Dec 19, 2010


4th Sunday of Advent

God of love, may everything I do become an expression of your love. Amen.
~ Beth A. Richardson, The Uncluttered Heart

Dec 12, 2010


3rd Sunday in Advent

God of joy, may I dream dreams and share tales of hope as I enter into this third week of Advent. I praise your mighty name. Amen.

~ Beth A Richardson, The Uncluttered Heart

If you're snowed in too, take joy in the beauty of the earth.~ QuiltyBee

Dec 10, 2010

Snow Anyone?

Friday Finish

Using Attic 24's pattern, I have a few snowflakes ready to block & then tuck into a package for my brother. Barcelona doesn't have our Christmas snow (at least I don't think so). Lucy's look more flakey--better yarn choice--but I love these all the same.

Just 2 weeks to go! With a night of wrapping I'm pretty much ready :)
Hope you are enjoying these weeks of preparation rather than feeling frazzled. We expect a blizzard this weekend :)
Happy Holidays!

Dec 8, 2010

Wednesday WIP

Just a few clucky gifts. . .

I think I can swing a couple of potholders this year. How would this look in your kitchen?

Today's Praise
  • Christmas gifts all ready (except for a couple potholders)--a simple list really helps
  • Really cute teenage boys--at least today they're cute!
  • A DH who is truly kind and giving

Dec 5, 2010


2nd Sunday in Advent

God of Advent, walk ahead of me, helping me keep sight of your vision of peace. May I hold peace in my heart and pray for peace in our broken world. Amen.
~ Beth A. Richardson, The Uncluttered Heart
Peace is a tough one, requiring each of us to let go at least a little. Remembering you are loved helps.  Peace, QuiltyBee

Dec 3, 2010

Sew Many Swaps

Sew & Tell Friday Finish (es!)

Mug Rug Swap
I couldn't make up my mind so I just sent all 3!

Here is my New Year's Mug Rug from Lily Lemon--see the bubbles in the glass! I love how sparkly these are--fairy frost is great for the glitz.

These are absolutely addicting to make. I'm working on some for Christmas gifts--how nice to have a little room for something sweet next to your pumpkin spice latte!

Fabric Postcards

I made 3 of these for my secret partners. Fortunately, they look a bit better in real life. The tree is a lovely corduroy I'm going to try to make a shirt out of. I love this tree fabric--got an idea for a wall hanging for work.

Modern Christmas Stocking Swap

What an awful picture! Oh well. This is the stocking I sent off a couple weeks ago--my partner likes red and bells, from what I could tell on her faves. It's a bit plain, but I wanted it to be "modern." Love Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas line. Alas, I haven't heard from my partner yet--hope she likes it!

My shopping for Christmas is nearly finished--just 2 things left. Today I'm going to work on just a couple of handmades--how are you doing with your Christmas list? Enjoy the weekend and check out Amy's Sew & Tell Friday here!

Nov 29, 2010

::Legacy of Lessons::

Monday Musing
Grandma & Auntie

Recently I traveled across the country to Spokane, Washington to visit my 93 year-old grandmother. She is doing pretty well, all things considered. Even though I have lived in Iowa for over 20 years, I miss being able to see her regularly.

I am so thankful that she passed on to me:
  1. A deep love for creation: camping, gardening, just walking in the woods where she grew up. She took the trouble to learn the names of butterflies, trees, flowers. She made sure everyone in the family always picked up ALL litter rather than leaving it.
  2. Pie-baking lessons: When I was 9, she announced it was time for me to learn to bake a pie. We made huckleberry and my uncle ate most of it. Homemade pie--chocolate cream, lemon meringue, fruit of any kind--the best comfort food around. And getting messy in the kitchen is no big deal.
  3. A love of the arts: She is always reading at least 3 or 4 books.When she retired from teaching at 58, she took piano lessons AGAIN for 30 years--her own teachers kept retiring! She was quite good and played in the student recitals for years. She bought both my flutes and took me to all kinds of concerts. Travel always included a stop at a local museum. (In college I majored in music and English so this stuff must have stuck.) Arts for their own sake is good enough--they need no "practical" purpose.
  4. A curious attitude. Learn all you can, do all you can. She was the grandmother who took me and my friends swimming, skating, hiking, museuming and always joined in, too. She volunteered for the museum, music events and political organizations into her 80s as well. She went camping on her own until she was about 85, pulling a little pop-up trailer behind her pick-up.
  5. A firm conviction that everyone matters. While no one would exactly call her nurturing, she respected all kinds of people. We nearly always had a guest at Thanksgiving or Christmas--often someone so totally different from us. I now have her red coat with the button that reads "Every mother is a working mother" even though she was never a stay-at-home mom. She firmly believes all are created equal.
 What a blessing she has been in my life! (and she deserves an exclamation point).

