Friday, January 26, 2007

One queen-size quilt...

two king-size grins! I finally got the last border on this quilt, this morning. I guess I had forgotten why I don't much care for borders- this brought it all back!! But it does add a lot to a rather plain and simple quilt, so I'll probably be doing more borders from time to time. This quilt came from the book, Coffee Time. It was called Caramel Latte. Now how could I resist with a name like that? I had to scrappy-ize it, as that's what I had- scraps. And theirs was caramel, and golden colors... not what I had, so much. Well, I know you can't see much of it, but honestly, even without the children standing on it, I couldn't get back far enough to take a decent picture. I was standing on a chair, as it was. When the weather gets a bit warmer, maybe I'll be able to get the boys to hold it up for me. They'll climb in the back of the truck to keep it from dragging, and that works pretty well. I am excited to get back to the quilting. I've had a nice quiet time, and now I am really feeling like it could be fun to get back into the swing of things. I had a friend tell me that we shouldn't fight the dry spells, creatively, that they are just fallow times. Times to rest and rejuvenate. And, as always, she was right. Much more fun to just coast along and then pick up a project as the spirit moves me. Speaking of moving... I need to get rolling... lots to do!

As you can see, I have a new little girl in my house. Actually, I have 5 new girls and 3 new boys!!! They are staying for a week or so. Each one is cuter than the next and I really couldn't pick a favorite! My kids are just in raptures over their company- now there won't be even the slightest chance of boredom! I am not sure how my friend Mary, their mom, will survive... I know I couldn't, but maybe she will figure out something while her whole family is visiting. She called last night- the children had been gone a total of 3 hours and said that it was an amazing concept that the house was clean and that it would be staying that way until their return! Then, there was some wailing about how that just isn't right! I can't even imagine. Well, I don't guess I'll be having that problem. But they are all good worker bees and I am here to say that the chores were finished in record time, this morning! 16 kids can really get the job done! Ok, so the 1 year old wasn't pulling his own weight, but he sure is adorable. It's nice to have a baby in the house, again. And I'm glad he is sleeping with someone else. Though he did take a nap on my shoulder. How sweet. Sillily, I decided to invite a bunch of friends over, tonight, for a bit of a party... I have made 24 mini cheese cakes and a bunch of cup cakes. I am planning a mixed heritage dinner- cuban and middle eastern. Black beans and rice, flatbread and zahowie, and the boys are wanting corn chips with a layered dip of cheese, avacados, beans, and sourcream and salsa... I am out of black olives, but they don't care for them, anyway. I am thinking I might need to keep the kids under 10 on the upper level and the teens on the lower... logistics in an old farm house. Well, dh Bill will be here, so it's bound to be fun! Got to get the bread in the oven and it's lunch time!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Of Violin Lessons...

blogger ate my picture! Well, maybe I'll find some time later in the day to post that one. I usually just holler "retreat!" if blogger is acting moody on me.

Evabeth and Jacob had their first violin lesson this week. They are both musically inclined- unlike their Mom, so they seem to be really excited about it. Evabeth is quite the taskmaster and has Jacob practicing several times a day. It is so sweet to see these two doing something together. Jacob is 13 and Evabeth is 7 so they don't have opportunity to spend a lot of time together. Jacob says that Eva remembers things better than he does! But Jacob can see and hear mistakes better than Eva- so I think they make a pretty good team. I was expecting some really atrocious screeching from them until they learned a bit more, but I am happy to say that the sounds coming from them are ever so sweet. 1234, 1234, 1234... easy on the ears, so far. Evabeth is anxious to learn the Phantom of the Opera. I tried to encourage her but still let her know that it might be a while. I am amazed by her... no way could she have done this a year ago. We are just so thankful.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Silk Scarves...

I just have to share my great find with you guys! Aren't these silk scarves just luscious? And they are so inexpensive!! (Less than $7) You can find them at - just click on the pink girl store button. (Don't let your dh anywhere near the site 'cause it's filled with guy stuff. Or maybe you could find a great gift there for your favorite outdoorsman. hmmm... one stop shopping!) They used to have about 50 colors, but now they are down to only 15 or so- but trust me, they are still all gorgeous. The scarf that is my favorite is color 045 and is called Salmon, but any quilter would say it's copper. They have the reflective quality of silk, but also an organic look to them. And shipping is FREE! Don't you think they'd make great gifts? If you can bear to let one of them go! They are about 20"x60". (My fuschia colored one is 45"wide and 60" long!) I have the copper one wrapped twice around my head. And they look great around your neck and under your coat- and they feel yummy. Sarah, they still have LIME green ones! I think I need to order a few more- to use my paintstiks on! So visit and be sure to spend a few minutes learning about the origins of these beautiful silk scarves.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Being goofy and fun...

