Friday, February 29, 2008

The weekend is here, and I'm ready for some color

Well, I don't know what the weather is like were you are at, but here in Ohio it continues to be cold and kinda yucky. Woke up this morning to watch another half inch of snow come down, but I have to admit it was rather pretty. It was those big fluffy flakes that are just beautiful to watch fall from the sky. Been feeling better since the last post, I think I was just having one of 'those' days. This is the bird feeder outside our house. Yes I know I need to refill it. But it also got me thinking about the birds coming back. I love to hear them sing. I can hardly wait til they return. Everyone around here is excited that the weekend is here, time to relax a bit and gear up for the next week. Unfortunately I have to work all weekend :( but I'm going to try to make the best of the time I have. At least I'm off Monday :) I am excited to report that I took the plunge and applied to join a couple quiting blog rings. I was thrilled to be accepted to the Scrap Happy Bloggers ring. Yippee! I'm still waiting to see if I get accepted into the other.

I had the day off work yesterday so I got out some projects to brighten things up a bit around here. The first one is one that has been in progress for, well, lets just say quite a while. It is called April Showers, and was from one of the swaps I joined a long time ago. I am hand quilting it, and with my hands I can't always get as much done as I would like in one sitting. So I just keep working away on it when I can. I only have the top border to quilt then I can put the binding on it. I don't know what I'm going to use just yet. I really wish I had more of the blue, but I only have enough to bind maybe half of it .

The picture on the right is a close up of my quilting. I LOVE hand quilting and wish I could do more. Unfortunately, my carpal tunnel won't let me. *sniff* :(

This last picture is a round robin that I was involved in a couple years ago. I am thinking about just using muslin on the back and machine quilting it then using it as a porch quilt. We have a swing on our front porch, but it needs some softness to it. I don't think I would ever leave it outside all the time, but it would be there if someone wanted to make things a bit more 'cushy' or needed a light cover for a cool evening. Both are a nice burst of color to see right now, we need it :)

Still deciding on the layout for the log cabin, but I have decided on borders. I work with mom to be tonight, and gave her my blog address so hopefully she has seen the layouts and I can get feedback from her too. Also did a couple more disappearing 9 patches, and made another journal cover (they are quite addictive). Felt good to make some progress! Well, I am off to get the house ready for the weekend. I always try to get things cleaned up so we can enjoy the weekend, not do chores. Hope everyone finds some time to do what makes them happy :cD Warm country wishes!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

please, please, pretty please....

Can it be spring yet? Usually I don't mind winter. I like the snow. I can even put up with the cold...actually I can put up with it far better than the heat of summer. Ask anyone that knows me and they will tell you I would rather have it be 25 degrees than 95 degrees any day. But there must be something with all the gray skies and white on the ground that is finally getting to me. It just keeps snowing and freezing. Not necessarily the pretty kind of snowing and freezing either! It's just been making me feel 'down' the last day or two. I just don't feel like I am getting anything done. I know I am, but it sure doesn't feel that way. Its kind of frustrating. I know we all go through these rough patches so I am trying to keep my chin up. I know it won't last forever. Besides if you don't have the 'down' times, when do you know you're having an 'up' time, right? I am just ready for a burst of color already. That first warm wind, that first morning where we are waking up to notice the sounds of the birds chirping. I can't wait to see the crocuses and daffodils poking their pretty heads up through the soil. Aaahhh....just thinking about it is making me feel a little better. Maybe I should go dig out my spring themed round robin quilt from a while back out and work on it for a while :cD

Well if you were kind enough to listen to me whine just a little (bless your hearts) you should be rewarded with some pictures. These are pictures of a quilt I am making for a co-worker who is expecting her second little one. I am trying to decide which layout I like better.

I'm leaning toward the asymmetrical design on top. I've also got to decide on borders, if I put borders on it. Decisions, decisions :) Then I've got to get busy on some more disappearing 9-patches as well as some swaps going on in my groups. Plenty enough to keep me busy. Actually I think when I finish up the last couple block swaps I'm in that will be it for a while. I keep trying to knock my UFO's down, but then end up joining swaps that add to it. There are just soooo many quilts I would like to make. What can ya do? Keep sewing away :cD that's my plan, at least ;c) Hopefully I'll get to do plenty of that tomorrow. Hope you do too. Warm country wishes!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yeah!! All is well....

