Monday, April 30, 2012

New Quilt Project

My goal of not starting another quilting project until I finish the top for That 70s Quilt has been crushed by Pinterest. Thanks.

After seeing a picture on Pinterest of a quilt block that looked like a bunch of Polaroid pictures scattered across the floor, I thought this would be a super cute way to showcase fabrics that I love. It also would mean fussy-cutting and a lot of waste, something I don’t love. However, I decided to grab a stack and start cutting. I would have clicked on the picture on Pinterest, which probably would have led me to a tutorial or something, but instead decided to wing it. Sometimes the less information I have the more informed my decisions are… when it comes to quilting that is!

For the Polaroids themselves, I decided to fussy-cut a three by three inch image with one by three inch strips of white on either side, a one by four-and-a-half inch white strip on top and a one-and-a-half inch by four-and-a-half inch white strip on the bottom. This creates a four by four-and-a-half inch Polaroid. I then gathered various shades of grey and started cutting out strips to create the outer edges. At first I was cutting them out on angles and sewing them together to create the wonkiness and scattered look, but then I figured that if I simply cut rectangles and chose my direction afterwards it was less of a headache. I highly suggest the latter approach if you plan to make these yourself. To further the scattered look, I threw in a blank grey square and plan to have anywhere from one to three of these in future blocks.

I highly suggest that if you love this block as much as I do, you visit the blog Stitched in Color ( and read about her approach.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Clumping Cat Litter

For years I’ve been against clumping cat litter because, well, I really hate clay-based litter. Now there is a natural alternative.

While shopping for kitty litter the other day, I decided to take the advice of an article I read at the veterinary clinic about having at least one litter box for each cat in the house filled with whatever litter they normally use, but also have a large open box with clumping cat litter. Well, we have two boxes, one for each cat, and also an extra that we simply keep filled with the same Good Mews newspaper-based litter, so I decided perhaps I should just bite the bullet and see if this works or at the very least helps curb their sometimes nondiscriminatory out-of-the-box urinating habits. Looking over the clumping litters, I figured I’d go with the cheapest reliable brand, which at the time was Arm & Hammer. I was about to lift the twenty pound bag into the cart when I saw a ten pound bag that said it did the same job as the larger one and bonus, it was made with corn fibers and plant extracts instead of clay!

Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter has been in use for the last five days in the house and so far there has been absolutely no litter odor, ammonia smell or anything other than a fresh scent. I’ve also noticed that both cats seem to prefer it, as one of the two other litter boxes has been left untouched and the covered one has only had a lonely poop. The only drawback is that while the Good Mews litter leaves large pellets that are easy to pick up, the clumping litter leaves sand-like particles everywhere. I can already tell which one of our cats it is, since he is rather exuberant about scratching after using the litter box. Alas, if the only downfall is that I have to sweep or vacuum more, I’m all for it. That and as long as the price stays low enough to continue using it.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


This last week I planted some tomatoes and squash in the vegetable garden boxes. Here are a few tips I used.

Making sure your garden boxes or beds are thoroughly prepared is essential to a good crop. If your soil or mixture is too heavy, most vegetables will not thrive as they would in looser, sandy soil. This isn’t true of all plants, but any that dig their roots deep usually prefer a loose, well draining soil. Last fall when I pulled up everything from the boxes, I added a thick layer of straw, shavings and chicken manure I took directly from the henhouse on top of the boxes and let the girls and nature do most of the work. Personally this is the simplest way to prepare a box, but if you don’t have access to hot manure, simply buy compost and work it in well right before planting.

Once the beds are prepared, it’s time to plant! For tomatoes, a few things that help ensure a fabulous harvest of juicy fruits are plenty of calcium, aspirin and Epsom salt. After digging a good sized hole to cover about two-thirds of the tomato plant (and tearing off all leaves that will be underground) I throw in either a handful of crushed egg shells and a couple aspirin. I like to lightly break up the root ball, but with loose soil it isn’t all that necessary. Fill in with soil and tap lightly around the base of the plant and sprinkle a couple tablespoons of Epsom salt around the plant. This is also when I put wire cages around the plant. I’m trying something new this year, only planting three in a four-foot-by-four-foot garden box with one plant in the northeast corner, one in the northwest corner and one in the south center. We will see if this helps not only with overcrowding but available sun. I also inverted a wire cage between the three and wrapped the ends that normally would go into the ground around one of the rings on each of the cages. Hopefully this will help with stability. If not, it’s just an experiment. For the squash, of which I planted two different kinds of zucchini and some butternut, I used the same technique as the tomatoes as far as placement, but put them all in the center of the box. Squash tends to grow out and over, so I put the mounds only about eight inches apart and will train it go where I want it to go. We’ll see how well this goes.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Out of the Hoop

Do you ever step back from a project and wonder, “Where did all the time go?” That be me with the Fall Quilt.

