Friday, September 28, 2007

Free motion quilting and other assorted adventures

Sorry I haven't blogged in a few days. There are times when you just can't get to the computer for longer than it takes ya to check your email and look at a few other blogs. I seem to keep myself busy... yet I have nothing to show for it. There are toys strewn about, laundry to do, etc and I swear I just did all those things!

This morning right before we were going to head out to Gymboree Seth decided to take a nap instead. I know he enjoys his play time there but if he's napping I can play with my sewing machine for a while. I hadn't figured out how to do the free motions quilting yet. So, after reading the manual multiple times I finally got it to work. What do you think of my first ever attempt at stippling? Not to shabby if I do say so myself. Don't look to closely because then you'd notice the inconsistent stitch length.
Should I use it on the panel of my fall wall hanging. This wall hanging needs a name. I was also going to do a simple stitch in the ditch for the outer squares.

I won't be able to quilt much this weekend. We have lots to do. Our friend Winnie is leaving on Monday to join her husband Drew back in Seattle. I am sad she's leaving but can understand her desire to go home. She has a pretty good job prospect at the University of Washington. How cool it that?! We are having a goodbye party for her Saturday evening and I am sure most of the day will be spent getting the house and food ready for everyone. Then Sunday we have a birthday party to go to at Build a Bear. I don't really like that place and only for the simple fact that my kids just HAVE to go there and then months later they could give a hoot about the bear they loved so much for a day. BTW, I've never taken them as a treat or anything, they've been invited to other parties. We were recently trying to purge out the kids rooms and Hannah said to just donate the two she had. Thankfully, I am not paying to take them there on Sunday. Yah know, Build a Bear has a pretty good deal going if all the kids want to do is make more new bears all the time. Grrr.

Anyway, we've had a good week so far though. Simon got cleared on Monday (quick check up) for his MRI this coming Tuesday. I am so nervous. Most days I think he's just fine and then some days he still says his legs hurt or he has a head ache... I guess we'll find out more in the following weeks. Send us good thoughts.

After the doctors appointment we stopped by the park on our way home. I figured they'd enjoy playing for a few minutes. We ran into some of the moms from the Moms Club so we stayed a lot longer. I am kicking myself for not having my trusty little camera with me. It was so beautiful. The park is right next to a lake. Seth wanted to go get the ducks. He'd sit a few feet away from the water and scooch his tush closer and closer. Very cute!

Through out the week we've had play dates, coffee with friends, music class, tae kwon do, miniature golf, ice cream, and my most favorite- dinner cooked for me! Winnie came over on Wednesday and cooked us some yummy, yummy Thai food. She made so much I have leftovers which I am happy to consume over the next few days!

Oh, the twins were born yesterday!!!! I better get labels on their quilts and ship 'em off.

Well, Seth is now awake and mad as hell that I am not following him somewhere he wants to take me. Could he use words or signs to tell mommy what he wants? Heck no, you have to play the guessing game.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

And in the morning, I'm making waffles!

It's always so nice to not be rushed on a Saturday morning. Since I didn't have to hustle everyone out the door for school I thought I'd make waffles for breakfast. Yummy, yummy. Hannah turned her nose up at them after finding out they weren't the Eggo's style of waffles but a whole wheat kind. I think they taste 10 times better and they are better for you until you pour syrup all over them. So while I enjoyed my yummy waffles and hot cup of coffee, Hannah had a cold bowl of Cheerios which she grumbled about. Not my problem. I made enough waffles for everyone.

I am hoping to make some progress on my fall wall hanging today. Here I am blogging while Seth naps instead. I did get the batting ready so now the backing needs to be pieced. I'll have to remind myself to add a sleeve to the back of this one since golly, it is a wall hanging after all. I used a new stitch on the machine to join the batting together. I know some people frown on that but if you do it right it isn't bulky or noticeable in the final product, or so I tell myself. Who wants to go all the way to the quilt store when you have scrap batting. It isn't like I was piecing 12 inch chunks of batting together either. Just one nice seam.

Well, Seth just woke up from the worlds shortest nap. Thank you Simon for being the loudest kid in the house at all times.... grrr. Maybe Seth will play nicely while I piece the back. I know it'd be to much to ask for him to let me baste it too.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Back to school night

I really am excited about this school year for both of our kids. I feel like they both have teachers that actually care about the individuals in their classes and try to tailor things for different kids. I think Hannah isn't the only smart kid we've got in this family.

(Here comes the braggin'!)

