Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Birth Of A Bag

I can hardly believe it!! I made a bag! Actually, I made TWO!

The second one is a bit larger than the first. I made it for Rachel to store her floss organizer and her hoop and current project in. I tailored it to fit perfectly. Did I just sound like a "seamstress", or what?! The first bag is so adorable. It is for Charlotte, but she doesn't know it yet. I am making her a simple dress, or skirt out of the same cherry fabric. I KNOW!! Can you believe it? I not only got rid of my bagaphobia, I am talking about making a dress for my daughter!!
Margaret's pattern was actually very simple. The directions with the pattern were definitely meant for the seasoned bag maker, but I had something extra, not included with the directions that Margaret e-mailed me. I had Linda's phone number and made countless calls to Oklahoma and even requested a tutorial with pictures to be e-mailed immediately!! I did the second bag on my own with my daughter-in-law watching as she spun ideas in her head of Christmas gifts for her cousins. While I continued on the bag, she chose an Aunt Martha's pattern for the tea towels she plans to make her Grandmother for Christmas. She will be a busy girl!
I titled this post "The Birth of a Bag", because while flipping that bag right side out, it seemed as if it was being born. I also feel like the proud parent!! There is only one problem...the school table ended up looking worse.
The drink on the ironing board is only ice tea. If I were a drinker, tonight would be the night. I am exhausted!! It is after 10:00 pm and I need to go clean up this mess. I will leave you with a picture of my girls with their bags (Charlotte offered to pose with the bag, though she does not realize it is hers. shhhhhh).

Tackle It Tuesday & Mail

I have 2 tackles today. Sorry to say that the first one is, again, school planning and prep. I really have been putting this off and NEED to get some head way. This is what my classroom table has become in a matter of a week! I did use it to work on cutting and pressing, and also put the treasures I found on it. I wrote a post on the newest treasures on my home school blog today.

The second tackle is the bag! Yes, the dreaded step in conquering my bagaphobia! I think it was Darlene (I could be wrong) who said it was just too much like making clothing. That can be intimidating for those of us who do not know how to "seamstress style sew". Is that a phrase? Say that fast 3 times!!! (Note how I am changing the subject in such a manner as you would not even notice). Hopefully, tomorrow I will have a bag to show you, or something that looks like a bag. Thank you Margaret and Linda for all your encouragement. It feels like you are trying to talk me off a ledge!

I also got mail! I was so excited, and surprised to receive my draw prize from Rose. It arrived so quickly! Thank you Rose. After I finish the swap project, very soon, I will start the Hugs From Grandma!
To see more tackles stop over at 5 minutes for mom.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Fresh Week

It comes around every 7 days like clock work. A fresh week. I looked back on the last few weeks and realized I had wasted alot of time. I am always thinking "I need more hours in my day", but I think I throw alot of minutes out the window! If I think of everything I have on my "to do" list, I will go mad!! So now there is a fresh week ahead of me. I really like what JT is doing in her 1 hour sewing segments. She spends 1 hour blocks of time doing something. The Flylady system says you can do anything for 15 minutes. 15 minutes may be ok for clearing a counter or picking up a messy room, but if I am going to sit down at my machine, it takes me 15 minutes just to get my groove going! 1 hour seems more logical for machine sewing. I did make a pretty good dent in Judy's July, Hour A Day quilt. That's great considering August arrives at the beginning of the fresh week.

It is actually a fun quilt to put together. For me that says alot, as my machine still dislikes me. She only "beeped" at me once today, so I felt tolerated.
I got my swap partner in the stitchery swap over at Coffee Time Quilt Studio and drew out my design and actually got a large amount of embroidery work done on it. I would say it is 3/4 of the way done. I will hand quilt it though and that will take some time. It can only be 12x12 so I am comfortable with the timetable of getting it mailed no later than Sept. 1st. I am almost certain the recipient does not read my blog so I will give you a peek...
That is one little element. I (and it) am still a work in progress. Speaking of progress, Rachel finished another block. What is this now, 4? Introducing Tyrone... It's like he is waving to you, huh?! I have my first UFO where stitchery is concerned. I decided, while doing inventory of all the minutes I need, that I am wasting my time on this piece. I have no plan for it, I do not like it, and my stitching is not at all acceptable. I need alot more time and practice on the Lazy Daisy stitch. So, this will be set aside and I will move on.
Off the quilting/sewing topic for a minute, Joni shared a bee picture on her blog today. I thought I would share my bee picture.

