Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring Cleaning

I have been on the warpath with getting the house de-cluttered, organized, and cleaned. This started when I left my full time job at the beginning of March.....its amazing how much gets pushed by the wayside when you are trying to manage a full time job, house, kids, and other obligations. So the house was sorely in need of some mega amounts of TLC.

Right now, the workmen are downstairs and they are putting a new wall up in my sewing space!!! Horray, I am finally getting rid of the ugly workbench that was in there for years and years. Once that is done, I am going to moving things around and get new lights too. So no more squinty eyes trying to see when I am cutting in there. Yup, its a window less room in the basement with poor lighting but I don't have to share it with the hoards of other people/creatures in this house, so not complaining.

Maybe, gasp, I will even paint the walls a new color!!!!

Any suggestions as to what will look good???

I leave you with this.

My wooly flowers quilt which I HAND APPLIQUED every darn petal! Shocking I know.

Now to quilt it.....and I am seriously thinking of hand quilting around some of the flowers for extra ommph.
Me....hand quilting.....what is the world coming to??

Have a great day!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Where did spring go????

If anyone has seen spring, please tell it come back! It's back to feeling like early March here, ugh!

This past weekend was Cub Scout Spring Camp and it was my last one since both my cubs bridge to boy scouts next winter.  Everyone had a great time! 

And we have a lovely fire.

Or it will be lovely real soon!

Before I headed out to camp, I finished up two table topper quilts. Both of these are doing into the charity box and when the right event comes along, these will be donated.

I like the flying geese and I am thinking of make a quilt with them. Table toppers are pretty useless in my house since they just end up becoming kitty beds. Never mind there is a whole house of things to sit on, the cat just heads to the mini quilt on the table. Sigh.

Over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Monday is called "Make a List Monday". I thought that was pretty clever so I thought I would make a list on Monday too.

Here's my list for the week:

1. Paint Brad and Mikey's bedroom

2. Clean out the trash in the attic

3. Quilt and bind my Jack O'Lantern quilt

4. Quilt and bind my Hands 2 Help quilt

Ok, I think that's enough for now. I don't want to set too high of a bar! 

Have a good day!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Butterfly Pillow

I have all sons.....three of them. So the chance to make them something cute, adorable, and pink ended back when they were like 4 years old.

But my friend has a little girl named Amy and she's my little buddy. Last summer we all went camping together at Elk Neck State Park. Amy and I made a sand castle and drew on some rocks.

Do you think a little boy would draw a smiley face on a rock?? 
No!! They would just throw it at some object or another. 

When I was doing some cleaning in the sewing room this winter, I came across a reverse applique butterfly block I made years and years ago. It was in my odds and ends box. And I thought of Amy when I saw that butterfly.

Added some borders to make it bigger and ta-da!

Then made the back from a bunch of strip sets I had left over from another project.

I love this pillow! When my youngest got home from school, I told him it was going to be for his bed. He looked at me like I had four heads and said " really????". I could see he was trying not to say anything bad about the pillow. So I let him off easy and told him it was for Amy. He was VERY relieved!

Enjoy the new pillow Amy!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tote Bag Swap with BMQG

It's Thursday!!!! Where has the week gone????

I spend most of last night cleaning up and backing up all my docs and pixs on the computer. You have NO idea how long that eyes are glazing over just thinking reliving the horror.

But it's done and now I can actually find things! Horray!!

Remember I went to the Farmers Market on Sunday? Here's the jam I picked pretty!!

Then on Sunday afternoon, I went to the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild meeting. We were having a tote bag swap, and oh, how I love bags!!!

I made this for my swap buddy.

I un-me like......

But I had this awesome bunny fabric that I wanted to use!

Mushrooms and bunnies, what more can you want!!!

I threw in some red, whites, and blacks and got this!

And that my friends, illustrates just how much difference it makes to a pattern when you change the colors.

I added a giant button and some pretty beads too. The green one made me think of a four leaf clover.

You know how when you cut off the corners for boxing in a bag you get those little leftover squares?? Well, I loved the fabric too much to just toss them in the scraps pile so I stitched them up into these.

They would make great baby toys! My friend Lisa said I should add a squeaker inside. Now how great would that be! Heck. then my dogs would want to play with them too.

My swap buddy gave me this.......

At first I was weirded out by the handles and then I realized it does this!

And becomes the perfect snack bag to take along to baseball games, swim meets, scout camp, swim practice, field trips, more swim practice.......yes, its almost summer swim season so guess who will be spending quality time at the pool.

That's it for now! This weekend I am heading out to cub scout spring camp and doing tie dye with the kids. 
I love tie dye!!! 

Have a great Thursday!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday at the Farmer's Market

The Baltimore Farmer's Market opened up last weekend for the season. It's under the highway in downtown Baltimore so you get to hear the cars driving over your head while you shop. 


This is the biggest farmer's market in the state and there is literally tons of thing you can buy there. Fresh produce, cheese, eggs, milk, meats, and breads. Plus lots of ethnic prepared foods and a whole section of craft vendors too. I could literally spend the morning there eating. But I have to set an example and show some restraint for the kids. Being the grown up stinks sometimes!

So we shared a bag of fresh, hot donuts and I only ate two.

