Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yarn Along

That time of week again where we focus on reading and knitting, with Ginny!

I'm plugging away at the books I blogged about last week, so I won't bother boring everyone with the same picture. However, a friend of mine loaned me this vintage Poultry book! It's copywrite is 1947, and it has everything about raising chickens on small scale or large scale. How to figure out how to price eggs to sell, what feed is best for what chickens, what breed of chickens are good for which areas of the country, how to build coops (big and small), incubators, and common chicken ailments and how to treat them, how to check eggs, how to butcher and feather a chickent, etc.

Dale and I have been discussing raising chickens for eggs. Right now, practically speaking, it probably isn't going to happen. However it doesn't hurt to do a little research on it!

I finished up past the charted part of the Jewelry Sachet I'm making. Now I have to do up to 15 inches of the body before binding off. Then of course there is blocking, sewing it up, and making the lining. I have until the end of April. I'm fairly confident I'll have this done before the Missions Conference.

Caleb was sick during the night, and seems to be on the mend now. Needless to say, it is a low energy day for me, so knitting is the main thing on my To-Do list.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Ramblings

Mondays around here follow a pretty consistent routine. I know I have mentioned this many times, but it bears repeating. There are good things and bad things.

On the plus side, we get organized.
On the minus side, we have to get organized.

On the plus side, we catch up on laundry.
On the minus side, we have to catch up on laundry.

On the plus side, we get back into our school routine.
On the minus side, we have to get back into our school routine.

I think you get the idea.

Over the weekend, despite having "cleaning day" and getting ready for church, the schedule is still more relaxed. Saturdays are our only days to sleep in, so we enjoy a leisurely morning, and more often than not have "brunch" instead of breakfast.

Monday mornings basically what I look forward to is getting caffeinated. But then, I look forward to that everyday, so maybe that shouldn't really count.

I stayed home from church yesterday because Isaac was up all night Saturday throwing up. He didn't fall into a good deep seep until around quarter to 7 a.m. He was on the couch, and I camped out on the floor next to him. Not very comfortable. My bed is much softer, and easier on the hips, but I was so tired I didn't even care.

He managed to sleep through all the hustle and bustle of everyone getting ready for church, and getting out the door. He slept through me hauling the laptop out and setting up Head Quarters at my little makeshift camp. He slept through me banging around in the kitchen and making myself breakfast. I even got some knitting done, and blogging (about the quilting fever if you remember). He finally woke up around 11 a.m., and was all smiley and looking very energetic and normal.

So, I got him some Cheerios, and some juice, and we watched some Netflix together while he ate and I knitted.

I finished up a slipper sock. This project is actually a tag team event. Esther is making one, and I agreed to make the other one. It was very simple, working flat, all in ribbing, and only a couple of rows of decreasing at the end. Esther has never done ribbing before, so she is much slower than I, but that is okay. There is no rush. I offered to do the other one for her, but she assures me she can do it. She is less than two inches in. She has to get to 17. Hehehehehheehe!

I also got a couple repeats of the lace pattern done on my Cambria Wrap.

Today I made some progress on the Jewelry Sachet, starting into the charted panel. I love how it is coming out!

I've also gotten some quilting done on the Sunflower quilt. One block took me about an hour. I'm sure I'll get a little faster, but I'm not used to FMQ with a template. It takes time to go all through the free motion design. I made a mistake in one little part, and had to take out the stitching. That was MISERABLE. Then I had some trouble with the machine. I tested it out on a sample sandwich about 8 inches square, and had no problem. I even did some feather stitching, which I've been wanting to practice. No issues on tension whatsoever. Wouldn't you know it as soon as I started on the real quilt I had trouble? ARGH. I managed to get it straightened out, and the rest of any trouble was, ahem, shall we say, "pilot error"?

One thing I like about Mondays right now is that because of the class Dale and Benjamin take Monday Evenings, we have to eat a little early. That means we have some extra time to hang out before bed. I love to cozy up with the kids, all of us in our pj's, and watch a movie or reading.

The rest of this afternoon I will be pursuing more quilting, since it seems all the kids that are done with their school work are playing nicely, so maybe I can get another block done. The solid blocks will take the longest, because of the quilting design I'm using. The Churn Dash blocks won't be so bad, as I have easier quilting planned for those.

I hope you all made it through that mindless rambling without dying of boredom! Have a pleasant afternoon everyone!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quilting Fever

As many know, when in the midst of the years of raising a family, you don't always get a lot of time to quilt!

