren.
 
When I saw this picture the first thing I noticed was my heel-striking--a no-no in running and usually something I don't do...or maybe I do and didn't realize it...  We are our worst critics, aren't we?


It was our first-ever race and while we didn't place, I was proud of our times, especially because we didn't try to race, just finish strong.  I think honestly, Em could have beat me by a few minutes.  She was bummed when the winning girl in her age category came in with a time of 30 minutes. (The kid was like 5!!!)  Em's time was 39, so I think she was probably the 2nd girl and she walked over half of it.  We told her she could run it alone next year if I couldn't keep up with her long legs.  ;)


Chris told Emma he'd carry her across the finish line on his shoulders--she wanted to  do it about  a quarter mile before the finish line.  He said NO WAY!  He carried her the last 20 yards or so!  Everyone loved it!

Oren didn't want to run in the race, but he couldn't help getting excited when we came to the finish line, so he ran across with both me and with Chris and Emma.  Bless his heart!  You should have seen the pride and excitement on his face!


I am so proud of Emma and Chris and so thankful for them for running with me and supporting me.  I'm also so thankful to Carrie and Serge who got up early on their Saturday morning to cheer us on, stay with Oren and take all of these pictures for us.

I can tell you this...it won't be our last race.  I think all 3 of us had a good time, especially me and Emma!  ;)  Now if we can only talk Oren into running more than the last 20 yards!!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I have a question for y'all today involving my WIP.  I got out all of the blocks from when I was the quilter-in-charge of our Empower group of do. Good stitches a few months back.  And...I'm not sure.  I asked for patchwork blocks framed in white.  And, I asked if they so chose, to send a 12.5" square of fabric to mix in with the patchwork blocks.  I thought I'd add them in every so often to "grow" the quilt and to add some interest.

But after laying it all out, something doesn't feel right.  Some of the solid-fabric squares are way too patterned to blend with the rest of the quilt and I'm just not sure where to go from here.

Between us, Emma and I laid out a ton of different things, but nothing is feeling like YES!  I love the blocks the girls sent me.  They're great.  It's just laying it all out to make the quilt shine that I'm having trouble with.

So...here's where I'm at now:

Again--trouble with blogger and my pictures...I apologize for the fuzziness of which doesn't exist in my photo-editing software.
But I am not sold on this...I am not sure about the 4-patch in the middle, let alone those 4 specific fabric pieces.  I am completely open to switching them out with something from my own stash.  Chris says I should add blue and red squares in there instead of the multi-colored prints.  I am also not sure if I even like this layout.  I have 6 big squares I could mix in throughout the quilt, although some blend better than others.  I could nix the big squares and just make 4 more patchwork squares myself to unify the quilt...

So, I'm asking y'all...what do you think??  Lay it on me, I'm all ears...  Any and all suggestions no matter how much they vary from this design are welcome.

And I'm linking up with Lee's WIP Wednesday as usual.  Head over to check out what everyone else is working on too!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Modern Monday Makings

Hey y'all!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  We did.  Friday night we drove about an hour to go to watch our high school football team play.  I'm sure to many that sounds crazy, but in a rural area, especially in the south, football is so important, and communities really rally around the boys.  It's pride in who you are and who you're with.  Pride in your hometown.
  Then Saturday the kids went with Grandma and Chris and I went to a Gator game with some friends.  I hadn't been to a home football game since I was pregnant with Oren and he's 6!  It was HOT and I got a little too much sun (Chris called me Lobster all day Sunday), but we had a lot of fun.  It's always fun to go back to your college and see what is the same and what has changed...

  But yesterday I had some downtime since the kiddos were still with Grandma and I got busy sewing!  And I just about finished up my latest quilt.  I can't show too much yet, 'cause it's a gift, but here are a few sneak peeks for you.


   All I've got left is about 5 inches of binding to sew down and then a quick wash and dry and this baby is ready to send.


I really like this one and I'm hoping the recipient does too...



And since it's Monday, I'm linking up with Megan and her Sew Modern Monday party.  Head over and check out what everyone else is up to as well.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Finishes

Aaahhhhh, doesn't that title just sound great?  The feeling of accomplishment mixed with the joy of continued progress.  I am back, baby!

I finished up all of my bee block responsibilities for the month yesterday.  That's all four of my Nubees blocks, my 2 blocks for the Empower group of Do. Good stitches, and two spiderweb selvage blocks for the Modern Blocks Bee.  I love participating in bees because anybody can do one block of something, so it's fun to try out new things and get new ideas.  It also means my to-do list of future quilts will never get any smaller because I'm always finding new things that I love, but hey, that's what creative hobbies are all about, right?

I showed off one of the Nubees blocks on Wednesday, but here are all 4.  Again, this is the Grandmother's Cross block which is very old-school, but with fun and fresh fabrics looks great, I think.


