Monday, January 31, 2011

Fighting through the inertia

Do you ever WANT to quilt, but you just can't muster up the energy and enthusiasm? That has been me lately. But this weekend, I decided to fight through it and CREATE. It helps that I was home during daylight hours - I feel much more creative when it is light outside.

I started by cleaning up my sewing room a bit. I had two big quilting frames set up, but wasn't using either one except for storage, so I dismantled one, freeing up more space. I rearranged my sewing table and my ironing board so there is more natural light on my workspace. And then I started with something quick and easy - a new pillow for my dog using some super thick batting and some home dec weight fabric that was gifted to me. So far, he hasn't eaten it. Instead, he has parked himself on there, and my husband says he has to physically drag him off the pillow in the morning when he wants him to go outside. I love a gift that is loved, even if it is by a dog!

(that blue and orange thing is another gift that he loved - a duck that has been decapitated and had the stuffing eaten out of him, but the dog absolutely LOVES it!)

Then I finished up the last of the scrappy log cabin blocks. As it now stands, the quilt will be about 64" square, not quite as big as I'd like it, but I don't have enough of the center fabric to make enough blocks to make it larger on all sides. Perhaps a thin-ish border and then a piano key border of scraps? Or, there's enough for one more row of blocks, so perhaps a border and then a "pillow row" of blocks? (I don't know the actual term when you have a row of blocks that is meant to lay over the there an actual term for that?) Any other ideas out there for making this big enough to cover a twin bed?

While working on those blocks, I made some more free pieced letters as my leader and ender project. I'm not really loving the S, so we'll see if that stays or goes. I have some ideas about how to pull it all together...

And when it is dark outside, I'd rather be curled up in bed or on the couch than in my sewing room. So on Saturday night, I turned on the TV (gasp! yes, I turned on the TV. I remembered how it worked! It has truly been a while since I've watched the boob tube.) and finished up the last few stitches in my mother's Christmas quilt (yup, gave it to her for Christmas and then took it back because I wasn't done) while watching PRETTY WOMAN.

(Another aside, does anyone else just inexplicably LOVE that movie? I could watch it a hundred times and not tire of it, but I'm not quite sure why. Well, I know Richard Gere is definitely part of the reason. I remember the first two movies I ever saw on VCR back when our family first discovered VCRs in the 80s - The Neverending Story and The Cotton Club. Richard Gere was a horn player in The Cotton Club and my adolescent self fell in love with him. That adolescent self still lives on in me.)

So, anyway, the quilt is done, and I hope to give it back to my mom this weekend when I hope to go visit her. (Are you reading this, Mom? If so, can I come visit on Saturday? I'll call you.)

And then, finally, last night I decided to watch the Netflix movie that has been sitting on my counter since just before Christmas (NOT joking!). DUMMY. Not me, that's the name of the movie. I don't remember picking it out, and when it arrived, I just wasn't moved to watch it. But I popped it in last night and started the Birdie Stitches BOM that I've been wanting to do.

Hmmm...just went looking for that link and found a flicker photo stream and it seems everyone else's snowmen are white. Certainly he didn't HAVE to be white, did he? I'm just gonna say mine was so cold he turned blue. And now looking at the directions, apparently I was supposed to do a back stitch. I don't even know what a back stitch is. I did stem stitch, because that is all I know so far. I hope there aren't embroidery police out there! Anyway, I enjoyed the movie much more since I was stitching. Otherwise, I don't think it is one I would have sat through until the end.
So, I feel like I'm back in the saddle again, which is good because I need to get the Cub Scout quilt's final border on and sandwich it so we can practice our knots on Monday as we tie the quilt. And truly, I'd like to give Donald his Boys Will Be Boys quilt before winter is over - that needs sandwiching and quilting. And in case you were wondering, he's been good at school two days in a row and today at homework time, HE initiated, pulled everything out of his backpack and called me over to get started and did everything with enthusiasm and a good attitude. I'll be putting Donald's photo on a milk carton because OBVIOUSLY this wasn't my kid who came home with me today, but a good-natured, homework-loving look-alike imposter. But seriously, I was so proud of him and told him how I actually enjoyed doing homework with him today. It may not last forever, but I'll bask in it as long as it does!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The absolute best!