After months of work, the Fall Quilt is done being quilted. It barely looks like I spent a day on it. I can say that some of it is due to the fact that I only spent a couple hours a week on it during lunches at the veterinary clinic where I had to fend off one rather obnoxious and attention-grabbing cat on more than one occasion, or I could simply say that this was my first attempt at hand quilting and I was learning as I went. Methinks the latter will be my official answer.

So, with the quilting done, it is time to bind the quilt. While part of me is thinking it would be great to hand bind, the other part of me is not sure if this is a wise decision. Since I am simply using the backing as the binding on this project, perhaps I should just fold it over the top and straight stitch with the sewing machine. Then again, with no machine stitching showing on this quilt, perhaps I should instead fold the remaining backing, machine stitch it in place, then hand sew the binding to the front. Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Prize Money Spent

After much consideration, the one hundred dollar gift certificate I won to Fat Quarter Shop for the Dress Up Your Roll competition hosted by Jane over at Want it, Need it, Quilt ( has been spent. I can’t wait for the fabric to arrive.

Ever since my good friends Sarah and Rob got me a few fat quarters of The Lorax fabric from Robert Kaufman, I’ve been obsessing over what to do with them. Well, as soon as I was informed I had won the Dress Up Your Roll international prize, I immediately looked to see if the rest of the line was available in the Fat Quarter Shop ( It was. Excellent. They not only had the fat quarter bundle in the Earth color-way I wanted, but also the more vibrant Brights. I nearly got both, but decided I really needed to find another fabric or set of fabrics to stretch my style even further, something outside of my normal realm of Moda Fabrics and Sandy Gervais or Kate Spain. What can I say, I’m a sucker for Sandy’s retro-contemporary designs and Kate’s artistic-architecture sensibility. In the end I found a layer cake that immediately reminded me of thread art and the sheets in the guest room, Stitch Organic by Betz White… also for Robert Kaufman.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Making Time to Sew

My 1963 Singer Touch and Sew Deluxe Zig-Zag Model 600 Sewing Machine has been looking sad and neglected this past week. That or she’s enjoying her rest.

With another round of a crazy-busy schedule about to begin, perhaps I should make time to sew today. That is, after going to the bank, feed store, Costco and grocery shopping. Of course, once home I’ll need to vacuum, change the litter boxes, do the dishes, clean the kitchen and bathrooms… ugh.

I will persevere. I will make the time to sew.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Do you ever stop to think about where your food comes from? If not, why?

Last night after work my husband and I watched the movie Food, Inc. with our pastor’s wife for an upcoming adult education session they were preparing for church. We’ve seen it before, but it seemed like we all discovered something about ourselves while watching the film again. For me part of it is that while I like to be informed and prefer to eat natural and not chemically engineered foods, it isn’t going to necessarily stop me from having a Coke every now and then, even though our United States variety is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, an ingredient you can’t buy on the shelves but is in practically every packaged food.

I’m not an advocate for going one-hundred percent all organic or anything, but a few things I don’t understand are how we’ve allowed our food supply to be taken over by multinational corporations. So many of the seeds farmers grow are made and patented by the same company that created Roundup. Seed saving, a common practice among farmers in decades past, is now threatened by lawsuits for patent infringement, even with farmers who didn’t plant those seeds but instead had seeds migrate over from neighboring farms. Personally I buy heirloom seeds when I can and won’t purchase anything from Monsanto. Well, anything except Roundup. Actually, I haven’t bought Roundup in six years, but the bottle of concentrated stuff I have still works.

We decided years ago to be just a little bit more self-sustaining. I mean, I’m not plowing the entire yard and planting wheat or anything radical like that, but we did get chickens for eggs and have a small raised vegetable garden. Of course, if we had more land, I’d love to have a fully working farm. I’d want a couple goats and cows as well, for milk to make cheese and butter and for drinking as well as field mowing. I’d probably plant more vegetables that can be canned or frozen for later consumption in the winter and early spring months. But if I had to fend for myself, I’m afraid I’d become an instant grain-free vegetarian.

