Thursday, February 28, 2013

with needle and thREAD, the in-progress edition

Slowly but surely,
the design that I shared with you Friday

I know, again with the blurry in-progress phone photo...
is turning into

There is some trial and error involved, but I think it's turning out well.
And T is happy with it - which, really, is all that matters.

I probably should have taken the time to figure out templates and such before I started.
What I did, though (and, for the most part, it's working okay) 
is figure out how big of a square I could get from my fabric, without any waste width-wise.
(14 1/2 inches)
From there, I am sub-cutting smaller squares (the 14 1/2 in square cut in half, and in half again)
and triangles (again - square cut in half - on the diagonal, and sometimes, in half again).
Each seam reduces the size of the resulting square.
So, after making the 4 corner blocks (being easy ones ;-)
I made one of the blocks with the most seams, which then told me what size my finished blocks could be.
(13 inches)
I've run into a smidge of a problem with my rectangle blocks being a bit off, but I think I've figured out the fix.

I'm kinda torn on the batting.
I think this quilt wants to be fluffier than what I normally make; 
the huge blocks kinda call for a more comforter-ish feel.
I'm still trying to talk myself into using what I have.
(which would probably be easier to quilt...)
We'll see who wins - me, or the quilt...
In the reading department:
I checked out another Kate Morton book. 
I'm not terribly far in, but I think it will be better than Riverton House
but not as good as The Forgotten Garden (which was really good ;-)
Which, I suppose makes sense; an author should get better with each book...
I'm also s l o w l y plodding through the habit book - only because it came so highly recommended,
and I still have The Everlasting Meal for another week and a half, so I will try to get something valuable out of it, 
as it, too,  seems to be well liked by people who eat similarly to our family.
I am finding (which I already knew) that I am not like the masses.

Also in the reading department,
we were able to snag a few of our favorite picture books:
Duck on a Bike, Daisy and the Beastie, Farmer Brown Shears his Sheep,
and a new-to-us book that I (although I'm not sure about the kids) fell in love with, There is a Place.

Once again, I'm linking with Elizabeth's.
needle and thREAD

Something I didn't tell ya'll last week... those jammies that I sewed up for a friend?
Elizabeth was the friend.
I hesitated posting about it here - I'm not one to toot my own horn.
That's not entirely true;
I love to toot and tell ya'll about my sewing adventures,
but when it comes to my being nice and all, I usually keep quiet about it.
(I know. You're thinking 'when?!?' ~ what can I say, I do a lot of nice things ;-) 
If you want to read my (hastily and poorly written) guest post last week, and see the nice things people said, you'll need to go to this post
And if you want to see the girls in their nightgowns (and you should; they are so sweet and happy!) visit this one.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tony, USMC recruit

Lots of people have been asking about Tony, so I thought I'd go ahead and fill everyone in all at once.

He's 1/3 of the way through Basic Training.

Physically, it's not very hard. Easier than he anticipated, even.
He actually wishes it were a bit tougher;
he's having trouble falling asleep and if his body was as exhausted as his mind was,
maybe sleep would come faster?
That should be changing as we speak - he is at Camp Penddleton for a few weeks for the real physical training...

Mentally, it's much worse than he expected.
And then he lost his dog.

He started a prayer group with 2 other guys and it's grown to 10 now.
He said guys notice he's different and ask about it, so he is encouraged about that.
Growing up, when the kids had an occasion to be 'out in the world',
rather than just tell them, "Be good." - we would tell them to "Be salt and light."
He said he remembers that all of the time,
and his goal, every day, is to be
salt and light.

Kacy told me yesterday that he now gets 10 minutes to shower and such.
Previously, they had 30 seconds.
Thirty seconds!
I can't even get my hair all wet in 30 seconds.


Pray for him.
He does miss everyone very much! And he's more homesick than he thought he'd be.
Also, I'm sure Satan's not real thrilled with the prayer-group increasing
and his 'salt and light' goal.

If you want to write him (no promises as to his writing back...)
the address is:
Recruit L(fill in his last name)
1st Bn. Bravo Co. Platoon 1027
39001 Midway Ave.
MCRD San Diego, CA 92140-1027

Sunday, February 24, 2013

devil's den, a quick day trip

Yesterday, although nobody was feeling real super,
Tyler wanted to be a good papa, so he took the kids on a little explore to Devil's Den.

