Friday, June 30, 2006

New Look 6596

I don't like to wear shorts, so I made a new skirt last week, while the boys were in Vacation Bible School. This pattern is so fast and easy! According to the size chart and my measurements, I should have made a 16 (30" waist, 40" hips). After some flat pattern measuring, I felt that was a bit big, so I cut a 14 instead. The front and back are the same piece, and then the waistband, so cutting and sewing were really fast. Once I got the skirt together and wore it for a while, I felt the 14 was still too big. Last night I cut it down to a 12, which you see pictured here. Click here to see the 14 on me. The 12 is 2" smaller than the 14, and I am much happier with it.

In April, Carolyn wrote about post on her blog about techniques that turn her on. I have some of the same feelings. Yeah, I can whip out a skirt like this in an hour or so, and it'll look nice and be quite wearable, but isn't it so much nicer to have it lined and finished like this? THIS is one of the reasons I sew: I can have what I want, and it's pretty both inside and out.

Not a bad looking skirt for 1.5 yds of an Amy Butler print (cost: about $8), 1 yd of Ambiance (cost: about $8, though in my stash for ages so it's really free), and 1 yd of 1" elastic (cost: 95 cents). I have two more AB prints in the queue for more of these skirts. David doesn't know if he likes it -- says it looks "June Cleaverish", but if I glam it up with some wedges and a pretty blouse, I'm sure he'll change his mind. ;)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Thirty-six years old today! I've never felt better -- I'm in the best shape of my life, have a wonderful family, and many lovely things.

Today my mother is taking the boys for a while, and I'm going to the day spa to get a pedicure and a facial. After 2 days of camping, I am SO looking forward to it! David gave me some cool new sneakers (I love shoes, but I'm terrible at picking casual stuff), a very bling bling belt, and a featherbed (ok, so the featherbed isn't totally just for me. :) still, it's WONDERFUL!). Caleb just scared me in the hallway with a Happy Birthday serenade, and I haven't figured out whether or not I'll be getting a cake made today. I'm thinking about ordering chinese for supper. My mother gave me a panini press (kewl!).

Hopefully, I'll get a little time at the sewing machine too. I made a new skirt last week, and it's a titch too big, so I'd like to take it in.

Let the birthday celebrations begin!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Summer Camping

We went camping Monday afternoon, returning this morning. Eight families went, with seventeen kids altogether. It was a blast!

Our site was at the Greenbush Group Campsite, in the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. It's a beautiful location, with trails all around, so the kids have a lot of fun exploring.

We spent most of Saturday at Elkhart Lake. The kids built a intricate sand structure and played a lot in the sand and water. The mamas (and two dads) ate lunch, snacked, sunned, and had some good beer and wine. :)

I love camping with these girls -- the food is fantastic! Some of the food we had: bean/rice nachos, aisan salad, quesadillas, melted brie with bread, blueberry pancakes, hoppel poppel, sandwiches, and various delicious dips for chips. We also roasted marshmallows and made smores. Everyone helps everyone else out, which makes things so much nicer.

We got rained on at least twice, which, while not great for packing up, made for good frog hunting.

We'll be going back in September for the annual Not Back To School camping trip.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Thursday evening we went to pick strawberries (and sugar snap peas) at Barthel's Fruit Farm. It was a beautiful day for picking, and we had a great time.

We picked about 15 pounds of berries. They are so sweet and juicy. Yesterday I put up 4 batches of my Easy Strawberry Jam. We also made popsicles by adding orange juice and a touch of sugar to the berries and blending them. Yummy!

The boys helped by keeping Connor out of my way, and by licking the spoons and pot! Mmmmm, there is nothing better than hot jam! They also made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches right away. :)

Yay! We have jam again! Two pints, twenty half-pints, and seven quarter-pints. All the fruit floated to the top, though, so I don't think I'll be entering any in the fair. Does anyone know why that happens? Today I'll put some berries aside for when our peaches come, and then I'll make MY favorite jam: Peach-Strawberry. I just love how all the jars look on my counter.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


The other night, Caleb was reading a story to Connor. I got out the camera to snap a picture, and the boys decided to start acting silly. I took a bunch of photos -- they came up with the poses. Here are a few for your enjoyment:

Things are NEVER boring around here.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Delectable Mountain Baby Quilt

I finished the quilt top for my nephew over the weekend. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. The back is going to be the green w/dots fabric, and I'll drop it off for quilting in the next few days. The binding is going to be plaid, and I think I'll use wool batting.

I love how young children always copy everyone, and want to be just like their parents or older siblings. Connor always likes to 'help' when I sew. Usually that means he's standing behind me on the chair trying to push the buttons (grrr!!!) or trying to help the thread along, but yesterday he decided to 'cut' some quilt blocks instead. Don't worry, the blade is retracted on the rotary cutter!

After 'cutting' his block, he had to try it out on the design wall. I have found that if I'm cutting a quilt, I can give him all the little scraps to play with, and he has quite a good time arranging them on the wall. That's good for a few minutes of peace. :)

Next on the agenda are some diaper covers, as Connor has pretty much outgrown the size Mediums we have. The boys are in VBS every morning this week, so I also hope to get a skirt made from New Look 6596. I have a darling Amy Butler print to make it from, and I'll line it in ambiance.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Boys, Boys, Boys!!!

