Monday, November 29, 2010

My life is noisy

Wow, it's been a loud morning!

Oldest went out to feed the chickens and came in complaining that there was a cow on our property, on the other side of the stream. Mooing. Maybe that last detail was supposed to convince me that it was a cow and not the deer who sometimes do hang out back there. Or one of the chickens the guy across the street was ranging on our front lawn until recently.

It was a cow. And it was mooing. The girl has at least that much of her barnyard education down. Now we need to discuss property lines. At least I got a nice walk up the hill to verify that the fences are exactly where I think they are and the cow was on it own side. Wonder when they got a cow up there?

The little two wanted to walk up and see the cow, and big sister told them it was gone, that we were going to eat it for dinner. Which led to a delightful musical outburst by the four year old. He makes up his own songs at random, just rarely enough that they always catch me off guard. One night on the way home, I had to pull off the road because I was laughing so hard I couldn't drive.

He made up another song at Safeway -- this one about turkeys, because a little boy in a cart we passed was holding a Beanie Baby turkey. I don't keep my kids occupied in the store by letting them carry around things we have no intention of buying. I think it's mean to the kid, and rude to the store. It's also mean to other mommies who finally got their son to stop singing loudly about turkeys and then walk past the spot where that other mommy dumped their stuffed turkey next to the cracker boxes!

We're home now and, although I don't think they've gotten any quieter, I'm the only one who can hear the insanity. Works for me!

I'm sorting out my sewing corner and making a list of my UFOs. Today, that mostly means I'm sitting and trying to remember them all. So far the list is at twenty-nine. Not bad, considering how many things I tend to start and set aside with intentions of coming back to them later.

I've decided to participate in Patchwork Penguin's UFO Challenge 2011. The idea is that you pick ten UFOs and number them. Each month, she draws a number and that's the project you try to finish.

My projects are pretty much chosen, unless I finish some before the first of the year, or dig up something else I'd rather work on instead. Before January 1, I'll post the list of projects on my sidebar so I won't be tempted to cheat.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I want to be warm

About ten years back, I got rid of my bulky purple bathrobe with the zipper down the front. The thing was super warm and the house rarely got cold enough to justify wearing it for long. I was sure it took up more space than it was worth.

Once we moved into our ninety year old farmhouse and I started to question my decision. If I still had that robe, I swear I'd wear it over my clothes all day long when the temperature drops. (The robe I have now belts at the waist and it's just not the same.)

You would think I could find a cheap replacement at a thrift store, but I can't even find the nasty velour ones. What I think I had was a fleece or sweatshirt robe and I just looked up new ones online and saw the prices -- yikes!

THIS is why I'm so hesitant when it comes to decluttering. Lots of times it turns out that you really do need it later.

My natural gas heat doesn't make feel this warm and cozy. Could be the combination of ninety year old farmhouse and aged furnace. Some spots get warm. Most don't. So we keep the heat down and pile on the quilts and once in a while I realize that my feet are numb because someone turned the heat off.

I can't imagine knitting all of that just so it could be unravelled later (watch the making of video - it's amazing) I can't even figure out HOW you'd knit tennis shoes that could be smoothly unravelled again.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

an envelope full of culture

Lier over at Ikat Bag gave away a little bit of culture, and I was lucky enough to win it.

These goodies actually came last Tuesday or Wednesday and the contents of the envelope quickly scattered through the house. There are gorgeous pictures of everything at the original giveaway post.

There were gummy bubbles (I was sure I'd had the same kind of bubbles when I was little, but either the ones I had weren't nearly as good, or my kids are way more capable of using them than I was.)...And an inflatable paper ball....And a little wooden top that spins and spins and spins...

I'm torn between taking the cute little food erasers out to play with them and keeping them in the cute packaging. Same with the building block pencils. These are going to have to live up in the sewing room with my grownup toys.

Alex has happily adopted the strawberry bag and paper ball.

The needles and seam ripper and pencil will be used soon, and I'm already trying to figure out the best use for that yummy batik.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A few days ago, I read this post about buyers-leavers remorse over at Pinksuedeshoe. It totally sums up how I feel about the sheets I left behind at the Salvation Army on Wednesday. I thought I was being good. I've got sheets. Lots and lots of sheets.

