Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Me, here...you?

Hi there friends,
I have been attempting to post for days...  I need to, I thought that I was giving the Mangroomer too much press.  Also, I was starting to think that it could be a "good" idea, which makes me think that we all need to just move on (they are still on sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond, for those of you looking for a zesty Groundhog's day pressie.  It is coming right up on February 2!)

Enough about the Mangroomer, let's talk about my sweet Christmas haul...
Does that sound too tacky??  It is kind of tacky, but I received some really nice presents and I think they should be given their due.  Here is a sampling of gifts:

1)Macbook....I feel like I can finally sit down and write my "great American novel" now... No, really I have never been able to read my endless list of blogs and comment on all of my flickr pictures from my lazy boy before.  Now THAT is AMERICAN!  No, really it is so sweet, BUT learning a new system is somewhat challenging.  I am not sure when I will be able to do any pictures besides the photobooth ones.

2)Homemade Mix CDs !!!!  WooHoo.  My youngest sister, we can call her Miss M, made me a bunch of CDs filled with all sorts of crazy pop music that I love, but would never own.  It is the best, she put in all of my favorite songs from "So, you think you can dance?" and so I just want to boogie boogie all the time.

3) Little Red purse... My other sister, we can call her RebaStar, made me a VERY cool purse.  I wish I could figure out how to get my pictures RIGHT NOW, because it is so neat.  It is very non-mommy, maybe I could stick one diaper in there, but it could go out for dinner and a movie very easily.

I guess I just wanted to tell you all that a handmade christmas is really nice....I really like what I was able to do and the gifts from my sisters, the more that I think about them and use them the more that I think it was a great idea. (That said I did get really stressed out a few days before Christmas and I also really like my new computer and I am excited about what it is going to let me do in the future.)

So, I am still here for the time being, are you?  Shall we see each other next ear then?

Yes, unless I can get the picture thing taken care of!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!

Hooray for you!

My three followers have won this FANTASTIC Christmas gift... (just kidding.) But what a great gift for that conscientious Metro-sexual man (or woman, I am all about equal opportunity here!) in your life.
Along with informing you about the Mangroomer...I wanted to give you all a sneak peek at one of my gifts...this super sweet bunny bag. I really want to keep it for myself, but it was made for my friend that I like to call Bunny Rose. I think that it looks just like her... I may have to make one with a little pony for myself.
One funny thing, before I dry my hair and get out of my PJs....
My eldest son was asking me for some stories about Jesus....because it is his birthday today, and all. I told him some of the miracle stories and then right before bed he asked me for more. I couldn't remember anymore except for when Jesus got mad at the moneychangers at the temple....
He told his brother that they needed to go to sleep, so that when Santa came "He would not be as angry as Jesus, that they were awake....maybe he would be as angry as 50 Jesus'..."
I am so glad that he is such an astute theologian.
Ta-ta for now.
I hope that you all are snuggled in with your families enjoying the many blessings of this season. I pray for Peace in our New Year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

no picture today...

I was just having a blog reading frenzy. I am kind of regretting that I started using bloglines because now I KNOW how many things that I HAVE to READ...
Oh well, I had to write because my friend Diane posted the a great picture of her with Santa and then this FABULOUS link. Just go look at both. Stop reading this and just leave, I swear it will be more interesting.
I did leave the house today and was ecstatic to go to the post office. They were so nice there, that I wanted to hug and kiss them, but I did not--I did not want to get in trouble. (I am so happy that I got all my stuff sent, so happy!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Life of a mom...

I couldn't remember if I had posted this picture before...not my most attractive, but I feel like it captures the moment...somehow. Sometimes you have to look at ALL the pictures to get the whole story. What is the whole story behind your posed vacation pictures? Yep, this is me, this is mine! (I love looking through the pictures from this year...but I really need to do some sewing!)

We have snow and ice up to my gizzard...I don't know how people further north handle it...it has been 2 days and we have got CABIN FEVER. (maybe it is just me?) I am ready for my old Oregon gray and rain...wait, did I hear myself right?
I guess I will take wet over slick any day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow, snow, cold, and more snow!