Are those white things eggs? The dark things on the white things are bees. Not as pretty as Joni's bee. We need to get rid of this soon.

Another non quilty thing. The kids and I watched a movie on Saturday. I had a preconceived idea of the story and how it would go. I was so wrong! Charlotte and I cried through 1/2 the movie. It was very good, but a tad too sad. Worth watching.
So, a fresh week is appearing tomorrow and I plan to take advantage of it. More stitching on the swap piece, and piecing on Judy's July quilt (even into August), and some added applique on the Masterpiece block. I also plan to overcome my bagaphobia! I have planned to make a bag using the pattern Margaret shared with me. I can feel the fear just typing about it! I will spend some time preparing for school in the next few weeks also. I can't believe we start in a month. I think it was a good idea to set up the school area on the other side of my sewing room. Maybe that 15 minutes on the machine thing will work after all!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Old Treasures Become New

I spent a good part of Wednesday at my mom's house helping to re-organize her living space. My sister and her 2 grandchildren are moving back to town and will be staying with my parents until they can get settled in their own place. This meant that the little bedroom that had been converted into a dining room would now need to become a 3 year old's bedroom, the guest bedroom would no longer be for guests and the finished basement would now be a toy/tv room for my sister to take her kids and "escape" or be "banished" depending on the day. In making room, my mom needed to relinquish certain treasures. Now they may not be treasures to anyone else, but to me they are priceless. I only brought a couple of things home but will share them with you. These pictures of me and my sister have hung in our home since we were each 2 years old. They measure 24" x 28" so you can't just throw them on any wall. I ended up hanging them in my formal dining room. They are done in oil and the top one is me, the bottom one my sister. I am 2 1/2 years older than her. I had cleavage back then!!! My strap had accidentally fallen and for my sister's pose, 3 years later, they pulled hers off her shoulder so it would match.

When my sister moves out, I will more than likely return these to my mother's house. My dad was none to pleased that they were leaving, but conceded that there was no wall to hang them and they would be better protected on my walls than in storage. He made the comment.."You can borrow them until I die and then you may have them."
This next treasure I am thrilled with. It is the cabinet stereo that my parents bought when I was in 1st grade. I remember playing all my records on it while I was a teenager, and through out my childhood my parents would have friends over and play Patsy Cline (which I listened to last night), Lorretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and I know every Johnny Cash album ever made is in there. I have a collection of Credence Clearwater, Donny Osmond, Bobby Sherman, and some no names that had 1 hit songs...remember "The Streak"? I have a huge collection of 45's and 78's along with the massive collection of 33's. Charlotte asked if those were "giant cd's". Hold on while I grab my cane!

Not great pictures as the sun is not shining here and that room is rather dark.
As I was leaving, my mother told me to go grab a shoe box from the closet. It was full of weird little things I saved as a child. You know that sentimental side of me....this was in the box.

It may be hard to see, but there IS a sewing badge on there. Also, a childcare badge, one for cooking (what a joke!), first aide, and good citizenship. I can't remember the others. I think one is for hiking. Meeeeemories, like the corners of my mind....no I do not have that record, and it is good you can't hear me sing, because I know there is not a singing badge on that little sash!
I also got mail!! On Saturday, I received a book from Joni on stitching. I LOVE this book!!

