Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Project #2: Finishing a Pillow

I was super lucky and was able to take Elizabeth Hartman's Free Motion Quilting class at Modern Domestic. If you have never taken a class there, and you are a local, you should!  Our class was a nice small size, and I felt like I had lots of time to ask lots of questions and get help when I needed it. Elizabeth is a wonderful instructor and I wholeheartedly recommend her class!
My pillow!
We spent the first day cutting our fabric and learning how to practice quilting with a walking foot. On our second day we practiced quilting on a second quilt sandwich with our free motion, or darning foot.  
This was supposed to be wonkier lines.
I learned I have to start really wonky for them to stay wonky as I go.
I had ordered a free motion foot and a walking foot years ago, knowing that someday I would want to use them to quilt something I had finished. I was pretty nervous to put them on my machine, but after the first class I came home and hooked up the walking foot. It was awesome! And after the second class, I came home and hooked up my free motion foot, and it was awesome too!
Pebble quilting!!!  Oh I was super excited to learn this one.
I finished up my pillow at home, and took it to our quilt guild meeting for show and tell. Yay! I had something to show! Not a quilt yet, but I'll get there.
Stippling.  The hardest for me!  I held my breath the whole time I did this square.
It turned out much better than I thought it would.
The fun part of this is I did most of it with little ones (literally) tugging on my sleeves...and pants. So if I can quilt like that, imagine what will happen if I have a little time to myself.
Leafy vines! I wanted to try stars on vines, but the ones I did looked like sad wierd triangles.
I am super happy I was able to take this class. I know I will be able to keep practicing the techniques and improve with time. What is your favorite quilting (or other!) class you have ever taken?  

Today I am Grateful for:
1. Sewing!  Quilting!  It makes me happy.
2. PMQG.
3. Learning new things.
4. Living so near PDX.  So many amazing ladies belong to my quilt guild!  I am lucky!

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Garden

I love royal weddings!  I remember waking up early to see Prince Charles and Lady Diana get married when I was a little girl.  Now, I am going to get up very early to see Prince William wed Kate Middleton today!
Our flowers last year!
Molly and I have been picking out our seeds for our flower garden.  We have been royally influenced in our choices this year.

Sweet William is going to marry...
Flowering Kale, I mean Kate.
She is as sweet as an English Daisy.
She will become a part of the Royal Family!
The Archbishop of Canterbury will marry them.
And they will live happily ever after in misty Anglesey, Britain!

Are you looking for something cute to do with your little ones to mark the occaision?  Look here! (And then look at the other ideas to the right!)

Today I am grateful for:
1. Tivo.  If I don't get up early enough, Tivo will record it for me!
2. Summer is coming!  We can plant soon.  I have big plans for the garden this year.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vancouver Adventures

We had a rainy spring break week.  I wish the weather had been better, but we had one day (sort of) with sun.  I think Mother Nature must be holding back for a super-terrific summer she has planned for us.  Right?  (Say yes.)

We decided to stick closer to home and have our adventure here in Vancouver.

The Pearson Air Museum is close by, and we went to visit!  It is located in a large hangar in Fort Vancouver, near Officer's Row and downtown Vancouver.  

The rudders and tail fin wiggle on this one! The propeller spins too.

There are plenty of cute things for little ones to do, and lots of really great information for older children and adults on the history of flight, and specifically the history of flight in the northwest.
Here is part of the museum.  There is so much more!
The museum is housed in this hangar.
They even had a Snoopy plane.  Molly is pretty crazy about Snoopy ever since her Grammy showed her "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown".  She thinks Snoopy is hilarious. Though I am not sure she was as impressed with the Red Baron plane as I was.

As we walked through the parking lot when we were finished with the museum, we smelled something wonderful.  I had heard that there was a wonderful bakery nearby, so we followed our noses.

