buriedinscraps

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Archive for the tag “family”

Let me introduce you….

….to my new grandson, Danny O’Day.  Isn’t he cute?  Yeah, I know….

dannyAs much as my grandson, MarioFan loves Mario, he loves ventriloquism more.  I’m not sure where this comes from…we never dropped him on his head.  Maybe from the other side of his family. 😉  Anyway, all he wanted for Christmas was a ventriloquist dummy…with an upgrade.  I have no idea what that upgrade was, but I guess Santa did because this was under the tree.  We’ve been tortured lucky enough to have seen several shows and now he’s taking his show on the road..to the other grandma’s house.

His dad decided that Danny needed a travel upgrade also.  Instead of traveling in a grocery bag, my son (Would that make him Danny’s grandfather?)  thought Danny needed a case.  He searched for directions to make one to no avail.  Buying one would be very expensive.  So, who’s the dummy?  The one inside the case or the one buying it?  He settled on a suitcase he bought at the thrift shop.  It was in great shape…but it was moss green.  So, he spray painted it black.  Next issue was how to secure Danny in the case…don’t want my newest grandson to be injured!  Here’s where I come in.  I made pillows for either side and one for his sweet, plastic head.  Then I stapled some Velcro to the ribbon straps inside so they could be pulled tight across his body.  All that’s left to do is to make some travel stickers for the case and we’ll be cookin’ with gas!

caseThat is the extent of my sewing lately.

As for any other sewing, still in a bit of a funk.  I did pull some fabrics for a New York Beauty block but that’s as far as I got.  I keep looking at them.  And with my best Scarlett O’Hara voice, I say “I won’t think about that today.  I’ll think about that tomorrow.”  Sometimes I love how Scarlett thinks!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Yes, it’s that time again; where we look back and reflect on the good times as well as play woulda, coulda, shoulda.  Then we make our resolutions only to have them become a far away memory by February.  I don’t know about you but I’ve long since given up on New Year’s resolutions.  Who needs the pressure! 🙂 By the end of January I was beating myself up because I hadn’t done enough to change the world.  So I haven’t made one for many years.

But there’s something about this year that’s making me want to make a “strong suggestion” to myself this year.  You get to that point where you realize you have a whole lot more years behind you than you have in front of you.  And I want to spend those years healthier than I am now.  I have no real health issues and I want to keep it that way!  This is the year that I hope to lose those crummy 15 pounds I’ve been playing with the past few years, eat a healthier diet (bye-bye processed food…except wine :-)) and maybe actually exercise!   OMG…I said the “E” word!  I’m also looking into yoga.  Not promising anything.  Not “resolving” anything.  Just strongly suggesting to myself that this is the year I  take control of me.  Those in my house can come along for the ride if they dare!

We saw the movie “Lincoln” last night (short review–great movie..go see it!) and at one point toward the end, Abe turns to his wife and says “We need to try to be happier.”  And that will be my mantra this year…I need to try to be happier.  I’m not terribly unhappy, but I could be happier.  And it’s my goal to do just that!  Fortunately, quilting makes me happy!

I’ve been working on a quilt for MiniQuilter for over two years.  Took me forever because it was hand-embroidered.  The top is finally put together and it’s awaiting quilting.

basket_blockShe loves the 30s fabrics and this quilt pattern was perfect for them.  I was originally going to send the quilt out to be quilted, but I think Grandma should quilt it.  So that is my goal.  And I DO resolve to finish this quilt!

basket_quiltI can’t give her this quilt until I make one for her brother.  (Good thing I only have two grandchildren!)  I’ve been looking for a pattern for a quilt for MarioFan without much luck.  I was in the grocery store with my husband and thumbed through McCall’s American Loves Scrap Quilts and there it was! Paper Chain!

paper_chainI think it’s a perfect pattern for a boy’s quilt.  The picture of the finished quilt is a page from the magazine and the block is my test block.  It went together really well and pretty quickly.  I’m thinking I want to make it basically in blues and browns with a little bit of green and/or red.  I’m kind of excited!  The new year needs a new project!  And I resolve to finish this one also!

chain_blockWhat are your quilting resolutions….or “strong suggestions”?

