Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where did it go??

Has anyone seen it? I just can't seem to find it anywhere right now. I usually keep it somewhere near where I keep inspiration and creativitiy, but it just doesn't seem to be there.  Oh, what am I  looking motivation.  My quilting motivation to be more precise. I think it made a jump over to my knitting needles, cause I've been working on that a little every day.  I was doing so well getting those UFOs done, but my motivation has kind of fallen off.  I guess we all have peaks and valleys, so I'm wandering trough a valley. I think I'm going to go look through my stash and see if I can find that motivation somewhere, and hopefully I'll be back with some quilty goodness when I find it :cD  Have a wonderful Wednesday. Warmest country wishes!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Makes me happy Monday #3

Hi everyone, boy did this weekend fly by!! It was a great weekend, and is the topic of my Makes me happy Monday.  This whole past weekend made me happy right down to my little toes.  First off, on Saturday was the Quilt and Cuisine shop hop.

These are some of the shops that participated, unfortunately most of the stores won't let you take pictures inside.  Sooooo many beautiful quilts and fabric.  I got a new thimble at the first shop. (I tried to get a picture, but none of them came out very good)  And bought some new fabrics to use in my first attempt at making my first modern quilt.
The bundle is Amy Butler, and the fat quarters, well, I'm not really sure who the designer is but I thought they were cute. I also got recipes for ham loaf with glaze, scalloped potatoes, country green beans, wheat bread, and date pudding. Each shop also gave one part of a mystery quilt pattern with the last step given at the last stop. It was a great time, I'll defintely be doing this one again!! I also had to snap a photo of this.... we still aren't sure how they get the horse up there and get him to stay so still. :cP 

(OK, of course I'm joking, its actually decoration on top of the restrooms at one of the stops we made ;cD)  With the shop hop over by 4pm I had time to go look around some shops in town.  I didn't come home with very much, but I did come home with this little guy...
What did I do with him, you ask? I'll show you in a little bit :cD
Then to add to the happy of the weekend we had a great Sunday with the kids! We just hung around home for a little bit, watched a movie, and did some of our respective "me" time hobbies.  I wanted to make a pin cushion, amongst other things, so I got ready for that. As I was doing so my daughter asked if she could make one too.  So here she is working away on hers...too cute!

...and my pin cushion?

Both are now proudly displayed on my sewing cabnet :cD
Finally, we made a trip to Chuck E. Cheese for a little fun.  I'm starting to wonder if my mousling may work in the broadcasting field.  Here's my son the director...

And my daughter the camera operator...

I also got to work on my knitting, and  I must say as a knitter teaching herself the hobby, I love YouTube.  I found a video on how to do the slip slip knit stitch....and also that I was doing my knit stitch not quite right. Now that I am, I am getting those pretty little "v"s and I am incredibly excited.  I also worked on my postage stamp quilt and am now up to 7 of 20 sections done.  All in all it was a wonderful weekend.
Well, after a whole weekend of fun the house shows it, so I am off to get the things done that need to be done, but it is well worth the extra work today around home for such a great weekend. Also to catch up on some blog reading, and maybe squeeze in a bit more fun.  Hope you all had a great weekend too, and a happy Monday. Warmest country wishes all!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

One last look at winter's beauty

Good morning everyone!  After the big thaw and all the warmer weather, this is what we woke up to this morning!
Actually it started falling last night as the temprature dipped below freezing, and working where I do there were plenty of windows there for me to be able to watch it fall.  Big, beautiful, fluffy flakes.

Don't get me wrong, I am ready for spring.  I love to be able to get outside in the warmth without a jacket and take in the sunshine and springtime flowers, but I have always thought a soft blanket of white fluffy snow covering everything is so beautiful and peaceful.  Especially when it is the wetter kind of snow that sticks to all the tree branches and bushes.  Just beautiful!!

Its supposed to warm back up, so this snow probably won't last the day, which actually isn't all that bad.  Tomorrow is the shop hop, and no snow or ice would make the trip easier, but I have to say I'm torn as to wheather I would like to see the countryside bursting with spring colors or covered in a lovely blanket of white.
Either way, being a lover of winter, I'm glad to have gotten to see winter's beauty one last time.

