Wednesday, August 31, 2011

new paths . . .

I did something today I've hadn't done in over 16 years.

I bought a bathing suit! A TWO piece no less! (A tankini.)

I did *not* take pictures to post, either. You can thank me later. :)

I *did* enjoy a wonderful time at the pool with Jocelyn, Kim and my sweet Sawyer! This time, since I was in the pool playing, there aren't any Sawyer swimming photos. But I did catch a few of him after we'd headed back for lunch . . .

Look at that sweet little head! And a neck that's made for being kissed on by his Neesey!

I think that pool play wore the boy out.

Definitely. I bet he took a great nap this afternoon!

After Kim took Sawyer home for a nap, Jocelyn and I had another crafty afternoon. Last time we got together we worked on her wreath -- from this post. She didn't finish it that day, but I've got a finished picture of it now . . .

Didn't she do a great job?! I love it!

My sister loved the idea, so she made one too, only she used burlap to make the ruffle and decorated it with pine cones. She sent me a picture of it this evening (along with a text that she had hot glue gun burns over 50% of her body)!

I'd say the burns were worth it -- she did a marvelous job!! I want to do one with burlap, too -- and use some autumn mini-corn with the husks for my decoration. We'll see. I also want to do an acorn wreath. And a pine cone wreath. And a starlight mint wreath. Ummmm....I really have a wreath obsession right now!

ANYway, today we went in a different direction. Today we played dress-ups!

Joc had found this really cute shirred maternity top on DIY Maternity HERE. She wanted one for herself so she went through Jason's closet and came out with a handful of dress shirts that he couldn't wear anymore.

Then we pulled out the tape measure . . .

And started whacking off excess pieces . . .

And finally a couple of hours and a spool of elastic thread later, voila . . .

And hubba hubba! Isn't she darling?!

She was thrilled with the shirt, but she's the one that made it so cute! She wants about five more now. LOL!

The empire waistline was a challenge at first, but I think I got the hang of it quickly, and it really makes this man's shirt oh-so-feminine! I'd never used elastic thread in clothes sewing -- just in crafting. It was really easy to work with.

We ended up trimming the sleeves and cuffing them, removing the collar and then reattaching the collar tab, and creating the empire waist. Such a beautiful girl . . .

Just glowing!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

another quilt along . . .

I did it -- I committed. I *need* to be committed for throwing my name in the hat for another project! But I've got fabric and I need to use it for something and this looks like it will be fun . . .

A quilt along, over at Moose on the Porch Quilts! It looks like fun and there's prizes involved and folks are already uploading their fabric selections on the group's Flickr site!

Anyway, it doesn't start until the end of September (you know, right about the time I'm having my foot surgery), so I've got plenty of time to psyche myself up for it to prepare! It takes 16 fat quarters worth of fabric, along with some other fabric requirements.

May I just inject here that "moose" always reminds me of Christmas -- and my son who used to collect them? He had all kinds of ornaments and decorations that were moose. I tend to associate moose with cold and Christmas. Christmas. CHRISTMAS! I have lots and LOTS of Christmas fabric -- but do I have 16 FQ's that will work together in Christmas?!?

Hmmm. It's sort of a hodge-podge mix, but I think I *might* be able to make it work.

Maybe. I may have to pull in some more blues. It's kind of tough when you don't know what you're piecing. There are actually 18 different fabrics pictured, and I've got a few more that aren't, so I think Christmassy is where I'm going with this one. Christmas Stars!

I did go ahead and sew my EQ August Amusement block together.

It got just a tad wonky down there in the bottom left corner, but it'll do. And it won't be an orphan; I figured out the perfect use for it! I'll sash it in that funky purple, and then set in on point in the orange and make it a companion pillow for my orange BOM!

I just love a happy ending!


Monday, August 29, 2011

messing around . . .

Before I got EQ last year, I started following their blog, Do You EQ?, just to get a little insight into the software (and I think because I entered a giveaway to see if I could win a copy of it). I started paying attention to with a little more depth after I had gotten EQ7 for my birthday and subsequently realized that they posted blocks and fabric downloads! Then I realized that they also host a BOM that is also part contest . . . they post an EQ created block and you make it, send in a picture of it, and you get an entry to win whatever the prize of the month is. This month it's a copy of Digital Essentials.

The BOM block for this month was August Amusement, and several different colorways for it can be found HERE. When I first saw the block (especially the layout of the third colorway they provided), I thought it would look really pretty in the colors I'm using for my P&S BOM, and so that's what I've been playing with today . . .