Just because I haven't had the time to do any quilting in a couple of weeks doesn't mean it isn't on my mind.

I love frequenting The Quilting Board and pouring through the Pictures Forum. I mostly lurk, but LOVE the great quilts, made with love and creativity. There are so many wonderful ideas, how will I ever get to try them all????

I think there must be something wrong with me. I was playing MahJong on my Kindle Fire the other day, and as I looked at the background, I said to anyone in particular who would listen, "That would make a beautiful quilting design!" I find myself noticing ideas in the strangest places. A modern art type of quilt born from one of my children playing on the "Paint" program on the computer. I made them save it for future reference for me. Designs in the carpeting at the Dentist's. Wrapping paper designs. Store tiling, and even etchings on glasses and ceiling fans.

What is wrong with me? LOL... I think I need to do some quilting!

In all seriousness, I wonder if there is a way to get the design off my MahJong game to the computer to print up? I am terrible at stuff like that. But there must be a way. Hmmm....

Friday, March 23, 2012

What Pets Write In Their Diaries

(Thanks to Dale for sending this to me. Too funny!)

Excerpt From a Dog's Diary:

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Milk Bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Exerpt From a Cat's Diary:

Day 983 of my captivity...

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am. Morons.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow --but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.

For now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yarn Along

It's that time of the week again! It is fun participating in Ginny's Yarn Along. I never have enough time to check out all the other projects, but I do try and view some every week. It is so inspiring to see what others are working on! Also, at least for me, it is good to see other moms who may or may not have had a lot of crafting time over the last week or month. If my simple little project seems like it is taking forever, I know there are others out there in the same boat. Enjoying the process of creating, even if it isn't getting worked up very quickly.

I have been making progress on my Azzu's Shawl. As I look it over, I am going to add in at least one repeat of the stitch pattern, maybe more. It may end up being more of a shawlette, but yarn is so soft, it will feel nice around my neck on a cold winter's day (not that we expect to see any more of those until next winter!).

The Jewelry Sachet is coming along nicely! I've gotten up to where I need to start the charted design. I'm way ahead on this project, and hope to remain so!

I've just started another project. A couple of friends and I are knitting it together, online, nonetheless. I know, I don't really need another project, but this one just felt right to start, if that makes any sense! I am working on a Cambria Wrap, a free pattern I got off of Ravelry. I'm using Naturally Caron Spa , Bamboo blend, in Taupe. This yarn is so soft! I've used the Caron Simply Soft, and have never been disappointed. The Spa yarn I'm using is a blend of rayon, acrylic, and bamboo, but it really is silky soft! It will be a joy to wear this wrap when it is done!

(Obviously, I'm not that far into it yet.. only the 2nd row, as a matter of fact.)

I've decided my reading habits are like my knitting habits. Depending on my mood, or situation, I read one thing, or the other. Right now I'm into these books (below), and almost done with the book, "Patchwork, A Story of the Plain People".

It is gorgeous here again, so we will be outside as soon as we can after school work is done. Sundry members of the family are experiencing coughing and runny noses, but the fresh air won't hurt that one bit!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Toothbrush Organization

As alluded to in a previous post, I made a new toothbrush holder for the family. It was super easy, and fun to put together. I had it done in a few hours, even with multiple interruptions.

It holds all our toothbrushes, though in the pic a few are absent. Benjamin and Josiah actually have their toothbrushes in the downstairs bathroom because their room is down there, but I made slots for them for when we travel.

I have a double pocket at the top for floss, comb, whatever fits reasonably. As I look at it now, I think i should have done some stitching up the middle of the pocket to stabilize it, but for now it is fine.

I used pigment ink ( used on quilt labels) to write on names on each of the slots.

This system can be rolled up and packed easily for when we go away, and can be thrown in the wash when it gets grungy. And, best of all, it freed up a bunch of clutter in my cabinet over the bathroom sink.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's Done!!!!!

Well, the first draft is done.

You see that button on my side bar to the right, that says "NaNoWriMo Winner 2011" and "NaNoWriMo Winner 2010" ? Remember the little story I started last November? I've been working on it here and there, and that 50K document has evolved into a 320 plus page story. I guess that would be a "book".

I am SO EXCITED! I have always been a writer at heart, and to actually finish a book ( Yeah, I know, first draft, but still!) at this juncture in my life was a real accomplishment for me. I am bursting with joy here!

The next step is to let it rest for a bit. Dale is going to read it over. I have a little notebook that I keep writing down things of note to change, or add in, or take out (Oh gasp, not that!). He'll write down his notes while he is reading. Then I will go through each suggestion or comment he writes and fix what needs to be fixed, run the spell check yet again, the grammar check, and read it over.

