Tuesday, March 21, 2006

So Much to Do...So Little Time

Oh, how I wish that I had more time to read all the blogs this week. We just wrapped up our PTA fundraiser which has kept me busy during the past 10 days. Not much time to sew. No time to sew this week either. The hubby and I are packing up and going to Hawaii on Friday. It's always more work to get things ready for a sitter to come than it is to take the whole family. I'm sure you're all feeling sympathetic, huh?

Here's a little "funny" for you to enjoy..... Some of you in the quilting world may have already seen this, if not I think you'll have fun watching The Perils of Sunbonnet Sue. (Make sure you have the sound on your computer turned on.) My daughter always gets a kick out of this!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Daddy and Daughter Time: Priceless

I've already told you what a great husband I have. Well, he's also a great dad. DH has always made it a priority to spend time building memories with our children. A while back, our youngest daughter decided that she was going to start saving her money to buy a cat condo. Now, was daddy going to let his little princess spend her money on such a thing? No! He told her that they could build one together and it would cost A LOT LESS MONEY! I'm sure you can already see where this post is headed.....

Yesterday I came home from watching our 12 year old's basketball game. I noticed when I drove up that the Jeep wasn't parked out in front, but that's the vehicle that our 16 year old drives so I assumed that she had gone to a friend's house. The garage door was open and all sorts of cat condo items were strewn about. When I walked into the house I had a strange feeling that something was not quite right. You know that feeling.

There were no construction noises. No noises at all, for that matter. The house was quiet. It wasn't long before I noticed splattered blood going up the staircase and followed it to the kitchen sink. Was this a crime scene?! I called DH's cell phone. When he answered I told him that I saw blood, but no bodies. WHAT'S GOING ON?! Our 16 year old was driving him to the ER. He had cut his thumb with a carpet cutter. OUCH!!! Good news...no one was dead! No police!

So here's how much we're into the cat condo now:
Parts and accessories: $75
New Ryobi cordless power tools: $185
Trip to the ER for seven stitches: $100

Needless to say, it would have been much cheaper to go buy the deluxe cat condo that they are selling at Costco for $114. They could have even made it a special trip buy stopping to get a burger, shake and fries. Of course, that wouldn't provide fodder for family fokelore. We'll always remember the time that daddy decided to save money by making the cat condo!

Here's the question that begs to be answered: Will those two ungrateful cats even use their future abode?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Phabulous Pheasants

I'm a lucky woman! I have been married to the same great guy for almost 22 years. DH's a hard worker and a supportive husband and father. Although he doesn't know much about quilting, he understands that it brings me a lot of happiness and brings out qualities in me that make me a better person. He supports me in all the things that I enjoy doing.

When I met my husband he used to do a lot of hunting and fishing. As our lives have gotten busier many of the hobbies that he loved have dropped from his life as family priorities have taken over. Occasionally he still makes his way to the mountain streams to see if he can outsmart those German Brown or Rainbow trout. Not often enough, though. Still, there is one thing that he makes time for each and every Fall. Pheasant hunting. It's the one thing that he has been able to do with his only brother that brings them together in a somewhat difficult relationship. It also ties him to the memories that he has of time spent hunting in the corn fields with his father. It's very common for him to stop along the roadside and watch the pheasants strutting through the nearby fields.

With this being the year that I am making a birthday quilt for each of my family members, I wanted to make something special for John. He has hinted that the little throw in his home office isn't big enough to cover him. Admittedly, I made it just large enough to cover our daughter when she curled up into his overstuffed chair to read.

So this quilt is just for DH. I will confess that it's not one of my favorite quilts. I'm not very fond of the pattern and I definitely chose the wrong fabric for the inside border. Nevertheless, I know that he will love it and that's what matters most.

Here's a close up of the fabrics that I used. I think that the pheasant fabrics are Granola Girl prints. The top still needs to be quilted.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Making My Own Springtime

Boy, it's been a long time since I last posted. What a crazy week! A sick husband... a nine year old with a tweeked neck...two trips to the chiropractor for her...counting $$ each day for the school fundraising event...still more counting this week...

One thing that we did that was out of the ordinary for us was attend an Arena Football League game on Friday. Nashville Kats vs. Utah Blaze in the Delta Center. It was even better that the Blaze won!!! I was telling my friends this morning that it was like watching our boys play out in the front yard when they were younger. Fast paced and fun! Not to mention that they made up new rules. LOL! I'm not much of a football fan, but I would definitely go to another game!

Well, I can wait for spring no longer! Since any hint of my flowering bulbs are under inches of new snow, I decided to pull out my tulip quilt. This quilt was made for my mother in 1956 by the ladies in her church congregation. I saw it for the first time two years ago when my mother gave it to me while cleaning out the basement after a flood. My parents' marriage only lasted five or six years, and I guess she's had this quilt in storage ever since. It has a few stains, but overall it is in pretty good condition. It must be a double bed size, as it barely fits over the top of my king size bed.

