Monday, March 31, 2008

Note to self: Slow Down!

Okay, the creative energy has been buzzing around here for the last couple of weeks, and that's great and fun. I'm way pumped about all the great stuff I have planned. The problem enthusiasm is about to get the best of me, and I'm about to take on one or two or four projects too many.

Let's see what I've got going on right now:

I'm participating in the Sweet Goodness Swaps' Paris in the Springtime Swap. That's due on April 28.

I'm at the stage where I can start quilting my quilt.

I'm DONE with my one niece's birthday gifts. At least that's one done!

Caroline has a birthday party to go to in two weeks--I'm making a bag for that girl.

Two nieces and my mother-in-law have birthdays in early May (May 1, 3 and 4)

In the past two years, my daughters have been invited to about four birthdays (between the two of them) in May, and I see no reason for this year to be any different.

So that's it for the crafty stuff--now let's see, is there anything else I have going on? Oh yeah, LIFE! That giant pile of laundry that greeted me this morning (it's 9:00 and I'm on load #2). Hey, what's all that stuff all over the carpet? Isn't there some kind of device that will magically suck all that stuff up? It's called a vacuum cleaner? And we have one? Who was in charge of buying dog food?

Ugh! I need to stop things for a minute and prioritize and then achieve some kind of peace between the craft warrior and the domestic goddess (although we may have to file a missing persons report on the domestic goddess...).

I can hear my washing machine beeping at me right now--and it's not the "all done" beep, it's the "error code" beep--meaning I put too many clothes in and now it's out of balance.

Sigh. As much as I love blogging and reading blogs and making new virtual friends, I'm afraid that my precious computer time is going to have to be cut back a little bit. I'll still check in, but I can't get all this stuff done if I'm on the computer as much as I have been. Of course, I'll probably post daily--that usually happens when I tell myself to cut back. I will have pictures of my latest creations when I do post--that way you'll know what I've been up to. Maybe you'll hear from me on Thursday. Have a good week.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Overflowing with ideas

This is how my quilting project started--well, after a few hours of cutting the strips of fabric. It'll be so much easier next time now that I have a rotary cutter! See, this is not very interesting to look at. That's why I waited on posting the pictures.
And in the middle of putting a quilt together, I decided I had to make a bag for my niece who's turning 12 next week. I did have a reason for jumping into this--the idea was to practice free-motion quilting on the bag so then I'd be such a pro at it come quilting time on the big quilt. Ha, ha. Have you ever tried free motion quilting? Maybe it's my machine, maybe it's my complete lack of skill/experience or a combination of the two, but I used yet another piece of fabric to practice before doing the bag, and well, it's a complete train wreck. I think I'll save it though. You know, for when I improve and I can look back and laugh. So for the bag, I just did a diamond design, and I love it! I want this bag!
And I love the fabric on the inside--I could buy all of this line of fabric and be very happy! It's the Chocolate Lollipop line by Anna Maria Horner.
And I just got around to finishing these--they're coffee cozies. Another idea I shamelessly borrowed from Erin. I've said it before, but I think she is awesome, and I'm always amazed at the things she creates.
So here are my quilt squares, all ready to be stay-stitched and then pieced together. It's super-girly, and I love it! It's a lap quilt, but I don't exactly see hubby cuddling up under this to watch the basketball. The idea behind making this quilt was to develop my quilt-making skills and to use up some of my stash. Well, the using of the stash has gone well, we'll have to see about the quilt-making skills part.
So that has been my week, craft-wise. Two days ago, hubby said, "let's go to Paris." Huh? What? Our tenth anniversary is this June, and we've been half-planning and then putting off any sort of trip. And then he comes out with this! So, I think today I'll be going to the post office to see about passport renewal or whatever. Wish me luck.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Technical difficulties?

