"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Day (or Three) of Spring!

WooHoo!! We're celebrating Spring! or at least Spring-like weather for a day or two.

It is the warmest today it's been all year so far. We're clear up to 41* but it feels like 60. We've had the side door open all afternoon (on the south side of the house) and it doesn't feel any cooler than the house ... though Dad would say that's just because we keep our house frigid ;)

We still have a ton of snow in the yard - almost 3 feet in the back corner which doesn't get much sun. And where it is melting, we have ponds (see foreground, next to the castle). So we still can't do much playing outside with the daycare kids. I am going to get them outside for a bit today when they get up after naptime. Can't waste a day like today.

Tomorrow and Saturday are supposed to be just as nice. I had to laugh though at the forecast. Weatherbug says, "Cloudy. Chance of snow in the morning...then rain likely in the afternoon. Little or no snow accumulation. Highs 43 to 47. Chance of precipitation 60 percent. Snow and rain likely in the evening...then snow likely after midnight. Light snow accumulations. Lows in the lower to mid 20s. Chance of precipitation 70 percent." So, yeah, Springtime in the Rockies!

Last night, hubby got home from work about 10 minutes before church was to start - so of course he was a filthy mess and couldn't go. My daughter and I decided to go, and leave him to babysit. The 7 year old has a bad cold, and there is no nursery for the Wednesday night service, so the 2 year old stayed home too.

This is what I came home to. Three of a kind. This is their "watching a movie" routine. Tonight it was videotaped reruns from the history channel. This is a real treat for them. We canceled our television service a long time ago, and not only do we not miss it, I don't think we could stand to have it anymore. Such a time waster! And all the noise, and lack of communication. Ugh. So glad we got rid of it.

They do enjoy their occasional movies - or "moofies" as the two year old calls them. It's quite a production. Everyone has to have blankets and pillows, and the two year old doesn't do anything without at least one stuffed dog. At least he chose the one that fits into the chair this time.

I've made great progress on my baby afghan. I've been impressed with how far a skein of yarn will go. This is how far I got before my first skein of brown ran out. The blue is close to gone too. But wow. This is half done, not including the border. I'm definitely going to have some yarn to return or exchange when I'm done. I bought 4 skeins of each color, and I think two will finish the body of the quilt. I'll probably need part of another for the border, but still, wow.

So far it measures about 29 inches wide and 20 inches long. I think if I do another skein of each color, that should be about perfect - somewhere around 40 inches, which I think is plenty. Then with the border, it should gain a couple inches in width too, and finish nicely. I LOVE this pattern. Once I got it figured out, it has worked up so easily. I think I'm gonna have to make another one of these for my someday box. I think red, pink and white would be a pretty combination for this design. We'll see. Lots of other projects to finish first.

Speaking of other projects, I dug out some scrap fabrics to test out my diaper bag pattern on. It's not the most beautiful stuff, but it was what I had on hand. I'm not going to go all out on this - just do enough to make sure the pattern measurements work out. I probably won't even make a lining. If it all looks like it will work, I'll get going on the real one. This is such a simple bag, and doesn't really take much fabric. I didn't have a clue how much I would need when I ordered my giraffe and polka dot fabrics, so I'm sure I have way more than I need. But then, there are always accessories to be made ;)

Each evening I've also done a few hexagons too. I'm averaging 12-20 of them a night. I honestly have no clue how many I'm going to need for a finished quilt. A bunch, that's for sure. I guess it would help to know whether I'm making a baby quilt or a king sized one, but I just don't know yet. It will depend on how long the hexagon craze continues. So far, it shows no signs of going away!


