Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: Last day of a very good year

Highlights to 2010 for me:  (in no particular order)

  1. Graduated from college.
  2. Discovered and began quilting.
  3. Started this blog.
  4. My oldest child began High School
  5. Visited Yosemite National Park for the first time.
A vast majority of this year was taken up by #1 on my list, and although I'll be going right back to school in about four weeks starting the Credential program (to be a teacher) I feel such a sense of completion and success at finally accomplishing this goal. Those five items you see above represent bigger things; they all opened up my world in a way I never knew before. 

Tomorrow, I will post about what I hope 2011 has in store for me. 

Have a safe New Year's Eve! 

Thursday, December 30, 2010


My goodness, it has been fifteen days since I last posted.  That fact right there illustrates to me that consistency needs to be my word/goal for 2011 with this blog.  After listening to the latest Quilting... for the Rest of Us podcast, I have been mulling over goals/resolutions for 2011 in my head for the last few days and consistency keeps popping up in my head.  Jennifer at That girl... That quilt has also inspired me with her post regarding blogging.  

The bottom line is that I want this blog to work/flourish/grow in 2011 and just like with anything, I need to feed it in order to make that happen.  

So I began this beautiful clear morning here in Southern California by a little redesign to the blog.  I like simple and hope that you do to.  If you like what you see, let me know.  If you think I could improve on anything then please comment on that too.

Now on to the fun portion of the blog for today.  Photos!  Here is a recap of the items I made for family members for Christmas 2010.  

Back of SeaGlass
So this was the MIL quilt that I officially named SeaGlass as I was working on the quilting.  As usual the photos do not do it justice as it really turned out well, although you can see in the puckering on the back that I need to work on my basting skills!  Spray basting is in my future - along with a big piece of plywood/saw horses in the garage to make it happen.  

Now we have a few photos of the things I made for my nieces for Christmas.  

Poochie Bag from Happy Zombie

Another Poochie Bag from Happy Zombie

Voile Scarves made with AMH fabric
The Poochie Bags (pattern by Happy Zombie) were filled with books and made for my younger nieces who truly seemed to enjoy the gift.  The scarves were made for the older nieces who opened their gifts, smiled and moved on.  Big letdown for me but hey, I can't just expect them to pull out trumpets and begin telling the world how much they love their gift, can I?  Another day, another post for that subject.  

I'm off to a day of crafting, cleaning up after my husband who is finishing up the year long painting project in my tiny 1950's kitchen and a trip to Joann's for their end of the year sale - there are a lot of Quilting items on sale!  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Work-In-Progress Wednesday+one more day being an undergrad

If you were looking for me this past week, here is where I was:

No cooking, no sewing, no gardening...just research and writing.  I'm almost tapped out...but I am getting super excited about finishing to the point where I am thinking of it all the time now.  After I drop the younger boy off to school today I'll be back at the computer for about six hours finishing up my paper.  It's due tomorrow night and I plan on taking my boys with me to drop it off and then take the three of us out to dinner to celebrate.  The lucky husband is taking a well deserved day trip down to San Diego to watch the Charger-49er game.  

I have been sewing a little bit to relive the stress.  Did get my MIL quilt all pieced and actually cut out the backing and binding strips last night.  
MIL Quilt - not yet named

Because I have no time to take all of these down and take individual shots, I thought I would give you a peek into my closet and what I see every morning.
WIP hanging in the closet
Yea, hanging in the closet.  Where else are they going to go?  :)

Friday will see me attacking my WIP/Christmas list:
MIL Quilt - baste, quilt and bind
That Girl Quilt Along - baste, quilt and bind
Voile Scarf for niece
Two book bags for other nieces - Heather Baily Smart Girl Bag Pattern - so cute!
Possibly some pillowcases
Purse for me out of AMH Innocent Crush Fabric
Month 4, 5 & 6 12 Days of Christmas FQS BOM (I'm a little behind)

Don't forget to check out Lee at Freshly Pieced to see what other very talented people are up to.  I love checking them out and adding new blogs to my Google reader when someone new appears on the list.  

Off to my second to the last day of being an undergrad.  YIPPEE!   (ok, I'm nuts)  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Work-In-Progress Wednesday & Don't you forget about me.....