This is me being goofy and fun. Dh Bill got me these tights for Xmas. I'm not sure what I was supposed to do with purple and black argile leotards... but I wore them with my black silk taffeta skirt and patent leather shoes. Tanya called them my witchy-poo socks and said I belonged on Hocus-Pocus. But I had fun wearing them and I had a good day- for the most part. See what I brought home with me? Beautiful, rich browns and blues. See? It was a good day! (Just to let ya know, I am doing much better. A bit of a fever from inhaling too know... and a knot still lodged in my chest, when I swallow... but I'm feeling really grand, today!) I knew I needed them for a quilt I am hoping to put together. I misguessed the amount I needed- I need 22 blues, and 28 browns. So the hunt continues. And that's the fun part. I kicked out some of these blues- decided they were too dark, and I need them as a light value.

Which brings me to a question... I've noticed lots of resolutions popping up around here, as they do each January, about no fabrics being purchased- ever again. That people have enough fabric to make quilts for the rest of their lives. How can this be possible? So, I did some deeper reading and found that most people consider the B's as acceptable purchases: Borders, Bindings, Backings. And of course, Batting. But this still leaves me in a puzzled state. I was looking through pattern books and most quilts, that I would consider making, require 10-12 yards of fabric- for the top alone! Now do you guys really have that kind of yardage in your stashes? Really? I can understand a few compulsiver shoppers out there- I have that kinda day, myself, sometimes. I was looking at my stash and I am pretty sure I am operating at an all-time high capacity, and I have maybe 5 pieces of fabric that are more than 2 yards. And very few full-yard cuts. Maybe 12. And then, do these fabrics match and go together? Would I actually put them in the same quilt? Not hardly! They are just things that I liked and had to have, but one yard of fabric seems a big investment to me. $9. So I want to spread it out and buy several different pieces instead of just one. The occasional clearance fabric thrown in - they are usually large cuts and I use them as backing. Apparently, the next time I love a particular fabric, I need to buy at least 4 yards. And I don't know if I am ready to go there! But I'll consider it. It seems to make more sense. Now, Sarah sometimes tells me that I put the most unusual colors together and that they still look nice. Well, sometimes I do just make do with what I have. I figure if it's good enough for grandma, it's good enough for me. Keeps things from going all "designer" on me. And I'll say the same thing I said last year, I enjoy buying fabric. I don't go into a quilt shop and walk out with 5 yards of fabric. That just doesn't happen. Once or twice a year I buy enough fabric- all at once- to make a quilt, but then I make the quilt and it is no longer in my stash. And I figure that if I have fabric in my stash for years... well, I expect it'll keep there as well as it does in a quilt, right? I've always considered myself to being luxuriously living, stash-wise, but apparently I have a lot to learn from some of you. But don't you think that life is already so full of guilt? Quilts I want to make for so-and-so, quilts that need quilting, quilts that need binding... I am firmly resolving to not feel guilty over quilts that haven't even jumped out of the hopper just yet!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It's all in how ya look at it...

Was havin' a good day. We spent the whole of it working on Block of the Month kits. We got almost 4 of them finished. (Can I just reassure you here that if you participate in these, there is no way the quilt shop is making any money off of you!! Unless you are habitually late and you have to pay the $5 every month... but even then I doubt it. So, if you have any extra money to spend in the LQS and you want o help her out and keep her in business, buy something when you stop in to pick up your kit. This has been a public service announcement. Back to our regularly scheduled program.) On my way home from work, I was so hungry, I was shaky. Ever been that hungry? So I decide to stop at my favorite grocery store- that I can't afford to shop at, regularly- and buy a piece of chicken. They make the best fried chicken around and it's my favorite and I figured, "Could one piece really hurt?" I'll cut to the chase and say, yep, one bite...could kill ya!!! I got choked on the second bite and was in excrutiating pain. Thought a drink of water would help. Nope, couldn't get the water to go down. But I'm breathing, so I do what I always do when I'm in trouble. I head for home. Longest drive of my life!! Apparently, when you're choking real bad, you can't even swallow spit! My console will never be the same. TMI? 30 minutes later, I tear into the drive and dh Bill isn't home!! He's always home before me!! I dash into the house, try to act calm in front of the little ones, squeeze out a smile and ask Dan(15) to think of something. All of them are huddled in the bathroom with me as I am spitting into the toilet and groaning in agony. Clutching my chest and trying not to let on that I think I could die. Finally I catch a little breather and call my Mom and Dad. My dad is a fountain of information. Surely they'll be able to help. So Dan is now pounding on my back and when Dad suggested I jump up and down... well, that's when things got a "little" out of hand. The pain increased 10 fold and I'd just like to say that jumping up and down while choking isn't really a good idea. I couldn't talk anymore and so Dad said to call Bill. Bill pulls into the drive a few minutes later and after a few frantic, and yet trying to sound calm, more phone calls(thanks Sarah) to anybody medicinal and what not, my Aunt Patsy(Uncle Greg's wife) told Bill to take me to the hospital. I was a bit offended when he kept telling everybody we know that I "wolfed down" a piece of chicken!! I did not!! It was just a bite! No wolfing. OK, I was ready to go by then. It had been an hour and a half, 90 minutes, since this had started and I was getting worn out. It's hard to breath through a puddle of your own saliva. Spit spit spit all the way to town. I notice a few miles down the road..."Hey! Who's car is this?" Long story. Bill's broke down in Indy- this one was a rental. Oh, great and an ER bill on top of it! You know they charge you $700 just for walking through the door? I feel so wretched. But finally, I notice I can breath. Deep Breath. I can swallow. Gulp. Mercy! I am cautiously optimistic that something has changed for the good. We drive on into town, I take a sip of Bill's water, yep, it goes down instead of throwing me into a spasm of pain. ahhh.. Now I have to call all those poor souls who helped me out and say I'm OK. I was wailing to my mom, that unlike Bill, I was having such a good day!!!! She says, "Honey, you're alive! I'd say you're still having a good day!!" Well, I guess that's all in how ya look at it, huh?

