Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pyrex Finds

On the last day of visiting my parents my Mom took me and the girls to a few thrift stores. I am really excited about the Pyrex dishes I found! Look at these cheery colors! Just what I need this time of year! They remind me of spring.

I love the lids! These match an oval casserole dish I found this summer except the lid on that one is white. I've been thinking about what meals I might make using these cool casserole dishes. I have also been thinking my yellow, orange and lemongrass Fiesta Ware will look awesome with these!

Also excited to find this Fire King bowl (Kimberly pattern). I have a mug and one blue bowl. I love this line but they have been really hard to find around here.

Found this Pyrex casserole dish that matches the others at the second thrift store we stopped at.

We have been enjoying the weather around here. It was almost 60 degrees today, and it is almost January!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! We certainly did! It was great to spend time with family, enjoy fabulous food, attend the Christmas Eve candle-light service at our church, eat, spend time reading our new books we got for Christmas and of course we really enjoyed eating! Oh, we indulged on Uncle Dave's marinara and white sauce, my Mom's spaghetti sauce and chocolate chip cookies, Uncle Larry's peanut butter balls and Summer's chocolate pudding pie. We really need to slow down on the eating!

I finally finished this quilt. It was a gift for my Mom and Dad, and in true Susan-fashion I finished the binding after I gave it to them. But, it is now finished, a project I can cross off of my to-do list. I still need to finish a project for my nephew so I can get that in the mail and I didn't finish the animal print bag for Tristan but am really close. The Fangman girls will be taking a day over the Christmas break to do nothing but sew (and probably eat) so will have the animal bag ready before school starts again.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Another Christmas gift finished

Those of you that know me know that I am a procrastinator. In college I was the one up all night long the night before a big paper was due. I get my bills paid on time, but usually on the very last day they are due. And at Christmas I am busy the week before trying to get all of my presents finished. Most of my family at one time or another has received a partially finished project for Christmas. I have finished another Christmas gift, and I do believe I am ahead of schedule!

This is a colored pencil roll. The pattern is from Pink Chalk Studio. It went together so easy. The hardest part was cutting all of the different colored fabrics.

I loved picking out fabrics for this! Each fabric matches a colored pencil. I cut fabrics to make four of these, but only needed one of them finished for Christmas.

My game plan for tomorrow is to hang out in my sewing room watching my favorite Christmas movies (Elf, and Christmas Vacation) and sewing like crazy! I should be back soon with more finished projects.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What I'm up to...

I have been dealing with/recovering from a sinus infection. So, I haven't felt like doing much of anything... Except for:

Thumbing through some of my new magazines...

The Mother Earth News and Urban Farm magazines have me thinking of my garden this spring, or maybe I'm thinking of spring because I am in denial that winter has arrived in Kansas. We've had a few snow flurries here the last couple of days. Sunday and Monday we never got above freezing temperatures.

Reading some books...

I bought this book over Thanksgiving break but haven't had a chance to look at it until now. Can't wait to feel better and try out some of the craft ideas. I love the snow-man pencil toppers, thought they might make good gifts for the kids to pass out to their classmates at school. It also has some great ideas for homemade Valentines for the kids to make.

Watching movies...

Loved this one! Not quite as good as the book though.

And sipping hot beverages...

This Starbucks Christmas Blend is fabulous! Just might stock up on it since it is a seasonal product. Target has a deal right now on Starbucks coffee, each bag is $1 off and if you buy three you also get a $5 Target gift card.

Hopefully I'll be feeling myself again soon so I can try out my new Christmas gift. I know it isn't Christmas yet but I can't wait to try out my Go! Accuquilt fabric cutter. I have a lot of ideas of things to make with it. I'll be sharing some of those soon I hope!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas preparations

I have been hiding out in my sewing room to work on a few Christmas gifts! It has been so much fun to make something special for all of the people I love! Here is a peek at a few of my projects.

The quilt above needs borders still. I lost the pattern so will improvise. It is made from a Thimble Blossoms pattern out of Kansas Troubles fabrics. I pulled all of the fabrics from my stash.

This is the beginning of an animal print bag. Love the fabrics and know the special someone I am making it for will love it too! I will show you this when I have it finished.

I love making these little cosmetic bags! This is an easy pattern from Atkinson's designs. Even the zipper is super easy to put in. I will be making a lot more of these. I plan to make myself one to carry my hand-sewing supplies in for on-the-go sewing. I have a few more projects in the works. I'll be back to share those too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Colors of autumn

I was off work today to take the girls in for their yearly check-ups at the doctor's office. It was an absolutely beautiful day here so I spent a little time outside this morning enjoying a walk. When I got back I thought the lighting outside seemed perfect for a few pictures. So, I dug through my pile of unfinished projects and pulled out a few that reminded me of this time of year, probably because of the fabric colors.

The above blocks are all hand-appliqued, probably why I never got any more blocks made.

