Sunday, November 29, 2009

Five heavenly days

It is over entirely too quickly, but it sure was fun while it lasted. Five whole consecutive days off for Thanksgiving!

Wednesday was pretty low-key - some housecleaning because I hosted the meal (for 15 people) this year, some time hanging out with the kids, a bit of quilting done on my flannel juvenile quilt.

Thursday was great from start to finish. The kids helped me prep for the meal,

while the food was cooking, there was a raucous game of Taboo going on.

(the thinker is my brother, with his girlfriend on the right and my mom on the left)

(the beauty facing the camera is my younger sister who is pregnant for the first time - yay! She is high fiving my cousin's wife - their team kicked my team's butt! Twice!!)

The food was great - after all that work you'd think I'd take a photo, but I forgot. All but 4 people spent the night; I'm so glad we finished our basement - with all this room, you couldn't even tell there were 11 people engaged in synchronized snoring here that night.

On Friday, we moved the party over to my mom's house where we played dominos and bid whist (we LIKE games in my family - and we are VERY competitive). On the way out the driveway, I checked the mail, and I had packages from both Victoria AND Becky. I brought them with me to open at my mom's - I wasn't about to wait until I got home to see what goodies they had sent me. And when I got to my mom's there was yet ANOTHER package for me - a box of ties from my sister's boyfriend.

Victoria and I swapped some 4" squares. I asked for some of her bold, modern prints - the kind of stuff I feel you can't find around here, and even if you could, I'm not sure I'm brave enough to buy it. Boy, did she deliver! I can't wait to use these in something. Thanks, Victoria!

Then Becky had a whole mess of scraps she was looking to unload. Of course I sent her my address. Here's 22 pounds of scraps, sorted - first, some Christmas fabric, some patriotic fabric, some black & whites which I've pulled aside for a project I need to finish up, some orphan blocks, a piece of flannel that will make its way directly into my buzzsaw quilt, and some small scraps waiting to be cut to size.

Then, strips, lots and lots of strips!

Finally, some yardage, a pile of juvenile and a pile of non-juvenile.

Here are some of my absolute favorites. Thanks for sharing, Becky!

Saturday and Sunday, I vowed to not leave home. My husband's team had an away game on Saturday afternoon, so I listened online while I finished up my Gail Pan blocks and put them in a frame from Angela's Country Scrap Quilts. Another Christmas present done. (Oh, and they won the game - yay!)

Then, today I just couldn't resist those strips from Becky. I pulled out some of the brighter ones, tossed in a couple strips of my own, and started my version of that quilt I found online while in the hotel in Cleveland last weekend. I'm not sure about a border yet, but I love it so far - any suggestions?

One benefit of working with those new scraps is that I was able to get some cut into my scrap sizes (1.5" to 5") as I sewed.

Then tonight I sat down with my kids and watched the last two episodes of Gilmore Girls. We began watching over the summer, and we made it through all seven seasons. Well, Jason and I did. Donald is usually asleep halfway through any episode. Jason, however, is riveted. At the end, I was starting to feel a little weepy, and I glanced over at my son and he was wiping his eyes. That is MY son, Mr. Sentimental. I sure do love my kids.

I am so thankful for time spent with family and friends and time to pursue my passions. And also thankful that there are only 3 weeks until I get some more time off to enjoy them all again!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I did it!

I finally caught up reading everyone's blogs. Boy, you guys sure have been busy! Now, I guess it is time for me to get busy. (Yeah, right, like I'm ever anything but busy!) Tonight was Cub Scouts after work. We worked on our tools acheivement. What a hoot, my co-leader and I holding up a tool and asking the kids what it was called, hoping they knew since we had both already forgotten. You know, it was also very interesting that tonight, the fathers accompanied their sons when usually it is the mothers who come with them. I guess they heard that it was going to be tool night. We used hammers and screwdrivers and painted and made a big fun mess. Being a den leader sure is a lot of work, but it is so much more fun this year since I am involved in what is going on.

Off to finish my fourth Gail Pan block - Joy. But I leave you with one last giveaway:

Wouldn't you love to win 12 fat quarters of this luscious fabric from Retromummy?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

We won!

Last night's game went MUCH better, and we are heading home with a win. The kids and I are still in the hotel - I wasn't about to drive home 7 hours in the dark, and besides, we haven't taken full advantage of the pool yet. Once our breakfast is digested, we'll be back in the clorinated water for the third time. So I had a few minutes to catch up on blogs. I was reading blogs for hours last night - I am so behind. But look what I have found!

This winter giveaway with flavored coffees, fun socks AND flannels from Thistledown and Co.