Nov 28, 2010


1st Sunday in Advent

God of Advent, kindle within me the flame of hope. As I walk through this day, may that hope remind me of your promise that something good is coming. Amen.    ~ Beth A. Richardson, The Uncluttered Heart

My hope is that each of you knows you are always and truly loved.
Peace, QuiltyBee

Nov 21, 2010


Today's Praise

How easily we can forget how precious life is! So long as we can remember, we've just been here, being alive. Unlike other things for which we have a comparison--black to white, day to night, good to bad--we are so immersed in life that we can see it only in the context of itself. We don't see life as compared to anything, to not-being, for example, to never having been born. Life just is.
But life itself is a gift. It's a compliment just being born: to feel, breathe, think, play, dance, sing, work, make love, for this particular lifetime.
Today, let's give thanks for life. For life itself! For simply being born!
~Daphne Rose Kingma

My prayer this week is that, as the holidays begin to rev up, each of you can remember The Gift we have been given, and that you are LOVED.

Nov 17, 2010

On the 12th Day of Christmas . . .

WIP Wednesday

Lovely fabrics from Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas line.
Lots of red (she said she LOVES red).
All coming together for the Modern Christmas Stocking swap on Flickr.
I will admit to a bit of unsewing (no pattern, after all). But all in all, I might just want to keep it.
Or I might just have to make a guitar version for DH, who has had no stocking in the last 18 years. Poor man.

Today's Praises
  • lovely crisp nearly winter day
  • the prospect of popovers tonight--my fave
  • general good humor--it helps to have a smiling 17 yo

Nov 15, 2010

::I think I'll do it again::

Monday Musing

The BIG 5-0 that is.

Thanks to my kind and generous friends & family, I received LOTS of birthday money (out of pity, out of love??). My first thought was "chocolate!" Then my mind raced with all the things I want, all the things I need, all the things. Finally, after much contemplation, I knew how to spend all that moolah . . .

Let me introduce you to my mid-life crisis milestone birks--soft bed, no less.

I love them. They make me feel just a little edgy, just a little younger. So I vote for being 50 again next year--let's see what I get!

Today's Praise
  • red shoes--every girl oughta have 'em
  • great h.s. youth group--they'll try anything
  • back to sewing--see a sneak peek on Wednesday

Nov 14, 2010

Today's Praise

Gratitude is heaven itself.
~ William Blake

And gratitude will keep you warm are the temperatures outside fall.

Oct 31, 2010

Today's Praise

blogtoberfest 31

The sunbeams stream forward , dawn boys,
with shimmering shoes of yellow.
~ Mescalero Apache Song

 A beautiful day to praise God & His creation.

Oct 30, 2010

Top 10 Lessons Learned

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I can't believe I've managed to post every day this month! Just one more to go. . . .

Thanks to this great challenge, I've learned a few things about blogging. . .

  1. This "quilting blog" is not in fact about quilting, mostly because I hardly ever quilt. Hmm, that may be more about my life than my blog.
  2. The day-to-day details of my life are pretty mundane, and I don't really want to write about them. 
  3. I WANT to write about creativity and/or blessings.
  4. I fantasize about having a kind of posting routine--WIP Wednesday, Finished Friday, etc. Problem is, my life is just the opposite--WIP Friday, possibly finished Wednesday.
  5. Posting on something other than real time is very difficult to get my head around. In other words, writing about a WIP on Wednesday if in actuality it is finished.
  6. My biggest obstacle to posting, at least in my mind, is a lack of decent photos. When the light is best in my house, I am usually at work.  Plus, I'm just not that good with the camera.
  7. I don't have enough moodling time for making stuff, let alone writing stuff. (see October 28)
  8. I seem to think in terms of obstacles instead of challenges.
  9. I need a new blogging "picture" in my mind to make this workable.
  10. I would like to have blogging be about developing relationships; this, of course, would require that I comment on other blogs more and lurk less.
  11. I hate exclamation points, mostly.
With all this in mind, after tomorrow, I'm going take a break and re-think my blog. Of course, I've taken many breaks before, but that was through neglect not reflection. I'm also going to visit my grandmother in Washington state--a little road trip! So here's a toast to blogging and all its possibilities. Thank you to tinniegirl for the blogtoberfest challenge and to any of you who have left comments (or not). I'll post tomorrow and then see you in 2 weeks.

Today's Praises
  • Enough time to contemplate lessons learned :)
  • Beautiful sunshine
  • Paying someone else to suck up all our leaves instead of raking them ourselves. Lovely!

Oct 29, 2010

Boys in Uniform

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Last marching of the year and probably forever for DS1 (the grumpy one on the right). They gave an "indoor marching band" concert, playing everything they know.

The last piece all the seniors left their shoes (their "legacy" footprints) and passed their hate onto an underclassman. DS2 received one from the 1st chair tuba.

Waving goodbye for kindergarten was a piece of cake compared to this. I kept thinking, "oh, she was so cute in 3rd grade" or "wow, he's gotten so tall." Most of these kids we've known since elementary.

Plus, I'm an absolute sucker for marching band, as I loved it in high school. My two best friends, even 32 years later, are from marching band.

These 2 young men complain about marching, but their best friends also come from that group of 140 band members--all pretty tight after many hours of sweating on the field and riding the bus to competitions. If nothing else, they have learned "do it right means do it less."

