Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Birthday!!!!

We have 4 birthdays in about a month- and then we have something of a hiatus until August. Eva(8) and Bekah(6) have birthdays just one week apart. The girls like to celebrate together. They have a theory that they get more presents that way! They share everything, so I don't know if it matters, much. Joe(17) and Jacob(14) have birthdays two weeks apart and they like their own celebration-no doubt about it- they get more food that way! Teenagers are funny about things like that!

Traditions.... as most of you already know, we have some unusaul traditions around here and these pictures illustrate a couple of them so well! Birthdays are a big deal for us- but just for family. No parties or anything like that. The birthday kids get to pick the menu for the day. And the type of cake they want. Then, I take them out for lunch at the restaurant of their choice. All that is pretty normal, I figure. But once the cake hits the table, things go awry. I am not at all sure how this started... but we sing "Happy Birthday" as loudly and as obnoxiously off-key as possible. The higher pitched the better! Now you know why no one outside of family is invited! As the children have gotten bigger the noise level has increased exponentially, and I'd just like to say that our windows and all other household glass is at risk of shattering! I think I was deaf for about an hour after that last one! And if you are wondering why the girls' cake is so covered with candles and Jacob's is so..not... well, I set out the proper amount of candles for the girls- 14- but before I knew it they had scarfed up the entire box of candles and I didn't have the heart to tell them to remove them from the cake and put them back! So I was out of candles when it came to Joe's birthday- he gladly settled for one votive candle, and I meant to get more, but forgot... so Jacob came up with the idea of the zippo... said he would save breath that way- not having to blow it out but just releasing the button. I thought that was a pretty good solution.

Friday, April 20, 2007


I think contrast is a good thing. I love white-chocolate covered pretzels- the salty contrasting with the sweet. Things would get pretty boring without contrast. Of course, there is contrast and there is contrast. A little bit is good, maybe too much can be jarring. Here are 2 of this week's projects. (No, I didn't limit myself to only 2 projects- there are several more in the works, but they are gifts and, as such, have to be kept under wraps.) These 2 quilts are what I would consider high contrast. Too much of a good thing? Oh, I don't know.
The top picture is my Thimbleberry Village which I am putting together for my Mom. I have another "block" finished so that leaves 4 more to go. I am thoroughly enjoying this quilt. I love making samplers- while they take a little bit longer to make, it's a lot of fun to see how each block is going to turn out and how they will all come together. And did anyone else notice that my geese are doing a nose dive? I didn't like the way the red in the log cabins blended into the house block- not enough contrast. But I am not sure which is the lesser of 2 evils... nose-diving geese or blurry log cabins... You decide for me, will ya? These blocks came pre-cut and that alone has been a real treat. I am averaging about a block a day- like I have nothing more pressing to do. But I have been rewarding myself with sew time after each pass on the quilting machine. It seems to be a pretty good combination. I get contrast and my shoulder doesn't get "stove up."
The bottom picture is a "Minkee Blankee" that I made as a house warming gift for a young friend who just bought his first house. It has a fire place and he was joking about how good a bearskin rug would look in front of it... so I threw together this cheetah backed blanket. Not exactly the same effect, but I've had rave reviews from it. It is soooooo soft. He said that was it's only flaw- it's so soft he finds it hard to stop petting it! His arms and legs keep flapping around at night! He is 6'5" so I made it extra long. And doesn't that blue look just like a pool of water? His dad liked it so much that now we need to make another.
So how's that for contrast. One is very traditional and one is quite modern for a quilt. One has lots of little pieces and one has no piecing. But both are quite tasty. Now where can I get some of those pretzels....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Girls and Their Body Guard...

Jack is only 2 years older than Eva, but I never noticed how much bigger he is! (Eva and Bekah are 2 years apart also.) These are the girls' Easter dresses and you can see I did get their doll dresses finished. I just kept it real simple. Sarah gave me that butterfly fabric a couple years ago and it's been waiting for just such a project. Eva has a thing for "cute" bugs. When they walked into church, some one said they expected me to be dressed like them... um, nope, I'm not so much a fan of purple butterflies. At least not this version. But they look very sweet on the girls.

I have been trying to keep things simple. I have accomplished a lot of from my list. Even added a few more- like I need more to do! I am starting a "new" Thimbleberry quilt for my Mom. Tanya from the quiltshop just gave me the pattern and the fabric- already cut!- so it's all fun, now! Do you remember the Thimbleberry Village pattern? It's been a while back- years, since it came out. Tanya decided that she hated it and wouldn't spend any of her time working on it. It'll go perfectly in my folks barn, though. I have also been working on Sarah's quilt challenge quilt. Each year we challenge each other to make a quilt. This year it is to be a two color quilt- unless Sarah cheats again. Rules are meant to be broken by some folks! I'm teasing. She gave me a very pretty, soft green to work with and it hasn't been a trial- much. It is all going smoothly- I'm sure she is relieved to hear this. Sarah is the type to plot and plan everything out and I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, so I think I worry her sometimes! But don't worry Sarah. I'm right on schedule. Now if I can only get the 4 quilts done that need to be finished in the next couple weeks!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I find myself in the middle of conflict. oh, nothing major. Just trying to figure out what direction to take on any given day concerning all the mundane things that need to be done. There are several little deadline projects and I am just trying to figure out what needs to be tackled, first. I think a priority list will help. Bill and I used to make lists of all the home improvement projects that needed to be accomplished. All of them. And then we would sit down and start to put them in order of importance. Like if it were winter time, insulating the house would probably get top billing while painting the trim could be put off. The problem is, the trim never gets painted, ya know? Sometimes you have to just grab something at the bottom of the list or you don't feel like you're accomplishing much. Here's my short list of things to do.

  1. Quilt Jonathan's graduation quilt
  2. Quilt Lindsay's graduation quilt
  3. Quilt J's house warming Minkee blankee
  4. Make Easter dresses for the girls
  5. Make doll dresses to match their Easter dresses
  6. Hang up the mountain of laundry on my dresser
  7. Put all of Bill's paper work that is on the piano in a tub- per his request
  8. Make Sarah's birthday quilt
  9. Make peanut butter easter eggs- a yearly tradition
  10. Do some serious cooking for Sunday
  11. Quilt A's quilt
  12. Clean the house
  13. Order quilting thread
  14. Call Bill home and get him to light the fire in the quilting room (self-starting ignitions don't work for this "self")
  15. More laundry
  16. Blogging

I can see where there are a few more crucial items on the list- Easter is Sunday, after all. The items in blue I have already gotten a start on.

So, what do you think of that batik backing? I just love it and think it is a great match for the blue quilt my Mom made. It is 110" wide, so no piecing! I liked it so much, that I decided to get some for A's quilt.