This week I was able to finish up the Block O pillows.  If you remember, I finished up this set last month. (Here is that post) Once they were posted I got an email requesting 4 more!

Here is set Number 2

I played with the back a little on this pillow.  I really didn't like sewing in the zipper in the first set.  It did not look as professional as I would have liked it. With this set I decided to try buttons.  They look alright but I think the zipper would have been better.  The buttons pulled to much on the fabric.  Maybe the use of an actual pattern would have helped.  I used the "make it up as I go along" method, hence the pulling.

Set Number 3

The third times a charm, apparently.  This set I love!  The fronts are quilted and the buttons don't pull in the back.  They do however look like little eyes staring out at you.

They are packed up and ready to be shipped.  Now on to the next project....Emma's Indian Princess Costume for the Third Grade Wax Museum.  Just in case you wondered, No I do not have a pattern for that.


Lazy Monday

It is a cold and rainy monday here.  Just the kind of day to lay on the couch and do nothing.  Emma stayed home with a head cold and that is just what she and Ginger are up to...Nothing.  Perfect remedy for getting better.

We spent the weekend in Charleston at a soccer tournament.  Even though Mark's team lost in sudden death, they all did a great job! I always hate it when the kids play hard for 90 minutes and the game ends with penalty kicks.  It always feels like cheating somehow.   Mark had 2 assists and a goal!  Go Mark!

All was not lost.   Mommy got to spend a few minutes at the Charleston quilt shop,  People, Places and Quilts.  My husband, of all people, suggested that I start visiting quilt shops when we are out of town.  Well, I certainly don't have to be told twice!  In between games I stopped over and picked up a few things.

 The first is this quilt book called a southern album by Kristin Steiner and Diane Wilson.  The book itself is beautifully illustrated with hand drawn script and pictures for each block.  Throughout the book there are stories and history that relate to each block.  The book also includes recipes and small projects.  

There are 15 blocks in this quilt all done on either a solid or tone on tone background.  The blocks are very scrappy, great for those of us who have a "small" stash.  The quilt on the People, Places and Quilts website is done in Civil War Reproductions.  This was my favorite find.  Not something you will see up "north"

The store has a large selection of reproduction patterns, so I picked up a couple of fat quarters just to sample.  (My husband said, "I only told you to visit the store.  Not to buy anything."  Silly man.)

I think this will be a great project to break down into a block of the month.  I am going to start this once I get all 12 months of the year done for my wreath project.  .  Since many of the blocks are applique or have applique in them I think is best to spread the entire quilt over 18 months.  I am really excited about making this piece of southern charm.

Anyone who is interested in joining me let me know.  You can purchase the book at there website, click the link above and go to Charleston Quilts drawer on the lefthand side.


Pairs of Pillows

I have been missing my sewing.  The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Spring does that.  It has been warm and wonderful outside.  So much so, that to sew inside seems like such a shame.  I have really been racking my brain for a hand stitching idea to work on while I am outside at various sporting events or just chillin' on the porch swing.  So far I haven't come up with much, not that I need additional projects at this point.

I have seriously overcommitted myself, big surprise there, to sewing recently.  Being a self proclaimed procrastinator doesn't help much either.  I realized the other day that most of my projects have a due date.  I am so used to working in my own time frame that being forced to bend to an actual completion date is slightly stressing me out.  I know enough about myself that this does not worry me.  Being stressed out is just one of the steps I go through to get to the end result.  It's all part of the process.

This week I accomplished these pillow tops.  I had made a pair of Block "O" pillows last month, you may remember them? Well my niece, and soon to be OSU Graduate made a request for 2 more pairs. This week as I got a few minutes I decided to try to finish these up.  I didn't get as far as I would have liked, but front and back are completed.

I decided to make them all a little different to keep me from driving myself into utter boredom.   Having to make the same thing over and over and over is so boring!  The first pair I decide to quilt.  I just did simple loops and stippling.  I left to block "O" un-quilted to give it a little puffiness.  I like it.  It works.

The second set I mixed up the colors a bit to try to mimic the OSU football helmets.  I don't know if I succeeded but I think they turned out pretty terrific.


Books a plenty

Just because I had a week full of fun in the garage, didn't mean I was excused from my other duties as Mom.  One such detail is HOMEWORK.  Most of the time I can muddle through with only the occasional eye-roll or weird glance from my kids.  What I hate the most is long term projects.  My kids are procrastinators.  They come by it honestly.  I was just the same in school.  I have tried to instill in them all of the lessons I learned as a child, but sadly they must never believe anything I tell them.  I think it is in the official child handbook.

