Friday, December 29, 2006

The fifth day

On the fifth day of Christmas, Santa brought to us... 5 mp3 players

(4 types of pretzels, 3 lost socks, 2 running shoes, and an x-box game just for me.)

Yes, five different people at our Christmas celebration got mp3 players. My oldest son (11 years old) asked for one to tune out his younger siblings. My older sister and I got our nephew one because both our boys were getting them. Another nephew, a niece, and my sister also got them.

Since mine is being replaced by Creative Labs (talk about great customer service!) I have been borrowing my son's to go running. It is great. He got the new tiny ipod shuffle. Mine is bigger and heavier, although it has many more features.

I will get back in the studio tomorrow. I promise. Did I mention I got new shelves for it and I have been sorting fabric? I have more than I thought. I need to make it useful!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

4th Day of Christmas

My sister brought to me...
4 different kinds of pretzels dipped in chocolate
3 leftover socks
2 running shoes
and an X-box game just for me....

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

12 Days of Christmas

Ala Dorothy...

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

3 leftover socks
2 running shoes with insoles
and a X-Box game just for me (Dance Dance Revolution!)

Very Quickly

I just wanted to say hello to everyone. Last week, I hosted 3 soldiers (my brother-in-law and two of his men) who were up here for laser eye surgery before going back to Iraq in a couple of months. Apparently eyeglasses and war do not go well together. (By the way, they really encouraged me in the Quilts of Valor area, so now I have even more motivation.) We had 12 extra people in our house for Christmas. It was a blast, but very busy. We had a family picture made with all 18 of us on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning was delightful with 10 kids and 8 adults.

Back to getting the house back in order. There are lots of dirty sheets and towels.

About the Quilts of Valor project, the soldiers said it was nice to know that the people at home had their backs. They were touched that strangers would work so hard to make something to comfort a soldier in his/her time of need.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas at Our House

Christmastime has come to our house. We were a little slow getting around to it this year, but the tree is now up and decorated. Most of the Nativities are out. And the stockings have been found, but not yet hung.

Here is a Nativity I got in one of those White Elephant swaps one year.

This Nativity, a good friend from grad school slip cast and glazed for me. It even has a little drummer boy, because I could not convince my dad that I needed the little drummer boy for my large set to which my parents were adding a piece or two every year.

And here is the one my parents have been buying me slowly. My two year old has decided they needed to perform "A Chorus Line." They have been singing and dancing all day, mostly to a mix of "Jingle Bells" and the alphabet.

I also have some pieces from the Department 56 Dickens Village. The Nativity my friend made fits right in, as though it is display in the village. I have more pieces, but my mantle is not big enough. They are spread throughout the house, on any high enough surface.

Our tree is they typical family tree with ornaments the kids made and other various ornaments we have collected all our lives. I am expecting a box from Browners under my tree with Sam's first Christmas ornament. That is my mom's job.

And finally... the most annoying Christmas decoration ever... And to think I was in Hallmark today and declined to buy this year's version...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Where has the time gone?

That is a good question. I don't think I have anything to show for the last two weeks. It has been a time of just keeping my head above water. My husband was out of town for a couple of days, and that was crazy.

We did get a new kitchen table and chairs this week. I went to Ikea last week to scope things out. I figure with 4 kids, we don't need a $3000+ kitchen set. My kitchen table is used for painting, playdough, cutting and pasting, etc. more than for eating. So I decided semi-disposable was the way to go. I took Dave back on Thursday, and he brought home the table and eight chairs. Since it is wood, it added to the log cabin look in our kitchen. I have decided to wait until after the holidays to redo the kitchen. It was just too much stress in an already busy time.

Monday I am going outlet shopping. I hope to find Christmas table cloths for both the dining room and kitchen tables. The dining room table is an odd size, and the only table cloth that I have that fits it correctly was made from a sheet by my mother, probably 40 years ago. (Can you imagine that a white table cloth has lasted that long?) I also need Christmas presents for a number of people. I am just not very organized this year.

I did manage to get baby announcements sent this week. I had visions of doing something artsy and wonderful, ala Debra's Christmas booklets last year. (I was going to link to the post from last year, but I cannot find her archives. Suffice it to say, in true Debra style, these were wonderful!) Ha Ha Ha! We went with some from Target that could go through the computer printer. This week I am going to do the Christmas cards, which are from Hallmark, and not so artsy, either. I just need to get a decent picture of the kids. I tried at the aquarium a couple of weeks ago. However, in the ones the kids look good, the Belugas are no where in sight and it looks like the kids are standing in front of an empty tank of water. In the ones with the whales, the kids are looking the wrong way because, well, there are whales behind them that they want to see. I may morph two pictures together. You know, cut the whales out of one and add them to the good one of the kids.

On the quilting front, I did draw out the first in the series of family values political quilts that I have planned. I also made a list of themes for 3 more in the series. I am very jazzed about these quilts that will probably hang no where but my house.

My friend Becca will have a quilt in the Houston show next year. Check out her blog to see her wonderful seashore quilt. I love that crab. Also, when you read about her communications volunteer work, that was my job last year, but she has taken it to the next level. So far, my volunteering this year has consisted of baking some cookies and reading to the class twice.

