Friday, December 9, 2011

Hello! I just wanted to share my latest quilt with you all. I made it for my neighbors' new baby. The parents are hardcore hunters. And I really mean hardcore. As in, they pretty much only eat wild game they've hunted-deer, elk, antelope (they gave us some antelope chorizo and let me tell you it was pretty darn amazing but I digress...), javelina. And the husband is also a biologist for Fish & Game. So when I saw this new fabric line by Riley Blake (pretty awesome name, isn't it? Combines the names of two of my most favorite boys in the whole world!) I knew it had to be the fabric for their baby's quilt. Don't you just love this fabric? I kind of wanted to keep it for myself. I ordered the fabric back in October and waited (im)patiently for the UPS guy to deliver it to my house. Finally it arrived and I ripped into the package only to discover that they had made a mistake with my order. Instead of getting the print with all the animals, which is the main fabric of the quilt, they had sent me more of the blue. :( I contacted them and they said to go ahead and keep the blue fabric and they sent out the correct fabric. But that meant waiting even more (im)patiently for it to arrive. FINALLY I got all the fabric for the quilt and got it done. It's a pretty simple design and a small quilt. But I also decided to try using some of that super soft Minky type of fabric in the quilt. I had picked up a remnant, thinking that I might give it a go. I've seen quilts made with both 100% cotton and Minky but I had mixed feelings about it. I mean, MIXING COTTON AND POLYESTER!? But Minky is so soft and cuddly. So, I decided to do a bit of online research before committing to using it in the quilt. What I found almost made me run screaming in the opposite direction. The general consensus seemed to be that, yes, you could mix cotton and polyester (Minky) but that it was a huge pain. It's nearly impossible to cut square and accurately (which is pretty important with quilting). Plus is shed terribly and made a HUGE mess. And you had to use LOTS and LOTS of pins, something that I frown upon on principle-pins? Who needs pins? Not me! I have this thing where I always try to make do without using pins if at all possible. Do I make things way harder on myself? Frequently. Does it make me use pins the next time? Not if I can get away with not using them. What can I say, I live dangerously. So, anyway, I nearly scrapped the idea of using the Minky after reading all that. But I had enough fabric cut to end up with extra hourglass blocks so I promised myself I'd just make one block with the Minky and see how it went then decide whether or not to use it for the whole quilt. And you know what? I didn't have ANY of those problems mentioned. It cut beautifully, without anymore mess than cutting cotton and I sewed it just fine without using any pins. But then again, I figured it could be because it's not authentic Minky. It was actually labeled Joann Cuddle Fabric or something. Like a knockoff. I don't know. But I had no problems using it until...I started machine quilting. At which point my machine rebelled. Every time I'd hit one of the faux Minky parts the machine would skip stitches and then the thread would break. Grrr! but I consoled myself with the fact that it was a small quilt to begin with and that there were only 13 Minky sections. In the end I do like the look and it feels nice and cuddly. But I don't know if I'll ever try to machine quilt the stuff again. Of course, I say that now but I have enough fabric left over to make another quilt so maybe by the time I get around to making it I'll have forgotten about the Minky problem. But it's so cuddly and soft! How bad can it really be? Sort of like having babies. You sort of gloss over the bad parts and concentrate on the good. Otherwise no one would have anymore babies after the first one.