Yup, that's what you guys are - the absolute best! Thanks for all your encouragement and support. We had a snow day today, so Donald didn't have a chance to redeem himself at school, but we've done a lot of talking and he has had consequences today, and I am hopeful that he will start to understand how important it is for him to do the right thing, if not all the time, then as much as possible.

I worked entirely too much today, but tomorrow is also a snow day, and I'm going to be more disciplined about stopping work when my usual work day is over - that's the problem when I work from home, I tend to overcompensate and work more than I would if I were at the office. But for now, the kids are in bed...wait, I hear voices...what are they up to?
(tiptoes up the stairs to find...)

"I'm teaching him how to play chess, Mom!" OK, let them stay up, there's no school tomorrow, after all.

So now, I'm in bed with my laptop and my new little notebook ready to catch up on some blogs! Check it out - Jason wanted a journal (NOT a diary, mind you!) and while shopping for him, I picked up this little notebook that fits in my purse and has GRAPH PAPER in it! (not to mention a hot car on the cover! I'm sure it was never meant to hold quilt ideas, but unconventional is my middle name.)

I don't know about you, but I have a million little scraps of paper with sketches of quilt block ideas from when I'm looking at blogs or perusing magazines at the library or whatever I'm doing when inspiration strikes. With this little notebook, I can keep all those ideas in one place and be ready to sketch any time, any place!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Good den leader...bad mother?

The kids did a great job coloring their quilt blocks yesterday, and I was proud of myself for putting them right together when I got home last night. I still need to sew on the borders, and sandwich it so we can tie it at our meeting next Monday, but I don't anticipate having trouble doing that. I think the quilt is going to be a hit at the Blue and Gold Ceremony in February.

But meanwhile, back at the ranch, my youngest is having trouble in school. It's just kindergarten, I know, but I think the foundation for building lifelong learners is created at a young age. It seems to have sunk in with Jason, but Donald is another story altogether. Jason loves going to school; Donald claims to hate it. Jason enjoys doing homework; homework reduces Donald to tears. Jason has always been a teacher's pet, never getting into trouble; I got another exasperated note from Donald's teacher today letting me know that another day like today and he won't be able to accompany his class on their next field trip. What am I doing wrong??? I hug and kiss him and tell him that I love him every day. We read books together before bed every night. We play games together, go on adventures together, and I include him in projects around the house like baking and cleaning. How did I end up being "that mom" with "that kid"? I know it is a giant leap from kindergarten class clown to juvenile delinquent, but my mind can't help but travel in that direction. I'm so frustrated and flummoxed. Anyone been there? Anyone still willing to associate with "that mom" and give me some advice?

Friday, January 21, 2011


I have some quilt-y developments, but first, a peek into my work so you understand why I am so exhausted right now. I am the scholarship coordinator at the university where I work. We had 2327 applications for scholarships this year, and we had to narrow that number down to 200 finalists. Today was the day I had hoped to get the letters in the mail, and everyone in my office pulled together to make that happen. 207 signatures later...

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Literally. Like the weight has been lifted but like the carrying of that weight for so long has left a permanent knot in my right shoulder blade. I'm headed to my room to lie down as soon as I finish this post. Or at least that's where I WISH I were headed. Instead, it is off to basketball practice for Jason, grocery shopping, and family movie night at the kids' school. When do I get to rest!?!

Anyway, if you are interested, you can read more about the process on our Admissions Blog. (which, by the way, was just named one of the Top 25 Admissions Blogs - who knew there was a ranking!?!) The posting the link will take you to is one I put up today titled, "Time to Stalk the Mailman!" (oh, man, looking at that now, I should have written "mail carrier". Drat! My sincere apologies to all the female mail carriers out there!)

