Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WFMW - Problems with your new appliances? Google it!

I think I've mentioned the deep, seething hatred I have for our washing machine. It's had problems from the beginning. A water valve failed and was replaced under warranty. The motherboard failed and was replaced under warranty. The door latch failed and was replaced under warranty. The lid (yes, I'm still trying to figure that one out myself) failed and was replaced under warranty. Then the warranty expired and we stopped having things fixed because there was absolutely no way we were investing another penny into that horrible mistake. And for the past year, I've been hitting the power button a dozen times per load, waiting for it to finally kick in and start, and hoping it'll run through the entire cycle.

And did I mention that it tore up our clothes even when it was working? And how much fun it is to take four kids to the laundromat?

Finally, in desperation, I googled the error codes to see if there was something we could do ourselves to keep the machine going a bit longer. And I discovered that it wasn't just my machine that was jinxed. Lots of others had the same problems and had their machines replaced. Things might've turned out differently if I'd had that information a year or so sooner.

If something is broken that shouldn't be, look it up online. Call more than one repair place. Too late for it to be covered by warranty, I found out that another board (or the entire machine) should have been replaced to fix the static problems.

I thought I'd done my homework because I researched Consumer Reports and online reviews before we bought the washer. I should've immediately done more research once things started to go wrong.

Now we're shopping for a replacement (the old evil washer is now draining onto the floor when it actually decides to run in the first place) and I don't know how to choose one.

What kind of washer do you have? How long have you had it? How much laundry do you do? Has it been reliable?

I don't want extra bells and whistles, I just want clean clothes and a machine that will last more than four years. With six of us, I do a LOT of laundry. Several loads a day, almost every single day.

What I really want is a set like we had when we moved into our first house. It was ancient. We used it for years with no trouble until it finally gave up on us. I miss appliances that were built to last.

Wish me luck at the laundromat. And don't forget -- Friday is the last day to enter my Frixion Pen giveaway.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Design Wall Monday

What if I took the drab fabrics that always seem so ugly and put a bunch of them in a quilt of their own?

It seems to be working --



I've got some other fabrics that I'd love to put in this quilt, but they're playing hide and seek. At the moment, they're winning. But I'm not going to put this project on hold until I find them -- if all else fails, I'll make more than one drab quilt!

To see the rest of the Design Wall Monday posts, click over to Patchwork Times.

Patchwork Times

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekly Stash Report

My husband bought me some new perfume, which I adore. I also adore the pretty box it came in. I needed something to hold the extra thread from my latest Connecting Threads order and, six rows by seven, the spools fit in this box perfectly.

Thinking it would be nice if I had enough thread to fill the whole box, but knowing that I didn't, I pulled the spools out of my treadle sewing machine drawer and a few from a box in the sewing room and was pleasantly shocked to realize that I've got eighty or so spools of usable thread, almost enough to fill a second box if I had one.



It looks like so much less when it's neatly put away! Yes, that's a lot of black and neutral thread, but it was just on sale for the first time in forever, so I stocked up.

That's my immediate goal for my fabric stash right now -- getting it neatly folded up and put away so it looks like less than it is.


Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 45 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 741 yards
Net Added for 2011: 696 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 200 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 6440 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 13375 yards
Net Added for 2011: 6935 yards

To see how everyone else is doing, check this week's post over at Patchwork Times

And don't forget to enter my Pilot Frixion pen giveaway!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pilot Frixion Giveaway

I wanted some Pilot Frixion pens to play with -- and it only took trips to five different stores to get my hands on them.



The first store didn't carry them.

The second store did carry them, but only in black and at that point it was early in the day and I still had my heart set on a pack with different colors.

The third store, one of the big office supply chains, didn't carry them, thought they were by a different manufacturer, and then told me that they didn't make them anymore....but the manager really did try to help.

The fourth store had the pack with different colors for WAY more than I wanted to pay (and now that I've checked prices online, I know it's way more than I should have paid) and single pens in a cup. I really didn't want one that everyone else had been playing with.