Hey, folks. I hope you found me okay. I changed my domain name or whatever to match the name of the blog--so if you went looking for megevans.blogspot, you were confused. I'm not sure if I can keep that name and still have it send you here... I just thought it made more sense if the web address matched the blog name. Just having one of my OCD moments...

And at 12:35, I'm off to Joann fabrics!

I hope everyone has a great weekend--we're going to be not warm and partly rainy. If you're having warm spring weather, I'm jealous!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday update

Okay, so no pictures this time, sorry! I did take a few shots this morning, but then I went ahead and finished piecing all the squares, and I just know that it'll be way more interesting once I start sewing all the squares together, so I'm waiting on the pictures. I have decided that tomorrow I'm going to buy the rotary cutter and mat. I had been trying to do this quilt without buying any new equipment, but the difference between using a tape measure and a 12.5" square ruler to measure out strips of fabric is like night and day, and I just know that the rotary cutter will make trimming the squares so much easier! See how I'm rationalizing spending money? I admit, I've kinda fallen off the no-spending wagon this month. I don't think I'm completely off the wagon--but I'm hanging off the side while my feet lightly brush the ground. *grin*.

Yesterday was Bobby's first teeball practice, and it was the cutest thing ever! (Can you hear my shouting?) I'm definitely going to bring a camera to the next practice, and I know the games will bring a new level of hilarity and cuteness to my life. Almost as exciting as Bobby's enthusiasm was his sweet big sisters cheering him on yesterday. It was ... well, cute, if you must know. It's so refreshing when siblings are nice and supportive of each other--a rare treat at this age! Let's hope the enthusiasm continues when we're going to games at 8:30 in the morning!

And to add to the spring time fun, Caroline has insisted that we sign her up for spring soccer. And I did--but only after Rob told her several times that she will have to participate (meaning "run around the field and not just stand there"). Seems some of the neighbors are playing this spring and she wants to get onto their team. I told her there's a good chance she'll be on another team and she was okay with that. The good thing about spring soccer is that there is no practice--just games on Sundays--and it only costs $40.00. Of course, now I feel like Caitlin is missing out on something. Shouldn't she get to do a spring sport? In theory, yes. In reality, she's not asking to play, and we can't be in two places at once. So no soccer for Caitlin. But our spring is going to be busy with a game each weekend day. I just hope the weather decides to turn springy (meaning WARM) sometime soon!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Quick Hello

I've gotten so used to posting during the week that I feel weird not posting. As you know, it's Wednesday, which is always busy and now has the added fun of teeball practice thrown in, so this is my only time to post. I started my quilt last night, and I'm dying to get into it more, so I'm giving up my usually obscenely long morning computer time in order to do some sewing this morning. Hopefully sometime tomorrow I'll be able to post some pics of my progress. Happy Wednesday to you all!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Birthday goodies

In keeping with my crafty-ness from Sunday, yesterday I moved on to another project--and another birthday gift for another niece. My niece Alexis will be twelve in April. She is currently obsessed with the Jonas Brothers--and Nick Jonas, in particular. So, we have the "I love Nick" collection for her:

Yes, I went a little overboard with three shirts (and Rob was saying, "is she really going to wear this?" Poor thing just doesn't get girls... I hope she wears them! Panic!). It was actually pretty easy, once I got all the equipment together. First, I downloaded some cool fonts. Then I traced them onto freezer paper. Then I cut the letters out with an exacto knife (that was the most labor-intensive part), and then ironed the freezer paper to the shirt. Then just add fabric paint and remove the stencil, and voila: your spring wardrobe!

I decided on Sunday to attempt an x-string quilt. Erin at house on hill road made one a couple of weeks ago, and it's beyond beautiful. Erin is very good at taking something fabulous looking and explaining how to do it in such a way that I find myself thinking, "hey, I could try that." So here we are. I decided to start with a lap-size quilt (since the only quilts I've made were the doll quilts for Valentine's day) and to use up most of my stash of little calico florals. So I've cut most of the pieces, and yesterday I learned that I cut the wrong size for one of the strips. So it's off to the fabric store for me to get just a little more fabric (plus the backing and batting) to attempt this project. One I've successfully completed it, then I can make a bigger one with fabulous new fabric (see where this is going? Right to the great fabric websites!).

