Mummy made dinner

It is creeping up on Halloween and don't I know it!  If I couldn't tell by the Halloween Chorus of "What should I be this year?" (repeated daily by my children); I could certainly tell by the amount of Christmas Decor displayed at the mall!

Getting into the spirit of Halloween I decided to bake dinner with my kids.  I know, you are thinking, "WHAT?" But, looky what we made.  Mummy Meatloaf!  Check it out at FamilyFun.com.

Getting Jack and Emma involved with dinner is easy, keeping them from slicing and dicing each other is the hard part.  There is always the fight over who adds what ingredients and who got to mix longer. AH, Good times.  Emma really got into the experience and decided to mix the meatloaf with her hands.  She assured me that mixing meatloaf is probably a lot like squishing brains.  And I assured her that I never really thought about it.

All in all it was a DEVILISHLY GOOD time.


Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.

I have been spending a lot of quilting time making college quilts this fall.  Inspired by the cooler weather and the explosion of football season.  I have made and quilted many Ohio State Quilts in the past but, this fall I have branched out.  Living in South Carolina the Buckeyes (not being a member of the scc) are not normally the focus of school spirit.  Therefore, I have branched out to the local and more popular schools here namely USC (University of South Carolina) and Clemson.  My hope is that that by making and eventually selling these quilts locally I will be able to attract business for long-arm quilting and get back to making quilts I want to make.  Crazy, I know.

That said I have made my first USC quilt. TA-DA!

I am having more of a struggle with the Clemson quilt.  Clemson colors being orange, white and purple.  (seriously?)  I have been struggling to find a combination that appeals to me.  I had a plan in mind when I started this quilt yet, when I laid it out it looked more like swastikas than I had originally intended.  I have been playing around with other layouts and I am at a mental standstill.  These are the designs I have so far.

 I have in listed the help of my kids as they think" outside the box" better than I, but still I am stuck.

I have a policy, or rather a plan that I try to stick to which is basically "use up as much fabric as I can before buying new or additional fabric". I know it's a silly little thing, but really I should be pulling in a little $moola$ before I spend the grocery money, Shouldn't I?  I also subscribe to the theory you have to spend money to make money.  A dilemma I know.

What should I do?  Should I just keep throwing pieces together until I have a layout I like?  Should I just sew one of them together and go with it knowing potentially it won't sell because no one will like it?  Or should I break down and just get fabric to add to this quilt? Being a shop-aholic I am inclined to go with the latter.


I stayed up late last night posting 4 new quilts to my Etsy site.  There are two new OSU quilts in the shop.  Both are new designs for me and I think they turned out GREAT!

The third quilt is my modern design quilt, affectionately called, "Here's Looking At You!" Because of the eyeglass theme.

The fourth and final quilt is my Autumn Applique Quilt.  Won't it just look FABULOUS as a wall hanging or a table topper?  I'll admit I almost kept it.


Tag! You're IT!

It dawned on me one day as I packaged up a quilt to be shipped off, that none of my quilts have labels or tags.   I had been using generously embroidered quilt labels from a friend.  This method is let me just say,  AWESOME, if you just happen to have such a friend.  This was however, prior to her machine going psycho and then dying completely.  Now I have no embroiderer and no quilt labels.  Alas, I have been sending out my quilts without signing them.  GASP.
 Fear Not my quilting companions.  I went out and searched around the Internet for a while looking for pre-made and custom labels.  Sadly, I wasn't finding anything that I wanted to use. Ultimately, I decided to make my own.  (I know this surprises none of you.)

 I played around with a couple of tags, sizes, colors and fonts before I came up with this stylish little number!  Yea Me!  I am very excited to finally have a tag and happy that none of my quilts have to go naked again.   I have been going around all day "tagging" my quilts.  I am happy to report that now all of my quilts have a TCQ designs label.


So proud!

Emma has been taking dance and cheer classes after school this fall.  She has always loved dance and has the natural grace and rhythm that I never acquired.  I find it fascinating to watch her as she glides, giggles and twirls, she is just having so much fun.  Everyday after class I ask her the same questions.  "How was class?  What did you learn?  and Did you have fun?"  She proceeds in to a lengthy recitation of her class the songs that were played, the new moves they learned and most importantly how everyone was dressed.  She is nothing if not thorough.  Yesterday after dance, Jack had band and so it was at dinner when we finally got around to the all important dance demonstration.  She showed me her Herkey? and her toe-touch and I oohed and aahed in appropriate places.  She went on and on about her teacher and how sweet she was and basically praised all that was dance and cheer.  After she was finished she wondered off to play the piano.  Not five minutes later she bounced back into the kitchen proclaiming, "Mom, I almost forgot to show you what else I learned."  Now when Emma is excited she talks without pauses, it is as if she cannot talk fast enough.  It becomes essentially one giant run on sentence, which goes something like this.