A Thanksgiving Giveaway from the Faithful Quilter

A conglomeration of fun stuff including batik fat quarters from SewCalGal

Truly, I won't just be posting giveaways, but what else is a gal to do from a hotel room? Home tonight, and only 2 days of work this week. I hope to get some stitching done soon.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

One loss, but many chances to win

I'm in a hotel room outside Cleveland. Good thing, too, because if I were at home, I would be so tempted to start a new project that I just found online -

Isn't it lovely? There is a tutorial here.

So, why am I in Cleveland, you ask? My husband's basketball team is playing in a tournament at Case Western Reserve University this weekend. We lost last night's game quite badly, but still, I found reason to smile. Jason dressed up so he could help out the trainer with water bottles for the players and sit on the bench. Doesn't he look tiny next to these guys?

Anyway, losing depresses me, so I came online to see if there were any giveaways I could try to win. Here's what I have found:

a $25 gift certificate for FABRIC here

five patterns here

2 fat quarters here

A beautiful shadow trapunto mini quilt here

The pattern for this beautiful quilt which includes embroidery (which those who follow me know is my latest craze!) here

Oh, and I am supposed to share a quote about my beautiful life. I chose a quote by John Burroughs: 'I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." Of course, I would amend it to add "all the quilts I want to make"!

Coordinating fabrics OR a Christmas table topper here

a 2010 Artbra calendar here

Hand dyed fabric here

And a conglomeration of stuff - fabric, books, patterns, etc. here

OK, that's enough, right. No need to be greedy. Now, to catch up up what you all have been doing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fabric Envy

You ever look at someone else's fabric and say, "Wow! What great fabric. My fabric is boring compared to theirs!" Happens to me all the time. As someone who feels this way, I probably shouldn't agree to swap fabric, because then I am bestowing my "less fabulous" fabric on someone else.

V at Bumble Beans is looking for some fabric scraps with white in them. As scrap queen of the Shenandoah Valley, of course I wanted to help her out. But come to find out, I don't seem to have many scraps with white in them either. And when I laid out the ones I found, and compared them with the photo of her scraps on her website, my initial thought is, "Man, she's going to hate my fabric."

Maybe not. I'm sending it anyway. Hope you can find something of use in there, V.

I am proud of myself for making progress on some Christmas presents last night. I always WANT to give homemade gifts, but I always wait until the last minute and don't get them done. Well, this year, a tight budget is forcing me to give homemade gifts. Last night, I finished 5 of 6 Crayon Totes that I am making for my friends who have small children. (If you are a friend with small children and you are reading this, act surprised on December 25th.)

I am assuming that they are like me, and have a little bit of everything in their purse to entertain children in Doctor's offices, while waiting for food to be served, etc. The only problems are 1) the inside of my purses are always marked up from the crayons and 2) I spend much more time underneath yucky restaurant tables retrieving dropped crayons that I would like. I saw these Crayon Totes on another blog, and decided to modify it for my own purposes. (Don't go look at the photos on the other person's blog - again, her fabric is much cooler than mine!) My Crayon Totes hold just 8 crayons, enough to keep my kids entertained, but few enough so that it doesn't take up too much room in my purse.

If I were to make them again, I would hope I would be less lazy and would match my thread to my fabric. I told myself that using the thread in my machine would provide a nice contrast if it was visible, not thinking that all my mistakes would be that much more visible. Oh well - live and learn.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do for my kids this year for Christmas. Some of their favorite gifts in the past have been this kitchen that I gave Donald last year and that he uses to prepare meals (strawberry soup and lemonade) nearly every day,

this pedal-operated police car that is streaked with white where it has taken the paint off our doorways (while it leaves black streaks on the hardwood floor - sigh),

and of course, Thomas the Train.

I want to come up with something else that they will use almost daily as these cherished toys are used, instead of something that is loved for a week, and then forgotten for the next year. Any ideas?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scouts Singing

Here's the best I can find so far of a photo of the Cub Scouts singing the National Anthem at the game last weekend. The photos are protected from being copied, so I just have this link - it is photo #28 in the slideshow, but you don't have to look at all the photos before (unless you want to, of course). My oldest son, Jason, is second from the right (he doesn't need the words, apparently!). My youngest son, Donald, is all the way on the left, determined to not be left out, even though he is not a Cub Sout and can not read yet. (Oh, and his future is so bright, he has to wear shades!)

Notice that I am not much taller than these 2nd graders. Sheesh!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What a weekend!

