Friday, June 30, 2006

Home again, home again!

To start with, here are the adorable kids in the t-shirts I made for them. Eva is in the cat shirt, Maddie in the flower shirt, Bekah in the lady bug, and Ian in the rocket ship. I think they had a great week together. Maddie loved brushing Eva's hair.

The great adventure has come to an end. Nines left my parents' house around 8 this morning. My son told me that it was time for me to go at around 9. I think he was in a hurry to have Grams and Papa all to himself!

We had a lovely week! Nina arrived on Monday evening. After dinner, Papa took us all for a hay ride (minus the hay). Kind of hard on those of us with older backsides! After getting the kids in bed, me and Nines started cutting out one of the two quilts we planned to make.

Oh - I almost forgot all the wonderful birthday gifts! I will let Nina post pictures of what she gave me. I LOVE the quilt she made for me! And so did my mom and dad. They both told me repeatedly that it should stay at their house. Wrong!

Here is the quilt that I made for Nina. I think she was a bit shocked by it's loudness!

I also gave her a lime green wallhanging.

She also received these note cards. Store-bought plain note cards with scrap strips sewn onto the front!

Tuesday morning we were up bright and early and headed down to Nashville for some shopping. Nina's cousin, Beth, was kind enough to play tour guide for the day. She drove us around Brentwood (extremely pricey homes), showing us the homes of Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, and Trisha Yearwood. We then headed on to the Stitcher's Garden in Franklin. This store is wall to wall fabric. Bolts piled everywhere. While here, Nina announced next year's quilting challenge - a two color quilt. So we each had to pick out the main fabric. Nina chose a beautiful rich red. I think orange will go well with this -just kidding! I chose a soft limey, leafy green. After a lovely lunch, we hit another local quilt store and Hobby Lobby. On our way back home, Nina decided we needed to stop for a nice quiet dinner. After hitting the Joann's that was located in the same parking lot, we had a yummy dinner at Olive Garden.

Wednesday morning started with the UPS man arriving bright and early with our fabric from Dharma Trading Company. Mom suggested we do our dyeing then since her and the kids would be gone until after lunch. Good idea! Plus I think she did not want to witness whatever mess was going to be involved! We made a quick run into town for some more plastic storage bowls, change into our grubby clothes, and got started. We had so much fun! Nina's new nickname is "The Chemist" - she kept saying "Let's add a little of this and a little of that!" We are both pleased with the end products - which Nina will probably share pictures of. She was a bit camera happy this week. I am cutting out my quilt pieces - Nina is taking pictures. I am ripping up the fabric for dyeing - she taking pictures. You get the picture?

After we dyed up our 15 yards of fabric, we got to work sewing. Nina had suggested that we each make a quilt for our dad. My dad says these are the biggest quilt blocks he has ever seen! This top went together in about an hour. I will leave it to Nina to post a picture of hers - I don't want her mom to be mad at me! Peni - she had those fabrics chosen before she got here!

Thursday we each made one of these star quilts. I made mine for a friend who is a Blackhawk pilot in the army. He has been to Iraq several times.

Of course the week was over much too quickly. We are already scheming about when we can do this again!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Did you need to cry today?

Ok, I am warning you now - get your kleenax ready. Have a seat. Take a deep breath. Are you ready?

Legacy by Naomi L. Wright, June 2006

Happy the child whose bed is laid
With linens loving hands have made;
The babe who buries tired head
‘Neath Auntie’s stitch and Grams’ thread.

Happy the child who helps to sew
For sibling he has yet to know;
The child who sees how patience built
The blocks that now become a quilt.

Happy the babe who greets the world
And finds her precious quilt unfurled;
Who ends each day in dream-filled rest,
Contented in her quilted nest.

Happy the child who plays for hours
Endowed by cape with super-powers;
Snuggles into Papa’s lap
For boxcar stories and a nap.

Happy the child who spies and savors
Fabrics in the shade she favors;
Find their way to Auntie’s hand
Then crafted into gift so grand.

Happy the children, when they’re grown,
Who tell to children of their own
Of one whose heart and sweat of brow
Are in the quilt that holds THEM now!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

More birthday presents!

