Friday, February 26, 2010

A house divided...

OK, not really. I finished making a quilt for my sister in laws upcoming nuptials. See, we all went to Penn State. Her future husband, however, is a Florida Gator. Being from Pennsylvania, a lot of people we know went to Penn State. He felt outnumbered. He is a huge Gators fan, and we, of course, are PSU fans. Now Krissy has a lot of PSU tees and stuff. Dave has a lot of Gators tees and stuff. In fact, in their bedroom, he has a tiffany style Gators lamp on his night stand, and she has her Penn State lamp. So, since when I asked them at Christmas what colors and style they wanted for their wedding quilt they never answered me, I took their alma maters as inspiration and came up with this, the house divided quilt...

her side is Penn State, his Gators. It is totally obnoxious, and king size for their bed. It was a quick sew, I could only find 3 fabrics for each school so I did a simple rail fence. It is ready to mail off the my machine quilter. I use Quilting Stitch based in MA. Check out her prices (and tell her I sent you if you use her). She does a wonderful job and is the most reasonable priced quilter I have found. 

So now I am back to my scraps, I hope during a sew along tomorrow to do a few baby quilt tops... we'll see!

Happy Sewing! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tutorial: folding potty seat carry bag

This is a little bag to carry a folding potty seat for little butts when out and about so they don't fall in! It is lined with treated canvas, and you can use anything from duck to table cloth vinyl to curtain backing for the lining. The main fabric was a fat quarter I had. You can also sew in a long piece of velcro to fasten, but I did little precut velcro with fabric glue. I use a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Cutting  main and lining

9.5 wide by 8.5 tall

flap (2 of main) 6.5 by 5.5
 - trim sides at 45 degree angle with ruler or use a quarter to round the ends

Then box the corners of the body pieces 1 inch (cut 1 inch squares out of the corners)

With right sides together, sew flap, trim corners, turn, top stitch. Then assemble main and lining.

add flap. To center a flap I find the center of it by folding and making a crease, then fold the back of bag and crease and set those together. I sew the flap first with an 1/8th seam. Then with right sides together pin main to lining, leaving at least 3 inches to turn.

Turn out from the hole, then top stitch around the whole top.

It was at this point I realized I needed something to close it with... so with fabric glue and precut velcro pieces I added closures to both ends to keep the seat in nice and snug. If it is too big for your potty seat, there is another folding seat that you would cut 9 by 8 to start becuase it folds a little smaller.

This was done for a friend, which is why I don't have a picture of the seat inside.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sew whats new...

Why is it I am most productive when I have 3 or 4 projects being worked on at once? I am finishing the steelers quilt for my nephew, working on a quilt for my sister in law's wedding in April, and have a few bags and things cut out to do too. I finished these this morning...

"girl" version

"boy" version

I love the pattern, and have made several. It is my favorite design to use as a diaper bag. I also made diaper bag accessories from the scraps. The fabric I found at the Pittsburgh, PA Ikea, they come in mini bolts. I bought 1 of the main and then 1 each of the stripes.
I am also working on a tutorial for this, it is a folding potty seat bag.

The folding potty seats come in a plastic bag that rips really easy. So I used some scrap fabric to make this. I lined it with treated canvas.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Cat's Trip to France

We’re driving on 72 near Huntsville, Alabama, after spending the weekend in Chattanooga visiting his sister and her fiancĂ©. The girls are occupied, Evie with her Leapster and Rena drawing, hopefully on paper and not her window. They are quiet; we are listening to Radar Bros. The Singing Hatchet. We don’t talk much on trips. It is a comfortable silence though, as if after almost 10 years of marriage we can communicate whole ideas with fleeting glances. Both of us sometimes live in our own brains. I know that he is thinking of work tomorrow, he thinks he has an idea for the reclaimed material in production and is planning on testing his theory this week. I don’t understand much of what he does for work. I’m looking at the houses by the road, wondering who lives there, what they do, how they feel right now. Is today an ordinary Sunday? What were they doing on this date in 1986? Do they like their hair? Do they daydream of traveling? We pass the space shuttle and Evie stops her game to tell us that she will be on that shuttle after Star Fleet Academy. She dreamily stares at it; this is her favorite part of the trip. She loves hearing about the shuttle and space camp and NASA and science. Kevin starts telling her that when she is older, she can go to space camp. She wants to know about Star Fleet Academy, but doesn’t grasp yet that it is from someone’s imagination, because it has totally captured hers. She wants to be a communications officer like Uhara.