Next time you are in the grocery store, make a conscious effort to find out where your food comes from. Better yet if you are unable to grow the food yourself, shop at local farmers markets or go to the farms and buy directly from them.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Homemade Dog Food

Sometimes it is nice to make your family dog food from scratch. Of course, when the family dog is a Great Dane the sheer quantity needed for sustenance can be overwhelming.

To supplement the bag of food I bought (and by bought, I mean put on my account) a couple months ago from the vet clinic I work at that my dog seems to snub her nose at, I decided to make her some wet food to mix in with it to make it more palatable for her finicky tastes. Basing it off of ingredients I know she likes, and stuff in the dog food I get at the feed store she loves, I decided to go ahead and make some. She is currently on a fish and potato diet, and while the vet food pretty much only has those two ingredients (boring) her similar diet from the feed store is made with sweet potatoes and smoked salmon (exciting!). This can be altered according to your dogs diet, but is perfect for a grain free diet or dog with food allergies such as we have. Lucy loves it.

Lucy’s Fish and Potato Dog Food

8 oz cod or whitefish filet, roughly diced
4 medium potatoes, roughly diced
1 lb carrots, baby or roughly diced
¼ cup water
¼ cup canola oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon rosemary, chopped
½ cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen peas

In a large lidded pan over medium heat, place the first 7 ingredients in and stir to combine. Put the lid on and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. When the potatoes are done and the carrots are almost done, add the blueberries and peas and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Replace lid and remove from heat, allowing the carrots to finish cooking, about 15 minutes. Using a potato masher, smash everything together into what looks like a slightly overcooked potato salad. If your pet has texture issues then by all means continue mashing until you get a uniform consistency, or use a food processor. Use like canned wet food.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Poor Puppy Parents

April fourteenth was our dog Lucy’s birthday. We completely forgot to celebrate.

Last Saturday was, well, very busy. My husband was away at Ridgefield High School’s spring musical rehearsal pretty much the entire day and I worked and came home, finished up cupcakes and left to go deliver them and watch the last run through of the play. Basically her birthday was her being ignored the entire day. I feel like crap.

But is it too late? Never! Today I’m planning on making her dinner to last the week of fish, potatoes, carrots, peas and blueberries, all some of her favorite things. Hopefully she won’t notice that we are celebrating a week late, but something tells me with how much attention she was begging for last week that she knows we forgot it. [guilt]

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Dandelions are like your lawn’s way of giving you the middle finger. At least, that’s what my grandma told me.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with some weeds. I mean, if they are growing within the grassy areas and they aren’t overwhelming, why not let a few survive. However, when they start growing in the rocks, they are a pain in the ass and nearly impossible to kill without using chemical persuasion.

Our front yard is actually one large rock garden. That typically would be a good thing, but we noticed last summer that one of the neighbors overseeded their lawn on a rather windy day and blew a ton of it our way. Balls. If the rocks were larger and had less rooting areas it would be fine as the grass would quickly die off, but the rocks are small and crushed and have plenty of areas for the grass to take hold and attach itself to the underlying weed barrier. Another thing, I hate weed barriers. All they do is stop the weeds from taking root into the soil beneath, not anything above them. Trying to rake that shit up is impossible as it just takes the entire rocky surface up with it when I finally do manage to get pull on a weaker area.

Alas, it appears there are two options: hand pull or chemically spray. I ain’t hand pulling all that grass. The dandelions yes, but the grass? Hell no. I’ve used a product called Grass Be Gone which only kills grasses and can be used around ornamentals and flowers and bushes without adverse affect, and may try it again in this area. However, if anyone has a better alternative that does not involve boiling an assload of water, I’m all for it. Hmmm… maybe I should read up on vinegar to see if that would be effective?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Morning Person I Am Not

Oh, Morning!
Why must thou cometh
So early every day?

Some people are morning people. I am not one of those people. Admittedly, it has gotten easier the older I get, but alas, my thoughts on the matter pertain to getting enough rest the night before to warrant getting up before the sunlight has brushed across the land. Gone also are the days of being able to go to bed in the wee hours of the morning, especially if I must wake up in what would still be considered wee hours. I don’t know how I did it my senior year in high school, working until 2:30 in the morning and then getting up at 5:30 for school. I could never do that now. Currently if I were to go to bed that late I’d be a zombie for at least the next three days.

Alas, morning has burst,
Though I wish it not be,
And slumber still within my grasp.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Creative Energy and Egg Noodles

I was all ready to do some quilting yesterday but a funny thing happened, I didn’t. Okay, so maybe it isn’t that funny.

