Friday, October 30, 2009

In Between

In between the company, the dance lessons, the school parades and the school parties this week, there has been some more crafting.

For Christmas for my niece, the Bella mittens. One down, one to go.

And stocking stuffers for my kids, the Family Heart from Handmade Home. A super way to use up some scraps. (I still have to stuff them.)

I'm making slow progress on my Christmas quilt. It seems that every time I sit down to work on it, I immediately think of other things that I could be working on, and I find myself fighting the urge to start on something else.

After several nights of good cooking, I ran out of steam last night, and Rob went to Chipotle. (We had a coupon for a free burrito!) And with all the back and forth to school today, I never had time to run out to the store; so I'm torn between throwing something together from what I have at home or asking Rob to pick up something on his way home. I'm trying to save pizza night for tomorrow, so I should get to searching the pantry.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What do you do...

When you learn that you'll be having overnight guests on Tuesday, and the house is still in its post-weekend-wreck state,

And you just brought this book home from the library,
And you have this toile left over from when you decorated the dining room?
You make Mama's Bag,

And you put your latest knitting project in it!

And then you clean!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Yesterday afternoon, we attended our church's Family Oktoberfest. It was held at a local farm/nursery. The kids had a blast.
They painted pumpkins.

They had their faces painted.

They dined on hot dogs and s'mores and went on a hayride with friends. A lovely way to end the weekend.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday--and my first Christmas rant of the season

Bobby has two birthday parties this weekend. The first one is tonight.
Somehow it's easier to make presents for girls. I just don't see boys getting excited about personalized t-shirts. (I know Bobby is not excited to give homemade gifts.) So I've decided that for the boy birthday gifts, we'll be sticking to legos or games.

This week has felt busy--I mailed out a large stack of packages this week, and it feels good to get that stuff out of the dining room. Guess what I discovered languishing on the floor? That Christmas quilt I had started several weeks ago! Now that I have some time, I'm going to be working on it. I also have fabric and a pattern for a dress...that I purchased last year. I think this will be mama's Christmas dress for this year.

And speaking of Christmas, lots of good info is out there this week. I like to start on handmade presents early, for obvious reasons. Every year I go through the struggle between wanting to give my kids gifts (and feeling good about it) and not wanting to flood the house with stuff (and feeling icky about it). It seems that every year Rob and I find ourselves walking up and down the aisles of Target, adding more and more junk to the cart. I hate that feeling of buying "just because."

This week, I introduced an idea to the kids (and this is totally not original on my part): four gifts--something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. I'm trying to plant this seed early, and hopefully when they're browsing through the few catalogs I'm going to let into the house, we can try to categorize the "I wants".

I had also asked the kids what their favorite Christmas gifts from last year were. They couldn't name a thing. Caitlin named her American girl doll--but that was from two years ago. I can think of the crappy digital camera that had to be thrown away after falling into an unflushed toilet. (I know.) There's the guitar that was eventually broken--but we never learned how to play it because we didn't think about giving lessons to go with it. There's the electronic virtual friend thingy that lives in a drawer and comes out every other month. Most of the dolls are naked and headless. All of the batteries are dead.

I have a couple of ideas about how to move away from the annual gift orgy toward the four gifts idea--maybe the four gifts from the parents, and maybe Santa brings three gifts (as I keep telling the kids, Jesus received three gifts). And the three gifts from Santa could be a toy, a game, a book.

I'm trying to focus more on making memories with the kids--and those are made by spending time, not money. Like I said earlier, this is an annual struggle. Maybe I should look at it not as a struggle, but as a journey--a one where there will be bumps and backslides. I'd like you hear about your journey too. What is your Christmas plan? How do you handle the kids' gifts? What are some of your favorite Christmas memories, and what memories are you planning on making this year?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sew Connected: October

October is Dee's month! She followed Amanda Jean's inspiration and decided to make one of those stunning little house quilts.
Dee sent this soft pink for the background and an assortment of pretty pink and yellow patterned fabrics. Truth be told, I could eat up the fabric she sent--it's just so pretty and girly!

I'm so glad she decided to do this quilt--after my frustrations with making a little house last month, I was happy to get another chance at it. Last month, I had drawn out the house I wanted to make on graph paper, but it just wouldn't come together. This month, it somehow made more sense to me, and it went together easily and quickly.
It's my turn next month, so I've been assembling and cutting fabrics. I hope to get them out in the mail by the end of the week (technically, I think they're supposed to go out today). This is one of those busy weeks where I'm going to be over at the school a lot!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tiny Purses/Big Hearts

One of my favorite non-crafty blogs I read is Mocha Momma. Kelly's posts make me laugh out loud and weep openly--often in the same post! She is an assistant principal at a high school in Illinois, and she gives her whole heart to her job. She has some very lucky students.