Kind of a catchy tune from a seminal movie from my teenage years.  I was more of a Sixteen Candles/Jake Ryan fan than The Breakfast Club but I was humming this tune to myself last night while washing dishes and thinking about you all..

I'm still here!  

I'm crazy busy with my research paper but I have had a few moments to come up to breathe and craft.  Love those moments.  So here is my current WIP.  This is the MIL Christmas Gift Quilt Version II.   Please go check out Lee at Freshly Pieced to check out more WIP Wednesday's.

Blocks laid out but not sewn together

Took these photos last night in the awful lighting...I'll have this pieced together by the weekend and get a photo outside.  The fabrics are beautiful but I still don't know if they go together.  Remember I'm color challenged!  

Time to get back to research and writing.  Eight more days until I can craft all day!  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Work-In-Progress Wednesday:The Food Edition

No crafty/quilty goodness today therefore there is no WIP Wednesday link up with Lee, but I have been a very busy gal in the kitchen.  This is what my Work In Progress: The Food Edition has looked like today:

Two 7 pound Turkey Breasts having a trial run in the roasting pan .

Graham Cracker Crust for Pumpkin Cheesecake

Two pounds of cream cheese.  My almost 20 year old mixer almost gave out.  

16 qt pot getting ready for potatoes

Gotta have flowers

Pumpkin Cheesecake in the water bath...see the steam?  

10 pounds of potatoes boiling

After 3,000 hours in the oven, the cheesecake is done

Cornbread for the dressing

Potatoes all done and SO very good

I've been doing a Thanksgiving Dinner at my home for about five years now and I have never planned ahead until this year.  Instead of trying to make all of this tomorrow morning and being completely wiped out the entire day with making most of the food (a few people bring food), cleaning it all up and trying to actually entertain, I am doing most of the prep work today.

For the few family members who read this blog, those potatoes are not the famous S-family Gloppy Potatoes.  I like trying new things and honestly do not make many things that my mother used to make as she was the best at them.  When I try and replicate the dishes that my mother used to make, they do not taste as good to me so therefore, new potato recipe.  I made the Pioneer Woman's Creamy Mashed Potato Recipe and they are to die for.  Treated myself to some for lunch even.  

Just for my own historical record keeping, this is what we are having:
BBQ Standing Rib Roast
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
PW Creamy Mashed Potatoes
PW Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples
Some kind of Green Bean thing the MIL is bringing
Assorted Bread Rolls
Pumpkin Cheesecake plus other assorted desserts

I'll be enjoying all of the sides plus a glass of wine.  Oh, and some cheesecake!  

Hope you have enjoyed The Food Edition of WIP Wednesday.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Too sick to craft or do anything for that matter

The last few days have just kicked my butt.  I rarely get sick but when I do, look out.  After a trip to the Student Health Center (there are benefits to being a 41 year old college student) I was diagnosed with Bronchitis and came home with the all wonderful Z-Pak.  So looking forward to feeling better tomorrow.

I knew I was sick on Friday when I went through the day without doing any crafting whatsoever.  Actually I didn't do anything Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  Just sat or reclined on the couch with my Happiness Quilt and coughed and coughed and coughed.  

This morning I made myself get back into action and get moving.  After the Dr. appt I began planning for Thanksgiving with planning my menu and making my grocery store list. Got sidetracked and decided to finish piecing the That Girl...That Quilt Quilt Top - have any of you named yours yet?  I honestly thought that Jennifer had named it the Swell Quilt, until I read where her charm pack she was using was Swell fabric.  What a dork I am.  

By the way, it turned out so good!  By using the same ruler to cut fabric and the 1/4inch foot on my sewing machine, most of the seams actually meet up but it does make me wonder why they do not all meet up.  What did I do wrong?  (not the wonky part but the main seams)  
Quilt Top finished
My boys just returned from seeing HP #7 without me - I thought I would be nice and allow the people in the movie theater some peace and not have to listen to me cough through the entire movie.  So I just had my older son hold up the quilt top outside for me and we were both laughing so hard because of the wind.  Well I wasn't actually laughing, I was cough/laughing and it was most uncomfortable.

I just realized that I had not talked about food in awhile on here.  I'm making Portabello Mushroom Burgers for the husband and I for dinner tonight and the boys will get Turkey burgers as they claim they are allergic to vegetables.

Time to go take something to make myself stop coughing as my muscles are hurting!  


