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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Be warned....LOTS of pictures!

Since we last "spoke", LOTS has been going on around here.....Stella Bella went to her first Easter Egg hunt.  As you can see by the look on her face, she did NOT like the Easter Bunny!!! Even though we showed her later that it was her uncle, she wanted no part of him while in costume.

Once we finally got her to understand the whole hunting eggs thing, she got into it--found out she LOVES chocolate.  She got mad, below, when we took the chocolate out of the eggs.

This is me holding her with the Easter Bunny standing on the other side of the bridge.  She still got upset...  It was a fun day, but she completely wore out Nana and Grandpa.  She kept wanting to go down to the creek and loved that we had to run to catch her.

I put pavers down in the greenhouse........
 I got the garden in....
 This pic is of my tomatillos.  I can't wait to make some chile verde!

And...the green beans.....

These are the lilies from Daughter-In-Laws house.  She was going to throw them away, so I plunked them in the ground.
 And, the brussel sprouts.  I go out and pull the cabbage worms off by hand.  We aren't using any chemicals.  Most of our garden was started from non-GMO seeds.
 These are the "husk cherries".  They are cherry-sized tomatillos.  Once they fill in, the outer husk will turn brown and dry.  Then, they fall to the ground.  That's how you know they are ready.  (I will have to straw them sooner than later.)  They have a flavor similar to pineapple.  This is my first year for growing them.
 Rudbekkia is going crazy!
 We lost a lot of our perennials and bushes with that strange winter.  Behind this planter was a huge butterfly bush.  Now it is a bush of weeds....need to pull them after the next rain.  See the brown-eyed susans ready to explode??
I've also been longarming my brains out.  Everyone got their graduation quilts on time.  :)  I've worked on the blocks I showed you last time, but I can't find the pic on the camera.  I will have to take a new one for you.

By the time I get back from Boston, I will need to set up shop and make my pickles!  How exciting is that??  Prodigal Son wants to see how it's done.  Princess Daughter and I will put up tomatoes and make chile verde together.  She remembers us doing it with her Grandma when she was in Middle School and wants to do it again this year.  Her Grandma passed away a few weeks ago.  Life has been full of ups and downs since we last spoke.  I sure have missed you all.  Hope you are having a fun, productive summer!


Saturday, April 05, 2014

It's the "Big" Day....

It is baby shower day!  Nephew's wife is having her baby shower today, so I can show you the giftie now.  There was an "incident" bringing it in from the car, so I will have to re-work the cake this morning before I leave, but it is still cute nonetheless.

I also got some more projects stitched out on the embroidery machine.
 I love this filigree cross.  When I stitch these out the first time, I follow the color suggestions.  I am going to stitch this one out in other colors....
 Some of these projects took HOURS to stitch out.
 The detail on this one was phenomenal!  If only you could see it in real life....
 I wasn't thrilled with Jesus' hair in this one.  Guess I will have to stitch him out again.  I wouldn't have done the lilies in grey either.
Such it is....  Well, I'm off to get a shower before the shower.  Have a blessed day!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

The excitement builds.....

Isn't it fun when you have something really fun to look forward to?  The more time you spend in preparation, the more exciting it becomes.  When you have more than one thing to look forward to....well, the excitement just builds and builds....

I have a baby shower tomorrow for nephew's wife.  I will post a pic of the gift tomorrow, just in case she is a blog reader.  It was a fun collaberative effort for Princess Daughter and I.  I must confess, though, I have showers.  Wedding showers--baby showers--they are full of the corny games and to me are just plain old awkward!  I would prefer to "shower" the person with gifts, watch them open them, visit with people you haven't seen for a while....and then go on my merry way.  I don't need to cut a piece of string to the length I think it will take to fit around someone's belly to have a good time.  (Do you ever intentionally cut them shorter than needed so you don't offend...ahem...I DO!!!)