Oh, look how tiny! I think that it will be bigger if you click on it. (but with blogger, you never know what could happen...you could get sent to the magical land of Narnia. Say "Hi" to Mr. Tumnus if you get there.)

We had so much fun today. Romping in the snow, mixed with holiday decorating, mixed with my youngest's dreadful hacking cough. He is one the tail end of the nasty cold that has been moving through our home. I haven't been taken down with it yet (knock on wood...) But I will be retiring early tonight to try and boost the ol' immune system.

I had the best craft-o-rama day yesterday. I made scads of progress on many presents...BUT they are sometimes readers and so I can't show and tell. I will just have to save up I guess.

Stay cozy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Something I found...

I am working on some photo gifts for the Holidays... Are any of you out there doing the same?? Well, I just found this picture and I want to say that I meant to get myself in there, but I just can't remember. SO, it was on purpose, OK?

I have been making books on Snapfish. There is nothing like actually using your photos for something to make you appreciate the word EDIT! I am getting rid of some of my duplicate shots, because there is usually just one of them that looks good and it is pretty obvious. These pictures are all from our trip to Colorado this summer. I realize that a bit of distance from the trip has given me new eyes and I am much less attached to some of the other shots that I took. While there were a lot of amazing ones, there were some others that need to go. It is all about saving the good and getting rid of the mediocre.

To sum up:
jmbmommy's tips for photo organization:
1) Find a use for your pictures (maybe like a project, it will make you more objective.)
2) Delete the "seconds", the ones with your kid's eyes half closed (unless they are just too cute and then you should use those too!)
3) Give yourself some space from the event, it will let you be more ruthless with the DEL button!

Heads up!
I have been listening to these two, 1 & 2 albums (can I still call them that?) while working on my masterpieces. My favorite song of the moment is this. I love the ying yang aspect...the bad makes you appreciate the good, the sweet, the sour. Just beautiful.

I must get back to it...finishing is the hardest part for me, you know! (I have started most of the presents, but have only finished 2) (but that is still 2! woo hoo!)

Monday, December 08, 2008


This is the fun that we have been having around here lately! Speaking of fun, I wanted to thank everyone for their votes for the Gnome home...WE won!! I was so excited to read this today. And I am even more excited to pick out my print.

I haven't blogged about them for awhile....but my two boys are growing like weeds. I feel like every time the laundry cycles through I am seeing more and more "highwaters" in their pants' drawers. AND is there a mystical link between the age 2.5 and 5.5?? Or is it a "brotherhood"?? I have been feeling lately that the two of them have been plotting before they fall asleep to overthrow my queendom. They have been hitting me from all sides lately. If it isn't the never ending
"Knock, knock."
"Whose there?"
"Banana Who?"

"Knock, knock."
"Whose there?"
Then it is the "Mom, you skipped that part of the Reindeer song...sing it again."
Or the run around the table at meal time or the "We are having THAT for dinner?? BOO-Hooo"

Let's just say that I really love those two, but I need the patience of a saint to keep what little sanity I have left. Today was better, but I think that I am just being optimistic about this being a phase and not the new norm.

Tomorrow will be nice too if anyone has any new Knock, knock jokes suggestions???

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Working, working...

I have been wanting to do an Advent project. I really like this one that my friend Emily made. I just didn't have a board big enough for the size pictures that I was going to use. I also liked this one, that the lovely Amber (from kids crafts weekly) linked to on the newsletter this week.

(on a side note, she is just great and has an arty newsletter for kids and parents that she puts out for free. It is well done, very well done. She also is selling a Christmas craft "book" (PDF) and it is well done also, and a great way for people to support her.)

So, I printed out a bunch of wallet size pics of the boys from this past year and made a little card to hold the picture. Then I put a number on it and called it good. I think that it will be fun to talk with them about what we were doing in the picture and it will be nice for them to see all the pictures that are now printed out (because who ever prints pictures anymore?). I could envision the cards getting transformed in to ornaments next year, to either make way for new pictures or a whole new advent idea all together. I really want to make these, but I couldn't get around to it this year. With all of the "free" time that I have right now, I was thinking of getting a good start on them, finishing them, and then packing them away for a nice surprise for next year.
Here is my latest project over in the Lazy Gal's quilt-a-long. I made a new chair, this one, just wouldn't do. I LOVE my new chair. I am so inspired by this lovely quilter's work. She does some of the swaps that I do, so I am crossing my fingers that we get to exchange some day.

