Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm the luckiest Doll Quilt Swapper!

Check this out!! Here's the package I received last week from Carol / Mamacjt. She makes the most amazing little quilts and this one is perfection! Check out that tiny pieced  border and all those french knots! She also sent a sweet handmade doll for Allie and a stack of amazing FQ's! I can't believe how generous she was! This   is really such a sweet quilt - it'll be hung next to my bulletin board in my sewing room! :) Oh and by the way Carol, Allie got a HUGE kick out of the candy necklace! She'd never had one before!


My DQS11 partner should be getting her package any moment now... I hope! So here's what happened. I mailed the package off last week (on the last mailing day at that), did the whole tracking code thing etc - threw the receipt in my purse. 

Flash forward to Saturday night at about 3am to me walking into the room to find Allie with a lollipop in her mouth, gum wrappers all around, and every single thing from my purse all over the floor (yeah this big girl bed thing is really trying). Not a big deal right? Well... also in the mix of crap on the floor from my purse was a package of size 13 hearing aid batteries - opened and missing a couple. Did I know if the package was full to begin with? No. Allie kept telling us, "I eat the batteries." Ugh. In case you guys don't know eating batteries could be pretty bad. We called the "Swallowed Battery Hot line" (yes there is  such a thing, and a real live person answered on the first ring). We were instructed to head right to the ER for an X-ray. Luckily the place wasn't busy and we got right in. No, she didn't swallow any batteries. Thank God! 

So in the haste of throwing the contents of my purse back in - I threw away a handful of papers and stuff, receipts etc. The tracking code was thrown away. AHH! I do hope it gets there soon because I'm worried about it! I am trying to take heart that I did put it in a ziploc with a paper that said, "if lost or damaged please return to:" with my partner's name and address. Cross your fingers! lol. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

My job rocks!!!

Have I ever mentioned that I work for a used bookstore? One where we purchase books from the public to put on our shelves? Typically the spider-webby books aren't nearly as exciting as they were yesterday....

We have a couple local reviewing companies near our store... one reviewer comes in to see us to get rid of his office's extra review copies. (we love people like this - highly sell-able pretty books!)

Guess what was in there? A copy of this!!!

Can you believe it??!!! It's not released until November!! I remember seeing it mentioned somewhere.... and while I was processing reviewer guy's buy I put it on my "stash shelf" yes my work is cool like that - as the buyer I get first dibs! I nearly squealed while flipping through it while walking back for my lunch break... and I saw- Cathy Gaubert's kids. My brain hadn't recognized that I actually knew the author - until I saw and recognized her beautiful girls! Seriously everyone who likes minis should head over to amazon and pre-order this book!

And to make my day even brighter? The last part of the acknowledgments? Cathy thanked the creative inspiration of the Doll Quilt Swap. :) How sweet is that? I really fell hard for hand stitched tiny words because of Cathy's DQS9 quilt (unfortunately it didn't get sent to me!) Awesomeness! :) 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I just paid my way to the Sewing Summit!

By that I mean that I finished sewing the fitted table covers for my aunt. The paid job which is helping to fund my trip to the Summit!

We've had this plan in the works for a few months (remember I talked about it here). My Aunt Kathy attends several big name art/craft shows a year selling her amazing polymer clay jewelry; last year she asked me to make her some fitted table covers (not just table clothes) for her counter height show tables (4 or 5 of them). She lent me one of her tables (they're awesome by the way) and she picked out fabric from I was surprised when it came to me in a huge shrink-wrapped bolt! There was something like 35 yards of it? 
One done and the rest all cut. This one is the "practice/extra"
Daunting? yes. The fabric is some sort of synthetic knit (so that it doesn't wrinkle when she packs them up to fly/drive to her shows) and I had to learn to use the rolled hem foot on my machine. It took some practice (which made me really nervous) but I finally got it down! I used this tutorial that I found via pinterest.
The real deal. Looking much better!
At first I was putting it off until we moved... then well summer happened (when did summer happen? whoa!). Well this past week it's been hanging over my head. I knew I needed to get them done and now! I even told myself I couldn't work on any other sewing projects until they were done. Today my lovely husband took Allie to his moms to swim all day today - leaving me to work on the table covers. My goal was to finish two of the five. Did I accomplish it??

Check out those rounded corners!!
I blew that goal out of the water! I finished all five!! :) Woo Hoo!! I think they look pretty awesome too. Much more eye catching than the normal/boring black, generic, ill-fitting covers.

Now on to some sewing summit related sewing? or maybe I'll start my mom's quilt. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011


My friend Lee from Freshly Pieced has submitted a design for a fabric designing contest at Connecting Threads. Please go vote for her!! 
Lee's fabric - go vote!

To vote follow the link here and vote for her. Her design is called "Flourish."


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Because I don't know where else to organize these thoughts.