The testosterone levels are getting way out of balance in our family!

We went back to Chicago on Wednesday so that Caleb and Calvin could meet Pablo. They marveled at how little and light he is (both remember Connor as a newborn, and he was 2 pounds heavier at birth). They enjoyed holding him and feeling his soft hair.

Calvin played "This Little Piggy" ever so gently. He likes to play it a bit rough with Connor, but he informed me since Pablo is new, he needs to play extra gentle. I think it is so neat how the kids just know to be gentle and soft with babies. Calvin also had brought the video camera to record Pablo's every move; it'll be fun to watch his 'movie'.

We are going to have a great time with "Cuzzy", as Calvin has dubbed him. :)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Beautiful Baby Boy

Look at my new little nephew! Isn't he just perfect? I was honored and delighted to be asked to come and help my brother and Julie with their first night home with Pablo. Connor and I went down Sunday afternoon, brought supper, and helped them get settled. I changed diapers, helped with nursing, made breakfast in the morning, and got a lot of snuggly baby time in. :)

He's a little peanut, but that'll change fast, as he is nursing like an old pro already. It was so fun to hold a new little baby again, and one of the great things about him being little is that he'll get to wear all the really cute tiny clothes longer. He had a wonderful first night home, waking up to nurse 3 times, and loudly fussing and protesting his diaper changes, as most newborns do.

Connor thought he was pretty cool, and seeing that Pablo and he are not even 2 years apart, I'm sure they are going to be good friends. I'm looking forward to cousin sleepovers in the future. :) Connor kept telling us the baby was sleeping (Baby nigh-nigh!) or that he was nursing (Baby mao!). He would smile and giggle when Pablo stretched or made faces.

We're going back to visit on Wednesday, with all the boys, as the older two haven't met their new cousin yet.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Peter Pablo II
6:03 p.m.
6 pounds, 7 ounces
9 days early

I'm sure he's perfect and beautiful. Congratulations to my brother and Julie! I can't wait to meet and hold my new little nephew.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I love shoes. Being short (5'2"), I especially love heels. Being a SAHM, heels are impractical, but that doesn't stop me. :)

Every season I have a shoe quest. Last fall/winter, it was brown suede boots (no luck, didn't find anything that fit my vision). This spring/summer, it's wedge espadrilles. Tuesday I found some that fit my vision, from Franco Sarto. Aren't they great? I was --->this<--- close to buying the red ones instead. (I already have about 4 pairs of red shoes!) The black is more versatile for me right now. Anyway, I think these are going to be great for this summer, with either skirts or pants. Being wedges, though, they don't sit well on my shoe racks.

I still need some summer shoes that will be practical for everyday wear. I plan to make a few skirts from New Look 6354 or something similar (I don't like shorts). Suggestions anyone?

Monday, June 05, 2006

State Fair

The Wisconsin State Fair Premium Book has been available online for about 2 weeks now. I haven't decided what I'm going to enter yet. I enter stuff every year, but last year (and this year so far) was pretty slow for me, sewing-wise. The quilt competition is really heavy, so I never enter quilts (besides, I usually don't quilt my own quilts, so I don't think they are eligible anyway). I can use this as an opportunity to finish 2 UFOs: my pink tweed jacket and a red silk duppioni La Fred Europa blouse.

I usually enter a few things in the food categories as well. Strawberry jam is always entered (less than a month until strawberry season! We so need it -- we ran out of last year's jam about 6 weeks ago), sometimes peach, and usually a mixed fruit jam. Sometimes I bake (have never placed, though), and sometimes I make regular food (mac-n-cheese, mexican rice).

Entries need to be postmarked by July 1, so I have a few weeks to decide yet.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Blocks Finished!

40 Delectable Mountain blocks are DONE! Tomorrow I'll arrange them on the design wall and then stitch the top together.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Baby Quilt Progress

(Don't read this, Julie, if you want to be surprised)

On Tuesday I started working on the baby quilt for my brother and SIL. Baby is due in about 3 weeks -- it's about time I started! This block pattern is called Delectable Mountain, and I'm using 5 different fabrics. I have been making a few blocks every night, and figure that I need about 35 blocks.

I've been putting the finished blocks on my design wall as I finish them. In the final quilt, I'll have the blocks mixed up, not matchy matchy like this. I think it's turning out quite nicely. I hope to have the top done by the time the baby is born. I still need to get backing fabric and maybe an outer border fabric.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Flowers in the garden

Here are some of the flowers blooming in our yard at the moment. The dianthus seeded itself from last summer, and I love the color. The delphiniums are little -- they are only supposed to get to be 10-12" high, and the color is so light and fresh. The iris came from my mom last year, and are double bloomers. I should get another set of blooms in fall. She is planning to divide a bunch of other iris in tons of colors (white, peach, tan, black, purple, yellow, and combos), and so I hope to get those planted along the garage. I cannot wait, they are all so pretty.

The peony should be blooming next, within a week or so.