I have arrived safely in Nashville. We made a quick pit stop on the north side of Birmingham to stretch our legs - yes, it was at a Hobby Lobby. It was Ian's idea! They had some amazing fabric at $1/yard. I found some pink fabric for the backing of my friend's pink quilt for her daughter. Also found several beautiful yellows that had to come home with me. And a nice emerald green. How can you say no at $1/yard?

We handed out birthday gifts when I got to my sister's house. It is not actually her birthday but she got presents anyway. I gave everyone their t-shirt. The penguin t-shirt was a major hit! Then came time for Naomi to give me my birthday present. She has me sit down and close my eyes. She hands me a frame with a poem in it. The poem is called "The Legacy". I start reading it and only make it through the first couple of lines before I start tearing up. I ask where she found this poem and she says "Have you finished reading it?" So I finish reading it and then ask again. No answer just a goofy smile. SHE WROTE THE POEM JUST FOR ME!!!! It is about children who are lucky enough to have quilts in their lives, made by loved ones. Needless to say, I started to bawl when she admitted that she had written it. I will post the poem when I get the chance. It is amazing! I reread it this morning and got teary eyed again!
I am going to send it in to one of the quilting magazines. I think every quilter needs to read this poem. Naomi - thank you again! It is the best present anyone has ever given me.

Oh, the blue pineapple quilt was for my 1 year old nephew Joey. My mom and sister both thought it was for my mom! Like she needs any more quilts! I am hoping I will get some sweet kisses from Joey as a thank you.

Got to go eat breakfast and get ready for church. Hurry Nina!

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Grand Adventure

Tomorrow morning I am leaving to go to Nashville for our (me & Nina) mini retreat! Nines will drive down on Monday. I have spent the day gathering all the goodies I need to take. I have got birthday presents for Nina and my mom. Presents for my sister and my niece and nephews. The only person left out is my poor dad. I didn't think he would want a painted t-shirt. Me and Nina are going to try and sew a lap sized quilt for each of our dads while we are there. Ian and my dad are going to be sorely out numbered once Nina and the girls arrive. There will be 7 girls and 2 boys. Kind of the opposite of Nina's home - 3 girls and 7 boys!

I sent Nines an email saying next year's mini-retreat should focus on fabric dyeing. Nina replied that she wanted to do it NOW! So I surprised her by putting in a hurried order to Dharma for 15 yards more fabric. When I told mom our plan to dye some fabric, she got extremely nervous - thinking we were going to attempt this in her brand new (WHITE!) kitchen! No, no, no. We will be safely located outside somewhere.

I have got a huge pile to put in the car. The kids' suitcases are packed. The last load of laundry is in the dryer. Hubby is almost home and then we will enjoy some home-made cajun shrimp pasta! We got the idea from Red Lobster and hubby has made it several times. I have the shrimp all cleaned and ready for him and the pasta water is already hot. Now I am hungry from talking about it.

I will leave you with one quilt picture. Here is my finished blue pineapple quilt. Sshhh! It is a surprise for someone I will see tomorrow. Me and Nina will post lots of pictures of all the birthday goodies when we get home!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Happy birthday girl!

Today my package arrived from Dharma Trading Company! For my birthday I got to order fabric dyeing supplies. After getting up from my afternoon nap with Ian, I promptly set about dyeing up 10 yards of fabric. It was so easy and quick - even with the help of a seven year old and a five year old. I had all 10 yards dyed and washed in about 2.5 hours. I laid it all out flat to air dry and then ironed all it tonight after bible class. Somehow I ended up with a lot of greens - probably because I had two different green dyes - plus royal blue and yellow.

I followed the directions I found on Melody Johnson's blog and on Tommy Fitzsimmons' blog. Both explanations have pictures and very good directions.

Can you see the cool marbling in the green fabric above? Done totally unintentionally, of course! But I love it!

And here is my beautiful rainbow. You can see the overload of green! Lucky I love green! Next time I am going to play around a lot more with the blues (surprise!). I may even order another shade of blue. Right now what I have is called royal blue.

Now - what to do with these lovely fabrics! Nines - next summer I think our mini-retreat should focus on dyeing up some fabric. Not sure my mom will be up for that kind of mess - but maybe out in my dad's barn!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Another birthday gone...

