Saturday, December 26, 2009

Keeping it REAL....

I've decided to change the direction of my blog just a wee bit. Don't worry there will still be plenty of crafty quilty stuff (well, "plenty" is a relative word 'round these parts). But I want to include some other things and I wanted to change my url (blog address). So, I'm gonna be packing my bags (widgets, really) and I'm heading out. I'm not going far. I do hope you'll follow me. The new page is still under construction a bit....but please stop by and look around. Feel free to leave a comment. I love those.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Do you have a favorite?

Do you have a favorite Christmas song? We have listened to this one over and over and over again. Ben has learned how to spell Christmas just from typing the title into youtube. He's obsessed with this song. I had no idea I had such a little social activist on my hands : )

(Ben doesn't believe me that Boy George is a boy! HA!)

Building & Drawing & Markers, oh my!

A while ago (ok fine, like back in Sept. I know) I bought a book case that I asked Jason to put together for me. Of course Ben helped and we called it Life Learning. Ben called it playing during school time. Either way, my book case got built and then Jason came up with the idea of tracing the boys' outlines and letting them color them in.

"This is a little more complicated than Legos."

Wow. Look at that mess behind Ben. My house doesn't normally look like that. Alright, alright. It does. Don't judge me.

Just realized I do not have pictures of the finished paper men. They are hanging in our kitchen. I'll try to snap some pictures of them tomorrow.

The Breakfast of Champs

I'm having a CT scan today to confirm a hernia diagnosis. Let's just add that to the list of random medical issues I've had to deal with this year. I have not chugged something this unpalatable since my college years. At least then I got to have a nice buzz and a killer hangover the next day. Now all I have is an unsettled stomach. And I get to drink another one in about twenty minutes. Yay me.
**ETA: I just drank the second one. Today will be a success if I don't throw up.**

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Homeschool Stuff

Not much sewing going on here lately, I thought I'd share some pictures from our homeschool. As I get more comfortable with the new direction of my blog, I'll post homeschool stuff a little more frequently.

Just ignore the glare here. I had a hard time getting a good picture. Check out those lower case a's. I don't expect 100% perfect handwriting from my son, but I expect that he is taught the proper way to write his letters. Those first a's are what he was permitted to get away with last year in Kindergarten. He was shown the letter and then told to write his own. He was given no direction about where on the line to start, what shape to draw first and how big to make it. Pet Peeve # 1. We are starting from scratch this year with penmanship and trying to break bad habits he's already formed. Ggrrrrr......

This picture just warms my heart. The boys have journal time every morning. They are allowed to draw or write anything they choose. Most pictures involve army guys, explosions and various bad guys. However, on 9/11 Ben chose to draw a picture of our nations flag. The caption reads "I am doing the pledge of allegiance". Now, I should tell you that because of my husband's job, we have sheilded the boys from any news coverage concerning that horrible day. My husband used to be based in NY and now he is based in Boston, so my children do not need to see those awful images of airliners plowing into the WTC. They have no idea that 9/11 is significant or any different than any other day. So the fact that my son chose to draw the above picture on that day leads me to believe that some higher power was at work here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

So I didn't manage to get a birthday post done for my little guy again this year. Thankfully we have relatives that are more on the ball than this guy's Mom. I tear up whenever I watch this. How did my little baby get to be 4 years old already. I love you "wee one".

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gobble Gobble
I have so many things in my life for which to be thankful. I have an amazing husband who puts up with more crap than any man should ever be expected to deal with. I have healthy and happy children and we have a home and warm beds to sleep in every night. I have made some wonderful friends through this blog and the online quilting community and through Facebook I have reconnected with many old friends. For all of this, and so much more, I am eternally grateful. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Getting Caught Up.....

I apologize if you've seen this post about 100 times in your blog reader. I've been toying with Flickr a bit and blogging from there. I didn't like it. I'm more of an old school kind of girl, I guess. So, this is my block for September of the Stash Busting Bee. I know. I'm behind. I'm getting caught up. Really, I am. Seriously. Don't laugh. I might even get to show you October's block in the next few days. I'm on a roll, kids!