Anyway, I've also been busy working on lots of Christmas gifts. It's sort of looking and feeling like Santa's workshop here. So, I guess I better get back to it. Until next time...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I just wanted to share a quilt top that I just finished! I actually started it way back in May. I knew that my friend, aka The Twilight Evangelist, was going to be moving during the summer. :( She thought it would be end of July/August. I also knew that I wanted to make her a Twilight themed quilt as a going away gift. I figured I'd have time to get it done and be able to give it to her before she left. But then one day she called to say that they had just found out that they'd have to move in just 2 weeks! I started right away paper piecing the main blocks-the book covers. And, I didn't have time to complete the quilt before she moved. But I figured I'd finish it over the summer and send it to her. Well, summer came and went and I didn't work on the quilt at all. Got caught up in all the summer activities-camping and traveling and enjoying family. Recently, though, I realized that I hadn't finished the quilt and the release of another of the movies is coming up so I decided that I better get on it and get it done. So, this last week I've been working on it, and today I finally finished the top! Yay! I found the paper piecing patterns online but the rest of the design I sort of made up as I went. I cut up the rest of the black, red and white fabrics that I used in the paper pieced blocks and made Disappearing Nine Patch blocks. Basically I just made however many I could out of the fabric I had left. And once I got them done and I laid everything out, including the paper pieced blocks, I had EXACTLY the right number of Disappearing Nine Patches that I needed. Wow! Serendipity! Except then I realized that after I sewed the Nine Patch blocks back together, due to the seam allowances they'd end up just 1/2" smaller than the paper pieced blocks. Ack! I thought about cutting down the paper pieced blocks but ultimately dismissed that idea because some of the blocks had details near the edges which I didn't want to cut off. Which lead me to sewing sashing strips to make up the difference. And I figured that since I was doing sashing I'd go ahead and put red around the paper pieced blocks to highlight them a bit. I used black for the rest. And this is what I ended up with...And just at this very moment I realized that the block in the exact center is UPSIDE DOWN! (insert banging head on wall here) NOOOOOOO!!!!! Please excuse me while I go cry...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween! Out here they proclaimed today trick or treating day so today was pretty much our Halloween. MoMo was a witch and Big R was Yoshi. I sewed both costumes without actual patterns. For the witch I used a tshirt to make a template for the bodice then sewed on sleeves and skirt. I think it turned out pretty well. MoMo sure loved it. Then for Big R's I did buy a pattern (only 99 cents at Joann) for a zip up pajama, planning to add a tail and spikes and make a hood or something for the head. Then I got home and realized that the pattern I bought was WAY too big. It was the adult L/XL instead of the teen size. So, then I used the super large pattern as a guide to try to make a smaller Big R size. So, although it didn't come out perfect, the neckline was low, it wasn't too bad all in all. At least Big R liked it. So, we did our pumpkin carving and I even made up a creature from a tiny, unripe cantaloupe from our garden and a pepper and some green cherry tomatoes.
MoMo's pumpkin...
Big R's pumpkin...And mine...I made up some spooky food to eat. Mummy dogs...
And some crazy disgusting looking jello worms. Care for a worm?
If you can get past the ick factor they are actually pretty tasty. Oh, and, of course, the candy haul.
So, that's about it. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We have been having the most gorgeous autumn here. The weather has been absolutely fabulous. Lots of sunshine, chilly mornings but then it warms up to about 80 degrees by the afternoon. I LOVE autumn and this autumn has been nearly perfect! Our garden is still going strong as we haven't had freezing weather yet. The strawberries are confused and just started blooming again! And our tomatoes are trying to ripen as well as 3 or four cantaloupes. I'm hoping the weather holds until everything can ripen on the vine.
So, anyway, yesterday we went to a local farm's Fall Festival. You might remember a couple years ago I posted about MoMo's field trip to the pumpkin patch. This is the place where the festival was held. So the kids got a ride on the cow train.
Then we took a hayride out to the pumpkin patch where we picked out pumpkins.
We also browsed the huge selection of produce. Wow! They had so many different kinds of squash and gourds! Butternut squash, acorn squash, several varieties of spaghetti squash...and many that I did not know the names of. But there was one type of pie pumpkin that really amazed me. I don't remember the name but they were very long and tubular. These in the picture are still green. They do turn orange when ripe. It's hard to tell in the picture how big they are. But they are about 2 to 2 1/2 feet long. One would make enough pumpkin puree to make a LOT of pumpkin pies. Oh, and we found a couple of conjoined squash.
They also have gourds of all colors and shapes, smooth and bumpy.
There were some other really cool gourds but unfortunately the camera malfunctioned so we weren't able to get pictures.
And there was the tower of jack o lanterns.And they had a scarecrow factory. MoMo and I made up a scarecrow. Hubby and Big R opted to sit out for the scarecrow making. Here's our scarecrow hanging out at home.So, altogether it was a wonderful outing. Hope you enjoyed reading about it. Maybe I'll actually get Halloween blogged, too, next week!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Once again, I have to apologize for being away so long. But, you know we were busy living life. The kids and spent 6 weeks this summer away from home visiting family, camping and having lots of fun. Blogging pretty much was not a priority. but, lucky you, today you get not just one but two blog posts!
My MoMo just had a birthday! Well, it was almost a month ago but I've got some pictures to share. And as most of you know, she's a unique mixture of girly girl and tomboy so there was a corresponding mixture of Hello Kitty and Lego presents!
And, of course, Grandma R made her a dress!
I can't believe she's 7! She wanted a Super Mario Brothers themed birthday and unfortunately when I went to the Big City and looked at the two party supply stores I couldn't find any Super Mario stuff. So I ended up making up some 1-up mushrooms and stars and things for decorations. And, of course, I made a Super Mario cake. I made up the fondant decorations and the kids placed them on the cake.
