Friday, March 31, 2006


The past few days have been lovely -- warm, breezy, wonderful! The boys and I are itching to get out in the yard. Our backyard has NO landscaping. Zero! Zip! Nada!!! Just lots of dirt, some big rocks, and 3 peony bushes. Last year we tore down all the trees, as they were dying or already dead, misshapen, and just plain messy and ugly. Now we need to put a fence up, which I hope to do soon (I have to draw out where we want it and go get a permit to do it).

After the fence is up, it's on to landscaping! I'm so excited, but realistically, I'm not sure we'll get a lot of actual landscaping done. I figure we need to start with trees and bushes (the big stuff), and that's going to get expensive. Calvin is hot to have a garden, so we also need to figure where to put that, and how to prepare the soil. He already got his seeds, even! We'll be trying carrots, watermelons, green beans, tomatoes, and lettuce. If anyone has any advice, website, and/or book recommendations, please pass them on! Can I move peonies around now? Should I do anything special to the dirt for raspberries? watermelons? carrots? Is there a Dummies Guide to Compost? HELP!!!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Clifford Quilt Update

I didn't make my goal of having the blocks done by last weekend. I have six of them completely finished, and six of them in parts. So, my goal for this weekend is to finish the other six and put the top together. I'd like to have the top together by Monday or Tuesday so that I can layer the backing/batting/top and start quilting. I was considering using red thread to quilt, but I decided to go with blue, so that you can see the print better. It needs to be completely finished in two weeks.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Baby Shower Fun

Saturday David, Connor, and I went to Chicago for a couples baby shower for Peter and Julie. It was a lot of fun. I got my baby fix by holding Brady, who will be 3 months old in the beginning of April, and Egan, who is about 9 months old. Sometimes Connor didn't like me holding the babies, but usually he was ok, and he had lots of other grownups to play with. :)

We played some silly games. The men had to see who could drink out of baby bottles the fastest. I guess it's pretty hard to drink from a bottle. The girls had to take toilet paper and guess how much we needed to go around Julie's belly. I was off by only a little bit, but her friend Emily got it dead on.

Julie and our friend Jessica are due within a week of each other (Julie with her first baby, Jessica with her second). Peter and Julie received some nice presents: a Baby Bjorn, some darling blankets and clothes, diapers, and toys. (I gave them some books: The Read Aloud Handbook and Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child).

I had a lot of fun, and the food was fantastic (I must get the recipe for the chicken/orzo salad). Connor enjoyed the mango gelato, and David liked having sushi, which we never have as I don't like seafood. Dessert was cookies and some incredible gelato in 3 different flavors. The mango was divine. Only 3 more months to go and I'll have a new niece or nephew -- I can't wait!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hot Patterns

If you frequent Pattern Review, you already know about Hot Patterns. I'm sure they're mentioned on Sewing World as well. I've looked at them a few times, but never was really grabbed by anything. Really, they are all lovely patterns, just nothing right for me at the time. Well, yesterday I got the News from HotPatterns email, touting the new Classix Nouveau line. I fell in love with the Sportive Skirt-Suit. Still, $19.95 for the pattern! I wasn't sure I liked it that much.

I'm sure you can guess where I'm going with this. Yep, I just placed my order for the pattern. It says on the site it may take a month or so before I receive it, which is just fine with me. That will allow me some time to finish up these quilts, and then I can be ready to sew. I think the suit will be darling for springtime, and perfect for a SAHM like me, who doesn't like slobbing around. I like that the pattern is drafted with wovens in mind, and I'm sure I can find some piece (or pieces) in my stash that will work.

I'm also hoping the new pattern will give me a needed kick in the pants to start sewing up the clothes I really need.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Swing Bag

I finished this Amy Butler Swing Bag this weekend. It's a present for a friend who just had her third baby. I think it's a nice size for use as a diaper bag on quick trips when one is bopping around town running errands. I added an inside pocket a la the Nappy bag (photo is of a different bag), so while technically this bag is still reversible, if you do reverse it, you get a pocket on the outside. I've made quite a few of these bags, and have cutting and construction down to a science! :) I made the pattern into a full pattern (instead of cutting on a fold), so I can cut out both sides at once.

I fell in love with the brown/aqua print and bought 3 yds. (Yeah, I know, I have issues. I have a post all figured out in my head about talking fabric) The bag only took .75 yds, so I plan to make a little bias skirt from the rest, trimming the hem with the aqua stripe I used in the lining, or, if I can find it, aqua tulle.

Now all I have to do is get some goodies to fill it (some Weleda Baby Cream, some onesies, maybe a candle and some pretty notecards, some chocolate, etc.), wrap it, and send it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Yeah, even more quilts...

(Julie and Jessica -- don't read this if you want to be surprised with the baby quilt)

I'm a garment sewist at heart. Really, I am! So far this year though, I've really been into the quilts. With all the babies coming, plus with 2 classes I'm taking (1 done, 1 in May), the quilts have taken over. I laugh to myself, because if you would've told me 7 years ago that I'd be a quilter, I'd have laughed in your face. David used to tell me that I should start quilting, that I'd like it and should give it a try. I would tell him, "Why would I want to take fabric, cut it up into little pieces, and sew it back together again? What a waste of time!". HA HA HA! Guess what I do now?

It all started so innocently -- I took a double-nine patch class when Calvin was 5 weeks old, and it was so fun! I hardly had to think! I could sew while the baby napped next to me, heck, I could even piece while nursing! Cotton doesn't wiggle like silk or stretch like knits. I really had fun picking fabrics to go together too!

