Sunday, June 28, 2009

Slip Slidding Away

I looked at a calendar today and came to the startling realization that June is almost over. Where did it go? Obviously that made me think about getting my act in gear on my June UFO. I have been so happy to check the moldy oldies off my list, but it can be a struggle to power through some of these. I guess there is usually a reason that a project gets moved from the active list to the back burner. I've got 16 blocks done, so just 8 more and I can put the top together. I went ahead and cut out the lattice strips and corner stones, so I should be all set to get this puppy ready to layer. I'm not super happy with the way the colors are all coming together, but things usually look better when they are all put together, so I'll reserve judgment for a while longer. It's going to be a donation quilt anyway, so maybe someone else will like it better.
I've been busy around here with many exciting projects like cleaning out closets and pressure washing the driveway. How fun does that sound? Last night we got a babysitter so we could go to a retirement party for one of the guys on Kurt's team. We don't get out very often without the kids so it was nice to hang out with grown-ups for a while.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What's Next?

I just finished the flimsy for Starlight Starbright. Traditional blocks are much easier to put together, it took a lot of crawling around on the floor to get everything to fit together. It still needs borders, I'm thinking of doing some diagonal string piecing based on a quilt that Rhonda made a while ago. I think it would add some color to offset the white. That brings the flimsy stack in need of borders to two. Perhaps I'll start working on borders next. I also got the last two quadrants of the Sock Monkey quilt put together so when I get the borders done I can switch to sandwiching mode for a while. I see more crawling around in my immediate future. Mom has also asked me to make a "blanket" for her guest bedroom. I think I'll start working on that one next, maybe using Bonnie's Sister's Choice pattern. It feels good to be getting some sewing done for a change. So moving on, what's next?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bad Blogger

How could I go out of town for five days and not take a single picture? I saw Mom and her new house, then Sister and the new house she wants to buy, two nephews and a niece on my side of the family, BIL and two nephews on that side of the family and not a single snapshot to show for it. We had a lovely trip to Georgia. Mom has settled into a new house much closer to my sister, they both seem to be enjoying the proximity. Her three little ones are doing great. The Austin and Ryan are close to the same age and played great together. Paige and Anna are also close to the same age and were joined at the hip. Anna didn't have a playmate, but joined in with the others. Zach is two now and walking up a storm! I don't think any of us expected him to be doing as well as he is with all of this health issues, but he is happy as can be and seems oblivious to the equipment.
Mom had a few chores for us to help her settle into the new house. Kurt added light fixtures and laid plywood in the attic. Heather and I hung up curtains. I'm glad we got the easy job, it was hot up in that attic! My sister has just put a contract on a house in the same neighborhood, I hope they are lucky selling their house. They are all a little squished in their current place and could really use some extra space. We spent Monday doing some cleaning and organizing to help it show better. She is compulsively neat and organized, but we worked on the pretty superficial touches that are supposed to help it show better.
Seeing all the new houses has Kurt in project mode and I'm wondering what he is going to pick to work on next. My vote was to have new carpet put down in our bedroom, but I think he wants to do something with the stairs. The yard is in desperate need of attention, but it is just way too hot out there to spend any serious amount of time.
My sister always saves her sewing projects for me, so she sent me home with directions and fabric for dust ruffles as well as a cover for a wedge that Zach is supposed to be sleeping in at night. I started working on it at Mom's this weekend, but it was slow going without a rotary cutter. I ended up bringing it all home, I'm sure it will look much better with the proper equipment.
I was listening to Sense and Sensibility on the car trip and was almost finished when we pulled into the driveway. I think I'll head back to the sewing room after the kids are in bed and get some organization done while I listen to the last couple of chapters. There is almost nothing scheduled this week and I am hoping to get some serious sewing done.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Zooming By

The week has just flown by. I thought I would be able to get so much accomplished with two of my three in camps. Both camps start at 9. By 9:01, Sydney is ready to start Mommy time. So far we've seen a movie, gotten our nails done, and had a little shopping trip. By the time we finish that, it's about time to get Ryan. Three hours isn't as much time as it seems like I guess. The three of us head home for lunch and then it's another three hours until it is time to pick up Anna. I have gotten a little reading done while hanging out with the kids. I'm about halfway through Sister's Choice by Emilie Richards. It's part of the Shenandoah Album series which I've enjoyed reading so far. It is a quilt themed series something like the Elm Creek books, but a little more subtle in the use of the metaphor. I was already on page 100 yesterday before the first quilts were seriously mentioned. I also got some work done on the Jigsaw puzzle and sewed up a little curtain and some more organizer boxes like the ones I made earlier. Add to that laundry and the usual housework that seems to add up so much more quickly with extra bodies in the house and it has been a full week.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Brownian Motion

