Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stash Sunday -- spotty edition

These are my Kaffe Roman Glass dots, and co-ordinating dots. I am going to use these in the Oh Franson Mod Sampler quilt-along . When I first saw the image of just the pattern I wasn't going to do it. But when I started to see the quilts showing up on Flikr, and noticed how easily the blocks came together, I decided it will be my next project after Andrew's quilt.

There's a funny story that goes along with these and the other 12 fat quarters and half yards of polka dots I have in my stash (which I am finally breaking up and using). When I first started quilting, about 3 years ago, I picked up a copy of Quilts and More and saw the most amazing polka dotted star quilt on the cover. I thought, "I must make that quilt. And since it only has 9 blocks, it can't be that hard." and without another thought, aside from occasionally admiring the photos, I started collecting polka dots. It was a super scrappy quilt, so I collected a LOT of polka dots. I beleive I had something like 8 yards total of assorted dots, mostly fat quarters. So since I had enough fabric, I looked at the pattern again. And started reading the cutting directions, which go something like this: Cut assorted dark prints into 126 - 3" squares. Cut in half diagonally for a total of 252 small triangles. . . . and later in the directions . . . repeat to make 36 light triangle units . . .. repeat to make 76 dark triangle units . . . . .

Basically, I realized that this quilt would take a lot of precision and time. More of either than I have right now. Piecing tiny triangles is not a good idea when you have little boys climbing on and off your lap and bumping into your sewing machine. So I shelved the magazine for another day (when I will probably have enough scraps to make the thing out of real scraps and children old enough to sit and draw while I sew). And since then, I have been hoarding these metres and metres of polka dots, trying to decide whether to break them up or keep them together. I used about 3 m worth of blue and red and cream dots for Andrew's I-spy (coming soon -- all the squares are cut finally) and now I'm using these for the Mod Sampler. The rest are going to be released into my general stash, to be used liberally in whatever projects I choose.

Trying to sleep until 6am

Have I mentioned lately how early my boys wake up? For a short while in January both boys were sleeping until 6am, and I realized that I function much better if I wake up at 6, instead or at 4:30 or 5. So when Aaron started waking at 4:30 again, I decided it was time to put my foot down. I got an alarm, and for the last week I've been setting it for 6am and generally refusing to do anything except the essentials before 6am. Here's a sample morning, these days:

4:30 am -- Aaron wakes up and climbs off of his mattress and into our bed. He asks to nurse, and I pass him his cup of water and tell him "not until the beep". He wails JUST enough to wake Andrew up.

4:40 am -- Andrew: Mom? MOM! Dad? DAD! I need to go pee!
Andrew gets out of his bed in his room, goes pee, and comes into our room with his bowl of graham crackers and his water. He shoved everyone out of the way and climbs into the middle of the bed.
Andrew: I need a pillow! I don't have any covers! Dad, move over, there's no ROOM!
Me: stop complaining or go back to your own room.
Both boys settle down and I start to fall back to sleep.

5:00 am -- Aaron(climbing on top of me): Nums. Nums now.
Me: no nursing until the beep.
Aaron: beep not coming, mom.
Me: lets go potty.
I take Aaron to the potty. Andrew comes in.
Andrew: I need to use the toilet. Read me a book.
Me: i'm not reading you a book until after the beep.
We finish the potty ordeal. As I go to leave,
Andrew: Aaron, don't come with me. I want to play in my room alone.
Me: Andrew, Aaron will go to your room and play with something else. You can have time to play alone later.

5:15 (yes, that all took 15 min). Boy are playing quietly. I start to doze.

5:30: (a voice from afar): Mommy! Come down! Come down, mommy!
Me: aaron, I'm not coming to the basement. Mommy is sleeping. Come upstairs.
Andrew enters: Mom, where's Aaron? I want to play with him.
Me: he's down stairs. go check if the light is on.

5:35: Andrew: Aaron won't come up. Make him come upstairs, mom.
Aaron: (from downstairs) Mommy! Come down! Come down mommy!
me: is the light on?
Andrew: Yep.
me: just leave him be.

