Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Visit to the Czech Republic (Without Leaving Home)

At the beginning of the year Jolana was making some pretty stars. She wasn't sure how big the piece would end up being but said it would take a lot of fabric so I asked her if I could send her some fabric scraps. She said "Sure and would I like some German and Czech fabric?" Since I love all fabric I said "sure"!! I went to the post office today expecting to pick up an envelope but instead I brought home this very large box!!

Inside there were so many amazing goodies!! It was like a little peek inside the Czech Republic. She sent a fun puzzle (the mole is a fun Czech cartoon) and some Czech chocolate  (which was delicious!!) Do you see how the chocolate is almost as big as the puzzle? 

Then there were 2 very pretty drawstring bags and a beautiful notebook. Jolana makes the most perfect binding!!

Inside the cover was a note pad and a couple of post cards of the Czech Republic. That was such a sweet touch!!

Jolana sent some fabric for small projects.

The girl fabric is so fun!!

She sent some fabric from Germany...

and some Czech fabric. I have seen pieces of many of these in the projects she has made and have admired them so it is so fun for me to make something with them, too. i want to print out a template and make some stars like Jolana's for a long term project.

Last but not least there were some beautiful hand made fabric buttons(one of my favorite things. My head has been day dreaming of what kind of project I want to sew these onto) and some cute wooden ones. Yes, it was Christmas here in January today! Thank you Jolana for the beautiful package with all of the thoughtful care you put into it. I am still smiling and the package was most definitely a highlight in my day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fun Finds

A couple of weekends ago I had 10 minutes to breeze through the antique store. I had not been there for a long time so it was fun to do a quick walk through. I love kids books and started a collection before I even had kids.

I will buy a book if it has illustrations I love or a good story. Sometimes I will find a book that has both.

My favorites seem to be from the 1950's/60's.

I love the color illustrations and the black and white ones as well.

While I was there I spied a 50% off clearance table . I got the angel for $3.00 and the Santa mug for  50 cents. Score!!

A few weeks ago I popped into the thrift store and found the strawberry sheet. I had it in my hands, then put it back, and eventually I did bring it home. I love strawberries and am thinking I will use it to back a picnic blanket or quilt. The top sheet is crib size. I am not sure what that will become but I thought the cute bunny, squirrel, and duck illustrations were cute. The colors were so spring-like and have me thinking of Easter. Hope your week is off to a great start!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flashback Friday- Dreaming of Vacation

It is the middle of winter here and about this time every year i start dreaming of a beach vacation. The kids make up games and can play at the beach all day. Nothing scheduled except relaxation.

Yep, i would like to be with my favorite people

on a beautiful beach

in my favorite place. Photos March 2009.
Have a fun weekend! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

To Do, Am Doing, Want to Do

My "to do" pile keeps gowing. Actually, I have more than one "to do" pile. This is just the first one I want to tackle when I finish my current project. I used to have one "to do" pile but it kept toppling over and I decided I could never make my way through the pile. So now I have 10 smaller piles. Somehow shorter stacks seem like they would be faster to get through. That's Gina logic :).

 
This is my current project. One word down 2 to go. This is a fun project and one I am happy to be working on. Kristy has come up with a fabulous typewriter alphabet paper piecing pattern (try saying that 5 times fast!). She always has her patterns tested before listing them in her Craftsy shop. She created an uppercase and a lowercase alphabet which amounts to a lot of letters!! She came up with a group of words to cover each letter so many people are testing the pattern by making a word. When we finish the word blocks we will mail them to Kristy who will then stitch all the words together to make a quilt (actually, i think she will be making 2 quilts out of the words). It is summer in Australia and they are having a major heatwave and many people have lost homes, belongings, etc in bush fires. Kristy will be donating the quilts to people who have been victims of the fires. Fun project for a good cause.

Lastly, here is my want to do project. Have I ever cross stitched before?...no. Do I know how to cross  stitch?...no! Did that stop me from buying a cross stitch pattern?...no!!!When I saw these cute woodland critters I could not resist. Our baby has somewhat of a woodland creature theme going on in her room so I imagine this piece will make it's way into her room once it is completed. I thought it would be easy but when i glanced over the instructions I thought, "What have I gotten myself into. Is this written i Greek?!" I am waiting for a piece of fabric to come before I can start this project. Hopefully once I start this project it will be easy. I think I just need to stitch "x's" and be able to count and I can do both those things. You can find this project here if you would like to check it out. A new pattern is sent to you the first of each month so the idea is to stitch up one a month to have a sampler at the end of the year. January is flying by!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Polaroid Party Finished

This quilt was a fun one to make and I am glad to have it finished and put to use! (the girl behind the quilt doesn't have anything wrong with her ankle, she just wanted to show me how good she was at wrapping).

