Tuesday, July 31, 2012

QuickSummer Blanket

Some projects are made for fun, some to try a new technique, some for want, and some for necessity. This one was made for the latter, necessity. Football season starts next month for both of my boys and I needed something to keep in the car to be able to sit on at the park or the football field. There have been some fun summer fabric lines this summer but when I spied a Marmalade layer cake I knew that was the line I wanted. I added 8 ten inch squares to the layer cake and this blanket came together quickly.

I backed it with a vintage sheet to keep it simple. I just stitched the patchwork top to the sheet right sides together leaving an opening to turn it right side out. Once I turned it out I stitched the opening closed. 

I hand tied this quilt as that was something I had never done and wanted to try out. I used embroidery thread  which worked great and again was a quick finish.

In the end this project was everything I wanted it to be...simple, quick, and pretty. IO love it when things go as planned! Bring on the football games... we are ready!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The end of School Sewing for the Beginning of School

 I have accomplished my goal for school sewing so anything that gets made over the next couple of weeks will be gravy and if no more clothing gets sewn over the next couple of weeks then that is o.k. too. I do have a few more dresses in mind to make but I am planning on doing some small project sewing and enjoying the next couple of weeks until school starts.

The fabric is Art Gallery which is sooo nice to sew with. It is not as "heavy" as usual quilting fabric. I picked this print because it reminded me of a bunch of kites floating up in the sky.

I also sewed up a few skirts based on Hickety Pickety's Easy No Hem Skirt tutorial. The 2nd two skirts are modified for a ruffle and eyelet trim. Happy Monday!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Flashback Friday

On July 27, 2005 we were back east in New Jersey visiting family and friends.

We enjoyed time in the Atlantic (which is so different from our Pacific Ocean!)


Then went and did some "crabbing" after dinner. That's our friend Jack, Erik (age  10), and Sam (age 6).

The boys had fun catching these little crabs, letting them scurry on the dock, and then putting them back in the ocean. Perfect entertainment for the boys; well, for us too!

We got to enjoy a beautiful sunset to end our happy day.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mary, Mary quite contrary...

There have been a few years that I have been in a newborn baby fog but for the most part I plant a garden each year. I love being able to walk out to the garden, pick a vegetable off the vine, bring it in, cut it up and have a meal. I love a tomato and cucumber sandwich for lunch and having sauteed zucchini with dinner or making salsa. It is also a garden tradition to plant a pumpkin.

I said "I" plant the garden but it is really is a joint effort. Steve does the hard part of getting rid of the winter weeds then tilling up the soil, sometimes bringing in more soil and then adding fertilizer. Sometimes we all go to the store to pick out what to plant and other years I go by myself. I used to start everything from seeds as that is what my parents did. This year everything I put in the garden was a plant bought at the hardware store except for some swiss chard I planted from seed... but no plants sprouted. I planted on April 22. Some plants didn't get enough water that first week so a cucumber plant, watermelon, and a roma tomato died. For some reason things are not growing so well this year. Our winter was a drought with some really warm days in January and February but then May was unseasonably cool. Maybe it is due to odd weather or maybe not enough fertilizer. Some of the peter pan squash plants had barely grown but they this week they seem to have grown a lot as we have had some warm weather.

Quick rundown on produce so far: have gotten a few crooked neck squash, zucchini, and peter pan squash. Once I pick one it seems to take a lot of time to get another. Have had a few armenian cucumbers. These are the kids FAVORITE! They are so good and the girls love how they are scalloped and look like flowers when I cut them up. Have gotten a few Burpless hybrid cucumbers but they have had a bitter taste. Basil and verbena growing well. Pepper plants have produced one pepper each: yellow bell (not ripe yet), sweet banana pepper(was spicy), and anaheim pepper. Tomatoes:
Roma: 0
German Johnson Heirloom: 2. These are delish. There have been a few that bugs have eaten half of that I have had to toss.
Cherokee Purple heirloom- 1 that bugs ate before it got ripe
Black Crim Heirloom- 1 that was delish and a couple bugs have got to before ripened
Lemon Boy- 3-4 that were delish!! Bugs have also gotten a couple of these before ripe
Heirloom Costoluto Genovese tomato-1 and it may have been the best yummiest tomato i have ever had!
Sweet 100-  a few handfuls of these but not anything like we have gotten in years past and they are bitter this year.
Yellow pear tomatoe- a few handfuls. There are quite a few tomatoes on the plant but they have been very slow to ripen.

