Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Knitter's Almanac

I love a project and learning new things. I've had this book for a while, but never got around to really making much from it. I've decided that I will spend the next year making the projects and building up my knitting skills. Want to knit along with me?

Monday, December 26, 2011

An annual event...new year's resolutions

A new year looms, all bright, shiny and new, full of possibility. I'm super excited about 2012. But of course I can't embark on the new without giving some thoughts to the old.
While 2011 was full of changes, heartache, and tribulations, I can say as we end it, I'm probably happier personally than I have been in ages. New things are happening and I'm excited about the future. School has been fantastically hard, but enjoyable and challenging. I'm excited about the possibilities it will offer me professionally.
The family is in a good place, each child coming into their own. Soon, We'll have a senior among us and then he's off to college (fingers crossed).
Fitness has been less than a home run, but I'm going to get it together, I'm determined. Baby steps and no excuses. It's a gift to myself. I feel better when I'm active.
My crafting is keeping me sane (isn't true for so many of us). I've completed 5 quilts this year, which doesn't sound like a ton, but when you have my life, 5 quilts accomplished is monumental. I've made some quilty friends and joined a guild and a bee. Fun times.
I have lots of plans for the coming year.
1. Show and tell my kids how much I love them every day
2. Continue to live, laugh and love
3. Move more and make my health a priority
4. Sew more for me and my family
5. Continue to do well in school, you can do this girl!
6. Sew from my stash (you don't need to shop for fabric!)
7. Try new things
8. Let the past go
9. Do something fun every day
10.Finish one project/month (Get rid of the UFO's)
11. Live more frugally
12. Destash and Declutter

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hellmann's you rock!

Disaster averted! Not only did I neglect to take my 12lb turkey out to defrost until Tuesday, but I waited until the absolute last minute to get my go to brine packet from World Market and they were sold out. What's going on with me? I'm never been a last minute Nelly. Anywho...been loving the Hellmann's chicken challenge, so I jumped over to the Hellmann's website and found a recipe for Super moist roast turkey. Yummo! There is nothing worst than dry turkey, and thankfully this ain't it! It moist and delicious and can I tell you it was so easy to do. I can see myself doing this again. You know Christmas is just around the corner.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shopping in your pj's

I am a die hard devotee of black Friday shopping. I love it. I search the web and scour the ads before hand, planning out my trip. I always get the item that I want and the price I want to pay. Can I just say again, I love it. However this year, I've been doing quite a bit of shopping before hand from my laptop in my p.j.'s and I have to admit. I kind of like it. That was until this morning when I went to purchase coats for my children from Sears. What a frustrating and fruitless experience that was. I've always loved Sears, but I'm going to have to rethink our relationship. On the website the coats I wanted were advertised as 60% off and the price was $38.00/each. An incredible deal, but when I put them in my cart and went to check out the price had risen to $47.50/each. WTF! So I call (all the way to the Philippines, apparently ) thinking this was a computer issue. They see the same thing I do, two prices. But, here's the kicker, they tell me too bad, the price in the cart is the price. Can you believe it? I couldn't. Needless to say I didn't buy the coats. I'll check around and I'll find them at a price I'm willing to pay and now when I look into the empty aisles at my local Sears in the mall, I now understand just why that might be. Sears, you might want to do a better job in the future.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Holy Smokes....has it been that long?

I haven't blogged in ages, but I'm happy to report that summer school is finished and I rocked it with an "A". Woohoo! I have two weeks off and I'm ecstatic to be tackling some long neglected UFO's. First I'll be finishing up the binding on a string quilt. It was suppose to be for one of the ladies in the office at my son's school, but she quit over the summer so I'll just tuck it away until I decide who to give it to. I need to pin basting Shane's quilt. It's so hard to come up with a quilt for a teenage boy. What to do, what to do? Oh I know, 5 inch solid squares. Boring, but perfectly appropriate for him. I also had planned the zig zag skirt for Moda Bake shop for O as a back to school outfit. Let's just say I didn't get that done, but now I have time. I already have the front done, and just need to finish the back. I have blocks for two flickr bees to finish. And then I want to start working on some Christmas gifts. I've really missed getting to stitch and I'm glad to be back in front of my machine. I'll post some pix of the completed project just as soon as I can.

Friday, July 8, 2011


After many years out of academia, I have returned to school in pursuit of my master's degree. It's been something I had wanted to do for a long time, but as a mother of young children I wanted to wait until they were all in school. I'm taking a nontraditional approach too. It's actually the scariest part to me since I'm somewhat of a ludite when it comes to technology. I will be completing my degree online. I didn't see how with working fulltime and being a mom attending classes on campus would be feasible. I'm so excited about the emergence of online programs. It's been two weeks and I have to say it's a lot harder than a brick and mortar school. I probably spend about 2-3 hours/day working on assignments. I never spent that much time in undergrad. I'm really excited about the opportunities that grad school will offer. As a nurse I feel like the ability to physically provide bedside care is limited. I'm getting older and I'm very interested in community health. I'll keep you posted on my progress, but so far, so good!

