Friday, October 30, 2009

trick or treat!

where has this week gone?? i guess this is how life will be from now on. our days are so full, and we never seem to just veg at home anymore. too bad, vegging is my favorite thing!

there has been no actual sewing going on here. i had bunco on tuesday, and wednesday i had the neighbor girl come over to babysit so i could sew, but i ended up just cutting and ironing fabric and chatting - uninterrupted - on the phone. bliss.

preschool halloween parades proved adorable and the kids have had enough goodies to last them a month. and we still have the actual holiday to get through!

our son alex is the red spiderman. i know the picture is small, and it's hard to make out, but my favorite costume was all the way on the right - a flying monkey from the wizard of oz! if i's been thinking and knew the girl's mom better, i'd have taken a close up - the costume was awesome! real feathers on the wings, and a smart little jacket.

emma's class is bigger so more exciting to see all the costumes - including an adorable gingerbread man from shrek! (he's in the middle back) emma's the witch right next to him. terrible photos, i know! the camera batteries died right as the parade started so i didn't get another chance at a better shot.

i love mrs. circle's raggedy ann costume!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

lazy sunday

so i think i found my latest crush. go here to check her out.

i've got a sick 2 year old with a fever and stinky diapers. so no sleep last night means i will probably crash early tonight. i was hoping to start on one of these only i think i will work on something easier. organize the game closet or fold laundry or something. i am close to finished on a holiday project - here's a sneak peek.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

birthday treats

tomorrow our little girl gets to celebrate her 5th birthday at preschool. this means she gets to bring cupcakes or cookies, something other than the usual healthy snack. only, since we are headed to the pumpkin patch for their first field trip, the teacher suggested i try to convince her to bring something, oh, not as messy as a big frosted cupcake. since we'll be in public. with no sink.

for her birthday she got a playdoh burger factory and they've been having so much fun making burgers and fries. so when i saw these over at bakerella, i knew they'd be perfect! and they are. oh they are. i used yellow cake mix, brownie mix, and ready made red frosting in a tube. i chose to do the green coconut because honestly? i didn't feel like making any frosting. these may be the easiest & my most favorite cupcakes i've ever made. i was planning to make the sugar cookie fries too, but finally! i know when to say when!

so here it is, the fun little snack. i threw in some pretzels (note to self - buy new snack for preschool halloween party) and called it quits. i had stamped the bags with a cake and happy birthday but they looked kind of sad. so i grabbed some stickers to brighten them up.

i'm actually ahead of the game! there must be something else i'm forgetting...

Monday, October 19, 2009

get it together

it's funny, how i can tell myself i have gotten nothing done. i crocheted a new dishcloth the other day (it's cute! camel colored with orange trim!) but that's old hat, so it doesn't count. caring for our new kitties and taking care of three young'uns while my honey works twelve hour shifts. give myself some credit, girl! i so tend to focus on the negatives. why do we women set such high standards for ourselves?

i know i need to get a system down. i have been feeling like i am running behind for weeks now, and that is not a good feeling. last week, i forgot my daughter's coat the day of her field trip (thankfully it rained and got cancelled) today was picture day - and she was wearing a sweatshirt and dirty sneakers because i forgot! poor thing. she deserves an organized mom. wednesday we celebrate her birthday at school and i am hoping to make these and take them to the rescheduled pumpkin patch trip. i already stamped some lunch sacks with happy birthday and a cake. juice pouches and colorful napkins and those great cupcake burgers = birthday fun, right? hopefully it makes up for her looking like a bum in the class photo.

jack 'o lanterns

we had a good time doing our pumpkins last night. i had the older kids draw a face on their pumpkin, and then i cut it out for them. alex always draws his people with huge eyes and wiggly mouths - this was no exception!

i also tried 2 recipes for roasting pumpkin seeds, and they both were yummy! one just came out of the over - 2 Tb. melted butter to 2 cups of seeds, sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt, 1 Tb. brown sugar and 1/2 Tb. vanilla and a generous dash or two of cinnamon. the other i found at allrecipes (love that site!) and was the same except for using 1 Tb. worcestershire and 2 drops of tabasco instead of the vanilla and cinnamon. yummy! bake at 300* until crispy, about 45 minutes. it said to use a sheet of aluminum foil on your pan, but i did it both ways and didn't have any trouble with sticking.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

blog action day 2009 - a little late!

so, as it was gently pointed out to me, i missed blog action day. i had good intentions, and linked to it from a facebook friend's post - and then promptly forgot the date! anyways, i am sorry to anyone that came here looking for my post.