 "Mom, mom, MOM!  Look, watch, see.  I have been trying to learn this for weeks, probably months I don't know I haven't kept track, but I know it has been a long time. Courtney can do it and a few other kids in my class but I just couldn't and I knew if I kept practicing that one day I would get it.  Kind of like the time when I didn't know how to roll my r's but Lupita showed me and I practiced everyday in private because I didn't want anyone to see how silly I looked.  But then after a really, really long time, I don't know maybe a year I could do it.  Do you remember that?  When we lived in El Paso, do you?  Yeah?  Okay well this is kind of like that.  And today, guess what I got it!  Finally!  Well not the rolling the r's because I have been able to do that for a long time but, Oh!  I am so excited!  I'll just show you. Mom watch! Are you watching? MOM!"

Then the moment I had been waiting for.   My daughter, my cute pigtailed little girl proceeded to stick her hand under her armpit and make farting noises.  As if that wasn't enough to make my day, she states, "And look mom, when I am sweaty enough I can do it under my knee too!"  And she did.  I cannot express the depth of my pride.


Round Hole vs. Square Peg

I know many of you are thinking, "WHAT?"  but please let me explain.

About a month ago my mixer broke.  Or as my children screamed to their father as he came home, "Mom, broke her mixer!"  I assure you I did not break the mixer.  Said mixer is 7 years old and in mixer years that is like Prehistoric or 21 depending on your conversion.  It lived a long and happy life, never causing problems and basically doing everything I asked of it.  I was told my my engineer hubby that the gears were stripped out.  (Most women married to engineers know THEY have to try to fix the mixer before YOU are allowed to buy a new one.  It's like an oath or something).   All I know is that for the past month, because I have been to busy (aka, quilting obsessed) to buy a new mixer, whenever I turn the mixer on one beater-thingy turns and the other does not. It makes mixing difficult but doable, not advisable, but doable.

I broke down and bought a mixer last week.  Yesterday, I decided to make Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip cookies.  I brought out the new mixer and everyone OOO-ed and AHHH-ed as I got out the ingredients.  The kids got busy pulling out all of the mixing blades and playing with the packing bubbles while I continued to get everything ready.  I was nothing if not prepared.  In my excitement to get things together I pulled out the old metal beater-thingy and compared it to the new set.  WoW.  They looked exactly the same.  I thought to myself, "GREAT,  If I need to use the mixer and one set is dirty I don't have to wash them. I can just use these!"

This is where I should have thought something, anything, different than what I did.  And what did I think you ask?  Well, logically I thought, "I'll just check and see if they fit."  Wouldn't you know they did fit.  Oh, happy day!  Yea, the thing is they just wouldn't come back out.  OH *&^%!  yep.  Stuck.  I pushed the eject button like 12 hundred times and nothing happened.  Just about the time I had wedged the mixer between my knees and was tugging on the beater-thingy Mark announces, "Mom broke the NEW mixer!" (really got to work on the whole tattling thing).

Well,  I was berated for forcing the beater into the hole that was obviously to small for it to fit into.  I was mocked by my son who is always, always the first to break something.  I was teased by my children for not listening to my "own rules." In my defense, I did not force anything into anything.  It just fit nice and snug.

When the beater was finally released from the grips of the mixer, the new beater would not stay in.  It would not lock, it would not eject, nothing, nada, zip.  The mixer end fit just fine into the gear, or whatever, it just didn't lock in place.  I had apparently stretched out the plastic with the old blade and now my new mixer was broken.

Just great!  Now I have a kitchen full of very amused and full of themselves family memebers, not to mention 1 cup of softened butter.  So, I used it anyway.  So what if the beater fell out every one or two passes around the bowl.  So what if there were a few clumps.  And incase you wondered it is supposed to make that clinking noise.

Now if you'll excuse me I have roughly a dozen cookies to consume prior to taking my mixer back to the store.  I think it's defective.


Trial and Error

It is quilted.  This quilt, designed and machine pieced by me is now quilted by me.  It has 100%, perhaps more like 110% of my sweat, tears and blood in and on it.  I began this quilting project thinking, "How hard can it be?"  Could I have been more naive.  I designed this quilt with my 10 year old son.  We spent several days adding, subtracting and generally goofing around until we had the pattern the way we wanted.  Then I began cutting and sewing.  Midway through the project I had to take a time out for less than lady-like behavior.