5:45: (from downstairs) Mommy! Come down! Come down, mommy!
Andrew (having left, enters again with lego creation): Mom, look. Its my Mini Mighty Motor Blaster Car. It has a gun and it shoots the bad guys. Pshew! Pshew!
Aaron (coming up the stairs) Mommy! come see me!
Andrew: Pshew! Pshew! (Andrew flies the Motor Blaster back to his room to make a Helicopter to go with it)

5:55 Aaron: books, mommy. Read books.
me: I'm not reading books until the beep. I will turn the light on.
Aaron: get books! get books! turn light off! turn it off! nums!
me: not until the beep.
Aaron: Beep not coming mom. Nums now.
Andrew (entering with two lego creations): Now, mom, there's a helicopter bad guy that the Mini Mighty Motor Blaster is shooting. He just blew up the helicopter.
me: oh no
Andrew: no, its the BAD GUY, mom.
me: hooray
Aaron: Beep not coming mom.

Aaron: Hooray, nums!
Andrew: Is it tv time now?
We straggle out to the living room. I wonder . . . is this really better than just getting up? I convince myself that in time they will let me sleep until 6am. Really.

Spring is coming . . .

We dug out the sandbox today, and played outside without winter jackets! Green is on its way . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Aren't I a busy bee?

When the weather is cold, your local coffee shop has just shut down, the wind is too bitter to take your children out and the roads are too icy to drive to your friends' house, what do you do to keep your spirits up? Sew, of course. I have been on a bit of a rampage in the last couple of weeks. The boys have discovered that they can happily coexist in the basement, making up imagination games and riding and "fixing" bikes lately. Aside from setting up tents and having all my fabric bins emptied out everywhere (okay, I admit the latter is a bit of a high price), I have had relative peace to sew. I am surprised my little Singer isn't smoking, its been so busy.
First off, I finished Beatrice's quilt. This is the partner to Marie's quilt that I finished in December. While Marie is a hot headed and dramatic little girl, Beatrice is quite cerebral - quite brilliant in fact. So I used a more subdued border for her quilt -- blues and greens instead of the hot reds and oranges. Oddly enough, when I was finished randomly throwing the blocks together, I ended up with a bunch that looked more "bluey" and a bunch that looked more "orangey" quite by accident (mostly because I got caught up in my thoughts and mis-cut the red fabric for the stars and had to cut more blue fabric to compensate . . .but that is all part of the creative process, right? Well, for me it is.). This worked well with my original thought for the quilts. So, finally, about a year after starting these things by cutting and piecing 480 half-square triangles, I have Bea's quilt finished! I really should stop doing 100 small sewing projects to every one quilt I make.

Here it is all folded up and ready to go.

Next, I had some sewing to do for my spring swap. I will not reveal precisely what is in this package, except that I added some apparently illegal gummi bears to it. Yes, thats right. You can not export gummi bears or any other packaged food to the United States, by order of the FDA. Sorry FDA. I hope the Canadian made gummis I sent to Inspired Mama don't spread mild mannered politeness throughout the US. I forgot to take photos of any of the contents of this package, so I shall send you to photos of them later, when my partner receives them.

Then there were the giveaway coasters. I quite like how they turned out -- I am especially partial to the dark brown / green side. But hopefully Mary will like both sides:

While I was at it, I quilted my own set of coasters that has been sitting in the basement half-constructed for three months now. They ended up being strip pieced in the midst of a bit of personal tragedy, so I had to put them aside for a bit. It was weird to finish them, and I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to keep them. We shall see.

And then I had my doll quilt for the giveaway to make. I love the look of coin quilts, but decided I wouldn't do one until I had actual scraps to use. This little one was a good experience, and I'm sure I'll do more of these later. They are fairly quick and I think this one is pretty:
I'm especially happy with the quilting. I just did random wonky lines with my walking foot. I will definitely do that again. It was quick and the result is cute.

After I finished the machine part of the binding for this quilt (the first cut I've made in my 1 m of this wonderful yellow chadalier fabric by Tina Givens), I gave my machine a thorough cleaning and oiling and let it have a day of rest.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This was our back yard on Monday . . .