there's not that much that we're doing to combat climate change in our house. i have to be honest, i don't know much about the topic, other than i watched al gore's movie a long time ago. i am woefully uneducated.

we recycle, we make our own ice in trays and in empty milk jugs, we chop our own firewood(well, troy does!) and heat with a wood stove. which actually might be just as bad as using propane. not really sure. we plan to put in clotheslines next spring so i can line dry our clothes. we own 30 acres, but we only mow up as much as necessary to keep the critters away from the house. we live in a rural area, so just going to get milk means i drive 17 miles. i try to multi task and combine errands in one trip - but with three little kids, sometimes that just ain't happening. and we replaced our garage fridge with a newer model that doesn't run constantly like the old one.

craft wise - i already try to get supplies at thrift stores, garage sales, and freecycle/hand me down stuff. i really need to attempt to use up what i have in my stash vs. buying new, and instead of buying a new machine, my mom gave me her singer (thanks mom!) i signed up for wardrobe refashion and have a pile of clothes destined for another life.

goals for the next year:

less driving (one child will start kindergarten and ride the bus, three less trips a week!)
find doctors closer to home (we've kept our old doctors, which is an hour drive)
plant a garden and can some goodies
upgrade our heating/air system to the proper size and efficiency

hope everyone at least thinks about what they can do, even if it's a small thing, to help our environment!

Friday, October 16, 2009

camera opinions needed

so it looks like i will be getting a new camera. my sony cybershot stopped working wednesday, and i'm just amazed it's lasted this long! it's been dropped on the kitchen tile more than i care to admit. anyone have a recommendation for a new one? something that's user friendly, inexpensive, and produces stunning quality photographs??? you know, i don't want much! so i've had to resort to using my daughter's kiddizoom again - eek!

meanwhile, i had another custom order on my etsy - for a tutu. i shipped it out today and i hope she loves it! even thought the photo is awful.

that's about it for me - hoping for some quality crafting time this weekend but not getting my hopes too high. we are hosting a sleepover saturday with 2 cousins, and that means a lot of children running around needing supervision. i do want to get our pumpkins carved, and make some more pepper jelly, but if i get even that much done i'll be surprised! have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, October 12, 2009

i know i don't deserve to win again...

but i sure am hoping i do! there's not much time left for this one - but the prizes are to die for. a gorgeous winter coat and a pretty dress. who doesn't need one of those?

head over to 30days to enter, and hurry! it ends tonight!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

craftytammie's catnip mice

october is sewmamasew's scrap busting month! i was inspired to make these by the newest additions to our family:

meet duke & daisy. or king fluffy & rosie. or charlie & lola. it all depends on which child you ask. we've had them for 2 days now, and we can't agree on a name, so i imagine i will decide for everyone soon. because i need to know what to croon as i snuggle them under my chin. oh, suggestions are welcome, let me know what you would call them!

anyways. new babies need stuff, you know? so we hit the store, and i was not excited about anything i saw on the shelves there. neon colored felt mice, and plastic things with feathers stuck all over them. and i did what i always do - thought "i can totally make that myself."

introducing craftytammie's catnip mice!

so thanks to sewmamasew for hosting this fun month, and i hope you enjoy making them!

supplies needed:

scrap fabrics. i forced myself to just grab handfuls of what was laying on my cutting table. there's some fleece from the scarves i've been making, lots of tiny strips i cut off but never can bring myself to toss. little pieces cut from larger pieces. anything works here, it's all welcome! (but i do think these would be great in linen with calico ears and tails)
ribbon for tail, if you choose
polyfil or your choice of stuffing.
jingle bells and catnip. optional.

disclaimer - i am not a vet, nor do i play one on tv. be safe and smart when using these mice with your pets (or for that matter around your children). inspect them regularly for damage and replace as needed.

so i chose a piece of fabric that looked big enough, doubled it, and drew a mouse shape on one side. this is your sewing line, so make sure to eyeball a 1/4" seam allowance as you do so. i like to make my nose run into a point, which gives it a snout. i've also seen this done by making a folded heart shape with the inner points on the fold of your fabric. then you whipstitch the mouse shut. this would work well for fleece and felt.

next, cut little triangles to be the ears, and find a long strip to be the tail. you need to place these between the fabric layers, so that they are within the sewing line and that way you don't stitch the tail to the nose. you can see where i've pinned the ears and the tail. also, don't forget to leave a opening for turning! and try not to be like me. i always make the opening as small as possible and then fight to turn it out and stuff it.

ok, time to stitch! sew it up along your marked line. when i'm finished, i like to pink the edges.

