Friday, February 23, 2007

I got a goodie box!!!!

several, actually! What a day! I was feeling a bit gloomy. Can't say why... I have no idea. Might have been the 2 weeks we've been snowed in... but I don't really mind that. Then the mail lady drives up our lane and that means a box!! The kids and I get so excited when this happens- it's like that "Wells Fargo wagon is a'comin' down the street!" song. And what a treasure trove she delivered. I got tea!!! My favorite Stash Tea- "White Christmas." Yes, it was on clearance, and dh Bill got me 4 boxes! MMMMMmmmm.... Peppermint and ginger. And it's white tea so it's supposed to be full of anti-oxidents, and who couldn't use more of those in their diet?

But I'm really just stalling in telling you about these precious gifts that came all the way from North Dakota from a very special lady. Ever have days when you just need a friend? No, they don't have to actually be there with you, you just have to know that they're out there, somewhere, being your friend. And then BAM! You get a little piece of that friendship in concrete evidence and it just blows you away! Look at that journal. Is that not one of the coolest things you have ever seen? Look familiar? Yeah, it's an original by Darcie. Oh, I feel so honored. Floored. I own an original by Darcie. How could I rate such a gift? The hand-dyed fabric, the quilting and the beading... Well, you guys know how I love to write, right? And dontcha think that actual handwriting is gonna a be a lost art, someday? Like tatting or... well, like quilting very nearly got lost by the way. But you know with a journal like this... it's just inspiring! And when I fill up this journal- which I have no doubt I will- I can just pop another composition notebook in the luscious cover and start all over again! I keep 3 journals, already, and now I have a place to put the children's stories that I write for my girls. You'll notice there are 2 "baby" journals there for the girls. You should have seen their faces when they received them. Their eyes got so big and they hugged them to their hearts just like they do when they get a letter from Grandmother. Now that's a compliment, I'll tell you. Bekah has hers half-filled up and crammed each sheet with drawings of princesses. Eva has hers with her everywhere she goes! We have not left home without them! How typically thoughtful of Darcie! And the post card is sooooo cool. You know I have a weakness for them and I keep a frame up where I switch out my favorite postcards- this one went right in! Darcie sent me a copy of the magazine which featured her talents and what a surprise to see one of my postcards there on her sewing table!!! Now wasn't that a treat, too? My boys have found all of the articles in that magazine fascinating, especially the one featuring a meat cutter! They have come to the conclusion that there are a whole lot of cows in North Dakota.

So, I have thread, tea and a very dear friend who has sent me a gift that's a little piece of her. I got nuthin' to be gloomy about!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

This quilt doesn't exactly speak to me...

...hey, who are we kidding? It's BLUE and yellow so it isn't even making eye-contact, much less striking up a conversation. And do you think I could have crammed one more flowery fabric into it? But and however, it's not all about me. I made this quilt top for a friend...actually, I have never met her or even spoken with her... or shared correspondance of any kind... BUT she is married to a very dear friend of mine and so, I'll consider her a friend. They have a very sick little girl and he, my friend, just had brain surgery to remove some tumors. I was thinking to make my friend and their daughter a quilt... then it occurred to me- that poor mama needs a quilt packed full of blue skies and sunshine! Whatcha think? Even though I am not the biggest fan of blue, I can't deny that it is a cheery quilt. The pattern is, of course, Bonnie's pineapple blossom. I used the little leftover half-triangle squares for the middle border. And then just sewed my leftover 2" strips for the outer border. I really felt the need to get the blue flowery fabric out of the stash with all due haste! giggle Unfortunately, I don't have enough for the back, so I'll need to wait to quilt it until I can get out and do some shopping. I had some blue, but it was way too serious for this quilt. I do have enough of that inner border blue to bind it in, so I'm almost set.

