Abe is 3 and he has personality. Lots of personality. His Grandmother made this apron for him and he was so thrilled to receive it. He was having to wear an old white waist apron- up under his armpits. This one, with the tools on it, is "kewl." Abe had a feast any 3 year old would have loved- and we all enjoyed it, too. Let's see... he set the table with a picnic tablecloth in bright plaid blue and orange. His appetizer was Ritz crackers with cream cheese and strawberry jelly. This is a treat Abraham dearly loves and so it was a no-brainer for him to serve to his guests. He made them himself and the kids were sweet in not mentioning the big blops of jelly all over the serving plate. He also dished up a big bowl of goldfish crackers. His main dish was West Virginia hotdogs. Hotdogs are one of those foods that differ greatly from one area to the next. First, you broil the hotdogs- no water near our weenies, please. Then, be sure to steam your buns. A West Virginia hotdog is topped with mustard, onions, chili, and a sweet creamy coleslaw. Now, I know that probably sounds weird to you guys, but we West Virginians like our coleslaw. You should try it- as Abe says, forking in a big bite, "I love this stuff!" And yeah, you usually have to clean your plate with a fork because it gets real messy. Ah come on, you know you want to try it! He fixed a side of french fries and we had orange juice to drink. He made giant cookies with M&Ms in them for his dessert- which I don't know why he bothered as he likes to pick all the candy out and just eat that! He bought ink pens for the bigger kids and the 3 youngest all got little travel magna-doodles. It was a lot of fun to be 3 again!
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
done. Or nearly so. I still have to sew a lining. I am making this bag for my friend, K. K has been my friend longer than any other- 21 years. and that is saying something. She just lost her mom a few days before Christmas and I was already in a quandry about what to give her for Christmas... There are only so many quilts you can make someone- especially when they don't live in a cold climate- I've made her 3. But I think this little handbag is a winner! I might have to fill it with some luxurious little gifts. It is all sewn by hand- I am going to have to try to make one using the sewing machine, next.
Paul(12) is my still water... you know what they say about still waters running deep. That's Paul. He tends to be quiet and private... but sometimes he just overflows and it is amazing what is going on under the surface of his controlled veneer. He is very smart. He had a really fun feast. Have you ever read any of the Redwall novels by Brian Jacques? Paul's feast was a Redwall feast. There are pages in his books dedicated to the menus of the "folks" at Redwall Abbey. The occupants are mostly mice and small woodland creatures like badgers and squirrels, moles and such. So... think vegetarian. He had scones, sprinkled with sugar, and dried fruit for his appetizer. His main course was macaroni and cheese. He wanted to do fish, but he has several brothers who aren't the biggest fan of fish, so... He had strawberry fizz for his drink- he mixed Hawaiian punch with 7-up. And then his dessert was really spectacular. The kids were all amazed. Apparently shrews are really good cooks in Redwall Abbey. So he served not 1, but 2, shrew cakes. He fixed a yellow cake and a white cake- 3 layers each. Hollowed out the cakes and stacked them on top of each other. He filled the white cake with strawberries and strawberry glaze and the yellow cake- my favorite, with peaches and blueberries with peach glaze. The cakes he covered with cool whip. They were so pretty- these big fluffy mounds and when you cut into them- oh, the fruit! It was really very very tasty- good enough for company and an easy thing to make! The gifts- well, the 4 oldest boys got new pocket knives, and the 4 youngest got those little "break and shake" glow tubes that you can take camping. They took them to bed with them and had a fun time staying up later than they probably should have! It was a very original feast and "tasty" as Abe says.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
...Nines is standing, contrite, in the laundry room.... It's 11:00pm, and she's in her nightgown...
"That's the price ya pay, Dan, when you marry a woman with a creative bent of mind..." there's a twinkle in Bill's eye as he says this and I can see his dimples, so I know he isn't too cross with me. There's clothes washer parts scattered about the room- buckets full of fuzzy water... Dan is handing Bill another tool. "Just think Mom, how much you'd have to pay to get this fixed if Dad weren't so handy..." "oh, she'll pay, son, she'll pay..." There's more than a twinkle in his eye now...maybe even a leer... Suffice to say, I paid.
