Tuesday, July 29, 2008

JELLO Legs!!!

I am sitting in my "week-2" class right now on this Creating Math Excellence grant (ON BREAK, of course!!! I would NEVER blog during a class)...*wink*

My legs are complete jello! I just HAVE to blog this! I wasn't planning on running at all yesterday----I always take Monday off after my long runs on Sunday. But last night, after coming back from Taco-night at the local restaurant, I actually remained outside to do some yard work and NOT park my butt in front of the sewing machine! Go figure!!!

Anyway, after some mowing, weeding, and raking up grass for the horses, I was feeling a bit motivated. So....at 8:00, I laced up the tennies and ran my 3.2 mile route. Since I was feeling rather energetic, I decided to turn it into an AI (aerobic/speed interval) run and ran 2x2:00, 2:30 intervals.

OMGoodness!!!! My legs are sooooooooo "heavy and tired" today! I've had to walk up a couple of flights of stairs during our breaks, and.................wow! I feel like these legs aren't even mine!

Anyway---just wanted to blog this to remind me: CAREFUL when running two hard workouts back-to-back days!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

THREE more finishes since Wednesday

I know my posting has been quiet lately, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been working and "smelling the roses" :0)

It's not all that amazing what can be accomplished when one who typically has three little ones underfoot no longer has them underfoot and one can fully concentrate on quilting time :0) In addition to the three finishes I'll be posting here, I've also spent a full day (Friday) down in Rice Lake (city 30 miles away with all the "non-small-town" shopping places) doing errands for DH and myself; I then spent all afternoon Friday at a HUGE Antique place, enjoying my time, no hurrying, no whining, no place to be.......*sigh*.......twas quite nice! I didn't come home with anything, but enjoyed looking at all the handmade quilts all the same.

So Friday = no quilting.

But, back to Thursday:
One of my "teammates" for these classes that I'm taking brought me this cute little package of goodies on Thursday once she found out I enjoyed quilting. The little story behind the package: back in 1989 she had taken a class on English Paper Applique, and she purchased this kit at the completion of her class with intentions of making a 4x4 setting wall-hanging. (The invoice is in the picture!) Yeah, well, like many of us, she never got around to it and just came across it, so she figured she might as well donate it to me. When I unpacked it, it was one square short, so a 4x4 setting wasn't possible (only 15 blocks total could be made.) So, I laid out a 3x5 setting, but didn't like it :0( Then-----a-ha! Why not make two???? V-iola! I created a 3x3 (which I intend to keep) and a smaller 2x3 setting for my friend who gave me the package.
I have called it "Hearts of Karma." Rather fitting, don'cha think? It still have the binding to hand-sew on the 3x3 I'm keeping, but the 2x3 was finished up today (Sunday).

Saturday morning rolled around and DH and I left the house at 8:00 am to go to New Auburn (town about 60 miles away) to pick up some pig food. The man selling the food had some good information, not just on pigs, and before we knew it, TWO HOURS has twiddled away while we just stood outside chattin'! The clock was almost chiming Noon time, so we decided to just head back home and not continue to Eau Claire (another town about 20 more miles away). We only planned to go to Eau Claire to hit the Sew Complete Quilt shop, but I was okay giving that up. About 10 miles down the road on our way back home, we hit the exit for Bloomer, drove down Main Street, and stopped at the Main Street Cafe. (Gosh, I feel like Amanda with all her fun village visits she's shared with us). Anyway, after a simple lunch of a grilled chicken sandwich, we (DH) decided to take the "back-roads" home. *chuckle* Have no fear, he did NOT get us lost......but....well, considering it was 1:00, and only should have taken 45 minutes to arrive back home, we didn't finally walk back in our house until 5:30. HA! We stopped at a few garage sales, a barn sale (where he bought an antique Stanley Planer something-er-other (which we later researched to be worth about $75 and he only paid $15)), we stopped at the local Agriculture Station where they have an "experiment" garden that we strolled through. Then, when we FINALLY thought we were heading back home (4:00), we swung into the Washburn County JR Fair to look through the animal exhibits. I saw so many of my students working diligently grooming their animals for the evening show!

Anyway, finally we arrived home! I was rather beat, even though I hadn't done much of anything all day, so I didn't feel like heading downstairs. Rather, I grabbed the Trip Around the Raggey World to finish up the clipping. Golly---that's a tedious process! But, at 8:00, I finished up and threw it into the washer right away. I completed the washing and drying today----this baby will be going up to the Farm to be used as a nice snuggler! Each block finished at 5", so is roughly 55"x65".

Finally, I woke up today (Sunday), and set the goal to finally finish up Cathy's Aunt Sukey. HOWEVER, before I could do ANYTHING, I neeeeeeeded to get out and RUN! I haven't run since Monday, so there were NO excuses keeping my feet from the pavement today. I drew out a map for my DH (he was still sleeping), and set out to tackle 10 miles! I haven't actually gone out and checked my actual mileage today, but I'm estimating I ran 8-9 miles. Considering the hilly stretch I ran, I figured that was close enough to 10 miles in my book :0)

After a quick shower and a bagel, I set straight-away to working on Cathy's quilt. I still needed to finish whip-stitching the connector strips on the back (to connect the three quilted pieces together), which I finished around 11:30. I then needed to quilt the border strips yet, so after marking the quilt design, I was able to finish all the quilting work by 2:30. Finally, after trimming and sewing the binding strips together, I spent the rest of the afternoon sewing the binding on. My hand-sewing is getting better and faster, but I still am not a fan when I'm "getting tired" and starting to lose patience. I wanted this quilt to be done! And finally, it is!!!!