Do you ever just feel overwhelmed with sadness? We've had a lot of sad news lately and the events of the world have added to that. And I've really been sad a lot lately. Nothing like depression or anything. Just very sad at times. Maybe it's the hormones of the pregnancy causing these things to hit home harder than usual, but still... Here are just a few of the things that have been on my mind.
~ in January a friend requested prayer for a family whose baby died at 1 1/2 days old. She now writes a blog about it, trying to work through her grief, and it is heart-wrenching. Especially considering I myself am expecting...
~ also in January, another friend requested prayer for a little one-year-old girl who was undergoing heart surgery. It did not go well. Her heart never started beating again, and she has been on a mechanical heart since then. Today we received word that they may have found a matching donor - waiting to hear - she may have surgery today. Wonderful news, but I can't help but cry a little for the family of the donor.
~ three brothers I watch in my daycare (ages 4,3, and 1) lost their father when he fell into an abandoned mine shaft ... on the 3 year old's birthday. The family has chosen not to tell the boys. The parents were divorced, so this may work for awhile...
~ a good friend from college found out she has a condition with a malformation in her brain, and will live in pain for the rest of her life. She is the mother of 7 or 8 children, and just had brain surgery Monday, and is still in the hospital recovering. They had to leave the mission field in Uruguay to get care for her.
~ another sweet young lady from college, now on the mission field in Brazil with her husband and family has been battling colitis. This lead to a complication where she was getting sores on her legs that were spreading and were an aggressive form of gangrene. At first they thought it was a bacterial infection. The sores had to be cut out and they thought she might have to have skin grafts to heal the openings. Her condition is improving and the sores are finally healing. It sounds like she may not even need the skin grafts. She is young - maybe 30ish, and has three young children.
~ another young man who attended college with us discovered he has a very rare form of sarcoma cancer. He went to the doctor for a stomach ache, and ended up having surgery to remove a cantaloupe sized tumor from his belly. The prognosis is not good because this is such a rare form of cancer and all the "treatments" are experimental. He is only 30 and has 3 young children. He is a youth pastor in Georgia.
~ Sunday another couple from college lost their 17 year old son in a car accident. He was a friend of our oldest son's. They have started a church near Wilmington, NC.
~ Then of course there have been disasters across the world - earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan in particular, that have been depressing. I read blogs written by people in each of those areas, and while it has been interesting to see things from their perspective, it has also been so sad.

So, it just seems overwhelming at times. God has been so good to us to allow us to live in comfort and security and good health. God is good ALL THE TIME. I know that. I know regardless of how all these situations turn out, it is God's will, and His will is perfect. But still, one thing piled up on top of another is starting to get to me. I hope the list ends here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Diaper Bag Pattern Drafted!

After a lot of distractions and delays, I finally have a draft pattern for my diaper bag. It's going to be a messenger-style bag, with a top flap that folds over, and a zipper closure. We'll see how it turns out. I was able to do the drafting during naptime today. My 18 year old and 7 year old went on a walk to the post office and library after the 7 year old finished up his schoolwork for the day. With all the daycare kids asleep, I took over their long preschool table to spread out my papers and rulers, and put on my thinking cap. We'll have to wait to see how well I was thinking. I would have had time to cut out fabric, but that's all in boxes in the garage, and without the 18 year old here to supervise the daycare, I couldn't go rummaging through the boxes for test fabric. There's no way I'm using my good stuff until I know the pattern will work! So it will have to wait for another day. At least the pattern is ready to try!

Since I couldn't get to the fabric to try out the pattern, I continued to work on the afghan and the hexagon quilt. Lots of progress, but you're probably getting sick of photos of the same thing, so I'll wait until it's more noteworthy ;)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When the Cat's Away...

So, when the two year old got up from his nap this afternoon, I should have been watching more carefully. His sister had made cookies earlier, and left the beater too close to the edge of the counter. Hmm. I thought it was awfully quiet...

So, being the nice mama that I am, I decided to indulge him. Instead of taking away the ill gotten gain, we put a bib on him and contained him in a high chair.

And he didn't stop until he had every last crumb. Impressive. I won't even have to rinse it before it goes in the dishwasher ;)

As for my sewing progress, there has been plenty... just not what I planned. I decided last night that I was too tired to do much cleaning in the sewing room. And my sweet husband had commandeered the computer to look at pictures from the Hill Climb. His cousin's son did really well - he won the semi-pro king of the hill division, and we found a website with wonderful professional pictures taken from the top of the hill. So without the computer, I couldn't refer to the measurements of the Hoohobbers bag, so, no pattern drafting either.

No problem. That's why I have several projects going at once. I went out to the sewing room and found the few pieces of red fabric scraps I have that will work in the hexagon quilt and cut a few squares. Despite having millions of pieces of fabric, I really don't have much cotton. I always sewed clothes before, so my collection is centered around clothing fabrics - stretchy stuff, and lots of home dec fabrics too. I also have an impressive collection of western fabrics, but that isn't the look I'm going for here. So, poor me. I'll probably have to buy another fat quarter or two... or three ;)

Anyway, back inside, where we have heat... I made up another 15 hexagons before deciding that I really ought to put it down and make some progress on my baby afghan. I put about 2 hours into the afghan, and really made a lot of progress. I'm moving right along on both of those projects because I enjoy them both, and they are both easy to work on while the kids nap, or after they leave. Perfect and relaxing! Just my sort of project. No stress.