I love this trip, especially travelling on 72. I love watching small towns go by. I would rather do these roads than the highway, where all you see are other cars. There are whole movies on this road. We pass a church with an old school bus painted in rainbow colors with LIFE SAVER written on the sides. Kevin giggles. We pass a few empty businesses, a few abandoned houses that are being taken over by vegetation. It is on odd site, to see what man has made being reclaimed by the earth, as if to be told we have no real power here, we are ants in the grand scheme of things, and everything we have can be taken back at any moment.

Kevin puts in a new CD, after this one has cycled through a few times. As soon as the first song starts, the girls ask for a movie, so he turns it off and I grab the case. I am grateful they travel well. When I ask what movie, Evie asks for the Aristocats. Then she asks if Tori will be seeing the Eiffel tower on her trip to France. This makes Kevin giggle and look at me. Of course she will go see it; it is her favorite part of Paris. Evie wants to see it too, one day.

But Tori is a cat, and Tori is not going to France. This weekend a big topic of discussion was saying goodbye to Tori. They found out on Friday she is terminally ill, and has to be put to sleep, and the appointment is for Monday. So this was the weekend to say goodbye. I often wonder how children, especially mine, think through things. Everyone was talking about saying goodbye to Tori, but finally on Saturday at lunch Evie asked where she was going. All the adults looked at each other. We didn’t know how to explain it, and I didn’t want to today.

“She’s going to France to visit her family. Monday Aunt Krissy has to take her to the airport. She might not come back; France is a nice place to be.”

That was enough for them. Tori is going to France. Kind of like when we told Evie at 3 that Pepper the rabbit went to live on a farm when he passed. But then, a few months later, at a petting zoo, she found a rabbit that looked like pepper and freaked out that she found the farm that pepper went to, and was glad he was happy.

Intermittently throughout the weekend, we fielded questions about Tori’s trip to France. What do cats do in France? What relatives will she be staying with? Will she be in one town or travel all over? Do all cats speak French? Even the ones that live in China? Do all cats come from France, or just some? Will she send postcards?

Kevin usually likes to tell the truth, even with the girls. I can’t sometimes, knowing that the truth will hurt them. I would rather her dream of Tori in France than being dead. It is better to feel a sting and work through it than walk with a lie.

As we drive I think of Tori in France. But instead of reality, she is a puppet, like Daniel Striped Tiger from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, a puppet wearing a Barrett and speaking French with an American accent. Maybe Tori will be taking up smoking in France, just to act cool. Maybe she will take the train to Berlin, meet a young painter who wears big blue boots and have a torrid affair. So for miles, my mind is occupied with movies of puppet cats in France. Quite entertaining.

We hit Mississippi, there is an accident and we wait in traffic. I ask Kevin what he is thinking about, and he says “France”. This causes both of us to giggle. He smiles; I know it is OK, that he is OK with telling them a story at this age. That tonight, maybe we will all be dreaming of Tori’s adventures in France.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Yesterday I got into an interesting conversation with a neighbor, about the use of Ma'm. I must flinch when people call me Ma'm, because she noticed. When she asked, I explained it as kind of being a diss "up north". But here it is totally disrepectful to not use ma'm and sir. Now I try to watch myself and use yes ma'm and yes sir in interactions.

