Sunday, November 18, 2012


I was checking my blogs for photos and decided to check the sidebar links as well.

I discovered that several of my artist links are no longer valid--So sad because there are fewer bits of beauty floating around. Worse still is that some of the links now go to really inappropriate places--so I am deleting them rapidly. I guess it is a new opportunity to find more beautiful places.

I have been thinking I need to resume blogging.  I miss the journaling aspect and the posting of my creative stuff.  When I did this blog, it was a great motivator for completing projects.  I need that inspiration.

So maybe I'll be back on a semi-regular basis.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another quilt top

Inspired yet again by posts at Crazy Mom Quilts, I finished my Dad's quilt. She had posted a love fest for Connecting Threads and then in another post showed her original pattern involving pinwheels.

This is a quilt kit from Connecting Threads (Indigos Around Lap Quilt by Kristin Gassaway), I can't remember the price, but it was extremely reasonable (I believe it was under $40.00 and perhaps under $30.00). There was plenty of fabric in the kit, and there was enough extra to cover re-cutting entire series of pieces I cut too small for the flying geese (my advice--never, ever cut your fabric when you are sick).

I put it away for a long time because I thought my pinwheels were not good. I thought they had shrunk too small to fit with the brown squares (another piece of advice---never, ever starch when pressing seams open). I bought the kit because I thought the colors will suit my Dad and I was tired of catching him napping in his recliner under a towel. I am not generally fond of this color combination, but I love the quilt so much now that it is finished. The fabric frays a bit, but it is manageable.

I thought I would need to re-cut again and remake the pinwheels. Looking at my pinwheels months later, they are, for the most part, fine though they aren't perfect. My machine did not like assembling the blocks and going through so many seams in the pinwheels, but again, I blame the starching, though I could be wrong.

As much as I disliked making the pinwheels, I love the flying geese. They were so easy to make (once the pieces were the correct size) and look great. I did change both the direction of the pinwheels and the direction of the flying geese to suit myself. In the original quilt, the geese fly counter-clockwise.

I think the movement of the quilt is great considering it uses only three colors: brown, cream and varying shades of blue. There are twenty one different fabrics used in the quilt top and another fabric used for the binding. Browns are not my favorites in general, but I love the brown squares. The fabric is so nice and the color is perfect. It looks like a yummy chocolate bar.

I also used Milk Chocolate thread by Connecting Threads as well and it looks equally delicious (think a nice cup of hot chocolate). I have used other Connecting Threads thread and it works well for piecing. It seems a bit thicker than other threads, but it is great for assembly. With my old machine, it created a lot of lint. With my new machine, not much lint. I attribute the lint factor to how the thread is pulled. With my old Kenmore machine, the spool was placed vertically and spun while pulled. On my new Kenmore machine, the spool is placed horizontally and the thread "unwraps" rather than the spool being spun. Is that clear as mud or are you following what I am saying?

Now I just need to make the quilt back and binding, then quilt and assemble. I may go to my friend's long arm, or I may try to do some straight line quilting on the new sewing machine. I think the pattern just screams for triangles don't you? I don't think I am up for quilting each block individually though.

I may need to make a pink and aqua version for my daughter. Once I finish all my other projects that is.


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Look what I did!

My checkbook cover has been falling apart since I received it. I was staring at it today and thought, "Enough is enough." So I followed a tutorial from crazy mom quilts and made a new one.


Not perfect, but much, much better than the plastic one that was cracking. Best of all, done in an afternoon, even with two adorable distractions.

I think the colors are not fashionable at the moment, but I really like it.

Now to make a purse too....

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I am a cartoon....

I had been doing so well: A few weeks ago, I exercised every day, saw some weight go down. I felt great.

On a Tuesday morning I was leaving for work, the kids wanted to wave goodbye so I opened the blinds on the front window. Their cute little faces peering out, I took a step and thought, "life is pretty good." Unfortunately, I put my foot down on a patch of ice and slipped so that both feet flew out in front of me and I slammed against the concrete steps, then bounced to the sidewalk. I must have looked like a cartoon.

