Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year’s Dreams and Wishes

I must be honest and say that 2010 was both good and bad. I started this blog back in January of 2010 and that turned out to be a good thing. My Mother fell late January, which was the start of rough times for both Dan and I. We thought we might lose her and then she rallied. Life leveled out late summer and kind of returned to normal for us both. However, Mother never completely recovered to be able to return home – my hopes for Mother were dashed. I think I was the longest holdout concerning hope for Mother.

We also thought we found the perfect house only to have that dashed due to financing (property taxes was the deal breaker). We could have still done it; but, we would have been house poor and I don’t believe in putting a financial strain on us both. Anyway, as a result, we put our house hunting on hold until after the holidays. So, we’ll resume house hunting again soon. Maybe.

And, precious Lily was born on the last day of October – a wonderful blessing. She is so cute. She made the year better. We got to see more of her Christmas evening, Sunday, and Monday. She is wonderful to hold and an absolutely precious baby. She’s not a fussy thing at all. I can tell she is going to be one spoiled Drama Queen in the future. Ha!

There were more changes for me concerning the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas). For the first time, I didn’t go home (to my folks house) for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is really no home for me to go back to for the holidays anymore. Daddy is gone to his final Home and Mother is in nursing care. Instead, we spent time with my brother and his family over the holidays and that turned out to be a good thing. Also, time spent with my Mother is always good.

I remember saying and thinking that I hoped 2010 would be better than 2009. I am so glad that 2010 is ending. And, I won’t bother saying that I hope 2011 will be better. I’m just going to go with the flow. What happens will happen. I also won’t state any goals because goals have a way of falling apart on me. I believe I had some for 2010; but, between Mother falling at the beginning of the year and when life finally settled down, I had forgotten what they were and I’m sure they weren’t achieved.

There won’t be resolutions or goals for the New Year because I know how they fall apart in a blink of an eye. Life has a way of doing that to a person. Nonetheless, I still have dreams and wishes for the coming New Year.

I’d like to continue blogging. I think it’s been great for me even though no many people leave comments and/or let me know they read my blog. It sets forth my creativity and helps me improve on the things I love to do. I actually accomplish things.

My one wish is to share a few bits of my writings here and there. But, that is a hard thing to do because much of it reveals way too much about me. But, maybe I’ll share a little bit more of my writings, thoughts, and whatnot in 2011. We’ll see how brave I am.

I also have a UFO (UnFinished Objects) challenge I’d like to participate in the year 2011. I will start; but, it could always come to a screeching halt if we find a house of our own. So, I will just do the best I can. At least, I know I will be working on a few UFOs.

I also want to continue participating in the Layer Cake Quilt along. I am currently behind because I had to set it aside to work on finishing up my Mother’s Maxine quilt to give to her for Christmas. {I’ll post pictures of the completed quilt next week sometime} By the way, she loves the quilt. Block 4 was posted before Christmas and Block 5 was just posted recently. I need to do both to catch up.

I’ve been interested in making breads of late. So, I’d like to learn how to make biscuits and sandwich bread from scratch. I also want to try to find a make-your-own pancake mix and use that instead of a prepackaged mix. And, I’d like to try a few more new recipes that are from either a cookbook or from a bloggy recipe that I’ve bookmarked. I’ve already tried a few and some are definitely keepers.

So, I guess my New Year’s dreams and wishes are to

  1. keep on blogging and improving in that endeavor and maybe even share a little more of my writings

  2. to get to making breads and start cooking a little more and

  3. get craftier. Ha!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

UFO (UnFinished Objects) Challenge

Patchwork Times is having a UFO challenge for 2011. {UFO = Unfinished Objects} She will draw numbers at the beginning of each month. Whatever number is assigned to a UFO, that is what we will work on for that month.

I have three UFOs (Unfinished Objects) that need to be completed. They are:

  1. Dan’s Quilt

    I started this in 1994 or 1995. It is all basted and ready to be quilted. This is actually one of the first I made. I made this while taking my first and only class with the specific purpose to learn how to hand quilt. I just never could decide on how I wanted to quilt it. Well, no more indecision. I’m just going to do it. He’s waited long enough for that thing to be finished.

    I need to: a) Hand quilt and b) Bind it.

  2. Wild Quilt for Single Sofa Bed

    Most of the fabric is cut up; but, they are stored in boxes which are in the guest closet and I can’t get to them at the moment. Ha! I had to stop working on this when I returned to college to finish up my degree which was way back in 2005. I never picked it up again.