Today's Praises
  • Incredible music in our schools, despite heavy budget cutbacks
  • 2 handsome men in uniform
  • no snow during marching band season!

Oct 28, 2010


blogtober 28

So you see, imagination needs moodling - long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.  --Brenda Ueland

How does one moodle in 15 minute snippets of time?
Can one moodle while doing the dishes, chauffering the kids, folding laundry?

For me these are the perennial questions. Granted, a "studio" or room of my own would simplify the process, allowing me to leave things out and to come and go as I'm able, but even then I find I need a kind of "warm up" time to get in the zone.

What about you? How do you get your creativity going? Do you need to be in a certain space, mind frame? Do you need peace and quiet or blaring music or the pitter patter of little feet going to and fro?

  • morning coffee
  • morning coffee
  • morning coffee

Oct 27, 2010

Cheer Up

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Since today is sideways gusting rain & sometimes snow, I spent lunch crocheting a sunny, cheery hat for a Christmas present. Still channeling Grandma!

Oct 26, 2010

Spooky Music

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Tonight we have DS2 in an orchestra concert--the high school kids get to wear Halloween costumes.

They love it, but now at the last minute he's changed his mind on the costume! The workings of the 15 yo mind.

Regardless, his cello will sound so cool, so rich. And they always play interesting music. Looking forward to a nice evening.

Oct 25, 2010


blogtoberfest 25

Oh. my. word. It's finally happened.

After relentlessly  lightheartedly teasing my husband for over 7 years for receiving his own cards, it's finally happened to me. I turn 50 in 7 days. Just my luck.

Today's Praises
  • I don't feel 50!
  • Grilled cheese for supper on a rainy day.

Oct 24, 2010

Today's Praise

blogtoberfest 24

"Satisfaction is the paralysis of the church. While relentless grace works to take us further, we are all too satisfied just where we are."  ~Paul Tripp, Twitter Post


  • Good general health
  • Work to provide for my family & care for others
  • Opportunities & success for my children that they may continue to learn the value of hard work

Oct 23, 2010

Pedal to the Metal?

blogtoberfest 23

Finally have this quilt started 3 YEARS AGO ready to quilt. My hope is to speed right through it (I know, I probably jinxed that :)

The recipient will be driving through town in a week. Can it be done?

Vroom, vroom!

Oct 22, 2010

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah

blogtoberfest 22
Day 22 and I have nothing to post about except the tedium of everyday life. blah, blah, blah (although I've had a nice quiet day off).

While I'm happy I've posted every day this month as challenged, I'm disappointed that I have no sewing to post about. This is "supposed to be" a quilting blog, or at least a creative blog. . . .

Alas, I spend more time thinking about quilting than actually quilting, or crocheting, or whatever I could manage to create. Hmmm. . . .I may have to mull that all over a bit.

Today's Praises
  • Probably the last day of Indian summer--still lovely
  • Music Boosters Soup & Pie tonight--always good food
  • I'm ready to sew something! I'm hoping for Sunday!

Oct 21, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

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 To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
Joseph Chilton Pearce  
Working on this hat, I've been WRONG at least 5 times so far. In fact, I finally just started over because I didn't check my gauge--it would have fit King Kong the way I was going.
On the other hand, fear of making a mistake, of wasting that beautiful fabric, of using up time--that all can get in the way, can't it? Another reason to love swaps--they impose a real deadline so one just needs to make a decision.  What gets in the way of your creativity? Fear? Space? Time?

Oct 20, 2010

Road Trip

blogtoberfest 20

How cool would it to be 15 years old and have an entire fall day to skateboard. . . wish I could manage that kind of balance. It looks so fun to have speed and air all at once.

As the last bit of Jack's birthday, we hit the road with two of his friends so they could skate in Spencer, the town with the GOOD skate park.

They got several hours in with a break at Pizza Ranch for lunch, highlighted by a celebrity sighting--the bass player from "Chapter" a semi-local band they love. DS2 even mustered up the courage to talk to this guy, who just happens to work at Pizza Ranch. Who knew.

I spent the day basking in the sun (inside the car, out of the breeze), crocheting Christmas gifts. Quite pleasant. Plus it was nice to spend time with these guys--they can be pretty funny, and they look WAY COOL with their ollies and whatnot. . . .still don't know the skating jargon, and I certainly can't spell it.

Today's Praises
  • Unbelieveably beautiful fall weather
  • Curried Cauliflower--yum, yum
  • Keepin' up with the laundry--it makes me smile to think that's a blessing!

Oct 19, 2010

Harvest Time

blogtoberfest 19

This is the time of year to make THE BEST COLESLAW, or some of you may just consider this cabbage salad. DH & I love this; the boys hate when I make the dressing because it stinks (you'll see why). This cabbage is supposed to keep 1 week, but it never lasts that long.

