Friday, June 25, 2010


No, not state troopers.

No, not storm troopers.

I'm talking about my little troopers. These guys are up for any adventure! On Wednesday, it was riding across the island to check out West Tisbury, a town I had never been to despite all my visits to the island. There was a lovely bike path, but it was a 17 mile trip (round trip). There are many people who would have complained, but not my guys. Down the hills, they yelled, "I have a need for speed!" On the straightaways, they raced. Going up hills, they counted the pedals to get up the hill, and when it got to be too much, they cheerfully jumped off and pushed their bikes up the hills. I had so much fun!

Here they are pretending to be tired...

Yesterday, it was beach time. We went to State Beach, a serene water scene rather than the waves of the day two days previous. Of course, we brought boogie boards this time when there were no waves, and didn't have them when there were. That's OK, we'll get it right today. In the meantime, they made new friends, got thrown in by Daddy and generally just had a good time. The only frustrating part is that I'm not allowed to go swimming yet - argh! I could almost forget the sadness of last week if it weren't for that.

I didn't bring any quilting with me on this trip, just my backpack and my bike, so I don't have any of my own quilting photos to show you, but check out these cute quilts on the kids' beds in the bunkroom. I need to master applique so I can do something cute like these. I love all the different fabrics that were incorporated into these.

(OOPS! Did I wake you up, Donald?)

It has been a lovely week. Here is where we are staying:

But I'm also looking forward to next week at my twin sister's house. I love vacation!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Happiness is...

Happiness is meeting your nephew for the first time. It wasn't as hard as I had imagined it would be, in light of what I had gone through just two days before. My sister was a gem and let me hold him as long as I wanted. I love babies!

Eventually, I let the boys have a turn...

Happiness is seeing a quilt you have made being used. When I showed up at my sister's house, the Dresden Plate quilt I made her was on the bed I was to sleep in, and she was in a rocker, nursing Dorian with his Bright Idea quilt draped over the two of them. Just what a quilter wants to see!

Happiness is getting an unexpected pedicure from your niece - it is nice to be pampered!

Happiness is watching your husband teach your just-turned-5-year-old how to ride a bike with no training wheels. Just in time, too, because we are currently on Martha's Vineyard on vacation - no car, just bikes, heaven!

Happiness is watching your kids frolic in the waves. I was a bit sad because I'm not allowed to go swimming yet, but when I put my feet in the water, all of a sudden I was happy to have an excuse to not get in that frigid water!

Happiness is coming across your child asleep, worn out from an 8 mile bike ride plus 3 hours in the sun and surf.

Happiness is realizing you can feel happiness again after something sad happens in your life. Thank you all for the kind and encouraging words!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


My husband and I got the sad news on Monday. We were back for our second ultrasound in 6 days. The first one didn't show what it was supposed to, just an empty pregnancy sac in my uterus. I consoled myself by saying that we all just had the timing wrong and I wasn't as far along as we all thought. The second ultrasound confirmed what the doctor had initially suspected, though - the pregnancy was not viable and miscarriage was inevitable.

"It is not your fault," the doctor said.
"When there is an early miscarriage, it is usually because of chromosomal abnormalities," he explained.
"This miscarriage doesn't mean you can't and won't get pregnant and carry a baby to term in the future if you so choose," he assured me.
"Nearly every 4th or 5th pregnancy results in miscarriage," he shared.

My head heard everything he said, and told my heart, "Don't worry, we'll try again." My heart screamed, "You failure!" and then broke in half.

I went to work on Tuesday as usual. I cried so much on Monday, I thought I was all cried out. I was wrong. I was sent home almost immediately. Instead of going home, I went to the coffeeshop and ordered a Grande Irish Nut coffee - no need to avoid caffeine anymore. Then I texted my friend and fellow quilter, Nancy, to see if I could come over. Of course she said "yes," so I went over to cry on her shoulder a bit, not in small part because she is moving out of state in a week and won't be a quick drive away anymore. Then I went to karate and kicked the snot out of the bags, probably my fiercest day in karate ever. After all that, I felt much better, and went to find my husband to spend the rest of the afternoon with him. He is such a sweetheart, a gentle giant, but also a fierce protector. I'm lucky to have him. I'm also lucky to have my smart, healthy, fun-loving, affectionate boys. When I sit back and think about it, I have lots of blessings. I can't let this setback cloud my view of all the good things in my life.

Upon the doctor's recommendation, I went in today for a D and E to clean everything out of my uterus. I feel empty inside, both literally and figuratively. But I'm going to let my optimistic nature work its magic, and I'm sure that before long, instead of feeling empty, I will feel like I am starting over with a clean slate.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Baby on the brain

Not only am I pregnant, my younger sister had her first baby last week. Meet my new nephew, Dorian - isn't he a cutie!

