Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Procrastination

Well, I've done it again.  I start out in January with a list of all these fabulous ideas I want to sew or knit for Christmas and get excited just thinking that I have almost 12 months to get them done! we all can see, Christmas is only about 39 DAYS away and I did it again.  I procrastinated most of the year and now I have those fabulous ideas swirling around in my head and no where to go!  Now I have gotten some things done but not anywhere close to the ideas I had.  Why do I do that every year? 
So does anyone else feel like they "missed the boat" again this year when it comes to getting your holidays gifts made?  I do have a good chunk of my shopping done and I usually am pretty good about getting a jump on that but it's the handmade gifts that I love to give each year that seem to get delayed.  I can look at the many things I have made or knitted throughout the year but most of those have already been given away or used.

I may have to try a different strategy next year!  I think I said that this year too but hey, I'm not a quitter......just a great procrastinator!!!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I won....I won....I won!!!!

I can no longer say "I never win anything" because I have won TWICE this week, yes twice!!!  First, I was at my Scrap Club at Prairie Stitches on Monday night and we had to bring in a completed project that we made with a 9-patch exchange we had.  Well, out of about 18 women, only 3 of us completely finished our challenge.  The owners, who were to judge our projects and pick a winner came back in the room and said that all three of us were winners.  So I received a gift card worth 25 fat quarters to be used within a year.  That is huge!  I was thrilled because I was sooooo close to not finishing my piece.  I only exchanged 8 blocks so I couldn't really make a quilt so I made a table runner out of mine.  It's complete and on my table.  Isn't is cute?

It was so worth me rushing to finish it before class!!!

My second BIG win was a giveaway I entered on Susan B. Anderson's blog.  She is the author of the Itty Bitty books (Itty Bitty Hats, Itty Bitty Nursery, Itty Bitty Toys)  I buy every book she publishes.  Not only are her patterns fabulous, but her books are the cutest knitting book you can buy!  Her hat book is what brought me back to knitting when my little granddaughter Addison was born!  I have made quite a few of her hats for my grandbabies as well as for gifts.  Aaaannyway....she had a contest to win an entire set of Alana Dako's patterns from the Never Not Knitting blog and podcast fame.  I even mentioned in my comment that I enter every contest and never win.  Wellllll.... I got an email today from Susan and I WON!!!!!!!!!  I won a set of all 13 of Alana's patterns, which are beautiful!!!  I can't wait to receive them.  Now to decide what I will knit first when I receive them.

On another note, I posted last time about finishing Addie's Little Tea Leaves Cardi.  Well, I finally got a picture of her in it.  Isn't she a goofball?   I was so happy with how it fit.  I'm always nervous knitting garments due to size issues but I have to say I nailed this one.  It fits her so well and looks so cute on her.  I think I might have to start a red one for Christmas!  I guess I better get knitting!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sweater finished - check!

Remember this cute little sweater for Addison...minus the sleeves?  I started on it a long time ago.  Well, IT'S FINISHED and ready for her to wear this fall.  I am so proud of myself for finishing it up.  I was actually inspired to finish because I saw my friend Lynne's pictures posted on Facebook and her granddaughter Lily was wearing her sweater.  I knew I only had the sleeves to go so decided to finish it up!

Here is a close-up of the pattern on top.  It almost looks gathered and was very fun to do.  The pattern is called Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi by Melissa LaBarre.  You can find the pattern on Ravelry.  She also makes an adult size version of the same sweater.

And here is the final sweater....done and ready to wear.  I chose different buttons for it because I thought the dark brown ones were too big so I added a flower button in a shade that picks up the variation in the sweater.  I used Dream in Color yarn in the Butter Peeps colorway.

Boy it feels good to finish something!   Now I can't wait to take pictures of Addie wearing it!!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Beautiful Fall Day at the Zoo!

Today was a beautiful fall day so Jen and I decided to take the kiddies to Brookfield Zoo. We were so lucky to have fantastic weather and got to be up there for Boo at the Zoo. Alot of kids (including big ones) were dressed in their Halloween costumes; as well as all the employees.

We rode the tram around the park to start our day. Although we didn't take a path that allowed us the chance to see too many animals, it was still fun to ride it around and enjoy the beautiful day!

And of course no trip to the zoo would be complete without a ride - or two - on the Merry Go Round. Addie was trying to decide which animal to ride with Mommy and chose the Lady Bug.