So, understandably, my quilting time has been close to none. But I did manage to slip down to my sewing studio for an hour or so last night. I settled on my sashing strips and cornerstones and borders for the Cub Scout Quilt, all from my stash.

I had some pretty grandiose plans, but then reason took hold and I realized that with my quickly approaching deadline, it didn't have to be fancy. The colors are Blue and Gold because that is the name of the ceremony in February where this quilt will make its debut. I'm sure the colors signify something, but my mind is empty right now. I'll have to research that. Unless any of you know...Angela? Julie? Anyway, I've sewn together the rows of cornerstones and sashing that will go between the rows of blocks, but everything else is on hold until the kids color their blocks on Monday.

While digging out pre-cut scraps for the cornerstones, I found some pre-cut scraps of the fabric I needed to finish my first border around my little house from Beth, so I got a little stitching done on that, too.

I'm liking it, but not quite sure where I'll be going from here. I do like the golden fields that remind me so much of where I live in the fall and winter, so I'm sure that fabric will figure somewhere in my plans.

Bonus - while stitching those two small things together, I finished two more scrappy log cabin blocks. I'd love to finish making all those blocks this weekend so I can get it off my design wall and make room for my Bonnie Hunter style Virginia Bound quilt,

but we'll see. I need some rest this weekend, and I refuse to over-commit myself.

I do, however, commit myself to spending some time reading! All those books I ordered came in, and while I had already read 4 of them, I have 4 other new-to-me quilt fiction books stacked up next to my bed. I decided to start with The Fortune Quilt.

I'll let you know how it is!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Scout is BUSY!

I recently learned that only about 15 members of our quilt guild entered quilts in the quilt show last year. I am determined to encourage more people to enter quilts. As I was wondering who else could I cajole into submitting a quilt, it came to me - my Cub Scout den!! One of our activites that we need to complete is to create an original piece of artwork, and a quilt certainly qualifies. Plus, we can tie the quilt, and get lots of practice tying our square knots. So most of my (absurdly minimal) free time lately has been dedicated to prepping this project.

  • Coming up with an idea - a crayon-colored quilt that highlights some of the fun things we do in Cub Scouts.
  • Buying the fabric (see last blog entry).
  • Cutting the fabric into squares and ironing it onto Freezer Paper to stabilize it
  • Sketching and printing out images to put under the fabric for the students to trace and color
  • Making a sample block - my block is CAMPING, obviously

This project is going to have to be fast-tracked because we are coloring our blocks one week, then tying the quilt the next week so that we can display it at our annual Blue and Gold Ceremony the following weekend. I've already indicated how I work well with deadlines, right? Well, I'm going to be putting that theory to the test, big time.

Readers who've been with me for a while probably remember that last year, our Cub Scout den sang the National Anthem prior to one of my husband's basketball games. Well, we were invited back this year. So this past Sunday, we sang again. I don't know how the kids feel about this, but singing in public is NERVE-RACKING for me. We got through it, received a huge round of applause and then settled down to watch the game.

I gave the scouts each a stat sheet for a player, and they kept track of their points and fouls. Then, after the game (which we won, yay!) we lined up to give the team high-fives (OK, low fives - the boys are only 8, after all) as the players retreated to their locker room. As per previous arrangement, my husband sent the players right back up and the scouts collected autographs from and photos with the players they had been tracking.
Here's Donald with the team captain on the right
And Jason followed two players, the shortest guy on the team (5'9")

And the TALLEST (6'10")
Being a Den Leader takes up a lot of time, but it sure is FUN!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Construction zone

I didn't sew at all on Monday. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch. I was determined to make up for it on Tuesday. And when I got to my mailbox and received my teeny, tiny house fabric from Beth, I knew just what I was going to work on!