Everyone asked me later if time slowed down for me--nope, it was lightning fast until the moment I landed and could not stand up for several minutes while I waited for my body to stop feeling jarred from the direct hit my spine took. I am certain that parts of me went "SPROINNNNNNG" and those parts are not meant to sproing, under any circumstances.

As I sat there, in the cold, trying to breathe, I could only think, "Gosh, I hope the kids aren't scared or freaking out.'

And inside the house this is what happened.

My eight year old daughter calmly walked to the kitchen (which overlooks the backyard only) and said, "Daddy. Mommy fell down." Then she walked away.

My husband called after her, "Did she get up?"

Angie strolls back, "Huh?"

"Did she get up?"

Angie replied thoughtfully, "I'll go check." And wanders back to the living room.

She returns and casually says, "No. She's still on the ground."

At which point my husband races past her, flings the front door open, and starts to slip on the same patch of ice that brought me down. Fortunately, he catches himself or we would have had a pile of parents outside, in the cold, at the foot of the steps, and two kids alone inside.

At least Angie maintains her composure in the face of actual adversity.

For a few days afterwards, various parts of my body were in excruciating pain, from which I gather my nervous system was sending mayday signals randomly. And I learned that when you hit your spine, acetaminophen is too wimpy to handle the pain. I am okay. I had a mildly scary 24 hours in which my doctor thought I had fractured my spine and would need cement injected into the vertebrae. Fortunately, it's just a bad bruise.

The down side is that the gains I had been making stopped completely because I did not feel up to exercising. My doctor said that I could expect to be in a lot of pain for at least six weeks. Two weeks later, I'm managing a few sit ups, but I'm hesitant to yoga at the moment. If I'm really lucky, and Kian wakes from his nap soon, maybe we'll go to the gym. Maybe not.

I like cartoons, but I would really prefer not to be one!

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Hopeful house plans

We had a frenzy of cleaning in our home today as we expected our realtor, Sandy--who helped us purchase this home a year + ago, to arrive at 11:00 a.m.-ish to see what we have "done with the place." Well Sandy never appeared, no problem because now we are enjoying our clean uncluttered house. I had mentioned at Hooked on Houses that I felt we had done not nearly enough since we moved in September 2010. Our to do list is much bigger than our done and to get myself back in the groove of posting, I thought I'd share our done and to-do dreams.


1. Electrical work in the kitchen and bathroom. The previous home owner had put too many things on one [insert electrician terminology here]. Can't remember what it was called, but on one of the first mornings we were here, I started some toast in the toaster, stepped away for a moment, then returned to find flames shooting out of my toaster.
2. Corian countertops in the kitchen with built-in sink and nice shiny new sink fixtures complete.
3. Fixed the garbage disposal as it was apparently originally hung with a few wires and some hope.
4. Plumbing in the kitchen, the main line for the house and major plumbing in the upstairs bathroom.
5. Painted the master bedroom and ripped out the horrible carpeting to reveal very nice wood floor beneath.
6. Ripped down the wallpaper in the bathroom, installed new drywall, bath surround, fixtures and bead board, which we then painted along with the walls.
7. Installed a new vanity and fixtures for the sink in the bathroom.
8. Installed a new handrail and painted the stairs leading to the garage.
9. Removed above ground pool from backyard.

Not bad for a year plus, including six months of me being sick.

Our to do list is, of course, much longer. I'm sure that we will finish some things only to add more to the list.