Monday, July 4, 2011

A fitting quilt for the 4th

I may have mentioned that as a quilter I'm not very precise. I love the free form style of the Gee's Bend quilters. A little bit wonky is good to me, a lot wonky is even better. Anyways I love a wonky star. I've been participating in online quilting bees for the past 2 years and have really enjoyed them. They've definitely challenged me and forced me to step outside my box. However, when it was my turn I quickly returned to what I love. I asked for a wonky star. I had seen them first in this book and fell quickly in love. I used a great tutorial from here. I provided all the fabric from my stash. I used shades of teal, blue and aqua and Joann's quilter's cotton in natural for the background. The block are 12" finished. I bound the quilt in robin egg blue kona and free motion quilted it myself on my Brother pq1500. That brother has been the best money I've spent. I have already quilted about 5 quilts on it and it works like a dream! I love the pieced back and the reversed star adds a bit of interest. I did an all over meandering stitch to quilt it and I love how turned out, just the right amount of crinkles when washed.
What do you think? Does it make you think of the 4th of July? I call it Starry Dreams.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Now that's good tv!

Are you watching it? I'm talking about "The Killing" on AMC. It's so freaking good! I have absolutely no clue who killed Rosie Larson or why. Every Sunday I'm glued to my tv trying to figure it out. I even DVR it so I can watch it again. It's like a slow burn the way the plot is unfolding. The characters are so intriguing too. What's with Sarah? All this time I thought Reggie was her sister or something. You could have pushed me over with a feather. Only two more episodes left and still I'm clueless. If you're not watching it, you should be.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Belated Gift

I always have the best intention when it comes to making items to gift. I always, always start off with a bang, but somehow I end up with the day approaching (or in the case, passing me by) and either in a mad panic to finish or resigning myself to being a late gift giver. Luckily I must have inherited this trait from my mother as every occasion entitles her sending her package express so that it arrives on time. As this is for her, I'm sure she will forgive me. I posted it to her on Saturday and it should be on her doorstep by Tuesday. It was meant to be for Mother's Day.
She likes autumnal colors and I thought this Island Batik jelly roll seemed to capture that feeling very well. The pattern is essentially Cluck Cluck Sew's Basket Case pattern. I say essentially because beyond her general layout I didn't follow her directions. I probably should have, but I kind of like Gee's Bend wonky style in my quilting so I really like the many imperfections. I hope my Mom likes it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Slim Down!

Like many of you I've struggled with my weight for many years beginning in earnest in my early 30's. Lately I've really fallen off the wagon and been run over by it. I'm trying hard to regain some control and get a routine going. My dear friend Linda is starting a summer slim down and she's so inspiring that I have decide to stop making excuses and get to work. It's really helpful to have someone who's on a similar journey to talk to about your challenges.
I'm excited to get started. I have a healthy eating plan, a workout plan that's not dependent upon me getting to the gym and offers lots of variety. I'm very motivated. I'd like to lose 30 lbs. by my next birthday. It's a very reasonable goal and only calls for me to lose 1-2lbs/week. I'll be checking in here, with Linda and with online support groups regularly to help me stay on track.
Do you have any summer fitness goals?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

WIP: A year long quilt project

I'm very intrigued by civil war and sampler quilts. Although admittedly I don't love reproduction fabrics. Several months ago I stumbled across this blog via flickr. It was right up my alley. I've gotten a bit derailed after starting off strong. I don't think I had a clear plan, but I've been rethinking it and I have a collection of Castle Peeps by Lizzy House that I wasn't sure what to do with and I think I'm going to use it to make these blocks. I'm going to start from scratch. Currently I believe there are 22 blocks. It shouldn't take me long to knock the blocks out and get back on track. They are 8" blocks. Many I should be able to cut out using my accuquilt. I think the castle peeps is edgy enough to transition into a big girl quilt for O. In the mean time I've been trying to finish up a few end of the year teacher gift and prepping for summer sewing. I've pushed the single girl quilt I was planning to the back burner until I finish a few things I'm currently working on.
By the way the Barbara Brackman site is amazing. So full of fasicinating quilting history. Be sure to check it out.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Kids favorite cookie

My kids love snickerdoodles, they have to be their all time favorite cookie. They ask for them constantly. This is the top secret recipe I use, but I'm happy to share it with you. The big difference between regular sugar cookies and snickerdoodles is the cream of tartar. It makes for a super light cookie that is the perfect combination of soft and crispy.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream together butter, shortening, sugar, the eggs and the vanilla in a large bowl. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Shape dough into balls using a teaspoon. Roll balls of dough in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking pan and cool on rack.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Oh how I heart you Joann

