Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday.  We did.

Last Saturday (Dec 18th) DD and I (with Molly the golden retriever) drove from Wisconsin to FL to see my parents (divorced and in two different towns 2 hours apart) for the holidays.  We've been at my dad's since our arrival Sunday evening and are having a great time.

On Wedsnesday we drove down to Sanibel Island.  We went to the Ding Animal Life Refuge and mostly bird watched.  Afterwards we went and had a lovely Mexican lunch, then found a beach to spend the rest of the afternoon.  Sanibel does have lovely beaches, but Dad and I agreed that we really prefer our normal beach on Manasota Key.


Christmas was yesterday and it was a big success.  DD was totally blown away with her presents (a cell phone and a DSi were the big hitters).  I got a new camera (yes, I picked it out, but didn't have to pay for it, nor even wrap it!).  The pictures above from Sanibel were taken by my old Olympus point and shoot.  Its been a great camera for me for the past 4 years -- easy to stick in my pocket or purse.  But I'd been thinking about getting a new "big" camera for a couple of years.  I ended up picking a Canon Powershot SX 30i.  Here's some pictures I took yesterday walking around my dad's place.


Taken from the street, about 40 feet away


Taken from the street, about 50 feet away



Hope you got everything you desired for Christmas, whether it was gift wrapped or the love and warmth of family and friends.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow Snow Snow

Here's a few pictures that I took after snow blowing this afternoon.  Hope you are all staying warm!

Our Lilac Tree Weighted Down with Snow




Snow Covered Cran-apples


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jared Done!

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I got the call that Jared was done at my long armer.  I immediately made plans to pick it up.  Last week I added the binding and then on Saturday, I was able to find someone to hold it up for a picture.  So here it is:


Jared is based on a Bonnie Hunter design.  I don't know if I'll keep the name Jared or not.  Right now its on my bed (total of 3 quilts and a comforter).  I do love the more traditional designs.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Special Music at Church

Last Sunday, DD (in the middle), one of her friends, and her band director were the special music at church.  Both girls are in 6th grade and have been playing for about a year and a half.  The director is a very special guy, directs all of the bands at the middle school, and can pick up and play about anything.  He even gave the girls extra credit for their extra practicing and playing.  Here's the video clip.  Enjoy!

video

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another Month and Another Post

Ok, just who exactly stole October?  It was right here, just a few seconds ago.  You know, October in all its colorful glory with the leaves lightly falling and sun spakled sidewalks.  You remember, being able to go out for a walk without 3 layers of clothes.  Well, goodbye, October.  Goodbye.  November is here and boy, is it cold.

And of course, the leaves are all still here.  They're just all on the ground now.  Yes, I will be spending my Sunday afternoon raking and blowing leaves.  And probably one last round of mowing the grass.  Then the mower will be moved to the back of the garage and the snowblower pulled to the front.  Not much of an even exchange, if you ask me.

October was a very full month.

One of the best things that happened in October was that I joined a women's volleyball league.  Now you may remember that I had double knee replacement surgery in April.  It was very successful and I've been strengthening my knees/legs by walking (until it got so f.... cold that I couldn't do it without looking like the Micheline man).  So I started in late August looking into playing volleyball.  Well, I found a couple of leagues at a few bars, but most of them were wrapping things up 'cause they play outside in a sand court.  I finally found an inside league, but they were full up.  They took my name as a substitute, but I've never heard from anyone.  Then I saw an ad in the weekly paper looking for women to play volleyball.  I called right away and gave the guy my contact information.  He told me a coach would be calling me to give me more information.  I waited for 4 weeks, but finally someone called.  So, we've now played 4 matches:  won 2, lost 2.  I have done okay considering I'm 50 years old and haven't played since high school.  I've made some good plays and some bad plays.  But no more than the average 20 year old on the team (who also played on a high school team).  None of us old farts dive after the ball, so I'm not expected to do that, either.  The league runs through March, so I'm looking forward to alot of good games and fun.

I've been quilting like crazy, but don't have any pictures right now to show for it.  I've done two Christmas Irish Chain tops, one a throw for a present, and one a bed sized for me.  I'll try to have pictures up soon.

