Friday, February 29, 2008

Banging it out

Or more aptly titled, I must finish this quilt. I am, I must, I will. I would say I am currently 1/2 done. I have a few more rows to sew, then I will make the quilt sandwich and then tie it together. At a friends suggestion, I will quilt it leisurely post birthday presentation. Oh, goodness, I hope I can finish this darn thing. I don't get why it's taking me so long. Okay, I do get it, it's and I really mean no offense to quilters, but it's pretty boring sewing. I'm not one of the fancy sewist either, but I think I'd just about rather have a root canal then finish this darn thing, lol!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Well this is what it started as

Here's some pix of the quilt blocks I cut out to make dd's big girl quilt. I thought I better show them so nobody thinks the quilt is all in my head, lol. I haven't worked on it one iota since I wrote that I was panicked that I wouldn't finish in time. What's wrong with me? Ok, tonight is the night...I'm quilting I tell you, I swear it.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yummy chocolate goodness

I love to bake and M. is my able assistant, lol. Here's a pix of the cake we made the other day. We cut into it while it was still warm. It's so rich and chocolaty that you don't even need frosting. Yummo!!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Housewife or Martyr?

Like many women I stay home with my kids...except I also work outside of the home on the weekend. Because I'm home during the week a large majority of the housework falls to me, I think that's fair in the sense I'm there and all...but I also do 90% of the grocery shopping, clothes shopping, kids appts, get my point. Our house is smallish (1700sf) and we are lovers of stuff. It's a challenge to keep it organized and tidy. I hate to admit it, but I'm losing the battle. It's a struggle every day. It makes me so sad. I'm not used to living in such chaos. It doesn't seem to bother anyone else but me. When I moan to dh about it he says that I might just need to accept that we have 4 kids, and the stuff that 4 kids come with. When I complain that I do everything he says I'm being a matryr. I don't believe that. My house was tidy growing up and there were 7 of us. When I think about it though we were all gone during the day. I'm home...with the kids...every single day. We actually LIVE in the space. We live hard in the space. Is it too much to ask that we live hard in a clean and tidy place?
So...I guess I will martyr myself on the pillar of the pursuit of the elusive clean yet lived in home. I will conquer this. I will fight on! And when you think of me...think of me with a broom in one hand and a dust rag in the other!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Panic Mode! The quilt

I've been slack...I'll admit it, I don't just love quilting...I like quilts, just not the quilting process it's so less fun to me than sewing clothes and purses. However I said I would make O a quilt for her birthday and it's just under a month I have got to get cracking. If I work on it diligently I should finish in time. I'm probably a 1/3 of the way done.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cleaning and the Internet

Is the internet keeping me from being the next Martha Stewart, Suzy Homemaker...a domestic goddess? I admit I would rather surf the net than clean any day of the week. I hate clutter and mess...but I seem to be able to find any excuse to get online and avoid chores. And even when I do clean I find myself taking frequent breaks to just check in...what the heck do I think I'll miss? So, I've decided to make myself a schedule and limit my online time...yes, I know I should be able to exercise self restraint without these gimmics, but yet here I am blogging rather than folding the 5 loads of laundry sitting on my couch.'s to a cleaner home and less online time.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Smoothie Goodness

I've really been craving ice cream and chocolate, but I've given them up as part of my quest to live a healthier life...well I gave up the ice cream, I mean what sane person would give up chocolate. So I was surfing between my burst of house cleaning and I found some cool recipes to try and thought I'd share them in case anyone else has a hankering for a smoothie.
Here's the first.
Strawberry Smoothie
* 8 strawberries, hulled
* 1/2 cup skim milk
* 1/2 cup plain yogurt
* 3 tablespoons white sugar
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 6 cubes ice, crushed

Blend together and enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

* 1 banana
* 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
* 1 cup milk
* 1 cup crushed ice

Blend and enjoy!