Then... what? I don't know. I'd like to publish it, Ebook style. There are several reputable companies that can sell you a package to get you going, so we'll look into that when the time comes.

For me, one book spawns another. Not a sequel, but more ideas pop into my head. I see much more writing in my future.

If no one cares to read my little tale, it is okay. For me, the joy is in the craft. If people read it and are entertained, then that is icing on the cake, so to speak.

And, after all these months of labor over the book, I finally decided on a title. It's about time! I usually have the title almost at the get go on my stories, but this one eluded me until just last week.

I'm off to do more of the Goodie-goodie dance.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Just Dessert Quilt Top ~ Finished!

It is just a flimsy, but there it is!

I still need to piece the back and quilt it. I've been thinking about the quilting on this one, and am going back and forth from some easy stippling to something a little more decorative. I have my quilting hands full with the Sunflower quilt so I am leaning towards something quick and easy as a break from the more concentration intensive quilting.

Spring seems to have sprung here with a vengeance. We are having warm weather, and though most people relish it, to be honest, I'm not embracing it whole-heartedly just yet. It's too early! And I'm still pouting like a disappointed 3 year old because of being jipped out of winter. You know what? I bought some new sleds last fall, and they were never even used, because we never even had enough snow! We got a smattering here and there, but nothing really usable, if that makes sense. Oh well, what can you do? It's not like I can change it, though I would if I could. :P

On the bright side, it is nice to be hanging laundry outside, and being able to spend a lot of time outdoors without having to tromp around in heavy boots. I've been doing some biking too, and that is fun.

See, I'm trying! :D

I just hope this early, very warm spring doesn't mean a wicked hot summer. However, I'm trying not to think about that just yet! I have enough on my plate now to worry about without adding to it.

This weekend we are having our garden plowed. It is time to be putting in peas, potatoes, and whatever else I can get in early. That is a definite bonus to this weather!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yarn Along

I enjoy participating in the Yarn Along, hosted by Ginny at Small Things. I know I am a late entry today. We have been busy outdoors, enjoying the Spring weather. I can't believe it is only March. I just hope this doesn't mean a wicked hot summer. :/

As you can see from my picture, have started my Jewelry Sachet. I got a few more rows on it but not many. Seems like a lot of other projects are demanding my time right now. I am still trying to work on my Azzu's Shawl, but haven't touched it since Sunday. Right now my mind is really on getting the Jewelry sachet done before the end of April. It looks simple enough, even in the charted part. Hopefully I won't be eating those words later! You can see what pattern and yarn I am using from my post here.

Jerusha and I just started reading Little House in the Big Woods together. I had gotten her some paper dolls of the Ingalls family with a back drop of the cabin, and she plays with them while read to her. Love the Laura Ingalls books!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mission Accomplished!

My first organization project is done! I put the new shelving together, which isn't exactly a hard thing to do. It wasn't like the Yankee Workshop or anything. Besides I'm sure Norm would have used mahogany or something.

Then came the even bigger job of sorting and organizing the toys. Isaac tried to "help" but I ended up going all OCD on him and shoo'd him off so I could get everything exactly just so.

Of course, the very first thing he did was take out some of the bins, the blocks, and start building. I have to say cleaning up for lunch was a snap, and make picking up much easier at the end of the day.

Today I had plans to write in the morning, around school, laundry, etc., then in afternoon to make the toothbrush holder. However, miracle of all miracles, Isaac actually took a nap. He was so tired, I could tell it wouldn't take much to get him down. My general rule is that if he actually takes a nap, then I put my feet up for a bit. It doesn't happen very often, and usually I can work on a project in the afternoon while he plays, but today, I put my feet up, read for a bit, then promptly fell asleep on the couch. I think the best naps are the spontaneous sort ( I mean like voluntary, not passing out in a faint ) when you know there is X,Y,an Z to tend to, but a nice blissful nap happens instead.

I let Isaac sleep for about an hour and a half, then got him up. He was just getting out of that nice warm, fuzzy, snuggly after-sleep mode, when Dale got home. We chatted for a few minutes, and I pieced the outside border for the Just Desserts quilt. I'm hoping to get that on tomorrow, and get the toothbrush holder done. Ambitious, aren't I? Or maybe I'm just delusional.