  After several weeks and a pieced back we were ready to go again.  I loaded the quilt on my long-arm machine and there it sat.  I was not concerned.  This happens to me a lot.   I am wait for some sign, idea or image to pop into my head and lead me in a direction.  Once the waiting is over I work like an obsessed woman.  I often feel like if I don't work quickly enough my ideas will disappear.

Three days it took me to quilt this.  I worked about 5 hours a day and then made myself stop.  I knew if I would have kept on I would have hated the final project.  As it is I can still see all of the little imperfections and places that didn't turn out just the way I would have liked them to.

I went way, way, WAY out of my comfort zone and tried lots of new designs.  Some of them I love and some I will never use again.  But I experimented and I am excited that I did.  Look at the new things I learned about quilting.  I used 6 new designs! Many if not all of the new designs I attempted are from Leah Day's 365 days of filler designs.  If you haven't checked it out yet do it now. All of the new designs I put in the center of the squares and rectangles.  I needed a smaller space to be able to use these designs and it seemed like the perfect application.

flame stitch

henna fooffy
 I learned new things about myself, too. Mainly I don't quilt well after 9 pm no matter how much coffee I have ingested. Now on to binding.


WE make a plant cell

Monday night John went into tuck Jack into bed.  Jack said, "Dad, I'm stressed."  When John asked why he was stressed Jack responded, "We forgot about my cell model project that is due Wednesday."  John replied, "We?"  Jack gave him a sheepish grin and said, "Yes, we. Mom and I.  We forgot to bake the cake for the model."  John explained very patiently how homework assignments and long term projects were his responsibility and not Mom or Dad's.  Jack, who always has and answer for everything said, "Well, I cannot very well cook the cake by myself.  Do you want me to get burned?" Not to be out done by his son John responded, "I think it is time for WE to go to bed."

Never fear WE managed the project the next day.  Complete Plant Cell Model contained  green icing cytoplasm, a cupcake nucleus, fruit-by-the-foot cell wall, Mike & Ike's for the chloroplasts and Jolly Ranchers for the mitochondria.  After the presentation at school the kids proceeded to devour the cake.  Jack came home and said it was the best vegetable he has ever eaten.


A bit obsessed, are we?

I spent this week Quilting and piecing several quilts.  I knew I had been sewing a lot this week but it didn't dawn on me until Friday when I couldn't quilt because the kids were home.  Maybe I should have seen the signs.  They were all there, I just didn't see them.  Perhaps when I found black thread stuck in the elastic of my underwear it should have struck me as odd, but it didn't.  Maybe if I would have noticed the clump of thread stuck on my butt as I walked  up and met Emma's teacher after school it would have sunk in.   Surely when Emma said, "Mom did you brush your hair at all today?  Because you have thread in your pony-tail."  But all of that went sailing past me.  Perhaps I was a tiny bit obsessed with quilting this week.

All I really concentrated on was quilting.  If you could see my house now you would have to agree.  Never fear the kids are working on it. :) Truely it was all for the greater good as I was able to finish quilting this fall hand applique quilt in a couple of days. I bound it waiting in line to pick up the kids at school.  Isn't it amazing how much time we sit and wait?  Another clue to my quilting-obsessed week perhaps?

While quilting I often find myself critiquing my work.  Often I am none to pleased with how I am doing. I guess we all do it, but I was amazed at how much of what I thought was negative.  As  I stood back and admired my quilting I found my positive side arguing with my negative side.  I had to laugh!   It was as if I had the little angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other.  The angel wearing a lovely trapunto quilted dress in white broadcloth and the devil in a rag quilt (all red of course.)  Yes, professional help would be highly recommended at this point.

I have to thank Emma for helping me take these outdoor pictures.  Bless her little heart, she even put aside her own homework to help mom.   Perhaps the final clue that allowed me to see just how obsessed I was this week, was when Emma asked, "Okay.  Are you done quilting NOW?" My response was, of course, NEVER!


I am honored

Tonight my kids surprised me with this.

Working off a picture the saw in one of my quilting magazines, I am thinking McCall's Quilting, they put together this awesome model of me at my long arm quilting machine.  Emma even ensured that the Lego quilt top had a pattern.  I love that they were inspired by something I do.

Now I am forever immortalized in LEGOS.  I personally love my new hair.  I know you are all secretly jealous.   I'm thinking the Princess Leah hair may be a good look for me.