It's just bits and pieces right now. And it looks very, very similar in style to the candle mat I just finished piecing! Perhaps there's something about those straight strips and big centers that appeals to me?

I tried other combinations too -- but the lighter batik just washed away. Whether or not I'll sew it all together is another story. Ha! I probably will, just so I can have another orphan block just lying around. Ha! again. I really think I'd like this block doubled in size, so I really could use it for table topper. The nice thing about EQ is that I can take that same block, change the dimensions, and get the correcting rotary cutting instructions for the new size! Ha HA!

One last photo . . . our outgoing guild president was so sweet. She made each lady who'd served on the board with her one of these cute little pincushions! I was very touched that she included me, especially since I was just there at the very tail end of her presidency!

Isn't it darling? I've been using the sundae dish for thread and fabric scraps -- pretty convenient and it looks fun, too.

Ah well, enough is enough. I need to get moving on this week's to-do list! And y'all need to head on over to Judy LaQuidara's Patchwork Times and check out the creativity flowing all over the place on Design Wall Monday!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

it's been too long . . .

Time for some Sawyer pics!

I got to spend a bit of time with the little man last night. I was there for dinner time, bath time, and bed time -- all of which are sweet, sweet, sweet! (I'm not going to apologize -- just acknowledge -- the poor photo quality. I had my phone for a camera; you make do with what you have.)

He's such a little ham (even though what he's eating is chicken). He cracked me up -- I'd give him some chicken nugget--dipped in ketchup--and he'd lick off the ketchup and set the nugget aside. Silly boy!

He did NOT like lima beans. Well, let me rephrase that. He did not like EATING lima beans. He did enjoy squishing them through his fingers. Heh.

He loved the sound talking through the tube made, though he had a tough time getting the right end of the tube to his mouth. He tried!

I *tired* to get a halfway decent photo of the two of us.

That's easier said than done, with a squiggly 18-month old, one hand and a camera phone. For this one picture, know that there were about 25 other attempts. Not pretty. Trust me.

He's become quite the little fish in the tub. He was quick to get on his tummy and kick and splash away, just having a blast!

We did have one teary-in-the-tub moment. I'd soaped up his hair and then, as one is wont to do with a baby, I gave him a Kewpie doll-doo.

There was no problem until he caught a look at himself in the tub mirror. He was *very* upset and made it very evident (by taking his hand and smashing down his hair) that he DOES NOT like the Kewpie doll look. I had to laugh! He's already VAIN! LOL!

Friday's trip to the post office box yielded my September/October issue of Tea Time!!!

I've not opened it. YET. Since Todd's on shift today, instead of a Sunday nap, I'm going to curl up with a cup of Pumpkin Spice tea and my favorite magazine and enjoy the afternoon! And just in case you're wondering, yes, I did bring six full place settings of my Lenox Kelly china to the RV. Hey -- just because we're living the RV life doesn't mean we can't be civilized!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

who knew?

That Civil War blocks would be so addicting?! Not like I've gone overboard and committed to anything, or bought [more] bucket loads of fabric so I can make them . . . perhaps I should stop right there. LOL!

It all started with our Stitcher's block swap. The block we're swapping is not itself a Civil War block, but we agreed that we'd use only Civil War reproduction fabrics for it. I did not know how much I loved Civil War fabrics!

That got me pursuing the history of Civil War quilts and in that pursuit, I found Barbara Brackman -- a wonderful quilt historian-- and her two blogs. One is Material Culture and covers quilt/fabric history in general. The other, Civil War Quilts, is a Civil War block of the week blog, commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War . Up until two weeks ago, I just looked for it every Saturday and read the story.

Two weeks ago, I posted THIS entry; it was a turning point. Today when I checked the CWQ blog, I found the Star of the West block. And I wanted to make it. And so I did . . .

Hmmmm. That *was* rather fun. It's a little late in the game to be creating blocks from a year-long block of the week (I mean this was block number thirty-five), but I am enjoying playing with the fabrics and if nothing else, it's an exercise to improve my piecing (and cutting) skills. And I'm doing something I love to do. Does it get any better than that?!

Speaking of getting any better, I was lamenting over what fabric I'd use for the back of the candlemat I pieced earlier this week. In a search for fabric for something else, guess what I stumbled upon?

Yardage of this Pumpkins Gone Wild print. I think this print, which I picked up a couple of years ago, may have been what started my fabric-crush on orange.

It was meant to be.


Friday, August 26, 2011

a kindle roll . . .

Okay, I'm on a roll here. A kindle roll. I made a startling discovery today. And perhaps *everybody* already knew all about this, but *I* didn't. And in the event there are others that didn't, I feel compelled to share!