One Week Coleslaw (serves 8-10)
adapted from The Frugal Gourmet's Whole Family Cookbook
  • 2 1/2 lb head of green cabbage, shredded*
  • 1 cup shredded carrots, green pepper, onions, whatever veggies you like
  • 2 Tbl sugar
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp celery seed, whole
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
In a small stainless-steel saucepan, add the dressing ingredients togther; heat to a boil (this is the stinky part) and simmer 2 mins. Allow to cool. Pour over veggies, along with about 1/2 cup olive/veggie oil. Toss. Salt & pepper to taste. Chill a couple hours before serving.

*I often use the bagged coleslaw mix. This recipe is also easy to divide and just make 1 lb's worth.

This is a great potluck dish. DH & I will also eat it during the week for lunches with cheese & crackers or tuna or whatever. It's nice with sunflower seeds sprinkled on top, too.

Hope you enjoy this!

Today's Praises
  • Frost = less kleenex
  • a Tuesday night WITHOUT meetings

Oct 18, 2010


blogtoberfest 18

Or maybe that should be "Caw! Caw!"
I never thought I'd ever go through a haunted house, not at 49 & 11/12, but our church youth group wanted to go. Susan (the other leader) and I were just going to stand outside, waiting patiently . . . .

Then this clown with green skin ran up and pounded on the car windows. The girls screamed. Emily wouldn't go unless I went. So I bought tickets, we went through the door, and a zombie popped out of a trap door. The girls screamed. . . . and went back to the car. I was already commited.

I did appreciate DS2 holding my hand the entire way (he's quite gallant). And it really helped that the girl in front of me screamed each time something scary happened, so I knew when something was coming. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks . . . .

Today's Praises
  • A new-found appreciation for teenagers
  • More lovely fall weather
  • key lime vanilla chip cookies, courtesy of the choir fundraiser

Oct 17, 2010

Today's Praise

blogtoberfest 17

Thou that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart.
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if they blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be thy praise.
~ George Herbert
 I'm grateful today for awesome kids, both at home and at church.  Sometimes it is so easy to be cynical about teenagers (or maybe we are just embarrassed remembering our own teenage attitudes), but I have really enjoyed time yesterday and today with these guys. Our youth group hosted fellowship today, brought yummy treats and were just plain pleasant to be around. Tonight: we go to the Haunted House, somewhere I would not have gone on my own. My thanks for this fellowship!

Oct 16, 2010


blogtoberfest 16
That's what I need before I post about today's road trip. All I can say is I wish I could skateboard.

Oct 15, 2010

No Time to Stop & Talk

blogtoberfest 15
Well, for my 101st post, I have no time to stop and talk . . . my day off was full of errands and driving to and fro . . . I was so hoping to sew this afternoon, but I was only home about 15 mins.

However, my brain has been busy planning a variety of projects. Aside from seriously finishing some WIPS and starting some swap postcards, I think this will be the year of crochet for gifts. I would sorta prefer to sew, but that takes time and concentration and space.

We'll see how it goes tomorrow when I spend the day watching 3 fifteen year old boys skateboard at the "best" skateboard park in the area--90 miles away. Part of DS#2's birthday. I figure I can make at least 2 hats and 3 dishcloths unless I decide to take a nap in the beautiful fall sunshine ;-)

Today's Praises
  • Actually enjoying scoping out possible cars to replace Ginger
  • Beautiful weather for the last X-C meet
  • Pumpkin spice latte and lunch with a new friend

Oct 14, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

blogtoberfest 14

from The First Importance

    What the gospel rests on
 “Do you require yourself to remember? In order to live as you can and should, you first must remember who you are and what you’ve been given.”
- Paul David Tripp, Twitter post

Oct 13, 2010


blogtoberfest 13 

Well, not work-in-progress, more like work-in-brain. However, I AM going to sew Friday afternoon no matter what. I'm in a fabric postcard swap (Christmas or Winter), and I have an idea for a table runner.

Today's Praises
  • Gorgeous sunshine!
  • Busy time = not boring :)
  • Split pea soup & grilled cheese for supper

Oct 12, 2010


blogtoberfest 12

Rest in peace, Ginger.
Ginger is was our '97 Escort, 235,000 miles plus (nearly to the moon!) and 12 years in our household.
Fortunately, DS#1 is unharmed and brimming over with lessons learned.
Fortunately, it was a one-car accident.

Today's Praises
  • All in our household are safe
  • All in our household are humble (!)
  • Ginger served us well & protected my boy

Oct 11, 2010

Big Red Band

blogtoberfest 11

Oh, for a man in uniform!

My man (DS#2) is difficult to see behind the bell of his tuba--he's the one nearly smack in the middle of the shot. The other DS is off to the side behind a melliphone bell.

They both looked so sharp in their uniforms, marching so straight. Sigh.

Yes, I sigh with nostalgia for marching bands, having been in one. Mine was not nearly so grand. The Big Red Band here is over 135 strong--nearly as big as the senior class!

 This was the last of their competitions this year, and possibly the last time I'll see DS#1 march.
 Sigh again.

His posture in uniform is perfect. And while he says he "hates" marching band, he works hard at it, going to school an hour early 2-3 mornings each week. He seems to like being a squad leader this year.  DS#2 has taken quite well to it as well and is working to be a squad leader even as a sophomore next year. :)

DS1's lesson from marching band: "If you do it right, you do it less." Oh, if we could all learn that lesson for other areas of life!

