Thursday, October 30, 2008

Some People Know How to Party

Hey--is that Betsy Ross? Or Abigail Adams?

And did you know that Ben Franklin had a dog?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Good Morning, Chicken Noodle!"

That's what Caitlin said to me this morning when I woke her up. Is there anything funnier? (No, there is not.) We all woke up late today. I usually roll out by 6:30 at the latest so I can shower before the madness begins, so imagine my surprise when I opened my eyes and saw the clock reading 7:19. The kids rolled out pretty well--they move a little quicker when they know I'm making pancakes for breakfast.

The snow is pretty much all gone. It's like we dreamed it or something! It's still pretty cold and windy, but at least now I don't feel like we fast-forwarded a couple of months.

And yesterday, at Caroline's dance class, the teacher was teaching them the dance from Thriller. I can't decide what is worse: the fact that I wanted to go into the class and dance along with them, or the fact that I realized that Thriller was popular when I was 12...which was 25 years ago!

Time to go sew something...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What month is it?

Still October, right? Are you sure?

Are you sure it's not January?

I'd better get to knitting...we're going to need more mittens!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A quick hello!

Before we rush out the door to dance class. I'm still battling that feeling that there aren't enough hours in the day! Today was productive, although not nearly as productive as I would have liked...but I realize I'm being unrealistic. I made covers for the rocking chair cushions, and Caroline came home from school and moved right into that rocking chair...we could have a problem here! I also cut out the panels for the curtains, and I finally finished putting in the zipper on the skirt I'm sewing. So yay for me--I really did do a lot today, and all of it got done while I continued to battle this lingering headache. I swear, a low-to-mid grade migraine just sucks after the second day or so.

Tonight Rob has to work late, and we'll have to postpone our Heroes viewing because we'll be watching the World Series. The Phillies are so close, and the whole region is going nuts. It's exciting.

And now, I must put the dog in the crate and corral three children into the car...

Friday, October 24, 2008


It's Friday, and that means that at about 8:30 tonight, I can relax! Today is shaping up to be busy. Caroline's class has invited parents to visit their Insect Zoo at 11:45, then I have to dash Bobby off to school at 12:30. Both girls are going to a quilt shop this afternoon to learn how to sew--Caroline's brownie troop is doing it for a try-it, and since Caitlin is now a brownie, she's coming along, too. I'm tickled to death by the idea of them learning to use the machine, but I also have visions of them bugging me for machine time at home...when I don't even have enough time to finish my projects!

Anywhoo, today I'm going to Joann to get the quilt batting and some foam for cushions. I also need thread...and lots of other things!

My latest project for the house is this room:
We call it the sun room. It used to be the "toy room," but I moved most of the toys to the basement. The previous owners added this room after construction...they used it for their beautiful dining table. We don't have the money to spend on a beautiful new dining table for this room. Plus, it'd be overkill--there's already a table in the kitchen and a table in the dining room--how many tables does one house need?

My game plan for here isn't all that specific. I just want to take some of the edges off. I have fabric for curtains, I just have to sew them and hang a rod. All those windows can make it super hot/cold in the house, so curtains should help even that out a little. Then I'm making cushions for the rocking chair and for a bench you can't see in the picture. The patio furniture is going to go back outside. We brought that in before Bobby's party in September...and now it's time to remove it. We put our Christmas tree in here, so it'll definitely happen by December.

Here's my wall hanging quilt for over the fireplace:

Just have to sandwich, quilt, and bind. And hang on the wall...

And with all the sales at Joann's lately, I've been stocking up on patterns. I have cut out a skirt to make, I just need some thread. Hopefully I'll get some of these other things made before too long--hard to get excited about making fall clothes in the middle of winter!

Well, I find this post is similar to the state of by brain--all over the place and easily distracted! And full of exclamation points, too. I'm always reminded of that Seinfeld episode...
I wish you all a relaxing weekend!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I have started! It's going well--a little slower than I had planned/hoped, but that's because I have started some additional projects. Why work on just one or three things when you could work on six or seven?

Here are some nine patch blocks for Caitlin's quilt:
Here are some blocks for Caroline's quilt. I'm calling this the "Red Barn Quilt" because I saw something similar on Old Red Barn Co.
And one of my additional projects is a wall hanging to go over our fireplace. Amanda Jean has done a couple of quilt-alongs this year over at her blog, so I chose nine blocks from there to do for my project. They're coming along nicely--I'm done with the blocks and am working on the sashing. Joann is having a sale this week and quilt batting is 50% off, so I'll be there later this week to get the batting and finish this one up!