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I finished hand stitching the binding to the Bluebells quilt yesterday while waiting for my younger son to get out of school.  I had never taken anything other than a book with me to pass the time while I wait for him to arrive, so putting on the binding was pretty cool.  So when I actually finished it I wanted to get out of the car and show it to someone.  Since I'm not as much of a dork as I thought I was, I did not get out of the car.  :)

"Bluebells"  Hungarian Blue Fabric by Sue Zipkin

After I pieced the top I realized that I could have added another column and possibly a row to balance her out, but hey, I'm still learning.  I love it and hope that the receiver will too.  She is now on her way to OR via USPS.  Yea!

This morning I finished up the 40 blocks for the That Girl...That Quilt Quilt Along.  I'm not completely caught up as now I have to make my blocks "wonky" but I do think I am halfway there as most of mine do appear to be wonky.  
40 Charm Square Blocks 

A trip to Joann's tomorrow to get the right type of ruler and 25 yard of tulle.  Tulle?  For quilting? Nope. It's for the gardening portion of this blog  (the bougainvilleas part).  I have planted cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli at my garden plot and in order to come out at the end of the season with some wonderful vegetables, I have to cover them to keep the critters out.  See exhibit A.  

Exhibit A - keeping the critters out

If I can help myself this blog will be quiet for a few days while I focus on school.  My final portfolio of all of my history work for the past four years is due and I need to tighten things up a bit.  Kinda hard not to notice the Google Chrome button and then of course, I have to check Google Reader, Google Mail and then that leads to Facebook.  Stop the madness!  

Friday, November 12, 2010


Trying to balance my school life, home life, crafting life, etc. is hard!  I want to do it all but something always has to take a backseat.  Because school is the priority and I only have five weeks left in my semester, crafting has to take a back seat.

 Did I say I would not be crafting at all?  NO WAY!

How else am I going to keep myself sane?

So for the 45 minutes I had this morning between seeing each of my boys off to school I worked on this:

Chain piecing in progress for quilt along

Pillow top for MIL to match her quilt
The sun streaming through our front windows only lasts for an hour or so, so I take advantage of it = streaks in the photos.  I sure hope these colors work together.  I finished cutting out all of the fabric last night while the husband was watching TV.  By the way, I am not a big TV watcher.  I'll be in the same room with him but usually I am reading a book or magazines or cutting fabric, and after 18 years of marriage to this man...

I excel at tuning out The Simpsons.  Hope I do not offend anyone, but if I never see or hear another reference to The Simpsons for the rest of my life, it would be a good thing.  Now I've just given that show ink on my blog!  Ugh.  

Off to the library to spend the day with my eyes in books.  Hope you all have a very good Friday.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

When I first starting quilting (a whopping 10 months ago!), I only worked on one project at a time.  I don't seem to have that problem anymore.

Lee at Freshly Pieced has begun a Work-in-Progress Wednesday feature that after the inventory I just did, sounds like exactly what I need to get my projects done.  Thanks Lee!

Skirt for me/Anna Maria Horner Voile
Decided to try this with the Stop Staring and Start Sewing Essential A-Line Skirt Tutorial back in the summer.   
Just can't seem to want to finish this.

Bluebells Quilt
Will probably finish quilting this today/tomorrow and then add the binding this weekend.  Need to get this in the mail by next Tuesday.

Quilt for MIL 
Quilt #2 for MIL for Christmas.  Remember where I changed my mind?  This is the new fabric and I sure hope they work together.  This will be my first attempt to create a quilt with fabrics from different lines.

Bag for me with Innocent Crush
Can't you all tell I'm a AMH freak?  I could not resist purchasing some of her new fabric for a bag for myself.

Blocks for quilt along
Why does Google turn my photo around?  Makes it look like I was on the ceiling or something.  Three completed blocks.

Punctuation by American Jane
Oh, those darn Deals of the Day at the Missouri Star Quilt Co. Couldn't resist the Punctuation Charm Pack for $2.50ish and of course I had to throw in a Honey Bun.  I unraveled it so I could play with the fabric.

I hate this one
Truly, I do hate this quilt top, but only because I don't know what I am doing.  These are jelly roll strips sewn together...should be easy, right?  No.  Because it is very wonky.  I bought this from FQS at 40% off so it was a deal, but I can't figure out how to fix it.

