Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Calvin is seven years old today! However, he's technically not seven until around 10:20 pm tonight, as he's been telling everyone.

He had a dramatic entry into this world: born on the front stairs of the house we were in. I was trying to get downstairs into the car. (that's why we only have an approximate time of his birth -- we went by the time on the doctor's pager)

Hard to believe that was seven years ago! He's a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to his next year.

He knew exactly what kind of cake he wanted. "I want a swirly cake that is round and high, with chocolate frosting and bumps on the top and bottom, with Lindt chocolate on the sides, and swirly ice cream". Swirly cake means marble cake, swirly ice cream means fudge ripple. He helped me make it by taste testing each step. :)

Happy Birthday, baby!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Holidays are coming....

If you like to be organized, or have the illusion of being organized (ha!), the Holiday Grand Plan started today. I've done it for a few years now (five or so?), and even though I never complete the entire thing, it has really helped me with my personal goal of having all my holiday stuff done by Thanksgiving. Then I get to spend the month of December just focusing on my family, baking, and decorating.

This year I'm going to do things a little different, and try the Holiday Houseworks Plan, which doesn't start for another week or so. I think the difference is the HGP has you go room by room, and the HHP has you work in zones. Either plan will help you a lot in preparing for the holidays, especially for those of us that like to make a lot of our gifts.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Visiting Chicago

On Wednesday we drove down to Chicago to visit with Julie, Peter, and 'Cuzzy', and deliver his quilt.

We went to have lunch at Potbellies, and then took the L to Millenium Park.

The boys had a blast playing in The Crown Fountain. I had seen pictures of this before, but had no idea it was a fountain to play in!

Every once in a while, water spurts out of the mouth of the face on the screen.

We also had fun looking at our reflections in the 'bean'. If you go underneath, you see oodles of yourself reflected all over.

The Museum of Science and Industry had a Family Tent set up with various projects, to coordinate with their Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit.

After supper, we had birthday cupcakes. :)

I also got to watch Project Runway for the first time! I've heard and read about it on Stitcher's Guild and Pattern Review, but my only real exposure has been Amber's fantastic recaps on her blog. I really enjoyed the show, and I LOVED Angela's glasses -- I want a pair. I've put Season 1 on my Netflix list.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My Nephew's Quilt

It's finished!!!

We left yesterday to go visit. We rolled it up and tied it with a ribbon.

Doesn't he look cute on it? It's nice and big, so it'll be good for naps when he's older too (or when my brother is snoozing with him while watching a Cubs game).

He's grown so much since we saw him in the beginning of July. I have 5 blocks leftover, so I plan to make a pillow to match.

I'll post some photos of our trip tomorrow.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Visiting Iowa

This past weekend we drove to Des Moines, to visit with my FIL and go to the Iowa State Fair.

The fairgrounds are huge! We had lots of fun, though Caleb and I decided we weren't going to ride on a Sky Chair again anytime soon. :) It was a little too high for us. (that's Roger and Calvin in the red chair in front of us)

We saw a lot of stuff. There was an old one room schoolhouse, a little farm, the quilts (of course! great home ec stuff, I took pictures for inspiration), the Department of Natural Resources exhibits, and great food! We had pork chops (my mother says Iowa pork is the best, and she is right!), fried cheese, onion strings, ice cream and shaved ice, lemonade, funnel cakes, and David had a grinder (some fancy kind of italian sandwich). There were fountains to play in and lots of pretty gardens scattered about. We did NOT get to see the butter cow this year, though.

The tractor and farm equipment display is always popular with the boys. Calvin kept wanting me to take pictures of him in the tires. :) These machines are so big, it's just amazing. You can climb into just about any of them and pretend to drive. There also was a display of a fighter jet cockpit that the kids could climb in, and that was popular too.

