Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Smooth Sailing?

I am currently working on the second challenge for Persimon Dreams Quilt challenge. The challenge this week is to quilt something using only your favorite color and white. You can read about the cahllenges by clicking on the Project Quilting Button to the right. I know I said after the last one that I was going to do a smaller project, but...I couldn't resist. So now, I will be fighting the clock to get this one done!

My favorite color is blue, but I actually do not have much in the blue fabric department. I found a pattern in one of my quilting books for sailboats and thought it would be a good way to use up my scraps.

I cut out the blocks and triangles and here is the layout of the boats:




I managed to get one sailboat pieced last night:



And all the triangles sewn together:



So, now I just need to piece the other three boats, add strips of white inbetween, figure out what to use as binding and backing, and quilt it by Sunday at noon. I better get to work!


I will be linking up to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday so be sure to check out what everyone else is up to! Have a great day!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Oh Baby!

I'll start this Monday post with the biggest news: We are expecting our third baby July 30th! I have been wanting to tell everyone for a while but I wanted to wait until the first doctor visit and ultrasound were complete. Right now I am 12 weeks and 6 days, and everything is looking good and healthy. I was blessed to have very easy pregnancies with the boys and am hoping this one will be too. We would really like to have a girl this time, but if it's a boy we have a TON of clothes and toys lol. This pregnancy is similar to the others in that coffee makes me feel sick and I get stuffy off and on. It is different in that even tea (hot or cold) makes me sick if I drink too much and I have more moments of yucky-I guess you could say queasiness, without actually getting sick. I have the urge to make little girl clothes and am thinking about looking for patterns for cute summer dresses for me. Of course, it could all just be in my head because I'm hoping for a little girl. :) Oh well, we'll find out in a couple of months!



So, I made progress on the red and black table runner on Friday but then did nothing Saturday and Sunday. I am trying to keep Sunday a day of rest and let me tell ya, it is hard! lol. Although technically if sewing is relaxing to me and more like a hobby, I guess it would be okay, right?!




This week I will mainly be working on the Quilting challenge from Persimon Dreams. The challenge is to quilt something using only your favorite color (and various shades) and white. Since my favorite color is usually blue, I am going to try and use the blues I have, although I have a limited selection. It is really hard to resist the urge to run out to the store and buy some new fabric, but I am being disciplined! I have an idea that I found in one of my quilting books. I like the quilt and am thinking of making it into a wall hanging, but am a little worried about it looking a little plain. And yes, I know I said last week that I was going to do a smaller project but I just can't resist the bigger ones! I'll post pics of how it is coming along Wednesday. :)

I have other upcoming projects but am waiting until it is time to start on them. This week-the challenge will be my main focus and then if there is time, the black and red table runner, and the cat potholder and towel for my friend.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Projects, Mommy Inspiration, and Treasuries!

This week has flown by, but don't they always?! I kind of dropped the ball on my projects. Yesterday got away from me and by the time the kids went to bed, I just could not get myself to into the dining room. I think the cold, rainy weather had something to do with it! Anyway, I finished one tote and am hoping to get the other one done today. It would be wonderful to finish the cat towel and pot holder on Saturday, but you know how that usually goes!

I am super excited to see what Kim and Diane have planned for the next quilting challenge! They will post it over at Persimon Dreams on Sunday!

So,earlier this week, our pastor sent out an email about being a stay at home mom. The author explained how we tend to take on almost a martyr-type role, and exclaim that it is the hardest job in the world. The author basically gives a reality check, that while certainly hard and exhausting, no it is not the hardest job in the world and is actually a blessing compared to what some jobs entail. It was a gentle reality check, not harsh at all and was just what I needed to snap out of my rotten mood. For some reason, Ihad woken up just grumpy towards the world and everything the kids did was driving me crazy. Ever had one of those days?! I had been trying to talk to myself about all I had to be grateful for and how I really had no reason to be grumpy. I guess this article was just what I needed to help snap me out of it. It truly is a blessing to stay home with the kids and even in the midst of one of their bad moments/days, it is still a better job than many others out there! I'll link up the article here.


Well, that is about all I have for today!