Last week was "assign a book as a project" week.  Okay 2 or 3 weeks ago, apparently,  was assign a book as a project week, I don't know I never got the memo.  Both Mark and Emma had to make books.  Jack was relieved of this assignment.
Emma's Excellent Examples title page
Emma's assignment was to create a book using fractions of her life.  Let me explain.  Emma's teacher is phenomenal.  She is full of new and creative ideas for teaching her kids.  For the math unit dealing with fractions Emma had to go through her daily life and find fractions.  For example: Emma is 1/5 of our family or a 1/1,000,000 kid.  The catch was that Ms. Jones wanted the book to be "creative."  Creative is never a good word when used around me.  I tend to get a little out of control.  This book was no exception.   Emma and I brainstormed of ways to make her book. We had LARGE poster-board book or the tiny little notebook book.  What ultimately she decided on was the Fabric book.  I thought this would be a good project for her.  She is constantly asking for a sewing project. And we tend to have a steady supply of fabric around here.
Explaining a fraction

I tried to explain one or two possibilities for using fabric.  All of my explanations were followed by a blank stair and a "WHAT?  I don't get it.  I don't see how that will work."   After several attempts I said, "Don't you trust me?  This is what I do.  This is my job and my hobby.  You never question Dad when he gives you an explanation."  To which she replied, "Yes, but he has a real job."  Nice.
Emma is 5/6 the height of Mom

I helped her with several of the pages.  Dragged her upstairs multiple times to try to get her to finish one page or another.  But my attempts were futile.  Consequently, the day before THE BOOK was due there was much crying and hysteria.  The boys both took off to their rooms to try to avoid the volcano that was sure to irrupt at any moment.  It was not pretty.  The book was finished at well past bedtime and she was sent to bed much to the relief of the neighborhood.
Emma has visited 18 of 50 states in the US

Mark's book was much simpler. His assignment was to write a "biography" of sorts, in journal form, for a specifically assigned American during the civil war.  The journal was supposed to cover the entire life of the person, with pictures, drawings and it needed to "look OLD."
Matthew B. Brady
 He finished the typing the project the night before and had me proof read it while he was at soccer practice.  At 9 pm after a shower and another meal he was ready to argue with me.  He proceeded tell me I knew nothing about computers, not a good place to start. "Do you want my help?"   After I lectured him about respect for his mother and the possibility that there might be more than one way to do something, he tired enough to let me help him. I say "tired"  because certainly he would never admit to being wrong. At last we had it printed it out in the format he wanted.

The next day the book was washed with coffee grounds, something we have plenty of around here.  Once the pages were almost dried the pages were crumpled and the edges frayed.  After it was completely dried he punched holes into the paper with a nail punch and bound it with a single ply of hemp rope.  We even managed to avert the catastrophe that would have happened had he used the nail punch on the wood floor instead of outside on the deck.  I can just here him now as he exclaims, "WoW.  Mom I punched all the way through the paper into the floor.  Now I can't get the punch out."

Amazingly 2 out of 2 books were turned in on time.


A Super(mom) undertaking

This past week my husband was out of town.  The kids and I (mostly me) decided that we were going to surprise him for his 40th birthday with a new epoxied garage floor.  I know to probably all of you that does not sound like a great present, but he does spend a great deal of time in the garage with one project or another. (At least he does when he is not at work.)  He has wanted an epoxied garage floor since our first house was purchased, 4 houses ago!

I researched this project more than I probably needed to just because it was for him.  He tends to be a little bit of a perfectionist.  Truthfully, I didn't want to spend time painting the garage floor only to have it peel up the first month. Every website, YouTube video and product box I read said it should take about 8 hours to complete.  Sadly, I don't think this applies for a mom with three kids.

Monday was the start of our project.  Jack, who was without homework, tackled the initial removal of everything on the floor.  Let me just say that I knew my husband was an excellent organizer but holy cow we have a lot packed into our garage!  Most of the larger things, bikes, riding tractor, go-cart, barbie jeep etc, went under the deck.  The smaller things we crammed into the crawl space.  All told we spent nearly 3 hours unpacking the garage.

Tuesday we finished unpacking the garage and moving out the larger tools, workbenches etc.  I was totally surprised to find that we have a pretty good size garage when it is not stuffed with things.  After the removal was completed Mark and I spent time power-washing the floor.  As in all home improvement projects we had a road-block or two when the power-washer wouldn't start, then when the nozzle was clogged and then again when Mark carved his name into the garage floor with the power-washer but we persevered knowing we had only one week to complete this project.  At 10pm we finished and went to bed pretty darn pleased with ourselves.

