Saturday, April 29, 2006

Tulip Time


I have had this little sweater and hat set done for about a week now, and I just haven't had a chance to post it. It's a simple raglan sweater from Debbie Bliss and the little hat from Stitch and Bitch. Seaming the sleeves to the body of the sweater the last time I made it gave me so much trouble that I decided to make it again so I could CONQUER it! Now I think I have it figured out. My sewing mind got me so used to thinking that I have to attach everything right sides together, and that's where I had problems last time. With knitting apparently you attach things with wrong sides together. Who knew? Not me. . . but now I do.

And in case you were wondering, that's Lion Brand WoolEase in mushroom. I love the color and the whole-wheat wholesome look of it. Now that I have that pattern mastered, I think I'm going to upgrade my yarn to......(hold your breath).....knitpicks!!!! (HA! You thought I was going to say Debbie Bliss or Rowan, but no...I'm a tightwad, remember? I can't spend that kind of money! :))

I've still been quilting, but we took a little outing to the Skagit Valley today to see the tulips. Even though it was cold and overcast, we managed to make it there before the downpour. Here are my 3 men:

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Quilting


This is gonna be my life for the next few weeks. I have 4 quilts that need quilting, and I'm totally kicking myself for waiting so long to get them done. I set up my Quilt Easy frame a few nights ago, and I now have a kink in my neck and a little bit of a back ache. Every night after the boys are in bed, I think about how I really need to start working on this quilt, but I always have super-valid excuses for why I shouldn't...my legs hurt from spending 3 hours in the park with the kids, or my legs hurt from working out in the gym, or my veins are bothering me...see the pattern, here? It usually involves my legs hurting. Anyway, last night, I decided to get the machine set up. I haven't used this particular machine for over 2 years. It's a big, industrial Brother that I bought expressly for quilting. I don't use it for everyday sewing because it feels like overkill--it's really big and really fast. But I need it for quilting because it has a long neck and a rolled up quilt can fit under it easily. So last night I spent an hour looking for the user's manual (I'm not the world's most organized person) and another hour getting reacquainted with the machine. Then I decided to just go with it...ON A REAL QUILT!!! Dumb, dumb, dumb. The thought did cross my mind that I should load some practice fabric and batting on the rollers, but I had already spent 1.5 hours or so a couple of nights before loading on a real quilt (what was I thinking?) So I took the gamble, and look what happened: Tension problems, thread breakage, skipped stitches. Looks like I have lots of stitch picking to do. Hope the recipient doesn't look too closely! :(

After playing around with the tension and rethreading, finally this:

Oh, and look what I bought to make my job easier, because nothing is worse than having to stop a project midway through to wind bobbins, right?

I thought it was a great idea, too, but turns out that size-wise they're a little bit too bulgy or something and keep popping out of the machine. So it looks like I'll still be winding my own bobbins.

Oh, and one more thing (since this is turning out to be quite the epistle), there is a suicidal robin that keeps smashing it's beak on my dining room window where I'm working. He starts at about 6:30 in the morning and keeps at it intermittantly all day. He's been at this for a couple weeks now, and no amount of shooing him away works. We even tried putting a picture of a crow in the window, but he doesn't care. See all the beak and blood marks on the left? It would be a lot worse, but we washed this window just a couple of days ago. Ugh! What to do?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Just Because

Here's a tote bag I made just because I had some fabric around and I was in the mood to make one. Sorry, no good story to accompany this tote bag. I don't even feel like I really need a tote bag, much less another flowery one, if you know what I mean. Feel free not to comment on it. Ha ha!!!

Friday, April 21, 2006

10 Simple Pleasures

Wow. Just got tagged by Autum to come up with 10 simple pleasures. I woke up this morning really feeling like this was not my day. My hubby's going on a business trip again, and I am dreading being alone. Then there's just some general grumpiness going on because I'm huge and not sleeping well and I have pain in my legs (veins) and lower back and am feeling overwhelmed and sorry for myself. So yeah, not feeling a ton of gratitude or thinking about much of anything pleasurable. Maybe this little exercise will get me out of my rut! Here goes...