Thanks so much to Kristy for her time and efforts spent in designing these blocks!! I couldn't have made this without her. Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day here in the U.S. so my kids were out of school but today we are back on schedule. Hope your week is off to a great start! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flashback Friday- My SuperSam

This little guy has always loved basketball and has always gone outside to work on his shot.

This week he started his last season of middle school basketball as he will head to high school next year. He started it off with a bang logging his first double double (double digit numbers in rebounds and points) and was high scorer of the game with over half his team's points.

More than that I love to see him being a good leader, making good choices, and being a team player. We are so proud of you Super and look forward to watching you play this year!!  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WIP Wednesday- Polaroid Party Quilt

Back in October I had participated in a polaroid block swap.  After I received my blocks I thought for awhile about what I wanted to turn them into. I decided upon an eye spy quilt for my kids (and truth be told for me too! I love cameras and polaroid prints). I thought I needed a polaroid camera on the quilt so I emailed Kristy to see if that was a pattern she thought she could create. She could and did a fabulous job. Still, I wasn't quite sure of how I wanted to layout the quilt so I continued to mull it over. I loved this one and this one.

Like Rachel, I decided I wanted the polaroids to look like they were scattered across a table like someone was looking through them. Again I emailed my paper-piecing-pattern-making-extraordinairre friend Kristy. I sent her a few sketches and wondered if it was possible to create blocks where the polaroids looked "layered". Again she created a super pattern with 7 different blocks. They came together easily and were fun to make. Taking all the paper off the back of the blocks wasn't so fun but I am not complaining. I love it! I can't decide if I should applique the polaroid to come out of the camera (in the top photo) or leave the camera plain (the 2nd photo).

For the back I found this fun camera print at JoAnn's and I made the binding from Kona but I am not sure what color it is. Possibly chartreuse. The quilt blocks are 10". I wanted the quilt a bit larger so I added a 3inch finished border so it will measure 36x46.

I have it basted and ready for quilting. I think I will trace along each polaroid. I don't have a machine that free motions quilts so I need to do some sort of straight line quilting. How would you quilt it? 

 I have a few other WIPs but for now I am focusing on this one until it is finished. It is Wednesday so I am linking up to Freshly Pieced. I am looking forward to checking out what everyone else has been making this week.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Liebster Award

A week ago I had never heard of the Liebster Award. Mid-week last week I received an email from Sally saying she had nominated me for this award. Then at the end of the week Ana Sofia nominated me for this award too. Twice the fun, right?!
                                               

 So what is the Liebster Award you ask? 
"The Liebster Blog Award is an award given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers, most of whom have less than 200 followers (or have been blogging for less than 6 months). It is to show newer bloggers that they are appreciated, and to help spread the word about new blogs. It was created to promote appreciation and recognition among the blog world. Liebster translates to “dearest” (or favorite/best) in German. It is also known as the Love Blog Award."   



My favorite thing about blogging has been the nice people I met and here is proof. You can read Sally's Liebster post here and Ana Sofia's here. I discovered both of these ladies in the Project Run and Play Flickr group. Both of them sew amazing clothing for their children.


I enjoyed reading both Sally's and Ana Sofia's Liebster posts and found some other blogs that I would not have otherwise known about. Along with this award comes a few rules:

1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2.  Answer the 11 questions given by the nominator.
3.  Create 11 new questions for those you nominate.
4.  Choose 11 new blogs (less than 200 followers or blogging for less than 6 months) and link to them in your post. (will those i nominate please leave a comment on this post with a link to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you? Thank you!!)



                                           
11 Random Things about me:

1. I am the oldest of 4 kids. I have 2 sisters and a brother
2. I have to start each day with a Diet Coke
3. My favorite board game is Scrabble. It is serious business when my sisters and I play. Our kids   always want to play with us because we have so much fun and laugh a lot!!
4. I was the Valedictorian of my High School class
5. I am left handed
6. I am a 13 year cancer survivor
7. My favorite color is pink but I think blue has taken over
8. I am kind of short at 5' 2"
9. I have never watched a reality T.V. show
10. I love to watch football and basketball
11. Before I had kids I wanted 4 (that's what my mom and dad had and i thought it was perfect. Love my sisters and brother!). It didn't matter how many boys or how many girls but I did want at least one of each.

Questions from Sally:


1. What's your go to place when you are stumped and need a solution when it comes to sewing/crafting?
I haven't run into this problem. I have a list a mile log of things i would like to sew and it keeps getting longer. My problem is a shortage of time.

2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Hawaii is my favorite place in the world but if I could go anywhere I would pick Italy. I have been to a few places in Europe but haven't been to Italy and it is a part of my husband's heritage.

3. Who taught you how to sew and what do you wish you could ask them now?
I am a self taught sewist. I started simple with pillowcases and craft projects like dolls and Quiet books then moved on to simple skirts and just kept increasing the level of difficulty. The more you sew the better you get. My Grandma sewed and I wish I had asked her to teach me when she was alive.