Maybe produce will pick up this last part of the summer. Steve and I have talked about possibly moving the garden location over the winter. Weeds have been a real problem so  whether we move the garden or not , I would like to get all new dirt.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

too close for comfort

We live in an area that seems to be hit with a fire most summers whether it is our county or a neighboring county.  A couple of weeks ago Sam had some friends over and were out swimming and noticed when this fire first began. 

It started small and I thought it would be put out quickly. But, it grew.

We spent the rest of the day watching the bombers and helicopters fly over us  fighting the fire. The main road to get to our house had a road block but since our home was on the side opposite the fire they let my husband through when he came home from work.



By the late afternoon the fire marshall came around our neighborhood and said we could evacuate if we wanted, but if  evacuation became mandatory we would receive an automated phone call. There was a main thoroughfare the fire would have to cross before getting to us. Homes on the other side of the road had been evacuated. We started thinking about if we had to evacuate, what would we grab to take?

As evening approached the fire crept closer. Once it was dark the planes and helicopters would not be able to fly and the fight would be left to the ground crew.

We live at the top of a hill so our neighbors came to get a better  view of the fire. Thankfully it was not a windy day and not too hot. By 1130 p.m. we went to bed feeling pretty confident that we would not get a call in the middle of the night to evacuate. The next day the planes and helicopters resumed. After dumping stuff all day the fire was contained.  I believe 10,000+ acres were burned but only 5 homes and some outbuildings like shops and barns. We were thankful to all the firefighters and the long hours they put in to stop the fire and thankful, too, that we did not have to evacuate!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Finish and a Start

finished up embroidery this Sarah Jane pattern and plan to use it for a quiet book I will make once her new fabric line, "Out to Sea", comes out in August.


My next hand stitching project I am going to make some clamshells. Definitely not a quilt... thinking a pillow.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fun Summer Weekend

We had a fun weekend without too many commitments...my favorite kind of weekend!  It was 100+ degrees all weekend so there was swimming and lake time. Time with friends and time to get some chores done around the house. This is my favorite photo from the weekend. This girl is always cracking all of us up with her silliness.


This dress I guess you could say was a year in the making. I bought the fabric and pattern last summer  . For some reason I thought I was going to accomplish a lot of sewing with a new baby because all they do is sleep and eat. The baby did do a lot of sleeping and eating but I did not do much sewing. As i worked on this off and on over the past 2 weeks Nicole wasn't too sure if she liked it as she prefers turquoise to this color blue. Thankfully the eyelet trim swayed her and she gave me a thumbs up in the end.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Flashback Friday

For today's flashback I have a scrapbook page from 2008. This page happens to be a note to the twins but I do write notes to all my kids. Journaling reads: "When you grow up and look back over the times of your life I hope you remember living in a house on a hill and playing in the backyard. I hope you remember a carefree time when life was simple and how much you were loved. I hope you remember Dad pushing you on the swing in the shade of a huge oak tree. I hope you can feel the warm sun on your face, the wind in your hair, and hear your laughter echoing in your mind. I hope you can feel the green grass  between your toes, see the blue sky, smell the fresh air, and hear the birds chirping. When you open your eyes and discover that you have been lost in your memories I hope you find a smile on your face. I hope you know that where ever Dad, me, Erik, and Sam are, we love you with all of our hearts and are smiling at those same memories." Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Plan B