here's where that tail comes in handy! fish around inside, and find the end. pull it inside out. use a chopstick or other pointy object to poke out the nose.

stuff tightly with polyfil. i add a pinch or two of dried catnip and one jingle bell to give it a little noise. stuff some more, and when it's good and full, stitch up the opening.

you can, of course, stitch eyes or whiskers or any other details you want onto your mice. or make them pigs, or hedgehogs, or whatever you feel like doing that day. i don't really think my cats care that much, and i imagine these will be under my fridge in less than a week. so i didn't. but you go ahead.

tada! you've made your own *custom* catnip mice! make a few for all the cats in your life. and how cute would these be in a matching pet bed as a new pet present? just saying. thanks for visiting me!


my free fabrics have arrived! i am so in love.

first up, from kristina at quilted treasures we have a fat quarter bundle from heather bailey - i think i know exactly what i want to do with this.
a value quilt. only i will use white as my light and make all the other prints the dark. that's what i think i want to do. but first i need to do a little calculation and see if i will have enough fabric, because i would sure like to have some leftover to make other things with.

she was so sweet and also sent me a copy of STITCH magazine, and i was happy to see a project from a blog i like, pink penguin!

then i received my art gallery fabric from libertyoriginals. it's called girly girl, and the colors are so pretty. they have several other fabric lines i love, like spellbound. she was so nice and sent me an extra fat quarter - thanks again! and how cute are her liberty original tags?

Friday, October 9, 2009

quilty love affair

today is the first day of park city girl's fall quilt festival! i can't wait to visit the sites and see everyone's quilts!

so here is my very favorite quilt. it was begun by my maternal great grandmother before she passed on. then my grandma, who we call nana, found the pieces and finished up the quilt. they both did it all by hand, which is so amazing to me. i love the riot of colors and the mismatchiness of the blocks - this is truly a scrap quilt! if anyone knows the name of the block, please do me a favor and leave me a comment?

i have to admit, when my mom first gave it to me, i was under-impressed. i didn't quilt then, and all i saw was a bunch of fabrics that didn't go together. now i totally appreciate the effort and time that went into it, and the frugality of using all their scraps for something useful.

and how the love has grown! it has become the quilt we all fight over! it's the perfect weight and size. the history makes it that much snugglier. my kid's call it nana's quilt! and i've repaired it in a few places where the seams popped. i know it mortifies my mom that we actually use it, and i will be very sad if it gets ruined. but my mom kept it folded up in a closet and that just isn't me. i plan to enjoy my inheritance while i'm here to do so!

the fabrics are fun for us to sit and look at. i have no idea how old they are, but here's one of my favorite blocks in the quilt.

if you don't have time to see all the blogs on their own, at least take a peek at the flickr pool. thanks for stopping by to visit me today! come back again soon!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

good morning!

i have even more crafty goodness to share! first up, crazymomquilts has 3 of the 5 quilts she's making for quilts of valor posted today. and my humble little block did indeed make the cut, i'm thrilled she was able to use it! i'm still so new to quilting, i don't know if i'm doing certain things correctly. the photo above was stolen shamelessly from her website - i hope that's ok? my block is on the far right, 2nd from the top. that teeny little point still bugs me, i wish i'd done a different one to send. but i hope whoever receives these will know that their service is honorable and appreciated by many of us non-military, make love not war types.

and next up is that i'm getting a new (to me) sewing machine! this one was my mom's, and she put it in to get it serviced and presented me with the manual last weekend. it will do a few decorative stitches, which i am super excited about! it ain't fancy, but neither am i!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

partner, where are you?

so i'm thinking that some of that awesome heather ross fabric needs to go into my entry for the allpeoplequilt contest. an easy peasy baby quilt, using 10 inch squares. again, please don't make me ask my mom to be my partner! not that she didn't do an awesome job on her journal cover, but our tastes definitely run the opposite sides of the spectrum. i was thinking maybe some goldfish, with orange and black and white would make a cool kid quilt? maybe a little rickyracky trim? squares in a square quilting? or polka dots (thinking bubbles, water here) anyways, my brain is reeling with possibilities. it's so fun to have exciting fabric to play with.

it's getting to where i'm embarrassed to admit my good fortune around here - but i won again! twice. shut up. no way. yes, way! i won a scrap bag at sewmamasew, where i comment almost daily, and i also won a $30 gift certificate giveaway over at trueup. she hosts a weekly giveaway over there - and posts them on twitter as well. this is why my yahoo reader is my best friend, gals. i see this stuff as it happens! anyways, the gift cert is for either quiltedtreasures or their etsy shop. i'm not embarrassed to admit to spending it all immediately - i ordered a fat quarter bundle of heather bailey from their etsy. it was hard to choose, though. so many great fabrics!