Wednesday I spent 3 hours scrubbing the floor of the garage with degreaser.  Not only was our garage considerably larger than I remembered once emptied, it also had far more stains than I would have ever fathomed.   Then I followed that with another round of power-washing (minus my name carved into the floor)  Once Mark arrived home together we scrubbed another 3 hours.  Let me tell you I had no idea my arms, back and chest had that many muscles!  And boy-oh-boy could I feel everyone.  Mark and I downed a couple of Advil and prayed for a dry floor for Thursday.
wet but very clean floor

Thursday came and went and the floor remained soaking wet.  I guess the rain Wednesday night didn't really help things either.  Thursday I continued to pop my Advil like tic-tacs remaining sore and stiff. It even hurt to take a deep breath!  Super-Mom needs to up her workout.  The wet floor proved to be a necessary stopping point as the kids were getting tired of not having milk for cereal or bread for sandwiches.  Seriously though what is wrong with PB&J on a hot dog bun?

Friday afternoon the floor was dry!  I decided to paint half of the floor by myself, and let me tell you this was the wisest move I made last week.  Painting one side of the garage with three kids was plenty.  Since I am fairly certain many of you have never put down your own epoxy floor let me just say it is like painting with white school glue.  It is thick, sticky and gets dry in a hurry.  The kids were covered in it!
beautifully textured floor

This particular kit came with multicolored vinyl chips for sprinkling onto the epoxy to give it texture.  What man doesn't want a little texture in his garage?  Once the epoxy was rolled onto the surface of the floor, the vinyl chips were supposed to be lightly sprinkled over the surface.  Let me just say kids do not get the concept of "lightly"  I am glad we did not have any loose glitter because I am sure Emma would have loved to have added that.  Everything needs a little bling! The best part was when Jack and Emma would 'sprinkle' the vinyl chips they would throw a handful down and yell "HUZZAH!"
The finished project

We did finish before John arrived home and with 2 hours to spare we all went out for Pizza.  He was completely jet-lagged and seriously surprised.  It was wonderful to see him completely stunned by the magnitude of our undertaking.  But wait there is more!  Next week when it is all cured, I get to sit in a lawn chair, drink my sweet tea and watch him, try, to put it all back into the garage!  On second thought perhaps I should hit the fabric stores, my rotary cutting arm should be worked out a little.

SCUFC Win 2-1

Here's a pictorial video of the Saturday afternoon win!  As always Mark is #13.  They all played great!  Go United!


A Light Lunch

Yesterday, my 14 y.o. son had a late start day at school.  Collaborative planning for the teachers and all that  it entails.  He was able to sleep in until 9:30 which, if you have ever had a 14 y.o. is still early for them.  With school starting at 10:15 he was in the kitchen packing his lunch when I came down.  I asked if he had  found the new peanut butter, which he had.  I noticed he only had one brown lunch bag today, when he usually has two.  "Not hungry today?"  I joked.  He responded most seriously, "I packed light today, since it is only a half day and I just ate breakfast."  "Oh, Okay."  I responded.  I took a peek inside his lunch bag. The contents of his "light" lunch included. 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches., 2 Gatorade, a bag of chips, and an apple.  I really don't want to know what he packs on days when he is hungry.


Help! I need a quilt therapist!

I have been working on a solid quilt using the many Kona solids I received from the Kona your wold swap.  I really did have a plan, okay two plans, but now I am stuck.  HELP!!  Here is what I have so far.
My next step was going to be add a white border around this section.  After that I wast planning on adding a small row of squares across just the top and bottom.  Now I wonder if I should add a row of diamonds instead?  Perhaps a solid border, then a white border and then the row of squares/diamonds?  Should the row of diamonds go completely around the quilt or just at the top and bottom?  Ugh!  Perhaps we should go to counseling?

I just couldn't take it anymore, so that quilt has been set aside in a time out!  I pulled out a few pink scraps I had and threw together this little cutie this weekend.

 It is only 32 X 32 inch quilt that I donated yesterday to the South Carolina Binky Patrol.

This is a great little project to work on some new quilting designs as well as practice a few old ones.  I quilted this new design called Wiggly Woven Lines from the Free Motion Quilting Project.

 I have to say this design worked out wonderfully!  I was so pleased with how easy it was to use on my long-arm.  This little quilt was bound up and delivered yesterday, hopefully to a child who needs a little snuggle time!


Catching Fish--The Musical?