That is all from here. Now I am going to go make tyvek snowflakes with the kids to hang on the back porch.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Finished the Rag Quilt

I finished the animal print rag quilt. I wanted to give it to its recipients on Thanksgiving, but that didn't happen. They will get it this Sunday. I am glad to have it done.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Done At Last

Here is the finished dining room. We finished about 8 o'clock last night. It looks like I was drunk when I took this picture. I wasn't, but it is crooked. The chandelier actually hangs straight. When I came downstairs this morning and saw this room, I thought, "Wow, this room looks like our house now. No longer is it our furniture in someone else's house. Let's get started on the kitchen!"
I recycled the curtains that were already here. They are a little "fancy" for my taste, but they look good in the room, so they will stay. Here is my china hutch. It was my mom's. Then my older sister had it. Now I have it.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I just want to wish all my friends a Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your day.
Here is the dressing I made. I thought the colors were really neat together, so I took a picture.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Laura Cater Woods

Laura Cater Woods talked to the Fiber Arts Alliance of which I am a member last Thursday. She is a wonderful woman. She really got to know the audience in the two hours we were there and she spoke personally to every one. I found her very inspiring and have been looking at my plans for next year differently after meeting her. She gave a weekend long workshop, which I could not attend. However, if she is ever in town again, I will make every effort to be there. Rebecca attended the weekend workshop and you can read about it on her blog. I am excited about getting together for coffee with her and seeing where she is going with her new found inspiration. Anyway, the political quilt is coming out of my brain and onto paper and cloth. Last night during the 3 am feeding, I designed two in my head. Now I have to see if I still like them in the morning and if I can get them out of my head and onto paper.

WIP Wednesday

This week I will share a work in progress that is not a quilt after a quick update on my last two WIP Wednesday posts. I have not done anything with the batik piece, yet. Hopefully next week I will have the courage and time to mess with it. As for the rag quilt, it is almost done. I am more than halfway through snipping it. I will finish that today and wash it, so I can give it to its recipients tomorrow.

This week we started painting the dining room. Here is the before:
Here is the current state:
We are going to finish painting around the bottom in white. It is amazing how cold this grey looks next to my warm Sweet Persimmon. The chandelier will come down and this one will go in its place.
The old curtains will go back up. They are ivory and look fine with the new paint.

I took Debra's advice and we simply primed and painted right over the wallpaper. It really looks great.

Since that was so successful in the dining room, and Dave is on a roll, next comes the kitchen. It is going to be one of these tans in the third row with white trim and possibly white cabinets.
I am going to make red curtains for the bank of windows in the breakfast nook. I will also get new light fixtures for the kitchen and a new faucet. Also we will replace the drawer and cabinet pulls. Home Depot has just expanded their kitchen design center near us. I have not been in there yet because the parking lot is a mess as they expand the rest of the store. I am hoping they have more choices than they did in their old space. Certainly they expanded for a reason, right? Eventually, I want granite counters, but that is a while off.

Monday, November 20, 2006

What's in My Purse?

Rian wanted to know what us big purse women carry in our giant bags. So here are the contents of my purse...

For the kids I carry two sizes of diapers, a box of wipes, various toys including multiple vehicles, books, and games, two pacifiers, and some extra pieces of clothing like socks and hats. I also carry hair bows in the hope that one day my daughter might actually wear one for me.

For myself I have my wallet, my check book, lipstick, lip balm, various gift cards and coupons, always some piece of paper work from either the pediatrician or one of the schools or my daughter's medical study, and lots of pens. I also have my keys and cell phone at all times. I have only recently started carrying a lipstick. I never used lipstick until I moved south.

When I get ready to leave the house, I add juice boxes or sippy cups, fruit snacks, crackers, and sometimes the camera.

I just emptied a bottle of hand sanitizer and have not put the new one it, so that is one more thing.

My keys--we have three cars and two houses, each with two keys, so that is nine keys right there. Plus I have keys to the houses of my brothers-in-law since I water their plants when they are out of town. I have also been known to stick dinners in their fridges or other little presents for them or their wives during the day. I guess I do have a lot of keys.

I really love this diaper bag that my sister-in-law gave me. It has fabric from one of my favorite designers, Amy Butler. I made my sister-in-law a hand bag with this fabric in another colorway for her birthday after she had ordered this bag. I guess we have similar tastes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

WIP Wednesday...a little late

Yesterday, I went to Rebecca's house to try out making my own batik. Apparently at one time I thought I might be Amish, and I had a surprising amount of solids in my stash. I decided to try out this teal one. Now, all I have managed to do so far is put the wax on it. But hopefully tomorrow I can discharge it and see how it looks. Drawing with wax was completely relaxing. I must have worked for over an hour just playing with it. Next time, and there will be a next time, I will have a plan.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Testing 1,2,3

Ok, I should have made the switch over. I am ready to figure out the new stuff. Maybe after everyone goes to bed...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sam and I are Blessed

I am overwhelmed at the moment, so this post will be very crazy, I am sure. The most beautiful quilt arrived at my house today. It was made by my blogging friends for Baby Sam. It came with a beautiful handmade book of inspirational messages, which I will photograph later and post. The quilt even contains a block made by me, which I think is very clever. Anyway, the people who worked on this quilt are... Deb H, Debra, Rian, Amy the Calico Cat, Barbara, Allie, Jen, Dorothy, Suze, Jane Ann, Kay, Deb G, and Granny Fran. I don't know what to say. Thank you so much ladies. And I need mailing addresses so I can send out thank you's.

The blocks are incredible. The quilting is exquisite. I would love to know who all did what on this quilt.

Sam has already laid on his quilt for a brief moment. He will spend more time on it after his siblings go to bed, as they tend to over-love him if he is on the floor.

