Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Geese, Band, and an Anniversary

My Geese in the Forest top is done! Now how should I quilt it? Any suggestions?

That was a lot of paper to tear off ! But I love paper-piecing, so it's a small price to pay.

We went to a friend's long arm studio to watch her new computer drive complete one of Julia's QOV's. So cool!

I created two band geeks! I'm so proud!
I loved being in marching band in high school, and I'm happy to report that Pete and Julia love it, too. (Don't let the goofy teenage grins fool you!)

Their first performance was at a football game on Friday night. Pete has a really cool snare drum part in the marching cadence that the horn section was dancing to in the stands. They had more fun than anyone at the game! Unfortunately, they got rained out of the Fireman's parade on Sunday. That gives them more time to practice marching before the Veteran's Day Parade.

These 2 cuties started "dating" 2 years ago today.
(13 year olds don't really date and 15 year olds don't have any money, so they mostly hang around at home. That works for me.)

They make each other happy and that makes me happy.

Julia made Josh this neat card. Then they cooked dinner together.
So sweet.

Have a happy day!

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Sewed!

Yay! I finally had some time to sew. I made a list of what needs to be done this fall and it's not pretty. Well, the finished quilts will be pretty!

First up: Three by Three swap blocks are almost a completed top.
I need to decide on the border(s) and if I'll quilt it myself or give it to a longarmer friend.

Silly long-arm story:
At our last Guild meeting, I was asked to read a blurb about an upcoming guest speaker aloud to the members. As I tired to focus, I had to move the paper farther and farther from my face. When I finished reading about this award winning long arm quilter, a friend said:
"Tina, it looks like you've become a long arm reader!"

While I was waiting for my new washing machine to be delivered yesterday,
I finished my Geese in the Forest blocks. I'm hoping to get them sewn together today so I can pull off the paper during Pete's game tomorrow.

During the Mentalist, I laid them out and pinned them to my foam core design wall.
When Bill got home from DC late last night, he said "It looks like a forest."
He's so smart.

Not sure if I mentioned this before-
I don't like paper-piecing large blocks. The original patterns for 6" blocks were just enormous for me, so I reduced them to 3". Without borders, the top will finish at 30", my favorite wall-hanging size.

I need to call Sears this morning to mention that as the washer delivery guy was bad mouthing the salesman, he was hooking up the water lines wrong. I set the washer for a COLD wash. I went in a few minutes after it finished, and the laundry room felt like a sauna! Bill reversed the lines this morning, so I'm ready to spend the day attacking Mount Washmore.

It's going to be a crazy fun weekend.
  • Drum lesson and Boy Scout popcorn sale after school (P)
  • Marching band at the football game tonight (J&P)
  • Baseball game tomorrow (P)
  • Airing of the quilts at Cranston Historical Society (1/2 mile from baseball field!)
  • Silver Award - last few hours of work (J)
  • Sunday Mass and religious ed class (J&P teach 1st grade)
  • Firefighter's Parade (J&P)
  • Praise! rehearsal (J,P &B)
  • No School Monday- hurray!
  • Drive to Providence with Silver paperwork
  • Celebrate J&J's 2nd anniversary.
We will enjoy every minute!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Update

I started two new little projects this weekend.
Jack, from Happy Zombie, and some Kanzashi flowers from Diane's book.

I traced Jack onto a piece of linen blend, colored him in with crayons, then embroidered the outlines. I need to search the stash for cute border fabric and make him into a pillow.

The Kanzashi book is gorgeous! My first attempt at a flower was a failure. I'm not even going to show you. The orange and purple ones are mine. Julia made the purple one with black button and attached it to a headband. They are really fun to make. Go buy the book now!

Julia and I stitched our way through Pete's baseball double-header yesterday. She's binding the QOV, in the home stretch of her project.

Pete is awesome! When I realized how insanely dirty our windows were, I sent him out to wash the outside of the picture window, the kitchen windows and the french doors. Then he mowed the lawn. I love that kid!

Have a beautiful week,

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Super Simple Signature Block Tutorial

This signature block is super easy, fast and just the right size.
At 4.5" finished, these blocks can be combined with 5" charm squares in a final layout.