Here she is all ready to go round and round!

Nana always wants to buy the kids a stuffed animal when we go to the zoo. They are getting quite the collection. Today Addie and Blake both wanted a Polar Bear. But Addie's favorite treat this time was a long sucker! We have never let her have one on previous trips but since this was probably the last visit this year, we decided to treat her.

Do you think she is enjoying it?

On our way out she wanted to carry her Polar Bear AND her sucker AND walk like a big girl! Whew, lots to do at once. But I have to admit that this was by far the best trip to the zoo we have had. Both kids were absolutely perfect.

And to end the day I had to capture a picture of the loves of my life! Good Bye Zoo....see you in 2011!!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hoppy bootday to you...hoppy bootday to you.....

Today is my daughter-in-law Diana's birthday. She made me spell it out because she didn't like being called a DIL. I wonder why that bothers her? :-)

Yesterday we spent the day together and did several of our favorite things...went to the fabric store, the whole foods store and Barnes and Noble. Could it get any better than that? Of course, after we got home she accused me of being an enabler. Go figure!
Diana has become my partner in sewing crime. Just a short two years ago she asked if I could teach her to sew and quilt. Her first investment was an inexpensive Brother sewing machine. Within a VERY short time, she needed a better machine and moved up to a Kenmore. Well.....if it means anything, her skill has advanced so much that she is now sewing on this bad boy!! The Janome Memory Craft 6600! Fabulous machine!!!

and...boy does it get the use!!!

I can't even BEGIN to list the things that Diana has made. Anyone who has sewn as long as I have knows what experienced sewing looks like. That is exactly what Diana's looks like. You would never, in a million years, believe that she just started sewing. Her work is THAT good!
I am still working on her to admit that she is good but we haven't gotten there yet. I need to really show her UGLY to get her to understand!

And this birthday post would not be complete without mentioning my son Adam! I tell Diana all the time how lucky Adam was to have found her! They complete each other and Adam could not have found a more perfect partner in life. We could not have found a more perfect addition to our family!

So today "My Wish" for you is many, many more wonderful times together sewing, creating, laughing, crying, celebrating and enjoying being family! You have been a blessing to me and I would be lost without you in my life.

Love you Di!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I got my game back!

My DIL Diana had a blog post the other day about our "obsessions" and I couldn't help but comment on my #1! Of course, anyone who golfs knows that it can be a frustrating sport. You can have the shot of your life one moment and then be in the dumper for the next.

My game has been kind of in the dumper for about a month. I had the best round of my life and then - WHAM - couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. I really wished that I could have bought a driver like this one. Chances of missing the ball would be slim. But then as badly as I've been playing, this might not have helped at all!

Well finally I GOT MY GAME BACK!!! My swing had left me so I decided to go hit a bucket of balls at the driving range. I had to figure out what I was doing wrong. Since golf is such a mental game, I think that half of my problem was the "head" part. I knew what I was doing wrong but couldn't correct it. I would stand over the ball and say to myself...head down, eyes on the ball, bend your knees, put your hips in it, follow through. I would then proceed to whiff it!!! Geeze, it made me nuts. Then suddenly the light bulf went off and I realized that the missing component was my backswing. I just wasn't taking the club all the way back and was doing kind of a half-swing. How could something so simple be the problem? Well, if the club is not in the slot, it's not going to go straight.

To all of you non-golfers, sorry for the boring post but I just wanted to celebrate my "new game" and to let you know that I have played the past two days and feel good about my game again. I played today with my neighbor Audra and we almost had the course to ourselves. We had lots of fun and even went looking for the "19th" hole. Nowhere to found today. Bummer! Well, maybe next time.....if we are lucky!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Birthday to my baby girl!

How could it be possible that 30 years ago today I was looking down at my beautiful baby girl and feeling a love that no one could ever explain. I remember the long nights and exhausting days taking care of you as a newborn. All the while I had to keep saying to myself...enjoy these moments because they will be gone and I will never get them back. Cuddling you and holding you against my chest while you slept is a feeling that I can remember like it was yesterday.

How could it be possible that 5 years later I was putting you on the bus for your first day of kindergarten. I remember everyone saying that the school years will fly by. Enjoy each moment of these interesting, frustrating, fun and joyous days because they will be over before you know it.