If you would like to look at some precious treasuries I was featured in this week, here are the links (and if anyone can explain how to post the actual treasuries here, I would be so happy):

Hearts, Hearts, Hearts!!!

Memories are Made of This

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

And remember, if you would like to purchase something I have made, would like an explanation of how I made something, or just have a general question, you can email me at mastarkey81@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Works in Progress Wednesday

Well, time to see how I am doing on Monday's to-do list.

1) CLEAN THE HOUSE Progress has been made, but how clean can a house get and stay with two young boys lol

2) Finish my friend's Spring bag (still need to get to Joann's for this) Almost done-made it to Joann's yesterday and got the lining and straps for the bag. Now I just have to finish putting it together. The lining looks very similar to the purple squares on the outside but it's small hearts instead of circles and it is a thin flannel.


3) Make a cat kitchen towel for another friend No progress-still hoping to get this done this week.

4) Design and make a cat potholder for same friend No progress-also hoping to get this done this week, or at least started.

5) Email a third friend some fabric ideas for a gym bag Done!

6) Finish my sis-in-laws bag Progress made and would LOVE to finish it tonight or tomorrow. She asked me for this probably over a year ago and I bought fabric but never made it. She asked for lime green and pink so the outside will look like this:


The inside will look like this:

This is my first reversible bag-I did the blue and purple squares in case she wants a little change. The solid squares are actually sparkly, and I bought yellow and green but ended up not using them. I like how bright and cheery it is!

7) Finish a red and black table runner that I started oh, last year lol Haven't even taken it out yet lol.

So, some progress made which I am happy with of course, but am hoping to make much more before the next quilting challenge opens on Sunday.

Enjoy the day! I think today is one of the last of the nicer days until rain and slightly cooler weather comes in so we will probably be outside.

I will be linking up to Freshly Pieced so be sure to head over there and check out the other WIPs!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Accomplishments and Lists

Well, I finished my table runner for the quilting challenge over at persimon dreams. I had to do a bit of marathon sewing on Saturday but I finished it.







It was only my second time actually "quilting" something so I am pretty happy with it despite some issues I had. With the first table runner I made, I had some bunching and puffy issues. I just figured my pinning wasn't as up to par as it should be and was told polyester batting has a tendency to make things puffier than cotton batting. For this table runner, I pulled the polyester batting apart so it was even thinner and really took my time and pinned like crazy. Well, the first square I sewed around was very puffy and the next section I tried to quilt had some major bunching and folding over. The third section was even worse. What made it even more frustrating was that I was using a walking foot and had dropped the tension down. I ended up taking those quilting lines out and taking off my walking foot and just using the regular sewing attachment. The quilting came out SO much nicer. I don't think it's perfect (I never think that) but overall I am happy with the end result. So, is my walking foot a dud, or what? I do not even want to mess with it anymore.

No quilting challenge this week so I am going to try and tackle my list of to-do's. Persimon dreams is also starting a quilt along this week and I am so tempted to join in. However, I am almost positive I do not have enough coordinating fabric so I am going to try and resist! Okay, so here is what I hope to at least make a dent in:

1) CLEAN THE HOUSE lol
2) Finish my friend's Spring bag (still need to get to Joann's for this)
3) Make a cat kitchen towel for another friend
4) Design and make a cat potholder for same friend
5) Email a third friend some fabric ideas for a gym bag
6) Finish my sis-in-laws bag
7) Finish a red and black table runner that I started oh, last year lol

So, how many of these will actually finish? Hopefully more than one, but we will see! Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Week and Lessons Learned

Happy friday! Except hubby may be working Sat and Sun. :( Oh well, at least it is supposed to continue to be nice out. My older son's first dentist visit went extremely well. He did not seem to be stressing about it, more excited actually. He kept asking when his appointment was. Before we went in, he said he was a little nervous. The girl that did his teeth was amazing with him and had him laughing. His xrays looked fine and the dentist said he had beautiful teeth. Yay! Let's hope it stays that way. We took the younger one along too so he could see, even though he has another year and a half before they will give him his first cleaning. After C was done, little H climbed right up in the chair, ready for his turn. So, cute. I am definitely glad he had such a good first experience. I remember dreading going to the dentist as a child.