Speaking of swaps, I have some really great quilts that I have received...I will post them soon, I need to get back to my sewing machine!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shameless promotion...Is anyone interested in a gnome home?

Announcing the first ever softie made by me! Jessica! Hooray!

Here is a little house I finished just last night. It is all hand-sewn out of wool felt, some scraps from the Pendleton outlet store and an old mattress pad that I like to use to practice free motion quilting. The bees just moved in today and they are very happy and dancing all around their new yard.

I made this for the "Stitched by Hand, Old School Sewing Competition". Badbird, from flickr, makes some wonderful art and is hosting this competition. One of her prints is the prize for winning so let's help me win, shall we? I love a little sassy red bird. Here is the little announcement from the Craftzine blog. Basically, starting December 2 YOU, my dear friends, can get yourself a little flickr ID and then vote for my lovely and useful little house. (You could vote for one of the other projects, but mine is really cute and cozy warm.) Badbird will pick winners in each of the categories AND there will be one people's choice winner...and this is where YOU all can help ME....see?

Maybe if I win, I can start renting out the little house in my garden and you all can come and stay a spell.... hmmmm.
Check it out, I have been sewing my fingers to the bone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


For eyes to see the beauty around me,

For a heart so full of the love around me,

For another year of growth, lessons and blessings.

Very thankful.


Where has the last week and a half gone?? Please tell me, I need to know.

What has been going on out there in Blogland?? Has the weather been nice? I really don't know, I have been working away here. I am still striving for some balance between blogging/flickr/websurfing and actual creating.

BUT for some reason 3 months ago I did not look at a calendar before I committed to a bunch of new projects. This coming Monday, December 1, is THE day, 2 swaps are due, one sculptural project, AND a skirt and blouse are due for my pattern making class. What was I thinking?? I actually thought that I had one more week for the class... enough about all that, let's just say that my machine has been humming right along. AND did I remember that Thanksgiving is this week??? There is preparing to do and it isn't fabric...what will I do??
This past weekend we had Billie Lauder do a workshop for our guild. She was great. I have been trying to take technique workshops the past year or so to help flesh out my mad quilting skillz. She is a hilarious teacher and has a bunch of fun ideas for making different blocks out of cutting and reassembling simple blocks like 4-patches and 9-patches. It was like a vacation. She had us do all the cutting before class, so that once we got there we could just sew, sew, sew.
Here are a few of my blocks that went together quickly, I am only sad that I forgot to take a picture of the tree block that we made from some quick flying geese. (Lily, I finally tried the 4 at a time method and all I want to do is make geese!) I am sure they will peek in here as the holidays get closer.
Here is a sneak peek of my word theme quilt for this swap. I have been experimenting with wool felt applique on cotton...I love it!
Here is a sneak peek at this swap. This quilt I am calling "Sunshine in Winter". The orange bits with the aqua were so cheery to work on in these past few days of gray-gray-gray weather. My partner is also a gray weather sympathizer, I hope that this will bring some sunshine to her day too. (I made sister quilts of both of these for my self...so it really has been a LOT of sewing around here.

Skirt and blouse pictures to follow...depending on how crazy they look, I may model them. We will see...

For my American friends, enjoy this coming holiday with family, friends and craft. For all of my friends I am thankful for this outlet to connect with you and be inspired by your lives and the work of your hands.
Thank you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Web dew...

The dew on the spider webs this morning was so amazing.
Here is the latest quilt in progress:

I think that I just wanted a big one to slap together and get to quilting. I just need to quilt. The chartreuse sang the siren song to me and I had to cut in...these have only been "stashed" for a month. What fun!

