Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I tried a new recipe last night. I got the link from creative little daisy. She was inspired by wise craft. I must say that I am loving this blog thing. Especially when it helps solve that never ending question, "what am I going to cook for dinner tonight?"

I like to cook. Mainly because I love to eat....but I do enjoy the process most days. And I like to try new recipes. I get really excited when they exceed my expectations (this rarely happens). This is one of those recipes. The original recipe is here.
Here is my take on it.
Asian Chicken and Chili Soup

6 cups chicken broth
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced and cut into 2" pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ketchup
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of ground red pepper
3 cups diced cooked chicken
angel hair pasta
about 3 sprigs of fresh cilantro coarsely chopped
2 scallions thinly sliced lenthwise and cut into 2" pieces (for garnish)
Combine first 6 ingredients and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add chicken, pasta and cilantro. Simmer until pasta is tender. Garnish with scallions.

I adapted the recipe to what I had on hand. I don't know much about watercress, but I think that it is close to cilantro? (Don't laugh at me if I am way off here.) I did a google search on it last night and didn't find the information I was hoping to. Any insight that you may have would be much appreciated. So if figured I might as well try substituting cilantro and see what's not like we were expecting company or anything. The flavor that the fresh herbs added to the soup was perfect. And as cold as it has been here, the soup was the perfect meal. On a side note, the kids didn't eat this due to the cayenne pepper in it.

We all survived our snow day, and I ended up getting all the sewing for my job done, but nothing else. I did indulge in a little on-line retail therapy. I made it all the way through the day without, but when I checked in at 10 pm and my fabric bundle was on sale I broke down and bought it. My husband heartily approved. What's up with that, you may ask? I know I did. He loves to on-line shop....then he gets a package a few days later. It is weird though, my husband urging my to buy fabric, especially when I just added a lot to my stash. He is a pretty sweet guy and he likes to spoil me.

1. For my husband, who works hard and puts up with lots of junk at work without complaining
2. For a funny sweet guy to walk through this life with
3. And that our marriage keeps getting better

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

so much to do... little time!

I've been anxious to get working on some quilting... you can see, my scrap basket is overflowing! Thanks go to Amy and Taia for their contributions. :) Hopefully in the next few days I can make some progress and put a dent in this scrap stash. I have some ideas for little patchwork projects and I also have some scrap quilts that I will be adding to. My goal is to be able to fit all the scraps into my scrap jar again. This is a fairly aggressive goal, just to let you know.

I have also been working on this purple will be going to my neighbor when it is done, since she gave me the yarn. This yarn is fine, it tangles easily and it takes a long time to knit. I am telling myself that once I finish this scarf I can start another crochet far that has been a good motivator.

Beyond that, not too much excitement here. We have another snow day, so there is no school today. It sure is pretty and I am thankful that I didn't have to go out this morning to take my son to school. I am hoping to get lots of sewing done today, but I have a guess of how that will all pan out. My daughter has a tooth coming in, and she is in a lot of pain. My boys have been whining and arguing...come to think of it, I'll be lucky to get any sewing done at all. If all else fails, I might have to resort to some on-line retail therapy. I'll let you know how it goes.

1. My sewing machine
2. My warm house
3. The beautiful snow, and the fact that I don't have to go out in it today.

Friday, January 26, 2007

a little bit of everything

First off, I'd like to thank you for all your kind comments about my modern quilt. I have to admit that I wasn't all that excited about the quilt when I was finished. I was glad that I was done, but the quilt just didn't seem quite right. Then I washed and dried it. Now it is all crinkled up and I love it. I am relieved that the backing flannel color didn't bleed. I don't pre-wash my fabrics and I was holding my breath until the wash cycle was done.

I just finished up two baby bibs that I started back in Nov. I needed to add the binding and the snaps. I am glad to have that off my in progress list. (This blog helps keep me on track.) They are 2 sided.

My not so willing little model.

The back of this one is just a solid blue.
(Why is it that diapers are the best toy???)

My dear friend Linda is looking for some quilt block swap participants. Read her Jan. 24th posts-there are 2 about the swap . I think this is in the very beginning stages, but if you are interested, leave her a comment. I am looking forward to this, my very first on-line swap.

Both of my little ones are taking naps and my older boy is at school. The house is quiet! This rarely happens anymore around here, and I am enjoying each and every minute of it. Ahhhh.