Today's Praises
  • MORE beautiful fall weather--unbelievable!
  • A dog who behaves on his walks
  • Fun stalking my secret partners for an upcoming swap

Oct 10, 2010

Today's Praise

blogtoberfest 10
  • Fabulous fall weather
  • Young love
  • The chance to worship God
  • Kids singing "Amen!"
  • Laundry done (Amen!)
  • Turkey burgers on the grill
  • A week with more time at home
  • A chance to sew
  • Time with family

Oct 9, 2010

Channeling Grandma

blogtoberfest 9

Like grandma, I like TV (there, I confessed) but find I can't just sit and watch. It's good to have some kind of low-thinking handwork to keep me busy. This should turn out to be a vest. We have enough beanies and dishcloths. (I'm trying to keep my dismay over the size I need in check.)

I'm blessed to be the recipient of many of grandma's projects: a beautiful lace bedspread that had been on her bed for years, a matching tablecloth she made just for me, many doilies, and once upon a time, many sweaters.

I can't believe I've posted 9 days in a row. Yay!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend. Today is our last marching band competition ;)

  • Lovely fall weather
  • One last chance to grill
  • Laundry--yes, it's always good to have it done :)

Oct 8, 2010

Real Time

blogtoberfest 8

One problem I've always had with blogging is posting about real life but not in real time. For example, I love Sew & Tell Fridays, but Fridays are the only day I really ever have to sew (if I'm going to get to). It was very difficult for me to post about whatever I'd worked on the last Friday--because I hadn't worked on it "this week." Just a little ridiculous, I know. So blogtoberfest is a chance for me to stretch my brain around talking about whatever I want for the day.

Here goes--the Le Mars ChalkArt Festival--in September--was so cool. My husband, with DS#2 as his assistant, was one of the featured artists. Since it was also the anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's death, that was his subject. The Saturday was rained out, so they worked feverishly on Sunday to get the entire piece done. I think it looks great--DS is quite the pro "hair man."

DS#1 was also a featured student artist, so with his artist buddy they produced "Witty Kitty." No idea where that came from.

ChalkArt is a messy business, but the entire downtown parking lot was filled with people making their own pictures. Local bands played, local food was served. Despite the threat of rain, it was a good day. We celebrated a long, hard day of coloring with Chinese food that night!

It is great to live in a house with so much creation going on! We all love making stuff, drawing, painting, whatever. A good part of life.

  • Even though I didn't get my freeze, today's record-breaking warmth will be nice for the local Homecoming Parade & Game.
  • Tomorrow is the last Marching Band competition for the season--I love marching band, but 3 weekends in a row is tough.
  • An extra cup of coffee on my day off with just a couple hours at work.

Oct 7, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

blogtoberfest 7
From one of my favorite blogs:

Two Lessons for Christians to Learn

“There are but two lessons for Christians to learn: the one is, to enjoy God in everything; the other is, to enjoy everything in God.”
- Charles Simeon, quoted by John Piper in The Roots of Endurance (Wheaton, Ill.; Crossway Books, 2002), 113.

Oct 6, 2010

Last of the Summer Roses

blogtoberfest 6
The weather person predicts our first frost, so here is the last of the "Julia Child" roses. They smell just a bit like licorice and fade into the loveliest yellow. These were planted in honor of my mother.

  • Woke up feeling 100% better! 
  • Lovely fall day--still.
  • Feeling content.

Oct 5, 2010

Aaa. . .aaa. . .aaachoo!!!

blogtoberfest 5

Oh. my. goodness. I haven't had a cold like this in years. After the X-C pasta feed (they ate it all--even 3 gallons of chocolate milk!!), I went home and felt as if I'd been hit by a truck. Each day I get to experience a new symptom. Oh well, I guess I just have to get a real cold every few years. Even with beautiful weather outside, it seems to be going around everywhere (although I tried very hard not to breath on the food I served). Here's to a good night's sleep tonight!

  • My DS really appreciated the pasta feed--I think making points with teenagers might count double.
  • It is beautiful fall weather--our huge maple is beginning to turn golden
  • My allergies always get me out of raking leaves :)

Oct 4, 2010

Today's Equation

blogtoberfest 4

Pasta (red + white) X (Cinnamon Rolls)2 + Chocolate Milk + Bananas = 30 Full X-C Men

Does this compute?

We hope so! Hosting the men's cross country team tonight for carb loading before tomorrow's meet. The menu was requested by my son and includes spaghetti, tortellini, meat sauce, alfredo sauce, veggies, bananas, garlic bread, cinnamon rolls & chocolate milk. Just thinking about it puts me to sleep! But we have to be sure to fill them up, otherwise they tend to go and raid the women's pasta feed!

Go Bulldogs!