The girls have this dress. I thought, "That would be quick to make. just take a tank top and sew a skirt to it and voila." My girls prefer dresses to skirts. I really wish they liked skirts because they are faster to make so i thought this dress would be great because really i would only be making a skirt. The turquoise band in the middle is elastic so i went in search of 2" colored elastic. My local fabric store only had black or white elastic. I searched Etsy and could only find some from Japan but thought surely there must be some colored elastic in the U.S.A. If there is I could not find it.
 So I made it. I bought some RIT and followed the instructions on the bottle. The directions stated that it should not be used on rubber and the elastic has rubber but it worked just fine.
 Now that I had my colored elastic I was ready to connect the tank top to the elastic. I sewed the elastic together so it was a circle.  The tank had a larger circumference than the elastic so after trying to join them 3 times I decided the skirt and tank didn't need to be joined into a dress but could be worn as separates. It took a little convincing but Nicole finally agreed to Plan B.




Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Best Kind of Day



Today during the 2 littles nap time the twins both decided they want to sew alongside of me. On the week days they do a little math review and reading after i put the littles down and then they get to choose what they want to do. Sometimes it's swimming or playing outside. Sometimes it's watching a movie or drawing and coloring. Today Jessica asked if she could get my fabric scraps and make a dress for her Bla Bla doll so then Nicole wanted to join in also. They love to pull out the scrap box every so often and have great fun playing with those scraps: oohing and aahing over colors or prints; shrieking with excitement when they recognize a scrap of fabric from one of their dresses that i have made them. They usually "pretend" sew and will lay pieces of fabric out in the configuration of a purse or use it as a carpet for their Barbies or stack pieces for a Princess and the Pea bed, etc. I was sewing and waited to see what they would come up with. I have told Jessica her whole life that she will probably grow up to be a fashion designer.   She can come up with different ways to wear clothing and is very creative. She can turn a scarf into a shirt, a skirt into a top, a top into a skirt, something symmetrical into something asymmetrical....she even created a hat out of toilet paper once! (I should dig that photo out of the archives). She cut and stitched and we talked. It is so fun that the girls are old enough to enjoy and participate in sewing. Coley girl got a piece of fabric and was interested in pinning. She folded the piece into a rectangle and was making a small baby blanket. She did a very nice job of pinning. I happened to be at the iron pressing seams; I saw Cole look Jess and was watching her stitch by hand. I turned my back and next thing I knew Cole was sitting at the machine wanting to sew with it saying it would be much faster than sewing by hand. I agreed and thought it was time for her to learn especially since she is interested. She had her first lesson and did a great job of sewing a straight line. Jess wanted a turn too but nap time ended so we had to move on to other activities....maybe tomorrow. Sewing alongside my girls and seeing their faces light up by their accomplishments definitely makes for the best kind of day!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Little Stitches


As well as having a "regular" sewing project I like to have a hand sewing project. My current project is this cute little embroidery from sarahjanestudios.com. It coordinates with her new fabric line "Out to Sea" which will be released in August. I love Sarah's work and have a few of her prints in my girls' rooms (she makes cute ones for boys or girls) and her fabric makes the wheels of my mind spin with all kinds of ideas of projects i want to make. I am thinking this piece will be the cover of a quiet book for the baby.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Couple of Finishes


My sewing goals these days revolve around getting the twins some dresses made for school. Both dresses use Simplicity patterns. When the twins had their Kindergarten promotion I had wanted to make them each a dress to wear but i was only able to complete a dress for Nicole. I had cut out another dress but when promotion had come and gone I tucked it away in a box as i had moved on to some other projects that were more appealing to me. Back in April when Elsie Marley hosted Kid's Clothes Challenge week i thought of the dress that i had not completed and thought it was time to do so.... except i found something else i wanted to work so again the dress sat there lonely still.  Three or four weeks ago i decided i was tired of that dress sitting around and decided to finish it before i started anything else. The twins will be starting 2nd grade next month so it is nice to have finally completed the dress and have it fit her! The other dress came about because Jessica loves all things Paris and I love maps so when i saw this Dear Stella fabric that was a map of Paris i bought it thinking Jess would love it. She is a picky dresser in that things have to be a certain "style" - - she is kind of a crazy dresser and has no problem mixing plaids with stripes, etc. She will usually wear the clothes i make her one time( to make me happy i think) and then she doesn't wear them again. My evil plan worked and she is super excited about this dress and I believe she will be wearing it many times.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Flashback Friday

