Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pieced Off

Here is a quilt that I helped make, which just moved to Arizona. Along with my best friend. And my kids' best friends.

And now my moment of public self-pity is over.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stockton Halloween Fest

This year we were invited to my sister-in-law's mom's famous Halloween party - and boy, it is famous for a reason! Their house is gorgeous to begin with, and every square inch of the inside was decorated to fit the theme, complete with two 10-foot black Halloween trees and giant stuffed tarantulas all over the place. (One of the things I really appreciated about the party was that none of the decorations or activities were scary or gross at all - everything was silly and in good taste for a kids' party.)

After driving the outdoor race cars, jumping in the bouncy houses, getting temporary air-brush tattoos, and sitting in the photo booth, it was time for the candy hunt. The boys were pretty excited:
Across their expansive lawn, they had scattered hundreds of tiny plastic pumpkins, each of which had candy inside. There were lots of kids there, and it was so cute seeing them in their costumes picking up candy like it was the greatest treasure on earth (which, of course, it is to a 2 year old).
Dinner was pizza and ribs, dessert was cupcakes. I mean - how much more perfect can a party get? It was a wonderful time with wonderful people.

Oh, and yes, Moses is a scarecrow this year, by his own request. I spent an entire morning sewing real hay into a pair of overalls and flannel shirt that I bought at the thrift store. Of course, this meant neglecting Titus, who was happy to throw the extra hay all throughout the house while I sewed. Titus is a cowboy - I made him a pair of chaps from some cords (also from the thrift store) but we forgot to bring them to the party. Hopefully I'll have a better picture of them after "real Halloween," because I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. This was my first year making costumes, an activity that has never appealed much to me. But I actually had fun doing this and am proud of the results. How about you - do you make your kids' costumes?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just call me Paparazzi

A few weeks ago I volunteered to take pictures at my mother-in-law's high school reunion. It was really fun, aside from the fact that I am definitely not a photographer and am way too shy to ask complete strangers to pose for pictures. I got to lug around my dad's awesome camera with the huge lens that lets you take pictures of something from about a mile away - you are so far away that people don't even know their picture is being taken, so I was able to get a lot of great shots. I was also able to spy on this woman as she did whatever it is that she is doing. Does anybody know - is this "tatting lace?" I was so intrigued by it that I stared at her through my enormous lens long enough to realize I was acting pretty weird and that a normal person would just go over to her and ask her what she was doing. Of course, I didn't do that - instead I took pictures of it. Beautiful, isn't it? Equally impressive was that she was doing this (really quickly) while having a conversation with two other people, who she was looking at. This is actually my favorite picture that I took that whole evening, even though there in a blurry plastic cup in the foreground. Next time I hope to be brave enough to actually talk to her. Silly me.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Happy Monday! How was your weekend? This weekend was harvest time up here on the farm. My garden has kind of petered slowly, but my dad's is undergoing a kind of grand finale, and this weekend we all benefited from his hours of toiling outside. The main attraction was the harvesting of the pumpkins.

This year my dad grew "Big Max" pumpkins, which are supposed to be able to grow up to 72 inches in diameter. His didn't get quite that big, but the biggest one weighed something like 85 pounds. That's a lot of pumpkin! The boys and I have enjoyed watching the pumpkins in the front pasture get bigger and bigger, turning deep orange as summer drew to an end. We've also chased countless wild turkeys out of the pumpkin patch, so we have a kind of motherly attachment to them.

All together there were 8 huge pumpkins - our own mini pumpkin patch. I'm sure my dad will carve a few of them together with the boys, and I'm hoping he will give me at least one to eat, since my own "pumpkin patch" is nothing but one sad looking vine this year.

After the pumpkins, we moved to the second-most-exciting crop: popcorn. This is so cool - did you know that popcorn grows on a cob, just like regular corn? That's right, it doesn't grow in a paper bag filled with fake butter and salt - who knew? This is blue popcorn, and it didn't do very well this year because of the cool weather we had all summer.

