Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another past finish

This is another post I meant to post during my non-sewing summer but forgot. This is the second teacher gift J made last Spring for his teacher. This time, though, he designed it completely and worked in secret with his art teacher for all the kids to sign it and present it to his 4th grade teacher.

My only "difficulty" was the corner sewing since he had the fabric borders extend past each side to the corner.

I'm proud of his creativity and generosity!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Weird Wednesday

Yep, it's a weird Wednesday for sure. I woke up and didn't want to get out of bed. I feel strongly that some adult should be awake to see the kids off school and basically it was the ony thing getting me up but today, I decided the earliest could get out the door without me. 

The weird part? I didn't feel guilty and she remembered to take the garbage to curb without reminder.  Did feel the earth shift just a little bit around 6:30am ET?

That's all I have today, folks, except to follow up my last WW post, I checked thoroughly and there actually is NO place for birds (or any other animal) to nest or even sneak into the roof from the side of the house the noises are from. It looks like I can start spinning a tale for my SIL after all now. I'll let you know how it goes.

 muh ah ha ha ha

Don't forget, today's the last day to join in the Fall Into Fall giveaway starting on the 1st. Just click the button on the right for details.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just read this, would you?

I was trying to figure out a catchy title that would summarize what I wanted to say in this 3-part blog but I just couldn't come up with one in a few words. I decided direct and to the point would be the best solution.

Part 1: Status on SIL Harlequin quilt.
The fabric is all cut. I didn't really count as I was cutting, just eyeballed and hoped I'd have enough. Turns out, I did. This will be a large lap quilt.  I liked the way this looked laid out live but as I see the picture, I'm not so sure.  It's no matter, I've learned long ago (okay, okay, I'm still learning!) to just go with my first instinct when I'm "winging" a quilt.  I'll let you know how it's coming along soon.

Part 2: 200th post
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. You've read my rambles for a number of posts (or at least you've pretended to read them) and I wanted to reward your perserverence, your preverse need to torture yourselves, your great acting skills in pretending you care...

FINE! I just want to try to get more followers and I want to use this as a way to get people to come and see me. 

No, you don't believe that either? Argh.  Perhaps I should just tell you I wanted to celebrate 200 posts with a giveaway.

Part 3: Fall Into Fall Quilt Bloggers Giveaway
As it so happens, I was on Quixotic Crafter's Blog and saw this blogland wide giveaway day.  It coincides with my 200 posts and I love joining these large blogland events so I AM IN.  I'll host my 200th post giveaway at the same time. Jury is still out if I will have 1 full giveaway or a 2-parter.  I'm leaning toward a 2 part.
If you want to join the Fall Into Fall Giveaway, follow the link. You have until Sept. 29th (US) to note your participation to the hostess. 

Have a good one everyone!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Favorite Things - Panera Bread

Panera bread, in general, is a favorite but in the fall and winter, I LOVE being able to come, get a bowl of soup and baguette (which is, of course already gone) and do some work.

Today's favorite thing:

Panera Soup and Bread!

What's yours?

Sew & Tell Friday w/ Amy Butler inspiration!

Over at AmyLouWho's  Sew & Tell this week, it's ALL about Amy Butler.

I wanted to participate but did not want to buy any additional fabrics with all my recent moves. Nor, did I want to add another quilt to my long list of current projects so I went with something a little more simple BUT equally important.  I used Amy Butler,s Free Hourglass Pillow pattern I'd been eyeing to finally do something with these weathered pillows.
I hate working on pillows but it's such a quick change, I needed to give it a go. Good news, I like the pillows and how they came out. Bad news, I don't think they help the couches I hate but my husband loves.  Talk about a drab brownish/grey color.

A handmade quilt on one, a couple pillows on the other.  Can't do much more other than cover these things but the hubs won't have it.  One day...

Go check out the other fabulous projects using the link to the right!