But in hindsight, those solid ones would've made perfect binding and backgrounds and sashing and I kind of wish I'd checked for stains to see if they were even worth buying. Now I'm crossing my fingers that they'll be there next week.

I was going to check today, but at midnight I convinced myself that I should stay home this morning instead of going out to shop before dawn. By the time I spent two hours driving and however many more hours in line, there was no way I could get everywhere I wanted to be and home by the the time I needed to be back. And when I started cutting down to what I could get done in the time I had, I decided not to even try.

I did get some great deals yesterday on the way to Thanksgiving dinner, toys my kids have been wanting for unbelievably dirt cheap. They would've got the same toys if I had to pay full price, but I paid half price and got twice as much for what I did pay.

Joann's had the Accuquilt Go! on sale this morning. I've totally convinced myself that I want one. Probably not need, but I definitely want....saw the sale flyer for Joann's and was very happy about the price....did some research earlier in the week and found out that the store only had two....listened to the little inner voice nagging at me that being first in line at Joann's might not be the safest plan and decided not to even try...

Then got a call from Mom that she'd gone in later this morning and had a Go! in the back of her Jeep for me in case I hadn't been able to get one myself. Neither of us realized that we could order one online -- or that if they sold out we could order one in the store. Guess I'm so used to those first come first serve doorbusters that I never thought to check further.

I've spent the afternoon searching for Go! reviews that I hadn't already read, and it really sounds like this will work for me. I'm anxious to get my hands on it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I found it!

But as anxious as I was to find my camera cord, it wasn't enough to make up for the horrible morning I had.

At least I get to show off my pretty stack of folded shirt backs. I'm in love with this stack of fabric.

One of my big problems with shirts for quilting is that if one gets into the regular laundry I sometimes can't tell if it's one of mine, or a shirt my husband bought and only wore once or twice. Plaid shirts all kind of look alike.

In an effort to really truly keep things straight, I washed all of my new shirts and cut the backs off. Now there's no question that these are meant for quilts! I also cut off all of the buttons so I won't have to worry about separating them from the scraps later. Not sure why I bother, since my boys always seem to make off with them, but maybe I'll get this batch out to the sewing room first.

I thought I had lots of plans for these until I got a better look at the neutrals and realized how much I like them. That's when I froze and got scared to actually CUT them and make some decisions.

But now I think I've narrowed it down to Star Stuck, Smokey Mountain Stars, or Random Ohio Stars.

Friday, November 19, 2010


When I took the kids trick or treating downtown, I I got the times wrong, so we showed up a half hour early. The thrift store had huge signs that they were closing and everything was 75% off...

So while we were waiting for trick or treating to start, I cleared out a good chunk of her men's shirts for between nineteen and thirty-eight cents a piece. I thought I'd gushed about it here, but can't find the post so maybe I was too caught up in the Halloween whirl to actually manage to translate my giddiness into words.

Wednesday, Alex wanted to stop by the thrift store. I figured they were already closed and only drove down there to shut her up...

Bad, stupid, dumb Mommy! I really should listen to that girl more often.

Clothes (and shoes) were ten cents a piece. I got twenty or so shirts and three old wooden hangers with logos on them. Alex got three pairs of shoes and a pair of ice skates. She's eyeing the wedding dresses, but they're still more than I want to pay for a future craft project.

We went back today. Ten more pairs of shoes and a formal dress for Alex, and two huge bags of shirts for me. I didn't look at the boys and women's sections Wednesday, because they've got less fabric than the men's shirts. But for ten cents, I can deal with darts and shaping.

Counting the Halloween shirts, I think I've probably got seventy shirts here. And I was being picky. They're all 100% cotton (or close enough) and decent colors.

Tonight, I'm doing laundry. Loads and loads of laundry.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

47 to go

I totally lost my momentum this weekend when I got a call that the group I've been making the baby quilts for has stopped doing layettes for needy moms. I expected it to happen soon because the ladies in charge are both in fragile health, but wasn't ready for it to be right now.