I couldn't just put this little piece of fabric away for another day; it is too small - it would be lost. But what to do with it? I had 9 little 1.5" HST units that I found when straightening up on Sunday, maybe I could start by surrounding it with those.

Duh, Erin, you need 16 to go all the way around, not 9! OK, maybe just on 2 sides? Nah. Sides and bottom and then a sky with a fussy cut sun and moon up top and flowers in the lower corners?

Nah, I like the flowers in the corners, but I want those HST units on all sides. And then maybe I can set it in a golden field like this one that reminds me of the golden hills outside my window beyond my immediate yard. Perhaps with a little border first.

But I'm out of energy to go digging through all my scraps looking for more of those two particular fabrics used in those HST however many years ago when I cut them off as bonus triangles from another project. That's a project for another day.

Meanwhile, my scrappy log cabin continues to grow.

And BONUS! While looking for scraps to use with my teeny tiny house, I found more of the yellow that I used for the centers of my log cabins. I was afraid that I didn't have any more and thought my log cabin quilt would be limited in size because of it, but now, I have enough of that yellow to make it as big as I want. Big enough for a twin bed, at least, is what I'm thinking now. I just love feeling like I am using up my scraps, although you wouldn't notice when looking at my scrap bags.
And I want to get back to my color words at some point. And figure out what I'm going to do next with the chicks and coffee. And finish piecing my Virginia Bound quilt before Bonnie Hunter gets here next month. Why, oh why, couldn't we have had a snow day like most of the rest of the country (at least that's how it seems!).
By the way, we did have a 2-hour delay this morning, which makes me happy because I get to sleep in until it is light out AND take my time eating breakfast, but they make both of my children sad. When I told them, Donald slumped over and moaned, "We still have to go to school!?!" Jason slumped over and said, "We have to miss part of the school day!?!" Why did I think having one kid prepared me for having two? They are as different as crocodiles and porcupines!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I made coffee!

It's been cold around here lately, so yesterday, I made coffee!

Hot coffee!

No real plan yet, we'll see where I go from here. I sure am having fun making something with no recipient or end result in mind - how liberating! Although, I'll be honest - I was a bit dismayed at how NOT wonky my letters were. I didn't measure, so they arent' the same size, but they aren't wonky either. I guess I really need Tonya's new Word Play Quilts book.

Speaking of liberating, on Saturday, we had a trunk show by Judy Loope at our guild meeting. The woman used to be an art teacher, and I think it shows in her creative quilts.

Most are wallhangings, and she incorporates lots of techniques into her quilts. Her work was AMAZING! Unfortunately, I don't think photos can do justice to the detail and texture and depth to her work, but in case you want to check it out, her website is

And then we get to this morning. I had a doctor's appointment, and on my way back from the doctor's office, I passed the new location of a quilt shop near me that had re-located. I HAD to stop in, right? It turns out, this was opening day, and I was her first official customer. Well, then, I HAD to buy something, right? I mean, this is a woman in my quilt guild that I just MUST support! In case Mrs. P is laughing so hard that her coffee is going up her nose, please know that I was VERY good. I limited myself to the $20 bill I had in my purse. I bought 1.5 yards of Kona white muslin for a cub scout project, and then 2 spring-y fabrics (2/3 yd and 5/8 yd) to remind me that it won't be cold and gray forever.

The shop is delightful, in a big old house set back from the road, surrounded by a shaded yard, with two porches and a deck. There are plantation shutters on the windows (I love plantation shutters!), a cozy, bright sunroom for her longarm, a little classroom, and lots of wonderful fabrics artfully arranged on neat old pieces of furniture. If you are ever zipping down I-81 in Virginia, I encourage you to stop to stretch your legs (and lighten your purse) at exit 200 at the Quiltery. Tell them Erin sent ya!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Books, books, books!!!