 Next up, Ronit asked for neutral log cabin blocks ala Rita for Empower this month.  She asked us to use solids or prints that read as solids in neutral tones of light gray, tan, white, etc.  But to please add a pop of bright color in the middle.  I made these almost exclusively from my scrap stash, only cutting one strip of the white from yardage.  This is so different from my normal bright color explosion that it was fun and calming.  I think this quilt will be amazing when it's all finished and hopefully will be a spot of calm for the young woman it will go to when finished.

I don't know why these are showing so dark in blogger, they are much brighter and calmer in person and in my photo-editing software.  They only look dark and highly-contrasted on blogger.  :(

And for my Modern Blocks Bee this month, Staci sent us these great cool-colored fabrics and asked for Spiderweb Selvage blocks like Jacquie's.  She included both the paper-piecing template, great directions from Jacquie's blog, and the middle background fabric already cut!  With all of that prepwork done, these web sections flew together.  I hope Staci likes them and that she'll post pics when this quilt is done, because I think it's going to be awesome!


So, that's my finishes for the week.  And I'm already started on my next project which I won't be able to show till it's done since it's for a special someone who reads this blog.

And two random notes to end:
1.  Thanks for all of the kind words about my running.  It is very encouraging to know people are rooting for you when you don't feel like finishing!  I'm headed out now for my long run of the week and while it's hard because of length, I'd rather run 8 miles slowly than 1 mile in sprints any day of the week!  ;)

2.  I took Sydney's quilt to her last night and got to hold that sweet baby!  After Emma of course, who showed up, washed her hands and begged to hold Sydney first!  My Em loves her some babies.  She's going to be one good Momma one day, but I don't even want to think about that for awhile!  ;)   I can't even remember my two being as small as Sydney and she actually weighs more than either of them did at birth!  Time flies...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Hey y'all!  I got a late start with this post today because I spent the morning at school helping with the vision and health screenings.  It always makes me laugh to spend a day with kids.  That is the part of teaching I miss the most.  Conversations with kids.  They have all of the best parts of people without the life experiences to make them hard like we adults sometimes get.

But this afternoon I spent a little time with my sewing machine and some little squares to make blocks for my Nubees pals.  I love this group and am so glad I found it.  Each month 4-5 ladies (and maybe a few gentlemen somewhere in the mix) are teamed up to make blocks for each other.  I choose my color palette, my hive mates choose the design.  This is the group that sent me enough blocks to make a quilt for Oren's teacher last year and another quilt I've got in the works but haven't shown you yet.  

After playing in Electric Quilt for a few minutes the other day (man, do I need a tutorial on this, because I am nowhere near using it to it's potential), I chose a pattern called Grandmother's Cross.  I LOVE little patchwork squares (obviously) in any style, but I thought this one had a fun, modern touch to it.


So I cut a bunch of squares (20 for each of 4 blocks) and some setting triangles and went to town.  I've got one completed and the other 3 are 2 steps away.


Here's my completed block.  She asked for almost the exact same colors I did with a mix of teal/turquoise, yellow/gold, lime green and a gray or tan background.  I LOVE this block!  I'm going to have to make one for myself as well.




So, that's what I'm working on this Wednesday.  But before I finish up, I'm off to run.  Did I mention on here that I'm training??  I signed up for a half-marathon at Disney in February.  Crazy, I know.  I've never participated in a race and I go and sign up for a half!  But...it's all about a goal, right?


So, even though I hate them, I'm off to run some sprints.  I may possibly be the slowest runner on this Earth, so I'm working on quickening my pace.  And by quickening my pace, I mean I'm hoping that I can beat some old ladies I saw out for their morning stroll the other day.  ;)

But don't forget that today is WIP Wednesday, so make sure to head over to Lee's to check out what everyone else is up to.



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Settling down


Alright!!  We are starting week 5 of school this year (I can't believe it!!) and I think I'm settling down into a routine again.  Yes, things pop up and life gets in the way, but a routine is again beginning to develop and for that I am grateful.

This routine has brought me 2 finishes in the last 2 days!  And I thought I'd take a minute to show them off. You know, so I don't forget what it's like to finish something.  

First up is the baby quilt I made for some sweet friends having their second little girl any day now.  It's a simple raw-edge applique where I sewed the squares down and got the quilting done all in one shot.  Yay for easy!  I'm considering going back and adding a little hand-quilting in some of the squares...we shall see.  It probably depends on when baby Sydney comes!  This baby is in process of being washed, dried, and then having all of those yucky strings that come with the first washing cut off. 