Most photos were taken by Brandon.
A few were taken by Tyler.
I'll let you guess which ones ;-)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

several quick takes

It's been so long since I've done a 'quick takes', I can't even remember how many takes there are supposed to be.
I'll just see how many I've got. How 'bout that?

I was writing a letter to Ton' shortly after it started snowing yesterday.
In it, I told him about how the kids were premature in asking me to set out some carrots for snowmen noses.
Said that I doubted we'd get enough snow for that...

Whenever Lexi has a headache, she says, "My head-fore hurts."
I can't bear to correct her, it's so sweet;
and what's more, I reinforce her mispronunciation by asking about her head-fore later.

Shopping at Sam's the other day, Lily pointed to the three-pound container of Daisy sour cream,
"Oooh," she squealed, "It's so cute!"
We buy the five-pounder ;-)

So far, all of my sewing, with the exception of some mending, this year has been for others.

do you see that thread? drives me bonkers. 

(for which Nancy generously paid me, despite my not charging her for my stitching services. 
All my blathering on about 'nobody can afford what my time is worth',
and now I'm not sure she got her money's worth....
So now, I'm humbled. 
And I'm deciding what to do with it...;-)

Then I took in (took up?) a bridesmaid's dress for a young friend.
(a task I cheerfully did out of love, but was reluctant to take on, for fear I'd ruin it. and thus, ruin her friend's entire wedding)
After that, I helped another friend with some sewing;
she just recently taught herself (and her daughters) to sew using this book,
and thought she'd gotten in over her head with her latest project.

Turns out, the directions were just really confusing,
and I'm confident that with proper directions, she could have tackled the job beautifully.
I was quite happy to help out anyways ~ the fabric was so soft and pretty,
and I added to my ever-growing arsenal of sewing knowledge in the process.
I also realized, sewing up 3 of the same pattern,
that it is best to start with the littlest size first.
The larger sizes will be passed down, and therefore worn (and looked at) much longer.
So it's best to work out any kinks (and there are usually kinks...) on the clothes that will be receiving the least wear.
I, of course, did not do this.

I am remedying the above only-sewing-for-non-family issue
with a not-at-all-secret, very-likely-won't-be-finished-on-time quilt for TJ, for his birthday.
As much as I love surprising people,
I think it's actually going to be more fun this way.
Now I can pester delight both Lynnet and T with pictures of my progress :-)

You, too, can get crappy in-progress photos texted to your number. 
Just let me know... I'll be happy to add you to the list ;-)

I've also been collecting fabric for a quilt for Tyler,
since he's claimed my red and aqua quilt 
and will only relinquish it when he receives a similar quilt (in different colors. and a bit bigger...)
He was whining muttering something the other day about having to buy his own quilt on e-bay. psh.
I'm working on it...

She was just a pitiful looking 7(ish) leaf $.99 Black Friday special, but look at her  now:

I realize that, for most people, this is, like, normal,
but I have never been very good with growing anything except kids, cucumbers, and cats,
so I'm quite tickled with myself.

Lily and Lexi were snotty and stuffed up last night;
(weird how you can be both...)
they slept horribly.
Consequently, so did I.
It wasn't all that long ago, that getting up a kazillion times a night was normal.
I'm grateful there's a new normal.
(which still consists of getting woke up during the night - but not every single night, every few hours...)

Tomorrow, our neighbor is coming over for dinner and games.
I should probably figure out what to fix, huh?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

snow day

Photos by Brandon (and Kacy)

poor li'l Lex'

Lexi is having such a hard time wrapping her little mind around death.
Last week, after I'd hacked away a few branches of a scraggly tree with a machete,
so I could more easily dig sweet Dallas' grave back by the bushes he loved to explore,
she stood there with her lip quivering.
"How many lives do dogs get?" she asked, trying not to cry. again.
"Only one, Baby. Only one." I told her sadly.

She's asked the question about twenty times since then.
The question, and the answer, are always the same.

But now, she's moving on to people.
"A doctor could help a person if they die, right?"
"No, Sweetie. If somebody dies, only God can help them."
She asks again, emphasizing the word 'doctor', thinking I must have misunderstood.
The answer doesn't change.
"But what if they get shot? 
A doctor could help them then, right?"
"Yes, if the bullet didn't kill them, a doctor could help."
"People live longer lives than dogs, don't they? People don't die when they are just little."
And I have to tell her that, yes, little people die too, sometimes.
"But I won't, right?"
And all I can tell her is, "I hope not!"

