Friday, February 29, 2008

Getting Scrappy!

I ordered this quilter's saying panel from Keepsake Quilting and thought it would make a cute sampler type quilt. I started with just the log cabin blocks, but then thought I could do a variety of different blocks. I've got flying geese and hourglass blocks so far, I think I need two more patterns, one for the top left nine patch region, and then something different for the middle two four patches. The squares are only 3 inches finished, so it will be a little quilt, but it's been fun making tiny little blocks. My husband insists that we don't NEED any more bed quilts in the house, so I should make more little quilts. He thinks that just because we live in Florida people don't get cold.
I'm going to a crop tonight (that's a scrap booking party). I haven't been to one in ages and had to check to see if I even had pictures developed. I used to do lots of scrap booking and for a while was even up to date with all of my pictures. I've been spending more time quilting in the last couple of years, and my photos have fallen behind. My youngest daughter doesn't even have a baby book! I feel so guilty every time she asks to look at her baby book and we have to pull out the family book that covers the period of time when she was born. My oldest daughters baby book was the first thing I ever cropped and it is quite extensive. My son was born only 2 years later, so I used the same format and made one for him as well. And now I've fallen so far behind on the family album that I feel like I can't take a break and make another baby album. It will be fun to get out of the house, it seems like I've been stuck at home a lot lately.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cookies Almost Gone

The last couple of weeks have been full of cookie booths, and Girl Scout meetings. I have only two cases left, and so the end is in sight! My cold made a come-back and I spent most of last week in hibernation. I finally found a few minutes last night to sew for a bit and decided to pull out my Tea Rose Sampler. This is from fat quarter bundle that my mom got for me last Christmas. The colors are very soft and pretty, with a large scale floral as the focus. I decided to use a large center block to keep the large floral intact and use a variety of patterns around the edges. I'm not sure why I put it away, I think I got frustrated trying to get 3 flying geese to fit on a side and put it away to simmer.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Different Kind of Scrappy

I really hate the cheesy little valentines from the supermarket. The cartoon ones with the spot to write in to and from that come 36 to a box. There is something so sad and impersonal about them. All of the kids are supposed to bring valentines to school tomorrow, so I was motivated to scrapbook again. It's been ages since I had my scrap booking stuff out, and it was such fun! I've been in a real quilting phase lately, and I'm starting to feel that it may be time to switch gears for a while.
My oldest daughter made her own valentines -- hearts for the girls and puzzle pieces for the boys. I tried to get her to put, "You hold the key to my heart" on them, but she wanted, "Happy Valentines Day" instead (poetry must run in the family). I chose a letter theme for the other two. "You are the apple of my EYE" and "BE my valentine". I even ran out to the craft store for a bumble bee stamp.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Slow Progress

There wasn't much time this weekend to sew, but I did manage to complete a few rounds on the last set of log cabin blocks. I think I have the right number of each color combination counted out, now it's just round and round we go. Mindless sewing is about all I've got time and energy for at the moment.
Tonight was our regular Girl Scout meeting, we made cupcakes and practiced our Irish song for Thinking Day. We tried Irish dancing, but kept bumping into cookie boxes! We had a cookie booth this weekend, and another next weekend. Just when I'm wondering why I do it, my daughter looks up at me with those sweet little eyes and says, "I'm so glad you're my leader Mom." Sigh....
I talked to my brother on Saturday. He has a job! I know that it won't solve all of his problems, but I can think of a number of issues that it will help. My mom has decided to bail him out, but with conditions. We'll see how it all plays out. I had a number of interesting comments on my decisions post. It seems that other people have similar issues to deal with. I still don't have any answers, but I do feel better for having articulated my questions.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Remember that picture I posted a couple of days ago of my nice empty formal living room floor after I had picked up all of the quilt bits? Now my formal living room has been overrun by Girl Scout cookies! I've managed to get two loads out the door already, but it will be a while before I can get rid of everything. So all things quilt related will have to take a little break as I spend the next two weekends at cookie booths. For some reason everything happens in February so it's going to be a busy month for our troop.
I got an e-mail from my aunt yesterday asking me to make a memorial quilt square for my cousin who died last week. I've asked her for some input into color and design. I was thinking a photo quilt might be nice. I guess I'll get my encyclopedia of quilting out and look for a pattern with an appropriate name. My nephews birthday is in two weeks, so I should get his top quilted in a hurry if I'm going to get it mailed out in time. Hmm, I guess I should get moving on some of those......

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I put the final border on Carolina Crossroad and finished piecing the backing on Sunday. I pressed them both and hung them neatly in the closet with the other two flimsys waiting for quilting. As soon as I get back into quilting mode I'll be ready to take off.
I also put together another fabric shopping bag, although I refused to look the directions while I was doing it, and messed up the bottom seam somehow. I'll try again though, eventually I'll have enough to go shopping!
I have a doozie of a cold and slept for 13 hours yesterday! I even stayed home from work today, which I never do. I like to save my sick days for when the kids get sick, which always seems to happen when Dad is out of town.
I didn't have much energy for things quilty, but I organized some scraps, and picked all the quilt stuff up off the floor. This is what my formal living room looks like without a quilt on it! It looks too empty doesn't it?