Alright, well, that pretty much covers the birthday. I'll be back shortly with another post for you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ok, so today I have a project to share that I've been working on. It all started when I saw this circle quilt here. I fell in love the design and decided I HAD to make one. Then our friend Eric and his wife found out they were having a baby girl. I decided that I would make the circle quilt for his baby. So then I found this incredibly fabulous line of fabric called Sultry by Moda. You can check out its lusciousness here. Isn't it gorgeous? The quilt itself is pretty simple to make. I simply cut 6" squares of white fabric. Then using an old CD for a template, I placed the CD on the fabric and cut around the CD to make my circles. The circles are stitched onto the white squares with a zig zag stitch and then all the blocks are sewn together into the quilt top. I added the pink border and then stitched together strips to make the piano key border around the outside edge. I had this top done fairly quickly but then the quilting was what gave me problems. See, my old sewing machine was giving me fits when I tried to free motion quilt. It was bad, with the thread on the bottom coming out loopy and ugly. So frustrating! But my wonderful mother gave me an early birthday present-a new sewing machine! It is so awesome! I LOVE it! (Thank you, Mom!) I figured my quilting problems were over but no. I didn't have the proper foot for my new machine. :( But after figuring out what foot I needed and ordering it, I finally got my new machine set up and got to quilting! Hooray! :) This brings me to the nearly finished product.
I almost don't want to give it away. The last part to do to finish it all up is to trim the edges, removing the excess batting and backing fabric then sew on the binding. I'm on the home stretch. Good thing, too, because little Raquel, the recipient, was born about a month ago. She was over 9 lbs at birth so I better get it to her before she outgrows it! ;)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

This week we had a birthday at our house! Yes, Hubby celebrated his birthday on Wednesday. His choice of cake is always chocolate cake with chocolate frosting so, of course, that's what I made. I tried a new recipe that I found on Our Best, which was actually from Cook's Illustrated. Seriously, the best chocolate cake I have ever had! Here's the recipe in case you need to try it. And trust me you do! Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake I made the chocolate frosting that goes with it but I have to say I'm not sold on it. It was ok, but not my favorite. But the cake! I could totally eat that without any frosting at all. (and actually, I did as I was trying to level the layers. All those scraps were too delicious to waste) It is more work than just mixing up a box mix but so worth it! Anyway, enough about the cake, here are a few pictures.
And, you know, we didn't really do anything else exciting like a pinata or pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Though we did BBQ out in the rain/thunder/lightening/hail. Living dangerously! LOL We had such crazy weather. Went from rain/snow/hail to 80 degrees back to cold rain/hail/thunderstorms in a matter of days. Really wish it would warm up and STAY warm! It killed off my two little tomato plants. :(
Anyway, I also want to wish my BIL, KT, and my ONLY niece, AMT, happy birthday as well! They had birthdays in the last week or so, too. So, I guess that about covers it for now. Till next time...
We had a mountain of aluminum cans and plastic bottles in our backyard that we had been saving for almost a year. Hubby promised the kids that if they helped to gather and sort them he would give them the money he got when he took them to the recycling center. Saturday we all pitched in to sort them and load them up the back of his truck. This is the amount of money that each of the kids received. Not too bad, considering we don't have CRV or anything here. Aluminum is only 70 cents a pound and plastic is 40 cents a pound. We ended up recycling around 14 pounds of cans and 15 pounds of plastic.This is the pile of tabs that we took off all those cans to give to Ronald McDonald House.
Anyone care to venture a guess as to how many tabs there are?

Somebody lost another tooth last night! Our house is sure keeping the Tooth Fairy busy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This has been an exciting week here! My (not so) little MoMo lost her first tooth! The Tooth Fairy actually had to make two trips to our house as Big R lost a tooth this week as well. Though he's already at #6. But here's a picture of MoMo with one less tooth.
In addition, this week was the annual Spring Wings festival here. This is the first time we have actually gone to it. Big R's class went on a field trip during the week to Spring Wings and he was excited to go on Saturday to the family day. They had booths set up with information on birds and conservation as well as crafts for the kids to make. There was even a local falconer and her apprentice there with their red tailed hawk. We also saw a presentation with a rescued great horned owl which is being rehabilitated for release into the wild. In addition, they offer guided tours of different bird watching areas with BLM and Fish and Game personnel. We didn't do that this year but maybe next year we will! I have some pictures to share. These first two are the red tailed hawk.
Next, we have the kids decorating a bird inspired card.
And Big R throwing spears at a bear target. It was a little tricky but he did hit "bear" a couple of times! (ooops! I accidentally published before I was ready!) Here's the rest of the post...
And then some pictures of the owl presentation.
So, there you have it. Lost teeth and Spring Wings!