I couldn't justify driving another town over to go to Staples, but I didn't want to wait until later in the week when I'd be there for an appointment, so I went to a different location of the first store to get the black pens I'd decided against in the first place. They were half off at that store.

Some days, I just need a fun quest. (In case you're wondering how much gas I wasted, all of the stores I stopped at were on the way to other places I had to be that afternoon.)

I like these pens. They're pretty. They really do erase. And they don't smear. I'm left handed, which means that if I've been writing with a pen I'll have ink up and down one side of my hand. The Frixion ink stays on the paper where it belongs.

One thing that I wondered about -- what happens if you write something and leave it in a hot car? According to the customer reviews on Amazon, people have had their writing heat up enough to accidentally disappear. I don't think I'll be using these pens for journaling or anything else I plan to keep around.

And of course there's the whole write on the fabric/erase it with an iron/put it in the freezer so the lines come back miracle that made me buy the pens in the first place. I tried it. It works. And after I hand washed my test piece of muslin the lines were gone for good. My quilts get enough heavy washing that I'm not worried about residual chemicals.

I'm planning to use my Frixion pens to trace around templates, to trace lines for embroidery...and if I can ever work up the nerve, to mark lines for machine quilting. I've heard so many differing opinions on what does and doesn't wash out, I've been too skittish to try actually drawing lines on my quilt tops!

Want your own Frixion pens to play with?

I bought extras, including a set of two black Frixion pens to give to one of my blog readers. To enter, just become a follower of my blog and leave a comment before 11:59 pm Friday September 2nd. What would you use them for?

Friday, August 26, 2011

another top together



When I posted about these blocks on Design Wall Monday earlier this month, I was planning to take them apart because I didn't have any matching fabric for the sixteenth block center or the sashing. I didn't want to take them apart, but I didn't see much choice.

All of the comments on that post urged me not to do it. Here I thought I was being a good quilter and doing it "right" -- which isn't the way I quilt at all -- and the real quilters told me to just finish them up with something else and no one would ever know the difference. I wasn't sure what I originally used for those center pieces, but it definitely wasn't the same stuff I'm using for white backgrounds now. Different color, different texture... I stopped at Joann's to see if I could find a closer match.

That mystery stuff I used for the block centers? Turns out it was unbleached craft muslin. (Don't ask -- this was one of my earliest quilting projects and I really don't know what I was thinking.) I bought a yard, even though what they had on the bolt didn't match the fabric in my quilt. Now that the blocks are together, I can't pick out the block with new fabric from the original blocks.

It's for the little guys, so I'm not sure what I'm going to back it with. Nothing too light -- I've made that mistake with their quilts before!

I'm linking this one to Can I get a Whoop-Whoop?? because getting a top together after the blocks have sat for this long just has to qualify for some jumping and shouting!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

time to get back to work



Yesterday could have been my first day back at my sewing machine. So of course I woke up with a raging migraine and all that I got done was unloading the van and some laundry and some grocery shopping.

The new cache of Nerf Blasters the boys got right before we left town might be the thing that sends this mommy whimpering into a corner. Those plastic triggers click. Those clicks hurt my head. I'm trying hard to ignore them.

As soon as my migraine stuff kicks in, I've got projects to work on --

a purple and white baby quilt to get pin basted and quilted
Chickens at the Crossroads to get pin basted and quilted
black binding for the stained glass window wallhanging
light fabric to cut into pieces for Texas Braids
cheddar and scraps to cut for the bowtie challenge
more letters to piece for my sampler

That's just off the top of my head. I know there's a lot more I want to get done. And it will get done, even if it all takes longer than I'd like.

I am SO ready for a quilting binge!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

WFMW - Old Sleeping Bags



I am, according to my five year old, "a terrible camper." Unlike their dad -- he's a great camper.

