Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

The Momcat, Daddo and BabyBrother all came to our house again for Christmas again this year. Everyone had a great time and lots of good presents, family time and Christmas cheer all around. 

One of our big family traditions is decorating sugar cookies on Christmas Eve day. Mom is in charge of supervising the cut out and baking process, 

and Daddo get stuck with the frosting-sprinkle-sugarfest. 

Baby Brother is in charge of, well, Baby Brother is simply required to be there. And must be frosting cookies. He's gotten sneakier about this as he's gotten older; my favorite line this year was when he put two dabs of frosting on a soldier cookie and then declared, "The art is in the negative spaces." Sigh. 

The goal now is to make as the most obnoxious cookies as possible. Last year, we had axe murdering snowmen and incandescent light bulbs. Previous years have included the "PBR express" train engine (chug chug chug). The Momcat found that one less than amusing, since Baby Brother was a bit underage.

My favorite from this year-the dead butterfly. I promise I don't actually have a dead butterfly cookie cutter; the N-boy mutated a sweet little Christmas Angel for this one. 

Christmas morning I get everyone up at 7:00 a.m. That is 7:00 a.m. in the current time zone. Yes, we have to have that exact information as part of the rule in our family. Mostly because otherwise I'd still be getting everyone up before dawn because I'm so excited I can't sleep. 

Oh how they love me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Mug Rug

Can it really be almost three months since I have posted a blog entry? Yes. Sad. 

Have I been busy? Well, somewhat. I've been continuing to work on the Paducah Challenge Quilt, which incidentally is due on Saturday. I'm almost finished, but not quite.So I haven't been able to post pictures of what I've been working on given that it's a secret challenge with the Momcat. Still, no excuse. 

I have, however, just discovered an app that will let me upload photos from Audrey (my iphone) directly to my Picasa album, from which I can pull photos into this blog. Are they the bestest quality of photos? Well, no. On the other hand my photos with my camera are not the best of quality. Although is due large in part to my lack of skill as a photographer, and is no fault of the cute little canon camera.

I do think this will help me be less lazy. I rarely have my camera with me, but always have my phone. I hate dragging out my camera cord to connect to my computer. Yes, I really am that lazy. 

So without further ado, here's the little package I made up for our office coordinator. He just started with us this last May, and has been a SUPER person to have in our office. 

I made the little rug mug from scraps I made; log cabin pattern. He really like it, and even took it home to show his wife!

Here's to being less lazy!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Finished for Friday: Cutting the Challenge Quilt

So it seems that I'm only capable of posting anything in Friday's lately, but at least that means I get to participate in Finished for Friday hosted over at Lit and Laundry's wonderful blog.

Some might remember that each April the Momcat and I take our annual (you can call two years in a row annual, right?) trip down to Paducah for the AQS show. We take classes, we see the show, we meet celebrities, and we buy lots of fabric. Very fun and festive. 

One thing we buy fabric for is our "Challenge Quilt" where we each get the exact same pieces of fabric and are allowed to add one additional piece of fabric to produce a finished quilt top by Christmas. I'm getting a bit of a late start on my project this year, but last week I finally figured out what pattern to use. After cutting and testing one block, I spent the last week cutting the rest of the jelly roll (this year's challenge fabric) and putting together little kits for each block! I finished them up last night for total of 36 blocks ready to go together!

Since it's a surprise challenge and the Momcat reads this blog (hi mom!), I don't want to post a picture of the finished block. But I can post a picture of the content of each block kit! This will keep her guessing!

Tonight I head off to join some of the other quilter's in my guild for a retreat weekend at a nearby YMCA camp. Some of the women have been there since yesterday, and I can only imagine how much they've already gotten done. I've packed all the block kits for the Challenge Quilt , as well as another piecing project and my John Flynn Quilt Frame! Needless to say, the car was awfully full this morning when I drove into work!

Be sure to check out what others have Finished for Friday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Finished for Friday: Not a Dishcloth

There's a running joke in the knitting group I'm part of, the Frog Pond, that the only thing I ever knit is dishcloths. What can I say, I do like my dishcloths! Actually though I think the main reason I've been drawn to them is that I make one pattern, I've memorized the pattern, and I can do it pretty mindlessy. If I put down the project for a few days or weeks or even months, I'm still able to pick it right back up again whenever it is that I get back to it. 

At our summer frolic, however, one of our most experienced members convinced me to try a scarf pattern from one of One Skein Wonders series.  It was cute. It was easy. It did not involve circular needles, double pointed needles, or scary decrease/increases. (We tried all of this and more with a baby sweater last summer. Fail is the only word that describes this.)

And perhaps the most exciting news..... it's finished! And so with a triumphant flourish I join Lit and Laundry for Finished for Friday with a finished scarf!