So, I will have to build your excitement on our giftie until tomorrow.  But for today, I can show you a few more of the blocks I have squeaked out in between everything else I have been doing.....

They are pretty fun to make.  If only I could take a day and do nothing but piece....I could get this one together pretty quick!  It actually goes together pretty fast---after you get all the cutting done! 

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Don't Judge Me!

I would be remiss if I didn't show you what the Hubs has been working on.  He hasn't been able to play in his blacksmith shop, because his knee still isn't fully recovered from the surgery.  So, he has been a "housecat" (in my Grandmother's old words), and has been playing in the woodshop.

He made this gavel....

Perhaps he was foreseeing the ticket he got for not renewing the tags on his car?  Hmmm  Is he thinking he can give this to the judge in lieu of his ticket?

I snuck into the woodshop and stole a pic of another one in progress.  He is obsessed with molding different woods together and running them through the lathe.  Shhhh....don't tell him, but I have never been a big fan of projects made with different woods.  I'm just a plain Jane kinda gal.

He did make a little something for me.....

Concerned with my aging eyes, he wanted to make sure I could still quilt.  This will be the easiest needle EVER to thread!

Now, if I could just get him to make some of the things on the "list" he has from me and the kids!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Don't ya just hate it when.....

We have a few family members who will forward every joke, picture or dancing cat they receive in their e-mail box.  Do these family members ever just send an e-mail to let us know how they are doing or find out how we are doing?  Nope!  Now that we are in the world of smartphones and beeping notifications, you can always tell when they get online.  There goes your phone....*beep*  *beep*  *beep*  If you are busier than a one-armed paperhanger, it can get frustrating.  Sometimes, though, it is just chuckle material.  Any more, I usually just delete and don't even open them up.  Somehow....I accidentally opened one last night (thank heavens it wasn't a virus....these same family members are also quick to forward on their latest virus....)  So, here it is....

It is a 1949 Cadillac covered completely in pennies.  While I admit, it is pretty cool looking, it caused me to think.....

What if you all banded together and bought me a semi-trailer for my birthday?  You could pull your resources, cover it in $50 bills....and could finish it in time--if you hurry!  I will act surprised, I promise!  Unlike the silicone used on this car, I would prefer you use Elmer's glue so the first rain will make the bills fall off and I can head to the airport!  :)

I started cutting out another project.  I'm trying to use up a lot of those scraps.  The great thing about scrappy is that they make room in the stash for some new fabrics.  The bad thing about scrappy is that they take forever to cut out!!!!  I am not even halfway there, but, since I have the patience of a gnat--I decided to put just one together.....

Hopefully, I will be able to stop at just one.  I may just have to reward myself every once in a while with a little block assembly.  *ahem*  I should really be working on that baby quilt for Esa.  (or so the Hubs keeps saying....)

I made some new soaps this week.  I've been told that I should feature one a week, so you can keep up with me.  I've also been making MORE candles!  Poor Hubs, who is dieting, comes home from work to the smell of chocolate chip cookies and fudge....only they are still just candles!  I am a very bad girl............

Have a blessed day!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Where to begin....

I hate it when life gets so busy I can't blog!  Yes, I am fine.  I have just been one busy busy beaver!  I've been longarming my fingers to the bones....and....

  • The girls came out.  I schooled them all on making candles.  My back was absolutely dieing that day, but they were quick studies and took over the process on their own.  I always enjoy spending time with them, and they got candles for souveniers!
  • Prodigal Son's GF came out and we made another of the grommet wallets.  Had to get one made for her Momma to match her purse.  After training her on the ins and outs of the old Bernina, I sent it home with her so she can sew on her own.  It feels great to pass family traditions on.  She learned how to use a rotary cutter, too.  We had a great time!
  • I worked on the embroidery quilt for the new baby.  Our new granddaughter, Esa, was born last week.  She is absolutely beautiful and has a head full of dark hair like her Poppa.
Esa Lee tipped the scales at 8 lb 11 ounces!!!