...and here's the proof. I was sooo worried that the red might bleed, but it didn't. Yippee!!

Delivered it to dad to be last night and he was really happy with it. He even asked if I might be able to make a quilt for his other little one. I told him it might be a while (I've got lots I want to get done first), but yes I could make one for her too. Don't want her to feel left out. I'm such a softie :) Up next to get finished are Amy's quilt, the second baby quilt and Jessica's quilt. After that I will see what I can get into.

Been a really slow start to the day here, but I'm on my way upstairs to get some cleaning done so I'll be able to spend some quality time sewing later tonight. Happy sewing all!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Another one bites the dust!

Hi all, its kind of late here, but I am so excited that I just had to post that the puppy quilt is DONE!! Woohooo that's finish number three this year!! It is in the washer right now, so I don't have a picture of it just yet, but I will make sure to get one before I deliver it to dad-to-be at work tomorrow. Now I'll be even more excited when it comes out of the washer and it is ok. Why? Well, I tend to not pre-wash very often and I didn't pre-wash the fabrics for this one. Sooooo....I am hoping it comes out the way it went in. I should know better, and wash my fabrics before I use them. I do it when I participate in a swap with any of my groups. And I know it reduces a lot of anxiety when you know none of your fabrics are going to bleed. But, I also know that I like the more puckered look of older, well loved (used) quilts and I know you can achieve that look by not pre-washing. So here I sit typing and worrying (just a little) waiting for the quilt to finish the wash cycle. think positive, think positive, think positive :cD I've thought about buying those 'color catchers' at the grocery store. Does anyone know how well they work? I would love to get some feedback on them before I buy them.

Been a very productive day here. City let me sleep in and took the kids out this morning, which was very nice considering I didn't get done at work until 2am yesterday. Gotta love the restaurant industry! I was able to enjoy my coffee and get lots of work done. I got to work on my string quilt, finish the puppy quilt, got Jess's quilt basted (boy that was a chore! The backing may end up a little short, but as of right now it looks like I'll be ok.), and started the baby quilt for the next co-worker that is due. She is having a little boy, so I dug through my stash and found a stack of homespun fat quarters I had received as a gift a while back. They were lighter shades of mostly golds and greens with just a hint of red, so I found a couple other homespuns in darker blue shades to make it look a little more 'boy'. It is going to be a traditional log cabin. I really like how it is coming along so far. After City and the mouselings got home we just enjoyed some family time. So nice! Seems like Saturday is the only day we can really count on that time, so we try to enjoy it as much as we can.

I do have a question I was wondering if someone could give me some info on. I know there are quilting blog rings out there. I would love to join one, and I found one that is for quilters that love to make/admire scrap quilts. I was wondering if there is any 'joining etiquette' if you will. I guess I just feel a little weird up and joining something when I am so new. Should I e-mail the owner, do I need to let her know, do I need to be blogging for a certain amount of time? I know that I probably sound pretty silly, but I just want to make sure I do things right.

Well, the washer just got done so I am off to put the quilt in the dryer, everyone cross your fingers that the puppy quilt comes out the way it went in :cD Warm country wishes!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A new question for you....

I've been working away here and had a new question keep popping into my head. What keeps me from turning all these finished tops into quilts? Its not that I don't enjoy the quilting process. I love to hand quilt although I don't do it as much as I would like due to having carpal tunnel syndrome. And I've come to really appreciate machine quilting. I remember when I first took up quilting I though machine quilting was kind of like 'cheating', but now I know better!! It takes just as much talent and practice to produce a beautifully machine quilted quilt as it does a hand quilted one. I've gotten much better at machine quilting, but still have a way to go to rival the beautiful work of some of the talented machine quilters out there. Its not really the basting process either. Now basting is definetly not my favorite part of the process, but I'm getting better at that too. I just wish I had more room to do it. Honestly (and this is probably going to sound really weird) I think what keeps me from getting them done is just the buying of the backing fabric and batting. I know that sounds funny, but really I think that is what it is. For whatever reason I have very little problem buying fabric that I 'may use someday' on the front of a quilt, but I feel like I'm spending too much when I buy the fabric for the backing. Weird, huh? Maybe I have a 'quilter's nutritional deficency'? Maybe I should have a chocolate bar and see if that helps *giggle* ;cD

Like I've said, I've been sewing away and have some pictures to share. The first is the center of my scrapy bargello. I am really surprised how so many different fabrics have come together to make such a nice top. There are some real odd and not-so-pretty fabrics in the mix, but it all works together. Now I have to figure out what kind of borders to put on it. I have also gotten my ugly fat quarter challenge quilt all done and a picture e-mailed to the hostess of the challenge. Now I can't share a picture of the whole top just yet, but here is a little peek (and a good look at the 'ugly' fabric, its the blue print) I promise to share a full picture as soon as I can.