Today was my 37th birthday. I only tell you this because at least I am younger than Nines! I don't feel like I should be this old - probably because my children are so young. Anyway...since I don't have anything quilty to share I thought I would do an adaptation of a meme I saw a while ago.

Here goes:

25 years ago - 1981 - We were living in southern Wisconsin (Hi Finn!) and I was in middle school.

20 years ago - 1986 - We lived in northern Illinois and it was the summer before my senior year in high school (Go Rockford East E-Rabs - don't ask what an E-rab is!)

15 years ago - 1991 - My last year in college (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee). I had already met the man of my dreams - we just didn't know it yet. This is the summer my sister got married.

10 years ago - 1996 - We were married for three years and living in NYC. Stacy was getting ready for his last year in grad school.

5 years ago - 2001 - We were living in the booming metropolis of Muncie, Indiana. We had a brand new sweet baby boy and a two year old little girl. By this time I have met Nines and discovered she is my kindred spirit. She has also infected me with the quilting bug!

1 year ago - 2005 - Now living in Alabama in our brand new house. Still quilting away!

Now you know more than you ever wanted to know about me! Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Another new quilter!

Today I inducted girl #2 into the mysteries of quilting. This is Hannah and she goes to church with us. She just got married last year - their one year anniversary is Sunday. Her older brother also got married last summer and is expecting their first baby at any moment! This is the quilt I made for them. When I gave the quilt to Robert and Andrea, Hannah asked "Did you make that? I have been wanting to learn to quilt!" So she came over this afternoon to get started. Her parents bought her a new Singer sewing machine for Christmas last year.

Anyway - we again decided on a YBR quilt. Nice straight sewing and it looks a lot more difficult than it is. We then went stash shopping and she really liked the 1930's prints. She wanted to make something not too girly - something her husband wouldn't cringe at! So I dug through my stash and pulled out all the 30's prints. We got all the strips cut and I showed her how to sew them back together. I gave her some homework of sewing the strip sets together. We were just finishing up when her husband called for a ride home. She is so excited to be quilting!

Her husband starts med school in Missouri in the fall so they are moving in July. We are going to have to hustle to get this quilt done.

Time to figure out dinner! I am thinking Papa John's pizza sounds really good!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Aaahhhh! Pictures!

Blogger has decided to be agreeable today. Here is the picture from Monday night's raspberry freezer jam making experiment. I bought a can of biscuits yesterday at the grocery store - so maybe I will have a tasting party for breakfast tomorrow.

My new quilting friend (new to quilting, not new to me!) got her blocks all assembled last night! Today I showed her how to pin them together and sew them together in pairs. She has ordered her own 1/4" foot for her machine. Her mother has already told her that she wants a KING sized quilt for her bed! I told Christie she may have to tell her mom to "Get in line!" We had to go get a little more pink fabric today. We decided to go "No borders" and need to make a few more blocks to make the quilt into a queen size.

I feel like I haven't posted any pictures of my own work lately but it is because everything I have done is either a b-day present for Nines or one for my mom! By the way - Happy Birthday, Mom! Hope you enjoyed your lunch at McD's!

Hope everyone has a lovely evening!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

24 hours of arguing with Blogger

I have been trying to post a picture since last night, all to no avail. Tried getting the picture from my computer - no luck. Tried posting the picture to webshots and downloading it to blogger from there. Still no luck. Anyone else having these problems?

Monday, June 12, 2006

How is it Monday night already?

This past week has gotten away from me. The kids did go to vacation bible school through Thursday. Friday, me and DD had a Girl Scout trip to go on to Birmingham. We went to the McWane Center (a children's science museum). We got there around 3:30 pm and wandered around for a while. They served us some awful (& cold) pizza for dinner and then had a program for the girls to earn a GS patch. At 8:30 we got to see an IMAX movie called The Deep Sea, narrated by Johnny Depp. Afterwards we had free time until lights out at 11 pm. Yes, we all slept at the museum, on the floor. Thankfully I was able to round up a couple of comfortable air mattresses for me, DD and a friend and her DD. Some people (ADULTS!) were sleeping in sleeping bags on the cement floor. I was nice and comfortable but kept waking up because I was too cold. I kept snuggling up close to Maddie but she is so small she doesn't produce much body heat!