No one has told me what the criteria for being a great camper actually is, but I suspect that great campers have to actually like sleeping in a tent. I'll do it because it stretches our travelling budget, or because it sometimes is the only way to be close to what we want to do, but I rarely get the urge to go sleep in the tent just for the sake of sleeping in the tent.

I happen to own a very nice mummy bag that's rated to fifteen degrees below zero. (Do I even need to mention that I'm never ever going to want to be where it's that cold, let alone in my sleeping bag where it's that cold?)

Last year, or maybe the year before, we were at an estate sale and saw two very nice, very old, sleeping bags for dirt cheap. I think the plan was to let the kids use them. But they work really well for grownups. They aren't claustrophobic. The flannel is comfortable and isn't constantly getting stuck in the zippers. They're easier to roll up. (I can make a quilt from start to finish. I can knit socks. I can knit lace. I cannot roll sleeping bags and get them into their compression bags.)

We're not backpackers so I don't need the latest high tech stuff. And I've decided that I really do prefer my old sleeping bags.

For more Works for Me Wednesday posts, visit We are THAT Family

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to the Hobo Quilt

Now that we're back from our latest road trip, which I'll post about tomorrow, it looks like I'm back to the Hobo Quilt blocks. I'm working from a library book which I've returned and checked out and renewed more times than I can count. I'll almost convince myself to buy a copy, then I'll decide that I'm going to have the quilt done soon anyway, so I won't need my own copy...and on it goes.



Because it's so hard to remember which way is up with some of these blocks, I've decided to start sashing them now. The sample quilt in the book has brown sashing, so I bought brown fabric. Brought it home, washed it, put it someplace where my daughter's cat couldn't possibly sleep on it... then couldn't find it when I was ready to to start cutting it up.

Now that I've found my fabric, my blocks, and I had my hands on the book last night, I should really get this sashing done and see if I can make at least a couple more blocks before the book is due back.

Head over to Patchwork Times to see more design walls.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekly Stash Report

I could use up enough yarn by the end of the year to break even, if I really worked at it. And I still might. Or I could just fling enough yarn to even it out. But the yarn I'd be working off is a four dollar box from an estate sale that I bought when it looked like I was running low on yarn for the baby hats....is that worth feeling even a little guilt over?

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 45 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 741 yards
Net Added for 2011: 696 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 6240 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 13375 yards
Net Added for 2011: 7135 yards

Friday, August 19, 2011

used and abused

I've had the words from an old phone company commercial running through my head... No one else seems to remember the same commercial and, sadly, it seems to be the only one ever made that's not on You Tube.

(to the Anvil Chorus)

Used
Used
Sometimes abused
It is the one that we use

That totally describes the way quilts at my house get treated. And maybe suggests that I watched too much television as a kid...

Although it sometimes feels that way, not all of my quilts have met with disaster. There's the one that Leif practiced his emerging scissors skills on. And the one he doodled on. The one they duct taped pennies to, which I didn't find until taking it out of the dryer (As near as I can tell, someone was hiding his special treasure from his brother.) And the one with the mystery stains that Will Not Come Out. Which I think I might've contributed to myself.

Not too bad, considering how many quilts I've made.



My great grandmother won this quilt. The blocks came from the senior center and she won the finished quilt. Turns out the one she made isn't the one I've had permanently stuck in my head, but that's okay.

Grandma let us use this quilt when we slept over. We'd curl up in it, spread it out on the floor and roll in it. (No ink or duct tape, though!)I'm sure it got the quilt a little dirty, strained the seams, and otherwise contributed to the general wear and tear.

But I KNOW this quilt. Even before I knew who made it, or what its story was, I knew the blocks and had my favorites. And I've seriously got dibs on this down the road.

This is the block my great grandmother made --



And this is the one that always comes to mind when I think of the quilt --



I never noticed this block before I went over to take pictures of the quilt. I thought she was a moon, but she's got a leaf on her head. Is she a peach? If she is a peach, why is she purple? I think I've got a new favorite block now.