Getting Caught Up

September Stash Busting Bee Block
Originally uploaded by jessicaquilts

This is my block for September of the Stash Busting Bee. I'm a little behind. But I'm getting caught up. Really, I am : )

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Well, we all got sick again. And this time it looks like it was really the H1N1. The last time my doctor just said it was "highly likely", but this time the pediatrician actually tested Ben and it came back positive. All four of us got sick, so I'd bet my last dollar that my doctor was wrong and NOW, we've finally all had it. Our pediatrician basically admitted that we have all of the antibodies we need now and the vaccine would be redundant. So tell me, why is he still pushing the vaccine anyway? It just annoys me.

I've been able to sew the last few days and it feels so great! Its such an emotional outlet for me. I'm going through some things right now and I'd love to let it all out here, just get it all out and know that afterwards I'd feel much better. BUT, several of my local friends read my blog and nearly ALL of my local friends like to gossip. *sigh* It sucks being back in highschool.

Stay tuned for some yummy, quilty, gorgeous pictures soon!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ch, Ch, Changes!

It seemed last year around this time, everyone kept talking about Change. And while I'm still not on board with that particular brand of change, I do believe that changes are good and allow us to grow. Having said that, I've decided to make some changes. Both in my life and in my blogworld. Here we go (you ready?).

1. Education ~ we've kept Ben home this year and have begun our homeschool. It requires a great deal of my time, but I love it. I wouldn't have my life any other way right now. Carter still goes to his preschool. We absolutely love the school & the teachers and they've known him since he was just a few months old.

2. Blogs ~ I have this blog that was originally dedicated to my quilting and my life. I have another blog that was to be all about frugality and pinching pennies. I was also in the process of starting a THIRD blog that would chronicle my homeschooling adventures. It was my dream to show that any average everyday mom could do it. Because, without fail, everytime I mention to someone that I homeschool their response is "oh, I could NEVER do that." And I want to scream and shake them and say "YES YOU COULD!!!"

Each time I go to write a post on any of my blogs I always have to pause and think "which one should it go on?" For instance, I made a few great deals on some homeschool supplies, should I post that on the homeschool blog or the frugal blog? What about just our regular homeschool days? That's my life. I want to share it here, but it also should go on the other blog.

So, I've made a decision. I will have ONE blog. Afterall, this blog is about my life. I'm a quilting, frugal, homeschooling mom. I wish my life were so neatly compartmentalized, but its not. All of the little pieces keep overlapping. No matter how hard I try to keep them all seperate :P.

3. Another recent change has been the daily addition of Green Smoothies to our routine. They taste fabulous, they make us feel better and it gets some veggies into the kids. Something I've rarely been able to do in my 7+ years of being a mother.

So, if you've made it this far in this post, I congratulate you. It took me several tries to get here myself, and I'm the one writing it! Quilting has been put on hold while I'm trying to get everything caught up still from being sick. But I hope you'll continue to join me & my family on our random adventures!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


It appears my house has been infiltrated with the SWINE FLU!! I've been in bed for the better part of two weeks. I'm just now starting to feel human again, but I fear the kids may be getting sick. I haven't even touched fabric or looked at my sewing machine in weeks.....I'll be back. Soon.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I'm alive.....barely

There is something pollenating here in our small town that has KO'd half of my friends. My allergies haven't bothered me at all since we've moved here until this year. Ben and I are both miserable. It rained last night and I woke up finally being able to breath, but I have a nagging cough that is irritating my asthma.

So now that you've heard all the gory details of our funk, go back and enjoy your coffee! : ) I'll be back when my head either explodes or drains empty!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How do you design??

I decided to throw my hat in the ring for DQS 7.

I had an idea in my head, so I started with these (which is evidently where I start with every doll quilt swap...

I put them together like this......

....and then it grew into this. Which is absolutely nothing like the orignal design in my head. But I love it. And I don't want to send it away.
Sometimes when I have an idea in my head, its hard to get it to work with fabric. So I don't stress about it. The fabric and the blocks will tell you how they want to play, you just have to open enough to listen. So how do you design? Do you tell the fabric what to do? Or do you let the fabric call the shots?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Some Eye Candy....