I don't know what to say. I am overwhelmed. I have tears.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

WIP Wednesday on time

I have been working on my knitting. I tried the purl stitch. My first row looked awful. My second row looked a little better. I am going to try again tonight, I think.

Yesterday, inspired by Amy, I decided to work on a rag quilt. I have never made one before, but I bought this kit 5 years ago from The Unique Spool. I thought it would make a nice thank you gift for my brother-in-law and his wife for all the help they gave us while I was in the hospital. And, since I bought it so long ago and am using batting scraps, it is like it is free, except my time. (I feel my time is actually worth money, just like if I had a paying job. I think it is from billing time as an engineer when I was working.) I got all the pieces cut and layered yesterday. I hope to get all the X's sewn today and the pieces all laid out.

I did go out in the rain and vote yesterday. The kids had the day off school. I took the two youngest with me to vote. Thank goodness we didn't have long lines because both of them were fussy by the time I was done. I just wanted to let you know I did vote. I did not, however, do any of my other errands. I will do them today without rain.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Curious About the Metric System

When I was in elementary school, President Reagan told us we should all convert to the metric system. So I was taught the metric system growing up. We always used metric measurements in science classes. When I think units of measure, except in the sewing room and cooking and body weight, I think in metric. Temperature I can go back and forth on. Since I majored in materials science and engineering in college, I used SI units all the time. (And 1600K, 16ooF and 1600C are very different temperatures. Just ask a ceramic engineer.) My kids do not do only metric in school. They go back and forth, although science is mostly metric. In fact, the first project my son did this year was to convert the standard chocolate chip cookie recipe from metric to American units. (Are they American units? I don't even know what they are called.)

So I am curious about what units everyone else uses. Do you think in metric? Can you convert in your head? What units were you taught in school? Is your local pool measured in yards or meters? I think the only thing that every really switched to the metric system was the plastic Coke bottle.

Life Rolls On

Life is moving forward, so I had to get back at it this weekend. I managed to attend a soccer game and had a great time. A first grade boy saw the baby and said, "Wow! So that is why your tummy was so big." Thank goodness he went home with his parents to ask them how the baby got in there.

I have also started cooking for real again. Tonight's menu is beef roast, home made noodles, and whipped potatoes. The noodles are rolled out and drying. The roast is in the crock pot. I don't need to do the potatoes until later.

It is time to start painting this house. We will start in the dining room to get rid of the peacock wall paper. My task for the next two weeks is to come up with a color scheme. So I will be spending time at the Home Depot and looking through magazines.

Ok, life is calling me. Loudly!

Friday, November 03, 2006

WIP Wednesday...a little late

I am a little late with the WIP Wednesday. This week, I decided to learn to knit. I spend a lot of time at soccer games, swim practices, swim meets, PTA meetings, etc. Since my quilting is pretty much done by machine, and I really did not enjoy my short foray into crazy quilting, quilting is just not portable for me. Knitting, on the other hand, looks very portable.

On Tuesday, my best friend called to see if I wanted an outing to our favorite french fry place, Five Guys Burgers. These are great french fries. They are almost as good as Boardwalk Fries, for those of you who live in the Maryland area. (My husband assures me that they are not quite as good as Boardwalk, and it is not just the nostalgia factor influencing my opinion.) On the way, we needed to stop by a knitting store, Cast-On Cottage in Roswell, Georgia, so she could return a skein of yarn and pick up another one. Well, I fell in love with the yarn selection. Who knew there were these awesome fibers out there? (I am sure everyone but me knew.) So I got a book called Knitting Basics and a skein of sock yarn. But, I cannot knit socks, yet. So, my wonderful friend gave me a ball of yarn and some needles, and I have been playing. Here is what I have accomplished.

I know it isn't perfect. Heck, it isn't even very good. But I did it. And it was fun. And I am going to continue and get better. And I like it better than crazy quilting.

In other news... I am wearing my skinny jeans today. It feels pretty good. I may put on my new boots later, if we go out to eat.

One more note on Maryland food. (I think I am homesick right now. Anyone want to go to the Columbia Mall with me?) Ledo's Pizza. I agree with Oprah's friend Gayle on this one. She said it was the best in America. I love Ledo's Pizza. And they have now franchised, and the franchise pizza is as good. So if you are in Maryland, go have some Boardwalk Fries and some Ledo's Pizza, not together though, and think of me. Oh, and hit Holly's for some crab cake sandwiches. Ok, I am going to go eat some Halloween candy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wonderful Present

This beautiful quilt showed up in my mail yesterday. It was made by a group of quilters with whom I have been corresponding and sharing since 2001. I love these little boats. They are so much fun. The blocks came from quilters on three different continents-- Europe, Australia, and North America. The top was designed and pieced in Oklahoma. It was quilted in Australia and Florida, and bound in Illinois and Florida. (I am not sure how that worked, but that is what the label says...) It is such happy quilt. I am sure it will get years of use.

My parents left for home this morning. They sure were a huge help these last two weeks, but I suppose I need to stand on my own, now. But they made sure I had a fridge and freezer full of food before they left. Mom even made a fresh batch of peach flavored iced tea for me. While they were here, they made sure the big kids did not have to miss a soccer practice or a Lego Robotics meeting. They watched the little ones so I could go to my oldest's first orchestra concert. Mom and I cleaned out the kids' dressers and went through the boxes of stored clothes. I don't know what I would have done without them. And they also brought my kids to visit me in the hospital, which was a tall order.

