Coral & Aqua Quilt Take Two

I created this quilt using extra fabric I had on hand from making a baby quilt for my niece last year.  My sister asked for coral and aqua colors with some grey.  In this quilt I added a few more neutral grays and beiges.  I love the simplicity of the rectangles and how the coral and aqua combine with the neutrals for a modern look.


For the backing, I used a Riley Blake fabric with cute little animals on it called Woodland Tails.  And, I finally added a label to a quilt!  I wrote my own label with a  permanent pen and whipstitched it onto the back.  IMG_2358IMG_2359I quilted the fabric with vertical straight lines about an inch apart.  It’s probably some of the most dense quilting I have done and I love how crinkly and cozy it immediately looked when it came out of the dryer.

I headed to the nearest park on my bike one afternoon to take photos.  This is the first quilt I’ve taken pictures of in Florida.  I took a few pictures of the quilt by climbing on top of some playground equipment and leaning over as far as I could to try to get a square picture.  It looked good on the preview but when I tried to rotate it in my editor, it was clear that I didn’t quite get it square.  I’m sure the park attendant enjoyed my antics though.

This is my first listing in my Etsy shop!  I’ve been planning to do this for about a year…and I dragged out the making of this quilt for about that long.  But I finally bit the bullet and opened a shop.  Of course Etsy recommended that I have put 10 items in my shop, but this was all I had.  (I’ve since added a couple more and I’m working to finish even more.)

Craft Room, Part 1

We have a great office space at the front of our house that has become the craft room.  It is a big open space with so much potential for use.  We have all our craft supplies, office supplies, sewing supplies and school supplies in here and it also acts as a kind of mud room for the kids’ shoes, jackets and backpacks.  That is a lot to ask of a room but I think she can handle it.  I have been slowly working on getting it in line with my vision, which I seem to tweak quite a bit as I work and live in the room longer.

One of the first and simplest things I have done in the room is to hang some of my favorite prints and to update the fabric on a bench seat.

This bench has been around for a while and the best part is that it only cost us $12 when we bought it 7 years ago.  A few screws didn’t quite line up so it had been returned…nothing a few new pilot holes couldn’t help.  (And a few curse words from my husband as he fixed that.)

IMG_3634 IMG_5558I put this green/brown/aqua fabric on in Virginia and it was a much needed improvement over the dirty and orange marker stained original.  But it had received several years of dog slobber and kid slobber since then and it was time for something new.

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The general theme of the craft room (and actually most rooms in my house right now) is nautical.  I spent hours searching through the home decor fabric at trying to choose fabric for this room and for some living room window treatments (post to come).  I ultimately went with this navy and white chevron fabric from Premier Prints called Diva Chevron Slub Premier Navy.  I love how it looks and the color kind of pops against the dark wood and white curtains in here.


I picked up the prints from a Zulily sale last year.  I loved the crab print and that is what I ordered.  But, lucky for me, there was a shipping mistake and they sent me the ship blueprint first, realized their mistake and told me to keep it, then sent me the one I ordered.  I found the gray frames at Michael’s.

And that is the first peek of the craft room.

Red Sox Quilt

I made this quilt for one of my best friends from high school for her third baby…her first boy!  My inspiration was from a Red Sox quilt made by Tracey at traceyjay quilts.

IMG_1671When I saw Tracey’s quilt, I knew I wanted to make one for baby Paul.  I grew up in Maine, listening to the Red Sox on the radio on summer nights. And my friend’s husband is from Boston, so they are both Red Sox fans.  For their little boy, I knew I had to figure how to make this quilt.

IMG_1659I ordered a bunch of red and blue polka dot fabrics, figured out how to cut triangles and got to work.  The cutting of the triangles was not so tough…it was getting them lined up correctly.  This is also the first quilt that I have done appliqué.  It was kind of fun once I figured it out!

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For the backing fabric, I searched a local discount store (Mardens) back home in Maine for something with red and found this big polka dot print.  I was excited to add something to the quilt that I found in our hometown.