4. If you were able to pass on your love of sewing to someone, what is the first thing you would tell them/teach them?
Be patient and keep practicing. Practice really does make perfect and there's nothing a little seam ripping can't fix!

5. What is the must have by your sewing machine/craft table when it comes to snacks?
my glass of water and some mints or hard candy.

6. What is one time period you wished you lived in, if only for the clothes they wore?
1950's!! I don't watch much T.V. but I do watch Madmen just to see the clothes. Love the style!

7. Favorite thing to do/favorite hobby, non sewing related?
I enjoy scrap booking, card making, gardening, and trying out new recipe. I love to read but haven't been doing much of that lately.

8. If you could indulge yourself in something sewing related, what would it be and why?
I would love to get a Bernina sewing machine. I want to learn to do free motion quilting and have even stitches.

9. Milk or Dark Chocolate? Why?
I am not a chocolate person.

10. What is the funniest thing you have seen or heard lately?
My three year old is hilarious and cracks me up with the stories she tells and her facial expressions. 

11. Sunrise or sunset? both! Sunrise brings the promise of a new day full of hope while the sunset is a romantic thing for some reason. Maybe I have seen too many movies??  What is your favorite time of day? I have a couple favorite times of day : naptime because it is quiet and i can get some work done and dinner time because that is the one meal where we are altogether and I can hear about everyone's day.

Ana Sofia's Questions:

1. When did you realise that blogging was an important part of your life?
I am a new blogger but it is something I enjoy doing each day. I have always enjoyed keeping diaries and journals and think of my blog as a type of journal. 
2. What’s your favorite blog post (from you or others) ?
I can't think of 1 blog post that is my favorite. To give an answer I would have to say almost every post of Karen's is my favorite. She has made me laugh and cry. Her blog was one of the first blogs I started reading and it is still one of my favorite's. It is also fun that I got to meet her when she was teaching scrap book classes and I have taken her Shoot From the Heart photography course.
3. What do you see yourself blogging five years from now?
I see myself blogging more sewing and quilts five years from now.
4. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
My dad worked in construction and I used to love running through the ditches and climbing gravel piles. I used to pretend the trenches were hallways in a house and I laid branches out to outline walls,etc. My dad and I used to eat lunch under eucalyptus trees (i still love that smell) and drink cream soda. Sometimes we would have lunch at the park where I had fun feeding the ducks. Good memories!
5. What did you wanted to be when you’re growing-up?
I wanted to be a cardiologist. I knew I wanted to be a mom someday too and didn't want to spend 8-12 years in school before I could start working so I decided to major in Nutition Science. I got my bachelor degree and was working in the lab at U.C. Davis. At the bachelor level I pretty much fed rats and gathered data for graduate students. I decided to do what I wanted to do in the field of Nutrition I would have to get a Ph.D. but I didn't want to spend all those years in school so I went to nursing school and became a Registered Nurse. It was my true calling and the best job ever! until I became a mom of 4, then 5, then 6. If I went back to work outside the home I would have to hire about 10 people to do my job as a mom.
6. Do you have a favorite life quote?
It is not a quote so much as a way of life: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
7. Are you a morning person (or a night owl)?
Maybe I would be a morning person if I didn't stay up until 2 a.m. blogging and sewing so i guess I am a night owl. 
8. What do “feed” your creativity?
Feeding creativity is fun! Walking through a fabric store with all those bolts of possibility always sets the wheels in my mind turning. Any store whether it be a clothing store, specialty store, scrap book or fabric store with cute vignettes is inspiring. I find lots of inspiration reading blogs, flickr, pinterest, magazines, ads, and nature. There is inspiration every where I look.
9. Name your favorite fabric designers/collections ever?
I haven't hardly met a fabric I didn't like (except  batiks). My top 5 would be Heather Bailey, Sarah Jane, Sandi Henderson, Lotta Jansdotter, and Heather Ross. 
10. What’s the best advise you ever got?
Everything always works out for the best.
11. What do you expect to accomplish in 2013?
In the sewing realm I would like to continue to improve my sewing skills and have my kids like to wear the clothes I make them. I am setting some small monthly goals at the beginning of each month. 
11 Blogs I nominate:
1. Where Jane Creates
2. Pretty Bobbins
3. V Jahodovce
4. Snips Snippets
5. Here We Are
6. Finding Fifth
7. Doodle Do Designs
8. Bespoke Bites
9. Little Kids Grow
10. Luellabella
11. Lemon Loves

If each of you nominated would leave a link to your Liebster blog post so I can get to know you better I would appreciate it! My 11 questions for you are:

1. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
2. What is your biggest sewing accomplishment so far? or what is something you have mastered that you once dreaded sewing?
3. Why did you start a blog?
4. Do you currently work in the field you were trained or studied to be in?
5. What is your favorite month of the year and why?
6. What is your favorite color/color combo?
7. What do you like about where you live?
8. How long have you been sewing and why did you learn to sew?
9. Have you lived in other places (cities or countries) than where you live now?
10. What is the best thing to happen in your life so far?
11. How long did it take you to write your Liebster post? Inquiring minds want to know!?!
I did not add pictures to this post since there was so much text but I just cannot post without a photo. The other day I went out in my yard to capture the starkness of winter. On closer inspection I found the promise of spring in new buds! 

