Traditions are great!  There is no time like the Christmas season to bring out the traditions.  Like many families we have our traditions.  Getting together with family, playing with cousins, and baking cookies are some of the traditions our family upholds over the holiday season.

Some of our traditions are long standing traditions that we enjoy year after year, while others are traditions that we have only just started, perhaps without even realizing it.  One such tradition is our annual Rocket Launch.  The boys and dad, although more recently Emma has been included, build a rocket and we launch it over Christmas Vacation.

We have our own make shift launch pad (C-B antenna and old license plate) and our ignitor (a rechargeable battery from one of the boy's remote control vehicles).  We head over to the soccer park on a day that has reasonably calm wind (or no wind) for the official launch.  The kids are always excited and this year was certainly no exception!  In fact, another tradition usually involves Emma becoming injured in one way or another.  Usually this is due to a rowdy brother. AH! Feel the love!

Once the rocket is set up the official countdown can begin. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BLAST OFF!!

This year we launched a two stage rocket, something we have never done before.  Boy did that go HIGH.  For several second the rocket was lost in the cloudy sky.  We followed the rocket for at least 10 seconds as it descended through the troposphere.  As it got closer Mark took off to see if he could, get this, Catch IT!  HELLO? it is falling to the earth without a parachute, please don't impale yourself on the nose cone.  As I screamed at Mark let it hit the ground, I noticed that the rocket, despite our best efforts to launch on a calm day, was being blown into a stand of trees. Uh-Oh.

Yep, another tradition, the annual search the woods for the rocket.  Sadly this never ends well.  While living in South Carolina we have yet to recover a single rocket!  Ah.. nothing like a good tradition.


How do you spell....

If you have kids, one thing you will get from time to time is the question, "Mom, How do you spell...?"   And for a while those questions are easy.  Words that are not spelled as they sound are common questions.  As time goes on the spelling becomes more difficult. One day you find yourself saying, "I'm not sure. Let's look it up."  If you are a really bad speller from the beginning, like me, this may come sooner for you than for others.  Thank goodness for spell check!

This week Emma came to me with just such a question.  "Mom," she said, "How do you spell Aposta?"  Well, my immediate response was, "What?"  After I considered this I said, "Could you say it again?"  And "Could you use it in a sentence?"  because for the life of me I could not figure out what she was asking.

The boys just happened to be hanging around, looking for trouble, or food.  Mark replied, "A posta isn't that what you hang on the wall."  Jack chimed in "Yea, Its gansta for poster!  Spelled 'a-p-o-s-t-a'  You know, 'Yo, dawg.  I got this new aposta'" A few giggles, and laughs and one irate 5th grader later.  I shooed them out of the kitchen.

It wasn't until she said, "You know.  Like, I was aposta unload the dishwasher but I got distracted."  OH.  "Do you mean 'Supposed To'?" I inquired.  She thought for a minuted and said, "say it again."  So I did, to which she replied, "Yes, I think that is right."  So I spelled it.  I could here her mumbling the word to herself all afternoon.  She came back and asked at least twice more how it was pronounced.  Finally that night as we were getting ready for bed she said, "It's your fault I cannot pronounce words correctly!  If you wouldn't have made me move all over the USA.  I might be able to talk correctly."

My fault of course.



I have an e-reader, which I love.  I often browse through the free books, and every so often I download one.  Last week I stumbled upon a book called.  The Last Noel, by Michael Malone.  The reviews were positive, with many of the reviewers giving the book 5 stars.  I read the "warnings" stating that the book was an emotional story.  "Grab your Tissues and settle down for a great read," the reviewers warned.  Despite my tendency to avoid emotional tear jerking stories, I occasionally need a good cathartic cry.  It helps me remember all of the things I am thankful for,  all the love I have in my life and forget all of the negative things I tend to 'stew' on.  

The book did not disappoint.  The characters were memorable and real; I connected with them; I became connected to them and yes, I cried and cried.  My connection to these characters was so strong, I could not stop thinking about them.  This continued well past the conclusion of their story.  I laid awake one night thinking about them.  As tired as I was I could not let them go.  It was then I decided if I was going to be awake I might as well do something I like.

I stitched up this journal cover one of the nights I couldn't sleep.  I used my Go!Baby by Accuquilt, with my tumbling block die to cut out these cute shapes for this cover.  It was a quick hours work, where I sat and enjoyed Christmas music and was able to forget the sadness that plagued me.