Well, I am on my way to get things done before work today. I hope to have lots of things to share after my trip tomorrow.  Hope you all have a great day!! Warmest country wishes!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm sew excited!

Hi all, not a whole lot new on the sewing front here, but I think that's gonna change. Every year there is a large shop hop in Amish country that I participate in.  Its a lot of fun, but some of the shops are a little far flung, and I usually have to work most evenings, so I rarely ever get to them all. Well, when I was visiting the shops this past fall, I found a flyer for this...
Quilts and food. Two of my favorite things together? How could I pass this one up!  Its this Saturday, and I have the day off!  I am so excited I am about to burst :cD  I'm not exactly sure what to expect at each of the stores, but I'm pretty sure there is a pattern and recipe you receive from each shop, a quilt show and food sampling afterwards and prizes.  And on top of that the shops are relatively close so I know I can get to them all. Yippee!!!  I'll be sure to do a show and tell about my weekend ;cD

My poor sewing machine is probably feeling a bit neglected of late, but my knitting needles are getting quite a workout.  I just can't seem to put them down! I did some more practicing, and even tried a knitted cable (which came out pretty well for a first attempt, but the picture I tried to take doesn't show up too well). I did find a very simple pattern for something cute I'm trying to make, so when it comes together, I'll share a picture of that too.  I do, however, have another picture to share.  I had someone ask me how big my pin toppers are, so I tried to get a decent picture to show their relative size.

Some are a little bigger, some are a little smaller, but these are about average size toppers. 

Finally, on the home front, I am going through one of those stretches where you find yourself asking "why?"....a lot. Things have been stressful, and I feel like my options are so limited sometimes.  I have very little family in the area, work is never ending (be it in the home or outside the home) and responsibilites can feel overwhelming.  I feel like I follow down a path to realize I should have taken a right when I took a left, then have to backtrack.  Ever have those days?  I am trying to keep a positive attitude because I know full well life always has a way of evening its self out.  I am a firm believer that when something bad or stressful happens, something good is around the corner to balance it all out. I know you don't go through trials for no reason, everything you experience is to help you learn and grow.  But, boy sometimes getting through those experiences....  I know I will emerge from this sronger and smarter, and that is what keeps me going. I did make it outside for a walk today to help relieve some stress, now I think I may spend some time with my sewing machine to help too.  Come on, who can say playing with fabric doesn't help them feel better ;cD

Well, I'm off again, I hope wherever you are the sun is shining, your sewing machine is humming, and things are happy.  Warmest country wishes!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Makes me Happy Monday #2

What makes me happy this Monday....two words....FREE TIME!  It was a very long weekend at work and now that Monday is here I have the whole day off and plenty of free time to relax and enjoy myself.  What do I plan to do with my free time today? Well, I am going to work on my knitting a little bit.  In the little bit of time I had to have fun between my shifts this past weekend, I have been playing with yarn and knitting needles more than my sewing machine.  I am just so excited to be learning something new!! I can't believe I didn't learn earlier being the daugher of a long line of knitters and crocheters.  So far I have been learned the simple knit stitch, purl stitch, the stockenette stitch and now am practicing a couple types of ribbing.  So far just samples, but I am hoping to try a simple project soon.
I did go out and buy myself a magazine too.  This one is published in the UK, so its a bit pricy, but it came with free purse handles (along with 4 purse patterns in the magazine) and lots of inspiration.  I don't think there are many projects in there that I could tackle just yet, but oh do I love looking at all the beautiful projects :cD

I've also gotten a few more strip sets done for my postage stamp quilt along.  I am sooo excited about this one. Every time I get more squares done and lay them out I just get absolutely giddy!

And I just might squeeze in some time to make some more little pin toppers.  These are ones I made last week, with my daughter.  I love having her work with me because sometimes she'll say something and it sets off a creative spark.  Like when we were working on these she said something about "three peas in a pod", I looked at her and said, ooohh I could make one of those! Hence the peas in a pod topper ;cD

And of course spend as much time with my family as I can.  I know for many people Monday signals the beginning of the work week and stress, but for me it is just the opposite...its the beginning of my "weekend" so I feel like a weight is lifted off my shoulders and I am just relaxed and happy.

