Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's your birthday today!!

You were born 21 years ago today! Where did the time go? It seems as if it was just yesterday that we brought you home and we became a family. You were so tiny and sweet and we loved you the second you came into our lives!

We wish more than anything that we could be with you on this special day...we miss you terribly! Who will fix you cinnamon rolls for your birthday breakfast? :(

Happy Birthday Meg! We are so proud of you! We will always, always love you!!

Love, Mom & Dad
Sunday, April 27, 2008

No sewing to speak of...but a yummy recipe to share!

I'm in a bit of a sewing slump the last few days...I'm not sure what the reason is. I usually sew at least a little bit every day, but I've just not had the desire to this week. It happens to me occasionally and I know it will pass! My quilting buddy, Robin, said I'm saving my energy for the retreat we'll be going to in just a little over TWO WEEKS!!

I did take an applique class yesterday, but we spent so much time preparing our project, that I really don't have much to show just yet. There is so much prep work for applique! :P We meet again for the second part of the class in a couple weeks, so hopefully I can make some progress before the next session.

A few weeks ago, I came across a blogger that had a similar "no sewing" post and she decided she would show pictures of quilts she had made before her blogging days. I thought that was a neat idea, so I'm going to do the same! I made this quilt sometime around 2002-2003. It was a free online BOM from Claudia's Quilt Shoppe. Even though I'd been quilting off an on for a few years, it was one of the first "big" quilts I'd ever finished. Bonnie at Quiltville quilted it for me! For some reason, it's my favorite quilt ever! I'm not exactly sure why...I just have a special attachment to it. Do any of you feel that way about a particular quilt?

I made a new recipe for a neighborhood picnic today and it was a hit! There were lots of families there and LOTS of food/desserts to choose from...mine was the only dessert that was completely gone at the end of the evening. My sister's husband's family has made it for years, but I've never heard of it until a few weeks ago. It's super simple! Enjoy!

Chocolate Eclair Cake
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
4 cups milk
1 (16 ounce) package graham cracker squares
1 (16 ounce) package prepared chocolate frosting

In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the pudding mix, whipped topping, and milk.
Arrange a single layer of graham cracker squares in the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking pan. Evenly spread half of the pudding mixture over the crackers. Top with another layer of crackers and the remaining pudding mixture. Top with a final layer of graham crackers.
Microwave the frosting for approximately 30 seconds. Stir well and pour/spread it over the whole cake up to the edges of the pan. Cover, and chill at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Working on a UFO...

Last year, my LQS offered a $5 Block of the Month program...you know how it works, you start the year by paying $5 and you receive the first block. If you complete the block by the next month you get the next block for free. The quilt offered was Marti Michell's Ramblin' Rose Meets Jamestown. I actually made every monthly meeting and completed the whole quilt! Here's a picture of my top (not yet quilted)....it's not the best picture, but this thing is huge! It's so much prettier in person! I can't wait until it's quilted...it's going to be a gift for a special person in my life who shall remain nameless for now so as not to ruin the surprise. :)

Anyway, while I was making those blocks, I decided to pull from my stash and make a second block each month. I had made a blue and yellow quilt a few years ago and I have quite a few left over blue and yellow fabrics, so I decided that would be a perfect choice for another quilt. I started out well enough and made the first 8 blocks or so, but as the year went on, time got away from me and I stopped making that second block. So those blocks sat, but I didn't know what I would do with them anyway. Recently, I decided I wanted to make a graduation quilt for a family friend. With time getting short as the graduation approaches, I thought about any "UFO's" that I might be able to use and get a jump start on it. Well, what do you know! The blue and yellow quilt would be perfect! So I've spent the last couple of days making the last few blocks (there are a total of 12)...I love Marti Michell's templates. The blocks go together so nicely! Here is a slideshow of the blocks completed so far...enjoy!

Blue/Yellow WIP

Friday, April 18, 2008

The three week quilt....

I started this quilt three weeks ago today! I put the last of the stitches in the binding last night...I think that just might be a record for me, especially for a quilt this size! I don't know the exact measurements, but that's my 6' 2" son holding it. :) It's made from two of Moda's "Bound to the Prairie" jelly rolls and the pattern is from "Open a Can of Worms", by Debbie Caffrey. I quilted meandering loops all over it on my home machine.

I'm so pleased with this one and I'm keeping it for us!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The end of an era....

This picture was taken in August 1996...the first day of school! As a family, we made the decision to educate our children at home and with plenty of excitement and and a little fear, we jumped into it wholeheartedly! Megan was just starting the 4th grade and due to military transfers, she'd already been in three schools and other than Kindergarten, had never finished a full year of school in one place . In all honesty, we knew we would be moving to another state after one year and I told myself that if it didn't work out, they would be switching "schools" anyway and we could just put them back in traditional school after the move.

Well, it worked out and here we are 12 years later! Zach is now a month shy of being 18 years old and is finishing up the last of his 12th grade lessons this week. -sigh- Part of me is ecstatic at being done with all the lesson plans and paperwork, but at the same time, the reality is that it means my "babies" are growing up and moving on to the next phase of their lives. Looking back, it seems as though the time has just flown by! I'm really happy for them both...Megan is going to college and working at her favorite book store. This fall, Zach will attend college on the east coast with a full ROTC scholarship. I couldn't be a prouder mom. I'm excited for all of us as we begin the next phase of our lives! Meg and Zach....love you guys! Thanks for making my job easy!! :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday Sewing....