Oh, I also forgot to mention that yesterday, while driving here-n-there-n-everywhere, I had taken the Baby quilt along and do some more hand-quilting. Now THAT hand-work, I don't mind :0)

So once again, a lengthy "catch up" post.

Family update: Cassie (via grandma) called and talked to me today for the FIRST TIME since she's been gone. Golly, she sounds so big! She's loving her time away (even though she DID admit to missing me); they were at my Sister's house this weekend, and on Tuesday they'll be going to my husband's parents (the other grandma), and on Wednesday they'll be going to Aunty Dawn's house (DH's sister). So----they'll stay busy again this week.

Sooooooo..........I don't have class until Tuesday this week. I hope to have some time to just tinker tomorrow downstairs. Now that Cathy's Aunt Sukey is done, I almost feel "empty." Gosh---is that really how I feel? No....not really empty....but......."enlightened"??? Oh, I don't know. I still hope to make two pillow shams with the remaining fabric, but I don't think I want to start that tomorrow. I still have some "antsy" feelings towards working and perhaps finishing the Oklahoma Backroads quilts, so I have a feeling THAT's what I'll work on!

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

For Candace--and everyone else....

Regarding the "free-motion-meandering-heart" motive....

I have "modified" the "connected heart" motive used in the sashing of my Cathy's Aunt Sukey that is in the Quiltmaker January 08 magazine. This is also the edition that has Bonnie's Leader-n-Enders method as well as her Blue Ridge Mountain pattern.

I'm on lunch break from my class right now.......I tell ya...I can't SHUT UP!!! I just feel like I'm dominating the discussions, and I've apologized over-n-over today. Everyone just giggles, and say "Gosh---keep talking, your ideas are great..."

but still......

talk to you later tonight.........

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Big "catching up" post with the Spinning Rails completion....

I want to take a moment and go back to Sunday once "grandma" and "grandpa" left with the girls......

Both Paul and I had some "odds-n-ends" to accomplish before we could sit back and do what we really wanted to do.....I started with a little picking up of the living room, which lead to taking some dirty clothes to the entry-way, which lead to picking up the entry way, leading to sweeping, and mopping, and organizing the shoe closet, which then lead to the bathroom, cleaning the mirror, and more sweeping, mopping, which lead to kitchen dishes, which ....... okay.......you get the point......

BUT, while I was doing all this, I heard "banging" on the roof-----DH was FINALLY putting some finishing touches on our roof (whew---it's only taken a year!!!), which then lead him to cleaning some windows, which lead to him bringing the ladder off the roof and up against the house to clean the BIG WINDOWS!!! Finally---the first time they've been cleaned since we built 4 years ago......

The nice part of all of our motivation: we now have a clean house and it SHOULD stay clean for the next two weeks since we don't have 6 little feet roaming around leaving toys lay, dishes lay, etc......

Oh---Oh---Oh-------but the KICKER of the day!!!!!! DH came in for some water---HOT OUTSIDE! And I just HAD to take a shot of his "tool-belt"!!!! What a hoot!!!!!!! I guess we have/had some wasp nests/hives in the peek of our roof, so he had to "arm" himself. :0)

So catching up time with some of my promised stories.....
First of all, the "Grandma scold"!
GMa and Gpa left at 11:00 on Sunday (old news), and it takes around 3 hours to get from my house to theirs. I knew they wanted to stop shortly at a store along the way, and I figured they MIGHT take a restaurant stop too...so.....I'm thinking 4:00, MAYBE 5:00 latest!!! So.....4:30 rolls around and I get a call from my SIL (who was waiting for them to arrive so she could take HER two kids over to Gma's and Gpa's-----yeah....they're loaded with FIVE grandkids this week!!!) Anyway, I started to get just a teeeeeeeeeny bit worried, but said to give them until 5:00.....
So....5:00 rolls around and no call. I tried calling the house phone---no answer. So I tried the cell phone---no answer! (The cell phone worried me because they should have it with them.) So now...my heads starts reeling just a bit and a little bit more concern starts seeping into my mind.

5:30---same thing!

6:00--same thing! Okay, but NOW I'm starting to go into panic mode JUST a bit.....I love my Dad, but his driving SCARES ME TO DEATH! So ......all the panic thoughts start whirling----"have they been in an accident----do I need to call police and try to hunt them down---who can I call to check on the house to see if they're home and maybe outside..."

So, we called DH's dad (they live 5 miles from my parents). First, we just asked for the church's phone number because Mom had mentioned needing to do some quick decorating for the VBS group this week.....NO ANSWER at the church, though.
So then I call MY sister (5 hours away) to see if she had a cell phone# of my SIL because she was also not answering HER phone now. I wanted to see if Gma and Gpa had contacted her..... My Sister couldn't help!! Ahhhhhhh

by this time, it's 6:30....still no answer at home nor the cell phone. Also, by this time, I have left 3 messages on each phone, with the last one being..."Okay guys---now I have officially gone in to panic mode---I sure hope you are just outside and can't hear the phone, because SOON you are going to have some police banging on your door trying to hunt you down..."

FINALLLLLLLY at 6:50, my mom calls, with a sheepish lil' nervous giggle. "I'm sorry hunny.......but we got home safely around 4:10. We just were swamped with so many things from unpacking, getting the other two kids, getting to church, etc....."
SO, after a good SCOLDING (which my mom took very well), we laughed about the "police banging on your door" message and hung up, BOTH having learned a lesson. My mom learned to NOT forget to call me, and I learned that EVEN THOUGH those little ones can me MONSTERS and drive me BONKERS, my life would be turned upside down if anything were to ever happen to them......