"An Encyclopedia of 101 Embroidery Stitches" by Jane Cannon Meyers. I have enjoyed looking at it everyday since it arrived! Thank you Joni!!
I also received a partial order from Amazon on Wednesday. I was frustrated with this order as it has taken a couple of months and it is still not complete. This one did come though.
It is a collection of inspirational quilt stories. Great to pick up and set down again. Maybe a great one to read aloud with Charlotte. The author, Kathy Lamancusa, also compiled another book called "Flowers are Forever" for gardeners.
Well today I sew. I want to finish piecing a top..only about an hour to go, and finish my latest stitchery. It is hot and humid and rainy here and my sinus headache is going to require some Advil I think. Thank you all for your kind words regarding my Grandmother. Today is a better day for me. Oh, and by the way, the glass enclosed quilt shrine has been moved to the living room where, it is said, that the quilts will be more likely to be used, and that large spiky weed was gone from the root when I went to my mother's on Wednesday!!! Mom has evidently started reading my blog!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hugs From Grandma

I was pretty excited to win one of Rose's giveaways for her pattern "Hugs From Grandma". Thanks to Rose's hubby for picking my name! If you click on the pattern name you can see the finished product. I plan to stitch this up as soon as it arrives! I have tears in my eyes as I am typing this and keep making lots of typos, so I will keep this short and share more news tomorrow. Right now I would like to share a couple of pictures of my Grandmother. She is the only grandparent I have left and is known as "Little Grandma". She swears she is 4' 10" but in reality she is 4' 6". She is a very sweet, yet feisty lady, and has a soft voice and sweet tone. Something you would not expect from a mother of 6 boys! She loves to laugh and I could listen to that laugh all day! My father is her oldest child. She had a daughter also, whom she was very close to, but Annie died at 41 years old in 1983 from a clot in the brain. I don't think my Grandma ever fully recovered.

Here is a picture of my Grandma and me when I was 18 months old.Here is a picture from about a year ago with TJ, her 3rd Great-Great Grandchild.
My Grandma was diagnosed with lung cancer a couple of weeks ago. I know she smoked at one point, but not since I can remember. She had no symptoms, just a routine check up and we thought maybe it was very early. Not so. Yesterday the doctors told her she has 8-12 weeks to live. My heart aches.
I leave you with a picture of one of my most precious treasures. He sits on a shelf in my sewing room, and though he is dirty and eyeless, he is still very much loved. I received him at birth from "Little Grandma".

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Zach's Special Day

Well the big boy is 6 today! Hard to believe that much time has passed since the little guy with the caterpillars over his eyes made his entrance into my heart!! We had a simply wonderful day yesterday with Sue and her kids at Chuckie Cheese. I got some wonderful pictures and would love to share some with you, however in a moment of pure stupidity, I accidentally deleted ALL the pictures from my camera!!!! I could have cried, and almost did, but as Sue said, "the day was so incredible that the memories will not be forgotten." How long do you think it took for her to come up with that "feel better" line?? Doesn't matter...it worked. So instead, I will show you a few pictures of Zach's life. Since it has only been 6 years, it will not take long :)

Here he is in his "spinner". He would start spinning in this thing so fast that his head would lean way to one side. This is not what the contraption was meant for, and many times I would have to lock it so it could not spin, as I was afraid he would hurt himself. He still loves to spin!! (Note the caterpillars)

In the next set of pictures, Zach is enjoying his dinner and then a bath and tooth brushing in the sink. He was always terrified of the big bathtub and had a bath in the kitchen sink til he could not fit. He then went to the shower and in only the last year has been ok in the big tub.

Halloween as a color crayon and what a big boy! He is certainly no baby anymore.

My favorite picture was taken just recently. I can not show it because Zach would grow up with a complex and blame me for it as an adult! It shows NOTHING and is totally appropriate, but he would be embarrassed. His Grandma has a copy on her frig and he made her promise not to show it to anyone! (even though it is an 8x10 on the frig) It is a picture of how you will find Zach any day of the week. He is sitting on his throne in the bathroom, game boy in hand! So instead of embarrassing him with that picture, I will embarrass him with this one....he was so upset his sister got to wear hair ties, he wanted one too!
Here is the one picture I have from yesterday, only because I could re-take it. Sue made him a beautiful pillow to go with the quilt I made him last year. Note, he still has those caterpillers!
Doesn't he look so grown up??? I am very proud to be his "Mama". He makes life fun and shows me everyday, the miracle of a child's heart. Happy Birthday Zachary!!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday

I really am tackling nothing today. It is Zach's birthday celebration (a day early) and we are heading to a local pizza fun place called Chuckie Cheese! He is celebrating with his good friend Lucas, who turns 7 today, and with Lucas' Mom, from the blog Quilting Chatter . It should be a fun day.