Halloween was in October at some point and DD went trick or treating as an Amish girl.  I grew up right in the middle of an Amish community (although not part of it), so I'm pretty familiar with Amish life and customs.  So when DD and I went back last summer to Indiana where I grew up, I took her around to Amish country and she loved the whole back to nature idea.  We happened across an Amish girls black hat at a craft fair and the idea took off from there.  I bought her a pair of heavy black knee socks, an inexpensive pair of boys dress shoes from WalMart, and made her a dress and apron.  Here she is.


Also in October, DD had a few days off from school, so I played hookey too (alright, I took vacation days).  On Friday we went to downtown Milwaukee and went to the Discovery World museum.  Its an interactive science museum right on Lake Michigan.  Very cool (and I'm not much for museums).



DD lying on a bed of nails


DD in front of jellyfish tank


Petting Sting Rays (you can't see the rays)

 




















DD has also been participating in gymnastics for the past 2 months.  Its put on by the Parks and Rec program and she finished the last practice last week.  She's better than the little kids, so they put her in with the other middle school and high school girls.  It has made it very challenging for her.



video


 This last picture is a video, so you should be able to click on it and see her on the uneven bars.  No routine, just playing around.

So that was October.  I'll try to get the pictures of my new quilts up before Christmas, but I can't promise!


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yes, I'm Still Alive!!!

Okay, so September has come and gone and I'm finally posting.  I've got alot to share, so get a cup of coffee, sit back, and relax.

On September 1st DD started 6th grade.  She decided that she needed to dress up for the first day of school -- although I think she was the only girl wearing a dress that day.  Here's our annual picture for the first day of school.  She doesn't have her backpack because we had already gone and practiced the locker combination several times and left the backpack with the 10 tons of school supplies inside.  The little white dots on the picture are the light rain that was falling as we got ready to go.


DD and I have gone to several Milwaukee Brewer games this year, all paid for by someone else:  my company, the softball league, and a supplier.  Here we are at the Red's game in September.  They opened the roof for the game, so it got a little cool after the sun went down.  We had a great time while at this game because we were in a luxery box and could easily get up for stuff to eat, check the football game in the lounge area, or go to the bathroom. 




Earlier in September, we went to a sold out Brewers-Cubs game.  It was at that game that I had to officially change my allegience from the Cubs to the Brewers.  I've never had any Cubs clothing or other paraphanelia, but this year I bought both a Brewers shirt and a cap.  But don't be thinking I'll give up my  BEARS!  I am deffinately not ready for the Pack.

In the middle of September we drove to Ft Wayne to visit friends and experienced the Johnny Appleseed festival.  Apparently it started when I was just a girl, but I don't remember my parents ever taking us to it.  DD and I had a great time, especially eating caramel apples.  And it was great to see our friends.

Last weekend I went to my annual Quilt Camp Retreat in Green Lake, WI.  Its held at the same church camp where DD goes each summer.  The Quilt camp goes from Friday (I arrived around 11am) to Monday afternoon.  This was my 3rd year to go.  There were about 40 women there from all over Wisconsin, and one even brought a friend who flew in from Oregon!  Wow!  Most of us are veteran quilters, but we had a couple of newbies, including some who drafted her own pattern and made a complicated wall hanging for her home. 

For the first 2 days I focused on working on a quilt that I'm making for DD.  It will be a twin size to go on her bed.  Sorry, no pictures yet.  It is full of half square triangles, and by late Saturday evening, I finally ran out of the pre-finished (by me) half square triangles.  I have plenty of fabric, but after all that time, I was ready to work on another project. 

I had brought several other projects with me and pulled out my second priority, a Fall Wallhanging for my entry way.  It is based on a panel that I cut apart and added to it and sewed it back together.  I wanted something for Fall -- to last from September 1st until the Christmas stuff comes out.  I didn't want it to be for Halloween or Thanksgiving, so a Harvest theme fits perfectly.  I hung it this morning and with the pumkin and leaves I bought last year, I think the entry way table looks great!  What do you think?




While at camp, I got up early Sunday morning to get a jump start on sewing.  We sew in the camp dining hall which overlooks Green Lake.  On Sunday morning, I took this great picture of the fog coming up off the lake.  The fog wasn't there when it first became light, then came up off the water for about 45 minutes, then was gone again.  Really cool!


Last night was Homecoming in Port Washington.  We went to the Homecoming parade and the annual Chicken Roast that our church does as a fundraiser.  We were ready to go to the football game when it started to rain.  I had brought a big comforter to keep warm and had umbrellas, but since I knew the bleachers would be cool AND wet, we decided to skip the game and just came home. 