Here are a couple of close up shots of the blocks.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Tackling the Sewing Room

Today I plan to March 4th and sort through my sewing room. I definitely need to reorganize and get rid of things that I no longer want or need. I've been putting it off for way too long.

Tonight while my DH is at the BYU basketball game I'm going to work on his surprise birthday quilt. He worked from home yesterday and had no idea that I was working on HIS quilt in the other room. I've got to lay all of the blocks out now but can't do it if there's a chance he could walk in and see it!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Binding....it's gotta be done.

I have to admit that binding is my least favorite part of making a quilt. I've probably made that confession many times. I guess the good news is that I'm getting better at sticking with it until the quilt is complete, lable and all. Below are a couple of wall hangings (I can never remember if that's one word or two) that I finished the bindings on last night.

This fall wall hanging has been quilted since last September. It has also had the binding sewn on since then. For some reason I've got it in my mind that I had a piece of fabric all ready to attach for a sleeve on the back. After all this time I've given up looking for it and just decided to get the hand stitching done. You know that tomorrow I'm going to walk into my sewing room and find that hanging sleeve fabric sitting in the middle of the table!

I stitched this wall hanging together last week and started quilting it. Wouldn't you know...as I was quilting the LAST bow tie I ran out of bobbin. No problem, I'll wind another one. No such luck! The bobbin winder on my machine had stopped working without any previous hint that it was sick. Grrrrr..... I took my machine in to have it repaired only to find out it will take TWO WEEKS to get it back. You might think that people who repair sewing machines for a living would realize that I can't live without my machine for two weeks. Good thing I have a back up (or two, or three). I think the bow ties will make a nice Father's Day gift.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Eensy Weensy Spider

Most people have cats or dogs for pets. We've had our share. We've even had birds and fish. Throw in a couple of gerbils for good measure. She isn't your typical pet, but now we have a black widow spider named Wilma.

Wilma didn't start out as a pet. As a matter of fact, it was last October when our youngest daughter told me that we had a spider in the garage and she was sure it was a black widow. She told me that for three days. Since I don't really care for spiders, especially the black widow variety, I tried to ignore the situation. Finally...on day four I told my husband that he had to deal with the situation. I was thinking that he would go into the garage wearing his big brown boots and stomp on that poor sucker. WRONG! The mighty hunter and trapper catches the thing in a canning jar!

That black beauty sat on my kitchen counter for the next several days as the girls brought friend after friend from the neighborhood to view the poisonous villain. While in the midst of hurricane season, our daughters plucked the name "Wilma" from the headlines and bestowed it on their new fascination.

It wasn't long before my husband decided to throw a pesky fly into Wilma's jar. We all stood around the jar, morbidly intent on watching what would happen next. ATTACK!!! We were immediately hooked! Now we take great pleasure in capturing whatever flying or creeping thing we can find and flinging it into Wilma's jar. How sick is that?!

I have to admit that there are days when I think about taking her jar out and depositing it into the trash just before the men come to collect it. But I just couldn't do that to one of the family! For now she'll keep her spot on my kitchen window sill.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Instant Gratification

I've been in the mood to make a mini and today was the day.....from start to finish.

For some reason I've had "brown" on the brain. I saw a blue variation of this quilt at one of my local quilt shops. I came home and started digging through my scraps looking for browns. Instead, I came across a little bundle of brown and gold fat 16ths that I got during a quilt retreat I attended last fall. I cut those babies up and added a few more pieces from my scrap box. For the background I used nubby msulin. I did some quick cross hatch stitching on my machine and then finished the binding while watching the Olympics. It's on my kitchen table now, but may find a place on a wall somewhere. The picture is of me and my three daughters.

Why do I let the most simple things become so hard?

This quilt was supposed to be finished last summer before the 4th of July. You would think that a simple one patch like this would be a piece of cake, but once I got the blocks into four patches I lost interest. I'm trying to be a good girl and get some of my lingering projects finished up, so I decided this would be a good one. I still have a little bit of hand sitching to do. There are three cream colored blocks in the center of the quilt with will have the words: with liberty.....and justice.....for all. There will also be a couple of stars and a little flag. Shouldn't be too hard. Do you think I'll be able to it finished in time to enjoy next summer?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Let the Games Begin!

Typical cat!

Xander joined our family two years ago when our daughter turned seven. She had been begging for a kitten for a full year. For both her previous brithday and Christmas she told us that if she couldn't have a kitten then there really wasn't anything else that she wanted. We already had two cats at the time, but neither of them came to us as kittens. They were both strays that decided they wanted to live at our home. So two years ago dad "caved" and gave into his little princess's wish. I took our daughter to the pound on her birthday and she chose this adorable Siamese.