So, I definitely have babies on the brain. Yesterday, I wanted a quick project, and bibs seemed like a good place to start. I've never made one before, but I have so much novelty fabric and they seemed pretty quick and easy...

I particularly like the one with all the kids eating.

With the fourth of July coming up, I'd love to start having some seasonal decorations around the house. Other than Jason's Halloween quilt from last year, I don't have any seasonal decorations. Inspired by something I saw on someone's blog (and can no longer find to reference!), I threw together this table runner, which I hope to quilt during my next road trip and then bind in red.

I'd like to make some placemats as well. I have to admit, now that I have a funtioning sewing machine to use, I've been neglecting my hand projects. I'm still quilting my Bright Futures quilt, but I got quite a bit done at the drive-in movie last night (Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Letters to God, but I was exhausted and we had to leave after the first feature), and I have a doctor's appointment on Monday, so I'm likely to get some stitches done then. Plus, I still haven't sandwiched and tied my Orphan Block quilt. So much to do, so little time...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Canine cuisine?

Were any of you reading my other blog (at when I made this pillow for our then-puppy, Biscuit?

If so, you probably remember I had to take it away from him at first because he kept chewing on it, but despite my best efforts, it ended up a disemboweled mess in no time.

Well, after seeing the bed that Nancy-Rose made for her cat, Gibby, I got to thinking that maybe Biscuit is ready for a bed again. He turns two this summer, and he hasn't eaten anything he wasn't supposed to eat in quite a while now. Besides, I feel sorry for him sleeping on the hard floor, especially since we don't have any carpets or rugs in our house. So, last night, I used more of that home dec weight fabric I used to make couch pillows this weekend to make a big floor pillow for Biscuit. I didn't do anything fancy, because I didn't want to be devastated if he ate it, but I think it is going to work this time.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

There is an explanation

You read about my insanely productive weekend. As predicted, it was followed by a Monday when I felt absolutely drained. After 8 hours at work, 45 minutes of karate, and 10 laps at the city pool with the kiddos, all I could manage to do by the time I got home yesterday was shower, gratefully eat the dinner my husband prepared, and collapse onto bed with some magazines. My kids woke me up when it was time for me to put them to bed (good kids), and then I swept the magazines I had been pretending to read off the bed and went to bed for real.

There is an explanation for my surge of organizing/cleaning energy, and an explanation for my utter exhaustion. Can you guess?

Is the light from my radiant, beaming smile lighting your part of the world, too?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Today, I will pay

Some days, I have no energy, and have to guilt myself into getting anything accomplished. Other days, I am so motivated that there just aren't enough hours in the day to get done all that I want to get done. This weekend, I had two motivated days back to back. I can't believe how much I got done! But today, I am exhausted! There is always a price to pay.

On Saturday, I woke up and headed outside to organize the space under our porch. It has turned into a catch-all since we don't have a garage or a shed - bikes, sleds, inner tubes for floating down the river, tools, gardening supplies, old paint, gas cans, you name it. It had gotten to the point where you couldn't even get around down there. Armed with organizational supplies I had picked up at Lowe's, I hung the bikes, sleds and inner tubes from the rafters, hung the gardening shovels and rakes on the posts, straightened up everything into some semblance of order, and loaded the back of my car with stuff that should have gone to the dump long ago. It makes me happy when my surroundings are clean and orderly.

Next, I loaded the kids into the car. One of the founders of our quilt guild was selling off part of her stash because it had outgrown her space. The kids and I made the 45 minute trip to her house on the other side of the county - quilt shop quality fabric at $4.00/yard is worth a drive; plus, she has the most fantastic sewing studio I have ever seen. She was the inspiration for me putting a sewing studio in my own basement. My loot included selected fat quarters and yardage, plus a kitchen trashbag full of scraps that she had set aside for me. The weekend was shaping up to be very good indeed!

Since the kids indulged my FART (Fabric Acquisition Road Trip), I indulged their desire to go to the city pool. It is so much fun to go now since they are both good swimmers. I got 14 laps in before my lungs started protesting, and then I sat in the sun perusing the back issues of Quilt Sampler and McCall's Quilting that I got free with my purchase of fabric that morning. Heavenly!

Eventually, I dragged the kids out of the pool to go home for a late lunch, and then let them entertain themselves while I primed my husband's office in our basement. (for those of you just tuning in, we finished our 1000+ square foot basement last fall, but never got around to painting it - except for my sewing studio, of course. Last weekend, I painted the bathroom. There is still the movie theater, the game room, the stairwell and the hallway to paint. When I am done, I am going to have wonderfully defined arm muscles from all that painting! At least, that's what I keep telling myself.)