And I have one more niece with a spring birthday...time to start thinking about what to make for her!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Here are the pictures

Easter baskets filled with chocolatey goodness...

Bobby searching for his Easter eggs.
Fletch getting married? It was too funny not to take a picture.
And here is part of my niece's birthday gift. Her birthday is in May, but I hadn't done anything crafty in a few days, and I had the fabric, so here it is!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Still here

Yeah, I'm still here. Happy Easter, by the way. Our day started at 7:20 when Bobby came into our room and asked if he could go downstairs. About ten minutes later, we had a full-on Egg Hunt happening in the house.

We've been busy doing projects and playing referee--and when Rob is home, I somehow end up at the back of the line for computer time. I'll post Easter pictures tomorrow (when hubby's back at work and I get first go at the computer).

The kids are off tomorrow, but then they're back to school on Tuesday--thank goodness! And I just found out that Bobby's first teeball practice is on Wednesday at 6:00pm. Ugh! Are you kidding me? Two dance lessons and then a ball practice all on the same day? Fasten your seatbelts. I can just tell you right now that I won't be leaving the house at all on Thursday.

Okay, I got off on a mini-rant, and I try not to do that on holidays (giggle)! Have a great Easter day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pay It Forward--want to join?

I do realize this exchange has been circulating around blogland for awhile and many of you have already participated in it. For those of you, like me, that haven't had the pleasure of joining in, here's your chance... This is how it goes : it's the Pay It Forward exchange, based on the concept of the movie "Pay It Forward", where acts of kindness are done without expecting anything in return, just passing it on, hoping that the recipients will do the same and pay it forward, like a never ending chain of kindness...

How to proceed ?I will make and send a handmade gift for the first 3 friends who post a comment to this post, requesting to join this exchange, and promising to pay it forward to 3 other persons, etc....I don't know what my 3 gifts will be, but I will try to get them out within the next few weeks--and I can promise I'll get them out within the next three months .What YOU have to do in return then, is pay it forward by making the same announcement and promise on YOUR blog.

Sound like fun? I think so! I wonder who will I be sending handmade gifts to???
When I first posted this idea, I wasn't entirely sure I'd get three takers, but it's my lucky duck day, I guess. Okay, ladies--Meredith, Liz and Linnea--it's on! I've been brainstorming like crazy, so let's hope it works out!

Say hello to my little friends!

I can't even remember whose blog I was reading last week, but she had a link to a picture on Flickr of some bunnies that looked a lot like this...and I knew I had to try to make a few. So, I did--and it wasn't too difficult. Aren't they cute? I think I could make Easter crafts for another month and still continue to find cute ideas. This is it, though (until next year)--the baskets are full!

It's Tuesday night, and spring break officially begins tomorrow for Caroline. Caitlin has been out all week. Tomorrow we have conferences for both girls, and then we're just hanging out. We'll probably go see the Horton movie, and we'll do some work around the house (I hope!). Rob will probably go out of his mind. He doesn't like to hang around the house. Anyway, I won't have my normal blog-browsing and posting time while he's around. Hubby tends to hog the computer in the morning. If I'm not around, I'll see you by next Tuesday! Happy Easter in advance!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Would you believe?