I have been sorely neglecting any housework so far this week--I'd much rather sit at the sewing machine! Our weather has finally turned cooler to the point where I'd say it's for good. We had a frost on Sunday night--goodbye, basil! We also had to turn on the heat. All this cooler weather has me itching to make the house all cozy for winter. This is why I'm running around wanting to make curtains and cushions and quilts...(oh my!).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Here's my first block for Sew Connected. I sent it to Rita on Wednesday.
I could have made a dozen variations! I was torn between trying to keep with the color scheme in just the fabrics that she sent me and going off on my own tangent. With fourteen people participating, there is going to be a wide variety...I was even looking at other people's squares on flickr to see which way to go. In the end, I think I struck a happy medium, but from now on, I think I'm just going to trust my instincts a little more and let them guide me. After all, if I wanted a quilt that was just all my own way, I could do that by myself. By inviting fourteen people to participate, I welcome fourteen different styles and color choices into my quilt. I'm going to put a little more of "me" in these blocks and not worry so much about whether it will "go" with the other blocks. Deep breath!
Rita invited us to keep some of the fabrics she sent us. I sent most of it back, but I did cut a few strips for myself. I have some crazy idea in the back of my head like "make a quilt using everyone's scraps," but I don't know if that will ever happen. In the meantime, I did use some scraps to make a little Christmas ornament quilt. It's basically a coaster with a loop attached. It did give me a chance to try free-motion quilting. I don't have a darning foot, but my owner's manual says I can fmq just by dropping the feed dogs...I am getting better, but I will probably get a universal darning foot eventually. I would really like to do some fmq on a larger quilt. The binding on this is terrible--I just folded the backing over to make the binding. Doesn't look good!

There's a new blog out there that I'm enjoying. I also like this one for simple and frugal ideas.

In keeping with the simple and frugal theme, here is a story about how to be neither:

I used to get my hair highlighted, but I haven't done so for over a year. I just didn't have the time last year (because I was never kid-free), and didn't like sitting in the chair for two hours trying to converse with a girl who wasn't that happy about life--especially since I wasn't pleased with my last few haircuts from her. (Breaking up with a hairstylist is always awkward--I ended up leaving the salon.) Anyway, on Wednesday, I decided to do it myself. I purchased one of those home kits where you do an all-over color and then paint on your own highlights. Sounds so easy, and for only $15.00, you can look as fabulous as the woman on the box!

I chose dark ash blonde. Because I'm mousy like that, and ash-toned colors work best on me.

Here is before. And in retrospect (damn you, 20/20 hindsight!), it's not so bad:

Now, keeping in mind that the color I bought was DARK ASH BLONDE, here is after:

Um, yeah. And you can't even see how down at the bottom, the old, previously highlighted part only absorbed part of the color, so it's a very odd, almost green shade. So the new girl I've been seeing for fab haircuts has been called. We've already had a consultation, and next Wednesday, she's going to attempt to fix this disaster. I can only pray that the Red Sox keep winning so I can continue to wear my ball cap. The lesson, ladies: just suck it up and go to the professionals the first time!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This was at the beginning of my Rotary Cutter Odyssey. I couldn't find a way to photograph the fabric that would accurately convey how much cutting I had to do. It was a lot.
The hoodie--just needs the hood! And then I'll put it all together. What should make this especially fun is the fact that one sleeve is about four rows longer than the other. Sometimes you should not knit while watching TV...
Here's where I'll be all winter (I hope). What you can't see in this picture is the large bare wall over the fireplace. I'm thinking some sort of quilt wallhanging. In fact, I can't stop thinking about it (well, that and the curtains and the chair pads).
I have to do something with these guys soon. I made pizza sauce on Monday...there's another bunch of Romas that should be ripe by early next week, so I'd best get moving on this bunch. Any ideas? I guess I'm not quite ready to retire the canning equipment for the season.
During the quiet times today, I'll be here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Baby Steps

Still no pictures--maybe tomorrow I'll upload some. I did actually take some pictures...somehow getting them onto the computer is the hardest part! Anyway, I'm fighting the urge to spend money. It seems that buying those patterns on Saturday has unleashed the beast again--all I can think about is finding fabric!

I decided I should get busy on the projects that I DO have fabric for, so I spent the better part of the morning cutting a zillion strips for Caroline's quilt. I will fall over if I don't have enough--I've never spent so much time with my rotary cutter. Now I'm kind of excited about starting it--maybe by Thursday I can start. Of course, there's another birthday party this weekend, so I'll have to get that gift out of the way at some point...this birthday party madness never really lets up.

I also cleaned up my rocking chair, and I even rocked and knit a while this afternoon. I want to make some chair pads for the rocker (for extra comfiness) and while I'm at it, that room really needs some I'm back to thinking about spending money! How we've managed to live in this house for three years now without putting curtains in this room is beyond's a south-facing wall of windows, so it can get unbearably hot in summer (and quite frigid in winter). Clearly this calls for a window treatment...

The kids are eating dinner, and then we're off to Caroline's dance class. Remind me next year not to choose a 6:30 class!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Picture-free Monday

Posts with pictures are so much more fun than picture-free ones. However, we shall persevere, shan't we? (Plus, I really wanted to use "shan't" in a post.)

So it's Monday. What's in the works for today? I'm thinking about starting to cut fabric for the girls' quilts. I'm also thinking about working on them at the same time instead of completely finishing one first. I still have to finish sewing the binding on the back of Bobby's--I did do one side last night while watching the Amazing Race. The finishing touches aren't very exciting, are they? I figure if I can sew one side every other night or so, I'll be in good shape. It's still October. *wink*

Over the weekend, I bought a pattern and some fabric to make a skirt. And on Thursday, Vogue patterns will be on sale at Joann, so I'll be buying a couple patterns that I've had my eye on. Not sure when I'll get around to making anything, but it'll be nice to have the patterns for $3.99 instead of $20.