Cheers! Beck

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harry Potter

I just read a Yahoo article regarding the new Harry Potter movie and it's made me a bit melancholy.

You see, normal people mark their children growing with milestones like puberty, starting middle school, etc.

I'm not normal, it seems.

I've never read the Harry Pottter series. I took my kids to the movies when they came out and we enjoyed the story line together.  I had a young child in the second movie, which was the one with the snake, and we had to leave early while the hubs sat with the others and watched the rest. He got scared (and that's okay) and so we walked down the mall to the toy store. I purchased a small stuffed dog he could hug that he promptly named, "Charlie."  He still keeps that on his bed.

My older son was Harry Potter for Halloween one year. (I can't believe how fast he's grown, just like the Harry Potter actor.)
Fast forward. I recently saw the last movie for the first time, having not gotten to the theatre for that one and I was so heartbroken at the end for Harry and his friends. I felt terrible they were having such a tough time.  I felt Harry is growing and this should be the period in his life he should be having the most fun and not have to be so responsible for everyone else.

Then I realized, I related to him so much b/c I felt like he had been a "friend" in the house all these years.  Not in the sense where they kids were always talking about Harry Potter, etc. but more an absent presence of characters in a story growing in their years along with my kids. 

And now, I'm sad more that the series is coming to an end, that this chapter in my and the kids' lives of enjoying a shared story is passing into new years.  Yes, there are other things we share but I think it's simply that this was the first, family wide enjoyment and it was able to last for several years. Now we all share books and watch films together, sharing in our views. I'm convinced, however, the Harry Potter series helped us all get to this enjoyment today.

They are older so I think I had better schedule the movie trips for these last two movies.  We are all going together, it has been decided.

Thank you for reading.  Now go remember those times with your own kids and feel happy/melancholy with me. -wink-

Cheers! Beck

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Warning: You can ruin a quilt with your quilting.

Who's done it? Come on, fess up...

Well, I have.  From  pictures, it doesn't seem so bad but when I brought it off the frame... YIKES! It was relegated to one of the dog's crates instead of to the front porch for sitting under.

I had been meaning to tell you this cautionary tell for a while now. Do you remember the pinwheel quiltalong I participated in last Spring/Summer?  I did get it quilted before we packed up everything in TN and then took photos and decided to write this while I was without my machine.

Humph... you can see what happens when I just don't take care of it right away.  How many months later is it?

Alright, so back to the point. I finally, finally, FINALLY learned to plan a quilting pattern/motif before loading the quilt onto the frame. I was even prepared with the plan on how to accomplish what I wanted correctly and carefully.

This sounds simple, right? Quilt straight, diagonal lines. Criss-crossing each other at a relatively equal distance apart.  If necessary, use a ruler to keep the lines straight.


But not Beck-proof.
Once I noticed my not so straight and should-be-ruler distance apart lines, I decided, "forget it" I'll just try several ways to get the result I want and finally, marked points equal distance along the top and bottom of the frame. It was working great. I advanced the quilt, marked again then realized the next set of mistakes.
I didn't mark the first line at the angle I was doing the others on the top.  I had a choice, unroll it and get the angle or just wing it.  Since I already messed up, I winged it.

Fast forward. I finish it and very much dislike it. I'm disappointed I ruined the blocks I actually enjoyed making and putting together. I've already decided it was for the dog's bed so grabbed an old bias strip from my mom's thrift store find (it didn't really match) and practiced putting the binding on using the zig-zag stitch, not pinning and not worrying about sewing each side seperately. This too, did not turn out so great, to include running out of the binding I knew I'd never use anywhere else.

My whining is done. Now the cautionary part of the tale. While yes, you CAN ruin a quilt with your quilting, please remember not to give up so quickly if you don't think it's going to look good.  Had I not given up and decided to make it worse with the binding, I might have liked it despite the wonky quilting.
Why? Here's what it looked like after a couple washes.  This would have been fine for the porch. (I suppose it still is if I was willing to overlook the binding.)  Not so bad, huh? 
Yep, just keep pushing at it and don't quit. It may turn out tolerable in the end.  Oh, and remember to "Beck-proof" by planning for all contingencies ahead!