  • Team Spirit
  • Kind & fun-loving teenagers
  • Mild fall weather perfect for a 5K (and that I get to watch instead of run that myself)

Oct 3, 2010

Irish Inspiration

blogtoberfest 3

James Galway is just as charming and delightful as anyone could hope. Last night's concert was a truly lovely selection of pieces, including a concerto for 2 flutes by Cimorosa I'd never heard--lyrical and clever without being overly showy. The Carmen, of course was showy.

Even better though, were the encores. Galway is a consumate entertainer--explaining how he has been nearly the only famous solo flutist ever (30,000 albums sold!). His playing is completely effortless and stunningly consistent, his stage presence witty and enchanting. He could charm anyone into anything.

One of the encores was Galway playing "Danny Boy." He suggested this traditional tune is nearly sacred in its lyricism, and that we pray while listening. He's right; its simplicity and beauty, accompanied by a chamber orchestra with harp, sent chills up my spine rivaled only by Garrison Keillor having the audience sing the traditional Doxology.

A couple more tidbits: DH and I enjoyed a perfect steak supper at Outback, with sweet potato fries, before the concert. Lady Jeanne's Grecian and golden gown made me wish for someplace to wear such a stunning piece of clothing--which should make you laugh, as I wore Converse high tops to the concert! Her gown was heavenly, really--she seemed to float across the stage.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
praise him, all creatures here below
praise him above ye heavenly host;
praise Father, son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Oct 2, 2010

Date Night Extraordinaire

Blogtoberfest 2

Tonight one of my dreams is coming true . . .DH and I are going to see Sir James Galway and his wife Lady Jeanne in concert. James Galway is probably the world's MOST FAMOUS flutist (and has been since I was in high school--that's over 30 years).

James Galway was always the pinnacle for we flute players. In college I discovered I would not be a professional flutist, but I kept playing, and I still play for church and a few other places on occasion. So when we heard Galway was coming to lil 'ol Sioux City, Iowa, my DH and I both thought "great date!"

The concerts are held at a beautifully re-furbished Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City (see the chandelier above). They have everything from the symphony to Rocky Horror Picture Show there. We may even stop at Panera's on the way. The teenage sons have a marching band competition 3 HOURS away (a little pity party for that--ugh, 6 hours on a school bus), so we're on our own anyhow.

What's your favorite date night?

  • Even though I have a doozy of a cold (allergies?), I have a quiet day ahead, so plenty of opportunity to rest.
  • Beautiful fall weather.
  • An extra cup of coffee this morning.

Oct 1, 2010

BlogtoberFest Beginnings

blogtoberfest ~ day 1

Of course, I'm so out of it that I didn't even realize my idea to post everyday in October in order to jumpstart my blog again ALREADY EXISTED. So how great to open my blogroll and find that many great minds have the same idea--post every day in October.

You see, I've been lamenting the absolute boredom on my blog and trying to figure out how to post regularly. The main problem is I wanted a sewing blog but my life has little room for sewing, hence little content. What if I expand it to include, like, I don't know, my life?

So here it goes, blogtoberfest, a nice kick in the pants to just plain share. I'm pretty sure my life isn't quite as boring as my blog has been in the last 6 months. And there will still be a bit of sewing.

  • the blogosphere--I love the swaps and the blogs that make a positive community
  • the potential for frost this weekend--and a chance to put away the kleenex
  • a quiet morning to myself, even it I'm doing laundry

Sep 11, 2010

Yummy Chocolate Pinwheels

DQS9 Received!!

Looky, looky what I found in my mailbox! Quiltmakertg send me this fabulous mini--beautiful, bright pinwheels surrounded by chocolate brown. The setting and quilting are just perfect. I love that I had already made it a "favorite" on the Flickr group before I even received it.

I just love how fabulous a simple, even traditional block can look with the right fabrics and treatment. Really, it's not your grandmother's quilt, but it has a lot of the same elements!

Quiltmakertg also sent a lovely set of fat quarters--I've already got some chocolate Kona cotton to put with them into a simple, coin-like quilt. Thank you so much, Sandra! Your package really made my day--and the orange binding is exactly my style!

Ain't swaps grand!

Sep 10, 2010

::Happy Neighbors::

Well, I really didn't mean to fall off the edge of blogland this summer. It just happened that I was rarely home. I didn't have anything to sew show! What a whirlwind we had with kids going to camp, working, blah, blah, blah, blah. . . .

That's why I am super thrilled to finally have a finish for Sew-n-Tell Friday--my Doll Quilt Swap 9 mini sent off to my secret partner this week (just made the deadline!). She should get it today!

And I have to say, I'm even more thrilled with the results. This little baby changed very little from conception to completion. Normally, my quilts evolve to match my idea with my abilities/time/talent/stash. This time, I started with the border fabric and  inspiration from here. Aren't these the cutest little houses? (If the right DH is reading this, a set of these would look so sweet above the sink, and an important birthday is coming near. Hint. Hint.)

I realized to make row houses, I'd have to go with paper piecing. It only took a couple tries to work it out. Then I set them into another house--I couldn't get over my cleverness (lots of giggling while working this out--the men in my house, even the dog, thought I was crazy).