Coming off of my puppet high, I had a lot of creative energy flowing through me yesterday. However, instead of doing any quilting, I somehow decided to focus my attention on making homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch, stock and noodles included, and homemade bread. Knowing that my husband was going to be home late from the Ridgefield High School play rehearsal, I figured soup would be easy to reheat.

First off, I’ve never made my own egg noodles. After yesterday I have no idea why. They are so easy and taste so much better! Of course, they were a little thicker than one would get in the grocery store because I didn’t roll them out as thin as they should’ve been, but for chicken noodle soup they worked out perfectly. I also used a food processor so the dough came together in a matter of seconds.

Egg Noodles
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold butter, diced
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
2 eggs

In a food processor, combine flour and diced butter by pulsing 3 times. Lightly beat the eggs and yolks before adding the flour mixture. Pulse until it comes together in a ball. On a floured surface (use a lot to prevent sticking) roll the dough out thinly. I did mine in two batches for thick noodles, but you may need to do it in three or four for thinner. Allow to dry about 20 minutes on a pasta rack, or do what I did and use wooden salad forks resting between the bowl and blade base of the Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. Cut in desired shapes. Boil for 4 to 10 minutes depending on size and shape.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back to Quilting

Now that I’ve got my puppet fix in, it’s time to get back to quilting. But with so many projects in the works, how am I to choose which to go back to?

It’s no lie that I like quick and easy projects, and they work great for needing to make a quilt in a hurry for a charity event or quick gift or for the couches where the dog and cats like to sleep. However, I recently read a blog post from Mary over at The Tulip Patch ( that summed up both why I like those projects but also the more complicated ones that might take years to complete: challenging and unexpected.

After reviewing my quilts, it became apparent that this was definitely the case. The Framed 9-Patch quilt I did based off of a Moda Bake Shop tutorial by Rosyln Mirrington ( was a huge challenge dealing with so many small two inch squares. Let’s just say that I learned about chain piecing on one of the borders and haven’t stopped using this method since. I also learned how to do more with less and (eeek!) using math. Since I was using a Scrap Bag and yardage instead of two Jelly Rolls, there was a lot more cutting involved. I think I used up just about every bit of scraps I could, even taking the last half to inch sized ends and selvages to sew together for the outer border squares. It’s unique, adds character and demonstrates the frugality of my nature, especially since I did this entire quilt for twenty five dollars, including batting, backing and binding. I did so by using a bag of Warm and Natural cotton batting I got for five dollars, the muslin was only a dollar for four yards I scored years ago, half a yard of an orange fabric from a previous project I paid two dollars for, so one dollar for that, and two three dollar spools of cotton thread I bought at fifty percent off, making my grand total including the fifteen dollar scrap bag at twenty five dollars. By comparison, That 70s Quilt I’m working on right now has probably cost me over one hundred dollars in fabric just for the top alone. Of course, this was all spread out over the course of a year and a half of purchases made with birthday or cake order money. Still, it shows that my frugal personality will splurge if it is fabric I really, really like, such as the Alexander Henry In the Kitchen line.

The challenge and unexpected may also explain why I started (and plan to finish) the Desperate Housewife’s Quilt Jane over at Want it, Need it, Quilt ( has been doing. She’s come up with fifty amazing blocks and has been posting a new one each week. I’m way behind on my block making, but believe me, I will be making every single one of these blocks for a completed quilt. They are all so fascinating and are great technique building exercises that can be taken and used for a multitude of other projects. I decided to do the unexpected and make each block using only batiks with black and white for contrasts when needed. So far I am in love with the results.

But this isn’t to say that I will be abandoning the practice of using Charm squares for simple quilts or a jelly roll to do a simple strip quilt, it just means that I will be focusing more on making heirloom quilts. While they will take much longer to produce, they will mean much more when they’re completed. Maybe that would explain why I am so hesitant to start quilts I’ve had the fabric to do for so long… I want to be proud of the results, not just that I finished a project. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monster Puppet

Do you ever start a project with a clear picture of how you want the end results to be and it turns out completely different? That would be the monster puppet I just finished.

For Ridgefield High School’s spring musical performance of Return to the Forbidden Planet, I was asked to make three puppets by the drama teacher; two for a back story and one of the monster. I knew it would have four tentacles, I knew it needed to be big, and beyond that I was told to go crazy. Me left to my own devices is not such a great thing. Alas, I wish I would have simply drawn another picture to give me an idea of how I wanted it to look instead of constantly trying different looks out. I’m sure it took twice as long as it would have.

