A head-banner day!

Yesterday was an awful day! Perhaps my post may have given that away? Chalk it up to a new lesson, Do not post when tired and emotional. Good Rule. I'll try to remember to follow it. After my long and rambling post I decided to do something I love. Create.

As you may recall, I am still under the gun for finishing the birthday gifts. (5 down 3 to go.) I have been wanting to make some headbands. There are literally 101 fabric headband patterns/tutorials out on the web. I googled "fabric headband tutorial," came up with just over 500,00 hits and had a basic idea of what I wanted. Now I needed fabric! Nothing in the 10 plastic bins of fabric that line the walls in my sewing room screamed "Make me into a headband!" So, I braved to Hancock fabric store with two kids and picked up some lovely black and white prints. Which I did eventually match up with some existing fabric from my stash.

I used two patterns which are basically the same construction just different shapes. This pattern at KC Quilts and this pattern at foofanagle.

Both patterns are extremely quick and easy. I think it took me just over an interrupted hour to make 6 headbands. Four of which are for gifts, the other 2 were for Emma.

(you actually didn't think I could get away with making anything remotely girly without making one for Emma?!)

All of the headbands are reversible. Which means you are actually gifting twice as many headbands! I definitely need to make some of these for gifts for Emma's friends, and maybe eventually some for myself. Ha. (Make something for myself. That's a good one.)

I also started working on my newest tutorial. Here is the bag for said tutorial.

I am calling it the Folded Sling Bag. It was inspired by the new sling bag styles which are out everywhere. I have only seen one other tutorial for this type of bag and it has a zipper. Not that I have anything against zippers. I just don't keep a stash of them. I hope to have the tutorial finished and available by next week!


Exercise is bad for me

Over the past 3 years I have been walking about 1-2 miles every day. It has been a great way to keep in shape and helps to get me out of the house. I take Ginger out with me and John, when he's home and we all have a lovely time. I decided recently that my body needs a revised workout. I logically concluded that since I have been doing the same workout for 3 years that I am not getting the same benefit from that distance that I once did.

Therefore I have stepped up my workout. I have begun walking faster, farther and more furiously than before. I have thrown in a few sprints and even added push ups and sit-ups, just for the sake of insanity. I have discovered that My LOGIC SUCKS.

I hear people talk about endorphins and the rush you get after a hard workout. People talk about how good they feel and how much better they look. The media bombards me with beautiful people in skimpy clothing smiling and happy telling me how good they feel after working out with this machine or at that gym. I have come to the conclusion that they are all lying.


1. I have no rush of endorphins, no extended energy level. I am tired, grouchy and mostly exhausted.
2. After 2 weeks my legs are sore, I have a big nasty blister and a pain in my neck that is not being caused by my 13 year-old.
3. I consume, on a daily basis, my weight in coffee due to reason 1.(Okay so I did that before but it still isn't good for me.)
4. My kids ask, and sheepishly I might add, "What time are you going for a walk?" And they say things like, "It's okay, we'll be fine if you need to go for a late walk today." Note to self, Check chocolate stash after next walk.
5. The dog has begun to hide my shoes.
6. I actually contemplated buying and wearing work-out clothing.


A beautiful thing

What a wonderful thing it is to have projects come together the way you had planed. I'll be the first to admit that this doesn't often happen to me. I tend to be a bit, let's call it spontaneous for lack of a positive word, and jump into projects without thinking them through. As a result of this spontaneous behavior my projects don't often turn out the way I had planned.

Happily this weekend everything worked out beautifully. I was able to finish yet another birthday present to bring the grand total up to 4! Woohoo. 4 of the 7 projects finished!

While I cannot show you the entire project; I can give you a peek. I will let you know that I quilted, bound and made a label for this quilt.

I worked a little on some micro-stippling here.

Added some swirls here.
And for good measure through in O-H-I-O on the inner border. ( I bet you have No idea what this present is?!)
Projects aside, John and I took the kids on a boating trip out to Lunch Island on the Lake to see the Purple Martins. It was a beautifully clear evening. As the sun set the birds flew in from all directions and the (almost) full moon rose overhead. The kids didn't fight (much) and for the first time all year we were not chased off the lake by a summer storm. What a beautiful thing!


Messenger bag

The newest in my self imposed tote quest is this messenger bag. I am so excited by how it turned out. I love this fabric and I think it will transition into fall quite nicely. I made the bag according to the tutorial I found here at mmmcrafts.blogspot.com. I really think this is a GREAT tutorial. The instructions are clear and very thorough. There are many great tutorials at mmmcrafts that are just as wonderfully constructed. So check it out!

Here is my adaptation of her wonderful messenger bag. Isn't it cute!

There is an exterior pocket on the back.

The interior is roomy and has two additional pockets. I toyed around with making a cell phone pocket on the handle but opted to leave it out for the first making. I definitely think I will add it next time.

I added a cute little appliqued monogram on the front flap. However, I cannot show it to you for fear the recipient will know it is for her. I promise to get some pictures posted once it is gifted.