Simon is such a smart boy! He reads so well now and he is really good at math too. At the end of last year his teacher told us he was reading at an end of first grade level. I know he's improved over the summer even so I am interested to see what his new teacher says after she evaluates him. She pretty much told us he doesn't have anyone in the class that he could be in a reading group with. Gee, didn't we go through this with Hannah? When she was in first grade they sent her up to second grade for group reading time so the poor kid didn't have to sit and read in a corner all by herself. By third grade some of the other kids had gotten good enough at reading that she could participate in class groups again.

I love having intelligent kids but making sure they get challenged at school is the hard part. With Simon's kindergarten teacher last year she wanted him to focus on following through (taking time to color the picture) and the details (coloring nicely) .... really. How many 5/6 year old do you know that are detail oriented? Ok, there are some and they will probably have OCD when they grow up. I really shouldn't say that. Hannah obsessively made "paper pie" when she way like 3 to 4. She'd sit and cut paper into tiny, tiny pieces for hours at a time!

Anyway, I was happy to meet Hannah's teacher for this year and get a chance to catch up with Simon's teacher. I stupidly volunteered for things at school. Room mom? Sure, why not!

Side note: I have Simon's follow up MRI scheduled finally for October 2nd. I am nervous to find out if the syrinx is shrinking or not... If you are asking what is the MRI for? What's a syrinx? Check out these different links.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


This morning as I was packing Hannah and Simon's lunches up for school and my mom commented on how it was like a little art project for me every morning. I guess it kind of is. Following suit of many cool moms I know of I got my kids Laptop Lunchboxes' for school this year. I, being the chewy granola girl that I am, absolutely love that I am not throwing away ziplock after ziplock everyday. I'd use on average 4 bags for each lunch. Using my suberb math skills, that was 8 plastic bags a day being tossed in the trash! Ack!

So now we are using the bento box style lunch boxes and washing out the little containers each day. It is a bit of a pain to make sure they are washed each evening but I'd be in there doing the dishes after dinner anyway, right. I guess right now I am not actually the one doing the dishes! I cook dinner and my mom does the dishes while I put stuff away and wipe off counters. I gotta tell ya, this isn't a bad deal at all! AND, we have a built in babysitter for our back to school night on Thursday.

Today will be rather busy and I need to get to it soon. There's a Moms Club meeting this morning, Hannah has Girl Scouts after school (I still need to iron on all her new patches on her Juniors vest), and there's a PTO meeting at 7 tonight. I have a lot of stuff going on.

"Quite the little joiner. aren't we?" Can anyone name that movie?

I'd like to leave you with an adorable shot of Seth furrowing his brow at me. What is it about overalls that is so cute on kids?

Monday, September 17, 2007


Fall is here!! It was so cool this weekend that we had to kick on the heat. Yea, it's sweater time! (I got the cutest sweater at The Gap yesterday. I spent way more than I normally do but I couldn't help myself.) Now we are still getting warm days but the nights are getting pretty cool. The smell of fall is so fantastic. The crisp air mingled with the smell of wood burning fireplaces. LOVE IT!

In honor of fall and my new sewing machine I decided to jump ahead to another project without finishing my current one. How could I do that!? Very easy you see. I also wanted a chance to make sure that I was using a consistent seam allowance with the new machine. So far so good. I am also going to brave, dun dun dun... machine quilting with this one! I hope I don't mess it up. Dan is such a good quilter husband. When he saw the new quilt up on the design wall he immediately suggested we hang it somewhere in the house. Such a good husband. This little wall hanging wasn't exactly hard. I bought a panel, charm squares (they come pre-cut as 5" blocks), added an inner framing border to make the math work, and voila!

Okay, I did make a big math mistake. I had 92 charm squares and I thought I had 96 because 46 + 46= 96..... ah, no. Try 92. Oops, thankfully I had some muslin to add in. I always amaze myself with how brilliant I am!

For all you Robert Jordan fans out there I have some bad news. He passed away over the weekend. The very tragic part (although rather selfish of me to say) is that he didn't have a chance to complete the long series he was writing! I hope he left some good notes behind.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Happy 100th post to me. No surprise that within a year I have yammered enough to get to 100 posts. I "technically" should have considered my last post to be 100th but the very 1st one was quite a while before I began to blog in earnest. It had no follow through so therefor I am dismissing it. Anyway, I am sure it won't take me long to make it to 200!

We have quite a few apples from our outing today. Lots of moms showed up this morning. They lined the kids up at the fence to take a group picture. I took out my camera and discovered it had no memory card in it. AH! Leave it to me to bring the camera but no way to capture any images. C'est la vie. Thankfully most people have digital and I received a few pictures via email.