This was during a 5-minute break in the monsoon...sorry for the fuzziness, I had to work with what I got!
 Here is Miss Sydney's name up close and personal.  It's the first thing I've satin stitched in about 100 million years, so I'm just glad it's readable!  I was going to outline it in a pink perle cotton when I got done with the brown, but decided to leave well enough alone and not mess it up.  ;)



Second up--I finished a knitted project!!!  Over the summer we went to a family reunion in Alabama.  It was about an 8 hour drive, so I grabbed my GAP-tastic cowl that I'd gotten halfway through and then frogged completely (ripped it all out to start over--get it frog rip-it!!!) and started over.  Y'all know me and my on-again, off-again affair with knitting, so the fact I even started this project when temps were in the 90s is amazing, but even more so that I finished it.


It is not without flaws--first off, even with as careful as I tried to be in the car, I somehow managed to twist my stitches on the needles to make this straight cowl into an infinity style...I'm calling it a style choice although it would fit much better if it were straight like intended...  And there were some holes where my focus was apparently lacking.  And I think my seed stitch (knit 1, purl 1 consistently) took on a more ribbed look where I must have got off track in places.  BUT, aside from all of those mistakes, I am proud to have this project done and off of my needles.

I'm calling this my far-away and dreamy look, but really it's just that I felt dumb looking into the mirror to take a picture of myself! 
The weather is absolutely awful today!  It's been storming, and I'm talking house-rattling thunder and lightning, for hours, so my pics aren't great.  And for the sake of blog honesty, it is supposed to be 88 degrees today, so I am totally wearing shorts and a t-shirt with this cowl!  

Is Barbizon Modeling still open??  Maybe I should give them a call...I've got that bored model look down!  ;)
As you can see, I got my hair cut last week, cutting off quite a bit.  Toni asked if I was was going to show it on here, so here ya go, girl.  You know I love you to put 2 pictures of me up for you.  I could never make it as a What I Wore blogger because taking pictures of myself each day/week would be torture!

And as far as the hair goes, I usually wear it straight, but today it's just scrunched it up, which wasn't a bad idea with all of this rain and humidity we've got going on today...I'm telling you, have you ever sat through more than 6 hours of thunder and rain?  I can say I have after today....


And since I do have a finish and all...head over to check out Megan's Sew Modern Monday link party.  I'm linking up!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WIP Wednesday

  I've got a new work in progress!  I think instead of overloading myself with all of the many projects I have in various stages of done-ness, from now on, I will concentrate my WIP posts on my current WIP with a list at the bottom of other in-progress projects for my own records...it sure will feel nice to check some of those off!

But for today, I've got this to show you:


We have some dear friends who are expecting their second little girl any day.  It has been a long and slow process to have both girls, and they weren't sure they'd ever have more than one.  I think the Momma had just about given up hope on ever having a second child when they found out they were pregnant with number 2.

So... I wanted to give them something special from us.  I haven't been able to get it done ahead of time because they hadn't chosen a name and I love to include that on special baby quilts.  But, they're ready with the first name and still unsure about the middle, so I'm going with what they'be got and cranking this quilt out.

I wanted something simple for me so I can get it done quickly in case Baby decides to come early, so I'm going with a raw-edge applique squares design with baby's name hand-embroidered near the bottom.  See the paper there, I'm going to trace one of the versions of Sydney onto the fabric for embroidering.  What do you think?  Top or bottom?

When I asked what nursery theme they were going with, my friend told me they were re-using their first child's bedding.  She'd wanted to go with a pink and brown set, but decided to save money and just use the bedding they already had.  So, I knew what my color scheme would be--her desired pink and brown!

For the back, I'm not sure if I have a big enough piece of pink, so I'm going to supplement with some strips of pink and brown to fill in.

Today I'm planning on getting the name embroidered and the top, batting and backing pinned together.  Then I'll just sew the squares down and it'll count for both assembly and quilting in one fell swoop.  Then a binding and this gift will be ready to give.

The kids are going to Grandma's this afternoon, so I'm hoping to have a few hours today to make serious progress with this quilt.  That is, after I tackle Mount Laundry and try to find my kitchen counters under all of the school papers and STUFF that seems to mulitply overnight on them!!

As to those other WIP's lurking in the basket...here's a list:
--do. Good Stitches quilt for May--yikes!  I've still got to piece the rows, find a backing and quilt this baby!
--Carrie's secret project--yes, my sister's Christmas present from last year.  Almost done, one good workday and this baby should be nearing completion.  Just got to find that day to do it!
--Summer Sampler quilt--I HATED the red sashing I chose for it.  Well, not the red, just the way I sashed them, so it's all coming off and I've got to order more red and go back to work on getting this top done.

We're going to stop there as I've got some other things in mind and probably a few other things buried in my WIP basket, but why ruin a great day with too much baggage, right?

Make sure to head over to Lee's for a link up of all kinds of great WIP posts.  The inspiration is staggering.  There are so many creative people in this blogging community.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Wow!

So, I got a package in the mail Saturday afternoon that made me smile.  It had been a long day and we were headed out to the second birthday party of the day (during the Gator game which I had missed the first half of at party #1).