That after all that planning and sewing, I managed to get almost no pictures from Caitlin's party? That's what happens when the photographer is also the party coordinator! Oh, well. I think the girls had fun. It was a super-small party, so it was very low-key. We watched most of an episode of Little House, then we made Baby Carrie's button string, and we made a tassel--like Laura and Carrie made for Mary's Christmas slippers. (We kinda ran out of time to make the second tassel.) Then the girls decorated their own little cakes--lots of sugar, lots of fun! I think Rob thought it was too small. I think it was the perfect size--I've never been so un-stressed before a party! And I think five gifts that will be lost or broken before the end of the month is a vast improvement over ten or twenty!
Blowing out her candles on her actual birthday--and yes, that is the same cake we used for Rob the day before! No sense in making additional cake!
Little bonnets all in a row. The only picture I regret not getting was one of all the girls wearing their bonnets.
All ready for Baby Carrie's button string! And later I can tell you the story about how I blew $12.00 on eBay on vintage buttons. All of these buttons came from craft stores--for about $12.00 total (but they're not vintage...). I'm an eBay fool!
Here are the girls frosting their cakes. It got very messy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Birthday Madness, part two

Here we go, another birthday!

It's official--the sign is up. I moved Rob's sign to the garage because I felt like he needed to have his on display a little longer. Now every time he comes home from work, he'll see it (at least, as long as the tape holds).
It took a little explaining to Caitlin that she now has to use both hands to show us how old she is. Big sis helped out with that one. Here's our birthday girl and her doll Molly dressed as "Miss Victory" in her new outfit.
And here she is in her new birthday outfit. It looks really great with the pink camoflage sneakers she put on to wear to school. So cute!
And from the previous posting, here is the finished product. These are going to school today for the snack. I copied this from Bakerella. They were easy and they're dangerously good. Rob ate these last night instead of his birthday cake, and he was already asking this morning about how easy or difficult they were to make... Go check out Bakerella--there is genius at work over there!

Birthday Madness, part one

Okay--I've only had coffee so far today, and it's Wednesday, so here goes the over-caffeinated, running-out-of-time recap of the birthdays so far:

Because in our house, it's not officially your birthday until we have painted a banner in your honor. And when you turn 40, you get the really big banner.
More on these later...
On Monday, Caitlin and I went thrifting in search of some buttons to make "Baby Carrie's Button String" at her party on Saturday. We struck out on buttons, but I did score some hobnail milk glass items at Goodwill for $2.06. Take that, eBay!
And bedtime is as good a time as any to have chocolate cake, right?
This is the aftermath of a delicious birthday dinner. We had Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Maple-Chipotle Sauce, mashed potatoes and roasted green beans. So yummy (so yummy, there's a party in my tummy...oops--too much Nick Jr.). Anyway, it was awesome. Check out Cooking Light's March issue for the pork recipe.

And that's how you turn 40 in this house! On to the next birthday...when might that be?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Prayer Request

I was checking in with all my favorite blogs last night, and I learned some horrible news. Fellow mom and blogger, Mary Beth, has learned that her 16-month-old son, Rainer, has leukemia. From what I read, the prognosis is good--statistically speaking, there's a very high rate of "cure." He has already started chemo and is feeling better. I'm asking everyone to send prayers and positive thoughts their way. And then thank God for all the healthy children in your life!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Quick Update

I have about four places to go to before picking up Caitlin at 11:10, so here's a quick and dirty update on our weekend festivities--and I forgot to bring a camera, so I have no pictures from Rob's party.

Friday night was the funeral for Rob's grandmother. I missed it because we had sitter problems. I stayed behind with my three and my sister-in-law's two until the sitter (her s-i-l) arrived in time for me to go to the dinner. I'm told the service was nice. The dinner was great amounts of fun--it always is when the whole family--all the aunts, uncles, and cousins--gets together. Rob was trying to get everyone to come back to Cori's to keep the party going, but almost everyone blew him off--he didn't know we'd all be together again the next night! Still, some cousins did come over, and I stayed up til midnight--way past my bedtime!

The party Saturday night was a successful surprise. Most of us were still tired from the night before, plus the kids were present for this party, so it ended much earlier than Friday night's festivities. My kids are exhausted from a whole weekend with their cousins. Seven o'clock came very early this morning. The girls were both saying they didn't want to go to school!