Because my quilts aren't all 100% cotton, and most of them contain at least some repurposed fabric, they don't fit the guidelines for a lot of the groups that need baby quilts. And I'd rather donate locally so that my quilting budget is going for quilting, not postage. After making some calls on Monday, I think I've found a pregnancy center that can use some, so I've got my fingers crossed that they'll like the quilts I'm going to take in later this week.

The other group had me so spoiled. I got to make my own rules and knew that if anything ever wasn't up to their standards, it would go back to me and not into the trash. Out of thirtysome quilts, they used them all.

Once I stopped sulking, I quilted and bound the first three of my fifty quilts. They were all done and pin basted, so even if I didn't know where they were going, I might as well finish them, right?

Loading pictures onto the other computer is a huge hassle. I really need to find my cord, but playing with fabric is more fun and the cord is in the room where the fabric is. It'll turn up eventually. Probably about ten minutes after I break down and buy a replacement.

I've got stew simmering in the crock pot for dinner, school amost done for the day, and since I don't have to leave the house, I'm going to see if I can pinbaste the next three tops during nap time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I can do this!

Not today, because I made the mistake of actually realizing how long it had been since my last bad migraine and promptly got a nasty one. Now that my Caffergot has kicked in, I'm moving slowly and carefully.

But, at some point, I'm going to be able to do those fifty baby quilts. I've been digging through my sewing corner today and already found more batting and potential backings than I thought I had. Enough for fifty? Who knows, but I'm sure I'll unearth more options as I work on using what I've got laid out now.

Matching up potential backings with tops I'm either working on or planning soon is fun -- more fun than making a top and then stressing about what to match it with.

I'm taking baby steps towards a more organized sewing corner -- and once I've got room to breathe in here, I can go out and tackle the actual sewing room. I'd love to be organized before it gets really cold out there.

And to find that camera cable....

Earlier this week, I was busy playing with 2 1/2" squares. Now I'm wondering if I should set more aside for my own projects.

Care at Obessively Stitching is saving little I Spy squares to make a quilt for her own bed. And she's framing them into adorable little blocks.

And look at the scrap quilt by the Curious Quilter here -- 2900 different fabrics. I did a little digging and found a post about how she made it.

Monday, November 08, 2010

giddy about plastic bags

I love Ziploc Big Bags for hauling batches of baby quilts up to the gal who does the layettes. And pretty much any other time I need to haul quilts around. They're sturdy and reusable and just seem to hold stacks of quilts better than the cloth grocery bags that were my other choice. And they're cheap enough to leave behind with the quilts.

One of my boxes of Ziploc Big Bags came with a sample of a smaller size, which was just the right size for batches of baby hats and booties. For months, I've been trying to track down more of them. I finally found some with adorable Halloween bats on them, but didn't get any because I wasn't sure how the church group that uses the quilts feel about Halloween decorations.

Because I was having such bad luck (and not desperate enough to order them online) I started looking for two gallons Ziplocs. No one has those either, except the Dollar Tree which sells an off brand. Which is fine. Baby hats don't need protection from leaks and freezer burn. We went back to the store for a second box of bags and couldn't find any, but we did find these --

I'm giddy about my cheap new plastic storage! When they're full, the bags sit on end so I can line them up and sort scraps by color. They smoosh down, so if they're almost empty, they won't take up a lot of space. And I can overflow into as many as I need for each color.

This post at Stash Manicure last month made me drool. I'm never ever going to have my fabric sorted like that -- or be able to afford all of the plastic it would take! -- but imagine the quilts you could make...

I've been sorting scraps and cutting them up for my controlled scrappy quilts. So far I've played with pink...

and blue...

and red is next on the list.

I've also been drooling over pretty stuff online.

Isn't this old yo yo quilt neat? I love the way the circles and colors conjure up river rocks. Not sure how it would feel since it's made of old stockings, but I sure like looking at it!

When I first saw it last week, I liked Judy Laquidara's Connect the Dots, almost enough to make one for myself. Now that I've seen Jo's scrappy version, I've got to make one.

This quilt makes me want to start another nine patch and snowball quilt today because I like the way the lights and darks in the nine patch blocks are opposite what I've already done.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

no pictures today

I still haven't found the camera cable. Probably because I'm not looking too hard. It's here in my little quilting corner, and I'll stumble across it eventually. Betcha I've looked right at it six or seven times today without seeing it, because that's what usually happens when I'm worried about finding something.