- 1 sweater= $3.50+1 new clothes washer= $350=1 very expensive handbag
- A handy husband to fix the washer for free=priceless
I have come to several conclusions about felting- which is actually "fulling" since the sweaters are already knit...
- It's sadistic- taking a perfectly good sweater and "ruining"it.
- It's rebellious- blatantly ignoring the label and not only not "drycleaning only", but plunking the sweater into hot water, using harsh dishwashing soap- no mild detergent, throwing in a couple pair of jeans, and then tossing the sweater into the hottest dryer possible. Goes against all the laws of good laundering.
- It's masochistic- you're the one who has to pay for a new washer.
- It's a whole lot of fun! If you leave out the "little" worry of ruining your washer machine.
So... I was amazed at how much the sweaters shrunk up- the purple one is in the washer now. Oh I know, it's dreadful isn't it? But now that I know Bill can fix it... oh this is terrible. But I just can't seem to be able to stop myself... point #5... It's addictive. You never know what you're gonna get. I am saving the red sweater for a laundry mat and that is what I suggest for all you out there who don't have such an indulgent, sweet-tempered, handy man in your lives.
Daniel is 15 and he's a classic. He likes classic cars from the 50's, football, and is an avid outdoorsman. He has the heart of a knight... always looking for the right thing to do and is singularly focused on doing it. He's always been that way. (I remember when he was 7 and a neighbor's little boy came into our yard - we lived in town then, and even though Daniel was younger and smaller, he told the boy to go back to his own yard and not to come back until he had decided to stop with the potty mouth!) As you can see, Daniel's feast was a fast food restaurant... We made up the menu and hung it in the living room- he set up a couple walkie-talkies and the children made their selections. Daniel made lots of static-y sounds and asked for them to repeat their orders- "You want grapes on your cheeseburger?" Then they "pulled up to the second window"- the door of the kitchen! where he had their meals all sacked and ready to take to the table! He had goofy little gifts in their meal bags and the kids had such a blast placing their orders. (The Joe Jr. burger is a joke- to tease his older brother. Joe has had some tummy problems and so we decided to joke about it- sometimes you gotta make light of things that worry you a little bit- Joe loved it and ordered 6 Joe Jr. Burgers!) Daniel put red and green streamers across the ceiling- very fast-foodish! The dessert was apple crisp and vanilla icecream. See? A classic. We all had a great time at a very original feast.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I've purchased 6, 100% wool sweaters at a local thrift shop and I am now ready to... I am not sure what you had in mind, but I am ready to get started whenever you are ready to give me a little direction! Well, yeah, I realize that it is 3 days until Xmas but I was thinking that a little creative diversion would allay any panic that I feel bubbling up. Sort of a denial type thing, but I figured it would be a lot more fun to ignore the obvious, I'm hopelessly behind, and felt wool- never done that, than face reality in all it's cold hard splendor. Aren't the sweaters pretty? I paid about $1.79 for each of them- the patterned one I paid a whoping $3.50. Won't they make pretty... see? Here's where I need some help!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I know the picture is a bit fuzzy, but it is the only one I took, so it'll have to do. This is what we made using that cool 9-patch sew, cut and flip method that I showed you a few weeks ago. This was a commission piece- something I rarely- read that NEVER do, but... I was charmed into it! One rainy morning at the quiltshop- just before Thanksgiving, a man comes in. (This is a fairly rare happening. We don't see many men. Maybe the UPS guy...There is this one guy who rides a Harley...) But this other guy- who happened to come into the shop on the same morning as "Mr.Harley" was a different kinda guy. He looked mystified, but on a mission. I think he took courage from "Mr. Harley" and asked if we knew of any little old ladies that might like to make some extra money for Xmas... giggle. It