10 SIMPLE PLEASURES

1. Seeing my son do so well in his spring program at preschool. Last year he was so clueless, he stayed standing when everyone else sat down, and stayed sitting when everyone else stood up. There was no singing going on...he was just kind of oblivious. Dave and I sat there cringing in the audience wondering where we went wrong as parents. Today, he actually SANG and, get this, DID MOTIONS!!! Yeah! I'm so proud of him! :)

2. Snuggling with my boys in bed in the morning. They love it so much that if they sleep in and find me downstairs already when they wake up, they sometimes cry.

3. Starbucks decaf caramel macchiato.

4. Dharma Bums--Served in a tall glass, this is an Earl Grey teabag steeped in hot milk with a shot of almond syrup with whipped cream on top. Yum! This was a favorite grad school treat of mine when I used to go to the Cava Java next to my library school. Sometimes I make this for myself when I want to remember the good old days.

5. A clean house. This doesn't happen very often.

6. The Nordstrom shoe sale.

7. Watching Dave wrestle/play ball/hang out/be goofy with the boys. They love and enjoy each other so much sometimes it's fun to just sit back and watch it happen.

8. Sitting in the sunshine and daydreaming about all the stuff I'm going to do in the garden when I don't have a belly in the way.

9. The little squirmy, stretchy boy inside me who in 8 weeks will join our family. I know he can't wait to see his brothers. He's definitely more active when Davey and Keith are running and shrieking around the house.

10. Designated no TV nights when Dave and I hang out on the couch and read.

Thanks Autum! I feel much better already ;)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Happy Things!


Look at this sweet little gnome blanket I got in the mail from my sister. I was so happy when I read on her blog that this blanket was for me (well, not actually for me, but you know...). I LOVE those gnomes. It's backed with the softest fluffiest fleece ever. I've never felt anything quite like it. Thanks Linda! It's beautiful and so well made. She also included this sweet fabric from moda that I've never seen before. It is so cute.

Look at that little bear fishing, ironing, doing the laundry. I'll have to think of a fun project for that fabric. And I must say, Linda, that was a cruel joke you played on my kids...packing it all in a Lego box like that! They thought it was a present for them and whined all afternoon about wanting those kind of Legos--as if we don't already have a ton of Legos all over the house. So today we're off to the store to see if there are any like that. Yes, I'm a pushover. Next time I send you something, I'm going to package it in a chocolate box. Heh heh.

I came across this great tutorial for lined drawstring bags from Amy of Happythings. This was fun, easy, and addictive. I'm going to be on the lookout from here on out for cute ribbons and other things to use for drawstrings. These would make great gift bags, if I could only think of some gifts to put in them. Maybe a trip to the Body Shop is in order?


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Woo Hoo!


Look what came in the mail from Rebecca of 3peas. What a sweet surprise--and everything was wrapped so beautifully. I'm a sucker for nice packaging. Check out that handmade pom pom...too cute! And look at what was inside:

A darling little knit hat made from merino wool, soft as can be and beautifully knit on the tiniest of needles--size one, maybe? Little baby's first handmade gift. And 2 burp cloths backed in soft terry cloth. I LOVE that robot fabric and the polka dots too. And she was so nice to include gifts for Davey and Keith. Check out the shark and crocodile finger puppets. The boys had fun with those all afternoon.

Funny, on Friday I was thinking about how this poor third child isn't going to get near the attention of the other two. It's already started--I had 3 baby showers when I was pregnant with Davey, one low-key one for Keith, and now none for this little guy. Poor thing. And then the mailman comes with this gift. Neither of my other two got a hand knit hat...so there! He's one upped them already! :) I've had the little hat sitting on my kitchen countertop for 2 days now. Every now and then I have to pick it up and feel it, it's so sweet.

Thanks SO much Rebecca! I'm blown away by your generosity! I feel honored to have you as a friend (and not just because of the nice things you send me!).

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Boppy Cover


Thanks to Beki's idea I decided my old Boppy needed a new slipcover. The old one has survived two nursing babes, and has some serious stainage. It's still in pretty good shape, but I wanted a slipcover that I could remove and wash when needed. I saw some slipcovers at Toys R Us, but hey, why buy when you can make? I got some flannel fabric, a zipper and some matching thread, and this is how it turned out. I like that it is so soft and cozy, and I'm so proud of myself for inserting my first-ever zipper. It's not perfect, but it was good for a first try. I love making things that will get some use.
p.s. Thank you, friends, for all of your feedback on yesterday's post. I appreciate you all so much. It was great to be able to get my problem out in writing and instead of just stewing about every little incident that's happened in the past few months, to be able see it more objectively and through your eyes as well. When my son feels picked on at preschool I tell him to go find someone or something else to play with. Would be nice if things were so clear-cut as an adult. I guess sometimes they actually are. I will definitely be backing away from this person and will be focusing more of my energy on friends that are willing to reciprocate instead of suck me dry. I just want to let you know how much I appreciate the support and encouragement I get from you, and even though I haven't met any of you face-to-face, I still recognize that we are friends--how wonderful it is to have people in my corner. Thank you, thank you!!!


