Monday, May 30, 2011

The Day of Heroes

In the words of Strapping Young Lad, "This is the day that we celebrate the heroes."

Yes, indeed it is.

To the warriors who gave all for our great country...



We salute you.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ta Da!: The Finished Celtic Quilt

Yes, finally.  The Celtic Quilt had been finished, and waiting to be bound with binding for a month or two; while I was feeling too stingy to purchase the 1/2 yard of fabric needed to bind it with (that, My Friends, is a slippery slope; however, b/c the online fabric store I frequent is "spend-$35-for-free-shipping"....  I did stay strong; nevertheless, and only purchased the needed-1/2-yard.  Congratulations, on my control, are in order.).



I love the backing fabric for it.  The oak tree is also very symbolic among the Irish.


 Can you tell I took these pictures right before a big storm?


I quilted a modified dewdrop pattern overall, and outline quilted around the celtic symbol appliques.


I think this will be a good "porch quilt."



Friday, May 27, 2011

Is There Life Out There


Yes, in fact, there is.  At least, there is life out there as far as the pole bean teepee is concerned.  The pole beans (Painted Lady and Scarlet Runner Beans) can only be described as heartily and sturdily springing out of the Good Earth, followed by what appears to be a few morning glories and sweet peas.


As a backdrop to the teepee, we also planted a row of mammoth sunflowers and a row of blue Indian corn for Strapping Young Lad's enjoyment.  These are actually his favorites; the seeds were given to us/him from the Kind Lady who we gave our horse Pete to. 



It looks like we're Mean and Horrible parents... since we have fenced off Strapping Young Lad's sandbox.  Nevertheless, it has a door and Strapping Young Lad goes in and out with ease.  You see, we planted the sunflowers and morning glories for his Sunflower House around his sandbox this year....ultimately it will be shade for a hard-working young man (sometimes he spends most of his day in the sandbox).  

So after last year's Sunflower House, we're not taking any chances, and we fenced in what we've sown right away.  The Teepee got the fence treatment too.

Monday, May 23, 2011

No-Sew Kid's Craft Table Runner


This idea was in Strapping Young Lad's Highlights magazine...to make a table runner by sandwiching tissue paper cut-outs between contact paper and wax paper.




It is a Thing of Beauty, isn't it?

We used colorful fabric scraps instead of tissue paper.  Strapping Young Lad was meticulous about the scrap placement.

 I actually like this.  The only thing I would have done differently is use two layers of contact paper, instead of using wax paper as one layer.  Just because the wax paper is not as clear.


We're planning to use this as part of the decoration for Strapping Young Lad's birthday party, which is around the corner.


Another take on this, would be to use choice cut-outs of words and phrases from magazines and newspapers  to add interest to a table for an informal party.  Place mats would be a nice touch too.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yard Saling and Sisters


 I recently spent the day yard-saling with my sister-in-law at the community-day yard sales.  She and I are kindred spirits in regards to our shopping styles.  Together, we are actually a deal-making & finding Machine.  Our style can only be described as intense. 

You see, we both view this day of yard-saling as the Day to find and secure clothes for the entire year for the 5 children we have between us.  As well as, a few things for our closets.   And miscellaneous for our homes.  All for a very small amount of $$.

Some embarrassing facts:

- We both have a hard time making eye contact anyone the first 3 hours of the day, because we are so absorbed in hunting and securing.

- We communicate effortlessly and thoroughly through gestures and short, abbreviated sentences.

- We do show a tiny bit of shame about our fervor...however, it doesn't slow down our progress.

- This year, we accomplished our mission in 6 hours.

- In previous years, we were both so exhausted after this event, we went home and napped for several hours. (just didn't have that luxury of time this year..maybe next time)

-  We both feel like we might have a heart attack when stuck behind a mass of painfully-slow moving people, while we are marching onto the next sale.

-  I trotted along behind my sister-in-law, loaded down with baby and stroller,  plastic swimming pool and a guitar;  while she determinedly pressed onward carrying: her fully loaded backpacking backpack with purchases in it, which she had strapped a buddy saddle seat onto.  On her hip, was a children's saddle.  Under her other arm, was a heavy, floor-length wood-framed mirror.  I could not stop laughing as she made her way through the throngs of the people, being so heavily laden.  So many jokes were made about her "forgetting to bring her horse"...I was actually a little bit embarrassed to be seen with her.
Except that, um, the saddle, buddy seat, and huge mirror...were my purchases.  What a friend. :-) (J, I owe you one, or two,...or three)
-  I asked Hubby what his least favorite find of mine was.  He didn't know.

- Some of the highlight bargains of the Day:  children's couch .50 (yes cents, not dollars), children's saddle $25, buddy saddle seat $5, children's swimming pool with a slide $5, floor length mirror $5...



At any rate, I love shopping with my Sister-in-Law.  I bought so many large-ticket items this year, that she ended up helping to carry; any other less-dedicated shopper would steer clear of shopping with me next year.  Or maybe she's just a dedicated friend. 
 I think that's more it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Baby Quilt


I recently completed a crib-sized quilt for a friend.  I chose the fabrics according to the fact that her nursery carpet is blue; though she is having a baby girl.


Sorry for the blurriness of the finished-quilt-pictures...I think my camera might be giving up on life.