and if you've been hesitant to join twitter, here's why i like it. i check it maybe once a day, and most of the blog writers i like (dooce, thebloggess, mimismartypants) tweet when they've posted a new entry. and sites like trueup and sewmamasew and thelongthread tweet about giveaways. my husband thinks i spend hours in front of the laptop, but i actually have it all pretty streamlined. i scan my yahoo reader in the morning, while drinking coffee and supervising breakfast, and then check email during naptime and after bedtime i try to post at my blogs. is that too much time on the computer? probably, but i find new things i love every day and i enjoy it so much, it just feels right! and you all know how much other stuff a momma does - this is my little me time for each day(i don't watch much tv). how about you? how do you keep up with all your favorite web sites?

gnomes, goldfish, and doggies, oh my!

i promised to share my fun package i got from heather ross - yes THAT heather!

i follow her journal on my yahoo reader and woke one morning to find a post saying she was cleaning out her studio and had found boxes of miscellaneous. so she was selling surprise gift bags in different denominations. and she said shoot me an email and tell me what you would like to see in your bag, and she'd try her hardest to fill requests. needless to say, she sold out in mere hours.

and look what i got!!

i told her i'd be happy to see any gnomes or goldfish in my package - and she sure delivered! the doggies was a surprise treat. i love the little teacup dog! i wish i'd thought of it first, but here's a great quilt block using that pup. there was also a pair of gardening gloves that i have been wearing all week as i clean out my zinnia bed. i've been dreaming for days about what i might make with all my new lovelies.

get in the holiday spirit!

there's a fun holiday swap going on over at max&ellie. i sure wish i could join - but i know i won't have time, so i'm behaving myself and watching from the sidelines. if you want to join in, signups are still open!

also, i've updated my links on the left - check out some of the new blogs listed!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

happy birthday to all of us!

yesterday we had a birthday party here for our son zach - he's two now - our daughter emma - who'll be five soon - and our niece lyla - who is turning six. it was utter chaos as usual - ten kids ages 8 and under running around high on pink lemonade, cake & ice cream and candy bracelets. and yogos and twizzlers and m&ms and blowpops. yikes.

we had a mexican food fiesta, with 7 layer dip, guacamole, queso, pulled pork, tacos, and 2 kinds of chicken enchiladas. i have to share the recipe for one of them - they are my new favorite food. it's from the latest issue of BHG.
*cook chopped chicken breast, mix in 1 1/2 c. salsa verde and 1 4oz. can green chiles. cook 3 minutes, stir in 1 c. shredded cheese. roll into tortillas, sprinkle more cheese on top and bake. how easy is that?! and so good.

anyways, i made the cake too - i used a checkerboard cake pan set my mom gave me, with red velvet and chocolate batter. i have to say i was unimpressed with the end result. only because it was such a pain pouring the different batters into the divider and made a big mess in the kitchen. it worked ok, but the batters didn't line up exactly and the checkerboard wasn't as precise as it showed on the box. i think it would be just as exciting to simply swirl the two batters. you can see it in the next photo - and my lovely family, that's my honey troy and our three kids!

the kids helped me while i was decorating - it is hard to do with three of them underfoot, so i'm ok with how it turned out. the frosting was tinted pale green with halloween m&ms pressed in the sides for polka dots. then of course - it had to have sprinkles on top!

my sister-in-law wendy made the pinata for the kids, out of tissue paper, coloring book covers and a diaper box! she made it two sided, strawberry shortcake for the girls and dinosaur for the boys. she has become the family's designated pinata maker. i always video the kids smacking the pinata, and it's funny to watch how their aim has gotten better over the last two years!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

favorite quilt makers

crazymomquilts has a new post up, showing some of the maverick star blocks for her quilts of valor project! someday i hope to be able to whip out quilts like she does. if you've never stopped by her site, prepare to be amazed. she makes beautiful quilts seem effortless, and is really good at explaining how to make them yourself.

another incredibly talented (and fairly new) quilt maker is ashley over at filminthefridge. she has only been quilting for one year. and she's already made more quilts than i probably will in my lifetime! she really inspires me, i love the backs she puts on her quilts!

finally, there's handmade by alissa. she makes beautiful quilts, and i love seeing what her latest project is. she has a great video tutorial on pebble quilting, and seeing the process really helps me to understand how it's done. now, if i only had a new machine...


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