    I need to: a) Finish Cutting up the fabrics, b) Sew up the blocks and c) Quilt (machine) and Bind

  3. Scrap Upchuck

    I started this several months ago; but, I put it on hold in favor of finishing up My Mother’s quilt which had priority for Christmas and participating in a Layer Cake quilt along.

    I need to: a) Finish Cutting up the fabrics (this will take a lot of time as I need A LOT more 2.5” squares from the “scraps”), b) Sew up blocks and c) Quilt and Bind it.
Since Dan’s quilt will be hand quilted, that one will take more time than the others to get finished. However, the other UFOs need the remaining fabric cut and the blocks sewn together. So, I’m giving Dan’s quilt equal “time” as the other two UFOs.

Since there are 12 months, I’ve assigned each UFO four numbers.

Dan’s Quilt: 1, 4, 7, 10
Wild Quilt: 2, 5, 8, 11
Scrap Upchuck: 3, 6, 9, 12

Whatever number is drawn for the month, that will be the project I work on. Hopefully, I’ll get these UFOs finished someday. I have a feeling that the Wild Quilt will be done sooner as it’s a smaller quilt than I usually make and if my memory serves me correctly, cutting up the fabric is almost done. If I do get that quilt done sooner, that will be okay – it will leave the remaining assigned numbers (months) blank giving me more opportunity to create new UFOs in the year 2011. Ha!

Actually, I hope I will not create any more UFOs. I do have a few more UFOs that were part of swaps I participated in eons ago; but, I never sewed them up or whatnot. And, to be honest, I do not have the inclination to do them. So, I left them off the list.

One last note: if we find a house to call our own, these UFO dreams will have to be put on hold.

Patchwork Times

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

Check out Dan's Big Nuts...

Bwahahahah! I couldn't resist. Actually, it was Dan's idea and I just ran away with it. To see what I did with these nuts, check out the Bur Oak Acorn Ornaments post.

On a different subject, here is a sneak peek into the backing of Maxine's quilt.
Oh, that isn't enough for you? Well sheesh, you're never happy. How about this?

And, if that is not enough, tough. Ha! You'll see the completed quilt after Christmas. Actually, more like after the New Year. The quilt is almost done! The binding is going on today.

PS This siggy is kind of ironic for me considering it's going to be 71° today and 73° tomorrow. But, I adore snowmen. And, it's Winter. Ha!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bur Oak Acorn Ornaments

The inspiration for these ornaments comes from seeing Felted Wool Acorns found around the interwebs. I adore them; but, 1) I cannot afford to buy them and 2) I cannot make them because I'm slightly allergic to wool. I also remembered my childhood and how we used to make ornaments out of walnut shells.

We saw some Bur Oak Acorns one day. Let me tell you, these suckers are huge. I have never seen large acorns like these before (until now). I knew immediately what I could do with a few. So, I decided to grab three of the nicest ones I could find.

I cleaned the acorns as best as I could and separated the caps from the nuts. One of them was still attached. The other two I matched the caps to the nut as best as I could when we found them.

I grabbed some primer, some old spray paint that I have stashed, and fishing line stolen from Dan's fishing rod. Ha! I then primed the acorns and painted them.

Let me tell you, if you have any old spray paint around, throw it away! Holy Moly, what a mess that made. From now on, I'm sticking with regular paint in a can.

I didn't have any true red paint in my stash. Now, that was weird. I must not like the color red all that much. Ha! So anyway, I spent approximately $3 for some sample paint called "candy apple".

Dan drilled a hole in both the tops of the nut and in the caps. The hole in the nut was to help make painting them easier. I cut three six inch pieces of fishing line, looped them and tied a knot at the ends. I threaded them through the acorn caps.

After the nuts were dried, we glued them. Let me tell you, that was fun. NOT! We first tried an Epoxy that was a complete flop. It just would not hold or bond. So, Dan got out some construction adhesive from his stash and we used that. Finally! They were stuck together for good.

We sprayed them with a couple coats of Polycrylic. I love how they turned out.

Creations by Kara The Girl Creative
mmm button CreativeShareWednesdays

Monday, December 20, 2010

Just Some Christmas Decorating

A couple weeks ago, I did a little decorating. We don't have much room for much of anything, including a big tree. But, I took a kitchen table of ours that is shoved against a wall, cleared it off, and used it to arrange a few pathetic Christmas stuff we have.