We had a bit of excitement here. I was sitting at the computer just after lunch, and a big, fat, raccoon lumbered across our yard, and under the neighbor's old shed. It was lurching like a drunken sailor, and had it's back up in a weird way, like a frightened cat. I called the neighbors to give them a heads' up, then I called the sheriff. The thing was obviously rabid. The Sheriff said that they couldn't do anything if it was under any kind of building, but to call back if I could see it. I never did see it. I was leery about letting the kids out to play. Dale took a look around when he got home, and we let the kids out with strict instructions to stay away from the neighbors property and any surrounding bushes, and if they saw the raccoon or any animal they should let us know immediately.

Meanwhile, I went for a bike ride. I rode down to the gym, did strength training, then biked home. It was quite a work out, and one I won't be doing everyday, but it was so nice out I couldn't resist. I actually have sores on my hands from the handle bars. I guess I'm out of bike riding shape! I'm whooped tonight, understandably, and don't expect to be able to move tomorrow, which is why I'm planning so much sewing.

I finished the swatch to the Jewelry sachet I am knitting, and started in on the project last night while Benjamin and Dale were at class. I only got about 6 rows in when I was interrupted by a phone call from a friend. We chatted for a while, then it was time to read to Jerusha before her bedtime. After that, Isaac needed rocking for bed, then Dale and Benjamin were home shortly after that, so my knitting time ended before it really got started it seemed!

It feels like, sounds like, smells like spring here. We are getting our garden plowed this weekend. It is almost time to plant peas already! So much for having any winter. We were totally cheated out of it this year.

Have a wonderful evening!

Monday, March 12, 2012

In the Near Future....

Saturday the twins and I were out and about. I desperately needed to get to the bulk food store, and JoAnn's was have a fantastic sale, and I was armed with coupons from their Coupon Commotion promotion last week. Time for an outing, I would say! Those were the major stops. We also made some minor stops along the way. One was the Sears up at the mall, where they were having a sale on boys shirt and tie sets. The three younger boys definitely needed them. They looked very handsome Sunday!

I'll spare all the details, but JoAnn's was a stop that took a while. The girls all need new church dresses for this spring/summer, and since I could get the fabric very reasonably this weekend, it was time to start picking out fabric.

The patterns I already had.

The fabric we bought Saturday.

I'll not go into who is getting what, but leave a teaser here saying that as the projects get done, I'll post a finished pic. :)

A little while back, while digging through my stash of fabric, I noticed I had some suitable material for making some pants for Isaac. Of course, I couldn't find a pattern anywhere in my collection of patterns, so I ended up buying one.

Speaking of projects, another one on my list, this one I want to get done before our missions conference, is a valance for our living room window. The Home Decor fabric was also on sale. :)

I'll be making a family toothbrush holder with these items. It was a cute idea I read about on the web somewhere ages ago. Again, you'll have to wait to see the finished project before I explain what I did. :P

I had a myriad of notions on my list for the upcoming sewing spree. I needed threads, zippers, a new blade for my rotary cutter, water soluble fabric markers, and quilting clamps. The fancy quilting I'm about to do made me realize I needed the clamps for handling the bulk of the quilt. The clamps are attached to the part of the quilt that you aren't working on. You roll it up, then clamp it so it stays rolled up. It makes it easier to deal with the extra drag of the quilt while machine quilting. Usually my quilting is simple enough that I don't worry about it. But with the Sunflower quilt, I'm a little worried about the control of the fabric. We'll see how it works.

Another project I want to do is organize the toy corner of the living room. It is always very messy looking. I bought a solution to that, and I'll show the after picture when it is done. For now, you just get the "Before" pic. :P

With the growing pile of project in both my knitting and sewing pile, I've had to prioritize. Basically, the list looks like this: (These lists don't include the cleaning, cooking, laundry, school, and sundry chores we always do)

Before the Missions Conference:

1. Toothbrush holder
2. Living Room Valance
3. Organize Toys
4. Try and finish one of the unfinished quilts
5. Knit Jewelry Sachet

Okay, the Missions Conference is about 6 weeks off, so I think that is a doable list. If I don't get the quilting done, that is okay, but I'm trying to keep up on it a little bit at a time.