I did get DH to pick me up some thread, yesterday, on his way home from work. It is just C&C, but beggers certainly won't be choosers. It feels like a good thing to have sewing thread in the house again. I did organize my quilting room and found another spool. I always need to do a fairly major overhaul when I finish a quilt. Do you? I seem to focus so much on the project, no matter how small, that when I finish, I look up and go, "What in the world happened in here?" So then it's time to regroup. I must have thrown out 2 bags of junk- just scraps and stuff. I have a box of magazines to pass on and big bag of patterns to give away. The post card habit has been detrimental to my decluttering efforts. I used to throw away llittle bits of fabric, but now I find myself holding on to every little scrap- it doesn't take much for a post card. Yesterday, I decided to pitch the lot and start all over. One thing time has taught me- there's always more where that came from! So the quilting room is at peace again. There are even some bare shelves. Hard to conceive, I know. It will take me a little bit to start back up again, but worth it to know where things are again and to have found some fun things to work on. I found about 20 UFO's! But to be fair to myself, only half of them are truly UFO's. The other half is remainders of projects- leftovers- that still look rather tasty. Things I might make into a small project. Plenty to play with while we are getting snowed in, again.

I thought you guys might enjoy this picture of one of the many snow forts in our yard. I asked what the laundry baskets are for and I was told they are for toting amunition. Notice the big pile of mortars on the left? The snow added up to about 20", and half way into it, there was some sleet, so it can be picked up in these big bricks. Which are not, under any condition, to be hurled at a child! But it is still, apparently, a lot of fun to hoist them over your battlements at the enemy and have them burst into a shower of snow! I have noticed that this is good exercise and the troops come in starving and sleepy. The little ones just can't play out because the snow is too deep and they can't walk around. We've had many a frustrated try, though. We are enjoying some fresh snow, today. Just a few more inches. Maybe 6, but enough to make everything look new again. Hope you are all having a good weekend. The most amazing thing just happened... But this is already a long post so I'll tell you about it later!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Day!
We are in the midst of a fierce winter storm. The wind is howling and it is snowing buckets. It has been at it for nearly 24 hours and there seems no sign of it letting up. February should be like this. Dh Bill couldn't make it out to work and it looks like he may be home tomorrow. How sweet is that? After 19 days, 5 of my young guests have returned home and the house seems strangely empty and quiet with only 11 children! Weird, I know. Some of us have been struggling with a bug of sorts, but it really hasn't been bad. My voice has been gone for nearly a week and my eyes are a mess, but as that is only the top 25% of my body... not a big deal. That's what winter is all about. I quilted this quilt for my Mom. She made it from scraps given to her by Aunt Isobel. There is another red quilt that I need to get to, but it needs a backing, so... other than this, I haven't really done any quilting. I am out of thread. Now that is a sad state of affairs, eh? I need to order quilting thread and peicing thread. Maybe I'll get to that, tomorrow. Today, Dh ordered me some tea. Then I'll be all set. Looks like we'll be snowed in for a while. We've been baking as we were concerned we might lose our power. We made a candy bar cake, and 2 apple cakes, and a couple batches of chewy ginger snaps, and some lemon and raspberry cookies. See? We're hardly suffering at all. Our priorities are a bit... out of order, but hey, sometimes you need a "little" sugar to keep you sweet. I have a gas stove top, so we can always cook some protein if we start bouncing off the walls.

Here's my hero. Ds Joe and Dh Bill are "mudding" my bedroom. We have 10 foot ceilings, so it is an even bigger job than usual. Now I am thinking that it is a pretty good use of their time, seeing as how they are all snowed in, anyway. I am so excited! 8 years of staring at screw holes and dingy drywall. Soon, there will be paint. I think I may need to get to work on a couple quilts so I can afford paint...

Monday, February 05, 2007

My little helper...