Monday, March 28, 2011


During naptime today, I took the opportunity to stitch up a few hexagons with the new, darker turquoise fabrics. What do you think? Better? I think it greatly improved the color scheme. Now I just need to dig out a few more reds, and I think we'll be good. I'm not thrilled with the tiny red print in the bottom right, and probably won't use it. I'm also considering dropping the white with the red dots. I don't think it makes enough of an impact.

This is a surprisingly easy and relatively fast project. Addicting, too. I have to force myself to work on my crocheting first - since it has a date by which is must be done ;) Otherwise, I could easily see myself finishing this project first. Love it!

Tonight I'm hoping to experiment with a little pattern drafting after dinner. I need to come up with a diaper bag. I love this one by Hoohobbers, but there is no way I am going to pay close to $100 for a diaper bag. Seriously? The one I really like is by Fleurville. We won't even talk about the $120 price tag. Ridiculous.

So, I ordered some fabric, and am going to attempt to make a messenger bag style diaper bag, similar to the Hoohobbers bag. I'm thinking I better do a test run first, before using my good fabric, but tonight, I'm just hoping to get a pattern drafted. I've not done a lot of pattern drafting, so we'll see. The only drafting I've done has been for another tote-style diaper bag, and a dress I created from one I already owned. But I've done a lot of "winging it" and I used to work at a factory sewing bags (luggage style bags) so there is some hope ;) I'd also really like to organize my sewing room a bit, now that it's getting warm enough to be out in the garage, so I can't guarantee which project I'll work on. I'll let you know tomorrow.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Day at the Jackson Hole Hill Climb

Sorry - this is a bit of a long post. But it's been a bit of a long day. A very good one, but long.

Today was a day of watching. We went to Jackson Hole to watch the annual Hill Climb. This is one of the biggest snowmobile races (straight up Snow King Ski Resort's lift line) on the Hill Climb circuit. And, it's a lot of fun to watch. It was a gorgeous day - clear, sunny and about 40 degrees. Perfect!

We only have one pair of binoculars (something we need to fix), so we used a spotting scope too. Everyone took turns so we could all see up close.

We sat right at the base of the resort, just behind the lift line.

And this is what we saw. The racers have to zig and zag their way up the mountain, making it through gates. The hill is very steep, and after awhile the path becomes rutted and mushy from all the traffic. It gets pretty hairy up toward the top.

My husband's cousin's son raced and won two of the divisions, (this was only qualifying day), and has earned himself a full-time ride next year as a Skidoo sponsored rider. It is quite an accomplishment. I think he is 18 years old.

The kids - especially the seven year old - had more fun just playing and being kids than watching the race. The seven year old even made several friends, and finagled his way into using one of their sleds.

Here they are loading up three kids for the ride, including the sled owner...


Yep. Saw that coming. They had a great time :)

The two year old is terrified of ... well, a lot of things. He won't try using the potty because it scares him to sit on it. It took all day to convince him to climb up the playground equipment. Then his big sister took him down the slide. See the death grip he's doing with his legs? This picture just cracks me up.

Of course I was wanting to test out my camera and see what kind of scenery shots we could get. Not bad, eh? Of course it's hard to take a bad picture of the Tetons.

I like how the lighting is in this one. We were driving about 60 mph when I took this one out of my window. I'll just say I'm very pleased with this camera, and am going to keep it.

I also wanted to see if I could get a good picture at the Elk Refuge. Not bad, I'd say, considering these elk were a good 100+ yards away.

Sometimes the elk are right up by the road, and sometimes they are far away. I don't know if you can see it in the photo or not, but if you look at the top edge of the picture, you will see hundreds of elk in the brown area in the background. Many of the elk have already left the refuge, but most that were there were laying in the brown areas, where they are well camoflouged. I'm guessing that is more about the fact that it's more comfortable to lay on the dry ground. Who knows. I don't think I have much insight as to how elk think. I can never seem to find them during hunting season, anyway.