I love the bears paw pattern, probably one of my favorites. The blocks above were made for a quilt I actually finished but I didn't think these two blocks fit in well with the quilt. The multi-colored one is pictured on my business card. The bottom block was an experiment. I saw the pattern for the block and it was a three colored block, I wanted to see what it looked like out of scraps. I really liked it but not enough to make more blocks, it took a long time to make.

Not sure what I am going to do with some of these. The block on the right I think would make a cute pillow topper. I remember working on it when on a trip before we had kids, so at least 12 years ago! The other block I made in a class when I first started quilting. It was a class on invisible machine applique. I learned a lot in the class but never finished any more blocks. Oh well, I believe not every project needs to be finished. Sometimes it is about the process not the finished project!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Busy... but not a lot to show for it

I have been really busy! Busy taking my kids trunk-or-treating with friends, coming up with Halloween costumes and decorating.

I have been busy attending basketball games.

I also have been sick, going to and conducting parent-teacher conferences, cooking like crazy, and enjoying this beautiful autumn weather we are having here on the prairie. I love fall and we have had the best weather here the past few weeks! I haven't had much time to work on my sewing projects or to blog for that matter. I did finally finish block #6 of my Swoon quilt so I would have something to show you here. Only 3 blocks to go!

This next week is looking to be much quieter (and cooler) which should lead to more time in my studio. I will be back with more Farmer's Wife blocks soon!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Another project finish and the pumpkin patch

This is my latest project finish. Actually I made two of these nativity quilts. One for an auction at my church to raise money for youth mission trips and one for myself. This has been on my to-do list for years. I have actually made several of these quilts quite some time ago and never got around to making one for me until now. Not sure what my excuse is for that as it was very fast and easy to put together. I think I will hang it in my entry way.

On Saturday we worked at the pumpkin patch at our church. We enjoy doing that every year. Someone did not want her picture taken, this was the best picture I could get of her.

Darren and I manning the cash box.

Now, this girl loves to have her picture taken!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Check out these notebooks

I made these notepads this weekend out of recycled materials. Went through my cardboard recycling and cut the notepad fronts and backs out of pop/beer boxes. Next I cut a stack of old computer paper I had on hand in half. Took it all to the local copy store to have them all bound. I am saving the stacks of papers my kids bring home from school that only have printing on one side to make the next batch of notebooks. They are great to keep on hand for the never-ending to-do lists I make, the grocery lists and meal plans.

Swoon Block #5

Block #5 finished!!! Four more to go. So far this one is my favorite. Notice my pretty green grass in the picture. Planted some new grass in our front yard this fall, it is coming up beautifully! It is the kind of grass that looks so inviting to just lay down in and take a nap in the sunshine if only it were warm enough! Wearing jackets around here today, it is looking like I can start getting my long sleeves and coats out around here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A ride in a big red truck

So, my youngest daughter won a fire-safety poster contest at her school. Here is a picture of her first place poster. It says, "Always check your smoke alarm so it will work like a charm". She said she was really upset when she started coloring her already green wall orange. With some creative thinking she drew someone painting the wall.

Her prize was a ride to school on a fire truck! She said she felt famous!!! Fireman Gordon picked her up this morning at our house. He took the long route to school so...

all of the other 3rd graders would have a chance to take their places at the front of the school to greet Tristan when she got there!

This was such a special day for her! To top it off a reporter from the news was there for some video and an interview. Look out Hollywood I think she is ready for the movies!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why I Quilt

This weekend I received the latest issue of Mary Janes Farm magazine. If you have not seen this organic lifestyle magazine before I suggest you check it out! This month there is an article entitled Why Women Quilt. This got me to thinking about why I quilt.

I know for me quilting is not about having a finished product- I know this because I really stink at finishing quilts! I love to start a project. For me, I believe it is about the process. I enjoy pouring over books and magazines trying to decide what to make next. I love looking at and touching fabrics, deciding which colors and patterns would work best for my next project. Learning new skills and techniques is a highlight for me. Once I get a few blocks made my interest often starts to wane- I've learned the new technique, I have a good idea of how the quilt is going to look, I'm on to the next project. To tell the truth, I don't even feel guilty about all of my unfinished projects. Probably, because making them, even though incomplete, has served its purpose for me.

When I am able to spend time regularly in my sewing room I am able to think more clearly and creatively. Big problems in my life have been solved while sitting at my sewing machine. I also find quilting particularly calming. Even after sewing an entire border on a king-sized quilt and then discovering my bobbin thread ran out when I started, I am still calm! There is something about the whirr of the machine, the feel of the fabrics and making something with my hands that lets me forget about my worries and the stress of the day. When I make the time to consistently work on my quilting projects I am much more at peace. My hope for all of you is that you have found something that you are passionate about and that brings some peace in your life.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Three more Swoon blocks

Four down, five more to go. I like how this quilt is turning out! I have been doing crazy amounts of cooking today in hopes to have meals for the next several days ready so I can spend more time in my sewing room this week. The next couple of days look to be kinda hot, now I won't be tempted to spend my entire evening outdoors like I have been lately. Here is to a week full of sewing!