Quilts that are used and seen, that people know -- Isn't that better than immaculately preserved heirlooms that never see the light of day?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WFMW - Groupon



I absolutely love handmade soaps, but they're one of the things I rarely splurge on. To be honest, I get so caught up in day to day life that I forget handmade soap even exists. Groupon reminded me a couple of weeks ago when they sent an offer to get ten dollars worth of soap for five dollars. Combine that with the buy five get one free deal at the soap store, and I got six bars for fifteen dollars. And I'm seriously loving my soap. They told me they're going to run another offer for the holidays, so I plan on watching for it and stocking up again.

When it comes to fun little splurges, Groupon is a great money saver. We've used an offer for Bath and Body Works for my daughter's birthday. And bought yummy tamales at a local bakery we'd never heard of before. Many of the offers aren't for us (no plans to golf or rent a photo booth), but if it's something I was going to do anyway, I jump at it.

Here's how Groupon works -- you sign up for an account and they send a daily email with a special offer for your area. If you're interested, you make the purchase online, then print the coupon and take it to the store/restaurant/whatever. The ones I've done have all been for half off -- $5 for $10 worth of stuff, $10 for $20 worth... and you can combine them with sale prices to get an even better deal.

I was able to combine the offers I used with Swagbucks to earn points (check daily deals on their website), but can't find them there today. That got me another dollar or two of bang for my bucks. I've already written about Swagbucks and how it works here.

Of course it doesn't make any kind of sense to use Groupon for things you wouldn't have bought anyway, but for things you do want, it can help you stretch your pennies.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Design Wall Monday



I make a lot of quilts and, with a couple of exceptions, they wind up with whichever kid claims them. Except for the donation quilts and a few that are mine and got packed off to safe corners before the kids could even figure out that they exist. Some wind up with the boys, some are folded on the rocking chair in the front room. My daughter tends to claim whatever is new and pretty, until there's something newer and prettier. Mostly, the quilts migrate from couch to bedrooms to washing machine and back.

The quilts that I've made with a specific kid in mind rarely seem to click with that kid. But Quinn's favorite color is green. Everything for that boy must be green, and a while back I realized that I should make him a green quilt. Because I had problems with the other green quilt I made and shipped it off to Afghanistan just to get it as far from me as possible. (That was just before I realized that Quinn might want a green quilt.)

I've been planning a bargello quilt for a while now and hoping that I've still got enough green scraps to pull it off. I don't know why this project has me so intimidated. I've done this same pattern before. The top was a two evening project.

I can do this! It's time to count my strips, and pull out some more fabric, and start sewing on this thing.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekly Stash Report

Remember last week when I said how nice it was when Grandma found the scrap bags and sorted and folded the fabric? When Mom finds an estate sale, she washes and irons and measures. But she does keep half of the goodies for herself. Fair enough, since she bought it all!

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 45 yards
Added this Week: 22 yards
Added Year to Date: 741 yards
Net Added for 2011: 696 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 6240 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 13375 yards
Net Added for 2011: 7135 yards

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guest Blogger -- Lisa from Central Ohio Binky Patrol



Hi everyone,

My name is Lisa and I'm honored that Michelle has asked me to be a guest blogger. I am the Area Coordinator for Central Ohio Binky Patrol. We make blankets, hats, baby booties, and scarves for children in need. We are a local chapter of Binky Patrol, which is a national organization. I decided to start this chapter, the only in Ohio, in April of 2010. I had been feeling the desire to do some charity crafting and loved that I could help children of all ages.

My main motivation in starting the chapter was to help foster children here in Ohio. My husband and I were foster parents for about three years. We were able to witness firsthand how difficult it is on children when they are removed from their homes and families. Although we knew that the situation they were in wasn't best for them, all they cared about was being near the people and places that were familiar to them. When I started Central Ohio Binky Patrol a big part of my motivation was to eventually provide a binky, which is a blanket, to every foster child here in Ohio.