This beauty was staring at me when I opened the package.


Turns out, while I was kinda on a blog posting/reading hiatus I'd won a giveaway at Jennifer's blog.  But I didn't see the notice on the blog and the email she sent me went to my junk folder so I didn't know and she drew a new winner.  :(

I saw the email like an hour later!  Boo!  But I don't blame her one bit, she waited a week!  And I emailed her back to tell her that I completely understood and just wanted her to know that I had eventually gotten the email and I was sorry I hadn't answered earlier.

Well, being the sweet person that she is, she asked for my address so she could send me something anyway.  I told her that wasn't necessary at all, but if she felt compelled to send me something small.  It wasn't her fault I didn't answer in time.

And she outdid herself--this is her something small--a hand-quilted mini quilt which happens to be in my favorite colors!

Check out the back--it's so cute!!!


And not only that, but she sent these cute fabrics too.



If you haven't ever been over to Ellison Lane Quilts, you are missing out.  Jennifer is incredibly talented and so giving too.  :)

I love being a part of this special community where we come together to celebrate each other in so many ways.   I want to thank Jennifer for making my day and to thank each one of you who comes here and reads my rambles.  It means a lot to know I have friends all over who get what I get.  :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I actually finished something!!


Aaah...it feels so good to actually have a finish to brag about!!!  And by brag I mean that I actually finished something and not that it is so great.  Let's just clarify that right off the bat....  ;)

I mentioned last week that I was designing and making a big doggy pillow for our sweet girl, Belle.  Well, as I have also mentioned MANY times in the past, I am very aware that one of my strengths in life is not spatial reasoning or designing how something comes together.  I just don't see it.  Now, following a pattern I can usually do--but making up my own, not so much.

BUT, I persevered and DIY'ed this baby up!  But let's back up.  Last week, I left you with this:



Since then, I sewed all of those squares into 8" blocks (finished size) leaving me with 15 total including the 10 I already had.  I knew I wanted this pillow to be roughly 3 feet by 4 feet since Belle is a big dog so I decided on a 2-foot wide section of patchwork along the top.  But I didn't want to put anything together until I got the foam insert.

And while I was in the big city shopping with my sister, inspiration struck--instead of buying that EXPENSIVE foam, I could use cheap pillows from JC Penney!  I bought 3 king-sized "firm for side sleepers" pillows and hand-stitched them together when I got home.  So I got the comfort of a soft pillow with some firmness to make it easier to get up and down for Belle.  Then I took an old mattress cover we had with a plastic lining (since she has incontinence issues...) and covered all 3 pillows with it.  I just handstitched this along the bottom to keep it in place.  Sorry, I forgot to take a picture...



The 3 pillows together ended up measuring in at 32" x 48" which was perfect because I could use my 8" squares without any modification.  So--I sewed the squares into 4 rows of 3 squares each.  That made a patchwork column of 24" x 32".  So I sewed a 12" rectangle to either side and I had my top done.  Then I made a zipper strip to act as the side of the pillow.  The biggest zipper I could get at Walmart yesterday was 30" which made for some interesting times getting the finished product around these pillows but I said a bad word and threw it at the wall persevered.

Since I had 3 patchwork squares left over and some black strips left over from the top, I used these randomly to make the side strip long enough.  Once I got that baby sewn to the top, I realized I was out of black fabric...

But I wasn't going to give up this close to victory so I dug around in my stash for something ugly enough I didn't mind losing it to the bottom of a doggy bed and came up with a big piece of mottled lime green fabric that I think may have once been curtains in my sister's old classroom..  Anyway, it was the perfect size for what I needed and I quickly pinned and it sewed it together.

Now...as I mentioned before, I'm not the best at designing.  Somewhere along the way my math got a little hazy and the side strip ended up WAY too big for the bottom piece and I had to add some creative folds and tucks (i.e. cramming the fabric neatly into the necessary space) along the back where I figured no one would notice.   And you can see that it doesn't fit exactly snug around the edges of the pillow form, but I'm down with that.  It is for a dog after all!


But, Belle doesn't seem to mind.  She was so funny when Chris called her over to the pillow and told her to lay down because she didn't seem to want to get on it and mess it up.  She kinda put her front paws on it and left her back end hanging off the side.  Well, her back end (and the incontinence) is the whole reason we want her to have a special place to lay, so we had to convince her to get all the way on.  But, once she got the hang of it, she looked pretty comfortable... what do you think?

Oh, on a side note--I sprayed both the inner pillow section and the outer cover repeatedly with ScotchGuard for fabric in hopes of keeping the pee that she will drip out of the pillows.  I am hopeful that this along with regular washing of the outer layer will prevent any pee and dirt from creeping into the pillows and stinking them up.

Belle says "How can you not love this face???"