Last but not least

Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie
* 2 bananas, frozen and chunked
* 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
* 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
* 1 cup plain yogurt

Blend and enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Self drafting

I see post on one of the sewing boards I frequent about self drafting, well figuring I'm no idiot I embarked upon making O. a dress. The inspiration was a dress she had that I had purchased from a thrift store. I think it was sized about 12mos. So cute, a very classic button front sleeveless sun dress. So. I got out my Easy Pattern tracing paper and sketched out a bodice and skirt. Easy enough right? Well the first version wasn't big enough and she ripped the side seam trying to get her arm in the dress. Second version...much better, armcyces (that's the correct term, right?) made larger, added 1/2" to the front bodice. made the skirt a bit wider to give me more of a gathered affect. Now I've made a version out of $1/yd fannel to test out even more. I'm just getting ready to add the contrast band and the bias tape around the arm holes. I'll post pix of version 3. I'm really excited and will probably try drafting again one day, but I have to say I'm quite happy to pay someone else to do all the drafting for me, lol!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Where I create

It's my own little sanctuary, it's a store room that I reclaimed for my own. It's minute...tiny. Let me take you on a little tour. One wall is slanted and probably 4 ft tall at it's highest and the other 3 walls are lined w/shelves that are overflowing w/my burgeoning fabric collection. I love it...I have music and my machines and that seems to be all I need. The photo doesn't do it real justice. Because it's so shallow it's difficult to photograph, but it really is a rocking space. On the back wall that you can't see in the picture are 2 shelves of fabric divided by girls and boy prints. Hanging on that wall is also an inspiration board where I've pinned fabric swatches and pix of things I'd like to try out. On the book shelf to the right of my machine is one shelf full of sewing and craft references. I'm very proud of my collection. To the left of my sewing table under the fold out flap is a file cabinet (thrift store score) that I have many of my patterns in (although since I took the picture I've added a storage tote for the overflow, lol). There's a little heater/fan to keep me warm in the winter and cool in the summer since the space is not part of the heated/cooled sq footage of the house. Next to that is a basket of UFO's and in progress products. Hanging on the wall above the light switch is a spool stand. I also have a gutterman thread chest on one of the book shelves on the back wall.
I've maximized all the space. The only thing I haven't figured out how to squeeze in there is an iron in board so I do that in the hall on top of a book shelf using one of those travel size ironing boards. So, there it is. It's my's where I create.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My new baby

Oh she is fabulous! Here she is just as I promised. Isn't she a beauty and she sews like a dream. I do love her so...I feel like a mother as she joins her siblings in her adopted family, singer 503 and kenmore 1030. I don't have a favorite. I love them all so much. Sometimes I wish I could just sew all day long so I could get to sew on them all.
Just look at her in action. I was working on O's tunic from the OOP vogue 7894. It's adorable, but it was more hand sewing than I usually like. But, that's one of the things that I'm working on in my quest to improve my sewing skills. I'll have to post a picture of the tunic too. I have been sewing alot.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ash Wednesday has me thinking...

So Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. As a Catholic I'm used to "giving up" something as a way to focus on the great sacrifice Christ made for all humanity. I have decided to give up fabric shopping. I have so much and I can't think of why I might need to buy some for the next 40 days. But, that got me thinking about other things. About finances, budgeting and the future. I really want my family to have a strong and secure financial base and that if something were to happen to A. or myself that we would be ok. My goal is that in the next 2 years we will have all our debt (with the exception of the house) paid off and substantial savings. How do I hope to accomplish this? By getting real and getting real serious. I've read so many books on the subject of personal finance. While I don't buy his entire method I do like his simple no nonsense approach. So, I plan to become a gazelle. If you know Dave Ramsey, you know what that means.
Here are some the high points of his method
0-- Get current on bills
1 -- $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
2 -- Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
3 -- Three to six months of expenses in savings
4 -- Invest 15 percent of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
5 -- College funding for children
6 -- Pay off home early
7 -- Build wealth and give

I also love the Tightwad Gazette as a way to embrace a frugal lifestyle. Yes, some of her suggestions are extreme...but the overall message is one I can really believe in and commit to. So...I'll keep you posted on my progress and I hope to spending my 10th wedding anniversary on a fully funded trip to Italy.