Fall is deffinatlly here now.  I went for a walk this morning and it was about 48 degrees.  I had to pul the hood up on my sweatshirt and even tie it shut to keep my ears warm!  Its not quite full color season yet, but maybe this coming weekend will be great.  There are leaves on the ground and a cool bite to the air.  We bought apple cider at the Farmer's Market this morning and I think I'll make hot apple cider with cinnomon sticks in it.  Yummm!

Hope you've enjoyed hearing what we've been up to and I hope to be writing again soon.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Been So Long

I can't believe how long its been since I last posted.  Where did August go?????  I guess we've been pretty busy, although I sure don't have much to show for it.  Jared has made it as far as one border being added.

DD went to Scout camp early in August for an entire week.  It was an unusual camping session called "All Around the World".  There were just three girls in the "unit" and three counselors -- all from foreign countries.  The theme All Around the World reflected the different cultures that the girls learned about.  The counselors were from Australia and England.  But they also shared cultures like China, New Zealand, Africa, etc.  The girl made scones and wore their jumpers (sweaters) when it got cold.  Pretty cool, huh?  DD came home speaking in an Australian accent.  Very funny.
DD (at right)  at camp with friend and counselor
After DD's week at camp, she came home for three days and then we went back up to Scout camp with her troop for 3 days.  We had 7 girls and 2 adults.  I have to admit, that my stamina wasn't good enough to keep up with the girls on the trails.  I was always lagging behind the group.  The girls had a great time cooking outside, swimming in the pool or lake, learning new camp songs, and making new friends.  But everyone was bitten by the making lanyards bug.  By the end of camp, everyone tried it and made plans to make more.

Making Lanyards
After Troop camp was over, DD and I headed to Ft Wayne, Indiana to visit my best friend for the rest of the week.  We had a great time running around and hanging out together.

Jennifer and DD
School starts in just three more days.  All the supplies have been bought, new school clothes have been bought, and we've practiced the new locker combination a couple of times.  We'll go back tomorrow to practice one last time and to drop off most of the supplies so DD doesn't have to carry them all to school in her backpack.  If your school list is like ours, it probably weighs about 20 pounds!

Hope your August was as wonderful as ours.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last Softball Game of the Summer

Waiting on First Base to Run
Last At Bats
Playing in the Outfield

Last night was DD's last softball game.  They had a great season and came in 2nd in the tournement.  After the game they went out for ice cream. 

Its hard to believe that we have only 4 weeks left of summer vacation.  School in Wisconsin doesn't start until September 1st, so just another month to go.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Jared Progress

During a very busy weekend, I found sometime to sew together the blocks and sashing for Jared.  Its looking pretty good.  I just need to add the borders, and I'll be done (with the top).

This past weekend DD's softball team was in their league tournament.  So we had a game Friday night, two on Saturday (that had a delay from 9am to noon due to a soggy, wet field), and a 4th on Sunday.  If the team was one of the top 2 teams, they would qualify for the Championship.  Well, after the 4th game, we were 2-2, but so were 2 other teams, so off to the tie breaker (based on total runs scored, and not more games).  We won the tie breaker and at 1pm on Sunday played in the Championship game.  We played the #1 team (undefeated all season) and lost 6-3,  But the girls got silver metals.  And the Championship game was pretty exciting in that it was held at the "big field" with bleachers and a concession stand.  Since they had a PA, they announced each girl at the beginning of the game, then when they came to bat and then again as they awarded the metals.  I'm an awful parent; I forgot my camera and didn't get any pics.


After the last game (except that we have 2 more this week, just for fun), we came home and rested for a few hours, then we had a band concert at the band shelter.  DD's 6th grade band played and sounded pretty good for kids that had only been playing 1 full year.  DD is in the front row in blue, turned around and talking to her friend in the trumpet section.  You can't see her face, its behind the music stand.  The big girl next to her is in high school, kind of a teachers aid.

In case we weren't totally pooped (which I was), we then (its now 7:15 at night) went down to the Port Pool where the softball/baseball leagues had rented the big pool for the evening.  DD swam with her buddies and I did one lap with my knees and gave up.  It was too cold and my knees weren't ready for that kind of movement yet.

Today at work, I told my boss I needed a few days off to recuperate from my weekend and he just laughed.  Have you had weekends like that?

