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."