was real hard to keep a straight face. I could see where this was going... He thought he had come into the shop with plenty of time to spare to have a quilt made for his wife for Xmas... And Tanya just about shut him down with a quote about what it would cost. ($700) We explained that we just can't compete with Malasia. Usually folks leave right there and then, but he kinda lingered. I could see he was flabbergasted but still determined to come up with an original gift for his wife who... is a real enthusiastic red hat lady. Tanya returns to her conversation with "Mr. Harley" and I take the charmer in hand. (He reminded me so much of my Uncle Tommy. Uncle Tommy was a bachelor and he would spoil us kids crazy with candy and new winter coats. He would visit near Xmas each year and bring a trunkload of oranges from Florida. He bought me a new wardrobe when I graduated high school- even helped me pick it all out- he had very good, and expensive, taste. Every child should have an Uncle Tommy. He even helped me with some college tuition. He has a big heart.) Well, this guy reminded me of him... And he loved the red hat fabric that we had. And I said that maybe it didn't need to be a bed-size quilt... now what was I thinking? I don't know, but he left with me promising to call him when I had a total rung up for a throw-size quilt that would fit very nicely into her spare bedroom that was decorated to the nines in redhat! Tanya decided we could do it, if we kept it very simple. She made up the pattern, we figured yardage, batting, quilting fees, labor... $275!! I called him, nervously, and he only says, "It'll be nice, right? You get what you pay for. OK." So she cut and pinned and I sewed. Tanya peiced the back- her specialty(Which I could kick myself for forgetting to take a picture!) I quilted it and she bound it. it was really a joint effort and then she called him up and she made him this incredible label that included 2 pictures of him and his wife together and a poem he had written for her!!! "...you're my best chum, you're my sugarplum." was the last line and I knew that even though we were a little stressed out about getting it done during this busy season, it was worth it! How sweet is that? I can't wait to find out how she liked it, but I know that there won't be another like it- shew!
was a couple nights ago. Eva...understands things. I don't have to explain much when it comes to people. She just knows. She's 7 going on 70. She is very sympathetic and authentic. I love her easy company. She made a spaghetti dinner for the family. She had orange wedges for her appetizer and chocolate milk to drink. Her dessert was sundaes with all kinds of topping- chopped candy bars and cookies, sprinkles and cherries, syrup and whipped cream- making sure to tell the boys that they are NOT to squirt it into their mouths. She decorated the room by making tons of paper snowflakes and DH Bill hung them from the ceiling using string. It was really lovely. She draped my scrap batting over the backs of the seats and across the children's bench- like it was snowing, she said. We had a runway of red glass votives sitting on paper snowflakes down the length of the table. Her gifts were a great find at the dollar store- puzzles. The big boys' puzzles have 500 peices and a couple of them have already been completed. The smaller children had simpler puzzles, even a wooden one for Abe the babe. It was a really great feast.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Every December, we celebrate what we call "Feast Days." We put the numbers 1-8 in a bowl and the children draw- to determine the order that they will be going in. We get out a calender to assign dates to each child and then they each meet with me- secretly- to plan their menu. The meals are usually very simple, but incredibly thought-out, as to what they think the other children might especially like. We read the book of Ester to show how a simple act of kindness can make a big difference. Then on each feast day- or the day before, I take each child out to shop for groceries and small simple gifts to give each of their "guests." They decide how they will set the table and how they will decorate the room. On the feast day, as they are preparing their meal- with a little help from Mom, we curtain off the kitchen so it will all be a surprise.