Note to self: Take five minutes to make a rough visual aid next time.

Anyway, when it was done, it was hard to believe just how big the thing was! It will definitely need to be operated by at least two people. Another thing I noticed was just how He-Man and the Masters of the Universe-like the creature was, which was what the teacher had asked for. Overall I am pleased with the results… or just glad to be done with it!

If you have a chance, please go see the show at Ridgefield High School. It is playing this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first and the same days next week, the twenty-sixth, twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth. The show starts at seven in the evening each night. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

People Puppets Prepared

The people puppets are done! Admittedly, I was hoping the Id monster would also be, but sadly it is not… yet.

After church, and making a delicious brunch of potato, bacon, egg and cheese burritos, I set a goal of finishing the Id monster and both the costumes for the people puppets. At first I was thinking it would be beneficial to have a picture to go off of for the Id monster using the random design I did for the foam skull, but then I decided I didn’t need to. Why would that help? I have no idea how I want this monster to look. Then it hit me; drawing a picture would be using my Id. Of course, by the time this thought occurred, I was nearly finished with the skin and tentacles and horns and eyes and only needed to add feather and fur and all the fun little features to make it look as crazy as possible.

It was getting late, so I decided to start making the costumes for the people puppets. In the end I figured I would use a Debbie Mumm star field print with lots of wavy blues I picked up at Joann’s years ago for a baby blanket I ended up going in a completely different direction on for their uniforms. I made a simple dress for her and knowing that the doctor puppet also had a red satin jacket, made that and hot glued a patch of the blue star field fabric inside the jacket. There was no reason to make a full shirt after all! That and the jacket was a pain in the ass to sew. I frakking hate satin with a passion and this just further encapsulated that rage. I have a feeling my 1963 Singer Touch and Sew Deluxe Zig-Zag Model 600 sewing machine also has a prejudice against the shimmery fabric as well. It falls into the same category as hot glue in my craft book. Evil. Pure evil. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Of Foam and Fleece

The puppets for the play this week are really coming together. I just wish they were finished.

With the play starting this Thursday, I really should have had these puppets ready to go for yesterday’s all day rehearsal. Alas, they were not. The two “human” puppets will be fully costumed and ready for tomorrow’s rehearsal and I’m hoping to get the monster done to send with my husband so they can use that too. There isn’t much worry from the director as the puppet scenes are rather short, so I suppose my freaking out over not having them ready yet was for nothing. Still, after seeing the last run through of the play, I now have a better idea of how large I really need to make the Id monster puppet and am hoping my plan works. It just needs to be so big! And with that size it means so much foam and so much fleece. Good thing I have so much leftover. Now, if only I knew where those feather boas were…

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Case of the Missing Feather Boas

Does anyone else ever obsess over looking for something they know they have but can’t locate? I find myself doing it more and more the older I get.

When something goes missing, especially after a move in which you left quite a bit of stuff at the old house for the bank to deal with thanks to a robo-signed foreclosure process, you may be left wondering if you accidentally left it behind. I can’t imagine taking all my puppet making materials except for the feather boas, but alas, it appears that may be the case. After thoroughly searching through the boxes in which they could possibly be, I’ve come up empty. Now this isn’t to say they aren’t here, just not in any place they should be, and therein lies the point: Label your boxes. Of course, we did. I just can’t find one that says Feather Boas anywhere on it.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Cory versus Hot Glue

Whenever I find myself in a match-up with hot glue, the odds are always in favor of hot glue. It kicks my ass every time.

I both love and despise hot glue. I love it for the incredible binding strength it imparts when applying one thing to another. I hate the strings that inevitably form even though I have properly twirled and pulled. I love how fast it cools and hardens, making it perfect for projects you need to and/or want to work fast on. I hate the burning sensation as I accidentally press my thumb into a hot pile of goo.

Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with hot glue. It goes way back. I’ve been using the stuff since I was a kid and somehow I still never really got the hang of it. Either that or this is just a reality of using hot glue… or maybe I’m just bad at it. While working on the puppets last night I encountered one of the things I hate most about hot glue, and that is the fine strands that form and seem to cling to EVERYTHING!!! I swear I looked like a tweaker, constantly pulling at my eyelashes and brushing my hands through my hair and scratching at my nose and cheeks to rid myself of all those clingy strings. Ugh. I can still feel their phantom essence.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Puppet Bodies

I didn’t get as far as I had hoped on making the puppets yesterday. And not a single person is shocked.