Christmas Tree Skirt
I've had this fabric for honestly, 10 years.  Finally sewed both pieces during the summer and just need some decorative braid, etc. to finish it.  

Now I really need to put the sewing machine and the camera away and get to my history research!  

This was going to be a Wordless Wednesday

Originally there was only going to be a photo of me machine quilting (code word for wrestling) the newly named Bluebells quilt, but after looking at the photo that my younger son took, I thought it called for some explanation.

Yea, so that's me at the kitchen table with the sewing machine.  Big deal.  What I thought might need some clarity was the very shapely leg just behind me. 

Francesco Totti

This is Francesco Totti, an Italian soccer player who plays for AS Roma.  Yea he's a hottie and a wonderful player to watch.  Why do I have this larger than life, two sided display of him?  The husband was given this for free at a soccer supply warehouse sale recently.  He came in the door and asked the boys "who wants this in their room?"  I raised my hand and said "I do!"  

Hope this made you laugh.  He's out of here by Christmas though as there will be no room for him and the Christmas Tree.  

The younger son asked that I credit him with the photo taking today.  He did a good job, especially with the one below.  
Add caption

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I think red is my new favorite color

I finished my first block last night for the quilt along that I am participating in, and I just LOVE it.  I danced around the house showing it to my people and of course, since they are all of the male species, I received nothing more than a tepid "oh, cool".  Ahh the frustration to be the only female in a household!

Sorry about the quality of the photo.  One of these days I will do some research to figure out to take better photos to publish online.  Three full blocks are done but I do have the rest of the charm squares outlined in the white.  I've got to get back to the books so finishing the rest up with the red will have to wait until Friday.

Off to make Clam Chowder with Sourdough Bread for dinner.  It is actually cold here (ok, cold for us - don't laugh!) so soup just feels right.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

I need your opinion...

The whole family is around and originally I was not going to post anything, but now that I have 9 followers (sorry to sound like a 12 year old girl but...OMG!)  I thought I would put this out there for someone to give me an opinion on.  

It is time for new dishes in this household.  We've been using the Mikasa White French Countryside dishes for almost 19 years now and they are coming to the end of their lifetime.  Broken/cracked/stained and just ugly.  When we "registered" for these during our engagement they were all the rage and back then I never thought I would hate a huge white plate when I was "plating" a dish for dinner.  Well I do now.  

I'm considering Fiestaware.  If you check out a few of my older blog posts you will see that the husband has been painting the kitchen and we are keeping some of the doors off to...
1.  The husband will take three years to paint them so why not.
2.  It is nice to not have to open a door to get out dishes.
3.  Gives me more tiny reason to ditch the white and go with COLOR!

So, do any of you have Fiestaware?  I have not seen it in person/held it, etc., and only seen it on online.  Do you like it?  Do you love it?  Does it go from oven to dishwasher to microwave like they say it does?  

Thank you for your thoughts!  I'm off to the soccer field to watch my older boy play.  :)  

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fabric Friday!

Thank goodness it is Fabric Friday!

In my non-crafty life I am a student.  I go to school here:

California State University Long Beach
Just to be clear I don't actually attend classes inside that building - that is the gym.  Pretty cool building that I see almost everyday either driving my people around or walking/riding my bike to campus.  What does the Pyramid have to do with Fabric Friday?

I was a good girl all week and stayed on task with my schoolwork.  My class was last night and I received a great grade on some things that were due last week and after a meeting with my teacher, I feel great about how my final research paper is shaping up. I'm a history major.  Today I get to play with fabric!  

After I finish my chores this morning, I will venture out to fabric store pretty close to me.  It's huge and the prices are pretty good.  Tons and tons of bolts everywhere but the vibe in this store is different.  The store itself is not new, pretty or remotely inviting but it is the fabric that draws people in.  The people who work in the store are fascinating to me as I think a majority of them are of Eastern European nationalities and I so want to ask them where they are from, how did they get to Artesia, CA and what made you all work in this fabric store?  Not going to happen but I still wonder.  The historian in me loves the stories behind people.

I get kind of intimidated when I am in this store because I see obvious quilters with their shopping carts full of bolts waiting to be cut.  I hear them in conversations with their friends or just maybe fellow shoppers on what fabric goes with that one and this makes me feel a bit envious.  I have NO quilty friends!  I walk around staring at fabric and just get overwhelmed.  But I still go.