Saturday morning we went to the zoo. We were all ready to go by about noon. It was way too hot to be walking around outside. So we headed on home. My carload stopped for lunch at Joe's Crab Shack and then did a quick run through Hobby Lobby. Christie (my friend who I am going to turn into another quilting fanatic) bought fabric to make her daughter a YBR quilt. Lots of pink!

Sunday afternoon I went over to Christie's house for an hour to give her a short tutorial on how to use a rotary cutter. She got all the strips cut for the quilt while I was there.

Today she came over to start the sewing. She has sewn before so getting her started wasn't too hard! After a mad search for the 1/4 inch foot for my newer singer machine, I got her set up and sewing at the kitchen table. She was here for about 3.5 hours and she got all the strips sewn together. Her homework was to iron the strips and then cut them up into the sub-units.

Tonight I made some raspberry freezer jam. I only bought three of the 6 ounce boxes of berries because they were not too cheap. Ball has come out with cute little plastic jars for freezer jam! Nines - I was glancing at the back of the box and it still says Ball Corporation, Muncie, Indiana!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A morning without children!

My DS shocked me by staying at the vacation bible school this morning. He was able to go to class with his friend so that helped a lot. So I had the morning to myself! From 8 a.m. to noon!!!! I was even able to push DH out the door at about 9:30. And the good news is I should have the mornings to myself for the rest of the week. Can you see me doing a little happy dance?

After finishing the final row of the quilt from yesterday's post, I loaded on this baby quilt. It is for my #2 cousin, whose baby is due in September. I thought it was due in June, but my mom relieved my fears and gave me the correct date. My mom pieced this top too. We make a pretty good team! Mom made the quilt noticeably longer than wider, so I removed one row and was then able to use the remaining 1.5 yard piece of teddy bear fabric for the backing. Yeah! No having to piece the back. I finished quilting this one just in time to go pick up DD from Brownie camp.

This afternoon I went looking for a backing for this blue YBR, that has been sitting in the "to be quilted" pile for at least a year. I went back to the dresser that holds most of my stash and pulled open the bottom drawer, where I store the larger pieces of fabric. There on top was the blue toile that my friend had given me a few weeks ago. It is the perfect shade of blue and goes great with the old fashioned prints in the top. And there was plenty of it to piece the back. So I've got this one loaded on the machine right now and have quilted one pass. It is ready to go in the morning.

There is only one quilt left in the "to be quilted" pile - this one. My mom keeps asking me about it - I think she is secretly hoping I will put the borders on it, quilt it, and then return it to her. I broke it to her this afternoon that it is destined for my bed!

Now do not mistake the dwindling, almost non-existent, "To be quilted" pile with the lack of UFOs. No, got plenty of those. And as I was typing that, several more "to be quilted" tops occurred to me. One is my lime green wall hanging. How could I have forgotten that? And then there are two (?) tops made by my great aunt that my mom wants me to machine quilt. When my great aunt passed away a year or so ago, mom bought several quilt tops and several quilts from her estate auction. So there is no rush on those tops. Actually I am not sure there is backings or batting for those two. They are hidden away in the cabinets above my dryer. Easy to forget!

Time to put the kiddies to bed!

Monday, June 05, 2006

See - I DO know how to quilt!

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. The kids discovered that our neighbors were having a garage sale Saturday morning. So after tearing through the house, looking for their money, they ran across the street to see what treasures they could find. Ian immediately found a Tonka bulldozer, still in the box, which he promptly bought for a dollar! He was given a pair of soccer cleats. Maddie was in shoe paradise - but sadly they were all to small. The lady who was selling them (a friend of our neighbor) has a daughter who is a year younger than Maddie - but must have huge feet! Maddie tried on about 10 different pairs - not listening to me saying that they would all be too small for her! She finally had to settle for two pairs of flip-flops that were on the verge of being too small. But she just couldn't walk away from a garage sale without buying SOMETHING! I did manage to buy several very pink pieces of clothing for my niece - who was of course, thrilled.

