Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer fun has begun

This summer is off to a busy start! The last day of school was last Thursday, and that night we drove down to the city for a little "va-ca." We stayed with Dave's mom that night, then since it was so hot the next day we went to the Palisades Center mall. It's huge! The kids (ok, Dave and I too) went on the carousel...it was a double-decker one, pretty cool.

Later that day we drove out to Long Island. I remember why I moved away from there...TRAFFIC! And driving east on a Friday afternoon in the summer is the worst. I used to work in Queens and I remember sitting on the LIE crying many a Friday evening. LOL Anyway we finally got to our hotel where Dave was in a conference all day Saturday. On Friday we swam in the hotel pool...

and went to Dave and Buster's for dinner.

Since the kids and I had all day on Saturday free, we invited my friend Sally and her kids over to the hotel and we spent the day swimming. Kids can stay in a pool all day, can't they? It was so great to see Sal. We've been friends for 25 years, and every time we see each other we just pick up where we left off.
That night we went to Sally and her husband Bill's house, then onto one of Dave and my all-time favorite restaurants, the Babylon Fish and Clam. It's right on the water and they serve fabulous seafood. We adults had calamari, clams, chowder, etc. And of course margaritas. Afterwards we all walked down to the pier.

On Sunday we drove into Brooklyn to visit my Dad. He's got a great apartment in an Art Deco building in Brooklyn Heights. It was soooo hot and humid that day, blech! But we braved it and walked down to the Promenade.

The Statue of Liberty is was in the distance there.

We met his girlfriend and her sister at a restaurant for brunch, then drove back to Syracuse that night. Busy yet fun! This week swimming and softball started so there's no time to be bored (yet).


I'm hand-stitching the binding on Annabelle's quilt, so not much to show in terms of craftiness. I DID, however, get some great new fabric from FQS!

Whimsy for 40% off!

Holiday Happy FQ bundle and some yardage

Don't you love those little santa gnomes? I have no idea what I'm going to make with these yet but who cares! I will take out the FQ's and refold them into a cute little stack though. And then just stare at them for awhile.


OK, gotta run and make tacos...thanks for stopping by!

♥ Jen

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bags, berries, and buys

Today is the last full day I'll have to myself. The kids have half-days tomorrow and Thursday, then that's it for the summer. On one hand I love when they're home and we can do fun stuff together; but I'll also miss having all that time to myself. But we've got lots of fun things planned...going to Long Island, Rhode Island, maybe some other islands, who knows. LOL They've got swimming lessons starting next week and Annabelle has softball too.

I finished up the makeup bags for the bus driver and the teacher aides.

Once again, I LOVED making these. You can really customize them. Plus I did these "assembly-line" style so I think I'm improving my overall bag time. Except for when I forgot to open the zipper before sewing the bag closed. On two of them. Uh huh.


Anyway I drove A and M to school today with all the teachers' gifts. After that I headed to Wal-Mart, got a coffee at the McDonald's there (have you ever had their coffee? It's darned good!), and shopped for an hour. I know the next time I get to do that won't be until the fall...my kids are not what you'd call "shoppers."


We went strawberry-picking over the weekend with Dave's mom. We had to go early because it was supposed to get super hot later on. As it was it was pretty toasty.

We picked 16 lbs.! Dave made some freezer jam later that day. Good stuff. Then I washed, hulled, and froze three cookie sheets worth. The rest we've just been eating like crazy. So much better than store-bought berries.

Here are a few cute things I purchased as of late. This first one I got at Christmas Tree Shops...isn't it the cutest little bottle? I stuck some wild daisies in it and it just looks so summery to me.

Then I bought this glass cleaner at Target. Don't you just love the retro graphic? I'm a sucker for cute packaging.

My Holiday Happy should be arriving by UPS any minute now...I am so excited! I think I'll be staring at it for months, not wanting to cut into it! Who else is excited to get theirs??


Do me a solid and check out Sherry's kitty. Doesn't she look just like my Willow (the gray one)? They must be long-lost cousins!

Have a great day!

♥ Jen

Monday, June 21, 2010

Contest winner!

First of all, thank you to everyone who left a comment and entered my giveaway. I hope to do more of them in the future, it was a lot of fun! So let's find out who won! I used the random number generator and...

The winner is Sherry from Blessings from Our Nest! Sherry wrote..

This is a fantastic giveaway and I would love to win. I enjoy visiting you and love to see what creatie things your are doing. Thanks for sharing, I just love the apples and the pumpkin too.

Congratulations! Sherry please send me your snail mail address and I will get your goodies out to you right away!

Have a great day everyone...

♥ Jen

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A couple of things

Happy Father's Day everyone! To all the Dads out there (including my awesome Dad and husband), thank you for all that you do for our families! We appreciate it so very much!!

My buddy Sharon of Red Geranium Cottage fame just opened her online store, it's called...

Stop by and say hi! She's got a great newsletter too with specials and such, be sure you sign up for that!

I'll write tomorrow with the winner of the giveaway...come back soon now!

♥ Jen

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Apples and a GIVEAWAY

I am an apple-makin' mad woman! Well, not really, but I did get into a groove. I made a "country-color" group for my daughter's teacher...

and a "bright-color" group for my son's...