I would probably make more progress if I could decide what I actually want to work on and focus my energies on one project. Strangely, I seem to be incapable of that. Until inspiration strikes, I guess I am destined to bounce randomly from one project to another. This is G5 of my long term Dear Jane Quilt. I appliqued the top part during ice skating yesterday. I did the little stripes during a chess tournament several months ago, and now that I have it pressed I can see that I was a little random on the seam allowance. C'est La Vie. Finished is better than perfect.
Most of today was spent on more exciting tasks like yard work and car detailing. Also, I sewed together another section of sock monkey blocks. Seriously, all the excitement makes you long to be me, doesn't it? On the bright side, I picked Kurt up at the airport and he can handle some of the fun for me as soon as he is over his jet lag.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Step 1

Step 1 of Christmas Lights is done. With Kurt out of town, I had to rely solely on stash. I'm not horribly happy with the gold and I still don't have a red and green print, but other than that, I think I'm done for now. When I order fabric with no particular purpose in mind, I usually do it in small quantities. That means of course, that when I get ready to actually use it in a project, there is never enough of any one thing. So there are a several similar blacks and two different reds, three different yellows.... I even tried to find more of the same fabrics, but I also tend only to order things on sale, so those particular fabrics don't seem to be available anymore. I'm sure I'll be able to slip out at some point next week to a fabric store of some sort to add to the assortment. Two out of my three are in camp and Sydney loves to shop. When she was a baby, if she started to get fussy on a weekend I'd go to a store and wheel her around in a shopping cart. She would get busy waving and talking to all the strangers that she would cheer right up.
The shuttle didn't go up this morning so we made to ice skating with no problem. After that it was a very quiet home day around here. Playdates, board games, stories, all sorts of good stuff. My big activities were mowing the yard and doing some laundry. Ah, so much glamor and excitement! I'm not sure how I manage to contain my enthusiasm.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stick a Fork in Me.....

......I'm so done. We drove back over to Orlando this morning to get in just one more morning of theme park fun before our cousins go home. Anna was on her sleepover, so it was just three of us today. Then I had to book-it back home to meet the bug guy at 1. We had barely finished lunch before Sydney was off to play with her friend next door. I was a little ragged around the edges by then and puttered about with my puzzle for most of the afternoon. Between kid stuff of course.
I wandered into the sewing room after the kids were in bed again and got the second week of my calendar quilt put together. It is mostly theme park and swimming related to represent how my time was spent last week. I went ahead and cut out a few blocks to prepare for next week. chess fabric for Monday when Ryan starts his camp and ice skating fabric for Anna's lesson in the morning. I don't have any space shuttle fabric, but Endeavor is due to launch at 7:17 in the morning.
I also got some of the sock monkey blocks put together. I decided to try out the "quilting in sections" that Amy has had such good luck with. If I separate the top into quarters it works out to a nice, easy to manage size. l also pulled out the fabric to cut out the last of the Christmas Lights squares. I might finally get those blocks squared up and collected together to await the next step.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Little Bits of Lots of Things

I keep waiting for one of those lazy days of summer where the kids will magically entertain themselves and I can sew the day away in my jammies. I could be waiting for years before such a thing happens. Until then, I'm carving out little bits of time after the kids are asleep to move my projects along one step at a time.
We started today with a free movie. On the way home, we had to stop at Target so that Anna could use a gift card she got for her birthday (thanks Aunt Barb!). We also picked out a puzzle to work on together. We worked on that together after lunch. Before the dishes were done, we started negotiations for a sleepover and tried to get in summer reading and a few chores. By then it was time to drop Anna off for the sleepover. Ryan and Sydney wanted to pick up a movie and then we stopped for an early dinner. I did manage to drag the kids through Books-a-Million in the midst of all of that where I found my very own copy of Quiltmaker with the Christmas Lights mystery quilt! I read through that while the kids did baths and such and then we watched the movie while working on the puzzle some more.
They were nestled all snug in their beds by 8, when I zoomed through blogs and e-mail and got in a little machine time. I got the Sock Monkey blocks finished off! This is going to be the sample for the happy blocks pattern that I am using for the Girl Scout service project. I've got about three quilts worth of blocks cut and kitted up so far. I need to finish writing up the directions to go with those. They are based on the pattern at Mary Quilts (sorry, can't do the link, bloglines seems to be broken). I don't think I mentioned that I got a community service award at the last Girl Scout leader meeting of the year. Myra, the leader of the troop who is organizing the service project, and Ashyln, who runs the service unit, both wrote really nice letters about the service project and the quilts I had donated. It came with a pin and a lovely bunch of fresh flowers. I got the yellow HST blocks done for the Christmas mystery and have the black HST blocks ready to cut out. I still need to square up the split squares, but they do look all bright and cheery together.
We're supposed to head out to the theme parks again in the morning, so I should really get to bed early tonight. The kids have each taken a turn to sleep downstairs one of the nights that Dad is out of town. I've got Sydney tonight so I'll be fighting for the covers for sure. It's amazing how strong she can be from the depths of sleep.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I decided to use brights for the Christmas Lights mystery quilt. I didn't have any good blacks to go with the muted selection, so I'll save those for something else. I made way too many four patches and then sewed all of the little split diagonal patches the same way. I got those fixed, but still need to square them all up. The HSTs are cut but not sewed.
I would have loved to sew the day away, but the house was in need of a little attention. I took this "before" shot of the kitchen which had become a drop off point for all the post vacation refuse that seems to magically collect while the house sits empty. 3 days of newspapers and mail, unpacked snacks, groceries and assorted random stuff had filled the counters and begun to overflow onto the floors.