Thanks to pinterest and my interest in stapling chicken wire to my wall, I followed a link to a blog where I found some posts that make me think/cry/wonder. Feel free to skip over this if you're so inclined. It's just that my real life friends have little to no experience in this area (they're not even married for the most part). So my other blog/thing doesn't give me any real feedback other than hugs.

Here's the deal. Starting in early summer of 2009 we've been trying to conceive (TTC). At first it was not too much... no stress and no real worry. Just excitement as each cycle wound down - then disapointment. I was still breastfeeding Allie (she was just under a year when we started trying), and I continued to do so until she was 18 mos. As you all know my husband was cast for a weight loss tv show about that time... that turned our worlds upside-down for a year. Several months went by with him not here or otherwise just bad timing (company visiting etc).

Midway through 2010 I started to get serious sinus infections nearly constantly. I knew this meant sinus surgury as I've had a polypectomy once before and it's a chronic condition. Many cycles were shot because of major doses of steroids and antibiotics trying to battle the sinus infections - finally in the fall I had the surgery (ouch) and was placed on a low dose (10mg every other day) of an oral steroid to battle the constant attempts of the return of the sinus polyps. My doc claims this won't effect fertility. Who knows. Several sinus infections throughout requiring larger doses of the same steroid followed.

After a particularly stubborn sinus infection this spring (April?) it became apparent that I wasn't pregnant but my period wasn't going to start on it's own I had to take provera to start a new cycle. With my doctor's ok I stopped the steroids (some studies are showing that they can mess with your cycle? Nothing solidly proven but...) Same deal the last cycle too, long cycle no positive, then provera.. Had an Histerosalpingram this month, normal results. Clomid this cycle. Started using OPK's - got a positive. Temps seem like ovulation occurred... but no positive, and no period. I guess tomorrow I make the call to the OBGYN for another prescription of provera and clomid for next month.

Anyone still with me?

This sucks. We had no problem conceiving Allie. None.

Ever since I could remember I have wanted a lot of kids. I'd love to have like eight of them... but more realistically 4+ I know I'm pretty young. There's still time. But I have this sad thing in the back of my mind that lurks. What if Allie is our only child. What if I never get to be pregnant again. What if I never breastfeed again. I was really moved by this post in the above mentioned blog. She writes about how it hurts to think of the memories of pregnancy and having an infant, "I know what I'll be missing if we don't have another baby." To come full circle and bring it all back to pinterest... a thought inducing quote that I found there, "It's hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but it's harder to give up when you know it's everything you want."

So where to go from here? I'm inclined to mention that I'm Catholic; maybe that doesn't help explain very much for some people... but as one who has loved and studied Catholic theology (especially moral theology) there's a focus on the unitive and procreative aspects of sex. Without getting all theology nerd on everyone, that basically means there's a husband and a wife and physically neither shall be removed from the act of conceiving.... No doctors and lab coats for us. Clomid and hormonal drugs are about all we have. I'm fairly frustrated at the recent lack of my cycles ending on their own... and I don't know what to think of that.

Body image. I've never had any sort of body image issues. Ever. I'm pretty blessed by that, but now? I see the image of my body as what it's capable yet that isn't being realized. It's capable of conceiving a child, of carrying a baby to term, of giving birth, of nourishing an infant... but it's empty. ((wow that's hard to type)).

There's no end to this post... it keeps going and is circular. So here's a song that I listen to sometimes.

I've been away...

No excuses here. I spent the week with my neice Katee - who stays with us for a week every summer. She went home today so now I have time to catch you guys up on the fun happenings around here while she was here!

First of all Katee is awesome! She just turned 11 and has been sewing with me for... four years? (has it really been that long!!??) I set out with the idea that we might make these purses that Kat made recently. I'd pinned the tutorial and it all seemed pretty simple although challenging enough for Katee. We've mostly made small flat items while sewing. This one required three pannels of patchwork that was sewn "quilt as you go." 

She rocked! No I didn't happen to snap any pictures of her in process (this mostly happened after 9:00 pm while my kid was sleeping). I do have to tell you about the back of her pouch. We'd already done the first two pannels doing typical paralell stitches in the quilt as you go pieces. I left the room to start fixing dinner and came back to see her with an almost completed panel featuring concentric rectangle quilting!! I'd not shown her how to do that or even that she could do that! I don't know that she'd even seen that done on any projects before! Katee rocks! Her color choice for the back was pretty awesome too!

She ended up quilting her initial and last name on the back as well. Pretty clever that one! :) I'm really impressed!

That project took us through most of the week - since we didn't have too much free (toddler free) sewing time to work. She did all of it but the free motion quilting on the top flap. - all the construction and everything! 

Among the other activities that the week included, we made a fort using her fort kit that I made her and her sister for their birthdays (link to tutorial here).

We also had ourselves a little tea party. It wasn't as frilly or pretty as I'd have liked... but it was pretty cool! We had finger sandwiches and tea and fruit. It was a yummy little party. I broke out my tiny espresso glasses for the occasion. :)

Hope you had a great week as well!!
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Be aware.

