Sunday, January 31, 2016

Looking Forward to a New Week

Last week was very busy.  I used to think that if I watched the kids at home I would get so much more sewing accomplished.  Boy was I wrong. 

When the boys arrive home they are asking for a snack.  While it may only be a couple of hours until dinner I like to give them something to hold them over.  Last week I tried a new Snickerdoodle recipe.  The cookies were nice and soft, but they were very large.  They were a hit with the family though. 

Tuesday was DH and my 3rd anniversary.  So I made some of his favorite foods.  Chicken and broccoli casserole for dinner, and fresh banana cake for dessert (no I do not make dessert every night!). 

I make a stabilized whipped cream frosting and believe it or not the cake keeps several days in the refrigerator. 

DH gave me a dozen roses for our anniversary.

I am terrible when it comes to quilting, I tend to be slow, and will quilt for a short time then move to something else.  I started to work on the monthly block for the quilt guild's friendship block.
This is the guild fabric.  We were supposed to use a red to match, but it was not to have a one way design.
I thought about this one, which is similar to Moda Grunge, but I think I purchased it a JAF.  While looking at it for some reason it seemed to have a one way design so I was not thrilled with it.  I then chose this red instead.
I think my block turned out alright.
I decided it was time to work on machine stitching some of the applique which I have been working on.
The cowboy from the Row by Row from Friends and Co. quilt shop in Cody, Wyoming. 
I also finished one of the blocks from a Row by Row from Bits & Pieces Quilt Shop in Wayne, Michigan.  Once I have the blocks appliqued I will wait to determine if I will sew it together vertically or horizontally.  The Row by Row kits are kind of nice to have a quick little finish. 

I will say that I am looking forward to the new week, and new month too. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

January Blues

I decided to throw my lot in with all the wonderful quilters over at SoScrappy for the 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Blue is the color for the month of January.

I know I showed a couple of  these two before.

Twisted Blossom
Crown and Star

 In between quilting the baby quilt, I would take a bit of a break and cut pieces to make some  more blue squares.  I will say that I do love the Bloc-Loc HST rulers.  They are fabulous for squaring up.
Saw Toothed Square

Bloc Loc rulers come in really handy when you are squaring up 28 HST.  I actually managed to square up 28 HST in less than 15 minutes.  
Fancy Fox

At the last minute today I decided I wanted to make a quilt from scraps with the Fancy Fox pattern, I have some more blues pulled to make a couple of more in the next day or so. I think the faces are so cute!  

I will say it is nice to have these to use as a break when doing a lot of quilting, or or working on one specific quilt.  It helps keep things fresh. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

When Less is More

I kept playing with the baby quilt and was just not loving it.  Isn't that kind of sad?  All those animals, and I just did not love the way it was turning out. 

I made a bear, and while I think he is super cute.  I still could not find a configuration which pleased me.

In the middle of the night I had a dream, less is more.  I awoke the next morning grabbed the three biggest animals and started sashing. 

It turned out the perfect size!  I didn't think it needed to be any bigger and I loved the way the colors blended.  I grabbed a piece of cuddle fleece that I happened to have and pin basted it together and started to straight line quilt.  I call it organic straight line quilting because I do not measure or mark, just use the edge of the foot. 

I could not find my gray Aurifil so I grabbed the lightest gray I had.  Once upon a time I made a lot of my girls' clothing, so I have many different colors of thread.  The spool of gray I had was about half full.  I got about 1/3 of the way before I ran out.  Of course that meant I would have to do a JAF run. 

Yes I will have some poor little orphan animal blocks, I will figure out somewhere to use them eventually. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Do you ever get an idea, you don't write it down, nor do you completely figure it out, you just sort of have a concept?  Start working on it and think, maybe this was not the best thought out idea? 

I thought about doing a female lion, but I already have one lion.  The lioness is 10 x 9.  I would have to probably pull the monkey block, but I love the monkey block.  The other thing is that I would have a big empty space somewhere on the side, but to switch it to the other side kind of make the piece look unbalanced.  . 

