Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happiness is.....

Today, I spent much of my morning setting up various i devices and wondering what the heck had happened to my music library after a recent update of itunes.  Apple can call their magic storage place the cloud.  I am going to call it the Phantom Menace.  I mean really.  I was happily putting music onto an ipod and mid-stream all these clouds popped up.  It looked like the weather radar and then I get a message that I must first download the music to my computer to continue my dragging and dropping. What? But, it was just there?!?   Phantom Menace.  Anyway, I was severely irritated, but somewhere in the process, I decided I wasn't going to let it tick me off for half of the day.  I decided I would focus on the simple things (without chargers or passwords) that make me happy.  Here's what I came up with.......

Happiness is......
making a quilt
a job well done
red nail polish (I did this today!)
a White Christmas

Happiness is.....
kids singing in the shower
a dog
an empty dishwasher

Happiness is.....
getting lost in a story
revisiting the classics
a garden in bloom

Happiness is........
the glow of the spotlight
a favorite song
a good night's sleep

Happiness is......
warm slippers
the pop of a champagne cork
comfy pj's
a new toothbrush

Happiness is......
a fresh start
a full moon
sand in your toes
fresh powder

Happiness is......
a rally cap
the crack of a bat
the snap of a glove
sliding into home

Happiness is........
a beautifully executed eschappe
the Snow Scene in Nutcracker
The Sound of Music
pointe shoes

Happiness is......
hot chocolate
Cold Dr. Pepper
Dark Chocolate
light and fluffy mashed potatoes

Happiness is......
playing cards with Grandma
watching Pa stir the soup
fishing with Pappy (my grandpa)
Sewing with Sudy (my grandma)

Happiness is.......
an electric train
a full bobbin
a bubble bath

Happiness is.....
soft sheets
starched white shirts
a brand new box of crayons
giving the perfect gift

Happiness is.....
a day at the lake
a crisp fall day

Happiness is.....
a spring thunderstorm
cold November Rain

Happiness is....
remembering the way it was
anticipating how it will be
learning along the way

Happiness is.....
a clean house
a fresh start
a new year
an adventure

Happiness is all around us.

PS-- If you have any tips on outsmarting itunes, do share.  That makes me happy too.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Where I Live

My little girl is reading the book "Where I Live"  by Eileen Spinelli.  I am loving the sweet story about a little girl and how she has to move.  I am loving the way it is written is as a series of poems.  Words do not fill the page margin to margin which, I think is VERY VERY VERY overwhelming for my little girl who has dyslexia.  Her eye gets to rest, her brain gets to rest and she gets to enjoy the story rather than feel like she is running against the wind or going into battle with all of the words on the page.  I hate dyslexia,  but I love this book.  I think we might need to own this book.  
I just read the part I missed because she read with her uncle yesterday.  Yes, I am reading my kid's library book while she is at school.  I am OK with that.  I found these words a poetry instructor gave to her students.  It spoke to me.

be brave,
be messy,
write what we feel,
tell the truth,
love who we are,
keep a notebook,
take it everywhere,
open our eyes
and our hearts.

Wow!  I love this book.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Boy's Room

I have been redoing my daughter's room.  The last time it was re-done, she was turning 4.  She is now turning 9.  9!  Well, part of her room redo (which I will not yet show you) involved swapping some furniture with her brother and thus re-arranging his room.  I did the swapping and re-arranging today.  I did not declutter his room yet due to lack of time.   I put a shorter dresser in his room.  I thought it would be nice if he could reach all of his drawers.  He thought it would be nice to climb the dresser,  jump off,  and pretend to "slam dunk like Dirk Nowiskey." Yes, I spelled it wrong-- that is how he said it.   It is also exactly how I feel about liquor- No Whiskey.

My husband built the loft to give him the feel of a dug out and afford him a little more floor space to play in.  I  would have liked to paint before the construction began, but alas, he just started building. Plus, the brands on the wall are from his western theme nursery.  Doug and I painted them.  Some are real brands from Texas ranches.  Some we made up to be significant to our family and interests.  Doug also made the barn wood sign.  He did it with black crayon--yes, crayon!  to give the weathered look.  Isn't it awesome?!
I have to figure out a better place for the night stand than in front of the ladder, but then again, the kid is part monkey.  Missing a few rungs won't slow him down!    I think at some point I will paint a scoreboard on the wall opposite the "dugout", but I have LOTS to do in the girly room first.  Tomorrow, I begin painting 3 pieces of furniture.......
Climb the dresser to the right.  Jump and dunk on the Nerf hoop in the center.  Awesome, huh?  

Just noticed he has attached the hoop with Duck tape.  So lovely and functional.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Just A Quote....

This was the tipping point that made me blubber about my baby starting Kindergarten....Over a week into school.  Being tough is over rated.  

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
C. S. Lewis

Friday, August 24, 2012

Meet the Teacher

So, I have admittedly been struggling with sending the little man off to Kindergarten.  He is ready.  I know he is ready, but I am not so much.  I will have no one to lean down and kiss as I push along my shopping cart anymore.  I will have no sweet baby voices calling "Mom" from the back seat any more.  I will no longer have singing in the back seat and fully commentated baseball games in the entry hall.  (Oh yes, we do!)
I don't rejoice when the school year begins and groan when it ends.   I really do enjoy my kids and enjoy being a mom, as messy and hectic as it can all be at times!    I also never thought that George would be my last baby, but God has some different ideas than I do about these things, so the struggle to send him off to school was greater than I imagined it would be.  And the therapy for the struggle kept coming to me in the form of words dancing in my head.  I am really not a poet, or even a huge fan of poetry.  (Though I will give a shout out to Shel Silverstein poet and author of one of our favorite songs, A Boy Named Sue.  Oh how I loved checking out those black and white books from the library as a kid.)
Anyway, this is what came out of those words dancing in my head........

Meet the Teacher
By Katy McClaskey

This little boy who holds my hand,
I kiss him every night. 
Then I thank God and tell the boy
“You are my heart’s delight.” 

I try to make light of things
Making sure he doesn’t know
Just how much it breaks my heart
To simply let him go. 

So as I give him to you
I will give you a few hints
So you can get to know him
And your time will be well spent. 

If you want to reach him,
Talk with him of sports.
He’ll tell you facts you do not know
And statistics of all sorts! 

He might get quite frustrated
When trying things of new,
He wants to know how NOW,
His best he strives to do.

Patiently encourage him,
Help keep his head so cool. 
The two of you should get along
And make easy work of school. 

I don’t expect that he’ll be bad,
He shouldn’t give much trouble,
But if he does, steer him straight
 And call me on the double! 

As time goes on I think you’ll see
Just why I think he’s great    
Long eyelashes, sweet blue eyes
And charm will seal your fate.  

I am glad that you are on my team
The gifts you’ll share and bring
To help groom a sweet young child
Bound for greater things. 

Now, one more hug and I must go
The tears have won this fight.
This little boy who you now teach,
Remember, HE  is my heart’s delight. 