The one thing I have found great pleasure in here is radio. I have gone a few rounds with friends these past few months on the viability of, as they call it, "terrestrial radio". I see in Memphis and the surrounding area that radio is alive and well. There is an abundance of stations, and not all are conglomerate owned. There are the standards, and a lot of religious stations (including 2 great gospel stations), but also a Funk station (oh yeah, it is a beautiful thing), lots of blues stations, jazz stations that aren't "smooth jazz:, and, the brightest spot for me, WEVL. We are often tuned to WEVL, because you never know what you are going to hear. I do know the vintage punk show is Friday mornings when I drive Rena to preschool, and Wednsday afternoon is Bashfull Bob with Sho-nuff country. He has retired this past week, but they plan to rebroadcast some of his shows, since he is a popular DJ. His shows are what would be called classic country, music that takes you back to a woodfloored dance hall, wearing the dress your mama made from a flour sack just for date nights, hair curled and set, ready to dance the night away, and maybe catch the eye of the fiddler with the deep blue eyes.

I don't think radio is dead, and stations like WEVL prove it to me, community radio proves it to me.

So this morning for me was dropping Rena off at preschool, then visiting the library and the local museum for Desoto County to see what was there.

This is my first time living in the Delta, and all I know of this area is what I read in school, which is all Conquistadors, Indians and Poineers. Then Poverty and Blues. That was the extent of what I knew. In fact, the town and county are named for Hernando DeSoto, who it is desputed was buried here.

I took out a few books:  Highway 51, which is a photo book on the road, also known as "the blues highway"; With Signs Following, pictures of religious signs through the south; Eudora Welty as Photographer, which has wonderful essays also; Sputnik, Masked Men, and Midgets, about Memphis wrestlers (Elvis was a fan, even played before a few matches in the early days) Jerry Lawler gives the intro, he was a DJ befre a wrestler. Some Wrestlers from the area also recorded songs. The book is just a great look into pop culture of a time and place, and since the place is here, I had to see what it was about.

Also on my night stand but I haven't peaked at yet is Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton, about Chinese Immigrants in the delta.

The Desoto Museum was like most other small town museums, basically one room, a timeline of the areas history, witha large portion dedicated to the role the area had in the civil war. Besides Jerry Lee Lewis, who still lives here, the area boasts John Grisham, Walter Malone (poet). It was also the location where James Merideth was shot during a freedom march

This happened south of town, the shooter drove down from Memphis and targeted James, calling his name before firing shots.

Some areas of the county were considered some of the poorest in the nation, and the Catholic Church had brought Sacred Heart Southern Missions down here to Walls, a town west of Hernando, where at the time people were living in abandoned trolly cars being stored there. This begins my favorite tidbit of area history. One of those Missionaries, Fr. Gregory Bezy, began the Sacred heart Auto League to promote safe and prayerful driving, and to raise money for the mission, which provided care for the areas poor. Hence the dashboard jesus was born. Yes, you have Desoto Couty Mississippi and Fr. Gregory Bezy to thank for dashboard jesus.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dreaming of Spring...

We are freezing here in Northern Mississippi! It snowed again yesterday and the snow is still on the ground, which is unheard of. I am so ready for warmer weather. The past few days have been busy, we have been making a lot of hairflowers to post on etsy. I decided to give etsy another shot, since if I don't sell things on etsy maybe I can do a craft show or two this spring.

I also made this

My friend Chris sent me a huge box of fabric a few months ago, and this was in it. This fabric was her grandmothers, and was made into somekind of cover and a table runner, non quilted. I asked her what I could make her as a thank you for the fabric, and she just said anything from the red fabric. So this is what I came up with, I hope she likes it!

We also bought furniture for the sunroom. I found it through Craigslist, and I love it. I can't wait for Spring, so I can work on it to fix it up. They need cushions, which are easy enough to make.

The set is a loveseat with 2 chairs and table. It does need work, so when the weather gets better I need to hose it all down, oil it then recane a few spots. Repainting is the easy part. The hard part is picking out the fabric for the cushions.

