Monday, July 19, 2010

So So Fast

I was snuggling with Greg last night as he was going to bed and I couldn't help but think how quickly time goes. He asked me to stay with him until he fell asleep. I said I would. As I snuggled with him (after a particularly rough time of putting Elise down for the night) I thought about how fast he has grown up. He's past the halfway point of 3 -- where did it go?

The good news is, the perspective helps me to enjoy the time I have with both of them. Yes, I might want to pull my hair out rocking Elise to sleep for 2 hours, but someday soon she will be too big to rock. And while I have lots of things I might look forward to doing after Greg falls asleep, I can probably measure in hours the time left where he'll want me there as he dozes off.

So clearly I'm all sentimental tonight. Let's move on to something more practical!

My next quilting project will be one for my sister. In my last post I mentioned not finding a good quilting tutorial. Well now I have! I think this would have been great even before I knew all the fancy pants quilting terms. Wonderful pictures and great instructions.

So, Katie's quilt. I'm going to build it around this fabric:

She wants it to look "Indie", whatever that means (for the record, Katie is way cooler than I will ever be.) I wanted to play around with free motion quilting with this one, but I don't think I can afford the new foot right now. I'll have to do something else fun with it. It's so nice to have all this free time to do all this sewing -- tonight I finished a new beach bag for our vacation next week. It's awesomeness in a bag, with pockets for cell phone, camera, ipod, sunglasses, books, sunscreen, water bottles, and cash. I made it in a charming floral print that I know Matt will enjoy carrying.

We're heading to the beach again next week, I'm not sure I'll have a chance to post again before we get back. I'm very excited for more pictures of my cuties on the beach!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quilting for a Dummy

When I was designing Greg's new big boy room, I got the brilliant idea to make him patchwork curtains. I'd never quilted before, but had some sewing experience and an awesome machine (my workhorse Viking Husqvarna Emerald 116, how I love it sew [haha get it?]), and so I decided I could handle this no problem. So I went on my merry way, and spent the better part of 2 weeks (every naptime, bedtime, and otherwise free moment of time) sewing the equivalent of two twin size quilts.  I'm not into starting small. The curtains did turn out nicely, and I'm sure they will look very nice in his college dorm room. And his house when he gets married. I hope his future wife likes transportation motifs.

I did decide to downsize a little bit, and my next quilting project was a baby quilt for Elise. I finally finished it a few days ago, and I am thrilled with how it turned out. This one, though much smaller, took me about a month to complete because I now have an infant who can't be persuaded to let mommy sew with cookies and Caillou.  What do you think?

And of course, my babies on the quilt:

Whenever someone asks me where I learned to quilt, I say "the internet". Because it's true. The internet has taught basically everything useful that I know. I do have a little bone to pick with internet; however, regarding learning how to quilt. I googled every search term I could think of "quilts for dummies" and "sewing your first quilt" and "quilting for beginners" and it provided me with only bits and pieces of the knowledge I needed. I never did find a really great quilting tutorial that didn't assume you already knew all the quilting buzzwords.  So I am considering, when I sew my next quilt, doing a step by step instruction guide on sewing a quilt for anyone else whom the internet has failed.

In non-quilt related news, we had a graduation party for my youngest sister yesterday. I think an excellent time was had by all. Greg helped me make the cookies for the party. He is a wonderful assistant baker. He measure ingredients, cracks the eggs, and turns on the mixer for me. He also tastes the dough at every step to ensure a delicious product. He once told Matt he knew more about making cookies then Matt did. He was not wrong on that count.  Since I like you, dear reader, I will share my top secret chocolate chip cookie recipe.  You will note it looks very much like the Toll House recipe with the exception of the amount of flour. And that, my friend, makes all the difference.

World's Most Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie
2.5 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
chocolate chips to taste

Preheat oven to 375. If you're feeling ambitious, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. Otherwise just mix them together. Beat butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake 12-14 minutes until cookies are just set for delicious chewy cookies. Unless you are cooking them for my father. In that case, omit the chocolate chips and burn them ever so slightly and wonder why anyone in the world would like burnt cookies.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vacation, and What Not

I'm blaming my long absence on my daughter's new awesome napping style, the 45 minuter. For the past two weeks or so she has taken to waking from her naps at 45 minutes on the dot. I'm working on trying to get the nap extended, but we've been on vacation so consistency has been hard to come by. Oh, yes, and then she got a cold and so there is that awesomeness.

But, I'll complain no longer. We spent the last week in Surfside Beach, SC with my dad's extended family. We had a 10 bedroom house and 28 people. Lots of craziness, but also an excellent time was had. Greg had a fabulous time playing with his second cousins. He and my cousin's daughter quickly became inseparable, and by the end of the week they were encouraging each other to climb onto the roof. Which Greg attempted. Ahem.

Elise was thoroughly unimpressed with the beach, as well as the heat. We took her for walks on the beach a couple mornings, but only for a full on beach day once.

Don't let her goofy grin fool you. She pities us all for not having the good sense to realize that sand + sun + wind does not a fun experience make. She looked awfully cute in her bathing suit though.

Not to get too sentimental, but I really enjoyed spending time with my dad's side of the family.  We don't get to see them that often, and it was really fun spending late nights with cousins and seeing our kids hang out together. And of course I love spending time with the Matt and the kiddos.

We have a two week break and then head down to North Carolina with Matt's family. I know, I know, it's hard to be us. During that time I have about a million projects I'd like to complete, including a quilt I'm sewing for Elise. Perhaps that will be the topic of my next post.  Try not to get giddy with the excitement of it all!

PS - I almost forget my favorite Greg quote of the week. He and I were floating on the Lazy River at a waterpark, and he said to me: "I guess this is the best thing ever." Buddy, I couldn't agree more!