We have a babysitter coming tonight so I can go to a spa night with a group of ladies from work. I need to go and put together a veggie tray to take along. Not before I admire my shiny clean kitchen though. I am so easily amused it is silly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Back Home

We literally grabbed the kids out of the pool after lunch and threw them kicking and dripping into the car. They were having a great time hanging out with their cousins and assorted other family members. Kurt had a flight to catch and so we dropped him at the airport on the way home and are now settled in and recovering from a whirlwind vacation.
We were staying at a really lovely resort not far from Disney, but spending most of our time at Universal. The kids like the old Universal more than the new, but gave high marks to the Simpson's Ride and the Mummy Roller Coaster. Anna got chosen to be part of the show at Disaster and thought that was very fun. We all rode the Bilge River Barge ride again and again, and then spent the rest of the day leaving soggy wet prints everywhere we went.
Afternoons were spent lounging by the pool, or at least getting as close to lounging as possible while watching and playing referee to lots of little splashing bundles of energy. By evening, everyone was tired and willing to sit peacefully through a nice meal at a nearby restaurant.
The kids played musical hotel rooms at night and everyone had a chance to sleep over with someone at some point. The kids even had a few minutes to hang out in the rooms and play bakuguan or cards between activities.

Ryan got along especially well with his cousin Dean. They were born only a few days apart and seem to have a special bond. They walked arm in arm or hand in hand through all of the parks. They were so cute I couldn't resist snapping a few snapshots.
As much fun as vacations are, it is always so good to come home again. The rest of the family will be there for the rest of the week, so we might end up trekking back again if the kids have their way. Today though, I'm going to unload suitcases, get started on some laundry, and maybe find some time to get some sewing done after dinner. With Kurt out of town I can sew into the wee hours and not disturb anyone.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Theme Park

I didn't bring the laptop on this trip. Instead I am doing everything from my iphone. It is compact, but seems to be working well enough for what I need to do. I'll have to do pictures later though. I wouln't want to write a novel like this,but it is handy

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fabric Choices

I couldn't find the magazine to get the directions for the new Quiltville Christmas mystery quilt, but I did find the fabric requirements online. I started pulling some potential fabrics so that I can figure out what I need to buy. There are two potential colorways that I am considering. The first group is muted, I didn't have a black to go with this group, maybe I could substitute the dark olive green instead? Then I started with the blacks in the second group and ended up with this bright version. So what do you think? Muted or bright?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Just for me Day