I've also been slowly starting to get things ready to move my sewing area around and came up with a place for a design wall. I will admit it is a bit small, but its a start. My sewing area is in one of the mouselings rooms so I am trying to find ways to have a nice area without taking up too much space or being too obtrusive. So I decided to tack a peice of flannel up on the back of the door to their room. If I want to use it I just have to shut the door, and when its open (which it is most of the time anyway) they will never know its there. Right now I have the tumblers I have cut for a futrue charm quilt on it.

One last photo to share. You may know I've also taken up jewelry making , like I need another hobby lol, and wanted to share a picture of my latest creation. I've actually made a few of these because I've had people at work offer to buy the one I have worn in to work. I just think they're fun little necklaces :cD

Well thats about all the excitement around here right now. We are just busy with the other regular day to day activites and trying to keep warm. ( I think we are averaging under 20 degrees around here right now) The continued cold is the perfect reason to quilt, which is what I am off to do right now :cD Warm country wishes everyone!

Friday, February 15, 2008

I've been tagged!!

How fun! My friend Babs over at Scattered Scraps and Snippets has tagged me.
1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

OK, so here we go, 7 random facts.....

1. I am the oldest of 4 siblings. I have one younger sister and 2 younger brothers.

2. I have never flown on an airplane.

3. My dream job would be to do voice work. You know, like providing the voices for animated movies or doing narration for films. Especially doing character voices, I think that would be a blast!!!!

4. I am a breakfast food junkie. Cereal, oatmeal, bagles, pancakes, you name it. I could live on breakfast foods for the rest of my life and never miss lunch or dinner :cD

5. I am the family athlete. In my younger days I played softball, volleyball, basketball, ran track and field (ok I threw the shot put and discus, but I did place in the state meet in the shot put), and was a nationally ranked powerlifter in the ADFPA when I was 19. Right now I love to run altough I don't get out to do it as much as I would like to. I have run 5 marathons, 5 half marathons and several smaller distance races. I am hoping to run at least a half if not a full marathon in the fall of this year.

6. I still love to watch cartoons. Guess I'm still a kid at heart.

7. I collect thimbles. I started collecting them before I ever even touched a sewing machine. I have well over 100 from a lot of different places. I look for them everywhere we travel, and have lots I wouldn't necessarily have been able to get thanks to my on-line friends and family that travles more than me.

Well, there you go. Some random facts about Country Mouse. Now to tag some others. I'm relatively new to the blogging thing so I don't know that I know 7 people to tag, but I'll tag Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie Studio, Laurie at . , ( I have them linked on the left) and anyone else who wants to play can consider themselves tagged by me :cD

Hope everyone had a nice Valentine's day. We don't go all out here, but we had a nice evening together. I got to help out with the Valentines party for my son. Lots of fun, brought back fond memories of Valentines parties when I was young. It was always such fun to pass out your valentines to your friends, then even more fun to see all the goodies that were waiting for you in your Valentines box. Ahhhh, memories :) I got a lovely card, flowers and candy from City. So sweet. I got him a card, some candy, and the most recent release of his favorite TV show on DVD. I think he was happy ;) Then we all had dinner together and enjoyed the evening. All in all a very nice day!