I made this quilt when I was living outside of Memphis, Tennessee and this is one of my favorite photo shoots.  I went to a nature trail near a golf course and took these shots on a wooden bench and on a strange fishing platform made of green mesh-like metal.  IMG_1672I think baby Paul was few months old by the time I got this to him but I doubt that he noticed how late it was 🙂

Maine 2014 – First Days

So…this summer after school got out we moved to Tampa, Florida.

Then we drove to Virginia and spent a week there.

Then we drove to Ocean City, MD and spent a week there.

Then we drove back to Tampa.

Then we flew to Maine.  And this post is a little bit about Maine.

One of the great things about our new city is that there is a direct flight from here to Bangor, Maine, and it is not at 6am!  And it is a great deal.  The drawback was a 40lb weight limit on our suitcase and they (Allegiant Airline) charge for carry-on bags that fit in the overhead.  My suitcase weighed in at 40.9…if it hits 41, they charge you extra.  (I knew the weight was close to 40 and I had some things I could have thrown in my “personal item” to avoid the over weight fee.)

Three hours of iPad and kindle time and we were in Maine by supper time.  Mum picked us up at the airport and we stopped in Brewer and dined with a great view of the Penobscot River.


Casey couldn’t wait to show Grammie all of her gymnastics moves and soon enough she had hopped the railing to flip around in the grass.  Jack joined her and then they started playing like kids who were cooped up in a plane for three hours.

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The next day we finally got to meet Miss Cora T Brown.  I am lucky to be her Auntie and Casey and Jack are excited to have a new cousin.  Casey wanted to hold her and play with her and take care of her, in her own special 6 year old way.

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Cora doesn’t like it when she is sitting still, so Casey is working on her “mom bounce” so she can hold Cora a little longer before she starts crying.

Cora came out to lunch with us and then hung out in the Wal-Mart parking lot while I purchased some “necessary” items for Casey.  About half an hour before we left Tampa, Casey told me she really wanted to learn to crochet and she wanted a crochet hook to bring to Maine.  I own one, but I had no idea where it was so it didn’t make the trip with us.  Luckily, Wal-Mart provided us with the hooks and yarn we needed and Casey learned to crochet, despite her left-handed teacher.  She even brought it to the concert in the park that evening and kept on working on her really really long chain.  One day we’ll figure out how to make the second row!

That chain came in pretty handy on our last day in Maine, as Casey insisted on wearing pants that were way too big.  We wrapped her new “belt” around her about three times and she managed to keep the pants on all day!



Olympic Commentary

Just a few questions I fielded and observations made tonight while watching the Olympics with the kids…

How do they stay on that [snowboard]?

How do they keep going?  How do they get up the hill?

What color is bronze?

Is bronze 2nd or 3rd?

Are the medals really made out of gold, silver and bronze?

Where are the people that are watching them?  Is there anybody on the hill?

Is that the winner?  What does semi-final mean?

Is this the second heat?  What does 2nd heat mean?

Where are the Americans?

Is a sentence a sentence without verbs?

Do we want the Russians to win?

This is the 2nd Olympics where I really understand what is going on.

Are all female snowboarders hot blondes? (My question)

He looks like Daddy.  (American figure skater)

Casey has moved no less than 4 times in 45 minutes…chair, couch, floor, floor on other side of room.

Do figure skaters get dizzy when they spin like that?

I can see his skin all the way to his belly.

Black is not a good winter color.  People shouldn’t wear black here.

They cry because they’re so happy they won…they just have to cry a lot.

Commercials are for selling things or what can happen or what you don’t want to happen or for movies or for crazy stuff.

I think I know why that movie is rated PG.  Because he just took that gun and zapped him.

So what did they just say?  Can you say that different?

What is the prize for the teams?

Where’s the skiing?  I really like the skiing.

How long is the longest song in the world?