I took pictures to practice my photography. The Christmas lights I posted on last Wednesday is from our little tree.

That little tree is OLD. It is only 2 feet tall and that is from the base to the tip of the brass angel.

The round snowmen laying on the table in front are placemats. I got them from KOHL's one year at 50% off. In case you don't know it yet, I love snowmen.

The "Santa's House" to the left of the tree is an old childhood advent calendar. I remember that thing being brought out every year and just getting a kick out of opening the windows and the door. Mom gave it to me one year and said that if I didn't take it, she was going to throw it away. Typical sentimental ol' me wouldn't let her throw it away; so, I kept it.

Anyway, here are a few more pictures I took. Enjoy.

{I love snowmen and I love jingle bells; so, this is one of my favorite ornaments for a big tree and I laid him underneath the small tree. He's resting and sleeping. Ha!}

Tree to Cross

We generally don't hang anything on the walls here at this house as we don't want to put more holes in the walls than necessary considering it's a rental. So, I shoved this into my "antique" china cabinet, which is right next to the kitchen table. It fits okay and at least, it is out.

First frame: When you strip away all the tinsel and glitter...
Last frame: ...God's real truth shines through.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Indiscriminate Contemplations

I read somewhere, in fact in multiple places by different authors, that it is always a good idea to include a picture with each blog post. So, here you go:

Cats on Boxes
{Gracie on top, Chessie on bottom}

I can see everyone exclaiming "Gah! Not another cat photo!" Ha! Hey, I am a crazy, cat lady. I do love my kittehs so.

Moving on.

Happy National Maple Syrup Day! Ha!

I heard about this accidentally yesterday. Today is National Maple Syrup Day. Weird, huh? But, you know what? Both Dan and I switched to real Maple Syrup awhile back because the fake stuff had HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup). Let me tell you, the real stuff may be more expensive; but, you don’t need a whole lot – a little bit goes a long way. After all, Maple Syrup is very strong stuff. And, honestly, it tastes so much better than the fake crap. So yay! Let us celebrate this weird day. Ha!

Anyway, I will be posting sporadically until after the New Year. I will try to post something photographically on Monday, something for Crafty Tuesday, and something Wordy on Wednesday. But, if you don't see any posts, no worries. I just got too busy to blog!

I will be too busy to do much of anything else online. After all, this is the last weekend before Christmas! I have lots of stuff to do including finishing up my Mother's quilt.

Dan has Thursday and Friday off next week and he also has the whole week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. That is going to be so nice. We’re not sure what we’ll be doing other than spending some time with a brother along with his family and my Mother over the Christmas holidays.

So anyway, just in case I don’t get a chance to post again this year, I want to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Be safe everyone!

Winning Love

A CardMaker magazine This should be fun to peruse. I've been gaining an interest in paper crafting including scrapbooking over the years. Gah, not another expensive hobby! LOL. It is for this reason that I haven't taken the dive into it... yet...

Some Linky Loves

The oh-so-encouraging Romans 12

Here are some recent sightings of pieced backings on quilts (for a friend of mine and any of you who are interested):

One Last Look At Bliss Between Friends

HST Quilt Finish

And, one last thing, a music video. A song called Where's the Line to See Jesus sung by Becky Kelley. I found the lyrics online, put my aid on and turned the sound way up. I found it to be touching.

Where's the line to see Jesus? Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday, why don't we see Him more?
Where's the line to see Jesus? He was born for me.
Santa Claus brought me presents, but Christ gave His life for me.

Peace, Blessings and Grace,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

I was playing around with my camera early this morning before the sun was up too far and captured this.

Much to my surprise, there is a beautiful perfect ring around one of the top lights.

I shared the picture with Dan via Instant Messenger (IM). He said it is due to the lightbulb shining directly into the lens. How cool is that?

He also said that if I shot it at an even slower shutter speed, something cool would happen. So, I set the camera up again to shoot at an even slower shutter speed.
The light turned into a starburst! How fascinating.

By this time, the sun was up too high for me to experiment even further. But, I'm pleased and thrilled. These aren't the greatest pictures. But, I wanted to show them to you anyways.