For the most part, we think that Xander is really great. We could do without the mice and birds that he brings in through the cat door and deposits throughout the house. We put TWO bells on his collar hoping to give the wild creatures a fair chance. Guess he's just too good.

For the last couple of weeks Sequence has been our families game of choice. We play it on the living room floor. No tables for us. We've got to be laying on our stomachs across from one another. Last night we got the game set up and then got sidetracked by the Olympic speed skating and snowboarding. Obviously, Xander was wondering were we all went. Looks like he was ready to play!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Isn't She Lovely?

Last night was the high school Valentine's dance for my oldest daughter. Doesn't she look beautiful? Where this 16 year old got the tall, thin genes, I'm not sure. It certainly wasn't from me! She didn't get her "awsome" hair do from me either. That was done by my friend's 20 year old daughter. You'd think that since I have three girls that I might know a little something about doing hair. Nope! They all want to wear their hair long and straight (except for special occasions like this).

So what did my daughter get from me, you ask? Well, I did make the jacket to got with her dress. LOL! Long before I ever started quilting I used to sew most of my children's clothing. The jacket isn't much, but I have made some elaborate dresses in my days. I was blessed with an outstanding sewing teacher in high school. That was back in the days when they actually taught girls how to sew clothing. Now they learn how to make pillow cases and pajama pants. In 11th grade my daughter is taking her second year of Japanese, learning how to weld and design costumes. She loves it!

By the way...I'm told my daughter gets her smile from me. :-)

Friday, February 10, 2006

More Hearts

On the Stashbusters group today, someone asked about using different values of the same color to make a scrap quilt. They were afraid that they might end up with an ugly quilt. These two red and cream quilts are proof that you can mix all types of the same color to make a quilt.

These two heart quilts started out as a comfort quilt for a friend who belonged to an online group. Diane was a knowledgable and proficient quilter, but more than that she was a good friend to all. In the fall of 2004 Diane found out that she had cancer. We all quickly went to work stitching up heart blocks that included heartfelt messages. Sadly, Diane passed away within weeks of her diagnosis. At that point we decided to make more blocks and make memories quilts for Diane's two daughters. Last February the quilts were finished and mailed in time for Diane's girls to recieve them for Valentine's Day.

We all miss Diane and think of her often. She has touched more lives than she will ever know.

Time to Break Out the Hearts

Here's the little Valentine's wall hanging that I made in December. It hangs at the top of the stairs in our home. It was fun to use some of my machine's decorative stitches to carry the "crazy quilt" border to the back of the quilt.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Those Were the Days

Remember back when you were in elementary school? Life sure was much more simple then. I attended the same elementary school from the time that I entered Miss Kimball's kindergarten class until I graduated as one of Mr. Jensen's sixth graders. Those were the days. I still have fond memories of each and every one of my teachers at Provost Elementary School!

Of course there were others who influenced my life when I was back in school. Let's not forget those wonderful lunch ladies! They used to fix meal from scratch back then. None of those preformed nuggets made from chicken parts and frozen cookie dough.

Do you remember getting out of class to work in the lunch room? I was surprised to find out that isn't require of my children. I'm told that they don't want them working in the lunch room because it takes them away from the [real] learning that they do in class. Hmmmmm....

Well, all I can say is that they're really missing out. I especially loved working in the lunchroom on the day that the lunch ladies made Peanut Butter Fingers for dessert because the helpers always got TWO!

Years later a neighbor was able to wrestle that treasured recipe from the lunch ladies and it ended up in our church cookbook. Of course, now it's a family favorite and has also been passed around my neighborhood. Now I'll share it with you.

Make a batch for the ones that you love and see if they don't get devoured! There will even be enough to share with your friends next door.


Cream together:
3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar

2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix ingredients well, then add:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. oatmeal (not quick cooking)

Press evenly onto a 12x17" jelly roll pan.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with a package of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Let melt, then gently spread over entire surface with the back of a spoon.

Let chocolate set (this works best if done in the fridge) and then top with peanut butter icing.

3 c. powdered sugar
1 c. peaunt butter
enough milk to make a thick, but spreadable icing.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Another Swap Top Completed

This year I have a goal to assemble all of those block swap blocks that I've been accumulating and turn them into quilts. After all, that is the idea behind the swaps, isn't it? This top is made from a bunch of Blueberry Cobbler blocks made from Pat Sloan's pattern. I really like the look of the two color quilt. Because the blocks were made by several different people, not all of the points match up,but that's okay with me. This isn't one of those matchy matchy quilts. Now I just need to get this baby quilted, bound and hung on the wall in my downstairs hallway.

