Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Grad, a Garden, and a Gadget

Pete "graduated" from 8th Grade on Friday! Thank God! All the praying my mother did paid off. We hope that someday he'll understand the value of homework and will start doing it on a regular basis. He's looking forward to high school and we're all glad summer is finally here.

Pete was drooling all over himself when I showed him Jodi's post about this cake, so we made one for his special day. It was yummy!

Julia and Josh insisted on going to the beach as soon as they finished their final exams on Thursday, even thought the sun wasn't out yet. It's so nice living just 10 minutes from the beach.

The sun did finally emerge and we got to see this glorious blue sky for the first time in over a week.

My plants have been happily soaking up all the rain. There is a lemon thyme in the planter on the deck that is about 7 years old. The long, cold winter didn't damage it at all.

I couldn't kill this yellow rose if I tried (not that I have). It is a beast!

This huge potted Osteospermum was a lovely gift from a Girl Scout friend. It's not happy in it's pot and I'm note sure if I'll give it a bigger pot or put it in the ground.

I've been enjoying watching the hummingbirds flutter between the honeysuckle, the feeder and the annuals on the deck. Not photos. I'm not quick enough.

Here's the Gadget: a Bucilla Daisy Knitter. Julia and I wandered around the shops on Main Street this morning and ended up in my favorite consignment shop. I never walk out of there empty handed and rarely spend more than $10. I think we'll have fun this summer with this nifty tool.

I did a little searching and it looks like mine was made after 1935 because it has the patent number embossed on it. I found a pattern book dated 1931 on Etsy and an ad from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 1932. I paid slightly more than 50 cents for it and it was worth every penny!

Have a sunny day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Getting Back on Track

Forgive me, Blogland. It has been 12 days since my last post.
I was just out of it for a while. I'm feeling better now and happy to be sewing again.

The Three by Three Swap is sooo much fun! I've never done a swap before and I'm loving it. Here is the first batch of swapped blocks that I received last week. I love the variety of fabrics.

And these are my June blocks that I shipped out today. The focus fabric is Field Study Glimmer by Kristine Baerlin and the pretty green on the right is Bloom by Sandy Gervais. I wish I had lots more of that perfect green.

How cute is this bear? It was made from t-shirt scraps (of which I have a huge bag full).
Katie, what do you think? I could make these bears for the girls from their hospital caps.

I finished Janet's picnic quilt today, just in the nick of time for her family to use on vacation. (They are leaving in the morning! I told you I need a deadline!) It was her first quilt top and I offered to quilt it for her in exchange for a felted wool bag that she knitted for me. A fair trade, I'd say, except my bag was done months ago!

We had seen the idea for rock pockets somewhere (so it doesn't blow away, you know?), so I added triangles on the back in each corner. Then I thought it would be fun if it had handles, so I added those. Fun!

The vintage yardage used for the back, binding and handles was inherited from a relative. The fabrics for the front were chosen to coordinate with it. The green is prettier in person, not as acidic as it looks in the photo. A successful first quilt, don't you agree? Hopefully the first of many!

In other crafty news, Julia did some duct tape weaving and made a purse for a friend's birthday. Oops. We forgot to take a picture of it finished. It was super cute!

Happy Summer!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Janet!

It's Janet's birthday! I hope she's having a great day. It means so much to me to have a friend like her, which I can tell all of blogland, but can't tell her in person or we'd both be standing in puddles of tear. We have a lot in common- Girl Scout leaders, happily married mothers of 2, love to craft, attend the same church, etc. I gave her a birthday postcard last night at the last middle school concert of the year.

My incredibly talented son played in all three groups: Jazz Band (his favorite), Symphony Orchestra (with only one rehearsal!) and Stage Band.

And Janet's lovely and talented daughter, Lea on bass. Pete described her this way: "She's- like- awesome."

I finished 3 of the 4 Linus quilts for our guild meeting on Wednesday. The baseball one on the left is a cheaper by the dozen quilt. The small quilt in the middle used left-over twisted happy blocks. And the big one on the right was started at the guild last year with donated 6" squares.

