Sunday, February 28, 2010

Makes My Monday: Decisions

I've been learning how to make these sweet tiny little quilt blocks. They're a lot of fun. I get a kick out of thinking how women a hundred years ago used the same technique of basting fabric around little hexagons of paper.

But my dilemma now is deciding which solid color I want to use as a background between all these little flowers. Everyone in my family has a different opinion. I'm leaning towards the darker purple. What do you think?

Playing with colors always makes me smile. To see more happy thoughts for Monday, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Finished for Friday: A Stack of Books

I've been doing a lot of reading on my kindle lately. All this rain makes me want to curl up with a quilt and some tea. There are quilts in progress, but none ready to show this week. Here's what I've been enjoying:

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. This is a young adult book that my children love and insisted I read. It's the first in a trilogy that spins the "real" story behind the story of Alice in Wonderland. This world is darker, more dangerous, and very exciting. The character we know as Alice is really a princess with an imagination that is powerful enough to change reality. She is forced to escape her world and lands in ours, where she meets Charles Dodgson who writes down her story but infuriates her by getting it all wrong. It's a very entertaining read. I can see why my tweens enjoy it.

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower is the first of the series by C.S. Forester. We recently watched the "Horatio Hornblower" miniseries with the kids and they loved it (not recommended for very young kids though!). The book covers the beginnings of his adventures on the high seas just prior to the Napoleonic wars. It was a quick, entertaining read and I look forward to picking up the rest of them.

Wanted, A Young Woman to Do Housework: Business Principles Applied to Housework. This was a freebie on the kindle and I loved it. Written in 1917, it's a must for any fan of "Upstairs Downstairs" or tales involving live-in domestic help at the turn of the century. It lays out the case for giving servants time off (shocking!), paying them an extra dime per guest for dinner parties (only fair!) and considering making them work only 8 hours a day (how will it all get done?!?!). It instructs the mistress of the house in how to schedule the help so she will never have to see her children at all. It's so earnest it's unintentionally very very funny. Download it for your kindle or see if your library has a copy. My how times have changed!

This was another good read, and I had to stay up late to finish it and see how it ended. It's the story of a midwife in a remote area of Vermont who performs an emergency Cesarean on a woman who has died during childbirth. The author takes the point of view of the midwife's 14 year old daughter and does so remarkably well. The ensuing accusations and trial will make you think about your own opinion of home birth. Very well written.

Now it's your turn. Please join in with your finished projects for this week. A few guidelines:

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That's all there is to it! If you didn't read all the entries from last week you missed some great projects! I love what people have been contributing. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday's Toonlet

Teen Nutrition

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Teen Nutrition

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Winter Awareness

My dear husband has been wonderfully gung-ho about taking on Boy Scout volunteer work. I think he's enjoying the adventure while helping our son discover scouting. Smart man that he is, he's avoided the main leadership roles because his work and travel schedule wont allow that level of participation, but he's an assistant for everything.

For weeks he's been studying snow camping skills and this past weekend he ventured out with some other brave dads to build a snow cave and camp out in it. His reward for all the hard work involved? In scouting reward = patches, so this is what he has to show for shoveling out over a ton of snow:

It made us all giggle a little bit. The Arctic Wolf is definitely cool, but "Winter Awareness?" I guess it's good to have someone in the family aware of these things. Winter can sometimes be a bit vague in California.

Now that he's certifiably "aware," he'll be back up in the mountains next weekend, and Jungle Boy will be with him, learning from his papa wolf how to make a snow cave. Maybe Jungle Boy will achieve seasonal enlightenment as well.

Celebrating family accomplishments makes my Monday. To see more Monday makers, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finished for Friday: Mouse King

This week's finish is an ornament for next Christmas. This was my first experience doing this kind of tiny beading and I can't decide if it's fun or tedious. I guess my mood varied as I worked on it.

This is a good souvenir of the Nutcracker performances my kids have danced in. The Mouse King is always a fun bad guy.

I also managed to put together a facebook fan page this week. Become a fan if you'd like to join the conversation on facebook and receive updates there. You'll find the link in my sidebar.

What have you accomplished this week? Link up and let us cheer you on! Just follow these guidelines please:

  • Link to a post of yours from this past week (doesn't have to be Friday's post)
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That's all there is to it! I can't wait to see what you've been up to.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Five Star Fort

When your six year old cousin comes to play, there's one sure way to keep everybody entertained. Make a fort. After gathering up quilts from all over the house, my kids asked me for some sheets and tablecloths. Witness the result:

This is the biggest fort I've ever seen in my life. There are some tall chairs in the middle holding it up. There are a lot of books weighting edges down on the left. The cats were banished because they tried to walk across the top.

Then they dragged in a dozen big pillows and even more quilts and settled in for hours doing whatever it is kids do in a fort.

Can careers in architecture be far behind?

Monday, February 15, 2010

iTunes Problems

I have a fair-sized collection of music on my ipod. A little of everything, but a lot of Classical music. Ipods are great for everything except Classical music.

If I want to hear David Bowie, I can search by artist. If I want to listen to a jazz album, I'll search by album. But how do I usually want to search for classical music? By composer. Go look at the composer category on your ipod. It's a mess of names you wont recognize. I had about 900 composers on there.