On Saturday night we went to the Grand River Rodeo, in Grand River, Iowa. David's great aunt and her family own it. It was wild to watch these cowboys and cowgirls rope calves, run barrels, and ride the bulls. (let me tell you, I am SUCH a city girl!) In the middle of the show, they have all the kids come out for a calf run. They line up all the kids on one side of the arena, and put 3 calves on the other side, with little pieces of duct tape stuck on them. Then they send the kids running after the calves! It is so funny to watch, and it was really muddy. Kids were getting stuck in the mud, losing shoes, and getting filthy. Calves were getting stuck too. Calvin ran so fast and is so light I don't think he sunk in. He managed to get two pieces of duct tape! Afterwards, each child gets one dollar (that I'm sure the rodeo gets right back as they all run up to the concessions to get candy and sodas) whether they get any tape or not. Then they all rinse off at the water pumps, and get the rest of the grounds muddy. :)

We came home last night, stopping in New Glarus on our way home, in order to visit Albion Swords. Unfortunately, they were closed, but now that we know where they are, I'm sure we'll be going back soon.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quilt Binding and Sewing Machine Woes

My Janome 3000 is at the shop, waiting for a new foot pedal. They had to order it, and told me it would be 2-3 weeks. :( I wanted to get the binding on my newphew's quilt this week, so I got out my Singer Featherweight.

This was my mother's machine, that I believe she got in 1957 (the date on the manual is 1955). I learned how to sew on this, and used it to make my first dress. It's a great little machine, and it stitched up the binding strips nicely. I have a huge SA in this picture because I was matching the plaid. I noticed the belt is starting to crack too, so I need to take some time and give some TLC to this little workhorse. Any suggestions, guidance, or recommendations are greatly appreciated, as I'm not really confident with working on my machines.

Unfortunately, the Featherweight did NOT like stitching the binding to the quilt. It kept skipping stitches. I don't know if it was too thick or what, and I don't really have the time this week to mess with it, so I borrowed my mom's Viking 150. (I actually have a third sewing machine, but I've never used it -- someone just gave it to me last year -- and I didn't want to take the time to mess with it) She laughed when I called her about it, since it had been all of 2 days since my machine was gone. "I knew you wouldn't last long", she said. It only has metric measurements on the throat plate, so I used a small stack of Post-It notes to mark 1/2" for the binding seam allowance.

Won't this look nice when it's done? I think the bias cut plaid really gives a nice finish. We're going on a short holiday this weekend, so I will bring this with me, and should easily finish it. Then I'll just need to give it a wash and dry and make a label. I'm really happy with how this one has turned out, and I might make another one to keep. :)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


In about 40 minutes, Connor is offically TWO!!

about four hours old!

first birthday!

We had a little party on Sunday. He looks like such a big boy now!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

New Pinwheels

I started working on the new pinwheel blocks this week. Looks a lot better, doesn't it? Before you ask: no, I didn't frog the old blocks, I just started over. I have more than enough fabric.

I picked up two quilts on Wednesday -- the green one and the delectable mountain one. All that is needed now is the binding, and they are finished! Unfortunately ....

.... my sewing machine is possessed. It continues to stitch even when I take my foot off the pedal. Since I have to go over to the fair to pick up my entries tomorrow, I'll drop it off for diagnostics (the shop is just down the street from the fair). Hopefully it's something simple, and in the meantime, I'll get out my Featherweight.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Walking Stick

Look at what we found on the back door this morning!

Isn't it cool? I put it in a quart canning jar, and then Caleb found the bug habitat, so that we can show Calvin when he gets home from gymnastics.

Connor thinks it's pretty neat. "See bug!" he keeps saying. Caleb is going to search online to find out more about what they eat. Maybe we'll keep it for a few days. :)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Bottom Bunk

David got back from Sturgis last night, yippee!! I don't sleep well when he's away.

Anyway, as I posted earlier, I switched the boys' rooms. Now Caleb will have his own room, and Calvin and Connor will share. I made the bunk beds up again, and last night Connor slept on the bottom! All. By. Himself! Bedtime was 9:00, he nursed a bit and went to sleep. He cried out a bit around 1:30, I went to check on him, he nursed a bit more, and then went right back to sleep. He got up around 6:00, came into my bed and snuggled a bit.

It was nice to have my bed mostly all to myself again. :)

Monday, August 07, 2006

and then there was one....

Calvin started gymnastics camp today. He did it last year and just loved it (it's become his birthday present from my mom). They do gymnastics in the morning, and then various activities in the afternoon, after lunch (walk to Dairy Queen, swimming, obstacle courses, etc). This helps him not miss his big brother so much.