As expected, yesterday was exhausting, so when I got home yesterday evening, I climbed into bed with my Earlene Fowler Love Mercy book; the sewing room would have to wait. Alas, no more pieced letters. But while sitting on the bleachers during the morning's basketball games, I did finish sewing the center circles onto my plaid Dresden Plates.

Quick question: why did none of you mention that I hadn't yet sewn those circles on PRIOR to my sewing the top together? It would have been SOOOO much easier if I had sewn those on first, the way it is supposed to be done! Oh well, done is done.

So, since I don't have new sewing to show you, how about new books? Bernie emailed me to see how I got my list of Quilt Fiction on my sidebar, which made me realize that I'd not updated my list with my most recent acquisitions, which made me wonder if some of the other books I wanted might be available yet, which led me to discover that there are some new books that have come out that I hadn't realized, and some others coming out soon. Yay!

I picked up the following titles (used) to add to my quilt fiction collection:

  • Cat's Cradle, Jacob's Ladder and Double Wedding Room, all from Lizbie Brown - these are from a series of 6 books. I have the first two, Broken Star and Turkey Tracks, and once these arrive, I'll just be missing the third, Shoo Fly. I've been trying to find these books for years - they are hard to come by here in the US. In summary, "Elizabeth, a widowed American, left Virginia to run a quilt shop in Bath. There, she finds herself unofficially teaming up with Max, a PI whose office is above her shop." (from I've not read these three yet.

  • Sister's Choice, Endless Chain, Touching Stars and Wedding Ring from Emilie Richards' Shenandoah Album series. Oops, looks like I missed one - Lover's Knot. Oh well, I'll get it later. No rush, as I've read all of these (and LOVE them!). By the way, I also love her Ministry is Murder series, although I have one of those left to read. And in it, the protagonist's mom is a quilter, so there are quilts in these books, too.

  • Murder by Serpents: The Mystery Quilt by Barbara Graham. I know nothing about this book or this author, but I like quilts and I like mysteries. The editorial review from Amazon reads, "Spring in East Tennessee is normally the most beautiful of seasons, a time of growth and renewal. Residents of tiny Park County are shocked when it is also a time for murder. When a snake-handling preacher is murdered with his own snakes, Sheriff Tony Abernathy and his wife, Theo, a quilt shop owner are thrown into the search for a killer. From the beginning of the investigation, it seems like an unlikely choice of weapons. Why kill a man few people even knew existed? The trouble has just begun. Soon the entire sheriff's department is fighting rising water, more deaths and illegal drugs. Theo aides Tony's search as she runs her shop, designs a mystery quilt (pattern included) and is mom to their two young sons." We'll see. If I like it, she has another book in the series. I've not bought it yet, though, since all I can find online is a $26 hardcover, and that is a bit out of my price range for my quilt fiction library purchases.

  • The Fortune Quilt by Lani Diane Rich. Again, I know nothing about the book or the author, but one of the reviews on Amazon reads, "Carly McKay, a 29-year-old TV producer in Tucson, Ariz., comes from a loving Catholic family—a great dad and two sisters—all of whom have been scarred by the wife and mom who abandoned them 17 years earlier. On assignment from Tucson Today, Carly travels to Bilby, a small town revitalized by a thriving artist community, to interview Brandywine Seaver, a hip psychic quilt maker. Brandy gives skeptical Carly a quilt and a reading, telling her that her mother's not dead and that "[e]verything's about to change." When her mother's shocking return confirms Brandy's reading and she also loses her job, an angry Carly returns to Bilby to give back the "Quilt of Evil." She ends up staying in order to reimagine her life, and in the process discovers new love and the courage to take charge of her destiny."
    Again, we'll see.

And I am waiting on pins and needles (hee hee hee) for the following books to be released:

  • Earlene Fowler's next Benni Harper book, Spider Web, is due out in late May. Woo hoo! this may be my favorite series of all time!
  • Marie Bostwick's fourth Cobbled Court Quilts books, Threading the Needle, which is due out at the end of May, plenty of time for you to read the first 3 if you've not read them yet!