This week the boys have been doing a lot of pretend remote control play, mostly flying helicopters and planes. While we were visiting my family over Christmas, my Poppop took us out to the flying field he uses for his model airplanes. My husband flew the airplane a couple of times and C got to try for a minute and even got the plane to do a loop-de-loop. My dad has a flight simulator program on his computer and the boys are always asking him to fly it. My dad also has a smaller remote controlled helicopter that they thought was awesome. So, for Christmas they got remote controlled trucks and my husband got a remote helicopter like my dad has. The batteries on the trucks were dead when we got home (they were apparently left on the whole 11 hour drive home) and one has a broken control that we need to fix. They love when my husband flies his helicopter in the house (he enjoys it too) and so while he is at work, they make up their own. They use random toy steering wheels and bike ramps, basically whatever they find, as remotes for their planes, helicopters, motorcycles, etc. It is so cute to watch and I know my Poppop would be so tickled to see them doing that.


We got a little bit of yard work done the other day, there is still a lot to be done. This weather is making me want to go ahead and plant my bulbs and get the early spring garden started but I think I need to wait a few more weeks, just in case. In the meantime, there is plenty of prep work to do to the yard and I can start seeds indoors in just a little while. I also saw somewhere (probably Pinterest) cutting the top off a 2 liter bottle,filling it with soil and planting carrot seeds in it. That way the kids can watch them grow. I'm hoping to do that this weekend.


No finished projects to display. I only have 2 days to finish the table runner for the quilt challenge. I have the squares and inbetween strips sewn. I just need to add the side borders, cut out backing and batting, quilt, and bind it. My friend's bag is still waiting on lining and straps, but I am hoping to get to Joanns this weekend as well.


I would have to say my lesson learned from this week is being satisfied with what you have, specifically fabric and skills. I received a Connecting Threads and a Keepsake Quilting catalog in the mail yesterday. Looking at all of the amazing fabric and threads inspired me but then I began to feel frustrated because I do not have such an extensive collection from which to choose. I also see all of the quilts and want to do them so badly but in reality, a lot of the designs would probably be too difficult for me. I also need to work on the quilting part-I have only done it once. So, I started to get frustrated but quickly realized that those are things that will come with time. I need to focus on what I CAN do and what I already have on hand. I need to pick projects that I am excited about and that can challenge me without being too advanced. Most of all, I need to ENJOY what I am doing or it is not going to come together. Just my little philosophical thought.


Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Works in Progress-Sewing and Potty Training

Mid-week!  Hoping to get the boys outside for longer today because it is supposed to be so nice out.  Tomorrow it is supposed to be cloudy/rainy plus I have a dr appointment and my 4 yr old has his first dentist appointment.  He is a little nervous but my husband got him excited/okay with it, at least temporarily.  So, we'll see how it goes.

Anyway, today is work-in-progress Wednesday So hopefully the pictures will load.

My two main projects are both pink.  The first is my friend's spring bag.  I just need to figure what I am using for the lining and straps.


My second project is for a quilt challenge-a square in a square in a square.  The quilting challenge comes from Kim over at Persimon Dreams and this is the first week's challenge.  I know I said in the last post I was going to do a set of potholders but I couldn't resist going bigger and doing a table runner.  I am thinking I am going to add white inbetween the squares and around the edges as a border. 

I was hoping to actually finish the squares but am happy with what I accomplished yesterday given how many times I had to get up for my non-nappers during nap time.

Speaking of one of my non-nappers...my two yr old could be considered a work in progress with potty training.  He keeps his pull up dry all day and has even conquered number two.  But, when he has big boy underwear on, he has accidents.  With my older son, once we made the switch, he was good to go with no accidents.  So, this back tracking is kind of new to me.  I think the main thing with him is he doesn't feel like taking a break from playing to go potty and is not bothered by wet underwear.  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to make sure to have him go on a more regular schedule.  He will get it eventually.  I was just hoping for a nice, quick, and easy transition.  :) I will be linking up to Freshly Pieced so be sure to see what others are busy creating and have a great rest of the week!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday, Monday

Good Monday morning, back to the routines.  Well, not really.  Hubby is home today, so not sure how the day will go.  Sometimes, I'm actually more motivated to get stuff done when he is home and sometimes I am a complete lazo.  :) 