After the Missions Conference:
1. Church Dresses
2. Spring/Summer nightgowns
3. Finish my Azzu's Shawl
4.Carry on with the quilt making
5. Assess what else is needed for summer. :)

Seems simple enough, right? Of course, it is never that simple. There are always the everyday life chores, and gardening season is basically upon us, and outdoor work, and decluttering and organizing, and researching for next school year's curriculum, etc. etc. Suffice it to say, life is busy! Big surprise, eh?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Something Special

We are planning our Missions Conference for the end of April. I usually make up a "Welcome Basket" for the missionary family that we are hosting, and I still plan to do that. But this year I want to make something special for the missionary's wife. You know, I think that the wife is under appreciated many times. It isn't easy to live life from a suitcase, travelling for hours and hours, putting up with all the inconveniences of living life on the road. If there are children involved, that makes it even more challenging. I have been told many times by visiting missionaries that they really feel more comfortable around other families with children. You see, when couples without any children living at home house a family with small children, there is extra pressure on the parents to keep those kids in line. They know the child free couple may not know, or remember what it was like to have children who are over tired from travelling, or up too late or early, or overstimulated from meeting lots of new people. I'm not saying that is the case in every such situation, but let's face it. For a family like us, who still have young children, it is no big deal to witness a melt down at the table, or temper tantrum from having a very long day in the car, and then facing an evening service. Honestly, when this happens with a visiting family, I'm just glad that for once it isn't one of my children! :P

I got to thinking about the wife. What a job she has! Especially if she is homeschooling on the fly with the children. The women I've met have put me to shame with their gift for organization, self-discipline, and flexibility. I like to go on vacation, but I wouldn't want to live out of a suitcase, and in the van for 8 to 16 hours on many days of the year. Not only does she have to deal with that, but while her husband is preaching a service, she is on her own with "pew training", which isn't easy. I don't imagine it is always hard, or difficult, but I believe that living the life of a missionary family on deputation has many challenges that you or I wouldn't have in our regular, structured, everyday life.

So, I got to thinking. What can I make for this special lady that will be in our home for a few days with her family? I brain stormed. I browsed for hours on Ravelry. I have some limitations, such as time, ability, and finances. Also, I figured since the family is still on deputation, making something large and bulky was a very impracticable idea. Something else I considered was their ultimate destination, which is a warm climate. So, a nice warm scarf, mittens, gloves, or cowl didn't seem wise either.

I finally settled on a small jewelry sachet made from a luxury yarn. It would only take a small amount, and I could fit that into the budget. I am hoping that it will go well, and I'll have it done in plenty of time.

I am using a the pattern from one of my books, "101 Small Indulgences; Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders". I needed some US size 4 straight needles, and I got a set of Brittany hardwood birch needles. I love the shape of the end of the needles, and they are made of sustainable wood. So yeah, they are "green".

The yarn is Canopy Fruits of the Forest, colorway is "Dragonfruit". It is fingering weight yarn. I am somehow drifted into another fingering weight yarn project! I seem to gravitate towards those. The yarn is 50% Alpaca, 30% Merino, and 20% Viscose Bamboo. You can't tell from the picture, but this yarn is lovely to the touch.

This afternoon Josiah volunteered (A.K.A... was DRAFTED) to help me wind the skein into a ball, and I'm all set to start a swatch to check for gauge.

But right now, I need a nap. I went to bed later than I intended after a busy day out with the girls, and the time change didn't help me feel any perkier this morning. I'm off to take advantage of a lazy afternoon on this day of rest.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Home Made Cleaners Ebook ~ Freebie!

I was just thinking this morning I need to get back to making my cleaning supplies more. I was going to do some research and compile a list of what, if anything, I need to pick up this weekend while I'm out and about. However, thanks the The Homeschool Freebie of the Day , there is a free Ebook by Christina Wong, from Youthful Homemaker. Go get yours now! This was first put out a day or so ago, so I don't how long it will be available. Why use harsh, nasty, chemicals if you don't have to?

BTW, The Youthful Homemaker is having a HUGE sale right now too! Go check it out.

That means you.



An Afternoon Outside

We definitely got a taste of spring yesterday! I took opportunity to hang laundry, as I had planned. Isaac had fun running in and out of it. That was fine until he got dirty playing in the dirt pile at the back of our property.

I brought out a bag with some goodies on it. Isaac and I were sitting on the sling swing for a bit watching the big kids play football in our yard. In this bag I have knitting, my camera, a small notebook for writing in if inspiration hits, and my sweater, which I didn't really need. I really didn't need my knitting either, as I ended up doing some yard work. Who can sit still on such a beautiful day?

Kids were involved in all kinds of activities. Jerusha was running around and playing "House" in her usual spot. I caught sight of her on one of her foraging excursions.

I was working with the wheel barrel, and Isaac "helped". The big kids and some of the neighbor kids played foot ball. Elizabeth chose to just hang around.