I tried machine stitching the binding thanks to the encouragement and tips from Judy. I'm really pleased with how they came out and I was able to bind all three in one day! Thanks, Judy!

My heart was broken by a dear this week. This is what my lily plants look like now. Big, fat, juicy buds, completely gone.

I'm ready to dig out all my lilies! I don't think I can take the disappointment another year. When I spray diligently, I am greatly rewarded. I'm not usually that diligent. The last time I saw flowers on this plant was 2 years ago. Oh, well. I guess it wasn't meant to be.

I'm off to work on crafts for a Girl Scout fundraiser. Maybe a certain Girl Scout will finish them when she gets home from school. Will this school year ever end?!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Fun-Filled Weekend

A high school band concert, a baptism and a birthday. And a blooming peony! They are my favorite flowers, but I'm not very good at growing them. I suffer from intense Peony Envy this time of year!

We traveled to upstate NY for Anna's baptism. My cousin is a priest, so he performed the baptism at his church. Tom does a Lion King thing at the end of every baptism to present the baby. She's looking down at her daddy for help!

The party afterwards was awesome, with great food, family and friends, and bocce. Lily and her Pop (my silly brother) played in her little tent. She is almost 2 and talking up a storm and she's so smart!

We also celebrated Bill's birthday. He was happy to spend some time with his parents and shoot hoops with Pete on their backyard court.

My niece asked me if I could make something out of the little hats the babies are given at the hospital when they are born. She has 2 for each girl. She also gave me a couple of onesies in case I need some extra "fabric." We're thinking about some little teddy bears, maybe with a pocket for a lost tooth. Got any other ideas?

Look what came home with us? My mother's Necchi had been living with my niece, unused for a couple of years. They ran out of room for it in their house, now I need to make room for it in mine! I'll show you the neat cabinet when I move it in from the garage.

I won a giveaway at Alderwood Quilts. Thanks, Sue! I'll add that to my list of things to make. I love the name Bella Nonna. It means Pretty Grandma!

On the list this week: a pile of charity quilts to finish by Wednesday (if I can).

I'd better get to work! Have a great week,

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Upcycle It!

I'm loving the word Upcycle. Remember yesterday, when I couldn't decide what to do? I compromised and crafted outside! I've been wanting to try fusing plastic, and a challenge has been issued by a local quilter to create a bag to be auctioned this summer. (The only rules: a bag has handles and hold stuff.)
As I was reading blogs, surfing the net and watching the 10th hour of the Today show... Kathy Lee Gifford said something about reality shows that struck me. Why are we watching these families go on a picnic instead of taking our own family on a picnic? Which lead me to: Why am I reading about things other people have made instead of actually making something. So, I Googled fused plastic (tutorial, video), gathered up my supplies, and headed out onto the deck to get to work. (My paperweight is a hunk of Colorado marble that I collected when I was a Geology student.)

My first attempt was a failure (the tan piece shrunk up terribly). The iron was much too hot. A few more tries and I ended up with enough useable fused pieces to make this tote bag.
The Wal-Mart Bag Bag.
Cool, huh?

Just how far off the deep end have I gone into blog land when we make this for an after-school snack?

Pete's team played Josh's team last night, which is very convenient, but confusing. Especially difficult when Josh is pitching to Pete. How do we cheer for both of them at the same time? Go, Pete, get a hit! Nice pitch, Josh!

On the list for today, a pile of Linus project quilts that need to be quilted and finished by next Wednesday. I do love a deadline!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Inside or Out?

Where will I spend my day? I haven't done any sewing this week and I'm itching to stitch!

I feel good about finishing my second prayer shawl. I'll deliver it tomorrow night at our church Prayer Shawl Ministry meeting. For this one, I used a size K hook with 4 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun yarn. 60 stitches per row, one row of single crochet, 3 rows of double crochet, repeat. The problem with making fringe with the homespun is that all the ends need to be knotted, which really didn't take as long as I expected.

It's a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Perfect for gardening. We did get a lot done last weekend with everyone pitching in, but there are always more weeds to pull and perennials to tame.

Enjoy your day, whether you spend it inside or out!