Esa's room is done in greys and elephants.  Didn't want to put the quilt together until we knew the accent color (pink or blue), so now I can crank out some pink elephants and get this one together!  I started making a mock wholecloth to tide her over until I get this one done.  :)

Then....there is nephew having a baby soon.  I made this onesie.  Nephew is a big hunter, so we had to do a little something for her that he would like!

There is no chance this little girl will be a princess, so I had to have a little *poke* for the nephew!  This adoreable camo project is actually a DRESS!  How cute is that!

I did squeeze in a little project for myself.  This is a 20" x 40" table runner I got pieced.  It is a Pieces from my Heart pattern called, "Pride and Glory".  I can't wait to get this one quilted.

So, in a nutshell, you can see I haven't been slacking!

Until next blessed!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tragedy in the Studio---a photo documentary

Ugh!  I was all proud of myself.  I was actually going to work on one of MY quilts.  Then, "it" happened....

 Yup, I ripped my quilt!!!  Luckily, I had more fabric.  I know myself well enough to know that if I didn't tackle this right away, this quilt would end up in a pile of unfinished...unwanted.....and potentially in the trash....quilts.  I was so mad at myself for being careless.  I literally MADE myself clean up my "mess".
 So, out came my friend, Mr. Seam Ripper. and away we went.
 Then, came the tricky part.  Putting this square back into an already pieced quilt, without taking off borders or frog-stitching other rows!
But, I did it!  I am happy again. 

Lesson learned......

I will give you one little *hint* that seemed to work for me.  When I got to the corners, I treated them like they were already in the row.  By that, I mean that I folded the seams to snuggle, as if they were already stitched...pivoted....and it went together like a d R e A m !!!!!!!!!!!

Just don't get yourself in this predicament, so that you don't need my tip!  LOL  AND, we shall never speak of this again.  It makes my tummy ache.......

Have a blessed day!

Monday, February 17, 2014

They are multiplying like rabbits!

Do you remember back in the day when you took a pregnancy test and if you were pregnant, the response was "the rabbit died"?  Where did that come from, anyway??  Multiplying like rabbits....well, we ALL know where that comes from!  If you have ever lived in the country or raised rabbits, you definitely know....but, I digress.

While I was working on customer quilts this weekend, I finished up this little guy.  In a word--precious!  I love this wallhanging.  I started binding, but didn't get finished.  It will surely get finished this week.

The backing is a scrap I rounded is a springy green from an old line called "Simplicity".  I definitely have to find some cute wee wee buttons to use as eyes on the bunnies.

So, as we batton down the hatches (pardon the pun) and get ready for this next snowstorm tonight/tomorrow, I can dream of the spring bulbs bursting through the ground.  I will think about those fun Easters with the kids hunting eggs and gorging on chocolate.  I still make them Easter baskets, which they happily devour.  I try to put fun little "remember when" gifties in their baskets so they don't forget.  (Last year, I found Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-shirts at Kohl's.....they boys loved TMT when they were young.)

Ah....sweet memories.....and ready to make some more. 

What are some of your fond Easter memories?

Be blessed.....

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Yeah, so I pretty much solved world hunger....

I did it as a kid--I just completely forgot!  I was in elementary school.  My Mom fixed liver and onions.  She liked it and was determined to force-feed it to my brother and I.  We, on the other hand, wanted no part of it.  It was like some cruel, sick joke.  The smell would eminate from the kitchen, and there was no where for the two of us to hide.  Then, "it" happened.....she called for us to come to dinner.  Feigning some life-threatening illness didn't even help.  We were forced to mount those chairs at the kitchen table and the gag-reflex was kicking in before we even got the prayers over.  Ugh!  The more we protested--the tougher she got.  (I kid her now that she got the "rooster" know the one...hands on hips--nose stuck out---crowing coming out of the mouth...that's when you know the protesting is in vain!)  It always ended the same....

Mom:  There are children starving all over the world who would love to have a healthy meal like this.