Okay......whew.....now for the "I saved a dollar" story.....
Yesterday, while running the 5 miles from town to home, many MANY thoughts ran through my head, ranging anywhere from..."hmmm, which quilting project should I work on first when I get home?" to "okay, I've gone about 25 minutes, so that's been roughly 2.5 miles..."
BUT, what topped ALL the thoughts is THIS calculation problem.....
"let's see---it's 5 miles home, and my car gets about 20 MPG (TERRIBLE, I KNOW!!!!), so I'm using up an amount of energy that is equivalent to 1/4 of a gallon. Since gas is $4.00 at this time, 1/4 of $4.00 is $1.00. Wooo-hooo....I'm saving $1.00----OMGoodness! That's IT?!?!? FOR all this energy?!?!? *sigh*
*giggle*...leave it to a crazy math-minded brain to "run" numbers while I run :0)

Okay-----now to tonight
(still with me????) Yes, yes, yes....I talked as fast as my thoughts.....so if my words aren't making much sense, then you have tapped in to the real me...... :0)

I know I had written that my goals were to quilt Andrea's Garden, but I was in the mood to piece once I got home. So.....I went downstairs, looked around and saw my stack of "left-over-rail-blocks" from when I was making the CC. Some of you may remember when I first talked about these blocks back on June 14th. And what's funny: once I laid them out tonight and looked through my stash again for some possible sashings, I ACTUALLY opened up my 1.5" strip drawer and pulled out JUST ENOUGH pink strips to make the sashing...I ended up NOT using any of the ones from the June 14th post.....

I have fallen in love with the "free-motion meandering hearts" motive!!! Hearts are so easy to make, and it's OKAY if they are different sizes and a bit "wonky" and not perfect....because, after all, WHO can make a PERFECT heart??!?? :0) By 9:30 I was putting the last stitches in; I once again used the "cheat-fold-backing-to-front" binding method, so it is now officially COMPLETE! I had thought originally of having this as a wall-hanging, but now, it actually is the perfect size and "look" to be a little baby girl quilt :0) I might donate this one to my mom's church for their baptismal baskets. (Which, BTW, Mom and Pastor decided to use my Baby Boy Rag Quilt for this Sunday's baptism. Yeah.....my first Charify Quilt is being used....)

Okay, if you're still with me, you should earn an award!!!! I can't remember exactly when I started writing this post, but it's present right down there...yup....just a bit down from here...."posted at: __________". Well, take that time and subtract it from 11:19, and that's how long it took me to publish this post.

Happy quilting everyone! I hope life is giving you lemonade :0)

I saved a dollar & QUIET house......

Hey.....wait.......shhhhhhhhhhhh............you hear that?????

ME EITHER! It's silent! No #1 being bossy; no #2 whining; no #3 tattling on the other two.........I'm FREEEEEEE----------
Grandma and Grandpa left at 11:00 on Sunday for a 2-week "journey" with them....*giggle*
Now naturally I will MISS them dearly, BUT I am enjoying some selfish "me" time! I do have a funny story about "Scolding Grandma," but I only have a few minutes this morning, so I'll save that for a later post......

My Math Grant class started yesterday and I arrived back to the school's bus garage around 4:30. Short story here......Sunday night, Paul asked to use my car for Monday. He dropped me off at the bus garage yesterday morning (there are 4 of us taking this class, so we are driving the school's van every day.) However, Tthis meant I would have no ride back home from the garage at the end of the day. However, he suggested (jokingly, as a last resort) if I could simply run home.......my response to that: BRILLIANT! He thought my reaction was sarcastic, but I was being serious! It's only 5 miles and since I hadn't run on Saturday NOR Sunday, it was perfect. So after running home and cooling down with a quick shower, I headed downstairs (WHERE ELSE?!?!?) I know the title of this post says I saved a dollar, but that story will have to wait until tonight....related to this run home!! :0)

I really didn't have a set project in mind, either. I had finished the OC Saturday, and had started auditioning backings for Andrea's Garden (AG), hoping to knock that one of my list! I went downstairs, looked around, and found pieces of 2 more Oklahoma Backroads (OB) blocks that I had started, but set aside once I started Cathy's Aunt Sukey. So, I pieced them together----and then feeling inspired to finish piecing OB, I needed space on my carpet, which was currently housing Andrea's Garden and the backing. So.......I took a quick "time-out" to snip, cut, and piece the AG backing. And naturally, once the backing was pieced and ironed, it made NO SENSE to fold it back up only to get wrinkled again.......Upstairs I went to tape it down on the living room floor. Back down I went to grab some batting......having no large pieces anymore, I spent the next 30 minutes arranging "left-overs" and whip-stitching them together. That finished, I laid the complete sandwich out upstairs, which is where it stil is.

So...back downstairs to work more on the OB. HOWEVER, upon grabbing the blocks to begin laying them out, I saw the stacks of the Around the Raggedy World (AtRW) quilt that I started last week, and KNEW I had been lucky so far that the piles were still intact! (They are all stacked in the proper order for sewing). So......I bit the bullet and finished piecing them together, which REALLY didn't take all that long....only about an hour. So this baby has now joined the upstairs projects; I'm about half done ragging the edges and I hope to finish tonight (Tuesday).

So.....that's about it.....I'm sitting here with about another 10 minutes before needing to head out for today's class. The good news: I should be home-home around 4:00!!!! That only means LOTS of quilting time again tonight! My goals: quilt AG and finish ragging the AtRW!