This picture is to tease (torture) Nines about her b-day quilt! That's the back side of it - the bright orange thing. Judy - I tried the line dancing quilting on it, but failed miserably and ended up unsewing it! Ended up going with a big meander! I also quilted the blue pineapples quilt. I LOVE THIS BLOCK! Thanks again, Bonnie, for sharing such a wonderful pattern!

Yesterday I pinned on this quilt to the machine. I started quilting it this morning and have just the bottom border to go. I tried to do something fancy (haha!) in the corner stars. Tried to use a ruler to do some crosshatching and it didn't come out very neatly. But I am way to lazy to rip it out - so I will just learn to live with it! Aren't you impressed? Quilted three quilts in three days?

DD has Brownie camp this week. 8 a.m. to noon for three days. DS was invited to vacation bible school today, except he called it creation bible school! I am not sure he will stay there by himself but we shall see! I am hoping I can talk the teachers into letting him go to the class with the friend who invited him (she is a year older than him). So I may have the mornings entirely to myself for the next few days! How many more quilts do I have sitting here? Hhhmmm!

Friday, June 02, 2006

More t-shirts!

I got around to going to Walmart and getting some orange paint so that I could finish my nephew's t-shirt. I needed orange for the beak and feet. And no, I did not have any red paint either so I couldn't make my own orange! In case you can't figure it out, my niece LOVES Pink!

I also got Nine's b-day quilt loaded onto the quilting machine, but I am still trying to decide how to quilt it. I got my last order from Huckleberry Quilts for Aurifil thread. They have decided to no longer carry it and are having a huge clearance sale. Their prices were amazing to start with and now are to good to be true. Check out the website for more information.

My mom has pieced another baby quilt for another cousin who is having their first baby. I took her the fabric in April. She has the top pieced and has passed it back to me for the quilting. I think the baby is due in June so I'd better get a move on it! I also need to start the quilt for my BIL and SIL - whose baby is due in August. I have a whole pile of things to make them - the baby quilt, a hooded towel, and a flannel two-sided blankie. I found some flannel at Jo-Ann's that has the old-fashioned Pooh Bears floating around with a bunch a balloons. The pictures and colors are soft - not the bright primary colors. I bought a pale yellow for the back.

Last weekend I pulled out some blocks I had been working on and threw them together to see how big it would end up. It made the perfect size for a certain 1 year old baby boy that I know, but I won't mention names, in case he is reading this over his mama's shoulder. (I have VERY bright nieces and nephews.)

Speaking of my niece and nephews, me and my sister have some very unusual things in common. I have one niece (my sister's DD) and the 4 nephews. My sister has one nephew (my DS) and 4 nieces. Hhmmm! We also both married men that go by their middle names. We also both have the same mother and father. Coincidence? I think not!

OK, it is obviously time for bed! Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

How did it get to be Thursday already?

DS wanted to try on his t-shirt. It turned out to be a little big but maybe it will shrink a little in the wash. I also started working on two more t-shirts yesterday for my niece and nephew. I can't show the pictures here because I want them to be a surprise. Yes - they read my blog!

Monday afternoon, both kids came inside fussing at each other so I sent them to their rooms. DS promptly turned on the Shrek 2 CD and turned up the volume - loud! I yelled for him to turn it down. A while later it occurred to me that he was being rather quiet, so I went to check on him. The music was turned up loud enough that I could hear it from the headphones! I don't know how he ever fell asleep with that blaring in his ears. I turned the music off and left him to nap.

I have heard more complaints that I have not been posting often enough. I haven't gotten to sew in the last week or so. Plus the things I need to be working on right now are "Top Secret" until after I see Nina in a few weeks. Hey - It is finally JUNE! Yeah!!!

Today, we are having a "chick" lunch to meet our new preacher's wife and kids. They will be moving here in July. After lunch, I need to come home and re-straighten up the house because their whole family, plus the family they are staying with, are coming to dinner. Thankfully, my house stayed relatively clean since we had company on Monday. I told Nina that the term "relatively clean" meant it was clean enough for relatives!

Time to go make some chicken and grapes salad for lunch. Oohh! That made me think about the wonderful chicken cashew croissants they have at this cute little restaurant in Indiana that Nines and me would go to whenever possible.