On the list of people who came to my rescue... My husband's younger brother who started sleeping with his cell phone so he could come take care of our kids in the middle of the night if I went into labor. We left for the hospital at 2am, so he came in the middle of the night and saw the kids off to school the next morning. My former neighbor and best friend, also a quilter, who came and rescued my brother-in-law who needed to go to work. She took the kids for the rest of the day, until my brother-in-law and his wonderful wife came and got them. She spent a lot of the day running back and forth between our two houses getting kids off buses and making sure no one was home alone for any length of time. How she did it? I don't know. But I owe her big. Both of my husband's brothers and their wives brought me food in the hospital so I didn't have to eat gross hospital food.

So this week I will learn how to function with four kids. I have a couple of easy errands planned. Halloween costumes are all taken care of. I need to plan out some meals with the food I have. And I need to learn to take things easy. Oh, and Jorge Cruise's 8 Minutes in the Morning needs to start again. I want to get back into my skinny jeans soon!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

He's Here!

Here is a picture of our new arrival. I hope to be back into a routine soon, but we'll have to see how that goes. He is sleeping pretty well and enjoying life with his siblings.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

On My Doorstep

I found these on my doorstep Thursday evening when I opened the door to call the kids in for bed. They are from Mr. Dave next door. He has a beautiful lawn and garden. We watch him working in his garden in the evenings while we eat dinner. Anyway, I have one recipe that I make from fresh tomatoes, so we had that for dinner last night. It is called Southwestern Pasta. You chop up the tomatoes, add olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, chili powder, white pepper, salt, and garlic. Let that sit all day on the counter. I shake the container every once in a while. Then, serve that over spaghetti with some blue or feta cheese on top. The kids don't eat it, but I just give them spaghetti with freshly grated parmesan instead. I use one tomato per person. I usually serve Sister Schubert's rolls with it.

I just heard that my quilt top and backing arrived at its destination. I have to say, I wasn't really worried. Maybe I just have too many other things on my mind these days.

I got started on my Little Treasures. These are a lot of fun to make. A hint from my friend Rebecca... She traced the pattern onto card stock and then modified it until she liked the shape. She then scanned that into her computer. Now she has a template that she can make any size. She didn't like the shape of the top on the original. I thought that was a great idea. Oh, and her children enjoyed decorating the card stock boxes.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fabric Shopping

A friend picked me up for lunch today, and we decided to hit Tiny Stitches on our way home. I really was just going to browse a little bit, but I found these great batiks that I just couldn't leave there. They only had it in 7 colors, which seems a little odd. But I am sure I can figure something out. I did search on the internet for other colors when I got home, but I could only find a mint or sage green, and I really didn't like it. I was hoping for a yellow.

I also found this great pirate fabric. It was actually the backing fabric for a kit, and they didn't have any more in the store. I really didn't want the rest of the kit, so the owner sold me the two yards that were in the kit. I thought that was very sweet of her, since I don't know what she will do with the rest of the kit. I don't know what I will do with this fabric, either, but it is great fabric.I have not been buying a lot of fabric recently, so today was a big splurge. It was fun, though. I also went to Target, but that isn't very exciting...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It Got Mailed

I mailed the quilt top and backing and thread this morning. Now to sit back, relax, and enjoy someone else doing the quilting. Right?

Baby Blankets Galore

I finished 5 baby blankets yesterday afternoon. These are so easy, but so useful. I use a 45 inch square piece of flannel. I then use either another 45 inch square piece of flannel or regular cotton. I sew them together pillowcase style, turn them, and then top stitch around the edge. They are great because they are so big and soft. So many baby blankets you buy are only 30 inches. The extra 15 inches allows you to really swaddle up that baby good. I tend to buy my flannel in 5 yard pieces at JoAnn's using a coupon. That is why so many of them are the same. They are going to different families. I may have to go back and get more of the monster flannel though, because I really fell in love with it.

The refrigerator is fixed. The disposal is fixed. It is nice to have everything working in the kitchen again. I bought gallons of milk yesterday, and we drank a whole gallon last night. I guess we were all missing milk, even though I was buying a new half gallon every day. I guess everyone just wanted to pour from the big jug. I also bought frozen food. The kids were happy to have their French Toast Sticks back for breakfast this morning.

Tonight at the Contemporary Quilt and Fiber Arts Alliance meeting we are going to work on Little Treasures from Quilting Arts Winter 2005. So I will spend part of today getting some things layered together for that. I think we will spend tonight embellishing them. I can see this as a great gift box for earrings, a gift card, or something else small.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Finished One and Sending One Out

I finished the binding on the Brown Bag Lady quilt. A little background... Our local store has a program called the Bag Lady program. You join for $25. Three shopping visits during the year, at your choosing, you get 15% off your purchase. For your birthday, you get 25% off of your purchase. And then, every other time you buy something, you get 5% off. Each month they offer a Bag Lady Quilt. It is a kit that you buy that comes pretty much cut out. And you come into the shop and sew all day or all evening for $5. And, it includes a meal. Anyway, one year, a few years ago, I decided to do a couple of these. And, well, they didn't get done. So now I am trying to finish them up. I love the colors in this one. And I used it last night to cuddle up in while watching "The Amazing Race" and eating my popcorn.

This second quilt is just a top and was a block of the month at the same shop. You know, one of those where you pay $5 the first month, and then, as long as you get your block done by the next month it is free... It also has been sitting around for a couple of years. So I decided to send it out to be quilted. It is going out today. I have never done that before, but I really need to let things go. So it will go out Priority Mail in about an hour. I am pretty excited as it will make a great Christmas present for my niece. And, it is on my Pick 4 list, even though it is one of the ones I bumped.