Now I know I need to be buying fabric like I need a hole in my head, but how could I resist this stuff? I mean really, you tell me, how? I picked up some of new DSQ (as in Denyse Schmidt) fabric by Fabric Traditions for Joann's and couple pieces of AH Farmdale. I only had enough coupons to get 4 prints of the DSQ. I mean I'm still me, I had to use a coupon. I'll be going back and getting more as my coupons permit. Thankfully the Farmdale was already 30% off. I know tons of people slam JoAnn's as inferior quality (I'm thinking the whole Kona cotton debate) and what not, but I love the place. I'm there at least once a week. The employees are friendly and if not knowledgeable at least helpful. They don't hassle me when I come in with my fistful of coupons. They ask where my kids are (ahhh, the joys of child free fabric shopping). Need I say more. Don't get me wrong I shop my LQS too, but I do truly adore Joann's fabric and consider myself a loyal customer.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tackling a new skill

When I began quilting a few years ago I just dove right in. No class, little knowledge other than what I gained from years of garment sewing. I asked a few quilting friends some question, but overall I've been self taught and learned by trial and error. I consider myself a liberated quilter. I try and use what I have and I'm not about precision. You'll never find me paper piecing a
"Grandma's flower garden". When I make things for us to use I'm much more relaxed, but when I make items to gift or swap my perfection monster rears it's ugly head. Currently I'm working on a baby quilt for a coworker. I've already quilted, unpicked (oy!) and requilted it once. Now I'm working on the binding. I read somewhere that if you make a baby quilt you should attach the binding by machine so that it holds up to all the washings. Well, I've got a lot to learn. I used the tutorials from here and here and this one with tons of great pictures. I'm sure this should be easier than I'm making it. Anyway, I've been struggling with this so I thought I'd ask you, what do you think...is it good enough to gift?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Making do or living in the now

Years ago I saw an episode of "Oprah" where Iyanla VanZant was the guest expert. What stands out about this episode is the advice she gave the participant. Let me give you the back story. The guest was talking about how she was buying all this stuff but holding off decorating because she was waiting for "Mr. Right". Iyanla told her what about Ms. Right and that she better go ahead and paint those walls and hang up those pictures. I'm so guilty of waiting. But, I hear you Iyanla! I have 4 kids and they are hard on stuff. I wish they weren't , but they are. Because of this I've held of on really doing the things I want to do in my home, buying the furniture I really want. I've had periods of where I'll get depressed that I'm not living in the environment I think I should be in. I've let the kids take over the space. Not anymore! I'm painting, I'm buying what I love. I want to be in surrounding that fill me with lightness and joy.
Now, don't get me wrong, it'll be a process, but I've been transforming my life over these last few years and it stands to reason that my home should follow too. Watch out world...I'm not waiting any longer!
I just purchased a nice sofa from Rowe to replace my horribly stained hand me down one. Small steps, but it's a beginning. I'll post pix of the sofa after it arrives. I love it though.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Olivia in the city

This is a quilt I made for Olivia from my much coveted Urban Chicks Summer in the city fabric. It's probably my all time favorite line. Anyway, even though you can't tell, the blocks are really tiny and since this was a pattern of my own making I just started making blocks and thought I had plenty. Well, I had originally planned to just do a layout with no sashing or borders. I soon realized that I would end up with a quilt meant for a doll. That wouldn't do at all, so I added sashing and a border to get it the size it is now. It's a nice size for her, probably between a toddler quilt and a small lap quilt in size. She loves it. I'm still working on my free motion quilting. I was going for an allover stippling, but I'm still more of a meanderer. I am improving though, so that's good. I just got a great book on freemotion quilting and have been reading a ton online. What I've learned that it really just comes down to practicing. My goal is to one day be like Diane Gudyanski and quilt wonderful designs on my home machine. I couldn't afford to quilt if I had to send my quilts out to be quilted. Luckily I have both my Kenmore 47 and Brother pq1500 which both have nice larger harp spaces for quilting so it's just a matter of practicing and improving my skills.

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's been so long....

Wow, I can't believe it's been a couple months since I last blogged. I have had so much going on in my life in the past few months. I went from being what was essentially a SAHM to a WOHM. While I enjoy it, it wasn't without it's challenges. One of the biggest challenges for me has been figuring out a way to balance life and work. Finding time to do the things I enjoy and still having the time to be a hands on mom. I learned pretty quickly I was not superwoman. Some things had to give. I found us eating more quicky meals and take out, I found that my house was less tidy, I found that I didn't have the time to blog, I wasn't finding the time to get to the gym and that I was frustrated by all this. Well, it's taken some time, but I think I'm getting it all worked out. I've enlisted the children's help with the housework and I've lowered my standards, lol. I have cracked open my once a month cooking cook books and am doing some meal planning so we have no excuse to not eat healthy. I'm listening to more audio books. The weather is warming up so I'm taking walks and soon I'll be at the pool. I'm finding the time to sew and knit again, which really makes me happy. And I finally think I have the time to blog now that I got my new Macbook! Love it!!!
Mac is a whole new world to me. I'm still figuring a few things out, but I don't think I'll ever go back to a pc.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I think I'll be able to check in more often and hope you will too.