I also started re-watching Buffy the Vampire slayer as I did the marking, pinning and cutting...and why did it ever have to end?? It did get dicey in the later seasons, but it is really silly and clever.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wow, I have followers??

Hey all...followers...how funny! What if I have no idea where I am going? I guess that will just have to be where we leave it.
I am trying to re-acclimate myself to my normal life. My trip to New Jersey was so much fun and it is really going to be my last trip for a while. I like being gone, because it is this crazy taste of a life that I don't have anymore (no kids, no responsibilities...), but coming back to the warm arms of people who love you and depend on you... well, it kind of makes the crazy freedom not so fun. My boys are only going to be small for such a small amount of my life, they just really need me

I love this pattern on a wall in Greenwich village...I loved more the motion of the people walking by it. Cities are great, you just kind of blend in and there is so much to see and do...but then on the other hand there are so many people....everywhere people, and cars and this hustley energy that kind of is exhausting. It is nice to be back in my only little corner of the world, where the intense traffic only happens on a football home game day. I can always avoid that if I am aware of when kickoff is.
Last night was the opening reception of this fiber arts show that I am in. It was very weird. I liked it and it was fun and exciting and all that, BUT there is was definitely a "fine" arts bent to the show. Seeing my work next to some of the other pieces was very humbling. I do think that I have an artistic voice to be heard...I just wished that I had spent more time on my piece. Do you know what I mean? The piece that got picked to be in is something that I just threw together in an afternoon. I really like it, but I can't say that it is an example of my finest skills. What a learning experience! I think that I am going to have to let it all sink in a bit better over the next few days, but I would do it again.

I did start a quilt (because I love to start them) the other day using my birthday fat quarters. It was nice that my sister picked a bunch that coordinate...I was able to just slice them up and get right to the sewing. Hopefully I can make some more progress tonight and then show it later this week. I have been really wanting to blog more, but OMG my pattern making class SUCKS up the "free" time that I have. The other day I was lamenting on how little quilting I have finished in the past 6 weeks...and then I remembered that I am drafting patterns and travelling ALL THE TIME. I love making patterns and I am hoping that the time I am putting in right now will spark something down the road. Hope so.

Monday, November 03, 2008

It keeps going...and going...

This fall has been so balmy. The garden keeps going and going. It is getting kind of gross...but sort of pretty in a crazy-going-to-take-over-the-world sort of way. My cosmos finally bloomed in October. I have plants that are 8 ft tall....what is up with that?? I think that I might have preferred their delicate blossoms in the summer time, but crazy gardeners can't be too choosy.
Here is another angle...all of our hoses still akimbo and the pot I drag around for weeds all out and proud... I do love this tree. I love watching it leaf out in the spring. I love the sunlight shining through the leaves and its shade in the morning during the summer. Now, we are enjoying its golden yellow color. I am sure that I will be enjoying raking up all those leaves when I return from my trip next week....
Yes, I am taking another trip...this fall has been busy-busy...lots of leisure for mommy, for sure. I am leaving on Wednesday for Jersey City and the Big Apple!!! I am visiting my new niece and her adoring parents (I will take pictures and ask if I can post them...she is so cute!) I am going to try and go into the city Thursday and Friday ALONE! (The last time I was there, I was kind of silly and thought that I was going to get mugged the whole time...I think that I will be ok.) I am hoping to see some fun things like this and this, maybe this? We will see... If you have any suggestions???
I enjoyed everyone's comments on my previous post. VOTE. I am glad when Americans can be civil, informed, and involved in their country. VOTE. It is so important. VOTE. (and love your neighbor!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yes We Can...

Hey there...

I just got back from 2 glorious days on the Oregon coast...it was sunny and 70+ today, people, no wind!!! This is not my reason for posting. A nice new blog friend, Malagueta, visited and commented and then I read on HER blog about a cool Obama fundraiser done by Denyse Schmidt and her quilter posse. I like that every one seems to be getting involved in this election cycle. What about you friends??

I am vocal about who I am supporting, but that is just me. If you are liking someone else...that is cool, I can support that. I am just asking that people take a little time, inform themselves and then cast a ballot. It is time to take responsibility for your country. There is a little over a week left until election day, please let your voice be heard.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Late to the party??