He worked Saturday so the kids and I were complete couch potatoes and watched tv most of the day.  I finally got to see "Tangled" and really enjoyed it.  My older son was kid of pouty about watching it (I think because it had a girl as the main character), but despite that, he enjoyed it.  When my husband got home we tried a new place in town called It's a Forkful.  It is kind of a build-it-yourself place with rice, pasta, burritos, and salads.  I was really excited about it because in town we have mostly fast food and larger chain restaurants.  Overall, I was not totally crazy about it-it was good and a nice healthy alternative, but I think I prefer another local place, Your Way Cafe.  They have delicious sandwiches and salads.  Anyway, we went to a frozen yogurt place afterwards, Sweet Frog, and it was very good.  So, overall, a fun night of trying new places.

Sunday we went to church.  The kids were a mess!  lol.  Ours seem to be the least behaved, hence why we sit in the back.  They are not terrible kids, they are just full-blooded boys and have a hard time sitting still and being quiet for that long.  I am amazed watching how quiet and still the other kids are.  Oh well, ours are a work in progress :)  Thankfully, our church is very understanding and really a great group of people.  After church, we unloaded a carload off at Goodwill and did our grocery run.  We have been trying to make healthier choices, but unfortunately it has raised our grocery bill.  Although, part of the increase comes from a lack of discipline on our part :)  I am REALLY hoping I can get a garden to actually grow and produce this spring.  Our dream is to someday have our own farm, but for now learning to grow things is my main focus.  We do not eat that unhealthy in general, we are just trying to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially when snacking.

So, I just found a weekly quilt challenge that I think I want to try.  The challenge is to do a square in a square in a square.  The project can be any size, it just has to be completed in a week.  At first I had an elaborate plan for a table runner but have since come to my senses about what I can actually accomplish in a week.  I am now thinking about doing a set of potholders, but still feel like I am taking the easy way out.  Oh well, it will be good for me to practice quilting on a smaller scale and maybe my projects can become bigger as I go.  You can find all of the details at Persimon Dreams.  I am pretty excited about and now just have to figure out which fabrics I want to use...

I started out last week planning on keeping my sewing and crochet plans simple and to limit them to a few things on my to-do list at a time.  HAHAHA, this year seems to have taken off which is awesome and I am not complaining.  I just need to get on top of it! 

Anyway, hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  It is supposed to be in the 60's this week here.  Crazy.  I prefer having actual seasons but cannot complain about the nice weather.  :)

Have a great day!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Creating and Playing and Friday

Happy Friday!  Except that I'm so confused from the holidays on what day it is :)

Well, it's been a pretty productive week, even with the hubby home the first half of it.  I love when he is home of course, but definitely don't get as much done. 

I finished the heart towel and found and listed a pink crochet snake that I had made for a relative that changed her mind on color.

I have squares cut and ready to make a spring bag for a friend.  You can see the cut out squares here.

I apologize for the links instead of direct pictures, but for some reason my uploader isn't working :(

Another friend reminded me about making animal shaped potholders and I found these cute squares so we'll see what I come up with.  You can see pictures here.

Finally, I may be making a bag for my aunt; hoping she can find the perfect fabric for the project!

So, yeah, lots of planning, now to get doing :)

With the spring bag, I was able to stick to using what I had on hand and am happy with the color and design combo.  I am not sure what I am going to do  for the handles and lining yet, but I'll decide after I have made the outer shell. 

My aunt originally wanted to use a birdhouse fabric I had from Fabric Central's Aerie bundle for the bag.  Unfortunately, I did not have near enough of it and it is no longer carried at Joann's.  I am really bummed they do not sell that line anymore because it was such a pretty group of fabrics, and it could have been used in so many projects.  You can see my scraps from the bird fabric here.

Anyway, I have had a pretty good week with the kids.  They have still been adjusting to being back at home and getting into our very loose routines.  With all of their new toys, they have been bouncing from area to area and toy to toy-generally being messier.  So, we are working on remembering to clean up again.  My older one got a good deal of Playmobil and that has kept both of them pretty busy. 