The Julia Bakery is located not *too* far from Pearson Air Museum!  We had to get out the GPS to find it though :).   Molly chose a cookie, I had a blueberry scone, and Marshall had a bun with prosciotto, ham, and olives baked inside.  We all liked our choices. 
Mmmm scones!
Today I am grateful for:
1. Healthy kids!  I am probably jinxing it, but everyone has been healthy for awhile.
2. Family to share holidays with!
3. Intermittent sunny weather.
4. A great crafting room to sew in.  I know I am lucky to have one!
5. My Dads!  I have two, and one has a birthday today!  Happy birthday Dad! (Ha, just realized he used to oversee/something the Pearson Air Field when he worked for the city.  What a coincidence!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
Psalms 150:6

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Project #1: Ironing Board Cover

I finally got my first project done.  I wanted to do one a week, ha ha.  Oh well, it is a start!

I love that iron holder thingy- it is from IKEA.  So are the wall hanging containers.  But they are super old.  Now they have these...

I recovered my ironing board.  It was an old cover, one we had had since we got married (10+ years old).  At Christmas I had ironed some fusible interfacing the wrong way - down - and it had become sticky.  So as a temporary fix, I put a piece of waxed paper on the sticky spot.  And then it wasn't fun to iron anymore.  Not that it ever was fun, but it was even less so when I was dealing with the wax paper and sticky spot.  

So!  A new cover became one of my project goals for the year.  I wanted a bright spot of yellow in the room and I had these in my stash.  Perfect.  Except the polka dot was too short.  I remembered seeing a picture of a pattern from Cotton Way of patchwork ironing board covers, and I thought oh!  I can do something simple to make my fabric stretch. I added the gingham to make it a bit longer, and it worked!

I followed pretty much the same pattern for making the cover as I did here when I made the mini one.

It sure is bright and pretty- and I am enjoying being able to iron things again!

Today I am Grateful for:
1. A sunny spring like day!  We went for a long walk and the flowers and trees were awesome.  Yay spring!
2. Jack's teeth.  He is getting some new molars, and so nursing is off and on, but I am grateful he will be able to chew things up better with his new teeth.
3.  My little girl is four.  Oh my.  This deserves it's own post, but oh.  Four.  So big!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brought to You by the Letter D

Daffodils! Donuts!  We went on another adventure this past rainy Sunday. Molly is getting used to the idea.  When she got into the car after church, she asked, "Where are we going on our 'venture?"
My little yellow flower in the daffodil field.

So off we went to pick daffodils!  This is a great little Vancouver spot that was written up in The Columbian (our local paper) last year.  Each dozen you pick costs only 50 cents.  My favorite flower is the daffodil (Wait...I am lying, I love lilacs maybe they tie for my favorite flower).  It's so fun to fill the house with their happy sunny faces in the spring.  Molly and I cut 48 daffodils and had to stop because our hands were too cold- it was pouring rain.  I am thinking about going to get more this next week.  It is so nice to have fresh flowers in the house!  If you go, bring a plastic bag and a pair of scissors for easy cutting and carrying.

Doooonnnuuttttssss (ala Homer Simpson)
Next, we accessed our app Portland Essentials and off we went in search of donuts.  The Helen Barnhard Bakery has been around since 1924.  Helen started the bakery in her kitchen.  The little bakery was super sweet (har har) and by the time we got there, our donuts were even half off!  And delicious!  Another D!

I wanted a cinnamon roll, but they were all sold out.  So darn (D!), we will have to go back.  Oh dear (D!).  Someone stop me.

Thanks to Evelyn and Another Yarn for all the great ideas for new things to do in Portland! (See comments last post.) My list is growing!

Grateful List:
1. I am thankful for all the people out there who can help everyone effected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  It is times like this I want to be a doctor or a nurse.  Or a nuclear physisist.  You know, one of those.  So I could help.

2. I am grateful for Jen.  She told me I can do it (no TV for Lent) and I am.  And it is not that bad, but every once in a while, I have to take a deep breath and step away from the remote.

3. Inspiration. I wish I could do this in 40 days.  Even though I can't on that level, I can go slower, and make it happen!  It might take me a bit longer.  I am okay with that.

4. Spring! The croci (I looked it up) are beautiful and purple, and the daffodils, well, I already covered that!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Adventures in Portland

I recently got a new phone.  I have needed one for awhile, but being me, I had just gotten used to the old one.  It was two years old, maybe older?  I just found a calendar option on it the other day.  Oh well.  Marshall ordered a refurbished iPhone for me.  I have been having a lot of fun finding new applications for it.  Some I have found for Molly, and some for me.  In the next few months I'll blog about the ones Molly is using.