Library day again...Everyone who is able should really give their kids the experience of the library. I met a woman the other day who had never gone, I just felt sad for her. Not really a pity sad, just sad, because going to the library has always been such a refuge and escape for me, but she made it seem like she felt that the library was a club that no one had ever invited her to. I can't get enough of all the great books so I can't imagine never going to a library. Go to the library, they have books and things for everyone!
I was playing with my camera and I found a cool setting. It is called color accent. You can select the color that you want to show through and then the other colors with not...just tones of black and white.
Just green.
Same courtyard, just orange.

Now that I know how to change the accent color, that involved something as complicated as getting back to the main screen and scrolling, what else can I do?? (just think of what I might learn if I read the manual??? thrilling...)

I am off to the coast for ANOTHER girls weekend. I am not sure how it all worked out this way, but I don't feel like I can say no, because when might the opportunity for a fun time come back around??


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday...welcome to you, 34!

The sands of time, ever shifting, are settling me in to year 34. I went for the less diva approach this year, I wasn't above cooking and vacuuming for my own party. This is maturity, I think, maybe. 6 months ago (give or take), Brenda Danye, of Cast On fame, had a bit about beginnings....my paraphrase is "Start as you mean to continue..." This thought has been swirling around in my head....swirl swirl swirl...and for me, a new beginning is a birthday.

This year I wanted, and I want, to be surrounded by friends and family, but in a casual way. We had a potluck and some pumpkin carving. I got out all of my mini swap quilts to show... maybe it was a bit squishy, maybe all of the food got et, maybe the pumpkins were not a big hit...nevertheless I felt so welcomed in to this next year. The laughter, the funny shirts, the wall the kids made out of bricks, piles of quilts... this is how I mean to continue this year. Here is my new friend Betty. I wasn't sure if my sweet husband would succumb to my practical desires...I think that she is going to replace the broken 11 year old hand mixer nicely!
To the new year!
A note on the first picture....It is not the best, but on the seat of my chair are a slew of Fat Quarters that my sister gave me. I am so thrilled. They were ones that I REALLY wanted to get the first time I went to "Piece By Piece", a new quilting store in town, but had resisted. The main color is acid green set off by a black....lovely stuff. My other sister made me a wonderful scarf, also in the green of my dreams...it is so soft and cozy....
Boy, I am really blessed in the sister department!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mom's weekend away!

After leaving later than anticipated my meatball friend and I embarked on a weekend get-away to be rivaled only by last year's escape to Estonia. Although slightly less exotic, Portland was an excellent destination!
Our day began by sleeping in until 8:45!! Both of us are the mother's of perpetually early risers, we were pleasantly surprised at the late start and decided to be lazier by reading in bed until nearly 10 o'clock (UNHEARD OF!) We had brunch at Francis on NE Alberta. It was fantastic, mostly due to the fact that it was actually Friday and we had a wonderfully attentive server AND good coffee AND the HUGEST biscuits EVER! Everything here was homemade tasty, we were pleased!
I love the Alberta neighborhood. Coffee and Tea, cool shops, Bolt, Frock, Collage, friendly people, galleries and even a resale bike joint....it has it all. (I especially love this sign in front of Townshend's, and the guerrilla gardeners that were furiously planting in all of the empty spots on the street as we walked)
I found out what God's phone number is and I am just not sure if I am ready to make THAT call...
There are still homes on Alberta and their gardens make the street that much more charming.
On our way to dinner that evening, we saw the most wonderful Turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. We were very hungry and this felt looked almost good enough to eat. (it was a display at Knit Purl.)
Day 2 greeted me with the clock reading 9:20!!!! Elation! See how happy that made me? 2 full nights of sleep can really make a difference in attitude, let me tell you. I think the words most frequently said all weekend were...I hope that everyone is doing OK, but I SO don't want to go back yet!
See how sunny and beautiful Mt. Hood was in the distance from our hotel room. After solving all of the world's problems over muffins and coffee at the corner coffee shop...we really did, I swear. We decided that instead of "social-izing" our financial market, what we really need is for all people to have health care and better parental training/support, education that lifts everyone up to their ability (or beyond) AND more mom's weekends.