First off, it’s not my fault I didn’t get the two smaller puppets done. Okay, yes it is. After picking out the fleece to use from my stash I brought in from the garage, I realized I still had to locate the actual pattern itself. I would have just printed off another one, but alas, out of ink. Anyway, I found the box with the patterns and began tracing the body, ears and arms. And then it was time to start dinner. Yes, I did get started a little late as there were too many chores to be done, but after dinner I finished up the bodies, flipped them inside out and now they are awaiting their mouthpieces and foam “skulls”. Tonight I should have them mostly put together except for hair and costumes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Today I Make Puppets

Today I make puppets. And tomorrow, and Friday, and Saturday, and Sunday…

I have three puppets to make for an upcoming school play. While two of them are going to be using my basic puppet pattern I have for sale on Etsy, the third is a four-tentacled Id monster that I will have to make from scratch. While this seems like it might be a challenge, I have a feeling that it will be fun as well. Hopefully. 

To clarify Id, it is the unorganized part of the brain where contrary impulses can exist together without canceling each other out. Think dreams. It is also playable in Scrabble. So basically the limit is only my imagination. This can be difficult to navigate since I have a pretty colorful imagination. I will probably end up doing something similar to one of the previous large puppets I have made in which instead of creating the “skin” first I will create the “skull” and make a “skin” template from that. More than likely the Id monster will be made up of a combination of fleece, upholstery fabric, fake leather and possibly feathers. We will see.

My plan is to get the two easy ones out of the way so I can focus on the big one. Of course, with the return of the rain it might make the parts that all have to be glued together with contact cement more difficult since I don’t want to do that in the house. Hmm… I wonder if my husband’s work bench is cleared off enough to do it out in the garage?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Baby Blankets

Does anyone else get a thrill out of seeing pictures of quilts you’ve made with the babies they were made for? I love them.

The other day my sister-in-law emailed me some pictures of my nephew taken with the baby blanket I made for him. I love the fact that he actually uses the blanket. Yes, that means it will get stained and might fall apart at the seams, but at the same time it is being loved. I know there are those who feel like some of these quilts should be wall hangings only, but my thoughts on the matter are that I made them for the kids not the adults.

I still have my baby blanket. It is now threadbare and probably could only physically take only one or two more washings before it completely unravels, but I love it nonetheless. It has been with me since birth and I can’t see departing with it even though that was way back in the day when Elvis was still alive, Jimmy Carter was President of the United States and Star Wars hadn’t even been released yet.

What are your thoughts on quilts made for babies? I’d love to hear about them.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Quilts on Display

Seeing all the quilts people brought reminded me how much I love quilting. It also brought out a lot of closet quilters.

Well, to start with, the Open Envelopes Quilt, which for the longest time was dubbed The Uninspired Quilt, everybody loved. So maybe I am just a little too judgmental or perhaps had a few hang-ups about the project itself or some other unresolved issue. Anyway, knowing that other people do like it means I will definitely be keeping it, or at least until I find a purposeful reason to give it away.

I also found that my UFOs (unfinished objects) are nowhere near the amount some people have! One lady brought three of her quilt tops that had yet to be sandwiched, backed and quilted, which worked out great alongside finished quilts. Then again, I did make it a goal to have all my UFOs completed by year’s end and now I am down to only one; the quilt my mother made me for my seventeenth birthday. Okay, well, technically two, but since The Fall Quilt is in the hoop being quilted I don’t necessarily consider that a UFO but a WIP (work in progress) since it is being worked on, just rather slowly.

With the theme of the sermon about quilting as a form of therapy, many of us at church are now considering starting a quilting group. There are so many reasons to do this, whether it is to make memorial quilts for our loved ones, baby blankets for newborns or hospice quilts for those nearing the end of their life. I’m sure this will happen thanks to our pastor, but I don’t know just what form it will take.

Sadly I did not get a picture because I didn’t bring my camera. However, I stole a picture someone took off of Facebook and am now using it without their permission. Hopefully they won’t mind. I’ll ask them later if it is okay.

Photo by Ken Rowe

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Anniversaries and Easter

Today my husband and I celebrate our sixteenth anniversary together, and by celebrate I mean we told each other, “Happy anniversary.” I know, we’re boring like that.

Most people do something romantic for their anniversary. Let me just say we are not most people. No getaway, dinner, night out… nothing. Well, nothing except going to church for Easter service.