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lexi and the electric shaver

Tyler has used a cordless electric shaver for years.
He keeps it in his car
and brings it in every few weeks when it needs to be recharged.

He'd had it in the house this weekend, and brought it back to his car when he left for work Monday morning.
he couldn't find it.
He thoroughly searched his car before telling me he had a problem.

I wasn't overly concerned;
Tyler's thorough looking and my thorough looking are sometimes very different.
Meaning - just because he couldn't find it, didn't mean it wasn't really there...
(You know it's true ;-)
So I went and looked for it,
and you know what? It wasn't in his car.
He was positive he hadn't brought it in, but I checked the counter in the bathroom anyways,
and also his little landing pad for stuff he brings in
in the living room.
No razor.
Best we could figure was he must've kicked it out of his car (?)

I went to and ordered him a new one.
In doing so, I realized he'd had that one longer than I remembered and he was probably about due for a new one anyways.
We don't really do gifts for valentine's day,
but I thought it was awfully suspect that he lost his razor two days before v-day
and we have free two day shipping with amazon prime ;-)
(not really, but it was fun to tease him)
(and he did buy me a cute little rose bush. Probably because I've done such a good job with my poinsettia from Christmas ;-)
(Like how I got that little brag in there?)

As he was opening the Amazon package 
we were discussing again
how he just couldn't figure out what had happened to his razor.
Lexi pipes up, "I know where it is."
And she ran to get it!

She had gotten it out of his car
and brought it in the house
and put it in the drawer that the charger goes in.
Nobody looked in there for it,
because there was no reason for it to be there.

Then we were discussing what we should do with the new razor
send it back? 
use it, but save the old one for back-up? 
keep using the old one, but save the new one for when the old one dies?
when Lexi hugged the box to her chest, "I want to save it for my husband. He's going to need one of these."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

needle and thREAD ~ brought to you by the number 125

Last summer, she asked Tyler if she could hire me to make her a quilt.
"No," I told him; 
"I could never charge somebody what my time is worth, I'd rather gift it.
If she buys the fabric, I'll make one for her."
In January, I told Tyler to tell her
I was ready to make her quilt.

She wanted:
and aqua.
No pink.
No flowers. 
(um. I didn't exactly abide by this one...)
A smidge of green and yellow.
Totally random.
A bohemian hippie vibe, with a nod to re-purposing.
And the quilting should be unexpected.

After a few e-mails back and forth, and visiting over coconut coffee, 
I had a pretty good picture in my mind of what she wanted.
I ordered a rainbow bundle of fat sixteenths (light on the greens and yellows).
I added a little bundle of purple,
and another of oranges.
I dug through every piece of fabric that I own,
looking for pieces that met the above requirements.
Then I shopped at thrift shops, Hancocks, Hobby Lobby, and The Bargain Shack to round out my (admittedly tall) stack
and ended up with 123 different fabrics.

after shrinkage, quilt is 69x81 (did you see the pop of orange in the binding? :-)

I spent 5 hours over the course of 3 days cutting 4 1/2 inch squares.
(It takes a lot longer to cut a few squares from a bunch of fabrics
than it takes to cut a bunch of squares from a few fabrics!)

A week of sewing (and ironing) here and there
resulted in a finished quilt top.

In early January, a friend had offered to let me dig through some bins of fabric;
she knew I was a quilter (I'm a quilter!!:-) and thought I might find something I could put to good use.
I kept hoping that when I dug through the bins, I'd find fabric that would be perfect for the back of Nancy's quilt.
And I did!
Of course, I had to add some piecing to the back, too.
I used up every cm of those fat sixteenths ~ I had to; that was some expensive fabric!

After a quick trip to the church to baste it,
I spent the next 3 days quilting with my new Juki exceed f600.

Then it was time to decide on a binding.
And then, of course, make, and attach the binding,
then hand-sew it to the back.
(I forgot to take pictures, but my corners were perfect. I was so tickled!)

123 fabrics, plus the blue back
and the black binding - so, 125 fabrics
and about 31 hours of cutting, sewing, and ironing (ironing is a big part of quilting!)
and Nancy got the quilt she's always wanted her whole life.

Thanks, Nancy, for letting me make your quilt.
It was a fun challenge :-)
I hope you and Bruce enjoy many picnics on it
and snuggles on the couch under it.

Most of the photos in this post are by Brandon ~ thanks, Bud!
Linking up with my quilting mentor's Finish it up Fridays
and my friend's with needle and thREAD, although very little reading transpired.