I have a deer pattern which I could use which is 12 x 12.  I would just change it up so it doesn't look like Rudolph.  With the pale background and a bit darker brown for the deer face but the dark brown for the antlers it may work. 

Again though if I did the deer then I would have to take the monkey out.  I could take the monkey out and use it on the back as a label.  The option would be to do a small bear block by the monkey. 

I have considered an alligator--too threatening, squirrels, I saw this super cute baby sea turtle (but cannot find a pattern, nor is the blog where it appeared active any longer), cow, chicken, sheep, pig and even a dog.  None seem to fit. 

While I was at a standstill today I worked on the 2nd block for the RSC.  I chose the crown and star pattern from Quilter's Cache.  A beautiful pattern which looks complicated, but it is very simple, especially if you have a scant 1/4 inch seam, and square up your blocks.  Here is a link to the block.  Crown and Star.

Its a big block- 16 inches.  I loved the soft blue fabric that I used.

Still contemplating my baby quilt.  Maybe I should just make the lioness block, bear block and the deer block and audition different layouts since nothing is written in stone.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The New Adjusted Routine

We are settling into our routine slightly.  DH is working on the room, after he spent the weekend sick due to the disease infested vermin (boys). Let me just say I will be thrilled when their room is done, not that the little one will probably spend any time up there, he seems to have to be near me almost constantly, even if I am just in the next room sewing. 

The two older boys go to the same school now, and get picked up by the bus at the end of the driveway! No more -- one boy catches the bus at 7:30, and the other catches the bus at 8:30.  One  gets home at 3:45, and the younger boy doesn't get home until almost 5 pm.  Finn can watch TV, or play, and I have time to sew between feeding the thundering herd, doing some cleaning, and washing dishes.  Nice change.  Lunch is still at noon for Finn, and nap is still at 1.

Out as soon as he hits the sofa, without even a fuss.  That means I get a couple of hours to get some things accomplished without the wee little man's help.

It took all day but I managed to get the lion done for the baby quilt. 

Now I am trying to decide if I want to do a female lion, or if maybe I would like to do a bear or something else for the quilt. 

I think we are adjusting to our new routines nicely.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Sunday Sewing Day

Lessons learned.  When there are lots of men in the house, do not ask what they would like for not even give them choices, because no one will choose the same option.  I chose.  I made pancakes.   

After breakfast I did the dishes, then started to sew. 

I finished up my elephant for the baby quilt. Then decided I needed a wee bit of a break from the baby quilt before I started to cut out the next animal, so I decided to work on one of the blocks for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge that I had selected.  I had been picking out fabrics and cutting for the past week or so.

It did not come out perfect, but by the time I was done, I decided it was good enough.  Hopefully the next block I will go together easier.  I did finally go back to working on the baby quilt, and got part of it cut out while dinner was cooking. 

Today I decided to make Spinach Pie for dinner.  I think it turned out very good, and it even looked pretty too!  But I will say that I forget how labor intensive making it can be.  It wouldn't be quite as much work if the fresh spinach did not have all the stems, removing those seems to take the most time.

I also wanted to share the cute cookie cutters that I found on Massdrop.

Aren't these too cute?!?!  Now to talk DH into making cookies again. 

Isn't it nice to have a day to sew?  Especially when you have been so busy? 

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Zoo

Oh it has been a week!

Grandson #5 was born late Tuesday night!  He weighed in at a whopping 5 lbs 5 oz and is 18 inches tall.  I don't have any pics. He was born with special needs.  It is going to be a real struggle for the family, but with lots of love and prayers everyone will adapt to the necessary changes.

Wednesday night the kids came to live with us.  Boy has it been exciting, stressful, at times fun, and there have been a few tears.  We will eventually settle into a routine, sooner than later I hope.

Thursday night was Quilt guild.  Yes I actually left the house, even though DH was clinging to my leg begging me to not leave him alone with them....(just kidding, he loves being with the little gentlemen and there was only a tiny tear as I left).   At guild we had a great speaker, her name is Nancy  Clark McNally, she has had numerous quilts in Quilter's World, Fons & Porter, Quilty, and Quiltmaker as well as a series of videos-  I will just say her trunk show was fabulous! 