Last night, I got the last border sewn onto the Friendship Braid quilt. I'm really happy with this quilt! I love, love, love this fabric (Kansas Troubles-Bound to the Prairie) and I'm pleased with my choice of the green border. Those that know me would be surprised that I chose green--especially my mom! :) (Hi Mom!) Lately greens and yellows have become very appealing to me. Anyway, this morning, I layered and pinned it. Just as I was getting out the thread to make bobbins and start quilting, the power went off! After talking to a neighbor, I found out there was a big transformer in the next town that blew or something...most of the town and the entire base was out. ~sigh~

Never fear...a quilter is always prepared with some handwork to do, right? I decided to finish up Block 3 of the Quilter's Blessing BOM from Capricorn Quilts. I love these little guys...and I think my stitches are getting better as I get more practice. Now I just need to get April's done and I'll be all caught up.

After a few hours, and a little afternoon siesta, the power came back on. I decided it was time to bite the bullet and start quilting the Friendship Braid quilt. This is one of the largest quilts I've attempted to do on my home machine. It measures approximately 65" x 75". I'm doing meandering loops and it's going pretty good so far. I'm taking a little break from quilting and when I stopped, I laid down the quilt on the floor. It wasn't 2 minutes later when Quilt Inspector #1, Whiskers, came over to give it a test run. I think she approves, don't you?....now what am I going to do? LOL BTW, the backing is pieced with three different fabrics, so that's why you see three colors in the picture. She is completely out...too bad I'll have to move her so I can get back to quilting!

Hope you all are having a fun, quilty weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Noodles and Stars

That title sounds like a can of Campbell's soup, doesn't it? :)

I love when my mailman brings me goodies...and UPS guy in this case. In today's mail, my Homespun Stars arrived...these are from a swap on Backporch Friends, a Yahoo group that I've been part of for years. I love them all and now I need to pick a setting for them....but I kind of like them just just like they are in the picture. Any ideas?

With the same group, I joined in on my first ever "noodle" swap. I'm sure most of you quilters out there know exactly what a noodle is...a 2.5" strip of fabric. There are tons of projects out there that use this size strip of fabric!

And finally, the UPS guy delivered my new iron! This is actually a replacement iron...my hubby bought me the Oliso iron for Christmas and I really loved it, but I did have a few issues with it not working properly. Oliso has great customer service and happily offered to replace it. I sent the old one back a couple of weeks ago and didn't really know when to expect the new one, so it was a nice surprise when it arrived today.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sneak Peak....

Here's a sneak peak at a WIP of mine....I made a little progress on my Friendship Braid quilt this weekend. It's a little monotonous sewing these strips, especially as the braids get longer and difficult to handle. Add to it that the edges are one big bias nightmare. :) Also, I'm not really a "random" person, so I've got all the cut pieces in a bag and I'm trying to just reach in, pick one and sew it on without thinking too much about it. I've done okay, but I admit to throwing a few back in and picking a new one. I'm just trying to keep two alike fabrics from being right next to each other. I don't really have much left to sew, so the end is in sight! My plan is for this quilt to end up "lap" size. I really don't know what the measurements will be just yet because I'm not making it the same as the directions call for....I'm just sewing until the braids are as tall as I am, then I'll add borders as well.

I did some other sewing this weekend too, but I can't share much about it yet because it's a surprise for someone that reads this blog! :P I'll definitely take pictures and post something after the surprise is revealed. I accomplished quite a bit on the secret project and I'm happy about that!

Lastly, I just have to share another picture of my little kitties. Now that the weather is warmer, I recently refilled a birdfeeder in our little backyard (poor birdies starved over the winter I guess :P). This picture shows their new favorite past-time....bird watching! This window in on the second floor, so they are looking down, but they'll sit there for hours watching those birds. I don't think they'd know what to do if they ever were face to face with a bird....they are definitely pampered, indoor cats. They just like to pretend they are hunters. :)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A finish! Yeah!

Today I finished my Thimbleberries "Bear Paw" tablerunner. This thing is HUGE! I think 24"x 52". This is actually a shop sample for my LQS...I get to keep it eventually, but not until this year's Thimbleberries Club comes to an end. It'll live at the LQS until 2009! :)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fun Giveaway!

My friend Angela at The Country Cellar is having a fun giveaway...go check it out!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Checking in....

I have been sewing, but it seems I don't really have any pictures of progress to share! On Friday night, I went to my LQS "Quilt till you Wilt" group. My friend, Robin, says it should be called "Quilt till they make you go home." :) I agree! They end at 11pm when they close up the shop and some of us would like to keep working a few more hours!

Anyway...that night I started a new project. It's called Friendship Braid Quilt from the book "Open a Can of Worms" by Debbie Caffrey. I'm using two Moda jelly rolls that were in my stash...they are from the Bound to the Prairie 2 line. I didn't expect the cutting process to take so long, so I didn't get started sewing until about 8pm or so, but I made good progress. I was able to work a little more over the weekend and I'm about 3/4 finished with the braids. Pictures to follow soon!

Last night at Walmart I picked up 3 sizes of plastic drawer organizers...they were in sets of 2 or 3 for $.94 each. What a deal! The drawers in my sewing cabinet had gotten completely out of control. Look how neat and tidy they look now! Now if I can just keep 'em that way. :)

And of course I had to share a couple of pics of my sweet Whiskers. In one, you can see she's helping me by laying on my "chain" of braids from the Friendship Braid quilt. The second one, she's testing out a new pincushion I made....I don't think she knows it's not a pillow!