Me:  Then, let's pack it up and send it to them.

At this point in the conversation, my little brother would usually duck, as our seats were side-by-side.

Now, YOU may think I was a smart aleck.  I prefer to refer to it as "forward-thinking".  When I think back to how many of those meals I had to eat, and sometimes buried in the back yard, I can only imagine how much "nutrition" could have benefitted those starving children!  I'm just sayin.....

So, all I have to show you today is another embroidery design.  Tomorrow, on the other hand, well--let's just say I have a little surprise for you!!!!

So many things come to mind with this younger brother, who would still rather ride a motorcycle than racing motorcycles as a kid....Pops teaching me to ride a boys' enthusiasm for motorcycles...and a friend/co-worker who lost his life on a motorcycle.  Isn't it funny how one little picture can pull so many memories?  I don't think my brain works the way most others do.  She just scatters everywhere all the time.  Focus....I just need to focus....

I do need to clarify one thing from my previous embroidery posts.  I don't always use batting for stabilizer.  I did on those particular ones because of the project I am demonstrating.  I will say that someone once told me you need a piece of stabilizer for every 10,000 stitches.  For a few of those projects, there would have been enough stabilizer to equal all that batting!  LOL

Well, I'm off to the shower.  I wonder what crisis I will get solved today......

Be blessed!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Calling California.....anyone? anyone?

First of all, why do I always have to be the genius that figures these things out???

Midwest:  has too much snow.  Getting more snow.  Snow piled higher than cars.  New York cannot figure out where to haul the snow to after they get it loaded into trucks.

California:  Huge drought.  It would have to rain for 47 days straight to resolve.  State isn't giving almond, melon and other fruit farmers any water for crops this year.  (That means our prices are going through the roof, my friends, because California is responsible for 50% of the fruit offered in the entire United States!)

Solution:  Take those trucks full of snow and cart it off to California!  They get their water, and we get some relief.  I aMaZe myself sometimes!  ROFL, we would have to do something about the fuel price for those trucks, but based on what I am paying right now for gas--the government surely has a surplus of gasoline tax dollars looking for somewhere to be spent.

New Topic-->more embroidery.....

I love my little angels.....

Princess Daughter and new Daughter-In-Law were going to take Mom and the Aunt out for a girls day today (to get Mom's mind off Valentine's Day), but she called this morning and said she didn't want to go anywhere because of the snow.  So, now I am at home....will hit the longarming and crack the whip with "honey do's" for the Hubs.

I'm off to get my shower and probably solve world hunger while I am there.  It is exhausting being me.........LOL

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....

If you live in the Midwest, you are probably ready to come to my house with torches--just for saying that!  We are 20+ inches over "normal" snowfall, expecting more today, and "Baby It's Cold Outside".  Yup, I'm full of musical metaphors this morning!  Snow piles are so big in town that you can't see to make turns.  Most of the cities out here are rationing snow salt....and the salt companies can't get enough delivered to fill orders.  Everywhere you go, people are fussing that they are ready for winter to be over.  It seems we are all getting a little stir crazy.  I propose we look at it in another way....for every cold snap, there are millions of bugs that won't survive through Spring and we will have that many less mosquitos this Summer!  See, don't you feel better now?

To tell you the truth, I have had the 'winter blues' a bit this past few weeks.  Every where I go, something reminds me of Pops.  It makes it a little harder with all of the snow, I can't check on my Mom as much....  Prodigal Son has been checking in on her some, and someone did shovel out her super long driveway this week.  She has no idea who....  I was worried she was hanging around the house feeling depressed with Pops gone, but she shocked me.  I stopped in yesterday, and she is cleaning out her basement--not just a little cleaning.  She has been boxing stuff up to throw away, painting walls, painting the floors....  So, while the rest of us are feeling sorry for ourselves-she is making silk from a pig's ear!  I told her I was proud of her....

Here is what I have been doing.....