So today I will purchase the backing and binding for this:

Hungarian Blue fabric
And I'll walk around and stare at fabric.  

Happy Fabric Friday to you!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Changing my mind

Spring Time Quilt with shoes
I made this quilt during the summer for my Mother-in-Law with the intention of giving it to her for Christmas.  I labeled it, packed it away in a perfect box, put it up on a shelf in my closet and updated my excel spreadsheet with a check in the DONE column for MIL.

I've now changed my mind.  I was listening to the latest Podcast from Quilting...for the Rest of Us by Sandy where she was discussing labeling quilts and she said something that struck me - almost instantly.  She said something along the lines of "You might not want to put in the label who it is for in case they don't like it - the quilt you made might not end up with the person you intended to give it too".  Oh, what a smart lady!  

It struck me that my MIL is not going to like this quilt as she is kind of, I don't know....hard to please?  (Note to MIL:  I mean that in the best sense possible!  No offense intended.)   Had to put that in just in case she were ever to find out in a million years that I have a blog.   Why will she not like it?  It doesn't work with any decor in her house and it is probably not big enough as a lap quilt.  

So, I talked it over with the husband last night and told him that I had changed my mind about this quilt and wanted to make her another one.  Also shared with him how I faked MIL out yesterday by calling her and asking her about the new curtain panels she had just put up in the room where is is most likely to use this quilt.  I pretended that I was going to make something for another family member who is about to have a special birthday and how much that person loves those colors.  By the end of the phone call I had where she bought them, the name of the panels and colors of fabric.  A quick look online and I had a photo on my desktop.  

I'm excited as the quilt I will make her will be my first "custom" quilt made specifically for someone with fabrics that are not all from the same designer.  Scary color choices but I received some wonderful help from Lindsay at Hawthorne Threads and placed my order for fabric this morning.  I'm going to use a pattern from the October/November #116 issue of Quilt Magazine- Page 76.  

I love telling my people that as a woman it is my job to change my mind.  he-he

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall colors and quilting battle wounds

Here is Southern California we enjoy a very temperate climate.  Yea we have deciduous trees that dump their leaves,  snow capped mountains that we can sometimes see in the winter and it gets a little chilly at night but for the most part we do not see the wonderful fall colors that some parts of our country enjoy.   While in Minnesota last month celebrating the life of one of my Aunt's who passed away, I was able to observe the wonderful fall colors.  The trees were stunning.  Oranges, Reds, Yellow and Browns.  

It is expected to be 96 here today and it just gives more proof that here in our area of California and the United States, we have wacky weather.  Come on, it's November!  

On a separate note,  I suffered my first quilting mishap on Saturday morning which kept me off the soccer field on Sunday.  I was cutting fabric for the That Quilt...Quilt Along and everything was going fine until I accidentally dropped the rotary cutter off the table.  I felt it hit my foot but didn't feel anything, so I picked it up off the floor and kept going.  Maybe 30 seconds later I was standing upright and noticed the blood on my sock.  Yes, I was cutting fabric without shoes on.  Will I do that again?  NO.  Stupid.  

Cut fabric with offending rotary cutter
Stay cool people!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mad about Pumpkins

The following are a few of my favorite pumpkins.  I grow pumpkins in my garden plot every year and this year I came out with two that were almost identical in size and weight.  Makes it easier for my boys to choose who gets which one.

The various decorations around the house are just reminders to myself of the fun things that my boys have made when they were younger.  I get them out every year and remind myself how small and cute they once were.  Oh, they are still cute but not so small.

Pumpkins grown in my garden
Old Navy squishy pumpkin from years ago

Carved Pumpkins

Made by my favorite older son

Made by my favorite younger son

Made by my favorite younger son

I tried Dorie Greenspan's Sour Cream Pumpkin Tart this past week and I have to say that it wasn't a home run.  It tasted much better when cooled and chilled the next day but I think the sour cream changed the pumpkin taste.  I used the Killer Pie Crust from The Bitchy Stitcher and was very happy with the crust results.  Check out her blog - she is a hoot.

All this talk about pumpkin makes me yearn for a Godiva Pumpkin Truffle.  I think I have one left in the pantry!