As I wrote it, I began to realize I still feel this way about my daughter every year.  Her traits are a little different, but the underlying sentiment is the same.   And when I had this realization, I decided I should share it with our school staff.  I am one of those people that fears public speaking- a lot.  I much prefer writing, but I also knew that there had to be a voice behind these words and Maya Anjelou was not available on such short notice, so I decided to read it.    I did get a little choked up, but miraculously did not turn into a snot dripping puddle of a person!    I am certain all the tears transformed themselves into sweat running down my back.  But it was well received by these wonderful people, many of who came and hugged my sweaty self, so I decided to put it here on the Rainbow.  Maybe someday my George will read this and forgive me for the fact that I never completed his baby scrapbook!   

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Today, I went boating with my family and some  friends.  We did all kinds of fun stuff.  Tubing, wake skating, wake boarding.  Ya, know the kind of stuff you do just to prove you are not getting old and show the kids, “Yes, in fact, I am awesome.”    We went yesterday too and when we were done, my hair was a big, big tangled mess.  I am in a growing phase.  Over the past few years, I grow it out and then cut and donate it.  I have done it 3 times.    Today, I thought to myself, “I will not fight that tangled mess again!” and took measures to prevent such an episode.  I placed my hair in a pony tail and braided that into 3 braids.  I then braided those.  Essentially, I made a rope, so when I unbraided all that stuff, I would have manageable hair.  Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?  Well, it was NOT.  NOT. AT. ALL.    
I came in and unbraided my hair.  First the big braid and then each of the small braids.  As I unbraided, some inappropriate words flew through my mind.  This was not looking how I had planned.   And when I removed the large hairband from the top, I became clear to me that I had dreads.  They were completely knotted totally out of control dreadlocks.    Incredible. They were sticking out from my head every which way.  I looked like Medusa of the Lake People.  I wept.  Ok, I didn’t, but I wanted to.  I got into the shower with a comb and a bottle of conditioner.  5 minutes in, I pondered consuming a couple of margaritas and going all Britney on myself.   But, I guess vanity and sanity won out.  38 minutes later I emerged from the shower with a pounding headache, an almost empty bottle of conditioner (I spared a bit for my daughter, because she will weep), a hand cramp, a keen understanding of why they call them dreadlocks that could only learned by experience , ALMOST  all of my hair, and a desperate need for Advil.    I also have a need for a few more inches to achieve donation length because after this, I see #4 on the horizon.   The sooner the better! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tomato Pie

I just got back from a fantastic vacation to Jackson, Wyoming for my cousin's wedding.  It was exquisite.  We also spent a lot of time in Yellowstone park which means we ate lots of picnics along the way.  Lots of sandwiches and snacky things.  It was fine.  It fit what we were doing, but when I got home, I decided, I wanted real food.  My in-laws met us at the airport with a bag of tomatoes from their garden and our truck so we could go home.  I knew immediately what I would make with those tomatoes---pie!  I made mine based on a recipe by my Aunt Mandy.  The only thing I changed was the cheese.  She uses cheddar. I just happened to have some goat cheese in the fridge and I wanted to give that a try!

Here goes........

For the pie-
1 9 inch pie crust - bake according to package directions
About 2-5 tomatoes sliced
Salt and pepper
2 T fresh chives
2 T basil
1 t thyme
1/4 cup mayo
5 oz ball of goat cheese with herbs
8 slices of bacon cooked crisp and crumbled.

Note, I didn't actually measure any of this stuff. I am an "eye-baller" when it comes to things such as this.  I save precision for baking!

So, while the pie crust baked, I sliced tomatoes and chopped herbs.  Yes, I used store crust.  I use Pillsbury.  They tend to do fine in quiches and things like this and I have no patience for rolling out crust.  Sue me.  It is just not my thing.
When the crust got done, I filled it with tomatoes and herbs.  I just layered them in.  See, not so hard.

Then I mixed the mayo and the goat cheese and smeared that on top....................

And then I baked it for about 20 minutes at 350.  When it got done, I covered the top with bacon crumbles.

I believe it looks good enough to eat!  And when it is 100 degrees outside, I am happy to have my oven off for the day at 2:30!  
P.S.  I will tell you more about the wedding and Yellowstone later.  I have about 1200 pictures to WADE through before I can blog on that!  Just know, it was fantastic! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

New Projects!!

I am back from Big Cedar and rather than unpack or clean, I am starting some new sewing projects.  I did enjoy reading last week, but I am happy to have my rotary cutter back in my hand.  I love cutting out projects.  It is one of my favorite parts of the sewing process.  My least favorite part--pinning.

My first project is for my daughter's dance teachers.  It is a wine tote using a pattern by Atkinson Designs.
I usually avoid zippers like the plague, but I am going to give it a whirl.  I love her fabric more than mine, but I am still happy with what I was able to find.  Not a lot of laminated cotton running around out there!

The floral is my outside, the stripe is the liner, and the green dot is the binding.  I love the dots.  As usual.

The next project I am working on is the Michael Miller Clubhouse block of the month in the Cabana colors.  That is the blues, whites and creams shown at the top left. Again, I love the dots.  It is a theme for me.

 I love/hate the block of the month format.  I love that it is not overwhelming and there is only a little to do bit by bit.  I hate how slowly it comes together.  I get bored easily.  I have project A.D.D.  I have been known to be done with a project like this long before it was finished.  In fact, I have 2 BOM's that have all the blocks done that are not put together.  I cannot do that to myself again.  I really need to finish those and give them away!  Because of my history with BOM's I had to really debate and ponder this project.  But I love it so!  I am a sucker for blue and white because it reminds me of my grandma.  I would have gone for the Cottage in red and white too because I love red.  I would have also done the Casino version in red, white, and blue because it reminds me of my other grandma.  I clearly loved the pattern and loved the fabric in any combination, so skipping this one would have haunted me.  Speaking of haunted, I have a Halloween quilt 3/4 done.  What IS wrong with me?  I suppose I better quit blogging and start sewing!  Good night!  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Well, I have fallen out of the blogging loop again.  I don't mean to, but life just sometimes grabs you by the tail.  You know?!?    I finished my juice bag bags-- 19 of them because one of the early bags was not meeting my quality control standards.  The kids went wild.  I finished the teacher's quilt.  She went wild.  Well, not really, but I think she went as wild as someone who is characteristically steady and calm would.  It turned out great. I neglected, as I often do, to take a picture of the final product.
My niece was born.  They named her Isla.  She is a cute little lady and I cannot wait to meet her.  I was not able to meet her right away because of then end of school.  Just when I was ready to cut and run, we became aware of a hospital rule not allowing children under the age of 12 in to see babies.  This knowledge sparked anger and outrage in my daughter.  She wrote that hospital the nastiest letter that a dyslexic 8 year old could write.  She used words like stupid, adorable, and Dark Side.   When she stomped into the kitchen to deliver it, I was not sure if I should laugh or cry, so I did both.
Then the baby was put into the NICU for 7-21 days of antibiotics.  They found bacteria in her blood and don't want to send her out into that big nasty world fighting infection with the immune system of a 2 day old.  At this point, I was very sad for them, but rejoiced at the fact that I and my germy offspring had remained 350 miles away, and therefore, they couldn't have possibly been the source of the infection.  How crappy would that have made me feel?   How much strain would that whole "Your snot nosed kid tried to kill my 2 day old baby" thing put on a relationship?  Here's hoping the antibiotics work and they can take home a happy health girl who sleeps through the night  in the next week or so!
Oh, by the way, my snot nosed kid is not snotty anymore.  The adenoid surgery seemed to work!  We only need to go to the ENT on an as needed basis, which really stinks when you find a doctor you actually like.    