2014 Update

I thought I’d write an update on what the kids are into right now…

What We’re Reading:

I started reading the first Harry Potter book to Jack & Casey in November.  We finished in January and watched the movie.  They loved the movie and I think it helped them visualize the magic of the book.  Now we’re reading the 2nd book and Jack keeps asking me to read more every night because “we just got to an interesting part!”  Jack has been drawing pictures of the characters during his free time at school.
On his own, Jack is reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and a Nate the Great book.  On Christmas Eve, he went to church early with Pat and read more than half of the Nate book!  (Thanks for saving us seats!)
Casey is starting to read aloud to me while Jack does his reading.  She does a very good job of sounding things out.  She gets a little frustrated because she is not reading fast enough to comprehend and sometimes it doesn’t make sense to her, but I’m sure it won’t be long before she’s figuring it all out.
What We’re Watching:
For the past several months, it’s been all things Ninja.  It started when we found American Ninja Warrior on TV one night last spring.  Then, this summer they started watching a show called Kickin’ It which is the only non-animated show from Disney I’ve let them watch.  I think they’ve seen every episode of every season at least 3 times.  We met one of the actors this summer at a fair, standing in line for a good hour for her autograph.  And now it’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I walk around with the catchy theme song in my head all day.
What We’re Playing With:
Both Jack and Casey got a Rainbow Loom for Christmas and they make bracelets every day.  I love that the “it” toy was only $16 (plus some extra for more bands) and has provided hours of entertainment, even for me.  I now get requests to make them surprise bracelets while they’re sleeping.
Jack got a Wii for Christmas and has been playing the Lego Star Wars game.  He is still into all things Lego and he keeps finding new kinds…Star Wars, Chima, Hero Factory, and Ninja Turtles.  I keep trying to find ways to organize them better.  Lately it means dismantling sets and putting them in plastic bags although I did find a big plastic bin with dividers in the Christmas section for all his loose Legos.
Casey got an American Girl doll for Christmas, whose name is Casey Junior and she has been taking care of her “twin sister” pretty well.  She’s already been on a couple of plane rides and to downtown Memphis.    
They both still love to “craft” and I don’t understand how they go through so much tape.  They just make things up – paper airplanes, tiny pieces of paper with staples in it, tiny pieces of paper with tape, brown paper bags with strings attached to papers.  They also love when cardboard boxes come in the house.  Right now in our house there is an elf house complete with furniture (leftover from Christmas), a garbage eating robot and another garbage eating robot decorated with Christmas items.  
What We’re Eating:
Since Pat suggested we offer dessert if they eat what’s on their plates without complaint, they have both eaten more variety of vegetables, meat and even some soup.  It’s only a few bites of each, but I count that as success.  And it’s usually not without complaint…I should probably crack down on that.  Offering ice cream for two bites of vegetables goes against every article I’ve ever read about how to deal with picky eaters but it so far it’s working to get them to eat things besides carbs and sometimes they even forget about dessert.  

Out to Sea Bed Quilt

I’m excited to have this quilt to share in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival this fall!  I entered mine in the bed quilts group.


As soon as I saw Sarah Jane’s Out to Sea fabric, I pinned a picture of the collection and knew that I wanted to make a big quilt for my daughter’s bed out of it.  I loved the color way with the navy blue and hot pink because the pink worked perfectly with the princesses already on the wall and I’m trying to impart my love of navy blue to my daughter.

Before I could even get my hands on the fabric, I searched the internet for inspiration on how I would put the quilt together.  I decided on a patchwork quilt with some larger panel pieces added to it.  I love the world maps and I knew that I wanted them to be somewhat of a focus in the quilt.  (I love them so much that I have a few panels still waiting to be turned into pillows for this bed.)


So far this is the largest quilt I have made.  It comes out to about 88 x 88.  It fits perfectly on her full sized bed and if we ever upgrade to a larger bed for her I think it will still work well.