Well, I am on my way to enjoy more of my day. Hope you all have a great one. Warmest country wishes everyone!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A finish and taking the plunge part 2

Hi everyone. Just a quick little post today as I am heading into a busy weekend. Its a beautiful sunny day here, and I've got another finish to share.  The 30's baby quilt is done!

So this brings my finishes from the BLCE list up to more down several to go...but at least I'm still moving forward :cD

Now to part two of taking the plunge. I know I visit many blogs where I've seen beautiful sweaters, socks, and other awesome knitted and crocheted items and say "one of these days I'm going to learn." Well, "one of these days" finally came.  When I was at Jo-Anns the other day looking for fabric (nothing jumped out at me though) I wandered over to the yarns and such and found a little teach yourself to knit book that came with needles as well. I knew I had yarn at home (I usually have some for embellishing and simple ties like for a pancho I made) so I went ahead and bought the book.  Now mind you its nothing fancy or anything, but I have learned the simple knit stitch :cD

Like I said, nothing fancy and not perfect, but its a start, and I'm pretty happy with it.  The little book is pretty cool...clear instructions, good illustrations, and goes through things in logical step by step order.  Now I am practicing the purl stitch, and am just going to practice the simple stuff before I try anything else.  But hey, I'm pretty darn excited :cD
 Well, here at the Country Mouse homestead, weekend = work for me.  I'm going to try to squeeze in time for fun stuff between my shifts, and try to keep making progress. Hope you all have a great day! Warmest country wishes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Taking the plunge

I have always admired modern quilts.  Maybe its because, being a child born in the early 1970s, the designs and fabrics that are so popular now remind me of when I was little. I see those fabrics and just feel warm and fuzzy.  I've even bought a few, not many though...yet, with all intentions of making a quilt with them.  The patterns, the colors, the designs all remind me of things I either had or saw when I was little.  And even though I am usually quite confident in undertaking new projects, there are a few I for some reason I just can't seem to find the confidence to start. Take batiks, for example. The beautiful hues and subtle (or not so subtle) patterning on the fabrics are gorgeous, and the quilts are breathtaking, but for some reason I just can't seem to figure out where to start to make one.  I tend to feel the same way about the modern quilts I see.  Well, I happened to be shopping at a local closeout store and was lucky enough to come across this...
I couldn't believe I found this, and for the hefty price of 6 whole dollars! Needless to say it came home with me :cD  I have been pouring over the pages, admiring the quilts and deciding which one I want to try first.  There are a couple I want to try for sure....heck, who am I kidding, I want to try them all.  Now if I needed any more motivation to get those UFOs finished up, this was it.  Not to mention there is a shop hop coming up in Amish country the end of this month and I have been saving some money back to be able to splurge a little :cD

On the home front, I have a mouseling home with me today.  When she came over last week I noticed what looked like a bite on her arm. We put some calomine lotion on it because it itched and didn't think too much more of it.  Well, when she came back this week it was worse.  She showed it to us and we thought it might be ringworm. She went to school Monday where the school nurse looked at it and said the same thing.  So yesterday we went to the doctor and lo and behold, ringworm it is. YUCK! So he suggested she stay home today while we started treating it since at this point its still quite contageous.  What was she most upset about when she found out?  That she wasn't going to get to wear her new green shirt to school today.  "Mommy, I can wear my green shrit at home tomorrow right?" was the first thing she asked me "Of course!!" was my reply.  So she'll be wearing her new green shirt while she helps me around the house and enjoys her extra day off. So with that I got an unexpected day off as well, so I am going to try to make the most of it.

Finally I want to wish you all a

I have to say I never really knew the story of Saint Patrick until my son got the Sumo of the Opera Veggietales DVD. It has the story of Saint Patrick at the beginning of the DVD before the main story, and they did a good job telling it too..not to mention it was quite fun to watch. So anyhow, however you celebrate, I hope you all have a fun, safe, enjoyable day. Warmest country wishes!!

Country Mouse

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Monday!!