That neuroblastoma needs to be stopped.


To support my niece Rosemarie on her battle with Neuroblastoma (a rare form of childhood cancer), and to raise awareness of this terrible disease, I shaved my head this weekend. In total nine of us were shaved (including Rosemarie, who had hers shaved a week early since her hair started falling out again, for the third time). My sister, brother-in-law, brother, cousin's girlfriend, mom, dad, and husband all shaved our heads. I was going to go for "really short" but not shaved (Wally's preference not mine) but at the last minute he said to go for it and I did. I had 14" of hair to be donated for a children's cancer wig program!
Here we all are, along with Rosemarie, our stylists Jenna and Rachel, and Allie of course.

This all took place during our traditional "summer birthday party" (for Allie, and my two nieces - all summer birthdays). My sister's two hairstylist friends manned the clippers - and helped Rosemarie to make the first cuts! My hair was cut by about 6 people... they all got a chance! lol. We look pretty cool bald. Apparently my sister and I look a lot alike... more so without hair - even Rosemarie was startled by us when she thought she was sitting by me, when it was actually her mom!
14" of thick curly hair... to be re-grown!
This will be my... 4th time cutting to donate!
I'm excited for the chance to tell more people about this battle with neuroblastoma. Please donate even just a little bit for children's cancer research, specifically neuroblastoma (when possible). From most of the general cancer research fund raising groups, very little money ends up being sent to fund neuroblastoma research. St. Jude's Research Hospital is one that is great to donate to - they are currently researching neuroblastoma's cause and cure.

Apparently my sister and I look alike. Especially without hair.
Pray for Rosemarie and other little ones like her. She's such a strong little girl and we're all so much stronger because of her.
This picture will hold us to the agreement!
 On a side note, best friends are awesome! My friends Schell and Ko came up for the party and we decided to start a training program called Couch 2 5K - next week! Wish us luck! It was really awesome and inspiring to hang out with them again... even if Schell did keep trying to draw on my head! lol.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Not enough sewing time...

Notice the 12 thousand stickers all over her knees? lol
Thanks to this little girl who seems to think that nap time/bed time is "get out of my new toddler bed time." Adding to the exhaustion is that she's now decided any car trip is "let's houdini out of my carseat time" Yes that latch across her chest, she's figured it out. We now tape it together... which buys us a few minutes. 

Fun times. She is, however, celebrating her birthday in two days... and then we'll be celebrating with the Ohio part of the family on Saturday. Exhausting. We're going to have my niece Katee in town next week so there'd better be some sewing getting done then - since she wants to sew! :)

Sigh, I'm off to relieve my husband of the "hey it's night-night time!" duty. This kid is so exhausted; she really should just go to sleep!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dreaming in tiny...

I've been dreaming up some tiny tiny piecing for my name badge to wear at the Sewing Summit. Now that we've got our class schedule I'm more than excited! It seems like it'll be October before we know it! Obviously if I want to have any quilted blocks on my name tag they'll have to be pretty small. I do small (if you haven't noticed), so I figured why not challenge myself to do smaller? Hense the tiny tiny stars. these two stars measure point-point at just under one inch! I'm even amazed at myself. I like the grey/yellow one best since I think the dots on the green one are too busy. I haven't decided yet what to do for my nametag but I'm sure it'll come to me. I might see if anyone at the next Chicago Modern Quilt Guild meeting would let me use the letter embroidery on their fancy machines. That'd be cool and would save me some tiny embroidery.

If you're interested in seeing my inspiration so far here's my name tag pinterest.

On to bigger things (it doesn't take much to get bigger than those!). Here's a baby quilt that I made up for a special friend of Wally's - he has a new baby that we wanted to welcome properly! This quilt is about 38" square and is bound by machine using my method (the first time I've used it on a larger piece). It worked out just fine and I'm a bit in love with that batik green dot - it came from Joann's! I might need to go back for more! This was made pretty simply and most of the fabric came right from my stash. It was completely sewn on my old White machine while Nancy was in the shop. It was inspired directly by this quilt. I've been wanting to make one of these for a while and I'm glad I did. It's fun and sweet and simple.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


It's amazing what one can get done with a properly working sewing machine!

I've been working on the back of my {Sew} Beautiful Bee quilt. Before the move I'd pieced several random blocks using the leftovers that my bee buddies sent back. Now those blocks are in the process of being sewn together for the backing. I'm certainly going to need a couple (few) more yards of Kona Coal, but I'm making good progress.

This section is about the size of a crib quilt... and it's less than a quarter of the back!

It's so exciting to see this all come together. And I have new ideas about how to make the quilting go a bit smoother! With a little bit of work Nancy will fit inside the storage side of my table top - boosted by a book or two, she's at the right height. I think I may be able to talk my dad/uncles into cutting some particle board or whatever (hehe that's their area) to fit. We'll see. :)