The camp is at the highschool, just a few blocks from our house, so we walk. Lately he's been wearing this cape everywhere, since he's Stupendous Man. :) I just love it, and yesterday, when some kids yelled that it wasn't Halloween yet, he yelled back that he knew that, he was just dressed up anyway. Then he said they probably weren't allowed to dress up in public, and too bad for them. We went to the library like this today too.

Connor misses both his big brothers though, and was clinging to me all day.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

and then there were two....

I'm down to two kidlets at home -- Caleb left for Camp Dry Gulch early early early (4:00 am) this morning. Even though I had to wake him at 2:00 to get ready, he was quite excited.

Calvin did not want him to go, though. He will miss him quite a bit (nevermind the fact that they argue half the time!). Next year they will be going together, since Calvin will be old enough.

There's the bus, ready for takeoff! I know all the kids are going to have a fantastic time, and hopefully won't get too hot. We'll see Caleb on Thursday night! My plan is to surprise him with switched bedrooms. The countdown begins!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Two Ribbons!

We spent most of today at the State Fair.

Turns out I placed third with my Amy Butler Nappy Bag! My friend Beth saw it, and was admiring it, and also thinking it looked familiar. :) Then she realized it had my name on it! That was a nice surprise. This means I placed with both of my entries this year.

Here's my pink tweed jacket on display. (photo courtesy of Calvin) I had a fun time going through all the display cases. So many beautiful things. I snapped some photos of the quilts for inspiration. I recognized a few names, and congratulations to Kathy and Ceil for their ribbons.

We ate our way from one end of the fair to the other (all you can eat pancakes, fried cheese, butterfly pork sandwiches, baked potatoes, maple sugar cotton candy, and drinks) and ended our day with cream puffs. We also saw a few animals, and Calvin got to watch a pig give birth to piglets in the birthing barn. We also had just missed the birth of a cow, but saw the mama licking her calf clean, and saw it stand up for the first time.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

My 15 minutes

I just picked up a copy of the North Shore Herald, a local newspaper. Last week someone interviewed me for an article on the State Fair, and it was printed today. Unfortunately, the article isn't available online, but if you live in the area, go take a look! It's on pages 26-27 (they have copies at Harry Scwhartz on Oakland). There's a big picture of me fake-ironing a blouse. :)

The reporter found out my judging results: I got second-place for the pink tweed jacket. Yay!

edited to add this link for the article.

Fabric Shopping

David's mom and step-father have been in town for a few weeks. They bought an RV this year, and are staying in Plymouth, about an hour from us. We've been going up to visit once in a while (and then the boys stay over for a few days), and we went yesterday, to play for the day.

While the two older boys swam with Grampa Vic, Nancy and I went to a quilt shop in Plymouth: The Sewing Basket. What a darling shop! The ladies there were so friendly and helpful, and were busy offering everyone lemonade, as the air conditioning wasn't working very well. I had brought the pinwheel blocks for advice, and they recommended that I use a coordinating blue to replace the koi print for the half-square triangles in the pinwheels.

I found this fantastic koi print (yes, another koi print. I told you, I love asian prints, especially koi). I will either do a skirt, or just throw some borders on it and have a whole cloth quilt. Maybe an AB Swing Bag too. I have 2 yards.

This little packet of fat quarters was too cute to pass up. Only $12 too! I also picked up a new book: Positively Pineapple. I have always loved pineapple quilts, but I just loathe paper piecing, so I've never made one. This book uses the Pineapple Rule, and there happened to be a class on this exact book going on, so I got to see it in action! Of course, I ordered one.

We all had a lovely day yesterday. The boys are staying up there until tomorrow, when we go to the State Fair, and I'll get to see if I won anything.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Slumber Party

We've been having another heat wave (it's supposed to break tomorrow, I think). Anyway, it's HOT in the house; and we decided to sleep in the basement last night. David brought down three matresses, and we had a slumber party! We talked a lot before bed, watched some TV (Wife Swap and SuperNanny -- two shows which I've seen only once or twice before, and are pretty fascinating in a car crash kind of way), and slept great!

I think we'll sleep down here tonight too. Since we've been hanging out down here, the dog comes down too (she usually likes to be wherever I am), and stays cool.