Guild has several groups, strips swaps, bag ladies, fat quarter swap, and friendship block.  I shared the block for the month of January here for the friendship block group.
The blue fabric was in the envelope, and you were to add a light gray.  Above is my block.  The group I sit with was teasing me, asking if I decided to join any groups this year.  I told them yep I joined the friendship group and was a friendship block newbie (ok I really didn't use that term I used the 'V' word).  They were all laughing when my name was announced.  I won part of the blocks which had been returned!  Which meant I received 11 blocks.  I played with them for a few minutes today to get an idea what I could do with them.

If I found another blue which blended and made 5 more blocks I would have a nice 4 X 4 layout and I think it looks kind of cool. 

Today we settled into a bit of a routine.  The boys will get signed up for school next week (I hope).  We had part of the paperwork which was necessary, but we had one more form, and had to request it from the district and are waiting for them to send it to us. Anyway I decided that I would try to sew a bit today.  I had a helper, and we made a boatload of leaders, he was having fun matching up lights, and darks for me.  I did manage to get my zebra for the baby quilt finished. 
Three more animals to go--I got an elephant cut out and started to sew him this afternoon.  I am not too sure if I am going to back it with cuddle fleece, minky, or flannel,but I am looking forward to getting this one completed. 

Today is the littlest man's birthday.  He is 3, so they went out to celebrate and have cake with his dad.  DH and I have a wee bit of quiet time.  I think this song suits the week we have had. 

Have a wonderful weekend from the Zoo!

Monday, January 11, 2016


No sewing going on around here right now.  Sometimes things occur in life which make changes necessary.
I am sure that you may remember my mention regarding our home which I call "The Fortress of Solitude".
Be kind, she is over 150 years old, she has the original standing seam steel roof, and was framed with ship lap, with Michigan block (a cement molded block which was done on site).  The old girl has had multiple makeovers, adding a bathroom in the 1940's, adding a family room/great room onto the old kitchen in the 1980's, and a sunroom around 2010.  While these improvements have been happening, she has been rewired, new windows, and most of the old lathe and plaster walls have been removed.  When the older rooms have been updated the walls have been sealed, and insulation has been installed before the new  walls were put up. 

 This summer DH removed the siding from the addition which was done in the 80's and put house wrap and some insulation up, which has helped immensely in warming up the house, and DH and I had already discussed "fixing" the junk room since that is the one room which had not been updated.  That room is cold since there is no insulation, but what started the big push was Friday the youngest daughter advised me that the SO had walked out and she decided it was time that they went their separate ways.  After reviewing her income, and her bills we as a family determined the best course of action would be for her and the three little boys to move in with us.  She will pay rent, and I will continue to care for the boys during the day while she is at work.  Our home is a much better place for the boys to be, and they will have room inside and outside to roam.  Friday evening the big move began.  DH and I cleaned out 3 bedrooms, and our sitting room by Saturday afternoon.  

 Sunday the demo started.  Of course I can't find/nor did I take a before picture.  But this is what it looked like when we started to tear out the lathe and plaster.  Sorry the pictures are not great, but there was 150+ years of dust in the air from the demo. 
See the gorgeous wallpaper?  We only took two walls down, and we were not prepared to take down the ceiling. 
 Yep we had a wall full of bee and wasp nests. 
This is why we decided to do it in the winter, that way if there were any which were alive they would be dormant or dead. 

Then wall 2.  Yep paper wasp nests, and more bees.

 There were actually 3 different types of nests in the walls. 

In just a few hours the two walls were down, all the nails pulled, the lathe was bundled, and plaster cleaned up until we ran out of garbage bags.  (The paper chicken feed bags are fabulous for cleaning up debris!  They don't tear very easily.)

The walls were sealed where there were some holes, and insulation installed.  DH also installed 2 more electrical receptacles so there is more power to the room.  The boy's toys, TV, and dressers will be in this room.  Our bedrooms are a wee bit small so their ginormous bunk bed will be in one room, and this is the room for their clothes and to hang out, play and watch television.  The daughter will be in another room which is kind of on the small side also. The other room which was cleaned and organized was our sitting room, which has never been used in that manner but DH was thrilled to see it cleaned up and out.  We actually ended up with a pickup full of stuff for the dump, and so organized that it is almost frightening.  