summer '08- then
summer '12- now

Not that I am biased, but I would have to say my boys are pretty awesome! At 4 years apart they have never argued much and the older one has always included the younger one when his friends come over,etc. Their personalities are quite different with my oldest always on the move, playing, wrestling, talking, and just all boy. The younger one is quiet, laid back (although stubborn), takes it all in, and not so much a wrestler. But....with an older brother who is a wrestler, he has had to be one. When they were little every night they would have a WWF showdown that of course included dad. It started out innocently in the family. Then they moved it to the playroom so they could use the futon as a landing pad and use footballs. For awhile they went through a phase where the 3 of them would go into Steve and I's room and turn off the lights and wrestle and Steve would toss them on the bed and all kinds of antics. This usually ended with someone in tears so this format ended. Then the boys became too big for Steve to toss in the air and our WWF nights phased out somewhere along the way. Then there was the phase where as soon as the boys got home from school they would wrestle on the couch, I guess to decompress from their day. What this really amounted to was Erik pinning Sam to the floor or couch. This summer Sam is gaining inches and is closing in on height to Erik and I am thinking it won't be long and Erik will no longer have the upper hand. Sam is tolerant and kind but watch out if you make him mad!! Due to sports practices one or the other boy doesn't always come home from school right away so the afternoon wrestling is seasonal. The other day i was doing the lunch dishes (Yes, i do a lot of dish washing with a family of 8) and could see the boys out wrestling in the pool and had to laugh out loud. Boys will be boys, I guess. It took me back to a memory of a few summers back, 2008 to be exact, when the boys tied on towels and put on a super hero show. I remember laughing on that summer's day 4 years ago as I narrated their antics about Evil Dr. E vs. Super Sam and had to pull up a picture. I couldn't find the exact one I was looking for, but i did find one to tell the story. I love you two!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Nightly Summer Routine


Every night  after dinner Steve and the kids go swimming so i can do dishes and mop the floor without anyone under my feet or climbing on my back. With temps over 100 this week a dip in the pool is always refreshing and I am always thankful for a little quiet time as i clean up. Often times the kids have diving contests, or play water basketball, or make up some kind of game but tonight they were all pretty mellow and just hanging out. I can see them in the pool from the kitchen sink. As I finished cleaning up the light was pretty from the setting sun, although hazy due to a fire burning in a neighboring county, so i wanted to get a few pictures. We are in the pool frequently throughout the day but is usually too bright for good photos; we love the days of summer and spending time in the pool!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Christmas in July




The girls have been wanting to put together a gingerbread house left over from Christmas since Easter break. I used it as a carrot today to get cleanup done quickly and math done first. So while Steve and Erik were at work and Sam was at basketball we broke open the house and put it together. I got them started and then Nicole wanted to take over on the decorating.In the top photo she was wearing a 70's girl costume from last Halloween but the sleeves were getting in her way so she took it off.  Little Miss Strawberry girl put more candy in her mouth than on the house but a good time was had by all! My sister in law, niece, and nephew came over bringing clothes and toys for the girls that my niece has outgrown so it truly was like Christmas today!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Jumping In

Starting a blog is something I have been wanting to do for a couple of reasons. I would like to share and document the crafts and sewing I do but mostly I am wanting to get down some of our stories of our daily life. I love scrapbooking but with 6 kids there is little time to devote to all the hobbies I love so I think this will work. Even just a small note each day so the kids have a record to look back on and know what a snapshot of our days look like. When the kids get older maybe a time will come when I  will have enough time to have a full time sewing blog but for now my main purpose is to have a family blog and a place to share the things I make. So here goes... I am jumping in.