While all of this is going on, we are on our annual trip to Big Cedar on Table Rock Lake.  I am not sure who is twitching more....Me who left behind my sewing machine or Doug, who for the first time, left behind the boat.  The good part of this separation is I am catching up on reading.  I FINALLY got to pick Money Ball back up and I am continuing to enjoy it.  I may finally finish the 600+ page Forgotten Garden, which is a good story, but maybe not quite gripping enough for 600 pages.  350 pages in was too far to call it quits.  I am still interested in the story, but it does not have me like say The Hunger Games.  In between those, I am reading a collection of short stories written by a mother of 2 autistic and OCD children called "I wish I were Engulfed in Flames".  I do plan to elaborate more on these at a later date.  My very own Slice of the Rainbow book review!

And tomorrow night, we are going to erase any knowledge and insight I glean from these books by going to see the Baldknobbers.  Go ahead. Prepare your suburban dwelling selves and click on that link.  Feast your Eyes on all that toothless glory. Yes. The. Bald. Knobbers.  A Branson fixture since 1959.  The show that started it ALL.  How can something be called Baldknobbers and be a family show? I am embarrassed to say it out loud.  I am thinking it sounds more like something out of 50 Shades of Grey, which consequently, I am terrified to pick up because Access Hollywood was talking about how trashy, smutty, and dirty it is.  Really, Access Hollywood?  Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?   But, for better or for worse, I will be going to the infamous Jamboree.  I am afraid if I say the B---K------ word anymore, I will lose 3 of my front teeth.  It is once again a cry or laugh situation.  I am assuming I will choose both.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Slow going....

Well, I would like to say that George's adenoid surgery was a miracle.  It has not been.  Since then, he got strep, complains of frequent headaches (I had NEVER heard this before), and seems to be generally grouchy.  Hoping it gets better soon.  I would hate to think that the doctor inadvertently suctioned out all of the boy's charm, but for now, it appears so.  Booooo!
Juice bag bags are now going well. I have 8 complete and have come up with a method that works well after 8 bags.  I will do a tutorial on those now that I have a method.  Just be patient and begin drinking 14 juice bags.   No, not all at once.  Slowly, because the tutorial will take lots and lots of pictures and I am slow at posting those.  
The teacher's quilt it pretty.  It is plenty long, but a little too narrow for my taste.  I always have trouble getting length onto my quilts and this time it is width.  I am putting that project on the back burner while I stew over whether or not to add a border, which adds lots more work and lots more quilting.....Clearly I am running out of time, but I figure I can put off any decisions for 10 more juice bag bags.  Really, 11 because I am also making a gift bag for the teacher that she can use at the grocery store...because that is the way I roll.  
My daughter has a breakfast reception on Thursday and I told her I would make anything she wants.  She went for Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls.  They are truly not that hard, I just didn't calculate that into my projects of the week.  Maybe, just maybe I can talk her into me buying some sausage kolaches or as we call them Smoky Beefs from the local doughnut shop.  I doubt that will work.
But for now, my loyal few, I must rest.  For tomorrow, I must sew, and have lunch with a friend, and buy ballet tights, and do swimming lessons, and dance class....Oh my, when will I sew??

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's Up??

I have been on a blog hiatus.  It is not by design, just by being busy.
So, here is a sample of things that have been going on with me.....

1) Lindsay got Trailblazer award at her school.  It can be given for lots of reasons, but hers was that she is a hard worker.  I was extremely proud that she displays that characteristic at school.  In fact, she must use up her work ethic there, because here....I will stop and focus on the fact that she is doing a great job out in the world!

2) George graduated preschool.  I am glad it will be 13 years until he puts one of these on again.  It makes me want to cry.  

3) George had his adenoids out.   He and Elvis were brave little bears.  Here they are before surgery.

He did pretty well, but did not bounce back from the anesthesia.  I got him home and back in bed and my husband came to me and said, "Where's George?"  "In his bed" was my reply.  When my husband said, "Nope", I panicked and went on a search.  He had climbed out of bed and was asleep in his bean bag.  I have never seen him do this.

4) I am working on making juice bag bags for Lindsay's class.  I have 2 1/2 done and 15 1/2 to go before May 31.  I got this.......

5) I am also working on a quilt for her teacher.  It has some work to be done, but it will get there.

6) I mopped my floor today.  The dog came dashing through the kitchen and hid in her kennel.  She put herself in time out, but I couldn't figure out why she put herself in time out.  Well, I went to print something and I stepped in it.  But I didn't know it yet.  I walked around for a while before George said, "Jessie poohed on the floor and she has some thing hanging out of her butt!"  Only then did I see it was on my shoe and I was tracking it all over the kitchen and entry hall.  Fantastic.

7) I cannot bowl in a skirt.  We signed up for kids bowl free, so George and I have been getting some games in before school lets out and it is crazy.  One day, we were in the zone.  We each got over 100 in all of our games.  Today, we were not in the zone.  I think I was having mental issues about fearing showing my backside to the bowling alley because I was wearing a skirt.  That and there was a birthday party and the moms, not the kids, were screaming like someone got a Grammy every time a kid rolled a ball.  And by rolled, I mean recklessly tossed, not always in a forward direction.   I even saw a kid bounce, YES, BOUNCE A BOWLING BALL!  over the bumper into the next lane's gutter.  And people loudly cheered the, umm, accomplishment?!   George even said, "That's annoying."

8) I made some awesome water bottles today for George and his teachers.  My friend Corrie bought a fancy machine that cuts all kinds of stuff and this is what I created with its assistance.   Thanks for sharing your awesome toy!

9) I made Pioneer Woman Spaghetti and Meatballs for dinner.  I add some Montreal Steak Seasoning to my meatballs, but otherwise follow the recipe exactly. YUM!

10) I am tired, but I cannot sleep. I fear that George might have Scarlet Fever.  I know this is not the 1800's and I can get him medicine in the morning, but I feel compelled to keep checking him and stress about which doctor to go see tomorrow.  The one who did the adenoid surgery or the pediatrician?!?   And I feel bad that he will quite likely miss his last day of preschool.

So, there it is in a nutshell.  I think I will try to sleep now.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sometimes I forget....

Sometimes I forget.....

1)  How much I like music!  I went to a Sip and Doodle paint place last night and she played great music that either brought back memories or just made me feel good.  Today, my husband left the iPod running and I have had a wonderful soundtrack to make my afternoon more awesome.

2)  That having clean kitchen counters really does make me happy.