These pictures were all taken last week before my emergency cleaning spree, but I didn't get a change to post them. Since I haven't done anything blog worthy all week, I thought they would make a good filler post until my life becomes interesting again!

This fall I will be making the boys matching bed quilts to go on their bunk beds. I need 21 different fabrics. Ben vetoed one of the fabrics in this stack (the yellow one under the red & white stars), and I've since purchased a few more. I'm almost ready to start cutting. There will be a little bit of extra fabric from each cut, so I think I'm going to make a Bento Box out of the scraps for a floor quilt or picnic quilt.

This is another set of strings for my CYOC swap. This was random purples around a white center.

I've also mentioned in the past that I'm involved with the Sunshine Charity Quilts (online group). For the month of June (I know, I'm late, don't judge me) Bonnie was collecting string blocks to donate to the Heartstrings Group (of which I am also a member). We're only requested to send in two blocks each month, but I was on a roll with my string piecing and I wanted to make a dent in my strings stash. The dent was negligible.....
We are actually able to breath today, even the though temps are still in the high 90's. I'm considering turning on my sewing machine tonight or maybe tomorrow. I sure hope I don't melt.

I'm here....

I'm here, I'm alive, but I'm melting! The house showing went off with out a hitch. But we won't be selling. I don't think we'll be able to come together on a price. They want to pay fair market value (and I can't blame them), but we aren't really prepared to move, or sell. So, in order to do so, we'd need a little more financial motivation. And they aren't willing to pay that. So, we're ok with it. This is where we are supposed to be. My friend, Sarah, just had a beautiful addition added to her house and she gave her contractor a glowing recommendation. It just so happens that she's not only a great bloggy friend, but a Real Life friend as well. And we live in the same small town. So, we're going to talk with her contractor and seeing about doing an addition here. Then our house will nearly be perfect. And we could live here indefinitely, you know. In case this market never really does turn around!

So, I got the house all tidied up and lookin' spiffy. But I haven't sat down with my machine yet. Good Lord, its been so HOT here! The thought of sitting in front of a machine, with a hot computer and hot light. Next to a hot iron. ...... ugh, I couldnt do it. I think the heat has peaked and so hopefully it'll only be a few more days before we're back to "normal" ~ whatever that is....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Blog.....

You may remember last summer when we put our house on the market, because we were going to move into our "dream home" (HA!), but then it all fell apart and we stayed right where we are. Do you remember that? Probably not because I had like, maybe four, readers at that point. Anyhoo, it was a fun summer last year. Trust me. F - U - N (NOT). Well, last week we had someone randomly knock on our door and say "hi, we know your neighbors and we heard your house was on the market last year. We think we'd like to buy it." WHAT???? Seriously? I shouldn't be surprised, because this is exactly the type of crap that happens to Jason and me all. of. the. time. We aren't normal, we don't lead normal lives and normal stuff just doesn't happen. Ever.
We'd had our eye on a house in town and so we called the Realtor and went to look at it. We had every expectation of falling in love with this house, working out a deal with these random people and living happily ever after. Well, the house was awful. Just awful. Ok, maybe not that bad, but it wasn't the house for us. We called Mr. & Mrs. Random back and told them that we appreciate their interest in the house, but moving just isn't what's best for us right now. Then we went on with our lives. Three days ago we got a letter from them explaining that they've spent three days looking at houses with their realtor and they can't find anything. (really? nothing? In this market? Surely they aren't looking hard enough). They are in love with our hosue (they've only ever walked around the yard, they've never been inside) and they want to live our their retirement here. They understand our position but would like us to keep them in mind should we decide to move anytime soon. Crap!
See, we have outgrown our house. Two growing boys and two big dogs in a two bedroom house. We don't fit. We realize this and we also know that this is NOT where we want to live out our retirement. However, we had just resigned ourselves to staying here probably another five years or so. Until (fingers crossed) the market turns around a bit. Then we got to thinking....right now, in this market, someone wants to buy our house. They seem to be desperate to live here. We're nuts if we don't try to go for it., all of this to explain ~ I've been cleaning like a mad woman for the last several days. My sewing machine is accumulating dust and I'm not working on any of my WIPs. :( They are coming on Saturday to view the house and I've explained to Jason that I will be spending Sunday evening glued to my sewing machine. He seems ok with that ;)
See y'all in a few days!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stringing Along.....