Believe it or not, our pastor reads my blog. Yes, even with my colorful use of the English language. I’m a writer. I like words. I don’t like limitations on using words and therefore do not limit myself if I’m writing for an adult audience. Anyway, apparently my quilting adventures inspired his sermon this morning and I can’t wait to see how he’s going to incorporate quilts into it. A few of us quilters at church are even bringing some of our spring-inspired quilts to decorate the sanctuary. I was hoping to use one of my husband’s quilts his Aunt (“Gram”) Mae made but much like my thoughts on quilts, they are meant to be used and all of his have been used to the point where they are falling apart at the seams and stained with dirt, blood and sweat. Perhaps it would be appropriate to bring one of those quilts as it certainly would fit the Easter theme.

Our Easter week banners were also made by us quilters years ago to tell the Easter story. We decided on batiks, hence the reason for my enormous stash which I am now using for The Desperate Housewife’s Quilt ( I’m sure this will also be part of the sermon, or at least I’m guessing it will be.

But as far as our anniversary goes, not much planned. Friends of ours are heading to the Columbia Gorge today to get out of the house and enjoy the weather before it turns rainy again and we may catch up with them after church. Perhaps even take our dog, Lucy with us too. Hopefully with it being Easter and all, there won’t be too many people out doing the same.

Happy Easter! May the love of Jesus be ever present in your life throughout the year and the new life the Easter season brings inspire you to enjoy all that God has given us. Personally I am thankful for the sixteen fantastic years with my husband and have no doubt God played a role in making me take a seven in the morning psychology class in college where I met him. Happy anniversary, Greggy! While neither of us are where we thought we would be at this point in our lives, I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather share it with.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


The Dress Up Your Roll winners were announced. I won the international contest!

Shocked to say the least, especially after seeing all of the entries, I still can’t believe my little Roll Sock Monkey won. I mean I think it’s cute, my coworkers think it’s cute, but I didn’t think anyone else would think much of it. Alas, the judges did! I can’t thank Jane over at Want it, Need it, Quilt ( for hosting this contest. It was a blast to make and adds a conversational piece in the guest bathroom you wouldn’t expect to find, except, of course, in the home of a quilter maybe.

Now, to figure out how I’m going to spend my prize money… With a one-hundred dollar gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop ( I will have plenty of options. I love reading the designer interviews on their blog and have had my eye on a few lines that I haven’t seen in stores. But then again, I also have the chance to build up my stash for projects I’ve been wanting to get more fabric for. Decisions, decisions. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

That 70s Quilt: More Chaining

Chain piecing is so easy, a caveman could do it. Well, maybe not, as a caveman would lack proper motor skills to run a 1963 Singer Touch and Sew Deluxe Zig-Zag Model 600 sewing machine.

The important part about chain piecing, especially if you are making a quilt with a specific pattern, is keeping all those pieces in their proper place. This is easier said than done. I like to work in groups or piles that are labeled. For That 70s Quilt I have each column pair labeled with the last column by itself as I have an odd number of columns. After stitching up columns 3 and 4, I went ahead and chained column 5 to 4. Now it will simply be a matter of chaining the remaining columns together to form the rows, which I will then label 1 through 11. Using sticky notes works great for this. Of course, I don’t trust the stickiness of them so I also pin all the way through the fabric so as to keep the piles intact.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Some people are great at simply using a sewing pattern for, say, a vest and churning one out in a cinch. Then there is me.

My husband is a clown. No, seriously. Besides being a teacher he is also an actual, honest to God clown. He went to clown school as part of the Rose Festival in Portland last year and was in one of the parades and everything. And no, Portlandia was not joking about that being a part of Portland culture because it is real. Very real. Anyway, he needed a vest so we went to Fabric Depot to pick out fabric. I’ll skip the boring details of him being so overwhelmed minutes after we walked into the store and wanting to leave because of the sheer amount of fabric and not knowing anything about any of it, but we found some perfect fabric (while I was in the quilting section, of course) and then searched for a pattern to use.

To say that I am pattern inept would, well, be pretty accurate. They’re usually overly complicated with overly simplified instructions and when you can only get the pattern you want in a package that comes with four other patterns, overly expensive. Maybe I’m just used to seeing advertisements for nine-nine cent and dollar ninety-nine patterns in the Joann’s mailings that I just assumed they weren’t very much money. Oh well, the pattern also came with instructions for both short and long sleeved shirts, ties and bowties. I’m sure I can get a few more uses out of it. Perhaps I can even alter the vest pattern for my size.