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Summer Garden

Many of you have vegetable gardens and are starting to reap the rewards.  While I do have 3 struggling tomato plants (for DD, 'cause I don't care for tomatoes), my flower garden, which takes up 1/3 of my front lawn is going gangbusters due to the rain we've had this spring.  Here's some pictures just to show off.
















I hope your gardens look great, too!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Jared Progress


Well, I have 9 Jared blocks done and laid out on the living room floor to see how I like it.  I really like how the dark pink chains "link" it all together, but I see trouble brewing where I'll have to match all the blue points where the blocks meet.  So I think I'm back to considering a sashing between the blocks again.  I just saw another Jared where the sashing was the beige back ground color and I liked that it added space without throwing another color into the mix.  I'm concerned if I have enough of the background fabric, tho.  I'm pretty sure I know where I bought it (Banner Crafts in the next town over), so maybe since I'm on a vacation day I'll pop over there and see if they have anymore.  All of their fabric is in the flat, so its a little harder to find things, but the quality is quite good for not being a LQS.

DD is in summer school every morning (mostly fun stuff:  sand volleyball, band, choir, and math) until the end of July, so that helps out alot on the day-care bill for the summer.  She just turned 11, so this is the last year of day care anyway.  Her maturity is nearly to the point where I'm thinking of letting her come home everyday after school (in the fall) by herself, unless its a no-school day or an early release day.  Some days she acts very mature, and some days she acts like she's still 2.  I guess that's par for the course. 

We're going to my dad's for the weekend as soon as DD gets out of summer school at noon.  We spend nearly all our holidays with him, its good for both us and him!

Have a wonderful, exploding 4th of July!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jared Progress


Well, here's what I decided to do for my center square (boy, that sounds like Tic-Tac-Toe) on my Jared quilt.  I've got 5 blocks totally together and 3 more 85% together.  If I get to work on it tonight, I'll have 8 done.  I'm not sure how many I'll end up with.  I was thinking 12 (3 x 4), but I'm thinking of not using sashing anymore and letting the chains butt against each other.  So maybe I'll end up needing more.

Regardless, I'm still loving this block and the fabric I picked.

Have a great day!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Need Your Opinion

I started on a Jared Takes a Wife from Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville.com site.  I need your opinion on which fabric to use for the center of the star in my blocks. 
              
Center is the same as the star "arms"

Star center is the same as the star points



Star center is a lighter shade from the star arms
(sashing is a darker version of this fabric)

Please leave your comment as to your choice.  I need to start cutting centers in a day or two, so your fast response would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Evan's Quilt Done



While I was recuperating, the quilt I made for my nephew's high school graduation got quilted and when I got home all I had to do was sew on the binding.  Yes, I got it done on time and presented it the day after his graduation.  He seemed to really like the colors and he and his mother started talking about what color sheets he should get for his bed at college to go with it.  So, I think it was a hit!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Back to Work!

Well, after 7 weeks of double knee surgery rehabilitation, I'm back at work.  I know you'll all wondering how much quilting did I get done.  Well, quite frankly, not much at all. 

I was in the hospital for about 1 week, then in a rehab facility for 3 weeks (and didn't even have internet access!).  After I got released from rehab (boy, that makes it sound like I was in a drug rehab, but I can assure you that was NOT the case), I picked up the quilted top from my long armer and my sewing machine from the sewing repair shop where it was getting its annual loving care.  Since then, I sewed the binding strips together, attached them to the quilt, and have been hand sewing the back of the binding down.  Its about 3/4 done and only needs maybe 45 minutes of hand sewing and then it will be DONE!  But life (as always) has been pretty hectic and I just haven't had time lately.  Of course, the graduation was last weekend (but we didn't go), so I need to finish it this week so I can give it to him soon.  I'll post a picture later this week.

I signed up for a swap over at Quiltville swap, so I know I need to get going on that very quickly, too.

I just wanted to let those of you who follow me know that I'm among the living and am getting my strength back from the surgery.  It went well and the pain is much better and I'm working on my stamina.

Hope you all are having a great spring.  My garden (although very neglected) looks great!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Quilt Top Done!

This quilt is for my nephew who is graduating from high school later this spring.  I'm hoping he'll take it to college with him.  I created the layout (I know it's nothing original) in EQ, then executed the design pretty close to how I did it on the computer.  I didn't realize it would be so big.  I think its big enough for a full size bed.  I had to go shopping for more black to do the last border (ah shucks, right?) and I think it turned out pretty cool.  Sorry the bottom corners are cut off.  My living room isn't very big (floor space wise) and I had to stand on the ottoman AND hold the camera over my head just to get this picture.  I felt like one of those photo journalists who hold their cameras up when the stars go by in the hope that something will turn out.