I've been busy getting caught up on my string blocks for the CYOC String Block Swap. I only have five more sets to make, so they should be done and out of the house this weekend. Freeing me up to get starting with my WIPing Through Summer Challenge!

OwenJulesMommy requested a bright pink center with BOW on one side and WOB on the other.

KC1930 reqested the same, but with a limey green center (she provided the center strip). For some reason these two blocks gave me fits....I don't know what it was, but I'm glad they are done : )

Knot Me requested a black center strip with WOW on one side and pinks on the other.

Lace Angel requested a white center strip with lemon yellows and strawberry pinks. I wasn't sure about the strawberry pinks, but I really like how these turned out!

Karol0405 requested a WOW center strip with mostly green prints and some florals thrown in. She wanted it to scream Spring. I hope I managed that!!

and finally, Bluesnail wanted a bright green center with bright florals. I wasn't sure about my fabric choices for this one at first, but I think it just might be my favorite set so far!

Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm in Love.....

I went to play with my dream machine yesterday at the local Juki dealer. I'm in love.....and my husband seems receptive ;-) Keep your fingers crossed for me!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

My First Quilt

Have you heard?? Camille and Carrie are hosting a Parade of Quilts. You show your very first quilt that you made (no matter how awful!) and then you show your most recent quilt. Well, I just finished a quilt several hours ago (how's that for timing?) so I thought I'd play along, too! Here is the quilt I just finished. You can read more about it here. I'd say the most inportant lesson I've learned along my quilting journey ~ take the time to PRESS!! It makes life so much easier. It really does...just do it. With a smile :)

And now for the first quilt......its actually still a quilt top. Folded up and stashed away in my closet. It was my first and I started it right after we completed our paperwork for our adoption. We had first applied for twins and I didn't want to finish the quilt until we knew for sure how many daughters we'd be brining home (if two, I was gonna break it up into two quilts, one for each daughter). We've since found out we no longer qualify for twins because we already have maybe I should finally finish it up? Oh ~ and the back of this quilt? Not a single seam was pressed. I just kept sewing. THAT should be fun to quilt, right?! Maybe I will just leave it as a flimsy :)

So, I thought I should also show a pic of the first quilt I finished. It was a gift for some friends and it was started the same evening the above top was finished, so its all in the same time frame. Sadly (or maybe fortunately), I dont' have a picture of the finished quilt. Its bad....oh so bad. It wasn't square AT ALL. Do you see those ruffles in the top right corner of the picture? Its not just the way the quilt is laying....its all ruffled and funky up there. I had my mom embroider some pink airplanes in the corners because it was for a baby girl whose parents are pilots. In an attempt to square it up, I nearly chopped off half an airplane (um, wouldn't it make more sense to square it up BEFORE embroidering???) Very few of my intersections match (which could explain the lack of squareness) and instead of machine quilting, I tied it. Oh yea, that yellow inner border? Its minky. Nothing like jumping in with the most difficult fabric on your first go 'round, eh? I didn't know how to piece a backing properly, so I just sewed a strip on to one end and called it good (and the seam was lopsided). But alas, I did learn a lot. I learned not to be afraid. I learned that one the final quilt was all washed up and ready to ship off, that although the quilt itself wasn't perfect, the hugs that it provides are. My quilting is still not perfect, but it gets better with each and every quilt and I've learned that there are NO QUILT POLICE! :)
Thanks for stopping by and I can't wait to see everyone else's firsts!

Its done!

My second finish of the year......I started slow, but I'm on a roll! I'm thinking about a "WIPing Through Summer" Challenge. Anyone game? I'll start a flickr group and lets challenge each other to see how many WIPs we can bust out between now and Sept. 1st.

ETA: The new WIPing Through Summer Flickr group has been created. Let's get WIPing!!