Oh, remember the other day I said I could only find one paperclip? I figured a trip to Staples would cure that problem. Well, I wanted to buy a small box of silver paperclips. Easy, right? Not. They didn't even have a single box of the silver ones. The only thing in a small box was gold colored, and from the price, they must have thought they were gold plated - $4.49 for a small box. Are you kidding me? I'm not trying to make a fashion statement. This enormous package of 1000 plastic coated paperclips in hideous, "trendy" colors (which my daughter actually likes) was on sale for $3. I do not need 1000 paperclips. But I also don't need to spend an extra $1.49 to get the smaller amount I actually wanted. It just seems so wasteful to me to have to buy 900 more paperclips than I really need. They did have some silver ones, but those boxes came shrink wrapped together, and you got somewhere between 6-10 boxes at once. Ridiculous. So I was stuck buying the big package. I don't even know what I'm going to do with all of them. My grandchildren will be inheriting paperclips, I guess, and I'm sure by then those trendy colors will be horribly outdated. Think avocado green and harvest gold if you have any doubts. Good grief.

So I pulled out a few - less than a tenth, probably, and put them in a small baby food jar so I can use them for my crafts. Crazy. Should have gone to the dollar store first. They had a small package of 100 for $1... in normal, primary colors.

Speaking of crafts, I did manage to talk my sweet hubby into stopping at the quilt store long enough for me to pick up some darker turquoise fabrics. I'm not sure these will work well either. I took my hexagons with me, and picked out the best I could find, but the quilt store there carries more of the standard, traditional quilting fabrics, rather than the new, fun stuff. This is what I came home with. I wasn't sure about the stripe, but my daughter thinks it will tie in the greener shades I already have, and make me satisfied to keep them in the quilt. We will have to see. I won't know until I get some sample hexagons made out of these fabrics and can do a mock layout. I definitely want to include the bolder turquoises if possible though. They are more what I had in mind.

I took my crocheting with me today thinking I could crochet between riders at the Hill Climb. But they kept it moving fast enough, and I was into taking pictures of the kids having fun, so I didn't even pull it out. I was going to crochet on the way up there, but ended up driving instead, so oh well. I'll save that project for another day ;) And speaking of new days, since it is now 12:02 AM, I better get to bed. (Told-ya it's been a long day). Tomorrow will be busy too, with church services, and our regular pianist gone for Spring Break. My daughter and I will both be playing for the services. Good night!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ahh, It's Been a Good Day

It's been a great day (most Fridays are) and this one has been especially nice. It started with all the daycare kids wound up - to the extreme. I think the combination of a long week, and the fact that we haven't had a yard to play in for months has brought things to a frenzy. It will be so nice when we can get them outside again. Maybe by next winter I'll be all moved out of the daycare building and we can clear the garage to create an "indoor" play yard. I can move all my outdoor equipment in there and get a few pads for under the slides, and still have room for riding bikes and such. It will still be cold, but at least it will be dry.

Anyway, Fridays are always good because when they're done, I have a weekend to look forward to! After everyone left tonight my husband took me out for a nice steak dinner. Very relaxing. When we came home, the UPS man was right behind us, bringing, of all wonderful things, FABRIC!!

Isn't this cute? With any luck, this will become my new diaper bag. The main body of the bag will be these cute giraffes, and the blue dots will be on the sides, and inside the bag. I bought the black dots too, because I wasn't sure whether I would want the blue on the outside (other than for trim). I really like the blue, though, and will probably let it be on the outside. We shall see ;)

They (Fabric.com) were having a great sale on some of their other fabrics, so I picked up this super-cute black and white fabric with silhouette kiddos on it to use in my sewing room ... assuming it ever gets here. I'm thinking it would be a cute valance. I think I'll paint the room a pretty robin's egg blue and decorate in black and white. This will work well because my two storage cabinet units are white. Hopefully it will get here before we all enter eternity. I'm not placing any bets on it though. Latest word is that they will be here in 10 days, but this guys word is worth about as much as the confederate dollar, which ain't much.

It was also a great day for my daughter, who has recently signed up to sell Premiere Jewelry. They do home shows similar to Pampered Chef, only with jewelry. Her 70 piece jewelry kit arrived today. The poor FedEx man... the box must have weighed almost 50 pounds. I could barely lift it from the entryway. It wasn't all jewelry. They sent catalogs, and a lot of paperwork, along with an awesome portable jewelry case which is probably two feet tall by ... oh, I have no idea. It's big. Just look at the size of the box. The two year old was overjoyed to have something to beat on, and the perfect size box to sit up in. Too cute.

He was really enjoying himself.