Screenshot taken from the iTunes Store

I found one for the whole family the other day called "Portland Essentials".  It has a lot of fun little categories like "Hidden Gems" and "Child Friendly".  We are having great fun planning our trips around Portland based on it.  Sunday we went on our first adventure!

Screenshot taken from the iTunes Store
We were going to go to Voodoo Donuts, but the line was crazy.  So we decided to go to Mother's Bistro and Bar.  Yum!  It was around noon when we arrived, and we had a 45 minute wait (ha ha, so much for not waiting).  The staff were wonderful and so sweet to the children, and we had a lovely little table in the back.  I really enjoyed looking around at the decor, lots of fun chandeliers and mirrors.  The food was good, I had the crab cakes sandwich, Molly had the cheeseburger and fries, and Marshall had the biscuits and gravy.  We all liked our meals.  They are well known for their macaroni and cheese, next time I will order that.  Then we walked over to the Portland Saturday Market.  

After we walked through the market, we walked along the park and played in the grass.  A lovely girl named Karen gave Molly the ball she is playing with below.  Isn't that sweet?  She said she bought it that day to give away to a little one.

Molly and her new ball.  Part of Portland Saturday Market is in the background.
We are looking forward to our next adventure in Portland.  We are thinking trying again for Voodoo Donuts, a bicycle ride along the river or maybe a tram ride!

Do you live in Portland?  Ever been to Portland?  What is your favorite place to go/thing to do?  We would love to hear your ideas!

Today I am Grateful For:
1.  Semi-healthy children right now.  Yay!
2.  Molly and Jack entertaining each other today for about 15 minutes.  It was so fun to watch.  Quietly.  While I got something done. :)
3.  The purple crocus poking up their pretty heads in our flower beds outside.  Yay spring!
4.  Kona solids.  I picked up a bunch today on sale for a secret project.
5. My husband for holding Jack on his lap at night so I can sew/clean/sort/whatever.  (He doesn't like to sleep without one of us holding him.  Molly went through a similar phase.)

So, on one last note...I am thinking about giving up television/movies for Lent.  Am I crazy?  Or crazy smart?  Or will I go crazy?  I don't watch television during the day, it is usually at night after the kids go to bed that we watch something.  I am not sure of this yet.  I thought at first it was a good idea, now I am thinking otherwise.  Which probably means I should do it.  Gah.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cranberry Picking on My Parent's Farm

Yeah, so blogging.  It seems to be taking a back seat to life right now, but here is a little fall catch-up from me...I promise I will get back in the swing of things soon!

The cranberry bog on my parent's farm in Oregon.
This past Thanksgiving, I was able to pick cranberries with my Mom in my parent's cranberry bog.  Normally, we just call this the pasture.  But I will be all fancy and call it a cranberry bog, because that is what part of it is now!

When we were kids, we always strung popcorn and cranberries together to decorate the Christmas tree.  In early January, we would take the stale strings down and place them outside in the trees for the birds to eat. forward 20 or so years, and my Dad was walking around in the pasture one fall (I think it was 2008) and noticed that there were red berries underfoot.  He looked closer, and discovered our cranberry bog!  The birds had eaten the Christmas tree decorations, and when they "went to the birdy bathroom" as they were flying, enough of them went in the same area.  This area is right near our pond, and quite swampy. The seeds from the cranberries took root, and et voila!  Cranberry bog!

Here are some hiding.  I am going to get you!
Did you know most of the world's cranberries are grown and harvested in the United States and Canada?  And they like the coastal areas, so Oregon and Washington both have lots of cranberry farms.  This is a great little video on how a wet harvest looks.  

So one of my crazy fantasies one day is to work on a cranberry farm at harvest time.  I have always wanted to do this!  I really like cranberries, especially in my Mom's cranberry orange bread.  They are such a versatile little fruit.  You can eat them, sauce them, bake them, even decorate with them!
Here is my Mom (well, her hand anyway) picking cranberries.
She wears disposable gloves so her hands don't get wet.  But they do get cold!

We picked for about 30-40 minutes and got quite a few.  It was cold and wet so we went inside to see how many we had.