After a while we decided to go for a walk. Isaac was wearing down from all the running around in the yard, so he was glad to ride in the stroller. We saw several people out walking their dogs, birds, squirrels, and these weird things:

They come off a tree, but I don't know if it is indigenous to our area or not. I only see them on this one property with that certain tree. I haven't noticed them anywhere else either on the ridge or in the valley. If you know what they are called, please tell me! The seeds shake inside of them like a rattle. That amused Isaac, but Caleb and Jerusha wanted to plant the seeds.

We made it down to the farm with the cows, and I noticed it was starting to get cooler out, so I took my sweater out. Why is it I can't be outside for more than 10 seconds without snagging burrs?

So, there was our fun afternoon outside. When we got in certain children needed to wash up well, change clothes, and then we crashed for a while. I think the fresh air wore everyone out!

Today is rainy and gray. A good day for staying in and working on a quilt, which is what I intend to do.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Yarn Along

I've been reading this book while working out at the gym. I have it downloaded onto my Kindle Fire, and can prop it up on the treadmill, elliptical, or recumbent bike and read to my heart's content. :)

My New England Shawl is coming along nicely. It sure takes a while to knit up fingering weight yarn, but I like it! I know I already mentioned it, but I'm probably going to add some repeats of the stitch pattern to make it a bigger. I'm about 70 percent through the written pattern, as is. I want it a bit bigger, and again, as already mentioned in a previous post, I have plenty of the Chroma yarn in that color.

It is gorgeous here today, hitting the low 60's, and I'm so happy to say my laundry lines are full! I washed out some blankets that needed a good washing and airing. I love the smell of sheets and blankets and towels and clothes that have dried outside. Smells like spring! I'm thinking a lot about our garden, too. Dale brought home some seeds last week. I think he is looking forward to garden season too.

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sunflower Quilt Progress

I started this quilt last summer, I think. I got the top pieced, then it got shoved aside. If you saw Saturday's post, then you noticed I got it out again, and ironed it.

This evening, after supper, I got the backing cut (sorry, no cutesy pieced backing on this one, just plain ol' muslin!), the batting trimmed, and it all sandwiched and basted for quilting.

Even though it is made from scraps from my stash, I've decided to not do my typical stippling quilting on it.

I'm using a couple of continuous line templates. The big green squares will have the larger, more elaborate one. The Churn Dash Squares will be either all outline stitch quilting, or I may put that little motif in the middle just for fun. I have yet decided. I haven't transposed the small motif over to quilting paper yet, which is why it is still on the printer paper.

My "To Do" quilting list is never complete unless I have something I am piecing (My Just Desserts quilt, all laid out on the guest bed still, ready to put together) and something I am actually quilting, in this case, the Sunflower Quilt. I'm looking forward to the more intricate quilting in this one. But don't expect me to have it done in a day! It's going to take a while!

Oh, and there is a new BOM ready to be done too. I'm really excited about that as it is using string piecing. I've always wanted to try that. Maybe by this weekend I can get a start on it.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday Sunshine!

It has been a gorgeous day here today, though the wind is picking up noticeably. This morning we had a wonderful waffle brunch. Then, after some laundry and dishes were done, the olders and I went on a short hike, then played tag in the yard with Dale and the littles.

After a while, as things wound down, we came in. Dale to work on some studying, and me writing, and the kids played. Esther took opportunity to make some no bake cookies.

Then, believe it or not, the twins and I headed back up to the creek. I had made a deal with them that they could go in BRIEFLY as long as they agreed to get hot showers and drink tea after. Also, I reserved the right to take pictures and post on my blog. They agreed, and so we went.

Let me just say, that here it is March 3rd, 40 some odd degrees out, wind whipping, and they are getting in the water.

They are CRAZY. I was cold just watching them. I noticed they didn't stay in very long though!

Doesn't the creek look so pretty and serene? Well, it may be, but it was also COLD!

It wasn't long until Esther had had enough and got out, but Elizabeth, our resident fish, stayed in.

After that shot she got out and ran home to warm up. I don't blame her, but I still think she was insane to even do it! Did I mention I think they are both crazy?

Dale was up early and out the door to run some errands. He surprised me with these fresh cut flowers. What a sweet man!

Since I finished Caleb's quilt I have been piecing the top from Just Desserts, and I dug out this Sunflower quilt I made last summer (I think) and ironed it after I finished the ironing for tomorrow. I can't wait to baste it and get quilting on it. I'm already picturing what motifs and patterns I want to use.

Have a great day everyone!