Thursday, January 27, 2011


I looked it up to make sure I wasn't embarrassing myself, and here it is: Irony is "incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs." For example...

Irony is waking up at 4 am convinced that you caught the raccoon that has been eating the cat food because of all the racket you hear outside. Upon looking out the door, you see that you have, in fact, caught the CAT in the trap, and the raccoon is sitting next to the trap, happily eating the cat food.

Irony is having your refrigerator break and defrost all over the kitchen floor the day before your new refrigerator is due to be delivered.

Irony is raising, from birth, 12 chickens specifically for their eggs, only to have them grow up into terrible hens who lay their eggs and then EAT THEM.

Irony is being out and about with a child wearing a poopy diaper, fully prepared with a new package of wipes and ... no diaper.

I'm sure I could think of more but I have to go bait the raccoon trap, move the frozen food out of my dad's house and back into our new refrigerator and change the baby. :) How about you - I know you have some...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Art for Kids

Doesn't this guy just make you smile? My favorite part of this picture is the chicken (big surprise...) - that is exactly what a chicken would look like if it was being juggled by a bear on a unicycle, don't you think? This is just one of many new prints and original paintings available from my talented sis-in-law Cindy on her etsy site. Go check her out - this guy would look great in your kids' room!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Santa Cruz

Last Saturday morning we took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Santa Cruz. It was Brett's idea, of course. As much as I hate to admit it, I am not a spur-of-the-moment gal. I'm more of a plan-it-a-week-in-advance-then-make-a-list-of-everything-you-need-to-bring-and- worry-about-things-until-everyone-is-safely-in-the-car gal. *sigh* This is one of the many reasons that it is a good thing I am married to wonderful Brett. Anyhow, Brett threw the fishing stuff in the back and off we went. The extra wonderful part about the trip was that on this particular day in Santa Cruz it was 75 degrees! In January!!

After breakfast, we set up our chairs on the pier and made a half-hearted attempt at catching something. After unsuccessfully dangling our left-over breakfast sausage into the water for a while, we headed down to the beach to play. It was so wonderful to be outside and really really warm - you locals know that even in the dead of summer you can end up freezing cold in Santa Cruz. The boys ran for hours, and, of course, both got obliterated by the waves. If I had planned ahead I would have had a change of clothes for everyone. But this was a spur-of-the-moment trip, remember? So half of our crew rode home nearly naked, and I went to my hair appointment wearing wet shoes. (It seems 5 is about the age that riding in the car in his underwear begins to feel embarrassing to a boy.)

Oh, and doesn't this butterball look so cute in the sand? I'm sure the weather will get cold again, but it sure was nice to get a day of fake spring in January!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Last night I was cutting fabric for my next quilt, and happened upon this treasure amongst my vintage stash (all of which is from my Grandma). In the bottom corner of a huge 5 yard piece of fabric, she had cross-stitched her name in bright red. I just love it. I can picture her getting ready to put the fabric away, seeing the bright red thread, and feeling like it just needed to be put onto the dark blue. I'm sure she free-handed this, too, since she was such an expert stitcher. Little things like this are so special to me - it is like owning a tiny piece of private crafting history. Nothing flashy - just a simple little bit of stitchery she did for herself. I wonder when she did this and what was going on around her as she took the time to pull each stitch through. Were kids clamoring for her attention? Was dinner waiting to be started? Was she listening to her favorite music on the radio? It is like this little red Marie bonds me closer to her, since I have done little things like this from time to time as well. Those short moments you steal for yourself to make something just for you.

I just returned from a last-minute and very short trip to Montana to visit Grandma Marie. They say "getting old is not for sissies," and boy is that true. I came home so happy to have seen her and blessed by the beauty she surrounds herself with, and also a bit sad. It is hard to see people we love suffer. Thank goodness this life is just a little precursor! Of course, she sent me home with a gigantic bin of beautiful yarn - her hands will no longer allow her to knit, but she is more than happy to pass on her stash to her protegée. I didn't take many pictures, though you can see some here from my last trip. I did snap this shot of Grandma's dog Anna's little breakfast nook. Uncle Brian has painted her a whole forest scape to look at while she eats, and a little wooden fisherman stands by to watch. It makes me smile. Happy sewing!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Afternoon on the Farm

Today was such a gorgeous day! Finally there was no fog, and we spent a long afternoon outside enjoying the blue sky and the green grass. The sunshine also allowed me to take pictures of this quilt that I finally finished. Green and blue, just like the farm. I had all these skinny little strips of fabric and started sewing them together without really planning. This quilt kind of made itself, in a way. Maybe that's why it took SO long to finish. :) It is available in my shop.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I've posted a new mini quilt in the shop made entirely from triangles. This was my very first time using triangles EVER because they are such a pain to cut out. However, now that I have my new little toy it was easy! I used only fabrics from my scrap drawer, too, which made it even more fun. If someone gave this to me I would have a hard time deciding whether to let my baby use it or hang it up for decoration. More triangle quilts to come...