Oh, and one final thing. I asked about the movie quote in the last post b/c I cannot find where it came from. I searched the web and this seems to be a tough one for everyone on the web and there is no general consensus.  If you learn of it, please drop me a line.  It may be Rocky IV that I remember it from (I have the thick accent in my head when I remember the quote) but I'm just not sure.  Thanks!
Cheers! Beck

Sunday, September 19, 2010

She's doing fine

and so is mom.

This is Friday when we brought her home. The "why am I in my crate" pathetic look.  She pretty much stayed there all yesterday and Friday.  Dr. said we didn't have to restrict her to the crate but only 1 level of the floor. We, however, know her too well. She's too excitable so while she'll be out of the crate 50% of the time today, she'll only be in 2 rooms, the living room and kitchen. 

Short leash walks for the next 2 months for potty breaks.  This is her today getting loving from dad. Her incision is healing slowly but it definately looks better and seepage is almost stopped.

Two Silver linings:
1) We wanted to start keeping our dogs off the couches.  Perfect reason to start right now and keep the kids at it with her injury. (Doesn't mean our other dogs understand but so sad, too bad. LOL)
2) She will have a better quality of life in a while, with little pain in the future.

Thank you all for your well wishes. I'm sorry I didn't reply to your individual emails, it was easier with the attention to her and home to give this one update.

Cheers! Beck

ps- for those that told me it's okay to cry... it's okay for you, not me. I hate it. Even as a kid.  I know it's acceptable and allowed I just hate it so no weakness for me! "I am strong, like bull."  LOL (What movie is that line from, movie buffs?)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Favorite Things Friday (early)

Hi all.  Here's the thing. Tonight is about comfort food for me.  It could be called a Slack Tea Thursday (made famous by Mrs. Pyjamas) since it's Thursday but I think it's better posted as a Favorite Things Friday given this story will seep into tomorrow.

So what am I talking about?  I decided that Weight Watchers be damned today, I'm allowing myself some comfort eating to calm my nerves. Lunch was McDonald's cheeseburger and small fries and a small berry smoothie.  Dinner (don't laugh or get grossed out) a peanut butter and american cheese sandwich with 2 Pumpkin Spice Ales.  There's my Slack Tea Thursday.

Now, for the why.  My favorite thing Friday.
These 3. An 8 year old cocker spaniel, a 2.6 year old male vizsla (off to hunt training right now) and a 2.5 month old vizsla lab mix (recovering from surgery right now).

Ms. Surgery, Sasha, is the subject of these posts and a couple others here and there but basically. She's my baby girl. I've said it before and I'll probably say it for the rest of my life, a dog is a dog is always how I viewed things. I never understood some of those special owner/dog relationships but this girl came along and I now understand.
She's got personality like no one's business.
I read her and she me like no other dog I've ever had before.  She's too smart for her own good and too stubborn for probably anyone who loved her less to live with.  Did you know, I became interested in hunting and the addition of the vizsla to our family because of that is a direct result of her?  She needed a job and I thought it might be a nice way to go out with my husband when he hunted if I was training and "handling" the dog.  I figured, while I had no great interest, it would be nice to share in something my husband loved doing.

Lo and behold, I've got a bit if interest and maybe a tiny bit if the hunting fever.  My baby girl definately has the outdoor fever. She wants to be in the field and run. The problem is, she can't do it regularly. She's been having recurring leg issues. We thought she might need a full hip replacement but 3 consults later and 2 confirmations we learned she needed what's called a Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO). In short, she had a partial ligament tear in one of her rear right knees.   She's a tough girl and is handling this better than mama, I think.
Today, however, she knew something was up. (I told you she was smart.) We went to the third Dr. she growled, was tense and stressed, only trusting me to not steer her wrong.  For the first time in all her appointments, etc. she had to be slightly sedated for the exam to take place. She was too tense for a good read. Then she needed more x-Rays.  So she was removed to be sedated. She came back and they gave the exam. Then, in her drugged state, had to be carried back to be x-Rayed and then back to go over the results with Mom. Mom authorized the surgery right then and she had it this afternoon.