The excitement will continue as it turns out that I've now memorized this pattern and have even begun a second scarf! I took both projects to our club gathering on Wednesday night and was very proud to be showing my new skill of making Not a Dishcloth.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Finished for Friday: Chloe's Quilt

The parentals came to visit about a week ago and the Momcat and I finished up the Clothesline Quilt for baby Chloe! The pattern we used is by Elizabeth Hartman and can be found on blog Oh, Fransson! It's a supercute patten that uses 9 pieces of fabric to make nine-patches, which are formed into a nine-patch, which are then formed into an even bigger nine-patch which is the quilt!

For the quilting we used a squiggly stitch on the seams. This added a little bit more dimension to the front of the quilt.

Here's a shot of the back. It ended up being fairly heavily quilted; I'm happy we decided to skip some of the lines going one direction or I think it would have been too much.

The quilt was a present for my cousin and his wife (and for their baby girl, of course!) and they seemed to like it! The Momcat and I are also working on a quilt for their 3 year old with dinosaurs! It was a challenge to have the two of us work on a quilt when we're 10 hours apart, but it was fun too. And we got it done and out the door, so woohoo for that!

Be sure to check out what others have finished over at Lit and Laundry's blog!

Monday, August 2, 2010

My little helper

This last week I've been busy working on quilting the Clothesline baby quilt. I'm really rather pleased with how the quilt has turned out, and can't wait to get it to the baby! 

My little buddy-boo has been trying very hard to be helpful. 

Not very successfully, but I do appreciate his efforts. And he's just so cute when he's tired himself out. 

Hopefully I'll get the quilting finished up within a week or so!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The vegetables have arrived!!!

I think it's fitting that my first blog post after a small (ok longish) hiatus is the result of the previous post. 


So despite the fact that I failed to follow the instructions on the seed packets that very clearly indicated the zucchini need 3 feet of space EACH, we have harvested our first eggplants and zucchini. 

Now I admit, the garden is a bit....crowded. I used tomato cages to somewhat corral the zucchini and the acorn squash, which I really do think helped. The N-boy, however, felt that a dramatic gesture was necessary to show just how crazy the garden has become. 

Our first harvest yielded three zucchinis and three eggplants. And we also picked two cute little flowers to put in the kitchen. 

Even Catcat is benefiting from the garden action with fresh picked catnip!

We can't wait to see how much more we get from our first gardening attempt. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First weekend of Summer.

Even though Memorial Day weekend isn't until next weekend, it seems like Summer has officially kicked off here in Northern Indiana. The humidity started in on Saturday, with Sunday bringing high temperatures and bright sunshine to make it altogether rather sticky outside. 

Saturday we rode our bikes down to the Farmer's Market, where we got a LOT of meat, fresh veggies and some shade plants for the garden. 

We spent the majority of Saturday afternoon outside putting in these plants, and our first ever vegetable garden. 

We're growing acorn squash, beets, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, chives and basil. We're using the marigolds as a natural version of pesticide.

It's not a huge garden, but we're very excited for our first year growing our own produce. We restrained ourselves, otherwise we would have gone WAY overboard for this first year.

Saturday night we cooked out on our patio (some of the newly acquired meat) on our brand new Weber grill that the Momcat and Daddo got us for our fourth wedding anniversary. It was SO much easier to use than our old travel grill!

Thanks, parents!

We've spend a lot of time outside in the last week, so I really haven't done much (any) crafting. But I leave you with the N-boy's artistic contribution to our landscaping design. He's been taking the bricks (we live on the edge of an old railroad embankment) and rocks we've found in the yard to create festive piles and designs. 

Hopefully I'll get some crafting done so that I, too, have a creative contribution next week. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Scrapbooking with Jane...again!

Jane and I went scrapbooking again last night, and again were super productive. 

We'd ordered pizza the last couple of times we were here, so this time we decided to be healthy and get take out salads from the salad bar at the grocery store on the way there. 


It was a pretty full house last night, and one of the women showed me a new product that I'd never seen before: the Snapload system from Pioneer. 

The instructions aren't particularly clear, so luckily I she helped me set it up. 

Basically, this system replaces the posts (and the post extensions) in post bound scrapbooks in a way that allowed you to MUCH more easily add, take out and re-arrange pages. You put 3M holders on each side of the scrapbook, and then use the binding thingy (which are just similar to zip ties) to go through the pages in the holes, tighten the pages together, and then snap into place. 

I'd been wanted to add some more pages to the wedding scrapbook, so I could include pictures of the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon, but hadn't yet because I'd dreaded messing around with the posts. Now I can add pages whenever I want without anxiety. 

Here are the five pages I got done last night:

The N-boy and I right before the ceremony. 

The Gerth Family!

Some pictures of my dress, shoes and flowers.

The N-boy and I with our best-woman and maid of honor. 

And my FAVORITE picture of last night!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Madison, WI and the Cutest Baby in the World

A non-crafty blog entry again today, but we do have pictures of the current most cutest baby in the world. Really, given the baby bug that has bit me, I should be applauded for not having EVERY blog entry chock full of adorable baby pictures. Of course, I think if I blogged only about other peoples babies it would be a little creepy. 

But a few occasional babies seem ok to me!