Happy quilting!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

OC "done-done"


WOO-HOO! As hoped, I was able to finish quilting the OC today. Final dimensions are 68"x76". Perfect for a twin bed, OR as a wonderful couch snuggler (which is what it will most likely get used for up at the farm).

The quilting is a simple non-thinking meander and was finished lightening-quick. I used a swirvy-back-n-forth in the borders and left the pieced border plain. I had excess of the dark brown fabric, so I used that as the binding. I really wanted to use orange, but I didn't have anywhere NEAR enough (not even bits-n-pieces of different oranges).

The backing was posted yesterday, but here is another shot with the front also.

I know we all say we "love" our quilts, but......I REALLLLLY love this quilt :0) I used thinsulate batting that was given to me from a friend of the family. I like this batting; light, yet warm! And very easy to quilt.....

So.....number 5 of Peg's July Challenge has been met, but I still have others downstairs calling my name. Cathy's Aunt Sukey is still in the process of hand-sewing the three quilted pieces together; the baby quilt is still being hand-quilted, hmmmmm......what to work on next downstairs???? I think I may want work on my Spinning Rails next (from my left over CC rails).

Once I came upstairs after completing the OC, I found grandma playing with the girls, and grandpa resting on the couch. Clearly, he had had some beautifying by some lil' lady......*grin*

Happy Quilting

Belated, but finally acknowledging our Anniversary

Being out of town last weekend, I didn't/haven't gotten around to posting about our "special day" last Friday, 7/11/08.

Ideally, and eventually, I will make a list of ten things/reasons of what/why my marriage means to me, but with the day already beginning around here, I will need to save that for another time.

However, I am acknowleding our success, MUCH do in part to the absolute patience and understanding my DH has (towards me) ;0) At this day in age when divorce rates are exceeding 50%, I take pride in the 10 years we have been able to share.

Happy Saturday.

HA-larious post!!!

OMGoodness! Out surfing this morning, I came across Brandy's site linked off Peg's Quilting Challenge list....

You absolutely MUST read her Friday's post-----it simply brought me to tears (of laughter, that is!)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another Finish--Zion's Year of the Bible and a return of the infamous OC!!!

Zion's Year of the Bible was finished up today at 2:30, JUST in time for my Mom's arrival at 3:00. Whew.....I wasn't sure if I was going to get it completed before she arrived since I took ALL DAY YESTERDAY OFF! I was so tired and just "lifeless" with no ambition to sew. I had one small section left to quilt today, and then put the three sections together. The pieces fit together okay, with a little bit of fudging needed.
I don't know about all of you, but I think binding a quilt is that part I like the least. It can be so putzy, depending of course on which method of binding being performed. I've done everything from *cheating* by folding the backing over the front edge and stitch (and vice-versa; folding front over the back edge and stitching). I've used what I consider the *traditional* binding method; where you sew the binding to the front and then hand-stitch it to the back. I must say I like the look of that one the best, but SO TIME CONSUMING!

I needed a QUICK method today, so I tried the method my mom usually uses; she *wraps* a binding strip around the edge of the quilt and then stitches through the top, while "catching" the edge underneath at the same time. This was the first time I've tried it, so I started by preparing the binding strips, and then began pinning (using safety-pins) to the quilt's edge. OMGoodness!!! Putzy again! Yeah, well, after 3 pins in place, I said...."uh-uh!".....and just took the whole thing to my machine and ended up *wrapping* as I went along. (Those are Caitlyn's feet and hands in the pic--she was handing pins to me.)

I must say, this method worked rather slick! It was quick and didn't cause me toooo many problems. There were two spots that I needed to re-stitch once I was finished and noticed that two spots didn't "catch" the back. Oh well......

Oh yes....and the corners were posing to be a bit difficult for me! The first one took me about 5 minutes to figure out, but then the other three went off without a hitch. The corners kind of reminded me of wrapping presents, where you kinda "fold over an already-covered" part. Kinda hard to explain......

The quilting was a simple stitch-in-the-ditch around each block, and then a travelling cross in the verticle sashings. Once again, due to the size of this quilt, I quilted this in three-sections and then pieced them together once finished. I haven't measured the final quilt, but it's BIG! I used 110"x110" batting, and used just about all of it! I'm guesstimating ~95"x105" (give or take a few inches.)

The story behind the quilt: (feel free to fast-forward) back in 2004, my Mom's church youthgroup started a Year of the Bible and completed blocks at each meeting. I didn't measure the block sizes, but I'm estimating them to be about 8". Fabric paint was used to draw out scenes from certain books of the Bible. The piecing of the blocks started back in 2005 by my Mom, but....well....like most of us, other things started taking precidence, and the quilt ended up on the back burner.

Last Thanksgiving, while I was at my mom's working on a quilt for my niece, I noticed she had it out again. I don't know how much work she had put in to it, but it caught my attention, and besides, I needed a break from quilting my nieces quilt. I laid out what she had completed, asked her to verify the order of the blocks, and continued piecing where she left off. I ALMOST completed piecing the rows together when I ran out of thread, and NEEDED to hit the road to get home---it was getting late and I have a 3 hour drive home. I left the quilt laying out on her basement floor with hopes she would put the last rows together and then she had intentions of tieing it since it was going to be so large.

Yeah, well...on Sunday (5 days ago), while putting toys away at her house after our weekend visit, I noticed it folded on her shelf, NO MORE COMPLETED than when I left it last Thanksgiving. So......I grabbed it and stashed it in my bag without her knowing. I was HOPING to complete it by today since she was coming up to pick up the girls (they will be with her for the next two weeks).