However, even though Mom had a brave face, calm demeanor and even allowed herself to focus on everything except her baby girl's prognosis and next steps, baby girl picked up on that deep down hidden thread of nerves.  Poor girl was reading me and all I could do was take a few deep breaths, tell her she was a good girl and walk away from the pathetically sad, drug induced eyes as she was getting ready to be stuck again for blood work.

Tonight, I'm without her and I miss her. God help me... I'm not a crier. I hate crying.  However, I want to cry over this. I know she will be okay but that doesn't change that Momma feels she needs her baby girl back home. So I get comfort food and instead of Baby Girl having a beer, I'm having two! (-It's sarcasm, people, she's just licking the empty bottle! hehe)
So that's why Slack Tea Thursday and Favorite Friday seeped into each other this week. I'll post how she's doing post-operatively this weekend, I'm sure, but all I really know is a minimum of 8 weeks restriction for the girl who loves to run. At least knowing it's good for her in the long run will keep me true to her recovery requirements! Here's to seeing her do this again in 3 months.
Have a good one, y'all! Check out everyone else's favorites with the link at the top right of my blog.


Mashed Butternut Squash

I tried a new recipe last night using the following ingredients (I'm sorry, slacked in the picture taking of this experimental recipe):

1 butternut squash, cubed in relatively even sizes
2 Tbsp butter
2 fresh sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped off stalk
4-5 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 Tbsp orange juice
1/2  tsp minced roasted garlic
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
milk (although it would have been the pictured buttermilk if it wasn't sour)
1/2 Tbsp herb cream cheese
1 tsp each, cinnamon and nutmeg, optional
salt and pepper, to taste

1) Heat oil in small sauce pan, add garlic, sage, thyme and butter.  Once butter is melted and all are stirred together, remove from heat.

2) Pour butter mixture over squash and stir to ensure all squash is coated.
3) Lay squash on flat cooking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20min. or until squash is fork-tender.
4) Once baked through transfer to a bowl.  Pour in a Tbsp. of OJ, 2 Tbsp milk and add cream cheese (and optional cinnamon and nutmeg).   Mash all together with a masher.
- If you like creamy, add more milk.

Enjoy it with maple bacon wrapped scallops like we did and be satisfied the rest of the night.

Cheers! Beck

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Weird Wednesday (I almost forgot!)

I was coming to the computer and thinking I must blog something today. I read an old blog post from someone else about posting the process of a quilt and decided to show you the fabrics and pattern I chose for my SIL #2 quilt for Christmas. 

Until, that is, I logged on and saw a Yahoo headline about Oprah surprising her audience with a trip but the host country is also paying for it.  I had to see what that was about.

Now, to my friendly Aussie's out there, I have one thing to say, "I hope to hell it works." For me, I still think that it will be hard to drum tourism for one of the places with some of the most deadly annimals/insects/etc. on earth under any circumstances. Best of luck to you!

And alright, just because I have it ready, here is the fabric (from mom's collection in my stash) and the pattern (Baby Harlequin in McCalls Quick Quilts October/November 2010 magazine) for SIL #2 quilt.  I will not make strips of the diamonds, just use these fabrics to have random colored diamonds all over the quilt.

What do you think? The flowered fabric at the top and bottom will be the backing.

Cheers! Beck

Monday, September 13, 2010

Let's get the lead out people!

