right now

right now

Feb 12, 2011

Weekend Forecast: Mud & Quilts!

Temps in the 50's today have all of our snow drip-dripping everywhere and creating lots of mud.  Good for the plants, not so good for working outside and kids running in and out of the house!  The warm temps did let hubby get out his tools and finish my light setup for my seedlings so I'll get around to getting the lights hooked up and hung to it later today.

terrible photo, but can you see the 2 artichokes peeking up?  Center & top right cell.

Below, over-engineered in typical man-fashion, it weighs a hundred pounds I bet, but when I connect the chains and lights it will work well.... but where the he(( am I going to put this contraption LOL?

This may be my last weekend to play with my sewing machine for more than an hour at a time since temps are expected to be in the 60's next weekend - so I'm taking full advantage of the mud outside now to get started on a quilt for a very important little girl in my life - any guesses as to who it is?  Here's a hint... she's the only little girl in our extended family, and her birthday is coming up very soon!

here's the colors I picked for the mod-tod(dler)-

Below, no - Loch hasn't taken up yoga - "Thing 1" has been playing chess like a pro lately and requested a "chess bag" so he could take his mad skillz on the road.  This is what I came up with, it is kind of like a yoga bag, I didn't use a pattern but I'm really happy with how it came out.  I used the skull fabric on the outside, a pale gray lining, and interfacing to stiffen up the bag and strap.  Drawstring cord with a toggle finished it up.  Took about 2-3 hours total probably, but I worked on it in 2 sessions yesterday so I wouldn't get too frustrated :)

Here's a close up of the fabric, I also used a flannel remnant to make a drawstring bag to hold his chess pieces, his chess board is one of those roll-up tournament size ones.  Some parts of the fabric could have stood to be a little more masculine, but I'm digging the skulls, flames and barbed wire.

Now I'm off to start cutting quilt fabrics.  The fun part was picking out the fabrics, and now is the stressful part, cutting the shapes out perfectly.  Then comes fun again when I can spend some time changing the pieces around until I'm happy with the design.  I'm sure I won't come up for air until Monday, so have a good weekend, y'all!

Feb 10, 2011

My quilting plans foiled again!

Woke up to this!  About 3-4 inches fell last night and early this morning.

I had plans to go to the quilt shop for some fabric after sending the kids off to school, but snow in Virginia Beach means.... school's cancelled!  My plans foiled yet again.

I had some other sewing I could have done, but with my 2 boys & their friend in the house itching to go outside and play, I resigned myself to the fact that my house was going to be a wet mess and decided to "live in the moment" as they say, and go outside with them.  One of the things I am trying to work on this year is not being so schedule/task oriented and to start trying to take things as they come and enjoy the little things, I know I've heard many times that when it's time to leave this life nobody ever says "I wish I'd had more time to pick up the house" LOL...

 Bonus:  when the boys have a friend over, they are actually much better behaved with no fighting, and happy kids = unstressed mom!  How cool is it that our new neighbor's son is in my son's kindergarden class and they are already good friends? - they'll have a nice time this summer being able to just head out the back door to play with a friend instead of me hovering over them in the front yard where I don't know all the neighborhood kids/or their parents.

 I think Loch needs E.G. to come visit and help him out with the structural engineering here!

Finn in the background showing his friend some winter footwear fun - I'm glad we forgot to leave these at mom's house over Christmas!

Meet Neptune, he's the neighbor dog - he fits in really well around here, now we have a whole "herd" of herding dogs!  I let them all inside this little house afterwards to have a biscuit and they were doing figure 8's with wet paws and snow filled nostrils and I was able to just laugh it off, see - I'm improving!

The thing I miss most about living up north: MUDROOMS - this is actually my bedroom!

Mama bought a round of hot chocolate, I think these guys will sleep well tonight, they played for hours!

Other news:  "Early Purple Sprouting" Broccoli wins the germination race!

Check out this trashy light setup - hubby hasn't been able to finish my "light thing" he's been constructing since he's working long hours and we don't have a garage so the weather has been holding him up.  But the seeds wait for no man... they needed lights this morning!  So I just rigged this in the meantime, luckily I only have this one flat right now, if it was tomato time I'd be in trouble.

Here's Loch just doing his Loch thing, I didn't ask LOL...  I walked by him and just said "hey Loch, why don't you go be a 7 year old for awhile?" he just scowled at me.   :)

Feb 8, 2011

The "official start" of seed season for us!