I shrink-wrapped them too. Before Annabelle was born, I worked at a Bath and Body Works for a year or two. My favorite part of that job was creating gift baskets for customers. Especially men. They'd pick out a few items in a scent they thought their wife/whoever would like, then a basket, then I'd arrange them, wrap, ribbon, and shrink. They always looked so happy at "their" creation!

I have to tell you...when starting to make these apples, I forgot which template I used. The pattern is from this book...

and there's a large, medium, and small version. First I tried the large...way too big. It's a pumpkin-sized softie. To make a long story short, I went through all of them and NONE was the size I needed! So I made a new pattern in-between the small- and medium-sized templates. But what to do with the three I had already made??

GIVEAWAY! That's right, my first! Here's what you'll get if you win...

I made a vine for the largest one so it is definitely a pumpkin. The smaller ones can be either a pumpkin or an apple. But that's not all, gentle readers! They needed something to go in...

This is a wooden primitive bowl that I think really goes with the country-colors of the pumpkins. Oh, let's add a wooden chicken too, what the heck!

And what would a giveaway be without a bit of fabric, right? Here are three fall-ish fat quarters from my stash for your enjoyment.

So, to sum up, here's what is up for grabs...

Three fabric pumpkins, handmade by me; primitive bowl; wooden chicken decoration; and three autumn fat quarters. (Quilt underneath not included). Unfortunately I am going to have to limit this to US entries ONLY...the size of the box will make shipping prohibitive.

Just leave me a comment and I will pick a random winner on Monday (June 21st). Good luck!!

♥ Jen

Monday, June 14, 2010

Stipplin' fun

The stippling is D-O-N-E, done! I finished it yesterday. Seriously, by the end, it was no big deal. I wasn't thinking about every little curve and stitch. It definitely got to feeling almost natural. I still have to trim the ends and add the binding, but here it is so far...

I used 3 spools of white thread for the quilting, including bobbins. More than for straight-line quilting, for sure.

I really do love the colors. The pinks, orange, red and yellow are so bright and cheerful.

My arms got a workout, which is good because they need it. The quality-control department is already at work...

I'll do the binding after I make end-of-year teacher gifts. I've got a few apples made, a bunch more to go. Then I need to make the little wool leaves like on these. Anyway here are the mostly-done ones...

I'm also thinking of making the aides and the bus driver makeup bags. Maybe put a little DD gift card in them. Ok, note to self, gotta get moving on those too. Hard to believe that the kids are almost done with school! I've got them signed up for swimming lessons, and Annabelle will do a softball camp too. We're going to do a little travelling and otherwise have fun. I do like hanging out with those kiddos!
Today I had to run to Yankee Candle to get some air freshener refills. Home Sweet Home is my absolute favorite scent and I love for my house to smell like it...it's cinnamon-y, spicy, and homey. The saleswoman told me that the fall scents will be out soon. Now that's something autumnal I can get used to in the summer!
Enjoy your day and I hope the week is starting off well for everyone!

♥ Jen

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quilting, in progress

This was my first time spray-basting my quilt top/batting/backing sandwich. And hey, I liked it! My first thought was to do it outside to avoid the fumes...but it was too windy. Then I thought I'd tape the backing to the floor like Sarah suggested. This might have worked if it was the cats' naptime. As it was, they believed I was laying a blanket out for them to bathe, wrestle, and lounge upon. Why, oh why do they torture me? Sigh. I was about to shut them in a room for awhile when I realized, hey, I like to pin my quilt backs to the carpet anyway. So I got out my t-pins and did that. Kitty footprints don't mess them up quite as much.
I followed Sarah's method for spray-basting and it was easy. Although I had opened all the windows, the fumes were not bad at all. I still want to try 505...I had even gone to North Syracuse to The Mission Rose but they were all out. Oh well next time.
I started by quilting in-the-ditch around the borders. Basic stuff.

I only have one teeny pucker in the back. I'm going to pretend it's not there. I won't even show you because of course it's NOT there.
Then I moved on to stippling. Now it should be noted that the only quilts I've stippled before are placemats. I did experiment on some scraps but a large quilt is a very different experience. I felt like I was not in control of the pattern/quilt/machine and it was really really frustrating. After I did about a quarter of a column I got so aggravated that I ripped out all of my stitches. It took forever and I seriously felt like crying. Ridiculous I know. But I was disappointing myself. Why should this be so hard? It's called "meandering," for heaven's sake. I tried again on some samples then moved to my quilt. Also a disaster. I took a break and rethought the whole thing.

Maybe I should admit defeat and do a grid pattern. Friends, I was very close. But I really really REALLY wanted a stippled quilt. I re-read Sarah's tutorial and she inspired me to relaaaaaaax, take a deep breath, and go for it. At this point I was so exhausted that I think it helped. I lost my tension and just figured what the he--. It's not going to be perfect and that's just the way it is.

I definitely got into it. It was...dare I say it...Fun. Once I just let go and took the pressure off myself, it worked.

There are some good parts...

And not good parts...oopsie!

But those I can live with. I have half of the quilt center done. I tell you, my arms have been getting a workout! Quilting gloves definitely help. And an actual sewing table (where your machine bed is flush) would be awesome. I keep getting the quilt caught on the edge of Bitsy. What's nice is that I don't have to tape straight lines to quilt. I am using a ton of thread though!
So that's my story so far. I'm glad that I stuck with it, it was close for awhile there. I'll show you when it's all done.

♥ Jen