If you have stayed with me to the end of this post you are amazing!! Thanks so much for reading!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Love Letter Banner

Today is January 14 which means one month until Valentine's day. The past couple of years I have been so busy with newborns, not to mention the other kids, that I have had to let certain things slide and one of those things was doing seasonal decorating. Now that we have all the kids out of the newborn/infant stage I want to do a little something for each holiday or season this year. My older kids love both helping to make decorations and the holiday/season itself. I have never been one to go all out with the decorating but a few accents are nice. Valentine's Day is a fun one since it is fun to think of ways to let my family know how much I love them. "Decorating" at my house usually includes a banner of some sort. Last year I made a Pottery Barn knock off  Valentine which was a giant Valentine felt envelope that went on the back of a chair. I wanted to make one for each of my kids but didn't have time. This year I used that as my inspiration starting point to create on a smaller scale in bunting form.

I started by cutting 8 (one for each person in our family) 3x5 pieces of wool felt. 
I had a Sizzix scalloped square die that I used to make the envelope flap by cutting the square in half. If you don't have a die to cut the square you can cut one yourself making it 4x4. This will be a little big but it will give you some wiggle room and you can trim it later. I also had a die to cut the hearts. You could cut them free hand or use a punched shape to trace around.
Next I measured half an inch from the point of the flap. I dabbed a heart with a glue stick to tack it in place until I hand stitched the heart. If you use too much glue the felt will make a hard lump but  a dab in center worked great. 

After I stitched the hearts I measured up an inch from the bottom of the 3x5 envelope to place the bottom of the flap. I had longer flaps than I needed and trimmed them as well. Finally I sandwiched a ribbon between the flap and the envelope then stitched in place with the sewing machine. 
I wanted to add a sentiment so I grabbed some tags, background stamp, ink, letters, and Baker's twine.

I wanted the background light so I stamped off before stamping the tags.
This is something I like to whisper in each of my kid's ears. It makes them smile every. single. time.

Now if I could find some tulips to add to the vase it would be perfect. Happy Monday!








Friday, January 11, 2013

Flashback Friday-We Love the Sacramento King's

The Sacramento King's are not a great basketball team but they are the NBA team that is closest to where we live so I always cheer for them. Our whole family loves to play/watch basketball so going to a game is always a treat. There has been a lot of talk this week about the King's being sold to Seattle. We are hoping they get to stay in Sacramento. These pictures are from January 2010 when the Orlando Magic came to town and Dwight Howard was a part of the team. We had the best seats ever and could actually have an appreciation of how tall the players are ( which you can't really see when you are higher in the stands). We had a lot of fun but unfortunately the King's lost.

After the game they allow kids on the court and they get to shoot a free throw. Erik is the one shooting and Super Sam is behind him waiting his turn. Have a fun weekend!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Having a Whale of a Good Time

I have been having a lot of fun paper piecing lately! Kristy has some new patterns coming to her Craftsy shop soon and I had the privilege of testing this cute little whale. He came together easily and quickly. One of my twins loves him and wanted to turn him into a pencil pouch but at 8 1/2 square inches she decided the block was too big for a pouch. The next day she asked if I might sew him into a sewing machine cover. That is exactly what we will turn him into.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Today...

Today we will enjoy watching all the birds that have been coming to the bird feeder we got for Christmas. Lots of wild finches, some type of cardinal, and robins. 
At some point today I will stare at the finished quilt blocks for Sam and wish I could snap my fingers or wiggle my nose and it would be finished.

Today I will enjoy my New Year's subway art that was a free download from Monika!

Work on my Polaroid quilt...

Put some new photos into my Project Life album. Actually they are new, old photos from August thru December of last year. I spent a whole day last week uploading photos and then some time another day ordering. Remember last year I said I was going to upload photos on a monthly basis instead of tackling 600 photos at a time? Well,  I didn't follow through. This year I am scheduling "photo upload" in my calendar on the first of every month for the prior month. I won't order prints every month because you can usually get a better price for more photos but at least they will be uploaded and ready for ordering.

Lastly, we will spend some time outside. We have been having nice weather; a little chilly but sunny. Happy Wednesday!!