I have yet to figure out where to take quilt pictures in this house. For these, I spread them on the floor in the foyer and then took the picture from upstairs. It didn't quite work. They look catywampus, but really are square. The pictures are also a little dark, but that is because it is cloudy. The foyer usually has great sun in the mornings. I am just going to have to set up a clothes line somewhere to use.

I found enough batting in my sewing room to layer the twins' quilts, so that will definitely get done today. (If I can find the basting pins or the rain holds off so I can spray them outside. ) I also have a few baby blankets to stitch up for a couple of friends. And, the fridge guy is coming to fix the fridge today. I will move the sewing machine upstairs for the afternoon, so I can sew and listen for the door at the same time.

Edited to add: It is Columbus Day, so the quilt will have to go out tomorrow. I went to the bank, noticed it was closed, but just used the ATM. Then I went to the post office where it dawned on me that the bank was closed because it it is a federal holiday. So, Happy Columbus Day to everyone. I sure hope my middle child comes home from school having learned about Columbus today.

One more thing... This Friday, October 13th, the last Lemony Snickey Series of Unfortunate Events book comes out. Just a heads up to the moms out there whose kids will think they are so cool for getting them this book first!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Clearing History

I have been really upset this week. I have been uptight and out of sorts. I just realized what it was. I started reading a blog about school policies and testing. It is a subject I am interested in. What I didn't realize, because I didn't look closely enough, was that the writer had an agenda to abolish public education. On Monday, she started using the tragedy at the Amish School to explain why people should not attend public school. This reasoning really upset me. And, like an idiot, I kept going back to the blog to read what the author was saying and what comments were coming up. Well, I just cleared the history on my browser. I have no idea what the web address for this blog is, and I will never read it again. I feel like a new person.

I am going back to reading about quilting and the lives of the quilters I have come to think of as friends. It isn't that I don't want to read opposing points of view. It isn't that I don't want to read what reasonable people are thinking. I have especially enjoyed Dorothy's blog this week. She and I tend to be on the same side of the political fence. But I have also, in the past, enjoyed reading Teri's blog on political stuff, and she and I tend to be polar opposites. I am very intrigued by Teri's miniatures, by the way. I was very uplifted by Tracey's blog this week, and am so glad that she is fine. She and I are the same age, pretty much, so her health issue put my taking my health for granted in perspective. And, when my fridge died, I thought of Rebecca's post from September 18th and decided that a broken fridge wasn't so bad after all. Oh, and I love the shirt Debra and her mom are making. Jane Ann's post about talking Southern really made me laugh. As a person who is considered a Southerner up North and a Yankee down South, it really struck me as funny. No, I am sure I don't have an accent!

Tonight, while I watch Lost, I will finish the binding on my brown bag lady quilt. Tomorrow, I will get the twins' quilts layered, and maybe visit JoAnn's for some black fabric to make the boys' NFL quilts. And Friday, I will get my hair cut. Too bad he doesn't work in a full service salon anymore because I could use a spa pedicure. Just to make my life easier, I am sending my first quilt to a long arm quilter. I just need to get up the nerve to do it. (The quilt is not the first quilt I ever made, just the first quilt to get sent out. Don't want to confuse anyone. The first quilt I ever made, well, I may finish it one day.)

And I will continue to enjoy Dorothy's trip through Vermont. And I will start reading the John Adams book because I have a huge thirst for historical knowledge right now.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Well That's 35 Minutes I Will Never Get Back

My oldest son likes to go to intermurals in the morning before school. It is a great program because middle school around here does not get out until after 4. After school activities are really hard to fit in. Almost all of the clubs meet before school. And on days your club(s) don't meet, they have organized sports for the kids. So every morning, one of us takes our son to school so he can participate. For some reason this morning, traffic just wasn't working right. (Probably a few too many timid left turners...) Now, if I had realized this would be the case, I would have taken my cell phone and calendar, and while I was waiting to get out of the parking lot, I could have scheduled all sorts of dentist and doctors appointments. I could have called my mom and talked to her. But, I figured I would be in and out in a couple of minutes as usual.

While I was sitting there listening to my new cd, I remembered my sister talking about getting back onto the base in Germany after Sept. 11, 2001. My sister did not like the base preschool, so she took her son to the local German preschool. She taught at the base high school. After Sept 11, 2001, every car coming onto the base had to be searched. It took her sometimes an hour to get back onto base. So she took her books with her and did her lesson planning in the car. Here is the funny thing about it... The class she was teaching was time management. And here she was practicing it every morning.

Tomorrow, I will bring my cell phone and calendar, and traffic will flow as usual. However, I don't want to discourage my son from participating in as many things as he can handle. Especially when during the sex ed talk a few weeks ago they presented a statistic that said that kids who are busy and lead active lives tend not to engage in risk taking behaviors like drinking, drugs, and sex. Of course, my parents knew that without any statistics which would explain why I can play the piano and the viola, and I took dance and drama classes for years, not to mention sang in the church choir. There are evenings when I wish my son was taking my sister's time management class. I think they should add that to the middle school curriculum.