Rena had her first Valentines Day party at school on Friday. She loves school, just like her big sister. She is more social though, Evie is my shy girl.

Rena is a talker, her teacher told me "she always has something to add".

*sigh* I hope it gets warmer soon!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow Day!

Why yes, we live in Mississippi, and yes, we got 6 inches of snow. For here, that is alot. The girls loved it though, we spent sometime outside then came inside for lunch and hot cocoa...

Then back in our PJ's for arts and crafts. I found this Blog Post from Tip Junkie for fabric flower patterns. There are some great ones, but I chose the pointy petal tute to try... The girls helped me

Rena turned them right side out and Evie used the corner poker thingy to make nice sharp tips. We ended up raiding the scrap bag and my button jar and making a few!

They are really fun to make, and take so little fabric! We attached them to barettes, so the girls could wear them in their hair.

this one Rena is modeling is my favorite, it is green white and blue and I used one of my great granma's fruit button in the middle. I'll probably be wearing this!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Crafternoon

We watched up again last night, it is a great movie, but everytime I see the opening I end up in tears. Especially the scene where they are wishfully dreaming about children, and then it cuts to her crying in the doctors office. I was lucky, I had my girls fairly easily. I did take clomid with Evie, but it worked for me on the first round.

But I have a lot of friends who are trying, and have been, and are going through rough fertility times. It is not just one or two friends, but about a dozen, and it sucks. I know how badly these women desire children, a family. I hope they all find it somehow. Be it going through IVF, Surragacy or adoption. I wonder who will end up adopting, though I hope for all they end up happy. I know everyone I talk to going through it are going to be wonderful parents when the time comes.


FYI, I also cry at the end when Carl is at Russel's scout meeting watching him get a badge.

Evie has 2 good friends in the neighborhood she plays with, so today we made little purses for them since yes, I am still working to get through all my scraps one way or another!

I embroidered their first initial on the bags, and made a little wallet to go with each. The pattern is a great stashbuster, they are from lazy girl designs, the bag is the Runaround bag and the wallet is the Wonder Wallet, I altered it to put a zip in the back for coins. I have made a ton of these bags and wallets, they make great gifts, and if you do charity sewing the wallets and bags are always appriciated by foster care agencies for teens and tweens (along with tote bags too.) They are really quick to sew. I am a huge fan of LGD.

They loved them, and Evie loved giving it to them! They really are sweet girls. I love that there are girls on the street for her to play with. She has been having a rough time at school with a few girls.

Evie came home Friday and said that there are three girls that tease her and call her names. She said it bothered her sometimes but she walks away. She also said they do it to a lot of kids. I know my Evie, she is sensitive. So I started to write an email to her teacher.

Then I thought about a little girl I once had when I taught Elementary School. She was a fourth grader named Jawhara. In her class there were a group of 4 girls that would pick on some of the others. Jawhara would just ignore them, and still always be nice. If someone needed a pencil, Jawhara would let them borrow one of hers, handing them whichever she was using, even if it was her favorite at the time. One day at Recess, the group turned on one of their own, because she tooted. (this is fourth grade, remember the drama) The girl, Hana, was devistated, crying and yelling at the friends who were laughing. Jawhara put down what she was doing and went to her, took her hand and walked and talked to her. It didn't matter to Jawhara that Hana often teased her, or that Hana refused to lend her an eraser when she had several in her desk. Jawhara only cared that right then, Hana was hurt. By the end of recess Hana wasn't crying. her friends stopped teasing her about tooting. I wish I could say she was nicer to Jawhara after that, but she wasn't. But Jawhara didn't care. She was happy just being Jawhara.

I want that for Evie, for her to be kind to others regardless, be nice and polite to all. To be giving and caring. I hope we are showing her this path with our words and actions. So for now I told her to just be kind, sometimes kids are mean, but don't let it get to you. Of course being mom if things escalate or it begins to bother her I am down at the school the next day...

