Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

Two nights until Santa comes!

The weather prevented us from having our family Christmas get-together up north this past weekend, so for now, the goodie bags will sit in the basement, awaiting that magical trip.

Since we didn't travel this weekend, the boys came home and got constructive! They built a cat tree for Matt & Vicki's kitten, Willow.

My boys are 24 and 25 so I don't think they'll be watching for Santa this year, but they must still believe because their wish lists kept growing!

While the garage was "man" territory, Vicki and I got constructive in the sewing room.

Vicki finished a doll quilt for her niece made from scraps from the quilt I made for Dakota.

Then it was table runner central as we salvaged my scraps and created table runners for gifts. And a few more "go green" shopping bags too!

The cold weather has kept me indoors, much to Belle's dismay - but we've tried to go for walks. She doesn't make it far before she starts hopping on three legs - alternating the legs because her feet get too cold! It's tough to push a dog out the door so she'll go to the bathroom before you leave for work!

Enjoy your holidays!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Baby it's cold outside.

They always say that if you don't like the weather in Iowa, just wait a bit, and it'll change. Yesterday morning I took Belle for a walk about 8:00 am - sunny, light wind and 50 degrees. All the ice on the sidewalks had melted and we had a great time.

By 5:00 that evening, it was 10 degrees and the wind was bitter. That's Iowa!

I gave my soon to be daughter-in-law a sewing machine for her birthday a few weeks ago. Yesterday she came over and we spent the day "playing" in my sewing area.

Here's what she accomplished! The pattern for the table runner is from Doris at "Threads of Conversation". Doris used batiks, and I made one - but haven't taken a picture yet.
The next few nights will be spent finishing Christmas gifts.
Stay warm.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Stress?

Happy Holiday Season!

I started getting out decorations and found a box of old ornaments that I'd gotten at a garage sale, and an old pie stand. So I combined them to show off my new treasures. I love the ornaments, a lot are like my mom had when we were growing up - so I'm guesstimating that they're around 50 years old.

We're going through a software conversion at work this week. Actually, we're just going "live" with the software, we've been working up to it for several weeks. This Monday after a four day weekend, everyone seemed a little tired, and maybe a little cranky. And adding extra work on top of our usual work didn't help. I'm trying to keep the stress level (and my blood pressure) down to a managable level. My solution: Take a quilting magazine to work to look at during lunch, and read a few blogs! Catching up on some of my favorites made me realize I hadn't added any lately, oh no...more stress :)

I worked on Christmas gifts over the weekend, and finished two wall hangings and a baby quilt.

The moose has garland weaved through his antlers, and lights and bulbs attached. It was fun and easy to make.

The baby quilt is a baby brick quilt as you go pattern.

This quilt is for a niece, and I have another one to make before April. And sometime, I need to decide on a quilt for my oldest son's wedding. The date is October 24. Oh no - more stress!

Enjoy the season!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quilting weather

The temperature is supposed to be around 17 degrees tonight - and it's cold out! Perfect weather to sit on the couch and finish binding a quilt, especially when the quilt can cover you up! The weekend went by too quickly, and I only got in about 3 hours of quilting! But I did visit my sister, Dave and I helped run cable to her son's room, then she cut our hair. It's great having a sister who can be your beautician too! We "barter" jobs back and forth, haircuts, dog-sitting, tutoring, and manual labor.

I did get a start on making some "Indian Hatchet" blocks. Paula at "A Latte Quilts" has an easy tutorial. Lots of fun to make and a good use for those fabric strips.

My other accomplishment was helping get the outside lights up for Christmas. We don't usually turn them on before Thanksgiving, but it's nice to have the job done. Except we bought extra lights last year on sale, so there's talk going around of doing a bit more decorating! Hope the weather warms up!

Stay warm!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dakota's quilt finished.

This is a pattern called "Cotton Candy". It's a free pattern that you can get from

I made it for my son's fiancee's niece. (I know, convoluted sentence.) Vicki (the fiancee) picked out the colors. The fun part was making her help me put the blocks in order because the directions said to arrange the blocks "as in the quilt illustration." Since the colors were totally different, it was a bit of a challenge, but I really like the way it turned out.

It's time to start making Christmas gifts, now that the camping and yard work season is at an end. There are a lot of websites with free patterns and not enough time to work on everything. But it's worth the time to take a look at those free patterns, you never know when you'll spot that perfect gift idea!

Halloween was last week, but here's a belated picture of my son Matt and Vicki. Matt's a dragon (but you can't see his tail) and Vicki's the witch. That's Belle as Underdog.