I've been blessed to receive a large amount of help and support from many wonderful friends throughout the country. I am amazed everyday by the number of generous volunteers I've met online who are willing to send me beautiful handmade items to help the children in need. In April 2011, our one year anniversary, we had delivered 361 binkies/blankets, 434 pairs of baby booties, 294 hats, 5 toys, 27 scarves and 7 gowns/sweaters! Pretty good for our first year in existence and it is all thanks to my wonderful volunteers!

When the tornadoes hit throughout the south in April and May I felt the pull to help them. It was such a devastating time for all the people that lived in those towns and I wanted to help in any way we could. I sent out a plea for help to all the volunteers of Central Ohio Binky Patrol and immediately began getting emails of project people had started. For the next couple months volunteers sent a wide variety of items to both Alabama/Mississippi and Joplin, Missouri. You can read more about it on our Tornado Victims page as well as view lots of photos. Here are a couple of pictures to enjoy now though….



Yet another big project that we've recently completed was helping Snowball Express. They are an organization that helps children of fallen military heroes. Every December they hold a great party to help support and entertain some of these children that have lost a parent through military service. It was their desire to provide each child in attendance, approximately 600, with a hat. That is a lot of hats! Again, I sent a plea out to my volunteers and we have almost met our goal! There is lots more info on our Snowball Express page. Here are a couple pictures to enjoy….





Currently we have some ongoing projects that I'd love your help with. The biggest need are binkies/blankets. They can range in size from 36"x36" up to 65"x90". They can be knitted, crocheted, quilted, tied fleece, even crochet edged fleece. Any pattern or style is appreciated. As long as it is handmade and cuddly it is perfect! Also, we need baby booties for our Heartbeats project. These go to help pregnant teens here in Ohio and are always a constant need. Another project we are working on is making scarves for victims of domestic violence. We also have a wide variety of local agencies that are in need of hats, scarves, baby booties and binkies/blankets. The children, a lot of which are foster children, are always so appreciative!



As you can imagine, we are always looking for more volunteers. Please feel free to contact me for more information! I'd love to hear from any and all of you!

Bye,

Lisa

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

WFMW - forks from the thrift store



Our family of six uses a lot of silverware. For dinner and desert, if I don't plan on washing things in between, that's twelve forks. More if I used a couple while making dinner, or didn't already wash whatever silverware we used for lunch and snacks.

There are never enough forks in this house. We keep buying more, and they keep going away. I'm sure some go to work with my husband never to return. I wouldn't be surprised if a few had been dropped into the trash can while kids were scraping dishes. And a few days ago, I found a butter knife with a tip that had been bent in half. How did that one happen? Was one of my kids watching a documentary about Uri Geller?

I do know people who have had the same set of silverware for years and never lost a piece. And the same glasses and plates. They're obviously not as klutzy as I am!

The Dollar Tree sells cheap utensils, which sounds like a great solution. But flatware that sells brand new four for a dollar is awful. It has sharp edges. It's ugly.

And you can buy nice forks and spoons and knives at the thrift store for the same price. I don't care if my utensils match, but there are a few patterns that I keep seeing over and over and I could put together a matching set if I wanted to. Personally, I like the variety.

Those ornate forks on either end? They're the same pattern I wanted when we got married twenty years ago but was talked out of because they were too expensive. Wonder if I could put together a set of those?

Monday, August 08, 2011

Go! Die Storage

For months, I've been promising Mom that she could borrow my Go! Cutter and dies. There's just one problem -- I'm constantly using it myself, and she lives an hour away so I can't just run back over to quickly grab it if inspiration strikes while she's got it at her house.

I'm packing up my sewing corner for the next couple of weeks, so now is as good a time as any to part with my bestest toy. Now -- how do I pack up fifteen dies for travel? I've got a die storage rack (found it on clearance when Joann's was moving stores) and that's hand for keeping dies close while I'm using them, but right now I need something I can put in the back of the car.