I called my longarmer earlier in the week and she's on vacation until after I leave for the hospital.  So once I get out, I'll have to give her a call and set up a time to go up to her place and give her the top and backing.  I would just leave it on her front porch (she lives in a pretty isolated area), but I want to pick out and discuss the quilting pattern, so we'll need to talk face-to-face.

My surgery is in 4 days. Double knee replacement surgery.  I'm getting kinda scared, but speaking quite frankly, I can't get around very well at all anymore, so this is the best decision.  My boss isn't very happy about me having to take the time off, but he sees me hobbling around the office and I think that he knows that I don't have much choice.

Have a wonderful and blessed Easter and I hope your Spring comes soon (our crocuses are in bloom and there are tight buds on the trees, but that's about it).

Laurel

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March Madness

Okay, it's time for March Madness, but I'm not talking about basketball. I'm talking about everything else.

The weather has been wild. Two weeks ago we still had 6 inches of snow in the yard (see my last post). Then over the past 2 weeks it melted away. Last week it was great, in the mid 50's a couple of days! Yes, I said 50's! Then Friday night a cold front came through with some rain and on Saturday morning there was SNOW on the ground. Just a little bit that was melted by noon, but good grief! My poor crocuses can't decide if they really want to come out here or not. Today it looks beautiful; I was out at 7am with the dog, but haven't gone out again yet. Right now I can hear the cardinal singing his wonderful song.

Here's what I've been working on most of the day. This quilt is going to be for my nephew Evan, who is graduating from high school this Spring. It will be a twin size so it can go on his dorm room bed. I still have to sew the blocks together then add the borders. My goal is to have the top all done by next Saturday morning.




Earlier this week was St Patrick's Day. DD's 5th grade choir had a Celtic concert and toured the 3 elementary schools in town performing their concert. This picture was from the concert they gave for parents and family. Yes, I tried to take out all the red-eye, but it wouldn't all come out.






Another reason that I'm going through March Madness is that right after Easter I'm having double knee replacement surgery. My parents are coming here for two weeks (each and separately) to care for DD and the dog and when I get out of rehab, me. So this month I've been getting ready for that; everything from getting the house cleaned up enough for my parents to see, setting up appointments, taking the hospital's pre-surgery class, visiting the rehab center, changing dentist appointments, and just plain planning ahead.

In the meantime, it looks like Spring is finally here (even with its ups and downs), so that's the best part of March Madness (even if I think we might still get more snow).  Have a great week!





Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1st Flowers???? Not Here!


On several of my friends' blogs today in Northern IL, I saw pictures of crocuses and snowdrops. So I went out to check my own garden. I didn't find any plants fighting their way towards the sun. I didn't find buds starting to peak out of the warm ground. No, all I found was snow. I stuck my ruler down into the snow and you can see the tip of the ruler (see the 12 inch mark?) sticking out of the snow.

Granted, this area of my garden is where I snow blow my driveway clean and dump the snow, but even in the yard, there's still at least 6 inches of snow. Well, maybe come April we'll start to see the bare ground. But not March 1st.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Like Mother, Like Daughter.....


This was a real quilty weekend for DD and me. Saturday was a quilt-in at the church for our small quilt group. DD had started a modified Trip Around the World at the previous quilt in and finished the top in just a hour or so. She had a lot of fun using the iron like a big girl.

Here's her finished top. She's so proud! I'll help her baste it and quilt it. She expects to give it as a gift to her cousin, but we'll see...




The rest of us in the church group started on our own trip .... our Trip Around the World raffle quilt. Here's the first panel after sewing all the strips together.

And here's how far we got. DD and I dragged our butts out of there around 9pm. Boy, were we ever tired. We want to get the quilt done by early summer so that we can start selling raffle tickets at the Farmer's Markets on Saturday mornings. Then the raffle will be at the end of September at our annual Chicken Roast (held Homecoming Friday).



DD is out sledding right now; I've got about another 30 minutes of time to myself, so I guess I'd better get off the computer and over to the sewing machine.
Can you believe that tomorrow is March 1st? Spring, come on!
Have a great week!