How time flies…

…when you’re having fun.  Or supposed to be!

After getting through Thanksgiving with little or no drama–no dropped pies or turkeys that didn’t cook–decorating for Christmas should be  a piece of cake.

It’s a tradition (or a curse–not sure which) to decorate the weekend of Thanksgiving.  Since this was Mr. Christmas’ (aka my husband) first post-retirement Christmas, decorating should be a snap this year!  Or not…   It’s well documented that when we decorate, the rest of the family scatters to the four winds.  No one wants to be around when the battles begin.  Getting  a pre-lit tree has helped tremendously in curtailing the not so festive words that would fly around the tree trying to get the lights wrapped around the branches just right.  And, yeah, those nuggets came from me.  Mr. C was always too busy having a holly, jolly Christmas.  No holly, jolly for me until the decorating is done.

This year we were getting an early start–a whole day early.  Maybe this wouldn’t be a lost weekend after all!  Step One…assemble the tree.  You know, as they say, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt….or the tree falls over.  Yep, our tree decided to keel over.  The “trunk” bent and we watched it fall like a giant redwood in our living room.  Mr. C decided to just bend the trunk back the other way and it should be good to go for one more year.  Oh yeah…that worked…for about 60 seconds.  Tim-ber!!  It came down again.  Two choices…tie it to the window locks or buy a new one.  We had a tree that had to be tied up back in the day.  Even though we tried to make it look festive by tying it with red ribbon, the bottom line was it just looked tacky.  So, off to the store we went.  By this time Mr. C was no longer holly, jolly and since I wasn’t to begin with, you can imagine the mood in the car.  Add to that a little thing we call “Black Friday” and I think you know where this went!

The store was not very crowded–grateful for that.  They were also not very cheap.  If I need to buy a new tree I’m the day after Christmas bargain hunter, so I was stunned by the prices.  Narrowed it down to two and couldn’t decide–should I go cheap or go pretty?  Mr. C reminded me that we weren’t buying a house …just a Christmas tree.  PICK ONE!!  OK…so I went with pretty.

Later on that evening, MiniQuilter and MarioFan came by to “help” decorate the tree.  I’ll admit to being a little bit tyrannical particular with ornament placement.  It comes naturally—my grandmother was the queen of the ornament placers!  I had to keep reminding myself that in a couple of years they won’t want to help decorate and I”ll be sad.  But WHY do kids find the butt-ugly ornaments–the ones you just can’t bring  yourself to toss out for whatever reason–and put them right in the front of the tree?

Right in the front where i have to look at it every time I pass by!  Is it a kid thing?

But when it was all said and done the tree was pretty and it was finished in one day.  Sitting on the couch with a glass of wine and Mr. Christmas with a beer, it looked pretty and festive.

Which gave me all day Sunday to sew.  I had made a baby quilt for the granddaughter of a good friend.  It’s an I Spy quilt.  Picked up the kit for $7–all cut out and ready to go.  Pieced it quickly and it looked cute.  I decided that since I had a poly batt, I’d use that.  After I started to stitch-in-the-ditch, I remembered why I don’t use poly.  I like flat quilts and this had too  much loft  for me.  Too late to change horses now.  So I plugged along.  I did some nice swirlies in the border–several times.  I had to “unsew” and resew because the backing folded over and was caught in the stitching.  I don’t know how many times I have to do this before I learn.  Apparently…several!

My favorite part not) of quiltmaking was up next…the binding.  It actually went on pretty well for a change.  But I have lots of trouble with mitered corners.  Mine do not look nice.

Maybe it’s practice..maybe it’s me.  I just know I’m not happy with the results.  So I walked away from it and came back to it later.  It didn’t look so bad.  The baby won’t my mistakes.  And I don’t think his mom will either!

Still gearing up for Barbie…   🙂

Fun in the sun…

….the very, very hot southwest Florida sun.  We spent three and a half days visiting our son and my sister and her family.  Lots of fun and good food…bleu cheese bacon burgers, New York pizza (Yep, in Florida!), chile rellenos, scallops, tres leches cake….  Yummy in the tummy but not so good for the button on the jeans!