Last weekend the N-boy and I went to Madison to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary. The big day isn't actually until May 26, but last weekend was the only time when the planets aligned and we were both able to get away at the same time. Madison is a special city to as, as the N-boy lived there when we were dating, and we got engaged there. That means when we visit, we also get to see friends. Reproducing friends! 

This is the latest baby in my Cutest Baby Collection: he's just six months old: 

I think this pictures shows what I'll be getting into when we finally pop a child of our own. 

We stayed at a bed and breakfast called The Arbor House, which is located right across fro the Arboretum, and is on the bike trail. 

They're an ecologically friendly inn, with the BEST home cooked breakfast on the weekends, wine and snacks and dessert each night. They have a sauna, a full kitchen for guest use, whirlpool tubs and Burt's Bee's shampoo! 

We are definitely planning a return trip there, and maybe even before anniversary number five!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May already?

How is it possible that it's already May?? The year has gone by so fast. I thought I'd take a moment to review where I am with the goals I'd laid out in January. I apologize if this isn't the most interesting blog, but it helps to keep me accountable!

1. Run a 5k
    ---Sunburst 5k on June 6??
I had been doing really well with getting exercise in, but have fallen behind since I returned from Paduch. I need to step this up a bit!

2. Post 125 blog entries
Hmmm.... well I've got 22 done. So not too bad, but I look forward to doing more in the coming months. 

3. Piece the following projects:
  -Mystery quilt
  - Teacup quilt
  - Challenge quilt 2
  -Valentine's Day foundation piecing Done!
  -Over the Rainbow
  -Six more projects!!!

4. Quilt the following projects:
  -Cat practice panel
  - Freddy's quilt
  -Challenge quilt 1
  -Valentine's Day quilt Done!
  -Teacup quilt

5. Write Grandpa 1 time a week, and write 52 other letters to people
Hmmm doing only so-so here. I need to get back on track, especially with writing letters to Grandpa. 

6. Keep a book log of books read (I've always wanted to do this. This is the year!!)
-Was a bit behind on this, but now I'm all caught up. I've read 31 books this year so far!

7. Attend Mass/church 25 times
-Was doing pretty well on this, especially around Easter. Need to try to get to more services!

8. Control Journal/Flylady
-Getting there with babysteps!

9 Attend NAMI support group 20 times
-I haven't been going as much lately, but I've been getting the support I need from other sources, such as friends, family and work!

10. Redecorate one room in the house
-We've chosen colors to paint the bedroom, and have decided on the furniture we'll get for it! So we're moving forward!

11. Plant a garden
-The plot is put in, and we bought seeds today! Now we just need to wait to May 15 so we can plant! 

12. Scrapbook 50 pages
--20 done so far! And I'm going to a crop again Friday night.  I may actually finish the wedding album!

Overall, I think I've done ok. Some things (like scrapbooking), I've made more progress on this year than ever before. Some things I need to keep chugging away at with baby steps and consistency. Here's to a productive rest of May for me!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Making progress...

I've been making some significant progress on the baby quilt, which is good since she was born yesterday! A healthy baby girl named Chloe; mom and baby seem like they're doing well. Now I just need to get this finished up so we can take it when we visit!

I've actually been pleasantly surprised by how quickly these large blocks have come together. It felt like it took FOREVER to get the nine sets of nine nine-patches (say that nine times fast!) together, but now we're moving right along!

Off to keep working! Assisted as always by my helper kitty!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Paducah Day 4 and Assessing the Damage

Saturday dawned with cloudy skies and the sad realization that today was our last day in Paducah.

We started the day out at Carson Park where we wanted to see Eleanor Burns' live show, and shop her store that they'd set up out there for the week.

First we snagged seats in the performance tent, and then we entered the wonderful land of the ....

A huge tent filled with nothing but fabric for $5 a yard. I mean, how could this be anything but wonderful and magnificent! I ended up with just a few yards of pieces that matched some thing I'd already picked up at Hancock's of Paducah. Because I clearly needed more still...

Then we wandered over the the third large tent where there were books and patterns and notions and...

Eleanor Burns herself taking pictures and signing books!

After the show and some more shopping, we headed back to Hancock's of Paducah for one last hurrah. 

I found this sign funny, as it shows how many WOMEN are at this show! 

With that, we braved the outdoors (it was still raining off and on-heavily at times) and went back to Fluffy the car for the long drive back to Indiana. Despite the rainy weather we made good time and were happy to get back to the cats. 

And the cats were happy their humans were home! (And no, their eyes are not that creepy in real life.)

Assessing the Damage, or 
Paducah: the Aftermath!

On Sunday we sorted through all of our goodies, got the Momcat's stuff packed up and ready to head back to Nebraska, and put my things away. 

It doesn't look that bad when it's all just lumped in a pile...

But when we spread it out we ended up with a table of fabric:

And a table of patterns and notions:

This is all of our stuff put together. But when I counted  things up, my fabric alone was 35 1/2 cut yards plus 5 charm packs and a jelly roll! I had more than the Momcat! We were sad to see the trip come to an end, but I think we have enough fabrics and ideas to keep us busy for a while!