Sunday, February 3, 2008


I am feeling very philosophical this morning, so skip this if you are looking for a quilt related entry.
My brother has lost his job again. It's not the first time it's happened, but he is in danger of losing his house, his wife and his son. He's pressuring my mom to give him the money to bail himself out yet again. I look at the problems he is having in his life, and there is not a single one that is not the direct result of the decisions he has made. I know that some people lose jobs and houses through bad luck and situations out of their control, my brother is not one of those. He is capable and able of doing a job, paying the bills, raising a son, he just doesn't do it.
So what is it about some people that makes them get up and go to work everyday, and pay the bills and do the million other things that have to be done, while others live in crisis mode, never able to meet a deadline?
I don't feel like I do anything extraordinary on a daily basis. I get up and help get the kids off to school, sometimes I run and then I go to work. I go to work and then pick up the kids, we do homework and play or read. We make diner and then have baths before bed. If there is time we might watch a little TV. On weekends we spend time as a family, maybe work on a project, and do the usual things everyone does on weekends like grocery shopping, mowing the yard, and laundry. It doesn't seem like anything special. Not everything goes according to plan, but we adjust and move one.
So what is it about my life that allows me stability and routine and calm, while my brother is constantly in putting out fires and handling emergencies? There has to be some identifiable difference, something I could point to and say, why don't you try doing "this" it works really well for us. I just keep coming back to the conclusion that there isn't a thing that you can do, because each individual decision is so small.
Taken one at a time you wonder how such simple things can add up to a life direction.
How many truly major decisions do we make in our life? Who to marry, where to live, maybe what kind of job to take. But there aren't a lot of those. Most of the choices that present themselves on a daily basis are so mundane that they must be insignificant. What time do I need to get up to make it to work on time, am I going to buy fast food for lunch or bring a bag lunch, Am I going to buy a new pair of bluejeans while they are on sale, am I going to write a check to the people at Visa. How can such trivial details define our lives?
I don't know how it can be, but I know for a fact that those trivial differences define the chasm between me and my brother. Everyone thinks idly that it would be nice to call in sick to work today, most people go to work anyway. We all have jobs that require a certain amount of time and skill, but most people manage to find a job that matches their abilities and interests. They bring home a paycheck, and it is usually enough to cover the needs and a few wants. Everyone has bills, needs food, has to cook, clean and run errands. Why do some people do it, while others become overwhelmed by the magnitude of it.
I am constantly amazed at how much stuff is required to keep a household running. The paperwork, the logistics, the planning. I'm not saying I do it flawlessly, sometimes balls get dropped. But how do you manage to drop so many balls that it all falls apart? How do you start paying so much attention to the wants that the needs get neglected.
I look at people who go through bitter awful divorces and wonder the same things. How do you look at that person, the one you vowed to love forever, raised children with, and start hating them. What is that thing that changes, that makes you bitter. Is there a moment when you shift, or is it small, like tiny drops of water that eventually collect into a stream?
So my question is, can you learn the skills necessary for running a successful life? Is there someone who can train you in the minutia? I know that there are life coaches, people who come in and offer advice and encouragement. Is that what my brother needs? Is there any way to change the flow of the minutia so that it is leading somewhere else, or do the bad decisions collect and weigh us down even if we try to change?
I'm rambling now, and I know that I'm not in any position to sit in judgment of someone else's life. I just look at my brother and my nephew and wish I could make things better. And I know that sending him a check to cover the mortgage will not change the direction of his life. It will just reassure him that he'll have someone to ask the next time things fall apart

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Weekend Update

I finished piecing the back for the Carolina Crossroads Mystery and put on the first border. I also finished the blocks for Running Stitches and as I suspected, I made 30 of each, not 30 total. So now I have enough for two quilts and need to decide how to make them different. I thought about making one with a regular straight setting and then cutting down the other set to make them sit on an angle. I think I'll put the blocks away for a bit and let them simmer, or at least half of them.
My mom called to say that one of my cousins had accidentally shot himself in the head and died. It wasn't one I was close to, but it is still a shock. He left a 3 year old daughter behind. My moms sister is going to take in the little girl and asked if we had saved any of the little princesses clothes. We had just given away two big batches of 2Ts and 3Ts to different neighbors, and I'm really regretting that now, but it's too late. I think I should make her a quilt at least, I'll have to find out what her favorite color is. Pink and purple would be my guess based on my own girls.
I took my oldest daughter to see the Hannah Montana movie this morning. I bought the tickets online, and chose the first showing of the morning. I'm so glad I did. We walked right in without any trouble. The line of people waiting to get in as we were leaving was really frightening. The mall was full of groups of mothers and daughters who had either just gotten out or were ready to go in. It was pretty cute to see everybody in their 3D glasses.
My husband finally finished the stained glass inserts for the front door. We've been talking about doing stained glass since we moved in 4 years ago. It was supposed to be my project, because I'm crafty. As much as I've tried to cut glass, I've just never been very good at it. I'm so thankful that he picked up the project and took care of it so that I could stop feeling guilty about not having done it.
Now he's started painting in the little princesses room. He had already done superheros for our son, and the youngest decided that she was old enough to pick her own theme. This is the same daughter that was a ballerina spider kitty cat princess for Halloween. For her room she wanted a strawberry shortcake mermaid, castle, rainbow, and my little pony. I think they've worked out a compromise of some sort.
My local quilt shop is having a super bowl sale and we have been invited to a friends house to watch the game. I think there will be 3 or 4 other couples there as well. I need to think of some tasty or creative appetizer to bring, my husband is voting for meat of some sort.