So, here are three (yes THREE) more quilts to do. I picked this fabric up on Tuesday, for the baby quilt for my brother and his wife. I'll be doing the Delectable Inspirations quilt pattern from the June 2005 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. The quilt in the magazine is made from a variety of Amy Butler Ginger Bliss fabrics, and is just darling. I couldn't find enough of the AB fabrics, and I like these 5 just as well. The background fabric will be cream.

Remember Baby Quilt #2? I changed my mind on the fabrics. I fell in love with this koi print during one of my quilt classes in February, and bought 8 yards. This baby quilt is for the second child of some good friends. For their first child I made this quilt, also from a koi print. I thought it would be fun for the siblings to have similar quilts. I still plan the same pattern (double-nine patch, on point), so now I just need to decide what color the little squares will be. As I only need about 2.5-3 yds for the quilt, the rest will be for a quilt for our guest bed.

Right now, though, this is the quilt I need to finish. I cut it out last weekend, and I need to have it done by Easter. This Clifford quilt will be that same double-nine patch pattern (a quick one to make, plus looks really nice), and is for our church raffle. My goal for this weekend is to have the blocks all done.

Another Quilt Top Finished

I actually finished this quilt top 2 weeks ago. You can see how I figured out the block layout in my Design Wall entry. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out.

Here you can see how the design wall helps with the block construction. First I was able to make sure the 'stripe' in my setting triangles went in the same direction for the whole quilt. When I took this picture, I had 4 rows stitched together, and the other blocks are waiting. As I was putting this together, I would take a row of blocks down, stitch them together along with the setting triangles, and then put the completed row back on the wall. After a few rows were stitched, I then would stitch the rows together, press, and put that completed section back up on the wall. It was really nice, I didn't get mixed up on what block went to what, and the blocks stayed flat.

The finished quilt top, with borders. It turned out pretty big, I'm hoping it will fit on one of the bunk beds. I haven't even given a thought as to what I want to back it with, or what color to bind it in.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Frijoles a la Charra

This will smell so good while cooking! Total time is about 3 hours, so plan accordingly.

1-1.5 c dry pinto beans
garlic (or onion)
salt (I use seasoned salt)
fresh tomato
cilantro (this is important)
bacon, if desired

Rinse pinto beans, picking out any stones, etc. Put in pot and cover with 2-3 inches of water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 2 hours.

Heat up a bit of oil in a small skillet. Chop tomato and cilantro and saute. Add a ladle-ful or 2 of the beans and water, simmer for a few minutes, mashing them up with a potato masher. Dump contents back into pot, with garlic and seasonings. Add bacon if desired.

Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Add more seasonings to taste, if desired. Excellent with mexican rice and tortillas (and fajitas). Also great for bean and rice quesadillas.

To make refried beans, heat up some oil in a large skillet, then add the beans, mashing them with a potato masher.

Monday, March 13, 2006

What Color Are You?

WHITES are motivated by PEACE, seek independence and require kindness. They resist confrontation at all costs. (Feeling good is more important than being good.) They are typically quiet by nature, they process things very deeply and objectively, and they are by far the best listeners of all the colors. They respect people who are kind, but recoil from perceived hostility or verbal battle.

WHITES need their quiet independence and refuse to be controlled by others. WHITES want to do things their own way, in their own time. They ask little of others, and resent others demanding much of them. WHITES are much stronger than people think because they don't reveal their feelings. WHITES are kind, non-discriminate, patient and can be indecisive, timid, and silently stubborn. When you deal with a WHITE, be kind, accept (and support) their individuality, and look for nonverbal clues to their feelings.

What Color Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Today would have been my father's 65th birthday. There are many times during the year that I think of him a lot more than others, and his birthday is one of those times. I miss him a lot sometimes. When Connor was born, and I made phone calls to tell everyone, I felt I left the job unfinished, because I couldn't call him.

My dad was a pretty cool guy. He was born in Mexico, and came to this country after graduating from medical school, in 1965 or so. He and his best friend came to do their residencies, not knowing english, and in winter! He would tell my brother and me stories about how they would sit in the car with socks on their hands because they didn't have mittens. If we went out to a restaurant that wasn't mexican food, he would always order a hamburger because when he first came here, that was one of the few words he knew in english, and by ordering it, he'd know what he was getting.

My dad was a very outgoing and generous man. He was the type of person that would talk to anyone and everyone. I found it quite embarassing growing up! He was always telling people to better themselves, go back to school, learn spanish. He loved his mother country, and never became a US Citizen. He always supported me in whatever I chose to do, and was always there when I needed him.

He adored my two older boys: they were the light of his life, especially after he retired. They loved their 'Bo', and still talk about him a lot. Sometimes I think Calvin is afraid he is going to forget, because he was just 3 when my dad died. Towards the end, things got difficult with my dad, but I have no regrets. Holidays used to be really stressful, and now they aren't. The first year after he was gone I thought the holidays would be really hard, but they weren't. It's days like today, his birthday, or when I take my kids for photos, or my own birthday that are harder.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Dad. I miss you, and wish you could see all three of your grandchildren now, plus Peter's new baby coming in June.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


I got my hair done last Saturday -- it's purple again! I love purple, it's my favorite color. My bedroom is purple. I have purple shoes. My sunglasses are purple with purple lenses. I'm thinking to paint my front door purple. Purple is a great color. :) We put more purple in my hair this time, no more subtlety for me! Eventually this will fade to pink, but it'll still look cool.

I'm thinking about getting some new glasses. I only have the one regular pair, and I really should have a second pair. I keep gravitating towards these in the shop. Aren't they fabulous? I love the purple, but it's the rhinestones that really do it for me. I know I'll end up buying them, it's just a matter of time.