I am in the midst of yet another bag, one I am designing myself! I hope to have pictures as well as the new tutorial posted soon. For now I'll tell you it is a sling type bag with a cute ribbon tie for a closure. I know the suspense it killing you, but you'll just have to wait.


HOT and Bothered

Have you ever been in the midst of a project nearing completion and had to stop and walk away? If you are mom, I am sure your answer is "Every FLIPPIN' day." Most of the time I take these interruptions in stride. Yesterday however, I was so focused and let's face it, excited to be almost finished with yet another birthday project, that every interruption set me off. Maybe it was having the finish line in site, maybe it was the heat over 100 degrees, and maybe I should have seen it coming with all of my self imposed deadlines. Every time I sat down to sew, something would happen to call me away.

Mark was one such situation. Mark has never been good at occupying himself. From birth he has always wanted/needed direction and someone to hang around with. That's just him and I recognize it, deal with it and expect it of him. Most of the time tasks, projects, chores and friends keep him busy, but not yesterday. Yesterday he needed mom. I tell myself it is good my teen wants to spend time with me, because I know it to be so. But no matter how many times I said this to myself, yesterday I was annoyed. Yesterday, Mark wanted to build something.

Mark and I often spend time building things together. We both enjoy these type of wood projects and enjoy working together. His expectations were high and despite my best efforts he could not understand that we just couldn't build 2 bird houses and a bat house with the few scraps of wood we had. Therefore, an argument started that put us both in a foul mood. Secondly, it was not the type of day to be doing hot, sticky, sweaty work. With the heat soaring over 100 and no breeze to be found, we were both sweating profusely, which only added to my irritation. Thirdly, I was apparently a hindrance to his ability to get things accomplished. Hmm. (Funny now that I look at it. We were both irritated with each other for perceiving that the other was preventing us from accomplishing our goal. Coincidence? I think not.)

Wanting to spend time with my son; I bit my tongue when I would have normally struck out. This prevented any further arguments but also prevented most of our normal bantering back and forth. It was sad really. Many of our projects, all of our projects are not so much about finishing the projects but about sharing a common experience and love of doing things together. Even though this project was successful from the stand point that the bird house was completed. It was a complete disaster in terms of relationship experiences. It all ended with Mark snapping at me, slamming the door in my face and ignoring any disciplinary actions I might have taken. I guess sending him to his room until college probably wasn't possible anyway?!

Later, when both our tempers and our bodies were cooler, we talked and discussed our reasons for being angry. We developed a plan that we both could work with. Today we are off to the hardware store to get more lumber for the bat house and something to hang the bird house with (that sucker is heavy). Wish us luck.



Yesterday Emma and I spent some quality time chatting and watching TV while the boys played with friends. We discussed things like "Why they have friends in the neighborhood and she doesn't." "Why haven't any of her friends called her back." "When will she be old enough to shave her legs." (You know, important things.) In an attempt to keep my calm and distract me from all the whining that was occurring, I sat and hand appliqued. Believe it or not, I finished another project. Check another quilt off of my list. Is it okay to check something off your list when it is only one step in a multi-step process?

This wasn't my best applique and I'll admit I rushed through it a little. But, boy-oh-boy does it feel good to have it done!

I made this quilt top back in 2008. The same time I made another just like it. After hours and hours of hand applique I just couldn't commit to another. So, this hung in my closet until 2 years and 3 houses later I was ready to start anew. This was a "freebie" Pattern that came in an advertisement for Fonds and Porter Magazine. (I think) No, my bad, American Patchwork & Quilting. (It says so on the top) The pattern is called Autumn Daze designed by Alex Anderson. Anderson must be a super fast robot of a hand applique artist because her quote, which I'll admit sucked me right in says, "Simple hourglass blocks plus easy applique equal a wall hanging that can be completed in a weekend." HA. I repeat, HA!

I do love it though. The applique really makes this quilt pop. It is not a big quilt, as you can tell by Emma's little feet sticking out below the quilt, it measures about 40.5 inches square. The entire quilt, both quilt tops, were made with scraps from my stash. If I have made you a quilt in the last 4 years; I am sure if you look closely you may see some fabrics you recognize. The designer intended it to be a wall hanging but, I am thinking it would look pretty cute as a table topper. Now all I have to do is quilt it, and bind it. With luck it will be finished in 2 weeks and ready for gift giving.


July's Tote

Spoiler Alert!--If you have a birthday in late July, and DO NOT want to know what your gift is don't read this post. This means YOU.

I don't know how it happens. Truly it is one of life's mysteries. Gift giving occasions, birthdays, holidays, baby showers, they just sneak up on me. I plan ahead, really. I usually know what I want to make or purchase for the recipient weeks ahead. Yet somehow, I always feel like I am in a rush at the last minute. Ever felt like that?

It is no secret that July has been a full month for me. Between vacation, kids camps and visitors I have been on the go. It comes as no great surprise when I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized I have no less than 7 birthdays to supply gifts for in the next 2 weeks! How many of those have presents ready an waiting? That would be a big fat ZERO!