Oooh magical cranberries!  Aren't my Mom's hands pretty?  I have always thought so.
Here are the cranberries floating in a plastic tub.
When you want to separate the cranberries from all the little leaves and things that stick to them, you float them in a pan or bowl.  Just like the real cranberry farmers do it, just on a much smaller scale!
See underneath?  That is all the stuff I don't want in my cranberry orange bread!

And when you are all done?  Lucious yummy cranberries to eat!  Or mix into your favorite bread recipe!

Here is my mom's yummy cranberry orange bread recipe.

Margaret's Cranberry Orange Bread
Makes: 1 loaf (large) 
Bake at: 325 degrees F

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted margerine or butter
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup magical cranberries chopped up!
1/2 cup nuts- your choice- optional

Mix dry ingredients together very well in a large mixing bowl.  Mix wet ingredients together.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well.  Mix them both together until just moistened.  Add your cranberries and nuts and stir gently.  Bake in a greased loaf pan for 60-70 minutes at 325 degrees F.  Store 24 hours after baking but before cutting.  (It is a little more firm this way).  Makes 1 loaf (large!) of cranberry orange bread.  Be sure to watch them closely if using smaller loaf pans or muffin tins and cut your baking time down.

I would have shown you finished loaves, but Molly and I made them and I doubled the butter by accident.  Oops!  They weren't very pretty, but they still tasted great :).


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stop Freaking Out Resolution, and More!

I can't stand a picture-less post on my blog, so here is my winter mantel.
I always want to spell mantel with the l and the e switched around.  It looks funny to me this way.
I have a tendency to overthink things.  A lot.  I think about them and think about them, and then don't do anything because I am scared of the results.  Or the process.  I do this with everything. EVERYTHING! It is soooo frustrating.

I went to hear Amy Karol of Angry Chicken speak at Powell's last fall when her new book came out, and she said something that was super awesome. (I am paraphrasing here...) She said that we should treat our first time doing something as a practice run, and expect it won't turn out like we want it to. If we just expect that- and it does turn out well, then wahoo!  If it doesn't, well, then you know what to fix the next time. When she said that (or you know, something close to it) it was like something released for me- it made sense, and someone (Angry Chicken no less!) had given me permission to mess up. It is okay to mess up.  

So my first New Year's Resolution is to stop freaking out. Stop overthinking things. Just sew.  Just repair. Just finish something.

Here is my big resolution this year: I will be sewing/making/repairing/finishing one thing a week this year.  I have a bunch of things just waiting to be finished, and 2011 is their year! I will also blog it, whatever it is. It might be a box that needs to be emptied from our move a year and a half ago, it might be a sewing project that I promised someone I would finish for them. I am going to stop overthinking things and get something finished.

So here are the other New Year's Resolutions that I would like to make public (because it might light the fire I need under my bum to get going on them if I tell you):

1. Stated above- get 1 project a week finished.
2. Open my Etsy shop.  Soonish.
3. Blog once a week, twice if possible.
4. Stop volunteering for things.  Full stop.  My plate is full.
5. Stick to my budgeted allowance.
6. Get rid of stuff.

Okay, that sounds great!  I am full of excitement about this year, and can't wait to get a start on my list.  After this stomach flu goes away. (Seriously- I always get the flu shot and I always get the flu!  I know, I know, not all flu viruses are in that shot- but still- I am putting it out there to the universe- I DON'T WANT THE FLU ANYMORE.  STOP GIVING IT TO ME.) 

And I am sorry I was gone so long from this space.  This fall was a bit overwhelming.  I am back now though!  Happy Halloween!  Happy Thanksgiving!  Happy Christmas/Holidays!  Happy New Year!  

I am also going to add things I am thankful for to the bottom of each blog entry from now on! 

Things I am thankful for today:
1. My beautiful semi-healthy children.  (Flu/colds/new teeth!)
2. Marshall.  We are like peas and carrots, and I don't tell him enough how great he is.  Honey, you are great.  I love you.
3. Living in the NW.  It  makes me so happy.
4. A home.  Food. My husband is employed.  All good things that I don't take for granted.
5. The people who read this blog.  Thank you!

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