I haven't shown this baby in stripey crochet blanket. I am on the 59th row. I haven't been working on it much lately, but will be returning to it soon. I don't know if I really like it that much. I would like to have someone else help me pick the colors of yarn next time. (I can't believe that I am planning my next one already!) Or maybe I should have tried the random stripe generator that I have been reading so much about. Anyway, I am enjoying the process of making this blanket. It is monotonous, but I enjoy that....(another weird thing about me, I guess) and it is a great TV watching activity. If I really don't like it when I am finished, I know who I will give it to. (Someone who isn't as much of a color snob as I am.) So there, no worries. :)

1. Friends who are coming over just to hang out tonight.
2. My husband getting home from work earlier than usual.
3. Craft blogs...where else can one get the wealth of inspiration that one can get here? I love it!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I have been tagged on the weirdness game that is going around. (I absolutely love reading other people's lists....don't you?) I have been thinking on this for over 2 weeks to come up with my answers. Now that fact alone shocks me to my very core. I have banked on the fact that I am weird my whole life! Anyway, I've got to get this posted so I can start thinking about something else.

1. I have a hard time buying just one of anything, especially groceries. If one is good, two or more must be better.

2. I don't know if this qualifies as weird, but it is uncommon. My husband was my first and only boyfriend. (no, we didn't know each other in high school....we met when I was 20)

3. I sleep with my ear (the one that isn't on the pillow) plugged. I won't get into why. :)

4. I have a hard time using "nice" things....cute clothes for the kids, pretty note paper, nice soaps, pretty fabric, stampin' up paper, etc. I think I just want to save and heap and hoard. I am working on this-it drives ME crazy! What is the use of having the nice stuff if you don't use it?

5. Critical people scare me. Seriously. I don't have much of a filter (pretty much what you see is what you get with me) so I don't feel safe around these types of people.

6. This last one, I don't think that it is weird, but according to some people it is. I actually like doing the hand-finishing the binding on is by far my favorite part of quilting. (This one is for you Amy!)

People that I am tagging: Linda, Clair, Di, Julieree, Anna Maria, Ashley, and Blair.

1. My husbands job that provides money to pay all the bills and allows me to stay at home with the little ones.
2. My son's school. He loves it, we love it.
3. My in home sewing job.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

my completed modern quilt

pattern: plain spoken

quilting time: 5 days

total completion time: 3 weeks

size: twin

backing: brick red flannel

thread usage: nearly 1200 yards

Monday, January 22, 2007


Last evening my husband suggested we make collages with the boys. I am not one to turn down an art project, so I dug through some old magazines and found a few that I was willing to cut up. We had much fun, although it took a good deal more time that we expected.

by Parker, age 3 (lots of help gluing from mom)

by Zach, age 6


And Kev's masterpiece. (this was my favorite)

And I finally finished up Milly's little dress. I added 3 snaps to the back and I sewed a little ruffle to the bottom to finish it off a little better and to add a bit of length. I am very pleased with how it turned out considering this was my first real attempt at doll clothes in a good long time. My little ones all love Milly. I am almost ready to try another softie, this time with wool felt maybe? But I am trying to be good, and I want to whittle down my in progress list a bit first. We'll see how that goes.


1. A shopping trip with my friend Rhonda and our little ones this morning.

2. My little girl. She is nearly 9 months old and such a sweet little thing...I love snuggling her.

3. My boys who add so much joy to our family.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

more than a dishcloth

These photos prove that I can (almost) follow knitting instructions.

I got the pattern from the Mason Dixon Knitting book.

I used peaches and cream cotton yarn.
It took me 3 tries (at least) to get this one completed.

But now I know that I can follow a pattern, which was the main goal of this project. Never mind that it was the easiest pattern in the book, and it nearly stumped me. So now it is back to improvising! What I do best. I knit these on bamboo skewers because I only had size 8 needles or larger in the house, and I needed something a little bit smaller. The skewers worked well once I sanded them down a little bit. I read in a book that someone actually used turkey basters to knit a scarf! Isn't that crazy?

1. The China Inn - my family's all time favorite resturant
2. My warm house
3. Lots of quilts (I have been so cold today!)

Friday, January 19, 2007

some much needed encouragement....

...after an extremely tough week. (One of Zach's kindergarten papers from yesterday.)