I had two ideas for the quilting.  One was diagonal lines through the blocks and the other was wavy quilting.  I actually quilted a diagonal line halfway through the quilt to see if I liked it and then a wavy line.  I think I would have liked the diagonal but it seemed like a lot more work and after finally having it all pieced, I didn’t have the patience to mark my diagonal lines on such a big quilt.  So,
I quilted it with wavy lines from Bijou Lovely’s tutorial.  It seemed appropriate considering the nautical theme.  It was tough going…my tension seemed to get off and I had to redo the first couple of waves.  And if there’s anything that makes me procrastinate on sewing something, it’s knowing that I have to pull out the seam ripper.  So the quilt sat for quite a while until I finally decided to get on with it!


The other hard part of this quilt was taking pictures!  Don’t mind the carpet that I tried to roll out of the way in the picture below.  I was able to stand on the balcony in my house and take a picture looking down on it.  I tried to hang it from the balcony but I didn’t have strong enough clips to hold it up.


The backing fabric is a dark grey sheet that I got from Target and the binding is a solid coral color that matched the coral blocks in the quilt.

This will probably always be one of my favorite fabric lines and I’m so glad I was able to turn it into my vision for a bed quilt and that my daughter is snug and cozy under it each night!  Now I just need to get rid of some brown curtains that don’t match (not shown) and sew up those pillows.

Thanks for stopping by!

Fall Break – St. Louis

Last week the kids had a week off from school for fall break.  We didn’t have any big plans at first but then we decided on a few days in St. Louis.  I figured I might be ready to get out of the house by Thursday!

We left Memphis Thursday morning and made it to St. Louis for lunch.  Then we went to the City Museum.  This museum made me wish I could be a kid again.  I don’t think I could have imagined a playground better than this.  I can’t even come up with the words to describe it but it was a really fun combination of tunnels, slides, hidden passageways, and ladders.  We stayed until closing time and the kids weren’t anywhere near bored.  We almost missed a whole section of the museum (with a 10 story slide!) that was in a cave like area that we hadn’t explored yet.  When we left, Casey said it was the most awesome place she had been.

View of city from top of City Museum

On Friday, we explored downtown St. Louis and the Gateway Arch.  We couldn’t go up in the Arch because it was shutdown with the government but it’s pretty amazing to just look at it from within the beautiful park surroundings.  You could also walk right down to the edge of Mississippi River which turned out to be pretty fun for the kids.  They were pretty happy to throw sticks in the river and play in the random bits of sand.  Even I was excited to actually put my hand in the mighty Mississippi.

At the base of the Arch
Touching the Mississippi River
Getting ready to build a raft a la Tom Sawyer
Had to find a bigger stick than Jack’s
Red fountains near stadium
Next we toured Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals.  I wouldn’t say this was the kids’ favorite part, but it was fun to check out the dugout and all the posh places people with the good tickets can hang out.  We learned quite a bit of team history and St. Louis has a lot of pride in their baseball past.  

We originally wanted to go to St. Louis in the summer and catch a Cardinals game while we were there.  (Pat generally likes to plan our trips around sports events.)  Since it was post season, we didn’t think we were going to catch a game this trip.  But…turns out the Cards made it to the NLCS and the first game was in St. Louis on Friday night.  After our stadium tour, we could see fans starting to stream into the city with their red shirts.  And also after our stadium tour, Pat wanted to see this game more than ever.  There were scalpers on every corner but Pat was able to get two pretty good tickets for him and Jack through the Cardinals ticket site on game day.

We headed to the St. Louis Zoo in the afternoon but the kids were tired so it was a quick trip.  They seemed to have plenty of energy for the pool after though.

Baby elephant bum in the middle

I promised Casey that she and I would go on a date and go shopping if Pat & Jack went to the game.  She had fallen in love with a cute little Cardinals shirt and skirt in the team store so I told her we’d find an outfit on our date.  Even when it was possible that Pat could get four tickets, Casey wanted to go on our date instead.  We went to Trader Joe’s, World Market and then Target.  Casey loved looking at all the clothes and I loved some of the bargains we found.


Pat and Jack ended up at the longest League Championship Series game ever!  They didn’t get back to the hotel until 1am…but they had a blast.  Pat said there was an 11 year old boy beside them and he and Jack became fast friends and helped each other stay up so late.  It was an awesome experience for both Pat and Jack.  Jack wanted to know if we could fly to Los Angeles to watch Game 3.