What a weekend!  The weather was warm, and slightly soggy but we didn't let that stop the fun.  The kids and I ventured out to a local pond to do a little fishing.  Well, the boys and I did.  Emma had a birthday party to attend.

Before the fishing could start the boys had to dig up worms in the mud and drizzle.  Can't fish without bait. Right? Once they were sufficiently coated in mud, then they were ready to go fishing.  Sadly this involved getting into my truck.  Even thought their shoes were removed and they were sitting on towels the truck interior was coated with mud. (I will never understand how they managed that.)  We drove over to the pond and the boys got their poles out.  We had a nice 30 minutes until I had to pick up Emma.  I sat in the truck and read while the boys did the fishing thing.  It was SO nice to be an observer rather than an actual participant in the hook baiting. All I had to do was look up every so often just to make sure the were still out of the pond.

I took off at 4pm  to pick up Emma from her party.  My initial plan was to hang out in the truck with Emma and help her brainstorm for a school project.  Emma had different ideas.  Emma wanted nothing to do with school work.  And with her dress and heels on she marched right over to the pond and had her brother bait her hook.

Now, Emma hardly does anything by the book, why should fishing be any different. With her pole in hand, standing inches from the waterline she started singing and dancing.  I didn't pay attention to the lyrics at first.  It wasn't until Jack asked her a question that I tuned in.  Jack asked, "Are you singing about FISH?"  Sure enough she was making up a song and dance for the Fish!  I believe it went something like.  "Come on little fish.  You know you want my wormy. Just take a little bite.  Then I can catch you."  Then there was some dancing and perhaps a WooHoo! or two and then more singing.  Then the next thing I knew, she had caught a fish!

Well, I was totally amazed.  Here was my little drama queen out in her heels catching fish with her brothers.  Mark took the small sunfish off the hook to the lyrics of, "I caught a fish." (act II) then there was more dancing as the hook was re-baited (is that a word?).  Then there was a new ballad called, "You know you want to eat my worm, just like the other fishy."  or something along those lines.  All the while, Jack and Mark eyed her skeptically and slowly moved further and further away.

She worked her way through several more worms and then it was time for the big dance number.  There were some twirls and a jump, and I even think there might have been a song in there. When she was finished the took her bow and just like that, ANOTHER FISH!

 These were no ordinary sunfish, they obviously had some appreciation for the arts. After that Emma, now the expert, tried to give her brothers pointers on the correct way to catch fish.  They were not going to be seen singing or dancing in public, no matter how many fish enjoyed it.  Consequently, they did not catch any fish.


March Wreath

Happy Spring Ya'll!  I know you folks up north are looking for a little sunshine and green.  Believe me it's just around the corner.  Down here the weather has been getting steadily warmer and warmer.  I looked outside for inspiration for this months Wreath Block.  Look at what I found.
All of these beautiful flowers are popping up in my yard.  It is wonderful to see the color again.

This months block is the Tulip Block found at QuiltBlockGalore.  I had planted tulip bulbs in the hopes of early color.   The squirrels had other ideas and decided they needed them to survive the winter.  It looks as though this is the only tulip that will be sprouting at my house this spring.

Originally, I had used scraps from my Heart Quilt for the background.  The values between the reds and the pinks were too similar.  In the end I used a tea died muslin for the background, much better.  I got a little a lazy and left the pinks at the top of the tulip. The result is a flower my daughter said looks more like a rose than a tulip. (Just one more thing I did wrong that day:)

  I tried to separate the background from the flower and the leaves by changing the quilting.  Sadly this did not give the definition I had hoped.
I used a wide zigzag quilt pattern on the leaves.  I really like the effect, not to mention, I love the green stripe as leaves.


Double Negative.

 I totally had a plan all drawn up for this quilt, and let me just say, it looked nothing like this.  The truth is once all of the pieces were cut and arranged, well, it was not unattractive.  It was Hideous.  I hated it.

 I gave the pieces a twist here, a turn there, added in a few extras and TA-DA.  (Okay perhaps that is a tad simplistic but, you get the idea.) Ladies and Gentlemen I give you The Double Negative quilt.

Most of the fabric is Kona solids that I received from The Kona your world swap I participated in last month.  Instead of a pure white, I contrasted the green with Kona's Snow.  It has a slightly ivory cast to it.  The white was a little too much of a contrast.

 I quilted the back with my Amoeba quilt block design.

  This little 32 inch square quilt will be going to the South Carolina Binky Patrol which provides blankets to a variety of organizations including foster kids, homeless shelters and hospitals.

I believe it is true that two negatives do indeed make a positive.  Would you not disagree?