This is perfect! I think it's the Sterilite Flip Lid File Box. Lengthwise, it's good for the 10x10 dies. And the short side is perfect for the smaller dies.



I've got thirteen dies in this box and it's heavy, but not more than I can lug around. Probably not more than the cutter itself weighs. I left out one die because it didn't seem like a good idea to wedge them in too tightly.

I think I want to buy a second box so I'll have one for each die size. Because we know I'm going to add more dies to my collection.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Weekly Stash Report

Grandma surprised me with a bag of thrift store fabric scraps this week, one that she'd already sorted and folded. I like finding the bags for myself now and then and getting the first look, but the stuff she's folded looks so much better and usable than the mess I make pawing through it!

No fabric or yarn to report as used this week, but I've been busy with other things.

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 45 yards
Added this Week: 12 yards
Added Year to Date: 719 yards
Net Added for 2011: 674 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 6240 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 13375 yards
Net Added for 2011: 7135 yards

Have you been following the Wantobe Quilter Campaign over at Stash Manicure? Even if you're not entering to win, the posts are worth reading. This week, there was a tutorial on using Quilter's Grid to make perfect postage stamp blocks and one on how to sew your own custom storage bags out of clear plastic. And then there are the giveaways for wantobe quilters (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and experienced quilters (Tuesday and Thursday), which will be happening until the end of October. The information on how to enter is here, but even if you don't win a thing, you'll learn so much from the tutorials you probably won't care -- at least that's how I feel about it!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

I'm full of ideas for new projects right now, but since I'm going to have to pack up the sewing corner next week it's probably better to just keep finishing up my UFOs. I don't need to create a whole new mess.



My unfinished stained glass window wall quilt hung on the wall in my sewing room for five years. It was one of those "let's get together and try that" projects and once I had it fused it was time to quit for the day and I pinned it up in a safe place to protect it from my offspring.

At the time, I didn't have any clue how to quilt it. And once I did know how to quilt it, I'd totally lost interest in the project. It could've hung there forever. I'm signed up for the Stashbusters UFO Challenge this year and so I've now got a list of my abandoned projects, every last one of them. And this is one I can finish without too much time or effort.

For the past few years, I've been sure that the fusible applique had failed. I knew all of the leading in that stained glass was loose and that I'd have to try to get it back into place and quilted down. Quilts do funny things when you're not looking at them. My window was all in one piece. (Buy my daughter's has completely separated, so maybe I was thinking of hers.)

I quilted just inside the edges of the black fabric -- no chance of it ever budging now! And I'd decided to do itty-bitty stippling on the outer edges to add some texture. The quilting went fine, but there's no texture. All of that fusible web is keeping everything absolutely flat.



In a perfect world, I would have used black fabric as the backing. My sewing room is far from perfect -- there's black in there somewhere, but I wanted to get this project done, not spend the next week looking for my backing. I debated using the same white stuff that's not cotton as I used on the scrappy little tree. And then I saw the dark purple flannel on my ironing board. I've got yards of the stuff. It goes with the black and the colors in the landscape. And it doesn't look like I grabbed any old thing just to get my project finished today.

I do need black for the binding, though. And I'm trying to resist the temptation to just go out and buy a quarter yard to get it over with.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Cabbage Roses

Cabbage Roses, the quilt I started cutting so I'd have something to play with if I felt like sewing while I was recovering from my knee surgery, is quilted and bound.



It's got three hundred and twenty curved seams -- I've mentioned that, right? At this point, I think it's safe to say that I've got a thing for curved seams. Enough of a thing that I'm looking at every Drunkard's Path layout I can find and deciding to give it a try. My AccuQuilt dies are going to earn their keep!

I don't think I'd have started this quilt if I'd had to trace and cut all of the pieces by hand. Someday maybe, but not right now. Cutting the pieces by machine let me concentrate on the pinning and piecing. Now that I know I've got that part down, I'm ready to tackle curved patterns that I have to cut myself. I've done it before, I just never could be sure if my sometimes badly pieced blocks were due to the cutting part or the sewing part.