It pays to play with your camera sometimes. I learned a few things about taking pictures in the dark and how light works. The starburst is caused by using a small aperture - a result of light refracting through the small opening. The slower shutter speed is just a side effect of using a small aperture. I'm still trying to get my brain wrapped around all this stuff. Ha!

It also pays to have a "teacher" to explain things to you. My Dan is a wonderful teacher even from afar (via IM).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sneak Peek of Backing to Maxine Quilt

{Note: if you're new here and want to see the entire WIP, go to Maxine Quilt: The beginning.}

I was going to give you something different for my "Crafting Tuesdays" today; but, the project I was working on this past weekend is not quite finished.

So, instead of that, I've decided to give you a sneak peek of the WIP (work in Progress) on Mom's Maxine Quilt.

This is just a section of a long strip for the backing. And yes, this part is finished. This long section of the quilt was the hardest part. Decisions, decisions, decisions -- being creative is tough!

I hope to have the backing finished by Thursday or Friday. And, then I can baste the top, batting, and backing together, quilt it, and then bind it! We'll see considering I'm such a slow poke.

Next Up: Maxine Quilt: WIP and finale

Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sugar Cookies and a Little Fun (12/5)

We made sugar cookies two weekends ago. Overall, we were very pleased with the outcome.

Even Dan got into decorating them after a bit... The man has serious skills and a steady hand. Mine, on the other hand, were meh. I was one frustrated decorator...

You see this snowman? It's the same one in the bottom left corner of the first picture above. I decorated that one. Isn't it awful?

Oh NOoooo!


The vengeful decorator has struck again!

Let me tell you, this was my first byte of one of the decorated sugar cookies. And oh, it was soooo good even it was badly decorated.

You may be asking why I said "again". Well, some of you family and friends may remember my shenanigans on facebook two years ago when decorating my snowman cake kind of flopped. I have to confess that something devious and mischievious always comes out of me when things don't go my way. And, it happened AGAIN this year. Ha!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Indiscriminate Contemplations...

...Or lack thereof.

I haven’t been much of a mood to write this week or jot notes. However, I do want to mention that the Crayola Colored Pencils are crap. They do not sharpen well and break easily.

So anyway, without further ado, I’ll just straight to sharing what I’ve won this week and some links I liked. I’ve been on a winning streak lately, haven’t I?

Winning Love:

  1. A fat third bundle (fabric)

  2. ”In the Moonlight” JustRite cling stamp sets. This hasn’t been confirmed as I just found out this morning. Also, there is another Lee Ann who participates in these kinds of giveaways. Although, that comment is so like me! So, I’m fairly confident I’m the Lee Ann who won this.

  3. I was notified via email that I am a winner of a copy of Quiltmakers 100 Blocks magazine. I am actually the third person to be drawn as the first two winners never responded. I already have two copies of this magazine floating around. I won one of them and bought another to give away. I actually bought two to give away and already gave one of them to a friend who I think was thrilled with it. By the way, my crafty sisters-in-law has first dibs on the extra copies of the magazine. If one or both do not want it, I’ll have to figure out what to do with the extras from there.

  4. And, I was notified via email that I’m a winner of a sonic scrubber toilet brush. Bwahahaha!
Linky Love:

Six reasons to let it go. On decluttering.

Bunting Ornament. Or, a pennant ornament. Too stinkin’ cute! I’m thinking I can make these. Maybe. Never worked with polymer clay though. And, it’s thrifty IF it turns out okay. Ha! :-)

101 Block Patterns from 1931. Each one is Free for download in PDF format

Refridgerator Snowmen Magnets Too stinkin’ cute! {Did I just say that TWICE in one post?} Another crafting project…

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordy Wednesday (with Picture)

While we stayed at my brother's house over Thanksgiving, my husband was asked to take some family pictures. Fortunately, he brought most of his camera equipment with him as he had hoped we (meaning Dan and/or I) would get some pictures done. He wanted to practice and get more experience. We never got around to doing what he had in mind; but, he did get to take pictures with my brother's family.

Well, on the morning we were due to leave, we were all around the kitchen table. I said "I am going to go pack now". Apparently Dan muttered something under his breath that I didn't hear. Of course I wouldn't hear it. I'm deaf and read lips. Oh, you didn't know that? Well, now you do.

I would have never known he had said something if it wasn't for my sister-in-law. She heard exactly what he said and turned it all into some fun. She "tattled" on him. He had said something along the lines of "that'll take a couple of hours". I laughed and basically said "no, it won't".