Friday, September 23, 2011

a new pyrex find and some new reads

I was so excited to find this orange pyrex casserole dish! When I bought it at my local thrift store the lid was turned upside down and taped to the dish. I didn't realize how cool the lid was until after I bought it and brought it home! Not too bad for $1.99.

Was glad to get home yesterday to see that my amazon order arrived. These are a few books I have been eyeing for awhile. Not much better this time of year than coming home from work and sitting on the deck with a cup of coffee and a good book! The weather here has been absolutely amazing! I have been getting outside every chance I get.

Finished my second Swoon block today, and have a few more cut out. More pics to come.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall Projects

I like to work on projects with Christmas trees and snowmen in the winter time and those with pumpkins and leaves in the fall. I don't like the idea of working on Christmas projects in July. So, every autumn for at least the past three I drag out this cross-stitch project. I am slowly making progress. I was a little worried when I ran out of the black over-dyed floss I have been using. Luckily they still make the black coffee color.

This oak-leaf table topper I started before I even had kids, so at least 11 years ago. This just may be the year I get it quilted!

I started a new fall project last week. This is Thimble Blossoms' Swoon pattern. Each block is 24 inches. I am using my stash of Kansas Troubles fabrics. I am excited about how my first block turned out. Eight more to go! I have all of the background fabrics cut and fabrics for a few more blocks ready to go. This one should go together fast!

We enjoyed a great weekend of apple-picking and attending a fantastic car-show in Ottawa! It is finally feeling like autumn here, my favorite season!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What are you reading???

I love to read! Unfortunately I don't have a lot of extra time during the school year to read, but I make up for it during the summer time. This summer my two favorite books were Gray Matter by David Levy and The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain.

Dr. Levy, a neurosurgeon writes of his experiences of praying with his patients before surgery. To me, this story spoke of what amazing things God can do in our lives and in the lives of others if we step out in faith and do what He asks us to do. This book also made me think about what I should be doing in my sphere of influence to spread the goodness of God. I rarely read a book more than once, but this one I will read again.

The Paris Wife is a novel about the first marriage of Earnest Hemmingway. Even though this is a novel the author did extensive research on her subject and much of the story is true. Hemmingway lived a very interesting life!

I am in need of another great book to read. I read all types of books. What do you recommend?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vintage sheets

It has been awhile! I forgot how crazy busy I am the beginning of every school year and how wiped out I am when I get home. Our schedule is finally starting to look somewhat normal and my body is getting use to a little less sleep than it has been use to this summer. It feels good to be back into a routine. I am currently working on a couple of projects using the vintage sheets I have been collecting this summer. Here is a pic of a few of my favorites. Stay tuned for project pictures and more regular posting.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Weekend thrift store finds

Spent some time this weekend at a few flea markets, thrift stores and antique shops! It was a great way to spend my birthday weekend. Here are a few of my finds.

This is a lime green pyrex bowl. It was pretty grubby when I bought it but I am real happy with how well it cleaned up.

Two small square pyrex berry bowls. Notice the cute vintage sheet too!

More pyrex. There was a third large bowl in this set but it was not in great shape so I left it.

I think this might be my favorite find! A thermal pitcher. It matches my Mom's "cookie bowl". My Mom always serves her famous chocolate chip and p-nut butter cookies in a bowl with this exact print on it. I believe she said she got her cookie bowl as a wedding gift about 45 years ago.

A couple of retro Fire King mugs. I have enjoyed drinking my coffee out of these the past few mornings. An added bonus, I don't feel guilty having two cups as they are so much smaller than the coffee mugs we all use today.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What to do with a charm pack???

I have been experimenting with charm packs lately. I wanted to design a project using just one pack. (For those of you that don't know, a charm pack consists of about 40 5 inch squares of fabric from a single fabric line.) This pack is Buttercup from Fig Tree Quilts. I did use a solid light colored fabric from the line to bind it. I can't decide if I am going to hang it in my hallway or put it in the center of my dining room table. Stay tuned for more charm pack projects.

On another note we had crazy weather in Topeka last night! The school district my kids go to and the one that I work in were both closed today due to power outages and closed roads from downed tree limbs. I think this is a first in my entire school career as a student and a teacher to miss a day the first week of school because of the weather. We ended up with a huge tree limb in our front yard, but somehow never lost electricity. There is still a lot of clean up to be done around town, and quite a few without power. More rain in the forecast but I don't think it is suppose to be stormy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Project finish

I have been working on this bag for awhile now, I think I started it last winter. I have been in the mood to finish projects lately, and this is my latest. The bag is actually made using black, white and lime green fabrics, I think the green looks kinda yellow in my picture. Anyway... I like how it turned out. It is the perfect size to carry as a large purse or I can carry it back and forth to work as my laptop fits in it beautifully. I will be back with more finished quilting projects soon!