He also got some starter science kits-a fizzy foamy one and a color mixing/crystal growing set.  We did the fizzy foamy set the other day.  The kit has about 7 different activities and I jumped right to the volcano one.  It hardly bubbled up so I tried the activity labeled "More eruptions".  That one bubbled up more but neither really fizzed up and spilled over so while the kids thought it was cool, I was a little disappointed.  Looking at the other activities, I realize that I probably should have done them in order because it goes through acids and bases and what makes it fizz and all that.  But, at the same time, I feel all of that information would be lost on a 4 yr old and 2 yr old.  The ingredients are basic and are all kitchen friendly-vegetable oil, baking soda, citric acid, etc.  So, even if I run out of something from the kit, I can easily replace it.  We haven't tried the color mixing/crystal growing set yet-hopefully today or tomorrow.

I have been struggling with how to structure their day and at times I have even tried to plan activities and lessons for them because I worry about them missing out on learning while being home.  But, I have come to realize (which I already somewhat knew and just needed to accept) that they will learn just fine through playing and experiencing each day.  My mom did not plan out activities and lessons for my brother and me and I do not think either one of us went to preschool and we did pretty well in school.  Right now, my boys just need me to play with them and enhance their play experiences.  They usually help me bake and I hear my 2 yr old saying he needs a teaspoon while playing in the tub.  We count while playing games and lining up cars; we find shapes and colors all around us.  If my 4 yr old draws a picture of a fish or cave, I have him write the word on the paper.  Seeing what my boys are capable of doing, reassures me that they are on the right track.

For those that do more structured days with their young children-I admire you and appreciate all of the hard work you put into it.  For me, my day just gets away too quickly and when I plan activities they almost never go the way I planned.  So, I let them decide how they want to sped each moment of their day (within reason) and try to enhance it.  They both have Mobigo's which is a game system for children 3 yearsto about 7 years.  The cartridges are well known tv and movie characters, except the generic one that comes with it.  The games help them with shapes, colors, math, letter and word recognition, etc.  Every game has an educational purpose.  The boys do not play them every day and when they do, it is not for hours on end, but I think it is a fun way for them to learn the basic skills while giving them some quiet time. 

Anyway, enough rambling...Hope you have a great Friday and weekend!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!  Hope you all had a good new year's eve and are starting 2013 on a positive note.  I did not make it to midnight-I think I gave up around ten.  My four-year-old made it to eleven, and my hubby came to bed a couple of minutes before midnight, only because he got sucked into a football game.  Such an exciting night life we have!  :)

How are the resolutions going so far?  I did not make any official ones, besides reading my Bible every day.  I tried last year and think I did it for a few months before I fell out of it.  So, maybe this year I will last longer.

I hope to blog more consistently.  I have been struggling with what I want the main focus of this blog to be, and have decided that it should just be about my life.  And, since my life is all over the place, then it is okay for this blog to be all over the place subject-wise.  So, I think  it will be a mix of my crafts, my kids, and how we are working towards our goals in life-mainly simplifying our home life and working towards owning a small farm/homestead. 

In my crafting, I am going to try to use what I have more than buying new material.  I made most of my gifts this year based on what I had and am for the most part, very happy with how things turned out.  I made some holiday pillows. a purse, Bible cover, candle mats, and a wall hanging.  Hopefully, everyone really enjoyed their gifts. 

My first project of the year is a tea towel/kitchen towel.  I wanted to do a patchwork heart and then added as I went.  I hand-sewed the patchwork (partly because I enjoy sewing by hand and partly because my machine and I were not getting along working on the previous project), machine stitched the bottom strip, and am currently hand sewing a blanket stitch around the hearts. 



Since I am not turning down the edges as I sew, I applied a fray blocker around the raw edges to make the towel more machine wash friendly.  The fusible backing I have is a heavier type and tends to make the applique stiffer so I used it sparingly.  I am not sure if I am going to list it on my etsy shop, list it here and on facebook, or just give it to a family member.  If you would like this towel, or one like it, just send me a message at mastarkey81@yahoo.com.

So, I feel like I have more that I would like to ramble on about but think I will save it for another day!

I will be linking up at Freshly Pieced so be sure and check out what other fellow bloggers are up to and have a great day!