Monday, April 10, 2006

Yurting


I didn't mean to be cryptic in my last post when I said we were going yurting. This is a yurt. Like a tent, but more stable. Yurting is like camping, but without roughing it. We drove about an hour north to this place. It was pretty, a little overcast, but not wet. There is this cute little trail down to the beach with a lot of ferns and ivy (and few nettles sprinkled in for good measure).

Once we got to the beach, there was some of this,

and this, and lots of this:We totally enjoyed our time. The only bummer is that we were all recovering from being sick (still are, actually), and furthermore, my poor hubby was sleep deprived from having to pull an all-nighter at work the night before, which he has to do from time to time. We intended for this to be a spiritual retreat. We brought the kids a new story Bible to read, and some devotional books for us, but after the kids fell asleep, both of us were too pooped to keep our eyes open. Sigh. Maybe next time.

We arrived home to find out that our new nephew was making his arrival in Portland. His name is Samuel. Unfortunately, even though we wanted BADLY to take a whirlwind trip over there, we decided to wait due to sore throats and coughing. Not sure when we're going to be able to meet him. Easter weekend we have guests coming over, and then the weekend after that Dave is on a business trip. Even when you don't want to make any plans for the weekend, something always seems to turn up. I hope we can see the little guy soon.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Happy Birthday to my Sweetie!

Don't really have time to write much. Just wanted to wish my hubby a happy birthday! Wasn't he cute? (He still is--hee hee!) We are taking a long weekend to celebrate. Heading up north to do some yurting. Yay for family time!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sushi Anyone?

I'm a little bummed I didn't know how to make bags last year. Last Christmas we got my brother and sister-in-law a bunch of stuff to make sushi, since they don't live anywhere near an Asian food store. The little bamboo roller, rice paddle, seaweed, chopsticks and all those goodies would have been so fun to put in a little backpack like this, don't you think? I'm crazy about good presentation. Anyway, I've learned my lesson....

Front:
Back:
Opened--look how it stands straight up like a bucket.

BTW, I made this without a pattern, but it's really easy. Just a circle for the bottom (I traced around a small plate), a tube for the body made from 2 separate pieces, a ring tab sticking out of the bottom of the back to connect the straps, one loooong strap and 8 grommets. I love grommets!!! (I saw this cute little bag on Carol's blog and decided I need to have more grommets in my life.) Everything is reinforced with fusible fleece.

I'm not really a backpack type of person, so this bag works well for me. I can pull both sides of the straps through the top front and just hang it from my shoulder. Yay.

In other exciting news, I had a doc appt. today and we nailed down the date for the c-section. June 15th!! 10 weeks and 2 days until we get to meet the little squirt!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Covington Bag



I finally made Amy Butler's Covington bag with the Tracy Porter fabric I got recently. I've had the pattern for awhile, but just never got around to making it. I'm so glad I did. I learned so many things that are probably very obvious to anyone who makes bags a lot, but I now feel so enlightened about the bag-making process.

-Fusible interfacing rules!!! I've used the sew-on stuff in the past. Fusible saves a ton of time.

-The pattern pieces have straight edges, so I used my straight edge and rotary cutter. I didn't even have to pin the pattern to the fabric. The fabric practically cut itself. Look ma, no scissors.

-Who knew that the little drawstring mechanism worked like that? Two separate drawstrings working against each other to pull the bag tight. Hmmmm. I'd never really thought about it before.

-Straps. Ah, the straps. Cutting wide strips, ironing them in half and then bringing the two edges into the middle, ironing them down and then folding in half. Sewing close to the edge on both sides. Looks so professional.

Sorry if it seems like I'm blabbering, but the whole experience was very good for me. If you've never made this bag, I highly recommend it. I now feel like I can go out and conquer the world!