I was perusing facebook today and noticed that both a friend and my daughter had "liked" the Amazon Kindle page. Since it's free and it's no skin off my nose to 'like' a page, I went ahead, clicked on the page name and clicked like.

Smartest move of the day.

One of the fans of the page had written a question about e-mailing files to her Kindle. And someone else commented back with detailed instructions.

What?!? I knew my kindle had an e-mail address, but I didn't know why (even though I just realized it says why). I didn't realize it was so I could e-mail it. Or that I could e-mail it files. PDF files - to READ! I hate reading anything of substance (more than ten pages) on my computer. The idea of being able to download a lengthy PDF to my Kindle to read is just amazing to me.

Bring up your menu and go to "Settings". If you tab over to the second page, you'll see "Device E-mail". Right under that you'll find your Kindle's very own e-mail address. All you have to do is compose an e-mail to your Kindle's address and attach whatever PDF file you want to read on your Kindle, and voila. I just opened up a whole new reading world for myself. Seriously.

Pretty darn cool.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

kindle freebie for RVers . . .

If you have a Kindle or Kindle app, you definitely should be a subscriber to's daily e-mail, FREE Kindle Books from Amazon. Once you're subscribed you usually get at least one--sometimes two or three--daily e-mails with anywhere from three to fifty free titles available from Amazon. Of course, not all of the titles are ones that appeal to me, especially since I stick mainly with Christian fiction, but I've learned to scroll through the list quickly and to look at publishers as well as titles (since the title isn't always telling).

As one who lives in an RV and also *loves* to read, the Kindle was such a great move! I sure couldn't keep all (many) of my favorite books when we made the transition to RV living, but it doesn't matter any more. I've got my sweet little Kindle which houses quite a library!

This morning the e-mail appeared with the listing of free Kindle books and look what it contained . . .

Haha! I love the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks. In fact, I had quite a few of them before we moved from the stick and brick house to the RV. Now they reside with my daughter and daughter-in-law, I'm pretty sure. But I miss them -- so I was so tickled to see this little gem...and it's FREE! Needless to say, I've already downloaded it. Click on the image to check it out for yourself! :)

And, although my blog has been quiet, it just means I've been busy, busy. The conference on Saturday went very well -- no technical hitches or glitches (which was very good, since I was the techie) and good participation. We visited Farley Community Church as part of our "Touring the Churches of the MBA" and really enjoyed our morning there! Sunday evening we worshiped with our Ignite peeps. Monday was a busy day on the road -- I had lunch with Sawyer and Kim, worked some accounting magic for about an hour and a half, had an eye doctor appointment (I'm really having a tough time finding contacts that work for me), got my hair cut, had dinner at Station Six with my hubby and the rest of the crew, and then wrapped it up with a three hour long guild board meeting. We finalized our budget. Whew!

Tuesday I spent getting ready for Tuesday evening -- Community Groups -- and yesterday I worked on administrative stuff for our ministry AND . . .

I pieced this cute little Candlelight Candlemat! It was a free pattern that was sent to me by my darling friend, Paula, but can also be found HERE on Sandi Andersen's A Legacy of Stitches if you'd like to give it a try! It was super-easy and one charm pack makes TWO -- one for you and one for a friend! Sandi did a great job in creating the pattern and tutorial for the mat.

I picked fall colors; I'm chomping at the bit for fall! These are Moda's Pumpkins Gone Wild by Sandy Gervais. Once it's finished, this will be one of the door prizes (along with one of the candy corn wreaths that I made) for Camp MACOBA's Fall Jamboree!

My Jocey had a regular OB appointment yesterday. It was kind of a crazy morning. I knew her appointment was at 10:15 and she's normally very, VERY good about calling or texting me as soon as she's out. When it was going on 12:30 and I still hadn't heard from her (and she hadn't responded to my text), I was starting to ... be anxious. Finally she e-mailed saying all was GREAT and she was having phone issues. Sheesh! NOT good timing for phone issues. The baby is looking good and all her numbers (BP, heart rate, weight, etc.) were terrific. We find out whether it's a boy or a girl on September 8th!

Today I'm creating the guild newsletter. Yes, it will take the entire day. I'd better get busy!

Happy Thursday!


Friday, August 19, 2011

worn . . .

Up, out and down! I'm at least three or four posts behind, but I've been so busy with just regular life stuff and then helping my darling husband get ready for a very big and important conference tomorrow. Whew! He's gone on to the faculty meeting and together we'll head over there very, very early in the morning!