1. Enough money in the bank to cover some unexpected van repairs. (It's a 1993 and we have had it for 6 years with very few problems...ok, so maybe the repairs were a little expected...)
2. Kevin's Friday off coinsiding with the above van sure helped with the logistics of it all.
3. A nearby mechanic that was able to do the repairs quickly and inexpensively. Seriously, all 5 of us in a S-10 extended cab pickup??? We managed once, but not so much fun. Thankfully it was only one trip.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

the fattened stash

Thank you so much for your sweet comments on my crabby post yesterday. I really appreciate all of your words of encouragement. This mom thing is hard, and it is so nice to know that I am not alone in my rough days.

Last weekend JoAnn's had a lovely little 4 day sale. I buy most of my fabric there, and I kind of have a love/hate relationship with them. I know most of their employees by now, and I even gave directions to the thread isle to a fellow customer last week. I shopped 2 out of the 4 days of the sale, and I had a blast. I am absolutely sure that I had never bought so much fabric in 2 consecutive shopping trips. You see, after making 14 quilts last year and very little shopping for craft supplies in the month of December, I was in dire need of a stash rebuilding. This is solely my opinion. This opinion is not shared by my husband.
various calicoes

these next several are Tracy Porter prints.

Reminds me of a grandma pillow case. Looks vintage, no?

I got 7 yards and 11" of this one above. I first asked for one yard. I must not have released hold of the bolt of fabric or else an endless stream of drool was running down my chin. The guy that was cutting asked if I was sure I wanted just a yard. I told him I'd think about it (as I filled my cart with fabric for the second time). The next time I was at the cutting counter, I asked for 6 yards. This will be some lovely quilt back! There was 1 yard and 11" left, so they gave it to me for 75% of the sale price (which was $1.50 a yard). So the last yard and a third was 48 cents. Totally worth my trip right there. I love getting a good bargain. Then they asked if I wanted the cardboard bolt. I declined, saying that I don't want to look conspicuous. :)

A lovely Alexander Henry print. This is so much better than the photo depicts.

These polka dots look equally good in each color way.
I *heart* polka dots.

more Tracy Porter....
these are from my lovely friend Amy Jo...I love them so!

I am certain that my stash has never, ever looked this good.
And apparently, I am ready for spring to be here.

1. Pretty fabric
2. More pretty fabric
3. You, my lovely blog friends

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

my crabby post

Can I just say that I am crabby today? I sure don't want to be, but that doesn't help. I am so tired I could 1. cry 2. scream 3. fall asleep standing up. Today I am one VERY burned out mommy. Let me tell ya.

So I am trying to combat the crabbies.
By listening to this album.

By cleaning up my house, again! (A dirty house makes me crabbier.)

And after I wash the bedding that my son wet last night, and after cleaning up the ton of hair on the bathroom floor that I just cleaned up 2 days ago, and vacuuming up all the dirt in the entryway, I am going to give myself a day off. Minimal cooking, no more laundry than necessary, I am going to sit on my hinder and read a book. And maybe get some ear plugs so I don't have to listen to all the crying of the little people going on in the house. Or who knows, I just may join in. Tomorrow, please be a better day!

thank you for letting me vent....tomorrow, a happier post or no post at all. I promise.

Monday, January 15, 2007

velcro letter board

Hello there! I am so happy to get back here to my blog. I've missed it! But I did survive a week without any blogging! Aren't you proud of me? Kev asked me what I had accomplished in my week of no blogging. I said, "not much", but then I rattled off a fairly impressive list of things. I won't list them all here and now, but I think that throughout the week you will see most of what I have accomplished.

This is a project that has been in the works for YEARS!!! Maybe 5 or 6. Yes, I realize that most normal people (I am nowhere near normal) buy refrigerator magnets for their kids. That would be way too easy for's got to me much more complex and handmade! It's a sickness. :)

We got the velcro on a roll on clearance at JoAnn's and the cabinet door at Gopher Bargain Center in St. Cloud, MN (I heart Gopher! This deserves it's own post someday.)

I made lots of extra letters, and I also made the fabric box a few months ago. (it's my prototype, so I still have some kinks to work through.)

And here it is, leaned up against my couch, complete. Ahhhh, such a relief to have this taken off my "in progress" list. It is so fun to use this with my boys.

Thank you all for Kev's birthday wishes. We had a great weekend of celebrating. I couldn't let the kids in on any of the planning, because they aren't so good with the secret keeping yet. I sent him guitar shopping on Saturday, and he bought a beautiful new one...needless to say he was very excited. So much fun.

1. A day spent with my friend Amy, playing fabric and working on a quilt
2. My dad, who turns 63 today
3. Tylenol for my teething baby girl (and me)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

taking a little break

I am going to take about a week off of blogging for a few reasons.