How could it be possible that I watched you walk across the stage as you graduated from college. When we moved you to Carbondale for your first year of college I remember everyone telling me that if you thought grade school and high school flew by, wait until college. I remember watching you in the rear view mirror as we drove away...leaving my baby girl 300 miles away from home without her Mom!!! Could it be possible that 6 years passed that quickly as you completed your BA and MA in English?

How could it be possible that my little girl was now a grown woman getting married? Where did those years go? How could they have passed so quickly? I remember everyone saying.."wait until the grandbabies start coming." Your life will take on a whole new meaning.

How could it be possible that my sweet baby girl was now looking down at her baby girl....not yet understanding how quickly the years fly by. As I would hold Addie against my chest as she slept, I couldn't help but think about the days that I rocked her Mommy to sleep the same way. As I looked at the love in your face as you saw your baby girl for the first time, I couldn't help but remember that same feeling when I saw you for the first time.

How could it be possible that my sweet baby girl now has a son. As you watched Addie grow from a baby to a little girl, I know that you are now realizing how quickly time flies and that these hard, frustrating, exhilirating, beautiful moments with your children will be gone in the blink of an eye.

How could it be possible that I am now Nana to two beautiful grandchildren? I look forward to the next 30 years with them as I watch you continue to grow into a beautiful Mother who will wonder how time has gone so quickly! Enjoy the moments!

"I'll love you forever, I'll love you for always. As long as I'm living my baby you'll be." Happy 30th birthday baby girl.

I love you Jenny,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scarecrow Addiction!

Fall has to be my favorite season. I love sweaters, hoodies, and of course Pumpkin Spice Lattes! I love the smell of the house with windows open. I love the color of changing leaves...and I love fall decorations! I try to stay away from "halloween" themed decorations but go more for fall items that can take me through Thanksgiving.

Here is my favorite scarecrow sitting on my piano!

My kitchen is already the perfect setting for fall decorations with my brown, orange and gold valances. I picked up these little berry wreaths at Target for $2.50 a piece. I hung one on every window in my kitchen.

And of course fall wouldn't be complete without my cute little scarecrow wallhanging that Diana and I just made last month. It holds a prominent place on my kitchen wall. The cute star hanger is a perfect accessory to use when changing out different holiday themes.

Are you seeing a scarecrow theme here? I guess I never realized how many I had until I took these pictures! In fact, I had named this post something different at first and then when I realized just how many scarecrows I had around the house I decided to change it to "Scarecrow Addiction". Wonder why!!

This is set up in my mudroom when you enter my back door.

My kitchen centerpiece is a cute arrangement that I have had for probably 10 years but still love it!



WHEW! Finally pumpkins and mums!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stringing Along and Feeling Cozy

Nothing is more cozy or welcoming than a quilt. This is my favorite chair in the house and I was thrilled when I finished my Basket Weave String Quilt! It now holds a prominent place in my home. Every quilt should, considering the time spent creating it.

I attended a lecture and workshop by Bonnie Hunter. She is a fabulous quilter who puts the emphasis on scraps. She says that if a fabric is ugly, you didn't cut it small enough. She uses everything in her quilts, and I mean EVERYTHING. She has two fabulous books out called "Adventures with Leaders & Enders" and "Scraps and Shirttails", both of which I have and LOVE. But if you aren't ready to buy her books yet, you must visit her website called Quiltville. She has tons of free patterns. How can you possibly pass that up. And I'm sure that once you make one of her quilts you will be running out to buy the books. She is that good!!!! She also has a fantastic blog which you can read here.

One pattern on her website is called "Basket-Weave Strings" and it is a great way to use up your stash. It is made with scraps and is so easy.

You actually start by making as many scrap blocks as you like for the size quilt that you want. The strips get sewn on unevenly to give them some movement. It's fun to use up the scraps in your drawer that would normally be thrown out. I made my blocks 5" but you can make them any size you want. She helps you along with the measurements. The strips get sewn onto paper backing which then gets torn off when you construct it.

Here is a close-up of the blocks. You can see my meander stitching in the blocks. That's about the only kind of stitching I can do right now with my long-arm machine. Hopefully that will change. But until then, I really like the look of it.

And here is a full view of the finished quilt. Mine measures 49" x 62" and is a very nice throw size.