By the time I finished priming, it was time to head to the drive-in movie where I volunteer nearly every weekend. Volunteers get to watch the double-feature for free, plus they get free popcorn and a drink. Add to that the fact that kids under 12 are free, and it is a deal you just can't beat! Besides, when it is free, you don't feel so bad about falling asleep during the movie, which we all did.

On Sunday morning, the forecast was calling for rain, so I headed outside to get some yard work done before the rain came. I hung some laundry out on the line. I weeded. I mulched. I weed-whacked. I brought the laundry back in dry before the rain came. Then, as the rain began, I headed back down to paint my husband's office. He wanted his office to be painted gray. "Gray?" I said. "Are you sure?" Never in a million years would I have chosen to paint a room gray. I'm thinking prison, depression, ugliness. But he wanted something neutral and manly, so gray it is. It turns out, I kind of like it. What do you think?

At this point, I was exhausted. I sat on the porch with a book while my husband made dinner, and wouldn't you know it, the sun chose that time to break through the crowds and shine on me. The weekend just kept getting better and better!

Once the kids were in bed, I was determined to spend some time sewing. My current couch pillows were some of the first quilting projects I had made, but they are now stained and misshapen and an embarrassment. They are being relegated to drive-in movie pillow status, especially since I discovered when we got to the movie this weekend that the kids had taken the pillows off MY bed to lay out and watch the movie under the stars in their sleeping bags. (Which reminds me, I still have to sandwich and tie my orphan quilt so I can take it to the drive-in with us. Maybe this week.)

Anyway, I whipped up these two pillows for my couch to the sound of my husband protesting the officiating of the Lakers-Celtics game down the hall in the theater.

I went to bed feeling very satisfied with myself. This morning, however, I am feeling like I got hit by a truck. My arms are sore. My shoulders are sore. My legs are sore. I can't stop yawning. Today, I will pay for my over-acheiving attitude this weekend!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Straight from heaven

I saw a quilting friend in Wal-Mart recently, and mentioned my frustration with not having a sewing machine. She told me about someone in the guild who was thinking of donating her old machine, and suggested I give her a call. Well, I did, and this ANGEL let me use her machine until I could get another one for myself. There's a special place waiting for her in heaven! I picked the machine up yesterday, and went straight down to my studio to play with scraps when I got home.

I participated in a scrap swap set up by V at BumbleBeans. Here are the scraps I received,

and here is what I have done with them so far.

I wanted to take a block (or 4) and put it on point, then put that new block on point, and so on and so forth. It's not something I really know much about, so it was fun to experiment with what size corner triangles are needed for that and whatnot. Perfect project to get used to a new machine as I was just throwing stuff together and sewing, no pattern, no measuring, just having fun. I don't really like the way it looks right now, so I'll probably take off the outside crumb pieced blue triangles, but I do like the look of the block inside the sashing, so maybe I'll make a couple more of those and see if they play nicely together. There are still lots of scraps left.

Today was Pre-K graduation for Donald, my soon-to-be 5-year-old. Here are my two little ANGELS posing with me after the ceremony.

After the ceremony, we went to Donald's restaurant of choice (McDonald's - sigh), and then stopped into a store for a quick bit of shopping before we went home. When we went into the store, it was hot and sunny and about 85 degrees outside. However, when we were ready to come out of the store, the skies had opened up in a torrential downpour with gale force winds. Guess who left her windows down and moonroof open? The good news is, I am no longer worried about those blue quilting marking lines coming out of my Bright Future quilt. It was on the front seat and got SOAKED. When I got home, I opened it up and laid it out to dry and TA DA! No more blue marking lines. There's always a silver lining...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Today's color is BLUE!

I finally got up the nerve to mark a quilt! Usually, I just echo quilt, or quilt in the ditch, or mark on Press 'n Seal and quilt over that, but this weekend, I swallowed my fears of lines that won't come out and marked the borders of my Bright Idea Quilt with a blue water-erasing marker!

I just marked the diamond-y shapes, then did the complementing shapes freehand. It sure makes it easy to have lines to follow. Here's hoping the lines will wash out...

In addition to sitting around quilting, I also painted the bathroom/laundry room in my basement. Before:


My husband asked, "What made you choose this color?" Well, folks, as you know, I'm a scrap quilter. It turns out, I'm also a scrap painter. I went to the mis-tinted paint section at Lowe's to see what colors others had selected and then decided weren't quite right. They re-sell that paint at a serious markdown. I bought this blue paint for $5, plus received a $5 mail-in rebate coupon. I don't think I'm supposed to get the rebate for mis-tinted paint, but I filled it out and popped it in the mail, and who knows, this paint job may be free! And what's more, I like this color - it makes the room cheerful, and Lord knows, you can use a little cheer when you are doing laundry!