(Ugh!  Look at the piece of thread on the eagle....)

So, I will be doing a demonstration of ways to use all of those great embroidery designs you see, but don't quite have a project in mind....All of these were done in my big hoop (a little smaller than 8 x 10) , so they aren't small pieces.  I also stitched them with batting for a stabilizer.  I have a Janome MB-4 embroidery machine, and for the most part I am happy with it.  I can even run metallic threads through it.  One recommendation I will make it to print off the .pdf files that come with the designs in color.  I keep them in a notebook and it helps with thread selection.  The one cross has 39 colors, so I write in pencil on the .pdf page what color I used where.

Another tip I have is to have more than one stick/flash drive.  At the local office supply store, I purchased a stick/flash drive case (mostly to use for a pattern, so I can make a cute one).  All of my Christmas designs are on one stick, baby designs on one stick....and so on.  Then, I don't have to scroll through as many designs to find what I want to stitch out.  When I download them, I actually name them what they are vs. the number they use for a name from the embroidery company.

One last tip....I use the disappearing purple marker that I use to draw out quilting designs.  Once I get the fabric hooped, I trace the inside edges of the hoop  on the top.  I have, on occasion, gotten a jam in the machine that pulls on the fabric when you go to fix it.  It can move the fabric within the hoop, just enough to distort the design a little.  I had a pretty bad jam on the top cross.  (that's why I didn't enlarge the pic)  Once you have cleaned up the thread mess from the design, it is easy to adjust it back to where it was in the hoop, so you don't have an issue.

I'm off to visit with some customers dropping off quilts this morning....then it is back to the machines!

Stay warm....stay safe.....stay happy!

Oh....I last pic....

This was from the Hubs' birthday.  First time ever--all six kids in one place.  Princess Daughter's significant other was in a class, but the rest of the crew was here.  (See that baby perking???)

My cup runneth over..........

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Egg on my face!

I've been working feverishly to have more to show you.  Hopefully, by the end of today I will have something super sweet to show you.  Until then....Hubs has something to show you.

He was bringing wood in for the woodstove and found a piece of walnut.  Since it has been too cold and blucky to work in the blacksmith shop, he has been working in his woodshop...remember the husband beater...I mean graham cracker crusher?  This time, he made me a wooden egg on a stand.  He must have Easter Fever, too!  I love it!  Now, I want him to make me more and in more sizes.  How cool is that?

More snow is predicted today, so after the ladies pick up their quilts I longarmed for is back to the longarms for me.  More longarming and I have a few things to stitch out on the embroidery machine.  Oldest daughter picked out her elephants for the baby quilt. 

I will check back with you later....have a blessed day!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Hare-y Situation/Question....

I finished quilting Hare Affair this weekend.  I tried to adjust the contrast setting on the picture, so you could see the quilting.

Here is his front:

This little number took forever to quilt.  There is hard-to-see cross-hatching in the black background.  the squares are 7/8".  I also stitched in the ditch around all of the applique.  Mr. Hare is going to probably get some least an eye!

Below is the back.  I'm not thrilled with the border treatment, but it looked good in my head....

I still learn from all of the quilts I am quilting.  This quilt taught me two things:  Number One---Mark these little ones (especially if they have a black background) before you load and start quilting.  I thought it would be easy-peasy to wait, since it wasn't a huge quilt.  Lesson learned.  Number Two--Even if the quilting idea looks OK in your head....go with your gut when you first start quilting.  Then, you won't feel bad for having to frog-stitch and do something that may even look better.  I get so bull-headed that I want something to work....I don't like how it is coming out....but I just keep going....kinda like the Energizer bunny.  Sorry, that pun just fell out!!!!!

So, here is the question....I had laid out the extra back fabric (in the background on the front of the quilt) for the binding.  Now, I'm thinking I need to use the yellow...?????  What do you think??

I'm off to contemplate life over a cup of tea.  Stay warm today!!!!