This is my way of thanking her for her help the next two weeks, and besides, it was a great "gift" and helped me get one more finish for Peg's Challenge.

now that I have THAT done, I felt awesome and inspired to get going on another WIP that has been sitting for a few weeks. THE ORANGE CRUSH is back.......I added one final green border and then started auditioning colors for a backing. I knew I needed to piece a backing because I wasn't going to buy speical yardage for it....so, I grabbed a white, a pinkish-orange, a drab cream/brown and another lt brown/orange stripey fabric. After laying them out in the big pieces I had (roughly 1/2 - 1 whole yard), I didn't like it. BUT, 10 inch squares sewn together ran through me head......

...so.........ironing........cutting.........sewing........AND being TWO BLOCKS SHY. UGH!
However, have no fear.......back to my stash I went, and I found a small piece of orange plaid JUST enough for two blocks! Can you believe it?!?!?!?
So.....here is the back....and I can't wait to HOPEFULLY check another off my list by the end of the day tomorrow, once I "get busy" quilting my OC.
Can you see the two Orange Plaid blocks???? How funny!

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More blog catchin' up....

It appears that I've missed out on quite a lot while being gone from the blogging world......

Dear Amanda, from Amanda's Musings, has awarded me with a Brilliante Weblog award. Sure....RIGHT when I spend a week away from my blog!!! *chuckle*

The rules are as follows:
1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog/
2. Link to the person you received your award from
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4. Put links to those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you have nominated.

Since she nomiated Angela from Soscrappy, and since the three of us read most of the same blogs, I don't have SEVEN OTHER blogs to list that I frequent on a regular basis. However, here are six others that I read every time I log in and are worth nomination for this award.....

Lori of Oodles of noodles has a comical "photo of the day" everyday of her beloved Elly. I'll let you find out who Elly is by following her link....
Andee of Modern Diary is a former Wisconsinite, now turned Arizonian (if that's what you call someone living in Arizona.) She will be starting a new job come fall time and is still slowly becoming "at home" in her new house.
Linda from Living 4 Quilting first caught my attention with informing us of some great give-a-ways back in May, and then in June, posted a BEAUTIFUL quilt she made for her daughter? niece? Stephanie. She has brought Steph back to the fore-front lately by posting her labeled quilt and a pic of Steph in her new apartement.
Carol from Cornfield Quilter was found one evening by me while browsing the Mystery Quilter's ring. Her blog background is what caught my attention because her CC colors were almost identical to mine!!! Then, the name of her blog alone caught my attention, being a small rural "farmer" myself :0)
Regina of Bitnbyaquiltingbug. No lie----once i figured out what in the heck her blog name meant, I was hooked! Then, back in May she posted a link to a site with a great Cathedral Windows tutorial, and I have been reading her blog ever since!!!
Amanda from Crazy mom quilts COMPLETELY fits her blog name. I thought I was invinceable at times, but even Amanda puts me to shame!!! The first night I read her blog, was when she vowed to make a quilt in a day for at least the duration of 12 quilts.

Happy bloggin!

Catchin' up; quilting completions, etc...

WOW! Has it realllly been a week?
Get ready for a long post :0)

I headed to Mom's last Thursday after picking the girls up from summer school. I WAS able to put the three pieces together for Cathy's Aunt Sukey AND put on the borders---yeah! So, I packed that up in order to get some hand-whip-stitching done on the strips that put the three pieces together. I didn't get too far; so it's sitting next to my glider-rocker and is my "upstairs project" when needed.

DH Paul came home early on Thursday because he was rained out, so he grabbed some lunch and then headed outside to get some much-needed "home projects" done.

I arrived at Mom's around 5:00 and didn't really do too much that evening. My sister, Jen, decided to come "home" Thursday night too, so she arrived around 7:00. She doesn't have any children of her own, so she meets me at Mom's quite often to have a chance to spoil my girls. She lives about 5 hours away from me and Mom's house is SMACK-DAB in the middle of us, so it works out nicely!

Friday ended up being a really nice, warm (HOT and HUMID) day, so Jen and I set up "grandma's" new swimming pool for the girls. (one of those quick and easy fill ones----just the right size for the girls; Caitlyn and Candace needed to wear life jackets, though!) And, of course, Grandma needed to supply the pool with plennnnnnty of "floaties." Thank goodness Grandpa has an air compressor!!! That's me placing Caitlyn into the pool. *chuckle* The water was so cold, and the pool was in the shade, so almost immediately after placing her into the pool, she was clawing at me to lift her back out!!

And naturally, a sprinkler also needed to be set up. It was quite a fun day!!! (That's Jen running through the sprinkler with Cassie,....or is that Catilyn???) I really can't tell which one it is under that innertube.....

Friday evening, we all went to the local ice cream parlor/restaurant and had the best darned Fish Fry around! EXCELLENT fish! (Even if it's not all that healthy being fried!) And what would a trip to "Melody Gardens" be without investing in some ice cream!?!?

Afterwards, Jen and I headed to Walmart and Hancock Fabrics. OH DEAR!!! At first, I wasn't figuring on going into Hancock, but the entire front the store was plastered with 1/2 off sale banners. Ummmm........can you say EXCELLENT ADVERTISING??? *chuckle* What a sale!!!! I walked away with about 30 yards of fabric!!!!--mostly flannels. Each yard ended up being between $2.50 and $3.00. I don't have a picture of the fabric, but most of it is "baby fabrics" with intentions of making small rag quilts. In fact, here is a shot of one that I whipped out on Monday in about 4 hours using fabric that was donated to me by Mom's church. Oh! That brings me into Saturday morning.....