Don't get me wrong I have several projects, okay, two projects underway but the rest are just ideas. Typically, when I run into this situation I resort to gift cards, a habit I really despise. I heard a comic the other day describe gift cards as, "Taking a perfectly good $20 bill, that is good everywhere, and turning it into a piece of plastic that is only good one place." And for this reason I vowed to decrease my use of gift cards.

Therefore, with the emergence of this new vow; I looked toward my tote for July. This tote comes from Quilts and More summer 2010 edition, and can also be found at allpeoplequilt.com. It is the Double Up tote by designer Sherri K. Falls.
This tote has a little bit of everything, applique, patchwork and quilting.

I enjoyed playing with all of the new features on my new singer. I'll admit it took longer than some of the other totes I have made. If you're looking for a quick tote to sew up, this is not the one for you. The quilting of the front and back was more involved than I originally anticipated. However, I think it makes the tote sturdier.

As with most patterns I undertake, I didn't follow it exactly. I substituted heavy weight interfacing for the handles instead of the cotton webbing. I also didn't use rickrack to border the flower applique. The pattern calls for making eyelets on the sides of the bag and adding a tie to the sides. I don't currently have any eyelets so they were obviously omitted.

I also changed the size of the interior pocket to be fat quarter friendly. Most of the exterior of the bag and the pocket were made with a Moda Fat Quarter bundle I had in my stash. The finished bag measures roughly 18X14X4". Making this a great tote for caring all of your summer extras!

Now I am off to finish the other 6 projects!


When do you have the time?

With any trip in the car for long periods of time I have to have something to do (besides sleep!) Our trip to Washington DC/ Williamsburg was no different. This time packed 4 projects. 2 projects too many! As with most crafty and creative people, my eyes are clearly bigger than my hands can work. I packed 2 hand applique quilt projects. Two!?! Can you believe it? I don't know where I thought we were driving to? Canada? Plus, I brought along 2 knitting projects! I don't know if John ever figured out why we needed that extra bag.

I was able to finish the two knitting projects. The first was a simple washcloth. Boring. So boring in fact, I didn't even take a picture of it. It's a washcloth, you know what those look like.

The second was this cute little shrug for Emma. I had intended to complete it for her birthday, yeah you know how that goes. I did however, finish it before we got home. Therefore I conclude, It still counts as a birthday gift, scary how my mind works. I digress.

The shrug was a cute little pattern called Heart Party by Jenny Williams. I have no idea what yarn I used, the ball bands being long gone. It is pink. I had it in my stash. I vaguely remember it being a silk and cotton blend. And most importantly I had enough to finish the pattern. Enough said.

I stumbled across this website called Petite Purls. They have some really adorable knitting patterns for kids. And if this pattern is any indication, they are quick to knit up with easy to follow directions. So, quick in fact, I decided to make another shrug for my niece. Shhh! don't tell. I probably am going to get way, way, way in over my head on this.

The pattern is basically knit up as a rectangle. The corners are then sewn together to make sleeves and then finished with ribbing and cute little bobbles.


Still alive..

Yes we are back and still alive, but only just barely. Our family vacation to Williamsburg, VA and Washington, DC was a long. tiring and lots of fun. It is always amazing to me that I seem to need a vacation after returning from a vacation! Seriously, we did have a great time and we were all pumped full of history. And would you believe we even ran into one of the members of Mark's soccer team! It seems he and his family had the same idea we did!

We spent 3 days in Williamsburg, Va. I love the historical places where costumed interpreters share their knowledge and love of history with you. We braved the 100+ temperatures everyday, and the kids were real troopers. I was amazed at how much history they had already absorbed from school. They were like little personal computers.

While in the area we also spend a day at the Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown. So much history and so little time!

(Don't you just wish you had one of these at home! "I said Stop pestering your sister for the last time! To the stocks with you!" LOL)

After all that, we moved on to Washington, DC.

Unfortunately, the heat decided to move with us. Loaded with water, water and more water we persevered. I cannot tell you how much fun it was to hear "It's Hot! and I'm thirsty." every 10.5 seconds. Fortunately, the good people of the Washington Mall grounds crew were nice enough to set up sprinklers for the kids to run through as we moved from one location to another! It is an odd experience, to say the least, to watch your kids play in the sprinklers of the national mall.
We spent about 1/2 the time in a museum of one type or another just to avoid the sweltering heat. I even found time to enjoy some quilting in the Museum of American History. This beauty dates back to the early 1800's and is, of course, entirely hand pieced, appliqued and quilted. You would not believe the tiny stitches!

It seemed everyone found something to look at and enjoy!

While on Vacation we took time out to celebrate Emma's 9th Birthday! It was a very memorable experience. One I'm sure she will never forget! As if I needed more proof, she only confirmed this by saying, "I just realized, while sitting here with all of you, that Birthdays are made happier, not by the number of presents you get, or by the size of your party, but by who you celebrate it with! " Happy Birthday!