We picked 9 1/2 pounds worth of apples! Holy moly. What am I to do with all of them. When the kids asked for a snack I offered up some of the delicious Macintosh apples we picked. I don't think they'll like that offer day after day. I'll make something yummy out of 'em. The good thing about apples is they last a long time so I don't have to worry about them going bad anytime soon.

That was about it for our excitement today. I read the manual for my sewing machine while Seth was napping this afternoon. (Yes, you can laugh about the geeky girl reading a manual but it can do lots of cool things!) The kids played outside with some of the neighborhood kids. Hannah also read for about 3 hours today.

This evening one of my aunts called me to let me know about some of my cousins. If you all want the long story behind this let me know but I'll just summarize as much as I can here before I get to this evening.

My cousin Tammi is a person that is at the top of my "shittiest mom alive" list and here's why. She abandoned her own kids. She's had 4 children, mind you all of them by the time she was 21 or 22, and she doesn't have any of them now. Her two middle girls Rebbecca and Michelle never had much of a chance with a mom like Tammi. The girls were taken from Tammi and Mike in Tennessee when they were very little. Their maternal grandma stepped in and took them into her home. After a few years things went south with my aunt (their grandma) due to well, Crystal Meth. So the girls went to live with a different aunt. Tammi then says she wants them back. She has them for less than a year before she signs away her parental rights to them. Tammi called social services herself! Can you imagine being a kid and having your mom tell you, "I can't handle you, I'm done with you!" So my other aunt (I have three aunts they are my dads sisters) had them while social services checked to see if Mike, their dad, would be suitable to take them. Not long after they were with their dad I went to see them. They seemed okay. I don't know maybe they weren't. I haven't seen them since I took them the quilts I made them and this was over a year and a half ago.

This evening, my aunt was calling to let me know that the girls were featured on Wednesday's Children. They are up for adoption and looking for a family. OMG, they are back in the system! Now, even their dad has let them down. It breaks my heart to know that these girls are so broken. They have been abandoned by everyone. I am not an innocent either. Daniel and I talked about it years ago and didn't think we could handle them knowing that they'd have attachment disorder issues, learning disabilities, emotional abuse, etc. I don't know what to do except hope that there is a loving family out there that wants to help them and most of all keep them together. They only have each other after all.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Pretty, pretty Pfaff. I am soooo very, very happy today. I got a new sewing machine. I have wanted one for a long time now and today I took the financial plunge! My trusty old Kenmore has seen me through many quilts but it is a work horse not a machine designed for a quilter.

Years ago I asked lots of the quilters I worked with what kind of machine they had and why they liked it so much. A large majority of them had a Pfaff. Fast forward to now... I looked online and drooled over all the great features on the Pfaff sewing machines. I then called a local dealer and found out they were having a grand opening today and giving 10% off on all Pfaff machines. Hum.... I'll just go look, right? I pet the pretty machines and sighed, then went about getting some backing fabric for the Bento Box quilt. I think this fabric will make a great backing!
But wait, then they told me they had 12 months no interest financing. Um, hold that thought while I call the husband who never tells me no!

YES!!! I got a new one!!! It's so sweet. I am, of course, going to spend lots of time reading the manual trying to figure out what all those fancy schmancy buttons actually do. I can take an free owners class. How sad is that? The sewing machine can be so complicated that you have to take a class to learn how to use it. I am hoping to make sense of it all.

One of the things they were doing today was entering people in a drawing for a lower end model Pfaff sewing machine. For every $50 you spent you got a ticket for the drawing. So for the 2 grand I spent today I get to put in 40 tickets. It would totally crack me up if I actually won the machine. I don't tend to win in drawings, even ones stacked in my favor, so I don't anticipate ending up with it.

Now, I'll have to learn how to machine quilt. No more excuses since the new machine can do it.

On a different note, the kids don't have school tomorrow or Friday. (Jewish holiday.) I am going to take the kids apple picking tomorrow with the Moms Club. If you have any spectacular or just yummy recipes for apples you'd like to share send them my way! You know I'll get more apples than I should.

If the weather cooperates I'm going to take the kids to the beach one last time on Friday. It's only supposed to be 77 on Friday so we might have to make the decision on Friday whether we go or not. Or should I say, weather we go or not.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's a small world after all

I actually know Simon's new teacher! On Friday I finally got a chance to make it through the throng of people crowding around the main entrance of the school to go get Simon. The previous two days I had sent Hannah in to get her brother. When I walked up I saw a woman I know wearing a hat with Simon's teacher's name on it. We both did one of those- hey, your Simon's teacher. Hey, your Simon's mom! We know each other from Gymboree and I never knew her last name nor did she know my older kids. It's weird to be living some place new and stumble upon someone you know like that. I have high hopes that Simon will have a good year because she is very nice. I didn't really like his teacher last year.