Good morning! Oh I am so glad its Monday, its been a looooong weekend here. I usually work most of the weekend and this weekend was no exception.  The exception was I worked for 13+ hours on Saturday, that then kind of wiped me out yesterday. So today I have such plans for the day, hopefully I'll be able to get a lot of it done.  It continues to just be gray and dreary here, so I know I'll probably be able to get a lot of my indoor stuff done. The normal cleaning, I hope to make a bit more progress on my postage stamp quilt today, and I have a couple small projects in mind among other things.  Speaking of progress, I am on the verge of having another project go from the "to do" list to the "done" list! :cD I was able to squeeze in enough sewing time this weekend to finish quilting the 30s baby quilt and stitch the binding on.
Here is a close up of the quilting. I like it, but I am really feeling the need to practice my machine quilting skills so I can do some different kinds of free motion quilting.  I added the green binding in hopes of making it a little more gender un-specific.
This one may already have a home too. A co-worker of mine is expecting her first baby, so it will probably be heading to her house. I am going to try to at least start hand stitching the binding down today.  Next small project on the list before I tackle another big quilt? This one :cD....
Now that we've hopefully said good-bye to the snow outside, I can work on saying good-bye to the snow quilt on the BLCE list ;cD  Also, please take just a second or two and cast a vote on my little poll in my side bar about which of those large quilts I should tackle next. Thanks!!

Now for a bit of Monday morning cheer! I was visiting SweetP's blog and she has a button to a site that is doing Makes Me Happy Monday.  I think its a wonderful idea and a way to start the week off on a postitive note so I am participating too. If you would like to participate too, please click on the button to find out more.  So what is making me happy this Monday? This...

No, not shoes :cP the little feet that fill these shoes.  I have been blessed with two wonderful children, and although they have their moments, they bring me so much happiness. Also, Mondays is always our family day. They are with their dad every Saturday and every other Sunday, but I know Monday is ours, and that makes me all bubbly with happiness. Not to mention that they are just the sweetest kids in the world.

Thats them across from each other when they got to ride ponys at the state fair last summer.

Just to give you an idea of how sweet they are, I bought my son a typical boy t-shirt that had a list of "things to do", one of them was "Annoy sister". He was talking about the shirt and said "It shouldn't say that, it should say "love sister"." How cute is that?!?  My son is a typical boy...loves his video games, cars (he can tell you all you could want to know about makes and models), and Bakugan.  My daugher is a tomboy with a very girly side. What else can you say about a girl who wants to play "makeover" then go out and ride her bike in her skirt and freshly painted nails? They are both so unique, it makes me smile to think about how they've grown.  One thing that thrills me is that they both inherited their mom's love of arts and crafts. DS loves to draw, coming up with concept cars is his big thing right now, and DD loves to do whatever mom is doing.  She loves to help me sew, and even made me a pin topper to go with the others I have she wants to make a pin cushion to put them in :cD

They have grown so much, and I know it won't ever slow down.  I always tell new moms there is no lie in saying "They grow up so fast" and to enjoy every minute they can with their children. For now I am just thankful its Monday, and I am going to soak up every minute of time I can with them.

Well, I am off to try to get things underway today.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and find something that makes you happy this Monday.  Warmest country wishes!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who's ready for spring?

Me, me, ooohhh pick me! (Can you see me bouncing around over here?) I am so excited to see the grass peeking through the snow, to be able to go outside without a coat, to be able to drive with the windows down, to hear the birds....oh, I could go on and on :cD  Now, granted, I live in Ohio and we got a snow storm last year around Easter (I remember joking why color the eggs? Its easier to hide white, uncolored eggs in the snow LOL) but I am hoping that we won't get a repeat of last year. I even made a new set of pin toppers to show my excitement. What do you think?
Ok, I need a real camera, I know. But besides that? :cP  I'm pretty happy with them. I'd have to say my favorite is the little caterpiller, he's just cuter than cute. I think I've definetly found a "new" hobby too. I love working with the clay in a smaller scale.  They are just fun to make.  Got another small project done.  I have about a zillion safety pins for basting and have been wanting something cute to hold them all, so I turned this....

into this...