3) How wonderful a manicure is.  I just feel like a lady when I have perfectly polished nails.  Maybe it is because I look at my hands and think of the scene in Gone With the Wind when Rhett demands to look at Scarlet's hands.  He knows by her hands that she has been working the farm and that it is her hands, not her fancy dress that tell the tale.

4) How much I like a lazy Saturday.   Baseball was a rain out today and it left us with a day wide open.   It has been awesome!

5) My brother's birthday.  It is the same day as my Dad's and I completely forgot to call him.  Sorry little bro.  I am slowly losing it.

6)  How much I love champagne.   Not sure if we call this an honest mistake or a self fulfilling prophecy.

7) That working up a good sweat is a good thing.  My goodness, I have gotten LAZY lately.

8) Sometimes the trouble of getting all dressed (or packed) to go somewhere is worth it.

9)  I really do look much much better if I blow dry my hair....lazy again.

10) I really enjoy writing and blogging even when it is painfully apparent that I have nothing to say!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Oh, how I love pinterest. It is my favorite thing to do when I should be folding laundry or mopping the floor.  This is one of my favorites funnies.

But I love Pinterest for many reasons.  Here are a mere few.......
I can collect things that I cannot collect in real life.....

I can fill my head with wild home improvement ideas....

I can get organized.....

I can have a summer home....
Source: via Katy on Pinterest

I can have a garden that doesn't get scorched in the Texas heat.....

I can find wisdom......

and wit....
Source: via Katy on Pinterest

and exercise plans
Source: via Andera on Pinterest

(and the motivation to almost do the work out plans!)

a new hairdo....

I could go on and on and on, but I am sure you are getting the idea? It is so very fun. Pinterest is an excellent snapshot of things I like, "heart", enjoy, want to try, or simply admire. I get to see what my friends like and find new friends through shared pins. As Martha would say, It's a good thing.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Portrait of Neglect

A few Christmases ago, we got these bulbs as a gift from our neighbor.  We planted them and they bloomed.  After that year, we moved the bulbs to a larger pot, just to see what happened.  Since then,  they have been in pot by our garage through long hard winters and water restricted summers with us doing nothing at all for them.  And year after year, they bloom.  They bloom magnificently!  I was tempted to move them out front so the world would get to see them, but I decided that they will stay where they are so I can look at something so grand each time I come and go and come and go and come and go with the kids.  
Speaking of kids, this little flower got me to thinking, am I doing too much for my kids? (YES!)  I surely do not advocate the kind of neglect this flower has been subjected to, but rather allowing them to navigate situations where failure is an option for the sake of building resourcefulness, responsibility,  and character. That almost sounds like a mission statement.  Can't you see it on a fancy poster?  Kid putting away his toys without a fuss.  Mom peeking her head in the room with a smirk of satisfaction on her face and a fresh manicure on her nails because with such responsible kids, she has time for such things.  The caption, "As a parent, I will allow my children to navigate situations where failure is an option for the sake of building resourcefulness, responsibility and character."  

I will be straight with you.  That is NOT the picture at my house!  Don't get me wrong. I have good kids.  Great kids.  But they could improve in some areas.  For instance, my daughter is the messiest of the messy.  I ask her to pick up.  She cries.  My head spins in exorcism fashion as steam billows from my ears and idle threats spew from my lips.  So, to avoid the situation above and the headache that follows, I repeatedly clean up their messes.
My son refuses to learn to tie his shoes.  I explained that ball players need to know this because moms are not allowed to dash onto the field to tie a shoe.  His response, "One of my team mates will do it for me!"  And then, I tie his shoe!  I repeatedly deliver their forgotten items to school.  I repeatedly get frustrated with them (and myself) when I ask them to do something and they protest because they are used to having it done for them.   I could put the blame on them, but really, the blame falls on me.  Out of lack of self discipline and love of convenience,  I have placed too much responsibility on myself and not enough on them.  And there is the irony of it all.  Placing more responsibility on myself is convenient???  No, that is just plain stupid.  And I don't like stupid, soooooo, I am going to work on having the discipline to weather some storms and endure some resistance with the greater goal of producing responsible, resourceful, thankful, beautifully blooming children!   Ummm, wish me luck!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Houndstooth Quilt

I began this quilt about a week ago for my brother and sister in law's soon to be born baby.  They picked the houndstooth pattern and the colors and turned me loose. It appears that I will be buying the pattern again because it has multiple sizes, not just crib anymore.
I have known about the quilt for months, but in my true fashion, I waited until the last minute.  One of these days, I will change my ways......

When I finished the front, it was kind of ho-hum.  I wanted more contrast between the colors, but it was done.  It looked fine, but I was not in love with it at this point. In the process of making it, I took it upon myself to add an extra row of blocks all the way around, so it was a wee bit big to take a width of fabric for a backing.  I needed to get creative.  I decided to put a large chunk of the print fabric-- Speckle Garden Gate from the Michael Miller Secret Garden Line designed by Sandi Henderson.  Then I added the borders and cornerstones.  Me likey!
I planned on adding a pop of color by quilting it in peach and binding it in peach, but decided it would take away from the pattern.  So, I quilted in yellow and bound in blue.  I just did free motion meandering.  It is my go to DIY quilting method.  This time, I think I really mastered it.  It probably had more to do with the size of the quilt and the ease of movement with it than my actual skill.  Either way, it turned out well.
All of the decisions turned out to be the perfect.  I L-O-V-E this quilt.  It got significantly more pretty as I quilted it.  It hid the sins of my imperfect piecing very well.  It truly has no back or front because both are so awesome (if I may toot my own horn loudly).  I am usually humble about my projects finding 10 ways to do them different or better, but I cannot say so on this one.  I hope my niece loves it too.

The "Front"

The "Back"