Here it is Friday already! I've been able to get more done on my scrappy bargello. Both mouslings were is school this morning, so I was able to blissfully sew away for about 2 hours this morning. I now have all the strips cut and 2 more pannels ready to sew. I've also got my ugly challenge top nearly done, and the binding 1/2 way done on the puppy quilt. I am debating on taking a day trip tomorrow. I've had my fair share of stress here the last week or so, so I may try to get away to Amish country for a bit tomorrow. I'm just gonna see how things go tomorrow. I'm off to sew a bit more, hope everyone else finds some quality quilty time too! Warm country wishes!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

of snow days, dissapearing 9-patches and Amy's quilt

Well, for once the snow did really come. And its still coming down! Actually, now we are waiting for the freezing rain that is supposed to come and wallop us. So we had another snow day here. At least right now it is really pretty. Soft white fluffy flakes gently falling out of the sky, and I have to admit that I really do like it when there is a fresh, unblemished blanket of white covering our yard :cD We've been having fun watching videos and doing things around the house and I have gotten a decent ammount of sewing done too. First I got one of my swaps out of the way then I got out Amy's quilt.
Its been a bit of a challenge so far. The center that you see was done by Amy back in the 80's. She brought it to me and asked me if I could bring it up to queen size and finish it off for her. I have really tried to square it up (I think I did ok) and I added the dark flower border to it today. It was hard for me to part with that fabric....I just love it.....but I think it was the right choice. Now it IS long enough, I just need to widen it up a bit so I have some applique work for it, and started making some dissapearing 9-patches to add to that outside. She said she is perfectly fine with me using up my scraps to finish this up, so I hope she'll be happy with the finished product. I am really trying to get this top done and basted before the end of the month. Also been organizing my sewing area, well trying at least. So we've been busy :cD

Well I'm off to get a few more things done before I have to go into work. Boy I wish we grown-ups could have snow days from work! lol Oh well, at least I had time to get some fun in today. Hope everyone else did too. Warm country wishes!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Someone do the happy dance with me :cD

I have to say I have had quite a good weekend. It started when I received a wonderful package in the mail on Saturday. One of my groups did a game and I was lucky enough to win a great package of winter themed and colored goodies. I love getting packages like this one...soooo much better than the neverending stream of bills that the mailman seems to deliver :c) Then I was able to get outside Saturday before the cold came and settled in and get in a 6 mile run. It felt soooo good to get a nice long run in. Then I was able to find some sewing time and was able to get this done.....

Yup, here it is! The first finish of 2008!! (can you tell I'm excited :cD ) Just finished hand stitching down the binding today. The mouselings had a snow day, so I wasn't really sure if I would get it done, but it has been bitter cold outside all day. I think we may have reached a 'high' of 16 degrees today, so it was a great day to stay inside as much as possibe and sew when I could. It's supposed to stay pretty cold here and snow tonight so I may have another good excuse to stay inside and quilt tomorrow too ;) Just gonna wait and see. Well, I'm off to cruise around blog land a little bit and have a celebratory cup of hot cocoa. Hope everyone had a great weekend. Warm country wishes!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

OK, just one more (kinda) random thought for the day

Well, I just got done cutting a bunch of squares for Amy's quilt and strips for the other half of the scrappy bargello when I had a thought cross my mind. How do you feel when you use up the last of a fabric in your stash? I was thinking about it because there are several fabrics where the last peices of it will go into these 2 quilts. Me? Well it may sound weird, but its kinda bittersweet. Yes, I am really happy that I've used up something, and I know it will be used and that fabric will be seen. But on the other hand I usually pick up a fabric for a specific project or because it really called to me, and I've formed a silly little sentimental attatchment that makes it hard to see it go. Does anyone else feel this way? Strange, maybe. Something City wouldn't understand, definetly! This is when I'm happy that I have fellow quilters I can share a random thought with. Well, that's my silly little thought for now. I'm off to get some rest. Happy quilting all!!

Working toward those goals (or at least trying!)

I really wish I had some quilty pictures to share, but unfortunately I don't. :( But, I found this picture on one of my groups and it perfectly describes how I've felt the last couple of days. (Actually that was me this morning. After City took the kids to school I crashed and slpet for an extra 3 hours!) Things where I work have been a bit hectic so I've ended up picking up extra hours. Between that, and all the stuff I need to get done here between the kids and housework, errands and other stuff, I've been happy to squeeze in sewing and running time where I can. Now I am glad to report that I have completed the quilting on the BOM and the quilting is done and binding is attatched to the doggie quilt. Now to hand stitch it down. I have made some progress on my swaps. And the only fabric I've bought so far this month was a great neutral that was calling out to me from the remnant bin. I haven't made any progress on Amy's quilt yet, but I am going to go cut some squares to do some dissapearing 9-patches for the very outside edges here yet tonight as well as some leaves for some applique work I am doing for it. So, honestly, I'm a pretty happy quilter. Also been able to squeeze in 3 runs so far this week (only missed my Monday one) and am gonna try to get in a nice run outside this weekend if the weather cooperates.