Kurt had the day off today and I took advantage of it by getting out of the house without the kids. I had an appointment at the bank and then headed into school to get a little more work done in my classroom. After that I went to see Demons and Angels before heading to Jason's Deli for a late lunch. I chose Jason's because it is right next to Joann's. I was hoping to pick up the new issue of Quiltmaker magazine which is supposed to have the first set of directions for a Christmas Mystery Quilt by Bonnie at Quiltville. I was so disappointed that they still had the May/June issue with no Quiltville mystery to be found. They did have Home Dec fabrics for half off, so I got some more fabric to make organizer boxes and cover a bulletin board. I've been working with the box pattern to make it sturdier and had good luck with one made from heavier cardboard. I then got out my rotary cutter and went to town cutting all of the boxes that I cleared out of the pantry in my cleaning of recent days. It is so satisfying to take a jumbled mess of random boxes and turn them into an orderly stack of 5.25 inch squares. Much like taking a tangled mess of a scrap basket and turning into organized piles of strips and squares.
I thought my me day was over when I got home around diner time, but a girlfriend came to drop off Anna after a play date with her daughter, and we headed out together to have a quick drink and some appetizers while we caught up on girl talk. We used to have plenty of time to talk on our weekly long runs, but we haven't done those recently and were feeling out of touch. I knew it was bad when she said it was OK that we hadn't talked recently because she kept up with me on my blog.
I'm still a little bummed about not having the directions for the mystery quilt, but I know it involves 52 3.5 inch four patches, so I can dig those out of the leader/enders basket and get started. We are headed to Orlando tomorrow to meet up with visiting family members on vacation, so I won't be doing much sewing for the next few days anyway. After that I'll try to get the magazine again or maybe finish off some WIPs so I don't feel bad about starting something new.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Little Bits

I was following links on a blog from my bloglines list and ended up at a site that had a link to a calendar quilt challenge. Most of the blocks they showed were made of strings that were 1 inch by 10 inches I think. One string is added each day of the month and then all of the blocks are sewn together to represent a year. The fabrics can be from what you are working on that day, or the season, and embroidery can be added on special days. While I didn't care for the shape of the sting blocks, I thought it might be fun to try a similar idea with 2 inch squares. They could be sewn into rows of 7 to represent weeks and then groups of 4 to represent months. Although I'm not anywhere near the beginning of a new calendar year, I just celebrated my birthday, which is the beginning of MY year. I don't know if I'll follow through for an entire year, but here is the first week of my 38th year. The little present represents my birthday. Most of the week was spent on the Things Quilters Think quilt, but I spent some time at the end of the week working on the sock monkey happy blocks. Next week the colors will shift to a more pastel palette. I guess it's a more systematic way to approach a charm quilt.
I decided that paper piecing was the only way to make the flying geese work out for the Tea Rose Sampler Quilt. I drew the pattern out on graph paper and then traced it onto tear away stabilizer. After that I spent most of the day puttering around the house doing organizational things. It is now possible to locate things in the pantry and the CDs are no longer mixed in with the DVDs. Little bits of order in a world full of chaos make me happy. What makes you happy?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June UFO

Number 11 is the UFO for the month of June. For me that is my Tea Rose Sampler. I think that is what I was calling it anyway. This quilt started as a beautiful bundle of fat quarters that my mom got me for Christmas two years ago. I wanted to allow the fabrics to remain in large pieces and designed a number of blocks built around 6.5 inch squares with variations of patterns in the 3.5 inch area surrounding each block. I was doing pretty well until I got to the flying geese sections which did not want to fit nicely. It got put away neatly in a labeled box which contained all of my sketches and plans. Despite being better organized than most UFOs, it will still take a bit of remembering and figuring to decide how this is all going to come together to make a quilt. Other than that, I think today calls for a bit more laundry, cleaning out the fridge and some time with the girls. Sydney has a gift card from her birthday that needs spending and Anna wants to get a digital watch. I think tomorrow is going to have a trip to the library and Friday is a day off for Kurt. Welcome to summer vacation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Shuttle Home and Summer Begun

This isn't a picture I took. Mine looks like a little white blob behind a power wire. But here is the shuttle coming home again. Each time I see it now I can't help thinking that there won't be too many more opportunities. They keep talking about extending the life of the shuttle program, and people around here are obviously in favor, but the idea makes me nervous. The odds of something bad happen seem to grow exponentially with each passing month, and I can't help wondering if it is worth the risks. I'm sure the job losses will be painful until the new program is up and running, and I can see why everyone would want to minimize that impact as much as possible. There are no easy answers I guess.
On a related note, my husband's company laid people off today. They didn't just announce that there were going to be lay offs, they fired 170 people and had security escort them out of the building. Can you imagine? I think the number is something like 1,000 company wide, but not all of those jobs are local. He is quite sure that his job isn't in any danger at all, and nobody on his program was on the list, but it seems to be hitting too close to home for my comfort. My own company has made cuts as well, and our contracts for next year contain renegotiation provisions that will take effect if things don't improve. I try not to dwell on the negatives, but it does all leave me a little anxious.
On to other topics! I finished the binding on Things Quilters Think today. It has a hanging sleeve and only wants for a label. I'm a bit up in the air over what to work on next. The June UFO hasn't been announced yet. I need to work on a border for Double Delight. I also have a BOM from Connecting Threads that is calling my name. So many choices -- luckily they go nicely with so many days in summer vacation.