You may recall that a few posts back, I teased you with some strips that I was taking along to Florida with me.  My sister and I spent the day working on a special project.  We have a project that we work on long distance.  We make lap quilts for the veteran’s home.  The goal was to piece a top while I was down there.  But not before we went to an organic cafe for breakfast.  Mmmmm….zucchini quiche!  A quick stop at the quilt shop for sashing fabric and we were back at her house.  She had her machines ready to rock and roll.  We had decided on a nine-patch.  Should be simple.  Yes…should be simple…but it wasn’t.  We had decided on a scrappy quilt but had different ideas about what that meant and had planned our strips that way.  I was thinking of a more planned block and she was thinking of a truly scrappy block.  We finally got on the same page…I liked her idea better and it was easier to do.  At some point we both went mathematically brain dead.  We had the strips figured correctly and the cuts figured correctly…just couldn’t figure out how many cuts we needed.  Each time we thought we had it licked…it was wrong.  So I sewed while my sister raided her stash and continued to cut strips.  What began as an organized project became organized chaos.  The sewing room floor looked like Eleanor Burns was working there!  But we finally finished the blocks and got them up on the design wall.

Before we left, she called to let me know she had completed the top, so I brought it home to quilt.

My son and his friends went on a swamp walk in the Everglades a few months back.  Yep, walking in swamp water up to your waist; sharing said water with alligators, water moccasins and spiders.  Oh my!  He tried to tell me that I told him I would do the walk with him when we came down.  I know I didn’t tell him that because my mama didn’t raise a fool.  Apparently his mama did…but mine did not!  One of the good things that came from his adventure was that he discovered a photographer by the name of Clyde Butcher.  Clyde Butcher is a black and white photographer specializing in Florida wilderness.  You can see his gallery here.  My favorite is the ghost orchid.  While I certainly couldn’t afford the $16,000 price tag on some of his images, I did manage to buy a few 5×7 notecards to frame.

We left Naples for Virginia.  It was too long to drive in one day so we stopped in Orlando.  You can’t visit Orlando and not visit The Mouse.  It would just be rude!  So we spent the next day at Epcot Center.  It’s one of my favorite places.  Lots of good entertainment and good food.  We had lunch at Le Cellier in the Canadian pavilion.  For all of my Canadian friends, I have to tell you that my husband and I shared an order of poutine.  I had heard of it but never had an opportunity to try it.  As bizarre as the thought of cheese fries covered in gravy sounds, they are actually quite tasty….and quite filling.  Between the two of us, we only managed to finish half of an order.  I think I was in carb overload, however, because I was looking for a place to take a nap.  We decided that regardless of how tasty we thought they were, we would probably never have them again.  An hour later, we were trying to figure out how to duplicate them at home!  Is it any wonder I gain weight on vacation?  🙂

Road Trip!

I was able to spend a little time with the grandkids this weekend.  Saturday, we took a road trip to Springfield, Illinois.  MiniQuilter’s brother, MarioFan, has a fascination with Abraham Lincoln so we promised him a day trip to some of the Lincoln sites.  MiniQuilter is not really into history, but she went along for the party.  We had a beautiful day–beautiful hot warm sunshine.

 Our first stop was Lincoln’s Tomb.  It’s pretty impressive.  The design is symbolic in many ways and it has a very nice collection of Lincoln sculpture.  It was a very interesting visit.  You can take a virtual visit here.

After a quick stop to buy a stovepipe hat and beard for MarioFan, we were off to Lincoln’s home.  A slight problem when MarioFan bumped into a stacked display of Lincoln Logs—the tins rolled through the gift shop as my husband slinked out the door, leaving me with a cute little red-faced boy!  When we went outside to wait for the tour to begin, MarioFan announced his disappointment that the home was not a log cabin.  (This later led me to do a Google search for an Abraham Lincoln log cabin–another trip for another day.)  Once inside, I was very disappointed—not one quilt!  Not even in the servant’s room.  Lots of woven coverlets…no quilts.  I mean, seriously Mary Todd Lincoln…not one quilt?  MiniQuilter and I enjoyed the tour of the home…the furniture and all the “pretties”.  MarioFan on the other hand, was most impressed by the “little house out back”.  He had a hard time wrapping his head around that one.  Ah….eight year olds!