Today I have a wee bit of cleaning to do....we had a dust drift into the hallway.  Oh well.
While I know that the daughter really doesn't want to live at home with mom and dad,, we all want what is best for the boys, with such a huge empty house it needs to be filled with laughter, and stinky little boys.  Also it will give me more opportunity to sew during the day, since I won't be driving to her house daily. 

So changes are going to happen fast.  How appropriate that I was singing the song Changes by David Bowie this weekend, and how sad when hearing of his passing early this morning.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Monkeying Around

I finished the monkey.  I definitely pushed my limit today because I had to take it apart too many times to count. 

 Here are the 4 animals I have completed.  I have 4 more, then I will try to arrange it into the quilt. 
The whole time I was making the monkey I kept thinking of a song my great grandmother used to sing to me called Animal Fair.

I know the version she sang to me was a wee bit different.  But the song made me smile.  The verse I knew was that would be considered "politically incorrect" would be the section about the monkey.

The monkey he got drunk
And sat on the elephants trunk
The elephant sneezed and
Fell on his knees, but 
What became of the monk, the monk, the monk.

Have a great Friday everyone.  TGIF!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Midweek Update

Well I made it through Wednesday, and I don't feel too out of control yet.  Not bad for the 6th day of the new year.

 I now have 3 of the animals done for my quilt. (You can see two in the previous post).  I finished off Hazel Hedgehog.  She turned out soooo cute!

Saturday after DH and I stopped at the quilt shop we went to lunch, then wandered around some small shops in a town called Dundee.  They have a candle store, and normally I am not a fan, I don't like the sweet smelling candles that smell like frosting, cinnamon rolls, coffee.  This shop does have those but they also have some which are herb and more clean smelling.  What was really cool is that you can buy a quart container of soy wax with the scent that you like and make your own candles at home.  The oldest daughter had given DH and I three drinking jars which looked like colored mason jars for Christmas.  We took 2 of them and made candles Monday night while I worked on Hazel. 

 Tuesday was a no sew day.  The MIL had been in a car accident Monday morning.  There was a light skiff of snow, and Thelma and Louise (The MIL and her sister--not their real names) were on their way to visit their youngest sister in the nursing home, when someone came out of a side road, and T-boned them at the pillar between the front and rear passenger doors where the MIL was sitting.  Thelma and Louise are doing fine, but the car is probably totaled. I insisted that DH and I go and check on her to make sure she was alright and see if we needed to cart her off to the hospital since she didn't go on Monday.  We also needed to do a wee bit of grocery shopping.  The MIL was doing well, and we went out to dinner then to the grocery store so we ended up with a late evening. 

 I got this cutie cut out and started to sew him on Wednesday.

I made 2 loaves of banana bread to take to the kids, and we made a large bowl of  leaf salad, and 3 gallons of cabbage salad Wednesday evening so not a whole lot was accomplished sewing that day either.

I have been doing the tumblers as leader and enders.  I have enough that I could probably make about 5 rows so far. 

I get quite a few done every day when I am sewing even if it is only for an hour or so.  I don't want to sew them into rows yet, because I am constantly cutting tumblers from scraps and I think I will have more of a variety if I wait to sew the tumblers into complete rows. 

Has your mailbox been jammed the past couple of weeks?  I am not just talking Christmas cards, and presents, but also seed catalogs.  Makes you start thinking spring.  Obviously I am on the gardening database.  I think I have only ordered seed from 3 of these companies.

The majority of these came this week.  One day I had 5 shoved into my mailbox.  Wednesday afternoon I also had this sweet package in my mailbox.

I won Barbara's give away for her blog anniversary at wont-to-be quilter.  Aren't these sweet?  I could use some of the blues in my blocks for the RSC this month.  I have been working on cutting one block between working on the baby quilt.  I chose the hardest block to work on first.  I hope by next December it will be 2nd nature and not take as much thought. 

I am looking forward to the weekend and sewing.  Thank goodness it is Wednesday night!