Apparently, Dan thought I brought a lot of clothes with me. Well, a girl has to be prepared! I didn't know what the weather would be like -- cold? cool? warm? hot? Texas weather is so flaky that way. For example, it was very warm on Thanksgiving day -- a t-shirt wearing day. And, then it turned cold overnight. I was wearing long sleeved shirt with a jeans shirt over it the next morning.

Dan has what I call "Yankee blood". He can wear a t-shirt with just a thin long sleeved shirt over it on extremely cold days! So, all he had with him were a few t-shirts and a couple of long-sleeved shirts. I wish I could do that! I didn't even know what I would need. I can't survive cold weather without a thin undershirt underneath a sweatshirt! And, it could have very well been hot or cool weather. Men like Dan just don't understand women like me. Ha!

Anyhow, I had forgotten about what he said and the fun that ensued until I asked him when he was going to work on the pictures of my brother's family. He smiled and said that he wanted to have a little "revenge" first. After he explained to me what he had in mind, I couldn't help but laughed and told him to go for it.

I think he enjoyed doing what he planned and showed me the final work. I laugh so hard!

Here it is in all its glory. Too funny! It's amazing what Photoshop can do.

He had emailed that picture to my sister-in-law with the following:

Here is a special treatment of your Christmas picture. Perhaps, you'll reconsider before getting me into trouble with Lee Ann again hahaha :-)

I'll get the real picture to you in a couple of days

So, there you have it. More of our weird sense of humor. :-)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Layer Cake Quilt Along: Documentation III

Previously: Documentation II

The instructions for Block 3 was posted November 20th. It is a variation of a basket block. I have to say that I am NOT a fan of baskets in quilts. There are very few block patterns that I do not like and baskets is one of them.

So, I debated mentally with myself about whether or not to make one for this quilt. I also posted my dilemma on facebook.

One friend responded with Throw caution into the wind and live on the wild side. Dare to color outside of the lines. ;-) But, I get intimidated to go outside the lines (rules).

Another facebook friend (who also happens to be my cousin) commented with Don't do it! Never have a block you don't like, it will just catch your eye each time. You can find another block you do like. She's right.

So, I made the decision to color outside the lines. But first, I had to make the original block out of scrap - just for the experience and adding to my learning curve. I have to be able to say "I did it" even though it will not be in the final product. Ha!

Block 3 of Layer Cake Quilt Along Using Scraps

This is what it's suppose to look like. Bleck. No matter what fabrics is used, or the style (pattern) of baskets, I'm just not a fan of them.

I did learn that I do not like making HSTs without some form of paper piecing. The triangles just aren't as accurate without them no matter how hard I try.

So, I colored outside the lines. I had leftover Half Square Triangles (HSTs) from a previous Layer Cake block. I decided to stick with (added) the three fabrics that the original block pattern required. I then doodled.
There were mistakes in this one; but, you get the drift. To make a long story short, I made a sample out of scraps and discovered the mistake after I cut the fabric. However, I went ahead and sewed up the fabrics into four patches and then tried variations off this drawing. I still liked the drawing version best and decided to modify it.

Final Drawing

I went back to the drawing board to finalize the design and make it mistake proof. Ha! I really liked the fact that I could showcase one of my favorite fabrics.

My Version with Scraps

But first, I had to make a sample block out of scraps to make sure it was free of mistakes. And, of course, I was being lazy in that I did not make up some HSTs for the block. I liked it and it was correct in size and everything.

So, I picked the three fabrics out from the Layer Cake.
And, cut the fabric. I also threw in the leftover triangles from a previous block.
I then arranged them all together. I deviated from my final drawing just a tad. I liked the HSTs arranged this way better.

And voilĂ ! My Layer Cake Block 3. I'm very pleased with it.

Now, I'm fairly confident that there is a block (pattern) out there that is just like this one or very close to it. I've seen so many blocks throughout the years that it is now all melded into my brain. Ha! Thus, I do not have a clue to what the name of this block is if it exists. It is probably a variation (modified version) of a Four Patch block. Or, a Snowball block. Or,... Well, you get my drift.

I posted both the above block and the basket block to the Flickr Group pool. Check the album out for the latest blocks! The deadline for this block is December 14th. So, I'm sure many more pictures will be posted from now until then. So far, I'm the only one who had a major deviation from the original pattern for Block 3.

Next Up: Documentation IV