A pleasant surprise!  There was a Civil War encampment on the grounds of the Old State Capitol.  It was basically a medical encampment and there were displays of medical kits and such.  There was a surgical “demo” that the kids surprisingly enjoyed.  I’m just happy that medicine has come a long way, baby!  We walked past a tent that housed both Grant and Lee.  (Nice to see the boys getting along!)  These two men looked so much like the generals that it was uncanny!  These  re-enactors take this very seriously and stay in character at all times.  Throughout the entire camp, I only saw one quilt!  It was not an antique, but very pretty.

Inside the Old State Capitol building, ladies and gents in period costumes were dancing.  I always find these events fascinating.  I love to see the men in their uniforms and the women in the big dresses.  Although at 90 plus degrees, I was glad that it was them and not me in a wool jacket or a hoop skirt!

And, as always, with two eight year olds, I made several trips to the “necessary room”.  (Good thing for MarioFan that these were inside and flushed!) So, if you’ll ever be in Springfield,  give me a ring—I can tell you where all the bathrooms are!

I’ll leave you with a short slide show of our day.

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Catching up…

I had such a busy weekend–stove shopping (old one bit the dust), grandkids on Saturday night, Mother’s Day and a wedding on Sunday–it left little time to sew.

My plan was to sew for most of the day…MiniQuilter had other ideas.  Last week, she convinced Grandpa that she and her brother should make Mother’s Day breakfast for me.  She sent him to the store for berries and flowers and all kinds of good things.  She’s very good at spending someone else’s money and she’s only eight!  What a bright future she has!  🙂  It wasn’t a bad idea until the stove decided to croak.  Darn burners wouldn’t shut off.  Of course, my husband was going to shut them off one way or another.  Took the pliers to them and, of course, broke off the stem and the rest is history.  Managed to shut off the gas completely.  The stove was old so a new one was in our immediate future.

What to do about my “surprise” breakfast?  Sausage and eggs on the grill!  I had to stay in bed and pretend to be asleep until breakfast was on the table…not an easy feat for a woman of a certain age…if you know what I mean!  🙂  But it was worth it to listen to Grandpa (who has little patience with anyone else in the kitchen) try to cook with two eight year old mini-chefs!  At last I was allowed to awaken for the feast.  Food was good and the company exceptional.  Had to watch a few dance routines to some Beatle songs.  I guess you can see where my sewing time went.  But I’d gladly give it up for those memories.  I’m just sad that the battery in my video camera wasn’t charged so there were no incriminating images of the dance routines to use at a later date…like prom night or something!  heh  heh  heh…..

Then waiting for the stove to be delivered.  Believe that–delivered on a Sunday.  While waiting for its arrival, I went down into the palace and thought I’d practice fmq.  I knew I had some “sammies” ready to go.  Do you think I could find them?  Heck no!  Since I revamped  the place, I can’t find anything!  Searched for about a half an hour and found them right in front of my nose.  By then, it was time to get ready for the wedding and I sewed zero stitches.  😦

But here’s the plan for this week,  I finished piecing this charity quilt and I want to put it on my frame.  I want to see if my research into needle, bobbin and thread combinations will help my persnickety Juki play nice with my frame.

I have this fat quarter bundle that I’d like to put into a small quilt.  When I bought them, they spoke to me.  They have since become mute.  Or I’ve gone deaf!  Either way, we’re not communicating!  I’ll keep poking around for a project.

And my little “sammies”—I vow to practice “zippling” and get back on track with Leah’s project!