Now you'd think that would be the end, a happy end, to this rather stupid and yet traumatic event, wouldn't ya? Nope. The BB's complicate things and stress is not a good thing in anyones' life, but especially not in the the lives of my endocrine glands. And in case you didn't know it, that's their purpose, dealing with stress. The little loafers. I feel like I got hit by a Mac truck (why not a Peterbilt or a Freightliner? No, this has Mac written all over it!) So I go to bed and I notice I got the shakes real bad and I'm freezing. It is cold out... but not this cold. And the pain in my sides is worth groaning about. ah, man! Yep. Spilling and spouting Ketones. A bad thing. Gotta up the insulin and that means eating... wondering if I'll ever be able to casually chew my food again! Managed to get a muffin down and take the shot. Shivered for a few more hours until I finally fell asleep. Doing alright this morning- just wondering why it had to be chicken? Why couldn't I choke on something like... liver. I wouldn't mind feeling skittish around liver. But fried chicken? Ah, now that just ain't right. Mom says maybe it's a sign. sigh. Next time you swallow your own spit be very very thankful. it's a blessing. And every day you're alive... It's a good day!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dontcha think this gloomy day could use a little COLOR ????

Me, too. We need some color in our days. It has rained and rained and rained and in spite of having a potentially lovely view out my quilting room window, it hasn't done much to cheer me. Blah. But looking at these pictures makes me giggle. Goofy kids with their Xmas do-rags, being down-on-the-farm homeys. I was reading somebody's blog about having a hard time being at ease with themselves- especially in pictures- and I hope she stops by to see this! Aren't they being outrageous? But ya know? That's not how they act all the time, thankfully, but it sure is fun when they do! Just goofin' off and having a silly time. Sometimes I need to remind myself that it's OK to goof off and have fun. That I don't need to worry if I'll fail or if some one else will like what I am doing. Add a little color to my days by being silly and fun. I've been completely stymied, creatively, over the past week. Nothing has come out of me worth telling about. I've tried painting and sewing, browsing patterns, and fondling stash- which is always a great way to get the creative juices flowing, and yet, nope. All has been gloomy out there in my shop. Might be trying too hard. So I am going to goof off and be silly and if I don't end up being productive... well, so what? Here's hoping that you have a great day tomorrow- just silly and goofy and full of bright colors!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Up close and personal... one for Harriett

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Merry Christmas to Me!!!!!

Isn't it gorgeous? This quilt top was given to me by my Uncle Greg. It is just so stunning. Some of you might remember his "fish chowder" quilt from the Chicago quilt show back in April. This one is a Jinny Beyer pattern called "sea mark." There are 64 blocks- a large king-size, and there are over 50 pieces per block. All hand pieced. Can you believe that? He made tons of hand-painted and hand-stamped fabrics in this quilt and it is so much fun just to look at it and discover all it's little treasures. I can tell you, I was overwhelmed by such a generous gift and I must have cried for a week. But I'm bouncing back. Living with it has been a joy and I can hardly wait to quilt it- but I will have to live with it a bit longer to decide what to do on it- I want it to be just right. I seriously considered hiring that job out- I am such a wimp! But I have come to my senses. Even if I can't do nearly as good a job as some of you here, I still want to do it, myself, for sentimental reasons. Every time I look at it, I am just amazed. Uncle Greg said that there were too many "imperfections" in it to enter it into a quilt show. I don't see any, but maybe he was just saying that so I'd feel better about taking it. He did put the condition on receiving it that I use it. How could I not? Uncle Greg isn't in good health and I know he'd appreciate prayers- such talent!! And dedication in adversity. Like most quilts, it's more than just a quilt. It says a lot about the person who made and maybe something about the person who receives it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Joseph's fiesta...