Yes, I mean YOU.  When was the last time you sat down and set up your "what is my sewing/quilting/crafting/recipe making schedule"? Alright, I really meant all of the foregoing questions and title for myself... not you. :D

So, what are my goals to finish and by when?

I have a mother who, not so long ago, pointed out that while I gave her a wonderful tablerunner for St. Pat's day/Easter, she now needs one for all the other holidays.  A good Christmas present, wouldn't you say? The bonus? I have leftover fabric from my own Halloween placemats, I think, and she gifted me with a large stash of fabrics she collected over the year's from JoAnn's as an employee. I am sure I have enough to cover what she would like.  So, on the list for a Christmas gift.

Now, what else? Oh yes, the quilt for SIL that has been 1.5yrs in the waiting. (yes, I said waiting, not making.) I'm making it now. I've shown her the photos so now it's a hot issue for the holiday for me to get it done.  Christmas gift #2.

I would very much like to make a quilt for my SIL who let my DD stay with her this summer for a couple weeks.  I am thinking something very simple so it could be a weekend project.  With a fleece back and an all over quilting pattern, maybe 2 weekends, tops. Christmas gift #3.

That's all I've got. It feels like a light load this year compared to past years but then, I now SIL's paper-pieced quilt will take up a good amount of time.

I haven't set complete by goals yet, however.  I think I'll get to that tonight so I can put myself in a sewing routine. 

What about you? What are your holiday or year end goals and were are you in the planning/completing processes?


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering September 11th

Like many others today may post, this is simply meant to mark my rememberence of the events of September 11th.  I won't post details today of what I was doing or where and how I felt.  Nor will I post how my own life took a new direction after those events I would never have imagined.

All I will post is that I continue to pray for all those, worldwide, who've perished in the attacks, for their families and loved ones left behind.  I continue to pray for those who have gone and taken the fight to the terrorists on their home turf and their families. For those who've survived and those who did not. 

My gratitude, my love, and my prayers remain as strong as ever and my patriotism will never waiver.

May God Bless.


Friday, September 10, 2010

I am sewing and telling on paper piecing!

For this Friday's Sew and Tell, I'm posting a picture of a block.  Several of which I've finshed.  I timed these bad boys out and they take me 1 hour each. Do not assume that paper piecing means faster piecing. :)  The pattern called for 16 for a wall hanging and I've got those done but I have more than that to do for a king size bed.  I am posting this as a finish b/c I broke these out into mini-goals and I've met one.  The block is awesome, though, isn't it? I can't wait until I can show you them all together.

Oh, and a nod to last week, I did add a border. I was feeling "country-ish" given our new home is in farm country so instead of a dark brown border which could have made this top look a little more contemporary, I busted out some fabric from the stash and went more subdued and country to me.  My DD doesn't like it but I find it has some sort of appeal. It's not a normal style for me but as soon as I put the border on, I also knew that quilting this one would be simple straight lines and cross hatching.

There you have it. For more refined projects and finsihsed this week, hop over to AmyLouWho's Friday Sew & Tell with the linky to the right.

Cheers! Beck

Are you ready for some football?!

For this week's favorite Friday, pictures say more than words so here you go.  I'm looking forward to a great season! (Don't forget to check out others' favorite things by linking to Quilting in my Pyjamas blog through the button on the right.) 

My two boys playing last year.

My favorite college team. GEUAX TIGERS!!!

Cory Proctor of my favorite NFL team.... please God, let us do well this year. :)


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Weird Wednesday

A nod to my blogging friends who have themed days, I'm adding "Weird Wednesday" to the theme list.  Write about any weird topic or experience you may not normally write about and do it today. Post a comment letting us know, if you did so we can go read. :)

My first Weird Wednesday post... Ghosts/Spirits/Poltergeists... whatever you want to call them. Do you believe they exist?