Then we visited the Jamaican beef patty lady, the bean buns lady, the baked goods family, and we wanted to go to the pickle people but that line was like 20 deep so we decided to wait to go there until next time. I really wanted to go to the red beans and rice guy too but hey, I gotta show some restraint right?

There's not much in the way of produce this early in the season but we did get to pick up some apples, our favorite sausages, and stock up on homemade jams. 

Then we headed to the hula hoop guy. He has tons of hoops for you to just play around with and its free. 

Then it was time for the big tamale of hula hoops.

They tried to do a double spin thing but it did not work out. Maybe next time......

It did burn off some of those donuts so the guys got some honey sticks for next the ride home.

In the afternoon, I had a quilty meeting with the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild! Yay!!!! Today was our tote bag swap and I was super excited. But I am going to save those pictures for tomorrow.

Good night and don't let the frogs bite!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Altered Book Making

I used to get the magazine, "Cloth, Paper, Scissors" and I LOVED the altered books. They just seemed so cool to me. I even collected a few old board books so I could make an altered book but never got around to it. So when I found out that the American Visionary Art Museum was having a workshop, I jumped at the chance to go.

If you are ever in Baltimore,  you have to go to AVAM. All the work they display is created by self taught artists. It is really different than what you find in a regular museum.  This guy greeted me when I was on my way to the workshop.

The workshop was really fun and totally hands on. Everything was included in the cost so all I had to do was show up and have fun!

We learned all different ways to alter a book. Here's some of my pages.

We used clear packaging tape to transfer images from magazines. Now that was a neat trick!

Lots of fun things to play with here!

The book I used was an old Wonderful World of Disney. It was from a educational series and mine was about transportation. I cut out a few images I liked and used them on altered pages. Note the google eye on my shark. I love google eyes.

This was my favorite page. I made a stamp and did the bottom layer and then painted on black swirls by hand. I use those swirls all the time when I quilt. I call them "death spirals" because when I first started doing them I was reading a book about salt water crocs in Australia and they were always talking about the death roll in the book so some how it stuck in my mind and this quilting pattern became death spirals. 
Weird I know!

Then we glued lots of pages together and cut out a hole. By pure luck, the image in mine ended up being this plane. I thought that was pretty neat-o so I left it. And I really liked painting over the book pages. That was a really fun thing to do. Add colors, patterns, etc with paint......I even tried some finger painting.

Thanks for the great afternoon of fun AVAM!! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Break!

First thank you for all your kinds words of encouragement and support. I truly appreciate it.

This week, the kids are off school so we went to Hershey, PA. Here's a thought for you......Hershey bills itself as the sweetest place on earth AND swimsuit season starts in two months. that's a bit of a internal conflict. Naturally chocolate won out for me!! Yay chocolate!

I saw this quote on a sign while I was there, "Chocolate doesn't ask questions, Chocolate understands". Now those are words that deserve to be in a quilt!

Not much stitching getting done in the past few days with Easter and the trip to Hershey BUT I did manage to have fun painting with melted chocolate!

That's right, they let you play with food at Hershey.

The little red dishes held marshmallow fluff and melted chocolate so I could make a s'more. Oh yum! And I had lots of fun making the chocolate flower painting.

The kids had a good time too......

Have a good Wednesday everyone and send some warm weather to Maryland. It is still freezing here, ugh!


Monday, April 1, 2013

I'm back

The last time I posted was in May 2011.....almost two years ago. The road I traveled since that time has been pretty dark. I stopped blogging, reading blogs, and pretty much sewing too. In June 2011, conventional treatments had failed to put my dad's cancer into remission and it was necessary to take a much more radical approach. Much of my free time over the next year and half was spend visiting and providing emotional support. Along the way, death knocked on my family's door again and again......Quint the cat, Brad's 10 year old classmate, Pepper the dog, my co-worker...  On the first day of school in August 2012, my son's high school had an active shooter in the cafeteria. He was in locked down mode for three hours before his class was escorted by the SWAT from the building. That day, an angel was watching over the kids in that school. Only one student was shot and he recovered. Teachers were able to overpower the shooter before he got off more than one round. It was a miracle no one else was hurt.....

By October 2012, my father was rapidly failing from the cancer. He and my mom took a short trip to Florida   for a respite from the hospitals, the treatments, the endless tests. On the third day of their trip, I got a phone dad had taken a very bad turn for the worst. I was on a plane within hours. He died two days later. By then Hurricane Sandy was off the coast of Florida and was beginning its northwards trek. Words can not explain the next two home ahead of Sandy to prepare my home then heading northwards to New Jersey to prepare my parent's home. Sitting through the storm, no power, cell lines all jammed up, bailing water, no gas, the amount of damage......and in the amid all this, trying to bury my dad. 

We ended up just burying, my oldest son, my mom, brother and sister in law. There was no power, no gas......and was too unsafe for people to attempt to come for a funeral. My husband and two younger children had remained behind in Maryland to ride out Sandy there and take care of our home. They wanted so much to come for the burial, but it was so unsafe to travel.....

Six weeks later, we held a memorial service for my dad. 

This past weekend I was up in New Jersey, helping my mom with going through my dad's things. 

On October 29, 2012, I took this flag down before Sandy struck.......on March 29th, five months later, I hung the flag again. It has been a very long road traveled. Spring is coming to this part of the country, a time for rebirth, regrowth, and longer days. Things are finally taking a turn for the better......and I am slowly coming back.