I did spend some time over the weekend tackling a project I have been putting off. Getting the school room ready and also starting the plan for the new school year.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Feminine Improvements

Emma over at Charming The Birds From The Trees is making some feminine improvements to her powder rooms. She has asked others to join in and I thought since I have recently done this I would share also. Here are before pictures of my guest powder room. It had a very nautical theme going...far from feminine, but since I was the only female, well you know.

The mirror was almost impossible to find and when I finally found it, the glass was accidentally broken and had to be replaced. It cost more to replace the broken mirror than the thing cost brand new! Anyway, I have since went feminine. I still need to paint the walls a soft lavender, almost white, and Sweet Hubby is putting in a white ceramic tile floor. I also need to change out the lighthouse switch plate!

My skills at photography are not getting any better I am afraid. You get the idea. A much more feminine powder room. Visit Emma's blog to check on how she is coming along with her feminine makeover. She is young enough to be my daughter, only 27, but she is very inspiring. Her blog always makes me feel more like a lady just visiting!

On the quilty front, I am working on my second embroidery block. Just practice mind you. I was a little unnerved when I saw Margaret's rooster. It was her second block also and her stitches are unbelievably good! I think I will need to practice a bit more. Her and Linda are trying to get me over my bagaphobia, so a new bag may be in my near future. In the meantime, I will share Rachel's third block in her Backyardigans series. Presenting Uniqua!!..I think she is a bug of some kind. Great job Rachel!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Flowers For Joni

While I was at my Mom's house yesterday, she asked me to take this picture of her Rose of Sharon variation. She wanted to share it with Joni. You see, my mom reads Joni's blog My Piece of Heaven-The Diary of a Farmwife every day. She loves all of the pictures Joni shares (as do my children and I). She especially likes the prairie pictures. I think it reminds her of home, as Kansas must be alot like Southern Illinois was when she was a child. Anyway, my mom was sure Joni would enjoy her flowers. They really are beautiful. If you look closely you can see that the trunk is braided. Very cool. So, even though my photography skills are no where near as expert as Joni's, here it is mom. Your city version of "prairie pictures".

Now I am really thrilled that mom enjoys Joni's blog, but I think she skips mine alot. So just incase, on my way out her door, I snapped another "prairie picture". A HUGE spikey weed growing out of her peonies! I could hear her from inside the house yelling "DON'T YOU DARE! STOP THAT...YOU BETTER NOT!" HA! You better read my blog everytime you read Joni's!!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mom & Dad

Today I went for a visit at my mother's house and while I was there I thought I would take some photos of the quilts I made for her and my father. I gave them both their quilts at Christmas 1998. My mom's quilt is made with 30's repos and the center is a pattern series printed in a 1930's newspaper. The center blocks are all solids and are hand appliqued and hand quilted. I did machine quilt in the ditch around all the 30's patchwork.

She cried when she read the label and I was very pleased with her reaction as she had NO idea I was making her a quilt. I pictured how much she would love to cover up on a cold winter afternoon and watch a movie. Or how she would wrap herself in it to take a nap. Nope. It is living in the glass enclosed shrine of a quilt rack that she bought right after that Christmas. I don't think my dad uses his much either. I know she loves it and it is so special to her that she can not bring herself to keep it on the foot of her bed or the back of her couch. As a quilter you know what I am trying to say. I am flattered that she loves it so much but for crying out loud, use it!

My dad's quilt is a thimbleberries pattern and fabric. I machine quilted it in the ditch (yes, it was during my "I can quilt in the ditch" phase) It actually did not turn out bad.
I also made a special label for his quilt. My parents are both wonderful people and I am so blessed to have them.