A couple of posts out there in blogland regarding rocking chairs got me to thinking. I brought a rocking chair up from the basement and put it in our sunroom. I envision winter knitting and the fire. I just have to figure out how to use our remote-controlled gas fireplace. Seriously. The remote and (I hope) the directions are with a bunch of papers left behind by the original owners. In all the years we've owned a house, Rob and I have NEVER used the fireplace. The other two houses had old-school fireplaces, but this one is all fancy-schmancy. I may break down this winter and get it going. As soon as I find the directions.

I am getting all ADD with crafting ideas--I told you this would happen, that's why I tried to make a list of projects. I have visions of curtains, covered cushions (for the rocking chair), quilts to hang on the wall, and more hats and fingerless gloves to knit than anyone can wear. Sigh. Guess it's time to go cut fabric.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Back from the Patch!

Just popping in to say, "hi," before we load up to go on a preschool field trip. We're off to the pumpkin patch, hayride and all!

The laundry was all caught up on Monday. Then the kids came home and I'm behind already! They're off from school tomorrow and I have NO PLANS! Maybe I'll teach them to work the washing machine...

Bobby's quilt is almost done. All I have to do is stitch the binding down on the back. Then it's on to the next one. And I'm learning that I do not like knitting with big needles...and I've learned that is the place to go if you're looking to get completely sucked into the computer for hours.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday Madness

This morning my husband inquired as to the whereabouts of the clean underwear...

and I looked...

and I looked...

and do you know what?

There was no clean underwear!

Just pile after pile of dirty clothes!

I'll have to speak to the laundry lady...

just as soon as I'm done washing, folding and putting away.

How are you spending your Monday?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October First

October first...fasten your seat belts! I feel like the pace is going to pick up soon--Target already has Christmas stuff out. I could spend an entire post bitching about how much I hate how Christmas comes earlier every year...but I won't. I suspect many of you feel the same way!

So it's October, which means we'll really start doing "fall" activities: apple picking, pumpkin picking, choosing Halloween costumes, etc. Yesterday the kids were off from school (our district gets Jewish holidays off--something that never happened when I was a kid in South Carolina), so I was determined to take the kids apple picking, dammit! We even ran down to the mall so I could use up the last of a Williams-Sonoma gift card to buy one of those hand-crank apple peeler/corers. And off we went to the orchard...

Would you put those apples in your basket? I didn't think so! We had over two inches of rain on Sunday, but it had been very dry before that. That combination of weather is believed to have produced these very nasty looking apples. The lady in the store assured me that there were still some really nice ones out there, but I pointed out to her that my crew wasn't exactly patient, and we bought these, already-picked apples instead:
Much better, don't you think? I still want to go picking again. Maybe to a different place. I made apple butter yesterday. I'd like to make some applesauce next time. Because there will be a next time, even if I have to go pick the apples myself!

I have joined a quilting group called Sew Connected. There are fifteen of us, so each month for the next fifteen months or so, we're going to sew a quilt block for one person using the fabrics she (or he, in the case of Quilt Dad) sends to us. This is our first month, and these are the fabrics that Rita has sent to me.

Isn't the embroidery so cute? I think this is just screaming "log cabin"! I have some fabrics from my stash that I'll incorporate. I think what makes this so fun for me is that I get to play with other people's great fabrics. My turn isn't until next December (that's 2009), so I have a looooong time to come up with a plan for my quilt!

On the knitting front, I'm having mixed is the back to Caroline's hoodie. Somehow I have an extra stitch on the stitch holder, but I'm not going to get too worried about it. The back is huge, though, and it's supposed to be a size 8. I held it up to a size 12 sweatshirt that she has, and it's the same length! So she'll be able to wear this for a couple of years...that's okay. I've started the front now. Then it's just the sleeves. And the hood. And stitching the whole thing together. This is a big project! Good thing it's October first and not December first!
Finally, I like to have more than one knitting project going on, and I found this super cute hat pattern. I then found some super cute yarn in the clearance bin at A.C. Moore. I started knitting...I took it apart because it looked like it might fit an American Girl doll (and this hat was supposed to be for me and my slightly larger head). I then started knitting again with a double strand of the yarn. It knit up quickly and for my first time trying cables I was super tickled.
It's only slightly too big for this teddy bear! It won't even fit any of my kids' heads. Apparently I need to pay careful attention to whether the pattern calls for bulky weight yarn. The pattern did not explicitly say so, but a little common sense on my part would have saved me some heartbreak. I will make this hat again--for ME and my big head, but I'll get some bulky yarn to do so!

Today is a quiet day. We have no after-school activites to rush around to. Caitlin is starting Brownies tomorrow. It'll be an every-other-week thing, but I think it's going to be the same weeks as Caroline's troop meeting, so it'll either be calm or completely crazy around here! Happy October!