So I eventually finished the vest in a record setting six hours. And by finished, I mean it is sewed together. The buttons will wait for another day, along with their coinciding holes. Lessons learned: Cutting fabric out on carpet is stupid and I should have just banished all the animals from the kitchen and used the vinyl floor; my slip-stitch has improved immensely to the point where I may even hand stitch my next binding; I hate satin. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bad Decisions

Do you ever make decisions that seem like a good idea but in hindsight make you want to go back in time and slap yourself? That happened last night.

About one-thirty in the morning my husband suddenly asks while we are lying in bed if I made sure the chicks were put up for the night. Crap. After telling him I’ll go check, he gets up and does it himself. I should have known that something was wrong when he didn’t come back for over half an hour. Sure enough, two were dead and one was barely breathing. This morning the one he tried to save didn’t make it through the night.

A couple things ran through my mind last night as I tried to fall asleep but my brain was not having it. The first being that while I thought they would be big enough to be out in the run with the older girls, I didn’t think about how cold it is still getting at night, and the second is that I should have put the heat lamp in the henhouse if the chicks were going to be out in the coop until they were fully feathered.

So now what? Do we take this as a learning experience for next time or as an omen that we shouldn’t get any more chicks for a while?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Raising Chicks

The best two days of having chicks is the day you bring them home and the day you put them outside. It’s like having kids.

A month ago we brought home three new chicks. Over the course of the last month I’ve taken the liberty of videoing their growth up until just a couple days ago when we decided (against our better judgment) to put them outside with the rest of the chickens. Honestly I meant to take more video, but, well, I didn’t. I’m hoping that since they wouldn’t let us show them how to roost or behave like chickens they will learn faster from the big girls, but that might be farfetched. These three are probably the dumbest chicks we’ve ever had and we’ve had a lot. Oh well, I can’t wait until summer when we’ll be blessed with green and blue eggs once again. It will add a little variety to the pink, tans and browns we’ve been getting.

Monday, April 2, 2012

That 70s Quilt: More Chaining

Chain piecing is a quick and easy way to get a quilt fix in when there is limited time. Of course, it helps to have a few UFOs or WIPs around.

In case you are unfamiliar with the terms, UFOs in the quilting world are Unfinished Objects and WIPs are Works in Progress. These are staples of most quilters. Why? Because we tend to feel a need to start projects but don’t always feel that same need to finish them right away. I’ve actually got a few UFOs I inherited from my husband’s grandmother along with her 1963 Singer Touch & Sew Deluxe Zig-Zag Model 600 sewing machine that I don’t know if I will do anything with or simply leave as is. Part of me feels like it would be nice to continue working on them, but another part thinks it best to leave them in the sewing basket as a fond memory.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the UFOs and WIPs in my life and That 70s Quilt actually falls into the WIP category in that it is still on the cutting table and being worked on. While the blocks for the Desperate Housewife’s Quilt are slowly being made and put onto a shelf, they, however, I would put in the WIP category as well. I am hand quilting the Fall Quilt, so that too is a WIP. The quilt top my mother made and gave me for my seventeenth birthday is definitely in the UFO category in that it is sitting on the shelf waiting to be sandwiched, quilted and bound. I will have to say that after eighteen years, I still love the colors of it and with it being my only UFO left as I decided The Uninspired Quilt is indeed finished, so I washed and dried it and renamed it back to its original name, Open Envelopes.

So, with a few minutes of free time yesterday before visiting some friends, I decided to sew the next set of blocks together. Chain piecing not only saves time and thread, but also keeps everything in order. After chaining, I clipped the blocks in reverse order starting with the last block I sewed and pressed the seams open and restacked as I continued. Within fifteen minutes I had another stack done and a sense that I accomplished something.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Time to Quit

Sometimes it is best to quit while you’re ahead. Other times it is best to quit in order to get ahead.

I’m quitting this blog. There, I said it. After eight-hundred-twenty-five consecutive days of blogging, it is time to close this chapter and move on. To what, you might ask? Well for starters, to spend all that money I won in the Mega Millions lottery!

Thank you to all for the support throughout the years!


April Fools!

In all seriousness, I think I’m going to refocus my efforts to finishing my husband’s clown vest, making three puppets for an upcoming high school play, work on That 70s quilt and make a block or two from The Desperate Housewife’s Quilt ( With him being sick, our plans to go to his mom’s for a few days have been scrapped, but I still have the time off. Who knows, maybe we’ll take a day trip if he’s feeling better in the next few days.