Anyway, she's helping to coordinate a drive for small purses for her students. You can read more about why here. And if you have a small purse (no bigger than a sheet of paper) that you want to donate, or if you're feeling crafty and want to make something (there was a great link to a pattern for Japanese Knot Bags in the comments) or if you just want to donate some money, you can read about the specifics here.

As for me, I'll be going through my closet to de-clutter and help some girls out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mr. Greenjeans

Well here we are. It's my new sweater.
The pattern is Mr. Greenjeans. It's from Knitty, fall 2007.
I made some modifications. I started the cable and rib pattern higher up, and I made the sleeves extra-long. I also switched to larger needles as I worked down the cable and rib pattern.

The yarn is Galway Highland Heather from Plymouth Yarn. It's a pretty basic wool, but at about $7.00 for 210 yards, the price is right! I used four skeins and I have an unused one left over.
I love the sweater, but I don't totally love the way it fits. I may re-block it. I wanted it to be more fitted. For starters, I wanted the cable and rib to start right under the bust (It seems a little low to me). I debated using smaller needles when I started the cable and rib pattern (to make it more fitted). At the same time, though, I had seen pictures on ravelry of others who had done this, and those sweaters didn't really "close." I didn't want my sweater to look like it was being held together by the one button and then just gaping open at the bottom. It's a little open and that's okay. I did wear it on Sunday--all day, from church, to apple-picking, and out on a date night!
I will say that the pattern was very easy to follow, and the sweater came together very quickly. I have been browsing through ravelry in search of my next project for me--there are loads of projects for others (Christmas gifts) that are already done or on the needles!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Beautiful Fall Day

Yesterday was one of those perfect fall days. We went apple picking at one of our favorite orchards. The kids climbed into the trees to pick the apples. Caitlin needed a little help getting down.

There were a couple of varieties available for picking yesterday. We were able to "taste test" them before loading up.

Even Daddy got up into the trees in search of the perfect apple.

Might as well try for that Christmas card picture while we're at it.

And when we were all done picking, time for a snack!
Happy October to you all! Now it's time to make some applesauce!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Join the Fall Quilt Festival

Fellow Sew Connected member Amy is hosting a Quilt Festival this week! She has a number of great sponsors who are offering all sorts of cool discounts and giveaways, so head on over there to check it out.

My entry in the fall festival is one that I've posted about before, but I just love this quilt, so we're going to visit with it one more time before it goes live with someone else!
I entered this quilt in the local 4-H fair. Talk about stepping out of the comfort zone! These were the notes on the back of my entry tag. And yes, next year, I'll give the quilt a thorough going-over to check for loose threads before submitting it.
For the quilting, I made concentric squares around the outer and inner squares. I alternated red and pink thread.

I don't know why, but I just love a pieced strip like this across the back of a quilt. I also alternated red and pink fabrics for the binding.

And here is the top! I was inspired by one of Amanda Jean's quilts. I think she called it her Flea Market Fancy quilt--she used much more white sashing. I had started this back in January. I had just completed three bed-size quilts for my children, and I wanted to work on something smaller, and I needed to be able to use only stash fabrics. Done and done! This quilt measures about 45" by 45". A nice lap size.
Or a nice chunky baby size, I'd say. This pretty quilt is going off to live in New Hampshire with a pretty baby I have not yet met--but I've seen her pictures, and she's gorgeous!

I'll be heading out to the post office after I check out some other entries in the quilt festival. Happy fall to you all!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Tuesday

A little bit of fall...
And the last bits of summer!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bits of Randomness

Hey--it's chilly in my house!
Here's the boy showing you that his first tooth came out.

I'm on the second sleeve!
Have you seen this? We are a Blokus-addicted family, and when I saw this in the store, I knew it was coming home with me. It's a birthday gift...unless we decide to open it first! The party's not for another few weeks, so I'll have plenty of time to buy a replacement gift.

And these birthday gifts are done. SouleMama's favorite hat, Leslie's Toasty, and the Anthropologie-inspired scarflet. All free patterns!
Add a bottle of wine, and I think you're looking at a pretty good gift!
Enjoy your weekend!