Still, being patient, I would scroll through (not really so hard to twirl that dial around). But say I wanted to hear an afternoon of Chopin. Here were my choices:

  • Frederick Chopin
  • Fridirik Chopin
  • Chopin, F.
  • Chopin, Fryderyk
You get the idea. Total mess. So being the obsessive-compulsive type that I am, I've now spent hours standardizing all my Classical composers. Then I went through all my rock, pop, jazz, soundtracks - and deleted each and every composer so they wouldn't show up on the list. Actually I pasted them into the comment section of each track. I'm still not done, but now my ipod is usuable.

And now if I want to listen to Chopin, I can select him and sit back - for 9.3 hours. Or Mozart for 18.5 hours, or Beethoven for 1.4 days.

Have you tweaked your iTunes to work better for you? I'd love to hear how.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Finished for Friday: While You Watched the Superbowl

I made a little quilt from charm squares.

I'm having trouble getting the colors perfect in the photos. Quilts really should be photographed in sunlight. We haven't had much of that lately.

The fabrics are "Mill House Inn" by Joanna Figueroa. The quilt is about 40" square. I shamelessly copied the quilting pattern from Pat Sloan.

What have you been up to this week? Join in and show us your accomplishments.
  • You can link to any post from this past week, doesn't have to be a Friday post.
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That's all there is to it! Thanks for joining in and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wordful Wednesday: Bananas in Pants

Some mornings there is just not enough coffee to face what I have to face. I don't know what's more disturbing - the pants on the bananas or the fact that there are three bananas in there. Whatever. Somebody was having some fun with some Build-A-Bear clothes apparently.

Wordful Wednesday is hosted by Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

Goldilocks Syndrome

How's your pillow?

I found myself in a store yet again yesterday seeking out the perfect pillow. My expensive down pillow at home had finally died. I was in the habit of spending long minutes before I got into bed shaking and plumping that thing, only to rest my head and have it turn into a brick in the middle of the night. I would even try to fluff it while half asleep. No go.

But I'm not great when faced with a million choices in the store. The toothpaste aisle makes me break into a cold sweat until I find the Crest. Why are there so many kinds of toothpaste?

So it was probably a bad idea to go to a store with a million kinds of pillows. How are we supposed to figure out what we want? I wanted to put each one on the floor and test it with my head but I settled for hugging them. Every one was different. Hug Hug Hug. Soft enough? Too soft? Who can tell? What if I pick the wrong one?? I settled on one that seemed perfect.

I woke up at 4:00 this morning and my neck hurts. Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Finished for Friday: Flannel quilt

Perfect for the dreary cold weather we're having, this flannel quilt is warm and heavy.

I also finished two books this week; the first, A Confederacy of Dunces is a Pulitzer Prize winner. I listened to the audiobook and laughed out loud many times at the awful, but funny, main character. I recommend this to people with an open mind and a good sense of humor. As one friend of mine said "it's a book you either love or hate." The audiobook was particularly funny in the way the narrator handled all the New Orleans dialects.

The next book was Waking Up Blind - Lawsuits Over Eye Surgery which is a true story that reads like a good novel. I couldn't put it down. It's a frightening, frustrating account of a rockstar eye surgeon who puts profit far above ethics with disastrous results, and the institution that protected him. It's a timely topic.

Got your Kindle yet? What are you waiting for? Amazon is offering free two day shipping for Valentine's Day. I adore my Kindle.

What have you finished up this week? I love to see all the projects and finishes out there. If you want to play along, just
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Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Spot

Apparently there is only one perfect place in the house. It changes each day. Could be a couch, or near a window, or sprawled on the bed. I've spent months trying to analyze the pattern.

It's obvious now. The best spot? Is close to the one you love.

I couldn't agree more.

Wordful Wednesday is hosted by Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

Quilts, Crabs and Kettle.

I'm spoiled. I'll be the first to admit it. When we remodeled the kitchen about four years ago, my wonderful indulgent husband gave the green light for all kinds of luxuries, including one of my absolute favorites, a hot water spigot.

By hot, I mean boiling. Just touch the knob and it dispenses water hot enough to make perfect tea. The kids used it all the time to make hot chocolate and hot apple cider. It was one of my favorite little touches in the kitchen.

Until the day I pressed the little handle, and only got cold water.

The plumber came out and shook his head. "The heating unit's burned out, you'll have to get a new one." At that point I found out just how much we originally paid for this lovely little convenience. Yikes. I can't justify paying that right now to get a new one.

"I've been to this house before. I remember all the great quilts." His kind words completely turned my mood around.

The plumber continued to chit chat as he filled out an estimate for the work that would need to be done. "Oh I see you have a pot-filler! Those are great!"

It's not often someone admires my pot-filler. It takes a keen eye to appreciate both quilts and high-end plumbing fixtures. "Yes, it's great for big pots of pasta, or cooking crab" I said.

"Oh crab leaves a real smell in the house," he said, as he tore off my copy of the estimate and started heading for the front door. "The best way to cook them is to clean them while they're alive - just tear off the back, remove the lungs and organs, put in a bunch of butter and garlic, wrap them in foil and put them outside on the barbecue."

My brief enjoyment of our encounter came to a screeching halt. I'm all for throwing a live crab into boiling water to let it die a quick death, but this method made my stomach churn a little.

So now I am without tea until I go buy a kettle, and I have a very disturbing image of disemboweled crabs in my mind.

That's enough home repairs for this week.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Makes My Monday

Makes my Monday is hosted by Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

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