And this is my attempt to remind myself that it will eventually be spring . . .

Sunday, March 22, 2009

No stash sunday this week.


I did ORDER some fabric today, however, so I should have a fantastic stash sunday in two or three weeks from now. I realized I had a blue deficit in my fabric stash. No longer, dear readers. No longer.

Now I have to go and sleep so I have the energy to finish the quilt I am selling to make the money to pay for the fabric I just bought. Ahem.

If you want to spy on other people's stashes, or display some of your own stash, feel free to pop by quarter of an inch and see who is playing along this week.

And the Winners Are . . .

All right. As my regular readers know, I am all about high tech and using the easiest method possible around here. So I did this the scientific way:

Yes, I harassed Dave at the end of a long work week (Sunday night is his Friday night) and made him pull names out of a bowl for me.

The winners are Digital Misfit and Mary. Fortunately, Mary requested the coasters and Digital Misfit requested the doll quilt, so I don't have to pick a number between one and one hundred or ask them to do virtual rock, paper, scissors or anything like that. Is there virtual rock, paper, scissors? I'm sure there is. If not, I'll bet my friend John will invent it one day.

So, I shall be contacting these ladies tomorrow, when I am less tired (Aaron has decided that 4:30 am is a great time to wake up for the day lately), and finishing my little projects and sending them out later this week!

Thanks so much for all the entries! I had fun reading them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A sticky situation

So, it was snack time. Andrew had asked for bread with jam (his favorite thing these days), and I had explained to him that there was no bread right now, so he would have to have fruit instead. I started cutting up some apples, when I saw Andrew walk by with a jar of jam. I said, "Don't open that jar of jam."

I saw him put the jar of jam on the counter and walk away. About five minutes went by, and I was just about finished cutting apples, when two very sticky, smiling boys rounded the corner. We are talking jam on their faces, their hands, and Aaron's clothes and socks. Trying not to laugh, I wiped them up and went to see what had happened. There was grape jelly all over the living room. On the carpet, on library books, on the couch, on the table -- everywhere!

After Andrew finished his time out, we had this chat:

Me: You need to help me clean this up.
Andrew: But Aaron got the jam everywhere.
Me: But you opened the jar after Mom told you not to open it.
Andrew: Mom, you told me not to open the jam. This was jelly.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stash Sunday

This is some reproduction fabric I bought when I first started quilting. I was caught off guard in my usual cerebral way by the fact that these are reproductions of fabrics that Jane Austen used in a quilt. It was cool that such a famous writer was also a quilter -- although I assume everyone of the female persuasion was a quilter -- it was just good sense (and sensibility) to be one. So, who doesn't want to channel Jane Austen from time to time?

The project I was thinking of when I bought this fabric is totally wrong -- it requires bigger prints to look good, I think, and was something I don't think I would make now. It also required a big border of the yellow floral, which I'm not super excited about anymore. I'm debating between making a log cabin quilt with the blue in the centre of each block and as a thin border, or making a snowball quilt with the blue as little squares between the blocks.

You can find more stash sunday posts or join yourself here .

Please feel free to enter my giveaway on the post below for some scrappy coasters or a doll quilt, while you're here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Some Thank Yous and A Giveaway!

Extra hooray for Katy at Im a Ginger Monkey! I finally won a giveaway on the great destash giveaway day! I received these lovely squares from Domestic Anarchy . She was generous enough to ask me what colours I wanted, and cut squares according to my wishes. I said not too many pinks, since I'm the only girl around here, and I received this fun collection:
And this is my haul from the Feb. A Little Fabric, a Little Chocolate swap on Flikr from Meg. You should check out her amazing bags at her etsy store . The strawberry pincushion is super cute in real life, and the chocolate was delicious (it is very much in the past tense) and the fabrics are great! The one on the far end is a giant stylized bee print by Tula Pink. Fantastic.