Joe is 16 and he's a rock. A flexible, easy-going rock. You can count on him to make you feel better and point out that worry won't get you anywhere. One of my most favorite things about Joe is that he's thankful- not the most common trait in 16 year olds. Joe had a fiesta- lots of Mexican food. He strung a rope of red chili pepper lights down the length of the table- very cool. He served nacho chips and cheese and soft shell tacos with Coca-Cola classic to drink. Joe almost always has the same dessert- warm brownies with icecream and hot fudge sauce- whipped cream on top. That's near the top of my dessert favorite list, too. What's not to like? He got each of the kids their own little mini deck of cards. (Growing up, playingcards were taboo around my house. Apparently, years earlier, my 2 aunts were renting a small apartment and they had left their cards on the coffee table- they just played go-fish and such with them. Well, the landlord saw them and they got evicted!! no kidding. But now, we all love to play gin-rummy, and shaghai rummy. Nerts and even go-fish. Euchre is the big card game in this area, but I haven't figured out how to play that one, yet. My grandma had a deck of Rook cards we liked to play. How times change!) It was a grand feast- and that rounds out all the children's feast days for another year. Bill's feast day is tonight, mine is tomorrow. All the shopping is done and I am getting close to getting all the presents wrapped...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Wondering if it's obvious...

No posting about Xmas... no list of things that were unwrapped. OK, so I am taking the saying "Season's Greetings!" literally. I figure that if we get around to exchanging gifts during the season of winter... it still counts, right? So the gifts are still wrapped- mostly. Some still need wrapping. I just didn't want to have to rush around and feel all hurried and harried. It's my favorite part of the winter and I guess that if I want to prolong it, I can. Every one here is playing along. So we will be opening our gifts on Saturday, January 6th. It's only a 2 week delay... That seems to be my story, lately. I'm running 2 weeks behind.

Favorite things... This has become one of my favorite things. Our friend Khalid made us some Zahowie- I have no idea how to spell that, but it is phonetically correct, anyway. It is this extremely spicey sauce- a little like salsa- only on steroids. My kids love it, too. I found a recipe for Middle Eastern flatbread and we like to dip it in the Zahowie. We also like it on basmati rice. mmmm....

Bekah's Feast...

Rebekah is 5 and she is my pink, sparkling bundle of energy. This is her, "taking a nap." Notice the eyes are still wide open. She just lost her very first tooth and she is ever so pleased with herself. Her feast was sponsored by my friend, Tanya's, craft surplus. She had given me a box of craft odds and ends a while ago and I saved them for just such an occasion. We hung birds from the ceiling- at least a dozen, with real feathers. Doves and cardinals, mostly. With a couple pink and purple ones thrown in. There were bird nests on the table with more birds. Her appetizer was chocolate and strawberries. Bekah also had to have orange wedges because she had these little floral picks that needed mooring. They had santas and snowmen on them. She made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup- along with popcorn. They like to put the popcorn in their soup. Plop! Every now and then a bird would come loose from his string and plummet to the table- none landed in the soup. She had orange pop to drink and she made cinnamon rolls for her dessert. We just got the type in a can and she lined them all up on the cookie sheet by herself. They were tasty. Her gifts were also from Tanya's craft stash. Xmas bandanas. They all put them on- the boys looked so cute with snowmen on their bandanas!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

John's feast...

John is 10 and we often call him Jak. He is my sunshine child. He is never gloomy or down in the dumps. Ever. He can find the up side to any situation. His feast was pure Jak. He had already told his Dad that it was his goal to be the most helpful of all the children when it came to making the food for his feast. He did 90% of the cooking- letting me do a little bit. He served the appetizers in the living room- he made little mini pizzas from canned biscuits that he rolled flat and topped with sauce and cheese and pepperoni. He invited his guests into his feast- Italian, and lo and behold, I sat the entire feast. A first. He had lights strung on the ceiling and pine boughs around the door and down the length of the table. He served fetticinni alfredo and garlic bread. He had sparkling grape juice- both white and red, for his drink. I just sat there while he served me first and then everybody else. It was a real treat. His dessert was funny. He had baked a chocolate cake, cut them into circles to fit inside mugs, drizzled caramel on them, and then chopped candybars and finally topped with cool whip. They looked like a float and he had the kids fooled for a few minutes. His gifts were flashlights for everybody and he had made little pencil cups from cardboard and duct tape. Duct tape is a staple around here for all your armor and weapon making needs as well as gift making!