Monday, January 10, 2011

How to hang a quilt

I've had this beautiful quilt in the closet collecting dust for five years and finally found some wall space for it. It was made for my dad by his grandmother - my great grandmother. I love having it and it looks so great hanging above the boys' toy chest. Here's how to hang your own quilt:

First choose a curtain rod. I decided that I didn't want the ends of mine showing beyond the edges of the quilt, but you could certainly get a fancier rod if you want it to show a bit. The heft of the rod will depend on the heaviness of your quilt. Because this is a fairly small and very light-weight quilt, I got a skinny aluminum (?) rod at Target that cost about $6.

Next you need to make your sleeve. Using any 100% cotton fabric that you have lying around, cut a long strip of fabric that is the length of the top of your quilt and the width of 2.5 times the width of your curtain rod. For example, if you have a 1 inch rod, cut your strip 2 1/2 inches wide. Carefully fold the long sides of the strip under (makings sure that the width of the folded strip is big enough to accomadate your curtain rod) and iron them, like so:

Flip your strip over and place it on the back of your quilt, a few inches below the top edge. Take care to make sure the strip is placed straight - if it is crooked, your quilt will hang crookedly and you will have to start over. Trim the ends of the sleeve so they end just a few inches inside the outside edges of the quilt. Pin the sleeve in place.

Now you are ready to sew. Thread an embroidery needle with two strands of thread, tie a knot at the end, and use a simple running stitch to attach the sleeve to the back of the quilt. Be sure not to poke the needle all the way through the quilt, otherwise your stitches will show up on the front of your quilt. Stitch along the two long ends of the sleeve, leaving the short ends open to push the curtain rod through.

Now you are ready to hang your quilt! Attach your mounting hardware to the wall, making sure everything is on the level, run the rod through your sleeve, and hang it up! Now you and everyone else can enjoy your quilt, and it can hang safely on the wall without getting stretched out of shape or having holes hammered into it. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

First construction project

Yesterday I completed my first ever construction project and I am so proud of myself! Building with wood is actually a lot like making a quilt, only instead of using scissors, fabric, and a sewing machine, you use a circular saw, wood, and a hammer. Oh, and you could die. However, the weather has been so beautiful and sunny and something about it made me feel like I could do anything, so I put on my "safety glasses," ($7 aviators from Target that are actually just sunglasses - don't tell Brett), said a quick prayer, and started sawing. The end result is this planting box that I plan to grow onions in. (We have a ton of land around here, but anything planted directly in the ground is immediately devoured by gophers, so my solution has been to use planter boxes, and I need more.)

This project was actually quite simple, made even easier by the facts that all the materials were on hand in addition to an entire barn filled with my husband's tools and a 5 year old who knew exactly what to do because he's watched his daddy do it before. We were probably quite entertaining to the neighbors - the tiny foreman bossing around his mother who was literally shaking with fear as she wielded a gigantic saw while praying out loud that she wouldn't saw her own leg off.

Here is an embarrassing picture of me looking proud of my planter box and flexing my newly found I-don't-need-a-man muscles. Which of course, I don't really have because I TOTALLY love having my husband do things for me and was not happy about the condition of my boots after the project was over. In all seriousness, though, it was really great to do something I've never done before and I highly suggest it. Now I'm off to order some onion seeds...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Shop update

... and now you can get some bunting to match your new coasters. :) (New stuff in the shop... go check it out!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

As promised:

These coasters are in the shop, with more to follow a bit later tonight. I just ADORE Anna Maria Horner's new line of fabrics, Innocent Crush. I am definitely going to make my long-awaited throw quilt out of these fabrics. (Yes, a quilt for my very own self!)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Waiting for the sun

These coasters (now finished) are waiting for a sunny day to be photographed and put in the shop, along with some other fun stuff. I have the start-of-a-new-year motivation to sew my head off, and this gift I received for Christmas should help:

It's the Accuquilt Go Baby fabric cutter - the "baby" version of their larger model and is perfect for my tiny house, even tinier work space, and the little quilts I make! I am SO excited about this - now I can make all kinds of quilts that I've been overwhelmed by due to the extensive cutting involved. Once my cutting mats arrive in the mail I will give it a try and let you know how it works. Happy New Year everybody!