........but before I jump into that, I do want to say that the rag quilt was inspired by Peg at HappyInQuilting. She had an adorable pink rag quilt posted last week and she was right---these little buggars DO come together quickly when you sit and sew!!!

Okay, back to Saturday......After a 7 mile run with my sister (well, she did 4 and I went out for an extra 3), Mom took me up to church. The fire/safety inspector gave them a "not-so-good" evaluation when he checked out their storage room/electrical room. That is where the church stores all their donated materials for quilting, BUT no one has been quilting over the past THREE YEARS! So, Mom told the secretary she thought of giving it to her daughter (me), and she (secretary) didn't bat an eye. So....SIX BOXES and bags of fabric, batting, and the works!!! Not all the fabric is material I want to use; some is really stretchy polyester-like, some courderoy, and other types of fabric that I don't even know what it is. BUT---regardless, I have made a personal goal that for each box that was given to me, I would make a charity quilt to give back to the church for whatever they wanted to use it for. So, that means 6 quilts is my goal to give back to the church. This baby-boy rag quilt is the first. The story behind it; I started going through the smallest box that was given to me, and all these flannels were mixed in it. I wasn't sure if the red-stripe was going to be a fit, but it ended up just fine, I guess.

So....5 more to go (before the end of the year???)

So, Sunday rolled around; church in the morning; the "big" Sunday breakfast just like when growing up, and I planned to hit the road back home by 1:00. While cleaning up the toys (how DO they make such a mess in such a short time?!?!?), I noticed this little relic up on one of the shelves. I knew mom had started this quilt quite a while back, and after further inspection at home, I realized she probably started in back in 2005. Anyway, last Thanksgiving when I was at Mom's, I helped her put quite a few rows together just to get her motivated to finish it up. By the time I left that weekend, we had all the rows completed and allllll she had to do was finish sewing all the rows together and then handing the top over to one of her "quilting" congregation members (Oh, Mom is a "Pastor's Associate"---kind of like the right-hand-man of the pastor). Anyway, I noticed rather quickly that she hadn't done any more work on in, so I stashed it in my bag. My goal is to finish this by Friday when she and Nub (step-dad) are coming up to pick up the girls for two weeks. I have it in three parts this exact size, naturally, quilting it in parts. I have decided to use a cross graphic as the quilting in the verticle sashings (you may be able to see the stencil in the close up shot.) I have two sections completely quilted, and the third will be finished up today. I know she'll be more than surprised to see it finished. This is my way of saying Thank You to her for taking the girls for two weeks while I have classes to take (ICK!). But I'm sure she really doesn't mind having time with the grandkids.

When we got home on Sunday, Paul surprised us with 13 more little chicks. These are Cornish Hens (sp?), and are being raised (clearly) for their meat.
Gosh--Cassie looks devilish in this picture!!!!! *evil snicker*

I typically don't take a lot of "nature" pictures, but while eating breakfast with the girls this morning, I couldn't miss these clouds rolling in. Boy, the sky turned black/darkblue in a hurry! Thankfully, most of the bad weather headed just south of the house and we were only hit with a little rain.

To wrap up, Candace found her potty chair downstairs last week. Yeah---the first sign that the diapers are almost gone!!!!!! Of course, she really wasn't interested in "going" on the potty, but she sure loved ripping the toilet paper (and more toilet paper, and even more paper yet) off the roll.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cathy's Aunt Sukey--3 parts done!!!

Woo-hooo.....for not feeling that well, I still decided to just slowly continue on Cathy's quilt, and v'iola! Before I knew it, I put the last quilting stitches on her third part.

So, before I head off to volleyball, I thought I'd just give a "show-n-tell" with pictures. I'm heading to my mom's tomorrow---I would LOVE it if I could put the three pieces together before I head out, but....*shrug*....we'll see

Naturally, the colors are not true---we all know what we need to go through to try to get the quilting to show nicely :0)

*sigh* not feeling well.....

There are very few things that I would put on a "I hate most in the world...." list, but.....
last night (early this morning) around 1:00, I started tossing and turning, NOT feeling well---I might have dozed on and off, but it seemed that every 10 minutes or so I was looking at the clock again. Finally, at around 2:30, I got up and tried a drink of water------UGH! NOT GOOD! To put this nicely, I was "sick" within 10 minutes. I don't have a solid idea at what caused me to be ill, although I did double-up on my medicine yesterday because I didn't take it on Monday. Perhaps my stomach just couldn't handle it.

*sigh* So from then until I woke up at 6:30, I was sick almost every hour, and one last time at 7:00 this morning. After that episode, I tried some Diet Coke (yes----believe it or not----I once heard that Coke (not Diet coke) has a way of taming down the stomach and it has worked in the past for me, so.....); and thankfully I wasn't sick anymore after that. However, I had blood tests scheduled for 9:00 (a "fasting" bloodtest), so I called the clinic to see if the Diet soda would hinder the results.

Tidbit of information: DIET soda will not cause discrepancies in cholesterol/glucose tests, however NON-DIET soda will. I hadn't known that.

So, 9:00 came; blood drawn; and then Candace and I spent a couple of hours doing errands for DH. Pig food, chicken food, horse food, dog food, lawnmower belt, tiller parts, more horse fence; sounds like a true "farmer's" shopping list, huh? :0)

I'm debating if I want to head downstairs for some quilting, but I don't feel completely up to it. Rather, maybe I'll start designing out and planning a quilt for DH's boss's christmas quilt.

