Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

This is what I imagine a few turkeys may have looked like in the not so distant past. This is our little turkey last Thursday, when her preschool put on a Thanksgiving program. She is "Sister Helpful", a pilgrim, if you couldn't tell. She is a sister helpful too - always anxious to "help" me with a task I'm trying to get done. Her way usually takes longer, is messier, and means more clean up for me, and it's hard for me to let go and let her help, but it's so sweet that she does want to help me. She got her very own mop the other day so that we could mop together.

The preschool program was very sweet and went really well considering all the opportunities for things to go very wrong. I was nervous about Sarah standing up in front of people, as she's not been a big fan of things like the children's choir at our church, but she did great. Lots of big smiles and cute shoulder shrugs, very little nose picking and she only lifted her dress up twice. That sounds like a success to me!

We are fortunate to have friends who have invited us to join their big family celebration today. As you might imagine, not a lot of cooking is taking place at our house right now and if I can't microwave it or cook it in a toaster oven, it's not an option. Even boiling water right now would be a chore! I know the day will be filled with kids, food, friends, family and good times though, and I'm looking forward to it. I am so thankful for all that my family and I have been blessed with, especially our beautiful, healthy, smart, funny girls. Happy Thanksgiving.

Progress on all fronts

Baby B's quilt is done. I know it, looks very similar to the quilt I just showed you a week or so ago, but really, it's another one. Experience is definitely on my side. I quilted this one so much more quickly and it seemed easier and turned out better. The quilt is backed in 100% flannel so the babies have something soft to snuggle on. I ran out of some of the fabrics used in the original, so there are some new introductions in this one. And the binding. Making the binding for the first quilt took me two nights and hours. The bias fairies were not on my side, but little did I know that they were still looking out for me. I had enough left over from the first quilt to do this one as well, with just 6.25" left over. Yes, I measured, because I felt so lucky! So, one more baby quilt to get done before Christmas and yes, it will look like the first two because I cut out a whole bunch of strips and have enough left. Then I'm hoping to quilt the top that Rachel made this summer and give the completed quilt to her for Christmas. I'm thinking pinwheel quilts for next Christmas - the flannel sheets are already on the beds and I'm still looking at piles of pinwheels.

And....the kitchen. Here's with and without cabinets (and with the hubby). Apparently the kitchen was red at some point - almost the exact same red that we painted our exterior doors.

The wall that separated the two rooms is gone. That new lumber to the right of the windows is where it use to be, so we've doubled the length of our kitchen, if you can call it a kitchen right now.

Here's the view above. This beam, running horizontally, is what replaced the wall. Jim and his brother and nephew tackled that the beginning of the week. They also saved us big bucks by doing it themselves!

Our refrigerator use to sit in this recess (where the broom is), but we're bringing it forward and will reclaim that space on the other side of the room, doubling the width of Sarah's closet. That's a project for after the kitchen though.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One down, two to go

Well, Baby A's quilt is done. Or, who knows, maybe it's Baby B's. What that really means is that I need to get moving on the second one. And then my niece's. The binding on this took as long as it did to quilt, or at least it seemed that way to me. My bobbin wouldn't cooperate, I was having trouble joining my bias strips and all in all, the karma just wasn't there. Even now that it's on, it's a bit wonky, but I'm over it. The wonkiness will go well with the fact that it's my first free motion quilted quilt and I hit a few bumps in the road as I went along. I am happy with how it turned out, just wish it was a bit neater, as it's a gift.

The photos aren't stellar, but I was running out of sunlight and am delivering the quilt tomorrow morning, so I took what I could get. I kind of like the warm glow and the shadows though - keeps you from seeing all my mistakes too clearly.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Treasure revealed

Well unfortunately, it seems like Jim is beating me with his work in progress. It has taken me what seems like hours just to make the binding for the baby quilt. My bobbin refused to act nicely, I wasn't joining my bias strips together properly, the strips all ended at the wrong angle and who knows what else was going wrong, but it was all wrong, wrong wrong. Meanwhile, Jim has cut back the dining room wall to make a wider entrance into our kitchen. Thankfully, this is not our actually kitchen, but just the room we will be expanding into. The actual kitchen is on the other side of that plaster and lath wall on the left. Some day soon that wall will be gone. I think we've settled on a cabinet maker as well, so things are falling into place. That is also our new oven in the lower left hand corner. I am soooo excited about it! The word from the sales guy is that it will bake FOUR sheets of cookies evenly at once with "pure convection". Imagine that. And...the racks are on ball bearings so they roll out easy peasy. Of course, it will probably take us three months just to learn how to turn the thing on.