After I finished the Journal cover, I finished up a soft baby book for a little cutie I know.  Then I fell exhausted into bed.  My reprieve lasted less than 6 hours when once awake the story of Kaye and Noni, continued to twirl around inside my head.  I was not surprised when the next night I was once again laying in bed unable to sleep.  I was up out of bed quicker and this time knew exactly what I planned to do.  Yes, another Journal cover.  This time I went with a South Carolina theme.  

These covers were quick and easy when following the pattern provided by Rachel at Stitched In Color. (you can find it here.) and a great distraction from a sleepless night.  The third night I fell exhausted into bed at 9 pm and slept blissfully for 12 hours!  I still though of Kaye and Noni periodically through out my week.  There story beautifully told will give you pause to think of all the gifts you have in your life, and perhaps even stimulate a creative streak! (perhaps even a journal cover or two.)


Too Much Holiday?

Over the past few weeks Emma has been a bundle of holiday excitement.  From putting up the Christmas decorations to wrapping present there hasn't been anything she won't tackle.  She has been a huge help with all of the decorating, even if a bit ADD.  Holiday decorating can be stressful for me so I was glad to have the help.  It was also incredibly frustrating.

That brings me to my question.  Is there such a thing as too much holiday spirit?  or am I just being a Scrooge?  

You see, along with the cheery, upbeat, sugar coated holiday excitement there has also been tears, sassy comments and Mornings up at 6:30am (every single day)  This would be fine if it was her norm, however,  Em does not do mornings.  We never say "Good" Morning to her because we have been informed that Mornings are never, ever Good. 

I guess like any other childhood 'stage' this too shall pass.  There may come a day, when she doesn't get excited about Christmas.


Squeezing-in some quilting time

I snuck in a little quilting time over the last few weeks.  I put this heart quilt on the frame over the week of Thanksgiving. I had a friend in town who wanted to see how my long-arm machine worked.  We did a little long arm quilting in between, catching up and visiting the sites around Columbia.  After she and her family left I finished up this heart quilt.  I started a swirled heart design for the border and then added feathers inside the strip blocks.  My feathers need some work but overall I was happy with how the quilt turned out.

The next quilt I put on the machine was this football quilt.  Believe it or not I was able to piece this quilt with only fabrics I had in my stash! I was in a rush to get this quilt out to it's recipient so I just quilted a basic meander.   Between running around with busy kids, and maintaining my status as super-mom I was super happy to get this quilt finished!


T-shirt quilt tear down

Recently, I was commissioned to make a t-shirt quilt.  Unlike the usual college, high school or sports t-shirt quilts this quilt was a Travel quilt.  A quilt full of t-shirts from places all over the world.  What a fantastic idea!

I have made many t-shirt quilts.  I am always surprised that very few of the people, I make quilts for, have any idea what they would like.  I usually get a comment something like, 'I don't care what it looks like.  I trust you."  or "You're the expert.  What ever you choose is fine."  This quilt was no exception. The only criteria I was given for this quilt was "we like the color blue."  I searched and searched for fabric, wanting something travel themed and something blue.  I finally settled on a Brown travel worded fabric and a blue tone on tone travel pictorial. I know they said they liked blue but the Brown was a nice contrast, and it did have blue words written on it.

My initial plan was to use the brown fabric for the front and the tone on tone for the backing and binding.  Once I had the t-shirts cut and fused I sashed them all together with the brown fabric.  I laid the quilt out over my long-arm machine and stood back to admire my work.  The only problem, I wasn't so sure it was pretty.  Now if I was making this for myself I probably would have left it.   However, since not one person in my house had a positive comment on the quilt, I knew I had to take drastic measures.

I laid out the quilt and sliced it apart.  GASP!   I know it was the first time I had taken a quilt apart quite like this.  It was the only way.  I knew I could not take the seam ripper to the t-shirt squares.  I have snagged t-shirts too many times to even consider this option.

I then went back to the drawing board.  I decided to leave the blocks framed by the  brown fabric and this time added a tone-on-tone fabric for the sashing.  (fortunately Just about this time a quilting companion of mine swooped in for a visit and helped me salvage this quilt).This time the quilt reviews were much, MUCH better.

The quilt heads out to the client today.  Hopefully their reviews will be one of Joy and Happiness!