Thanks for tuning in to my wee-little world again.
Happy quilting

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Strawberry jam recipe

For those interested:

My favorite SIMPLE strawberry jam recipe is a "freezer" jam. Here is the SureJell site that has the exact recipe I used off the box.
Basic ingredients: One box Sure-Jell, 4 cups sugar, 2 cups crushed strawberries, 3/4 cup water. Sorry--I don't know the exact amount of "pectin" that is in the Sure-Jell box. VERY SIMPLE recipe!!! It's "fail-safe" too---seriously!!!

My MIL had also picked up some other type of pectin that was a "no-boil" recipe; with almost exact opposite ingredients requested. Basic ingredients: One packet "other brand" pectin, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 4 cups strawberries.

Having taste-tested both types after sitting in the fridge for a day, I vote the Sure-Jell recipe TOP! Hands-down!!! The other brand was rather fluidy and not very "jelly-like" at all. The tastes were virtually the same; however, the Sure-jell was sweeter----(DUH! 4 cups of sugar vs. 1 1/2 from the other brand will probably do that, huh???)

I did a quick google, and came across another Strawberry recipe forum, but haven't looked closely at any of the recipes. They may also be Sure-Jell recipes, but not sure.

Amanda, sorry hun, I don't know if Sure-Jell is avaiable in UK----heck, I don't even know if it's available throughout the entire USA. But it's SOOOO easy, soooo simple, and tastes marvelous!!!

The nice thing about the freezer-jam recipes, is you don't have to mess with canning with a pressure cooker and fretting that a seal wasn't complete. I love the simple Glad dishes; they stack nicely, and I really don't have to worry TOOO much about freezer space because we have a chest-freezer. However, strawberry jam doesn't last long in these here parts!!! :0)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weekend update

I'm uploading/updating pictures and pages to my Family's Website and Quilting Website right now, so I figured I'd at least take a few moments to pipe in and document my weekend goings-on. :0)

We headed up to the farm of Friday morning, arriving just in time for lunch. We basically relaxed for the rest of the afternoon, sitting in the shade with a brilliant breeze blowing; I pulled out the baby-quilt that I had packed for accomplishing some more hand quilting on the hearts. Around 4:00, I tied up the laces for a quick 3 mile aerobic interval run before the evening festivities started.

The evening consisted of even MORE relaxing, lots of good eating (my MIL is an ex-chef of a their family-owned restaurant and EVERY meal she makes is fit for an army and presented beautifully!) We had grilled chicken on the grill and pork steaks.

Saturday started off with a 7 mile run before the heat really started pounding us. And again, the day simply consisted of relaxing, sun (and shade) bathing, some hand sewing, avon catalog searching, swimming for the kids, sandbox, fetch with Misha (BIL's Black lab), and simply NO STRESS :0) And actually, Sunday was a lot more of the same. Quite a simply enjoyable weekend without anything spectacular.

OH WAIT!!! How could I forget? On the way up to the farm on Friday, DH and I stopped to pick up a couple gallon pails of freshly picked strawberries. Well, it appears that MIL had the same thing in mind as me (fresh jam!!!!), because she ALSO had 2 gallon pails of strawberries at the farm!!! So----we had a LOT of strawberries, and spent Saturday afternoon making about 10 batches of strawberry jam, each yielding about 5-7 cups??? (I think) Regardless, I have a small collection in my freezer, my MIL kept a small collection, and my BIL and SIL each took a few containers too. I reserved two quart containers for my sister, who I'll be seeing next weekend. She LOVES strawberry jam!!!

When we arrived home yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, DH piddled outside with the animals while I started all the "inside" stuff---laundry, picking up a bit, unpacking.

Oh---how could I forget this too???? On Saturday, after my run, before making the jam, I stopped at the Walmart in Ashland (Wisconsin). They are about the only Walmart around that still has a nice collection of fabrics. Yeah, well, I walked away with about 20 yards of fabric with a new quilt in mind for my mother. NOT that I needed more fabric!!! I would show a pic of it, but the fabric is still in the dryer. Soon......

As for the quilting front---I basted the last part of Cathy's Aunt Sukey last night once the kids were in bed. I started quilting part of it this morning, but have taken a break since the kids needed to be picked up from summer school at 2:00. I'll head back down later once they get all settled after a snack.

I'll tune back in later, all.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cathy's Aunt Sukey--2 parts done!

Sorry, but no pictures tonight (no lieing this time either!) I was able to sit for quite a bit of the day in front of the machine and finished quilting piece #1 (uppper left corner) AND mark and quilt piece #2 (lower right corner). Is it okay to sit for 10 minutes and just ADMIRE the quilting you've accomplished?!?!? I did!!! I just layed on my tummy on the floor, cupped my chin in my hands, and looked at allllllll the quilting accomplished today! I quilted a running-heart in the green sashings----beautiful! And i"m really not meaning to be so "gloating" tonight, but I just can't BELIEVE how good it is turning out so far.

However, all good things must come to an end. I finished up piece #2 at 9:00 tonight. I brought up piece #3 (the middle "connecting" diagonal piece) so I could mark the quilting from templates. Folks-----I was only through two blocks of the 10 total on this piece, and I crashed. All energy left me---I needed to just step away and give it a rest. So, since then, I've been catching up on email and I hope to spend about another half-hour or so catching up on some of your blogs (SORRY--I haven't left many comments lately!)

Tomorrow is the 4th of July---Independence Day. We plan to head up north to the "farm." I think DH has some shopping and such to do in town first, so I'll plan to pack up the girls, tidy up the house (so it's not a disaster when we come back on Sunday--I HATE that!), and perhaps spend some more time on marking the last section IF time allows.