Ta Da! I'm really happy with this. I wanted to use these soft colors and straight line quilting since my partner is an expert at applique and FMQ. I thought she might appreciate having something different than she might make, yet still fitting in with her tastes.
We'll see what she thinks . . . .

For more great finishes, click on the Sew-n-Tell button on the sidebar. And have a good weekend!

  • Fall weather--I'm ready for a fresh start and long pants.
  • Learning to use my mother's sewing machine
  • Watching my sons grow into thoughtful young men

Jun 15, 2010


Yahoo, I got into the new Doll Quilt Swap. As you know, I LOVE these swaps. The Doll Quilt Swap is extra fun because (1) you get to stalk your secret partner, trying to figure out what they might like, and (2) you get a few months to create something new and fun. I love the STUD swap, too, but sometimes 1 month feels a bit rushed.

So secret partner, what do I like? I like so many things, but especially brights, especially orange. I like things a little out of the box AND I like traditional blocks, especially with a modern twist. I love all the birds in quilts lately, zig zags, pinwheels.

I don't like pink much at all, as well as cutesy, nor white in any quantity. But fun, now fun is a different matter all together. A sense of humor is great.

The most important thing to me, however, is that you have some fun making the doll quit. Try something new if you like, use up stash/scraps, whatever you like. And I hope you post something about the process--I try to comment as much as I can :)

Let the fun begin!

Jun 11, 2010

Mail Box Boon

Sew & Tell Friday

Here are my May STUD quilts.
Top left, a wonderful sewing machine from Scrapnchick, inspired by my previous post on my mother and her sewing machine. The details are great, as was the letter sent along with it. I just love it!

Top right, SaraSQuilts "Wish You Were Here" mini of her farm in PA. Check out the little cows in front of the barn! The back also has a lovely pieced star. This will look great in my office "gallery"--thank you!

I've been waiting to Sew & Tell my May contributions. On the lower left, my "Wish You Were Here in Iowa." Later in the summer, the goldfinches (Iowa state bird) will flock to our sunflower folly ( a 10 ft circle of sunflowers). Everything in Iowa is surrounded by corn and bean fields, shaded in all kinds of green and golds at one time or another.

On the lower right is my "Anything Goes." Scrapnchick said she loved cherries, and I really wanted to try Oh, Fransson's rick rack block (see older post). Harder than it looks, at least for me to keep straight, so I embraced the wonky!

Check out more Sew & Tell's over at Amylouwho's (click on the sidebar button). Have a great weekend!

  • A good week at state church meetings with a little road trip thrown in--fun to get out of town!
  • Starting a new STUD mini
  • I'm in the DQS9! I have all summer to let my ideas percolate.

May 28, 2010

SWAP Mania

Sew & Tell Friday

Ok, so I didn't sew any of these--I can't actually show you the 2 minis I finished this week, at least not until my STUD swap partners receive them. Be sure to check all the Sew & Tell finishes over at amylouwho (click on the button on the sidebar).
No, these are just some of the great little quilts I have received over the past year or so of swapping. Don't you love them? And I have lots more. Here's my top 10 for being in SWAPs. A SWAP project:

10.keeps me starting and finishing a new project often.
9. keeps me checking out flickr & blogland for new ideas, as I "lurk" around my partner's stuff.
8. helps me try really new things, stepping outside my box.
7. helps me meet new people.
6. gives me a nice little collection of great minis--no one else in my house makes quilts for me!
5. freshens up my office, where I change minis every month.
4. shows me different approaches and techniques in quilting.
3. gets me mail!
2. gives me lots of planning/day dreaming time.
1. makes me quilty happy (I know, sounds sappy, but the simple truth).

I wish I had time to be in more swaps. Check out flickr for a million of them, from potholders to minis to pillows to who knows what. Gotta love 'em

75 Post Winners ~ Since I only had 5 entries, I am sending out 5 packages! Send me your snail mail address if I don't already have it, along with a repeat of your favorite color combinations, and I'll get your giveaway ready. It will be so much fun selecting your fabrics!

Have a great weekend--the weather's absolutely perfect in Iowa!

May 26, 2010

STUD Sneak Peek

Wish You Were Here STUD swap

Not any better clue than Sara gave me :) On its way today!
If you want to enter my 75th post giveaway, scroll down. Open until Thursday!

May 24, 2010

75th Post Giveaway

I know, in some ways I think ONLY 75 posts. I've been dabbling at this blog thing all along. But I missed the 50th, and I think the last 25 or so I'm starting to get the hang of this.

When I started this blog, I thought I'd be able to consistently post 3 or 4 times/week (I thought I'd get to sew that often--silly me). I thought maybe I'd make some things to sell. I thought none of it would take much time. But then, that's the story of my life--routine underestimation.

I'd tried this blogging thing a couple times before and just couldn't stick with it. False starts. (If you're like me, you've written HUNDREDS of posts in your head!) But then I discovered SWAPs! SWAPS really keep me motivated, not only to finish things but to blog about them. And I love reading so many of the quilty blogs out there. And here I am, talking too much again.