Curves aren't nearly as hard as they sound. When I decided that I wanted to learn curves, I found a great looking book from the library and checked it out three or four different times. When I had the book, I had no free time to experiment with technique. When I had sewing time, I didn't have the book.

Then my best friend fell in love with the Glorified Nine Patch pattern, and her quilting mentor told her that "even experienced quilters avoid patterns with curves." Which didn't seem quite right, since there are antique stores full of double wedding rings out there. Someone made them.

My friend says that I'm the one who taught her to piece curved seams, over the phone. When I didn't know how to do it myself. Where there's a will, there's a way!

I could get back to my Lover's Knot quilt. (If AccuQuilt made a die for that block, I'd order one tonight!)... Or try one of my other curved dies. I've still got two that I haven't used yet... Or start cutting pieces for that scrappy Drunkard's Path I've decided I need to make... It's not the best time to be starting a new project, but I can still dream, can't I?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

WFMW -- put your name on it

I don't take toys that I'm not willing to lose down to the river. Especially not floating toys, because my littlest guys aren't too great at keeping hold of them. They decide to move on to a new game, and whatever they were just holding is drifting slowly downstream until someone else notices and goes after it. And this mommy hasn't done a lot of "going after it" the last two summers. I know I'm not going to move fast enough on those slick rocks to catch whatever it is before it gets too far for me to pursue. If it's important, we'll check later in the wide pool where most things seem to settle.

Before I hurt my knee, I did go after an awful lot of pool noodles, but my priorities have changed a bit. I'll still go after shoes, because those are a lot harder to replace.

Even if things don't go downstream, they tend to wander away from us. My oldest son is always happy to share with whoever asks, even if that means his newest acquaintance is taking our toys down to the other end of the beach and not playing with him at all. I'm all for sharing, but too much of it can leave my other kids with nothing to play with and a nearby pile of abandoned pool noodles that I think are probably ours. I've left behind quite a few because I wasn't sure enough to pick them up when it was time for us to go home.

It's so much easier if I can remember beforehand to put our last name on them with a Sharpie. That also works with plastic dinosaurs and little Hot Wheels cars that the boys want to take with them to activities. Even an initial or dot of colored nail polish will do the trick -- I'm not trying to prove ownership to anyone else, just to make sure that I can keep track of what's ours. Personally, I'm not a mommy who can identify little metal cars or plastic animals. And I don't think there's a mommy out there who can pick out her own Dollar Tree pool noodles from a pile of them!

For more great parenting tips, check out Works for Me Wednesday every week at We are THAT Family.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I've spent the morning excavating my sewing corner in an effort to make it look better and find the blocks I wanted to use for my Monday design wall post. Turned out the blocks were out in the sewing room.

Did I mention that I can go up and down the stairs now? I have to go slowly, and remember to step up with my good leg, but I can manage it once or twice a day.



It's been three and a half years since I started this project, probably at least three years since I last worked on it.

And I do still want a large version of this quilt, but I don't want to try to make blocks with the scraps I have now that will go with the scraps I had then. I'm sure that I could, but it's not going to happen.

If I finish the quilt with the blocks I have now it'll be 48" square, a decent size for the little guys. All I need to do is find some matching white fabric for the sashing -- not as easy as it sounds, since those white center blocks aren't quite white and have an odd texture. I think I'll be better off taking the blocks apart and replacing it. One way or the other, getting this top done is my project for the week.

I've also got a finish to show off. I found the pattern for this little tree online and had some green scraps and decided to give it a try. Then I liked the tree so much I decided to use it as the center of something bigger. How can a two afternoon experiment turn into what feels like a big commitment?



Now that it's done, I'm very happy with it the way it is. I can always make another tree when and if I decide to tackle that bigger project I dreamed up.

To see the rest of the Design Wall Monday posts, click over to Patchwork Times.

Patchwork Times
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