Well, I do. I've had too many unexplained things occur to allow me to think they do not exist. However, I know many don't believe this but I am not writing this to debate it.  Just to say that on my new property, there is a little cemetary we know of and there is reportedly another one somewhere which was a slave cemetary. I thought nothing more of this except that it was neat to have so much history so near to us for the kids and I to talk about (for instance, we know there is a confederate soldier in the marked cemetary).

That was, until one night out of the blue, I couldn't sleep and well into the night, I kept hearing footsteps.  Only, the footsteps were in the closet.  Huh?

So I listened, I knew no one was in that closet, kids were asleep, hubs was gone in TN but footsteps started and stopped. Then started again, like pacing. 

Do you know what I did? I fell asleep wondering what the hell that could be.  I heard the same thing the next several nights. Just when I was thinking it might be neat to scare the crap out of my SIL with this when she comes to visit, I am outside one day and see a couple birds fly off from the house.

The vicinity of the birds starting point was the side of the house where my bedroom and closet were. Now I must go see if there's a nest in there and figure out how their noise could be mistaken for footstep sounds.

Or, maybe I'll just stick to my original plan to freak my SIL because she's so easy to spook. :)

And that, is my Weird Wednesday post. 

Cheers! Beck

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sew and Tell Friday Finish

It's been a while since I've done one of AmyLouWho's Friday Sew and Tells (see the button on the side bar) but I'm in just under the wire at 9:48pm on Friday. I've finished a lap quilt top.

This started as a hand work only quilt. I measured, cut, and started sewing by hand but the summer went by (without a sewing machine) and I never got around to it.  When I had my machine back, I couldn't resist this quick top I envisioned.

However, now that I look at it, I see it needs something else.

No, not that. (My son, always trying to get on my blog. This time, by imitating what my dogs normally do, lay on the quilt while I'm taking a photo.)
Perhaps a border so I'll pop one on soon. Thicker on the long ends and thinner on the short ends.
I'm still counting this as a finish since it is finished to what I originally intended, though.  I need the "finish" in my pocket this weekend.

Cheers! Beck

Favorite Things Friday

Hello all... I have moved into our rental 2 weeks ago. I was unpacking, not allowing myself to sew until I had all boxes in the living room unpacked and not posting until I finished the living room AND my bedroom. 

I did it last weekend. I was ready to sew and post pictures of the top I whipped up but a variety of events only allowed me to get the rows done but not put the rows together. Another post, under the dogs category will explain why soon. 

Anyway, even though I wasn't able to bring some quilty goodness to in this post, I will be able to do so tomorrow. For today, I thought I'd share some of my NEW favorite things. You see, my friend Shay at Quilting in My Pyjamas has decided to do a Favorite Things Friday.  I've added her button to the sidebar so you can link directly there.)  She's been a good blog friend so I felt I owed her a plug.

Okay, not really on owing her a plug but I do think it's a good idea to reflect on the good things in your life so I will be participating in this little weekly fav fest.  Today's favorite things are new.  (I preface these by saying we are generally suburb people who now rent 47 acres in farm country.)

1) Walking out at 9pm, glancing at the sky and the word, "wow" slipping out of my mouth to see the blanket of stars and nothing else.
2) Dragging the kids out so they can see the same and hearing them exclaim their words of awesomeness at the site. Even better, going inside and the kids staying out well after to star gaze themselves.
3) Walking out in the morning to see a gaggle of turkey in the openning to the back pasture.
4) Walking out the next morning to see a family of deer walking in the side pasture.
5) Standing on the deck at any given point and hearing the ducks and geese in the neighbors pond.
6) Watching the kids go pet our friends' horses and just share space with them.
7) Enjoying the dogs enjoying the country.
8) Scense like these:

9) Creating and enjoying a new recipe Caramel Peach and Apple Pie (recipe coming soon) when an unknown neighbor drops off fresh peaches and tomatoes on move in day.

10) Learning to can with all the fresh veggies and fruits I'm going to buy from the stands on the sides of the road around here.

What are your favorite things today? 

Cheers! Beck