It's a simple checkerboard pattern.  The only thing I would have done differently is to use the flatter, cotton batting that I normally use; instead of the puffier, polyster batting that I used this time.  I've noticed that people prefer puffy/fluffy when it comes to baby quilts, so I caved.  Except my choice of pattern, fabrics, and quilting style is very old-fashioned and the flatter, classic cotton batting would have suited this much better.  Oh well.  I guess if I was a perfect quilter, I'd have a big plaque hanging somewhere stating as much. :)

As I worked on this quilt, I mused how it would have suited my sister-in-law's tastes better, instead of the quilt (pictured below) that I made for her baby girl... (you see, I know that we both love bohemian styled clothes and housewares, etc; so I made a wild, bohemian quilt for her...but I missed the boat b/c her style, which very much suits her little girl, is very "English garden" or calico-on-the-prairie or a cross between the two)  Yes, at any rate, this one is certainly very eye-catching... LOL.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pole Bean Teepee


Along with our Sunflower House project this year, we are making a runner bean/gourd/morning glory/sweet pea teepee for our Strapping Young Lad.  (As if the trials from last year's Sunflower House weren't enough...)

We decided to use these rockin' poles that we salvaged in the (my Dad's) woods after a stormStrapping Young Lad was slightly puffed with pride after doing his share of dragging these out.


We lashed them together with some ever-present baling twine, worked up the good earth around it, and now have a nice structure waiting for the seeds to sprout.


Stay tuned for the inevitable failures, as well as the successes of our small endeavor for Strapping Young Lad's play-land.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Tunic Kid

Shortly after I made this tunic, Strapping Young Lad proudly informed Hubby, that this is his "pizza shirt." 

I was thinking vintage/eastern/asian/modern with the top print fabric, but hey....I can see how it looks like pepperoni pizza to the Very Young/Very Wise. :-)


It has the two most important features that the Young Man desires:  a hood and a pocket.


Pizza, Anyone?

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Word on Mother's Day



 My Mom has always (firmly) said:

 "No body loves you like your mother."

I now say this as well.  It is a correct statement, whether you're on the receiving end or the giving end of it.

Can I hear an "amen" out there?
(Happy Mother's Day, Mom!)

I could elaborate on my own mother and my own brood with a bunch of flowery sentiments, but I'll just let it at that.

 One thing right now that makes me smile...it might make you smile today too:  I've not been gathering our chicken eggs in hopes that a hen might decide to set.  Well, I peeked in the coop the other day, and one of my white, fluffy-and-slightly-ridiculous, silkie hens was hunkered down over the eggs, with wings spread in motherly, steadfast determination. 
 "I won't bother you," I whispered.



And something from Frances Hodgson Burnett's book, The Secret Garden, that I found to be especially tender:

In the robin's nest there were Eggs and the robin's mate sat upon them keeping them warm with her feathery little breast and careful wings.  At first she was quite nervous and the robin himself was indignantly watchful. 
 Even Dickon did not go near...but waited until...he seemed to have conveyed to the soul of the little pair that in the garden there was nothing which was not quite like themselves- nothing which did not understand the wonderfulness of what was happening to them- the immense, tender, terrible, heart-breaking beauty and solemnity of Eggs. 
 If there had been one person in that garden who had not known...that if an Egg were taken away or hurt the whole world would whirl round and crash through space and come to an end- if there had been even one who did not feel it and act accordingly there could have been no happiness even in that golden springtime air. 

But they all knew it and felt it and the robin and his mate knew they knew it.

Happy Mother's Day, All!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Baby Sun Bonnet

I recently made this bonnet,using the fabric from an old pair of green linen pants.


We have much fancier bonnets, that are basically good-for-nothin'-except-looking-cute.  Which I love.  But I wanted one that would protect Baby Girl's sweet skin when we are outside, which is often.  So this bonnet was originally to be strictly utilitarian and sewn together in a hurry...extra long brim for protection from the sun and wind.  And the color "goes" with pretty much anything.

 But then, I couldn't resist sewing a doily on the back of it, and putting a blue polka-dot grosgrain ribbon on it too. And crochet at the brim tip.

Why not...

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Rest of The Story

To anyone experiencing any angst regarding my putting my horse, Pete, in the paper for free...

Don't.

I have Pete's back.

Hubby and I (and mostly I) have been convicted that we'd rather be able to have some resources for our kiddos' futures (IE college), than to keep and feed 20 horses (exaggeration on the number, but you get the point).  Plus, Pete is a special horse, who was kind of going to waste in our pasture.

Meanwhile, I experienced two days of a circus of phone calls, and Pete is now in the right home. 

He will have 4 separate pastures to rotate grazing in.  He has his own stall. 

He will be fussed over, petted, and groomed. 

The lovely lady who now owns him, grows her own organic carrots just for treats for her horses. 

 Her husband and her joked about fighting over who will ride him. They've said to come and visit him anytime.

That's all I wanted.  A place where he'll be fed well and played with a little.  This is an answer to prayer.

This is a picture Hubby took of us before Pete went to his new home.  I look like I'm grimacing or was hitting the grape cordial, but that's just because I'm just not very photogenic if I know you're taking my picture.

Anyway...

To Pete:

See you later, Old Man. 
 You always did right by me, and now I'm doing right by you.