Saturday, April 14, 2012


About once a year, I have to go to the Lancome cosmetics counter and buy 2 tubes of my Bordeaux lipstick.  I have worn this color for about 8 years and I am very faithful to it.  It has just enough brown that it does not turn hot pink on me leaving me looking like a used up Malibu Barbie and with just enough sparkle to skip the gloss which often so sticky it feels like rubber cement gluing your lips together.  Most lip gloss leaves me feeling that if I dare to part my lips after using it either a loud “Pop” will happen when the gloss un-adheres itself from itself or long stringy lines will form between my lips like when you try to remove a piece of pizza and the cheese just keeps holding on.  Clearly, I am not a fan of gloss.  Anyway, when I got there,  I was pleased that it was free gift time and I would get some free stuff to give to Lindsay.   I gave her my order, “4 fried chickens and a coke.”  Oh, wait, wrong order.  I am at Nordstroms.  “2 tubes of LeRouge Absolu, Bordeaux, please.”   They had none on hand.   The nice lady ordered me 2 tubes, sent me home with my free gift with purchase assuring me that in 5-7 days my old friend would arrive.    9 days later, I got a call.  “We are soooooooooooooo sorry.  We have no idea what is going on with that color, we are canceling the order.  Call us if there is anything else you want. “   Fancy make up counter lady,  Say What?  My lipstick is, at best “on a break” and at worst walking out on me after all these years!  Curse you Lancome!  Curse you!  My brain went into a bit of a panic.  I did not want to go searching for a new lipstick.  It would be like dating again. 
After the news of the break up, I used an hour of free time to go into Sephora.  If I am going to buy something, I will go there because 1) it is very convenient. 2) There are not people hovering all over you trying to upsell you eye shadow when you came for lipstick. 3) Despite instantly feeling old(er), wrinkly(er), and ugly(ier) upon entering the door, they have a lot of stuff to choose from.   
I step in the door.  The bright lights and mirrors are somewhat blinding.    The multitude of stuff almost gives me a seizure.  This happens to me at IKEA too.  I become completely overwhelmed.  I walk out the door.  I am not tough enough to do this.  I go to my car.  I examine myself in the mirror.  I am wearing “none” makeup.  When my Lindsay was little she was very good with grammar and rarely offered up a mishap.  But the confusion of no and none happened and we still use it in our home today when we are completely without something.  So there I was back in my car with none make up on.  Old, wrinkly, ugly.  Big sigh.  I look into my tube of Lancome, now so very low that even when I fat out my lips, the tube scrapes them as I try to put it on.  I know I could get a lip brush, but then I would lose the brush in my purse and find that I have painted my checkbook with the last precious drops of my lipstick.  So, I get out of the car, toss it in the garbage, because it is done and I need to move on. 
Back into Sephora.  They are probably calling security because of my abrupt exit a few minutes earlier.  "Crazy lady entering the building" is what they likely say.  I begin to wander the aisles.  I spray myself with some perfume, so I don’t stink.  Or at least if I do, there is a thin layer of botanical loveliness wafting from me, much like pigpen’s cloud that follows him in Peanuts cartoons.  I am picturing my cloud as butterflies and glitter.  Butterflies and Glitter---I am beginning to think I am about 8 years old.  And there is the problem.  My 8 year old can kick my butt at make-up application.  It is a gift.  It is amazing.  She will go play in the make-up and most times come out looking respectable.   I was forsaken in the beauty department.  I am telling you, it is a toss-up day to day if I will look respectable even with 25 years’ experience in make-up application.   I think it goes back to my first lipstick being a frosty pink color and my kind and sensitive brothers saying I looked like a corpse when I proudly exited the bathroom with it on.  They were actually right and since then, and the blue eye shadow days, make-up is somewhat terrifying.  Well, that and a fear of looking like Mimi from Drew Carey.   But at the moment, I am in a cloud of butterflies and glitter and I am going to find a lipstick.  
I begin to really look at lipstick.  Too brown, too orange, too red, too plum, too pink, too salmon, too matte......  I stare at the tubes critically, holding them up to the light.  I am sure I look as though I am examining evidence on CSI.   I don’t care.  Then I see one.  It has promise.  It looks the same.  I put it on.  It turns hot pink.  It is sooooo not hot.  I clean it off.  Then I start looking at names.  I find one that looks pretty good.  It has a non-lame name.  I try it.  I walk away from the mirrors and sniff bubble bath for a bit.  I return to the mirrors.  Still Red! , but not toooooo Red!  It is a keeper!   It’s a miracle!  Dior Addict Extreme #829 “Sunset Blvd” is coming home with me.  And so is some of that bubble bath!  I am going to need it after this outing.  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dance Competition

A few weeks ago, I went to a dance competition with my daughter.  The girls from her studio were competing and she has mentioned wanting to audition for the competition team, so I thought it best she spend a day seeing what she was getting herself and her mother into.   Plus, I have wanted to go watch the girls compete for a while and see their solos and such that you don't get to see at recital.

I know that you are all picturing a baaaaad episode of Dance Moms.  Well, I would like to say that it is not like that, but there are moms like that out there.  Fortunately, I saw mothers who are mostly sane.  Wheew.  I was worried for myself.

We watched the younger girls dance.  Our neighbors won first place for their duet.  It was so fun to be there and see that accomplishment.  We stayed and watched the big girls dance.  As they danced, it became apparent that they were in an entirely different league than most of the other dancers, and that is not to say that the other dancers were bad, because they were not.  It was just that I have never seen the girls outside of the recital or the Nutcracker production and to see them compete with their peers was eye opening.

I also have been DYING to show you my favorite dance of the day.   It is called Already Falling.  It is a lyrical number.  Historically, I have not been a huge fan of lyrical.   I felt like you see one translate her agony into dance, you have seen them all.  I am a big enough girl to admit when I am wrong and I kept my eyes open enough to see something entirely different from agony play out on that stage.  There was a lyrical about joy and friendship and belonging.  It was a piece of art.  It made my cry.  It made my friend cry.  When I saw it again today, I got chills.  Truly.   And I dislike watching dance on film because I believe it becomes "flat" and the camera sucks energy out of a performance.  But I would rather you see this on film than not at all.  That is how strongly I feel about it.  I am also putting in snazzy jazzy number and a fun, fun ballet.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Shoe Envy

My mom bought these shoes for my daughter.  I am insanely jealous of them.  Or maybe I am insanely jealous that they are not an age appropriate footwear choice for me.  Are they not awesome??? 
Rainbow Stitching!  

Rainbow Zebra print tongues---5 of them!  

Rainbow printed All Star!  

They even came with purple AND pink laces!  I do not know what is happening to my child because she insisted on keeping the white.  I had all my money down on a rapid change to 1 purple and 1 pink.  I am beginning to think I don't know her at all.   Part of her motive for not changing was she gave me the purple laces because she thought they would look better in my new (frumpy) shoes.  They are ultra cushy Nike Vomeros.  She was right. They are slightly less grey now.  Lucky for me, they feel awesome and I have come to an age where most days comfort trumps style.   Ohhhhh to be 8 and wear the rainbow tennies again...............

Friday, March 30, 2012

Some thoughts on Marriage

My husband loves his Orange Juice.  He is cranky when there is no orange juice.  It is his morning cup of coffee.
A super wife would be be up, dressed, made-up and accessorized, fresh squeezing juice for her honey in their perfectly clean home.    I like to tell myself that she has carpal tunnel from all the juice squeezing, permanent brain damage from bleach inhalation,  and goes completely nuts in public from the sleep deprivation of the painfully early mornings.  People whisper and talk about her behind her back because she actually is a little crazy.

A good wife makes sure that the moment the OJ jug is half low she promptly gets herself to the store to take care of the issue.  She completes the task with a nice coat of mascara and lip gloss, uses a coupon for the juice which makes her husband extra happy.