And finally, I thought I would show you the progress I've made on the baby blanket. I think it looks like rolling waves. I did most of this Thursday, while the house was quiet during naptime and my own 18 and 7 year old were at the ski hill. It was nice to have a free afternoon just to sew, and not have to focus on homeschool. Even mom needs a break now and then ;)

So it's been a fun day. Now I need to get some rest so I can (hopefully) get some sewing done tomorrow. But who knows. We're kind of up in the air on our weekend plans, and might end up going to the hill climb (snowmobile race) in Jackson tomorrow. It will depend on the weather. The seven year old thinks we ought to ski instead.

Jumping on Two Bandwagons

I love getting stuff like this in the mail :)

I ordered this set of fat quarters from Quilt Taffy (out of Idaho) on Etsy.

Here's a better view of all the fabrics. I've been seeing for awhile people making turquoise and red quilts and knew I wanted to make one too. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, or how big it will be, but I love this color combination. You can kind of see in this picture that several of these fabrics were more toward green than blue. That didn't bother me until I got my hexagons done and noticed how different they are. Too bad. Looks like I need to buy more turquoise fabric ;)

There were a lot of quirky fabrics in this set. Fun. Like these chairs with an occasional bird on them.

There were actually several fabrics with birds on them. Funny thing was that when I cut this fabric and made a hexagon out of it, only the three sets of flowers on the right showed up on the front. On the back I counted 5 birds - ha. Hope it works out so that sometimes birds show and sometimes they don't!

This is my favorite piece of fabric. Love it!

I really like this one too, but it's one of the greener ones, and I haven't decided whether to include those in this quilt or save them for another project.

I like this one too. In fact, I loved the reds. I thought about just doing a red and white quilt because I love all those fabrics. We'll see.

I have also noticed a trend toward everyone making hexagon quilts. I've always admired those because they are 100% hand sewn. When I saw several online tutorials on how easy these are to make using these paper pieces, I ordered a pack and decided to give it a shot.

I ordered the ones which measure 1 inch across each side. They are about 2 inches across the widest part. I've just been cutting 2 1/2 inch squares of fabric with my rotary cutter rather than messing with cutting individual hexagons out with scissors. It's much easier, and doesn't make that much difference in the amount of fabric used.

These are so easy to sew. One blog said to start with the first side folded down and held with a paper clip. That makes it really easy. Only problem was that I could only find one paperclip. Seriously. Who only has one paperclip? That slowed me down some, because I kept losing my paperclip in my lap. Anyway, with a paperclip holding the first side, you then just stitch around, folding down each corner and stitching it in place. I didn't even tie any knots - just took two stitches in each corner instead.

At the end of an hour, give or take, I had 20 hexagons made up (not including cutting time). That's one of each of the fabrics I received. I don't plan to work on this project much right now - too many baby things that need to be finished in the next 97 days. But I wanted to try this technique while it was fresh in my mind. I was surprised by how easy it was, and relaxing, and fast ... relatively speaking.

Here's a rabbit trail: Every day I read one particular blog where the lady does almost all hand quilting - both piecing and quilting, and it's such an inspiration to me ... especially how much she manages to get done every day. Of course we're at different places in life, and she has much more time than I do, but I never read her posts without being really inspired. (That's why I read it every day!) So I figured more hand sewing is in order ;)

On a different note, this is why I hate pre-washing fabrics, and why I rarely do it. I thought though, if I'm going to put all that effort into hand sewing a quilt, I'm not going to have it get messed up because I didn't preshrink the fabric! So, this mess is what I got, and then I spent an hour cutting threads, untangling fabric, and ironing. UGH.

See what a mess of thread I ended up with?

Anyway, once I got my hexagons stitched I wanted to see what they would look like together.

I'm not thrilled with any of these layouts. And when I got them laid out, it was very obvious to me that the greens were much greener than I wanted to include in this quilt. I was going for bold turquoise and bright, true red, with just a bit of white.

You may not be able to tell as much in the photos as I can in person. It doesn't bother me as much in the photos, but it's driving me nuts in person.

This is an arrangement my daughter came up with, and it's pretty good. Better than anything I came up with, but I think it would take a lot more of one color than a the other.

This is another layout that I don't mind as much. We'll just have to see. Now all I want to do is make hexagons, but I really need to get back to working on the baby stuff first. This will be my backup plan for "just in case I get put on bed rest" - which at times sounds lovely... like on Fridays... in the daycare... when everyone is wound up like crazy... and I'm ready for the quiet (relatively) weekend ;) It's not likely though. I've never been on bed rest, and this is baby #5.