In my other life…

When I’m not working or quilting or “family-ing”, I love photography.  As much as quilting is my passion, my camera is a close second.  Having said that, you might think I was good at it.  Not so much.  I’m much better than I was but not at all as good as I hope to be someday.  My friend Debbi and I have been taking some photography classes from her DIL’s friend…a professional photographer.  That girl has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone.  The difference in my photos is amazing…even realizing how much farther I have to go!  Debbi and I began the classes to take better pictures of the grandkids.  I was tired of getting snapshots.  I wanted photos.  I wanted images!  And I have been able to achieve that with them.  Sure, I delete a lot of pictures.  But at least I usually get that one great shot!  I moved outside to our yard and snapped a few of the spring flowers in the back yard.  Thought I might share some of them with you.

My goal this weekend is to take MarioFan to the park and try to get some good shots of him.  Where MiniQuilter poses, he just gives me that cheesy eight year old smile.  God love ‘im!  He promised to cooperate because he’s helping me with my homework.

The real reason why I’m sharing these photos is that I don’t have anything quilty to show you.  I just ran out of time to work on anything this week.  However, I did get to the store and bought lots of batting so when I get time to quilt, I’m ready!!  One quilt did actually get pin-basted.  And Leah didn’t give us any homework this week.  There was nothing to motivate me!  Perhaps a cattle prod….

MiniQuilter wanted to work on her quilt so we sewed together one more row of blocks.  Her progress is slow.  She may have it completed before the fabrics go out of style.  🙂

And, to tie my camera and sewing together, I found this wonderful tutorial!  My camera bag has seen better days.  I looked around for a bag that had a little bit of style.   Guess you have to pay for style!  A lot.  I think I would really like to try to make this bag.  But I’m thinking that cotton fabric would probably not hold up.  What do you think about an upholstery fabric?

Rollin’ in the dough

Wednesday was the new installment of Leah’s quilt along.  I have to admit that it made me a little bit nervous.  After all, a whole cloth quilt doesn’t give you many places to hide mistakes.  And goodness know, I make my share of them!  The task for the week was to transfer the pattern to the fabric.  How difficult could that be?  Somewhere in my little brain, I must have thought it was very difficult because I continued to procrastinate.

I finally decided that it was time.  I chose some very yellow solid.  If I was going to screw up, everybody was going to see it…for sure!  Then I thought that on the off chance the quilting actually turned out well, the little quilt needed a frame.  So I added a border.  I printed the pattern pieces and taped them together.  It was time to transfer the design to the fabric.  I had a light box that I used for card making and I soon realized that the little peanut light box was not going to do the trick.  Upstairs to the back door window with the masking tape.  Taped it up and began to trace.  Being pretty darn short, my arms certainly got tired tracing the top portion of the quilt…but it’s done.  And here’s the proof!

I know Leah recommended that we use a thread color close to the fabric color, but look what I found in my thread  treasure box! Being a bit of a rebel (child of the 60s!), I have to use it for the motifs…it just matches too perfectly not to try!  I know I’ll have to be extra careful so it doesn’t look a  mess.  I’ll use the muted tone for the mini stippling.  I’d better use it because the trip to the quilt shop to buy that lonely little spool of thread ended up costing $32!

You saw Maddie in the first picture.  Maddie is a special doll that my sister made for me.  She’s named after my Grandma whom my sister and I both adored!  Maddie is a petty cool doll because she represents a pretty cool memory for us.  My Grandma made mostaccioli cookies every Christmas.   If you’ve never had one, you need to find a way to try one!  They are wonderful chocolate, cinnamon and nut cookies made in the shape of a mostaccioli noodle.    I decided to make them one year.  What an adventure!  You make the dough and roll out little “ropes” and cut them into about 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Not too difficult…the only problem is the recipe makes a bottomless bowl of cookie dough and 36 hours later…with no sleep…you’re still rolling out ropes.  Except now, instead of looking like pasta, they look like logs!  When my sister got married, she was foolish enough to try it herself.  Didn’t learn from my experience….same result, though.  She’s made them many times.  I’ve made them once.  My momma didn’t raise a fool!  So, here’s Maddie complete with her bags of flour and sugar and our favorite recipe!

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