I'm working on a super secret project for an online group I belong to,
and I thought a tutorial could be helpful to other groups.

Step 1:
You'll need a 4.5" square
and a 2" X 7.25" rectangle.

Cut the 4.5" square in half
on the diagonal.

Step 2:
Fold each piece in half and pinch at the center.

Step 3:
Align the centers.

Step 4:
Sew one triangle to the strip,
right sides together,
using a 1/4" seam.
(I used pins so I wouldn't stretch the bias edge.)

Step 5:
Press the triangle
away from the strip.

Step 6:
Add the other triangle
and press.

Step 7:
Square up 2 sides of the block.

Step 8:
Trim the block to 5" square.

You signature block is done.

Well, you still need to sign it!

Here's how I did mine.
I make quilt labels this way, too.

Step 1:
Using a word processing or drawing program,
(I use Powerpoint)
type and print out the text.

Step 2:
Tape the printout to a bright window
(or use a lightbox)
and tape your block on top
so the text shows through.

Step 3:
Trace the text or pictures
with a fabric marker.
Heat set the ink if necessary.

Step 4:
See that frayed edge on the left?
That's from pulling off the tape.
You might want to do the writing
before you trim the block to size.

You are welcome to use this tutorial for your next group project,
but please give credit or link directly to this post. Thank you!


Friday, September 18, 2009

Guiding Light

I admit it. I'm a soap opera junkie. I started watching CBS soaps when I was about 10. The only time I watched another network was in maybe 1980, when the Luke and Laura thing started on General Hospital.

It was a sad week in our house, as Julia and I cried our way through the final 5 episodes of the Guiding Light. Pete was shooshed more than a few times! Don't talk to us from 3:00-4:00 this week!

We were pretty happy with the way the ending was written. We just wish it didn't have to end. I grew up with Phillip, Rick and Beth. We graduated from high school the same year. I'll miss them.

Looking on the bright side, now I have an hour a day to do something else!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Broken Needles

Julia is the only one doing any sewing around here lately. She needs another 18 hours to meet the requirement for her Silver Award. She's making progress and sewing just about every day.

She has been free-motion machine quilting this week. The machine has been humming! She was quite pleased with herself yesterday when she ran into her finger for the first time. Just scraped the skin, so no blood on the quilt. That was the first needle she broke. Then another broken needle when she ran into a safety pin. I heard the clunk and then the question, "Mom, are needles expensive?" Have you ever seen such a thing?

Since she's quilting on my Bernina, I might set up her Janome today to do some piecing. I've got deadlines, too!

I'm so annoyed with these point and shoot digital cameras. I am sooo ready for a digital SLR. The first photo above was taken with Julia's Nikon coolpix which is not even a year old. The exposure stinks and the lens refuses to focus in macro mode. Ugh! The second photo was taken with Pete's new Nikon coolpix, and it looks like they improved the exposure quality and his macro actually works. Christmas is coming! (and birthday and anniversary)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Class Rings

Julia came home from school yesterday with the class ring order forms! Of course, she and her brother had to try on our class rings (and wore them for the rest of the night). I think the most fun part of designing your class ring is choosing the "pride side," the design on the side that represents what you're doing or who you are in high school. I chose music because I was (and still am) a total band geek. Bill has track and field on his, and he still suffers from back pain from those years of long jumping.

Will Julia choose music, too? Or maybe be more specific and choose brass? Or have a trumpet engraved next to her name? Oh, just rack up those optional costs!

Julia actually asked if she needed to have one. She realizes that a class ring is worn for a few years, then you get a college ring and wear that for a few years, then they both sit in a jewelry box. I do love mine and I'm glad I have it. Where is your class ring?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

End of Summer Weekend

Summer is unofficially over. So sad.
We tried to squeeze in some fun to enjoy the long Labor Day weekend.

Bill and I worked on a Craig family block for the Union College 215th Anniversary quilt. The maker hopes to bring together family histories to demonstrate the diversity of the College. Union itself is a huge part of Bill's family history, so the Nott Memorial is pictured in the background of the block. (I used bubble jet set to prepare the fabric and printed directly on it) His father was in the class of 1945, and returned after graduate school to teach there for 35 years. Bill and 2 of his siblings are also alumni. In 1979-80, Ed was a visiting professor at the University of Liberia. Bill attended 8th grade at the American school in Monrovia, where his best friend was the US ambassador's son. Bill and his mother fled the country after the first coup in 1980. Ed remained to finish the term. The Liberian people have held a special place in their hearts, so the quilt block is bordered with African fabrics. Bill and I are happy with the final product and happy that it is done and will be on its way to Schenectady today.