One more thing, I really managed to crack up the guy at the soccer store the other day. I went in to exchange a shirt my son's team had bought for my husband, the coach. It was too small, so I just needed a larger size. Little did I realize how much my daughter thought she NEEDED a green soccer ball. My husband coaches two teams, not to mention the neighborhood games that go on in our yard almost every night. So we have a lot of soccer balls, probably 10 or so. None of them are bright green, though. Anyway, I had to drag her out of there kicking and screaming. I finally looked at her and said, "Who do you think you are, Mia Hamm?" The guy behind the counter started laughing so hard he had to lean on the counter to keep from falling over. Glad I could make your day, sir! I really want to go back to the store to get some Christmas presents, but I am afraid to take her back in there.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Quilts of Valor Project

Debra has been asked to make a special quilt for the Quilts of Valor project to be used in their display in Houston. Graciously, Debra is allowing some of her blogging friends to participate in the project with her. Here are my two blocks that I made.

I am proud of myself because I usually only work with right angles. I am more of a square/rectangle type person. But I managed to make these and their points match and they are the right size. And I even managed to change the pattern to get rid of the set-in seams. Note, I took the pictures before pressing, so they don't look quite square.

I am also proud to be part of the Quilts of Valor project. When I was in the quilt store, Tiny Stitches, buying the fabric for these blocks (any reason to visit the quilt store) the ladies who were working (shout out to Barb and Pam who played with my daughter while I searched for fabric) thought they should get the store involved in this project. So I am going to print out some information and bring it by the store.

As some of you know, my brother-in-law has been on two tours of duty in Iraq, and will be leaving again in the next few months. So this project is really near and dear to my heart. In the new year, I will be making time to work on quilts for this project. I have decided that my skills are good enough to participate.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Visit to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Yesterday, my friend Rebecca and I visited the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to see the works of Niki de Saint Phalle. We took our little people with us, as many of these you can climb on. Her beautiful works are made of polyesther. Her many years of breathing the fumes while sculpting compromised her health and she died in 2002 at the age of 72. These sculptures are simply amazing.

I really fell in love with her Totems.

This sculpture is a camel vase and it was in the cactus room at the garden. It has plants growing out of its humps.
Here is another totem. The colors on these are brilliant.
This castle looked fun to climb through. But, it was fenced off so we refrained. I can just imagine the princess who lives in here.
This sign explains why she changed her medium. And below is one of the Skinnys.
I am now fascinated by this woman's works and want to read more.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

This was on Jane Ann's Blog

1. FIRST NAME? Julie.

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My initials, before I got married, were the same as my dad's. Both my grandmas are named Lois, although one didn't go by it and hated it, and my middle name, Lynn, is as close to Lois and my parents would go.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Probably watching TV. I cannot remember.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I do like my handwriting. I worked on it after taking a quilt labeling class.


6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Probably not. I don't think I am very friendly.


8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes. I am missing 8 teeth, but I have all my internal organs.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I sometimes think I might, but then I come to my senses.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Lucky Charms without milk.



13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Moosetracks by Mayfield Dairy.

14. SHOE SIZE? 7 1/2 - 8.

15. FAVORITE COLOR? Turquoise

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? That I cannot stick to an exercise program.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Living--my sisters. I wish they lived next door to me. Dead--my mother's parents. I wish my kids could know them. They still visit me a lot, especially around the holidays. You know, from the great beyond. Oh, and my father-in-law, because my oldest child is the only one of his soon to be 5 grandchildren who ever met him. I am also the only daughter-in-law who knew him.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Yes! I am a very curious person


20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Ham sandwich. I told you earlier I like ham.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Barney on demand is in the other room, and I can hear the washing machine spinning.


23. FAVORITE SMELLS? My husband. Spiced cider.




27. FAVORITE DRINK? Classic Coke. Alcoholic--margarita on the rocks with salt.


29. EYE COLOR? Brown.

30. HAT SIZE? One size fits all.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? No. I wear glasses most of the time. I can see without them, but not very well.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? Tomato basil soup from La Madeline.


34. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Blue Denim, which is unusual, but it is my most comfortable maternity top.


36. HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs, but I am not much of a touchy-feely person.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Birthday cake.

38. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? I am currently reading the parents' guide to the middle school sex ed program our county uses. I just finished 1776.

39. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? A giant penguin squishing the Microsoft complex that is saying, "Good morning Mr. Gates. I will be your server today." It is from the makers of Linux.


41. FAVORITE SOUNDS? My kids laughing. The ocean.


43. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? St. Petersburg, Russia, when it was still Leningrad and it was still the Soviet Union. So far from home in distance and culture.


45. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Washington, DC.


47. NEWEST THING YOU'VE TRIED? Having children close together in age.

48. ONE THING YOU'D CHANGE ABOUT YOURSELF: More exercise. Learn more history.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What I've Been Thinking About

I just stitched down the binding to a quilt. I need to do the hand part over the next couple of evenings. Then it will be done. It is the second of my Pick 4 Challenge. I have decided to change the other two projects to two projects I had forgotten about. The tops are ready. They need to be quilted and bound and sent to their recipients. They are for a friend's twin daughters who are 4, I think. These tops were done right after they were born, so they are appropriately aged. Ok, enough of the quilty stuff...

I have been looking at my to do list for the week. I need to make some baby blankets for various friends and relatives. I buy a yard and a half of flannel and serge around them to make a 45 inch square receiving blanket. They are quick and easy and I used a 50% off coupon on the flannel, and everyone is getting the same blanket. I do know where the serger is, I just have to set it up. Once I get it threaded and the tension right, the blankets should take no time. Since the serger, like my sewing machine, is a hand me down from my mom, I have her copious notes to help me. This time is another of the many times I am glad to have a former college professor for a mom who still writes down everything.