To do:

First floor: Refinish the floors running through the living room, dining room, hallway, master bedroom and linen closet. Purchase new doors and door knobs for every room and the main closet. Replace all the trim around the floor and the doors.
Living room: Paint.
Dining room: Paint. Remove the counter cabinet between the kitchen and the dining room. Remove ceiling fan (which is too fast for over the dining room table unless we want to simulate eating in a windstorm) and find a replacement light fixture.
Bathroom: Cut, paint and install the last bits of trim for the bead board. Install and paint new drywall on the ceiling. Replace commode (which seems to be original)
Linen closet: Paint. Find a light fixture with a switch on it or rewire for a wall switch.
Angie's room: Paint (Most likely a pink and/or robin's egg blue). Rearrange to fit a double bed (formerly the crib) and give her toddler to twin (thank you so much Ikea) to Kian. Would love to figure out if her closet can be expanded.
Kian's room: Paint (currently green has been requested). Rearrange to fit the toddler to twin bed. Install a rack for his bathrobe etc.
Master bedroom: Finish ripping out the built-in desk. Refinish that area with board and batten and move my dresser into that alcove.

Basement: Install banister leading from garage to basement.
Long room: Install new ceiling and flooring. Figure out the heating situation. Finish putting things away and otherwise tidying.
t.v. room: Install new flooring. Maybe paint. Add actual door between workshop and t.v. room
Laundry room: Paint. I would love a stackable washer and dryer so that we could add a small cabinet with a countertop for folding and a place to put the soaps and so forth. Install new flooring.
Basement bathroom: Paint. Install new flooring. Install new sink and fixtures--perhaps a wall mount with built-in towel bar. Improve the shower (which is currently cement block with exposed pipes).


Front yard: Get rid of the wheelbarrow with flowers in the front yard and replace with a stone or brick circular flower bed. Replace the wood retaining wall in the front flower bed with a stone or brick one. Obtain bench for front porch.

Back yard: Install square foot garden where pool used to stand. Lay stones between the garden sections. Remove the gigantic tree stump.

I count roughly 42 items on the to do list to get this house back into shape. For this next year, I would really love to finish the bathroom, the floors on the first floor and the trim. I'm hopeful that we will have a couple square foot garden beds set up this year. We were very lucky with the tomato plants we had at the side of the house and the back shed. The pepper plants were less than productive. I think the change for Angie and Kian will happen no matter even if nothing else does. They just keep getting bigger.

As lengthy as this list is, Chas and I have some major hopes for a big remodel in about five to seven years, so these are just the "simple" projects. Someday perhaps I will share our big, pie-in-the-sky renovation dreams.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Good Heavens!

Someone posted a comment on my return. I was astounded to see that someone still checks in.

No photos yet, although my husband gave me a camera for my birthday so I may find inspiration to post something soon.

No stitching today because I had to bring work home with me. Maybe tomorrow. I wanted to finish a table topper and a runner for my hope chest before the in laws appear this weekend.

More realistically, I will spend the next two days cleaning.

Oh well, a girl can dream. Maybe I can stitch while the Grandparents shower tons of attention on the kids.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Me Again!

Not that anyone is checking at this point, but I've felt the need to blog again. I had a separate motivation to check my blogger account, then figured that I ought to post something.

I had that silly H1N1 last year, and was sick off and on for several months. Then real life kept me hopping. I fell away from the boards because I've lost the links and my passwords and user names. Stupid flu.

But sometimes I just need a safe spot to post a thought or two.

I picked up some of my Chatelaines and done some stitching in Polar Lights, Water Garden and the Convent Herb Garden. Found some mistakes, and put away Polar Lights. Perhaps 2011 will be the year I finish the WG.

I even stitch Diamonds and Squares from TW. It is probably more likely that I'll finish that in 2011. It is so soothing and repetitive at this stage, because I haven't reached the viney part.

I have put all other HAED's away except for the challenge piece. I really want to finish it by June 2011.

I've also done some quilting. I am great at tops, not so great at quilting. Well, actually, not so great at free-motion quilting, but I am fine as long as I can quilt on straight lines.

Work has been horribly stressful, merely based on volume. The public tends to complain about how slow government can be, but truthfully, I've worked private sector and in the private sector, you have slightly more resources to handle the volume. I'm processing close to 1500 cases a year and I have had a clerk for about 3/5 of the time each week. Now I have a new clerk, but she is slow because she is just learning the area.

The kids and the husband are wonderful. Things aren't always easy, but we do love each other and feel so lucky to have our family. Most days, I wouldn't trade them for anything.