A mediocre wife, on the morning of her 11th anniversary, hauls her butt out of her cozy bed at 6 AM, wipes the sleep from her eyes and makes a mad dash to the Kroger.  She has a greasy pony tail and her make-up is nothing more than pillow case indentations.   Despite the fact the the door opened, she wonders, "IS this place really open??"  She feels like an intruder.  And she feels guilty that her poor planning landed her at the nearby Kroger with horrible customer service rather than at her beloved Market Street where they still insist on taking your groceries to your car and don't even have self check out lines.  She grabs the biggest thing of OJ she can get her hands on, completes the self check out process (grrrrrrrr!-- I, I mean "she" hates it!)  and dashes back to the house hoping that everyone is still asleep.  They are.
She pours her husband a glass of juice, feeling so grateful that he is a pretty simple guy and he puts up with her in spite of her many, many shortcomings.  He sets the bar pretty low, yet she still manages to fall face first over it, often.  She looks forward to the next 11 years together in which their oldest will go off to college and their youngest will get a driver's license.  And she begins to cry because she feels so lucky to have a man who accepts her mediocrity and simply loves his OJ.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Loose Teeth

Oh how I hate the tooth losing stage of life.  The horrible look of wiggly teeth,  the horrible sound it makes when it comes out.  It is all just enough to make me want to toss my Oreos.  Mind you, I am not a wimpy person.  I pulled all my own teeth and can recall not being bothered by that.  I can clean up barf.  I can clean up poop.  I can clean up myself after I got barfed or pooped on.  I took anatomy in grad school and yes, there were lovely folks who donated themselves to science for our labs.  It made me take a big long shower, but it didn't gross me out.  My point is, I am not usually grossed out.
Except when it comes to bones.  Broken bones make my stomach turn.  I blame it on Joe Theisman.  If you need further explanation, watch The Blind Side or go on you tube.  I am sure that you can find the gruesome video of his leg snapping like a twig and pointing every which way but right.  Nasty.  
And then there was a time when my little bro dislocated his hip playing football.  Luckily I never saw his injury because the paramedics put him on a stretcher, but my mom and I followed the ambulance in 5:00 traffic on the tollway.  They didn't even bother turning on lights because there was no place for people to attempt to move in the gridlock.  All the while lays my brother with one leg 6 inches longer than the other. Ewww.  And Ouuuuchhh!
I think teeth fall into this category for me.  My daughter has gotten out of bed with a tooth that has busted to the completely jiggly phase and is trying everything in her power to get it out.  I can hear it.  I would help her, but she refuses to let me.  There is moaning and the clicking sound of the wiggling and if I weren't her mom, I would be sooooo out of here.   But I stay.  She eventually consents to my assistance.  Oh joy.  But it is the means to an end.  I. CAN. NOT. watch her point that thing 90 degrees straight at me anymore.   I have to make it stop.
I grab some rubber gloves for the grip.  As soon as I get my fingers around it, with the tiniest of tugs, it is out.  Wheeeeewwww!   I did it.  I got that darn nasty thing out of her head and she is going to bed happy now.  And so am I!

Monday, March 19, 2012

We're Back....

Back to life, back to the present time, back from a fantasy.......This line from the Soul II Soul song ALWAYS dances around in my head when I return from vacation, or as our friends from across the pond like to call it, Holiday.  It was a Holiday!    I took projects that I meant to complete and baking that I meant to do, but all I really accomplished was completely enjoying 45 innings of baseball with the boys I love, reading Pioneer Woman's NEW cookbook, and discovering 2 fabric places in Bryan/College Station.  My sweet Lindsay went to a ranch with her cousin and fell in love with horses all over again.   We both went off to our respective fantasy lands and neither of us were all that thrilled with getting back into the swing of things.   The reality of returning to routine walloped us in the face like a water balloon this morning.  We were both grumpy and a little ragged and wanted to throw something back at reality.  Do you feel this way after vacation or do you reintegrate into society with a little more ease than me?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Craft From The Past 1

Each year we have a Christmas Party with family where we exchange homemade gifts.  I wasn't overly in love with this one when I gave it, but seeing it again years later increased my pride in the project.

I did this a while ago and don't remember exactly how it I did it.  I do remember it was kind of a pain, but there is more technology and more knowledge in photo editing so I am sure it would be easier if I tried it now.

This is a Guess Who? Game that we personalized.  This idea came from a neighbor.  I maintain the stance that I don't have many original thoughts.
I bought a Guess Who? Game when Target had a big sale on games.

Next,  I gathered a bunch of silly disguises and had the family take pictures in them.
Then I sized down the pictures and cut away the background.  (This was the hard part).   I think I did the whole thing in Power Point.  It is my "go to" program.  I really need to branch out.
After that, we thought up silly names to go with each picture.  This was not hard with the help of my husband.
Slick, Rufus, Trixie, Doc, Bert, Ernie.  Your characters will kind of name themselves. I promise.

 Then I put each picture on a red background............

and  blue background.....................

and a yellow background for the cards you draw.........  

Then I cut them all out and put scrap book paper on the back sides of the red and blue pictures.  Use the original game pieces to get the size.   I had a friend laminate them for me.   You don't have to do this. I just thought it would help with the durability.  And I slipped them into the game!  

  Now you can play Guess Who? and laugh at your goofy family all at once!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Since U Been Gone......

I took my son for a sinus x-ray.  He has had a sinus infection for ummmmm 30+ days (really, I think 3+ years).  We are on our 3rd antibiotic.  Luckily, he doesn't feel bad.  He played over 3/4 of his soccer game and scored a few goals.  When he wasn't running, he was jumping.  See......
He just sounds like he has typhoid and people give me dirty looks when I take him out in public because of it.    
We survived the school open house/auction.  My quilt sold for $75.00.  I spent that much buying bowling with the teacher and 45 minutes of free PE for my daughter's class.  She was thrilled.  If it were me, I would have wanted someone to pay so we would NOT have had 45 minutes of PE, but that was back in the day when we had PE EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  and for some unknown reason, there was not an obesity crisis in the country.  
I also had a plumbing issue.  The sink was backed up in the kitchen.  I took it apart. I found nothing. I put it back together.  Still clogged.  I took it all apart again.  I put it back together.   Confucius say it is better to try to solve the plumbing problem before involving the man of the house, because plumbing make men very upset.   Maybe Confucius didn't say that.  Maybe I learned that by experience.   Either way, I took a deep breath and called him in.  I thought surely carrying a bucket of water and PVC pipe into the yard, TWICE,  would tip him off that something was up.  It didn't.  Rough Day at the home office.  He did all the stuff I had already done.  He couldn't fix it either. This made me just a wee bit happy.   I mean if I were going to be the one to get covered in sink spew, I wanted to bask in the glory of executing the repair.  Defeated, we went on about life and called the plumber.  And then, we went into the laundry room to find water all over the floor.  This was disgusting and reassuring.  Disgusting because I there was a ton of soggy laundry.  Reassuring because this was clearly out of our league.   

I was hopeful that the cause of this back up would also lead us to the cause of the foundation issues that are the cause of my broken tile (which I hate anyway.)  
I entered Fantasy Land.  Cue the harps!  I began picking out wood flooring in my head.   Why stop there?  The carpet would look really bad next to nice new wood.  And how about some new furniture and paint?   And THEN Ty Pennington and friends pulled up in an RV..............  Only, I don't deserve a home makeover and the RV was a plumbing truck, and nope, No Ty.  Brutal re-entry into reality.   
The plumber saved the day.  It was completely straight forward.  My fantasy was dead.  Though, I couldn't really be upset because I didn't have a sink full of yuck anymore.  Back to cooking.  