What I should have done was rest. Instead, Friday night, my hubby, the kids and I went to the VMI vs ARMY basketball game. We were rooting for Army, but VMI beat them. Oh well. Then on Saturday, I went to the guild meeting. I missed last month, so I was really excited to go this month. I actually had something to show for show and tell - my flannel Love Crumbs Comfort Quilt, which I turned it to the Comfort Quilt Chairperson, and my Scrappy Stars top. So I thought my bag would be lighter on the way back home since I was coming home with one fewer quilt, but I was wrong! First of all, three different guild members had fabric scraps for me - one had flannels for my buzz saw quilt

and two had baggies of scraps with my name on them.
It's great to have a reputation as a scrap quilter! And when I showed my Scrappy Stars top, I told them all that if they looked closely, many of them would see fabric that they had given me in there. Oh, and lately we have had a table of freebies every month. I pawed through some of the fabric and came home with some for myself.

Then, when I got home, there was a package waiting for me from Jan. I had completely forgotten that this was coming. The cutest little mini postcard

and an absolutely stunning piece of candlewicking! I'm actually thinking of getting yet another Quilt Block Frame from Angela at Country Scrap Quilts to display this in - I love it. Thank you, Jan! (caution - lousy photo - this is pretty hard to photograph)

That evening, Jason's best friend and his two younger sisters showed up for a sleepover. First, we went outside to play Kick The Can in the dark - I have such great memories of playing that as a kid. One of the little girls had me laughing so hard that I got captured. She is always dressed in pink and purple, and as we were hiding, she said to me, "OK, I have to find somewhere pink and purple to hide so I can blend in." Once the kids were good and tired, we came in to watch movies in our new (almost finished except for the paint and the furniture) home theater in our basement. First it was Charlotte's Web (more childhood memories for me - I ADORE that story), then Cars. Only Jason made it to the end of the second movie.

This morning, the kids played very well together while I did some much needed housework - swept and mopped all the floors, did a load of laundry, and got dinner in the crockpot. Then my mom showed up to see my basement, and then off to the basketball game we went. The boys did GREAT singing the National Anthem before the game. Even one of the officials came up to me during a time out to tell me to be sure to let the kids know how much he enjoyed their performance. Then, during the game, I was amazed - the kids actually paid attention and kept stats for their "adopted" player(s). At halftime, when they each stepped up to the microphone to introduce themselves and share the halftime stats, they got so much applause. Not one of them hesitated at all about talking in front of all those people. I'm SO proud of them all! I know that quite a few people took photos, so I'll share one when I get to see one. I know the photographer for the local newspaper was there - maybe the boys will have a photo in the paper. Wouldn't they be tickled!

And to top it all off, my husband's team won! I went to the store to get apples to make his favorite dessert - Apple Crisp. It came out of the oven just as the kids were preparing for bed, so they got some, too. Now, I am taking a break from ironing and cutting down the scraps I got this weekend. I was hoping to have them all done tonight, but I don't think it is going to happen - I am exhausted! Happy, but exhausted.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Peace, hope, love

I sure do LOVE embroidery. Like when I am hand quilting, I feel so at PEACE when I am doing it. I sure HOPE I have a chance to do some more this weekend. Work has been kicking my butt this week, and today is shaping up to be a train wreck. I could sure use some down time. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Scouts and Embroidery on Veteran's Day

Monday evening's cub scout meeting went much better. My co-den leader is back, and I think we make a pretty good team. The scouts (and I) now know how to care for a flag and fold it properly. They also know what all of the words mean in the Pledge of Allegiance. (Did you know that "indivisible" means that "you can't see it"? The kids had me laughing with their definitions.)

We also arranged to have our pack come to my husband's basketball team's season opener this weekend and sing the National Anthem at the start of the game. It won't be pretty...but I'm sure it will be super cute. There's not really much glass to shatter in the gym, anyway.

And then, to keep them engaged in the game, they are each going to "adopt" a player. I made up sheets for each player with their photo, jersey number, hometown, year in college, height/weight, plus some definitions (free throw, two-point basket, three-point basket, foul) and a place for them to tally each player's points and fouls. Then, at halftime, the announcer is going to let the cub scouts announce each player's halftime stats. Again, it should be really cute. Cub Scouts is FUN!

Work is so busy that I haven't had a lunch break yet this week. Today, however, I am determined to stop what I am doing, eat something, and do a bit more embroidery. Why did no one tell me that this is highly addictive? Here's my second Gail Pan block.

I think I am going to do three or four and incorporate them into a 12" block to put in my second Quilt Block Frame from Country Scrap Quilts.
Be sure to thank a veteran today!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My First Embroidery

I had to work all weekend, but I managed to steal moments here and there to work on my first embroidery project. You know, all of you who said I should try it, you were right! It is wonderful fun! Here's my first block, something I've seen lots of other people working on lately, a block from the Gail Pan Christmas Wish BOM. I will definitely be making more. I learned three stitches with varying degrees of success: backstitch, lazy daisy and french knot.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Christmas Gift Idea

Did you read Shirley's post today? She bought a Quilt Block Frame from Angela and Jim at Country Scrap Quilts and put a really cute embroidered block in it. Which reminded me...I bought one to display a block that I won in a block lotto in my guild a couple of years ago.