As soon as that's finished up, our priorities will turn quickly to the second annual Fall Jamboree!

Truth be told, we've already been working on it, of course, but starting next week, we're full steam ahead! I'm really excited about it -- we've got live music, more kids activities, and the food will be provided by an outside source! It will be a *great* morning at the Camp!

We've also been really busy with our church. Last Sunday service, James led our worship and he brought Kim and Sawyer. Joc, Amberley and I kept nursery . . .

Okay, so we're not your typical church so it's not your typical nursery! He is so, SO cute!

Monday, Joc, Kim and I got together to work on our Candy Corn Wreaths. I have a whole post to put together for it, too, but figured I'd leave you with this little teaser . . .

Don't they look fun?!? I made two -- one for me and one as a door prize for the Jamboree! I'd thought about using one as a giveaway item for my blog -- I'm coming up on 600 posts in the not-too-distant future! But I'm afraid it wouldn't ship well. I'll have to come up with something else. Any thoughts?!?

Of course Sawyer was present for our craft day get-together, too. He is such a little darling -- and quite the ham, too! I'd say, "Where's Sawyer?" And he'd cover his eyes until I said, "Peek-a-boo!" And he'd fling his arms wide open as if to say, "Tah-dah! Here I am!!"

He *melts* my heart. Oooh -- and that was the day I heard him say, "Neesey" for the first time!!! Color this grandma excited!

Tuesday night was Community Groups (church) ... Wednesday night I picked up some videos and a VCR and dropped off some quilts and stuff ... last night was the last official guild meeting of the 2010-2011 year and I'm now officially on the new board. Whoohoo!



Sunday, August 14, 2011

curvacious . . .

Yesterday I pulled up Barbara Brackman's Civil War Quilts blog and read a thoroughly fascinating account of the Indiana Copperheads in the post entitled 33 Indiana Puzzle.

Basically it discussed the negative meaning the Indiana Union sympathizers intended when they called democrat Confederate sympathizers "Copperheads" or snakes in the grass. Instead, it was taken up as a compliment and they likened themselves to the copper Lady Liberty pennies and used the small coin as objects of jewelry to identify themselves. Like I said, it was a fascinating post, and the Civil War block it inspired caught my attention as well.

It was a circle set in a square ... which meant curved piecing (although I did see on the Civil War 2011 Flikr site that some appliqued the circle onto a block), which I've never attempted to do. But for some strange reason, this block really called my name . . . maybe it was the combination of blue and brown CW prints which I just happen to have a nice stock of . . . maybe it was the challenge of curved piecing . . . or maybe it was this template:

I'd gotten this several years ago -- perhaps at the last AQS show in Nashville -- but I'd never used it. It was still in the packaging, as a matter of fact! It's a template for a drunkard's path block setting -- and even though Barbara's post included the template for the cutting of the pieces in her block, in the back of my mind I knew I had this acrylic template that would work perfectly (even if it wasn't exactly the same size as the block she'd created). While I do follow the CW blog, I've never felt compelled to make one of the blocks, so sizing didn't really matter. It was the challenge to do something out of my comfort zone that got me all lit up!

So I pulled out some browns and blues -- I knew that one of the fabrics I'd gotten for our Stitcher's block swap would be just perfect for the copper center -- and I unwrapped the little template from its packaging, and went to town!

Working with the curves *was* challenging, but not as difficult as I thought it would be. Cutting around the template was the toughest part for me. I wonder if this is where using a smaller rotary cutter would be beneficial? I'll have to work on that. After figuring out on the first set how to line up and pin the two pieces, the next three went fairly quickly. And they iron flat very nicely!

What I didn't do was pay attention to Barbara's instructions on sewing the dark brown to the dark blue. That was counter-intuitive to me, and without reading the color placement instructions, I just did light to dark for both sets. I think the instructed way would have looked better. Even so, I really, really like how this little block turned out! This would be a fun quilt to make using all these blocks (maybe a little bit bigger - perhaps 10" or 12" squares) in Roll Tide colors, I think.

As a quilter I think I've come to the realization that if I get at least one quilt project finished per year, I'm happy (and thankfully I've more than met that goal for this year -- LOL). I really enjoy learning new techniques, figuring out uses for tools, and challenging my stitching, cutting and piecing skills on different blocks. So yes, I may have a drawer full of orphan blocks . . . but what they've given me is so fulfilling, who cares? Someday I'll redefine crazy quilting and put them all together (bizarre fabric combinations and all), and make my own personal evolution of quilting quilt!