Here's the giveaway:

Two kits + pattern for this table topper--it's easy to make (although I don't want you to have to WAIT for me to make one). With each kit, I'll include some extra goodies, like a take-along sewing kit, perfect for stitching down binding. This little thing is easy peasy and fun to make--one of my favorites.

Just leave a comment with (1) your favorite thing about quilty blogland--free tutes, reading about process, meeting people, just what inspires you most? and (2) your favorite color combination. Deadline: Thursday, noon, Central Time. Winners will be announced on my Friday's Sew & Tell.

Have a great week! And thanks for stopping by!

  • Central Air = real sleep (it's been 90-ish with high humidity all weekend)
  • Rhubarb cake--very little redeeming about it nutritionally but so yummy
  • Automatic washing machine--if we had to use a ringer machine or a washboard, we couldn't get some sewing in at the same time! (I got 4 loads done while finishing up a mini for the STUD swap.)

May 21, 2010

Sneak Peek

Sew & Tell Friday

Hmmm. . . which swap partner do you think will like these? Inspired by Oh, Fransson's Rick Rack block, I started with the yellow and blue scraps. After looking for some dots (to be like Elizabeth), I found this great cherry fabric from Robert Kaufman--my partner LOVES cherries (or so she says).

Anyhow, turns out this classic square within a square block is not so simple to keep square--the rick rack adds just enough bulk. So I cut the yellow one a bit wonky after the 2nd round--to cover up embracing the natural process instead of fighting it. Yeah, that's why. I just love this fresh look.

Today I will finish up this mini and get started on the "Wish You Were Here" swap--too many ideas for that one! I have the entire day to myself!

Check back Monday for a giveaway celebrating 75 posts!

  • Blessed by an impressive school orchestra concert--don't my boys look sharp! The music was truly beautiful, too. Their teacher really loves these kids.
  • Our cat, Chin, returned Sunday after 32 days missing! A little on the skinny side, but otherwise in good shape. Everyone except the dog is thrilled!
  • So proud of all the new graduates--we've been making the rounds of receptions--many of these kids were in my Sunday School classes years ago. They have grown up to be so poised and respectful and fun. Next year our oldest DS will join their ranks (is that a tear rolling down my cheek?).
Check out all the other great Sew & Tells over at Amy's--just click on the button in the sidebar!

May 14, 2010

SEW Much Legacy

Sew & Tell Friday

Today's Sew & Tell post is all about my mother. The day after Mother's Day, I finally received her sewing things--she passed away 3 years ago. It's so exciting to have her Bernina sewing machine (yes, 18 years old but still computerized), her Bernina serger, her big fancy sewing table, and most of her notions.

She LOVED her sewing machine, as you can see form the above photo--it's all 90s, but it's a tribute to this baby that allowed her to applique and make lace to her heart's content! My mom LOVED sewing of all kinds (except, strangely quilting). Sweetly, I also found this Mother's Day card from me to her among her things--one I am proud to have written her (let's just say that at age 29 I finally got around to showing some gratitude).

Channeling My Mom

I have always thought my mom and me to be so different--yet while going through these boxes of her favorite things, I can see that I do indeed channel take after her in many ways:
  1. We love gadgets and tools. The wide array of scissors above I'm sure helped her with applique and other fancy sewing--I will have to do some research to figure all of these out. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what she had--scissors, marking tools, measuring tools, needles. If they made it, she got it. I'm sure she kept her local fabric store in business for many years. Fortunately for me, she had an unopened bias tape maker, something I was thinking of getting. Personally, it takes real restraint for me to leave that cool marker or ruler at the store.
  2. If 1 is good, 12 are better! Apparently, neither of us likes to run out of stuff. Witness just a few from an entire shoe box full of ZIPPERS my mom had. She must have thought they might become extinct. I guess I'll have to break down and learn to put a zipper in a bag--I have all kinds to use now.
  3. We love making things--it almost doesn't matter what. The creative process, and perhaps a resulting gift, is the thing. Look at this cute, but slightly strange (maybe in an early 90s way) handkercheif apron. Enitrely useless as an apron (too flimsy), yet I'm sure she had fun experimenting with this. Mom would have belonged to a dozen swaps!

As I've grown older (and now that mom is gone), I realize that sewing/creating is an important thread connecting the generations of women in my family. My mom was a fabulous clothes maker: she made her prom dress (spaghetti straps, tafetta, boning!), my wedding outfit (battenberg lace) and many, many other pieces. Her mother probably started sewing out of necessity, yet she loved her Singer with all the dials and feet that allowed her to smock and gather and do so much else--a big step up from the treadle she had when I was little. All of us often had matching dresses in the 60s when it was cool. Sewing well was not only fun but practical and frugal.

I am SEW thankful that my mom lived long enough for me to actually share this interest with her and for me to show her gratitude for the courage with which she lived life. And now, as I incorpate her sewing tools and supplies into my own stash, I can be reminded each time I sit down to the machine what a loving mother I was blessed to have. And if you made it through this post, thanks for taking the time! Be sure to check out all the other Sew & Tell posts by clicking on the sidebar button.