I realized with a bit of panic that since I kicked the LG front loader out of the house and bought a top loading washing machine, my old seed starting area was gone!  I used to get 4 flats on top of the washer & dryer and hung lights above it, it made for great warmth and vibrations too and was nicely out of the way.  I decided to repurpose the kids' computer desk that was on its way out of the house too.  It works for the one seed flat and heat mat for now, and I was going to suspend a light for the bottom rack too, but hubby has decided to build me "something".... yet to be determined LOL!  I told him I need it in a couple of days because these babies are going to need light as soon as they sprout!  Looks like this year will be a trashy setup that will be smack dab in the middle of my bedroom, but oh well, it's not like it's an option to not start seeds!


This is just round one, the "big deal" stuff will be started in a few more weeks. 

Sown today:
Purple of Romagna Artichoke
Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Piricicaba Broccoli
Olympia Spinach
Val d'Orges Lettuce
Tango Lettuce
Greed Salad Bowl Lettuce
Large Leaf Sweet Basil
Sweet Peas (just a few, most will be direct sown soon outdoors)

As I was cleaning out The Garden Binder of last year's plans, I came across these:

On the bottom are my plans, Loch's on the top left, Finn's on the top right.  I think I'll save theirs from year to year to look back on someday.  One thing's for sure, I didn't grow carrots as big as Finn obviously wanted!

I came across a good buy also - if any of you live near a Borders, all their calendars are now $1.00!  Even big planner type calendars.  I typically use the computer/phone calendar for my day to day stuff, but I always have a regular size one for the garden to mark up with planting and weather notes, and I need a separate one to keep track of Master Gardener volunteer hours.  Normally I don't care what's "on" these calendars, just that they're cheap, but I found some good ones!
Border Collies for the garden, naturally - a "Knitting" box calendar that serves no purpose other than it has over 100 laminated card knitting patterns for $1.00, and the last one was an odd find but perfect for me - it's a Minnesota weather journal/calendar complete with the local-back home Minneapolis/St. Paul news team on the back... wierd here in VA but will be nice for the volunteer hours log!

Found a poem in the kids' room...  I'm going to stop cleaning in there, it's getting wierd.  Loch has retreated into a world of chess, math & science.... sigh.... where did he get this gene from, certainly not his parents!

Speaking of which, we are to attend open house tonight for the "Math and Science Academy" school Loch has been recommended for next year, what should I wear, argyle or plaid?  LOL... oh and where did I leave that pocket protector and tape for my glasses...?

Feb 7, 2011

I've been in hiding the past 3 days...

Thanks to my wonderful hard working husband who worked 18 hour days in 120ยบ heat in the Middle East for the better part of a year to earn some tax-free bucks, meet the newest member of our family:

 (lots of husbands come home and spend their money on big screen tv's, video games, etc... not mine - he's definitely a keeper!)

The IRS delivered the refund early (I'm still in shock over that), and I was able to bring her home on Friday!  I researched about 7 machines over the past month and finally settled on this one.  I will admit that I used my experience in sales to score quite a bargain on this and got some expensive accessories thrown in, too.  I'll probably write about the machine at a later date since I know how hard it is to have to search and search for reviews and recommendations.  I'll work with it for awhile so I can provide a more experienced review on it.  Right off the bat though, OMG I HAVE A MACHINE THAT WORKS!  I took a cue from Mama Pea's self-imposed quilting retreat and took the whole weekend to read manuals, play with all the features, and finish my very first quilt.

My binding wasn't wide enough but at least I know what to expect next time.  I also found I need to seriously work on an ergonomically correct table/chair for next time as my back and neck are very sore from quilting for 6 hours straight... but at least I got the "very first quilt" out of the way without any serious property damage or suffering any panic attacks LOL!

Below is the big reveal... it's a bit Marsha Brady (whom I love!) and I think will look fantastic on my patio table with a bottle of Pinot Grigio and a few glasses.... now if that sun would just come out already!

Close up of the "Marsha Brady"-ish floral print :)

 Here is the back side for the quilters out there.  Not very exciting, I know - a simple grid pattern.  I don't trust myself to stitch in the ditch quite yet.  My technique still resembles winter driving, it's more of a "slide into the ditch"... LOL

Below is what happens when hubby and kids decide to cook dinner so I can quilt.  Pizzas of course, but also Finn made pretzels and Loch made some cinnamon rolls with daddy's help :)  Nobody said things would be healthy when mama's busy, but it sure was delicious!  At least it wasn't Ramen Noodles.

Sadly, I have to put the new toy away for a few days while I take care of some garden-related things.  The mess in the attic (lights and heat mat, chains and ext cords) got hauled down and I can now start my first flat of seeds for 2011.

See - there's plenty of messy stuff in the house, it was just stuffed up in the attic!

Now I'm off to spend some quality time with a notepad and the garden binder/seed stash!  Tomorrow's the big day.