  • Clare O'Donohue's third in her Someday Quilts Mystery Series, The Double Cross, actually came out in September. How did I miss that!?! Next order, that will be on it!

  • Arlene Sachitano's fourth Loose Threads Mystery, Quilt by Association, was released in late December. I guess that will be on my next book order, too!

  • Jennifer Chiaverini's The Union Quilters will be out in late February. Perhaps I should plan my next book order for then. I like all of her books, but I particularly like the ones with a historical slant/theme.

Also, does anybody know the answer to this: I have Bonnie Hunter's Scraps and Shirttails 2 and Tonya Ricucci's Word Play Quilts on my TO BUY list. But I am wondering, are they (the authors) better off if we buy the book from a "bricks and mortar" bookstore, from Amazon, or directly from them? Does it make a difference? I want to do whatever I can to support these artists/authors in the fullest way possible (within my limited means). Does anyone know?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

It's getting HOT in here!

What wonderful ideas you all had for the chicks! And can we all agree that Cheryl is hilarious? I want to put all those ideas in the quilt, but I don't think I have that many pieced letters in me. If I can figure out how to quilt words, I think all those suggestions may make it into the quilt after all. But the word HOT has only 3 simple letters in it, so that's where I started.


I felt like I was simultaneously channeling Em and Tonya!

I wish I could go piece some more letters RIGHT NOW, but first I've got 2 basketball games, a quilt guild meeting, and a rollerskating date with my boys. After that, who knows if I'll even have energy left to piece?

Who am I kidding!?!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Now I'm just being silly!

There's a new chick in the henhouse! And lots of clucking going on as these two birds catch up with each other over a huge cup of joe!

So, where am I going with this? Who knows? My gut reaction is that I need to make some wonky letters. But what do I say?

Cluck, cluck, sip?

Two chicks, one cuppa joe?

Chicks dig coffee?

Anyone have any ideas? I think two or three words would be best, but I don't really know what to say. I'd love to hear what you think.

Meanwhile, my log cabin quilt continues to grow.

How long did it take to build a log cabin back in the day? Certainly not as long as it takes me to complete one measley quilt!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Skittering with the little chicks!

There's a children's book I love to read(sing) to my kids - Barnyard Dance, by Sandra Boynton. They are probably getting too old for it, but I love it still. In it, you are encouraged to "skitter with the little chicks", and that is exactly what I felt like I was doing yesterday, skittering about, doing a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.

While the kids were bathing in my tub, I stitched a bit more on my mom's GGG quilt. Yeah, I gave it to her for Christmas, but I took it back because I wanted to add some more stitches. Do you ever do that? Seems like I'm always doing it with HER gifts! Oh well, I'll likely be done this weekend, and can give it to her for real then.

After bathtime was bedtime. Over Christmas, I found some Stories From Grandma's Attic books at my mom's house. Growing up, I adored those stories! I read them over and over again. So I brought them home with me to share with my boys. The stories are about growing up on a farm in Michigan in the mid-1800s, and just like I do/did, my boys love learning about how people lived in the past. After reading one of the stories to them last night, both of them wanted to read more on their own, so I had to go get another one of the books for Donald. Mind you, Donald is in Kindergarten, and can sound out a couple of words, but certainly isn't up to the challenge of a chapter book, but that didn't deter him. When I went up for lights out (they are allowed to read in bed every night), there he was, telling himself stories from this chapter book with very few pictures.

(ignore the fact that his walls have flowery wallpaper and his curtains are pink - he is a real boy, not afraid of pink! Actually, I'm afraid of redecorating - ugh! The room is exactly as it was when we moved in 7 years ago. Do you hear that bed crying out for his Boys Will Be Boys quilt? That will be my next quilting project as soon as I finish this other one off for my mom!)