That is it. The world would be better, I swear, it would. These are simple things, right?
As we walked to MY FAVORITE quilting store, cool cottons, there was this house...another reason I LOVE Oregon. Balmy October sunshine and a yard full of Zinnias. I did buy some more fabric. I got this DELICIOUS birch bark/tree trunk fabric (I shoulda taken a picture...of course) it was so cool...I just love it.

Last, but not least CUPCAKES! We were driving through the Sellwood neighborhood and I saw this weird store that said "Piece of Cake Yum Yum Yum." On the outside it looked like an odd antique store...and inside it looked like an even odder antique store that sold the BEST cakes I have EVER eaten. I got the poppy seed with raspberries and cream cheese frosting and my meatball friend got the Double chocolate with the German chocolate cake topping. They were both great, I wanted to try the peanut butter and chocolate one, as well as the ....OK let's be real here...I wanted to try them all. Moist and tasty, these had to be the best cupcakes in the area, perhaps the state!

It was a great time, but like Dorothy going back to Kansas, our return to our families was inevitable. Ahhhhhh, there's no place like home. (that could be a sigh, or a scream, your pick!)


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Catch up time...

My guild meeting in September hosted a FANTASTIC quilter...Janet Fogg. I have seen her work in magazines and thought "oh, that is beautiful" but then seeing her pieces up close is enough to make you pass right out. I am not sure if she can make a small quilt each of the portions of quilts that you can see are draped over a table with a 6 foot diameter, some of them dragged on the floor all around.
She uses a wide color range, the technical difficulty of the piecing, not to mention the PHENOMENAL quilting...it was all so awe-inspiring.
While she spoke and shared her pieces I was drawn in by her desire to inspire people to create their own masterpieces. She said that she has not yet made her best quilt and that while she has a plan when she starts the quilt, where she ends up is where it needs to be, but that is not necessarily where she thought she would end.
What I found most resonated with me as a quilter, I think that it is something that we all need to accept when designing our own quilts, she said, "Develop a belief in yourself that each decision will be a good one, not the perfect one, but a good one." She went on to say that, each choice you make along the way will open up the next choice. I have always believed this, but maybe not so succinctly. What a nice affirmation to my inability to follow a pattern...right?
I really enjoyed hearing her speak, very down to earth. She just started doing some workshops in her studio in Portland...I don't know when, but I think that I will be attending one in the futureI also made my first e-fabric shopping trip this September. I really like to touch the fabric as I shop so I have been holding off on web purchases....WELL, I think that getting a package that is so cute and filled with BEAUTIFUL things compensates me for the tactile shopping experience. I didn't read the return address when I first got the mail, so I thought that one of my swap partners had sent me a doll quilt with lead weights...but it was all of my beauties...hooray!
I am such a sucker for Halloween prints and this grouping also had the always needed dots!
I haven't been able to find anyone in town that stocks these mermaids (Heather Ross)I had to get them, they had orange, aqua, and the mustard yellow?? To be honest, I worked really hard to not buy more fabric. It is an illness, but I started to dream about the chasing mermaids (I think that they are kind of spooky) and after that I had to buy them. I am so glad that I did. I want to give a shout out to Fabricworm, whose etsy shop I perused...she got me with the packs of 1/2 yards, priced to sell...toot, toot (they also shipped really fast!)
Farewell to the well-tended garden...Late September and early October bring all kinds of crazy, yet I tend to forget (or forget to tend) EVERY YEAR! I am happy to report that, as of this week, our Chickadees have returned as well as some of our Oregon Juncos. I spied the Chickadees flitting from the destroyed sunflower heads (our squirrels, Nutty and Wacky have been working hard on their acrobatics). The Juncos surprised me this morning and are out hopping around in all the lush garden greenness. By surprised, I mean that I was surprised how happy I was to see them again. I guess it is almost time to find places for the feeders, now that the death-trap arbor has been torn down...
Look for birds and make something!