Am I tempting you to make a quilt? Huh?? Come can do it! Check out Bonnie's website, go through the fabulous list of free patterns and get hooked on scrap quilts. I know you will!!! Who doesn't have a stash that needs bustin'.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Last week I attended a guild meeting in St. Charles. Their guest speaker was Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. Her quilts are incredible!!! It was great to see many of her creations in person. She has written many quilt patterns that are absolutely beautiful! But one of my favorite series of patterns are her "Schnibbles." If you are wondering what the word Schnibble means, Carrie explains it here.

One of my favorite Schnibbles is called "Roundabout." It was fun to make and turned out so cute. Of course like any quilt, there is time involved in the prep work..or in other words cutting your fabric and getting it ready to sew. Her Schnibbles are all fairly small quilts; hence the name. "Roundabout" measures 32" and would be a perfect size for a table or even as a wallhanging.

Here are my fabrics cut and ready to go. Even though the pattern makes it look like these blocks would be a little difficult to sew, they really aren't at all. Her instructions are very detailed and precise, which makes the job much easier. She will even suggest which way to press the fabric after sewing.

And after a fun day sewing with some of my quilting friends I was able to complete the entire top. Next step will be to put it on my quilting machine and quilt it. I think it's pretty cute.

I really want to make more of her quilts. There are just so many to choose from. I would like to do another Schnibble called "Tagalong", which only measures 29". But I also bought a pattern called "Route 44" which is beautiful and quite a bit bigger...measuring 78". You must check out her patterns and books if you want to be inspired!!!
If you want to know more about Carrie Nelson and her fabulous pattern line, Miss Rosie's Quilt Co., you can check out her blog at La Vie En Rosie.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Sewing Room..where creative juices flow!!

My sewing favorite room in the house! Step inside and let me show you around!

It is certainly not a room out of a Martha Stewart magazine but it's MY room and it serves it's purpose well! Half the fun of quilting is organizing all of your stuff...or as quilter's like to call it..their STASH! And believe me I have alot of it!

This is my room as you walk in.

I use an old dresser to store my various quilting supplies in. One draw has my trims, snaps, buttons, zippers and miscellaneous other items that I might need. Another drawer holds my wool for my wool felt projects (another post). And yet another holds alot of scrap fabric that was too small to fold into bins in my fabric closet. Above the dresser is a design wall covered with flannel. It can be used to display single blocks or can be used to lay out a specific quilt design that I might be working on.

Since my room is not very big, I use a small door ironing board when I need to do simple pressing. I always use a small pressing board next to my machine for smaller projects that need to be pressed as I go along.

This is a view of the work area around my machine. Everything is handy and within arms reach when I need it. My cutting table is directly in front of my machine. Don't forget to pay attention to the coffee cup sitting by my machine. It's a staple in the room!!!

I use plastic containers to store all of my current projects in. This keeps them organized and together so when I feel the need to work on something specific, I can just grab my bin and have everything I need ready to go. Looks like I have alot of projects in the works!!! Doesn't every quilter?

I found this fabulous casserole dish at an antique store. I use it to store my buttons. I collect alot of the black and red banded pieces but have never seen a teal one! LOVE IT!

This is only one container of my buttons. I have lots more. I inherited many from my Mom and Aunts over the years.

Here is one container of fabric and how I store my stash. I went to a class about a month ago on how to organize your sewing room and learned this fantastic way to store my fabric. She demonstrated the correct way to fold your fabric so that it is all visible when you need it. It took me two full days to fold and sort my fabric but what a feeling when it was done. It makes finding a color or pattern I need so much easier! And if you don't have an Avery label maker, you must go buy one now!!!!

Here are all of my bins of fabric sorted by color! I know...sad isn't it??? The top bankers boxes hold my larger pieces that are used for quilt backs.

I also had some big pieces of some really pretty pastels that were too cute to stick in a container so I lined them up in a wicker basket and put them on a shelf!

I keep my thread handy on a spool rack next to my machine.

.....and my embroidery thread on a separate wall.

Here is a better view of my project shelf.

Labeling your boxes makes it so easy to find things.

I also have a small bookshelf nearby with some of my binders that I use for reference. Believe me, this is by no means my collection of quilt books. Those are actually housed in another place because I have so many!!! These binders hold patterns and/or instructions that I have taken out of magazines. I purchased a box of plastic sheet protectors and sorted my patterns by category (quilts, applique, home dec, purses/totes, etc) I'm slowly going through my stacks of magazines and pulling out what I like and may make some day.

So there you have it....a tour of my sewing room! I hope to be able to show you some of my many projects I am working on very soon! I hope this helps you organize your space!!!