I cut out a quilt for my niece.  My niece that might even be born on MY birthday.  My daughter and I made a huge dent in my stash of scraps and fabric by cutting scraps to make her 2nd grade market project.  I am afraid that I cannot divulge any further information for fear of corporate spy activity and attempted knock-offs.   I also (FINALLY) cut out all of my Craftsy Block of the Month blocks.  It is March.  I am 3 months behind, or as I see it, right on schedule.   
And now it is Spring Break, and there is no schedule and I can breathe for the first time.     

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ode to the Oreo

Let me start this post by saying, I am not a big fan of store bought cookies.  I like to bake and I always feel that I can bake better cookies.  The exception, OREOS!  Oh my gosh!  I feel about these the way many people feel about Girl Scout Cookies.  They are the sweet in my pantry that can beckon me from across the house.  I cannot be trusted when left alone with Oreos.  And with Oreos, there is no denying what you have been up to.  The black on the teeth tells the tale.  Speaking of that, one of the best quotes I have ever heard is, "Cleaning a house with children in it is much like brushing your teeth between bites of an Oreo."  AMEN.

The love affair really began when I told my grandma that I did not like chocolate covered cherries.  She started getting me a tin of Crate and Barrel White Chocolate Covered Oreos.  This was back before Nabisco was doing them. And they were much better than what you can get now.    They were covered in a good 1/4 shell of white chocolate and then drizzled with red and white chocolate to make it fancy.  I very reluctantly gave one to each of my family members because that is what Jesus would have done.  No, wait, Jesus would have made that tin of 30 feed a crowd of thousands.  Yes, I do wish I were more like Jesus.   After I exercised this gesture in kindness, I hoarded them.  I counted them.  I became angry when I discovered one of my brothers had been in my stash.  These were such a treat.  

I prefer the Double Stuf variety.  I feel it achieves a better cookie to cream ratio.  I do not dunk.   I have never really liked milk, so I don't want it on my cookies.  Much like I don't usually want fruit polluting my desserts.  Fruit is healthy.  Dessert is indulgence.  I personally believe the 2 are mutually exclusive.  Let's try it on for size though.....Healthy Indulgence.  Nope. Doesn't work.  Back to the processed greatness that is the Oreo.

Thanks to Pinterest,  I have found at least a zillion new ways to enjoy an Oreo.  Click the picture to go to the pin on Pinterest.  To go right to the recipes, click on the website listed below each picture.  It takes you straight to the source.

First up, I am going to be making these for the teachers at my kids' school tomorrow.  Cookies and Cream Oreo Brownies.  That is the trifecta of deliciousness.  Cookies and Cream ice cream, Oreos, Brownies.  Sweet Mercy.

Thanks Kevin and Amanda for sharing this recipe. With any luck, the teachers will be left in a chocolate coma and I can snatch my little one out of there early to get the Spring Break Party started early.

Next up, we have Oreo balls.  These quick and easy balls turn your Oreo into chocolate Oreo poppers.  Below are 2 varieties.  Yum!

Source: via Kim on Pinterest

Next up, Cheesecakes................

Here comes the Oreo Cake!  I would totally eat that.

And all of this is really fine and dandy, but I think this looks more like my style!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Hat...

I began this post on Saturday, so "today" is really goes my life, 3 days behind!  Enjoy!

Today I put on a new hat as a mom.  I became a soccer mom.  Let me be honest with you.  I didn't want to be a soccer mom....ever.   I was perfectly content as a baseball mom and a not at all like the crazy tv show dance mom.  But my dear husband played soccer as a kid and when George asked to play soccer, he gave the 10-4.  I knew they were both excited, but this was going to make ME one of THEM.  You know THEM. The proverbial soccer moms. Please do me the service of using your imagination and inserting a horror movie organ fugue here.  If you need help with that, just think of Scooby Doo when the "ghost" is lurking around the corner.  It adds nicely to the dramatic effect.

"They" are the ones that have a sticker collection on the back of their mini-van.   It begins with a stick figure family, complete with pet.  Right next to that, another stick figure family proclaiming their allegiance to Disney by wearing mouse ears.  Next come the activity stickers.  At least 2 for each of the 3.5 kids.  And the school pride stickers.  And the honor roll stickers.  And at least 2 cause of your choice colored ribbon stickers.  And the 13.1 sticker that says, "Look at me.  I do all of this and I run too!"  Gosh, I hate "that" mom. And if the sticker collection is not enough, she hops out of her mini with her perfect mani, designer sweat suit, and rockin' the blue tooth because she has stuff to take care of.   I could go on and on, but you get it, right? You get it because I could, I really could, go on and on and on some more!

And, I am aware that the woman that I present to you is a stereotype.  She doesn't really exist, but she must have at some point because stereotypes must come from SOMEWHERE.  I do not want to be this woman, thus my selfish lack of enthusiasm about the beginning of soccer season.

But I prepare to go to  the first game riding on the wave of my son's enthusiasm.  Their team is the Big Cheetahs.  Their jersey is orange.  Really, orange?  We are a self respecting Texas Aggie family.  It is against my best judgement to embrace orange when it comes to sporting affiliations.  To combat the orange factor, when we picked our number, I tossed out 12 as a suggestion.  Lindsay thought of 13 because it is Taylor Swift's favorite number.  Her argument did not resonate with him like being the 12th Man did, so 12 it was.  I felt better knowing that if he was on an orange team, he would be wearing a number firmly rooted in Aggie Tradition.

I took my camera so I could capture this event on my hard drive for eternity or at least until my hard drive crashes.  Chances of my getting these pictures into a scrapbook are, well, about as likely as snow in July.  I have good intentions, but there are simply not enough hours in the day for me to tackle all the creative endeavors I would like and remain a functional family member.  Did I forget to mention that "soccer mom" is also an avid scrapbooker and has up to date albums for each of her children?  Well, she does.

George was sent out to do the coin toss.  He won.  The game began and I was amazed.  These kids were not terrible.  They were actually pretty good for their age.  I guess most of them had been playing for a while.  They moved the ball well and no one looked like they would rather be playing their DS.  I learned that George is fast.  I have always known that he was quick, but in baseball, as you run to the base alone, you cannot really gauge the speed.  He chased down the ball zoomed around the field.  When he was not a part of the pack, he was jumping up and down in his automatic Tigger bounce fashion waiting for the ball to bust loose and get it.  And then the magic happened............

GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL!  He was so excited.  He threw his arms in the air. I threw my arms in the air.  And then I had the sense to grab my camera and snap away.  I caught this picture just before his friend, who we have known since he was 2 spun George around and gave him a huge hug.  They were both so excited.  And it was at THAT exact moment, not the goal, but the hug, that I had to choke back some tears and swallow some foolish pride and be ashamed that I had denied my child this fun and camaraderie.

Yes, I was wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Shame on me!  Don't expect to catch me in a blinged out soccer mom shirt anytime soon, and don't be looking for any brag stickers on the back of my car. But I will concede that kids soccer is a real sport and the game was exciting.  The women I met were extremely nice.  "Soccer Mom" was not there, because as I stated, she doesn't really exist.  This team is amazingly well coached by the  dads and well supported by the moms.  They brought each kid and all the siblings, YES, ALL of the siblings, juice bags, granola bars, and fruit snacks for after the game.  Impressive!  I look forward to the next game and sorting out what kid goes to what family and getting to know them.