This is also a quilt made from swapped blocks. These churn dash blocks were part of a friendship swap from an online quilt group that I belong to. I just love the traditional look of the churn dash blocks. This one was planned for my son's bed.

Happy 9th Birthday!

My baby turned nine yesterday. It's amazing how quickly the time has passed. Nine years ago she was hooked to all sorts of monitors and awaiting a possible blood transfusion. Through a series of miracles her situation improved and we were able to bring her home from the hosptial when she was eight days old.

This morning when my little boopsey woke up she came into my bedroom and said, "Mom, I really love my new quilt. It kept me so warm last night."

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In the Zone

You know you're "in the zone" when you get a call at 3:00 from the periodontist's office and realize that you totally blew of your daughter's 2:30 appointment.

Two weeks ago my soon to be 9 year old daughter had that nasty, ouchy skin graph procedure done to add more gum to her two lower front teeth. Today was her follow up appointment for them to take make sure everything had healed properly and to take pictures. I know that I looked at that appointment written on my HUGE kitchen calendar no less that five times during the day. I was going to take her as soon as she arrived home from school. At least that was the plan. Needless to say, I got so into working on my pink and brown blocks that I completely forgot about the appointment. Fortunately, they still let me rush her over. They even gave us two free cards to get smoothies at Jamba Juice in honor of my daughters birthday on Friday.

Tomorrow my girls have appointments to have their teeth cleaned at the dentist's office. I guess I'd better set my alarm!

Ahhhh.....much nicer fit!

What's that old saying?

Measure twice, cut once. We've all heard that one before. But don't you just hate it when you cut what you thought was an accurate piece, only to find out that it was the wrong size?

Yesterday I pulled out all of the pinks and browns that I have been saving and started cutting them up to make Chexx Mixx blocks. I figured that I'd begin with two sample blocks just to make sure I hadn't made any huge mistakes. Let's just say that the nine patch blocks turned out to be a perfect 5" square. It was those blasted star point segments that I cut 5.5" that were wrong. All 168 of them! They should have been 5" long! Now I need to go back and cut them down to 2.5" X 5". Of course, it could have been worse...I could have cut them 1/2" too short!

Now where's that seam ripper?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Seeing Red!

Ask my family what my favorite color is and they'll all answer a resounding...RED! I just can't get enough of it! Although this quilt didn't turn out exactly as I had planned, I still think that the red and tan has a certain appeal. For this quilt I dug into all of my red FQs and made this from my stash.

My baby is turning 9 on Friday, and even though she has seen me working on this quilt she doesn't know it is for her. This year my plan is to make a quilt for each member of my family. After all...they are my biggest fans!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Life is Like a Quilt

One of the things that I love about quilting is that it relates to so many different pieces of my life. This year my alter ego acts as Madame President of our elementary school PTA. Last night I got a reminder call for our council meeting this morning and was asked if I would lead the Pledge of Allegiance and give a thought. On my way out the door I grabbed this quilt that hangs over my entry bannister and took it as my prop to illustrate how a quilt is like working together on a committee. You know...we all come in different colors, shapes and sizes; it takes many people (pieces) to make things happen; when we all work together then the project turns out beautifully...you get the idea.

So I'm curious about other's thoughts...
In what ways do you think that "life is like a quilt?"

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Getting Back at It

After a week away from my sewing machine I was eager to get back in the swing of things. I made this quilt using 2.5" Thimbleberries strips that I swapped with my friends. A variation of Linda Ballard's Spools Revisited pattern.

Is This the Real Deal?

When living in Utah it's always a good idea to seek out some sunshine in the middle of winter. My DH and I just returned from a fabulous week in the Bahamas. We had an unforgetable time on the island of Great Exuma with our good friends. Who would have guessed that we would be there the same week that they were filming Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3? Lucky us!!! We had the chance to meet (and have our pictures taken with) Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. You can bet that our DDs were more than bummed that it was US and not THEM standing next to their heart throbs! When I emailed copies of these pictures to my sister she wasn't sure that they were the real deal. Her DH had to convince her that I hadn't photoshopped myself into the pictures. Our DDs and their friends figure that they can crop us out. HOW RUDE!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

My Home in Happy Valley

Happy Valley isn't really the name of the place I call home, but for those of us who live between Utah Lake and Mount Timpanogos, the name has special meaning. This is the view of the mountains taken from the upstairs window of my home. I never tire of looking at the beautiful mountains that surround us.

I am a 43 year old mother of four. I have been married to the same great guy for almost 22 years. Wow! I can hardly believe its been that long! I love quilting and look forward (with mixed emotions) to the time when I can quilt all day without having to stop to pick up the carpool. Yah, like that's ever going to happen!!! Until then I'll just keep plugging along quilting as much as time allows.

I've got a great life!