I have completley bought into the quilting in sections technique! There is NO FATHOMABLE WAY I would have been able to quilt these patterns if I had to trudge this whole quilt under the machine's arm. I can foresee a bit of extra math calculations with every future quilt so I can utilize this technique.

Happy Quilting!

Please forgive me.....

....of all the typos! I usually re-read my posts before publishing them, but not tonight. (Well, actually I did, AFTER already published, but I didn't feel like going back to edit.)

Yes, I'm a teacher
Yes, I expect students to know how to read and write
Yes, I take pride in my work

But come on folks....this isn't a final draft---it's my journal. *shrug*
Yeah....it's my journal---I guess I never really thought of it completely that way, but golly! Almost 70 entries----not all quilting; some of family; but what a great way to keep track of the daily "goings-on" of the family!

So.....please know that I DISPISE (sp?) typos and even more---I can't STAND IT when I make speeling (err....spelling) errors, but....

I type fast
it's late
I just want ot (err to) get my thoughts down
and head to bed.......


I will hold nothing against any of you either if/when you make typos. We're only human :0)

Good night all----past midnight and I have high hopes for a quilting day tomorrow (er.....today)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Progress-Cathy's Aunt Sukey

Once again---early rising: 6:15 am. Both Candace and Caitlyn crawled into bed sometime in the night, so at 1:30am, I hooved it up to Caitlyn's bed---there just wasn't enough room for DH, those two, AND myself. So...Caitlyn's room doesn't have a clock---the birds were singing, sun was blaring, I figured it was past 7:00 for sure! Oh well.....

Coffee, bagel, yada-yada. But I got basting Cathy's Aunt Sukey right away this morning before the sun realllly started blaring through our windows. Once 8:30 rolls around, we don't have a chance getting away from the sun upstairs until about 2:30, so those are the hours I usually like heading downstairs to sew or "hide" in our back bedroom. Verrrrry cool in those places. These are our windows that face South-East---VERY nice in the winter months though (on sunny days!). The heat that comes through these windows with the sun is amazing.....

Anway.....once I had the quilt (top corner piece #1) basted, the girls were getting a bit ancy (as I was using the kitchen floor), so I had them take up the tape while I fixed up some cereal and bagels for them. Wow---we really are a bagel family---Cailtyn loves bagels with cream cheese, and Candace any myself enjoy a strawberry cream cheese on ours.

But finally, around 8:30, I was able to head downstairs to put my first quilting stitches in the sandwich! Yeah.......
after half an hour of simple stitching in the ditch, it was time to move to an "outline" about 1/4 inch in from the seams on the light gold/yellow pieces. However, a simple straight stitch seemed to boring-----playtime with the different stitches followed for about 15 minutes. I decided on stictch #146. BOY---was that PUTZY once I finally started stitching the blocks. I had one block completely done and needed to take a break---girls were getting a little bored and ancy. So.....hmmmmmmm, an "outing" was needed; more thread was needed; PERFECT OPPORTUNIY! I'll be killing two birds with one stone. So, at 10:45 we rolled out the door for a "drive" and ended up the the LQS with beginning quilt in hand. Of course, the lady (who helped me pick out the mauve and light gold/yellow fabric) wanted the show-n-tell session and she helped me pick out some yellow, green, and mauve threads I needed to complete the quilting. It was a short visit, ONLY thread was bought. We stopped of at good ol' McD's for some lunch, and headed home.

Once the girls were settled after eating lunch, I was back downstairs to finish up the other three blocks with stitch #146 before getting to the FUN part of the yellow fabric flowers. WOW--that went so much slicker than I expected---I am VERY PLEASED with how well the flowers turned out! I FMQ inside the "center-piece" blocks (black/flowered fabric).

And....my first oiling was requested! I told my FIL (father-in-law) about the "oil" light and he chuckled! (He's a driver education instructor) So of course he joked about having a machine that was smart enough to remind the driver that it was time for an oil change!

Just LOOK at that lint! It's amazing, really, at what can get built up within a week's time.

By 4:30, I wrapped up most of the marked quilting, then headed upstairs to mark the green sashing. I had completely forgot about those yesterday, so......
I was only able to get a few marked before needing to throw together some supper and get ready for Volleyball. DH and I play on a league every Wednedsay---what FUN! I coached vball for my first 7 years of teaching; referee'd in college; played in HS---love the sport! DH never really played, but has REALLY turned into a great player----tsch! How could he NOT???? He's 6'6" for crying out loud! All he has to do is stand with arms straight up and he's towering over the net! :0)

But.....FINALLY------they arrived!

Of ALLLLL the nights to come home with the pigs, he would HAVE to choose a VBall night!!! He was already running late, so we hustled WARP SPEED to get them settled before bolting off to Vball---we were only a few minutes late.

Champion and Eddie were a hoot to watch once they realized they had new "farm mates." They pranced about; flared their nostrils; winnied like little spoiled brats; and just down-right didn't know what to think of them.

Grandma and Grandpa came for a short visit tonight on their way to the "Farm" up north. So, they packed up Cassie and took her with since we'll be coming up on Friday anyway. The two little ones weren't too keen on not being able to go with G-MA/G-PA, but we tried to be "smarter psychologically" and told them they needed to be sure the new pigs get settled and told them they had the responsibility of naming them (and not Cassie) :0) *wink* It worked. Amazing sometimes!

Looking forward to a quieter house tomorrow---#2 and #3 should play nicely together and I should be able to get some more quality time in quilting. I should be wrapping up piece #1 and hopefully start on piece #2 tomorrow (same size and shape for bottom corner.)

Happy Quilting!