Caitlin's birthday party is Saturday, so now I get to spend the week making the house presentable for company! It's going to be a week of baking cakes and vacuuming--but I will have pictures of that party.

So, if I'm not around much this week, well, you've seen my laundry mountains--you know what I'm up against! Have a good week! See you on the other side...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Too Many Balls...

As I typed that title, I thought, "that sounds much racier than what I'm actually thinking about." I mean "too many balls" as in trying to juggle too many things. The rest of you, get your minds out of the gutter, please! *wink*

I cannot juggle balls--or any other object, for that matter. I can handle tossing one ball around, but it falls apart when I try to add the second ball. I thought it was a good analogy for the home life around here lately, and then I was inspired by Meredith's posting yesterday regarding balance. Or more accurately, I was probably relieved to see someone else brave enough to show us what her kitchen sink and laundry hamper looked like!

So I'm owning up to my own imbalance--or inability to juggle successfully the "balls" of housework and crafty fun. Something's gotta give, so why not let the drudgery wait? (BTW, I did get around to scrubbing toilets--instead of last Thursday, I did them on Tuesday, so now I get a day off from toilet duty!) There's so much other fun stuff to be doing!

Here, you can see all the stages of laundry going on here--we have "clean, folded, but not put away," "clean but not folded sheets piled up onto the dresser because we needed to use the basket for another load," and we have "partially sorted--which means 'dumped all over the floor' and waiting for a laundry basket so it can be washed." Ever notice how washing and folding is only half the battle? It can take another week before that folded clean laundry finds its way to a dresser.
This is one of the many reasons the laundry mountain is growing. This is an outfit I made for Caitlin for her birthday next week. It's inspired by Erin at house on hill road. She has done all sorts of cute appliques on tshirts for her girls, so I tried my hand at it. And she has a tutorial for the twirly skirt--it's super easy and very cute! I imagine Caitlin is going to be over the moon for the skirt. (I also imagine that it will be snowing when I dress her in this summer-weight skirt in mid-March, but we can't have it all--it's her birthday, dammit!)
So cute! I'd make one for myself if I didn't think I'd look ridiculous.
Yesterday, we left Caroline's dance lesson at 5:30, and I was shocked by how much sunlight was left! The difference from last week was amazing! It's like Mother Nature sent out a memo or something. Everything is on cue. Late last summer, I planted daffodil bulbs, and it appears that we have success. These little guys are starting to pop up all over the front yard! The thing about gardening is that you have to be willing to wait to get any sort of feeling of satisfaction. I am learning the hard way that it's just not an immediate gratification sort of endeavor. But when it works, it's like you've just watched magic happen. Cool.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

In Memoriam

The Greatest Generation has lost another member. Rob's grandmother, Florence May Creeger Evans (or Gigi, as the kids called her), passed away last night.

She was predeceased by her husband and two of her three children. She leaves one surviving daughter, eight grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday goodies

This is the pattern I used to make the bonnets. You can see it has several period costumes in it. If I get really daring (or my mom can help me), I'd love to make the yellow dress in the top right for Caroline for Halloween. It's so cute! When I first began cutting the fabric to make five bonnets, I found myself filling with dread. What have I gotten myself into, etc. I'd already made two bonnets for the girls, and while they were easy, it was work. So to sign on to make five seemed to be pushing it. But then I started sewing and it just seemed to get easier. Maybe the trick is to make something multiple times!

It's hard to photograph hats without a head to rest them on!
I don't think I could pick a favorite. I just love all the fabrics. I am a calico sucker.
Yesterday morning, Bobby learned the hard way what happens when you try to do pull-ups on the towel rack. As we looked at it last night, we discovered that the hole on the right was so big because it was an earlier patch. Apparently the previous owners' children also used the towel rack for exercise.
And Caitlin wrote a diary entry on a nearby scrap: "Dear diary today I went to a birthday party at Madison's."
Wishing you a healthy, happy (and crafty) week!