I learned in this 45 minutes that I am NOT a soccer mom, or a baseball mom, or a dance mom for that matter.  I am just a mom who is proud of her kids for trying new things and sticking with the ones they love.  I am grateful to my kids for yanking me out of my comfort zone, thus forcing me to grow.  I learned that it is best to not be defined by the activities of my children, but to take the new hats that life hands me and wear them in my own unique way.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

A List

Just for fun, here are 10 things I love, in NO particular order..............
Rainy Days
Red nail polish
Black dresses
Sunday naps
Flip flops
Fabric Stores

You know what I don't love.  I don't love when it is Monday and the kitchen sink is backed up and I spend all day being a plumber and cannot fix it and my husband gets in on the action and does all the stuff I already did and he cannot fix it.  And I need a shower and I need a Dr. Pepper because uncorking a bottle of wine would not be PC at this hour.  That is what I don't love.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Raggy Denim Quilt Tutorial

Let me give you the back story on this quilt.  I was cleaning my closet with Barbara and I was complaining about the upcoming auction project that I would need to do with my daughter's class.  My complaint was that I would go spend a bunch of money on fabric, spend a bunch of time on making the project, then one of two scenarios would play out.
In one scenario, I would end up very angry because someone "stole" my quilt for a measly price that would not cover my costs, much less my effort.   I speak from experience on this scenario.  In the second scenario, I would end up very, very angry because in trying to prevent the first scenario,  I would go win the bid for the quilt, thus paying for it TWICE and I could have just written a check and saved myself some grief.  So, in either scenario I end up, not happy, so I was not gung-ho about this project.

But as I vented, I shoved old clothes in a bag.  Clothes made of fabric.  Clothes made of FREE fabric.  And what clothes do everyone own??  Yep, you guessed it, jeans.  So I sheepishly asked Barbara if she would help me to retrieve all the denim from the bags.  It is bad enough to have to call in reinforcements to clean the closet and to ask them to re-sort the purge is almost insane.  Being the good sport that she is, she agreed and even offered a bag of jeans from her house!    The idea was born.  The class pitched in and donated all kinds if jeans and I was on my way.

Now about this tutorial thing.  I promised that I would do a quilt tutorial for you, so here it is.  I am not all that good at tutorials because I am not exact, nor do I consider myself any sort of an expert.  I am just a stubborn fool who is fearless and will not be beat.  If you are exact or a pro, this might just drive you to drink.   If you are up for an adventure in fabric, come along, because here we go.....

So, we have established that you need jeans.  My best estimate is that you will get 4-6 blocks out of the legs of the jeans.  This quilt took about 20 pairs.   I did not go for the pockets because of the additional bulk.  I decided to back the quilt in denim too and that would make it heavy without adding in another layer with the pocket.  If you want to back your quilt in a flannel, that will be good too.  You can also scatter flannel squares in among your denim, but I did all denim, so I will proceed with instructions for that.

I wanted this quilt to get as big as possible as fast as possible, so I cut 11 inch squares of denim.
First I scissor cut the inseam of the jeans open.  Next, I used a rotary cutter and a plastic quilter's ruler to cut the squares.  You can also make a template and trace the squares and cut them with scissors.  I cut and cut and cut and cut 84 squares of denim.
HEAR ME NOW AND BELIEVE ME LATER----Your squares DO NOT need to be perfectly square.  I will repeat, do not aim for perfection!  The seams in the jeans will make it difficult.  And overachieving efforts at perfection will become COMPLETELY irrelevant when you fringe the edges.  Just get it in the ballpark.  OK.  Really.

Next step- TOTALLY OPTIONAL.  After that, I took the squares to the school to the kids along with some various fabrics.   The kids cut a star of heat and bond.  They ironed the star to the back of the fabric.  Then they cut out the star and ironed the star onto the squares.  All of this scissor and hot iron action occurred under my watchful eye, commencing with a heavy sigh of relief when everyone made it through the process unharmed.  

With that complete, I cut out 42 10 inch squares of batting.   I  arranged all the front denim squares the way I wanted.  I tried to alternate shades of denim and the way that the seams in the squares ran.

I sandwiched a piece of batting between 2 denim squares.  This picture shows that batting a bit smaller than the fabric.  That is good.

Next, I went row by row doing the quilting and piecing.  For the plain denim squares, I marked them and  quilted from corner to corner to form an X.  

For the star blocks, I quilted a straight line about a quarter inch inside the star.  After that, I didn't want batting to wad up, so I sewed a 4 inch seam across the corners.  The 4 inches is irrelevant.  I just picked that because it looked good to me and caught the corners of the batting.

Though I usually quilt with 100% cotton, I went for a heavy duty all purpose thread.

As I quilted the squares, I sewed them into rows.   To do this, you place the BACK sides together and sew about a 5/8 inch seam.   Again, it doesn't have to be perfect.  All the fringe will hide flaws. It makes this a very forgiving quilt.   This will be going through 4 layers of denim, so go slowly and use a little longer stitch length.

I was using a very basic machine (Hello Kitty), so I used the medium stitch length.  Iron the seams OPEN when you do this.  It makes connecting the rows easier and it makes the fringing process easier.  

As each row was completed, I sewed the rows together.  When I did this, I sewed it once and then sewed it again right over the first stitches.  I thought it would add some reinforcement to these bulky seams.  I ironed these seams open too.

Finally, when they were all together, I sewed around the edge.  To do this, I double threaded the needle with red thread.  I had two spools, so I just threaded the machine with 2 threads.  It works just fine. You can uses different colors too.  That makes it interesting.   I sewed all the way around the front.  Then I flipped it over and sewed it over the same stitches on the back.  Again, reinforcement.

Here are a couple of pictures from the back side.  The X blocks form a diamond and triangle pattern.  The stars look neat and I really like how the corner stitching made little diamonds.

Then I clipped the seams.  Silly, stupid me thought this would be quick, but it took quite some time.  I clipped about 1/3 inch chunks.  Clip near the seams, but do not clip the seams.  If you run across some larger seams, you can trim them down, if you want.  Also, if you find any batting pieces more than peeking out, you can trim them back, but they will disappear once you wash and dry the quilt.

And now for the fun part.  Wash and dry the quilt.  This will fray the edges.  It will produce a TON of lint.  Dry it in 15 minute segments pausing to clean your lint trap.  This is NOT OPTIONAL.  Trust me.
When it is done, you will have a cool looking, extremely heavy (mine weighed 7 pounds!) warm, cuddly quilt.  

And for a little bonus, this is a quilt made just the same with a mix of denim and flannel.  My aunt made this with my Pappy's old jeans.  He was an amazing man and I cannot believe that he has been gone for over 20 years.   It is very dear to me.

If you decide to make one of these,  please feel free to send questions!   I am happy to help you if I can.