I need to go shopping for a baby shower I am attending next weekend. I know what I am going to get, so it should be easy. And the baby store is right near JoAnn's. I am hoping they have big guys working at the baby store who will happily load my purchase into my SUV. I also need to pick up some stuff for myself at the baby store.

While I am up there (it is only about fifteen minutes away, but I don't get up there very often) I am going to stop in JoAnn's and use my new 50% off coupon for fabric to make NFL quilts for the boys for Christmas. Last year, I participated in a swap, so I have 2 10 inch squares of fabric from each NFL team. I am going to very simply put black squares in between them and then black for the backing. I need to calculate how much I need, but that should be easy enough. Also, I want to figure out what fusible fleece is because I have a number of bag patterns that call for it.

I have a number of things I need to mail. The post office is one of those dreaded places for me. Maybe I will use the UPS Store instead.

Of course, there are the normal soccer practices and things to get the kids to. And then Thursday night the middle school is having a seminar on how to talk to your kids about sex. I think that should be interesting. One of the benefits of being at the wealthier middle school is that they can afford programs like this one.

And, I have guild Tuesday evening. That should be a blast! I want to get a couple more postcards done, but that might not happen. I was fascinated by all the different art forms these postcards were using.

A dad from one of my sons' soccer teams has offered me his late wife's rocker and ottoman. I have always wanted a rocker, but have always decided it was a luxury I didn't need. I was so thankful that I almost burst into tears. (Thank God I didn't. I am sure it would have embarassed him.) My husband will pick that up at soccer practice this week. This dad is a treasure to his kids and to our team. And he is so kind to me at soccer games. Actually, we have really great parents and kids on our soccer teams. We have been so lucky. No one is overly concerned about winning and losing. They all just want the kids to get exercise and have fun playing the game.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyones' blogs this week. I count you all among my good friends.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Postcards from...

Saturday, Fiber on a Whim welcomed the Contemporary Quilts and Fiber Arts Alliance to their studio for a sew-in. We worked on postcards for Fiberart for a Cause. There were 8 people working in the basement of this wonderful shop. It was very interesting to see all the different styles of postcards people were making. Rebecca has some pictures on her blog. Here are the two I completed on Saturday.
Pretty boring, huh? Well, if you open the doors, this is what you see...

That's a little better. The bat on the second one is hanging from a string, so he swings around. I had a great time. I have more designs in my head. Now to get them onto postcards.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Outlet Shopping

Yesterday, I went to Dawsonville to go outlet shopping. I hadn't been up there in a while, so I was amazed to see how much the outlet mall had grown, not to mention the surrounding area. Anyway, to my surprise, there was a Williams-Sonoma outlet. Now, I love Williams-Sonoma. Not a holiday goes by where I don't give a number of gifts from Williams-Sonoma. I really just love that store. One of my favorite gifts to give is a set of three melamnte mixing bowls. They come in a lot of different colors and are a ton of fun. However, I never bought any for myself. Well, there they were at the outlet, in red no less, a color I want to incorporate into my new kitchen. Oh, they were beautiful. And, while I think the regular price of $24 for the three bowls is reasonable, they were on sale for $9.99. Another thing I love from Williams Sonoma are their dishtowels. Now these I think of as a luxury item. But there they were for a bargain price, so I got another set. I also got a new set of measuring spoons, because many of mine were lost in the move. I can make chocolate chip cookies with just a 1/2 tsp, but it is easier with a full set.

I also got some new boots to wear with jeans this winter, some clothes for the kids, and shoes for the one kid who was with me. All in all, it was a good day. Now to go back when my husband can come with me. He needs some new clothes...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another one bites the dust

Ok, I was having flashbacks to elementary school. We used to listen to Queen during art class. So, sometimes, when I am in an artistic mood, Queen pops into my head. Please, no one diss Mr. Green for letting us listen to what might could be objectionable music in art class. He was one of the best art teachers ever. I went to elementary school in the late 70's, and that just about says it all. My third grade teacher drove a VW Van. Avocado Green. By the way, my youngest sings "We Will Rock You" all the time, but doesn't quite make the segway to "We Are the Champions".

Anyway, back to the present time, I finished this quilt the other evening. It is a Halloween Baby quilt. The pattern is "Stars in His Eyes" by Becky of Quiltpox. I started it a year ago, made it through the quilting, but not the binding. I am so happy it is done and ready to be packed for the hospital.

I did live through the last back to school night for the year last night. I think maybe I should refrain from going out in public because I spent a lot of the time writing snarky notes to my husband about different things that were going on. I would give you examples, but I am afraid someone I know might read this blog and the comments were not fit for public consumption. Suffice it to say that my son will have a good school year, and if I have to supplement the Social Studies curriculum A LOT, then so be it. Just think, one year, in the not so distant future, I will have four of these to attend! Oh, and my guess is I am not the only one who rolls her eyes at some of the things people ask. By the way, college admissions people never see your middle school transcripts. Really, they don't. They just want you to get your act together by high school. (And I am one of the nuttier moms who thinks her child has a great shot at Yale, even though his dad and I didn't go there.) Anyway, I am becoming more and more antisocial. And I wasn't that social in the first place...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Birthday Presents

I made this bag for my sister-in-law for her birthday. There are two in the picture because the bag is completely reversible and I made myself an identical one. The pattern is the Chelsea Tote by Amy Butler. I have adored her fabric on her patterns for years, but never found any in a shop. Well, Fiber on a Whim to the rescue. I LOVE that place. Anyway, the fabrics on the tote bags are also Amy Butler. I used YLI invisible thread, and I just loved it. My old Bernina 830 did not have a problem with it at all. I only used it for the top thread, though, not in the bobbin.