(please excuse the mess, between moving my sewing machine back into the kitchen and preparing to homeschool in the fall, my kitchen looks like a tornado has run through!)
I used my purple thrifted sheet for the back. It measures approx 36" x 52". It will be delivered today to a very special, cute little baby girl.

It felt really really stiff after all those lines were quilted, but once it was washed and dried it softened right up and came out full of snuggle, crinkly awesomeness.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My new best friend....

Oh, 505 Quilt Basting Spray, where have you been all my life???

Without a doubt, basting is my least favorite quilty task. All those safety pins, my achy knees on the hard wood floor. The little divets that I would leave in said floor with said safety pins (oops). That would probably explain why I have a house full of flimsies and very few finished quilts. Then I ran across this post and my life has changed forever. F.O.R.E.V.E.R. Seriously. I was skeptical at first. But I bought some spray and I just finished basting a quilt in like less than five minutes. I KNOW, right?!? Awesome!

Thanks for all of the input yesterday. I agree that a green or turquoise would have looked fab, but I was working from my stash and I just didn't have any of those :( I went with Option A with the darker brown on top and the lighter tan on the bottom. I'm just using random, "organic" straight line quilting. The quilting is halfway done. I'm taking a break for lunch and then I'm back at it. By golly, this little number just might be finished my Monday afterall :) Enjoy the rest of your weekend, we've been blessed with glorious sunshine this holiday weekend and I'm trying to soak up as much of it as possible :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

I need your opinions....

Please excuse my wrinkles! :)
I am making a baby quilt for a friend who just had the sweetest baby girl. I'd like to deliver the quilt on Monday (I know, I know...) but as I was pulling out my original fabric I starting thinking maybe the other one would work better....I won't tell you what my original plan was, but I'm going to give you three options. Please tell me which you think would look the best. ;) The quilt will be in this style with a whole cloth, the row of strips and then another whole cloth. Thanks so much for your help! So....drumroll please.

Option A: One color on tope and the other on the bottom (and if you chose this one, which color would you put on top?)

Option B: Dark Mocha Brown on both top and bottom

Option C: Like Khaki on both top and bottom.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

RWB Strings

It seems that whenver Jason is home for more than just a few days my sewing time (and blogging time) takes a big hit. I hate just abandoning my blog like that and since he has a few more 7+ days at home at various times throughout the summer I think I may start playing around with scheduling posts to pop up while I'm away playing housewife :)

Anyhoo, I was able to get a few photos snapped this afternoon and my RWB strings have been streaming in from the mailbox. I now have 6 complete sets and I wanted to show you a picture of all of them laid out together.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Run, baby, run!

This past weekend, Jason ran in the Seattle Rock And Roll Marathon. He did the half marathon. All 13.1 miles of it! YIKES! The boys and I are so proud of him. The race was nearly two hours from our house and he had to be there around 5:30ish. The boys and I slept in and met him later at the finish line. We parked our car on this side of the water and walked onto the ferry and then walked the half mile to meet Jason. It was PACKED! We didn't get to see him actually cross the finish line (*snif snif*) but we did see him just moments after.
Below are some pictures of the boys and me while we were crossing Puget Sound to go cheer daddy on.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lofty "To Do" list update

These blocks came in the mail yesterday. Aren't they pretty?!? I can't wait to get more and set them all out next to one another! I mentioned that I'm part of the Sunshine Quilters Group through the HGTV Boards. I had some catching up to do and below are some of the blocks I've made. There are more, but for some reason they didn't seem to follow me to blogger. I'll have to look for them and post them later.

I also wanted to give an update on my Lofty Goals for this week.

  • 4 sets of the CYOC string blocks for the swap. ~ two sets done
  • Finish up the 4 patches for the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt ~finished, just need pressing
  • Finish up a baby quilt for a friend
  • The block for the Stash Busting Bee ~went to start this one and cut wrong. Back to the drawing board!!
  • Quilt top sewn together for the Old Red Barn Quilt a Long
  • Piece backing and baste "Barney's Blocks"
  • Get to work on the Sunshine Charity Blocks for this month ~caught up, now need to do this month's blocks.