I am an all or nothing kinda gal...I have little success walking the middle ground. I have so much that I want to accomplish and maybe if I stay off the computer I will be able to get something done! My husband is doubtful that I could go a week without blogging. I'll miss it so! But hopefully I'll have lots of pictures to show off my very productive week.

Plus it is my husband's birthday next Sunday and I have to do some preparing for that. Birthdays are a big deal around here. Last year for my birthday my husband sent me to a hotel overnight for some much needed alone time. He stayed home with our 2 boys and our baby girl who was just over 2 months old at the time. He had set up the hotel room with flowers, presents, a lovely card, chocolates on the pillows and music playing. It was fabulous!!! He is the best....I am so fortunate to have him in my life. Anyway, I am trying to work on some grand plans to make his day very special.

So, I guess that I'll catch up with you all in a week!

1. A sweet and handy husband. (he can fix almost anything...which comes in handy when you are homeowners!)
2. My friend Vasha, who is always willing to answer my knitting and crocheting questions.
3. My boys, who are becoming such great and willing helpers.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I heart the library

There are some great craft books out there to inspire and to help those "to do" lists grow. Like any of us need more to add to our list! But, oh, my! There are some fabulous projects that I can not wait to try.

I am not going to write a book review, and I was going to take photos of the inside of the book, but my husband pointed out that it would be violating copyright laws and I don't want to do that. So I'll list the projects that I would like to attempt:

Crochet bath mat
Circular Zipper Pouch
Felted Clutch
Felted Bowls
Felted Striped Tote

I am looking forward to trying out some of these projects because it would give me some practice following a pattern and expanding my knitting and crocheting skills. I am fairly new to both, and it would be fun to work on a few projects and see if I can muddle my way through to completion. (This is a huge step for me...I rarely follow patterns. I tend to make things up as I go because patterns intimidate me so.)
This next book is fun to look through and made me wish I was better at knitting that I am. I enjoyed reading some of the stories and laughed out loud more than a couple of times. They also have a blog that I will be visiting, I'm sure.

Projects that I would like to try from this book are:

nesting felted square boxes
spiral knit rag rug
And when I checked out this last book my husband said, "You're checking out that book again???" It's a good one. Love looking at all the quilts in here.

{sorry, you can't search inside...I got this picture from amazon :)}

So there are some of my picks for good craft books. What are some of your favorites?

1. My warm house
2. Mild winter
3. Craft inspiration overload!

Friday, January 05, 2007

thinking of decorating

I had an "ah-ha" moment tonight. It's about time :)

I got this rug from my uncle about a year and a half ago. He lived on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona for many years and it was part of his collection. When he moved, he downsized his rug collection, and I ended up with this one. I love it. The red in the rug matches my great room wall color perfectly. I wanted to use this rug in front of my kitchen sink. But I am a messy cook and I didn't want to ruin the rug. I don't know why I thought about it tonight, but I realized that if I hung this on the wall it would make some awesome artwork. And it is using what I have.

I also have the urge to paint some walls in my house. If only it weren't so much work!!!

1. Time spent in kindergarden with my son this morning.
2. A new haircut.
3. A little alone time today, even at though it was at the grocery store.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

the beginnings of a modern quilt

During the past few days, I have been cutting out hundreds of rectangles for a new quilt project. Never mind I have several other quilts in progress already... :)

The pattern is called plain spoken from this book. There are some examples that I found on flickr here and here and here.
Here's hoping that my color choices look as good in the quilt as they do in my head.

1. Healthy kids
2. Routine
3. A quiet day at home

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

better than thrifting

What could be better than thrifting you may ask???

Well, when my sister came to visit last week, she brought some things to me that belonged to my grandma and a few things from my childhood...

A little dress that my Grandma had made for my cousin Melissa when she was little. (Melissa is now 30, so that gives you an idea of how old this is...) My little girl will wear this soon!

A puzzle that I got for Christmas when I was about 9 or boys love puzzles and I will enjoy sharing this with them. (It's looking pretty vintage, isn't it?)

A bunch of buttons in a cool old canning jar.

(I heart buttons...)

and some extremely funky slippers (they have big pom poms on the tops). These were made by my mom probably in the 70's judging by the colors. These are precious to mom passed away when I was only 5 yrs old, and these are one of 2 things that I own that she made. She was quite the crafty lady, my mom.