Friday, February 5, 2010

This weeks projects

Sew..... I have  been busy this week, I finished this table runner

The pattern was called Dutch Treat and was a pattern with fabric I bought in the quilt shop last year. It was fun and fast to do. I also started working on my sister in laws wedding quilt, which I just started cutting out, and while trying to get through my scraps, I found I had A TON of steelers fabric, so I threw this togther

It's lap quilt size, so I am going to add a black border to get it closer to bed size for my nephew, since I made quilts for the girls and my neice this past fall.

I also did this for Serena, since S day was today

She loved it! I need more practice with applique, and want to take a turned applique class eventually. I just realized with this project that if you put stabalizer under the tee shirt it is easier under the maching. I should have known that! Oh well, live and learn!

Serena has a class pet "Hopper". He's not real, (thank goodness) but we have to take pictures and write what Hopper and Rena do this weekend. His first trip was after school to the Chinese Buffet. Fridays Kevin works from home, so he comes with me to pick up Rena from school and we do lunch.

So when we got home this afternoon, we read about frogs. Rena decided he was cold and needed a blankie, so we went through my scrap bag to see what a from would like, and Rena chose this fabric, because it would camouflage Hopper so no one would eat him when he was asleep. We also made him a little pillow. He had a nice nap with Rena and is ready for what the rest of the day brings.

The other thing that has occupied my week has been this amazing book, Mississippi Quilts, but Mary Elizabeth Johnson. The Mississippi Quilt Association did a heritage project, and documented quilts around the state, putting them cronologically in this book, telling the story not only of the families that owned these quilts, the women who made these quilts, but also of Mississippi and the nation itself. I am so glad they did the project, I have learned so much from the book.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On the bookshelf

So I went to the Library today, which means for me I am getting settled. It's the little things that start to add up to "This is my town".

I like Hernando, which is why we chose it. It has a great downtown area, alot like Granville, Ohio, where we lived after we were first married. I am starting to find all the comforts of home here. Friday I hope to hit up the local history museum. I find it interesting the town and county are named for Hernando Desoto, who it has been said died here, but historians argue over if it was here or the other side of the Mississippi in Arkansas.

I am also meeting people, Monday is Quilt Guild, which I am so excited about! Oh, and the girls are settled in. Evie has a best friend here, and plays with the neighborhood girls. She misses her friends from TN, PA, and Ohio though, and often asks about everyone. I hope we can get some friends down this summer. Next on my list is to find a babysitter.

The library had a great selection, I found 2 books on Mississippi quilts and quilters. I love how each area has a different feel, different style, of quilts. I can't wait to start the books. I also found an amazing book by Kumiko Sudo with Omiyage patterns, which I am going through now to pick which projects I want to try.

Today was a lazy day, a happy day. It seemed to all click today,like I almost know where I am going. I have explored the roads a bit, know what road takes me where (for the most part) and am building my map in my head. I can't do GPS, which drives Kevin bonkers, but I have to create a map in my head, that is drawn as I drive around.

Other than that, we started talking about the possibility of a maybe working on  kid #3.....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


So I am still on the table runner kick, I finished this one last night and have a simple pinwheel block one cut out for this week.

I am still having so many issues with the quilting part, I love piecing but when I try to quilt I just feel it doesn't look right. But quilting with a machine is like drawing  by moving the paper instead of the pen. Some people pick it up right away, but others of us have a lot of difficulty.

This weekend was freezing here. Memphis shut down because of the snow, but snow down here is not snow, it is a sheet of ice and slush. Even after honing my driving skills in Rochester and Pittsburgh winters, I still was not prepared for this.

At least now it is nicer out, and the sun is rising when Evie goes to her bus stop (across the street). Today was the first day I let her go by herself, I just watched from the window. She was very responsible, looked both ways, and met her friend (bus stop is in her friends driveway). Sometimes its hard for me to grasp her growing independence. No matter how old, she's still my first baby. I wonder if it will get easier with Serena.