Jacob's Feast... was last night. He set out the best china and put pine on the table along with gold tinsel. He put 2 oil lamps on the table, also. He made fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans and rolls. Bottled sodas- remember when they were always in glass bottles? My kids get the biggest kick out of opening the bottles! Orange and Grape Crush. Another feast tradition is having appetizers- I think the children look forward to that as much as the meal. Why don't we have appetizers with our everyday suppers? Maybe because it would make the feast days less special;) Jacob sliced apples and served them with caramel sauce. His dessert was a big hit- butterfinger ice cream- (a 2 quart box of ice cream, a large box of coolwhip, and a gazillion chopped up butterfinger candybars.) He thought that one up, himself. Soooooo good. And simple. His gifts were those little pocket notebooks which he gussied up with stickers that had inspirational sayings on them. The kids loved them. They all are walking around today looking like little detectives taking notes!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
It's a slow quilting/sewing week for me. Already Wednesday and not a thing to show for it. So... I thought I'd just show you one of my doodles. I have a large doodle sheet. It is about a queen size peice of muslin- which I cut into squares and then sewed back together. Threw in some batting. Whenever I want to try a new design, I just pin it to the machine and then I doodle away. (It takes a while to pin the thing on- I think that most people don't realize the time involved in just getting ready to quilt. It takes me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes to get a quilt on the frame- depends on the size. It is one of my least favorite parts of the whole process, but not a bad "I'm too tired to do much else" kinda job. Rather like the dishes or the laundry. Jobs that needs be done. I like to get my quilts on the machine at night- then I can come in, all fresh in the morning, and get straight to work.) Doodling is one of my favorite things to do- just go where the needle takes me. Do you ever do that on the margins of your papers? You know, draw little curlyques and squiggles? That's so much fun. Now try it without lifting your pencil. That's continuous line and bit more of a challenge, but you'll get the hang of it. I find that doodling with the machine is actually easier than doodling with a pencil. Can't say why. Maybe it is that loud droning in my ears. It is quite loud. I remember when we first got the machine- I would just about jump out of my skin when that thing would kick in- so loud. It was intimidating. A common response, as I can rarely get anyone to play around with the thing. They refuse to make eye contact and back away slowly. I am kinda that way with anything loud. I love my food processor, and my KitchenAid mixer- but I sometimes avoid using them because they are so loud. Kinda spoils the whole theraputic process of making a pot of soup! When I am finished doodling, I just remove the doodle sheet and get back to work... but you know me, right? It will be a whole cloth quilt when I have used up all the spaces on it! No point in using up fabric, even muslin, with no useful purpose other than doodling!
Monday, December 11, 2006
Isn't it funny how a simple little note can make you smile for days? The boys (the 3 oldest) all went hunting with their Dad a week or so ago. They were gone for 3 days, and I was kinda dreading their absence. When I went back to my sewing room to pout, I found this note on my machine- how well they know me! It is from my DS Jake(13y) and it just made me laugh! How sweet is that?
Not much sewing going on here. I have a client quilt on the frame- the last of the season. And I think I can finish it, today, if I just knuckle down and do it. I am helping a friend to make a quilt for her husband for Xmas. It is a simple Trip Around the World- the one by Eleanor Burns. She has the trip done, and today we go shopping for border fabric. I keep thinking that I don't have time for this, but then... there's always time to do what God wants you to do. I did make 8 turban towels, this weekend, to put into college student gift bags. But that's about all the sewing I have had time for. The floor of the sewing room looks like snow as the terry fabric sheds something fierce when you cut it!
Favorite things... This platter was given to me by Sarah for my birthday- years ago. It is pressed aluminum with daffodils running all around it- she had a mirror cut to fit the indentation in the center. It hangs by my kitchen door and is one of my favorite things.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
...I said that the other day in regards to getting the collar on this coat. My Mom said that wasn't a bad mantra. Personnally, I think the coat fits me better. Sorry about cutting my head off- I'm having a bad hair year. DS Joe was horsing around, last night, while I was trying to get a picture of it, and I told him to cut it out, or I'd blog him. He really isn't worried about that kind of thing. Fine. Consider him blogged. I have no idea what that dwarf beard is all about...
I made the four panels for this coat, last December- it's in the archives. The weather here has turned cold and I thought, that with the guys on a hunting trip... I should try to finish a project. (I did get 2 of the 3 client quilts done, so I was feelin' a bit neglected.) It really is like making four little baby quilts! I quilted them up, Friday. There is cotton batting in the body of the coat and flannel in the sleeves. I washed the panels after they were quilted so I didn't need to worry about my jacket shrinking after I had put all the work into making it! I am not the best at clothing construction- or "wearables" as they are called in the quilting industry. (Don't the terms "quilting" and "industry" sound weird in the same sentence?) But I am better than I think I am! The pattern that I used was great because it was for a shearling coat and so they took into consideration the extra thickness of the fabric and all. It is a bit too big, but that'll just make it more comfy, right? It only took 3 hours to make- and that includes the bias binding. Bias binding... I think that is a first for me. They say it is supposed to wear better. I took the coat for a test run, yesterday evening. 18* and it was really quite comfortable. But I did have a sweater on under it...
Well, I need to scoot- It's Tuesday and work won't wait. Have a great day and stay warm!