Instead of searching for the cable, I've been working towards my fifty quilts. One top is done, another is done except for a border to bring it up to size, and I've got plans for half a dozen more.

And today I'm feeling pretty good about my mom-as-teacher science skills. We saw a horror story online earlier this week about the McDonald's Happy Meals that won't rot -- and I know from experience with four kids and a mini van that there are all sorts of different foods that will petrify under a seat for scary lengths of time.

Stuff dries out. Dried food can stay that way for decades. The woman who taught the food preservation class I took years ago brought in dried fruits that were 15-20 years old as samples. Which we ate, although I'm pretty sure she didn't reveal their age until after that.

I've been guessing that a burger made at home would behave the same way as a McDonald's one and wishing someone had done a comparison. Thanks to my daughter's incredible skills at Google, we know that someone did. And Mommy was right, they are turning into burger jerky.

Now I'm annoyed with the science teachers who are supposedly using these petrified burgers as warnings. Either they don't know better (which they should), or they do and they're misleading their students.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I should probably do it

The more I sort through my fabric, the more I think that maybe I should try Becky's 50 quilt challenge. What's stopping me?

I just finished a whole big batch of quilts from stash that wouldn't count towards the total.

I'm almost completely out of off-white thread for quilting the tops.

I'm getting low on batting. There's maybe enough for a dozen more baby quilts, without digging into the Warm and Natural I've got for family quilts. I'm sure I can do more than I think I can, but it definitely won't be all fifty.

I don't wanna not be able to buy scrap bags. And I've been really good at resisting temptation for the past few months.

But it would be really good for me. I know I can make a ton of baby quilts with the scraps I already have, and picking out fabric for fifty of them would either make a big dent in the piles or encourage me to sort through and organize what I've got. I ordered a bunch of thread this morning and I won't worry about the batting until I actually need it.

Doubt I'll make it all the way to fifty, but it'll be interesting to see how long I can last.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

maybe I shouldn't clean...

Because that's when I get myself into trouble. The camera cord still hasn't turned up, and I apparently also put away my bin of 2 1/2" squares. I need them both.

I got all ten of the baby quilts done by bedtime on day ten. The new printer has a card reader, so I can show them off.

Finish #7 is so pink it kind of scares me.

Finish # 8 is the quilt that started out as a sort of scrappy Bento Box and turned into something else. The top has been done for a few months, so it was just waiting for quilting and binding.

Finish #9 is another strippie. You can't tell in the picture, but the colorful little things in the focus fabric are crowns and the word "Princess."

And finish # 10 is an experiment based on a quilt I saw online a while back. (I somehow managed to bookmark the picture file, but not the blog itself, or I'd link to the original.)

Surprisingly, I'm not completely burnt out by this little bing -- which is why I need that little bin of squares.

Since I'm going to have to cut new squares anyway, I've decided to play with some controlled scrappy color schemes for the next batch of baby quilts. Hopefully while I'm pulling fabrics, I'll find the missing box of squares and the camera cable.

Looking at my piles of pink and green and brown, I'm thinking I might have suitable stuff to tackle Bonnie's new mystery.

My imagination was captured today by the pictures at My Shabby Streamside Studio. That loft bed is straight out of a fairytale. There's an article that talks about its creator and how her wonderful studio came to be here.

I'm also just a little tempted by the challenge Becky has set for herself, to finish fifty quilts from stash before buying anything new. It would dent my stash to do fifty baby quilts -- or at least force me to get more organized than I am now. But I'm not sure I can give up the hunt for scrap bags.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


It's day ten and I just finished machine quilting the tenth quilt. Earlier today, I started a post about how Halloween wore me out and I didn't think I'd finish quilting those last two quilts tonight. But posting my goals online is a great motivator, so I worked up the enthusiasm to get the quilting done.

I'm hoping to post pictures tomorrow, once I've got the binding handstitched, but even though I know I picked up my camera cord when I was clearing off the table for dinner last night, I have absolutely no memory of where I set it down. So there won't be pictures of the four newest quilts until I stumble across it again.


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