So this remodeling thing.....I am not in love with the process, and it is all too familiar. I long for the day when we are not tearing our house apart. Can you see all that chalky, dusty stuff on the floor of the messy room? That also spreads throughout the dining room, living room, kitchen and Rachel's room. I'm surprised we're not tasting grit in our food yet! But, sometimes demolition brings about pleasant surprises, like this wallpaper that has been revealed. At some point, someone covered it up with drywall, so it's just been hiding back there waiting to be revealed once again. The pattern designer in me got excited about this little discovery.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Works in Progress

There are two WIPs going on at our house right now. Jim's got one and so I do. Mine will be done first, I'm pretty sure. I had to go full speed ahead on this baby quilt on Friday night and Saturday, as the shower was Sunday afternoon. As it was, I had to give the quilt without any binding on it and then take it back with me. I already know what the binding will be (the fabric at the center of each square), but was running out, so hopefully Hobby Lobby will have some this morning. Otherwise it will be on to plan B, which currently does not exist. This was my first attempt at free motion quilting a quilt of any size and only my second attempt at trying it at all. The first time being the small sample the other day. I have to say, it is much easier to maneuver a 10" square around and get results that you are happy with than a 40" square. I am definitely still a beginner with much to learn, but I was relatively happy with the results. Tension seems to be more important than I'd have thought, and my speed seems to effect how the back looks. I opted for a variegated pink thread for the top and pale pink for the solid back, hoping that the variegation's would blend into the red, but that was not the case, so the quilting is VERY visible in places. And, I do hope that it softens up after it goes through the wash, because right now it is just shy of standing on its own. Not exactly baby soft. Once this one is done I've got to keep on keeping on, with one for the other twin and one for my niece who never got a welcome to the world present this summer.

And Jim's work in progress.....say goodbye to the room that has been not much of anything to us thus far. I like to call it the "un-room". It is right off the dining room and between the kitchen and a bedroom. One day, hopefully soon, the wall that separates it from the kitchen will be gone and our kitchen will double in length. Oddly enough, we are having a hard time getting contractors to get back to us with quotes. I thought that in these "though economic times" they would be happy for work. Guess not. Saturday Jim tore out all the drywall that was covering plaster and lath. Sunday that plaster and lath was ripped out. Now it's an odd shell of a room with more destruction and demolition to look forward to. Don't look for lots of holiday baking here - I think Publix will be taking care of that for us this year.

So no shortage of things for either of us to do right now. Good thing this time of year isn't busy ; )

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Look Mom, no feed dogs!

I'm playing a bit of hookie this morning. I dropped Rachel off at school, then Sarah at preschool and instead of heading to the Y, grocery shopping, or doing anything else, I headed home and did some sewing. I've got a baby shower on Sunday (for twins) and had ideas of two baby quilts. As it stands right now, I will be lucky to give one quilt, almost finished. Is it tacky to give an unfinished gift and then take it back to finish? I hope the Momma doesn't think so! So I got all the squares done for the first quilt and can't go any further until I hit the fabric store, so I got a wild hair and decided that I'd give free motion quilting a twirl for the first time. I know not what I do, but I was pretty excited. This is a leftover square from another baby gift, so I decided to practice on it. While there is no doubt a learning curve, I think that I actually get the idea of it and may try it on one of the quilts for Sunday (if I get that far). I can see the benefits of using a thread that will blend with as much of the top as possible. The quilting on this, with the white thread that was already in my machine, looks much better on the yellow fabrics, versus the red ones. I'm pretty excited about the possibilities I can now start to explore and the idea of making a quilt and going beyond stitching in the ditch is pretty darn exciting too! But first....I need to go clean the bathrooms before I have to go get Sarah.