This is Paul and he is 4. He's the third to youngest of my guests. He is fascinated by the "sewing kit" as he calls it. Apparently, the only name he knows to call the quilting machine. I've tried correcting him, but it's still the "sewing kit" to him. As with most 4 year olds, he is full of questions. He is also just as mischievous as this picture would indicate. While I was standing at the ironing board, he unthreaded my machine for me. I sewed a whole seam before I noticed. He thought that was hysterically funny. The little imp. No harm done. He did a little artistic rearranging of the squares in the outer border of my little wallhanging... What do you think? No harm done. Doesn't he look just as pleased as punch? We had a hard time deciding which end was up on this wallhanging. Finally, we decided it probably doesn't matter. We counted almost 500, one-inch pieces in this little... Well, we can't decide if we want to make it a medalion for the center of those other blocks- a full-size quilt, or maybe just call it quits as a wallhanging. Hmmm..... whatcha think?

We've been quite the party animals, lately. First, there was groundhog day. Our little guests had never celebrated groundhog day, so we did it up proper. We watched the movie- jumping up for snacks whenever the script called for it- doughnuts, rocky road icecream, sweet vermouth with a twists... well, it was just 7-up with lemons and limes in it, but quite tasty, and strawberry cake with whipped cream- which I must say, little Paul adores whipped cream. He had never had it before and has requested some more- for his cookies.

Then there was the Super Bowl. Go Colts! But a bittersweet victory for my Dh Bill who is a dyed in the wool, Bears fan. But he lives in Central Indiana now and he got with the program. So we had a big party with cake and cookies and nachos and BBQ meatballs. And now, DH is threatening to bring home more junk food to celebrate the victory!! I officially went back on my diet, today. Most happy to be here! Only so much junk one person can consume! I spoke with my 8 little guests' mother, today, and she might come and fetch a few home... in a few day. So, no doubt, Bill will have to celebrate having them with us for a few more days! Still having a blast!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Crazy Days...

Well, I haven't had much computer time, lately. imagine that. There's just all kinds of things to do. I have been cooking...a lot. We've had stew, and soup, and spaghetti, and beans, and 4 pounds of french toast, and 3 pounds of barleymeal, and 2 lemon pound cakes, and a huge batch of cinnamon rolls, and a pineapple upside down cake, and 10 boxes of cereal. I've made 2 dresses- and mended another. Leandra scooted down my stairs and hooked a nail on the back of her dress- a hole that needed immediate attention. And so, while we were at it, we made her a new jumper/dress. It is a very warm flannel. (We've had some very chilly weather, here- expected to get colder yet. See the sun shining in the picture? Cold is quite OK, when you have lots of sunshine.) And then her sister "needed" a new jumper/dress- with a built-in apron. Stephania is a cleaning wiz. She even moves things off the counters to clean under them. Amazing. I've quilted 2 quilts, also. This one is for their oldest sister, Amy, who had to work and couldn't come for a visit. I had these crazy squares (stack the deck) left over from a quilt that I donated to an auction about a year and a half ago. 8 sqaures. A difficult number to work with. If ya had 9, you could place them 3x3. That'd look OK. As it is, I just threw in some busy alternate blocks- yep, leftover from the piecing, and quilted it up. It's kinda off-balance, but... well, it matches it's maker! She has a new home and her sisters think it'll look nice on her couch. I have a lot of green and brown binding scraps and I think I'll just throw them together and bind it with that- she'll appreciate the frugality of the whole project. I am also 97% done with one of my Mom's quilts. Aunt Isobel donated most of the red fabric and Mom supplemented it with more red and white. It's very cheery. I am trying to get it done in time for Valentine's Day. Just for the fun of it. My Mom lives beyond the boonies and I am pretty certain that Valentine's Day would pass her up unawares... but it's a goal to keep me moving forward. We took all of the children to the movies, the other night. Tuesday is half-price-day. $8.50 for 17 people. Total. Not bad, huh? Drew got in free 'cause he's only 1. Then we went to McDonald's- it was late, but we needed a snack. Everybody got one item off the dollar menu. I think we all got a kick out of that. It sounds kinda simple, but it was a real treat. All 16 of the kiddos have been just lovely, especially considering that the extremely cold weather has kept them cooped up, inside. The only fatality has been the hamster, Zam. Poor dear, we were all rather attatched to her, but she died quietly in a clean bed of wood shavings... a rather romantic way to die, for a hamster.