Isn't this block neat? The maker (not me) is really talented. I love the butterfly!

But it also reminded me that I bought another of those frames last year thinking that I could put a quilt block of my own design into it and give it for a Christmas gift. I never got around to that last year, but what's stopping me from doing it this year? I have time to make a block. I'd like to try embroidery. I should be able to embroider one block in time for Christmas, right? Thanks for sharing, Shirley - now I'm all jazzed up about trying something new and possibly actually finishing a Christmas gift before Christmas! And if you are looking for a gift idea, check out Angela and Jim's shop. I've got my eye on one of those clocks...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I just had to try this

I've seen a couple people with this challenge on their blogs, and I really enjoyed reading their answers. So I thought I would give it a try. I love older female jazz vocalists, particularly Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and Billie Holiday. Dinah and Sarah and Etta are probably my favorites, but I chose Billie since she probably has the biggest body of work to choose from. This activity makes me want to go turn on some music and croon!
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday Pictures

(for those who are not familiar with the challenge, I chose one musical artist and answered the questions below using their song titles)

1. Are you a male or female? Sophisticated Lady
2. Describe yourself: Getting Some Fun Out of Life
3. How do you feel: I Don’t Know If I’m Coming or Going
4. Your family: Strange Fruit
5. If you could go anywhere, where would you go?: April In Paris
6. Your favorite form of transportation: A Sailboat in the Moonlight
7. Your best friend: My Man
8. Your favorite color is: If the Moon Turns Green
9. What's the weather like: Isn’t This A Lovely Day
10. Favorite day: Summertime
11. If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?: Everything Happens to Me
12. What is life to you? Havin’ Myself A Time
13. Your current relationship: Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man
14. Looking for: Nice Work if You Can Get It
15. Wouldn't mind: Pennies From Heaven
16. Your fear: The End of a Love Affair
17. What is the best advice you have to give: No Regrets
18. If you could change your name, you would change it to: Guess Who
19. Thought for the Day: Everything Happens for the Best
20. How I would like to die: Laughing At Life
21. Your pet: Gimme a Pigfoot (?)
22. Your motto: That’s Life, I Guess

Dinah Washington
Dinah Washington Pictures

Sarah Vaughn
Sarah Vaughn Pictures

Etta James
Etta James Pictures

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald Pictures

Lena Horne
Lena Horne Pictures


Life has been throwing quite a few curve balls my way lately. Work is crazy, and I am in a stretch where I won't have a day off in 12 days. I found out this week that the after school care at my son's school will be discontinued after Thanksgiving, so I have three weeks to come up with an alternate plan for what he is to do from the end of the school day until the end of my workday. The list goes on.

Last night, after getting the kids in bed, I collected some candles, got my book, The Healing Quilt, and ran a lavender bath and pampered myself with some relaxation time. Aaaahhh!

Tomorrow night, my husband's basketball team is coming over to watch a movie in our new home theater, even though it isn't painted yet AND there is no furniture. Lots of big, noisy guys, but that means my husband is cooking on the grill, so I don't have to make dinner. I will be hiding out UPSTAIRS with Season 7 of the Gilmore Girls and some hand quilting. I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I sewed and sewed and last night, at an hour when I should have been sleeping, I finished my Scrappy Star quilt top! Here it is on my bed - it isn't big enough for my queen bed, but it may find its way onto one of the kids' twin beds when it finally gets quilted.

While I was admiring the corners (thanks, everyone, for your design ideas!),

it brought to mind my Crossing Paths quilt

where I did something similar with the corners.

And do you notice the border fabric? It is the same in both quilts! Who knew? It is a fabric that I had lots of but didn't really like, so I thought I would use it for a border - twice, I guess. I'm nothing if not consistent, apparently.

Those quilts looked so nice on my bed, I thought I'd pull out my other bed-sized tops to daydream about having a quilt on my own bed one day. Here's the one I started quilting 3 years ago, intended for my own bed. Lots of quilting still to go.

I think I am planning to one day gift this one to my father-in-law; the rich colors remind me of him, as he is quite the colorful character.

And then there's my last finish, still a favorite.

And who can forget the enormous 100" X 100" big block quilt - it is so big that you can't even really see the design on my queen bed.

Once I had all these quilt tops piled up on my bed, it took all my willpower not to snuggle down underneath the lot of them, but instead I put them away, determined to actually get them quilted someday.

But first, there is my New Year's Eve challenge. I managed a few more blocks on my buzzsaw quilt

plus I received squishy mail from Cheryl with four more flannels to add to the mix. Thanks, Cheryl! They are already washed, and will become blocks very soon!

Well, it appears that I have lots of quilting to do, so I suppose I should get to it!