We'll see if this posting becomes regular again.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Everything is new....

Well not really. The house was built in 1951 I believe.

Anyway, I have not been able to do anything crafty due to all the packing and moving and cleaning and painting and carpet removal and electrical work and whatnot. We are almost entirely in the new house--we have a few things to get out of the garage at the old place. We are also awaiting the arrival of some of Grandma Phyllis's furniture so that we can properly put things away.

But it almost feels like home--sometimes I can't believe this beautiful house is ours. I can't wait to get the kids play area set up and my play--err--craft area established. Chas's play area will take longer to establish, but we have plans for that as well.

I love that new house sensation.

Other new things:

One of my favorite cross stitch designers (Martina Weber of Chatelaine of course) has a few new designs in the works: a classical mandala and a peacock mandala. I have two thoughts:

1. I can't wait until I'm done with boxes because my hands are so dry that I do not want to stitch and snag all the silks.
2. I will need more walls to display all the mandalas. Or maybe I just need to rotate them. Of course it would help if I would actually finish one.

Also, one of my favorite fabric designers (Lila Tueller) has a new line and is having a giveaway on her blog. I love her Santorini line--lavenders, greens, pinks and olives (not the color--actual olives), and the new Eden line looks pretty as well.

I can't wait until I can start being crafty again.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gone Moving

We are eyeball deep in moving stuff to the new house.

Two floods + one house fire and we still have a lot of things (mostly books--how can we get rid of books? They aren't luxuries; they're bare essentials).

Here is my little tidbit to you: Pack things you don't like as much on the bottom of every box you store in your home. Then, when the flood hits, the things you least like are destroyed first.

What's that? Most homes don't flood regularly?

Oh. (so that is why the air quality is better at our new home.)


Thanks to our friends Cathy and Steve for putting in monumental work to help us.

My Dad has been up to help. My Mom and StepDad are here now too.

Thanks goodness for that. We have lots more to do, but it is ours at last.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Keys in Hand

We have the keys.

The house is ours!

Excuse me because I have a lot of work to do.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

I know what is wrong with me.

Okay, well maybe not completely, everything that is wrong with me.

But I know why I am so stressed about this house thing.

Almost two and a half years ago, once Kian was actually born after our house fire, I remember I was still on the operating table and I looked at Chas and thought, "We did it. He's here. He's healthy. Everything is going to be all right." I thought we could ride off into the sunset, a happy little family with no big worries except needing a bigger home and the usual worries about parenting decisions. I know and I knew then, that life isn't really like that. It is full of struggle and setbacks in addition to the love and joy. But I wanted to believe that things would, mostly, be fine.

Then two and a half weeks later, we discovered his heart problem.

Now, I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop right now. I'm waiting for the bad hiding in the great good thing that is about to happen.

I hate feeling this way. (in the sense that I can't protect my family from everything and also that my happiness is tinged with some anxiety over some nameless fear that is baseless other than the fact that life is full of hardships and they happen at some time or another).


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Holy Mortgage Batman!

I hesitated to post this, because we're not quite there yet. But I think we will close on the house tomorrow and have the keys by Monday. We have been up and down several times in this whole process and, typical, we were up and down several times today.

When we woke up, we thought I would need to sign some things today and do the final close tomorrow. By Midday, it seemed more paperwork had failed to arrive where it was needed (we are an emergency rush so usually it takes much longer) so the closing would be shifted to next week.

By 5:30 and after many phone calls, we coordinated it so that we could doe everything tomorrow. We had to see the house for the final walk-through while the current owner was moving out (and I felt bad about that--but I think he really wants out quickly too).

So as long as I can get the cashier's check tomorrow, we should be good. I hope nothing else pops up to delay us. I hope nothing else crazy happens.

I hated to get pushy, but I really needed to just have the house transfer rather than remain on this roller coaster we've been on the last few months.

It has been such a rough few years. I became a little teary on the way over to the house because it is such a big wonderful thing that is happening. It is a little overwhelming.

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