They were a big hit with the Trick-or-Treaters.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall camping

We spent last weekend camping. The campgrounds close this weekend. The weather was great on Saturday, it was a perfect fall day. Sunday turned windy and cold and now the camper is ready for winter storage.

Belle asked nicely so we took several walks around the campground, enjoying the fall colors and nice weather. At the end of the day, she was really worn out.

I've taken my sewing machine out camping a few times, but usually try to have something to work on along, like binding or embellishment. I've been working on "crazy quilt" blocks for over a year now and I think I have enough that I'll be able to put them together this winter. The quilt will be more decorative than functional, but it's been fun to experiment with embellishments.

There will be more embroidery to do on the new seams, add some more ribbons, and I think I'll quilt it with a "tie" method. Or maybe use buttons or beads.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Keeping Count

Several years ago, I was visiting with my neighbor's mother, and she showed me her photo albums of all the quilts she'd made. I thought that was a great idea and decided to start doing that. But you know how good intentions sometimes don't exactly get done....

With the holiday season upon us, my son was asking me what I wanted for Christmas. Wanting to save him some money, I told him to make me a screen saver for my computer at work using pictures of some of the quilts I've made. Instead, he just sent me the instructions on how to do it myself! So I've been trying to find pictures of quilts I've made and given away, and taking new pictures of the ones that are still around.

I didn't realize how many I've made, of all sizes and types, some that I wonder why I attempted them when I was just starting. (And my bindings were not good!) I'm missing pictures of a lot of the table runners and wall hangings that I've done. Also on my "missing" list are the ones that I waited to take a picture of, planning on taking a picture with the person I was giving it to.

So my new resolution is to ALWAYS take a picture and print it out, with my notes on where it now lives!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Halloween and my Sewing Machine

I was washing and waxing my vehicle on Saturday morning when I got a phone call from my 4-year nephew. He asked if I could make him a "Curious George" costume for Halloween. So off I went to the fabric store (any reason is a good reason - and they were having a sale!). I printed off a picture of George and spent Sunday morning having fun. Here's a picture
of the finished project, complete with banana. It's off in the mail today, and my "bill" inside told him to have Mom take his picture wearing the costume and send it to me.

While I was at it, I made some gifts for my neighbor and her new baby. A fabric book (pre-print fabric), blocks, burp cloths, and a bag to tote the baby stuff in.

And I finished the quilting and binding on a Halloween wall hanging!

I'm still learning to take a good digital picture, but over all a productive weekend!

Monday, October 13, 2008

My outlook changed

When I was a kid, I had an older cousin who was "different". She would now be classified as "mentally challenged" and would be taught skills so that she could function. 50 years ago, she wasn't sent to school, taught to dress or to feed herself and spent most of everyday sitting in front of the television. She didn't communicate and I was kind of scared of her went we went to visit.

I was given the opportunity to work with some "challenged" individuals through the Scout program. There a some who remind me a lot of my cousin, but I'm not scared anymore. Our society has evolved where handicapped individuals no longer are hidden in our homes. Mainstreaming these individuals in our schools has enabled our children to realize that being "different" is not always a bad thing. The "kids" I work with are between the ages of 20 and 70 and have lots of different abilities. I'm challenged to come up with a program once a month that enables all of them to learn something, have fun, socialize and usually take home a craft of some sort. The nights that we have our group meeting can be hectic, noisy and disorganized, but I come home feeling good, because they approach everything with such a good attitude. I very seldom hear "I Can't" but always "I'll try". And some of them are very creative - their projects turn out much nicer than some of my "examples". Last week we learned about the Iowa Indians and made dance sticks and rattle bracelets. And when I threw in some kazoos, we had a great music fest.

Appoach everything with a positive outlook.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fall give-a-way

I'm new to this, but you should check out these websites for free quilting!

Inspired Wonderings

Ever wonder how you got to where you are today? Or how long you'll stay there? Stock market is down again today, so I'm hoping I'll stay at my good job for quite a while yet! I need my 401K to bounce back really high!

Lots of things in our lives direct us; our parents, our siblings, our education and those choices that we make, both good and bad. It's never too late to embrace new ideas and try different things.

My new thing is getting ready for a software upgrade, and I'm sorry to say that although the upgrade is six weeks away, I'm already having nightmares (literally). Sad when you wake up at 4:00 am worring about the coding of your accounts!

To relieve my stress, I'm making time to take longer walks with my beagle Annabelle, this is her and her friend Sadie playing.
Also making time for more quilting, but tempering that with restrictions, i.e. if I clean up this, or get this done, then I can play.
Have a good weekend!