And now, drum roll, please! This is my 500th post! Do you beleive it? I've been blogging since 2005. It is funny to go back -- my blog was a lot more wordy then. There is a post about my first trip to a fabric store to get ready for my beginner quilting class. Andrew was a toddler and Aaron was a twinkle in his dad's eye. I had not even heard of Flikr or html or swaps or had any experience with the blog community. I just took a leap in the dark and decided I wanted to write about my life. I think in my first year I had about 6 hits a week (all my friend Kris). And now, look at all the fun I'm having! I feel like I live almost as much of my life online as I do in real life these days.

So, in celebration, I am going to have a giveaway to show my appreciation to you, my dear readers and swap buddies. I will pick two winners from the comments below. You may pick from either a set of scrappy coasters something like these but in blues and greens, or a happy spring doll quilt. Let me know which you would like. I will leave this open until March 20th.

How can you win? Leave a comment and introduce yourself -- give me two interesting and one boring fact about yourself. And/or tell me one thing you enjoy about my blog. Hope to hear from you all soon!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This is today, March 11:

It is -40 with the windchill. That is frostbite to exposed skin in 10 min.

The one sign of spring is the bird tracks in the snow, although the birds are no where to be seen this morning.

Hope it is warmer wherever you are.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Stash Sunday!

I forgot about this last week! Ah well, things have been kind of hectic around here, between toddlers getting molars and me getting a cold and being overdramatic and it being March -- month of never ending winter around here. So here is some nice fabric to cheer us all up. This is most of my garden party stash. I have added a few brown and burgandy prints, so its all ready to make a happy, simple quilt. I love this fabric so much, that I had it in my happy fabric cannisters for a while, and I had to move it into one of my bins. I could not get any of my Christmas sewing done with it staring at me, calling "Sew us! Sew us!". I can't wait to work with this fabric.

Friday, March 06, 2009

New Dress!

Remember my complaint about not being able to wear dresses? Well, I am weaning Aaron, so I decided that it was time to bring on at least one dress. And it just happened that I saw this amazing dress on etsy, at Sarah Clemens' shop and happened to show it to Dave, and he just happened to be in an unpredictable mood and said, "Why don't you get it?".

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I did get it. By the time I decided for sure (about 2 hrs later) it was sold, of course. Since it was hand made, I had to wait for the seller to receive a new bolt of green fabric, and sew me a new dress. But it arrived yesterday and it was SOO worth the wait.

I couldn't wait to take a photo -- in retrospect, I should have cleaned the mirror. Thanks for the blurry photo, two small boys! It will be a bit more ruffly after I hang it to dry to get the wrinkles out. Thanks, recently folded linen. Isn't it great?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Apparently everyone is feeling the pinch these days.

The knights seem to have downsized. Maybe they were finding upkeep on their other castle too difficult. This one is certainly easier to build up again after being smashed by a capricious toddler.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

seasonal celebrations swap button

Joined up for this fun swap over at inspired mama's musings. You send your partner a spring tradition, spring handmade decoration and spring time recipe, plus whatever else you think might tickle their fancy. I am having so much fun coming up with ideas for this one.

It occurred to me yesterday that I never post to let people know about swaps that have sign ups open in case anyone else wants to join. Would anyone be interested in being tipped off about these things?


So, we have been collecting change since we moved here. Or rather, to be more accurate, Dave has been collecting change. I'm that annoying person in line in front of you who pays .94 in dimes, nickels and pennies because I happen to know I have enough change in my wallet. Dave, on the other hand, has a broken wallet becuase he stores all his change, then puts it all in a cup when his wallet is full. I sort through the cup regularly and pilfer it for what I call "big change" -- twoonies, loonies and quarters (that is two dollar, one dollar and twenty-five cent pieces). The rest just sits.

Until now. Andrew and I spent a few days rolling change. Andrew loved this. He is a great quality control guy. He sorted out all the pennies, then sorted the American from the Canadian pennies. Then he rolled up lots of the change. This was great for helping him identify pennies, nickels and dimes, and also for starting to get the concept of sets -- eight sets of five makes a roll of nickels. Five sets of ten makes a roll of pennies. That kind of thing.

Anyway, do you know how much we had? Thirty three dollars. Yes, that is right. $33 in change. That means we accumulate about $8 of small change in our house every year. Crazy, eh?