It looks a lot prettier sitting wherever it is I'm working than the plastic box I had, and wont spill like the other basket I was using for a while.  I got to put this to use, too, when I got this quilt basted and was able to start the quilting too.

This is the 30s baby quilt on the BLCE list. I knew how I wanted to quilt the stars, I'm still deciding on the open space, but I know I'm going to fill it in somehow.

Finally, I just have to say how thankful and content I am feeling today. Although I still have some very tough days and things aren't always easy, today is one of the days I woke up just feeling good. When I think about it all, I do have so much to be thankful for...two wonderful kids, a cozy home, food in my belly, time and energy to devote to my hobbies, warmer weather that lets me get outside to exercise.  I am also thankful to all of you who visit me here, and let me just chatter away. I know there is someone up there who is looking out for me, and even the trials I go through are for a reason, and help to make me who I am. This is one of the days I know I can face anything, and get through it!  I hope all of you out there, no matter what situations you face today, can find something to be thankful for, and find a sense of contentment today.

Well, I am going to get on my way here, so much to do and I actually have the spring in my step today to try to get it all done :cD Hope you all have a wonderful day. Warmest counry wishes!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Users and keepers...and other random stuff...

"Mommy, can I paint my nails?" a little voice asked me. Thinking what harm can be done, I answered back, "Sure honey, just be careful not to get your nail polish on stuff, ok?" "OK, thanks mom." my mouseling answered and away she went.  A little while later, she came to me, stuck out her hands and feet and with a big smile said, "How does it look?" "Beautiful!" I said, "Were you careful?"  "Yes mom. Well, I got a little bit on the toilet seat though."  Ok, no problem, I'm thinking...a little nail polish remover and all is well. So I get that cleaned up and think nothing more of the whole thing.  Everyone's happy.  Wellll......I went to strip the beds yesterday to do laundry and found a little red spot on the matress pad, it didn't occur to me what it was until I saw this....
and this...

Yes, that is red nail polish. It must have spilled and soaked the whole way through a fleece blanket, the quilt and sheets on her bed the whole way through!  Now, you're probably looking at that and thinking "Did you freak out or what?!?"  And honestly.....or what. This incident got me thinking on the whole why-I-make-quilts line of thought again.  This quilt was made for my daughter.  Yes, its hand quilted, but its far from perfect. Uneven stitches, puckering, seams coming apart in a couple places, even patched once, but she loves it. And loves that its on her bed, and isn't that the point? It is defintly one I would call a "user" quilt, (one that is made for being used) as opposed to a "keeper" (one that I have put a lot of time and effort into and that has special meaning enough that I don't want to see it ruined in any way and that I hope to pass to future generations). I remember hearing those terms used on Simply Quilts ages ago, and think they are something to keep in mind when making a new quilt. If its a keeper, I make sure its put up. If its a user, well, as soon as the binding is on, its on a bed, couch, table, etc and being used. I tend to make a lot more user quilts than keepers. I really enjoy seeing my quilts being used, so if it gets damaged a little, I honestly feel "so what" at least its loved and being used...that's one of my main goals.

Its been a bit of a slow weekend here, sewing wise anyway. I work all weekend and not until Sunday evening do I really get the chance to get some sewing done.  I did however get to make some progress on my postage stamp quilt along.  I am now up to 4 sections (I need 20 total) and am really excited about this project.  I'm still not crazy about the first section I made (the bottom left), its not nearly as random as the others... which I I'm not sure it's going to end up in the finished quilt.  If it doesn't, it will probably end up as a throw pillow.
Finally, I did make it over to Jo-Anns yesterday. I wanted to pick up a brown fat quarter for the postage stamps. It never ceases to amaze me how when you think you have everything you'll need, you find out you have no fabric of one color you want to use. That's got to be one of those Murphy's Laws of Quilting.  I thought I had plenty of brown scraps...I didn't :c(  But on the way in I was greeted by the sweetest little girl scout selling cookies and couldn't resist. So I am going to be getting on my way to get some more done, but I want to share 3 things a lot of us could agree are essential for great, a little something sweet and fabric (of course :cD) 

Hope you all have a great one! Warmest country wishes!!