However, after putting an ear in a brown paper bag and microwaving it for a while, it came out looking like this:

And the rest of the bag was filled with perfectly popped popcorn - YUM! I highly recommend growing this some year with your kids. Eating popcorn off the cob might be one of fall's most missed-out-on pleasures.
Thanks so my dad's huge garden, we now have TONS of fresh food to eat: corn, popcorn, pumpkin, Honeydew melon, two types of watermelon, tomatoes galore, bell peppers, sweet potato squash, and beets. I'm still contributing a zucchini and yellow squash here and there, so between our two households we are doing pretty well. Fall has definitely always been my favorite season, and now that we have a real harvest to celebrate, it makes it even better.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Early Halloween

Look who paid us a visit yesterday. He caused quite a ruckus, between the dogs barking at him (but keeping a safe distance, the brave beasts), Brett trying to herd him away with my shoe, the boys shrieking with glee, and me trying to get my camera close enough to get this shot while avoiding getting jumped on or whatever it is tarantulas do to you. Actually, he was moving really slowly, and with all that fur you could almost imagine he was an animal rather than an enormous spider. And no, we didn't step on him (can you imagine the "popping sound?").

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Last weekend I received (by train, no less) 6 boxes of fabric, sewing supplies, and yarn from my grandma in Montana. Wow - talk about Christmas coming early! It has been so fun going through all this stuff. She threw in a few of her own unfinished projects, and I am constantly amazed by her craftsmanship. Of course, it made me a bit sad as well. I know that the main reason she is sending me these wonderful things is because her arthritis and bad eye sight make it impossible for her to knit or sew any more. I love her so much and have so many fond memories of learning knitting tricks from her, or watching her cross stitch. Pretty much everything in her house was made by her - from the braided rug we used to play on, to the curtains and dried flower wreaths on the walls. She put a lot of herself and her love of beautifully hand-made things into me, and it makes me sad to think of her being unable to create and of one day losing her.

I'm happy to have these fabrics - I've spent the entire week trying to absorb all the goods into my already strained crafting storage space. Some things I've given away to fellow sewers and knitters, and I'm actually selling some of the vintage fabrics - go check it out if you are in the market for some rare fabric that smells like cloves and lavender. I'm hoping list a bit more over the next few days - the pile of fabric in the middle of the living room is quickly losing its novelty...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Photo perfection (if I may say so myself...)

Today I used my dad's Nikon DX to snap these photos of items for my shop, and let me just say: WOW. That is one nice piece of equipment. I had no idea that a better camera could take such higher-quality pictures. This first one is the newest set of coasters I've just listed.

Here are a few Christmas ornaments. I am already getting excited for Christmas - is that crazy? We're hoping to make more gifts this year, which means getting a move on right now! It also means that I'm hoping to have some more Christmas items listed in the shop soon. And I think I will be taking their pictures with my dad's camera. And maybe saving my pennies for one of my own...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Autumn bunting in the shop

Today was a gorgeous day for us - how about you? Just a little crispness in the air, beautiful fluffy clouds in the sky, lots of autumn sunshine. I took advantage of the great light and photographed my latest creations for the shop: fall bunting. I've been loving all the cute bunting that is out there and wanted to put my own twist on it. Of course that meant patchwork. And grommets. I just can't resist either one.

I raided my overflowing scrap drawer and found tons of tiny pieces in fall colors. Apparently I'm a sucker for orange, green, brown, and turquoise fabrics, because I used up about a third of my stash, and that's saying something. It felt so great to use up those tiny pieces that I resisted throwing away - I knew they would come in handy some day! There are two bunting banners available in the shop and two more to come. I'm dreaming up a Christmas version as well ...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bad Mom Moment

Today my son threw up chocolate Teddy Grahams into his brother's hat while we were driving home from the park, where I spun him too fast on the spinning thing. And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Custom Quilts

I finished up the custom order I've been working on, and I couldn't be more pleased with the results. I really wanted to keep this bright one - I just love how the pure white sashing makes all the colors pop. Not very practical for a baby quilt, I know, but sometimes these things just need to be done.

I keep saying "and now I'm going to put some more things in the shop," but who knows what will pop up next. I keep almost finishing quilts and other projects, then spazzing off to start something else. Hopefully I can stay focused this week and actually get something finished. Happy Monday to you all!