I did turn in my BOM late yesterday afternoon and picked up the last installment. Now that will be a finished quilt either late this year or early next. I'm excited to put together and finish my glorious orange quilt! From that errand, I met Joc and Jason and a group of their friends for a birthday dinner at Beauregard's. Then we headed over to Joc's for birthday cake and ice cream and little Fruit Ninja on the kinnect. Ummmm, can you say hilarious? It was actually a lot of fun!

When I got home late last night, I found the power was out. When I called it in I learned it was not area-wide, which meant no one was working on restoring it yet! Since Todd was on shift, it was just only me. The utility crew that came out was very nice and got it working as fast as they could -- still it was near 2 a.m. before I was finally able to drive down to lock the gate so I could crawl into bed!

I see a nap in my future today.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

two to go . . .

First order of business this morning is to wish my darling son-in-law, Jason, a most happy birthday!! We will be celebrating tonight, and Jocelyn took a good portion of yesterday to create from scratch a cake to outshine all cakes. Between the cake and the frosting there were seven sticks of butter. And it will have a chocolate ganache filling. Oh my!

Yesterday I finished up my July BOM so I can turn them in today for the L-A-S-T installment! I'm so excited that I've finished every single block and turned them in on time -- that's never happened before in my BOM history!

I really enjoyed creating both of these blocks -- I like the 1" strip that runs through the middle. But my favorite of the two is the top block. I love stars -- they just look so fancy!

Now all I have to do is decide on the staging for these pretty little blocks . . .

Purple or orange?

And again,

Purple or orange?

I know I like the second one better in the purple, but on the star I'm undecided. It really could go either way.

So, off to Patches and Stitches and the last two blocks I go! I cannot wait to start playing with block order for this quilt!



Friday, August 12, 2011

sewing lessons . . .

I just realized I never shared my fun crafting day with Jocelyn. And I have pictures and *everything*. . .

Meet Leia. Joc's baby-cat. She's quite beautiful and I'd love to say how sweet and affectionate she is. Alas, I cannot. I can say that she's gotten better with me and I was able to pet *and* pick her up on this visit, without too much ado.

I can also say that I'm terribly glad she's declawed! I think she just gets anxious around lots of strangers. She sure does love Jocelyn and Jason. And she sure is gorgeous!

We got all our craft supplies set out. And Joc pulled up the website with the instructions for her wreath, which is HERE, on the Jones Design Company blog. As an aside, she has tutorials for all kinds of darling wreaths on her blog, if that's something you are into.

I'd given Jocelyn my old (as in nearly 20 years) Kenmore sewing machine. It's still a good machine -- just not the greatest for quilting. Anyway, we had it serviced and it came home to live with her. I pulled it out and gave her a quick tutorial on how to wind the bobbin, thread the machine, and thread the bobbin.

She called the metal bobbin case the "bobbin killer". It stuck. I'll never look at that again without thinking, "bobbin killer"!

And just like I thought, she was a natural! This was a great project for her first use of the sewing machine. She sewed strips together using a 1/4" seam, and then sewed a long, running stitch down the entire length of the strips.

Doesn't she look like she's been doing this all her life?!? A natural, I'm telling you!

Leia knew her job; Quality Control Officer. She was watching Joc's foot work that pedal.

And maybe playing with cords. She definitely wanted to be up on the table!

Joc couldn't believe the disparity between her iron and my little travel iron!

You can barely see it in her hand! But it gets nice and hot, and presses seams open very nicely, thank you very much!

After we ruffled up the long strip, Jocelyn wound it around the wreath form, tacking it down occasionally with hot glue.

It's got a real vintage look to it. Fun stuff to play with.

Fun for us, anyway. Leia got bored with the whole process.

"A plastic bag is more interesting than you people crafting!"

We did have a hot glue gun incident . . .

It blistered up fast! Poor finger. And no, she did not want her mom to kiss it and make it better. *sigh*

Evidently the bag got boring, too.

Or it was just time for a catnap. I did bring Leia a cat candy -- my friend Cindy at Patches & Stitches used to give them out with big fabric orders, and I found one when I was organizing my stuff last weekend. It's a simple square of fabric, rolled up and knotted in the middle. Joc reports that it's the best intentional cat toy anyone's ever brought Leia -- she loves it!

And she finished wrapping the wreath form . . .

It really looks cool -- she did a great job! Because we did so much visiting, and because she wasn't sure she cared for the nest she'd purchased for it, she was going to do the adornments later. I can't wait to see it all finished up. She's got good crafting genes!

Monday it will be Kim, Jocelyn and me making candy corn wreaths! I love my crafty girls!