I did have to buy a new iron in order to make the totes because my old one bit the dust. It was 18 years old almost to the day and just wouldn't stay hot. So I went to Wal Mart and got the same brand. I love a heavy iron, so I bought the heaviest one I could find in that brand. I also need the auto-off setting. I know most quilters don't like the auto-off, but I do. I have an irrational fear of fire, so the auto-off keeps me from driving back and checking the iron more than once.

Ok, I am off to Back to School Night. Is anyone else tired of these? Or am I the only one who reads this blog who still has these to go to for the next 18 years? It is enough to make me want to home school, Tracey!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's Done! Hurray!

The red, black and white quilt is DONE! I finished stitching down the binding at the Contemporary Quilt and Fiber Arts Alliance meeting last night. Now to get the swim team to sign it, and give it to the coach. When my husband saw it last night he said, "I didn't know you loved Coach Ben this much." I think that was meant as a compliment. Here it is in all its glory. I especially love the red binding. I had fun quilting the spirals using black and white varigated thread. I love varigated thread.

Last night we had guild at Fiber on a Whim. I LOVE that store and will someday spend money there. It is just that after the meeting, I was so tired that I was afraid to try to shop. However, once school starts next week, I will be making a trip there for some Angelina fibers and some Misty Fuse. That Misty Fuse stuff is so cool. The meeting last night was about how to use all these cool products such as Misty Fuse and Angelina Fibers. I thought the Angelina would be great for mermaid hair...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Back from Vacation

I am back from a week at the beach with my family. I saw both my sisters and their kids. And, of course, my parents, who are looking very tan and fit from living in Florida.

I went to a cute quilt shop in Port Saint Lucie, whose name is escaping me at the moment. It is right on Route 1. I picked up a cute purse pattern designed by Kimura in Jensen Beach, Florida.

I have been seriously unpacking this week. I got my cookbooks unpacked and shelved. I am a cookbook fanatic, so there were lots of them to put away. I also rearranged the kids' playroom and family room in the basement so both are more usable. I set up a huge table on one side of the family room for crafting. It doubles as a great place to baste quilts.

Tomorrow starts the tax holiday weekend in Georgia, so I will take the kids to get their school supplies. I love school supply shopping. I am also going to get some arts and crafts stuff for the craft table in the basement.

It is strange to be starting a new school year in a new place. I used to know everyone and was very involved. Now I don't know very many people, although the ones I know are the very involved ones because I met them a PTA Council events. I do plan to take a step back this year. Last year I edited both the weekly and quarterly newsletter for my son's school. While it was very time consuming, I did know everything that was going on. I also had a good relationship with most of the teachers and all the administration of the school. Now I am starting fresh in two schools. However, with children who need gifted services, it does not take long to get to know the staff and administration of a school. Excellent gifted services is one of the key reasons my children are in public school.

I have started collecting my "afterschooling" curriculum. (I have a friend who homeschools and she made up that term for me...) Today I picked up the new kids' version of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss. I loved the adult version of the book and saw this one on The Today Show yesterday. I looked at a couple of other things at Borders, but didn't find anything that impressed me. Next week, I will go to the teacher supply store to see what I can find. I want to do a lot with oceans and marine life since we have season passes to the aquarium. I also want to find some things on energy since my kids loved visiting the nuclear plant in Port Saint Lucie. My oldest was won over by nuclear power. So Debra, if you are reading this, can you point me to some interesting things about oil and petroleum since I know you are connected to that industry?

Rian's peach crisp is in the oven as I type. I found Georgia peaches in the grocery this week, so I am making it. Living in Georgia, I feel weird using California peaches...

Debra posted some beautiful Quilts of Valor that she and her mom have worked on. It is such a worthwhile project, and one that will go on for some time, I am sure. Check out what she did.

Tracey has been canning, which I have never done. My mom used to, though. I am hoping to get to Little Quilts for some repro fabrics to bribe her for some blackberry syrup and preserves...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I got my brown bag lady quilt quilted today. Actually, I was almost done last night, but the bobbin ran out and I was too tired to finish. Also, I hate quilting borders, and that is what was left. I thought I should do that while I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. So now it is done. I just have to do the binding.

A friend and I pieced a top for the swim team coach. We ended up doing a Yellow Brick Road quilt in red, black, and white. Here is a bad picture of it.

The backing is in the wash, as we speak. I will quilt it in the next two days and then bind it. The swimmers will then sign the back of the quilt. We will have a little celebration to say goodbye to our coach right before he returns to UGA.

Dorothy has a good post on her blog. It is something I had to read in high school by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I hope high school kids are still reading it today. Certainly Ms. Pfister, if she is still teaching, is still having people read it. I printed it out for my sixth grader to read...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tea With Betty Pillsbury

The tea with Betty Pillsbury was amazing. Her work is incredible. I was really inspired by her art. I learned some things that I am doing wrong. For example, I didn't make my block on a foundation. I am going to correct that by stitching around the edges on top of some muslin to give it a little more stability. Next time, I will know.

I went to Michael's this morning for some supplies. Here they are:

Here are my first attempts at embroidery.

I am going to work on it some more and add some beads. Dinner is of the crock pot variety. I am baking a whole free range chicken in the crock pot with some olive oil. Then a caesar salad. And strawberries with lady fingers for dessert. So that gives me time to work now, before we go to the pool to cool off.