I also got a brooch/pin that belonged to my grandma but had troubles getting a decent photo of it, so I just gave up. You'll have to trust me when I say that it is very cool. :)
I am borrowing this idea from a few quilt blogs that I have read off and on this idea so daily list things that I am thankful for at the end of each post.

1. My washer and dryer. (they have been getting a lot of use the past 2 days, since we have had sickness in our house again)

2. Sunshine.

3. My husband. What a dear man he is. He so often puts the needs of others ahead of his own. He is a great husband and dad. And he makes me laugh. (I'm trying not to get too mushy here, which I am sure you will appreciate!)

Monday, January 01, 2007

the mother of all quilt posts

Here are the 14 quilts that I made/finished in no particular order.

This is the 2 sided quilt that I completed last night. I think I like the green side better than the brown. The quilt is incredibly heavy due to the fact that all of the the brown fabrics are decorator weight or better. My husband declared it the model for all other quilts. I quilted it in wavy lines across the width. There are few puckers in the quilting; it certainly turned out better than I had imagined it would...the bulky fabrics were hard to work with. I do like the results. I like the pieced back...a lot...I think many of my future quilts will have pieced backs.

Where the quilt will reside when it is not being used by the boys to make tents. :)

This quilt was a block of the month starting in 2002. I completed this quilt in Jan. or Feb. 2006. It is machine and hand quilted. It definitely looks better in person than in the photos (which is nearly always the case). It is about a twin size.

This is a baby quilt made for a friend's baby. I first saw the idea for the design here. I like this design a lot. I would like to make another quilt like this-only larger-using mostly scraps.

This quilt is titled "I've Got the Blues". I made it for my brother Tim, who loves the color blue. I collected various blue fabrics for this quilt for years before actually making it. I sent this quilt to him for his birthday last May. It was inspired by quilts that my grandma and her fellow church ladies make. I resisted the urge to tie it with brightly colored orange or red yarn like my grandma would do. I think that quilting it was the right choice.

This quilt was made for our baby if it were to be a boy. I am not proud of this quilt....I think it is quite ugly...but hey, what can I say. It was made with mostly scraps. It sure didn't turn out the way that I had envisioned it. I guess that it the hazard of designing your own quilt rather than using a pattern. Or buying a kit. (Two things that I rarely do.)

This quilt I made for my friend Erica. Her mom is a quilter, and I've tried to talk her into making her own quilt, but she hasn't yet. She has gone through A LOT of personal struggles this past year and I wanted to have this done for her birthday (in July) but got it done in Sept. and gave it to her several weeks after that. She always said that she likes just plain patchwork, which is right up my alley, so that is what she got. She loves it. It's one of those quilts that is going to look better as it gets used and fades out a bit.

This is the quilt I made if we were to have a girl (which we did in April). I dislike sewing triangles, but this quilt turned out pretty well despite them. I probably should have quilted it a little more densely, but other than that I am happy with it.

Here is another insanely bright quilt. This bullseye quilt has raw edges and I used black rather than white for the background for it because it is for my 3 year old. I was going for practicality. This isn't one of my favorites, but I am glad that I made a bullseye quilt. It is nice and warm and fun to snuggle up in. I used black batting for the inside, which seemed weird, but it is a nice heavy quilt. My little guy likes it a lot...and that is what matters. I started this quilt before the boys shared a bedroom and it doesn't go with their current bedroom color scheme at all, but someday this will be a great quilt to layer underneath for warmth.

This quilt was actually made from a pattern from this book. I added different borders than the pattern directions, but the rest I followed. I like that only 2 different blocks make up the design and that they echo each other. It is hard to go wrong with the classic red, white and blue color scheme. I wanted to keep this for my son, but again, it is not practical for a 3 year old with all the white, so I ended up giving this to my sister Clair. (We are both 4th of July babies, so it was only appropriate, don't you think?)

This quilt was made for my friend Lucy. (Linda B. actually) She had a quilt custom made and had a bunch of leftover fabrics. She gave me free reign on the design and I had a difficult time deciding. But since there were so many different fabrics going on I ended up using 2 squares and a rectangle to make one large 8" square. There is also oatmeal colored chenille in the mix to add more texture. It would have matched my living room nicely.... :)

This wall hanging was made to for my entryway. It was based on a pattern in this book. It is hand quilted. I like it very much.

And the three quilts previously blogged about, but I added the photos again rather than linking to the previous posts.

Katherine's quilt.

The quilt for Dawn.

Baby quilt.

So there you go... I guess my blog name is really appropriate for me. :)