February is Quilting Month and they are celebrating over at Sew Mama Sew. I'm putting link to them over on the left here. They are sharing blocks, techniques, quilts and other fun stuff. I just have to mention an entry on sharing quilting history. You'll have to go check it out if you haven't. It is excellent!! Made me want to reasearch more not only for my own knowledge, but also to make sure I share with the mouselings, who also love to help me make quilts as well as create their own 'quilts' by laying out fabric scraps on the floor. I think they enjoy playing with the fabric as much as I do.

Well, I'm off to have some quilty fun. Hopefully I'll have some quilty pics for you next time. Hope you all find time for your quilting passion too. Warm country wishes :cD

Sunday, February 3, 2008

I love it when....

Things go the way you've hoped! I was right about getting out of work early, so I was able to run by Jo-Anns and get some quilting thread and heart toggles, and a snowman pillow that was marked down 90% for one of my little ones. Then after a quick trip to the store for a couple things and a stop by the pizza shop I was able to get some sewing done while the rest of the family watched the Super Bowl. Yippee!!

Now I wish I was able to get accomplished what Bonnie did over at Quiltville, you'll have to go check out her scrapy bagrgello quilt... just wonderful. But I was thrilled I was able to get as much done as I did. I was able to get one panel completly sewn and a second cut into strips ready to sew together. I think I am going to make two more panels and go ahead and put a border on it to make it throw sized. It has gone together very quickly, and I am just thrilled that I was able to cut those tubes into STRAIGHT rows of squares!! I was sooo afraid I was gonna end up with some weird wonky shape :cO I've gotten everything ready for the sewing I want to do tomorrow. Mondays are my day I devote to working on only older UFOs (although I may make an exception for the doggie quilt tomorrow, maybe only another hour of quilting on it and it will be done) So hopefully I'll have a nice progress report for tomorrow. Hope you all had a great Superbowl/Bargellowbowl Sunday!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Cuttin' and sewin' there any better way to spend the day?

Now really, is there any better way to spend the day? The weather here has been cold and dreary. The perfect reason to stay inside and quilt. Now I didn't get as much done as I would like to have, but I did make some progress. I only have one more outside border to get quilted on the BOM then its on to binding. Yippee! I've also got the doggie quilt about 80% of the way quilted. I'm excited to be so close to a couple finishes. The picture on the left is some of the strips I've gotten cut for the Bargellobowl tomorrow. I've only got about half of the number cut that I need, and now that I'm looking at the picture I'm gonna make sure I find some blues, purples and greens to add to the mix. I don't know how much I'll be able to get done tomorrow, but I'm looking foreward to relaxing after work by sewing the evening away.

Spent some time with the family today. Its time for us to start planning the annual family reunion so City, the mouselings and I went to dinner with two of my aunts, one of my uncles, and my parents. Went to a nice restaurant in Amish country for dinner. Such great food! Just love all that stuff made from scratch. Also just enjoyed the drive. Living in the city there are just houses and houses, tons of cars, and lots of pavement; very little green space. Sure there is some, but I just love driving through the rolling hills seeing the farms, and big open fields and lots of trees. Makes me yearn for spring when the flowers are blooming and the trees are starting to bud and the new little green leaves make their first appearance. The drives out there are just wonderful. I think I heard that the 'official' groundhog saw his shadow today, but our local groundhog didn't. Boy I'm really kinda hoping ours was right, I'm ready for a burst of color! :cD

Speaking of animals, I was going through the photos on my camera and came across this one. I was thinking of sending it to Ami Simms, I know she has a page for these types of photos. This is a sign posted at the whirlpool area of a State Parks recreation area. The people that were in the whirlpool were looking at me funny when I took the picture, but I just couldn't resist. Read rule number 5 carefully. If I were a dog or cat, I really don't think I would have an issue obeying that rule ;) I got a giggle out of it, hope you did too.

Well, I'm off to try to get a little more done. Warm country wishes!