When we left town on Saturday morning, Casey was crying she was so sad to leave.  Our hotel turned out to be great – the Drury Inn Union Station.  It had free breakfast and dinner, was only a mile from downtown and was right beside the beautiful Union Station.  We could see the old train tracks out our window.  (Also, I was impressed that our room had windows on 2 sides…we had a great corner room.)

On our way out of town, we stopped at Grant’s Farm and saw some Clydesdale horses, fed some camels and enjoyed the tram ride around the park.


Pete the Cat Visits Casey

Casey came home from school on Friday a couple weeks ago and excitedly told me she was Star of the Week for the next week.  She came with a bag that contained Pete the Cat, his journal, and a Marvelous Me binder…and instructions on how to be the Star of the Week.  Pete the Cat is a character in a series of books that Casey’s teacher loves and luckily it was a stuffed animal version of the cat that came home, and not a real cat named Pete.

We had to make a poster all about Casey, take Pete the Cat around all weekend while journaling his activities and get ready for Show’n’Tell on Friday.  I also got to go read her class a book and have lunch with her one day.

On Sunday afternoon before her special week, I got to work on my homework…I cut out clip art for the poster, found pictures of Casey and wrote in Pete’s journal.  Casey was pretty specific in how she wanted the poster put together, so she did all the glueing and I did some picture captions for her.

Then we realized that we didn’t exactly take Pete out to all our weekend events.  I believe he languished somewhere in her bedroom for most of the weekend.  After reading the previous two entries in his journal, I tried to spice it up a bit and write from Pete’s perspective.  (And make excuses for his absence at a few events.)  I’m not sure if I got his personality right or not since I haven’t actually read any of the books but he seems like he should be a pretty funny cat.

With the help of a newsletter template in my word processing program I made a fun little journal entry and added some pictures.  Here is the text since I couldn’t figure out how to get a PDF on here…

I had a fun and busy adventure with Casey’s family this past weekend!  Casey was so excited to bring me home and told her mom that she had to take me everywhere this weekend.  
First though, she tested to see if I still had some of my nine lives left by tossing me over the balcony to her mom downstairs.  They did that a few times but luckily I’m a pretty tough cat and it was kind of fun.
Apparently I just missed the tooth fairy by a night.  Casey was very excited about the new hole in her mouth.  I’m kind of glad though because I don’t know how a run-in with the tooth fairy would go.   
On Friday night, Casey & her brother took me to a sleepover at their friends’ house.  The girls made a whole bunch of friendship bracelets and they even made one for me!  Then they tried to keep me up way past my bedtime, but if there’s one thing cats are good at, it’s sleeping and taking naps.  I curled up and went to sleep while they talked and talked and talked.
Saturday was a beautiful day in Tennessee and Casey and her family headed to a fall fair.  I stayed home to nap because I heard there would be bouncy houses – cat claws and inflatables don’t mix very well.  I heard it was a lot of fun with bouncing, games and candy.  
On Saturday evening, the Eliasons had neighborhood friends over for dinner.  It was taco night, so I helped myself to the buffet.  Casey and I played and had a great time with Camryn (who used to be in Mrs. Waller’s class 2 years ago).  
After church on Sunday, Casey showed me everything she had done in Sunday school.  I got to sit on the counter and hang out with her and no one even yelled at me to get down or worried about cat hair in their food.   
Casey had to get to work on her Star of the Week poster.  She told her mom just how she wanted things and they worked on it together.  
Then the Philadelphia Eagles came on TV and they taught me a new chant – E – A – G – L – E – S Eagles!  I’m not sure I can get behind this team because I think an eagle could snatch me right off the ground if one ever wanted to.   I’m more of a Bengals fan…at least they’re family.
On Sunday night everyone needed to get a good night of sleep and get ready for a new week of school, including me.  They tried to make me take a bath but I let them know that I do NOT take baths!  Other than that, it was a great weekend with Casey and her family!