Next, I wandered down to the sewing room to make a chicken. Yup, you read that correctly - make a chicken. I took some scrap quilt books with me to the gym on Monday while Jason had basketball practice, and in one of my favorites, Quick Quilts from your Scrap Bag, there was a quilt with pieced chickens in the border. For some reason, I've been thinking about pieced chickens ever since. Measure, measure, cut, cut, stitch, stich, VOILA!

He/she is going to have at least one buddy because I don't think I can stop at just one. What will I do with him/her, you ask? Beats me! Ideas, anyone?

As my leader/ender project for the chicken, I finished a couple more log cabin blocks. I think I'm gonna really like this when it's done!

Finally, it was approaching midnight, and I needed to go to bed. Did I go right to sleep like I should? Of course not! Instead, I picked up Earlene Fowler's Love Mercy, which I had just brought home from the library. I've been fiending for another Benni Harper mystery from her, but, of course, she needs time to write them. Imagine my delight when I discovered that Benni and Gabe and Dove all have bit parts in this book! I'm only on chapter 3, but I can tell already that I'm really going to like it.

Speaking of books I liked, I received The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan for Christmas, and read it very quickly. Memoir of a young woman with breast cancer. Horrifying, but also delightful - I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The irony is that I was reading it on the trip to Atlanta with the basketball team. On the team (and on the bus) was a young man who lost his mother to breast cancer this Christmas holiday. He's on his way back from his mom's funeral today. I'm so saddened that my throat closes up every time I see him. I've lost a parent, so I know how hard it is, but I was also a grown woman with a spouse and children of my own when it happened. I just want to cuddle the poor kid up to my bosom and rock him to sleep, never mind that he is twice my size. Have you clicked the Breast Cancer Site to give free mammograms today?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The new year brings... first block in my first online quilting bee! It isn't perfect, but I hope she likes it. We were sent fabric and told to make whatever 12.5" block we wanted. I wanted to do something hip and new and different, and even went so far as to print out paper piecing templates, but then chickened out and fell back to a favorite Ohio Star block. Oh well, I have 11 more months to be creative.

...another win for my husband's team! Their record is now 8-2, and let me tell you, I love winning much more than losing. There's been a completely different vibe in my house these last few years, and this year, with this talented and young team, our house is just humming with excitement! The boys and I rode the team bus to Atlanta with the team last week to go play Emory University. I've never been on a sleeper bus before - what fun! I read, watched movies, slept, sewed - how nice to not be in charge but just along for the ride. And of course our hotel had a pool (it is a prerequisite when I travel with my boys) so we spent lots of time in the pool and I felt all virtuous for swimming 30 laps 2 days in a row (no matter that it was a midget pool about half the size of a normal one - in my book, if I am moving, it is exercise). And I got to see some old friends (including Nancy, my quilting buddy who moved away in June) and some cousins that I haven't seen in over five years. It was hard to believe that these two 5-year-old cousins had never met. Once they were introduced, Donald said, "So, what do you want to play?" and they were inseparable after that.

Me with my cousins

Me with a good friend from college

Jason helped his daddy on the bench during the game

... a slightly cleaner house! I know you are supposed to start the new year with a clean house, but gosh, I hate cleaning!!! I'm proud of myself for picking a few projects to complete and actually getting them done. I certainly won't pass a white glove test around here, but there are a couple floors that we could eat off of if necessary (not necessary since I also washed dishes) and the Christmas tree and other decorations are back in the closet for another year.

... something new on the design wall! My focus for the next few months needs to be quilting and finishing projects, not starting new ones, but I need something for those times when I just want some time with my machine, right? I have a couple of scrappy log cabin blocks done, and the rest are all in various stages of completion, a wonderful project to pick up and put down whenever, as there's not much thought involved except light and dark.

(not sure yet what layout I'll go with - so many options with log cabin blocks! I'll wait until I have more blocks done to decide, but in the meantime, fun to play around!)

Back to work in the AM. I sure am going to miss sleeping in!