Well, the poll closed on Sunday..... the winner is layout B. It really was a close one. If Hannah and Simon hadn't voted it would have only won by 2 votes. I do think I am going to go with B. The thing that bothered me the most about A was not being able to see the pattern and then I didn't feel like I could just enjoy the funky fabrics. B it is. Thank you all for your help.

As some of you might know my mom is staying with us for a bit. I hope we won't scare her away with our loud and crazy house. It is just temporary while they transition to NJ. Yes, Jersey is a vortex that just sucks people in... can you ever escape? That's the question. No, mom got a new job outside Trenton and it seems to be rather promising. Unlike the last one that dragged them out to the east coast in the first place. At least they are close to us. Seth gave his grandma a big hug when she came home last night and he cried when she left this morning. So cute.

I better get going. I am dragging Misty with me to a Meet and Greet for the Moms Club I am in. It's a nice way to meet other moms and find activities to do as well.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back in the saddle again

They're back! Today is the first day of the school year! Both kids woke up easily, got dressed, ate their breakfast, brushed their teeth, and helped get ready to go! I wonder how long that will last? They only have half days this week. Why? I have no idea.

I thoroughly enjoyed our summer but I am happy to be back in the school routine. We did a lot this summer. Trips to the beach, Amish country, a visit to Denver, swimming and play at Dorbrook, peach picking, and our recent visit to the statue. A well spent summer to send them off for a new year.

I am however mostly excited that fall is beginning. There isn't much showing now but soon it will be full fledged fall. For now there a a few trees that have changing leaves and the air cools off quickly in the evening. Before long I'll be able to wear comfy sweaters while sipping a hot cup of coffee. Soon there will be mums everywhere. Oh, and don't forget pumpkins. I love fall. It is my favorite season of them all.

I will leave the poll open for a few more days in case anyone didn't get a chance to vote. It is very neck in neck! Two of the votes for B are from Hannah and Simon. You all have such very different opinions that do seem to match your personalities! It will make it even harder to decide which way to go. Thank you for your input though.

To keep myself busy while I pine about the layout I am binding the babies quilts. They were quilted in record time. I took them in last Tuesday and Linda brought them back to the store Saturday. I love that she'll squeeze baby quilts in between the big ones. In Denver your quilt went into que with all the others and you'd be lucky if you got it back in a months time.

My lovely cat decided to help me last night by curling up in the middle of all the activity. What is it about cats that they think things aren't perfect until they are part of it?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Take a quick poll

Ok folks, I have been having a hard time with the layout of my most recent quilt top. I ended up with a lot more medium tone fabrics than I thought I'd have. (You need contrast between the colors.) I tried to match them as best I could but the overall effect of the Bento Box pattern isn't shining through for me. What do you think the best layout is?

Quilt layout A

Quilt layout B

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Parks, apples, and shovels

What a strange combination, right? Do tell...

Yesterday we met a friend of ours at Turkey Swamp Park for a while. It's nice to hang out with Tracey because her boys are pretty rambunctious and it makes me feel better to know that other moms have kids like mine! One of the things Hannah and Simon like about this park is the small climbing wall. Of course, to insure mommy has at least one heart attack at each park outing they like to do things like sit on top of the rock wall! AH!

We all shared our lunches with each other. It didn't take Seth long to discover that Tracey had some ranch dressing for the carrots she brought. Well, Seth just helped himself. Thank god for baby wipes and kind friends who share!

After the park I brought all the monkeys back home. Seth fell asleep in the car about two minutes after we got in the car. They way they schlump over always looks so uncomfortable. Since Daniel had taken the day off for our dentist appointments I got to go to the grocery store sans kids! It's so nice to have no children with you. I don't think I lingered to long but I did linger a bit. I found something that I had to buy at the store though! I found Paula Red apples. What kind are those that are named after my mommy? Hum, I must try them and find out.

Well mom, your apples are a bit tart. In a good way though, a lot like a granny smith. Upon asking Hannah what she thought they tasted like she said, "Yummy... but they are a bit sour."

And the shovel, what about the shovel?

You know how some people say things about how when someone was eating they sure were shoveling it in. Well, Seth was literally shoveling food in his mouth this morning.