Meet Charlie, my mother's rabbit.
Let me explain. My mother lives in a low-income apartment building for senior citizens. There aren't many "extras," so the Tenant's Association, of which she is the President, tries to raise funds to provide services and entertainment. They have a craft club that meets weekly to make items for their annual bazaar.
One of the ladies received this magazine, probably in February, and encouraged my mother to crochet the bunny on the cover to be raffled at their bazaar. She accepted the challenge, assembled some yarn and started hooking. We knew we were in for trouble when we saw the size of one leg. She persisted, and a bunny started to take shape. Oh My! We can't stop singing the Veggie Tales Bunny Song.

She propped him up in my father's chair and named him Charlie. Wow. We're going to work on his facial features and getting his head sewn on right. (She wouldn't listen to me when I repeatedly told her how, instead she let her friends lead her astray. Kids- I mean Parents- just won't listen!)

We took one last trip to the beach.

I love the late afternoon light.

It seems like lobsters were everywhere this week. We realized Julia and Pete have never had one, so we took advantage of one of the many local restaurants lobster specials. Pete just had fun playing with his. Neither kid particularly liked the taste. The price was right for such an experiment. Now they know.

This was the view from our table.

And the sun went down on another summer.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Procrastinators Unite...Tomorrow!

Did you know that tomorrow is Fight Procrastination Day?! I can't wait! Hee hee. I crack myself up. I might need to buy the t-shirt.

Julia is getting down to the wire with her Girl Scout Silver Award project so she's busy sewing heartstrings blocks together. The apple didn't fall far from this tree! We do love a deadline.

I added white sashing to my three by three swap blocks, like Amandajean's layout. We really liked them all up next to eachother, but this will make it big enough to be useable.

I learned how to purl! There was a prayer shawl ministry meeting on Thursday night, and I decided I wanted to knit this new shawl, instead of crocheting. I knew how to do the knit stitch, but the pattern is K3, P3. So I googled "how to purl" and watched this video. I'm still getting used to holding the yarn in my right hand, but I'm enjoying the process.

Pete and I went to the Farmer's Market this morning and thoroughly enjoyed our lunch. I made a tomoato sandwich (tomato, mayo & salt) on fresh carrot, black olive and dill bread. YUM! Just look at that bread!

I'm happy to have some flowers on my tiny rose of sharon. It's at the back of the yard and the deer nibble on the new leaves, so it doesn't have much opportunity to grow.

Tomorrow, I'll be finishing up a Craig family block for the Union College 215th Anniversary quilt that has been on the list all summer. What's on your list for Fight Procrastination Day?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Day of School

Who told my babies they could grow up?!

My little first and second graders

have become ninth and tenth graders!
(sorry about the blur. what was i thinking?)

I hope Pete was able to find a map of the high school and he isn't totally lost. They missed the bus this morning. The bus came 15 minutes earlier than the published schedule. Ugh!

For a work-at-home mom, the first day of school is a lot like New Year's Day. Full of hope and resolutions. Judy talked about resolutions and goals today, reminding us that 2009 is not lost, we have 4 months left. I've got some new goals for myself.
  • Return to Flylady. When I follow Flylady's system, my house is cleaner, there are more home-cooked dinners, the chaos is under control and my family feels loved.
  • Sew more. I was so happy in the spring when I was sewing every day.
  • Make connections. I have really enjoyed the swaps that I've participated in this year. I'd like to do more and meet more quilters and crafters. Maybe I'll sponsor my own swap!
  • Make some money. This will be the toughest to accomplish. We have never owned a gaming system (Bill and I thought it best to avoid that temptation), but with Beatles Rock Band coming out next week, Pete and I are chomping at the bit. Bill has approved the purchase, as long as I can pay for it myself. Look for my patterns and kits in the Etsy shop soon!
Wish me luck!